Tuesday, September 13, 2005

What is the meaning of life?

Life is an impermanent thing, just living it will tell you that. You will always find out new things. Your perceptions will always change. Your reality might even change! Point being, you, and all other creatures on this planet live in a world controlled by the impermanent. Just imagine the ways your life could change in an instant: your results could come back positive, you could find your house door jimmied open, you could get a phone call, any number of things could result in your life becoming something you never would have expected.

It is my experience that people as children are who they really are, and as they grow older they simply become more adept at hiding that child. But the child never leaves, it's just squelched a little bit. You may, however, find that in times of extreme emotion your child takes control because your adult simply doesn't have the faculties to handle the situation. Your adult will always try to find a way to box life, to set parameters, to quantify and qualify, to understand. But it is when you experience your child that you are truly understanding life.

It is when you experience your child that you understand that life can not be understood, boxed, quantified, or qualified. It is when you realize that you are still that child, wandering through an immense world, seeing things with new eyes, never knowledgeable, but always seeking knowledge, unaffected by the societal filters our adults are slaves to.
Free to be free. Free to be me.

When a time of change approaches our adults will die a hundred deaths before they can pick out curtains. Our children embrace change as a new adventure. Someone worth quoting said "Childhood is that state which ends when a puddle is viewed as an obstacle instead of an opportunity." Your child will live through this change, and actually embrace the excitement of it.


In a life full of change and philosophy there will always be a few things that remain unchanged. These inescapable static truths. No matter how far off the path or along the path you may venture, you will always come across them. At times when they were the farthest thing from your mind, they will be there. Ineptitude. Possibilities. Love. Haunting you. But why?

This is the real question. Why? Why are they always there? Are they torments, or are they reminders? Are they some higher power trying to point you in the right direction? Or are they fates twisting your will, driving you inwardly mad?

There is only one way to find out. To embrace the ideal this truth is offering. To examine it with your new eyes. To believe that this truth could provide you with a new life of endless happiness. And to accept that it could hurt you more deeply than anything you ever thought possible.

This is the meaning of life.

To exist on that fine line. To experience the elating highs, and the crushing lows. To seek those truths which exist forever inside you.

Without the drive to seek those truths, you exist in limbo. Always waiting, waiting for something to happen for you. Or to you. Instead of passing through life, life passes through you. And beyond all, you feel an emptiness. You've felt it your whole life. Some inperceptiable imperfection in your reality. Something missing, some purpose, some direction, some truth.

This is why you must seek those truths. Because they are intangibly important. Because without them you lack meaning. Because they prove your existence. Because they are the only things in your life that never change.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Signature bombing?

New DDoS idea... You head to a well known forum that allows you to make your own html signatures, add in your signature a (preferrably big) image hosted on the target's server, make the image size 1x1, and it will still load the whole picture without it taking up any space in your signature. Put it in your signature 1-100 times, and then just start posting in popular topics. Damn...

Everytime someone visits the page (hopefully lots of people) they will have to load a chunk of bandwidth from the target's server. Depending on how popular the forum is, you could cause a huge amount of traffic, eat up their bandwidth, and possibly cause lengths of DoS. (pick a juicy post topic!!)

Heh... maybe it's a bad idea to share this...

"Fetch! Good Spidey!" *pat* *pat*

Quick definitions:
Spider/crawler: A program that browses (usually) multiple webpages for you, and finds content you ask it to.
Scraper: A program that "scrapes" data of a certain type off of a webpage. If you download a picture you are "scraping" that picture. Automating the process means you can let the computer get it for you.

Ok, so my most recent project has been this Spider/scraper Spiderfetch.pl. It was originally intended to scrape manga off of webservers, but it had the (obvious) functionallity to pull porn off of free servers. I found the necessity to add some counter-obfuscation methodologies some webmasters were implimenting (they really don't want you to scrape their content :-P )I later incorperated the ability to follow links and search the linked pages for the content you want. There are a lot of pages that sort, catagorize, and link directly to sample/free content. This makes your free porn collection endeavors considerably easier. However, many "link pages" have some form of process which counts how many each link is clicked so they can get stats on what most visitors prefer to see, and where they came from. This also serves as a form of link obfuscation that must be circumvented. So I added the functionality to deal with these "processed links", I still can't follow unobvious links, but that functionallity should be coming soon! Since I had already built in the ability to pick up different extensions, it was already programmed to pick up movies of different extensions, mp3s whatever you want. I've yet to add the functionallity to pick up content on the page (it only picks up content linked from the page), but that will come soon too.

