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.

Saturday, March 03, 2018

Yak Shaving

I hate yak shaving.

I made a small fix to mod_blog, and when I went to update the copy on GitHub, it failed. All I got back was: “no kex alg.”

Ah, an error message from the Ken Thompson School of Error Messages.

Analyzing the tea leaves, it seems my version of openssl was, shall we say, a bit older than 20 minutes? And something happened at GitHub to precipitate the change. What, I could not say (perhaps?).

So, to get back to where I was a few days ago:

  1. Download the latest version of openssl.
  2. Run the configuration script, only to find out my version of Perl was too old.
  3. Download latest version of Perl.
  4. Configure Perl.
  5. Attempt to make Perl.
  6. Track down error message from compiling Perl.
  7. Reconfigure Perl, this time to use C99 when compiling.
  8. Attempt to make Perl. Success!
  9. Hmm … make tests? Sure, why not?
  10. Wait a bazillion hours while the tests run.
  11. See that five tests out of 3000+ failed.
  12. Figure that's close enough for government work, and install Perl anyway.
  13. Reconfigure openssl.
  14. Make openssl.
  15. Install openssl.
  16. Recompile a program I wrote that uses openssl.
  17. Get confused as to why it's not linking to openssl yet it still works.
  18. Find several previous attempts to install openssl and decide to remove them.
  19. Then suddenly realize that I was too hasty and that bind will no longer start.
  20. Add recompile of bind to list of taks I need to do.
  21. Figure out my program is being statically linked to a previous version of openssl.
  22. Put that problem aside. Download latest version of openssh.
  23. Configure openssh, only to find it doesn't support the latest version of openssl.
  24. Unisntall latest version of openssl.
  25. Download latest previous version of openssl.
  26. Configure latest previous version of openssl.
  27. Make openssl.
  28. Install openssl.
  29. My program is still being statically compiled to older version of openssl.
  30. Force the issue—it fails to link.
  31. Realize that the latest previous version of openssl installed in /usr/local/ssl instead of /usr/local.
  32. Reconfigure latest previous version of openssl to install in /usr/local.
  33. Make openssl.
  34. Install openssl.
  35. Try linking my program again.
  36. Find out that by default, openssl only generates a static library.
  37. Reconfigure openssl to generate dynamic libraries.
  38. Make openssl.
  39. Install openssl.
  40. Get my program to dynamically link to /usr/local/lib/libcrypto.so, although I'm still forcing that.
  41. Configure openssh. This time it works.
  42. Make openssh.
  43. Install openssl.
  44. Run ssh -T git@github.com. It works!
  45. Carefully compare previous configuration for sshd to new version of sshd.
  46. Carefully tweak new configuration of sshd.
  47. Copy server keys so new configuration can see them.
  48. Test new sshd. It works.
  49. Update start up script to run new sshd.
  50. Realize I have to recompile git to use the updated openssl.
  51. Clean out previous object files in my local copy of git.
  52. Make git.
  53. Install git.
  54. Done!
  55. No, wait … there was something … what was it?
  56. Oh, right! bind!
  57. Clean out previous object files in my local copy of bind.
  58. Make bind.
  59. Stop current version of bind.
  60. Install new bind.
  61. Start up new version of bind.
  62. Start breathing again when it works.
  63. Decided to remove the old openssl static library; now programs will dynamically link to the latest previous version of openssl.
  64. Done!

Now I can update my repository on Github!

I realize that I bring this upon myself by avoiding the whole “upgrade every 20 minutes” schtick, but I believe in the “if it ain't broke, don't fix it” mentality and that the computer is here for my needs, I'm not here for the computer's needs.

Besides, the last time I indiscriminately upgraded, it did not go well

Tuesday, March 06, 2018

The Revenge of the Hamless Ham and Cheese without the Cheese

“What would you like?”

“I'll take a ham and cheese, please.”

“Type of bread?”

“White.”

“Mayo?”

“Yes.”

“Do you want cheese?”

Seriously? This is still happening eighteen years later?

Sunday, March 11, 2018

It's almost as if they use a template or something when sending the emails

So I'm checking my email when I see this:

From
Jesse Miller <XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX>
To
sean@conman.org
Subject
Research on Things to do in Vegas
Date
Sun, 11 Mar 2018 07:51:12 -0400

Dear Editor,

My name is Jesse and I’m a writer at Jen Reviews. I was doing research on things to do in Vegas and just finished reading your wonderful post: http://boston.conman.org/2006/07/19.1

In that article, I noticed that you cited a solid post that I’ve read in the past: http://www.wynnlasvegas.com/

I just finished writing a guide that is even more detailed, updated and comprehensive on the 100 best things to do in Vegas. It is over 7,500 words, packed with practical tips and advice, and completely free. You can find it here: https://www.jenreviews.com/best-things-to-do-in-las-vegas/

If you like the guide we’d be humbled if you cited us in your article. Of course, we will also share your article with our 50k newsletter subscribers and followers across our social platforms.

