beyond belief – 2007

Recordings from the second edition of this conferenceEnlightenment 2.0 – are now available online.


migrating kmail between systems

On some systems mail is found under $HOME/.Mail, on some others under $HOME/Mail and – yet on others – I’ve found it even under $HOME/.kde/share/apps/kmail. Regardless of where the source (to be copied from) directory of email is, the important thing is to have the variable “folders”, from $HOME/.kde/share/config/kmailrc point to the target directory.

The only method I have found reliable to migrate directories and files has been by using rsync w/ssh & tar, combined. Assuming that in our case the <source> email directory is /home/user/.Mail, and that the <target> directory we choose is /home/user/.kde/share/apps/kmail the followings are necessary steps to produce a functional kmail <target> system:

<target>/home/user/.kde/share$ rsync -avze ssh user@<source>:/home/user/.Mail/ ./apps/kmail

NOTE: it is important to have the <source> directory ending with a trailing “/”, to be able to copy just the content of it on the <target> one. For the <target> directory having a trailing “/”, or not, makes no difference!

<target>/home/user/.kde/share$ rsync -avze ssh user@<source>:/home/user/.kde/share/apps/kmail/ ./apps/kmail

NOTE: the above needs to be done, because the <…>kmail directory always contains info, even if the mail was not residing there (such as account:@host:port for various pop accounts, autosave info, etc.)

<target>/home/user/.kde/share$ rsync -avze ssh user@<source>:/home/user/.kde/share/config/kmailrc* ./config/

NOTE: the above copies all versions of configuration files, but the really important one is kmailrc, so the command above may be used w/out the wildcard (*)

<target>/home/user/.kde/share$ rsync -avze ssh user@<source>:/home/user/.kde/share/apps/kabc/ ./apps/kabc

NOTE: the above copies the address-book(s) (std.vcf + associated files)

<target>/home/user/.kde/share$ rsync -avze ssh user@<source>:/home/user/.kde/share/config/emailidentities ./config/

NOTE: the above copies all email identities you (may) have configured to use with kmail (usually associated with multiple accounts, of course)

<target>/home/user/.kde/share$ vi ./config/kmailrc ==> make sure you have the line:

folders = $HOME/.kde/share/apps/kmail

That’s it!

P.S. If deciding to use the above method to continuously backup kmail, instead of just migrating it from one system to another, then add a –delete option to the rsync command

Nokia E61 and video creation with MacOSX

The [set of] tool[s] needed to produce a properly encoded movie for the Nokia E61 [fantastic!] smartphone is called ffmpegX.

The most successful outcome of movie encoding for this platform (video and audio) I was able to obtain was by using the following configuration:

* Quick preset (pull down list): 3gp (this one doesn’t really matter that much, as I had to modify both the Video and Audio codecs, as described below, but found it to be delivering the closest defaults … or at least I think so :))

* Video Codec (video tab): MPEG4[.MP4] (ffmpeg) with Video Bitrate = 720 & Video Size = 320×240 (or 320 + autosize 4:3) & Framerate = 12.5

* Audio Codec (audio tab): AAC (MOV/MP4/3GP) with Audio Bitrate = 160 & Sampling = 44100 & Channels: Stereo

network tools #1

Yet another place-holder for (less popular than the likes of Wireshark – no need to repeat those) tools I have found useful in my years of toying with networking and security:

* a set of of tools, all packaged very nicely (merci, Laurent!), working on either Linux, *BSD, MacOSX (have I ever mentioned that this is my platform of choice ? – having switched from Linux a few years ago) or even Windows: Netwib/ox/ag. Could be used either via a friendly GUI (NetwAG), or simply from the command line (NetwOX). The content of this toolbox is simply amazing!

* one of my all-time favorite set of tools: ntop and nProbe. The first one – an amazing web-based network traffic analyzer, capable of working on either captured traffic mode, and/or in combination with netflow or sflow. The second one is a software probe that could capture traffic and process it in netflow format, to be sent – then – to analyzers of such (I use it extensively where Cisco netflow is not available).

* OpenNMS is a full-blown, open source Network Management solution. Its authors compare it with an enterprise-grade tool like HP OpenView. I personally consider it – alongside Nagios – a fantastic solution for centralized monitoring (a sort of informational portal)

* somehow related to the above, in the category of portal-like monitoring tool, with RRD-based graph trending capabilities is Cacti – another favorite of mine.

* “sitting” in between Cacti and the previous two NMS tools is the ‘Just For Fun’ NMS – which is an SNMP + syslog capable NMS. I have not used it in a long time, but its updated info may convince me to give it another swirl one of these days

google usage … nice

Very nice (and useful!) usage of Google search capabilities for real scientific info.

about fitness

John Wilkins wrote in his blog:

“Fitness is a property of a competing variant in a population. It means that X, whatever it might be biologically, is increasing in its frequency in a population faster than its competing variants. X can be a gene, or a trait, or even an entire organism’s form and functionality.

What fitness isn’t, is something absolute. There’s no universal measure of fitness that applies to all organisms. Every different kind of biological variant is only fit or not compared to the other variants in its population, whether that’s a local population, or a gene pool, or even a smaller group like a kin group (an extended family). Fitness is relative, literally and figuratively.”

… and, in one of his own blog-follow-up comments:

“… I think that fitness is a rate of frequency change, is that it provides a momentum view of fitness – it’s the rate right now at which the frequency of that X is changing, irrespective of what happened in the past or will happen in the future. This is how I get over the generation issue.

cryptolinguistics – well said!

From Matt Blaze’s blog:

We often say that researchers break poor security systems and that feats of cryptanalysis involve cracking codes. As natural and dramatic as this shorthand may be, it propagates a subtle and insidious fallacy that confuses discovery with causation. Unsound security systems are “broken” from the start, whether we happen to know about it yet or not. But we talk (and write) as if the people who investigate and warn us of flaws are responsible for having put them there in the first place.

Words matter, and I think this sloppy language has had a small, but very real, corrosive effect on progress in the field. It implicitly taints even the most mainstream security research with a vaguely disreputable, suspect tinge. How to best disclose newly found vulnerabilities raises enough difficult questions by itself; let’s try to avoid phrasing that inadvertently blames the messenger before we even learn the message.