Shoppin’ ain’t easy.

Advice for my past self: Just because you told your bank you were in Vietnam once, won’t stop the fraud department blocking your Visa card this time.

They won’t object to you pulling cash — up to your surprisingly still-extant daily limit — but as soon as you try to buy a laptop, it’ll fail abnormally. (That was the actual error, “abnormal failure”.)

Once that’s happened, even after you burn a few dollars on international calls to unblock the card, Vietnam’s Visa system will reject you all afternoon.

Also, just ask the girl at the counter where you can buy Vinaphone recharges. (Not Vinaphone Sim cards. That’s a different thing they don’t sell…) Four laps of the store won’t reveal anything more than the Vinaphone recharge sign over the women’s clothing isle told you the first time.

Speaking of asking girls, the Sony Centre shop assistants _can_ ignore you for a half hour without making eye contact. Don’t try to outlast them.

Once you’ve gotten all that done, paid for half a laptop with many laughs on the way (you may even get to participate if you listen closely) make sure you show the taxi driver the address written down. Even if he repeats it back to you, he can still take you to the wrong university.

Also, don’t forget to post this blog entry when it’s done, not three days later.


Where we're going, we don't need pants

The below was originally posted in my OKCupid Journal, as part of moving my “profile completion” bar from 85% to 90%. It’s an insidious system that successfully lured me into using online dating. And now I can’t seem to extricate myself. ^_^

OK, that profile-completion bar is going to lose. I’ve gotten this far, so I really have to see what happens when I fill it. I’m hoping for free chocolate from the sky, but it seems unlikely.

So while I’m dumping text on the Internet, I might as well complain about online dating sites. _Other_ online dating sites, mind you. (OKCupid will get a serve too, but a minor one. Spoiler, it wins in the end.)

If you are in a hurry and just want to see the ending, scroll down to the bolded summary header. You’ll avoid a really bad pun, and some analogies between video games and online dating websites.

I’ve avoided online dating sites for years, because I like to think the Internet hasn’t completely taken over my life (I’m holding on to that belief, BTW) but a friend of mine dragged me into OKCupid to take some test about the furry apocalypse. That’s where this whole profile-completion bar thing started.

Along the way I’ve had one (brief, I’m sorry to say) relationship from OkCupid but was staying away from any other sites because they were either costly (RSVP, eHarmony), ugly as all hell and unusable (PlentyOfFish) or just didn’t show up anything withing a few hundred kilometres of me (every “geek” dating site Google could find.)

This stance changed for no good reason I am aware of on New Year’s Eve.

Plenty Of Fish remains an ugly, unusable nightmare of a web site. It’s the spiritual successor to that old Flash website where you had to click the pulsating squid to go to pictures page, or the upside-down light bulb to turn the music on and off. I don’t remember if it was a satire about how Flash was destroying the Web, or a serious attempt by an artist or designer to try and move the Web away from all the boring text and pictures laid out in a way that’s meaningful and interrelated. I really hope it was the former…

Back on topic, my biggest problem with Plenty of Fish would have to be that it’s matching system is bizarrely unuseful, and most of the people there provide one-line profiles, and maybe a pair of interest keywords. That and you can’t combine their searches.

I like the idea of searching by personality. Numbers are fun. I like the idea of limiting my search to women of an appropriate age and relationship interest. I like the idea of of searching for people who live within 100km of me. So far, so good. But PoF and I disagree about the idea of using all these criteria at once. Heck, if I could have the personality search show me more than just bizarrely distended head-shots, it’d be a step up.

That’s also bizarre, BTW. Is ASP.NET so very bad at image manipulation that they can’t implement a system that can maintain the aspect ratio of a head-shot?

And the final straw in PoF’s haystack of pain? When it’s showing you photos-only, the ones without photos usefully tell you their age and what they’re looking for. So you can see either if someone’s attractive (in a Dali-ish way) _or_ if they’re an appropriate age and are actually looking for the sort of relationship you’re looking for. (BTW, what is “Other relationship” supposed to be. Some people won’t take messages from it, looking like it’s an synonym for fuck-buddy, and some people seem to use it as “friends now which might turn into a relationship if you turn out to match some arbitrary criteria I haven’t decided yet”. Maybe it’s in the PoF help, but frankly, they need all the help they can get with the site already, I don’t want to consume any of it with my inane queries.)

