December 28, 2001

I'm coding again in my spare time (ok, maybe even in my not-so-spare time). But I LOVE to code. I'm fixing functionality and debugging code for Fox MUD, an online MMORPG, (MultiUser Dungeon/Domain = MUD). It's a text based equivalent to Everquest or such things. In fact, Everquest is based on MUD techniques and technology. So, anyways, visit the link to see some of the Javascript and CGI stuff I've also been picking up on the side.

December 06, 2001

KPMG should know that I have a strict letter-writing policy. In fact, in order to write a letter or email message to me, you must FIRST call me on the telephone to let me know what you are writing and when I can expect to receive it. Failure to do so gives me the right to bill you $500. Oh, and it shall henceforth be against the rules to give directions to my home without my express written permission, even if you are giving directions to someone who has my address and is already in a vehicle.
Failure to comply with these directives shall be treated as an attempt to send me unauthorized mail, and since this notice is posted on the page that they will likely complain about, I consider them fairly warned that I did not welcome their communication.
Email, on the other hand, shall remain unaffected. Thank you for your time and patience.

November 27, 2001

A personal project I have been working on. I'm learning cgi/perl form processing and some javascript (dynamic table sorts and such). For a look-see, visit the Fox MUD Web Site.

November 12, 2001

Rest in peace, Security News Portal. Unfortunately, last month, someone decided to hack the machine holding this wonderful news catcher web site. The site decided they werent' going to fight the hacker (it was a low-budget web-hosting site paid for by an individual) and shut down. Of course, this means we have to search farther and wider for our news now. Just going on record to say, "What a shame."

October 19, 2001

I haven't written anything in a long time. I have been busy at work and busy with hobbies and studying. Currently, I am trying to self-study Calculus so that I can eventually get my degree out of the way. Of course, it is hard to concentrate on just one thing and I am not having very much success :-(. If you read this page to know how I am doing...I'm fine. :WAVE:

September 13, 2001

Paragraph #1 from Mike's List: ISSUE 23 * SEPTEMBER 13, 2001 goes like this:

1. Fight bigotry. In the wake of this attack, many in the United States and elsewhere will be unfortunately tempted to vent their frustration and anger on any nearby Muslim or Arab. This is wrong. Islam is a global religion closely related to -- and very similar in many respects to -- Christianity and Judaism. You'll find dramatic ethnic, racial, cultural and, yes, even religious diversity within the religion. The only connection between this act of terrorism and Islam is that the terrorists cling to a twisted view of the religion to justify their campaigns of mass murder. Arabs are simply people who happen to speak the Arabic language. Not all Arabs are Muslims. Not all Muslims are Arabs. Not all terrorists are Arabic-speaking Muslims. And more than 99% of all Arabs and Muslims are totally innocent of violent crimes. We should all vocally reject the use of this horrible tragedy as justification for anti-Muslim or anti-Arab bigotry. The punishment of a group based on the perceived crimes of members of that group is itself an act of terrorism

World Trade Center Survivor Database. If you want the status of someone who worked there, you can look them up here. If someone knows their status, they can enter it here.

August 10, 2001

Are you disturbed by the recent Fruit of the Loom advertisements with the kids grooming in front of the mirror in just their underwear? As a parent of a 7-year old, this commercial disturbs me on several fronts. Before I tell you why I'm upset, let me share with you what you can/should do about it if you feel like I do. You can Contact Them with this feedback form and tell them you won't buy their product specifically because of the advertisement.

The first reason I hate the commercial - Kids in their underwear is a taboo subject. Other people should not be allowed to view my child in his skivvies. No ifs, ands or butts about it. With that said, I do understand it is an underwear commercial...and for some reason, I don't have the same problem with diaper commercials...

The kids are posing in front of mirrors, getting ready for picture day. Pre-pubescent children should not be concerned with their looks. It only sets them up for dissapointment later in life. The extreme of this is the little kids they put on display like that Benet girl. Little children should not be posing at their age...and certainly not in anything close to a 'suggestive' manner.

