All posts by Matthias Scheler

Four Laws of Network Protocols

After fiddling with my LDAP server (which now serves NetBSD and new style Mac OS X auto mounter maps) for several hours I realised that I should finally write down my four laws of network protocols:

  1. Network protocols which have simple in their name are not simple.
  2. Network protocols which have lightweight in their name are anything but lightweight.
  3. Network protocols which have neither simple nor lightweight in their name are still not simple and probably also not lightweight.
  4. If you can use a network protocol by typing a request into Netcat the protocol is treacherous because it appears to be simple but really isn’t.

If you keep this in mind the nasty problems you will experience with various network protocols will at least not come as a complete surprise. 🙂

Movie of the Week: The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

Although Silke and I both enjoyed The Hunger Games we somehow didn’t manage to watch the sequel The Hunger Games: Catching Fire on the big screen. So we watched the movie in our home cinema (very comfortable seats, free drinks and dog cuddles during the movie) for the first time last Saturday.

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire continues the story of Katniss Everdeen. Although she and Peeta Mellark survived the massacre in the arena they are still in danger as President Snow, the ruthless ruler of Panem, views them as threat to the current order. Katniss’s act of defiance at the end of the games has given people hope. They no longer believe that the capitol is all powerful and the districts are in unrest. To end the rebellion before it really begins the new head gamekeeper Plutarch Heavensbee devises a perfidious plan to kill Katniss: for the 75th anniversary of the Hunger Games the tributes are reaped among the previous victors. As Katniss is the only female victor that district 12 ever had she has to return to the arena and fight for her life again.

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire is a very good adaptation of Suzanne Collins’s book . It is exciting and even darker than the first movie. You can sense the latent danger all the time while watching Katniss’s desperate struggle. The excellent cast and the impressive special effects complete the first class viewing experience.

After two successful movie adaptations I’m definitely looking forward to Mockingjay, the great finale of The Hunger Games trilogy. As the last book has been split into two films there should be enough time to do the story justice and deliver a memorable ending.


Yesterday  a serious vulnerability in the OpenSSL cryptographic library has been made public. This vulnerability is known as the Heartbleed Bug. It is a very malicious problem because it  leads to exposure of arbitrary information by any server which provides services that use OpenSSL’s SSL library to provide encryption. There are even reports suggesting that some server software can leak their private cryptographic keys due to this security hole. And as a potential attack leaves no trace whatsoever you cannot even tell whether your server has been attacked.

I don’t believe that my server was attacked. It is simply too unimportant. But security is not about believes, it is about facts. So I swallowed the bitter pill today and paid $25 to get my old SSL certificate revoked. This allowed me to request a new certificate for my brand new 4096 bit RSA key. Let’s hope that this one stays secure … at least for a while.