Please note: the viewport design is copied from Steve Den Beste's excellent blog, USS Clueless. Used with permission.

Saturday, December 04, 2004  


Brute Forcing Root Passwords

Subject: Re: [Intrusions] FYI - SSH bruteforcing

FYI, although I guess most of you were already made aware of brutessh2.

SSH Remote Root password Brute Force Cracker Utility

Best regards,

Ronaldo C Vasconcellos
CAIS/RNP - Brazilian Research Network CSIRT

posted by Gary Williams at 1:29 PM | link |

via The New York Times (registration required)

Supreme Court to Hear Case on Cable as Internet Carrier

Published: December 4, 2004

WASHINGTON, Dec. 3 - The Supreme Court on Friday stepped into one of the most heated debates over the future of the Internet: how to classify high-speed Internet cable service for purposes of federal regulation and, ultimately, for the question of whether competing Internet service providers are entitled to use the cable companies' networks to reach their subscribers.

The justices accepted appeals filed by the Bush administration and the cable industry from a federal appeals court decision that struck down large portions of a deregulatory order issued by the Federal Communications Commission in 2002. The order freed companies that provide cable modem service of the obligation that federal law places on providers of 'telecommunications services' to open their networks to their competitors.

The F.C.C. had decided after two years of study that broadband cable service was an 'information service' and not a 'telecommunications service' - categories that in the commission's view are mutually exclusive under the 1996 Telecommunications Act. By placing cable on the 'information' side, the commission freed it from the obligations the law places on carriers like traditional phone companies, which must permit interconnection with other carriers.

But the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit disagreed, ruling last year that cable broadband service was a hybrid that could not be freed by administrative decree from its common-carrier obligations.

posted by Gary Williams at 9:00 AM | link |

via whiskey river

Resting And Analytical Meditation

'Within the Buddhist tradition, one generally distinguishes between two types of meditation. One type is a resting meditation or settling the mind, and the other is an analytical or investigating meditation. Some practitioners think that these two forms of meditation are in opposition to each other, like water and fire. That view implies that if you have one, you cannot have the other. One might think that if you practice analytical meditation, you will not be able to place the mind evenly in absorption meditation, and if you practice absorption meditation, it will exclude the possibility of analytical meditation.

It seems that most people actually prefer absorption meditation because they think of analytical meditation as a lot of work. They think, 'Oh, analytic meditation is not good because you have to use a lot of effort, you have to read many books, and generally you have to think a lot.' It seems that most students would prefer simply to practice a form of resting meditation. Thus, we should ask why there seems to be this preference for resting meditation and so little enthusiasm for engaging in analytical meditation.

One reason that meditators may not be so enthusiastic about analytical meditation is that they think thoughts and concepts will increase through engaging in the process of analysis. From books they have read, they have understood that the meaning of meditation is to 'be without thoughts.' As a result, many people have developed the preconception that meditation should be without any mental activity, whatsoever. They think that the ability to rest or meditate as if one were a stone is a sign of good meditation. When it appears that analytical meditation increases conceptions and thoughts, then their preconception that 'good meditation is without thoughts' prevents these meditators from considering analytical meditation to be true meditation. When practicing this type of meditation, one does have the feeling that thoughts are increasing. This is how it apparently is; thoughts do increase, apparently.'

- Acharya Lama Tenpa Gyaltsen

posted by Gary Williams at 2:10 AM | link |

via ZDNet

The magic that makes Google tick

By Matt Loney, ZDNet UK
02 December 2004

The numbers alone are enough to make your eyes water.
  • Over four billion Web pages, each an average of 10KB, all fully indexed.
  • Up to 2,000 PCs in a cluster.
  • Over 30 clusters.
  • 104 interface languages including Klingon and Tagalog.
  • One petabyte of data in a cluster -- so much that hard disk error rates of 10-15 begin to be a real issue.
  • Sustained transfer rates of 2Gbps in a cluster.
  • An expectation that two machines will fail every day in each of the larger clusters.
  • No complete system failure since February 2000.

It is one of the largest computing projects on the planet, arguably employing more computers than any other single, fully managed system (we're not counting distributed computing projects here), some 200 computer science PhDs, and 600 other computer scientists.

