1. Oracle sure took its sweet old time patching this...

    19 April 2007

    Oracle is best known for its database system, which many thousands of companies make use of in some capacity or another. It's big, it's bad, it's complex, but it's also got some amazing features, like clustering and replication that many other databases (open source and otherwise) can't hold a candle to, assuming that you understand it well enough to make it work. It's a complex beast, no two ways about it. That complexity, however, is no excuse for them taking two years to patch a security vulnerability in Oracle 10. It's a cross-site scripting bug in the enterprise search subsystem …

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  2. The more things change, the more they stay the same.

    18 April 2007

    Cody Webb, age fifteen, was arrested last month for making a bomb threat to his school's information line. He spent twelve days in juvenile detention for the act. There's just one problem: He didn't call in a bomb threat. As authorities figured out later, the school's automatic message recording system automatically changed its internal clock to take into account Daylight Savings Time. Therefore, the timestamps of all calls received after the changeover were one hour off from those before the changeover. When they pulled the call records, they accidentally went too far back and pulled Cody's telephone call from the …

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  3. Is adolescence really a mental illness?

    18 April 2007

    A study of over five thousand adolescents by the US Food and Drug Administration has determined that treating teenagers with antidepressants like Prozac, Celexa, and Serzone is much more safe than previously thought, and that the long-range benefits outweight the short term side effects, such as suicidal mania. The study was performed using the data from the original studies back in 2004 along with data from eleven other studies that were either unavailable or not considered in the final breakdown. The study just released shows that antidepressants seem to work the best on anxiety disorder and the least on depression …

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  4. Beauty may only be skin-deep, but asshole is to the bone.

    17 April 2007

    You know Fred Phelps, whose church/immediate family protests the funerals of fallen US soldiers, homosexuals, and even Mister Rogers (no, I'm not making this stuff up)?

    They're going to protest at the funerals of fallen Virginia Tech students.

    Right about now, I am so enraged at the thought that I am going to end this entry before I say something that will get me in trouble.

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  5. The Virginia Tech massacre - aftermath.

    17 April 2007

    More information's come to light with regard to the massacre on the Virginia Tech campus yesterday. They think that they've figured out who the shooter was, a twenty-three year old English major named Cho Seung-Hui. He was reportedly a loner, and they're having a difficult time finding any information on him as a result. They're going through his schoolwork at this time (he was an English major, after all, so they've got stuff from composition classes and the like to analyze); they found a number of rants and missives about various sorts of people in his dorm room written during …

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  6. A new Windows worm crawls the net.

    17 April 2007

    A couple of days ago, Microsoft released a security bulletin regarding a vulnerability in the DNS server component of Windows Server 2000 and 2003. In it, a remote attacker can cause the DNS server system service to spawn a shell that one can then connect to and execute commands because there is a bug in the RPC (Remote Procedure Call) interface. Ordinarily, Windows is designed to be operated from the GUI that we all know and love, but if you open a command shell, there's an excellent suite of command line utilities that can perform the same operations, usually much …

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  7. Weekend in review: Persephone's Ball 2007.

    16 April 2007

    A couple of weeks ago Lyssa and I hooked up with House Eclipse to buy seats at a second table at Persephone's Ball 2007, the annual fundraising dinner held by the Open Hearth Foundation in their effort to set up a community center for the pagan community of the Washington, DC metropolitan area. They've been at this for almost ten years now; I've been keeping my eye on it for about five but this is the first time that I've ever participated in one of their functions. We weren't sure what our schedule was going to be like on Saturday …

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  8. EDIT: Thirty-three confirmed dead at Virginia Tech.

    16 April 2007

    Just an hour or two ago, an unidentified gunman opened fire on the campus of Virginia Tech, killing twenty and wounding more. The gunman was also shot and killed, but it hasn't been announced yet if it was at his own hand or not. The shootings started at Norris Hall, which is the engineering building of the college. The campus is in lockdown at this time, and is expected to remain so well into tomorrow. Other shootings were reported near one of the dorms.

    As it turns out, security forces locked down the campus for a time so the shooter …

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  9. More tales from the dentist's chair.

    16 April 2007

    I was privileged to open my week with another trip to the dentist's chair for a routine workup, a checkout, and my bi-yearly (I think that's right - twice every year) cleaning which had taken a back seat to my last root canal. Much of the morning was taken up with bitewing x-rays and many long minutes spent under a water spike, which uses a thin stream of water moving under very high pressure to remove buildup and tartar from one's teeth in all those places that toothbrushes never quite seem to hit on a daily basis. While it wasn't uncomfortable …

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  10. Packets... in... SPAAAAAAAACCCEEEE!!!!!

    13 April 2007

    The United States military is planning to launch a communications satellite that is a dedicated Internet router by the year 2009. The way the Net works right now, some communications satellites are involved in handling net.traffic but there are two major differences from how they want to start doing it: First of all, net.traffic goes from the ground up to a comsat and then is retransmitted to another downlink on the ground; the IRIS project will route traffic from comsat to comsat, something that hasn't been done before. Secondly, traffic is transmitted on fixed communications channels; the IRIS …

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