Last night I went swimming with some of the guys... I think that's the first time in a good two or three years that I've ever been that wet. I have to admit, it was a lot of fun... water's a different environment than most of us are used to. I discovered that my body's not coordinated enough to talk and swim at the same time, though. That's probably due to a lack of practise. Afterward we went over to Himura's for dinner (hot wings made on the grill.. excellent!) and then drove down to the University of Pittsburgh to see the Friday Night Improv at the Cathedral. I'd never been to one before so it was a new experience. It's like LARP in a lot of ways - people not afraid to make fools of themselves getting up in front of everyone to make people laugh. I'll leave the obligatory Shakespeare quote alone and just say that it was better than it was worse. A lot of the media references went over my head, though. I don't really watch television and I don't really go to the movies much so a good bit of it was lost on me. I suppose it is possible to stay shut in too much.

I've been monitoring what goes in a number of subcultures that I'm nominally a part of lately... there's been what seems like more politicking than usual going on, and more conflict between people who really should be leaving each other alone. While their arguments make sense, and the need to protect one's reputation in the eyes of one's peers is important, I still don't see why you can't leave the people you don't get along with alone. If you're in, say, a bar and someone you don't like walks in, don't talk to them; don't walk over to them; for gods' sake don't start talking about them; just leave them the hell alone. They stay in their corner, you stay in yours, and it's all good. These are basic skills taught in grade school, don't tell me that they vanish so rapidly. Even if you hate someone at least respect them that much. The Furnation blowup (Nexus is turning the site over to someone else and leaving the fur scene); a particular talk given at Walking the Thresholds about a group that's supposedly 'kissed goodnight' some people; groups in the same scene slagging each other left and right because each calls the other a cult; someone in a discussion group listening to people talking about the tools they use to get things done and then saying in an open forum that talking about them is wrong and bringing a few of them to the discussion group to pass around is wrong and his/her/its way is the Right Way(tm), which caused more arguments.. it's pissing me off, plain and simple. I'm seriously considering cutting off the rest of my ties to everything going on and leaving.

Maybe I'm getting cranky in my old age, maybe I'm just sick of hearing people bicker so much. Maybe I just need something new in life. As things stand right now I'm not sure that I really want to stay where I live at present for much longer. I've really got nothing holding me here anymore than a promise to finish my college degree (for whatever that's worth) and a job. Maybe the possibilities here are exhausted.

Cue more flak from everyone and their backup...


In reading this article about the Linux kernel summit, I came across a paragraph which described someone holding a Debian t-shirt up and asking if Debian was violating its social contract by shipping the Linux kernel in Debian because there are a number of binary-only modules inside the kernel for device drivers, which appear to be fore USB and some SCSI devices (this is news to me, I've never come across them.) Once again, I'm not sure of what to make of it. On one hand, I want to say 'shut the hell up, I'm sick of hearing people whine about binary-only drivers and proprietary software', but on the other hand he just might have a point there. If the company changed its licensing (and retroactive chanages are legal in the US) it could screw the Linux kernel over royally.

Personally, I have no problems with the existence of proprietary software. The world has an economy - that's a given. We can't change that. There are business entities the transactions of whom make up this economy. We can't change that, either. Some of these companies write software and sell it. This is part of the economy... guess what, we can't change that, either. Not without divesting the world of all of its computer technology. By selling stuff those companies stay in business and support the economy. By making all software open source and free, as RMS suggests, then a huge part of the global economy will be crippled, and the aftershocks of doing so would be felt for years...

I've got no problem with buying some software. I know how much time and effort it takes to write code, and I like to give the coders their props. I've bought most of the games I've ever played (from the Commodore-64 on up to Quake 3 Arena and Descent 3.) I bought Mathematica for Calculus class, even though I hate the package. I bought Wordperfect 7 back in the day and Borland Turbo C++ v7.0 for DOS. I've registered shareware for PalmOS and the Apple Newton. All of these actions technically make me an open source heretic. Know why?

Because I like to show my appreciation for the coders out there. Nothing says "Hey, you wrote a kickin' programme!" like a twenty or a fifty, you know? It's nice to be appreciated.

This is amusing.



I'm tired. I want my brain to be offline. I went out for coffee last night and reconnected with people for a while.

I just discovered something. At work we use APC UPSes (uninterruptible power supplies) which use the APC Powerchute software suite (version 6.0.2 - downloadable from APC if you register on their website) to monitor and control systems remotely. I was installing the Powerchute server on our print server and because said server's slow as ooblick in January I was able to watch the status messages scroll across the screen... the Powerchute server daemon opens port 3052/TCP on the system it's installed on. Included in the Powerchute distribution is a console application which, as I found out, is little more than a hack of Internet Explorer. If you load http://powerchute.servername.com:3052/ into your web browser you'll get the standard Powerchute login screen which you can log into just as if you were using the console application. If you ever really, really need to access such a system but you don't have the console app installed don't worry. Keep this in mind for such situations. One possible problem here is that when you install the Powerchute agents they all require that you set a login name and password, all of which must be identical. Because these communications are unprotected it is possible to sniff said login credentials and use them later. If said login credentials are the same as other credentials on your network (say, on a Windows 2000 domain) then you've really got problems - never re-use logins or passwords because it's not that big a jump for a cracker to try those on a LAN in addition to the defaults appropriate for the prevelant OS on your net. Never re-use login names or passwords.

Thanks, Theo. *blows raspberry*


Sorry about the outage... once I power-cycled the router all was well. Weird.

Well, Theo de Raadt released OpenSSH v3.4p1 this afternoon to fix that mysterious bug he was taking about... it's a flaw in the S/Key challenge-response authentication routines that can produce a root shell remotely. I'm not sure how I feel about that right now. On one hand, I wish he'd come out and said what was wrong, so I could have been fixing the bug in the source code instead of hunting for the bug all day yesterday. On the other hand, someone on Slashdot had a point when he/she said that by sitting on the bug he prevented the black hat crowd from diffing v3.3p1 and another release to isolate the bug, and perhaps write an exploit for it. I'm not sure which I would have preferred... knowing what was wrong or having the chance to fix what was wrong.

By the way, for those of you who don't feel like upgrading, disable S/Key challenge-response authentication. Obligatory disclaimer: I'm not a lawyer; I'm not responsible for what happens if you do this and your box still gets cracked; it's just a theory.

I had another weird-ass dream last night (early this morning, to be precise, as it woke me up around 0730.) I dreamed that I was laying in bed and that something unusually hard but chewy was inside my mouth. I rolled it around for a while and it was small, hard, and could easily have been a chunk of food that had gotten caught behind a tooth or something and had just then worked its way loose. I eventually spat it out and discovered that it was a very bloody, very degenerated, and very unsocketed tooth - a canine. Oh, shit.

Running to the bathroom I looked in the mirror and saw that the tooth had worked its way loose from my maxilla and had left an ugly looking hole behind, as well as an even uglier-looking hole transversal to the maxilla, where the root would have been. At this point I woke myself up in a panic.

Said tooth's still there, thank the gods. Whatever triggered that dream, though, I don't know. Another one I'm going to have to figure out soon.

Kudos to the writers of the PSX game Parasite Eve - I almost beat it last night, and found myself literally inching up to the television while I was playing it, as if I was locked in the throes of a truly frightening horror movie (the last time I did that I was watching Crash, directed by David Cronenberg.) That's one hell of a game to make me do that - I've got to give them serious respect.

I beat it earlier tonight. Neat game. Now to trounce the game in EX mode.


Well, what Theo de Raadt pulled yesterday has pissed a lot of people off. He won't even say what the problem is with OpenSSH and yet we're supposed to upgrade before the end of the week, when he's supposed to release the exploit for it? Sorry, I'd like to know why I should do such a thing. As much as I hate to say it, I don't like being told to "Upgrade... or else" by anyone - not Bill smegging Gates, not the RIAA, and certainly not Theo de Raadt. Spill the beans, lad! As for the post to BUGTRAQ-L yesterday, where is it? I'm on the mailing list and I didn't see anything like it come across.... granted, it's still early and I'm still going through last night's messages, but I'll believe it when I see it in my inbox. Call me paranoid.

I've installed it on one of our systems at work, and it doesn't work. It keeps refusing logins. I really don't like something here. This smells like either an "the opensource community is so gullible/paranoid it's not even funny" or an "all your box are belong to OpenBSD" type of deal, I havn't decided which yet. But this stinks like a fried capacitor. I'm going to rip into the source code and see what's what here.

Gods, the spam gets worse and worse these days. I just deleted 55/101 messages from my primary e-mail account.

In the office complex I work at, the power's been on and off for the past twenty-four hours at the very least. The UPSes are pratically smoking under the load they're carrying right now. As a joke, I hooked the coffee pots up to a spare (read: APC Back-UPS 200 too small to power anything we have in the shop) UPS in the kitchen. I've got my priorities.

I've been having some odd dreams latelyh, though I didn't put together the connections between them until this morning. In the dream, I've got what I think is a hamster or a gerbil in a large cage, and it's kept in a barn somewhere. I think I had two or three dreams like that, more or less identical in content. In the next series of dreams, a large sewer rate (big, ugly, and after the little guy (I thought in the dream state), probably for lunch. This morning the sewer rat was trapped on its back with its jaws caught in the bars of the cage door and the hamster was crouched in one corner of the cage, looking inordinately pleased with himself. As best I can tell, he managed to take the sewer rat down in a less than fair fight. Go hamster. I was worried for some reason that the rat was going to die, so I got it loose and dropped it on the floor of the barn, whereupon it took off at top speed for parts unknown. The hamster bolted from the cage as well but I was able to corner it not far away and pick it up. The hamster, covered in dirt and dead plants, was less than pleased that I was going to put him back in his cage, and proceeded to start gnawing on my hand. I bit my lip and dropped him back into his home and shut the door.

I can't help but feel that there's some sort of symbolism there, but I havn't puzzled it out yet. Captivity.. too small to appear to be of any use.. tougher than it looks.. David and Goliath?.. always someone bigger?

I'm going to have to think about this for a while.


Talk about starting like a bad day... a workstation that refuses to come back up (damned unauthorized hardware modifications!) and a screwed VPN greeted me before I'd even had a chance to log in this morning. My request to hire an assistant was denied, too.

I think after college I'll be going for a few Cisco certifications, if only so I know what the hell's going on in the land of firmware. The Cisco VPN3000 concentrators are a bitch to work with if you're not already familar with the system. Either I'm getting too old and crotchety to puzzle out the intricies of the configuration language, or the developers are deliberately making the language too difficult to figure out on your own. I'm not sure which it is right now.

Once you get the major crises out of the way, though, things aren't so bad. Thank the gods for a Cisco support contract - if anyone decides to get into networking, make sure the shop that employs you has a support contract of some kind with them, it'll make your life a whole lot easier.

Oh, and I found a few more gray hairs today. I should sue Microsoft for spawning them; I rather like gray hair, though... it's got a certain distinguished look to it. The dichotomy between young/androgynous face and older-looking gray hair is kind of neat.

I recieved a neat compliment a few days ago...

"Doc, you're definitely in the wrong body...  your skin needs to be
gray..  and your eyes're too small...  and you have way too many

I'm honoured.

A friend brought his deck over tonight for safekeeping, he's moving and needed someplace to host his gear for a while. After a bit of fighting with the FreeBSD networking configs we managed to get it running on the LAN in my lab. Getting MySQL to accept connections under the new hostname was a bit more difficult, but once we narrowed down the right database and table in the system it took a single SQL entry to smooth out the bugs.

