“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

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]

Open source software and the values of librarianship

The Lebanon Public Libraries in Lebanon, NH run on free and open source software. This software accounts for about 95% of all the software that we use. This is not the norm for a library, but it should be. This is software that is in agreement with the values of librarianship. It allows us as librarians to serve our patron’s without the compromises that come from proprietary software. There are many benefits tofree and open source software. [Read More]