Microsoft just released Windows 2000 service pack 3. Every major OS is releasing huge updates right now. 'tis the season, I guess. You can download the full package from the M$ website here.
We've started using MSN Messenger at work to communicate between the offices to save money on long distance calls (I can say that, can't I?). Right now I'm using Everybuddy to keep in touch with them. I had to sign up for a Hotmail account (ugh...) but it seems to work very well with this particular client. I'm half-tempted to use the l33tsp34k plugin for Everybuddy for the next IT meeting. *grin*
There are a few folks on focus-ms mailing list who are dissecting exactly what is transmitted to and from M$ whenever you run Windows Update. Some changes in the EULA for Windows 2000 Professional SP3 have raised a few eyebrows. Among the notable additions to the license are giving permission to transmit your OS version number, product ID number, IE version number (why do they need to know that, it's a freakin' web browser!), and the GUID (Globally Unique IDentifier) for your system, some of which they hang onto. Much of the data is transmitted via an SSL-protected connection. I can't see M$ letting them get away with this, unfortunately: They'll use the DMCA hammer to keep their games secret, the way HP tried to (but they backed down today.) But now I'm more than curious, I'm worried. Maybe I'll build a Windows 2000 Pro box at work from scratch and then record the network traffic as it updates with TCPdump so I can dissect it later.
DefCon X starts tonight. Have a ball, guys. Don't anyone get raided again, you hear?
For future reference, everyone, never, under any circumstances, install GCC v3.x from third-party Solaris packages that you can get from Sun Freeware. They mean well, it's a great site, but GCC v3.x on Solaris 8/SPARC can't compile a damned thing right. Stick with v2.95.3 for now.
Last night a few of us drove out to the Carnegie-Mellon Campus to watch Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within. That movie still amazes me simply due to the technical sophistication that Square Pictures reached. They wrote their own software, built massive rendering farms.. over a year of pure R&D went into developing the software they'd need just to put it together. It's a shame that they didn't even come close to breaking even with the earnings from the theatrical release. It was a hell of a flick.
I also spent some time playing around with my wireless LAN card. It works, though not reliably. I honestly don't know if the card's messed up (after the fall it took in New York) or not, I don't have any experience with a fully working wireless network to be able to tell one way or the other.
I just killed another keyboard, this one at work. I don't think it likes my particular taste in coffee.
If you upgraded OpenSSH to v3.4p1 with the source archive from ftp.openbsd.org, read this immediately! You may have been trojaned during the compilation process! I've put up a mirror of the message in question from Edwin Groothuis (edwin at mavetju dot org) in case you can't get to it to read it (all e-mail addresses are spamblocked).
I think the fact that the OpenBSD FTP server was compromised is what scares me the most. OpenBSD has a hardcore reputation for not only being secure but secure right out of the box. The code trees are routinely audited to make sure that there are no security vulnerabilities anywhere (they don't make the same promise about the ports collection, mind you) and the default configuration is such that unless you specificaly enable network-available service foo, foo won't be running, which means less system overhead and resources consumed as well as one less possible security hole to worry about in the future. I'd expect that the FTP server is running OpenBSD, which makes me wonder how it was compromised in the first place.
Well, it's day two of a massive management meeting (and probably presentation) at work. The funny thing about this is that no one who isn't involved in the meeting even knew about it, it just came out of left field. It's kind of scary when you walk in in the morning and see the boardroom full and most of your company's management and sales teams in there, and you had no idea that they were even going to be there. Being caught off-guard like that isn't a good way to start the day.
I noticed something weird: On some computer security mailing lists I monitor (like bugtraq@ securityfocus) that some of the more prolific posters (the ones who spend probably their entire job focus on unravelling security vulnerabilities in OSes and applications - the heavies) have been winding up in spammer blackholes (so their posts don't show in the inboxes of people who use those services), their e-mail accounts from various sites (like hotmail and Hushmail) are being cancelled, and some relatively serious advisories are being slammed as hoaxes or attempts to distribute backdoor utilities in the guise of exploits. This is sounding a bit like someone doesn't want knowledge of these vulnerabilities getting out. At first I thought that it might just be a heavy hitter-cracker somewhere trying to defend his or her turf from the admins, but after reading this article about HP trying to use the DMCA to shut SnoSoft up about finding a vulnerability in Tru64 the conspiratorial part of my brain is wondering if maybe it's the companies that make the OSes and applications that are trying to keep these reports under wraps however they can. It's also possible that they honked somebody off and they're doing their best to smear some of these guys. Either way, I'm not sure I like this - I'm going to keep my eye on it to see if anything else odd turns up.
The decision's been made - I'm going to be upgrading and rebuilding Leandra in the next couple of weeks. I'm going to transfer web serving and e-mail capability over to a system the nature of which hasn't been determined yet - I might get Burn up and running, or I might just make Kosh do the work temporarily until Leandra's up and running. She's going to be moved over to a journalling file system (probably ReiserFS), so her drives are going to be reformatted and reinstalled from backup, and I might as well work on a few random things while her casing's open, like installing a new set of drives, blow the dust out, you know the drill. Hell, I might repaint her case while she's in burn-in mode adjusting to her new configuration. That's what summer's for, right? Everyone who's got an e-mail address or website hosted off of the Virtual Adept Network I'll talk to you privately to clear everything before I do anything. No worries, neh?
I think I've had about enough.
I'm primarily vegetarian, mostly for health reasons. I don't have a very active lifestyle and a vegetarian diet is about the only thing that keeps my weight from going back up to what it once was (don't ask.) Contrary to popular belief, I'm not a scrawny little guy, I've actually got a decent amount of muscle on my frame due to working out a couple of times per week, I just wear clothing that's loose because I like way it looks. I actually take it personally when people tell me I'm too skinny, I need to eat more, et cetera. These are usually people who are no spring chickens themselves (and if you're reading this, you know bloody well who you are...) which I once found amusing and now think is just insulting. Knock it off, guys, you're pissing me off. I don't go around telling you to join Weight Watchers because of your size, and I damned sure don't appreciate being pressured to eat meat, eggs, and other things that aren't a normal part of my diet. Either accept things the way they are or watch the Time Lord blow his cooling system.
Something peculiar happened this morning - I was laying in bed sleeping somewhen around 0745 EST today (whenever I wake up I automatically turn toward my clock and see what time it is) and I heard the most awful sound you can imagine while you're trying to get some sleep. It had all of the worst tonal qualities of a buzzsaw, a trash compactor, and a crashed hard drive running simultaneously not ten feet from one's window. I somehow doubt that someone had brought a car crusher into my driveway to snack on a few munged VW Beetles, and there hasn't been a tree outside for at least two years. In hinsight the rhythm behind it was most unusual. I think it was my body snoring while my mind was reconnecting to it. How embarassing.
I finished putting the back panel of my war jacket last night. I'll take a few pictures and put them up later today. Maybe I should build that diagramme of everything on it, too.
Now here's a man with a right to be slotted off.
