Audiobooks – July 2019

The Return of the King by J.R.R Tolkien. Narrated by Rob Inglis. Excellent although I should probably listen slower next time. 10/10

Why Superman Doesn’t Take Over the World: What Superheroes Can Tell Us About Economics by J. Brian O’Roark

A good idea for a theme but author didn’t quite nail it. Further let down in audiobook format when the narrator talked to invisible diagrams. 6/10

A Fabulous Creation: How the LP Saved Our Lives by David Hepworth

Covers the years 1967 (Sgt Peppers) to 1982 (Thriller) when the LP dominated music. Lots of information all delivered in the authors great style. 8/10

The Front Runner by Matt Bai

Nominally a story about the downfall of Democratic presidential front-runner Gray Hart in 1987. Much of the book is devoted to how norms of political coverage changed at that moment due to changes in technology & culture. 8/10

A race like no other: 26.2 Miles Through the Streets of New York by Liz Robbins

Covering the 2007 New York marathon it follows the race with several top & amateur racers. Lots of digressions into the history of the race and the runners. Worked well 8/10

1983: Reagan, Andropov, and a World on the Brink by Taylor Downing

An account of how escalations in the cold war in 1983 nearly lead to Nuclear War, with the Americans largely being unaware of the danger. Superb 9/10

The High cost of Free Parking (2011 edition) by Donald Shoup.

One of the must-read books in the field although not a revelation for today’s readers. Found it a little repetitive (23 hours) and talking to diagrams and equations doesn’t work in audiobook format. 6/10


Audiobooks – June 2019

Robot Visions by Isaac Asimov

A collection of short Robot stores and very short essays. Lots of classic stories although the essays are mostly forgettable. 7/10

Foreigner by Robert J. Sawyer

An alien counterpart of Sigmund Freud psychoanalyzes her race’s equivalent of Galileo. 3rd in the trilogy. I like it enough. 7/10

In Your Defence: Stories of Life and Law by Sarah Langford

An English Barrister describes 11 cases she has worked on. The lives and cases are mostly tragic but the writing is very compelling. 8/10

The Unthinkable: Who Survives When Disaster Strikes and Why by Amanda Ripley

A wide tour of the various ways people react in disasters for ignoring to freezing. Lots of interesting stories, some investigations into the psychology and some practical advice. 8/10

The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R Tolkien. Narrated by Rob Inglis.

The first time I’ve ever listened to this version. Excellent in every way. 10/10

Podcasting: The Ultimate Guide to Record, Produce, and Launch Your Podcast and Build Raving Fans by Martin C. Glover

A quick (40 minutes) intro to podcasting, some do’s and don’ts for perspective podcasters. Worth a listen if you are new to the topic and considering. 6/10

Nothing is real: The Beatles Were Underrated And Other Sweeping Statements About Pop by David Hepworth

A collection of essays, many about the Beatles but covering lots of other Pop-Music topics. A lot of good ones in there. 7/10

Safely to Earth: The Men and Women Who Brought the Astronauts Home by Jack Clemons

A memoir of a engineer who worked on the Shuttle and Apollo programs about his time there and what he worked on including the shuttle software. 7/10

The Two Towers by J.R.R Tolkien. Narrated by Rob Inglis.



Audiobooks – May 2019

Springfield Confidential: Jokes, Secrets, and Outright Lies from a Lifetime Writing for The Simpsons by Mike Reiss

Great book. Simpsons insider stories, stuff about show business, funny jokes. 9/10

Combat Crew: The Story of 25 Combat Missions Over Europe From the Daily Journal of a B-17 Gunner by John Comer

Interesting 1st-hand account (with some borrowings from others in unit). Good details and atmosphere from missions and back at base/leave 8/10

Far-Seer by Robert J. Sawyer

“An allegory about Galileo on a planet of intelligent dinosaurs”. 1st in a Trilogy by one of my favorite authors. Balanced between similarities & differences from humans. 7/10

