And then my computer collapsed into a networking singularity

April 28th, 2005

I’m running my regular kick tail machine for my workstation. It’s a 3ghz processor with 1 gb memory and some 320GB of disk.

It’s awesome… I have one of my 160GB disks up to almost 145GB of useage… that’s using the technology you’ve paid for.

With the extra processing power I’ve started a virtual machine running a debian server. It’s hosting some test servers for work, and a mp3 server with all my songs on it.

The idea will be eventually to get around to using a real machine that’s laying about to run the “family’s server” with scheduling, media, whatnot.

But here’s the coolness. All my mp3’s are on my whomp 160 gig drive on the windows 2000 box. So from the debian mp3 server, I do a samba (windows) mount of my mp3s. Then I use the web browser to select the music I want to play (because it’s so much easier/faster then using windows explorer).

So I’m making a web request to a machine (that is a virtual machine) to get an mp3 to stream to my computer from a virtual machine (on my computer) that is getting the source from a windows share that’s on my machine.

It’s stupid and dizzying and cool and it’s prime to collapse into some sort of technology singularity that will invariably such sweat loads of time in.

Dexter says

April 26th, 2005

Today while putting on his shoes getting ready to go to day care this morning at 8:50 or so, he put a funny twist on an old favorite:

“Don’t know why, Dexter has to go to work again”

Dex says

April 25th, 2005

D:”Mommy, Mommy your butt. You have a flower on your butt”

M:”Yes, Yes, I do”

[5 second pause]

D:”mmm it’s pretty nice”

M:”Thanks”

The Official God FAQ

April 25th, 2005

I love it… I saw the link to it saying “The Offical God Faq” and I figured it would be comprehensive… then I went there, and it was.

The Official God FAQ

This is a great site.

So my year long uptime run was in jeapordy.

April 24th, 2005

I went to make a quick change for mariel (something that she had put in print had an extra www. on the front of her mariel.slowburn.net website url) and I crashed the servers.

eww.

Apache wouldn’t restart… it said that the addresses had already been bound. I was just floored. I tried rolling back my conf files… and now that it’s all over it’s painfully obvious. After about 10 minutes of flopping around, I went to the bathroom.

When I came back, I called the boss for an extra set of eyes – this is a common practice for me, I probably could have called in mariel and just talked to her. It’s easy to think you’re insane when things look too weird.

So the machine told me “Apache can’t start you idiot, someone is already listening on that port”. I looked, and apache wasn’t running. Nothing was running that should have had those ports.

I kill name service. I kill mail server. I kill smnpd. I kill mysql. I try again. It tells me the same thing. I look to see what active connections are up and low and behold there’s still active port 80 connections… “How is that possible?” I ask Charles. He asks “What is zbind?” I say: “Zbind is just bind 8 or 9 or whatever… it’s the name servi… no I’m wrong. zbind is not good.” Google confirms that… it’s a bug. Slapper worm.

I type `killall zbind`

and apache starts up right as rain.

My machine has been patched since shortly after the notifies went out long long time ago. So, I must have just been infected before I got to the patch. It was a nice bug though. I am very thankful that it was one of those cute little bugs, because from the look of it, they probably could have done just about anything they wanted before I patched.

The bug waited for commands on some port that wouldn’t have been let through our firewall, but I wonder why they couldn’t have just made a modified apache that reacted to very specialized requests on port 80? egh…

I’m not much of a sysadmin these days, my hairs are split too thin.

How to feel secure in 1 easy step

April 24th, 2005

I have a lot of issues with the concept of security… well, let me restate that. I think I have an exceptional clarity on the subject of security.

I think I’ve reached this level of clarity from the despair of feeling extremely insecure (in all senses of the word) which forced me to resolve the issue and acknowledge reality.

So it’s a re-occuring theme that I see in other people (and our society) where they are very concerned about safetly and security, but they haven’t taken much time to think about it. I think most rational people have little trouble jumping over the line once they think about it for more then two shakes of a pointy stick. Once on the other side the obsurdity of the topic is apparent all over… and most of it is comedic.

Because it’s been nagging the heck out of me… I’ll go ahead and write down the observation that I can’t get out of my head lately, and I think it has something to do with security. It might actually have nothing to do, but it’s the only theme I could fit this observation under, and I need to purge it from the thought cache.

Master Locks are “Tough Under Fire”, and they can withstand a bullet.

But I wonder… if someone has a gun, why would they use that on the lock? Why don’t they just go get you and make you open it with the key, or give up the combination? The whole point is to lock something up that’s valueable to you, but what’s more valueable then your life (that could be locked up of course… babies don’t count)?

People feel secure because they know they could lock something up real tight… or password protect their corporate intranet. But the weakest link is always the balance between things that are alive and things that are not. Save Toby

The memorial site

April 24th, 2005

Just sitting around and thinking about work and stuff…

And I think we should go after the “online memorial” business.

