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Enrico Tagliavini
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Enrico Tagliavini

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Well this is quite nice. Not bad at all to make a starting point if you are new to the topic.
Mozilla SSL Configuration Generator. Apache Nginx HAProxy. AWS ELB. Modern Intermediate Old. Server Version OpenSSL Version HSTS Enabled. More details on these security profiles - Report issues, submit pull requests and fork code here.
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Wait a damn second. I just gone to the +Steam store website, want to watch a trailer of a video game. Page is loading.... did they always used akamaihd as a CDN? Not sure, but I don't pay much more attention to it. I don't have autoplay enabled, so I select the first trailer in the list and, by instinct, move the mouse in the upper left corner of the browser to tell Firefox to temporary enable flash. I'm very confused when the pop up from Firefox actually doesn't appear and the video simply starts playing.

I'm very confused, I look at the upper left corner again, to make sure I'm not dreaming and I just missed my own click on the "Allow now" button. Nope can't find the "lego brick" looking icon, it is simply not there. Stunned I right click on the video player being ready to be disappointed and being greeted by the usual Adobe Flash player.

It is HTML5. I'm so happy one more web site got rid of Adobe Flash.

Thank you very much +Valve I appreciate very much the fact I don't have to use flash any more on the Steam store.
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Well I'm starting to hitting the limit of my beloved #Dell XPS 14 apparently: the heat dissipation. With summer approaching it is becoming hotter and so the laptop. Now this is not a gaming or heavy duty rig but being my only PC..... it has to do everything. Opened it, cleaned the heat sink, changed thermal paste on the CPU / GPU. Improved a bit, but not enough for my kind of workload. It still works like a charm don't get me wrong, but the temperature can get me worried and when used on the lap instead on a flat hard surface I can occasionally see some MCE warning me the frequency throttled.

As I said already I'm still not ready for a standard Desktop, so I'm looking for a #laptop , a powerful one, also decent for gaming (I'm a casual gamer, not hardcore, so doesn't have to have the best GC ever).

Requirements:
 * *must work well with #Linux *. This is definitely the most important one. If it doesn't work with Linux very very well, it is not for me.
 * must have an Nvidia GC for gaming, AMD is out of question. I would say a 750 or better.
 * must have an Intel CPU, AMD is out of question, can be dual core but I'm also thinking about quad core to be honest.
 * Size and weight of the thing are less important, I still have my Dell XPS 14 for portability. My only hard requirement is the screen size: around 15 inches. Not 13, not 17.
 * Build quality: I hate crappy stuff, doesn't have to be fashion, but needs to be well engineered.
 * Favourite definition for the screen: FULL HD 1920x1080. No need of 4K for what I do. If that's included for a decent price ok, but no need of it at all. Touch screen is useless for people like me, I spend my life in the command line.
 * ASUS is blacklisted. Had to many devices from Asus and I wish at least one was not flawled.
 * Price: under 2000 euro everything included (around or even below 1500 is better), otherwise there would be also the Dell XPS 15 in the game, but I'm afraid with its tickness (1.8 cm IIRC) the heat dissipation can be a limit again (and also has the 4K touch screen which rises the price and I don't really need).

To date I only found 2 systems that can match are the (new) Alienware 15 and the Lenovo t550. Checked Fujitsu but they use Intel only on laptop (they are more professionally oriented). Checked Toshiba as well (more consumer) and a) they have really too many laptops without a meaningful way of searching and filtering, b) can't find Nvidia stuff.

Unfortunately I read an unpleasant review of the Lenovo thinkpas 450s (see [1]) when the author says "The other problem is that not only is the base plate kept on by screws, its also kept on by small clips along the edge of the laptop… clips that break very easily. This author broke one within the first hour as he tried to insert the extra after-market RAM, and he is expecting to break another when he replaces the HDD with the SSD. A quick Googling reveals that costumers breaking the clips is very common and that it is considered a disaster design-wise."

Referring to the point about build quality this is a major, if not critical, issue for me. No laptop is indestructible, but breaking a clip while inserting a bank of RAM is over the acceptable line. I took my XPS 14 apart 3 times in 2 days to try different thermal paste. 8 screws and the back cover is off (two actually keeps also the fan in position), then you have all components at hand. 4 more screws and I can undo the heatsink, or with just one screw I can undo the fan. No risk of breaking anything major and quite easy to get back in one piece. Now the Alienware is not that simple but I looked at the hardware manual (which is a big plus for Dell, but also Lenovo used to publish them, I think they still do) and it should be good enough for someone like me. I'm hobby grade, but at least I know which side I should handle a screwdriver.

