Tag Archives: geek stuff

Distinguish tech pros from tech poseurs with this one weird trick

Want tech cred? Learn how to email like a pro

i LOVE to see this!!! 🤍🤍

it is a prime example of how I AM NOT WRONG when i rant about the evils of HTML in email! and it even includes a more complete version of the RANT regarding top-posting, that i sent out with EVERY! SINGLE! FUCKING! EMAIL! I! SEND! (🤬) along with the INTERNET STANDARD RFC 1855 to support it!

if there was one thing on internet that i feel EVERYONE should read, and pay attention to, it is this. if even half of the people on internet read this and did what it said, spam would disappear overnight! 👍👍

-- 
namaste
salamandir (he/him)
[email protected]

A: Because it breaks the logical sequence of discussion
Q: Why is top posting bad?
     -- https://www.ietf.org/rfc/rfc1855.txt

()  ascii ribbon campaign
/\                   -      increased security
   My Email Client   -      against html e-mail
Is Not A Web Browser!
-- 
There are two kinds of people. I'm not either of them.

Continue reading Distinguish tech pros from tech poseurs with this one weird trick

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.

W00T!

i took the plunge and installed kubuntu 22.04 (Jammy Jellyfish) as a dual-boot — since i have a TON of extra disk space because of the NAS, and because of the fact that i have a 2TB SECONDARY hard disk, which i conveniently forgot about…

i figured it was about time to upgrade when i saw the “upgrade now, you fool!” warning messages, that appear at the top of my screen when i boot the computer, for the past week or so, but i’ve read some… “THINGS”… about upgrading jammy, rather than installing fresh… and, well, i have a TON of extra disk space because of the NAS, i have a 2TB SECONDARY hard disk, which i conveniently forgot about…

it only took me two days to go from blank disk to almost completely identical systems, with surprisingly little data loss… i’ve been having some trouble with widgets, applications, and the “task bar” (which is behaving strangely enough that, my guess is, they’re going to have an update which fixes it within a few days), some of my more fantastic “desktop effects” (specifically, the ones seen here) don’t seem to exist, and i’m having some trouble getting the browser configured correctly, but, all-in-all, this has been an amazingly painless procedure.

You thought you bought software – all you bought was a lie

THIS!

exactly, all of THIS!

this is PRECISELY the reason i prefer to use FOSS whenever possible!

i AM one of those “1990s Linux proponents” although i didn’t start using linux on my own computers until 2000 — the last version of windows i installed was W2K server. before that time, i was predominantly a mac-head. i tested windoesn’t software (testing windows is easy, because there are plenty of bugs to be found), and used linux (and unix) at work for years, but i used macs for everything else… while i was building up the courage to switch to linux on my own machine. 😉

Continue reading You thought you bought software – all you bought was a lie

micro$not, mshtml, and activex

back in the dark ages, when i was working at STLabs, before we moved to factoria (i.e. STLabs… so, what? maybe 1995? 1996? somewhere in there), i was testing Internet Explorer version 3.0, which meant, basically, that i was testing micro$not’s browser engine, which is called MSHTML.dll. at the time, a very good friend of mine from college, saint fred (now, sadly, passed on) was mucking about with the innards of micro$not’s operating system, and discovered a problem which had existed for several years prior to this, which micro$not had “made disappear” by changing the technology’s name from OLE — which was, itself, a “renamed” technology, originally called Visual Basic for Applications, or “VB-A” — to “ActiveX”, and, in the process of making it “disappear”, actually made it more prevalent and insidious, by making it work seamlessly with even more micro$not technology.

and, saint fred being who he was, took advantage of this by writing the “Exploder Control”, which could be embedded in a web page, or a microsoft document, and would, when “activated”, perform a clean shutdown of the computer on which it was being viewed… whether you wanted to shut down your computer, or not.

you hit this web page, and, within seconds, your computer shuts down, with no further input from you. 😏

or…

you open this microsoft word document, and, within seconds, your computer shuts down, with no further input from you. 🤣

i watched it happen as it first came out, before anybody realised what it was. it was hillarious! i gave the URI for the exploder control to my boss, and then went back to my workstation and listened, as she suddenly whined “it shut down my computer!” 🤣🤣🤣

and, of course, micro$not’s response to this was to threaten saint fred with lawsuits for doing stuff he shouldn’t have been doing, and when that didn’t work (because fred made sure that the exploder did everything strictly “by the book”, including getting micro$not’s signature on the control), they made the exploder control something that was detected by their anti-virus software (even though it was very clearly NOT a virus, and, actually, did everything totally “by the book”, something to which micro$not never admitted), and, once they figured out that they had caused all of this, they pulled their signature on the control, so that it raised even more red flags before actually activating it…

and, basically, did everything EXCEPT fix the problem, which, after a few months of frantic ass-covering by micro$not’s marketing department, while the tech industry had a good laugh, got swept under the rug, anyway, by more current micro$not fiascos.

but the technology remained, and every version of windows has support for activex, every version of MSHTML.dll has support for activex (which is one of the reasons micro$not got rid of MSHTML.dll a couple years ago, and current versions of Internet Exploder… um… what’s their browser called again? EDGE, that’s it… uses google’s “chrome” browser engine, instead. the browser wars are over! micro$not LOST!) and you can, literally, do ANYTHING with activex, that you could do from the normal user interface of windows, and there is, literally, NOTHING stopping you from doing this — or other, more nefarious things — given A LITTLE knowledge of the technology.

which is why, when i saw this headline: Miscreants fling booby-trapped Office files at victims, no patch yet, says Microsoft the FIRST THING i thought was “Exploder Control strikes again!”

this is one of the VERY BIG reasons i do not use micro$not on my computers. i don’t even have my microsoft 5-button mouse any longer!

i wonder if they’ll ever learn. 🙄

Continue reading micro$not, mshtml, and activex

when HTML is not HTML

i’m REALLY glad someone else is maintaining my business web site these days. 😒

seriously, if it had been left up to me, i would have given up a LONG time ago, and would probably be out of business, because the web design business has gotten REALLY confusing.

example: the places in WordPress where HTML code is not, actually, HTML code…

210603 not html
210603 not html

there are places which display HTML code, and where that code occurs on the back end, it is actually rendered as HTML code in the browser, but if you want to edit the HTML, you have to copy the ENTIRE page, go to another location (or use an actual text-based code editing tool) and paste the ENTIRE page into that location, make the edits, save them in that other location, copy them from that location, go BACK to the original location where you copied the original code from and paste the new code in, and THEN save the original location…? 😕

210603 not html rendered
210603 not html rendered
and, oddly enough, if you try to edit the HTML code without jumping through the copy/paste hoops multiple times, you end up screwing up the page entirely. 😠

and, to make matters even worse, as far as i can tell, there’s no way to tell which locations are HTML, and which locations only LOOK LIKE HTML… you’re just expected to know. 😠

as far as i can tell, backed up by a professional web designer who does this for a living, that’s the routine that works, and it has actually worked for me, in the past… but not this morning… which is frustrating beyond belief…

in my day, if something LOOKED LIKE HTML code, it WAS HTML code, and could be edited as such, wherever it occurred. 😠✊

PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT

Phishing Emails Used to Deploy KONNI Malware

if you are in the habit of using micro$not software, particularly the office varients (word, excell, power point, etc.), you should beware of the new “phishing” (specifically, “spear-phishing”) attack which uses an infected microsoft word document as the vector.

solution: don’t use micro$hit.

alternative solution: don’t use windoesn’t, or, if you do, don’t open ANY files that you receive in email, from ANYONE, if you weren’t expecting it, keep your antivirus software up to date, backup everything, and pray that something doesn’t happen anyway.

this is just the most recent extension of the exploder control controversy, started by my friend fred, back when W95 was current… except that, now, instead of calling it “OLE or “ActiveX” they’re calling it “VBA“, and it can do a lot more nefarious things to your computer than the exploder control could do — and the exploder control was relatively benign, in that it ONLY shut down your computer without your say so…

but micro$lop made a BIG OL’ fuss about it, when fred actually got it signed, because of the fact that it used ActiveX APIs in EXACTLY the way they were supposed to be used, and the automated process of signing didn’t take into account what the control actually DID, and whether doing that thing, at that time, was actually USEFUL… 😂🤣

by the way, the exploder control was SPECIFICALLY designed to work with W95 and IE3, so, unless you’re browsing on your grandfather’s computer, you’ve got nothing to worry about. 😉

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… 😖

new regex stuff!

logical operators! thanks ian! 😉

+ () [] - |

(stuff that remains the same)+(stuff that changes) – otherwise known as “capture groups”

[89] = 8 or 9

[0-4] = 0, 1, 2, 3, or 4

| = logical OR

so…

\D(85\.157\.47\.)+(12[89]|1[3-9][0-9]|2[0-4][0-9]|25[0-5])\D

means “capture everything in 85.157.47.128/25”

which, up until now, has meant “make a separate rule for every IP address between 85.157.47.128 and 85.157.47.255” — 128 SEPARATE RULES, which takes A LONG time, and slows down processing speed.

this is a BIG step forward!

WOO!!! 😎👍

ETA 200205: even more WOO!!! because ian directed me to a RegEx Numeric Range Generator, which means that i don’t have to figure them all out myself! WOO!!! 😎👍

what?

i’m reading pantagruel, which was written in 1532.

in the introduction, after he addresses the translator, there is a refrence to tobacco:

To drink he was a furious enemy
Contented with a six-penny --
(with diamond hatband, silver spurs, six horses.) pie --

And for tobacco's pate-rounding smoke,
Much had he said, and much more spoke,
But 'twas not then found out, so the design was broke.

according to wikipedia, “tobacco”, as a word, was introduced to europeans around 1552, twenty years AFTER pantagruel was written, and Hernández de Boncalo, Spanish chronicler of the Indies, was the first European to bring tobacco seeds to the Old World in 1559 following orders of King Philip II of Spain.

before that, especially in europe, one would assume, tobacco was quite rare, and usually not available to “ordinary” people.

i’ve never read pantagruel before, and the 16th century, in general, was kind of a weird, amorphous time, during which what we take as “knowledge” now, was a lot more fluid and undecided, so i think i can overlook this inconsistency, but it’ll be interesting.

woaaah!!! 😲

salamandir@horseradish:~$ iconv
^C
salamandir@horseradish:~$ iconv –help
Usage: iconv [OPTION…] [FILE…]
Convert encoding of given files from one encoding to another.

Input/Output format specification:
-f, –from-code=NAME encoding of original text
-t, –to-code=NAME encoding for output

Information:
-l, –list list all known coded character sets

Output control:
-c omit invalid characters from output
-o, –output=FILE output file
-s, –silent suppress warnings
–verbose print progress information

-?, –help Give this help list
–usage Give a short usage message
-V, –version Print program version

Mandatory or optional arguments to long options are also mandatory or optional
for any corresponding short options.

For bug reporting instructions, please see:
.
salamandir@horseradish:~$ iconv -l
The following list contains all the coded character sets known. This does
not necessarily mean that all combinations of these names can be used for
the FROM and TO command line parameters. One coded character set can be
listed with several different names (aliases).