I haven’t seen anything out there and jeeze could there be a lot of money involved. I say that because I think it would be really clean money.

Like offering a service that helps people deal with a loss… and at a fraction of the cost of some incredulously ornate inceneration box or something. Those funeral people are dirty dirty people – I’m sure there’s some nice people in the industry, but the opportunity to take advantage of people who are in a horrible place is just too great for their not to be sleezy sales people.

So yeah…. I should walk down trapelo road here because there are about 16 funeral homes in a mile from my house. Basically just show them a couple of options that they could throw onto what ever packages they already offer.

Like… there could just be the “obituary page” and then next level up is the “memorial blog” and then the “memorial bulletin board” and then the “streaming of funeral services”.

And like how much would that help people deal with the loss? I’m thinking a lot. Caliean’s site has gotten a really great response, and I think that it’s helped a lot of people have a place to go and remember and celebrate this one kid’s life… and a lot of people who aren’t really any where close to each other (personally or) geographically. I can’t think of any way that it detracts from any one’s grieving process.

It may just be that this particular instance is one that really meshed with the medium, but I think it would be a great way to make money doing something that could make a positive difference. I have to talk the boss into hiring some marketiers.

clevescene.com | Kill Bill (Printable) | 2005-03-30

April 23rd, 2005

clevescene.com | Kill Bill (Printable) | 2005-03-30

Here’s a good story about a college student who got tangled up in some of Microsoft’s copyriche litigation and he took the time to fight back and ended up causing a lot of problems.

Good stuff.

I’m confounded by the desire of the legal system to offer protections to companies. Corporate entities that go blow for blow against people… individuals getting sued by Microsoft – from 1000 feet up that seems like a ridiculous thing to allow.

How much damage could one person do? And lets talk about a person who has blatent malicious intent… Like I would think it would very obvious when that person had caused damage to a company making billions a year…

I guess I just have no respect for the big guy. The social fiber seem to be designed to support the biggest of those it holds, and everything else is outside looking in or trying to hang on.

60 Best Firefox Extensions

April 22nd, 2005
 

THE EXTENSION GUIDE

Please note Firefox & Thunderbird are currently going through an
Extension/Theme installation process change, so you may have some
issues, just make sure to match the version you have installed with the
installer version available from each extension below.

==============================================

Firefox, Mozilla & Thunderbird Extensions:

BBCode: “Adds a context menu for easy access to BBCODE/XHTML/HTML formating in Forums (Firefox/Mozilla Suite/Netscape 7.x)”

BugMeNot: “Enables a context menu to access the community maintained database of usernames and passwords of BugMeNot.”

ChromEdit:
the User File Editor – lets you customise your Mozillan Application by
allow you to edit your userChrome.css, userContent.css or user.js,
without the hassle of finding your profile.

Extension Uninstaller:
Found this little puppy to uninstall older plugins and it worked like a
charm, enjoy. Installing is a little ackward, you have to install the
api also separately and it’s in the old plugin style but it works. (To
see this plugin listed under newer Firefox/Thunderbird builds, install
the “Show Old Extensions” extension)

Launchy:
Launchy will enable you to open links and mailto’s with external
applications. Both browsers, media players, FTP clients and download
managers are supported.

Linky:
“Linky will increase your power to handle links. It will let you open
or download all or selected links, image links and even web addresses
found in the text in separate or different tabs or windows.”

Mozilla Calendar: A fairly decent calendar/appointment app with support for local or remote iCal standards.

Preferential: “Aims to provide you with a simple, accessible GUI that allows the modification of any preference set within that environment.”

SwitchProxy Tool:
“SwitchProxy is a Mozilla tool you can use to organize all your
proxies. You can add, edit and remove them from a single master list.
When you need to use one, just select it from the list and click
apply.”

URIid:
“The URIid extension makes it possible to create CSS rules based on the
site you are visiting. This is useful when specific sites do not render
correctly or are simply not visually appealing.” – Sample available here

===============================================

Firefox & Mozilla Extensions:

AdBlock:

When configured properly can block virtual 99.9% of all banner ads very
easily. With tremendous support for regular expressions, flash, iframe
and collapsing the areas that have been hidden.

Alt-Text for Link:
“Displays links’ destination URLs in a tooltip window. Based on Hiroshi
Shimoda’s Popup Alt for Images extension. If a link has a title
attribute, then the title will override the URL address.”

CuteMenus:
“CuteMenus is an extension for Mozilla Firebird and Mozilla Sute. It
will add icons to the most menu-items in your popus and menus.” A
slightly modified version of this extension is available on Aaron Spuler’s Site, this version adds some kewl features like allowing you to pick different sets of cute images to use, etc.

