Thursday, July 30, 2009

SSH with aes256ctr support not working on some S10 systems

I've been getting emails today about SSH aes256ctr being broken on some Solaris 10 machines.

This goes back to my work earlier to get strong crypto included by default on all Solaris 10 systems. This started in Solaris 10 Update 4, and I guess I figured everyone would read my blog, jump for joy and upgrade their systems. ;-)

It seems some of you haven't and are now seeing errors like:

sshd[8975]: [ID 800047 auth.crit] fatal: matching cipher is not supported: aes256-ctr

Which is a direct result of Sun's SSH now taking advantage of the presumed availability of strong crypto on the systems. This works fantastically well on newer Solaris 10 systems.

This issue is now covered by a bug, and you can see one workaround there.

Let's assume you *do* want strong crypto, though, and you want to stay on an older release of Solaris 10. In which case, you need to install SUNWcry and SUNWcryr onto these older Solaris 10 systems and reapply all cryptographic framework patches. The packages are available as part of the Solaris 10 Encryption Kit. You need to reapply the patches, because when you installed them before SUNWcry & SUNWcryr were not on the system, so would've missed all the patching goodness for their bits. It's important that you do this, or you will end up with mismatched bits for the cryptographic framework, which will have undefined (ie probably not good) results.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

The Glass Castle....

The Glass Castle: A Memoir The Glass Castle: A Memoir by Jeannette Walls

My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This book, from Jeannette Walls, was impossible to put down. Many times I think I should write a memoir - interesting things have happened in my life. I had an interesting childhood and I had a lot going on as a teenager. That might be interesting, right?

Well, not compared to Walls' life!

Her painful memoir of growing up with a severely alcoholic, but brilliant, father and a depressed artist mother, always on the skedaddle, starts with recounting her tragic tale at the age of 3 - when she catches herself on fire while cooking at a gas stove.

The misery seems to go down from there.

The abject poverty and terrible neglect these children were raised in is appalling. The most concerning thing is that Walls talks about all of the other families in the same slums, living similar lifestyles. It's heartbreaking and compelling. It's a story of survival against all odds, and of overwhelming family love.

I can't recommend this enough. Let me know if you want to borrow it :-)

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Paramore/No Doubt concert was fun!

Went to a concert at the Shoreline Amphitheater again last night, again starting
with a wonderful molé burrito from Fiesta del Mar. YUM! I can't get enough of that place... ;)

Last night the girls and I caught The Sounds, Paramore and No Doubt.  I wasn't familiar with The Sounds, but enjoyed their upbeat fun tunes while sipping on a very expensive plastic cup of Fat Tire.

And Paramore was the "Twilight" band, which explained all the Bella/Edward lookalikes wandering around the audience.... along with the mad screeching that began when they started the song from the movie.

No Doubt put on a fun and energetic show, with mod white with black accent costumes and white stage. Lighting provided bright accents, and accompanying videos - both like the type you might see on MTV (remember, when it used to show videos?!) and documentary sorts - kept the pace of the show moving.

Not sure what happened to Stefani, though - she's now stick thin with freakishly defined abs. We were wondering if they had airbrush accents on them like they do for the guys on Dancing with the Stars...

The best part was hanging out with the girls at this estrogen fueled event. Chicks rock! :-)

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Coldplay at Shoreline was ... WOW!

Caught Coldplay at the Shoreline Amphitheater last week, after a fabulous dinner at Fiesta del Mar.

I don't know how many times I've seen them in concert, but this was the second time I've seen them on this tour. I feel like a teenager still sometimes ;)

I couldn't get any information from the Shoreline staff who the opening bands were, but the first one was a groovin' rockabilly type sound with lots of harmonica, and the second was an African soul group (heavy on bass and some pretty fantastic dancers). Both very different from each other and not at all like Coldplay's music, but very enjoyable all the same.

In between bands, they played a band that sounded like the Cocteau Twins, but wasn't. It was very good - anyone have any idea who it could've been?

This concert was spectacular. Coldplay is one of the few bands that I've seen that really interact with the audience and care about giving a top notch performance, not just a rehash of their albums. The Shoreline concert featured a different line up than when I saw them in the HP Pavilion (and the sound was a hundred times better. I love the HP Pavilion staff, but that place was NOT designed for acoustics!).

This show even featured some new tracks of the album, Left Right Left Right Left, which they gave to every attendee that night. Cool bonus that really made us feel that we were actually getting our money's worth (though I was still happy we didn't have to pay any TicketMaster monopoly fees since I bought the tickets directly from the box office).

