July 2006 Archives

And then the day got better

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I've been up for quite a long time already, but I don't think the day is over yet. I feel fine, not terribly tired but I just had dinner - babi pangang - so that might change now I've got a full tummy. Tai is sitting on my lap, trying to give me kisses and generally obstructing my view of the keyboard and screen. The keyboard being blocked doesn't matter as I type pretty much blindly, but I do mess up every now and then, in which case I'd like to see the screen :) Complaints about typo's and other errors go to the Crazy Cat.

Anyway, after a quite uneventful early shift at work, I got home, changed clothes (actually just took off the uniform shirt and grabbed a regular civil shirt) and went off to J. who was suffering some difficulties. The scary "all my texts are gone" issue turned out to be an easy to fix filtering problem. If you ask windows to display all files matching the "MS-Dos with layout" filter, don't be surprised Word documents don't appear. To make a long story short, that was fixed, explained, tested twice by J. and case closed. S. wanted to her computer to be checked as well, and that "free easy virusscanner" installed. Which I did, along with a bunch of Windows Updates, an upgrade for Opera was done as well, and off I went.

While driving around, I got near the place of Vx and M, so I decided to stop over to see if they were home. They were and I spent quite some time there catching up on how life has been for all of us. M hasn't changed a bit and Vx is hotter than ever. When she had to leave at some point, we exchanged kisses - it might have been my imagination - there was more lips to that kiss than a regular friendly goodbye kiss. Which I didn't mind at all.

Lol, she may one day read this and wonder why my imagination runs this wild, or what I was thinking writing this down, but I'm just being honest.

Vx is one super sexy lady and I think that if she were to seriously come on to me, I wouldn't fight her - at all. Vx, if you read this and are offended, think nothing of it. It was my overactive imagination. In case it wasn't just my imagination running wild, call me, leave a comment, whatever.

Ok, that's been enough of my penis talking now, lets get from the sensitive bits to the sensible bit called a brain.

Gee, I'm all talked out.

Too much?

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I sure hope not. Tomorrow a last early shift, then in the afternoon - straight after work - off to a client to check his computer and take care of some problems. Tuesday I planned to sleep in, but another appointement has been scheduled for 14h00, so I'll have to get up at some point. Sure, noon is still sleeping in, but not if you're preparing for starting nightshifts on wednesday.

Saturday before work, I go check on my sisters cats - who usually behave, that's a hint for you, Tai! - and then sunday it my last graveyard shift for a while. More nightshifts further down the month though, a total of eleven in August, which is quite a lot.

I still have some decorating to do in my bedroom but there is no rush to do so. It's only being used for sleep, and since I sleep poorly and too little, that doesn't really count, does it? Now, if there was - even a slim chance - a cute sexy lady who'd join me for some play time in the bedroom, the paper would have been up before this sentence was finished. Alas, there is no such thing.

It seems there is too little of several things, and too much of others. Balance, where's the balance?

Home? Nah...

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Sure enough, I get back home after a long wardrive and a stop over at Bob & Hilda's place, and the phone rings... It is J., assistant chief at work, asking if I could work a day shift tomorrow (8h00 till 16h30). Normally spoken I'd have said no, but he had a pretty good argument : it's cool at work, which is true. And more hours of work means a better paycheck, or so I hope. And helping out here and there alows for easier leverage if I need something. So, off to work we go tomorrow!

Never look a gift horse...

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Security aware users of friedkitten.eu or fans of the local friedkitten.be blog, already know that firefox 1.5.0.5 should now be jumping the fence, leaving the vulnerable 1.5.0.4 version behind. If you didn't get the update, please do so now by going to the Help menu in firefox and click "Check for Updates". A small download and exactly one firefox restart later you're good to go again.

If you're still using - I'd almost wrote "trusty" - old IE, follow that firefox 1.5.0.5 link above to change your browsing experience for the better.

If you're a McAfee user, you may not be able to switch to firefox entirely, as I just found out. Now that on the new box IE has been degraded to the "can't uninstall but don't use it either" browser ir turns out that the nice people at McAfuck write tools that can only be updated using internet explorer. Say what?

"Oh sir, you're interested in this nice new vault? Oh, you're buying it too? Very good sir! When will you be picking it up? In two minutes? Wonderful!" (insert sound of money and cashregisters)

2 minutes later.

"Oh, I'm sorry sir, but you can't transport our vault with that shiney new Lexxxus pickup truck that'll hold the weight of ten vaults. Our vaults can only be transported by an old Nirvana Van that'll come very close to the edge of breaking down." (Note the lack of sound of money or cashregisters now)

Yeah, if I recall correctly - and I do, even at 9 in the morning after once again way too little sleep - I said I disliked the McAfee Security Suite from the start, even if I got it for free. I just clicked the Seach for Updates button and what pops up? A page from McAfee stating : "Please note that Microsoft Internet Explorer 5.5 or higher is required to download and install McAfee products." Lets see if we can trick McAfee into working with a better browser by switching the User Agent of firefox to IE 6.0...

