Mostly about my amusement

Month: July 2008 (page 2 of 3)

I give up on Slashdot

I use Google Reader to follow blogs and one of the RSS feeds I have is from Slashdot.  A few days ago they had a posting called Gmail, SPF, and Broken Email Forwarding? which was a topic I was interested in.

I use a Blackberry for e-mail and I gave up I using SPF for my domain.  It just could not work when legitimate e-mail came from another set of unknown servers. The work around is much more complicated than SPF.

So I went to that page looking to see if anyone had anything useful to contribute.

It was Slashdot at it’s finest.  The most useful comment was a comment about RFC 2606.

Please stop using and other such nonsense. is reserved by RFC 2606 [] for use as a…wait for it…example domain name. Please make a habit of using it instead of whatever name strikes your fancy, as it is probably in use by real people.

Followed by

For God’s sake. It’s just text! RFC 2606 doesn’t specify what you’re allowed to write in a text message.

I didn’t need to read much more than that.  I stopped visiting Slashdot in my browser a long time ago, time to clean up my RSS feeds.

DNS excitement! Panic at the office!

Well not really panic, just your usual vulnerability patching day at the office.

When I saw Dan Kaminsky demonstrate voice over DNS, I was convinced that he dreams in BIND source code.  It was a neat demonstration.

Now he has uncovered another vulnerability in BIND regarding UDP source port prediction. It’s causing some excitement in the work place as to what the impact could be and how soon our vendors can release patches.

I’ve had to do some explaining as what it means;  see Matasano’s blog for more information.  Thomas Ptacek sums it up really well here and states the impact more here.

You’ve got to love someone who can explain the seriousness using a movie quote from Jack Black.

The Senate rolls over and plays dead

President Nixon Bush got what he wanted: Senate bows to Bush, approves surveillance bill.

The news article mentions that the old FISA rules were a problem, and that Congress did not want to deal with this in an election year.  Even Senator Obama folded on this one.

I guess his ambition is greater than his morals.  “Vote for change”, what nonsense.

King George must be pleased to have such tame pets.  It was never demonstrated that there was any issue with using the old FISA rules.  It was only an issue because the Bush Cheney administration wanted more power.

The current administration does not want this law passed because they need it.  They don’t torture people because they need to.  They don’t disregard the Constitution because they need to.  They don’t eliminate habeas corpus* because they need to.

They do all these things because they can.

I’m pissed again, I really can’t wait till January 20th to welcome our new king.

*Some people may think that habeas corpus was something denied only to non-American citizen away from our shores.  The fact is, this administration grabbed an American in an airport in Chicago and then John Ashcroft bragged about it from Moscow.  That American, who may have been the most vile scum, was held for years and subjected to abuse before the administration moved him where the law says he should have been.  If they can do this to the worst, they can do this to anyone.

Good read re warrantless wiretapping

Salon has a good write up on Al-Haramain Islamic Foundation Inc. v. Bush from one of the lawyers involved.  If you are a “Get them before they get us” type, don’t bother reading.

If you think everyone has to obey the law (meaning me, you, you, and especially YOU), then it’s a long read but covers the lawyers point of view nicely. This is the best part:

The situation grew darkly comic. They didn’t have a hammer, so they started debating how to smash the hard drive. I suggested they smack it against the corner of the table that was in the room. That didn’t do much.

I found myself thinking of the Samsonite Gorilla, the TV commercial from the 1970s in which a gorilla stomps on a piece of luggage that just won’t break. I thought: “These people are entrusted with our national security?”

Once again, since it is an election year, I am sure that our elected officials will get involved and mess this up.

Hans Reiser comes clean

If anyone had any doubts about Hans Reiser’s guilt, this is from Threat Level: Hans Reiser Leads Police to Nina’s Body.

It’s unfortunate that he chose to lead the police to his victim’s body only after bargaining for a reduced sentence.  But at least now her family and children will have some closure and be able to bury the body properly.

During the trial, reading Threat Level’s coverage was surreal.  I know that programmers like Reiser can be eccentric and erratic, but his behavior was way out there.

Hopefully he will remain in jail long enough for his children to grow up and keep their murderous father out of their lives.

