Category Archives: malfunctioning computers

urgh… creepy… 😒

okay, officially, ChatGPT works better than google.

when i upgraded to jammy, the application that i use to transcribe CDs — K3B — also got upgraded. because of the fact that i installed fresh, rather than upgrading, K3B was installed without the encoder needed to transcribe CDs into .flac files (why is still beyond me). i KNEW i needed to enable the FLAC encoder, but i couldn’t figure out how…

so i went to google, typed in “how to enable flac encoder in k3b”, and got a HUGE PILE of links, most of which were for how to transcribe FLAC files into audio CD format — exactly the OPPOSITE of what i want to do. then i typed in “enable flac encoder k3b” and got another HUGE PILE of links, most of which were EXACTLY THE SAME as the last time… although, this time, the top link was to the K3B manual, so i tried that, and got a couple of links which were mostly incomprehensible, primarily because they were talking about things that AREN’T K3B, or flac files. i tried several other combinations of queries at google, over the course of an hour or so, with similar results, getting more and more frustrated every time…

then i tried ChatGPT…

i typed in “how to enable the flac encoder in K3B”…

and it gave me PRECISE, STEP BY STEP INSTRUCTIONS for how to enable the flac encoder in K3B…

ChatGPT instructions for enabling the FLAC encoder in K3B
ChatGPT instructions for enabling the FLAC encoder in K3B

and it WORKED!! 😒🤨🤔

officially, ChatGPT works better than google.

boycott western digital! 😠

Western Digital confirms digital burglary, calls in law enforcement

western digital is, ultimately, responsible for the great cloud drive crack of 2021, and they still haven’t made good. the only thing they’ve done is offer me a 40% off coupon for a new cloud drive. 😠 as if 40% off is going to console me after 40 years of my personal data, artwork, music, and everything else, was summarily deleted by some low-life miscreant who doesn’t even know me. as if 40% off would even REMOTELY convince me to change my mind, and purchase another storage drive from them, EVER… 😠

i say, the more WD experiences shit like this, the better i like it, and if the person or persons who did this, ever need a place to hide out, my house is always open.

Continue reading boycott western digital! 😠

and to think… 😒

at one time i was a major apple fanboy… 😒

admittedly, it was back when the operating system was free, and all you had to do was go into your local computer store with four floppy disks, and you would walk out with a functioning operating system… in the early ’90s…

these days, apple has turned into a proprietary nightmare, which penalises people who buy and sell apple products without going through “proper” channels.

example:

my tablet has been needing service more and more frequently. it got a slight bend in the frame, and, apparently, the way they are made is flimsy enough that the strongest element is the screen… which breaks at the slightest breeze in the wrong direction.

my tablet first started exhibiting the symptom of “not charging” a few years ago. the first time it happened was when it was still under applecare warranty, but i took it to a third party repair shop (one hour device repair) once the applecare had expired. one hour device repair has a lifetime warranty on repairs, so subsequent times it started exhibiting this symptom, i took it back and got it fixed for free… and, usually, got a new screen in the process, because they had broken it in the process of fixing the charge port.

then, a couple months ago, someone (it may have been thaddeus, but i’m not sure) sat on the tablet (or something) which put enough of a bend in the frame that the screen no longer met the edge of the frame… at which point i started needing to get it repaired (for free) more frequently, but, on the up side, they could get the screen off without breaking it.

the last time this happened was last week. i took it in, and they diagnosed a new problem with one of the power management chips. they said that, under normal circumstances, their experience has been that once this power management chip starts to go, there isn’t anything that can be done to fix it.

🙄

so, knowing that apple sells “refurbished” equipment for EXORBITANT prices, the first place i looked was on craigslist, where i found an ALMOST IDENTICAL tablet (the old one is a 3rd gen., and the new one is a 4th gen.) for $690… which is A LOT less than i could get it refurbished (starts around $1,200 and goes up from there). i contacted the guy, and arranged to pick it up (which is what i was doing at dick’s drive in the other day). he said that the applecare subscription expired tomorrow (which is now yesterday), but he was going to extend it a month, so i could get a chance to switch it over to my name.

so, i called applecare, and (after getting cut off mid-call), i finally learned that i couldn’t switch the applecare to my name, because it had to be done by the original owner. so i contacted the guy, and arranged to meet him in issaquah. when he called applecare, they asked him his name, and the serial number of the device…

and then, they told him that it is NOT POSSIBLE to switch the applecare to anybody else. i can’t even wait for the applecare in his name to expire, and then subscribe with my name, because i am not the original purchaser.

if i had bought a “refurbished” tablet (from apple), it would have come with “refurbished applecare”, but, because i bought it directly from the seller, they didn’t have a chance to “refurbish” it, and they aren’t willing to issue a new applecare subscription.

AT ALL!

EVER!!!

🤬

apple has just lost ANY loyalty i may have still had for their products. this is totally stupid! 🤬

this is friday, right?

today is the day one hour device repair said they would repair my device… because they couldn’t do it tuesday, because the right person wasn’t in. so i took my device in to redmond, watched the guy open up the shop, he took my device, said the board tech would be in in about an hour, and he would text me when it was ready, and i went home.

when i got home, i got a text from the guy. he said that his board tech had called in sick, and they’d have it done tomorrow.

except that i have to, you know, USE it tomorrow… 😒

fortunately, i have printouts of all the required pieces of music for tomorrow’s rehearsal, because there’s almost a 100% guarantee that IF they actually have it done tomorrow, it WILL NOT be in time to take it to the rehearsal, and i’m still not 100% convinced that they’re not going to break the screen in the process of taking it apart… which, naturally, will mean that it will be EVEN LONGER until i get it back. 😒

this time, instead of being one step forwards and two steps back, it’s actually been two steps forward and one step back. i wonder how long i’ll be able to keep up this pace? 😒

now that’s what i’m talkin’ ’bout!

i made the jump from kubuntu 18.04 to kubuntu 20.04 today, and it went smoother than i had ever hoped, in my wildest imagination… 😎

i’ve been slowly configuring the computer for about a month now, and i finally found an old debian CD that had the .deb file for sigrot, which i installed this morning… and that’s pretty much the last thing that i had to install from external sources.

my old .deb file for sigrot went away with the old cloud drive data, and they discontinued it around 2000, so it’s “no longer available”… but it turns out that i can purchase install CDs for old versions of debian from LinuxCollections dot com — apparently the modern version of CheapBytes dot com, which went out of business a while ago 😢 oh well… — and it turns out that the versions of debian called “slink” and “potato” have the most up to date version, and it works perfectly well on kubuntu 20.04…

and why wouldn’t it? ‼⁉ it’s a tiny little application that only interacts with plaintext files that I provide, and it only makes a .signature file, so it’s not relying on system calls or hardware requirements… why they would have discontinued it is beyond me… apart from the fact that, i’m fairly sure, nobody but me even uses a .signature file, these days… 😈

i already had to install gucharmap, because no KDE-based character map works as well for what i do, and i’ve also installed the “Deep Connections” gramplet in the new version of GRAMPS, which is A LOT easier than it has been in previous versions. i’m fairly sure that there will be other things that i will install as i use the machine more, but i’ve got the old machine set up next to me, and i can use its configuration as an example when i need to.

at this point, the system looks good, and the minor tweaks that it needs will get done when they come up, because this is good. 😉

but this is, far and away, the easiest complete system upgrade i have ever experienced. THIS is the way it SHOULD happen, ALL THE TIME!! 😁👍👍

also, i finally got a mouse whose third button works the way it’s supposed to, which means that, now, i have to UNLEARN the “copy-and-paste” gesture that i have been forced to use, because the old mouse had a third button that didn’t work consistently. new computers that work the way they’re supposed to, ROCK!!

urgh

so, the tablet-fixer shop got the part in, and they said i could come in any time, and they would fix it “while you wait”… so i took it in this morning, only to discover that the person who can fix it (without destroying it) won’t be in until friday, unless i want to take it to bothell…

the thing is, i’m still more convinced than not, that they’re going to break the screen in the process of taking it apart… like they have, twice, in the past… and if they’re going to have to replace the screen, i would rather that the people who have dealt with me, and my device, in the past, be the ones that deal with me this time, rather than having to “break in” (so to speak) a new person, when my device gets broken… 😒

but i’ve got a zoom class on thursday, and, while i CAN do it on my phone, it’s A LOT smaller than my tablet, which makes things like responding to chats A LOT more difficult… and i’ve got the final rehearsal for the moisture festival on saturday, so if they DO break the screen, it probably won’t be fixed until after the second week of moisture festival, which is the first week i am supposed to be playing the moisture festival… which is decidedly LESS than ideal. 😒

the guy was supposed to come by yesterday and finish the insulation on the ductwork, but because of the plumbing disaster that happened over the weekend, and the EXTREME squeamishness of the guy, it turned out that he REFUSED to work, because of a little puddle of clean water that was left over from them running the hose into the cleanout under the house… 😒 our next door neighbour (who is a professional plumber) came over during the actual disaster, and again, after the HVAC guy left. what the HVAC guy said made me think that there were new leaks and ground saturated with grey water, but when i and the plumber went into the crawl space, the only moisture we could find was a small puddle of clean water… the plumber said that the HVAC guy was being a prima donna and a “pussy”, and called him up to tell him so… which i thought was EXTREMELY funny. but HE won’t be back until NEXT TUESDAY!! 🤬 and they want the crawl space to be COMPLETELY dry, and clean, before they will complete the work… the thing is, the weather has been rainy for a week, now, and, even with a fan down there, the ground moisture is NOT going away. i got a 25-foot sheet of visqueen which i’m going to lay down after a couple more days of the fan being down there, but, if the guy doesn’t finish the work, then i guess i’m not going to pay them the $6,000 that we agreed on when they started. 😒

on the plus side, i met someone who, i think, is my third cousin, once removed: ryan dorward, currently from bali, but normally from vancouver, BC, otherwise known as SHARPS. he is the great-great-grandson of John Muir Dorward, the elder brother of Peter Dorward, my great-great-great-grandfather… which makes our common ancestor Robert Dorward, who lived from 1803 to 1846 in Arbroath, Scotland.

here we go again… 🙄

i’ve got a zoom class this evening, a telehealth appointment tomorrow, and a moisture festival rehearsal on saturday…

… and my tablet decided to stop charging this morning. 🤬

i got in touch with the technician that replaced the charging port (odd that this seems to happen on an almost yearly basis… odd indeed… 😒), and informed him that it had quit charging again, and he said i should bring it in. so i left an hour earlier than normal, and headed up the east side of the lake to redmond, where the technician confirmed that it was, indeed, a faulty charging port, said that they would fix it on warranty, and ordered the new part. 👍

problem is, i’m fairly sure he DIDN’T also order a new screen at the same time… and this particular model of ipad is NOTORIOUS for screen breakage when you have to open it up FOR ANYTHING… kinda like they had to do last year (and the year before) when they replaced the charging port. it turned into a two week job, during which time the screen of my tablet was BROKEN, which precluded me from using it for ANYTHING… 😒

and that can’t happen this time, because i have zoom classes, telehealth appointments, and moisture festival rehearsals AND PERFORMANCES in the next three weeks. i can get through the rehearsals and performances with my old-school hard-copy music, and the zoom classes and telehealth appointments THEORETICALLY can take place on my phone, but it will be at least three levels of hassle that i would rather avoid, if i had the choice. 😒

ARGH! (A₁R₁G₁H₁)

another casualty of the cloud drive crack:

my “HANDY-DANDY LIST OF WHEN THINGS HAPPENED”

which i have been updating since my injury (2003) to help me keep track of what happened in my life, and when it happened in relation to other things that happened in my life.

my recollection is that it was a fairly complete, if compact, version of an “autobiography”, which i had been updating with new material, or changing around the position of old material when new evidence came to light, for a LOOOOOONG time… it was DEFINITELY a “working document”, and it’s gone. poof. 😩😖

a couple weeks ago, i started to rebuild it, but i’m confounded by the fact that things that appear very vividly in my memory don’t seem to match up in a predictable way with the timeline of my life. i don’t remember when important things happened:

for example, i am reasonably certain that i lived in St. Gordy’s house in 1988, but the job i remember having — working at mellowoods and music in friday harbour, doing musical instrument repair for the friday harbor traditional jazz festival — didn’t happen until 1991… and i actually HAVE a button from the friday harbor traditional jazz festival, and it actually SAYS “1991” on it, so it’s kind of hard for me to argue…

but, the problem is that i lived in St. Gordy’s house for a while, then i moved up the street a couple blocks and lived there for a year or so, then i moved into the dome in 1990, and i lived there until i moved to thillberg road, in mount vernon, with ruth…

or, when i freight hopped to wenatchee… i know i lived in the dorms during 1979 and 1980, and i moved to lummi island for 6 to 8 months, and then i moved to mackenzie street, and lived there until i moved to seattle to start the tech school, in 1984. i also know that i didn’t freight hop to wenatchee until i lived at mackenzie street, but i can’t remember, for sure, whether it happened in 1982 or 1983. at this point, i’m LEANING TOWARDS 1982, because i have calendars and sketchbooks from the early 1980s that may seem to indicate that, but nothing is written in clear enough language that i can be totally certain. 😖

fortunately, Ezra, St. Igon (with whom i freight hopped to wenatchee), and St. Gordy are still in my “contacts” list, but this whole thing started when St. Igon ASKED ME when we went to wenatchee, and that was AFTER i had already started to rebuild my list.

and ezra is in michigan with his sweetie, and won’t be back until mid-december…

FRUSTRATING!! 😖😖

so, my tablet is broken, again…

this time it started out as a charging port. it was intermittent for a while, i had to plug it in a certain way, with the plug held just so, or it wouldn’t work. then i upgraded the OS to 15.x and it ceased charging all together. of course i noticed right away, since i almost always keep it plugged in to power, unless i’m actually using it for something.

i had to wait a week (with my tablet unable to charge) while they waited for a part to come in. i was supposed to pick it up today.

i heard the technician who actually fixed it, say, about 3rd gen 12.9″ ipad pros, he’d seen one with a broken charging port “last week”. he also said the job was sensitive, because switching the charge port means disassembling the screen, which is “sensitive”… which meant that they might have to replace the screen as well…

i don’t think i was intended to hear that part, because the technician was talking to his boss, but… well…

he was right.

they broke the screen. 😒

i was supposed to pick it up at 2:00, and when i walked in, the guy said that there had been an “issue” with the screen, and that i was getting a new screen, which — he said — would be delivered “tomorrow”…

the last time they replaced the screen (last year? two years ago?) their replacement “tomorrow” took around a week. and, because of the fact that they broke it, while in the process of fixing something else, they get the privelege of keeping my tablet until the screen comes in (whenever that ends up being). 😒

and, of course, i have a telemedicine appointment tomorrow… 😒 i think i can do it on my phone, but i have never done it before, so it’ll be challenging, at the very least. 😒

yawn

nothing has been happening.

nothing has been happening politically, nothing has been happening socially, nothing has been happening musically, nothing has been happening in regards to the COVID virus… i now have A LOT of “free” time: every other week i have a one-hour appointment with kate, and every week i have my one-hour circus class, but that’s it. 😩

i’ve been spending a lot of time hiking on taylor mountain.

i shipped out two incense orders, today. i’m averaging between two and six orders a month, and, before i got cracked a few months ago, i actually had over a thousand dollars in my bank account… but then i got cracked, and spent it all on replacement hardware and a pile of recovered, possibly useful data.

i have expanded ZIP files for about a tenth of my fonts collection, from the recovered data. mostly TTF files, and just a small fraction of the fonts i used to have. fortunately, my recollection is that my entire >10,000 font library is backed up on CD, somewhere… i’m sifting through the rest of the recovered data slowly, and more or less randomly: it’s totally discouraging to look at this huge pile of recovered data, which took me a couple decades to accumulate, but which is now many, many schrödinger’s cats with random file names, EVERY ONE OF WHICH has to be opened to determine whether or not it’s corrupt, and if it’s not, what general pile it goes in, which all have to be sorted again, later on, and then, probably, sorted at least once more before they’re back in more-or-less the place where they’re supposed to be. 😒

so, it’s something to do, but, literally, i would rather be doing ANYTHING else… 🤬

i ordered some “performance masks” from J.W.Pepper a few weeks ago. they were back-ordered (without my knowledge), and, when i talked to a customer service drone on monday last week, i was assured that they would be shipping out later that week, but i still haven’t seen or heard anything. they’re called “performance” masks, because they look like you’re wearing a mask, but, in reality, the mask has a hole in the front, that your mouthpiece goes through, which makes it practically useless as an actual mask… but the new rule at the market is that the only buskers allowed MUST BE masked, so it’s either wear a “performance” mask, or don’t busk. 😒 but i can’t busk at all, until the “performance” masks are delivered, and, as far as i can tell, at this point, they’re still on back order, and who knows when they’re going to arrive. 😞

however… 😒

one distinct DISadvantage to having a new, working cloud drive, is that there have been two different occasions within the past two days, where i thought of something, and went to look for the source files, thinking that i knew exactly where they were located, only to discover that they were on the OLD cloud drive… 😒

god DAMN whatever anonymous skript-kiddie that caused this! 🤬👎‼

umph!

i’ve come to a decision.

there are over 150,000 separate files, which takes up 4.5GB, in the .jpg directory alone, of the recovered data.

it took my computer half an hour of doing nothing but loading the directory, before it was completely loaded. every time i opened a file, it took 10 minutes to reload the directory.

i would have to open every one of them to determine if it’s corrupt or not, and if not (about ⅔ of the time), i would then have to determine what it is, and where to put it.

if it takes me (conservatively) 30 seconds per document to make those determinations, i will be doing this for the next 4,500,000 seconds, or more than 7 months of doing NOTHING but opening files to determine whether or not they’re corrupt… no eating, sleeping, shitting, busking or anything else, just slogging away in front of the computer.

factoring in those other things, i’m looking at a couple years, minimum. 😒

i may have been willing to do it at one time… who am i kidding, i’ve NEVER been willing to do that, for that long, for as little payment as i would get. 😒

it’s sad, but there it is: the last 6 years of my life, in pictures, and they’re all going down the toilet, along with a significant portion of my business, my music and artwork, and monique’s photos from the past 6 years.

now, do i keep the data on my new cloud drive, or do i delete it. i’ve also got it on the 1TB external drive that the data recovery folks sent me, so it wouldn’t be entirely deleted… but… 😭

this is one of the times the computer has won the battle. 😒

ETA: interesting, but extremely BIZARRE development is that, upon further investigation, there is a “.jpg” directory, and a “photos” directory, in the recovered data. the documents that are in the .jpg directory are about ⅔ usable files, but their names are gibberish, and there are more than 150,000 of them, all in one directory. however, for some strange reason, the files that are in the “photos” directory are in subdirectories that indicate the manufacturer of the camera, scanner or printer (of which there are about 50), and further subdirectories that indicate the make and model of the camera, scanner or printer (there are A LOT of them), and the files themselves, for the most part, contain the date they were taken in the filename… and, let me tell you, i have A LOT easier time figuring out what a photo is if it is named something like IMG_20061129_133315 (49EA1400).jpg than i do if it is named 80AB2B00.jpg… A LOT!

oh, alright… 😒

this is an update. what i’ve been doing:

busking. this has been a long time coming. it’s really good to get out and play music for people, and, so far, we’ve been averaging between $15 and $25 apiece for an hour or so of busking. now, instead of howlin’ hobbit and his ukulele, it’s thaddeus and his banjitar — an interesting hybrid, that looks like a banjo, but has six strings and is tuned like a guitar. as i’ve always said, the money is an extra, added bonus, for me, and it’s still true, even after a year and a half… but it’s always nice, and we’ve actually already got one “paying” gig as a result: the pike place market is putting on a “sunset supper”, and is hiring market buskers at $100 apiece for an hour of busking while rich people eat food… that is, most likely, NOT offered to the buskers, but they’re paying $100 apiece, so it’s sort of okay… the BSSB has started rehearsals again, too, which is another bonus. 😉

ripping CDs back into my music collection. i have only gotten the barest of starts sorting the recovery data, in spite of the fact that, in the small print, the data recovery people say that their “free” recovery media (a 1TB hard disk, in my case) only has a warranty of five DAYS — which, to me, says “if you don’t get your data off our recovery media post haste, we’re not going to guarantee that you’ll have ANYTHING, regardless of how much you may have paid us.” nevertheless, at this point, i’ve got all of the data that really made a difference (the panchamukhi ganesha from my car, the spreadsheet containing the data for the Incense of the Month Club, and the spreadsheet of blocked-for-spamming IP addresses), and, basically, if i had anything else i need, i don’t remember it, and probably won’t until i need that data again, which will mean that i’m probably going to have to keep going back to the recovery data on occasion, for the rest of my life… however, if i already have freshly ripped .flac files, then, when i finally get around to slogging through the 1TB MESS of recovered data, it will be slightly less of a concern if the archives i got are incomplete or corrupt. this is an ongoing project that is probably going to take several weeks to finish, and while it’s going on, i may not post here, as much.

hiding from the smoke and heat. it hasn’t been as bad as it was a couple years ago, but it’s definitely smoke season. i look out my office window and see orange skys and translucent air, and the AQI is 63, which is firmly in the “yellow” range. busking, yesterday, was an extra bonus, because it was around 10°F cooler at the market than it was at home… it’s 20° cooler than it was in june(!!), but it’s still in the high-90°s, which is extremely rare around here, in my experience. the government climate change investigatory committee just released the first part of their study, a few days ago, and it says what climat change activists have been saying for 30+ years, now, which is, basically, climate change is real, it’s happening, and it was definitely caused by humans… and then, two days later, 7 democrats switched positions, and voted with ALL the republicans, to pass a law making it illegal for the government to EVER ban fracking. 🤬 so, i guess that means that, ultimately, climate change will kill us all, but the rich people are going to die last. 🤬🤬 i have never wanted to, but it’s my impression that, soon, i will have to apologise to ezra for bringing him into a world where he may never reach his full potential, because of the thoughtlessness and carelessness of my immediate ancestors.

hiding from the virus. the delta variant is 1000 times more contagious than the original strain, and they’re saying that recipients of the pfizer vaccine, at least, will have to get a “booster” shot, but they’re not saying when it will be available, or how long we have to wait before getting one. in the mean time, schools have been making masks optional, and reopening, and then closing down again, when 40% of the students get COVID, while the right wing, q-anon devotee, anti-mask, anti-vax, trump morons are dying by the thousands, and STILL ranting their nonsense about it affecting pregnancies, or tracking microchips in the vaccine. there’s an image i saw on twitter that is, basically, a huge banner, strung between two cars, that says they’ll never get the vaccine, and that you’ll have to kill them… the ironic part is that, most likely, we won’t have to kill them, because the virus will do that for us, and we won’t have to do anything. hospitals are failing in missouri, texas, and florida, where the governors are particularly anti-mask and anti-vax, despite the surge in cases, and a vast majority of the fatalities have been people who refused the vaccine. at this rate, we’re going to be dealing with this pandemic for A LOT longer than the 1918 “spanish flu” pandemic, primarily because of STUPID people who won’t get the vaccine or wear masks, on account of their “freedom”. 🤬

hope? — dashed?

sorting through the mess of recovered data is heartbreaking.

i’m finding all sorts of stuff that, once i actually see (or hear) a bit of it, i know exactly what it is, and i’m starting to get things organised enough that, some of the time, i even have a place to put it, once i’ve discovered what it is…

but, then… everything doesn’t come crashing down, but…

i haveHAD a CDR album called “We Bore 2“, which was one of my favourites. it was produced in 2003 by Toast & Jam Records, which has, since, gone out of business, and their web site is now a japanese porn site… it was a “various artists” compilation of electronic, experimental, glitch music, and it was AWESOME!

i found a .RAR archive with the .mp3s for “We Bore 2”, and i was, like, “COOL!”… i expanded the archive, and put it in the place it had been taken from in my collection, and went on to the next archive.

today, for the first time, i actually LISTENED to “We Bore 2″…

yeah, all the tracks are there, but track 1 is NOT what was there the last time i listened to “We Bore 2″… and track 2 is also the same way, to a lesser extent… and track 3 is pretty messed up… and track four is mostly there, except for a patch in the middle which is totally missing… and track 5… and track 7… and track 8… and track 9… 😭

pretty much all of the tracks have something wrong with them…

and i can’t get another copy of the CD, because i originally downloaded it as a .rar file…

and, i’m pretty sure (given the huge quantity of .rar and .zip files that got recovered) that more than a few of them are going to have exactly the same problem. 😭

ETA: all is not lost… well, for “We Bore 2” anyway… it turns out i actually have the original CDR for this album… but i’m fairly sure that is NOT going to be the case with a majority of the .rar and .zip archives i have…

gress

why is the opposite of “progress” not “congress” rather than “regress”?

i got in contact with the vehicle-wrap artist that did the actual artwork for the previous car, and he, also, sent me an .eps file containing the original artwork, so i’m sure i have backed it up, now… although i haven’t backed it up to the cloud drive, yet, because i can still only access it through a web browser on my linux box, and not at all on my mac laptop… and i am worried that they’re not going to be able to make it work on my mac laptop, because i did the steps to auto-mount a network drive, at startup, and it took my password and chewed on it for 30 seconds or so, and then rejected it… i THINK it’s because the cloud drive wants me to login to /cgi-bin/ but the ancient mac will only let me login to the base server URI. and on the linux box, it allows me to specify the login directory, and accepts my password, but never gets beyond that, to actually logging me in — it just repeats its request for a username and password, over, and over, and over, and over… 😕 hopefully, when the guy comes over this evening to give me the keys, he will be able to conclusively address these issues.

ETA: he addressed those issues like a boss, and had BOTH the ancient mac and my linux box wrapped around the NAS’s little finger in about 10 minutes… the old mac, apparently, doesn’t like the domain name, and REALLY doesn’t like the fact that my username has an @ symbol in it, but it eats up the intranet IP address like it’s going out of style, and, because of the fact that it’s ONLY addressing the NAS from the intranet, i just gave it the administrator username instead of my username… and the linux box was, basically, the same, once we figured out how to do it… and connecting monique’s computer was easiest of all: just gave it the intranet IP address and everything was kosher. 😎

there’s A LOT of music in .zip or .rar archives in my recovered data, so, once i get to the point of actually expanding those archives, i will have a significant part of my music collection back… for that matter, i’m pretty sure i “backed up” my music collection to CD, around 10 years ago or so, which means that, once i find where i’ve put it, there’s a good chance that my music collection will be back to 75% to 80% of what it was prior to the crack.

the western digital support personnel that i talked to on 210724, who said that someone would be calling me “monday or tuesday” lied, because it is now wednesday, and i HAVE NOT received a call from them… which only strengthens my suspicion that they are NOT going to try to contact me until after 210731, which is their deadline for making a claim through their data recovery program. 😒

the process of categorising partially corrupt files is both time-consuming, and ultimately frustrating, because, once i have rough-categorised the files, i have to go back through, re-open every file again to determine what it is, re-name the file, and then categorise it AGAIN… and A LOT of the file names started with the date that they were last looked at, which, frequently, is a complete mystery from inside the document, so even when i have them renamed, and categorised, i still can’t complete a time-line for stuff that was modified more than once… which will, very likely, cause major headaches in the future, particularly with documens created for other peoples’ printing. 😒

seriously, whatever anonymous skript-kiddie did this to me — who has never even met them before — just for “lulz” — better hope that i don’t run into them late at night in a dark alley, because, if that ever happens, the result will NOT be positive for anyone. 🤬

on a lighter note, i got my physical copies of questionable content, the electronic copies of which were lost… i’m slowly getting everything put back together.

but i still have to rewrite the IOTM blurb about patchouli for next month, because it’s coming up really soon, and it’s the only IOTM blurb that i didn’t get back… which is a real shame, because the old one was really amusing, and i don’t know if i can remember all of what i said.

new nas

lord buckley would love this…

but, unfortunately, lord buckley was part of the data that either wasn’t recovered, is corrupted, or i haven’t found it yet because i’m dealing with sixty gazillion files that are named something like 0SVP8382U794.mp3 or 3O1458DNLWO.jpg, because all of their meta-data has been deleted. 😒

anyway, the new NAS is up and running, although not completely configured yet. i have an “app” on my phone and tablet that gives me access to the cloud drive, and i can access it through a web browser on my antique mac and my linux box.

ETA: and accessing it through a web browser is an entirely new experience for me, because, despite the fact that it’s in a web browser, the “pages” are things like the file center, which allows me to “drag-and-drop” files from my local computer, to upload them. basically it acts like a window, even though it’s technically a web page. will wonders never cease?

although i’m fairly sure linux has a more direct way of accessing the cloud drive, the guy who came by to set it up wasn’t a linux geek, and, apparently, has never met a linux geek in the general public. he was astounded when i told him that i had been running linux for 20 years… 😉

but the new NAS is WAY cooler than the old cloud drive, primarily because it is, apparently, possible to edit files while they are still in the cloud, rather than having to download them, edit them locally, and then over-write the old file on the cloud. if what i have already experienced with audio files is true, the likelyhood of my losing any MORE music is practically eliminated. also, it appears to be possible to install executable code on the NAS, and run it locally, which would make things EXTRA SUPER COOL, but i’m not 100% sure of it, yet. 😉

ETA: the NAS has, apparently, either configured itself, or something has been installed remotely that allows it to communicate with my linux system via a number of different protocols, including SMB, MTP (whatever that is — Media Transfer Protocol… who knew?), HTTPS, and bluetooth… which is really odd, because my computer doesn’t even have a bluetooth reciever, so i kinda wonder where the “Bluetooth” icon in the remote network directory came from… unfortunately, i have been unable to connect with anything other than HTTPS, even though the SMB instance takes my password and doesn’t say it’s wrong, it just won’t log me in… which is something to take up with the configurators tomorrow.

the “twisted pair” who are whipping my computers into shape doing my configuration are going to be finished up tomorrow, at which point i hope to have the more direct method of connecting on at least the linux box (if they aren’t able to figure out the antique mac, i understand). i’ve already got a lot of stuff sorted out of the recovered data, including a whole bunch of music, embeded in .zip archives, which appears to be uncorrupted, so, initially, it appears that i may not have lost everything. oh, i also discovered a bunch of CDs that have the date 4/20/13 on them, that appear to be raw .wav files of my first three cassettes, originally produced in the 1980s. if they are as pristine as they appear, then i MIGHT NOT have lost all my old music.

AND western digital FINALLY got back to me — i originally reported the loss on 210624, and, since then, i have sent the drive to texas, waited two weeks, and had the people in texas deliver the drive back to me, which arrived ONE WEEK BEFORE the western digital team (which “values your data”) got around to contacting me… 😒 they said they couldn’t help me unless i uploaded the system logs, but when i plugged in the drive, it wouldn’t even mount on mac, which means that they couldn’t even talk me through the process of recovering the system logs, at which point the issue was “escalated”, and they are, alledgedly, going to call me back monday or tuesday. at this point, i would estimate that it’s NOT particularly likely that western digital is going to call me back before 210731, which is when their web site says i have to have contacted them regarding a data loss from CVE-2018-18472… because after 210731, they don’t have to do anything about it. 😒

mrgmf!

so, according to the latest theory, a script kiddie found out about, and took advantage of CVE-2018-18472, but the bug doesn’t just allow anyone with the IP address to login as admin…

the bug allows anyone with the IP address to login as admin AND DO A FACTORY RESET!! 🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬

what this means is that the files weren’t just deleted, they were OVERWRITTEN… a factory reset reformats the drive and re-installs the operating system.

which means that the files that are gone, are gone for good. there’s no getting them back, at this point… 🤬😢🤬😢🤬😢🤬😢🤬😢🤬😢🤬😢🤬😢🤬😢🤬😢🤬😢🤬😢🤬😢🤬😢

i have resurrected ganesha the graphic

140215 Panchamukhi Ganesha The Car
140215 Panchamukhi Ganesha The Car
last night at about 10:30, i found a couple of .eps files of the graphic for my car.

vector renditions, i.e. infinitely expandable and contractable, keeping the same line quality.

today, i confirmed that they are the original, and my modified versions of the graphic, which is excellent, because, otherwise, i wouldn’t have artwork for my NEW car…

whee? 😕

oh, definitely whee… the new car is a hybrid that gets almost 50MPG, and is only slightly smaller than the current car, although it’s white, and not black…

such is life.

i got the data

good news: i got back (most of, as far as i’ve been able to tell, so far) my IOTM club records, including, most importantly the records of who paid when, and what they have received.

bad news: i’ve checked the largest adobe illustrator documents i can find, and they’re all corrupt, which means, very likely, that the artwork for my car is no longer, and when i get a new car (which might be a lot sooner than i expected), i will have to come up with new artwork for it.

i still have A LOT of files to evaluate… like more than a week, of solid 8-hour days, doing NOTHING but evaluating files… possibly as much as a month of 8-hour days. 😒

and that’s NOT listening to music and watching videos… that’s opening files, to make sure that they’re not totally corrupt, and listening to no more than 5 or 10 seconds of the music or video, to make sure that they’re not TOTALLY corrupt, and then rough-classifying the file based on the contents i’ve seen… and then going to the next file in the list.

which, of course, is leaving me with files where all but the last 5 or 10 seconds of music or video is corrupt, but the rest of it is fine, which is almost more frustratingly irritating than if the entire file was corrupt. 🤬🤬

also, more bad news: there were NO .ogg, .flac, .aif or .aup files recovered AT ALL, which means that NONE of the music that i have recorded since 1983 made it. 😢

i MAY still have the cassettes on to which they were originally mixed down, but they haven’t been played for at least 20 years, and i don’t hold out much hope. ken may have some of my stuff, because he is a music hoarder, and i have played music with him since 1985 or thereabouts, but he lives in bellingham. and i can download .flac files from bandcamp for all of the CDs i have made, except for the one that was made right after my brain injury, which isn’t all there on bandcamp… 😒

but, at this point, it doesn’t look particularly encouraging, and i strongly suspect that i’m going to have to re-rip ALL of the physical media i own, which is another couple of months of solid 8-hour days, at least. 😒

and that doesn’t even begin to address the HUGE quantities of music of which i have purchased and downloaded ONLY electronic copies, like the 40+ albums from ergo phizmiz which i have been collecting for AT LEAST 20 years.

it feels good to have created a way out of this mess, but it’s heartbreaking to think of how much quality work i have done that has been lost. 😢

ETA: i don’t know whether this is as good news as it could be, but i got a zip file full of business logos from my web designer, and there are a couple of high res graphics that are, basically, what i used on my car… and i actually found a couple of .eps files (which, i believe, are vector, and native to illustrator) of the graphic on my car… i haven’t checked, yet, because it’s late, and i really should be in bed, but, well… 😒 AND i am, officially, buying a new car (a hybrid, hyundai ioniq), which means that i’ve got to move my graphic, anyway.

updated answer

the answer costs $600, not $800. 👍

the answer is two 4TB disks in a RAID1 array, not 2TB disks, in a RAID1 array. 👍👍

i know that the cause of all this was the (potential) loss of all my data, but, at this point, i like where it’s all going A LOT more than i did two weeks ago… for that matter, i like where it’s all going a lot more than i did a month ago, before this all started happening. 😉

the answer

the answer is a 4TB NAS, two bays of 2TB each, in a RAID1 array.

this serves a dual purpose: the NAS is my “cloud drive”, and the RAID1 array is my backup.

i can “backup” the backup, to “the cloud” or to an external 2TB device (like a flash drive) on a regular basis if i want, at that point, for extra security.

the answer costs around $800, for them to come in, set it up, get all my devices talking to it, from the antique mac to the bleeding edge kubuntu box, and hand me the keys.

i can afford the answer, without having to get “household funds” involved.

why?

because someone send me almost $1,200 for one of my huge boxes of incense, that’s why. 👍

in other news, i paid them $600 and they’re mailing me back the remains of the old NAS, and a disk full of either data, or not-data. 😒 whee.

aarrgh… (which is a²r²gh for those of you keeping track)

i want to make a bootable kubuntu 20.04 USB flash drive, but i don’t know how (never done it before) to install from a USB flash drive… and “installing from a CD” is no longer an option.

and, apparently, cheapbytes.com is no longer in business… 😒

so, i go to https://averagelinuxuser.com/make-a-bootable-usb-drive-in-linux/ which contains step-by-step instructions for how to do it.

after spending half an hour figuring out which is the USB flash drive i want to put it on to (/dev/sdc — which i found out by removing all the other USB disk from my system, and typing “sudo fdisk -l”), i try to wipe /dev/sdc and reformat it (because it is formatted for mac), but when i type

sudo wipefs --all /dev/sdc

it says

wipefs: error: /dev/sdc: probing initialisation failed: Device or resource busy

so, i try

umount /dev/sdc

but it throws the same error…

i DO NOT UNDERSTAND!! the device is NOT “busy”, you dumb machine!! 🤬 but then i realise that the machine isn’t the dumb one here, and if it’s giving me an incomprehensible error, it must be because it has been given incomprehensible commands… by me… 🤬

so, i type:

sudo dd bs=4M if=/home/salamandir/Documents/Install/kubuntu-20.04.2.0-desktop-amd64.iso of=/dev/sdc status=progress && sync

and, eventually, it gives me

2643034112 bytes (2.6 GB, 2.5 GiB) copied, 163 s, 16.2 MB/s
630+1 records in
630+1 records out
2643034112 bytes (2.6 GB, 2.5 GiB) copied, 163.442 s, 16.2 MB/s

but after that, it hangs up. when i press "enter", after a LONG delay, it gives me

^C

and, after that... nothing.

i don't have the patience to learn all this again... i just want it to work... 😒

after another HOUR of futzing about, i figured it out... but it's REALLY frustrating, and i really don't have the patience to figure it all out without significant stress.

and, when i booted with the new system, it was UGLY, and i know FOR A FACT that i'm going to have to spend as much time tweaking the system to my preferences as i am going through endless stacks of numbered files, and re-filing them in more-or-less the right place, for about the next 3 years.

just another reason to give up computers all together and become a hermit. 😒

news

i heard from the data recovery people. they said:

There’s ~4 billion sectors on the 2TB drive. Head 0 died with ~55 million sectors left to read (very small percentage). It’s at the end of the drive so it was probably zeroes anyway. The main issue is that the metadata has been overwritten and the directory structure and file names are gone. This means that the files will have the correct extension but no names and no parent folders.

so, what they recover will be, essentially, files with their proper extensions — .ai, .otd, .doc, .otf, .txt, .mp3, .mp4, .html, .pdf, .eps, .jpg, .flac, .gif, .etc… — but with numbers, instead of file names… and if, as with the files from audacity, the project file uses ancillary files in the same directory, then the project files won’t open until ALL the ancillary files have the correct names, and are in the correct directory… 😒 they said, because of the way i was attacked, actual file recovery is not guaranteed, and recovered but corrupt files are billable, which means that i MIGHT end up with no readable data at all, and STILL have to pay for it. they said their “standard” service costs $600 and takes 5+ days, whereas their “expedited” service costs $1,000 (like moe said, everything costs $1,000 😒) and takes half that amount of time.

i contacted the place that built my last computer, InfoTech, when they opened, at 10:00 this morning. i gave them the specifications for a new computer (pentium G6400 4GHz, 16GB DDR4, Intel UHD 630, 2TB SATA HD, with the 1TB SATA SSD i’ve had since 2018 installed), and they said that they were going to send me an invoice, but, as of 3:00 this afternoon, i haven’t seen an invoice from them. once i’ve got the actual computer taken care of, i’ll ask them about a replacement for my WD cloud drive… although, i think i may avoid further western digital products, at this point. 😒

miraculously, i seem to have all the parts for this month’s incense of the month to be sent out with a minimum of hassle. i suppose that’s a good thing.

more computer headaches

so, i still haven’t heard from ace data recovery, because of the holiday weekend, but i decided to get my computer ready to take the new old data (if it still exists), by installing the 1TB SATA drive i’ve had sitting on my desk since 2018, which is the first time i thought i was going to need it…

however, it turns out that, because i got the “low profile” case, the last time i bought a computer (which, according to the label on the back, was 2015), there isn’t enough room to install the SATA drive, despite the fact that it’s ⅓ the size of the “normal” IDE drive.

i have two options. i can either buy a not-low-profile case, and pay someone to transfer all the internal shit (because i’m not skilled enough to do it, any longer), OR, for about $200 more, i can just buy an entirely new computer. 😒

it would cost around $700, give or take, to get a new computer, and have the 2018 SATA drive installed (thus making it a 2 HD system right off the top), and, at that point, i could hook up the hard disk from the old computer, via USB or something, and probably have enough space…

and moe sez it’s okay for me to spend that amount…

so, i guess i’m getting a new computer, as well. i remember when i would have been really excited at the prospect of a new computer, but, at this point, it’s JUST ANOTHER HEADACHE! 😠

let’s get on it, then! 😒

today, i got the following message from western digital:

Western Digital is working on a Data Recovery recovery program and allow us some time for the program to be put in place. I understand you sent the drive to a Data Recovery Center. If he (sic) would like Western Digital to assist with the recovery cost, we recommend to wait for the program to be active.