2002/06/24 (early)

The family reunion wasn't too bad, but the temperature did break 96 degrees farenheit. It wasn't all that bad, I have to admit. Before I say anything else I'd best stop talking about it entirely and move onto something else, because it's late and I should probably be in bed right now.

I picked up a few DVDs today, Armitage: Dual Matrix and Street Fighter Alpha: The Movie. A:DM was better than the first movie (Armitage Third: Poly-Matrix), mostly due to the fact that Keifer Sutherland wasn't one of the voice actors. Juliette Lewis, on the other hand, I didn't mind so much. This DVD has a Japanese with English subtitles option, however, so that's a major nod in its favour. The storyline was much more interseting, though. I rather liked seeing the Naomi Armitage replicas floating in the tanks at the beginning (this could be a new fetish) of the movie, and the fact that things came together much more rapidly from the get-go. The character of Ross Syllabus was much more tolerable - no more "Woe is me, I hate droids."

As for SFA, I'll probably have to rewatch it to pick up the stuff I missed. For a martial arts anime, there was a surprising amount of backstory that I just missed while doing other things.

I'm also about to beat Parasite Eve for the original Playstation. I took out the last incarnation of Eve tonight and now there's just her offspring to deal with.

Gods, that thing is creepy! Someone call Whitley Streiber...


Sorry, no updates today (or probably tomorrow.) I've got a family reunion to prepare for.. at least the cookies are turning out nicely.


This is amusing.. a learning robot escapes from its maintenance pen and goes walkabout, and was almost taken out by a visitor's car as it made its way toward the parking lot exit. Maybe they should look into giving the robots some toys to play with while they're waiting their turn to be looked over by the engineers..

One of these days I need to start researching new methods of logging system events. The usual syslogd/klogd combination that Unices use is nice (and plain text, more imporantly) but can be daunting if you don't spend the time tweaking the logdaemon configuration (which many don't, I've noticed.) I wonder if there's an easier way... it makes me want to build a custom distro with new system technologies just to see how it works out... but I need the hardware to build such a thing, and I don't have a deck powerful enough to act as a development server right now (to say nothing of disk space.) Something to consider for the future.

Mirrors of Slackware Linux are still jammed with people downloading the latest revision (v8.1). I've been trying to get through for two days now, but it's just not happening... Not all of the mirrors have updated yet, I think due to the fact that everyone's hammering the more well-known sites before the mirrors can get copies from them first. I'm thinking of ordering a CD set from someplace to get it faster, as well as support the product. I think I'd actually pay licenseing fees for Slackware, I like it that much. You've got to show the proper resepect to the developers, and it's cool enough that they could use a "thanks for the great 'ware" now and again.

Have you ever gotten the feeling that somewhere, somehow, you're standing in someone's sighting reticle?

I've got that feeling right now... like there's someone watching, waiting to drop the hammer and blow everything around me to bits. Life will once again be forever changed, and probably not in a nice way. I've got a really bad feeling about what's going on right now, and I'm not sure what to do about it. Something deep inside me's already aware of what's going to happen, and it's freaking out in anticipation. I can't quite put my finger on it, but my body's endocrine system has been in flight-or-fight mode almost constantly today, but there's no obvious reason for it. There's a pattern around me that my conscious mind just isn't picking up on yet.

This doesn't feel like the usual paranoia/panic attack, this is colder, more methodical. More patient.

I hope I don't slip up.


I installed the latest revision of Apache last night in response to the vulnerability published just a few days ago. Everything appears to be working properly from this end of things.

Sorry about the major laggage, I've been in staff meetings all day today. That and fixing a malfunctioning workstation keep you busy.


Well, another day, another dollar.

Maybe I've just gotten cold-blooded in my old age, but I really hate it when I'm trying to relax after work and my folks come into the lab and bug me for tech support. I do that all day at work, and I try to get as far away from it as I can when I leave the office.. it never ends. For once I wish they'd just read the instructions on the screen (for Win32 software has an almost obsequiously child-like layout) and think about that. I really don't care for walking them through a software package that I don't even use.

It also galls me that I'm included in family reunions that I've got no interest at all in. I really don't know any of those people and I don't really have anything in common with them, nor they and I; why waste the time? I'd rather stay at home and not have to put up with it. You'd think that going glassy eyed every time some brings it up would suggest that a reunion as a topic of discussion holds no interest whatsoever, but I suspect parental perogative. which has nothing at all to do with logic, from what I can tell. I do seem to recall a bargain we'd made in which I stay as far out of their way as I can and they do the same for myself. One end of the bargain has been upheld in the two years since it was made.

I now see why so many others have excellent working relationships with their families... because they don't live at home anymore. If it were possible I'd move, but having not finished school put the kibosh on that. I still consider dropping out of college to work full time (I'd rather blow what's left of my wrists at work and try to get workman's comp for it than have them finally go out on me while I'm in school at the time so the state government can them blame school for it and screw me out of a paycheck; I don't like the idea of working through reconstructive surgery, either.) There's also the little matter of, surprise surprise, putting up with the flak from the family if I dropped out. On the whole it's much less of a pain in the ass to just deal with it and try to avoid being coopted as much as I can. I really don't fancy six-hour shouting matches where I try to play the "I'm legally and adult" card and they get stuck in the endless "but we're your parents" loop... it's too much to put up with. Dental surgery is less painful - at least the drugs they give you for dental repair are mildly psychoactive.

And for those of you who actually read this page, yes, it is cold blooded, and yes I do sound like a bastard. But would you rather I lied directly to your face? I'd rather tell the flat truth, it's the only thing that'll change anything. I really hate lying to my parents just to keep them off my back, and the time is soon that everything comes to a head, at which time I fully expect to be thrown out of the house. In fact, it would be exactly what I'm planning for. I work better with crises than easy transitions.

On a lighter note, the industrial park is crawling with police. Someone spotted a rather large black bear wandering around this morning and all hell broke loose. Nuke (not Skyjumper) went for a walk this morning and ran into.. not the bear but the cops.


The digital camera works, by the way. Just like a disk drive - drag and drop. I've got a handful of pictures from the Pittsburgh Comicon 2002 that I might put up at some point today, though there really isn't all that much there, just some "Oh, neat"-type images.

Old school!

That reminds me.. one of these days I've got to write a set of webpages for all of my computers in the lab, if only to have an excuse to take pictures of all of them... a lab website would be neat as well (and maybe an excuse to clean, too).

I just found out why my boss isn't in today - he was on the road this weekend and started to pass a kidney stone. That is by no means funny or painless... Tartan, I hope you feel better soon.

Is this not nifty - pre-branding laptop computers! I havn't looked very hard at the prices yet but I'm starting to get some ideas...

During downtime today, I found a tech manual for my cellular telephone. I've been experimenting with the firmware debugger (note to law enforcement: No values have gbeen changed - I'm just seeing what everything does!) to see what does what. I've been compiling a list of terms that I'm going to start looking up the meaning of. I never knew that embedded systems could be so interesting.. I wonder how large the code to drive the average cellphone is, in toto. Four kilobytes in size? A bit more than that (given the storage density of today's PROM and EPROM technology)? It can't be a very large programme - most of it is probably calls to hardwired features (CPU services, in other words.)

I think I just wound up on another 'watch this guy' list someplace..

But figuring out how things work is always such fun... I wonder where I put my hex editor...

2002/06/16 (early)

Well, after five hours of fighting Dataline and I finally got her USB v2.0 scanner working with her Windows 2000 professional deck. As it turns out, when I disabled the onboard USB chip I also turned off the 'assign IRQ to USB interface' option on the motherboard, thinking that this only applied to the onboard USB chip.


After toggling just that option back on, the card picked up its IRQs (I noticed that the card was registering itself with the PCI bridge, but the IRQ it recieved was 'N/A'), the drivers installed properly, and Windows didn't crash again. As a bonus the scanner jumped right up and worked. Damn.

Next is her digital camera.


Somehow I managed to crash Leandra last night while exercising.. I stood up a little too fast and accidentally kicked the side of her housing. It somehow had the same effect as yanking the power out of the wall. I didn't mean to do that but.... I don't know. That was weird. Maybe she's got a loose connection somewhere. Either that or she really took offense at that.

Something I didn't have a chance to write about a few days ago. Feel free to scroll past this if you like.

Driving home from work... I guess Tuesday night, I happened to see an older couple crouched by the side of the road. Someone had hit their dog (a Labrador retriever) and kept going. I pulled over to see if there was anything that I could do, but unfortunately there wasn't. The dog was dead, and the couple had gone off to try to find a way of moving the corpse..

I hate it when my hands are tied. I can't bring people or animals back to life, that's far beyond my ken. But neither could I offer a kind word to the couple: They had already gone off to take care of the situation, and this weird guy poking his nose in would have made things worse. There are some thing that you have to do yourself, and they'd decided for me. Who's to say that it wasn't the dog's time to die, anyway? Everyone and everything has an alotted life, and it's rare that anyone knows how long they've got left. Perhaps it was decided already. I don't know, and I don't think that anyone will know the specifics, at least not for a very long time.

It was funny-strange in a way - the usual feelings of helplessness weren't there this time. Could it be growing up? Old age? Burn out? I don't know yet.


Well, I finally got a working Playstation (mark I) last night. After a few days of fighting with a used unit that refused to boot past the Playstation logo, I found one that actually works for a change. Parasite Eve is the game that's currently frying my brain. It appeals to the Tzimisce player in me, what can I say (thanks, Arden!) The character animation's shaky at best and grainy at worst in places but the cut-scene animation's not bad at all. Maybe I'm just too used to seeing nVidia and Matrox cards rendering graphics, maybe it's the fact that I've got an old TV or an old Playstation (relatively speaking), or maybe it's all the hardware I've got down in the lab.

I've come to the conclusion that it's simple burnout, by the way. No time to rest and spending so much time around computers is the problem. Like a farming hard drive I'm stuck in a rut.

Speaking of computers (you knew this was coming, didn't you?) the micro-DIMM for my laptop came in last night. 128MB of random-access goodness.

If I didn't have to worry about saving up for school in the fall (and next spring) I'd ask to take a month's sabbatical to clear my head. Unfortunately, I can't shirk my responsibilities - damned work ethic. It'll be the death of me this time.

There's a jumping spider crawling around on my desk at work. As little as I like spiders I have to admit that seeing a silkline-assisted jump was pretty neat to watch. Seeing the little guy jump off the edge of my desk and rappel onto the top of the server underneath my workbench was even more interesting.

The urge to upgrade Leandra to Slackware v8.1 when it comes out and move web serving over to another server grows stronger each day. I can't leave well enough alone.

I think the diatribe I posted yesterday hit a little too close to home for some people out there.. nothing in particular's been going on lately, I've just been watching things happen from the sidelines. I finally had enough to bother typing up. I don't really socially interact with many people, so most of what I pick up I get by observing people from the sidelines. Maybe they were taken personally when they really should not have been. I don't really put anything up here that's actually useful information - things about specific people or organizations won't appear, for example. Personal attacks should not be taken from this page. Believe me, if I get angry enough to actually feel the emotion,you'll know it.


I'm seriously starting to doubt the structure of life in the west as we know it. In particular, the question "Are people interchangable?" keeps coming to mind. On the job if you can't do what they need a company has no problems with firing you and finding someone to replace you that can. Screw up one too many times, same result (and you might be blacklisted as well.) Are interpersonal relationships the same way, I wonder.. I havn't dated much but all the indications I've seen are that partners of the appropriate sex are a dime a dozen. Things don't work out? Drop them and find someone else (ruining their reputation is optional.) Your MOTAS is too cheap/doesn't shower enough/more obsessed with video games than usual/too quiet/too inexperienced? Drop them and find someone else. The adage "There are other fish in the sea" is entirely appropriate here. One thing I find particularly disturbing about dating anymore is that the future of a relationship can be directly related to how soon the two have sex.


