Zone38 Presents...
Letters to the World


Netscape blocks popups too!

Filed under: General — codeman38 @ 3:38 pm

Using Netscape 7? As you probably know, it’s based on the Mozilla 1.0 code. So where’s that much-discussed option to block pop-up ads? It’s been hidden; after all, it would seem like a conflict of interest for a commercial entity to block its own promotions. But although the option has been removed, the actual code for it remains; one simply needs to download a small patch to activate it.


Blog: It’s what you post.

Filed under: General — codeman38 @ 5:03 pm

::blink:: Y’know those “Verb: It’s what you do” public service announcements that have been running on MTV lately? Apparently the intent behind them is to combat obesity by urging teenagers to do something besides sit in front of the television.

At least I’m not the only one who was absolutely stumped by these rather pointless PSAs. In fact, I’ve a little slogan that sums the whole campaign up: “Vague: It’s what you shouldn’t be.” (link via MetaFilter)


Bad network…BAD network! No treat for you!

Filed under: General — codeman38 @ 4:03 pm

Electrical storms, Ethernet connections, and network cards don’t mix.

“Huh?”, you ask, oblivious to the “A network cable has been disconnected” messages which have been flashing across my screen for most of the past week, taunting me as only an inaccurate error message can.

OK, I’ll tell the story from the beginning.

Monday evening, I returned to my dorm room to find that the Ethernet port I normally used had somehow lost its connection to the network. A common occurrence, I thought, not at all unusual; I’ll just wait till tomorrow and let Technical Support fix it. And so I did.

By lunchtime on Tuesday, however, there was still no connection to be found. At that point, however, I remembered that there was another Ethernet port in my dorm, and decided to plug my network cable into that port instead. The result? Connected…for about a minute. Then the connection inexplicably dropped, causing the computer to display the above-mentioned error; seconds later, the connection was restored…for about another minute. Lather, rinse, repeat. Aha, a problem with the network port!, I thought. After all, if something happened to disconnect one of the ports in my room from the hub, then there was a good chance that the other port had been affected as well.

So I waited for Technical Support to come around, dropping by the computer labs in the music and computer science buildings to feed my Internet addiction while the support office was closed. Unfortunately, as the techs pointed out to me this morning, the situation was worse than I had feared; my network card, it turned out, had apparently gotten “fried” by the same surge which caused the first port to lose its connection to the network.

Anyway, though, I’ve bought a relatively inexpensive PC card through which I’m (quite successfully!) connecting to the network now, and I plan to bring my laptop to the Gateway store so they can take a look at the internal network port which was affected. And I’ll be sure to unplug my computer from the network from now on when I’ll be gone for an extended period of time– especially when there’s a good chance of electrical storms, naturally.


Klez-ified information

Filed under: General — codeman38 @ 11:17 am

I really hate the Klez virus.

Now, before you start nagging at me about how I should never have opened an attachment from an unknown source, blah blah blah, I’ll explain that I’m writing this as a completely innocent third party who just happened to be in several people’s address books.

If you’re still confused, you probably haven’t heard about how Klez works yet, so you can either head over to Symantec’s description or just let me explain the basics:

In short, an infected computer will send copies of the virus to random addresses culled from the computer’s files, as one might expect. In addition, however, the “From” address on the infected e-mail will also be forged, again chosen randomly from the computer’s files. In other words, the apparent “sender” of the message is actually a third party whose address just happened to be stored somewhere on the real sender’s computer.

And not only that, the virus takes advantage of vulnerabilities in earlier versions of Outlook Express and Internet Explorer which allow an attachment to be executed just by viewing a message. In many cases, a user doesn’t even have to open the attachment to get infected! (Shades of Good Times, anyone?)