Sometimes it feels like PoF is actively trying to work against you. There’s plenty of video game analogies available here, but I’m going to compare it to some early Wii titles. The ones where motion control was so shiny, developers figured that anything that worked by waggling the Wiimote would sell like hotcakes, and failed to notice that Nintendo were launching with a title or two that showed how to do motion controls _right_, making everyone else who got it wrong (Samurai Warriors Katana, I’m looking at you), look like they’d been caught asleep at the switch. Red Steel actually has this reputation, but I think unfairly. Go back and try it now that we’ve had Wiimotes for three years, and they’re not new and bizarre addons. In fact, I might see if I can find the work copy of Red Steel, and actually finish the damn game. And in all fairness, Red Steel was a launch title, so the developers probably hadn’t tried Wii Sports or Warioware: Smooth Moves to know how it was supposed to feel.

Next up in my outpouring of… I dunno what this is. If it was hate, I wouldn’t keep going back…. The more it hurts, the more it shows I care, as the philosophers say.

Right? Yeah… Next, is

It’s an interesting system. Free to browse but costs money to open a communication channel. You pay per person per month. Once you’ve bought credit, you can send pre-canned little messages for free, so once you’ve decided to pay at all, you don’t have to spend the credit unless the person’s at least returned your “time of day”. Not that RSVP cares at that point, they have your money.

It’s a bit like a token-based video arcade. You go in, you can look for free. Once you want to play something, you buy a pile of tokens. Now they have your cash, and you suddenly become extra choosy about what you play, because you’re working from a limited pile of tokens.

They make no effort (that I can perceive) to find the _right_ people for you, and in fact the option to only show people whose “ideal partner” profile you fit isn’t always there. (Again, I think it’s not available when you also try to search for people who fit your “ideal partner” profile).

But once again, the real disappointment is the people. Not that it’s a huge disappointment, mind you, but most of the Canberra women on RSVP seem to hold as their primary interests sports, sports, V8 car racing and other sports. And unlike OkCupid and PoF, not posting a photo publicly appears to be the norm.

The plus side to RSVP is it’s popular. So once I’ve waded through the 143 women within distance, with appropriate relationship interest and age group, there’s a reasonable chance there’ll be three or four whose profiles both interest me and indicate I might interest them.

By-the-by, tall women are hot, but only seem to like taller guys, from what they tell me and post in their profiles. I think this is terrifically unfair. Short women are hot too. So’re women my height. I’m not being picky about height, to be clear.

So yeah, RSVP makes up for poor selection by playing the percentages. That’s actually why I went there, after a friend was stunned I was on a smaller site like OkCupid but hadn’t been to RSVP.

And further, there’s eHarmony. I actually like it, bizarrely. They have a personality matching system, which I’m fond of (that’s why I joined OkCupid in the first place, just to see how it worked. And then didn’t come back for two years) and works reasonably well. I took advantage of their “free communication” weekend, where you can send messages (which normally requires you to subscribe) but cannot see photos (which requires you to subscribe) and frankly, it was oddly liberating. They don’t even post body-shape information, so you aren’t tempted to reject someone because you don’t like the look of them straight off. (This is not a “ugly people need love too” thing. I didn’t say it’s better this way, just different).

As mentioned, eHarmony has a subscription model. You can’t search or browse for people, you have to wait for eHarmony’s magic psychologist computer to send you people who might match. So far it’s had better percentages than RSVP as far as sending me sports-fanatics who think Reading is in Berkshire. It has sent me a couple of Melbourneites, who’re apparently in one of the very northern outer suburbs, about a 600km round trip if they want to go into town, but less than 50km from Canberra…

I guess for what it is, eHarmony’s not doing too bad a job. Sure, for a subscription site, trickling people to you makes sense, rather than letting you find everyone one the site whom you might match in the first week, and then cancelling your subscription before it renews.

It’s kinda like World of Warcraft in that respect. You can’t do it all in a month, and every month after the first makes you less likely to quit as you’re that much more invested. (Trust me, I do this sort of stuff for a living. WoW is like a finely-tuned poker machine, except poker machines are required by law to have a certain payout level. WoW only rewards you until you reach critical mass of social investment, and then feeds off you like some kind of video game leech. Which is completely different from Earthworm Jim…)

However, unlike WoW, I think it’s way too expensive for what you get. I’ve paid ’em once, unsure if I’ll pay ’em again. I have the rest of the month to decide…

Anyway, I guess OkCupid’d better have a turn. I like the site. The matching system is actually really good (by and large), it lets you define “near” and sticks to it, except when it emails me matches, who’re all universally a few hundred kilometres away, and frequently not looking for a relationship anyway. I suspect the email matching thing is ignore criteria in order to find three new people to email me.

