I don’t know about you,

I don’t know about you, but I found this incredibly frightening…

With all the talk of the CTA machines being vulnerable and other MTA machines crashing or being problematic I got to thinking about how many mission critical or sensitive systems are vulnerable, rooted, 0wn3d or whatever. Most Cash machines used to be OS/2 but that’s been changing lately and I know for sure some are moving to windows. Lets just hope all these systems are well maintained or more secured than they probably are…..probably wishful thikning..

I’m a paranois by nature. I’m untrusting. I don’t like people very much because most of them are stupid (myself included at times). You know, the more I think about it, it’s not really the systems that are most at risk. Social engineering is much easier than r00ting a box and most targets are underpaid, unhappy workers that just don’t care. How many bank tellers do you know that are well paid? How many personal assistants to powerful execs have access to their email and desktop machines? If you think it’s difficult to talk that info out of one of them you are sorely mistaken. Wow, I made myself even more paranoid by that thought alone….Social engineering is often overlooked and ALWAYS a threat.

A few days ago

A few days ago I received a package in the mail that I wasn’t
expecting. Anticipation was high. What could it be? As I opened it
up I realized that it was my ipod, back from (dis)repair. I had
requested one thing only of them. Return it to me in the same
condition and with the same abilities that it had had for the last 2
years. HFS+ formatted and able to use the firewire cable that it
came with. While I realize that they need to cater to the droves of
clueless windows users, it would be nice to have some one at least a
*little* clued about mac products that they sell in their own
stores. I am convinced that the ipod I got back originally was not
completely fixed, I was unable to use it at all with my firewire
cable, nor were they (on a PC) but it worked fine with a USB cable,
of which I don’t have (and don’t care to use). So I returned it and
argued with the guy who continuously tried to “word rumble” with me.
OK, fine. Just get the damned thing fixed. I like to go and pick it
up in the store because I’m not confident in their repair service.
Upon getting my device back I want them to demonstrate that it
actually works (yeah, I’m that customer). Well, even though I
requested that at the time of drop off it was sent to my house,
windows formatted. Needless to say, I was livid. After cooling off
for a minute I thought that a good test to see if they did their job
would be to actually use it. So I tried and low and behold it
actually worked without clicking and grinding (like after the last
repair) and with my own firewire cable on my own mac. It even let me
restore it HFS+. I’m happy with this. The moral of this blurb is
that even though the “geek squad” got me my desired result they
aren’t the best source for getting something fixed. I’d never
recommend them to anyone.

hofbrau maibock I’d never had

hofbrau maibock

I’d never had (or heard of) a Maibock before I saw this. Billed as “munich’s first maibock”, this was a sweet carmel tasting beer, historically enjoyed in the springtime in germany. A decent punch but I’m not sure of the alc. content in this $2.99 pint bottle. I’d not had any food when I enjoyed it and was left with a little buzz. A dark carmel color with very little head, it was a good drink. I’d recommend trying one if presented with the opportunity.

Today, 02/09/2006, marks the

Maxie The Bird
Today, 02/09/2006, marks the end of an era. My pet Cockatiel Maxi (aka “Birdhead”) passed away last night sometime between 10pm and 8am. She was fairly old and had lived what I consider to be a good life. She was originally a breeding bird for an unknown number of years before relocating to the University of Illinois Veterinary school front desk area. There, for several years, she lived with a few other birds, many of which picked on her and pulled out her feathers. Then, in 1998, after the two screaming Cocatoo’s that also lived there caused to the administration to tell the care givers at the front desk area to find homes for the birds she came to live with myself and my roommate Anthony in our Bloomington, IL house. Rebecca asked if I’d be willing to take one of the birds since I had some experience caring for our avian friends. Having helped a little with my mothers canary flock I figured I’d give it a go. No one seemed to want Maxi because she was very frightful of people and since she was a female, couldn’t talk. I figured that was right up my alley, I’m always partial to the rejected and unwanted. So, with her donated cage and a handful of bird toys I took her home. I read up on hookbill birds and found that it was good to let them out of their cage and from then on she pretty much had the run of the house. We left her out pretty much all the time and she seemed pretty happy. She would often run on the floor rather than fly across the hallway and perch on the bottoms of our desk chairs as we played computer games. She was indeed a unique bird.
I had a few extra dollars one day and decided it would be fun to buy a webcam. Once home and set up I started to wonder what the hell I would use the camera for. Noticing Maxi squawking I thought to myself “birdcam”. So, in 1999 Maxi released version 1 of the birdcam. We could see what she was doing from work all day long. I believe she was probably the first (or one of the first) birds who could claim her own real estate on the internet. She was my good luck charm for all my LAN and online gaming I did for the next few years, often pacing back and forth doing the “Maxi dance” as I played.
After I got married Maxi came with me to Champaign, IL to live with my wife, 2 cats and a dog. She had her own room in the house and continued to be out in that room most of the time. The bird cam stayed up for another year and a half.
We moved 2 more times, each time giving her her own room. We enrolled her (and ourselves) in a class to teach the feisty winged friend to be less afraid of us and to learn simple things like “step up” onto our hands. She took to it better than I thought but soon forgot many of the pleasantries we taught her (probably due to lack of consistency on our part). We also added 3 more cats and another dog. All the animals got along great and none really bothered her. She did indeed seem to be a happy bird.
Over the next 4 years she started to slow, not flying around as much but still a spitfire. After nearly 8 years of living with me and an indetermined amount of time before that (speculated to be at least 7 years) she passed quietly in the night, succomed to old age.
She will be missed, I still think I hear her scratching around sometimes. Hopefully we were able to give her a little better life than she had for her first few years. RIP, rest assured you will be missed and never replaced

Aldaris Porteris Brewed by the

Aldaris Porteris

Brewed by the Alderis Brewery in Riga, Latvia, this 6.8 percent alc. porter was not too heavy and not too sweet. A quick, carmel aftertast, it was a pleasant surprise of a porter for $2.49 at friar tuck. I love a good porter, it’s a fact. Dark and sweet ( but not too sweet ) I would recommend this delicious drink for any porter lover. A little heavy but VERY good.

One of the things that

One of the things that is somewhat lame about the employer paid verizon plan I have is the lack of the ability to dial #MIN (#646) to get an estimate of the minutes you’ve used. For some reason that feature is purposely disabled on the account. I found a nice free little app that works really well for this. It’s very configurable and once the tweaking has been completed (at least on my phone) it’s pretty accurate.
It does take some configuration. You can do things like beam your minute statistics or export them to memo pad which is very handy for archiving them.


The directory assistant app is also very handy. Both work on the Treo 600 and Treo 650 and are both _free_!