Here's a new test for you:
A couple of nights ago I went out and bought the album Two by the Utah Saints. It's about time - their last album came out back in 1991, and in the intervening eleven years they've released a handful of singles and remixes, none of which are on this album (thankfully.) They've still got the distinctive sound that we've come to know and love from the 'Saints and their rhythm lines are pure mercury. It's the good stuff kids go for - go out and buy this puppy, you won't be sorry. Even if you're a raver burnout (like me) it'll still get you up and jumping. I'm also considering picking up the Underworld concert DVD to see how that is - I caught a very little bit of it on television a couple of months ago and loved it (it was Rez and Cowgirl live, performed back to back.) I'm still angry that I havn't been able to see them in concert.
I started working on my war jacket again last night. At HOPE-2002 I bought the very last Cult ov thee Dead C0w Ninja Strike Force t-shirt, which was unfortunately a size small. While I can wear the shirt it's not comfortable to do so and would probably ruin the shirt, so I'm dicing it up panel by panel and hemming the edges so I can do other things with it. The sleeves I'm keeping as arm warmers/fashion sleeve, the front (a kanji character which I plan to look up) I'm probably going to transfer to another shirt, and the back of the shirt (with the cDc NSF logo) is going to be attached over the shoulders of my war jacket. The shirt's been diced up and I finished hemming the NSF logo panel. When I finish hemming the rest of the shirt fragments they're going to be sewn in place. I'll take a few photographs tonight and put them on line for everyone to check out.
If you havn't seen this yet, check out the diary of a porn store clerk. Preferably while you're not at work.
Well, this weekend is quiet and peaceful. Aside from a cloudburst earlier today nothing much of note's happened lately. I've been feeling like I need to go someplace or do something lately, I don't know why. I went driving around randomly tonight to blow off steam. It helped take the edge off of the urge. Now I'm just killing time. I wish I knew where the clothes iron was so I could work on my war jacket, in particular the back panel, but I suppose that can wait until tomorrow, as I don't particularly feel like making a mess right now.
Maybe I'll work on cloning my Legion of Doom shirt tomorrow. That shirt (LOD: Internet World Tour '91) is so old it's starting to fall apart. I will start drawing the front and back panels in The Gimp and then print them out on t-shirt transfer paper tomorrow. The hard part's going to be typing in all the IP addresses for the back, but that's really not a big deal; It's just time consuming. I don't think they'll mind, really. I don't plan on selling them or even distributing the image files, I just want another shirt to wear so I can put the original in storage as a memento. I like making backups of things to use so the originals can stay safe.
Gods. this is out of control. Some guy who's a Mechwarrior freak built a 'mech-shaped playhouse for his kids. I've got to give the man much respect for this, especially his engineering skills. Designing and building something like this so that it's safe enough for kids to play in is nothing to sneeze at.
I finished reading Dune last night. I can't believe how entrancing that book is. I started reading it on my way back from Graeme's last weekend and couldn't put it down for the lives of me. The amount of detail that Frank Herbert put into the story's background (he worked up an overview of the ecology of Arrakis, for Pete's sake!) was simply amazing. I can see how why this book is considered one of the all-time finest science fiction novels of the last century.
This is getting scary - there's another cloudburst on its way. I just went Outside to roll up the windows of my car, and I can smell the rain in the air. The storm's less than thirty minutes away by my estimation. Someone just told me that there's a flash flood warning in effect for this area, too. This is uncharacteristically wet weather for this particular time of year (not that we don't need the rain right now, mind you - the grass is turning into straw.)
It just started raining - I was right. The rain is hitting so hard that the entire office is filled with white noise. This is going to be a bad one, I can feel it.
Well, Sysadmin Appreciation Day went wonderfully. I didn't get a tip of the pin from anyone, no one took me out to lunch, I didn't even get a card. But neither did anything crash, I had no users queued up outside my cubicle yelling or begging for help, the phone wasn't ringing off the hook, I sat in my cube all day and hacked. In short, nothing bad happened. Halleleujia! Hail Eris! That's the best gift any sysadmin could get.
I found out earlier tonight that the.Silicon.Dragon was in a car crash. From what I've been able to piece together, his body's fine but his car's ready for /dev/null. Silicon, I'm sorry that happened and I hope you're all right. Give me a call when you get a chance.
I'm not sure if I like boring days or not yet.
On one hand I've got to keep my mind busy somehow, and that means either hacking around with a new piece of software to see what it's like or finding something interesting to read for a while. Trying to keep my mind going can be tricky sometimes and the best way to do so is to give it more information to chew on. On the other hand, days where nothing is happening mean that there are no crises to deal with: No panicking end-users, no meetings to sit through, no ceilings that have to be crawled over (though it would be something to do), and no high blood pressure. In short, a chance to relax, or at least shift into neutral for a while. And let's not forget catching up on all the things that get put off to take care of a crisis of some sort, like collecting patches to install, working on people's workstations and laptops to keep them in good condition, and planning things to be done after hours.
One thing I need to do is figure out how to use the phone system effectively. Every time I try to answer one of the outside lines I think I accidentally busy it out. That's not good. Maybe there's a user ops manual around here somewhere...
Well, it looks as if the Linux World News site is going offline permanantly come next week. They havn't been able to get a revenue stream to stay operational and next week's edition will be the last. That's a shame - they did an excellent job of distilling the news into useful, informative articles and organising them in such a way that the information you need is easy to locate in that edition.
More and more I wonder about the viability of Linux, particularly in the commercial world. Linux information sites and software companies are beginning to fall, one by one. An activity model which relies upon gratis (free-as-in-beer) software and people contributing code and effort out of the goodness of their hearts doesn't really bring in the bucks. I can see a future in consulting, companies are always willing to bring in hired guns to fix problems for them, or at least they will if their backs are to a wall, but one thing that's really hurt Linux is the fact that the companies that are actively selling Linux software (like Loki Games did) aren't lasting long. I don't spend a lot of time among users (I spend more time hacking on my own projects) but from what I've heard either people would much rather go with gratis software to take care of a certain need or would pirate the commercial software. I don't know how true this is - I'll say that up front. But I'm hoping to find the information somewhere, I just wish I knew where.
That went nowhere fast. I guess what I was trying to say was that I'm trying to figure out how many for-profit Linux companies will be left and how long the rest will last. The season's changing and nothing lasts forever. What will be left when winter comes? I wish I knew. I hope something worth sticking around for.
Mike, one of the guys who set up the public cluster at HOPE-2002, posted this message to the h2k2 mailing list early this morning. In it he talks about his experiences at the convention and the aftermath he and his team are dealing with as a result of it. Reading this message, more and more I feel like I want to cry. They busted their butts to provide a service at the con and it sounds like it was futile in the end. I'm not sure of what to make of that. The post ends on a happy note, though... guys, I've got to give you some massive respect and congratulations. You broke your backs for a lot of people who don't know what it's like to want to do that for people because you can... thank you.
I don't think so....
