Difference between revisions of "News"

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Revision as of 07:41, 31 January 2012

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Extension:DynamicPageList (DPL), version 3.0.6: Warning: Unknown parameter 'dplcacheperiod' was ignored. Help: available parameters: addauthor, addcategories, addcontribution, addeditdate, addexternallink, addfirstcategorydate, addlasteditor, addpagecounter, addpagesize, addpagetoucheddate, adduser, allowcachedresults, allrevisionsbefore, allrevisionssince, articlecategory, cacheperiod, categoriesminmax, category, categorymatch, categoryregexp, columns, count, createdby, debug, distinct, dominantsection, eliminate, escapelinks, execandexit, firstrevisionsince, fixcategory, format, headingcount, headingmode, hiddencategories, hitemattr, hlistattr, ignorecase, imagecontainer, imageused, include, includematch, includematchparsed, includemaxlength, includenotmatch, includenotmatchparsed, includepage, includesubpages, includetrim, inlinetext, itemattr, lastmodifiedby, lastrevisionbefore, linksfrom, linksto, linkstoexternal, listattr, listseparators, maxrevisions, minoredits, minrevisions, mode, modifiedby, multisecseparators, namespace, noresultsfooter, noresultsheader, notcategory, notcategorymatch, notcategoryregexp, notcreatedby, notlastmodifiedby, notlinksfrom, notlinksto, notmodifiedby, notnamespace, nottitlematch, nottitleregexp, notuses, offset, oneresultfooter, oneresultheader, openreferences, order, ordercollation, ordermethod, qualitypages, randomcount, redirects, replaceintitle, reset, resultsfooter, resultsheader, rowcolformat, rows, rowsize, scroll, secseparators, showcurid, shownamespace, skipthispage, stablepages, suppresserrors, table, tablerow, tablesortcol, title, titlegt, titlelt, titlematch, titlemaxlength, titleregexp, usedby, userdateformat, uses.

7 June 2010

Bitcoin: Open Source P2P eCash is here!

Bitcoin is an open source peer-to-peer (a.k.a "p2p") electronic cash system that's completely decentralised, with no central server, trusted authorities or middle men. The availability of bitcoins can't be manipulated by governments or financial institutions. Bitcoin already has a number of exchanges for converting to and from other currencies; BitcoinFX, New Liberty Standard, Bitcoin Exchange and Bitcoin Market.

Bitcoin may last for years and become a popular global currency, or it could be just a flash in the pan, but either way I think this is an important sign of the times to come. This is one of the first truly decentralised currencies and has paved the way for hundreds more to compete together in the new arena of Cipherspace over the coming years. This is one of the key factors in the transition of global society into the post-nation-state economy talked about in The Sovereign Individual.

In a p2p computer network there are no servers, the entire network is composed of users running instances of the application on their computers. Each running instance offers a small amount of processing and storage resource to the network so that it can deliver the services it was designed for such as redundant storage, anonymity or voice-over-IP applications.

In the case of a p2p currency system, some of the services the network is designed to offer are privacy, verification, authentication, currency creation and transfer of ownership. To ensure a reliable and tamper-proof system requires a lot of resource, and that amount is proportional to the amount of coins in the network. The network is able to pay the users for the resource they offer by making the coin-creation process part of the network protocol itself instead of being handled by a central trusted authority. This creates a natural and incorruptible link between the supply of currency in the network and the demand for it.[this bit is factually incorrect, but left in place for historical reasons]

Even aside from the ability to exchange bitcoins for other currencies, it still makes a very useful tool for independent organisations and groups because it allows them to trade and settle accounts amongst themselves independently and privately. It effectively gives them a "bank" that has a trustworthy system of accounts that can't be tampered with and requires no corruptible central authority to operate. See the Bitcoin Whitepaper for more detail about how it works.

To try Bitcoin, download the Bitcoin software, then once it's running, click 'Generate Coins' which will pay you bitcoins in exchange for your computer working to validate bitcoin transactions. Check the exchange rate to calculate how many bitcoins need to be sent. The payer can purchase additional bitcoins if needed. The payer's previously generated bitcoins allow for a lower out of pocket payment. The payer then sends the bitcoins to the receiver using the Bitcoin software. The receiver can then sell their bitcoins for dollars. The receiver's previously generated bitcoins allow a higher dollar payout.

See also

  • WeBank - Report organised by Nesta and OpenBusiness.cc about P2P finance

18 March 2013

The first haircut goes to Cyprus!

On Saturday, Cypriot deposit-holders got a nasty surprise when they learned that EU ministers and the IMF agreed to massive bailout plan for Cyprus, which includes a one-time tax of 9.9% on Cypriot bank deposits that exceed 100,000 euros, as well as a tax of 6.75% on smaller deposits.

