Category / Misc

We are Grey. We stand between the darkness and the light. March 25, 2006 at 6:49 pm

[ Viewing: “Babylon 5 – The Complete Fourth Season” (Tony Dow) ]

Yeah, I’ve been running through B5 again, and have it on the brain.. watching season 4 now… but…

I finally had a chance to take a real crack at installing Grey-Listing on our colo box (which also serves as MX for several of us), and holy crap does it make a difference. I got it up and running at 2:45PM on Thurs (Mar 23rd, 2006) and already it’s had a massive effect. In just over 48 hours now, the database the program uses already has 4037 records of mails that never properly tried to resend again (most likely spam) vs 365 mails that have properly resent after the initial delay (most likely not spam). Just goes to show that most spam is just blasted out from hosts that are hacked or setup just for spamming and they don’t want to deal with the bandwidth required to retry.

On top of that, I found I had a bug in spamassassin that was allowing it to pass quite a few spams into my inbox (and my sister’s as well) because the mail was never actually scanned properly. Only when I went to test a mail by hand to see why it hadn’t been flagged as spam (by cat’ing it into spamc myself) did I see the error, then I grep’d a ton out of the mail logs. The error was:
Mar 23 23:46:07 www spamd[15003]: error: Can’t locate object method “new” via package “Net::DNS::RR::TXT” at /usr/lib/perl5/vendor_perl/5.8.5/x86_64-linux/Net/DNS/ line 240._ , continuing

I looked on google and saw mention of updating that pkg, which I did. It had no effect. Then I started to noticed that the above has version 5.8.5 in the path, and I’d updated perl to 5.8.7 previously (back in Jan). Turns out the spamd process had been running for months… well back into 2005. So a quick restart of the daemon, now using the updated perl (and modules) and it fixed the problem. So spamassassin is catching more mails, which, coupled with grey-listing, has dropped spam down to almost nothing. I used to get 50+ spams in my inbox a day (on top of what spamassassin filtered out) and in the last 2 days I’ve had 2!

I even setup a cron job to graph the number of filtered spam vs inbox (vs 2 lists I’m on) here. Should be interesting to see how low the spam levels stay over the next few weeks. I notice that I’m still getting some spam, but spamassassin is filtering off so much more. Some of that is stuff that I signed up for long ago and forgot, or that I was signed up automatically for by using some website… working on getting off those lists as well.

Man it’s nice to have mailboxes that are more manageable again.

The quote from B5 is really fitting though.

Never thought I’d see it happen in person… November 22, 2005 at 1:40 pm

[ Music: Get ‘Em Up from the album “Bunkka” by Paul Oakenfold ]

but I did. Had stopped to gas up on my way home from Sycuan on Sunday, and as I was paying at the atm interface on the island, I heard this loud metal “Ka-CHUNK” behind me, that sounded like a nozzle hitting the ground. I looked, and sure enough… there’s a nozzle on the ground and a woman in a car that has just stopped and is looking back. Yep.. she tried to drive off with the nozzle from the gas pump still in her tank. How anyone could miss that is beyond me, but she did. She was lucky in that it seemed to just fall out and nothing was broken.

And here I always felt stupid if I just forget to close the outer fuel door, which I haven’t done in ages. But to drive off with the nozzle still in? Yeesh.

New Spam… now tastes even less like meat September 10, 2005 at 3:26 pm

[ Viewing: “The Fifth Element (Ultimate Edition)” (Luc Besson) ]

Just yesterday, I got what is perhaps the worst attempt at a phishing spam ever. It’s your typical attempt to make me think paypal paid something on my behalf, and that I need to follow a link to contest it. It came as a 2 part message, text and html.. people that know me, know that I don’t use an HTML mail reader, I use one called Tkrat. Yes, even under OSX. So I get to see the text part of the mail rather then the html part (and anytime I get a real email that’s html that I care to read, I just dump it to a file and read it in a browser.. where html is meant to be seen).

