Tuesday 19 December 2006 at 00:00.
Tags: chinese, crusher, exploits, forgery, gifts, memorium, movies, passports, restaurant_review, rfid_chips, rip, science, shopping, sql_server, tattoos, tech_toys, windows_vista, yule
Last night Lyssa, Orthaevelve, and I decided to go out to dinner to celebrate things looking up at work these days after work. It was something of a snap decision, you see - I got a call from my boss while I was at the Metro station headed for home, and immediately told Lyssa as soon as she arrived. After going to the doctor's office so that she could get her weekly allergy inoculation, we called up Orthaevelve and asked about the wherabouts of any good Chinese restaurants in the area. Much to our surprise, there was one within a comfortable driving distance.. I wish that I'd thought to pick up a menu while I was there becaue I don't remember the name of the restaurant off the top of my head. The food there is excellent, easily the best Chinese I've had since leaving Pittsburgh. The pot-stickers were tasty, even without dipping sauce; the egg rolls were to die for, Lyssa tells me; the egg drop soup is well worth the trip; let me tell you, the General T'sao's Chicken was amazing. The portions are a little on the generous side, so if you've got the option to order the small of each dish, use it. Prices are decent, about $13us per person for dinner.
Overall verdict: One and a half flareguns, name of restaurant to come.
EDIT: The name of the restaurant is China Star (9600 G Main Street; Fairfax, Virginia, 22031; phone number 703-393-8822). Afterward we did a little shopping at A.C. Moore so that Lyssa could stock up on yarn, and Orthaevelve could raid the beading supplies. For my part, I didn't have much to do while there because I don't have any craft projects running at the moment, but I did wnder around a bit in the stationary section to look for interesting pens, and contact paper that I could run through a printer to make some stickers. We left around 2000 EST/EDT, discussing the self-done tattoos on a 15-year old with more attitude than common sense (or hepatitis immunity).
I've been following the matter of RFID enabled passports for a while now, and everything I've seen thus far has not lead me to really trust them because RFID tags are insecure by design: As long as you can bounce a radio signal off of one you can read the data off of it without any trouble. As far as I'm concerned, though, they are now wholly unsuitable for use in passports because they can be cloned in less than five minutes with hardware available on the open market. It is possible to get the chip to dump its contents on demand, and then impress the data onto a blank RFID chip, thus making a perfect duplicate. The UK Home Office went on the record as stating that this would still make it impossible to clone passports, but that remains to be seen whether or not this is a practical method of counteriftting official documents.
Supposedly, someone found a particularly nasty vulnerability in Windows Vista, but rather than reporting it they're selling the information on the black market for $50kus per disclosure. Raimund Genes of Trend Micro has been tracking the evolution of this situation, and reports that this bug is commanding the highest prices he's ever seen underground. Generally, it is said, 0-day exploits retail for $20kus-$30kus. Various sorts of malware not yet analyzed by the bigger anti-spyware companies tend to go for about $5kus per strain.
In more Vista news, Microsoft's in an an enterprise-ready buzzword-compliant pickle because SQLserver Express, used by thousands of developers, isn't compatible with Windows Vista, which puts many commercial software development pojects over a barrel. A service pack is in the works that will add compatibility but it's just entered the beta testing phase. In the meantime, no one knows how many companies will pass on upgrading to MS' latest and greatest, which translates into a pretty penny.
Real science in the movie Buckaroo Banzai?
Wow... mirrorshades, .mp3 player, and Bluetooth headset, all in one.
My mother's gift to Lyssa and I arrived late this evening: A case of wine from California. There are two bottles of each kind from different wineries.
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