Well, I'm an idiot... for whatever reason I decided to take a shortcut to class this morning only to discover that the road was closed for repaving. I wish I'd known that, so I had to go all the way through downtown just to loop back and head up to campus. This put me later in my schedule than I'm ordinarily comfortable with, and in fact I got to class late. But it's no big deal in the long run, stuff like that happens now and then. It added a good half-hour or so on to my usual travel time and arrival was a bit later than usual. No biggie, really. So I walk into class late and miss a good bit of the homework check for this week. Okay, no big deal.. the TA checks it herself after we hand it in... class ends and then I head out to work for the day.
Then I look at my class schedule at work and discover that I went to the wrong recitation - I'm in the one after the one I attended (1100 and not 1000). If I had brains I'd actually be dangerous, I think.
The Crisses posted a report of their glamouring a few nights ago in New York City.. gods, I wish I could have seen it. That sounds a lot like when a few of us used to play 'Freak the Mundanes' back in high school, only this is more to wake people up than to make them feel uneasy. I've spoken to the Crisses and they've given me permission to post their report on this page.
Here's an interesting article on Ars Technica for the tweak-freaks out there: the ins and outs of BIOS configuration. Now if you'll excuse me, Leandra and I have to have a little talk...
Well, nothing happened yesterday. Hear me not complain.
Yesterday Microsoft released an update to their knowledge base article regarding Windows 2000 systems being cracked left and right. It turns out that they were referring to childishly simple or nonexistent passwords 'protecting' the Administrator accounts on said boxen. Fish. Barrel. 12-gauge.
Now I'm starting to worry... I'm listening to SLAY Radio at work and the song that was playing when XMMS started catching the stream sounded a great deal like Koyaanisquatsi by Philip Glass. I really don't know - it could be Delta by Trace Wallton but I've never heard the song before so I don't know. If anyone does please let me know because this is spookular - it's the second Philip Glass reference I've heard in the C-64 scene in the past week.
Here's something to think about from Slashdot: Is it really worth finishing your degree after you're in the workforce, and if so what benefits does doing so have? Frankly, I wish I knew. I'm in the same situation right now and I'm sick and tired of school. I really don't know why I went back (okay, maybe I do - my OS class rocked all known sheep) and I'd rather just work full time. I get to hack on neat stuff at work and make good money for being a geek. Work might drive me up a wall sometimes and it's giving me grey hair (no lie) but it's meaningful work and not screwing around with this and that just to get a grade and a sheepskin. I can see some benefits of getting a degree (such as proving to employers with that little piece of paper that you can finish what you put your mind to, and proving that you've got a high tolerence for bullshit) but in other ways it's not worth the energy. It's a drain on your energy, which can mean chronic depression or the odd nervous breakdown; it's a financial drain (some of us actually want to get out of debt); it eats up a lot of time; it's wear and tear on the car that would ordinarily not be piled on; there's the matter of not getting a job because you're overqualified for it. I guess it comes down to where you think it'll get you.
I don't know if it'll get me far but I did make a promise, and I've got to make good on it.
You have to hand it to Microsoft, they make the best cracking tools ever. First Internet Exploer (to compromise an IIS server by crafting URLs), and now Outlook Express to sneak past e-mail antiviral filters! Keep up the good work, guys! B-P
This brought some sunshine to an otherwise dull afternoon. Kagemushi attended the Memphit Furmeet incognito... here's his account of the affair.
Well, I invited my folks to attend Pagan Pride Day next week. I can't say that things went poorly, they didn't. But they didn't go very well, either. I'm not very comfortable with speaking face to face with people to begin with, and while they don't have any visible problems with my path they aren't very comfortable with it, either. The reason I brought it up was to clear the air and maybe come to middle ground on some things. It was a bad sign when both of us started sweating like marshmallow peeps looking at a campfire. Basically the conversation was very stilted and not really a discussion of any sort at all. I think at most a single question was asked and it went nowhere. Needless to say, the conversation went nowhere in a fairly big hurry. A few reasons for not wanting to go were tossed out and while I can understand them (like being harassed by picketers) I really don't think they're anything to worry about. At any rate they're really not keen on going, and I don't have a problem with that. I thought it'd be a kind gesture. Oh, well. At least it isn't "encounter group" time.
Oh ye gods... Gothoply cards?!
What a freakin' struggle. As far as I can tell none of the Unix systems at school today are playing nicely. I can't source out to anywhere, even the public Unix cluster, without using one of the damned Windows FP systems in a lab. It's demeaning in a way. But I suppose that stuff like this happens to keep you humble. Not everything is under one's control, in fact damnably little really is when you get right down to it. So I grabbed one of the Windows boxes and copied PuTTY over to the desktop to get down to business. Frankly, I just don't trust using SSH to log into my LAN when the only native method of accessing the cluster is telnet over what very well might be an unswitched LAN. And we all know how much security a layer-3 switch adds to a network. Whee.
Okay, down to business. I noticed something on my way to school today. A lot of people seem to smoke while they drive, but they flick the ashes and butts out of their windows as they do so. Why? Is it considered cool to smoke but not actually have any of the icky telltale signs of it laying around? Do they realise that even if the ashtray of their land leviathan is squeaky clean the rest of their vehicle smells like cigarette smoke? If you're going to do it right, folks, blow the smoke out of your window as well, it's the only way you can get your fix without losing street cred. Hell, just smoke in your car if you want it that bad - go all the way and screw your image.
Personally, if I feel the need to light up I've got a well used ashtray in my lab and I'm not afraid to leave it laying around. Do it right, folks.
Well, it's the one year anniversary of the terrorist strikes last year, popularly known as 9-11. There are memorial services all over the place.. chapels opening.. candlelight vigils... newspaper articles (hell, entire sections)....
Guys, it happened last year. I know you're worried. I know that the political situation with the US in relationship to the rest of the planet is looking shaky. But if you keep your cool and go about your day-to-day lives everything will be fine. Yes, it's natural to mourn. Yes, it's natural to be in utter shock for a while. Yes, all hell broke loose on the face of the planet for a while. But those who are gone will return; some sooner, some later. The bodies are buried, the rubble is cleaned up. Get on with your lives, it's the only way to heal.
It's like shattering your leg in an accident. Yes, you're probably going to go under the knife while an orthopaedic surgeon rebuilds the bone structure. You'll probably have some hardware implanted in you for a while, perhaps for good depending on the extent of the damage (just try telling it to airport security, though). And you're going to have to wear a big-ass cast for a few weeks to a few months while the bones heal. You'll be on crutches for a while if you can walk at all. Then you'll probably be walking with a cane. Then you have to stand on your own two feet and go to physical therapy. Therapy hurts and it makes you work up a sweat and you'll probably say a lot of words that can't be said in mixed company (rehabilitation hurts like a son of a bitch). You might not ever play baseball again; it sucks, but there are other things to do in life. You might not ever dance again; okay, that really sucks, you have my sympathy. But there are other things in life. Life adapts to the situation it's in as it grows and it learns to deal with things as it rebuilds itself. But if you don't do that you might wind up a cripple for the rest of your days; and if you don't you might not ever prove the surgeons wrong by running the bases in your first comeback game. I guess what I'm trying to say is that I'm not disparaging anyone for taking 9-11 hard. But you have to keep moving forward. If you get stuck in a victim mode you might not ever get out of it, and then the terrorists will have won, because the terror they struck in the hearts of the United States will be for ever and not a mere stumbling block.
That's my story; I'm stickin' to it.
Gods, I'm stupid.. every other week I'm supposed to get together with a few of the guys to play Shadowrun, but I can never remember what time it is. I had to miss the last session (legitimitely) to help someone out, but this week I just left the lab too early like an idiot and then didn't wait long enough for everyone. There was a class being taught in the room we usually use, what was I supposed to think? I guess I should have waited longer... I can't win. I never was any good at this, that's why I don't go Outside very often. I always manage to screw stuff like this up, that's why I don't make plans with anyone, they never seem to work out.
Well, last night was the monthly North Hills Pagan Discussion Group. It felt good to see everyone.. the topic was pagan ethics, second round. Again, there were no obvious fights or arguments but lots of debate. Just the way I like it. It was also good to see some old faces (Frater Baraka and Alaric) present. Unfortunately I forgot to bring stuff for the food drive, but a cash donation will work just as well. Cie la vie. It was interesting to see how many different points of view there were, it was surprising to see who had what to say about various systems of ethics. The people I thought would be the most laid back and easygoing had some pretty rough things to say (at least from my point of view). Amazing. I'm not saying that's a bad thing (far from it), I'm just saying that it isn't what I had expected at all.
Things are going to be tersely written for a while, I'm swamped at work. Over the weekend 303 messages piled up in my inbox and I'm trying to sweep those out in addition to doing basic maintenance and keeping up with what's going on today... sometimes I hate weekends for that very reason. Everything piles up for you for the next time you're in the office. Stress now or stress later.
This sickens me. Kids buying the answers to their homework on the Net instead of taking the time to actually learn something and use their brains. Guys, this is why the world's in the fix it's in, people are all too willing to let someone else who actually gives a damn about foo do the work for them, and then they take the credit for it. The whole point of school is to teach you things that you need to know to get by in life (mostly at work) and to teach you to think for yourself. People have brains in their heads for a reason, and that reason is to process information and do something constructive with it. If you're too lazy to put your mind to work to solve a problem, then I seriously wonder if you have a right to call yourself intelligent. ('You' referring to some indefinite person, not the reader) Spending money to buy the fruits of someone else's labor doesn't mean you did the work, it means you bought someone else's work and you're coasting on it. As a result, the people who do this are just coasting through life without actually doing anything worthwhile, and society is starting to feel the pain of the thin spots in the fabric wearing through and tearing. LeVay was right - stupidity should be physically painful. Start slacking and goofing around, and you get a knock that you can actually feel. At least it would be an indicator that you're not doing something right... taken literally, there are lots of holes in that argument, and I'll work on them later. Call it an essay in the works.
If you havn't heard about all the Windows boxen being mysteriously cracked yet, then you have now. I think it's interesting that they're finding keyloggers on some of these systems... anyone else think it's the FBI's "Magic Lantern" keylogger programme being installed surreptitiously?
Puff's father died last night. Good journey, Mr. Owens.
I just gave these guys a call about some Commodore hardware they had on their website (in particular a third-party RS-232 interface). I might order one from them if I can't find the parts to build my own... we will see.
Hehehehe... Kuro5hin does pop music. Good article - read the comments, too.
How could I have forgotten this? Dreck got his Newton last Friday. He ordered a Messagepad 2000+ kit (2000 upgraded to a 2100) from someone on eBay not long ago and it arrived last week. He's having a ball with it, though he doesn't have the power supply yet. I loaned him my AA battery sled to hold him over until it comes in. It was a good feeling to watch someone discover a new piece of hardware...
Refer back to this page often, cats and kitties... it's a core page of Microsoft Palladium/ TCM links. Trusted content management in general could put a hurt on the Net as we know it right now, and if Microsoft keeps up its games with installing software that people don't ask for (such as TCM patches) then we're all in trouble. Please read the FAQ and at least a few of the links.
Cool! Web browser Connect-Four!
Another day, another couple of classes under the belt. It's a nice day today, so naturally I'm hanging out in one of the office buildings talking to you guys. Sorry, but that much sunlight give me hives. I'm jacked into a MacOS X box, if you can believe that.. I feel like I'm trapped in an episode of Tekwar without an icon editor. The screen's got decent resolution, the text can actually be read without having to resize everything. There's a native shell (zsh) installed, so once I found it in the flotilla of applications Pitt loves to put on its public workstations it was simple to do what I have to do. The finder bar at the bottom is cute as well - nice jelly-coloured icons about an ich high each. In a way it's obsequious in its user friendliness. I'm considering walking to another lab to use one of the Sun workstations. There's only a copy of IE v5.2 for MacOS installed, so tabbed browsing to get my news updates is right out. Give Microsoft a few more builds and they'll steal the code from Mozilla, don't worry.
Check this out, cats and kitties: A multiple-CPU computer system constructed by Siligon Graphics around Intel's Itanium core topped the big iron. The press release states that a 64-core parallel system running Linux showed an effective data transfer rate across the memory bus of 120 gigabytes per second - hot damn. It outperformed some of the biggest names in the high end computing field today, such as the Sun Microsystems SunFire 15k and even the Cray SV1 supecomputer. Colour me impressed - those are systems that are hard to beat when it comes to super complex computations. I can hear Leandra asking to be a part of the hardware beta testing programme right now...
Holy imploding Kibo... Microsoft Windows XP's first service pack is coming out soon. It's only 133 megabytes in size. Advice to dialup users: Order pizza before running Windows Update. It'll help kill time. I especially like one of the requirements of XP service pack 1: It must be possible to hide any and all signs of IE, Outlook Express, or MS messenger from the user. Notice that this agreement did not say uninstall completely, only hide. That's equivelent to creating another folder on the desktop and moving the icons into it. I'll have respect for that DoJ ruling when it's possible to wipe that dreck out of a given install of XP completely and not just hide it.
The keyboard on this thing sucks, by the way. Some of the third column keys on the console don't register the first time and I think two or three of the keys are bridged together underneat. I don't ordinarily type this poorly.