Well, today started off to a decent start. Out the door early (though I forgot to shave - ugh!), Philip Glass on the CD player, a good cup of coffee when I got to the office... it doesn't take much to make me happy. I've been sifting through my bookmarks file to find links to add to this website, and I'm coming up with some ideas for essays to put up as well, which is taking a rather large amount of time. Frankly, I don't know why I even maintain a bookmarks file because if I don't keep the URL in my wetware then I search for it.with Google. But that's neither here nor there. I'm also thinking of putting some of my gaming resources online for people to add some material to this site. At some point I need to work up a top-level page for the virtadpt.net domain, if only to explain what's been going on. So many ideas come when the day's slow at work. I might take a day or two off from working on those pages to let my wrists rest for a while. There's no sense in tempting fate.
For you OS folks out there, take a look at this: A researcher at IBM compared the overhead required by context switching between a few different flavours of Windows 2000 and Redhat Linux v7.2 (running one of the earlier v2.4 series kernels, if memory serves.) When it comes to passing an arbitrary token between two threads using a pipe, the Linux kernel ate Windows' lunch and went back for seconds. When he used mutex locking and critical region protection, however, the results weren't quite so sharply defined. At first the Linux kernel performed admirably in terms of scheduling overhead, but as the number of threads began to grow the overhead slowly ramped up to overshadow the Windows 2000 kernel's scheduler. The hardcoded limits in GlibC and the Linux kernel (128 threads maximum) hurt performance a little, I think. The fact that you'd have to hack the kernel tree and probably GlibC (if I read the article correctly) to support more threads suggests that scalability needs to be worked on a little bit more. Please keep in mind, however, that this was one of the earlier v2.4 kernels (v2.4.2, the article says), so this may have changed significantly in later releases. I havn't kept up with developments in the scheduler so I don't really know for certain, but I'm going to do a little digging later to see what's up with that.
Here's an interesting link that I just snagged from Bugtraq, it's a list of all the unpatched holes in Microsoft Internet Explorer that have been reported but not acted upon. What are they doing over there, playing Twister??
I just realised that I moved my CD-ROM wallet that I usually take to work with me out of my backpack and I cannot find it anywhere in my lab. Where the hell did I put it? It's got to be on the cot somewhere, buried under all the books and miscellaneous stuff that really should be put away. I'll have to start picking up down there to see if I can find it.
I think I need to get Leandra another large hard drive so I can work on a few anime music videos that I've been planning out for a while. I need something to do.
I am now rambling incoherently. Keep watching today's update to see if it gets funny.
I spent some quality time tonight hacking on Fuchikoma, my Dell 386 luggable deck. One neat thing about the Dell 316LT is that most of the unit used standard desktop components: IDE hard drive, floppy drive, memory SIMMS (30 pin by 1 MB), and there's even a single horizontal 8 bit ISA slot. I swapped in a new floppy drive from one in my parts stash and he booted right up. My next project is to modify his power system so that a standard Molex power coupling can be plugged in. I've got a laptop-formfactor IDE hard drive and desktop to laptop adaptor standing by, I just need to cut a few wires and solder the new connector into place. I just don't feel like dragging out my soldering iron tonight. That, and I don't have a workbench so I really don't have anyplace to solder, it's hard enough working on the floor. I'm thinking of putting OpenBSD v3.1 on Fuchikoma just to see if I can do it. I've got a few 8-bit ISA network cards laying around and some AUI transceivers so I can do a network install. Maybe I'll do that this weekend.
Well, yesterday wasn't exactly the creme' de la cool of days. This is probably going to squick some people but I need to get this off my chest. For this reason I'm changing the font of this to black-on-black, click and swipe if you really want to read it, or just skip over it if you don't want to. At night I sometimes sit and listen to the newsfeeds from the Net to catch up on what's been happening lately...
...last night I heard a story about a group of people who took a seven week old kitten and dropped it onto a hot barbecue to watch the poor thing burn. They stood around taunting the kitten and poking it with sticks to keep it from jumping off of the hot grate, as any creature would do if it were being roasted to death. Eventually someone came to their senses and rescured the poor thing but by then it was too late: It had been burned so badly that it had to be euthanised. I hope those bastards burn in hell, if there is such a place. What they did was so heartless and evil that there's no excuse for it, not even temporary insanity. I pray to the Lord and Lady that they are found guilty and put in jail, and I hope that the other inmates find out what they did and insure that they never walk out of that place alive. Anyone who would torture a defenseless creature for pleasure, especially like that, isn't even worth the breath or the keystrokes to consider them human, let alone sentient. They're not even animals, but something far less evolved. Put them down the way that kitten had to be put down.
Rant over. Go about your business.
O.O; Oh my god... *thud!*
Thanks for the link, Firefly!
Sorry about the network outage, everyone. I went out of town for the weekend and in my rush to get everything packed after work I didn't notice that the power cord for the switch had been knocked out of the wall. Active packet hardware without power doesn't move packets around. To everyone who's waiting for e-mail it's still flooding in, I'll get to it as I can.
Speaking of going out of town, I went to Philadelphia this weekend to see Graeme. The bus ride out there wasn't too bad, just long. I'm glad I packed a few paperbacks to keep me busy on the way out there (When Crystal Tears by Alan Dean Foster was a good book but it lasted me all of five hours; Frank Herbert's Dune is an excellent book, I can see why so many people love it) just in case. I wound up getting into the city around 0130EST, as we were running a little bit late bus-wise.
I got my first set of metamoderation priv's on Slashdot just a few minutes ago. I never expected that to happen in this lifetime..
Resuming going to Philly: After crashing for a couple of hours Graeme and I wandered around the region of the Philly fringe in which she lives (the exact name of which escapes me at the moment) for the day. I think I like Philly, there are lots of interesting places to wander around in, I rather like the wide open four-lane highways (they appeal to my sensibilities of what an urban sprawl 'should' have for transportation; it's the cyb in me), I like how the city and the country have grown into balance with each other (or at least they've come to an understanding of some sort) - it might not always be pretty but at least there is harmony of a sort there, there are lots of people to watch, and Philly's located in such a way that everything else happening in the northeast is at most a three hour drive from there. It's centrally located, or at least by my reckoning it is: Washington DC, New York City, Baltimore, Newark (kinda), Pittsburgh (more like seven hours), you see my point. Definitely not like my hometown in many resepcts. Plus, it's new territory.
Ye flipping gods ... I didn't need to see a post like this on a Monday morning.
I just heard on the pa-furry mailing list that a couple of folks were ditched by their transportation at Anthrocon 2002 last weekend. That's so uncool there aren't even any words for it. There are few ways of being more disrespectful (to say nothing of being an asshole) than doing something like that. Especially if they're not from the United States (I think one fur was from Canada and was ripped for his cash and ID.) Whomever pulled that is probably not going to show his muzzle around any face-to-face functions for a while, and that might be the only thing that saves his pelt. If the two castaways have good friends, I can't see their friends taking that lying down.... I'd say that I feel sorry for those folks but I don't. Take care of business, guys...
Check this out: the infopage for a Ghost In the Shell TV series. Yes, it's from Slashdot, deal. Anyone up for a fansub (or providing me with high-quality copies so I can start working on a fansub)?