But does it work???

Currently, my girlfriend and I *actually* have more porn than we know what to do with.

Impressive? yes.

I even added more functionallity to circumvent spider prevention tools/forms/etc. after a while it became less about the porn, and more about the programming challenge... but that's how most of my projects work out anyways!

My friend was (understandably) interested in the prospect of the script, and asked that I send him a copy. I had just worked a tough site, and had a hard-coded version of the script, and found it amusing that instead of trading porn, I was providing the means to obtain the porn I had. Know what I mean? Kind of like bittorrent, you don't send the file, you send the ability to obtain the file.

Essencially I've reduced 100MB of data into a 3K perl script that can be run, or not run at his lesure to obtain the mass of data. Cool eh?
of course as opposed to bittorrent, this is contrived without the concerns for the host's bandwidth, but... then... hey... free porn! :-D

I've been meaning to get some hosting, but I don't care enough to. And since some of the characters in the script get fuxored with the HTML formatting, I can't just post the plain text. Whatever.

CCM Series 5 Autococker

I'd been thinking about picking up an autococker (paintball marker) for quite some time. Not really for the want of another semiautomatic marker, but so I could invite more people along. An impediment had been that everyone complains about their autocockers. They're complex pieces of equipment, which lends them to failure. Though many will argue that once an autococker is timed it needs little attention, I've found this to be true.

The autococker internals consists of a sear, hammer, and valve just as other markers do. To cock bolt back and forth the use of gas pressure and a ram is used. In normal cocked and gassed position, the hammer waits to be released into the valve whereupon the air will be released into the hollow bolt which blows the air and paintball out the barrel. The trigger releases the hammer and actuates an arm which controls a valve which controls where the air goes to the ram. When the trigger is pulled back all the way, the valve directs the air to the back of the ram which is attached to a rod which runs down the body and "cocks" the back block which sets the hammer, and pulls the bolt back letting another paintball in the breach. When the trigger is released, the ram pulls the rod forward and pulls the back block forward, now the bolt is set forward with a new ball in front of it, and the hammer can be released.

As you can (or even can't) understand there are quite a few things that need to happen exactly as timed or you have yourself a patented 'cocker problem! Getting your cocker retimed is usually a pain if you don't know an airsmith (and sometimes even if you do!). Autocockers have a reputation for being a handfull.

In just looking for autocockers one really seemed to stand out the ones made by Chipley Custom Machine (CCM). One of the major deciding factors was their great support (said to be second only to CCI). Knowing I could just send it in and have them fix it (if I got overzealous and screwed it up :-> ). The fact that they had one of the smoothest pump conversions on the market was also helpful :-D. I looked for a long time and finally found one for what I thought was a good price. I picked up the marker from a friend from the PHoG for $290 shipped, timed, and drop-forward-ed(?).

When I picked it up for the first time I was so suprised at how slick it looked. It has a very plain body and most paintballers would fault them for that, it didn't have any creative milling (funky/cool lines cut into the body), nor did it have some crazy anno. I liked black, and I liked simple. At the time I did not notice the weight but I later realized that it was quite light. I also picked up my first hpa tank (68/4500) for a good price from a friend.

Not being used to playing with a full hopper or a tank more than 3.5oz my first play with it was kind of a trial. Man, all that stuff is bloody heavy! I got a few eliminations on my first few games out with it, but I didn't intend on playing a full day with it (and I was only out for a half day that time anyways!).

So, satisfied that it worked I left it in the corner until I invited someone else along who would need to use it.

Some weeks later, I played a *single* game with a sniper2 pump that belonged to a friend of mine. I was blown away with the comfort and ease of motion. Sure, it wasn't that light, but different pumps for different games. My intrest was piqued.

