On standards (and testing)

RFC 4648 defines the Base16, Base32 and Base64 encodings. Base16 (aka hex) and Base64 are widely known and used, but Base32 is an odd duck. It is rarely used, and there are several incompatible variants, of which the RFC acknowledges two: [A-Z2-7] and [0-9A-V].

One of the uses of Base32, and the reason for my interest in it, is in Google’s otpauth URI scheme for exchanging HOTP and TOTP keys. I needed a Base32 codec for my OATH library, so when a cursory search for a lightweight permissive-licensed implementation failed to turn up anything, I wrote my own.

My OATH implementation is currently deployed in an environment in which OTP keys for new users (or new OTP keys for existing users) are generated by the primary provisioning system, which passes them on to a smaller provisioning system in charge of firewalls and authentication (codenamed Nexus), which passes them on to a RADIUS server, which uses my code to validate user responses. When we transitioned from generating OTP keys manually to having the provisioning system generate them for us, we ran into trouble: some keys worked, others didn’t. It turned out to be a combination of factors:

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Book review: Priceless (Shannon Mayer)

Q: How bad can a book get and still get 4.5 stars and hundreds of rave reviews on Amazon?

A: Pretty bad, if it’s a shortish genre novel with a $2.99 digital list price.

I’m not a litblogger, but I do read a lot, and once in a while I come across a book which I feel so strongly about that I absolutely must share my enthusiasm or revulsion, just to get it off my chest. Shannon Mayer’s Priceless, the first in a series of novels about supernatural detective Rylee Adamson, falls squarely in the “revulsion” category.

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Nineteen-ninety-six

1996. The Spice Girls rock (pop?) the world with Wannabe. Will Smith kicks alien butt in Independence day. DVDs become commercially available. Scientists clone the first mammal. Ebay opens. Three important standards are either released or reshaped into their current form: MIME, Unicode and IPv6. 17 years later, a shocking amount of software still does not support these standards.

sigh

What Google knows about me

Based om my Google Ads profile:

Personal details
Gender: male No prize for guessing; it’s in my Google+ profile.
Age: 35-44
Languages: unknown I’m surprised they didn’t figure this one out. English, French, Norwegian.
Interests
Action & Adventure Films Vaguely
Air Travel I’ve booked two flights in the last 24 months. They don’t seem to have noticed that I’ve spent a lot of time recently researching ferries.
Banking Who doesn’t use Internet banking these days?
Bicycles & Accessories I own a bike. I’ve ridden it twice in the last six years.
Computer & Video Games Yes, definitely.
Consumer Electronics Depends on how you define the term. Computers, computer parts and peripherals, yes.
East Asian Music No
Fashion & Style You have hundreds of photos of me, and you never noticed that I always wear the exact same clothes?
Fiat Try Audi.
Food & Drink Yes, but not online.
Hair Care You have hundreds of photos of me, and you never noticed that I shave my head?
Hygiene & Toiletries I’ve used the same shower gel and deodorant for years. They’re both no-brand products sold in pharmacies.
Make-Up & Cosmetics You know I’m male. You know I’m straight. Do the math.
Olympics My initial reaction was “huh?”, but actually, yes. Mostly women’s handball, but also cross-country skiing and biathlon.
Online Video What does that even mean? You can’t throw a rock on the intertubes these days without hitting half a dozen lolcat videos. Not that I would ever throw a rock at a cat.
Rap & Hip-Hop They must have deduced that from all the P!nk and Avril Lavigne videos I watch on YouTube.
Search Engine Optimization & Marketing SEO & marketing “consultants” are scum.
Smart Phones Yes.

LinkedIn endorsements

I keep getting email from LinkedIn telling me that someone in my network has endorsed me for this, that or the other skill. My initial reaction when these emails started arriving was surprise, because I knew about LinkedIn’s recommendation system but hadn’t heard about their new endorsement system. After a while, surprise turned to amusement. Allow me to explain why.

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