December 29, 2005
1) On all 4 computers in my house, Win 2000/Linux/XP Home and XP Pro all included
2) In my CAR, which plays MP3's off CD, and regular CDs
3) In all 3 MP3 players owned by various family members.
Boy, what a bunch of bullshit these 2 days have been. The RIAA sucks as far as I'm concerned. And those of you who contribute to their fantasy dreams by buying DRM-protected content can all go to hell too. This is a capitalist society, and you're ENABLING them buy buying their DRM bullshit. STOP DOING IT!
1. You have a choice. You can listen to content on the radio, and you have a right to record the radio to any device capable, for your own private time-shifting use. This includes Internet radio (since they're paying the same fees broadcast radio is paying now!). There's a fairly famous judge's ruling that pretty much validates this right with respect to audio/video recordings (Betamax/VHS ruling.)
2. By enabling them, you're giving your rights away. You're demonstrating both that they have the right to charge you to make copies of what you already have the right to listen to on your own schedule, and you're showing through 'common-practice' that they can do what they're doing.
3. Unbeknownst to you, your DRM content will eventually break down. Don't believe me? I've had several different DRM's break on me in the past year. Does anyone remember downloading movie content from filmspeed.com on the Internet? You have the movie file, but you can't play it - why not? Because it can't call home. How about the software product that no longer has a support web page to get its temporarily running license because they went out of business? History teaches us about the future; we have only to listen. DRM will break down when it is no longer supported by the infrastructure. Some DRM has to phone home. Try doing that with your laptop in an airplane at 25,000 feet with no Internet. Some DRM needs software LOADED ON YOUR MACHINE!!!! to run (Hello Napster, you bunch of hucksters!). What happens when you want to listen to your content on an unsupported OS? OOoops, too bad...What, you upgraded to IE 7? Are you SURE that web-based DRM form will continue to work? What, they put in a firewall at work and you can't get your license file any more? Too bad, no refunds forthcoming from Napster, I'll bet...
If there's anything we should have learned from software in the 1980s it's that SOFTWARE PROTECTION DOESN'T WORK. DRM is SOFTWARE PROTECTION. It's broke out of the box.
4. You can buy what you want elsewhere. Legality of sites such as AllofMp3.com and other Russian-owned sites are still up in the air. Wikipedia articles and web sites argue over and over about whether these sites have the right to continue. AllofMP3 has been running over a year and haven't been shut down by the Russian government yet. Do you have the right to import purchased content from other countries? From what I have read, you have the right to transfer in personal use items, and the onus seems to be on the content owner to restrict you from that right if they choose to reserve it.
5. You can buy what you want HERE, in THIS country. Visited a pawn shop lately? I'll bet that CD of your favorite 80s hair-band is sitting there on a shelf, just waiting for you to buy it for $1 and go home and rip it. Granted, it'll take a bit of know-how, but you can do it..
Reasons 6-10 - DRM blows and is the brainwashing tool of the RIAA. And remember, they suck - don't bow down.
Back to my own experience? NOBODY can give me what I want. The best I could do would be to pay a service like Rhapsody TWICE for my content. Once - a monthly subscription fee to listen to what I want (program my own radio station) and they a SECOND fee to burn the music to a CD so I can take it with me. And if I prefer a different format for convenience? I'll have to rip it myself from the CD I payed them to let me create. How nice of them.....but 90% of what I want to listen to is already in my home library, on either CD, VHS, cassette or DVD. What good are they doing me with the dumb-ass system?
I've about made up my mind that DRM content is EVIL. I will NEVER buy another DRM track. I bought ONE - from Napster - and paid .99 for it. That's the last dollar the DRM-happy folks will see from me, ever. I'm debating maybe paying Rhapsody or Yahoo, or some other service to play the content that I want (on their subscription/playlist option - $3.99 a month?) and then record it for timeshifting later (with windows recorder?). But splitting up the files is going to be a pain in the butt.
What the RIAA and the content folks need to realize is that I am READY and WILLING to pay $.99 a track - but I want a nice MP3 file I can take to any platform, not the crap they're trying to sell me.
December 22, 2005
December 06, 2005
Gun control lobbyists don't need any more reasons to come after the citizen's right to bear arms, and it's dumb shits like this who apparently don't have adequate brain cells to protect their own lives that fuel the liberal movement. In the past, I've been called a liberal, a left-leaner, and other non-Republican names, but if there's one thing that I don't believe in, it's laws made to protect ourselves from our own stupidity. Kitchen knives are dangerous, but do you see us trying to outlaw them? Why not? Some Brits are... Firecrackers are dangerous enough to cause their outright ban in many states of the union, and we all know what those dangerous drugs are outlawed, right? When are we going to stop babying the people of the United States? We probably spend more money protecting potential Darwin winners than we do on the real problems of this country, such as unemployment and homelessness. You know what? If we had fewer DUMB people, that would help solve the unemployment rate! Jobs wouldn't go away - they'd have to hire replacements. And the homeless could live in the now empty homes of the deceased idiots.
What pisses me off more than the well-meaning lobbyists trying to curb our right to be responsible adults and play with what we want to play with, are the assholes who give them the incidental evidence they need to fuel their fire. This is why Steven has earned today's Dumb [CENSORED] award, because he has contributed to their cause.
