Keybase.io: PGP For Beginners, With Invites

PGP for Beginners: A Simple Web Interface to PGP

Keybase.io is quite simple, basically a web interface and command line client that makes PGP more user-friendly. At the same time, it makes it easy to get someones public key, and know it’s the correct key.

Keybase.io allows you to encrypt, decrypt, sign, and verify messages to other keybase.io users. The Keybase.io homepage has an excellent description on the inner workings and how to make use of the command line client.

keybase-tyler

You can find me on Keybase.io at https://keybase.io/tlongren/.

I like how the purpose of the Keybase.io website, as opposed to the command line client, is described:

Keybase.io is also a Keybase client, however certain crypto actions (signing and decrypting) are limited to users who store client-encrypted copies of their private keys on the server, an optional feature we didn’t mention above.

On the website, all crypto is performed in JavaScript, in your browser. Some people have strong feelings about this, for good reason.

Keybase.io has it’s issues, though. Liz Denys makes very good points in her Refusing To Verify Myself post.

And back in March 2014, Evan Johnson discovered very serious vulnerability in Keybase.io. You can read more about it, along with examples and why it was so major, in his blog post.

There’s still serious debate that’s somewhat related to Evan’s discovery. An issue on GitHub is still open while the Keybase.io folks consider their options and best course of action.

Everything has it’s flaws, though. So for me, Keybase.io is an easy way for me to communicate securely with those I need to do so with. I’ll likely continue using it, but need more people I communicate with frequently to be members.

Invites

I do have invites for Keybase.io. I’ll only send them to people I know. If you’re a regular here, a client of mine, or old online friend, you qualify. Real world friends and family obviously qualify.

Just ask in the comments below.

Use Composer in Your WordPress Plugin or Theme

Simple Tutorial Showing How To Use Composer in Your WordPress Plugin or Theme

I love Composer. It just makes including libraries or scripts in your app incredibly easy. So easy that it’s stupid not to use it (in many, if not most cases).

The number of libraries/scripts available on Packagist is astounding, all of which can be included in your plugin with Composer. Packagist is the main Composer repository. It basically aggregates all types of PHP packages that can be installed via Composer.

I’d never used Composer with a proprietary WordPress plugin before. The plugin is for a client so it’ll never be available to the public.

Here’s the steps I took to make this WordPress plugin compatible with Composer so that I can easily bring in third-party libraries.

We’ll be using mailgun-php throughout this example, as the plugin that inspired this post uses Mailgun to send all sorts of emails.

1. First, install composer on your server.

I install Composer globally, like so:

[email protected]:~$ curl -sS https://getcomposer.org/installer | php
[email protected]:~$ sudo mv composer.phar /usr/local/bin/composer

2. Add Mailgun as a dependency.

[email protected]:~$ cd /path/to/plugin/
[email protected]:~/path/to/plugin$ composer require mailgun/mailgun-php:~1.7.2

3. Check your composer.json file.

We’re including Mailgun and guzzle from Packagist. Your composer.json file should look similar to the example below.

4. Tell composer to install Mailgun.

[email protected]:~/path/to/plugin$ composer install

5. Autoload Our Mailgun Classes in Our Plugin.

The following should go in your plugin-name.php file, before any other PHP code.

<?php
require 'vendor/autoload.php';
use MailgunMailgun;

You can now use Mailgun in your WordPress plugin or theme, some basic examples of using Mailgun can be found on GitHub and in their official documentation.

More Inbox by Gmail Invites

I have 10 more to give away

Just like with the last Inbox by Gmail invites post, I’ve got 10 invites for Inbox by Gmail. If you want one, just leave a comment below.

As usual, first come, first serve.

March 5, 2015 Update

I have 10 more to give away. Leave a comment (put your gmail address in the email field so only I can see it).

Simple Server Monitoring with Ping.gg

It really is the world’s most simple server monitoring service

Best of all, Ping.gg is currently free! Ping.gg will ping your server constantly, with an interval of 10 seconds.

Victor, the ping.gg creator, will be releasing all the Go code on GitHub eventually, but will keep the UI/PHP pieces to himself. It sounds like HTTP response checking is also in the works:

There is a ping daemon (Go app) that is listening for a couple of redis pub/sub channels for hosts to start and stop pinging. Each host is handled by a different goroutine. When something goes up or down, it publishes the host in another 2 redis pub/sub channels.

This is what I’ll release as open source, before I do I’d like to refactor it so it’s not tightly couple with redis, but rather have an interface there, so it’s easy to change the redis pub/sub interface with, for example, HTTP calls.

Monitor a Site with Ping.gg

To monitor a site (my.example.com), issue this command:

curl ping.gg/[email protected]/my.example.com

I’ll let Victor explain how it works:

After you provide a hostname or IP and your email address, you’ll be sent an email with 3 generated URLs that you can to click to start, stop and delete your tracking. Every time you server goes down or back online you will receive a notification, which will also include the control URLs. BTW, check your spam folder… you know the drill.

ping.gg-down-email

Every time my.example.com is unreachable, you’ll receive an email at [email protected]. An example email is below.

That’s It

Issuing that curl command is all you need to do. You’ll receive an email after adding a site to monitor asking you to active the monitoring. There’s also a link in that email so you can stop or pause monitoring of a site if you wish.

Ping.gg allows 10 sites to be monitored per email address. Ping.gg considers your server/site to be down when it fails to answer 6 pings in a row.

Hoping that Victor builds this into a full fledged service with account dashboards and all, just because it’s sooo simple. The Terms of Service possibly indicate that a professional service may be available at some point:

As previously stated, this is not a professional service (not now at least) so by using this service you agree to the following:

  1. You use this service at your own risk.
  2. There is no warranty that the service will work properly or at all.
  3. Your alerts might be terminated without notice.
  4. The service can stop operating anytime without notice.

Go ahead and give Ping.gg a try, it’s been very reliable for me and I’ve had no issues with it. Keep the Terms of Service in mind, however.

Inbox by Gmail Invites

A Christmas gift for you

I’ve got 10 invites for Inbox by Gmail. If you want one, just leave a comment below.

First come, first serve.

Final Update

I’ve exhausted all my invites. If you want one, leave a comment anyway, others have been sending invites to people here, too. Or, check the Designer News thread. A guy there is offering invites if you send him your email address.

Real Final Update

I’m out of invites, but post your email if you want one. A number of kind individuals have been sending invites to people leaving their emails in the comments.

Update Jan 22, 2015

I now have 9 more invites to send out for those of you that still want an invitation to Inbox by Gmail. Just leave a comment and I’ll get one sent to you.

Update Feb 20, 2015

Got 10 more invites, view this post to request one.