Category Archives: Blog

Let’s Encrypt!

It’s been quite a while since I’ve updated this blog eh? It’s been quite the whirlwind but that doesn’t mean changes haven’t been made to the website through my “inactivity”. One thing you may realize is that all the pages and links that you visit are now HTTPS enabled.

You might ask: “hey, isn’t this super expensive? SSL signing is quite expensive!” To this, I reply to my dear readers, “not at all! In fact it’s free!!”

Enter Let’s Encrypt

As the public’s appetite for securing everything, especially after the Snowden revelation and the rise of cybercrime, everyone and their mother have been alarmed at how easy it is for nefarious actors to steal personal information on the Internet. This problem has only been exacerbated with the rise of the cloud, where everyone is uploading their data be it their homework due the next morning, taxation information or their personal photos, someone is uploading something that can be used to build a profile of them for identity fraud.

Unfortunately, most of the websites are not encrypted. Why is this? It’s because SSL certificates have been traditionally prohibitive to the average website operator. These certificates can range from $45/year all the way to $1300/year depending on what kind of website you’re operating. For most people, especially bloggers like me who don’t generate revenue from our websites at all, it doesn’t really make much sense to pay for an SSL certificate, even though security minded folks like me really prefer to encrypt everything but not feasible, we’re already paying for hosting and the domain name as is just to have an online presence.

So how do we solve this problem? Fortunately, there’s Let’s Encrypt.

Let’s Encrypt is a Linux Foundation project sponsored by major technology entities such as OVH.com, Mozilla Foundation, Cisco, Google, Automattic, Facebook and many more! The goal of this project is to provide free automated SSL certificates for websites for any size, to increase the security behind these websites even if they are not ecommerce websites.

Why Let’s Encrypt? Why even bother encrypting?

The main draw is that it’s free and that it’s automatic! What do I mean by it being automatic? Once you install the Let’s Encrypt Client, it will generate SSL certificates for you. Web hosts can even integrate Let’s Encrypt into control panel software like the world renown cPanel in order to allow shared hosting or VPS customers deploy SSL certificates with only a few button clicks. Even for those who run their own Linux servers can easily deploy SSL certificates with just 2 command lines!

So why is encrypting websites important? Even if you don’t process any credit card transactions, it can increase the amount of privacy and keep important information confidential. If you’re say running your own WordPress site, even without using a ecommerce plugin like WooCommerce, whenever you do anything on the backend, the data will be sent unencrypted through the network, this includes data such as login credentials. This can potentially be a big problem as people who may have their networks tapped, the credentials can be captured by malicious actors.

Yes, encrypting your site may not be paramount if you’re not processing credit cards, but why not add the security measures if they’re just a simple click away?

Learn more about Let’s Encrypt: https://letsencrypt.org/

Unusually Hot Winter Weather

Wow, it has been a really unusually warm winter here in Toronto! The weather has been going up and down near the 0°C mark. Unfortunately, this meant that for Torontonians, whenever there's snow, it'll quickly turn into slush and whenever it rains, it quickly turns into freezing rain causing very dangerous road conditions.

Now that we approach mid-March, it has been even odder, we have hit way past the double digit mark. No, I'm not talking about the double digit mark in the negative, we're talking about weather that's been hovering around 13°C to 20°C as the daytime high. This is especially concerning as the seasonal average near the end of the winter season (Spring doesn't officially start until March 21) is between -4°C to 5°C for the daytime high. This is especially concerning as Toronto hasn't experienced this kind of rapid warming. During this whole winter, we have had only 1 “snow storm” and even then, it was very weak compared to our normal snow storms. We only had a drop of less than 10 cm and people called it a snow storm when normal Torontonian snow storm averages around 15 – 20 cm of snow.

An average of ~20°C for the daytime high this coming week

(Click to Enlarge, Courtesy of The Weather Network)

So what's causing this weird weather? Apparently there has been a phenomenon called the Azores High, better known as the Bermuda High which has been pushing north from the Atlantic Ocean through the United States. This high pressure warm airmass has been sitting around the the North-Eastern Seaboard as it slowly moves along. This coupled with an El Niño during this winter season has caused the sudden jump in temperature in the Southern Ontario region. It seems that the high pressure airmass caused by the Azores High is slowly moving so metereologists have been predicting hot weather for the next 7 days.

14 Day Trend Forecast

(Click to Enlarge, Courtesy of The Weather Network)

On the flip side, at least we have been getting nice weather that allows us to go out and do stuff like hanging out at parks and start the warm weather fun ahead of time. Since the weather has been really hot lately, the Province of Ontario also saw a significant drop in electricity usage which is always good for the pocket books for Ontarians and the environment for using drastically less energy than expected.

So regardless if you believe that the usually hot winter is a good or bad thing, remember, at the end of the day, enjoy the weather!

Happy Canada Day 2011!

From Kwokinator.com, I want to wish everyone a very happy Canada Day! It's probably one of my favourite holidays of the year. It's one of those days where I am proud to be Canadian and wave my flag to celebrate this great country.

It's also one of those holidays where it's always fun to spend with friends and family going to the beach or have a barbeque and end the day watching fireworks.

For those without things to do on this great day, be sure to check out these two Canada Day videos made by local talents!

So happy Canada Day to all, even those who aren't Canadian!!!

Lastly before I go, this basically sums it up for what a typical Canadian is like 😛

We disagree on everything
But we try to be polite
We don't believe in violence
Except on hockey nights! 

