Michigan First With A Law That Could Outlaw VPN

Holy Bandwidth Batman, have our state legislators lost their mind? Virtual Private Networks are a wonderful technology that allow you to securely telecommute — that is connect to your network at the office, from home.

However, similar my last post and according to SlashDot, it appears lawmakers in Michigan, whom I can only assume are being lobbied at a local level by the recording industry, are now passing laws that would make it illegal to possess, use, etc. “any communication device to receive … any communication service without the express consent or express authorization of the communication service provider” or “to conceal … from any communication service provider … the existence or place of origin or destination of any communication.

So for those of you in Michigan — as one commet on SlashDot put it:

This law would make it illegal to do several things that I currently do:

  1. Run a proxy server at home and connect to it via ssl so that my employer can’t tell what web pages I visit at work.
  2. SSH chaining – Use ssh to log into a remote computer and use ssh to log into another computer since this makes both endpoints unaware of the address of the other.
  3. Use a remailer as a whistleblower. A remailer stips all headers off a message before sending it out to a new specified sender. This provides anonymous mail which is important for people who are afraid of retribution if the note could be traced back.
  4. Post to slashdot anonymously.

I would add to this list sending encrypted emails to missionaries in countries where Bibles and Christianity are illegal, as well as pastors connecting to the office network from home.

Posted in Uncategorized

Use a firewall, go to jail …

Here is a disturbing little story I just read in The Register entitled “Use a firewall, go to jail, and send Bill Gates too.”

The (DMCA) Digital Millennium Copyright Act clearly isn’t enough for some people. Massachusetts and Texas are – in curious formation – considering bills that will extend it to make firewalls (among other things) illegal …

“If you have a home DSL router, or if you use the ‘Internet Connection Sharing’ feature of your favorite operating system product, you’re in violation because these connection sharing technologies use NAT. Most operating system products (including every version of Windows introduced in the last five years, and virtually all versions of Linux) would also apparently be banned, because they support connection sharing via NAT.”

So my question is, since I have a DSL router AND a firewall here at home, does this mean I’ll soon be blogging from prison? Which I suppose if I did, would also use similar hardware.

Yes, I know, this has little or nothing to do with healing your church web site — or does it — how many of you have routers, bridges and firewalls at your church?

Posted in Uncategorized

Movable Type Tips and Tricks

With so many of us using MovableType, I thought the following compilation of links from WOIFM :: An Institute of Higher Learning might be useful. I’ve added a few of my own — feel free to add more in the comments section:

I’ve really got to get my RBC hack of MT done so I can show you just what one can do with their church website and MovableType.

Posted in Uncategorized

Local Catholic Church History …

The day before yesterday, that would be Wednesday for those of you in Rio Linda, Justin left with his comment a url of a site that indeed was as bad as “The Worse Web Page Ever, Really Ever.” The only problem was tha the site Justin cited wasn’t a church or para-church web site. So I forwarded it along to Vincent Flanders, who many of you know runs one of my daily favorites, “Web Pages That Suck learn good Web design by looking at bad Web design“, also known as “America’s Web Site” for short.

In fact, from Vincent’s writings in “Book 1” and “Book 2” that I draw much of my web design inspiration and wisdom. So imagine thrill when I received some manna in reply from Father Flanders in the form of a link and a quote — which not only gave me some fun content for this Friday, but proof that brevity is indeed the soul of wit. With that …

Here is the link: Local Catholic Church History and Genealogy Research Guide and Worldwide Directory

Here is the quote: Let me just set my screen resolution to 1024 x 768,000,000.

Here is the reference from Book 1 : Page 118 – “Break the Text Up into Multiple Pages.” …

… of course both books also have much to say of centering everything and overuse of bold text.

But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. – James 1:22
Posted in Uncategorized

Al-Jazeera Web site faces continued hacker attacks

Forbes.com: Al-Jazeera Web site faces continued hacker attacks (via Instapundit)

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Hacker attacks continued to plague the Web site of Arab satellite TV network al-Jazeera on Thursday, as cyber-vandals replaced the news site with a stars-and-stripes logo saying “Let Freedom Ring”.

Just for some technical information, the first attack on Al-Jazeera Web site was known as a “Distributed Denial of Service” or dDoS Attack. A topic we covered briefly in September when the b2 web site got hammered.

From today’s article in Forbes, it would appear that Al-Jazeera’s domain was hijacked. A topic we discussed back in January.

While I did snicker at first, seriously kiddies, we shouldn’t stoop to the level of the terrorists we fight. Besides, are these guys worth 10 years and/or $10,000?

Posted in Uncategorized

The Worse Web Page Ever, Really Ever.

I don’t know whether to thank or curse Andrew Careaga for pointing out a post on Tim Bednar’s e-Church blog entitled “The Worse Web Page Ever, Really Ever” — after being spammed by the owner of what can only be described as an act of visual violence entitled “Prophecy is one of the Presents of God.” I mean c’mon Andrew, I love you and your new book, but next time please — next time give me a bit more warning.

The very first thought that ran through my head was how much this site resembled a parody of web design via Strong Bad’s Macromedia Flash presentation on “how to design a web site.

Both include that dark, brooding, gothish background that is sure to inspire seekers that we are the light of the world. Both are chock-full of spinning animated gifs .. “can’t have enough of those.” Especially Remenant’s use of flaming torches that look like they’re from a basement sale at Mordor.

