Website Security

A few weeks ago, the webserver of a website I was working on got effed in the a just while I was changing something. I nearly pissed my pants when after reloading the page I saw a defacement pic instead of my index page ...

Fortunately I later found out that the hacker got access to the webserver using a ssh related security hole in Ubuntu. So since I'm not the admin there was not much I could have done to prevent the attack.

Nonetheless the incident got me even more interested in how to keep a website as secure as possible. I also know now first hand how important regular backups are.

Especially if you are using PHP there are a few things you really should take care of before even starting the implementation of the real functionality of the page. This includes creating a system that filters every single bit of information the user submits.

There are lots of articles on this topic. For example this one:
It gives a nice introduction on what can go wrong if you don't follow the basic security rules.

Ultimate Frisbee

This semester I've joined an ultimate frisbee team ("Tiefseetaucher") and last weekend my team played it's first tournament. We played as "Seichwasserschnorchler" (beginners team of "Tiefseetaucher").

The tournament was in Jena and there were about 20 teams from all over Germany. It was a really fun weekend and we met lots of nice frisbee teams. The athmosphere on ultimate frisbee tournaments is very cool. After every game the two teams meet, talk and play a short party game.

Each team usually has it's own signature party game. Team "Ring of Fire" for example handed out little self baked rings, with some being really damn fiery and the "Halle Berries" (ladies team from Halle) treated us some berries. But our after game ritual was one of the most feared among the other teams ;). It involved a snorkel and Augustiner Helles (= beer bong *g*).

The weekend wasn't only fun but also an endurance test. The "Tiefseetaucher" seem to be known to usually "win the parties" on the tournaments. And by "winning the party" I mean staying up later and drinking more beer than any of the other teams. Even if the first game is at 9 am in the morning. Ultimate is by the way a good treatment for hang overs :D.

We actually played 7 games, 5 on saturday and two more on sunday (each game took about 40-60 min). I'm still exhausted but I'm proud we won 2 games and got place 15 in the tournament. That's really not bad for complete newbies.

CERN's LHC and Another World

The construction of the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), CERN's new particle accelerator, is scheduled to be finished in May 2008. With this new accelerator the European Organization for Nuclear Research will be able to accelerate protons or lead ions.

By letting the particles collide, the scientists want to create conditions just like at the beginning of the universe. The LHC will also make it possible to find out more about Black Holes.

Now that the completion of the LHC is near, some scientists start to fear that the small Black Holes created by the LHC may pose a danger to humanity and have, once they are caught in the magnet field of the earth, the potential to grow larger and eventually destroy the whole world.

CERN's scientists argue that the Black Holes created in their experiments will almost immediately dissolve after their appearance. Even if a Black Hole survives it would be very unlikely that it would be captured by the electromagnetic field of the earth. According to CERN even if one of these small Black Holes found its way to the center of the earth, it would take about 5 billion years until its weight could reach only a few kilograms. You can find more information about this on the LHC safety page.

Ever since modern physics made it possible to create nuclear weapons, the fear of science paving the way to the end of the world is omnipresent. The idea of the nuclear destruction of humanity has been used in various movies, books and video games. Especially during the era of Cold War.

When I found the news about the LHC I couldn't get rid of the feeling that the whole story was very familiar to me. Only a few days ago a friend of mine had given me a link to the intro video of an Amiga game from 1991: Eric Chahi's "Another World" (or "Out of this World" as it was called in the US).

The hero of the game is a scientist who works on an experiment with a particle accelerator just like the LHC. During an accident with the accelerator a Black Hole or some kind of dimensional portal appears and the scientists gets sucked into "Another World" where the game actually starts.

"Another World" is by the way one of the few newer commercial games that where created by only one person. Eric Chahi did everything: game design, programming, story writing, the cg-videos, level design and all the graphics. He even painted the artwork for the box in which the game was shipped. Today a commercial one man computer game project is almost impossible (with the exception of casual games maybe).

The game has been re-released for its 15th anniversary and you can get it for only a few bucks. There's also a demo at Eric Chahi's official website.

MySpace Page

So it finally worked to upload a song on my MySpace page. I haven't done much with the page except for the one song I added. I don't like MySpace very much. It's really complicated to edit the page, the music upload only works once in a while and it takes up to 24 hours until the songs appear on the page. But hey, everyone is using it, so I guess it's the best way to put some stuff out there.

More Details on KafeKunstFest 2007

Literally everything on the KafeKunstFest was interesting so I highly recommend to check out the official artist list.

There were purses made of old record covers or Ikea bags, knitted patches with game boy motives (made by Sun vs. Cold Cold Cold), really cool self made clothes, video installations and photography.

I met some very skilled photographers that were all very nice and helped me to put up my photos and keep them up. Over night some of my stuff had fallen from the walls but they had it fixed before I even arrived. Thanks to Eartrumpet, Scissabob, Sebastian, Clemens, Susanne and everyone else for helping me out with stuff to keep everything on the wall.

Also I want to thank Jan, my personal assistant, who was in charge of  gluing my pictures on the black photo carton that I had tediously cut into the right sizes the day before, while nearly collapsing of sleep deprivation (I was, not he).

The food one the fest was also great, with a whole variety of choices: lots of different vegan and vegetarian meals and snacks! I had a very delicious vegetarian lasagna.

And of course there were bands. Namely Letters and Tiger Saw.

I guess I didn't really get the meaning of the theater play. But mainly because I missed the beginning. The music during the play was cool though. Same goes for the performance art later in the afternoon.

But not only the people and the program of the KafeKunstFest but also it's visitors were very interesting. I met a photographer called Tellerwäscher and the songwriter Karo.

Karo has just started to play live shows. Her stuff sounds really  promising and she was already on Zündfunk. If you live near Munich, you should come to her show on the 9th of February at the Kafe Kult. See Karo's MySpace page to listen to some of her songs and check the tour dates. Don't miss her blog: Karo erklärt die Welt (und scheitert).

All in all it was an exciting and fun day. D.I.Y. culture rules!

KafeKunstFest December 9th at KafeKult

I will show a selection of my photos at the upcoming KafeKunstFest. The KafeKunstFest will take place on the 9th of December at Munich's most interesting Weggehmöglichkeit: KafeKult.

There will be lots of young artists from Munich, music, theater, installations, short films, mix-tape trading and and and and and and and and. So be sure to be there!!!!

The Soundtrack of the Cyclades

Today I'd like to introduce you to another great radio station. It's located on the small but beautiful island Sifnos and has a very catchy name: Radio Active. My friends and I listened to it basically whenever we could while we were sailing the sea around the Cyclades. Of course we personally paid a visit to Sifnos and anchored in a beautiful bay near the small village of Kastro (population 101).

Radio Active is basically a one man project and remote controlled from Athens during the winter time. Via FM it can only be received in the area of the Cyclades. Though through the wonders of the Intertron it's unique sound can be enjoyed all around the world, even at the very moment.

The station's program includes soul, jazz, smash hits from the 80s and 90s as well as classic rock like Kansas or Blue Oyster Cult,  yesterday's techno and even the occasional old-school hip hop song.

The wonderful thing about this station is, that although the crew's musical taste varied very strongly, 99% percent of the time everyone enjoyed whatever was currently on air!