Europe Trip Journal – Entry 5: Bonsoir


This morning I extended my stay in La Rochelle for another day. The night was relatively quiet, since in my 6-bed dormitory only one other bed had been booked. So after a good night of sleep I went to get some breakfast and then straight to the reception to book another night.

With that out of the way I thought it was time to get some work done. Yesterday I had seen some very nice places to work on my way back from the beach, so I quickly went to my room to grab my laptop and went out again. I am glad that I brought my 9-cell battery with me, which gives me a decent amount of battery life while on the road (or in a train, although there is a good chance that french trains will come with outlets).

The spot I had in mind was a bank that was half-way covered by a tree, so there was sufficient room to adapt to the burning sun which slowly crept over the sky. The sea was calm and there was a nice breeze, so it actually got a bit chilly in the shades. It was the perfect balance between heating sun and shade I had to strike.

Today my subject of work was to add support for generating third-party signatures in PGPainless. So far the library was pretty “self-centered”, meaning it was possible to create keys and sign messages, but there wasn’t yet an easy API for signing other keys. That should be about to change.

From the Web-of-Trust specification I had borrowed the terminology of “certifications” and “delegations”. Both terms identify signatures made on another key. Certifications however would be made over “bindings”, which is a term for user-id – self-signature tuples, while delegations would be signatures made over keys. The difference is tht a certification is sort of a statement by the issuer, claiming they have checked that a user-id (e.g. the name or an email address of a person) would belong to a certain key, while a delegation is primarily used to specify to what degree the user trusts a key to issue certifications. It is a way to delegate trust, hence the name.

I will go into further detail on this in a future blog post, but for today it is enough to know that there are two different mechanisms at play here. So after having broken my Intellij by installing a plugin which would automatically make it switch between light- and dark-mode depending on my OSs settings, and spending nearly an hour to find a way to uninstall the defective plugin without the need to start Intellij, I could finally get to work.

For three hours I sat in the sun, typing away. The result is a first proof-of-concept implementation for issuing third-party signatures. I am quite happy with the outcome, although I identified some places where I was reading the specification wrong previously, so some other places in the code base are now broken 😀 That’s just how it is.

With the first design working, I deemed it good enough for today and packed my things to go back to the hostel, but not without a sun-bath the beach before! Another 2 hours or so later I felt sunburned, but happy. Unfortunately I had gotten some sunscreen into my eye earlier, which caused it to tear constantly, even now it is still watering a bit. Annoying…

Back at the hostel I took a shower and then relaxed a bit in my bed. Then I decided to check out the hostels bar. Its a nice, open space with big windows and a lot of chairs to chill out and socialize on. Unfortunately this evening there aren’t many people here, so I opted for a beer instead. It’s a locally brewed, dark coffee beer! Tasty!

Today I thought a bit about greetings. Its something I don’t really think about too much in my usual life. But when in another country with a different language, I have to concentrate to find the right words to greet people, depending on time of day. It made me think about the act of greeting strangers and how nice that actually is. Not that I feel like a particularly nice person when nodding a quick “Bonjour” to someone, I mean the act of greeting someone is something I haven’t really payed that much attention to before. It was a more like a ritual without meaning. When I say “Bonsoir”, it’s more like if I was saying “Wunderschönen Abend” instead of my usual “N’abend”. It makes me realize that in fact, this is a nice evening worth noting to strangers.

Bonsoir 🙂


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