The commercial forces the viewer into a situation where they are 'clandestinely' watching children pose in their underwear. The viewer is not a part of the action, and the camera angles are such to suggest a voyeuristic angle..lest the children be shy about their posing in front of mirrors, I suppose. This comes WAY to close to pedophilia for me. It's just touching the line....voyeuristically watching children in their underwear! I'll bet I get tons of search engine hits JUST for this paragraph alone...

Pull the commercial, Fruit of the Loom, pull it now, as fast as Calvin Klein pulled down their billboards. And while you're at it, fire your ad executives..

August 07, 2001

You know what's odd? I get lots of hits from web search engines. People looking for different things that I may discuss from time to time will hit on my web site up there in the search engine results. I don't use any tricks or anything special, either, like META tags or listing keywords over and over. One example, I got hits from people looking for info about the Magellan GPS mapping system. I talked about that device after we used one on vacation. I just find it really curious that search engines like aol, altavista and hotbot all score me so high on such searches even though my content may only make one or two mentions of the keywords. I'm glad to see the visitors, of course..but I still find it odd.

August 06, 2001

Now, here's a bold site for you! Don't click the link yet. Let's put this in perspective first. I caught a bug in my house. Looks like a wasp, but the 'stinger' has a large bubble [maybe an abdomen?!?] on it. I wanted to identify it. So I typed to see what I got. Imagine being greeted with this Welcome to Terminix! [Go ahead, click it now]. WAY BOLD! I don't think the majority of people who hit this site either on purpose or by mistake will ever get past that page. Click it, see what I mean? Talk about an ASSAULT!?! It's like walking into a hardware store and having the clerk stand in the doorframe and demand your address before letting you enter the store. Sorry buddy, wrong store...I meant to go to Home Depot next door. Whew!
Right next to POTOMAC MILLS Mall in Woodbridge, VA is a huge empty building. Back in 1996, Tandy Corp. shut down its Incredible Universe division. This huge empty building was, at the time, about 6 months old. It held a HUGE Incredible Universe store. Right across the street is a Best Buy, still standing. On the other side of the road, Walmart. Surrounding the building is a huge gaggle of consumerism. It is the perfect location for any store looking for a constant influx of new customers, as thousands of people a week take buses to come to the huge outlet mall right behind it.

Yet, the store has been empty since Jan of 1997. 18,000 square feet of wonderful retail space just off of I-95. Large docking bays for truck deliveries, a beautiful internal layout....there are several shops I would love to see in here. It would be great for Virginia to get a Dave and Busters [D&B]. Or a Fry's Electronics. How about a huge nightclub? This building should be big enough to compete with eCiti Cafe & Bar in McLean. So, I continue to wonder...why no one takes advantage of it. Commercial Real Estate is a constant mystery to me.

August 04, 2001

As if defying Robert Heinlein and TANSTAAFL, I have found a new webcounter for my website at Stats4You.Com It offers FREE web site statistics, quick stats and visitor tracking. One thing it does even NICER than the previous counter I used is that it allows you to have one account with multiple web sites to allow you to combine and put all your stats together. It also uses less code on the page itself, which is nice considering how much junk I already have on this page.

August 03, 2001

Flash animation may be tacky to some, but it is a really simple way to do animation on your web site. Of course, not everyone with a web site can afford the $399 and up you'd pay for Flash. Well, some time ago, I mentioned a program called SWiSH. Version 2.0 has just come out a few days ago, and the 'new price' is $49.95 (14.95 for upgrades from version 1.5, which I gladly shelled out!). It has HUNDREDS of new features, and it has been totally reworked to allow amateur animators and Flash developers like myself play in the game without diving into the deep end with Flash itself. If you have a website and want to kick it up a bit, I HIGHLY recommend this software! There's a 15-day trial period, after which your registration fee allows you to register the s/w on both your home PC and your work PC.

July 26, 2001

God, I hate idiots. Yesterday, I was at a Microsoft conference, to learn about how the .NET suite will include a security implementation. At the conference, they showed us the new ISA server. I asked a question of the presenter, since he was showing the filtering capability only displayed IP protocol filtering, of whether ISA would allow you to filter ARP packets. [The presenter wasn't sure]. During the break, a young man approached me and insisted that ISA could do the filtering, and all I had to do was define the IP protocol number that was ARP.