Oh, Graeme and I went to see Men In Black II this weekend. I've got mixed feelings about the movie: On one hand it was as funny and quirky as the first movie, and there were some great lines in there (I can't wait for the consumer release so I can start sampling from it), and it picks up more or less right where the first left off (taking off at a run is nice) but plot development suffered a little bit. It assumes that you're familiar with J, K, and Zed and the basic premise of the MiB, but that's really about it. Maybe some of the bit characters (like Frank the Pug and the Annelids) were assumed, but there really didn't have large enough roles in the movie for the watcher to really get used to them. The premise is, unfortunately, cut out, dried, and thrown on your plate to munch on - that's about it. If there were a bit more behind it the movie would have worked better. The ending was pretty much a carbon copy of the end of the first movie and the fireworks disply at the end is too obligatory post-9/11. On the whole, it's an eye-candy flick. See it in the super-saver if you get a chance, otherwise wait for the rental release.
I just found out that Kenshin and Lindsey were in an automobile wreck last night.. ye flipping gods. Blackcat, thanks for the heads-up.
Kenshin's all right; Lindsey has been under observation for almost 24 hours now and the surgeons say she's all right; they're more worried about her unborn child right now. From what I've been able to make out everything's all right, it was just the car that was wrecked. Better that than three human lives. Lindsey's supposed to be discharged this evening around 1900EST, and when I hung up she was just about to stand up for the first time since admission to the hospital. Guys, we're all pulling for you.
I just heard back from the Cheshire Catalyst: My HOPE-2002 stuff is linked off of his H2k2 page. Highly nifty. Now I've got to put together a links page soon. It's only fair to return the favour. Take a look at some of the other pages linked from his H2k2 page - there are some good ones out there.
Sometimes dealing with remote offices is like trying to perform oral surgery with toothpicks. Information never seems to make it through when you most need it to. Either the timing is off, or a critical message doesn't hit your home LAN when you most need it to, or you forget about one of your e-mail accounts (which is always the one that the message in question goes to.) Some days you can't win for losing, you know?
Yesterday afternoon Alfred Huger of Securityfocus.com announced to the mailing lists run out of there (this also made Slashdot yesterday) that Symantec had bought out Securityfocus. They say that they're going to be keeping their resources around for the good of the net.community, and I truly hope so. Securityfocus is one of the few security sites out there with a low-bullshit factor, and that's important in this day and age. I've put an exact copy of the message online here in case you're not on any of the mailing lists it was sent to. Here's to a new era...
Well, I'm trying something else with PGP - generating an RSA key specifically instead of the default ElGamal/DSS key. Maybe that's behind all the trouble I'm having with PGPi v6.5.1. The only thing is that it takes an extremely long time to generate such a key, even on Leandra, so I have no idea if it'll be done by the time I leave the office today. That's one of the good things about using GNU screen is that the particular shell performing the computations can be disconnected from the controlling terminal to run in the background, so I can pick it up later.
This came as another shock: Phat Man Dee got married. She's something of a fixture in the 412 urban areas. Gods, I feel ever-so-slightly out of touch. Maybe I need to change my eyeglasses or something. It's amazing what you miss out on when you don't bother to leave your house anymore, isn't it?
Last night after a tip I drove out to Half-Price Books, which isn't too far from my lab. Among other things I picked up a handful of out of print RPG books, another transparent plastic backpack (this one reinforced with plastic mesh, so I can save my Black Hat Briefings backpack for later), a few graphic novels that I'd been meaning to find but didn't really want to pay through the sinuses for, and the Dune boxed set (Dune, Dune Messiah, and Children of Dune) for a song. I also found some old-school pulp fiction (like a few of the Gor books) but decided to give them a pass: As much as I like the genre I really wasn't in the mood to pick them up (not when I'm saving up to get the next edition of the Lensman trade paperbacks); I even gave the Tom Swift Jr. hardcover (Tom Swift In the Caves of Nuclear Fire if you're interested) a pass. I might regret it later but I don't really have the cash right now, and my to-read stack is starting to get taller and taller. I also found an Infocom boxed set, a collection of their first fifteen games (Zork 0 through Three, the Enchanter trilogy, Wishbringer, Beyond Zork, and a few others the titles of which escape me), still sealed. I can't wait to give them a try, as I have a few of these games for the Commodore-64 only. I'm still wondering why they had to use DirectX 8 for the Zcode interpreter, though, it isn't as if these are exactly graphically intense games...
I've recently started glamourbombing public places with little notes that read "There is intelligent life on other planets and we are among you." I'm not sure why, I think it's the Discordian inside me rattling its bars. The world needs to lighten up a little bit, I think. People take things seriously (which isn't a bad thing in and of itself but when taken too far the balance is lost) but they can sometimes lose sight of the important things in life. Hell, I'm like that as well - I lose perspective and wind up someplace I didn't mean to be. I wonder what'll happen.
I'm thinking more and more than I need to truncate this file. I'm going to break it in half and keep the latest stuff with the usual filename and move everything else to an archive file.
Slashdot's got H2k2 reviews up as well.
Quoting the review written by 'weave': "Of course it was mostly guys, but there were women as well as one person who had a male voice but noticeable breasts and a feminine face and shape."
DAMN! Someone noticed me! *happybounce* I honestly havn't been proud of anything (at least to this extent) since I graduated from high school. I think I did something right. I never expected to pull off androgyny so well but it worked - you just have to work with what you've got, and not try to leverage things that you don't have.
Just when you think it's safe to send e-mail... emergency repairs had to be made to the Exchange server at work an hour before moving the administrative staff of my company over to it full-time. With a steadily shrinking window of opportunity (due to a plane flight this afternoon) the IT staff was chewing its nails to the quick in anticipation. The California admin managed to fix whatever it was that was damaged and complete the modifications, thank the gods. I still wonder why they rely upon something so unstable and quirky. Weird.
I just stumbled across someone's H2k2 page where they noticed Elwing, the.Silicon.Dragon, and I playing Pong on one of the projection screens with our laser pointers. I think it was while everyone was waiting for 0wned to start on Saturday night.
It's 1647EST and I'm bored out of my mind at work. There's nothing to do here but stay on standby for everyone else in the office. Maybe it's time to start reading the Sybex Windows 2000 books that I was supposed to be studying from last year...
Holy imploding Kibo... the House passed a bill that okays sentencing crackers (hackers, in their eyes) to life in prison.
More and more I fear for the future. Right now, talking about a hack in one of the truest senses of the world (doing something nifty to see if you can do it; for example, the old PC and Amiga demos) is probably just as likely to earn you a spot on the US government's "Investigate this guy - he said the h-word" list as bragging about cracking into someone's webserver simply because many people either don't know or don't care that there's a difference between hacking and cracking. I'm starting to be afraid of talking about a neat hack and finding the police on my doorstep (or worse, encircling my bed with guns) because they thought I was talking about owning a box and not the new serial port interface hardware I put together. Maybe I'm just being paranoid here; maybe they do know the difference and they've got enough brains to read something they've intercepted all the way through. Maybe they don't. It's the not knowing for certain that I don't like.