I hope I can have Dell to swap the keyboard for me with US / UK layout, but I will live with the Italian one if this is not possible.

My only open question is if this laptop actually works good with Linux.... I found no one reporting anything for now. That said Dell is not too bad when it comes to Linux support. One concern is getting to BIOS settings. One the Inspiron 7000 a colleague of mine has he seems to require Windows for doing so give the BIOS initialization is not waiting for user input (the classical F2-F10, DEL, or ESC trick) and boots straight in the first UEFI application configured. I'm likely going to keep Windows anyway (since they force you to pay for it), so not a big deal, but still....

Need to check HP next, but I'm not very hopefull... I might be surprised, we will see.

If nothing else is found in the next 1-2 months the new Alienware 15 has very high chances of being my next computer. Do you have anything to suggest or any advise? They are more than welcome, thank you!


[1] http://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?page=article&item=lenovo-thinkpad-t450s&num=1
With the unstoppable mobility and awesomely intense graphics, the Alienware 15 gives you the power to take the game further than ever.
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Checked the HP Omen. Who designed it? A gaming laptop without Ethernet port and all USB on the back? Srsly? Just so you can have the nice inclined design for the sides? That's supposed to be a gaming laptop not a damn exposition monitor.
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Many thanks to LWN for sharing this. http://lwn.net/Articles/637745/

You don't need to be a conspiracy theory fanboy to understand this is a very critical problem and a very deep technical issue in the software and it must be solved. The same way you update your software to use the latest SIMD instructions and latest CPUs so you should do for encryption and security.
 
Deprecating Old Crypto in a Linux Distro: A tale of something that looked obvious but .. there's a lesson in it somewhere.

While working on my Linux distro project at work, one of the things I recently wanted to do is phase out old crypto.

Yes we all read Bruce Schneider's text and how important it is, but nothing drives it home like reading The Guardian articles followed
by OpenSSL downgrade attacks in the last year or two.

Now, nothing should be defaulting to some of the antique crypto, but the only way to know 100% sure  that the algorithms in question aren't being used, is to just not compile them into the various crypto libraries of your distro.

So.. step 1 was to look at the algorithm list of openssl:

