Team Murder No Brain No Headache.


Weak But Better Than Nothing

Wow. A "hacking" (in the Joe Sixpack vernacular) related piece of legislation that isn't offensively stupid and at face value does more good than harm.

Feinstein's bill would require companies or government agencies to notify customers "without unreasonable delay" if they discover hackers stole unencrypted lists of account information stored on their computers, unless police order them not to disclose it.

Companies or agencies could send written letters or e-mails to their consumers. If the hacking affects more than 500,000 customers or would cost a company more than $250,000 to notify customers, victim companies could report details about it with a "conspicuous posting" on their Web site or notify major media organizations.

It does look like it's a bit weaker than the California law that requires the above mentioned major media notification and conspicuous posting. It seems like private notification (at least via email) of those affected should be a matter of common sense anyway.

Filed under: General No Comments

By Request…

Here's the text of the cease and desist I got from RedHat:

Dear Sir/Madam:

I am writing on behalf of Red Hat, Inc. with respect to its trademark matters.

Red Hat, Inc. is the owner of several trademark registrations in the United States and in foreign countries for the mark RED HAT. In addition, Red Hat, Inc. has made extensive use of its trademarks in interstate and international commerce in connection with the advertising, promotion, and sale of its Internet and computer-related goods and services. The RED HAT mark has become very famous and many consumers recognize this mark as a distinctive symbol of our goodwill. We would like to direct you to a link which provides details of our trademark guidelines for your reference:

It has come to our attention that you are offering for sale computer software under the RED HAT trademark on your commercial website located at Although you describe it as "Not Red Hat," you are still using our trademarks in an unauthorized manner.

Red Hat, Inc. is concerned that your unauthorized commercial use of its trademarks is likely to create confusion, mistake and/or deception among consumers with respect to the source, origin, sponsorship or approval of the products sold in your auctions. In addition, your commercial use of RED HAT dilutes the distinctive qualities of the RED HAT mark.

While it is completely legal to copy and redistribute the Linux software under the GNU General Public License, it is not legal to name the software “RED HAT” or any similar name thereof. The GNU General Public License deals specifically with the underlying copyrights of the software; not the trademarks owned by Red Hat, Inc. You are free to call the software by any name of your choosing provided that it does not infringe on the trademarks of Red Hat, Inc. or any third party.

Consequently, we request that you immediately cease and desist from making current or future use of any of Red Hat's trademarks. Thus, we ask that you change your website to comply with Red Hat's trademark guidelines by removing all references to the RED HAT mark (or any similar name or abbreviation).

Please provide us with a response by July 3, 2003. We look forward to working with you toward an amicable resolution to this matter. In the meantime, if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Very truly yours,

Jennifer A. Ennis
Trademark Administrator
Red Hat, Inc.
[email protected]

Filed under: General 1 Comment

Attempting A Humorous Title For This Bunch Will Only Bring Calamity

Surprise, surprise, surprise... Bush is doing some anti-terrorism moral clockpunching in Africa. Diplomacy has apparently faltered to the point where U.S politicians demand that other world leaders step down. Ironically the huge text gouging ad is for Ready for another television war? Ready for another term of suspicious slurping sounds from beneath CEO desks? Ready for the apocalypse to sound like a relief from all the poverty and war? Really?

Strom Thurmond is dead and sodomy is legal. If only the two stories could be combined into one hilarious story wherein Strom is sodomized to death. Wait. I didn't say that and I apologize sincerely for the barrage of horrific images that suggestion might have spawned. Oh, in case you forgot, user: teammurder and password: teammurder is your cruise director.

Salon has a long and somewhat weird article about public discontent with Google. Parts of it are sensible with the notable exception of handing yet more publicity to the Search King scam artist still boohooing over his loss of easy income for the sake of improving search results. What bugs me about this article the most is the paranoia about advertising revenue tainting the quality of Google. Duh. Other search engines have destroyed themselves trying the same thing.

