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I help people exploit and improve Drupal, a free content management system. Software which restricts its users cannot match the potential of software which gives its users control. Participating in the free software community ensures that the code you invest in has a secure future.

Security risk of automatic Drupal updates

Submitted by Darren Oh on Thu, 07/16/2020 - 14:23

Yesterday I had my fears confirmed about the Drupal Automatic Updates initiative. It requires sites to be able to modify core Drupal files. While this makes it easier to fix vulnerabilities, it is not something you want when your site is actually being attacked. The best way to protect against someone exploiting a vulnerability to modify your Drupal core files is to change the file permissions so that your site cannot modify them.

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Will JavaScript eat Drupal?

Submitted by Darren Oh on Mon, 07/13/2020 - 20:45

I have been hearing warnings for a while now that distributed services and JavaScript running in the browser are about to reach the point where no one will want to work on Drupal any more. That would be true if no one cared about vendor independence and future-proof investment. If you’re building a disposable site or afraid that your client will run out of work for you, it may not pay to worry about those things. But if you would rather not do the same job over and over again, you want a platform under your own control that can be continuously reused and improved upon.

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Free will nonsense

Submitted by Darren Oh on Fri, 05/29/2020 - 18:18

I’m listening to an episode of the Science Talk podcast entitled, “Your Brain, Free Will and the Law.” In order to attack the idea of free will, Robert Sapolsky creates a meaningless definition of free will and claims it does not exist. According to his definition,

Free will is what we call the things that biology has not explained yet.

Several times he says that if his choice was determined by “biological luck,” then “it wasn’t me,” implying that our identities are independent of our biology. He goes on to say that because there is no evidence of choices that are not determined by biology, the idea of holding individuals responsible for their choices is unscientific. This sounds like nonsense to me.

Why Christians keep supporting Trump

Submitted by Darren Oh on Mon, 01/27/2020 - 21:57

At the close of the Constitutional Convention of 1787, one of the delegates heard a woman ask Benjamin Franklin, “Well, Doctor, what have we got—a republic or a monarchy?” Franklin replied,

A republic—if you can keep it.

I’m afraid that some of my Christian friends have forgotten their duty to keep the republic.

Force MySQL to ignore key length error

Submitted by Darren Oh on Thu, 12/26/2019 - 23:02

If the following MySQL error prevents you from creating or altering a table, you can get the statement to execute successfully by disabling strict mode:

1071 Specified key was too long; max key length is 1000 bytes

Disabling strict mode will change the error to a warning. The key will be shortened to fit the maximum key length. This is fine if you don’t need the full value in the index.

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Cryptography and the right to bear arms

Submitted by Darren Oh on Thu, 12/19/2019 - 13:03

Cryptography is legally protected by the right to free speech. It is also protected by the right to keep and bear arms. Until 2000, cryptography was considered a weapon under United States law, and exporting strong encryption from the United States was banned. The same arguments used to defend gun ownership also apply to the right to use encryption to transmit and store information.

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