Working Actor: Breaking in, Making a Living, and Making a Life in the Fabulous Trenches of Show Business by David Dean Bottrell

Lots of advice for aspiring actors along with plenty of interesting stories from the author’s career. 8/10

Becoming by Michelle Obama

A good memoir. Lots of coverage of her early life, working career and the White House. Not exhaustive and it skips ahead at time. But very interesting and inspirational. 8/10

Fossil Hunter by Robert J. Sawyer

2nd in the Trilogy. The main human analog here is Darwin with a murder-mystery and God checked in for fun. 7/10

The Wright Brothers by David McCullough

Well written as expected and concentrates on the period when the brothers were actively flying which is the most interesting but avoids their legal battles & some other negatives. 8/10


Audiobooks – April 2019

Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress by Steven Pinker

Amazing good book, well argued and lots of information. The only downside is he talks to some diagrams [downloadable] at times. Highly Recommend. 9/10

A History of Britain, Volume : Fate of Empire 1776 – 2000 by Simon Schama

I didn’t enjoy this all that much. The author tried to use various lives to illustrate themes but both the themes and biographies suffered. Huge areas also left out. 6/10

Where Did You Get This Number? : A Pollster’s Guide to Making Sense of the World by Anthony Salvanto

An overview of (mostly) political polling and it’s history. Lots of examples for the 2016 US election campaign. Light but interesting. 7/10

Squid Empire: The Rise and Fall of the Cephalopods by Danna Staaf

Pretty much what the titles says. I got a little lost with all the similarly names species but the general story was interesting enough and not too long. 6/10

Apollo in the Age of Aquarius by Neil M. Maher

The story of the back and forth between NASA and the 60s counterculture from the civil rights struggle and the antiwar movement to environmentalism and feminism. Does fairly well. 7/10


Audiobooks – March 2019

An Economist Gets Lunch: New Rules for Everyday Foodies by Tyler Cowen

A huge amount of practical advice and how and where to find the best food both locally and abroad. Plus good explanations as to why. 8/10

The Not-Quite States of America: Dispatches from the Territories and Other Far-Flung Outposts of the USA by Doug Mack

Writer tours the not-states of the USA. A bit too fluffy most of the time & too much hanging with US expats. Some interesting bits. 6/10

Shattered: Inside Hillary Clinton’s Doomed Campaign by Jonathan Allen & Amie Parnes

Chronology of the campaign based on background interviews with staffers. A ready needs a good knowledge of the race since this is assumed. Interesting enough. 7/10

Rush Hour by Iain Gatel

A history of commuting (from the early railway era), how it has driven changes in housing, work and society. Plus lots of other random stuff. Very pleasant. 8/10


Audiobooks – February 2019

Tamed: Ten Species that Changed our World by Alice Roberts

Plenty of content (14 hours) and not too dumbed down. About 8 of the 10 species are the ones you’d expect. 8/10

It Won’t Be Easy: An Exceedingly Honest (and Slightly Unprofessional) Love Letter to Teaching by Tom Rademacher

A breezy little book about the realities of teaching (at least in the US). Interesting to outsiders & hopefully useful to those in the profession. 7/10

The Hobbit by J. R. R Tolkien, Read by Rob Inglis

A good audio-edition of the book. Unabridged & really the default one for most people. I alternated chapters of this with the excellent Prancing Pony Podcast commentaries on those chapters. 9/10

The Life of Greece: The Story of Civilization, Volume 2 (The Story of Civilization series) by Will Durant

32 hours on the history of Ancient Greece. Seemed to cover just above everything. Written in the 1930s so probably a little out-of-date in places. 7/10


Audiobooks – January 2019

The Grandmaster: Magnus Carlsen and the Match That Made Chess Great Again by Brin-Jonathan Butler

Not a lot about the match. The author rolls out a bunch of random chess stories and profiles instead. 4/10

