Friday, December 31, 2004
Jan. 13, 1915 — An earthquake with a magnitude of 7.5 leaves 29,980 dead in Avezzano, Italy.
Dec. 16, 1920 — Gansu, China is hit with an earthquake reaching magnitude 8.6 that kills 200,000 people.
Sept. 1, 1923 — An temblor of 8.3 magnitude in Japan destroys one-third of Tokyo and most of Yokohama. More than 140,000 are killed.
May 22, 1927 — An earthquake reaching 7.9 magnitude hits near Xining, China and kills approximately 200,000.
Dec. 25, 1932 — Approximately 70,000 people are killed after an earthquake reaching 7.6 magnitude hits the Gansu region in China.
May 30, 1935 — A magnitude 7.5 temblor strikes Quetta, Pakistan, killing more than 30,000 people.
Jan. 24, 1939 — An earthquake of 8.3 magnitude in Chile kills roughly 28,000 people.
Dec. 27, 1939 — More than 32,000 die in the Erzincan province in eastern Turkey during a 7.9-magnitude quake.
Oct. 5, 1948 — An earthquake of 7.3 magnitude in Turkmenistan kills over 110,000 people.
Aug. 15, 1950 — Up to 30,000 are estimated to have been killed in an earthquake of 8.6 magnitude in Assam, India.
May 31, 1970 — An earthquake reaching a magnitude of 7.9 in Peru leaves over 60,000 dead.
Nov. 13, 1970 — A cyclone in the Ganges Delta of Bangladesh kills at least 300,000 people.
Feb. 4, 1976 — A series of earthquakes reaching a magnitude of 7.5 in Guatemala leave over 23,000 dead.
July 28, 1976 — The worst earthquake to hit China in 20th century with an estimated magnitude at between 7.8 and 8.2 leaves more than 240,000 dead in Tangshan.
Sept. 16, 1978 — An earthquake of 7.7 magnitude in Tabas, Iran kills 25,000 people.
Nov. 14-16, 1985 — Volcanic eruption of Nevada del Ruiz near Bogota, Colombia, kills approximately 25,000 people.
Dec. 7, 1988 — A 6.9-magnitude earthquake in Armenia kills nearly 25,000.
June 21, 1990 — An earthquake of 7.7 magnitude in northwest Iran destroys cities and villages in Caspian Sea area and kills at least 50,000 people.
Sept. 30, 1993 — As many as 10,000 are killed from an earthquake of 6.0 magnitude that struck the state of Maharashtra in India.
Aug. 17, 1999 — More than 17,000 are killed as a magnitude-7.4 quake hits western Turkey.
Dec. 26, 2003 — More than 26,000 killed after an earthquake of 6.5 magnitude strikes the ancient historic city of Bam in southeast Iran.
Dec. 26, 2004 — A 9.0 earthquake off the western coast of Indonesia's Sumatra island launches tsunami waves that slam shorelines in Asia and Africa, killing more than 135,000 people.
Thursday, December 30, 2004
While it is easy to get caught up in defending the United States from terrorism, history has shown that major conflicts will continue to erupt between traditional enemies and even pit old allies against each other. The fighter to be replaced by the F/A-22 is the F-15, a fighter designed in the 1960’s that hasn’t seen a major update since the mid 1980’s. While the F-15 is a proven fighter, I’d much rather see US airspace protected by technology that has matured in the twenty-first century. Fighters like the Russian MiG-35 (in development) and the European EF-2000, are designed to be better than the F-15 in every way, and with the numbers that the EF-2000 are being produced, I don’t think that cutting the F/A-22 program is in the best interests of national security.
Tuesday, December 28, 2004
At the last minute I decided to buy Amy a few gifts. We were speaking on the phone Christmas Eve and she mentioned that while playing with Alex outside, it was really cold and she didn’t have a hat or gloves to keep warm. So, I went to the mall at 5:15 in the evening on Christmas Eve and bought her two hats, two scarves, and two pairs of gloves. JC Penny was out of gift boxes so I was forced to use the mall gift wrap, they did a nice job. While waiting for Amy’s gift to be wrapped, I went to Litman jewelers and looked around for an inexpensive necklace for Amy. I thought I had found the perfect thing, a pendant with her first initial, but as luck would have it, they didn’t have any A’s. So, I looked some more, and found a nice necklace with a butterfly pendant on it. Problem was, it was three times what I wanted to spend. As with all jewelry, nobody pays the real price, so, it ended up being only twice what I wanted to spend. Amy was quite surprised and seems to like her gifts.
I on the other hand, got my cordless drill. Amy was pretty sure my mom and Steve were going to get one for me, but I didn’t believe her. Sure enough, that is what I opened when we visited my mom’s house on Christmas morning. I have wanted one of those for a while. My mother also gave Amy the 7th heaven first season on DVD. One of the DVD box sets she wanted. My mother liked the book we got for her, Robin liked, and has already used the set of wine glasses that Amy and I picked out for her and Kirs. Steve seemed to like the flannel shirt we gave him, and my grandmother was a little confused over the big box of splenda until we told her that it was artificial sweetener. Alex and Aaron really enjoyed Aaron’s gift of toy trucks, airplanes, and motorcycles.
We dropped Andrew off at his mother’s house at noon and made our way up to Amy’s mother’s house where we opened a few more presents and ate dinner. Amy got several Friends box sets, seasons two, three, and six. She already has season on, and given the gap, is expecting four and five from her grandparents. Amy really likes Friends. Amy’s mother seemed excited about her satin hands Mary Kay product and Brian was pretty excited about his cook book. My last minute Sheetz gift cards seemed to be a good idea too. After dinner, Alex’s paternal grandparents picked him up for the rest of the weekend.
