These are the latest from my hackerland journey. I feared that either me or the challenge site would go down, and in fact hacker.org is now temporarily unavailable since three days. Maybe it is under a Denial of Services attack of some user who is angry because he can't solve some challenge... Who knows?
Close to the last castle
With 190 challenges solved, I am close to the last castle on the upper left corner of the map. The challenges around it are very hard, none of them is solved, and after there will be a super-hard challenge anyway to protect this castle.
Being a dangermouse it was reasonably easy to solve some quests of the serie "Really Small Mouse". I brought the mouse down to 21 instructions, but there are some hackers who can do it in 20 and less! Cool challenges encountered on the road were 'No full ACK in SEPT' which refreshed modular algebra a bit, 'Maelstrom' to train image recognition, 'HVM cipher' and 'Really Simple Access' to revive my reminescences of cryptanalysis. While solving "Shattered and Shuffled" and "Shredded and Scrambled", I felt cold down my neck, it was the breath of the dark side who strucked me.
I suffered deceiving in "Such Much" and only an answer on the forum brought me back on track. I almost brought down hacker.org by submitting huge numbers calculated with Python! I attacked with brute force 'Soviet Intercept' and I almost locked me out of this challenge; now I have to wait one hour between submitting of answers for this particular challenge, though now I prepared a sort of key which should allow the identification of the spies.
For the cryptographic challenges involving unkown codes, I developed a tool to perform the kappa-test, and another one to perform the chi-test on vigeneres which have substitutions in columns instead of simple caesar ciphers. I wrote them according to this article. I found a good tool to perform first image analysis on Steganographic challenges here made by Caesum, the author of the Challenger's handbook. To perform coprime factorization I definitely recommend MSieve. Other discoveries were Binary Coded Decimals (BCD) and Setun, a Russian computer which was working with ternary balanced circuits :-)
deltasql 1.4.2 and beyond
1.4.2 was a tactical release, to get hands on code which I did not touch since three months and also to advertise deltasql through the Mantra of Open Source Release often, release early. The development of 1.4.3 is struggled by technical accidents (the server I am using to test went down, because the friend of mine who kindly hosts deltasql forgot to pay the bill). Additionally, I face now trouble pushing my code with git to sourceforge. But 1.4.3 will be fresh wind with several minor bugfixes, user preferences and the ability to inform users of new scripts via sendmail.
Finally, to remember myself on how to
Set default operating system in Grub
1. edit DEFAULT variable in /etc/default/grub
2. run sudo grub-update