Sunday, September 26, 2010


Ain't she a beauty, boys and girls?

Yep, a genuine off-lease, refurbed IBM ThinkCentre corporate type PC!  Vintage 2006!

It's not so bad as it looks.  It has the good old P4 3.4gHz CPU and a gig of RAM.  Hey, 32 bits is all you really need!  Not much to speak of in disk space (40G), but it's really not needed for a lowly UT99 server.  And, as usual, it was cheap!  What else do you expect from the Dinkster?

She's runnin' Debian 5.0 (Lenny) and I just hacked together a custom kernel out of the latest release code ( from  Plus I threw in the latest greatest revs of iptables & ipset.  Slicker 'n snot on a doorknob, kiddies!

And I did it just for YOU!

Welllllll... maybe.  It's part of my Take Back The Dual Core AMD64 Project.  We never did need all that power for a UT server and I'd like to get some mileage out of it before it goes obsolete, although it pretty much is already.  There's a few more things to do before I take it down, like migrate the UPS and reroute one of my covert tunnels but those are projects for another weekend.

So, EXP 5 (the box) now runs BITCH House, Classic ]i[, and Experimental 5, which is identical to Experimental 4 if you haven't noticed already.  It will also be the backup for BOT House, if need be.  If push comes to shove and BH (GAWD FORBID!) dies, this thing can take over the whole operation.

Besides being a rockin' UT99 server this box is actually a very decent Linux desktop!  Especially with Google Chrome and Firefix on it (you can keep IceWeasel, Debian).  On the first rev (actually the second after my disappointing experience with Xubuntu 10.4) I tried the LXDE version of Lenny but it was just too limited.  So I wiped it in favor of XFCE.  I usually go for Gnome, but I've seen Gnome on Lenny and it's just plain boring.

And of course, I despise KDE.  Always have, always will.  It's simply a matter of aesthetics.  I don't care if it's faster and I don't want to get into a flame war about it.  It's just fugly.

So anyways... come by and play a few rounds.  When was the last time you played Classic ]i[?  There are some fun levels in that package!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

So Long, Ubuntu!

I have to admit I'm a little behind the curve on Ubuntu. 10.4 LTS has been around for months now, but all I've done is throw it on a VM and play with it a bit. That, and a disastrous upgrade attempt on a VirtualBox VM. But the other day I installed Xubuntu 10.4 (the Xcfe version) and I really liked what I saw, especially after installing Chrome on it.

In fact it was just about set up to my liking and I was moving some UT servers over to the disk when I decided to wrap up the install over Xwin from my XP box.

What a fucking disaster that turned out to be. It's all explained here.

Long story short, Ubuntu has decided to start screwing its pooch. So I said "buh-bye" to Ubuntu for good and started to look for another distro to install.

Oh, I thought about Fedora and CentOS and Suse and my first love, Slackware and I even [i]tried [/i]to download Suse & Slackie but it was a no go.

And although I'd [i]had it [/i]with Debian 5.0, that's where I landed. Deb will always take you back like a fat fuckbuddy.

At least it runs Chrome. That's about all I ask for in a Linux distro these days.

So here we are again. Look for EXPIV to become EXPV, but the BITCH House and Classic ]i[ will remain the same.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Five Hour FAIL

Today, on the Autumnal Equinox, a powerful storm blew through the area during rush hour. Driving through it was a serious BITCH, and when Pinky & I finally got home, the power was out and the house was dark.

According to the one analog clock in this house, it shut down a 5PM. It finally came back on after 10PM.

On the bright(-ish) side, all four UPSes shut down perfectly, even the new APC 1500, which had been giving me fits lately. Everything came back up without incident.

But, as expected for a long outage, the IP address changed, so you'll have to update your UT99 favorites accordingly.

And speaking of UT99, I may be replacing one of the servers in the near future, probably the 64bit dual core system, which is the hottest box I have right now. Unfortunately it is also severely underutilized.

But that plan is subject to change without notice and I have so many things going on right now it may be quite some time before I do anything at all (but I do have the replacement box right now).

Stay tuned.

Monday, September 20, 2010

FUCK Adobe

And the horse they rode in on.

I patched Firefox for a Flash 0day and I got this horseshit along with it (click for a larger view)...

I didn't want "New York Times Reader" and they never asked.

I avoid the NYT like the plague.  The first time I ever logged in to NYT was in 1997.  I did not know SPAM before that day.  Afterwards, my inbox was trash.

What's even worse is I haven't found out how to uninstall this crapware yet!