Tuesday, December 21, 2004
- Installing Firefox requires downloading an unsigned binary from a random web server
- Installing unsigned extensions is the default action in the Extensions dialog
- There is no way to check the signature on downloaded program files
- There is no obvious way to turn off plug-ins once they are installed
- There is an easy way to bypass the "This might be a virus" dialog
It makes a good point about the differences in how Microsoft implements security differently than Firefox.
Wednesday, December 15, 2004
About two hours earlier, Alex’s father had called the house to make demands for his visitation while he is in jail. Oh yes, he has violated his probation, not the first time, and is expecting to be locked up after his court date on December 20. He has this plan, to be out on work release every other weekend instead of working, will spend that time with Alex. For one, that sounds illegal to me, if not just a bad idea. We fully plan to provide appropriate visitation to Alex’s paternal grandparents, most likely one weekend per month and their birthdays. A full weekend per month is a lot more than Alex’s other grandparents get to spend with him. Also, during that time, if Alex’s grandparents wish to take Alex to see his father, legally, that is fine also. Interestingly enough, the only person we have heard from is Alex’s father, not his paternal grandparents, at this stage, they do not seem interested, or perhaps they do not know what is going on.
Monday, December 13, 2004
Google Desktop Search is out in Beta and I have been using it at home for quite a while. It has become a valuable tool for personal use. While I mostly use it to find old E-mails that are in Outlook, its complete desktop index has been helpful as well. It is extremely fast and uses very little system resources to maintain the index. Another good thing about Google is that when I do a Google search on a topic, it also gives me desktop results. Google indexes almost everything, temporary internet files, Microsoft Office and PDF files, AIM conversations, and of course, Outlook e-mail messages. Google Desktop Search is missing one thing, integration with Gmail. Since I use Gmail in the web interface only, my desktop searches don’t always produce results.
Lookout, from Microsoft is centered on Microsoft Outlook; however, it has the ability to index Microsoft Office documents and PDF files. What I really like about lookout is that it puts the search bar right into the Outlook interface, and it has a very Outlook like look and feel. I liked how it asks you during setup where to place the index, since at my office I have a limit of 25 megabytes on my Windows profile, that actually matters to me since the index is already 15 megabytes. The Microsoft Product seems a little slower than its Google competitor, but not by much. The ability to index public folders for Outlook clients connected to Microsoft Exchange is nice. Many organizations have large public folder hierarchies that are difficult to navigate and locate that one piece of information you are looking for.
Google Desktop Search is the better product, in my opinion. It is faster and can index much more information than Lookout. Google’s product is better users who are a little more computer savvy than average, although it doesn’t take a full blown IT geek to understand it. It is probably ideal for anyone that already uses Google’s website for searching. Microsoft’s product seems to fit better in an office environment, where end users vary widely in their computer skills. Since it integrates with Outlook and has the same look and feel, those who use Microsoft Office and Outlook would have a very small learning curve with Lookout. I will continue to use both for now, Lookout at the office, and Google Desktop Search at home.
Sunday, December 12, 2004
Amy and I went shopping on Friday night and Saturday. Can’t say too much about what we bought because our normal readers are on the gift list. The kids, however, don’t get on the internet so, we can say what we got them. We were trying to avoid buying toys, so, the kids got some DVDs, while the gifts are really for both of them, we wrapped Garfield and Alice in Wonderland for Alex, and the Shrek Collection for Andrew. We didn’t think that was quite enough, so Alex also got a musical Wiggles dancing pad and we got Andy a rugby stripped sweater with matching hat and gloves.
Although it has no on-orbit functions, the DemoSat payload will then be carried into geosynchronous orbit and cast off about 5.8 hours after launch.
Since you can’t very well hide the launch of a rocket that large, just say that it is a test payload. The rocket (Delta 4 Heavy) itself is pretty cool, with a huge first stage and two giant boosters. I wish I could make a model of one of those.
Friday, December 10, 2004
In that review I indicated that I could not use Firefox at work because it forced the temporary internet cache into your user profile. My company is configured with roaming profiles and there is a twenty-five megabyte quota. Well, there is a solution to that problem:
To specify in which folder the cache is stored, add the following code to your perfs.js file:
// Path to Cache folder:
user_pref("browser.cache.disk.parent_directory","C:\\Path To Cache");
Wednesday, December 08, 2004
It as been a pretty good experience overall. Outlook's spam filter is a scaled down version of the algorithms used in IMF. Hmm, 50 spam messages in two weeks, that is a little more than I thought I received, but with the Junk E-mail folder, you really don't notice it all that much. If only we didn't have to use roaming profiles.
My employer's e-mails were most likely classified as spam because of something peculiar in the header, several different from addresses with a different reply to address.
Received: (from mail@localhost)
by ms06.MyEmployer.com (8.11.6/8.9.3) id iAN07ZB23468;
Mon, 22 Nov 2004 19:07:35 -0500
Received: from ms02.MyEmployer.com (IDENT:root@ms02 [192.168.200.22])
by ms06.MyEmployer.com (8.11.6/8.9.3) with ESMTP id iAMNk9X03118
for fox_w2_email_list@ms06.MyEmployer.com Mon, 22 Nov 2004 18:46:09 -0500
Monday, December 06, 2004
The fortieth President of the United States led the nation to victory in the cold war. While the cold war didn’t officially end until Reagan left office, his foreign policy for the preceding eight years made it happen. Mr. Reagan also shaped the economy for the twenty-first century, bringing the economy out of the recession late 1970’s and early 1980’s during which the ranks of the middle class soared. Reagan’s biggest issue was ballooning deficits, but a debt well justified to prevent nuclear annihilation and a generation speaking Russian.
