Saturday, September 23, 2006

Could it be?

Oh please, oh please, oh please, let this be true.

The regional newspaper quoted French secret service reports saying that Saudi Arabia is convinced that bin Laden died a month ago.

It said he died of a very serious case of typhoid causing partial paralysis of his internal organs.

Hahahahaha! I hope it took many painful days with him screaming for his mother.

This however casts some doubt on this incredible news.

US officials have suggested that his death would be accompanied by a surge of e-mail and telephone chatter among bereaved al Qaeda members, if not an actual announcement from the militant network.

Well, I'm not sure about that. Sure, if he died a glorious martyrs death while fighting the infidel. I can see them trumpeting the fact all over the world. What a great recruiting tool.

But, if he died dirty and cowering in a deep hole in the mountain, with his body slowly and painfully shutting down... Well, that's not much of an example to rally others to the cause. If Allah denied the glorious leader of al Qaeda a martyrs death, instead letting him die in a humiliating and pathetic manner, I would think that would give pause to those on the fence regarding the righteousness of killing women and children (which these wastes of space seem to excel at).

Hell, his name still has huge authority, even though he has not been seen since 2004. Why not claim he is still in hiding and issue orders in his name?

I guess I'm in that state doctors like to use. Cautiously optimistic.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Spinach Smoothies.. of DEATH!

How many people haven't heard about the current evils of bagged spinach by now? I can't turn around without reading about it, hearing about it, or seeing a newscast about it.

Yet it appears there's at least one person who didn't get the memo.

Kyle became sick September 15 after friends said his mother had blended spinach into a smoothie for him. He was initially hospitalized at Portneuf Medical Center in the eastern Idaho town of Chubbuck, before being transferred to Primary Children's Medical Center in Salt Lake City where he died overnight Wednesday from kidney complications, according to CNN affiliate KSL.

Were his parents living in a cave during all the E.Coli + Bagged Spinach = Bad news flying around? How could they not know about this?

Why the hell is there still bagged spinach available for sale? Until health officials track down the where the bag is being infected (an organic co-op in Cali is the top contender right now), bagged spinach should be kept off the shelves.

And really, a spinach smoothie... It would have never occurred to me to make a smoothie out of spinach. There are just certain foods that I don't think "Gosh, this would make a refreshing beverage". Spinach is one of them. Pork Chops another. I don't think I'd be able to choke a spinach smoothie down if you held a gun to my head.

UPDATE: The more I spell spinach, the stranger the word becomes. Spinach, spinach, spinach... Now I've got the chills.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

A Lesson Taught

A child was suspended for 10 days in Missouri for binging a squirt gun to school. The problem is the school has a policy against guns. Even toy guns. It's a pretty clear situation:
The school district said it is all policy -- one that the school told students and parents about at the start of the year.

"We regret that this happened. My feeling is that by not giving any exceptions, this young man will not bring a toy gun to school again," [school district's Phyllis] Budesheim said.

The school district said that the incident should be a reminder to parents to check their children's backpacks before they go to school.

Yes he was 6 years old. Yes, It's obviously a toy. But you break a district policy
that's fairly unambiguous, you abide by the consequences. But mom doesn't seem to understand what that means.

"I asked her, 'You're going to suspend my son for 10 days for this? He cannot harm a soul with this,'" said Danielle Womack, whose son, Tawann Caskey, was suspended from Milton Moore Elementary School in Kansas City.

I don't think she realizes that's not the point. The point is it was against the rules. And rules need to be enforced evenly for them to be effective. Really, how hard can it be to check a 6 year old's backpack?

If this were all it was, there really wouldn't be a story. Boy breaks rules, boy gets punished. Big deal. But mom had to go appeal to the district board. Of course, you think, the board upheld the policy that it set.

Hahahaha! How... quiant of you.

Of course not. They rescinded the suspension, and he's back in school consequence free. So I guess the policy is no longer enforced. But wait...

The school district stands by its policy -- automatic suspension for bringing any toy to school that looks like a weapon.

Uh, no. Obviously they don't stand by that policy. This case is evidence of that.

Usually, a child is punished as reinforcement or as an opportunity to learn a lesson. Well, this young boy learned a lesson all right. He learned that rules don't apply and if you don't like the results of your actions, simply complain loud enough and they go away.

Bluegill Bondage

So if they are floating on top of the water... I guess that would mean that toxins are present?

Incidentally, where the hell is PETA for all this. You can bet if the animal being used to play Toxic Russian Roulette was cute and cuddly, like an otter, they'd be all up in arms.

Let my bluegill brothers free!

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Who the? What The? Huh?

Ok, California is officially insane.

I hate my co-workers

Ok, I forgot my glasses at home today. All I had were my prescription sunglasses. So, I could either wear the sunglasses and see, or I could sit with two LCD monitors inches from my face and squint all day.

I chose to look like a tool and wear the sunglasses.

Needless to say, I got tons of sympathy for being forgetful. I have been called "Neo" and "Morpheus", had that insipid "Future's so bright..." song sang at me; another friend sent me a variant of the Corey Hart song in via email ("I wear my sunglasses at work..."). My boss's reaction: "We can laugh with you or at you. Well, today we laugh at you."


But then one collegue went too far. He started calling me by the hacker handles from the movie "Hackers". And he knows I hate that movie (or at least he does now). No... hate is much too weak of a word. I wish I could find every person ever involved with that movie and stab them in the face. I've seen doctors cringe whenever a medical drama is on TV. For info security people (and network people and systems people) "Hackers" is our "ER".

Although I too, have hacked the Gibson.

Technology... Wednesday?

Bad Cabling

Ok, I couldn't get yesterday's Technology Tuesday out on time. I had some other things to worry about. Specifically, getting my place de-beed. I think it worked, all I have seen are some bee carcasses and two obviously dying bees.

