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Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

CodeCon 2005 For sheer hackerly exuberance, the best-received presentation at CodeCon 2005 was the closer by Dan Kaminsky of Doxpara, showing the progress he's made on his DNS exploit OzymanDNS since he presented it at Defcon last August.

At that time he offered to archive Knoppix across 35,000 DNS caches by posting, to each cache, 80 records of 256 bytes each - he's now simplified that to something more like five records of 4k each. It's still untraceable, unblockable by firewalls, and allows effectively unlimited simultaneous downloads, with the download speed limited primarily by how fast your system can run his Perl script.

He calls this extremely versatile new trick "Fragile Router Protocol" and warns security mavens they're going to have to start hustling to have any hope of keeping up.

The flashiest demo of the day was Incoherence, a visualization tool for helping record producers maximize the subjective separation between instruments, and to fill the perceived space with a full range of frequencies. This is available as a fun free download for various platforms.

Meredith Patterson of Integrated DNA Technology showed how to isolate DNA at home using shampoo, meat tenderizer, and a salad-spinner, and assured the audience that anthrax DNA could indeed theoretically be created using the web tools offered by her company. And after the very first Sunday presentation, one audience member claimed he found the new web programming language Wheat "so beautiful, it's made me cry!" [bedwetters - ed.]

The most stimulating concept of Day Two was arguably a programming triviality - in order to raise the level of debate in their online courseware, H2O, the Berkman Center of Harvard Law School introduced an artificial delay (call it "positive community latency" perhaps), so that posts were just as likely to be read if their authors took several days to craft them, as if they jumped in immediately with something inane.

Slashdot is of course the canonical example of the inverse relation between speed and seriousness - if a latency of even an hour or two were introduced, and all posts made during that time displayed at once in order of karmic reputation, the general level of debate would surely rise substantially.

See the CodeCon site for more details. ®

[Jorn Barger's celebrated weblog Robot Wisdom is back online - ed.]

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