Wednesday, 26 March 2003

My first Archeologist came to a skicky end today at the hands of the third Yeti in the group...

Goodbye REALJimBob the Archeologist...

You died in the Dungeons of Doom on dungeon level 8 with 4604 points,
and 808 pieces of gold, after 4394 moves.
You were level 7 with a maximum of 76 hit points when you died.


I'd never really played one before, and frankly they are really boring... or am I missing something here? Normally, I play Monks but I fancied a little variety and let the game pick for me. I could probably have dragged the game out longer but it really wasn't appealing to me anymore and as I was whacking away at the Yeti with my cursed Mattock a part of my brain realised that I wasn't even watching the health levels anymore, next second I died...

Thursday, 20 March 2003

A couple of links from Doc's web site worth a peek: Military promises 'huge numbers' for Gulf War II: The Vengeance, and the latest Get Your War On.

"And so it begins..."
Looks like we are at war... Did I miss the memo where I got to ask why? The hypocrisy, of course, is that while we all bleated about how bad an idea it was our governments just got on with planning it anyway. Now we actually are at war, nobody will want to speak out too much now because 'our boys' are out there...
"The avalanche has already started, it is too late for the pebbles to vote."

We sat down last night and watched Panic Room on DVD. I hadn't seen the film for a couple of months and even then only on a small screen on a plane in economy class... Panic Room is a dark film at the best of times and obviously wasn't well suited to trans-atlantic flight as a display medium, it fared much better in my living room however on my widescreen TV.

It's amazing how much of a good film you can miss at each viewing, and only discover later. The collection of drugs in the mini-fridge as Meg puts Sarah to bed for example. Never noticed those the last time, and as such the whole plot line of Sarah being a diabetic comes as something of a shock. I found I'd remembered things in the wrong order as well. I was convinced that the cops turned up before the husband, and when he did finally arrive I found myself wondering what had happened to the cops. Only when they turned up later on did it click that I'd just remembered the film out of sequence. The biggest thing that I noticed the second time over the first, unfortunately, was the product placement - both Nokia and Evian got a lot of screen time (I'm suprised they weren't on the actor credits), but it seems that that is the way the industry is going and we'll all have to get used to filtering it out.

Sterling performances from Jodie Foster and Forest Whitaker, two of my favorite actors, make this a 'watch again' movie...

Wednesday, 19 March 2003

Finally managed to send off my DOA Shuttle SS50 from The Overclocking Store in Sheffield. Very impressed with their delivery, not quite so impressed with their total lack of response to any of my emails to their after-sales support team. Finally got through to somebody on the phone and he agreed to take the sucker back to check it over. Let's see how long that takes - I notice that they aren't selling the SS50 model anymore either on their website (neither are Shuttle themselves either) - ouch... I really wanted the two PCI slots as well and the later models sacrifice one for an AGP slot (unless anybody knows a network card with Linux support that fits in an AGP slot?).

Well, yesterday was officially a total wipe-out... My 9-11am meeting finally finished at half past five in the evening...

Monday, 17 March 2003

Heck, even Robin Cook is off to sign-up - he's quit his government job and off to support our boys... no maybe I read that wrong.

Don't forget folks... War, tomorrow, 3:30pm... pencil it in.

Bruce Schneier's latest Crypto-Gram dropped through my virtual mailbox over the weekend. Firstly, he has a new book out, Practical Cryptography (obviously, anybody stuck for a birthday present for me could do worse than the hardcover edition).

In it, he discusses his views on how the SSL flaws aren't really such a big deal as SSL is kinda fixing a non-problem to begin with...

Even if SSL were irrevocably broken, it wouldn't affect Internet security very much. There are two reasons. One, SSL is almost never used in a secure manner. And two, SSL doesn't solve an important security problem
he goes on to talk about use of SSL to protect personal transactions with websites (credit card purchases etc.)

SSL establishes a secure channel between a client and a server. In order for you, the SSL client, to ensure that the channel is secure, you need to authenticate the server. You can do this by looking at the SSL certificate (your browser allows you to do this) and making sure that the server you have established a secure channel with is the one you want to talk to. My guess is that approximately no one ever does this. I certainly never do it. This means that you are using SSL to establish a secure channel with a random person. Imagine you are sitting in a lightless room with a stranger. You know that your conversation cannot be eavesdropped on. What secrets are you going to tell the stranger? Nothing, because you have no idea who he is. SSL is kind of like that.
Which, of course, is all very true for browser to web conversations. To my mind though, the big win of technologies like SSL is in server to server communications. We have an AA application here were I work (I support it in fact) that has a number of components spread across multiple servers (web servers, and back end application specific servers). Now, we don't know for sure where the web servers are deployed, or indeed who can snoop the traffic between them and our servers, so luckily, the web server compenents speak to the back end servers over SSL links. This use seems much more akin to sitting in a lit room with a trusted friend...

Saturday, 15 March 2003

Copy protected CDs. I always swore to myself that I'd never buy one (why pay for something I can't even bloody use). Accidentally bought one the other week and before I realised the lady wife had disposed of the receipt. Damn!

My mission should I choose to accept it (of course I will), is to copy this CD to mp3 if it's the last thing I ever do. The CD in question is the Foo Fighters - One by One and I'm open to suggestions. When I put the CD into either of my laptops drives all I get is a chunking noise (like the heads are jumping around looking for some information that isn't there) yet it plays just fine in the normal stereo, in the car and even in the DVD player downstairs... Just not on my laptop (which means I can't listen to it on headphones while working).

Currently, I'm going to rip it from an analogue source (ie. a cable from the CD player to the line-in on the laptop) but it's a tedious process - fired only by my anger over getting duped like this, but if anybody has any better suggestions (or even just the mp3s that they've ripped themselves) I'm open to offers.

Pacing and not mixing. These appear to be the two key ingredients in a less painful night out... Don't feel the need to keep up with everybody else and stay the heck away from that demon Champagne!

A good night out though to 'celebrate' K leaving the company. Apart from a number of occasions where she (and others) blubbed like a baby. I suspect we'll miss her.

Monday, 10 March 2003

What's with the double adverts (up there). I mean, I know I don't pay for this hosting, and I assume they rely on the income (which is why I haven't blocked the images in my browser), but come on... before you know it I'll have to page down a couple of times just to see the first header on the page...

Update: I post this and the next refresh it's back down to just the one... sheesh, trying to make me look stoopid or what?

Saturday, 8 March 2003

(re-)discovered a cool little tag, now of course I actually have some HTML to try it out on... ;-)

Information overload..... after a few days off the newsgroups, thought I'd sit down and try and catch up.

Email - no problem, checked from work yesterday so only a few more (LARTed the Spams of course).

But man, can those folks in the newsgroups gas... Had to take myself off of spamcop and spamcop.help (spamcop got a few dozen new messages just while catching up with spamcop.help). This just leaves spamcop.mail on that server...

I can feel a serious trim from the Mozilla server coming up next, most of the groups there I so rarely even dip into (if it gets really hectic I may even have to cut down on RGRN)...

but first dinner...

Friday, 7 March 2003

Doc's new website World of ends talks about the mistakes people make regarding the Internet: Repetitive Mistake Syndrome or RMS - no wait, RMS is something or someone else... oops.

Alcohol... it seems like such a good idea at the time, but I'm never sure afterwards if it was really all worth it.

Two nights on the trot out on the beers, frankly, the only way I'm gonna get sober is to start having better days at work - oh the viscous circle...