More Junkmail from Bob!August, 12, 2003
If you use AOL, you might not be reading this. AOL has been blocking my email for about the past month. When I send email to an AOL user, it bounces back after a few hours with this cryptic message:
<<< 554 the issue at 703.265.4670. ... connection error: connection reset by peer/timeout
I finally got around to navigating the AOL telephone adventure game and arrived at this number: (703) 265-4670. That's where you call to find out why AOL is blocking your email. Then I noticed that the error message has that phone number in it!
AOL told me that they are blocking a lot of SBC internet users, and they don't have me blocked specifically. They never did say why, just that they're trying to work out something with SBC. And here I was, getting all riled up because I thought they were blocking Junkmail after I said something less than flattering about AOL a few weeks ago.
I'm sending this Junkmail to aol.com addresses using an Earthlink SMTP server, so hopefully it will go through. If you're an AOL user and have emailed me recently, any reply I sent you was probably blocked by AOL. You should send your thank-you note to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Name That Tune
I've been trying to figure out the name of this "sailor song," but I can't remember, or maybe I never knew. Anyone who emails me the name to this tune will get a free Junkmail subscription!
DoubleClick Popup Suit
Tired of popups? Sue DoubleClick! A lawyer named Stanley filed a class action lawsuit because some of DoubleClick's ads look like Windows messages. Stanley has asked for damages of $500 per class member and $5 per deceptive banner ad. It looks to me like Stanley and his colleagues will be the only ones making money on this lawsuit. Lawsuits should always be filed for the purpose of making a profit, shouldn't they?
Here's a picture of a leopard seal laying around in 1994 off the Antarctic Peninsula.
It looks kind of cute and cuddly, and seems pretty harmless.
But sadly, a leopard seal attacked and killed a British researcher who was snorkeling off the Antarctic Peninsula last month.
Leopard seals don't attack humans very often, but it does happen. Here's an account of another attack:
"One day a huge sea-leopard climbed on to the floe and attacked one of the men. Wild, hearing the shouting, ran out and shot it. When it was cut up, we found in its stomach several undigested fish. These we fried in some of its blubber, and so had our only 'fresh' fish meal during the whole of our drift on the ice."
Sir Ernest Shackleton, on his famous expedition 1914-1917.
You can read Ernie's complete story on gutenberg.net. It's really interesting.
Some cruel politicians and pseudo-experts continue to harass Bush's people about the cause of the war with Iraq. First they complained because they couldn't find any Iraqi nerve gas, then they complained because Bush fudged a bit on Iraq's uranium purchases, and now it appears that Bush's people were stretching things when they said some aluminum tubes Iraq bought could only be used for uranium centrifuges.
They're even claiming that the mobile chemical weapons labs that Powell showed the U.N. were actually used to fill weather balloons with hydrogen for target practice.
Those people obviously have no respect for the U.S. President and his administration. Didn't these naysayers hear Attorney General John when he explained that it's unpatriotic to question the President "at times like these"?
Windows Server 2003
I've got a couple of web servers running, one with Windows 2000 and one with Windows Server 2003. Windows Server 2003 is advertised as the world's most secure and stable operating system. However, my Windows 2000 system has been running nonstop for months with no problems, but the Windows 2003 system crashes regularly and has even acquired a virus, even though that computer only sits there running a web server. Progress is great!
I'm tempted to give up on Windows and load a Linux server, but then I'd have to learn a lot of new stuff. Maybe I'll just stick with Windows 2000 for the next 10 years or so.
Speaking of Windows, the Blaster Worm is flying around the internet at high speed, even as you compute. Blaster can infect Windows 2000, Windows XP, and possibly Windows Server 2003 systems. It does not affect Windows 95, Windows 98, Windows Me, or non-Windows systems.
The worm works over the internet without email or web browsing, which is kind of irritating. Computers aren't supposed to be collecting viruses when they're sitting there idle.
But your computer, when hooked to the internet, is really hooked to a TCP/IP network. This means that your computer, or more specifically, your Windows operating system, listens in on different ports for different types of communications. For example, TCP port 80 is normally the port for web browsing. Port 25 is normally the email port. Blaster uses TCP port 135 to "access" a bug in Windows. It also uses TCP port 4444 and UDP port 69.
Essentially, from a remote computer, Blaster can overrun a buffer on your computer, load an arbitrary program (the Blaster worm itself, in this case), and then execute it on your computer. Among other things, once the blaster is installed on your system, it starts firing messages to the Windows Update site. This DoS attack has been overloading that site, and it essentially shuts down the Windows Update site from time to time. Blaster also accesses lots of port 135s on semi-random IP addresses.
