Final Remarks

I’ll start off with some final project remarks.

All of the final projects seemed so tempting to test. Unfortunately with the time constraints of exam week I didn’t get to look at them all. I wanted to try to test the galaga game but unfortunately I have Ubuntu 12.04 installed so I couldn’t run it because of incompatibilities. I ended up testing the roommate expense tracker. It was pretty cool and I thought very practical. If my roommates and I didn’t have a system in place I  would consider using it.

The class overall was an experience and helped me open up to new technologies. Throughout the semester I have struggled with having to learn a new operating system and everything that entails. I believe it has helped me in the long run.

Some suggestions to improve the class would be to either focus on certain subjects longer or possibly remove some subjects from the teaching. This semester we cut out some assignments because we ran out of time. Maybe the course should focus more on the assignments we did instead of rushing through them to get to the final assignments.

Another suggestion would be to make the classroom interaction more new things instead of going over old material. I feel like going over new things in class would be better than going over stuff we know already.


VTLUUG and CSEC meetings

I’ve attended somewhere around 8 meetings this semester split between the VT LUUG and the Cyber Security meetings and I thought I would reflect on my experiences. Overall I feel like they go over great material in both. The only problem is the groups are more for experienced Linux users. The things they go over require more understanding than just a high level knowledge. Since in class we don’t get to go into too much detail in every area, it is difficult to understand everything they present. The atmosphere is great and for the most part there is a feeling of mutual respect in the room when there are speakers present. The good thing about their presentations is they always have links you can go to if you don’t fully understand everything in the presentation. But the links are much more dense than the version presented in the meetings.

Chutes and Ladders

My group’s final project is a chutes and ladders game. To best implement the Unix design philosophy of modularity, we decided to create this on a micro-controller  Chutes and Ladders is an easy game to play that mostly everyone knows which incorporates the design philosophy of simplicity. This also easily is extendable to add extra parts to the board or new rules in the coding which implement the unix design philosophy of extensibility. I can go down the line and list some more design philosophies this project implements but I’d like to invoke the philosophy of silence.

Our group is working great together. We have split up the roles of the project that suit individuals’ strengths but we also work together so we all get a better understanding of our weaknesses. I’m looking forward to the final product and the reviews by everyone in the class on how to improve our design. And of course I’m also excited to see what other projects are in store for us to see.

Passwords cracked

An article located here:

details the creation of a super password-cracking machine. For passwords with weak encryption the machine can take it down in around 6 minutes through brute force. This machine can go through aproximately 348billion NTLM passwords per second. From reading the article it seemed like they could crack any Windows XP password within 6 hours. Good thing we’re all running Linux now. But wait, further down in the article they explain that they can brute force through aproximately 77 million MD5crypt passwords. Looks like Linux isn’t so safe either.

In the article they mention the two open sourced technologies used to create this monster. One being  VCL (cirtual open computing language) and HashCat (a password cracking program). The process uses wordlists or dictionarylists to grab the passwords. Having just been to a cyber security meeting on this topic made this article much easier to read. You all should come out, and watch your passwords!

Poems about Unix

Hey all,

I thought I would post my poems here so you could take a look if you wanted.

unix? you ask me
simplicity is the key
only what you need
Unix is not Windows
so it comes with many new woes
many new utilities
none that I can use with ease
virtualbox is even hard to close

Poet assignment thoughts

While writing the haiku and limerick for the assignment due tomorrow I realized a few things about the class and my feelings toward Unix. I’m very reluctant to learn new things about Unix because I’m so used to Windows 7. I don’t even want to learn Windows 8 because it’s a new operating system. While I realize that Unix and Linux can be completely customizable to your needs, the “default” package of most operating systems is enough for me. Most of the programs and packages we have had to install in Ubuntu have given me some form of trouble. My personal opinion is they should not make this course mandatory for CPE’s in the future. If you don’t want to learn a new operating system then it will be very difficult for you to learn it, and learn it well.

