28 January 2005

[net_life] Apparently They Let Just Anyone Phish These Days

Recieved at agora.rdrop.com by me, is the following lame-o, crapass example of phishing (grammar and spacing preserved as in the original):
Subject:notify about using the e-mail account.

Dear user of Rdrop.com,

We warn you about some attacks on your e-mail account. Your computer may
contain viruses, in order to keep your computer and e-mail account safe,
please, follow the instructions.

Further details can be obtained from attached file.

For security reasons attached file is password protected. The password is "53501".

Kind regards,
The Rdrop.com team http://www.rdrop.com

There was an attachment. A file, textdocument.zip, of a 12.1 Kb size. Naturally I didn't open it; I run on a Macintosh anyway, so the likely-Wintel payload wouldn't have done a thing. But it may be some sort of nasty un*x script or something, so why tempt fate?

Isn't it a howl? I mean, how dumass can you be to say that a file is password protected for security, then send the password in the clear?

There are all sorts of script kiddies, crackers, phishers, what have you. But apparently the newest are those to whom the idea of posting email involves writing with a Crayola[tm] directly on the screen.

Seems impossible, but there is someone out there giving phishers an even worse image than already they had!.

There's no "management@rdrop.com". There's no "Rdrop.com team".

But there is a URL as http://www.rdrop.com.

At least they got that right.

27 January 2005

[us_politics] Ron Wyden, Democrat

The first two votes of this Congress that Ron participated in:

1. On sustaining the objection to the Ohio vote count: Nay
2. On confirming El Arroz de Condoleeza for US Secretary of State: Yea.

Fortunately, it's early in the term.

Still, I wish he'd have stood against Arroz as State. He would have had numbers with him then.
But if this goes on, someone's gotta FedEx him a backbone.

[us_politics] The Big Asterisk

George W. Bush won the race for President by the narrowest margin of any candidate, ever. [1][2]

Condoleeza Rice (or, en Espanyol, El Arroz de Condoleeza) was confirmed for the post of Secretary of State with the most "No" votes of any candidate, ever.

[1] For the sake of argument, we'll take the vote totals as they are given.
[2] Make that two asterisks for GWB.

19 January 2005

[sundial_life] Public Call for Networking Help

Anybody here have any clue as to how you can make a Mac running OS X 10.3.5 share its internet connection with a P2 Wintel running Win 95?

I'm willing to entertain any bit of advice.

Hardware: Mac and Wintel, as described, connected via Ethernet and tied together with a Linksys 10/100 5-Port Workgroup switch. The switch sees both computers and displays activity on both.

The connection to the Internet(s) is by 56K dialup. Hey, it's what we can do right now.

The idea is to at least make it possible for The Wife[tm] and myself to share our dialup. Additionally I'd like to share files, though right now that's not the priority, though it would be cool.

We're planing to upgrade the Wintel to at least Win 98 though right now that's out of the question, at least for a little while.

And I know the solution won't necessarily be pretty. I'm willing to live with that.

Thanks in advance to anyone compelled to respond on this.

17 January 2005

[meme] Saturday Slant: King of the World

The Saturday Slant is back! Here is the first one:
If you were suddenly elected King or Queen of the World, what would you do?

After the way the elections and such have gone, and knowing the way the lesser-in-life (but not lesser-in-stature) are getting done to, I'd do whatever it took to raise the level of the lowers and lower the level of the highers.

It's a shame to say, but it seems to me that the greater, these days, are shamelssly and without regret dining on the lesser. Did you know that, if you're an Oregonian and you earn wages, you're being depended on to support our overall societal infrastructure for great corporations? It's true. And if you earn a living you are expected to foot the bill for the federal government-while the great and mighty captains, who make no money from the sweat of their brows, pay nothing to sustain the systems that make thier success possible?

In a greater and lesser way, it's happening around the world. Even those of us in a poorer state in America are living better than those in a poorer state elsewhere in the world, but due to the nature of global commerce even the most miserly American lifestyle may very well manage, in some way, to tread upon the health and well-being of some wage slave in some overseas nation.

I'd have the obscenely rich give just a bit of what they have so the poor wouldn't be so poor. They don't give much now, and would give nothing if they could, but it's not only socially responsible but morally obliging-especially if you truly follow the Christian way, which say not that if you're rich God loves you and you should keep it, but says that if you're rich then you're obliged to help out, if only in some small way, your less fortunate fellows.