And it is all hidden behind a deceptively simple, white, Web page that contains a single one-line text box and a button that says Google Search.

posted by Gary Williams at 1:01 AM | link |

Friday, December 03, 2004  

via Financial Times (

Ukraine election to be rerun

By Our International Staff
Published: December 4 2004 02:00 | Last updated: December 4 2004 02:00

Viktor Yushchenko, Ukraine's opposition leader, yesterday won a pivotal battle in his campaign to secure the presidency when the Supreme Court cancelled last month's disputed polls and ordered a rerun on December 26.

The decision was welcomed by huge crowds of Mr Yushchenko's supporters in central Kiev and by western governments. 'This is a great victory for all the people in the square. It's a great victory for democracy,' said opposition MP Mykola Katerinchuk.

But the verdict is a big blow to prime minister Viktor Yanukovich, official winner of the disputed election, and president Leonid Kuchma, who backed him. It is also an embarrassing defeat for Russia's president, Vladimir Putin, who has publicly supported the two men.

posted by Gary Williams at 10:27 PM | link |

See A 'Webisode' Of Transmetropolitan?

Spider Jerusalem
Spider Jerusalem

bad signal

Someone on Millarworld just turned this up:

A test script I wrote, to hand out to animators pitching for the job of animating TRANSMETROPOLITAN for the web, many years ago, before the dotcom crash swept out the whole "webisode" thing. This was animated by Noodle Soup as a pitch to us-the-producers and Sony Screenblast -- only negotiations with Sony fell apart, and so I never got to see this until now.

-- W

posted by Gary Williams at 2:18 PM | link |

via The New York Times (registration required)

I.B.M. Reported Selling PC Biz

While I.B.M. long ago ceded the lead in the personal computer market to Dell and Hewlett-Packard so it could focus instead on the more lucrative corporate server and computer services business, a sale would nonetheless bring the end of an era in an industry that it helped invent. The sale, likely to be in the $1 billion to $2 billion range, is expected to include the entire range of desktop, laptop and notebook computers made by I.B.M.

The retreat from the business may be the ultimate acknowledgement that the personal computer has become a staple of everyday life, a commodity product, yielding very slim profits. The companies that make the most money from PC's these days are Microsoft and Intel - whose software and chips are the standard for most of the personal computers sold, regardless of the maker.

According to the people close to the negotiations, I.B.M. is in serious discussions with Lenovo, China's largest maker of personal computers, and at least one other potential buyer for the unit. Lenovo was formerly known as Legend.


via Financial Times (

IBM to keep PC ties despite planned sale

By Richard Waters and Scott Morrison in San Francisco
Published: December 4 2004 02:00 | Last updated: December 4 2004 02:00

International Business Machines's plans to dispose of its personal computer business will not involve it cutting its ties completely with the revolutionary desktop machines that its engineers helped turn into a mainstream technology more than two decades ago.

IBM still intends to sell PCs bearing its own brand name to its business customers, a move that would help it to protect its customer relationships from rivals such as Hewlett-Packard and leave open the chance to sell other technology products and services, one person familiar with its plans said.

Nonetheless, the planned disposal of the bulk of the company's PC operations, first reported yesterday in the New York Times, would mark a decisive step in IBM's retreat from a corner of the technology market where few companies have been able to generate consistent profits.

Big Blue sold its PC manufacturing operations to a contract manufacturing company, Sanmina-SCI, two years ago. Its PC arm still employs 10,000 people in activities ranging from design and development to sales and marketing.

Several technology analysts said that Lenovo, China's largest PC maker, was the most likely candidate to buy IBM's PC operations. Formerly known as Legend, Lenovo is the largest manufacturer of desktop and notebook PCs in China, as well as the largest seller of desktop computers the Asia-Pacific region.

Acquiring IBM's PC unit would give Lenovo access to IBM's notebook technology and its highly regarded Thinkpad brand. It would also provide an avenue for the Chinese maker to quickly expand beyond its Asian base.

posted by Gary Williams at 11:59 AM | link |

via Schlock Mercenary

Comic Of The Day: Schlock Mercenary

Schlock Mercenary
Click picture to see larger image

posted by Gary Williams at 10:19 AM | link |

Mandarin logo

Vote For Meg's Mandarin Design As Best Tech Blog

My friend Meg hasn't said anything about it that I've seen, but her blog, Mandarin Design has been nominated for the Best Tech Blog award at this year's Webbie awards. So, click here ( and vote for Mandarin Design! Please!

