Archive for April, 2005

The Planet’s Most Moronic Hacker

Wednesday, April 27th, 2005

I try not to just re-post slashdot, but this one was impossible to read at the time because the link got slash-dotted (what happens to a tinny server when all the slashdot readers go and hit it). So figured it’d be handy if I put a copy here and explained what’s up.

In order to appreciate this story you have to know a little about how the internet works. Communications over the internet, at it’s base network layer, uses a protocol called TCP/IP, Transfer Control Protocol/Internet Protocol. These IP numbers are the system of unique numbers given to computers on the internet. Names like yahoo.com acutally map back to an IP number, the domain name is only there to make it alot easier to connect to the number. Other protocols like HTTP, FTP, MSN Messenger, IRC (Internet Relay Chat) all operate as a layer on top of this protocol. It is the IP number system that makes the internet so robust.

According to Wikipedia, IP version 4, the current standard, uses 32-bit addresses, limiting it to 4,294,967,296 unique numbers. These numbers are in Dotted Decimal formant, like 207.142.131.235. Since IP numbers are scarce they are assigned by The Internet Assigned Numbers Authority in ranges. For example, Brock University was assigned 139.57.XXX.XXX and Geulph University 131.104.XXX.XXX, people with old-school cable modems have IPs that start with 24.

There are some numbers that have been reserved for special tasks, for example, 192.168.XXX.XXX was reserved for private networks and is now the IP range used by most home routers and wireless routers. One very useful reservation was the use of 127.0.0.1 to refer to your own computer. For example, if you have a Mac and goto System Preference > Sharing and turn on web sharing you can type 127.0.0.1 in your web browser and see your own web server – it will work with the network unplugged. Wikipedia has more on the classes of IP addresses.

Advice for the PM

Sunday, April 24th, 2005

My initial advice is to take the offer from the NDP – remove the corporate tax cuts from the budget and pass it with their help. While you’re at it, increase foreign aid (or debut relief) to the 0.7% of GDP that you promised Bono when you took over the party and Pearson promised the UN all those years ago.

When this government falls, and I think it will soon, I don’ t think Canadians will want another election. Canada would set records for voter apathy and produce a turn out lower than Iraq’s. The right thing to do is either anticipate it or react to it by asking the Governor General to ask her loyal opposition party to form a government. After all, this is the year 2005, we all can get a fairly accurate assessment of the public’s preference and I think they want the conservatives to form a government.

This will give the public a chance to ‘punish’ the liberals, and give Mr. Harper a chance to govern, which he has earned (regardless as how little I personally desire it). Mr. Harper will have to face the reality of leading a minority and will look less like a welcome alternative and more like the Stephen Harper of old. After all that happens there’s a good chance that a Liberal minority can start again and Mr. Martin will have to plan ahead about how he’ll gain support, as opposed to expecting it.

In any case, don’t expect much in the way of governing in the next year.

Sleeping or Dead?

Tuesday, April 19th, 2005

Now that we know that the new Pope, Pope Benedict XVI, is Joseph Ratzinger a new watch begins:

At lunch today Jen noticed this raccoon in the trees at Brock in the square between Thistle and Welch Hall. The question is, is it dead or asleep? We could burn the tree and see if the smoke has that tell-tale white of a burning raccoon, but that method hasn’t worked well lately. Instead we’ll have to wait in the square to see if the raccoon moves from that spot.

Racoon 1
Racoon 2

UPDATE 04/20/05

Still no movement from that raccoon – but he probably smells of wet animal about now. Let’s hope the wind keeps up!

Wet

UPDATE 04/21/05

Alive! (or fell to the ground). This morning the racoon was no longer in the treee!

Liberal Party Forcast

Wednesday, April 13th, 2005

Liberal 5 Day forcast
Click to view forcast

Given the latest news about the Liberal party’s alleged criminal acts and members leaving the party (like David Killgore who has now left both major federal parties) I have decided to look at their short term forecast.

My Tiger

Tuesday, April 12th, 2005

Tiger Pre Order

The best thing about being a Mac user and somone who works for a post-secondary institution is the prices Apple is willing to offer you.

Obviously, I’ll let everyone know how Apple’s next operating system, Tiger, is when it arrives. Once they send me the info on the seminar I’ll share whatever is in that – though I’m sure there isn’t much in the way of new info.

UPDATE: 13/04/05

Here’s what Apple’s OSX web site says about Tiger’s Automator features:

Are you the Mac expert in your family? Maybe every single time your sister posts new photos of your niece to her web site, your father asks you how to put them on his iPod photo. Simply make an Automator workflow that does it for him. You can save the workflow as an application to email to him. Course, if Dad is just looking for an excuse to call, you might have to find something else to talk about. Learn more…

This is why I need a copy as soon as they are available!