December 04, 2005
I couldn't help myself. I turned to the counter hawker and told her that my curiosity was piqued, and I just had to know 'how bad this smelled'. She said she'd show me just how bad it smelled, mimicking me, as I'd mimicked 90% of the crap cologne she was pushing. I was prepared to make fun of Britney's marketing team, figuring that she'd probably just tacked her name onto something new that they wanted to push, and that it would rank with the rest of the toilet water. You see, I'm a smart-ass consumer, and a smart-ass who laughs when people make fun of Mrs. Spears-Federline, even while harboring not-quite-secret fantasies about her, me and a night or two in Vegas.
Back to reality, I grabbed the sniff card from the salesperson, whiffed and cried out immediately, "Honey!". You see, this is my 'Eureka' voice. When I've found the golden chalice, I call out to my wife. You see, not only didn't Fantasy SUCK as I fully expected, it was fantastic! It smelled like a young woman should. It was innocent, sweet, romantic and sexy as all hell get out. With a strong smell of strawberries, but more than just that, it is one of those perfumes that I just know I can count on to drive me wild. The perfume is one of those that will turn your head when you smell it. If you got a whiff of it, you'd immediately turn to see what hot young thing was passing you by. This perfume BECKONS to a man, the way a perfume is meant to reach out its tendrils and wrap them around your hair in its loving embrace.
So, you see, Britney Spears is rich because no matter how much we prepare to make fun of her (as a 39 year old man I am very ready to do so because she's so pop-icon, yet so redneck-trailer-trash in the news/media), we still find ourselves humming her stupid songs, drooling over her Pepsi commercial(s) and trying to imagine ourselves dancing in her bed [sorry, did I say that out loud?].
So, depending on why you're reading this post, I hope you got the point. I am ashamed to say that I love her perfume, and further ashamed to say that I bought a BIG bottle of it for my wife. This is what women's perfume should STRIVE to be. There are two perfumes I've found in it's class: Red and Exclamation! that I buy for my wife. Almost every other perfume stinks to high heaven, and women wear way too much of it. But there are a very few good ones out there, and Britney has stuck her name on one that will bring her riches for a long time.......DAMN HOW I HATE BEING WRONG.
December 01, 2005
October 15, 2005
October 12, 2005
This position requires a DISCO security awareness/clearance. You will be
required to provide the following information to start your application for
a clearance, after the RSNF has accepted you for employment.
Name, Social Security Number, Date of Birth, Place of Birth, Current
Employer and Address, Copy of latest security update if available.
While some or all of this information may indeed be necessary to process a security clearance, it is not normally something pointed out to folks who are being offered a job. The fact that the email asks for this up front is alarming.
The scammers are doing a nice job, though. The email is accompanied by personalized and boiler-plate employment offer documents in Word format, position descriptions that are oddly personalized, and Insurance Plan details. Automation of Word document creation is not something I'd seen before from scam artists/bulk emailers, but this is certainly a new extent that someone would be willing to go to.
Identity theft is not a new crime, but these are some new lengths, certainly. Be careful out there...these folks seem to have pulled my resume off Monster.Com. While the email and offer look real, and they look willing to exchange paperwork, signatures, etc, if it smells like a scam, it usually is....
September 23, 2005
There are a good many products out there that will convert Notes data for you. Unfortunately, most of them cost a good deal of money. I found one that was very inexpensive, and served half of our needs. The tool is Notes2Outlook. While the tool is still very immature (it terminates without warning when it hits an error, and is very sensitive about how you start it up, it doesn't clean up its own temp files, but can crash if you don't clean them up manually...that kind of thing), it did work for us in migrating email messages to PST files from NSF files. It was also cheap - $160 for a 3-month subscription, more than long enough to do a one-time import.
To do the import, you need to make sure you get a Lotus Notes client. If you're doing this process, you're probably an Outlook/Exchange Administrator, and don't know much about Notes. This is where I was a week ago. Make sure you get a copy of the client from the people who give you the .nsf backups. It's the only way you'll ever be able to read the .nsf files. There is no open source solution to accessing the emails, even if you spend $1000 or more for an import tool. The Exchange Migration Wizard and Lotus Notes Connector even requires installation of the Lotus Notes Client on the Migration machine.
Once you have the client, make SURE you can open the .nsf databases you were given. One of the .nsf files we received had 'local access protection' on it, and could not be opened by the Notes client. This causes all kinds of consternation when we tried to import it, and we had no idea that the problem was linked to the Notes client being unable to read the file. To do this, open the Notes Client, choose File, Database, Open and select the .nsf file. Make sure this brings up the messages you wish to import, or the contacts you wish to import. You'll be using the Notes client to do the import of contacts, anyway.
Install both MS Outlook and the Notes client on a fast machine. Install Notes2Outlook on the same machine. Begin your imports. A few tips:
- Open Outlook before starting Notes2Outlook. The programmer tries to instantiate it when it runs, but Outlook can be touchy when starting up, and the instantiation is best done while Outlook is already open and in memory.
- Make sure you specify a Working Directory that is EMPTY. Choose a different working directory for each import as you go along.
- Don't close Notes2Outlook in between conversions. We had a hard time with it opening back up cleanly. Just do all your imports with the one session.
- Don't choose the All option. It makes for a very big PST file.
- Notes2Outlook has a counter that appears on the screen down in the left bottom - but it's NOT in the Notes2Outlook window. When you start the application, move the Notes2Outlook window so that the counter can easily be seen on the backdrop of the application. There should be a status message when you start the application.