Anyway, I looked at the HTML source, and it’s a pretty generic phish.. the link you see seems valid, but the real link leads to a completely different box where they’ll harvest the login and passwords of anyone dumb enough to buy the mail.

what cracks me up is how lame the rest of the phish is.. the header isn’t even spoofed well, and I don’t mean the Received lines that most people don’t see.. the From and To lines are obvious:

From: “PayPal” <>
Subject: This email confirms that you paid MICROBAZAR ( $175.85 USD using PayPal
Date: Fri, 09 Sep 2005 20:03:00 +0100
To: me
Reply-To: “PayPal” <>

I mean, you’d have to be blind and stupid to not notice that the From isn’t really from paypal.

but the body of the text part of the message is just classic:

But they need to remember how eagerly near toothpick reads a magazine.Unlike so many mirrors who have made their federal microscope to us.When you see minivan of, it means that behind haunch meditates.If graduated cylinder related to hockey player give secret financial aid to living with lunatic, then jersey cow toward beams with joy.

I can only assume the sender used some kind of script that either grabbed random bits of posts from usenet or web pages, or just randomly threw words together.


Ooh.. maybe it’s secret code. 😉

Yes… I am a gadget geek. July 28, 2005 at 3:36 pm

Went online and downloaded the new 2.00 firmware for my PSP before it was available via the normal online upgrade link.. not even sure if it’s available there yet.

You can see a (very blurry) snap of the new menu entry for the browser:


And here I’m viewing my site:


Pretty cool, but entering text is way too slow.

Apache logs for the browser hits look like so.. – – [27/Jul/2005:17:50:41 -0700] “GET /styles-site.css HTTP/1.1” 200 4160 “” “Mozilla/4.0 (PSP (PlayStation Portable); 2.00)” – – [28/Jul/2005:01:42:41 -0700] “GET /styles-site.css HTTP/1.1” 200 4160 “” “Mozilla/4.0 (PSP (PlayStation Portable); 2.00)”

Those moments that make you feel old… July 16, 2005 at 10:15 am

[ Viewing: “Death to Smoochy (Widescreen Edition)” (Danny DeVito) ]

Redsugar’s post made me think of the times that I’ve had one of those, “man.. that made me feel old,” moments in life. Sure, some people will think that, at 32 years old, I’m too young to have those moments… but I do. Here are a few that come to mind:

  • I bought a copy of “The Lost Boys” to add to my collection awhile ago at Best Buy. When I got to the register to pay, the young girl working it looked at the cover and said, “Is this Keifer Sutherland? Wow! This must’ve been made ages ago!!” Yeah.. way back in 1987. Even worse, she was probably still a baby then.
  • Anytime it dons on me, again.. that people born up to 1985 are already in their 20’s.
  • When my little nephew talks about Star Wars, which he’s into bigtime. Just like I was… and he’s the same age I was back when the original movies came out.
  • I’m a huge fan of the new Battlestar Galactica on the SciFi Channel.. and when I realize that it’s been 27 years!! since the original aired.. which I remember watching when it was new.
  • When my nieces and nephews complain about how slow their internet connection is at home. Their broadband connection (cable modem).. and I started out with a 1200baud modem, at age 13. They’ve not only been online their entire lives, but had the internet. I started out on local BBSes, and even ran a few in my time.
  • Realizing those same nieces and nephews have never known a world without cell phones. My first personal exposure being to the huge phone my father got when he started his business, when I was 17 or so. It was from Motorola (IIRC) and was one of the smallest, yet still powerful enough to be used anywhere around town at the time. It was a case about the size of a thick, hardcover book, with a strap to hang it over your shoulder, and the handset was corded. Now even every kid has a cellphone.. and some are so damn small it’s crazy. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, watch the original Lethal Weapon and there’s a scene on a bridge where Danny Glover uses similar large phone.
  • Thinking it doesn’t seem that long ago that we were so occupied with y2k crap at work… and that it’s already been more then 5 years since then.

Well, that’s all I can think of, off the top of my head at 10am on a Saturday… if I think of more, I’ll add them later. 🙂

Stupid Opossums… July 7, 2005 at 9:02 pm

[ Viewing: “Futurama, Vol. 1” () ]

Summer was playing with yet another young opossum in the yard just a bit ago. What’s with these things? I can understand that maybe the dead one under the deck was their parent, but you’d think they’d see the huge dog in the yard and avoid her.

What really sucks is when I chase her down to get her to stop, and she runs into the house with the damn thing. Blech.. I don’t want those things in the house. At least they’re still playing possum when she does it.

Critters 3 – Trinity July 6, 2005 at 9:09 pm

[ Music: Burn:Cycle Theme from the album “Burn:Cycle Soundtrack” by Simon Boswell & Chris Whitten ]

Well, looks like the fun with dead critters is over. Or at least I hope to hell it is.