About a week ago, I picked up the CCM (just because it looks-a soo good!) and started to wonder what I should do with it. I already knew it could be a mean speedball machine, but what else could it do? I've never been a fan of slinging paint, so the need for a gi-normous 20bps hopper seemed silly to me. I picked up a brass eagle 50 round hopper to keep the weight down, and keep me from overusing that lovely electro-style double trigger! I also picked up a 12oz CO2 tank for it's slim, long shape. I began to fiddle with different configurations, and in the process put my old tippmann back-bottle ASA on the grip (has about a 15 degree downward angle), when I picked it up, I was stunned at how much it felt like my phantom! Since my phantom has the T-stock at about the same angle it felt perfect. Even with the huge hpa tank sticking way out like that, it felt better than being hunched up on the marker. Putting the marker farther from my body gave it more stability, and with the back-bottle replacement stock I could do all the tricks I'd done with my phantom's stock for increased stability in wierd positions!

With all this fiddling though I couldn't help but take the marker completely apart. I did all but remove the valve, and disassemble the pneumatics (I'm not stupid!). I put it back together with a better mechanical understanding of how it worked and knowledge on how shorten the trigger pull, back block motion (faster cycling), and generally how to get maximum speed out of it (theoretically of course! I had no reason or desire to fux with it then). I appreciated the simple-yet-complex design for a bit, and then put it back together. (it still worked of course :-> )

I think I've decided on a configuration; back bottle with a 15(?) degree drop, running hpa (if the co2 sucks) in a 33ci tank ($37 from whitewolfairsmithing.com), delrin pump kit, and smoked 50 round hopper. I'd also run the same configuration as an autococker, and hopefully one-ball as long as the situation would allow. I like the double trigger, so I plan on keeping it on both configurations. I don't have much intrest in an autotrigger or an 86 degree frame for some reason. Perhaps I'm too used to the phantom feel, and need to be weened onto possibly better alternative configurations (shoulder stock, 45 grip frame, light weight, maximum consistency) slowly, but only if the desired configuration has shortcomings! (if it ain't broke...)

My pump kit should arrive today.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Getting a bunny!

Either that or a rabbit.

Outside my office is a section of plants to inject some vibrant green into this concrete techno-city. Every once in a while I'd spot a brown object dart from view when I passed on the walkway. I suspected a more annoying animal and was suprised to see that our "garden" was home to a few brown bunnies (less than a year old). One of the high-points of my day became catching fleeting glimpses of these elusive lagomorphs.I became more interested in them, and did some research. What? We don't watch TV! I found that there were a lot of people who thought that rabbits made good house-pets.

I would be more than interested in a pet, but our apartment complex only allows house cats, and I wasn't too keen on keeping a cat inside. I love cats, but given our relatively small living quarters, I found the idea of a litter box a problem. I began to read more about rabbit care and expressed slight interest in getting a rabbit. The more I read the more I was attracted to the idea of caring for a house rabbit. They can be litter trained, and once spayed or neutered, can be rid of most habits that uneducated rabbit owners find less than endearing. They can learn their name, and are rather intelligent. Something I especially liked about the information provided on the website is that it let you know how to allow the rabbit to do what they naturally want to do. Rabbits have a natural inclination to dig, chew, and play. Failing to provide outlets for these actions will cause your rabbit to become unhappy, and act out (dig up the carpet, chew up something important, or play with something they're not supposed to). "A bored rabbit it a naughty rabbit!" as stated on the website. The reason this problem isn't such a problem with dogs/cats is because they can be better trained to suspend those scratching/digging/playing urges. This is good and bad. Because to me, there's nothing sadder than a pet that's been trained not to do the things it enjoys. The rabbit probably cannot be trained to stop doing what it likes entirely, but since it's a smaller animal, you can make special allowances to contain the "distruction". Providing chew sticks or something interesting to chew on will keep the rabbit from chewing up your baseboards. If a rabbit likes to dig a certain area/corner you can put a small stack of cardboard or newspaper there and the rabbit will happily dig on those surfaces instead of your carpet. Accidents can be cleaned up with white vinegar, and pellets are easily vacuumed/swept up, but if the rabbit prefers to "go" in a certain area, provide them with another litter box nearby or on that spot. Meet you pet half way, don't force your will on the poor thing.

