Category Archives: Uncategorized

Pidgin: Adding a Trusted Root CA Certificate

I’ve struggled with this for a few days. The cl0secall.net CA was not trusted by Pidgin, and I’d get certificate warnings wherever I connected from. There is no mention of this in the Pidgin FAQ, and various web searches turned up clues but no solutions. Through a combination of the Pidgin Debug Window and browsing the libpurple source code, I found the answer.

As an aside, it took quite some effort to locate the Pidgin source code. The Debug Window was one of the clues from my searching. The link to the Pidgin source repo was on the Download page. Because I was not interested in downloading anything — merely browsing — this was counter-intuitive to me.

The solution is to create a directory named “ca-certs” in the “.purple/certificates/x509” directory. This directory is located in “$HOME” on unix platforms, and in “%APPDATA%” on windows. Inside that directory, place a file containing the PEM-encoded CA certificate. I used the name “cl0secall.net” for my cl0secall.net CA certificate. Upon restarting Pidgin my XMPP account connected with no warnings. In the debug window, I saw that the certificate was validated and cached successfully.

Firefox Private Browsing & Window Raising

I’ve noticed several quirks when using Firefox. This is one of the more recent and annoying ones.

I first noticed it on windows, when there is more than one window open. In my case this means one “normal” window and one private browsing window. What will happen is that I’ll load a particular site and at some point during the process of the page load the other window will get raised to the foreground. It is as if there’s a “window.focus()” javascript call in the page that I’m loading but it’s raising the other window instead of the active window. So far it’s been impossible to figure out what precisely is happening so I can stop it. Instead I periodically have to minimize my other Firefox window.

A Different Kind of Linkrot

I’ve increasingly noticed that searching the web for answers to various technical questions gets me a lot of dead-ends or infinite loops. For example, when searching recently for information on libnss-ldap and libnss-compat, I found this forum thread: http://www.linuxforums.org/forum/miscellaneous/172807-name-service-switch-file-nsswitch-conf-what-compat.html. It conveniently doesn’t answer the question — instead referring the reader to search Google. I ended up using different query terms and finding what I was looking for but as I said, this is happening more and more.

I find it interesting and somewhat bothersome that these types of responses — typically snarky to boot — are becoming more prevalent in search results and I hope it doesn’t get too out of hand.

Update Nagging: Getting out of Hand

These days it seems I have less and less time to use my machine, let alone maintain things. At the same time I’ve noticed that software has become increasingly whiny and nagging when “new versions” become available. WordPress, Firefox, SumatraPDF, FileZilla, Notepad++ are just a few that come to mind that more often than not demand that an update get installed close to every time I use them. (Maybe not so much with Firefox.)

What’s the point? I’m not really sure. A quick search on the WordPress nag indicates that it’s some kind of nudge towards “don’t come crying in the forums if some nifty ajax thingy doesn’t work in your ancient browser”. Like that’s going to work. Congratulations, now folks will barge into your forums and complain about the nagging pop-ups.

I do know one thing: Each and every one of those programs is up for review to be replaced with something less needy. I need a bit more longevity out of my software. WordPress and Firefox are at the top of that list. I’ve been planning a Django migration for some time now, and I’ve been exploring alternate browsers as well.

Android and Bluetooth

The more I learn about the Android OS, the more disappointed I become. I don’t really have a good grasp of what kind of resources are spent on developing the Android OS nor do I feel that I have a good grasp of the goals or direction of the project. But I am more and more discovering that those goals and direction are not likely to be mutual with my own.

Case in point: Bluetooth support. I had the misunderstanding that Android had a full bluetooth stack with abilities similar to a desktop computer with a bluetooth radio. Turns out I was wrong. According to this page on the Android website there is only limited support for specific bluetooth services. Notably missing from the currently supported is an HID service or profile. Also of note is the very limited support for OBEX services/profile. Perhaps I’m just “spoiled” because the Blackberry that I had used at my previous job had better support for this kind of thing (though I don’t know about HID on a Blackberry) although I absolutely loathed that Blackberry.

I’ve been holding off on upgrading my very slow and at this point somewhat dated HTC Hero until I could find a solution for typing going forward. It appears that my choices are to either get a phone with a full keyboard built in, or abandon the Android platform. I’m surprised at myself for seriously considering the latter and going back to a “dumb” phone.

OpenBSD: The Hard Way To Do Things

OpenBSD has proven to be quite a challenge. Let’s start at the install. Unlike FreeBSD, OpenBSD doesn’t have a USB stick install image. This meant, ultimately, that I needed to obtain a USB DVD drive to be able to install the OS. Additionally, I’ve encountered numerous roadblocks to installing Eclipse. It seems that a lot of the eclipse documentation is predicated on the reader’s relatively intimate knowledge and experience with Java development in general, and the tools used to build eclipse more specifically. I haven’t had a lot of time to pursue the Eclipse development, so perhaps I’ll forgo eclipse for the moment and begin porting the SDK instead. I haven’t decided yet.

HTC Hero on Sprint

HTC in conjunction with Sprint/Nextel have released (on Oct 11th, to be exact) a new CDMA handset powered by the Android OS. I picked up one of these the following Monday, Oct 12th at a Best Buy Mobile local to me. (The Sprint Store was sold out.) As I continue to explore the phone, I’ll be updating with my thoughts, ideas, and opinions.