Which actually leads in to the problem. My match list here is something like 13 people. I think I’ve messaged all the ones with whom I might have something in common, and a few with whom I have almost nothing in common. I’ve messaged a few people who haven’t been on the site in months. I keep coming back here partly because I’m actually in the middle of one conversation (interrupted by Christmas) and because I had one success here, and am hoping lightning will strike me twice. (Except without the zappy, painful static bit).

So OkCupid gets to be analogised to ArmA 2. It’s a great game, wonderful community which lets me choose to associate and search for the sort of people I want to associate with, and little-to-few of the sports-obsessed, team-killing, V8-racing-watching and crashing-the-only-damned-wreck-helicopter-into-the-sea douchebags that populate such popular dating sites as OkCounterstrike. The downside is that there’s a hundred billion CounterStrike players (all of whom have used the word “fag” as a pejorative in the last 20 minutes) and only a dozen of us playing ArmA 2, on a 30-player map. (And I must confess, I haven’t played ArmA 2 in months, Aion‘s release was too close on its heels and I don’t have the hard disk space for both. Curse you Steam and your over 100gB of steamapps!)

I am starting to see why if I turn off the “visited in the last month” filter on OkCupid, the list goes up to 60-ish. (RSVP went up to something like 500 for comparison. So same level of increase). I guess many of us do it. We come to the site, look around, message everyone who catches our eye, either succeed or fail, and go back to bar-hoping. (It’s a pun, not a typo.)

And I suspect if I lived in a bigger city, I’d be doing better. When I turn off the distance filter, my match list goes through the roof. I sometimes am tempted to message out-of-towners in places that’d be fun to live, but I’m also sometimes tempted to eat nothing but chocolate for a day (three 100g blocks of dark chocolate is below my daily energy intake goal, so this isn’t as crazy as it sounds) but I don’t do that either.


So, anyway, I wish all the people using online dating sites would use OkCupid instead. It’s attractive, useful, provides actual matches with a number that seems to work, doesn’t make you pay and therefore doesn’t produce arbitrary obstacles to ensure you pay more.

Alternatively, I wish I lived in a bigger city, where OkCupid had more people, maybe?

I’m actually really happy with this post. I might go attach it to my real blog, once the web server’s fixed.

Actively pwning my Wii, old-school

Dear EA Sports active Team,

I have recently purchased your fine product, but have a few concerns I wish to raise with you.

Firstly, despite your strong insistence, and in fact obstinate refusal to proceed without it, a nunchuck accessory is not required to navigate your user interface menu.

Secondly, given the nature of your target audience, shipping a thigh-wrapping strap with a device for making it shorter, and nothing to make it longer, seems a surprising oversight. In case it is not clear, your target audience for a video games console-based exercise assistance program is people who both need exercise assistance, own a video games console, and feel that there is a sufficient level of overlap between these two ideas to spend money on such a program. Many such people will have thighs which exceed your apparent circumference estimations, particularly the upper thigh where you suggest this device is best placed.

Thirdly, it is a breach of Section 53 of the Trade Practices Act 1974 to indicate that your product is “Fitness made Fun and Easy” or to use the phrase “fun, easy-to-learn exercises” when your product holds these two ideas as antonyms. I realise I have not yet fully explored your product, and in fact there may be exercises in your product that match both terms, but surely it would be appropriate to use “and/or” in place of “and”, or possibly ensure that the exercises that are both fun and easy-to-learn are in the first day’s routine.

Fourthly, for a product that purports to encourage good health, it is a concern that your female trainer appear to smile somewhat more frequently and widely than is healthy. Whether this effect is caused by botox, abuse of medicinal substances or simply because she is attempting to reinforce the “fun” aspect of the program by appearing to enjoy herself, it is rather offputting.

Speaking of offputting, my fifth point relates to the representation of myself during many of the gym-style (as opposed to track or game style) activities. The trainer in the Picture-in-Picture window is facing me, as is correct. However, the representation of myself is also facing me, and then undertakes actions with the incorrect arm. If I am told to lift my right arm, and the image of me lifts my left arm, that is confusing. If there were some indication of a mirror being involved, that would alleviate the confusion somewhat, although that indication would probably be hampered by the appearance of a large, lightly wooded grassland behind me, making the existence of a mirror somewhat jarring.

