Hello world!

March 29, 2006

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Fingering with Finger!

March 28, 2006

This… This is just too funny! Boingboing reports that teledildonics devices can now be controlled via finger:

This program is a rudimentary teledildonics application built around the finger daemon – hence bringing generations of CS undergrad innuendo full circle.

It has two modes in addition to what you’re seeing now – if you finger [any string]@[this host], a series of random pulses will be generated, proportional to the length of the string.

Alternatively, fingering 0x[hex digits]@[this host] will instead send a direct stream of motor speeds to the vibrator, one per second.


You have to love our field… Unix world is full of funy innuendos. Sometimes I wonder what do the “uninitiated” people think when they hear conversations like this:

  • “Dude, just finger freddie to see if he is on” (freddie is one of the main unix servers in our dept)
  • “Hold on, let me mount your stick…” (uttered while mounting the USB flash memory stick)
  • “Can you grep the cat?” (as in, can you do cat on that file and then grep for whatever we are looking for)
  • “Just take a dump and bring it to my office so we can look at it” (as in, make a hex dump of that file, and let’s examine it)

Entertainment Industry is Terminally Ill

March 26, 2006

I came to a conclusion. The entertainment industry is dying. It will be done within the next few years, unless it completely restructures itself and drops the failing business models it is clinging too. And as every dying thing on earth, it is currently going through the classic 5 stages of accepting the inevitable demise: Denial, Anger/Presentiment, Bargaining, Depression, Acceptance.

You don’t believe me? Let’s break this down:

  • Denial: “There is nothing wrong with our business model! You guys just want a free ride!”
  • Anger/Presentiment: “We are loosing money because of damn pirates! Let’s sue them! Let’s sue all of them! Even the 12 year olds! Let them feel our legal wrath! PH34R my L3G4L SK1LZ n00B!!
  • Bargaining: “Listen, if you use DRM we will give you all the content you want! Seriously, it’s better for you. We’ll even stop suing people! Everything will be good if you only agree to use DRM! Really!”

So, we have 2 more stages to go. Depression and Acceptance. Not bad, eh? So please expect these symptoms intensify as the industry is heading toward an inevitable crash.

There will be big DRM disputes, and DRM related lawsuits. Entertainment people will loose several of them and incur heavy losses. As a result some big technology companies will get locked out of content because of failure to comply with DRM requirements. People will stop buying media they can’t play in their receivers.

Allot of people will realize that their iTunes collection cannot be ported to a new computer and will drop the service. Entertainment industry will go under. Facing lawsuits, money draining DRM schemes, and lockout contracts some big studios will close the doors and go out of business…

Those who survive will accept the death of the old business models, and adjust to the new reality. We will win this war.

Ph34R the C0NSUM3R B1tCH3Z!


March 25, 2006

I don’t know who made this, but LOL!

Don’t try this at home…

б^H tries to connect to the internet

March 25, 2006

Today I have found bunch of interesting entries in my firewall log. Apparently an application named б^H was trying to access the internet at various times. Now, I don’t know about you – but if I see a weird sting like that I get suspicious. So I started digging.

From the logs I figured that this thing was trying to do DNS lookups (all the hits were aiming at port 53 on the remote hosts). This is not unusuall – any piece of mallware could be doing this… But, since my anti-virus and spybot scans that run just this morning did not find anything, I started looking for legit apps that could generate port 53 traffic.

I spotted my DynDNS Updater icon in the taskbar which was red (to indicate failure to update). I did a few quick tests, enabling and disabling the rule for my mysterious application and I got it. It was the damn DynDNS updater!

Question is, why the hell does it show up in my logs as б^H? Why haven’t I noticed this before? And what the hell were they thinking?

Vaguest Exam Question Ever

March 23, 2006

One of the question on my Operating Systems exam today was to show two examples where multi-threaded implementation does not provide better performance than single threaded implementation. We were supposed to write some code/pseudocode to illustrate this…

Every person I asked put down something different for this question. No one was sure what the hell we were supposed to do. Some people used “hello world” as one of the examples. Others mentioned processing keyboard input in a word processor. In fact, allot of people gave purely iterative examples that could not be multi-threaded to begin with…

I’m pretty sure “hello world” was the wrong answer here. The question was worth 30 points – you usually don’t see tricky questions like that being worth so much. I scribbled some half-assed code with big loop statements in critical section so that the threads would block and have to wait on each other. I figured the same loop implemented as a single thread would execute faster because there would be no context switching overhead, thread creation and etc..

Other example was treads locking on a shared buffer object and performing some critical section while holding onto that buffer… Still, I’m only guessing that the performance would be worse with a multi-threaded implementation. There is no way to tell for sure without actually testing this.

Of course we could not ask Dr. Robila what he meant in this question because he was not there. I hope he curves or throws out this one completely…

.xxx vs .kids

March 20, 2006

There is this idea circulating in the minds of our lawmakers and politicians, that there should be a .xxx tld reserved for pr0n. This idea gets shot down every time, and yet it keeps coming back like a boomerang. All these people keep yelling: “think of the children” as they try to shove their prudish moral values down our throat. But this is not about children. An xxx tld does nothing to protect children from anything! Why?