For the record nothing in particular brought this on, I've just been thinking about things lately and these are the thoughts that crystallised.

For example, if I were to quit my job tomorrow there's a good chance that the company would go through its list of applicants and find my replacement within twenty-four hours. No tears, no job search, just a single database query. Life is like baseball cards anymore - drop one card and pick up another which does pretty much the same thing. No muss, no fuss. Bullets in a clip. Fire and forget. Friendships have gotten that way, too. Get tired of one person, start ignoring them and find someone else to talk to. There are, as said earlier, lots of people out there, and they're really not all that different from the perspective of utility.

Maybe I'm just rambling; it's entirely possible that I have no bloody idea what I'm talking about here. Maybe my ideas about how things work these days are completely wrong. I'm not claiming they're original, either. I'd bet that there are people out there who have already explored this train of thought and seen the same things as I.

Yesterday I took my car into the shop to be inspected for the yearly emissions certification and checking out a few other things just to be safe. I tend to drive my cars pretty hard, and as a result perhaps a bit more wear and tear is incurred upon them. Driving through the flooding during the storm a few weeks back also worried me - water in the wheel-wells makes me worry about my brakes. $465.00us later the vehicle checks out, but my bank account's taken a pretty hard hit. Some days you have to bite the bullet and do what's necessary. I was right about my brakes, though - they had to be overhauled but it was worth it. And, true to form, they had to fix the air conditioning again, but at least that works (in the most humid days of summer... who am I to complain?

I just found Microsoft's Windows 2000 Server security tutorial in the technet. To save yourself the time, here's the gist of it:

Somehow, I expected more..


I recieved a rather nasty wakeup call this morning when I found out that the sysadmin of my employers' California office resigned. This leaves them short- handed in the IT department out there, as well as in a precarious position if anything goes wrong. I hope that I don't have to pick up the slack for that office as well - NT4 isn't my specialty by any means. Hearing about stuff like this always frightens me.

Working on a Windows 2000 server today, I discovered that Micro$oft's redone the UI for the Windows Update website. It's not quite as rapid a navigate as it used to be.. I think they've taken a step backward in terms of usability here. I much prefer a larger pane of possible patches that can be ticked off or back on as needed and not a list that hides patches that you deselect. What if you make a mistake? You can't always find the right patch again, not without starting the process over or having a very detailed mental map of everything that's been done to the list lately.

Maybe I'm just bitching for nothing. It's not like I've got anything else to put on this page.

I think I've figured out what's wrong... there's this big hollow place inside me that's the problem. There's something missing.

Now I need to figure out what's supposed to go in there.


Some days I should learn to just not respond to anything from work.... I can't seem to make any sense while I'm on the job in e-mail. *sigh*

I should buy my credibility a plane ticket on its way out the door later today.

Ever just have a dry day? One where 75% or more of your brain just never comes back online after you wake up? That's what today is like. Higher thought processes just aren't executing the way they're supposed to.

I wonder how much Simon's Necronomicon and the Windows 2000 default domain policy system have in common... probably more than it is healthy to think about.

Oh, while I'm bitching about Windows 2000 Professional right now, did you know that it's possible to dark-blue screen (i.e., kernel panic) such a box by trying to boot it without a mouse attached? I screwed around for an hour with someone's workstation until I plugged a mouse into it and it came back online. This is 'advanced operating systems technology'??

I remember someone at IUP finding this movie on a network somewhere and spreading it around. It's screamingly funny, even if it is in Quicktime format. I highly suggest that you download this movie file and watch it at least once... if you're a John Carpenter fan it might get under your skin, but otherwise it's a good parody of the Escape From * movies.


Ye flipping gods!


Well, I've spoken ot a few people about the last few days; it looks like the problems's mine and mine alone. No surprise, really.

I get the feeling that there won't be many updates to this memory dump this weekend, as I'll be spending the time offline resting my wrists, in particular the left one. I think it's time for another round of hot paraffin deep heat treatments for that one.

Everyone around the office has been called in to help stress-test a product restock bidding product we've been working on... however, what everyone's bidding on is the problem: Laxatives.

Yes, laxatives. You can imagine the jokes being bandied back and forth in the office right now. When they say that someone's talking shit on you because you've just bested them by a penny in a bidding war, let me tell you they're talking shit on you.

Lord and Lady preserve us... I think my diaphragm's herniated from laughing so hard.

Wow.. decent documentation for plugins for Mozilla v1.0! And Java support works!

Speaking of java, I've found that caffeine's a lousy painkiller. My wrists are killing me right now.


An open call: If anyone's been having trouble sleeping in the past couple of days, lots of bad dreams, waking up even more tired than you were before, or feeling as if your energy's just being depleted for some reason, let me know. I'm going through the same thing right now, and I feel like I'm running a marathon lately. I'm curious to see how widely spread this is right now. drwho (at) virtadpt (dot) net is the address.

And now I have to wonder why sound playback on the Toshiba Tecra 8000 isn't working right... everything's there, there's just no output. And Toshiba, true to form, pulled the documentation on the 8000 from their website as soon as the 9000 series was released. Dammit.

Dee Dee Ramone of the Ramones - Rest In Peace.

Just lovely. Simulate a thermonuclear detonation's effects on the city of your choice, along with casualty predictions... Just for fun, I plugged in the coordinates for the Virtual Adept Networks' local access port. The nuke detonated 4.7 miles from the hardware's physical location, meaning that it's within the 2 PSI overpressure zone. Single family residences that aren't wiped out are badly damaged and structurally unsound that they'd be unlivable, I'd guess. More debris than a hurricane, I'd wager. 5% of the population of this zone is dead; 45% is severely injured, and I suppose would die of radiation poisoning. A fallout simulation assumed wind blowing due east at 15 MPH over a week's time. At this office we'd take on about 3000 rads and our bodies would die within hours of exposure. The radiation would in all likelihood trash the hardware so badly that we couldn't transfer into Virtuality in time. A decade would need to pass before the zone was livable again.

Just for the hell of it, how about a 25 megatonne air blast? This time the lab's right on the edge of the first blast radius inside the 12 PSI overpressure zone. Suffice it to say that there isn't a whole lot left in this area. 98% of the population would be dead, and that might not be a bad thing. Dying of radiation poisoning, if I recall my research, isn't fun at all, and I can't see it being possible to end one's life in such a situation due to the pronounced physical weakness as a result (in case you're curious, I've no problems with ending one's life in such a situation as terminal disease or injury - I'm a member of the Church of Euthanasia; I'd rather die and go back on the wheel than suffer for a few weeks to a few months.) Anyway, the city's toast and thousands would be killed.

What a world in which we live.


Another freakin' virus gets loose at work.. they just don't listen. I might push for violations of data integrity policy to be punishable by job termination out here, it's that bad. Getting Norton Antivirus running on NT Server 4 isn't fun, either.

Someone said on a mailing list that Mercury's in retrograde right now. It figures. Next thing you know the stars'll be right in the South Pacific... remind me to cancel my vacation to Tahiti.

I love sudden rain squalls. I keep my car windows open slightly so my wheels don't turn into a Dutch oven during the course of a day and a sudden rainstorm kicks up and all but floods my car's interior. This just isn't my day.


I saw the strangest license plate driving around last night - 'MKULTRA'. Needless to say, it scared the hell out of me. Can't say life's boring...

One of these days I'm going to get a life.

If anyone knows of a way to set up Netscape Communicator or Navigator for Hebrew support, please let me know privately - I've a friend who needs it. A' way to set up Mozilla for Hebrew support would be useful, too.

Just when you thought fsck(1) took a long time to run... try surface scanning an NTFS5 hard drive some time. A 20 gigabyte drive has been undergoing integrity checks for almost a half-hour now. I need to figure out how to get rid of the stupid Windows 2000 Professional splash screen so I can see what's going on in there.

You know.... the system repair utilities of a given operating system are supposed to let an administrator repair damage done to the system on some level. For example, if a file has been corrupted it should be possible to access a secondary drive (like a floppy drive) and copy a file over, shouldn't it? Windows 2000 Professional doesn't let you do that, ordinarily. I had to find C:\boot.ini file on another system, edit the copy there, and then copy from the drive to the system drive (and not the other way around) to the drive. Oh, and did I mention that there's no text editor available? Whose bright idea was that? At least chkdsk.exe runs properly, even though it's thin on output even when you turn verbosity up (at least as much as it lets you.) It makes me want to get into Win32 coding so I can start writing opensource system utilities that are more user-forgiving for situations like these... a version of fsck(1) that handles NTFS5 with all the usual command line options and decent output would be nice to keep on a tool disk.

Oh, and did you know that it's possible to turn on tabkey command completion (ala the bash shell) for the cmd.exe command interpreter in Windows 2000? There are two ways of doing this: One, you can set the following registry keys (as 'Administrator', of course): HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\ Command Processor\CompletionChar=9 and HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\ Microsoft\Command Processor\PathCompletionChar=9. Alternatively, you can edit the properties of the shortcut under Start -> Programs -> Accessories -> Command Prompt to invoke cmd.exe like this: cmd /f:on

M$ finally stole some useful features....


The reconfigurations didn't happen. I decided to take a bath and go to bed early last night. Oh, well.

Okay, I've had about enough.. I just read this article on Newsforge about United Linux and how binaries for this distribution won't be easily available; it also talks about Redhat telling Cheapbytes that they can't sell Redhat Linux anymore, even though the .iso images are freely available from Redhat itself. This isn't making sense, guys. Either sell Redhat on CD only, or stop bitching that you don't want people burning copies from your FTP site and selling them, that's the nature of Linux.

I swear, if I didn't need hardware acceleration on Leandra, I'd move her over to NetBSD as well.... this kind of politicking is really starting to piss me off about Linux.

Okay, that's not entirely accurate.. Redhat's trying to protect its trademark on the name Redhat, which is about par for the course when you're talking about a corporate entity. But isn't it easier to just make them say that Redhat the company isn't responsible for supporting this particular copy of Redhat the Linux distribution? That seems like a more reasonable solution to the situation to me. My mistake.

You know, I never realised how much things pile up when you're in crisis mode. I'm playing catch-up at work right now, and it's going to take at least a day to get back on track. System audits, tape backup maintenance, requests on the user and management levels that weren't top priority before, backgrounded jobs to do... it's a mess. This is why you want to work with an IT staff and not solo if you can help it at all.

By the way.. reports of the storm out here last Friday made it onto The Art Bell Show. Wow. Go newswires.

I just read the glowing review of the PA furs meet posted by Swift Fox to the PA furs mailing list... in twenty-four years, I don't think I've ever been proud to have been a part of something like that. I actually feel honoured, like I helped to make something fun for someone. Even movie night didn't feel like that.

Another workstation dark-bluescreened (OS corruption) at work today.. guess what I'm going to be spending the night doing...


Well, I had a blast at the PA-furs fur-be-que yesterday... lots of good food (props on the grillwork, Swift!), I got to see some folks that I havn't seen in literally years, got to go bowling for the first time since high school (and in my old stomping grounds, no less)... all in all a very fun and long day. I almost feel better. Now I just need to get a shower (I can't because the bathroom's still torn apart to re-do it) and some more sleep. That aside, I feel pretty good.