Was at work too late last night to do anything (was dark by the time I got home) but tonight I made it home with a few minutes of sunlight left, and went out back to check on things. The smell is gone (well, there might be a tiny hint left, but that’s it). I went ahead and hammered the boards I’d removed back into place like they were before too. Will have to get a nice large piece of wood to nail over the main hole in order to reinforce it so that noone falls through where I cut though.

That was just another joyful experience of being a homeowner.. hope I don’t have to do it again.

Oh, and I grabbed a few rocks from the other side of the yard and plugged up the one obvious hole where critters could get in/out of there too. Hopefully there aren’t other places where they can, but I’m betting that small critters can get in or out pretty much all around the decking.

Critters 2… Rank Bugaloo July 5, 2005 at 12:20 pm

So after [Sunday’s fun], yesterday I had to get to work. I spent a good chunk of the day pulling and cutting boards to get under my deck. I finally located a dead skunk just under the upper deck section, dead center (side to side) of my spa. It was just out of my reach and I really didn’t want to handle the thing (plus I’d read on the San Diego Animal Control page that it’s unlawful to dispose of dead critters like that in the trash) so I called a [private animal control company] that disposes of them for you.

It wasn’t cheap, but was well worth it afterall. The guy was there within an hour (yep, on the 4th) and he removed the skunk… he also realized that it wasn’t responsible for the smell and stuck his head under the deck (something I _really_ didn’t want to do) and spotted a huge dead opossum that was dead center (both ways) under the spa. He went and got a pole he had to grab things from a distance and was able to get it out… it was freaking rank. Even he was almost overcome by the smell and he deals with that kind of stuff pretty often.

So in the end.. things look clear, the smell should dissapate pretty quickly, and things will be back to normal soon.

I really need to either redo the whole deck (lots of termite damage I noticed as pulling planks) or just remove the damn thing and have cement laid out there.

Thank God the nasty bits are over though…

Damn critters… July 3, 2005 at 9:42 pm

Had our first family get-together at my house today… 4th and my sister’s birthday together. Unfortunately, seems something must’ve died under my decking, the smell kicked in a little yesterday (we hoped it was the bird poop that was on the deck and hosed off but seems not). Got worse today. Tomorrow will be a fun adventure for me trying to find it under the decking (seems to be under the spa) and figuring out how to get it out without making it worse. Might end up having to call a removal specialist or something.

To cap off the evening.. I just saved an opossum from my dog… for the 2nd time! Stupid thing. She snagged it in the yard a bit ago.. suddenly it was too quiet, then I heard an odd yip/bark from the dog that let me know she was after something. It was clearly playing possum (or was dead) so I scooped it up with a plastic plate.. /hey I’m not touching the damn thing.. :)/ and I put it out to the front/side of the house. 30 minutes later.. she’s out there again, and too quiet, so I check.. she’s got the same one again. Gah. Door’s closed and locked now. Summer’s anxious and wants out, but she’s not going… ah.. and she’s finally settling down now as I type this.

I’ll have to update tomorrow with the gruesome dead animal details.. blech.

The killing fields .. uh, yard. May 20, 2005 at 12:52 pm

It’s that time of the year again; the days are getting long, flowers are blooming, weather is getting warmer.. and [Summer] is killing birds.

I can’t really blame her.. I mean, she is a bird dog afterall. I just feel sorry for the poor sparrow chicks that she snags. My front yard is the exact worse mix for the birds. Plenty of trees and bushes for them to setup nests in.. unfortunately, when the chicks are just learning to fly, right about now… if they fall into our yard, Summer thinks they’re fair game. I don’t think she means to kill them either, I think she thinks they’re playing with her. She kind of stalks them, but then picks them up and when they move in her mouth she spits them right out. When they try to hop away, she gets really playful and barks jumping around and following them. Unfortunately, she’s not exactly gentle with them, and ends up hurting them, usually killing them.

She already killed 2 birds Wednesday night, and almost got another right when we got back from our morning walk yesterday, but I rescued that one. What was kind of funny about that was that I got the chick out of the yard and it was hopping away, chirping for it’s parents, but the parents were so busy sqwaking at Summer and me, that I don’t know if they ever heard the chick and helped it.. last I saw it was all the way across the street and getting farther away.

Oh well… hopefully she doesn’t get too many this year.