Open letter to RTE regarding transphobia in “The Center”

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Dear RTE,

As a person who was born and raised in Ireland, I’ve been watching your shows since I was a child. We all had to be really quiet when our parents put on the RTE news, when you told us what was happening in Ireland and internationally. You informed our world view and we really trusted in you. Things have changed a lot since then, I’m no longer a child and I had to go through something really difficult, something I didn’t want and my parents really didn’t want. I had to transition. We didn’t want this because we had been informed, not just by you, but by countless other forms of media that transwomen were ugly freaks. To us, a transwoman was like Frankenstein’s monster, hated by everyone no matter who she was inside.

I was amazed the first time I met other transwomen how wrong that view was, they weren’t freaks and most people didn’t treat them like freaks. Our generation of Irish people are all grown up and they don’t see things the way that you do, at least I assume that you see us that way because that’s the way you represent us in your show.

I want to convey how upsetting it is to see this, especially now that I’ve transitioned, living every day as just another woman.  But it’s really hard. You’d really have to live it to understand. You’d have to go to the female changing room for the first time absolutely terrified that you’d be thrown out but find yourself welcome, or avoid going to the bathroom because you are afraid of being shouted at or beaten up. You’d have to have someone question your gender, throw things at you on the street or have family tell you that you’re wrong about who you know you are.

You won’t ever get it, and I don’t expect you to, but I expected better than this. This is my worst nightmare. This is how I fear people will see and treat me. This is the inside of my panic attack. This is how my parents imagine my life, and why is that? Because of shows like this! You should have known better, and I know you wouldn’t dare make the same crap about LGB people.

Would you at least say sorry? You’ve done transwomen and the Irish people a great disservice, it’s the least that you could do.

Eva Lacy

If you agree with the letter please sign this petition

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Things to do regarding authentication in web apps

Links in emails you send me should log me in

As long as the only security you provide to reset my password is my email address stop sending me emails with links that don’t automatically log me in. Particularly when it comes to “click to unsubscribe” and “verify your email” links. They make me think your application is made by people who hate me.

When I forget my password don’t send me a new one

Instead of sending me a new password, send me a link that is a one time log-in that brings me to a screen that allows me to change my password. If you send me a long password I will forget that I have to change it to something I will remember and next time I visit your site I will have to reset it all over again.

Allow multiple forms of third party authentication

It’s so much faster and easier to click on a button then to type in my password, I’m probably logged in using 3 different services already. Also passwords are one of the worst forms of security, if I log-in with my google account which has two factor authentication set up then it’s a lot safer than using your password system. Plus if you system gets hacked, you haven’t salted my passwords correctly and I’m lazy and use one password for all my accounts then you won’t need to worry about someone breaking into my internet banking.

Hash and Salt all passwords

If your system gets hacked and someone looks at your user table they should not be able to pull out a list of plain text passwords. If they do there is quite a high probability they will try to get access to every email account on the list. You don’t want that to happen, it hurts your reputation. It hurts the users’ trust in you. Don’t just hash it either, hash it and salt it, otherwise someone will use rainbow tables and you are back to square one.

If I want to use a 143 character password full of weird characters LET ME

There is no reason not to. If you are thinking that you have limited space for such a password then you clearly aren’t hashing the password which actually worries me more.

Don’t use secret Question & Answer

I think this post explains it better than I could. If you require more security than just email verification then you need something better than secret Q&A because you are just reacting to a security hole by creating a bigger security hole.

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Creating software copy protection and hacking it

An important part of monetizing your work is creating a situation where people are willing to give you money.

One of the ways, in desktop software, to create that situation is to prevent your software from being used or used fully without giving you (enough) money.

This blog post is going to break down how that works into it’s different parts and then provide you with some sample implementations of copy protection along with their weaknesses.

Here are the some types of restrictions:

  • You do not get the software until you have paid (your website could prevent download of any software till you have paid for the product)
  • You cannot use the software in certain ways you have not paid for (the trial software could limit the use of the product, or you might buy a license for one machine)
  • You have a time limit on how long you can use the software (trial period)
  • Users cannot access the source code

Here are some ways you can tell if the user is a valid user

Continue reading »

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Why are there rich Christians?

I have no issue general issue with those who identify as Christians, there are many who have a rather compassionate outlook on life they claim is heavily influenced by their faith.

My attitude is: as long as you aren’t affecting any non consenting parties then it’s none of my business.

However I think it’s important to address dishonesty wherever it occurs. Including when religious people live their lives contrary to the what is stated in the book they claim to live their life by.

Jesus spoke countless times against the rich people of his day. He said that it would be more difficult a rich man to get into heaven than for a camel to go through the eye of an needle. He didn’t mean an actual needle, it was the name of a small gate into Jerusalem, the camels had to bend down to get through. The point is that the rich would have to lower themselves.

In my view, to be a true christian you have to lower yourself, and I don’t mean just physically once a week, I mean you can’t have more things than other people.

