Tuesday, January 28, 2003

A Little Young To Be A Designated Driver

Maybe Dad had been drinking? Hmmmm. My oldest is 7, I don't think she could see to drive the car.
Could Blogging Be Dangerous To Your Health?

You...yes....YOU! Get up off your arse and get moving. Don't spend all day reading blogs, chatting, or playing your favorite on-line games! According to the European Repiratory Journal you can die from sitting in front of your computer for too long. Check out some of the comments to the article as well, you might find a few of them interesting. One woman claims her husband died from it. Of course, she says 1995 was when he died, long before the Internet was a popular as it is today. Probably died from a heart attack. Another guy built a computer desk that makes him stand to use it. Wow, that would just be too uncomfortable for me.

Well, do Jack a favor and move around a bit, wouldn't want you to die of a blood clot because you were spending too much time reading my blog.

Saturday, January 25, 2003

New Worm Crippling the Internet

If you have noticed that many sites are off-line or hard to get to, it is due to a new worm that is affecting servers running Microsoft SQL. It's affecting the core Internet routers. Here's a picture of the state of the Internet as of 8:00AM GMT 1/25/2003:

The techy explanation (Thanks to HD Moore (sflist_at_digitaloffense.net and Worm Info) for this):

A worm which exploits a (new?) vulnerability in SQL Server is bringing the core routers to a grinding halt. The speed of the propagation can be attributed to the attack method and simplicity of the code. The worm sends a 376-byte UDP packet to port 1434 of each random target, each vulnerable system will immediately start propagating itself. Since UDP is connection-less, the worm is able to spread much more quickly than those using your standard TCP-based attack vectors (no connect timeouts).

And also from HD Moore:

While there were some intermittent network problems before, it wasn't until about 12:00 AM CST (01/25/03) that the worm started causing seriouis trauma to UUNET/Worldcom's backbone.

The worm appears to be abusing a stack overflow vulnerability reported a few months ago by David Litchfield, the original advisory can be found here:


There are still reports of the worm successfully exploiting patched systems as well, but I have not been able to verify that.

Disabling the worm is as easy as killing the sqlserver.exe process or just rebooting the box. Just make sure that you unplug the system from the network before it comes back up.

The patch: Q323875_SQL2000_SP2_en.EXE

More disassemblies:


I posted a local mirror to the Switch to....Linux post I made below because it was offline, and wondered what was going on. This explains it.

Friday, January 24, 2003

More "Switch" Hitters

I have many Canadian friends, and in keeping with the 'Switch To' thread, here's another interesting one:

Switch to.....Canada?

Not really funny (well it could be, depending on your political leanings) but the site is interesting. Please link all the psycho anti-war activists you know to it. Maybe we can jettison a few....

Do We Really Want This?

The Pentagon is deploying videophones to "public affairs officers" in order to "counter hostile propaganda". So now when some knob of a 'journalist' reports that the US military has bombed some civilian target near the front lines without verifying the information, the Pentagon can counter with video feed directly from the front lines.

Sounds all well and good, and might actually show some of the more empty-headed anti-war protesters that they shouldn't take every word that comes from a foreign (hostile) country's government as their gospel. But what happens if one of these public affairs officers (PAO) is in the midst of giving a 'report' and the enemy forces penetrate the area during a counter-attack? You could potentially have very graphic scenes of American soldiers (or the PAO) being killed or severely injured. They are also talking about putting one of these video phones with a B-2 bomber crew. What happens if the plane gets shot down (I know, very unlikely) or has a malfunction and crashes? I don't think that would have the desired effect that the Pentagon is hoping for by deploying this new technology.

Of course, the video feed is supposed to go to 'journalists' who would hopefully edit out such events, or choose to report them without the accompanying video. However, we all know that the broadcast news media will at one point just start streaming the information 'live' and without any editing, or choose to release the whole grizzly affair anyway, saying that the people have a 'right to know'.

