I like the Go Faster Wheels in particular.

Update (Mon 27.09.2004 13:04):

This thing is a photoshopped fake, by the way.

[ published on Sat 25.09.2004 01:24 | filed in interests/humour | ]

This spam just came in via Tiscali UK. Apparently the spammers have discovered the magics of Babelfish. But true to form they botched it: the babblefish mangles (apparently) reasonable English into hilarious stuff quite totally unlike German...
click here for the rest of the story...

[ published on Sat 25.09.2004 01:06 | filed in interests/humour | ]

Found this hilarious picture on the blog of an aussie geek.

[ published on Sat 25.09.2004 00:50 | filed in interests/anti | ]

With the upcoming kitchen replacement I've had to re-evaluate a lot of todos and got a bit of a push to shorten that list.
click here for the rest of the story...

[ published on Thu 23.09.2004 13:58 | filed in interests/au | ]

This is something of a bulk update; I've accumulated some stuff in the last ten days but never got around to write it up properly and didn't post anything.
click here for the rest of the story...

[ published on Thu 23.09.2004 13:56 | filed in still-not-king | ]

Received this email a few days ago:
click here for the rest of the story...

[ published on Tue 21.09.2004 00:07 | filed in interests/anti | ]

If you read this in a catalogue, what would you expect?
click here for the rest of the story...

[ published on Mon 20.09.2004 23:31 | filed in still-not-king | ]

This counterscript (german only) is a pretty fun step-by-step guide for annoying telemarketers.

[ published on Tue 14.09.2004 00:11 | filed in interests/anti | ]

...is what I've had this weekend.
click here for the rest of the story...

[ published on Mon 13.09.2004 11:35 | filed in interests/flying | ]

Today I left work early and headed up to the hills, in hope of getting some flying. The weather was beautiful, but nil clouds.
click here for the rest of the story...

[ published on Sat 11.09.2004 00:50 | filed in interests/flying | ]

That's my current flying tally after 2.5 years.
click here for the rest of the story...

[ published on Thu 09.09.2004 15:15 | filed in interests/flying | ]

The last two days it's been raining here. Lousy for flying, lousy for my mood but good for the land. The grass in the backyard is growing nicely. Still, for me it's a good thing that those grey days are very rare here.

[ published on Thu 09.09.2004 13:45 | filed in still-not-king | ]

I like my house. It's old (for Gold Coast bungalow standards, at 17 years), but in fair shape and close enough to work for me to walk there in just 11 minutes door-to-office. With the car the trip takes about 9 minutes because of the huge detour involved, so walking is really a good option.

These are pics of the view from just outside my garage to the west, and the workplace from the park outside the complex (I had a panorama of that view, too, but chucked it as being too lousy. Will do again.)

 2004_07_20-view-west-from-garage.jpg winter at landau court 2004_08_13-bond-from-home.jpg just outside the complex fence 2004_08_13-evening-at-home.jpg just before sunset

However, there were a few bad spots on this appl^Whouse. One is that it's real close to the wild hill and termites abound. There's some in the retaining/decorative walls around near the fence, and in the forest for sure. The building inspectors last year claimed some old damage evidence, too. So I had a chem barrier done when I moved in last year, but you never know.

The inspection later last year showed none, and on the 26.8. I had the pest guys in again, for an inspection and a general spray. They didn't find any crawlies, and the fellow crawling through the roof klonking on the trusses didn't turn up anything bad. Very reassuring, and they weren't expensive, either.

Another problem is the kitchen being ready for replacement. Well, that's being taken care of right now, with the bathroom scheduled for next year or so.

The last problem I found was a nastily sagging ceiling in the living room. I realised this when I painted the ceiling early last November. Being a Wellconditioned European, I was very much worried by this: when a ceiling is sagging in places where houses are built, not just nailed together, this is a doomsday sign.

I feared the roof trusses themselves having sagged and didn't even as much as look into the roof cavity so that I wouldn't be shocked by the potential badness there. (I'm a big pessimist and avoidance is one of my skills. I'm good at both, occasionally too good.)

In short I dreaded that the house I've enslaved myself for to the bank would fall apart before I'd finish paying it off (which, after doing some non-panicky simple calculations, would still leave me with a living place for not more money than renting would cost me), and I didn't want to uncover any nasty surprises (which I was awaiting anyway) - thus the avoidance of certain tasks. So much for history.

After the pesties were gone I was feeling up and ready to tackle a couple of the DIY tasks I've had on the todo list for a year. First item was to buy matching replacement ceiling fans and mounting them. One fan had a grumbling main bearing that heated up badly, and another was totally unmatched, with a horrible non-recessed controller unit on the wall - super-ugly.

