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Haywood Jahelpme (aka Tech Support Hell)

I am a real live tech support person. And I live in Tech Support Hell.
SAVE ME!!!! UPDATE: I have been saved!
Wanted: Techs in Support Hell needed to help keep this blog alive!

Wednesday, March 10, 2004

.: 7:58 AM
posted by daddy-o

Netcraft: SSL's Credibility as Phishing Defense Is Tested

Poke around your browser's settings and see if you can turn off SSL encoding in 'plain text' to make your surfing experience a bit safer... I don't really see any other way around this issue besides inspecting every certificate you get....

"Scammers can also configure their web server so that deceptive SSL certificates won't trigger an alert in the user's browser. 'One of the SSL encoding methods is 'plain text',' Neal Krawetz from Secure Science Corporation noted in the SANS post on the issue. 'Most SSL servers have this disabled by default, but most browsers support it. When plain text is used, no central certificate authority is consulted and the user never sees a message asking if a certificate should be accepted (because 'plain text' doesn't use certificates). Keeping that in mind, the little lock icon may not even indicate an encrypted channel. The little lock only indicates an SSL connection.'"

read the rest

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Friday, February 27, 2004

.: 1:31 PM
posted by daddy-o

Chew on this RIAA

The Electronic Frontier Foundation has a better way to resolve the copyright issue, but I am not convinced that people will be willing to pay for something that they have gotten used to getting for free. However, there has to be a way to solve this equitably for everyone....

EFF: A Better Way Forward: Voluntary Collective Licensing of Music File Sharing

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Thursday, February 26, 2004

.: 1:34 PM
posted by daddy-o

No Pants Day 2004 is May 7th

Don't forget, kids, the next No Pants Day is May 7, 2004. It's never too early to go underwear shopping. Also, if you'd like an official No Pants Day t-shirt, go to the merchandise section and order one!"

No Pants Day 2004 is May 7th

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Wednesday, February 25, 2004

.: 2:52 PM
posted by daddy-o


How does a 160 year old communication system deal with the Internet? By adding a key symbol

"The 160-year-old communication system now has a new character to denote the '@' symbol used in e-mail addresses.

In December, the International Telecommunications Union, which oversees the entire frequency spectrum, from amateur radio to satellites, voted to add the new character.

The new sign, which will be known as a "commat," consists of the signals for "A" (dot-dash) and "C" (dash-dot-dash-dot), with no space between them"

A com-mat. Interesting word that they made up to name the "at" symbol. It's too bad the rest of the world is abandoning Morse in favor of newer technologies... And folks think learning computers is hard.... No way could I remember all those dots and dashes in the right places....

UPDATE: Just for fun try sending a friend a message in Morse and go here to translate.

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.: 1:10 PM
posted by daddy-o

RIAA Public Service Announcement

Watch and listen

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.: 12:38 PM
posted by daddy-o

MP3.com fire sale (AKA News Flash: Michael Robertson arrested for ARSON)

I used to work there for a little while and even tho they fired me (*cough fucking-bastards cough*), I still feel some connection there. I am a bit sad to see it happen, but like all good things, even mp3.com must come to an end...

From what I remember (it has been over 3 years since I was there and I only lasted a couple months) the place was brimming with technology. And those furnishings were very chic. As my co-worker here said: "Another example of a company blowing through their VC money and then blowing up".

And the former CEO is still shaking things up over at Lindows.com.

Anyway, here is some of the stuff for sale. I want one of those Herman Miller Aeron chairs. They were hard to come by when I was working there, but are probably 10 cents on the dollar now...

"100s of Servers from Sun, Compaq, HP, & Dell,
Clarion EMC Storage Arrays
Networking from Cisco, Extreme, Foundry, etc.
100s of PCs, Notebooks, Printers, Monitors, Copiers, Fax Machines, etc. Digital Audio & Video Production and Editing Equipment LCD Projectors, Conference room suites 100s of Herman Miller Aeron Chairs Complete 10,000 sq ft health club Game Room including Pool Table, Foosball, Video Arcade Games, Ping Pong, Etc. Artwork, Collectable Musical instruments, Contemporary Furniture.