If you know what ARP is, you can see where this is going. It's not a subprotocol of IP, like TCP and UDP. For reference, take a look at Understanding the Internet Protocol Suite. I explained that ARP does not travel inside IP packets. At this point, it gets real weird. The induhvidual tells me that they must, otherwise 'how can they travel over the Internet'. I stated that they do not travel over the Internet. I then tried to explain to him, calmly mind you, what ARP does. He stops me mid-sentence and claims 'I know what ARP does, you don't have to tell me. I know all about ARP and what it does'. Fine, I say, then you know there is no need for it to travel over the Internet. But it does, he states, ARP is a protocol under IP, just like TCP.

I wanted to deck him. My blood pressure was rising, and my fists clenched. He didn't want to listen, he just wanted to insist. I said "Then, this is a pointless conversation." and I walked away. I'm still seething today...some people just piss me off.

June 25, 2001

Oh, yeah, speaking of dropping me a line. I've updated the Email me! link over there on the right. Seems it has been wrong for a while now.
See my mug down at the bottom right of this web page? It should link to my online cam at Spotlife. Notice the big change? Well, if you know me or watch often, you'd see that I've cut my beard. Now I don't look like Grizzly Adams any more. I've cut it down to a goatee. So now I look like Sigmund Freud(sp?) or Nostradamus...what do you think? Drop me a line.

June 24, 2001

Do you use Ultraplayer, Sonique, Media Player or WinAMP? Of course you do. Do you ever look at what is available in terms of the visualizations? You know, the graphical spectrum analyzers and such that sync to the music? At the WildTangent Web Site you can download a control that has several visualizations that can be activated in these players. One of them is ChristmasDancer, which shows off some really nice 3-d effects! A young woman in Christmassy clothing dancing (to the music?!? depends what you are listening to). The mirror effect and the full-screen DirectX is really nice. Of course, they have a bunch of other visualizations too. Some of them actually sync to the music.

The only problem that I have with the control is the price they want for commerical use of the control in web sites....$1000 for 1 URL for simple 3-d effects such as spinning logos or the like....Considering that alot of people are using Flash to do stuff like this, and they only have to pay one price for the tool, I find use-based pricing just too expensive to be practical. Of course, the tool is free for non-commercial use. I guess they hope that s/w and web developers will get a taste for using the control and bring it with them to work....the control looks like it offers alot for those who are graphically inclined....too bad I'm still on stick figures.

But, in any case, now I have a beautiful dancing girl on my desktop at home while I listen to online radio and the portion of my music collection that I've 'puterized.

Does anyone out there use TruGreen ChemLawn's residential service? I use them to take care of my lawn with regular feedings, but they are always trying to sell me other services. Some of my plants apparently have bugs (spider mites and scales) and they want to 'take care' of them for me. Now, living in a small home, I own about 6 small shrubs total...and they wanted to service them for $29 a pop, 5 times. That's $150 folks, to get rid of some bugs. I told them no way, and went to Kmart to pick up some chemicals to spray with.
If you have any hints for the best way to get rid of spider mites and scales without spending too much money, let me know, will ya?

June 21, 2001

I just read an article in The New Haven Advocate | News&Commentary section. It's about a company that has the fleet version of GPS in its vehicles, and charges you for every time you exceed the speed limit, $150 per incident. The article talks about Big Brother and how this may be some kind of invasion of privacy. Me, I'm not so sure that the angle on this story is right.....
If I own a vehicle and you wish to rent it from me, and I have the means to protect my assets by providing a monetary incentive for you to not use it in a manner inconsistent with its purpose, I should have every right to do so. Provided, of course, that I make you aware of the device, its intent and the impact it may have on our arrangement, you should have no problem with it. This company's contract had the following text (according to the article):

Vehicles in excess of posted speed limit will be charged $150 fee per occurence. All our vehicles are GPS equipped.

Now, not everyone knows what GPS is and that the technology could be used to report average speeds over distance. So, the contract is poorly written from the get-go. That in and of itself is a problem. Acme should be forced to rewrite this section of its contract to make it clear:

If you speed, we will know, because all of our vehicles have technology installed in them to report violators. If you violate the posted speed limit, you will be charged $150, even if the local authorities do not catch you. The car itself will automatically report these violations to us and you will be fined. Every car we rent has this capability and it is used in every rental we make. If you sign this contract, you agree to pay $150 if you exceed the speed limit, and you agree to pay this amount every time you do so.

