Category Archives: Rants

Aw Crap! I got political!

Now I normally try to shut up on my various websites about politics and religion (the last refuge of scoundrels).


If seeing a political or social opinion that varies from your own offends you in any way, please just close this webpage now.
If you STILL don’t like it, tough shit.

I kinda got motivated on this angry screed (because that’s what it is, I’m not going to lie) after having one too-many people use the term “common sense gun laws”
I then found that it was so long (I have a tendency to leave “verbose” behind and range out into “War and Peace is a pocketbook”) that Facebook wouldn’t handle the whole thing in a single post.

So I broke it up and did individual posts.

I’m simply posting it here as well so someone can read it in uninterrupted form.

This is where the inflammatory part starts.

What you see as “common sense” is actually “your opinion”. It’s basically a backhanded accusation that anyone who isn’t agreeing with you is unreasonable/irrational.

Remember, the NRA helped DRAFT some of the first gun control legislation in the country.

And they’re not opposed to actual PROPER ENFORCEMENT of the laws we have now.

The problem with enacting further “common sense” measures is that you’re penalizing millions law abiding citizens for the actions of a handful of criminals and crazies.

And none of these “common sense” laws will stop ACTUAL criminals from obtaining guns!

Limiting magazine capacities does nothing. Because the “some got away while he was reloading” argument is a myth. With 15, 10 and 7 round magazines, the time differentials with reloads spans roughly 2 seconds TOTAL. Only The Flash is going to get away from that.

Requiring biometric scanners does nothing. Because it runs the risk of leaving the firearm non-functional when it’s needed by the legitimate owner. And criminals simply won’t obtain a firearm with a biometric lock.

“Assault Weapon” bans are more or less pointless. An “assault rifle” is defined primarily by it’s ability to select-fire between safety, semi-auto (single shot) and either full-auto or three-round burst.

You cannot buy such weapons new nowadays. And you require a Class 3 license to purchase one of the grandfathered weapons. And all the arguments about gun control fall apart with a Class 3 license. As you’re required to document your ENTIRE personal arsenal and make it available to perusal by law enforcement UPON REQUEST. Which means your local cop can come in and ask to see your collection. You’re REQUIRED to show it to them, and to be able to immediately produce all your paperwork.

An “assault weapon” is basically a semi-automatic rifle firing a medium power cartridge that superficially resembles an assault rifle. So it’s being legislated because it “looks dangerous”.

And yes, semi-auto. So you’re not “spraying a crowd” with such a weapon. Because every time you pull the trigger you get exactly ONE shot fired. So, we have people trying to ban certain weapons and OK other weapons that are MECHANICALLY IDENTICAL. Based on appearance (basically is the weapon blacked out, does it look like an existing military weapon and does it have a pistol grip).

That’s the definition of “arbitrary”.

And yes, I used the term “medium powered” cartridge when talking about weapons like the AR-15.

The AR-15 is a cousin of the M16. The M16 can fire full auto or 3 round burst. The reason the M16 can fire full auto in its configuration is because they stepped down from 7.62mm cartridges.

If you tried to put a 7.62mm (what the M60 was firing), through an M16 style mechanism, it’d handle it fine. On single shot. On full auto, the mechanical stresses would be such that it’d cause malfunctions and eventually mechanical failure of the weapon system.

Thus, the designers stepped down to the 5.56mm (Remington 223). Less power, less strain on the mechanism.

The AR-15 retains the less powerful ammo, and is only semi-auto (single-shot). There are LOTS of non “assault weapon” rifles out there firing MUCH more powerful loads.

Denying to people on the “No Fly List” isn’t “common sense” because it violates people’s right to due process. Flying isn’t a right. Owning a weapon is. Foo-foo’ing the fact that owning a weapon is an inalienable right simply means you don’t understand what a “right” is and why it needs defending.

“Closing the gun show loophole” is a pointless endeavor. Because there IS no gun show loophole. All firearm vendors, whether they’re selling at their place of business or at a gun show are REQUIRED to do a background check. What’s ACTUALLY being talked about is the right of civilians to perform private sales. Because of straw purchases.

Essentially straw purchases are ALREADY illegal. Which means they’re acting like a criminal (someone who, by definition doesn’t follow the law). So if someone violates the law by doing this, they go to jail and lose their guns.

Firing a gun at another human being is akin to shouting “FIRE” in a crowded theater.

If you shout “FIRE” in a theater, and there’s actually a fire, you don’t go to jail.

If you shout “FIRE” in a theater, and there ISN’T a fire, you go to jail. Not for exercising free speech, but for endangering public safety.

If you shoot a person who is in the process of attempting to harm you, you don’t go (or shouldn’t be going) to jail. It was justifiable.

If you shoot a random Joe on the street because you felt like busting a cap in someone? If you DON’T get gunned down by a concealed carry person or a cop, you go to jail. Because it is illegal to kill people who are not threatening your safety in this country.

