Older blog entries for vorlon (starting at number 8)

No, jdub, the Ubuntu kernel team don't have real ultimate power; ninjas do.

I'm afraid the use of port 445 is not a new and random port choice by Microsoft, Tollef.

$ grep 445 /etc/services 
microsoft-ds    445/tcp                         # Microsoft Naked CIFS
microsoft-ds    445/udp

This port assignment has been in place with IANA for several years now, and actively used by Microsoft implementations since at least the release of Windows 2000. If anything, your Uni's policy change seems to come a bit late to the game. But I guess that also explains why they've done badly enough with it that they're dropping packets on the floor...

Needless to say, trying to stop people from implementing new network protocols and asking for new port assignments would be futile. ;)

Vote for Mayor for Mayor!

Jordi expresses his concern that the American public could've voted this chucklehead in for a second four-year term. While I certainly voted for Kerry, and think that the vast majority of Bush backers should be sterilized along with their children, it's important to remember that the best that can be said about Kerry is that he's the lesser of two evils.

Kerry is a career politician, and in that sense is no better than any of the other alternatives out there. The only candidate in the Democratic party's primaries who didn't reek of politics was Kucinich, who stood a snowball's chance in hell of taking the nomination — let alone beating Bush. Voting for Kerry was very much a question of the lesser of two evils; these were votes against Bush, not votes for Kerry.

And the main point of differentiation between Bush and Kerry is that Bush has gotten us into a war we shouldn't be in; on many other issues, as people have pointed out, Kerry is likely to be worse than Bush, not better. When so many Americans — including my father — still buy the administration's line that this war was necessary, getting a sufficient majority of Americans to understand the war was wrong to the point of actually voting the slime out of office is quite a challenge — and one we failed at in the 2004 elections.

The bright side in all of this is that four more years of Bushocracy may be just the wake-up call the American public needs in order to advance some real reform in 2008. Assuming that Bush doesn't attempt to declare martial law at the end of 2008 and try to make himself dictator for life, that is. :P

As long as the US is beholden to a self-sustaining, two-party political system that no one believes can be changed, real reform is impossible. The dollar signs behind Kerry are the same as the ones behind Bush. It doesn't surprise me at all that Nader stayed in the race, in spite of the possibility that his candidacy could negatively affect Kerry.

One tantalizing suggestion from an NPR commentator, though, was that the 2008 elections would be the year we could see a genuine Internet candidate emerge courtesy of the blogosphere. So, who wants to make the first nomination?

Jury duty

I was called up for jury duty this week. An interesting experience. Of the first twenty-four jurors, only one was not passed; pulling in the next candidate in line moved me up to the third seat for consideration as an alternate juror.

The first potential juror knew one of the officers who responded to the incident socially. The second potential juror would fail one of her college classes if the trial lasted longer than two days. So there was a good chance I would have been selected as the alternate juror, had it not been for my views on jury nullification.

To be fair, my answers were not as eloquent as I might have wished them to be; and my voice not as forceful in the dry air of the courtroom than I had hoped. I made it clear enough that I knew something, but not how much; and a little knowledge (together with an unwillingness to blindly follow the instruction of the judge, which was the nature of the line of questioning) is a dangerous thing in a juror. Still, it was distressing to hear comments like this first-hand from trial lawyers:

Defense attorney: If the prosecution proves its case beyond a reasonable doubt, of course, it's your job to vote guilty [...]

... job?

Prosecuting attorney: If I prove my case beyond a reasonable doubt, what will your vote be?

The solicited answer is "guilty", of course.

Prosecuting attorney: Obviously the defendant has the right to a fair trial; but the State also has a right to a fair trial. Do you agree to this?

The rights of the State? Since when do states have rights!? And what in the world does the state's right to a fair trial give that the defendant's right to a fair trial doesn't already encompass?

So when asked if I had any concerns about the legal concepts that had been discussed, I had a few comments:

You asked each of the jurors what their vote would be if the prosecution proved its case beyond a reasonable doubt, and they answered "guilty". I believe the defendant has a Constitutional right to trial by a jury with the power to acquit in spite of the law. [...] The court's own training videos talked about "intellect and conscience". I believe that the issue of "conscience" requires a jury that has the power to nullify the law.

In retrospect, had I had more presence of mind, I might have said something like this:

If the prosecution does not prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant has violated the law, I will vote "not guilty". If the prosecution does prove this beyond a reasonable doubt, I will most likely vote "guilty", but I will not give you a promise to that effect: proof beyond a reasonable doubt speaks only to the jury's intellect, and while I'm willing to accept the judge's instructions regarding the facts of the law, a jury can only be the conscience of the community if it has the power to acquit in spite of the law.

Would it have mattered? Perhaps not.

And you and your kind, mglazer, are a threat to freedom and civil rights the world over. Luckily, so long as you're spending your time espousing your ideology of mutual destruction here on advogato, we can be assured that you will be completely ineffective, as I don't think anyone in your audience is enough of an idiot to be swayed by your diatribes.

So please, do proceed with your efforts to enlighten us all.