Everything's torn out and being repainted right now. Unfortunately part of the floor in the upstairs bathroom is rotting away... it's always been marginal (they tell me), but now it's becoming pronounced. I filled it in as best I could with silicone and patching plaster, but it's not going to last for long. Part of the drywall crumbled into dust and left a rather large hole when we started ripping the old baseboard out. I cut some gypsum board to fill it in but I don't know if it'll hold or not. The board's too fragile to nail down and I've never spackled before, so we'll see how it works out. Now it's just a matter of repainting and figuring out what kind of carpet we want in there.

By the way, I need to get a few more UPSes for the Lab, due to all the storms that've been blasting the area lately.. preferably an APC SmartUPS-1000 or -2000 series unit, so I only have to plug one into the outlet. I can get some smaller units easily but I'm afraid they'll start to overload the wiring down here.

I also need to finish configuring the Lab's DHCP server and I have to tweak Apache on Leandra a bit more... I don't know when I'll have a chance to do that, though. Hopefully later tonight.


Once again, 31 May is a banner day for bad weather. Driving around after work last night, I was caught in the worst storm to hit Pennsylvania in months. The rain was coming down in sheets thick enough to cut visibility to just a few feet, and the hail moving fast enough to put windscreens and windows at risk. Not fun. I wound up sitting it out in the parking lot of a local mall: The township was almost flooded out. Trees are down; roads were impassable; the damage done to Kennywood was substantial. Thank the gods the loss of life was minimal, or at least it is as far as the news reports I've been able to access have stated as much. I often wonder why this happens at roughly the same time of year every time it does happen: Either directly on 31 May, or within two days after it... this doesn't feel like imbalance anywhere, it feel more like a necessary event in the natural cycle. I think it would be a good idea to start planning for this to happen every year... I wonder if it'll pan out.

We're almost ready to start rebuildling the bathroom. The plumber installed the new toilet yesterday; I got the seat on today (for some reason they don't come with seats anymore.) Oddly enough, he refused to move the old one any farther than the front porch... as well as refused to dispose of it for us. That didn't sit well with anyone. I'm still trying to figure out how we're going to get rid of the old toilet... the garbage collectors won't take it, and we can't dump it anywhere. Anyway, I pulled the old cabinets out and ripped out the old (read: soaked through and falling apart) carpet. We're going to repaint and put the new fixtures in tomorrow at some point.

Aah... my exoteric life. How exciting; how elegant; how nothing-else-is- going-on-right-now...


Click click click.. another drive bites the dust...

Well, at least the Windows 2000 profile stuff is tabled for now. Now I can go back to taking care of stuff like rebuilding trashed workstations, patching Solaris boxen, and generally not having to listen to people scream at me. Stress management is not one of my strong points. I'd start meditating again but every time I start closing down my connections to the Outside either my pager goes off or someone comes downstairs and starts yelling because I was ignoring them calling me (it isn't as if I can hear them in there.) Meditation isn't stress management for me - it's a stress magnet.

I'm going walkabout tonight, I think... I need to find something to ground to.

In between reboots of Nuke's deck at work, I'm searching for legal scans of some of David Mack's work (Kabuki in particular) for the XDM login screen of Kabuki, my new notebook computer. I might have to wait until I get home to hunt through my backdrop collection on Leandra, I have some images in there that will do nicely. I'm hoping to put together a good theme for her. I'm also hoping to get wireless networking up and running, but I need a working WAP for that. Oh, and a USB CD-RW drive would be nice... so many gadgets, so little money.



I need a vacation..

Another workstation's hard drive went casters-up today.. between hacking on Samba, trying to un-do the damage done by Windows 2000's roaming profile support (which I still don't grok), and upgrading my workstation so I can use the open source NTFS utilities, I feel like I'm stuck in park but someone's got the pedal pushed to the floor.

I don't know how much longer I can keep this up.


More fun with Windows 2000 profiles...

I finished cutting my nails this morning. I can type again (and the black stuff from the toilet fiasco a few days ago is finally gone - how can that stuff survive a nailbrush and hot water?!) but I'm now without any means of manipulating fine components. I feel like I left my toolkit (with all my haemostats) at home. This is a bizarre feeling.

Someone's got guts like Shima Tetsuo....

Redhat's started to squirrel away software patents like so many other companies.. they promise that they'll only be for things that fall under certain licenses (like the GPL), but the question is, should the open source community at large trust them? I'm not sure if I do or not.. they're a corporation, they have a profit margin to worry about and investors and stockholders to appease... something's not ringing true.

You know what? I think I'm getting tired of this. NetBSD is looking more and more like something I'd like to start getting involved with. This fighting and complaining is beginning to get under my skin. In particular, the fight over the IDE subsystem is starting to slot me off. At least kernel development is unified at the top level, and there doesn't appear to be as much squabbling between coders.

I'm probably completely wrong on that last point, but what the hell.

The file systems are laid out consistently, which is always a bonus. If I had the time right now I'd probably build a Linux distribution from scratch and either follow the Linux Filesystem Standard, or clone NetBSD just so everything makes sense. I've got to admit, the only reasons I'm still using Linux right now are because I need hardware video acceleration on my home workstation, and I need to run Staroffice everywhere (though there's Linux executable binary support for BSD, I'm just not familiar enough with it yet.) Not that anyone particularly cares about my OS opinions, especially in this day and age.

Screw it. I'm going back to PC-DOS v7.0 and Desqview/X. At least those played nice.

Gods preserve my sanity... a two hour staff meeting. I need to reboot my headware.

I've found yet another reason to despise Windows. Whenever you tag a bunch of anything to do a group coup and, for whatever reason, just one of the things you've tagged doesn't copy properly, the entire copy is aborted. No error message regarding that file, the entire copy. When that comes in the middle of copying a gigabyte of data, it's enough to make you want to cry. Which I feel like doing right now, incidentally. If it's not a broken copy API it's trying to get roaming user profiles going.


Work was hell. No updates yet. Maybe later tonight, if I just don't go to bed and sleep for twelve hours for a change.

Well, I got back to the lab and the air conditioning was working. Hail Eris. Now my lab's cryogenic, with is both comforting and uncomfortable, at least after a while. I tend to lose feeling in my hands after a while, even if I'm not jacked. I optimised my current body for high temperatures, go figure.

I'm watching the Tron special edition DVD... I love this movie. Always have. But the main DVD menu's messed up - the selector brackets are a few inches off-target for each option. At least there's a promo for Tron: Killer App on the front. There's a movie that I can't wait to see, and I havn't said that since Johnny Mnemonic (yes, it sucked - but it's Gibson.) A quote from that story appeared in one of my xterms from the fortunes database, incidentally. They did a good job of cleaning up Tron though. The images are very crisp, much clearer than I remember seeing on HBO (just a few years ago, actually, when I finally got around to taping it.) It almost makes me want to code VR again.


Well, all hell broke loose today.

Trying to fix the upstairs toilet turned into a complete fiasco. Replacing the mechanism inside the tank that handles flushing and refilling the tank wound up needing two hours to unbolt the tank, figure out how to shut the water off, and almost dropping the bloody thing because it was far more massive than I'd thought. After a lot of swearing and grunting I finally managed to get it off and switch out the flush mechanism.. two hours later the tank was back on. If it wasn't for my grandfather figuring out that the washers had all but disintegrated over the course of a decade, the bolts would probably never have gone back on. Thank the gods that he keeps a well-stocked parts store in the garage.

Now, this would have been well and good... save for when I got it put back together and started refilling the tank. Life was good until I flushed the toilet and all the water started leaking out of the channel between the tank and the bowl. Many, many more bad words were said.. some I've literally not said since I was ten or twelve years of age. After the air cleared my grandfather and I charged out of the house after a new john.. how freakin' embarassing. Sears Hardware was strike one.. Sears itself was strike two. Home Depot was open today, and we managed to score a new toilet.

I still want to have a private word or two with the environmentalists who pushed for "environmentally friendly" toilets to be made the only ones on the market (the old-school johns that actually do their job of disposing of things in a single flush are illegal to manufacture, the plumber on staff at Home Depot tells me). Those damned things just don't finish the job they were designed to do, and that's all the farther I'll go on this topic.

Anyway... I don't feel like trying to install it tonight, not after today. I'm in no mood, I'm freaking tired, and I don't want to fuss with it right now. But that just wasn't enough... the air conditioning is messed up, too. Outside, the fan's running like mad, but no air's circulating inside the lab. It's not even making it as far as the conditioning unit in the basement. I checked the breakers - they're fine. Echo the fuses. But the hoses bringing the chilled air into the house are frozen solid. I think that the fan inside the AC unit that draws the chilled air inside is dead, so the cold air's just building up and eventually froze the hoses solid. I'm going to have to take tomorrow off from work so I can make the necessary calls and handle the appointments. I'm going to have a plumber install the toilet and make use of the maintenance contract on the air conditioning system.

I hate my lives.


The epidemic of bad spelling continues, this time on vuln-dev@securityfocus.com. Amazing..

I've decided that I'm addicted to Phantasy Star II for the Sega Genesis these days.. yep, that old game. I just unlocked the four dams and I'm in a position to go to planet Dezo, but I'm going to take a break for a few days and take care of lifestyle maintenance. I think I need a break from all the mazes.

Oh, I fixed the Named Virtual Hosts configuration on Leandra - like it?

You know what? I'm really tired of not being able to watch QuickTime movies on Leandra.. I've got a lot of old music videos that I'd like to watch again, but unfortunately I can't stand xanim. I wish someone would get around to writing modules for Xine that would play back QuickTime files (hell, even QT2 would be nice - Psykosonik videos!) Unfortunately, I know nothing about codecs.. if I knew more I'd work on implementing it. At most I can work on the Xine engine itself, at least for the forseeable future.

Speaking of Xine, I just compiled v0.9.9 with this configure invocation:

./configure --disable-nls --with-aalib-prefix=/usr/local
	--with-sdl-prefix=/lilith/opt --with-ogg-prefix=/usr/local
	--with-vorbis-prefix=/usr/local --with-w32-path=/usr/local/lib/win32


For future reference..

I spoke too soon.. the Xine user-interface doesn't build right. I'll mess with it after work today (whenever that winds up being.)

Played around a bit with my Lucent WaveLAN Silver card at work today.. I think I've got the Linux pcmcia-cs drivers set up proerly for it. The only problem is, I can't test them because I don't have an access point or another card. Maybe I'll give it a try at the next LARP, as there are WAPs set up all over CMU.


I think I've officially reached the burnout phase. Every morning I get out of bed to go to work not because I have to tell myself to, but because I don't feel like laying in bed all day, nor do I want to deal with my family for longer than I must that day. Work is preferale to home just because people leave me alone there. I must say, there's something enlightening about that: When there's nothing else in life, anything can bring meaning.

I take that back - by my position's very nature at work, people don't leave me alone. I can barely stand to talk to them, either. I also must say, I'm bristled at the idea of being told that I might have to pull an all nighter on Friday night, but what else am I going to do besides dodge people and maybe play some video games? At least that would be constructive.

Two FBI agents were nailed selling data from FBI databases for profit and blackmailing people to hedge stock transactions. Check out the article at Slashdot. This doesn't surprise me in the slightest. Information is such a rare commodity in this day and age that any access to it greater than the average person's brings fantastic power. The FBI's private information stores are veritable gold mines if you can get access to them, and if you don't mind stomping on people to get your way, using the information about them you extract as yout boots. I'm surprised that they didn't try to lean on the prosecution with their info-access to build a better bargaining position. I'd bitch about it like everyone else but there's no point - the FBI really isn't accountable to the public. Sure, you can complain, and maybe file a lawsuit or two, but do you honestly think it would do any good? Not in the slightest... they're able to do pretty much whatever they want in the name of 'national security' these days, and at most you'd be a nuisance to be ignored. If you hit a nerve they might decide to nail you on something - I highly doubt that there's anyone who doesn't have a record of some sort in their databases, and no one is without stain or something that would be embarassing in their past. No one. I'm certainly all over their records with my particular quirks, kinks, and posted messages (and I'll get around to hanging links off of those words when I'm not at work on general principles.) Anyone and everyone can be destroyed by this kind of information.