You have to love the tech support in college computer clusters. Every problem I've seen crop up in here so far today has been fixed by powering the machine down, waiting a few seconds, and booting it back up. Now if only these systems had journalling file systems so this wouldn't be so rough on them. They have to rebuild quite a few systems down here every week for that very reason, I've noticed.
Hail Eris, someone who feels the same way I do. And someone else.
Well, my breakdown for the night seems to be over. Gods, I hate it when this happens.... it's enough to make me want to do an extra maintenance cycle at work just to have something to do (nevermind something constructive).
I picked up two discs last night, Poe's new album (Haunted) and a DVD of videos of the Cure's greatest hits. Get Haunted, it's a wonderful album. Poe's still got The Touch. The Cure video DVD is excellent if you're already a Cure fan, and fun to watch if you're only marginally familiar with their music. Their videos are a blast from the past, no lie. They're silly and odd and full of weird stuff. Rent it if you can if you're not sure, or borrow it from someone to watch, then buy it if their videos are your style. Personally, I was having a ball last night watching some of the freakish stuff in there.. the videos for The Lovecats and Lovesong are on there, as well as Boys Don't Cry, Let's Go to Bed, Friday, I'm in Love, and Lullaby.
Speaking of cool music, I'm listening to a bootleg of a Press Play On Tape concert from earlier this year, and they did a cover of Koyaanisquatsi by Philip Glass in addition to C-64 music covers. It's really cool, too - they used electric guitars instead of synthesisers and an accoustic drum kit. This might be blasphemy for a cyb but it rocks all known sheep - it sounds great low-tech. They also did a cover of the theme to Krackout as a ska tune, oddly enough. If you hit the link above it's a direct jump to the audio file (though it's been .zip compressed), and I might put a copy of it up on the FTP site if there's enough demand for it.
Notice: Arakune's Serial Experiments Lain convention survey is now on line. If you are an SEL fan, please click on the above link and answer the survey.
I just wanted to give a shout to Jason, the new ST of the Camarilla Mage game at CMU. Your plot rocked - keep up the good work.
This is very, very weird... but I'm not arguing with it. I'm using v3.2.1 of the PCMCIA CS suite for Linux and Kabuki's wireless network card just turned over at the lab and is working again. I'm writing this update across the wireless LAN now. Hey, it's good.
My progenitor's setting things up to pay her bills on the Net, starting with her local telco. Setting up a complex access code is causing a bit of consternation, though. Props to Verizon for forcing users to use something that's actually hard to guess given some research - it's about time some companies started doing that.
Speaking of telcos, at the old house there are a couple of telephones that were rented by the family back when they first moved in, some thirty-plus years ago. They're still renting those phones from Ma Bell, believe it or not. They are older than I am, they are sitting in the basement collecting dust, and they are paying for them. I called up Ma Bell to arrange to return the phones and terminate the rental agreement with AT&T. AT&T, believe it or not, had me on the phone for a good ten minutes asking me if I wanted to renew the damned contract. They offered me an extended, all-inclusive warranty.. they offered discounts on pharmaceuticals and vision tests.. they offered a free month of rental of those very same phones (even though they'd been using phones purchased from Radio Shack and K-Mart for the past decade) if we'd just reconsider. In a way I have to feel sorry for the woman I was talking to - she was just doing her job. She's supposed to keep customers and make them happy. But I have to laugh at her hard-sell tactics. It was almost funny to listen to her try to get me to reconsider. Guys, I hate to say it, but you've lost the home hardware market. Give it up. And let us give up our phones for the $10us cheapies that we can get at the corner market without a fight.
I saw a commercial for Care Bears toys tonight on television, copyright 2002. They're bringing them back?
I suppose it makes sense. Popular culture seems to run in twenty year cycles, give or take a bit.
Song that best describes my life right now: The Lovecats by the Cure. I don't know whether to be happy or disgusted with life right now.
Class ended early today - there just wasn't much to go over. Whee. I'm now back at work doing my thing. Overtime's not a bad thing when it's not killing you - it pays the bills. And it's something to do: It's not sitting at home and it's not sitting in traffic roasting, and it certainly isn't sitting in class. And there are large urns of hot coffee on standby at all times. "Life is good sometimes," said the Bastard.
Well, Microsoft finally came out and admitted it - Windows just isn't designed with security in mind. We've only been saying that for a couple of years now... when you take into account the fact that their object-interface model is so fatally flawed that they can't fix it without rewriting the entire Win32 API (the thread on Bugtraq about Shatter comes immediately to mind; so does Microsoft refusing to open more of their API because it could very well jeopardise national security a few weeks ago), it could be said that they really don't have much credibility left. They've got market share but in some ways running Windows is like walking around with a ticking cortex bomb inside your skull - it'll go off, you just don't know when. Or why, usually. I really don't think that if it wasn't for Microsoft Outlook (damn that program) a lot more places would look into migrating their desktop systems over to Linux or perhaps FreeBSD. If it's planned carefully and executed properly, not many people would notice. And I think I'll stop right there, before this starts looking like a Slashdot post.
Has anyone else heard about this!? The United States is launching air strikes at Iraq again?
I just got a voice ping from Bug, a friend of mine from Pitt. He's still in the area, it seems.. it was good to hear from him. He's out of school and in the job market - if anyone's interested in hiring him, let me know and I'll pass the word along. *plug* *plug*
Check this out: On a wild guess I decided to see if there was a ClearCase gripe site (there are lots of those, I've found) at clearcasesucks.com, and found the menu for a restaurant called Better Bites. They certainly know how to cater to overworked coders who hate ClearCase, I've got to give it to them...
Well, today hasn't started off too badly. The problems in California have been narrowed down to... the PDC. Surprise, surprise, just like I told them. Find the center of the problem and you've probably found the source as well. But it never hurts to cover all the bases just in case - you might find something else laying in wait to bite you in the six when you least expect it. I can't say I can complain too much, save that one of our designers hosed his deck by trying to switch out his graphics card. I need to make a warning sign to print up as stickers: "Caution: Programmer with screwdriver"
I suppose things could be worse.. it isn't so much the stress as it is getting panicky when things start to pile up - from my point of view, when something is bad enough that they have to ask me to do it, then whatever it is must have a high priority. I trust the clueful users to at least do some basic troubleshooting, and if they can fix something on their own I've no problem with that. The less-clueful users (we really don't have any computer illiterates here, just some inexperienced folks; I'm working on that) don't ask for help very often (I run a tight ship). But to return to my original thought if they ask for my help then something's really wrong. When they do so several times, each regarding something different, I start prioritising them by order of reception: First In, First Out. That's doable. When the users or management starts coming in to ask the status of something, then I get shaky. Could my set of priorities (FIFO) not be theirs (my request takes top priority)? I don't know. Sometimes (rarely) it does, most of the time it doesn't. Unless they tell me explicitly, however, I don't have any way of knowing. That's what gets me. Just that much more information would be nice to have.
My Cray Research t-shirt came in the mail today. It fits perfectly, and has hardly any wear to it. I think I'm going to wear it tomorrow, it's just too cool. It even has the release date of the Cray YMP-C90 supercomputer on it. Can we say "I need to get a life," boys and girls?
Well, I've extended the registration of this particular domain for another couple of years... call it an investment. That's the high point of my week. I've started to teach myself Java from an O'Reilly book (Learning Java). It's a neat language. I already know a lot of the OO concepts from hacking Lambda for so long but the syntax is entirely new. I hope I can pick up enough of it fast enough to finish the projects for class. We'll see what transpires... I'm going to miss the time to work out, though. Something always has to be sacrificed for the Art.
Neal Stephenson had it right - it starts like a bad day and stops on a peseta. Five minutes out of the house my boss called on my cellphone - panic mode at work. Something's messed up with domain authentication and they can't figure out why it's breaking so many other network resources (they did, actually, it's because they all use Samba to authenticate against an NT PDC). They asked if I'd changed anything over there - I havn't. I don't even have access to anything over there (they won't give it to me so I couldn't break if even if I wanted to). Everything that's happened in the home office is documented six ways from Sunday. It isn't a fun class where you're chomping at the bit waiting for a call back to know if you're going to get lunch and do your homework or if you've got a to come into the office that afternoon. It isn't so much having to work that I don't like, it's not knowing. It's the waiting for the other shoe to drop. It really messes with me.
I hate that kind of uncertainty.
Anyway, it doesn't seem to be all that bad, at least right now. There's a temporary fix in place but it's highly nonoptimal. It looks like tomorrow's going to be a fun-filled day of trying to gather enough information to prove that 2 really does equal 2, so we can then prove that 2 + 2 == 4. Ick.
At least there are the little things in life to keep you moving forward, like a good collection of short stories over lunch. I'm working on learning Java right now for my data networking class (at least it isn't C++), so 6502 assembly's probably going to have to wait. Oh, well. It isn't as if I'll have much time to hack around with SAL during the semester. I can only hope that there won't be more houseguests for Yule, I don't think I could take it again. Maybe I'll take up that offer of a vacation.. but that's months away.
Wow... slow day so far. A tape backup gagged and froze everything up at work and the VPN is being cranky. At lesat it's not a total crisis, just some annoying stuff here and there. My brain's still in low-power mode from the weekend, so I don't have as much brainpower to bring to bear as I normally do.. we'll see how today goes.
Like a bomb dropping, I suppose. The CEO's e-mail is screwed up (damned Outlook filtering system), we just got another shipment of hardware in and some of it won't boot (wouldn't you know it, it's the most critical system of the bunch), I had to run around the city in 92 degree weather searching for cans of compressed air because there's so much brick dust in said systems that they'll probably catch on fire when we plug them in (and good luck finding it on short notice... for once Radio Shack came through), and getting a Solaris 8 instal up and running in a hurry just isn't happening. Gods.
Is it high priority? Is it not? Who can tell? The Sun's still being a bastard, I think I've got the right passwords to log into it now. The Clearcase server in California's not letting people authenticate to it (whatever the hell Clearcase is, no one can give me a straight answer). What's going on??
*sigh* Sweet burnout.
It's edging up on Wednesday now. Most of my homework's done, I got a good workout earlier tonight, and I'm just floating right now. I'm tired. I'm going to head to bed and let my brain unwind a little bit. For some reason my stress levels went through the roof today - I'm still not quite sure why. Maybe this is how I prepare for school, by raising my tolerance for panic and generally unhealthy levels of stuff to do. Maybe I need to get used to doing more, maybe there's something else at work. At least tomorrow will be a slow paced day.. I hope. A little reading, some classes, some hacking on assembly (I've decided to teach myself 6502 assembly for the hell of it), maybe some more homework.... I've got to rev my brain back up into school mode.
Well... welcome to fall. Kiss the swimming pools, evenings with nothing better to do than read a book, weekends where you don't have to set your alarm clock to wake up (mostly), and low stress goodbye, boys and girls. Labor Day is here and it's all downhill until Yule or therabouts. At least there's now a good excuse for not wanting to spend any time around the family - doing homework. If the professor would just get around to putting what Wednesday's homework is supposed to be on the website, anyway..
The Drudge Report has a report up that says that the second Lord of the Rings movie, The Twin Towers, is already being traded on the various peer-to-peer networks. I highly doubt this - the movie is more than likely still in the post production phase at the very earliest (movies are tweaked and altered ever so slightly to polish them up before the premiere release) and in the duplication phase at the very latest (to produce the film rolls that the theatres will be showing). If there's a copy out there on the Net then someone probably grabbed it in the duplication house (or bootlegged a workprint copy, ala The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai). This seems too convenient to me - something's not adding up. If there is such a file out there there is also an excellent chance that it isn't even The Two Towers; the fake trailer for Episode II was proof of that (though it did have me fooled, I have to admit). Caveat reader, everyone.
Are there really people that desperate for spoilers? Read the book, folks. It's been in print for decades.
Nevermind - the professor did put the homework assignment up. This is sad - I'm looking forward to doing homework to keep from being bored. I think I skipped the 'grown up' phase and went right to 'burn out'. Anybody got a pair of channel-lock pliers? I've got this pair of DIP-16 plugs that need removed from my skull... BP
I don't buy this. It's a news story about a Russian medical research lab that's figured out how to make a universal sterilisation solution out of saline and an electrical current. This isn't anything like a panacea, or even a new technique. Saline solution is an excellent conductor of electricity. Pass a current through said saline solution and anything alive in the solution is going to be electrocuted. After said current is turned off, you won't have anything more unusual saline solution - it won't be some super disinfectant, just a saline solution. Scamsville.
You know... I've spent way too much time jacked this weekend. I think it's about time I went wandering for a while. If you see me Outside don't be afraid to stop up and say 'hi'. If not, I'll see you somewhen - I'm everywhere, after all...
How Arakune finds this stuff, I'll never know...
Well, that was cool... last night the.Silicon.Dragon and Elwing had a housewarming party to celebrate their new apartment. They've got some fine digs, I must admit.. a two-level apartment with more floor space than a high school gym. They've got taste in interior decoration as well, no shortage of oak or hand plaster. The night was spent getting our butts kicked by Raven at Dr. Mario, drinking, sharing the food that everyone brought, drinking, and playing games (Steve Jackson Games' Hacker and Out of the Box's Apples to Apples) until consciousness began to fade. All in all, I have to say that it was a good night. Some of the folks I used to work with at Eldervision were there; it was good to see them again. It's been a long time.
