Chad Perrin: SOB

6 June 2009

Opera Sucks

Filed under: Geek,Mezilla,Review,Security — apotheon @ 04:21

I don’t like Opera as a browser. I pointed this out, very briefly, in Web browsers suck. I was recently asked in another venue why I don’t like Opera, though, and felt like it would be a waste if I let the list of critiques I provided vanish into the anonymous pile of discussion there. I’ll share them here, for the sake of posterity:

  • Default keyboard shortcut support isn’t as complete or “friendly” as that of Chrome, Firefox, or Internet Explorer.

  • Tab placement isn’t contextually linked to displayed content very well.

  • Toolbar layout isn’t very customizable.

  • For the same display elements with default skins, Opera toolbars take up more space.

  • The text-search interface uses the same ugly-ass, inconvenient format as in most MS Windows applications.

  • It seems to focus more on ACID compliance than on implementation of (X)HTML and CSS standards that people actually use.

  • It’s closed source software, and thus less trustworthy.

I may come up with more complaints about Opera later. If so, I’ll add them to the list.

There are some positives to Opera, of course. I just don’t find them to be good enough to overcome the negatives. The examples that occur to me are:

  • It seems to be fairly quick — maybe a little quicker than Firefox, about on par with Google Chrome. I imagine I’ll see some speed improvement from Chrome in the near future, though, especially once extension support gets added (it’s already in a development version) so I can install extensions that block unwanted content.

  • It has reasonably configurable security-related preferences, maybe on par with those of Firefox. That would make it more configurable in this respect than Google Chrome, which appears to be the slow kid on the block when it comes to individual security and privacy preferences at the moment. Chrome’s Incognito mode is great, but I’d like the configurability to be able to hit a sweet spot between the normal mode and Incognito mode for most of my browsing.

I don’t know if I’ll come up with any more positives worth mentioning.

11 May 2009

Kel-Tec P32 + CCI Blazer = Click

Filed under: Geek,Liberty,Review,Security — apotheon @ 09:32

The SigO and I went to the grasslands to do some shooting on Saturday morning. We discovered that part of the reason she doesn’t like firing my Glock is that, as a southpaw shooter, the magazine release on the thing gouges her hand near the base of her index finger, particularly when it recoils. Since it’s a .40 S&W caliber handgun with a lightweight polymer frame, it recoils a bit. Magazine releases are really high on the list of things to look out for when shopping for a gun for her.

Another big lesson for the day was the discovery that CCI Blazer FMJ .32 ACP sucks in the Kel-Tec P32. We put 57 rounds through the P32 that day, 50 of which were the CCI Blazers. About one of every three rounds misfired. Point, squeeze . . . click. It would dimple the primer, but nothing would ignite. Recock, squeeze again — 60% or so chance it’ll fire on the second try. All of them fired by the third try, except one that took about six or seven tries to get it to discharge. I wanted all that ammo expended. Considering the whole point of a P32 is to have a highly concealable sidearm for defensive concealed carry, misfires are a really bad idea.

The previous week, I put 50 rounds of FMJ from Aguila Ammunition through it with the help of a friend (we swapped off shooting the P32), and it went without a hitch. While struggling this last Saturday to get the CCI Blazer ammo to fire, I expended a full magazine of Federal Premium’s Hydra-Shok (my defensive ammo of choice for carry) through the barrel just to make sure what I was carrying would actually do some good if (God forbid) I should ever be called upon to defend myself with it, and it went as slick as a whistle. Not one single magazine of CCI Blazer was expended without at least one, usually two, misfired cartridges. I don’t intend to ever buy another round of CCI Blazer again, after a performance like that. I’m tempted to hunt down a box of Winchester white box FMJ .32 ACP to see how well it performs, since I’m sure it would be cheaper than the Blazer.

Amusingly, I have discovered that I have a tendency to confuse people in gun shops when shopping for FMJ ammunition. I have a habit of calling it “ball” rather than “FMJ”, because that’s what we called the full metal jacket 5.56mm ammunition in the Army: “5.56mm ball ammo”. Yeah, people give me weird looks and say interesting things like “What?” I really need to adjust my jargon. They probably all thought I was an idiot. Bullets aren’t balls!

Addendum: I found reference to someone else having problems with CCI Blazer in a Kel-Tec P32, as well. Apparently, Kel-Tec recommends avoiding CCI Blazer.

Another Addendum: I’ve been informed by someone who would probably know that the reason the CCI Blazers misfire in my P32 is that CCI uses “hard” primers — which are, along with Winchester’s “hard” primers, recommended for reloading/handloading, because of their reduced likelihood of going off while handloading ammo (that is to say, creating a live cartridge by putting a new bullet, primer, and powder charge in a used shell casing). When buying factory ammo, though, I think I’ll just avoid CCI and Winchester ammo for my P32, at least unless and until I replace the firing pin spring with something that provides more tension so it’ll set off the harder primers on the first try every time.

Yet Another Addendum: I tried CCI Blazer with aluminum casings, and discovered that it fires quite well in my P32. Apparently, it’s only the brass-cased Blazers that have that problem.

15 November 2008

sshd_config: GatewayPorts for error-free proxy

Filed under: Geek,Security — apotheon @ 01:27

Note to self:

When using SSH as a secure proxy for Web browsing and IMs, to protect myself from eavesdroppers on public wireless networks, make sure you have the following two options set in the sshd_config file on the system you’re using as the remote proxy:

AllowTcpForwarding yes
GatewayPorts       yes

The AllowTcpForwarding option should be “yes” by default (as is the case with FreeBSD), anyway. GatewayPorts, on the other hand, is “no” by default. When GatewayPorts is set to “no”, you’ll probably be able to do (almost?) all your Web browsing and IMing through the proxy, but you’ll get error messages in the terminal emulator window you’re using for the SSH connection that look something like this:

channel 6: open failed: administratively prohibited: open failed
channel 8: open failed: administratively prohibited: open failed
channel 14: open failed: administratively prohibited: open failed
channel 15: open failed: administratively prohibited: open failed
channel 21: open failed: administratively prohibited: open failed
channel 21: open failed: administratively prohibited: open failed
channel 12: open failed: administratively prohibited: open failed
channel 31: open failed: administratively prohibited: open failed
channel 8: open failed: administratively prohibited: open failed
channel 26: open failed: administratively prohibited: open failed
channel 16: open failed: administratively prohibited: open failed
channel 16: open failed: administratively prohibited: open failed
channel 10: open failed: administratively prohibited: open failed
channel 11: open failed: administratively prohibited: open failed
channel 10: open failed: administratively prohibited: open failed

In other news — if anyone knows why I can’t get freebsd.org to load when I’m using an SSH SOCKS proxy, please tell me. I haven’t figured that one out yet. I know changing the UseDNS option’s setting on the server doesn’t fix the problem, even though that seems like the obvious answer.

EDIT:

Actually, you might still get those administratively prohibited errors even with the GatewayPorts options set. C’est la vie.

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All original content Copyright Chad Perrin: Distributed under the terms of the Open Works License