If the rich were a little less rich, they'd still be obscenely rich. If the powerful were a little less powerful, they'd still command much.

Push this button to go to Slant Central:

12 January 2005

[sundial_life] It's Different There, From Here

Seeing Bellevue, Washington, at night, imparts a certain sense of perspective when you're a native born-Oregonian and a long -time Portlander.

I don't often get a chance to step outside my currently rather circumscribe lift. A chance to run up to visit with an SCA acquaintance in Bellevue presented itself and I jumped at this.

We got started between 16 O'clock and 17 O'clock. Of course, this being winter along the forty-fifth, we were'nt too far out of Clark County before it got black as...well, night. It, as may Portlanders who have Seattleites will know, is about three hours, or a little more, to the great Seattle conurb, and The Wife[tm] and myself passed that time talking, joking, relating, and laughing...that is, things we don't usually do these days for a variety of reasons, good and bad.

Western Washington is, in a way, a lot like Southwestern Oregon (only less rugged) or maybe the Willamette Valley (only more rugged). Countryside with the occaisional roadside town, though, it must be said, no Valley town has a freeway running through the dead-middle, like Kalama (which has a beautiful big red neon sign denoting a restaurant, which, of course, has at least two letters out at any time. This night, northbound I-5 travellers were invited to come see ESTA ANT. We must sometime go).

Once you hit the Sound (or, I should say, once your road takes you near it) your country-kin perceptions get whack upside the head.

Now, I know many people currently calling themselves Oregonians came from somewhere else. Your experience will be different. I am a native and have spent, less some significant episodes in my life, all my live in this happy valley of small big towns and big small towns and agriculture at your doorstep. In the Sound, you think you've begun to hit Washington's throbbing heart but it's not quite yet; the Nisqually floodplaing makes an emphatic break. But you get to Tacoma's southwestern outskirs, near McChord AFB and Fort Lewis, and you know this is a different place...almost a different planet. It's people, people everywhere. It's Oregon if Tom McCall had never been born, if Oregon's senators and representatives had tried to get more bases sited here.

Oregon City was the end of the trail, but for all the people there, you'd think it actually ended at Puget Sound.

Downtown Bellevue at night is an interesting thing to behold. The official population of Bellevue, Seattle's largest suburb, is just a little above 117,000. This puts it, in size, behind Salem and Eugene (at about 145,000 each) and within sight of Gresham (at 90,000). But it feels like a much larger town than any of them. I-405 ties travellers into the center of town in a massive spaghetti-bowl, and something like six to ten office towers of fifteen to twenty-five stories dominate (not just command) the surrounding landscape).

If Oregon's primary cities are big small towns, this is a small big town.

Downtown gives way, east of I-405, to undifferetiated suburban-style development. The Wife[tm] and myself both agreed that NE 8th Street in Bellevue reminded us of nothing so much as SW Murray Blvd south of Farmington Road in Beaverton.

Everywhere was this impression of size and importantce.

Wanting to get a feel for magintude, I looked up some numbers. Very revealing.

Area: Oregon, 95,997 sq.mi. Washington, 66,554 sq.mi.
Washington has nearly twice Oregon's population on two-thirds the land.
Population:Oregon, 3,421,399. Washington, 6,131,445.
Cities over 100,000 population:
Oregon, 3: Portland, Salem, Eugene (In that order).
Washington, 5: Seattle, Tacoma, Spokane, Vancouver, Bellevue (in that order).

In Washington, even the small towns are big: Everett is nearing 100,000, Yakima is 80,000. Washington's eastside is also more populous; Yakima is near dead-center of the state of Washington. If you go to the same place in Oregon, there's nothing-at lots of it. The largest town east of the 'Cades, Bend, has about 65,000 population, but that's a recent thing. Most of my life it's been a little burg the size of Pendleton and The Dalles (about or just less than 20K). They've had wicked growth in Bend, though; Pendleton and The Dalles are still about that size.

I can see I'm rambling a bit, so I'll try tying up ends. The incredible urban presence in the Puget Sound area gives an urban presence that just doesn't feel like anything anywhere in Oregon, even in the most populous corners (downtown and NW Portland come to mind) The Seattle area feels just a little too big. Desipte Portland and Seattle's sizes (both are above 550,000, and within about 25,000 of each other) the difference in atmosphere is almost palpable.

Portland has a rep of being a 'big little town'. It, I am convinced, is not for nothing.

And our visit to our friend? Productive. He gave us two Wintel boxes he just had lying around; both P2's, both in very good shape. They work. They will replace our old Pentium MMX 200 with a dying power supply and a busted CD-ROM drive. They have networking (ethernet, USB) built in, which, though they be modest, will take our home computing experience up to the next level, even possibly being our first attempt at home networking.

And I had a killer taco salad at the Denny's at NE 30th Street and 148th Avenue NE. If the Denny's down here in PDX worked more like that one, we'd visit 'em more often.

10 January 2005

[blog_life] Dammit.

Every other day or so, I travel up the list of the 'blogs that I link to/have linked to me (principally in "Blogging Oregon Style" section) to see what's shakin' down those links. One of the first to link to me...without being asked, mind...is this fellow who ran a 'blog' called pontifications. He never said he was linking to me, just did it. As a new 'blogger, that just felt cool.

I also occaisionally read his 'blog. It was interesting. He had a sense of presence and style, his page had some decent design going, and it was intriguing the way he examined life in terms of three important faces. Light is both a particle and a wave, and the author of pontifications was triune: gay, political, geek, or, as he termed himself, homopoliticogeek. I don't know of many people who divide thier facets so discretely and then approach subjects of life thus. Most of us-myself included-express ourselves as an amalgam and the boundaries blur a bit.

I'm not saying it's a bad thing or a good thing, just a factor of ourselves, and the interest and excitement of interpersonal interaction comes from learning these things. And the unique things stand out. And the author was unique.

I'm writing in the past tense not because the author has expired (he is apparently still quite alive), but his 'blog has, and in a most dispairing way. Comment spam. One of the other 'blogs I frequent, I Am Pariah, got hit in a big way about two or three months ago. Pariah had other problems (go read his blog for an example of the water big bloggers have to carry occasionally) but this caused many many irritating emails to show up over a span of months and I couldn't mark them as 'junk', else I'd miss real responses. It was tough.

But, as far as our uninonymous author (all I ever heard was his name was "Adam") goes, the bastards finally ground him down, and I am sad for this. Gresham's Law proved, once again.

I'd hope that he reconsiders his decision to retire pontifications. I'd not be surprised if he didn't though.

I love all the links I get, what few there are. Thank you all for connecting me in to the great community. It's immense fun.

09 January 2005

[sundial_life] Forbidden Words

Words that absolutely, postively must not be said this next year:


This word gets beaten to death every time we have an earthquake big enough to make the news.


This word is only legal when noting that out of every ten of something, one of something gets done in...instead of using it as a synonym for destroy, which is usually it. Better to use annihilate, if you're going to go all melodramatic.

08 January 2005

[design] It's All Greek

A few posts back I did a whimsical thing titled "Lorem Ipsum Text". It began with the words "Si bili, Si ergo..."

It's meaningless, just some typographical fun. I was feeling puckish that day. Though, the fact is, there is such a thing as lorem ipsum text.

In layout, it's sometimes more important to get the idea of the 'look' of the general layout than to be worrying about the actual words that will be there. Then, we use placeholder, or FPO (for positioning only) text. Lorem Ipsum. Greeking. Here's a classic example:
Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit, sed diam nonummy nibh euismod tincidunt ut laoreet dolore magna aliquam erat volutpat. Ut wisi enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exerci tation ullamcorper suscipit lobortis nisl ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat.

So, you're laying out a page or coming up with concepts for, say, a webpage look. It has blocks of text. You can cut and paste various things from various documents and put it in, and that would work, but there would be enough meaning that it would still distract. Greeking is great because there is no meaning in it, allowing focus on the bare necessities of the layout, but still giving an impression of text there.

After reading that one may wonder about the history of this mystery. As usual, Pariah Burke delivers the goods. It should be a fascinating read even if you isn't a designer.

The top-dog layout programs allow you to generate such placeholder text with little effort. InDesign has a "Fill with Placeholder Text" option on the Type pulldown, and QuarkXPress has an XTension called "Jabberwocky" which is accessed through the Utilities menu as the "Jabber" command.

Both get the job done. Of the two, Quark's is more adventurous and delightful. You can Jabber eight ways: in prose or in verse, and from the English, Latin, Esperanto...and Klingon vocabularies. Not only this, but you can edit the individual dictionaries. Quite fun. Someone obviously had a good time coming up with this one.

So picture a critque with Klingon jabber. Wouldn't that leave an impression?

But, hey, it's all Greek to me anyway.

06 January 2005

[sundial_life] Woolgathering, 06.01.05

Linkin' Park

I finally got off the dime and added WorldWide Pablo. Not that that isn't something that a lot of people have done, and for good reasons. But I commented on a few of his posts and he was friendly and respectful and happy in his followups. What's not to like?

Big Man on Campus

The two classes I've got this term are proceeding well so far. The Geography of Oregon teacher, Margaret McCrea-Campbell, is a geographer by training and trade. She has a passion for the subject. The text for the course, Loy et.al.'s Atlas of Oregon, 2nd Ed, isn't a textbook, really, but it has great information about Oregon and the instructor felt as though this is a book that people would only get if they could justify the purchase.

Woman after my own heart, she is.

Need to apply for graduation. Need to start thinking about portfolio; the Portfolio Prep course is next term, and I want to hit the ground running for that. I love craftwork, but it irritates me for some reason.

Got to find my parking permit. Wonder where it's gone?

I Am, As We Said When I Was a Neat Thing, an "Arthur"

Getting published-even on the web, where you largely do your own publishing-is a big boost. I like seeing my name in lights. I keep reloading the review of QuarkVista on QuarkVSInDesign.com that I posted yesterday because...well, it's a charge to look at that. There's another thing, of course. It's one thing to put a lot of effort into writing, making it look good, at least making it look like you're not a complete idiot and know basic punctuation and spelling, and then putting up your own 'blog or 'website. It's quite another to have someone ask you to add your tuppence because they've seen what you do and like the way you say it.

That's the greatest gift. And I do have value I can contribute, I know it.

Now, I'm wondering what I can do next.

[design] My Very First Real Article Anywhere...

...I have just now posted over at Pariah's blogsite QuarkVSInDesign.com. Pariah's done me and incredible compliment in asking for it. He's a good fella; very supportive and encouraging.

Here it is, a review of the new QuarkXPress XTension, QuarkVista:


Shorter version, in case you're someone who does't do layout: QuarkVista is a good effort from a reawakened Quark, who realizes that if it doesn't get up and do something now-ish, InDesign will consign QuarkXPress to the "app for home users" dustbin of history where PageMaker and Publisher now languish.

Make no mistake about it, Adobe InDesign has what it takes to fight it out with Quark, and give as good as it gets. But with more generous licensing allowances, free upgrades for registered users, and spiffy and worthwhile additions like QuarkVista and ALAP's PSD Import XTensions, Quark seems to have finally woken up to the fact that there are no more laurels to rest upon.

04 January 2005

[us_news] More From The Moral Party

Why, if he did nothing wrong, did Ohio Secretary of State Blackwell, who is in charge of elections, go to court in an attempt to prevent himself from being interviewed in the probe into election irregularities in the Presidential election?

Why, if trial lawyers are the problem, are Republicans so willing to use them if it looks like they're going to be in trouble?

Why, if the apprearance of propriety is so important, is Tom DeLay working so hard to avoid being turned out of power if indicted for the Texas gerrymandering?

Why did Bill Frist lie about filibustering on Meet the Press?

Why didn't counting every vote become important to Dino Rossi only after the recount didn't go his way?

Why aren't people more concered about these things? I mean, hey, it's a freeish country.


[us_news] The Company He Keeps

One more reason to avoid the Bush Second Inagural: Kid Rock is the musical guest of honor.

Yes. The mind boggles. I guess they thought this'd appeal to "the kids".

I just got this feeling...you know the one. I feel like this horrid looking fellow on horseback just rode up to me and asked me if I'd seen his three brothers anywhere near.

03 January 2005

[sundial_life] Lorem Ipsum Text

Si bili, si ergo...

fortibuses in ero.

M r not! M r trux!


Cowz? And dux!!!