I've never seen a cat climb spread-eagled up a screen door before. That was silly to watch.
You know, I'm still wondering what in the hell I did a few nights ago that worked. I got one file transferred out of.... let me see... thirty-seven or so. Just one. Part of the problem is I can't really try any other serial file transfer protocols (just Xmodem) because that's all Bob's Term Pro supports. I was hoping to get something else (like Novaterm) uncompressed and running but there's a bit of a chicken and egg problem. If worse comes to worse I'll upload the files to my Telerama home directory, dial in, and download them that way (it couldn't be much worse). And to think that I started learning Unix because I hated jumping through hoops...
I figured out what was happening. I dug up the manual for SAL's 1670 modem and found an interesting note in the technical specs - while the 1670 modem is perfectly capable of transferring data at 1200bps, the RS-232 interface on the C-64 isn't... 1200 bps trying to pass through a 1195 bps hardware interface causes a problem. I scaled everything back to 300 bps and data blocks are passing through the hardlink just fine. Mostly. There's the occasional glitch but that's to be expected. The trick is to start the transfer on the C-64 and then start the upload - that makes sure that the file reception buffer's been allocated and initialised.
I spoke to Graeme earlier tonight: She's putting in a lot of overtime at work lately, a good many more hours than most people would (unless you're a sysadmin or a programmer with a hardcore deadline). I worry about her - long hours take a lot out of you energy-wise, and your mind starts to fuzz over after too many late nighters. I've gone through it many times myself, and it isn't fun. Lots of caffeine and many hours staring at a VDU grind you down. On top of that is the situation with her mother. Her mother's fine, she's resting comfortably and nothing untoward's been found, but Graeme worries about her (as any daughter would), and that doesn't help any, either. I hope she takes a break soon, I don't want to find out she's fallen ill due to the strain and worry.
Speaking of worry, I think the Chinese restaurant I got dinner from Friday night messed up somewhere, my body's stomach is starting to get queasy. I don't know what they did to the General Tso's chicken but it's talking back to me. I watched them make it, unless there's something in the sauce or the wok I couldn't see this shouldn't be. I keep hearing stories about people getting chicken or fish someplace lately and then falling ill with food poisoning, I hope I won't be one of them. What's going on out there?
Song that best describes life right now: A .mod file called Shiny Waterfall, composer unknown.
Greetings viewers from the DOD Network Information Centre!
126.96.36.199 - - [27/Aug/2002:21:43:58 -0400] "GET / HTTP/1.0" 200 532 "-" "-" leandra-:~ $ host 188.8.131.52 184.108.40.206.IN-ADDR.ARPA domain name pointer WCS1-MCPHERSON.NIPR.MIL
Like my war jacket?
This is beautiful, too.. I should start a 'hall of famous hostnames' some day
220.127.116.11 - - [26/Aug/2002:06:49:06 -0400] "GET /pictures/h2k2/index.html HT TP/1.0" 200 11674 "http://www.h2k2.net/" "Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 6.0; Win dows NT 5.0; .NET CLR 1.0.3705)" leandra-:~ $ host 18.104.22.168 22.214.171.124.IN-ADDR.ARPA domain name pointer tide109.microsoft.com
Speaking of network stuff, we just installed a WAP at work. I just got back from walking around the grounds testing our coverage (not war-walking, just pinging) and from what I've been able to gather we've got decent coverage of the office - those LinkSys WAPs really do a good job. I just wish that it wasn't so bright outside because trying to look at an LCD panel at high noon is just painful. Sunglasses don't help, either. Now we just have to get everyone lined up for wireless access who needs it.
It's been a slow day, today... not much of note's really happened.
Oh, the lengths I go to... I've been downloading Commodore software for the past week or so and now I'm transferring it over to SAL-9000 from Leandra by hooking their modems directly together and dialing up Leandra from SAL. X-modem (a file transfer protocol) is a wonderful thing: It might be slow as all get out (128-byte datablocks) but it's reliable on a slow link (1200 bps) and it gets the job done. This feels like when I was back in high school, jacking in through TARDIS to call BBSes in the 412 NPA to get in touch with everyone (and hunting for Atari software - Bob's Term Pro and ANSIterm were my best friends). My floor's strewn with active systems, I'm jacked into Kabuki and SSHed into Leandra to write this memory log update. Gods, I'm such a geek... but I wouldn't have it any other way. Hacking on systems is what I do, it's who I am. Making this work is as natural as breathing, this is my W/will - doing something to see if I can do it.
Here's one for you: Apple Computers strongarmed one of its dealers (Other World Computers) into distributing a patch that would prevent users of iDVD from using DVD-RW drives not manufactured by Apple to burn DVDs. Guys, I'm sorry, but that's bullshit. Your argument is little else but a trendy use of the DMCA to keep people from using your software and someone else's hardware (read the article to see what it is). Face it: You're going to have customers doing that. Be happy they're using iDVD and not some third-party DVD burning programme for MacOS. Hell, be happy that they went with a Mac and not a PC. If the software isn't explicitly tied into the hardware then this is going to happen. It's like buying an old PC modem to hook into an Atari via the 850 interface - it works so people are going to do it to save themselves some hassle and money. Don't expect many people to install this patch for iDVD, Apple.
I've decided that I know just about nothing about IP routing, which I'm trying to set up at work so packets destined for the network on the other side of our VPN will be grabbed by the concentrator and forwarded to the other side. I'm working on the VPN unit itself right now, and if that doesn't work then I'm going to try to set up a Linux system (maybe with IProute2, maybe with Zebra) that'll do the same thing. But I really don't know what I'm doing here, I've never done anything like this before. Even buying a router won't help because I don't know how one works, so configuring it would be a religious experience: It would be a miracle if it worked in this lifetime. This is shaping up to be one of those "learning experiences," I think.
Oh, ye flipping gods.. from Fucked Company to Internal Memos, where people can upload internal communique's for the public to read. Check out the EPA memo, I about busted a gut reading it.
Ludyte just randomly gave me 24MB of SPARC memory modules. How cool is that? Now I need to figure out what to do with them.
Well, there are still ants all over the bloody place at work. When I got home last night I opened my lunchbox to put everything in the sink, and found a large number of them had hitched a ride home with me. I was not pleased with this. I had a package of ant traps set out to take with me this morning but forgot them on the kitchen table. Dammit. I'm probably going to jump out after lunch today to pick some up at the drugstore. Someone I work with said yesterday that one's desk at work is even more disgusting than the toilets, because toilets have to be disinfected, but one's desk is rarely, if ever cleaned (let alone actually washed down with something stronger than snarfed coffee). Looking around at all the stuff, I have to agree with him.
My morning class was cancelled today so I went in to work to rack up a few more hours. I'm not sure if that's a good thing (more of a chance to ease into the pattern of things) or a bad thing (might derail my mathematical train of thought for discrete structures class). It looks like we'll have to wait and see.
Well, I just set out some ant traps around my cubicle at work. In a day or so the problem should be solved.
I spoke to Graeme earlier this evening.. she's doing about as well as can be expected. Her mother went in for surgery earlier tonight to remove a kidney and to explore a bit to make sure that a few other problems were under control, and it's causing her a great deal of stress. Right now her mother is in post-operative care and there is no sign of malignancy in the biopsy. Things are looking up for her mother - she's in the right place right now getting the best possible care. It's hard to hope for more than that. I wish that there was more that I could do for them right now, but there's only so much that is possible: The universe has its own ideas about what should happen. That aside, we're all pulling for her at the Lab.
I was never any good at updates like that.. I never know what I can and can't say in an open forum like this. What is too much information? What is too damaging? I don't know.
Kabuki's acting up again. Once more, I can't get any sort of wireless LAN connection to work through her. Nothing I've tried has been able to get the PCMCIA card working. I'm about at the end of my rope here - has anyone out there ever had a card just up and quit working for no good reason? More and more I'm suspecting a bad PCMCIA interface, which means that as a mobile unit Kabuki's hosed. I can't afford a new laptop computer right now, even from eBay. I wouldn't take a second-hand one even if I could afford one, what with all the trouble she's giving me right now. I don't get it. Nothing has changed as far as I can tell, and I don't let anyone use my laptops as a general rule. I'm about at the end of my rope with this, I'm going to do some asking around the local LUG to see if anyone has ever encountered this before.
Another odd shirt's just been acquired - a Cray Research t-shirt commemorating the release in 1993 of the T3E massively parallel system. It should arrive in a couple of days. Photographs, as always, will be posted shortly therafter.
Gods... they're right. People accuse me of being a replicant because I'm obsessed with photographs. I think I should go in for a bone marrow biopsy and analysis soon...
What the...? Turn off WEP on the access point and everything's cool with Kabuki. Maybe she's afraid of being nailed for violating ITAR (she is a foreign national, after all...) Maybe the fact she saw me posting to the WPLUG mailing list about this scared her.
What a way to start off the work-week... I came in this morning to find my desk crawling with ants. I guess the ant trap stopped being effective at some point during the weekend. The little buggers are crawling all over the place, I've been tapping them flat and throwing them away since I got in today. Ordinarily, I don't kill things, even insects, but I remember the damage that ensued when I didn't squish them in the kitchen a few months ago. I don't want to repeat that particular scenario so they're getting taken out whenever I see them. Time to run to the drugstore to pick up a new supply, I think. Dammit, this gets under my skin. And they're not going to get my coffee!
I've counted at least two Mantis security advisories on Bugtraq in my e-mail queue since Saturday and I'm nowhere near finished yet. I think I'm glad that I don't use a formal bug tracking and handling system for things, otherwise I'd worry. This really bothers me that they found so many holes in such a short period of time... v0.17.x doesn't appear safe. Worrisome.
I just installed GAIM at work to access our internal instant messaging system.. it's nice, much nicer than Everybuddy is. It interprets the same number of protocols but much more cleanly - no periodic error messages because some request or another wasn't parsed because it's probably not implemented yet. It also appears to be a bit more stable overall. Frankly, I'd like to change the bitmaps that GAIM uses to represent the state of the different users but I'll play around with it for a while to see if I can figure it out. I'm not an IM kind of guy so I'm not familiar yet with what all of them mean (and I can't tell them apart by colour anyway) but I'll pick it up eventually.
Here's a neat idea: Write software that makes a computer with a wireless NIC appear to be a wireless access point... no, make that several thousand wireless access points, each beaconing a nonexistent ESSID. That'll drive wardrivers nuts from the overload. The project's called FakeAP by Black Alchemy Enterprises. I might spend some time playing around with this. One note, FakeAP requires a hacked set of Prism WaveLAN drivers to function properly, or at least it appears to at this particular point in time.
Boy, do I feel dumb.. I'm trying to rebuild a laptop at work right now and I've spent the past half hour wondering why I couldn't get it to boot off of the Windows 2000 CD-ROM I had in the drive. Checked the BIOS configs - everything looks good in there. Power? Check. Power management? Check. Is it even a Windows 2000 CD? Oops... it was a CD of just the service pack 2 installer and the service pack 2 full distribution file, not Windows 2000.
These fibres are cleaaaannnn!!!
Bonus points if you know what movie that's ripped from.
I've been wondering about something lately.. I'm not an electrical engineer, so I don't know if my theory is sound, and I would love to find out if this is workable or not, but here it is: I've been searching around for information regarding the Commodore-64 lately, and I keep reading that the supply of ROM chips and 6581 chips (the SID chip) is steadily declining as the years go by. I know that there are binary dumps of the ROMs all over the Net, only a web search is necessary to track them down, and the functionality of the support ICs is well documented.. would it be possible to take images of these chips (the ROMs, for example), burn the code into PROMs (Programmable Read-Only Memory) or EPROMs (Erasable Programmable Read-Only Memory), and then drop the new chip into a socket on the Commodore's motherboard? I don't see why this wouldn't work. The chips were dropped into an EPROM programming unit and dumped to a PC, why not do the reverse? As for the SID chip, I don't know if it is an integrated circuit in the purest definition (instead of fabricating circuitry on a piece of perfboard it's fabricated on a silicon wafer) or if it's a chunk of program code (the way a ROM is). If it's the latter, then the software inside the 6581 could be dumped like any other ROM image and burned onto an EPROM; if it's the former then it's got to be documented somewhere, so people could either fabricate clones (not likely but if there's a W/will, there's a way) or design small circuit modules (say, using SMT (Surface Mount Technology) components) that could be dropped into a socket on the motherboard to replace a failed SID chip. Maybe there's something I'm missing here - as I said, I'm not an electrical or electronics engineer, I just hack around a little bit when I have time. Anyone know?
Greetings and salutations, viewers from the United States Department of Justice!
126.96.36.199 - - [22/Aug/2002:18:14:03 -0400] "GET /pictures/h2k2/index.html HT TP/1.0" 200 11674 "http://www.h2k2.net/" "Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 6.0; Win dows NT 5.1; DOJ3jx7bf)" leandra:~ $ host 188.8.131.52 184.108.40.206.IN-ADDR.ARPA domain name pointer wdcsun021.usdoj.gov
Well, class started again today. I'm back at the lab for an hour or two after running some errands, then I've got to jump back out for the second one. I just came back from Discrete Mathematics (by way of textbook shopping and grocery shopping, and a failed attempt at getting a parking permit) and I'm catching up on today's news and e-mail before Data Communications and Networking class. We'll see how this schedule works out, I get the feeling that I might not be trekking back here after morning class every day to save gas and parking money. As for purchasing textbooks it was like being tied face-down over a 55 gallon oil drum and being worked over with a belt sander in tender places. I dropped better than two hundred dollars US for two textbooks. Two to one says that I can't sell back the discrete math book at the end of the semester (which cost $130.00us) - I don't plan on getting rid of the datacomm textbook, it'll be too useful in the future. But the kick in the pocketbook hurt..