Yahoo was marginally useful until it decided to capitalize on the feeding you advertising as search results effect and people simply stopped caring. They became irrelevant in the worst sense of the word and slid back down the evolutionary shitslide to become yet another lame portal. I think (and this is entirely wet finger in the wind opinion here) that Google has invested far too much time and inventive technology into improving search capability to lose sight of that as their primary draw. Your results suck or are polluted with paid positioning and all but the AOLers (which are spawned from a portal-like construct of their own) are going to go somewhere else. If you need to deviate and dilute what you do best in order to pay the rent then you're probably in the wrong business.

Coderlog is apparently gone. I've given it over a week to reappear before being heartbroken. Damn it. Starnix has also been serving up 500 errors and nothing but 500 errors for quite a while. Sigh. Such a good start.

Some clear headed and pragmatic refutation of that flamebait Slate article that all the Mac folks are working up an Aqua lather about. I appreciate this kind of objectivity from someone with a lot invested in that platform without the worn out interface consistency tirade and high fiving over shiny buttons and widgets. It's a good read and addresses a few points that hadn't occurred to me. Thanks.

Filed under: General 1 Comment

More Ceasing And Desisting

I mentioned that I recieved a cease and desist letter from RedHat this morning which makes total sense since I am indeed selling copies of their software under a barely altered name but it's funny that Linux ISO got the same letter and they don't sell anything. There's a pretty active discussion going on in their forums. Several people are dropping their use of RedHat altogether as a result of bad and misdirected lawyering. If you're going to send out the lawyers in these completely touchy times you should be careful. With any luck the copyright/trademark folks will review the site, see that it's obviously non-commercial, and say "Whoops."

Anyone else a cease and desist letter today?

Filed under: General No Comments


RedHat sends the most polite cease and desist letters I've ever seen. Luckily this was easy to fix and a reasonable request since I was indeed in infringement. See what happens if you say please?

Filed under: General 2 Comments

We’re Going To Need Smaller Sticky Notes

Just a few more things to note before I pass out for the evening and these are as much for my benefit as yours. Take that with as many grains of salt as necessary.

Word Soup is the best blog I've stumbled onto lately. It's abrasive, opinionated, and really fucking funny. Oddly enough, it has almost nothing to do with technology at least not the obsessive fanboying over technology that I'm so often guilty of committing. His post about the RIAA is scathing and completely right on target. I seldom find myself nodding my head as I'm reading something. Impressively cranky and apparently only a month old. Damn.

I really am having trouble reading much weblogage lately. That terrible right-ring-veering-like-screaming -children-on-a-roller-coaster post-WTC really hasn't slowed down. The sound of formerly reasonable and critical people slapping their carrier pigeons to the cover photo on the new Ann Coulter epic of fallacies is deafening. I understand the weird attractions to the obviously insane in say high school but it's a little late for that sort of excuse making isn't it? Maybe it's just my wishy washy relativist far left perspective talking but I do not understand you people and I'm not sure that I ever will on this side of an icepick under the eyelid and a lot of wiggling.

OK. I lied. This is all at least until file handles in Python start making some fucking sense. I swear that the append switch worked the other day when I had more sleep and less coffee.

Filed under: General 1 Comment

My Testimory To The World Would Fit On A Sticky Note

Welcome to another tedious summary of the stories extolling and detracting from the oh-so-totally precious PR machine of the... Yeah, I'm feeling like that today. Pretending to be an objective party on any subject right now would be dishonest and caring is another story entirely. I spoke with some more financial aid types today who greeted me with sympathetic shoulder shrugs and vague mumblings about the absolute lack of funds available to public colleges right now. Apparently if you're with a bible-thumping faux institution the sky's the limit.