Ante-penultimately, the suggestion in the front of the manual that the player register this game online in order to access cheat codes seems rather out of place in an exercise game, where cheating should probably be discouraged more than it already should be. This issue is somewhat alleviated by the fact that the manual does not appear to contain the required registration code, so access to these cheat codes appears to be impossible.

Penultimately, and this should probably be passed on to any of your VO-script-writing colleagues who may be tempted to similar behaviour, it is inappropriate to describe the player as “owning” anything that is not either chattel or property, unless the target audience exclusively consists of 12-year old male citizens of the United States of America or her conquered territories.

Despite the above comments, I am quite pleased with your product over all, and after a period of time sufficient to ensure that this pleasure is not simply the result of exercise-induced lightheadedness, I will not hesitate to recommend it to my friends who fall within the target market. Although my list of friends is rather limited, the broad appeal of the Wii gaming platform and the broadness of many of my friends means that I feel this recommendation will be of some benefit.

Yours sincerely,
Paul “TBBle” Hampson, Exhausted.

PS. If you were intending to pronounce “pwned”, that leading descender attached to the initial o similarly attaches a bilabial stop to the front of the initial rounded lower middle vowel, unless you are intending to sound like a 12-year old male citizen of the United States of America or her conquered territories.

So, yeah. I bought EA Sports active for the Wii, and foolishly decided, despite my raging cold, to start with the “high intensity” workout. About 10 minutes in I thought my head was going to explode, but it appears to have not done so, and I was able to finish the workout. Mind you, that’s largely because they don’t actually tell you about the “skip current exercise” button during the workout, but rely on you to wander into the help menu on the front screen.

Despite my above comments, I think it’s actually a good thing, assuming I can keep it up. The resistance band however, I’m not hugely fond of. I’d rather have free weights, if they’d tell me the amount of weight I should be carrying for the relevant exercise.

Apart from that, I spent the day downloading Old Time Radio shows: Abbott and Costello [another set], Sherlock Holmes [another set, part 1] [another set, part 2] [another site], Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar, Candy Matson, Yukon 2-8209, You Bet Your Life and Mindwebs. I’ve downloaded or queued all the above, so if you want to avoid a several-gigabyte download, feel free to poke me into putting them onto a USB stick for you if you’re ’round my place.

This should ensure I have sufficient mp3s to not get bored when I start taking long walks for exercise reasons. Of course, it’d prolly be healthier to walk with someone who can both ignore my whinging of physical discomfort in good humour and whom on with I can carry a conversation for a half hour to an hour, but I don’t have anyone who intersects those two groups, who I feel up to tapping for such a plan.

Oh, and my friends aren’t actually broad. Many of them are broads, but that’s a much harder pun to work into a sentence, without offending them. Not that many of the broads I know are easily offended. ^_^

GLUTton for wxPynishment

A followup to last year’s foray into Python and OpenGL.

I noticed today that wxPython includes a GLCanvas class which uses PyOpenGL. However, as of, wxPython’s demo crashes due to wxWidgets bug 10203 which is fixed in 2.8 wxWidgets post 2.8.9, and in 2.10.

Until a wxPython release comes out based on either of those, there is a workaround. The script, which wxPython includes to change the manifest in your python.exe and pythonw.exe to use the Windows XP comctl32.dll, also fixes this problem, so even though I’ve been aware of this bug for ages, I’ve only learned about this workaround tonight by reading the wxpython mailing list archive.

Now that I’ve got that patched, and PyOpenGL installed, the GLCanvas demo in wxPython runs, and the cube demo works. The cone demo however comes back with this:

OpenGL.error.NullFunctionError: Attempt to call an undefined function __glutInitWithExit, check for bool(__glutInitWithExit) before calling

This turns out to not be a surprise, as I don’t have GLUT (glut32.dll) installed. Sadly, the wxPython demo code doesn’t test the result of the OpenGL.GLUT.glutInit method in PyOpenGL, so this exception is simply output without causing the cone window to abort.

Since the draw code for the cone calls glPushMatrix before any of its glut calls, and the glut calls throw an exception so you never call glPopMatrix, you end up filling your matrix stack, and getting a lot of error spam in your output window, where the later errors can easily push the older errors out the top of your scrollback buffer.

I turned out to be too lazy to build my own glut (it’s anecdotaly possible) but a lucky hit with Google informed me that Nvidia’s Cg Toolkit includes both a win32 and x64 version of glut32.dll. You wouldn’t be able to distribute it as there’s no license indication for glut apart from the license for the whole Cg Toolkit. The glut.h file included however is the one from normal Glut (or so it appears) so I doubt it’s anything except the win32 version of upstream glut.