Not only should the contract be modified this way, but there should be an 'initial' block next to it because it is out of the ordinary. However, this article takes the stance that doing something like this is somehow wrong. Myself, I think the company has every right to protect its assets by ensuring that it is not abused. And James Turner and anyone else....they have a right to rent from someone else...someone who doesn't use this technology. I can imagine, though, that if this technique becomes normal, such technology may make the daily insurance rate for rentals drop. You know, the $14-$25 a day you may pony up for rental insurance? Perhaps companies that have this installed in the vehicle might offer you that same insurance for $4 or $5 per day? And the risk may be lowered so much that the rental fee itself shows a cost benefit itself. So, there should be adequate monetary mitigation for a law-abiding renter to make the solid choice. I don't know how it all will turn out...but at least you know where I currently stand.

June 16, 2001

What is wrong with people? Is the economy so wonderful that people don't need jobs? Last week, we wanted to hire someone to clean the house. We advertised in a local paper, and had about 40 or so people call for the job. We arranged for 8 people to come for a personal interview. Of those 8 people, only 3 (yes, that's three, not an astigmatic eight) showed up for their scheduled interview. What is the point of making an appointment you don't intend to keep? And if you have a telephone, why can't you call to say you're not coming?
This week, we called a Sears authorized kitchen cabinet dealer to give us an estimate for adding on to our kitchen cabinets. First they called to cancel their first appointment, but made an appointment with us for the next day. To this, they showed up 30 minutes late. Of couse, the man who showed up had an excuse....but still. Now, we gave him a half hour of our time, and with that he said he needed to come back, because he needed us to work out details. Fine, we made an appointment with him for Friday at 6:30 pm. Well, here it is Saturday.....that must be some traffic jam..

June 10, 2001

Gee, look at that date - 5/21/01 - The last time I blogged was so long ago. I had initially started this project to keep my writing skills up to date. You know, practice makes perfect and all that noise. It just hasn't turned out that way. With life being so busy, I haven't had time to stop and comment out loud on the news or anything else that's going on in my life. Well, I just thought I'd drop a line to say hey. So many interesting things are going on though. The economy isn't going strong. New technology is still going strong though... Seagate has a 180 GB hard drive out now, and IBM is working on technology that will bring 400 GB hard drives to us very soon as well! There was an article out there on the net explaining how the breakthrough they came across will help to continue the Moore's Law progression of hard drive space, where previously there was thought to be a physical barrier in just how much a hard drive could hold. Invent, invent, invent...amazing what they can do nowadays.
Another interesting thing was something I read about in The Rapidly Changing Face of Computing. It's about how twisted fiber optic cable can have more tensile strength than the steel core they use in electrical cables. Right now, electrical cables carry current on the aluminum cover around a steel core. But the electrical lines have a maximum diameter that is restricted by the strength vs. weight problem of the steel core. With a fiber core, not only would they be able to make thicker electrical lines (Californians are cheering now!) to carry more current, but the core itself might become useful to deliver bandwith along with the electricity. Hmmm, can you say "fiber to the household"? Of course, the U.S. isn't about ready to replace all the electrical lines in the country, but for new homes in the future, this could show a lot of promise.
Also, you'll notice by the webcam a new backdrop. My wife bought some nice cherry bookcases, a desk and a filing drawer for my office space. You'll see the bookcases behind my ugly head. Let me know if it gets too messy.

May 21, 2001

Ummmm.....DUH!?!?! The Day the Rebates Died is an article on Wired News talking about how CyberRebate has filed for Chapter 11. And a BIG "I could have told you that!" to all the consumers who are crying and carrying on. What really aches is knowing that there are folks out there who have been willing to risk THOUSANDS of dollars at a time on this!
The Wired article pretty much says it all with regards to what CyberRebate was and what's going on, but I've just got to say that this was just so OBVIOUSLY some type of Ponzi scheme that I would never have risked more with the company than I thought I had already gained from past free purchases.
If you want to play the game, you make a small purchase and get your money back. Repeat once or twice. Now, add up the true value of those three purchases, and that's how much money you should risk at any one time in new purchases. That way, when the scam has run its course and you are out some $cash$, you at least have sufficient product to show for it.
Of course, your best bet is just NOT to play! I try never to trust a company that doesn't have a valid street address, a working telephone customer service line and a sensible business plan. All three failed when I went to look at CyberRebate.

