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Blog Archives for January 2007

Idiot Spammers

Wednesday, January 31st, 2007 - Comments (0) in Email, Life, Nerd Stuff

The only thing they do is pump out email, and some of them can't even get that right. I have now received two spam messages that look like this at my personal email account:

[Unknown Tag *$$cl3* Please Fix]
        [Unknown Tag *$$cl3* Please Fix]
        for <j__@j__r__d.com>; Wed, 31 Jan 2007 08:33:27 -0600
[Unknown Tag *$$cl1* Please Fix]
        [Unknown Tag *$$cl2* Please Fix]
        for <j__@j__r__d.com>; Wed, 31 Jan 2007 08:33:27 -0600
From: "Sam Schroeder" <adamnoyceadop@hotmail.com>
Reply-To: "Sam Schroeder" <adamnoyceadop@hotmail.com>
Message-ID: <0843092801.2916690805@hotmail.com>
Date: Wed, 31 Jan 2007 08:33:27 -0600
To: <j__@j__r__d.com>
Subject: <$$text>
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: text/plain; charset="iso-8859-1"
Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit


<$$text>
<$$text>
<$$text>
<$url1>?<$mcrypt>
<$$text>
<$$text>

So instead of his script replacing all the variables in the template and sending it out to millions of people, it just sent the template itself. The [Unknown Tag...] lines near the top are where the fake Received headers go. These are inserted to try to obscure where the message actually came from. They can't totally cover up the the origin of the message but by adding superfluous Received headers they can sometimes confuse dim-witted spam fighters.

Spammers will always use forged From addresses. Sometimes they are just randomstuff@somebigname.com, and sometimes they use real addresses from their lists of recipients. This guy used a hotmail address, which is the second reason he is a total moron. Hotmail, and other big email providers use the Sender Policy Framework (SPF) for their domain names. This basically is a way of saying what servers are authorized to send email with their domain name in the From field. So why would he use a domain name that is known to use a means of detecting forgery? Because he's a moron.

At least he was nice enough to give me the template so I can catch his messages once he figures how to work his spamware.

The Disappearing Wedding Band

Sunday, January 28th, 2007 - Comments (2) in Life

I briefly lost my wedding ring tonight while I was taking the garbage out. I had collected all the garbage and brought it out to the can next the house to bring to the curb. The can had about 6 inches of snow on the lid (which hinges), so I lifted the lid up and banged it a little hoping all the snow would slide back off the lid and dropped the 3 bags of garbage in. When I let go of the lid it slammed shut and showered me with snow. After jumping up and down screaming obscenities (the neighbors must love me), I brushed the snow off my body and flung both arms out the get the snow off each sleeve. Along with the snow on my left sleeve, my wedding band went flying off my finger and landed somewhere in the snow! It would have been a great magic trick if I had meant to do it. After more jumping up and down and yelling a few more choice words, I ran inside to get a flashlight and look for a small hole in the snow. It took a few minutes but I located the hole much farther away than I thought it could possibly be. The ring had sunk all the way through the 3 inches on the driveway down the pavement. It's a good thing I found it then because I'll probably will have to blow the driveway tomorrow after work and then I would have never find it.

American Idol

Wednesday, January 24th, 2007 - Comments (4) in Life, Rants, TV

What the hell is wrong with the people trying out for American Idol this season? I really don't like the show and never watch it past the "audition" episodes because that's where they show all the train-wrecks. This season seems like a never ending stream of absolutely terrible auditions. I don't understand what makes people want to possible land on TV zero talent. There is no way some of these people could possibly think they stand a snowball's chance in hell; why waste everyone's time making a fool of yourself on TV and bother getting upset at the judges when they make some rude comment? I think a significant percent of the rejects on this show are actually mentally retarded, which make it that much worse that FOX is serving them up just to be laughed at.

I remember the last few years when I was working at Tech Crew interviewing the newbies; I could barely make it through one of the 3 hour interview sessions. I can't imagine how the AI judges don't go crazy and kill everyone after a certain point. If I were on the AI panel I'd be the biggest dick to everyone.

Ink Cartridge Hell

Tuesday, January 16th, 2007 - Comments (2) in Computers, Rants, Work

Small yield ink-slingers are the bane of my existence. By small yield I'm talking about the home and small office inkjet printers. At work they are primarily used in the lower school. Each (LS) classroom will typically have one printer shared among the 3 or 4 workstations while the other divisions better utilize the bigger centralized printers like the networked lasers and copiers. Not a week goes by where I don't get a few calls about these stupid printers not working, jamming, dried up ink, etc.

Typically speaking, the smaller capacity the printer, the more expensive it is to run. We go through a decent number of ink cartridges so this year I thought I'd try to save a little money by using recycled cartridges. There is a pretty big effort to make Harley "greener" so I figured I do my part. I also decided to go with a local company (which shall remain nameless) to support local business and to get things moving a little faster by cutting the shipping cost/time out the equation. That decision is starting to turn around and bite me on the ass.

These recycled cartridges are less than stellar in performance. Don't get me wrong, when they work they work great but a significant percentage of them don't work. No big deal; I can just call up the local company I bought them from and they'll drive out replacements for any duds. Recently I've gotten a lot of duds. Between Friday and today (Monday was a holiday) I probably went though 8 cartridges between 3 printers and I still haven't gotten 1 of them working at an acceptable level. With new ink I can just hand the person a cartridge when they ask for one and they'll put it in themselves and it'll just work. With these refills I can't do that because chances are the first or even second cartridge won't work. It's infuriating; it takes like 1000 times longer to perform the simplest of jobs.

I've already decided I'm never going to use recycled cartridges after this year, but I'm still debating on trying to return what cartridges we've already purchased.

WTF is Sony Thinking?