And trying to get a parking permit - that's a laugh. At least someone finally told me that passes go on sale two weeks before the start of the semeter. I'm going to be camping out in December, then....
Check this out, cats and kitties: A law enforcement database in the state of Delaware holds the profiles of people who havn't broken any laws yet. What the hell, have you guys been reading too much Philip K. Dick lately (or Lensmen novels, for that matter)??? Mind you, this article is barely a half-page in length, it's a sound bite that someone transcribed to fill up space, probably, but it's still disturbing. If they think you're shady, they've got an eye on you.. what if you're just weird?
Well, I won an eBay auction last night for a vinyl decal - it's the Cray Research insignia. After getting my new briefcase yesterday I just couldn't resist... sometimes you have to put on airs, and some days it's good to put the professionals on the defensive. If you don't know what you're dealing with... when it comes in I'll apply the decal and put a few photos on line of that. I keep saying that, don't I...?
Dataline scares me sometimes. Nice audio, though.
Sorry about the outage, everyone... Telerama's NOC was hit with a power outage tonight. Everything appears to be back on line.
The other class today wasn't too bad, it was data communications and networking. A friend of mine from the computer ethics course last semester is in it as well, we spent some time catching up. The teacher's not a bad guy, he's not a professor but he knows his stuff. I think when he loosens up he'll be fine in class, right now he's got to get used to everyone (and we have to get used to him). They changed the way you check out of the parking lot some time this summer and didn't tell anyone. I was caught in the exit trying to figure out what the hell to do when an attendant came out to take my money. The fact that there are no longer any booths for attendants at the entrance should have been my first clue. Sheesh.
Right now I'm browsing the Web using dillo v0.6.6 on Kabuki. It uses so little RAM it's not even funny, but it's missing a lot of features that I wouldn't mind having, like working cookie support (so I can log into Slashdot), and it doesn't do frame, either. I wish that I knew about web programming, I'd start working on the code for that. It's too necessary to not have in there.
What the hell?! Exploitation Now is over?! AAAHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!
Another shopping expedition today, this one to get ready for class, which starts tomorrow. Ick.
Ick ick ick...
I suppose it isn't too bad, all things considered. It means less stress at work and more time to work on stuff, which will help keep the balance in everything. It also means another step toward getting out of college and into something resembling an adult life. Not having to pay tuition means more money to pay off other bills. I like the idea of that more than I have the words to express right now.
Anyway, I picked up some new clothes (surprise, surprise) at Goodwill for later in the fall. Someone got rid of a perfectly good pair of vinyl trousers recently - thanks for the new gear, whoever you were. They fit perfectly. I also found a calfskin one-half length rain cloak there for $3.99us. It's a woman's coat but that's no big deal... I also picked up a few lycra t-shirts at Sam's Club (of all places) for $9.77us each. I love lycra clothing, always have. I like tight clothing, in particular when contrasted with something loose over top, like a spandex t-shirt with a dress shirt two or three sizes too large over top of it. Bicycle racing tights under a pair of jams are also a clothing vice I indulge in on occasion. Sometimes I worry about having a thing for clothing, I wonder if I'm getting too vain or too full of myself for my own good. Maybe my ego's setting me up for a major takedown soon. Gods, I hope not. I don't know how much energy remains to fix everything again. Maybe there's some solace in the fact that I don't indulge in it very often; moderation in all things, including abstinence. I'm no monk; I'm no saint; there's no reason to try to say otherwise, it would be a lie.
Oh... hey, Dreck! They still have the longcoats you're looking for at said Goodwill - they're between $30.00us and $45.00us. Pick one up before someone snaffles all of them.
Anyway... I also found a magnesium briefcase at Staples that was designed for the transportation of a notebook computer and associated peripherals. Kabuki's inside it right now and it'll definitely do the job of moving her around. The thing's sharp, no lie - very James Bond in style and heft. It practically drips 'badass deck' on the ground when you move it. I'll take a few pictures of it later and post them.
Last night was the official end of summer gather. A few of us basically sat around in the lab watching movies and mourning the end of summer vacation. I can think of few better ways of doing so than by spending the time among friends. As ever, if you want people who are fashionably late to arrive at some point, there are two surefire ways of making it happen: Sexual activity of some sort, or start building a computer out of spare parts. For the record, I opted for the latter option. With a perfectly good Cyrix CPU/mainboard combo laying around, Leandra's old chassis, and a crate of hard drive, I started building my new mail server. I'm having trouble getting Slackware v8.1 booted on the new system (named Burn), but that might be because I kept getting corrupted transfers of .iso images every time I tried to download one a few weeks ago. That's a natural hazard of trying to get the latest version when all the mirror sites are slashdotted - timeouts. If I can't get this download to work then I'll probably try installing OpenBSD. I don't like using an OS I'm not familiar with on a server of some importance but I do what I have to do. I'll post how things turn out later.
Check this out: a cyberpunk timeline. Cool.
Well, I figured out what the problem was with Burn - the CD-ROM drive I was trying to boot off of was bad. I yanked it and replaced it with Leandra's old 24x CD-ROM drive and she's running beautifully. Unfortunately, my theory about the bad Slackware .iso image download was incorrect. Anyone want a spare copy?
Last night was a good time. A bunch of the 412 and 724 regulars got together for a pub crawl downtown last night. We eventually settled on the Rum Shaker on the South Side for the evening; the storm that kicked up last night might have had something to do with it. We staked out some territory in the bar and shot the bull for the better part of four hours last night. Sometimes you need to do that, talk about nothing at all related to business or shop or anything like that and just be folks for a while. Pip, it was good to see you, cuz. It's been too damned long. Let me know how things are going, I missed you at the reunion.
Lowmagnet and I wound up wandering around the city for a couple of hours when the bar was too packed with mundanes and the conversation too loud to hear without reading lips. We wound up talking about various theories of genetics and diversification of advantageous traits in the human race. He's looking at different theories right now; I'm more a metamorphist. It was a good debate, I wish I'd written down the high points. There might be a paper in there somewhere. Anyway, it was good to spend time with an old friend and get a sense of perspective. It's amazing how different South Side is from block to block. The main drag is composed of stores and bars (more bars than stores the closer you get to the city, incidentally); the streets to the east of the city are brownstones and various sorts of residential type buildings. The streets to the west tend to be warehouses, churches, theatres, and back alleys with some housing mixed in. Amazing how this changes in the space of a single block. Some nights I love this city.
Right now I'm on a cooking kick. I'm making a few things for this evening, partially to try out recipes and partially so there's stuff to nibble on in the course of a night. If the recipes turn out the way I think they will, and if they're recieved the way I think they will be, I'll add them to my collection and post them in a couple of days. Every once in a while I get in the mood to make something. I might wind up working on that mail server tomorrow; I'm in a mood to make things. That doesn't happen very often, so I'm milking it for what it's worth.
Making things is what I am; it's what I do.
I'm throwing the Slashdot subpage to these stories up here in lieu of directly linking to the news articles. A company called ForensicTec announced that they had invaded the computer network of Fort Hood and got raided by the FBI. Guys, what the hell did you expect? You infiltrated a United States military computer network and examined classified information. Then, you bragged about it to the media. This is what happens! Gods... use your brains for thinking for a change and not for backing up your Netscape bookmarks file! Now, if you had approached the Army and offered up your credentials as penetration testers (if indeed you have any) then you might have had a snowball's chance in a blast furnace to avoid getting nailed. What you did was king-hell stupid. Tiger teams are usually hired by someone, they don't blind side the installation and then offer up what they found. You did it backwards.
Guys down at Fort Hood: You're not off the hook. If these guys hit you in Virtuality that hard, you fucked up. Your ICE wasn't that frozen... I lived on your base for a while, years ago, and I thought you had more on the ball than that. Take the fact you were completely owned and do something about your network security. I don't blame you for calling in the FBI, it's what you should have done. But please tell me that you've lit a pretty big fire under your admins' butts and they're locking things down right now. These guys don't appear to have done any major, lasting damage (the fact you probably had Windows 2000 servers on your network without primary or secondary lines of defense backing them up is damage enough) to your systems but you can't count on subsequent waves of attackers being quite so kind.. at least you didn't find text files to the effect of "0wnx0r3d by3 Cr45h 0v3rr1d3" all over your hard drives and warez where your personnel lists used to be. Take this as a hint and get with the programme.
By the bye... I'm writing this knowing full well that I've done some things in the past that are just as dumb as either of the parties had in this incident.. I've taken some things for granted and I've done one or two things that I wish I'd never even considered. And I still regret them. I've paid the price for being dumb and I've learned my lessons... I can only hope that these crews learned something valuable from this mess and that the Army's now going to act on the knowledge.
I've just tried those two recipes: The pretzel salad's fantastic. That one is definitely going to be put into my collection. The couscous cake is as good as I remember it being, it's going to join it. Now I have to get the recipes typed up and put on line. I also need to figure out where the glitches in Kabuki's /etc/pcmcia/wireless.opts file are. It's not being read for some weird reason...
I might have figured it out. The /etc/pcmcia/wireless.opts file that's part of the Linux PCMCIA-CS suite figures out which stanza to use to confgure a wireless LAN card by looking for the first three octets of the MAC address (which specify the manufacturer of said card) in the file, and then it matches the current network scheme (found in /var/lib/pcmcia/scheme) with the first part of the identifying line. Each identifying line can have multiple MACs as long as the first part of each line is the name of the scheme. I added the first three octets of my wireless NIC (00:05:5D) to the Lucent/Orinoco stanza to see if it'll pick up the card. It's the same chipset, just a different brand name. If it works I'll throw it into my "I wish I'd known this earlier" file.
Oh, I got WAP working, too.
For some weird reason, I keep going back to play Star Trek on my Commodores... I swear, I'm addicted to that game.
Well, a fairly nasty bug's been discovered in Microsoft Office 2000. If the web components are installed on a system, there are a few ActiveX controls which manipulate the functions of Office in unsafe ways, such as directly controlling an instance of an Office application, loading data into an instance of Internet Explorer, or copy and pasting information from the system clipboard. The security bulletin can be accessed here , you might want to take a look at it. Personally, give me a copy of vi and some text to mark up with HTML and I'm all set.
Huh... if you've ever wondered why the OpenBSD web and FTP sites don't run OpenBSD themselves, check out this FAQ. You learn something new every day.
I think I'm finally going to build that new mail server this weekend. I'd like to put the old Cyrix CPU and mainboard to use, and I've got a couple of hard drives laying around that I could use for a mail store. I may as well give Slackware v8.1 a shot while I'm at it - I've been meaning to try OpenBSD for a while but only on a system that I don't mind rebuilding a few times. A mail server people use quite a bit and the idea of losing mail by reformatting the drives doesn't strike me as being particularly fun. I can pare the system down to less than 300MB in size easily. Now I just need to figure out where I'm going to put the bloody thing... maybe there's some room next to the Sparc IPC systems, or maybe on the floor someplace. I havn't decided yet. I'm thinking POP3, POP3 with SSL, and IMAP4 (for internal use only - I might make it available to the Net if there's enough demand for it). It's something to think about, at any rate.
Version 2.0 of the Win32 Shatter paper has been released. Take a look.
Here's an interesting turn of events... use your whois utility (or go to a web utility such as the one at Sam Spade) and do a whois lookup on cs.com - Compuserve. They registered the domain through the America On-Line registration center. Isn't this a conflict of interests or something?
This page never ceases to amaze me whenever a link's posted.. no, it's not an all-your-base, site.
Gods... this is horrible... the toxic compounds those people have to live with every day... their life expectancy can't be more than fifty years with all that lead and cadmium in their environment. Have we really turned into a culture that will dispose of literally anything just because something newer or shinier has been released to the market? Has everyone really stopped caring about making the most of what we have because it's not the product of the bleeding edge? Upgrades are one thing but at a cost to human life?
It makes you wonder..
I ran a few errands today - dropped off Ron's laptop at work; picked up a few things for the weekend (aah, mein Goldschlager); picked up a few t-shirts to print designs onto; stocked up the pantry a bit. Nothing special. I'm rewatching Psycho Diver as I write this because I really wasn't paying attention to it the night it was on television. It doesn't look too bad but I wouldn't call it a four-course meal, more like a handful of chips to get you through a long car ride. Not much else.
If you've been reading my memory dumps for a while you've no doubt figured out that I'm addicted to t-shirts - I collect odd or unusual shirts to wear on a day-to-day basis. But here's one that I think a lot of people will appreciate: Phrack Magazine t-shirts with The Conscience of a Hacker on the back. Now if they will just bring the old-style Legion of Doom: Internet World Tour '91 shirts back into print... mine's wearing out.
