Posted by: The Lazy Admin | January 16, 2009

How to Suck at Information Security

Lenny Zeltser posted this little list over at SANS.org, and I thought it was good.  It was funny though, because I was asked to do the 8th bullet on the list last month.

http://isc.sans.org/diary.html?storyid=5644

Luckily the policy was for a separate office that has no internet accessible server, and with their firewall completely closed off from the outside they’re safe from incoming threats.  Then again, most threats usually come from within an organization….

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Posted by: The Lazy Admin | January 16, 2009

Lazy Lunches for Lazy Admin

I’ve found probably my newest favorite place to eat in my little town.  There’s a new place called Lazy Lunches that’s opened, and it’s a refreshing change of pace from all the fast food joints in town, or the expensive sit-down restaurants.  For me it’s great, because the place lives up to its name.

The guy makes all of his sandwiches ahead of time, and keeps them in warmers where they stay nice and moist, and he makes new sandwiches throughout the day.  He takes homemade bread dough, rolls it out, puts ingredients in the middle, rolls the dough up around the stuff, and bakes it whole.  The outcome is positively mouth-watering.  The combination of fresh baked bread with such delicious sandwiches as the standard club, italian beef, ham and cheese, and he also makes other specialities like cheeseburger roll-ups, which is just like you’re probably imagining.  The beef is lightly seasoned with pepper and other spices, and baked up as deliciously as everything else.  He also makes and sells his own desserts there.

I’m hoping that maybe by blogging about the place more people from my town will give the place a try.  It’s in a sort of hard to find place, but seems to be gaining popularity with college students.  There aren’t enough places like this around here and I’m hoping he’ll stick around.

Posted by: The Lazy Admin | November 14, 2008

Spam Hosting Company Goes Offline

This article just tickled me pink!

http://www.eweek.com/c/a/Security/Notorious-Web-Hosting-Service-Linked-to-Spam-Campaigns-Goes-Offline/?kc=rss

Let me give you an example of how this affected my company.  The following are some of our recent spam statistics, starting on November 11 (which is the date the spam host was cut off) and a couple of days following it.

Date        Total Mail   Spam    % that is spam

11/11     4,429          3165    71.5
12/11     1,288          228      17.7
13/11     1,344          211      15.7

Those percentages are drastic changes.  The article estimates that the company was responsible for around 75% of the total spam worldwide, because they held control servers for several of the major spam botnets out there.   Botnets, if you don’t know, are basically a cloud of computers worldwide that are infected with a trojan, usually without the computer owner’s knowledge or consent, that basically makes the computer a zombie that accepts commands from a central location to both try infecting other computers and to send out the Viagra ads, the breast enlargements, and the other various X-rated spam emails that pretty much everyone gets from time to time.

Good riddance to them.  Oh by the way, I looked up the owner records for the domain that went offline… looks like it has a Newark, NJ address registered to it.  That ought to help some of the internet vigilantes out there!

Posted by: The Lazy Admin | October 16, 2008

Economics from a non-Economist

I was reading a press release from an Iraqi official that says $100 a barrel is a “fair and acceptable” price for the product.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but doesn’t the market dictate the “fair and acceptable” value for the product rather than some jackass who can likely swim in his cache of riches every day like Scrooge McDuck?

Several years ago, oil prices were far less than they are now. Granted, inflation’s taken its toll on the American dollar and other currencies around the world, but as far as America is concerned not all of the oil we use comes from American sources. So when the economy goes south we still have to pay whatever prices OPEC feels are “fair and acceptable” but instead of that cash going to local economies, it goes into the piggy banks of rich oil-producing countries.

Now there’s talk of possibly yet another economic stimulus rebate for Americans. Why not simply force down oil prices? It’s not exactly like The Invisible Hand is going to be working when OPEC artificially creates a price hike by stemming oil production and choking out the rest of the world. At least with cheaper gas prices, the average person (who basically cannot live without gasoline at this point) will have more money to spend in other areas of the economy rather than simply giving half their paychecks to some tiny country who doesn’t seem to help out on the world stage anyway.

Posted by: The Lazy Admin | August 18, 2008

Video Game Marching Show

My friend Brandon linked me this video. I was a marching band kid, and I love video games, and I’d have simply died to have been able to march in this show!

http://gamevideos.1up.com/video/id/16194

Posted by: The Lazy Admin | August 18, 2008

High School Really Never Ends

So I had my 10 year high school reunion this weekend, and part of me is surprised yet altogether I’m really not.  This post could’ve really turned into a gigantic rant, but why bother?

