April 2004 Archives

Phew

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I just ordered chinese food coz I'm too damn tired to cook tonight. A more elaborate update will - possibly - follow later tonight or tomorrow morning. Just don't believe everything you hear on the news or read in the paper, but rather ask someone who was there all day long.

Starting at 05h00 sucks, although I didn't have any traffic jams :p

There are (dutch) articles about today's "events" on the various news sites - if you want to read up, check your favorite news site! Because I shouldn't (or can't) disclose any information to the public in regard to the way we reacted to the action, what measurements were taken, I'm not going into specifics. Most articles depict quite an accurate view of the event if you ask me. I only counted 2 police boats instead of three, but I might have missed one since I couldn't see the complete shoreline from where I was, even though I had a first line point of view on all of it.

Do I condone, support or think their action was misplaced? That's really a hard question to answer, but I can say that I've gained quite a lot of respect for the Greenpeace activists, what they did today and how they did it. As in most of of these things, there is no black/white answer, and I guess both sides have partial answers but not a magical solution.

Every day at work has been a "something special every day" kind of experience so far. What will tomorrow bring??!

Note : Please take into consideration that I don't mention names, places or companies explicitely, and I've got my reasons for that. I am the only person who gets to decide what and what I don't divulge on this blog, and all comments that cross that line (hard data, personal names, facts or companies, ...) will either be censored, removed, and/or the author banned.

Bye bye schedule

As I said before, I was scheduled for 5 late shifts starting today, but due to the fact that we expect "company" tomorrow, I've been asked to start working at 05h00 instead of 14h00 and then stay on site for as long as is needed (maximum eleven hours though). Then on friday I continue my late shifts.

For those that are in Belgium and watch the news, it might be possible that we'll be mentioned in it tomorrow, depending on the press coverage and the amount of effort the little green men put into their actions. I'm off to bed really soon now, so that I can get at least a couple of hours before leaving again.

Waterfall 2004

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I went over to Joco & Eef's place yesterday to pick up some stuff, and play with my godson Alex. Damn, that boy grows so fast and is so full of energy - it's simply amazing. His vocabulary is improving fast and it's very funny to hear him pronounce words that as still a little to difficult.

My sis also came over and the four of us spend quite a few hours in the garden after we put Alex to bed. Just chatting about all kinds of things all evening long is fun. Joco and I discussed his new "waterfall 2004" project that he has in mind and I think we'll be able to do it and really complete the little pond!

Today I've slept in - to 07h30 - and now I'm off to get some papers filled out so I can mail them to my employer, then I'll do some shopping and leave for work (14h00 - 22h00 shift today). I like this more than the freakingly early 06h30 - 17h30 shifts!

Update : I arrived at the union a few minutes to 08h30 only to find out when it was my turn, that they were not the ones that had to fill out the forms. I had to be at the regional office of RVA, so I drove over to Antwerp, hunted down a parking spot and luckily was in and out in less than 15 minutes, both documents signed, stamped and filled out. I'm gonna send them off to Group 4 Falck now, and then I'm gonna go shopping for a little black book, so I can write down all the phone numbers of my sex crazy girlfriends that I need during my job.

I hate the world

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because it obviously decided to hate me too today. It started off kinda normal but when I arrived at work everything decided to take a turn for the worst. It seems that some people like arriving at work, separated 2 to 5 minutes apart, so that the period of time it too long to stay around and wait for them, and to short to walk over to your - far from comfortable - chair and sit down. Thus you end up walking back and forth all day long, thanks to a bunch of idiots.

After that "rush" is gone, it was dead calm... for 15 to thirty minutes and then once again everyone was arriving at the same time. People wanting to go in, people wanting to leave, cyclists joing both the incoming and outgoing stream (they require manual processing, no matter what), trucks arriving, waiting and departing, weight measurements to be taken and badges that had incorrect privileges. In short : total chaos!

Anyway, I survived so far and was able to untangle the fucked up mess. Now my feet hurt and my back aches, and tomorrow is another day of the same torture. When I tried getting home, I ended up in a traffic jam - one would say I better get used to it, but I refuse - that seamlessly flowed into the next traffic jam. If I'm correct, I'll be having these kinds of problems every day now, and the bad news is, is that there is NO backup route as far as I know. It's just "we're working on this road for the next couple of weeks/months and if you're fucked, too bad".

When I finally got home and stopped at the store, they didn't have any baskets left at the entrance, so I carried my purchases around in my arms, and when I left it was impossible to find a parking spot near my place. After a couple of tours round the block, I found one not too far away. When I was right in the middle of the street, the pack of water (6x1.5 liter) decided to rip and break, dropping bottles of water all over the place. Go figure... that was the final drop I think : the world hates me today, although I've got no clue what the fuck I did wrong?!

