Saturday Sep 04, 2010

Password Madness

I recently had to change my password for a single signon service I use. I opted to include a "?" in my new password. Over the next couple of days I discovered that I could only enter my password on some of the sites I needed to use. On others it was consistently rejected. Luckily because it was single signon I could sign on to one site and then navigate to the another that wouldn't allow me to enter my password.

After a few days I figured out that some sites just didn't like my password. I decided to change my password to something that didn't include "?". Lo and behold, I could now log in using any of the sites which used the single signon service. Sigh.

It bothers me that standards for passwords are still so inconsistent. Case sensitive, case insenstive, spaces allowed, no spaces allowed, numbers allowed, numbers not allowed, random allowability of symbols. Usually the reasons for the restrictions are bizarre and arbitrary (what to do with computers isn't?). It's very frustrating for users to work with these varying restrictions imposed by multiple sites. It would certainly make things easier if more effort was spent to allow users the maximum flexibility in their password choice and probably more importantly that the behaviour was more consistent among sites. Perhaps industry specific standards or best practices could reduce the frustration around password policies. It's worth a try.

Monday Feb 08, 2010

Updated CSS

Yep, I've adjusted my theme. I'm rather pleased that only CSS changes were required. No changes to the HTML code were necessary.

Thursday Jan 14, 2010

Why are they called Labrador Retrievers?

I've been telling this story for the last couple of months and I thought I would share it on my blog. I volunteer with Guide Dogs for the Blind as a foster care provider. I take care of dogs that need time in a home environment. When you see me with a dog it's probably a foster care dog and likely a different dog than the last time you saw me. We've taken care of almost 50 dogs over the last two years and it's the most fun I have ever had with a volunteer job.

Recently we had the pleasure of taking care of a 7 1/2 week old puppy for about three months while she was getting old enough for some surgery and then the recovery. When we got her she was fresh from the whelping kennel and had absolutely no training. She didn't know her name, wasn't housebroken in the slightest degree, couldn't walk on a leash, etc. However, if you threw a toy she would bring it back to you ever time. Apparently retrieving is a "built-in" function for Labradors and requires no training. I was kind of amazed at how automatic retrieving was for her since she really hadn't mastered any other skills yet. The "Retriever" name is apparently well deserved.

Because I'd never be forgiven for not including a picture:

GDB foster care puppy Gucci
Gucci @15 weeks in the rarely seen act of sleeping with her head on a toy.

Friday Oct 16, 2009

The Legacy List & The Two Words

The Two Words : Some relevant advice regarding legacy technology from Bob Newhart.

I've been compiling a list for the last couple of months of legacy technologies that I feel are well past their 'Best Before Date' and should be eliminated. Keeping them around in spite of better alternatives makes all of our jobs more complicated. The reasons for keeping the dead technologies alive end up sounding like delusional rationalizations.

I'm looking for suggestions of obsolete technologies which we would all be better off by getting rid of them. I'm not going to share the complete list I've compiled because I want people to come up with their suggestions. Some ideas to get you started:

  • Cylinder/Head/Sector Disk Addressing
  • Telnet/rsh/rlogin
  • Non-UTF character encodings
  • S-Video
  • ...

If there's a technology you're forced to use or support that's best destined for the boneyard please make the case for its obsolescence.

Saturday Oct 03, 2009

Upgrading a Solaris 10 ZFS Boot Installation

With Solaris 10u8 aka Solaris 10 10/09 due any day now I've been planning to upgrade my installations. When I originally installed Solaris 10u6 with ZFS boot I assumed that the upgrade process to 10u7 would be about the same as it has been for UFS boot installations. It turns out, unfortunately, that the Solaris 10 installer doesn't offer direct upgrades for ZFS.

After a few days of fruitlessly searching the Internet for a procedure to upgrade my ZFS boot installation from 10u6 to 10u7 I contacted my Solaris oracle, Dave Clack and, of course he knew exactly how to do it. Since lots of people will undoubtedly need this procedure in the next couple of weeks, here it is. This procedure also works for OpenSolaris. Dave's instructions mount the DVD ISO using lofi loopback. If, like me, you are running you Solaris installations in VirtualBox then you can just mount the image as a virtual DVD. The procedure remains the same with a few path changes.

Upgrade a Solaris 10 ZFS Boot Installation from one "u" level to another
lofiadm -a /share/iso/solaris_dvd.iso

mount -F hsfs /dev/lofi/1 /mnt

pkgrm SUNWlur SUNWluu SUNWluzone SUNWlucfg

cd /mnt/Solaris_10/Product

pkgadd -d . SUNWlucfg SUNWlur SUNWluu SUNWluzone 

10uX is currently installed version

10uY is the version number of the one you downloaded

lucreate -c 10uX -n 10uY

lustatus

luupgrade -u -n 10uY -s /mnt

luactivate 10uY

init 6

EDIT: removed un-needed SUNWrmvolmgrr step.

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