May 2004


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Archive for May, 2004

On the road again

Posted in Life on May 30th, 2004

Well, I’ve gone over the hill and through the woods to Grandma’s house for the weekend, and I’m typing this on the computer I put together for her out of spare parts I had lying around the Den. She had a PII-MMX 233, and we’ve just installed my old eMachine eTower 500 Celeron. Which runs better than twice as fast as the poor old dinosaur we’ve just retired (after gutting it for the video card, a 32Mb nVidia PCI card.)

Aside from a small memory issue with her dialup, (IE, we forgot the settings) everything has gone quite smoothly, and she is quite happy with it. Happy Mother’s Day, Ma!

My brother John is home on leave from the Marines for a week, and he showed up for dinner before running off with his friends. He looks good, and we’re all damn proud of him for taking the huge leap of joining the military.

Unfortunately, his unit will be shipping out for Iraq when he gets off leave to releive another unit who is coming home. He was talking about the Rules Of Engagement our troops have to follow over there, and it’s scary. Each family in Iraq is allowed to have an AK-47. Now, as an American, I’m all for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms we were granted in the Constitution, but an assault rifle is a bit much, ya know? If they see an Iraqi walking down the street with an RPG (that’s Rocket-Propelled Grenade, not D&D) they can’t fire on them until that person shoulders the weapon – the theory here is that they may be taking it to the military to turn it over.

I just hope nobody does something stupid. Like leave Dubya in office long enough to keep my brother there long enough to get killed. We need to end this ‘war’.

Score one for the rest of us!

Posted in Geekery on May 27th, 2004

The folks over at write that a Buffalo spammer gets 3.5 to 7 years not for spamming per se, but rather for identity theft when he spoofed two accounts to send out “more than 800 million spam messages”.

This one brings it home to me today, since I noticed several bounced emails in my inbox from AOL mail servers. According to the messages, I have tried to send email to a few dead AOL accounts, and they are kindly letting me know that those accounts no longer exist.

Which is right neighborly of them, but I haven’t sent anything to an AOL addy in months. Someone is apparently spoofing my comcast email address.

Since there’s been less than a dozen of these bounces, I’m more inclined to believe that this is the work of a virus on somebody’s home computer. It is probably sending an email to every address in that person’s addy book from every address in that book.

So, if anyone out there has received an odd message from me that you weren’t expecting, let me know so we can compare address books and maybe figure out who the poor slob is that got infected.

Now if I can just track down the loser who keeps sending me vitamin ads to my blog email address…

That didn’t take long

Posted in Geekery on May 27th, 2004

According to Symantec, there has already been a virus (W64.Rugrat.3344) released for the IA64 Windows platform – which hasn’t even seen wide release yet.

The virus is just a proof-of-concept, and it’s interesting to note that it won’t affect AMD64 Windows platforms – or any current 32-bit Windows platforms for that matter, unless you’re running 64-bit emulation. All non-Microsoft OSes are of course, immune to this virus.

Danger to the average user as of right now: NIL.


Posted in Humor on May 26th, 2004

Belle de Jour has this to say about sausage:

Isn’t the concept of sausage odd? Minced pig stuffed into part of a pig’s digestive tract. With herbs. It’s more like an anal necrophiliac bestial fetish than a foodstuff. Someone once told me of a speciality sausage from his homeland, which amounted to pig tract stuffed with more pig tract. Words fail.

Wired News: Army Reboots GIs’ Tired Fatigues

Posted in Geekery on May 25th, 2004

Wired News: Army Reboots GIs’ Tired Fatigues

Okay, I quote this article for the following bit (from the second page):

There’s still a slight whiff of vaporware in the air at Natick. Powering all these doodads, for instance, won’t be easy. The Army wants to keep the total “power budget” for FFW down to 15 watts or so — a quarter of what a typical light bulb takes. “We don’t even know where to begin,” sighed Kalish Shukla, FFW’s power-management chief.

They have at least one idea, though. “Avoid the use of Microsoft Windows operating systems,” a recent memo on the subject directed. FFW is going open source. Cleaner software needs less energy to run.

MSNBC – Airship groomed for flight to edge of space

Posted in Geekery on May 25th, 2004

From the “to weird for me to have made up” department: MSNBC – Airship groomed for flight to edge of space

That’s right, folks: Blimps in Space.

Once again, into the breach

Posted in Geekery on May 24th, 2004

A new distro has cropped up on my radar: Arch Linux 0.6. By all accounts, it is a nice fast, small distro with a handy package management utility – somewhat like Gentoo, but by reports much easier to install.

Unless, of course, you happen to have my luck with hard drives.

The 40 GB I bought a while ago due to other issues is now officially dead, and the 80 GB unit Greyduck handed my way may have issues as well. (This is the one that wouldn’t accept a Windows XP install.) So, the idea is on the back burner until early next week, when I will have the drive from my mom’s old computer up here.

Speaking of which, the old eMachine I rebuilt for her should be a nice improvement over the elderly PII she’s currently using. I’ll be going down there this weekend to swap them out, and also to see my little brother on furlough from the Marines.

A nibble on the line

Posted in Work on May 23rd, 2004

A week or so ago the EMC sent me a link on a job, and they have contacted me today. The job is telephone tech support, in a work-from-home environment.

The payscale is both higher and lower than my previous job. The hourly rate is higher, but it pays by billable hours, not straight hours. So, I have to have someone on the phone for a total of 60 minutes to earn an hour’s wages, and I do not get paid for doing research to solve a customer’s problem – the policy is to hang up, do the research, then call the customer back (the company provides calling cards at no charge for this purpose).

A highly ethical way to do it, but it means it is almost impossible to earn 8 hour’s work in 8 hours. Then there’s the time I sit around waiting for a call to come in as well.

The upshot is, a customer calling in to this company for help will actually receive it, as opposed to all of those sub-contracted call centers who are instructed not in solving problems, but in getting you off the phone as quickly as possible.

There is one more reason to get a better job as quickly as possible: the hours. The company has three 8-hour shifts. These are 6am to 2pm, 2pm to 10pm, and 10pm to 6am. Due to my daughter’s school schedule, it means I would be bouncing back-and-forth between the early shift and the swing shift. (No way am I working graveyard.)

All of this is still dependant on the results of my phone interview of course, but I’ve always said, I’ve gotten every job I ever interviewed for.

On Ethics…

Posted in Life on May 22nd, 2004

For some oddball reason, I have been considering the ethics of myself and others lately; probably has something to do with politics of late.

In any case, there’s one topic that I haven’t really written about here and I figured it’s time I chimed in with my two cents: Polyamory. For those of you who are familiar with the subject, feel free to wander elsewhere for now, I won’t be saying anything you haven’t heard before. For the curious though, read on…

Read the rest of this entry »

The funny just keeps going

Posted in Humor on May 20th, 2004

Greyduck went off on some of his favorite “oh shit” acronyms, and BOHICA has to be the best I’ve heard in a long time. It was so funny, I had to Google it and see what came back.

Lo and Behold, there’s a band by that name.

And the first downloadable MP3 on the site is “Here it comes again”