How Google Chrome stores passwords

Well, I’ve been a bit hesitant to save passwords when using Google Chrome because it does not ask for a “Master Password” like Firefox does. So, I didn’t know if it encrypted the stored passwords, or if it did encrypt them, where it got the encryption key from. Then I found this article which looks at the source code for Chrome on Windows to see that it uses a Windows system call to encrypt the password using the user’s Windows password. Nice.

Which means that this is one component that they have to keep re-writing on various platforms to use whatever is native. Which is probably why Mozilla went with their own scheme.

Rip and encode

So, I got frustrated at the awkwardness of ripping a CD to MP3 on Linux (Fedora in particular), so I wrote this little Python script. It rips the current CD to the current directory using cdda2wav, and then calls LAME to encode to MP3, naming the files by track number and name. Requires: cdda2wav, LAME, and Python. Python and cdda2wav are available in the standard Fedora distribution. You will have to get LAME elsewhere, or download the source and build it yourself.

Geek out.

Technorati Tags: , , , , , ,

I say Tomato, you say DD-WRT

So, after being a bit frustrated at stability, and seemingly non-functioning Quality of Service (QoS) control with DD-WRT, I switched to Tomato. Specifically, the SpeedMod build by Rodney Chua (a Malaysian hacker) with some updates and improvements over the current Tomato build. Improvements include back-patched code from Linux 2.4.21 into the 2.4.20 of the Tomato firmware.

This is all running on my Buffalo WHR-HP-G54, which has a built-in amplifier and decent amount of RAM. Anyway, I had been running DD-WRT for well over a year with no serious issues. However, the router did have a tendency to hang about once a month. In addition, I never was sure if the QoS worked well. (DD-WRT and Tomato are open source firmware which runs on a popular wifi router chipset, first widely used in a Linksys WRT model wifi router. The firmware uses a Linux kernel, and makes a cheap home router into a serious bit of networking gear. See the Wikipedia entry.)

So, a month ago, I switched our apartment from Comcast to RCN. It was a no-brainer: faster net service (10 Mbps instead of 6 Mbps), no Torrent munging (I always saw my Torrents die), plus better cable TV service (HD, DVR, HBO), all at a lower price. Since then, I’ve been very satisfied with RCN. My Torrents do not die with odd errors, I don’t experience frequent outages of connectivity, and I get to record Dr. Who.

Anyway, doing a bit of Googling about QoS led me to a bunch of blog and forum posts where people said they liked Tomato better. As of yesterday, I’m running Tomato. So far, so good. I like the lightweight UI for configuration. I like the detailed QoS settings. And I love the bandwidth usage data.

Tomato Bandwidth Graph

Oh, and I’ve now had this blog for about 5 years.

Technorati Tags: , , , , , ,


I use GMail and want to have mailto: links be handled by GMail’s web interface, rather than Jack Dorsey wrote a simple handler program called GMailto. It was nice: set it as the default email application, and any email links clicked would call up GMail’s new message composing page.

Then, it stopped working. Thankfully, source code is available, and I was able to make the little mods to get it working again. Here’s the hacked source. You’ll need to compile it yourself with XCode.

Technorati Tags: , , ,


So, for work, I have to deal with this “language” called Mortran. Technically, it’s a macro pre-processor that converts Mortran code to Fortran. It does make for easier reading than vanilla Fortran77.

Anyway, I’m accustomed to having syntax coloring in my editors to help get a quick view of the “bones” of the code. Since Mortran is such an ancient and little-used language, none of the editors I used have a package to colorize Mortran code.

I tried hacking one up for Emacs, but my Elisp is quite a bit rusty, and I got nowhere after a couple of hours. So, I turned to Textmate, the editor I use on my Mac. It has a simpler syntax for writing colorizers. Et voilà, I now have a colorizer package for Mortran.

I do still want to hack something up for Emacs, though, since I still use it as my primary editor on Linux.

Technorati Tags: , , , ,

The Joy of Coding Together

One thing about working as an academic researcher who does a lot of programming that I dislike is that I frequently work alone. Contrast this with a typical open source project with moderate levels of activity, for instance nmh, a command-line mail client (MUA for you geeks). (I’ve submitted a few fixes to exmh, a related project.) Anyway, I’ve been following the discussions on nmh-workers (like this one), and I love the collaborative work that happens.

Technorati Tags: , , , ,

Plots, plots, plots

Busy making plots for the American Association of Physicists in Medicine annual conference at the end of the month. Some are pretty. Not as pretty as this old plot, but the stuff I learnt making that one helped me make this. I have a script that cranks out about 2 dozen plots semi-automatically.

Fixed Partial Denture Y55 Xz-1

Listening to “100 por Carlos Gardel” (Carlos Gardel), which my roomie brought home from her trip to Buenos Aires

Technorati Tags: , , ,


I’ve always relied on free (gratis, and libre) text editors for programming. The first real editor I used, and the one I have been using for the longest time, was Emacs. (Of course, I had inherited a .emacs file written by a former grad student at Cornell, C.Y. Tan, when I was there as an undergrad that made Emacs behave like WordStar (history), a word processor that I used a lot for a project while in high school. I still remembered all the keystrokes.) Then, being a sysadmin, I had to learn vi (or a recent incarnation called vim), which I still use for quick editing jobs.

When I switched to Mac OS X, I still used Emacs. They had a version that was built with the Mac OS Carbon libraries, so it behaved somewhat like a Mac program. My WordStar bindings, however, remained in effect. Then I tried some other free editors, finally settling on Smultron. The two features that convinced me to use it were single-window editing, and the concept of a “project”, i.e. a set of files that were logically grouped together.

I’ve used BBEdit, albeit the older version that came free with my TiBook, but I was never too thrilled by it. Then I tried TextMate, and I got hooked. I resisted buying it for a couple of months.

I also got Eclipse -- a full-featured IDE, not just an editor -- working on the Linux box on my desk at work, but it was a bit too slow on my laptop. It’s great, though. Especially if you have to deal with someone else’s code: it has all these automatic refactoring tools, plus documentation of libraries pop up when you hover the cursor over a symbol.

So, I bit the bullet this afternoon, and paid for TextMate because I was getting frustrated with Smultron’s syntax highlighting, for one thing. And I was pining for some of the IDEish features that TextMate has: smart completion, templates, etc. It takes a lot for me to pay for software because I am so used to using free software (both gratis and libre). I paid for ecto, which is what I use to blog. And a couple of other things that I needed for work. Oh, and Mac OS X updates, though I have held off from Tiger. Anyway, I think €39 ($50) wasn’t too bad a price.

In other news, the show is coming together. I love seeing all the separate bits coalescing to form a complete show.

Technorati Tags: , ,