(Or, you can just click on Meg's logo, above or below, and vote...)

Mandarin logo

posted by Gary Williams at 9:21 AM | link |

via A Voyage To Arcturus

Geminids To Be Year's Best Meteor Shower

If the weather cooperates, the Geminids will almost certainly be the best meteor shower of the year; technical details at the International Meteor Organization website indicate a ZHR (definition) of 120 meteors per hour. The Moon will be just past New; as seen from Louisburg on the 13th, it will only be 4% illuminated, a fingernail clipping of crescent, and will set at 6:41 PM CST (sunset is at 4:58 that day). Best of all, the shower radiant will be above the horizon before 7 PM, making this one meteor shower you don't have to get up in (or stay up until) the middle of the night to see.

posted by Gary Williams at 2:56 AM | link |

Thursday, December 02, 2004  

via InfoWorld TechWatch: Word of The Year: Blog

Word of The Year: Blog

The Seattle Post-Intelligencer and other papers this morning ran a story stating that blog was the most common word visitors to Merriam Webster's online site sought a definition for throughout 2004.

The mild irony, perhaps, is that blog is not yet in the dictionary; then again, its newness must be precisely why so many people looked it up.

via The Register

MSN Spaces debuts

By Robin Lettice
Published Thursday 2nd December 2004 14:59 GMT

MSN yesterday introduced a beta version of MSN Spaces, a new web logging service. It also released a beta version of MSN Messenger 7.0 and updates to MSN Hotmail. These services will be integrated, the company says.

MSN Spaces offers three levels of control over who may access their Space. It allows users to display their pictures in a slideshow, and share their music playlists. Visitors may sample or purchase tracks on the playlist.

Update: This just in from Boing Boing:

Boing Boing: A Directory of Wonderful Things: "Reader Paul Pellerito says, 'MSN Spaces User asciident notes that at the bottom of every MSN Space is (c)2004 Microsoft Corporation. And according to their terms of use:

For materials you post or otherwise provide to Microsoft related to the MSN Web Sites (a 'Submission'), you grant Microsoft permission to (1) use, copy, distribute, transmit, publicly display, publicly perform, reproduce, edit, modify, translate and reformat your Submission, each in connection with the MSN Web Sites, and (2) sublicense these rights, to the maximum extent permitted by applicable law. Microsoft will not pay you for your Submission.'

'Makes me wanna yell STOP! Soylent green is people!'"

posted by Gary Williams at 4:46 PM | link |

Today's Surfcam

Surf Last Year

Maverick Surf Coming Soon

My friend Linda told me today they're about to start the Maverick Surf Tournament in Half Moon Bay and suggested I look up the web site, as it could give me a view of the current weather there (where I lived briefly last year, when I helped Linda move into her new house). I found some great surf pictures from earlier years, and the webcam (which you can see here: As you can see, the surf's not up today, but probably will be -- judging by the pictures from previous years...

Maverick Last Year

posted by Gary Williams at 2:18 PM | link |

via The Online Beat

Love One Another? Not On ABC, NBC Or CBS

The Rev. John Thomas, who serves as general minister and president of the United Church of Christ, is having a hard time figuring out why the same broadcasters that profited so handsomely from airing the vicious and divisive attack advertisements during the recent presidential election are now refusing to air an advertisement from his denomination that celebrates respect for one another and inclusiveness.

'It's ironic that after a political season awash in commercials based on fear and deception by both parties seen on all the major networks , an ad with a message of welcome and inclusion would be deemed too controversial,' said Thomas. 'What's going on here?'

posted by Gary Williams at 12:45 PM | link |

Swallowvia The Loom

Getting Sexier All The Time (As Birds...)

