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Name: David Scott
Member since: 2000-03-22 15:44:32
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I'm currently a first year PhD student in the Lab for Communications Engineering (part of the Dept of Engineering in the University of Cambridge). I'm primarily interested in large distributed systems and middleware.

Last year I worked as a one year pre-doc student at AT&T Labs in the UK on omniORB- a GPL CORBA platform. I was responsible mostly for the C++ backend of the new IDL compiler and almost finished an implementing the Asynchronous Method Invocation (AMI) part of the OMG CORBA Messaging spec.


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It seems like everyone has a waveLAN card these days. I have to admit they are pretty useful-- being able to hack while watching TV is very nice indeed. Of course the export-grade 40bit encryption is a bit pants, and having a single shared key (that everyone knows) is a nightmare. I was most amused to read the paper (mentioned on slashdot) analysing the Wired-Equivalent-Privacy(WEP) algorithm. They suggest some quite simple and pretty devastating attacks-- definitely worth a read.

It's really about time that people stopped plugging wireless routers directly into their backbone networks. They really ought to put the wavelan well outside their firewall and treat it with the suspicion it deserves. Perhaps it would help if the routers/bridges themselves weren't so plug-n-play (or perhaps that should be forget-n-regret?) As a bonus, people could one day co-operate and help each other (by routing packets?) rather than treating their neighbours (and their networks) as unwanted noise. After all, wasn't co-operation a founding principle of the internet?

*sigh* But it'll never happen...

Battle report (date 20/7/2000)

Large numbers of ant-infantry were spotted amassing near the border preparing for an incursion into our territory. Our scouts indicated that they had support from many units of their airborne division. At approximately 2305 UTC a chemical warhead was detonated near the front line. As the insecticide cleared our forces were able to guage the effectiveness of the attack. An uncountable number of ant-soldier bodies were observed, strewn over the battlefield. The sweet smell of victory[1].

At dawn the next day only small numbers of reconnaissance ants were observed. No infantry or airborne units were evident.

On the second day the ants launched a surprise attack, surrounding us on all sides with aerial units. The battle did not go well- we sustained heavy casualties as we have no effective weapon against flying forces (specifically the vacuum cleaner of doom lacks sufficient suction to attack a flying unit while it is still in the air). Our remaining forces withdrew and surrendered the lower floor of the house to the ant empire. The battle may be lost but the war is not over!

End transmission.

[1] - The insecticide smell was indeed sweet, but since it was poison I tried not to smell it too much.

(bit offtopic perhaps) Anyone know a good way to get rid of an infestation of ants? (yeah yeah - without setting fire to the house, knocking it down or anything like that) I wonder if there's a newsgroup alt.insects.ants.genocide or perhaps I could call that exterminator from Arachnophobia?

I looked up some local pest control companies- some of them have brilliant names.


"Licensed to Kill"


omniORB 3.0.0 has been released :)

Plenty of downloads, and no sign yet of any bug reports... I think I'll go off and hide somewhere just in case.

I got home yesterday and discovered the house server (ancient P100, HD falling apart, running PPP, masq & various proxies) had been reset by a power cut. On reboot it was having e2fsck problems (mental note: next reinstall will use ext3) and the DNS database was corrupted.

Just managed to bandage up the wounds and reboot the machine when we noticed the rather large amount of sand around the casing. It really was quite an odd thing to accumulate inside the house next to a computer. So we investigated further.

A huge ants nest. I guess that explains where the plague of flying ants inside the house had been coming from :/

Truly strange.

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