Maybe I should set up a page of my old screenshots on this site.. I also need to fix the bug in the Apache configs that will make virtual hosting work as it was meant to. If I don't work too late tonight, and my hands hold up after today, I'll do that.

And you know what? It's really fucking rude to walk in and offer to buy someone lunch when they're sitting there eating already... I bring my own food because frankly I don't much like food I don't prepare myself. I don't go out to eat; I don't eat junk food; I don't order out. I cook it myself. Dammit, is this hard to understand??

I think I just really resent people trying to do things for me. Not that I really want to put any self-discovery on a site like this, this is the web, after all... anything and everything here is potentially a weapon.


What happened to spring? It's 42 degrees Farenheit outside and it's the middle of spring...

Fox Networks is auctioning off X-Files props on eBay right now. I'd put a link to their list of auctions but I'm logged in as myself there, and I don't want to run the risk of accidentally putting my user credentials out there in my half-asleep caffeine-deprived state. If you go to the Lycos front page you can hit a link to it from there. Anyway, there's some neat stuff up there (like the cryotubes from the movie and some Xybernaut wearable computer gear (an arm-keyboard or two)), but the spelling of the item titles leaves a lot to be desired. I think someone did a lot of cut-and-pasting without stopping to check his spelling.

I'm still wondering why I even posted that, because I havn't watched X-Files since 1997 or so (since the episoe Killswitch, in fact.)

WTF?! NAI is trying to force the free versions of PGP off the Net? They seem to forget that PGP was an open source application before they picked it up, and they made the free versions available to begin with... I'm sorry, but this is bullshit. Too many people rely on PGP to keep their communications private these days, and using the DMCA bludgeon to take it away is going to hurt a lot of people. It makes me want to put up a mirror of the OpenPGP source here. Of course, there's also GnuPG, which is compatible with OpenPGP keys (I use it that way with an extra module that provides support for the IDEA algorithm, it works very well.)

And what have we here? Could it be a copy of GnuPG and its OpenPGP signature? And if you don't trust it, you could always hit the link to the GnuPG website above and download a copy that you trust. I should look into becoming a mirror of this utility... even though I've got a mirror of the Cypherpunks FTP site up right now, though I'm not sure I should put a link to the FTP server up due to the fact that it's on a DSL connection. I don't want to suck down all of Telerama's bandwidth, that screws everyone else over. Decisions, decisions...


I'd like to put something forth for people to consider...

I'm a system admin. I and others who perform the same function as I put in long hours week in and week out to keep things running smoothly for everyone else in the office and put down trouble as it arises. Our users go home at the end of an eight hour day sound in the knowledge that when they return the next day everything will be more or less all right. They don't have much in the way of responsibility outside of their assigned tasks. Admins, on the other hand, could be said to have responsibilities comprised of their tasks. If it wasn't for your system or network admin putting in sixty hour weeks, you (the end user) wouldn't be able to go home at night and relax, because you'd have to manually update your antivirus software, defrag and checkdsk your workstation's hard drive, back up the file servers manually to offline storage, manage your own wiring in the wiring closet.... see what I mean?

I guess what I'm trying to say is that just because you've got a crew of IT Ninja watching your back doesn't mean that there's no work to do... the IT Ninja are busting their butts behind the scenes doing that work to make it that way. It might be magical to you, but someone's got to work that magic for you.

That being said...

I managed to get Samba integrated into the Windows 2000 domain at work.. it was far, far less trouble than I thought it would be. A pleasant side effect is that everyone who wasn't logging into the domain to begin with now has to do so if they want access to anything. As learned last week, logging into the local machine (and hence storing everything locally) is bad. They can deal with it as far as I'm concerned, this is for their own good. The BOFH has spoken.

Predictably, the first complaint came in and I had to un-do the domain integration. You don't know how much this pisses me off.... we've got a perfectly good, working, usable authentication domain going, and nobody's using it!


Saw Attack of the Clones this weekend. I've got to admit, it was a good movie... but it would be enjoyable if they took Anakin Skywalker out of the storyline. If he's Jedi material, then I'm Emmanuel Goldstein. He was portrayed as a spoiled brat, nothing more. I guess the best thing you could say about his character was that he will eventually return balance to the Force... at least there weren't any high school kids clapping every twenty seconds.

I've come to the conclusion that I absolutely, positivlely hate file sharing. Windows 2000 domains make me want to slit my wrists anymore - I'm not a Windows guy and I'm sick of having to try to be one when I'm a Unix admin by trade. And don't tell me Samba either, dammit. That makes about as much sense as trying to reassemble a plate glass window from a pile of fragments if you don't understand Windows to begin with. I get the feeling that I should have become an NT4 bitch back in high school so I would be up to speed with 2000 nowadays. Fuck me and marry me young, I need a vacation.

Hunting down software is a lot easier when you know what sort of functionality to look for, you know...

More and more, I feel like I'm wasting my life. I'm stuck in an office all day at a computer saying "Yesss, master.." and "In a mooooment, masssster..." like Igor when I could be outside seeing what else there is in the world. If I'm not at work then I'm at home because my exterior's too tired to do much of anything else. I want to see some of the country.. I want to go to another state.. I want to meet new people.. I want to take some more pictures of things out there. But I seriously doubt that'll happen. I'm just a wageslave. This isn't so much a dead-end job as it is a job with responsibilities that are just as restrictive. I never thought I'd wish for oblivion before, it would be a nice change of pace from this routine. I'm sick and tired of this. I want something else in life.

I'm out of my depth here... I can keep treading water for only so long, but at some point I'll have to stop to rest.. and with the hardware inside me, I can't just lay back and float for a while.

You know what? There's got to be an easier method of making information available to people across a LAN... FTP, HTTP/HTTPS, and database-driven dynamic content are nice, but they need to be hooked together more effectively, so anyone can access it with basic tools only. Perhaps there is and I'm just not aware of it.

Dear gods... Slashdot polls does it again:

A long time ago
in a galaxy far, far away
war was beginning...

Yoda: What happen ?
Anakin: Somebody set up us the droids.
Windu: We get signal.
Yoda: What !
Windu: Main hologram turn on.
Yoda: It's you !!
Dooku: How are you gentlemen !!
Dooku: All your jedi are belong to us.
Dooku: You are on the way to destruction.
Yoda: What you say !!
Dooku: You have no chance to survive make your time.
Dooku: Ha ha ha ha ....
Yoda: Take off every clone.
Yoda: You know what you doing.
Yoda: Move 'clone'.
Yoda: For great justice.

But you know what? I might be able to stomach seeing the movie again after this. Maybe.


Sorry I havn't updated this page lately (it's now 2142 GMT), we had a bit of a crisis at work and it's taken up all of my time today. Last night, I was doing a bit of basic maintenance on some of the workstations around the office (read: being an M$ patch-monkey) and one of the workstations refused to come back up. At first the BIOS just didn't detect the drive, but hitting F1 let the system boot. But then it started reporting "OS Not Found" errors and many bad words were said - drive crash. To turn the heat up even more, the owner of the workstation was saving all of his information (extremely critical data) directly to his hard drive and not the file server (where it would be backed up nightly)... many bad words were said.

I did a bit of electronic surgery today to see if I could access the drive and perhaps copy off the information needed, but it was so far gone that even the Linux kernel couldn't read what it was properly (it came up as an 856 megabyte drive with one track, 63 sectors, and 16,503(!) heads). Many more bad words were said. I did some research into data recovery companies and finally picked one. My boss gave the go-ahead, and away the drive went in the hope that it could be resurrected. Only time will tell.

I really hate it when stuff like this happens.. you tell them to save their data to the file server, but they don't listen.. and then when something like this happens, you sweat bullets until you hear one way or another from a party outside your sphere of influence. I hate waiting at times like this. It's no wonder that sysadmins go bastard.. or die at the age of thirty from a massive coronary. Come to think of it, it's no wonder we take such long vacations, too... three weeks at a stretch is about right to let one's blood pressure fall normal human levels (not that I'll ever reach human to begin with). It also explains why some admins I've met are able to take three and four two-week vacations per year and no one complains. The more stress in one's job, the more time they get to relax, so they don't wig out and start playing Quake in the server room with a real shotgun.

I think I just threw up a DCS-1000 red flag with that remark...

I suppose Dieter (from the SNL sketch Sprockets) was right when he said "Oh, vell... the beat goes on." There's nothing I can do about it now, it's in the hands of Airborne Express and the data recovery company. I'm waiting for my exterior's blood pressure to go back down so I can relax for a change this weekend. Call this another of Bryce's Laws: "The probability of a given hard drive crashing is directly proportional to the criticality of the data the user should have been backing up per your instructions." This is probably someone's else's law, in which case I'll change the attribution, but for now it'll do. I'm tired, sore, and in need of some coffee.


Someone killed the power to part of the office last night.. no computers were hurt but management's pissed. Cleaning up isn't fun.

Some days I really hate Yahoogroups. I've got about six e-mail addresses but whenever someone signs me up for a list they never use the right one.. trying to post is a nightmare.

To answer unasked questions about why my incremental memory dumps are getting so short, it's because of my wrists. I'm typing as little as I can manage while still doing my job right now because my RST is starting to act up. I went for a paraffin treatment for my hands and right now I'm basically doing nothing but eating dinner and reading books (hardcopy books, even) all night. No impact manual manipulation, in other words. If it's not one thing, it's another these days.

Guess what I plan to be running at the next convention I go to. This could be fun.

Now, if I knew that someone would be running it at the same con, I think I'd have some fun with them... maybe put up a webserver on my laptop full of the weirdest stuff I've got in my archives, and I don't mean mirrors of Goatsex. I like to give people a show..

Guess what's broken at work now. Go ahead, guess...

Towel Day is the 25th of May. I've got a banner up on the front page.

You know, I think I'm really starting to get bored with Enlightenment. There hasn't been a serious release in over a year now (the last was v0.16.5, I don't remember when) and I'm starting to get sick of the same old themes, many of which don't even have support for epplets (E applets). Granted, they're too useful to have around, and I like the fact that I can use keyboard shortcuts to flip from virtual desktop to virtual desktop, but is anything new going to come out of it?


Which day is Towel Day - The first Thursday after 11 May, or the last Thursday in May? I don't want to miss it again this year.

Lensmen eat Jedi for breakfast!

Sun is looking at selling Staroffice for just over $75.00us to the consumer market. I'd say that this is a good move for them - it's got the potential to kill Office and by undercutting the price of office by several hundred dollars, it'll be more accessible to home users (assuming, of course, that they don't download StarOffice v5.2 or v6.0beta (both good versions of the software in themselves) and use those for free). I've been using StarOffice v5.2 for coming up on two years now, and I'm thoroughly impressed. It's nowhere near as quirky as WordPerfect v7.0 or v8.0 and handles Word 2000 and even Powerpoint presentations with no trouble. That pegs it as a worthy use of disk space in my book.

One day... one day... I will figure out how to make SMB networking work across a VPN. Maybe this will do the trick.