I think that I've got to admit it - I'm not nearly as much of a loner as I make myself out to be most times. I've been analysing my memory dumps for the past few weeks and observing interpersonal interactions, and the conclusion is clear: I need people. As much as people might drive me up a wall sometimes I can't live without them. If I'm isolated for too long I start going nuts, and then bad things happen. I've found myself trying to reconnect with people left and right when I keep telling myself that I should be alone, and the actions betray the thoughts. I need to spend time around people. I miss my friends dearly.
Gods... I'm screwed up.
An interesting note - the range of the LinkSys v2.2 WAP is impressive. My exterior is sitting out back on the patio as I type this. That sucker's got the transmission power of a Russian radar installation - I shudder to think of what it's doing to my exterior while I'm sitting in the Lab all day with it running.
Music that best describes my life right now: Symphony of Doom by Jakob Mellander.
New page active: Screenshots. Come and laugh at my desktop, complete with inane commentary.
Well, the horror stories about Windows 2000 Service Pack 3 are starting to pour in. A few hotfixes weren't included in the software update and people are starting to complain that they can't apply other hotfixes to their systems if SP3's installed because "SP3 cannot be downgraded". Uh-oh.
I think it's kind of a sad situation when you have to worry more about installing hotfixes for a system than you do about having a good system right out of the box. When people install one of the BSDs or Linux they don't think "Okay, when are the patches going to start coming out," they think "Okay, what am I going to do with my new box?" When people install Windows they immediately think to themselves, "When does the first round of hotfixes come out so I can make this box more stable?" That says a lot for the quality of software released these days, as well as the mindset of the users anymore. There once was a tagline which read, "The only thing that Microsoft has done for society is make people believe that computers are inherently unreliable," and it's the truth. I remember when I was a kid, back when 64k of RAM was a gigantic memory field to work with, a lot of the software we had (notice I said 'a lot' and not 'all' - there's no such thing as bug-free software) ran for hours, sometimes days on end without a hitch. Writing papers on Broderbund Software's Bank Street Writer and messing around in Print Shop or the paint program in GEOS took time, to be sure, but it also could be done for hours on end without having to reboot, and there were never any problems with file corruption (then again, I might just have been lucky on that particular point). The software was stable as a rock then. What happened? Did developers get sloppy and stop debugging their code as thoroughly as they used to so they could get it out the door that much more faster? Perhaps it was the libraries that are used now - maybe they are not quite as polished as they could be. Or maybe it is the fact that the developers of today are products of the hurry-up-and-finish generation of the 80's (of which I'm a part, I have to admit) and are more worried about finishing then they are about doing a good job and writing a solid application.
I havn't quite decided yet.
Someone on a mailing list I monitor found this article on the news site The Guardian about exactly what is necessary to make a dirty bomb. In the interest of a nifty article (and lowering Big Brother's signal-to-noise ratio) I've saved it and put it on line. They gave one of their reporters the assignment of acquiring everything necessary to construct what They call a dirty bomb, which is basically a high explosive charge with radioactive material mixed into the explosive (Hi, Echelon!). It won't act as a nuclear warhead as we normally think of it when it goes off, but the detonation would throw radioactive debris all over the place, contaminating the blast radii with radioactive material and generally making the environment that much worse off for organic life. Frankly, I'm amazed that the Guardian had the guts to even suggest such a thing at this time. I hope it doesn't blow up in their faces (pardon the pun).
As much as I hate bringing work home with me, I had to take my CEO's laptop with me back to the Lab to test the wireless cards the company bought for it. It had some initial problems before it left the office but Tartan and I got them ironed out pretty easily. The cards synched with the WAP as soon as I jacked in - life is good. To celebrate I spent some quality time playing Star Trek with SAL-9000 tonight. Yep, I hooked up the C-64 to chill with the old-school games. A little Street Beat, a little Seesaw (after all this time I think I've got the idea behind it figured out though the physics are as yet beyond me), a little Pipe Line II... life is good when the SID chip is playing. I'd keep SAL ready to go at all times if his display wouldn't break my altar. I'm off tomorrow so I'll have to run by the office to drop off Ron's deck but after that I plan on roaming around a little bit. I'm in the mood to blow off a little steam this weekend, so I can hear a bottle of Goldschlager calling to me from the bottom of the hill and perhaps some Chinese food. This weekend I may indulge in a bad habit or two, or I might forget all it and just watch cartoons.
And now I'm bored. I might take a few pictures tonight to play around with later, or maybe I'll read some more. Nights like this are nice when you're tired but if you're not particularly out of energy then you're walking a fine edge between amusement and boredom. I feel like taking something apart. Maybe I'll draw some more.
Oh, ye elder gods...
Well, I'm back on part-time duty at work. School starts next week and I've been given a week or so to acclimate to it, which is nice of my employers. I've been using today to get my ducks in a row, so to speak. I've spent most of today going through my records to see if I can transfer any other classes from the school I went to before to where I'm going now, and it's not easy. There's a lot of documentation to thresh through and none of it's in the same format as anything else, so most of my brain power is going toward reconciling the different formats of data. The easiest way of doing that is to recopy all the data into a single form so I can cross-reference it. It isn't easy, especially because I don't have a coherent list of what I need to take as compared to what I've already taken. I think I've got a decent list worked up by now. From what I've been able to figure out I've got five or six classes to go, two of which I'm taking this fall (I wasn't able to get more than two classes I needed) and if I can transfer two or three more classes from IUP I can graduate at the end of the spring 2003 semester at the very latest, the end of fall 2002 if a miracle occurs. Hail Eris.
I think it's all figured out, I'm going to let it stew in my subconscious for an hour or two and then give it another crack to make sure my logic works. I'm catching up on my e-mail and working on Kabuki for a while. I've replaced her /etc/pcmcia/wireless.opts file with the stock one from the PCMCIA-CS v3.1.34 source tree and made the minimum number of modifications to make it work with the LAN at the lab. I'm also doing some maintenance on Dataline's system in another thread, basic disk defragmentation and virus scanning. I've also installed Lavasoft's Ad-Aware, which is a spyware killer, because she installs some shareware on her system on occasion. Her system drive's way too tiny for Windows 2000 but it's what she has to work with for a while. I'll probably go out for a while today to run some errands while I'm at it, I havn't decided yet.
I've got Kabuki's WaveLAN card working again - the ESSID was wrong. For future reference, if your wireless NIC's link light blinks continuously but the PCMCIA drivers configure it properly then your network configuration's wrong, usually it's an incorrect ESSID. Use the iwconfig utility to set the ESSID manually, like this:
/usr/local/sbin/iwconfig eth0 essid "my ESSID here"
See if the link light goes steady. If it does then it worked. I did this on Kabuki's D-link DWL-650 card when the kernel v2.4.18 drivers started throwing -110 errors in the system logs and the kernel message buffer. I've added this tidbit of information to a new page I'm working on, a repository of random knowledge that I've been meaning to put in one place. It's not nearly as elegant as a wiki but it'll get the job done.
I found the home of the Adminspotting parody, it's at adminspotting.org now. I got on a kick of making t-shirts tonight but that ground to a halt when I realised that just because I've got a bunch of inkjet t-shirt transfer sheets laying around, I don't necessarily have any blank t-shirts... oops. Time to go shopping after work tomorrow. I've got an urge to make an Adminspotting t-shirt and wear it to work on Friday. I'm also working on a couple of other shirts that might be fun to wear.
One of these days (dangerous words, indeed) I've got to set up a page of random knowledge I've stumbled across as time goes on. Little tricks to get stuff done in a hurry, things like that... stuff akin to removing candle wax from fabric and the like. I should start compiling the page now so there will be a good stock of stuff just in case farther down the line.
I've been toying with the idea of doing a one-shot LARP for some friends of mine, but I don't know if they'd go for that sort of thing. It's an idea to keep on the back burner.
Why is it that grammar and diction have all but died on the Net these days? I keep reading posts from people that freely substitute 'u' for 'you', 'ur' for 'your', 'i' for 'ie', and '2' for 'to' in posts to, of all places, a few IT profession-related mailing lists that I monitor. I know it was in vogue a few years ago in the BBS scene but now it just lowers the signal-to-noise ratio. How hard would it be to put forth the few extra compute cycles to spell out a word in toto and then run it through a spell checker just before hitting 'send'? I wonder about the direction the world's going in these days. Language has gone from a tool of the intellect and a facility for the transmission of information to little more than modelling clay to squeeze and chop into a rough figure instead of the finished work of someone who's put a significant amount of time and energy into the act. I have a thing for old books - fiction (in particular science fiction) and fantasy written at the turn of the nineteenth century - and the one thing that amazes me is the complexity and density of the language used. Words are polysyllablic and sentences often span two or three lines on the page to express a complete idea. Work is required to figure out what the author is trying to express, and it's a fine form of mental exercise. When you finally finish a story you feel as if you've accomplished something. You've spent energy to do something to enrich yourself. Looking at the majority of books published these days it's like trying to drink chicken soup - it's hot and liquid and has a pleasing flavour but is there really any substance to it unless you add something extra to it? Books these days are so simple and lacking in detail that they seem watery and not really worth the effort anymore. I keep wondering what happened; did society change? Have people grown tired of using their minds to figure things out? Is it no longer the acceptible thing to do? Is wanting to evolve yourself (your real self) into something more than it started out as really a bad thing?
Some days I wonder about the human race.
For those of you running the Mantis bug tracking system for whatever reason, please note that the project's maintainers have released a flood of security warnings to the Bugtraq mailing list today. In a nutshell, upgrade to Mantis v0.17.4a as soon as possible. I don't have the time to dig up hypertext references to each post to the mailing list, but if you go to the mailing list archives at Securityfocus you can find them easily.
Puff's back in town. He loved the HOPE-2002 convention kit (t-shirt, program, badge, and lanyard) that I bought for him from 2600 HOPE remainder store a few weeks back. He had a blast at Pennssic this summer.
Well, it figures.. I recompiled Kabuki's kernel this afternoon while trying to get a USB Iomega ZIPdrive working and somehow I managed to complete screw up the WaveLAN subsystem. I can't get onto my LAN at home now without a hard link, which I don't have right now due to where I had to put the network switch down there. Kibo damn it... I couldn't keep a bicycle running without it falling apart while I'm trying to ride it. I'm backing out the changes I'd made this afternoon - we'll see how things turn out.
I spoke to Graeme this evening. She's doing well but her mother is not. I'm worried - things aren't looking good right now. I wish there was some way to help them out.
No dice hacking on Kabuki. What the hell did I change?! Gods, this pisses me off... I can't seem to keep anything around without breaking it in one way or another. I feel like a walking sinkhole that sucks systemic integrity into it and wrecks everything around it...
Ye gods.. this URL just came down the line on a mailing list I monitor. Here's a page on something called vanishing twin syndrome, in which one of the twins of a pair will fuse with the other in the womb and effectively consume it. I don't think I can jive with some of the theories on this page (such as guilt or an unusual sense of responsibility or connectedness with the consumed twin) without factoring in the spiritual component of birth but the fact that this has been documented is fascinating. I don't see why it would be impossible for such a thing to happen though the reasons for it are well beyond my ken. One thing which makes me skeptical of this phenomenon, however, is the statement that it is possible for a human body to have more than one blood type extant - it is my understanding that different blood types mean different sets of serum and cell antigens, which would trigger an immune response and massive clotting. I've read stories of people who were transfused with incompatible blood and died rather painfully as their blood clotted in their circulatory system on a massive scale. If there is some way for this to happen I'd love to find out how it works. A whitepaper or a conversation with a haematologist would be great. In some of my biology classes we did cover teratomas, which are nests of organ tissue in the wrong place (such as liver cells inside the brain or osteoblasts (bone cells) growing inside the wall of the stomach. But teratomas aren't proof positive of such a phenomenon. Sometimes weird stuff happens, and this isn't necessarily proof of one twin consuming the other. In the Lab, the jury's in debate.
I forgot how much fun it was to be a clothes horse until today. I decided that, while I was out finishing getting rid of stuff, I'd pick up some new threads for the new semester (and for work, incidentally). Burlington Coat Factory is short some of its more unusual fare as a result. I picked up a few pairs of slacks and a pair of dockers, as well as a pair of running pants made out of Tyvek. I've never seen anything like them outside of biohazard protection suits so they came off the clearance rack into my hands in a few seconds' time. I also picked up a couple of shirts (several sizes larger than my exterior normally wears), a vest, and a few turtleneck sweaters for the coming fall. I wasn't able to find any of the cable-knit shirts that I use as base layers (I've been wearing a lot of tight under layers, loose to baggy top layers lately) and I've been wondering where they could be gotten this early in the season. I might have to hit a military surplus store or two soon to stock up. I even found a black and magenta snakeskin patterned jacket there (pseudoleather, of course) which was too strange to pass up. It's got gawk value so I'll be wearing it heavily when school starts. *grin*
Praise be to the Record Exchange, where $34.60us can buy eight CDs and a cassette tape (Hack by Information Society, of course) and still have a dollar and change left over for coffee. I love these guys.
I'll start doing a page on my war jacket soon, I promise!
Okay, the war jacket page is finished. Take a look, let me know if there are any errors, broken links, et cetera.
The net.comic Beta Test is pretty much dead these days... the artist's mentioned a few things going on that are keeping him from working on it. The new page layout of Real Life Comics is bupkis, at least from my end of the wire. I'm using Mozilla v1.0 for Linux and it's not showing a hell of a lot of anything. Netscape v4.77 for Linux displays it almost perfectly - the frame on the left-hand side is far too large, that's about it.