arjan@clr:~$ openssl ciphers

ECDHE-RSA-AES256-GCM-SHA384:ECDHE-ECDSA-AES256-GCM-SHA384:ECDHE-RSA-AES256-SHA384:ECDHE-ECDSA-AES256-SHA384:ECDHE-RSA-AES256-SHA:ECDHE-ECDSA-AES256-SHA:SRP-DSS-AES-256-CBC-SHA:SRP-RSA-AES-256-CBC-SHA:SRP-AES-256-CBC-SHA:DH-DSS-AES256-GCM-SHA384:DHE-DSS-AES256-GCM-SHA384:DH-RSA-AES256-GCM-SHA384:DHE-RSA-AES256-GCM-SHA384:DHE-RSA-AES256-SHA256:DHE-DSS-AES256-SHA256:DH-RSA-AES256-SHA256:DH-DSS-AES256-SHA256:DHE-RSA-AES256-SHA:DHE-DSS-AES256-SHA:DH-RSA-AES256-SHA:DH-DSS-AES256-SHA:DHE-RSA-CAMELLIA256-SHA:DHE-DSS-CAMELLIA256-SHA:DH-RSA-CAMELLIA256-SHA:DH-DSS-CAMELLIA256-SHA:ECDH-RSA-AES256-GCM-SHA384:ECDH-ECDSA-AES256-GCM-SHA384:ECDH-RSA-AES256-SHA384:ECDH-ECDSA-AES256-SHA384:ECDH-RSA-AES256-SHA:ECDH-ECDSA-AES256-SHA:AES256-GCM-SHA384:AES256-SHA256:AES256-SHA:CAMELLIA256-SHA:PSK-AES256-CBC-SHA:ECDHE-RSA-AES128-GCM-SHA256:ECDHE-ECDSA-AES128-GCM-SHA256:ECDHE-RSA-AES128-SHA256:ECDHE-ECDSA-AES128-SHA256:ECDHE-RSA-AES128-SHA:ECDHE-ECDSA-AES128-SHA:SRP-DSS-AES-128-CBC-SHA:SRP-RSA-AES-128-CBC-SHA:SRP-AES-128-CBC-SHA:DH-DSS-AES128-GCM-SHA256:DHE-DSS-AES128-GCM-SHA256:DH-RSA-AES128-GCM-SHA256:DHE-RSA-AES128-GCM-SHA256:DHE-RSA-AES128-SHA256:DHE-DSS-AES128-SHA256:DH-RSA-AES128-SHA256:DH-DSS-AES128-SHA256:DHE-RSA-AES128-SHA:DHE-DSS-AES128-SHA:DH-RSA-AES128-SHA:DH-DSS-AES128-SHA:DHE-RSA-SEED-SHA:DHE-DSS-SEED-SHA:DH-RSA-SEED-SHA:DH-DSS-SEED-SHA:DHE-RSA-CAMELLIA128-SHA:DHE-DSS-CAMELLIA128-SHA:DH-RSA-CAMELLIA128-SHA:DH-DSS-CAMELLIA128-SHA:ECDH-RSA-AES128-GCM-SHA256:ECDH-ECDSA-AES128-GCM-SHA256:ECDH-RSA-AES128-SHA256:ECDH-ECDSA-AES128-SHA256:ECDH-RSA-AES128-SHA:ECDH-ECDSA-AES128-SHA:AES128-GCM-SHA256:AES128-SHA256:AES128-SHA:SEED-SHA:CAMELLIA128-SHA:IDEA-CBC-SHA:PSK-AES128-CBC-SHA:ECDHE-RSA-RC4-SHA:ECDHE-ECDSA-RC4-SHA:ECDH-RSA-RC4-SHA:ECDH-ECDSA-RC4-SHA:RC4-SHA:RC4-MD5:PSK-RC4-SHA:ECDHE-RSA-DES-CBC3-SHA:ECDHE-ECDSA-DES-CBC3-SHA:SRP-DSS-3DES-EDE-CBC-SHA:SRP-RSA-3DES-EDE-CBC-SHA:SRP-3DES-EDE-CBC-SHA:EDH-RSA-DES-CBC3-SHA:EDH-DSS-DES-CBC3-SHA:DH-RSA-DES-CBC3-SHA:DH-DSS-DES-CBC3-SHA:ECDH-RSA-DES-CBC3-SHA:ECDH-ECDSA-DES-CBC3-SHA:DES-CBC3-SHA:PSK-3DES-EDE-CBC-SHA:EDH-RSA-DES-CBC-SHA:EDH-DSS-DES-CBC-SHA:DH-RSA-DES-CBC-SHA:DH-DSS-DES-CBC-SHA:DES-CBC-SHA




A few things stand out immediately.

RC4. This like seriously predates MD5, and MD5 is already suspect.

DES. Yes really. DES. in 1995 I worked at a company as an intern that made DES chips that you could use to brute force DES. In 1995, when Twin Peaks was on TV  and you measured transistor sizes of a chip in micrometers not nanometers.

MD5. The general consensus seems to be that for crypto, you shouldn't use MD5 anymore. I'm not talking about SHA1, where one can argue that existing uses are still ok, but MD5.

I decided to draw my first line there, stick to the consensus and all that.

The good news is that OpenSSL is very configurable, and it's pretty easy to say

no-rc4 no-des no-md5

on the configure line (and for good measure, I added no-ssl2 and no-ssl3).

At this point, I thought I was on a roll, removing old crypto is easy, lets finish this 15 minute project before the project meeting starts.

So now on to the bad news. And sadly, there is plenty to be had.

openssl does not even compile with the no-md5 option:

make[1]: Entering directory '/builddir/build/BUILD/openssl-1.0.2a/ssl'
In file included from s3_srvr.c:171:0:
../include/openssl/md5.h:70:4: error: #error MD5 is disabled.
 #  error MD5 is disabled.
    ^
In file included from s3_clnt.c:158:0:
../include/openssl/md5.h:70:4: error: #error MD5 is disabled.
 #  error MD5 is disabled.
    ^
....