The only thing that might save it from this fate is the rate of transfer. That videophones have a maximum bandwidth of 128 kilobits per second, just a little more than twice as fast as a dial-up modem connection, only since there is no analog to digital conversion, its the equivalent of a dual-channel ISDN line, which is sufficient for 30 frames per second video if the subject isn't making quick movements. I also don't think the cameras in the videophones have as high a resolution as standard television crews cameras, so you probably won't get the greatest details. It might make quick-moving battle scenes look quite garbled.

One can only hope.

Thursday, January 23, 2003

James Can Relate To This One

There was this guy who used to get arrested regularly around here, and he had the misfortune of having a smiley face in the center of one of his fingerprints. Wasn't even necessary to check his prints against the database, everyone knew who he was as soon as the prints were taken, yet he still tried to lie about who he was.

Oh well, criminals who try to change their identities aren't rocket scientists...

But a few of them might be hackers.


Talk about Expensive Cartridges

Go ahead, print yourself some organs.

Brings a whole new meaning to buying refills, and you thought ink carts were expensive before, ha!

Switch to....

You might have seen the Apple "Switch" commericals which try to convince you to switch from "PCs" to Macs. There's a couple of good parodies that can be found...

Switch to....Mac?

Switch to....Linux (Eeeevil Distro)

(25 Jan 03) UPDATE: Looks like she canna take it anymore Cap'n - www.ubergeek.tv where the Switch to....Linux parody is at must be overloaded. I have it mirrored here - Without permission of course, the site is down, I don't know who to ask permission of. So if someone from ubergeek wants me to take it down, just drop me a line and it will be gone.

Wednesday, January 22, 2003

Spam, Spam, and more Spam

When someone says 'Spam' do you think of the meat by-product canned loaf, or do you think of unsolicited commercial e-mail (UCE)?

If you read blogs regularly, or are a blogger yourself, you probably think of the latter.

So, what do you do about it? Its a question I get from clients all the time. In fact, the elimination of spam (UCE) is becoming a high-dollar industry. Companies buy e-mail filtering software all the time to protect from improper e-mails going to and coming from employees.

First is to try to avoid having your e-mail addressed published on any public web site or anywhere in the USENET Newsgroups. "Spammers", those who send out spam or the people who sell e-mail address lists, have programs that crawl the Internet's public areas looking for e-mail addresses to add to their lists. However, keeping your e-mail address private is very difficult. Most on-line order systems require it, and once you order something, they will sell your information when they get the chance. This is why many people have multiple addresses, one that they keep 'secret', and the other(s) that they use for online ordering and for public consumption. However, all it takes is someone who has your 'secret' e-mail address to send you one of those electronic greeting cards and its all over.

So what else to do? The politically active amongst us will try legislation. As you can see, most of the states have passed laws regulating spam. Some states even allow you to sue spammers for cash if you can prove in small claims court that it was unsolicited. If you read the different laws, you'll wonder why the spam in your state doesn't follow any of the regulations. That's because these laws are rarely enforced, as it is too easy for 'small-time' UCE spammers to operate. Law enforcement would be overwhelmed trying to deal with it all.

So now you're at home, the laws aren't being enforced, and spammers have figured ways around your e-mail program's rule set. There are even people who have written elaborate programs and statistical analysis theories about spam that still get some of it. I myself manage several domains, one of which gets a lot of spam, and I get all of the bleed-over from defunct accounts. Someone at Chaos Theory pointed me to a neat service that filters spam.

Cloudmark Spamnet is a Peer-to-Peer spam filtering service that I've been using for a few months. It works the same way as Kazaa and other file-sharing programs do, only you share 'spam' lists. If you get a piece of spam, you click on the "Block" button in the Cloudmark program which then generates a unique mathematical serial number for that spam. Then if anyone else who is running Spamnet gets that mail, it automatically gets flagged as spam and moved to the appropriate folder and/or deleted. Its kind of neat, you have everyone working together to identify spam, and everyone benefits from it. Of course there are two drawbacks: One is that is people classify spam differently - one persons' spam is another persons treasure; The second is that it only works with Outlook 2000 or XP (Not Outlook Express). However, it does work very well. I had a few false positives at first (mainly due to the fact that I am subscribed to several e-mail lists on Bugtraq), but its been near 100% accurate.

