Disconnected!

xs4all - 100% blocked Today, returning from a meeting at work, I saw I had (from my home connection) pinged out from IRC. Not just me, my girlfriend too, at the same time. As our computers are on auto connect for IRC, I was puzzled to see it had been almost an hour and a half. I began to google and search. Was there a power failure in my home town? Negative. Nothing on twitter about that either. Internet problems? I looked on my ISP’s website, but no relevant reports there either. Continue reading Disconnected!

Animal Crossing: New Leaf, Old Issues

So, in the last few days I’ve been playing the new Animal Crossing game on and off a bit. This latest installment of the game is for the Nintendo 3DS and is great fun to play. The game appears to be more involved and prettier than ever before, making it a joy to walk around in your little town and talk to its inhabitants. One can tell Nintendo put a lot of effort into this game to make it look and feel just right. Reviews of the game are in general all positive, yet for me, there are some things which could have done better. And how do I know they could have been done better? Because they were implemented in the previous installment of the game, and now they’re gone!

What am I talking about?

Well, for one… where has the voice chat gone? On the wii, the game was available with a special accessory so you could really talk with people visiting your town. And now, on the 3DS, with a microphone built in, this functionality is gone? Really, what were they thinking? Instead we are left with no other way to communicate other than tapping half a line of text at a time with the stylus on the 3DS. That is too poor!

Would it not be nice to talk to my visitor now, and let her know about the lecture Monty is giving me?

Secondly, even when left writing messages to each other using the stylus… you no longer can send mail to other towns? You have to go visit the other town, and then go to their post office to send them a letter. How poor is that? “Uhm… open your game for me, I want to send you a letter”… That just isn’t going to work. I guess Nintendo didn’t want to undermine it’s own letterbox service here or something, but even with that… this should have been part of the in game experience as it has been before. You can’t attach a present to a spotpass letter, the way you could with a letter in Animal Crossing before.

It’s a shame that two of the things that would have made this game perfect for playing online with friends have been taken away from the game, for no clear reason. Given how many years this game has been in development (it was once believed to be a launch title for the 3DS!), I really can’t think of any excuses for this disappointment.

Tour de Dopage 2012 aka cheats on wheels

I realise it must seem that I only post on my blog when I’m in a ranting mood or find something to be frustrated about. Today is no exception to that as I write about this years Tour de France and professional cycling in general. I love watching it and each year I can’t wait for July to come to watch it again. The heroics of it all, the three weeks of almost non stop action as nearly two hundred men travel around the country, the lovely scenery, the efforts put in when it is 38 degrees centigrade or 38 degrees Fahrenheit outside… I love it all!

One thing though keeps returning year after year, and that is the topic of doping. For years I have believed, or wanted to believe, that these are mere incidents and a typical example of the few bad apples in the basket ruining things for all the good ones. Now I’ve come to the conclusion that it sooner is the other way around and that against all odds, there probably are a handful of good apples in the basket and the rest of them are rotten, including the basket itself!

Why do I say this? Because after 10 years of talking about the “new” cycling spirit where there is no room for doping, new scandals still emerge. More and more it seems that people who we wanted to believe are innocent, like Lance Armstrong, are anything but. No longer a hero, it now feels like I’ve admired a liar and a cheat. My only consolation is that I’m not alone in being deceived, but I think it is a blemish on his reputation none the less. What is worse though, is that this can’t be an isolated case. For years people have been caught and denied everything. Some of them like Floyd Landis and Ricardo Ricco are obvious idiots and got little sympathy from their colleagues in the squads. They have been puked out by the community, but I feel only because they were not well liked and no one could seriously defend them anymore. Others who are smarter just haven’t been caught yet. A lack of evidence does not make one innocent.

Some of the participants are very vocal about how they are against doping and how all this talking about it does unjust to the clean road warriors out there. But are there any? The team leaders of today were cyclists themselves in times when things weren’t “as clean as they are today”. Most of them won’t talk about their own history involving doping to this very day. And we trust these men to be the moral officers of today to tell us what’s right and what’s wrong? Same goes for the road heroes themselves. In Tours like this they spend nearly 24 hours a day on each others lips. And no one knows anything about what happens when their team mates take drugs? How realistic is that? And then there is the moral code that seems stronger in cycling than in the mafia. It’s like the first rule of the fight club: You do not talk about fight club. 200 monkeys who see no evil, hear no evil and speak no evil. Perhaps it is only one kid in the class who messed up, but as long as his classmates won’t come clean and tell the teacher who did it, the entire class gets to stay in detention till they come forward and come clean. Adult men as they might be, none of them seem able to rise above their own shadows. You don’t tattle tale on your fellows, but then don’t come running crying to us for sympathy then. The cookie jar is empty every day, yet no one with access to it knows anything about it? How stupid do they think we are?