Wow, I'm caught up with my e-mail. Now I need to respond to the majority of the stuff that's in there waiting for a reply.... time to unsub from a few more mailing lists.
I just found out that Craig, an old friend of mine, is now attending the police academy. He's persuing his dream - to become a law officer. Craig, I wish you luck, old buddy. Here's to the old times....
Gods... between my immune system drawing on the energy still in my body to set everything right inside and the NyQuil I took when I got up, I feel like I'm completely wasted. I hate this feeling. Everything looks far away and my hands don't feel like the ones I usually control. I hate being sick with a passion. At least I managed to get my HOPE 2002 photo album edited and on-line. If there are any bugs in the HTML code, typos, or other errors please e-mail me and let me know.
And now a few shouts to some of the people I ran into in New York:
Automatic Jack: If you're reading this, I'm sorry I didn't get a chance to meet you for that Mike's Hard Lemonade Sunday night. I owe you one when next I'm in New York - e-mail me!
Jax0m: Thanks again for the decals - I'll bring some in trade to the next con for you.
Lupus Yonderboy/NYC2600: Don't fall out of touch again, man, I was worried sick about you. Drop me a line and we'll play DDR sometime (sorry I missed the tourney).... *grin*
Why do I feel like I'm writing voicemail greets?
Firefly: Good meeting you!
Guy who attended H2k2 that I was talking to on the subway about the differences between HOPE and DefCon: My e-dress is drwho at virtadpt dot net; we'll pick up the conversation through e-mail if you're still interested.
By the way I'm still going through my back e-mail. By the time I jacked in around 1300EST today, I found 1,058 messages waiting on my ISP's shell server for me, of which 36% was spam. I'm still threshing through everything and saving the messages that require intelligent discourse for later. For those of you with that e-dress I'm not ignoring you, I'm up to my six right now. You'll get a response soon.2002/07/14
First of all, the cDc put on a disappointing show yesterday afternoon. The fact that it was almost two hours late and that the broadcast rooms were switched so many times killed the spirit, and their performance, aside from the opening, was a yawn. Part of me is highly disappointed by this; another part of me is considering the fact that they blew everyone's minds at H2k and were both intelligent and funny at DefCon 9 set themselves up too highly, and they might not be able to top those gigs. But that's just my opinion, I could be wrong.
We (the 412 contingent) left to wander New York City about fifteen minutes into the performance.
Trying to find food that we could all afford in New York turned into a three hour production. We found excellent food in SoHo and getting there via the subway was an exhilerating ride, but our party of nine racked up a $200us bill for relatively minimal meals. Ye flipping gods, they fleece you if they get the chance. After this Vlad_II and I wandered around SoHo for a few more hours to see what we could see. I love this city, I really do. I might considering moving near New York City so I could visit it occasionally. Finding our way back to the Hotel Pennsylvania on the subway was another two hours because we missed a stop and had to find an alternate route via Chinatown was fun, I must admit. It wasn't an inconvenience, it was an adventure. We're planning on doing it again today.
Later that night Vlad_II, Vox Populi, and I (in the guise of PanzerNeko) walked the four(?) blocks to the Albion/Batcave for goth night. Nice club: Dark in the right places, lit in the right places, broad walkpaths, good music, pretty people (we ran into Arvin and Psykotwin Megan around 0000 EST), and vendors. Vendors! We bought LED flashlight rings (which I really could use at work) and UV-sensitive temprapaint (which I've got plans for...) and hung out. It was good to go to a club again.
Afterward we retired to my room to hang out and drink some more. I'm never going to drink on sequential nights again. I don't drink to get hung over but I stop when I get lit. But it's not a good idea, the more I think about it. It's bad for your body, and I worry (too much, my friends tell me) about my weight. Alcohol metabolises into sugar; I don't have an active lifestyle by any stretch of the imagination so that sugar my exterior stores as fat if I don't burn it off. I don't like that.
Anyway, enough of my bitching about my body image.
I'm sitting in the lockpicking demonstration right now, so I'm going to end this update. This is neat.
After lockpicking we decided to head uptown to find lunch. The destination we chose was Monster Sushi. It was at this time that SparcV9, Vampyra Daisy, Vox Populi, Alexius, and I began to wonder if the plan that Vlad_II and SparcV9 had put into action to hack the social engineering competition. SparcV9 and Vlad typed up a flyer which stated that the social engineering competition had been cancelled due to a heightened state of alert on the part of the telephone companies and then had seeded them throughout the building. Some bought it - there was a small crowd of people below the mezzanine who were hanging out there for lack of anything better to do because the competition had been cancelled.... but it was still a packed crowd upstairs so it wasn't as effective as they'd hoped. Emmanuel Goldstein, BernieS, and someone else (whose handle I never picked up) were the panel demonstrating various social engineering techniques.. Verizon, either in its infinite ineptness or infinite paranoia, munged the phone lines they'd installed - for starters, the lines couldn't dial 1-800 numbers. They wound up dialling long distance repeatedly to reach anything. We passed the hat and sent a fistful of prepaid calling cards up to the stage for Emmanuel and BernieS to use. Their first run was what I think was a Verizon maintenance office to get 800 access turned on for the phones. After some bantering and debate they told Emmanuel to call... a 1-800 number.
Their second call was to a local Starbucks Coffee (no link because I don't like Starbucks) asking about a broken wireless network access point. Ryan, the kid who answered, said that they weren't having any problems with the wireless LAN but they were having problems with their credit card verification terminal. They had a 300 card backlog of orders that needed to be processed. I'll cut to the chase and say that Emmanuel got the kid to read off the first order (for $3.27us), the issuer of the credit card, the credit card number itself, the name of the holder of the card, and the expiration date of the card. I can't say anything more about this.
The third call was to the Russian Tea Room. The operator who picked up gave Emmanual the name of a random 2030EST reservation for this evening (20020714), so Emmanuel immediately took the guise of this person and changed the reservation to one-half hour later tonight. He then got the number of the person who made the reservation (the other half of the party) and left her a voice mail message stating that their reservation would be pushed back one-half hour due to an unexpected health department inspection... later that day he set everything back the way it was. Emmanuel Goldstein, you are my hero.
It was at this time that Vlad_II, TonyJ, and I decided to roam around Times Square for the rest of the day. We wandered into a bunch of stores that aren't much more than tourist traps for the trendily technical and looking at all the people.. wow. Times Square hasn't changed much since I was last there (back in 1992.) I did see something that blew me out the door, though. There was a Japanese gentleman working as a pavement artist on one of the streets we walked down. The work he did was reminiscent of airbrushing, only it was done with cans of spraypaint. He used rectangular pieces of paper, an overturned bowl, and a putty knife to paint a landscape of what I think was egypt at night. The pyramids were on high, and he used the putty knife to scrape away the darker layers of paint to form the shapes of office buildings below. I stared at this man for almost ten minutes, until Vlad_II pulled me away. I still have a sense of awe about that man's work. I wish I had bought that piece.
By the bye, I'm heading back to Pittsburgh with Alexius as I write this. It's currently 0002EST and we've just re-entered Pennsylvania.
