Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Rest my chemistry

I have worked on and looked after systems for over a decade, in that time I have seen many security breaches. They have ranged from serious taking out an entire school network for a couple of days, to defacement on a webpage. Each time different factors took their toll.

The most recent attack was against the lan party website. A vulnerability in the content management system E107 allowed an attacker to upload a script file to my site. A file "fwriteq.php" a modified version of a php example file. When a remote attack to request the page using a specific URL the page outputted a huge amount of junk traffic towards an IP address given in the request string.

The weird thing about it was that it created UDP datagrams. In response I cleaned up the site and altered the firewall to block outgoing traffic of type UDP on port 80 as this is invariably junk.

I went through the logs and found the command and control IP which were sending in the requests for traffic and then emailed the abuse contact. BT owned 2 of them and I received no response (another reason not to recommend them). One of them was a linode box, they replied and asked for more details which I sent on to them.

Monday, June 28, 2010

One Day

It has been a very tiring weekend. The weather was phenomenal, warm sunny and dry. Saturday I had a job to do, the partition fence is mostly rotten. Speaking to my neighbours they offered to split the cost if I would go and get the panels. 6'x5' Fence panels wont fit into a Ford Focus, fortunately I know a man with a van, Nick. He took me in the week to Stax where the cheapest panels cost £15 + Vat. There were pre treated but in a very light stain, so I decided to coat them in Cuprinol Shed & Fence Preserver in Acorn Brown. I spent the morning painting the panels the plan being for my dad to help me slot them into place. This should have been easy at the [concrete] fence posts were a standard width. Unfortunately one of the posts has moved a little so the first panel I tried to place didn't fit and I ended up scratching my leg on a rose while trying to position it. We slotted in the other panels and tried in vane to move the concrete post, I tried pushing, hitting it the a hammer but it was solid.

In the end after many hours I called Nick and once again he came and helped me out. He sawed 15mm off the edge, no mean feet given the amount of wood at the edge. It was a bit tight but we manhandled it into place, hurrah!
As it was getting late I invited Nick to share a dinner of stir fry. We sat in the garden enjoying the evening air chatting about life, enjoying a beer.

Sunday I invited my parents and Grandma around for a barbecue. Before they arrived I had to do some work though releasing some new software for the website. It took the majority of the morning, I had just enough time to quickly hoover and start preparing for my parents. I prepared a salad with rocket, pepper and tomato. Then grilled some burgers, chicken and sausage on the barbecue. It was all very tasty, after the food my gran did he usual trick of taking over the TV. So songs of praise won out against the England match. Probably best given the drubbing they received.

Mum and I played with Cocoa, brushing out her knots. I don't think she knew what to do with herself in the heat.

In the evening I went for a swim to cool down, then watched the first episode of the new Top Gear. Then I finished off the go live following the results of testing.

I went to bed feeling tired, but took the receiver and talked to Kath. Not quite the same as falling asleep together, but lovely to hear her voice before falling asleep.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Problem with Cisco Connect

I had difficult connecting to a site using Windows VPN on a machine which also had  the Cisco VPN Client. They wouldn't play ball together at all. I had been connecting by going into Windows Service manager and stopping the "Cisco Systems, Inc. VPN Service" this enabled me to connect to my Windows site. I finally stumbled upon the answer! Right click on the Cisco client in the windows task bar and disable the option "Stateful Firewall Always on". After doing so I can be connected to both either VPN (or even both at the same time).

X-rayted pin-up calendar

Saw this on The Register quite amazing lengths to go for advertising I hope it wasn't all one model getting zapped.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

The law is an ass

This story on the BBC website about a Scottish women jailed for 5 years for the possession of a prohibited weapon. The weapon a Czech-made pistol dating back to about 1927 was a spoil of war brought home by her grandfather. There was no ammunition and no suspicion that she intended to use the item as anything other than an artefact, so how are the public protected by her 5 year incarceration? Suerly a fine, or a suspended sentance would be far more appropriate. Unfortunately the sentence is a mandated one so the judge had little latitude to allow leniency, to me it make s mockery of the legal system. Surely this sort of law is intended to put away gang members not Grandmothers. She will spend the same amount of time in prison as the guidelines suggest for a rapist.
Stories like this make me very nervous about the politicisation of the judicial service, what we need is balance examining cases in detail not putting in place mandatory sentences which lead to useless prison sentences.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

I'll hold my breath

Friday night went to give blood after work. First time I have managed to make a donation for about a year. It was difficult while I worked in Macclesfield, much easier now the office has moved to Handforth. As part of the donation I was asked if I would consider being a platelet donor. Apparently A type blood has a great antigen in for platelets, I agreed so they took an extra sample.

