The Last Fake Web Page

One of my weekly tasks was to create a fake web page for a local radio guy’s fake commercials. Although the pages never got a lot of ‘views’, they were amusing to me. (You’ll find them here; most pages have an audio of the actual fake commercial.)

This morning, Paul Robins (the radio guy) announced he was leaving the employ of the radio station after many years. The station (owned by Clear Channel) is changing their format, and he wasn’t part of the new format. He announced a gracious goodbye at the end of his morning show.

So, my weekly fake pages exercise has come to an end, after about 78 fake web pages. I’ll have to find something else to amuse myself.

Any suggestions?

Some Holiday Cheer – and a Special Request

About a week left until Christmas day. Which means that I might need to start shopping.

I did exhibit a bit of holiday spirit this weekend. I put on the red suit for a group of children from our church. It’s a fun tradition for the children: doughnuts and juice, then a visit with Santa.

Just two kids were less than thrilled.

But the funniest one was the 6 year old girl that gave me a printed list, while her parents watched. Included with a short list of toys was the item “a baby sister”.

“Santa” wasn’t sure how he could help with that. And her mother tried to catch my eye to make sure that Santa didn’t make any promises he couldn’t keep.

I provided, like all good Santas, a non-committal response of “Those are fun gifts! Thanks for letting me know.”

Removing Bad Computer Things

Did you ever have anyone ask you how to get rid of that spyware or worse on their computer? I have, and have given it a try. It’s not easy. though.

I have a system in my lab at the office that was infected with a mild case of spyware/adware, and perhaps a virus or two. As an experiment, I tried to clean all the nasty malware off of the computer. I spent over 20 hours on it (although a lot of that time was waiting for programs to scan the entire hard disk).

But it can be done. It takes a bit of patience and a lot of time. More over on the Security Dawg site.

In the meantime, some Javascript work on a way to reduce “form spamming”. And then a bit of holiday shopping tonight.

Along with watching another episode of “Dirty Jobs”.

Fix My Car Day

Today, I was a master mechanic. I used my auto repair skillz to replace the radiator on my 98 Camry. Even though it has about 230K miles on it, the car is still running well.

It developed a small crack in the upper radiator, which is made of plastic, so it wasn’t repairable. A trip down to Kragen Auto Parts, and $198 later (plus tax) got a replacement ordered. I ended up spending about $40 more on odds and ends.

It was sunny and clear today, although in the low 60’s. But it was pleasant enough to work on the car in the driveway. Removal was fairly easy, as was the replacement. A few hours later (after a 15 minute search for the radiator cap), the job was complete. No leaks found, no parts left over, so I can judge the job a success.

I rewarded myself with the rest of the day off, after hanging up a few holiday decorations inside the house.

Linden Dollar Hack and Other Grues

I’m a geek, but I don’t play games on my computer. Well, I haven’t for at least 15 years.

My first PC was an IBM PC “5150” model (I think) with an 8088 processor, 16K of memory (yep, KB, not MB), no disk drives (hard or floppy) and a CGA monitor (think of the resolution of a really cheap cell phone). The operating system was loaded from a cassette player. It took a couple of minutes to boot to a command prompt. And all it would do was the Basic language.

I soon upgraded it with an additional 384K of memory, a 5 1/2″ floppy drive, and later a 10MB hard drive. Along with some simple Basic programs, I got a copy of the game called “Zork”.

It was a text-based adventure game, and fun to play (although I never did get very far). Infocom was the publisher of Zork — I don’t think the company is still around. Although you can find an HTML-based Zork game here http://thcnet.net/zork/index.php , along with various Wikipedia entries for the game (for a sample, try this one about a “Grue” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grue_(monster). (You young kids might find Zork interesting, and I can see you old-timers nodding your heads as you remember your late nights with Zork.)

All of this is to bring up the threat to Second Life users. Malware in a Apple Quicktime video file in a Second Life game object could result in the evil hacker draining your Linden Dollar bank account.

How? Well, in a thinly-disguised attempt to drive my three regular readers to my “Security Dawg” site, wander over here: http://www.securitydawg.com/2007/12/second-life-attack-on-linden-dollars.html .

As for me, perhaps a bit of nostalgic time over on the Zork site.

And be careful out there. The evil hackers are lurking. Or …

It is pitch black. You are likely to be eaten by a grue..

Google Maps Mobile Knows Where You Are – Almost

Google Maps Mobile (for your cellphone) can now approximate your location on a non-GPS type cellphone. It does this by using your current cellphone tower location. I tried this on my Blackberry, and it seems to work (at least while I am at the office; haven’t tried it elsewhere).

You get a blue dot on your Google Mobile Map that shows your approximate location. More information on the Google Maps Mobile blog here: http://googlemobile.blogspot.com/2007/11/new-magical-blue-circle-on-your-map.html . Note that this is version 2 and beta, and you may want to read the comments on that blog, as some people are reporting problems (as others report success). But the concept and implementation are quite interesting.

A short video is on the site explaining how it works.