J. Kinyeta lost a job for being honest. I suggest surrounding your cubicle with the stake mounted head of every shiny, happy HR motherfucker you can lay hands on. I guess that's why I'm a "does not work well with others especially when they're smug motherfuckers cultivating a reality distortion field" type. "Stabbed to death with dip switch setter" would make a lovely epitaph, no?

RMS had a opinion piece about the SCO lawsuit or so you would think from the title but it's really yet another restatement of the FAQs available from FSF. I think RMS is one of the ten most important people in the history of computing but the reiteration of the same old stuff in every public forum every chance you get is going to wear even the most respectful of us out. The usual crowd of forum heshers has plenty to say in the attached comments.

Filed under: General 1 Comment

Sometimes I Am Irrational

We've all heard about Microsoft's MSNBOT and slapped on our tinfoil hats. I've disallowed that user agent since the moment after I heard about it. Despite the fact that my site matters less than zero to the bots at MS I can't participate in the construction of yet another bogus "standard" built to benefit MS's bottom line and basically no one else. Although I've heard a few folks get bent out of shape about (especially since the bot seems to be exhibiting polite behavior) purposeful exclusion of information from MS users I'm having a difficult time getting upset about it. I never intended this site to be content repackaged by anyone at my expense. Sorry. Use the real search engines or fuck off.

Idle Words has set up a boycott page. If you're blocking the MSNBOT go add yourself to the list.

Filed under: General 1 Comment

I Am An Obvious Danger To Your Children

Shit. I haven't been reading the usual news sites today and I didn't realize that Supreme Court upheld the CIPA webfiltering fiasco and now we're all fucked. Fuck. Fuck. Fuck. What this means to me (and the rest of you pottymouth folk that weblog) is that Team Murder will be unavailable from places employing web filters and listed as a sexually oriented site or something even funnier. Since WebSense and their ilk are largely automated and depend on the usual array of rules to determine the nature of a given URL you can guess what happens next. Another glorious example of your tax dollars at work against you and librarians and pretty much anything but slackfaced, Born Again book burners making another puerile attempt at keeping news and relevant information under the same moldy mattress as the fake lesbian porn they repent to whenever convenient.

Filed under: General No Comments

Feeling My Tiny, Tiny Share Of The Overall Burn

Little of the geek/tech-obsessed type stuff going on today and I'm not feeling as curious as usual either. For the first time since I started this current round of college I am giving serious consideration to dropping out. I'm dependent on financial aid because I have no wealthy relatives to prey on and it's difficult to work full time off campus while going to school full time.

My crappy job is full time but I'm basically a ward of the state and therefore undeserving of a living wage. I don't necessarily have a problem with that but the recent gutting of financial aid on the federal and state level has really left me wanting. For the next academic year I have exactly zero dollars in grant money. Again, I don't necessarily have a problem with that but what makes it intolerable is that my basic cost of living guesstimation for all of next year (including the summer months) according to the state of Colorado is $7,000. Did I mention that this includes work study money? I'm going to work full time while going to school full time and not have any money left over. I'll almost need to find a second job just to buy books next semester. Since my school has no housing this $7,000 is supposed to cover everything. I just can't do it.

To make the situation worse, all of the summer grants have been pulled which I didn't find out about until today. So, this entire summer sememester I've been operating under the assumption that at least a little chunk of my tuition costs are being absorbed by Colorado Student Grant money. It isn't so I begin the full Fall semester not only at a deficit by the lack of available money (no, not even Stafford) but with a debt from the classes I took this summer. I'm not sure where exactly the poverty line (and obviously this is relative and not absolute poverty evidenced by the fact that I'm typing this up on a computer and posting it over a broadband Internet connection) falls now but I imagine that I'm a goodly deal under it. I know, it sounds like I'm another student whining about not being able to get my hands on the living I'm owed. I wouldn't resent this so much excepting that I've been employed full time since my sixteenth or so year meaning that I have at least fifteen years of solid tax paying invested in diabolical systems like these.