One thing that particularly interested me was their innate apprehension for other creatures (especially bigger ones). They are prey animals and should therefore be afraid of unknown things. I was particularly interested in the stories of owners achieving a comfort and trust level with thier rabbit that is usually simply the norm with other pets. I wished I could build this kind of trust in a naturally fearful (albeit cuddly) animal.

After talking about it for a long time we started looking into the logistics and everything seemed to fall into place from there.

We located a semi-local animal shelter and visited (which was heartbreaking, by the way). When we were approaching the rabbit area, they had a "bunny run" set up outside. Fenced off areas where the rabbits can get out of their cages and get some air and excersise. When we passed, we saw one of the workers chasing after a rabbit calling, "come here Eva... come on." We looked at eachother and smiled because we've been working our way through the Neon Genesis Evangelion anime series. If you like anime, and you've never seen the entire series (including "The End of Evangelion" replacement movie for the last two episodes) I've put together four easy steps to remedy the problem:

1. find the nearest mirror
2. take a long, hard look at what you call an "anime fan"
3. slap yourself
4. repeat

Anyways, the series is lovingly referred to as "Eva" so hearing the rabbit's name caught our attention for a short while. When we got inside we walked passed all the poor cats who need loving homes, and made it to the rabbit section. Outside the area was a pegboard with tips of caring for rabbits. I was reassured to know that I already knew most of the information from my visits to www.rabbit.org. We were suprised to see that most of the rabbits there were older than we expected. Apparently rabbits get pretty big in the first year (aside from dwarf rabbits), we realized that caring for a rabbit under a year old would be a bit of a hassle especially for our first. As we wandered the area, none of the rabbits paid us much mind (as most were eating). I noticed one watching me lazily as I walked around, but I paid it no mind. When I passed by it, it just looked at me. I knelt down to look in the cage below that one, and when I was satisfied I looked up to stand, and saw that the rabbit in the cage above me was laying at the cage door looking down at me. The room was cramped, and I suspected when I stood up it would back up into the cage, but it didn't. I looked around the cage and saw rabbit pellets around the cage, and some in the litterbox. This usually indicates that the rabbit feels the need to mark its territory. Usually if there is another rabbit in the area, or if the area is new to the rabbit. I checked the clipboard, "Ava". different spelling, but still wierd She had only been there 3 weeks which could be why she had marked her territory. I wanted to avoid getting a rabbit who had been at the shelter a long time, because I thought the shock of moving would be increased if the rabbit was especially comfortable in the shelter. Her age was unknown, though she was more than a year old. Since rabbits usually live 10 years, her age wasn't a huge factor. We decided on Ava.

The website stated that we needed a letter from our appartment manager stating we were able to have rabbits, we didn't have that nor did we have the supplies we needed. Had we, though, we would have started the adoption process right then. As it stands, we have the supplies, and have yet to recieve our letter (she said she'd get it to us last tuesday...). This Saturday is set aside for picking Ava up. I'm excited.

On a side note; having an indoor rabbit requires that we "rabbit-proof" our appartment. Block off small spaces she could get trapped in, removing dangerous or valuable chewable items (electrical cords) from the ground, moving any houseplants (most indoor plants are toxic), etc. The process gave us an excuse to do some much needed cleaning of the appartment. Additionally, rabbits enjoy treats such as fruits and dark greens, this will entice us to actually purchase (and presumably eat) healthier foods. As a bonus, this rabbit is giving us an opportunity to start living cleaner and healthier. Cool.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Eating Fish!

Trout are freshwater fish, and have underwater weapons!
(Don't you go too near them!)
Trout are very valuable, and immensely powerful!
(Keep away from the trout!)

I overheard this song while eating at Chipotle. It was so freaking random I had to try to find it. The only part I knew was that it has a chorus where I says:

Fish, Fish, Fish, Fish, Fish;
Fish, Fish, Fish, Fish, Eating fish!

I somehow found it by googling around and picked it up off iTunes.

Fish by Mr. Scruff on the Keep it Unreal album.

Worth the $0.99 if only for novelty. I loved the hell out of the trance/dance/lounge/jazz sound, and bought his Mrs. Cruff album. It's quite good.


*shakey fist* doooo iiiittt....