I was pleasantly surprised to visit with one of the people I wanted to see at the reunion, who as it turns out should have been part of my circle of friends in high school if not for the popularity race.  Many others were also enthusiastic about seeing me again, which was nice.

The preps, the cheerleaders, the wannabes… they all sat together with their fake enthusiasm for people they probably hadn’t bothered to even keep in touch with all these years and seemed to turn their nose up at everyone else rather than act grown-up and reminisce and visit with everyone else.  I made an attempt to float to at least every group and shake several hands and give friendly words but there were those who made no obvious attempt to socialize outside of their cliques.

Sadly, it’s those people who’ll never know how awesome I was in high school, and how I’m so much better than even that now.

I also got a chance to visit with people I wish I’d stayed in better contact with, one of whom has been living here the whole time and I’ve never even run into him.

Sure, reunions should be a time to catch up with old friends, but in the internet age, it’s not hard to keep track of people and keep lines of communication open.  This leads me to believe that most of these people who seemed to be just wanting to catch up to their old friends are simply trying to keep their image up.  If they were such good friends with these people, how come they haven’t talked to each other in 10 years?  C’mon people, let’s walk in reality for a while.

I’m not trying to dissuade anyone from going to their high school reunions, but definitely don’t expect anything to be different.  If you were popular, get over it.  If you act like a good many did at my reunion, you’re going to leave with a seriously negative image left in the minds of many people you knew.  Ya know, several of them are even practicing lawyers and such in the area, and after the displays of arrogance this weekend I’ll never even consider sending them any business simply because of the way they have treated people in the past and seemingly continue to treat people.  It’s rather sickening, actually.

Posted by: The Lazy Admin | August 7, 2008

Losing A Piece of the Past

I’m sort of a strange ball of emotions at the moment, so I figured it was as good of a reason as any to make a new post.

On Sunday evening around 6:30pm one of my childhood friends, Anthony J. Robertson, was killed in a single car accident.  Growing up I always knew him as “Tony” but he sort of changed his preferences from time to time as to whether or not he liked being called that.  He had a wife of 10 years and a son about as old as that.

I’d safely say I considered Anthony one of my best friends for several years of my life.  We rode the bus to school together, hung out at school, and stayed the night at each others’ houses often.  Together we would play video games, watch movies, do dangerous stuff like creating explosives, and were fascinated with his his parents’ porn collection.  I’d say we were typical adolescent boys in this area.  He was rude, crude, and sometimes unbearable but during those years I can’t say I ever saw him not having fun very often.  He would take a boring situation like being in class and make it interesting for himself.

We eventually stopped hanging out, though I don’t even remember why or how it happened but we eventually just drifted apart and stopped talking.  Years later I ended up having a class with him in high school and his demeanor seemed to have changed quite a bit.  He wasn’t always the smiling, looking-to-have-fun person I had known him to be.  I don’t know if he even had any friends.

Eventually we all graduated and started doing our own thing.  Anthony got married, had a kid, and started working.  I went to college.  I never heard from or saw him until I went into McDonald’s here in 2003 or 2004, and he was working.  I talked briefly and caught up a little.  He was about to quit McDonald’s and undergo brain surgery to hopefully stop the grand mal seizures he had been plagued with.  It wasn’t until a year or two later that I saw him again as I was entering a restaurant and he and the wife were leaving.  The surgery had apparently helped and he was working again.  That was the last I had heard from him until I was told about the fatal accident.

Still sketchy details at best from what I heard, but either he swerved and over-corrected to avoid a car that was in his lane, or he had been the one to cross lanes and over-corrected.  He was 28 years old.

I can’t help but feel heartbroken over this loss.  Being friends with Anthony helped form me into the person I am today.  He’s part of my history.  Who’s to say who I’d be without his friendship?  I know he was generous to most everyone who was close friends with him.  On more than one occasion he’d pay for movies, drinks, popcorn, video game rentals, etc. with money he had earned working in tobacco or something else.

There were bad aspects of him, for sure.  Even as a teenager he was obsessed with alcohol.  I think maybe his life was turned around in the years I didn’t know him though.  He was attending a local church with his family so that stands for something in my mind.  Thing is, I feel anger and sadness towards the people who knew him, called him friend, and yet didn’t care enough to share the loss with his family.  His family was gracious enough to take me into their house on many occasions and treat me like one of their own and I felt obliged to show them some respect.

