Aug - 07


Automating SSH Tunnel establishment from SSH config file

Posted in General, Linux on August 28th, 2007 by Nicolas

In order to setup an ssh tunnel between port 8080 on the local machine and port 80 on the SSH server, you can go and type:

ssh -L8080:localhost:80 -l yourUsernameAtMachineDOTexampleDOTorg

But if you follow the law of the least effort, you won’t want to type that in everytime you need to establish the tunnel, you would rather type:

ssh tunnelName

and have SSH do everything by itself for you! This can be acomplished by inserting the following lines in your ~/.ssh/config file.

Host tunnelName        
User yourUsernameAtMachineDOTexampleDOTorg        
GatewayPorts yes        
LocalForward 8080 localhost:80

Notice the GatewayPorts yes directive, this is optional for the tunnel to come up but allows you to use the tunnel from other machines than just the one that establishes it!

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Aug - 07


Pont du Gard: Canoe down the Gardon

Posted in Tourism on August 27th, 2007 by Nicolas

gardlong A little east of Montpellier, between Uzès and Nimes is the Pont du Gard. This bridge built by the Romans was used as both a road bridge and aqueduct between these two cities. It is the theater of many cultural events as well as a recreational place during summer! At some point in time, people used to dive from it until it was forbidden a few years ago.

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Aug - 07


Thawte Web of Trust (WoT) – An easy way to secure email !

Posted in General, Work on August 26th, 2007 by Nicolas

Since 2004, I’m a member of the Thawte Web of Trust. I’ve always been quite a security enthusiast, my first experiences were under DOS using the pgp executable to try and cypher some text that I would put on a diskette and have a friend read the next day…

Those days are long gone but, even though the advent of the Internet and modern cryptography, the principles still remain! In the beginning there are only two things, a Public and a Private cryptographic key. The public key is used for cyphering content and verifying signatures, the private key is used to sign and decipher content.

So if you want to send a message to a friend of yours, you have various options:

  • Sign it, don’t encrypt : Your friend needs your public key to verify your signature
  • Encrypt it, don’t sign it: You need your friends’ public key
  • Encrypt it, sign it: You need your friends’ public key and he needs yours to verify the signature

That’s a lot of key exchanges that could potentially lead to several attacks such as Eve trying to convince you that he’s got your friends’ public key when what he has is a fake. Eve, if she somehow catches the message you sent your friend will be able to decipher it.

Now, this is where certificates come into action, Trent which is trusted by both of you will “grosso modo” digitally sign your (name, email address and public key) tuple so it can not be tampered with. Of course, Trent needs to assert your identity before he signs your certificate, otherwise it makes no sense.

Thawte is just an instance of Trent, also known as a Certification Authority which delivers free personal certificates for email based on the concept of a Web of Trust (WoT)!

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Aug - 07


Great Circle Mapper – Your trips on a map

Posted in General, Tourism on August 21st, 2007 by Nicolas

Have you ever wanted to show others where you went and what your itinerary was to get there? If you’re starting a photo book about your last trip around China or your latest safary through Africa, here is a tool that might come in handy.

This online tool by Karl L. Swartz generates a map of your trips


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Aug - 07


Brussels – Uccle: Le Ventre Saint Gris

Posted in Eating out, Tourism on August 20th, 2007 by Nicolas

A nice little restaurant in Uccle (Brussels).

Located in a quiet section of the Uccle “commune”, just next to the Kauwberg which is one of the most important “green space reservoir” of Brussels in which you can enjoy a great after meal “promenade”.

The Ventre Saint Gris’ experience was excellent overall, having booked in advance made it easy for the owner to accommodate our 20 persons group. The timing was good, the waiting time between ordering and being served was really amazingly fast while the quality of the servings as well as the quantity was great.

A very nice experience where you can’t be disapointed, the menu is very dynamic so be sure to check their website where you’ll find all the details.

Aug - 07


Toulouse: Piazza Papa

Posted in Eating out, Tourism on August 20th, 2007 by Nicolas

If you’re looking for a nice little Italian restaurant in southern France, the Piazza Papa is certainly a good choice.

Located in the center of Toulouse, the chain has two other places in Montpellier and Aix en Provence. I only know the Toulouse’s place. Apart from a calid ambiance, the waiters are always very nice and let you take your time. The food is great!

I specially recommend the salmone calzone as a starter followed by the salmone pizza, but that’s just because I love salmon on a pizza! Be sure to try the Café Liégois for desert, it’s one of the best Café Liégois that I’ve ever tasted!

Aug - 07


France’s Pays Cathare – Mirepoix

Posted in Tourism on August 18th, 2007 by Nicolas

100_4117It is not the first time I speak of the French Pays Cathare. In fact, about a month ago, I wrote something about Carcassonne which is the Pays Cathare’s most impressive city. However, Medieval cities are all over the place in Souh-West France and Mirepoix is another example of such.

Mirepoix is located in the French Ariège département, about an hour south of Toulouse in the direction of Foix. It is much smaller than Carcassonne but has much to offer to its visitor.

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Aug - 07


Visiting France’s Haut Quercy

Posted in Tourism on August 15th, 2007 by Nicolas

102_4146 In south-western France, a little north of Cahors, located at the border of the French Midi-Pyrénées and Limousin regions, more specifically at the border of the Lot and the Corrèze department, lies the French Quercy, more specifically the Haut Quercy (high Quercy).

This former region of France which was home of the Cadurques Gauls is very rich in Limestone. The architecture and colors that can be seen in this region are a testimony of this natural resource’s presence.

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Aug - 07


Is Google giving extra space or charging for it ?

Posted in General on August 13th, 2007 by Nicolas

The race for storage space between Yahoo! and Google has already been discussed on many blogs lately. The decision by Yahoo! to offer unlimited storage space for your emails has been welcome by most! I personally still prefer Gmail which to my opinion has much more usability than Yahoo!. This is specially true when combined with Google Calendar (or Agenda) and other Google goodies such as Google Notepad, Google Stocks, Picasa etc…

There is however, something not so logical when it comes to space and Google….

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Aug - 07



Posted in General on August 10th, 2007 by Nicolas

While watching the french (TF1) TV news someday this week, I’ve discovered the existence of Spock! after a little google search, I also found this post on Mashable France about it.

These guy’s goal is to do some kind of wikipedia/linkedIn/hi5 hybrid that will not only contain information that someone enters into it but also information that is gathered automatically, much in the way search engines do. The preliminary results look very nice!

The fact that I had a LinkedIn profile alone was enough for them to find me and have me in there.
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