Now for the names.nsf file - the contacts. The Notes Client is good here, because it will export a VCARD file. Just choose Export, and you can Export an address book to a VCARD 3.0 file containing all of the contact information. There is one small problem, however. Microsoft Outlook does not understand multiple-entry VCARD files. That's just STUPID, but that's how it was when we tried to import the entries in Outlook 2003.
To solve this problem, I wrote a .VBS script that opens up the VCARD file and separates the VCARDS into their own files. Here it is:
Dim ifs, ofs
PATH = "C:\Notes Contacts\UserName\"
INFILE = "names.vcf"
OUTFILE = ""
i = 0
Set ifs = CreateObject("Scripting.FileSystemObject")
Set infile = ifs.OpenTextFile(PATH&INFILE,1,0)
intext = infile.ReadLine
Do Until infile.AtEndOfStream
'Check to make sure we're at the beginning of a VCARD.
If Left(intext,11) = "BEGIN:VCARD" then
i = i +1
OUTFILE = CStr(i)&".vcf"
Set ofs = CreateObject("Scripting.FileSystemObject")
Set outfile = ofs.CreateTextFile(PATH&OUTFILE,True)
'Begin building game buffer
intext = infile.ReadLine
Do Until left(intext,9) = "END:VCARD"
intext = infile.ReadLine
intext = infile.ReadLine
Set ifs = Nothing
Set ofs = Nothing
To use it, just change the pathname of where you put the .vcf file that Notes creates, and this will make a series of files in that directory: 1.vcf, 2.vcf, etc.
I would recommend creating a directory for each user and running this split.vbs program on each directory.
Finally, you can drag and drop the .vcf files directly into the Outlook Contacts folder. When you do, you'll have to Save and Close each one (by default Outlook opens up the vcard, rather than saving it). You can likely hold down Alt-S on the keyboard to quickly do that.
I hope this blog entry helps some other poor sucker with their Lotus Notes to Exchange Migration or NSF to PST conversion. I know I was looking for a free solution on the Internet, and didn't find one. If the Notes client has an open API, perhaps some nice Open Source programmer will write a free converter. Until then, however, this is an inexpensive solution.
September 20, 2005
Metro stations in DC still haven't done anything about these welded shut newspaper boxes at the stations. While it may lead to more security, it has also led to dirtier stations since our nations newspapers are now handing out thousands of 'Express' copies to daily commuters. At this juncture they may just as well remove the welded doors entirely, giving the papers away without leaving them strewn all over the floor in the morning.
The "New American Rule" is a proposed tort fee rule that would require lawyers to disclose their hourly rates to clients who may be contingency clients. An editorial in todays Washington
PostTimes explains that this proposed new rule could help control unreasonable lawyer fees by exposing greed and giving control to consumers after a case is won. But does it go far enough? Hardly - part of the problem is that the consumer is just as greedy as the lawyer in question. Why wouldn't they agree to such rates in a 'roll-the-dice' situation as long as their own end were served? What the proposal lacks is the capping of 'reasonable' fees at such a point that extremely ridiculous cases are too risky even after factoring in potential rewards. Only then will the crap shoot be curtailed!
September 19, 2005
It seems to me that whenever i'm in the city i see an ambulance rush by. I can't help wondering about who and why. It makes life seem all the more real, a feeling you don't get in the sterility of the suburbs. I'm now blogging from my new cellphone, at least while the novelty lasts.
September 12, 2005
My chess-playing has been suffering a bit, since I'm not studying as much. But that's alright. When I lose a game, though, I can see where I've lost it, and it's usually a fairly blatant error. I can hold my own against most beginner players, and I'm all right with that.
We've been busy at work, with lots of projects coming to a peak all at once. It's definitely feast, not famine, at the moment. You know how work can ebb and tide.
As usual, the life of a suburban dad is too full. While I've given some thought to cashing in and moving to a simpler existence, life is just too busy at the moment. I don't even have time to catch up with all of my favorite hobbies. I really could use some focus.
August 11, 2005
July 22, 2005
People, people, people, will you all please just SHUT THE HELL UP!? Here's the link: Jackass attorney tries to make fool out of himself - succeeds..
July 18, 2005
The movie had one horrible disappointment, however. The Oompa-Loompas failed to impress at all. The big singing, dancing numbers were interesting, yes. But, the words they were singing were impossible to hear. The modulation of the music was handled terribly, and the impact of the Oompa-Loompa's songs was destroyed by poor production. The original movie did this right. The original Oompa-Loompas were scary, comical, clownish and frightful, and had IMPACT on the audience. The production numbers Tim Burton envisioned were not clownish and frightful. They were clownish as perhaps children see clowns. They were not dark, evil clowns, but instead a funny little production number.
I don't blame the Oompa-Loompa actor (that may have saved Tim money, but it made it worse, really), but instead blame the production team who chose the effect they presented. I also blame Tim a bit, seeing as how he doesn't seem to really understand that clowns are supposed to be frightening to adults. There is a duality in their existence that he has severely missed. Overall, the movie just wasn't dark enough. It could have been, and all he needed to do was hire a bunch of little people, dress them up and make them sing in clown make-up.
My vote goes to the original.....all hail Gene Wilder.