Download Statusbar: This plugins moves the download status of files to a new area just about the status bar, with autohide, etc..

FlashGot:
“FlashGot is a free Mozilla/Firefox extension, meant to handle single
and massive (‘all’ and ’selection’) downloads with several external
Download Managers.”

ForecastFox:
“ForecastFox is a highly customizable Firefox extension that brings
weather forecasts to your browser. Use it to display the current
conditions and the forecast up to 9 days ahead. It is a light weight
alternative to external programs which use too much memory. It
currently uses an international weather service provided by The Weather
Channel.”

Gmail Notifier: “Allows checking for new Gmail messages directly from the browser’s UI.”

GoogleBar: Adds a google bar to the browser with a ton of options.

Html Validator: “The extension is based on Tidy. This program, Tidy, was originally developed by the Web Consortium W3C.”

Named Anchors: “This extension adds a new tab to Page Info with information about the named anchors in the current document.”

Popup ALT: Nice to have the good old Alt tag popups back.

Reload Every:
“The Reload Every extension adds an option to the context menu (the
menu you obtain by right clicking on the web page you’re currently
viewing) to reload the web page you are viewing every so many seconds
or minutes. This can be handy if you have a page with for example
sports scores, news or stock quotes and want to refresh them
automatically.”

ScrapBook: “ScrapBook is a Mozilla/Firefox extension, which helps you to save Web pages and easily manage collections.”

SessionSaver: “Adds great crash recovering and undo close tab features.”

Statusbar Clock: Adds the date and time to your status bar in any format you want.

Tabbrowser Extensions:
This “little” dittie adds a TON of tab browsing options and tweaks.
Though I used tab browsing before, this extension has converted me from
a multi-window user to a permanent tab browsing freak.

Text Link:
This will allow you to double-click on plain text urls on pages and it
will open them up. Very useful when annoying url’s aren’t href’d
properly, etc.

undoclosetab: “undoclosetab allows recently closed tabs to be reopened.”

User Agent Switcher:
Allows you to change the User Agent String that is sent to websites,
(BTW, sending the user agent string to sites is a standard browser
behavior/feature.)

Web Developer: This puppy adds a developers wet dream of options, a true must have for developers beginner or advanced.

WebMailCompose:
“Makes mailto: links load your webmail’s compose page and adds a
Compose link to the context menu. Currently supports
GMail/Yahoo/Hotmail/Mail.com and 1 user customizable.” – This extension
was formally known as YahooCompose

Yahoo! Companion:
“The idea of this project is to build the popular Yahoo! Companion for
Gecko-based browsers such as Mozilla Firefox, the Mozilla Suite or
Netscape.”

=============================================

Firefox Only Extensions:

Bookmark Backup: Backs up your bookmarks when closing your browser.

Configuration Mania:
allows you easily to configure various hidden preferences and to force
the extensions and the no-longer-required chromes uninstalled which has
not uninstaller.

Context Highlight: “Allows you to quickly and easily highlight all instances of your current text selection within the current page.”

Disable Targets For Downloads:
“Lots of web-pages set their download links to use target=”_blank”,
which causes a new (blank) window to appear in Firefox and Mozilla, as
well as starting the download. When you click a link, it’s target
attribute is removed for these specific file extensions: .zip .rar .exe
.tar .jar .xpi .gzip .gz .ace .bin”

Download Manager Tweak:
“The extension allows the Firefox download manager to be opened in a
separate window, the sidebar, or a tab. The extension also modifies the
default appearance of the download manager to make it more concise and
intuitive.”

Favicon Picker:
I usually don’t post extensions unless they have support homepage, etc.
but this one adds a much needed property to each bookmark to let you
erase or assign favicon. This is important now that favicon are now
stored with the bookmarks and this code is still a little flaky. This
extension will help clean the flakiness. Just download/install from the
directory.

FoxyTunes:
This extension adds direct audio playback for almost any Media player
to Firefox. By default the controls are placed in your statusbar.

Linkification:

“Linkification highlights and linkifies plain text links, either on
page load or by pressing ctrl+alt+L if automatic linkification is
disabled from the Options menu. It surrounds plain text URLs with
anchor tags.”

Listzilla: Outputs either a plain text or HTML file that lists all installed themes or extensions.

Make Link:
(the update is a Alpha/Beta release) If your always posting url’s to
sites or in html postings, this will help you build the href, etc.

Mime Type Editor: “Mozilla’s Helper Application preference panel as a stand alone extension for Firefox.”

MR Tech Local Install: Adds Extension and Theme local install options from the File menu, shortcut key and the Themes & Extension manager window.

Remove It Permanently (RIP):
“Rip (Remove it Permanently) provides the ability to point at and
remove permanently any item you can select. It provide a flexible and
easily configurable solution to removing unwanted content from a web
page.”

