Nostalgic Rumblings
The Ramblings of an Old Man




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11/23/2005


Little Annoyances…

Filed under: General — Charlie Summers @ 4:00 pm

Life is filled with little annoyances, and someone as cranky as I am can’t keep silent about ‘em. But since these are small enough that they can’t justify posts of their own, I’m going to gather then together and occasionally post a bunch.

Jimmy Dean: I was ticked off at them before, for firing their founder as their spokesman (c’mon, guys, who can possibly sell Jimmy Dean better than…Jimmy Dean?), but now they really have me hot. I decided the other day to grab a quick breakfast sandwich the other day, and picked up a two-pack of Jimmy Dean’s frozen muffin-egg-bacon. When I got home, however, the first instruction is, “Thaw sandwich completely.” Yeah, right…before I microwave the thing for 65 seconds, I’m going to let it sit on the counter for five hours or so to thaw. Next time, I buy Great Starts.

The FDA: I’ve really despised the FDA’s cozy relationship with the drug companies ever since they decided to make a specific company more money by re-regulating the long-generic extended-release guaifenesin so that the pills that used to cost literally pennies per dose are now over a dollar and only available from one price-gouging company (they say it was to insure quality…sure it was!), but they’ve past being anti-consumer and have become just plain stupid. There’s a commercial out for a non-narcotic sleep aid which, as required by the FDA, alerts consumers that a side effect of the pill is…drowsiness. Someone want to explain to the FDA that that ain’t a side-effect, but the d*mned point?

Graco: I truly hate companies that treat the consumer like an idiot…while I don’t deny that some of ‘em are, most of us are smarter in most cases than the engineers who design the products we buy. Case-in-point: Graco made what I thought to be a nifty little turbobooster seat for my daughter; thing has cupholders and everything. Problem is, she put some small objects in one of the cupholders, and I moved the seat to another car - this caused the items to fall into the hollow of the seat itself. Now I know, you’re thinking, “Well, heck, just remove the screws, take the halves apart, and remove the objects.” Good idea…except Graco, in a titanic act of hubris telling us that we as consumers aren’t smart enough to put it back together properly, used security screws to assemble the chair, so it’s impossible to get the seat apart to remove the objects. Ok, not impossible; my plan is, once the Peanut is no longer legally required to ride in the booster seat, to use a reciprocating saw to not only remove the objects, but vent my frustration on a company that has so little respect for its customers.

PETA: I tend to hate extremists of any flavor; right, left, or in this case, just plain wacko. The whole idea of the President pardoning a Thanksgiving turkey is a little silly, and is of course meant to be, but PETA is there to take it from silly to absurd. Seems because of this tiny group, this year’s turkeys (the honoree and his backup, should he be unable for any reason to perform his duties) were flown First Class by United Airlines to Disneyland, because the kiddie park in Virginia these turkeys (in this case the birds, not PETA) are usually shipped to doesn’t give them, not making this up, enough “mental stimulation.” Apparently these turkeys (yeah, PETA this time) don’t have enough to do fighting legitimate cases of animal cruelty, and need to find some way to completely marginalize themselves, make themselves look like such idiots that the mainstream in this country won’t take anything they say seriously. I can understand the Administration caving into them (write your own joke about politicians and special interest groups, I’m not in the mood), but those of us not so far out there we’ve intellectually passed Pluto (the planet, not the dog) are looking at the whole thing with disgust. I fully expect to be boycotted by these knuckleheads because I don’t give my cat enough “mental stimulation,” instead wasting all that time on the (to them) insignificant human child in the household - ah, well, at least the feline will get to eat his fill of murdered, cooked, and delicious bird flesh tomorrow along with the rest of us. And believe me..when I fry up the heart and liver in a small cast-iron pan with butter and salt, I’ll be thinking of them with each delicious sizzle.

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone in the United States; to those in Canada, you’ve already had yours.

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11/16/2005


Here we go again…

Filed under: General — Charlie Summers @ 2:43 pm

In our on-going saga of spam messages with forged headers making it appear we’re responsible…

For quick background, see this blog entry which explains the fun we went through for the first three months of this year. Go ahead, read that one first…I’ll wait. (Some of the last comments on that entry are about the newest run, but most are about the forgery from the beginning of the year.)

Oh, you’re back; sorry, was doing something else. Anyway, the latest forgery appears to contain within the body of the message (and I say “appears” because to date no one has yet sent me a copy with complete header fields…all of the people who have copied these things have only sent the incomplete ones) a header field similar to:

Received: from megachild (lof@chcgil2-ar3-4-43-971-006.chcgil2.dsl-verizon.net [140.140.54.160])
   by www.lofcom.com (8.4.3/8.8.3) with ESMTP id MAA36217;
   Wed, 16 Nov 2005 13:44:41 -0500

Note the forged IP is different in every one I’ve seen, as is the date. But they all have that Chicago Verizon DSL machine name, as well as the machine name “www.lofcom.com.” The first reported sighting was yesterday afternoon, and they apparently escalated today (I’m receiving bunches of mis-directed complaints, which is of course the scum’s intention).

This appears to have been stolen from a really old message; years ago, Verizon had my south-central Pennsylvania DSL line on a Chicago IP, which later moved to Washington, D.C. and then later to Harrisburg, PA. And a _long_ time ago I had a machine which answered to the name “www.lofcom.com” (the current mail server does not)…so the slime who is doing this clearly stole information from an old email.

So please, folks; if you are going to post a copy of the spam you received (and I urge you to do so), please, please, PLEASE include complete headers! If you don’t know how, check the Help file of your email client. But I’m really curious to know if these, like the earlier ones, are coming from a network of zombies, or from a single location.