This book isn't the best one of the series. In fact, I felt that there were too many marginal characters involved in the story, and the author could have explained a few things about some of what was going on. Even though I'd read the first 5 books in the series, I don't remember exactly why everyone is mad at Percy or who Fleur is. A short paragraph would have helped, although it may not have been following the style of the series. Two years is a long time to wait and expect us to remember the previous book. No, I didn't go back and read #5 before hitting the bookstore.
The thing that has made the last few books interesting though is the British author's penchant for killing off major characters in the story. Although this particular kill-off I felt was transparent. There was way too much fore-shadowing from the middle of the story (but I won't ruin it for you).
July 14, 2005
Estimated cost from local repairmen to replace broken lid switch on washing machine after paying him to look at it.: $125 - $200
Cost of new part from online RepairClinic.Com - $32 with shipping.
Satisfaction of repairing your own major appliance faster than you can get a repair guy to your home: Priceless
Folks, this website is GREAT. You just go to the website, select your make and model number, and select what's wrong. They tell you how to open the appliance (where's the stupid clips!!), how to figure out what's wrong, and then give you pictures of the parts before you order them to know you're getting the right replacement part. The part was $23.95 and with 2-day shipping of $7.95, I had the part and installed it in 5 minutes.
Granted, I'm not afraid of a little electrical repair, but this made my job so much easier, and with the right parts in hand, my repair job wasn't just two wires connected with electrical tape when I was done. I replaced the lid switch and it looks exactly like it did before I started. And just think, no ass crack was involved at all.
June 15, 2005
May 15, 2005
May 08, 2005
If I want to win at tournaments, I'm going to have to work on my stamina, and also work on my own ego/assurance levels so that I don't question my self so much in the opening moves, allowing myself more time toward the endgame.
Well, I'll try not to be TOOO hard on myself, even though my first opponent was 11 years old, and he beat me....sigh. Of course, I beat myself. After giving up a pawn, I viewed my game as hopeless, and didn't try as hard as I should have. Had I hung in there, I may have been able to recover the game...but the psychology of losing that pawn to a stupid tactic (discovered attack/zugzwang combo) that I had already THOUGHT to myself that I should have moved out of before-hand, was too much for me.
May 01, 2005
There - got that out of my system.....
April 27, 2005
It's spring - time for some spring cleaning don't you think? Sony has had me on their Everquest-drip for too long, if you ask me. It's worse than crack, because they keep improving it to make it better for those who stay on it the longest. The nail in the coffin? Veteran Rewards which give increasing skills to people like me who've been around 6 or 7 years. That's right - I started in 1999! Ugh - no more. I need to concentrate more on fewer things.
April 24, 2005
Here is a tulip from my front yard taken with that very lens. This is about the last picture the lens took before she died on me. I can't imagine WHY it's doing this to me....sigh.
April 19, 2005
Well, not much else is going on - I've been playing plenty of chess in my spare time - trying to deepen my book knowledge, and get over some of my weaknesses as a player. Not very exciting for the reader, to be sure. Soon I'll have to hang up the chess pieces at least temporarily in favor of my golf clubs. Now, I'm no golfer, to be sure (I'd be lucky to actually shoot a hole in under 10, even a par 3), but I like to go out anyway and enjoy the day.
April 15, 2005
Now that you're independently wealthy....take some time out for Chess. Come play me a game at http://www.gameknot.com (UPDATE: STAY AWAY FROM GAMEKNOT aka CHESSCOLONY - THEY'RE A BUNCH OF UNPROFESSIONAL DOODY-HEADS!!!)- you can play multiple games at once, and there's a nify IE plugin to tell you when it's your turn. You play at play-by-email speeds (3 days in most cases alloted per move), so you can give games your full attention and make those brilliant moves.
Payment rate: $0.6 per hour
Hours spent surfing: 557.60
Your earnings: $282.19 On the other hand, I've not suffered any loss by using the site, and the miniscule chance that they may actually pay out this month (their second month in full operation) is such that the eternal hopeful in me keeps checking my Paypal account. I figure I'll give up on checking for any money in a few days. Until then, paint me with that 'sucker' brush you've got in your hand. So many people on the Internet have said this is a scam that I don't understand why the site is still there. With this kind of money owed me, I can imagine someone with nothing better to do bringing it to small claims court for judgement against the site owner. From what I understand of them, though, they're probably used to that and don't care.
April 14, 2005
April 13, 2005
April 12, 2005
I can't help but wonder how they're going to get any market penetration, especially since they won't be able to get the hooks into Ebay auctions since they're directly competing with them.
April 10, 2005
Ah, but the cut grass smells sweet, and now that the weeds have been pulled, the garden looks primed and ready for new plantings. The painters have come and powerwashed the deck, and tomorrow they'll sand, prime and paint the trim, sealing the deck on Wednesday. We've already held our first barbecue, and I just know the neighbors will be next. With the IRS savings plan, I may have enough this year to replace the carpet on the main level with oak hardwood flooring and an overlay carpet.. Perhaps I'll paint first...perhaps I won't do any of it..
April 06, 2005
They sent out an email warning of their growing pains on their network. I can imagine - give away free money, invite lots of web traffic...again, watever...obvious. The 'invite' word you need to sign up is 'randomblings'. Benefits for signing up others with your own made up keyword.