Ok, so MD5 is technically not insane broken for small packets, and
it's just consensus not so much hard earned proof, so maybe deprecating md5 is a project for another day.

openssl does not even compile with the no-des option:

make[2]: Entering directory '/builddir/build/BUILD/openssl-1.0.2a/apps'
../libcrypto.so: undefined reference to `EVP_des_ede3_wrap'

or when you fix that, it does not pass its test suite (I'll spare you the details). 

Now here I had to draw a line. 20 years ago DES was not secure.. never mind today. I wouldn't  be surprised if someone will chime in and say that their smartwatch can brute force DES in realtime now.
So.. fixing it is.

I suppose the good news is that no-rc4 went just fine.

The success story then, with the list of crypto from openssl after no-rc4 and no-des:

$ openssl ciphers
ECDHE-RSA-AES256-GCM-SHA384:ECDHE-ECDSA-AES256-GCM-SHA384:ECDHE-RSA-AES256-SHA384:ECDHE-ECDSA-AES256-SHA384:ECDHE-RSA-AES256-SHA:ECDHE-ECDSA-AES256-SHA:SRP-DSS-AES-256-CBC-SHA:SRP-RSA-AES-256-CBC-SHA:SRP-AES-256-CBC-SHA:DH-DSS-AES256-GCM-SHA384:DHE-DSS-AES256-GCM-SHA384:DH-RSA-AES256-GCM-SHA384:DHE-RSA-AES256-GCM-SHA384:DHE-RSA-AES256-SHA256:DHE-DSS-AES256-SHA256:DH-RSA-AES256-SHA256:DH-DSS-AES256-SHA256:DHE-RSA-AES256-SHA:DHE-DSS-AES256-SHA:DH-RSA-AES256-SHA:DH-DSS-AES256-SHA:DHE-RSA-CAMELLIA256-SHA:DHE-DSS-CAMELLIA256-SHA:DH-RSA-CAMELLIA256-SHA:DH-DSS-CAMELLIA256-SHA:ECDH-RSA-AES256-GCM-SHA384:ECDH-ECDSA-AES256-GCM-SHA384:ECDH-RSA-AES256-SHA384:ECDH-ECDSA-AES256-SHA384:ECDH-RSA-AES256-SHA:ECDH-ECDSA-AES256-SHA:AES256-GCM-SHA384:AES256-SHA256:AES256-SHA:CAMELLIA256-SHA:PSK-AES256-CBC-SHA:ECDHE-RSA-AES128-GCM-SHA256:ECDHE-ECDSA-AES128-GCM-SHA256:ECDHE-RSA-AES128-SHA256:ECDHE-ECDSA-AES128-SHA256:ECDHE-RSA-AES128-SHA:ECDHE-ECDSA-AES128-SHA:SRP-DSS-AES-128-CBC-SHA:SRP-RSA-AES-128-CBC-SHA:SRP-AES-128-CBC-SHA:DH-DSS-AES128-GCM-SHA256:DHE-DSS-AES128-GCM-SHA256:DH-RSA-AES128-GCM-SHA256:DHE-RSA-AES128-GCM-SHA256:DHE-RSA-AES128-SHA256:DHE-DSS-AES128-SHA256:DH-RSA-AES128-SHA256:DH-DSS-AES128-SHA256:DHE-RSA-AES128-SHA:DHE-DSS-AES128-SHA:DH-RSA-AES128-SHA:DH-DSS-AES128-SHA:DHE-RSA-SEED-SHA:DHE-DSS-SEED-SHA:DH-RSA-SEED-SHA:DH-DSS-SEED-SHA:DHE-RSA-CAMELLIA128-SHA:DHE-DSS-CAMELLIA128-SHA:DH-RSA-CAMELLIA128-SHA:DH-DSS-CAMELLIA128-SHA:ECDH-RSA-AES128-GCM-SHA256:ECDH-ECDSA-AES128-GCM-SHA256:ECDH-RSA-AES128-SHA256:ECDH-ECDSA-AES128-SHA256:ECDH-RSA-AES128-SHA:ECDH-ECDSA-AES128-SHA:AES128-GCM-SHA256:AES128-SHA256:AES128-SHA:SEED-SHA:CAMELLIA128-SHA:IDEA-CBC-SHA:PSK-AES128-CBC-SHA

no DES, no RC4.