437, 500, 500V1, 850, 851, 852, 855, 856, 857, 860, 861, 862, 863, 864, 865,
866, 866NAV, 869, 874, 904, 1026, 1046, 1047, 8859_1, 8859_2, 8859_3, 8859_4,
8859_5, 8859_6, 8859_7, 8859_8, 8859_9, 10646-1:1993, 10646-1:1993/UCS4,
ANSI_X3.4-1968, ANSI_X3.4-1986, ANSI_X3.4, ANSI_X3.110-1983, ANSI_X3.110,
ARABIC, ARABIC7, ARMSCII-8, ASCII, ASMO-708, ASMO_449, BALTIC, BIG-5,
BIG-FIVE, BIG5-HKSCS, BIG5, BIG5HKSCS, BIGFIVE, BRF, BS_4730, CA, CN-BIG5,
CN-GB, CN, CP-AR, CP-GR, CP-HU, CP037, CP038, CP273, CP274, CP275, CP278,
CP280, CP281, CP282, CP284, CP285, CP290, CP297, CP367, CP420, CP423, CP424,
CP437, CP500, CP737, CP770, CP771, CP772, CP773, CP774, CP775, CP803, CP813,
CP819, CP850, CP851, CP852, CP855, CP856, CP857, CP860, CP861, CP862, CP863,
CP864, CP865, CP866, CP866NAV, CP868, CP869, CP870, CP871, CP874, CP875,
CP880, CP891, CP901, CP902, CP903, CP904, CP905, CP912, CP915, CP916, CP918,
CP920, CP921, CP922, CP930, CP932, CP933, CP935, CP936, CP937, CP939, CP949,
CP950, CP1004, CP1008, CP1025, CP1026, CP1046, CP1047, CP1070, CP1079,
CP1081, CP1084, CP1089, CP1097, CP1112, CP1122, CP1123, CP1124, CP1125,
CP1129, CP1130, CP1132, CP1133, CP1137, CP1140, CP1141, CP1142, CP1143,
CP1144, CP1145, CP1146, CP1147, CP1148, CP1149, CP1153, CP1154, CP1155,
CP1156, CP1157, CP1158, CP1160, CP1161, CP1162, CP1163, CP1164, CP1166,
CP1167, CP1250, CP1251, CP1252, CP1253, CP1254, CP1255, CP1256, CP1257,
CP1258, CP1282, CP1361, CP1364, CP1371, CP1388, CP1390, CP1399, CP4517,
CP4899, CP4909, CP4971, CP5347, CP9030, CP9066, CP9448, CP10007, CP12712,
CP16804, CPIBM861, CSA7-1, CSA7-2, CSASCII, CSA_T500-1983, CSA_T500,
CSA_Z243.4-1985-1, CSA_Z243.4-1985-2, CSA_Z243.419851, CSA_Z243.419852,
CSDECMCS, CSEBCDICATDE, CSEBCDICATDEA, CSEBCDICCAFR, CSEBCDICDKNO,
CSEBCDICDKNOA, CSEBCDICES, CSEBCDICESA, CSEBCDICESS, CSEBCDICFISE,
CSEBCDICFISEA, CSEBCDICFR, CSEBCDICIT, CSEBCDICPT, CSEBCDICUK, CSEBCDICUS,
CSEUCKR, CSEUCPKDFMTJAPANESE, CSGB2312, CSHPROMAN8, CSIBM037, CSIBM038,
CSIBM273, CSIBM274, CSIBM275, CSIBM277, CSIBM278, CSIBM280, CSIBM281,
CSIBM284, CSIBM285, CSIBM290, CSIBM297, CSIBM420, CSIBM423, CSIBM424,
CSIBM500, CSIBM803, CSIBM851, CSIBM855, CSIBM856, CSIBM857, CSIBM860,
CSIBM863, CSIBM864, CSIBM865, CSIBM866, CSIBM868, CSIBM869, CSIBM870,
CSIBM871, CSIBM880, CSIBM891, CSIBM901, CSIBM902, CSIBM903, CSIBM904,
CSIBM905, CSIBM918, CSIBM921, CSIBM922, CSIBM930, CSIBM932, CSIBM933,
CSIBM935, CSIBM937, CSIBM939, CSIBM943, CSIBM1008, CSIBM1025, CSIBM1026,
CSIBM1097, CSIBM1112, CSIBM1122, CSIBM1123, CSIBM1124, CSIBM1129, CSIBM1130,
CSIBM1132, CSIBM1133, CSIBM1137, CSIBM1140, CSIBM1141, CSIBM1142, CSIBM1143,
CSIBM1144, CSIBM1145, CSIBM1146, CSIBM1147, CSIBM1148, CSIBM1149, CSIBM1153,
CSIBM1154, CSIBM1155, CSIBM1156, CSIBM1157, CSIBM1158, CSIBM1160, CSIBM1161,
CSIBM1163, CSIBM1164, CSIBM1166, CSIBM1167, CSIBM1364, CSIBM1371, CSIBM1388,
CSIBM1390, CSIBM1399, CSIBM4517, CSIBM4899, CSIBM4909, CSIBM4971, CSIBM5347,
CSIBM9030, CSIBM9066, CSIBM9448, CSIBM12712, CSIBM16804, CSIBM11621162,
CSISO4UNITEDKINGDOM, CSISO10SWEDISH, CSISO11SWEDISHFORNAMES,
CSISO14JISC6220RO, CSISO15ITALIAN, CSISO16PORTUGESE, CSISO17SPANISH,
CSISO18GREEK7OLD, CSISO19LATINGREEK, CSISO21GERMAN, CSISO25FRENCH,
CSISO27LATINGREEK1, CSISO49INIS, CSISO50INIS8, CSISO51INISCYRILLIC,
CSISO58GB1988, CSISO60DANISHNORWEGIAN, CSISO60NORWEGIAN1, CSISO61NORWEGIAN2,
CSISO69FRENCH, CSISO84PORTUGUESE2, CSISO85SPANISH2, CSISO86HUNGARIAN,
CSISO88GREEK7, CSISO89ASMO449, CSISO90, CSISO92JISC62991984B, CSISO99NAPLPS,
CSISO103T618BIT, CSISO111ECMACYRILLIC, CSISO121CANADIAN1, CSISO122CANADIAN2,
CSISO139CSN369103, CSISO141JUSIB1002, CSISO143IECP271, CSISO150,
CSISO150GREEKCCITT, CSISO151CUBA, CSISO153GOST1976874, CSISO646DANISH,
CSISO2022CN, CSISO2022JP, CSISO2022JP2, CSISO2022KR, CSISO2033,
CSISO5427CYRILLIC, CSISO5427CYRILLIC1981, CSISO5428GREEK, CSISO10367BOX,
CSISOLATIN1, CSISOLATIN2, CSISOLATIN3, CSISOLATIN4, CSISOLATIN5, CSISOLATIN6,
CSISOLATINARABIC, CSISOLATINCYRILLIC, CSISOLATINGREEK, CSISOLATINHEBREW,
CSKOI8R, CSKSC5636, CSMACINTOSH, CSNATSDANO, CSNATSSEFI, CSN_369103,
CSPC8CODEPAGE437, CSPC775BALTIC, CSPC850MULTILINGUAL, CSPC862LATINHEBREW,
CSPCP852, CSSHIFTJIS, CSUCS4, CSUNICODE, CSWINDOWS31J, CUBA, CWI-2, CWI,
CYRILLIC, DE, DEC-MCS, DEC, DECMCS, DIN_66003, DK, DS2089, DS_2089, E13B,
EBCDIC-AT-DE-A, EBCDIC-AT-DE, EBCDIC-BE, EBCDIC-BR, EBCDIC-CA-FR,
EBCDIC-CP-AR1, EBCDIC-CP-AR2, EBCDIC-CP-BE, EBCDIC-CP-CA, EBCDIC-CP-CH,
EBCDIC-CP-DK, EBCDIC-CP-ES, EBCDIC-CP-FI, EBCDIC-CP-FR, EBCDIC-CP-GB,
EBCDIC-CP-GR, EBCDIC-CP-HE, EBCDIC-CP-IS, EBCDIC-CP-IT, EBCDIC-CP-NL,
EBCDIC-CP-NO, EBCDIC-CP-ROECE, EBCDIC-CP-SE, EBCDIC-CP-TR, EBCDIC-CP-US,
EBCDIC-CP-WT, EBCDIC-CP-YU, EBCDIC-CYRILLIC, EBCDIC-DK-NO-A, EBCDIC-DK-NO,
EBCDIC-ES-A, EBCDIC-ES-S, EBCDIC-ES, EBCDIC-FI-SE-A, EBCDIC-FI-SE, EBCDIC-FR,
EBCDIC-GREEK, EBCDIC-INT, EBCDIC-INT1, EBCDIC-IS-FRISS, EBCDIC-IT,
EBCDIC-JP-E, EBCDIC-JP-KANA, EBCDIC-PT, EBCDIC-UK, EBCDIC-US, EBCDICATDE,
EBCDICATDEA, EBCDICCAFR, EBCDICDKNO, EBCDICDKNOA, EBCDICES, EBCDICESA,
EBCDICESS, EBCDICFISE, EBCDICFISEA, EBCDICFR, EBCDICISFRISS, EBCDICIT,
EBCDICPT, EBCDICUK, EBCDICUS, ECMA-114, ECMA-118, ECMA-128, ECMA-CYRILLIC,
ECMACYRILLIC, ELOT_928, ES, ES2, EUC-CN, EUC-JISX0213, EUC-JP-MS, EUC-JP,
EUC-KR, EUC-TW, EUCCN, EUCJP-MS, EUCJP-OPEN, EUCJP-WIN, EUCJP, EUCKR, EUCTW,
FI, FR, GB, GB2312, GB13000, GB18030, GBK, GB_1988-80, GB_198880,
GEORGIAN-ACADEMY, GEORGIAN-PS, GOST_19768-74, GOST_19768, GOST_1976874,
GREEK-CCITT, GREEK, GREEK7-OLD, GREEK7, GREEK7OLD, GREEK8, GREEKCCITT,
HEBREW, HP-GREEK8, HP-ROMAN8, HP-ROMAN9, HP-THAI8, HP-TURKISH8, HPGREEK8,
HPROMAN8, HPROMAN9, HPTHAI8, HPTURKISH8, HU, IBM-803, IBM-856, IBM-901,
IBM-902, IBM-921, IBM-922, IBM-930, IBM-932, IBM-933, IBM-935, IBM-937,
IBM-939, IBM-943, IBM-1008, IBM-1025, IBM-1046, IBM-1047, IBM-1097, IBM-1112,
IBM-1122, IBM-1123, IBM-1124, IBM-1129, IBM-1130, IBM-1132, IBM-1133,
IBM-1137, IBM-1140, IBM-1141, IBM-1142, IBM-1143, IBM-1144, IBM-1145,
IBM-1146, IBM-1147, IBM-1148, IBM-1149, IBM-1153, IBM-1154, IBM-1155,
IBM-1156, IBM-1157, IBM-1158, IBM-1160, IBM-1161, IBM-1162, IBM-1163,
IBM-1164, IBM-1166, IBM-1167, IBM-1364, IBM-1371, IBM-1388, IBM-1390,
IBM-1399, IBM-4517, IBM-4899, IBM-4909, IBM-4971, IBM-5347, IBM-9030,
IBM-9066, IBM-9448, IBM-12712, IBM-16804, IBM037, IBM038, IBM256, IBM273,
IBM274, IBM275, IBM277, IBM278, IBM280, IBM281, IBM284, IBM285, IBM290,
IBM297, IBM367, IBM420, IBM423, IBM424, IBM437, IBM500, IBM775, IBM803,
IBM813, IBM819, IBM848, IBM850, IBM851, IBM852, IBM855, IBM856, IBM857,
IBM860, IBM861, IBM862, IBM863, IBM864, IBM865, IBM866, IBM866NAV, IBM868,
IBM869, IBM870, IBM871, IBM874, IBM875, IBM880, IBM891, IBM901, IBM902,
IBM903, IBM904, IBM905, IBM912, IBM915, IBM916, IBM918, IBM920, IBM921,
IBM922, IBM930, IBM932, IBM933, IBM935, IBM937, IBM939, IBM943, IBM1004,
IBM1008, IBM1025, IBM1026, IBM1046, IBM1047, IBM1089, IBM1097, IBM1112,
IBM1122, IBM1123, IBM1124, IBM1129, IBM1130, IBM1132, IBM1133, IBM1137,
IBM1140, IBM1141, IBM1142, IBM1143, IBM1144, IBM1145, IBM1146, IBM1147,
IBM1148, IBM1149, IBM1153, IBM1154, IBM1155, IBM1156, IBM1157, IBM1158,
IBM1160, IBM1161, IBM1162, IBM1163, IBM1164, IBM1166, IBM1167, IBM1364,
IBM1371, IBM1388, IBM1390, IBM1399, IBM4517, IBM4899, IBM4909, IBM4971,
IBM5347, IBM9030, IBM9066, IBM9448, IBM12712, IBM16804, IEC_P27-1, IEC_P271,
INIS-8, INIS-CYRILLIC, INIS, INIS8, INISCYRILLIC, ISIRI-3342, ISIRI3342,
ISO-2022-CN-EXT, ISO-2022-CN, ISO-2022-JP-2, ISO-2022-JP-3, ISO-2022-JP,
ISO-2022-KR, ISO-8859-1, ISO-8859-2, ISO-8859-3, ISO-8859-4, ISO-8859-5,
ISO-8859-6, ISO-8859-7, ISO-8859-8, ISO-8859-9, ISO-8859-9E, ISO-8859-10,
ISO-8859-11, ISO-8859-13, ISO-8859-14, ISO-8859-15, ISO-8859-16, ISO-10646,
ISO-10646/UCS2, ISO-10646/UCS4, ISO-10646/UTF-8, ISO-10646/UTF8, ISO-CELTIC,
ISO-IR-4, ISO-IR-6, ISO-IR-8-1, ISO-IR-9-1, ISO-IR-10, ISO-IR-11, ISO-IR-14,
ISO-IR-15, ISO-IR-16, ISO-IR-17, ISO-IR-18, ISO-IR-19, ISO-IR-21, ISO-IR-25,
ISO-IR-27, ISO-IR-37, ISO-IR-49, ISO-IR-50, ISO-IR-51, ISO-IR-54, ISO-IR-55,
ISO-IR-57, ISO-IR-60, ISO-IR-61, ISO-IR-69, ISO-IR-84, ISO-IR-85, ISO-IR-86,
ISO-IR-88, ISO-IR-89, ISO-IR-90, ISO-IR-92, ISO-IR-98, ISO-IR-99, ISO-IR-100,
ISO-IR-101, ISO-IR-103, ISO-IR-109, ISO-IR-110, ISO-IR-111, ISO-IR-121,
ISO-IR-122, ISO-IR-126, ISO-IR-127, ISO-IR-138, ISO-IR-139, ISO-IR-141,
ISO-IR-143, ISO-IR-144, ISO-IR-148, ISO-IR-150, ISO-IR-151, ISO-IR-153,
ISO-IR-155, ISO-IR-156, ISO-IR-157, ISO-IR-166, ISO-IR-179, ISO-IR-193,
ISO-IR-197, ISO-IR-199, ISO-IR-203, ISO-IR-209, ISO-IR-226, ISO/TR_11548-1,
ISO646-CA, ISO646-CA2, ISO646-CN, ISO646-CU, ISO646-DE, ISO646-DK, ISO646-ES,
ISO646-ES2, ISO646-FI, ISO646-FR, ISO646-FR1, ISO646-GB, ISO646-HU,
ISO646-IT, ISO646-JP-OCR-B, ISO646-JP, ISO646-KR, ISO646-NO, ISO646-NO2,
ISO646-PT, ISO646-PT2, ISO646-SE, ISO646-SE2, ISO646-US, ISO646-YU,
ISO2022CN, ISO2022CNEXT, ISO2022JP, ISO2022JP2, ISO2022KR, ISO6937,
ISO8859-1, ISO8859-2, ISO8859-3, ISO8859-4, ISO8859-5, ISO8859-6, ISO8859-7,
ISO8859-8, ISO8859-9, ISO8859-9E, ISO8859-10, ISO8859-11, ISO8859-13,
ISO8859-14, ISO8859-15, ISO8859-16, ISO11548-1, ISO88591, ISO88592, ISO88593,
ISO88594, ISO88595, ISO88596, ISO88597, ISO88598, ISO88599, ISO88599E,
ISO885910, ISO885911, ISO885913, ISO885914, ISO885915, ISO885916,
ISO_646.IRV:1991, ISO_2033-1983, ISO_2033, ISO_5427-EXT, ISO_5427,
ISO_5427:1981, ISO_5427EXT, ISO_5428, ISO_5428:1980, ISO_6937-2,
ISO_6937-2:1983, ISO_6937, ISO_6937:1992, ISO_8859-1, ISO_8859-1:1987,
ISO_8859-2, ISO_8859-2:1987, ISO_8859-3, ISO_8859-3:1988, ISO_8859-4,
ISO_8859-4:1988, ISO_8859-5, ISO_8859-5:1988, ISO_8859-6, ISO_8859-6:1987,
ISO_8859-7, ISO_8859-7:1987, ISO_8859-7:2003, ISO_8859-8, ISO_8859-8:1988,
ISO_8859-9, ISO_8859-9:1989, ISO_8859-9E, ISO_8859-10, ISO_8859-10:1992,
ISO_8859-14, ISO_8859-14:1998, ISO_8859-15, ISO_8859-15:1998, ISO_8859-16,
ISO_8859-16:2001, ISO_9036, ISO_10367-BOX, ISO_10367BOX, ISO_11548-1,
ISO_69372, IT, JIS_C6220-1969-RO, JIS_C6229-1984-B, JIS_C62201969RO,
JIS_C62291984B, JOHAB, JP-OCR-B, JP, JS, JUS_I.B1.002, KOI-7, KOI-8, KOI8-R,
KOI8-RU, KOI8-T, KOI8-U, KOI8, KOI8R, KOI8U, KSC5636, L1, L2, L3, L4, L5, L6,
L7, L8, L10, LATIN-9, LATIN-GREEK-1, LATIN-GREEK, LATIN1, LATIN2, LATIN3,
LATIN4, LATIN5, LATIN6, LATIN7, LATIN8, LATIN9, LATIN10, LATINGREEK,
LATINGREEK1, MAC-CENTRALEUROPE, MAC-CYRILLIC, MAC-IS, MAC-SAMI, MAC-UK, MAC,
MACCYRILLIC, MACINTOSH, MACIS, MACUK, MACUKRAINIAN, MIK, MS-ANSI, MS-ARAB,
MS-CYRL, MS-EE, MS-GREEK, MS-HEBR, MS-MAC-CYRILLIC, MS-TURK, MS932, MS936,
MSCP949, MSCP1361, MSMACCYRILLIC, MSZ_7795.3, MS_KANJI, NAPLPS, NATS-DANO,
NATS-SEFI, NATSDANO, NATSSEFI, NC_NC0010, NC_NC00-10, NC_NC00-10:81,
NF_Z_62-010, NF_Z_62-010_(1973), NF_Z_62-010_1973, NF_Z_62010,
NF_Z_62010_1973, NO, NO2, NS_4551-1, NS_4551-2, NS_45511, NS_45512,
OS2LATIN1, OSF00010001, OSF00010002, OSF00010003, OSF00010004, OSF00010005,
OSF00010006, OSF00010007, OSF00010008, OSF00010009, OSF0001000A, OSF00010020,
OSF00010100, OSF00010101, OSF00010102, OSF00010104, OSF00010105, OSF00010106,
OSF00030010, OSF0004000A, OSF0005000A, OSF05010001, OSF100201A4, OSF100201A8,
OSF100201B5, OSF100201F4, OSF100203B5, OSF1002011C, OSF1002011D, OSF1002035D,
OSF1002035E, OSF1002035F, OSF1002036B, OSF1002037B, OSF10010001, OSF10010004,
OSF10010006, OSF10020025, OSF10020111, OSF10020115, OSF10020116, OSF10020118,
OSF10020122, OSF10020129, OSF10020352, OSF10020354, OSF10020357, OSF10020359,
OSF10020360, OSF10020364, OSF10020365, OSF10020366, OSF10020367, OSF10020370,
OSF10020387, OSF10020388, OSF10020396, OSF10020402, OSF10020417, PT, PT2,
PT154, R8, R9, RK1048, ROMAN8, ROMAN9, RUSCII, SE, SE2, SEN_850200_B,
SEN_850200_C, SHIFT-JIS, SHIFT_JIS, SHIFT_JISX0213, SJIS-OPEN, SJIS-WIN,
SJIS, SS636127, STRK1048-2002, ST_SEV_358-88, T.61-8BIT, T.61, T.618BIT,
TCVN-5712, TCVN, TCVN5712-1, TCVN5712-1:1993, THAI8, TIS-620, TIS620-0,
TIS620.2529-1, TIS620.2533-0, TIS620, TS-5881, TSCII, TURKISH8, UCS-2,
UCS-2BE, UCS-2LE, UCS-4, UCS-4BE, UCS-4LE, UCS2, UCS4, UHC, UJIS, UK,
UNICODE, UNICODEBIG, UNICODELITTLE, US-ASCII, US, UTF-7, UTF-8, UTF-16,
UTF-16BE, UTF-16LE, UTF-32, UTF-32BE, UTF-32LE, UTF7, UTF8, UTF16, UTF16BE,
UTF16LE, UTF32, UTF32BE, UTF32LE, VISCII, WCHAR_T, WIN-SAMI-2, WINBALTRIM,
WINDOWS-31J, WINDOWS-874, WINDOWS-936, WINDOWS-1250, WINDOWS-1251,
WINDOWS-1252, WINDOWS-1253, WINDOWS-1254, WINDOWS-1255, WINDOWS-1256,
WINDOWS-1257, WINDOWS-1258, WINSAMI2, WS2, YU
salamandir@horseradish:~$