You can download the Windows patch to prevent Blaster here:
Here is some detailed information on the Blaster worm, and a removal tool you can use if you are the proud owner of a copy of mblast.exe:
Search and Sees Yours
You should always wear clean underwear when you fly, because you could lose your pants at a security checkpoint.
Judges said drug checkpoints are illegal on Indian highways, so the police conducted some fake checkpoints to scare the bad guys. The bad guys say this is still not fair.
In October 1999, DirecTV satellite 1-R was launched. It was launched from a modified oil rig by Sea Launch, their first commercial launch.
Sea Launch is a company owned by Boeing (40%), Russian RSC Energia (25%), Norwegian Kvaerner (20%), and Ukranian SDO Yuzhnoye/PO Yuzhmash (15%).
Sea Launch took an oil drilling platform and made a couple of slight modifications so it could be used for rocket launches. The Norwegian partner Kvaerner operates the launch platform, assembly, and command ship. The Ukranian company SDO Yuzhnoye/PO Yuzhmash provides the first two Zenit-3SL rocket stages. Russian RSC Energia provides the third stage (Block DM-SL) and launch vehicle integration. Boeing handles the payload and spacecraft operation.
Together, they've launched 10 commercial satellites. The latest is the EchoStar IX/Telstar 13 that was launched last week and is now flying around the earth in geosynchronous orbit at 121 degrees west longitude. It was launched from the drilling platform in the Pacific Ocean, southeast of Christmas Island at the equator (154 degrees west longitude.)
On August 27, Mars will be closer to the earth than it's been in about 60,000 years. If you forget to look at Mars on August 27, don't worry. You can way just 284 more years and it will be even closer.
By the end of January, if everybody was consistent in their units of measurement, there should be 4 spacecraft in orbit around mars and 3 more on the surface. Two of those are already in orbit, the Mars Global Surveyor and the Mars Odyssey. H.G. Wells would be proud.
Here's a picture of some Martian sedimentary rocks, taken by the Mars Global Surveyor at the Gale Crater:
The University of Florida has a Lightning Research Group. This is a good place for it, because Florida has a lot of lightning. Here's a map of lighting coverage in the U.S. from 1996 to 2000:
It seems like there should be more lightning in the mountains than in Florida, but apparently the lake of lightning in the valleys and low points of mountainous areas makes up for the lightning on the peaks.
Details on the Lightning Research Group:
The U.S. government complains a lot to Colombia about drugs being smuggled into the U.S. Now Russia is complaining to the U.S. about Heroin being smuggled into Russia, not from the U.S., but from Afghanistan.
Under U.S. occupation, opium poppy production has gone way up. Russia blames the U.S. for "looking the other way" because the growers also happen to be anti-Taliban, and the Taliban all but wiped out Opium production in 2001. Afghanistan is now back as the #1 opium producer in the world:
The coca plantations are apparently not hard to find in Colombia. Here's a map:
Colombia coca cultivation has gone down quite a bit over the past two years, from about 400,000 to 250,000 acres:
Second and third place coca growers are Peru with 115,000 acres and Bolivia with 60,000. For comparison, there are about 9,200,000 acres of wheat in Kansas.
In April of 1985, we first advertised a program I wrote, ProDesign II, in PC Week Magazine. Since then we sold a whole lot of copies of ProDesign and its successor DesignCAD. DesignCAD has passed through and outlived a few companies along the way. I followed along with it from American Small Business Computers to ViaGrafix to Learn2 to Upperspace, although I don't spent much development time on it any more.
Now, Upperspace (our company) has officially sold DesignCAD to IMSI (another company). Upperspace is still in business in Pryor, OK, producing and selling computer training and other software products. We'll continue to sell DesignCAD for a while, too.
Pictures of Today!
Weekend before last, a few other mentally challenged individuals and I went camping southeast of Telluride. Here are some pictures.
Up the valley from Navajo Lake
Mike G., Paul, and Navajo Lake:
Mount Wilson is behind the clouds on the right.
The infamous ridge from Mount Wilson to El Diente. It's only 3/4 mile, but we didn't take it.
From the top of Mount Wilson:
Mike Green headed up Mount Wilson:
Me, headed up the same way. It was steep!
(@) 2003, no rites conserved. Unauthorized duplication or distribution of this Junkmail or any part of it is just fine. It's authorized, too. In fact, if you'd like any hi-res images of the pictures above, let me know and I'll be happy to send them to you.
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