A Fedora Core 4 laptop screenshot

Eterm with VIM open on one of my latest projects
XMMS playing Perl's Girl by Underworld
Eterm playing Nethack
xine playing FLCL (note "dvd" location =)
and a quick shell script displaying my wireless link quality

Hosted (and probably wrongly linked) from FedoraForum.org awesome resource for Fedora Core help!

Copying a DVD for the first time

I rented the last of a series my friend and I were watching (Ghost in the Shell, Stand Alone Complex) I highly recommend you watch the entire series anyways, he was supposed to come down for the weekend but couldn't make it, so I figured I'd try to make a copy of the DVD for future watching.

Let me preface all this by saying that I've never nor had I ever had an interest in copying DVDs. I know a little bit about it, mainly the different encoding schemes used, and that everything has to be just right. Since I didn't have any future intrest in copying DVDs I decided i wouldn't bother with all that encoding/decoding/recoding/size/quality/height/width/bullshit/etc crap. I was going to do it quick and dirty. I was going to use Linux.

I rebooted my laptop into Fedora Core 4 Linux and played the movie with xine (media player) with no problems. The way xine plays DVDs is that you create a symbolic link called /dev/dvd and point it to your dvd drive (in my case /dev/hdc). Since I had tons of space on my laptop I simply copied the entire 4.3 gigs of the DVD onto my hard drive.** I then changed the /dev/dvd symbolic link from /dev/hdc to /mnt/dmz/gitssac/ (the directory I copied it to) fired up xine and clicked the DVD button and it came up like it was the real DVD. The software didn't even know the difference.

The reason I was able to do this with linux is because everything is a file. There's no registry, no drivers that have to answer to software, no WMI components, or any other crap to seperate me from my hardware.

Funny I should bring up seperating me from my hardware... You could never do this with Windows.

What's funnier is that the reason you couldn't do this in Windows is not because your computer isn't capable, it's because because windows wouldn't let you.

Which is very strange. You bought the computer, paid the extra $50 for that DVD player, paid for a network card so you could get DSL/Cable, got the huge hard drive, and by simply installing Windows you're unable to get the fullest usage out of that hardware.

Your DVD watching is subject to Licensing crap, copy protection (which can foul up and leave you unable to watch a DVD), and anything else MS gets pressured into adding to "Curb the tide of illegal ______ing"

Your network card will not allow you to use raw sockets which (if your a programmer) can make things very difficuilt. There are many tools out that require raw sockets, and you just don't get them.

Your Hard Drive comes standard with NTFS which while claiming to be more stable causes more headaches than it prevents in a standard home environment. FAT32 is slightly faster, but not enough to speak of. Of more intrest is the recovery from a crash or lost data is simple with FAT32, but with NTFS it's a pain and a half. Anyways, proprietary formats simiply complicate things.

So if your Operating System doesn't do what you want it to do, who exactly does it work for?

If it disables any form of functionality because of pressure from the RIAA, MPAA, and anyone else with deep pockets *cough*DRM*cough*, it really belongs to them. so why the FUCK are you shelling out $199 for it?! Especially when you can get an OS that WON'T limit the abilities of you hardware for FUCKING FREE! To quote the song I'm currently listening to; "Where's your head at?!" (it must be up M$'s ass, because they have you so surrounded with shit that it's almost impossible to see that you have alternatives)

Take back your computer. Use Linux.

** incidently, it took so long to copy all that data that I hacked together a shell script that would output the percentage complete by finding the disk usage of the directory I was copying it to, and piping it to AWK where it was divided by the disk usage (size) of the dvd and multiplied by 100 to get a perentage, coupled with some leading newlines I just squished the terminal so the newlines caried the last output off the screen, and i got an hacker's copy percentage! (also I added a sleep .3 to keep it from pegging my CPU)

Quit yo jibba-jabba!

I pity the fool who uses scalar intigers to represent boolean values!!!

The accidental truth revealed by DVD "rentals"

The idea was to sell DVDs that have been treated with a chemical that causes them to go bad after 5 days. You buy the DVD, for less than the cost of the purchase of the non-treated DVD, watch it all you want for 5 days, and toss it when it goes bad.

Interesting idea for renting dvds right? No worrying about late fees, or that 11:52pm trip to the video store.

Except for one thing.

