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Saturday, July 7th, 2007

Having a Little Fun

Going through my page requests, I noticed some 1,700+ from a website called www.securedeath.com. “What the hell is this?” I wondered. Well, it appears to be some lame-ass hacker website in Arabic, located in Saudi Arabia. All those page requests? Some drongo script kiddie forum user had found my revolving skull and crossbones gif and was using it as his personal avatar. He is going by the handle BAD HACKER. He lists his occupation as a “Profissinal HaXoR”.

Normally, it wouldn’t bother me if somebody took an image from my website and used it for his own purposes, but this guy didn’t bother to copy it – he just created a link to my site, so whenever somebody looks at a page that he has posted on, the site comes over to mine and downloads it. That’s taking my bandwidth, so I had to retort.

Now, if someone visits securedeath and sees this guy, instead of having this cool avatar:

Red Skull

they see this:

I Stole

It’s a very simple hack to get around – let’s see how long it takes him to fix it.

Posted by Greg as My Website at 12:33 PST

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Wednesday, July 4th, 2007

Ending the Subdomain Experiment

After three months, I reassessed my decision to move my blog to a subdomain on my website. It had turned out to be an unmitigated disaster. I’ve moved to change everything back, but I never kept track of all the little changes I made to try and adapt to the subdomain difference, so errors might pop up again and again.

I made this decision after reviewing literature on the implications of search engine optimization on the subdomain/folder choice. The vague generalizations that I encountered had new meaning after my experience of the last three months. I would now have to say that, for a personal website, subdomains present more problems than benefits. I had thought that the subdomains were more technically savvy; but I found that the general public and search engines (which cater to the general public) do not appreciate the difference.

Posted by Greg as My Website at 16:04 PST

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Why Does Alaska Have Daylight Savings Time?

Last night, a few colleagues and I had dinner together, then went to watch the local fireworks, which didn’t start until midnight. When they started, it was after sunset, but it was still light enough to easily distinguish different colors. I’ve always liked the Muslim definitions of dawn and sunset – being able to distinguish a white thread from a black one – for their practicality; although technically, this would be dusk, not sunset. (While researching this simple assertion I discovered the difference between sunset and dusk – and that there are three different definitions of dusk. Further reasons for respecting Islamic pragmatism.)

I had only been in Alaska for a day before I started questioning the usefulness of Daylight Savings Time in Alaska. If there’s only about five hours’ difference between sunset and sunrise, and as far as I can tell, only about an hour or two of anything close to real darkness, where are the energy savings and public safety benefits that so many proponents of DST claim? I confess that I am not a fan of DST. I have a simple solution for those that say they like having more daylight in the summer – go to bed earlier and get up earlier. But I expect this solution, which I have implemented myself so simply, is as at odds with public sentimentality as is my opposition to using the word “gender” as a polite reference to the word “sex”.

It turns out that I am not alone. Hawai’i, Arizona, Puerto Rico and parts of Indiana refuse to use DST, and there is a movement to get it abolished in Alaska as well. The explanation for using both a single time zone in Alaska and DST seems to be a political expediency.

Current meatspace coordinates: 61.189°, -149.869°
Local appellation: Anchorage, Alaska

Anchorage, Alaska
“>Anchorage, Alaska

I had a lot of trouble getting here. My travel plans called for departing home in Kansas City on Sunday around 11:00 AM and getting to Anchorage about midnight (plus a three hour time change); going Kansas City – Dallas/Fort Worth – San Francisco – Anchorage. But when my first leg arrived at the DFW area, severe weather kept us from landing, and we had to divert to Oklahoma City for fuel. There were no gates available, so we spent about three hours on the tarmac waiting for more fuel, clearance to proceed to DFW, and a new flight plan. By the time I got to Dallas, it was too late to proceed and I had to spend the night there. On Monday I tried again, going DFW – Denver – Seattle – Anchorage, so it was no great surprise that only one of my bags arrived. The missing bag contained all my test equipment. By coincidence, my fellow engineer, who had used a different airline and was coming from San Diego, also lost his bag containing test equipment, but at least he got here on time. Both of our bags showed up a day after we arrived.

Posted by Greg as Travel at 15:49 PST

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