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PGP Keysigning Party at BarCampRochester4

March 26th, 2009

I’m organizing a PGP keysigning party at this year’s BarCamp Rochester.  For those of you who are unfamiliar with PGP, it’s a system for sending encrypted messages.  More information can be found in this guide.  The purpose of a keysigning party is to integrate yourself into and expand PGP’s web of trust, which prevents participants from being tricked into addressing their messages to a clever eavesdropper rather than to their indended recipient.

BarCamp will take place on April 18th, on the third floor of the GCCIS building (#70) on RIT campus.  The keysigning party will happen at 2:00 PM.  If you’re interested in attending, you’ll need to do a little bit of preparation:

Before the Party

  1. Send me an email to let me know you’ll be there.  This isn’t absolutely necessary, but I’d like to get a rough estimate of how big the party will be.  You’re also encouraged (though not strictly required) to sign up for BarCamp and give some kind of presentation.
  2. If you don’t have one already, create a PGP keypair.
  3. Print out slips of paper with your key’s fingerprint, along with your name and the email address associated with the key.  You should be able to fit several of these onto a single sheet of paper (18 if you lay them out like so).  As of this writing I don’t know what the turnout will be like, but I’m guessing one sheet will be enough.
  4. Bring a pen and the slips of paper with you to the party.  Also bring identification, preferably two forms, at least one of which is a photo ID and one of which is government-issued.  Driver’s license, passport, etc.  Don’t bring a computer (or if you do, leave it powered off), you won’t need it.

Read the rest of this entry »

How to get ProFont working in Ubuntu

March 21st, 2009

At the suggestion of a friend, I’ve recently started using a font called “ProFont” for my programming and other terminal-related activities.  It’s quite nice, and designed to be readable at small sizes.  I use it at 8 point:

8 point ProFont in an 80x24 terminal

8 point ProFont in an 80x24 terminal

I don’t actually use 80×24 anymore, but you get the idea.

It didn’t immediately work when I installed it on my main machine (which runs Kubuntu), and it took some digging to figure out why.  It turns out that fonts on modern Linux machines are handled by a horrible chimera.  There’s the new font system, “fontconfig”, as well as the old “core X font subsystem”.  The instructions that I had found online installed ProFont into the old font system, but not into the new one.  I also tried using the GUI font configuration tool provided by KDE, but it did nothing.

After much searching and frustration, I discovered that Ubuntu and its variants have fontconfig configured to not use bitmap fonts by default.  ProFont is a bitmap font, and such fonts are usually used by old X applications that use the old font system.  The reason for this configuration is that a lot of the bitmap fonts have the same name as other fonts on your system, and if they’re enabled they may in some instances end up being used instead of the typically better-looking vector fonts that you usually see.

In order to get ProFont working, you’ll need to add an exception to your fontconfig configuration.  I suggest editing the ~/.fonts.conf file, which contains user-specific options.  Here’s mine, with the part that I added in bold: Read the rest of this entry »

Hey Look

March 18th, 2009

I made a WordPress theme.

Okay, so it’s a bit raw right now, but at least it’s integrating nicely into the site.