HTML formatting in email is EVIL!!

i know, i’m fighting a losing battle here, but it has to be said… 😐

when you send email, the person who receives it has to play along with your rules, or they don’t get to read what you had to say. that’s the bottom line.

when you send an email that is formatted using HTML, you are assuming that your recipient has an email client that is “smart enough” to interpret the HTML, otherwise the message looks something like this:

<body>
    <table width=3D"620" cellspacing=3D"0" cellpadding=3D"0" border=3D"0" a=
lign=3D"center"><tr><td bgcolor=3D"#F0F0F0">
      <table width=3D"578" cellspacing=3D"0" cellpadding=3D"0" border=3D"0"=
 align=3D"center">
        <tr>
          <td height=3D"16"></td>
        </tr>
        <tr>
          <td>
            <img src=3D"http://s.ytimg.com/yt/img/email/digest/email_header=
.png">
          </td>
        </tr>
        <tr>
          <td height=3D"16"></td>
        </tr>

        <tr>
          <td align=3D"left" bgcolor=3D"#FFFFFF">
            <div style=3D"border-style:solid; border-width:1px; border-colo=
r:#CCCCCC;">
              <table width=3D"578" cellspacing=3D"0" cellpadding=3D"0" bord=
er=3D"0" align=3D"center">
                <tr>
                  <td height=3D"22" colspan=3D"3"></td>
                </tr>

                <tr>
                  <td width=3D"40"></td>
                  <td width=3D"498">
                    <div style=3D"
  font-family:arial,Arial,sans-serif;
">
                                <table cellspacing=3D"0" cellpadding=3D"0" =
border=3D"0">
    <tr>
        <td bgcolor=3D"#FFFFFF" align=3D"left" width=3D"50">
          <img src=3D"https://yt3.ggpht.com/-qroilmK3p5o/AAAAAAAAAAI/AAAAAA=
AAAAA/iFjUrN4F6lA/s50-c-k-no/photo.jpg" height=3D"50" width=3D"50">
        </td>
        <td width=3D"16"></td>