The unprecedented decision, which appears to punish ordinary citizens for failures in the financial system, has sparked panic and protests as people queued up at ATM machines to rescue their savings. Many cash machines ran out of banknotes because of the panic withdrawals.

It would be hard to over-emphasize how significant the Cyprus situation is. The EU demonstrated under no uncertain circumstances that they will destroy the rule of law to maintain their own power. It was a recognition of tyranny that many of us have always assumed was the case but yesterday became reality.

Bitcoin jumped up a few dollars going over USD $50 shortly after the Cyprus haircut occurred showing that a significant loss of faith in the fiat currencies has likely been caused by the haircut (edit: now two weeks after the haircut, Bitcoin is over $90!). Expect gold to go up shortly too and silver even more as it's unnaturally far below it's usual 1/16th of gold's value.

Central Bank of Cyprus Memo.png


23 June 2007

OD's URL's get slightly friendlier

Our Mod-Rewrite rules have been updated today to allow them to become even more friendly by not appending any page name to the URL when requests are made to the naked domain name. The new rules are as follows:

RewriteEngine On
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_URI} ^/$
RewriteRule ^/(.*) /index.php/Main_Page [L]
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_URI} !^/(wiki|files)/
RewriteRule ^/(.*) /index.php/$1 [L]

The first condition and rule pair handles requests to the naked domain name and rewrites the to Main_Page so that the URL doesn't get appended with the "Main Page" name. The second pair says not to touch any URL's which start with /wiki/ or /files/, this protects all old-style article requests, and requests to internal MediaWiki files like scripts or images. It also allows other directories of web documents outside the wiki such as http://www.organicdesign.co.nz/files/od/media

See also

17 May 2015

Happy Birthday Organic Design wiki!

Organic Design wiki is ten years old today! Rob made the first edit way back in 2005 on this day, when he created the article CD to boot both Mac and PC on our brand new MediaWiki version 1.4! Rob set up the wiki so that we could collaborate on our code and ideas together more easily, and it really made a huge difference to our productivity.

Over the years the wiki has been used for organising our many different concepts and projects such as many MediaWiki extensions, the original nodal network concept, our many documented procedures and even pictures, notes and the odd photo story. It's also been very useful for storing general technical articles such as Nginx and SSL and for documenting jobs such as Google Maps API and Extension:jQueryUpload.

Since I moved to Brazil the wiki has been my main way to keep friends and family up to date with what Beth and I are up to over here, starting with Moving from Curitiba to Canela all the way up to our recent current posts in 2014 Holiday in Brazil and Our third year on the land which both use the Bliki extension to make the wiki work more like a real blog.

Although our main focus is now the land, meditation and related projects such as our rural net connection and our house, I'm still working mainly with MediaWiki for my job and actively developing and maintaining MediaWiki extensions, the most recent being Extension:WebSocket and AjaxComments 2.0.

So Happy 10th anniversary Organic Design wiki, thanks for all your organisation!

PartyPopper.svg

14 June 2007

EmailToWiki extension completed

The EmailToWiki extension was completed today. The EmailToWiki extension allows emails to be sent to and appended to articles in the wiki using pagename@your-wiki-domain email addresses. See MW:Extension:EmailToWiki for installation and usage details, or check out the code in the local Extension:EmailToWiki article.


23 July 2014

Ethereum Genesis Sale starts today!

Ethereum Logo.png
Ethereum is a new crypto-currency that has been under development for the last couple of years lead by Vitalik Buterin. Ethereum is not just another "alt coin" though, it really is the next generation of this paradigm, taking it out of the basic currency role by offering full-scale general purpose distributed application development and testing framework. Ethereum does still have an associated currency aspect called "Ether" (ETH) which performs the important role of "fuel" in the Ethereum network. Distributed applications in the Ethereum network require payments in the form of Ether to fuel every computational step and storage operation on the system.

Bitcoin and Litecoin are often thought of as the gold and silver of the crypto-currencies. To continue with that analogy, Ethereum could be considered as the "oil" of crypto-currency since it plays the role of fuel which can be used for any generic application. Another interesting and important aspect is that Ethereum could help to pave the way towards how a real-world resource-based economy might be implemented, which seems to be the only viable way to transcend the economic bottom-line problem.

Yesterday was a special day for the Ethereum community because the so-called "Genesis Sale" of Ether began. The Genesis Sale is a forty two day period in which Ether is being made available in exchange for bitcoin starting at a rate of 2000 ETH per BTC for the first two weeks and then reducing by 30 ETH each day after that. Ethers are purchased from the Ethereum home page at www.ethereum.org. All the BTC accepted by the organisation for he purchase of Ethers are deposited into a single bitcoin address so that people can easily see how much has been bought so far here. As I write this about twenty hours into the sale over five thousand BTC worth has already been purchased which is over three million US dollars!

