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Showing posts from 2009

More Climate Misconceptions

I was reading the New Scientist today and found an article about the Global Warming/Climate Change debate that is raging today.

Page 2 of this article (Deniergate: Turning the tables on climate sceptics) makes a statement that is, well, sophomoric:

"The UK Met Office this week published data showing that the first decade of the 2000s has been the warmest on record."

A very long time ago, this planet was covered in ice and snow. Slowly, this global "ice age" receded and has gradually given rise to the modern world of today (2009). Yet, there are still large ice sheets on the planet (the Arctic and Antarctic Poles) that are continuing to melt.

For these large sheets of ice to melt, the average atmospheric temperature of the planet must increase. Without that increase, we would still have more ice and snow, and likely no humans and fancy fast cars. Therefore, it goes without saying that the Plant's average temperature is increasing, and it HAS been increasing for a v…

Crash Crash Crash

So I bought a new XFX X58i motherboard and a nifty Intel Core i7 CPU to go with it. It was time to upgrade my Core 2 Quad system to a faster Core i7 system and get more RAM. I had Windows XP Pro 64bit and it was finally starting to run slow after a good 2 years of processing and programming.

Friday came and I pulled apart my system and installed the new motherboard. Turned it on and ... nothing. No beeps, no POST, nothing. Worst yet, my 3ware card did not show the bios.

So I pulled out the new stuff and returned the old stuff. Turned it on.

Got past the POST and the Marvel embedded RAID controller BIOS and then again, no 3ware bios. Well, that really stinks because the 3ware card controls my RAID-1 array that contains my system data.

I called 3ware who insisted that I just RMA the 8006-2LP and get a replacement. When I talked to the tech support person, she stated that it was not possible to hook the drives up to a new 3ware card because the "old" 8006-2LP (pre-9000 series) lo…

Niche Taxes

In the USA, it would seem that lots of writers, commentators, screen writers, and pundits are obsessed with fat or obese people. One commentator on CNN [1] writes about using a tax to control obesity.

In California, we already have a Fat Tax, it's in the form of a tax on fast foods and sugary junk foods. Yet, there are fat people in California, and most of the people who are eating at McDonalds, Wendy's, Jack, and In-N-Out are all thin or acceptably sized.

Forbes ran an article in September of 2009 discussing how a fat tax could be some kind of reformist ideology. The Forbes article mostly is concerned with raising billions of dollars to help pay for some kind of unforseen increase in socialized healthcare. It also claims that by 2015, 40% of Americans will be obese.

Seriously, how can anyone publish this stuff?

There are some level headed people out there who have some good things to say [2] in the Center for Consumer Freedom's Who Wants A Fat Tax article. There, a reference…

IPTABLES and M4

I manage high traffic web servers that are constantly under attack. To manage the security of these web servers, I need to routinely update my iptables rules, and by routinely, I mean every morning when I roll into the office.

When I searched for a solution that allowed me to dynamically define my rules with a merge option, nothing come to the forefront. There are some miscellaneous posts about using PERL and cat, but nothing really useful.

Then I remember M4. If you don't know about M4, then you should man it.

Here's what you do.

iptables.m4:


---- start ----

# Firewall configuration written by
# system-config-securitylevel
# Manual customization of this file is not
# recommended.
*filter
:INPUT ACCEPT [0:0]
:FORWARD ACCEPT [0:0]
:OUTPUT ACCEPT [0:0]
:RH-Firewall-1-INPUT - [0:0]
-A INPUT -j RH-Firewall-1-INPUT
-A FORWARD -j RH-Firewall-1-INPUT
include(/root/iptables/iptables_special)
include(/root/iptables/iptables_reject)
include(/root/iptables/iptables_accept)
#
# The final rule that rejects ev…

Rookie Mistake

I've been fighting with an ASP.NET 1 conversion to ASP.NET 2 where for some unknown reason, the Global.asax code is no longer being run. No matter what I do, including making a Global class or even embedding the code into the asax file, the Application_Start is not being invoked when the app starts. No matter though.

What I am embarassed about though is a simple mistake:


public class Foo
{
private static Foo _Instance = new Foo();
private static KEY = null;

private Foo()
{
KEY = ConfigurationSettings.AppSettings["MyKeyValue"];
}

public static Foo Instance() { return(_Instance); }
}


Guess what value "Foo.KEY" has after you call Foo.Instance? Eight hours later, I finally realized why KEY is always null and the real fix is just to do the following:


public class Foo
{
private static KEY = null;
private static Foo _Instance = new Foo();

private Foo()
{
KEY = ConfigurationSettings.AppSettings["MyKeyValue…

Covert Communications

A recent experience with intermittent network failure started me thinking about how I could read data from a server without the NOC knowing about it. I could do this with a virus that replaces "netstat" and "syslog" and "ps" so that it never shows itself running. That's just too simple and blunt, a child could do that. No, what I wanted to do is create a method that goes undetected because it looks like a common attack that is easily thwarted and often ignored.

First, there is the ICMP ping relay attack. One way to communicate with a 3rd party covertly is to send ping packets to a server and spoof the source IP so that they are bounced to the 3rd party by the server. This way you never directly communicate with the 3rd party.

Secondly, you need to take advantage of subliminal channels [1] in network protocols. This is the super-secret spy stuff that makes this idea a reality. By utilizing a subliminal channel, I am able to send secret messages to the 3…

TYPE 1 DIABETES DILEMMA

Stem cells are abound in medical research. Today I read an article on CNN [1] that claims blood stem cell transplantation gets Type-I diabetics off of insulin. I suppose that is good news for the countless young kids who are dealt this death sentence.

Yet, there is something more to this disease. This year, 2009, has found several research papers on the study of viral activity and Type-I diabetes [2], [3], [4], [5]. This makes me question whether or not any transfusion, transplantation, or any other replacement therapy has any merit for Type-I diabetes. No matter what you replace in the patient's body, the virus will continue to infect the new material, and the disease will continue to manifest.

What we really need to see isn't more snake-oil stem cell therapy that is costly and inconsequential, but rather real medical trials using virus-targeting therapies that are localized to the infected pancreas. These kids are doomed to an early death with this disease, and if it can be c…

Oh The Pain

I seem to be the poster child for failed hardware. Today, my Pioneer DVD-RW DVR-112D decided to stop writing discs. From what I can tell, though, this has been going on since the day I installed this disc drive.

Pioneer admitted in 2007, just prior to my purchase of the drive, that there are some manufacturing problems with the drive. They shipped the drive because they "did not feel that a use-case existed in which the error would manifest." Well, apparently that was wrong because many a person has experienced problems with these drives.

For the last year, I've noticed that my Windows XP 64-bit has been experiencing random halts that would last for about 5 seconds. During that time, I would grumble and refine my repertoire of colorful expletives.

Today, after installing a SONY DRU-842A as a replacement, I noticed the random halting was gone. The startup time for Windows was back to its super-fast normal self. With the Pioneer in there, sometimes the Windows boot would ju…