Vox Populi, Vampyra Daisy, and SparcV9 left around 1700EST today. TonyJ and Vlad_II left around 2030EST today.
It was around 2100EST tonight that 'lex and I decided to leave a day early and come home, because the convention was dead. Almost no one was left in the Hotel Pennsylvania by 1900, we got takeout (too much fast food!) and started packing. By 2230EST we were on our way.
By the way, I figured out why I've been feeling so wretched lately - I've got a cold. I hate my life.
I just remembered why I went to bed late Saturday night/early Sunday morning while SparcV9 et al were working up the social engineering hack - I was down in the Telerama public cluster, too drunk to find the delete key on the console to correct a typo. Once I'd figured out this out, I decided to call it quits. No more alcohol for the rest of the summer. That was bad.
Last night we met up with some of the regulars from back home (Vampyra Daisy, SparcV9, and Vox Populi) before the showing of Owned, whichis one of many [ha,cr]acker documentaries made in the 1990's. While the language that one of the foci of the documentary was derogatory enough to get boring after a while it was otherwise a good documentary. Lots of Information Society (circa Hack ) was in the soundtrack, which is always a good thing. I'm wearing my Hack t-shirt as I write this, in fact (I'm sitting in the back of conference room A listening to Aaron Macgruder (creator of the comic strip Boondocks give the second keynote address. He's got a lot of good points, too. Kudos to 2600 for getting some of the best speakers on the eastern seaboard.
Autojack (Lord and Lady keep him on his feet - the man's giving 200% out here) played an excellent set at the dance last night. I finally got to meet him face-to-face after a few years (he used to hang out on the #insoc channel back when the InSoc meetings were held by Trap Vector.) There was also some good goth-night type music last night (Clock DVA, Lords of Acid, Front 242, Thomas Dolby... you know the drill) while we were working on our laptops after that. I nearly broke my neck (and knocked a few of my jacks loose) while trying to remember how to dance to Rough Sex, which got a few laughs out of everyone. I never said I could dance, only that I liked trying.
After a quick run to the liquor store to pick up some supplies we spent the remainder of the night watching Payback on Vox's deck and drinking. Being a one-beer queer I was complete flatlined after I finished my Rolling Rock about halfway through the movie. I've got a very low tolerance for alcohol so that pretty much did me in. However, I know when to stop, so once my mind starts getting swimmy I stop drinking entirely. I don't do it all that often so I justify it as a special occasion. I'd like to recommend to everyone of legal drinking age in their current physical location that you try Mike's Hard Cranberry Lemonade - it's excellent. And it comes in a twist-off bottle, no peripheral hardware is necessary.
For the record, I've been trying to get on the network since I got here and I've only been able to pull it off twice. Finding a zone that has usable wireless coverage is next to impossible, and getting a link off of a hardline not much more effective. This is really starting to get on my nerves. I was able to leap over to my ISP's shell server briefly yesterday and there are over 550 messages waiting for me, roughly half of which are spam. I'm not looking forward to this.
A few of us plan on going exploring later today, and I want to see the Chrysler Building, mostly because I've played too much Parasite Eve. *grin*
I still can't get a bloody wireless link around here. I can't get a physical ethernet connection, either. Eshari was right, there are three kinds of death: There's physical death, spirit death, and being off the Net.
The Mentor has spoken.
I'm still buzzing from getting to meet him, and he autographed my hardcopy of The Conscience of a Hacker, which I'd printed out from my Commodore 64 back in 1989. I'm going to scan it when I get back to my lab and put it on line.
I havn't been this joybuzzed since I got to meet David Mack.
My InSoc shirt is working - I got to meet Firefly from #insoc about a half hour ago.
Now we're waiting in the back of conference room 'A' waiting for The Cult of the Dead Cow to start their performance. It's looking to be another standing room only gig for Thee C0w... even Kabuki is waiting for the performance to begin - she selects a random backdrop for me every time I log in and this time she chose the cDc-girl image from the directory. I'll post the exact image later.
The C0w's starting...!
The Doctor's observations on staying in a hotel:
Ichi: Bring your own washcloths and soap. You don't get washcloths in hotels and the soap they provide does jack to get your body clean. I feel like someone dipped my body in rubber cement and squeegied almost all of it off.
Ni: Tiny delicatessens within walking distance of your hotel are your friend. You can probably score a bagel and coffee for less than $3us for breakfast. You won't be sorry.
The retrocomputing forum was one of the neatest things I've seen in years. Calculators from the 1970's that used vacuum tubes for the display, old-school spyware (like the classic microcamera in the cigarette pack), and a portable TTD terminal kept us busy for over an hour. Cheshirt Catalyst and BernieS headlined the panel.
Siva Vaidhyanathan's talk about the Digital Millennium Copyright Act and fair use in the modern day was most interesting. He's rubbed shoulders with the movers and shakers of the MPAA and the RIAA and had some tales to tell about the arguments they make (which I'll outline later due to power cell constraints.)
The Caller ID Spoofing presentation wasn't all that great I'm afraid. The duo presenting it know their stuff, that's for certain. I won't take that away from them. But either they were nervous or their public speaking skills were not all they could have been. Guys, you gave it a shot, and I give you credit for that. But it wasn't enough. Sorry. To kill time before the presentation stated (which wound up being almost a half-hour) I amused myself by showing off my Apple Newton UMP-2000 to the guys sitting to my left. I showed them how the Rosetta handwriting recognition system worked, the Life simulation that I experiment with now and then, a video of the original Apple Computer 1984 commercial (special thanks to the United Network of Newton Archives), and a few other things. What can I say? Once you go green, you never go back. *grin*
2600 Magazine spoke about their refusal to appeal the DeCSS decision immediately afterward. Emmanual Goldstein, Mackie, and Robin (their lawyer affiliated with the EFF) outlined their reasons for not persuing any more appeals in the court. They also outlined some of the more insane things that were said during the court cases. Once again I'll outline them later.
Fun with 802.11 was one of the more entertaining presentations to date. Porkchop was running a copy of Kismet through the projector behind them which turned out to be a mistake. Some of the ESSIDs that people were setting their wireless NICs were went from the merely funny ("All your base station are belong to us") to the derogatory ("Emmanuel Goldstein likes little kids"). The findings of Porkchop, Dragrm, and Static Fusion were on the shocking side (just wardriving New York City on Friday they found over 450 WaveLANs that were not secured in any way).. that's a lot of bandwidth that can be hijacked.
Well, Alexius and I got into New York City with no problems. We finally got on the road around 1300 EST this afternoon and after a quick sidetrip to pick up an interface cable for my GPS unit (thank you, Marine Suppliers!) we set course for New York City, by way of Philadephia. Unfortunately I forgot to store any maps for the trip. I have some course mapping software installed on Kabuki (GPSdrive v1.22 if anyone's interested in taking a look at it) but it does a world of nothing if there's no spatial reference to plot coordinates against. I also found out that gpsd (which comes bundled with quite a bit of opensource GPS software) works best if you make a symbolic link to the serial line that your GPS is attached to (in Kabuki's case, /dev/ttyS0) called /dev/gps. Once I figured that out by playing around with gpsd by hand everything worked. NMEA messages were sent and recieved successfully, there was just nothing to correlate them against.