I'm off to see if I can patch up my feet for more torture tomorrow, and I'm hiding for the rest of the evening. Maybe I'll go catch a movie tomorrow evening, since I've got a late shift on wednesday. Anyone wanna join me?

Error hunting... (boring entry)

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When I started running my various category pages through the W3C XHTML validator I should have known upfront that they wouldn't validate, because I had imported old (blogger) entries into MT. And those very first blogger entries were coded in HTML3.1 or 4, I don't even recall, but they certainly are not XHTML compliant.

I've been working for the past hour or so on cleaning up the biggest mess and managed to go from 379 errors when validating the "normal" category to only 57 at the last count. While I type up this entry I'm doing a complete rebuild of all 1700+ entries in this blog, the monthly archives and the category archives. It'll take a while, that's for sure!

What will the end result be? Nothing major, just less coding errors/warnings on my blog when validating it, a couple of hours wasted and another geeky post.

Sounds like me :)

Ouch

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It's a good thing that people don't reach the age of 60 every year, as it would be deadly. Yes, yesterday was the "suprise" birthday party for Hilda, and although she definitely knew a lot was going on, I'm convinced she still was suprised to see what exactly it all was.

We (the organising team that is) arrived around 17h00 and started preparing everything for the party. Some people were putting up decorations, filling up balloons and while the band (Understatement) was unpacking and testing all their material, Dimi and I were busy installing two laptops, and setting up the beamer for the continuous slideshow with photographs of Hilda.

While normally they always arrive late, last night Bobke & Hil arrived at least 20 minutes early so they ran right into the soundcheck I was doing with the laptop. Ah well, it was working fine so it wasn't a problem to skip most of it and go right into the playlist with "easy listening music" while the guests arrived.

I'm not going to write out everything that happened, but we got a nice show from the band - about 2 hours of (rock) covers, if you're interested in booking Understatement, check their site! - and a friend of Hilda had prepared a little sketch as well. Fun fun fun, although some of the older people were complaining : "too loud - what's all that noise - does this go on much longer?" about the band. Well, I guess that's the generation gap because I enjoyed it and most "young" people did if you ask me.

Hilda gave us a very nice show on stage too (Peter Koelewijn and His Rockets anyone?) and around 00h30 we finally dove into the "prehistoric" part of the evening with Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra and Chubby Checker. It was kinda hard to keep the oldies rolling (both on the dancefloor as well as from the laptop) but it didn't matter much because Hilda enjoyed it. By 01h30 or 02h00 most people were leaving and we switched to a mixture of mostly 70'ies and 80'ies music. Taking everything down and packing up took almost an hour and we closed the doors around 3.

By that time some people were wasted and even beyond wasted so I gathered all of them in my car and dropped them of at Puldercity where some were still alive enough to start unpacking the numerous gifts, whereas others crashed in the nearest sofa and drifted off into Lala land.

I'm up already because I gotta be asleep again in less than 12 hours, but first I'm gonna check the 62 photographs I made, delete those that are crap and then upload them - not in the FK gallery though, as I'm running out of space.

This reminds me I also have to mail the pictures of the band to that cutie who gave me her e-mail address.

First complete week

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How does this sound to you :

wake up early, drive through a misty landscape and stay inside till you see the sun rise. Then set out on your bike as sunrays starts lighting up spots here and there. You feel the temperature rise slow but steadily as the night fades. When you look up, you see a clear blue sky and birds singing. Suddenly a squeek from your portable radio that directs your attention to a job at hand, away from the wonderful conditions.

You dive into a noisy industrial area, come across some workers and open the gate that was requested. About 25 minutes later you are outside, cycling around under a clear blue sky once again. I'm convinced that in summer time, the assignment as a mobile guard totally rocks.

Unfortunately, monday and tuesday I'll be working 10 hour shifts at TGC - something that is less enjoyable - but starting wednesday I'm set up for team training, working the late shift (and my first weekend, which includes an official holiday on may 1st - show me the money!) with a bunch of guys that I get along with pretty well. I think I like my job so far :)

What a day

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lots and lots of things happened, but I'm too tired to go into detail. Here is a short wrap-up of events though (most didn't involve me) :

1. never open containers marked with signs that show the "radioactive" label
2. don't put people that are not used to cycling on mobile patrol. It'll cause them to fall - or as a colleague called it "a sudden gust of gravity" - and severely sprain their foot
3. containters that need to be weighed when they leave the plant, should also have been weighed when they got in. If you can find them, that is.
4. instead of working a 06h30 to 16h45 dayshift tomorrow, I'm taking the place of a colleague that had the early shift, so I'll start at 06h00 and leave at 14h00. I'll have to get up shortly past 04h00 so I'm off to bed in less than an hour.

