Conky in Linux Mint v18

locked-computer-cartoonConky changed between Linux Mint v17.1 and v18. While the transition requires mostly copy/paste new code to the top part of your .conkyrc file and leaving the bottom part as is, certain things no longer work.

For example, reporting the status of certain important background tasks, SSH & Apache2, stopped working because UpStart is no longer a part of Linux Mint v18 so “status ssh” no longer works: “Systemd” is now the thing. Don’t get me started on their choice to muddle the ethernet port names ‘to make them more predictable’. “Eth0” worked really well for me in my one-port only systems.

Back to the topic. Typing “service ssh status” will work as a normal user (you need no longer be root to use it), but the output takes up several lines, which I don’t want: I want a simple “Yes it is running” or “No it is not running”.

$ service ssh status
● ssh.service - OpenBSD Secure Shell server
 Loaded: loaded (/lib/systemd/system/ssh.service; disabled; vendor preset: enabled)
 Active: inactive (dead)

Sep 10 20:57:00 pops systemd[1]: Starting OpenBSD Secure Shell server...
Sep 10 20:57:00 pops sshd[28133]: Server listening on 999.999.999.999 port 98765.
Sep 10 20:57:00 pops systemd[1]: Started OpenBSD Secure Shell server.
Sep 10 20:58:13 pops systemd[1]: Stopping OpenBSD Secure Shell server...
Sep 10 20:58:13 pops systemd[1]: Stopped OpenBSD Secure Shell server.

Here is how I fixed it.conkyrc-screencut

${color FFAA00}Process Status ${hr 2}$color
 SSH: ${exec service ssh status | sed -n '/Active:/p' | cut -c 11-27}
 Apache: ${exec service apache2 status | sed -n '/Active:/p' | cut -c 11-27}

Easy Passwords

locked-computer-cartoonGood ideas for real people dealing with ridiculous password demands from web sites – how to get a decent password you can remember and still be secure. The thing he says about LENGTH being the only thing that improves password strength is pretty complete. All this hubbub about making it nonsense just makes it harder for you to remember and as such less secure.

If you’d like to know an even better approach – far easier to remember and much harder to guess or reverse engineer, see me in person.

“A good password is not only strong and secure (hard to guess), but also easy to remember (practical). So: what’s a good password in everyday life? An important question….

The answer will probably surprise you. It surprised me, anyway! A strong password is above all…. long. Symbols, numerals, caps and punctuation marks don’t make it stronger, but they do make it harder for you to remember it.”

You’ve read it correctly: Tr0ub4dor&3 is less secure than correct-horse-battery-staple. Less secure, and much harder to remember. For three simple reasons:

1. The password sentence has simply more characters than the single word. In other words: it’s longer.

2. The “weird” characters are for the computer of an attacker not harder to crack than normal characters.

3. The dashes between the four random words, render a “brute force” dictionary attack futile: the attacker simply can’t know where the dashes are in the sentence, so he can’t use a dictionary at all. Furthermore, the words are random and don’t constitute an existing sentence.


DSCN3666 Leather repair: replaced worn strap on hammer holster. Used copper rivets this time instead of the assembly line crimp rivets it was made with. Shaped it a bit to reduce future problems – when you want to put your hammer back on your belt, you don’t want to fight to get it back in there – aim and drop. Properly shaped leather does that. I can make work belts also, with cinches rather than buckles if so requested.

If you have leather that needs to be repaired this is the time to get it to me.