Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Lucifer Impedes Progress of Free Market

The big and bad Eliot Spitzer has decided to destroy our free market system by black mailing record labels...or so I'm sure some will be saying soon enough.

Read for yourself and decide whether or not the labels, 1) broke the law in the past and, 2) continued to break the law.

Maybe the question people should be asking is not "Why now," but rather, "Why not then."

Monday, July 25, 2005

USGP Ticket Refunds

Michellin decided to step up and fix their boo-boo. Nice move. Ticket holders for this year's United States Grand Prix can apply for their refund starting August 8th.

More details here.

Security and Intelligent Design

"I'm a god. I'm not *the* God... I don't think" --Bill Murray, Groundhog Day

I started writing this post nearly a month ago. After composing most of it, I realized my beef was the same but my analogue was off. So it was back to the drawing board when out of the blue, idiots swarmed around me like ants on candy.

I realized that during that idiot swarm, I was God...ok, more a god like Bill Murray notes in Groundhog Day. But what had given me god-like powers? I'm simply in the security design and engineering field. A field upon which all rely but few appreciate. A field of which all expect perfection but none understand. And it is that understanding that brings me to my god complex.

What do god and I have in common? Answer: People attribute both of us with the unexplained events that occur around them. Better answer: Lazy people attribute events to both of us because they are either unable or unwilling to seek the truth. The facts may be all around them but they are unable or unwilling to find them. Naturally, not all are unable to seek or find. Some are better or more talented at finding the answers that lay nestled at the bottom of the proverbial haystack. ...and by haystack I mean logs, network traces, and the like. To keep with the analogue, with ID, the haystack is science. And while logging and diagnostic tools and science aren’t silver bullets by any means, it’s better than guessing.

I have fallen upon a spell of being blamed for breaking our network. Unity fails to upgrade, I get blamed; CDR servers fail to grab CDRs from CallManagers and I'm to blame; DNS fails to dynamically update and Security gets called.

In many ways people still haven't adjusted to coding, testing, and developing their products with secure methodologies. When products or technologies are sent to "Security" they enter a black box one way and come out in another state. It is in this state that typical users or admins are unfamiliar with the technology. Any deviations in standard operations are then somewhat foreign or unexpected. My problem is our (the IT community at large) response to that unexpected behaviour. My problem is trying to fill in the blanks with hearsay and conjecture.

Intelligent Design and people blaming me - or security per se - both fail to adequately search for the real relationships between events. Both explain the relatively unexplained with the cause of their choice. Both use phony logic and bias. Both are really starting to piss me off.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

The 4th Estate in Good Hands with ABC

The network that had its senior anchor tackle the tough issue of UFOs, now tackles the pseudo-science of miracle healers. Oh Mon Dieu!

Foreign News Translated

Via the Monitor, WatchingAmerica is a site that translates foreign newspapers into English.

More Notes on Homeownership; Fixin' Your Shit

I think we've all given a little thought to what our blogs represent or what we want to contribute to the on-line community. When I look at my site logs I see people referencing my steps on IIS security and CallManager tips it makes me feel all warm inside.

So here goes my weirdest post ever; an esoteric contribution to the world-wide hive-mind known as the internet. Here comes a post on refrigerator maintenance and repair.

If you have a Whirlpool ET18PK refrigerator, you may tend to have water dripping into your lower section - or refrigerator. Please note that this is different from water on the floor or water coming out the back. Repair folks I know tell me the ET18PK model has an inherent design flaw with the way the drain line runs from the base of the freezer unit through the top of the refrigerator and down the back wall. When, and I say WHEN, you wake up and find water in your crisper, don't panic.

First, address the problem immediately; don't wait like I do. Waiting pisses off your wife and ruins your sweet corn. Second, open the freeze and find the 2 screws that hold down the tray on the freezer floor; remove the tray (you have the rack removed too, right?). In the back of the freezer, on the right side below the fan unit - as you face the unit - and below the inner wall lip, you will find a pinky finger-sized tube that is flush with the floor of the freezer.

Check to see whether or not you can visibly see ice forming in the tube. Grab a turkey baster and fill with hella-hot water. Shoot the hot water into the hole; rinse and repeat. You can try to pick at the ice but like a mosquito bite, the more you pick, the more damage you can do; that hose is plastic. That means if you puncture it, you're calling in $300 worth of labour to tear out your unit. You can even try warming the freezer unit with hot air from a blow dryer (please remember to mop up any water first).

When all is done, you should be able to hear the small amounts of water you dump into the hose running through. These steps and more are noted at ApplianceAid.

Showing ass crack as you bend over to work is optional of course...

Notes on Home Ownership

Mrs. Ober and I have only been home owners for a few years now and have learned a few lessons. One of the subjects on which we have a few tidbits is that of the home warranty.

I believe there are several companies out there that sell home warranties; we went through HMS after our friends suggested we get it.

Here's how it works (but please read the information yourself): When you buy a home, you send HMS $370 or so and they insure the mechanicals / appliances in your home. So this means if your AC goes out they replace it after you meet your deductible. If your refrigerator needs help, they send a guy out to fix it. You pay the deductible and the rest is covered by HMS.

For 2 years Mrs. Ober and I had a great deal of piece of mind and wonderful service from HMS. The only problem was that we never passed our deductible. This spring, we decided not to renew.

Insurance is a weird thing. Now that Mrs. Ober and I have enough money to offset our risk (appliance related risk that is) we don't need HMS anymore. We just thought we could put the $370+ to better use than HMS. But if you're a new homeowner and cannot offset the risk of mechanical failure yourself, we recommend HMS.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Cruise and Oprah

This was sent to me about 5 times last week and the week previous. I'm still finding people that haven't witnessed Tom Cruise electrocuting Oprah.


Monday, July 11, 2005

Ballot Initiative and Term Limits

I was flipping through my usual sites this morning and came across this article or at the Monitor.

At the bottom of the article I found two interesting thoughts. One was on ballot initiative and the other term limits. I'm a long-time opponent of both but found these comments somewhat telling. On term limits:
And some say the state's term limits leave lawmakers less bound by the legislature's traditions of reaching compromises over the long term.

On Ballot initiatives:
...with enough money [anyone] can get almost anything they want on the ballot.

Two thoughts that disturb me: First, the framers had these concerns and built the proper controlling mechanisms into the constitution. Somehow, especially with ballot initiatives, many believe we're just too good for a federal republic. Hey y'all, it's back to ancient Greece wit' yo bad selves!

Second, why doesn't the Monitor actually tackle that debate in any way other than a passing glance?

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