Some My Book Live devices connected to the Internet are being compromised by attackers and in some cases, the attackers have triggered a factory reset that appears to erase all data on the device.
We are here to help. Although this product family is no longer sold or supported by Western Digital, we know some of our customers have been impacted and we want to help.

If you have lost your data because of these attacks, we will provide data recovery services which will be available beginning in July.

We know how important your data is to you and are committed to helping you protect it.

We will provide details about how to take advantage of this program in a separate email.

For more detailed information and updates, please refer to the Security Bulletin listed below.

WDC-21008 Recommended Security Measures for WD My Book Live and WD My Book Live Duo
https://www.westerndigital.com/support/productsecurity/wdc-21008-recommended-security-measures-wd-mybooklive-wd-mybookliveduo

the problem is, i NEED that data. it was driven home to me how much i need that data when i realised (this morning) that all of my federal tax records are on that drive… and they’re due soon… 😒 i DO NOT have the time to wait around for a “Data Recovery recovery program” that hasn’t been developed yet. 😒

“If he (sic) would like Western Digital to assist with the recovery cost, we recommend to wait for the program to be active.”… if “who” would like WD to assist…? I would, very definitely, like WD to assist with the recovery cost. unfortunately, i NEED that data NOW (actually, yesterday would have been better 😠), also, well, this IS july, now, and i haven’t received any indication that this recovery program is much more than a pipe dream.

my plan is to continue at the rate that i’m already going with the “recovery plan”, and if WD has any problems with my plan, they can shove it up their ass, and pay anyway! 😠

i JUST got email from the data recovery place, which says:

Thank you for choosing ACE Data Recovery. We have received your device in our lab.

We will be contacting you soon after the diagnostic’s results will be ready. Usually it takes one to two business days.

my impression, at this point, is that WD is GOING to “assist with the recovery cost”, whether or not they think they are now. it’s just a matter of how hard we (the class of people who lost data because of this negligence) are going to have to try to convince them. 😠

so…

the cloud drive is on its way to dallas, to the temple of the computer wizards, who seem to think that they can actually retrieve data from a drive that has been wiped. whether they can, or not, remains to be seen, and if they can, actually, retrieve data, there’s no telling how much, but the expense increases with every file they retrieve, and i’ve got A LOT of files on that drive.

the current conjecture is that an anonymous, malicious, mindless, skript-kiddie found out about the bug that they’ve known about since 2018, but haven’t done anything about it because it’s a “legacy” device that hasn’t been upgraded since 2015 (despite the fact that MANY WD cloud drives are still in use all over the world), and wrote a script to search out all the IP addresses of MyBook drives it could find, and wipe them…

because they can… 😒

L0L! 🤬🖕🤬🖕🤬🖕🤬🖕🤬🖕

but, according to the latest theory, they didn’t overwrite the data, they just removed the allocation tables… they did a “quick” erase, not a “complete” erase… so the data is, probably, still there, as long as something hasn’t overwritten it, and, since the first thing i did when i couldn’t login was to shut it down, the chance that it’s still there is relatively high. it’s up to the experts, and whether or not i have enough money, to determine whether or not i see any of that data again.

and, as far as remediation goes, i think i’ve learned enough to install the 1TB drive (which is not big enough to store 2TB of data) that i’ve had sitting on my desk since 2018, but i haven’t done it yet, and i haven’t even started to search for a replacement cloud drive, or a backup system, because i’ve been going through an existential crisis, AND temperatures that have been an average of 35°F hotter than they have ever been, which has, essentially, shut down any hope of doing anything other than hiding and hoping it’s all going to be over soon. 😟

but climate change is a myth, created by china! 😒

it’s 25°F cooler than it was yesterday, but it’s still 10°F warmer than normal, for this time of year, and it doesn’t look like it’s going to be getting better any time soon.

oh, just wonderful! 🤬

so, my Western Digital MyCloud Live bit the dust the other day. i spent most of yesterday stressing, and figuring out what was wrong, and beginning to figure out how to fix it (and not getting very far, because of the stress).

then, this morning, i wake up to this: CVE-2018-18472

Western Digital WD My Book Live and WD My Book Live Duo (all versions) have a root Remote Command Execution bug via shell metacharacters in the /api/1.0/rest/language_configuration language parameter. It can be triggered by anyone who knows the IP address of the affected device, as exploited in the wild in June 2021 for factory reset commands…

and Action Required on My Book Live and My Book Live Duo

Western Digital has determined that some My Book Live devices are being compromised by malicious software. In some cases, this compromise has led to a factory reset that appears to erase all data on the device. The My Book Live device received its final firmware update in 2015. We understand that our customersโ€™ data is very important. At this time, we recommend you disconnect your My Book Live from the Internet to protect your data on the device.

the only hope i have is EITHER that the MyCloud IP address was unknown, unknowable, or “small potatoes”, OR that this is for My”BOOK” Live, and what i’m dealing with is a My”CLOUD” Live, and that CVE-2018-18472 applies to the My”BOOK” and not the My”CLOUD”…

but what is the probability of those things happening? 🤬

(actually, now that i think about it, the probability is fairly low: i BOUGHT the MyCloud device in 2014, and i’m pretty sure that i received firmware updates well after the 2015 date that they mentioned here, but… it’s still worrying.)

actually, i couldn’t POSSIBLY be that lucky… i was looking at the back of the device, and it very clearly says “MyBook Live”… 🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬

word now is that western digital has known about this since 2018. 🤬

some good news, for a change… i’ve written for a quote from Ace Data Recovery, which is a partner with western digital. i’m as confident as i can be (which isn’t much) that they have a MUCH better chance of actually recovering my data than anything i could do. of course, because of the fact that it is currently after business hours on friday, central time, and the fact that they don’t work on weekends, i’m probably not going to hear anything until monday, at the earliest. however, this gives me some time to work on the problem of where to put it once it has, actually, been retrieved.

zoinks

my cloud device is not a cloud device.

it was working fine two days ago. by the time i discovered it wasn’t working, yesterday, it was too late to get tech support on the line, so i got them on the line today.

what they said is that my WD MyCloud Live is old enough that it’s considered a “legacy device” and they don’t offer service for it any longer.

so ALL of my hybrid elephant records, ALL of my “Incense of the Month” records, ALL of my appointments, ALL of my digital artwork, ALL of my pictures, ALL of my music… EVERYTHING is gone.

😟

ETA: i talked to the folks at western digital this morning, and what i learned was encouraging and discouraging at the same time.

i bought it, and had it configured by 140127, so it has only been six years, not the eight that i was complaining about originally… doesn’t make me feel any better about losing access to that data. 😟

the device is a WD MyCloud Live device, which is a “legacy” device which is no longer serviced.

the fact that i had the drive partitioned four ways, and primarily used it on linux, means that, even if it were able to be serviced, they wouldn’t do it. they support windows and mac, but not linux.

despite the fact that western digital disks are used on linux systems ALL THE TIME… 😒

it MIGHT be accessible directly, by plugging it directly into the computer, instead of a router. i plugged it into my mac laptop, and a new icon appeared on the desktop called “MyCloud Live”. it contained four “public” folders (documents, pictures, music, and another that i don’t remember), but they were all empty. also, it said i was logged in as “guest” and my disk doesn’t have a “guest” login, so my guess is that mac logged me into a new, blank partition.

which means that i MIGHT be able to access it from linux, if i can get it to log me in as something other than “guest”…

when in trouble, when in doubt, run in circles…

ask if anybody has a clue on kubuntu forums dot net

the guy there said that, in all likelyhood, it is running an embeded linux OS, and, if nothing else, i could take it out of its enclosure and add it as a new hard disk on my computer, as long as it works.

however… 😒

at this point, i’m going to HAVE TO get a new cloud server to replace the old one (more goddamn money spent on this damn technology… 😠), and i don’t want to do ANYTHING with the old one until i have a new place, however temporary, to store all <900MB of shit. AND i just happen to have a samsung 1TB SATA disk — had it new, in the box, since 2018 — but because i don’t actually know how to install a new hard disk on a linux machine, i haven’t done so.

so, MAYBE everything isn’t gone, but it’s going to be a few stress filled days until i get it all figured out and get everything settled down to what passes for “normal” these days. 😟

i might have known…

so, the weird weirdness with my web site was ENTIRELY caused by the osCommerce web site…

which i haven’t even thought about since 2016, because the previous web designer was supposed to have deleted it, once i had successfully migrated to wordpress…

but which wasn’t deleted (despite the fact that it was one of the things i paid her to do 😠), and continued to “function”, without a “head”, for FIVE YEARS

if nothing else, i suppose, it says something about osCommerce’s resiliancy and ability to continue to function despite being headless and updateless for the past 5 years. i wonder if i could treat wordpress the same way, and expect the same result. i suspect, probably, not.

it’s still there, physically, but it has had it’s hooks into the system removed, so it is no longer functioning. the next step is to figure out which parts are wordpress parts and which parts are osCommerce parts, and delete the osCommerce parts.

in other news, ezra has come up with an idea that needs internet and a web host to work, and, well… i’m the next best thing to a web host, these days… apart from the FUMTU with osCommerce… 😉

bat out of database hell, sideways

in a new twist, the web designer that i worked with prior to the current web designer i work with — the one who blew a gasket for some still-unknown reason — was, as a part of what i was paying her to be a web designer, to delete the old web site files, once i had successfully been migrated to my new site.

unfortunately, apparently she blew a gasket before she actually did that.

and i didn’t know until… well… today.

my current web site is running PHP5, but there was an error which showed up in the log which was an uncaught variable that doesn’t exist in PHP5… in fact, it doesn’t exist until PHP7.4… and, upon further investigation, we discovered that it came from a document that is from osCommerce, which lead to other osCommerce documents, which lead, basically, to the entire osCommerce web site, which has been trying, and failing, to run PHP7.4, and generating WEIRD errors.

it had been beheaded — i.e. it didn’t have an internet-facing interface — but it is all still there.

it should be deleted. 😠

database hell updated

quoth the web developer: I’m going to guess, they’re going to come back and tell us they see nothing wrong. However, they will modify the server and then when I get back in there to test it again, it’s going to work. They just have a problem admitting when they’re wrong so they’ll fix it but tell us that it works fine.

quoth i: i don’t care how it’s fixed, i just want it to be fixed.

they have access to the dashboard, but they’re in a different time zone, so i have to be patient. 😒

ETA: i just got an email notification that says: A user with username “webhost-python” who has administrator access signed in to your WordPress site.

and then a note from YET ANOTHER technician who i HAVEN’T TALKED TO BEFORE (😠), who, apparently, tried the login, looked through the ticket history and decided that they don’t know enough to do anything about it, saying “I will assign this to our developers and they will get back to you.”

so, it begins…

tomorrow… 😒

tablet unbricked

1 Hour Device Repair (the one in redmond, not the one in issaquah) repaired my device for free, because they have a lifetime warranty on the repair that they did a few months ago.

as it should be.

they also apologised for the guy in issaquah sending me down the wrong rabbit hole.

this has been a very early, abrupt and completely satisfactory end to this battle. 👍

brick tablet update

tablet became brick.

took it to 1 Hour Device Repair in issaquah, who told me that the charging port was damaged.

took it to the genius bar (two days later), and they tested it, and told me that the charging port was fine, but “have you had the display replaced?”

why, yes. yes, i have… by the people at 1 Hour Device Repair… 😒

the charging port is fine, according to the genius bar drone. he tested it, and it works fine. the display, however, is another question. according to the genius bar tests, the tablet is in “recovery mode” which normally displays a “connect me to power” icon, on the display, but, wouldn’t you know, the display isn’t working.

so i called 1HDR and talked to someone, who, it is my guess, is the “owner” of the 1HDR franchise in the area (if it is a franchise operation, which it appears to be), a young woman with purple hair and an eastern-european accent, and brought it in to the location in redmond, which is where it was repaired before. the FIRST THING she said, when she tested it, was “i don’t know why anyone would tell you that the charging port was the problem.” and didn’t even respond when i told her that it was the 1HDR repair guy in issaquah…

which tells me something about the 1HDR location in issaquah that i didn’t know before. 😒

long story short, she’s going to have to keep it for one to two weeks, because she doesn’t stock the screens because they’re so expensive, and it’s the holidays, and there’s a pandemic…

and she said that it’s a free replacement, because there’s a lifetime warranty, as long as i can prove that there’s no external damage that would have caused the display to fail. the fact is, she looked at it very closely, and told me that “sometimes the displays fail”… but i’m not ruling out the possibility that, once she gets it open, she’ll discover some “damage” that voids the warranty. i don’t know of any “damage”, but that doesn’t mean it’s not there. 😒

so, fine. keep it. it doesn’t do me much good as a brick, but then…

i realise i’ve got an appointment on telehealth, and another appointment on gotomeeting tomorrow, which i’m going to have to attend using my phone, which is about one-eighth the size of the tablet (tablet is 12.9″ ipad pro, third gen; phone is iphone 6SE, which is 5″)…

this is going to be “interesting”… 🤦

my tablet is a brick

i woke up this morning and checked my email on my tablet, like i usually do. nothing seemed amiss, as i browsed twitter for a half hour or so, then i put the tablet to sleep, came downstairs, plugged the tablet into my downstairs charging port, heard the chime as it connected, and walked off to get my morning soylent…

when i got back to my office, about 5 minutes later, i tried to wake the tablet up, but it wasn’t having any.

i tried a number of “tips” that i found on internet (using my computer) for waking up a sleeping tablet, and elicited some interesting responses — siri, speaking from a blank screen, saying “i’m really sorry”, for example, and various official-sounding chimes, boops and bongs — but no screen action whatsoever.

i took it to the guy at 1 Hour Device Repair, in issaquah, who said that he thought it was the charging port that was damaged, because the device he hooked it to was saying .09 amps when it should be at least 1 amp. he said that it’s working, but, because of the fact that the charging port is damaged, it doesn’t have enough electricity to run reliably.

so, i made an appointment at the genius bar (because it’s new enough that i think i might still have apple care for it) on wednesday.

that doesn’t sound bad, does it? except for the fact that i can’t login to twitter — which is pretty much my ONLY social contact these days — because of the fact that i have my authenticator for my 2FA login on my tablet… i have an authenticator on my phone, as well, but it doesn’t have my twitter account, and the only way to get a 2FA authentication for my twitter account is from WITHIN my twitter account, which i can’t get to because the authenticator is on my tablet. i don’t usually use twitter on my phone, so i never updated the authenticator when i started using 2FA on twitter.

😒

MUA

today is the third day of NOT using Kontact, the MUA that i have been using pretty much ever since i switched to linux, back in the dark ages.

i really liked kontact. it did EXACTLY what i wanted it to do: it handled all of my email addresses in a logical way, made it easy to switch from one email address to another, worked well with my business set-up, my installation of sigrot

but it had a fatal flaw which i have been trying (and, mostly, succeeding) to work around for quite some time now, and that is its use of akonadi, which is the interface between the MUA and the SQL database that lives behind it.

for the first few years i didn’t even notice a problem, but then i upgraded my operating system, and everything blew up. i ended up installing the new operating system from scratch, and summarily trashing three or four years worth of collected email. it was a difficult process, but i got through it.

through the years, i have tried installing a number of MUAs, in order to try and get away from kontact, but either they didn’t do what i wanted, or they simply didn’t work at all, so i gave up and went back to fighting with kontact…

“the devil you know”, right?

after that, there were a number of times, primarily during updates or upgrades, when i had to battle with kontact/akonadi/SQL, to get it to work, and i had to trash a number of years of collected email at least one more time before reaching the point at which i am, now.

four days ago, i ran the operating system updates, and, after i was done, i tried starting up kontact, and nothing happened. i tried starting it from the konsole (rather than “clicking” on the “icon”, which is how you start it in the GUI), got a vaguely worded, cryptic message about being unable to start “hebrew.wgz.sizes.sonnet.plugins.hspell”, and then it hung up.

which is very odd, because i have never even installed the hebrew language pack, and have no idea why it would even be attempting to start the hebrew spelling dictionary…

i tried asking Kubuntu Forums for solutions, and got the same answer that i have gotten every OTHER time i have asked about how to fix kontact, which is “kontact is broken, install thunderbird instead”.

so i tried installing thunderbird (AGAIN), and, after having some “words” with my operating system about whether this new piece of software actually worked (or not), i successfully installed and more-or-less correctly configured it, and started using it.

it’s a little different than kontact… or, at least, my perception is that it is a little different than kontact. after some futzing around, i learned how to configure it to use more than one email address — actually, i may have done it “the other way” first, because the terminology for “accounts” and “identities” is slightly different on kontact — and, as far as i can tell, there is no easy way to add an “X-” header line to outgoing email, like there is in kontact, but that may just be because i have yet to find the place where such a thing is configured.

and, then, yesterday (after i had, more or less, given up on kontact), i discovered that kontact actually worked… it had been a few days since i had given up trying to start it, because of “hebrew.wgz.sizes.sonnet.plugins.hspell” not working, and, without thinking about it, i “clicked” on the “icon” and kontact sprang back to life!

so, the first thing i did was transfer all of my contacts, and most of my RSS feeds (i got bored and antsy, so i’ll finish them later) to thunderbird.

for some time, now, when i “quit” kontact (select “quit” from the “file” menu), i have had to go to the konsole, and “kill” the process that kontact was running, so that it would actually quit. i also discovered that “kill”ing kontact STILL allows incoming mail to be downloaded, a process that i don’t completely understand (it may have something to do with akonadi interacting with the POP3 mailserver).

also, for even longer (i recall at least two kontact upgrades that have had this behaviour, prior to the one i am currently (not) using), when i first start kontact, after booting up my computer in the morning, about 98.9% of the time it gets to the point where it’s displaying correctly on the screen, but before i have the chance to do anything, it puts up a dialogue box that says that there has been a fatal error and kontact will quit now. the dialogue doesn’t say what the fatal error is, and it only has an “OK” button, which makes everything disappear when i click it. under this circumstance, when i run “ps -u salamandir | grep kontact” in the konsole, kontact is, actually, not running (unlike when i select “quit” from the “file” menu), and if i restart kontact, it works without any further problems…

except that, sometimes (usually at least once a day), it freezes for anywhere from a few seconds to several minutes, and when it does, there’s a very good chance (greater than half the time) that it will crash. usually this happens when i have just selected a message to reply to, and/or usually it happens when it is in the process of downloading new mail or RSS feeds. sometimes i can anticipate when it’s going to happen, when i have to reply to a message and it is in the process of downloading.

thunderbird doesn’t have these problem. when i select “quit” from the “file” menu, in thunderbird, it actually quits, and doesn’t keep downloading mail anyway. thunderbird doesn’t crash for no reason, or freeze and crash. it may not be kontact, but on the other hand, it’s not kontact.

my impression is that the operating system struggles when there is more than one MUA running, and, because of the difficulties i’ve been having getting kontact to quit, i don’t like to keep both of them running for long periods of time, especially since, apparently, kontact’s interface with the POP3 mailserver takes precedence, even after i “quit” and “kill” it, and even when i start up thunderbird first (which it shouldn’t, but it goes to support the fact that “kontact is broken”).

ahhhh! now we find out…

my newly redesigned site uses the enfold theme, which has faulty (under certain circumstances) caching and optimisation routines, so we use lightspeed cache, which doesn’t have those (particular) faults, and works better (under certain circumstances).

except, last year, prior to my site being redesigned (when i was still using the avada theme), i was told (by SOMEONE) to disable lightspeed cache, because it had some sort of incompatibility with… something…

so, i went through the site redesign with a disabled lightspeed plugin. no problem, until i put in the enfold theme, and whatever circumstances that cause the caching and optimisation routines to fail, were happening, which was the cause of the first go-round.

turning on the lightspeed cache fixed the first go-round, but whatever incompatibility i was trying to avoid by having the lightspeed plugin disabled, took effect, which was the cause of the second go-round.

which was further confused by the fact that part of my routine for fixing the first go-round was good enough that it fixed the second go-round well enough that i didn’t find out about it until it was too late.

what i found out, today, via my web developer, is that the people who make the lightspeed cache and webhost python (my host provider) have their own battle going on: on webhost python’s servers (which include mine), the lightspeed plugin causes expired transients to multiply and duplicate. lightspeed says it’s python’s fault. python disagrees…

on the record…

OFF the record, python agrees that there is a bug in their system that they haven’t found yet… compounded by the fact that it was THEIR ERROR which caused the third go-round… 😠 but it’s not for me to say “i told you so”, especially with my already somewhat precarious position with this particular host provider…

and so, i’m caught in the middle. 😒

apparently, for the time being anyway, the plan is to disable the caching modules on both enfold AND lightspeed, keep an eye on the database (which hasn’t blown up since implementing this plan), clear the expired transients manually, and examine other options for a cache.

😒

oy! why won’t this just go away?

at midnight (which was 3:00 in the morning, florida time), i got a message saying that the database was blowing up again. they said it was 183 GIGABYTES

because of the fact that i was asleep (thankfully), i didn’t actually read the message until 7:00 my time (10:00 florida time). i immediately logged into my web server, and discovered that the MySQL disk usage was lower than i have ever seen it before, which is to say 253 MEGABYTES

what this tells me is that there’s something else going on besides this whole “enfold-theme-not-caching-correctly” horseshit.

which is bad.

it also tells me that, whatever it is, we haven’t actually found it… we may have found another problem, but not the one for which we’re looking… yet…

which is bad, but not as bad as it could be.

it also tells me that, whatever it is that is going wrong, the cronjob that we put in place to solve the problem, works, REGARDLESS of the actual problem.

which is good.

but, when it comes right down to it, it is not good for me to be so stressed out about something over which i have very little control.

which is bad.

something has to be done. this is ridiculous.

oh, but it couldn’t have ended there, now, could it?

and the answer is, a big, fat, OF COURSE NOT! 😒

i woke up this morning, and couldn’t log in to my web site… at, like, SEVEN in the fucking morning, i was wide awake because i couldn’t log in to my web site.

at NINE, the web designer gets back to me. he can’t login either. apparently the host provider has disabled the config file that makes everything work — i login using SSH, and there’s the file… everything LOOKS okay, but… the host provider apparently did SOMETHING to my web site. as far as i can tell, everything works, sort of, until you get one or two pages deep, at which point it gives me a “unable to connect to database” error.

😠

so, i file a ticket with the host provider. a couple hours later, (all the while, i’m sweating bullets) they get back to me, apparently, the database blew up AGAIN. they disabled the config file so that nobody could use the web site, because the database was growing by gigabytes A SECOND.

😠😠

eventually (seriously, they took most of the day to UN-disable the config file), the web designer went in and turned off everything having to do with the built-in, screwy, does-not-work, enfold caching and optimisation routines, turned OFF “store transients”, and set a cronfile to delete three rows of a table in the database, every hour.

😠😠😠😠‼‼‼

this better be the last of it for a while, because i’m just about ready to throw in the towel.

database update

the database is fixed. 😌

what happened? that’s complex.

recently, i had my web site redesigned. the new design uses the “Enfold” theme, which uses a lot of what they call “transients” to maintain the look and feel of the site, regardless of the platform on which it’s being viewed. “transients” are sort of like cookies, except that you can’t opt out of them, and they don’t contain any personally identifying information. some of these “transients” expire immediately when a person leaves the web site, and others persist, for a few minutes to several days. they persist on your computer AND on my server… in the one of the tables in the database…

the “Enfold” theme has automatic caching and garbage collection routines that are supposed to handle these expired “transients”, but, because it’s a wordpress theme, it doesn’t do all the jobs very well… or, sometimes, at all… which is why i also use a caching plugin that actually, you know, works ALL the time, and not only some of the time… 😒

except that, for some reason, prior to my site upgrade, “someone” (and i have yet to identify who, but it was either my web designer or my host provider) recommended that i disable the caching plugin, because of some issue with the new version of wordpress… or something like that… as i said, i don’t remember. i distinctly remember disabling the plugin on someone’s recommendation, i just don’t remember exactly who, when or why. 😖

one way or the other, my caching plugin was disabled, which meant that, when i installed the new theme, it was relying on the not-working-the-way-it-should, internal cache… which, basically, didn’t work, causing the table in the database to expand beyond my disk space allocation. 🤯

it didn’t show up in my cPanel because i wasn’t looking at the SQL disk space, which is “below the fold” of my browser, and i just didn’t scroll down far enough to see it. 😕 during the nightly automatic backup, it was overwhelming the server for everybody, not just me. i had to pay my web designer for two days of poking through piles of arcane SQL code and deleting bits and pieces of it. it was not fun.

the solution was to enable the caching plugin(!), and to install a “transient manager” plugin, so that i can delete the expired transients from the wordpress dashboard, and not from the SQL database,… which requires A LOT more “knowing what to look for” and “knowing how to delete stuff without damaging other stuff” than i have on board, personally.

databases

my first direct experience with databases was in the late 1980s or early 1990s, when i got a “job”, “working” for this… guy…

i don’t remember his name — possibly “henry” — but i remember his attitudes: he was always right, nothing he thought of had ever been thought of before, he was the richest, smartest, trendiest, most “on-top-of-it” dude that ever hit the face of the planet, and GAWD HELP YOU if you EVER got in his way.

needless to say, the “job” didn’t last long. it started with him demonstrating how generous he was, by buying me a disk caddy, so that i would have somewhere to keep all of the disks i was going to accumulate working for him. then he started asking me about computers. at the time, i was NOT a “computer geek”, nor did i want to be one (my father was one of the original “computer geeks” and i DID NOT want to be like my father), but i knew about computers because i had been working as a typesetter for a few years. he asked me what i didn’t know about computers, and one of the first things out of my mouth was “databases”, so he signed me up for a week of training with “FileMaker”…

what i learned was a bunch of recycled stuff from my already ample knowledge of microslut word and excel, with a bunch of “hypercard-like” stuff which i sort of vaguely understood (but nobody i knew used hypercard for anything, so i never really knew what i had missed until years later), and, at the same time i was doing this training, i was helping this… guy… clean out his house, because he was going through a divorce, or some awful shit like that, and he, basically, had to move EVERYTHING that was “his”, out of one house and into another, that was a few houses down the street…

which is where i learned that his “rich” persona was heavily financed by several HUNDRED overdrawn credit cards — he had been using one credit card to pay off another credit card, and when he ran out of credit cards, he would just start up a new one, and use it to pay off the previous ones… FOR YEARS… — at which point i decided that working for this guy might not be such a good idea, if i wanted to get paid.

quite apart from the fact that working for him was REALLY annoying…

so, ultimately, i spent a week learning really complex software that i never got to use for anything, and that was it, until i got my job at software.com, testing email servers, in 2001.

and, for all of my work with databases at software.com/openwave, i still don’t have a really solid grasp of what they are… where they “live”, what they do, how they work… anything… all i know is that, under the right set of circumstances, you can give “commands” to a database, and it will perform certain functions with a variety of different “objects”, the outcomes of which can be used in a multitude of different ways, depending on what is contained in your database.

i get the impression that databases are a lot like the world wide web, in that they both have a lot of objects (web sites) that are linked together in a somewhat-haphazard, but definitely organised way.

so, you can imagine that it was something of a surprise when, the other morning, i woke up, checked my email, and discovered two somewhat alarming notices. the first was warning me that i had used up 90% of my disk space on my server, and the other was warning me that a “table” on my main database was malfunctioning… or something… and collecting 251 GB worth of data… which, somehow, was NOT showing up in my cPanel, which says “Disk Usage 18.43 GB / 292.97 GB”…

and, of course, it happened on a sunday, when nobody’s in the office, and on mothers day, when even fewer people are in the office, and during a PANDEMIC… 😒

so, first thing this morning, after waking up to a broken heat pump, and a wife who wrenched her back, i wrote to my web designer, who said, oh yeah, we’ve seen this kind of thing before, it’ll cost between $200 and $500 to fix it…

and I DON’T EVEN KNOW WHAT’S WRONG… 😖

my wonderful pet, frank zappa the cat

my wonderful pet, Frank Zappa, the cat, innocently playing with a cat toy in a patch of sunlight, like a good kitty...
my wonderful pet, Frank Zappa, the cat, innocently playing with a cat toy in a patch of sunlight, like a good kitty…
my wonderful pet, Frank Zappa, the cat, honoured my presence (and the fact that i had just fed him) yesterday, by waiting until i had a full bottle of beer on my desk, and then jumping into my lap and doing the happy-cat-dance, which involves swirling around and waving his tail in such a way that it impacts the bottle of beer on the desk, spilling the contents into my keyboard.

😒

because of the fact that i have worked in several companies that actually, physically MADE keyboards — they really do wash partially finished keyboards in a household dishwasher before assembly — i wasn’t as upset as i could have been, but, nevertheless, i spent the entire rest of the evening taking my keyboard apart, cleaning the beer (and assorted dust, feathers, cat hair and other detritus) out of it, and re-assembling it…

only to discover that only half of the keys actually work. and not in a normal “right half works, left half doesn’t” way, but in a more random “half the keys in this line sometimes work and sometimes don’t” way, which indicates that some moisture probably got inside the four or five layers of waterproof linings — seriously, keyboards, these days, are practically impervious to spills… not like when i was a kid… — either that, or there was something that didn’t want to get bent, that got bent in the process of disassembling the keyboard: i tried to be careful and not bend any of the parts that looked like they might be upset if they got bent, but i may have bent them, anyway, without meaning to.

in any event, i have an alternate keyboard, just for such emergencies, which is the same model, but different colour keys. i have occasionally ransacked the alternate keyboard for spare parts, like when my “B” key’s spring broke, and the F2 and F3 keys died, so it doesn’t get used for anything, anyway… so i decided to make a frankenkeyboard…

in honour of my wonderful pet, Frank Zappa the cat.

frankenkeyboard
frankenkeyboard

victory… sort of…

once again, the most recent instance of the battle of the computer has come to a close, and, once again, i am victorious… sort of…

i just transferred ownership of the fremontplayers.com and fremontphilharmonic.com domains to someone else. i still host fremontphilharmonic, fremonstor.org and cirquedeflambe.org for the moment, but i hope to have them gone by may 1st.

they are, now, officially, SEP. 👍

of course i strongly suspect that they are going to try to wheedle me back into working with their site again, especially since it’s pretty clear that they don’t know what they’re doing, which is why it is now hosted by wix…

which, in my opinion, is probably several steps backward… but it is, officially, SEP, and i’m done with being actively involved in the administration of web hosting clients.

i also bit the bullet and opened yet another ticket with the VPN provider, which took the form of an extended chat session in which the technician claimed that they responded when they didn’t… which is, apparently, the reason they ignored my SIX EMAILS from 190405 (two weeks ago) until 190415 (today)… 😒

but, in the end, i got that fixed, as well, so now i can send email from my local computer, using SMTP, instead of having to login to a web site and send mail using IMAP, which i DO NOT LIKE!

but now it’s better, and i don’t have the added stress of a mailing list whose members send email to the wrong address and get MY PERSONAL EMAIL blacklisted and threatened with having to move.

oy! 😖

the continuing saga of the mailing list fiasco has reached a new plateau:

so, it started out that one of the subscribers to the list sent a message to the list that didn’t go through, for some unknown reason (demons).

when his message didn’t go through IMMEDIATELY — as he was used to them doing — he started looking around for other addresses, and he found two of them. one goes to the list owner, and one is a “machine only” address that sends bounce notices to the owner. it is not for sending email TO, and it is definitely not for sending mail to when your message doesn’t go through, because that triggers the MTA on the user end to blacklist your message.

i found out about this whole fiasco about 6 hours into it, when he sent mail to my personal address, asking me if there was something wrong. i noticed that he had sent mail to the machine-only address, and got blacklisted by micro$awful, so i wrote to the host provider to see if there was something that could be done to reverse the problem.

the host provider’s response was to accuse me (and my mailing list) of sending spam, and they have a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to sending spam. 😒

they generously offered to set me up with a new IP address instead of arbitrarily closing my account, but the new IP address they gave me didn’t have a PTR (pointer) record, or a RDNS (Reverse DNS) record, which only made the machine that controls the email list mad, because usual mailing lists have a PTR and a RDNS record, and the end result was that i was blacklisted by a number of services with which i have been exchanging emails without a problem for years.

fortunately, these other services were ones for which i could submit delisting requests myself, which takes the host provider and their sensitivity about spam and spammers out of the loop.

nevertheless, i started losing patience, and i might have said some things in my communications with the host provider which ended up making things a whole lot worse, ending up with yesterday, when they asked me to move my web sites to a different host provider immediately.

at EXACTLY THE SAME TIME, the PTR and RDNS records that they installed on my new IP address took effect, which meant that i can no longer send email from my local email client, because it’s not the same server that my VPN has been talking to for more than a year, and i lost it. i didn’t actually curse at them, but i did everything but that.

while i was in the process of figuring out that it was my VPN that was my primary problem, i had, simultaneously, to explain the mistake to the guy who sent the original message, re-assure the members of the mailing list who were trying — and failing — to send messages to the list that they weren’t actually the problem, despite the fact that their email addresses were not interacting correctly with the mailing list, and fend off the more and more insistent demands that i leave, immediately, from the host provider.

long story short, i didn’t sleep very well last night. 😠

at about 3:30 this morning, i finally wrote a letter to macque, saying that i was no longer able to host the web sites he has me hosting, i was no longer able to maintain the mailing list, and that i was retiring from the hosting business.

then i checked, once again, with micro$awful, and determined that I HADN’T ACTUALLY BEEN BLACKLISTED AT ALL!

the WHOLE THING had been caused by “demons” in the machine! 😖

and, to top things all off, we’re scheduled to go to the beach for a week, starting monday, which meant that, if i was going to move, i would have to find a new host and give them the information they need to move my web sites in 3 days, or wait a week, and do the same thing when i got back from vacation. both of these options made going on vacation TO BEGIN WITH not a very exciting prospect, and i was getting severely depressed about it.

and, to put the cherry on top, it turns out that sketch, the drummer for Snake Suspenderz, died yesterday, which made me even more depressed… primarily because he, being dead, didn’t have to worry about all the CRAP that has been going on in the world, while i, being not dead, had to deal with seven times MORE CRAP and had no say in the matter, whatsoever.

then, things started to get better… kind of…

the first thing that happened is that, when i told them that i would be moving my web site in two weeks, that micro$awful hadn’t really blacklisted my IP address, and that i had dumped the client that had caused the whole fiasco, they let up a little bit, and allowed that, since i had paid access until july, that i could stay until then. with a bit more discussion back and forth, they relented even further, and allowed me to keep my web sites where they are.

but i’m still giving up being a host provider for people who don’t know how it works, because it’s WAY too stressful.

so, in the end, i can go on vacation without having to worry about internet SHIT, either while i am on vacation, or after i get home; i will no longer have to deal with people who don’t know doing things that they shouldn’t do and feeling awful about it afterwards, and i won’t ACTUALLY have to move my web sites that aren’t going away anyway (which is an entirely different ball of wax)…

but sketch is still dead, which means that, either, Snake Suspenderz will break up, or that we will find a new drummer… neither of which are very attractive alternatives at this point.

bleh 11

#drumpf. 🖕 the less said about him, the better.