But, as it was a Monday, the misery only started there (Dave Jones should have taught me that misery is like lawyers, it always comes in pairs).

I threw the no-rc4/no-des package into our build system, and in no time the world came apart on me. Half the distro broke!
Well not half, but several very important pieces.

It turns out that components like curl, libcurl (so anything speaking http), wget, openssh, mariadb, ...

all hard-code DES usage. Now, I'll give curl credit, with creative use of configure options, you can make it not compile DES in, but you can't then make it pass its testsuite.

There must be a lesson in here somewhere.

One, our team will be fixing these projects to not require DES (or RC4), and we'll send those patches to the upstream projects of course.

But more, and this is a call to action: If you're working on an open source project that uses crypto, please please don't opencode crypto algorithm usage.
The algorithm may be outdated at any time and might have to go away in a hurry. 
And if you have to use a very specific algorithm anyway (for compatibility or otherwise), at least be kind and make a
configure option for each algorithm in your project, so that when things go bad (be it in 5 or 20 years), its very feasible to disable the algorithm entirely. 
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Well I'm not alone. Thank you :)
In a previous post we talked a lot about the “Product-centric” approach to DevOps but what does this mean for the role of the Agile “Product Owner”? So what is the traditional role of the Product O...
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Let me set aside the problems I have with Canonical for a moment.

This is cool, I'm happy to see someone else other than the KDE project with Plasma Active is working on something like this. I love Linux as I can found it in the desktop, like Gentoo, Fedora and Ubuntu. Android, on the other end, is a super frustrating experience for someone like me, Apple stuff is not even an option. I need deep control and freedom on the software I use (both in what I can do and how can I modify it), I can only make few exceptions. The ability to run an entire proper Linux desktop on my phone / tablet gives me a super high degree of freedom.

And I also want x86 (again for freedom reasons), ARM makes me sick with their closed nature.

I cannot wait to see what Plasma active will be able to do when based on KF5 (if not already, I kind of lost the track of mobile stuff in a while) and Wayland.

These kind of devices can make me happy of spending more than 500 euro on a phone or tablet and to actually make an internet contract for my phone (yes I don't have one, because 1. the costs are ridiculously high and 2. what do I need it for? I'm on my PC 12+ hours a day anyway I don't have to check the mail for that hour I'm not. With this kind of devices however the game changes a bit).

That said since I need more than one device (like one phone and one tablet or two phones) I still need more conventional one. The #Jolla phone and tablet and FirefoxOS phones are for sure an option.
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I would like to share love for +Dell, since they just made available the XPS 13 with Ubuntu Linux in Europe (the following link is on the Italian website, but I checked and also Dell Germany and it's available, so I assume it is the same in the whole Europe).

And what I like even more is that it is advertised in the "For Home" section as well.

So thank you Dell, I appreciate!

Now if you also make available the Alienware 15 with Linux preloaded I will buy two. Yeah a gaming laptop with Linux, why not? Steam machines are coming out anyway, why not portable?
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I'm so sad Dell choose AMD for the graphic cards on the new Inspiron series. I'll probably need a new computer sooner or later and I really want a Dell since my current XPS 14 rocks and is the best laptop I've ever used. But, sorry, I cannot get an AMD graphic card again, not knowing the incredible mess they are doing with their driver and, in particular, their level if Linux support compared to Intel and Nvidia.

Now I could go for another XPS (the 15) or the Precision M3800 (what a beefy machine! and is even sold with Linux installed in the US!), but I don't feel comfortable spending more than 2000 euros (including 2 years warranty) for a pc I use only in the evenings on in the weekends.

Also take into account that since this would be my free time pc I would also be able to game on it. Maybe I should consider an Alienware laptop. Well for sure they are good for gaming, they have beefy Nvidia graphic cards..... but they are really heavy and big. I don't have to fly anymore with the PC so that's not a major problem since it would rarely leave the house but still.... And yeah the Alienware X51 Desktop is super tempting too.... steam machine...... a proper desktop PC instead of a laptop... (laptops are lovely but with some limit)..... I don't know, I don't feel stable enough yet to go for a desktop :(.