After switching the UA, and reloading the IE required page, we're suddenly greeted by a page claiming they detected netscape as our primary browser and an offer to download McAfee Clinic Activator which will support Application installations and updates. For the heck of it, lets see what happens next...

I download the McAfee Clinic Activator yet it doesn't show up in the extension overview. After a restart of firefox, and another attempt to download and install updates, we're greeted by a blank page. The source shows it doesn't lack content though, but it doesn't display either. I guess you really need IE to update your virusscanner...

Time to harass the McAfee support habibs :)

Nice... If you want to use the McAfee support pages to contact a "live technician" you first have to run a virtual technician which will check your setup. It requires... Internet Explorer. So much for being helpful, though I must admit they offer to download a standalone version. I won't even bother and just look for my Uninstall button instead!

McAfee Personal Firewall Plus.. Uninstalled
McAfee SpamKiller... Uninstalled
McAfee VirusScan... Uninstalled
McAfee Security Center... Uninstalled
Reboot!

Hell sounds like icecream

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I refuse to go out and buy an airconditioner, even though I'm about to skin myself in order to lower my body heat. Today temperatures are rising up to 31° Celsius and tomorrow temperatures up to 33° Celsius are expected with little to no wind. My forecastfox actually displays an overheated thermomether for tomorrow, and it's my first time ever to see that icon appear. Not good!

Now, why do I refuse to by an airconditioner? Because it is quite energy inefficient and only usable in Belgium for 2 months a year or something of that magnitude. Economically speaking, it would be the worst investment one could make if you ask me, and environmentally speaking, well... an increase in energy use spikes an increase in greenhouse gasses and that will result in : higher temperatures! See the problem?

Sure, it sucks to be me, sweating all over yet sticking by my principles while others enjoy a nice cool breeze, but I'll just drink more water (about 4 liters a day, some days even 5+) and ride the heatwave out.

I just got back from the post office where I picked up my universal car adaptor so I can provide my laptop with juice while on the road. I also installed a USB extension cable so the GPS unit and the laptop don't have to sit on the edge of the dashboard and the edge of the backseat anymore, which makes things quite a bit safer. I'll just have to verify whether it still works, but that'll have to wait till thursday because it's too hot to be working in and around a car right now. No fun in wardriving while a pool forms in your seat either.

Sneak, drop, run

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I'll have to teach Tai how to perform a drop kick onto the mailman from the third floor. I haven't been out till 11h30, yet I find a note in my mailbox that an attemped was made to drop off a package but that no one was home. I think the belgian postal services use very bizarre methods to determine if anyone is home. Let's compare my method and theirs, shall we?

Mine : "Ring bell, wait for reaction. No reaction, ring again. Wait. No reaction? Leave."
Belgian Postal Service : "Sneak up to mailbox, drop card using stealth, run away."

I can understand they can't wait around forever to see if anyone is home, but you have to admit that it's mighty convenient to have customers come pick up their parcels instead of delivering them again. I could fill out the card, send it to the post office and request a second attempt to deliver it and then camp near the mailbox, but for some reason or another, I don't really feel that's the way it's supposed to be.

I'll go pick it up tomorrow, I've got to head into town for new photographs anyway. My ID is up for renewal, and I'll be getting one of those nifty electronic ones. Maybe I should try to hack it to see how smart it really is, or find a way to lift information on it that is not supposed to be accessible by everyone. Makes you wonder why they'd try to safeguard data on it in the first place...

Damn

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Still can't sleep, too hot. Watching Pirates of the Carribean - Dead mans chest to kill some time. When done I'll kill some sheep if counting them doesn't help me fall asleep.

The new machine was at 50% of it's formatting task when I last checked an hour ago. Starting a format job on three seperate logical disks (one physical disk) of 60GB wasn't the best of options I suppose. Especially not on a SFF machine as the Dell 5150C when room temperature still hovers around 30 degrees celsius. I think I should build myself a server room with some industrial power ventilation and cooling system. Or not. I'd probably kick the machines out and sleep there ;)

Installing the new box

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That brand new Dell 5150C is damn shiny and tiny if you ask me! I'm busy installing it - including patches, updates and removing a whole bunch of crap I really don't need. The old machine doesn't seem to want to crash no more, so that prevents me from deciding which drive is at fault. I've been stress testing it all afternoon in order to force a crash, to no avail. Well, such is life I suppose.

On the new machine I get a free 36 months subscription to McAfee Security Center or whatever the thing is called nowadays. I sure hope I can deal with it for 36 months because I dislike it quite a lot already. Could just need some getting used to, though I hate programs that tell me what to do, what's allowed and what's not. I'm not a 84 year old granny connecting to the internet or booting a computer for the first time!

