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The United States territory of Puerto Rico is home to:

- Three and a half million American Citizens - nearly all without electricity or access to communication.
- Over one hundred thousand veterans
- Dozens of our own website's members.

When Maria's eyewall passed over the island, over 60,000 Puerto Ricans were still without power from Irma.

Media attention to hurricane Maria has been comparatively tepid, as has the destruction it wrought on Puerto Rico. More attention is given to the island by British media than American. Now, the mayor of San Juan has said that the situation is approaching a genocide.

Complicating this situation is the financial situation Puerto Rico has been suffering for years. Through corruption in its own government and inability to obtain or ...

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The Eclipse
- by Vekseid, August 22, 2017, 08:06:56 PM
[floatright][img width=640 padding=5][/img][/floatright] This was 11:34 AM.

Like every annular and significant partial eclipse, the world noticeably fades and cools beforehand. It gets eerily dark even though one cannot tell the Sun itself has dimmed. The only clue is in the shadows made by dense leaves - the sun's reflection off of water and metal does not appear to change.

Then, in seconds, the day collapses into twilight. The Sun winks out, revoking the last of its warmth. Birds make their final, confused chirps before going silent. The wind changes, and every horizon glows like sunset.

I do not know if there is a word to describe the alien emotion that accompanies this moment. A sense that reality has transformed.

Above the twilight is a sort of not-quite night, illuminated by the ring of white flames surrounding the hole in the sky. The Morning Star proudly shows herself just ...

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Network Neutrality, Part II
- by Vekseid, July 11, 2017, 10:51:03 PM
If you are in the United States, today (the twelfth) you will likely be hearing about Network Neutrality from many places on the web.

I wrote about this before, but I would be remiss not to speak on it again.

If you are looking for the facts about Network Neutrality, please read that post. Again, it is important to understand even if you are not American.

It has been fascinating watching this come together.

My hope is that people will understand and accept that this day is a sincere effort, by understanding individuals who wish to secure a better future for this country. There are companies participating today that have far more to lose than to gain from doing so, except perhaps being able to look their most talented employees in the eye.

A tiny non-profit picked a day most of us could agree on, and this fell together in a month....

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Network Neutrality
- by Vekseid, April 13, 2017, 01:53:33 AM
On a tangential note, I wrote a post about the recent rollback of privacy protections by Congress, along with what it means, and some advice. Please direct discussion of such to that topic. Thank you. : )

Network Neutrality is likely going to be a major topic soon, and something you are likely to hear about from many parties. This is no longer a subject I can afford to ignore.

While I bring this up because of the situation in the United States, it is helpful to understand this principle no matter where you are, as this debate has been properly settled in only a few countries.

Net Neutrality is a concept that ensures:

As an Internet server operator, I pay the same amount to send you the same amount of data, no matter what ISP you use. I do not have to make thousands of individual deals with individual ISPs, just for you to reach my s...

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Regarding the recent Internet Privacy bill
- by Vekseid, April 05, 2017, 08:08:31 AM
Note that, while this references an event in the United States, it represents something that is actually far worse in many countries. Privacy is a concern for you no matter where you live, and it is often only a secondary benefit from taking these measures.

So, this passed the House and Senate along firm party lines, and has caused a fair bit of alarm. Monday, it was signed by Trump.

And has led to what could at best be described as dangerously misinformed enthusiasm.

At worst, scams.

You cannot buy any individual American's browsing history from a telecom company. This is already illegal.

Quote from: Telecommunications Act
(1) Privacy requirements for telecommunications ...

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A Message Unbottled
- by Vekseid, October 04, 2016, 03:57:53 AM
Of course, I want to convince every American citizen to register and vote in this next election.

Voting, of course, is merely the end of a process that our culture has demonized from start to finish. I hope this cycle will lead to a more open attitude towards civic participation. Not just taking an active role, but being understanding and supportive of those who choose to do so.

I can go on a long diatribe about demanding perfection from humans, but I want to call out something else, for now.

That being isolation.

On the forum, isolation is something we normally address if one individual tries to do it to another. Trying to break up genuine friendships is a pretty vile thing for any person to do, and we respond accordingly.