Earthlink and other ISPs now offer spam protection (its usually opt-in, that means you have to turn it on), as do many of the 'free' web-based e-mail services.

Maybe we should start tracking spammers down and sending them to North Korean Concentration Camps. Oh wait, I forgot - the North Korean's (along with the Iraqi's) situation is our fault. Oh well, what a better place to send them - well maybe they could join the human shields who are headed over to Iraq...

Tuesday, January 21, 2003

It's Battlefield 1942 Day

I am just about recovered from the LAN gaming party I attended with James over at Hell In A Handbasket. Took us two hours to get started, I swear I only get invited to these things for my Network Engineering skills. (I think I said that before). We played from 6:00PM to 3:00AM - and by the end of the evening, James did pretty well. He certainly was nice Sniper-fodder for me on the Omaha Beach level of Battlefield 1942. In fact, you can see James in action here. He's the Brit doing the head bobbing.

Actually, I have photos of the whole debacle (hold your mouse over the pic for the caption):

James (AKA 'Meat Puppet') and Company on the Wall

Jack's Setup - Server and Workstation

Some people were bad and had to play in the back room.

Takin' a break...

The main Snotzi's machine...

Friday, January 17, 2003

Bad Week for Jack's Technology

Murphy's Law was in full effect this week, taking out my 19" Optiquest monitor. Had it for just about 3 years, and it just went dark when I turned it on one morning. The hard drive has also been doing some strange things, and I am running diagnostics right now - hopefully it will be in better shape than the monitor. So I put the monitor on eBay (I've sold quite a few 'broken' items there), and started researching and looking for a new one. Good 19" monitors will run you at least $250+. Sure you can buy cheaper or generic ones, but you get what you pay for, and when it comes to looking at something everyday for probably another 3+ years, I prefer something this is pleasing on the eyes. Cheap monitors, mice, and keyboards should never be purchased if you use a computer frequently.

I decided that if I was going to spend at least $250, I might as well spend a little more and get a flat panel LCD monitor. Problem is, I do a lot of computer gaming, and up until recently the response rate on LCD monitors was not sufficiently fast enough to prevent blurring of objects in the game. I play a lot of first person shooters, and prefer the sniper-type weapons, so being able to see small object clearly is a must.

I found a Planar PV174 which met all the criteria I was looking for. A sub 30ms response rate so that there was no blurring during DVD playback or gaming; 17.4" screen - which was about the same size viewable as my 19" monitor; DVI and Analog inputs, so that when I upgrade my video card I can use the Digital Video Input connector for even a clearer screen; a built in USB hub; built in speakers (however, they are very weak); and light and small enough to haul around to LAN parties.

So I put it on my computer today, and it was immediately taken over by my oldest daughter, as you can see here:

With her and her friend playing Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone every chance they get, I am relegated to my backup computer system, which I have geekified as much as possible:

Yes, it's supposed to be a portable notebook computer, but I have so much stuff plugged into it now, its a pain to move.

Thursday, January 16, 2003

I Make Mine with Soft-drinks or Beer

Seems a Foam Factory in St. Louis burned up. I don't know about you, but I don't need to order my foam, I get enough of it from Diet Caffiene Free Coke or in my Low-carb Lite Beers. Why would you need a factory to make it?

OK - I know its not that type of foam, but a neat headline would have been: "Fire department uses foam to put out fire at foam factory." As they often use Foam to put out fires involving certain types of materials.


One of the things I do for a lot of my customers is to take their current computer desktop systems (usually called 'obsolete' by the vendors pushing 2Ghz machines for the business office) and give them a 'tune-up'. Usually by 'cleaning-up' the operating system be removing all no longer needed programs and optimizing the settings of the software in use.