2. Franklin D. Roosevelt
The inspiration for this entry was a thread on the Frederick News Post forum. Somebody decided to knock FDR so I wrote: I think FDR had a lot to do with bringing the country out of the depression. Not that another president could not have done it, but the country was in a lot of trouble in 1933 when he took office. The economy had collapsed and there was a 25% unemployment rate. Roosevelt and the congress at the time basically invented the modern US economy. Lets not forget about that World War II thing either, Roosevelt was a fine President.
3. John F. Kennedy
JFK is another cold war hero. In October, 1962, Kennedy showed the world that the United Stats was not to be messed with. The Kennedy response to the Cuban crisis evidently persuaded Moscow of the futility of nuclear blackmail. There is also the moon speech, I don’t think man would have walked on the moon to this day without it. Yes John F. Kennedy was a great President indeed.
4. George H. W. Bush
Bush forty-one got a raw deal, eventually; taxes would have to increase to pay for cold war era spending. A small price to pay in the end, but Bush’s tax increase eroded support from his core constituently. Standing up to Saddam Hussein was a key moment in George H. W. Bush’s presidency, if the United States hadn’t intervened, Iraq would currently occupy Kuwait and Saudi Arabia and Saddam Hussein would control much of the world’s oil supply, while spending the profits on his nuclear ambitions. We can credit Bush for putting an end to that.
Saturday, December 04, 2004
That is something you don't see every day. Here is a hint for those on blog explosion, both times I won 100 credits, it was by clicking on banners.
Friday, December 03, 2004
Tuesday, November 30, 2004
A ship or submarine that can carry cruise missiles:
Non-nuclear over the horizon strike capability is an integral part of modern warfare. A cruiser type ship that could carry two or three cruise missiles would be a perfect addition to the game in the modern era.
An aircraft designed to drop several paratroopers:
Basically a plane that looks a lot like the bomber without the bombs but can house four or five paratroopers to be dropped behind enemy lines. I envision dropping some paratroopers on a hill or mountain to block access to a critical strategic resource. I know this can be done with helicopters, but only one at a time. Combine this with my aerial refueling tankers and it would be really cool.
A special aircraft carrier similar to the US Wasp-class:
Basically something that can transport four helicopters and four marines or paratroopers so they can be deployed behind enemy lines from the sea. Combine that with a transport full of marines and you have one hell of a fighting force at sea.
Aerial refueling tankers:
Imagine taking that stealth bomber from your capitol city on one side of the world, bombing your enemy’s capitol on the other, and returning in one turn. If you could place tankers on any map square that would extend the range of your bomber from the point where the tanker is located, that would be cool. As long as there is a tanker within range, the squares around that tanker, equal to the bombers range, would also be within the bombers range. That would be a bit more realistic than loading them onto an aircraft carrier. The tankers would have to be sitting ducks for anti-air units and other aircraft though.
Saturday, November 27, 2004
I’ve been wanting to get the Conquests expansion pack for a while, so I did a quick Ebay search and found it, bid on it and won the game for five dollars. There was no shipping listed so I’m waiting to find out how much. It should cost about $1.80 to ship it regular US mail. Anything higher than $2.50 will earn the guy a neutral feedback and more than $5.00 will earn him a negative feedback. I don’t mess around, if the auction listed $5.00 shipping, that would be fine with me, but not listing the shipping is a little trick I’ve seen used to get what you want out of the auction. If you wanted $10.00 and it only goes for $5.00, well then just make the shipping $5.00. I might cut some slack depending on the method of shipment.
Friday, November 26, 2004
For now though, Amy and I are going to play a game together.
Amy made another great Thanksgiving dinner for our families. The turkey was awesome, golden brown on top and nice and juicy on the inside. It was finished a little early but that’s ok, the same thing happened last year. We had a lot of the standard Thanksgiving foods, turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing (dressing), green bean casserole, sweet potatoes, and cranberry sauce. Amy made a big salad with her home made dressing, and she made some very good bread from scratch. Everything but the cranberry sauce was home made of course. Amy started on dinner Tuesday night, and worked on it all day Wednesday. Our guests included my mother, stepfather, grandmother, sister, brother-in-law, & nephew and Amy’s mother, father, brother, & grandmother. Alex and Andrew were also with us. What a great meal and a great day.
Wednesday, November 24, 2004
Tuesday, November 23, 2004
Monday, November 22, 2004
Sunday, November 21, 2004
Saturday, November 20, 2004
This means that my day with Andrew tomorrow will probably be a little more boring than normal, since I will be dead tired.
Friday, November 19, 2004
Now, it is time to work.
Wednesday, November 17, 2004
I would be in favor of a constitutional amendment that would require deficit spending to be approved by a two thirds majority in both houses with a signature from the president and a three quarter majority to override a veto. There might have to be some sort of exception for conflict situations, such as a congressional declaration of war, but other than that, it should be pretty simple.
I’m just one of those people that doesn’t think the role of the federal government is to spend every cent they take in. Right now, it seems that they can’t keep the credit cards put away. If the money isn’t there for some program or agency, we should do without it, that is what the rest of us do. One of the critical “Old Republican” values, fiscal discipline needs to come back.
I personally get about 5 spam messages per day on my home e-mail addresses. Nearly all of those are caught by Microsoft Outlooks built in spam filter. Even before I implemented that, it wasn’t so bad, I just deleted it. Why is it that some people treat spam as if someone had broken into their house and stole their TV. I agree, it is a problem, but really, its nothing to lose sleep over.
I have a feeling that I will have a new project on my plate at work soon, architecting a new anti-spam solution. What fun. At least I’ve done it before.
Monday, November 15, 2004
I really like the new ramp to I70, I don’t feel like I’m putting my life at risk every time I merge on to I70 in the morning. There is much more room to accelerate, and there is no bridge piling blocking the shoulder if you can’t merge into traffic soon enough. It also looks like they are planning to put a bridge across I70 for Rt MD85, connecting it to south Frederick somehow.