Another interesting aside: this year has been one of my lowest earning years ever and strangely enough I paid more taxes this year than any other. I'm really glad that the entire government is being dismantled to help millionaires evade taxation. I'm all for a return to the tax rates of the Eisenhower administration - with the bulk of the tax burden (25% then and 7% now) instead of people who marginally keep a roof over their heads and food on the table. I'm not saying this is me necessarily but I'm continually trying to calculate the reverse trickle down in my head -- what is the actual burden on the working poor going to add up to and at what point will people start to care? It's sickening how the right to survive in your environment has become commodity and available only to those who have more in huge magnitudes than they'll ever need. End commie rant.

Filed under: General 2 Comments

This Can’t Happen

At times I am so astonished by the tackiness of things to offer further commentary. In these situations I offer an URL and back slowly away from the keyboard. I need one of those magical forgetting devices from MiB. Really.

Filed under: General 2 Comments

The Old Switcheroo

I had a pretty interesting conversation with a visiting lecturer at work earlier this week. During the usual tech support monkey to user non-conversation he mentioned that he worked with the Texas branch of the legendary Xerox PARC lab doing hardware design for the moust and some keyboards. I guess most former PARC folks are pretty amazed when someone outside the organization is all excited about the work they did on, well, pretty much the way that people have interfaced with computers for the past twenty years. Anyway, there's a point to this story other than my unearthing of old engineers, I promise.

What interested me the most about how he actually had his computer set up (your garden variety Windows 2000 workstation) was his mouse configuration. It's a pretty standard PS/2 mouse (I actually asked if he wanted an optical mouse and he didn't) set up for a left handed user. The funny part is that he's right handed and I'd noticed that before I even sat down at his workstation. After the cognitive dissonance of wondering why every right click I attempted launched context menus and the like I figured it out and then asked him why. It turns out that one of the people responsible for the early design of the mouse actually has carpal tunnel syndrome pretty badly and found it more ergonomic to switch the button configuration to the left hand setting.

At first I thought he'd accidentally drank of the ergonomics koolaid but then I tried it out a little. When you rest your hand across the mouse with your index finger hovering over the right side mouse button it actually feels at rest. There seems to be a natural tendency to form the mouse claw with your hand when it's setup in the standard configuration and when configured backwards that tendency seems to go away. Since most Windows users are right clickers this is probably the sixty four million dollar idea and the fella I was talking to is actually doing some research on it. Seems like a brilliant idea, right? It will probably never happen because most users don't already have CTS and won't do anything to prevent repetitive strain until they've injured something. It's like the first time you show a user who's only used IE Mozilla and point out the pop-up blocking and tabs and all the other nifty doo-dads. They usually shrug, tell you they don't want to learn about a new application, and go merrily back to using IE. I've actually had conversations about why PNG graphics won't render correctly in IE that ended with the user shouting at me about how I should just make it work. Hmmmm. Maybe I don't give a shit about this after all.

If you're a Windows user you might try this configuration out. You become accustomed to it in a matter of minutes and I could feel all the tension released from my arm and wrist when I switched on the Windows box in my cubical. Try it out

Filed under: General 3 Comments

First National Train Wreck Museum

A couple of things...

Someone pointed out I Am Snowed Under as a possible alternative for those lacking a money toilet to pitch your excess dollars down. In this case the beneficiary isn't the one begging for your dollars but a concerned friend. Here's the basic summary:

They are always talking about starting a family but there is no way that she could stop working. That would mean their household income would be cut half. Unfortunately there aren't an infinite number of years available to have a family so time is a factor.

These are proud people who would never think of asking for help but I can't stand by and watch this continue until they are bankrupt. If you can spare the cost of your morning cafe latte or even a week's worth of cafe lattes (have an Americano ... they are less fattening) you could really make a difference to a nice couple of hard working people.

