The Pakeha Party

July 9th, 2013

So I’ve come out of blogging retirement for this one. News yesterday is that some guy wants to start-up a Pakeha Party. And, rightly, his motivation was the Mana Party’s bizarre policy to give preferential treatment to Maori for housing loans. Owning a house doesn’t necessarily help people get out of poverty. What it does do is gives responsibility, and removes all that stressful meddling from Housing NZ. Whether that’s good or bad for Maori and NZ is debatable.

But the Pakeha Party crowd take it a step further. Yes, I understand that the creators of this idea are very likely taking the piss, and in a few days will start saying things like “we wanted to start a discussion that’s overdue in this country”, but they’ve really stirred up quite a crowd – notably mostly Cantabrian – and they’re demanding equal access to everything that Maori get. No matter what it is.

So for all you people clucking your tongues in tune with them: Fine.

You can have the reduced access to healthcare coupled with the increased risk of diabetes, heart disease, obesity, and around 8 years less life expectancy.

You can have the tail end of decades of institutionalised racism, cultural repression and social neglect which has kept your people over-represented in all manner of statistics such as unemployment, crime rates, living below the poverty line, poor educational outcomes and poor educational participation.

You can have the increased harassment from Police, and the heavier hand of the law. (Yes, you’re more likely to be pulled over if you’re brown, and you’re more likely to go to jail than your not-brown criminal peers, and if you do go to jail you’re more likely to get a longer jail sentence. Not as bad as in the States, say, but still measurable here.)

You can have rightful access to affirmative action opportunities. But your penance for daring to use these opportunities to get yourself out of the vicious cycle of social malaise is that your countrymen – who should know better – will unjustifiably deride you, hate you, and bring out the worst in themselves to attack you. They’ll conveniently ignore the fact that similar opportunities are available to them, and other groups.

Or you could pay a worse price, you could become one of them; a Baula Pennett type who uses such opportunities to advance and improve their lives, only to turn around and deny those same opportunities to those who could use them.

You can have all the historical injustices too. And there are too many to list. I like the one where your ancestors fought and died in two world wars, for their country, and upon return, their fellow servicemen were gifted farms by the government. Nobody in their battalion – who made it back – got shit. Wrong coloured skin, you see.

Yes, you can have all of these things and more! And I tell you what, if you lot had these things, they’d be fucking fixed overnight. And then we could “move on as one people”, the usual mantra of a pack of morons who don’t understand the irony of their constant battling against giving a hands up: the delays caused by this only put the goalposts further away.

I’m neither Pakeha or Maori. I’m not a born again Maori, I’m not Ngati Urban so the ‘plastic’ label also doesn’t apply and I’m clearly not a Hori Hardcore. I’m a New Zealander with heritage on both sides, and I think the lot of you should hang your heads in shame. Doesn’t matter which party you support or which side of the political spectrum you’re on. When you subscribe to ignorance, racism, xenophobia and garden variety “bashing those worse off than you”, you’re engaging in un-kiwi behaviour. You dishonour your country, and yourselves.

Published – 2012 version

June 28th, 2012

Lovage – Lifeboat

Long term readers may recall that back in April 2008, I wrote a letter to the local newspaper and despite my best efforts to put in cheekiness, it was published. I’m not really big on writing letters to the papers, but every so often there’ll be something I’m passionate about being discussed, so I’m compelled to put in my 10 cents. Here’s the latest one, again the editor allowed it even though it far exceeded the word count guidelines, this time it was the first letter published, and I’m published alongside Sir Bob Jones!

A letter to the editor regarding the Lower Hutt Cross Valley Link

Click for a larger version (2 Megs)

Also, I was rather pleased by Linux Mint 13′s handling of the scanning of this. I plugged in my scanner expecting to have to fart around installing xsane etc, but nope – I fired up Simple Scanner, my scanner had been detected and a few clicks later I had a 1200dpi master copy.

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Is your Linkedin password leaked?

June 7th, 2012

Pink Floyd – Keep Talking

News has been spinning around the net that over 6 Million passwords from Linkedin have been leaked.

The general advice is to change your password, but what if you want to check that your password is on the list? You should still change your password anyway, but there’s nothing stopping you from checking. Here’s how (Linux is assumed, adjust to suit your OS):

Method 1:
Put your trust in this website.  I didn’t, but that’s not to say that they’re not legit though:

Method 2:
Download the list of leaked passwords from here: (116M)  It’s just a list of hashed passwords, no other information seems to have been leaked.

