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December 2005 Archives

December 31, 2005

Car vandalism

Filed in: Misc.

Some kind person was nice enough to sign my car overnight:

[Tagged car]

Looks like "AMAZOL" or "ANAZOL" with a $ in the 'O'. The policeman I spoke to at the station took some pictures too.

Edit: Jif + Brasso + paint cleaner = no more tag. Nyah!

Posted at 11:17 AM | Comments (2)

December 29, 2005

TSV 33

Filed in: Doctor Who, TSV Online.

Issue 33 includes: the influence of the Bible, Norse mythology, and Quatermass on Doctor Who, Kate Orman's opinion piece on the New Adventures, an examination of Terrance Dicks' writing style, the last installment of the Novelisations covering the seventh Doctor's books, a list of actors who've been in both Doctor Who and The Prisoner, and The Box, which describes how dimensional transcendentalism works.

Though this was dubbed the "Alden Bates issue" in the next issue's letters column because of the amount of stuff I had in it, (only 7 items, really...) I much prefer the articles other people had printed. Particularly the items I've mentioned above. My excuse is that the stuff I wrote in this issue was done during my foolish teenage years, though since this issue was published in April 1993, I'm not going to be able to use that excuse for much longer. :)

The back cover also has one of my favourite pieces of artwork of the Master. Is that not great?

Posted at 7:38 PM | Comments (1)

Ivory Coast Scamster

Filed in: Spam.

A scamster writes: (excerpts only)

Dearest One,

Free your mind.

I am Mrs Elizabeth Kone, the wife of Mr.Willams Kone My Husband was a highly reputable business magnet-(a cocoa merchant)who operated in the capital of Ivory coast during his days.

...and in the nightclubs of Argentina as a Flaminco dancer during his nights, not bad for a lump of magnetized metal (I think the word you're searching for is "magnate"...)

It is sad to say that he passed away mysteriously after one of his business trips abroad .Though his sudden death was linked or rather suspected to have been masterminded by his uncle who travelled with him at that time. But God knows the truth!

The butler did it! Come now, there's was an autopsy, surely?

Before his death he called me in the hospital and told me that he has the sum of fifteen million,five hundred thousand United State Dollars in a trunk box(USD $5.5m ,000) Which he deposited in one of the Security company here in Cote D Ivoire Africa.

"USD $5.5m ,000" eh? That doesn't look at all suspicious! Come now, if you're going to send me a form letter, at least get the values in the input fields right.

Now I am just a widow with two children, and really don't know what to do now, I want an account overseas where I can transfer this funds. This is because I have suffered a lot of set backs as a result of incessant political crisis here in Ivory coast.The death of my Husband actually brought sorrow to my life.

... but joy to the lives of my three children. Wait, did I say three? I meant four children!

Now permit me to ask these few questions:-
1. Can you honestly help me as your widow?
2. Can I completely trust you?
3. What percentage of the total amount in question will be good for you after the money is been transferd in to your account?

1. You want to be my widow? That's very touching, but I'm not dead.
2. Not if you're making noises about wanting to be my widow!
3. My country has high taxes on large bank deposits. There should be a good $40 left by the time they've had at it. How about half and half? I could probably buy a CD with $20...

Please,Consider this and get back to me as soon as possible.

How about NO! HA!

Posted at 11:00 AM | Comments (4)

December 28, 2005

Doctor Who: The Christmas Invasion

Filed in: Doctor Who.

I watched this, only a couple of days late... Tennant is a lot less annoying than he was in the Children in Need short, which was a great relief to me, as I was afraid I was really going to hate his Doctor, and since he's likely to be in the role for the foreseeable future...

Roll on series 2!

Posted at 1:01 PM | Comments (0)

December 24, 2005

Billie Piper and David Te... er...

Filed in: Doctor Who.

From the latest NZ TV Guide:

[David Tennant and Billie Piper

There's a slight problem with the picture they published. It's not David Tennant at all - it's football player Paul Gascoigne.

