Honey Badger Houdini

This has been doing the social media rounds lately, so I’m guessing most of you have seen this.  Still, here it is for those who haven’t: by far, the most amusing thing I’ve seen lately.

Stoffel’s home was the Moholoholo Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre near Hoedspruit; their own blog recounts the story of Stoffel being a rather unwanted house guest.

Restoring the history book

This little site of mine has gone though several reincarnations on the software side (to say nothing of the hardware it’s hopped between over the years).  The current incarnation, using WordPress as my CMS, dates from mid-2011.  Before then, I had some static content coded in PHP which I put up in November 2006 (the little forum that still exists somewhere around this site dates from the same time) and then largely left untouched until the 2011 WordPress makeover (that site has been preserved for posterity at old.ron2k.za.net)… but, on the side, I also had a blog that predates the “Ramblings” section over here.  I started it in May 2006 on the Blogger site, and moved it over to my own hosting in 2007.  It got largely forgotten about and abandoned in 2009/10.

However, while I was doing a server audit and cleanup in preparation for the launch of a new personal project (of which I’m keeping under wraps for the time being, but you can bet that there’ll be a blog entry about it when it launches!), I came across working backups I made of the blog content from when I did the 2011 WordPress makeover.  There was a fair bit of content there, so I’ve managed to take all of that content and import it all into here.

Hence, you may notice a whole lot of content on the site dated 2006-2009.  That’s all of those old, early posts I made, available again.  Some of the content is poorly written, and a lot of the early stuff is rather immature and actually downright embarrassing when I look back on it now.  Still, it’s an interesting window into what I was up to then, and how my circumstances have changed (and indeed, how I have (hopefully!) matured) in the years since.

Seeing mountains again


The lack of any activity from my side over the Easter Weekend comes courtesy of me indeed being far over the misty parched mountains old — in this case, the Cederberg, courtesy of Amy’s family.

And there was one thing that was apparent.  The more some things change, the more other things stay the same.

Prior to this weekend, I had visited the area twice.  I had taken Tim and Kelle on a day roadtrip in September 2012 (and which I then promptly neglected to blog about), but my previous excursion was around New Year 1993/1994, when my family took an arduous drive from Durban across the scrubbiest parts of Namaqualand to get there, stayed there for two weeks, and then spent one week more in Cape Town (indeed, it was that holiday that laid the foundation for me living there today.)  Our choice of accommodation was in Sandrif camp, where we stayed in a chalet then (we were in a tent on the opposite side of the river this time) and, apart from a new row of chalets on the ridge overlooking the river that were apparently built a few years ago (Protea 1-4 for those who have been there), this photo could have easily been taken a couple of decades ago.


As a further example, back in 1993/1994 and being the precocious, snotty-nosed 8-year-old annoying brat that I was back then (some would argue that not much has changed there, but I think we’d better leave that for another day), I always insisted on stopping for some mountain water at a perennial waterfall located halfway up Uitkyk Pass (which joins the valley where CapeNature’s Algeria camp is located with the main plateau region).  I’m happy to report that, 20 years later, tradition has been kept alive.


As for the weekend itself, it was filled with swimming in aforementioned freezing river, teaching the kids at the campsite how to play cricket, freezing in tent in said campsite (on our last morning, my car registered 6°C when I moved it at ~09:00; presumably it had been even colder than that during the night), going on relaxing walks, exploring the nearby cave systems and weird rock formations, wine tasting at the nearby winery and just relaxing and forgetting about the stresses of everyday life for a precious few days.

Pure bliss.  We’ll be back next year.

SSL fun and games

Due mainly to the Heartbleed bug (and for the non-technical readers, here’s a newbie-friendly explanation, courtesy of xkcd), I’ve been tweaking some of the SSL settings on here.  A quick list of changes:

  • Naturally, OpenSSL has been patched against Heartbleed.  I’m in the process of getting the site’s SSL certificate revoked and reissued.
  • SSLv3 is now disabled, as it is considered insecure.  (SSLv2 was disabled already.)
  • The cipher suites have been altered to support forward secrecy (in most browsers; Internet Explorer running on Windows XP is the exception, but should be able to fall back to a lower protocol version).  For the technically minded, here’s how to deploy it.
  • The server now supports HTTP Strict Transport Security with long duration.

Happily, Qualys SSL Labs now gives this site an A+ rating.  Probably overkill for a small, personal site such as this one, but it’s still nice to know.

The changes made shouldn’t have broken anything (touch wood), but if they have, please get hold of me so that I can fix things up.

(Incidentally, MyBroadband has a list of various South African sites where one would expect good security, and compiled their ratings by Qualys SSL Grade.  Of concern are Standard Bank’s Internet banking servers scoring an F due to supporting insecure renegotiation; Standard Bank has yet to comment on the issue.  A notable absent entry is SANRAL, as the site is inaccessible internationally and thus unable to be tested.)