Archive for April, 2006

My Birthday

Wednesday, April 19th, 2006 by Ian

Last one for tonight!

Thank you for the birthday wishes. I did indeed have a fine day, lounging around. We had company — Shel’s Mom, her friend and two of the Saskatchewan nephews — so it was a busy weekend. Over Dylan’s protests, Shirley bought me a 6 foot step ladder. Dyl figured it was a “boring present”, but I needed one and I wanted one! So there!

I also got a small, portable, photoprinter. It’ll print directly off the camera memory cards, and while some of you purists will say — “But the quality sucks, right?” — I have to say that the first couple of pictures we have printed look pretty darned good! Maybe not publication quality, but these are just pictures of people and places…not art. The main benefit is that since we got our first digital camera a couple years back, we have not printed even ONE picture. So there’s a gap in the albums. This will get us printing them out a little more regularly…at least the good ones.

And lastly, we went for — what will likely amount to — our last day skiing for the season on Monday. It was beautiful! 5 C, no wind, not a cloud in the sky, and a good 6 inches of new snow. Too bad you weren’t there Sam!


Wednesday, April 19th, 2006 by Ian

I’m posting the next couple of thngs separately just to keep them straight…

My web server has been hacked 3 times now!

The first two were through really poorly chosen passwords. I was doing some testing with the server, trying to set it up so that each of us could have networked “home” directories, so we could get at our e-mail and stuff from either the laptop or the desktop, even if the desktop computer was turned off. Unfortunately, I set up the kids’ accounts with a default password the same as their usernames…OOPS! I also wasn’t thinking that those accounts were visible from the net through SSH (Secure Shell). OOPS AGAIN! So, someone scanning the net found my SSH server and started trying usernames and passwords and eventually lucked onto BOTH the kids accounts. Once in, they only installed some IRC Eggdrop bot to listen in on IRC channels and setup for DDOS attacks (making my machine part of a “zombie network”). Easily rectified and actually kinda cool to track down and figure out what they did.

The third hack resulted in exactly the same damage, but they got in but exploiting a hole in the phpChat server I had been running. Remember that? It’s gone now, I can assure you! Luckily, they killed the entire web server when they did get in, so I caught on fairly quickly.

Even today, I’m continuously scanned on SSH — trying names and passwords — and on the web server — looking for vulnerable PHP apps. I can appreciate it as “kinda” cool, but these folks probably don’t even know what they are doing. “Script-kiddies” they’re called. They just find the programs online and run tem…they have no idea how they work or what EXACTLY they are doing. They get no respect from me!

The iPod Generation

Wednesday, April 19th, 2006 by Ian

I started this a week ago (April 10, 2006), but don’t expect anything too exciting…

We’ve finally done it and joined the iPod generation! I got a fairly substantial bonus last week (which has already been spent on kitchen updates), but I decided that the kids should get something for my hard work too…So, out of the blue I bought them both new, 30 GB, video iPods. Of couse, in reality, I wanted one and would settle for living vicariously through them…Heh heh. But I do have one beef in particular:

iTunes is a pile of garbage! Utter crap. Or at least it’s usage in combination with 2 iPods and one global database of music sucks. Here’s how we are set up…I keep ALL our music on one network drive on my server, so all our music is available to each one of us. Well, iTunes makes it’s own index of the library for each person. Nothing wrong with that, but it also assumes that only IT will be changing the music in the repository…WRONG! I’ll add music, change the tags inside the files (artist, title, album, year…), or move files, and it befuddles iTunes. Can you “rebuild” the index? Nope! Delete it and start fresh.

A couple other things annoy me:

Only one copy of iTumes can be running on the PC at any time, so, if, say, Dylan left himself logged in with iTunes running, there is no way for Quinn to start it up; he doesn’t know Dylan’s password to log in and quit iTunes, and he doesn’t have the user rights to log Dylan out. So he can: a) Reboot the computer, possibly corrupting Dylan’s index, or b) Wait until Dylan’s home…Which do you think it’ll be? Reboot!

Lastly, to charge an iPod, you need to plug it into the computer. This seems like a great idea, except that when you DO plug it in, it mounts the hard drive inside as a disk drive in Windows and warns you: “Do not disconnect!” So, in order to properly disconnect the iPod from the computer, you have to log in, stop the Windows disk drive service and THEN disconnect. PAIN IN THE BUTT.

There are other things I hate about it, but those are the most annoying to me.

The iPods themselves are fantastically cool little devices, though! I’ll have great fun playing with them!

Honey Harvest

Sunday, April 16th, 2006 by Scott

While we wait for Ian to update his blogg from this Birthday, I thught I’d tell you about getting the honey in this year. Yes its been a sticky-sweet weekend. The first step is geting the honey away from the bees. You see they are against it and get quite aggressive, making my job harder. Now I use a primative mechanism for getting the bees off the comb – a paint brush. This winds them up even more. Now my gloves, brush and everything is slippery with leaking honey, the bees are attacking me and the honey boxes weigh about 30 kg each. Its hard work. Once the frames are in the garage, I have to round up any stray bees (think vaccum cleaner) and get all the gear ready for the extraction phase. This is the fun part and we get absolutely covered in stay honey. Step one is to use an special hot knife to uncap the frames. We then load them in a centrifcal extractor (hand cranked), that spins the honey out of the comb. All that is left is the draining, straining and bottling. I suspect we got about 50kgs of honey this year. Enough for 20,000 slices of toast.

This year’s honey is darker, reflecting more manuka and local flora and less clover. The flavour is mild yet distinct and is a good eating honey.

Happy Birthday Ian

Friday, April 14th, 2006 by Scott

Hey Bro .. Happy Birthday from all of us down here in NZ. We’re hoping that you have a super day.

Leigh, Scott, Sam, Calgary and the Ducks