There are many paths to isolation, however. It can be self imposed, or inflicted by fate. 'Predators' often seek out people who are halfway there already.

Without a plurality of viewp...

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Usable Security - Passwords
- by Vekseid, March 25, 2011, 10:00:01 PM
This is a copy of a post I made on my blog at

If you want to let someone else know about this series without directing them to Elliquiy here, you can link them to the original post at

Some time back, I came to a few not-terribly surprising conclusions.

1) Security information gets dated, fast. As attackers become aware of a given tool, they work to circumvent it. What is a secure, safe practice one year may actually be a security hazard later on. This bad advice tends to get 'stuck' on the Internet, made even worse by the fact that Google still gives immense weight to stale - but highly linked - articles.

2) Security advice is often completely unusable. One example of unusable security is 'use a different password for every we...

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Why Elliquiy Bans Public Contact Details
- by Vekseid, August 29, 2009, 12:15:00 AM
I've been wanting to talk about this for awhile, as we occasionally get heat from it. "I know what I'm doing!" some scream. "I'm not worried about spammers or creeps or..." They think the rule is about them, in the singular. In some cases, this sort of thing is relevant - we occasionally edit introductions that are far too personal for the poster's own good. That is usually not the case, however.

It goes a bit like this: You want to look up a phone number, you open up a phone directory. Likewise, if you want to find a picture or video, you will go to a site that is known to have those sorts of content.

So where does a random creep  (Treebuddy420 here) look for people to harass?

We actually haven't had a serious case of harassment since the mentoring process was streamlined - despite doubling our membership sinc...

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Changing perspectives
- by Vekseid, August 24, 2009, 06:44:04 PM
So, about two weeks ago, we had another problem with AOL's mail servers again. Over the course of Elliquiy's life outside of the realm of shared hosting, this would be the third time.

In each case - and the last two were pretty small - following their instructions got the issue resolved within two business days.

Date: Tue, 11 Aug 2009 15:40:07 +0530
From: <>
Subject: AOL HVU Ticket # 1641754
   1   OK     18 lines  Text
   2 Shown    23 lines  Text


I am contacting you regarding the ticket you opened with AOL concerning a mail delivery .

Thank you for providing the information we requested.  At this time, we believe we have resolved your delivery problem.
There was an issue affecting several mailers that may have temporarily caused email delays or denials.
If you c...

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Elliquiy is...
- by Vekseid, July 27, 2009, 11:49:39 PM
Recently, I have been hearing some talk about "Elliquiy's literary standards are declining."

When Elliquiy was first founded, there certainly was some thought given to the literary standards we would hold people to here. The most common at the time were post length minimums, usually five lines, a hundred words, or something to the effect.

The issue we had with that is twofold. First, writing partners sometimes prefer shorter interactions, in part because they want to have more opportunities to react to events, and writing a novella each post comes close - for them - to having the other person control their character, due to the lack of a reply. Second, literary climaxes, like certain others, are more powerful for their pithiness. Additional detail is not always a good thing, there is occasionally something to be said for allowing a viewer to capture the entirety of a moment.

And savor it.

Another option was to require a clear and crisp comma...

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What have you built today?
- by Vekseid, March 31, 2009, 09:15:26 AM
I started this before NightBird passed on. I'm not sure what hurts more, never seeing her words again, or never seeing her reaction to mine. Knowing - however subtly - that in judging ourselves we are always flawed, we seek confirmation in others. NightBird was always willing to offer that, to great detail.

Watching her build World Enough and Time was an exhilarating experience. She had done so much for her life already, and still she was creating. Forging.

We are remembered by the things we have built. Friendships made, discoveries found, achievements reached, and actual structures - online or off - that people are forced to take at least some mental note of when encountered. I have lent my hand in helping Trieste continue NightBird's site, so that it too, like so much else NightBird created, can be remembered.

I can do little except promise to remember - my own wake is over, and I move on...

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The Elliquiy LAMP Stack

1: Introduction and Overview
2: General Configuration
3: General Security
4: IPTables configuration
5: Postfix configuration
6: ntp configuration
7: Apache compilation and configuration
8: MySQL compilation and configuration
9: PHP compilation and configuration
10: Conclusion and future plans


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