Dragon's back - many brainstorms were had. Gods, we're dangerous when we get on a roll... *grin*

Some of the NH pagans got together for coffee last night. There was a good time to be had all around... there are some good folks out there. The topic of discussion was originally how to handle dating someone who was not openly pagan, but predictably it swerved here and there over the course of the night. But it kept winding back up on track somehow.

I finally got to meet Frater AChDAE, who lives not far from me. I'd been following his posts on some local mailing lists a while back but started cutting connections to save time and energy. There's too much information out there and I'm getting too old to keep up with all of it. I never thought I'd say that, but it's true. I've got other things to worry about these days.

Is there a new screentoy out that makes frog noises? Someone in my office has one.. the place sounds like a rainforest this morning. I'm waiting to step on one of the little buggers on my way into the kitchen to get a cup of coffee. It's not a pleasant thought.

Stupid bloody fsck(1)ing Exchange Server... if it was any company but Microsoft that someone bought this from, they'd be kicked to the curb by management so fast they'd leave skidmarks of shoe leather down the hall on their way out...

It never ceases to squick me when I open a terminal and the fortune that comes up is a quote from Adolf Hitler... I need to edit /usr/lib/games/fortune and take those out. They might give folks the wrong idea.

Are there any, any e-mail hosting services out there that aren't run by a bunch of idiots?! I swear... if hostile aliens landed on Earth and demanded to meet one, just one such outfit or they'd torch the planet, Earth would be crispy within seconds...

Gods, I'm tired... my brain's barely firing on all eight cylinders right now. I've had to make three trips to the grocery store to pick up everything I need right now in as many hours. If I wasn't writing things down in Satsuki I'd have left parts of my exterior behind as well as the toothpaste and duct tape. On the up side of things, I implanted the SER-001 unit into Satsuki (which adds a DIN-8 jack to the Newton Messagepad so you don't need an extra adaptor - check out Mr. PCBman's page for more information) earlier tonight. The operation was a success, I can hook up a Newton keyboard and type normally. I'm going to put together a few serial cables later so I can jack her into the serial ports of various pieces of hardware, like the Sparc IPC lunchboxes I picked up last year.


I think I overdid things a bit during my workout last night - a few muscles in my body's lumbar region are acting up again. I hate it when I do that. That's what I get for not stretching every day (more to the point, that's what I get for stretching a bit too much during cooldown.) I'm going to have to change that soon.

Gotta love system upgrades - this time I'm taking one of the boxen at work from the v2.2.19 Linux kernel to the v2.4.18 kernel. Only a little bit of the systemware needs to be upgraded (GCC, e2fsutils, two or three other things) so it's not so bad, just time consuming. Trying to do the upgrades in place is the hard part, unfortunately I can't take the system offline for a few days to work on it. When moving a Slackware v7.1 system to the v2.4 kernel series, you don't need to change all that much.

By the way, have I mentioned how much I hate upgrading mission-critical systems in place? It's like trying to perform brain surgery on a patient who's squirming around on the operating table with most of the Astrodome looking over your shoulder.


Mother's Day dinner turned out remarkably well - chicken and stuffing made in a crockpot (don't laugh, after seven or eight hours it's really quite tasty), mashed potatoes, chicken gravy (made from drippings, naturally), and corn. I've never really made any American chicken dishes before, so a bit of coaching was necessary, but on the whole it turned out amazingly well, not what I'd expected at all.

The newly-rebuilt computer went over well also. We eventually found the missing copy of Photo Suite in the lab.

For the first time in.. gods... six? Seven? ..years, I sat outside after dinner and read a book (George Alec Effinger's When Gravity Fails). It's about as close to outside as I get anymore. It was a bit chilly (somewhere around sixty-five degrees Farenheit, and I'm wearing shorts) and it is raining (at least I think it's still raining) but the sound of the rain upon the rooftop is very relaxing. I didn't go in until it was dark enough outside that I couldn't see the book as clearly as I would have liked, and I don't need eyestrain right now (I get enough of that as raster burn at work).


What can I say? Not a whole lot happened today.. I spent most of the day just trying to get my brain using all 32 bits in its registers.


The link's back. Thanks, Telerama!

I just realised, I need to get more stuff than this memory dump on this website. I'd start with a list of links, save for this:

leandra-:~ $ cd .mozilla/drwho/c1b83xiz.slt/
leandra-:~/.mozilla/drwho/c1b83xiz.slt $ wc -l bookmarks.html 
   3526 bookmarks.html
leandra-:~/.mozilla/drwho/c1b83xiz.slt $ 

So many links, so little time.

I went to see Spiderman tonight - good movie. It's worth the money if you don't mind the highschool kids clapping every twenty minutes. I'm actually pleased with the movie - I'm not a fan of the comic book - but this was actually a good movie. I didn't expect to like it but I did anyway. Rock.

I'm drinking a white ICE (Goldschlager over ice cubes) to relax. Good stuff - thanks for the tip, Nyarlathotep. It's really tasty stuff, which means that it's going to put me on my back in short order. They don't call me 'flyweight' for nothing. *grin*

It's a good way to relax if you like alcohol. It lights up your chest like a tiny ball of fire, and warms you inside when you breathe. It's a unique sensation, and not unpleasant at all.

Regarding the preview of Men In Black II: This looks like another good one.


You know, it's really sad when you open the Add/Remove Programs icon of a Windows 2000 system and you see two pages of system patches installed... and nothing else.

The second paragraph of this article at Linux Security bothers me a great deal. RedHat v7.2 systems' file systems have changed to the extent where data (forensic data included) can't be readily undeleted anymore, probably due to the use of the journalling Ext3 file system. What's worse, they say that this probably isn't a bad thing... not being able to recover a file that's just been accidentally erased is good? Moreover, being unable to easily extract data from the drive of a compromised machine is good as well? I think their editor needs to re-read this a little bit. Without some means of figuring out what went wrong and how to fix it, there's little point in even putting a server of some sort out there. Not having that option strikes me as not only irresponsible but short-sighted.

Thinking about that last remark again, it might just be that the usual computer forensics tools just havn't been updated to work with the Ext3 file system yet, in which case the shortcomings are understandable. Maybe I shouldn't be quite so hard on them just yet.

For whatever reason, I hit up Google for a search on 'andre the giant'. This was the first result I got. I've been seeing these stickers since I was a kid... if I don't get someplace that's not around the office to laugh I think my head's going to explode. And the entire management team is in the office today..

I think I've fallen in love...

My DSL link went out tonight around 2300... damn. This is the first time it's happened, though, so I can't complain too much. Telerama does a hell of a job as an ISP, they run a tight ship.


No updates yesterday because a good friend of mine (Dragon - hey, bro) is in town and we were hanging out. It's good to reconnect with old friends sometimes.

Rebuilt my progenitor's deck yesterday... AMD K6/2-450, 384MB of RAM, a new hard drive to install Windows 2000 to, miscellaneous modifications... it's not done yet, and it's technically for Mother's Day, but why not? She does a lot of work with desktop editing and photo manipulation, and a Cyrix 6x86-166 (kinda) doesn't have enough jam to get the job done in a reasonable amount of time.

I can't say this enough - never, under any circumstances, buy service from a web/mail hosting outfit in Florida called ValueWeb! This time they decided to reset the password on the administrative account of the contract of the company I work for because they installed a security update on the POP cluster. Just because they installed a few security patches doesn't mean that they have to go changing passwords, that's just bad technique. Unless something so security compromising that the changed all of the administrative passwords has occurred in their net, in which case I'm cancelling this contract completely - if it was a hideous security breach, what other aspects of their network security posture are for the birds? For the record I'm not going to put a link to this company up because the last thing I want to do is have Google index this page and use that link to bump up ValueWeb's position in the 'how-good-is-this' list.

Check this out! Microsoft wants schools that signs up for district license packages to buy Windows licenses for all computers they have, even Macintoshes and non- Windows running systems. Are they a software company or a protection scheme??

I just deleted 103 pieces of spam from my primary e-mail address... ye gods. It still amazes me that so much junk could pile up in twenty-four hours' time. I should go back to using POP3 so that I can implement filters to get rid of all of it automatically.

And while we're on the subject of nastiness, check this article out: It's a trojan horse that was deliberately released by a company. While it's not malicious in and of itself it's a real pain in the ass to get rid of, because it slows the system it's down on enough to make it flaky, which can be dangerous on, say, Windows 98 (like the situation we've got at the office right now). On certain important systems *cough*CEO's notebook*cough* this can be a dangerous situation. If you're interested, here's the contact info for the domains that backdoor.autoupder tries to contact:

   PO Box 11478
   Los Angeles, CA 90295

Domain Name: online1net.com

Administrative Contact:
   mail web (6PDL9) info@online1net.com
   PO Box 11478
   Los Angeles, CA 90295
   Phone: 000-000-0000

Technical Contact:
   mail web (9LN9P) info@online1net.com
   PO Box 11478
   Los Angeles, CA 90295
   Phone: 000-000-0000

Billing Contact:
   mail web (DPXJP) info@online1net.com
   PO Box 11478
   Los Angeles, CA 90295
   Phone: 000-000-0000

Record last updated on 2002-03-01 13:50:39.557
Record created on 2002-02-04 21:26:43.280
Record expires on 2003-02-04 21:26:43.280

Domain servers in listed order:

Register your domain name at http://www.names4ever.com

And this one..

   PO Box 11478
   Los Angeles, CA 90295

Domain Name: wwws1.com

Administrative Contact:
   fast onlinetech (AKPEM) info@wwws1.com
   PO Box 11478
   Los Angeles, CA 90295
   Phone: 000-000-0000

Technical Contact:
   fast onlinetech (27FJW) info@wwws1.com
   PO Box 11478
   Los Angeles, CA 90295
   Phone: 000-000-0000

Billing Contact:
   fast onlinetech (PG2B2) info@wwws1.com
   PO Box 11478
   Los Angeles, CA 90295
   Phone: 000-000-0000

Record last updated on 2002-05-03 07:40:46.123
Record created on 2002-02-04 23:00:32.140
Record expires on 2003-02-04 23:00:32.140

Domain servers in listed order:

Their phone numbers have been blanked out but they shouldn't be too hard to hunt down - I'll do that later and post them. Read the Salon article I've linked up there, and then take a look at the AV alert. I'm blacklisting these guys across all of my domains, I suggest that everyone who reads this do the same. Sink 'em off the Net. The IP addresses of the two systems that the binaries try to contact are (www.online1net.com) and (www.wwws1.com). If you suspect that machines behind your firewall might wind up contacting these systems then block them on both sides.

Playing around with my Newton today, I tried to get the aliens easter egg (see this page for details) to appear. While I wasn't able to find Area 51 in the Time Zones application (it was deleted due to.. umnm... external intervention)I was able to find Groom Lake, NV using the technique on this page. While this doesn't awaken the 'aliens land' easter egg (that actually was removed in NewtonOS v2.1) I find it interesting that there are actually coordinates for Groom Lake in the code. Incidentally, to awaken the easter egg under NewtonOS v2.1, use the Plan9 utility (I'll dig up the URL later, I'm still at work.)


One of these days I need to write a suite of shellscripts that automate certain aspects of DNS administration, like automagickally updating the lists of root nameservers (traditionally, root.hints) once per month. The one in the Linux DNS how-to file is bupkis, and has been since BIND v8.2.x came out. This is getting on my nerves.

Delayed affirmation for the day: Whenever I let someone look at my Newton I will always, always tell them to not eject the PCMCIA cards under any circumstances.

Oh, gods... Compaq and HP's corporate merger is official as of today. Prepare for horribly over-engineered workstations in which almost no internal components are standard, if the gear we've got at work on the server-side (HP) and the end-user side (Compaq Presarios) is any indication.

