I love hackers and geeks

This little trick just saved my life.

I went to Cingular yesterday, with the full intention of doing the hardcore “Well, you may have noticed my contract with you is UP, and I am gonna need a few things from you before I sign up again. I want a free phone and what’s this ‘data plan’ I hear so much about?”

Well, with a dead phone and 200+ numbers hanging in the balance, I was basically fresh meat to the guy on the other side of the counter. I ended up paying for what is basically their Gimme phone. It’s a Nokia 6126- it’s got Nokia’s nice operating system on it, but it feels like a hunk of turd in my hand. Just plastic and not very sturdy. It does have Bluetooth, so I was able to move some photos of my dogs over to the phone and delete their awful default desktop and stuff, but I wasn’t able to sync my Address Book from OS X …. until I found the magic tutorial above. I love this part: “Since the 6126 is essentially a 6131 but for North America, I gave it a try and it worked.”
Who thinks like that? This guy needs some kind of special hat, like the ones engineers used to wear back when your hat identified your job- and it needs to say “I am very much smarter than you. Ask me anything.”
I brought all of the addresses from my Mac over to the phone, so I now have numbers for many of you that I didn’t have before. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t send me your number! There’s a possibility that I DON’T have it… so fire away.

I’m not convinced. I mean, not really.

it’s like they have a federal committee standing by to make the least convincing explanation possible.

The Federal Aviation Administration acknowledged that a United supervisor had called the control tower at O’Hare, asking if anyone had spotted a spinning disc-shaped object. But the controllers didn’t see anything, and a preliminary check of radar found nothing out of the ordinary, FAA spokeswoman Elizabeth Isham Cory said.

“Our theory on this is that it was a weather phenomenon,” Cory said. “That night was a perfect atmospheric condition in terms of low (cloud) ceiling and a lot of airport lights. When the lights shine up into the clouds, sometimes you can see funny things.”

It was a “weird weather phenomenon“??

I am not one of those flying saucer conspiracy people, but ferfuckssake, an explanation that bad makes even me say “Um, what?”

For the record

There’s a guy from Macromedia who thinks it’s silly for me to worry about the Remote Monitoring capability built into Flash. He says he’s tried to comment here several times and it’s failed. I find this a further indictment of the fallibility of software. [update]I found his comments clogged in my spam filter and released them.

For the record, I did not say “Flash spies on you” and to say that I did strays dangerously close to straw man territory. I said that it was unnecessary for Macromedia to put remote monitoring software into a movie player. And I stand by that statement.

Why not just release a version with that technology taken out of the code? What’s it doing there in the first place?

The misrepresentation of my position and the fact that the original questions remain unaddressed aren’t putting me at ease about this.

More IM Funnies

B: went to see the bull riding last weekend. man that was crazy
Patrick: what was he riding?
B: some dudes pelvis
Patrick: ouch
Patrick: there’s your X Game, brother
B: 3-4 people were seriiously hurt
Patrick: PBR (Pro Bull Riding) is a lot more extreme than jumping out of an airplane strapped to a snowboard
B: one guy was still being worked on by the medics while everyone was leaving
B: its nuts.
Patrick: ouch
Patrick: they were working on his nuts?
B: I dunno what those guys do after they are too damaged to walk anymore
Patrick: sit around and talk about it, I’d imagine
B: or go to work for microsoft
Patrick: now THAT’S not only funny… but would make an interesting short film
B: heh
Patrick: especially if their new thrill was trying to keep an out-of-the-box Exchange server on the internet eight seconds without getting hacked
B: yee haw
Patrick: Hyaaah!
Patrick: “Oh, wow, Tug… that one came down hard, and right out of the chute, too. That’s one serious root kit….”
Patrick: “Well, Roy, thank god for the clowns in Microsoft Server Support… here they come now…”

5 odd things about me

Wren has tapped me to reveal five weird things about myself. Interestingly, she prefaces her five odd things with a blanket “But actually, I’m not terribly odd” caveat, while I think that exactly the opposite may be true of me. I have a deeply held concern that I may be Odd. Not in any profoundly dysfunctional way, but odd enough that anyone less tolerant than my lovely wife would find living with me to be a long series of WTF? moments. I may be wrong about this, but I wouldn’t bet on it.

How can you resist an opening paragraph like that? Let’s get started!

