Older blog entries for Rasputin (starting at number 23)

Interesting times...not only did the network get re-numbered, but I became a manager. I hope this doesn't mean I will become technically incompetent (or worse, pointy-haired :). Once I get everything sorted out (internal promotions == 2 jobs for a time) should be good. I'm almost done sorting out all the things I had to do, and I'm coming up to speed on the new stuff.

On the distributed information store issue, only a small amount accomplished. It seems to me, that if an individual server is aware of all servers in it's "area" and knows of one server in each other possible are, I can solve part of the problem. Each server would behave as a "DNS Root server" within the area it knows, and as a "caching only DNS" that does recursive queries for the remaining areas. Sort of :). There are a large number of issues I have to come to terms with, adding new servers to an area, tracking new nodes on the information store, reducing the network load for searches, and a host of related things. Fortunately, this starts as a closed, one-server only system. The distributed bit happens when it becomes an open-source project. There's also some thought needed for types and levels of extraneous functionality.

Other than that, if we can get the air-condioner going around here, should be a good week.

Started thinking about distributed information stores. The hierarchical approach of DNS is interesting, but not appropriate for what I want to do. The issue is that there could be an inderterminate number of servers with the data spread randomly (approximately). The tough part is how does one server find any other server, and how to minimize the difficulty of the search to find the needed information. Yes, there is an open source project in here somewhere :)

I've had some thoughts on this and I'm starting to get some feel for where this will need to go. There are, fortunately, some simplifying assumptions I can make, because the raw problem is probably not solvable.

Now I gotta run, the network guy is here to move my subnet. To be continued...

I have no idea how many Advogato types are affected, but I'm seriously torqued about what has happened to K5. There's no point putting in the link because the site has been knocked down by script kiddies. I hope Rusty can get it back up fairly soon (although I noticed a message from him to the effect that it would be about a month away). I'm surprised there's no story or commentary in other diaries.

Well, it's been quite a while since I wrote anything here. It's not that I don't enjoy the site, I certainly do ;), but rather I'm still ambivalent about the whole online diary concept.

Anyhow, on the hacking front, been busy in too many areas. You ever notice I don't talk to much about what I'm actually hacking on? That would mostly be a result of the fact that I don't intend to release most of what I hack on. Some is for work (internal only), some is just for play and a lot is just to scary to contemplate putting out in the world.

Work is interesting these days, but for all the wrong reasons. Apparently someone noticed that managing a group in Ottawa from California probably needed adjustment so we're promoting someone from within the group to be the new 'local' manager. Might even find out who it is today. Four of us are at least marginally interested in the position, although I suspect any of us could do the job. The only real drawback is the hit to technical skills. If you don't use it, you lose it. As a manager, the time spent hacking drops dramatically.

I have no idea if this means I'm going to be writing here regularly again for a while or not. We'll just have to wait and see what happens ;)

It's been a little difficult to get motivated to do a diary entry. Migraines will do that.

Nothing noteworthy in the hacking dept. A little work on Intraverse and CS, cleaning up the machines at home and work, that kind of mindless silliness.

Spring spring such a beautiful spring

all the lambs are bleating

gamboling across the fields

--LOOK --

that one's cheating...

The client source for Interverse is finally cvs'able, so I can start for real on the hud. Other than that, the world is getting stranger...or maybe I'm finally paying attention.

If you plan to talk to a physicist, Guinness is a bad choice. The conversation will always extend over more than 2 pints, but there's probably something weird going on in your system if you can drink more than 2 Guinness. Kilkenny seems to be a good alternative.

Apparently, this once a week entry concept is rapidly becoming my default behaviour. It wouldn't have been so long if I wasn't the senior on-call engineer for the last week. I don't mind being on-call but it irritates me no end when I get called for (or by)stupid people. I really don't enjoy being called after midnight because somebody in California (3 hours time diff) thinks 9:30 is a good time to try to resolve annoying but not critical network problems.

Mother in Law leaves for home today...

I've started doing some work on the Interverse project, but since I haven't contributed more than suggestions and pseudo-code, I don't think I'm a developer on the project yet. That will change over the next week or two as I get to work building a couple of the components.

Lost - Motivation. If found, please dispose of carefully in an environmentally friendly manner. Please use extreme caution in handling, as it may cause an uncontrollable desire to do lots of things for no apparent reason.

I used to believe I was warped, then I saw Vigor.

I can pretty much count on not getting a lot done for the next while, Mother in Law visiting from Winnipeg.

I've been thinking about system security and the people who try to break it.

Scenario: I pretense my way into some corporate offices and when nobody is watching photocopy a random selection of documents from an unlocked filing cabinet. There is no intent to sell or otherwise profit from this information. After the fact, when I'm talking to the police about my "break-in", I justify it as intended to highlight the horrible physical security in most corporate offices. The company whose information I acquired asserts the value of the stolen material at several thousand dollars, so I get tried for very serious crimes with a real potential for a long jail term.

I honestly see no significant difference between what I described and the all too common cracking that shows up in the news every now and again. The difference is in the perception. Crackers are (commonly) considered harmless experimenters, doing it for the joy of learning and to show the security flaws in most computer networks. A person doing the more physical version (as described) is clearly recognized as a criminal and few people would believe there was no intent to profit.

I realize I'm barely scratching the surface of a very serious set of questions. I believe, however, that the Advogato group is more likely to have considered some of these things than a similar random sampling of North American society in general. As well, as (future) computer professionals, we're much more likely to have had our lives impacted by these types of activity.

Comments welcome ;)

Traded a bunch of hack time for sleep time over the last couple of days. There's got to be a way to get both but I can't figure it out.

M$ apparently has a division whose only purpose is to screw up industry standards. Apparently (just found out this morning) w2k creates these things called SRV records which it wants to associate with A records for the referenced services that it puts into the zone files and it wants the first character to be an underscore (and we don't know why). If these guys ever actually discover rfc's... The result is zones that a BIND server won't load without the check-names master ignore directive which is annoying at best.

Other than that, work is entertaining ;)

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