The actual trip itself was uneventful yet fun. We amused ourselves by wondering if we were being followed yet, by whom, who we had passed was likely to be a Federal agent, things like that. A little paranoia can be fun sometimes. If you seriously hack on a conspiracy theory enough it takes on a quasi-life of its own, and you can find yourself scaring yourself if you're not careful.
The hardest part of the trip was finding our way to the Hotel Pennsylvania in New York City itself. We passed the city proper around 1730 EST but didn't actually find our destination until 2100 EST or therabouts. The streets of New York City are hellish to navigate by car if you've never been there before. Rush hour traffic didn't make it any easier. Once we got that licked checking in and finding our room was easy. After unpacking and taking inventory we headed out in search of Chinese food for dinner and found a small restaurant just a few blocks away. The egg rolls are fresh and hot, though they seem to go light on the spicier sauces: They didn't give me much hot mustard for my egg roll and the General Tso's Chicken, while crispy and refreshing after a long trip didn't really have any sauce to speak of on it. The sticky rice was done to perfection, though. On our way out we ran into Renderman, who was in town early to get ready for a presentation he is a part of. The wireless network isn't set up yet so I'm writing this offline in my hotel room on Kabuki and saving it to disk so I can upload it later. Alexius just went to bed because his body's working on a 30+ hour uptime and I'm going to go offline shortly as well.
Auditing my webserver logs today, I discovered that Code Red is alive and out there, albeit not quite as widely spread as it was just a few months ago. Somehow this amuses me - there are admins who not only havn't updated their servers in all this time but probably never put two and two together after watching the news and realised that maybe their systems are vulnerable. This doesn't do much to restore my faith in the human race.
Speaking of, one of these days I'm going to put up a page of 'websearches that got people here... but not why.' Some pretty weird Google search terms bring people to websites sometimes.
I have to admit, this page is starting to get a little thin because not much has really been going on lately. The past few days have been slow and boring (by and large) so there hasn't been a need to write here, and I havn't really had any thoughts that pretend to be deep lately, so there's been little to add. That'll probably change this weekend when HOPE 2002 starts (for some reason I can't wait for it). I just hope that I can get my laptop's WaveLAN card working soon, I'd like to put it to good use while I'm out and about (like wardriving as we drive cross-country to get to New York - I've heard stories about some pretty weird places that people have found WAPs, like in the middle of the woods (no, I'm not kidding, some posted to vuln-dev@securityfocus about it this just this morning.) And as for folks who will be running driftnet or etherpeg, I've got something in mind for you folks as welll.... *grin*
Puff the Fractal Dragon had a good idea last night - if you want to make things interesting at a convention's presentation, rig up a projector showing what driftnet is picking up from the WAP in the convention hall and show it on a screen behind the speaker. That would be amusing, to say the least.
This is interesting.. someone started using Windows again after three years using Linux. His reasoning is sound and the background he's provided in the article intelligent. In a nutshell, after three years hacking on Linux to make it work for him, he got tired of spending so much energy for so little return. In a way he's got a point - it takes a lot of work to get a Linux system up and running properly. He's also made some good points about package management on a Linux system and why the user interface for package management (at the very least) needs to be revamped. Reading it has given me a few ideas for software to write (like a visual package manager application), maybe I'll use the road trip to work on the ideas.
Getting sound working is usually a pain in the butt, even for me. I've been using the same ISA sound card on Leandra for the past five years because I hate spending a month getting it working (the only exception has been the sound unit on my laptop, Kabuki). I finally got sound working on my system at work (after nineteen months, even though I never listen to music while I'm at work.) Figuring out exactly what sound chip you've got is akin to removing one's own appendix - it's hard to tell exactly which chip is which on a card or on a mainboard (where very little is marked anymore) so you're probably going to spend a lot of time looking at a chip's identifying marks and grepping the sound documentation to see if it's in there over and over again. That's not fun. Getting APM/ACPI on a laptop stable isn't fun, either - Kabuki still crashes when she suspends, which is another bug that needs fixed. Don't get me started on wireless networking! At least configuring XFree86 has gotten easier in the past.. four years or so, I guess (at least for me it has - I no longer need a notariquon to figure out the options in the XF86Config file.) As for package management I still build everything myself and I use packinstall (which is no longer maintained so I can't put a link to it) to handle uninstallation. That's just because I spread my apps out across multiple file systems and it uses text files to store the location and checksumming data, though. I don't like having to break out a hex editor to fix a corrupted database file, which I've had to do too many times at work to Redhat boxes. If there was a desktop application that would handle downloading the source tarball (for example, as a Mozilla plugin), running the configure script (maybe parsing it to dig out all the compilation options and presenting them as a menu of some sort), compiling, and tracking where all the files went (as well as being nice enough to help you configure the application, though that's probably going off the deep end) it would help desktop acceptance.
Personally, I like Linux and NetBSD for desktop systems. When I used Windows (1995-1996, when DOS and DeskView/X wouldn't run the applications I needed anymore) I wound up tearing so much stuff out of Windows v3.11 that it was little more than just a window manager and the two or three applications I required, and not much else. I run systems lean and clean: If I'm not going to use a certain feature or bundled application more than once a month I erase it. What's the point of having it? When I started using Linux for my desktop in the summer of 1996 I set up only what I needed, using the same mindset as when I ran Windows. If it's not going to be used, get rid of it, in other words. So that's all I have on my systems: The stuff I use and no more. I can't stand Windows 2000 or XP because of all of the needless fluff that's all over the place. My one exception to this rule is running Enlightenment on my home system. I like being able to change what things look like now and then. Maybe I'll get rid of it and move Leandra to Blackbox eventually, I havn't decided yet.
But that's my story, and I'm sticking to it.
I'm still having trouble with that Lucent Technologies 802.11b Silver card a friend gave me. After goofing around with the Linux PCMCIA suite for a few days I've managed to eliminate the error messages in the system logs (one nice thing about PCMCIA-CS is that now wireless.opts supports schemes - multiple network configurations in the same file - now; I need to add that functionality to the network.opts file and send the new file back, now but that can wait) but trade them for a hard lockup. I've done a bit of browsing around and found that this usually means a misconfiguration of the PCMCIA interface hardware. Every other card I've tried has worked, so the Orinoco cards must grab a memory location (I'm guessing) a bit farther down in the memory map than most other cards. At least this is progress of a sort. Once I get that worked out I'm going to fix the fact that my laptop's screen doesn't come back up when APM puts the unit into suspend mode.
Gene Kan, Gnutella and peer-to-peer evangelist, died on 29 June 2002. His family has not released any details of his death. Lord and Lady care for him on the other side.
Aaaah.. a nice, quiet weekend. I finally saw Harry Potter on tape this weekend. I can't see why so many adults went nuts over it. I thought it definitely aimed at the younger set (eight-twelve (maybe)) and not the young adult/grownup crowd. Weird.
