Category Archives: general

Ebay und die Sicherheit

Ja, ebay ist schon eine sichere Plattform… behaupten die Betreiber. Sicher? Wirklich sicher?

Seit Jahren werden meine Mails mittels PGP signiert, um so dem Empfänger die Möglickeit zu geben, meine Identität über einen Keyserver zu validieren. Bis heute war das Feedback hierzu zumeist neutral, gelegentlich auch positiv.

Nicht so bei eBay.

Folgende Antwort schickte mir eBay beim Versuch, eine signierte Mail an einen anderen eBay-Nutzer zu schicken

Wir haben diese Nachricht gesperrt, weil sie verschlüsselt gesendet wurde. Wir lassen verschlüsselte E-Mail-Nachrichten nicht zu, um unsere Mitglieder besser vor Identitätsdiebstahl und unerwünschten E-Mails schützen zu können.

Durch Ihre Unterstützung tragen Sie dazu bei, dass eBay auch in Zukunft eine sichere Plattform für seine Mitglieder bleibt.

Ach so, klar! Eine Signierung ist also eine Verschlüsselung? Wieder was gelernt, danke! Und eine signierte Mail, die ein höheres Maß an Validierung des Absenders erlaubt, ist also ein Sicherheitsrisiko. Also hilft die Reduktion der email-Sicherheit dabei , die Sicherheit zu erhoehen.

Logisch ist das ja nicht, oder?

Networking and a HP Photosmart C5180

More a personal note, yet may be useful for others to know….

Today, our new printer, a HP Photosmart C5180, arrived. This printer combines printer, scanner and photocopier in a single unit, i. e. it is able to do any of these three tasks more or less. Well, good enough for us, is seems after some initial tests.

This printer can be connected to a router and hence scanning and printing is possible via the network. Nice, if you only have laptops and wireless lan. And here, the problems started….

Running the printer with a dynamic IP provided via DHCP from the router does not work reliable. Either the printer is never detected from the software installation process or is lost if the printer’s ip changes or the windows firewall blocks the address information send by the printer. It simply doesn’t work.


1) Assign a static IP to the printer

2) Print the network configuration of the printer via the corresponding menu option

3) Edit the /windows/system32/drivers/etc/hosts file and add the following line

192.18.x.x HPXX123

Here, replace the 192.18.x.x with the ip of the printer and HPXX123 with the printer name as shown on the configuration printout.

4) Then install the driver software. The basics are enough. The other applications are next to unusable or extremely bloated. 160 MB for a document viewer? Come on…

And in case you want to know, how to do this using dynamic ips, have a look at this german thread. (There is a translated version on the HP website somewhere)…. Mind boggling complex, no more comment…

Support for Shallo-Panel-Meshes in MView

MView is a lighweight viewer for three dimensional models and supports a variety of model formats. OpenGL is used for rendering. Using Qt as UI framework the application is available for Windows, Unix and Mac and is published under the LGPL. For more information, see the project page.

As part of my work at the Chair of Naval Architecture at the University of Rostock support for the mesh format used by the potential flow code Shallo from HSVA was added to MView hence giving our students a flexible and free tool to verify panel meshes.

Example Shallo Mesh

As of some days ago these changes are incorporated into MView’s CVS repository – thanks Helmut – and will be part of the next release.

XsdImport and Owl2Java Plugins for Topbraid Composer

Topbraid Composer is a versatile, eclipse based tool to develop OWL ontologies. With the initial public relase of XsdImport and Owl2Java two additional plugins for Topbraid Composer are available for download.

From XSD to OWL…

XsdImport is a plugin for TopbraidComposer to convert XSD Schemas to OWL. Classes and Properties are created based on the XSD construct found in an XSD schema. Support for Semantic XML, custom namespaces and namespace prefix mapping as well as a flexible system for handling imports are implemented.

… and on to java or db4o

Owl2Java is a code generator to work with OWL ontologies from java. Ontologies are accessed natively via java classes, methods and attributes. A native interface for the object orierented database db4o with support for transparent persistence can be generated from the internal meta model. Where possible, the implementation adheres to the OWL DL standard and also offers some support for constructs that normally require a reasoner. F

QDL 0.4 released

QDL is a set of python script for the automatic download of current quotes for funds, shares etc. from websites. The results are mailed to the user perodically and can be imported in to quicken etc.

