Nostalgic Rumblings
The Ramblings of an Old Man

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March 2004
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More on Blog-spamming…

Filed under: General — Charlie Summers @ 10:49 pm

This afternoon, another first; the email address for this blog was spammed by a 419 spam (you know, “I’m from Nigeria and want to give you 16 Bazillion dollars?”).

I’m not certain, but I think I know how. In the XML file is the email address of the author post…now in this file the email address is “escaped,” that is, looks like:

After some experimentation, I discovered that some aggrigators, when using “Add to Blog,” will actually unescape the escaped characters…so although it would be difficult to harvest from the XML file directly, any reposting of the information in the file would display the address in-the-clear, allowing any harvester software to pluck the address with no-muss-no-fuss.

I’m not yet prepared to change that address (although I will if I continue to receive spam through it), but I am going to be rewriting the XML file to no longer send the author’s email address in the syndicated feed. So far as I can tell, it isn’t required so there’s no reason to send it out routinely.

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Craig Kilborn, 24, other thoughts

Filed under: Television — Charlie Summers @ 3:59 pm

Craig Kilborn: Hard to believe he’s celebrating his fifth anniversary as the host of “The Late Late Show.” All that does is makes my missing Tom Snyder all that much more deep…Snyder had the last of the “talk shows,” since nowadays they are all more “comedy” (Leno, Letterman: comedy. Kilborn: mind-numbingly simplistic, about as funny as throwing up at a frat party) than talk.

When Annie was sick (maybe I’ll talk about 1998 sometime; if you don’t know about it, she was diagnosed with cancer while pregnant with our only child - was an ugly year), we routinely watched and enjoyed Tom, who opened every show with a rambling monolog that had nothing to do with anything other than maybe his day. Many evenings in Hershey’s hospital, we spent a little while forgetting about the chemotherepy running into her veins watching his show.

He had guests on who generally weren’t promoting anything, and he’d talk to each guest or a good 15-20 minutes. What made him really good was his ability to listen to his guests.

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One tree down…

Filed under: General — Charlie Summers @ 8:51 pm

Man, I’m a little sore. But the tree in the back yard is finally down.

Been nibbling at the thing for about two weeks now with the manual pole saw. Bought an electric pole chain saw last week, and on Sunday with Annie’s help got all but the three big snags out over the house and power lines down, so I was feeling pretty good about things…I mean, if I had to pay someone to finish the job, it had to be cheaper than taking the entire tree down.

This afternoon, my father, the guy with no fear and occasionally even less sense, came over to help me take those babies down. Other than one slightly close call, they all came down within inches of where we expected to put them (even when we both ended up on our arses after pulling the lines), and the beautiful tree where we placed Katie’s first swing is no longer a mighty maple, but next year’s firewood. No more shade for the patio where the Katester’s inflatable pool goes. And no more having the entire lawn raising up because of the mamoth structure of roots constantly growing and weaving under that lawn.

But I am gonna miss that tree.

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Wal-Mart Hits Snags in Push to Use Radio Tags to Track Goods

Filed under: News — Charlie Summers @ 12:27 pm

From The New York Times: Wal-Mart, the world’s largest retailer, has been forced to make a string of accommodations as it pushes to deploy radio frequency identification in its supply tracking process.

Too bad one of the accomodations isn’t something to protect the privacy of it’s customers…

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Yippee. Another day of viruses…

Filed under: General — Charlie Summers @ 10:16 am

From the looks of things in the various mailboxes I control, it’s another day of infected machines hammering every other machine on the Net with infected files. So far, the OTR Digest has received a boatload of the things.

I suppose that if people don’t get it now, they never will, but can’t we please all agree to stop opening up attachments we receive in email? I mean, this is not that hard, now is it?

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Update to OpenOffice released

Filed under: News — Charlie Summers @ 9:01 am

From has launched a new version of its OpenOffice productivity suite.

I’ve been working with it a bit of late, and really like it. You can’t kick free, and it’s much more secure than the Mircosoft version.

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How E-Voting Threatens Democracy

Filed under: News — Charlie Summers @ 2:51 am

From Wired: Over the past year, doubts about the accuracy and integrity of e-voting equipment have been growing. Election officials, secretaries of state, legislators and voters have come to agree that something is seriously wrong with electronic voting systems and the companies that make them.,2645,62790,00.html

If you’re an American voter (or, heck, a voter anywhere in the world!) you need to read this article. It’s an in-depth look at all of the problems that have been discovered in the electronic voting machines, and why pretty much anyone can steal an election nowadays.

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Just Amazing - this Blog is Spammed Already!

Filed under: General — Charlie Summers @ 9:16 pm

Impressive. This blog has been operational for barely two weeks now, and already some slimeball scammer attempted to spam the comments area.

I’ve been wanting to explain why the comments area is moderated; that is, human approval is required before posted comments are world-viewable. I made this decision early-on in my research of blogs, having visited so many blogs that had older postings completely taken over by porn and pill spam comments. I swore any blog I operated was not going to have that garbage cluttering things up, and so even before deciding on WordPress for the underlying software, I knew whatever I used would require comment moderation.