Sage: “a lightweight RSS and ATOM feed aggregator extension for Mozilla Firefox.”

TabMix:

Replace all your other Tab preference extensions, this sucker is
awesome. MR Tech Note: You can also disable the undoCloseTab extension.

Tabbrowser Preferences: “This extension adds GUI options to change some of the hidden tab browser preferences available in Firefox.”

TargetAlert:
“If a hyperlink points to a something that is not a web page, then
TargetAlert will try to append an icon to the hyperlink that represents
its destination.”

Toolbar Enhancements: “This extension adds many useful extra toolbar buttons, and makes toolbars more configurable”

View Cookies:
“you will find a new Cookies-tab in the Page Info dialog box. You can
open the Page Info dialog box by selecting Page Info in the Tools
menu.”

============================================

Firefox & Thunderbird Extensions:

EMbuttons:
This little puppy adds a few things: 1) buttons that you can add to
your toolbar, 2)the ability to open themes or extensions in the sidebar
or tab, 3) shortcut keys to open themes/extension (ctrl-shift-t &
ctrl-shift-e) and 4) the ability to sort the list of themes/extensions.

Minimize to Tray:

“A powerful extension to minimize Windows versions of Firefox and
Thunderbird to the system tray.” I find this extension to work best
with Thunderbird since it’s only really one main window (though opened
messages can be minimized too). For Firefox this extension almost give
you back the Quick Launch feature that was disabled a while back. While
it’s not a Quick Launch feature, open on window and minimizing will
make subsequent window launches much faster, the only caveat is that
you can minimize sever windows, just put your cursor over the icon to
read the document’s title.

Show Old Extensions: Handy tool for seeing what old extensions are still running under the new Extension ragime.

Slim Extension List: “Makes items in extension list shorter, so you can see more of them without having to scroll. Also, sorts them by name.”

=========================================

Thunderbird Only Extensions:

Allow Empty Subject: “This little extension disables the warning dialog when you send a message without a subject.”

Buttons!: “This extension adds buttons to Thunderbird which can be added to the toolbars.”

Contacts Sidebar:
“This Thunderbird extension displays the address books in a sidebar in
the 3-pane-window.” Just press F4 and enjoy. Note: the pre-release
version was update, this version support Thunderbird nightlies.

Quick Reply:
“This Thunderbird extension displays the address books in a sidebar in
the 3-pane-window.” Just press F4 and enjoy. Note: the pre-release
version was update, this version support Thunderbird nightlies.

WorldWeather: “WorldWeather is a Thunderbird extension that allows you to view your local weather.” or around the world.

—————————————–

Great sites for tons of other Extensions:

Mozilla Update (Official Mozilla repository), Extension Room, My Extensions Mirror

(Firefox & Thunderbird Only), Texturizer List of Thunderbird Extensions, Texturizer List of Firefox Extensions, mozdev.org Active Projects

:source: Mr. Tech


Today’s install

April 21st, 2005

This morning I went to my cousin Lisa’s house to install a flurry of things. Bluetooth keyboard/mouse, a wireless cable modem, and to make sure that a new laptop they got could get connected through it.

> How did the Croce pow-wow go?

Almost like clock-work. There were all the usual unexpected hang-ups [is that possible?].

A couple snags… the first call to comcast, the guy said that everything was all set… but I didn’t check while he was on the phone. So I had to call back, and I described the situation. The guy found my record, confirmed the MAC address I had given the other guy 10 minutes before, and then put me hold for 5 minutes. When he got back, he told me to restart the computer…. um. Okay, so I restart and it worked fine.

If there was nothing else for them to do, I have no idea why it took him five minutes of me on hold… but whatever is clever – it worked.

I couldn’t get the wireless to use encyption keys… so that stunk up the place. But it worked fine without security keys, so it’s set up that way.

And I seem to have lost the install disc for the bluetooth keyboard and stuff… that’s a big suck. It works fine, I just didn’t have that uber impressive media program that allows you to use your crap like a media station.

I tried to pull the tv off it’s stand to wire the audio for the computer and it wouldn’t budge… and it felt like I could have cracked the dry wall. But it ends up there were two RCA cables in the closet that were sitting right behind the computer… so they are punked because all they needed to do was just get one of those stupid little pin-point to rca adapters and plug it in. For a thousand dollar install, you’d think they would have put in the $2 connector and actually set up the computer. But oh well.

So, I’m just about all done. She gave me a fat check despite my protests and I think I’ll try and go back tomorrow to shore up everything that was left hanging. But I need to find that damned install CD for the keyboard, I can’t find it anywheres….

The kid is sleeping, he didn’t go down until I got him up at 1:30 and made him some french toast sticks. Then he went down like a bag of rocks.

Charles is coming over for dinner tonight. We’re getting Bertucci’s pizza.