Equipment call: One Apple Newton uMP2000. One Lucent WaveLAN card. One set of NewtonOS drivers for Lucent WaveLAN card. I like where this is going. The only thing I need now is to port SSH to NewtonOS. Oh, and a WAP, but I can test this setup out at a friend's lab...

Hee hee hee....

Something I just realised about Serial Experiments Lain: It's ironic that a network called the Wired would be a mostly wireless system.

Huh, that was odd. Move all thought process, for great contemplation.

I've just ordered one of the SER-001 implants for the Apple Newton MP2000 from David Humphries. We'll see how well it works when it comes in. I don't like the idea of Satsuki's interconnect port flaking out and dying.



Once again, I spent way too damned much money this weekend.. I got through the computer show fine, but it was buying a computer desk that I can't use until after I remodel the lab that got me. Gods, I'm stupid... spend money to save wrists or save money in the long run? Which would you pick, given the chance?

Watched Battle Angel Alita tonight, now I'm hooked on the ending theme. I just grabbed it off the Audiogalaxy net, now it's time to find the lyrics so I can learn to sing it (and scare the hell out of everybody at work doing so). I feel like crying when it plays. Maybe that would be a good thing.

I need to play around with my new laptop (and WaveLAN) card this week.. thanks, Arashiko! I owe you big for this... I don't know what, but I owe you.

Thoughts on last Friday's LARP at Carnegie-Mellon:

	Correspondence-2 to trace a satellite transmission - given.
	Forces-3 and Prime-2 to generate a lightning strike - 18 XP.
	A helpful Dreamspeaker to summon a storm spirit to cover the op - one
	Time to generate nineteen successes on the entire deal - two hours.
	The look on the Technocracy's face when the effect blows up their
		monitoring station - priceless.

Oh, I got that AT-to-PS/2 adaptor this morning.. aside from a little image degredation, the KVM module works like a charm.


Just got back from the computer show... I picked up some consumables for one of the computers in the Lab (ink cartridges, mostly) and bought a KVM (keyboard/video/mouse) kit for $30.00us on closeout. Now I can work on some of the servers down here without having to disconnect one of the monitors down here (working in single-user mode, I don't have access to SSH or telnet to perform critical tasks). Wouldn't you know it, I forgot to pick up an AT-to-PS/2 adaptor so I could plug Leandra into the module as well.. dammit. Time to hit Hack Shack after work.

I think I'm going out later today.. the weather's too nice to not enjoy it somehow. Maybe I'll go for a walk around the lake for a couple of hours.

I'm finally watching the Gary Numan concert tape (Wembley Stadium 1981) I picked up at the comicon. Now I really regret not seeing him live when he was touring the US back in 1998.. damned finals. This tape is really neat. It's even got some footage of Numan flying a plane (he's a flight instructor) as part of the show. This is like something that would be shown in a sci-fi movie.

My grade report for the spring semester came in today.. I passed Linear Algebra with a C! I'm taking the grade and running...

One thing I absolutely hate is making tentative plans, but not hearing anything afterward... I hate waiting. I like to know what's going on ahead of time so I don't waste half the day killing time, waiting for a phone call or an e-mail to arrive. It makes me wish I got more phone numbers to try to force things into action sometimes.


Check this out, cats and kitties... PVR users are 'stealing programming' because they can skip the commericals. Next thing you know a remote control will be considered a circumvention device by the DMCA, because it lets you bypass advertising. This feels very Max Headroom to me.... television is steadily becoming the life's blood of the United States. Without it, people would be lost. Reading is becoming a lost skill, at least in-depth reading, such as what's required to curl up on the couch with a book as thick as a meatball hoagie. You'd think that lives were at stake over this. In case you're curious, the entire interview can be found here. It's also linked off of 2600.

Prezzey-san made it to the final round of the psychology competition she's been participating in.. congratulations!

While building a new system at work, I realised something: So many patches have come out for Windows 2000 Professional, it would make more sense to bundle all of them together into a single update to speed up the process of updating the system. Two hours straight of going to the Windows Update site, selecting patches, downloading them, rebooting... rinse, repeat. I feel like a hamster running on a wheel.

Lots of weird dreams came last night.. I remember tiny fragments of them, but not much else. Something about a cat laying across my feet on my bed.


One of the nice things about not being on full-time hours yet is being able to get stuff done around the house, like fixing some of the plumbing upstairs. Long, long overdue, that.

I finally started messing around with some of the systems my boss gave me when he was cleaning out his basement.. I'm writing this update from a 486 DX2-66 system on the floor of my lab, which is in about three pieces right now. I'm waiting for the NetBSD kernel source to finish unpacking before I shut this system (tentatively named 'crash') down to work on it some more. I pulled a dead 5.25" floppy drive (of indeterminent size - probably 1.2MB) from one of the bays and the Sony CD-ROM with dedicated interface card is next. They're a pain in the six to get working, and I don't think NetBSD supports them, so out it goes. It frees up two drive bays and a slot for another IDE interface card (glad I never throw stuff like that out). Crash is going to be my NetBSD test system/secondary internal DNS/DHCP server. Maybe I'll play around with running a dialout gateway as well, just to learn how to configure serial gettys.

It's funny sometimes. You stumble across something a few weeks in the past and think about it for a while (in this case, making a set of kitty-ears) but when you go back to specifically look for it, you can't find it. Consider it one of Bryce's Laws.

The second IDE interface didn't work, I think it was conflicting with the first. I'm rebuilding Crash's kernel right now, so I might be able to make it work. I love NetBSD's kernel source configuration system - editing a text file with vi. The down side is, there's so bloody much stuff in there, it's painful if you've got an ergoboard for your console, like Leandra's Microshaft Natural. Great board, lousy cursor key layout. Maybe I should use this as an excuse to start using the arrow-control letters in vi.


One of these days I'm going to put up a page of the IP blocks that correspond to ISPs whose users like to scan for open FTP and proxy servers. IPchains can be your friend.

Bugtraq was flooded with Solaris 8/Sparc advisories this morning. Ick. Time to start downloading everything in sight.

I think I've just discovered the most horrifying sentence in the English language: "I havn't gotten any e-mail since..."

Damn Microsoft Exchange. Damn it to whatever hell is reserved for such broken software.

I just discovered that eating a fairly large lump of wasabi (about the size of a gum eraser) on an empty stomach is probably not a good idea. It burns like magma, let me tell you.

To this day, I wonder why my family talks incessantly about the television shows they watch to me. I have very little interest in television most times. I don't bore them by talking about things they've no interest in, why don't they do the same?


A few things that keep drifting around in my mind from the past:

On Saturday morning I came across another dead critter (a mole) laying in my driveway. What the hell is it with animals croaking on my driveway?

The storm yesterday knocked out power to certain parts of the area in which I live, among them the area where Giant Eagle (a local supermarket) is located. Without power to drive the refrigeration units for five hours, they started throwing plastic dropcloths and duct tape over the refrigerated cases to try to keep everything cold, and to keep people from buying the stuff that needs to be kept cold in them (probably for liability's sake). People were still trying to get through the plastic to get at luncheon meat, eggs, milk, what have you. So much for the human survival instinct.. if those foodstuffs began to go bad, they've got a one-way trip to food poisoning city.

I really, really, really hate Microsoft Exchange servers... the one we have at work is so damned unstable, it doesn't stay active for longer than a week at a time.. and they keep yelling at me (the Solaris admin) to fix it.. they never learn. The cliche' "Nobody ever got fired for buying Microsoft" makes me want to cry. How could someone not get fired for buying products that are so insecure and unstable that hours, sometimes days of downtime are not only likely, they are frequent events?!

I just found this out.. on 27 April, 2002, George Alec Effinger (author of, among other books, When Gravity Fails, a cyberpunk classic) went beyond the veil. See you on the other side, Mr. Effinger... you had a hell of a run, get some downtime.

On Usenet newsgroups I'm finding a lot of complaints that eBay is cancelling auctions out from under people... what the frag?

Holy imploding Kibo - TechTV is bringing back Max Headroom!!!! Time to stock up on videotapes, I'm going to be recording them in SP mode this time.... Fridays at 1800 EST.


A hell of a storm ripped through here a few hours ago. The rain was practically going sideways, and power was knocked out for a while along Route-8. Not fun. But it seemed to blow over just as fast as it came in. Speaking of blowing over, a few people reported that they saw a part of a funnel cloud, but as far as anyone knows it never touched down. I think we just dodged the bullet on that one - let's not have a repeat of 1998.

I finished the Serial Experiments Lain book this afternoon. It's more story and mythos than anything else, only a handful of pages actually have anything to do with the Big Eyes Small Mouth game system. I suppose if you're familiar with it, it'll be just what you need.

I've come to the conclusion that the two Unisys bookshelf PCs (yes, they're that small) are either shot, or they really can't handle hard drives larger than 300 megabytes in size. I can't get them to boot successfully without some intervention (i.e., hitting the F1 key to ignore the system error) and I can't get them to boot any OS I put on there. So much for my NetBSD secondary DNSes and DHCP server. It looks like I'll have to try something else. Maybe I'll rip the memory and hard drives out of them and pitch the rest. If anyone wants to give them a try please drop me a line, and I'll package them up for you.


I just got back from the Pittsburgh Comicon... in a word, 'damn!'

I got to meet David Mack, creator of Kabuki!!! I'm still jazzed about that. He signed my copy of Circle of Blood and a print of Kabuki hidden inside someone's wall-sized television for me. I also bought a Control Corps Witness Protection Program t-shirt.

Swag abound... thanks to Phantom of the Attic for stocking the Serial Experiments Lain sourcebook for the Big Eyes Small Mouth game system. It's worth picking up even if you're not a gamer, there's lots of good stuff about Lain in there. Let's see... one-inch high Batman and Spiderman miniatures for free. A Gary Numan concert video. A few old-school wrestlers were there signing autographs, I got Virgil's for my mother. A word of advice: The price of autographs at the Comicon are exorbitant. Be careful. Can we say 'backpedal', boys and girls?

What else? An action figure of a badly-wripped up Unit-01 from Shin Seki Evangerion (pictures to follow), after it devoured the S2 organ. Damned gruesome-looking beast... a subtitled copy of X/1999: Prelude in collector's edition (the television series). A boxed DVD set of the first season of Twin Peaks. And a Powerpuff Goths t-shirt (images to come).

I know, it's supposed to be a comic book convention. Why all the swag?

When else can you find this stuff? I came for what I was after, I saw, I conquered.

Oh, I ran into a few friends there as well.. Lupa and Matt/Devilboy from the local area, and someone from my computer ethics course.


Finals are over! Party mode!

Last night's linear algebra final kicked me pretty hard upside the head. I think I wound up reinventing a few of the basic postulates to work some problems out because I don't understand much of it well enough to pull up the required background from memory. Some of the questions were rather easy, just time consuming to perform (like reducing matrices into row-echelon form), others were truly difficult applications of these algorithms and the interpretation of the results... those were the worst.

Time will tell.

This has to be a joke.

One of these days I need to put together a page of Apple Newton stuff. Yep, I'm an addict.. thanks, Arashiko. B)

Seeing as how I'm just sprinking this entry in my memory log with random links today, check out this network-enabled data backup system for Linux and various Unices (I use it at work with Solaris 8/Sparc), AFbackup.