The fans were cheap, $52 each for the ones with light and $42 or so for the lightless one.

Item two was to resow the lawn in the back, which had a couple of very dusty bare spots where the jungle had been cleared earlier. Now, after two weeks the grass is growing beautifully. Very nice, indeed.

But back to technology (Oz-style). A day after doing the backyard and buying the gear, the weekend was there and the wind was too strong for flying. So I decided to do the fans.

Two of them were easy to mount as the old mounts were conveniently located beneath trusses to screw the anchor to. The electrical stuff I had to redo completely, with new controller panels etc. Cheap bastards had only twirled the protective earth, put some solder on it and then wrapped it in isolating tape. Assholes!

 2004_08_27-oz-electrics.jpg erde verdröselt, verzinnt + isolierband

The third wasn't anywhere near a truss, and hung from a big hook which I couldn't use for the new ones anyway.

So I finally relented and realised I had to get into the roof. As the pesties had been spraying just two days before there wouldn't be any (live) critters up there.

Donning my dirtiest clothes, I entered the manhole in anticipation of the very worst.
But there wasn't anything to be afraid of. The replacement of the fan was simple, just had to improvise an anchor for it resting on the closest two trusses (easy-peasy).

And my worries about the ceiling also were unfounded. OZ construction is nail-only (as much as I could see anywhere so far). The ceiling plasterboard is simply nailed to the underside of the trusses. That's all that holds it up. Naturally, after 17 years, a fair number of those nails had loosened and the ceiling drooped where the biggest stretches are.

So I've got another item on the todo list: push the ceiling plasterboard up and screw it in place properly. I'll do that with the kitchen work as it'll be dirty.

While crawling through the roof I also decided that now would be a good opportunity to move the speaker cables for the rear speakers in the living room into the ceiling (instead of having them tacked underneath it). For once, Oz construction actually has advantages beyond just being cheap: take a screwdriver, extend arm upward, poke a hole, and thread the cable. Finished. :-)

 2004_08_27-new-fan.jpg  2004_08_27-new-fan-no-cables.jpg ls kabel in dach

The next projects: replacing the kitchen, new antenna on the roof, a whirlybird roof ventilator, and neatify some cabling. Ah yes, and finally get a safety switch installed (which unfortunately means I'll have to replace the switchbox as the dumbasses installed a tiny one with not a single slot left...grrr.)

[ published on Thu 09.09.2004 13:40 | filed in interests/au | ]

I am. However, I've been a wee bit busy and stuff has been piling up that was of way higher importance than doing blog posts...

So, on to a quick recap.
click here for the rest of the story...

[ published on Thu 09.09.2004 13:35 | filed in still-not-king | ]

as documented in bug 242378, the spambutt has a problem with expiring the bayes database. somehow a lot of atime entries get set far into the future, and the butt doesn't recognize this properl - and sits on its butt, chugging along and retrying the wrong things over and over again.


after finding a tool called db-to-text2.pl which can fix the entries and playing around with it i've decided to use the big hammer on bayesstore.pm: wherever atime is written to the db, we do a sanity check.

this patch addes these crude measures, and will hopefully keep my bayes dbs in fair shape. YMMV.

[ published on Wed 08.09.2004 15:38 | filed in mystuff | ]

Item 1:

"Diebold Global Election Management System (GEMS) Backdoor Account Allows Authenticated Users to Modify Votes BlackBoxVoting.org reported a vulnerability in the Diebold GEMS central tabulator. A local authenticated user can enter a two-digit code in a certain "hidden" location to cause a second set of votes to be created on the system. This second set of votes can be modified by the local user and then read by the voting system as legitimate votes, the report said."

Cool debugging feature, but totally inappropriate in critical software like that. Anyway, Diebold is enjoying good business with various US states and that's all that matters...NOT!
Link to the Diebold story at BlackBoxVoting, Link to Lessig's blog

Item 2:

"Microsoft Patents The Obvious (Again) Looks like Microsoft has yet again patented plainly obvious technologies that have existed for years and years. No, I'm not talking about their patent of the sudo command. This time Microsoft has been granted a patent for nothing less than using your keyboard to navigate a web page!"

