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Thu, 11 Dec 2003

Security Warning

IE (Internet Explorer also known as The Great and Broken Browser) has a very nasty problem:  Using a carefully designed URL (web address) IE can be fooled into showing any address that I might want.  The problem is that many scammers like to use this time of year to prey upon busy shoppers.  Imagine receiving an email from your credit card company telling you that your account is overdue.  You click on the button in the email to view your account status and Internet Explorer pops up to show you the login page.  You double check the URL in the address bar because you don't want to be scammed; sure enough, it says www.yourcreditcardcompany.com so you feel all warm and fuzzy about entering your login information and checking your account.  What you didn't know is that the email was sent via a complex spamming process making the original sender nearly impossible to trace, that the URL you're actually viewing is www.yourcreditcardcompany.com%01@www.robthemblind.com/yourlifesavingsaremine.html and that the original sender is phishing for account information so she can rob you blind.  If you're using IE, you'll never know.  You can read more about it at ZDNet and you can actaully test the vulnerability yourself at http://www.zapthedingbat.com/security/ex01/vun1.htm.

If you are using Mozilla, a gecko based browser (Mozilla, Firebird, Netscape), Opera, or basically anything but IE then you don't have to worry about the problem.

Although I hate chain letters and such, this may just be something that you want to pass on to others.

This entry authored by Tyran at 10:33

Wed, 17 Dec 2003

'Tis the Season . . . .

I have no idea why I'm writing.  I have nothing to say so why am I doing this?  As I said, I have no idea . . . maybe it's boredom.

At this time of joy and cheer, I find myself loathe to interact with others.  When I do interact with others, I find everything is bright and gay but immediately following such encounters I am emotionally and physically exhausted.  I know it's just the SAD talking but I really don't care, that's the point though...isn't it?  It's a melancholy sadness that it takes too much effort to even feel sad.  You know that wonderful warm cozy feeling, when you very drowsy and you're slipping in and out of sleep in the evening?  This is exactly like that except it's not quite cold but definitely not warm.  It's wide awake but infinitely detached.  It's neither here nor there and yet I want nothing to disturb it.  Yes, it appears that I've become comfortably numb.

OK, that is definitely not where this was going when I started writing it.

This entry authored by Tyran at 12:00

Thu, 18 Dec 2003

'Tis a Puzzlement

Yesterday was, obviously, not the most exciting day of my life.  Hi, I'd like a large order of melancholy, with a side of apathy please.  Very good sir, would you like to super-size your order?  It's been a very long time since I've had a super-sized helping, quite a relief that.  Shanna did the kindest thing for me, she left me alone.  Without anyone to reinforce my malaise, it fizzled out and today the world is again full of color and vibrance.

This entry authored by Tyran at 07:27

Update on IE Security Hole

As you may remember, last week I mentioned that there was a nasty bug in Internet Explorer.  Microsoft has yet to release a patch for this.  It must be because this is a difficult bug to fix, right?  Microsoft wouldn't want to leave its loyal users exposed to a bug which would allow any teenager to gain full access to your online accounts (banking, insurance, whatever else he can think of to steal) without you even having a chance of detecting the fraud until it was too late, right?  Surely they will fix the problem and release a patch post-haste, it is the Christmas season after all.  Wouldn't it be a slap in the face if you discovered that the fix is relatively easy, easy enough that an independent group could reverse engineer IE and develop a patch faster than Microsoft, who has no need to reverse engineer its own product?  Wait, that's exactly what happened!  Openwares is hosting a patch written by Opensoft.  To make matters more embarrassing for Microsoft, the patch was originally released the same day that the bug was first discovered!  Microsoft has always claimed that it's unconscionable for people to make security flaws public, that's one of their major gripes against Open Source Software (like Mozilla).  The reason they tout is that making a flaw public before a patch is released gives the bad guys time to take advantage of the flaw.  Yet here we have a perfect example of how well OSS can solve such a problem.  A patch was release the same day as the bug was made public, by an independent group who did not have access to the original code of Internet Explorer!

At this point, I have only one question:  Why are you, dear reader, still using Internet Explorer?  It's insecure and Microsoft is intentionally dragging its heals in releasing a patch.  To me, that says that Microsoft does not care if some script kiddie or the Russian Mafia takes advantage of this to rob you blind.  To me it means that you, my dear reader, do not matter to them at all.  The situation only worsens when you learn that your current version of Internet Explorer is the last standalone version of Internet Explorer that Microsoft will ever make (follow the link and search for the word standalone).  I'll let you make your own conclusions as to what that means, exactly.

By the way, for those of you thinking that you should go shopping for a new browser for your own personal security (since that's obviously not very important to Microsoft), might I suggest Firebird?  It's a leaner, meaner, faster browser built on the same technology that Mozilla uses.  At only 6MB for the download, it's well worth a try.  Tomorrow I'll do a write-up on why I've made Firebird my default browser.

This entry authored by Tyran at 20:26

Wed, 31 Dec 2003

Resolution, it's not just a screen size!

It is not enough to jump if you want to reach the sky.
     T. K. V. Desikachar

As this day and year draw to a close, I am inclined to make a resolution or two.  This is something which I normally eschew as New Year's resolutions are usually trite and quickly broken.  This year, however, I've felt a need and excitement regarding the idea of making resolutions and so, I've made a few:

Resolutions for 2004

  • Maintain weight 170-175 lbs (77-79.5 kg)
  • Complete bachelor's degree
  • Practice Asanas at least 5 days a week
  • Practice Yoga every day
  • Complete Yoga instructor certification (if possible)
  • Write in EveryDay Yoga daily
  • Write in the Whinery at least semi-weekly
  • Bring about peace
  • End hunger

Just a quick note, you are about to get a glimpse inside my febrile mind (I'd rather have a fevered mind than a fertile mind any day...after all, who wants a mind full of .... um ... fertilizer!  Yeah, that's the ticket!)

The first two are fairly self-explanatory.  I have three classes and a 75 page thesis to complete and I'll have my degree.  As to the weight, I've gone from having to eat everything in sight just to maintain 145 lbs to where just looking at food seems to add pounds.

OMThe next three are obviously Yoga related but even to some who practice Yoga they may not be clear.  Asanas are the physical postures that most people think of as being Yoga when in reality, the Asanas are merely a part of Yoga.  As such, practicing Yoga is much more than just practicing the Asanas but defining exactly what that means is good fodder for another entry so I'll leave that until later.  For some time now I've wanted to share my fascination with Yoga with others but would not feel right about asking people to lay such trust on me without first preparing myself to merit such trust.  There's already a rather lengthy story dealing with that issue so I'll save that for another day too.

As the next two need no explanation other than to say that they indicate where my priorities lie, I'll move to the last two.  Peace and ending hunger, what hope do I have of accomplishing so overwhemling goals as these?  One would think that there is really nothing that I, a single individual, can to do bring peace to this world or an end to hunger for that matter.  What if every person on Earth had a goal of bringing about peace or if every family where to fight against hunger?  There's no question that with such support that these things would happen but can they ever happen if no one ever starts?  So, what can one person do?  Mend burnt bridges (we all have at least one), be the best neighbor your neighbors have ever and will ever have.  What about hunger?  Buy one extra can of food each time you go shopping and make a monthly donation to your local food bank.

Well, that's enough from me for this year, Happy New Year!

This entry authored by Tyran at 23:45

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