Posted at 12:58 PM | Comments (5)

December 21, 2005

Pass it on

Filed in: Misc.

When you see this, post it.

"Now, by the way, any time you hear the United States government talking about wiretap, it requires -- a wiretap requires a court order. Nothing has changed, by the way. When we're talking about chasing down terrorists, we're talking about getting a court order before we do so."

-- President Bush, April 2004, nearly three years after he authorized secret domestic surveillance by the NSA without court orders or warrants.

Quote courtesy the transcript of Bush's speech, taken off the official White House site:

Posted at 11:45 PM | Comments (1)

December 19, 2005

Quotes of the day

Filed in: Misc.

50 cents"WOOHOO! A scale model of a sailing ship"
-- fellow behind the counter at Caltex as he handed me 50 cents change.

"...but the judge set the Tribbles free"
-- TV3 news reporter reporting on this case.

Posted at 6:10 PM | Comments (0)

December 18, 2005

Vulcans and Masturbation

Filed in: TV & Movies.

If you were offended by the title of this post, that's probably a sign you won't like the rest of this post. :)

Random picture of T'PolRecently I saw the Star Trek Enterprise episode "Fusion", in which Enterprise encountered a ship full of Vulcans who had embraced their emotions rather than suppressing them. The Vulcan ship had been in space for eight years. (Also, one of the Vulcans mind-raped T'Pol and gave her Vulcan AIDS, but that's irrelevant to this post).

I was also introduced to First TV Drama's Enterprise reviews, which point out the many inconsistencies in the episodes. I'm going to make specific reference to one bit of their review for "Fusion".

As Richard Whettestone points out about 2/3 of the way down that page, the ship has been out in space for 8 years. As we learned in the original series, male Vulcans get extremely horny every seven years, and it makes them go a wee bit insane. In the original series, this leads Spock to have a fight to the death with his best mate, Kirk. "If the Pon Farr makes a logical Vulcan go whacky, imagine what it does to emotional ones," says Richard.

It's my contention that Pon Farr would actually affect an overtly emotional Vulcan a lot less than the normal emotion-suppressing Vulcans.

Your normal everyday male Vulcan suppresses his emotions and is entirely logical. This means that logically he does not masturbate or have any sex as that would be illogical and a display of emotion. This leads to a gradual build up of sexual frustration, which the Vulcan routinely suppresses. When their seven years are up, the biologically-triggered Pon Farr causes a simultaneous release of all this pent-up sexual frustration, driving the poor fellow mad.

On the other hand, a Vulcan who has embraced his emotions would tend to have sex in his biological off-hours, as they were, or masturbate should he not be able to find a suitable partner. This means (a) no pent-up sexual tension, and (b) a better-adjusted Vulcan. Thus when they reach Pon Farr, the biological changes don't make as much difference to them.

In summary, Vulcans are not screwed up because they are wankers, but precisely because they are not.

Posted at 12:26 PM | Comments (6)

December 14, 2005

My brain doesn't work in the mornings

Filed in: Misc.


Yesterday: I awoke, looked at my clock, realised I was late, jumped out of bed and got half dressed before realising I'd just gotten up half an hour earlier than normal. I could have really used that half hour's sleep.

This morning: Hopped in my car, drove to work, stopped in the carpark... and realised I'd left my briefcase at home. With my wallet and everything in it.

Maybe I need to get up a half-hour earlier just to let my brain boot up. Tsk!

Posted at 10:18 PM | Comments (0)

December 11, 2005

Outing scumbags

Filed in: Website Management.

OK, A scant couple of days after we upgraded Teaspoon to a more secure version of eFiction, we were hacked into. The hackers used an exploit in eFiction to break in and add some code to one of the files. I have patched the exploit in the version of eFiction on our site, and notified the eFiction authors.

The hacker (who had a Russian IP address) changed a file to insert a 1x1 iframe on every page on the site. The URL they used was malformed and didn't work, but would have pointed at, which tried to load a Trojan onto the target's PC.