It now costs the manufacturer more to make the DVD.

Once more;

It now costs MORE to process and make the DVD.

And yet, they can somehow afford the cost of this extra treatment process, and can charge less than $5 for it.

So your choices are to purchase the official copy of the DVD and get all it's digital clarity and special features for $18.99 or, to buy the exact same DVD with all the same amenities, for $3.50 but you can only view it for 5 days because it underwent an extra form of treatment.

How much do you really think it costs to stamp out DVDs? Not even knowing what you just guessed, I'd bet $18.99 that you guessed way too high.

Why do they charge as much as they do?

because they can
By owning rights to sell a particular DVD movie, they have a monopoly on the sale of that movie. If you want to see it again, you have to buy the movie, and if you have to buy the movie, you can only buy it from them, and if you can only buy it from them, they are free to charge whatever they want for it. Of course, we're also free to choose not to buy it. And we have.
*click* *download* *watch* *piss off the MPAA*

(this isn't exactly true though, because if they charged $100 for a DVD almost no one would buy it) (although the MPAA claims that almost no one is buying DVDs for $18.99 anyways, so there are two solutions, stop selling movies, or charge less so people will pay for the movie.)

You wouldn't steal a purse, why would you steal a movie?

This is part of the MPAA's Oversimplification Campaign. They'd like you to think that theft is theft. The fact that downloading movies is a "victimless crime" makes it so a small group of people will do it. The fact that DVDs are ludicrously overpriced makes it so another small group of people will do it. And the fact that a huge national comglomerate likes to bully and extort $2000 apologies from 8 year old inner city girls makes a larger group of people hate the MPAA and download out of spite. (this is their end of the oversimplification campaign, breaking the law is breaking the law, and if you're 8 years old and weren't aware that your computer was allowing other people to upload other movies so more people could download them, tough luck. Now fork over $2000 for every movie someone downloaded off your computer (estimated more than 10,000) or write how sorry you are in an essay, and we'll only charge you $2000) Add all those small groups of pissed off people together and you have a sizable number of people who would download movies. But of them probably about 20% actually do (which is a shame). If everyone actually did, maybe those other ludicrous numbers (IE their estimated profit losses**) could start to become a reality. We can only hope.

MPAA, first let me say this, "Chill the fuck out!" You have the incredible fortune of being in an industry that will ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS be in demand! (only one other group has this; the RIAA =) You have little to no competition (there's not Other Motion Picture Association of America) and you will always make money as long as you make good investments. Hell, even if you don't you'll make ungodly amounts of money! If you do little to nothing, you will STILL make money. So Chill.

Movie industry, buy a clue. The MPAA really just a large group of lawyers sitting around bored out of thier skulls looking for something to sue! I mean "do"... No wait... Fuck the MPAA, and let your fans dictate how they want to see movies. I garantee you, you'll still make your tens of millions. You'll just do it without seeming like cold, heartless, schoolyard bullies.


** Estimated profit loss due to movies is a number that cannot technically be figured due to the nature of P2P downloads. Therefore it can only be determined by how much they estimated a movie to make. So when they hyped the FUCK out of that train wreck John Travolta movie where he's an alien or some shit (I was able to find it by googling "worst movie ever travolta" (no quotes). The movie was Battlefield Earth) and when if bombs like... like... hmmm. Nothing to compair it to, because nothing bombed more than "Battlefield Earth"! They blame it on "those damn filesharers!" It has nothing to do with the fact that Hollywood is mostly out of touch with most of America. Nooooo... Nor that it costs $35 to take my girlfriend to the movies. Noooo... It must be those damn filesharers.


Catch-up post...

Best thing about defcon was just being there with all those other like-minded, curious, inquisitive, intelligent people. The chill out room, constantly playing music and movies on projectors gave the place a seriously cool atmosphere. Additionally, there was a group there displaying their "Wall o' Sheep" which was an application they made that scans wireless internet traffic and picks web/pop3/webmail/rdp/etc usernames and passwords out of the air and displays on the page the site visited (or app used), the username, the password, and the service. Yes it really is that easy to pick your username and password out of the air when you use wireless to connect to any site (yes, banking sites too) BTW, cisco sucks. GO LYNN!