Okay, now you know something's wrong - I'm bitching about web design. I may as well come out and say it, I think I screwed life as I knew it up royally once more, and I don't know if I can reassemble everything. Another of my famous freak outs have probably pissed people off enough to hang me out to dry, and I can't say that I blame them. More and more I wonder why I do this, and the answers I've found aren't ones that I like to think about. But, all things considered I can't dodge them. I think it would be best for everyone concerned if I went into seclusion for a while and worked things out. I think a year or two would be enough time to fix what's broken, or at least to figure out where I should go from here. I think I've found a pattern in what's going on, but I don't know if it's a side effect or more than what I was bargaining for in the matter. Either way, it appears to be there and it's going to be taken care of. Anyway, it's high time for me to jack out and get some sleep. It's been a long weekend and I'm dying on the wire.
Well, last night was Jesse Daniels' last night as storyteller for the Pittsburgh Camarilla Mage LARP. He capped off the night with the destruction of the Newell-Simon Chantry's node... dammit. Everything neat happens when I'm not playing my usual character. Oh, well.
I'm writing this from Kabuki as my body sits in the garage overseeing the garage sale. Yay WaveLAN. So far I've sold a bunch of video tapes and some books. That's about it. In the unlikely event that anyone reads this feel free to drop by the lab and see what I've got out here. Make me an offer on something weird.
Okay, enough plugging.
Gods, it's hot.. more humid than anything else, really. Around 0300EST a pretty bad storm ripped through my hometown and woke up everyone in the Lab. That would not ordinarily be bad except for the fact that the average crash time was 0100 last night. Cie la vie. But to return to my train of thought it's the humidity that's bad. There is an intermittant breeze so that helps but sitting still and out of direct sunlight's the way to keep cool. Now if there was something that we could do about the damned insects that keep dive bombing us....
In case it's not obvious, I'm still in a pretty bad mood right now. I wish I could figure out exactly what triggered this because then I could do something about it, but so far it's boiling down to general ill-temperedness. I keep trying to withdraw so I can burn it off the way I usually do but this isn't turning out to be the best weekend to make this happen. I don't want to take it out on anyone but I can't get away from everyone so there's no way to vent harmlessly. I'm hoping to take off tonight and find someplace quiet to sit and read for a while. I've got a stack of stuff sitting around that I keep trying to read but there's been no time to do so. It's frustrating.
Well, getting my hack on is a good way to cut the dust in my brain. I'm jacked in once more on Kabuki multitasking - one of my neighbor's customers bought a deck from him and I'm retrofitting it in another brain-thread. I swapped out the NIC for a modem, added a few hard drives and a CD-ROM, waved a dead chicken over the rest and now I'm installing Windows 95 for him from floppy disks. The box is in a sorry state right now but when I get it up and running it'll get the virtadpt.net seal of approval. If you ever need to drop into a BIOS configuration screen, the archives at firmware.com should be your first stop. That's where I found out how to get into the setup of a Gateway 2000 4dx2-66v - for the record, it's CONTROL+ALT+ESCAPE. Once I get it reinstalled I'm going to stomp through the drives and delete everything extraneous.
I think I'm a slave to the machine - I may as well buy myself a collar and hang a CPU from the ring.
Hmmm.. that could be a new look for me. I promised myself years ago that if I ever had to carry a pager I'd hook it to a slave collar instead of my belt.
Ever have a day that started off like a baseball bat to the gut?
I really despise the fact that people drop things in my lap as I'm literally headed out the door in the morning. I've got someplace to go and something to do, and I really don't care for things that stand in the way of that, whatever it might be. If I had time for such pleasantries I'd ask but I don't so I do not. If I had the time to take out I would, but I don't. This is not a secret, it's a well-known fact. I don't ask people to do things for me because it gums up the plans they've set for themselves, all I ask in return is that people not do the same to me.
Okay. I've had my coffee, I've taken care of a few things. I've done something productive. I can be civil now. It's amazing how much a Dante-sized mug of steaming hot Arabica can soothe the angry cybs' soul. It's this whole morning thing: Sunlight gets under my skin and when I have to socially interface with humans during that time the friction's too much. I think going to nocturnal mode post degree would be for the best... I do my best work after dark, anyway.
On another front, Kabuki's APM support is really starting to get under my insulation. Every time she goes into soft suspend mode to conserve power while sitting idle I can't bring her back on line. The LCD panel never powers back up and nothing I do will give me a usable interface. More oddly, tapping the power button triggers a hard powerdown immediately instead of the three-second wait that's necessary to override APM. I've tried upgrading apmd to v3.0.2 and gods konw how many different kernel builds and nothing seems to work. Searching around on the Net hasn't returned anything useful about this model of laptop. I'm lurking on a few APM-related mailing lists right now but the archives havn't been helpful at all. Any suggestions?
Okay, I've just disabled powering off the LCD panel when Kabuki kicks into suspend mode. We'll see if that makes a difference; I vaguely remember doing the same thing to Kosh but the memories aren't clear.
Well, apmd v3.0.2 is playing nicely.. Kabuki isn't sounding the lower power alert until her power cell gets down around 23% of maximum, which is closer to what I'd set it to in the initscripts (20%). This is actually a good sign, before she started yelling around 50%(!)of maximum. I havn't let her drop into suspend mode yet because I'm at work, I'll probably do that on Sunday this weekend. I'm seriously considering converting her file system to EXT3 to add journalling capability. Laptops can lose power at any time and it strikes me as a good idea to protect the data with a journal of some sort just in case. Unupdated inodes can make files disappear, including the latest revision of the term paper you're working on. Highly uncool.
For some reason I've started mucking around with proxy servers at work lately.. I'm thinking of setting one up as an experiment to play around with, to see how they work.. I'm actually interested in how security on them is not done because I keep hearing horror stories about their being abused for various things (like jumping through firewalls to access protected LANs). This seems interesting for me, a glitch in the admin's logic. Time to see how they work...
Song that best describes my life right now: Power Junkie by Billy Idol. I feel torn right now - one part of me wants to go off and do its own thing.. it wants to grow, and change, and do something new. The other is too busy acting like a pair of cast-iron shoes: It's heavy and meek and willing to stand there and take all the bullshit that the world's throwing at it because it is either unable to or unwilling to overcome spiritual inertia. The part that's bouncing off the walls trying to break loose is going to break the legs of the other part so it can continue with its plans, to uproot it from where it stands now. But if one is hurt, so is the other - doko ni datte; they're two halves of the same coin.
Doko ni datte; hito wa tsunagette iru.
Well, another fun-filled day starts today... between the white hats versus the black hats on the information security mailing lists, trying to troubleshoot a connetivity problem from a thousand miles away, and running on six hours of sleep, life's just dandy. At least I got to play Shadowrun for a few hours last night. Guys, thanks for the game - see you next session.
I'm trying to think about some meaningful or interesting things to write here right now but that hasn't quite happened yet. It's been a busy morning and I'm still trying to bring the rest of my brain back online. It feels like the signal-to-noise ratio of life is starting to slip back downward again, maybe it's just the final days of summer calling in the distance. Maybe I need to come out from under my rock more often. Maybe I just need to stop worrying about the direction life's going in and try to roll with it... Ludyte and I talked about this a few days ago. By trying to grasp the tao it will elude you without a problem but by acting in accord with what is around you you will be on the proper path.
Wow.. bionic optics now allow a blind man to see again. The seizure patient Alpha suffered while he was calibrating the electrode grids implanted in his brain squicked me, though. What the hell did he touch that he shouldn't have? Did he trigger too many neuronal pathways at once? As it turns out, the style of electrode they're using (surface mounted instead of intracortical) can overstimulate neurons because each contact pad is relatively large - they hit multiple neurons at once, which caused a cascade condition. Alpha's fine, by the way. I wish I had time to finish this article right now - I'll make this paragraph or two make more sense later, when I get my head pulled together.
Tartan just caught a glimpse of Xscreensaver's module "bsod" on my workstation. He was thoroughly amused by the Windows 95 blue screen phase of it.
Well, the lab's almost completely recabled now. Dataline and I pulled every system on the LAN and pulled out the old secondary table to replace it with a true desk, which required gutting everything down there. On the up side we found another three crates of stuff to sell on Saturday, and she's going to try to sell the guest bed in the lab (Hail Eris!). The down side is that now there's absolutely nowhere to walk unless it's around the secondary desk. I got creative with stacking hardware next to the wall, there's now a terminal server stacked on top of the Sparc IPCs, and the switch is stacked on top of that... and Kosh is on top of the switch and the WAP is piled on top of Kosh.. now I just need to get a keyboard and display for the Sparcs and I can start on that cluster soon. It's kind of neat to look at right now, actually. Somehow there are more cables piled on the bed than were actually connected to anything. It's possible that there were cables tangled up in everything else that just weren't connected to anything, but I can't shake the feeling that they started breeding when I wasn't looking... I've also got Crash and von Neumann stacked next to the desk to get them out of the way. On the whole it was a productive evening up until I forgot that I had to do laundry.
Damned lifestyle maintenance. Everything happens at once.. as usual.
Dell found a creative way of dodging Microsoft's OS protection racket - they're going to start selling machines that have a copy of FreeDOS included in the box but have a blank hard drive. That way you can install the OS of your choice when you get the system, not necessarily FreeDOS (though it does work remarkably well with DOSemu as well as on 80386 hardware). If FreeDOS isn't your cup of tea then you can install certain other operating systems if you like. I wonder how long it's going to take Microsoft to sic its legal team on Dell for this one, probably a week or so.
Someone posted a story to Slashdot about Powerglove hacking. Here's a man after my own hearts. It's too bad that it's so bloody hard to find a PG anywhere these days, the usual suppliers (like Funco) stopped carrying them (or we hoarded all of them back in the early 90's; I still have one or two in my lab with parallel interfaces on them). At least with current hardware it'll be possible to actually do some decent work with VR, the 80386 processor cores just didn't have the jam necessary. Even an unaccelerated P-II or P-III would work for a very simple virtual world. Add an accelerated graphics card or two and you'd really have something. While it is possible to buy head-mounted displays these days (building one always struck me as being too much of a pain, mostly due to the optics involved), datagloves never really got big. Waving your hands around in the air for an hour or two to manipulate data can be intuitive if you define the right gestures and have a good position tracking system coupled with good collision detection (which was my pet peeve when I was using 80386-Leandra in my experiments - she was just too slow to detect collisions between my icon's hands and the virtual objects reliably), but it's also hard on your arms. It's called the gorilla arm syndrome. One possible solution that I'd come up with was to use arm positions that were more natural, relatively speaking: Typing-like positions. If the position tracking armature were on a flat surface facing upward then the hands could be kept flat and in front of the body and not your face. This would mean not using a Powerglove and designing something entirely new... hey, this could be interesting.
Position tracking isn't too difficult because you can do it through triangulation, and making a pair of gloves means that you'd have to have different identifiers for the left and right hands. Computer systems are fast enough these days that I think they could keep track of both hands at once without a whole lot of trouble. Detecting finger positions was done in the PG with a set of metallic strips and conductive ink, the electrical resistance of which changed as the strips flexed. I've seen designs of optical position tracking systems that would work much better for this (ala VPN datagloves). Thin plastic tubes (the hacks I'm thinking of used aquarium tubing if memory serves) with a photosensor at one end and an LED at the other and some scores in the tubing to let light out as the tube flexed (one per joint) were set into a glove along each finger. The more the tube was bent due to the bend of the corresponding finger, the more the scores in the tubing opened up which let more light escape, which meant less light striking the photosensor. By examining the amount of voltage permitted by each photosensor you can calculate how much the finger is bent. Calibrating the gloves for a user would be trivially simple: No bend at all then full bend (make a fist), and then divide the min and max values up by the accuracy you want for the glove. Calibrated. I think it would work best for each finger to be polled, because returning a couple of bytes to represent every finger on a hand meant poor resolution (the Powerglove) and that can be frustrating when you're first starting out.
OpenGL (or its opensource clone Mesa) are the ideal APIs for hacking around with VR. Unfortunately, I'm all elbows when it comes to graphics - I barely passed my 3d programming course, truth be told. I can do the fiddly stuff behind the UI, though. This sort of limits my options right now. Oh, well, school's starting again soon, anyway.
OpenBSD is further shown to no longer be all that and a bag of chips. More and more the idea of moving my systems over to one of the BSDs seems bad.
Update on my hotmail.com experiment: After two weeks of giving no one the address I set up I recieved one message from the hotmail.com administration, which consists of three sentences reminding me that all mail older than 30 days will be deleted from my inbox to keep the account within a 2MB quota. The rest of the 49k message was HTML code advertising eleven other Microsoft services, all of which are available through the Passport application. Talk about an infintesimal signal-to-noise ratio...
Today isn't boring, either. We lost refrigeration in the servers' isolation chamber about an hour ago. An 80 degree Farenheit server room isn't a good thing, especially when you've got a fleet of Sun servers running full tilt in said chamber. Thank the gods for APC's super-sized atmosphere movers. The air conditioning repair guys are supposed to arrive within the hour.