I went to the visitation yesterday and talked briefly with his parents.  His dad’s first words were, “I know I should know you, but I can’t remember exactly how I know you”.  I explained who I was and he shook my hand… and didn’t let go.  I looked him in the eye and could see how strong he was trying to be.  We talked for a minute or so about Anthony, the past, and so on before I caught his mom’s attention.  His dad’s final comments to me was, “Well, when something like this happens you find out quick who your friends are, and I appreciate it.”   His mom knew right away who I was when I asked her if she remembered me.  She hugged me, and again we talked a while.  It was all I could do to keep from breaking down at the tremendous feeling of sadness and loss.  Situations like that are impossible for me to not empathize with those who are hurting, and even today I’m still feeling the pain.

I can’t begin to describe all of the things I feel.  I think, what if it happened to me?  Who would come to my visitation?  Would anyone think fondly of any memories I’d created with them?  Would anyone even care?  And then I think back to the sermon that, ironically, was preached at my church the day Anthony was killed.  The pastor talked about how people care, but they don’t care, because they don’t know what’s going on in the lives of the people they care about, so that even though they care emotionally, they don’t go through the act of caring to the people around them.  I felt the proper thing to do was visit Anthony and his family in their time of need and show them that, yes, people do care.  I care.  I care because I feel pain too.  I care because I can understand what they may be going through and that someone from the past, like me, will show them that people did care about Anthony and their pain.

I care because I want friends who will come to my funeral and comfort my family should I die unexpectedly.  What some people don’t seem to understand is that caring about someone isn’t convenient.  It’s going to take time, it’s going to interrupt your life, but Christians as members of the body of Christ are supposed to care for each other, and whether you “love” someone or not, Christ told us to love each other as He has loved us.  I think it makes me more sad than angry that there are still people who knew Anthony who didn’t care to make time to at least visit with his family after their loss.

Posted by: The Lazy Admin | July 25, 2008

Happy SysAdmin Day!

I’m going to be happier here shortly, because I’m gonna be knocking back a couple of cold beers.   After an emergency network restructuring Wednesday night and some more afterhours tweaks yesterday evening things are back to normal and hopefully more robust and fault-tolerant than before.  It’s SysAdmin Appreciation Day, and actually most people weren’t even aware that we had such a severe outage and that it took that much work to get it fixed.  Ironic that it happened this week, after my dentist appointment and now today being SysAdmin Day.  Sadly, a job well done means nobody has a reason to complain.  Ah well, it felt pretty good getting everything fixed anyway!

Posted by: The Lazy Admin | July 19, 2008

Video Games Lives – Louisville KY

I’m in the Galt House in Louisville KY right now, just got back from the Video Games Live concert.  Check it out at:   http://www.videogameslive.com

The concert was phenomenal.  There was an internet phenomenon at the concert too (which I’d link if I wasn’t too tired to look him up on YouTube) but he plays a lot of video game themes completely blindfolded.  It’s truly a sight to behold.

It was a completely awesome time.  Sure, it was full of 18- year old nerdy kids who I can seriously relate to, but I felt like a complete minority not only in video gaming prowess, but also in the fact that I *was* over 18 years of age, was not there with my mother, and had probably at least seen a female naked, in person, within the last year.  That was truly an ego boost.  I wish I’d taken my camera in so I could’ve gotten some really good pictures.  My good friend Brandon was there with his wife, and I was there with my wonderful girlfriend Jessica (which contributed to my minority status in the venue) and he’s got some good pictures for me.  I was a wuss and decided not to press my luck by breaking the venue rules and sneaking my camera in.  Fail for me.

I’ll definitely be going next year.  Hell even Jessica really liked the show and she’s not a hardcore enthusiast like I am.

Posted by: The Lazy Admin | June 8, 2008

Dabbling in the Arts

Surprisingly to some, I have an interest in not only writing, but in musical composition.  Back in my high school heydays, I’d sit around on hot summer afternoons and mess around with a music program I had called MusicTime.  I was in band, so I knew a bit about different musical styles, instrumentation, and how different parts of music came together to make a whole tune.

I’ve got quite a few little nibbles of MIDI files I had created still archived, which I listen to occasionally.  I want to expand and possibly “finish” a few tunes but the motivation seems to come and go as my attention gets constantly diverted to other interests.

What I’d ultimately love to do is finish learning a modern programming language like C#, and combine my two interests in writing and music by creating a roleplaying game (RPG).  I’ve even got some old stories that might adapt well to a script.  The musical score would of course be composed and arranged by myself since… well… I’d know better than anyone what music would best fit a given scene.  I’d probably want to involve someone with better graphical skills to create the art for the game though.  I suck at drawing.

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