Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Try ruby not working

I saw a link to Try Ruby! (in your browser) and thought, why not.

It's not working for me though. After the first few things to try, I get to the "Jimmy".reverse example and I get:

>> "Jimmy".reverse

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="iso-8859-1"?>
<!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Transitional//EN"
<html xmlns="" xml:lang="en" lang="en">
<title>500 - Internal Server Error</title>
<h1>500 - Internal Server Error</h1>

PHP already has most of what I need and I'm interested in trying Win Binder, a native Windows binding for PHP. I don't know what that's like yet, but if it's reasonable, then I may use that to write some quick windows programs (anything to get away from the horror that is Visual Basic).

Hay, so much to learn, so little time. I need to delegate.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

swsusp very useful

I was on a long bus trip recently and I decided to see if the new laptop supported swsusp. I had given up on swsusp on a previous laptop (also a Winbook, but a slightly older one, since sold) because it didn't work there. It would try to save and then would fail on trying to halt mysql. Or if i stopped myself myself, it would try to save, and then on restore it would try to save again (instead of restoring), and then give up and reboot (or something, it was confusing, which is why the account above is a mess).

I'm very happy that it now works on the new laptop though. I've got three batteries for the laptop. They only last around 45 minutes at the full 1.7Ghz AMD speed (something like 2300-2400+ intel equivalent, i think), but in combination with cpufreq and setting the speed to the slowest CPU frequency available (around 600Mhz AMD, so maybe around 800+ intel equivalent?), the individual batteries last around 1.5-1.7 hours.

But I didn't want to shutdown and swap batteries since starting up takes some time and all of that time is at 1.7Ghz, eating battery life. Swsusp is a lifesaver since, when battery gets low and the laptop starts beeping, i just run a script that tells the laptop to suspend. It writes its status to swap. The laptop turns off. I swap batteries. And when I turn the laptop on it restores from swap, switches to 600+Mhz automatically and gets back to X in far less time than it takes to boot.

I think I'm going to swsusp all the time now, even when not trying to save battery, just because it starts up so much faster when restoring.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

A constant state of insecurity

Another link from schneier has:

As a security professional, my friend often attends security conferences and teaches security classes. She noted that the number of passwords she collected in these venues was higher on average than in non-security locations. The very people who are supposed to know more about security than anyone appeared to have a higher-than-normal level of remote access back to their companies, but weren’t using any type of password protection.

A Constant State of Insecurity

Good God.

On the other hand, I admit that I do use several levels of insecure passwords for free but insecure web based services. Any service that requires registration for free access will get one of my fake (I lied about everything, including what country I'm supposedly from [I don't know where Anguilla is, but it sounds pretty]) identities with my lowest level password (I don't mind giving it away to anyone, although I don't actually post it on a blog or anything either :-).

Maybe some of those people were doing something like that. On the other hand, well, if companies are exposing FTP or POP3 on the internet (or maybe even ssh with their users having the same ssh password as their POP3 password), well, this is depressing my donkey. I wonder if anyone learns anything at those security seminars. Maybe they're Windows security seminars and the lessons have to do with which buttons to click to turn the firewall on. A lesson that is instantly forgotten because the listeners are Windows security professionals.

Schneier this week

Schneier in the current installment of Crypto-Gram has some interesting links. This month's installment seems very good. More interesting than previous months. Although they're all worth reading.

He gets something wrong though about the manila times and profiling of terrorists (male, between certain ages, cellphone, uneasy). Maybe that's just because he needed a short tagline. The article attributes the profile to the NCR Police Office (from which stupidities like this are expected).

The article certainly doesn't sound as stupid as schneier's comment makes it sound. That there is some controversy in the police organizations about the usefulness of the stereotype would normally be a good thing. Except that might just be normal intra-governmental infighting with no good reason behind it.

In the same issue of Crypto-Gram though are a whole bunch of links related to the Sony DRM rootkit (heh, it can be used to avoid WoW spyware (what's that doing, maybe just checking for piracy and such?), a trojan uses the Sony rootkit/trojan to hide, Sony has given up on it and Microsoft will detect it and remove it. Heh.

And There's an interesting weblog on malware from F-Secure, found it linked to from Schneier. I may look at it every day now. Or maybe add it to an RSS aggregator, if i can figure out how to do that :-) Huh, madali lang pala, using Too lazy to try other RSS readers.

Hmmm, now to figure out how to get a feed from TechScene (kind of bass ackwards, since I could just get feeds direct from the people, but I'm lazy or too busy at work to remember too many feeds or URLs, or both).

There's also a link to an article discussing the prank article on aluminum foil hats previously discussed here. It looks like some heavy handed humor back and forth, but I'm not so sure about that zapatopi link. Some people are nuts about this stuff, and he might be one of them. He *does* have a book on practical mind control protection with aluminum foil beanies but I haven't read that, so I don't know if it's just a relatively long lived prank feeding on the paranoids and taking their money :-).

Lots more articles, all of it interesting. Every 15th of the month (well, 16th in the Philippines) is a huge time sink (but only about 33% a waste of time) because of this monthly email :-)

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Aluminum helmets *help* the government spy on You!

although on average all helmets attenuate invasive radio frequencies in either directions (either emanating from an outside source, or emanating from the cranium of the subject), certain frequencies are in fact greatly amplified. These amplified frequencies coincide with radio bands reserved for government use according to the Federal Communication Commission (FCC). Statistical evidence suggests the use of helmets may in fact enhance the government's invasive abilities. We theorize that the government may in fact have started the helmet craze for this reason.

On the Effectiveness of Aluminium Foil Helmets:
An Empirical Study

IVRS must die

I see that Edong (he also has a "Ka", but I'm not on that side of the political spectrum) has a post on IVRS (interactive voice response system.

IVRS was all the rage in the US when I was there. It saved labor cost because the operator could be partly replaced by a machine voice. Instead of hiring 2 or 3 operators, a company could keep one receptionist/operator and fire the rest.

I can't stand IVRS though. Whenever I hear automated voice prompts I immediately hang up.

It's not the impersonality of it. I work with computers, I sort of like impersonal. What I can't stand about IVRS is the inefficiency of it, and the fact that, if it's to be used efficiently (memorize the call tree and type the digits in directly instead of waiting to hear the prompts), *I*, the customer, have to expend extra effort to remember. I have enough trouble memorizing my name, some days. I don't need to buy from a company that forces me to either waste my time listening to a ridiculously long call tree. And even if I wanted to memorize the direct route to where I want to go, no company I'm buying from is important enough to spend that much memory real estate on. Even if I had that real estate to spare. Any company that tries to communicate with me through IVRS is (1) going to lose a sail, (2) going to earn a rant, either in person, when I get to talk to someone in management, and/or a blog entry, for being more concerned with cost than customer experience. If they want to save cost, let them relocate their call center to the Visayas or Mindanao, salaries there are 1/2 to 1/3 what they are in Metro Manila and it'll help the economy and decongest the capital.

Which reminds me, is it still Metro Manila or did that go out with the Marcoses? No one mentions the Metro much anymore. Although there's still that extra M in MMDA.