May 04, 2001

Well, it isn't here yet, but that may not matter at all. Internet connectivity at my home PC (Road Runner on Cox Communications of Fairfax) has been on a very bad streak lately, with 5 outages this month at the Springfield/Burke routers. I've called and complained and I get NO satisfaction. If anyone has any idea where I could turn to make sure that these people get on the ball, please, let me know. Does the FCC monitor cable companies and their compliance? Would this be an FTC issue? How would you go about resolving it?

May 01, 2001

Watch this page to see when I get Ruins of Kurnak, the Everquest expansion! When I do, I'll be loading up and playing a lizardman. Recently, I've been monitoring the stores for any good computer games. I haven't found any that interest me as much or have the replayability of Everquest. It may depend on your personality, but this game is one of the most addictive and bona-fide fun things to do with your computer! I can't wait for my expansion kit to get here! Check out what's so exciting at The Everquest Home Page. If you have ever played an online MUD, be prepared to take it to the next level!

April 17, 2001

At work, we've gone to this new antivirus product that offers more flexibility for the system administrators called Sophos Anti-Virus. We've had mixed luck in getting it to work right with Office 2000 and IE 5.5 machines, though. One thing I liked about McAfee is that it didn't clash at all with our local configurations. When will a company come out with a simple to use, simple to update, simple to install, effective and price-concious antivirus package fit for an enterprise? It seems that software, in a rush to be first to market with any type of new or better technology, make tradeoffs in testing their products. It's a shame that they don't 'build em like they used to' anymore....rant, rant, rant, rant..etc..

April 15, 2001

Well, vacation is over. While we were in Los Angeles, we went to:

Day 1.Universal Studios: Hollywood. My brother went with us to the Universal Studios park. We took the tram ride and saw the Terminator 3-d show. We also ate lunch at Wizards. We expected a walk-around close up magician but there wasn't one. It was also kind of rainy that day, which sort of put a damper on everything.

Day 2.Sea World. We drove to San Diego to visit Shamu and the other Sea World shows. They were all amusing, and I got some fantastic photo ops here! There was also a show here referred to as 4-d. We went in and it was a 3-d show, augmented by things like water spray and wind that was built into the seating. It made the show seem more alive and more interactive, as long as you didn't mind getting a little wet or scared by wind rushing behind your head to simulate flying bats. While driving to San Diego though, I was following the Magellan 750 in the rental car, and it took me on a toll road. That would have been fine, had I known that the tolls are paid in the middle of the highway. What I thought was an exit turned out to be the toll booth, which I should have pulled over for. We'll end up being mailed a ticket (as I drove right under some gadget with cameras on it).

Day 3. Unbelievingly, it was scheduled to rain in Anaheim and Buena Park, so we visited the CA ScienCenter, a science museum. Of course, while there, we saw the 3-d IMAX show Galapagos, about the Galapagos Islands. It was a very interesting show, as well as the awesomeness of IMAX 3-D effects. We didn't even see all of the exhibits in the center, and there was a space museum next door that we didn't even touch on. We could have spent more time there for sure.

Day 4. Well, we went to Knott's Berry Farm. This park is very large with lots of different things to do for all ages. While we were there, they had extra things going on to celebrate Easter. Knott's Berry Farm apparenly has the rights to use the Peanuts characters, and Snoopy was everywhere. They gave all the kids these light up beagles headpieces, very cute... They had shows about native American Indian dances and culture, a wild-west action show [which was more comedy than action....weak!] and a saloon show we only caught small sight of. For extra dough (which I shelled out), you could pan for gold which was interesting to do. It's interesting how much work they go through for so little return.