Even with this misplaced moral code, there are more reasons to assume this is a wider spread problem than they’d like us to know about. After all, if you use doping, you gain an unfair advantage over those who don’t. Having established that doping is still a problem today, how can any of the cyclists be ok with them being cheated out of well deserved victories by those with their hands in the cookie jar? The only thing I can think of is that no one is clean and everyone is in on it. As long as this behaviour continues and is condoned by the peleton and the teams at large, cycling can’t be what it aspires to be. As for me? One less illusion. I’ve been watching lies for the past years, and am about ready to give up in disgust now. Congratulations sports, you’ve managed to turn someone off from one of his favourite pastimes. The map with this years stages on it which I had posted on the fridge goes down now. Tour de France, it was nice knowing you for all these years and I have some good memories. Sorry to learn now that they were not for real.

Online dick waving (or I’m a racist)

What is it that prompts some people to be a total ass to complete strangers online? See below a mail which I found in my mailbox yesterday:

From: Grzegorz Dzień (gdzien@gmail.com)
Subject: Webhosting?

Dude are you serious? It smells for kilometer like you have no idea what tha hell are you doing with operating system, are you sure you want to take responsibility about hosting oterp people’s data? Think of fact, that some of websites you are going to host are going to be storing some people’s personal data – by law you are bound to provide proper security on OS level for that… Obciously you have no idea how hosting should work like, and no idea how to administer Linux.
Havion your webserver to send php files as a plain text is best proof of what I am saying.

Need help we can agree on some cash for proper administration.

Best Regards
Grzegorz Dzień

Who was this stranger that mailed me out of the blue and started dude’ing me right away? A quick google turned up his webpage, http://grzegorz.dzien.org/ . Wanting to read more on this self labeled expert, I looked around the site a bit more, only to be prompted by errors and the like on almost every link I clicked. The contact page gave a 403 – Forbidden error. Is this the same guy who’s lecturing me on ‘proper administration’? I decided to drop back a quick line, perhaps a little more terse than I should have been:

Like http://gdzien.com/contact/ ?

I think I’ll pass, unless you are offering to pay me some cash for it.

Thanks,

Remco

It didn’t take long before I got a reply to my email:

ROTFL, you see that as a serious security threat? Damn, I will just enyoy seeing your site beeing defaced 😀

In the mean time I wondered how he stumbled upon me and checked out the problem with my own site (which surely enough was there, he was right about that).

It turns out that he had stumbled upon me when reporting a bug to the Mageia bugtracker at https://bugs.mageia.org/show_bug.cgi?id=5363 . His report was marked, rightly or wrongly, as a duplicate of a bug I had reported two weeks before. I have the feeling Grzegorz somehow felt attacked or threatened by me for having reporting this bug and felt I had been stupid in the way my bug report had come about and that his bug was a whole different matter and all? Fair enough with me, I don’t really need his approval for anything. The fact that my problem came to light while trying to solve another security issue in the distribution probably escaped him completely, but ok. But I wonder why could he not just let it rest at that? Why did he feel the need to go write such a mail? Sure, I did appreciate being told of the issue with my site, but why in such a taunting tone? Anyways, I was getting fed up with the whole thing and replied:

Where did I say anything about a serious security threat? Just pointing out that your own server is just as prone to misconfiguration as mine, so
get of your high horse.

Thanks for the heads up anyways.

Cheers,

Remco

(and end of discussion as far as I’m concerned)

Shortly after came his response:

It’s not a missconfiguration man, I am just not caring about this website – there are no website there I never created contact information for it for a reason 🙂

If you see sending php scripts as a plaintext to a client equal to not finished website then I will be gladli aughting at you when I will read that you got prosecuted for complete lack of security 😀

In the mean time I had logged into the server and corrected the problem which he originally reported. It turns out that an upgrade of the Debian apache packages on the server had disabled PHP scripts in user directories. I should have checked at the time of the upgrade, but as this is just a hobby for me which has mostly been lingering for the past years, it was no biggy to me.

I should have left it at that, as I had written before, but just couldn’t resist. I quote from his CV:

Attitude
As a success-oriented person he enjoys learning new
technologies and taking up professional challenges.
Always applies the most effective solutions to
problems. He is being considered an expert of
Network and Server Technologies, always professional
and passionate about the subject of his interest. He is
known as a IT security specialist, who can perfectly
handle work under pressure and always delivers in a
professional and timely manner. Great team player,
with the ability to professionally handle individually
oriented tasks.

I wrote back:

And you call your attitude “professional” in your CV? Well, I’m glad that we can both have a good laugh at each other.

Oh, and for the record, when your CV and emails are so full of spelling and grammer errors, perhaps you should reconsider calling your command of the language “advanced”.