That's it for now!

Congratulations are in order

Because today is Hilda's birthday! Yay - Happy birthday Hil!!!

What�s up doc?

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The doc said I don't see too well - or did he say that my long distance vision sucks completely? - and maybe I should have it looked at. In a way I agree, and I've known it for years too. It's just that in everyday life that condition doesn't bother me in the least. Ah well... maybe I should do something about it?

I got fed up with some things and in a "gentle" (although some might not see it like that) way told some people to either shut up or do it themselves. Nothing personal at all, but I just had enough of the endless discussing about the subject.

Work's been good and the weather was wonderful - it's lovely cycling around in the sun all day, and I'll be doing more for the next three days. No work this weekend (it seems I misread the planning) and on monday and tuesday I'll be alone on TGC. Then wednesday-thursday-friday I get a late shift and training for the team. Which is damn cool if you ask me! Various sources have dropped hints that Group 4 Falck strongly advised the person responsable for this client to keep me around after the revision. That means I'd have a nice and good fixed position pretty soon (a matter of months) with a good chance of taking on more responsable tasks over time. I'm looking forward to that, although I'd rather want to learn how to crawl and walk in this job, before I start running.

Good

I fell asleep quite swiftly last night, and didn't get to see every hour of the night pass - I think. Today we have to go in for a medical checkup.

My ass still hurts. That's all.

Improvement

Today was much better for me - instead of walking around all day long, I get a mobile guard training today, which consists - majorly - in cycling around all day. Therefore, my feet don't hurt, but my ass is sore. Of course there is more to it than cycling around the site, because we had a list of gates and doors that I have to memorize by location and reference number so that when requested, I can cycle to it, open it so others can do their job and then close and secure it again.

We've seen quite a large part of those today, although not all of them. About 30 minutes into the shift of the regular mobile guard - who has three of us in tow - he was called the the main building to transport someone to the hospital by ambulance. Yes, that's also something we handle. I rode along and helped where needed. It was also a good opportunity to get to know the regular guard, as we met only 30 minutes before.

By the time we got back, it was 16h00 and as my day shift ends at 16h30, I was placed in the guard control room to aid and assist in the releasing of the flock. It's that time of day when a major part of the personnel ends their day and they all try to head home as soon as possible. It's a busy 15 to 30 minutes in which there is lots of traffic and badge registrations going on. A good way to end the day.

Picked up food and water for tonight and tomorrow and I'm ready for a new day!

*waves*

I'm awake (actually have been awake for an hour or so) and I'm off to get some bread. Afterwards it's laundry that needs to be done, ferret cage cleaned, Tisha has to get her antibiotics, I'm still working on some tasks involving a bunch of MP3's (but I've ran out of disk space, yikes) and then I've gotta print some things.

All of this has to be done before 22h30, because that's when I'll hit the bed again.

Update : I just started doing laundry, the MP3 work is 99% done as well, and now I'm off to have something to eat, entertain the fuzzies and clean their cage.

So, this is what I do for now

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Because people are probably wondering - and have been asking - what exactly my job is right now, I'll give you a short rundown of what I do all day long, apart from just "standing" there. Needless to say, I've left out specific data that is either boring, doesn't add to the description, or is too specific to disclose.

I check the badges of incoming and outgoing personnel, visitors and contractors that are working on site. This includes - depending on who we are checking - a vehicule check, weight measurements (of trucks), checking and clearing various allowed and forbidden chemicals, materials and tools.

It sounds boring, but it's a rather diverse job that keeps you busy all day long, especially when you're working alone and a truck arrives or departs that needs to be measured, there are contractors waiting to get in or out, and some of the clients own personnel wants to get on site to start their job.

Next week I was scheduled to get training on the mobile guarding part, but I asked for one additional day on TGC to make sure I get most of the basic things down. I feel pretty confident already, yet every day I meet new things I've not done before. One extra day won't help me get all on top of all possible situations, but it'll reinforce my knowledge of the every day things that happen.

Yesterday for instance, we had a nuclear warning on one of the trucks that was cued to leave the site, and was on the bridge to get it's weight checked. We shut down the incoming and outgoing traffic and contacted the people that handle radiation to come over and do manual checks on the truck. The truck was still there as I ended my shift, and today I saw the same driver again so I asked him how the checks turned out. He told me they measured radiation, had him head back and leave the container for a thorough cleansing.