But I had no idea the disgusting thieves would get here this fast. I suppose I should have realized that chickenboners who can’t make an honest living without attempting to steal other people’s resources would find us quickly, but I guess I was hoping there was still some honor on the Net.

The really depressing thing is there isn’t much I can do, other than firewall off the Israeli netblock where the scum resides (or at least the computer the scum was using), and report to the upstream. I’m serious about a take-no-prisoners attitude; if I get spammed from a provider, I’ll firewall off that provider until they agree to deal with the problem. In this case, it’s probably a hijacked computer (we’re back to that scum-sucking thief part), so I expect to see more as the days and weeks progress. The only good news is, it’s pretty unlikely you will have to see these disgusting advertisements. (If anyone cares, this one was for some phony pharmacy ready to sell sugar pills to any fool stupid enough to fall for their scam). It makes more work for me needing to approve the legitimate comments that are posted, but it’s well worth the effort if I can protect the blog, and you, from having to deal with scam advertisements like this. Besides, it has to be easier to approve legitimate posts than to run around after-the-fact trying to delete spam messages that were allowed into the blog.

It honestly amazes me how scum like this can survive…you’d think they’d forget how to breath, as brain-damaged as they clearly are.

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Received a form letter from Jay Kernis

Filed under: General, Radio Today — Charlie Summers @ 5:28 pm

Wow, I am feeeling honored right now. I received a form letter from Jay Kernis, Senior Vice President for Programming. It’s the same paternalistic clap-trap that’s posted on the website; you know, “I know what good for you much better than you do” and the like, coupled with a bunch of PR nonsense (”Our news programming is now stronger and deeper than even just a few years ago;” well, glad to know you think so).

It is then followed by a press release from “Bob Edwards” (clearly, he didn’t come anywhere near the words in that release), telling us how wonderful it was that they booted him off the show. I’m only sorry another news organization didn’t send Edwards an offer so he could avoid dealing with this organization.

Tellingly, the form letter closes with, “We deeply appreciate that you care so much; without passion such as yours, public radio would not succeed.” I’d like to paraphrase that; with decisionmakers such as you, Mr. Kernis, public radio as it exists now doesn’t stand a snowball’s chance of surviving.

Last weekend’s On the Media looked at this story (although it would have been interesting to hear an investigation about why this decision was made) in an interview with Bob Edwards. Although Mr. Edwards and I disagree about pressuring local stations to force change within NPR’s executive suites, it is clear when listening to this interview that Edwards is just as confused, disappointed, and even hurt by this decision as the listeners of Morning Edition. You can hear the interview at with your RealAudio player or read the transcript sometime tomorrow (Tuesday) at

Again, I urge you to put pressure on your local NPR member station by withholding your financial support from them this year, and telling them exactly why.. And Bob, if you read this, understand this is not out of pique or anger, and is not suggested to “get back” at anyone. I maintain that only by putting pressure on the local stations will changes be made in the hierarchy of NPR…and after this senseless and damaging change, clearly pressure needs to be placed on the board of NPR to stop this nonsense. They clearly don’t care about hearing from their listeners, so maybe hearing from the local stations that they are losing funding and support from their listeners might shake some things up.

Or, if you want me to pay for something, you’d damned well better give me what I want, not what you think I should want.

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Commentary: Mornings without NPR’s Colonel Bob

Filed under: News, Radio Today — Charlie Summers @ 10:10 am

From Seattle PI: Bill Radke (host of KUOW’s “Rewind”) comments on the “reassignment” of Bob Edwards, and the listeners who are loudly complaining.

I still think the only way to get to the dim bulbs who caused this mess is to withhold support from the local stations, and let them pressure the NPR board.

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Gates Weighs In On Spyware Issue

Filed under: News — Charlie Summers @ 2:45 pm

From “We are going to help users be in control,” Bill Gates declared Friday at MSN’s Strategic Account Summit, speaking out against spyware to an audience of advertisers and marketers.

Boy, there’s some irony. Bill Gates saying the user is in control, when some of the most powerful spyware is written by Microsoft. Media players, operating systems, all reporting to MS on your actions without your knowledge, and he says you’re in control?

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Soviets Burned By CIA Hackers?

Filed under: News — Charlie Summers @ 12:56 pm

From Wired: The author of a new book detailing a plan to use a Trojan horse embedded in stolen software to wage economic war against the Soviet Union fired back Thursday at charges the book’s revelations are “rubbish.”,1284,62806,00.html

For every technological problem, there’s a technological solution that’s even worse.

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Ohmygod…Scott, do you still have a job?

Filed under: General, Radio Today — Charlie Summers @ 10:46 am

This morning, I turned on Weekend Edition Saturday, and Linda Wertheimer (a voice I appreciate and enjoy) said, “Scott Simon is away.” My immediate reaction was, “Ohymygod, Kernis fired another one!”

A reminder - withold your support from your local public radio station this year, and let them know why. Certainly the executives at NPR are too pig-headed to allow common sense to rule in the case of Bob Edwards (like most narrow-minded executives who cannot actually do anything of benefit, these guys are not going to admit to having made a really dumb decision), but maybe by putting pressure on the local stations we can force some changes in the executive suites of NPR itself.