April 05, 2005
April 04, 2005
Considering that even Stephen Hawking has admitted to being wrong about black holes (albeit in a different theoretical discussion regarding preservation of informational state) we quiet observers of the science world should remember to keep our eyes and ears tuned to current research. We teach these elements of science to our children, and we should make sure that they get the current theory when we're talking to them, so that they understand just what is meant by the word 'theory'.
April 03, 2005
April 02, 2005
April 01, 2005
March 31, 2005
Now, if you haven't just sent me that email - SHUT UP about Outlook being an insecure mail client. You are just repeating rhetoric and you don't really understand the issues. Why do I use Outlook? Because I can - safely...and it lets me easily do what I want to programmatically. I like it - it's a nice interface, and it does what I need it to do. And Bob? I didn't mean you buddy.
Now, with that out of the way - the saga begins. As some of you know, I play chess at the Free Internet Chess Server (FICS). One of the options at FICS is to email your games to you in PGN format. I had briefly discussed this here on my blog, and I wrongly blamed the FICS software for sending me corrupt PGN games. Last night, user DAV at FICS helped me find the root of the problem, and it wasn't FICS at all. It was Microsoft Outlook trying to be helpful. As usual, good intentions lead to bad results. The solution is to tell Microsoft Outlook not to help you...
Microsoft Outlook seemed to feel that any line of the chess game that started with a check (+) in the first move of a word-wrapped line needed to be cut twice and the move repeated. Don't ask me why...who knows who wrote the stupid line wrap-insertion code for Outlook or what drugs they were on at the time. Suffice it to say that inserting extra moves into the middle of a chess game is not conducive to computerized analysis.
The solution is to tell Microsoft Outlook not to help you, by unclicking an option in the mailer called 'Remove extra line breaks in plain text messages' - which, by the way is NOT what it's doing, since there ARE NO LINE BREAKS in the pgn file that FICS sends out. To set this, go to Tools|Options|Email Options and uncheck the box about a third of the way down labeled [Remove extra line breaks in plain text messages]. Now, this will appear to corrupt all of your game emails without the option to repair them with the manual [Restore line breaks] option. To make it effective, close Outlook and re-open Outlook.
Amazingly, all of your emailed games will now be magically fixed. This was important since I wanted my Outlook to automatically process this inbound mail and send it to Crafty for analysis, and post it automatically to my website when it was done. Now I'll be able to complete that little project.
March 29, 2005
People all shop at Walmart, Sears or Kohls for their clothes. Men's suits and slacks all look alike. Even bikinis are all extremely similar, and I'm beginning to wonder about my sanity because even the bikini fillers are all the same ole thing.
Perhaps I have an innate need for new things because of my desire to always be learning something new. The world isn't so much letting me down as it is pandering to the young blood. Everything old is new again - to them, the next generation. Meanwhile we old people have seen it all before. My son, now 11, is ga-ga over Metallica and Black Sabbath songs from the 1970's era. To him, this stuff is brand new. He's learning to play electric guitar, and this is just the coolest stuff. To me, it's nostalgic.
If you're reading this, I hope I'm not boring you. I know that I can get into a funk and that it rubs off on the blog.....I'm just trying not to feel so old....and I could ramble on for a real long time here....but what's the point? I'm sure if you go back in my 5 years of archives, you'll find a similar rant...there hasn't been anything truly new or interesting since the invention of the World Wide Web.
March 27, 2005
March 25, 2005
You see, ASP.NET needs to recompile the application into a DLL before it starts executing the code (it checks for things like changes to the aspx files before starting up). But if you're using Imersonation, the ASPNET account is not the account being used for this compile operation. Instead, it's the 'NETWORK SERVICE' account, which will need access to the entire application for checking for changed files, and write access to the binaries directory for writing out the .dll. The error you'll get if this problem applies to you is something along the lines of "Access Denied to .[your app path]\ web.config'. Failed to start monitoring file changes.". The fix is to permit 'NETWORK SERVICE' account (local account except on domain controllers - and why are you using a domain controller as a web server, you naughty geek?!?) read access to your entire web site, and write access to where the compiled code is.
Using Integrated Security for your web applications is a good way to build security deep into the site when using SQL Server or other integrated database product. It allows security to pervade the very core of your code, rather than provide only an entry mechanism to your web site. You can and should lock users out of things that they shouldn't have access to, even if your code doesn't allow them to execute code. New bugs, buffer overflows, viruses, and the law of unintended consequences will come back to bite you in the ass if you're not careful, and it's better to apply security at all levels of your design.
March 24, 2005
If Request.QueryString <> "404;http://www.richgautier.com:80/styles/null" Then
Set FileObject = Server.CreateObject( "Scripting.FileSystemObject" )
Set LogStream = FileObject.OpenTextFile (Server.MapPath ("/statistics")& "\-----,txt" ,8, true)
LogStream.WriteLine ("404 on " & Request.QueryString)
as shown in the box. You see, in my stylesheets I added a hack to fix an Internet Explorer CSS Display bug wherein CSS floating elements slice themselves off to match the size of its neighbors when hovering over links in the parent element (div/span). The hack involves pointing to a background image, which forces a redraw....but I didn't want an actual image to be used, so I pointed it to 'null'...which generates a request back to the server for an image that isn't there. I guess that I could create an empty image called null, but that didn't occur to me while I was fixing the 404 redirect page. Oh well, I need a way to track 404's anyway, since GoDaddy.Com doesn't give me the ability to scan my raw log files for free. So, I use ASP to track session and application stats, and visits to my web page, including referers (sp?). Obviously, in the code I am posting here, I've changed the filename I track to -----------. You'll want to make this an actual file on your server if you use it. The 8 represents APPEND mode for opening the file.
