Sep 172018
 

Politicians and bureaucrats, aren’t they wonderful?  They create some of the laws that are the cornerstone of our civilisation.  We gain much stability in the world from their work.

Many are often well versed in law, and how the legal systems of the world, work.  They believe that their laws are above all overs.

So much so, they’ll even try to legislate the ratio of a circle’s circumference from its diameter.  Thankfully back then, others had better common sense.

They legislated for websites to display a banner on their pages that people have to click, telling the user that the website uses cookies for XYZ purpose.  Now, I have never set foot in Europe, I really don’t have any desire to leave Australia for that matter.  I am not a European citizen.  I do not use a VPN for accessing foreign websites: they see my Australian IP address.

In spite of this, now every website insists on pestering me about a law that is not in force here.  You know what?  You can disable cookies.  It is a feature of web browsers.  Even NCSA Mosaic, Netscape Navigator and the first versions of Internet Explorer (which were dead ringers for NCSA’s browser by the way), had this feature.  I’m talking mid-90s era browsers … and every descendent thereon.

It’d be far more effective for the browser to ask if XYZ site was allowed to set a cookie, but no, let’s foist this burden onto the website owner.  I don’t doubt people abuse this feature for various nefarious purposes, but a solution this is not!

It gets better though.  To quote the EFF (Today, Europe Lost The Internet. Now, We Fight Back):

Today, in a vote that split almost every major EU party, Members of the European Parliament adopted every terrible proposal in the new Copyright Directive and rejected every good one, setting the stage for mass, automated surveillance and arbitrary censorship of the internet: text messages like tweets and Facebook updates; photos; videos; audio; software code — any and all media that can be copyrighted.

Three proposals passed the European Parliament, each of them catastrophic for free expression, privacy, and the arts:

1. Article 13: the Copyright Filters. All but the smallest platforms will have to defensively adopt copyright filters that examine everything you post and censor anything judged to be a copyright infringement.

Yep, this is basically much like China’s Great Firewall, just outsourced.

It actually has me thinking about whether it is possible to detect if a given HTTP client is from the EU, and respond back with a HTTP error 451, because doing business in the EU is just too dangerous legally.

Sep 022018
 

Originally, when I started down the path of running my own server, I was an unemployed student, so the servers were hand-me-down second hand affairs and the domains I used were freebie ones.  I started out with no-ip.com, and when they changed their policies, I switched to yi.org (in 2007).

yi.org have been fantastic.  Not only is the domain short, but they also allow many record types including TXT (needed for SPF rules), AAAA (IPv6), MX (for mail servers) and NS, yes they’ll even let you delegate a subdomain to DNS servers of your choosing.

That said, they did have a spot of unreliability a few years back (around 2015).  Given that I now have an income of my own, it no longer made sense to just go for free services, so I bought a couple of id.au domains.  My email client was configured so that in the event someone sent me an email to the old address, they would see the following in my reply:

Reply-To: user@longlandclan.id.au
Subject: Re: …
References: <…>
To: …
From: "Stuart Longland (OLD ADDRESS see reply-to)"
 <user@longlandclan.yi.org>

I’ve been doing this for a few years now.  The yi.org domains now only receive mail that comes into two categories:

  • people who still use the old email address not realising I’ve changed
  • spammers that have harvested the old email address

From October this year, I’ll be bouncing emails sent to the old domain, with a link to this page.  From November this year, the MX records for the yi.org domains will disappear.  In short I will not be receiving email from any of the old yi.org addresses from November 2018!

If you see yi.org in an email address for one of us, now is the time to replace that with id.au.  If you see one ending in hopto.org, then you are really out of date.

Please note, I might be able to give you instructions on how to update the email address in your client, but I’ll assume your client works exactly the same as mine does to the pixel, my instructions will be something along the lines of “Go to the Tools menu, click Address Book, type ‘yi.org’ into Criteria, press ENTER, then for each contact you see with my old address in it, double-click on it, change the address and click OK”.

I provide 0 support for email clients I don’t use: I’ll assume you know how to use your system or know how to research the problem, it’s not up to me to teach you as life’s too short.