I don't make the news I just read the shit. The site's author eventually aims to adopt another family and keep this around as a perpetual project. This isn't the worst idea I've ever heard although Debian could use your spare dollars as well.

I noticed that Oliver Willis has a Konspire channel through the catcher but I'd only seen it intermittently over the past week or so. He says that he's working on making it a more regular thing. Yes, it's boobies but I have to say that I'm excited to see people outside of the usual suspects playing around with new new technology. You can subscribe to his channel here assuming that you've already got the kast client installed. I'm not a fan of the airbrushed ladies of the super glossies but hey...

Filed under: General No Comments

One Nation Under An Idiot

George W. Bush apparently thinks that just because he covers his eyes that we can't see him. NY Times has the details of the newest foot-in-mouth public statement. He actually has the gall to say:

President Bush, trying again to explain the failure to find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, said on Saturday that suspected arms sites had been looted in the waning days of Saddam Hussein's rule.

``For more than a decade, Saddam Hussein went to great lengths to hide his weapons from the world. And in the regime's final days, documents and suspected weapons sites were looted and burned,'' Bush said in his weekly radio address.

Feel free to use the username: teammurder password: teammurder account to go read the article. Anything that prevents the spread of more half assed "demographic" information is just fine with me.

Filed under: General No Comments

The Cassingle Patent Is Next

More than a few people have pointed out that the GIF patent finally expired yesterday. This would ordinarily be good news but since the format has long since outlived its usefulness I hope this is the death knell for GIFs and the rest of us can keep on living in the future of portable graphic formats.

Kuro5hin has the best coverage that I've seen so far. Nice.

Filed under: General No Comments

The Abyssmal Quality Of Human Memory

In case you spent the whole day sleeping the court declined to reopen Roe v. Wade which is surprising given that our current poobah is so inclined towards telling women what they should and should not do with their bodies. Apparently Norma McCorvey (the Roe) drank the koolaid while working next door to Operation Rescue and turned magically anti-abortion overnight. Read the whole freaky thing and maybe you'll owonder like I did how all of this craziness happened. Ugh:

McCorvey publicly committed her life to "serving the Lord and helping women save babies." She took a job at Operation Rescue as a computer operator and was welcomed into the anti- abortion fold.

In a 1997 CNN interview, McCorvey blamed violence at women's clinics on the abortion-rights camp.

"I personally think it's the pro-abortion people who are doing this to collect on their insurance, so they can go out and build bigger and better killing centers," she said.

Twenty years later and she's trying to say that things have changed significantly enough to warrant reconsideration. Guess being able to dump a couple of kids that she bore before the court case on family members makes that decision all that much easier. Or maybe the OR people simply melted her brain:

She was baptized by Benham on August 8, 1995, in a swimming pool at a Dallas home. The baptism was filmed for national television.

Anti-abortion activists immediately heralded her conversion.

"She's like Harriet Beecher Stowe, who wrote that book about slavery," Benham said, referring to the author of "Uncle Tom's Cabin."

Emphasis obviously mine as I am the satanically influenced baby killer. Yup.

Filed under: General No Comments

You Tell Me, You’re The Fascist Pig.

What I really wonder is why the hell I'm downloading UNIX source. I suggest you do the same. SCO has moved to the very top of my "not the sharpest tools in the shed" list. I don't suggest this.

Filed under: General No Comments

If This Magazine Covered Sports Mike Tyson And Tonya Harding Would Be The Cover Stars

Look, all of us non-cheese movers know that when it comes to any variety of technology reporting Forbes is slightly better than the guy who stands outside 7-11 talking to himself all day but lately the leaning from "laughably bad" to "steaming pile of shit" has come and gone. It's crap. I'd love to just don my tinfoil hat and claim that it's one misguided corporate lackey with a real bad attitude towards any technology that doesn't produce sock options, potted plants, and a parking space but the three articles which affend clueful sensibilities were authored by three separate entities. Shudder.

