MonthDecember 2008

I feel dirty. And not the good kind of dirty.

So today I vaped my gaming rigs XP partition and replaced it with Vista Ultimate 64bit Super Hyper Turbo Edition. I did this because DirectX 10 seems to be Vista-only, and because my gaming rig has 8GB of ram of which XP could address 3.75GB or so, which seems rather wasteful.

My experience with Vista is a bit more positive than my previous one, in which I installed Vista about an hour after it came out and used it for about another hour, before unistalling it and setting fire to the place as I departed.

It’s still hilariously clunky compared to OSX, both aesthetically and operationally. However this time it actually has drivers for common hardware! So, like, that’s nice. And common apps I might want to fire up while gaming work on it – the Steam client, for example, and all of the installers for my various Blizzard games. It still has the amazingly inconsistent and ugly graphical elements of the UI, though – they didn’t clean that up in SP1.

I did have to spend quite a bit of time beating the lolfail out of it with a stick. So no UAC, no nag popups, etc etc.

It was an interesting setup, and I know more than I did, but I don’t really care about tweaking it too finely, because I use this computer for gaming and thus the operating system is simply a much much more complicated version of one of those old text-based launcher menu systems you used to run on DOS so you could easily launch Doom or Warcraft I or possibly a terminal program for Hot BBS Action.

I guess it’s kinda moot about how suck this OS still looks/acts given that Microsoft are already releasing beta copies of Windows 7 which indicates that they’re just giving up on Vista as a brand so tainted with failure that it’s beyond rescue. And that is kinda funny, as Win7 is almost certainly going to turn out to be the same old core with some cosmetic changes. Basically it’ll be Vista with a stupid hat, false beard, and an absurdly fake accent.

“Nooo, senior! Ieee am not theees ‘Vesta’ of which you speak. My name is Don Incognito!”

As long as it can successfully launch whatever Windows-only games I wish to play, I don’t mind what they call it.

Here, chick chick chick! Actually, I’ve changed my mind. Go away.

Work put on an xmas lunch today – KFC and Indian food. Which is an awesome thing for work to do.

I wasn’t in an indian food mood, so I had a couple of bits of KFC. This is the first time I’ve had KFC chicken bits, with bones in, for a very long time. It was pretty bad, and I didn’t have any more. I do still like their boneless filet things, but I can no longer eat the actual chicken. It’s just too greasy and occasionally unevenly cooked and generally low-grade.

By about 1:30pm, I was feeling slightly ill. By two, I had thrown up. By three, I was asking people if they had any headache pills, and sweating like crazy, even in the air conditioned environment of my office. By three-thirty, I was on my way home.

I get home, take a bunch of Neurofen and go to bed, where I had some fairly evil dreams (in which I went to a Hare Krishna run restaurant, someone stole my laptop and I had to threaten violence to everyone present before I got it back – I ended up beating the hell out of all of them and STILL didn’t actually get it returned to me … very psychological!) and just now woke up, feeling fine.

Moral of this story is: KFC is awful.

A scratch? Your arm’s off!

So I drive home from work and go to park in my spot, and someone is in it. A couple, in fact. They’re sitting in their car, in my spot, looks like they’re talking. This sort of thing is not an infrequent event.

I honk my horn, and give them The Look. They look at me in the mirror, then go back to talking.

I hold down my horn for a more extended period of time. They look for longer, then again go back to talking.

I say rude words, park my car behind them and then get out and go up to their window where I have the following conversation with the driver:

“Could you move, please? You’re in my park.”

“No I’m not.”

“….Yes. You are. This is Park 53. That’s my park. I pay for it. You’re in it. Move.”

“I don’t see any signs.”

“Shit, you’re right. What we really need is a six foot sign that says in big red capital letters that this is 24×7 reserved tenant parking only, and that anyone else who parks here will be towed away! … Oh, wait! We have one! There it is! You’re parked RIGHT NEXT TO IT.”

“Well, I didn’t see it.”

[A few seconds pass, as we start at each other]

“Okay.” .. [I produce my phone, pretend to place a call.] “Hello, police? There’s someone on my property who’s refusing to leave, and I ..”

[She makes a modulated noise that’s a cross between “Gah!” and “Meh” and is commonly associated with rolling one’s eyes. Then she puts the car in gear and drives off. I park in my spot.]

I mean, seriously, What The Hell?

I understand that you may want to temporarily park in an empty spot if you need or want to talk to your passenger, and there’s nowhere else around. But if I call you on it, just move, don’t try to argue it out with me.


So, over the last week or so, apache on my mail/web server has crashed a couple of times, leaving itself in a zombie state. This is new behaviour for it, as it’s been stable as for ages. A restart fixed it each time, so meh.

Then this morning, I get an e-mail. Here’s a quote.

Hello from USinternetworking (USi). I am a Security Engineer here trying to track down a security incident that appears to have originated from your network on December 04, 2008. Please investigate a TCP sweep of port 22 from [Redacted] and inform me of the results (account cancelled, user warned, etc). I will require this information in order to close the ticket on this activity. I have attached a portion of the log details as evidence.

Now, this server has exactly one user on it with shell access, and that’s me. And I didn’t do any portscans on these people.

This doesn’t bode well.

So, couple this with apache weirdness, and I start trawling through apache logs, and what do I find? Evidence of a cgi escalation hack, which leads me to irc drop bot files in a crudely hidden directory in the original users home dir.

Dammit. Even though the user directory they were using is chrooted off and they probably didn’t get any further, I have to treat the whole server as compromised and completely reinstall everything. Total pain in the ass.