MD SHA I70 Improvements
Thursday, November 11, 2004
Tuesday, November 09, 2004
I can’t seem to find much that is good about the browser but here goes. For one, it seems to load pages faster than IE. That is a good thing. It also claims to be less prone to security flaws, that may be more because of its 6% market share compared to IE’s 92%. Who is going to write an exploit that can only reach 6%? Also good, it is much more strict to HTML standards than IE, although, a lot of pages out there break the rules and Firefox messes them up. Finally, there is tabbed browsing, its just nice.
Is it really better? I would say, no. Believe me, if I were running Linux or a MAC, I Firefox would probably be my browser, but on Windows, IE will probably win out. I plan to use Firefox daily for a while to get a better feel for it.
I really like the blogger template that I use. BTW blogger flags blogger as a misspelled word. Anyway, its clean, easy to read, and easy to update. A lot of people think that the blogger templates suck, I disagree, it depends on what you want. Amy’s Journal, http://www.modernprincess.com/ is clean, easy to read, and looks nice. I think the point is for the content to stand out.
What would I change about my template? For one, I will probably change the color of the blog entry titles, the green, is one thing that I don’t like. Second, I would like to add some light images near the title.
I wish I had another feature, I would like to have a notification list that will e-mail a link to my friends, family, and other interested parties when I make an update. Amy has that, although she is a bit more advanced than I when it comes to web stuff. She has moveable type, and knows how to make it do whatever she wants it to do.
Monday, November 08, 2004
Today’s problem, one of our sites went down early this morning due to a power outage and is not expected to be back up until 2:00 PM. There are 36 users on the mail server at that site that also have blackberries on one of our corporate blackberry servers. This blackberry enterprise server holds about 500 blackberry users, the recommended limit given to us by RIM (the people who make blackberries). Anyway, this site being down is causing the functions of the blackberry server to be so slow it is unusable. The 464 other users on this bb server are left w/o their blackberry because 36 of them are on an e-mail serer that failed. This is just silly, they call it Blackberry "Enterprise" Server, you would think that it would be able to handle something like this.
All the end users know is that their blackberry isn’t working, it will be our fault somehow. It isn’t like we have a choice of server software to power blackberries. That is where RIM gets you, they don’t have to make it good, because you don’t really have a choice.
Friday, November 05, 2004
First, you will get a quick a lesson from the Constitution of the United States of America, at least the parts that matter to the subject.
Article II Section 2, Section 3, and Section 4 explain how the President is elected.
Section 2: Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors, equal to the whole Number of Senators and Representatives to which the State may be entitled in the Congress: but no Senator or Representative, or Person holding an Office of Trust or Profit under the United States, shall be appointed an Elector.
Section 3: The Electors shall meet in their respective States, and vote by Ballot for two Persons, of whom one at least shall not be an Inhabitant of the same State with themselves. And they shall make a List of all the Persons voted for, and of the Number of Votes for each; which List they shall sign and certify, and transmit sealed to the Seat of the Government of the United States, directed to the President of the Senate. The President of the Senate shall, in the Presence of the Senate and House of Representatives, open all the Certificates, and the Votes shall then be counted. The Person having the greatest Number of Votes shall be the President, if such Number be a Majority of the whole Number of Electors appointed; and if there be more than one who have such Majority, and have an equal Number of Votes, then the House of Representatives shall immediately chuse by Ballot one of them for President; and if no Person have a Majority, then from the five highest on the List the said House shall in like Manner chuse the President. But in chusing the President, the Votes shall be taken by States, the Representation from each State having one Vote; A quorum for this Purpose shall consist of a Member or Members from two thirds of the States, and a Majority of all the States shall be necessary to a Choice. In every Case, after the Choice of the President, the Person having the greatest Number of Votes of the Electors shall be the Vice President. But if there should remain two or more who have equal Votes, the Senate shall chuse from them by Ballot the Vice President.
Section 4: The Congress may determine the Time of chusing the Electors, and the Day on which they shall give their Votes; which Day shall be the same throughout the United States.
Section 3 has been updated by amendment XII (12):
The electors shall meet in their respective states and vote by ballot for President and Vice-President, one of whom, at least, shall not be an inhabitant of the same state with themselves; they shall name in their ballots the person voted for as President, and in distinct ballots the person voted for as Vice-President, and they shall make distinct lists of all persons voted for as President, and of all persons voted for as Vice-President, and of the number of votes for each, which lists they shall sign and certify, and transmit sealed to the seat of the government of the United States, directed to the President of the Senate;--The President of the Senate shall, in the presence of the Senate and House of Representatives, open all the certificates and the votes shall then be counted;--the person having the greatest number of votes for President, shall be the President, if such number be a majority of the whole number of electors appointed; and if no person have such majority, then from the persons having the highest numbers not exceeding three on the list of those voted for as President, the House of Representatives shall choose immediately, by ballot, the President. But in choosing the President, the votes shall be taken by states, the representation from each state having one vote; a quorum for this purpose shall consist of a member or members from two-thirds of the states, and a majority of all the states shall be necessary to a choice. And if the House of Representatives shall not choose a President whenever the right of choice shall devolve upon them, before the fourth day of March next following, then the Vice-President shall act as President, as in the case of the death or other constitutional disability of the President. The person having the greatest number of votes as Vice-President, shall be the Vice-President, if such number be a majority of the whole number of electors appointed, and if no person have a majority, then from the two highest numbers on the list, the Senate shall choose the Vice-President; a quorum for the purpose shall consist of two-thirds of the whole number of Senators, and a majority of the whole number shall be necessary to a choice. But no person constitutionally ineligible to the office of President shall be eligible to that of Vice-President of the United States.