While that downloads, calculate your hashed password e.g.

echo -n password | sha1sum
5baa61e4c9b93f3f0682250b6cf8331b7ee68fd8  -

It seems that the crackers are marking passwords they’ve successfully worked with (up to the point of this version of the list) by zeroing out the first 5 chars, so we can do this with sed:

echo -n password | sha1sum | sed -r "s/^(.{0})(.{5})/\100000/"
000001e4c9b93f3f0682250b6cf8331b7ee68fd8  -

When the file has finished downloading, give it a cursory virus scan:

rawiri@minty ~ $ clamscan Downloads/SHA1.txt_1.rar
Downloads/SHA1.txt_1.rar: OK

----------- SCAN SUMMARY -----------
Known viruses: 1248587
Engine version: 0.97.3
Scanned directories: 0
Scanned files: 1
Infected files: 0
Data scanned: 0.00 MB
Data read: 116.25 MB (ratio 0.00:1)
Time: 3.675 sec (0 m 3 s)
rawiri@minty ~ $

Cool, now with the file unrar’d, we simply search for the password hashes using grep:

rawiri@minty ~/Downloads $ grep 5baa61e4c9b93f3f0682250b6cf8331b7ee68fd8 SHA1.txt
rawiri@minty ~/Downloads $ grep 000001e4c9b93f3f0682250b6cf8331b7ee68fd8 SHA1.txt
rawiri@minty ~/Downloads $

Because the example password is a dictionary word, the second hash is basically guaranteed to be found.

Method 3:
Give me your hashes and I’ll check for you, honest ;)

As it turns out, my password is in fact on the list, so I’ll be changing my Linkedin password ASAP.

Do we hate all ‘Maoris’?

May 20th, 2012

My brother Tamati linked to this article on his Friendface feed. Below is a copy and paste of my response… I may add to it and flick it towards the related discussion on Reddit.

He’s an ignorant asshat who is simply regurgitating the rhetoric that’s typical of his generation. Of course his statements are racist because they’re directed at a particular race (I ‘meh’ that term, because truly there’s only one race – the human one, e.g. ). A statement can be positively racist like “gee, those Jews are good at finances!” or “golly, those Islanders are good at sporting activities due to their genetic predisposition for athleticism and great strength!”

Facts are facts though: Maori were one of two signatories to the Treaty of Waitangi. They are therefore one of the two founding peoples at the point of the founding of this nation by the signing of our incumbent and reigning founding document.

Maori then got shafted outside the terms of the agreement. WWI and II left thousands of whanau without male role models, which was severely damaging to the Maori societal structure, the effects of which we still see today in over-representation in crime/abuse statistics and especially in the gangs – traditionally filled by fatherless Maori males who, without traditional male guidance, started getting into trouble, got shipped off to borstals and became disenfranchised and disconnected from both sides.

Then there was the decades of cultural repression. Granted, Maori didn’t have it as bad as say, Native Americans or Australian Aborigines, but they didn’t exactly get their just dues either.

So what have we seen in the last 20-30 years? A resurgence of an almost extinct culture and language, wrongs being righted, and Affirmative Action (aka Positive Discrimination) policies being put in place to give impoverished Maori the opportunities to rise out of their rut. Net result is that Maori are gaining their rightful share as a founding people of this nation.

I want everybody to be a New Zealander just as much as the next ignant-honky-ass-mofo, but grievances have to be settled first and everything has to be in its rightful place, and that’s going to take time.

What chumps like him need to realise is that getting people out of poverty leads to growth and subsequently a stronger New Zealand. Just like bottoms-up economics but with fringe benefits like general societal improvements. Things happen to tend to favour Maori because they are a founding people and, especially in terms of intra-tribal investment (e.g. healthcare, runanga, scholarships) it’s because that’s the tribe’s money to do with as they bloody well please.

What really irks me is upset Uni students bitching about Maori classmates – “how dare they use opportunities that are available to them! And how dare their tribes invest tribal money in them in order to ensure a higher rate of education amongst its people and hopefully to have wider returns in terms of getting other tribal members better off… THE CONCEIT OF THESE SAVAGES! I’m going to turn my jealousy into uninformed racism and ignorance instead of doing something ironic like educating myself on the facts. Uni library – pah!”

