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filling the void

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Neanderthal Haiku

I'm working through the night, and this is how is started:

brain behind face.
brain hurts.
shoot through face kill brain.
brain hurt no more.

Which, of course, is no Haiku, so I modified it a bit.

brain behind face hurts.
shoot through the face to kill brain.
brain will hurt no more

After that I just kept going. I asked my girlfriend to contribute one. she claimed that her brain was out of order.

i cannot right now
my brain is out of order
wait 'till tomorrow

Of course, I should be working, but what the hell.

to write haiku
is much more than fun and games
training for the brain

Inspired by something a friend sent me before. There are a lot of words that have 5 or more syllables that never really fit in to the last line properly.
I moved two words around for the post. It was pretty bad before.

the rules are so clear
but sometimes it still goes wrong

This kind of sucks, but it gets the point across.

I do preferr this
over doing boring work
after midnight time

"captain says (00:05): bah, that was a bad one"

For some MacHall-related humor.
maxwell is my name
law two of this i refute

And finally for some Family Guy related stuff.

miss takanawa
i want meet ziggy stardust
fish ball soup, fish ball


Monday, May 28, 2007

Hello, I'm full of myself!

Like a lot of other people, I read pvponline.com more or less every day.
The comic is not as good as it used to be, but it is still good work.
It's drawn by a guy named Scott Kurtz. At first you didn't really notice the person behind the comic, but as time progressed and the comic gained notoriety, you started to see this guy doing more and more to market himself as the guy behind the panels.
Most people blog, some people do podcasts, but this guy is now so full of himself that he is offering to call people for money.
Had this been April 1st I would have laughed this off, but this is just too weird.

Halfpixel.com is proud to announce an experimental new service called “Friends for Five.” For the unimaginably low price of ten dollars, you can get a five minute phone call from Kris and Scott, stars of the “Kris and Scott Power Hour” (heard live ever Thursday at 6pm). For those five minutes, Kris and Scott will indulge your fantasy and act like your life-long best friend for five minutes.

I realize that some people might want to make use of this service, but you have to have your head pretty far up your own ass to start a service like this in the first place.
"I am so popular that people will pay money to talk to me!"
What the hell, man?
You know, as if the comic wasn't going downhill anyway, you have to go and pull shit like this.
You know, I've stuck by the comic through some previous antics, but I'm not sure I can take this asshat seriously anymore. (I guess I've never actually been able to take him seriously, but I still liked the comic)

A lot of people on the web comic circuit get to be well known and sought after names, but they don't let it go to their head. People like Gabe and Tycho over at Penny-Arcade come to mind.
Some of them have even given talks at MIT with great success.

I guess modesty isn't a word in Mr Kurtz' vocabulary.

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Sunday, May 27, 2007

ABN Hacking revisited

I just got a message from a friend of mine who had read my post about hacking the two-factor authentication devices from abn amro.
It turns out that he had some similar device previously, and if you got the pin wrong three times on the device, it broke.
It was to be expected, actually. Bank people are supposed to take somewhat good care of our money.

Friday, May 18, 2007

New Google

I'm really happy with the new google.
Not only does it look much better (bar in the top right, with a bit of a bevel), but it works nicer too.
I googled for skazi today, and got text hits, and embedded youtube hits. There was a little + sign next to the youtube hits, and ajax folded the video out nicely to play in the middle of the search results. lovely I say.

Way to go google, more like this!


Monday, May 14, 2007

Hacking ABN AMRO Card PINs

I don't know if this is common knowledge already, but if it isn't, it should be.
Here in Holland, I chose the ABN AMRO for my banking needs. I didn't really shop around for banks, the school just suggested one and I went for it.
Along with my debit card, I also got something called an "e.dentifier". This is a device that accepts my card and helps me log on to my internet bank (which you will be able to log on to as well with this method).
When you log on to the internet banking service, you stick your card in the thing, punch in your pin, and then it's ready for use. It generates (what I can only assume is) time based one-time pad tokens. The internet site gives you a number, you punch that into the device, and out comes a reply that you fill in in the form, and presto, you're logged in.

I always thought that entering the wrong pin would still let me use the device, but the code that I got out would be unusable. This turns out not to be the case.
When I enter the wrong pin into the device, it tells me that it's wrong, and I can re-insert the card and try again. I'll let that sink in a bit.
If you still don't know why this is a problem, let me explain.

When you go to an ATM, you have three tries at entering the pin, after which, if you failed them all, the machine eats your card. This is to protect your money so that people who find your card can't empty your account.
If you use this device (which is not unique, anybody with an ABM AMRO account can get one), then you have unlimited tries at getting the pin correct.
As soon as you enter a pin and it doesn't say error, you can write that pin down and go to any ATM and empty out that persons account, and the bank will be none the wiser.
Also, if you get the pin right (which you will, after at most 10000 tries, due to the 4 digits) you will have instant access to the person's internet banking, where you could wreak all sorts of havoc.

Granted, keying in a 4 digit sequence 10000 times is pretty boring, but the potential rewards are pretty big. Also, statistics tells us that you will only have to enter half of the codes before finding the right combination.

