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"I very recently worked on the Edge team, and one of the reasons we decided to end EdgeHTML was because Google kept making changes to its sites that broke other browsers, and we couldn't keep up." https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=18697824

 

Who controls Bitcoin Core? TL;DR: nobody. https://medium.com/@lopp/who-controls-bitcoin-core-c55c0af91b8a

 
 

Cloudflare's work on IPFS, Tor, crypto libraries, and some fun facts

3 min read

I just finished listening to a rather interesting podcast episode with Cloudflare's "Chief Cryptographer" Nick Sullivan and wanted to recommend it to people who are interested in any of the mentioned topics.

Especially so, because Cloudflare is arguably one of the most controversial companies involved in running the Internet, as they're not just serving a considerable amount of Web traffic via their CDN, but also a considerable amount of DNS traffic via their public 1.1.1.1 service. Both come with a lot of responsibility, even more so in combination, due to a large amout of trust being centralized in a single corporate entity.

The topics discussed in the episode (citing from the podcast's summary):

  • Nick’s background as a cryptographer and previous position at Apple
  • The Internet’s infrastructure and trust model
  • How Cloudflare is experimenting with IPFS
  • The challenges to hosting static websites with IPFS
  • Cloudflare’s Onion routing service (Tor) and the benefits to users
  • The Roughtime protocol and encrypted SNI
  • Cloudflare’s contribution to open-source cryptography libraries
  • The vulnerabilities of DNS and Cloudflare’s free private DNS service (1.1.1.1)

Interesting tidbits

On IPFS

Probably the most exciting news, which I somehow missed or forgot about, is that Cloudflare have launched a public IPFS HTTP gateway called Distributed Web Gateway during their Crypto Week a few months ago.

This is great, because not only are Cloudflare nodes around the world now relaying IPFS data to other IPFS nodes, in addition to serving cached content via their gateway. But also because IPFS is a content-addressable storage system. Which means, a client can actually verify themselves, that the content which was delivered by the CDN is exactly what was promised, based on the hash/URL of the resource requested.

This eliminates one of the main trust issues with CDN delivery: ensuring content integrity from source to end user. And in this case, the source is not even a server, but a completely decentralized peer-to-peer network. Win-win-win in my book.

On Tor

According to Nick, most incoming traffic to CDNs from Tor is actually attack traffic, due to the fact that it's impossible to trace back (unless you're the NSA for all we know). So for the longest time you actually had to fill in CAPTCHA's for Cloudflare-cached sites when browsing via Tor.

However, also during Crypto Week, Cloudflare introduced an onion routing service, which in combination with some smart HTTP/2 usage, and implemented in coordination with the Tor developers, solves the problem for anyone using Tor Browser 8.0+. As Cloudflare are actually hosting all of their CDN content directly in the Tor network with this change (enabled by default for all customers), Tor users now don't even have to go through Tor exit nodes in order to retrieve that content.

On decentralized DNS in 1.1.1.1

When asked about Namecoin, Nick's answer was rather surprising to me:

We've talked to the Namecoin folks, we've talked to the folks at Ethereum [...] Right now we're mostly investing in how we can make the IPFS gateway better. [...] But down the line, you shouldn't be surprised to see any one of those pop up.

On the 1.1.1.1 IP address

Cloudflare didn't actually buy the 1.1.1.1 address (or rather the space it's in). APNIC is lending it to them for free, because nobody else wants to have that much dummy traffic coming to their network. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

 
 

This blog post for remote-work newbies also contains some useful tips for more experienced remoties: https://24ways.org/2018/thriving-as-a-remote-worker/

 

A personal update on Hacker Beach #7

2 min read

After finally having booked my incoming flight for Hacker Beach #7, which is going to take place on the Phillippines in January, I'm getting genuinely excited about it.

Aside from every single one of the past 6 editions having been amazing in their own way, I'm mostly looking forward to clearing my schedule of for-profit work, and yet again spending most of January on developing and contributing to free and open-source software.

The things I'll be hacking on will include many pieces of software from both the remoteStorage ecosystem as well as the wider Kosmos project. But I'm also planning to spend some time on improving my IndieWeb setup, and experimenting more with Lightning Network.

I'm also looking forward, as always, to doing these things together with old and new friends, and exchanging knowledge and experience, while escaping the cold Northern winter together. Just for one example, I think I would've never switched to Linux a few years ago, and learned so much about it since then, without the privilege of having had bkero explain to me a thousand things in the past.

So, in the spirit of p2p learning, I'm hereby offering free mentorship for anyone wanting to get involved with contributing to the projects (or wider areas of software) that I mentioned above!

For outdoor activities, while others might be more excited about the excellent diving around Coron, personally, I'm more keen on the mountain-biking. In fact, I'm planning to bring a bike this year, including bike packing bags, so I'll be able to explore not just Busuanga island, but potentially more of the Phillippines, on two wheels before and/or after Hacker Beach.

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If you're interested in joining us this coming January, and you haven't had the pleasure to catch a Hacker Beach in the past: you can get in touch with people in on Freenode IRC, and you can also follow and talk to us on the fediverse (Mastodon, GNUSocial, Pleroma, etc.), and if need be on Twitter.

 
 
 

Had a bit of fun playing with the Mapbox API's static image generator today (creating my own static maps from recorded Strava activities). So I thought why not add a mini world map to my current location on https://sebastian.kip.pe. Totally worth it.

 
 
 

 
 

Apparently Baidu engineers have solved simultaneous translation from Chinese audio to English text: https://simultrans-demo.github.io/

 
 
 

In case you're unfamiliar with the awesomeness of KeePass as a personal password manager, and esp. with the fact that there exist many different UI applications for its password database format, my buddy Jorin wrote up a few words to clue you in: https://jorin.me/store-passwords-with-keepass/

 
 

An IndieWeb Webring 🕸💍