Of Special Interest - 1997 Hummer H1"

So, if you live in the San Diego area, this could be a good auction to attend...

Cowan Alexander, LLC -- 03/10/04 MP3.COM, INC. WebCast

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.: 11:49 AM
posted by daddy-o

Premature Ejaculation Pill expected to come early

I saw this and since it has nothing to do with the Internet, computers or network technology, I thought I should blog it, just for the potential jokes it could spawn....

Early's (the manufacturer's CEO) drug, currently known as LI 301, is still in development, and wouldn't hit the market until 2007, assuming it receives FDA approval. A recently completed preliminary trial involving 30 couples produced promising results, Early says. These study results have not been published.

empahsis added

Read the rest

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.: 9:43 AM
posted by daddy-o

Don't want to open that email...

From Symantec:

"The W32.Mydoom.F@mm worm:
Is a mass-mailing worm that opens a backdoor on TCP port 1080
Can download and execute arbitrary files
Will perform a Denial of Service (DoS) against www.microsoft.com and www.riaa.com, if the computer's local system date is between 17th and 22nd of any month.
Sets up a backdoor in an infected system, by opening TCP port 1080. This could allow an attacker to connect to a computer and use it as a proxy to gain access to its network resources.

The worm arrives as an attachment with the file extension .bat, .com, .cmd, .exe, .pif, .scr, or .zip. The From: line of the email may be spoofed.

Symantec Security Response has developed a removal tool to clean the infections of W32.Mydoom.F@mm and earlier variants of this threat."

Personally, I like the part about it shutting down the RIAA website (and MS for that matter), but if you read further down that page I linked, this worm will randomly delete some of your files!!!! That is not good... If you need to scan your machine for viruses and stuff, try a free online scan from Trend Micro.

Symantec Security Response - W32.Mydoom.F@mm

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Tuesday, February 24, 2004

.: 10:04 AM
posted by daddy-o

Ever wonder what SPAM smells like?

Apparently someone is working on attaching scents to email... If this catches on, will ISP's add a scent to email detected as SPAM?

BBC NEWS | Technology | E-mail tries out a sense of smell

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.: 9:51 AM
posted by daddy-o

A new big pipe coming to a transformer near you...

Broadband Internet access over power lines (BPL) is one step closer to being a reality and one major ISP, Earthlink, is offering a low priced package for home users to guinea pig it for them...

The upside to this is that if you live in a remote area and cannot get DSL, this may be your ticket (the first test market is in North Carolina.) The gotcha is that data and electric signals don't always play nicely with each other...

To date, BPL has mostly lighted the road to failure. In 1997, Nortel Networks, a telecommunications equipment maker, teamed up with British energy company United Utilities and formed Nor.Web, with the goal of offering broadband over an electricity grid. The venture set up a test in Manchester, England, but soon discovered a snag in its technology: Neighboring lampposts were picking up data signals and rebroadcasting them as radio waves.

So the engineers behind this monster have some kinks to work out, but the potential market penetration is HUGE!

Read the rest on CNET News.com

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.: 9:29 AM
posted by daddy-o

The beginning of the end to SPAM?

Using a system like caller ID, Microsoft and Sendmail hope to find something to alleviate the SPAM load on "sending" servers. This might actually be a good path to go down. Verification can go a long way (till the spammers figure out a way to spoof their source...)

Read more: Email Caller ID

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Monday, February 23, 2004

.: 12:47 PM
posted by daddy-o

A spike in memory??

$4,350??? For 512 MB of PC100 SDRAM??? I gotta clean out my old computers.... There's a gold mine in my garage!

eBay item 3461554706 (Ends Feb-22-04 21:01:49 PST) - 8 - 64mb pc100 SDRAM = 512mb

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.: 8:48 AM
posted by daddy-o

Salon.com Technology | "We don't support that"

On more than one occasion I can recall telling customers exactly that: "We don't support that." or "You need to fix your computer and I can't help you with that." The reasoning being, the support we provide is for their Internet connection. If the computer is broken, that is the end of the call. If we go back to the analogy of the Internet being like a highway, that call would be comparable to calling the Highway Dept for a tune up.

