13 November 2008

Behind Blue Eyes

Behind Blue Eyes -- The Who
Dateline: U.S. Department of Labor
The largest increases in initial claims for the week ending Nov. 1 were in Ohio (+3,885), Michigan (+2,619), Pennsylvania (+2,155), Wisconsin(+2,119) ...

A friend wrote:
All this proves is that when someone crosses a state line to register to vote it is just as easy to register for unemployment while you're at it.

I think it is probably much worse than that

It is easy enough for anyone to set up a (several!) new 'employers' and then walk away from them 8 weeks later with no individual financial responsibility for the 'tail' -- after all, we encourages formation of 'small business, the engine of economic growth' and barriers to entry should be small, right?

Unemployment benefits may be had at full rate for 6 months after 6 weeks employment at a given 'employer' if one is otherwise qualified; when an 'employer' goes out of business, the employees are eligible for benefits Several telephone poles in central Ohio had signs, with differing phone numbers, for what appeared to be short term 'jobs' working to elect Obama and 'make Change'. I snapped a picture with my mobile device, and will see if I can find it for the exact text; I recall thinking at the time:
-- Don't the 'employee candidates' KNOW they will be let go the day after the election

Now, I think the answer is:
-- Sure -- indeed they were TOLD by the recruiter at the other end of the phone, that this was a way to get rid of a pesky 'termination for cause' {disqualifying} black mark which was keeping them from what they were 'entitled to'

As the One won, and 'We can do it!' if the system is properly 'gamed', I think there will be no investigations after Jan 20 to 'connect the dots', and the Lame One will just snooze out his term. 'No law will prevent it'

And so the Republic was lost. "Meet the new boss; same as the old boss"

10 November 2008

rpm -import of GPG keys, revisited

Dbacks at the BOB
Color commentary guy

Okay, I guess I covered too much too fast last time I discussed adding a signing key to RPM. Let's do it again with more annotation and color commentary.

The RPM package manager (see: the old RPM.ORG website, which I maintained as 'rpm.org' for several years; JBJ's 'way forward' for RPM development site; and the rather sparse, intentionally stale, and to me useless site controlled by and populated to suit the Red Hat corporate agenda -- details of the fork in RPM are out of scope here) has the capability to verify through strong cryptography that a package is intact, and is counter-signed by a person in possession both halves of an asymmetric public and private keypair. Assuming that reasonable care (where 'reasonable' is a very large and paranoid number) is used to protect the confidential nature of the private half, the chances of a successful substitution are vanishingly small.

Anyone can examine and inventory the keys in RPM's trusted keystore. The process of additions, changes, and deletions of keys is an operation requiring root level privileges, and so assuming a machine can be trusted (both network level and local physical level attacks need to be considered)

Enumerate the keys present:

$ rpm -qa gpg\*

Examine a specific key:

$ rpm -qi gpg-pubkey-e8562897-459f07a4

If we know or can determine the 'fingerprint' of the public half of a signing key, and if that key has been placed at a public keyserver, we can retrieve it, examine it, or even directly import it. For the sake of this example, we again consider the Raw Hide SRPM signing key (with the re-organizations over time, Red Hat presently signs Raw Hide content with key: 0x4F2A6FD2 which the MIT keyserver identifies thus)

The CGI query on the link above used the 'op=index' modifier; the next uses the 'op=get' -- one assumes 'op' is shorthand for the type of query operation made -- terse, or key-bearing. In any event, we retrieve the key into a local file thus:

$ wget -O fedora-key "http://pgp.mit.edu:11371/pks/lookup?op=get&search=0x4F2A6FD2"

and then may examine it with the conventional 'nix tools:

$ less fedora-key
<title>Public Key Server -- Get ``0x4F2A6FD2
<h1>Public Key Server -- Get ``0x4F2A6FD2
Version: PGP Key Server 0.9.6

... snip ...

The important thing to notice, amid the HTML markup, is that the key is 'armoured text' well set off with start and end markers, so that GnuPG (and also RPM) may pick the key out of the chaff.

We discussed previously the chain of steps we used to decide that the key was authentic, and worthy of trust; as such we do not repeat them here.

Then, using the 'sudo' command to temporarily attain 'root' rights for the importation step, we can insert (import into the RPM database) the locally checked key:

$ sudo rpm -import fedora-key

Or, assuming that we will do a post-insertion check, we can do the import directly from the keyserver:

$ sudo rpm -import "http://pgp.mit.edu:11371/pks/lookup?op=get&search=0x4F2A6FD2"

Then we can re-inventory keys, and see the new one present, and the full name under which it may be found; part of the name is, conveniently, the 'fingerprint' of that key.

$ rpm -qa gpg\*
$ rpm -qi gpg-pubkey-4f2a6fd2-3fcdf8c9

Hopefully this clears things up a bit.

08 November 2008

Going, going, gone ...

They paved paradise and put up a parkin' lot
With a pink hotel, a boutique, and a swingin' hot spot
Don't it always seem to go
That you don't know what you got till it's gone
They paved paradise and put up a parkin' lot

-- Joni Mitchell
I flew into Phoenix for a week's rest, and was unpleasantly confronted with America West USAir's 15 dollar baggage check flying in. Took the SuperShuttle up to Scottsdale, and had a driver on his third day on the job for them. We were seeing part of the Valley new to him, anyway.

He drove a route up Scottsdale past the site of the former Raw Hide Western Town and Steakhouse. It has been gone three years now. The old site was bull-dozed flat, but it looks as though the developer who started condo construction ran out of money half-way through the project.

Dinner early in the week up in Carefree was to be at Crazy Ed's 'Satisfied Frog' -- its menu has the old saw about how 'it is so popular, no-one goes there anymore'. Last time, we ate at 'The Horny Toad' (as I recall Ed lost the Toad in a divorce; his ex kept running the place). Drove in from the west after a visit to Fry's Electronics on Thunderbird. Gone -- an imposter with new signage in its place -- google says I missed the close by a month.

Drove up to Page AZ for a wonderful nature hike in a private 'slot canyon' with Overland Canyon Tours and photo session [highly recommended and well worth the premium price]; on the way back decided to stop in Sedona for a nice dinner, and found that the high end restaurant we dined at a year ago May had closed doors; at least there is a new bank branch in its place.

Oh yes -- and two traffic circles -- a new concept there; their City Engineer must have heard how great they are -- on State Route 89 inside the city limits, and another four or five on the way back toward I-17 south of town. As traffic circles are a foreign concept, each cardinal entry point had illuminated, gas generator powered signage explaining their use. The fumes and noise are only remporary, right?

Well, it's the last night in town, and so we decided to go to Pinnacle Peak Patio; the resturant may have opened to the public in 1957 (per its website last updated 2007), but their display cabinets show postcards and envelopes from WWII simply addressed to 'John Doe; Pinacle Peak; Phoenix'. The waitress, proud of her new leather belt, and 'new in town' still bearing a California accent, came to the table. Once we indicated we had been eating there for nearly 20 years, she blurted out that the place is 'to close next March, or mebbe a year later as the developer "gave an extension"' before it is to be knocked down for yet another 'resort community' near Troon. She had heard about those other places, 'though. Seeing my reaction, she offered that 'perhaps they'll rebuild inside the new facility, but it will probably look like all the other chain restaurants'. Yeah, probably.

Well, at least a pack of coyotes woke me up at 2 in the morning, midweek, delighting at the moon; the red rocks watched silently as they have forever, and with any luck will continue to do.