Everyone’s menu options have “just recently changed”

A few things, in no particular order:

  • Debit Card Demise
  • Bashed Bandwidth by Creepy Crawler
  • Slow-ass DMV
  • Political Refugee
  • Werk
  • Home
  • Flying Felines
  • Dishwashing Zen

Now, in reverse order…

Dishwashing Zen

I finished doing the dishes a bit ago, and while it makes my back hurt
(something about the angle, I donno what), I do enjoy it. I don’t get the zen
from the act of doing the dishes themselves like Foz does, but I think it’s more from the act of
turning a kitchen overflowing with dirty dishes into something gleaming and
clean, and unfettered by dishes.

Flying Felines

Iambe and Engel should get a kick out of this… the little Zoon climbed up onto


I have to pause for a minute here. The aformentioned Zoon has decided that she
should climb up onto the new shelves, and one of them came crashing down,
breaking some glass shelves waiting to be put up. While you’re waiting for me
to clean it up, head over to theinterface.com and
listen to some tunes by my buddy octobrX.


… anyway, as I said, she climbed up on the airconditioner unit, and from there
lept onto/into the hanging plant just above. The little critter just
sat there, swinging back and forth, looking at us with a distinct “hey, look at
what I did! hmmm… this is weird and scary… but look at what I did!” look.


Un-boxing continues. I moved all my computer books (including color coded ORA
books) and software boxes into the new shelves right above me. Mmm….. all
warm and happy am I.

My O’Reilly’s, in their order on the self, left to right, including spine color.


  • Learning GNU Emacs
  • Learning the VI Editor
  • Sed & Awk
  • Writing Apache Modules with Perl and C

Light Blue

  • Learning Perl/Tk
  • Programming Perl (second ed)
  • Learning Perl
  • Mastering Algorithms with Perl


  • Programming Perl (first ed)

Rust Nutshell Books

  • Perl in a nutshell
  • XML in a nutshell
  • Java in a nutshell
  • Java Examples in a nutshell
  • Linux in a nutshell
  • Unix in a nutshell

Dark Blue

  • Sendmail
  • Essential System Administration
  • Using Samba
  • DNS and Bind


  • Building Linux Clusters
  • Linux Device Drivers

Dark Green

  • Linux Network Administration


  • CVS Pocket Reference

Light Blue

  • Perl 5 Pocket Reference (mine)
  • Perl 5 Pocket Reference (silverstr‘s

Sadly I can’t list them here without giving credit to Iambe, Userfriendly, and
various other people who have given them to me, donated them, or who I have
borrowed them from and forgotten to give back (only the last one on the list
applies here).


Werk goes well. I’m starting to “get” accounting again, even as simple as
Quickbooks presents it. I played a bit with MS Money as well, but the fact that
every time you started it or opened a new page it talked at you (yes, there’s a
way to turn the talking off), really got to me. It sounds like the guys I’m
doing work for now are working on another contract, which I’ll get to work on as
well, which will be good. More nifty dynamic stuff.

Political Refugee

My parents had an aunt of mine over on Saturday to dinner. She is a bit older
than them, and lived in Berlin during WW2 and afterwards. She had some
wonderful (and teriffying) stories about during the war, and afterwards. These
days we talk about war, and freedom, and oppression, and even make fun of it.
However, I don’t think anyone of my generation can even imagine what it
was like back then. At one point she said “I guess you know I’m a political
refugee.” I replied that I didn’t, and imagined her dumping leaflets from
airplanes, kidnapping politicians, etc. Nope, she went to the opera, and was
a friend of someone. Apparently the russians didn’t like people who were
“politically inactive” and did horrible things like going to the opera.

Her friend had a list of friends in his pocket. He was picked up
and killed. Her brother was put in jail for life (though over the span of
4 or 5 years this went down and down until he was told he could just go home
(though he didn’t, he got his ass over to West Berlin before the wall went up)).
My Aunt happened to be in West Berlin at the time, and when she went to come
home she was told that her brother and friends were picked up, she either
couldn’t, or shouldn’t go home. So she ended up in a different city, with
nothing but the clothes on her back.

Now when we can still laugh at Bush, and bitch about politicians, and not have
to worry about speaking too loud, or having to bury banned books or anything of
value in the backyard in the middle of the night, we’re in no danger of seeing
how bad it really can be, and I thank my Aunt (and mom and uncle who
also talked about life in Germany a bit) for giving me a look at how good we
have it these days.

Slow Ass DMV

I just turned around, there were more than 2 people in the line up, and getting
my address changed just isn’t worth waiting for the hundreds of hours that I’d
have to wait.

Bashed Bandwidth by Creepy

A bit of an interesting experience last week. I noticed that the bandwidth on
ufies.org was being sucked up far more
than normal. A bit of examination turned up a bunch of search engine crawlers
(130 or so) from intomi.com were “stuck” on
my site. One of my users is playing with some php stuff, and has a page with a
bunch of links, all linking back to the same page. These crawlers were just
sitting there, loading the same pages again and again. Because each link adds
another level of “depth” /foo turns into /foo/foo turns into /foo/foo/foo etc,
they were sitting and loading pages at an alarming rate.