Version 0.4 is out. It includes some minor bugfixes as well as a second driver for for cases where the old “bo” driver did not give any results because of data missing.

Eclipse and TPTP – Profiling Java Applications

Ever wondered why your code is so damn slow? Where are the bottlenecks of the application? Read on for some information how to setup the Eclipse Test and Performance Tools Platform under Linux

The Eclipse TPTP is supposed to be a swiss army knife for everything in the domain of profiling and testing. Unfortunately, the installation via the Update Manager of Eclipse is broken. Totally broken. The agent controller required to gather statistical data does not work and fails with a “No controller on port 10002” message. Not really helpful.

So, starting with the information blogged here and here and with a custom eclipse installation from a tar.gz archive the following steps are required:

1) Install the support library:

  sudo apt-get install libstdc++2.10-glibc2.2

2) Set all agent controller bin files to executable:

  chmod +x*

3) “Fix the symbolic links for the linked libraries. The following list of files should point to their .so.4.4.0 counterparts. The easiest way to do this is just to download a copy of the standalone Agent Controller and to copy the lib directory to the lib directory of the Integrated Agent Controller”

4) Define a TEMP variable in your shell:

  export TEMP=/tmp

5) Finally start the agent controller manually.

In my case this gave me a running agent to profile my application against. Once. And then no more. A restart of eclipse fixes this. Sometimes.

Sorry, folks, I guess I will stay with the integrated netbeans profiler for now. Here, at least, everything works reliably (!) out of the box without patching code, extracting libraries.

Business Talk to the Rescue?

Some nice gibberish at the end of the week… not really necessary to know but surprising…

While I am well aware of the differing communication types from technology oriented and business oriented people, but what should one make out of the following statement?

The value chain integration challenge represents a high business value opportunity and chance for competitive advantage.

Not only does it include the word value twice – with different meaning btw – it is completely devoid of any content as far as I can see. And, well this is the first paragraph of the JBoss SOA platform page.

Dear interested potential customer please move on…

Automatic stock quote download via QDL

Tired of paying for data feeds to get stock data into quicken? May be QDL might help.

QDL, the quote downloader, is a set of python scripts for the automatic cron-based download of end-of-date quote and stock information. QDL offers a command line interface only.

Run with the symbol to retrieve, the current quote for this stock or fund is retrieved and printed to the command line. Different back end drivers for quote retrieval are available to that a multitude of stocks can be queried. The output format is customizable.

But how to use it? E. g. create a batch file that calls QDL for all quotes you are interest in and let it run every night via a cron job. Redirecting the output via:

  python >> myOutput.log

appends the new information to your file. Later on you can import the gathered data into quicken and other tools.

Voila, no more data subscriptions, but still historical data. More information on the QDL Project Site

Thunderbird and remote images

Peronsal note: As I do get most of my RSS feeds as mails via rssfwwd seeing images in these posts is very important.

Two options are available:

  • Enable images globally (not good) via the config editor::

    mailnews.message_display.disable_remote_image = true

  • Add the email address to your address book and enable “Allow loading of remote images”

The magic Border and Others in Openoffice

Openoffice is quite nice once you know what you have to do. Personal note about one of my issues follows 🙂

Borders: One of the nice features OpenOffice copied from the Redmond company is the abilty to add a vertical line under a parapgraph. Comes quite handy if you are writing down some simple calculations. But how to delete this line?

Well, as written in this Document, the line is declared as bottom border for the preceding parapraph. So, to delete the line do the following:

To delete the created line, click the paragraph above the line, choose Format – Paragraph – Borders, delete the bottom border.

There are also nifty features available for generating different line styles etc. Just play with —-, ***, ###

Headers on different pages: If you want to add different header for the first page the page templates in the stylist are your friend. For the page template to edit open the stylist, select the page template section. Either define your template to use "first page" as first page and default page for the following pages or do it the other way round. Doesn’t matter actually.