Ok, to the point. Amendment XXIII (23), passed by Congress June 16, 1960 and ratified March 29, 1961 is how Washington DC gets its Electors:
Section 1. The District constituting the seat of government of the United States shall appoint in such manner as the Congress may direct:
A number of electors of President and Vice President equal to the whole number of Senators and Representatives in Congress to which the District would be entitled if it were a state, but in no event more than the least populous state; they shall be in addition to those appointed by the states, but they shall be considered, for the purposes of the election of President and Vice President, to be electors appointed by a state; and they shall meet in the District and perform such duties as provided by the twelfth article of amendment.
Section 2. The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.
So, there you go, DC is involved in choosing a president. What were the other states thinking back in the sixties?
Wednesday, November 03, 2004
Saturday, October 30, 2004
I was supposed to call into a meeting at seven o’clock in the morning on Saturday, but I woke up just a little too late. I got an e-mail with all the information I needed and I was able to start moving mailboxes. They are huge! Many mailboxes are over a gig, I have to move them over the WAN from California to Baltimore. I think the link is a T3, but it sure isn’t moving like a T3, probably other utilization. So the day has been spent watching a progress bar go across the terminal session screen, while on my other monitor, I started a new Civilization III game.
Friday, October 29, 2004
On another note, we took Alex to McDonalds before he was to be picked up for visitation with his father. We got him a cheese burger happy meal, with fries and chocolate milk. His favorite part was the chocolate milk. He ate a few fries and a few bites of his burger. He didn’t seem that hungry. I want him to get used to cheese burgers, they are cheaper than nuggets, plus, we don’t want Alex to only eat one thing all the time.
Thursday, October 28, 2004
Wednesday, October 27, 2004
Tuesday, October 26, 2004
I decided create a custom flight from Andrews Air Force Base to Baghdad International Airport (Flight Simulator 2002 still calls it Saddam International Airport). I setup in the Boeing 747-400 and flew about 400 miles before I broke it. Somehow, I ended up going to fast and my airplane broke due to overspeed stress. With the 747, I was really able to take advantage of my dual monitor setup because it has a huge throttle control panel. Also in my second monitor I was watching the spot plane view, and saw the contrails streaming from my engines. I decided to mess around a bit, and cut off one of the engines to see if the contrail would disappear. Sure enough it did. Powering up the engine is probably what caused me to overspeed and die. Oh well, it was cool.
Sunday, October 24, 2004
Besides using dual monitors for productive things like work, I wanted to see what it did for Microsoft Flight Simulator. I decided to try flying the helicopter again. One of the hard parts about the chopper is that the control panels take up most of the view, making it a little hard to fly and see where you are going.
Amy is playing her new game, SIMS 2. She has been wanting that since before it was release, but her old computer could never run it. I’m surprised she even ran the original SIMS with all the expansion packs, it took 20 minutes just to start the game, well, maybe 15.
In other news, the Ravens won today and its time to take out the trash.
Yesterday we had a pizza lunch with just Amy & Alex, then we had Amy’s home made from scratch chocolate cake with vanilla icing. It was even decorated. We put nine candles on the cake and of course, I had to blow them out for him. After cake, we cleaned up and opened presents. Anyone who knows Andy knows that he doesn’t really like opening presents. He received a Wiggles pillow from my mom, a book from Amy’s mom, some toy cars from my Aunt Joyce, and a check from my Aunt Gloria. I hadn’t picked up a present for him yet so after opening presents, we went to Toys’R’Us so he could pick something out, sort of. Amy had something in mind, called Toby the Tot Bot, when Andrew saw it, he couldn’t put it down, so, that is what we bought. From there we took Andrew home, allowing him to play with his new toy in the car on the way.
Thursday, October 21, 2004
Wednesday, October 20, 2004
Of course I’ve messed around with it a bit. It is so fast, about 100 times faster than Windows XP searching, and 1000 times faster than searching in outlook. It doesn’t seem to be slowing my PC down at all.
Microsoft says they are going to have their own search soon, but until then, http://desktop.google.com.
Tuesday, October 19, 2004
My monitors arrived today. They are sitting in their boxes down stairs. I guess I will wait until the computer arrives before seting things up. I don’t want to get side tracked tomorrow from work. That will be kind of hard, because my computer should arrive tomorrow anyway. I’ll have to hold out until four o’clock.
I was disappointed to see that Dell was offering a sale on notebook computers today. You could get a nice Inspiron 9100 for about $800. My mother picked one up w/ 3.2GHz 512 meg ram, 40 gb hard drive, 64mb ATI Mobility 9700, and a CDRW. It was regularly $1,549, she picked it up for $799. The deal was $750 off Inspirons over $1500. Not that I want a laptop, but Amy does. She actually needed a computer before me. The plan was to get her one this year, and me one next year. But I didn’t want to pass up the 40% off deal, and the best deal for 40% off was something with two 20” flat panels.
Monday, October 18, 2004
Intel Pentium 4 Processor at 3 GHz with 800 MHz front side bus
1GB DDR2 SDRAM at 400 MHz
128MB PCI Express x16 (DVI/VGA/TV-out) ATI Radeon X300 SE Video Card
160GB Serial ATA Hard Drive (7200RPM)
Dual Optical Drives 48x CD-RW and 16X DVD+RW
Two 20 in (20.0 in viewable) 2001FP Digital Flat Panel Display
The whole thing ended up costing me $1,618.80. Kind of pricy for a 3 GHz with a low end video card, but the two 20” flat panel displays were most of the cost.
I’m looking forward to its arrival so I can get it set up, and then get my old computer set up for Amy to use. She needs a faster computer to play the SIMS 2.