Either way, keep up the great work!

Warmly,
Jesse

And I didn't know how to respond. I mean, I should probably not respond, as “Jesse” probably did not read the post in question, but I was tempted to reply with:

From
Sean Conner <sean@conman.org>
To
Jesse Miller <XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX>
Subject
Re: Research on Things to do in Vegas
Date
Sun, 11 Mar 2018 21:22:00 -0400

Of course you can share my post with your 50k newsletter subscribers! Not many people have experienced the dread terror that comes with a dark and silent casino filled with nothing but slot zombies, although any Disney and/or Wynn employees that might be part of your subscriber base might have an issue with the phrase “Disneyfication of European elegance of the Wynn.”

Not quite so sincerely yours,
Sean

But then I saw this email:

From
Jen Miller <XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX>
To
root@conman.org
Subject
Research on Things to do in Vegas
Date
Sun, 11 Mar 2018 08:32:46 -0400

Dear Editor,

My name is Jen and I’m a writer at Jen Reviews. I was doing research on things to do in Vegas and just finished reading your wonderful post: http://boston.conman.org/2010/01/15.1

In that article, I noticed that you cited a solid post that I’ve read in the past: http://www.visitlasvegas.com/

I just finished writing a guide that is even more detailed, updated and comprehensive on the 100 best things to do in Vegas. It is over 7,500 words, packed with practical tips and advice, and completely free. You can find it here: https://www.jenreviews.com/best-things-to-do-in-las-vegas/

If you like the guide we’d be humbled if you cited us in your article. Of course, we will also share your article with our 50k newsletter subscribers and followers across our social platforms.

Either way, keep up the great work!

Warmly,
Jen

And now I know that “Jen Reviews” never read either post. Because this second post has nothing at all to do with Lost Wages other than a throwaway link (that I had to find) near the bottom of the post.

I am shocked! Shocked, I say, to realize they're just spamming every site that links to anything linking to Lost Wages.

Update on Monday, March 19th, 2018

“Jesse” wrote back, asking for my thoughts on the original email. So that reply that I was tempted to use?

I used it.

Update a few moments later …

“Jen” also asked for an update. I sent “Jen” the same reply.

Monday, March 19, 2018

This won't help, but it provided just a tab bit of enjoyment

Sigh.

The spam. It does not stop.

I received a followup message from both “Jesse” and “Jen”, and now this:

From
Michelle Barlow <XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX>
To
sean@conman.org
Subject
RE:
Date
Mon, 19 Mar 2018 12:32:51 +0000

Hi there,

I came across your site while looking for resources for our next blog and I knew I had to reach out immediately, kudos on a fantastic blog. My name is Michelle, and I'm reaching out on behalf a online gambling company. This month, we're looking to secure sponsorship placements with five prominent blogs and your site jumped straight to the top of our list. Please let me know if this is something you're interested in discussing further.

Kind regards,
Michelle

If I'm going to receive this crap, I might as well have fun. I replied to both “Jesse” and “Jen” with the reply I was tempted to reply with (let's see how they handle that) and to “Michelle” I replied thusly:

From
Sean Conner <sean@conman.org>
To
Michelle Barlow <XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX>
Subject
Re:
Date
Mon, 19 Mar 2018 19:16:45 -0400

It was thus said that the Great Michelle Barlow once stated:

Hi there,

I came across your site while looking for resources for our next blog and I knew I had to reach out immediately, kudos on a fantastic blog. My name is Michelle, and I'm reaching out on behalf a online gambling company. This month, we're looking to secure sponsorship placements with five prominent blogs and your site jumped straight to the top of our list. Please let me know if this is something you're interested in discussing further.

Thank you so much for the flashbacks I'm now experiencing. I live in Florida, and back in 2004, I was working with a gentleman who ran marketing for a gambling web site in Costa Rica. Between Hurricane Frances and Hurricane Ivan our site (as well as my private server which had no relation to the gambling marketing sites) was hacked and completely wiped out by the Russian Mob as part of an extortion racket.

I … I thought I was over it … but …

For background, yes, I was hacked between hurricanes (as part of an inside job). I can't say for certain if it was the Russian Mob, but hey, it makes it a bit more exciting.