Well, the Oz patent office actually gave some fellow a patent on the wheel...quite recently.
Link to the full story

[ published on Wed 08.09.2004 01:59 | filed in interests/anti | ]
"WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. envoy to Iraq wants to shift $3.3 billion set aside for Iraqi water, sewer, power and other reconstruction projects to improve security, boost oil output and create jobs, a U.S. official said on Monday.
Among other things, Negroponte proposed spending about $1.8 billion now earmarked for water, sewage and electricity to expand the Iraqi police, border patrol and national guard and increase the number of border posts, he said."

so the money earmarked for real rebuilding goes into war mongering. and oil, how can one forget the oil? and it's all for "security" boom-tish! and if you're not for all this bullshit, then you're a terrorist and unamerican and an "insurgent" how doublethinkingly convenient for the U.S. bastards.
Link to the reuters article

[ published on Tue 31.08.2004 23:02 | filed in interests/anti | ]

today i went shopping - after work. the weather was lousy, and i had to check kitchen appliance prices anyway. but i didn't buy any new kitchen gear - yet: i've been in dire need of new chucks for months, both old pairs having gaping holes by now, and the mainstream shops hereabouts wanted $80 for a pair.

so i drove to the harbour town shopping centre, a conglomerate of mostly factory outlet type shops, to visit 'authentic - converse'.

the name is the program, and they sell. converse. only. good. and they had a sale on, with 20% off everything. even better! i paid $79 alltogether and now i have two new pairs of high chucks, and Life is Good again.


why the silly title, then? you might ask.

well, one of the pairs is sky blue (not navy, much lighter), and the other is a really flash neon orange! silly cackle

[ published on Tue 31.08.2004 22:39 | filed in still-not-king | ]

a big "boo-boo" to all those suckers trying to portscan my systems. the tarpit flypaper works perfectly well, as can be seen on these graphs of packets going to the tarpit.


currently i've got no packet logging on as that does produce a nasty amount of logs, but for simple test purposes tcpdump is fully sufficient: tcpdump -n "tcp[14:2] = 0" shows exactly the zero-window-tarpitted stuff.

the next thing i'm doing just now ist to add the random patch to make these boxes look a little less well connected so that the intake of crap goes down a bit.

[ published on Tue 31.08.2004 01:18 | filed in still-not-king | ]

(but likely just this time only.) The french consumer protection agency DGCCRF has sued EMI France and the music shop Fnac because their music CDs weren't CDs anymore (because of anti-copying measures that break the Red Book standard).

The French legal system guarantees the right of private copies, and EMI and Fnac broke not just that but also mislead their customers about the (lack of) quality of their product.

If the government wins that suit, then EMI and Fnac would have to call back the CDs and pay E 187k. Nice.

[ published on Sat 28.08.2004 02:07 | filed in interests/comp | ]

Cryptome is great; unvarnished, nasty, uncompromising. I love it. They've got an RSS feed, too.

"Ken Carpenter called at 1:10 PM to say that getting a court order would be complicated and time-wasting so why doesn't Cryptome be "patriotic" and remove the document in the interest of national security. He said NSA had vetted the document as being important to national security. Cryptome said it had published his request and he should take a look at it and a reader's response. Mr. Carpenter logged onto this file, and said, oh no, you published my telephone number and quoted me. We said that is what we do when a government official gets in touch."

Great job!
Link to that story

[ published on Sat 28.08.2004 01:54 | filed in interests/comp | ]

The weekend was a long one (by me taking monday off work), and was spent at Killarney, cleaning up one new launch and cutting another. Good work, lotsa blisters though. Sunday we had one flight, not too bad but very much too short at about 35 minutes. I got to 1600m (from 900 or so), but then hit sink so bad that I couldn't even make it into town (only Andrew did) and landed just on the outskirts of Killarney.

Tuesday was the big disappointment; work was horrible with me spending all day long beating a recalcitrant FAI installation to work with the new linux lab machines (new Dulls with bleeding-edge lousy hardware that require a mixture of Debian stable and testing to run at all...gah), without full success so far. I went home at 2130.

Just before that I had to learn that Paul flew from Tamborine over the Border Ranges into NSW to Tyalgum, a good 40km...I'm soooo envious, especially given the fact that today I'm stuck at work, too, and tomorrow I'll have the annual Pest control visit....aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaargh. Talk about missed opportunities.

[ published on Wed 25.08.2004 11:17 | filed in still-not-king | ]

Just blew AU$ 150 on cds, mostly Kiwi stuff from smoke CDs and another AU$ 20 on a new mobile phone battery for my trusty (ha!) old S35.

The Kiwis are only 4 million strong, but have a real lot of good alternative bands; either some of the 40 million sheep moonlight as musos or the human contingent is really inspired.

This week saw me flying on tuesday arvo, in the rain and everything, working on wednesday and being sick with a cold on thursday. Tomorrow I'll head out to Killarney for 3 days of working and flying; Andrew said that there's two new launches opened so that we have something for every wind direction.