The Next American City: The Big Promise of Our Midsize Metros by Mick Cornett

The four-term Mayor of Oklahoma City goes over projects OC and other mid-sized cities implemented to improve their cities & fight back against the large metros. 8/10

21 Lessons for the 21st Century by Yuval Noah Harari

Apparently a lot of expanded essays but still a lot of interesting stuff in there. The good ones are great and the bad ones are okay. 7/10

Chasing the Demon: A Secret History of the Quest for the Sound Barrier, and the Band of American Aces Who Conquered It by Dan Hampton

Covers some early aircraft and aerodynamics history, then the lives of pilots who would break the sound barrier & then the actual event (or events!). 7/10

Share 2019 – Friday – Lightning talks and Conference Close

Closing Stuff

  • Special Badge given out
  • Projects from Junior Group from Club Penguin
  • Rusty Wrench award to Joshua Hesketh

Lightning Talks

  • 3 minutes each
  • Martin Kraft
    • Digital trust and trust in the real world
    • In real world it is wired into our brains
    • Aunt’s Laptop. Has Trusted CAs, Debian.
    • Doesn’t know what lock on browser means
    • Imaging that trust is a competition that happens in real time, that takes interactions, mood, random stuff.
    • Maybe when you visit a good vs bad website the browser looks visably different
    • Machine Learning
  • Brimly Collings-Stone
    • Maori language not available on AAC outputs
    • Need a device that speaks Maori and represents Maori grammar accurately
  • Mathew Sherborn
    • RSI
    • Got it in the past, tried various keyboards
    • Type-Matrix but it broke
    • ErgoDox – open source keyboard
    • – Keyboard in batch orders
    • Like the ErgoDox-E – $500 but good – web app to program
    • Change the Dvorak keyboard with special keyboard
  • Emma Springkmeier
    • What do I do when it all goes wrong
    • Potentially stressful situations – phone calls, meetings.
    • eg last year’s lightning talk
    • What I do to cope
    • Talk to friends, explain how I feel to others, listening to calming music, breathing techniques ( 4s in, 4s hold, 4 out, 4 holding, repeat )
  • Karl Kitcher
    • Secretary of the NZ Open Source Society
    • Charity since 2008
    • Reducing in interest in the recent years
    • Open source is not so prevalent, people not really caring, trying to maintain the momentium
    • Open vs Fauxpem
    • – signup to the mailing list
    • Various services to projects
  • Leon Wright
    • About Leon’s badge
    • Twitter bot hooked to hug detector in his badge
    • 2017 badge detects hugs
    • 2018 version 2 . So good twitter shadow banned his account
    • 2019 – Docker containers and other crazy stuff
  • Talia White
    • At LCA since 2018 – Was only 8. Now 12
    • Ordered a robot kit for ardiano
    • Made various projects
    • Don’t give up, struggled to start with coding, got better
  • Brenda Wallace
    • Works for the NZ Govt
    • Sometimes abigious
    • Going to publish for some legislation as python rules
    • eg Social welfare rules,
    • Unit tests
  • Paul Gunn Stephen
    • GDP per km of coastline
    • %coastline length for area
    • Means hard to get Tsunami warning systems
    • Cheaper
    • ETC Lali system approach
    • Every Village has a local warning system
    • Redundant system
  • E Dunham
    • You should speak at conferences
    • 54th talk in 5 years
    • Promotes your company
    • Intersection: What you know, what conference needs and what the attendees needs
    • Find conference want to attend
    • Write abstract
    • Submit a lot, get rejected a lot
    • Each reject is how you dodged a bullet
  • Charell
    • CVE-2019-3462
    • Bug in apt that allows injection of bad content
    • Why https
    • Attestation
    • apt-transport-https – enable
  • Jen Zajac
    • Project scaffolding eg Cookiecutter, yoeman
    • Lots of generating options
    • Creates templates for a project
  • Hugh Blemmings
    • Ardionu and Beagleboard
    • Cool but not high performance
    • A True open and HP computer
    • Open Hardware, Open software stack, no bin blobs, No unexpected software, No cost/perf penality
  • Benno Rice
    • Cobol
    • Over 50 years old
    • Not used much
    • What Language is the new Cobol?
    • PHP is the new COBOL
    • Perl is the new COBOL
    • Python2 ?
    • Javascript ?
    • C ?
    • Y2K – Maybe the real Cobol is the maintenance we incurred along the way
    • Maybe you should support software before it bites you back