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Seniors Are More Spam Savvy

Filed under: General — Charlie Summers @ 9:15 am

From TechWeb: Seniors are the most spam-savvy online age group, making them less likely to be victims of scam artists, said a survey released Monday. Compared with other age groups, people 65 years old or older were less likely to click on a link in an unsolicited email to get more information than other age groups, according to the online survey conducted by Applied Research for security firm Symantec Corp.

HA! Let those young whippersnappers eat our dust!

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Congress Moves to Criminalize P2P

Filed under: News — Charlie Summers @ 2:02 am

From Wired: Congress appears to be preparing assaults against peer-to-peer technology on multiple fronts. A draft bill obtained by Wired News, recently circulated among members of the House judiciary committee, would make it
much easier for the Justice Department to pursue criminal prosecutions against file sharers by lowering the burden of proof.
The bill also would seek penalties of fines and prison time of up to ten years for file sharing.,1294,62830,00.html

What a bunch of idiots. Are all these guys in the pockets of the RIAA and MPAA?

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Spam Monster Eyes Another Target - Instant Messaging

Filed under: News — Charlie Summers @ 12:48 pm

From Wired News: Spim is to chat clients what spam is to e-mail — unsolicited messages from unknown losers pushing products and services. And it’s on the rise: Spim is expected to triple from 400 million messages in 2003 to 1.2 billion messages this year, according to Sara Radicati, president of technology market research firm The Radicati Group.,1377,62805,00.html

I love Systems Administrator Dennis Love’s comment; “As far as I’m concerned, spammers are the Antichrist.”

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More on Bob Edwards being canned from Morning Edition

Filed under: General, News, Radio Today — Charlie Summers @ 6:23 pm

Ok, kids. Now I’m steamed.

It seems that Bob’s departure from the morning program is not voluntary; instead, the morons at NPR have decided to “take the show in a different direction:”

From Detroit Free Press: Bob Edwards pushed from NPR a.m. show

From Seattle PI: Bob Edwards dumped as host of NPR’s ‘Morning Edition’

From Bob Edwards will be replaced as “Morning Edition” host

“Edwards said he was disappointed by the move, particularly that he won’t be host when the program celebrates its 25th anniversary in November.”

“Different Direction?” Which way is down again?

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Online Swindlers, Called Phishers, Lure Unwary

Filed under: News — Charlie Summers @ 10:52 am

From The New York Times: Phishing attacks are growing rapidly, impersonating Internet service providers, online merchants and banks. Government officials and private investigators say all signs point to gangs of organized criminals most likely in Eastern Europe as being behind many of the latest efforts.

Simply assume that if you receive a request for invasive personal information via email, it’s a phony. Contact the company allegedly sending you this thing and ask for details first.

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EU fines Microsoft $613 million; fight may last to 2009

Filed under: News — Charlie Summers @ 2:09 am

From InfoWorld: Microsoft Corp. will appeal the fine and sanctions imposed upon it by the European Commission on Wednesday, a process that could keep the battle rumbling until 2009, Brad Smith, the company’s senior vice president and general counsel, said in a conference call shortly after the Commission’s decision was announced.

The European Union has the courage to finally sit on this 6000-pound elephant, and make them responsible for the anti-competitive and monopolistic nonsense they inflict on all of us. Maybe Bill & Balmer think if they delay long enough, they can buy a new government in the EU that will drop everything, too.

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It’s tough not listening to Old-Time Radio…

Filed under: Old-Time Radio — Charlie Summers @ 9:32 pm

I don’t think I’ve listened to any OTR in over a week. There never seem to be enough hours in a day…I admit I do listen to news from radio stations streamed across the Internet during the morning while getting my daughter together and ready for school and trying to handle the mailing list and answer email at the same time, but usually I have some time in the afternoon to listen to OTR while programming when the Katester is sitting in kindergarden learning how to be even better at getting whatever she wants from the old man.

But for the last week or so, I’ve been so darned busy with stuff that’s been popping up, I haven’t had time to listen to anything. I’ve been going through video and audio tape and discs gathering information for this fall’s tribute to Harry Bartell (I’ll talk more about that sometime real-soon-now), transfering video into the computer for burning to DVD, fixing things around the house (today a front door hinge, later today or tomorrow a replacement valve in the toilet, that sort of thing), late last week I finalized all the tax information for the accountant (who seemed a little surprised that I wasn’t coming in on April 14th)…it’s all just conspired to make it impossible to listen to any OTR.

Man, I miss it.

And I can’t figure out how other people seem to have so much time to kick back and listen. There seem to be so many things that need to be done nowadays that it drives me crazy when I talk to someone and they say, “yeah, I listened to three Nick Carter episodes and a Shadow yesterday,” while I’m trying to figure out where the d*mned screwdriver is I used yesterday.

Jealous? Me? Na…

But if I don’t soon get some time to listen to some shows, I’m going to need a bunch of guest-bloggers to take up the slack…

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