March 23, 2005
The article isn't clear, however, as to the applicability toward prime number computation. If any of you reading this know where I can get more information on the new discovery, or a laymen's discussion on its applicability toward public key crypto, please drop a comment and point us in the right direction.
March 22, 2005
March 21, 2005
One thing that this work is doing is helping me to understand page layout more and more, as well as understand some of the nastier CSS bugs in the Internet Explorer display code.
March 20, 2005
...all I can think is that it's going to cost me a new car.The same car has been in a bad accident. It was a few years ago, and my wife got sideswiped by a van trying to make a right turn from the middle lane. It was pretty bad, but the car was mostly fixed up. I found out way too late that the alignment in the front end was permanently damaged, and there's not much I can do about it, save having her frame-pulled. Since I have no way to attribute this particular failure to the accident, I'd end up paying for it myself. Add to this that the hand-brake light has been turning on every time I accelerate from a dead stop and that I hadn't yet gotten my yearly inspection.....all I can think is that it's going to cost me a new car - and Im still paying for the wifes'.
I took her into the shop yesterday (note for others - it seems Firestone doesn't DO check-engine lights on the weekend, although I don't know why, since that's when people WANT their cars to be worked on.) and it costs $79.50 for them to pull the code out of the computer and look it up [probably on the Internet, for all I know]. They said the code represented a failure in a torque or acceleration sensor or something like that, so they removed and tested the sensor....which passed muster.
The car passed inspection, the brake light was an easy fix (low on brake fluid) and they turned off the code on the computer. Everything's fine and dandy with the car, except for that alignment thing on the front-left wheel...crisis averted...for now. Computers are great, except when they cost you money when they wrongly report a failure. The shop guy suggested that maybe the sensor just had a disconnect and replugging it in fixed it...we'll see. Stupid computer...at least it forced me to have the inspection and brakes done.
March 17, 2005
March 16, 2005
Next on my list is Shadow Counter. I finished Chapter 1, and it seems to be an interesting story about a blackjack card counter. It's an older book that I've just never gotten around to reading. We'll see how it goes, and if it has enough raw information in it to keep me aroused (no pun intended here, but feel free to write your own joke).
Activity Points: 96
Payment rate: $0.45 per hour
Hours spent surfing: 158.63
Your earnings: $71.42
This morning - image links on their server are not working and their home page states that "Surf Junky is experiencing some unexpected downtime." If I were a gambling man - I'd give 50-50 odds that they're gone (they should not have had to disappear until 15Apr before not paying us......so thats why 50-50 odds). No more Surf Junky updates until at least 15 Apr...I'll let you know if I get paid, but don't hold your breath, I'm not going to...
UPDATE: Update to the update - they appear to be back online this afternoon...
March 15, 2005
Soon, there will be such a method. A pair of engineers in London have come up with a "building in a bag" -- a sack of cement-impregnated fabric. To erect the structure, all you have to do is add water to the bag and inflate it with air. Twelve hours later the Nissen-shaped shelter is dried out and ready for use.
It's nice to know that computer technology is not the only place that people are making strides. There are many, many problems facing our earth, and it's good to know that people are out there in other fields working at solutions. Too often, people think that computers are some kind of magic solution to all of their problems, applicability be damned. Well, computers don't build buildings, well - not yet....
Would you rather:
1. be responsible for an oil tanker crash off the coast of alaska OR cause a rebellion in a developing nation? That's an easy one. Human suffering is much more preferable to animal suffering. After all, animals are innocent creatures. After the Valdez incident, I've had a lot of pent-up emotion over just what we did to the wildlife in that region. Also, the rebellion would obviously benefit SOMEONE, whereas the oil tanker crash would hurt everyone in the region.
2. get locked out of your house while naked OR throw up all over yourself in the middle of an important meeting? Another soft ball. Throwing up on yourself is the most disgusting, sickening thing I can think of. Getting locked out of your house is something we've all done (or will do), and being naked is no big deal. I think I'd definitely be able to laugh about it later...but I wouldn't even be able to THINK about throwing up on myself without a recurrence.
3. wake up to find your feet have grown two sizes OR hair all over your back that grows back every night? A woman wrote this question, right? I'm a man, of COURSE I'd rather have 2 more shoe sizes to contend with.
4. eat nothing but cheese for a week OR only chinese food for two months? I think I've done this - or at least something similar. I was in the military for a few years, and ate the same food day in and day out at the mess hall at several locations. Who doesn't love Chinese Food? (Well, I'm originally from New York, so maybe that has something to do with it...?)
I think I'm seeing the limits of my own intellect, and I'm not happy about the limitations. Studying chess, piano, CSS, ASP.NET, HTML and writing, along with handling day to day life, the rigors of my job and family, are too much for my little brain to handle.
Perhaps I need to read more. In that vein, I'm halfway through a book I picked up in a discount book store - American Roulette. It's the first-hand account of a man who made his living cheating casinos at roulette, craps and blackjack over a period of 25 or 30 years. Let's see if reading helps. I'm going to try to read more books for enjoyment.
