Uh no! Gnome Failed
For a long while now, since Gnome3 (gnome shell) felt kinda stable, I've been using that as my main windowing environment on my Gentoo
laptop for what feels like a decade now. Maybe not that long. Something that I don't think I've seen in a while, though I
probably should have way more often is a notorious screen that comes up when something somwhere between the hardware, drivers, X,
mutter, any number of applications and clients, gtk, maybe wayland, all the way to the gnome base, goes wrong and it gets trapped,
the equivalent of the Windows BSOD appears.
SMTP Scotch talk gets a mention!
Tom Cross sent me a link to a podcast recently called Security Cocktail Hour.
I've never heard of it before but it's hosted by Joe Patti and Adam Roth from their virtual barstools and they talk about
cyber security. The episode that was linked has Tom as a guest and
he mentions something at around the 10:45 timestamp.
The whole podcast is definitely worth listening to, there's some good insights and discussion. I've even gone back and listened to
some of their older episodes.
New Sleeper Video (Everquest)
Been a while since I've updated the site but my good friend sent me this recent video highlighting the Sleeper battle.
Tone Poet and Music Matters
A few years ago I bought a couple of Blue Note's 75th Anniversary re-issues and thought they were kind of cool. They were albums I didn't already own
on vinyl and they were inexpensive, didn't seem like anything special except that they were new. It wasn't long after that when I heard about a new
series from Blue Note called the "Tone Poet" series which is supposed to
be of much better quality.
Pat Martino - Baiyina
I had this album on my discogs "Want List" for a while, and some have showed up on
sale a few times over the years but mostly didn't seem worth it, was prohibitively
expensive shipping-wise, or didn't seem like the quality was worth investing in...
Postfix + Cyrus SASL + Authdaemond
Fixed the Postfix/SASL/Courier/Postgres setup I have on my new Gentoo server, wrote it down so 10 years from now if I wanted to do it again
I'll know why it's not working.
I've sorely neglected a post about my new daughter that I've been trying to put together for a few weeks now. But here it is, with a few pictures and
some other random tidbits.
It's been about 5 months now, and most everyone I know already knows we've had a new baby daughter born in May. We've named her "Kiran Simone" after both her grandfathers. She was born with a full head of jet-black hair, it was pretty amazing. Sometimes we call her Kira for short.
She was born full term, unlike Siddharth who was almost 3 weeks early. Because of that, being that babies gain a lot of their weight towards the end of their term, Kira was a bit bigger. And she continued to get bigger.
Kerafyrm, The Sleeper, Re-Revisited
A couple of months ago I got an email from someone named Cecilia D'Anastasio stating that she was a writer at Kotaku and wanted to do an article about
the Sleeper. It immediately piqued my interest, I haven't thought about the sleeper since, uh, the
last time I thought about the Sleeper, which was maybe half a decade ago. So this was definitely
a blast from the past sort of thing, and after checking the name I found a PGP key so I sent an encrypted
email to verify who I was talking to. The email never got decrypted but I didn't think I was being phished or SE'ed so we continued to talk.
Siddharth Update: 6 months old
I've been meaning to put out some updates about my son, and looking back the last one was about 5 months ago, but I've been too busy at work
to barely live life let alone write updates on my website. But the holiday season means I'm in sunny Florida with a little
bit of time on my hands so it's time for a long overdue update.
The Marantz 2285B
For a while, I've occasionally noticed what sounds like a little bit of distortion coming from my left speaker. It's only slight and hardly noticeable,
my wife thinks I'm crazy. When I realized that it was actually there and intermittent, I started to hear it more and more, or sometimes I'm thinking I
hear it at least. I've gone through the speaker cable, re-cut the ends, cleaned the banana plugs, still there. I've opened up my Nakamichi receiver and
cleaned out the speaker connectors and also a few of the knobs which would generate some noise when I turn them, specifically the Balance knob. That
knob in particular had to be cleaned once before, when I noticed that my left channel was slightly quieter than the right and traced the problem down to
that knob. This time, cleaning it didn't make the distortion go away. I then further narrowed it down to only the Phono input. I don't hear the noise when
I play music through the computer. Immediately, I chocked it up to just my LP's being dirty or some of media related issue. But having a direct drive
turntable, I went back a few times to when I thought I heard distortion and wound back the LP and played the same bit over and over again and it was
still intermittent. I then took the turntable out of the equation when I plugged it directly into a small USB A/D converter and played several LPs, ripping them
into wav files, and playing it back through the computer, where I found there was no distortion. It wasn't the greatest of tests but it made me more
confident that it wasn't the Technics that was generating the distortion in the left channel. I also tried swapping the left and right RCA cables coming
out of the turntable and still heard the distortion on the left speaker. So the only things left is maybe the Phono pre-amp or some other
circuitry related to the Phono input. I could try buying a separate pre-amp and plugging that into another input, but I really don't have the room for another
component, or ultimately be wrong about the root cause and still have the distortion after buying a pre-amp, though there would probably be a better
sound coming out of my records.