I did a whois, found a number, and called. I asked the secretary who answered
if I could speak to the head of IT. She said she could only transfer me to
someone by name. Ok, sure, how about tech support. That she could do.
Course, I was transfered, hit the right menu options to get to the search engine
crawler section, and was told by a nice answering machine voice that I’d have to
contact my vendor, goodbye <click>. This didn’t bode well with
me, and as it was approaching more than a couple of hours of my bandwidth being
abused (and it’s not even my bandwidth), I was starting to get pissed off. I
called a couple more times, and couldn’t get a hold of any real people, much
less any that could help me.

Knowing it was wrong, but being too pissed off to listen, I wrote a quick little
mail bomb script that sent the same email 133 times to the support@ and
webmaster@ addresses. The 133 was the number of servers that I had blocked with
firewall rules, and I was sending an email for each. The email explained what
was going on, and explained that I couldn’t get a hold of anyone, and hopefully
this would get someone’s attention and that I’d be able to talk to someone who
could actually do something. I included some logs, and a list of the servers
hitting me, and sent it off.

Then I hit the webpage again and started getting names, any names I could find,
and asking the secretary to direct me to that person. I did
not want to be put to voice mail or told someone would be with
me by the end of the day. Eventually I contacted the CEO’s office, and
explained to the secretary that I was getting the run around, and that I
really wanted to talk to Gene (the head of IT I found out, but who
wasn’t reachable by phone). She took off for a moment or two and told me that
he’d contact me within 5 minutes.

He didn’t, but I did get a call from J, in tech support. He asked me about the
emails, and I explained, and he seemed to understand, and asked me to stop. I
told him that I had already, and now I had a contact at the company, there was
no need to send any mailbombs. I told him what had gone on, and what was
happeneing, and for him to please stop it and he said he would by the
end of the day. As it was around two by this time (the barrage started around
5:30am), I told him that the end of the day wasn’t really good enough, and the
bill for the bandwidth would be insane by then. He said he’d get it done.

And all was good…

Not long after this the house phone cut out. Great, another great addition to a
great day. Call Telus, explain, do the “unplug all your phones, wait 15
minutes” thing.

Just after this, B from inktomi emails me with a rather nasty email about how
“You have begun a harassment campaign …”, and “Have you ever heard of Search
Engines?” Great day is now great day10. About 5 minutes after this
he calls me, starting his conversation with “do you know what a robots.txt
file is?” I do of course, and understand how to use them, and have no problem
with people spidering my site.

Now it turns out that the support@ email goes to like, 50 people in their
support department, and due to the queuing on the server, they’ve been getting
flooded with my email (I’m bad, I know this), and they’ve come in more than one
batch (they got about 157 total, as I had to restart the mail bomb script to fix
a small bug). Sounding like a moron, I said I’m sorry, more than once… then I
pointed him at some bandwidth stats, and showed him what was going on he became a bit less pissed
off. I’m sure you can see the spike on monday. A bit into this J called back
to me, asking me if I didn’t say I’d not send any more email, and didn’t we have
a professional relationship here. Guess he’d just checked his mail. I explained
that I was talking to B, etc etc etc.

I explained that even after the servers was firewalled off so that their crawlers
weren’t getting anything, the crawler software was still requesting, and still
using bandwidth for the requests. A bug or two it seems. The funniest thing I
think was his reaction when he threatened to tell userfriendly about me mail bombing them, and
I told him that it was userfriendly‘s bandwidth that his company was
hitting, and that ufies.org was hosted off of them. My opinion in the early
part of that conversation anyway, was “go ahead and call them, I’ll do it myself
and I’ll explain that they are going to get a nice fat bandwidth bill
at the end of the month because of inktomi’s crawlers!”

Eventually we became more personable to each other, as we were both (kinda) in
the wrong. Once that became clear, and how much it sucked that one had to
resort to mailbombing to get attention (he wasn’t happy that I’d met the trouble
talking to someone that I had). Anyway, it turned out that giving the crawlers
404’s was needed, so I unfirewalled them and moved the offending directory out
of the way, and they bashed some more, then the “don’t crawl” directive that
they’d put in the crawlers for my server took hold, and they finally

End result, don’t send mailbombs, but don’t get your bandwidth bashed and take
it lying down. Maybe send only one or two emails đŸ™‚ That’s it, end of story.

Oh yea, turns out the phone line problem was caused by a spontainously breaking
phone cable. Thirty seconds to replace, 30 minutes sitting on hold with 611 to
cancel the repair guy.

Debit Card Demise

And at the end of an overly long entry, another short story. I got a debit card
for the company I set up, and it sat for a bit in a box of stuff. I then found
a debit card of my own and it said it had to be activated, and throw out your
old one. Well, I did that at the bank a couple of days ago. Looking at my
business account statement today I noticed what looked like a withdrawl from
it, and said “what the?”. Well, turns out if you have a business account, and
there’s only one person who has signing privileges, their name goes on the card.
So I ended up having to order a new debit card, as I had followed directions and
had my “old” debit card destroyed when I activated my “new” one. I’m going to
have to put a sticky note on the business card that sais just that, so I don’t
mix ’em up.

Had some weird dreams lately too, but I’ll put those in tomorrow.