Sunday, October 17, 2004
My CIV3 game is getting interesting. I’m trying to take over the world and have run into a snag. First, I accidentally nuked my main staging city for an invasion of the Spanish. I probably destroyed twenty-five modern armor units and ten mechnizied infantry units. Not to mention cutting my supply rail roads and spreading pollution all around. The Spanish also captured two of my four key air bases that I was using to bomb their cities. I had them defended fairly well, two modern armor units and one mechanized infantry unit each, but the Spanish used about six modern armor units each to take the bases. That cost me eighteen to twenty stealth bombers, a couple of stealth fighters, and a few standard jet fighters. I could call for peace right now, but I’m thinking that I will just escalate the fight to nuclear. I have twenty-five ICBMs ready to go, the Spanish have none that I know of, and only one tactical nuke. My plan is to take three cities right in the center of their cultural influence, effectively splitting their land into two halves, north and south. Most of their population is in the south, while most of their war making resources are in the north. I may call a peace after that and see what happens.
Yestarday was Amy’s twenty-third birthday. Check out her journal http://www.modernprincess.com/ for the details.
Monday, October 11, 2004
Wednesday, October 06, 2004
Monday, October 04, 2004
The X Prize was inspired by the prize offered to the first person to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean, designed to ignite an era of commercial space flight. The prize awards ten million dollars to the first person or company to fly a reusable spaceship to 62.5 miles or higher, return safely to the Earth, and repeat the flight with the same ship within two weeks. The ship has to be capable of carrying three people to space and either carries three people or a pilot and weight equivalent to three people.
It all started shortly after I re-built Amy’s laptop with its new hard drive. She installed the game and was playing it. I found it interesting, and suggested that we play a multiplayer game this Saturday. We ended up playing all weekend! I don’t think Amy would have played that much if it wasn’t for me, we logged about 13 hours of game play on Saturday & Sunday. Friday night’s game was lost when my computer crashed.
Why is Civilization III so cool? I like the fact that there are many aspects to the game. You have to build economies, culture, military, and many other aspects of civilization to succeed. I also like the turn based style of play. The turns allowed me to play the network game with Amy against 3 computer players and still get laundry done.
I eventually realized that Amy didn’t want to play anymore, so I started a single player game. Even in single player, it is great. I think I might buy the other expansion pack, conquests; we already have Play the World.
Friday, October 01, 2004
Thursday, September 30, 2004
I was cleaning up files in the My Documents directory on my computer and I ran across this one. A while ago I used a computer with Linux installed as a gateway for my cable modem and home network. I have a few services running on it as well, most noteably, FTP. The following text is from the log files from the time it was hacked from the outside.
[root@24-240-69-229 /root]# cat /var/log/messages.2 grep -v apmd grep -v "Oct 27" grep -v "Oct 26" grep -v "Oct 25" grep -v "Oct 24"
Oct 22 04:02:02 24-240-69-229 syslogd 1.3-3: restart.
Oct 22 04:23:26 24-240-69-229 anacron: Updated timestamp for job `cron.wee
kly' to 2000-10-22
Oct 22 15:10:36 24-240-69-229 pumpd: renewed lease for interface eth0
Oct 22 22:34:37 24-240-69-229 ftpd: lost connection to 126.96.36.199 [202.
Oct 22 22:34:37 24-240-69-229 ftpd: FTP session closed
Oct 22 22:34:37 24-240-69-229 inetd: pid 9595: exit status 255
Oct 23 03:03:24 24-240-69-229 pumpd: renewed lease for interface eth0
Oct 23 04:02:01 24-240-69-229 anacron: Updated timestamp for job `cron.da
ily' to 2000-10-23
Oct 23 15:01:11 24-240-69-229 pumpd: renewed lease for interface eth0
Oct 23 22:21:05 24-240-69-229 ftpd: ANONYMOUS FTP LOGIN FROM 64-32-198-60
.den1.phoenixdsl.net [188.8.131.52], ÉÉÉÉÉÉÉÉÉÉÉÉÉÉÉÉÉÉÉÉÉÉÉÉÉÉÉÉÉÉÉÉÉÉÉÉÉÉÉÉÉÉÉ
Oct 23 22:22:39 24-240-69-229 ftpd: FTP session closed
Oct 23 18:23:54 24-240-69-229 inetd: pid 13095: exit status 1
Oct 23 22:28:05 24-240-69-229 ftpd: ANONYMOUS FTP LOGIN FROM 64-32-198-60
.den1.phoenixdsl.net [184.108.40.206], ÉÉÉÉÉÉÉÉÉÉÉÉÉÉÉÉÉÉÉÉÉÉÉÉÉÉÉÉÉÉÉÉÉÉÉÉÉÉÉÉÉÉÉ
Oct 23 18:30:57 24-240-69-229 adduser: new group: name=egg, gid=502
Oct 23 18:30:57 24-240-69-229 adduser: new user: name=egg, uid=502, gid=5
02, home=/dev/eggy, shell=/bin/bash
Oct 23 18:30:58 24-240-69-229 adduser: new group: name=eggr, gid=503
Oct 23 18:30:58 24-240-69-229 adduser: new user: name=eggr, uid=0, gid=50
3, home=/dev/eggr, shell=/bin/bash
Oct 23 18:31:23 24-240-69-229 PAM_pwdb: password for (egg/502) changed by
Oct 23 18:31:36 24-240-69-229 PAM_pwdb: password for (eggr/0) changed by
Oct 23 18:34:23 24-240-69-229 PAM_pwdb: (login) session opened for user e
gg by (uid=0)
Oct 23 18:37:34 24-240-69-229 ftpd: FTP LOGIN FROM 220.127.116.11 [202.9.1
Oct 23 18:37:44 24-240-69-229 PAM_pwdb: (su) session opened for user eggr
Oct 23 18:40:36 24-240-69-229 ftpd: FTP LOGIN FROM 18.104.22.168 [202.9.1
Oct 23 18:40:47 24-240-69-229 ftpd: FTP session closed
Oct 23 18:43:04 24-240-69-229 PAM_pwdb: (su) session closed for user eggr
Oct 23 18:44:47 24-240-69-229 PAM_pwdb: (su) session opened for user eggr
