November 2005 Archives

Firefox 1.5 was released yesterday, which certainly explains why I had a hard time connecting to some Mozilla pages earlier on. I just installed the latest stable release and then ran into the expected incompatible themes and extensions.

Here's what I had installed earlier, and whether or not I was able to get it to work with 1.5 :

Themes :
Qute - success - installed beta version 3.01 from the homepage
FireFox Modern - unsuccessful, 1.1.3 is not (yet?) compatible with FF1.5
PimpZilla - successfull, installed the 2.9.9 beta release

Extensions :
ForecastFox 0.8.2.4 - compatible with 1.5 but connection errors (fixed)
SwitchProxyTool - beta version for FF1.5 available - installed through extensionsmirror.nl
HTTPLiveHeaders - successfully updated to 0.11
Tabbrowser Preferences - version 1.2.8.7 works with FF1.5, 1.3.0 expected
Google PageRank Status - success - updated to 0.9.6
User Agent Switcher - disabled after install of FF1.5, extension reinstall fixed it
Download Manager Tweak - installed 0.7.1 (homepage currently hard to reach)

Overall success rate by moving from firefox 1.07 to firefox 1.5 one two day(s) after official release when it comes to extensions and themes : 66.6% 90%

Easy?

| No Comments

I just attempted to contact someone responsable for my pensionfund and life insurance. I believe I just talked to 5 different people, was transferred from Brussels to Antwerp and back, to finally be given a number in Brussels that was connected to an answering machine, where I had to leave my details. Now I have to wait for them to call me back which they would do asap, so it remains to be seen how long that'll take.

Sure, I must say that everyone I talked to was very nice and professional, and they even gave me yet another contract number connected to my case. It's good I didn't expect things to be easy, as this is a contract initiated by my old employer - the one that went bankrupt - after which I requested to transfer the contract to me, so that now puts my in a situation of having a groupcontract for a one man group : me. Or something like that. Anyway, apparently I'm now dealing with the "reduced contracts and advances" department, unless they never call back or transfer me to yet other branch.

All of that because I want to know whether or not I can deposit more money into the fund - and if I can, how it should be done - in order to maximize my tax return for 2006. I'd guess they'd be happy to see their customers willing to pay more money, so why is it made so difficult? I suppose they make enough profit as it is?

Apparently, someone is trying to fuck with me online. Let me tell you this straight up and in your face : if I find out who is behind this, his or her life online will become very unpleasant, not to say impossible. I've tracked down "badasses" before and filed charges with positive outcome for me, and I won't hesitate to do it again. Every single mail, signup request, or "confirmation" I received so far will be reported, analysed and kept as proof. Better quit now before I get too annoyed, stalker.

/me goes into tracking and analysing mode, and remember : vengance is sweetest when served unannounced.

Tying up loose knots

| No Comments

I'm currently working hard on tying up loose knots that I left dwindling over the past week(s). Here's what I did so far...

- file complaint about paychecks from work (prepared, will be filed on thursday)
- pay bills (including one overdue bill, bad bad ServMe!)
- shop for food

Up next :

- read and answer e-mail (I've really been slacking there, not something I do often)
- read and answer IM's (there's nothing "Instant" about it with me I guess)

Splendid.

| 5 Comments

This is entry 2390 - not that it it terrible important, or even slightly important, but I felt like mentioning it. I just joined some sort of online dating site (number 2, actually) and this is what 10 minutes of filling out tests, questions, psychic profiling and stuff like that resulted in :

0 women selected out of 3459 active members.

From their FAQ : It's possible that we won't propose any candidate to you (we estimate this will be the case for about 8% of our members), maybe 10, but a maximum of 20.

My take on things? Yay, I'm part of a small group of people that are impossible to match! It's a very mixed feeling though, I tell you. They suggested changing my preferences, but I've got two problems with that. I can't change who I am, and I don't want to change who I am. Am I really that demanding and difficult? I probably am, it's not the first time I've been told something like that...