Third Look at Ubuntu – reposted

I posted this one on the wrong blog too, but I have figured it out for future posts.

Having been using Ubuntu through the first half of the semester, I thought I would revisit my feelings about Linux in general and about Ubuntu specifically. When not doing any assignments I find myself using only Windows 7. I know some people who after this class have adopted Ubuntu as their primary operating system, but I won’t be one of those people. I know the ins and outs of windows and I just feel there is so much in Ubuntu that I don’t know and I won’t ever be able to know it as well as windows.

The idea of an open source “do anything you want/need to do” is great and that is why Linux is so popular. It can adapt to your needs and let you accomplish everything you need to. When using ubuntu for class or homework, I find myself dreading using it. It may just be my computer but it feels extremely slow and hard to use. Some of the basic settings have default settings that I don’t like but don’t know how to change.them.

I started off on the wrong foot with ubuntu trying to run off a flashdrive. I completed our first homework assignments on the multiple commands we had to learn. I didn’t upload it because I was going to check it later before it was due. A while later I booted to Ubuntu again and the files were gone because I had set up the flashdrive wrong. I ended up going with VirtualBox. If I had started learning Ubuntu first instead of Windows I’m sure I would like it more, but I am resistant to change.

Class Material – reposted

I originally posted this on October 10th to the wrong blog. I am re posting it to the correct one.

Knowing someone who took Unix in previous years and who currently uses Ubuntu as his sole operating system. I asked him about what we were learning in the class and how it pertains to actually using the operating system. His response was: that class material is more of a history lesson of how people using Unix/Linux had to use the terminal and commands so much in the past. He gave me an example of one of his assignments was to convert all of the .’s in a text file to ,’s using terminal commands. He said this used to be a difficult thing unless you knew the right commands in terminal, but now you can simply open any text editor and click find/replace.

There are some things in class that are necessary to know before using the operating system (like how to install a file, use sudo). But for the most part the material in class is not how people use Unix today. Of course the python programming and other material is definitely used today. I thought it was an interesting point of view and has adapted my expectations for the class.

Python Programming – reposted

I originally posted this on Sept 19th but it was on the wrong blog. I am re-posting to the correct blog.

Having programmed in C++, Java, Matlab, and some low level languages I thought programming in python would be a piece of cake. This isn’t turning out to be the case. I have about 21 more hours to complete homework 3 and I am far from having it down. Even when going through the “Learn python the hard way” exercises I am not prepared for the homework assignment. I feel like the assignments cover things that aren’t mentioned anywhere in the LPTHW book. When asking others for help they send me the link to LPTHW and tell me to google what I need because python is so well documented.

I don’t really like that kind of learning for a programming language. I know many people had to learn it this way for C++ in the intro class and they struggled with it as well. I’d rather have a separate class for python or allocate more time for python in class. When learning a language you should learn all of the ins and outs instead of a general overview. This opinion may be biased based on the fast approaching due date for HW3 so don’t judge this rant too harshly.

Second look at Ubuntu

I was first introduced to the OS Ubuntu in high school in a Cisco networking class. We used a server running Ubuntu to re-image machines and as a mail server. I didn’t interact with it much, but from the times I did the only thing I can remember is “sudo” which lets you run something as someone else, an administrator for example. After installing it on my computer the other day I was greeted with the familiar sound of drums when starting up the computer. I noticed that startup and shutdown times are extremely fast compared to my Windows 7 start and shutdown times. This could be because I don’t have anything installed but even right out of the box Windows wasn’t this fast.

From working at a helpdesk for a few years I’ve come to like Linux as a tool but not as an operating system. At the helpdesk we have linux discs that wipe the memory drive, reset the password, or re-image a machine. I never understood why Linux was used as opposed to anything else, and I never tried to learn anything more about it, I just accepted it. Hopefully this class will answer that question and give me a more in-depth look at what Linux is used for. Hopefully this class won’t be too difficult for this newbie who doesn’t know the first (or second) thing about linux.