After the donation I chilled out for a bit then got picked up by Nick. We went firstly to the Governors picking up  Gilly and Big Col en route. We had a good chat in the governors, about holidays, hangovers and girlfriends. Then Nick went off to pick up Ian; he arrived by train in Stockport after doing a job in London. He has really been working out, it has been a while since I last saw him, and the transformation was quite stark. I wish I could do that sort of training, but with work and looking after the house and cat I can only manage a few times a week not enough to get to that sort of physique.

Time was up at The Governors at 12 so we headed to the Penny Black for another couple of pints. I have never been in there before. I was full of young guys I felt a little bit old! However it was cheap so can't complain too strongly.

I must have drunk a lot because I had the hangover from hell Saturday morning. I basically could barely function all morning just sat around drank coffee and juice playing computer games. Phil popped round about 2, I was still rough, he gave me a media sender so I can hook up a TV in my bedroom. Would be nice to be able to veg out to TV some days. He got a spare set for a job so I got them, awesome! I just need a controller so I can change channel on the Virgin box remotely, oh and another TV!

Today I did some gardening, cut the hedge, and pulled out some weeds. I even got a few more plants, its starting to look a bit more garden like, rather than a big mess. Still got a huge task of sorting out the back of the garden at some point. I also need a new fencing panel as my neighbours were none too impressed about Cocoa frolicking in their garden.

I went to the gym to finish up the weekend, next to make dinner and get though some of the ironing pile, I guess I am living the dream!

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Turn It Up

I went to the gym for a swim this evening. I had a secondary motive, while there yesterday I managed to leave my ipod. The battery died while I was working out and not having any pockets I put it into the drinks holder. Unfortunately I forgot it, and in all honesty didn't expect to see it again. I was pleasantly surprised when the girl on reception handed it to me; I guess I should have some faith in human nature afterall.

I saw Martin and Martin at the gym yesterday working out. Its kind of the only place I see them these days, there and the lan. Strange really I used to see a lot of Martin but these days I hardly know him at all. Weird how people move in and out of your life, not so long ago I thought that Kasia was my future, then that fell apart, then I met Kath and she changed everything. For the first time there was someone who supported me, and somehow we seem better together than apart, and even though the distance between  us is great we couldn't be closer in spirit.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Obstacle 1

Three not worthy events already today, firstly last night I helped Paul put the new wordpress based version of his website live. I set him up with wordpress so he could have more control over publishing the website content and so far he seems very happy. I have helped out with a few tweaks to get him up and running. I really like what he has done, feels a lot more like a his own site now.

Secondly the new iphone has finally been officially announced, should arrive here June 24th. Apple have simultaneously been able to made it thinner, faster, improve the screen and battery life and keep it looking fresh. The new screen look incredible giving over 300dpi it will be difficult to see the pixels! Awesome, I must have one!

Finally and not important for the same reasons, I got a phone call from MBNA to ask if I had made a credit card application. I haven't, so that means some fraudster decided to use my details. Not very nice to be used in that way.

Saturday, June 05, 2010

Radar detector

The heat meant it was hard to sleep, then the cat decided to join us. So after the lack of sleep we decided to have a lazy morning.

We made a lovely breakfast of croissants and strawberry's with yoghurt; it looked so tasty spread out on the table that Kath took a photography and posted it to her Facebook. It was very tasty :)

After relaxing and playing with Cocoa we went out to Wilmslow garden centre and bought my mum a hanging basket. Unfortunately she was out when we popped into my parents, so I hung it out the back ready for her return. My dad was working on my old room, he is going to turn it into a home office.

Bruce was hosting a BBQ in the evening, picking up Phil on route we headed round. It had been a glorious day, but the evening started to cloud over. Mercifully the rain held off until after we had finished. As usual with a Bruce bbq there was plenty of food, Nina had made a salad and a birthday cake for Bruce. Stephen was in attendance too, Lindsey and Trevor didn't make it as she had bad hay fever.

Bruce lit up, the coals he bought from Costco burned incredibly powerfully, so powerfully in fact that the wooden side table on the BBQ split! I burned the first wave of food to a crisp not able to find a cooler place on the grill. I was more successful with the other meat, the lamb kebabs, chicken and second round of sausages turning out really well.

After the burgers assorted meats it was time for the cake. Nina had made a lovely coffee cake, it was really tasty. Then the rain started to come down so we hot footed it inside to shelter and have a coffee before heading home.