(t - 3) days and counting until I leave for HOPE 2002. This is going to be fun. Unfortunately I wasn't able to get an interface cable for my GPS unit so we're going to be navigating blind. Oh, well. Some days I love Wal-Mart: They sell Magellan GPS units and the mapping software to go with them, but not the interface cable so you can hook your GPS into your deck and actually use the mapping software. Nice shooting, guys.
One of these days I'm going to set up a honeypot to see what I can catch. I've been hanging around the Honeynet Project's website for a few months now, and it seems like an interesting exercise to undertake. I wonder what I'd catch..
Making bootable CD-R images is more trouble than it's worth. I'm using Adaptec Easy CD Creator at work to make an install CD of Windows 2000 Professional with Service Pack 2 but I can't seem to get it to work reliably at all, neither can I coax it to make a bootable .iso image, either. There's got to be a way to do this under Linux using the cdrecord utility but I havn't figured out how yet. I need to spend some time reading up on the procedure.
I took a shot at making a new pair of cat ears this evening. On the whole I don't think they turned out all that bad - not bad for an alpha release. My technique needs a little work (I've never worked with polyfur before) but I catch on quickly. We'll see how things go later tonight when I finish it up. The second revision is always better, anyway.
Packing for HOPE 2002 is going well. Just about all the clothing I'd like to take fit in half a suitcase, and everything else I can fit in my backpack. I tend to travel light - much more lightly if it's not a tech convention. Going to a con' like this dictates bringing a sizable amount of gear.
By the way, something bad's happened: I havn't used my PGP v2.6.2 key in so long I've forgotten the passphrase for it. Consider this key retired - I'll post a revocation certificate shortly. Until I get a new one generated please use my GnuPG key to communicate securely with me. Sorry, everyone!
Last night I sat at home watching fireworks with my family, bored out of my mind. I really don't see what's so pretty or eye-catching about them. Yes, they're loud and often played along with loud rock music, but that's about it. I don't see anything particularly stirring or interesting about them, just a bunch of oxidation reactions. In other words, buring copper sulfate, chromium, magnesium, et cetera, et cetera.
Maybe I'm just a cynic; maybe I took too many chemistry classes growing up. Maybe I think too damned much and need to go out and invest in that bottle of Goldschlager to shut down my forebrain for a couple of hours.
During downtime today I decided to browse the in-character forums at Shadowland to see what I've missed in the Shadowrun universe over the past two or three years. There's someone playing an old-school Pittsburgh yinzer in the Code Warriors board. Neat. Oh, and there's a kiddie or two posting in l33t in there. *grin*
Actually, I can't say too much about that. One of my LARP characters has l33t for a language skill, so I'm in no position to talk.
Okay, back to something emulating a life...
Or lack therof, as the case may be. Cue feelings of isolation, alienation, confusion, and distinct disconnectedness from the world outside. One of these days this is going to drive me completely out of my socket and off the motherboard, so to speak. And don't get me started on boredom: All but four people at the office took today off for a long weekend, so there isn't even a skeleton staff around right now, just a leg. I knew I should have brought that Windows 2000 Server studybook with me today.
I'm enjoying DNS Hijacker v1.2 a little too much right now. This is fun!
Another brainless day, it appears. Run, little hamster, run! *knocks side of his head a few times with the heel of his hand*
I wonder: Why do people put up with buggy, tempermental, unreliable software systems because everyone else does when they could run something proven that doesn't have all the inconsistencies and includes a decent set of documentation? The world may never know.
Microsoft's an exhibitor at the Linux World Expo????
I've been playing around with the Panasonic KX-HCM10 network cameras at work. It's a slick little piece of gear - web interface, you jack it right into your LAN with CAT-5, you can swivel the lens around remotely via said web interface... they're fun to play around with. No audio pickup, though, which might not be a bad thing.
Well, another distribution server was cracked and the source code there trojaned - this time it was IRCii-pana. Before that it was fragroute v1.2. What's going on here? Are most systems on the Net that vulnerable? It's an interesting method of backdooring a system, I'll admit (judging by when and how someone downloading the source gets an infectged copy, they did a good job on the FTP daemon of the server or the system libraries of the server itself - that's good code, but might be difficult to conceal), but it's not really a new technique (the same thing happened to TCP wrappers v7.6 back in 1999). I wonder how much more it will happen... I wonder more who's behind it, actually. They're going to great lengths to get trojaned code out there in such a way that a good segment of the Net's population will come across it.
Hmmm.. I wonder if this is someone's way of making an example of some sysadmins - it's easy to get too lax with your system security. The conspiratorial part of my brain makes me wonder if this isn't part of a plan to discredit the open source movement, but somehow I doubt it. Given some of the stuff Micro$oft's pulled in the past, though, it is a tempting train of thought to ride upon.
Slackware v8.1 mirrors are still flooded.
Philip Zimmerman finally made his voice heard regarding NAI killing the commercial version of PGP!
Scary - my Newton Messgepad 2000+ (upgraded MP2k, I just like using the '+' character occasionally) started throwing -10061 errors this morning, which means that the package manager was trying to map locations on the storage card into DRAM but couldn't. I'm running Avi's Backdrop, though, which has a fix for this sort of error built into it. I powered Satsuki on and hit the reset button on the back and that seems to have fixed things. If this has never happened to you, keep your head screwed on straight and try this before you do anything else.
Well, HOPE 2002 is at (t - 11) days and counting. I'm excited about going to this. I hope to see some old friends that I've lost track of, confirm the life or death of some other folks who've all but disappeared after 9/11 (there's my obligatory 9/11 reference for you) so I know what to do, and maybe have some fun with some of the toys that will be there (like the antique computer gallery.) We'll see how things turn out in the days to come. I wonder if I still have the BASIC code for that cricket-noise programme for the Commodore-64.... that was loads of fun. I don't think it'll be audible given the general racket of the convention, though.
Maybe I'll hack together a destructo-box out of the stuff in my lab and bring it with me. Whoever cracks it can keep it. I havn't decided yet.
Here's something neat: The latest revision of JWZ's Xscreensaver has some new features in the 'xmatrix' module. It's kind of neat - let it run for a while and see what it does - I don't want to give it away. I'm going to hack around on the code to v4.05 of this module to see if I can make it configurable if I've got time tonight. This is too neat a feature to not mess around with.
I was installing the Micro$oft .NET package for Windows 2000 on a workstation at work today and I saw the following line (verbatim, mind you) in the EULA:
You may not disclose the results of any benchmark test of the .NET Frmaework component of the OS Components to any third party without Microsoft's prior written approval.
Cute. That way you don't know if .NET is what you need to write a fast application until it's too late (i.e., you've already bought the developer's kit and paid for it) - you can't look around to see what other people thought of its speed (or presumably its reliability) before you make the decision. Way to fleece the industry, guys.
I got bored at work today and decided to try to compile the GNOME system on my workstation. I think I see Inanna somewhere up ahead.
I just realised that I've been grinding my teeth all weekend - that's where my headache's been coming from.