Day 5. Disneyland is the flagship of local entertainment in this area, especially if you have a small child like we do. The park is the most expensive one in the area (but not by much). The park is well taken care of, and most of the employees seem to generally like staying in character, so it was fun. The only thing I found to be weak was 'Innoventions'. Maybe because I read so much about new things in Wired and other tech magazines, I felt that Tomorrowland was basically Todayland. Perhaps I am being too critical of the exhibit. What would have been nice to see would have been exhibits about what new polymers and plastics are capable of, or how molecular computers will work. Of course, that would bore their audience for the most part.

Day 6. Griffith Observatory and Griffith Park. My son went on the pony rides, and we all went to the planetarium show here. The show was about Venus, and our perceptions from the past and our observations now. It is very interesting to watch science at work, and the show was enlightening in how our thinking can be so sharply affected by observation, even on a planet thousands of miles away from our own. To think that early observers thought there might have been life on Venus!! For the evening, we went to Medieval Times. We even paid the extra money to sit down front for this dinner show! It's a fantastic horse and knight show. They bring out show horses and then bring out fully clad knights and well-trained war horses who battle to the 'death' for the right of chamionship and to do battle with the Black Knight. There are only 7 of these places in the country, but it's a show worth seeing at least once in your life. The atmosphere can be very pushy [take your picture, sell it to you for $8 - three times in one night], but if you can turn a cold shoulder easily it's not overbearing. Make sure you bring cash to tip the waiter though! I paid for the tickets with a credit card, but that was before the show. At the end, you'll want cash for the bar and to tip your server. I, and therefore my server, came up about 5 bucks too short of what I should have paid him. The tickets are less than Disneyland, but only slightly so. And there are plenty of opportunities to spend money here. You can pay to be knighted, purchase a sword in the giftshop, or go dancing afterward in the Knight Club [sign up for the later show].

All in all a good vacation....I'd recommend it to anyone, but bring lots of ca$h with you. Everwhere you turn you're being pandered to, and occasionally you'll just HAVE to buy something.

April 06, 2001

Took a flight to Los Angeles yesterday. It was slightly bumpy, but no more than I've been bumped around on some of the short red-eyes I've taken to Boston. The landing was perfect, but JUST before the landing, we looked out the window. It was a GORGEOUS sight! It looked like a huge electronic circuit. Los Angeles and the surrounding area just stretches on for MILES and MILES of gridded light! Los Angeles architecture is very different from what I am used to on the East Coast, and it's a very curious site. I'll keep you posted with what we're doing on vacation, so stay tuned!

April 04, 2001

You'll notice over in the right-most column that I have added a newsfeed. This newsfeed comes directly from a syndication-type javascript, so it's always fresh. It's a syndication of computer security news, as you may know this reflects my current interests. I think you'll enjoy this. I'm still playing with the site to see what works and what doesn't, so I might change this too. Good reading....

April 03, 2001

Here's an article on Asperger Syndrome: What Is It? that contains the diagnositic criteria and a down-to-earth explanatior for the disorder. I promise I'll stop using the word disease. Sorry if I offended anyone.
Disease of the DAY! Asperger's Syndrome is an 'autism lite' as it has been called. People who have it are frequently misdiagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder, which I spoke about a year ago on this web site. At the time I thought I might have ADD, and I even went and tried some Ritalin. Certainly a lot of the indicators applied to me. Now, reading about AS, I'm trying to find the distinguishing factors that would mean the difference between the two. AS talks alot more about social dysfunction than ADD did (in fact ADD patients are frequently violent?). I'll do some more reading, but AS is my new pet disease.
Do you think the psychologists invent these diseases so they can stay in business? or is the classification of such personalities as a disorder or disease possibly damaging to those who are 'afflicted'? What are the psychological ramifications of even diagnosing someone with ADD or AS? Is it truly a disorder, or are 'normal' people lacking something that ADD/AS folks have? Is empathy a necessary emotional trait to being a human being?

March 30, 2001

VERY important Microsoft Security Bulletin (MS01-020) today. PLEASE, if you use a Microsoft OS and have IE even INSTALLED, you definitely need to read and heed this message. Remember how we said noone can make a virus execute on your machine without you running the attachment? Turns out we were all wrong!

