October 18th, 2003


Gulp and Swallow

Another delightful game of Whack-A-Mole, where a company's internalmemos, this time on voting systems, and their failings and deceit relatingto them are made very visible, and someone in the company leaks them to theworld... and they scramble to control them. Here's a link to a discussion board wherewe're doing our best to prevent them from removing everything. For now,here is a link to a place where the memos are. Grab a copy, update your blog,and pass it on. Nothing and noone can be permitted to remove information fromthe public sphere, no matter how damaging or private. Lest you think this isa rare thing, in one of my prior workplaces, which I won't name but I'llinvite you to guess, similar 'blame the customer' lack of ethics games wereplayed, and serious bugs were present that I was not given time to fix, solater on the customer would get to pay for the privilege after they discoverthe bugs. This really sucks. I can't say all companies have dirty secrets --the style of some customer relations make it unlikely or impossible -- it'smore common, I imagine, when there are very formal contracts and a lot ofcommunication between companies, rather than company-masses relations. So,consider that a solace -- that companies are more out to screw each other andthe government then you. But crusaders for openness of information, like me,don't accept that, and combined with that they're trying to cover things up,like the scientologists with their sacred texts that we've freed and arecopying all over the place, we're out to get them. They may, more or less,have the law on their side, but we've got a numerical and technologicaladvantage, and it's naturally harder to clamp down than open up. Grr.Imagine a world where companies are completely transparent.

Oh, here's Microsoft standing up for users liberty again.Reeeeaaall impressive, Microsoft. :)

Verisign continues to act badly, boldly pushing economic interests to mess withone of the most important artifacts of our time, the Internet. It's thebest example of what Academia, as opposed to business, has given society,an open network, with little or no mandated advertising, flexibility, andit's easy to hook into. It's only the businesses that screw it up, providingall that stupid spam, banner ads, and putting toll gates everywhere. Theinternet needs to remain at least driven by standards bodies and universities ifit is to remain the great liberator and knowledge-dissemination tool that it is.Businesses have a place, but they should not be running the show.As in the Republic, the philosopher king and virtuous people (academes)should run this place, and as explored in a class by one of the best professors I've had,we're fighting against a corruption of an ideal system of government.

Last night, I was going to go to a going-away party for a set of friends whohad broken up and are both leaving town, but the place where they said, a weekago, to be didn't have them. Either I got the time/place wrong, or the gatheringgot cancelled and my not being at Coffee Tree much the last week kept me fromhearing about it. Now I likely won't see either of them again. *sigh*Instead, I went to an informal friday Zets gathering, which was fun. It iscontinually a bit odd that everybody in the world seems to drink, apart fromme.

I caught up on my sleep debt of last week today, getting about 11 hours.I feel a lot better now :)


Pulling on Threads

Spent awhile today helping my friend Dave track down some stuff relatingto some fraudulent email pretending to be from ebay, taking him to a siteasking him to verify all his information. The site, on first glance,resembled ebay, but the URL was wrong, it was something likehttp://something.ebay.com@1445.433.768.444/ebay.php(IP address changed to protect the guilty .. or the hacked). The IPresolved (well, whois-ed -- it didn't reverse-resolve at all) to a sitein Korea, and although the source of the fake php wasn't interesting.Note to all of you -- the above URL does not take you to something.ebay.com --it uses something.ebay.com as a USERNAME submitted to that IP address,which in this case ignores the username. It's just there for show. So, we knowto contact ebay and the upstream provider for that site in Korea.. but wait,we're not done yet. Although clicking submit (not filling in the info correctly,that'd be stupid) takes us to ebay, I notice another URL flicker by in thelocation bar.. so I head back, view info (I use mozilla), and see the URLthat it submits to.. using the GET method. I then use "wget" to grab that.Aha! A status message that suggests that it's using online merchant servicesof a bank. Good, another place to email. Given a bit more time, or bravery(the host site in Korea is running Windows and has some things thatlikely are hackable, according to nmap), I could probably get a name.. butmight as well let the ISP and the bank handle it. The whole thing is a lot offun though. I haven't done this kind of thing for awhile...

Some more schmucks are trying to hack my site. Look, as lame as it is thatyou're doing that to begin with, here's a hint. I'M NOT RUNNING WINDOWS.You're not going to find cmd.exe anywhere on the system. Sheesh.

Oh, and the moron in our military (no, not that moron) issaying he's sorry and that he never intended to speak ill of Islam, and that he wasmisunderstood. What a pathetic liar. Does he honestly believe people to thinkhis very clear statements were just misunderstandings? No, that's not an apology,that's an insult. First, you don't get to say "You didn't understand" in anapology. That's a clarification. An apology goes more like "What I did waswrong, I regret doing it, and accept that I bear some blame. You understoodwhat I did, I understand what I did, and I'm going to fix it". What he'ssaying has a very different flavour. Now, that being said, I have no problemcriticizing Islam, or indeed any religion. Provided that it's not inaccurate,it's meant, and one stands up for what one says, I think it's fine tocriticize faith. I've been known to do just a leeeetle bit of that myself :)However, I think it's quite a different thing to, from the perspective ofsomeone in power in an organization/government, to make such statements inone's role as such, to represent the org/gov as such, etc etc.Conclusion? Boykin should be given a dishonorable discharge.

Of course, he won't be, and it's in fact possible to believe theMuslim Analysis on the whole thing. I'm worriedthat the modern liberal trend in western civilization, with its secular roots,will be swept away as religion-rooted conflict brings us into a new darkage. All this progress and growth as a society could be so easily lost.

Oh, also, yesterday I got a haircut... the barber said that she took offmore hair than she left on. It looks decent, but I can't still get the"mad scientist" look I like. I need to figure out the right lengths indifferent parts of the head for that...