My mother gave me the first edition of the Transformers DVD boxed set as a late birthday gift... insanely cool. I don't remember any of the stories but for some strange reason I think I remember how to transform the toys. I might still be able to do it blindfolded. Gotta love procedural memory. Anyway, the images are clear and crisp; I don't think they had to do much retouching to clean them up. And it came with a bonus I never expected - animation cels. I need to get some frames for those badboys...

Makes me wonder what else is buried inside my head from those years...


Am I the only one who never had any trouble with the VIA mainboard chipset? I just read a post on starjewel.org about the trouble Starbreize has been having with it. Leandra, my primary workstation, is based around an original AMD Athlon 800MHz (not a Duron) and a mainboard that uses the VIA KX-133 chipset. Aside from the occasional power failure in the Lab (now corrected with a UPS) she's been solid as a rock since her construction.

I just realised, I should put my links in these little diatribes, so that they're not quite so flat.

Here's the subject line of spam I've been getting lately: "eBay Order#". I suppose it's to get past spam filters by masquerading as a legitimate message from eBay. Damn spammers lowering the signal-to-noise ratio of the Net...


From the Lycos frontpage: 'Pope Declares Pedophilia A Sin.'

I should fucking hope so... took him long enough. Excuse my language. Having a pathological sexual interest in children is not one of those 'well, maybe it is bad and maybe it is not' situations, I always thought it was pretty cut and dried in both scope and execution. A common off-colour joke holds that the only way the priests and the altar boys can be separated is with a crowbar. I retell this joke to try to give an idea of how long stuff like this has been going on... that joke was new when my grandparents were dating. It wasn't unusual for some priests to be moved from parish to parish to stay one step ahead of defrockment and probably criminal charges.

However, and I must say this as well, not all priests are pedophiles. In fact, I'd state that only a small number are. There are some wonderful Catholics out there, and some wonderful clergy as well. The thing is, the bad stuff that happens tends to overshadow the good stuff because it's brought up more. Psychologists call this an error of availability. Just because you hear about it more doesn't mean that it happens more, it just means... that you hear more about it than the good things that happen to people.

Two finals down, one to go. Linear algebra, bring it on!


The developers at work just walked through the cube farm reciting schticks from Young Frankenstein. That's actually a good way to turn a grey morning around.

If anyone who reads this is looking for a place to buy access to POP servers offsite, stay away from Valueweb (I'm not turning that into a link just so Google can use it to increase the ranking of that outfit in its database). Their POP servers are highly unreliable: There is a cluster of them but they are behind a single switch, which is a single point of congestion. The POP servers themselves tend to get overloaded, which means that no one can log in (and people who don't read the error box that displays a 'Too many connections, try again later' will call you.. and call you... and queue up outside of your office). Their servers do not use virtual domains; every account needs to be set up with a unique user ID. Even worse, the account itself cannot directly recieve e-mail, every user ID must have at least one mail alias set up for it. If you're an admin who's looking to keep what remains of eir sanity a while longer, stay away from Valueweb.

Does anyone know how I can mount another hard drive in a desktop system-now- server case? I've got a desktop-style system that I've hacked into a small mail server, and I'd like to add another hard drive to the system but the case is out of drive bays. I can pull the CD-ROM drive, put one of the drives into a removable tray and move it down into the now vacant bay, and then mount the new one over top of it behind the nameplate, but then the CD-ROM is lost, and if I must restore the system from CD (I back up my smaller systems to CD-ROM via SSH) it'll just be a pain... or I can pull the smallest drive and copy it over to the new drive in part, but then some of the capacity of the new drive (which is going to be for the mail queues) is lost, and that's why I'm installing it in the first place. Maybe I can use velcro strips to mount the new drive under some brackets to make sure it stays secure. I'll have to power down and mess with it some.

Why did I just write that? I suppose to use the one-sided dialogue as a way of kicking around ideas inside my head. I think the best when I'm talking to someone.

Thor Heyerdahl, best known for the Kon-Tiki, died last Thursday. Rest well, explorer...


Last night was rough sleeping... lots of nightmares. Most of my dreams had to do with being chased through alleys and buildings, and betrayal. In them, old friends were trying to take me out or otherwise stabbing me in the back. I hate dreams like that - you can't help but read into them, even though you know that it's your mental garbage collector running to organise everything in your head. Maybe it's residual loss and confusion from the wedding, I don't know. I'll work on the symbology after finals are over. Maybe it's the stress of cramming for finals that's causing it.

Driving in to work this morning, I noticed a tractor-trailor in the right- hand inbound lane of Route-8 slowing things down and a wrecker taking apart an abandoned house on the same side of the road. The house in question had been abandoned for over ten years, since I was just starting high school or therabouts. Good riddance to that bloody thing... it was a nightmare of blackened wood, broken glass, and trash clinging to the hillside like a leech on an explorer's leg.

Check this out, the device filesystem patch for Linux kernel v2.2.20. I'm thinking of installing it on a few of the servers on my LAN so I can then erase most of the disk-based device nodes in /dev and leave only the critical ones, and then use devfs for managing everything else on them. Most of my servers have tiny primary hard drives, five hundred megabytes in size or so, so by erasing a good amount of the old /dev it'll free up i-nodes. As always, a destructible system will be called into service, so if I screw up and trash the system I can always restore from a disk image dump.

This really annoys me: In my firewall logs, I keep seeing a system somewhere on the Net with the IP address screaming to for a breath-of-life packet from a bootp server. Whoever configured a system to do that, and not try only a local network (which can be done with bootp) needs to be smacked. It fills up the logs like there's no tomorrow.


I'd like to take the opportunity to congratulate Liz and Zard Biomatrix, who were married on 20 April 2002. I'd like to wish them a long and happy life and the best of luck in all of their endeavours. The wedding was very well planned and executed; you chose a good priest to preside over the ceremony; the reception was both tasteful and enjoyable. Kudos to the caterers as well - my body's going to be suffering for a few days. Thanks to Turk and Binder for letting me crash with them after the reception. Thanks to Zard and Liz for inviting me to be a part of their wedding procession. Thanks to bloody everyone, it's faster this way.... it was an honour.

Roadway construction isn't so bad after all... driving out to meet the rest of the wedding party I'd budgeted three hours of travel time just in case (one to get out there, two to get lost). It took an hour flat to get out to Burgettstown; no wrong turns; no getting lost; not so much as a missed exit. I've got to give PennDOT some major props for marking the detours clearly and accurately for a change. Good job, guys.


I just realized something: I think I'm getting old. In response to a few posts at Slashdot about fancy housings for your deck, my first thought was this (verbatim, mind you): Who cares?

When I and my friends got sick and tired of plain cases for our computers when we were younger, we took sandpaper, primer, spraypaint, and shellac to them. And it was fun, it was practically a party. Now people would rather hunt for a neat looking case that someone else made for them. Whatever happened to the do-it-yourself aesthetic? Or high-tech-at-street-level? Cyberpunk is dead... I never thought I'd say it. It's now more accepted (as well as faster to get - instant gratification) to buy something neat than it is to build it yourself.

In response to a post to incidents@securityfocus.com... there are OSPs in Oman? That's the last thing I'd expected to find out this morning.. it makes sense, though. The Net is steadily growing to encompass the entire planet. It's easy to forget that - we take it for granted, almost. But being confronted with the fact can blindside you.


Hit this link and stand up for the personal freedoms you still have left, everyone: Send a free fax, e-mail, or letter to your representatives. I tend to suggest faxes, myself, because they pile up and tend to be noticed by the drones that handle incoming mail and faxes... e-mail tends to have little or no effect.

I'm in a wedding procession this weekend. An old friend of mine, Zard Biomatrix (hey, bro) is getting married this weekend, and I've got to drive out there to be a part of it... the only problem is the road construction screwing up traffic. Normally, driving out to the part of the state where it's being held takes about an hour, but when you factor in the detours necessary it's looking more and more like an hour and change. And if you know anything about me, you know that I've got no sense of direction at all - I couldn't find the back of my own head if you locked me in a Lilly float tank with a topographical map and a GPS unit unless you didn't give me a time limit.

This is going to be fun.

You've heard me complain about finals starting enough, so I'll just say that the timing sucks. Aah, well.... sometimes you've got control of things, and sometimes all hell breaks loose. The way I get hung up in patterns of activity anymore, I'm probably slightly autistic. At least it wouldn't surprise me.


I'm not sure what to make of something that happened today. I took today off from work so I could study for finals. Around 1100 I walked out of the garage to get the mail out of the mailbox, and noticed something extemely tiny, black, and squirming laying on the driveway. Upon bending down to see what was what, I noticed that it was an infant... something.

I don't know what it was. My first thought was that it was a baby mole, or perhaps a squirrel. The creature was too small to be a kitten.. then again I can't say for sure, I've never seen a newborn kitten. It was almost hairless and was so young that its eyes were still sealed over with skin. It didn't make a sound, but was squirming like mad trying to find something.. someone.. perhaps its mother. In the grass nearby was its sibling, already dead. I don't know if it was the first to be left behind or expelled, or what. I said a prayer over it that the Lord and Lady keep it close until it could find peace on the other side and watched the other one for what felt like hours. It had probably never been Outside before.. it was baking in the sun and tired from wiggling for gods know how long. It made no sound. It was alone and scared and wondering what lay in wait for it.

Part of me is still kicking the rest of me for not trying to take care of it. I could have moved it into the shade. Or taking it inside and nursed it. Or done anything at all for it. Another part of me says that there wasn't a damn thing I could have done for it. Nature does these things, it's part of the natural cycle of life. Perhaps they were flawed in some way that the mother could sense, and instinct dictated that they be abandoned to die, to try again someday. I don't think I should have interfered in that.

I said a prayer for the one that was still alive as well and went back inside.

When I came out to go to class, it was dead. It had managed to struggle more than a foot from the grass into the pavement before expiring. The ants were already setting up their brigades to move morsels of the infant into their nest to feed the unknown number of ants for a while. In a way, I'm proud of the li'l guy: He or she managed to make it an impressive distance for an infant. He never gave up.

I did.

I feel awful.

Let's try a lighter note: How many people remember the Hypercard stack for MacOS that Boing-Boing magazine released in back in 1990 or 1991? Here's its web counterpart by one of its original compilers, Gareth Branwyn. Maybe it's cyberpunk, maybe it isn't, but it's neat to look through.

Oh, I finally got XawTV working again. Time to start backing up my oldest videotapes to MPEG format. I'm taking full advantage of my right to fair use while I've still got it. I suggest you do the same.


Gods, it's hot..

Driving back from class today, I happened to look at a thermometer mounted outside of a building near my house.. 90 degrees farenheit as of 1450 EST. I feel like I'm going to spontaneously combust out there.. shorts and a tank top just aren't enough.

Things to do this week: Study for finals next week; write a final paper for a class next week; get ready for the wedding of Zard Biomatrix; go to work; finish a programming assignment for operating systems class (technically due Friday, when I'll be out of town for the wedding.) This week sucks.


Welcome to a running dump of my train of thought. Let's see how far this goes before it gets incriminating.

Hi, I'm a Unix admin. I do Solaris at work, BSD as a hobby, and Linux (technically not a Unix) everywhere else. I'm not an MCSE (which actually hurts my employability). I don't have any Windows boxes on my home network. Why do I have to do Windows server support at work? They hired me to keep the Sun servers healthy and happy. I don't know Windows 2000 or Windows NT v4.0.

I've mentioned this many a time; in fact I told them up front and they hired me anyway, because they're a Unix shop on the development level. But that doesn't stop them. Then, when things go wrong on the Unix side of things, I'm too tied up with the Windows stuff they dropped on me to work on it! And don't get me started on having to support things that people really shouldn't be running in a work environment anyway, like Morpheus.