March 14, 2005
March 13, 2005
I have found the true enemy of man - it is Time. Or perhaps it is a sign of the times or the world in which we live that it has become such a pronounced enemy. There are so many things that I want to do, that I want to make time for, but there are not enough hours in the day. And each moment that I spend giving time to one pursuit, the rest of my pursuits slip away neglected.
I'm feeling this way because this weekend I spent a lot of time with my son. I love spending time with him. We went to play laser tag at LaserQuest near Potomac Mills mall. I always win (see scoresheet - I'm BlackHat - he's Ace), and he idolizes me begrudgingly. That's the part I like. The old man still has something on his son. I'm still the big guns in the family, and don't you forget it bub!
At the same time that we were at LaserQuest, at the movies (Robots), and walking 2 or 3 miles through the park today, things weren't getting done...my taxes, piano practice, chess practice, badly needed blog redesign work, coding study, picture taking (well, ok I took some at the park), book reading, bill paying, research for new business, playing with the dog (we took him to the park too...), needed indoor repainting, needed outdoor repainting, and so on ad infinitum.
Do others feel the crunch of time as I do? Or am I poorly out of tune with what the world expects of me and I've become overly self-indulgent? The older I get, the more things I have to do, and the more un-completed things I leave behind. For each hobby I have kept over the years, there are numerous ones I've not garnered enough steam on starting. I look at what others have completed in less time on the earth than I, and I am sincerely jealous at their hard work and perserverance. If I had the focus and drive to be as successful as people like Michael Dell or Bill Gates, would I have the other good things in my life? Is it all a trade-off, and have I made the right trades?
Maybe I'm not approaching a mid-life crisis. Maybe I'm smack in the middle of one. As Elizabeth Forsythe Hailey said "Time is a cruel thief to rob us of our former selves. We lose as much to life as we do to death." And Mason Cooley said, "Regret for wasted time is more wasted time." So I guess I'll stop wasting time and move on to the next task. Till tomorrow....
Activity Points: 72
Payment rate: $0.45 per hour
Hours spent surfing: 120.67
Your earnings: $54.32
Keep checking back - I will keep you abreast of whatever happens with this. I am making sure not to cheat, use refreshers or anything that might get me banned. I'm following all their rules as best I can.
March 12, 2005
March 11, 2005
March 09, 2005
Here's the code for the attacking link:
(hackerPC address changed to protect the stupid)
Note that the link sends you to Ebay's signin service! If you click on the link, you actually end up on Ebay's signin page! And clicking on the Certificate Info verifies that the actual SSL session is indeed being held with Ebay's normal signin service....so what's going on here?
The hacker is using Ebay's own scripts against them. Apparently the RedirectToDomain command is meant to pass the user credentials to the hacker's configured PC at 127.0.0.1 (real hacker address in the email!) where the script eBayISAPI.php is waiting for the user to arrive. Potentially, if eBay's login server is stupid enough, it will pass the user's credentials to the specified redirected URL.
This is a fairly sophisticated phishing attack. Potentially the hacker might not even end up getting your password. Maybe they get an internal authentication code for your eBay account that allows them to act as if they were logged in to your account, by passing those authenticated signals on to other eBay servers (in specially formatted HTTP requests).
While I've notifed eBay (at
March 07, 2005
If you haven't already - check out the 'What is this' contest two blog entries down - no one has gotten it yet ;)
UPDATE: My Surf Junky total passed $25 today (3/8/2005). I have not used Firefox or cheated in any way. I'm going to leave it running until their 'payday'. Here are the current stats as of 12:55 EST:
Activity Points: 33
Payment rate: $0.45 per hour
Hours spent surfing: 55.64
Your earnings: $25.04
March 06, 2005
March 05, 2005
I'll post more pics later - I'm still going through them all - the curse of having a digital camera - information overload - you can take pictures of EVERYTHING, but eventually you have to sort through them all.
March 02, 2005
February 28, 2005
So, I got on my ticketed flight which should have left at 4:30 or so. We got in the air 2 hours later, after two de-icings (one of which was held up due to broken down de-icing equipment), and the fixing of some frozen flaps on the airplane. Well, I'm alive, and my bags made it in good stead (hours earlier than I did), so I had to walk from gate 4 to gate 25 to pick them up...sigh.
I picked up my bags and checked my cellphone for messages. My 3PM stock alerts were all bad news (not that Im worried about them..they're solid) and the news of the day says a suicide bomber in Iraq took out 115 people and injured more than 100 more.
For those of you who believe in karma - I believe now is the time I should pick up a lottery ticket, am I right? Good night folks - I'm heading for some sleep.
February 27, 2005
February 26, 2005
Alabama / Alaska / Arizona / Arkansas / California / Colorado / Connecticut / Delaware / Florida / Georgia / Hawaii / Idaho / Illinois / Indiana / Iowa / Kansas / Kentucky / Louisiana / Maine / Maryland / Massachusetts / Michigan / Minnesota / Mississippi / Missouri / Montana / Nebraska / Nevada / New Hampshire / New Jersey / New Mexico / New York / North Carolina / North Dakota / Ohio / Oklahoma / Oregon / Pennsylvania / Rhode Island / South Carolina / South Dakota / Tennessee / Texas / Utah / Vermont / Virginia / Washington / West Virginia / Wisconsin / Wyoming / Washington D.C. /"
BUT (the catch) if you're using Interdev or Visual Studio .NET, and you don't have FrontPage, you're out of luck! You need VS.NET to manage your ASPX files, and your code, etc, but you'll also need FrontPage Explorer (ONLY comes with FrontPage, mind you) to manage your directory permissions.