Closing Stuff

  • 652 people attended
  • 2.4TB transferred over the SSID
  • 3113 Coffee vouchers

Lots of sponsors and suppliers and staff thanked 2020 is in …. Gold Coast

  • 21st birthday!
  • Gold Coast convention and Exhibition centre
  • 13 – 17th January 2020

Share 2019 – Friday – Session 2

OpenLI: Lawful Intercept Without the Massive Price Tag
– Shane Alcock

Shane Alcock
  • Police get Warrent to ISP
  • ISP Obligations
    • Can’t tip off person being intercepted
    • Both current and past intercepts must be private
    • Can’t accept other people’s communications
    • Must accept all communications
  • NZ Lawful Intercept
    • All Providers with more than 4000 customers must be LI capable
    • Must be streamed live
    • TCP/IP over tunnel
    • Higher level agencies have extra requirements
    • 2 seperate handovers – IRI metadata for calls, IP sessions. CC= data packets
  • Open LI
    • $10,000s – $100,000s costs to impliment and license from vendors
    • WAND had some experise in packet collection
    • Known my NZ Network Operator community
    • Voluntary contributions from NZ Network Operators
    • $10k+ each
    • Buys 50% of my time to work on it for a year.
    • Avoiding Free Rider problem
      • Early access for supporters
      • Dev assistence with deployment
      • Priority support for bugs and features
  • Building Blocks
    • Developed and tested on Debian
    • Should work on other Linux flavours
    • Written in C – fast and likes writing C
    • Use libtrace from WAND
    • Data Plane Develop Kit
  • Provisioner
    • Interface for operators
    • Not very busy
  • Collector
    • Comms from Provisioner
    • Intercept instructions
    • Recommended run on bare-metal
    • 1RU Server with 10G interface with DPDK support
    • Supports multiple collectors
  • Mediator
    • Gets data from Collector
    • Forwards to Agency based on instructions from Provisioner
  • Target Identification
    • Nothing on the packets linked to target user
    • People get dynamic IPs, can change
    • For VOIP calls need to know RDP port
    • SIP for VIP , Radius to IP to ID the user’s IPs/Ports
    • Deriving caller identities from SIP packets can be tricky. Other headers can be used, depends on various factors
  • Performance Matters
    • 1Gb/s plans are available to residential customers
    • ISP may have multiple customers being intercepted. Collector must not drop packets
    • Aim to support multiple Gb/s of data
    • libtrace lets use spread load across multiple interfaces, cpus etc
    • But packets now be in multiple threads
    • Lots of threads to keep things all in sync
  • Status
  • Future
    • Build user-driver community around the software
  • Questions
    • Can it handle a hotel? – maybe
    • ISPs or police contributing? – Not yet
    • What have people been doing so far? – They have been gettign away with saying they will use this
    • What about bad guys using? – This probably doesn’t give them any more functionality
    • Larger Operators? – Gone with Vendor Solutions
    • Overseas Interest? – One from Khazakstan , but targetted at small operators
    • Why not Rust, worry about parsing data – Didn’t have time to learn Rust

