Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Creating a Fake CA Certificate

I have to say, beautiful work...

MD5 considered harmful today
The authors describe how they were able to create a CA certificate that would be trusted by a browser. it involves smartly crafted MD5 collision attacks. Some of the work is novel, as in how they came up with the collision. Other part is out of 'sheer luck' in a sense. All it took was a CA that was dumb enough to use MD5 AND sequential serial numbers, both of which should be easily removed from tomorrow onwards. Still, nice and solid work.

Its been some time that I've enjoyed reading a scientific article...

Edited to add:
The problem is 'fixed', at least for Verisign.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

'Holidays'

What's up? Well, things are getting better at the office, and then density of problems to handle on a weekly basis has been shooting down lately.

I am pretty much done furnishing my apartment, and I'm more or less ready for hospitality too.

So, we had the Winter Solstice Festival thing. Glad that it is over. Its really annoying to hear "Jingle Bells" sang at church... try to find any praise for God in that one...
Anyways, I didn't celebrate Christmas this year. Didn't go to church, didn't fellowship, no real special dinner (although I cooked something nice for myself) and spent half of the day sleeping.
Work is more interesting. I'm more focused on my research now. I'm slowly writing the proposal. I have still to decide if I'm going for PhD or not. The problem is that there is no real good(read: world-class) engineering school in Hyderabad. Have fun looking at the JNTU website and try to spot all the typos! And did I mention that is a category 'A' institution?
So my only two options are IIIT and IIT, the latter being freshly created and located in the middle of nowehere...
And if I want to do a PhD anywhere else, I HAVE to spend the first year on campus, and that would make living in Hyderabad kind of impossible. So I'm wondering what to do.
I have purchased a lot of furniture from a brother who's moving away to a mission team, and my apartment is nearly done furnishing. I'll post some pictures later.
I've had a few problems lately with my bank... in short, the credit card salesman lied to me. It took them two days to understand what was the nature of my complaint. Wow!
Transportation is an epinous issue. I am wondering about buying a vehicle. A motorcycle is not an exciting idea, as the driving is INSANE around here. A car is expensive to buy and operate.
The company bus works well in the morning, but less well in the evening. I'm always late for church meetings in the week, and sometimes I'm not getting anywhere because its too full and the driver won't budge. So I'm going back to the train. With all its quirks and complications, it remains that I can get somewhere with it!
I'll give more thought at the idea of buying a vehicle. But my green side is not allowing me to make that move. I'm still true to myself ;)

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Update on the Singles' Ministry

As you all know, I'm a normal brother who's trying to do what he can to help my fellow brothers and sisters to go to Heaven.

Since I can't speak to a sister, even less encourage her, that means that the single brothers are my focus right now.

And things are unfolding nicely.
I have friendships with a few of the brothers, and they are opening up to me.
I invited them to come over last Saturday evening for half-night of prayer, then breakfast and prayer in the morning. It was great! I really felt that a lot of the heart-wrenching decisions I took were paying off that night.
We had prayers in English, Telugu, Hindi and French. How's that for variety?
I have to get some more serious discipling going though. Prayerfully, the Spirit will guide me. So much things need to be done, so many battles to fight, souls to win, and I feel I would need to do 10x what I'm doing now to make even a dent in the backlog. Prayers welcomed.
I discussed with the evangelist, and I will take some brothers along with me to do a study of the Holy Spirit. I needed to do it for myself, and it would enrich the congregation if some folks have a stronger understanding.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Marriage Blues

No, I'm not married. But someone got married this weekend.
A brother in Mumbai, and another couple tied the knot in Hyderabad.

I wasn't supposed to attend the wedding in Hyderabad. I had my tickets for Mumbai ready and my packing was done. I had planned a lot of time with old friends. But I got sick. You know, the kind of diarrhea that doesn't get better? After 3 days I was barely able to focus at work. So I left early and went to the doctor and got the pills. And had to cancel my trip.
I spent most of Saturday in bed.
On Sunday, I was feeling a bit better. There was a wedding right after the church service, and I dressed for the occasion. I was the only man with a traditional Indian dress... wow!
But the true wow was with the sisters! They were proud of their roots, and you could see so many colourful and beautiful sarees! Seriously, that much colour can hurt a man's vision for a few days at least...
Seriously, the more I am in India, the more I think that folks in the West have no idea what beauty is.
Back on topic, I did not know any of the two who got married... I had to ask some questions to the bridesmaid and the groomsmen in order to know a bit about them.
Of course I was happy for them. But a more general kind of happy. Like being happy that there are no more people getting killed in Mumbai... yes its a positive feeling, but its not an actively positive one, and its independent of joy.
And, once again, my heart bled, knowing that my turn hasn't come yet. It could've come in the past, and there were opportunities in the church, but none of those looked like the woman of God who would help me build up my brothers and sisters in the faith.
But also, God's daughter deserve the best, and I'm on catching-up mode.
So I wait, I pray, and I work on my character. And the more I fix things, the more I see things to be fixed. And every time I thought I was getting close, I realize that there is another major issue that needs fixing.
I don't give up, but I joylessly move forward. I'm doing what is right, and what is best (in my interest, in my future wife's interest, and in God's Kingdom's best interest), and I stomach the pain of changing.
I have a bit of peace knowing that Jesus didn't always have his emotional needs met. Why do I say that? John the Baptist was beheaded, and He couldn't get much time to mourn (Mt 14), and he was more or less left to Himself in Gethsemane (Mt 26). It is hard for me to let go though... and somehow find peace with the idea that some things I want may or may not happen.
But its the only way forward. It is the victory of surrender, and I will claim it.