      <td>
        <div style=3D"
  font-family:arial,Arial,sans-serif; font-size:18px; color:#333333; line-h=
eight:24px;
" height:"59" dir=3D"ltr">
         =20
<a href=3D"http://www.youtube.com/attribution_link?a=3DUIzdYgZkFkg&u=3D/cha=

most people could probably read it, if they took a while, but it’s really frustrating…

also, HTML formatting takes a simple phrase like “i’m on my way. see you soon.” and turns it into two or three pages of, for lack of a better term, GARBAGE to one who doesn’t have an email client that is also a browser…

now i know that most email clients these days have software that renders HTML incorporated into their inner workings, including mine… but the important difference is that while my email client came with the ability to render HTML turned on by default, one of the first things i did was to turn that ability OFF, and here’s the primary reason i did so:

if you write an email message that is formatted by HTML, when you put in a URI, you also put in some “descriptive phrase” that is “automatically” linked to the URI, like this — <a href="http://www.somewhere.us/">descriptive phrase</a> — you don’t actually write the code out any longer, because the software does it for you these days, but that’s what it amounts to…

so, if i were to put a link to microsoft in my HTML-formatted email message, it would end up looking like this — <a href="http://www.microsoft.com/">microsoft</a> — and because of the HTML rendering capability of my email client, it would look like this in the resulting email message: microsoft.

those of you who are observant may notice that, while my link says “microsoft”, the link actually points to MicrosoftIsEvil.com. for those of you who aren’t so observant, click on the link, or (because of the fact that you’re reading this in a browser) mouse-over the link and look in the lower left-hand corner of your browser window, and you’ll be able to see the link in a pop-up window…

however, in my email client, and, as far as i know, in most other dedicated email clients, there is no such pop-up window. i could have created a special URI that automatically opens a “back-door” to your computer, and sent that URI to you in an email message with the “descriptive phrase” being something that you might be interested in reading… and because of the fact that you read it in your email, when you clicked on it, thinking that you were going to get an interesting article, you would never know that i had opened the “back-door” of your computer and now have the ability to send email, AS YOU, as well as doing other things like stealing your identity, installing viruses and malware, denying service to other web sites, pirating software, and any number of other things that you Don’t Do To Other Peoples’ Computers®

things may be a little different if you’re using IMAP and a “WebMail” application, but the underlying concept is the same: some evil person impersonates somebody else (whose computer they have already compromised) and sends you a specially designed URI in HTML-formatted email, and because IT APPEARS TO BE from someone you trust, you click the link without looking at where it points to first, and…

BOOOOOM! you’ve got a big mess that you don’t have the first clue how to clean up… and, because of the fact that i’m a computer geek, i get more than my share of phone calls saying “hey, can you help me? my computer is broken…” 😐

and about 95% of the time it’s because someone wasn’t paying attention when they opened an email message.

so PAY ATTENTION, because i have a tendency to “fix” peoples’ computers by installing linux, which doesn’t have anywhere near the same vulnerability to viri that windoes’t or mac does. 👿

and, while linux is a smart operating system, it doesn’t automatically fix stupid users.

Master Foo and the Script Kiddie

Master Foo and the Script Kiddie

A stranger from the land of Woot came to Master Foo as he was eating the morning meal with his students.

“I hear y00 are very l33t,” he said. “Pl33z teach m3 all y00 know.”

Master Foo’s students looked at each other, confused by the stranger’s barbarous language. Master Foo just smiled and replied: “You wish to learn the Way of Unix?”

“I want to b3 a wizard hax0r,” the stranger replied, “and 0wn ever3one’s b0xen.”

“I do not teach that Way,” replied Master Foo.

The stranger grew agitated. “D00d, y00 r nothing but a p0ser,” he said. “If y00 n00 anything, y00 wud t33ch m3.”

“There is a path,” said Master Foo, “that might bring you to wisdom.” The master scribbled an IP address on a piece of paper. “Cracking this box should pose you little difficulty, as its guardians are incompetent. Return and tell me what you find.”

The stranger bowed and left. Master Foo finished his meal.

Days passed, then months. The stranger was forgotten.

Years later, the stranger from the land of Woot returned.

“Damn you!” he said, “I cracked that box, and it was easy like you said. But I got busted by the FBI and thrown in jail.”

“Good,” said Master Foo. “You are ready for the next lesson.” He scribbled an IP address on another piece of paper and handed it to the stranger.

“Are you crazy?” the stranger yelled. “After what I’ve been through, I’m never going to break into a computer again!”

Master Foo smiled. “Here,” he said, “is the beginning of wisdom.”

On hearing this, the stranger was enlightened.

spam WTF?!?

i’ve got a directory of addresses to report spam originating from certain domains. quite a few of these domains include an upstream domain (which, theoretically, is responsible for making sure the hosted domain doesn’t send spam) that is enom dot com.

just out of curiosity, i typed host enom.com into a terminal, and it gave me 98.124.253.221

then i typed dig -x 98.124.253.221 soa which told me that rightside.co is the SOA for that IP address. whois rightside.co gave me enom dot com, which uses nameservers provided by akam.net

rightside.co or The Rightside Group owns enom dot com, and a bunch of other registry-related web sites…

host akam.net returns nothing….

salamandir@Gingko:~$ host akam.net
salamandir@Gingko:~$

however, i have a sneaky way to get around things that return nothing in my terminal, and that is DomainTools dot com. they tell me that akam.com is owned by Akamai Technologies… the people who are responsible for serving between 15 and 30 percent of all web traffic…

so, to conclude, quite a number of the people behind the domains responsible for the spam i receive on a daily basis, ultimately, buy their server time from akamai technologies.

i’ve read that up to 80% of all internet traffic is spam, and it’s all coming from a company that serves between 15 and 30 percent of all web traffic…

how does that make ANY sense whatsoever?!? 😛

케첩

also, i am “in the cloud” now…

recently i bought a 2TB hard disk with NAS (from frys, for under $100!), which allows me to connect, literally, from anywhere. now i’ve got a place to keep my /home directory that’s accessible by ALL my computers and electronic devices but, conveniently, NOT accessible by anybody else (unless i, personally, make an account for that person), and, most significantly, is NOT owned by apple, microsoft, google, yahoo, dropbox, or any other corporate interests.

now, along with all the other stuff i have to do, i have to move my /home directory from both my linux box and my mac over to the cloud drive, and compact them, because a lot of the information from my /home directory is duplicated on both machines…

<sigh>…

it doesn’t seem like it was that long ago that i was terrifically impressed by the 4TB array i was working with, which had the capability to handle millions of individual email messages to thousands of different users… and it doesn’t seem like it was too much longer ago than that, when i was totally impressed with an 80MB external hard disk, which i likened to an “electronic black hole, into which i could toss files forever and never be able to fill”…

the 2TB drive sits on my bookshelf, with two other terabyte drives, one 2TB and one 1TB, surmounted by my router, which is about the same size as one of the drives…

snicker

i have owned ebeneezer dot net and ebeneezer dot org for many years… like “more than 12″… when i first bought ebeneezer dot net, ebeneezer dot com was owned by somebody else — it may have been Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s organisation, but i don’t remember — anyway, it was for sale, but i figured i didn’t need a “COMmercial” address for a church, so i turned down their offer of $5,000 to buy their domain.

a couple of years later, i noticed that ebeneezer dot org had become available, and i purchased that, as well, and moved my “dot net” domain to a domain — “dot org” — that was more suited for a church anyway. at that time, i noticed that “dot com” was also available, from the company that hosted it when it was in use. i still wasn’t interested in a commercial address, so i didn’t even bother looking up the price.

today, just for a laugh, i looked up ebeneezer dot com again. this is what i found:

ebeneezer dot com
Ebeneezer.com — The Leading Ebeneezer Site on the Net

dot com is now owned, apparently, by frank schilling. if his marketing department is to be believed, all i have to do is register “dot com” and the money will start pouring in… all i would have to do is pay frank schilling’s price… which, i guarantee is going to be a hell of a lot more than $5,000…

as the current, and past owner of dot net, and dot org, i sincerely doubt that is going to happen… even if i did have the unreasonable (given that i registered ebeneezer dot org, AND dot net for free 😐 ) price frank schilling is, undoubtedly, demanding for it.

also, it just occurred to me… it could very well be that the fact that i own dot net and dot org contributes to the fact that dot com is probably never going to be purchased by some upscale retailer or restaurant… i mean, who would want to be accidentally confused with this kind of nonsense… my name could be frank schilling’s curse… although, given that “His registry, domain marketplace operation and assorted name-holdings are estimated to be valued in the vicinity of $500 million”, i kinda doubt it.

i think i know too much EVER to be enticed into thinking that i can make money, solely by owning a piece of “property” on the internet. it may have been possible once (although i kind of wonder, even about those people who have made their fortunes on the net), but it’s certainly not possible any longer.

et cetera (and others)

i broke down and paid for a year of VPN service. now the IP address of my linux box is in stockholm, sweden, the IP address of my mac (which is in the same location) is in southhampton, england, and the IP address of my phone is in austin, texas. i imagine that this may present a bit of a problem when i log into the moisture festival artist’s WIFI, but i’ll deal with that as it happens, rather than worrying about it now.

i got an order for 50 boxes of aparajita from essence of the ages, which is run by what appears to be a “christian” woman. i don’t know why she’s buying incense from me (apart from the fact that i am the only vendor in the western hemisphere who sells what she wants to buy, and she has customers who want to buy what i have to sell) but i think it’s pretty amusing. the up side of it, for me, is that it makes the occasion of my buying my first incense from the actual distributor for sri satyanarayana parimala factory EVER, possible… 😎

the panto starts next week. we’re doing amazingly well. we had our first official, complete run-through last wednesday, and there are still two more rehearsals before we open. we’ve still got one more piece to learn before we open, but that’s pretty standard. and the shows have been selling out really quickly, which is really good.

my “old school” stereo system works exactly the way i was hoping it would, and tomorrow (or monday, at the latest) i plan on making a trip to pacific custom cabling to get another ⅛"-mini-stereo-to-stereo-RCA cable, and then both of my computers will be hooked up to it. for the first time EVER i will have a decent-quality stereo behind my attempts to compose music with reason and/or sibelius. what is the world coming to? 😉

<blink>

the <blink> tag has been removed from the latest version of firefox (mozilla).

i wouldn’t have noticed it if it weren’t for the fact that i just used it the other day in a rare fit of rage against spammers…

i’m sure there are other, more correct ways to create the blink effect using CSS or something like that, and, because of the fact that <blink> was originally introduced as a netscape “extension” to HTML, i’ve never been particurlarly fond of it, but it was convenient, if nothing else…

truly geekworthy

so, you know what an escape sequence is, right? an escape sequence is a series of characters that you can type on a standard keyboard, which represent characters which cannot be typed from a standard keyboard. for most places in the first 255 ASCII character codes you can actually represent a character with either an escape sequence or a character entity. the escape sequence is the numerical value of the character, and the character entity is a word that describes the character. for example, the character Ð can be represented either with the escape sequence &#208; or with the character entity &ETH;

in the same way, i have found that by adding an x to the equation, you can represent the characters using the hexidecimal equivalant, thus &#208; can also be represented by &#xd0;

neet, huh? 😎 ॐቱ༊⊚⡺孻

so it begs the question… if you can represent characters in hex by adding x, what do you have to add to represent the characters in binary? presumably it would be the delimiters &# then something followed by the binary equivalent of 208 – which would be 11010000 – and then the end delimiter ;

but what? that’s what i wonder…

i have reasons for wondering this. i’ve found that even hexidecimal escape sequences are able to be read by spambots… but i’d be willing to bet that they haven’t cracked binary… yet… 😎

how secure is my password?