Interestingly, if you turn around and say “oh my local AOG church gave away a scholarship but it pretty much only goes to an islander”, these same complainers wouldn’t have a problem.

Finally, the NZ Bill of Rights (Section 19,2 specifically) puts it in law that people like him who are basically against Affirmative Action can

“Measures taken in good faith for the purpose of assisting or advancing persons or groups of persons disadvantaged because of discrimination that is unlawful by virtue of Part 2 of the Human Rights Act 1993 do not constitute discrimination.”

Actual finally: I hate the term “Maoris”, because it just shows the ignorance of the speaker/author, and to read it’s like the equivalent of nails on a chalkboard. Te Reo does not have an s in its alphabet and does not pluralise like English does. The Te/Nga differentiation is one of the simplest Maori lessons…

On giving your Facebook password in an interview

March 21st, 2012
Royksopp – Miss It So Much

Yeah, I know it’s been a long while since I last posted.  There’s some catching up to do, and once I get a good dose of motivation I’d like to link this blog with my WordPress and Faceboook profiles in some limited way.  But right now I have something to get off my chest and this gives me an opportunity to test Blogilo.

Earlier today, one of the recruitment agents who has worked hard to ensure that I remain employed, linked to this article and asked the following on LinkedIn: 

What are your views? Most people seem to google potential employees already. Something to be aware of. With the way privacy settings keep changing, you would be wise to check your Facebook settings on a regular basis. If you read the fine print you will find some apps have allowances to access your own facebook inbox which I promptly deleted! It also begs the question as to whether an online persona is truly indicative of the actual person.

This is something that I’m fairly passionate about, so I responded thusly:

Outside of double checking your privacy settings and generally just making sure that your name ‘Googles well’ so that you improve your chances of getting to the interview, all I can say is that yeah; the Facebook Terms of Service are clear. Section 4, Clause 8 and I quote:

“You will not share your password, (or in the case of developers, your secret key), let anyone else access your account, or do anything else that might jeopardize the security of your account.”

The real questions then are: Are you comfortable, as a job applicant, working for a company that clearly has no issues with attempting to force (or forcing you), under duress, to breach your contract with Facebook? What does that say about how they’ll conduct themselves during your employ? Their ethical and moral compass? And is that the kind of employer you want to lend your loyalty to? (realistically it’s probably just some HR type on a power trip, not a complete reflection of the employer, but I digress)

And anyway, as someone who works in IT and is entrusted with passwords to seriously important kit, what does it say about you if you hand over your own passwords so readily?

I haven’t been asked yet in an interview to either login to facebook or cough up my details, but if I were prompted to do so, I’d decline and explain why. If they insist, I’d simply stand up, thank them for their time and leave. From there it’s either a thankful and explanatory email to the potential line manager + head of HR if you really wanted the job, or a complaint to the Department of Labour, or you write that job off your list of potentials and move on.

This is also one reason why I’m a fan of linkedin – it allows you to draw a solid line between your professional and private lives. If an interviewer wants to know how I conduct myself professionally (i.e. what actually matters to the employment relationship) then they’re more than welcome to look at my linkedin profile.

I won’t be forced to show them my private information though, not because I necessarily have something to hide, but because it’s none of their business. That and I don’t want to work for a company that has the deluded belief that how I conduct myself in my private life has a direct correlation to how I conduct myself professionally. It’s just like mandatory drug testing: Generally speaking, provided the employee’s productivity and professional conduct isn’t impacted, what they do on their own time is their business and their business alone.

By the way, this was discussed on Reddit today. There’s plenty of comments with American specific legalese, but mostly some interesting points and stories:

I then went on to look further at the ToS and added this:

Oh, and I’ll just add the following extra terms from the Facebook Terms of Service:

Section 3, Clause 5 is a nice one:

“You will not solicit login information or access an account belonging to someone else.”

Section 3, Clause 6 is arguable, depending on how insistent the interviewer is:

“You will not bully, intimidate, or harass any user.”

And Section 3, Clause 12 just ties it up in a neat bow:

“You will not facilitate or encourage any violations of this Statement.”

You don’t need to be a lawyer on this one: Interviewers asking you to login to Facebook are in the wrong.

So there you have it. If you’re asked to give your Facebook login during an interview, you don’t have to, as you’re being asked to breach your agreement with Facebook under duress.

