Thursday 25 March 2004


How bitchin is this: I'm on Dulcea in Windows XP and I'm running xmms which is a client running from Chevette and talking to the X11 server on Dulcea. If that ain't cross-platform, then you tell me what is.

I'm using Cygwin/X which was super easy. I just installed it including the networking bundle (stripped down a bit cause I can) and the Xfree86 bundle. I also got to spam the cygwin/x project lead on IRC too. It was cool.

So now if I can get wine and winex going as easily, it won't really matter what operating system I boot.

Friday 19 March 2004

Lost a Week There

Don't know where it went, but its gone ... Insert some lame angsty bitching about work, school, and other crap that a person should keep to themself if you want to hear about my week. It boils down to 'it was party on Saturday ... and now its Friday'.

Today ... or was it last night? I compiled PHP 5 rc 1. Fuck, that actually stopped the seggies. Jeepers. Whodda thunk that stable releases would add stability? Probably still need a major review/rewrite of the DBO class, but unless I learn how to cast the mage spell 'superior maximize free time', I've got shit going. Sucks.

I've been fighting with OSs this week too. Kinda fun, mostly suck. So last week I had the pleasure of seeing Michael thrash until X died. This week, I don't know what I did to Dick (my machine at work ... named for Philip K. Dick, okay?), but Gnome ASAD. So I fdisked and installed Fedora Core 1 off the LAN... And it was good.

The Gnome under my personal login at home died. WTF? Gnome worked as other users (and root) so I just x-fowarded my apps on the localhost from my work login for a while and then poked around with my personal login's settings ... And then it started working again. Fucking Kangaroos.

*And* then this morning X wouldn't start on Dick. WTF ?!? Je suis le tired. There it didn't work under any user (root or otherwise). I was about to fdisk again when I said to myself: "Self, are you a smokin-idiot?"

Sure enough, the answer was "yes". What's the one thing you *must* be mindful of when firewalling? Hmmm? Did you say "the localloop?" You did? Good. Cause that's exactly what I omitted after fdisking on Thursday. I was already logged in when I brought that firewall up and hence Gnome worked fine all day. Of course X wouldn't start this morning though.

So all that was fun and good. Mandrake is a bit fucked up. I really enjoy their package and system config tools, however they omit odd programs. Like xdm. That's part-and-parcel with a normal X11 implementation according to the man page... But xdm I can live without. There's other things though, like lsof and whois. Easy to install, sure, but off all the things, why weren't those there? Just odd.

All-in-all, I rate Mandrake as 'Yay! It's a Linux OS. Woo.' All I have to do now is hop on the Linux 2.6 bandwagon. Everyone on 2.6 that I've spoken to have had good things to say. I'm sure running 2.6 is much better then getting kicked square in the tomatoes.

Anyhow, I'm going back to my school work. I just wanted to rant a little while. Do a little dance!

Sunday 14 March 2004

Thrashing is Somewhat Sucky

The last little while I've been making Michael earn his keep. Primarily by ripping CDs to the network drive for music fun goodness. I've got all my CDs done and a mess of the Wendawg's as well. Definitely got Grip setup properly now. I have the ripping and encoding re-niced such that, well they're both below 0 so my normal use of the computer isn't affected, but also such that ripping only stays slightly ahead of the encoding thus minimizing disk usage by the ripped .wav files.

And speaking of disk space, I finally got Snort (and Snarf) installed properly on Michael in Mandrake (9.2 for what its worth). Great. So I started cranking open the snort alert logs I've got for school (which I'll get back to in a minute). The thing I failed to notice was that snort is enabled on boot by default after installation on Mandrake. Now I do almost *everything* over the lan with NFS and SMB both of which are (correctly) logged by snort as they are both dangerous to system and network security. After a *very* short amount of time, my computer started having hissy fits. 'What is this?' I say. 'X won't start? Oh my. Why is that?'

Well, good old df -h / to the rescue. Sure enough, my root partition was full. 'That fucking sucks', says I, 'what ate my disc?' Now I didn't clue in that it might be snort since I have a tendency of filling the drive if left to my own devices (ha ha) so a little bit of the old du -sh /* to figure out where the space went led me right to the snort logs.