The latest offense can be found here wherein Daniel Lyons tries to convince us that Darl McBride is some kind of financial genius because he burns his bridges in court. Not buying, sparky, but I bet the suits will eat this shit up. By the way, your readership will take their martinis on the sundeck and with an extra olive, please. Feel free to take the rest of your writing career off, shill.

Filed under: General No Comments

A Plastic Bib Would Be Nice

Not much time left in the day really. I ended up working later than I intended to and stopping off on the way home to take advantage of a super duper clearance book shelf at the local "we're indie and cooler than B+N yet pay our workers far less" bookstore. I'll probably be finished shopping there entirely since the computer book section is melting away to nothing: Java, java, and more damned java. Still I can't pass up two dollar books that were the flavor of the month just a few months ago. It's the peril of the modern novel I suppose.

I have a copy of WindowLab sitting in my home directory all bundled up and ready to rock but I just don't have the energy to mess with it at the moment. It's a nice simple. small footprint window manager that simply manages windows without bringing Dumbo, Bambi, and the rest of the cast along for the sake of dazzling jaded eyes. I can respect that philosophy even if its products don't always keep me up at night. The skinny:

It's click-to-focus, shares its window depth policy with the Amiga, and has a window resizing/reshaping method similar to that of 8 1/2 from Plan 9. WindowLab maintains the illusion of direct manipulation by constraining the mouse pointer when appropriate, ie when a window cannot be dragged any further in one direction. The pointer is also constrained vertically (effectively making the target menu items infinitely tall according to Fitts's law) when it's in the menubar to reduce pointing time.

Click-to-focus is a plus since the whole sloppy focus thing drives absolutely apeshit in a matter of twenty minutes.

Ragdoll is a great toy for boning up on cartoon physics that I suggest you try when you're finished whipping up that batch of ammonia and bleach "super cleaner" in the bathroom. Hit the space bar to chuck poly dirtclods at the hapless skeleton.

You really should sit down and eat a couple pounds of wings in a single setting. It gives you perspective and messy fingers.

Filed under: General No Comments

The Case Against Hobbyist Shit Talking By A Career Shit Talker

When you don't understand something just call it dangerous to whip up the righteous fury of all the chuckleheads. Bill O'Reilly talking about the internet:

The reason these net people get away with all kinds of stuff is that they work for no one. They put stuff up with no restraints. This, of course, is dangerous, but it symbolizes what the Internet is becoming.

If he could just figure out a way to shout people down on the web (and I'm sure that's what he's talking about under the umbrella term "internet" not the real open sewer - usenet) then everything would be alright. The line about working for no one is simply classic. Thanks for the chuckle and I'll be tuning in the very second that you do a half hour expose on all of the fabrications (the welfare queen anyone?) that Reagan blatantly fed the American publice as justification for policy during his overstay in office. If you have to explicitly state "fair and balanced" during id-mercials for your network you are practicing neither.

Filed under: General 1 Comment

Neutron Bombs, Copyright Violation, And You

Nod to Techdirt for digging up this gem about Orrin Hatch's desire to destroy your computer. His suggested policy is "warn twice then destroy." Given the fact that the good senator is another bunched up white guy courting the approval of the entertainment cartel perhaps in hopes of shoring up his sagging junket revenues I'm going to assume that he's simply insane and does not understand technology any more complicated than his WATS line.

I'm envisioning thousands of boxes running Linux exploding in lieu of actual court decisions at the command of his constituents SCO. I have a different proposal: we build a car bomb into every car. Whenever that car runs a red light or parks illegally (violating the rights of their fellow citizens) the dashboard lights up and a voice warns the driver that they have one more chance to keep to the straight and narrow. Then the car blows up.

In the words of Mr. Hatch:

"I'm interested," Hatch interrupted. He said damaging someone's computer "may be the only way you can teach somebody about copyrights."