Today we had a bunch of people that got blocked during entering (in most of the cases due to them leaving too fast or not following proper procedures) as well as some contractors that had to have their privileges reset/adapted/changed.

About 30 minutes before my shift ended, we had lots and lots of radio activity (although on our portable radios, not of the nuclear kind) and several of the big shots of security hurried off from their desks. It turned out there was an individual intruding a certain part of the site, so from the control room a complete parkign lot was closed and secured, gates were locked and additionnal security personnel was dispatched to the area. I was - of course - not one of them, as I'm a trainee and I wasn't working mobile anyway. The situation was still ongoing as I ended my shift and as far as I know right now, is still status quo. I might call the site later tonight to hear how it ended.

Pop, sizzle and crack

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I feel pretty tired and crashed right now, so I'm gonna head off to bed. Imagine how my poor feet will feel tomorrow when I squeeze them back into my safety shoes for another 10 hours of walking around. I'm sure my blisters will love the feeling!

Look at the time!

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This is bloody insane, what else can I say?

My day - so far

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I had to get up quite early, as you probably noticed if you looked at the time of the previous two posts. We had a powerpoint presentation at Group 4 Falck in regard to additional safety measurements that are used at the site of our client (only 220 slides full of information) which took us a bit over 1 hour to get through.

Then I picked up my clothing (a huge box, filled with amongst other things : 3 shirts, 3 polo-shirts, 2 pants, safety shoes and goggles, helmet, scarf, 2 ties, one parka, 2 sweaters, belt etc) and we left for the site of our client, which is situated in the harbor of Antwerp. Reaching it was a pain in the ass though, as there are traffic jams everywhere due to all the construction sites most roads in Antwerp have been turned into. Luckily one of us knew the way and lead us straight to the right spot.

We took the test in order to get clearance and a badge to work on site (I scored a nice 19/20) and one of my colleagues will be starting tomorrow with me, another one on the 19th and the fourth one on the 22nd.

Yes, this is it. This is the last day of relative freedom for me! Tomorrow at 07h00 I'm expected on site to start my on-the-job-training. Imagine that... working from 07h00 (and I think it's even from 06h30 all other days) till 16h30 - those are damn long days. Ah well... I'll get used to it, I hope ;)

Party, hugs and kisses

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Happy birthday Little Wabbit!

Patch Time

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There are once again, a couple of patches you, as a windows user should install asap. Read more here : Microsoft Windows Security Bulletin Summary for April, 2004.

Affected systems :

Microsoft Windows NT� Workstation 4.0 Service Pack 6a
Microsoft Windows NT Server 4.0 Service Pack 6a
Microsoft Windows NT Server 4.0 Terminal Server Edition Service Pack 6
Microsoft Windows 2000 Service Pack 2, Microsoft Windows 2000 Service Pack 3, Microsoft Windows 2000 Service Pack 4
Microsoft Windows XP and Microsoft Windows XP Service Pack 1
Microsoft Windows XP 64-Bit Edition Service Pack 1
Microsoft Windows XP 64-Bit Edition Version 2003
Microsoft Windows Server™ 2003
Microsoft Windows Server 2003 64-Bit Edition
Microsoft Windows 98, Microsoft Windows 98 Second Edition (SE), and Microsoft Windows Millennium Edition (ME) - Review the FAQ section of bulletin MS04-014 for details about these operating systems.

Rating : Critical & Important.

So fucking nice

I should have known things were going too well to be true. Just as I walked into my kitchen, I noticed that both my sinks had a tad bit of water in them. Nothing major, but still suprising as I haven't let any water run for the past few hours.

As I went to check if the neighbors had been using excessive amounts of water, it had risen considerably, now both sinks are halfway filled with dirty, hot water. It turns out my neighbor across the hall had been using her dishwasher, and it seems the drain is blocked so when it starts pumping out water, it floods ours sinks. Nice, very nice. Especially since that exact same problem occured about three months ago, two floors down. It cost a smack of money to get it solved, it took three weeks and they had to partially destroy one of the owners kitchen floor.

I'm so not looking forward to the same thing happening in my kitchen. However, does anyone remember the day I was ready to leave for the UK? One hour before I had to leave to catch my flight, I saw water seeping out of my bedroom wall.

I'm starting my new job on thursday, and I'll be working shift (nights, days and weekends) so I'm not really looking forward to having plumbers over all day as they try locating the problem and fixing it. Ah well... such is life I guess.