Friday, March 23, 2018

Москва в Бока-Ратоне

Bunny and I are sitting on the patio of Biergarten Boca Raton, listening to the live musicians as they finish playing “Starway to Heaven” and segue into “Knocking on Heaven's Door” when I spot a nearby restaurant called “Mantana.” A weird name, “Mantana.” I have to look it up and see what type of restaurant it is—

 (561) 757-3504 Проложить маршрут

MANTANA Gastro Lounge

Кафе (Boca Raton)

Откроется завтра в 8:00

Вызвать (561) 757-3504

Обновления

—and it's Russian!

Or rather, in Russian. I'm not surprised at a Russian restaurant; we have restaurants from all over down here in Lower Sheol. And it might (maybe) be fun to try it, as I'm not terribly familiar with Russian cuisine outside of borscht and stroganoff (is that even Russian? I don't know).

But the text—Russian text!

I can't even find a link to the menu to see what's on it.

I could call, and while I can use Google translate to ask “Какую пищу вы обслуживаете?” I'm not sure I could pronounce it!

Saturday, March 24, 2018

My Facebook Dossier—now you too can get yours

I came across this tweet:

Download your Facebook account .zip off their site, unzip it, then go to the HTML folder, open the contact_info.htm file. See records of who you've talked to on your cell?not with the app, just on your regular cellphone?and for how long.

Via Hacker News, Mat Johnson on Twitter

I'm curious. So let me download this .zip file from Facebook and see what they have on me (the link to download said file is on the “General Account Settings” page, shown as “Settings” from a pull-down menu masquerading as an upsidedown triangle in the upper right corner of a Facebook page). A few minutes later, Facebook notified that my .zip file was ready for download.

I'm happy to say that the contact_info.htm file is empty! Apparently, Facebook has a hard time obtaining such information from iPhone users (I only had the app installed for maybe a month years ago and ended up deleting it). Android users who have the Facebook app installed will probably be surprised to find what's there.

The timeline.htm file shows every post (but no comments!) I've made. My first entry reads “is trying to figure out the hype around MyFaceSpaceBook” from November 11th, 2008. And my first blog entry I posed was this one two days later. There are also copies of every picture I posted, along with any comments they received (nice). Interestingly, each picture also comes with additional information:

Since most cameras include such information in each picture (except for the upload IP address) it's not surprising to see Facebook using it. But as I know that most cameras include such information, I have always stripped it out before uploading the images (it doesn't matter where—whether to my own blog or to My­Face­Google­Linked­In­Space­Book­Plus) there's nothing there, except for the IP address.

There's a list of all the people I've “friended,” along with a list of requests I've sent that haven't been accepted. I see that Bobby Cannavale has yet to accept my “friend“ request I sent on November 28th, 2008 (come on Bobby! We were in a play together in high school! You remember that, don't you?). There's also a list of “friends” I've declined to accept (Sorry Ken Lee, but you left me hanging! No way I'm going to “friend” you now).

The scariest information I've found was in the ads.htm file:

Advertisers with your contact info

Thank you for informing me that Viking Ocean Cruises have my contact information, but why did I not get a cut of the action here, Facebook? You certainly earned some money selling that information to Inrego AB, but I too, would like some of that filthy, filthy lucre. Oh wait … you aren't letting me use Facebook without charge out of the goodness of your heart—I'm “paying” for Facebook with information about me. Okay, I get it. I'm the product being sold.

There's a bunch more information but it's stuff I have given to Facebook so it's not terribly surprising.

So that's what Facebook is willing to tell me about what they have on me. I'm sure they have way more on me that I'm not privy to, like what sites they have tracked me visiting, what I'm worth to them, and what they think I like and dislike, what my political affilation is, and if I'm one of the 50 million users whose information was ultimately sold to the Trump campaign, or if I'm one of the 180 million users whose information was ultimately sold to the Obama campaigns.

I'm not holding my breath on getting that information.

Obligatory Picture

[It's a study in contrasts—digital camera contrasts]

Obligatory Links

Obligatory Miscellaneous

You have my permission to link freely to any entry here. Go ahead, I won't bite. I promise.

The dates are the permanent links to that day's entries (or entry, if there is only one entry). The titles are the permanent links to that entry only. The format for the links are simple: Start with the base link for this site: http://boston.conman.org/, then add the date you are interested in, say 2000/08/01, so that would make the final URL:

http://boston.conman.org/2000/08/01

You can also specify the entire month by leaving off the day portion. You can even select an arbitrary portion of time.

You may also note subtle shading of the links and that's intentional: the “closer” the link is (relative to the page) the “brighter” it appears. It's an experiment in using color shading to denote the distance a link is from here. If you don't notice it, don't worry; it's not all that important.

It is assumed that every brand name, slogan, corporate name, symbol, design element, et cetera mentioned in these pages is a protected and/or trademarked entity, the sole property of its owner(s), and acknowledgement of this status is implied.

Copyright © 1999-2018 by Sean Conner. All Rights Reserved.