It’s been far too long since we last had a LAN party, so Jared, Scott, TJ, Adam and I got together in Scott’s basement for a long-overdue fragfest. We played Quake 3 Arena for maybe 3 hours or so, and then switched over to Day of Defeat (original mod, not Source, since Valve wants $20 for DoD:Source… bastards). All of the games ran fine for me on my linux box with Cedega (I still haven’t gotten around to getting Windows XP installed), and with help from some quick searching by Adam, even got the native Quake 3 client up and running. It was an excellent time all around, especially since we had at least 7 computers wired up for the 5 of us. I should have taken a picture.
Only downside was having to bring a can of Campbell’s over for my supper, though I did manage to get two slices of pizza down as well. My gums are a little angry about that today though… Only other downside was not being able to drive up Jared’s driveway to drop him off at the end of the night. Don’t know about all of you, but here in Green Bay we got a big slush storm that resulted in several inches of nasty crap on the roads that immediately turned to ice when you drove on it. Needless to say, we took the second, gravelled, driveway into Jared’s place instead, after some exciting slipping back down onto Greenfield Ave.
Happy New Year to everyone!
Huge Windows Metafile vulnerability and zero-day exploit announced 12/28/2005… yes I know I’m late. If you missed it and you run any version of Windows from 98 to 2003, including ME, XP, 2k, etc, follow these steps immediately to partially secure your computer from this vulnerability that Microsoft has yet to patch:
1. Click on Start
2. Click on Run…
3. Type this command and click OK:
regsvr32 -u shimgvw.dll
4. A confirmation box will appear to inform you that the DLL has been unregistered.
What did that do for you, besides protecting your computer from viruses that can install themselves just by you visiting an infected webpage? Read Steve Gibson’s detailed explanation for more information, as well as details on how to reregister that DLL once this blows over and a patch comes out.
Note: You are vulnerable to this exploit even if running Firefox or Opera instead of Internet Explorer as your web browser. Run these preventative steps now!
Further Note: Unregistering this DLL does have side effects. It will disable the thumbnail previews in Windows Explorer and other applications. This is a good thing, because it will help prevent you from infecting yourself. See the above link for more information.
I was browsing through some old bookmarks this morning when I came across this clip of Redefined, one of Madison’s a capella groups, performing a medley of some classic NES soundtracks. Definitely worth it for anybody who’s played classic 8-bit games, sorry about the crappy video quality (wasn’t me).
[The Legend of Zelda]
It’s been a while since I’ve had Campbell’s soup in such quantities. All I’ve eaten since 10:30 last night is two cans of chicken soup with stars. Hurrah for wisdom teeth. Who thought those were a good idea anyway?
- Outscoring Tim 69,630 points to 20,040 in Text Twist, finally losing to “sables.” (Tim had the legitimately impossible word “quoits.” What the hell?)
- Visiting Grandma Witt’s house, seeing the Joswiaks and Donald Witt family. Getting free wifi off some neighbor’s unsecured network (with better signal strength from next door than I get across the house at home).
- Finding out at Grandma’s that my mom tried to specify Bowling for Soup’s A Hangover You Don’t Deserve to my aunt for my sister’s gift exchange list by saying it was the album with “1995” and “Always” on it…. The album actually holds “1985” and “Almost.” Nice work mom 😉
- Christmas at home with amazing prime rib.
- Heading to the Meyers’ after supper to watch the Packer game and play Scene-it. Those who have ever asked me about any movie will be surprised to learn that between my dad and I, we pretty well dominated the game. Adding in Dan and Randy with some key scores, and the results were Guys: 2, Girls: 0.
- Teaching Dad to use iTunes to store his CDs on his computer in compressed format. He was pretty impressed with how easy it is to import music, make a playlist, burn to CD, etc. Chalk one up for Apple, despite the ugly compatability-layer bloatedness of iTunes under Windows. He was also very impressed with the high quality iTMS song previews, which sounded great on his Klipsch computer speakers.
- Transferring some music over to dad’s computer from my desktop by plugging the tower into nothing but the wall & the router, and facilitating the file transfer via Wifi on my laptop. I was very pleased that Gentoo handled the new network environment without a blink.
- Jalapeno beef sticks from Maplewood Meats
- A CD of better flamenco music than we found to buy while in Spain
That’s all I can think of at the moment. It’s great to be home with the family again, and to have nothing to do. Just waiting for the grades to come in, and my break will be perfect…
Merry Christmas everyone!
Every time I come home after being in Madison for a couple months, it amazes me anew just how quiet it is here. Being in “the country” (aka a more sparsely-populated suburb) is a pleasant change from the continual background noise of Madtown…. though a bit unnerving for a little while as well. It’s good to be home, though.
Catching up on issues of Popular Science, I came across this awesome quote from a letter to the editor:
“If it weren’t for our presumptuous desire to learn, humanity would have the same aspirations as a herd of cows.”