It would take a desktop PC About 408 thousand years to hack your password

i feel a little more secure, despite the fact that it also gave me two warnings about how easy my password was to crack (“Your password looks like it might just be a word and a few digits. This is a very common pattern and would be cracked very quickly.” and “Your password only contains numbers and letters. Adding a symbol can make your password more secure. Don’t forget you can often use spaces in passwords.”) but at 408 thousand years, it would still take a while.

i’m going to have to suggest this site to my elderly, disabled client whose password would take about five minutes to crack (if that)…

what i’m doing

i got a turntable off of freecycle, and i bought a behringer phono-to-USB pre-amp, and i am currently listening to the National Geographic recording “On Parade – The Music of John Philip Sousa” which has not been played in over 30 years. i am not only listening to music i haven’t heard since i got rid of my turntable (which was built by my father, out of spare parts from several other projects) in 1980 or thereabouts, but i am transforming them into the next generation of music files: ones which you can reproduce on your computer… will wonders never cease… i still have a huge crate of vinyl LPs (most of which are crap) that i’m going to dig out over the next few days and have fun (or not) turning all of them into ogg-vorbis files.

8)

SAAS

i had my first, tentative experiences with SAAS over the past couple of days, and i can say, without hesitation, that if this is the direction computing is headed, i’ll get off the train here, because SAAS SUCKS!!

i was using the RVSiteBuilder that comes with my cPanel-powered web-hosting package. while cPanel does a very good job of making sense of the arcane unix commands i would have to be using instead, rvsitebuilder makes the job of creating valid html templates for web sites almost impossible.

for example:

i wanted to put in my own header, so i uploaded the graphic, which automatically got placed in the template i was working on… however, i come to find out that the SAAS has automatically converted it, resized it, and buried it under three html layers, so that when i “right-click” and choose “view graphic”, instead of getting the graphic i want, i get a thing called “headergraphic.gif” that’s one of those transparent, 1×1 pixel monstrosities, that gets resized to whatever you need. when i finally gave up on the thing, and dug my graphic out from underneath all that other crap, i found out it was resized in the html, which causes it to load more slowly, because the browser has to load the whole thing, and then figure the dimensions and resize it on the fly.

i told it that i wanted a template that is 1000 pixels wide, but because of the fact that the header graphic was resized, i had to narrow the template to 800 pixels. then, when i tried to add sidebars, they were the wrong size…

the css was so confused… there were five different css files, three of which weren’t being used at all, but, because of the fact that the index had linked to them, they had to be loaded with the rest of the template. the remaining two were full of selectors that had transparent, 1×1 pixel graphics as background colours… not just one or two, but ten or twelve different selectors and classes. there were a fuck-TON of javascripts (read “security vulnerabilities that advertise a site willing to be exploited”) that weren’t being used, as well as a huge pile of “stock” graphics which weren’t being used at all.

to make matters worse, it was just assumed that one (in my case, me) simply knows how the software works… that is, when it works… 😐 i actually had to start my “project” three times because the SAAS “froze up” and i had to quit the browser and re-start in order to go forward… if you have an application running on one server, that’s sending instructions to a machine that’s connected to another server over open internet, you’re GOING to run into problems when the server on which the application is running QUITS RESPONDING… 😛

and when the software was working, it gave cryptic and/or ungrammatical clues about what needed to be done next… several of the workspaces that i worked through had “Save” buttons that were different sizes and colours, and were located in inconsistent places.

if i were testing this SAAS, i would not give it a passing grade, however, unfortunately, i get the very strong impression that this isn’t going to go away. that impression is only accentuated by the fact that, when i was working as a tester of network-enabled software, i logged many, many, MANY bugs against such SAAS, and, for the most part, those bugs WERE NOT FIXED and the software was released to a population of users who didn’t care that the email software didn’t work because they were too busy playing angry birds (which does work).

by the way, i “rolled my own” template for the new neighborhood acupuncture clinic in ballard/fremont, and it works and validates (thank you very much), and it took me half as long as doing sort of, but not exactly the same thing with an application that is supposed to make it easier

completely random rant

i subscribe to a lot of news sources by RSS. usually, most feed-generators give the author one of three choices for their feed: post the entire article (which i do), post the first few sentences of the article and provide a link to the rest, or provide only the title and a link.

i really don’t understand why people would do anything other than the first option, although it likely has to do with cookies and hit counters and google-ratings and suchlike things, but what really irritates me is when i get a link – like this one – which links to an article which i find interesting, but it’s not the whole article… 😐 it’s only the first of three pages, and you don’t find that out until you’ve read to the bottom of page one, only to find that annoying little “1 | 2 | 3 | Next page »” link and the even-more-annoying “View as a single page” link, which usually results in the entire article re-loading from the beginning, which means that i have to figure out where i have read to already before i can continue reading. some places don’t even bother with the “View as a single page” link, which means that, in order to read the entire article, i have to search for the “Print” link, which, frequently, isn’t there… it gets REALLY annoying when (as in articles by The New York Times) where they don’t include the “view as a single page” or “print” links, and the article is 7 pages or more… and the most annoying thing of all is when the “print” link only prints the first of a multi-page article, and not the entire article… at that point, i generally give up and move on to less annoying material.

my impression is that the reason why they break articles into pages is to make them more like printed magazines, but they’re NOT PRINTED, and breaking them into smaller bites only adds extra “clicking” and encourages loss of interest (which is why i choose the “post the entire article” option). i’m sure that they think there is a logical reason for this, but it’s annoying and they shouldn’t do it.

woo hoo!

i finally got around to installing OS9 on the motorola G4 computer that has been hanging out in the workshop for the past few months.

it has the capability to connect to wireless networks (something i did not know when i got it) and the only reason i’m not posting this from my OS9 mac is because i can’t convince it to connect to our wireless network… it will connect to the neighbours’ unsecured wireless network without a problem, but since we got a new router, our network has been secured with a RIDICULOUSLY long password that i can’t get OS9 to handle… it may be that it only accesses the network from OSX, but i can handle that…

and i never thought i would be running OS9 again as recently as two years ago… 8)

that was “interesting”…

if, by “interesting” you mean “screaming in mind-wreaking terror”… 😐

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… 🙂 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…😐

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”…

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)…

really meta…

i’ve been poking around behind the scenes again, because, recently, i’ve been getting a whole slew of spam comments on various media pages. i didn’t even know that each media file that was part of a post had its own, separate page until fairly recently, probably because i use flickr and don’t link too many media files from my own server, and when i do, i don’t put in the “link to the file” option that i am offered most of the time. apparently that doesn’t matter to the spam-bots that are out there, and they’ll link to, and comment on any page that looks like it may have comment form stuff on it…

anyway, i added the disable comments plugin, which made me look at my caching plugin and discover that it is HOPELESSLY out of date (when things work, i have a tendency not to mess with them, unless absolutely necessary), so i installed a new caching plugin, which required me to change my permalink method…

the end result is that, now, instead of linking to “?p=6651” (a rather ambiguous name that doesn’t really mean anything except to a computer), you can now link to “/2011/10/24/whatever…” which is an actual date, plus the title of the post: a much more “enlightened” way to do things, that makes the blog a lot more “human friendly”… and it makes it so that search engines could actually index my pages… if i would let them (which i won’t).

and, despite all of my griping about them, i am, actually a human being, after all, and even i have trouble remembering whether the information i wanted is in post 1864 or 1684…

brain damaged brain… 8/

i figured out why it wasn’t displaying like it should (a simple <p>…</p> took care of it) but i’ve been fighting with the code for this web page all day, and i haven’t gotten much of anywhere… and it seems as though things that are supposed to work, simply aren’t, for one reason or another… it actually seems as though what i want can’t be done using standard html and css — even though i KNOW it CAN be done, quite easily…

blah… 😛

GRR!!

okay, so i’m working on some new web pages for the fremont players. i’ve got a REEEEAALY simple CSS file, that basically sets margins and text alignment:

body {margin-top: .25in; margin-left: 2in; margin-right: 2in;}
.center {text-align: center;}

and i have an equally simple HTML file that’s going to be my index page (when i get this ☢☹‼‽⁂@#* “difficulty” worked out) which looks like this:

<!DOCTYPE HTML PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.01 Transitional//EN">
<html>
<head>
<meta http-equiv="content-type" content="text/html; charset=UTF-8">
<link rel="stylesheet" type="text/css" href="index.css">
<title>The Fremont Players</title>
</head>
<body>

<span class="center">The Fremont Players present</span>

</body>
</html>

now one would think, just from looking at the code, that the words “The Fremont Players present” would be centered, a quarter of an inch below the top of the page… but…

text alignment problem

and it looks the same whether i’m using firefox, safari, or opera… which means that SOMETHING is WRONG

but i can’t figure out WHAT… 😐

today

this morning i was in a rush to get things done, and i realised that i hadn’t made this month’s backup of the web site, so i started that before i fed the critters or myself… and well before my weekly post was scheduled. i then realised something, and logged in to discover that it already was that way, but somehow, in the process, i’m fairly sure that i was logging in to exactly the same place that was being compressed for the backup, because it suddenly became REALLY slow and timed out a couple of times, and when i finally got the page to reload, it was blank… and it was about three minutes before it was scheduled to post…

i don’t know if anybody else was watching, but at 9:00 this morning, i posted a completely blank “another week closer to the eschaton” which then vanished after about five minutes (i made it private) and then, after i had taken care of a bunch of other, more physical things, about an hour later, i went back to yesterday’s saved version of the post (HOORAY for databases!) and restored that.

it feels really strange to say “hooray for databases” because i still only have a vague notion of what they are, despite the fact that my most recent “technical” employment involved installing and populating a wide variety of databases… it was kind of strange then, too, because i could tell you what the databases contained and how it related to the software i was testing, i still couldn’t really express, in words, what the database actually was… i get the impression that it’s sort of like a spreadsheet, but beyond that it gets really vague, really quickly… one way or the other, i was able to go into the database and restore today’s post.

that’s all. i’ll see you next week.

I HATE SPAM!!!!

okay, so i got up this morning and switched on my computer, and the first email that i downloaded said this:

Dear member,<br><br>
Your payment for $149.95 USD to [email protected] has been initiated.
<br>This payment will be completed once the recipient has accepted the payment.
<br><br>It may take a few moments for this transaction to appear in the Recent
Activity <br>list on your Account Overview.
<br><br>-----------------------------------
<br>Payment Details
<br>-----------------------------------
<br><br>Amount: $149.95 USD
<br><br>Transaction ID: 7DK2739102238103H
<br>Subject: Payment for Samsung U740 Cellular Phone. Thank you!
<p class="subHeading">Do you confirm this transaction? </p>
<p>If this transaction was not made by you please, take the following steps:</p>
<ul>
<li>Login to your account by clicking on the link below </li>
<li>Provide requested information to ensure you are the owner of the account </li>
<li>Follow the steps to &apsCancel Transaction&aps</li>
</ul>
<br/><table bgcolor="#CCCC33" border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0"><tr><td><table align="center" bgcolor="#FFFFCC" border="0" cellpadding="8" cellspacing="0"><tr><td class="large"><img alt="" border="0" src="https://images.paypal.com/en_US/i/scr/pixel.gif" width="1" height="1" /=>
<a href="http://onlinepprefund.altervista.org/" target=_blank><span class="emphasis">CANCEL TRANSACTION!</span></a><img alt="" border="0" src="https://images.paypal.com/en_US/i/scr/pixel.gif" width="1" height="1" /=></td></tr></table></td></tr></table>
<br/>
<br>Thank you for using PayPal!
<br>The PayPal Team

<br>----------------------------------------------------------------
<br>Copyright . 1999-20010 PayPal. All rights reserved.
<br><br>PayPal Email ID PP359

this was slightly different than most of the spam messages i receive, because the “From:” address appeared to be somewhat more legitimate than other “spam pretending to be from paypal” messages that i have received in the past – “PayPal” <[email protected]> – so THE FIRST THING I DID was check my paypal account. when i discovered (rather as i expected, actually) that i didn’t actually make a payment to paypal for $149.95 for a Samsung U740 Cellular Phone, i went into my morning anti-spam routine of investigating, reporting and blacklisting, but this one was interesting:

the URI encoded as “CANCEL TRANSACTION!” was very definitely NOT paypal – which is why it’s ALWAYS a good idea to render messages in plain text, rather than HTML, if you have the choice to do so (most POP email clients will do that for you automatically, although most IMAP – i.e. webmail – clients will not do it without some nefarious hacking) because if it were rendered as HTML, i might have just clicked on it, not realising that it was sending me to the wrong place. but it was also very interesting because it was also a “spoofed” address – instead of being “altAvista.org” it was “altERvista.org”, which means that if i weren’t paying very close attention (or if i didn’t have automated assistance) i might have assumed that the report should go to a place that it wasn’t really supposed to go. it turned out that it was supposed to go to “[email protected]” which is probably either a person who is absolutely clueless about their server state, or (more likely) a hacker/spammer who is looking for new suckers on which to prey.

when i looked at the header information, it said that it’s insertion point was wlen.net.pl, in poland, and the IP address reflected that,

Received: from [83.16.154.90] (helo=wlen.net.pl)
by spam1.thewebhostserver.com with esmtp (Exim 4.72)
(envelope-from )
id 1QBnQb-0004Ob-N9
for [email protected]; Mon, 18 Apr 2011 13:20:01 +0100

but this bit of information jumped out at me:

X-HELO-Warning: Remote host 83.16.154.90 incorrectly presented itself as wlen.net.pl
X-Sender-Warning: wlen.net.pl has no MX records
X-Sender-Warning: Reverse DNS lookup failed for 83.16.154.90 (failed)

that is another indication that, very likely, the people who run wlen.net.pl have no clue that their server is being abused, so i sent a report to their host provider, and the place where the spam originated – [email protected] – and entered their IP address into my blacklist, which now means that if i EVER get another message that claims to be from 83.16.154.90, it will go directly into /dev/null without even alerting me to its presence.

much as i HATE spam, there are a few spam messages that i find a little more interesting than most, which is why i blog about them… in general, however, i feel that Rule #3 still applies, so i’ll shut up about the HATE now…

“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… 😛

hee hee…

i just got home from driving across puyallup to pick up something that, if it had been brand new, would have cost me $3,500 to $4,000 dollars, but because it is “out of date” it was free

and i like free things, especially when they’re actually reliably functioning computers… 8)

i plan on reformatting it, installing OS9, and a bunch of the software that i thought i’d never see again… 8)

linux

i know it’s free, and 98% of the time it works exactly the way i want it to (which is significantly more than either mac or windoesn’t), but the other 2% of the time it’s frustrating to the point of distraction… 😐

so a couple weeks ago, i bought a 3tb external (usb) hard disk, and using both the linux GUI and the linux terminal, i was completely unable to do an awful lot more than render the disk unreadable. i’m sure there is a way to partition the disk into two sections, and then “mkfs” them into existence, but i have not been able to figure it out…

so i plugged it into the mac, and it popped up a window that said “this disk is unreadable, what do you want to do about it?”, whereupon i ran the disk utility, formatted and partitioned the disk in about 2 minutes, and went on to something else.

and when i unplugged the disk from the mac and plugged it back into the linux machine, suddenly it was able to read the disk, and it mounted both partitions when i asked it to… but the problem is that now the “owner” of the disks, instead of being “root” is “99” and i can’t change it to anyone else, because /media/home and /media/backup are only the mount points, and the actual device lives at /dev/something-or-another (there are actually 199 “devices” listed in /dev, and only a few of them are actually being used) and all of them are owned by “root”… however, when “root” tries to change the ownership of the mount points, i get an error that indicates it is a “read-only file system”… which isn’t much help…

i can see the disk, i can mount and unmount the disk, i can read the disk, but i can’t write to it? where’s the justice?

grumble, mutter, gripe, moan, complain… *%&#^@*%… (jarns, nittles, grawlix and quimp)

up… date…

i’ve been spending way too much time futzing about with the computers, and need to do something else some of the time.

it runs 24 hours a day, and there are people lined up 24 hours a day to fill their water bottlesto that end, i’m probably not going to spend more than a couple of hours or so in front of the computer today, because of the fact that i’ve got a bunch of stuff to do. i’ve got to drive to marysville (approximately 1½ hours each way), to pick up business cards from the printer. i’ve also got to take the empty water bottles up to the artesian well to fill them, which is in between here and marysville, so it’s convenient to do both at the same time. then i’ve got to package the cards and ship them to the guy who ordered them.

then, later on, i’ve got a fremont phil rehearsal, which usually gets out at 9:00. the moisture festival is at the end of the month. counting today’s rehearsal, there are only four rehearsals left until it opens, which is cutting it really close, especially considering that pam, our clarinet player, quit earlier this year.

getting back to “normal”, whatever that is…

life is getting back to normal, now that the computer is running again, and the dog is no longer eminantly sick. i took valoriez’s recommendation and downloaded picard and i’ve been working on tagging my music. it is sort of confusing, though, and i still have around 7500 tracks that it can’t figure out… and how do i deal with the numerous albums that i have that are missing tracks for one reason or another? and how do i deal with tracks that i’ve downloaded from internet and have no idea who the artist is or what album it’s from? and how do i deal with the numerous tracks and albums i have, which are clearly defined, but are “home made” and there aren’t metadata for them?

i suppose i’ve only been using it for a couple of days… i’ll probably figure out the answers eventually.

moe has gone to a sheepdog meeting in gig harbor in the jeep. i’m waiting for a phone call from the guy who is fixing the brakes in her regular car.

urg…

i’ve been on a crash course about video conversion and coding for web presentation of video format files over the past three days. i’ve learned a lot, but i still have a lot more to learn, and i’m sort of wondering why i need to know this crap stuff…

i’ve currently got a video on the Sedentary Sousa web site, that works… if you give it a minute… i think… 😐

my guess is that the main problem is file size. the video i’ve currently got loading is the smallest i could make with this particular software (Toast) and for some reason i can’t even get it to import into something that is supposed to be for twiddling with video (iMovie), and, at 16MB, that’s not anywhere near small enough.

i know that YouTube uses flash (.flv) files, which cuts down on file size a lot, but i also know that flash is deprecated in HTML5, and, as far as i have been able to tell, .MOV, .M4V, .MP4 and such like are not deprecated, but the file size is ridiculous… nobody is going to wait around for a 16MB movie to load, unless they are there specifically to see that movie, and in that case a 16MB movie is not going to be satisfactory…

grumble, mutter… 😡

daily bleh

i made my monthly backup, which is now in the process of downloading. i’ve discovered that, pretty commonly, and regardless of platform, if i download using http, i get about ¾ of the way through the download, and it just ends, for no obvious reason, but if i download using ftp, everything appears on the local end without a problem… thus proving, once again, that a simple, text-based application that is designed to do one thing perfectly will always beat out a big, bulky application, most of which is code for the GUI, which does a whole bunch of things, but there’s no guarantee that it does any of those things perfectly, when it comes to getting things done the right way, the first time…

listen to me… you’d hardly guess that, buried deep in the inner core, was a dyed-in-the-wool mac-head… 🙂

rob sagan has been placed… yay!

i have had two “incomplete” orders for incense since the 1st of january, one from the netherlands and one from taiwan. they’ve ordered $4 and $12 worth of incense, respectively, got up to the point where paypal figures out shipping and realised that it would be 5 to 10 times as much just for shipping as they would be spending on actualy product. i’ve been wondering about why people do that for a while:to me it seems fairly obvious that, to someone outside the united states, a shop that is in the united states and sells things that are imported from india is going to charge a lot more to ship things outside the united states than some local shop that sells the same items imported from india. a friend of mine says that it’s because, overall, over the past 20 to 50 years, people, in general, have gotten stupider. i was talking with him about college experience these days (since moe is currently in college as well) and what it comes down to is that, even 20 years ago, expectations were a lot higher than they currently are, and i think that there’s a direct correlation to the general consumer on internet… no wonder there are so many people who think that the email message they got telling them that they had won $500 million dollars in the nigerian lottery is anything other than a scam… it definitely doesn’t say much for the education system, or internet – the “information superhighway”…

more turmoil in egypt, which includes the last of the internet connections finally going down… there’s a “million man march” scheduled, and the word is that the military has said that they won’t fire on civilians… but i’ve heard it all before, and until mubarak is under lock and key, either in egypt or elsewhere, i’m going to remain skeptical of anything i hear about the stability of the egyptian government…

ETA: apparently Egypt President Mubarak announces plan to retire in Sept. but i don’t think that’s going to be soon enough for most people… we’ll see how it all works out… fairly soon…

hmmm…

all of my categories just disappeared…

interesting… and not in a good way. 😡

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

VERY strange… 😐

ETA: now the categories and the tags are gone… grumble, mutter… 😛 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.

tee hee…

i’ve finally got around to customising my emoticons… the next step is to animate some of them, but this will do for now, and is a whole hell of a lot better than the default emoticons. these are the ones i’ve got so far. there are more, but this should hold me for a while:

😀 😕 😎 😥 👿 😡 :mrgreen: 😐 😛 😳 🙁 🙂 😮 😉

Public Service Announcement: i just found these…

with yesterday’s post still relatively fresh in my mind, i found a couple of utilities that make it easier to disconnect, if you have trouble disconnecting: Anti-Social is a utility that deliberately blocks social networking from your computer (it’s configurable, so, theoretically, you would be able to block any web site) for up to 8 hours. if that’s not austere enough for you, Freedom entirely blocks internet from your computer for up to 8 hours – that’s right, no RSS, no email, no IMs, no YouTube… Anti-Social only works on the mac operating system, but Freedom has a windows option as well…

if you use linux, presumably, you have enough self-control to just disconnect yourself, without having to have a machine do it for you… 😉

social notworking

listen to this while reading the following post: Have Sex and Die! from Mothra! an opera about insects by Pliny Keep

i got a “connect” message from LinkedIn today, for someone i know only vaguely. i thought about it for a long time before i acceded to their request, and almost immediately i discovered that one of my customers, a guy who, previously, i had only known because he was a repeat customer of my business, was now a “2nd degree” connection. it’s this kind of connection that makes me really wonder about the whole concept of “social networking” and whether, ultimately, it will be good for us, both as individuals and as a society…

not that i can do anything about it, of course… 😐

but i still dislike the idea of facebook, principally because most of the users are unaware of how they are being blatantly, obviously, manipulated, mislead and spied on at the same time. i was talking to a stranger this afternoon, and the subject strayed to the ubiquity of smart-phones. she commented that she doesn’t know most of what the smart-phone can do, and, although she has a facebook account and a twitter account, she doesn’t know “how they work”… and yet she has a smart-phone, and isn’t worried about how much information is out there about her, specifically, because she “has a boring life: nobody would want to know about it”.

if that were only the case, these days… 😐

and yet i can’t help imagining that i’ll eventually sign up for a facebook account, or something like that. so far, i haven’t drunk any of the new water, and i still have a plentiful supply of untainted water, but the desire to connect with other humans tempts me at times. one of those times was last night, when i went to a fez-up with hobbit and fezmonger and his wife, and i was left out of the conversation when i was the only person without a facebook account.

