earth_hatches

Flash injection through patience and bankruptcy

Many flash games have an ad service like MochiAds which fetches some extra flash content from the net when the program loads.

MochiAds recently are serving up advertisements for other Mochi-advertised games instead of ads for companies that pay for MochiAds.

So the MochiAds company is probably not doing so well.

When a company like MochiAds goes out of business, their domain name will eventually lapse.

Then someone could buy the dead company's domain name and serve hostile content.

The Mochi system seems to use two domains (thx Eltima). The record for Mochibot.com expires on 09-Feb-2012. Mochiads.com expires on 21-Jan-2012.
earth_hatches

About effing time

Windows Update says:

"Install this update to restrict AutoRun entries in the AutoPlay dialog to only CD and DVD drives. After you install this item, you may have to restart your computer."

Been waiting for this one since the problem was autorunning CD and DVD drives, and we've gone through a few UI revisions that make it harder to turn autorun off. Now black hats will have to leave CDs around parking lots and cafeterias instead of dropping USB sticks. Bonus points for printing a music album cover on the disk (anyone know how much it costs for the equipment to do that?) and for laying down the tracks on it in addition to the data.

  • Current Music
    Savage Gardan - Love Can Move You
news

The Facebook Panopticon, Part 6

My dad either created a Facebook account with a fake name or he changed the name on his existing account to a fake one. I know this because Facebook is telling me to friend this account with a fake name, and I recognize his old BBS nickname. My guess is that we both used parts of our real names in our email addresses and Facebook is matching us on that.

Earlier posts on this subject:

  1. Facebook recommends a co-worker with no apparent connections
  2. Facebook recommends my dad -- when I'm using a fake name
  3. Facebook recommends an organization that spammed my email account
  4. Facebook gives me its French version after I read Le Monde
  5. Facebook recommends pages for interests that I removed from my personal information
earth_hatches

Game review: Meritous

The game Meritous (available from apt-get) is interesting in several ways.

The player is in a gigantic procedurally-generated maze, like a Nethack level with thousands of rooms. A bit of fun comes in exploring, discovering the different monsters, and collecting $ to raise your stats.

The combat interface is amazingly simple. You hold down the space bar and let go to launch an attack that hits everything in the room. Enemies don't take damage, but they either die or they don't depending on how long you held down the space bar.

Elegant simplicity is repeated in how the game uses colour. It looks monochrome, but the game's one colour changes from blue to black due to how far the player is from a safe area.

There are hidden items in the game, and all of them are passive-effect. Simplicity reigns.

There's more to the game, but it would spoil it if I told you. I will say that right when I thought I'd played it out, adapted to all the monsters and discovered everything interesting, the game decided to double all the monsters' speed, endurance, and fire rate. The core gameplay may be repetitive, but the game has a few ways of making itself interesting.
earth_hatches

Quick thoughts on the Linux patch workflow

Patches for a software product flow like this:

(Core developer) --> (Distro) --> (Sub-Distro)

Example:

Linux Kernel --> Debian --> Ubuntu --> Mint

The core developer produces a product and incrementally improves it. Each distributor may have its own set of patches to the product. The sub-distributors take the patched product and may patch it further.

There are many, many, many core developers and it can be a lot of work to catalogue them all and keep up to date with their development. Sub-distros are based on the distros that already did this work.

If a sub-distro does not keep up to date with its upstream distro's patches, any value its uniqueness may have added to the Linux world is quickly offset by its obsolescence. Consider "Bob's OS, based on Red Hat 6.2!"


Problems:

* If distros are lazy, the different software products offered by different distros may all claim core version number "1.2.3". This leads to confusion when the behaviour of "version 1.2.3" is not as documented. The patching vendor should change the version number to be like "1.2.3.rh-6", indicating who the vendor is and how many different patched versions of the product the vendor has released.
* If distros fail to keep up to date with core product releases, sub-distros may go around them and release the later versioned core product themselves. The sub-distro then risks failing to keep up with the parent distro's patches if the parent catches up and continues patching.
* If a distro in the middle of the chain slows development, those further down have to take over their work or suffer the same slowdown.
* A distro may not notice when core development obsoletes its patches.



Patches will also flow backwards from users, by the vendor's development of ideas offered by users and by direct development by users who are also coders.

(Core developer) --> (Distro) --> (Sub-Distro) <-- (Customer complaints and ideas)

The distro may then send the changes upstream. When a patch reaches the core developers, it gets integrated into the main product. Many Linux users are savvy enough to go straight to the core developers themselves.


Problems:

* Patches produced by distros and independant developers are sometimes not up to the standards of the core developers and are not integrated into the core product.
* Distros have an incentive to keep their patches from their upstream in order to distinguish themselves from their competition. The GPL helps, but it takes work to dig through a distro's source and see if they patched anything.


It is possible for a sub-distro to take patches for different products from two different parent distros. A cause for this occurring would be if the second distro's patches had a good reputation. At this point the product is forked, as that distro has become a second core developer.




Imagine something like Distrowatch with a graphical map of distros and the distros that they are based on, a way to pull up lists of packages that differ between distros and their upstream, and a way to pull up the differences. It would be a visualization of the Linux software ecosystem. I'm not sure how useful it would be, but it would be cool to see.



I once diffed my distro's kernel against the official kernel and there were so many changes that I wondered if anyone was keeping track of them all.
earth_hatches

Web security online resource

Stanford's web security course has enough text in the projects and lecture notes to learn a few things without attending the school. There are a few tricks in there that I hadn't heard of, like a Javascript port scanner that is both badass and bloody obvious in hindsight; just make lots images load from target:port and see if they time out.

earth_hatches

On Egypt, Obama is fucked either way

He backs Mubarak? The evil Americans oppress the people again and get worse relations with the Arab public.

He backs the revolution? He's backstabbing an ally again and showing that America doesn't care about its friends.

He sits back and leaves it alone? He's incompetent and not showing leadership.

He draws a middle path respecting both sides and calling for moderation? All of the above.

It's a no-win. The situation reminds me of that Mad Magazine cover showing him all stressed out.




The above thought is several days out of date since the revolutionaries have by now won, which makes supporting them the obvious choice. I still felt it worth posting.