I think that Declan McCullagh has a valid point in this article . Cybs who write letters and send e-mail petitions just aren't making a difference. Those in power rarely ever see corrrespondence from the constituents who voted (?) them into power; whether or not they really care about what said constituents have to say on certain matters is an entirely different matter. For a long time I've suspected that they really don't give a tinker's dam about what we tell them we think about their actions and initiatives. Declan's calling for writing code to make our opinions heard, especially when it comes to privacy in this day and age. I whole-heartedly agree with him. They're not going to listen to what we have to say, and trying to get through to the common man and woman is a joke - the DMCA protest I was in last summer drove the point home in my mind. People just don't care.
But writing and releasing software.. that will change things. McCullagh cited the example of Philip Zimmerman's PGP - that changed the world as we know it. It made strong crypto available to the masses. Let's keep it up - let's write software that protects us and ensures our privacy and security. They're certainly not going to do it (anyone remember the Skipjack algorithm that was hardwired into the Clipper chip?)
Let them listen to static.
Let me see... today started off with a *bang*. First, there is a serious vulnerability in Internet Explorer's SSL certificate confirmation routines: the thread on the Bugtraq mailing list starts on this post and there's a site with proof here which has evidence that this can be exploited. This is scary - online banking and purchasing could take a serious kick in the yarbles over this one. SSL is the protocol that people trust to work when they want to protect online transactions in the modern day.
Secondly, the nanosecond I sat down at my desk when I walked in this morning my boss, walked into my cube and asked if I knew how long the VPN connection with the California office had been down for. This was a complete surprise to me. After spending the better part of an hour troubleshooting the situation we managed to narrow it down to some hardware in California. Now try waking someone up at 0630PDT to get into the office to work on it. It's not going well right now. Time to sound the hunting horns and loose the dogs to scare up someone in California without having to fly over there myself. And our primary MX (you guessed it, the Exchange server I love complaining about so much) is over there. No e-mail for the entire company.
For some reason I keep mistyping 'California' as 'Califnordia'. I'm still trying to figure that one out.
Microsoft's updated its Knowledge Base entry regarding Windows 2000 SP3.
I heard a rumour that the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco might be a target for an Al Quaida air strike today. Someone in the office mentioned it in passing about an hour ago. I havn't been looking very hard but I havn't seen any mention of it on any news sites yet. I hope it's just an unfounded rumour.
Yesterday I went on a road trip with some of the PA furries to go to the Cleveland Zoo. I mentioned this in brief last night after I got home. We left somewhen around 0800EST yesterday morning and RPG-geeked for a good bit of the trip up there.. some days life is just grand. We met up with some of the Cleeland furs on the outskirts (forgive my not using handles, I'm still getting to know everyone Outside) and kicked around the zoo for a couple of hours, seeing the exhibits and generally doing touristy things. The sight of dozen folks wandering around in the zoo from all over the age spectrum, some of whom wearing ears and/or tails, others just gazing at the animals quietly or dapping about Transformers or anime went over very well among the other people doing pretty much the same thing. Anyway, it was a good day to connect with people. The Cleveland Zoo really isn't my kind of place, though. I much prefer the Pittsburgh Zoo - the exhibits look a great deal more natural (if such a thing could be said about a zoo) than others I've gone to.
The hard part was trying to round everyone up to go to dinner. After some debate and confusion we eventually setted on a Mongolian barbecue some distance away. A Mongolian barbecue, if you've never been to one before, is very much like a salad bar - there are ranks and ranks of fresh, raw ingredients laid out in the same manner. You can find things like chicken, beef strips, shrimp, crawfish, and pork, along with many different kinds of vegetables, spices, sauces, and oils. The idea is to take a bowl and fill it up with a small selection of what you'd like to make (for example, my first trip after the salad bar there was a run for chicken, green pea pods, green peppers, pineapple, and onion with a little olive oil and sweet-and-sour sauce), which you then present to one of the folks working behind a counter around a circular grill, which they then throw onto the grill and stir-fry for you, using a pair of three-foot sticks or rods to mix everything around. They stir-fry your dish for you while you wait and then shove it off into a clean bowl for you. Also waiting for you at the stir-fry bar are various sauces and spices for afterward (like chili sauce or soy sauce) which you can top it off with. Usually, by the time you get back to your table they have rice and/or steamed tortillas (at least they did there) waiting for you. You can make dishes of pretty much any style, 'Mongolian' refers to the layout of the place more than the actual types of food they have there, I think. I went for two stir-fry runs at BD's (the name of the restaurant), which might have been a bit too much for my body right now.
The grill guys were a lot of fun to watch and talk to; the waitresses were very nice as well - even though the place was packed ours still took the time to talk for a while with us and ask us what we were. I let some of the older furs handle that question, they've been around longer than I have. I am still thinking about my particular answer to that question, though... is it a lifestyle? Is it something for fun? Is it a form of spirituality (which I did hear from a few people that day)? I don't know, yet.... I sense an essay coming on. Anyway, for $12.95 it was a hell of a dinner. If you're ever in Cleveland go to BD's - you won't regret it.
One memorable moment was the gong hanging by the grill. For one reason or another there's a gong hanging by the grill, I suppose for people who have never been there before (or to signal that a tip's been added to one of the tipjars stationed around the countertop). Whenever someone strikes it everyone around the grill (and I think in the back as well) cut loose with a war cry. Imagine fifteen furries cutting loose with various yips, barks, and meows at the same time the grillmen are yelling. *grin*
I won't mention the Galapagos tortoises yiffing. I will say that such are the things of which inside jokes are made.
I just brushed my hair and discovered something - the line where I part my hair (down the middle) is sunburned. OWWWW!!!!
*sound of warning klaxons*
Windows 2000 service pack #3 installed. Prepare for reboot in three.. two.. one.... have a nice day. *bip!*
Yep, I'm building a new server at work around Windows 2000 and I just installed the third service pack to see how well it works. The system's rebooting right now and we'll see if it survives or not in a few minutes.
The server just came back up. Colour me impressed.
Uh-oh. Remember that bug in IE's SSL support I mentioned a few hours ago? Here's a proof-of-concept exploit for this vulnerability. Now I'm scared. And another post from Bugtraq: Konquerer is affected by this bug, too. Ever not feel safe?
And about not feeling safe: The storms that hit western Pennsylvania this afternoon were some of the most violent this year, particularly the electrical activity in the sky. The storm didn't start getting bad until just before I left work today. My first clue that something was wrong was the amount of spray kicked up by passing cars and trucks - there was a hell of a lot of water on the road, I don't know how much but cars were throwing off plumes like nobody's business. The lightning was close (calculated by the delay between flash and thunder) and extremely large. Once I reached the bottom of the driveway I knew something was about to happen, I was white-knuckled on the steering wheel all the way down. A stroke of lightning hit the power lines that the stoplights were hanging from, not thirty feet from my car. Sparks flew like a fountain.
As Istvaan once remarked, many bad words were said in that instant.
I wheeled my car around and put the hammer down, headed in the general direction of the office once more, toward higher ground. I wound up waiting the storm out in the parking lot - I could have gone back in but I felt like a target for a lightning strike. I don't plan on going out as a crispy critter so I decided to let my car take the brunt of any damage from the skies (of which there was mercifully none). When the rain did cut enough to travel safely the veritable torrent of water rushing down the hill and spurting upwards(!) from the sewer grates made one thing clear: The drainage in the area isn't up to the task of handling a deluge like that. When I finally did navigate through the water onto relatively dry roadway I spotted a few fire trucks and ambulances heading in the other directiion at top speed. Swift, if that was you on one of those trucks... go get 'em, man.
Anyway, there's never a dull moment.
Just got home a few minutes ago from a trip to the Cleveland Zoo with some of the PA furries. I'm dead tired right now so I'll write about it in the morning.
Well, I spent far too much money at a computer show again. Fancy that. I picked up another few hundred blank CD-ROMs (miniature and full-sized), so I should be set for another year or two on the outside. I also picked up a Linksys Wireless Access Point to add to the Lab's network. Setting it up was the work of a few minutes, though I would much have preferred to not have to use a Win32 application to configure the access point. I know that port 80/TCP is open on the unit (thus sayeth nmap ):drwho@kabuki:~$ nmap 192.168.1.251 Starting nmap V. 3.00 ( www.insecure.org/nmap/ ) Interesting ports on (192.168.1.251): (The 1600 ports scanned but not shown below are in state: closed) Port State Service 80/tcp open http Nmap run completed -- 1 IP address (1 host up) scanned in 15 seconds drwho@kabuki:~$
Note that I've edited the output of nmap slightly - the IP address my WAP is attached to is different from the Linksys default of 192.168.1.251. If you use a web browser to access a WAP you'll get a login box but I don't know offhand what the login and password are supposed to be. I'm thinking of using ettercap to listen in on the traffic from my Windows 2000 box to the WAP to see what it does to access the unit. I get the feeling it's just a glorified HTTP client with a limited set of features. I strongly suspect that it's really not all that unique... unless you go to the Linksys website and look up the exact unit - it tells you how to log int the WAP without the client. It's almost as I'd expected, to be honest. Ever feel really dumb? If and when you log into your WAP, if you buy this model and set it up, I strongly suggest that the first thing you do is change the password to log into the unit. The default is on the Linksys website - 'admin'. Very not secure.
Anyway, I also picked up a D-Link DWL-650 wireless network card, and it works like a charm. I'm jacked into Kabuki right now and logged into Leandra via SSH to write this update. It worked right off the bat - I inserted it and the PCMCIA drivers picked it up, configured it, and voila - here I am. This settles once and for all the matter of whether or not my Orinoco 802.11 card is damaged or not, incidentally - the sucker's toast. I tried to get onto the WAP with it for a while and wasn't able to even get a pulse out thorugh the antenna. I'm going to use it for a pendant, probably after I dissect it. Oh, well. Cie la vie.
Also, guess what's out on DVD? Shin Seki Evangerion: Death and Rebirth . That's right, the first half's out. I'm watching it right now for the first time in un-fansubbed form. In English, because I can, Kibo damn it. It's on DVD so the detail on it's incredible - at the beginning in the NERV hospital you can see Asuka's chest move as she breathes. Unfortunately, you can also see the aftermath of Shinji's visit about a minute later. Ick. But the video's crisp and clear, the voices are well done, and it's even in letterbox format. I don't care what you have to do, go to your local anime or comic book shoppe and buy this DVD. I bought it at Phantom of the Attic this afternoon. There are some excellent samples in this version, too - I so want to add another few megabytes to my sound bite collection. *grin*
Gods... not more MCI/Worldcom accounting fraud! I'm getting a little sick of hearing about this day in and day out! What in the hell were they thinking??
Is anyone else afraid that their net.connection's going to dry up and blow away as a result of this fiasco?
I feel like I accomplished something today. I just finished crawling around in the ceiling at the office to string another length of CAT-5 cable from the server room to the conference room. It's nasty work if you've never done it before, let me tell you. First of all, I hope you've got a throwing arm; you'll need one to move a tightly-coiled mass of cable with the rest trailing behind it from point A to point C (point B is where you aim the wad of cable, but you'll never reach it due to all the other cables up there, to say nothing of the ceiling struts, I-beams holding up the roof, the business ends of four-inch roofing nails, and air conditioning ductwork and hoses). Second, be ready to climb down, move the ladder, and push up another ceiling panel to grab hold of the cable again for another throw. You can expect to do this anywhere from four to ten times, depending on the size of the office, the clutter in the crawlspace, and how good your throwing arm is. Third, a Maglite with a headband is a godsend - drop the $3.00us to buy one. Four, don't look up while you're moving those panels around, because they like to shred into itty bitty pieces and lots of white dust that make a beeline for your eyes - doubly so if you have contacts in. Useful tools are extensible fishing rods with hooks at the end or dowels with paper clips taped to them (to grab the cable and pull it over to you (oh, and someone please remind me that my dowel-and-paperclp is hanging on the left side of my cubicle next to the door, okay?)), power drills (to make holes to drop cable through), and if you're feeling really adventurous a ball of string and a pistol-sized crossbow (so you can shoot the line across the ceiling to another already opened panel and then use the string to drag the cable across). Making alien noises while you're up there is generally considered bad form, especially if the management team is around that day.
Oh, and long-sleeved clothing. You need to wear long sleeves. One word: fibreglass.
Check this bad boy out: A Panasonic CS-27 laptop computer. This is like the one that Phred had at HOPE-2000. I've seen them take abuse and it really does live up to the label of .mil spec.
Well, I've got the beginnings of a page for my computers on-line now. I plan on taking photographs and posting them later this weekend.
I finished the site design update last night. If you jump directly to this page you might want to take a look at the top-level site and see what's up from there. As it stands now the only thing I have to do is figure out how to keep other sites from being opened in the right-hand frame and that'll be the last thing needed. I also need to start working on the domain's website, but I don't know how long that'll take. There are a couple of essays that I wanted to write first.
Check this out: Using gold atoms resting on a silicon substrate researchers are developing a memory system that can has a theoretical upper limit of 250 trillion bits per square inch. The time necessary to read and write data is slow (due to the precision necessary to manipulate individual atoms) but the amount of data that can be stored there would make early versions of this technology useful for cold storage backups of information at the very least. The technique's come a long way since Carbon Monoxide Man at IBM (homepage here).