Awesome quote… on the other hand, cows never had to take finals. I’m glad those are over with. Except for ece 352, where even the final was awesome. We got a cake! (It was Prof. Schulte’s birthday. (That’s Prof. Lipasti in the picture))
Speaking of birthdays, Happy Birthday to Dave Dreyer, who is 87 days older than I today, and to Jacob Michael LaSota, who is 86 days older than I tomorrow. lol… think about that.
Hollywood makes me angry. So does the U.S. system of government which gives Hollywood more say than me (since Hollywood has more money). I had written about 2 pages worth of a rant here, but decided it wasn’t worth posting. If you ever want to hear my opinion on Big Media, just ask. To give you a one-sentence take home message: I feel that Hollywood, through its utter uncomprehension of technology and inability to cope with a changing market place, is buying legislation behind our backs in our very Congress to take away our right to use legally purchased media in legal ways.
Standard disclaimer: IANAL, and it’s midnight before my last exam. I’m a bit tired. Otherwise I probably would have let it go like every other apathetic American.
I learned a valuable lesson when taking pictures for a panorama today. Make sure nothing moves in and out of your overall picture while you’re taking it, or the stitching-together process will get a little weird…
Taken from outside the Louvre, in Paris.
[click for higher-res]
Had finals last Thursday (AIS 172), Saturday (ECE 230) and Sunday (STAT 311). Haven’t gotten any grades back as of yet. I think all went well enough to keep my A’s in those classes, which is somewhat unfortunate since I took AIS 172 pass/fail… Statistics would be the most questionable as far as pulling out an A. I vaguely remember blogging about my ECE 270 bench exam about 2 weeks ago, but I got my exam back, and that officially went well. Ended up losing a total of zero points for the semester. Now just one final left (this Thursday) in ECE 352.
I know people have told me to check them out before (especially Scott), but I finally got around to trying out podcasts yesterday. Pretty cool stuff. I’d recommend Security Now! for the security-minded geek (but not for the faint of heart… it’s pretty technical), or the well-known TWiT, hosted by Leo Laporte of The Screen Savers fame (back in the good ole days before G4).
One thing I learned about from my brief initial foray into the podcasting world is a program called Hamachi. Hamachi is a really cool super-secure tunneling peer-to-peer VPN solution that allows you to create virtual private LANs across completely unsecured network connections and even does NAT traversal on both ends, if at all possible. Potential applications: remote desktoping into enlight-server without needing to open up an SSH tunnel through CAE all the time. Or, remote connecting to my computer in my room from anywhere in the world with zero worries about security and virtually no limit to the interactivity between my remote computer and the local one. Ex) Windows file sharing. Why not, when as far as Hamachi is concerned, the computers are on the same private LAN? Very cool.
Today I made great headway (ha) on my Christmas shopping… Jeni and I went to the mall, but all I managed to purchase was one present for a friend. Nothing for my family as of yet. (Does that make me a bad person?) Anyway, after that we went to Wendt and studied for a while. I got a goodly amount of 352 taken care of, and it was nice not to be sitting in my room by myself to do that 🙂
Now tonight I am working on combining the pre-panorama photo series I took in Europe into actual panoramic images. My poor laptop is feeling the limits of its 1.67 GHz processor, as it just spent an hour blending images of the city of Barcelona, only to have me realize when looking at the finished product that I didn’t center the images correctly, causing bad things to happen that made the output unusable…. Sorry, powerbook. I’ll try harder next time.
No, not really, but it was still pretty funny to see Thunderbird flag this past week’s Microsoft Student Ambassador newsletter as a scam. (See photo below, click for more detail.) One of the new features of Thunderbird 1.5 (currently in release candidate status), is that it will attempt to recognize emails that are scams, phishing attempts, etc. The MSA newsletter was flagged this past week (and I’m sure the other weeks would have been as well, had I been using Thunderbird to read them) because of the way that the author screwed up the links. (Or more likely, because of how Exchange server screwed them up)
All of the links in the email were doubly-redirected through mail.microsoft.com/exchweb/bin/redir.asp. If I understand correctly, this is intended to be used when *viewing* an email in Exchange server’s web client, so that you get some pretty “back to Exchange Web” or some such frame above the link you click on. At some point in the email composing process, though, all the links in the outgoing copy of the message were redirected as well, so that they bounce through mail.microsoft.com twice. For example, the email’s link to the Windows Embedded Student Challenge (www.windowschallenge.com) appeared like this in the letter: http://www.windowschallenge.com. Now on first glance that looks ok, but if you hover your mouse over it, you’ll note that the actual URL of that link is rather bizarre. If you click on it, you’ll note that it dead ends at Microsoft’s Exchange server login page. Uselessly, might I add. So because the text of the link named one URL, and the actual href (where your browser will go) of the link points to mail.microsoft.com instead, Thunderbird flagged it as a scam. (This is a common tactic of phishers… they’ll title a link “ebay.com/renew_your_membership_now_or_bad_things_will_happen” but set the href to something like “http://www.yousuckbecauseyouweredumbenoughtoclickonthislink.com/”, which will look like an ebay login page, but actually just steal your account info.)
The mistake wasn’t malicious on Microsoft’s behalf, but deceptive, nonetheless, and Thunderbird would have none of it: