Thursday, November 21, 2013

SFB 689 "Spin phenomena in reduced dimensions" funding also renewed for another 4 years!

Yet another piece of exciting news reaches us from Bonn today. After positive evaluation some weeks ago, the collaborative research centre SFB 689 "Spin phenomena in reduced dimensions" has now also officially received a renewal of funding for four more years. Time to celebrate - and then do a lot more of fascinating research!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Deactivating the RC4 cipher in Firefox

This has probably been blogged, reblogged, and reblogged again. Anyway... The RC4 cipher is considered broken, however many https websites still use it as default and Firefox even displays these connections as "high grade encryption". What can you do? Disable RC4 in the Firefox configuration!
  1. Call up the configuration page by typing about:config in the address bar.
  2. Firefox may pop up a warning along the lines of "here ends your warranty". If it does that, confirm that you'll be careful. 
  3. On top of the page, above many config settings, there's now a search bar. Enter RC4
  4. As search result you see the various cipher combinations that use this encryption standard (6 lines here). Double-click on each of these 6 lines (e.g. security.ssl3.rsa_rc4_128_md5) to toggle them from "true" to "false". 
  5. That's it, you're done.
Note that if a web site ONLY supports RC4 then you'll end up with a connection error now. You probably shouldn't go there anyway though.

Friday, November 8, 2013

GRK 1570 "Electronic Properties of Carbon Based Nanostructures" extended!

Today's exciting news is that funding for the the Regensburg DFG research training group "Electronic Properties of Carbon Based Nanostructures" (GRK 1570) has been extended until 2018! The program focuses on the experimental and theoretical investigation of carbon-based nanostructures, i.e. devices based on graphene, carbon nanotubes, aromatic molecules or hybrids of those. A large number of projects is involved, with topics as various as e.g. the transport spectroscopy and analysis of electronic interactions in ultra-clean carbon nanotubes (our group), atomic force microscopy based research on forces in molecular electronics, or femtosecond plasmonics in graphene. More details on the research activities can be found on the projects web page, including direct links to the participating research groups. Thanks a lot to everyone who helped making this happen!

Friday, November 1, 2013

Speeding up app-office/libreoffice-bin generation

Since the last app-office/libreoffice-bin upgrade was long-delayed and overall slightly painful, we've modernized behind the scenes. Patrick Lauer a.k.a. bonsaikitten, who is amongst other things already running the commit notification bot irker on #gentoo-commits and the amazing AutoRepoman verifying quality and consistency of the portage tree, has provided me with generous access to two dedicated build chroots for amd64 and x86 libreoffice on a rather fast server. Together we're trying to automatize the upgrade process as much as possible. The app-office/libreoffice-bin- packages that I'm uploading right now and that will appear on the mirror servers and in the portage tree within the next 24h are the first result of the new setup. Test and enjoy!
Oh yeah, and since many people have asked me already, the awesome new splash screen was contributed by Denis M. a.k.a. Phr33d0m, see bug 456666. Thanks a lot too!