Forgive Us, We're Canadian, The Arrogant Worms

Voting Day in Canada 2011

So the big day is here, it's May 2nd. It's time for you, the general Canadian public to vote. This is your chance to help shape our great nation. No matter if you're voting for the Bloc Quebecois, Conservatives, Liberals, NDP, Pirate Party or all the other national parties, be sure to let your voice heard!

The polls in Ontario will close in about less than five (5) hours, so be sure to cast your ballot before the 9 pm deadline!

Canada Votes 2011

Canada is one of many nations where its citizens are free to choose their leaders, free to participate in the process and free to voice their concerns to their government. With the upcoming election now set for May 2, 2011, who will you be voting for?

This year is quite interesting since this is the first time Canadians hit the polls since the recession started in mid-2008. The economy is slowly recovering but we're not in the clear just yet. It's the fourth day of campaigning and all the candidates are going full-throttle on key election issues like family, pensions, healthcare, education and small business incentives. Some promises from candidates have ranged from small business tax credits, government subsidies for post-secondary education and interest caps on credit card companies.

While all of the proposals are interesting to say the least, the truth is that the election race has just started, anything can change in the due course until May 2nd, and I believe this one is going to be a tight race, even more so than the 2008 election. I do however have to agree that I think for many Canadians, there are many who have voter fatigue and don't really want to cast their ballots. This is the 5th election in 10 years and it is getting ridiculous, I'm not going to lie.

However, there is one thing that I really want to see that's brought up as an election topic: fair and open Internet connections and not have the major telecoms dictate the competition. Personally, Canada will slip further behind other developed nations in terms of Internet access capabilities if the government doesn't do something to open up the market. Personally, I believe it's in the best interest for Canada to do so and I will be personally watching this during this election race.

Also, CBC.ca has a very interesting tool called “Vote Compass” that helps you consider which candidate and party you're best aligned to. Obviously it shouldn't be used as an authoritative source in deciding who to vote for, but it's a great reference tool. Even if you don't want to vote, heck, just try it for fun and see who CBC thinks is best for you. You might be shocked by the results, who knows right?

That being said, just one more exciting thing to watch for the next month when I'm not bogged down with assignments and exams.

Happy New Year!

Man it's been a long time since I posted. It's been quite a long and rough semester, thus, didn't have the time to post. It feels good to start posting again, that's for sure!

Now that 2011 is here, I hope everyone will have a great new year and that we get less work and more fun time! With 2010 gone, it's time to take advantage of a fresh new year to enjoy what life throws at us!

5 Things That Make Me Happy

So it's been a long while since I updated my blog and my best friend gave me a great idea for my next entry. She asked … what are the things that make you happy? So here, I'll put my top 5.

5. Driving – I just love driving, I don't know why lol.

4. The Little Things – all the little things that my friends do for me

3. Gaming/Fixing Computers – it's the satisfying feeling of accomplishment, challenge and entertainment rolled into one.

2. Hugs! – I love getting hugs from my friends, there's nothing more satisfying than knowing that your friends are behind you every step of the way

1. Hanging Out – there has yet been an hangout that I wasn't happy about. I just love spending time with friends and maybe get a couple of beers to celebrate with them regardless of the occassion!

This list isn't inclusive at all and does exclude something that is of course near and dear to everyone, their family. No matter how much they might piss you off, they're family, your moral structure no matter how much you argue with them. You love every single one of them.

 

So what makes you happy? Comment below!

Steam Summer Super Sale 2010

Wow, it's a great time to be a PC gamer for sure. Valve really knows how to pull our heart strings. For the past week or 2, Valve went sale crazy by offering us gamers tons and tons of sales on most of their catalogue. I know I spent more than I should have.

However, with these deals so insane, how on Earth can you pass up on these deals? You must be crazy!

So this year I got:

  • Audiosurf – $2.66
  • Call of Duty: Collection Pack – $32.72
  • Day of Defeat: Source – $2.73
  • DiRT2 – $10.71

Total damage to wallet: $48.82

All prices listed in Canadian Dollars after currency conversion.

So what did you guys get if you guys got anything?

Happy Canada Day 2010!

Happy Canada D'eh?

Us Canadians know how great our nation is especially in the realm of multiculturalism and the diversity of our country makes us one of the best countries on Earth. No country can rival our multiculturalism.

Let us all celebrate with cold beer and a nice day out and end it with a bang and hopefully forget the fact that the HST is now in effect.

 

Let the fireworks begin and celebrate our Canadianness.

These music videos truly shows what it means to be Canadian:

 

 

World Cup 2010 Picks Update

So now that we're in the Round of 16, let's see how my picks are playing out! If you remembered my list on my World Cup 2010 Fever post, I had a rather long list of teams I'd think would win the World Cup. Unfortunately there has since been two teams that have been crossed off that list. Now this is how my list looks like.

Primary Pick:

  • Brazil

Secondary Picks:

  • France
  • England
  • Netherlands
  • Spain

France's performance was the biggest joke out of the whole tournament. I have never seen a national team in such disarray. I guess it was my mistake in believing that this was the same French team that made it to the finals during the 2006 FIFA World Cup in Germany against Italy. The French coach must pay for the lackluster team and should be replaced.

England's performance isn't that much better but it was better than their last appearance. At least they made it to the Round of 16. Unfortunately for the team, they were unable to score an equalizer because the referee was unable to see the goal that was suppose to be the equalizer. After the initial mess, I thought England was back on its feet only to be shot down by Germany with a 4 – 1 victory over France.

Fortunately, my main pick is still standing strong and I believe the final battle will be Brazil vs. Germany or Brazil vs. Argentina. Both will be amazing match-ups and a definite one to watch.