🍄 one mushroom yesterday. i went out for a walk and had pretty much the entire “trip” while i was out, which wasn’t very much. depression sneaking back in, but not in unmanagable amounts… yet… fewer mushrooms every time this happens, and eventually i’ll run out. hopefully i will have either wildcrafted, or obtained some more by then, but who knows… they are illegal, after all, even though my doctor counsellor recommended them… 😒

trolloween on wednesday. i’m doing sound effects, which means bullroarer “pre-show” and thunder for the first part of the show. nothing else, which means that i’ll be able to actually haunt fremont, for the first time ever… i’ve been a part of the show at the troll, and the dance afterwards many, many times, but i’ve never gotten to go on the haunt… mushrooms? it’s possible… but i think i’d have to find a place to crash in town, if so. i’ll ask macque…

so, in the realm of the computer, i’ve decided that, if i tiptoe around this version of kubuntu, it works 95% of the time. i have, literally, changed the way i interact with the computer interface, in order to prevent it from crashing on a more regular basis: kontact/kmail/akregator — which used to be a relatively stable part of the distribution — has become something which works if i DON’T do things like try to open links in akregator using the middle mouse button (right click and choose “open in external browser” works, though, which is annoying), or forward a message, about half of the time (which is something i do on a regular basis when i’m reporting spam). and kubuntu, itself, has got some annoying bugs which i don’t know to whom to report… which, in itself, is annoying… when i boot the computer, the desktop wallpaper appears to be set to “blur” around the background, even though when i look at the configure panel, it’s set to “solid color”, and when i set it to “blur”, nothing happens, but if i, then, set it back to “solid color”, lo-and-behold, it suddenly displays with a solid colour background. and, because of the fact that it’s part of the system settings, i don’t have the first clue who should get the bug report.

and i’ve, basically, given up on amarok. i love the interface, but the fact is, my music is on a disk that isn’t mounted at startup — because it is a NAS, mounted via WIFI — and amarok refuses to see it. i haven’t figured out how to get it to mount at startup, and it appears that the amarok user list is, for all intents and purposes, dead… which is really annoying.

on the other hand, i’ve figured out a way to play the music on my NAS from my phone, my tablet, and from the linux box, at the same time, using the same application, which is VLC media player. i don’t love the interface, but it’s definitely better than nothing, and the fact that i can play my music, basically, anywhere, without having to make copies of it, should make the copyright drones happy.

and i found the disks containing approximately 10,000 fonts, left over from when i worked in a print shop… and i can get around 90% to 95% of them to work on both my mac and my linux box, also from my NAS, which makes sharing documents a lot more reliable.

grr update 2

akregator has taken up the task of crashing about half the time, again. i guess it just needed some time to settle, after having the debug packages installed.

i reported the bug. it was a duplicate of bug #382575, which is actually a bug with Qt (which i always thought stood for “QuickTime”, but, apparently, i’m wrong), and it was originally reported in july of 2017. it will be fixed… eventually… 😒

grr update

i installed the debugging packages for both kontact and dolphin, thinking that would help me get a better idea of what’s going on.

it’s a little difficult with dolphin, because it doesn’t actually crash, it just gives me an “unknown error” message.

with kontact/akregator, it made a considerable difference, but i’m not sure how much it helps: now, instead of crashing about half the time when i middle-click on a link (which would produce the backtrace for which i installed the debugging packages), it doesn’t crash at all… it still does nothing when i middle-click on a link — now 100% of the time — and it still works exactly as advertised when i right-click and choose “open link in external browser”… 😠

ETA: this is the primary reason why, if there was ANY other alternative, i would use that instead of linux: i looked at the URI in dolphin, after it gave me the weird “unknown error”, and it said “smb://@/” which i thought looked kind of odd… so i put the username for the drive to the left of the @ sign, and the name of the drive to the right of the @ sign…

and it worked. 😕

no clue how it got that way, no clue why it worked before, with no username in the picture, and doesn’t now, no clue what the error messages mean, i have absolutely NO CLUE why it works now and didn’t before…

but it does. 😕

grr…

i’m still having random annoying problems with bionic beaver:

when i start it up in the morning, it loads my desktop wallpaper image with a “blur” in the background, which is not what i want. i have to right-click, choose “Configure desktop”, choose “blur”, hit “apply”, choose “Solid color” and hit “apply” before it correctly shows a solid colour background around my wallpaper images. 😕

sometimes, randomly, the “Device Notifier” shows me the three USB hard disks i have inserted, and mounted, even when i am doing nothing that involves any of them. i don’t know why.

akregator randomly crashes when i try to open a link with the middle mouse button (which is normally set to “open in external browser”). it works okay if i right-click and choose “open in external browser” from the context menu, but if i middle-click, sometimes nothing happens, and sometimes akregator crashes. also, it doesn’t give me enough information in the trace to make the bug reports any good. i wrote to the KDE-PIM users list, but not with this problem, because i hadn’t figured out exacly what happened at that time. now i get the very strong impression that the response will be to upgrade to a more recent version, but that version hasn’t been added to the upgrades for bionic yet, so i’m kinda stuck.

dolphin allows me to make icons for places i go to regularly, and organise them in the left hand side of the window. i set up some network folders, by selecting “Network”, then selecting “Add Network Folder” and setting up a micro$not windows folder at smb://salamandircloud.local. it worked fine for about 3 days, but now, when i select any of the network folders at salamandircloud.local, it tells me

Internal Error
Please send a full bug report at http://bugs.kde.org
Unknown error condition in stat: Unknown error 8216

only sometimes, instead of “Unknown error 8216” it says “Unknown error” or “File exists” or “Software caused connection abort”. i went to http://bugs.kde.org and discovered a duplicate bug that says it’s “solved”, but it doesn’t give any clear indication of how it was solved. the end result is that now i no longer have access to my cloud drive from my linux machine. 👎

because of the fact that i can’t access salamandirCloud, i can’t access my music from my linux machine, but even when i could access salamandirCloud, amarok couldn’t access my music files. apparently it wants them on a local drive… and, because of the fact that, when i could access my cloud drive, it was through a SMB connection, i can’t use the standard NFS to automatically mount the drive at startup. i wrote to the amarok users list, but nobody’s home there, and i don’t expect an answer any time soon. 😠

i keep going back to the advice i was offered by Ralf Mardorf on the debian users list, back in 2012, when i was playing around with (and failing to install) a debian live disk. he said

Because I needed new hardware I couldn’t keep a stable Linux install that satisfied my needs.

Never change a winning team!

If there’s no need to update, keep a stable install, make backups and to test newer Linux versions at least have a dual-boot.

If I could use my old stable install, I still would use it. In your case I would reinstall the old Ubuntu that fit to your needs and I would install a second Linux and try to get it working, when ever I would have time to do it.

You know it yourself, I don’t need to write this words to you ;).

which, to me, means “IF IT AIN’T BROKE, DON’T FIX IT!”

except, of course, trusty was broke, it was just broke in different ways than bionic is. now all i gotta do is figure out what the fixes are. 😖

wow!

well, it’s done… and, so far, i think i like it…

i reformatted the USB drive, made a startup disk out of it with “Startup Disk Creator”, actually INSTALLED kubuntu bionic on my computer, without remembering to back up the last few items on my list (which were desktop settings that i probably would have immediately changed anyway), and finished up yesterday with the search for how to get my cloud drive to show up. today, it started with the search for how to get my cloud drive to show up, and, with a few false starts — i had to search for the correct file system, install autofs and cifs-utils, and then discover that i didn’t need them — i managed to get my cloud drive to show up, which meant that i could restore the backup of my email and the backup of my browser bookmarks…

and now it’s more or less finished.

i still have to figure out why the new OS isn’t finding my mailserver all the time — sometimes it finds it without any problems, and other times it can’t find it, and says the socket operation has timed out — but i think that may just be new shit getting it’s shit together, so i’m not going to sweat it until later in the week…

and i still haven’t installed the new hard disk i bought, specifically for the task of upgrading the OS, because i discovered that i could do it with a USB stick instead… so now i have to figure out whether i want to install the new SSD and have another terabyte of goodness hanging around, or whether i want to return it and have an extra $300 in my pocket.

ETA: there is now a problem with kontact: i sent a message, but i apparently moved it from the “sent mail” folder too quickly, because, now, when i start kontact, it loads two windows: the kontact window, and the message composer window, with the message in it… and then it hangs up, and when i try to do anything more than move windows around, it crashes… and it eventually crashes anyway. ☹ NOT GOOD!

ETA: it may just be everything settling into its new places… i started kmail separately from kontact (yes, you can do that, no, i did not know that), and resolved the conflict with the sent mail message, which hadn’t actually been sent. who knows what happened to it the first time around, but when i processed it with just kmail, it did exactly what it was supposed to do. then, i started kontact and it had a tizzy, but instead of killing it and starting over, i went for a walk, and when i came back, it was in the middle of a totally unrelated process that looked like the aggregator synching its database… which is a totally normal thing to do, and i wish kontact would have put up a status bar or something to indicate that it was, actually, doing stuff and not just hanging up. ๐Ÿ˜

um… some new, interesting developments…

so i talked to my web developer guru, and he talked with his web developer guru (who is a guy at godaddy… which, in my impression, means either that he knows a lot and doesn’t get the chance to actually touch any of the machines, or he knows practically nothing and has his hands inside a lot of machines), and they both agreed that the evidence pointed towards me having a spammer in my email system. the primary reason for this was that, despite the fact that i have email with chinese characters automatically sent to /dev/null, i’m still getting spam with chinese characters in the subject line.

at the bottom of the global email filters window, there is a place where you can test email filters, to see what they do. after the first few, i just assumed that they worked, because they always did, so i didn’t pay much attention to the filter tester. it turns out that you can run mail that has already been delivered through the filter tester, to determine which filters caused it to end up in the wrong place.

what i discovered is that the chinese email filters work fine, but if the filter encounters an element that has a different rule than sending it to /dev/null, then it will do that, instead. once i resolved the conflict over which rule to use, the emails that are supposed to be getting delivered, are getting delivered, and the mail that is supposed to be deleted, goes to /dev/null

i still have a whole bunch of directories that have the name of my old host provider in my email system, that i really want removed, if it is possible, but the fact that it now looks like i DO NOT have a spammer/cracker nesting in my system is a great weight off my mind… and it means that i can put switching to gsuites on the back burner for the time being. 👍

ETA: i also discovered, using the same reverse-filter-testing procedure described above, why some random emails that don’t have any obvious reasons to be filtered, were getting filtered anyway. it turns out that i’ve got a whole bunch of filters that look for TLDs, such as .bid, .host, .win and so forth. except that the filter doesn’t care whether it’s a TLD, somewhere in the middle of the URI, or in some javacript code that is in the body of the email. so a MTA named “mailpod.hostingplatform.com” was getting filtered because it contained “.host”, and another mail was filtered because it had a javascript variable named “character.bidirectional”, which contains “.bid”…

i changed all of the TLD filters to look for an extra character that differentiates it from things that aren’t TLDs: the “dot letters” combination, followed by a forward slash — / — is what MAKES IT a TLD. why i didn’t think of that when i originally made the first filter is a gross act of stupidity on my part. 😕

start — stop — start — stop…

so according to two different experts, there’s a good chance that i’ve got a spammer that has cracked my email server. if that is the case, then changing my IP address will only be a temporary solution, and what everybody is recommending is the third party “gsuites” which is, basically, a google relay to my email service. i continue hosting the web sites, but the MX records for every domain i have gets changed to google’s IP addresses, and they basically take over managing all of my email services for me…

except i still don’t know how much it will cost: potentially $10 per user per month, and i’ve got 5 or 6 email addresses, just for myself… and i WILL NOT pay more for email services alone than i am for the entire hosting package i currently have.

apparently there’s another alternative, which also costs more money, which is a virtual private server, which would allow me to do things like summarily block all email from a country — brazil, china and russia immediatey come to mind…

and then, on the other hand, i’ve also been seriously considering giving up being an internet “reseller”; giving up my hosting clients, and focusing on MY web site (and my wife’s web site) without all this extra stuff adding chaos to the whole scene.

and then there’s the local computer upgrade, which was put on hold while i figure out the whole email fiasco. it turns out KDE has this nifty “Startup Disk Creator” application, which installs a bootable copy of the operating system on a removable USB flash drive… except that it doesn’t work if the USB flash drive is formatted FAT32, and they don’t tell you in the user interface that the beginning of the process is changing the BIOS of the computer to boot from the USB drive… which i had to find out the hard way… 😕 i actually succeeded in wresting control of my computer back from the jaws of certain disaster before that disaster actually happened, and i actually figured out how to reformat the flash drive to EXT4 so that the startup disk creator is more likely to work this time, but with the whole email fiasco, plus the screen door installation tomorrow, plus time for me to settle down and quit panicking over the computer that wouldn’t boot when the BIOS had been changed and i didn’t realise it…

means i’m probably not going to try again for a couple of days.

seriously, this is ridiculous, and there’s no way it’s going to get any less complicated any time soon. it would be just as well for me to get out of the business of providing internet services to other people before i truly get myself in trouble. 😕

the scary part

i’ve reached the scary part of computer upgrades: that part in between the point where i’ve got everything backed up (except for the invisible directories in ~/home which are waiting until the last possible moment), i’m reading up on what i should do if the worst happens, i’ve downloaded the operating system, but i still haven’t bought the drive, or actually done anything to move the project forwards.

apart from backing up all my data, for the first time EVER… which is a big thing, i suppose…

tomorrow i am going to refill my water bottles, hopefully with my mother-in-law, nancy, in attendence. then, if there is time, i’m going to buy the drive. if there isn’t time tomorrow, then it happens tuesday. this means that some time between tuesday and friday, or so, next week, i should have a new operating system, and, hopefully, working email addresses and an existent contact list.

so far, i don’t have any reason to believe that it won’t happen exactly the way i have stated.

if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it

a wise old linux guru told me this, a few years ago, and i’ve found myself smack in the middle of what happens when you follow that maxim… and it doesn’t feel entirely comfortable, at this point.

i have been happily running kubuntu trusty since 2014, which means that, now, there are TWO LTS releases to bring me up to date… Bionic Beaver, and the interim release, Xenial Xerus, which had some notable problems that were notable enough that i decided that… IF IT AIN’T BROKE, DON’T FIX IT.

now, i’ve actually heard some good things about the new LTS release, and, strangely enough, Amarok broke about two weeks ago (and the amarok user list has gone quiet the past few months, which makes me wonder who to contact), so i’ve been having to resort to qmmp to play music… so i decided to upgrade.

i’ve had some AWFUL experiences upgrading operating systems, and linux is no exception. the last time i upgraded linux, it took me three days to get my computer back. in an attempt to avoid that possibility this time, i have finished uploading my ENTIRE /home directory to the cloud, and am in the process of uploading my ENTIRE music collection to the cloud.

then, on the advice of the linux gurus over at Kubuntu Forums (who have saved my ass more than once), i’m going to go out and get a 2TB SSD on which to install bionic.

the only problem is that i still am not completely sure that my email is going to transfer, because i know that kontact was one of the notable problems i read about with xenial that made me want to avoid upgrading… and i’m not sure the standard “back up everything including the hidden directories from /home” is going to work this time, because i’ve heard that bionic uses something other than akonadi, which was, apparently, the source of the problems with xenial… which would mean that potentially i could lose 7 years worth of email and contact information. 😒

so, we’ll just have to see how it goes… ๐Ÿ˜

now that it’s over…

i discovered that the reason i, and, significantly, my clients, including the fremont players, were getting our emails “randomly” blocked by places like @gmail.com, @hotmail.com, @msn.com and so forth, was because my host provider’s data center was a known spam haven. my impression is that everybody knows to avoid Limestone Networks — the one admin i was able to convince to talk to me, said the following:

To give you an idea of the problem Limestone is we escalated the /18 your IP is in more than 6 years ago (March, 2011 to be exact), and despite rejecting several thousand emails a day since then in all that time I am aware of exactly one legitimate sender this has affected: You.

Limestone is not the worst spam haven on the Internet, but it’s not for lack of trying.

so they do business, or, more likely, have someone else do business for them, as IonBlade. i was desperate when they stepped in and assured me that they could fix everything — it turns out that my problem was my VPN provider all along, but i didn’t know that at the time — and i was already 6 months in before anything started to seem wrong.

so, i started looking for a new host provider in january, did my homework this time, and settled on WebHostPython, which actually offers me about 5 times what anyone else has offered, for a little bit less money… a definite step in the right direction.

however, i still had to notify the VPN provider of the change in my IP address, and while they dragged their feet getting it straightened out, i went for a couple of weeks not being able to send SMTP mail. of course i could use IMAP, but i don’t like keeping potentially incriminating evidence on someone else’s computer, and, these days, you just never know what they’ll decide is incriminating evidence… my SMTP started working yesterday, which brings to a close the battle of (someone else’s) computer, once again.

webhostpython has already helped me clear up a lot of IP and DNS cruft left over from 10 years of switching web hosts and not knowing what to clean up. i’m hoping that they’re still going to be my host provider 10 years from now, because, honestly, i’m FED UP with switching host providers. ๐Ÿ˜

and so, once again…

and so, once again, the battle of (someone else’s) computer has come to an inconclusive end.

i still have one open ticket with the VPN folks: they updated the VPN software for the tablet, which means that now it’ll connect after i reboot it, but if it comes disconnected for some reason, the only way to get it to reconnect is to reboot the entire tablet… which, while better than not being able to connect at all, is still a major hassle. i’m not holding my breath that it’s going to get fixed soon, as my current tablet can’t be upgraded beyond a version that is three full versions behind the current one… ๐Ÿ˜

my email works — or, rather, isn’t giving me timeout errors every time i send email. monique’s email is working again, although she’s lost her address book and her signature files, and the two mailing lists of which i am in charge, seem to be working, with third-party verification. i’m also paying about twice as much as i was with the old host provider, but, with the new host provider, i’m actually an “official” reseller, which means that, now, i have access to WHM, which i never have before… but i’m not sure, at this point, whether or not it’s a “good” thing. at this point, i have updated all of my domains’ MX records to the new host provider (something i was never able to do before), without knowing for sure whether or not i have done the right thing. at this point, two days later, it still works as far as i have been able to tell, nothing has broken as far as i can tell, and nobody has complained to me that their shit isn’t working, so i’m nominally calling it complete, but i wish there were some way that i could be sure…

the battle…

the battle of other peoples’ computer started before i left for the fair.

about a week before the fair, my (now former) host provider decided to move the machine on which all of my web sites live from californa to florida. in the move, they somehow freaked out my VPN, because it started giving me an error that said “socket operation timed out” whenever i tried to send email. i could receive email just fine, but no sending.

and, because of the fact that the VPN isn’t SUPPOSED to interfere with normal network functions, i didn’t suspect that was the cause.

then my clients started reporting intermittent email failures. so i contacted my (now former) host provider and inquired about answers to what you would expect to be their problem (since they are, now “were”, my host provider).

as the week progressed, there was also concern that my scheduled web maintenance (which i wanted to have happen before the fair) was not possible, because of the ongoing problems with the web server, combined with the host-provider-support-drones who couldn’t speak english, answered (or not) only one question at a time, and who persisted in giving me scripted instructions for how (not) to fix the problem on a windoesn’t machine.

fortunately, most of my clients were also at the fair, and couldn’t access their email anyway. i gave up after being there one day, and only getting spotty WIFI coverage on my personal hotspot.

when i got home, much to my surprise, the ticket i had opened to fix the problem had been closed, but there had been no “fixing”… they closed the ticket because i hadn’t responded to it in three days, not because they had fixed the problem. almost as though they thought, if i wasn’t there to harrass them, there wasn’t a problem that they needed to work on.

i reprimanded them, and proceded to deal with my, now worsening, email problem. macque couldn’t access the list, monique’s email was spotty at best, a number of people said they had “given up” on getting messages to the list, and i STILL could only receive email, but not send.

i tried to deal with the now former web host for another week, getting less and less actual information, and more and more frustrated with my inability to communicate in anything like english (which strikes me as somewhat odd, given that it’s a british company, located in london). finally i had enough, and switched host providers…

AGAIN… 8/

it’s been about five years since i switched to EZPZ and ended my spree of switching host providers about every 6 months for a couple of years, and, at first, they were cheap AND excellent host providers… but in the past couple of years, i guess they must have outsourced their support, or something, because suddenly their tech support got CONSIDERABLY worse, and their language skills steadily decreased to the point where i would have to, DELIBERATELY avoid asking more than one question per ticket, in order to get anything close to a complete answer…

so, i switched host providers about a week ago. they quickly diagnosed my VPN problem, and got monique’s email working, sort of… but i forgot that i don’t have complete control over all my domains (Rev. Guido DeLuxe is actually the owner of two of them), and, instead of getting better, monique’s email problem actually got worse…

and the new host provider — ionblade — had conveniently forgotten to add “mailing lists” to my cpanel, so the two mailing lists i manage were completely offline…

and, meanwhile, i had to explain to macque that sending to “official-list-owner” sent mail to me, while sending to “official-list” sent mail to the list, and, because of the fact that i couldn’t send email, i couldn’t actually do something sensible, like forward his message… and even if i had been able to forward his message, i would have gotten a bounce also, because the FUCKING EMAIL LIST WAS DOWN!!

i actually helped them diagnose the VPN problem: i learned that i could access webmail at hybridelephant, but that it forwarded me to their server, and i could send from that, which i did for about a week. then the VPN updated, and quit working all together on my tablet, which meant that i had to do the “run-around” on my linux box when i absolutely HAD to respond to someone. basically, i took the message to which i had to respond, responded in my email client, copied the message, switched to a browser with webmail open, hit “compose new message” and pasted the message into that, in order to be able to send. when i couldn’t do that, either because my computer was down for the night, or i didn’t have access to it, i would use the browser on my tablet to respond. at some point within the past few days, it dawned on me that if i could send from webmail from port 80, even though my VPN was up, maybe the VPN was getting in the way, so i tried disabling it, and — lo and behold — the message went through. i enabled the VPN again, tried sending a message, and “socket operation timed out”. disabling the VPN made the message go through almost immediately.

so, i opened TWO tickets at the VPN provider, one about my tablet, and one to find out if there is some way to un-block my SMTP service on port 465. i (FINALLY) convinced the (new) host provider to re-add “mailing lists” to my cpanel, and, like magic, i suddenly had email lists that work (i think) again.

i (still) have two open tickets with the VPN provider, but my impression is that if they’ve got a bug that affects the connection of my tablet, it has probably struck a lot of people with similar tablets, so they’ve got a lot to deal with.

and i’ve still got web updates to get to, but the web update guy says that they can wait for a month or so, at which point there will probably be more anyway…

raghr! 😠

i got back from OCF to discover that the email problem i had when i left was still there, and EZPZ had closed the ticket, because i wasn’t there to egg them on.

it’s still broken, so i decided to switch host providers… AGAIN! ๐Ÿ˜ก

some day, everything will just WORK, and there won’t have to be providers that don’t know how to fix things… ๐Ÿ˜

i’m really glad…

the computer industry has been a-twitter for the past few days, concerning a zero-day “bug” in micro$lop word, which gives an attacker full execution control of the victim’s machine — a Very Bad Thing®.

this reminds me of a couple of things that i experienced, more-or-less first-hand, while i was working at micro$lop, and is the PRIMARY REASON why i’m really glad i don’t run machines with their software on them.

there’s this, which outlines what the “bug” is, and how it allows an attacker to take control of a victim’s machine (i put the word “bug” in quotation marks because bugs are usually things that appear in the code by mistake, but it is my impression that micro$lop put this in deliberately, without realising the potential damage it could do)… which brings up the fact that they have known, particularly, about security problems with OLE (which went through a stage where they were referring to it as “ActiveX”), at least since my friend, and computer-god fred debuted The Exploder Control in 1995, which did a clean shut-down of any machine unfortunate enough to be running Windows95 — PLEASE NOTE: the Exploder Control is not harmful, and will not run correctly unless you’re running Windows95 and Internet Explorer version 3, which, by this time, presumably, you’re not. fred’s premise was, and still is, that if you have a method of excersising THAT MUCH control over a machine, it better well be FULLY AND COMPLETELY SECURE, otherwise people WILL take advantage of it.

i worked at micro$lop when the first Word Concept Virus was discovered. it was unique (at the time) because it allowed an attacker to infect a victim’s machine over email, without actually having to have physical contact with the target machine. it worked by utilising micro$lop word’s “normal.dot” template, and required the victim to have macros enabled by default. the new, most recent word problem doesn’t require macros to be enabled, and doesn’t work if the application is running in “Protected View”. so, the solution micro$lop has come up with is to recommend that you run word in “Protected View” in order to avoid this particular vulnerability.

it is significant, to me, that the primary reason we have things like active antivirus software on our computers today is because of actions taken by the micro$lop corporation when i worked there. when i was working there, they were the largest manufacturer of computer software in the world.

and it reminds me of the solution micro$lop came up with to avoid another “bug” in another one of their “excellent” programs, internet explorer: version 3 exhibited a flaw in the way that it displays URIs in the address bar, and by opening a specially crafted URI an attacker could open a page that appears to be from a different domain from the current location. the solution? “Do not click any hyperlinks that you do not trust. Type them into the address bar yourself“… despite the fact that one of the features of all web browsers is that you can get from one source of information to the next, easily, without having to type in long, unintelligible strings of code.

Rule of thumb — Every time Microsoft uses the word “smart,” be on the lookout for something dumb.
     — John Walker

A little detective work revealed that, as is usually the case when you encounter something shoddy in the vicinity of a computer, Microsoft incompetence and gratuitous incompatibility were to blame.
     — John Walker

grr…

i was going over some updates with the new web site designer. because of a couple of component updates, some of my templates were deprecated and needed to be updated. i figured i could probably update them, since all that was needed was for me to determine which templates needed to be updated, download the updates, FTP to the site and replace the old ones with the new ones. in the process of finding out which of the templates needed to be updated, i came across a random, and somewhat unexpected error with my SSL certificate. the web designer said the host provider needed to fix it. the host provider said that the web designer needed to fix it.

๐Ÿ˜ก ‽‽‽‽

it was getting really late last night, when the host provider said that the web designer needed to fix it, and he wasn’t going to be available until tomorrow. i told the geek at the host provider that it sounded to me like it was a problem that the host provider was supposed to fix, and the geek proceded to break it even more. i was blocked out of my own site, temporarily, and when i was able to log in again, instead of being able to log out, i was redirected to a page that told me i was temporarily blocked from access… regardless of which browser, or which platform i used, i was able to login successfully, but was unable to log out.

๐Ÿ˜ก ‽ ๐Ÿ˜ก ‽ ๐Ÿ˜ก ‽ ๐Ÿ˜ก ‽

today, i contacted the web site designer. i agreed to give him $150, and he agreed to fix my site, and update it with the right templates.

grr… 😕

god damn it!!!

i have an ipad, so i can keep farcebook off of my real computers.

i don’t know whether it’s the ipad itself, or whether it is farcebook, but i’m getting really pissed off at the behaviour i’m seeing:

1) it randomly crashes: the screen freezes, then goes black, and then it gives me the “desktop” screen, and then, when i restart the farcebook application, it automatically goes to my “News Feed” rather than to the “Most Recent” page, where i normally read stuff. this happens a lot more frequently when i am reading a “link” that someone posted, but it also happens when i am simply reading farcebook.

2) it takes FOR-FUCKING-EVER to load a “link” from the farcebook application, and even when it says it’s finished loading, frequently it freezes until the entire page actually loads, which is sometimes as much as two or three minutes later. this is a lot more common on links which contain videos, although YouTube links usually load fairly quickly, which makes me suspect that there’s something else that is gobbling up bandwidth.

3) in the farcebook application itself, it frequently freezes for a couple of minutes, and then goes back to “normal” behaviour.

4) frequently, when i go to a “link” in the farcebook application, it loads completely, and then the screen gets a grey tinge to it, and the entire page is overlayed with an advertisement of some kind, and unless i touch EXACTLY the right place, which changes semi-regularly, instead of getting to read the page that i intended to, i have to wait for farcebook to put another, complete, entirely unrelated page, the advertisement, on the screen, which frequently takes up to five minutes, before i can go “back” to the page i was intending to read.

4½) a related problem is that, frequently, when i touch a place that should be a link of some kind (like a URI) it doesn’t do anything at all, and other times, when i am “scrolling”, it interprets my “touch” as a “click” and loads something in which i wasn’t interested, and then gives me a lot of difficulties (involving one or more of the previously enumerated items) getting back to where i was.

to make matters worse, the specific problems outlined above don’t happen individually: they frequently come in batches of two, or three, and, frequently all four of them at the same time.

as i said, i’m not sure whether it is due to bugs in the farcebook application, or bugs in the hardware, but it’s getting to the point where i feel like throwing the device against a wall, or out the window or something.

i’m fairly sure that this is NOT the way it is supposed to work. 😠

sigh…

so, it has been a couple days since my computer fell back into place, and i can definitely say that the past couple of weeks have been among the most stressful battles of the computer i have ever experienced… and it still isn’t back to 100%. 😠

my external, backup drive mounts when i first turn the machine on in the morning, but if i have to restart it for any reason — security upgrades, for example — i have to completely shut down the machine and start it up from power-off, rather than “restarting” it, because the disk only mounts if it starts up from power-off… if the machine restarts, it doesn’t power-off, and it loses the backup drive when it has restarted.

i am fairly sure that this can be taken care of relatively easily, by adding a line of text to a particular settings file somewhere, but i don’t remember where, and, at this point, i am so relieved to have a computer that actually works at all, that i’m willing to overlook this relatively minor inconvenience for the moment.

wrap up

i got my email working late friday. when i booted the machine yesterday, i still didn’t have my backup disk, and, while i futzed around and rebooted a couple of times, i couldn’t get it to mount. also, in spite of the fact that i had the cable plugged into the right hole, the sound still didn’t work, but i was going to bellingharm, so i figured i would save it until later.

i went to bellingham yesterday. ken and kamala have found a new place to live, but serentipity is going away, after 40 years that i know of. i got home at 11:00 last night, and was too tired to mess around with the computer.

this morning i got up, and booted up the computer, and, for some unknown reason, the backup disk mounted. i shut it down and started it up several times, and i still have a backup disk. it fixed itself. weird… so then i pulled the audio cable and plugged it into the front, where i can see what it’s doing. it worked. i plugged it into the back, and it still worked. so, the sound fixed itself as well. double weird… 8/

also, i screwed around with cron for about 5 minutes total (it actually took about 20 minutes, but it was screw with cron for a few seconds and then wait 5 minutes for the changes to take effect, or not), and got sigrot to work the way it’s supposed to.

so, basically, i got through the whole battle of the computer, and i only lost my fonts and my email filters… and i didn’t lose ALL of the email filters, only the “actions” for the filters… and i didn’t really lose the fonts, but i think they’re actually living on the other computer, which i haven’t booted up since the new computer made its appearance, so i’m still hoping that’ll fix itself as well…

i don’t know why, but i’m not arguing. this is the best outcome i have ever experienced in the battle of the computer, although it took quite a bit longer to come to this resolution than it has in the past.

told ya so… 8P

told ya so… 8P

it doesn’t completely work the way i want it to, yet, but it was 2% working yesterday, and today it’s back to 95%

while i’ve got my email back, it’s not completely working yet, and i’m still having to deal with peculiarities with which i’m not exactly familiar. they’re peculiar enough that, it’s my professional opinion that they may be caused by demons, and may work themself out on their own eventually… one of my email accounts apparently uses a password i don’t remember. gramps works, but it still thinks the media is on the non-existent disk… i still don’t have the fonts straightened out…

but it’s one hell of a lot closer than it was yesterday, when i didn’t have the task bar icons that i usually have, and the K-menu icons that i usually have, and my email didn’t work… and i didn’t even have to convince it to mount the big hard disk, which wasn’t even showing up as being capable of mounting until i jumped through a 3-step hoop in order to mount it, yesterday…

it’s fixed enough that i am not even worried about going to bellingharm tomorrow, but i probably won’t spend the night.

UPDATE 10:30 pm i got email working. it was a combination of trying things in a new way, and demons in the pipes. i’ve even got my sigrot working, although i don’t know whether cron is taking care of running it every 5 minutes. also i got dropbox working again. now all i gotta do is figure out where my fonts went to…

sigh…

i’m giving up, copying the data back on to the 3TB hard disk (which has now been reformatted as a 3TB disk), wiping the machine and starting over. this is ridiculous.

basically, over the past three days, i’ve been trying this thing, and that thing, and not being able to get my email back. i’ve been getting more and more anxious and more and more frustrated, and making more and more anxious decisions which turn out to be the wrong ones, which makes figuring out what went wrong more difficult…

and, the fact is, i’ve got this backup, which is all i really need apart from the data.

today i learned that you need to restore more than just the ~/.kde/share/apps/kmail directory, if you want to restore kmail. there’s a long list of directories and files, but what it comes down to is that if i restore ~/.config, ~/.kde, and ~/.local i’ll get not only all of my mail and contacts, but also all of my desktop settings.

also, i discovered that, for gawd-knows-what reason, the default for a new installation instance of Ark, the archiving program for KDE, is to “Extract Selected Files” rather than to “Extract All Files”… which is part of the reason i haven’t been able to extract all of the files i thought i was dealing with.

the end result is that, even if i could figure out what i need to replace, and what needs to stay to get things more or less back to normal, without a great deal of help, it would take a lot longer than it will to give up and start over.

significantly, i also learned that i’ve got all my shit, and now that i know what to do with it, if i start over, there’s a good chance that i will have everything back up and running, and have it a lot closer to the way i want it, as early as tomorrow.

computer, you’ve won this round, but watch out, because i will defeat you. ๐Ÿ‘ฟ

every time i think i see light at the end of the tunnel, it turns out to be the headlight of an oncoming train…

the host provider moved my hosting services, and gave me a new IP address, the ramifications of which started on the 21st, and are still going on. literally. i tried to SEND email at 5:30 this morning, only to get an error message from my email client that the RECIPIENT “[email protected]” was rejected by the server… and this is on MY server… for some unknown reason, if i send from webmail, it doesn’t happen, but i despise webmail and will do anything to avoid it, because it’s too easy to spam and get away with it if you use the web for mail, rather than for web-related stuff. also, if i use IMAP (webmail), the mail is retained on a server over which i have no control, which means that anyone who can crack into the server potentially has access to my mail… and this is, for some unknown reason, not an issue for the technicians (if i can call them that) from the host service.

add to this nightmare, the fact that i’m still working on getting my new computer set up… it’s taken 3 days to figure out where my two USB drives are, move the data off of them, and reformat them, because, unbeknownst to me, they were formatted FAT32, which can’t see files that are more than 4GB, and i had been storing files on one of the disks that are >7GB, for quite some time. so, once i’d figured out how to mount them (because they had screwed up partition tables) i had to move all the data off of the disk (fortunately i have a new 1TB internal hard disk that was just aching to have ¾ of it taken up with old data), and reformat the drive EXT4… which means NO interaction with windoesn’t is possible — who cares about micro$lop anyway — but it will now see files that are as big as i want to make them…

AND, because of the fact that, apparently, i don’t know how to correctly backup my email files, i’m STILL having to battle with kmail/kontact/KDE-PIM to get things back in line — they still AREN’T, and — you guessed it — i’m having to use webmail to straighten things out, because Mail (on my ipad) gives me this weird error message, and kmail isn’t working…

FURTHERMORE, i don’t have things set up the way i want them on the new machine yet… i still have to figure out why gucharmap doesn’t have emoticons, even though they’re supposed to be part of the unicode standard at this point; now that i’ve got the disk reformatted to EXT4, i’ve got to figure out how to mount it at startup, so that it will be able to use the new backup software i installed; and, undoubtedly, there are a myriad of other, less important things that i have neglected to mention, simply because they haven’t happened yet, which are making my life unbelievably difficult, and leaving no end in sight. ๐Ÿ˜ก

oy… 😠

all i had to do was mention the fact that i am getting a new computer, and it automatically triggered one of the worst battles of the computer that i have ever seen.

they moved my hosting accounts from us10.la.thewebhostserver.com, which is being retired, to a new server, mars-la.thewebhostserver.com. it had an IP address assigned to it that was ALREADY LISTED in four different spam-filtering services (that i know about), so they gave me a new IP address, which doesn’t have a rDNS record, and also doesn’t have a DNS PTR record (which is, apparently, different from an rDNS record), which means that i can only send email to about a third of the people to whom i need to send email, and the rest of them generate bounce notices.

this has been going on ever since the 21st, which is the last time i posted here, and, while it has definitely been on its way to getting fixed, they have been taking their bloody time about it, and i have been getting more and more convinced that, once again, i should probably think about finding a new host provider. ๐Ÿ˜ก

and, while i have it sitting on my desk next to me, the new computer still is not hooked up or working yet, because i want to be sure that everything is working the way it is supposed to work BEFORE i do something that i know to be destructive to my system.

the battle is joined

i’m getting a new computer. the primary hard disk on the current computer says this:

[email protected]:~$ sudo smartctl -l selftest /dev/sda
smartctl 6.2 2013-07-26 r3841 [i686-linux-3.13.0-63-generic] (local build)
Copyright (C) 2002-13, Bruce Allen, Christian Franke, www.smartmontools.org

=== START OF READ SMART DATA SECTION ===
SMART Self-test log structure revision number 1
Num Test_Description Status Remaining LifeTime(hours) LBA_of_first_error
# 1 Short offline Completed: read failure 90% 29056 323066047
# 2 Short offline Completed: read failure 90% 29025 323066047

[email protected]:~$ sudo smartctl -l selftest /dev/sdb
smartctl 6.2 2013-07-26 r3841 [i686-linux-3.13.0-63-generic] (local build)
Copyright (C) 2002-13, Bruce Allen, Christian Franke, www.smartmontools.org