Let's be honest. For most SOHO (Small Office, Home Office) and medium sized business users, a 500Mhz computer is more than enough to run any word processor, spreadsheet program, e-mail client, web browser, accounting package, etc. They don't need a 2Ghz+ system with a 64MB 3D Video card that can get 200+ frames per second in Quake 3 or other graphically intensive games. Sure, those of you who do photo or video editing, heavy duty CAD, or mathematically heavy computational programs (<-That phrase probably breaks several rules of English grammar) can always use more memory and CPU horsepower. Most business computers rarely use anywhere near their total capacity. In fact, the amount of empty hard drive space out there in the business world is probably pretty staggering, but that's another discussion.

So I take these 500Mhz machines and remove the 50+ viruses I find, usually of the Klez variety. No exaggeration either, that's probably the average number I find. I had one client who had over 1,400 viruses on his system, no wonder it wouldn't boot anymore. After I clean the viruses off, the second thing I do is remove the Spyware.

What is spyware? Chances are everyone of you reading this article probably have 1 or more spyware programs on your system. Some are hiding, and some are quite obnoxious and are looking at you right now with their beady little eyes from your systray (That's the group of tiny little icons directly next to where the time is displayed in the lower right hand corner of your Windows desktop). One of the most obnoxious of these is Gator. Like those annoying pop-up ads that appear at every web page? If you do, then install Gator right now. It puts EXTRA ones into your surfing experience. Like other companies to know all of your internet use habits, or even use your computer's idle CPU time while you're not using it all without your permission? Then install Kazaa media desktop. Of course, you DID agree to install all this stuff in the "Terms of Agreement" that you click through without reading. 'B3D Projector' is one of the worst and most insidious pieces of software that installs with Kazaa.

I usually find 40-50 pieces of spyware on each system. Some are so agressive that they cause the machine to crash every time the system is turned on, because they rush to send their payloads of information off to their corporate masters, who have Socially Engineered you to install it on your system.

Removing viruses, spyware, and defragmenting the hard drive (in safe mode for those of you who still use Windows 95, 98, or Me) usually increases system performance dramatically.

How do you get rid of all this malware? I prefer Command Antivirus to kill Viruses, and Ad-Aware for removing Spyware (be sure to get the Refudpate before you run Ad-Aware). With Ad-aware, do a registry scan, deep registry scan, and scan all of your hard-drives (CD's and floppies probably don't need to be scanned)

Stop your system from doing things you don't want it to do, and get rid of spyware now. Use Kazaa-lite instead of Kazaa. Try to at least skim through the software terms of agreement before you install anything, and don't forget your aluminum foil helmet to keep the government mind-control rays out. (Italicized portion is only meant as a JOKE and is not meant to comment on the sanity of the author of this article. No government agents need to visit my home to verify. I am totally sane. Yes, I am.)

Saturday, January 11, 2003

DMCA vs. Sherman Act 

It is the old Razors and Razor Blades lesson. Shaving product companies sell Razors for low-low prices in order to make a large profit selling the replacement razor blades.

Some people might say it is not 'fair', or some might even say its not 'ethical', but there is nothing illegal about selling products this way - nor should there be.

No where is this paradigm more prevalent than in the computer printer market. Printers by Epson, Hewlett-Packard, Lexmark, and other companies have the ability to print photographic quality pictures from a home computer. These printers can be obtained for less than $100. If you want to shop around, you can probably find the printers even cheaper than buying direct from the manufacturer.

However, the printer toner cartridges is where the manufacturers make up the lost profits. Toner cartridge kits for these photo-quality printers can easily approach $50, half the price of the original printer.

So as the old cliché goes, "What does this have to do with the price of tea in China?" Or more accurately, what does razor blades and printers have to do with the topic of this article.

The Digital Millennium Copyright Act was passed in 1998. The main purpose behind the Act was to protect intellectual property rights in the digital world. At the time the bill was being considered, many organizations warned that the Act's language was such that it could easily be used to squash competition in the marketplace.

As this article at news.com reports, it is apparently going to be used just for that purpose.