Anyhow, I have seen some messy wiring closets. Hell, I have been culpable of running a quick patch or two (I'll just clean it up later) and never re-running the cable. But this... It simply takes my breath away.

I keep expecting to see a mechanical spider to come scuttling out.

My eyes! The goggles, they do nothing!
(yeah, I stole it from
tygerstripes' comment over at Slashdot. It's so damn appropriate here).

This is not a stack of hay bales or vertical pasta. This is all cable. I would hate to be the network admin that had to trace down a problem. It looks like nothing is labeled (would that really matter in this case?).

Everything is yellow (I see some white in there). How the hell do you tell what belongs to what? You could at least narrow down what the hell a connection would probably be if you used a simple color code. You know blue=servers, red=routers, etc...

Now this is what good cable management is supposed to look like.

You can tell where everything is, and troubleshooting would be a snap if something goes wrong.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006



Today be International Talk Like a Pirate Day!

So be you sure to mind the lingo, me mateys and wenches that be saucy.

Damn me eyes! I be missing the Wench Swap last night havin' the buxom lass!


Monday, September 18, 2006

Bees Suck

I have a bee... issue. It seems some bees have decided to hive (is that even a verb?) right above my porch. It looks like they get in via a crack between the brick and the porch timber from the unit above. Not a huge deal, but then I started noticing bees in my place. One or two a day. Again, no huge deal, but it bothered me.

So, I called the management company and said "get an exterminator out here". It took them 5 days to it. And from appearances all they did was put sticky paper outside the crack. Wow good job. This will take care of bees leaving or returning the hive, but what about the ones that get trapped inside? You would think, reasonably enough, "Oh, they'll just die since they can't get out."

Whoops, no. Remember, they already had a way into my apartment. Now, I'm averaging about 20 a day -- at least that's how many I'm killing. I'm also seeing bee carcasses all over (at least it's getting me to vacuum and sweep). Some of those I think are from my boy cat, Cecil, the Bane of Insects and Spiders. He seems to be impervious to stings. Not so me or my girl cat, Beanie. We both got stung over the weekend.

So now an exterminator is scheduled to show up and see what he (or she) can do about this invasion. If their past performance is any indicator, I'm thinking that answer is going to be "not much". Most likely, I'll have to crate up my cats tomorrow and go someplace while they spew poison everywhere. Then I get to look forward to scrubbing the floor, wiping everything down, vacuuming, and washing all the dishes.

Oh, and releasing two very pissed off cats.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Late On The Bandwagon

Ok, I admit it. I have never watched Lost. Ever.

But I have a friend who watches this show religiously. Since she has (mostly) good taste*, I thought I'd give it a go. So I bought the first three episodes from the
iTunes Music Store.

And now I'm hooked. I have absolutely no idea what's happening, but to me that's a large part of the appeal. Kinda the same reason I love the works of
HP Lovecraft and the writers, such as Brian Lumley, who have expanded and explored the universe HPL created. It's what isn't said that's the most compelling in a story. Your mind fills in the blanks with wild speculation. Rather than detracting from the story, a lack of details (sometimes seemingly vital) can enhance the experience and enrich the narrative.

* - and I am so going to pay for that statement when she reads this

Security Sunday - Fraud


Everyone has seen these emails. Messages from PayPal, EBay, a credit card company, or a bank. It's been happening for years, and a small percentage of users still fall for this trick. Here are some key indicators that an email message is actually a phishing attempt.

  • Lack of personalization: These are emails that start "Dear Bank Customer". You are a customer, but they don't know who you are? Puh-lease.
  • Grammar and spelling: I would think that a financial institution would probably have someone fairly fluent to compose messages for the public. Some emails have an odd cadence to them, also. This is usually indicative of a non-native English speaker applying his (or her) native language's grammar rules to English (or they used Google Translate).
  • Lack of Branding: There's no brand awareness in the email. No logos, copyright/trademark information. Although this has changed over the years. Savvy scammers have been creating very convincing layouts.
There are other indicators that are there, but difficult to discern unless you have some technical background. But all is not lost. There are a couple rules of thumb that you can apply:
  • Never, and I mean never, click on a link in an email. If you need to go into your portal, be it a bank or EBay, open a new browser and type the address in or use your bookmark to go directly to the site.
  • If a site is asking for information like CC number, PIN, CCV, etc... close your browser immediately. Unless, of course, you are legitimately using this information at an online store.
For much more information, please look at this site.

419 Scams

These scams are named after the relevant section of the Nigerian Criminal Code regarding "Advance Fee Fraud." These are the emails offering you an incredible job, an opportunity to launder money to keep it from corrupt governments, a bequest left in a will, and lottery winnings. These are all fake.

They usually involve long drawn out email and phone conversations to work out the details of the monetary transfer of millions of dollars to the victim's bank account. Of course, first the victim has to send an account number along with bank routing details. After that, the victim's account is plundered and the scammer is never heard from again. Sometimes, the less ambitious scams will instead ask for a money order of hundreds or thousands of dollars to help facilitate the transfer (for bribes, regulatory fees, bank fees, whatever the scammer can dream up). Again, after the money is on the way, the scammer disappears into the murky depths of the Internet, never to be heard from again.

Sometimes it can be more serious. The scammer will draw the victim deeper into the web, sometimes convincing them to meet in some supposedly neutral city to complete the transaction. They are then taken for whatever they have (credit cards, money, cameras, jewelry). At times this involves assault, kidnapping (for ransom), and even murder.

If you get email like this, delete it. These are fake. Every. Single. One.

You can't get something for nothing.

For more information see this

To read about 419ers getting the tables turned, go