I just saw a documentary on Canvas (Overleven) about soil erosion, which was quite interesting. In fact it was so captivating that while I flicked through the channels when another program was on a break, I stumbled upon it and learned as I watched. It clearly shows that there is not just one solution to complex problems such as soil erosion...

Right now the hard disk in the new box has been resized and three new logical drives are being formatted as I write this. I don't understand why anyone would like a single drive 250GB disk, yet that's how the machine was delivered to me. I downloaded Partition Commander and repartitioned it in a couple of smaller disks. Should all be done and formatted in the morning.

Plans

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For the next 48 hours include (in no particular order) :

- sleep (done)
- rebuild raid array (Promise MBFastTrak133 Lite)
- assemble new computer (done)
- enterTai(n) (done)
- clean litter box (done)
- play burnout revenge on PS2 (done)
- update files and file papers (partially completed)
- catch up on mails (done, 652 messages total)
- buy food (skipped)
- fix other computer (paid) or set date to do so (partially completed)
- shower (done)
- upgrade blog software (note to self: check changelog first!) (postponed)

While there is no specific order I'm planning on doing all this, some things obviously need to be completed before other tasks can commence. I think sleep sounds like a good way to start eliminating the list. If I don't sleep now, most of the other tasks will fail for sure.

Thursday

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Temperature has risen to 30 degrees Celsius in the apartment, but outside it "feels" better since a slight breeze has been flowing through the streets. It'll take days to get the heat out though.

I slept a bit better today, after turning on the fan and due to the fact that I was beat anyway. I got woken up by my doorbell ringing, it was a courrier service delivering my GPS unit for the laptop. Yay! Now only the car charger is missing, but that won't show up til monday I guess, as tomorrow is a day off for everyone here. Well, except me that is, as I'll be working :)

What else is new? There's some commotion right across the building where I live, as an ambulance and a Delta Unit have shown up, followed by a firetruck to evacuate someone from the first floor. I don't have a clue how, what or why, nor am I particulary interested. Just leave them to do their job and everything should be fine.

In 30 minutes or so, I'm off to Mechelen to pick up the two harddrives I mailed and posted about yesterday. Ain't it funny how goods can magically appear after a complaint has been made?

Time to crash

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I've had about 13 hours or so of good solid sleep over the past 72 hours and I'm about to crash. I managed to stay awake last night, but if I don't get some good fresh sleep today, I'm not to certain I'll get through the night today.

Off to attempt sleeping...

Drip drip, dripping wet

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Sitting on a chair, typing on a keyboard : sweat. Standing up : sweat. Just being : sweat. This just too much!

Good news as well though : Zeta Computers just mailed me that the disks will be arriving tomorrow. The car was taken to the garage for maintenance and turned out to be fine. No oil leaks to be found, though I remain confident that there was/is some kind of a leak somewhere. Will monitor that.

Did I mention sweat yet? Pffffft!

Fight Night Round 2

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One thing : the controls suck bigtime. I can't understand that you have to read the documentation for 30 minutes and then still get slaughtered because every time the button seems to do something else. That's just plain annoying and dumb.

My idea about a console game is "pop in, play, have fun" and not "pop in, read, study, get annoyed, read again, get slaughtered, throw game out". When will they get it?

We have the answer!

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I don't know how many of you, dear readers, are aware of the recent commotion about a vulnerability in powerpoint that is being actively exploited. I guess none of you knew about it, to be honest. Anyway, Microsoft released a Security Advisory about the problem, which you can find here : Vulnerability in PowerPoint Could Allow Remote Code Execution. A patch is expected in August - in the mean time, you can follow the suggested Microsoft workaround :

Do not open or save Microsoft Office files that you receive from un-trusted sources or that you received unexpectedly from trusted sources.

Duh!

I just mailed Zeta Computers because after ordering online on July 4th and calling them on July 11th, my order for 2 Maxtor 80GB harddrives still seems to be out in the open. They promised to keep me up to date, but it remains awfully quiet on their side and I'm getting (more than a little) annoyed with them.

Hot, Hot, Headache!

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Forecastfox - a firefox weather plugin - tells me it's 30° Celsius outside, but I just went out and it felt much warmer. I suppose it's due to the fact that there is hardly any wind. I stopped at the post office and sent out a parcel to France, then I went to my Kiala pick up point and got 2 parcels related to work. In the supermarket I got some food and now I'm back in, trying to loose the heat that my body accumulated during that short trip.

Danko Jones' "We Sweat Blood" CD showed up today and I'm listening to it as I write, but I'm not enjoying it as much as I could. Must be the headache I'm suffering from. Maybe that wodka yesterday evening wasn't such a good idea after all?