The Yeti has landed

| 3 Comments

Man, man... finally winter seems to have hit, and it has hit hard. Temperatures dropped - it's minus 0.5 degrees Celsius as I write this - and snow has been falling since early last night. It considerably slowed down my trip home yesterday, and this morning it was even worse. I arrived in time, though quite late at work. Some of the highways weren't cleared of snow at all, and proved a challenge to drive. Luckily even at 5 in the morning some traffic had passed before me, so I was able to just follow the tire tracks felt by others. I certainly hope things clear up later today because after finishing my shift here, I have to drive over to another site and do another shift. It's just 1 hour, but if I arrive late due to weather conditions, I'll be able to leave late as well. Which I ain't planning on.

No title today

| No Comments

Work started off slowly, but then picked up with some things that required more attention. When I had about one hour left in my shift, it really got busy because calls came in like crazy and most of the guys on the site were tied up so things got pretty hectic. Luckily things slowed down after it. I checked out and went to make a copy of my schedule for december - I'll put it up tomorrow afternoon - and then had a long talk with my supervisor about all kinds of things, but nothing in particular.

One of my grandma's just called and I'll be going over tomorrow afternoon after work. We're working out something for the new years festivities as well, now that I know when I'll be working. Lots of nightshifts in December by the way.

Off to bed in a jiffy, early shift tomorrow...

Schedule updated

| 1 Comment

I got a call earlier today asking whether I'd mind coming in tomorrow for a day shift, instead of being home. I agreed, and will now have wednesday off as replacement. Unless of course I ask to work that shift as well :p

Sober up

| No Comments

It's been a while since I dropped virus related news on this blog, but here is something you'll see appear sooner rather than later - in fact, I already received three copies of the nasty myself.

Sober.Y becoming huge - Info at F-Secure.

Bad or worse?

| No Comments

was the idea I had today when I got home. When I checked the mailbox, I noticed I had received two things : 8 mile (the DVD) and Need for Speed Underground for my PS2. Checking the mailbox wasn't a bad idea, but popping NFSU into the PS2 was. It's just past three now and I'm still playing. Bad, ain't it?

Worse is the fact that I about an hour ago I said I woudln't go to bed before I finished another race in first place. Which seems much harder now then it was 3 hours ago. Must be the fact that I'm playing it on a harder level, or the fact that I'm getting pretty tired. Ah well, I hope to be off to bed before 4 :)

Wheee!

| No Comments

I just went shopping for food, now I'm off to have a quick bite, and then work calls. I had a nice long weekend off, and it was fun. I should do it more :)

update : I also made some sandwiches to eat at work, I did a 10 minute workout (something I plan on doing daily) and the dishwasher has been turned on as well. When I get back home, I'll have a clean place* and food on the table.

* Olga vacuumed the floors yesterday and I'll put her to work again today before I leave.

2006

100 kg
100 km
1 shoot

If you don't understand (yet) don't worry. This is a placeholder and reminder for myself. It'll all become clear in due time.

Nature and nurture

| No Comments

I'm watching a very interesting program about intelligence and genes and how they are linked. Some scientists claim that intelligence is about 50% nature (passed onto one through the genes of their parents) and 50% nurture (environment). The one thing that was nice to hear yet not totally unsusprising to me is that people search out partners of similar intelligence to form a couple with.

While one could presume that two partners grow in their intelligence together after they've met, tests and studies show they are of similar intelligence before they meet. I'll leave it to others to agree or disagree with the statement, and I'm looking forward to your feedback.

+6651133015

| No Comments

I just got a call from the above number on my cellphone. My number is unlisted and only has been handed out to close friends and relatives, and none of them is in Thailand as far as I know. That is, if the country code is indeed "66", but then the area or city code doesn't make sense, since there is no city with code 51 in thailand as far as I was able to trace online.

The international dialling code can't be "06" because that one doesn't exist, nor does "665".

Conclusion : I'm being called on an unlisted cellphone number from a mysteriously vanished city in thailand in the middle of the night (for them, not for me). If you happen to be able to know or verify the number above, feel free to forward details my way.

