The first real reason to make me want Gmail: GmailFS.

"GmailFS provides a mountable Linux filesystem which uses your Gmail account as its storage medium."

A Gmail account + GmailFS could join tools like Nmap in being one of the few indispensable tools for a hacker. Pop on any box locally or remotely, grab GmailFS, and mount your Gmail account; all of your tools now sit at your fingertips.

30 Aug 04 | +Permalink+ | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

Crazy audio switch

When you can't find it at a store, keep looking. If you still can't find it, well, I guess you have to make it. I needed a nice little switch that takes one of three computers' audio outputs and diverts it to either a set of speakers, or headphones. Thats three inputs, two outputs. All stereo by the way. The result is this:

With the help of Dave, Radioshack, and lots of solder, my dream switch lives.

19 Aug 04 | +Permalink+ | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)

Technorati is F'd up

The idea of Technorati is that they will show you other sites who have linked to your site. A recent search of their database for "" yielding a single result: Getting to the site, I can't for the life of me find where my site is linked to.

The only explanation I can come up with is that Technorati is F'd up. For the context of the site that supposedly linked me, it gave a paragraph that looked exactly like this:

Danesicle's Palace of Suckass. Josh is Lost in CyberSpace The Peoria Pundit Humor - as seen / heard / read by Sudhir T-Mobile Sidekick II aka HipTop 2 officially announced take it easy runawaysoul - runawaysoul marv on record neunvoltblog レã... Mademoiselle_M Aurora's Rants & Raves Dwelling Techbook Dorothée et ses tricots Diary disaster and love, vengeance and dust Tatham's Social Exposure

My theory is that these are other poor souls who have tried and failed to claim blogs on Technorati, and now it is just spewing them out, disguised as the result of a search. I remember signing up with them not too long ago, and they had me enter my blog address to "Claim" it. Then it identified this address as "Steve Riley's Programming Blog" in a link thing it told me to add to my site. I'm willing to bet that your website will be identified as one of Steve Riley's other blogs, too. Damn that Steve Riley is talented.

But its more than just that. This site that linked to me has, in its latest entry (here is a permalink to it), an account of a trip through the Dakotas and Wyoming. I just got back from a trip through the Dakotas and Wyoming. The blog goes on to reminisce about reading "the recent Al Franken book" during the trip. I too brought this book along. Then in the previous blog entry, there is mention of the Tour de France. This is related here, to a lesser extent, because we did a good deal of biking during the trip, and called a friend to find out the latest Tour results.

[Update] That blog has a section called "Ping'd" where it lists sites that have recently pinged it. Blogs "ping" other blog sites when they have a link to them. Or at least polite blogs behave this way. (See The Joy of Trackbacks, 7-13-04) But in order for this site to have me listed there, I would have had to link to it, which until this very blog post, I haven't. This is sounding like one of those "Don't worry about the vase" paradoxes.

5 Aug 04 | +Permalink+ | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

A Phish Called NamesDatabase

Ah, The Names Database. By now you may have gotten an email or two from them claiming to be from a friend of yours. If you went ahead and followed the link in that email, you've already been through part of the journey you will soon read about, and it could be too late for you. If not, let this save you the trouble, and help save us all from this growing beast.

Before even entering their virtual doors, observations from the outside will tell you this is not an honest site. They employ at least two tactics that I've found for falsely fishing you in from search engines.

1. Dynamic links at top of page that say "Click here if you are looking for ". This means that if you got to one of these pages from a search engine (and really, how else would you be there) the phrase you typed in to search for would be displayed on the page, as if I were already there. Trying to find that long lost buddy Fredward Smithstone? Well gosh! Click here if you are looking for Fredward Smithstone! You finally got him!

2. Pages upon pages of as many names as they could generate. Just in case their dynamic text at the top of the page doesn't click with the way your search engine works, the name you are looking for might randomly have been generated on one of these pages they threw on the web.
(example of 1 and 2: )
Edit: WOW! Since the publishing of this, the format of these pages has changed dramatically! Now neither example 1 or 2 apply. Could it be that one of the commentors actually *was* affiliated with them?
Once they have you on their main site, BOY is it exciting to watch their page counter rise right before your eyes! Wonderful fradulent fun!
I had a suspicion that these counters were fake when mine continued to advance at a steady rate at a very low traffic time of day. I popped the site open on another computer and found that the site's total members were counting up as well, but were not in sync with the first computer. At each update, the counter would simply add one, and soon enough, the counters on the two computer screens veered far enough apart to make me almost certain. The final blow came when I opened the source code for the site to find the following code for a random incremental counter: (examine it yourself if you wish, opens in a new window)

Being on their front page gives me the undesirable urge to enter personal information as fast as I can. I'd better do it.