=== START OF READ SMART DATA SECTION ===
SMART Self-test log structure revision number 1
Num Test_Description Status Remaining LifeTime(hours) LBA_of_first_error
# 1 Short offline Completed without error 00% 38197 -

which means, basically, that the primary hard disk – /dev/sda – has a read failure, and the secondary hard disk is okay… but i just copied all of the data off the secondary hard disk today anyway… and they’re 180gb and 200gb respectively, which means i can replace both of them with a brand new 1TB disk for about the same price that i could search out two used drives of the same size, and for a little bit more, i can replace the whole machine, with 4 times the RAM.

which sounds like a very good idea to me. so, i’m doing that. i’ll probably be offline for a day or so, within the next few days, but i don’t anticipate a major ordeal.

the battle of moe’s computer

friday and saturday, moe spent most of the day upgrading the powerpoint presentations that she has to present on thursday, at the largest veterinary conference in the world. saturday night night, she tried backing up her computer, but it wasn’t finished by the time i went to sleep. sunday morning, after discovering that the backup didn’t work, she attempted to do another backup and produced an error on her computer that, in the thirty years i have been working with apple/macintosh computers, i have never seen before: a “Kernel Panic” error… it was quite alarming, i can tell you, and even moreso because ALL of moe’s data for the presentations was on that computer… she had made backups, but not before she did eight hours of work, and, because of the fact that she’s been having more than the normal amount of chaos at work, she doesn’t have the time to do everything again before thursday.

needless to say, she freaked out.

the fact that she freaked out, freaked me out. seriously, i have been married to this woman for almost 17 years, and i have never seen her lose it quite so dramatically. i did what i could, which was to make the first available appointment at the apple store in tacoma mall, which was for monday afternoon, and then i went into survival mode, keeping my head down until things changed.

while i was hiding, moe talked to a couple of friends who know more about modern macs than i do, and was able to rescue the most important of her data, i.e. the stuff for the presentations that she has to give on thursday, which made me breathe a little easier, but she still didn’t have a computer, and thursday was looming…

i took the computer in to the shop on monday, and described to the “genius” what had happened. we booted up the computer, and it hadn’t even completed the POST before it demonstrated the “Kernel Panic” error again, which was all the guy needed to see. after booting from the network and running a test, it appeared that the RAM was faulty, so he took it back behind the mysterious door in the back of the shop where all the technicians and magic smoke machines live.

about 45 minutes later, he came back and the computer booted up just like normal. he said that he “reseated the RAM” and that he had booted and shut it down about 6 times, just to make sure, but he recommended that we replace the hard disk, as well. seeing as how, just about a month ago, we had to have the logic board and the monitor replaced, and it was still under warranty, i agreed without hesitation. he checked, and they don’t make 250G hard disks for that computer any longer, so he put the last 500G disk they had in stock aside for me, with my name on it. the plan was that i would take the computer home, back it up properly, and then bring it back on tuesday to get the hard disk repaced.

so, after backing it up, i took moe’s computer in to have the hard disk replaced tuesday. i got to the apple store before they opened, waited until they opened, went in and explained (again) why i was there, they sat me down at the “genius bar” (by the way, i should point out that i have been using macs for longer than most of the “geniuses” have been alive) and told me that there would be someone to help me “shortly”… about an hour later, a guy showed up and immediately started trying to convince me that the hard disk didn’t REALLY need to be replaced… i told him what happened yesterday, including the part where the guy assured me that it actually DID need replacing, and that he had set aside a disk with my name on it, to facilitate the process. the guy said he would check, and came back to inform me that there wasn’t a disk with my name on it, and that they didn’t have any disks in stock at the moment. after some more convincing arguments, i insisted that he check again, and, sure enough, he came back and said that there actually WAS a disk with my name on it, and that everything would be taken care of in a couple hours.

i came back to the apple store in a couple hours, and, once again, they had me sit at the “genius bar” to wait for the computer to appear from the mysterious door at the back of the shop. after about 45 minutes (what ever happened to the 2 hour time frame the guy gave me??) the computer finally appeared, but it hadn’t had any of the data transferred, so the person who delivered it to me suggested that i restore the backup right then, before leaving the store. after i had already started the process, she said “oh, by the way, this may take a while…”

1 hour and 30 minutes later, the backup was restored, and moe now has an (allegedly) functioning computer again.

and i can say, conclusively, that the tacoma mall is one of the most ghettofabulous places i have ever had the priveledge of hanging out… if i never go there again, it will probably be too soon…

moe came home and checked her computer, and everything is back to the way it should be… which is a very good thing, because this has been a trying time for both of us… 😕

snrg

for a couple of years now the fan in my computer has been making an evil buzzing noise when i first turn on the machine. i discovered that if i take a bottle of canned air and squirt it into the fan, it stops… after a while…

fast forward a couple of years, and multiple cases of canned air from costco (i.e. at least 10), and it’s actually been taking longer and longer to get the fan to quit buzzing, and the buzzing has been getting more loud and evil sounding, especially since i re-oriented the box, so i finally decided to open it up and see if i could fix it.

i found a lot of dust… which i cleaned out outside, because i’ve had previous experience with trying to clean dust out of a computer while inside, and it results in making everything taste like the inside of a computer for a couple of weeks… ๐Ÿ˜›

but it didn’t stop the buzzing, so i broke down and bought a new fan.

it cost me $9.00. ๐Ÿ˜

i don’t know why i don’t just put my computer in a place where it’s relatively easy to disconnect and clean, apart from general laziness and lack of caring, and i wonder about the habit i have of stacking stuff on top of the computer, and/or putting it in obscure, difficult to remove places even more when the solution to my problem ALL ALONG cost me less than $10.00… ๐Ÿ˜

i’ve been working in the computer industry long enough that i should have known it was going to turn out that way… ๐Ÿ˜

SHELLSHOCK UPDATE

Shellshock: ‘Larger scale attack’ on its way, warn securo-bods

Apple FINALLY patches the ‘don’t worry’ Bash Shellshock vuln

Apple Releases Patches for Shellshock Bug


Every Mac Is Vulnerable to the Shellshock Bash Exploit: Here’s How to Patch OS X
— i upgraded from v.3.2.51(1) to v.3.2.53(1) according to their directions for pre-mavericks computers, and, according to the test i posted last week the system is no longer “vulnerable”, but, because of the fact that it doesn’t actually give a response other than “this is a test”, i can’t tell for sure whether or not they’ve actually patched shellshock, or whether they have just turned off the error message… it would be really nice if i could just upgrade to the current GNU release, which is v.4.3… this is why i am no longer a mac-head… ๐Ÿ˜

Apple patches "Shellshock" Bash bug in OS X 10.9, 10.8, and 10.7

SHELLSHOCK UPDATE

Firms BASH Bash bug with new round of Shellshock patches

Cisco splats Bash bug in busy swatting season

i’ve run three rounds of security updates in the past three days, and bash was updated in every one of ’em… eventually they’re gonna fix it for real… maybe i’ll just revert to using csh… or zsh (which was written by paul falstad, my former manager and coworker at openwave) ๐Ÿ˜

SHELLSHOCK UPDATE

UPDATE: Bash Vulnerability AKA SHELLSHOCK

The ‘Shellshock’ Bash vulnerability and what it means for OS X

Apple: Most OS X users safe from ‘Shellshock’ exploit, patch coming quickly for advanced Unix users — which, of course, is a blatant falsehood… all macs are as much at risk as -x was, and -x had a patch yesterday… this is why i am no longer a mac-head… ๐Ÿ˜

Apple working on “Shellshock” fix, says most users not at risk [Updated] — which includes the following information:

Mac OS X uses version 3.2.51.(1) of GNU bash, released in 2007; the current GNU release of the shell is bash 4.3. However, the current version is released under the GNU Public License version 3 (GPLv3). Apple has avoided bundling GPLv3-licensed software because of its stricter license terms, even dropping the open-source Windows networking service Samba from OS X server in 2011 because Samba had shifted to a GPLv3 license. Therefore, although patches for the vulnerability have now been pushed out for most open-source operating systems, Apple executives may feel they have to have their own developers make modifications to the bash code.

this is the explanation why i haven’t been able to get SAMBA to work on my mac… grumble, mutter… ๐Ÿ˜

Still more vulnerabilities in bash? Shellshock becomes whack-a-mole

shellshock update: linux has been patched, mac not so much…

‘Shellshock’ Bug Spells Trouble for Web Security
140925
by Brian Krebs

The bug is being compared to the recent Heartbleed vulnerability because of its ubiquity and sheer potential for causing havoc on Internet-connected systems โ€” particularly Web sites. Worse yet, experts say the official patch for the security hole is incomplete and could still let attackers seize control over vulnerable systems.

The problem resides with a weakness in the GNU Bourne Again Shell (Bash), the text-based, command-line utility on multiple Linux and Unix operating systems. Researchers discovered that if Bash is set up to be the default command line utility on these systems, it opens those systems up to specially crafted remote attacks via a range of network tools that rely on it to execute scripts, from telnet and secure shell (SSH) sessions to Web requests.

According to several security firms, attackers are already probing systems for the weakness, and that at least two computer worms are actively exploiting the flaw to install malware. Jamie Blasco, labs director at AlienVault, has been running a honeypot on the vulnerability since yesterday to emulate a vulnerable system.

“With the honeypot, we found several machines trying to exploit the Bash vulnerability,” Blasco said. “The majority of them are only probing to check if systems are vulnerable. On the other hand, we found two worms that are actively exploiting the vulnerability and installing a piece of malware on the system. This malware turns the systems into bots that connect to a C&C server where the attackers can send commands, and we have seen the main purpose of the bots is to perform distributed denial of service attacks.”

The vulnerability does not impact Microsoft Windows users (ed. for a change), but there are patches available for Linux and Unix systems. In addition, Mac users are likely vulnerable, although there is no official patch for this flaw from Apple yet. I’ll update this post if we see any patches from Apple.

The U.S.-CERT’s advisory includes a simple command line script that Mac users can run to test for the vulnerability. To check your system from a command line, type or cut and paste this text:

env x='() { :;}; echo vulnerable' bash -c "echo this is a test"

If the system is vulnerable, the output will be:

vulnerable
 this is a test

An unaffected (or patched) system will output:

 bash: warning: x: ignoring function definition attempt
 bash: error importing function definition for `x'
 this is a test

US-CERT has a list of operating systems that are vulnerable. Red Hat and several other Linux distributions have released fixes for the bug, but according to US-CERT the patch has an issue that prevents it from fully addressing the problem.

The Shellshock bug is being compared to Heartbleed because it affects so many systems; determining which are vulnerable and developing and deploying fixes to them is likely to take time. However, unlike Heartbleed, which only allows attackers to read sensitive information from vulnerable Web servers, Shellshock potentially lets attackers take control over exposed systems.

“This is going to be one that’s with us for a long time, because it’s going to be in a lot of embedded systems that won’t get updated for a long time,” said Nicholas Weaver, a researcher at the International Computer Science Institute (ICSI) and at the University California, Berkeley. “The target computer has to be accessible, but there are a lot of ways that this turns accessibility into full local code execution. For example, could easily write a scanner that would basically scan every Web site on the planet for vulnerable (Web) pages.”

Stay tuned. This one could get interesting very soon.

now THAT’S the way things should work ALL the time!

i reported a bug in kontact 4.13.1 yesterday. they fixed it (almost immediately, which leads me to believe that i wasn’t the only one who had the problem, but i’m the one whose name ended up on top of the bug report) this morning, and, with the kubuntu-updates ppa (which i hadn’t installed, because of the fact that i didn’t know it existed) my installation of kontact 4.13.2 is working wonderfully, less than 24 hours after the bug was first reported.

given my experience as a software tester, i don’t have to wonder what the process would have been like for mac or windoesn’t, especially with as important a communication tool as kontact…

THIS is the reason i am a linux geek… ๐Ÿ˜€

bugger +1

according to this, the bug that i reported yesterday has been “RESOLVED FIXED” in Kontact 4.13.2…

i am running 4.13.1, so it should be an easy upgrade…

this guy recommends that i use PPA/Backports to install 4.13.2, but 4.13.2 is not a part of the current PPA/Backports repository, and there’s no telling when (or even if) it will be added…

in other words, they fixed the bug that i am experiencing, but i can’t get to the proper repository to install the fix because i choose not to run on “the bleeding edge” and like to keep my installation on the “Long Term Service” (LTS) version as long as possible.

ETA: i tried removing and reinstalling kontact 4.13.1… it didn’t help.

<repeated head-to-desk maneuver> ๐Ÿ˜ก

bugger! 8/

i was responding to an email, and i was trying to attatch a file, when my email client crashed.

now it was a file that was located on a SMB-mounted disk that i was trying to attatch, and i believe that my email client has trouble doing that, but it has responded “gracefully” (or “not at all”) when i have done this in the past, and… hey, it’s a SMB-mounted disk… so what if it’s not part of the “local” system or not, if a file that i need to attatch to an email lives on a SMB-mounted disk, i should at least get a warning that the file “couldn’t be found” or some such thing as that…

what i don’t expect is that the client crashes, and then, when i try to restart it, it crashes again, and again, and again… and again… ๐Ÿ˜

and again… ๐Ÿ˜ก

i get the impression that SMTP (incoming) mail is working, because when i logged into webmail on my linux box (after having discovered that the POP3 client wasn’t starting) messages would appear and vanish without my doing anything to them, a situation that doesn’t happen when i’m logged into webmail from my mac (which i am, now).

i’m sure the problem is fixable, in the long run, but i need to be able to mail the SANCApators, and the fremont phil, and snake suspenderz, in the short term, and having my email “vanish” before i can respond is not helping that AT ALL

this is the reason i think it’s going to get fixed eventually, but at this point, nobody knows when that “eventually” actually is… ๐Ÿ˜

now that i’m getting used to it, i definitely like it, but…

now that i’m getting used to it, i definitely like it, but getting there was a real roller coaster ride, lemme tell ya’… ๐Ÿ˜

my last post was sounding like it was the beginning of another one of those multi-day fiascos that i have come to tag as “the battle of the computer”… and it was touch and go for a while, although more with my mental state than anything else.

my post at kubuntu forums has the bare bones, but what i actually did was as a direct result of what i have learned from previous, desperate visits to kubuntu forums. basically i did it all from the terminal login until i was absolutely certain that it was going to work with a GUI, and then i made triple sure that everything was as it should be before i started to diagnose the real problem (which was that my email client had disappeared).

with the result that i got my email back, i didn’t lose anything, i didn’t have to rebuild my address book, even my sigrot made it to the new version, i actually got a new version of kubuntu (Trusty Tahr, 14.04), and it didn’t take a week, or even three days, like it has in the past.

now that everything has calmed down to the dull roar i interpret as “normal”, i’m going to go take a shower and test out the new showerhead, and shut down the computers for a while… because it’s too hot for them anyway.

blood pressure through the roof… 8/

i installed the daily security updates, and it removed my ability to send and receive email. ๐Ÿ˜ก

it’s getting towards time for me to re-evaluate my dependence on computers.

ETA: so i decided that it was time to upgrade distributions, because precise is coming up against its EOL in a year or so. i upgraded to trusty, and things got distinctly WORSE: i am now looking at a “system loading” screen that has had a “progress” meter (which is just an animated graphic that has 5 dots that go from one colour to a different colour, and back, one dot at a time, to show you that “something’s happening”) for about half an hour with no change…

i posted once at kubuntu forums but there has been no response yet… ๐Ÿ˜

i wonder how long it’s gonna take this time? ๐Ÿ˜ก if it’s anything like the last couple of times, it could take as much as a week to get things back to “normal” again… ๐Ÿ˜

bleh

the days keep going by.

i got my computer fixed by the kubuntu gods at Kubuntu Forums, where they are quite a bit better than just about anybody else at diagnosing and helping to fix any problems that one might have with one’s kubuntu system… and, by the way, it wasn’t the video drivers. the people who put together the update packages left out an important part of the desktop manager, and released a new update that had that important part in it the next day… ๐Ÿ˜‰ i suppose that’s what i get for using a free, community-based operating system.

it could be worse. i could be using <shudder> micro$lop…

moe returned very early friday morning, so the doggies have calmed back down to their standard level of chaos.

i’ve got a rehearsal later on this evening with the fremont philharmonic, whose moisture festival dates are april 2nd through april 6th. we’ve only had one rehearsal, we still don’t know exactly who is playing when, and there’s a WHOLE BUNCH of new music that we haven’t learned yet. then i’ve got a rehearsal with the SANCApators (which is eben sprinsock‘s other band) on wednesday. they’ve got two rehearsals, and then i’m playing with them at the moisture festival on march 23rd. then i’ve got a rehearsal with snake suspenderz on thursday. snake suspenderz is playing a private gig at a corporate party on saturday, and a public gig on sunday, at C&P Coffee in west seattle, if you’re interested in seeing us play: we’re doing a special performance with Katy Webber, who is a FANTASTIC jazz singer (who also played the part of Dick Whittington in the most recent panto)… snake suspenderz is also playing as a “pit band” at the moisture festival march 26th through march 30th. i don’t know if we’re going to have any “on stage” performances this year, but even still, i’ve got a total of 19 performances, which should make up for any loss that i experience due to the fact that i’ve gotten paid less per share than last year (grumble, mutter).

i’ve got a whole bunch more moisture festival performances this year than i had last year, and a combination of widely varying circumstances means that they’re actually taking snake suspenderz seriously this year, but if they maintain the new “tradition” of paying a smaller share than they did last year (which started last year), this will probably be the last year that i participate in the moisture festival in the way that i have been for the past ELEVEN YEARS now… ๐Ÿ˜› of course i don’t know that they’re going to pay less per share than they did last year, but at this point i don’t trust the board of directors to do anything rational any longer.

and before any of that happens, moe and i are going to heppner oregon again (like we did last year), and after that, we’re going to the ocean for a few days. we’re going to a place that DOES NOT have wifi, so it’s going to mean that we’re going to have to exist for a few days without our smart-phones, or ipads, or laptops… we’re going to have to do with kites, dogs, beach, and each other… like in olden times.

it was another one of “those” days… 8P

i didn’t wake up in the best of moods today. the dogs wanted to get up about 2 hours before i was ready to get up – moe is in las vegas at a vet conference and gets back tonight. the dogs are always worried when she leaves for more than a day, and they’ve been getting more and more antsy the longer she’s away. i’ve been running rye and lucy until their tongues hang out, and that’s been keeping them sort of quiet, but it doesn’t work first thing in the morning…

so, i got the (3) dogs, and the (1) cat, and the (2) birds fed, and started up my computer, and, of course, there were system updates that came in overnight, so i installed them and rebooted the computer… and the computer wouldn’t reboot. ๐Ÿ˜› i posted in kubuntu forums, and the current theory is that xorg stopped supporting my video, which doesn’t strike me as being particurlarly likely, as this is a 4-to-5-year-old computer that had not-quite-top-of-the-line components installed when it was first built… but it is also based on guesses more than anything else, at this point.

so, i decided to do it the “hard” way (whoever thought that getting mail on my laptop would be the “hard” way?), so i fired up my mac, logged in, and pointed my browser at my webmail page… and i COULDN’T LOG IN… ๐Ÿ˜› ๐Ÿ˜›

and then i had an appointment with gary from Giant Atomic Robots about the Hybrid Elephant web site, and i was about ⅔ of the way there when i realised that, despite the fact that i planned on taking my laptop, and i even went so far as to disconnect it and put it in the same place that i had put everything else that i succeeded in remembering, i actually FORGOT my laptop!

after i returned home from my meeting with the giant atomic robot gary, i determined that the reason i couldn’t log into my email was not because of my VPN as i suspected, but because they had actually MOVED the entire webmail site to a different server, and, because of the fact that i don’t use webmail on a regular basis (POP mail is still the safest way to go!), i didn’t get the message…

i’m running really thin on spoons today, and i don’t get to go to sleep until after i pick moe up, at 1:00 in the morning… ๐Ÿ˜› ๐Ÿ˜› ๐Ÿ˜›

smb

i figured out stumbled across the method of making my mac accessible to my linux box that doesn’t include sftp, but does include smb. theoretically, i’ve got smb running on my linux box, as well (thus the ability to access my mac), but for some reason, my linux box doesn’t show up on my mac.

it’s nothing new. my mac has always shown up on my linux box, and my linux box has never shown up on my mac. the fact that i stumbled across the method of making my mac visible on my linux box indicates to me that it should be fairly easy to make the linux box visible from the mac…

but, so far, it hasn’t happened yet… ๐Ÿ˜

why is this happening?

several of my web hosting clients have been having trouble with their email not getting through, recently. i went through a frighteningly similar situation last year, which ended up with my moving my web sites, lock stock and CGI scripts, to another server with a different IP address… same host provider, just a different IP address. the reason was that, for some unexplained reason, the IP address kept getting listed in the CBL… which means that someone using that shared-hosting machine (not me, or any of my clients) was using it to sent spam.

the same thing has happened again. i complained, they suspended someone, it didn’t fix the problem, they told me that it takes time to propagate, i waited, it didn’t fix the problem, i complained again, they told me that it was an exim misconfiguration, that didn’t fix the problem, i complained again, they told me that they had written to the CBL to get answers…

well, guess what?

copied from the CBL home page: “There is no supporting data or “evidence” file available for any given listing, and no mechanism to ask why any given listing took place.”

so i wrote back to them, and said “whatever is causing the IP to be relisted hasn’t gone away, and won’t go away with you guys waiting for a response that won’t come.”

whereupon they closed the ticket with no further response.

maybe it’s time to start looking for a cheap VPS… ๐Ÿ˜

latest battle news

things keep fixing themselves, and/or i find out how to fix them: i figured out how to make my secondary internal ext3 disk mount at boot, and the version of KDE that has the fix for the recently used documents bug came down the line a couple of days ago… there’s still some things that haven’t completely worked their way out yet, but i keep creeping up on where i used to be before “the disaster” happened.

on the other hand, i recently discovered that the IP address for hybridelephant.com (and all other domains that i host) has, once again, found itself on the CBL, and the sysadmins are just as clueless and stubborn about fixing it as they were last year. i reported the problem, and they immediately got back to me and said that they had suspended a suspicious user and that the problem was resolved. problem was, they didn’t actually fix the problem, and i told them so, with references to back up my case. once again, they told me the problem was solved, and that i shouldn’t worry about it. at the same time, my IP address was listed in the CBL, and had been for the past 14 hours. i pointed this out to them, and they told me that it was “a misconfigured exim” and that the problem really was resolved… now it’s just a matter of waiting to see if that really has fixed the problem. i’m not holding my breath, but so far it’s not been re-listed. we’ll see how it goes.

also, i bought a new (reconditioned) mac the other day. it’s allegedly going to be delivered on the 16th.

Continue reading latest battle news

the most recent iteration of the battle of the computer is winding down…

i got my dropbox fixed. i still don’t know why or how, but at least it’s working. ๐Ÿ˜

i just discovered that the issue with my “Recently Used Documents” menu is due to a bug in KDE4.11.0 which is why they’ve already released KDE4.11.1, but that doesn’t come until later… because apparently the KDE for kubuntu 12.04 is 4.8.5, which may mean that there’s something else bizarre going on… means that i have kubuntu backports ppa enabled (because of a problem that i was having with amarok, about a year ago) in my repositories list, and i’m not going to turn them off now… ๐Ÿ˜

there’s a whole bunch of “new” information, via hobbit, regarding the linux compose key, which while not “new” to the world in general, is very new and interesting to me… and with a minimum amount of twangling, i got it set up. unfortunately, it doesn’t work when publishing to the web (which is not particuarly surprising), so a demonstration of it on this page would be extremely disappointing. ๐Ÿ˜‰

battle

so, the battle of the computer is largely over, but there are a few weird things, that i suspect are going to be more and more annoying as time goes on and they don’t get fixed, but at the same time, they are practically impossible to describe, and i don’t know how i’m ever going to fix them if i can’t even describe them reliably.

there have been some peculiarities that i have been able to adjust: my default browser changed from firefox to rekonq in the System Settings, but nowhere else, and it went back to doing what it was supposed to once i changed it, but i had to check two or three other places, because it wasn’t changed in my email client or ANY of my browsers.

also, immediately after i recovered from “the disaster”, i noticed that some, but, curiously, not all of my email filters weren’t working. when i went into the “Configure Filters” dialogue, all of the filters were there, but they didn’t do anything. once i re-established the things that each of them were supposed to do, they all worked the way they were supposed to.

however, there are some things that worked fine before, are non-functional now, and i don’t have the first clue how to fix them:

before the disaster, when i opened a URL from my email client, it immediately switched to the browser, and proceded to open the URL without making any sound. after the disaster, it opens the URL in a new browser window, but it doesn’t immediately switch to it, and sometimes (but not always) it makes a “swishyswishy” sound that i haven’t been able to figure out where it’s coming from, and (naturally) haven’t been able to figure out how to turn it off.

before my disaster, i had the ability to change my volume by pushing buttons on my keyboard, but since the disaster, my sound system settings are completely wonky, the buttons on the keyboard no longer work, and i can’t figure out how to make them right: instead of having two channels in my “Volume” settings (in the systray), one of which controled the volume for everything, i have three, or four if there’s a youtube video in my browser, and one channel controls the settings for the system bell, another channel controls the volume in amarok, and one channel controls the volume in the youtube video… i believe that, when i’m using something like VLC Media Player, i can show another channel in my mixer.

task-barthere’s one, in particular, that i already find fairly annoying: i have a “K” menu (rather like the “Start” menu in windoesn’t, but not so confusing) in my task bar, which has a “Recently Used” tab – recently used
but the fact is the recently used documents part of the tab hasn’t updated since i recovered my data… the recently used applications seems to work as expected, but the recently used documents hasn’t updated at all since i recovered my data.

i have a “0 B Removable Media” that appears to be a floppy drive in my devices menu, but i don’t have a floppy drive at all… i seem to recall being able to turn drives that i don’t have off in the devices menu, but there’s nothing in System Settings -> Removable Devices that does anything. also, my secondary internal drive, which should mount automatically at boot time, doesn’t actually mount until i click on it, at which point it demands a password before i can access any of its contents.

my “Dropbox” folder is no longer linked, and i can’t figure out how to re-link it. it was “moved” when it went from /media/home/salamandir/Dropbox to /media/salamandir/home/salamandir/Dropbox and when i finally figured out how to get it back to /media/home/salamandir/Dropbox it still told me that my dropbox folder wasn’t installed in the correct place, and instructed me to reinstall dropbox, but when i did, it didn’t do any good, so i “unlinked” my linux box from my dropbox account, and now i can’t figure out how to re-link it… BUT, for some unknown reason, my “Fremont Philharmonic” dropbox is still working the way i expect it to… which is REALLY weird…

more battle

okay, i’ve got my /media/home and /media/backup partitions back where they’re supposed to be, however… ๐Ÿ˜

when i view /media/home with the file manager, what i see is two empty directories, /Desktop and /Downloads. however, when i right click and choose “Properties”, it tells me that 31.3GB are being used out of the 1TB partition, for 45,227 files…

which means that the data is there, i just can’t see it.

the technical side of the story is here for anyone who is interested. it continues to develop. my guess is that, soon, i’ll have all of my data back…

either that, or i won’t. ๐Ÿ˜›

ETA: the battle of the computer is over. i have won, once again… i just wish the computer could get the idea that it’s not good to anger the creator…

there has been enough stress in the past 3 days to last me a few years… i wasn’t kidding about taking a break from computers for a while. at this point, email/RSS and posting on my own blog about stuff is verging on too much. we’ll see about other things as they come up, but… ๐Ÿ˜

new information

i haven’t turned on my linux box in two days. i’ve been afraid to turn it on, because something might happen to change the already tenuous hold i have on the concept that, maybe, possibly things can be made right without losing all of my data for the past two years.

during the past two days, i have discovered that KDE (the window manager for kubuntu) has changed the way it mounts USB drives, from /media/drive to /media/username/drive (which has actually been a standard with ubuntu for a couple of years now, and KDE is only “just catching up”). the way to force the system to go back to “the old way” of doing things, is to sudo make a text file with a VERY SPECIFIC filename, that contains a single line of arcane gibberish (the text is actually ENV{ID_FS_USAGE}=="filesystem", ENV{UDISKS_FILESYSTEM_SHARED}="1"), and then sudo reload the process that looks at that file.

which is, pretty much, what i expected the answer was going to be: a very simple line of code that causes the operating system to do something so far under the radar that ordinary “normal” computer users wouldn’t be able to figure it out in a million years.

once i have my drives mounting in the place that they’re supposed to mount, i don’t know for sure what comes next, but it includes the possibility of removing my ~/.kde directory and then rebooting, which will cause kde to re-create a “default” of all of the system settings (including my home directory, and all of my paths)… at which point, it is remotely possible that all of my lost data will suddenly reappear.

that is the best case scenario, and the one that i am hoping will happen. i haven’t actually done it yet, because i’m still working out the details… “doing the leg work” is what moe says… but i’m hoping that, tomorrow at the earliest, my linux box will be back up and running again.

OY!

a while back — a year and a half ago, or thereabouts — i decided that i was going to make a separate directory, on an external hard disk, that contained all of my essential data, data that i had created, so that when i upgraded my system, i wouldn’t face the potential of losing everything when a system upgrade didn’t go the way it was supposed to… and, the last time i did a major upgrade of my system, it worked exactly the way i expected it to work, and i was very happy.

basically, instead of my “home” directory being at /home/salamandir on the primary hard disk of the computer, i had a home directory at /media/home/salamandir and everything was fine, i just had to remember to change directories when i was downloading something, because i knew (from first-hand experience) that if i forgot, and downloaded to /home/salamandir/Downloads i would have difficulty finding the data afterwards.

so i did the intermediary system upgrades on my linux box, yesterday. it wasn’t a full upgrade, but there were some more things than normal, and it “hung up” when it got to the point where it asked me if i wanted to keep the configuration file that “i” had “modified”, or if i wanted to download a new configuration file, but when i answered that i wanted to keep the configuration file that “i” had “modified”, the installation procedure proceded as normal.

then i rebooted my computer, because i like to do that, to make sure there aren’t any delayed configurations, or things that don’t get installed at reboot that aren’t working the way they’re supposed to, and that’s where the problems started.

i rebooted, and the first thing i noticed was that the external disks, including the 3TB disk that i have partitioned into a “home” and a “backup” partition, weren’t mounting the way they were supposed to. i didn’t notice this until later, but the reason why the “home” and “backup” partitions weren’t mounting correctly was because, for some (as yet unknown) reason, they had been converted from /media/home and /media/backup to /media/salamandir/home and /media/salamandir/backup

what this meant in the short run is that it couldn’t find the directory that contains my wallpaper graphics, and my “dropbox” folder was “moved” from where it was supposed to be.

this would have been an entirely different problem if i had noticed that immediately, but as it is, i tried to re-establish my directories where they should be, and succeeded only in overwriting (or something, i still don’t know what) the directory in /media/salamandir/home/salamandir — which is where ALL my data from the LAST time this happened, now lives… because i was under the impression that if i kept my data on an external hard drive, that it would be safe from random deletion and/or disasters… like this one is turning out to be.

/media/salamandir/backup (which contains backups of my “real” home directory: i.e. configuration files and nothing else) is still intact, /media/salamandir/home/salamandir-new (a directory i created when i was still trying to deal with the loss of data the last time) is still intact, but /media/salamandir/home/salamandir is NOT intact… which includes all of the printing clients that i have worked for in the past year-and-a-half, ALL of my genealogy data, a huge pile of my (irreplaceable) music files, and who knows what else.

the only good part about this whole thing is that i BELIEVE all of the data is still there: usually it takes a while for the computer to actually delete a couple of gigabytes of information (which /media/salamandir/home/salamandir certainly is), and it didn’t actually do anything that seems like actual deleting, so what i suspect is that i just overwrote the file that tells the computer where everything is, and if i could just replace that, everything would be cool…

but, so far, i haven’t been able to figure out how to do that. ๐Ÿ˜

the last time this happened, my computer was down for 5 days, and it was only because of the fact that i was willing to let go of a whole bunch of my data that things eventually made their way back to “normal” again. i’m pretty sure i DON’T want to go through that again. ๐Ÿ˜

i think it’s time for me to take a break from my computer for a few weeks… possibly longer… ๐Ÿ˜

now…

i was going to post yesterday, but then i spent two nights ago not sleeping very well and having dreams that i wished i wasn’t having — and waking up on more than one occasion, specifically to end a particularly annoying dream, only to have it resume, more or less, when i succeeded in getting back to sleep — so when i finally got up yesterday i was already in a sour mood… and then i turned on my computer and the sour mood increased about ten-fold, which was not made any better by the fact that i couldn’t get my backups to work the way i wanted to, because of the fact that the crack used a “new, different” way of intruding, which the host provider was less than forthcoming about explaining…

i actually had everything fixed by 11:00 am or so, but my mood was so bad, and it was so hot, that, by that time, all i wanted to do was watch the god-damned-noisy-box, smoke cannabis and drink… first mountain dew, then water, then beer. seriously, the temperatures have been in the low-90s and upper-80s, but it has been more humid than i have ever seen before (around here, it’s par for the course in illinois and alabama), and the overall effect is that the temperature is oppressively hot, which made the god-damned-noisy-box even more inviting… if i had a swimming pool, it be a lot better…

but, unfortunately, if i had a swimming pool, realistically, it would only get used a week or so a year, and the rest of the time i would have to maintain it… so it’s probably better this way… it’s a lot more realistic to dream of a sauna, because i’d use that year round EXCEPT for the really hot days…

anyway, if i had posted yesterday, this would have been that post:

the oregon country fair is in a little more than a week. i had in mind to distribute QR code stickers for music at the fair, but they haven’t even contacted me with a shipping date yet, and i placed the order almost a month ago. so THIS is the reason why NOT to use StickerRobot when time is sensitive. they may make the best stickers in the world (for all i know, they haven’t delivered them yet), but if a simple, square, black-and-white sticker takes them a month, i am less than impressed.

the panto this year is Dick Whittington, which i have wanted to do for two years now. it should be a great show, although i haven’t seen it yet. we’ve got some of the music, we’re getting more tonight, and, as usual, we’re probably going to get new music when we arrive at the fair… at this point, the fact that we’ve never performed the panto all the way through, even once, doesn’t faze me very much… we have almost exactly the same routine every year, and it invariably comes out on the other end as a finished work of art. the real fun is working together to make it a work of art… and the reactions of the audiences when we perform.

garbage! 8/

so i finally got up the nerve, and got frustrated enough with kubuntu that i tried to switch distributions. i have already moved my “real” home directory (which is at /media/home/salamandir ) to another partition, and backed up my “actual” home directory (which is at /home/salamandir ) and put the debian squeeze live disk in… and it looked really pretty, so i clicked the “Debian Installer” icon. it gathered the appropriate information, and then…

HUNG UP when it got to the “Starting the partitioner” window…

TWICE!!

because of the fact that i was running a “live disk”, i was able to figure out how to switch tasks: hitting “ctrl + esc” brings up the system processes window and from that, you’re given a task bar, which has a “close” selection when you right-click on the tasks, and then you’re back at the “live disk” desktop. i tried it again, just to make sure, and it hung up in exactly the same place

i have been subscribed to the KDE-PIM mailing list for long enough that i have actually seen a person who said he had to downgrade from Kontact 4.8.5 (which is the version i am currently running) because there were so many bugs. i haven’t been able to find out any details on exactly how he did this, and i can’t seem to get any response from the mailing list. i have sent two messages, one subject line was “switching distributions, but keeping KDE… how do i migrate my email?” to which there were no responses, and one subject line was “kmail dispatcher agent is not remembering my SMTP password” which contained a detailed bug report… which has gotten NO responses… ๐Ÿ˜ก

so now i don’t know whether i actually am going to upgrade to debian. at least with kubuntu, there’s a forum that offers some support…

grawlf…

i’m getting more and more convinced that what i really SHOULD do is drop kubuntu all together, and install debian with KDE. kmail is still doing bizarre, but not really obtrusive things, like “forgetting” my password, and losing mail if i move the folder that it’s in somewhere else. amarok still randomly stops playing occasionally, and crashes rather than shutting down “nicely” EVERY TIME… there are all kinds of minor annoyances that have crept into kubuntu that i strongly suspect would not be there in debian, and with KDE, i wouldn’t have to learn new software. the only thing i’m skeptical about is whether or not i will be able to transfer my mail to the new system, and (once again) whether or not i would be able to get all of my genealogical data back… both of those things are items that i could have the answers to, if i wrote to the appropriate user groups, i just haven’t gotten around to it.

i had two gigs over the weekend: one with snake suspenderz at the gage drawing jam, and one with the sousa band at the phinney holiday festival. the gage was more or less as advertised, i.e. we sat in the back of the room and nobody paid attention to us, but there was no free beer this year. we made $50 a piece (because our drummer was not there). the gig at phinney was more crowded and chaotic than it has been in the past, because they put in an elevator and a fire-escape in the places where we used to fill up the hall, so they had to twist everything ninety degrees, which made the stage about a quarter of the size it used to be…

really, honestly, if they don’t provide us more roomy accomodations next year, i won’t be going. it’s crowded and chaotic enough already, but expecting a 40-piece band to fit in a room that is only big enough for about 75 people, and then cramming 200 more people into the space (most of whom aren’t even attending the concert in the first place), SIMPLY DOESN’T WORK… ๐Ÿ˜

i’ve got a new web design client, for whom i’ve also (already) made business cards… and there’s a good chance that i will make at least 4 more business cards for him, and, once he gets is ducks in a row, there’s even a possibility that i will be doing a lot more printing for him as well. at this point, i haven’t done a lot with the web design part of it, in spite of the fact that he paid me what i consider to be A LOT of money up front which i haven’t even come close to spending yet… and it appears as though i may not have to do any of the actual design part of the job anyway. a member of the fremont players does web design “on the side” and knows A LOT more about HTML5 than i do, and, because of the fact that this guy has already paid me what i consider to be A LOT of money, i can actually afford to pay her $20 an hour to do the web design for me. ๐Ÿ˜Ž

the date is up

hipy papytoday is the fifth anniversary of my starting this blog. for the record, i’m still SO GLAD i got away from LiveJournal, despite the fact that i have a lot of friends who still use it.

i haven’t switched out the system on my computer yet, primarily because, after flipping out yesterday, it has settled down again, and isn’t producing the kind of errors that were making me think about switching distributions… but i’ve still got the debian live disk, and i’m just waiting for an excuse to wipe the whole system and try another one.

i’ve spent the past couple of days cleaning up my workshop. i have a lot of empty glass bottles waiting to be made into bongs on my main workbench, and a whole bunch of painting stuff left over from the summertime on my jewelry-making workbench, which i cleaned up to the point where i can actually work on both workbenches. i’ve got a whole bunch of things that could be made into earrings or pendants, but no real motivation to make anything out of them, despite the fact that the holidays are rapidly approaching.

