(This is clearly interesting to my Austrian readers only. tune in, turn off, drop out.) Wolf Haas: empfehlenswert.
click here for the rest of the story...

[ published on Tue 27.02.2007 22:18 | filed in interests | ]

I can't break eggs cleanly; always end up with some mess outside the pan and/or some eggshell shards in the food.

That's annoying, and maybe one day some genetics wiz might find a way to preprogram a break line into chicken eggs. Maybe. (BTW, the German Sollbruchstelle sounds better and more precise)

Why do I bother with undead not-even-proto-chickens? The last four weeks I've had loads of them, in a (successful) attempt at a low-carb diet (Quite easy in a country like this were meat is good and cheap). This is to get my waistline back in shape and the weight down by a few kilos.

After some startup time it has worked fine, I'm down about 6 kgs (now at 83, 186cm and genetically not meant to look slim) and the flotation ring around the hips is mostly gone. That's the same weight I had a good 12 years ago, and I'm happy.

I've also changed my eating habits substantially, and that way the weight level should be ok to hold. My dad might be proud that his (then un-appreciated) admonitions work Just Fine -- with a delay of almost 30 years: when we were small, he tended to gruffly remind us to chew every bite 30+ times and to put the fork down between bites. My sisters and I were never badly wolfing down our food, but still he felt that he had to rebuke us gruffly. Didn't work then, works fine now.

[ published on Sun 25.02.2007 20:39 | filed in still-not-king | ]

That is, if you actually need more reasons for distrusting Verisign...

VeriSign ConfigChk ActiveX Control Buffer Overflow Vulnerability

iDefense Security Advisory 02.22.07
Feb 22, 2007


The ConfigChk ActiveX Control is part of VeriSign Inc.'s MPKI, Secure
Messaging for Microsoft Exchange and Go Secure! products. It looks for the
Microsoft Enhanced Cryptographic Provider in order to support 1024-bit


Remote exploitation of a buffer overflow vulnerability in VeriSign Inc.'s
ConfigChk ActiveX Control could allow an attacker to execute arbitrary
code within the security context of the victim.

The ActiveX control in question, identified by CLSID
08F04139-8DFC-11D2-80E9-006008B066EE, is marked as being safe for

The vulnerability specifically exists when processing lengthy parameters
passed to the VerCompare() method. If either of the two parameters passed
to this method are longer than 28 bytes, stack memory corruption will
occur. This amounts to a trivially exploitable stack-based buffer

Original advisory here

[ published on Fri 23.02.2007 16:25 | filed in interests/anti | ]

Last week I wanted to show something on this site to my mother, who just recently got herself fast(ish) Internet access. And I couldn't find what I was looking for -- at least not as fast as I'd have liked.

Now there is a search function (the form is on the left below the links). Crude, ht://Dig-based but sufficient.

[ published on Mon 19.02.2007 17:32 | filed in about/site | ]

A useful maxim for computer stuff and Unix people.


But I can also apply this to wood and plastic! (Yes, I am that sick.)

The under-sink cabinet in my kitchen is cramped: a normal trashbin, a plastic bag dispenser and a bin for recyclables vie for space, not to speak of the water filters and all the other stuff in there.

I'm not just a packrat but also a perfectionist, and it annoys me greatly every time when I must move the recycling bin around so that neither the dispenser nor the other bin knock into it when the doors are closed.

But that's solved now: I've automated the bin adjustment process! And it's a super-low-tech solution too, no electronics required! hehe

 2007_02_18-plastic-wood-automation2.jpg  2007_02_18-plastic-wood-automation.jpg
[ published on Sun 18.02.2007 19:07 | filed in brainfarts | ]

This weekend was crap. Yesterday blown out, today early morning downpours, clouds, wind, some drizzle later on; in the late arvo it cleared but I don't think the wind speed was low enough to fly and it was too late anyway.

So what does one do when it's unflyable? Well, from next week onwards I will have a radio-controlled glider -- again, almost 20 years after the first one. No more unflyable days!

But what I did yesterday amongst other things, was to fix up my radio setup -- nicely, I think.
click here for the rest of the story...

[ published on Sun 18.02.2007 18:49 | filed in interests/flying | ]

If you want to contact me, and you're not using the Internet Exploder or MS Outhouse, then simply clicking on the comment link at the lower right edge of any post will connect you to an email address that works.

Mind you, both the URL as well as the email are close to the edge of what the standards allow. So far none of the spammer scraping engines has had sufficient clue to use these links. The same is true for Outhouse, I'm being told by friends. Well, that's GOOD: get yourself a Real Mail Program if you need to communicate with me!

[ published on Fri 16.02.2007 23:28 | filed in about/me | ]

click here for the rest of the story...

[ published on Fri 16.02.2007 23:13 | filed in interests | ]

Ah, the profound smell of hot solder...the sweet feeling of your singed fingertips...the hotglue cobwebs everywhere...feels like home.