1. What’s the opposite of phlegmatic? I am a ridiculously emotional person, often to the point that it’s embarrassing. Giving this an even odder twist, I often am not animatedly emotional- I can be experiencing an emotional maelstrom internally and appear the the casual observer to be dispassionate to the point of total detachment. My lovely and talented wife has developed a sixth sense for this, and has taken to asking after my emotional state, usually as I am struggling to keep a lid on it. Since I am incapable of misleading her, it often all comes out in a rush. Whee.

2. I suspect that my lack of emotional detachment impedes my ability to write analytically with the sort of detail and objectivity of the best journalistic writers. Josh Marshall seldom answers my emails, in other words. However, Gordon always does. I often look back over my writing and think “It’s no wonder folks don’t come to me for sound analysis- I write like a pissed off crank.” On the other hand, so do my favorite bloggers. (see The Alternate Brain and Billmon…) I am trying to get over feeling bad about this and would like to decide that it’s an asset.

3. I will eat just about anything, AND I will probably enjoy it. I can only think of two things that I just DON’T like to eat:
cottage cheese
beets

4. I am a huge baseball fan, and I even played some in high school. However- I have never understood the infield fly rule. I mean, I know about, and I get it, but it always takes me several minutes to understand what just happened when I see it in action. It’s an odd sort of mental block… This has led to several fairly embarrassing moments where I screamed “RUN!!!” the top of my lungs… at completely inappropriate times, like “How could an entire stadium not have noticed that the shortstop just dropped the ball?” I have left games after embarrassing myself this way. When a nine-year-old turns around and says to me “You dummyhead, it’s an infield fly ball!” it’s time to go home.

5. I teeter back and forth between being coldly rational and painfully superstitious. I periodically knock wood, look for signs and portents, and even (occasionally) surreptitiously read my horoscope in the paper. I find that my level of superstitiousness grows in direct proportion to my powerlessness in most situations. I have a suspicion that there is a causal link there that might be used to explain certain kinds of religiosity. Call it a hunch.

What? Why is everybody looking at me like that?

I tag five people:

eponymous
my twin brother
travis(♀)
HopeSpringsATurtle
SteveAudio

computer geek (and reformed hacker) on the Lieberman pwnage:

Hackerz have taken down Joe Lierberman’s website!!

Um, briefly- if the Lieberman campaign had ponied up for a decent webhost, this would be a non-issue. If they had implemented some better security after the site got cracked before, this would be a non-issue. And, finally, if Lieberman weren’t losing the primary, this would be a non-issue.

It’s a distraction. I feel EXTREMELY confident, even without having any inside knowledge of the machinations of the Lamont campaign, that this is some unrelated third party, probably some script kiddie having a little fun. Professional web consultants know better than to host mission-critical sites at providers that don’t have the means to deflect an amateurish DDoS attack. The Lieberman campaign has a guy named Dan Geary walking around to the media on this- he identifies himself as Lieberman’s internet consultant. He should have been fired after the first incident.

In the meantime, the Official Ned Lamont campaign position that I would propose:

“Blaming Ned Lamont for hacking Joe Lieberman’s website is like blaming one’s ex-wife when one gets mugged.”

In other words, just because you don’t like someone doesn’t mean that they’re responsible for everything that goes wrong in your life. There are a lot of people who don’t like Joe Lieberman. They don’t all work for Ned Lamont.

::UPDATE::

There’s a significantly more comprehensive takedown here.

Here what might have happened:
a. Web traffic spikes as national focus on the campaign grows
b. Based on (2b) above, if the webserver is throttled by traffic (due to actual traffic or poor response tuning or an attack or a combination of the three), this would also affect mail delivery to joe2006.com. It could also affect outbound mail if users on that domain use that address for SMTP service.
c. The server is most likely a shared one, since the name, server1.myhostcamp.com, implies lots of other hosts live on it.

It’s a shame that they’re bothering the United States Attorney’s Office with this. It looks like it’s probably pure incompetence.

OK. The hosting company gets another week of this

and then I am going to move my site.

Very stressful week this week, and nothing that I care to elaborate upon here.

Just a couple of thoughts I would like to pass on:

If you happen to join the board at a non-profit some time, and you find that there has been someone who has been donating their time to, say, keep the computers running, but hasn’t been able to give them the attention that they deserve… Don’t start making ridiculous demands. Because the chances are that person probably has a bunch of other stuff going on, and might just decide that some hippie control freak in his life is the last thing he needs right now.

I’m just saying.