Okay snort, you can suckit. I shut off snort, disabled it from running on boot and gave its alert logs a we spot of the rm -Rf. Sure enough, the 1.6GB of free space I had thought I had showed back up. Bloody marvelous. Now everything works like a charm.

Now that problem cropped only after some uptime. The *other* fun problem I had was in processing the snort alert log with snarf. The first file I tried to run it on was 352,584 lines long (1 line per alert). So I started up snarf and looked at my memory usage off and on as it went to 200 megs, 300, 500, 700 and seemed to hold steady at 700 for a while... And I do mean a while. After an hour or so I said fuckit and went to bed.

The next morning, my shell politely informs me that snarf was terminated by -9 signal (a.k.a. -KILL). Well that sucks, says I. So I nice it up and leave snarf running. An hour and a half later, X stops responds. Fucking marvelous. I then notice that gkrellm is showing that the CPU is basically *only* handling IO requests. Hmm I wonder what could have happened. Maybe snarf ate through my gig of ram and token 128M of swap and then started thrashing? I think so. The kernel happily killed that process however poor X didn't survive the incident. All Michael's peripherals were seized so I couldn't even get to a virtual terminal. So I shelled in and was able to gracefully reboot the system thus restoring us to the happy land where keyboards and mice aren't just objets d'art.

In summary: thrashing sounds cool but it's more cool in the 'lets watch that on tv' and not in the 'I want to do this at home' kind of way.

Thursday 11 March 2004

Ooo! Is it a virus?

Today I got a virus in my email. It was great. I got an email that read 'open the attached document'. So I opened the attached 'your_document.pif'. *shrug* Don't know what the heck that was about. No program associated with .pif in Gnome so I just cat'd it. Wasn't terribly exciting I'm afraid.

Speaking of catching viruses, I've ranted about this one a couple times, hopefully not too loud, but there's another email virus out this week again. W32/Netsky and variants.

This virus starts on an infected computer by scanning it for email addresses.

For each email address, it takes the domain portion (e.g. for ' it takes '') and then crafts a letter from an official administrative-looking source. So the letter reads something like:

"From Hotmail Staff: We are going to be shutting down our mail servers blah blah blah to blah blah the mail servers blah blah. Thanks from"

Now the *brilliant*, it's genius, part is that it says there is an attached file with a password '34523'. The attached file is a password-protected zip file. The password protection conveniently prevents many anti virus programs from scanning it.

In this zip file is the payload. The first instance I ran into, it was a text file with a url and as far as I know, the url is for a page where the user fills out her email address and password. The current variant of the virus just has an infecting program in the zip file instead and assumedly harvests passwords on its own.

So that sounds fun. Lets review:

  1. User receives good official-looking email (yes, it is fairly slick),
  2. User then has to read a password from the email,
  3. User then has to open the attachment,
  4. *Then* has to use password to unlock attachment,
  5. And in the later cases she is infected, however:
  6. In the former cases she has to copy a url from a text document,
  7. Paste it in a browser,
  8. *Then* gets to a form that asks for her password information (presumably on some foreign domain as well).

Needless to say, this virus is spreading like wildfire.

Monday 1 March 2004

Sweet Dreams and Heroin

Here's a point-in-case about how lame my dreams are. Last night, I dreamt that my sister was in town so we were going to go out for drinks. Before heading out, I discovered that I had the on-call phone and it wasn't my turn, so we were going to have to go to New West to drop it off first.

Yippee! Dangerous! Exciting! Never before seen on TV!

Now one of my co-workers dreamt last night that I suggested we shoot smack and go mountain biking. So up we went, all smacked up and on the hill. Then we were hanging out with a bunch of people, one of which was an undercover cop. Everyone knew he was an undercover cop except me. People were asking him 'are you an undercover cop?' and he'd say 'no, no.'. When he was walking away, I was so confident that I sparked up a jag. So he noticed the smell and came back apparently as I had a needle out. So, clever as I am, I stuck the needle behind my leg only to stick myself. At this point I handed the skag to my co-worker just in time for the undercover cop to catch him with the shit and arrest his sorry ass.

See *that* is a dream. Not the stupid "oh, this is what's going to happen in a few weeks" crap that I always get.

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