March 29, 2001

Just an update on the Verisign security problem. This Microsoft Security Bulletin MS01-017 has been updated with the patch to revoke the offending certificates. I'd suggest ALL readers visit the website and download the patch. Don't forget to reapply it every time you apply a service pack or new version of IE, either.
New capability from Microsoft. See all of the security bulletins that affect a particular OS or software package, based on the package name and currently applied service pack. When I checked it this morning, Windows NT Workstation with Service Pack 6a showed 33 issues from August 99 to date. The web page,Microsoft TechNet Security - Security Bulletin Search, will allow you to choose any Microsoft OS or software and then choose the service pack you have loaded. When you hit Go, you're presented with all of the security bulletins you should probably review for action. Bravo, Microsoft. I wish all vendors had this capability. (Some already do, but not enough).

March 23, 2001

Wired News has always been on the cutting edge. They are always a precursor to things on the uprise, and they are definitely a place to watch to know what will be going on in the wired world within the next year (or more!). This article, Mite-y Good News For Honeybees is an example on a micro scale. Using this article, they define a new business for computer consultants. You could consult with bee farmers to utilize technology in assisting them with their bee farms. The article talks about the technology, and then mentions that the bee farmers aren't normally computer users, and may not know about the new technology that could be saving them time, money and aggravation. A new business is formed, bee farmer computer consultant!

March 22, 2001

Microsoft Security Bulletin (MS01-017) - Microsoft has just announced that an imposter has been issued software signing certificates with Microsoft Corporation's name. Let me give you the details in English:

1. When you are browsing the web, you may be asked if it is ok to run a program (installation or component) that has been signed by a company/individual.
2. This bogus certificate will allow the hacker to put up a component download (a program) on a web site (any web site they infiltrate) and the pop-up window will ask if you want to allow a program from Microsoft Corporation to be allowed to install or run.
3. The vast majority would normally trust components signed by Microsoft Corporation. This allows the hacker to pose as this company. The certificate will appear to be just as valid as Microsoft's valid certificate.

What should you do?
1. Don't automatically trust the certificates because they say they are from Microsoft Corporation. Check the dates in the certificate details screen. If they were issued on 1/29/2001 or 1/30/2001, they are the bogus ones.
2. Report any sightings to your Information System Security Officer.
3. When the patch comes out, update your system using Microsoft's Update site.

Be safe out there!

March 08, 2001

It's just AMAZING what some people will stoop to in order to get something for nothing! Our local K-12 is having a fund raiser, in which they were selling pre-packaged pizza kits. They were supposed to deliver the items in a mass distribution on Day X. On Day X -2, they found that snow was predicted and sent home flyers saying that the distribution day was being moved back to Day Y due to the weather.
Along comes Day X, and they receive a telephone call from an unknown individual. This person claimed to have been shorted in her pizza distribution from her order when it was picked up earlier that day. The school explained that NO distribution was being done until Day Y, and the unidentified fraud-meister hung up the phone. Not content to be clueless, it seems this person feels the need to fraudulently claim she was short-changed by a fund-raising effort?! To get some free pizza-kits?! OY VEY!

March 06, 2001

This - Your Home Automation, Entertainment and Security Supersite! may be tacky, but it's the best place on the net to get X-10 related equipment, especially for beginners. They're always running specials, and they have some very fun toys. X-10 is a wired communication protocol that sends simple commands using normal house wiring. It allows you to put lamp switches anywhere you need them instead of just going with what was in the house when you moved in. They also sell wireless remote color cameras and motion detector switches. It's a fun place to shop!
The latest newsletter supported by LockerGnome (Chris Pirillo) is called the Lockergnome Tech Specialist. Click on this link to check it out. The resources are more oriented toward the technical support professional, or the technically oriented. Discussing things such as registry cleaners, how to use debug to figure out what video board is in your machine, and even a 'job of the day', this newsletter fills a hole in the coverage that Chris himself offers. Hey, the net is a vast place, isn't it nice to be able to let someone else find all the good stuff for free?