This is insanely cool. I've been looking for an attache' case of some sort to hold all of my electronics tools because they're scattered across two tool kits and I don't know how many drawers and random pockets, and he happened to find an old Samsonite briefcase at his parents' place last night. I'm going to start retrofitting it to hold everything. Thanks, Tartan!
Edsgar Wybe Dijkstra - RIP - 1930-2002
For whatever reason I decided to play around with the ISC DHCP server on my network at home. I kept meaning to debug it and now I've got some free time to mess around with it. I don't work with NetBSD enough to remember off the cuff how to configure a new kernel - dhcpd requires the Berkeley Packet Filter in the network stack and I think I need to compile that in. Oh, well.. no other way to learn but breaking stuff. Rebuilding Crash's kernel didn't take nearly as long as I thought it would - the alteration was all of one line in the configuration file and the rest was just 'make depend ; make'.
I think for my next project I'll start working on the pages for my computers in the lab. It's about time.
Holy imploding Kibo. I was auditing my webserver logs and I noticed someone from ncsc.mil (National Computer Security Center; Fort Meade, MD) going through my collection of H2k2 pictures. That's the absolute last thing I expected to see in there. But wait! There's more! A terminal in the network of the Defence Evaluation and Research Agency (Wostershire, UK) stopped by not long ago as well. I don't know whether to be flattered or terrified.
Hi, guys!!! *strikes a power-pose*
Here's an interseting story for you: The United States goverment is proposing ways of monitoring the information generated in day-to-day-life to better detect the subtle patterns that could suggest a possible terrorist strike in the future. Data mining on a massive scale, an entire country. I don't like it. First of all, organic life is chaotic, it rarely does what you'd expect. I don't see this technology working very well unless terrorists stop spreading out their preparatory activityes across so many people. If you're going to build a bomb you don't buy all the parts from the same store in the same area, you have a bunch of people in lots of different places buy one thing each and then you get them together at the right time. Unless their data mining algorithms are sophisticated enough to figure out large groups of people and correlate such purchases, I can't see it working very well. I can, however, see these algorithms falsely assembling groups of possible terrorists doing just this. There would be a lot of people who had genuinely never seen one another before sitting in a jail block saying "What the hell just happened? And who the hell are you??" because some data analysis programme someplace erroneously decided they fit the profile of a terrorist cell.
I can also see such a system accidentally pegging certain people buying lots of stuff (like reagents, household chemicals, ammunition, et all) at one time and ordering a team to go after them; not because they are getting ready to pull something but because they're just going shopping. Many people, myself included, put off shopping until they need the most stuff to maximise the effort for the return. As a result we sometimes buy some pretty weird batches of stuff all in one trip. For example, I might buy on a given shopping expedition two bottles of Drain-O (because the plumbing in my house sucks rocks), eight linen towels (because I put off buying new towels for too long), thirty feet of nylon rope, olive oil (for cooking dinner that night), three spools of electrical wire (because I finally ran out after rewiring my lab and want to get another year's supply), and some duct tape (I always need duct tape). Am I making a bomb? No. I'm taking care of at least three separate things on the same shopping trip. It makes sense to do all your shopping at once.
My point is this: Because people do some pretty weird things sometimes out of practicality, there's an excellent chance that such activities would accidentally trigger the terrorist-hunting programmes. This means that there's a much greater chance that actual terrorists will be missed by the software. This strikes me as a bad idea for that reason and that reason alone.
Ever get the feeling your box just wasn't safe? Remember when Microsoft said a few months ago that if they made all the information regarding the Win32 APIs public it could constitute a breach of national security? They weren't kidding, here's some information on why they said that. Windows is so broken it can't be fixed. Just bloody great. I'd suggest going over to OpenBSD except they've got some egg on their faces right now (ftp.openbsd.org being cracked, which made it possible to upload the compromised OpenSSH v3.4p1 source code in July), which means a hell of a credibility hit in the computer security business.
Last night I picked up the DVD release of Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring on my way home from work. I know, I know, it's not the wide screen super-tricked-out version, I just wanted to watch it again. I'll probably pick up the special edition when it comes out and give this one to my folks because they've never seen it, and truth be told it was a movie that I enjoyed enough to actually feel like buying it. That's rare anymore. I also organized the stuff I've dug out so far for the garage sale (did I mention that I'm holding a garage sale on 17 August - come one, come all) and moved it off to the side so there's room to walk again in my lab. I've got a crate (literally) of software for the PC on 5 1/4 inch floppy disks; if you want any legitimate copies of DOS, WordPerfect, Windows v3.1, or anything like that feel free to stop by and make an offer. Hell, if you need any floppy disks to bulk erase for an old-school system buy 'em anyway (just don't break up any full sets of disks in case anyone wants a full set of something), that's what I'll be doing with the ones that no one buys. My Commodores and Ataris always need floppy disks. I'll also have a few Apple Macintosh systems up for sale - buy as-is, no guarantees, they might be the spare parts you need to fix your old school deck some day. Prices start at $10.00us. No monitors, but I might have a few keyboards and mice kicking around. If not I'll tell you where to go to get dirt-cheap ones.
If you live in the state of Pennsylvania and are tired of telemarkters' calls at all hours of the day (and night, for that matter) it is possible to sign up for a universal opt-out list at nocallsplease.com. Right now, however, the site is thoroughly slashdotted.
Spent the evening... you guessed it, cleaning. This time I got behind the bar down in my lab and extracted another nine or ten cubic feet of... gods, even I don't know what this stuff is. I should take some pictures of it. It is now possible to walk behind the bar to both get at the wiring of my audio rig as well as go through my crates of vinyl. By the way, if anyone's interested in a Digital Equipment external SCSI drive array (sans drives) I've got such a cabinet and lots of spare parts for it that's going on the chopping block at the garage sale. $15.00us takes the entire crate, otherwise it's going to be abandoned at Goodwill. I also picked out a few dozen CDs that I never listen to anymore.
Wait a minute, why am I putting all of this in here? I guess so anyone that reads this memory log and is in my general location will know what there is to buy so they can decide if it's worth the trip out to the lab. Maybe I just need to put some sort of memories from a mundane life here to hang onto. I do so much with computers and other things that sometimes I forget that there are other things out there. I guess my exoteric life is the only thing that's stable right now, or really the only thing that even approximates a stable life. In my haste to get the hell out of here maybe I'm starting to lose sight of what I've got right now. It just doesn't feel like much, but it's a lot more than it appears. I don't know. Maybe I've just trapped myself in this little cycle of thought so I'll have something to think about at all, as selfish as it may be.
Maybe I just need to get out more. See the world. Get out into the world for a while and see what's out there. Maybe I just need to learn to keep my mouth shut and my personal life quiet, like I've always done.
Well, I finished the alpha version of my kitty ears last night. They're not much to work at but the first version of anything is usually like that. The fur's a bit too long at the edges, so it'll need to be trimmed. I'd like to go back and examine the hems I'd sewn around the edges to see if I'd done the right thing. Maybe if I can hold my cat still tonight I'll take a look at her and see what her ears look like from the front. I'm also toying with the idea of making a pair of pleather kitty ears to see how well they work out, or at least using pleather to line the insides of the ear-folds. I also worked on some tattoo flash last night, specifically a few ways of drawing Japanese katakana characters. I don't think they turned out too badly but I plan on redrawing them in a few days to shake the bugs out.
I've started working on a Frequently Asked Questions file to add some content to this site. It's probably not ready for production yet but take a look at it and let me know. I've also compiled a list of unusual web searches that have brought people to this site in the recent past. This is for everyone who never looks at the frontpage, only my memory logs, by the way.
My links page will go on line once I finish one or two topics, at which time I'll write a proper front page (probably in left index frame/right content frame format, ala Mandrake's website, because I've always loved that particular site layout. I also added a few more things to the "More you might be a technopagan if.."file in case you havn't been to the index page in a while.
Let's see... what else has been going on? I watched Pump Up the Volume last night. That movie still has a place reserved for it in my hearts. One man really can make a difference, even if he doesn't realise what he's doing. It makes me want to start spinning again, or at least doing mixes and releasing them as .mp3 files for people to listen to. Sort of like these copies of my memories. Maybe I should come up with a soundtrack of some sort..
Naah. Too much structure kills everything.
Interesting: crop circle numerical analyses interpreted as music.
Now I'm scared: I just got out of a meeting with my boss. The company I work for has a number of offices around the world, one of which happens to be in India. To serve as backstory, if you're not familiar with the political situation in that part of the world right now, suffice it to say that ITAR makes it difficult to ship any high technology to that part of the globe right now, India among those countries. My employers, out of necessity, had to supply that office with computing equipment powerful enough for the purposes of development and testing, which required going through the US government. Guess what the situation is over there? The India offices are being treated right now the same way that embassies are around the world, i.e. as exterritorial zones of the controlling country. As part of the agreement there are guards at the perimeter of the facility (whether or not they're armed I really don't know, I can't see it being necessary), a security perimeter is maintained 24/7, people have to check in and out of the facility, and they're not allowed to bring their own equipment with them, they're loaned whatever they need while they're signed into the facility within reason. This seems like overkill to me, but those are the terms the US government gave us, I'm told. Very cyberpunk fiction; very what I was talking about yesterday. Very scary.
There's a new version of the GRsecurity kernel patch for Linux v2.4, v1.9.6 for kernel v2.4.19, but damned if I can get v1.9.3a removed so I can upgrade Leandra's kernel. I hate it when I can't remember the invocation I used for /usr/bin/patch. Bloody frustrating.
Congressman Howard Berman (Democrat - California) is proposing a bill that would make it legal for a company to do damage to an end-user's computer to "protect their interests" - you can read the story here. This is sounding more and more like the scenarios put forth in so many cyberpunk novels in the 1980's: "Try to own our network and we'll take you out and not think twice about it." It's scary how life is beginning to imitate art more and more these days... next thing you know companies will be putting together strike teams to take care of "perceived security threats." There was a story on Slashdot about a year ago which spoke of rumours that exactly this was happening. Personally, while it would not surprise me in this day and age, I will believe it when I see it. Which probably means that I'm way off base and it's already happening, knowing my luck.
This is something I'd not expected: Last Thursday I set up a Hotmail account because one is necessary at work (management's decree: Because the Exchange server is unstable we're supposed to get backup webmail accounts just in case). As an experiment, I've not given the address out to anyone; the reason is to see how long it takes to start receiving spam to that account. If I don't recieve any spam within seven days then either Micro$oft really doesn't sell its Hotmail member lists on the open market, or their default spamblockers really are worth the few minutes to configure the. This is not what I'd expected. We'll see how things turn out by the end of the week.
Here's a happy little utility: Sunsolve Patch Pro. After you install it (and you really should read the docs before you do so; if you don't it's your own damned fault for munging your server) it'll download a list of patches for Solaris 8 or 9 (there's a version for both on the website), figure out which ones that server needs, install them, and let you move on to the next server. I'm testing it at work and it's a nice setup. Give it a shot.
Last night 'lex and I went to the pantsless party at Vampyry Daisy's doss on the south side of the city. We wound up having a ball there, seeing people that we'd not seen for a while and catching up on old times. It's good to do that now and then. I'd missed talking to Pooka; it's been at least a year, perhaps nearly two since we'd last spoken. She's a busy girl, though, so things being what they are... it happens, I guess.
Learned about a new game last night, Apples To Apples. It's basically a word-association card game where you have to pick cards bearing nouns to match up to adjectives to get on the good side of the judge. If you've got a thing for inside jokes, there'll be many, many more of them made by the time the game's over. I'm thinking about jumping out and picking up a deck or two to keep around, just in case. The game Psychologist is practically a drinking game of too much information about your friends (and if it isn't a drinking game it probably should be). There's not much I can say about this except that I really hope you accept your friends for who they are and not who you think they are... though it's not likely that you'll keep the facts straight in your head by the time the night's over, so the ambiguitity will help ease worries in the morning. 'tis an ill wind that blows no minds, it is said...
I've been thinking about a few things to add to this site. I'm currently compiling a page of hyperlinks to put up, and I might get around to writing a real index.html page with an index on it, as opposed to just using the news page as the front page. I've also been making a list of weird web searches that seem to bring people here (which I've seen on a few blog pages lately). Why a Google search for goatse.cx (no, I'm not putting a link to it on) brings people here, I'll never know. I've also got a dozen random files laying around on Leandra's hard drive that I'll eventually finish and put on line as real content for a change, but those will probably take a while to finish.
What the.. converting your mouse into a cryostasis chamber for dismembered Lego people??? That's kind of cool, actually. I wonder if that would work on my trackball.
By the way, here's a heads-up for my regular readers: I'm having a garage sale in two weeks' time (17 August 2002). Feel free to stop by The Lab and pick through my stuff, I'll make you a deal.
I think Leandra's sound card is finally starting to go after all these years. She just started having problems playing back sounds - sometimes an audio track will start to trail off into silence and it's difficult to bring it back from the UI-level alone. I might break down and buy that PCI sound card after all, thus killing any and all need for a mainboard with an ISA slot on it.
I was watching something I taped off of TechTV a few nights ago (Friday, to be precise) and caught the first few minutes of The Screensavers. They were covering DefCon X. Live. Ye flipping gods. Where the hell were they at H2k2?? Why do I feel like DC's dead now?