The Haus

Thursday, August 28, 2003

Patented Reboot Fix

LOL: Dell Patents the "Reboot and see if that fixes it" method of tech support. I've got a TON of prior art on this one :-) I think Dell ought to get a patent on "make the customer do stupid stuff that they already tried because that's what the Dell Tech Support List of Solutions (tm) says to do" method as well. They'd have to battle that one out with RoadRunner tho.

Update! In the same vein, Slashdot has a fascinating article about Dell's new EULA policy, which basically makes it impossible to use a new Dell PC without agreeing to read EULAs that you cannot read without breaking seals that automatically mean you've agreed to the EULA, without actually reading it! You know, maybe I WILL build my next PC myself.

Wednesday, August 27, 2003

Nice and Balmy

Somebody at The Weather Channel is apparently hitting the same crack pipe as the boyz from SCO. It is saying our current temperature is a sunny 119F. Of course, it also says our dew point is 55F, which is probably very close. In reality it's nice and cool and relatively dry. Unfortunately, I've officially entered my allergy season, so I'm going to be hitting the Allegra hard until the first frost. Joy.

J.t.Qbe comments: The d00dz from weather.com have been doing heavy dope for a few weeks now. Accurate and dependable? Once, perhaps. These days they're more likely to tell us we're 90 and sunny when it's 70 and tornadoing. I'm quickly becoming a big fan of Weather Underground.

Kudos to ViewSonic

I recently bought a ViewSonic A90f+ monitor at Best Buy which naturally came with a mail-in rebate. Unfortunately, one of BB's trained monkeys put another sticker over the UPC and serial number barcodes which were supposed to be sent with the rebate form. I contacted ViewSonic and they said to send everything directly to them with a certain case number. I just now received a phone call from a very pleasant woman telling me that they had received my information, everything was OK, and they were forwarding everything to their rebate center. That's right, a phone call just to tell me they had everything. That's the kind of customer service that will make me a repeat customer.

Regular Expressions .info

Just got an update newsletter from JGsoft, maker of my favorite text editor, EditPad Pro (no affiliation, yadda yadda). He has created a new website with detailed documentation on regular expressions. If you don't know what a regex is, you have less headaches in your day (and don't use grep), but you're missing out on one of the more powerful text parsing engines ever made. Check it out.

Pondering the Imponderable

Pretty soon, I'm going to have a brief power outage for the last time. They are moving my end of the block to a new transformer since the old one just couldn't keep up with all the houses it was attached to. On hot weekends, I'd hear my UPS clicking in and out as it tried to smooth out the power. When there's a bit too much drain, my monitor gets this lovely wobble, making me feel like I rode the Twist and Puke at the carnival too long. Thankfully, it's nice and cool here today so we won't have to miss the air conditioning.

In actual gaming news, here are the games I'm most looking forward to: 5) Quake IV (a ways off, I grant you), 4) NWN: Hordes of the Underdark, 3) Unreal Tournament 2004, 2) Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy, 1) DOOM3. The only reason I don't like Half-Life 2 is because I seriously doubt that I'm going to be able to play it through WineX, at least not without a major system upgrade.

J.t.Qbe comments: My list would be: 1) The Temple of Elemental Evil, 2) Gothic II, 3). . . um, I guess that's it. It's kind of a slim year for games.

The Master comments: I'm looking forward to 1) Doom 3, 2) Deus Ex 2, 3) UT2K4. I'm just not sure about Half-Life 2. I'm QUITE sure I'll need a Cray to run that sucker. You practically need a Cray for HL 1.

Thanks, Sobig

I'd personally like to thank those behind the various Sobig worms which have made life so pleasant lately. The VPN into work has been snail-slow for the past week; the mail server simply doesn't respond half of the time and my terminal sessions take .5 to 30 seconds to respond to anything. Yep, I'd like to thank the Sobig authors, preferably in a dark alley somewhere with some brass knuckles.

And I'd like to thank Microsoft for making stuff like this possible. When will people finally say "enough" and say good-bye to Microsoft? Never: most are suckers for Microsoft's slick marketing. Bah.

A.T. Hun comments: While MS certainly deserves a giant raspberry for a lot of this, the bigger question might be, "When are people going to learn to patch their systems?" Joe User needs to figure out that he has to visit Windows Update to patch his system regularly, or better yet, make sure MS informs him whenever a patch is released. I subscribe to Slackware's security advisory list. As soon as an update is released, I snag it and install it. Until people can learn that (and MS can release patches that won't hose systems), problems like this will only get worse as broadband proliferates.

The Master comments: You know, we can rant about this all we like, but we KNOW what "Windows Update" is, and we KNOW about "security advisories". I personally know people who wonder "will that worm thingie they're talking about on TV affect me?", and then go back to watching the tube. Let's face it, either (a) Microsoft will need to ram the patches down every Windows user's throat, in which case the privacy and security people will scream, (b) ISPs will need to properly border and egress filter their networks, and properly reverse DNS check e-mail against sender domain, and require properly labelled and formed packets both IN and OUT of their networks, in which case the privacy people and ISP network admins who don't give a damn about security will scream, (c) ISPs require up-to-date virus software and patches on PCs, in which case privacy people and users will scream about money and time and confusion, (d) take all the damn PCs away from people until they get properly security conscious (yeah, that'll happen), or (e) Microsoft be fined for every system intrusion due to coding neglegence. Now, (e) may not happen in the USA, where any good company can and will deny responsability for everything, but it will be about the only way anything will be properly repaired in Windows.

Check Your Blacklists!

According to Slashdot, the Osirusoft blacklist is dead. The fun twist on this: the owner of the list has blacklisted the world in revenge for a DDOS attack on his domain. Nice. Check your mail server configs, you're probably dropping every single email you're getting. This even affected us. Grrr.

Past Two Days' News

Recent Headlines

January 5, 2015: It Returns!
August 10, 2007: SCO SUCKS IT DOWN!
July 5, 2007: Slackware 12.0 Released
May 20, 2007: PhpBB 3.0 RC 1 Released
February 2, 2007: DOOM3 1.31 Patch

January 27, 2007: Join the World Community Grid
January 17, 2007: Flash Player 9 for Linux
December 30, 2006: Darkness over Daggerford 1.2
December 19, 2006: Pocket Tunes 4.0 Released
December 9, 2006: WRT54G 1.01.1 Firmware OK with Linux/Mac

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