Where did Lybia go?

I doubt anyone really noticed, but Lybia seems to have disappeared in the big void, at least when it comes to internet presence. This article in The Register has more on it : Libya disappears from the Internet.

If this is a political move of some kind, it won't be long before the rest of the world will have had enough of this system where one (American) institution controls pretty much all of the internet. Either alternative systems will be presented and used for the "Free World", or each country/region will develop and use their own implementation, quite possibly resulting in incompatibility and lots of problems.

Let's all hope there is a good technical explenation for this, otherwise the web is in deep shit.

You know what sucks?

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Going to bed early - if 01h00 is what one considers early - and then laying awake till 02h13, that's the last I remember, only to wake up as tired as one went to bed. This is a really bad way of preparing to start working again. Tomorrow morning I'm expected at the office 09h00 for more instructions and on thursday I start for real.

I just hope that the mailman decides to deliver a signed contract today (or they've got it at the company tomorrow) and my official guard ID card that's certified by the Ministry of Interal Affairs. If I've got those before thursday, I'm a happy camper.

OK, what's on my to-do list for today?

Check why my DeskJet printer is behaving erratically (it seems to print fine, so the problem is probably image related, not printer related) - pick up some tools - get food - meet with Little Wabbit (yay!) - do all kinds of chores (laundry etc) - dentist appointement

Update : OK, I managed to get some things done even though a letter from ABVV told me to come in within 8 days to reconfirm some things. It's a waste of time coz I start working on the 15th, but I decided to get it over and done with. Better keep everything tightly organised instead of having to run and search for papers later on.

Now : mailman, where is my Humo? - CM, where is my refund? - Almighty thing up there in the sky, where is my girlfriend? (Oh yes... I forgot. I don't believe in almighty things in the sky. Damn!)

I can get no satisfaction

As I was watching the news yesterday (or was it saturday?) I heard Steve Stevaert (also known as Steve Stunt) say that he wants to extend the cheaper electricity rates that are available during the night, to include weekends as well. That's all positive, don't you think? Well, there's more to it, let me tell you that.

In fact, I got so enraged by the short-sightedness of politicians and political parties in Belgium, that I sat down and wrote a letter to 4 newspapers (Gazet Van Antwerpen, Het Belang van Limburg, De Standaard and De Morgen) and one magazine (Humo) about this. This is not the first time I've written letters to newspapers and magazines, and so far they've all been published - let's see if they publish this one as well (sorry, dutch only) :

Goedkopere electriciteit? Ja, graag - zolang ze maar niet groen is!

Steve Stunt (sp.a) wil het nachttarief uitbreiden naar de weekends "want dat maakt de rekening minder duur voor de verbruikers". De marktregulerings instantie VREG beaamt dat dit waarschijnlijk kan zonder dat iemand de rekening betaald, dus ook de sector zelf lijkt wel interesse te hebben.

Mooi toch? Laten we dan wel even vergeten dat de hoeveelheid verbruikte energie niet daalt, en dat het goedkoper maken van (hoofdzakelijk grijze) stroom net het verkeerde signaal is als Belgi� een inspanning wil leveren om de Kyoto normen te halen (6% energie uit hernieuwbare bronnen tegen 2010). Want - en daar spreekt Steve natuurlijk niet over - in plaats van mee een oplossing te zoeken voor het probleem met de groene stroom in Vlaanderen, gaat hij liever de boer op met nieuwe ide�en, die echter niets wezenlijk opleveren - behalve dan electoraal voordeel misschien?

Twee weken geleden boog Minister Bossuyt het hoofd en accepteerde de stelling van Europa dat de Vlaamse vrijstelling van distributiekosten voor groene stroom geproduceerd in Vlaanderen, discriminerend was voor groene stroom geproduceerd in het buitenland. In plaats van een milieubewuste beslissing te nemen en ook groene stroom uit het buitenland dezelfde "voordelen" toe te kennen, doet minister Bossuyt net het tegenovergestelde : afschaffen die hele handel! Zijn voorstel aan de Vlaamse Regering om de gratis distributie van groene stroom compleet te stoppen, is dan ook een duidelijk bewijs dat sommige politici (en partijen) nog steeds niet verder kijken dan hun neus lang is.

Net nu ik als bewuste consument expliciet kan kiezen voor het gebruik van groene stroom, en de investering in producenten van groene stroom, krijgt zowel de gebruiker als de producent het grijze deksel op de groene neus. Zal groene stroom overleven in Vlaanderen? Ik hoop van harte van wel, maar het zal zeker niet te danken zijn aan een "groene" sp.a!