I'm off to the theatre tonight with a whole bunch of people, it'll be tons of fun. Before I leave though, I have to shave, shower, get dressed, entertain and feed the ferrets, shop for food, stop at the bank to withdraw some money and probably more things I don't remember.

And all of that should be completed in the next 90 minutes. Off I go!

Frozen gets frozen.

| No Comments

According to a Belgian judge, one can no longer sell, broadcast or listen to the song "Frozen" (of the album Ray of Light) by Madonna because it was plagiarised from a Belgian composer. My first reaction? Where's my legally purchased copy of the CD?!

As I write this entry, Frozen is blasting through the speakers and I'm sure the neighbours can hear it as well. Does this make me guilty of fencing off stolen goods? Being the quickwitted geek that I am, here are some alternative lyrics to Madonna's Frozen, to reflect the new situation :

You only hear what the judge says you hear
How can notes be similar and near
It's stolen
When those notes ain't paid for

You're so consumed with how much you reep
You waste our time with hate and much greed
You're broken
When her wallet doesn't open

[Chorus:]

Mmmmmm, if I could melt your CD
Mmmmmm, we'd never agree
Mmmmmm, now give money to me
Mmmmmm, the judge holds the key

Now there's no point in placing the blame
And you should know I suffer the same
If I lose this
My album will be broken

Music's a bird, it needs to fly
Let all the agony inside of you die
The public gets frozen
Their ears can't be open

[chorus]
[verse]
[chorus, repeat]

If I could plea my case to you

Douce Victime by Laïs

| No Comments

I borrowed this album from a colleague at work - thanks Sven - and while being much different than previous Laïs albums it's has some enjoyable songs. The most impressive track is their adaptation of "Opzij" by Herman Van Veen though :superb uptempo vocal work by the three Laïs girls, I tell you.

Another noteworthy track is "Marie Madeleine", the rest of the songs is just too different from their previous work that I don't come to like them right away. Make after having listened to it a couple of times I'll change my mind, but only the future will tell.

A big fuck you goes to EMI for putting out yet another "Copy Controlled CD". Copy Controlled my ass : CDS200.5.11.90 is not that hard to circumvent if you are a bit up to date and have the correct tools. If I purchase a CD, I want tot be able to do with it what I please : make a copy of it to listen to at work, in the car or elsewhere while the original sits at home safely. Stop forcing your customers to abide by your simplistic rules and regulations. Take a good look at Sony/BMG and see how well they do nowadays.

My first words for this new day

| No Comments

It's been a long night, so I'll be off to bed soon. It was suprisingly calm though, I didn't expect that. Who knows though what the next days and weeks will bring? I'm gonna catch some Zzzz's, for those of you that just woke up, or will be waking up soon : goooood mooorning!

Crap, I just saw a mosquito fly around, gotta catch and kill it before I head off to bed.

All is fine in FK land

| 4 Comments

Not much to write here these days. Played some Hattrick over the weekend and won - again, might I say - and spent some time playing travian as well. Watched lots of DVD's and generally did things I felt like doing. Tonight work calls again, but when these nightshifts are over, it's weekend again and I'll be going to a play called "Varkens Met Stress" in Mechelen. Looking forward to it.

Gotta check up on some things now, then shop for food and head back off to bed for a few more hours of sleep as I woke up way too early today. Laters!

update : I didn't go shopping, nor did I sleep for a couple of hours. Instead I'll be ordering food to go and just make it a long night. I just finished cleaning the ferrets cage and am off to work in about 30 minutes. I showered and shaved earlier on, so the only thing left now is hit publish for this post to appear and jump in my clothes. More nonsense tomorrow.

I drove back to the station

| No Comments

I haven't been doing much today, slept in till twelve, then was woken up by the doorbel and a neighbor telling me a package had been left in theirhallway which was for me. He put it in our hallway where I then picked it up. After doing that I got my laptop and played games for a couple of hours while staying in bed. When I got up I seemed even more tired than when I woke up at first. Beds are weird things, I tell you.