On this point, it’s not obvious to me if freeglut is supposed to be a drop-in replacement for glut32.dll, or a souped-up alternative. It doesn’t help that the freeglut configure file includes an option to switch that mode on or off (producing or while the .mak file (for NMake) only produces freeglut.dll not glut32.dll. So I guess it’s intended to be both. The next step would be to see if freeglut can build from configure using mingw64 and produce a drop-in glut32.dll.

However, I don’t care that much. I only wanted to see the wxPython GLCanvas demo run. I won’t be using GLUT (or event GLCanvas, to be honest) myself so this has had plenty of time devoted to it anway.

I guess I hope that the main benefit of this blog posting is to allow those very occasional forum posters who go looking for glut32.dll for Vista x64 or XP x64, or even Vista 32-bit, to find it in the NVidia Cg Toolkit. So far I’ve seen several such questions when searching Google for a copy myself, but no one ever finds one for 64-bit. (There’s a 32-bit one in the bullet physics SVN repository, if you don’t want NVidia’s one.)

And for those same forum posters, a quick note. The x64 build of glut32.dll goes in %WINDIR%\system32 on x64 machines. The win32 build of glut32.dll goes in %WINDIR%\SysWOW64. If you get this wrong, you’ll get the same error messages as not having the file present at all. It’s prolly both easier and a better idea to actually drop the glut32.dll next to the program you’re running, unless you have both 32-bit and x64 versions in the same directory for some reason…

Grinding code in Warhammer Online

My original plan was to only use the Windows XP 64 installed on my laptop for video games (and then only when necessary due to a Wine disfeature) and Linux for everything else. My World Of Warcraft days actually worked quite well for this, as it played very nicely under Wine. However, as interesting things (ala my previous blog post) sometimes crop up while I’m in Windows, and also as I’m now playing games that aren’t so nice under Linux, I’ve ended up being in Windows more than Linux. And now I’ve found myself distracted from games playing by, of all things, MMO UI Addon programming, keeping me in Windows even more.

You’d think with my strong awareness of the commercial nature of grind, I’d prolly be trying to get all the playtime I can out of my monthly subscription to Warhammer Online. Instead, I seem to be burrowing my head down into some UI programming in Lua. Like WoW, WAR (or WHO as a friend of mine calls it) uses LUA to implement its user interface and provides a way of adding modules in to modify, adjust or just plain futz with the interface. The big site for WAR addons (like WoW addons, in fact) is Curse Gaming and they even provide a Sourceforge-like site for addon development called CurseForge.

Anyway, why am I doing this, given I managed to avoid WoW addon programming for my entire playing time? Apart from external reasons I’m not going to post here, WAR being brand new is missing a fair few addons. None I can’t live without, but one it does lack is DrDamage, which enhances your ability tooltips with the actual effective values of the ability once gear and stats are taken into account.

Part of the issue is that WAR’s combat calculations are not fully understood yet. An excellent primer is available at Disquette’s Weblog and Warhammer Alliance has a Mechanic Analysis forum as well. I’ve posted some comments at the former, but the latter requires you to be a “WAR Soldier” before you can post, and I seem to still be a “WAR Recruit”, which means I haven’t contributed enough to the Warhammer Alliance forums. Ah well.

So anyway, my addon. LibCombatCalcs is my first MMO addon, basically supposed to encapsulate the various combat number mechanics of WAR so that I or someone else can write tools like DrDamage (or RatingsBuster) which magically continue working when they change the mechanics, and which don’t need large hard-coded tables of information duplicated across each addon.

It also intends to tie together the seperate sources of combat information into a single coherent stream for other addons to listen to.

Anyway, we’re not there yet. What it does do right now is record hits against monsters, and give you a little window with /lcc mobinfo which shows the calculated toughness of the monster (from an unambigous non critical autoattack) and the calculated values for all the subsequent abilities you used, letting you see if my calculations (and therefore my transcriptions of the community’s understanding) are correct, and/or where things need tweaks. I’ll be using this (and I hope others do too, I don’t want to build a level 40 of each class to do this…) to identify the sources of DPS that contribute to each ability.

Anyway, there it is. I’d love to hear feedback about it, preferably at Curse/CurseForge but here is fine too if you hate those sort of sites. You can clone the git repo from CurseForge, and it currently autopackages every commit I push so you can also grab and install the zips.

By the by, this is my first time using mysgit although I did contribute some work to a different msys git effort, and it combined with Console and an updated Vim with some nice colour schemes (I’m using xterm16 at home and work now) makes me a much happier Windows programmer on my laptop.