Impressive!

Dancing and singing Skeleton (Windows Media Video v8 File - 5:15 minutes)

Fuzzy update : Tisha

A couple of days ago, I took Tisha to the vet because she kept on coughing and sneezing. She clearly had lots of problems breathing and when listening to her lungs - even without a stethoscope - it sounded like a deep rumbling sound. Not good at all.

However, today is her third day on antibiotics (Siroxyl and Vibravet 0.25 ml twice a day and 1/4 of a Baytril 15mg tablet daily) and she's doing much much better. Almost no more sneezing, coughing and she's more active as well. 7 more days to go, and then I'll know if my little carpetshark is cured. Bono and Max are still the regular fuzzies, chasing food and hiding it all over the place.

This concludes the update.

Boring, boring, bored

Because I've been posting links anyway the past few days, one more won't hurt : Stickfigures : Battle Field III (not at all as funny as the original stickfigure fights though)

I'd rather see Killer Bean 3 appear this decade, but the project seems awfully dead - or Jeff Lew is just not communicating about it.

Rock on!

I've got no clue so far how they do it, but Subservient Chicken rocks.

Ask the chicken to :

- fly (it's quite funny)
- lay an egg
- throw the pillows
- break the TV
- ...

Nasty

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but not much you can do about it right now. What the hell am I talking about?

The most recent Vulnerability in Internet Explorer ITS Protocol Handler, that's what. If you want to know the details, please read the link I provided above. Now, what is the problem?

  1. it's not IE (or Outlook, OE etc) only
  2. Non MS products and browsers might also invoke the ITS protocol, since it's embedded in windows
  3. there is no patch available for the moment (apart from manual registry edits - see the provided link)
  4. according to some sources, proof of concept exploits have been published in the wild (for everyone to see, that is)
  5. virus creators and spammers are very likely to exploit this vulnerability in the next few days (maybe even hours)

What can you do?

Be careful, very careful. And - of course - keep on reading friedkitten.com, because I'll let you all know asap when a patch is released and available.

Coz I found it kinda funny

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Too good to pass up

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These are excerpts from someones online page, and how she describes herself. I'll let them speak for themself.

Kimberly - 22. I won't let anyone close.
<snip>
I support President Bush.
I'm a smoker (8 years). I'll never quit
I drink alcohol whenever possible.
<snip>
I crave intelligent conversations.
Infomercials can entertain me for endless hours.
<snip>
I don't like people or public places.
<snip>
I was in rehab 5 years ago and it opened my eyes to a lot
I have depression, OCD, and borderline personality disorder.
<snip>
I spit, swear, belch and act perverted.
I spend all my money on shoes and pocketbooks
<snip>
Onions, snakes, and ferrits should be wiped out.
I have a very strong dislike for receiving oral sex.
I love sleeping...all day every day if I could.

Now, I said I wouldn't comment, but I can't stop myself. How do you breed this kind of stupid people? Well, at least we know that with her supporting Bush, smoking and drinking as much as she can, the chance that she procreates becomes quite a lot smaller, statistically seen - or at least, that's what I hope.

Oh, Kimberly, dear moron... If you want all ferrets wiped out, at least learn how to write the word properly.

Why is life so expensive?

Around noon I stopped at the bank and withdrew exactly 140 euro (about USD170).

Then I went out and got some things I needed, or needed to get done - follow me :

Stop 1. Petstore, to pick up food and litter for the fuzzies (30 euro)
Stop 2. Oilchange for car (35 euro + a 1.5 hour wait)
Stop 3. (while waiting for the oil change) Picked up a blanket I needed (29.55)
Stop 4. Got a card for a special someone and bought a book (Stupid White Men) (14.49)
Stop 5. Had something to eat (9.15)

Total : 118.19

Things left to do : Appointement at the vet later tonight and get fuel for the car. I don't think I'll make it with the 21.81 that remains. Back to the bank I guess, I better start working soon!

Short updates

I went over to my grandma's place to discuss some work that needs to be done in the house she's about to sell. The buyer wants some things changed, and we'll be doing it for him.

I just called Group 4 Falck because I didn't receive any notice yet about where I gotta be next week, and since I start on thursday april 15th, it would be nice to know. Apparently, the guy dealing with all of it has taken a few days off from work, but I talked to Joske and she'll be mailing me when they know more. One of the colleagues I met at the training course told me he was expected on wednesday April 14th at 09h00, so I guess it'll be the same for me

(Just got a call to confirm that date and time.)