Just learned today that my daughter and exwife won't be visiting me this christmas: airfare from the US to Oz is too dear at the moment. Bummer, I would have liked to see them. Hmm. Will have to hope for next year then...

[ published on Fri 20.08.2004 15:38 | filed in still-not-king | ]

As lots of others have noted already, EFF has won the Grokster case in the Court of Appeals.

Summary: if you make truly decentralized P2P software -- like Gnutella -- you can't be held liable for any copyright infringement that takes place on their networks. This is the "Betamax principle," from the famous Supreme Court case that established that Sony wasn't responsible for any infringement that its customers undertook with their VCRs.

The decision paper makes for very interesting reading, inclusive of the simplified history/overview of P2P systems.

[ published on Fri 20.08.2004 14:31 | filed in interests | ]

A family of collisions in MD5 has been found, and the "vultures are circling" (as Ed Felten put it) quite low above SHA-1. Bugger. Ah well, evolution at work I guess.
Link to Ed Felten's article

[ published on Fri 20.08.2004 14:21 | filed in interests/comp | ]

The US of A is really a lousy place to be. This is a quote from the Civil Rights Act (ha!) of 1964 which spells out how discrimination is bad:

"DISCRIMINATION BECAUSE OF RACE, COLOR, RELIGION, SEX, OR NATIONAL ORIGIN SEC. 703. (a) It shall be an unlawful employment practice for an employer
(f) As used in this title, the phrase "unlawful employment practice" shall not be deemed to include any action or measure taken by an employer, labor organization, joint labor-management committee, or employment agency with respect to an individual who is a member of the Communist Party of the United States or of any other organization required to register as a Communist-action or Communist-front organization by final order of the Subversive Activities Control Board pursuant to the Subversive Activities Control Act of 1950."

So if you're a communist, you're unprotected rightless discriminable scum. Brilliant.

[ published on Fri 20.08.2004 14:16 | filed in interests/anti | ]

Firewalls are fun, but just dropping all the bad packets is fairly boooring.
click here for the rest of the story...

[ published on Fri 20.08.2004 12:29 | filed in mystuff | ]

...I came to Oz for the first time, and one year ago I moved into my house here (well, mine and the bank's). And, guess what, I still like the place! Amazing ;-)
click here for the rest of the story...

[ published on Mon 16.08.2004 01:50 | filed in still-not-king | ]

Greedy bastards at work, is all. How I hate all that crap.

"Strict regulations published by Athens 2004 last week dictate that spectators may be refused admission to events if they are carrying food or drinks made by companies that did not see fit to sponsor the games."
"Staff will also be on the lookout for T-shirts, hats and bags displaying the unwelcome logos of non-sponsors. Stewards have been trained to detect people who may be wearing merchandise from the sponsors' rivals in the hope of catching the eyes of television audiences. Those arousing suspicion will be required to wear their T-shirts inside out."

Link to the long and disgusting story

[ published on Wed 11.08.2004 22:38 | filed in interests/anti | ]

I like the layout of the rssreader mozilla extension, but nothing else about it: it requires using the bookmarks (hatehate), it is in javascript (hatehatehate) and it is superslow, no caching whatsoever etc.

Why not use any of the available tickers and RSS readers?

I liked rssreader's layout and integration with mozilla. I don't like tickers, I need full articles or at least overview data to judge whether an article is worth my time and headlines Just Don't Work for me. And, the killer argument: all my bookmark info is kept in a topicmap file so any RSS reading tool must get its info from there, too. None but my personal one would do that.

So I decided to make a slurping tool that slurps feed data onto the local box and massages things into the rssreader look. Easypeasy thought I, perl to the rescue etc. etc.

Well, RSS sucks: gadzillions of slightly different versions, all incomplete and fugly. Atom sucks, too, just differently.

The one parser module present in Debian, libxml-rss-perl, doesn't understand newer RSS (ie. 2.0) at all, and no Atom, so playing with that wasn't too successful. The other potential parser, XML::RSS::Parser, is not available as a Debian package, but it sucks less: with a bit of tweakery I got it to read all the RSS flavours and also Atom. Hmm, maybe I'll package it.

Net result of a few hours of mucking around, skirting incomplete unicode support in my perl (no I don't want to update to 5.8 yet) etc. is this script called rsslurp. The link retrieval part won't be useful to anybody who's not into topicmaps (ie. most of you out there), but the part for massaging things into rssreader-compliant CSSified HTML may be. The tool also caches the source XML and produces an overview HTML page with update times and feed names.

[ published on Mon 09.08.2004 02:34 | filed in mystuff | ]

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