Maybe because Internet != USA. If you make a law forcing all the pr0n into an xxx tld, this law will only apply in US. If you try to police it abroad many people will become very angry. Do you think UN will like that US courts have the absolute power to decide who is allowed to register .com domain? How about China? Nope, we can’t enforce US law onto foreign owned domains – even if we control the top level servers.

So you end up with all the foreign hosted pr0n still owning their .com, .net and .org domains. How does that help to keep children away from pr0n? How does that help filtering software to do anything? This is simply a jab at the porn industry. It is no secret that our government is waging a war on pornography. In fact, I think that war on pr0n, gets more resources and attention than war on terror and on drugs combined. Not mentioning that we have yet to see ANY tangible results of any of those wars… How long are we into the war on drugs? Did we win yet?

If you really want to do something for children, set up a tightly regulated .kids tld. Set it up so that only educational, and child friendly stuff would be allowed there. Problem solved. Now just set up your filter to block everything but .kids and you can let the little bastards browse till they get carpal tunnel. And you are almost guaranteed that they will never run into anything inappropriate while the filter is on.

So why are people pushing for that xxx tld so much? What is the big deal here? The sad truth is that none of these .xxx pushing maniacs gives a shit about children. This is not about protecting kids. This is about protecting you from the “evil pornography” – whether you want it or not.

Karmic Bitchslap for Tony Soprano

March 20, 2006

Is it just me, or was Tony Soprano on a receiving end of a karmic bitch slap? If you dream about being slapped in the face by a bhuddist monk you are probably a despicable human being 😛

Seeing Tony as dorky salesman is just beyond bizarre. Is this how his life would be if he was not in the mob? Man, that blows… I think he was better off as a crime boss. I seriously think this is actually what hell is like. You wake up as a lame salesman, stuck in a shitty convention town and no matter what you do you can’t get out 😛

Last week I was sure that Tony will be just fine, but now I just don’t know. I have this sneaky suspicion that he might be comatose for the rest of the season… That would be seriously gay!

BTW, I would like to thank Jamie-Lyn Discala for not wearing a bra in this episode. I guess it was cold in there or something because I could clearly see nipples in more than one scene. Yay! 🙂

Conqueror of Shamballa

March 19, 2006

I just watched the last episode of Fullmetal Alchemist, and right after I poped in Conquerror of Shamballa. To my knowledge CoS was never dubbed. My version was in Japanese with English subtitles. Ed’s voice just sounded so bizarre… I guess I was just so used to the English dub 😛

The movie was good, but I was not all that impressed. I think the best part of Fullmetal was the slowly unveiling mystery of the philosopher stone, alchemy and the haemonculi. The show started bright, and cheerful and then it got progressively darker, and more sinister and the Elric brothers uncovered the secrets of alchemy. In CoS all the secrets have been revealed. The plot is fairly straightforward. It is definitely worth watching but please do not expect something out of this world. The movie is essentially as solid as a good stand-alone, Fullmetal episode. It’s top notch anime but simply not as capturing as the last few episodes of the series.

[Minor spoilage may lurk below]

The plot is simple – you have two brothers, one stuck at each side of the gate. Al is trying to bring his brother back. Ed wants to go home but unfortunately in our world alchemy does not work… So he is stuck in Munich where he can witness the birth of the Nazi party.

A German occult organization called Thule Society manages to find Envy in his dragon form (last shape he assumed when traveling through the gate) and use his body to temporarily open the gate to the other world. Ed finds about it.

And it goes from there. You can expect to see people on both sides attempting to create a stable gate, brothers getting reunited, a war between worlds, and appearances by all the main characters. You can probably figure out what happens in the movie just from this description.

But this is Fullmetal, right? One would expect some shocking, mind boggling revelations at some point during the movie. But, unfortunately there is no deep underlying mystery. There are no shocking revelations about the nature of alchemy or the world. It’s just action and adventure. Not that there is anything wrong in this. I just expected more.

German Hues comes off as a real dick. Munich Bradley on the other hand is a good guy. We also see Scar driving a truck at the end of the movie 😛

I give it a solid B. It really could have been so much more if they just added some of that of that Fullmetal mystery and shocking twists into it.

No breaking DRM, even if it may kill you

March 18, 2006

Wow… Just wow… The *AA organizations just transcended to another level of unspeakable evilness. This is from Freedom to Tinker:

There were many suggestions to legalize breaking DRM if it would compromise critical infrastructure and/or directly endanger human life. The response from the RIAA and MPAA corner was a categorical no.

They’re worried that there might be “serious doubt” about whether their future DRM access control systems are covered by these exemptions, and they think the doubt “would be even more severe” if the “exemption would turn on whether access controls ‘threaten critical infrastructure and potentially endanger lives’.”


One would have thought they’d make awfully sure that a DRM measure didn’t threaten critical infrastructure or endanger lives, before they deployed that measure. But apparently they want to keep open the option of deploying DRM even when there are severe doubts about whether it threatens critical infrastructure and potentially endangers lives.

And here’s the really amazing part. In order to protect their ability to deploy this dangerous DRM, they want the Copyright Office to withhold from users permission to uninstall DRM software that actually does threaten critical infrastructure and endanger lives.

So there you have it… It seems that they haven’t learned a damn thing from the Sony debacle. Now they are trying to buy themselves laws that would allow them to continue using dangerous rootkits…