Kevin B. Linux Engineer. Pilot.

A Few Good Reads, August Edition

I don't compile these lists often enough, but here's some good stuff I've stumbled upon this month so far. (Updating throughout the month)

An excellent post from Cloudflare's CEO, Matthew Prince:
Why We Terminated Daily Stormer

The EFF on Neo-Nazis and the Future of Free Expression:
Fighting Neo-Nazis and the Future of Free Expression

A few interesting articles from Github:
Kubernetes at GitHub
Introducing GLB
GitHub's Metal Cloud

I bet you didn't know Facebook owned Onavo:
Facebook Copycatting

Other good reads in no particular order:
How Postgres Makes Transactions Atomic
One Host Name
Apex Github

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Keybase, GitHub, and PGP Keys

I've been using Keybase for over a year now. I primarily use it share files and chat, but I also use it to manage my PGP keys. It's one of the few platforms I've ever used that made PGP user friendly. PGP/GPG is old, and just using the command line it feels every bit of it.

Anyway, my GitHub usage has picked up recently and I wanted the ability to sign my commits so people can trust that the commits really came from me. I used the following 2 links to get started. This article helped the most: Keybase GPG

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Helpful Links for an A+ SSL Report

Screen-Shot-2017-08-09-at-11.11.39-PM-1Once a year or so I take the time and run an SSL Report on my domains. Most of the time I score a B or an A since things change and I don't always update them right away. After I get the score I start tweaking my server's settings to get an A+ again. I used the links below to help bump my score to an A+, but first, here are the two key things that helped me the most:

  • Ciphers. Weak ciphers need to be avoided while maintaining compatibility with older browsers. There are several lists floating around the

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Uploading to Firefox Send with Python

I saw Firefox Send pop up on HackerNews the other day and thought it was pretty interesting. I uploaded and downloaded a few small image files and then had the bright idea that it'd be cool to use Python to upload/download files from Send. This led me down a bit of a rabbit hole, similar to the way the author of this article got sucked into the Starbucks API.

If you'd like to follow along locally, the referenced image, frame00.png, is from Google's Clojure-Turtle repository.

The first things I looked at after uploading a file were the request headers

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Ansible Get Artifact Module

The other day some security changes were applied to our build system and repositories (auth, basically). Interestingly enough, if you tried to download a valid file, but your user didn't have permission to do so, the file would appear to download but would only contain some 404 related message inside.

We had upated our playbooks to include the required authentication, but because of the way the get_url module works, our CI was completely broken for a few hours. Since we haven't updated our Ansible Playbooks to work with version 2.0 yet, we weren't able to use the force_basic_

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Aviation Weather with Flask

After throwing together my command line tool to fetch METARs and TAFs, I thought it might be nice to make it somewhat RESTful. Using some of the same codebase along with Flask, I was able to do that. Getting started is pretty simple. Most of the requirements are Python modules that every system has. The only exception is Flask, and you can get that with a simple pip install flask.

To get started, check out the repo: git clone

To launch it, just execute the binary; by default it listens on port 5000 (localhost only)

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