BBWP patches

also, after having a number of difficulties getting emails to and from the lady who actually did the work, i now have 10 Big Boys With Poise jacket patches which i’m going to distribute to the other Big Boys (and other people) at monday’s rehearsal.

again…

i’ve “backed out” a number of adjustments that i made to my computer’s “appearance”, and that “appears” to have “fixed” whatever problems i was having with the email database… at least, so far today, i haven’t seen the “Retrieving folder contents” page, which was a common occurrence yesterday. at this point i strongly suspect the "GTK+ Appearance" changes, because i’ve made pretty much every other change with no consequences, but when i mess around with GTK+, my system goes wonky…

i suppose it’s sort of understandable, since i am using KDE and not GNOME, but if it was really that wonky, i wonder why they put it in to begin with. ๐Ÿ˜

ON THE OTHER HAND… the debian live disk looks REALLY pretty on my mac, and usually the live disks don’t do very well on my mac… it even started a wireless network connection without too much difficulty… options, options… ๐Ÿ˜‰

sigh

so, abruptly, and for no very obvious reasons, my email client – which has been Kmail/Kontact for at least the past four years – has suddenly decided to be extremely slow reading the database – it puts up a “Kmail – Retrieving folder contents: Please wait…” page instead of displaying the selected message, sometimes for minutes at a time, sometimes actually crashing the program – combined with, randomly putting up a “Conflict resolution” error message that says that two different versions of a particular message (so far it’s been messages that i’ve already moved to the trash) exist, and wants me to determine which version of them to keep. also, it has taken up to five minutes to send an email message. i hit the “send” button, and the message just hangs there, not being sent to the “Sent Mail” folder, but i can’t edit it, or cancel sending, or do anything with the kontact interface until the message has disappeared.

this combined with the serious problems i have been having with amarok that are already fixed in the next version, which won’t be made available unless i upgrade the system to the next (non-LTS) version, have forced me to consider the option of switching distributions.

i have been considering debian for a long time: it is the operating system on which ubuntu/kubuntu is based, and it is one of the more stable distributions that i know of… but it is because they don’t update it as frequently. i’m not exactly sure where they are compared with what i need today, but i can’t imagine that they’d be too far behind where i am now. i already use a bunch of debian system-level controls instead of the ones provided by kubuntu, because i know they work better. i would have to learn how to install KDE, because, in spite of everything, i’m still the most comfortable with a familiar interface, but i get the impression that it’s really not that difficult.

ETA: it comes with KDE already installed, as one of the options, and after reading through the installation guide, it doesn’t seem like it would be that difficult to install. i’m downloading a live disk of it now. ๐Ÿ˜‰

date: up

now that the battle of the computer is fading into the background, i actually have time to rant about other things. there’s still a few things that are wonky about the new operating system: amarok still has problems when i first start it up. it doesn’t show all of the current track’s tags until i “nudge” it a little bit, and when i close it down, i select “File -> Quit” and it quits, but it also shows a crash error shortly afterwards… i’ve tried to report the crash error (because it happenes EVERY time), but they say it’s fixed in the next version… which won’t be available for kubuntu 12.04.1 (Precise Pangolin) but is currently available for kubuntu 12.10 (Quantal Quetzal) which i am not going to upgrade to, because it is not a “Long Term Support” version… also, for some unknown reason, amarok gives up and has to be restarted. it’s frustrating, but nowhere near as frustrating as playing multiple tracks at the same time, and not stopping when i select “File -> Quit”, which is what it had started doing prior to the system upgrade…

Snake Suspenderz played a gig at Wine World yesterday, as a part of our “official duties” as the “Official SACBO Band”. we played for 3 hours, and got “paid” with pizza, munchies, and all of the wine or beer we could sample. we should definitely play more frequently, but getting the entire band together is a chore i don’t want to undertake myself, because it would get really frustrating, really quickly, and then i wouldn’t want to do it any longer. ๐Ÿ˜ we have upcoming shows on 1st december, 2012 at the drawing jam at the gage, and 10th january, 2013 at Smokin’ Pete’s Barbecue, but prior to that, our last gig was in august at the can can, and we haven’t all been in the same room since then, before yesterday…

WOO HOO!! 8)

i’m not exactly sure how, but i got my sound working on my computer! ๐Ÿ˜Ž

i think at least part of it is because the buttons in kubuntu 12.04.1 don’t actually look like buttons. they don’t have any clue that they can be selected, and don’t have outlines or anything that make them look like they can be selected… they just look like little icons. once i discovered that they are, in fact, buttons, i pushed one and, voilá!! my sound worked again!

unconditional victory has been achieved in the battle of the computer! ๐Ÿ˜€

whew!!!

i got my genealogical research back! ๐Ÿ˜€

i was looking at the .gramps file… i should have been looking at the .gramps subdirectory of my (backed-up) home directory.

instead of starting up gramps and making a “new” database, what i should have done is moved the old .gramps folder into my new home directory. because of the fact that i started gramps before i knew that, i already had a .gramps directory, so i found the old one and over-wrote the new directory.

of course, once i had the up-to-date version of the database open, i went in and told it where the new location of all my media sources were, and it said “oh, look… correct information… munch munch munch…” and it was back up and running in no time…

AND the new version of gramps has a “Create Backup” option, which saves ALL of the information, so i don’t have to freak out again… ๐Ÿ˜‰

the sound still doesn’t work, but i’m on the trail of tracking down a solution, and i’m already futzing around with possibilities for retrieving my email, address book, and rss feeds… things are looking up.

holy crap!

๐Ÿ˜ก

somehow i managed to lose about ¾ of the genealogical research i have done over the past four years or so…

and, yes, i thought that the files that i needed were a part of the backup that i had been making every two weeks for the past four years… apparently they were not… ๐Ÿ˜

and i still haven’t got my sound working, in spite of the fact that i reinstalled from scratch…

๐Ÿ˜ก

sigh…

i’m installing clean. it’s too much of a hassle, and i’m too old and tired to be FUCKING around with a machine that doesn’t do what i want.

BUT unlike last time, i only lost my address book… and all of my old emails back to 2009 (which is the last time it happened). and, because of the fact that i backed up all of my email directories, i MAY not have even lost them, but if i did, so be it. it wouldn’t be the first time.

bother

i need the 3rd trombone part for a march that we are playing in the Ballard Sedentary Sousa Band. i have searched all over internet for it, and finally i found a place that offers it for sale — by itself (i.e. i don’t have to buy the entire score) — but they only offer it through “digital print”, which is to say, i pay money, and they offer me a way to display it on my computer screen (i.e. “digital”) and supposedly print it once from my screen… which is fine, i can display it on my screen without a problem. the problem is when i come to print it, the software downloads, but then it flashes a message that says “There has been a download error. Do you wish to try again?” and doesn’t get any further than that. ๐Ÿ˜ so i call them up, and tell them what browser i’m using and they recommend that i use internet exploder

hah… hah… ๐Ÿ˜

apparently their software that prints from an adobe acrobat file is ONLY usable on “windows and mac OS”…

cool, i have a machine that runs mac os… unfortunately their software doesn’t run on that, either. so i try a windows VMWare box on my wife’s computer (which is a mac)… with internet exploder no less, but it doesn’t work there, either… ๐Ÿ˜

so i call my friend rick, who owns an actual windows machine, with internet exploder, and ask him to see if he can get the software to print. after some seemingly encouraging preliminary tries with the software, i even went and picked him up and brought him back to my place so that we could use my printer, because he doesn’t have one… however, it turns out that it doesn’t work on a dedicated machine running exactly the right software, either.

when i talked to the guy on the telephone, he said that “digital print is a new application that they’re trying out” and that “it doesn’t work for everyone”… at this point, i would be surprised if it worked reliably for anyone, but that’s also taking into account the fact that, when i was a software tester, all i had to do was be in the same room with a test machine in order to make it malfunction in some unexpected and entirely un-reproducible way…

at the same time, i understand that sousa was one of the founders of ASCAP, and that he was one of the progenitors of what we now know as copyright law, but at the same time, it was my impression that most of, if not all of sousa’s music was in the public domain, so i don’t really understand why this company can get away with being the ONLY source of this particular 3rd trombone part… and also i really wonder why they can ONLY sell me a “digital print” version, but they can’t send me a printed copy or a .pdf file that i can print outside of their defective web-based program.


i looked online to find out if there’s anybody locally that carries acqua della madonna, which made the extra fancy blue bottle out of which i made a water pipe. apparently, “THIS BRAND HAS BEEN DISCONTINUED“. the company that makes it, Acetosella, has a web site that is entirely made out of shockwave/flash applications, and when you click their “Acqua della Madonna” link, they come back with “Pagina in costruzione”… which, considering that the bottle i’ve got seems to indicate that it was filled in 1999, makes it very likely that they no longer make acqua della madonna…

to me this is an indication of one of two possibilities: the first possibility is that i keep the bong water pipe for myself (which is extremely likely, since it is a very cute bottle-bong)… the second possibility is that i sell it for $75 pr more, because it is no longer made… which would be nice, but i don’t expect it to happen.

HA HA!!

HAH HAH!when i was in training to be a tech support drone for microsoft, they told us that “in 10 years, the default format for all web documents will be the microsoft word .doc format”…

WRONG!!

it is now more than 10 years later (actually, it is almost 20 years later), and Google kills support for old MS file formats in Google Apps…

i knew when i heard it that micro-slop was having a pipe-dream, believing that their proprietary document format was going to become a public standard…

KILL ALL SPAMMERS!!!

so i think i may have discovered at least part of the reason why mail has been bouncing whenever someone sends a message to the band mailing list.

CBL has apparently locked on to the sousa band IP address (which is on a shared host)…

this is a disadvantage to operating on a shared host. the powers that be are looking into it, and i hope that they are actually able to catch whatever spammer or enabler may exist on our IP address…

and when they do catch whoever it is, i hope they ROAST HIS BALLS OVER A SLOW FIRE!!! ๐Ÿ˜ก

hoorumph

yay! we’re going to be busking at the ballard sunday market tomorrow! ๐Ÿ™‚

hotmail.com, gmail.com, u.washington.edu and uw.edu have apparemtly decided that messages from the ballard sedentary sousa band mailing list (of which there are 40+ members, many of whom have addresses at the aforementioned servers) are spam… or something… ๐Ÿ˜ the evidence i have is all of the hotmail, gmail and UW users mailing me complaining that they aren’t getting any mail from the band (despite quite a few messages being sent over the past couple of weeks), the messages being dropped from the mail queues — no reports have been sent they, and they don’t have anything in their “spam” box — and i’m not getting any feedback from their servers or the administrators thereof to indicate that i (being on the same IP address as sedentarysousa.com) have any problems whatsoever. there’s enough evidence to completly exonorate sedentarysousa.com, and compelling evidence to suggest that there has been a human error (or several of them) somewhere, but nobody’s willing to take the blame, so nothing is going to be done to fix the problem. ๐Ÿ˜

that was “interesting”…

if, by “interesting” you mean “screaming in mind-wreaking terror”… ๐Ÿ˜

i got cracked* this morning.

about 2:00 in the morning, someone compromised a “soft” password on one of my wordpress sites and defaced every PHP index page that they could find…111110 web site hack

when i started up my computer this morning, i was confronted by this, rather than the expected page on hybridelephant.com, przxqgl.hybridelephant.com and several other web sites that i host. it was a shock, let me tell you.

FORTUNATELY i have a backup… ๐Ÿ™‚ and a backup of a backup… 8) and i was able to put everything right within a few minutes of discovering that it was wrong, but finding out how was a little more tricky.

i logged into the administration sides of the web sites i manage, to determine if anything other than PHP pages had been tampered with, and i discovered that i couldn’t log in to one of them… so i clicked the “lost password” link and discovered that it didn’t know who i am… so i decided to get a bit more forceful: i logged into the database with MyPHPAdmin and discovered that the administrator account (which had a “soft” password that “could be remembered easily” by someone who has never had to do DBA stuff before) had been changed, and then deleted…๐Ÿ˜

once i regained control of the database (and DELETED the admin account with the soft password) and removed the file that he sneakily uploaded to a plugin directory that i had deleted (which is why i knew it was there), i went to work to discover as much as i can about the cracker as possible. i learned that he uploaded files from 66.23.237.186, which is located in new york, but he also has close associations with 46.38.130.10, which is located outside of louisville, kentucky, but he’s apparently all for iran and down on saudis, so it could be that he’s using those IP addresses as proxys, at which point he could be anywhere… i also have a “DecodedBase64.bin” file i retrieved from the file he encrypted and uploaded to the deleted plugin directory, which potentially has a little more accurate indications of who he might be, but executing it on any of my computers is totally out of the question. that’s probably as close as i’m ever going to come to actually knowing who he is, but that’s a fair amount more than i could have expected.

and the client gets a STERN talking-to about the value of very strong passwords… i’m fairly sure that she won’t do it again.

Continue reading that was “interesting”…

the email fiasco is mostly resolved…

i hate these things, and they appear to come in batches, so i’m hoping that i won’t have to deal with them for a while…

spamcop is up and running. there’s still a significant amount of mail from the past few days that has yet to be delivered, and there’s a good bet that, even when it is delivered, it’s not going to be all of it, but hopefully it will be enough that i get caught up again.

also, my “alternate” email address, which i was using during the time spamcop was down, now POPs the way it’s supposed to, which means that i don’t have to keep a browser open on my mac in order to reply to emails. what i’m hoping is that the technique i used to fix my POP problem will be the same as my clients whose POP mail accounts at sedentarysousa and kosherredhots need, but, unfortunately, i won’t find out for a couple of days. i’m fairly confident that it will work, though…

the only remaining snag is that qwest/centurylink’s SMTP server is STILL on a couple of blacklists, and there’s no telling how long they’ll be there, because qwest has its head so far up its ass that it can see daylight out the other end*… and there’s a very good chance that, despite the fact that i’ve had “someone with more authority” (i.e. my host provider is going to try to contact their real postmaster, and not just some phone-flunky) attempt to communicate with them, they’re going to ignore it anyway, which is why i don’t really expect anything to change in that regard.

Continue reading the email fiasco is mostly resolved…

oh my GAWD what have i gotten myself in to?

continued

spamcop is working, however…

when i send email from me at salamandir dot info to a friend of mine, whose email address i provide (spreznib at hybridelephant dot com) it bounces with the following message:

ERROR: Your message could not be delivered.
The mail server generated the following error message:

This message was created automatically by the mail system (ecelerity).

A message that you sent could not be delivered to one or more of its
recipients. This is a permanent error. The following address(es) failed
[email protected] (reading confirmation): 550 High probability of spam

Arrival-Date: Fri, 04 Nov 2011 20:10:45 -0400
Reporting-MTA: dns; smtp.centurylink.net

Action: failed
Final-Recipient: rfc822; [email protected]
Last-Attempt-Date: Fri, 04 Nov 2011 20:10:45 -0400
Remote-MTA: dns; mx1.thewebhostserver.com
Diagnostic-Code: smtp; 550 High probability of spam
Status: 5.0.0

when i check mxtoolbox dot com, it tells me that 208.47.184.3 (the IP address for smtp.centurylink.net) is on a couple of blacklists, because SOMEBODY has been sending spam from smtp.centurylink.net without encountering the HAMMER

however, when i call qwest/centurylink, they say that it’s not 100% sure that their server is on a blacklist, and i should investigate “other problems” because of the fact that they don’t show anything wrong, they can’t do anything…

 

 

 

 

 

 

this is the sound of me, repeatedly faceplanting on the desk… ๐Ÿ˜›

grmph…

i rarely NEVER have problems with them, so when i do, it’s an emergency…

there have been some “issues” at spamcop.net, the origin of my regular email address. i’m not exactly sure what’s going on, because i don’t check their web site for months at a time, but apparently the email servers, and particularly their webmail servers had some sort of catastrophe that has meant that they had to restore from an old backup, or something like that. what that means, in my case, is that email that is addressed to my regular email address – salamandir at spamcop dot net – may or may not be received by me, at least until saturday and maybe longer or, alternately, it may not be received by me at all

there also appears to be a similar problem with my “business” email address – ganesha at hybridelephant dot com – as well, because that mail is also filtered by spamcop.

i don’t know whether or not recent mail for either address will be received at all. i tried sending a test message from one of my yahoo.com accounts to spamcop.net and it hasn’t arrived. other people have told me that when they try to send email to my spamcop.net address, it has bounced with a notice that my previous ISP no longer handles email for that address (which leads me to believe that it’s on spamcop’s end, because the mailhosts on my end are set up correctly)…

i am getting some email, but for the past two or three days, i have been getting significantly fewer messages than i am used to, which also makes me think that it’s something on spamcop’s end of things…

meanwhile, you can try to send me email at “me at salamandir dot info” or “rev underscore deluxe at yahoo dot com” – although i don’t check yahoo as often, and i’ve never actually received any email at salamandir dot info (because i just created the email address today)…

no more drizzle, but what have i gotten myself into?

and, coincidentally, it’s raining outside… what do i have to do to get away from it? ๐Ÿ˜

today i cancelled my drizzle account. this has been coming for a few years, but already i get the feeling that it’s out of the frying pan, into the fire…

i get connection speeds that are at least five times as fast with the new provider, but they gave me a modem/router which has settings that they “don’t support”. they told me right up front that if i enable MAC authentication, it isn’t supported…

with drizzle, i had a static IP address. the new guys only offer DHCP, which means that, if i want to connect to my mac from my linux box, every day, i have to go to the terminal on the mac, type in “sudo ifconfig” and get the IP address, which is then used on the linux box to connect the linux box to the mac. every day both the linux box and the mac gets a new IP addresses, and the old ones quits working, which means that the connection on the linux box dies.

and, yes, i AM aware of the fact that MAC authentication does not refer specifically to Macintosh computers.

i know that there is a way to get the linux box to automatically find the mac on the network, and automatically change the addresses so that the icons in dolphin work from one day to the next, but i’ll be damned if i know how to do it… and, at this point, it has already been demonstrated that the people at the new ISP aren’t going to be any help at all… ๐Ÿ˜›

the rapture!!

so far, the rapture hasn’t happened… i’m preparing to have a big ol’ laugh at harold camping’s expense when the day is over… 8)

unauthorised authorisation dialoguein other news, i got a new unauthorised authorisation dialogue, like the one i got back in august of last year, but it’s for a different site… the site, LEAP.cc, is the site for Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, which i have visited a while back, but there currently is no site there, and, instead, it asks for an authorisation (which i have NEVER provided), so i’m thinking that either they’re not in business any longer (not very likely) or someone has hacked their site. needless to say, i didn’t enter anything into the fields, and it’s acting pretty much the same way as the twitter dialogue that was coming up last year, so i’m going to guess that it’ll go away eventually.

the rapture still hasn’t happened… i’ll let you know something else comes up… 8)

Scientists confirm Extraterrestrial genes in Human DNA – for some reason i thought this was appropriate, despite the fact that it was originally posted in 2007…

Family Radio, which is harold camping’s “ministry” is offline… it’s the end of the world as they know it…

“Native”? HTML5 support?

um… i think that someone at micro$lop should be told those words don’t mean what he thinks they do…

Microsoft breaks own world record for IE nonsense – quite apart from the fact that HTML is designed to run non-“native”ly, and is platform-agnostic – i.e. it DOESN’T MATTER which platform you “run” it on (actually, being an interpreted language, it would be more accurate to say that it “doesn’t matter which platform you render it on”, but the difference may be a bit too complex for the non-geek audience), the fact that they are making such a big thing about it means a possibility of a number of different things:HAH HAH!

1) they are relying on the fact that you don’t know what this means… in other words, they are assuming that the consumer is stupid and will buy any new, shiny toy that the marketers wave under their noses.

this is an almost certain fact, since their job is to know what this stuff means. from engineers to marketers, they all have intimate knowledge of exactly what “native HTML5” means, they ALL know the phrase is essentially meaningless, and they are doing this PRECISELY because they know it will boost micro$not stock prices.

2) not only do they know what it means, they also know that even if it is explained to you, it won’t matter because, as i explained above, their interest is not in serving the customer, but how much money they can make. this is an extension of the “we don’t care, we don’t have to” attitude that micro$awft has developed over the past 20 years or so.

3) judging by the fact that, if you are currently running windows and IE, you HAVE code that renders this line of text as more than one line of text, in spite of the FACT that the HTML specification requires the escape sequence &nbsp; to render a “NON BREAKING space” (meaning that, instead of breaking a line, if you put &nbsp; in between words, they’ll all stay on one line, and cause “horizontal scrolling” instead) – a BUG which i reported IN 1997, and they still haven’t fixed it – the fact that they’ll eventually acknowledge that “native HTML5” means essentially nothing, is quite remote indeed.

(for those of you who are unfortunate enough to be running IE, the previous paragraph, from the number “3” to the phrase just before “a BUG…” should have rendered on one line, and you should see a horizontal scroll bar at the bottom of your browser window, because of the “non-breaking spaces” i put between the words)

why should they? it doesn’t make any difference, and it raises the bottom line, which was the goal all along.

and people wonder why i won’t own a computer that runs windoesn’t any longer… pfui… ๐Ÿ˜›

huge sigh of relief…

i don’t have an emoticon for a “huge sigh of relief” (yet), but i should… it wouldn’t get used often, but it would be entirely appropriate here…

kmail works, akgregator works… amarok mostly works (it still has this problem determining track lengths), but i can deal with that… the file manager(s) works again… and now i’ve got this nifty icon in the task bar that gives me access to USB devices, tells me when they’re plugged in and gives me the ability to unplug them without the rigamarole that i used to have to go through when i wanted to unplug the USB devices: now i go to the icon in the task bar, select the device i want and select “Remove Device” from the menu, then i can unplug it. before i had to open the disk in the file manager, then select the actual device, right click, select “Eject USB Device” from the menu, and wait for the light to stop flashing before i unplugged it, otherwise it gave me this dire warning that said i unplugged the device before it was ready, and that there may be damage to the files (which there never was, but it made me nervous when it appeared).

the interface is somewhat different… some of the icons are not what i expected: the network icon in the task bar, instead of looking like a networked computer, now looks like the CAT5 network cable connecter going into the network connection. there’s a new “klipper” icon that wasn’t there before, and the “notifications” icon is different, but mostly it looks the same… of course that’s probably at least partially because i have customised my interface pretty heavily to start out with… i have the task bar at the top of the screen (like it was on old macs) and i have desktop patterns that change every five minutes or so, from a directory of pictures…

i may have the latest unicode fonts installed by default… i have noticed a number of scripts that i don’t remember seeing before (including mah-jong tiles, dominoes, egyptian heiroglyphics, tifnagh, and that sort of thing)…

i’ve still got a lot to do, moving my home directory, which involves figuring out why kubuntu doesn’t mount my second internal hard disk on bootup (like it apparently does to the two USB hard disks that i keep plugged in pretty much all the time), and figuring out how to partition my new 3tb hard disk…

but, for the time being, i’m breathing a HUGE sigh of relief.

holding my breath…

i worried and fretted about my computer all day today, but i didn’t actually do anything about it… i just waited for kubuntuforums.net to come up with an answer that i hadn’t tried yet. to keep my mind off the computer, i went out and bought new batteries for lucy’s training collar, bread, bagles and dishwasher detergent, and a three terabyte USB hard disk, which i intend on partitioning approximately 1tb/2tb, and throwing my ENTIRE home directory, and my entire 200gb music collection into the 1tb side, and using the 2tb side as backup storage…

and i AM going to use something like Keep to back up my ENTIRE home directory about twice a month…

so that this kind of thing WON’T happen again… ๐Ÿ˜›

and when i got home, kubuntuforums.net had come up with an answer i hadn’t tried. a kubuntu expert from indonesia suggested apt-get install libakonadi-contact4, and when i did that, kmail, kaddressbook, and akregator all started without a problem.

and it works… so far… if it works again tomorrow, i’ll feel a lot better.

amarok still has difficulty telling how long tracks are, but at this point, i’m SO relieved to have kmail back that i’ll let it be wonky for a while…

more GROAN!… 8P

i got up this morning and nothing (and i mean nothing) had changed. kontact still wouldn’t start, nobody had responded to my many varied requests for help, and, according to skype-friend “You are now solidly into the area of problems that Kubuntu added to Debian”… ๐Ÿ˜›

so i put “kontact can’t find libkontactinterface.so.4 in kubuntu 10.04” into google, and came up with this article in kubuntuforums.net, which suggested reinstalling kdepim for a person who was having almost the same problem in maverick (kubuntu 10.10). so i tried sudo apt-get --reinstall install kdepim and then i read a little further in the article and discovered that it was also suggested that i try sudo apt-get --reinstall install libkontactinterface4, which resulted in some change… unfortunately, not in the desired direction. now kontact says kontact: error while loading shared libraries: libakonadi-contact.so.4: cannot open shared object file: No such file or directory… essentially the same error as before, only now it’s looking for libakonadi-contact.so.4 instead of libkontactinterface.so.4

i feel like i should be making progress, but i honestly don’t know what to do next… ๐Ÿ™

i’m going to try putting libakonadi-contact.so.4 into google and see if that comes up with any new, relevant information that i haven’t already read… ๐Ÿ™

ETA: from what little reading i’ve done, it would appear that akonadi (the personal information management software that makes kontact work, and the thing that needs libakonadi-contact.so.4) doesn’t work that well (or, depending on where you read, at all) on 10.04 either, and the recommendation is to upgrade to 10.10… which isn’t a LTS… more motivation for me to switch distributions to debian (the parent distro to *ubuntu). this would obviously mean going back to KDE4.5, or KDE4.3, or something like that… but, as i said to skype-friend, i don’t need all these fancy bells and whistles, i just need it to work… reliably, consistently, and with a lot less effort than i have put into it over the past three days… i admit that, on the whole, kubuntu has been FAR better than windoesn’t, and even gives mac a run for its money, but when it comes to upgrading, kubuntu SUCKS!! ๐Ÿ˜›

groan! 8P

my email client (yes, i’m an anachronism, i know… deal with it) was working when i went to bed last night.

my email client was working when i got up this morning… however it turns out that my file manager was not. i fought my way through several different possibilities, and then i discovered that i did, indeed, have about a half-hours worth of downloading for “updates” that weren’t installed yesterday, so i installed them.

the file manager now works… but my email client doesn’t. ๐Ÿ˜

when i try to start it from the GUI, nothing happens. when i try to start it from the terminal, it tells me this: kontact: error while loading shared libraries: libkontactinterface.so.4: cannot open shared object file: No such file or directory which is next to useless…

so i go to google and put in “libkontactinterface.so.4” and i discover that it is installed in /usr/lib with kdepimlibs5 (whatever that is), so i type in sudo apt-get install kdepimlibs5 and it tells me
Reading package lists... Done
Building dependency tree
Reading state information... Done
kdepimlibs5 is already the newest version.

however, when i go to /usr/lib/ and do a ls | grep libkontactinterface.so.4 it tells me nothing… which means that, despite the fact that i’ve apparently got the most recent kdepimlibs5, i apparently don’t have ANY libkontactinterface.so.4…

why does linux have to be so arcane? is it just to frustrate anachronisms like me? ๐Ÿ™

groan?

so “lucid lynx” appears to work well… which is to say, once i had got it installed, it hasn’t crashed or done anything non-computer-like…

dolphin (one of the file managers that i’ve been able to find) doesn’t work any longer… i invoke it in various different ways, but it doesn’t show any files (fortunately, i know that they’re there, otherwise i’d really be freaking out). instead it says: “Could not start process Unable to create io-slave: klauncher said: Error loading ‘kio_file’. this is probably a “non-computer-like” behaviour, but i’m fairly confident that i can, actually get it straightened out within the next few days…

however, amarok, the music player, has some difficulties… so much so that i actually logged a bug on the “new” version (2.3.0) yesterday. it plays music files of all kinds quite the same as it did in its previous version (2.2.4, or something like that), but instead of track lengths, it says that all the tracks are 0:00 minutes long. also, when i view the tags for an individual track, sometimes i can change them, and sometimes i can’t, even though all the files are set to permissions 644…

of course, the immediate response to my bug (as was the case pretty much all the time when i was testing software for a living) was that i am “doing it wrong”, and that i have to upgrade to a version (2.4.0) which, from what i understand after having read a bunch about the process, actually won’t run on lucid… apparently lucid doesn’t have some important piece of the puzzle necessary to run the version of amarok that doesn’t have problems with track lengths and tags… or not, nobody’s exactly sure what’s going on at all. ๐Ÿ˜

not only that, but, following the instructions that i, finally, was able to find for upgrading to 2.4.0 on lucid, only upgraded me to 2.3.2 – which isn’t really that surprising, because, from what i have been able to find out, 2.4.0 really won’t run on lucid – which has exactly the same bug as 2.3.0 did.

this is one of the reasons i’m REALLY glad i don’t test software for a living any longer… i don’t have the patience to reply to the “developer” and explain to them that i’m not “doing it wrong”, what i’m doing is EXACTLY the same thing that any other bozo would be doing on their computer, and if they perceive something as a bug, they’re not going to be as satisfied a “customer” as i would be… only i’m NOT a software tester any longer… and i only posess the patience to fume and rant on my blog about how amarok 2.4.0 WON’T WORK on lucid, without some forcing and installing some non-standard bullshit that nobody except the developers truly understand! ๐Ÿ˜›

groan

it got worse… the computer crashed before i went to bed…

then, i got up at zero-dark-thirty this morning (because i couldn’t sleep) and began yet another extended conversation with skype-friend, who eventually gave up at about 11:30. he recommended that i try kubuntuforums.net (a place where i have an established presence), so i went there, and took the first advice that came down the pipe…

after another 45 minutes or so of downloading and configuring, i went from booting to a terminal, to not booting at all. it wouldn’t boot normally, or in the latest kernel recovery mode at all… ๐Ÿ™

it would boot in the next kernel back recovery mode, however, and with a couple more hours of fretting and worrying, combined with frantic typing and getting as many messages as possible in between the times when the people who were helping me were online and offline, i managed to get kubuntu 10.04 LTS “Lucid Lynx” up and running…

i’m seriously thinking of switching distros the next time i have to upgrade. this is ridiculous. ๐Ÿ˜

groan… 8P

okay, so i decided, a couple weeks ago, to upgrade kubuntu, since 9.01 is coming to the end of its support period in a month or so, but i couldn’t figure out how to get either kpackagemanager (the default program, which i don’t use) or synaptic (which i use on the recommendation of this guy who is a linux genius that i met on skype)…

i futzed around with it a bit, and found the “sources list” in synaptic, but i didn’t know what to put in to make it work, that wasn’t already there. so i contacted my friend on skype, and he told me to do it manually (i.e. use the terminal instead of the GUI)… we thought we had the problem with the sources list – /etc/apt/sources.list – sorted out, and i ran “aptitude update” and then “aptitude -f dist-upgrade” which was supposed to do it, but after downloading what turned out to be only half-a-ton of stuff in three hours, it didn’t work, and left me with a system that, i strongly suspect, if i attempt to reboot it, it will be totally hosed.

it turns out that when i originally installed the OS, from a CD-ROM, it didn’t put a whole bunch of really important sources into the list, which meant that, despite my downloading for three hours, i didn’t get a “complete” upgrade. among the things that are “unresolved dependencies” or “BROKEN” are just about everything in the GUI for the entire machine, and the necessary software to boot up the machine once it has been shut down.

i suspect that it’s actually going to be easier to fix than the last time i had this problem, because it was in a pretty stable state when i screwed it up… but that’s only because i didn’t follow my gut instinct to reboot when it started giving me difficulties.

and skype-friend has a rehearsal for a church play this evening, so he won’t be available again until tomorrow morning – which is 2 hours ahead of me, which means that, by the time i’m usually getting up in the morning on a saturday, he’ll be taking his wife to lunch, which, i suspect, will take longer than an hour… i’m fairly confident that we can fix it, but it may be a few days until i have regular access to my email, RSS feeds and stuff like that…

i wonder why it is that i’m the one that has these problems… as far as i know, nobody else who runs ubuntu or any of its relatives has anything like this much difficulty with it… and when i bought this computer, i bought it specifically because it had high-quality “generic” hardware that i was sure would be supported… and yet, the only things that actually makes noise on the machine are the alert sounds, and the music player: everything else that’s supposed to talk to the sound card doesn’t, and every time i have had to update the system it has turned into a nightmare…

hmmm…

all of my categories just disappeared…

interesting… and not in a good way. ๐Ÿ˜ก

ETA: and now, just as mysteriously, they’re all back again…

VERY strange… ๐Ÿ˜

ETA: now the categories and the tags are gone… grumble, mutter… ๐Ÿ˜› what did i do…?

ETA: i get the impression that it’s nothing having to do with me… they’re still gone, but some of them are back on some posts… weird.

grump…

i discovered that there’s a new wordpress hack that’s cropping up on sites that haven’t been upgraded, but there’s also a nifty exploit scanner that makes tracking down wordpress hacks a lot easier.

i upgraded to 3.0.4 a couple of days ago (when it came out), so i wasn’t caught by the most recent hack, but when i ran exploit scanner it found a whole bunch of residue from the last time i was hacked which i had missed when i was cleaning up. it probably didn’t do anything any longer, because i deleted the files that contained the code that the hack was referring to a long time ago, but i’m glad i got the rest of the stuff out of there, because if i had come across it again, randomly, it would definitely have freaked me out…

exploit scanner is actually good enough at what it does that it finds things in my blog that aren’t exploits, like my anti-spam plugin (which uses the same code that they use in hacks to obscure the form field that you’re not supposed to fill out, but the one that spam-bots fill out because they don’t realise that it’s obscured) and various bits and pieces of my theme, but, fortunately, there is an easy way to tell the difference between legitimate code and code that has been hacked, so i don’t worry about it… that much.

and a couple of the places that had residue were things that i installed a while ago, but have consistently not worked correctly pretty much ever since i installed them, which makes me wonder if they will work more consistently now that i’ve removed the residue of being hacked…

another week closer to the eschatonโ€ฆ

The 4000 BCE Origins of Child Abuse, Sex-Repression, Warfare and Social Violence – “Americans are not as violent as the most extremely violent cultures around the world, but we certainly are not as peaceful as the most peaceful societies. Unfortunately, our culture appears to be going towards increased social violence.” [Author James DeMeo, Ph.D.] points to the general failure of parents and sex-education programs to say much of anything positive about sexual pleasure, with the great emphasis upon “abstinence education”, as a major cause for the growing violence in our schools. “Our young people should be warmly romancing each other, dancing and singing together, making love and enjoying what should be the happiest time of their lives. Instead, we start our children off with a lot of hidden cruelty in the hospital birth, with incubator-isolation, denial of the mother’s breast, time-table feedings, circumcision and so forth. – no wonder we’re screwed up. all the more reason to scrap every vestige of what passes for society these days, and create something different.

The Oil BP Tried To Hide Has Been Discovered, In Thick Layers On the Sea Floor Over An Area of Several Thousand Square Miles – don’t fool yourself, it’s not over yet, by a long shot.

You Are A Terrorist – i’ve been saying that for years. now the gummint is actually catching up… ๐Ÿ˜

Osama bin Dead A While – merry x-mas, the war on terror is over, whether they like it or not… but don’t let the gummint know, because they’re all set to whip up another fake osama video to scare us again…

US empire could collapse at any time – are you ready? this is a lot more “for real” than you might think: Missile defence FAIL: US ‘kill vehicle’ space weapon flunks test

Homeland Security Trolling We Wonโ€™t Fly Blog, Boy, 13, Busted For Illegal Marker Possession, TSA Too Busy Groping, Perving, Playing God To Notice Guns And Bombs, 10,000 Child Porn Images Found On TSA Workerโ€™s Computer and Police Fatally Shoot Douglas Zerby For Holding Water Nozzle – what they are doing instead of searching for real terrorists… ๐Ÿ˜

Plan to Turn Post Office Trucks Into Stasi Data Collection Nodes and Trash collectors to serve as eyes and ears in the street for police – because the police are too busy searching for terrorists people with water nozzles to kill… also, do you think that this just might be because of budget cuts, and/or because of the fact that they want to turn the country into an embodiment of the book 1984…?

Who Is the FBI Really Trying to Entrap? – muslims? people with water nozzles? more likely it’s poor, underpriveledged black and brown people who can’t fight back effectively on their own…

Probable carcinogen hexavalent chromium found in drinking water of 31 U.S. cities – this is one of the reasons i only drink artesian well water, and have for the past 25 years… that, and beer… 8)

UN defends human right to WikiLeaked info – so…

Wikileaks and the Definition of Terrorism – TL.DR: what wikileaks is doing cannot be defined as terrorism except, maybe, to the political elite in washington who are making all the fuss about it. WikiLeaks cables: BP suffered blowout on Azerbaijan gas platform – wow, wikileaks and the gulf oil spill… is this the work of a terrorist organisation?

also, the latest, futile attempt to make wikileaks go away, Feds Seek Computer Firewall to Block WikiLeaks ‘Pollution’ and Pentagon bars own journalists from reading Wikileaks – you would think that they’d have heard of the streisand effect by now…

Broadband firms urged to block sex websites to protect children – yeah, like that’s really gonna happen… maybe they could ban spam, too, while they’re at it… ๐Ÿ˜ seriously, i think that any proposed legislation that is being put in place “to protect the children” should be banned on principle. the fact is, proposed “legislation” that can’t find any other reason than “to protect the children” has been proven, in the past, to be distinctly deficient in doing anything other than confusing people, violating someone’s civil rights or lining the politicians’ pockets… and usually a combination of all three…

Fox boss ordered staff to cast doubt on climate science – there’s some static running around because Faux News is disputing the report from last week that said that watching Faux News makes people stupid, and, at the same time, muddying the climate change waters with false information… not only that, but rupert murdoch’s companies have been on the forefront of the “war against christmas” game, and yet his Holiday Message was just that… why does rupert murdoch hate jesus?