Oct 23 18:47:34 24-240-69-229 PAM_pwdb: (su) session closed for user eggr
Oct 23 18:47:40 24-240-69-229 PAM_pwdb: (login) session closed for user e
Oct 23 18:47:40 24-240-69-229 inetd: pid 13108: exit status 1
Oct 23 18:56:50 24-240-69-229 ftpd: User egg timed out after 900 seconds
at Mon Oct 23 18:56:50 2000
Oct 23 18:56:50 24-240-69-229 ftpd: FTP session closed
Oct 23 18:56:50 24-240-69-229 inetd: pid 13131: exit status 1
[root@24-240-69-229 /root]# cat /var/log/secure.2
Oct 22 22:34:32 24-240-69-229 in.ftpd: connect from 22.214.171.124
Oct 23 18:21:04 24-240-69-229 in.ftpd: connect from 126.96.36.199
Oct 23 18:22:50 24-240-69-229 in.telnetd: connect from 188.8.131.52
Oct 23 18:28:04 24-240-69-229 in.ftpd: connect from 184.108.40.206
Oct 23 18:34:14 24-240-69-229 in.telnetd: connect from 220.127.116.11
Oct 23 18:34:23 24-240-69-229 login: LOGIN ON 0 BY egg FROM 18.104.22.168
Oct 23 18:37:28 24-240-69-229 in.ftpd: connect from 22.214.171.124
Oct 23 18:40:30 24-240-69-229 in.ftpd: connect from 126.96.36.199
Oct 24 18:32:07 24-240-69-229 in.telnetd: connect from 188.8.131.52
Oct 24 18:32:09 24-240-69-229 in.ftpd: connect from 184.108.40.206
Oct 27 17:29:40 24-240-69-229 in.telnetd: connect from 10.2.2.5
[root@24-240-69-229 /root]# cat /var/log/xferlog.2
Mon Oct 23 18:41:39 2000 7 220.127.116.11 16634 /dev/eggy/wipe b _ i r egg ftp 0
[root@24-240-69-229 /root]# cat /dev/eggy/.bash_history
[root@24-240-69-229 /root]# cat /dev/eggr/.bash_history
kill -9 13145
kill -9 13146
chmod 775 wipe
./wipe u egg
./wipe u eggr
./wipe w egg
./wipe w eggr
./wipe l egg
./wipe l eggr
Basically, they exploited the FTP server with a buffer overflow. Created a root account called eggr, logged in, checked to see how much disk space there was, and then tried to wipe the log files, and log out. Obviously, the wipe didn’t work.
A .txt version of the log text
There is nobody to blame her but myself. The exploit was known, I just didn't have the latest patch installed on my Linux system. People bash Microsoft all the time, but Linux isn't so much more secure if left unpatched. Both Windows & Unix/Linux systems are fairly secure when they are fully patched, when the admins get lazy, the security problems start.
Wednesday, September 29, 2004
What would be cool is if you had to hunt the bear with a hand weapon like a knife or club. Now that would be an interesting hunt.
Saturday, September 25, 2004
Life insurance is pretty complicated, while a million dollars sounds like a lot of money, it really isn’t. While some of the money would go to pay off debts and get the kids off to college, the rest is meant to be an income generator through investments. So, even the full million would only produce about $37,000 per year in income. We calculated that day care alone would run me over $3,000 a month if something were to happen to Amy once we had all five kids. Our financial guy actually recommended about 1.5 million, that is when I told him to get me as much as we could get for under $50 per month.
I am now cool in geek circles, or, at least I would have been six months ago. I have a Gmail account. I had three invitations in my inbox that expired, I finally went to set one up and I couldn’t, so my sister sent me another. Since I’m not really going to use that account and I don’t care how much spam it gets, the address is: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tuesday, September 21, 2004
Alex on the Carrousel
Alex & Amy leaving the last ride of the night
Before I get flamed, I am not saying that nobody needs these scooters, there are some who have genuine disabilities that would require such a device, but the rules should be tight, and the federal government should not be paying $5000 for these things. It is also partially a problem with the companies selling these scooters; they advertise them as “little or no cost to you”. These companies do the leg work to get the Medicare approvals, making it easier for them to systematically manipulate the Medicare system and get their $5000 per scooter.
Monday, September 20, 2004
What’s neat is that I am in the process of designing a highly redundant Exchange environment where I work now. Not that we don’t have generators, but in the event of a disaster that would render one of our two primary datacenters inoperable, we will be able to restore services and data within four hours. It is all about what level of service your business is willing to pay for. I’m thinking that the IT guys down at the City of Baltimore were counting on luck more than they were courting on solid design. I doubt that “all day” is an acceptable downtime window. Typically, it isn’t the IT worker’s bad design, it is a general lack of understanding of the technology and its limitations by the management there. I found myself thinking “if only they would listen”. I’m sure the IT team there is thinking the same thing. There are probably a few “I told you so’s” too.
Saturday, September 18, 2004
Amy drove to Wal-Mart today where we picked up some scrub brushes, note paper, & a photo album. We also dropped off her mom’s negatives of our wedding to be developed. She drove back to Wal-Mart to pick up the pictures a little later.
Adelphia’s cable internet service has been down since Friday night, what a pain. I’m on call this weekend for work, and had to call a co-worker to help fix an issue with mailsweeper, the mail gateway we use at my company. So, while the internet was down, I played some single player video games, and Amy started reading Dr. Phil’s book Family First.
Time for bed, we have a long day ahead of us tomorrow.