tempted, but, as i said, i still have a plentiful supply of untainted water…

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…

.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?? 🙁

grmph!

it’s getting really close to opening night for the panto, and the fremont players domain has developed a DNS hiccup that i haven’t been able to figure out. apparently, “ticking the box that says “Use the nameservers specified at the Domain’s Registrar (ignore locally specified nameservers)” on the “Create a New Account” page” isn’t part of the deal, but i haven’t used a “Create a New Account” page on fremontplayers.com for almost a year, and certainly not before i switched to the new host server, approximately 5 months ago… even more bizarre is the fact that it was working just fine yesterday.

not only that, but the webdavs web disk applet that i use has suddenly decided not to work: instead of connecting me to the machine in california on which hybrid elephant lives, it hangs up and won’t go any further on my mac, and on the linux box, everything loads, but when i try to copy or move files, it says “the disk ‘hybridelephant.com’ doesn’t exist”. i can move things around with ftp and ssh over a text-based connection, but i’ve really come to appreciate the reality of doing all that technical web stuff with a graphical user interface…

yay… electricity is cool…

we went out for dinner last night, after going over to a friends’ house to access internet – moe has “discussion topics” that she has to contribute to, which are a part of her grade, and i had to check email – and when we returned home, the electricity was back on…

WHEW!

much as i enjoy fantasizing about fishtown, it’s occasions like yesterday which drive home the point that i probably could not make such a place work on anything more than a temporary basis if i had no electricity.

quite apart from network access, which can be provided by portable devices fairly easily these days, if i didn’t have electricity, both to power things and to recharge things, i wouldn’t last very long at all.

which, of course, brings me to the next stage in the process of making myself independent of infrastructure that supplies such things in a “normal” way, which is researching and creating a reliable, alternative source of electricity.

which, ultimately, shouldn’t be that difficult: i have a number of friends who have done small-scale power generation projects in the past, and that was before things like wind-spinners and solar panels became so “mainstream”. at this point, it shouldn’t be that difficult to attach a combination of solar panels and a wind-spinner to the roof of my house and/or my workshop, and drive things like the computers and network stuff – and, potentially, important things like the refrigerator and freezer – from batteries…

geek ≡ me

the rules (to which i contributed) state that this shouldn’t be done, but rules were meant to be broken from time to time. not only that, but i think this is a very good example of why i’m perfectly happy using the operating system i am using, which is kubuntu, rather than either mac or windows… although, to be honest, i’ve experienced essentially the same thing on a mac, but at this point, my impression is that macs have turned into expensive toys for geek-wannabes with too much money.

anyway…

i got three spam messages that made it through my principle spam filter. of course, the spammers didn’t count on my having a secondary spam filter, and they still ended up in my waste messages bin without even hitting my inbox, but that’s not the point. the point is that one of the three messages was in arabic text, and it rendered correctly on my machine. keep in mind that arabic is written right-to-left, and english is written left-to-right (which is why i didn’t copy and paste the text: wordpress, for all of its advantages, doesn’t deal well with LTR and RTL languages and non-standard text – i.e. not unicode – in the same post). i took a screen shot of it, though, and here it is:spamof course i reported it to spamcop, and deleted it without replying, but it’s not often that a spam message makes that much of a positive impression on me. it wasn’t the words themselves, but the fact that my computer knows enough to be able to differentiate between RTL and LTR text in the same message without some kind of special prompt from me.

symbolic links

they’re called “aliases” on a mac, and i don’t remember what they’re called on windows – probably something like “links” or “bookmarks” or something, who knows – but the way they work is basically the same on whatever platform you’re using, and that is to direct you somewhere other than where you thought you were going.

on web servers, they’re especially useful when you have moved a bunch of pages from one place to another. you move the pages wherever you want them to be, then you make a symbolic link to the first page, and place that where the old first page used to be, and then when people go to your old URI, they’re automatically redirected to your new URI and you don’t have to do anything else.

the way you make a symbolic link on a -x machine, is like this: go to the terminal, navigate to where you want the link, and type in ln -s <the absolute path to the document you're linking to> <the name of the new link>

the way you make an “alias” on a mac, or a “link” (or whatever it’s called) on windows, is to select the icon for the file that you want to make a symbolic link of, and select “Make Alias” or “Make Link” from the “File” menu. alternately, you can select “Make Alias” or “Make Link” from a context menu as well…

but here’s the big point: an alias that was made on a mac (and, presumably, a bookmark made on windows) will not work the same way that a symbolic link will work, when the disk you’re working on is a -x server.

in that case, an “alias” on a mac brings you to a page of gibberish, which starts off with

book????mark????0???0???´ê???????3š­<??H??T??H??H??H??H??????????Æå???icns?åÆics#???Hÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿ???À?à?ð?ø?ü?ü?ü?ü?ü?ü?ü?ü?ü?ü?üis32??Q?„?…?þþýýúò¦„? ÿüûûùñ¦ëƒ?ÿ€úøð¦ù덂?ÿ€ù÷ï‘€¦?? ÿöÏh²À‡ÒÙށ? ÿ훢»°i³èò? ÿçÝà¢a4‰ùü? ÿâÌš+$ ¤Êü? ÿÓϵ…\Êêü? ÿѺà3€çàû? ÿê´µ×Üããëû? ÿêêÓÍÜßéêÿ??‡ÿ??‰???„?Ž…?þþýýúò§Ž„? ÿüûûùñ§ëŽƒ?ÿ€úøð§ù뎂?ÿ€ù÷ï’€§?Ž? ÿõÑ–ÝìµÍÙށ? ÿ¾Wqà÷Á¨Öò? ÿ“J^•È˜–Îü? ÿqAV‰{C—¨ü? ÿ_LNac0™Ÿü? ÿŒ:eG&Tˆ°û? ÿåV4\_l—áû? ÿêêžpˆ©ãêÿ??‡ÿ??‰???„?…?þþýýúò¨„? ÿüûûùñ¨ëƒ?ÿ€úøð¨ù돂?ÿ€ù÷ï“€¨?? ÿôÖÂèõÒÆÙށ? ÿ 9^Ýÿåv¬ò? ÿZ†ðÚyXü? ÿ.<͏YEü? ÿ7 Rtv+.ü? ÿƒ *E/ ƒû? ÿåO  DÖû? ÿêê•S[†àêÿ??‡ÿ??‰??s8mk??

:|

the only way i know of to make a symbolic link on a -x machine is to use the terminal, and the only other option is to give around 25 different webmasters in different countries the option of changing their web pages so that they link to the right page... which isn't going to happen any time soon.

so i try to SSH to my -x machine, only to discover that i don't have SSH access.

according to the host provider's FAQ, they only provide SSH permissions if you have a "legitimate" reasons for them. so far the new host provider has been providing exempary service... let's hope it continues that way. :|

ETA: they gave me what i need, and 95% of my 404 messages now point to the correct place (the remaining ones are for old internal links from 2003 to 2008). for example, this link and this link now point to the same place, whereas, previously, the former gave you a 404 message. :) happy web designer :)

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…

another week closer to the eschaton…

The City That Ended HungerBuckminster Fuller said that we, as a people, have posessed the technology for 50 years (and he said this almost 50 years ago) to create a world where nobody has to work to survive. Why Bother Working At A Job You Hate? and The RICH Economy are my attempts at changing the world’s consciousness, but it may be that Belo Horizonte, brazil’s fourth largest city, has taken it one step further. brazil has a number of other interesting features upon which i have commented previously.

meanwhile, back in hell america, Building sand castles on Florida’s beaches is illegal – this is how BP is hoping to make you think that the oil spill is gone.

What the TSA isn’t saying about Full Body Scanners and Your Right to Opt Out – Say “I Opt Out.” Every Time. – has an interesting URI – Don’tScan.Us – and is there to remind everyone that, when travelling by air, you have the right to say “I OPT OUT” when confronted with a TSA request to what amounts to a strip search. also Portable, rapid DNA analysis tech developed – Big Brother doesn’t care whether or not you have fingerprints, and is interested in your DNA instead… more orwellian doublethink: Welfare is Employment Rights are Privileges War is Peace Illness is Health Collapse Is Recovery

Judge orders lesbian reinstated to Air Force and yet the congress in it’s infinite wisdom has decided that, even though a judge also ruled that DADT is unconstitutional, they’re not going to do anything to change it at this time. correct me if i’m wrong, but the judge that said that DADT is unconstitutional basically said that it’s against the law for the military to enforce the law as it currently stands, and still, congress feels that it’s okay to leave the law as it stands, right? that settles it, our government, and likely the governments of the countries in the rest of the world as well (since they all cooperate with each other, more or less) is irreparably broken. it’s time for that major shift in the way people think that i’ve mentioned before to actually start happening now…

and, by the way, now there’s Irrefutable Proof the Bush Tax Cuts Were a Miserable Failure – and we’re still losing to these morons…

despite the fact that Yes on Prop 19 Holds Steady Lead, 47%-42%, in Latest SurveyUSA Poll, this is what supporters of prop 19 are up against: Ex-Drug Czar Bill Bennett: Showtime’s “Weeds” is “Damaging,” Jonas Brothers Should Fight Prop 19 – regardless of whether prop 19 passes or not, however, Federal judge rules Colorado’s medical marijuana law is no defense for US drug charges. california can legalise all it wants, but until the federal government changes its mind, people will still end up going to jail for smoking a joint. and, while we’re at it, T-Mobile Claims Right to Censor Text Messages – big brother just got a little bigger and a little less like your brother.

along the same lines, according to Chapter 69.51A RCW on Medical "marijuana" (which is actually called “cannabis”, but i’m not arguing at this point), apparently i wouldn’t qualify anyway… oh well… 8/

Twitter blames website upgrade for re-introducing XSS holehopefully, the last word on my battle with twitter and their most recent cross-site scripting bug… which is still gone on my machine, but presumably that’s because i deleted my account before this latest round happened, and when they re-introduced it, i didn’t have an account to infect any longer…

twitter… 😐 feh.

Trojan poses as skeleton key jailbreak utility – but it only works on iPhones… wait, what? 8) heh heh heh… i am so glad i’m not a mac-head any longer…

GoDaddy.com Goes on the Auction Block – recently i read a couple of articles detailing how a whole bunch (<200) of wordpress blogs hosted by godaddy got hacked. i don’t know whether selling godaddy will make things better or worse, but it’s one of the reasons why i don’t use godaddy to begin with.

IE captain flees Microsoft for Google – when i was first getting into testing software, back in 1996, i attended a planning meeting in advance of the release of IE3 (which was still crawling with bugs, in spite of bill gates’ claim that micro$not released “bug free” software), and chris wilson was there, although he wasn’t as “important” then as he later became. however giving up micro$hit for google is sort of a lateral move for someone who is allegedly as “important” as he is… and, given that he is ultimately responsible for such travesties as IE4 and IE6, i would think that google would have second thoughts about hiring him…

How do you copy 60 million files? – yet another reason why linux rocks, and you should use it and not that crap operating system from redmond.

Nuclear Winter And Peace – look… another article by Fidel Castro… you might get the impression that he’s actually changed the way he thinks recently, and that i agree with him now…

pubic schools billboardOops! Billboard spelling error creates embarrassment

The true history of the Koran in America – reports of qur’ans in american libraries go back at least to 1683, and the first qur’an to be published in america was in 1806, over 100 years later. both thomas jefferson and john adams owned one and read it frequently… just sayin’…

Pope’s astronomer says he would baptise an alien if it asked him – unfortunately, is not a joke… nor is this: Christian group declares jct 9 on M25 cursed, although it took me several readings to confirm that it was, in fact, totally serious… what?!?

