gushi: (Default)
Fucking laptop is reformatted, service packed, with all the stupid sony stuff installed. My screen now dims when I yank power (to save battery). Was that so much to ask?

I've got drivers reinstalled for the USB serial port and the bluetooth -- again.

I still have a stuck HDD LED, which has to be something hitting ground or something, but I don't really care.

Wifi card is still acting a little odd, but I don't really care about that either. I think that's a firmware issue -- I'm updating now and seeing if the fucking thing behaves (I won't call it "stable" until it behaves like overnight or better).

Beyond that? All appears happy. I still need to reinstall knoppix, but getting to knoppix is as simple as "boot into dos and run a batch file". I still need to do the HD install but that's minor.

Now, on to all this work I need to actually do.

Hrmmm, dinner isn't a bad idea either.
gushi: (Default)
Okay, new annoyances.

Apparently my HD LED is now permanenly stuck on. Whether this is a BIOS bug, orsomething else, it stays on full time, even in DOS. Even in linux. Even while in the bios.

And the knoppix installer for some reason spawns qtparted, which has to be the worst disk editor I've ever seen. It temporarily ate my windows partition (although truth be told, windows shares the blame on that. You have one primary partition, you tell windows to create a second, and it says "okay, extended partition" WHY?

And it wouldn't boot because it was expecting windows to be on the SECOND partition. Grr.

Ah well, looks like Knoppix is up enough to be usable. Still have a bunch of tweaking to do on it...honestly, it's slower than I'm comfortable with under 128 megs of ram. Much as it pains me to admit that windows runs more does.

My Bootmenu:

The Good
The Bad
The Ugly


Jul. 4th, 2005 09:24 pm
gushi: (Default)
So I've followed my prvious plan, and have installed a 2g dos partition, and then for D, win2k.

In going to download the drivers from sony, I see random files failing to extract. I take winzip and crack open the "installshield" files. Where I find cab files that Winzip vomits on.

Okay, fine.

I do a little more research, I find that apparently Installshield IGNORES the microsoft standard for cab files, and uses its own. I get my hands on i6comp, a command line utility to extract THOSE cab files. And there I find them. Batch files.

INSTALL C:\WINNT\Driver\something.sys

Well, that ain't going to work, is it? My winnt folder is on D.

Frustrated, I just go into device manager and say "hey, the driver's over there", and point them at the folder I extracted everything to.

That worked for a couple things.

Of course, once I got to anything that deals with the uniqueness of this thing as a laptop (the battery util, the keyboard hotkeys, the setup utility), there's an asinine procedure you have to follow:

Before installing this utility, you must first install the following Core Driver components in the order listed below:

Sony Notebook Control Device Utility
Sony Programmable I/O Control Device (only for the PCG-C1XS, PCG-F370/F390, PCG-F420/F430/F450/F480/F490, PCG-N505VE, PCG-N505VX, PCG-XG9, PCG-XG18/XG19, PCG-Z505HE/Z505HS)
Sony Utility Dynamic Link Library
Sony Extended BIOS Dynamic Link Library

All of those are separate installers. All of them want reboots in between.

And naturally, since I have no way of knowing which installers are going to have badly written batch files in them, this is a shitload of trial and error.

On my most recent attempt, windows found a new device "SYSTEM", and asks me for a driver. I give it one, and it bluescreens on me. I've rerun SFC to make sure everything is okay, and at this point I wonder if I really *need* those hotkeys. I think it's a necessary thing, considering I can't tweak screen brightness without it. I'm going to give it one more try in a bit.

At this point, I'm downloading the Knoppix ISO. I still need to install all the GPRS stuff for my phone, and the drivers for the USB-Serial adapter, and all the other crap you need when you work on routers.
gushi: (Default)
I'm new to RSS. One of those whizbang new technologies that never caught on with me. Sorta like html....err XHTML. By the time I'm into it, there's four fucking versions of a standard to do something REALLY SIMPLE.

So since I'm a journal whore, and many of my friends post things that are friends-only, I need the journal login cookie to be working. Thus for things like the bob parsons blog, the BSD security feeds, the ISS security feeds, etc, I just have them listed in my LJ. Sorta counter-intuitive to the point of RSS, but it's all in one place. I always have an extra browser open.

I thought for a while about using a console based RSS reader, but most of the things are media and link heavy. I'd be opening a browser anyway to comment, view an image, or the like. So for LJ, it's a one-stop trip for me.

Now, here's my question.

When in FireFox, there's a little icon in the lower right that shows up when I'm on a page with an rss-enabled feed.

Here's all I want...ready?

I want the ability to take that icon, and pull up "okay, this site has a feed", and then COPY THAT GODDAMNED FEED URL TO THE CLIPBOARD, so I can paste it into my "RSS Reader" (i.e. my livejournal settings).

I don't want to subscribe to one of three different feeds in some obscure dropdown menu that I have to check. My "bookmarks" are more like a research library for me. Technical documents I save off when I might need some piece of information. Anything I visit frequently, I hit the keystroke for the addressbar, and TYPE IN THE URL. My URL list...hundreds of them, is in my head. Period. I don't want to launch 1928723 other panes in firefox to read feeds in an ugly non-graphical layout that, if I wanted to comment, interact, or view graphics, I'd have to launch a browser anyway.

Of course, the simple answer just hit me. Take the url of the page, and LJ will recognize that there are feeds embedded in there, and create them on the fly.

...I think.

Now, if only LJ had better abilities, like the ability to give a feed account a usericon...