BTW : the second mission in Black seems to never end. You complete your primary goal and then you get a new primary target and it just keeps going on. I was very close to finishing the mission when I got jumped by a guard firing a Spas 12 at me at close range. Needless to say, I didn't survive. Since I had been playing the mission for over 2 hours already I decided to just call it quits and head off to bed.

Update @ 20h10 : I just slept for 2 more hours, after taking something to help me get rid of this headache. I feel better now, just not yet really awake. The heat remains omnipresent, and is starting to work on my system - and according to the latest predictions, it'll remain this hot till thursday :(

Weekend

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Saturday was spent largely at Jess & Mark's place where we met up with the family and had a very enjoyable Mexican evening. Tortilla, nacho's, corona, chili con carne and good company, what more can one want? Sunday was spent at Joco & Eef's place where the three of us and the kids did a little BBQ. Also very enjoyable!

I think this was a very nice weekend, with good food and great company!

After I got home, I looked at the stack of PS2 games I had laying on the living room table, and decided to pop Black into the console. Wow! Simply stunning yet rather easy to get sucked into. The first mission had exactly the right difficulty level to convince me I could accomplish it. The second mission was a bit harder and I failed it on the first attempt, though the glass of Limskaya wodka may have something to do with that as well. Off to do some other things now, like entertain that little piggy of mine named Tai.

Tomorrow I have to make a stop at the post office, pick up some work related items and work a night shift. Sounds easy enough!

My day

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I got up early, worked a rather busy early shift and then got back home. Unfortunately, no new antenna nor a car adapter arrived in the mail. So much for doing a wardrive tomorrow with new and longer range equipment (both scanning as well as power related). I did some crap online, had a chat with Joco and then went out for a short wardrive combined with some shopping. I got everything I needed, and in addition got myself a network cable long enough to connect the PS2 to the router.

Right now, the connection from the PS2 to the router is installed, tested and the box actually gets online. Yay me! Now I have to figure out WHY I wanted to get the PS2 online again... I'm writing a blog post, watching Anaconda on TV while making dinner at the same time. If you thought only women were multitasking, you're wrong. Or I'm not a man...

Speaking of women : while shopping, I passed this very good looking woman and when she noticed me, she got a very big smile on her face and for an instant we locked eyes. As I passed her, I was wondering if I knew her from somewhere, but I couldn't bring any connection up. After that I returned on my steps to check her again and make sure there was something there, but she was back into her shop and looked at me without a sign of recognition. She was either smiling to someone else when I passed her, she thought we knew each other but then realized we don't, she thought I was a hotty but then opened up her eyes, or she made a mistake. Or she just tried to lure me into her shop in the hope I'd buy something. Isn't that what Sirens have been doing for eons?

Warpigs

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Lebanon firing missiles at Israel, Israel moving troops, bombing airfields. Soldiers being ambushed, civilians dying. Is it all worth it?

I really don't see what any of the parties involved have to gain from this conflict? A moral victory while survivors are cleaning up the rubbish and dead people are being burried, in both countries. Accepting the beliefs and ideas of others is so simple a thing to do, even if you don't agree. Apparently, talking takes more effort than pushing a button and ordering people around as if it were toy soldiers. Crazy!

As you may notice, I don't take a stance in this matter, I don't decide who's right and who's wrong. Who should win and who should back off. My time is too precious to waste on trivial things like this. Yes, I just wrote that a war between two countries is trivial, at least it is to me. It probably is not to the people involved in the conflict, that is for sure. I'd rather focus myself on doing what I believe is good for me and those around me. I can't change what happens 3000 kilometers away, but I can certainly put my own circle of influence to use.

Mood stabilizers

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I wake up at 4AM, after way too little sleep. Been tossing and turning all night long (Mood-). I am greeted by a furry four legged created that seems to be a participant in the constant whining contest, and he's comfortably in the lead (Mood--). I hit the shower and use the Axe Antihangover showergel (Mood++). When I get out I'm feeling refreshed yet still tired. While putting on my socks, I bump my head into the bathroom closet (Mood-).

So far everything has been kinda balanced, I wonder how the day is about to progress?

Cheap fun

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I was inside the bank, checking some accounts and statements when I suddenly noticed my neighbor walking by. Well, walking maybe ain't the correct word for his uncontrolled movements, stumbling would describe it better. Surely enough he had been on a drinking trip and was now trying to find his way back home. Which is not really that hard considering the distance from his favorite pub to his place is less than a kilometer, but if your legs decide to walk left, your body leans back and your brain - or what's left of it - yells "bollocks!" even a hundred meters suddenly become a real Olympic challenge.

Needless to say, I kept an eye out for him while I was finishing my business, and then started walking about 10 meters behind him. Not because I was scared he'd trip over and fall - hell I couldn't care less - but exactly because I was hoping he'd trip over and fall. It's not like drunks know what hit them anyway, and the bruises and cuts, they can deal with the day after. Unfortunately for me and luckily for him, he made it home in one piece though he barely missed some streetlights I must say. I got into the elevator after he had already gone up and was out of sight, and I was greeted by a nice mixed odor of sweat, booze and cigarettes.