Friday, January 12th, 2007 - Comments (4) in Hotdog!, Life, Movies

The people who make decisions at Sony really must be retarded. They've had unbelievably bad press for their DRM rootkit that was included on many of their audio CDs, laptop batteries bursting into flames and don't even get me started on all the shit the RIAA is up to. They've done so many bone-headed things in recently years it isn’t surprising to read an article about yet another one.

If you're not aware, there is currently a format war going for the next high definition media: Blu-ray vs. HD-DVD. They each have their strong points, Blu-ray can hold slightly more data while HD-DVDs are cheaper and easier to manufacture, but Sony just shot itself in the foot during the race for the win. They decided not to allow the porn industry to use Blu-ray for the next generation of adult videos! Maybe the people who made the decision really had no idea how large the porn industry really is, but that means all adult videos are going to be put on HD-DVDs.

Let's take a look at some of the other proprietary Sony formats out there: Betamax, Minidisc, Memory Stick and UMD. How many of these have succeeded? None. I really thought they had a fighting chance with Blu-ray since they released the Playstation 3 with a Blu-ray player in it, but now I think refusing to work with pr0n companies is just going to sign the death certificate for Blu-ray.

Inconsiderate Football

Monday, January 8th, 2007 - Comments (0) in Home Theater PC, Life, Rants, TV

Yesterday was the second Sunday in a row where some stupid football game ran into overtime and displaced all the shows I had scheduled to be recorded. The Simpsons, American Dad and Family Guy all fucked up. Since all those shows are adjacent I can still watch the first two since they spill over into the next one, but Family Guy is my favorite and I end up missing the last 10 minutes! It makes me want to kill.

Stupid eBay Sellers

Tuesday, January 2nd, 2007 - Comments (2) in Computers, Home Theater PC, Life, Nerd Stuff

Now that I've had a working home theater pc for almost a year and we actually use it I thought it might be time to do some hardware upgrades. A few months ago I added a second standard-def tuner so I could record multiple programs on different channels at the same time. This worked great so I thought next I would try adding a high-def tuner.

So after looking around for a while comparing prices, features, linux/mythtv compatibility and all that crap I decided to see if I can find a second hand pcHDTV 2000 card. They can basically just do over the air HD content; I wouldn't be able to plug it into our cable and get unencrypted QAM encoded channels. I found one on ebay just before Christmas and won the auction for $25.06. I don't own an HDTV (yet) so I think when I get this card working I'll end up transcoding the recorded video down from the HD resolution (1920x1080) to something reasonable like 740x420 for playback on my SDTV. Even transcoded the video will look phenomenal compared to the SDTV recordings.

The card arrived late last week when we got back from Jersey and today at work I had a chance to test this card out. A new install of Fedora Core 6 detected the card as a pcHDTV 3000 rather than a 2000. I thought it might just be linux being stupid and tried manually installing the card as a 2000 model. After a while I gave up and just tried using the card as detected and it seems to work. I guess the ebay seller really didn't know what they were selling and let a card typically selling for $75-120 for about a quarter of the price. I love getting deals like this, but the big thing I'm happy is that I can use this card by plugging it into my cable tv rather than screwing around with an antenna on the house. Perhaps I'll make an exception to my feedback policy and leave them positive before they leave me anything.

Happy Christmas and a Merry New Year

Monday, January 1st, 2007 - Comments (2) in Holidays, Life, Wii

This has been a great holiday season. This year Rachelle and I were finally together on Christmas day. We went to my parents' house in NJ for a few days for Christmas and then we went to Buffalo for dinner and to open presents with her family. Then Jason came up for new years weekend and we all went over to Tim and Chris' house for a new year party.

NJ was a good relaxing time. Every time I go home I think I'm going to get out and see everyone I haven't seen in forever but I always end up just lounging around and doing nothing. We played with Steve a few times and just hung out with the family mostly.

wiimoteOf the various stuff I wanted for Christmas (underwear, socks, zombie survival guide, etc.) I asked my parents for a Nintendo Wii. I knew they were in very limited supply and mom probably wouldn't be able to get her hands on one for Christmas. This ended up being the case, but that didn't stop me from checking all the electronics stores at the mall on the 26th. As expected, I got the exasperated "NOOO!" from every electronics store employee when asking if they have any Wiis in stock until I got to EBX. I walk into the store and ask the very young employee handing out ad papers and he replies, "yes, we have 2 left in stock." I basically flew to the back of the pretty long line before he was done with that statement. When I first got in line I saw that the guy currently being served at the front was purchasing one of the two. Luckily everyone in front of me was either buying other games or returning stuff and I was able to get the last Wii!

Only one wireless controller and one nunchuck are included with the Wii which is fine for a single player, but the included game (Wii Sports) is much more fun with multiple players; imagine the carnage of doubles tennis with 4 people all swinging in your living room. So when we got back to Rochester went on the hunt for more wiimotes. Walmart was first on the list and surprisingly they had like 10 wiimotes and 7 nunchucks. I bought 3 wiimotes and 1 nunchuck to give me enough for 4 players. Every other place we went to that sold Wii stuff didn't have any remotes or any accessories. I guess I'm just lucky.

Jason came up for the new year weekend since we all had Monday off. His sister gave him a Gamecube for Christmas and he brought that with him. We had a great time playing all the Wii sports and Mario Party 7. We all went to Tim and Chris' house for a party last night. It was a great time; not a ton of people and very low key. We ended up playing Asshole most of the night and some other game where you have to get your team mates to say a word without saying a bunch of other words, I forget the name of it.

Today was a pretty lazy day. We all slept in, played a lot of tennis and Mario Party (I kicked ass one of the rounds). Mostly we were all trying to avoid thinking about having to go to work tomorrow.