Let’s make this thing public


Even though we are still working on some details of the blog, I’d like to propose to go public (meaning inviting the rest of the mailing list). It seems that we are already making good use of it, and therefore a broader audience would be wonderful. Any objections? Michael, do you still have the mailing list?

Executive Decision

OK guys, I sort of made an executive decision. I found a template I’m happy with, so I installed it put it into action. I’ll still do the snapshots of a few other templates, but I have to say that I really like this one. Other than some basic fine-tuning, the only thing I think really needs to be changed is to replace the banner image, and even that doesn’t have to happen.

Personally, I like the current banner image, but certainly wouldn’t mind changing it to a suitably scaled picture of the Twin Cities skyline (can we get one with both Downtowns and put the title in between?), or other geekish image — although I really don’t want to go with the whole circuit board clichè. Whatever image it is, we should make sure it’s royalty free or properly licensed.

In other news, I added the email links where author names appear on the main page. I’ll go through the rest of the site design once we pick a final template layout. I also took Mr. Eian’s stab at the about page, made some (quite) liberal edits, and installed it. Edits/comments welcome/encouraged, especially when it comes to the “we’d like to see more chapters…” part. (I really like Scottie’s idea.) I’m working on getting author profiles in there to flesh it out a bit more. Give me some time on that one.

Things to do (in no particular order):

  • Set up the mailing list
  • Invite/notify the other geeks
  • Create the @geekgather.org aliases for each author
  • Make a theme decision


Cunning Stunts

Just wanted to mention what a cool thing we have taking place here. We are actually group collaborating on a blog, through posts and comment discussions, using the very blog itself. Basically blogging about building the blog we are blogging on.

If that isn’t the proof that we have all slipped into realms of geekdom that even we thought we would never reach, I don’t know what is.

Very cunning stunts indeed.

Geek Gather Organization (Fraternity)

My wife mentioned something that made me smile. She said how cool would it be to develop a national organization of geek gatherers (NAGG). She mentioned the idea, I came up with NAGG. Whether it’s stupid or not it sounded interesting. We would be the founding chapter of NAGG and the Twin Cities chapter of NAGG. :) I suppose that takes a lot of time and resources that none of us really have. For now we’ll spread the word about us and see where it goes.

For the ‘About’ Page

Now, let me just say that I am not much of a writer, plus English is acutally my second language, well, whatever: Here is a first draft of a blurb for the ‘About’ page. Hack it! Chop it! Edit it! Rewrite it! It’s yours for the taking…

Initiated by Patrick Rhone, Geek Gather & Munch was first hosted (Date, Patrick?) . This group of geeks has managed to get together about once a month since that day to enjoy geek culture, tech talk, and geek food and drink. An email list if currently comprised of about 27 people. The GeekGather is based in the TwinCities, Minnesota, United States of America, North America, Earth – well, you get the idea.

Updating Server with new HDs

So after yesterday’s discussion I am trying to do a little bit of research on where to find affordable but realiable server harddrives. Does anybody have a suggestion? I am probably looking at a pair of 250s or so – size is not as much of an issue as reliablility. And then there is the whole issue of how to make the swap. Can it be as easy as installing the drives, setting up the mirror raid, and copying all the files? Continue reading Updating Server with new HDs

OpenSSL Received FIPS 140-2 Validation

OpenSSL, the open-source cryptography libraries used in many other applications, including Apache HTTP, has been certified under FIPS 140-2. If that seems like a fairly random string of information, you’re probably not alone. Here’s why it’s important.

FIPS (Federal Information Processing Standard) 140 provides standards for encryption used in government. That means that, generally speaking, that government organizations require products to be FIPS 140 certified if they use encryption. There are exceptions and waivers, etc, but it’s *much* easier for the organization making the purchase to go with the FIPS product. NIST does the certifying for FIPS, and they certify an implementation of certified algorithms. Got that? They certify first the algorithms themselves (AES, 3DES, etc), then they certify the specific cryptography module’s implementation of said algorithms. NIST has *never* certified source-code. They have only certified compiled modules. The logic here is understandable; if you certify source code, there’s no guarantee that the source code hasn’t been changed prior to compilation.

The good folks at OpenSSL, or at least a few of them, took on that challenge. They built a branch of openssl that contains sufficient checks within the code itself to ensure that the compiled and running code is, in fact, the FIPS certified code. So, NIST has now broken off of their tradition of not certifying source code, and certified OpenSSL.

That means that OpenSSL can now be used in governement applications, which has the potential to save you and I (taxpayers) some money. No longer will agencies using Apache, for example, have to buy a certified cryptography module from IBM or RSA. New applications that are built on open-source can implement OpenSSL and sell to government. All around, it’s good for security.

What's more frightening than a room full of geeks?