Thoughts so far about Blogilo… easy to setup, but the visual editor doesn’t like breaking out of blockquotes.  I think this post will require a bit of manual intervention from the wordpress interface…

Installing Amahi Linux on the Acer A340

July 23rd, 2010

Royksopp – A Higher Place

I recently moved house, to move in with my girlfriend. To make things simple, I sold my old HTPC (a first gen Mac Mini, slightly warmed over and with a 1TB external drive) and home theater to the mates whose flat I was departing.

This leaves me with nowhere to store the copious amounts of porn… errr… linux iso’s that I download. I couldn’t be bothered building something from scratch, and really wanted something that was relatively simple for me to administrate and with low power consumption. Granted I could have chucked a spare Via Epia motherboard with a SATA card into a spare case and I’d have been pretty much done with it, or resurrected my Shuttle. Instead, I got a suave looking Acer Easystore H340 with 2x 1TB drives:

The first problem I have with it is that it comes with Windows Home Server, and I’m thinking of petitioning Acer for a cashback on that. Windows is dandy for gaming but for anything else… no thanks. Plus being a Linux admin I simply can’t and won’t allow that shit in my house (except, of course, for the woeful Vista that I tolerate on the girlfriend’s laptop). And on top of that you need to install management software on a Windows box to set it up, something my girlfriend quite fiercely would not allow. Windows, LOL:

So as a BSD guy at heart I checked out FreeNAS, and decided it was probably mismatched given the hardware specs, though ZFS capability is appealing (albeit basically useless in my case, with my 32bit restriction). Openfiler is much of the same. What I was really after was something that I could pretty much replace WHS with, while tying in with my current BSD and Linux work, as well as being able to hook in with my homebrew modified Wii. Then I found Amahi. It’s beta, it’s not perfect (i.e. I don’t agree with the use of MySQL in the Greyhole subsystem, I’d prefer Postgres for anything where security of data is involved) but it’s pretty damned promising.

Ok, so here’s how I installed it. Windows heads at this point need to realise that Linux has a hidden strength – the ability to move a boot drive from PC to PC, and provided the hardware is friendly – i.e. the same architecture, it’ll just work ™. The same with Windows will tend to screw with the HAL and you’ll get BSOD’s.

First, I removed the boot drive and chucked it into a spare box, an Iwill XP4 Evo with a SATA card. As the specs of the Acer are conservative (Intel Atom, 2G of memory), I went with the 32bit version of Amahi. (Also note: At the end of the post I show how you can modify a PCI-E x16 graphics card to run at PCI-E x1. You could just do that and install Amahi straight on to the A340. The instructions I give won’t work, but they’ll give you a guideline. Standard disclaimers, YMMV’s etc apply)

Then I followed the instructions written by a no doubt devilishly handsome fellow on the Amahi forums. (Hint: it was me!)

Then, with Amahi booted and running, I issued the following command:
rm /etc/udev/rules.d/70-persistent-net.rules

Then I vi’d /etc/sysconfig/network-scripts/ifcfg-eth0 and removed the HWADDRESS line, and edited ONBOOT=no to read ONBOOT=yes.

We do the above so that when Amahi next boots, it will pick up the first ethernet interface and assign it the device name “eth0″. If you’re after a more descriptive explanation, look up udev in google. Then I issued a halt, waited for the Iwill box to poweroff, then I plugged the boot drive into the Acer box, which I then fired up. Et voila!

Now for some advanced tips:
1) You’ll notice the led’s aren’t right. Do this (adjusting to suit, e.g. get the latest version from here):

yum -y install gcc-c++ libudev-devel
cd /tmp
cd mediasmartserverd/ && make
mv mediasmartserverd /opt
chmod 755 /opt/mediasmartserverd
echo "# start our led daemon" >> /etc/rc.local
echo "/opt/mediasmartserverd -D" >> /etc/rc.local
./opt/mediasmartserverd -D

2) to add another drive, use cfdisk followed by mkfs.ext4 /dev/sdb1, followed by hda-diskmount. This may require some prereq installs:

yum -y install pmount fuse fuse-libs ntfs-3g

3) … probably more to come!

Now, this wasn’t without its issues. But only because of my own stupid fault – I thought I’d shorted the debug jumper but I’d actually shorted the CMOS clear jumpers. FAIL. This set the BIOS date back to something like 2007, Fedora was then complaining about file timestamps being way out of whack and it was subsequently demanding a fsck.

