THE VIEW FROM CHAOS MANOR
View 320 July 26 - August 1, 2004
Highlights this week:
This is a day book. It's not all that well edited. I try to keep this up daily, but sometimes I can't. I'll keep trying. See also the monthly COMPUTING AT CHAOS MANOR column, 4,000 - 7,000 words, depending. (Older columns here.) For more on what this page is about, please go to the VIEW PAGE. If you have never read the explanatory material on that page, please do so. If you got here through a link that didn't take you to the front page of this site, click here for a better explanation of what we're trying to do here.
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July 26, 2004
Headed home from Chattanooga Tennessee and Libertycon. Dallas airport, wireless connection working just fine.
Got up at 0-dark hundred but except for starting very early the day has gone well.
That 'support messages' you referenced your mail for today ("You've been sending a lot of spam") is the "MyDoom.O" version, which is pretty widespread. That's one of the random messages in this virus. (Info here, among others: http://us.mcafee.com/virusInfo/default.asp?id=description&virus_k=127033 )
It is an email address harvester: going through your computer to grab all the email addresses it can find, then opens a port on your computer that can be used later on to grab the info (and possibly control your machine).
The mantra "Don't Open Attachments, even if they are from someone you know, unless you are expecting something (and even then, be careful)".
Anti-virus updates will be out later today, ahead of the usual schedule.
Regards, Rick Hellewell, information security at digitalchoke.com
As a followup to the previous message about MyDoom.O: The virus is rapidly spreading, and it's actions of using search engines to find more email addresses is having a major impact on the search engines.
Users may find Google unresponsive due to the increase in search requests, although they are actively correcting that situation. Google gets more of the virus' attention (about 45% of the time) than Yahoo, Lycos, and AltaVista.
The virus' searches are designed to collect more email addresses from those pages. And the virus is smart enough to sense obfusticated email addresses, such as "mickey mouse _at_ company dot name" (and other variations, like mine below). Interesting new technique.
Anti-virus vendors have posted updates; users should update today (and be very careful with 'helpful' attachments).
Regards, Rick Hellewell information security at digitalchoke.com
Be careful out there...
And Now I Am Packing Again for another week-long trip. Eventually all this madness will be over. Of course by then it will be time for the column. But the galley proofs of Burning Tower are also due.
It's a great life if you don't weaken, but I'm wondering if I can hold up. One does what one has to do...
Anyway we'll be a bit late updating these pages tomorrow but we will manage...
|This week:||Tuesday, July
On an Alaska airlines as plane waits for takeoff. It has been painless so far.
The Tablet works and I was able to edit some of my Novel.
July 28, 2004
In Seattle. Tablet works fine, although the keyboard is a bit small for production typing; if I really need to do work on a novel, I need either the Mac (carry a separate computer) or carry a heavier duty USB keyboard. I already have a red-eye mouse, which I use if I set the Tablet up for any given time. But the WACOM pen works for this quite well, and on an airplane even when the seat in front is leaned all the way back, I can still edit with Tablet and pen: even writing in notes on Word Documents. Or whole sentences and paragraphs. I would hate to produce an entire novel with the pen but it could be done.
Rutan has announced the schedule for the X prize and all the motels in Mojave have filled up, but I got a reservation earlier. Or I can camp in a local hangar if I have to. I'll be there, or I hope so.
Doing galley slavery on Burning Tower among other duties. Just about done with that.
I need to write an essay conservatism, Jacobinism, imperialism, and American policy.
On those musicians:
Almost all of the Syrian musicians who were
questioned by law-enforcement officials after exhibiting suspicious behavior
aboard a Northwest Airlines flight were traveling on expired visas.
I would say there was something irregular; but we don't really enforce immigration laws any more, do we? Snopes is careful to explain that an expired visa is not the same as a required exit date, but we don't know the exit dates for these people. I do know I would have been a bit suspicious too.
As to over reaction, the TSA tried to confiscate a Medal of Honor from a retired general because it might be used as a weapon. "Security" they said. And this was less suspicious?
July 29, 2004
Well, the last needed work on Burning Tower is done and acknowledged, so that's one less thing to worry about.
The papers this morning are full of Edwards and his speech and the theme of "no longer two Americas." The problem is that the Democratic party isn't a party and hasn't any common principles. There may be this wish to unify the country, but it comes out hollow when expressed by an outfit that not merely includes but depends on the good graces of Jesse Jackson, the NEA, and the Trial Lawyers; the fact is that the Democratic Party resembles a bandit horde of smaller nomadic gangs, assembled and united only by the prospect of loot. The major support groups -- the core -- of the Democrats agree on nothing other than holding their turf and extracting as much from the taxpayers as they can get.
Of course the Republicans have proved to be little better. Bush and the Republicans have increased discretionary spending and "entitlements" beyond reason, beyond hope, and while the tax cuts have helped -- better spending with deficit than spending with ever higher taxes -- they haven't helped enough. The War saw to that. If Bush had his priorities right, we would have gone into Iraq and gone to each Iraqi general: "I will pay you $5.00 American per day for each man in your part of the army. You get the money, you pay the troops. If any Americans in your security area are harmed the payment are stopped for that week. If you revolt the other generals are also on my payroll and their pay won't be stopped. If you all revolt the US Marines are ready to show you why you should not have made that unfortunate decision.
"And finally, we are going to pump oil. Your payments will go up by 10 cents a barrel for every dollar/bbl decrease in the world oil price. Every incident harming oil production will result in a decrease in the payments every one of you gets. It's up to you."
