Archive for December, 2008

Kwik Hits

Random goodness, short-attention-span style:

Tehran accuses the BBC of “unprofessional conduct”, hints that intelligence services are using reporters “as shields for their espionage activities”;

Latest guilty pleasure, according to some: your cell phone. “Five million people had to die so you could make that call”(!);

Philippine security services are stepping up their activities against MILF renegades, which odds are pretty good a lot of readers are going to mis-interpret :) ;

Manhole-cover fans in Japan – which the news story helpfully describes as “not the oddest fetish in Japan by a long way” – now have their own website, where they share photos and stories and so on. The owner of the site reckons most visitors are males, aged 20-30. Why am I not surprised?

In Pennsylvania, the authorities always get their man – even if he’s hiding in an underground drainage pipe. Now that is dedication.

Published in: General | on December 30th, 2008 | No Comments »

Qwest Implementing Rate-Limiting?

I use Qwest for my internet connectivity, via DSL, and browse the web using an SSH tunnel for privacy and security reasons. For years – literally – I’ve had no problems doing this, but in the last week, my connections have been slow – around 5 kilobytes (40 kilobits) per second. I thought maybe it was due to the network disruption between Europe and the Middle East – my proxy server is in the European Union – but as it dragged on, I thought I’d try a few things. Lo, once I moved my SSH daemon to a port other than the default, 22, speeds were back to normal.

So, yay me. But, boo, Qwest! Badly-implemented rate-limiting as a way to discourage technically-savvy file-sharers doesn’t work, and all it does is piss off customers who aren’t causing problems.

Anyone else using Qwest, and having similar problems? I’m – obviously – in the Twin Cities area of Minneapolis, and use Qwest’s connectivity through a local, reseller ISP.

Published in: 'D' for 'Dumb', General, Security | on December 29th, 2008 | 4 Comments »

Down the Rabbit Hole

As an urban explorer, I’m, obviously, fascinated with both history, and the rarely-seen corners of human existence. As a long-time computer geek (I got my first Commodore in 1985), I’m also fascinated by networks and related technology, and all those things that go with them. (Yes, I read 2600.) The two sets of interests coincide fairly often, though it pains me to admit it, in part because, locally, a lot of ethically-challenged computer “hackers” prove to be ethically-challenged where urban exploration is concerned, as well. Still, it’s fairly rare that these two interests coincide at the same time, but it does happen…
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Published in: Geekiness, General, History | on December 29th, 2008 | No Comments »

Security: It’s All Geek to Me

Knowing, and even Infrequently hanging around with a lot of English majors, as I Do, means that I occasionally get chided for my taste in Reading materials. Rather than read Hemingway, Faulkner, Fitzgerald, and all those other “great”, “classic” peddlers of “belles-lettres”, I’d prefer, being the tasteless degenerate that I am, to read science fiction, fantasy, or Even mystery novels instead. Even then, I come in for criticism (Abuse?) from Mean old genre “purists”, because I’m not a big fan of Agatha Christie, Isaac Asimov, Or any of the other (dead, white) “giants” of the Field(s). No, I’d rather read something by James Alan Gardner, or by Neil Stephenson, or Terry Pratchett. Or, let’s be honest, something by Peg Kerr, Donald Harstad, or one of dozens of other writers you’ve probably never heard of. :)

As questionable as my choice in reading material may be, it has an important side-effect: I’m Usually never at a loss for a ridiculously secure password or pass-phrase.
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Published in: Geekiness, General, Security | on December 29th, 2008 | No Comments »

Holiday Cheer: Violence, Language, and History

This will probably be my last post of the week, as I spend more time preparing for the upcoming nondenominational midwinter festivities. Don’t despair, however, because I’m leaving you with three little downloadable holiday presents: violence, language, and history. Underwhelming, I know, but they’re better than my failed efforts at humor suggest.
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Published in: Geekiness, General, History | on December 23rd, 2008 | No Comments »