Got up, felt a bit dizzy, so I quickly ate two apples before heding off to the store for food. My plans for the night include watching some series on DVD, and then switch to "The Naked Gun : From the files of Police Squad" on VT4. I always liked the utterly absurd humor of Police Squad, so this one should be good.

Over the top

| No Comments

Today was more or less hell at work. For starters, my backup operator didn't show til ten as he had a meeting first and work was just over the top. Guards being called for duties all over the site and loads and loads of people arriving on site at the same time. Hard to get a grip on at times, but I handled it pretty well, even if I have to say so myself.

I certainly hope tomorrow is a little better but I fear not : it's an official holiday but the the revision starting in the evening, I think at least 50% of the people will be around and needing assistance. Which we will be able to provide, but in very small doses, one by one I suppose.

Oh... I almost hate to say "I told you so" but here it is : First Trojan using Sony DRM spotted. It took a bit longer to appear than I guestimated, but not that much longer.

Users are not the only ones suffering from all of this though : Sony better prepares to suffer too - Sony hit by lawsuits over root kit, EFF Confirms Secret Software on 19 CDs and analyzes the End Users License.

In times of crisis

| 1 Comment

keep this in mind :

1. stay calm
2. analyse the situation
3. stay calm
4. resolve the situation
5. stay calm
6. document and learn.

When applied to todays events it worked like a charm. When you go blind and deaf, extend your tentacles. Use them to feed you the information you need. Follow your intuition and gather information, come out unaffected and on top.

That's all information I can offer right now for leaving work over 1 hour later.

$sys$ makes invisible

| No Comments

Remember the Sony/BMG rootkit install I wrote about a few days ago? A patch for it was released that removes the cloaking behaviour, but the rootkit itself remains in place. More info on Sony to offer patch for 'rootkit' DRM at The Register.

Now I wonder how many non-geeks know about this rootkit? There has been quite some buzz over it in blogland and on various techy websites, but the main population remains clueless. As predicted, some World of Warcraft cheaters have already used the (now optionally patched) cloaking of the Sony/BMG rootkit to hide their cheats from the WoW security module "the Warden". Info on Security Focus this time : World of Warcraft hackers using Sony BMG rootkit.

This just shows how a bad implementation of an even worse idea can exponentially lead to chaos. For now it's cheating at games, but if you ask me, it'll be only days, if not hours before new virus/trojan/adware/spyware variants will be seeded to the internet prefixing their files with "$sys$". While the amount of machines currently "infected" with the rootkit is anyones guess, the virus authors have nothing to lose and everything to gain.

If the targetted machine has the rootkit installed, the malicious code - be it virus, trojan, worm, ad or spyware - will be even harder to detect (and thus remove). If the rootkit is not present, nothing changes for the virus author.

With the increased Bagle activity over the past days, as well as the SDBot virus spreading through IM, specifically targetting AIM - and we all know AOL users usually ain't the brightest star in the sky - the future looks rather depressing if you ask me.

However, things like this brighten my day : A first solar system prototype measuring 23 feet in diameter and 16 inches high, produces an astonishing 6.5 KW of electricity. Check out the manufacturers website (Pyron Solar) for more details, tech specs and video.

The center of an international web

| No Comments

Sometimes my place looks like the office of a Top-500 fortune company that deals with international customers and shipping.

5 international orders that I placed for various x-mas gifts have already arrived, and today my long awaited ebay purchase (Blink by Malcolm Gladwell) from Canada came through as well. Unfortunately, with today's shipment a hefty creditcard bill arrived as well, so I know what I'll be working for this month.

To be expected soon :

2 books from the UK (through ebay)
1 magazine from Italy (through ebay)
1 book (x-mas related, shipped from Belgium)
1 DVD (x-mas related, shipped from Belgium)
1 CD (for myself, shipped from Belgium)

I'm not really suprised to see that having things shipped from the UK to Belgium is faster and less troublesome than purchasing items online in Belgium from a Belgian shop.

Now I have to read up on new developments and ideas about offshore wind energy :
Floating offshore wind energy and hydrogen fuel-generating company
.

