blarg?

I shun Microsoft products, partly for religious reasons but mostly because I have to deal with that shit all day and I don’t like to bring my work home with me. But I’d always assumed that it was just the software side of things that I really couldn’t stand; Microsoft also makes hardware. They make very fine mice, for example. So maybe on the hardware side, they’re OK.

Or maybe not. I bought a Cardbus NIC/Router box set, because the card contains the coveted Orinoco chipset (where “coveted” means “known to work with Linux with a minimum of agony”) and the price of the set was right.

Fellow citizen, do not purchase this product.

To make this as clear as possible, if somehow your life ever brings you to a point where your only options are purchasing this product or getting kicked in the face by a Clydesdale, go limp and try to roll with it. Otherwise you can expect that you’ll have to reset it anytime you’re doing something the designers of your wireless router didn’t expect like, say, connecting to it wirelessly. Or downloading stuff. Bunch of losers.

Let me reiterate the point about this fucking thing breaking under load, which it has a habit of doing while I’m backing stuff up. Which is what I was doing five minutes ago.

Update: Failed, for the third… no, wait – fourth… consecutive time, on one large rsync job. Christ on meth, this irritating. This fucking thing is definitely going to the curb. Dear Redmond, do you bitches test anything before it goes out the door? Anything at all? I own a router, with your company’s name embossed on the side, that seizes up and needs to be unplugged every gig and a half or so of traffic. It is a router that does not route, and I get “no route to host” errors for two computers that are actually touching each other. It’s no wonder your legal department won’t even guarantee a “workmanlike effort”. What do you assholes do with your time?

I don’t know if there’s some kind of stages to learning a thing the way there are to coping with a thing, but one of them might be when you can help out somebody who’s way ahead of you in your field, and who’s helped you out quite a bit in the past, and they’re glad for the result. I should add that it feels pretty good, too.

Update: For those of you playing along at home, the crucial juju was found in this command:


dd if=/dev/hdc of=/dev/hdd bs=1k conv=sync,noerror

In response to an inquiry on the full-disclosure mailing list, wherein somebody asked for a quick-and-dirty way of encrypting things from the command line, I have written xork. It is puny and weak, but it amused me.

I welcome any suggestions, as I am not l33t.

Update: Yes, I’m well aware that this is the cryptographic equivalent of the locks that tourists put on their luggage. Thank you.

I’m shopping for a cellphone. I run Linux exclusively, which almost certainly means that everything I think I should be able to do easily is a crack-initiated pipe dream, but here’s what I want in or with a phone.

  1. I want to be able to plug the phone into the USB port on my laptop and
    • Manipulate the address book
    • Change my ringtone
    • Send SMS messages
    • SSH out
  2. Charge the battery via USB

With Linux. So probably not, you’d think. Even “runs OK in Wine” is passable, and if I have to buy a USB/SIM-Card reader I will. I’m familiar with the process. Other criteria include:

  • I don’t want a phone that looks like it was designed by the second-stringers from Ninja Science Team Gatchaman. The clamshell form factor is preferred, and I have a certain affection for the appearance of the Ericsson Z200.

  • I don’t need a camera, or a PDA pseudo-phone. Thumb-keyboards are dumb.
  • I don’t care about games, because cellphone games are stupid. If your spirit is not immediately crushed by the realization that you enjoy playing “Snake”, I probably don’t need to talk to you.
  • Buying ringtones is doubly stupid; the idea that I should pay extra to make a device I own play a particular tinny little sounds is idiocy on its face, a way of extracting money from suckers.

Any insight that you would like to provide into the cellphone-buying process is appreciated.

Everyone’s favorite centrist moderate Pat Buchanan has this to say on the subject of homosexuality:

To some of us, homosexuality is an affliction, like alcoholism, and hellishly difficult to control. Why some folks can take or leave alcohol — while others can enjoy it in moderation, and others cannot stop drinking without help and must swear off it for life or it will kill them — remains a mystery of nature.

I’m sure we can all agree that if you enjoy homosexuality only occasionally and in moderation, no harm can come of it; just remember to be gay responsibly, and not to excess. And don’t be gay and drive, or something.

Jeebus.