March 05, 2001

Newletters come and go on the Internet. In the past 10 years, I have been a subscriber of many of them. Of course, I never have time to read them all. The ones that I do read are over there on my sidebar once they've proven their staying power. One that I hope can prove its staying power is Mike's List. This is sort of a wacky look at life, more than a wacky look at the web, and it's a fun read. It's always interesting to see what floats the boats of others, and Mike certainly shares his opinions.

February 14, 2001

Added a link to my cam on Spotlink. I may run the cam when I'm online, but it's pretty pointless, since it just points at my face...whoopee! Just go on over to the section in ObCam on the right. The reason it's been a deadlink all this time is due to my old cam not working. Now the cam is hosted on another site that provides free came with the new cam. Bought a Philips too....might as well since I own the stock.
Valentines Day has been good to me so far. Hope you are all enjoying it too! I bought an optical wheel mouse from Microsoft today. No more mouse ball, and the wheel is just fantastic. USB installation for the cam AND the mouse....that was easy! All hail MS-OS!

February 07, 2001

Today I had my first ever root canal. It went surprisingly well, and very fast. He was basically finished in about 20 minutes, with a bunch of finishing touches stretching it to about 35. The whole procedure was remarkably painless. He's very good at what he does (like 90% root canals) obviously, and I found myself laughing during the process. Laughing at the stupid fear I had over having it done. Of course, now that it's over, I'm not laughing any more. My mouth is sore and I'm thinking about forgetting the 'be brave' stuff and taking the codeine they gave me. But, the Motrin is helping a great deal, and I just need to see what the rest of the night brings.

January 24, 2001

Breaking Headlines! Sun Shoots Self in Foot with Java! God, I hope they fired the lawyer that made this deal! Java is now OFFICIALLY dead, if it wasn't already. How can you have "write once, run anywhere" if you can't run on Microsoft Operating Systems? What a stupid move! And $20mil? What was that? Probably the severance pay for the legal team that thought up the lawsuit in the first place. At least, I sure hope so.

January 14, 2001

Got a new dog today! A Shih Tzu puppy! He's 8 weeks and he is so CUTE! Do you want to see him?! A family was selling him for $250 and we've wanted to get a pet for a while. My son named him "Spike Jr.", but I wanted to call him Applet.

January 08, 2001

Hey, ya'all! Snort version 1.7 is out! Just click, and download the RPM (if you have RedHat) and install it. Lots of nice new functionality, INCLUDING the beta code for TCP stream reassembly. Dynamic/Static rules processing and plenty of other nice new features just waters my mouth!
Whew, what a week!
Bought a 40 GB hard drive (ATA100 compatible) - Read online how there's not much speed increase unless you have two high speed drives since the drives typically don't pump data that fast. Most motherboards do ATA/66 nowadays. I was running out of room on my motherboard for drives anyway so I also purchased a PCI-bus controller. It turns out my Linux configuration doesn't recognize that controller (and drivers are unavailable still), so I can only use the new space in MS-OSes.
Taught some cub scouts how to use a hammer, screwdriver and pliers this weekend. That was fun! If you're not into scouting, and you have kids, you should try it. These kids really enjoy doing new things every week!
Have managed to get SnortSnarf and Snort working together in tandem to give me a web page for intrusion detection on a small network at work. I've found some articles that will help me make it work better, and there's also some automated scripts for downloading the newest intrusion signatures. I'll be implementing that soon.
Taught my son to play Magic:the Gathering which I had bought him for Christmas (the Starter set) and he's really getting into playing it. It involves a little more thought than his Pokemon cards, and I enjoy playing it with him.
Been playing with my cable modem at home, downloading stuff from the net left and right. Lots of updates for Linux. I'm running RedHat 7.0 and I'm waiting for them to release the rpm with the new 2.4 kernel in it. The automated up2date tool they include is a very nice addition. Makes the patch process practically painless!
Hint for anyone wanting to run Linux - get more RAM or don't run X-windows stuff. You can do a lot without using X-windows with a slower box, but X will make a small box do a SSSLLLOOOWWW crawl. My box at home has a 400 Mhz Celeron in it, but X is nice and speedy now with 256 MB RAM.
Read Lockergnome! Get free software. HotDog Pro ver5.5 was given away free to Chris' readers in daily Lockergnome this week. No support, but for all you powerusers who don't need it.....hey, it's free!