Lexmark is suing a company that makes chips that allows other companies to produce "generic" replacement toner cartridges for a greatly reduced price. As an example, I bought black and color toner carts made by 'G&G' and 'Meritline' for my Epson C60 printer for about $7 each. If I had bought the Epson brand carts, it would have cost me $25-$30 each. Lexmark puts computer chips in the toner carts so that the printer can identify the cartridge type to be sure that it is the correct type. No chip, no printing. However, a company named 'Smartek' has created its own chip that sends the correct signal to the printer, thus allowing the use of 'generic' toner cartridges.

There are only two reasons I can see for having the computer chip in the toner carts in the first place. One is to be sure that the consumer doesn't accidentally damage their printer by inserting the wrong cart. The other is to be sure that the consumer can buy and/or use no other brand of toner carts other than the Original Equipment Manufacturer's (OEM) brand.

I'm guessing its more the second reason than the first. All the OEMs have to do is make the carts different sizes to assure that they aren't used in the wrong printer. Most of the carts that have the chip are already different sizes than carts used in other printers that are made by the same OEM. Therefore, a reasonable person would be led to believe that it was for no other purpose than to prevent competition. Maybe it does send information to the printer indicating ink levels, but that could be done with a sensor built into the printer just as well.

Lexmark is using the DMCA in their suit, but it seems to me that their actions themselves violate the Sherman Anti-Trust Act. They are attempting to stifle competition and create a monopoly of replacement parts for their printers. Lets go back to the razors and razor blades example. You can now buy replacement blades for your razor from another company other than the one who originally produced it. The DMCA covers 'digital' property, and was originally intended to stop Internet piracy, so why don't razor OEMs have the same protection under a different law? They don't and it would be silly for anyone to consider that they should. So why do technology companies get this protection from competition? If you follow the same logic, they shouldn't. If someone can produce a replacement supply part, then why shouldn't they be able to sell it? And the DMCA covers copyrighted material. Is toner or ink copyrightable?

Some may argue that it if you let someone copy a toner cartridge, then they could just as easily produce a copy of the entire printer just as easily. I may see someone coming to that conclusion, but it is already being done by the OEMs themselves. Could someone please explain to me how the common operation of any consumer level inkjet printer is different across the three OEMs I mentioned earlier? Epson, HP, and Lexmark inkjet printers all do the same things in almost the exact same way. They feed along a "U" or "J" shaped path, a printer head moved by belts and gears sprays toner onto the paper from similarly shaped toner carts, and then pushes the paper out of the front of the printer. If you took all of the brand marking off of the common inkjet printers and put them in front of a person who didn't know the styling of the plastic cases, I doubt any of them could tell you which printer was made by which manufacturer, and how they worked differently.

In Jack's opinion the DMCA is a bad piece of legislation that needs to be repealed and re-written. Technology companies need protection of their intellectual property, but in a more reasonable fashion.

But until then, the next time a lawyer from some tech company pins you up against the wall and asks you if you've paid your licensing fees under the DMCA, you tell him "the check is in the mail"...

Friday, January 10, 2003

Ironic Advertising

OK - So I'm surfing around for pictures of Linda Cardellini, because I've been watching the Scooby-Doo movie on tape with the kids, and I realize that she has a much better shape than Sarah Michelle Gelar and I want to see some scantily-clad pics of her.

Yes, that's somewhat shallow of me, I know - don't hold it against me.

As with all of the sort of sites that have pictures of celebrities, you have to deal with the pop-up ads. What I found most ironic was that this ad (link is to a jpg of the ad, not the real ad itself) was the one that came up.

Thursday, January 09, 2003

Get Your Money Now!!!!

Another Public Service Announcement from the Porkchop Express. Only this is 100% absolutely real.

The Record Industry has settled a class-action lawsuit in which they agree to pay people who have bought Music CD's from a retailer between the years of 1995 to 2000 an amount of money between $5 and $20, depending on how many persons file claims. The lawsuit was brought against them for collusion in price fixing.

Go to the Settlement Website to file your claim. I did. You should too. If more than 8.8 million people file claims, the total amount to each person will drop below $5 each, and therefore it would be too expensive to send individual checks and the money will go to charity.

