$15.24 for 2 zones

$15.24 for 2 zones
Originally uploaded by Stephen Thorne
Go-card is fail. A workmate of mine just got charged 6.5x the correct fare for his trip into work yesterday.

Total. Utter. Fail.


Booting and Stuff

So it turns out that my epic journey into "why doesn't this board boot" this week had a really anti-climatic ending.

Just so everyone knows, the Intel DG945GCLF board, which is a mini-itx board with 1.6ghz atom 230 chip on it, will not boot from a hdd unless one of the partitions on that drive is marked bootable.

This might seem obvious, but it doesn't make much sense :( the BIOS is supposed to just load the first 512 bytes of the drive and run it*.

So, things I learned this week:
  • grub-install is a shell script.
  • What grub stage1, e2fs_stage1_5 and stage2 are.
  • The layout of the partition table.
  • Various tricks with 'dd' and 'xxd' to read partition tables.
  • Editing hex values in partition tables and the grub stage1 on the disk is kinda fun the first time.
  • Knowing what bytes are what on a raw disk is knowledge that can't be erased with beer.
  • Beer is good for day 3 of dealing with non-booting systems.
So after something like 15 kernel compiles, various operating systems and rescue disks, it turns out that I needed to make a 2 character change to the sfdisk script that created our partition layout.

* yes, i know this is a lie.


SSH Fail

I'm very very angry just at the moment, I'm angry about a total mismatch of expectations in the name of 'usability' that has invalidated what I thought was a totally reasonable security mechanism that I more or less took for granted.

I have an SSH key. ~/.ssh/id_dsa. I have a passphrase on that key, so that if someone compromises my machine, all they have is a key, and they have to brute force my (rather long) passphrase. I have ssh-agent to remember my passphrase in memory so that I don't ever let that passphrase hit disk, but have the passphrase cached.

Running ssh-add -D should wipe that passphrase from memory so I have to type it again. I was toying with doing this nightly so that it would wipe the passphrase every night so when I log in the next morning my passphrase needs to be re-entered.

This is where the nightmare begins. On the weekend my machine crashed so I had to start a fresh this morning. I sit down, log in, fire up a terminal, and ssh into another host.

Bam, I'm straight in. No passphrase, no prompt, nothing. Just straight in. This shouldn't be possible. Either the passphrase has been removed from my key so that it can be used without a passphrase, or something is saving it to disk without my knowledge.

Fedora 9 in its default configuration will save your passphrase to disk if you're logged in under gnome. I don't know how to turn it off. I feel angry, violated, annoyed and really really frustrated. It was a simple thing and it's been fucked. I can't turn it off, I can't stop gnome from remembering my passphrase, I feel like pulling the drive, hitting it with a hammer, and going back to OSX instead.

At least OSX can get simple things like ssh-agent right.