Of course, nothing says “circular logic” like a java applet that makes images look like they’re under a foot of water — especially when the image is a banner of your web site’s name and url that takes up the majority of the center page and hyperlinks you right back to the same page. There are images next to titles on the left side frame that make no sense. The designer appears to have created a background image on the center page that is either a failed attempt at keyword stuffing — or just chose render unsearchable text half off to the right of the screen using a color selection that is too dark to read against the dreary black background. The later technique which is only outdone by the very ‘readable’ black text against bright red background on the “breaking news” page. Which is only equaled by bloated beveled images on a black subpage with dark blue hyperlinks and bright red text titles surrounded by animated gifs that have nothing to do with a subject matter that is beyond absurd.

Yes, I know I’m being a bit harsh here — as I usually take great pains to offer constructive criticisms — but this site is exactly what I had in mind when I said the following in my interview over at Niphal:

Many churches have no clue why they’re online, just that they’re supposed to be there an that anything is better than nothing. An unfortunate misconception that has made church web sites a laughing stock to non-believers and an embarrassment to the churchgoer.

You’re daggoned right I’m a bit angry — and I haven’t even discussed the theology aspect of this site — but I must remember to return evil with good. That said, the only possible constructive advice that I can offer is that the individual running this site either hire a professional, OR, in the order defined, purchase then read then redesign their web site based upon the teachings in the following books:

  1. Love Your God With All Your Mind: The Role of Reason in the Life of the Soul
  2. Web Pages That Suck: Learn Good Design by Looking at Bad Design
  3. Son of Web Pages That Suck: Learn Good Design by Looking at Bad Design
  4. Addicted to Mediocrity: 20th Century Christians and the Arts
  5. Fit Bodies Fat Minds: Why Evangelicals Don’t Think and What to Do About It
  6. E-Vangelism: Sharing the Gospel in Cyberspace
Posted in Uncategorized

Al-Jazeera Site Experiences Hack Attack

The Washington Post is reporting on their TechNews.com site that Al-Jazeera Site Experiences Hack Attack:

Hackers attacked the Web site of Arab satellite television network Al-Jazeera on Tuesday, rendering it intermittently unavailable, the site’s host said.

The newly launched English-language page, which went live Monday, was hardest hit in a bombardment of data packets known as a denial-of-service attack.

That snorting sound is me snickering and chortling in the background. Sorry, I know I shouldn’t … but I have images of two or three 14 year olds with more time than sense running a rudimentary kiddie script.

Well, while I’m being politically incorrect, I have wonder if the same individuals who defaced hundreds of U.S. and UK corporate and government Web sites will visit old Al Jeeries’ web site once it gets back online?

Posted in Uncategorized

Yet another quip for the Rotatoe-Slogan

It’s been a LONG time since I’ve added a slogan to my rotatoe-slogan-o-matic-machine-like-thingie.

Today while exchanging some back-end blogs4God banter with Jen Kibler-McCabe of Meditatio and Michael Ackerbauer of Pray Naked, ‘Macker’ threw down the following response to an accusation that he was jealous of HealYourChurchWebSite‘s supreme coolness:

dude, I have *always* envied you for that righteous design quip. my hero
for the ages.

Puffed up with pride, I of course asked him if I could add the quote to my rotatoe-slogans — to which he replied yes adding the following comment about being linked:

… don’t go doin’ me any favors … I know what it means to be indebted to
the deanster — not pretty.
Posted in Uncategorized

People == biggest security risk

My wife and I have a running joke. For reasons on the Holy Spirit can explain, and more often than not, something I teach, mention or quote in my Sunday school class is later repeated up on the pulpit by my pastor. On those occasions, I’ll either mention on the way out, or later in email “.. thanks for making me look good …

That’s how I feel after reading these articles appeared around the same time as my post on security this past monday. The following articles in InfoWorld, ComputerWorld and NetworkWorldFusion all bear headlines similar to one found in BusinessWeek: “CompTIA Survey Reveals Human Error Most Likely Cause of IT Security Breaches.

According to a survey by the Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA) greater emphasis is required in educating employees about security risks as over 63 per cent of identified security breaches identify human error as a significant underlying factor.

The study, conducted by NFO Prognostics, surveyed 638 respondents from the public and private sectors. The survey assessed the causes, severity, responsibility and frequency, and compared them to investments made in security implementations, both with and without respect to governing regulations.

Here is a bullet-point blow-by-blow of the survey:

  • 31 percent had experienced from one-to-three “major security breaches” – i.e., that caused real harm, resulted in confidential information taken, or interrupted business – in the last six months
  • 22 percent said none of their IT employees have received security-related training; 69 percent have fewer than 25 percent of their IT staffs security-trained; and only 11% said that all of their IT employees have received security training
  • 96 percent would recommend security training for their IT staff
  • 73 percent would recommend more comprehensive security certification for their IT staff
  • 66 percent believe that staff training/certification have improved their IT security, primarily through increased awareness, as well as through proactive risk identification
  • 59 percent said that government security regulations are largely inappropriate, failing to adequately address the practical side of the problem

Yup, that’s why they call me the Sr.System Psychic. More on that inside joke later. Now go back up your data.

Posted in Uncategorized