A permanent fix may exist in Network Console on Acid, but for now I had to get the headless Easystore some VGA capability. Balking at the $200 cost and lead time of a debug card, instead I went to a local PC store and petitioned them for any cheap/faulty PCI-E video cards they might have. They sold me a GeForce 8500GT with a dodgy HSF for NZD$30, little did they know that I had a plan.

A couple of drops of sewing machine oil in the bearings sorted out the HSF. I then used my hand nibbler and cut it physically to x4, but that didn’t work. So with some electrical tape I knocked it back to 1x, and that did work. Along with a USB keyboard, I was then able to see that the drives needed a fsck and sorted that out. In the future I’ll pick up a cheap low profile card and make this a permanent addition to the box.

So, that’s it for now. I’ll no doubt update this post and any subsequent ones, but hopefully this helps, and good luck if you decide to try out Amahi :)

And for good measure I’ll say it again: ALL STANDARD DISCLAIMERS APPLY! I’m all care, no responsibility. :)

Sorry commenters… blame the spammers

July 23rd, 2010

Eclipse – Pink Floyd

I’ve had to crank up the requirements to post a comment here, it looks like the spammers are going nuts :(

Steve Jobs: X marks the spot

July 17th, 2010

Steve, you marked the spot with an O, not an X.



Backpacker ukulele

June 11th, 2010

Faith No More – Everything’s Ruined

So today I took delivery of my first custom ordered ukulele, a concert scale backpacker from Captain Ukuleles. It features a tote bag, Italian made Aquila nylgut strings, custom tuners, an under-saddle pickup, and a “uke stick” design reminiscent of the Risa solid-uke. In other words: there’s no headstock, and the tuners are at the tail… it’s back to front from what you’d expect.

Bevan, the man behind Captain Ukuleles had this to say about the wood:

“The Kahikatea is a special piece of wood. It came from a log pulled out of the Kaniwhaniwha stream (in Te Pahu) many years ago. It had been buried under the streambed for a long time. Possibly since settler times, as it had the remains of iron dogs for bullocks in the ends. So it’s a little like ‘Swamp’ Kahikatea. Very green. I was very lucky to get some of this wood through a friend who knew the son of the guy who found the log.
The rest of the timbers came from the south side of Pirongia. Trees that have fallen down over the years on a farm owned by an old guy I met recently.”

I really can’t take my eyes off the back of it, the grain of the Rewarewa is stunning. The grain of the Kahikatea is, for want of a better comparison, a lot like bamboo from a fibrous point of view. Ok, I’ll shut up… just check out these pics :D

Wall hanging ukuleles the landlady friendly way

May 8th, 2010

Where Do The Children Play? by Cat Stevens from The Best of Cat Stevens

So Ukulele players tend to get a disorder known as Ukulele Acquisition Syndrome (UAS). It’s quite self explanatory – you keep buying ukuleles. This in turn means that there’s plenty of space taken up by the various ukes that you own. Hanging them on the wall is a great way to get them out of the way, to showpiece them, and to make them easily grab-able. Typically this is done with a suitable guitar hanger, or a cost effective DIY hanger rack.

However, both options require screwing into the wall, which is something that doesn’t tend to fly well with landlords/landladies.

My solution is cheap and simple: 3m command strips

Two Christmases ago, I was given a Kalimba… or at least a version made in Bali that approximates one:

I hung this the same way that I now hang cheap ‘beater’ ukuleles: nail a sawtooth hook on the back and use a sawtooth command strip.

For more expensive ukes, though, you don’t want to be nailing anything into them, so I go a bit harder core and use two 3m Wire Hooks, and I hang the uke by its tuner pegs. These things are rated to take 2kg each, so they’re also a good choice if you’re hanging a slightly heavier uke such as an electric acoustic.

Would I do this with a really expensive uke? Hell no. The command strips are pretty damn reliable, but they’re not infallible. The packaging on them even says “DO NOT use for antiques, heirlooms or other valuable or irreplaceable items”. However, in saying that, I’ve never had a problem with the strips, so I trust them to a point.

No, when I get a really expensive uke, I’ll probably build a multi uke stand, probably along the lines of this. Until then, here’s the view from my desk:

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