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Securing IRC with SSL/TLS.

Although IRC is useful, the default IRC protocol is unencrypted, which means that anyone listening to your network traffic, such as a black hat sniffing WiFi packets in the same coffee shop as us, or perhaps an unscrupulous Three-Letter Agency or Internet Service Provider, is able to read, and possibly modify, the contents of our messages. In order to defend against this, you can use SSL/TLS on top of the IRC protocol in order to connect securely.


SSL/TLS is poorly-named; the short story is that SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) refers to a now-obsolete version of the encryption protocol while TLS (Transport Layer Security) refers to a new version of the protocol. However, because of the naming kerfuffle, libraries that implement the newer TLS protocol still use the old SSL in their name, such as in the case of the OpenSSL library, which ...more

(Living) Recommended Reading


Python is a high-level programming language that's popular for scripting, web development, and prototyping projects of all kinds. You'll use Python at OSU in CS160 and again in CS311. Other languages that are used for similar purposes include Bash and Perl for shell scripting, and Ruby on Rails for web development. One project developed by LUG members using python is our IRC bot Hamper.

  • Good tutorial for complete beginners
  • The official python reference, helpful if you forget the correct syntax of a dictionary or how to do list comprehensions

  • Stack Overflow is more useful than the official docs if you're not sure exactly what you're trying to ...more

Essential Github

Install git locally

You'll more than likely want access to git on your local machine, so will need to install git or a git client. On Debian based systems you'll run sudo apt-get install git, on RHEL you'll run sudo yum install git, and for other systems we recommend following the most up-to-date instructions here.

Create account

Before doing anything else, you'll also want to create an account at Github is where others can see, comment on, improve, and collaborate on your code.

Add ssh key

In order to securely send code between Github and your computer, you also want to create and add an SSH key which will let github know that it's actually your computer sending the code ...more

Getting Started with Digital Ocean

Digital Ocean is an accessible cloud computing resource, which will give you access to a system without needing to maintain it or give up your current set up. It's great for getting familiar with linux, testing projects, and even deploying an application. Here's how to get started.

Through the github education pack, you get $50 of credit to Digital Ocean for free! This is about 10 months of usage, depending on what you're using it for. To get the credit: 1. Click the "Request a Discount" button in the top-right-hand corner of the github education pack page. 2. Fill out the form as is appropriate for you (you almost certainly want an individual account, unless you know otherwise), and make sure you use your Oregon State email address when sending the request, even if this is not the email you have ...more

Reminder: Test Your Backups

It's week 9, which means that you've probably invested many hours in a final paper or project for at least one class.

This is your reminder to stop and ask yourself:

If the most important file in my project suddenly disappeared, what would I do?

If the answer is git checkout -- filename or cp filename_yesterdays_date filename, you're on the right track! If losing the file would ruin your day, take a few minutes now to prevent it from getting lost in the future.

Verify your backups.

If you think that you know how to restore your file, do a test right now. Make a copy of the project's entire folder and, in that copy, actually delete the file. Now try to get it back. If you don't have a plan for getting your work back, or the backup solution you thought you had isn't working, you can set one up now while your work still exists!

Decide how serious a ...more