See also:


9 April 2014

Critical bug named "Heartbleed" found in OpenSSL

On April 7, 2014, it was announced that all versions of OpenSSL in the 1.0.1 series up to and including 1.0.1f had a severe memory handling error in their implementation of the TLS Heartbeat Extension. This error could be used to reveal up to 64 kilobytes of the application's memory. The vulnerability had existed since December 31, 2011, and had been adopted to widespread use since the release of the OpenSSL version 1.0.1 on March 14, 2012. By reading the memory of the SSL server, attackers could access sensitive data, compromising the security of the server and its users. Potentially vulnerable secure data include the server's private master key, which enables attackers to break the encryption of the server's earlier eavesdropped communications and impersonate as the server. The vulnerability might also reveal unencrypted parts of other user's sensitive requests and responses, including session cookies and passwords, which might allow attackers to hijack the identity of another user of the service. At its disclosure, some 17% or half a million of the Internet's secure web servers certified by trusted authorities were believed to have been vulnerable to the attack. [more...].

The warning about the bug in OpenSSL coincided with the release of version 1.0.1g of the open-source program, which is the default cryptographic library used in the Apache and nginx Web server applications, as well as a wide variety of operating systems and e-mail and instant-messaging clients. The bug, which has resided in production versions of OpenSSL for more than two years, could make it possible for people to recover the private encryption key at the heart of the digital certificates used to authenticate Internet servers and to encrypt data traveling between them and end users. Attacks leave no traces in server logs, so there's no way of knowing if the bug has been actively exploited. Still, the risk is extraordinary, given the ability to disclose keys, passwords, and other credentials that could be used in future compromises. [more...]

Here at Organic Design we have suffered from this flaw since 1 July 2013 when we upgraded from Debian 6 to Debian 7. Luckily we've been using Perfect Forward Secrecy since then which means that only live man-in-the-middle attacks would have been able to reveal any information, but changing passwords and certificates is still best done to be on the safe side. We upgraded the OS yesterday which implemented this security patch.

See also:


11 October 2013

The Internet decides to fire the U.S.

Internet fires US.png
In Montevideo, Uruguay this week, the Directors of all the major Internet organizations – ICANN, the Internet Engineering Task Force, the Internet Architecture Board, the World Wide Web Consortium, the Internet Society, all five of the regional Internet address registries – turned their back on the US government. With striking unanimity, the organisations that actually develop and administer Internet standards and resources initiated a break with 3 decades of U.S. dominance of Internet governance. [more...]

See also:


28 January 2014

MaidSafe claims to have built a Bitcloud-like system

Source: wired.co.uk

One of the great things about the architecture of the internet is that it is truly decentralised. By design, no one rules it and everyone can use it. But in the last two decades, a small collection of global technology companies have come to control the bulk of internet traffic. Google, Facebook, and others have captured our attention and with it, our data. In the face of such consolidation, concerns about the implications for personal privacy and security have never been more pressing. This is particularly the case following the NSA/GCHQ global surveillance revelations. For many, the solution to this situation is to return the internet to its original state -- distributed, open, and decentralised.

It is certainly not the first time that the idea of a peer-to-peer redesign of the whole internet has been vaunted, and it holds great appeal to those who think end-to-end encryption is needed. But such a system, workable at scale, is still just a thought experiment. Or is it?

A Scottish company, MaidSafe, claims that it has nearly finished building a system that does what Bitcloud is proposing. You can imagine our scepticism when a company we've never heard of, in the tiny town of Troon, with a terrible name and a 12-minute promotional video told me it had solved one of the most compelling problems on the internet. [more...]


17 November 2013

Bitcoin hit $500 today!!!

Bitcoin hits $500!.png

The Bitcoin cryptocurrency's value hit USD $500 today. Many people believe this outrageous price increase to be a temporary bubble, but there are many reasons for it to be going up like this, the main reason for the continual rise in price is that the coins which have a limited supply acts like a share in the Bitcoin economy which is growing much more rapidly than the availability of the coins. The Bitcoin economy as a whole is at about seven billion dollars, but is expected to eventually reach the trillion dollar scale as it becomes more widely accepted and hits mainstream financial businesses and institutions - this would easily push the coin price into the tens of thousands of dollars.

The picture above is a screenshot from the Bitcoinity chart site. When the price hit $500, Kermit the frog appeared shouting "YAAAAAY!!" :-)