Jesus said how hard it is for a Rich man to enter heaven:

Mark 10

23 Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the Kingdom of God!” 24 This amazed them. But Jesus said again, “Dear children, it is very hard to enter the Kingdom of God. 25 In fact, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of God!”

Let’s look at it in context, why did he say that? What happened right before?

Continue reading »

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How to improve your fellow humans

I have a way of improving people. If you want to improve people then you might find it useful. However you are going have to bear with me, because what I’m really saying is I believe I have a method of building successful mutually beneficial relationships with people that you would like to improve. So what I’m going to have to do first is convince you that building a relationship is necessary for effective improvement.

I’ll start by explaining the background to my thinking. I have a pattern of behaviour where I try to improve others. When I was a Christian I tried to convert people to Christianity, now that I no longer have supernatural beliefs I want to convert those with supernatural beliefs to a state of non-belief. I believe I do this so that I feel superior, so that I can validate and smooth rough edges from my own ways of thinking, and so that I don’t have to deal with the results of what are, from my point of view, bad ways of thinking. Continue reading »

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Backing up Solr from a Linux to Windows

I’ve come across a problem with backing up Solr. Before 3.6 if you try to back it up you will have to unload the core or stop the server that hosts Solr before backing up the files.

Even with 3.6 and later, while the backup feature does exist which allows you to backup using the replication handler to get a snapshot created in a directory of your choice (location parameter) the snap shot is not differential so it will just copy your entire index and there is no way to tell if the backup has completed successfully or is in the middle of backing up. It creates a new lock file in the source code but never obtains it, so a lock file is never created.

Plus you would have to write your own retention script as the one supplied only handles “number of backups to retain” which isn’t great if you have a 200GB Solr index and you want to hold onto the backups for a week and if you have one central backup server then it would have to ship the backups to that server, which can be a little awkward if, as is in my case, your backup server is running windows.

Ideally you would have an application that calls the replication handler and asks it for the current index just like a Solr slave. You could do differential backups, resume when the connection falls over, put it in a directory of your choice and even back up all the configuration files all in the same simple system.

I’ve written a c# program for this in work, which means I can’t release the source, but perhaps it might be better to write in Java anyway.

Backup is important and I think it’s worth addressing, especially since a lot of Solr indexes can take a lot of time to recreate.

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The Pomodoro Technique Part 1

For those of you who have me in your RSS, I’m sure your surprised to see my blog reappear. I’ve taken on a new challenge to start talking about any work I do, I hope it will enhance my career and encourage me to do more of it. The problem as per usual is that I don’t have the motivation to do much after work and the more I consider how to resolve such an issue the more I find myself becoming anxious. So in a new effort to combat that I’ve started trying the Pomodoro Technique.

The basic concept is this:

  1. List the tasks that you have to complete
  2. Add estimates for these tasks in terms of Pomodoros (25 minute periods)
  3. Start the tasks and take a 5 minute break every 25 minutes.

I assume that you should take longer breaks the more pomodoros you do.

I have found it works well at home but I have yet to give it a full chance at work yet due to these reasons:

  1. What do I do during 5 minute breaks? What is my boss going to think if I leave my desk?
  2. I get interrupted all the time in work, colleague needs help with something or a manager needs a question about the system answered
  3. A lot of the tasks I do take less than 25 minutes, how do they fit in?

Here is the website for the pomodoro technique http://www.pomodorotechnique.com/
A book which I have yet to read is available on their site.

I was using a pomodoro timer on my computer, you can get that here: http://code.google.com/p/pomodairo/

I’ll add new parts to this post as I explore this further.

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phpBB youtube BBCode

The standard response to how do I create a YouTube BBCode is

Use the following BBCode usage:

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v={SIMPLETEXT}[/youtube]

Then use the following HTML Replacement:

<object width=”425″ height=”350″><param name=”movie” value=”http://www.youtube.com/v/{SIMPLETEXT}”></param><param name=”wmode” value=”transparent”></param><embed src=”http://www.youtube.com/v/{SIMPLETEXT}” type=”application/x-shockwave-flash” wmode=”transparent” width=”425″ height=”350″></embed></object>

Of course when you try this you will run into a problem. When your users attempt to try it with a YouTube url they copy pasted from YouTube they may be using https or there may be extra query parameters which will mean that the YouTube simply won’t work.

A quick change will allow you to support that issue and as an added bonus all YouTube references will automatically use https

Continue reading »

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Golden Dawn Representative attacks other MP

 

A spokesman and member of parliament for Golden Dawn, a far far right (neo nazi) party in Greece assaulted another member of parliament on national TV. I wonder if the kind of people who voted for this kind of person will change how they vote after seeing this. Perhaps it will simply effect who Golden Dawn can go into government with. A lot will depend on how the party leadership handle this incident. I expect they will attempt to down play it, make excuses and shift the blame, however anything less than a full apology and firing the spokesman would be disgusting even if unsurprising.

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