If you tell anyone about this and you read it first here, please just send them a permalink to my blog (click on the little '+' sign below). I want to see how much traffic I get out of this one. Why? Because I sent this out in a few e-mails as well, and I want to see how long it takes for the e-mails to spread. Only way to track them would either be through an HTML 'bug' or through this website. Rather have people know I'm tracking them. I usually figure it takes 2-3 days for an e-mail to reach 'critical-mass', of being forwarded all over the place - since people can never resist 'free money', even if it is only $5...

Virtual Reality Shows

First we had MTV's Real World. Then it was CBS's Survivor. Other "Reality" Shows include The Mole, Big Brother, Boot Camp, etc. etc. etc. ad nauseum (Oh, don't forget the oh-so mentally stimulating "The Osbournes"). I have no idea why these programs are so popular. I guess I'm just too elitist, but watching a microcosm of a bunch of college roommates living together is not my idea of fun. And in the Osbourne's case.....well, that speaks for itself.

I've been stuck on a theme of "Virtual" things being recreated from their real counterparts in the living world. With the 2003 Consumer and Electronics Show (CES) kicking off today, it only seems fair that we are being shown the next latest and greatest electronic goodies that any red-blooded male on this planet would drool over to get his hands on. That's why I can't understand women who say that they have a hard time finding gifts for their husbands/boyfriends. It's easy, just get him some neat electronics gadget that could be used in the next Bond film, and he'll be happy as hell. He might only 'play' with it for a few months, but he'll really appreciate it.

Now a company has come up with a "Virtual Reality" game that seems eerily similar to these reality shows. 'There'(who comes up with these names?) is an on-line interface where you can visit different 'locations' and interact with 3D representations of other people connected to the system. Its basically a huge chat room where you can see who you are talking to. However, they were smart enough to realize that the 'video phone' has failed to gain traction because no one wants to be seen how they look at home when they are looking 'comfortable'. Therefore you can create yourself to appear anyway you wish in the (always improving) still somewhat blocky 3D computer generated models.


You're going to come home after a hard days work and get on your computer and go visit your 'virtual friends' and try to deal with other humans in the same way as if you went out and tried to socialize. So, 'There' is trying to duplicate life without actually having to go out and interact face-to-face with people.

The Sims by Electronic Arts is a similar type of game that is already available. Only in The Sims you have a goal, you get hungry, need energy, and your bladder even needs relieved. (I don't want to know if you can 'spy' on someone in the virtual toilet...) So you do things to 'take care' of your in-game goals.

'There' has none of this, it is just pure interaction. With a high-speed connection and fast enough computer you can even 'talk' to other 'people' in the 'game' (going to need a whole new lexicon to describe this type of society) rather than type out what you are saying.

I still don't get it. I'd rather go out and be with 'real' people, not some made-up technological facade of a person. If you can't relate to people in real life, how are you going to do it virtually? Why would you want to? Someone please explain it to me. The one person they talked to at the end of the article said he didn't want to get offline once he tried it.

Maybe this will move us towards the extinction of the human race. I've always told people that once we invent Star Trek type "Holodecks" its all over. If these things catch on, and are very profitable then it just might push companies to try to create Holodecks. Once you have the AI, and you can have anything you want on a whim, there will be no reason to interact with 'real' people, because you won't be able to tell the difference.

I am as far from a technophobe as you can get, I embrace new technology and all the wonders we've gained from it. But I prefer my online entertainment to be more on the fantasy-side, where I can do things that would normally be impossible in real-life. I hold nothing against people who enjoy these 'virtual societies', I just don't understand the draw.

Tuesday, January 07, 2003

"Hey Buddy, Can You Spare A Byte?"

Beggars, Bums, Homeless, call them what you will. Most of us who have been in a large city have come across those who have either through life's misfortunes or choice have decided to eke out a living on the streets. Homeless advocates often use inaccurate statistics to promote their cause, though some admit that you just can't accurately count the number of homeless in the country.

That's all well and good, but worthy of additional scrutiny at a later date.

With the advent of Internet, why not move to begging online?