The senator acknowledged Congress would have to enact an exemption for copyright owners from liability for damaging computers. He endorsed technology that would twice warn a computer user about illegal online behavior, "then destroy their computer."

"If we can find some way to do this without destroying their machines, we'd be interested in hearing about that," Hatch said. "If that's the only way, then I'm all for destroying their machines. If you have a few hundred thousand of those, I think people would realize" the seriousness of their actions, he said.

"There's no excuse for anyone violating copyright laws," Hatch said.

On second thought, why don't we just destroy Utah. There are all of those neutron bombs rotting away in silos and bunkers. Let's get to work and clean up all this copyright ridiculousness.

Filed under: General No Comments

Working At Work: The Ultimate Unreasonable Demand

Interesting choice by Linus to leave Transmeta. The gig at Open Source Development Lab seems like the best compromise since he's actually feeling guilty about not doing work-related work at work but probably couldn't stop kernel development now if he wanted to. Somehow I managed to stealthily evade the "work at work" guilt gene and I spend every moment that my attention is not demanded doing whatever the hell I feel like doing.

OSDL press release is here in case the blizzard of links from other more prestigious weblogs didn't clue you in already.

Filed under: General No Comments

Sleep Is Poison

I had a long nap earlier this evening that left me feeling really spacy and disconnected. I wish I could shake it but since that seems likely only after sleep (more of that stuff?!? Good god man, it's poisonous!) I'll just type.

I'm grabbing a copy of JAMD to try out on the laptop after all of the sliced bread attention the distribution's been getting over the past few days. Maybe it's just a new release since Yoper had a lot of initial hype that degenerating into shit talking and ethic questioning. I like that JAMD is optimized for 686 and is pretty stripped down in its basic configuration. I've yet to really find a distribution that fits laptop usage perfectly. I mainly run Debian because that's what I'm comfortable with on the desktop and server side. I can't imagine running any of the lesser known distributions on the desktop machines but fast is an issue when working around a slow processor. I've griped about this issue before and actually considering building my own "internal use" distribution. Unfortunately that would take me a couple of years and too many skinned knuckles to count. I gave Slackware a passing consideration now that they've at least moved away from i386 optimization but then I remembered that I despise the unix-ness of their organization. I hate moving towards the RedHat end of the spectrum (/mnt is an inexcusible logical atrocity) but this will give me a chance to play around a little bit with apt for RPM a little more. Decisions...

Despite being Yet Another Fruity Interface eArchivarius is a solid concept. Their explanation is going to be better than mine so:

eArchivarius is a system for accessing email archives that combines ranked retrieval with cluster-based and time-based navigation. Presently we have the system running on a collection of emails from the National Security Council from the Iran-Contra period (1985-1987). The system represents two classes of objects directly: people and messages. Both are modeled as semi-structured data: a set of fields with free text content. eArchivarius automatically extracts the information about the people from the messages during the indexing stage.

. I'm not sure that I like the Bubble Bobble looking interface but I like the possibilities that might come from tools like it.

Filed under: General No Comments

Entry #2000A3 RE: SCO

Great suggestions from a Slashdot reader that all SCO stories should be assigned a random serial number instead of a pun. This is the first thing said in a Slashdot comment that I've agreed with in years. Perhaps I should change my settings to exclude everything but Funny moderations.

Speaking of the above story, someone kind to all of us who cannot speak German and get more confused than anything reading robot translations posted a more cohesive English translation. It did clear more than a few things up for me. The good stuff:

The comments themselves are really identical here and there, even some jokes are the same on both sides. It is, however, conspicuous that in the places that correspond most, the source code that can be found in front of the comments is quite dissimilar after all. The fundamental construction of the queried functions is similar; however, the concrete implementation is quite different. Variables and names of functions are different, loops are structured differently, conditions work via chain queries (?) (Kettenabfrage) or bit patterns (?) (Bitmuster). All in all, only one thing can be said for certain: The functions offered by the respective code passages are often equal, which, however, was to be expected from the start anyway.