Your right to protest in under threat – britain is being brought under the thumb of the rich politicians, and america is next.

Judge finds โ€˜increasingโ€™ difficulty in seating marijuana juries – this is related to that post from last week, except that it’s a little more to the point: jury nullification is becoming a widely-enough-known phenomenon that courts won’t seat people on a jury if they have said that they know about it as an option, and when enough people have to be passed over to get an ignorant enough jury to actually be able to convict someone for possession of a miniscule quantity of cannabis, the courts have to look for “other alternatives”…

Your Apps Are Watching You – this is one of the primary reasons i don’t use a “smart” phone. i like my phones dumb and subservient, which is exactly what they’re supposed to be…

Is a BSOD on a bus โ€ฆ a BuSOD? – giggle…

flurb

thanks to Howlin’ Hobbit, i was able to sort out the “hidden file” dilemma that i had yesterday – of course i could have edited the “live” version using vi, but i was feeling stubborn – and the immediate result has been that one person who has been spamming my web site for 3 days now is no longer able to. whee! ๐Ÿ™‚

my popgun is defective. i bought an orchestral-quality popgun, and i have been popping enthusiastically for around 10 years, mostly at cirque de flambé and fremont players functions, but it has been getting harder and harder to get a reliable pop out of it. first, the ball-end on the handle stripped its threads, which is understandable, since it is made of wood. however, i glued it back in place and the glue holds for about 5 pops at which point the ball-end comes off again. gluing the ball-end is an annoyance that i have learned to live with, although there have been a couple of times where i nearly lost the ball-end over the side of a ferry, or that kind of thing. completely replacing it involves coming up with another hardwood ball, and then drilling and tapping it out to the correct thread to match the otherwise very sharp end of the handle. then, the end-cap that holds the cork in place so that it doesn’t go “pop” and shoot the cork across the stage, disappeared. at the time, fred was a member of the band, and he volunteered to make me a replacement end cap, because he had the necessary tool (a metal lathe). then the bottom cap retaining screw disappeared, but i was able to make a replacement, because i have a tap-and-die set for miniature screws. of course the cork itself has been replaced two or three times, and i’ve got a collection of replacements in my workshop… but the problem i’m currently having is more insideous: the plunger has worn down to the point where it doesn’t seal. now it appears that i have a choice: i can either figure out some way to make two, perfectly circular washers out of something like linoleum, that are exactly .125″ larger than the inside diameter of the tube…

or i can buy a new, orchestral-quality popgun

apparently i have the skills and a steady-enough hand (everything is a lot more free-form since my injury) to cut new bits of linoleum that will work, and i have a leather-punch in the workshop that has a big-enough hole that i was able to create a new, more effective plunger, and now POP!! and all is right with the world again… ๐Ÿ™‚ which is a good thing, because i don’t remember where i got the popgun… there are a couple of possibilities (and i’m pretty sure i could order one online, which would take too long), but i know for sure that one of them has gone out of business…

i like tools that can be taken apart and fixed when they stop working. it’s so much easier and less expensive than buying a new one when the old one breaks… ๐Ÿ™‚

ETA: so this morning i got an order for one box of green rose incense from india, of all places. unfortunately, i would be willing to bet that one get green rose incense in india for a lot less than i have to sell it for in the united states. not only that, but the shipping costs alone, to get it to india, are more than ten times what the incense would cost, by itself. i wrote back to the guy, but, considering that it’s from india, the probability is fairly high that he doesn’t speak english, or, worse, speaks “hinglish”…

why do people do this? what is it that prevents them from thinking these things all the way through before doing something stupid? i suppose we will never know…

i’ve been very productive today, and it’s not over yet. i fixed my popgun, built a pig-rail for our whelping box, and fixed our front door so it closes reliably without having to be “finessed”.

.htaccess

this is going to be a heavily geek-ified post, because i am frustrated and don’t have time to explain all of the stuff i already know about this…

there is this intensely useful text file on my web server that’s called .htaccess, which does things like control rewriting domains, and blocking undesirable IP addresses and stuff like that. i know it exists on my web server, because when i type ls -a in the public_html directory, it shows up there right at the top.

you’ve probably noticed by now that .htaccess is kind of an unusual name for a file: it doesn’t have a “file extension” like .pdf or .exe, except that – possibly – the entire file name is the “extension”, because it all appears after a period. on UNIX and linux machines, file names that start with a period indicate that they are “hidden” files, which means that they only show up if you go into the terminal, navigate to the directory where the files exist, and type ls -a which means “list the current files in the directory, plus list all the files, whether they are hidden or not”

the problem i’m having is that i have a “working” copy of my web site, on my local computer, and when i’m “working” on that site, i have to save the document and then upload it to the “live” site, which is on my web server, currently in los angeles. the “working” copy is on my mac – which, fundamentally, runs a version of UNIX with a fancy GUI over the top. when i use the terminal to view the local site, i see the .htaccess file, but when i use the GUI and the application that i use to modify the web site, i do not see the .htaccess file, because it is a “hidden” file and i don’t see them with the GUI…

and – this is the important part – the only way i currently have to modify “hidden” files is to use vi or emacs or something like that, on the terminal RATHER than using the GUI and my code-authoring application.

currently, as far as i have been able to tell, there is no way to view “hidden” files like .htaccess on a mac, in the GUI at all: they don’t show up in the finder, they don’t show up in the application, and there’s no way to make them show up so that you can work on them like you would be able to work on .html files, or .php files…

if you happen to know how to make hidden files visible on a mac, i’d appreciate a comment.

also, within the past hour, i’ve received 6 spam messages at a time, about 4 times, with an identical subject line, and 10 more messages with the same subject line at spamcop. if i wouldn’t read it once, why does anybody bother sending multiple copies anyway? also, it looks like the beginnings of the spam-flood that happened on saturday… why me?? ๐Ÿ™

update

i didn’t have a rehearsal yesterday, because it’s the “sousa-torium” (i.e. the break between sousa’s birthday and march or so, when we start rehearsing for next year. also, i don’t have a rehearsal tonight, because kiki’s going to the memorial for george shangrow, and anyway, they’re changing the whole story around (big surprise) so they don’t need the band, which is good because i could use the time off. it will also give me time to design a xmas postcard for the BSSB, which we are going to try to do again this year.

i went to help out my brain-injured client again yesterday. he had somehow added a wiget that he didn’t want to his panel. he said he didn’t, but i certainly didn’t put it there, and he’s the only other person to have access to the hardware, so i tend to believe that he did it in spite of what he says. after talking with tamzin, who also has aged, brain-injured clients, i bit the bullet and locked the panel, so that he can’t do it again. it’s obvious that he doesn’t really know what he’s doing about half of the time, and to leave “secret” methods of modifying the interface does more harm than good. also, he apparently has a preference for the “kickoff” style menu, rather than the “classic” windows-style menu, which is a good thing to remember.

something went wrong with one of the stylesheets and suddenly the login page for my blog looked all wonky. the last time this happened was a couple of years ago, when my blog was hacked, so i was pretty worried. i checked, and the blog didn’t appear to be hacked in the same way it was before, but still: the error i was getting was “Failed to load login.css” and i could see that login.css was there, and i looked at it and it looked the way it was supposed to… so i went to the wordpress “support” site, which is probably good for some people, but i have never gotten a usable solution when i have gone there with problems with my wordpress installation. nevertheless, it’s a place to start, so i did. i waited two days and nobody responded to my query… ๐Ÿ˜ so i then logged into IRC, went to #wordpress and asked there. the guy who (finally) responded asked if i had tried uploading the file from a backup.

d’oh!

once i had uploaded and replaced the stylesheet, everything went back to the way it’s supposed to be.

the web is in trouble

according to ARPAgeddon (IPv4 Countdown), there are less than 240 days until there will be no more IPv4 addresses to hand out to people, and the conversion to IPv6 is going less-than-smoothly.

the problem is with NAT (Network Address Translation) and wireless “devices”, mostly in china. instead of “dotted quad” 32-bit addresses – something like 194.169.203.3 – that typify IPv4 addresses, the new IPv6 addresses have 128 bits, and the “Network Address Translation” software, which works in theory, is still a little slow off the mark when it comes down to actually doing the kinds of “translation” it is designed to do.

US.gov set IPv6 upgrade deadlines, but they’ve targeted 2012 for completion and, as i said, there will be no more IPv4 addresses long before that happens. my own computer has IPv6 software, but i had to disable it because it wasn’t working correctly, and, as far as i have been able to tell, there hasn’t been an upgrade package that has included a fix for IPv6 in at least 6 months.

presumably there are enough people that have functioning IPv6 computers that eventually the switch will be made, but until then, there will be no new addresses, and/or an only partially functioning internet with IPv4 computers that may or may not be able to connect…

what would you do?

so i’ve been doing some maintenance on sedentarysousa dot com. i uploaded the last of the changes, and refreshed the browser, only to get one of those “Firefox can’t find the server at www.sedentarysousa.com” messages.

i restarted firefox. i flushed my DNS cache, and the DNS cache of my router. i rebooted the machine, and the router. i switched browsers five times, i switched machines three times, and i switched platforms twice, but i basically got “there is no server” messages from every browser and machine combination i tried.

i then went to browsershots dot org, which uses a whole bunch of different network nodes, a whole bunch of different browsers and three different platforms, and confirmed that sedentarysousa.com was up and working the way it’s supposed to, and that made me suspicious.

because of the fact that one of my machines is wireless, and my neighbour uses a different ISP and runs an unsecured wireless network, i can switch networks fairly easily, so i did, and sedentarysousa.com showed up without a problem.

aha, i thought. the problem is with drizzle (big surprise). so i called drizzle. sure enough, the drizzle tech support people – two of them! – confirmed that sedentarysousa – and only sedentarysousa – was “offline”.

they recommended that i “contact the host provider” and have them do a traceroute to my IP address, to figure out where the problem lies.

WHAT⁈⁉

let me get this straight… they would rather that the host provider – who is conveniently located in London, doesn’t have a problem with anybody else, and only has a problem with one route connecting – should contact the person responsible for that route to fix the problem, instead of the person responsible for the route that’s having a problem being contacted by ME to fix the problem.

it sounds very much to me as though they are saying “we don’t care, we don’t have to” – which is not the way to keep me as a customer.

very likely, what they are saying, as well, is “we don’t actually know what the problem is, or how to fix it”, which is a valid point, but it makes me feel like they are deliberately misleading me, rather than being honest and admitting that they don’t know – which is also not the way to keep me as a customer.

what really irritates me is that, what with the network being the fluid place that it is, by the time i actually discover what the problem really is, it will have fixed itself and there won’t be any evidence that whatever was causing the problem really was causing the problem. it irritates me that random things like this happen on what should be a very predictable medium. 8P

ETA: so i had the host provider do a traceroute to my IP address:

traceroute to 216.162.193.190 (216.162.193.190), 30 hops max, 40 byte packets
1 216-18-215-65.hosted.static.webnx.com (216.18.215.65) 0.316 ms 0.371 ms 0.436 ms
2 cr3-lax01.webnx.com (67.220.192.102) 0.294 ms 0.357 ms 0.410 ms
3 cust-webnx.ar10.owlax.us.easynet.net (207.162.207.13) 0.576 ms 0.723 ms 0.807 ms
4 ge-7-48.car1.SanJose2.Level3.net (4.59.0.69) 9.538 ms 9.535 ms 9.528 ms
5 * * *
6 ae-93-93.ebr3.SanJose1.Level3.net (4.69.134.237) 21.896 ms 19.398 ms 17.990 ms
7 ae-2-2.ebr3.LosAngeles1.Level3.net (4.69.132.10) 12.894 ms 9.468 ms 9.456 ms
8 ae-71-78.ebr1.LosAngeles1.Level3.net (4.69.146.10) 16.406 ms ae-91-98.ebr1.LosAngeles1.Level3.net (4.69.146.26) 16.362 ms 16.354 ms
9 ae-7-7.car1.SaltLakeCity1.Level3.net (4.69.148.5) 22.380 ms 22.130 ms 22.771 ms
10 ae-11-11.car2.SaltLakeCity1.Level3.net (4.69.133.122) 22.099 ms 22.531 ms 22.291 ms
11 4.53.42.10 (4.53.42.10) 22.579 ms 22.703 ms 22.765 ms
12 208.110.128.254 (208.110.128.254) 38.893 ms 38.961 ms 38.866 ms
13 216.162.207.60 (216.162.207.60) 43.406 ms 42.878 ms 43.912 ms
14 * * *
15 * * *
16 * * *
17 * * *
18 * * *

the place where the timeout occurred was 216.162.207.60, which is Internet Professionals & Network Solutions.

it IS drizzle’s problem! 8|

twitter!!

Twitter bug creates account hijacking peril – i’m not sure that this is exactly related to what i have been experiencing, but it does explain a lot, especially since i didn’t start experiencing a problem until after i had “disabled” my twitter account…

now to determine whether or not there is a way to prevent cross-site scripting in wordpress…

growl, grumble, gripe, complain… ๐Ÿ˜ก

ETA: it is as i feared: WordPress 3.0.1 – Cross Site Scripting Issue and Twitter XSS Proof of Concept – it doesn’t work if you’re running NoScript (which i am), but there it is… i suppose now it’s just a matter of waiting until somebody comes up with a fix for it…

further growl update II

apparently either something was “stuck” in my computer that i deleted when i deleted and re-uploaded my blog yesterday, or something else is going on, because so far, the unauthorised authorisation dialogue that has been plaguing me for the past three days has now flown the coop… grr. it’s back again… 8/ it’s like it waits until i’m actually typing a post before it shows up… weird!

apparently the process of disinfecting those two files that i discovered yesterday completely re-did the way the blog “plugins” work, because when i booted up this morning, i suddenly discovered that wordpress does, in fact, keep track of things that it seems to have been forgetting for a while now. maybe the thing that is supposed to email commenters when there’s a new comment will suddenly start to work now…

also, i’m sorry to say it, hobbit, but i have miraculously discovered a bidding war over the collection of conan books which is now up to $22 and the auction still has 9 hours before it’s over…

further growl update

i’m fairly sure that the authorisation dialogue message that (still) won’t go away is somehow connected to my blog. when i shut down my computer yesterday, there was an authorisation dialogue box on my screen, but when i started up this morning it wasn’t there. so, i paid very close attention to what i started up, and the order i started things up, and kept track of the processes that were running on the computer. it didn’t show up again until i logged into my blog, at which point it showed up almost immediately.

so, i deleted all of the files except for the database and re-uploaded everything. in the process of re-uploading the files, i discovered a couple of files that were infected from last year, that i probably missed when i was cleaning up last year. 8/

of course, when everything was uploaded and the database got reconnected, the first thing that happened was that the authorisation dialogue box came back, so i’ve got a couple of other options, the first of which is rebooting my local computer, to see if there is something that is stuck in my local machine.

another week closer to the eschaton…

we’ll start out this week’s post with a public service announcement: National Chronic Illness Awareness Week is coming up 13-19 september. be nice to somebody: one in two americans has an invisible chronic illness or condition!

Predator drones patrols of southern US border start Wednesday – this is now a police state, where only the priveledged live, the starving refugee is given temporary status, and the illegal immigrant is hunted down and summarily killed ejected.

example: California Cops Taser Senior Citizen in His Own Home – couple returns home, man falls, wife calls 911, cops show up and taser man when he refuses to go with them. beware – this could happen in your home, to you.

Oil Rig Explodes Off The Louisiana coast – didn’t we already go through this once? and, by the way, we now have a BP ultimatum: Let us drill or funds will dry up – considering that it took them all of a week to make the money that they have spent on cleaning up the spill, i think that they could go a little while longer before they are completely out of money…

More War Lies – war is peace, love is hate, lies are truth… business as usual.

Stephen Hawking Breaks Atheist Rules – yep, he said there doesn’t have to be a “god” in order for everything to be here. broke the rules, indeed… Is Stephen Hawking’s New Book Science or Science Fiction – “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.” — Mohandas K. Gandhi

Top Web Scams of the Decade – in other words, if you don’t know that you shouldn’t respond to random, sketchy-sounding email from someone you don’t know, you probably shouldn’t be online at all. Pew Study Claims One Fifth Of American Adults Donโ€™t Use The Internet – i’ve got an idea: make it so that you have to have a license to use an internet-connected device, in the same way that you now have to have a license to drive a car. kill two birds with one stone…

Budget cuts bring end to Stockton narcotics unit – hey, let’s move to stockton! 8)

California pot legalization โ€˜could end Mexican drug warโ€™ and Marijuana activists stage Mexico City smoke-out to protest prohibition – hint: legalisation of cannabis could go a long way towards ending the war on drugs everywhere

The Pain-Killing Power of Marijuana – especially with people like this guy’s brother pumping out new research…

Two new scientific studies reveal hallucinogens are good for your mental health – another thing hallucinogens are good for! 8)

Ancient brew masters tapped drug secrets – another thing beer is good for! 8)

Mind-Altering Parasitestoxoplasma gondii on the loose!

GROWL!

i didn’t want to, but i signed up for a twitter account, allegedly so i could “keep in contact” with the previous host provider…

no, this isn’t going to be another gripe about my host provider, although it starts out seeming that way, bear with me…

of course, it didn’t work, and i don’t have services provided by that service provider any more anyway, so i decided to cancel my twitter account. after all, i never used it, and i only signed up for it in the first place because i thought it was going to facilitate something that, in fact, it didn’t. however, i found that it’s not so easy to “cancel” your twitter account.

you can – allegedly – “deactivate” your account, which is a “permant” method of “temporarily” disabling your account (whatever that means), but your account might still be visible for up to 48 hours after it has been “deactivated” due to “network propagation” (whatever that means)…

something i didn't install wants accessso i decided to “deactivate” my account, since there doesn’t seem to be any way at all to cancel it outright. it was actually deceptively simple. i say it was “deceptively” simple because, although i did it this morning, and my computer has actually been shut down for most of the day, i still keep getting an “authorisation dialogue” from something i didn’t install, but which says that “twitter api” at “twitter.com” wants access to something on my computer…

REPEATEDLY ๐Ÿ˜ก

i click “cancel” and it goes away, only to come back about 5 minutes later. i don’t enter anything, and click “OK” – which i would assume would produce an error message, and… it goes away, only to come back about 5 minutes later…

it’s 11:00 at night, and i don’t have time to try and figure out what’s going wrong, but you can bet that i”m going to have a stern conversation with a couple of tech-support toadies at twitter tomorrow.

network/s/ing

i am writing this from portland. to be specific, i am writing this from the back yard of my mother-in-law’s house. when i booted up my battery-powered laptop, it automatically found a network, and logged me in. it also found 3 other networks, for which i don’t have the password stored in my computer.

my impression is that i can go pretty much anywhere in pretty much any metropolitan area in this country, and be able to log on to the network with not an awful lot more than a password. this particular network’s password was (probably) supplied by my wife, who set up her mother with wireless ethernet last christmas, but it shouldn’t take any more than asking someone to be able to log in to any network. i just heard someone on the radio this morning who was saying that, inevitably, they’re going to include wireless networking, or wifi hotspots in new buildings, the same way that new buildings currently are wired with electricity, sewers and running water. i shouldn’t have to do more than ask someone to get free access to internet, in the same way that i shouldn’t have to pay someone to get water, or go to the bathroom.

and yet, that’s what google – the “don’t be evil” company – is out to make happen. it’s not bad enough that google anticipates the keywords that you type in, based on information that they have gathered from your previous searches, or that google is willing to sell that information about you to other people without your knowledge or permission, but on top of all that, they want to make you pay to get what should be equally free to everyone.

yeah, i know that you can go into a restaurant and get a fancy glass of water, but you’re also going to get quite a bit more than that in a restaurant, if what you’re starting out with is water, and when water is all you need, paying for all of that other, admittedly desirable, stuff, is starting to be more of a “luxury” item than anything else…

here’s an option: give free high speed internet to everyone, but let google and verizon build their “private, for-pay” internet and have them deliver that “private, for-pay” internet in a way similar to that in which fine food is delivered at a restaurant, and see how long it is before people realise that “private” and “for-pay” means that regardless of how raunchy, evil and nasty they want to be, someone is going to be aware of their actions.

ښالاماندر

Humans will be extinct in 100 years – a wonderful way to start out the post, but i’d tend to treat anything said by the guy who helped wipe out smallpox with a great deal of respect. you can argue about it all you like, but this is a guy who knows what it’s like to become extinct, and if he says humans are on the way there, i’d tend to believe him.

Scientists discover riding a bike is incredibly hard – in spite of the fact that the formula they came up with sounds pretty interesting (inertial forces + gyroscopic forces + the effects of gravity and centrifugal forces = the leaning of the body and the torque applied to the handlebars), given all the things that are going wrong with the world currently, there have got to be better things for “scientists” to be working on, don’t you think?

6-Year-Old Northeast Ohio Girl on ‘No Fly’ List – more idiocy on the part of home clownland security. all their antics sure make me feel a whole lot safer… 8/

and, speaking of feeling safer, Police tasered an 86-year-old disabled grandma in her bed and stepped on her oxygen hose until she couldn’t breathe – wow… just… wow.

no further comment necessary… ๐Ÿ˜

Apple collecting, sharing iPhone users’ precise locations
Apple now collecting, sharing precise location of iPhone users – yet another reason why i’m no longer a mac fanatic… i’ll use a mac, but i’m NOT getting an iphone, and i’m probably not going to get a smart phone at all… 8/

Opt Out of Behavioral Advertising – Opting out of a network does not mean you will no longer receive online advertising. It does mean that the network from which you opted out will no longer deliver ads tailored to your Web preferences and usage patterns… but it’s a start, and if you’re as paranoid about network privacy as i am, you’ll understand the necessity for such a thing.

about every two weeks or so i get a call from a person who is looking for an “incense” called “K2”, or “Spice” – Toxicologist Warning to Parents: Look for Signs of K2 – ‘Fake Marijuana’ and After Indianola teen’s suicide, Iowa officials set sights on banning K2 – i find it really sad that people have apparently resorted to poisoning themselves, because it’s the only legal alternative, rather than getting legitimately high from something that is illegal, but has never killed anyone. from The 420 Times, “If youโ€™re a kid and youโ€™re thinking of trying K2 because itโ€™s still legal to buy in your state, youโ€™d be better off running the risk of buying real, illegal marijuana. Even if you get caught, you wonโ€™t die from inhaling a toxic substance or experience โ€œhallucinations, severe agitation, elevated heart rate and blood pressure, vomiting and, in some cases, tremors and seizures,โ€ like you do from K2. Youโ€™ll just be another statistic in The War on Drugs.”

Continue reading ښالاماندر

沰⅘ – ⅂ℐℵΚℨ & stuff

Microsoft hides mystery Firefox extension in toolbar update
also
Cyber War: Microsoft a weak link in national security – this is why i don’t use windoesn’t: I should be the one to decide whether or not to install software on MY computer, regardless of how “important” or “necessary for correct functioning” it is. the fact that microsoft thinks it can get away with installing something that i don’t know about, on MY computer is insulting to my intelligence and very definitely goes to show how evil this company really is. i would expect nothing less from a virus, and microsoft is – supposedly – better than that. ๐Ÿ˜ก and, the fact is, originally, microsoft didn’t intend for its software to be used on “critical networks” and was (and to a great extent, still is) only in the software business for the money, not caring to ensure that their software actually works the way it is supposed to. this was driven home to me a few years ago, when i was working as a “vendor” at microsoft (i had access to microsoft facilities to work on microsoft projects, but i was actually working for another company, so my microsoft-issued ID card had “V-” in front of it), testing windows XP. not a single bug that i logged (and there were a lot of ’em) got fixed during the 9 months that i worked there. needless to say, most of them are still out there on your windows XP computer, and will never get fixed – because microsft “isn’t supporting” windows XP any longer. ๐Ÿ˜ก

and, speaking of evil companies, the latest word is that BP buys Google ads for search term “oil spill” – so that it can attempt to “direct internet users to its website as it attempts to control…” flack from detractors, who are just about everybody these days. they should listen to Buzz Aldrinโ€™s Answer To The Gulf Oil Spill

i’ve had people tell me that i should really have a more positive attitude. i say Does a positive attitude make you more motivated to learn from your mistakes? and i find, like the researchers (at the Journal of Organizational Behavior) did, that a negative attitude is more conducive to learning from your mistakes. so i’ll keep seeing the dark cloud, and leave the silver lining to others.

and, from there, directly into the random, things-that-make-you-say-WTF category…

Quantum Jumping? – “Quantum Jumping is the process of ‘jumping’ into parallel dimensions, and gaining skills, knowledge, wisdom and inspiration from alternate versions of yourself.” what… the… fuck?!? he seems to be about as random as gene ray, but somewhat more commercially oriented.

Prefixes & Words Based On Latin Number Names – now you know what it means to say “for the duoquadragesimary time, learn these things!” ๐Ÿ™‚

Testing the flotation dynamics and swimming abilities of giraffes by way of computational analysis – the latest, up to the minute research on the problem of whether giraffes can or cannot swim. according to this research, apparently they can. what do you know…

finally, Chinese internet addicts stage mutiny at boot camp – you WILL NOT survive an attempt to control geeks in need of internet.

cloud computers and me

seriously, i wonder how conscious even the computer geeks are with this one: we are moving towards a “cloud” computing environment, where “computers” are basically fancified “dumb terminals” and all of your data, all of your information, all of your applications and even your operating system live online, on computers over which other people have control. this is for a variety of different reasons, the most public of which is so that you the individual, and frequently un-savvy end user, don’t have to spend as much money on a computer, and you don’t have to worry about whether you remembered to update your system when something needs updating. it also has the added benefit of making it so that you can synchronise your phone, music player, computer and whatever else people sync, all from one place, and it makes it so that if your computer dies for some reason, your data will still be safe.

all of these things sound like they are exactly the kinds of things the general computing public has been clamoring for, but there are some devious, sneaky, and definitely privacy ignoring facts about “cloud” computing that i don’t think people have realised.

first, and foremost in my mind, is the fact that every inroad that i’ve seen (including moe’s new “smart” phone, which is why this rant is coming out now) to make “cloud” computing more mainstream has been with the condition that whatever data you store on your “cloud” (read “gmail” or whatever) account is, essentially, public data. it has the air of privacy – you are assured that your data is your data, and not someone else’s – but because of the fact that it is living on google’s (for example) computer systems, any data that you store there is automatically a part of google’s covert attempts to data mine your information.

which means that if you are friends with a terrorist, someone who might be a terrorist, or even someone who the police think is a terrorist, but they’re wrong, google, and google’s allies – which includes the police, homeclown-land security, the CIA and who knows who else – knows about it.

what moe says is that google already has all that information anyway, but it doesn’t stop with terrorists. google has data mining access to any document stored on their systems whether it is in their terms of service or not, and my guess is that, especially these days, if someone has a document stored on google docs that makes them look like a terrorist, that somebody in the law enforcement community will find out about it.

i have a gmail account, but i never use it. i don’t use google docs, and i use google maps only when i have to. i don’t want a “smart” phone, i just want a phone that works to make telephone calls, and possibly to send text messages. it would be nice if it were a decent music player, as well, but if it’s only a crappy music player then all it will do is make me frustrated, and i already have enough of those kinds of things in my life anyway.

“cloud” computing also takes a big bite out of software piracy, because instead of having a disk for a program, which can be copied, the program actually lives on someone else’s computer, and you access it, as long as you have paid the requisite fees. the owner of that program can make changes in the program, change the functionality, upgrade or even delete that program and you have no say in the matter, even if you have paid the requisite fees. and, at this point anyway, you have no recourse.

it’s getting to the point where i’m probably going to have to be satisfied with the computers i’ve got, because when it becomes illegal not to use “cloud” computers, it’s going to be too late.

urk, kleep, pumg

i booted up my computer this morning and firefox told me it had an update for one of the addons, so i let it install, instead of starting firefox, it looks like it’s going to start, flashes a white screen for a moment and then crashes with no explanation. tried it a number of times in different ways, and no firefox. so i used another browser (konqueror) and i upgraded firefox (it’s supposed to tell you when there are updates, but it never has for me). now it looks like it’s going to start, flashes a white screen for two and a half moments, and then crashes with no explanation. i updated my software sources and updated my system (something which i haven’t done in about 2 months) and, lo-and-behold, there’s a new firefox in the updates, but it still doesn’t work.

i tried my mac, and it said “oh, look… there’s a firefox update. you want to install it?” to which i answered “yes” and it’s now installed, running, and works fine.

as much as i like linux, there are times when it can be really frustrating. i only hope that bill (my older, brain injured helpdesk client who is also running linux) doesn’t have the same problems i am having.

i tried running firefox from the terminal, and it gives me a whole bunch of UNKNOWN and ABORT errors that probably mean something to someone, but only indicate to me that i’m going to have to dig deeper to get to the source of the problem. ๐Ÿ˜

i ran firefox -safe-mode from the terminal, and disabled all of my addons, and firefox started right up. i think it was the thing that looks up the flag of the country where the server lives, but it was a good excuse to dump a whole bunch of themes that i don’t use any longer, and a few addons that i used once and have been hanging around ever since version 2, and that sort of thing.

i got email from my router this morning, which says “TCP Packet – Source:63.245.212.23,54375 Destination:216.162.193.190,8081 – [DOS]”… i don’t know what it means, but judging by the fact that it says “[DOS]” (which i take to mean “Denial Of Service”) and there’s only one of them, i’m not going to worry too much about it. the drizzle guy said that IP space belongs to mozilla, so i am officially not going to worry about it.

regarding the NYC Musical Saw Festival, i actually got email from the Saw Lady, who is, apparently, the motivating force behind the musical saw festival, and i pointed her towards my saw case pictures. she said she’d add my name to the invite list, so that, on the off chance that i’m actually in new york city, and have my saw, i can come to the festival.

linque dump Ⅴ, rants and others

i got a spam comment from Anonymous – Operation Titstorm this morning. while i agree with anonymous’ motivation for such action, i am not part of the australian government and not in a position where i can do much of anything except agree with their motivation for their actions. go anonymous, but please go do it somewhere where it’ll make a difference, okay? mass spamming of random blogs is a really good way to make a lot more people not want to deal with you any longer.

Google shuts down music blogs without warning – this is the same company which has recently announced a “1GB bandwidth internet connection to every home” deal that is in the works. making it even more likely that, whether you like it or not, google will have access to all of your data. the fact that google already has their hands in pretty much everything from where you’re going to be to who you’re going to be there with and everything in between, their Gmail was marketed with “never delete another email, EVER” propaganda (which nobody seems to remember these days), and they are in bed with the CIA and have a team of specialists ready to scan every bit of information the unwitting public feeds into their jaws makes their “Don’t be evil” company motto a bit of a malapropism.

People browse by search (or ReadWriteWeb faces the Facebook Login problem) – of course, the problem is confounded by the fact that people don’t seem willing to actually learn what this computer-thingy on their desks is for to begin with. a very good example of this is one of my clients, who regularly calls me because he thinks his “anti-virus software is tired” of zapping viruses on his windows machine, or the fact that he can’t type into his computer because the keyboard is unplugged and he didn’t realise it.

Christians claim hate crimes law an effort to โ€˜eradicateโ€™ their beliefs – no, hate crime laws are an effort to crack down on hate crimes… if your beliefs are the direct cause of the hate crime, then you’ve got something to worry about. if not, claiming that hate crime laws are an effort to eradicate “christianity” just makes you appear to be really, REALLY stupid, regardless of where you obtained your law degree. even a fifth grader can see that constitutionally protected speech does not apply, when it is clearly written into the law to begin with… ☹

New National Security Distraction: Arabic Language Students – a white-bread american physics major from pomona college is a terrorist, according to TSA officials and the FBI, who spent several hours handcuffed, under arrest and being questioned by no fewer than seven law enforcement officials, but unable to obtain legal council, because he tried to board a plane with… wait for it… not liquids, not matches, not a bomb. arabic flash cards. TSA Supervisor: You know who did 9/11? George: Osama bin Laden. TSA Supervisor: Do you know what language he spoke? George: Arabic. — therefore, you are a terrorist, because you are learning arabic… WHO TRAINS THESE PEOPLE ANYWAY?!? it’s a wonder that i am as nice to strangers as i am… 8/

finally, Security patch results in BSOD – i think this may actually be an improvement in windowsdoesn’t operation. at least now you go directly to the BSOD, rather than thinking your computer might actually be doing what it is supposed to before you go there. this is exactly the reason i don’t use microsoft products any longer. they’re releasing internet explorer eight with the same unfixed bugs in it that i reported to them before they released IE three, and they still haven’t even made an attempt to fix them. why people think that microsoft cares about anything other than making as much money as possible while exerting as little actual work as possible is totally beyond me.

Continue reading linque dump Ⅴ, rants and others

⁂ ✬ ⨀ 文

along with all of the other SNAFUs i’ve been forced to deal with over the past few days (an itemised list would prove too exasperating to compile at this point), and despite any actual evidence that it is true, i have become relatively convinced that i may have H1N1, otherwise known as “HEINEY”. i felt fine on saturday, but, on sunday, the closer i got to the time (7:00 pm) when i had to go to a fremont phil rehearsal i was feeling more and more sick. i didn’t actually feel nauseous until i had already decided not to go to the (essential, required) rehearsal, and about 8:00 i turned into a geyser for about 2 hours. then i had a fever and chills for about 24 hours, whereupon the coughing started and has been going on more or less ever since. i feel more-or-less normal at this point, despite occasional fits of coughing. at this point, i’m so through with being sick… 8/

i bought a new wireless DSL modem/router, because the old modem/router apparently doesn’t work with OsX version 10.6.2 (snow leopard), which is what i am running on my mac now that i’ve upgraded thanks to St. Fred. of course i didn’t find out about it immediately, because when i got home with my newly-upgraded computer and turned it on, it found internet right away and i didn’t think to check where it was coming from. of course, as soon as i tried to connect with the mac from linux i discovered the problem, which was that the mac was wirelessly connecting to internet through the neighbour’s router instead of through mine, and when i tried to switch to my router, it simply wouldn’t connect. of course, moe’s temporary windows7 laptop connected to the old router without a problem, but she got her new mac today, which also runs snow leopard, so i went out and bought a new router, and, after having to call qwest once, drizzle three times, and having to make an adaptor and a cable (fortunately i had the tools and materials in my workshop!!) i finally got it working the way it’s supposed to.

of course, then i had to figure out that the new router makes a difference between networking with or without “wireless access control”. “with” means that i can’t access my mac – wireless – from my linux machine, which is connected with a wire, without jumping through a bunch more, different hoops that i haven’t figured out yet. i still haven’t figured out the right hoops to jump through to secure my wireless network so that my neighbours can’t log in to my network the way i can log in theirs. when i enable “wireless equivalency protection” (WEP), it takes longer, and the password doesn’t work the way i think it should, which means that only the linux machine gets internet, but can’t connect to the mac at all, the mac gets no internet except through the neighbour’s router, and i have to “sneaker net” files from the mac to the linux machine, which is do-able, but not ideal.

on the positive side, i haven’t had to switch host providers again, i got ALL of the data off of moe’s old hard drive, in spite of the fact that her old laptop is well and truly dead. i’ve got the chassis for sale on craigslist, and supposedly there’s going to be somebody come by and pick up the old router this afternoon. also, i’ve become the default insider tech-guru for the *NEW* fremont players web site – http://www.fremontplayers.com/ – which currently points to twankey.com. the “job title” reflects the fact that, despite the fact that i will be designing, hosting and doing maintenance for the site, i will not have to come up with content, which is exactly what i was hoping for.

and now, to clean up my browser a little and give you an idea of what i’ve been reading recently, here is MINI-LINQUE DUMP Ⅳ½

Supreme Court Allows Corporations To Run For Political Office – in spite of the fact that there is a glimmer of hope in the fact that we no longer have a far-right-wing nut-job as president any longer, my general impression is that the country is as broken as ever, and there are certain ways that it is broken now that it wasn’t broken before more level heads took over, which doesn’t say much about the glimmer of hope that i spoke of earlier. The Onion is the only way i’ve been surviving these days. if it weren’t for the onion, i would probably have sworn off all news reporting a year ago.

Nation’s Strangers Decry Negative Portrayal Among Children – once again, from the onion (see, i told you so) this is yet another example of why: ever since i was as young as i can remember, i remember people in the position of authority (my parents, the parents of my friends, teachers, etc.) telling me to be wary of “strangers”, and my thinking that the same “strangers” had something compelling about them. i was determined to find out what it was. now, i am a “stranger”, and i know what they’re talking about: kids, in general, are a lot less concerned about the world in general than adults are, and have a tendency to imagine quite a bit more than adults do. now, as an adult and a “stranger”, i just want to be that innocent again. it doesn’t have anything to do with “your weiner”. “the man” gets a little nervous when “strangers” and kids mix too much, though.