Some happy moments of mine from the show:

When I saw them testing their lasers before Coldplay came out, I couldn't help but hear "Where my lasers at? Yo!" ala Coach Z.

Realizing that cell phones have completely replaced lighters at concerts and totally appreciated the lack of smoke (though, must be challenging to get those lasers to work! yo!)

Being told "There's an App for that!" (yes, an app... for an iPhone.. to make it look like you're holding up a lighter. *sigh*)

Hearing Blue Danube play and reminiscing about the number of times we played that tune on water glasses at the Gaslighter. Getting the correct variety of glasses to get all of the pitches, keeping them tuned, and staying all together was a feat of magnificent talent that we somehow pulled off most nights.

Loved the big giant yellow balloons floating around all sections that were filled with confetti during the song, Yellow. It made us all feel as if we were part of the performance. The balloons bouncing along, each of us reaching for them, sometimes they burst and released their confetti. Very cool. Very surreal.

Using our cellphones (everyone had one) and doing the Mexican Cell Phone wave. Not sure why Coldplay referred to it as such, perhaps it originated in Mexico?

Thrilled when the band did an acoustic tribute to Michael Jackson, doing a fantastic rendition of Billie Jean from the lawn.

Thinking, "Those who are dead, are not dead, they're just living in my head" is true. None of you will ever be forgotten by me.

The music was phenomenal, the performance was intense. Wow.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

OpenSolaris Security BoF on 23 July 2009 8PM!

8:00pm Thursday, 07/23/2009

OSOSOS - Offering Security in OpenSource Operating Systems
Location: Ballroom A3/A6

Moderated by: Christoph Schuba

Many operating system security mechanisms are necessary for
developers to build secure software. While this session presents a few
such mechanisms available and under development in OpenSolaris, it
primarily seeks the dialogue and discussion how important these features
are and how they compare to those of other OSes.

Speakers will do short talks on the Cryptographic Framework (Valerie Fenwick - that's me!), Priveleges (Scott Rotondo) and Zones/TX (Glenn Faden), followed by a panel from all presenters, plus Christoph Schuba and Glenn Barry (Kerberos guru).

BoFs are free, you just need to register for the expo pass (also free!)

Sunday, July 12, 2009

WVLO's My Fair Lady was Fantastic!

A group of us went to Saratoga to check out West Valley Light Opera's most recent production of My Fair Lady, written by Frederick Loewe and Alan Jay Lerner, based on George Bernard Shaw's Pygmalion.

Doug Baird did an outstanding  job with direction, as even with the minimalist sets, I was brought back to turn of the 20th century England.  While I expected to be jarred by the dreadful English accents, instead I found myself delighted at how I could really imagine all of these actors being from England.  Okay, my husband, who is actually English, said they weren't perfect, but on the other hand he did not find them jarring (and his father was born within the sound of Bow bells, so he knows a Cockney accent when he hears one).

Without even looking at the program, I could tell the wigs were the wonderful work of Ms Rande Harris, as the styles were spot on for the period.  Most impressive were the costumes and hats for the day at the races (Ascot), a fantastic job from Carol Clever and her long list of assistants (I'm pretty sure I recognized the handy work of Linda McKee and Richard Gaetono in there somewhere).

While there wasn't a ton of dancing, Jillian Toby-Cummings, as choreographer, did a good job getting everyone to go from street buskers from London, to Lords and Ladies at the ball.

Jade Shoejaee was fantastic and believable as Eliza Doolittle, changing her accent from a thick Cockney to a very intelligible East End lilt.  Linda McKee, as Mrs. Pearce, delighted us with her varied expressions, humorous dialog and constant costume changes.  Chris Blake had me laughing, uncontrollably, as Professor Zoltan Karpathy (the only actual English bloke in the cast... playing the Hungarian).

The Cockney quartet, (Chris Blake, Earl Masuda, Matt Tipton, and Peter Vigil) were lovely (or should I say, loverly?), and the ensemble was perfectly in tune for each scene, effortlessly taking the audience from the streets of London to the races at Ascot.  Speaking of Ascot, Kady Blake's delightful "slow walk" during that scene had me in stitches.

TJ Paganini, along with the other servants at the Higgins Estate, were top notch.  I also really enjoyed the leading gentleman, Kevin Kirby as Henry Higgins, and John Musgrave as Colonel Pickering.  Really, the entire cast was wonderful.

The show was essentially sold out on Friday night, and all of the matinees are as well, so I highly recommend you buy your tickets in advance (though I understand there are often no-shows, so you can always take a chance and show up at the theater directly).