The not so good stuff:

The crunch, however, is a function of the scheduler, which is, over a length of about 60 lines, indeed identical except for slight differences. In this section, there is also a whole lot of corresponding comments.
Comparable similarity can only be found in one routine of the memory management, which is, however, only in the Linux version accompanied by comments.
Whether a competent proof can be made out of these two correspondences can only be estimated with certainty by a lawyer. I consider the vague similarities in other passages to be insufficient, as the same standards were the basis for both and therefore, a certain correspondence is to be expected.

Of course, it's pretty impossible at this stage to really say which way code leaked if that is indeed the case. The soap opera continues. Is anyone else awake?

Filed under: General No Comments

Taking That LazyWeb Concept Even Further

Konspire is pretty good stuff. I've been playing around with the Kast client off and on all day and I'm very impressed with how many channels there are and how the whole thing is structured. Konspire is a peer to peer technology but it doesn't use the hunt and download paradigm that most p2p networks use. You subscribe to a channel, open the client, wait, and files come to you. It works great for lazy people like me who dislike chasing files around. It is also not written in Java which makes the usual virtual machine on Linux nightmare a non-issue.

The interface (screenshot above) is also pretty nice and functional. This one is skinned so it looks a little different than the default interface but you get the idea.

Filed under: General No Comments

Insert Lame Booty Reference Here

Sorting through the usual two gazillion URLs that cross my nosespace during the day I stumbled on the PLoP boot manager which looks amazingly well done. It's all in assembly and very, very small. Unfortunately I have neither a test machine nor a machine with more than one operating system on it right now to muck around on. There is no mention of licensing anywhere on the site that I'm able to find which also makes me a little nervous despite the vague "freeware" mention on the front page. One of the features that I kind of like allows you to actually hide partitions. That would be nice for shared workstations with multiple operating systems and whatnot. Looks cool and this will serve as a reminder to try it out at work in the future.

Filed under: General No Comments

There Is No One What Will Help You

It's always comforting to walk into an empty office on the day that you're late and completely not in the mood to do anything constructive. There is no one there to make you feel guilty for showing up an hour or so late and no one to exacerbate the already high workload. It's quiet and nice but I'll soon be pinned under an avalanche of work.

Filed under: General No Comments

More Wonderful, Wonderful Toys

I sacrificed a little sleeping time last night to play with Knoppix STD which is a security oriented port of the Knoppix Live CD loved by all. It does indeed contain a lot of handy network analysis stuff that other live CDs lack. The list from their site

encryption utilities
penetration tools
vulnerability assessment
forensic tools
intrusion detection
packet sniffers and assemblers
network utilities
wireless tools
password auditing (crackers)

of all the niftiness that awaits you. I actually set up Labrea just for the experience of setting it up and had takers in a matter of minutes. Honeypots are fascinating because unlike any other forensic type post breach tool you actually get to watch someone try to break your system. Luckily the kiddies attacking obviously thought they'd reached an unpatched Windows box because they were trying to launch a VBScript. It was worth the setup time though and made me really look at my iptables setup to make sure it was really as granular as I thought it was. There is also the pen-test penetration suite but I'm a little afraid to mess with it.

One thing that I really liked about the setup of Knoppix STD was the inclusion of documentation in the menu categories. While I know where documentation is stored or can grep it pretty quickly it was definitely handy to have all of the info in one place. The one concession to smartassness is that all of them are labelled "rtfm." I thought that was a nice touch. There are also a fair number of servers included in the packages (like Apache of all things) which seemed useless until I remembered the incredibly handy "save configuration to a floppy" feature in Knoppix. That alone makes the tool much more valuable.

The more important and less subjective part: Knoppix STD really, really needs help with mirroring the ISOs and some to help them with a Bit Torrent tracker. If you've got some extra juice, why not?

Filed under: General 4 Comments