70's Prog Rock
A few weeks ago, I was browsing around and noticed a couple of other seemingly very affordable copies of Led Zeppelin I. There was one copy
in particular that looked kind of nice but the price was still a little higher than I was willing to pay for an LP. Out of curiosity I also checked
on E-bay to see what the current going rate was for the first Led Zeppelin album, any pressing. They all seemed kind of expensive so that was that.
The next night, I again happened to be looking through Discogs and noticed that there was a late pressing that was advertised as near-mint/mint for
pretty cheap, so I looked through some of the other albums the seller was selling. Was pretty surprised how much 70's progressive rock was in their
catalog, and all in near-mint/mint condition so I was pretty excited.
Ortofon Turntable Cartridge
A little while ago, I was talking to my old roommate (who's also into turntables) about the cartridge that came with the Technics SL-1200mk2 that I had
bought, and how much I spent on it. The cartridge that came with it was the one that I was using, the
Shure SC-35C, which is a budget cartridge and seems
to mostly be used by DJ's. I bought the rig from someone who used it for DJing so that's not unusual, and although it was a low-range/budget cartridge, it
was better than the Audio-Technica cartridge that was on my old turntable.
After the short conversation, I got to thinking. The turntable probably could use a better cartridge and it's purely for at-home use so it's not going to
get bounced around or anything. In the past, I've thought that I've heard noise over the higher range on certain songs, probably more noticeable on some
songs than others. It's something that I've never noticed when listening to the CD counterparts. Additionally, I've always felt that the high range was kind
of lacking when it came to comparing my LP's with their CD counterparts. It all sounded a bit too mellow, and not as crisp as on CD's. Initially I chocked that
up to either my system (Nakamichi isn't known for being high end, or having a great phono pre-amp) or the fact that it was just the LPs or the way they
were mixed/produced. One day, after hearing some of that noise on a Beatles album (can't remember what song), I decided it was time for an upgrade. If the
upgrade didn't make a difference, then so be it and I'll know that it's not the cartridge but own a better one anyways, however if it did,
then it'll mean that I wasn't just hearing things.
Life On Comet
Last November, when the probe, Philae, was sent to land on a comet
detected organic molecules a twitter campaign started
with the hashtag #lifeoncomet. Steve sent a tweet with the hashtag but about our old homestead, Comet Way, and it took off from there with
tweets from a bunch of people posting picture of the old homestead and the people who made it dear to us. Some of those pictures are just random things
in the house, some were from the Cinco de Mayo parties, some were of our friends who we hung out with, but it
was a blast from the past to all of us. In an effort not to lose the thread, I've posted it on my
Google+ stream and I'm making another post on my site.
So sometime around last October we found out that my wife Amy was pregnant, so we went in for some tests and did the usual stuff. Apparently, you
weren't supposed to tell people until the end of the first trimester because something could happen to the baby and that was when the first round
of tests were going to be done. We were both excited and wanted to tell everyone but we had to also tell our parents, and then everyone's going to
know and it was just going to be hard to handle, at least until we were sure.
Several years ago, my last laptop upgrade was to the enormous Thinkpad W700. It was gigantic, heavy, and powerful,
but the screen was big and the keyboard was big. These days, the quad core processor on the W700 just doesn't cut it, and the max of 8G of RAM was looking
less and less adequate. It was time for an upgrade, and Lenovo stopped offering monster size laptops like the W700, so I had to go looking elsewhere for the
upgrade. It had to have a pointing stick, a large keyboard, 17+ inch display with at least 1920x1080 resolution, be able to hold 32G of RAM, mulitple drive bays,
along with the usual gamut of features, like the newest i7 processors. What I ended up with was an HP Zbook 17.