Traceroute, times omitted:

mhoye@werewindle:~$ traceroute rideau.carleton.ca
traceroute to rideau.carleton.ca (134.117.1.17), 30 hops max, 38 byte packets
1  192.168.2.1 (192.168.2.1)
2  64.230.254.34 (64.230.254.34)
3  64.230.228.10 (64.230.228.10)
4  64.230.241.209 (64.230.241.209)
5  core1-toronto12-pos3-3.in.bellnexxia.net (64.230.234.89)
6  64.230.242.197 (64.230.242.197)
7  core1-chicago23-pos10-0.in.bellnexxia.net (206.108.103.134)
8  bx2-chicago23-pos11-0.in.bellnexxia.net (206.108.103.138)
9  sl-gw36-chi-12-0.sprintlink.net (160.81.109.193)
10  sl-bb23-chi-5-0.sprintlink.net (144.232.26.65)
11  sl-bb24-chi-15-0.sprintlink.net (144.232.26.101)
12  sl-bb25-nyc-5-0.sprintlink.net (144.232.9.157)
13  sl-bb26-nyc-10-0.sprintlink.net (144.232.13.190)
14  sl-gw9-nyc-9-0.sprintlink.net (144.232.7.98)
15  sl-callnet-12-0.sprintlink.net (144.232.169.74)
16  p4-3-S1.bb2.mtl1.sprint-canada.net (204.50.128.9)
17  g12-0-0-S1.gw2.mtl1.sprint-canada.net (207.107.254.67)
18  Z-pc2-802-S1.gw2.mtl1.sprint-canada.net (209.5.111.110)
19  AL-GSR-GigE0-1-100.telecomottawa.net (142.46.200.18)
20  AL-7304-GigE2.telecomottawa.net (142.46.200.1)
21  CarletonU-gw.telecomottawa.net (142.46.196.131)
22  filter-onet.carleton.ca (134.117.3.2)
23  134.117.6.1 (134.117.6.1)
24  * * *
25  * * *
26  * * *
27  * * *
28  * * *
29  * * *
30  * * *
mhoye@werewindle:~$ 

Let’s review: these packets travel from my location to Toronto to Chicago to New York to Montreal to Ottawa to Carleton University to the machine named Rideau. Final times in that last step: 52.879 ms, 50.997 ms, 49.468 ms.

I can see the building housing Rideau.carleton.ca through the window. It is down the street.

Christ.

I am going to demolish your bandwidth today. I am going to crush
it under my link-hobnailed jackboots. Every one of these links is going to put a dent in your bandwidth between two to forty-five megabytes deep, and if it doesn’t it’s a link to a directory full of things that will. I’m going to make your broadband whimper, and I promise that if you’re a geek like me, you’re going to love every minute of it. If you’re still one of those 56k lepers, this magic is not meant for you. Close your browser and go outside; harvest the year’s crops or re-shoe the pigs or whatever else it is you do when you’re waiting for floppy-sized snacks to dribble into your demodulator. Don’t even bother with the rest of this entry, is what I’m saying.

The rest of you, try this on for size. The 530-error problems seem to have solved themselves.

I’ve talked about the href="http://antwrp.gsfc.nasa.gov/apod/astropix.html">Astronomy
Picture Of The Day before, but it turns out that NASA is a lot
more going on than just that. Specifically, their headquarters’
entire FTP site is available
for public consumption.

They have pictures
of href="ftp://kenny.public.hq.nasa.gov/users2/pao/images/zvezda/04_protonrollout_72.jpg">Russian href="ftp://kenny.public.hq.nasa.gov/users2/pao/images/zvezda/11_zvesdadelivery_72.jpg">rockets
being href="ftp://kenny.public.hq.nasa.gov/users2/pao/images/zvezda/12_protonlaunch_72.jpg">launched,
promotional
movies and href="ftp://kenny.public.hq.nasa.gov/users2/pao/images/boommovi.mov">big balloons and href="ftp://kenny.public.hq.nasa.gov/users2/pao/images/mars2003/mars/water_mars.jpg">evidence of
water
on href="ftp://kenny.public.hq.nasa.gov/users2/pao/images/mars2003/mars/water_mars.jpg">Mars, they have pictures
from the Dante Project and the spur of the Matterhorn and great pics of Soyuz and other rockets taking off, projects in mid-assembly
and early deployment, the list goes on.

