We’ve all heard of Russian roulette, the game where you take a 6-shooter, put 1 bullet in it, spin it, and point it at your head. I’m hoping this only exists in movies.

But what about DNS roulette? Here’s an example. I’m using a web service (Travis) as a CI. And like all good microservices things, there are multiple endpoints, all accessed by my browser. One of them is ‘api.travis-ci.org’. I’m finding the web page is a bit flakey, sometimes it works, sometimes not.

So lets dig in shall we? I try DNS lookup:

$ host api.travis-ci.org
api.travis-ci.org is an alias for nagano-4814.herokussl.com.
nagano-4814.herokussl.com is an alias for elb052915-208107455.us-east-1.elb.amazonaws.com.
elb052915-208107455.us-east-1.elb.amazonaws.com has address
elb052915-208107455.us-east-1.elb.amazonaws.com has address
elb052915-208107455.us-east-1.elb.amazonaws.com has address
Host elb052915-208107455.us-east-1.elb.amazonaws.com not found: 3(NXDOMAIN)
Host elb052915-208107455.us-east-1.elb.amazonaws.com not found: 3(NXDOMAIN)

ah, there’s the problem. You see, they have a CNAME which points to a CNAME which points to 5 names, only 3 of which resolve. So whenever I resolve it my browser might work, or might not. No error is shown since this is all AJAX (its done in teh background asynchronously by Javascript, the A and J are Asynch and JavaScript).

Lovely. Very consumer friendly 🙂

Its national radon month here in the great white north. They estimate 21, 100 Canadians will die of lung cancer this year, 3000 of those because of Radon. Have you gone and bought your Radon monitor yet?

You, yes you, need one if you have a basement or ground floor to your house. If you live in the clouds, ignore this PSA 🙂

Yes I know you checked 8 years ago once when you had the home inspection. No that is not relevant, you need to check constantly. Yes I know you borrowed a friends meter last month, no that is not relevant, you need to check constantly, it varies day by day.

Do you really want to be that person coughing up what’s left of their lungs in a few years? No? Get off your but and click the link, go to best buy, whatever.

I recommend the Airthings Wave, but I suppose there are others. I wouldn’t get the charcoal ones (who’s going to send that in the mail? really?).

The naysayers about the ‘valve-stem lights’ were wrong: they are still working!

But, time goes on, and, well, nobody can really tell what those things say and there’s no obvious way to update the firmware. (Yes, bike valve-stem firmware, its a thing, get over it).

So enter this. Its *much* brighter (driven by an 18650 battery), bigger, and, they say, can do real images and animations. So sayeth the video.

But even better, the device has open source firmware on github. Its some sort of 8251-derivative processor, so its not exactly a super-computer, but it seems to be able to do some decent effects. Here it is installed on my tire, and below the promo video showing it in its glorious rubik’s cube action.

People freeze up when a microphone is thrust in their face. They shut down the though processes and go with it.

Lets see about passwords. They should be:

  • Not a pet’s name nor related to your age
  • Not be where you are from
  • Not shared with strangers on the street

Lets see how these random people did…. O wait, they failed all 3 within seconds.

Now, this seems hilarious. Laugh at these poor souls knowing you would never do something so stupid. Now lets switch gears and talk about the plague of ‘anti-vaxxers’. That’s right, these science denying fools have brought measles back to Europe and killed 37 people this year. Stupidity is shocking. Now lets link the two. Herd immunity. Its not just your password strength that matters for you, its that of your friends and family. If someone hacks their account, they can use that to get to you. You’d do anything for that friend, and, suddenly they email you or message you, they are in trouble. You know its them, you spring to action. Too late, it was a hacker who got their account which was fluffy1984.

Or your bank. Suddenly your bank fees go up because they are losing money due to fraud.

Or that friend has enough personal information on you for someone to open a credit card in your name, and someone hacked their account.

So… Here’s my PSA. Ask a couple of friends and family if they:

  • use the same password on >1 site
  • use a well known fact and a number

as a password. Then help them fix it. Install Chrome and show them how it will automatically create strong passwords per site. Or show them LastPass or something like that. But don’t let them tell you its just their problem. Its society’s. They are causing measles and death, and that is not cool.