The End of the World as We Know It

Less than 6 hours to go now. As I type this, the final backups are being transferred off our web servers. All of our DNS files, databases, and other important stuff is safely stored. When they finish, I’ll be powering down all non-essential hardware and heading for home. I’m not expecting much to happen but you never know. Most likely I’ll be back at work monday doing the usual sorts of things but if it really is TEOTWAWKI, I’m ready. We’ve stocked up on ammo, cheesy-poofs, and other survival essentials. When the bikers and mutants kick down our door, they’ll find me ready to defend our last Pop-Tart with the AR-15 and Glock (and Susan is pretty handy with her Smith & Wesson too). Good luck to all. See ya on the other side.

Antics of the DVD CCA

If you’ve been following the DVD CCA’s antics, you’re probably aware that the initial hearing is today. If you’re haven’t kept up with the news, here’s a summary. The designers of DVD included a badly designed encryption system to prevent unauthorized viewing or copying of discs. Linux users with DVD drives can’t watch DVD movies they’ve legally purchased because there is no player. To solve the problem, the DVD encryption system was reverse engineered and open source software was created and distributed to play DVD discs. The DVD CCA is now trying to get a restraining order against hundreds of individuals and organizations who have talked about the open source decryption software (like I’m doing now), who have included links to sites that offer the source, or have links to the source code itself:

css-auth_tar.gz – CSS authentication source

LiVid.tgz – the Linux DVD source code

nist-0_6.tgz – an initial Linux DVD player – for Windows

The DVD CCA has mounted a PR campaign to make it appear that the software in question is used to pirate the DVD content, something that is untrue, highly impractical, and will probably only be believed by computer illiterates (which unfortunately includes most of the media and legal system). You are encouraged to join in the fight against the forces of evil in the world by downloading the source, mirroring it on your own web site, or making a tax deductable donation to the EFF, who will be fighting the DVD CCA in court for your right to free speech.

Galaxy Quest

Over the holidays, we went to see Galaxy Quest with my niece and nephew. If you’re a fan of Star Trek or at all familiar with the world of Star Trek conventions, you’ll probably enjoy the movie. Besides, I’ll go to any movie with Sigourney Weaver in it! My one complaint was making Sigourney a blonde. I much prefer her as a brunette. Compare this, this or this.

Spam and Other Annoyances

My increased efforts at dealing with the all the spam we’ve been getting lately seems to be having some effect. The good news is that I’ve accumulated a dozen or so “kills” – mostly just throw-away accounts but at least one web site & domain shut down by an ISP. The bad news is that one or more of the spammers seems to have targeted us for a counter-attack. The last several days have seen continued attempts to crack our systems. Mostly by script-kiddies and all unsuccessful so far. I spent the weekend upgrading some of our security measures and will be doing more security work this week.