December 30, 2003

Dear Wireless Users

Filed under: digital — mhoye @ 5:07 pm

A few points:

  1. The specially-encoded rays being emitted by your hundred-dollar wireless router aren’t smart enough to stop and turn back when they get to the edge of your apartment.
  2. Your Windows shares, equipped as they are with default passwords, are therefore world-readable and, perk up now, world-writable.
  3. Thanks for sharing.

I’m not admitting to anything here, of course, but I’m suddenly curious about the legal details surrounding guest/guest passwords on world-accessible shares. For example, is what I’ve just done (a) tantamount to accessing a public FTP site or (b) five to fifteen?

December 29, 2003

A Clever Fakade

Filed under: analog — mhoye @ 11:36 pm

I sit politely at the dinner table and make pleasant, interesting conversation with Arlene’s family, friends and relatives. I help serve the food, I help with the dishes and clean up. I am well-dressed and well-groomed, I am unfailingly affable, polite and debonair at all times.

Everything is going according to plan. None of them suspect the truth, that behind this veneer of civility I am, in fact, a scruffy, uncultured baboon.


December 27, 2003

Little. Yellow. Different.

Filed under: analog — mhoye @ 9:55 pm

I’m in Toronto right now, enjoying the Christmas holidays with Arlene and her family, and I have to tell you, it’s pretty wierd. I’m having a great time, of course, but spending time with a Chinese family over the holidays has been, well, periodically odd.

I will share the details with you soon enough; Arlene is looking over my shoulder right now, and she’s asked me “Do I have Blog-Veto power?” so I’m probably going to have to get back to you about this when she’s asleep. In the meantime, peace be unto y’all. Happy holidays, all that good stuff. I hope the new year treats you all well.

Update: Ok, Jeff, you asked for it.


December 17, 2003

One in a row

Filed under: analog — mhoye @ 1:24 pm

Poets may prattle on about true love, spring flowers, cherry blossoms and autumn rains but truly, is there anything so sweet as layout D? I think not.

Significantly less sweet than true love or spring flowers is going up for an easy interception, missing the catch and watching the disc float gracefully into the hands of your mark, who is standing in his endzone looking, I should say, somewhat smug. Merry Christmas, Coop.

December 15, 2003

KDM .Xsession Workaround

Filed under: digital — mhoye @ 1:37 am

At some point, somebody made the decision that the venerable XDM wasn’t good enough, and so they wrote KDM to replace it. If you’re a longtime survivor of the ongoing X-Windows Disaster, you might be scratching your head about the whole thing; I’m shaking my head about a specific part of it and here’s why.


December 13, 2003

Random Ninja Attacks

Filed under: analog — mhoye @ 2:07 pm

A week ago, it being Exam Time, I spurned a chance to see The Last Samurai, but a window of opportunity last night sent Sean and myself out to see it. I was a little reluctant, because while sometimes you hear good and bad things about movies all I’d heard about The Last Samurai was “OK” or “Enh”, and I figured that a work that can’t evoke passionate criticism both ways isn’t much of a work. But, I thought to myself, all the crucial ingredients seem to be there – honor, obligation, sacrifice, well-choreographed swordplay and beautiful, sprawling scenery that contains prettyboy actors getting pounded down.

So we went to the movies. Read on if you like, but I’m going so spoil some of it.


December 10, 2003

Her Name Is Rio

Filed under: analog — mhoye @ 4:49 pm

I don’t normally like to partake in the dumb quizzes that seem to saturate low-rent weblogs; it makes me feel foolish and unclean, as though I’ve fallen in a clown-colored mud puddle. But an old friend of mine sent me this, and I was shocked and ashamed at how much of it I could rattle off from memory.

I could have lived a full, satisfying life without being reminded that Luka lived on the second floor. Now I feel that knowledge like a parasite inside me, slowly corroding the bars of its neuron cage until the horrible day of its final escape, when it can consume the tattered remnants of musical taste whole. It’s hungry, I feel it. Hungry like the wolf.

Thank God Kish, or MC Miker & DJ Sven didn’t show up in that thing. That would have been awful.

December 9, 2003

Seeking Cover

Filed under: analog — mhoye @ 1:05 pm

People seem to be talking about covers of popular
tunes. And occasionally less popular tunes as well. Me, I’m not what you’d call a blogger of note, so I expect no great traffic on the topic, but I feel obliged to throw out something that I think has been overlooked, my favorite kind of cover song – the live cover.


December 8, 2003

Secret Handshake 2.0

Filed under: digital — mhoye @ 12:52 pm

I’m part of the Nexus Project, a volunteer-run Linux server cluster at Carleton; we do a couple of cleverish things, like supporting the Robotics club, providing server space to various organizations and so on. This year, we’ve started looking for new people to admin the system, and as a result we’ve had to make some decisions about who we give root access to, and who we don’t.

Now, Linux is a hard thing to learn, because there’s an awful lot of it, and a lot of it does some pretty wierd and nonintuitive stuff. The available documentation is almost universally awful, and missteps with root access can be costly; it’s a good idea to pause for a breath between the end of the command and the hitting of return, because when you’ve got a howitzer hanging from your belt shooting yourself in the foot just isn’t funny.

So we’ve had to come up with a simple test. You’re welcome to take it yourself, but I won’t give you the password either way. Here it is, in its entirety:

1) What is wrong with the following?

root@nexus:/bin$ chmod +s chmod

Remember, no peeking.

Update: Lara has nailed it, read on.


December 5, 2003

Economic Rug Pulling

Filed under: analog — mhoye @ 3:20 pm

Well, up until today I was, I thought, somewhat-gainfully employed doing a database-frontend design contract in my spare time in addition to school. It was a somewhat-neatish Access frontend that let vendors keep track of prospective clients, and managers keep track of their vendors, and do a couple of other clever things like evaluate the success of different promotions to different demographic groups in different regions.

Some of you have already noted my use of the past tense, so I’ll dispense with the formalities: the contract has been cancelled, before it even got signed. I sent the proposal in, reached a verbal understanding, started working. Now a few weeks later I’ve become kind of curious about when an actual paper-and-ink contract might materialize, and the fellow I was talking to is no longer working there.

Nice. In fact, the entire department I was working with is no longer working there. Because successful companies don’t need marketing, or something. Everyone involved is a pretty surprised about it, to all accounts.

I’m not upset with the guy in question, to be sure, but I am a little rankled by the whole situation. This is basically hours of my life completely wasted at a time when hours have been precious, and I’ve just gone from wondering how I’m going to get all this work done on deadline to wondering how I’m going to pay for tuition next term.

Which is just dandy.

Anyone who’d like to point out the obvious is welcome to do so in the comments below.

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