And stop yelling at me…I didn’t have anything to do with it. (And to the slug who posted, “Dang, boy,” to me, jump in a lake until you learn some manners.)

 

 
Update 16 December,3:30pm EST: Thanks to George Burnham and Harieta Havarneanu, I have two examples showing where the spam originated; one from Korea and the other from Spain, which tends to suggest this is another attack from a coordinated set of zombined machines around the world.

The mail is basically set up with the “real” header fields (missing To: headers, but that isn’t a problem since the delivery address is always in the out-of-band, or envelope, information), then a blank line which I’m betting is an error (spammers are, by definition, stupid), then the forged header block in the body which is what’s riling everyone up, then the encoded web page (which doesn’t resolve because of the screwup).

 

 
Update 17 December, 11:03am EST: I cannot believe the number of unsubscribe requests coming into the server…people, you all should be really grateful I’m not the spammer, since sending an unsubscribe request simply validates that you have a legitimate email address. To properly report spam, if you don’t know how to read a Received: header field (or even know what one is), please go to http://www.spamcop.net/ and get yourself a free account. SpamCop will properly report the spam, won’t bother innocents, and will keep your address from being harvested by the bad guys by using phony ones on each reported spam. Also, consider doing a Google search on reporting spam, so you can understand how really bad an idea it is to request an unsubscribe from a list onto which you never subscribed in the first place. (An example of an opt-IN list is the OTR Digest, where you subscribe and unsubscribe yourself at will. That’s a wholely different thing from spam, where some scum harvests your email address from somewhere and shoves commercial crap down your throat.)

 

 
Update 17 December, 6:35pm EST: Ok, scratch that part about not bothering innocents; because the www.lofcom.com domain is in the body of the message in the forged header block, SpamCop is dutifully reporting it as a spamvertized website. (*shrug*) But the truth is, SpamCop is too valuable for me to be upset about it (I have a paid account, and report every spam I receive through it - probably what ticked this slimeball off in the first place).

Also used a really cool website, http://www.toastedspam.com/decode64 to decode the data inside the spam; turns out it’s advertising some website hosted in China selling some scam nonsense. No, I won’t publish it here (you kidding? I should give this scum exposure?), but if you got this spam, you can easily use the TostedSpam decoder to find it. (And that decoder gets a high-ranking bookmark from me!)

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11/11/2005


Pat Robertson Spouts Off Again…

Filed under: News — Charlie Summers @ 10:40 am

Fron CNN: Conservative Christian broadcaster Pat Robertson told citizens of a Pennsylvania town (Dover) that they had rejected God by voting their school board out of office for supporting “intelligent design” and warned them Thursday not to be surprised if disaster struck.

http://www.cnn.com/2005/US/11/10/religion.robertson.reut/index.html

If this pitiful soul is the personification of religion in this country, it’s no wonder we’re due for retribution. I simply cannot believe this claptrap is the mainstay of Christian faith…those who, like me, believe this guy is a dangerous old man, should not remain silent and should publically denounce this un-Christian nonsense. Belief in a creator does not immediately equate to the promotion of bad science, no matter how many extremists make noise about it.

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11/7/2005


Bashpodder and Poorly-Written XML Files…

Filed under: General — Charlie Summers @ 2:48 pm

I use Bashpodder to handle my auto-download-through-XML needs (that’s “podcasting” to most of you, and is different from auto-downloading-under-program-control the way most of my audio files come in), and discovered a major problem with badly-formatted XML files published by WGBH Boston; the XML files have no (or few) returns in them, causing Bashpodder to fail in finding the <enclosure> containers. (Bashpodder as written can only find one per line, and since these have everything on one line, it can only find one enclosure.)

To fix the problem, I added immediately after:

file=$(wget -q $podcast -O - |

…the following snippet:

sed s/"<enclosure"/"\n<enclosure"/g - |

…which sticks a newline right before every <enclosure> container, forcing a new line. It appears to cause no ill effects on those XML files which are written properly, only affecting those very few (in my case one) which is structured so poorly. I’m sure those who are better in un*x can find a more efficient solution, but this one appears to work.

Unfortunately, since I do not mail into Gmail, nor accept mail from Gmail, I can’t inform the developer, “linc dot fessenden at gmail dot com” so if any of you know the guy, let him know, huh?

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11/4/2005


New Stuff on BobEdwards.Info…

Filed under: General, Radio Today — Charlie Summers @ 7:36 pm

Just a quick posting to mention a few new things on the BobEdwards.Info website, which is, as some of you may know, the newest website in my little corner of hyperspace…

First off, I finally got the entire guest history in the Previous Guest section; every guest who’s visited the show is now listed in the calendar, and although there’s currently no search available (I’ll write one in my copious spare time, but I’d better get the FOTR pics up first before someone lynches me!), there’s now search available! And every guest has been painstakingly entered. There are also links there for the books, CDs, and DVDs mentioned on the show pointing to Barnes and Noble, so it’s easy to purchase anything of interest, while earning us a small commission to help pay for the server and bandwidth. (Why not Amazon? Simple - BN doesn’t send the massive amount of unsolicited sales email that Amazon does.)

There are also some new bios on the Staff Bios page (a few folks still haven’t gotten back to me, including the “new kid”), and an admittedly impish welcome to that page.

And, of course, the main page contains the discussion forum - simply create a free account, and jump in chatting about the show! And don’t forget to tell your friends about the show, and about BobEdwards.Info!

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