His reply:

You ain’t perfect either “grammer” 😉

I decided to stop this email exchange and to spend my time in a more fruitful way — asleep in my bed. Grzegorz should have done the same, but appearantly he decided to keep penpalling me some more:

BTW: No other attitude expected from racist dutch bastard 😉 Well best of luck dude, hope you’ll get cracked when you will be big enough to make it funny 😀

Go cry on PVV’s website that Polish dude proven you lame 😉

And again, ending on a sweet note in an email sent today:

As a nice good bye I will just hint you how to fix your php problem with
one command (used to work on mandriva):

# urpmi phpmyadmin

Good night 😉

Your ssh problem solves this one:

# cp -f /etc/ssh/sshd_config.rpmnew /etc/ssh/sshd_config

At least I know my part of the job 😉
BTW: I will have changed my eng lvl in CV to fluent long time ago, just forgot about this website 😉

Best of luck.

So, there you have it. I’m an ignorant, stupid, racist of the Polish race bastard. Should I have handled this differently, or did I say anything wrong to provoke such taunting pleasantness from him?

Vegetarian

“Are you really a vegetarian?”

“Why is that?”

“Have you always been a vegetarian?”

“Don’t you miss eating meat?”

“What about your family? Are your parents vegetarian too?”

“What do you eat if you don’t eat meat?”

“Do you eat fish? Poultry?”

“What about eggs?”

“You’re not a vegetarian if you eat eggs!”

“Vegetables are living things too, hahaha!”

“I tried being a vegetarian too some years back, but I missed having meat too much.”

“I tried being a vegetarian too some years back, but after a few weeks I started to feel so weak.”

“I only buy biological meat”

“But you do have leather shoes?”

“My brother’s daughter is vegetarian too!”

“So, you eat tofu and stuff? Did you know nuts are good for you as well?”

“You don’t know what you’re missing out on!”

“What about milk?”

Listen people… yes, I’m a vegetarian… trust me, I know. That simple fact doesn’t make me a world miracle though. Why do I always have to talk about it whenever I’m having a dinner with colleagues or friends? Please, let me fork my beans in peace for once! I want to eat my meal without being subjected to the Spanish inquisition! That way I also don’t feel compelled to make your sexual preferences, your awful taste in clothing, or the reason why you ordered fish instead of meat the topic of conversation!

Yes, I’m a vegetarian. Deal with it and get on with your life.

Love and deceit in online relationships (or how US Navy Commander David Wright is Ronald Edward Driver Jr and runs a TV repair shop)

Dear friends,

As one who has online friendships with persons from all over the world, many of which I’ve never even met in person, I’ve been witness to online friendships and foeships forming, strengthening and dissolving over time. Sometimes these friendships even develop into a romantic relationship and all the feelings and emotions that go with it.

It’s already been quite some years since people would shake their head at you when you mentioned you found someone online. These days it is accepted and quite normal to find a partner online through a dating site or otherwise. But what if the person you’ve fallen in love with is not the person they say they are? Unfortunately I’ve seen that happen several times and even been in that situation myself once (though it lasted years before I put all the pieces of the puzzle together!) and as such I know how devastating such a thing can be and how hurt one can feel when one realises they’ve been led on for months or even years while believing in a dream that turns out to be a lie.

The recent unfolding of a fabricated relationship that ended up hurting some of my online friends is what prompted me to write this post. Continue reading Love and deceit in online relationships (or how US Navy Commander David Wright is Ronald Edward Driver Jr and runs a TV repair shop)

Diplomacy game for novice players

I’ve created a PBEM game for novice diplomacy players and it still has a few spots open. Anyone interested is invited to join while positions remain available.
The game is called rems002n and runs on the USAK judge. In order to participate in the game, you need to be registered with the judge first. Please use the form at http://usak.asciiking.com/register.html if you are not registered yet.

Once you’ve finished registration, you can sign up for this game by sending the following email to the judge:

signon ?rems002n password
set preference A[IFG]ERT
signoff

These commands will sign you on to the game and indicate that you prefer to play (A)ustria, or, if that’s not available, your next preference is either (I)taly, (F)rance, or (G)ermany, and if none of these are available, you’ll take (E)ngland before (R)ussia, and Russia before (T)urkey. Of course, you can set any preference you like by changing the order of the power letters and the application or not of [] groupings. Setting the preference is optional. If you do not set a preference, the judge will assign you one of the seven powers.

The email address for the judge is usak@asciiking.com

The game is configured to run on weekdays with deadlines falling on any of them.

During the game I’ll try to stay on the background, but I’m always available in the event of trouble or questions.

The sooner you sign up, the sooner the game can start.

Once you join the game I (and the other players) do expect you to see it through and not abandon the game half way. If you can’t lose games with grace and know that you’ll walk away if things go bad, please do not sign up for this game.

The houserules of the USAK judge apply to this game, and can be found at: http://usak.asciiking.com/data/house.rules

This is only the second game since many years that I’ll be the GM for, so in a way it’s a newbie game for me as well!

I hope to welcome you all to the game soon! In the event of questions, please feel free to drop me a line.