Yeah, not really nice of me to write all this, is it? But hey... I've got a real problem with drunken people, does it show?

Rise of the Machines

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My brand new PC arrived this afternoon, but I'll wait to start installing it till I've got the disks in to fix the old desktop. That's my main concern right now, because I want to saveguard all my data before anything else. I may hook up the new box on friday afternoon, even if the new disks still ain't in, so I can install the latest patches and updates before I bring live data to it. Once all that is done - I really hope I can get it done over the weekend - I can format the old one and install something new on it, probably some kind of linux, although I may opt for a clean install of XP and then run VMware so give me a multitude of choices when it comes to OS.

I'm gonna call Zeta now, to check about those disks. Done, they're gonna call me back soon, or that's what they promised. If the disks are in, I'm off to Mechelen to pick them up today.

Update : Crap. The disks are not in, and they offered me a 160GB version for only 10 euro more, but I can't really use that. I explained I needed them to replace a disk that was part of a raid setup and they understood the problem. However, they're having a hard time getting these disks at their suppliers, so this could take a bit longer :(

Wardriving explained

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Because KDS and Nadia asked what the hell the last entry was about, here's some extra information.

If you've got a wireless network at home, you want your wireless device (laptop for instance, or PDA) to connect somewhere, right? The connection is made to the Access Point (AP) which may also double as a switch, router, DSL modem. The connection between the client and the AP can be protected using a number of techniques, of which WEP is probably the one known by most people. WEP encryption is not secure, and if possible it would be better to use WPA or WPA2. Thruth be said that even WEP provides a basic security and while it can be "cracked" it'll take a while to do so because you'll need a number of packets before one can crack the key.

But I digress because WEP, WPA and WPA2 have nothing to do with wardriving. As you may know, your AP may advertise it's presence by broadcasting it's SSID, so others can see it. What the SSID is set to doesn't really matter, and some people leave it at the default, or change it to something funny or anything that makes sense to them. It's also possible to stop your AP from broadcasting it's SSID, but that doesn't mean the signal can't be picked up.

Now, when wardriving, we use a mobile device (usually, it's a bit more difficult to walk or drive around with a full desktop on the seat next to you) such as a laptop or PDA. In the device a wireless network card is present and usually an external antenna is connected to it so the range of detection goes up. The antenna picks up the signals from Access Points present pretty much everywhere and displays them on screen, and/or logs them to a file. I use netstumbler to scan, but KisMac or Kismet are also available, iIt all depends what operating system your scanning device runs. We do NOT log in to networks, crack WEP keys or access the (often open) network in any way! We just drive around and map the area, just as if you were to walk around your neighborhood and write down the names of the people next to their doorbell. You don't ring the doorbell in order to do so, nor do you push the door open or break it down. You just see who's around and what information they're giving out.

In order to make wardriving more interesting, you can attach a GPS device to the setup, so coordinates can be logged as well, and you can later put all the found AP's onto a nice map. For the time being, I've not done this yet, as I lack a GPS device :(

So, to answer KDS's question "Why was it good for you?" : because I'm a Geek at heart and only now realize how much radiowaves are sent through the air without most people knowing ;)

My first time

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It was good with a capital G. Oops, so that should read "It was Good". I'm not talking about my first time having sex, because that's quite a few years ago, but today I did my first ever real wardrive. My senao pcmcia card with 5dBi magmount antenna arrived by mail today - ordered on friday, late in the evening - so I immediately started setting things up, but that proved to be a bit of a challenge. The drivers were supplied, but each time I launched the file, it would open a dialog, allowing me to click NEXT and that was it. It just froze, but when I checked for running processes (not applications!) it clearly showed to be running. After loads of reboots and killing various programs that are always running on my laptop, I got the card installed.

I'm still struggling with the order it needs to get it running from the first time after booting the laptop again, but it won't be long before I get the hang of it. I drove off to work, the antenna placed close to the windscreen on the hood, because unfortunately... smarts don't have a metallic roof, so magnetic foots don't attach to the roof. Anyway, that problem will probably be dealt with tomorrow (super glue and a small piece of metal maybe) and off I went.

I drove the 40 kilometers to work, while netstumbler was happily "boing"ing away pretty much all the time. When I check the number of AP's found, I was pretty suprised : 346!! Knowing that quite a major part of my route is out in the middle of nowhere, and on highways, I really didn't expect such a result. On the way back I got 284 AP's and then the laptop went into hibernation mode because it ran out of juice. Damn! Anyway, I've ordered a universal car charger so that problem should be solved shortly as well.

The antenna works great, but I find a 2 meter cable to be on the short side, because that seriously limits where the laptop can sit and where the antenna can be placed. I think 2m is long enough when running from a PDA out of a backpack for instance, but from a car... quite short. Unless you don't mind drilling right through the roof that is.

Tiger Tai

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Tai is running around, throwing a moth into the air and then catching it as it falls back down. He's so proud of himself that he caught it all by himself! Actually I noticed he had caught something when he was out on the terrace, and something was laying in front of him. It was still slightly alive by then and for a second I thought about saving it, but then I realized he had swatted it with his paw a couple of times already and it wouldn't survive anyway. So why take away his pleasure of the chase if it couldn't help the moth anyway?

He's now brought it in, and proudly is walking around with it in his mouth. No doubt he'll be over later to come give me a kiss. Gotta love animals ;)

Maintenance

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I just called Smart Center Antwerp to make an appointement to take the car in for maintenance. I also think it's very slowly leaking oil, because the past couple of days the oil light stayed on a fraction longer after starting the engine, then it went off. I just got some oil and poured 2.5 liter into the engine, and now the light stays off. However, I'm quite convinced it leaks, but have not yet been able to find out where exactly.

Anyway, the new oil and the rest of the can I'll now keep in my car should be enough to get me to the 19th, when I take it in. The 19th was the first day they could squeeze me in, because on the 14th the only had time in the AM, but then I'm working an early shift, so that wasn't gonna work out.

Tai is playing with some new toy I just him, and he seems to like it for now. I wonder how long his attention stays focussed on it. Even though he's often irritating, stupid and a general pain in the ass, I love that furry bundle of foolishness, I really do.

Oh, before I forget : Dell managed to get my new machine's status changed from "pre-production" to "shipped" in 24 hours. I'll believe it when it actually arrives :)

Midnight Madness

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It's a couple of minutes past midnight, everything is silent, everyone is asleep. Everyone? Maybe not... A fourlegged creature sneaks through the night, head up high. Enjoying the gentle breeze that flows over the terrace, a plan forms while attempting to look innocent. Tai is the name, escape is the game.

As he focusses his eyes to penetrate the darkness, he notices a white garden table. The table has been there forever, but never was of much interest to him, but it is bound to change this night. A quick and silent leap puts our escape artist on top of it, broadening his view on the world three stories below. After just sitting there for a couple of minutes, making sure the sole security guard inside the house hasn't spotted anything out of the ordinary, Tai decides to walk over to the edge. "Hmmm, that's a pretty small ridge, but being the olympic champion I am, I think I can stroll over it without too much problems."

In a swift move, Tai steps onto the ridge and to the right he walks, bypassing the divider between two appartments. Let's jump down here, and take a look what all this stuff is doing here. Slowly strolling over the neighbors terrace, Tai sniffs the air and the plants. Suddenly he hears a noise : the guard has caught on to the fact that something is amiss!

Sure enough, a bit of noise on the other side of the divider and a head appears : "Tai, you stupid cat, what the hell are you doing there?" Tai lies down and tries to be invisible, but it's quite clear that the guard has also activated his night vision and knows very well he's hiding in the dark. Game over, or maybe not yet?

Giving up, Tai slowly walks back to the divider and then realizes there is no table on this side. Oops! He looks up and stares right into the guard's eyes who by now has reached behind the divider in an attempt to grab him. Let's take a few steps back, and see what happens next. A curse is whispered through the night. But then Tai suddenly notices something that sparks his interest : some sort of animal is trying to escape, and escaping animals need to be chased, right? Tai leaps over to the edge of the terrace and puts his paws against the edge, trying to catch this feral beast. As he does, a hand tries to grab him, but Tai manages to move away just in time. The escaping beast moves around again, so Tai attacks once more and after a couple of striking attempts, he is suddenly caught and lifted over the edge and round the divider.

Apparently, boss man is not so pleased with my escape routine at ten past midnight... I wonder why?

Appropriate

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I've just completed sending a message to an ebay seller that charged me shipping costs for two seperate objects, yet they arrived in the same package, and a few days late. He promises a 1-2 day shipping, but a game paid (and verified as such by the seller) on the 27th only showed up today (July 5th). The second game was paid and marked as such on the 29th, so even that was late.

I don't think he'll be too pleased with my mail, but I couldn't care less. If he had acted in good faith or contacted me in advance, none of this would have been necessary. If it's not resolved, he'll get negative feedback.

While blogging this post, an appropriate song was blasting through the speakers : "The Finger" by Danko Jones. I saw their concert on Werchter (thanks to technology called live streaming) and loved it so much I immediately ordered two of their CD's. "Sleep Is the Enemy" arrived today and "We Sweat Blood" is on back order, and will be shipped when new stock arrives.

Two more hours before I go back to work, and while not really looking forward to it - I'm could get used to being home all day and do what I like - I'm also curious what drama's unfolded in the 8 days I've been gone.

What a day

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Red Hot Beavers just played a friendly game against Spyro Blazers, and blew them away with an impressive 10-1 score. I didn't even expect to win, as this was mostly a B-team playing, though we had our new midfield lined up.

I got home and found a mail from Dell in my mailbox, finally approving the order, listing details and I can track the order now as well. My new box is currently in pre-production which means as much as "we don't have all components available right now". Anyway, things are moving, so I'm happy.

The old Volvo is sold, so that's another thing to scrap of the to-do list.

I also ordered a new book (WarDriving: Drive, Detect, Defend, A Guide to Wireless Security) because I think I'll be done with Gynomite: Fearless, Feminist Porn, Stealing the Network: How to Own a Continent and A Hand in the Bush: The Fine Art of Vaginal Fisting pretty soon. Yeah, I know... I've got rather diverse interests :)

C(o)unting down

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It's my last day off from work, tomorrow I'm decending back into the pits of Hell. When I opened my mailbox today, I found 2 PS2 games (Socom Navy Seals and Conflict Zone), and two rather hefty bills (ouch). A new book had turned up as well (A hand in the bush, the fine art of vaginal fisting) so even if it's too hot to play games, I'll know what to do... pay bills ;)

I had hoped that by now I'd be able to verify my order with Dell online, but my order is still hanging somewhere in between departments I guess. This is my first time dealing with Dell, and going by my current annoyance levels, also the last time. Ah... we'll see. Maybe they manage to suprise me in a good way over the next days, who knows?

Off to E. this afternoon - someone is interested in the old car, I hope to get rid of it today.

A goldfish would do

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Hm... so I'm browsing the area and notice an unsecured access point. My wifi card connects to it and gets an IP address. I browse to 192.168.xxx.254 and drop right into the configuration screen for the router. Interesting, but very very foolish if you ask me. I can change settings, even password protect the device if I wanted to. Logging, routing, DHCP server, MAC filtering, I've got everything at the touch of my fingers. Instead, I just log out again...

Why do people want technically advanced toys, yet refuse to learn how to use them, or at least get them set up correctly from the start?

Oh, ethereal is no more. WireShark is the successor.

Update : I was always under the impression that 5 to 6 wireless access points were active in the immediate vincity of my place. When I fire up netstumbler today, and walked around a bit (inside and on the terrace) with the laptop while I had it on scan, it picked up 24 networks. At least 40% of those were unprotected. I think I'll have to get myself a PDA and run ministumbler with an attached GPS module, that would make a nice geek toy :)

Anyone have a spare PDA they don't use anymore?

Crash Boom Bang

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Tai is *really* getting on my nerves today. It may be because nothing is going according to plan so far and thus I'm easier to be pissed off but I think it's a combination of him being annoying, the heat and all. So far - and I've only been up for 2 hours - he managed to dig insulation from under the dishwasher, probably his new favorite game, and made a mess in his drinking bowl. Could someone please show me where the valium is? Not for me, but I'd love to sedate Satans Spawn so I can get a few minutes of peace and quiet.

I've tried the large wooden hammer sedation trick, but the results are rather... bloody, as well as permanent.

Go figure?!

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I just get off the phone with Dell - yes, even before 9AM - and you know what they tell me today? "Oh there was an internal error made yesterday, but everything is fixed now, we're processing your order."

And for that I have to call internationally twice? Which reminds me, what is the idea behind allowing people to order online, but then don't update the online order status form for up to 72 hours? This means you can order, pay and then you know nothing for the next three days... Very strange if you ask me.

Now that I think about it, I think they use the "an error prevents us from processing your order" trick to have new customers call them, because 3 minutes after I finished that call, a new mail arrived, this time claiming that they couldn't process my order because the payment details of the creditcard didn't match the delivery address, or because I asked for delivery to a PO Box. I did neither. Oh, come on.... what's next???

Anyway, with that out of the way, the next thing to do is check my mail and call about those hard disks and hopefully go pick them up later today. I've got one more day - tomorrow - off from work, so I better get this show on the road.

Update : The disks are not available and have to be ordered, which would take a few days. Now, if I want to get the old machine back up, I'll need the disks anyway, so I think I better send them a mail and order them. That way I can safely transfer the data from the old box to the new machine once it arrives, without having to cross my fingers that nothing goes wrong while doing so.

Go Fuck yourself, Murphy!

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Tomorrow, I'll go get two new harddisks because the shop I'd like to purchase from is not open on mondays. A new computer has been ordered as well, and I hope to receive it shortly. This means however, that I have to go to the bank now to make a payment...

A quick overview of the new system : Intel Dual Core 2.8GHZ processor, 250GB SATA HD, 1024MB RAM, a fancy Ultra Sharp Flat Panel 19" Monitor (I was still using an old CRT monitor so far), ATI X600 SE videocard (not the most fancy, but should be enough for my needs).

