The shit starts flying.

March 23rd, 2004

It’s gonna be a slugfest in the leadup to the US elections this year. No trick will be too low. My bet is that the Republican supporters will be the dirtiest, and they’re starting out nicely with this cartoon of Kerry (detail snippet below) where it’s pretty plain to me that it’s no mistake that his hairdo looks just like a turban and his long face has been drawn out to look like a beard. Just you watch – this will be a theme that sneaks in all over.


It’s how you play the game.

February 17th, 2004

My 11-yr-old daughter Jasmine started indoor soccer a couple of weeks ago for the first time. Her first game was last week.

You really know your kid has the perspective right when after the game, I say “Great game – you guys won 5-0!” and she says “Oh, was that the score? You were counting?”


Knoppix and PartImage to the rescue

February 17th, 2004

I finally got around to figuring out how to image some various machines onto a newly installed cheap 5400rpm 80Gig drive I have on one of my home boxes.

I had contemplated tools like Norton Ghost and PowerQuest DriveImage but I wasn’t looking forward to farting around with multiple boot floppies to get network and PCMCIA drivers happening for my laptops and various other machines.

I took a look around for some Open Source stuff and came across PartImage, which comes on the Knoppix 3.3 CD.

I booted up my trusty Knoppix CD, opened a shell, and did the following:

knoppix@ttyp1[knoppix]# sudo su
root@ttyp1[knoppix]# mkdir smb
root@ttyp1[knoppix]# smbmount //myserver/bigshare smb -o username=myname
password: *******
root@ttyp1[knoppix]# partimage

… at which point, I was launched into the partimage program which has a full-screen text-based ui that is easy to navigate.

Within minutes I was copying my NTFS partition over the network with gzip compression at about 40 MB per minute.

I’ll have to do some testing on another machine I have, blowing away and restoring partitions. I can only hope it will be as smooth as it has been so far!

— update:

I just saved, trashed and restored a 250MB QNX FAT partition on a celeron333 machine using the System Rescue CD, following the exact same steps as with Knoppix.

Saved the 250Meg partition without compression in 2 min 38 seconds over the network, resored it in less than 5 minutes.


Region Zero Hack

January 18th, 2004

Gotta love the net.

I wanted to play a DVD today that my wife had brought back from England, but my DVD player choked on it saying the disc is restricted to Region 2, whereas of course the DVD player is set for Region 1.

I hopped on Google with my cheap $59 DVD player’s model number and within two minutes, I had the instructions to permanently set my player to Region Zero (all regions) simply by using my remote control to enter a code.

Now I can play discs from anywhere. Woohoo!


Wifi Meetup

January 14th, 2004

Made it to the meetup. Snowy today, traffic horrible. Tim stayed in Brampton so no cam, but I’m online at http://www.blogchat.com


Live Broadcast Wifi Meetup

January 13th, 2004

I’ll be going to the WiFi meetup again tomorrow Wed 14 Jan at 7pm. Tim Aiello will be there with his Linksys webcam, which we’ll broadcast from http://meetup.megahuge.com (link will fail if you try it now – only active during meeting) via some SSH port-forwarding magic. We’ll also be available for text chat at http://www.blogchat.com, so no need to brave the forecasted -35 Celsius windchill!


DIY secure wireless with SSH/PuTTY

January 8th, 2004

I’ve been doing a bunch of wireless lately with my laptop. On publicly available networks, whether paid or free, WEP is usually not enabled, so anyone could easily come by with a tool like kismet and watch your traffic including POP and FTP passwords etc.

As an independent consultant, I don’t have a corporate network with VPN access through which I can secure my communications, so I’ve had to make do with what is available to me.

I have SSHD, smtp and a web proxy server running on my home network, so on my Win2k-based laptop I have set up a PuTTY connection with the following ports forwarded:

6588 – http/s proxy
25 – smtp (allows relay only from self)
110 – pop3 forwarded to pop3.simplefilter.com

On the laptop, I have a hosts file entry mapping the pop3.simplefilter.com to, smtp set to localhost, and my browser and Trillian proxy set to localhost:6588.

With this setup, all I have to do is run PuTTY, connect securely via ssh to my home machine, and then all HTTP/S, POP, ICQ, MSN, and YAHOO traffic happens securely through my tunnel. Running netstat on my machine shows one connection home and a bunch of localhost connections.


Microsoft Linux Facts

January 6th, 2004

Microsoft has a new campaign to provide corporations with “the facts you need to make the choice between Windows and Linux”.

One of their facts, titled “WinTel Server 10 Times Less Expensive to Operate Than Linux Mainframe”, says:

Microsoft-sponsored benchmarks prove that multiple WinTel Web servers perform better than a Linux mainframe acting as a Web server consolidator

An odd comparison to be sure, like comparing apples to orchards. How do multiple WinTel Web servers stack up against multiple Intel Linux Web servers, I wonder?

By leading off with such transparently evasive comparisons, I’m really not encouraged to attach any credence to the rest of their arguments, however valid. I can’t say that I really even care to read on to the meat when the headlines and intro blurbs make their assessment of my intelligence pretty clear.