Well in short: Dell can we have back the full selection of PC with Nvidia again? Pretty please!
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Well they are decent. Don't get me wrong the radeon team does a great job, but they are 4 (soon 6 apparently). In comparison the Intel team are more than 30 or so IIRC. And still they struggle keeping up, we are still at OpenGL 3.3, albeit 4.x is near finally, but very in late.

So the best Open source driver for normal work is definitely Intel, for gaming Open Source is still behind unfortunately :(. So if you want to game and have no worries Nvidia is the way. To be honest it is proprietary but does a quite good job for me. The positive side of Optimus technology is that you use it only for the games, and nothing else. Unfortunately it is not very easy to use for normal users, I'm lucky I have quite a lot of experience with Linux by now :)
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Found by accident article [1] on +Forbes  while googling staff. Let me cite two parts:

1) "If any more evidence was needed that the username-password paradigm is a flawed form of authentication, the Twitch breach has provided."

This is so damn annoying. No. please repeat after me. NO. Security is as weak as the weakest link in the chain. Here the issue can be user side, if the user happen to use a weak password, or server side, for example if the password is stored in clear text or with weak / insecure  hashing algorithm. So pray tell which authentication algorithm is immune from such deficiencies? I would really love to know, since it would make my work easier if we could adopt such authentication mechanism I could spend less time hardening my server and do something else.

TBO twitch has done a good thing in this regard: use a password manager auto generating passwords, still the user needs to generate a very good one, protecting all the others. If the user is already able to do so the password manager becomes less useful. They also gave decent examples (see [2]):

Bad: Applesauce1! – You’re using different character types, but the majority of the password is a single word from the dictionary
Okay: ILoveGreenApplesauce – You’re using multiple words and lots of characters, but the words are too common.
Good: !70v3Gr33n@pple$auce?– You’re using multiple words and lots of characters with uncommon substitutions. Good job.

Now I don't agree with the good one. While is looks secure, it is not much more. This is the same password as the okay one, suffering from the same defect, the words are common and the numbers are leet speaking, which is a very well known rule. If it is a rule no entropy, but still, not a totally bad suggestion. A more correct one would have been "do not make a sentence, use random, unrelated words from the dictionary".

You might think about asymmetric keys, like SSH and certificates, but they are not portable, as in you cannot memorize them and carry them with you without a physical device. A cracker will never be able to crack your mind and steal the data from there, they mush crack the device you are inputting in or the server on the other side. You can encrypt them, but again..... you need a password to do so. Crap!

For sure there will always be users going for damn low quality password, it is quite challenging to make a good password quality checker. But to be honest as most people learnt their computer needs an anti virus most of them can understand the password quality problem, if explained. The very famous Xkcd comic did quite a good job, I used it to explain it to my Mom (a person powering on the monitor when asked to power on the computer) and she does goddamn awesome passwords, likely better than me myself.

2) "Web security expert Troy Hunt told FORBES more than eight was surprisingly restrictive."

EDIT: I misread this, my apologize, the quote that follows says "“But what’s disheartening about this is that users have apparently baulked at creating passwords longer than eight characters so are clearly not getting the message on what constitutes a strong ‘secret’.”"

[1] http://www.forbes.com/sites/thomasbrewster/2015/03/24/amazon-twitch-hacked-passwords-nabbed/
[2] http://blog.twitch.tv/2015/03/important-notice-about-your-twitch-account/
((The comic illustrates the relative strength of passwords assuming basic knowledge of the system used to generate them. A set of boxes is used to indicate how many bits of entropy a section of the password provides. The comic is laid out with 6 panels arranged in a 3x2 grid.
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No srsly +Oracle takes care of your security, they even enable TLS when you download java (well thanks for that TBO)! Well, they are trying hard, but you know.... this fscking conspiracist make these security things so hard to use!
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Holy cow only 4 euros for The Witcher 2 and it is available for Linux! Ok is not the greatest of the ports, but works decently afaik. To buy or not to buy? It is the price of two damn coffees.

On a related note: Torchlight II available for Linux!?!! Might play it again since I left when I was almost at the end of it.

And, as last question, to switch or not to switch to Fedora for my gaming OS?
Enjoy a captivating story, dynamic combat system and beautiful graphics in the second installment in the RPG saga about the Witcher, Geralt of Rivia.
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