They have incredibly sexy pictures of href="ftp://kenny.public.hq.nasa.gov/users2/pao/images/mars2003/rover2003/marsrover.jpg">the
Mars Rover (including some huge href="ftp://kenny.public.hq.nasa.gov/users2/pao/images/mars2003/rover2003/03rover4.tif">hi-res
.tif
files
of the same), a 20-meg zip file full of MIR-y
goodness
, and a sweet href="ftp://kenny.public.hq.nasa.gov/pub/factbook/%2522The%2520Other%2520Side%2522%2520971223.JPEG">pic
of The Earth
hidden among the href="ftp://kenny.public.hq.nasa.gov/pub/factbook/">gzipped factbooks and
other zipped or href="ftp://kenny.public.hq.nasa.gov/pub/pao/movies/top10_2000/">otherwise
available movies. ( href="ftp://kenny.public.hq.nasa.gov/pub/pao/movies/rover_t1.mov">So,
so sexy. href="ftp://kenny.public.hq.nasa.gov/pub/pao/reports/2004/hits/Pictures/">So
much nerd porn. Shiver.)

Be
still
my
heart.

Insanely, it looks like their entire href="ftp://kenny.public.hq.nasa.gov/pub/ytdls/email_list.txt.txt">e-mail
list is online
as well. I don’t know what I should do about that, since they’re
probably watching
me
right now, but I’m href="ftp://kenny.public.hq.nasa.gov/pub/pao/statrpt/MPIAT/MPIAT_status_20Jan.txt">not
worried.

Jamie, Sean, Geofford, this is for you guys.

My writing has been cripplingly weak of late, and I apologize to those of you who come here expecting better. I’ve been struggling with a mental lethargy that’s clouding a number of my life’s axes and my ability to stay focused on things that need to change long enough to change them is very nearly gone. I need to get my head back on. This is awful.

For your amusement, in the meantime, I present to you this excerpt from the end-user license of a Microsoft security patch; sometimes people say that the problem with Linux from a business perspective is “Who can you sue?” Well, that may be a problem all over the place.


MICROSOFT AND ITS SUPPLIERS PROVIDE TO YOU
THE OS COMPONENTS, AND ANY (IF ANY) SUPPORT
SERVICES RELATED TO THE OS COMPONENTS
(“SUPPORT SERVICES”) AS IS AND WITH ALL
FAULTS; AND MICROSOFT AND ITS SUPPLIERS
HEREBY DISCLAIM WITH RESPECT TO THE OS
COMPONENTS AND SUPPORT SERVICES ALL
WARRANTIES AND CONDITIONS, WHETHER EXPRESS,
IMPLIED OR STATUTORY, INCLUDING, BUT NOT
LIMITED TO, ANY (IF ANY) WARRANTIES, DUTIES
OR CONDITIONS OF OR RELATED TO:
MERCHANTABILITY, FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR
PURPOSE, LACK OF VIRUSES, ACCURACY OR
COMPLETENESS OF RESPONSES, RESULTS,
WORKMANLIKE EFFORT AND LACK OF NEGLIGENCE.
ALSO THERE IS NO WARRANTY, DUTY OR CONDITION
OF TITLE, QUIET ENJOYMENT, QUIET POSSESSION,
CORRESPONDENCE TO DESCRIPTION OR NON-INFRINGEMENT. THE ENTIRE RISK ARISING OUT
OF USE OR PERFORMANCE OF THE OS COMPONENTS
AND ANY SUPPORT SERVICES REMAINS WITH YOU.

Lovely. The shorter version, devoid of legalese, is of course as follows:

Suck it down. Furthermore, your gag reflex is not our problem.

A few questions:

  1. I’d be surprised if you could just say “No, even if it’s statutory we don’t promise anything” and make it stick.

  2. Microsoft’s legal department won’t even guarantee a “workmanlike effort”?

This is what a Michigan ballot looks like.

This is what a Florida ballot looked like last election.

Insanity. Deliberate and verging on malicious.

Dare to compare, this
is an Elections Canada standard ballot. Gather around, children; today we’re going to learn about arbitrary bureaucratic obscurantism. Don’t forget, the public is not to be trusted!

From: bugzilla@redhat.com
To: mhoye@neon.polkaroo.net
Subject: [Bug 88400] De-selected package installed

Bug #88400
Summary: De-selected package installed
Product: Red Hat Linux
Version: 9
Component: anaconda
Status: CLOSED

Additional Comment #3 From Jeremy Katz on 2004-10-04 23:09 ——-

This should be better in newer releases.

… and the circle of life continues.