Vegard Skjefstad

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Tag: Site News (page 1 of 17)

Time

I’m getting myself into a time problem, and I’m not sure how to solve it.

So, yeah, as you know I’ve got a wife. And we have kids. I’ve also got a job. I need to sleep. And I’ve got hobbies: Running, gaming, writing posts for this site, and reading books.

I’m terrible at multitasking, but I’ve managed to combine some of these hobbies to a certain degree. I placed an old television set in front of the treadmill, and hooked it up with a Chromecast dongle. So now I cover some of my gaming needs by watching other people play games on YouTube or Twitch while I’m running.

I’ve also tried to combine gaming and writing by putting together quite a lot of computer game reviews over the years. This isn’t ideal, though, because the reviews often feels a bit forced, probably because I played the game just to write a review. What’s the fun in that? Playing the game should lead to writing the review, not the other way around.

The third multitasking-esque thing I do is reading books while I’m commuting. This actually works out very well. I’ve had the A Book A Month project going for about three years now, and it’s been a raging success. I don’t think I’ve ever read as many books as I do these days.

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Meet Hoffman

Even though I’m supposed be on hiatus, I can’t keep my fingers away from the site.

Back when I started working for BEKK, I was sent to boot camp. It’s not the kind of boot camp you think it is, though. Instead of getting yelled at, and being forced to take push ups, the company coach all their new employees through the ins and outs of being an exceptional consultant. One of the sessions during boot camp was by Aslak Hellesøy. The session was about creativity, and being the creator of Cucumber, Hellesøy knows a thing or two about the subject.

One thing that have stuck with me from his speech, was about making sure we stay creative. Hellesøy made small changes every day. Instead of taking the same route to work all the time, he took different routes. He didn’t wear the same style of clothes every day, but regularly changed his style slightly. And he rarely had the same desk at work for a long time. Instead, he changed desks often.

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Hiatus

It’s been 12 years since the last time I declared hiatus. Now it feels like it’s that time again.

I’ve been posting to this site semi-regularly for almost two decades. I’ve had a few breaks, though, and both in 2005 and 2006, I went on hiatus. I needed a good, long break from the site, and it needed one from me. Whenever I’ve gone on hiatus, the reason has been that the joy of writing hasn’t really been there. If I were a professional writer, I’d probably call it a writer’s block.

Now I’ve reached that point again. I’ve got a crapload of drafts laying around, but no need to finish any of them. Every time I sit down and give it a try, I’ve only written a sentence or two before I’ve saved the draft, and gone off to do something else instead. That “something else” has usually been playing a computer game, which is something I really enjoy at the moment. I recently finished Not Tonight – which I’ve tried to write a review of like five or six time now – and I’ve also rediscovered Endless Space 2.

So there you have it. I’m off for a while. But I’m not disappearing off the radar completely. A Picture A Day will still be updated daily-ish. I’ll still be reading books. And the one-liners collection will be updated on the first of every month. You can also look me up on Twitter and Mastodon, where I occasionally spread the good word.

If you get withdrawals because of the lack of new content, you can probably find something you’ve not read before among the 2234 posts in the archive. And before you know it, I’m back to posting my incoherent ramblings on this site again.

Catch you on the flip side.

Independent Publishing

The site’s design is beginning to feel stale again. I’m popping in at least once a day, just to check that everything is A-OK, and now I’m starting to get too used to how things look around here. The current theme, the Editör, was introduced a little over a year, and one year seems to be the expiration date for most of the designs I’ve used on this site.

There is an almost infinite amount of WordPress themes available, both free and premium. And, man, have I looked at a lot of them to find the right look, feel, and feature set. I was close to shelling out $50 for a theme that probably would have worked without too much tweaking, but decided I couldn’t rationalize spending that much money now on something like that. So, in the end, I’ve resolved to trying a basic, but clean, open source theme called Independent Publisher.

Independent Publisher is a good staring point for a theme, but it has a few shortcomings, most of them related to navigation. But it’s nothing a few tweaks can fix. And since it’s all open source, maybe I can contribute something back to the original project. I’ve already had one pull request approved, so things are moving along.

The plan is to make enough changes to the CSS so that my highly customized A Picture a Day and A Book a Month sections look all right, then activate the theme. That means that many features, like the use of my very own wp-days-ago WordPress plugin, will disappear – but it won’t be anything you can’t live without. The actual content will still be here, and I’m aiming to gradually add everything that goes missing again over time.

Update: And we’re live! A lot of missing features, and some minor bugs. But that’s to be expected after only four or so hours of work. I’m way past my usual bedtime, so it’s time to head off to sleep. If you notice any major issues, please let me know.

HTTP Public Key Pinning & You

With my COMODO-signed SSL certificate about to expire, I took the plunge and configured all my domains with certificates from Let’s Encrypt. I’ve tested it for a while on vbox-host and it works well. The only downside is that it has to be renewed every third month, and that’s not an automated process. At least it’s not out of the box, but I’m sure it’s possible to set something up with a script and a Cron job – I’ve just not been down that avenue yet.

To be honest, I’m still a wee bit skeptical about a system where two parties rely on a implicitly trusted third party – in this case Let’s Encrypt – to communicate securely. As I pointed out in the post I wrote about Let’s Encrypt last year, you can’t be entirely sure that no one is playing around with the private root key, making their own certificates for your domains. With their own certificates for your domains, signed with the private root key from Let’s Encrypt1, someone could perform a man-in-the-middle attack without anyone noticing.

But there is a technique slowly being adopted by modern browsers that can, if not make it impossible to perform a man-in-the-middle attack against a website, at least make it a lot harder: HTTP Public Key Pinning, or, as it’s more commonly know as; certificate pinning.

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