Update : Murphy strikes back, or so it seems. I just received a mail that there is a problem with my order, so I should get in touch. When do they send out such a mail? At 16h41, and their offices closes at 17h00, so that will have to wait till tomorrow :( I just tried contacting the Brussels branch, but that just forwards me to The Netherlands and they happily say "the sales division is closed for now, please call back tomorrow". Online sales, quick and easy? My Ass!

Situation Critical

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Damn... when I got up this morning and turned on the monitor of my desktop, I was once again greeted by a screen that had letters flashing "Critical" all over it : it's clear that yesterday's RAID warning wasn't a coincidence, one of the drives is indeed starting to fail. I powered the system down and am now contemplating my options.

Surely I'll have to back up as much as possible before the drive crashes beyond repair, even though it's only one disk. All the information is still available on the mirror but as we all know, Murphy rarely travels alone.

I could start hunting for a two new Mator 80GB HD's (D740X-6L) right now, and replace the failing disk. Then once the raid mirror is back up and functional, replace the good drive as well so I'm good for another couple of years. This would be the cheapest and fastest path to fixing the problem.

I could configure and order a completely new system, which means quite some hoops to jump through and a fair amount of work to be done. I'd have to copy all the data and configure and finetune the new system to my liking, and knowing myself, that will take time and irritate the hell out of me. On the other hand, it would give me a nice and up to date new box to play with. New toys are always nice :)

Or I could do both... replace the (failing) disk(s) and order a new system at the same time. Then I can use the new machine for everyday work, and use the old one to install linux onto, run and IDS on it, things like that. But I've already decided that if I get a new system, I don't need a fancy latest state of the art configuration. I mostly use it to browse the web, do some photo manipulation and play video's on it.

Oh, the options and the decisions...

Much fun

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I think the four of us had great fun playing games this afternoon, even if the heat meant the eye toy games and camera saw less action than expected. Too hot to be jumping around in front of your TV, that's for sure.

The temperature is starting to come down now, it went from "blistering heat" to "too hot to handle". Only when it reaches "Cool Breeze" I'll be happy...

Yesterday I started reading in the newly arrived book (Stealing the Network: How to Own the Box) and I'm a good part over half way already. It reads like a technical thriller, describing hacks and social engineering that happens every second, while not promoting hacking in itself. I think it's fascinating but I suppose you have to be a geek to really catch the beauty of it.

My Gynomite: Fearless, Feminist Porn book is almost finished as well, and was very entertaining. For those who don't know the book, it is a collection of (short) stories written by female authors and each story gives you a peek into the erotic mind of it's author. Interesting and way different than most porn created, produced or written by male writers. A definite recommendation from me!

Water, water, please!

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Holy crap bastard satanic heat! Just sitting down makes sweat break out from all pores, and my main desktop machines has already shitted itself twice today due to overheating. I've now opened the sidepanel and put an extra fan on it to aid air flow, hoping this will provide enough cooling not to let it crash once more. When I just tried to restart it, it threw me a raid error, claiming one of the 80GB mirrorred disks failed. I can assure you, my heart stopped beating for a second there.

I turned it back off, checked all the leads and connectors, and booted it again, this time without failure. I'll keep an eye open for it though, the box is getting rather old so it will probably crashed beyond repair one day.

The only one that seems totally unaffected by the blistering heat, is Tai. He still chases flies, attacks me when I pass some place he has hidden himself and generally is being a total pain in the ass. It's been a long time, I must admit, that he was this irritating. I should check if maybe he's solar powered, which would explain the sudden burst of energy he's been having. I wonder what'll happen when the temperature rises even more on tuesday?

A short night

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Yikes, I'm up already and to be honest I don't even know why. I got home around three thirty last night and then check some mails and headed off to bed around 4'ish. The OLF party was enjoyable last night, but D and I both agreed that we're getting old, and he's 8 years younger than me or something of that magnitude.

It seems the new trend in music is break beat, or that's what I'm gonna call it. You take a song, play 10 seconds - if that much of it - and then play another track. While doing so, you make sure the beats of both tracks do not match! Let's look at an example :

Pom Pom Pom Pom (7 seconds) Boh Boh Boh Boh Boh (9 seconds) Kadah Kadah Kadah Kadah (3 seconds) Pom Douf Pom Douf POM DOUF.

In order to compensate, you turn up the bass as loud as possible, so the audience will no longer hear the sequence above, but only BOM BOM BOM BOM BOM BOM BOM, and they'll go wild. Who said being a DJ was difficult? Now, the Magical Flying Thunderbirds were suffering from the same problem if you ask me, though they did a rather nice set. The audience seemed to like it, and I suppose that's what counts. I had a good evening/night out, enjoyed the party, and will gladly return next year.

Thanks for the invite, S! And now go get some sleep, I think you can use it...

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This page is an archive of entries from July 2006 listed from newest to oldest.

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