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What Exactly Is Federation, Anyways?

2021-07-03 7 min read Protocol explained Tech Tech explained Teknikal_Domain Unable to load comment count

Federation, the driving name behind decentralized and self-hosted software. But what is ‘federation,’ really? Well, there’s the really complex answer, and the simple answer. The simple answer is that federation is when multiple unrelated instances of a piece of software are capable of communicating and sharing between one another. The long answer, well, if you want to see that, then…

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OTR: Encrypted Instant Messaging

2021-06-30 9 min read Cool stuff Privacy Tech Tech explained Teknikal_Domain Unable to load comment count

Yes, for once, I have not just some app for secure messaging, this time, it’s a protocol. OTR, or Off-the-Record Messaging, is a protocol for establishing end-to-end encrypted messaging between two participants over a standard instant messaging channel like IRC or XMPP (Jabber). It also allows for deniable authentication, where during the conversation you can be assured that only you two are talking, but after the conversation, there is no way for an outside third party to 100% prove you talked, since it’s theoretically possible for an attacker to have forged the communications record. It’s complicated, but not too hard to wrap your head around.

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QMQP: That Other Mail Transfer Protocol

2021-06-29 4 min read Email Networking Sysadmin stuff Tech explained Teknikal_Domain Unable to load comment count

Everyone (okay, everyone this is relevant to) knows what SMTP is, the standard for mail transfer. It’s even in the name, Simple Mail Transfer Protocol, which is how mail servers have been sending mail to other mail servers since… a while. Well, fun fact, there’s another protocol that accomplishes the same goal: QMQP, the Quick Mail Queuing Protocol.

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How DNSBLs Work

2021-06-27 4 min read Email Security Sysadmin stuff Tech explained Teknikal_Domain Unable to load comment count

Ff you’ve dealt with email for any longer than 5 minutes (as an administrator), you already know it’s a mess. There’s so many security measures, so many checks, so many things to combat bad actors and spam. What if we had some way to have some service publish a list of bad DPs, and mail servers could quickly check that mid-transaction so they can have up-to-date information as to if the in-flight message should actually be accepted or not?

Well, we have exactly that. Enter: the DNS Blacklist.

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How Photographic Film Works

2021-06-26 5 min read Photography Tech explained Teknikal_Domain Unable to load comment count

Some of you may know this. Some of you may not. But here’s something interesting: nowadays, cameras are everywhere, as in, just about everyone has one in their pocket. Sure, digital cameras are just counting photons hitting some silicon. But, before that? We had film. Film that recorded photos physically with chemical changes. And, I personally find that the science behind that is rather fascinating.

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WebDAV Explained: Filesystems Over HTTP

2021-06-25 6 min read Protocols explained Tech Tech explained Teknikal_Domain Unable to load comment count

So I take it some people reading this are familiar with what I’ll call a ‘remote filesystem protocol’ like NFS , SMB , or AFP . Well, did you know there’s one that’s found use in a few places and you’ve maybe heard of once or twice, and really… well, doesn’t sound like it should make any sense? Welcome to WebDAV. The remote filesystem that runs over HTTP.

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My Next Obsolete Hobby: Film Photography

2021-06-24 3 min read My stuff Photography Teknikal_Domain Unable to load comment count

So here’s the thing. Compared to my other camera, the Nikon D7000, what I just bought is a 100% complete downgrade. However, I cannot resist the possibility of experiencing an era that had more or less ended before I was born. So, what did I do? I bought a 39 year old Nikon FG, which takes… 35mm film. But I won’t be stopping at just taking pictures… you’ll see shortly ;)

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IRC Is an Insanely Simple Protocol

2021-06-23 5 min read Protocols explained Tech Tech explained Teknikal_Domain Unable to load comment count

This is where I’d usually make some joke about “if you remember, back in the day…” but… given how Freenode and Libera have been in the news recently for Freenode’s rather hostile takeover (and suicide), You probably know what IRC is. So. IRC, or Internet Relay Chat, is a really old (as in, 1988) protocol for text-based communications between users on a network. And the cool part is, it’s so simple that it’s almost funny. Like, let’s take a look. You could actually, with only a few minutes of reading, just enter raw IRC protocol lines by hand and have a perfectly valid and functional session.

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Matrix: Decentralized, Federated Chat

2021-06-21 10 min read Cool stuff Privacy Tech Teknikal_Domain Unable to load comment count

Do you like secure chat apps? but actually secure, not like Telegram? And end-to-end encrypted, if selected? And ones that support sending media, and files, and even voice and video calls? And completely decentralized meaning you don’t need to rely on any one company or any one third-party server?

Well do I have a deal for you: Matrix.

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