“There is not such a cradle of democracy upon the earth as the Free Public Library, this republic of letters, where neither rank, office, nor wealth receives the slightest consideration.” ― Andrew Carnegie

Yet Another Digital Signage Solution on the Cheap

The first-generation Google Chromecast dongle was made available in 2013 for around $35 dollars. I acquired one of these devices for our library so that I could wirelessly cast our Samsung Galaxy Tab’s screen to our AV system during classes and training sessions, and thus handily avoid the need for wired tethering along with the necessary adaptors to effect this. The device has served us well, but with the advance of screen resolution technologies in mobile devices as well as the demands of mirroring the same, it makes sense to upgrade to Google’s latest model refresh, the Chromecast Ultra model, which promises better overall performance, less wireless lag, and support for 4K resolution and high dynamic range, among other things. [Read More]

Scripting for the rest of us

I have heard people say that everyone should know how to code. This struck me as wildly unlikely. People are just to busy and have too much on their plates to all become software developers. However, I also thought that their reasoning was correct. Learning to code lets you use your computer for what it is really good at. Doing repetitive tasks over and over again, the same way each time. [Read More]

How large is your attack surface?

Attack surface is a term used in computer security to describe your vulnerabilities. It is simply the ways that you can be attacked. A larger attack surface means more ways to attack you. A smaller attack surface means less ways to attack you. One of the most effective ways we have of increasing our security is to shrink our attack surface. There are other important things we need to do, such as doing security updates and selecting trustworthy software, but that largely depends on things that are out of our control. [Read More]

haveibeenpwned now checks passwords too

There is a great tool called haveibeenpwned put out by Troy Hunt. You can enter an email address or username into this website, and it will tell you if it has been involved in a data breach. This is great so that you can quickly change your password for a compromised account. Troy now has a service that will check passwords against data breaches as well. If you don’t want to put your password into a random third-party website, you can put in a sha1 hash of your password instead or you can download the entire 5. [Read More]

DNS on my mind

A recent email thread on the Tor relay operators email list has me thinking about DNS. DNS is like the phonebook of the internet. For example, when you go to https://techielibrarians.com, you don’t actually go there. You go to 159.203.158.3 (IPv4) or 2604:a880:400:d0::14ab:4002 (IPv6). Obviously, it is far easier to remember techielibrarians.com than a whole string of numbers. That is why we have DNS. DNS is simple in concept, but can provide some complications in practice. [Read More]