But Mummy I don’t want to use CUDA – Open source GPU compute
Dave Airlie

Dave Airlie
  • Use Cases
    • AI/ML – Tensorflow
    • HPC – On big supercomputers
    • Scientific – Big datasets, maybe not on big clusters
  • What APIs Exist
    • CUDA
      • NVIDIA defined
      • Closed Source
      • C++ Based single source
      • Lots of support libraries ( BLAS, CiDNN ) from NVIDIA
    • API – HIP
      • AMD Defined
      • Sourcecode released on github
      • C++ based single source
    • OPenCL
      • Khronos Standard
      • Open and Closed implimentations
      • 1.2 v 2.0
      • OpenCL C/C++ Not single source (GPU and CPU code separate)
      • Online vs offline compilation (Online means final compilation at run time)
      • SPIR-V kernel
    • SYCL
      • Khronos Standard
      • C++ Single source
      • CPU Launch via OpenMP
      • GPU launch via OpenCL
      • Closed (codeplay) vs Open(triSYS)
      • Opening of implementation in Progress (from Intel – Jan 2019)
    • Others
      • C++AMP – MS
      • OPenMP – Gettign better for GPUs
      • OpenACC
      • Vulkan Compute
        • Low level submission API
        • Maybe
    • Future
      • C++ standard
      • C++ ISO standards body, ongoing input from everybody
      • Implementations must be tested
      • Still needs execution environment
  • Components of GPU stack
    • Source -> Compiler
    • Output of GPU and CPU code
  • IR
    • Intermediate representation
    • Between source and final binary
    • NVIDIA PTX – liek assemble
  • OpenCL Stacks
    • Vendor Specific
    • LLVM Forks
  • Open Source
    • Development vs Release Model
    • Vendors don’t want to support ports to competitors hardware
    • Distro challenges
      • No idea on future directions
      • Large bodies of code
      • Very little common code
      • Forked llvm/clang everywhere in code
  • Proposed Stack
    • Needs reference implementation
    • vendor neutral, runs on multiple vendors
    • Shared Code based (eg one copy of clang, llvm)
    • Standards based
    • Common API for runtime
    • Common IR as much as possible
    • Common Tooling – eg single debugger
    • SPIR-V in executable -> NIR -> HW Finaliser
    • Maybe Intel’s implementation will do this
  • Questions
    • Vulkan on top of Metal/Molten ? – Don’t know
    • Lots of other questions I didn’t understand enough to write

Share 2019 – Friday – Session 1

Preventing the IoT Dystopia with Copyleft- Bradley M. Kuhn

Bradley M. Kuhn
  • The S in IoT stands for Security
  • Many stories of people hacking into baby monitors and home cameras
  • IoT Devices often phone home to manufactorers website in order that you can access then remotely. “I suppose there are Chinese hackers watching my Dogs all day, I hope they will call me if they need water etc”
  • Open source people have historically worked to get around problems like this.
  • 1992 – If you wanted Linux, you downloaded the software onto floppies and installed it yourself. And Often had to work hard to make it work.
  • Today only a small percentage of laptops sold have Linux on it.
  • But Linux is commonly installed on IoT devices – 90% odd
  • But
    • No [easy] way to reinstall it yourself
    • Much worse than laptops
    • GPL includes “The scripts used to control the compilation and install of the executable”
    • “Freedom to Study” is not enough
  • Linksys Wifi router
    • OpenWRT Project
    • Release forced from Linksys and Cisco
    • “Source as received from Linksys from GPL enforcement”
    • Is OpenWRT a Unicorn
      • Few projects with serious alternative firmware project
    • Still sold new after 20 years
  • BusyBox Lawsuits
    • Before IoT was even a term
    • At least one model of Samsung TV ->
    • “Baffles me as to why do the manufactorers want us to buy more hardware”
  • Linux focuses to much on big corp users and ignores hobbyist users
    • Kernel peopel only care about the .c files. Don’t care about the install scripts etc.
    • People at top of Linux now got their start hacking on the devices in front of them.
    • The next generation of developers will be those hackers not from IBM and other big companies
    • You didn’t need anything but a computer and an internet connection to become and upstream developer in those days. This is becoming less true.
    • If the only thing you can install Linux on is a rackmount server, a cloud server or maybe a laptop and none of the IoT devices around you then things don’t look good….
  • Linux was successful because users could install it on their own devices
  • Linux won’t remain the most important GPL program if users can’t install their modifications. Tinkering is what makes Free software great.
  • Upstream matters of course, but downstream matters more.
    • There may be 1000s of Linux developers
    • Put 2 billion people have Linux on their phone – Which is locked down and they can’t reinstall
  • We don’t need a revolution to liberate IoT devices
    • because the words are already there in the GPL
    • We just have to take up our rights
  • What you can do.
    • Request Linux sources on every device you own – Companies have figured out people almost never ask
    • Try to build and install them. If you can’t ask a friend or ask Conservancy for help
    • If it doesn’t build/install it is a GPL violation, report it Conservancy
    • Step up as a leader of a project devices that matter to you.
  • Why this will work
    • The problem seems insurmountable now, only because we have been led astray
    • First and absolutely necessary step towards privacy and scurity on those devices
    • When the user controls the OS again, the balance of power can be restored
  • Questions
    • Best way to ask for source code? Try email, the manual should say.
    • How to get the new code on the device? Needs some push onto industry
    • What if writing requires expensive equipment? Fairly rare, many devices allow over-the-air upgrades, we should be able to go the same way.
    • Is there a list of compliant devices? – Proposed in past. Want to go softly at first in many cases
    • Am I exposed to liability if I modify and distribute code I receive? – Almost certainly note, contact Conservatory if you are threatened.