The authors of the swallow paper carried out a number of studies that suggest that the length of swallow tails is genetically based, and that those genes are changing. If they're right--and other experts I contacted think they are--it's a striking example of how quickly the sex lives of wild animals can evolve.

posted by Gary Williams at 1:43 AM | link |

Wednesday, December 01, 2004  

via whiskey river

Satori Is Not A Morbid State Of Mind

'Satori is not a morbid state of mind, a fit subject for the study of abnormal psychology. If anything, it is a perfectly normal state of mind. When I speak of mental upheaval, one may be led to consider Zen as something to be shunned by ordinary people. This is a most mistaken view of Zen, but one unfortunately often held by prejudiced critics. As Joshu declared, 'Zen is your everyday thought'; it all depends on the adjustment of the hinge whether the door opens in or opens out. Even in the twinkling of an eye the whole affair is changed and you have Zen, and you are as perfect and as normal as ever. More than that, you have acquired in the meantime something altogether new. All your mental activities will now be working to a different key, which will be more satisfying, more peaceful, and fuller of joy than anything you ever experienced before. The tone of life will be altered. There is something rejuvenating in the possession of Zen. The spring flowers look prettier, and the mountain stream runs cooler and more transparent. The subjective revolution that brings about this state of things cannot be called abnormal. When life becomes more enjoyable and its expanse broadens to include the universe itself, there must be something in Satori that is quite precious and well worth one's striving after.'
- D.T. Suzuki

posted by Gary Williams at 11:21 PM | link |


I'd like to thank Gary for inviting me to participate in TFS Reluctant. I have never been a blogger, and the only serious one i know is Gary. He is an ex journalist, and we hang out among mutual friends on the internet. As they say "we talk about what we know", and Gary is chief in charge of knowing what's going on in the news that is actually interesting. Evidence for this would be me. I can count on him to tell me of an impending hurricaine before i see it coming, and I have been turned on to many things I might have passed by.

So now for my post. I am interested in collecting and reading ebooks, recently gravitating towards tech and other manuals, but I will read anything down to the tag on my underpants. This may be way offbase as per your interests, but I just read this most excellent and insightful doctrinal publication by our fine U.S. Marine Corps. The manual is called Warfighting, and it has certainly been released for public consumption. I just couldnt help thinking back to Sun Tzu's The Art Of War. It is about the nature, theory, preparation, and conduct of war. I have a hardcopy, as my little brother served and left it at my house with all the sentiments he cannot carry around his young recently civilianized world. I hope someone enjoys the pub, Joel:)

posted by joel at 7:49 PM | link |

Joel Perry
Joel Perry
Gary Williams
Gary Williams

Welcome, Joel Perry

My friend from, Joel Perry, razzed me into restarting TFS Reluctant, so today I talked him into posting as a partner on TFS. So, starting soon you'll be seeing posts with Joel as the author as well as my usual stuff...

Welcome to the blog, Joel.

posted by Gary Williams at 6:29 PM | link |

Rageboy CBOvia Chief Blogging Officer


HighBeam Research is looking for bloggers interested in exclusive use of its new 'blog this document' tools and free access to the company's premium archives -- for adding depth and historical background to virtually any subject... [SIGN UP]

posted by Gary Williams at 3:12 PM | link |

Emperor penguins

via Life on the ice

Bowling In Antarctica, And Thanksgiving

We've just returned to field camp after a day or R&R in McMurdo. We were challenged to a bowling tournament by one of the other science groups down here, so we headed in Friday night and enjoyed an evening of bowling at McMurdo Lanes - 2 lanes with hand set pins. Unfortunately, we were beaten, but only by 20 points or so. Considering that our opponents have special bowling shirts that they bring to Antarctica with them, this is not too bad of an outcome.

posted by Gary Williams at 2:00 PM | link |

via William Gibson

A Genuine Prescience

How seldom, in our study of literature, do we come across evidence of a genuine prescience.

'...the larger the mob, the harder the test. In small areas, before small electorates, the first-rate man occasionally fights his way through, carrying even the mob with him by force of his personality. But when the field is nationwide...the force of personality cannot so readily make itself felt, then all the odds are on the man who is, intrinsically, the most devious and mediocre... The presidency tends, year by year, to go to such men. As democracy is perfected, the office represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people... On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart's desire at last, and the White House will be adorned by a moron.'

--H.L. Mencken, writing in The Baltimore Evening Sun, July 26, 1920

posted by Gary Williams at 1:57 PM | link |

via Defense Tech

Battlebots To Go To Iraq Early Next Year

As soon as March or April, eighteen Talon robots armed with automatic weapons are scheduled to report for duty in Iraq, as part of the Army's Stryker Brigade.

