Sunday, February 22, 2009


Although not exactly bug-free, EXP4 went online yesterday as (sorta) planned.

It plays exceptionally well. The only problems I've noticed are at the beginning when you first log on. Play is a little choppy, but it smooths out fast and remains smooth game after game.

That was the best $139.95 (+S&H) I've spent in a long time. I"m slightly pissed Debian 5.0 ("Lenny") sucked as badly as it did, but I have a Deb 5 VM and I'm going to keep it updated to see if they ever get around to fixing that two year old Gnome vs. VNC4 problem. Since that is a fight between two third parties, they (Debian? VNC? Gnome?) may never get around to fixing it. That was a major disappointment.

As (almost) expected, put out Yet Another Revision ( on Friday. I would have let it slide but there were enough major issues to cause concern. I got that all compiled and ready to run just before putting EXP4 online. But I didn't have the time to upgrade the old server BOT House lives on. That will likely happen before next weekend.

Ban-O-Matic is broken at the moment so I've been banning our buddy MISERABLE_S.O.B. by hand whenever he changes his IP. I'd ban his entire ISP but they have a pretty large CIDR block (I'd call it a Class B+). I'm confident B-O-M's problems are trivial so I'll be taking a look at it while I'm at work tomorrow (I do some of my best work at work - don't tell my boss).

Today I've been hacking around with the old EXP III box. I upgraded it to and I'm trying to get those awful Marvell wireless cards to run on it (no luck, although there is now a native loadable module for some Marvell NICs - ones I don't have, apparently).

I've also been hacking around with TrueCrypt, which is an awesome file & disk encryption package that was undoubtedly written by a team of paranoid schizophrenics. They have all the angles on encryption hammered down, with an emphasis on plausible deniability.

This is a program designed from the ground up for people who need to hide what they're doing.

Of course, I have a professional interest (that's my story and I'm sticking to it).

I've been spending long hours digging through my old hard drives, wiping then and encrypting them so I can throw them away without worrying about dumpster-diving tweakers stealing my personal information. Although, to be fair to the tweakers, the credit card processing industry itself is doing a great job losin my personal info in massive security breaches as it is.

Truecrypt takes about two hours to prepare a lousy 40G hard drive (at least it takes that long on he old EXP III box), so it's been quite a hassle. And I still have drives that spin but won't format and are therefore technically susceptible to advanced forensic techniques. Plus I seem to have more SCSI drives than I remember ever buying (vintage mid-90s drives in onsie, twosie, and foursie gigabyte capacities).

And - silly me - I built the EXP III box without SCSI support. Considering it takes three hours to build a kernel from scratch (a little less when you've pre-built it), that probably won't happen soon.

In the end I may just end up taking a hammer to them all, but for the ones that work this is my last chance to see if there's any long lost, forgotten data that I may still need on them.

TrueCrypt was made for Windows. It's different on Linux and there are a few ducks to put in a row before you start using it. The information is out there on the Web but I haven't seen a single respectable "HOWTO" on the subject yet. I will probably end up writing one for my own benefit since that's the only way I can remember all this crap.

If I do you'll find it here, so stay tuned.

But no promises!

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