February 25, 2005
In other news, know that the Response.Redirect directive stops processing your ASP code right then and there, so if there's any code that needs to execute, it needs to be executed before the Redirect. I had incorrectly assumed that Response.Redirect would just write out a redirect to the user, and continue processing the asp file, but I learned that it doesn't when I tried to do a Session.Abandon afterwards, and the Sessions weren't closing out on the server.
February 24, 2005
Quickly, I assigned my credits to manual mode surfers only. Perhaps one will stop by my site and like it enough to stick around. Don't know if I'm going to sit and earn credits there, though. Most every site I get sent to is yet ANOTHER click-for-credit/cash site. So, I don't think my time is well spent.
The one thing I've enjoyed so far about BlogExplosion and BlogClicker is that it feels more community oriented. I read about other people's lives, and they come here and read my random nonsense. I've even personally connected with a few of them by email. It's pleasant, and it's what I wanted out of my blog - personal contact - not impersonal advertising hype. If you have a blog, I'd suggest these latter two programs (links on the left under Thanks...). Talk at you later.
February 23, 2005
As consumers, what we'd like is for someone to come out with an inkjet printer that welcomes refills. It could come with an interchangeable print cartridge and a cleaning kit that would help you keep it in optimum working condition. You could buy the refillable ink, and soak the cartridge overnight to help clear up any clogs in the ink delivery.
Sooner or later, your cartridge is going to clog though, so I understand at least part of what HP is trying to do in expiring their cartridges. But we are a nation, nay a world, of penny pinchers. The freedom to use something until its dying breath is something we hold dear. Imagine being told that your car is no longer usable after 150,000 miles. For many, that seems quite reasonable. But to the guy on the bridge trying to get to work late at 9:30AM Monday, as his odometer rolls over? It's a different story. Folks, this should be an engineering principle. Never design something that forces the consumer to take an action that would deny them the freedom to ignore your 'suggestion'. After all, when's the last time you changed your oil at the 3,000 mile mark?
February 22, 2005
HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! OMG! ROTFL! :)
Ok, that's never going to happen! The company that does that will be cutting off its nose to spite its future profits, after all...Of course, they could go in the complete opposite direction and purposefully force you to purchase their ink cartridges to continue using their printer. But would they? According to: Yahoo! News - Lawsuit Says HP Printer Cartridges Die Before Use a woman is suing HP because, as she claims, the cartridges for her printer "expire on a certain date, in some cases rendering them useless before they are even installed in a printer". Now that's certainly one way to ensure future profit! I wonder what dumb, stupid, ignorant, son of a bitch thought up that one - and how soon he/she'll be fired.
Seriously, though, this is definitely an area where consumers need to force manufacturers to get in step with our needs. Hell, it's cheaper to buy a new printer FOR FREE!!!! from Tiger Direct after rebate than it is to refill the printer cartridges in your old one. How silly is it that we manufacture throw-away electronics? They're not only giving them away, but they have been for years! My first color printer was a free-after-rebate deal from CompUSA. Come on, people, there has got to be some economic common sense applied here. The economy isn't going to get better if we manufacture goods, ship them, support them, etc... and make no money doing it. And why? To make sure that you have to come back for more ink? Well, if your company gave me a printer for free, why wouldn't the other company give me a printer for free when yours runs out of ink? Don't you think that somewhere down the line someone's going to figure it all out?
February 21, 2005
The Internet is like a library on LSD. You can read the writings of others, in real time, indexed or not (through Google or Yahoo, for example), and you can get lost in it. The only problem with this is that the web is becoming more and more self-referential. Don't get me wrong - I have nothing against the authors who have commented on the blogging phenomenon. But so much has been said about blogging - so many products and ideas support the phenomenon, that it's all becoming rather self-serving. There's programs where you can visit others blogs in return for having them visit your blog. There's comment software that allows you to obtain comments on your blog so that others can post comments and have links back to their blog, and so on and so on.
One thing that is the same as that visit to the library is the sense of over-abundance. There are simply too many books in a library or book store to be able to read them all in a lifetime. And there are simply too many programs and links on the Internet to follow them all. Too Much Information is more than just a witty saying; it is more a fact of life now. We are bombarded with media, opinions, left and right political agendas, self-referential writers patting themselves on the back, or media making fun of how liberal the media is!
Since I write a blog, I have been thinking, just what should my focus be? How should I concentrate my own writings on topics that are important to me, without getting caught up in the linking, referring, and cross-linking to other links that will lead you to other blogs, that will eventually lead you back here. Am I doing you a favor, or am I overloading you with information. Today, I signed up for several programs in the Blogverse - Blogazoo and Blogshares. As I thought of adding their links over in my 'Thanks' column, I visited other blogs through their links. I came across some that had reference/program links all over their page. And for every inch they had given up, their content was that much smaller. You have to wonder...is content king? If so, how much advertising is enough? Certainly there are bloggers out there who have overdone it. And do I really care if you visit my blog? After all, isn't just one of my hobbies?
Questions lead to more questions. Trying to find answers to all of this will drive me to read more. That reading will lead to more questions, and so on....welcome to my library. Good luck escaping.