Monday, September 13, 2010


It's kind of a lulzy state of affairs and it probably won't last long, but BH is back on Twitter!

Here's the trick: Twitter sucks.

They didn't really get rid of BASIC Authentication, they got rid of it for the Little Guy (that's you and me, boys and girls). If you're a Big Playah, you get a pass and your application can use BASIC Auth.

The details can be found here.

You will get a chuckle out of it!

Thanks to achillean for tweeting this!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Chrome on CentOS AT LAST!

I'm not a big fan of CentOS but I've been compelled to run it for a couple of reasons. The first being I need something compatible (and free) that's compatible with the Red Hat systems we have at the Salt Mines. CentOS is Red Hat with all the branding removed to make it free.

The other reason is this old (circa 2005) Sony Vaio laptop I inherited from my kid, Inky Dink, shown at left. Installing Linux on it was pure Hell. CentOS is the only Linux distribution that runs on it and doesn't crash, and it's actually a pleasure to run it (the touchpad is super flaky but I usually use a USB mouse with it anyway).

And that in itself is the reason I have a love/hate relationship with CentOS. The stability comes at a price: everything about it is old.

Because it's old you just can't get the latest and greatest version of anything. Then again, because it's Red Hat compatible almost everything is available for it.

Almost! Chrome isn't. Google doesn't distribute a compatible version. But these folks in the UK hacked together a distribution that really works.

I'm using it now to write this. I have been using Opera, but it dogs down in places where I need it to perform, specifically Google Maps (I'm quite proud of this and I need to update it every day).

In typical Chrome fashion, everything is just plain fast.

I'll definitely be using this laptop a lot more in the future.

Now if I could only play UT on it... hmmm...

DELETED: Adobe Reader

I have decided I don' have time for the drama Adobe Reader adds to my life.

That, and the incessant reboots the weekly patches require, if they succeed at all. I can live without it, thank you.

I am voting with my feet on this issue.

I have decided to go minimalist and rely on evince for all my PDF needs. The Windows version is Spartan, but I really don't care. At most all I do with PDFs is print them or copy & paste to something else. Evince does both those tasks well enough.

Sure, evince has had its share of problems in the past, but I don't care. If I could live my life completely Adobe-free I would be a happy man. But then there's... ugh... Flash.

Monday, September 06, 2010

A Case of the Stickies

I have no clue what happened, but yesterday I took the joint down cold to check out the UPS hooked up to BOT House, an APC BackUPS x1500.

Yeah, that one. The new one.

This little bitch is pissing me off. Very occasionally it will go "click click" and BOT House will hang, requiring a reboot.

That is not what a UPS is for.

Everything was hooked up correctly, so I did the only thing I could do. I just plugged it in to a different outlet on the UPS.

I fired BH up and played a few games. I kept getting stuck, and I noticed bots kept getting stuck. Players, too. WTF?

So I took the place down again and did what I did on EXP4 that fixed that particular problem; I tied the game down to one CPU (with taskset). That doesn't make sense, since it's a single CPU system, but it is hyperthreaded, so it thinks it has two CPUs. I started it back up and the problem went away.

It's been running fine ever since.

Sunday, September 05, 2010

Worst Browsers: IE8 & Opera 10.6

This is not a review. This is a rant about Windows browsers. I run Firefox with AdBlock Plus and NoScript because I can't tolerate ads. On top of the that, the home proxy runs SQUID with AdZapper. True, lots of sites can't run without Javascript, but for those I use the "Chrome View" Firefox plug-in. And now that there's an AdBlock for Chrome, I hardly see any ads with either browser.

The absolute best of both worlds. FF+ABP+NS for security and Chrome+AB for speed.

Internet Explorer 8

This browser, aside from the problems of its pedigree, is simply dog shit SLOW.

The slowness is evident whenever you hit the "new tab" button. It can take up to five seconds for the new tab to appear and then you get that "WTF do you want to do now?" page.

Just give me a blank page and do it now! No stupid questions!

Next is the dedicated clipboard embedded in IE 8. This is totally unnecessary. Not only does it have "enhancements" I never use, but like the new tab button, it takes forever to pop up after you highlight and right-click.

90% of the time all I want to do is cut and paste.

And, this new clipboard is a resource hog. If you do a lot of highlight, copy, paste in a browser window it will eventually stop working. Ctrl-C and Ctrl-V still work, but the popup menu is gone until you kill IE and restart it.