Then pump oil. If Halliburton and the US military can't extract the blasted oil, fast, who the heck can?
Pump oil and put the revenue into the Iraqi treasury; but the world oil price goes to $20/bbl, the Dow goes to 12,000, US tax revenues wipe out the deficit, and we are all happy.
But that didn't happen. Why not? I do not know, but Bush ought to find out, and fire a bunch of idiot advisors.
We are in Iraq and reduced to the argument that Saddam was not a nice guy so the Iraqi are better off now. That may be true, but it is hard to see how we are better off now. No, we can't cut and run; but peace and order and flowing oil are the best things Iraq can wish for, and as it happens, that is what is best for us as well. And if the US Army and Halliburton can't get the oil flowing, what good are they?
As to domestic politics, the NEA, the Trial Lawyers, and Jesse Jackson are all no more than shakedown artists and bandits, and while some individual members of those coalitions may have more in mind than loot, the organizations themselves behave exactly as you would expect them to: producing the ghastly American education system which Charlie Sheffield and I described in Higher Education, only it's worse than we thought it would be. And it will be worse yet. The Trial Lawyers have looted the nation of billions and there is no end in sight to that. And Jesse Jackson's shakedown techniques are honed to a fine point. And of course I name only three of the groups that must be satisfied once the Democrats obtain office. There are dozens, all voracious.
Where is anyone who wants to devolve the government back to the states, and counties, and cities, and villages? Not that the Republicans have not their share of thugs: but one would have thought, at least until recently, that they were intelligent thugs who could be satisfied: parasites but at least parasites who will not kill the host. But now I am not sure.
I don't believe the Democrats can get the oil flowing again; and the last time they were in control of the military they demonstrated that they are still the Party of War (US involvement in WWI, WW II, Cold War, Korea, Viet Nam, Haiti, all started under Democratic presidents), and also that they were now interested only in wars in which there is no discernable US interest: Bosnia, and the whole Balkan affair. Republican adventures were generally short and decisive (Granada and Panama come to mind) and had some faint connection with national interest: even Iraq if we had done it right. Bush the Elder got us into Somalia but was ready to get out: staying to build nations was another President's idea. The Party of War kept us there until the Black Hawk was down. The Party of War, but never war in American interests. "What's the use of that splendid army if we can't use it to do good?"
I do think the Republicans may be able to get the Iraq oil out of the ground and flowing, and that can save us from the coming Depression; but it is a faint hope, similar to my hope that most of the Republican thugs are at least partly satiated with public pork. I have less confidence in Democrat competence: not disciplined enough and too many horde leaders to satisfy. That may be cynicism, but it is based on observation and experience.
We live in the wealthiest nation that ever was, and had until recently the best educated population that ever was: and yet we live at the edge of a precipice. Jane Jacobs' new book DARK AGE AHEAD holds many truths; one hopes she is not correct in the title.
July 30, 2004
It's busy here. See Cochran and Monty and my replies on Iraq; and other mail.
July 31, 2004
More to do in Seattle today. This will all be short.
But take heed:
Yesterday afternoon, Microsoft posted three critical patches. They considered these patches important enough that they posted them outside their normal monthly patch cycle. For more details, see:
If you run Windows and Internet Explorer, you should apply these patches immediately.
Note that these IE patches are *not* the comprehensive IE fix that is to be released with Windows XP SP2. That IE fix will be available only for XP. Those of us who continue to use Windows 2000 and earlier versions will be left out in the cold with respect to that fix.
Still, the patches Microsoft released yesterday are important and are definitely worth applying.
-- Robert Bruce Thompson email@example.com http://www.ttgnet.com/thisweek.html http://forums.ttgnet.com/ikonboard.cgi
Subject: Another Mozilla exploit
Dear Dr Pournelle, < http://secunia.com/advisories/12188/ > Here we go again:
"*Description*: A vulnerability has been reported in Mozilla and Mozilla Firefox, allowing malicious websites to spoof the user interface.
The problem is that Mozilla and Mozilla Firefox don't restrict websites from including arbitrary, remote XUL (XML User Interface Language) files. This can be exploited to "hijack" most of the user interface (including tool bars, SSL certificate dialogs, address bar and more), thereby controlling almost anything the user sees.
The Mozilla user interface is built using XUL files.
A PoC (Proof of Concept) exploit for Mozilla Firefox has been published. The PoC spoofs a SSL secured PayPal website.
This has been confirmed using Mozilla 1.7 for Linux, Mozilla Firefox 0.9.1 for Linux, Mozilla 1.7.1 for Windows and Mozilla Firefox 0.9.2 for Windows. Prior versions may also be affected.
NOTE: This issue appears to be the same as Mozilla Bug 244965.
*Solution*: Do not follow links from untrusted sites."
-- Terry Cole firstname.lastname@example.org
August 1 2004
On an airplane home. the Alaska Airlines flight was oversold and they did nor wait to give us seats although our bags were already checked. A copy of Nikkei Byte with my picture may have convinced than they were about to enjoy unwanted publicity. I don't know. I do Not like hang to be The old Curmudgeon but it was thus or Nor get home and we bought the tickets weeks ago. On platinum AMEX at that.
We did get seats. TSA was to more incompetents or infuriating than usual.
the handwriting recognition Works well except for Some words and
Capital letters and such and I get used to i t.
And home now. The above sentence was done in handwriting and not corrected. Normally I do some corrections.
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