Thursday, September 16, 2004
My sister is a home owner. She called me today after the settlement The house is in Dover DE, where Kris is stationed with the air force. I don’t like the fact that she is moving to Delaware, it is kind of far away. I moved to Frederick (from Glen Burnie), and that is far enough.
Amy and I watched Survivor tonight. Of all the so called reality shows, it is still the best. I don’t like the term reality show; I would call it a long running game show or something to that effect.
My uncle Bill must be studying his computer stuff. He’s been sending me multiple choice questions, for example:
You plan to implement Hardware RAID 5. You want to be able to have drives replaced while the array is still functioning. Which of the following features should you go for?
A) hot swap
B) disk cache
C) secure lock
D) server rack
Easy for me, so I reply with not only an answer, but why that answer is right and why the others are wrong. I remember those days; I didn’t have much help, just a home PC, some books, and the early internet.
Wednesday, September 15, 2004
On the subject of the motorcycle accident on Sunday, I am not trying to offend anyone, but I do have a particular view. I also have a view on some of the replies to the now deleted Frederick News Post online forum. Those who are attacking the character of the person involved, the “he deserved to die”, and the “I’m glad he’s dead” posts are not my view. While everyone can agree that some very poor decisions were made that took this young man’s life and posed a danger to others were poor ones, saying that he deserved to die for it is a bit harsh. It is easy to call someone an idiot when they do something that is obviously stupid, I would be careful not to take it too far. That is why I prefer “he got what he asked for” and “he did a pretty stupid thing”. I’m certainly not glad the guy is dead, but I’m not all that shook up about it. That is not to say that his family and friends should not be though.
I got another comment that pointed out a good thing about the video, I agree that it was almost certainly erased to protect those who made it from arrest and prosecution. I would like to see some kind of consequences for the others involved, that is of course, if a law was broken. I’m not sure if it was or not, but there probably should be a law against filming stunts on public roads.
Tuesday, September 14, 2004
Here is the most credible eyewitness account (spelling mistakes and all):
Eyewitness account. Due to the fatality of the accident this is what allegedly happened as we saw it yesterday.
This was an extreme example of foolishness witnessed by children. My youngest loves motorcyles and always points them out anywhere he sees them
We were traveling west in the right lane on 340 at approx 60-65mph. Approx 1.5 miles before Mt Zion road we were passed on the left by a Mitsubishi SUV. Literally dangling out of the front passenger window was a white male with half his body, one leg and arm outside the window (straddling it). The SUV was probably going at a speed of 70-75 mph. He held a video camera in his free hand (not a camcorder sized one but a larger one with a big lens.)
As we looked back to see what was going on we saw two motorcyles coming up from behind. The SUV sped up and the two motorcycles passed us (first a black one and then a whiteish with a colored stripe one). As they passed by us we noticed the drivers were NAKED from the waist down. As they continued ahead they moved into the right lane in front of us, for about the next mile or so both motorcyclists were popping wheelies and trying to half stand on their seats (my kids were commenting at how gross it was since they had no pants on). During this whole time the Camera Guy was hanging out the window filming the whole thing.
This erratic behavior by the camera vehicle and the motorcyclists caused other drivers to have to brake and slow down as they changed lanes when they needed a better shot. There was another sedan with about 2-3 passsengers in it that must have been a part of the group because they passed on the right shoulder to catch up to the mototcyclists.
Shortly after I explained to my kids how dangerous their behaviour was, the black motorcyclist popped a wheelie and lost control of the bike, we could see the flatbed tow truck up ahead approx a half mile past Mt Zion road on the right shoulder. At that moment it was surreal, his bike was shaking back and forth looking like it was about to go down and then in an instant he slammed directly into the back of the tow truck in which pieces of the bike were strewn everywhere. He had to have been killed instantly . His bike went under the truck by the back left tire and his limp naked body lay there motionless. I was surprised that he didn't get decapitated.
Meanwhile, the other cyclist with no pants pulled over in front of the tow truck. The SUV went up ahead and turned around in the emergency turnaround and then came and parked in the grassy median near the accident scene. Two white females and two white males exited the SUV. One of the males walked over said a few words and gave the other motorcyclist his pants, the two girls were visibly shaken and upset. The other male had the Camera and began filming the guy laying on the ground apparently dead ( I guess he thought the guy was going to survive). It should have seemed obvious though by speed he was traveling and the force of impact and the unnatural body position that it wouldn't be the case. They all then got back in the Mitsubishi and fled the scene and exited on Mt Zion road.
When paramedics showed up, they checked for vital signs and covered the body with a white sheet. The sheriffs department arrived next followed by the state police who obtained witness statements. Traffic was blocked in both directions for a long time as they waited for the investigators to arrive.
Ok, not if you ask me, the guy got what he was asking for. The main thread in the FNP forum turned pretty ugly. There were those who thought the guy was an idiot and deserved to die, those who were really pissed that he would put others at risk with his stunts, and those that knew the guy and thought that others shouldn’t have an opinion on the matter. And then there was me, I’m kind of in the middle. While I don’t think the guy deserved to die, I do believe he got what he was asking for. The flaming started, and eventually the thread was deleted. At the time, I thought the good description of the eyewitness account was gone for good, but someone thought to save it somehow and reposted it. There was some discussion of the video tape that was destroyed and it was a bit of an argument. I believe that the tape is evidence, and that the people who destroyed it should be charged with obstruction of justice, as they were. Others were saying, hey the tape served no purpose whatsoever. The police investigate all fatal accidents, even if its obvious. As good as the eyewitness account was, the video is obviously a better tool for an investigation. There was a lot of discussion on why the thread was deleted by the moderator, they don’t cite a reason, it is just gone. I started another thread on penalties for motorcycle stunts, since these kids and young men think they aren’t going to die, death isn’t a very good deterrent. I made some suggestions and got some great responses.