Around the same time, the first prototypes of a new, unmanned ambulance should be ready for the Army to start testing. In a warren of hangar-sized hotel ballrooms in Orlando, Florida, military engineers this week at the Army Science Conference showed off their next generation of robots, as they got the machines ready for the warzone.

posted by Gary Williams at 1:34 PM | link |

Tuesday, November 30, 2004  

via Bad Signal

How To Get Warren Ellis To Do A Webcomic

bad signal

Okay, no matter what I say about
old print dinosaurs like me maybe
staying clear of webcomics, people
keep asking me when I'm going to
do one. So here's the deal. Present
to me the following things and I'll
think about it:

* Free webhosting with no
bandwidth cap and the ability to
freely customise the page

* Someone who can customise
pages, because I'm an idiot

* A non-insane high-quality artist
who'll work the entirety of a story
for nothing, on time, without
bullshit, who also has a PayPal

* A merchandiser to partner with

* RSS 2.0 capability for enclosures

* A web-based syndication system

* Someone who can make the
above two things work for me,
because I'm an idiot

Produce all these things, and I'll
think about it.

There. That should shut you
bastards up.

Sent from mobile device
probably from the pub

posted by Gary Williams at 11:00 PM | link |

via PvPonline

Postmodern Chicken Crosses The Road


posted by Gary Williams at 10:44 PM | link |

via AXcess News

Wednesday Is World AIDS Day

Nov 30, 2004 (AXcess News) Washington - December first is World AIDS Day. This year, the campaign centers on women and girls. They now make up almost half of all people infected with the virus that causes AIDS. And H.I.V. is spreading faster among women than men in most areas of the world. These findings are from the yearly report by the United Nations and the World Health Organization, a U.N. agency.

posted by Gary Williams at 1:55 PM | link |

via Mandarin Design

Disappearing Effects:
Overlaying Images With Text

Yesterday I copied some code from Meg's blog at Mandarin Design, which, like a lot of Meg's stuff, is classic and impressive-looking, using some very simple CSS code -- Meg's genius is doing impressive things with simple stuff, a good talent to have, which she shares regularly (Thanks, Meg!).

So, as I've often done, I copied it here, with the code copied too (so you can see and copy it too, if you like). Unfortunately, I'm not used to the new blogger code and somehow it appeared for awhile (I swear I saw it last night and this morning) but when I was fooling with adding stuff today, it wasn't listed on the edit posts page, and when I added the code to do the Bracenet guest map (the post below, I hope...) the display of Meg's code disappeared from the blog. So here it is again:

A Really
Long Time

Here's the code to do that (on your blog, you probably need to take out the linebreaks, or blogger will add extra <BR>'s, which would screw it up...):

<DIV style="width:175px;height:225px;background: url( top right no-repeat;">
<div style="font-size:xx-large;color:ivory;padding:30px;">
<br>A Really
<br>Long Time

posted by Gary Williams at 1:30 PM | link |

Sign Up On The Guest Map

I signed up for the Bravenet newsletter when I added the site counter to TFS Reluctant, more than a year ago. Today, they sent me a note saying that they've added a Guest Map service, just click here ( to do it. So I did. Here it is (I'll move it over into the links list in a day or two...) So sign up on the guest map, please...

Free Guestmap from
 Free Guestmap from

posted by Gary Williams at 1:07 PM | link |

OK, I'm Back...

I've been spending a lot of time writing at, but I'm kind of running out of things to say about chess and more and more finding stuff I'd normally comment on here, so I'm restarting TFS Reluctant again -- mostly because my friend Joel Perry on #techbrothers mIRC channel has been razzing my for putting the links I'd normally put here on the channel instead -- but without the pix...

So, here's some more stuff. The comix covers Warren Ellis told Boing Boing about were funny, so I posted them below. And a few minutes ago I found a goofy AI engine on Sean Gleeson's blog,

Anyways, as I stumble across stuff, I'll be posting it here -- and I hope to fix all the stuff that disappeared from -- you can find some stuff at my new domain:

posted by Gary Williams at 1:51 AM | link |

via Boing Boing

Classic sleasy science fiction comics covers: Day The Universe Came

posted by Gary Williams at 1:16 AM | link |

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