Monday, 28 November 2005

Because some things are truly worth repeating each year, and because sometimes people do things that are just so damn wrong... Everyone should have their own copy of this Christmas music classic:



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Humor | Random Stuff
Monday, 28 November 2005 19:40:19 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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Leave it to the Oregon Lottery to come up with the holiday marketing stunts to top all stupid holiday season marketing stunts. Thank God for the lottery people... And here we were starting to worry people might actually take Oregon seriously for a second...

So, here you have it: Scratch-and sniff lottery tickets in a beautiful fruitcake flavor. Yeah, seriously. Scratch the card, and it smells like f-r-u-i-t-c-a-k-e. Uhhh... Yuck.

People actually want to buy this crap? Wow.

To top it all off, be sure to check out the (actually somewhat amusing) MP3 files being used to promote the seasonal cash-collecting game.

It's all at http://spiritoffruitcake.com.

Sheez...



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Random Stuff | Things that Suck
Monday, 28 November 2005 19:30:54 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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 Sunday, 27 November 2005

Over at VoIPSpeak, there's an article describing how to set up Asterisk@Home, a distribution of the Asterisk open source PBX software for Linux, in a virtual machine on a Windows box. It uses the recently-released (and free) VMWare Player for virtualization.

Note that Asterisk@Home is actually a bit of a misnomer - it's more like "Asterisk-Plus" - a package of the Asterisk PBX with many of the more common and popular add-ons and enhancements packaged up. Installation is simplified and the heavy lifting is mostly done for you. Running in a no-cost VM environment, it's really easy to mess with and learn from. Set up a couple soft-phones and you'll be able to try it out all you like.

(via Digg)



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Sunday, 27 November 2005 14:38:53 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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Ask-encarta-im1This one is perfect for students, who (we all know) spend way too much time on IM anyhow. So in the if-you-can't-beat-'em-join-'em department, have them add encarta@conversagent.com as a contact on their MSN IM people lists. Chris Sells pointed out this service - which ties into the Encarta online encyclopedia - the other day, and so I tried it out.

If you ever have to research things for classes or work and want a more accessible way to do so, you'll find it cool and useful.

Just open a conversation with the "Encarta Instant Answers" contact in your list and start asking questions. You'll get results right in the IM window. If there's information available from Encarta online (did you know you can use pretty much everything from Encarta online???), the agent will offer to share it with you in an expanded window (see below).

It works quite well, and has already tied up a bunch of my time. I'll be keeping this one in my IM contact list for sure.

Ask-encarta-im3
(click above for a larger view)



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Random Stuff
Sunday, 27 November 2005 06:45:20 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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 Saturday, 26 November 2005
Microsoft's Major Nelson, XBOX Live Director of Programming grand poobah, says they're cranking out new consoles and shipping XBOX 360s to stores weekly, so there' still a chance.

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Random Stuff | Tech
Saturday, 26 November 2005 19:38:15 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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 Tuesday, 22 November 2005

Microsoft yesterday announced a zero-day exploit that affects Internet Explorer. The Zero Day Security weblog describes it well:

"A UK group known as 'Computer Terrorism' has released a proof of concept zero day exploit for fully patched Windows systems running Internet Explorer 5.5 & 6.x that takes advantage of a previously known JavaScript vulnerability. Microsoft Security Advisory 911302 covers the essentials. The only Windows systems seeming not affected are Windows Server 2003 and Windows Server 2003 with SP1.

"Of course, to be compromised the user must first browse to a malicious web site. According to Computer Terrorism: Contrary to popular beliefs, the aforementioned security issue is susceptible to remote, arbitrary code execution, yielding full system access with the privileges of the underlying user.

"Several informative sites include Microsoft, FrSIRT, MITRE, US-CERT, InfoWorld, eWeek and SANS (which suggests disabling Java or using another browser and has a BleedingSnort Rule on their site).

"Get ready for a patch blast from Microsoft on this one."

Microsoft's comments have been updated with the latest information. From their Security Advisory 911302 information page:

"...We have also been made aware of proof of concept code targeting the reported vulnerability but are not aware of any customer impact at this time. We will continue to investigate these public reports.

"Upon completion of this investigation, Microsoft will take the appropriate action to help protect our customers. This may include providing a security update through our monthly release process or providing an out-of-cycle security update, depending on customer needs.

"This issue was originally publicly reported in May as being a stability issue that caused the browser to close. Since then, new information has been posted that indicates remote code execution could be possible. Microsoft is concerned that this new report of a vulnerability in Internet Explorer was not disclosed responsibly, potentially putting computer users at risk. We continue to encourage responsible disclosure of vulnerabilities. We believe the commonly accepted practice of reporting vulnerabilities directly to a vendor serves everyone's best interests..."



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IT Security | Tech
Tuesday, 22 November 2005 22:32:52 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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