Thus, not only have I gotten copies of the Klez virus claiming to be from fellow students who aren’t actually infected, but other students have also asked me what those weird attachments were that I had apparently sent. Of course, I’ve explained the situation quite clearly to them in as little geekspeak as I could (funny that a user of Mozilla and Pine becomes the scapegoat!), and that’s generally cleared the situation up. And by tracking the headers, I’ve managed to point out to the real carriers of the virus that they’ve been infected (ah, gotta love those X-Apparently-From headers, heh), though not all have gotten around to fixing it yet.

But it gets worse. Y’know how, when a mail server can’t deliver a message to the intended recipient, it will return the message to the original sender with a note about the failed delivery? Yep, that’s right. Sometimes a Klez attack will send mail to a non-existent address– and because the mail in question claims that I’m the sender, I get bounced copies of Klez-infected messages that I never sent, with the infected attachment still present.

I hate the Klez virus.

(Oh, and amusingly, while doing some additional research for this posting, I stumbled across a Linux development mailing list that apparently had a repeated Klez attack. Talk about picking the wrong scapegoat entirely…)


Misheard Science Theatre 3000

Filed under: General — codeman38 @ 2:30 pm

Yet another bizarre search request: assimilated MST3K mondegreens. Yes, I understand all three of the search terms, having naturally used them on my blog– but what of their combined meaning? A collection of movie lines misheard by Joel/Mike and the ‘bots? An attempt at a Googlewhack? Your guess is as good as mine.


Search requests turn disturbing…

Filed under: General — codeman38 @ 9:16 pm

Wow. Apparently the Dave Barry reference to weasels and privates in a past blog entry, combined with mentions of names and acronym generators elsewhere in the archives, caused someone to find my site by searching for name generator for my privates. Disgusting, yet at the same time I find it oddly funny– because I can easily imagine the sort of people who would do such things.

And elsewhere on the search request front, someone found the Proofreader’s Hall of Shame by searching for e-card form of excercise. Even if it were correctly spelled, I’m not quite sure what they were searching for…


Those crazy searches again

Filed under: General — codeman38 @ 11:50 pm

Inexplicable search request of the night: “cordless phone” “print cartridge” (yes, that’s a single search). I’m trying to think of some way in which those two phrases could at all be connected…

Actually, Cordless Phone Print Cartridge would, to steal a line from Dave Barry, make a good name for a rock band. But that’s another story.


A comical truism

Filed under: General — codeman38 @ 8:29 pm

A great truism spotted in the comics: “Contrary to popular belief, youth will often respect their elders— provided, of course, they’re not related to them…”


Yet another round of Inexplicable Search Requests…

Filed under: General — codeman38 @ 12:28 am

Still more inexplicable search requests from the Zone38 logs:

From the “more importantly, what/who is it” department: where is ELIVES. I’m not exactly sure what they’re asking for– those mythical inhabitants of the North Pole or of Rivendell (for which the typo in question was highlighted on the Proofreader’s Hall of Shame), or the late rock singer who’s recently scored a remixed hit with “A Little Less Conversation”. Eh, either way, they can’t spell it, so does it really matter?

From the “what was that name again?” department, Zone38 got a hit from a confused Googler from Poland who was searching for information on Toni Spelling. Oops.

From the “sorry, we’re not that kind of site” department: funny anal video. Of course, this being a PG-13 rated site at most, I was only referring to my anal-retentive proofreading habits on the page in question…

And last, but not least, from the “isn’t it ironic?” department, this one should speak for itself: Indentify mistakes.


I’m back…sort of.

Filed under: General — codeman38 @ 10:53 pm

Oh, and wow, I really haven’t blogged in a while, have I? Well, anyway, yeah, I’m back.

So where’ve I been? Nowhere, actually; I’ve been right here at home staring at a computer terminal as always. I just haven’t been blogging. I’ve been too busy doing other things– working on some business web sites, preparing my belongings for college (which starts next week), and fiddling with my nifty new ATI All-In-Wonder Radeon 7500 card in the past week (crashing Win98 a couple times in the process thanks to some driver conflicts, heh…).

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