The registration info on is:
Ezhi Brozkevitsh
Al. Armii Ludowej 24
Warszawa 00-609

I'm presuming he pays hackers to put code onto sites so he can infect PCs for whatever nefarious purpose.

Edit: the eFiction authors have already issued a security patch. :)

Posted at 1:27 PM | Comments (0)

December 9, 2005

Converting FRM/MYD/MYI database files to SQL

Filed in: Website Management.

As I mentioned last night, I had to restore some database files. Unfortunately the backup I'd downloaded was in a tarred/gzip file with each database table represented by three files with the extensions frm, myd and myi. After googling a bit (dear Google: please don't bother giving me "Supplemental result" listings if the target page is gone and you don't have a cache copy of it. That's just dumb.) I found that these were raw SQL database files.

The only way to restore them is appeared to be to copy them directly to MySQL's data directory - the problem being that I didn't actually have access to the MySQL data directory on the web server in question. You would think, given that phpMyAdmin had given me these files as a backup that it would have an easy way to restore them, but if it does, I couldn't find it.

The solution ended up being:

  1. Install MySQL and MySQL Administrator on my home PC.
  2. Copy the appropriate table files to the MySQL data directory.
  3. Use MySQL Administrator to make a backup in SQL format.
  4. Use the SQL script from the backup to restore the table on the web site.

Once the tables were restored, I used a couple of SQL statements to copy the data across to the appropriate table, and all was hunky dory.

Posted at 9:37 PM | Comments (13)

December 8, 2005

Upgrading to eFiction 2 (the revenge)

Filed in: Website Management.

Some things were still broken after I did yesterday's upgrade, so I took a look tonight. Some of the fixes were easy, because they were things missing from the style template which were necessary for the new version. They'd turned up to have changed the default sort order on the story lists, which was easily fixed.

However two things weren't easily fixed: the chapter titles were gone (I presume this was a bug in the upgrade script) and the stories no longer had hit counters on them (they've been removed from the program for some unfathomable reason). Fortunately I had backups of the database, so I reimplemented hit counters, then restored the appropriate table under a new name and copied the appropriate values across.

The last step took a lot longer than it should have, for various reasons.

It was a lot of work, but hopefully people should be happier.

Posted at 10:21 PM | Comments (0)

December 7, 2005

Upgrading to eFiction 2

Filed in: Website Management.

Tonight I spent upgrading A Teaspoon and an Open Mind to eFiction 2, because I found a post on the eFiction forum indicating that there were security holes in 1.1 which could allow people to view other user's passwords.

Looking at my previous entries on eFiction (keep in mind I'm only studying the code briefly here):

  • Fixing the Teaspoon - The disappearing help text appears to be fixed in this version, but I can't tell whether they've implemented anything to fix Mac posting.
  • eFiction sucks part 2 - I don't see any error handling for when the database is down, or when the story file is unable to be written.

Another thing I fixed a while back was the javascript on the "add story" page. There are two methods of uploading a story: write it in a textarea, or upload it as a text or html file. If you select the textarea, it disables uploading, and vice versa, but there's no way to switch, short of starting over.

At some point I will go back and reinsert my fixes... I'm sure the users will be kept busy by the many and varied new features the authors have added to the software in the meantime.

Posted at 10:05 PM | Comments (0)

December 4, 2005

Are monitor scratches repairable?

Filed in: Computers.

I cleaned my monitor earlier because the amount of dirt had been bugging me, only to discover that some of the dirt was not dirt at all. There are a number of fairly nasty scratches on the screen of my monitor. I'm not sure how they got there, but suspect that they might have been caused by me when I was putting the cover of my PC either on or off.

It's a CRT 19 inch ViewSonic monitor. Googling didn't help much, other than to instill a fear of imminent monitor implosion in me, so I may have to ask at stores tomorrow...

Posted at 5:49 PM | Comments (0)


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