The Phallic Monuments Of Love Valley – who says God doesn’t have a sense of humour?

prophylaxis!

i figured that, since i got paid(!) for the panto, and i got paid(!!) for first night, i would arbitrarily do something for both my wife and myself, keeping in mind that we have both fought valiantly in the battle of several computers recently, and we have both bought (or are buying) new computers recently, so i went out and bought a 2 terabyte USB hard drive, and i’m going to start making regular backups of all the computers in the house, so that the next time one or more of the computers goes tits up, we won’t have to run around like the proverbial chicken.

i hope you don’t mind sweetie, i did this without checking with you first, but i’m sure you’ll agree that it is $150 well spent, and Hybrid Elephant paid for it.

but while i’m at it, i want to marvel in awe, once again, at the place we’ve got to, technologically. i was raised around computers that talked in bits and bytes, before anyone ever dreamed of a personal “hard disk”… the first actual hard disk i ever worked with was an 80 megabyte monster, easily four times as big as the model currently on my desk, with a fraction of the capacity, and at the time, i was under the impression that it was an electronic “black hole” into which i could throw data forever, and never fill it up.4GB memory i remember when i couldn’t afford more than 16 megabytes of RAM (on a mac LCII), because it was $150 for a 1MB SIMM chip, which was about the same size as my cell phone… and now they make things like the one seen on the right, which is a four gigabyte memory chip that goes in my cell phone. when i was working at openwave, a few years ago, i worked on a solaris machine with a 4 terabyte hard disk array, which was a box about a quarter of the size of my desk, and sat in a corner of the santa barbara office (i logged in and worked remotely, from an office in bellevue), and this 2 terabyte disk i just bought is the size of a small book.

i’m not gonna claim that this is an electronic black hole, but i can’t imagine how i will fill up a 2 terabyte disk, except for backing up multiple computers, multiple times, for several years…

that didn’t take long…

so on 10 january, i filed a support ticket with my new host provider, cpanel-host.us, that email wasn’t working the way it was supposed to. two days later, i learned that my clients’ email, and the BSSB mailing list wasn’t working at all, and i filed a support ticket about that, as well. on the 14th, they (finally) responded saying that the mail servers had been fixed. then, on 15 january, i got an email saying that mailing lists were now forbidden, and if i had a mailing list on my account on the 17th, my account would be suspended. i wrote back to them, asking if they were serious about suspending my account two days after they had helped me get my mailing list working, and their response was “yes”…

๐Ÿ˜ก

but at the same time, i got email from my previous host provider, IsMyReseller.com. apparently he felt guilty for saying that he wanted to raise my rates almost 300% (from $5 a month to $18 a month). i wrote back to him saying that it was all well and good that he was feeling guilty, but what was preventing him from doing the same thing again in a month, or five, when he, once again, discovers that he isn’t making enough money from me. his response was to send me a .pdf of a document that says he will charge me $6.50 a month for the life of the account.

so i switched back.

the thing that’s really amazing is that he took me from a backup to being up and running in a little more time – 15 minutes or so – than the time it took him to download the backup from my old host… and that includes all of my databases, my email addresses and my mailing list.

i find this somewhat unusual. nobody has ever tried to get me back as a customer. usually if i decide not to be somebody’s customer any longer, it is for a very specific reason which the person has no intent of changing. this guy said that he actually felt guilty for asking to raise my rates, and as soon as he had a way to continue running his company without raising my rates, he emailed me immediately.

cpanel-host.us (the second to the last host) was saying that my email address was sending mail to 50 addresses at once (which is true) and that this was causing unusual server stress. i know from my days at openwave that 5,000 emails a day isn’t uncommon (i’ve even still got a script that sends anywhere from 100 to 100,000,000 emails to any address or addresses you put in to it, but it only works with openwave mail server software), especially for a mail server that has a lot of users, so i was sort of wondering why it was a problem, to which they responded that they were afraid some spammer would gain access to my mailing list and have their IP address blacklisted. they obviously chose the wrong person to accuse of being a potential spammer.

and the fact that IsMyReseller.com on top of the email problems which were what the previous host provider was balking at doesn’t hurt his chances either… ๐Ÿ˜‰

now as long as it stays this way for a few months, maybe i’ll have the chance to wind down from this semi-permanent state of panic that i’ve been in ever since december of 2008, when i decided to switch from drizzle to 1&1…

The Church of Tina Chopp got this piece of snailmail...in other news, i went to check my PO box today and found this very amusing letter:

L.J.M. Steijn
Juliana van StolBergstraat 30
2805 CN Gouda
The Netherlands

CHURCH OF TINA CHOPP
P.O. Box 1864
Milton
WA 98354
USA

Gouda, 10 January 2010

Dear Tina Chopp,

My name is Leo Steijn and I live in the Netherlands.

I have look at your very interesting site, and for more information must I be contacted the Church, What I now do.

Please, gife me if you will more information about the Snake Destiny and what he is theach, also the secrets about bizarre sex.

Another question, is your church also be present in the Netherlands? If so, than I like it to come in contact with your members. Can you please bring me in contact with them. I will be very thankfull for it!

I hope to hear soon of you.

With kindest regards,

Leo Steijn

P.S.
i don’t have e-mail

gee, where do i even start with this letter…? i know a couple of people who live in the netherlands, but i’m not sure if they would be willing to contact this guy about the Church of Tina, and even if they were willing, i’m not sure they’re properly prepared to be representatives of the Church, but at the same time, what other choice do i have?

oy… 8/

i’m having a tough time, and i can’t even blog about it! ๐Ÿ™

i’ve selected a new host provider and begun the process of switching, but because of the fact that new host provider doesn’t feel comfortable allowing me ssh access, i’m forced to do everything the slow way, one file at a time, and “ask” for help, then wait up to 24 hours for a response, every time i find something that i can’t do with a GUI that i could do in 5 seconds with ssh access. as a result, i haven’t actually switched the DNS settings and now i’m going to have to export my wordpress database and upload it to the new server again because of this post… and there’s a problem with the blog on the new host server, which i could fix in 5 seconds using ssl, but because of the fact that he’s nervous about offering ssl, even if i do hit the “submit” button on this post, download the database from the old server, and reupload the database on the new server, it won’t show up at the new server… all you can see at this point is

Warning: fopen(/home/hybridel/public_html/przxqgl/wp-content/cache/wp_cache_mutex.lock) [function.fopen]: failed to open stream: Permission denied in /home/hybridel/public_html/przxqgl/wp-content/plugins/wp-cache/wp-cache-phase2.php on line 96

Warning: Cannot modify header information - headers already sent by (output started at /home/hybridel/public_html/przxqgl/wp-content/plugins/wp-cache/wp-cache.php:2) in /home/hybridel/public_html/przxqgl/wp-includes/pluggable.php on line 868

i got email about my Tengwar Sindarinwa font from the guy who plagiarised it (taking out some of the spacing characters that he didn’t understand, reversing some characters, etc., etc.) saying that i was the one who ripped him off, in spite of the fact that i have original artwork from the ’70s that proves otherwise. what he doesn’t realise is that you can’t “copyright” a letter shape, all you can do is copyright a font name, and my “Tengwar Sindarinwa” and his “Tengwar Gandalf” have different names. there’s nothing that he can do except be annoying, but he’s choosing a very difficult time to do it.

moe applied to be an animal behaviour specialist, which meant that she had to put together almost 1000 printed pages of records, logs, articles and so forth that she has been working on for the past 7 years. she was working on the last of it the other night and one of the dogs spilled a cup of water all over her laptop. we managed to get it shut down without obviously shorting out something, removed the battery and dried it off as well as we could, including leaving it upside down on a towel over a heat register overnight, and blowing it out thoroughly with compressed air, but when i tried to boot it up it gave me the “i can’t find the operating system” icon. i called apple care and explained the situation to them, and they said that if i took it in to the mac store that they had software that could look at the contents of the disk, and even made an appointment for me – the last one of the day – at the mac store in southcenter. i drove 20 miles to southcenter and waited almost an hour before someone finally talked to me (it was after closing time). he wouldn’t take my case ID number and wouldn’t even look at the computer. he told me that, in fact, they do have the software that apple care told me about, but that their policy was to “use it for our own purposes, and not to retrieve customer data”. when i said that apple care had told me differently, he said he would give them “feedback”, but there was nothing he could do. ๐Ÿ˜ฎ

to make matters worse, i called apple care again this morning, because at least there i can give them my case ID number so that at least they will know what i’m talking about, but the first support goon i talked to said exactly the same thing as the one i talked to last night. when i told him that he was wrong and that the mac store wouldn’t help me, he passed me along to his supervisor who told me there was nothing he could do. ๐Ÿ˜ฏ

i used to be a macintosh afficianado. i was a mac-head before most of the “geniuses” at the “genius bar” were even born. the first mac i used was a Lisa. but the customer service i received from apple, and from the mac store yesterday is enough to make me never want to see another apple product again in my entire life. i currently own, and am running a dual-core intel macbook pro, and the next time i have difficulties with it, it’s going to lose it’s apple operating system all together, and gain a new linux operating system. ๐Ÿ˜ก

then there was the fact that i left my linux computer running when i went to bed last night, and this morning when i got up, it was not running and i couldn’t start it up. according to the people that i took it to (it, fortunately, is still under warranty), the power supply was laden with dust, and they speculated that it stopped working when it overheated. fortunately, because of the fact that it is still under warranty, i didn’t have to pay to get it fixed, but i drove all the way there and back twice before i had breakfast this morning.

it’s almost 4:00 already and i’ve gotten exactly NOTHING done for the past THREE DAYS. i’ve got a performance this evening at the rialto theatre in tacoma, a real, authentic, old-time vaudeville stage where i’ll be opening for Pearl Django, and i’m in such a bad mood that i’m not even excited about it. ๐Ÿ˜›

AAAARRRGGGHHH!

that’s A4R3G3H3 for those of you who are keeping score…

you may or may not have noticed that my web sites have been down for the past 24 hours. this was because at 4:00 friday afternoon, i got an email from my “new” host provider that he was going down for “4 to 5 hours (maximum 10 hours) for upgrades” and wanted to know if it was “okay with you if we start them this evening”… and then proceded to start the upgrades without even making sure that it was okay with me or not.

also, he informed me that my rates would be increasing by almost 300% because he is having trouble breaking even. ๐Ÿ˜ฏ

needless to say, i have – once again – embarked on the task of finding yet another host service provider – my fourth switch in less than a year… ๐Ÿ™„ i will probably be switching in january, after the panto is over.

more stuff after the panto.

tee hee

Strickland, Jonathan. “How to Remove a Computer Virus.” 06 April 2009. HowStuffWorks.com. <http://electronics.howstuffworks.com/how-to-tech/how-to-remove-computer-virus.htm> 11 May 2009.

it doesn’t specifically say that you are less likely to get viri if you run mac or linux, but at the same time, all of the instructions for removing computer viri from your system are specifically directed at windows users… ๐Ÿ˜‰

REJOICE!

the battle of the computer is over! the linux guru (whose name is francis) and i got my computer working, after three days of mucking about in the inner (read “command-line interface”) workings of the underpinning of kubuntu. when you dig down that deep, you’re not running k/x/ed/ubuntu any longer, it’s actually debian, which is, apparently, a rock-solid piece of software capable of doing many things that k/x/ed/ubuntu screws up, or can’t do at all. it’s now running jaunty jackalope, after having the innards of hardy heron ripped out from its smouldering carcass and having kde4 and the latest linux kernel forcably overwritten. i’m not sure if i really like it yet (it looks way too much like windoesn’t XP), but i can probably get used to it, and/or configure the parts that i don’t like so that they won’t be so annoying.

progress?

i’ve discovered what the problem is with my linux box: i tried to upgrade directly from hardy to jaunty without going through intrepid first. it really wasn’t my fault, i just did what the upgrade application told me to, but that doesn’t make my box any less broken. fortunately, i appear to have found a linux guru on kubuntuforums.net who is the eternal optimist and thinks that i can probably rescue my box without having to reinstall. i’m up for it, but i would also be up for reinstalling if it doesn’t work out. meanwhile i’m learning all about aptitude -f install and dpkg --force-overwrite -i and other arcane goodies that go over the heads of about 90% of the other kubuntu users out there. and my linux box is still broken. oh well…

i got an order for 3000 postcards yesterday, which will ultimately be sent to japan, and i mowed the lawn for the first time this year as well. also i’ve got a BSSB rehearsal later this evening, so despite my broken linux box and my ongoing depression, i’m keeping busy enough that it doesn’t hurt as much.

ETA, 5:00pm: the linux guru i met turned me on to skype, which i now have installed on my mac, so if any of you are inclined to actually talk to me, i can be reached at przxqgl. we didn’t get very far, but i am more convinced than ever that we will actually be able to rescue this box instead of reinstalling it. i’m now doing a remote ssh to the linux box and running all the commands on my mac, which saves me getting confused over which keyboard i’m typing into.

HAH!… sort of… i guess… 8/

so my linux box had a bunch of package updates that it had to install, so i finally got around to installing them today, and when they were done, it told me that i had a version upgrade (jaunty jackalope) that i could install, and so i decided to install it as well. strangely enough, there was something wrong with the upgrade and the ultimate result was that it lost the mouse and keyboard, which meant that i couldn’t log in.

fortunately (sort of), i have the /home on a secondary disk, and i have my calendar backed up on google, so the only thing i can’t immediately access is my email database. i have access to my email accounts, just not the already sent and received email that i have on my computer.

so, the battle of the computer begins again, but it’s all a lot more under control, sort of, than it has been in the past. i have to figure out why the computer apparently isn’t seeing the CD-ROM drive on startup, and i have to figure out why the computer isn’t seeing the mouse and keyboard when it boots from the hard disk, but i have a computer, and a calendar, and the ability to fill orders (if i get any) without too much difficulty, so it’s not a reason to panic and run around like a chicken with it’s head cut off…

coming to the end of another moisture festival

i met ukulele dick at the moisture festival the other day. his “real name”, acording to his schtick, is Banjo Penis. i traded him a copy of serpentine for a copy of his ukulele dick cd and a copy of his “Dick Dujour” cd, Music to Scare Children by. i’ve been listening to them on and off throughout the day, and i must say, the guy is more than just a ukulele player. i also made buttons for him that say “Act Dorky, Live Forever”. i’ve got performances on friday and sunday for sure, and possibly saturday.

the big news, or maybe not so big if you hang out with the right people, i guess, is that circus contraption is breaking up. i have no idea why, but i can imagine, as with most artistic organisations like that, that there were some artistic differences somewhere along the lines.

other news: my SSDI hearing is the 24th. i’m approaching it with an interesting mixture of hilarity and dread. i got to see part of the forms ned was filling out earlier in the week, and he said about 10 things, of which i would think that 1 of which should be enough to get me on the “disabled” list in a perfect world, but because of the fact that the world is decidedly imperfect, i don’t know if it will help or not. we’re going to work on it some more after the moisture festival is over.

also i’m getting ready to be able to accept credit cards on hybrid elephant, but i’ve only gotten one order since i went live with the new site, so i’m wondering if i can’t put it off for another month until i get more of an idea about whether or not people are going to notice it.

despite the fact that i won the battle of the computer in record time – this time – i learned a bunch of things that i didn’t know in the process. the main thing i learned is that the intermittent quiet scratching noise coming from the computer is the power supply fan, which, instead of turning on and doing what it is supposed to do when power is applied, in fact, it rotates weakly, not anywhere near fast enough to be anything like the heat sink that it’s supposed to be, and intermittently emits a scratching sound that makes me think that it, too, is not long for this world.

<stewie>victory is mine!</stewie>

linux computer is back up and working! i backed up my calendar and now i have it on both my main computers – with them cross-connected so that any changes i make on one will automatically show up on the other (which, it’s my understanding, that you can’t do on windoesn’t without a significant amount more futzing about than i was willing to put into the whole deal – thank you linus torvalds and steve jobs, fuck you bill gates), and i am currently backing up my /home directory (with all of my email) which is something that i was going to do right before the computer died, so that if it happens again i’ll be even more prepared the next time.

apparently i fried the processor. the guy i took it to, which is right down the hill from my house (extremely convenient) said that the processor heat-sink was installed backwards – thank you re-pc – but he just happened to have another processor of the same size and speed. it turned out that he had a huge box of brand new processors, one of which he installed, then put the heat-sink back the correct way, and hooked up the LEDs on the front of the computer (which i had never bothered to connect because they don’t actually do anything other than light up), and he only charged me $50, which makes him my new best friend.

GROWL!

linux computer is dead, which isn’t really surprising considering that is built out of spare bits and pieces of several other computers. i’ve ruled out the power supply, for two reasons: one is that i replaced it about six months ago, and the other is that i actually took my computer to RePC (where a lot of the parts came from) and had the guy check it out. he checked out the power supply (which lit up his testing device with green lights, indicating that the power supply is working correctly), but refused to look at it any further(!) because it was too dirty(!), despite the fact that it wasn’t that dirty and i have seen computers which worked fine and were orders of magnitude more dirty than mine was… still, i brought it home and cleaned it, but it still won’t boot.

unfortunately, i have a 1:00 call today and i’m performing until 1:00 tomorrow morning, then i have a 10:00 AM(!) call tomorrow and i’m assuming that i will be performing until 1:00 am monday, but i’m not sure because my calendar was on my linux computer and isn’t accessible, in spite of the fact that it’s probably still there. but one way or another, there’s a good chance that i won’t even get to look at my computer until monday, and given a perfect-case scenario, won’t actually get it working again until tuesday or wednesday, which means that i have to re-create my calendar somewhere other than my linux box.

fan fucking tastic… 8/

linux box is down. fortunately, i can switch to mac fairly easily, and the /home directory is on a separate disk from the main operating system, but i really don’t want to fight the battle of the computer again so soon after the last time. i’m a fair amount more prepared for it than the last time, but it’s still irritating as hell.

in other news, snake suspenderz played a gig at smokin’ pete’s barbecue this evening, which went well. tomorrow is my first day without a performance or a rehearsal in more than a week. i’m a busy musician during the moisture festival. two more weeks to go.

success!

my new spam protection, installed wednesday has already stopped 5 birdbrained spambots. sweet!

i’m really pleased! i’m not ready to start posting links for sneak previews yet, but the commerce web site is coming along just fine. i finally figured out how to completely eliminate the right hand navigation column, so now the site only has two columns. i changed the HEADER_TITLE to something more appropriate and something that is less likely to give away the fact that i’m using the same ecommerce solution that everyone else is using. i moved the post code to the correct place for american addresses, and changed it to “zip” code, rather than “post” code. i also made the telephone number optional and completely removed the fax number, which was a larger task than it seems, because of the fact that there was no place to modify the fax number, and i had to do a mySQL query to make a place where the fax number could be manipulated. i also removed the manditory birth date and the manditory company from the user registration.

i still have to insert text for the shipping and returns, the privacy notice, and the conditions of use, and i have to replace the text on the index page. i also need to find out what $model['products_name'] has been changed to so that i can put the product name into the <title> of each individual page… and i have to feed the database. i’ve got about half of the incense inventory entered, and i haven’t even started with the murtis or anything else.

i said that this would be ridiculously easy, and i was right. the hardest thing i’ve had to do so far is find strings in PHP files. i’m still a bit confused when the directions say that i should find a certain piece of code on a certain line of a certain file but when i open that file and go to that line, the code that they said should be there is different from what they said it would be, and the result is that it’s going more slowly than i’d like, but i’m certain that it will all get straightened out eventually.

hee

i just found out, if you type grep -i mclain /etc/services into a terminal window on mac os x, you’ll get my very old and dear friend fred mclain’s name… apparently his name is on one of the port services that you have if you’re running mac os x, or suse. it doesn’t work if you’re running k/x/ubuntu…

flink

national kazoo day gig last night. it was a real pleasure to play music, but apparently there was some drama towards the end, after all the music had been played and we were packing up and getting out, but apparently not quickly enough to suit the owners of the cafe/theater. i was only partially aware of what was going on. i actually was already packed up and loaded out by the time it became a real drama, and i was outside, so i didn’t even see the drama part of it at all, but apparently sketch was given the bum’s-rush – after having just played a full set, and not having packed up all of his gear or gotten changed or even put on a coat.

we did sell three of our NEW CDs though! it’s so new that it doesn’t have a link anywhere yet… hobbit and thad were up until 3:00 saturday morning folding, gluing and shrink-wrapping the packaging… there will be a CD baby link when i get it. 8)

moe is having problems with the SVBT web site, which is being made infinitely worse by the fact that their host provider has its head so far up its ass that they’d need a team of spelunkers and several days to find it. i’ve been trying to help out, and i actually succeded in backing up the old web site and uploading the stuff that they had to replace it, but now, apparently the database is broken, the PHP experts on staff live in australia, and the web designer is being a 14-carat gold plated prick about the whole thing – but his prick-itude about it may be partially due to the fact that the host provider is being a complete, 24-carat solid gold pile of crap. it would have taken me 10 minutes on my host to do what it took me almost 3 hours to do, manually, one file at a time, on their host. i don’t want to seem like i’m bailing on moe, because if nobody else, i should support her, but at the same time, it’s not my job to fix SVBT’s wonky host provider, and while it is moe’s job, i personally believe that it would be infinitely easier to bail on the host provider and go with some place that actually, you know, provides a usable service….

along a similar line, i got an invoice from drizzle today, and, as i suspected, they’ve charged me again for the screwup that resulted in my account getting deleted and then restated, despite the fact that it never should have been deleted in the first place, which is THEIR FAULT!! and, of course, it’s sunday and they’re not there – i find it somewhat ironic that their automated billing service works on sunday, but nobody else does. it’s not actually going to be “funny” until they have acknowledged that they should not have billed me for something that wasn’t my fault to begin with, which, i suspect, is going to take a while.

also…

i upgraded to WordPress 2.7 last night, and it’s still pretty shiny and new, but i’ll see what i can do about mucking things up soon enough. at the moment, i wonder about the header graphic, which used to have a pretty purplish gradient in it, but now, from what i can see, is a glaring emergency orange-ish.

ETA: it’s not orange any more, but apparently the upgrade broke my ability to make the header more than one colour. presumably there will be a fix for it eventually, but in the mean time, i changed it to all purple instead of all orange… easier on the eyes…

diary of a tired geek

i had another session with the annoying/amusing client i have spoken of previously today. his printer wouldn’t work, and his flash plugin wouldn’t work – which meant that he can’t view the pornographic videos he watches all the time – and he wanted me to make sure that his operating system hadn’t “gotten tired” of alerting him to things… oh, and when a javascript popup window that said his computer is infected with a virus, and wouldn’t go away, he wanted me to reassure him that someone wasn’t watching what he was doing through his computer screen. he’s really annoying because i put things as simply as possible in order to help him understand, and then, when i begin to think he’s getting the idea, he comes out of left field with things like “i used to have a daily devotional icon on my computer [when it was running windows], and before you installed the new OS, i put it on my flash drive, but now it doesn’t work. can i get it to work?” and i have to begin again and explain that icons are not always the same things as programs, and just because you are able to transfer an icon from one computer to another (or, in this case, from one operating system to another), it doesn’t always take the program. sometimes the icon is just a pointer to the program, and even if it actually is the program, this does not automatically mean that it will work there. whereupon he says “well is it possible to get a daily devotional icon that does work?”… 8/ i know nothing about what this guy actually does on his computer, other than research spasticity (he actually had me set up a wikipedia account for him, because he wants to contribute), watch his “daily devotional” program, whatever that is, and view tons of pornographic videos, which he has me clear out of his cache once in a while. he’s really earnest in wanting to know more, and he appears to be fairly bright in spite of having a brain injury, but he doesn’t seem to get it enough that i wonder about him sometimes.

i also nailed up some chainlink fence material to the neighbours’ fence posts. it wasn’t a moment too soon. as i was nailing up the fence material, i heard an ominous crack and the fence gave way. it didn’t actually fall down, but now the only thing that’s holding it up is gravity and friction. my guess is that eventually there will be enough moss growth that the friction will give way and the entire fence will come down.

yesterday we had another recording session with snake suspenderz, which resulted in three tracks that are in the final stages of finishing, and one track that needs a bit more work (hobbit and thaddeus are getting together tomorrow to finish it up). when that’s done, we have one more session, and then a CD release party, or something like that. National Kazoo Day is on the 31st, and snake suspenderz is going to portland for that. there’s also rumours that we have a potential gig in eugene. among the new tracks that we recorded are a song called Serpentine, by howlin’ hobbit, and the standard Don’t Get Around Much Any More, by Duke Ellington.

monday i spent all day feeding my database and learning about CSS selectors and which bits of PHP to change in my new osCommerce installation. i got a whole bunch of the database finished, and got the site more or less into the shape that it’s going to have when it’s complete, but i still have a lot of mismatched headers, things that are showing up on one page but not on the others, or vice versa, bright colours (i’ve been changing things to bright colours so that i can see when things change more easily), and incomplete content to deal with. osCommerce is made for people who are a lot less web-savvy than i am, so figuring things out shouldn’t be too difficult. i think that, for most people, the most daunting part of osCommerce is the piles of PHP/HTML/CSS pages that they potentially have to edit, but it doesn’t bother me at all. actually, i’m a lot more concerned about the database, because i’m still not completely sure about the mechanics of the interaction between the database and the website. how much of it is database manipulation of PHP code, and how much of it is actually due to the effect that the PHP itself is having on the pages i see is still a complete mystery.

another deposit recently and my bank account is over $500 for the first time since i started the business – seven years ago! i’ve noticed that for the past 5 years or so, my bank statement for january is approximately twice what it was the year before, and it’s very definitely the case this year. in fact, it’s almost 3 times what it was last year. despite what the DVR drone said, i think i’m doing something right, and i’m really looking forward to next year as well.

i actually think i’m going to survive monique’s being gone without much difficulty, but i’m not so sure about the dogs. magick and zorah heard me drive up in the minivan today (which is usually moe’s car), and they lost it, and spent a good hour and a half staring at the door and barking trying to get moe to walk through it by sheer force of their doggie wills. it would have been a lot more amusing if i didn’t jerk violently (a lingering side effect of my brain injury) when they bark.

meanwhile, here’s what i have been reading about:
UCL records the sound of jelly wobbling – the university college in london has succeded in recording the sound of jelly wobbling in a soundproof recording chamber. i definitely went to the wrong school.

a little closer to home, YouTube video of man blasting couch with rifle shown at weapons trial – let’s see if i’ve got this straight: the guy thought he would celebrate the fact that he had this illegal firearm, and silencer, without a permit or anything, by filming himself without disguise or attempt to cover evidence that they caught him with, shooting up a couch close to his home, and then post it on youtube… if i were going to film myself identifiably using an illegal firearm to do something, i would be sure that the thing i filmed would get me arrested on it’s own merits, whether i filmed it or not. the fact that this guy thought he could take a film of him doing something illegal and post it on youtube is bad enough, but the fact that he apparently didn’t think about the fact that it might be a factor in getting him caught proves that this guy is stupider than most.

okay, the polish is starting to wear…

i still really like my new host provider, but not as much as i did previously. in order to install AWStats, i have to know the location of httpd.conf, but because of the fact that i purchased a “shared hosting” package, it’s not where the awstats configurator expects it to be… so i call up tech support and ask them where it is, and they say that because of the fact that i don’t have an actual host server (which costs $100 a month) i don’t have the priveledge of adding lines to the configuration file. i say i’m not going to add lines to the file, i just need to know where it is, but they won’t even tell me where the file is located…

hrmph!

so, i guess i’m going to have to be satisfied with the only semi-awesome web stats that are provided… 8/

interesting/amusing/annoying

so in restoring the Church of Tina, i discovered that, for some (obvious now, but then it was a) mysterious reason, the entire site worked the way it was supposed to, except for this page, which is part of the church of tina’s elaborate disclaimer. instead of getting the page, i was getting a “403 – Forbidden” error (similar to the much more common “404 – File Not Found” error, which you have undoubtedly seen before). i didn’t remember it being forbidden before, and so i renamed the file, and re-uploaded it in an attempt to straighten out the problem, but it was still showing up as forbidden. then i looked at the page with my linux terminal and discovered that the reason why it wasn’t working was because the permissions had been reset to 600 – which means the owner of the file (presumably me) can read and modify the file, but if you’re not me, then you can’t even see the file. when i reset the permissions to 644 (i can modify the file, and everyone else can read it), it reappeared on the web site like magic – no more 403 error!

except for the fact that I would not have reset the permissions so that nobody could see it, and the only people who administrative permissions on the file (which would supercede my permissions) are the host providers – drizzle!

i don’t know this for sure, and i can guarantee that if they did do something strange like change the permissions on the file without telling me, that they wouldn’t admit to it, but i would bet that the subject of the file in question contacted drizzle and complained, and drizzle arbitrarily changed the permissions on the file in order to get her to shut up and go away.

they were sneaky enough to not just delete the file (because then i would know that they had been up to no good), but they did something to the file that wouldn’t be perceived by someone who is using windoesn’t, and only perceived by someone using mac or *ix by looking at it with the terminal, which nobody uses these days…

goddamn drizzle anyway… i can’t wait to get another ISP… 8P

DRIZZLE!!!!

here is yet another reason why drizzle.com is not going to be my ISP much longer: they assumed that when i requested a change of host providers for hybridelephant.com, they automatically assumed that it also meant cancelling my internet service – which was wrong, and i took care of it last week. what i didn’t realise is that they also cancelled The Church of Tina Chopp, resulting in an interruption of service for several days. it’s on its way to being fixed at this point (i still have to wait the requisite 24 to 48 hours for the DNS changes to propagate), but that is yet another reason to get away from them as quickly as possible.

i should have listened more carefully when i was told last march that drizzle was incompetent. now it’s come back to bite me in the ass… 8/

SNOWPOCALYPSE! OMG! WE’RE ALL GONNA DIE!!1!

081221 snowpocalypse!

cinderella finished its second week of performances amid more snow than i’ve seen around here for a long time. it started snowing on thursday and finally quit yesterday, but there’s a prediction that it’s going to start up again tomorrow… i took the train from tacoma to seattle saturday (quite an enjoyable trip, by the way) and stayed at heather and stuart’s place saturday night. my windows computer is broken (again) – it appears to be the same sort of thing that it was the last time, in that it appears to be a power supply issue, so i’m hoping that i can replace the power cord (again) and everything will be back to normal, but i’m not holding my breath. i took my mac laptop with me on saturday and recorded both shows and 5 potential demos for the fremont phil, which i have since burned to a DVD (although i didn’t have to, because even with several gigs of space taken up by the recordings, i still had more than 120 gigs of free space left!!!). sunday i did another show, without a trumpet player, because our regular trumpet player, teacher ted, thought he was going to fly out early sunday morning (fat chance – all flights out of sea-tac were cancelled due to the snowpocalypse), and our substitute trumpet player, a high school student named shimpuku, was stuck north of lake washington. after the show, i got a ride home from macque and norma, who have a four-wheel-drive jeep with chains, which is a good thing, because the roads were almost totally impassable due to seattle’s having this weird thing about encouraging compact snow and ice rather than salting the roads. the national weather service prediction is for precipitation, most probably snow, at least 50% (and as much as 80%) of the time until thursday, and has predicted snow for 8 out of the past 10 days. we had around a foot and a half of snow, and had to dig the car out, and then dig the driveway out before we could go anywhere yesterday. when we finally got dug out, we went to buy tire chains for moe’s car, and on the way discovered that the car was overheating – or so we thought, it was actually the temperature gauge that died – not the thermostat, the temperature gauge in the instrument panel, fortunately, because if it had been the thermostat it would have cost several hundred dollars to fix, but because of the fact that it’s in the instrument panel, it’s actually safe to drive the car even though the temperature is wonky. of course, the first thing that happened this morning is that moe decided that it wasn’t snowing right then, so she would try to go in to work, and on the way she drove over something that broke the chains, so she had to stop the car in the middle of highway 99 (thank gawd she wasn’t on the freeway) and take them off, leaving her with a big, empty minivan with no traction, somewhere between home and mercer island at 6:30 in the morning.

anyway, the cinderella performances went amazingly well despite sunday’s lack of a trumpet player, and saturday evening, when we weren’t expecting anybody to show up, we actually had almost a full house, including a whole pile of noisy kids which was almost exactly like OCF. Fremont Philharmonic dot com is now in existence, but it doesn’t have much there at this point except for stuff that only applies to members of the fremont phil. also i’m talking with macque and bfly about consolidating all of the fremonstor theatrical organisations on one host.

now that i can actually post again…

for those of you who have been paying attention, three days ago i switched host providers. i found one i liked (and i really like them, but that comes later), and switched the DNS settings for hybridelephant.com to point to the new nameservers. a day later, two days ago, the domain status was “ready”. for most people, there was no visible seam between the old server and the new one, unless you happened to hit www.hybridelephant.com for a couple of hours during the time when your nameserver was updating, but since it happened in the early hours of the morning, the probability is fairly low that anybody even noticed.

however, when i hit the URI, i got the old host server. i sort of vaguely anticipated this, and actually waited another 24 hours – so now we’re down to yesterday – before i started futzing with things. at first i thought it might be because the old IP address was stuck in a browser or network cache somewhere, but i rebooted my entire network, down to the router, and it still showed me the old host. this morning it still showed me the old host server, so i called the provider and discovered that, apparently, they’ve got their DNS servers set to manually update instead of automatically getting the most recent data every 24 hours (like everybody else in the motherfucking world – yet another reason why i switched host providers). once they had manually updated their DNS servers, everything worked like i thought it should.

the subdomain przxqgl.hybridelephant.com, however, was a different thing entirely. i knew that there was going to be a bit more difficulty moving the blog because of the database. i managed to download a SQL dump of the database, but then i discovered that myPHPadmin on the new host has a limitation of 8mb on files that are imported to a new database, and the database dump that i had was 12mb… and i had no way to access it other than to open it with a text editor. i found a php script called BigDump that was supposed to import large(ish) files to a new database, but i kept getting this weird error that seemed to indicate that the version of SQL that had created the database that i had downloaded was incompatible with the version of the version of SQL to which i was importing the file, in spite of the fact that they both appeared to be SQL 4.0.

at that point, i called the tech support people at the new host and gave them the problem, and within a few minutes they had figured out that the SQL from which i had exported the database had included CHARSET information that was default on their database host, had removed the offending lines of code from the database manually, and imported the database for me.

in other words, the tech support people actually helped me solve a problem, unlike the previous host’s tech support people who, with one exception, were of the opinion that if i didn’t know how to do it, why should they help me?

i’m still having a little difficulty figuring out where the email that’s supposed to be sent when people access the feedback form is going, but i’m fairly confident that everything will be working again in a day or so.

the difference: old host = 500mb of web space, tech support people who don’t actually help, $250 a year. new host = 500gb (half a terabyte!) of web space, tech support people who know what they’re talking about, $120 a year.

i like my new host! ๐Ÿ™‚

grump!

update to my my previous post, i have been recommended by two different geek friends to a new, local host service provider which comes with several hundred times more web space, has all of the services that were discontinued by my current host provider and costs less than half of what i’m currently paying. i’ve got the web site in a “portable” state and can upload it in half an hour, as soon as i sign up and change the DNS with the registrar.

i wrote this in the “Please let us know the reason you are canceling your account.” section of drizzle’s host cancellation form: “you have gotten confused about who my account actually belongs to, and have not been able to figure it out, more than once in the past month, resulting in my being billed twice for an account that i pay yearly for, and i already paid for it once this year, you have discontinued services like telnet, ssh and usenet which i use fairly regularly, and your support personnel have become surly and incompetent. besides which, i have found another local host provider that will give me several hundred times more web space, all of the services i want and cost me less than half of what you guys charge.”

however, i’m still going to have to deal with drizzle for network access until i can find another provider. that’s not as necessary, but it’s still important, and it will happen some time before the next few months have past.

growl!!

okay, some time between now and the middle of january (the sooner the better as far as i’m concerned) there will be an interruption of services for a couple of days (maximum) while i swich host service providers. the last straw for me came yesterday when i called drizzle support with a question about hybrid elephant, only to discover that somehow, unbeknownst to me, the hybrid elephant account information was for someone in spokane – liz dreisbach, the leader of the ballard sedentary sousa band. somehow drizzle got the impression that, back in august(!!) when liz changed the contact information for sedentarysousa.com, she was also changing the contact information for hybridelephant.com. so now, according to drizzle, hybridelephant.com now belongs to liz, despite the fact that hybrid elephant has been under my control for the past five years(!!) and they hadn’t even contacted me to find out whether or not this was actually the case!!

of course the control panel access still belongs to me, but if i hadn’t found out about it, liz would have very likely been billed for hybrid elephant in january, which would have been tremendously confusing and embarrassing for both me and her, but that’s not the complete reason why i’m switching host providers. drizzle disabled telnet/SSH access to their servers back in march or some time earlier this year, and recently they decided to disable news services (usenet) as well, which is something that i use fairly regularly. also, in the past year or so their “technical support” personnel have become extremely surly and incompetent. not only that, but in researching host service providers i came across two, at least, that offer more services, and are less than half the cost of drizzle.

i have been a drizzle.com user ever since i switched away from aa.net, almost 10 years ago, and i have owned the hybridelephant domain since 2002. i suppose i’m lucky to have gotten 10 years of reasonable service from them, but it’s time for a change. now, along with everything else, i have to prepare my web sites to be moved, get in touch with my registrar to change the domain host profile on my domains, contact spamcop to change my “real” email address, and probably a whole bunch of other things that i haven’t thought of yet. 8P~

hungary harrison “christian”

that’s where some guy ordered incense from today – budapest, hungary. he ordered $4.25 worth of incense, so i have to add $50 shipping for $4.25 worth of incense.

personally, i think he should know that it would be cheaper (and probably better quality) to buy it closer to home, but i think the problem is that internet makes normal people stupid. i have many examples of this: regan fraser, brendan fraser‘s brother, was my housemate at one point about 15 years ago, and when he found out that i worked with internet, he begged me to get involved in this scheme that he had to rip people off by accessing their bank accounts over internet. or the client that i currently have who is convinced that his virus protection program “is tired” of notifying him that he has a virus – he’s convinced that he’s got a virus, even though three different virus scanners have given him a clean bill of health…

someone turned me on to a whole pile of information about my great-great-great-grandfather and his descendants that are a part of my family, but not directly related to me. apparently such people include William Henry Harrison along with several other william henry harrisons (I through V, i think).

i submitted the following to There Probably Is dot com, and i really hope they actually post it, but i get the impression that they won’t.

Brief Biography
I am a Hindu Christian Dervish Buddhist Thelemic Tinite Antichrist Anarchist Tuba-Playing ? (??? – Canis nyctereutes procyonoides) with a Brain Injury.

Submit your story
I believe in God because … i was raised by parents who were largely agnostic. They may have had some religion, but if they did, they kept it to themselves. I attended a Unitarian church when I was small, but the classes I took were more along creative lines than religious ones, and I grew up thinking of “church” as more of a social club than a place for worship.