Yes it is real, and it is happening with greater frequency. You'd expect that most homeless don't have access to computers, and certainly not web-hosting facilities to put up a website, but that's not who's doing the begging.

The most famous case of online begging starts with Karyn Bosnak, who cyberpanhandled her way out of a $20,000 credit card debt. Yes, this is real and it did happen. In fact, she even has a book deal in the making. She bought too much 5th Avenue goodies and put herself in debt and then begged her way out of it. Many 'cyberbums' are young teenage girls, who beg for money for new clothes, makeup, and other items teenagers find that are absolutely critical to their existence.

Believe it or not, they find many contributors. Of course, most are probably from boys/men hoping that by giving some cash to the young women that they will buy a ticket into her pants. Yes, it's pathetic that some of us men are stupid enough to believe that we have a chance. That's why this works so perfectly for them, they are playing on our raging hormones. I'll leave the reader to come up with a new term for these high tech gold-diggers.

But hey, its not all roses. Karyn is getting quite a bit of negativity poured her way (deservedly so). The mainstream media has even picked up on the trend.

So in the spirit of the new fad, I'd like any of you with spare cash to help me buy a new Work/Gaming Notebook Computer. I recently started my own IT Consulting Company, and I've drummed up business at LAN parties (see below) that I've attended. However, I am getting old and its becoming a hardship on my creaking bones to haul around all the heavy equipment necessary for doing some serious game playing. A new 3.06 Ghz Notebook computer with 64MB of Video Ram would do quite well for me, and would save setup space for my fellow players at the gaming tables.

I only need about 2200 of you to send me $1 each, which is only 1/10th of what Karyn asked for. I'll report back here with the results of my experiment.

Stop laughing and click on the button below! (I'm trying to keep a straight face while typing this myself.)

Sunday, January 05, 2003

Virtual Fighting Spills Over Into Reality

On the 18th of this month, I plan on partaking in a little LAN gaming at a friends house. What's LAN gaming? It's where a bunch of people meet at a predetermined location and either bring their computers along, or use ones that are already there in order to play various networkable mutliplayer games. Quake3, Unreal Tournament 2003, Battlefield 1942, Nascar Racing 2002, etc.

I hope to convince everyone to play some Battlefield 1942, which I have become somewhat fond of, as its a little more than mindless shooting. Along with being various types of soldiers (Assault, Scout, Medic, Engineer) you can jump in a plane, tank, jeep, halftrack, or naval vessels and do something a little different. There are also objectives, and you want to work with your team to reach your mission goals.

James over at Hell in a Handbasket has attended a few LAN parties with me. Most of the attendies are a little older than I would guess the people at this Los Angeles Internet Cafe. It seems that some Asian gangs decided to take their turf war virtual. Seems a lot more sensible than continuing to shoot each other up with real weapons. At least doing things this way usually keeps the Police from getting involved.

Not this time.

After 'finishing', the gangs decided to start beating each other with chairs and other objects in the cafe. it then spilled over into a shooting in front of one of the participants home. Knowing James' penchant for guns maybe I ought to be packing on the 18th if he's showing up, just in case.


Seriously, once again the place where the violence took place is being blamed for the problem. It doesn't matter whether they chose LAN Gaming, Basketball, Football, or Tiddly-winks, these guys were going to get into it no matter the venue. Its like the tired old argument that banning guns will somehow stop people from killing one another - but I can't say I'm surprised.

Egg Shen: Can see things no one else can see. Do things no one else can do.
Jack Burton: Real things?
Egg Shen: As real as Lo Pan!
Jack Burton: Hey, what more can a guy ask for?
Egg Shen: Oh, a six-demon bag!
Jack Burton: Terrific, a six-demon bag. Sensational. What's in it, Egg?
Egg Shen: Wind, fire, all that kind of thing!

Friday, January 03, 2003

Which (Whatever) Are You?

I often get those "Which (Insert Fictional or Historical Character Type) are you?" E-mails. Had one sent to me I thought I'd share, "Which (Marvel) Superhero are you?". You can click on my results to get to the site and fill out your own quiz. Yes, very geeky, but it goes along with this blog.