What else is new? I gotta go over to my dad's place later tonight to pick up a spare monitor, so I can easily work on a machine from a client that I got here - it needs some things (re)configured. I think that this afternoon I'll go over to Zwijndrecht to pick up ferret food and litter and I should make an appointement with the vet as well to check out Tisha. She's been coughing and sneezing a lot lately, and she doesn't come out to play too much anymore, so I better get her checked out.

(Just made the appointement, gotta be there tonight at 19h15.)

Oh, Shelley. I'll have to ban you permanently from posting comments at this blog. I can't have anyone who has sex and a better/flashier/cooler home theatre system making fun of me on my own blog ;)

So screwed

Last night - or was it even two days ago, I don't recall - I did an ugrade of my firewall to a newer release. Everything appeared to have gone smoothly, but after the required reboot, my machine just refused to boot into windows XP. After some tinkering and creative shortcuts, I was able to uninstall the firewall, clean up the mess and attempt a clean install. This time everthing went much smoother, and even after a reboot I was greeted with my XP wallpaper.

However, I was not pleased with the new functionality of the recent version. It no longer had the possibility to block access to some applications for only some protocols, yet allow everything else to pass through. Let me give you an example :

I want my mail client to use ports 25 and 110 (POP3 and SMTP) but there is no need for it to use 80 (HTTP) or 443 (HTTPS) since it's only used to load inline images in mail - something that is way to often used as a tracker for spam mail. In the old version of my firewall, I could easily block that - with the new version I hunted and searched all screens, only to give up in dispear.

In addition to that set back, I also noticed that whenever I tried writing a CD, it froze at the most unexpected times, completely freezing the system - not even killing the process was a solution. I decided to kick off the upgraded version to see if it restores my machine to it's clean and healthy state it was before.

Apparently not. CD writing is still a game of poker, although the freezes seem to be less frequent, and it boots nicely all the time. I guess the only thing left now is to back up all my data, and start a clean install of windows, something I'm not particulary fond of, even though it might be the only solution left. It's been a solid 1.5 years of operation without crashes, data loss or corruption, and a 24/7 service - yes, I never turn my machine off.

Has the time come to start all over again? :(

Whoa (shakes head vigorously)

While I'm off to the dentist, I give you Bohemian Rhapsody : Pixelated (Flash plugin required - and turn up the volume).

Loomax DVD X-50

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I've never really needed a standalone DVD player, since I've got everything I need DVD wise on my PC. However, as I was browsing some stores yesterday, I noticed the Loomax DVD X-50 player for a mere 99 euro.

That seemed quite reasonable to me, especially if it were capable of playing everything the leaflet claims : DVD, DivX (3.x, 4.x and 5.x), CD-R, CD-RW, MPEG4, CD, MP3, Photo CD (JPEG). Quite a long list, and to be honest, I never heard of the brand before, so I wrote down all it's details and started browsing the web this morning.

I've found quite some positive posts about the Loomax DVD X-50 unit, and they all reported that Loomax had upgraded the firmware for the drive, and this would enable it to also play subtitles on DivX movies. One post even stated that it also plays XViD, although I've not seen it listed on the Loomax site itself, nor have I tested it (yet).

To make a long story short(er) : this afternoon I picked up one of the players, a scartcable and some Jackie Chan movie that was discounted to 2.99 euro. Lol, even if it sucks majorly, it's still worth the price, right?

Installing it was no problem at all, and I immediately downloaded and flashed the player to firmware version 2.0 to enable all functions. It's capable of displaying PAL/NTSC formats (not that I'll ever need it) and it can be switched to whatever region my heart desires simply by pressing some buttons on the (included) remote control. A remote that comes with batteries as well - nice.

So far, I'm quite pleased with my purchase... anyone wanna join me for a porn-a-thon? Lol! Nothing as good to test a new DVD player as a bunch of DivX, XViD and DVD porn movies : fastforward, rewind, slow, double slow, zoom, 8x zoom, pause, switch disk... <grin>

While I might have to adapt my final score later on, based on my first impressions, the use of the unit, the packaging, design, firmware updates and the price, this one gets an easy 8.5 out of 10, maybe even a 9. If you don't have a DVD player yet, and are looking into buying one soon, make sure you take a look at this baby, baby.

When music becomes dangerous

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No, I'm not talking about the idiots over at RIAA that sue everyone who dares download an .mp3 or unlicensed piece of music.

I'm talking about the very popular WinAmp player, that seems to have a bug that could allow people with less than good intentions run code on your machine. Is it a dangerous exploit?