Web Security 2019 – James Bromberger

James Bromberger
  • History of browser
    • No images
    • Images
    • Netscape with crappy ‘International Security”
    • https takeup is growing
    • Chrome is hitting 60-70%
    • 82% of browser are “modern”, crossover of chrome users to new version is about 3 months.
  • PCI
    • Remove early TLS in mid 2018
    • TLS 1.1 and higher allowed
  • The legacy browser has gone in the real world
    • Some envs still behind, but moving ahead
  • What can we do with as little changes as possible?
  • 0. Don’t use http, use https
    • Use letsencrypt
    • Stds reducing max length of certs from 5 years
  • 1. TLS protocols
    • 7 versions out there (old ones SSL).
    • Most over 10+ years old
    • Only 6 in the wild
    • 3 not-known to be comprimised ( 1.1 1.2 1.3 )
    • Very few clients only support 1.1 and not 1.2 (small gap in 2006-2008 ). IE supports 1.2. So maybe disable 1.1
    • Log the protocol being used so you have data on your users
    • OTOH not much supports 1.3 yet
    • Use 1.2 and 1.3
    • Turn off on the Browsers to
    • Looks at which libraries you are using in code that makes https connections
  • 2. Cypher Suite Optimisation
    • New EC certs for key exchange
    • New certs getting changed to ECDSA
    • AES is standard for bulk encryption. GCM mode is best although windows 9 can’t do (Upgrade to 10!)
    • MAC/Cehecksum – remove MD5, SHA1, remove SHA2-256+ , New ones coming
  • Security Header
    • Content-Security-Policy
    • Referer-Policy – Usually locked down
    • Feature-Policy – lots of stuff
    • ” X-Content-Type-Options: no-sniff ” – don’t guess content type
  • 4. CAA
    • Around 200 Cert Authorities
    • Authorized record type (CAA record) lists what CAs are allowed to issue certs for you.
    • DNS Sec is useful – But during US Govt shutdown DNS keys are expring
  • 5. Sub Resource Integrity
    • Scripts included by html
    • Can include checksums in html calling to varify
  • 6. Cookies
    • Secure – httpsonly
    • “SameSite=Strict” – Reduces cross site request forgery
  • 7. Http2
    • Binary wire protocol
    • Apache 2.4 on debian
    • Forces better protocols
  • 8. Lots more
    • New compression algorithms
    • Network error logs