I haven't tried going past three bad tries on my device, as I do not want to risk anything going wrong, but it would seem improbably that either the device or the card would break. If someone does try, please let me know.

You would, of course, need the victim's card, but that could be gotten in several ways (we're not teaching the art of thievery here, folks. You figure it out).

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Sunday, May 06, 2007

Brazil Voids Merck Patent On AIDS Drug

I found this news yesterday. It seems like what they've done is basically take the key to the patent office and just taken what they wanted.(Much like they did in Armageddon, but that's a different story).
Brazil has a lot of people infected with HIV and AIDS, and since this is a terrible disease, I can understand the government's want and need to help their population, but I'm not wild about governments breaking laws whenever it damn well pleases them. In this case it was for a "good cause", but who determines what is a good cause or not. Just because the majority things something doesn't necessarily make it good. (Intelligent design comes to mind)
It's a bit like banning Nazis and racist speech. Sure, most people think it's bad (me included), but where does it end with regards to telling people what they can and can't say and think.
Granted, "borrowing" a patent or two isn't quite the same thing, but doing things like this can set dangerous precedents for future rulers to do what they wish with our rights. Human and corporate-

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Why the "Environmental Alternative" Fails

I was talking to my roommate the other day about how we're fucking up our environment, and how global warming is just as bad, if not worse, than people are saying.
It just hit me today that as long as there's something out there that fills whatever need you have that's more powerful, cheaper and better than the environmental alternative, people will use it. It doesn't matter if it's a car, a lawn mower, some writing paper or some dish soap. As long as the environmental alternative costs more and delivers potentially less, no one will ever use it.
"But people are buying priuses like mad" you say, well in the bigger picture, compared to how many other cars are getting sold, it's still nothing.

No, the only way to actually solve this is to make sure there is no alternative. Make the products that we buy and use today more environmentally friendly. Why should I buy a Prius when I can buy a BMW for the same money, and get more? If the BMW is just as environmentally friendly as whatever else (lets stick to the Prius for this example) is available, then people can keep buying what they would buy anyway, and save the environment.
People can't change the world. People don't have the means to. Governments and corporations, however, do. getting 10-15% of the population over to the "green side" isn't going to cut it. We need everybody here to get it to work, and the only way to do that is to make sure that people don't have to make compromises when they are purchasing things. They shouldn't have to choose between ecology or cost, they should be one and the same.
I know research results from environmental alternatives eventually make it in to the mainstream, but I think we should start in the mainstream instead. Then companies would have a higher pressure to succeed the first time, instead of shrugging off failed attempts as being in a niche market anyway.

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Thursday, May 03, 2007


This long weekend saw me going to two rave parties.
One was at this German club, just across the border, called Index. The lineup mentioned Jens Lissat, Marusha and Yves deRuyter. It promised to be a night of old school rave. This was a lie.
The other was one of the worlds best known rave parties, Mayday, in Dortmund, Germany. They had lined up names like Westbam, Ferry Corsten and Armin van Buren. It promised to be a night of trance. This was a lie.

The night at index failed in the fact that not only was the music played nothing like old school rave, but they also had a very weird timing lineup. Jens Lissat was, unannounced, given the 12-03 shift, at which time I expected the club to close. This was not to be, but at 03, some mockery of music was put on, and we left, disappointed at how the evening had turned out. Looking at pictures from partyflock, it turns out that Yves deRuyter did indeed play, but I can't imagine it being a big step up from what we had heard. Had I know it was a 6 o'clock thing, we would not have arrived at 22.30, but rather something like 12 or 01. What I will say about index though, is that it is a really cool club. They have something like 6 large dance floors, passageways and balconies that connect them, several bars, and outdoor area with a pool, climbing wall, and giant pillows for lying down. Quite possibly one of the coolest venues I have ever seen. I am going back at some point, that I am sure of.

The night at Mayday failed for many reasons. One of the biggest being the fact that the music that was played in no way matched up to what you would expect from the DJs playing it. Sure, had I been rolling, it probably would have been a great evening, but I shouldn't have to pop pills to have fun. Especially not when I shell out big bucks for the opportunity.
Another thing with the trip to Mayday was that the trip itself was nothing short of a cluster fuck. It started with the ticket machine at the station only taking coins (who the fuck carries 30 euros in coins with them?), so we missed the first train because of this. This caused us to have to change trains and wait and all that jazz, which really put a damper on the collective mood. What ticked me off even more was that when I checked the route on Google maps yesterday, it would have taken us half as long to drive, at half the cost. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I was under the impression that public transportation was supposed to be cheaper than driving, so that people would choose this alternative to save both the environment and the traffic situation.
The reason that we didn't drive to Dortmund was that I didn't know what kind of substances would be consumed there. I do like to drive, but I will under no circumstances do it under the influence of anything stronger than caffeine and sugar.

Something that did amaze me with both parties were the awesome laser light shows. The one on index was more intricate and detailed, but the one at Mayday was massive (check the related links too. I would put my movies up, but I'm too lazy).

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