If you know that both NGSSoftware (the people that discovered the bug) as well as NullSoft (the creators of WinAmp) classify it as Highly Critical/High Risk, combined with the fact that there have been tens of millions of downloads of WinAmp, yes... you could say it could be a problem.

A new version is up for download : WinAmp 5.03 (Download here)

If you don't feel like upgrading to the patched 5.03 version, follow the NGSSoftware instructions on how to disable the plugin that contains the exploit.

MT script abuse

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Over the past couple of days, the hosting company that I use has been forced to disable access to two MT scrips, effective immediately. Since I know there people don't take this kind of serious measurements unless absolutely necessary, I suggest you take a look whether or not you've got these scripts installed as well.

1. MT Plugin Manager (mt-pm.cgi - 3rd party plugin, not included in MT core files) - Reason : high server load
2. mt-send-entry.cgi (Part of a standard MT install) - Reason : spamming possible through certain versions of the script.

On all MT powered domains under my control, the MT plugin manager has never been installed, and the mt-send-entry.cgi script has now been disabled manually, in addition to the host based filtering.

Happy Birthday Dad!

Yesterdays party/gathering was very enjoyable even though we kept it quite decent ;)

Today I'm working on some site updates - not FK related - and wrapping up loose ends. Nothing too exciting or worth blogging about though, but should something "interesting or worthwhile mentioning" turn up, I'll let you know.

Whoa!

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Is it that late already? I better start getting ready to pick up my sis and head off to my dads birthday gathering.

Yay!

Tine rules - I just got 4 extra photographs of Tanja by mail.. I'm gonna turn them into a wallpaper I think. If I do, you might even see it turn up in my Wallpaper Section some day.

Positive news

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I have in front of me, a contract signed by all parties. (Actually, I have not, but I did sign one, and I'll receive my copy by mail)

It says that I have a job, starting April 15th, for an unspecified duration. I'll be deployed on one specific site till at least the end of June, and after that either be moved to another client, or take up a fixed position at the first client. I think that somewhere next week I'll have to go back to watch a safety video (a regulation from the client) and do another small exam about that. Then I'm all set.

Off to clean the ferrets cage now, entertain them and at 13h00 I expect company to arrive with some more data for a project.

LOL!

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As some of you might have noticed, I pulled a little April Fools day joke out of my hat yesterday. I've had 2 mails concerning it, and I know of at least two more people that were a bit confused with the page I served them instead.

If you didn't happen to see it, take a look here : April Fools Day 2004 at friedkitten.com.

Now, what did I really do today, apart from making up silly geeky jokes and pages? I got up around 09h00 and read my mail, constructed the silly April Fools Day joke and then went shopping. It's not like I really needed stuff, but the fridge was empty - apart from a mouse that's long deceased due to starvation - and I thought about getting some new clothes for the Launch Party tonight (links in a previous post somewhere).

I did end up getting myself two new t-shirts (that I didn't really need, but I just love t-shirts) and I got myself a very nice new watch. Take a look at it here : Sector 200 Date Gents. It was a little more expensive than I was planning on spending, but I had been looking at various models for close to an hour, and this one was the only one that I found simple, yet appealing. All the others had either a multitude of knobs, buttons, functions and colors, or were massive chunks of steel, and shiny as hell. I don't want such a watch, I want one that tells me the time and the date, and is simple yet stylish.

Then only thing I didn't figure out yet, is what button I gotta push or turn to get dates with women - I guess it's burried deep into the multilangual manual.

Which leads me to the next thing that happened. I went to the Lucid Lights Launch party in Carr�, and I was kinda disappointed with it all. Sure, they were experiencing lots and lots of technical difficulties that caused a delay of about 1.5 hours, as well as them only being able to show 25% of the systems capabilities, but if they can fix those issues, they have something pretty cool. I think especially advertising could benefit from it, the marketing boys will just love this product.

What I did miss though, was the bunch of invited celebrities, the cool chicks, the on-stage dancers and things like that. No Miss Belgium to been seen anywhere, no Tanja Dexters either :( Sure, there never was any confirmation that they would be there, but still... one can hope, right?

Tomorrow - although technically today - I'll be signing my death sentence contract and in the afternoon I'll be meeting with a client. Friday evening I'll probably go out with the friends of the course. Saturday I should catch up on what I neglected so far this week (scrubbing floors) and on sunday we celebrate my dad's birthday.

Oh, and I've got an idea for a new website, but it's nothing more as a vague plan in my head so far.

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This page is an archive of entries from April 2004 listed from newest to oldest.

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