"Ken is standing in the aisle, tethered to his cube by the spiraled umbilical of his headset, holding an unlit cigarette, and yelling. Ken is always yelling, and that's why we love him. Lots of us jot down Ken's more memorable tirades and compare notes on our breaks. Now, standing near my cube, screaming in the urgent and gravelly tones of a mid-40s chain smoker trapped in a non-smoking building, Ken tells a customer, 'Quit whining and go get a damn screwdriver. I don't have time for this bullshit.'"

< snip >

We all understand why Ken is angry. We've been tech-support representatives for six weeks and already a third of our training class has left. A new crop of techs hit the floor last week, and two of them are already gone. It might be tempting to believe that the customers are driving the techs away, that they just can't take the stress of dealing with endless complaints and callers driven to near madness by interminable holds. But the callers just want answers. Ken, and those of us who are left, are angry because for the most part we don't have them.

I had them. But I intentionally did not give them out. One of my reasons was that if I even let on to the customer that I had a clue about the inner workings of computers, then I would be on the hook to help them fix whatever problem they could dream up. And believe me, there are always problems with computers... Not oonly would that drive up my call time, but they are getting free support for something that my previous employer (Cox Cable - I can now tell you that...) did not provide to the customer. "Call Dell" became a mantra of mine. Unfortunately for the customer, those calls often ended up in Bangalore....

Now I actually work with technology, instead of theorizing about it. Thank goodness for that...

Salon.com Technology | "We don't support that"

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Friday, February 20, 2004

.: 1:46 PM
posted by daddy-o

Hacking the Pepsi challenge

As you may have heard (or seen), Pepsi is giving away a million songs through the Apple Music store (iTunes). Personally, I don't like the idea of paying for my music (legal downloads or otherwise - I usually burn duplicates or make a tape if I like it). I especially don't like the idea of paying for it online. It just doesn't feel right, maybe its just me, but I don't believe that the artist really sees the money they are supposed to see, due to the fat cats at the top of the music industry food chain pocketing it all before it gets to the person who created it.

So I say, get all the free tunes you can, and use this little cheat to guarantee a winner every time...

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Thursday, February 19, 2004

.: 10:57 AM
posted by daddy-o

RIAA = Mafia?

I think so...

It's probably not the first time that record company executives have been likened to Al Capone, but this time a judge might have to agree or disagree.

A New Jersey woman, one of the hundreds of people accused of copyright infringement by the Recording Industry Association of America, has countersued the big record labels, charging them with extortion and violations of the federal antiracketeering act.

RIAA sued under gang laws | CNET News.com

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Tuesday, February 17, 2004

.: 1:31 PM
posted by daddy-o

Try again Bill

European Union regulators have rejected as insufficient Microsoft's latest offer to settle long-running antitrust charges but are continuing talks, sources said Tuesday.

With a verdict due this spring, the U.S. software giant has been scrambling to avert what could be a far-reaching order to change the way it packages its dominant Windows desktop operation system and reveal more of its underlying code to rival manufacturers."

M$ just can't seem to get a break lately... Ain't it a shame...

Read the rest.

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Monday, February 16, 2004

.: 10:46 AM
posted by daddy-o

Well that didn't take long....

SecurityTracker.com Archives:
"It is reported that a remote user can create a specially crafted bitmap file that, when loaded by IE, will trigger an integer overflow and execute arbitrary code.

The author states that this flaw was found by reviewing the recently leaked Microsoft Windows source code. The flaw reportedly resides in 'win2k/private/inet/mshtml/src/site/download/imgbmp.cxx'."

Good thing we all updated our browsers when that was code was leaked on the Net last week....

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