It was one of the only brands that had a pointing stick on a monster sized laptop, and it got mostly good reviews. Some other laptops that I looked into were
Alienwares (no pointing stick), Dell Latitudes (screen size), Sager (no pointing stick, build quality), Acer Aspires (not monster enough, no pointing stick).
Along with Alienware, I considered some of the other high-end gaming laptop manufacturers, but I was worried about build quality and service. Also, no pointing
sticks. So the things that made me settle for the Zbook was the customizing, the customer service and warranty, the build quality, and the ability where I can
return it if I didn't like it.
New Music related posts
I've been making various music related posts, about vinyl and stuff in other places and neglected to also include them here. I've gone
back and added all the content and cleaned up some of the front page to make it less cluttery.
Visualizing SASL/POP3/IMAP Automated Dictionary Attacks
I've been meaning to do this for a while now, but felt especially compelled because today happened to be a pretty heavy day of automated attacks on my
mail servers SMTP(SASL)/POP3/IMAP services. So I have something that blocks these and those blocks are logged, and they go back to November of 2011.
I know there's been a steady increase in the number of attacks over the years but I was also curious about what time most attacks happened and what days.
So I wrote something to parse through all of these brute force dictionary attacks and do a per IP count of attacks. To clarify a little, these are connections
to port 25, 110 or 143, at least 5 from a single IP over the course of a time window, that results in failed authentication attempts. 99% of the time,
these are bogus users. So after gathering the data, I stuck them into a spreadsheet and (tried to) make some graphs.
First, let's look at the entire dataset, broken down by the number of attacks from unique IPs per day (click for entire image):
When I'd tell someone that I was going to spend a week in Iceland, in the middle of December, people thought I was crazy. I was told that it would
be cold and we'd get 4 hours of daylight each day. Regardless, my friend Michelle wanted to go there for her belated birthday and a bunch of us decided, why not?
Finally plans were made and the ball got rolling, we had around a week to work with. I actually knew nothing about Iceland, other than an episode of
Top Gear and an Icelandic collegue of mine from Carnegie Mellon, so I didn't know what to expect, other than it being cold and dark.
A few months ago we decided to take a trip to Shanghai to visit my aging grandmother, given the choice of either May or October. We ended up choosing May because my mom would be there and I later found out that I had a wedding to attend in October. After a few weeks of coordinating wth my mom and sister, we finally got the tickets booked and where set to go.
On November 14th, I flew out to Japan to hang out with my friend Steve in Nagoya, listen to some music, eat some good food, and watch the new Evangelion movie.
This time I was armed with a smartphone, so I can take more pictures. This also means that all my photos will end up on my Google+ account so I'll just host
pictures from there. Made sure to turn off all roaming data so as not to get charged with the insane $15 per megabyte roaming fee.
Got a ride to the airport from the car service and made it to La Guardia, first time I've been here in forever. Made it to my terminal with plenty of time to
spare and on top of that, flight was delayed over an hour. The terminal had a long bar that
provided an ipad interface for ordering
food and browsing the web, it also included this neat little thing where you can put in a flight number, and it'll continually check the flight status and give
you notifications on delays and when it's time to board. After some time, the flight finally got on its way arriving at
Detroit International Airport in plenty
of time to make my flight.
Android Blood Alcohol Content Widget
Wrote my second Android app the other day. Sitting at the bar, I wondered silently to myself, "wouldn't it be nice to know what my BAC is right now,
I could use it to determine all kinds of useful things like whether I should walk home or take a car service, or just call it a night". Not really
doing any research, I decided to give it a shot this past weekend. Ended up there were a bunch of alcohol BAC calculators and a couple of them that were
widgets. One of them looked really detailed with a ton of stats and features, but I really wanted something that was stupid simple; easy enough for someone
who's hammered to use.
I've already went through 5 or 6 revisions, improving the UI a bit, adding customizable drinks, fixed some bugs, and optimized memory and CPU usage. You
can see the app's page here, at the Google Play Store. Let me know if
there's anything I can do to improve it or report any bugs if it doesn't work correctly.
On September 2nd, 2012, I got married to my long-time girlfriend, Amy, in front of some 260 friends and family. Having no idea what an Hindu wedding is like, I went into
this blind, no rehearsal, no dry run, no walkthrough; but I kind of knew what to expect because I typed up the programs. It was a 3-day affair, at least for Amy, all I had
to do with wake up, get dressed, and show up for the ceremony.