Raw NEF files and WD’s MyBook

I take pictures in Nikon’s raw NEF format because I can use Photoshop Element’s raw importer to tweak the exposure, clarity, black level, etc.  But the NEF files are often 9 MB files and I have almost 3,000 of them and that’s just since May.  That came out to 22 GB’s and counting. Even cleaning up the ones I don’t want to keep still leaves me with a mess.

Time to get more storage. Instead of just installing another drive in my system, I wanted to get an external drive.  In the past I was put off on USB hard drive cases, so this time I went looking for a complete out of the box solution.

Costco had a instant manufacturer’s rebate on the 1 TB Western Digital MyBook Home Edition.  We went and picked it up very quickly. It supports USB 2.0 (480 Mb/s max), Firewire (400 Mb/s max), and eSATA (3Gb/s max).

Guess which interface I picked?  But my Dell XPS 700720 does not have a built in eSATA port.  So I went to Bestbuy and picked up a DYNEX eSATA card and a 6 foot long cable (the MyBook only comes with USB and Firewire cables).

After I installed the card and hooked up the drive, I ran “Command Prompt” as Administrator and ran this command:

convert F: /FS:NTFS

The drive ships with a FAT32 file system and I prefer NTFS for Vista.  The mostly empty drive converted quickly and I started to move data to it.

It’s a fast drive when using eSATA.  I went to my Pictures short cut and right clicked the icon. I selected Properties -> Location, clicked Move…, typed in the new location on the MyBook and clicked Apply.

It moved 22 GBs of files onto the drive in no time at all.  Less than 10 minutes.  Using USB or my Firewire port would have taken a lot longer than that.

Right now I’m playing with my Photoshop Elements catalog, but so far I’m satisfied with the new drive.  It’s got a LED bar on the face of it that does the vertical Cylon eye thing.  I may keep that covered up when I’m watching old episodes of Battlestar Galactica just to be safe.

Disney and digital photography

The castle

The whole family came back from Disney World Wednesday and here are some of my notes for the pictures I took.

From Thursday the 26th to Wednesday the 2nd I took 1,600+ pictures with my Nikon D60.

What I have been doing since I got back is going through each vacation day and selecting photos for Flickr. So far I completed up to Sunday June 29th and have uploaded some 88 pictures.  You can see the Disney World 2008 set on Flickr here.

The Lowepro Fastpack 200 was a great idea.

It’s a great backpack and easy to use.  It was raining on and off everyday. Being able to quickly take the camera out, shoot the picture, and pack the camera away was fantastic.  The only thing I think I may change is replace the Nikon neck strap with a hand strap.

I need to buy an 18-200mm lens.

Stefan lent me his Nikkor lens and it was great for the trip.  Being able to take pictures close up and zoom out immediately without changing the lens was just way too useful.  I’m thinking of getting the Sigma 18-200mm f/3.5-6.3 DC OS just to be different.

The Sigma 30mm f/1.4 EX DC HSM lens is still my main lens and does not disappoint.

In either Aperture or Program Auto mode it works great.  It covers low light really well and I took a lot of shots with it.

I forgot to switch to the zoom lens once and left the 30mm on during the Animal Kingdom tour.  I found out that Shutter Priority works well too; I took this picture from a really bouncy “safari” tour bus.  For that shot, the camera was set at ISO 400, f/4.5 and shutter speed was 1/2000 of a second.

I saw more Canon cameras than I did Nikons.

I guess Canon markets better in the U.S. 🙂 I don’t know what the Canon models were but the Nikons I saw were mostly D60s with the 18-55mm kit lens. The camera that all the wandering Disney staff use for taking shots of the guests? A Nikon D70.  The person I spoke to recommended it highly saying that they never have any problems with it.

I did see several D200s and one D300 with a Nikkor 17-35mm AF-S wide angle lens and a Manfrotto mono-pod stand (not that I pay attention to such things).  I tried not to be jealous, but the fact is I would not know what to do with a camera like that.

I am still uploading more pictures to Flickr and I should be done by Monday with the whole set.  I could dump all 1,600+ straight to Flickr but what would be the point?  I prefer to share only the good ones and not show people all the ones that were not in focus.