Or for something like this:

If there was a way to get the images to actually SHOW UP in my journal page.

The images and thumbnails are in the XML info. Why LJ doesn't want to show them is beyond me.

Wow, no way to do any of that and already we've got three conflicting technologies.



Jul. 1st, 2005 01:51 am
gushi: (Default)
I just fired off an email to "pred", the author of the previous article I posted, thanking him for his time and saying it's the best thing I've ever read on the subject.

What I got back was an autoresponse.

Date: 1 Jul 2005 05:20:57 -0000
Subject: Re: power supply article

Broadcast message from root@pred:
Sending all processes the TERM signal.

For more information about why pred wont be responding to your email click the link below:
( )

Pred has died of cancer.

Friends and relatives maintain his blog, his site, and his systems in his memory. The same was done for someone else I never had the great fortune to know, Tammad Rimilia, active in many subjects of my own interest.

I don't know how I'll go, or when, but I only hope my friends care enough about me to do the same. No, this isn't a suicide threat or anything, just a hope that when I go, I'll have touched as many lives as this.

Rest in Peace, Stranger.


Jul. 1st, 2005 01:26 am
gushi: (Default)

if anyone here is (like me) the kind of person who tends to leave a computer running in a remote location (i.e. servers), you should probably have a read at this.

Very Geeky, but you should probably read if you're a geek )


Jul. 1st, 2005 01:26 am
gushi: (Default)

if anyone here is (like me) the kind of person who tends to leave a computer running in a remote location (i.e. servers), you should probably have a read at this.

Very Geeky, but you should probably read if you're a geek )
gushi: (Default)

phpBB 2.0.16 is out. Mass upgrades will be ensuing tonight. If you don't want this, upgrade on your own.

gushi: (Default)
Okay, so this thing just decided to have its hard drive say "I'm taking my gavel and going home." The drive has been making a loud "clack clack clack" noise like some teenager with a new tongue piercing this whole time. Of course, just after I bid on a new 20g drive (more than I'll ever need) on ebay, the thing froze up and went into arrest (no noise, no response, hard drive light SOLID). Basically meaning the drive stuck its fingers in its ears and said "LALALALALALA INT 14 I can't hear you".

Okay, so there should be a new drive here within a few days, and the result is probably going to be a hybrid system like I have at work: win2k/knoppix. So I've arrived at a problem

The vaio can boot from its special Y-E data USB "FlashBuster" floppy.
The vaio can boot from a special PCMCIA cdrom Like this one.The vaio can boot from the hard drive.

It will NOT boot any other USB devices. Period.

I *think* OS Loader 2000 may be the best answer to this, it claims it can boot from USB. I only HOPE that doesn't require that your bios support it as well.

Update. It requires bios support. Friggin bullshit. All I want is a floppy with a USB driver that just says "hey, that device I just found (be it a pendrive or a USB cdrom) looks bootable, I'll load it." I mean, what I'll PROBABLY do is create a small (30 meg or so) FAT16 dos partition and drop every known driver in there, but it still fucks up all these nice utilities that want to BOOT from the media. Grrr

Update-Update: This looks promising.

One way to find out -- what I would really LIKE is if there were a floppy disk that would present you with the same menu, so you don't have to permanently install OS loader 2000. But since I'll be multibooting anyway, I suppose I'll deal.

Of course, I've managed to get linux to boot just by tweaking the windows boot loader. See this screenshot.

More to come.
gushi: (Default)
Some people ask what I do about system security on prime. I'm interested in sharing.

I've seen a lot of posts that say "don't give out ssh access". I think that's bullshit. Anyone who wants to can upload a CGI/PHP script that will allow them the equivalent of shell access almost instantly. Given, there are a class of users on the system who can do NOTHING but email, and they have no SSH/CGI/FTP access. Similarly, setting someone's shell to /bin/date (which will allow ftp, but not ftp won't stop them from uploading a script.

Security is a layered thing. I certainly don't know everything about it, and I don't believe anyone can. I know what I need to, and always try to learn.

I run Webmin. I run it behind SSL, and I run it on a non-standard port. In the event of a compromise, lockout, or fat-fingered root password, webmin is a convenient back door. Additionally, it's proven an invaluable tool for certain things, like MySQL. I exchange about one email a month with the author about possible improvements.

I run aide. Aide basically takes a checksum of important binaries on your system (in my case, anything in *bin (/bin, /sbin, /usr/bin, /usr/sbin, /usr/local/sbin, /usr/local/bin), and checks everything nightly. The checksum database resides on (get this), a write protected floppy sitting in the floppy drive. Good luck hacking that.

I have no qualms about running webmin, although there have been holes discovered in the past, because I run it someplace different from usual. How do I know people won't find it on a portscan? Simple. My open ports list is like a minefield. If you connect to any of 60 commonly-exploited ports, prime will defend itself and firewall itself against you. Permanently. You won't be able to connect to it at all. The ports list is scattered enough that it's hard to hit by accident.

I have a logfile parser that runs once an hour, that goes through all my logfiles and emails me if it finds anything unusual or out of the blue (failed logins, possible attacks, etc).

Additionally, there's also a system in place that keeps track of when people FIRST log in, as well as when they log in from an unusual suffix, cross-checked against a list of country codes. (i.e. if Joe logs in from Venezuela).

I run MRTG, which normally is used to graph traffic, but I use it to graph things like system load, the number of logged in (and unique) users, and the number of active processes.

This is all stuff to protect the server. Part 2 will be the stuff I do to protect the user.

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