"Hey- glad you just gave us personal information! But now that you have, you need to give us five more suckers before we can let you in!"

Businesses that are in the practice of getting you to recruit people are widely frowned upon. If there is money at all involved in this, it reaches the point of illegality. Commonly known to anyone who has taken a business class as Pyramid Schemes, Matrix Schemes, or many variations on them involving recruiting for gain.

Once NamesDatabase gets past the first five people, they let you "in" to the next recruiting area of the site. Here, you are able to search through the names database and see which of your friends got suckered into this. You can then click on a friend and be told "you need to UNLOCK The Names Database" before sending the person a message. How you UNLOCK? Simple!

-Recruit a mere 24 more people, or
-Give them $12.00

to let you "send messages" to your fellow victims for a whole year. Thats only a dollar a month, Kyle! They've gotten you this far, why don't you just go ahead and comply. Its like that poker hand that you are too far into already. You've gotta go all in.

The goal of this company is either:
A) Straight monetary gain, or
B) Getting a huge database of information at their disposal, and a few bucks as the icing on the cake.

I'm going to say its B. But really, what information do they have on you? Just your name, your email address, your year of birth, the country you went to high school in, maybe your [maiden name]. And maybe a little billing information here and there.

I know I wouldn't trust a company that is involved in sketchy practices with all that information. Would you?

5 Aug 04 | +Permalink+ | Comments (46) | TrackBack (0)

The Red, White, and Blue Civilization

Like all my dreams, by the time I am awake enough to hobble over to my desk to write them down, I have already lost pieces of the story. This dream's largest memory gap comes at it's beginning.

...We got on a planet that had many portals/warps mounted to it's surface. We spent time walking on the surface to collect various supplies and artifacts from this planet. Suddenly we were under attack and we had to run into the ship. Once in the ship, we entered the nearest warp portal.
We all let out sighs of relief as we narrowly escaped the attack unharmed. Once through the warp, we were under immediate attack again! But this was a very different place. I was still standing at one of the gates of my ship. The gates of my ship had port holes near the top of the 50+ foot high gates, so I climbed up the gate to look out of an opening. When I reached the top there were small cybernetic organisms perched around the window/opening. They began to fire at me, but with their limited mobility I was able to avoid being shot. I grabbed on to one of them and twisted it around forcefully. then what I recognized as a human popped up to the window area, and the little creatures stopped firing. The man held up what looked like a dollar bill with the letter 'A' in the places where we would expect to see numbers. He asked me if I could make a copy of it. I interpreted this as a test to see if I was loyal to america or what I later came to call "The Red, White, and Blue Civilization". I told the man that no, it was illegal to copy a dollar bill. The attack on our ship stopped, and we were directed into a giant ship that housed the population of a planet. The name, "The Red, White, and Blue Civilization" came from the constant chants "Red, White, and Blue!" that could be heard throughout the mothership. Thinking back, I heard the same chants from their fighter ships, but payed little attention to them then.
Shortly after boarding this giant ship, I began talking with a mother and her two boys. I found out that it was some time in the year 15,000 AD. I watched as some members of my ship were being escorted past us. Among them were elves and nymphs. I told the mother and boys about how we had found these creatures on a prior journey, and that we were preserving them on our ship. I told one of the elves "Its the year fifteen thousand!!". He shouted "Whoa!" and continued walking to wherever he and the others were being led. At one point I asked the mother how much a McDonalds Happy Meal cost, to which she replied "99 dollars." She was baffled when I told her that I had traveled from 2099, that I had originally come from 2004(which I pronounced twenty oh-four), and that in my time, a McDonalds Happy Meal was a mere five dollars. I asked her if her kids had any genetic modification, because I had read about it, and surely it would be a reality by now. Of her two boys, one had and one hadn't had modification. The one boy spoke up and told me that he had been given the choice at a young age keep genetic modifications that he had been given before birth, and he had chosen not to. This must have been the way the civilization had allowed themselves to justify genetic modificaftion. They would give every child the choice of being genetically modified or not at a young age, presumably after education on the subject. Apparently in this far future, modification can take place long after one has been born, since the boy was able to choose not to *keep* his genetic modifications. The other boy had "clonar" modification or something like that. His mother explained to me that he could sense things through solid matter. She also mentioned something about God. "If God puts something there, he can sense it." I remember thinking "Wow, Jon was right- religion has survived this long."

2 Aug 04 | +Permalink+ | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)