Relaxed

| No Comments

Just got back from the sauna, it was sooooo relaxing. Should keep me going for a few days. Off to raid the fridge and freezer now for food. Should have gone shopping today, but didn't. Need batteries, not for this, but for this.

Rootkit + Digital Rights Management

| 1 Comment

If you come up with a blank stare when reading the words "DRM", or "rootkit", the following post may not be for you. If you are a concerned customer and value freedom, I suggest you keep reading.

Everyone knows record publishers have been pulling all kinds of strings to keep their CD's from being copied and pirated. To a certain level, I agree that no one benefits from listening to copied audio CD's, however I believe that most people will still go out and buy the original CD if they like the work and artists featured on it. A nice cover, extended leaflets and such just provide more incentive to do so. What I hate is people telling me what I can or can't do with goods I purchase. It has the same reaction on me as saying "you have to...". I don't have to do anything, period.

Likewise, if I buy a brand new audio CD and want to listen to it in my car, I should be able to do so. If I want to listen to it on my computer, I don't want to install extra software, players or listen to crippled audio tracks. It's my CD, so I decide what to do with it.

Enough for the subjective ranting, off to the technical side of things. DRM is a tool that prevents (or limits) the things you can do with you recently purchased CD. It won't prevent you from smashing it up, using it as a frisbee, or having your dog chew on it. I will however attempt to only play it on one cd player, prevent you from copying it, or even access the data on it without using vendor approved software. So much for a short intro on DRM. If you want to know more, check out wikipedia on DRM, or the collection of links and articles at EFF on DRM.

Rootkits... Usually connected to "evil", rootkits are receiving an increasing attention in the media, although most non-techies haven't picked up on them yet. A rootkit is software that will hide certain things from the user and the system itself. It's often used to install and hide malware, spy or adware onto a system. It's also used to create and maintain backdoors into computers without the knowledge from the owner. In short : rootkits hide things. Things that are hidden from you (the user/owner) make it hard to remove, or even analyse the possible implications. Does that explain in very simple wording what rootkits are? More (technical and specific) information can be found at Rootkits (wikipedia) or rootkit.com.

So... where were we? Aha, yes, rootkits and DRM. Let's just combine the two, will we? You unsuspectedly pop your newly purchased audio CD into the CD player of your computer - you are reading this on your computer, right? - and an installer screen pops up. You click next and get the legal mumbo jumbo, next, next, next, back, up, next, cancel, next, OK. Now that was easy, wasn't it? Where's my damn music?!

Aaah... reboot, and there it is : a crappy player interface giving you access to your beloved new audiotracks. Wait, why can't I use my personal favorite audio player? Let's see... it doesn't even find the data on the CD, hm... Ah well, I gotta run so lets quickly make a copy of this CD so I can listen to it in my car. A place that's usually lethal for CD's, mind I say. What? No copy either? WTF!

You rip the CD from the player, throw it back in the jewelcase and head off to do more important things. When you get back home, you try using your own favorite music player again, and you fail. A copy still ain't possible, so you get annoyed and uninstall whatever crap was installed on your computer in the first place. Reboot, done! Enough of it, and that CD will probably end up somewhere at the bottom of your pile, because it could have been so much, but is so little.

End of story? Not if that was a Sony/BMG DRM CD, my friend. When you uninstall, the rootkit used to hide the DRM from the user, remains installed. And that same rootkit can - and will - be abused by other programs like spy and adware or viruses to hide themselves from the system. An up to date virusscanner? No good, as the virus is hidden from the system itself. Can you remove the rootkit yourself? Yes, but only if you ask the Sony/BMG techies for instructions*. (updated on 02/11/2005 to reflect new link)

Also see Removing Sony's CD 'rootkit' kills Windows (The Register) and Mark's Sysinternals Blog : Sony, Rootkits and Digital Rights Management Gone Too Far.

Monthly Archives

Pages

OpenID accepted here Learn more about OpenID
Powered by Movable Type 5.13-en

About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from November 2005 listed from newest to oldest.

October 2005 is the previous archive.

December 2005 is the next archive.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.