Yesterday I acquired a PIC+eeprom programmer kit (serial) for a number of upcoming projects, and decided that I must start building it... that was at about 2300.

 2007_02_16-picprog-assembly-forestry.jpg  2007_02_16-picprog-assembly.jpg

At 0235 (no pics) all the solder joints looked sufficiently neat and the thing powers up without emitting smoke, so it Must Be Ok. FastForward to this evening.

After the late session yesterday, I had the solder station still set up, the work table was still a mess and I decided to Get More Magic Stuff done.

I have one of these Gadmei Tuner boxes. Why? because I prefer to watch DVDs via the VGA out of my player, which works better (read: at all) if you have a monitor rather than a TV. Thus the need for something that eats HF deviltry and spits out VGA. Hence the Gadmei box. Which is great: it works, was cheap at <60$ and the picture quality is better than my old TV could wring from my very bad roof antenna. The 15" monitor was a castoff from Richard and the combination produces solid 1280x1024x60Hz TV.

But the Gadmei looks crap, has a plastic case (with only a minimum amount of internal shielding for the HF parts), and it drives me mad with its maniacally blinking red LED...in standby! (Must be the advertising industry subtly pushing you to watch more crap TV) When on, the LED is stable on. It also uses a wall wart, 5V 1A (although the thin wires provided would start glowing if it really drew that much current...) and I dislike wall warts, especially the ones (like this one) which come with the wrong prongs and need a converter stack.

However, Dr. Hackall has no fear! (and a soldering station, and a recently installed RCD for the whole house...) So I created the KingstonTV: an old gutted Kingston 10Mbit ethernet hub (ex-EUnet mid-90s vintage) which sports a solid steel case and is oversize for the Gadmei box. This required open-heart surgery, as the Gadmei has IR sensors (and spit LED) in front and connectors in the back, but the Kingston is almost twice as deep. Looking at the power problem, I decided to gut the smallest 5V/1A+ wallwart that I had lying around, which fortunately is just low enough to fit into the Kingston...if one leaves off this wussy 'isolation' stuff.

(haha, only kidding! three solid layers of plastic. I know my RCD works but I prefer not being woken by the fire alarm.)


This is the unisolated test version. The pliers were needed there so that plugging in the fat cable wouldn't move the unisolated power supply guts around to some suitable conducting tools...


The case was too small to put a socket in, so I soldered a 3-strand cable straight in, nicely fixed with cable ties. I even connected a solid case earth, and the net result is safer than the shite originally was!

So the IR sensor needed to be desoldered (I thought that I had fried it, so hard was it to get the desolder braid to work) and put on an extended cable bit. The juice plug in the back was removed, too, and direct wiring (higher-diameter stuff that should survive 5V/1A) was put in.

The kingston case acquired a number of new holes for standoffs to mount the Gadmei Guts, minus the builtin speaker (audio is connected to the Yamaha below anyway) and without access to the command buttons on the box (but that's what remote controls are for).

 2007_02_16-kingston-tv-rear.jpg  2007_02_16-kingston-tv-top.jpg

Visor in place, you can only see the blinking LED if you search for it from the right angle etc. Case closed. I'm happy.

 2007_02_16-kingston-tv-side.jpg 2007_02_16-kingston-tv-installed.jpg
[ published on Fri 16.02.2007 22:50 | filed in interests | ]

Its now Dr. Nice Guy (just like Dr. Jekyll complements Mr. Hyde): Finally I have the certificate in hands, and that's such a relief.


But I must confess that I think my 1996 TU Wien diploma looks better :-)

Friends of mine recently asked my whether there's any changes now, and if I'll use the Dr. title anywhere; both of which I answered in the negative: why should anything change? Has anything, honestly, changed? I'm no more (in)competent at what I'm doing, I certainly am no better person because of having outstubborned the Processes and Procedures, and I'm not overly proud of the achievement (instead I'm relieved and moderately happy that this exercise is over). My friends told me that I should be proud :-)

For the second time in the last 5 years I've been given the Teaching Excellence award of our faculty. Doesn't have any special effects; while the last time it was a framed cert, recently they've changed to handing out "sculptures" -- or "headstones" as one of my colleagues put it.

[ published on Tue 13.02.2007 23:17 | filed in interests | ]

...can indeed be odd. Very odd.

[ published on Mon 12.02.2007 20:29 | filed in interests/humour | ]

I mean John Scalzi on Being Poor, and it's recommended (but heavy) fare.

Kudos to him (whose Old Man's War is certainly on my to-read list), and to all the people who put in their two or three extra points. A "Cathartic" exercise, as one of them said. Indeed.

And gratitude + all good karma to my parents, who worked hard so that my two sisters and I never experienced more than a select few of the hardships on that list.

But one remembers, just like lots of the "having {been|grown up} poor" contributors to John's post have remembered.

[ published on Wed 07.02.2007 22:34 | filed in interests | ]

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