Here's a picture of Redpantz, one of the organizers, because I don't have a picture of myself.
Another successful year of Summercon in the books. This was the 2nd time we had Summercon at Littlefield in Brooklyn. I actually tried to take it a little easier this year, don't know how successful that was, but mainly because this year I won't be only 2 blocks away from the venue but a 30 minute walk. On Thursday when Redpantz and Jimbo arrived, we started drinking at lunch and had a rough time walking that far. Lots of cool talks this year, and 2 tools were released shortly after they were presented at the con (the IDA Toolbag and Vivisect version of Vtrace).
The schedule this year was a little more hangover friendly, doors didn't open until noon and talks not until 12:30 or so (though we were probably behind schedule on both counts). This meant that I didn't have to wake up super early and help run the registration tables, which was probably a bit more important this year than the last few years because there was a LOT of pre-registration and a surge was expected at the beginning. Fortunately, the registration desk ran pretty smoothly, thanks to the work of Michelle, Joann and Jimbo.
Stop SOPA Protest
My URL Shortener
One of the projects that I've been working on recently involved coming up with a multi-purpose URL shortener, like bit.ly's or tinyurl's. I had put a good bit of thought into it but I haven't gotten around to actually implementing it for the project yet. I know the concept is sound and lots of other people use it, so it ultimately comes down to how short and is it long enough to cover (and some) what you plan on using it for.
So I get kind of bored and decided I'll implement a command-line url shortener that ties into my website (tesuji.org) and give it a whirl. I opted to be ghetto-extreme and use, not 3, but only 2 characters in my shortened URL. I can shorten anything that I want, like http://tesuji.org/qy or http://tesuji.org/LN. I'm using the unreserved and sub-delimiter characters from RFC-3986 (well, most of them) since in a shortener context, at least in mine, most of those sub-delimiters are useless.
So I finished all the Lupin III Movies
I'm a big fan of the Lupin the 3rd series and movies. Created by Monkey Punch (this is a person), Lupin is a legendary thief that often times fall on the righteous side of the story (sort of like Robin Hood). Immediately larger than life, Lupin is almost always prepared, suave, and s
ometimes even expecting the most unexpected outcome; only to get away in uncanny fashion from either gangsters, cultists, magicians, demons, or the usual, Zenigata. Zenigata is Lupin's archnemesis, originally part of the Tokyo Police Inspector, he followed his mentor to the ICPO and is dedicated to capture Lupin.
This dynamic is pretty common, but it's only similar on the surface to comparisons like the Pink Panther and inspector Clouseau. Zenigata is very clever, and sometimes almost a worthy adversary, many times having captured Lupin only to be stuck in the same situation; thus having to work together to escape whatever situation they're in.
Recently, I finished all the Lupin the 3rd movies, prompting me to put together a post on my website. To this date, there's (I think) 31 Lupin III movies. Although technically, some of them aren't released as "Movies" (made for TV), and some are directly released to physical media, they're close enough to being movies as most anime goes: it's feature length, it's broadcasted as such even if it wasn't opened in a theatre. Anyways, it's been over a decade and a half that covers what I remember watching Lupin and the Lupin movies (mostly because the availability of some movies are scarce), so there's lots of things I'm sure I don't remember, but the movies are more or less long episodes; some much better than others, some seemed to have gone on for too long (better suited for a 23-ish minute long episode) and some could have gone on for longer.
A friend of mine made me aware of a new Cracked.com article about The 7 Biggest Dick Moves in the History of Online Gaming and noted that #5 on the list was Despawn of the Sleeper (EverQuest). Hey, I remember that. I showed the article to a couple of friends who remembered back in 2003 when I opted to spend 4 hours or so sitting in front of a computer rather than take up the offer to go to a bar and hang out with friends that I hadn't seen in a while, and some of them noted that the article only gave half of the story. Wikipedia's EverQuest article removed the part about us actually killing the Sleeper (I added it back in with references), but I remember back in the day when they had a dedicated article about Kerafyrm, that eventually got merged into the main EverQuest article.
This got me wondering what remaining info and insights on the encounter still existed on the internet. So I went around and collected some of them, and when the pages were long gone, I went to archive.org to look for a capture. There was a Sleeper Revisited post I made several years back that had a bunch of links, but most of them are dead. Here's a list for posterity's sake: