The Boston Diaries

The ongoing saga of a programmer who doesn't live in Boston, nor does he even like Boston, but yet named his weblog/journal “The Boston Diaries.”

Go figure.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Two things

Two things, tangentially related, but enough to push me into a bad mood (it was the inability to log into a server that pushed me into a really foul mood, but I'm better now).

Thing the First: I'm driving about and I end up behind a school bus dumping kids off. Annoying, but a normal part of traffic at that time of day. No, what set me off was the line of cars along the side of the road waiting to pick up the kids. What? Can't let Brandyn and Heathyr walk a two blocks home, can we? (And for the record, the neighborhood was far from being South Central Los Angeles) Can't even be bothered to drive the few miles to the school to pick up Brandyn and Heathyr either. For those parents, I would love to give their kids their very own lawn roller coaster.

Have fun, kids.

Thing the Second: From a ticket in our trouble ticket system, “Is it possible foward a copy of an employees mail to another account temporarily without their knowledge?” What's wrong? Don't trust your employees? Need to watch over them like little kids? Perhaps you should give them their own lawn roller coaster too? But don't expect your employees to trust you much. (To be fair, I don't know the reason behind the request and there could very well be a legitimate reason, like a police investigation behind this, but this is my first reaction to this).

So what exactly is the point of dynamic libraries if the applications behave as if statically compiled? Could it be that the OpenSSH boys are too paranoid? Or just perpetuating a very cruel joke at our expense?

A few days ago Smirk received an updated security scan of a customer's box and they didn't like our version of OpenSSL (it being more than 20 minutes old, you see). Yesterday Smirk called and told me to update OpenSSL with the latest buggy version instead of the buggy version 30 minutes old.

In theory, it's easy enough. I mean, the whole point of shared libraries is that you can update just the library without having to recompile and relink a bazillion applications. So I download the latest version, compile and install. In checking over the programs that use SSL, it seemed just easier to reboot the box than to restart the bazillion processes (sorry Pinocchio). In theory, everything should just work.

In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice, there is.

Everthing came back up, except OpenSSH.


So today, at the office, I check into the problem. OpenSSH basically said, “Sorry, you're trying to use a version I wasnt' compiled against. Even though I'm dynamically linked against that library, I'm refusing to run. So Nyah!”


I was better.

Multiple attempts at recompiling later, it worked. Although I think I hurt my foot in the process …

[And I managed to botch the posting of this entry. Tells you how my day has been … ]

[TWICE! This got botched TWICE! And when I attempted to fix the problem, I ran into Linux's schizophrenic approach to the Backspace key. Hey Linus! It's XXXXXXX Ctrl-H you moron! ASCII value of 8! Eight! EIGHT! Not the XXXXXXX DEL character! BACKSPACE!

Bad Linus! No cookie for you!

And to further continue my downward spiral I clicked somewhere on Firefox and I lost the nagivation toolbar.

Hate hate hate hate hate hate hate.]


Finally, a toy that invites children to explore the nature of cruelty. In fact, Electronic Test Tube Aliens ($15) are either the most cynical and ill-conceived toys on the market, or the world's first truly existential toy. The story is simple: There's an alien invasion on, and you get to be a collaborator by taking care of a Wi-Fi-enabled, battery-powered alien adoptee. Three of the aliens are good and three are evil; whether yours is good or evil has no bearing on how your creature will behave, since these test-tube babies can't fight each other or really do anything. Except die. In fact, that's their specialty.

Via Postcards from the Bleeding Edge, Test Tube Aliens: Gadget of the Week

You know … this just … fifteen dollars … words … fail me.

Next thing you'll know, people will be selling virtual 70s style porn beds … oh wait a second …

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