And what is the point of "grouped tabs"? Most of the time the added pastel colors are offensive. I end up ungrouping the tabs so I don't have to look at it.

Why can't I shut that off?

Opera 10.6

Straight up I'll say at this very moment I'm writing this with Opera, but I'm doing it on my Linux (CentOS) laptop. It's fast and responsive on Linux and a great option when Chrome won't run on your distro.

On Windows it's different story unless Opera is the only browser you're running. I've been known to run four or five different browsers at a time—FF, IE, Chrome, Comodo, SRWare Iron, Safari—you name it, I run it.

Opera doesn't like that. It likes to be your one & only browser. I don't know why that is, but, like Safari and to a lesser extent Chrome, Opera uses IE's guts and it's doesn't like to share.

For me, that makes it unusable, which is a shame because I like Opera. But when IE and Opera are open at the same time, dog shit slow IE wins the speed contest.

If you're a one browser kind of guy, Opera isn't a bad choice. You can do worse.


SRWare Iron was a great browser.

In 2008.

But they haven't updated it since. I have a hard time believing it's that well made. Still, it's a good alternate when I'm already running Chrome and I want to switch to a different proxy, which is just a command-line switch away.

I don't have any real objections to Safari. I just don't use it much. Primarily I don't like the looks of it. I like my windows to match the system colors, and the burnished stainlees steel look simply doesn't. And since it's tied to IE 8's proxy settings—which wasn't always the case—it's less than useful for my purposes.

While I'm at it I'll throw some turds at Iceweasel 2.0, although it's not a browser anyone uses anymore and it's only available on older distros of Linux. Me, I'm stuck on Debian 4.0 for a number of reasons, the main one being they never fixed the issues with VNC 4.0 on the newer version, Lenny.

The burning issue I have is Debian's insistence that "copy on select"—highlighting automatically copies into the clipboard—is the right thing to do everywhere. Blogspot simply disagrees. I disagree. That is not how the Universe works.

But, I'm stuck with it. If I upgraded to Lenny I could have Chrome and Opera. But not VNC 4.

New Look For Fall!

Well, I finally did it. I gave Blogger a few months to come up with some new templates but they disappointed me. Same shit, different day. And although I've criticized the look of "Dark-Ass Security Blogs" in the past, the other options are just too happy, trendy, or touchy-feely for my tastes.

After all, this place is about HAXX and FLACK, not puppies and flowers.

So it's back to the same old, same old but with more horizontal space. The old style always seemed so cramped.

Saturday, September 04, 2010

Apologies To Shirley In Accounts Payable

Once again I have managed to get the #1 result in another Google Search No One Ever Uses, "Shirley In Accounts Payable"...

Which is odd because at one time—the 90s?—there was an anti-virus ad featuring "Shirley in Accounts Payable" (because nothing can protect your company from her).

So... sorry, Shirl... you're just too easy to pick on.

I used to work with a Queen Bitch named Shirley (we liked to call her "Squirrelly") who happened to work in Accounts Payable at a company I once worked for.  It was my first IT job.  Whenever the "Okie Dokie" printer, as everyone called them back then, was down, she would inevitably say, "If I can't print we don't get paid!"

Truthfully, she was a nice lady, about 40, blond, with a big set of bazongas, in a day before "MILF" was a common expression (you only knew it if you listened to Howard Stern back then).

These days, if she hasn't hit the wall by now, she might be a GILF.  It was that long ago.

But when that time of the month rolled around (no, not that time, but whatever day of the month accounting departments get busy) the Queen Bitch came out and you had best stay out of her office.  It was years after that the "Shirley In Accounts Payable" ad came out.  That ad always stuck in my mind because it reminded me of her and to this day I use "Shirley In Accounts Payable" when describing the average corporate user in everyday conversation.

So anyway, the original article mentioning Shirley is here.

Friday, September 03, 2010

Twitter Muzzles BOT House, EXP4

Twitter updates from BOT House and EXPIV stopped abruptly on September 1st when Twitter stopped supporting BASIC authentication.

This is both good and bad.

Bad because I have no idea how to use their new authentication model. I'm sure I can hack it out sooner or later, but I have other weenies to roast at the moment.

Busy, busy, busy!

Good because, face it, BASIC authentication sucks ass. It's so barely encrypted (in BASE64) that it might as well be clear text. It's a method to be avoided at all costs. But, it's also a good quick hack, something I'm very good at.

So for now, no more Twitter updates from BH or EXP4.

You can still tweet me if you feel like it.


09/13/2010 — BOT House is back on Twitter!