The show is three hours long, but you would never notice, as it just keeps you laughing and humming along the entire time.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

The Triumph of Women's Suffrage

Mr. Robert P. J. Cooney, Jr. came to Sun Microsystems today to talk to the Women@Sun group about the triumphant women's suffrage movement in the United States that took more than 60 years to gain success. Sixty years! Just for women to get the right to vote! [1] Mr. Cooney became interested in this movement in the 1970s when attending school to become a graphic artist, when he realized the large prejudice that women needed to overcome and that they were able to do this in a nonviolent way.

This was such a difficult task, as the women had to convince men that not only were women prepared to vote, but that women were educated and informed. Only men could decide whether or not to grant women the right to vote, and many of these men were ignorant, uneducated and even illiterate. A difficult task at hand, indeed!

Suffragists started with parades in different states to raise awareness of their concerns, along with organizing peaceful rallies. Getting women to join in these events was difficult, as many were afraid that their participation would be seen as too forward by the men and scare the men off of giving them the vote even more, but the suffragists knew they could not be silent. They need to be seen to be heard.

The US Supreme Court had ruled that it was an issue that should be decided by the states, so the women had to levy campaigns in each and every state, a very arduous process indeed! These campaigns were most successful in the progressive west. East of the Mississippi, the only suffrage many women could get was the ability to vote only for school boards and other small, local positions.

Susan B. Anthony strongly believed it was really a federal issue, and began the push for a federal amendment to the US Constitution. Unfortunately, she died before seeing this come to pass, after 45 years of tireless effort on her part. Fortunately, there were other women ready to take up the task at hand and push the movement forward, even in times of war.

The women found they were ignored by both major political parties, so their took their parades to the democratic and republican conventions. At one of them, the women actually had a silent, still "parade" - where they all wore white with golden jewelry and parasols and lined the street and stood silently while the delegates were participating in their own march down that same street. The eerie silence had great impact on those delegates, bringing the rights of women to the forefront of their minds.

When the suffragists were not getting momentum they wanted at the national level, they began to leverage their vote in the western states to oust seated national politicians, targeting, in particular, the democratic party. I find this an interesting historic note, as the democrat party is now associated with women's rights, but apparently the turn of the 19th century told a different story.

Mr. Cooney has documented this in his book, Winning the Vote: The Triumph of the American Woman Suffrage Movement,
which is filled with outstanding images of the buttons and posters the suffragists made, as well as pictures of the rallies and events and documentation of the cruel treatment several women received for protesting peacefully outside of the White House during World War I.

Mt. Cooney is an eloquent speaker and I really look forward to reading his book in the up coming weeks, but all of this reminds me that all over the world today, women still do not have the right to vote and have themselves represented. It's so disturbing to me, because it seems like such an inalienable right. How can we be citizens and pay taxes and not vote? But, if it took more than 60 years to make such thing a documented right in a progressive country like our own, it may be many more lifetimes before women the world over have these same freedoms and the same voice. Let's hope it comes sooner than later, for all of our sakes.

[1] As pointed out during the Q&A session, not all women gained the right to vote in all states in 1920. For many women of color, particularly those that lived in the south, that quest took another 40 years, where they had to fight along side their brothers and fathers to get the same equal representation.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Finally finished with the Twilight Series!

Breaking Dawn (Twilight, #4) Breaking Dawn (The Twilight Saga, Book 4)
by Stephenie Meyer

My review

rating: 4 of 5 stars
Finally, I'm through with the Twilight series! [1] This was my favorite in the series, as Meyer used less foreshadowing (which lead to actually surprising plot twists). This book also told part of the story through Jacob's eyes, which was pretty cool. Jacob is, in my opinion, the most interesting character in the book. He actually has real life issues and emotions, and struggles to find the correct balance. Edward and Bella, on the other hand, are very self absorbed and have very one tracked minds.

The book, overall, though, was very compelling and I had a hard time putting it down (between this and writing code, I've been a bit of a hermit).

I was disappointed at the end, though. Much like a Cinnabon, it was delicious at the start, but the hyper sweetness left me with a stomach ache by the time I was finished.

I think my next book will have to be nonfiction, so I can maybe read it and maintain a life at the same time. ;-)

[1] yes, I know there is another book being written from Edward's perspective, but I understand that it overlaps, time wise, with Twilight, which is not very compelling to me. More interesting would be covering the prior 80 years of Edward's life as a vampire, before Bella came into his life. Think of how The Vampire Lestat was a wonderful companion to Interview with a Vampire. I know Edward tells us over and over that his life began when he met Bella, but I find such sentiments belittling to those who have spent time with you before.

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