On other fronts, I’ve recently been playing with Python-Ogre, hoping to knock out a 3D physics-based tech demo of some kind with it in the middle-term future. (May end up being a Christmas break project…). After my disappointments with 64-bit Python and Pyglet under Windows, I may end up doing it under Linux. Ideally it’s cross-platform of course. I’ve also done some more serious work on my book cataloging software using Elixir, SQLAlchemy and SQLite to turn my collection of text files into a real database. However, there’s not a particularly good way of dealing with schema changes that I can wrap my head around, so I’ve put that on hold while I think about how the data’s going to have to look in the long run. And then I got distracted, so it’s on the Christmas break pile too.

That's where they are!

As I documented in one of my much earlier blog posts, Where are they now?, I lost nearly four years ago, and Google hits and archived links have been slowing dying/updating every since.

On the weekend just past I got an email from someone telling me they had recently come into possession of, and as the owner of, please click the included link to purchase it. (I only read the email tonight. That’s how far behind I am at life.)

Barely restraining my hopes, I immediately clicked on the link fired up an ssh session to my fileserver and whoised, discovering it to be apparently unregistered.

Continuing to restrain my now burgeoning glee, I went to do my Bubblesworth domain renewals, and idly popped onto the shopping list, almost as if by accident. (No point tempting fate at this point. I’ve had disappear from whois before but be snapped up before I could reclaim it).

$15 later (reseller price. ^_^) I’m the proud once-again owner of, your source for all things TBBle. Although since I’d managed to migrate to and over the past four years, there’s nothing good there. I really need to sort this stuff out.

I stopped restraining my glee at this point, and cheered near my housemate until he woke up and heard about my glee.

And now so have the rest of you. Sans cheering, unless you’re using some kind of Text-To-Speech software which takes a fairly imaginative interpretation of the phrase “Text-To-Speech”. If you are using such a program, let me know. I’ll try and work some more amusing noises into my blog posts.

Anyway, that’s TBBle 1, Evil Domain Registrars Who Jump On Expired .com Domains And Try To Sell Them Back To The Original Owners For $1500 Through A Shell Company In South Africa -$20 (or whatever a registrar pays Verisign for four years squatting).

Also on 0, but having had a bye this round, are Evil Domain Resellers Who Refuse To Process My Credit Card And Refuse To Release My Domain For Transfer Without Some Kind Of Fee They Added To The User Agreement Post Purchase Using One Of Those “We Reserve The Right To Modify This Agreement As We See Fit” Clauses. Recapping the earlier round, it was a draw. I lost one domain, and rescued five others without charge.

I’m gonna need a wider scoreboard…

Edit: That’s not how you spell “amusing” or “restrain”. “Gonna” on the other hand is correct.

LCA 2007 Ho!

Well, it’s nearly LCA time again. This is just a quick post mainly to see if my syndication at Planet 2007 is working yet.

I’ve been working at MF (Milestones just seem to come at you faster than the calender would otherwise suggest) and particularly in the last couple of weeks getting a good vector-math workout.

I’ve also been working at picking off RC bugs to try and help Etch along a bit, since kind of hoped to be upgrading to it in the half of January that’s just passed.

I’ve also been looking for a CMS for the ANU Anime Society to try and resolve the fact that our web admins never seem to last as long as we’d like. At the moment, Joomla! is top of my list for trialling, as I’m familiar with PHP and looks to have the relevant modules (forum, calendar, eventing system that’ll need modification to work for screening scheduling). However, I’m open to other suggestions, and will see if anyone at LCA has any useful suggestions.

And of course, by adding Planet LCA 2007, I’ve had to read it. And I came across ThreatNet, which is a distributed compromised computer identification system. It’s actually really simple, you do something to identify a certain IP as a threat (the sample code scans postfix logs for “REJECT: noqueue” which usually comes from “no such user” although I noticed it also comes from greylister at CBIT) and sends that IP address to a nominated IRC channel. I dunno what’s next, actually. Presumably, sites can block that IP address as they see fit, and if the responsible parties for the machine become aware of it, they can take action. I’ll be adding this to my ever-growing list of things I need to consider implementation of at CBIT.

On the plus side, I recently installed Debian on a Slug with a 512MB USB flash stick, and I’m going to see how Nagios performs on it. If it’s up to scratch, I’ll prolly shoehorn in a wireless card and see if I can monitor two disparate networks effectively.