Kath and I had a sit on the sofa to aid digestion and spend the final few hours together before I had to drive her to the airport and back to Poland again. It has been an amazing weekend as awesome the time we spend together is so special.


I managed to persuade Kath to come  and help me do some shopping. I needed to get some summer clothes and I am no good at shopping. We went to John Lewis as I had a voucher to use up. I ended up getting some light trousers, some casual shorts and a nice new shirt. Shopping is much more palatable when done with Kath.

After our adventures shopping we got back to our house and eat a chicken salad. Kath had prepared, it was really tasty with mushrooms, pepper, and rocket.

The plan for the evening was to go to the Stockport beer festival as part of Phil and Bruces' 30th birthday celebations. Kath and I took the train to Stockport narrowly avoiding a downpour as we walked into Edgely park the heavens opened. Phil and Caroline arrived a few minutes afterwards their brolly dripping.  We met up by the entrance grabbed a couple of beers then went out to the stand. Sitting chatting and drinking. I bought myself and Kath half pint glasses so we could enjoy as many different beers.

Phil was sporting a very nice new jacket his mum and sister got for him. I had got him a case of Hahn premium an Australian beer we loved while out in Australia.  According to Beers of Europe they no longer export it and I bought one of the last batch they have. Caroline had also bought Phil an Australian themed basket of goods (including Bundaberg ginger beer, and Timtams) so he can have a real Australian themed evening.

I tried a variety of different beers from the oddly tasty espresso beer to Ginger Tom, some were good some were bad not many were memorable. It was a really enjoyable evening though sat outside drinking and chatting. Joe and Holly turned up as did a few of their friends who I know from the lan bash.

Toward the end of the evening while I was buying a drink Kath got caught by a group of guys. There was a Polish labourer and an English guy who by all accounts was married to a Pole. He wanted to practise his Polish the Polish guy couldn't believe Kath had come to the UK for me.

The beer festival wound up at 11, good think really most of the kegs were running dry. To finish the evening we headed to the Kantipur for a curry. I had the spicy ginger, it was as usual very good. The garlic narn was a little too garlic for my liking though being covered with shards of garlic.

Friday, June 04, 2010

Crazy People

It seems that the idiom that the average Englishman is one rant away from rage. I got back to my car after doing some shopping at Sainsburys Cheadle Hulme.

I was inside the lines of the parking box, it was actually the other car who was right upto the edge. I had no issue getting out of the car;but given the high fat content of the shopping. Which included burgers, rolls ice cream I am guessing that the author was pretty fat.

Common People

I picked Kath up from Doncaster airport at 7.45 yesterday. I took me nearly two hours to get there as I got stuck behind a truck, I kinda wish that the M67 went where it was suppose to go.
We were hungry and as Doncaster is essentially an industrial park with some houses attached; we decided to take an impromptu trip to Sheffield.
I stopped at one of the many park and ride places Nunnery Square and paid £4 to park and for the tram ticket. Once on the tram I found that the ticket didn't cover Kath so it was another £1.40 each way for her. Next time I would recommend parking in one of the many city centre car parks because to me the park and ride represented very poor value for a day trip.
Once in Sheffield centre though the picture started to get more rosy. They have extensively gentrified the centre. We had a wonder round, enjoyed a coffee at Cafe Nero. There was an food festival on but it was a little too hot for watching. Instead we walked to the Cathedral had another coffee outside a little cafe, was a beautiful scene under the blue ski next to the Cathedral.
Walking back into the centre went through the winter gardens, have a browse round the galleries inside. I really enjoyed the digital art exhibition, Kath liked the collection of knifes and implements made in Sheffield over time.
We had lunch al fresco in the centre at Ha Ha bar and grill. I have a fish, Kath had a chicken burger, at £6 it was very good value.
 We drove home over the snake pass, on such a summer day the views were stunning.
My parents treated us to dinner, there was a early diner promotion on at the La Quila. It has been a few years since we have been there, it used to be a popular vibrant place, but this evening there were hardly anybody in. The offer were poppadoms, a choice of starters, and a choice of any standard curry for £8.99. the starters were a choice of either sheek kebab, samosa, onion bargy or shami kebab. I tried the shami kebab is was very tasty. For the main curry Kath and I had a lamb madrass, my parents both had chicken jalfresi.
The madrass sauce was tasty and hot, but the lamb was rather fatty and chewy. I would have been upset to pay full price, certainly I feel the place has gone downhill a lot.
After the meal my parents went home and Kath and I sat outside in the garden enjoying the warm evening, drink a beer, was a great day together.