Church of Body Modification – this has been the subject of a bunch of spam messages i have been receiving recently, but it’s a real thing, and it looks fairly interesting…

Fabrican – it gives the reference to “jeans so tight you must have sprayed them on” a whole new meaning…

growl update

i went to the twitter web site and quickly determined that there wasn’t a way to connect with a tech-support drone who had any hope of giving me a cogent answer to my (primarily twitter-related) problem – one of the reasons i was so hesitant to get wrapped up in this whole thing to begin with… 8/

anyway, i went to the #kubuntu IRC channel on freenode and met up with someone who, once he had seen the picture of the dialogue box, had the idea that it might be a gnome dialogue, which is odd, considering that i am running KDE. admittedly, i do have a few gnome applications installed (synaptic, for example), but as far as i know, none of them are using the gnome-keychain application from which this seems to be a dialogue box, so he suggested that i remove it, which i did.

after logging out and logging in again, it looked as though the dialogue had vanished (a good thing), so after waiting around for half an hour or so, i quit the IRC client.

almost immediately the authorisation dialogue came back… 8/

i then began shooting down processes that looked suspicious, starting with anything even remotely gnome-related. eventually i shot down enough processes that my system became unstable, so i had to completely shut down the machine and restart.

at this point, the dialogue hasn’t come back yet. i’m not sure whether it’s because of the fact that i removed software, or whether it’s because of the fact that i hadn’t actually shut down the computer, or if it’s because both of those things happened… at this point, i’m not completely convinced that the dialogue won’t come back again.

ETA: it’s back… 8/

another thing i learned about was the existence of yet another browser, rekonq, which has some interesting quirks and probably won’t replace firefox any time soon, but it’s an interesting addition to the collection.

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.

What The Hex? is a game where you guess the colour based on the hex-triplet for the RGB value.

Oregon officially recognizes marijuana for medical value – "The Oregon Board of Pharmacy voted to change marijuana from what’s known as a ‘Schedule I controlled substance’ to a ‘Schedule II.’" only 49 more state governments and 1 federal government to go… 😐

Titan’s atmosphere oddity consistent with methane-based life
also
‘Grow-your-own’ organs hope after scientists produce liver in lab from stem cells – more evidence (if you needed any) that the “christians” are wrong, wrong, wrong!!

Whale Poop Cleans the EnvironmentThe Sea Shepherds are probably already figuring out ways to use this against the japanese, politically and as a potential projectile. it also makes me wonder about how whale poop would do cleaning up the gulf oil spill…
Visualizing the BP Oil Spill Disaster – it couldn’t possibly make it any worse…

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. 😡 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. 😡

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 Aldrin’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!” 🙂

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.

TARFU!

i have always been under the impression that there were three acronyms that were comparitve and superlative to SNAFU, which were comparitive FUMTU and superlative FUBAR, but it turns out that there is a fourth abbreviation, TARFU, which doesn’t appear to have a place in the heirarchy, despite (or, possibly, because of) it’s similar provenance. more investigation is necessary.

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. 😐

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.

miscellaneous

yesterday i went to moe’s friend diane’s sheep ranch in woodinville and picked up a chest freezer that diane didn’t need any longer. now we’ll be able to get lamb from diane, when she has lambs for sale, later on in the year. moe is a currently a vegetarian – although i have seen her eat bacon recently – and i have been a vegetarian in the past (and i’ve been the rabid rabble rouser who knew all the reasons why you shouldn’t eat meat, so cool it with the rhetoric, because i’ve been through it all, already), but at this point, i figure God is perfect, being an omnivore is more likely to ensure my survival in the event of a global catastrophe, and besides all that, lamb just tastes so damn good… and because of the fact that i actually know where it’s coming from, i’m getting a lot closer to eating real meat than i would be if i ate the anonymous, corporate beef that most people eat most of the time.

but this is all, undoubtedly one big excuse to make me feel better because i’m sinful and eat meat, despite my claims to being a hindu. i know a bunch of american hindus who eat meat, and they don’t worry about it, so why should i… especially when lamb just tastes so damn good… 8)

today i went to a place very close to the hospital that i was housed at shortly after i had my injury (and was amazed at how much new construction was going up since i was there) and got a bed to put in what was the office, and is now the guest room. now we have a room for people to sleep in when people come to visit… which, apparently, we’ve got a few of coming up later this year, including my mother-in-law within the next two weeks or so (i’m still not exactly sure when, though).

i got an email list set up for the fremont players, which is exactly what wouldn’t have happened if i had stayed with the old host provider, whose “tech support” goon specifically said that i was “kicked off” their server for having – although he also, specifically, said that he was the one responsible for having me kicked off their server, because “he didn’t like me”… 😛

i’m having some trouble with my email, and i’m not sure whether it’s my email client, or my new router. it seems like, sometimes, i don’t get any email, but when i reboot the router, i get hundreds of emails from the past three days or so, and other times, i don’t get any email, and when i reboot the router, nothing happens, but when i restart the email client, or reboot the computer, i get hundreds of emails from the past three or four days. either way, it doesn’t happen with enough regularity to make it very obvious what the culprit is, although it doesn’t appear to happen as frequently when i turn my computer off, rather than leaving it running all night. i seem to recall drizzle saying something about having me on DHCP, despite the fact that i have a static IP address, so maybe that’s got something to do with it.

i had a whole bunch of links that i was going to dump, as well, but my browser crashed and when it came back, i chose to start a new session, because i think one of the links crashed my browser, and i don’t want to foist any of that nonsense on to anyone else. one of them was more stuff about how google is really evil, though…

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…

FEZOROCITY!

fezthe first of two fezzes arrived in the mail today, which is surprising considering how large it is and the fact that i only won it on tuesday. it is, however, everything that it was advertised to be, and a whole bunch more: it comes with a support which is a gadget to keep its shape when it’s not being worn, and a rain cover(!)… and it’s from peoria! i’m not 100% certain of this (and, at this point, the only person who would know is my mother, to whom i have not spoken in 5 years, at her request), but there’s a very strong probability (≈95%) that my grandfather was a member of the mohammed shrine. it doesn’t have my grandfather’s name in it, but it’s not too difficult to pretend, especially when you have a hole in your skull to begin with… 😉

i now own two fezzes, and soon i will own three fezzes! it just goes to show you what you can accomplish when you put your mind to it… and have internet backing you up… 8)

also, i realised that my being #32 in the order of the fez is just another confirmation of the law of fives, which is the discordian concept that all things happen in fives, or are some how, directly or indirectly, related to the number five. i’ve always thought that Tina Chopp and Eris are good friends, if not two different names for the same being…

demons

i have probably always been a computer geek, although for a long time i resisted being labeled as such because i was too interested in music, but my father has been a professional computer geek electrical engineer for as long as i have been around. one of the first “computers” i ever played with was actually a “dumb terminal” that had a big foam recepticle on the back of it to plug the phone reciever into so that it would do stuff more than just look and act like a selectric typewriter.

i saw my father at the Seattle Art Museum the other day. i was there for a performance of La Banda Gozona – where the consul general for mexico in seattle gave a long winded speech in spanish that i couldn’t understand – and i saw my father taking pictures. i was wearing my reading glasses, so i didn’t get a good look at him, and he disappeared before i could switch to my distance glasses, but i’m sure it was him. i find it very odd that, in spite of our differences, my parents haven’t spoken to me at all since my injury, and didn’t come visit me in the hospital when there was a chance that i would die… but i digress.

anyway, when i was first actively learning about computers, back in the late ’70s, i would frequently ask questions of my mentor, jim, and every now and then i would ask him a question which doesn’t really have an answer. questions like “why is it that when i tried X process, it failed, but when you tried exactly the same X process, it worked?” or “why is it that i send an email to X address and it never gets there, you send an email to X address and it takes two weeks to get there, and someone else sends an email to X address and it gets there immediately?” obviously there is some answer to questions like that, but often they are technical enough that even the experts might have difficulty explaining it, especially to someone (like me) who doesn’t understand.

when i would ask jim a question like that, he would get all quiet, look around mysteriously, and whisper “demons”…

he could have easily said “i don’t know” or “go look it up” or any one of a number of other perfectly rational responses, but that wouldn’t have made anywhere near the impression on me that blaming all my unknown computer problems on “demons” would have.

of course, i later learned that the electronic mechanisms that make things work inside computers are called “daemons”, but my impression is, even now, when i have wholeheartedly embraced the label of “computer geek”, that it still makes a fair amount of sense.

fast forward to a few days ago. i have just completed what i hope will be my last host provider switch for a LONG time, but i still have to figure out why the control panel on the new host works slightly differently than the (exact same) control panel on the old host: i set up a subdoman – przxqgl.hybridelephant.com – which, when you hit it with a browser, loads pages found at hybridelephant.com/przxqgl. it used to be that when you looked at the browser, you saw przxqgl.hybridelephant.com, but now, when you point your browser at przxqgl.hybridelephant.com it automatically redirects to hybridelephant.com/przxqgl and when i remove the redirect in the control panel, my browser gives me a “redirect error”.

so i wrote to tech support. he wrote back to me almost instantly, saying that he had gotten it to work, and that i didn’t need the redirect in the control panel.

… wait, what?

anyway, it works… and i keep thinking about jim and his “demons”…

a sigh of nostalgia…

i backed up, reformatted and reinstalled my os9 mac, and i realised that i may have just shut down mac os9 for the last time ever this evening…

i’ve been a mac head ever since the term was coined, way back when. my first experience with a computer that wasn’t running some form of UNIX (yes indeed, i am that old) was with my father’s trash-80, the year i graduated from high school. i got pretty good at manoevering around the proto-DOS interface and programming in BASIC, but my first experience with the technology with which i actually made money for a significant portion of my life was with a Lisa – the proto-mac. the first computer job i had was typesetting for kwik-kopy printing in bellingham with a mac plus, a floppy disk drive and an 80 mb hard disk which i thought was an electronic black hole into which i could throw documents forever and not fill it up. that was back before the operating system used Hierarchical File System – HFS – it used MacFS instead, which meant that you could only have one window open at a time, and no files larger than 20mb. it was back when the mac os was free, and you could get the latest version by taking 4 floppy disks to your local mac dealer. i remember being one of the first geeks in my group to figure out that the mac was more than just a platform, and that it would be an ideal thing if you could get the mac os to run on anything. it still hasn’t happened officially, of course, but it’s closer now than it has ever been before. it wasn’t more than 5 years ago that i was working at essentially the same job, only with a much more modern computer.

so i installed os 9.2.1 on my aqua G3 desktop with a G4 upgrade, and shut it down, and i believe that it could be the last time i ever shut down a mac running os9.

the end of an era… 8)

a few miscellaneous items

the word “fire” is one syllable. not two syllables, not one and a half syllables (whatever that means), one syllable. people who use it as two syllables are simply stupid. it appears in my rhyming dictionary in the list of one-syllable words that includes ire, byre, dire, gyre, hire, lyre, mire, pyre, spire, quire, choir, squire, sire, shire, tire, Tyre, tyre and wire. also, my prosody dictionary (which is more concerned with form than it is with metrics) doesn’t have anything specific to the word “fire”, but what it does have (definitions of ictus, secondary accent, division, foot, iamb, trochee, dactyl, anapest, spondee, pyrrhic, amphibrach, tribrach and amphimacer) seems to indicate that if “ire” is recognisably one syllable, then “fire” is also, recognisably, only one syllable.

Alien Hand Syndrome is a video of a woman who is in recovery after having an AVM rupture, very similar to what happened to me. i am surprised by how similar her experiences are to mine, especially when she says “let go” and had to get her right hand to get her left hand to let go of the wires. this is exactly what i have experienced on a daily basis since my injury, although i have to get my left hand to get my right hand to stop doing stuff it’s not supposed to be doing.

bellingham tomorrow