"Once the bullshit speak is installed, instant denial a la Ghost Not kicks in, and we see the characteristic development of anti-altruism instead of selfishness, and anti-selfishness instead of altruism (where altruism and selfishness are actually the same thing). Hence the M0 dictionary definition of "selfishness" explicitly asserts that helping self is a zero sum game, and actually describes anti-altruism. Meanwhile M0 altruism is converted into anti-selfishness - the denying of benefit to self on the false assumption that reducing benefit to self automatically increases benefit to others (the reverse is true).

"Perhaps the idea that no matter what you do, you are doomed to help increase the complexity of the universe is a little odd sounding. Consider Microsoft. If their fervent practice of anti-altruism had been a little less intense, would there have been so many people stacked up, pissed off, and keen to help make Linux work? That's the hard way to do it. On the other hand, I doubt that Linus Torvalds is ever going to find himself without employment prospects at a high salary if he wants it! By helping others, he has (like a cosmological waste product) got loads of wonderful, complex opportunity falling right into his lap."

Profound stuff that I think many in the Free Software community will recognize the truth of. So many commentators on the "Linux phenomenon" try to sort developers' motives into the appropriate pigeonholes: are they selfish motives, or altruistic ones? Some commentators make it so far as to say that our motives include a mix of altruistic and selfish goals, but even this is only half the truth: many of us have goals that are simultaneouly altruistic and selfish. We know the world we live in is not a zero-sum game, and we are not constrained to choosing between helping others and helping ourselves. We recognize that some courses of action achieve both.

Oh, I can't resist joining in on the fun. Diary entries from the commandline? Yum.

Worked on php_pam a bit last night. This is all dead code, really, on account of the fact that I designed it badly and it works with neither pam_unix nor most web proxies; but there's still a lot of demand for the thing, so I went ahead and updated it to work with PHP 4.0.6+. Probably do a release today, then maybe the emails will stop. :)

Still need to find time to sit down and redesign the whole thing. Trying to cram this stuff into the PHP process is rather counter-productive.

The hard part about implementing a distance calculator based on zip codes, vab, is not the code; the actual code to do that is so easy, it's almost not worth the effort to find someone else's implementation for the borrowing. No, the hard part is getting an up-to-date zip code database that'll map to useful coordinates (such as latitude/longitude) that can be used in distance calculations.

I notice that Zipdy's description says it uses a database "created by the US Census". Does this mean updates are only available for this database once every ten years? The customers I've worked with who were using Zip codes for commercial projects (e.g., on their websites all seem to think that having all Zip codes in the database is important enough to pay a $1000 annual subscription fee to ensure it's updated quarterly. Certainly, though, Zipdy is a nice resource for those working within more limited budgets.

I consider it somewhat ironic that it's not until Slashdot becomes unusable for posting of stories that I post my first diary entry, even though I generally consider Advogato to have a much higher S/N ratio. ;)

I received the following spam email today, which I thought I might share with the group...

MONTREAL, QC - October 02, 2001 -- OpenNA Inc., Leaders in totally secured, totally optimized, ready to use Linux solutions, announce today the availability of "Securing & Optimizing Linux: The Ultimate Solution", the latest version and the successor to our very popular "Securing and Optimizing Linux: Red Hat Edition".

The latest release includes the new 2.4 kernel with IPTABLES NetFilter, Samba, BIND9, Sendmail, Qmail, IMAP, PostgreSQL, MySQL, OpenLDAP, Apache, with SSL support and many more topics like chroot jail environment for the majority of all important services under Linux OS. The new edition takes into account the feedback we received on the original book and is a complete rewrite from scratch. You can also get RPM packages of discuted topics in the book via the OpenNA website.


Pricing (in $ USD) and Availability for Securing & Optimizing Linux: The Ultimate Solution
Pricing: $49.50 USD.

Now why, I think to myself, would I want to pay $50 to have a spammer tell me all about technologies that I've personally hacked on?

But the real gem is this bit that appears at the bottom of the Spam:

Openna-news mailing list

Aha! They're using GNU mailman! Well, that gives me an easy solution, I'll just bop on over to their webpage and unsubscribe myself, hurray for Mailman!

...but no. These despicable spammers have ripped out all but the "important" mailman cronjobs; my emails to openna-news-request fall on deaf queues, and though I click on the 'email my password to me' button, it never arrives in my mailbox. Oh, but the mailing list definitely knows that I'm subscribed to it...

So not only are they spamming about Open Source, they're using GNU software to send the spam — carefully modified in the spirit of Free Software to render their victims helpless.

So I do the only thing I can do — I qvetch about it here. That, and I set up a script to repeatedly request my password from their list server. Hey, if they don't want me to push that button, they shouldn't have it there, right?

Openna, if you're reading: TAKE ME OFF YOUR MAILING LIST! It's not acceptable when the other guys do it, and it's not acceptable when Linux people do it, either!

New Advogato Features

New HTML Parser: The long-awaited libxml2 based HTML parser code is live. It needs further work but already handles most markup better than the original parser.

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