Then, when I was first starting college, I encountered people who claimed to be “christian” but were more like parrots than people in terms of what they told me about “christianity”. They couldn’t give me a good enough reason to believe, apart from pie-in-the-sky promises to which nobody in their right mind would pay attention.

I took a class called “Introduction to Personal Philosophy” which everybody informally called “The Fly In The Fly-Bottle” or just “the fly-bottle class” in which there was an assignment that caused me to change my mind. The assignment was “for a certain, set period of time (I chose a month), act as though there is an all-powerful God and see how your life changes.” As soon as I believed that there was a God, I was able to see Him everywhere, although He (and I use the term advisedly) was not what the “christians” said He was like at all. For one thing, He wasn’t always a “He” – sometimes She was a thought, or feeling, or a smell. I quickly learned that when coincidences happen – for example, I went for an entire week where the price of everything I bought ended with 84 cents – that is God communicating with me in a way that I didn’t immediately understand. Everywhere I looked, and everywhere I look to this day, I see God essentially “peering out” from behind everything, saying “Here I am!” There is no question that I have of God that He has not answered, and He guides my every step.

His name is Ganesha.

i guess i’m disappointed with them for discriminating against me, but at the same time, what did i expect from a “christian” web site?

hrmph…

so i’ve been looking at a lot of different sites recently having to do with SEO, and been i’ve been becoming more and more convinced that one of the primary reasons why i’m not bringing in more money from the web site is because it is based on frames. in fact, it has been based on frames for 7 years now, and hasn’t caused me or my visitors any perceivable difficulty so far, but it apparently gets in the way of search-engine crawlers, which negatively affects my google rating and results in my web pages effectively discriminated against when people search for them… which disturbs me, because i’m supposedly in business to make money, and a decision that i made 8 years ago (which was when frames were first being introduced to the web) is now getting in the way of my being able to do business more effectively.

all this has increased the urgency with which i am now modifying my web site, although at this point, the urgency is mitigated by my lack of knowledge of things that i could use to replace the frames. there’s a lot i can do with CSS which affect the way people view my pages, but there’s one thing that – i think – i’m going to have to do with PHP, and i don’t know PHP at all. although people have said to me many times that, if i can understand HTML and CSS, PHP wouldn’t be that difficult, it’s still a daunting task to learn an entirely new language and update my entire web site. the observant person will, of course, have recognised that there’s no time limitation on when i get it completed, but my response to that is to say that every day i don’t update my web site is another day where my google rating is negatively affected by the frames, and another day that people don’t find my web site in search engines, and another day that they don’t purchase things from me. obviously, i could hire some PHP-geek to redesign the entire site for me, but how would i pay for it? and, with what i can afford to pay, what guarantee do i have that my web site won’t suddenly appear as a spammer site and be pushed to an even lower rating in the search engines?

meanwhile, i figured out that i can actually build the structure of the dome that i want to build for a minimum of $200, which is almost do-able – if i want to “make do” with a wooden-frame dome – or a maximum of $400, which is a little bit out of my range at the moment, but shouldn’t be too hard to achieve within 6 months if i work at it – for a metal-frame dome. i built a model out of toothpicks and kneaded-rubber eraser, to see exactly how many frame-pieces i am going to need: 35 sections that are 4 feet 11.28 inches (8 foot radius time a chord factor of .61803), and 30 sections that are 4 feet 4.44 inches (8 foot radius times a chord factor of .54653) to build a 16-foot diameter 2V Icosa Alternate dome.

the only problem is that i keep getting catalogues from places that have stuff i really want to buy (and sell), and the result is that instead of having $180 in my bank account, i spent $75 on some ganesha murtis which should be delivered some time early next week.

but at the same time, i also got a business card order from NBAC, which should replace that $75, and it may even do so before the ganesha murtis are delivered.

meh!

the battle of the computer has begun again… 8/

i was finishing recovery from the battle of a couple months ago, and (finally) getting around to installing LilyPond. admittedly, the computer was a little busier than normal, because i also had firefox, openoffice, the gimp and my music player running at the same time, and the computer crashed. as i was already running late to get to a client’s place by 3:30, i figured i’d start the whole process over when i got home, so i just shut everything down and took off.

when i returned, at 10:30, i booted the computer and i had a bizarre icon in the “systray”-like thing in what passes for the task bar in kubuntu, which i discovered was the “disconnected” icon for the network manager. this was a little strange, but not entirely unexpected, so i got out the terminal and typed in ifconfig eth0 down and then ifconfig eth0 up, but nothing happened. i fudged around with some of my system settings to see if that did any good, but ultimately i couldn’t get it connected, so i went to bed.

this morning i got up early and tried to get the network connected, because i had to transpose a part for the ed mcmichael memorial that i am playing for tomorrow, and, as the network was disconnected on my main computer, that meant that i had to transpose the part on windows (which is the only other place that i have lilypond installed). so i fired up windows and, lo and behold, the “Local Area Network cable disconnected” icon was there, as well. 8/

so then i fired up MacOsX, which went out and found internet without a problem – naturally. but i then realised that the macs are connecting directly with the router via wireless, whereas linux and windows connect to the router by way of wires, which go through an ethernet switch. so, i unplugged linux from the switch and plugged it directly into the router, and it worked. 8/

so i’ve narrowed down what is wrong, and at this point i have ordered a new ethernet switch, which should be delivered in 3 days or so, but the only computers that currently have network access are the wireless computers (mine and moe’s) and linux – and, despite everything, i still haven’t gotten mac and linux to talk to each other. 8/

and, to make matters worse, i had to resort to using a flash disk “sneaker net” to ferry the transposed part from windows to linux, where i could print it.

i guess i should be glad i know how to figure out what’s wrong with this mess of wires and computer-junk, because if i didn’t, then i’d really be screwed.

a sigh of relief… and then back to work

080924 new computer/keyboard workstation

things are starting to get back to normal after the battle of the computer. although i really hate having to re-create things like my calendar, which has already screwed me up and forced me to contact a person to say that i wouldn’t actually be performing at his event because i had already made arrangements to be a performer at another (paying) event. i also really hate that i have to re-create about 100 hours of database entry, which was just beginning to take shape when the computer died last month.

on the other hand, once i get the chaos sorted out, i will actually have a fair amount more room in my “workshop” that isn’t being taken up by computer/keyboard stuff, and now that my computer and keyboard stuff aren’t in the same room, i can do more stuff that involves my band saw and drill press – the former of which is visible in the lower right hand corner of the photo, having not been moved to its final location due to the aforementioned chaos – because of the dust which i didn’t want to infect my computers and keyboards… which means that, potentially, i may get my pipe-making back on track again, and i’ll certainly have more room for musical instrument repair as well.

of course that doesn’t mean that the idea of putting my workshop in a dome is dead. i have already planned the dome and done some work on pricing out the constituent components, and some figuring out of where i can get some more esoteric building materials such as star plates. i want to build a 16-foot diameter 2V Icosa Alternate dome, because it has more space at the level of a workbench than a standard icosahedron. i believe that star plates would still work, except for where the equilateral triangles come together. i still have to work out how to connect 6 points, which means i still have to figure out whether to use lumber or metal for the edges. if i use metal, i can just flatten the end of the tubes and bolt them together, which is an effect i saw used at burning man, but if i use (cheaper) lumber i may have to figure out where to get – or figure out how to create – star plates that have six slots, rather than five. i talked with the people at stromberg’s chickens, and they said that they were marketing a device that was left to them by the original engineer when he died, and they don’t want to mess with the design out of respect to him, but it shouldn’t be too difficult to figure out what they should look like, the hard part is getting them manufactured.

in the process of getting back to “normal” (whatever that means)

i’m in the process of moving the computer part of my office into the other room, which will (presumably) give me more room in both my office, which will now be a lot more like a workshop, and my office, which will now be where i don’t have to drop what i’m doing and go into the other room and say “what was that?” when moe asks me something. now it’s sort of a mishmash of what it used to be (a big pile of boxes), with the large cat tree and a bunch of computer stuff that has yet to find a permanent place, and the office/workshop is a chaotic mess of displaced shelves and workbenches that are in the process of being moved…

but i did find my GPS unit in a pile of stuff from burning man that i still have yet to deal with, and it had the coordinates for my camp, at 3:00 and esplanade, in it. i figured a while ago that the GPS was approximately 50 yards different from the actual placement on the position of the planet, but that still doesn’t explain why where it recorded i was, was so far removed from the actual placement of burning man, unless, as i have suspected for a while now, burning man moves from one year to the next, presumably to avoid scarring the desert more than it does already.

finally! FINALLY!

once again, the battle of the computer has ended. i’m not exactly sure whether i or the computer was victorious, but the important part is that it’s over, and, for the most part, i’m reloading backups from 4 months ago and tweaking things. i have, as yet, been more or less incapable of retrieving any data from the dead hard disk, which is a shame but not entirely unexpected. i plan on trying another hard disk from my Os9 mac that’s about a year on the other side of being removed because it was dead – i don’t expect to get any data from it, either – before i return the exterior hard disk mounting which i borrowed from St. Fred. i realised that the monitor problems that i was having the other day had a solution that was simple enough that, once i calmed down and actually did it, i ended up with a monitor that does resolutions i had never even dreamed of – i’m currently running at 1600×1200! also, in the process of buying a new hard disk for my client, i bought a 200GB drive for myself, so now i have a humongous rockin’ computer – i dumped my entire music collection into it, and it’s still hungry for more! and not only that, but when i showed up at my client’s place, he had the computer unplugged, so i plugged it in and it booted up with no problems whatsoever (i fixed it with magic), so i was able to take the hard disk that i bought for him back for a refund, and because of the fact that i had bought it earlier that day, i was even spared the 10% restocking fee.

and i’ve finally got another thing i’ve always wanted*, which is one computer in every major platform – i have an Os9 mac with a motorolla processor, an OsX mac laptop with a dual-core intel processor, a W2K laptop with a single-core intel processor, and a kubuntu box with an AMD processor! how i ever came to be this much of a computer geek is way beyond my understanding…

now i’ve got to take a shower and continue reloading backups. later on i’ve got a snake suspenderz rehearsal, and tomorrow we’re playing at the queen anne farmers’ market. and i’ve still got two cameras fuill of images from burning man that have yet to be processed… busy busy busy…

Continue reading finally! FINALLY!

the battle of the computer…

okay, i went over to St. Fred‘s house the other day and came home with two anonymous desktop computers that used to be dedicated servers at a video game farm somewhere locally. they’re both intel processors around 800-900 MHz, and they both have about 128MB of RAM, and my computer whose hard disk fried has an AMD K6 1.5 GHz processor and 500MB of RAM, so i swapped the hard disks out (both of the “new” ones have maxtor 6.1GB drives), and combined that with the GEforce 5200 video card (with 256MB of vRAM!) that St. Fred gave me (!), and, once again, i have a rockin’ computer… except…

i just got dapper installed (the rest of them are on the hard disk that died), when there was this “beep” noise and my new/used 21″ monitor that i just bought a couple of months ago(!) turned off and won’t come back on. it just displays this colour bar with a message saying the monitor is working, but that there’s no signal, and recommends that i “activate by computer”. 8P i tried several different cables, and three different options for signal (the new GEforce, my old 64MB AGP/PCI video card and the onboard video that comes with the motherboard), but there’s “no signal” according to the monitor, which, to my way of thinking, means that something’s wrong with the monitor itself.

and in the middle of all that i got a call from one of my clients who, from what he was able to tell me (and he’s not particularly computer-literate), has got a dead hard disk himself, and wants me to come by and fix it for him. 8/

wonderful… another thing to deal with on top of everything else… 8/

finally… almost… 8/

well, i am now running on my very own macbook pro, with a 2GHz intel dual-core processor, 2GB of RAM and a 150GB hard disk. this sounds really cool (and it is, very pretty indeed, and works just like they said it would) but i’m having difficulty getting X11 to run, which means that i can’t get OOo or The GIMP or bluefish to run (although i can get fink to run without any difficulty, it fails when it tries to install gtk+2), i can’t get it to understand .ogg files (which it should do without too much difficulty), and there’s no Os9 emulator so it’s a lost cause getting quark express or photoshop to run. when i tried to install feisty on it, it told me that IO-APIC wasn’t working correctly and it wouldn’t get beyond that… 8/

on the other hand, St. Fred says he has at least four servers buried in his garage that aren’t doing anything, and he offered a couple of them to me to “build what you want outta them”, so i’m thinking that i’ll do that. that way i’ll have a working kubuntu box and a new mac… the best of both worlds…

this is getting really annoying

i still am not up and running with anything like the computer system that i want, however one of my computers, which i thought was completely dead, magickally came back to life, and wouldn’t you know it, it was the windoesn’t computer… which doesn’t have anything on it except 5 gigs or so of data (i used it as a depository, since it was the only computer that talked to both my Os9 mac and my kubuntu box without agonizing details that i never bothered to work out), cooledit and reason, and the browser which i am now using to manage the flow of emails i am getting for three different accounts. i will be really glad when i can use a POP mail client to do that, rather than having to keep everything all in one inbox.

meanwhile i am playing with yet another group of musicians, Snake Suspenderz, which includes my old friend howlin’ hobbit, and my new friends thaddeus and sketch. here is a sample of what we have been doing.

now i have to go mow the lawn dandelions in the front yard, and then i have to go to the clinic to help moe for a while, and then i have a BSSB rehearsal. hopefully i will have a real computer some time within the next few days and then i won’t have to rely on this out-of-date micro$haft monstrosity.

computers, leaving for burning man, and so forth

the lack of computers has been a real setback for me. this is the first time in 15 years or so that i have been almost completely without a computer, and i don’t know how to deal with it… although i was able to complete two business card orders (one for $75 and one for $80 plus tax) on my remaining computer, an Os9 G3 Mac with a G4 processor upgrade and 256mb of RAM. theoretically i could run OsX on it, but it already runs slowly enough, and i don’t want to bog it down even further by having to run the Os9 emulator on top of it. the computer that i am getting to replace the linux box – which won’t even boot from a live CD, so the prospects of retrieving the data from the hard disk is remote, although i haven’t exhausted all of the options yet – is a newer-ish intel mac laptop from one of moe’s net-friends in denver. as much as i like the mac os, i’m probably going to install kubuntu on it instead of OsX, because of all of the free software that comes with kubuntu that i can’t run on OsX, and the fact that i can configure kubuntu to work with my 4-button mouse a lot more easily than i can OsX. it seems really weird, especially considering how often in the past i have ranted that if mac os were available for other platforms, i would run it, but there’s the matter of expediency that i never considered in those rants. oh well.

i have a gig tonight at smokin’ pete’s barbecue tonight, and moe and i are switching cars when i get home, so that tomorrow i can pack for burning man. hopefully we’re going to leave early saturday morning and possibly spend saturday night on the road, before arriving sunday. i say “hopefully” because i still don’t know details about leaving yet. stuart is doing all the communicating for them, and all i’ve heard is that heather has to work half a day on friday, they’re planning on showing up at my place “early” saturday morning, and we probably have to be back on monday the first. packing is going well, and i am dropping off my bike with myron (who is driving a trailer full of bikes down and back) this afternoon. it seems somewhat strange that i’m not taking a tent, but this is a strange event that takes place in an environment that is actively hostile to human beings, so it’s not that strange. i’m a little nervous, because i’ve never been before and i don’t know what to expect, but everybody else is really looking forward to it, so i guess it will be okay.

i talked to “my attorney” about the hearing for SSDI and he said that my case hasn’t even been assigned to a judge yet, and probably won’t be until december or january. i realise that this is not a criminal case, but i would think that the “speedy trial” clause would extend to all court cases whether or not they’re criminal… but if i thought that, apparently i would be wrong. i’m pushing two years of “unemployment” with no obvious way of supporting myself, and these people seem to think that it’s okay for them to screw around with their thumbs up their butts for a couple years while they figure out whether or not i’m actually disabled. all i would have to do is take off my hat and they would see the nine-inch scar on my scalp. so what if i’m driving, nobody will give me a job without firing me within 4 months. DVR has decided that i don’t fit into their mold and has finally written me off, but my SSDI case hasn’t even been assigned to a judge yet, despite the fact that it’s been a year and a half since i was denied my appeal.

OY!

yesterday was REALLY hot, and, like an idiot, i left my computer running all day in a room with no air conditioning. then, in the evening, i went in to check my email and the computer had frozen in the middle of a starscape screen saver, so i rebooted, and the message that came up was: Primary HD S.M.A.R.T. status BAD: back up and replace.

wonderful… 8/

today is supposed to be even hotter (the weather report says it could get as high as 100°) and now i have two dead computers, neither of which i have the money to fix or replace, right before burning man!!!

i’m using moe’s computer to post this, and because of the fact that i’m going to burning man, i’m likely to be rather busy for the next couple of weeks, so if i’m absent from internet for a while, you’ll know where i am.

wonderful… 8/

my laptop is apparently dead. it’s an HP omnibook XE3 with W2K server on it, and it’s not booting. i suspect the power supply, because sometimes the little light that indicates it’s on goes on, and the fan whirrs for about 10 seconds, and then it stops, and sometimes the little light doesn’t go on at all. i hope that power supplies for laptops are as easy to replace as power supplies for desktop computers, and i hope that’s what is actually wrong with it, because i don’t have much money, and definitely not enough to buy a new laptop… 8/

bleh!

i whipped my mouse into shape… sort of…

i finally got my mouse to do what it was doing before i switched monitors, a month or so ago. previously, i could select text and click anywhere and paste the text with the left side mouse button, but since i got my new monitor, i have been unable to do this, and unable to reconfigure xorg, because when i run sudo dpkg-reconfigure xserver-xorg i get an error message that says FATAL: Error inserting battery (/lib/modules/2.6.24-19-generic/kernel/drivers/acpi/battery.ko): No such device. so i booted into safe mode and moved battery.ko to my home directory, rebooted, logged in and ran sudo dpkg-reconfigure xserver-xorg again, and this time it, not unpredictably, said FATAL: Error inserting battery (/lib/modules/2.6.24-19-generic/kernel/drivers/acpi/battery.ko): No such file or directory.

i decided to try a different track, which worked for the problem of my mouse not working the way i want it to, but didn’t do anything to solve the problem with the xorg configurator. i booted into recovery mode, deleted the “InputDevice -> Configured Mouse” section from my current xorg.conf, and replaced it with the “Configured Mouse” section from the xorg.conf file that was for my previous monitor, rebooted, and – voilรก – the mouse now does exactly what i wanted. apparently it has something to do with the lines that say:

Option          "Device"          "/dev/input/mice"
Option          "Protocol"          "ImPS/2"
Option          "ZAxisMapping"          "4 5"

unfortunately, i still have the problem with the xorg configurator crashing when it tries to find a battery that doesn’t exist, but this is really low on my list of priorities to fix, because xorg is already configured the way i want it…

by the way, apparently battery.ko is a part of acpi, which, if i understand correctly, is something only laptops should have… and this computer is definitely not a laptop…

printer

my colour inkjet printer hasn’t died after all, it just had a dead USB cable – which i have never experienced before. also it needs new ink cartridges, but, i think that if it gets that, it will work again, which would be really cool, what with the new button machine and all. i spent most of today making a variety of buttons to sell at the solstice festival.

hack this… 8/

CAPTCHAso i’ve been downloading a couple of disks i found on A Closet of Curiosities, and one of the disks is shared on RapidShare. as a share-point for blogs, rapidshare is as good as any other, i suppose, but their name is not semantically accurate – it’s anything but rapid. after downloading one file, i have to wait 80 minutes before i can download another file, and once i’ve waited the requisite 80 minutes, i have to enter the symbols in the following CAPTCHA, but only the symbols that are attached to a cat… yes, the pre-download page very clearly says “Only enter symbols attached to a cat.”

any human can see that the CAPTCHA has the characters YKRZB4G, but it takes a very skilled human being to discern that the code that it wants is KZ4G. as you may have guessed by this time, it took me several tries to get beyond this.

i understand that such things are necessary to prevent teenage doodlehums from doing undesired things with computer resources, but this is getting a little ridiculous.

umph

i’ve got a tenor sax to work on. pictures as soon as they’re taken.

i’ve also got 600MB of And More music to work on, but that’s probably going to happen after i get a good start on the tenor sax, and i’ll have to clear off my keyboard, which is probably going to take an hour or so, since i just cleared off my workbench and most of the stuff has gone into the place where, if i cleared off my keyboard i’d put stuff, so there’s bound to be a certain amount of shuffling stuff, and finding new places to put stuff, and even a certain amount of throwing stuff away (gasp) before any of that happens.

so, what you get until there’s more artwork to look at and listen to is a link dump.

Worshipping Shivling at Home and Energisation of Rudrakhshas need to be reformatted and uploaded to ? ??? ?????

Page2RSS – i get the impression that this is sort of like FeedBurner, except that it works with any web page.

Sign up to be a part of Spencer Tunick’s upcoming art installations. there’s one in vienna, and one in ireland.

The Bongo Project – a project to see if it is possible to communicate with TCP/IP using bongo drums… it is… at 2 bps. remember the 14K modem days? remember 2400 baud modems? this makes even a 2400 bps modem look blindingly fast.

ever hear of Fusarium oxysporum, otherwise known as panama disease? there’s a good chance that you’re going to hear about it eventually, because the CIA has been using it as a way to control (which is to say, eliminate) the coca plants in south america… unfortunately, what they’ve succeeded in doing is wiping out bananas, instead. and this isn’t the first time! the banana that i grew up with, apparently, is banana 2.0, based on the vietnamese cavendish banana, which took over from the “Gros Michel” (“Fat Mike”) banana, a bigger and more creamy version, which was the world’s most popular fruit until the 1950s, when it, too, became extinct due to Fusarium oxysporum infestation. the whole sordid story is over at metafilter.

The Drug Test Consultant dot com – drug tests are a violation of our constitutional right to privacy and protection from self-incrimination (first and fourth ammendments to the U.S. constitution), they are no more than 75% accurate most of the time, and we’re currently in a war against drugs, while at the same time many states (like washington) have legalised medical cannabis. but this company has a franchise to sell people (for $10,000!!!) who are interested in getting started in the business of providing drug testing services to employers. if there was a more apt occasion for me to use the very big stupid category, i don’t know what it would be… 8/

A Kinder, Gentler Torture and America’s Democratic Collapse are reasons why, in spite of the fact that american society is founded on the idea that all men are created equal, it’s definitely not the case any longer… which sort of explains why the drug test consultant dot com folks aren’t so worried about whether or not their products are a violation of our constitutional rights. at the same time, they’re both very good reasons to flee the country while you still can.

elbow

i performed at folklife for most of yesterday. i did not get shot. in fact i didn’t hear about the people who got shot at folklife until after i got home. i suppose it’s one of the advantages of the the low-information diet i’ve been trying to adopt, but this agregator that is built in to my email client is making it really difficult, especially when i tell it what news i want or don’t want to read… 8/

meanwhile,

New Orphaned Works Act would limit copyright liability – this is a step in the right direction, but there’s still a long way to go before copyrights on intellectual property is fixed.

MusOpen – like this, for example… free, public-access music!

Does Constitution apply to enemy combatant on U.S. soil? – he may or may not be a terrorist, but the way he’s been being treated – as a legal and legitimate citizen of this country, where he lives – has implications for everyone. if the US government has its’ way, every single one of us could potentially be declared an enemy combattant and “disappeared”… i saw a guy wearing a t-shirt yesterday that said “THE LAND OF THE FREE* – *some exceptions may apply”

Could an Acid Trip Cure Your OCD?

Practicon Dental Supply

Continue reading elbow

snert

fremont sunday market

went to FSM yesterday. made $110, which, if i could guarantee that i was going to make that every time, would make me a lot more confident about saying fuck you to the DVR people. checked email, unloaded the car and went to sleep, because it was way too hot.

woke up this morning. not so hot, but, whaddaya know, there’s something wrong with my monitor. 8/

after trying a whole bunch of different stuff i went to re-pc and bought a new used monitor (21″ dell p1135) for $50, got it home and all set up and discovered that, in fact, it was my video cable and not the monitor itself, which is a good thing because now i have a 17″ monitor that i have to get rid of.

And Then So Clear

first business card for MIVC since 060315. that can’t be true, but i can find no business records for anything before that… although i had backups of a file called 070312-MIVC-BC.qxp, so i must have done a business card for them since 2006… but i can find no business records for them. bizarre.

being a professional computer geek for eddie, who is almost completely blind, and completely (utterly, hopelessly) computer-illiterate. i went over there today to get the “lay of the land” so to speak, in terms of where he was with computer hardware. he’s got Win98 2nd edition, and he was trying to run a HP all-in-one printer/fax/scanner (which gives me a non-standard warning message about not being compatible with something on the system, joy) and a HP flat-screen monitor that defaults to 640×480 and 16 colours in W98, and gives me a strange message when i try to boot gutsy from a live CD – something about re-setting the resolution to 1024×768, which i would have done if i could have remembered the arcane command that you type into the text-based interface – which is, in fact, dpkg-reconfigure xserver-xorg – which i knew was written in my linux grimoire, but not currently accessible to my memory. however, during my download and burning of the hardy CD i read the system requirements and figured that a 500mhz pentium III might not run something that modern anyway, so i dug around and located CDs of kubuntu 7.x and 6.x as well, so if i can’t get hardy working, i’ll have a couple of back ups. i figure i’ll go back tomorrow with a USB hub and a 4g flash stick and back up all the data, and then install whichever kubuntu will run. his internet is on a dial-up connection, and i’ve never had to deal with a modem and linux, but it shouldn’t be too difficult.

i downloaded 2g of YMO tracks, which is all of their studio albums and a whole pile of live stuff including a couple of rehearsals. i also downloaded a gig or so of sanskrit chants, which i’m going to burn to CD and take to FSM with me, so that i can have appropriate music in my booth.

Federal judge rules students can’t be barred from expressing support for gay people – a principal at a south florida high school testified that he “believed rainbows were โ€œsexually suggestiveโ€ and would make students unable to study because theyโ€™d be picturing gay sex acts in their mind” – but, apparently wearing “other symbols many find controversial, such as the Confederate flag” was okay. the fact that the students had to get the ACLU and a federal court involved before their first amendment rights were restored says something about both the students and the society in which we live currently.

Will you marry me – temporarily? – this is coming from iran… why don’t we have such things in this country?

Childish superstition: Einstein’s letter makes view of religion relatively clear

Polar bear listed as threatened species – and just last night i was sitting next to an elderly lady who was ranting about the fact that there is no global warming, because we’ve been having unseasonably cool weather locally recently. hello? wake up and smell the coffee… kthxbye…

Musical SpongeBobโ„ข Digital Thermometer – good for oral, underarm or rectal use, plays “SpongeBob SquarePants Theme” at the end of temperature taking… what every home shouldn’t be without.

Continue reading And Then So Clear

all the strange stuff, all at once

for those of you who are actually going to the moisture festival on saturday evening – the 10:30 show only – you will be priveledged to see the new Big Bois With Poise performance, and because of that (and because of the fact that i’ve been sworn to secrecy) i will not post pictures of the outrageous costumes that are a part of this year’s show. after saturday i may post them. stay tuned.

Cat poo coffee: $100 a cup – this doesn’t have much to do with toxoplasmosa gondii, but once again, it makes me wonder if we’re not all just puppets, and the real rulers of the world are these bizarre microscopic organisms… watch, as i get older i’ll get more and more convinced of this to the point where i’ll become obsessed with ridding the world of this microscopic menace… you wait… it will happen…

West Chester Gorilla Suit Construction Workshopdamn, i wish i lived closer… 8/

??????????????????????????????????2?????0410?????????????????? – no, it’s not japanese spam, but if you would like an anglicised version, thank ThinkGeek for at least partially translating it… these japanese are crazy!

this is ridiculous! it’s why i’m against work in general, but this goes far beyond just work. why don’t they take an earlier, or later train to avoid having to shove them in like this? and these days, why don’t they telecommute? especially in japan… i’ve said this more than once today, but these japanese are crazy!

Malware still malingering for up-to-date anti-virus users – apparently having anti-virus software and keeping it up to date is no longer enough to keep from geting infected by malware… if you use windoesn’t… if you use mac or linux, their virus detection software – courtesy of panda reaserchdoesn’t even work! no wonder i’ve been reading recently about how windows is collapsing

Continue reading all the strange stuff, all at once

bizarre and funny

Why records DO all sound the same – No, itโ€™s not you โ€“ records do all sound the same these days.

Sony BMG Sued for Software Piracy – Assets Seized – PointDev, a small software company, mandated a bailiff to raid one of Sony BMGs owned building in January this year. The raid revealed that four of the Sony BMGs owned servers contained the pirated software. This is too good to be true, but in fact, it is true. Now if it only makes a difference…

The coming financial collapse of the U.S. government: Fed papers reveal what’s in store for Americans

Botanist sues to stop CERN hurling Earth into parallel universe

Continue reading bizarre and funny

word to the word

MSWord for Mac v5.0 & two v5.1

so i was digging through the four boxes of 3½-inch floppy disks that were piled up with the rest of the boxes in the living room yesterday, and i discovered that i have not one, but two original copies of Microsoft Word for Mac version 5.1, that are still in their original, unopened, plastic wrappers, and a copy of Microsoft Word for Mac 5.0 that is in it’s original wrapper, but the wrapper is deteriorated enough that it is no longer sealed. Word 5.0 is the one that had some sort of major bug in it, and they released Word 5.1 shortly afterward. one of the Word 5.1 copies is in two packages (the way that they were sold retail), and one is all in one package (the way they were delivered to you if you had purchased Word 5.0). all three copies have never been used, and were a part of the copies of Word that i bought for the manuals when i worked at microsoft. i only found one copy of Word 5.1 on sale at ebay, and there it is touted as “one of the most efficient, basic, and streamlined word processors ever–still viable even today!” i agree with them, and if i had a computer that would run it, i would probably be using it as my word processor.

i am thinking of selling them. based on what i know, i think i should start at $75 a piece for the v5.1 copies, but i’m not sure whether i should go higher or lower for the v5.0, because of the fact that v5.0 was at exactly the same time as bill gates was saying that there were “no appreciable bugs” in microsoft software…

HA HA!

Ha Ha!

this is exactly why i wanted to get away from using LiveJournal!

No more Basic Accounts – this means that you can no longer sign up for a free account at LiveJournal. they apparently haven’t said whether or not the free accounts created before March 12, 2008 will be grandfathered, or if they will be automatically transferred into “plus” – i.e. “with advertising” – accounts. when i originally signed up at LJ, there was no such thing as advertising, and they assured me that there would never be advertising, and yet not only is it here, but there’s no way to not have advertising on your livejournal account.

i’m SO glad i’m not blogging there any longer! you have no idea!

o_0

suspects – either pornographers or journalists, i haven’t completely decided. if nothing else, it’s a good reason to avoid P2P software and to use DHCP… if there’s any doubt about your computer, try ShieldsUp which will tell you where the problems are, and make suggestions about what to do to fix them, hopefully before the police show up.

Child porn found on 20,000 computers in Virginia"Using a national online system that enables them to remotely download incriminating images directly from a suspect’s computer"waitaminute… somebody, somewhere has a software application that can discern incriminating photos from ones that are not incriminating on any computer, regardless of it’s operating system whether or not it is a server, and whether or not it is protected by a firewall, and that gives them the ability to download those images without leaving a trace in the target computer’s log files?

if they have the ability to download such images from computers regardless of their network presence or operating system, then why don’t they have the capability to replace the images, or shut down the computer, or introduce a virus, or block its network access? i can just see the shocked look on the pornographer’s face when he comes home one afternoon to discover that his entire hard disk has been wiped clean, or all of his pornography has been replaced by pictures of My Little Pony™.

maybe the reason why they are so confident of their numbers is because of the fact that they introduced the incriminating photos themselves. can you imagine a better way to get "potential terrorists" out of the way than to plant child pornography on their computers without their knowledge?

"using the nationwide software system, child pornography can easily be downloaded from the computer hard drives of individuals who utilize peer-to-peer file-sharing" so either they’re using P2P software themselves and have access only to the target hard disk’s "shared folders", or they’re using some "law-enforcement-only" software to access entire disks on P2P networks, not just the “shared folders”. i would think that people who had “incriminating” files on their computer, regardless of whether it was child-pornography, pirated music or plans to blow up the white house, would be smart enough not to put them in a place where they can be downloaded, willy-nilly, by just anyone. those criminals that aren’t that smart deserve what they get.

somehow i doubt that their investigation is actually happening that way, but you’ve got to think that a person whose job it is to write a newspaper article about computers would know enough about them to know.

Continue reading o_0

this is looking pretty cool…

i am posting this from my laptop, which is running dyne:bolic on a live CD. dynebolic appears to be an open source multimedia workstation, that will “automatically join the CPU power of all the computers on your local network: let the old computers work together with the new, united they’ll all work better”. it appears to have software to create, edit and manipulate, video, audio and images, along with having a respectable net section as well. right off the top, i’ve noticed that it appears to view my monitor differently, but it’s got a lot of cool things to distract me from that. i can apparently create a “nest” on my flash drive where it will remember my environment, so i’ll be able to boot from the CD with my flash drive anywhere there happens to be a computer.

jeezis pirates with illegal drugs and super-vision…

Contact lenses with circuits, lights a possible platform for superhuman vision – right here in my own back yard…

Guess which drug is illegal? – mark morford is god!

The Pirates Can’t Be Stopped – will that stop them from trying to defeat the pirates? only time will tell, but at this point, it’s not likely.

Banned From Church – more fun with jeezis

Continue reading jeezis pirates with illegal drugs and super-vision…

SPAM WILL NOT BE TOLERATED!

if you post something that doesn’t make immediate sense to me as your first post on this blog – which has to be moderated by me – especially if that post is a link to a blog that has no comments and doesn’t make any sense, like “hotblog dot co dot cc”, or if you post a small section of text quoted out of context from a much larger article with a link to my blog in another place on the web, i will assume you are a spammer and block your IP address at the /0 level with no further warning. if you’ve already gone through the moderation process, you’re in and you can post as much gibberish as you want without concern. this is primarily to quell the stream of spammers who are trying to break my blog. this will be the only warning you get. i’ve already blocked a large number of IP addresses, and the spam quotient has reduced considerably. i have no dreams of ever completely stemming the tide, but this is actually a fun way to operate.

conversely, if you suddenly find that you are unable to access my blog and there’s no apparent reason for it, it’s likely that your IP address was at the /0 level of another IP address which was blocked due to spamming. if you can see this (which isn’t likely) you can write to me and we’ll see if we can work something out, but i strongly recommend that you switch to an ISP which doesn’t allow spammers to set up shop.

“Reality mining” and spam… 8/

Reality mining and your cell phone – and people wonder why i am paranoid about cell phones and search engines… the only real advantage that i’ve been able to see to cell phones is that people no longer look at you as though you’re crazy when you walk down the street talking to yourself. 8/

SEATTLE SPAMMER INDICTED FOR MAIL AND WIRE FRAUD, AGGRAVATED IDENTITY THEFT AND MONEY LAUNDERING – i am a part of that lawsuit! and i hope he gets his balls ripped off, slowly, and fed to him in tiny bites! >8( really… even with the decrease in spam messages that i get in my inbox (which is around one or two a day, compared with the 75 to 100 messages i was getting last year), words cannot convey how intensely i despise the actions of this man. it’s getting to the point where i’m about ready to black-hole every IP address in asia, and about half of the IP addresses in europe, to prevent spammers from getting through. i have enough to worry about already without also having to deal with your noxious spew, and the fact that my name is a part of that lawsuit gives me a great deal of pride.

Continue reading “Reality mining” and spam… 8/

Limp Fish, Part II – And More, Postscript Songs

i don’t honestly know why, but i have been getting a lot of business from outside the country recently. the most recent occasion was two days ago, when someone from leicestershire ordered a durga murti. i think i like out-of-the-country business, but i’m not completely sure yet.

two days ago, i replaced the (brand new) power supply, and got a refund for the one that i replaced. today i discovered that, because of a screw up at re-pc, i will not actually be recieving the $27.14 refund for up to thirty days. meanwhile, i applied for a paypal debit card, which has yet to be delivered, and i have more than $100 in my paypal account. i would growl more at re-pc except that they have been very helpful to me over the past couple of months, but it really irritates me that i have to wait thirty days before i get my refund.

in other news, i have joined the Grand Council of Bearded Men, which will make me eligible to compete in the World Beard & Moustache Chamionships in anchorage, alaska next year. of course there’s no hope of me actually winning such a championship, but it’s a step in the right direction.

penis enlargement

i have been getting comments in my blog that are spams recently. it’s a very good thing i have a moderation queue, and only accept comments from people who have registered, otherwise i would be bitching more about it.

in other news, my brand new power supply that i bought less than a month ago as part of my ongoing battle with the computer, failed yesterday: i cycled the power, and when i tried to start up the machine again, it didn’t even budge. i panicked, asked advice from my net-geek friends, and then took the whole CPU to re-pc this morning and had it officially diagnosed. it’s a good thing it failed yesterday, though, because if it had waited until today to fail, then i wouldn’t have been able to get a refund from re-pc, because it would have been more than 30 days since i bought it.

bleah

another round of The Battle of The Computer begins…

i reinstalled and everything looked like it was going according to plan, until i got to creating the desktop printers. through some miracle, it actually found the laserjet, which is local to my linux box, and i didn’t even know that it was shared. on the other hand, the deskjet installed more or less like it was supposed to, but when i tried to print from it, there was that old familiar “lost contact” error message, and then it wouldn’t empty the trash when i tried to toss the test print, and then it wouldn’t shut down because something was “busy”… so it’s possible that the problem is actually the deskjet and not the mac itself… although it won’t see my external CD-RW drive, either… although that could be because of the fact that i only paid $5 for the actual drive at re-pc. another indication that it might be the printer is that when i ran disk doctor, like i had to do before, it didn’t find any disk errors at all…

sigh… why won’t the computers just do what i want them to do for more than 3 months at a time, and not break… 8/