This guy with the gun, if it actually happened that way, where he brandished a gun at someone just for being an ass? He needs to do some jail time and lose his ability to own a gun. Not because people feel unsafe around guns. But because he’s shown that he cannot be trusted to act in a safe, responsible, lawful manner with them.

Things that people are ignoring. Mental health screening. But NOT in a programmatic way by government doctors.

Actually jailing offenders with harsh sentences. Right now, a computer hacker goes away longer than someone who commits a gun crime that hurts or kills people.

BETTER screening. The idiot down in Florida had been interviewed by the FBI TWICE and they still missed him.

And also a realistic understanding that the world is sometimes a shitty place, and no matter WHAT we do, we aren’t going to stop ALL the criminals and crazies. That’s a basic utopian fantasy. That we’ll “somehow” get rid of all the “bad” and life will be perfect.

We’re talking about human beings here. We’ve been doing dumb shit since the first man set foot on this planet. And considering that there are over 300 MILLION legally owned guns in this country, and the total number of non-suicide deaths among those who aren’t (or don’t live among) gangbangers is so low that you basically have a better chance of dying of the FLU than you do of being randomly shot by a crazy, a cop or a criminal.

Nation-wide gun registry is a particularly noxious idea. Simply from a historical perspective. Just about every major historical instance of government tyranny has begun with a ban on private ownership.

And whether you think the US going to become a tyrannical government now, tomorrow, a hundred years from now or NEVER is irrelevant. The founders of this country understood that ANY government can become tyrannical. And it wanted the people to be able to defend themselves, EVEN FROM THEM.

Now, before you start talking about taking an AR-15 up against a tank. STOP. Your understanding of warfare has essentially never left the 18th century. Wars nowadays are almost totally asymmetric. Nobody stands up in nice, neat little rows and waits to be mowed down by volley anymore.

This is why ISIS is still a thing right now. This is why Al Qaeda is still a thing. This is why we lost the war in Vietnam.

Any insurrection by the US populace is NOT going to square up with the police or the US military all “Marquis of Queensbury Rules”. It’s going to be a nasty, ugly, bloody guerrilla action. In such actions, machine guns, automatic fire, grenades, tanks, rocket launchers, bombing campaigns, etc, are of little to no use. ESPECIALLY since we’re talking about fighting on American soil.

Basically the what we’re talking about is a government’s attempt to obtain a monopoly on violence. And if we really want to talk about gun deaths. Tyrannical governments have killed far, FAR more than all the crazies and terrorists and just disgruntled whoevers COMBINED.

The term is “Democide”. And the current count for government sactioned murder/genocide (this doesn’t include people killed in legitimate wars) stands north of a QUARTER BILLION LIVES.

Now, you can say that the government, now, is mostly benign. But will it be tomorrow? Or next year? Or a hundred years from now?

Do you get paid day–to-day? Do you go out and eat every meal every single day? Do you never set anything aside in case of a financial or medical mishap? Sure you do! Hell, in some cases, you’re required by law to do so or be fined (Obamacare, car insurance, etc).

The Second Amendment occupies the same headspace. It’s insurance against an unthinkable event.

The Second Amendment isn’t about hunting or militias It’s not even about “giving” people the right to own and bear arms. The Second Amendment doesnt’ GIVE you ANYTHING. It’s a RECOGNITION of the right as a pre-existing state and inalienable.

This is why the “Well why do you NEED a *INSERT HERE*?” argument is so silly. You don’t have to justify a right with “need”. Do you have to justify your free speech? Do you have to justify your 4th Amendment rights? Do you women have to justify their right to vote? Do blacks have to justify their equal treatment? Do you need to justify your right to buy and consume a beer?

And remember, once you give your rights away, your chances of having it returned to you is virtually nill. Because you’ve given the government power with no checks or balances on it. So they don’t HAVE to give it back.

This is why the Bill of Rights talks about any rights not expressly granted to the government being reserved for the people.

And while nobody likes talking about it. Within the “gun control” lobby is the “ban guns” group. Their basic aim IS to essentially make all firearms illegal. And if they can’t do it all at once, they’ll do it in stages, making it progressively tougher and crazier to legally acquire a firearm, until it’s essentially impossible. Basically, “give an inch, get asked for another inch”.

Now you say this and most “common sense” gun people wave their hands and go “nobody wants that”. That’s what’s known as a “LIE”.

Now, if YOU wish to abrogate your own rights to firearm ownership for some false promise of “safety”, that’s fine. Go ahead. I support your ability to make that choice. Even if I think you foolish for doing so.

What I do NOT support is attempting to steal the rights of OTHERS who have no desire to abrogate theirs, simply so they conform to your view of the world.

Yeah, that’s a giant wall of text. Kudos if you’re actually open-minded enough to read it all.4:49 PM 7/27/2016

D-Link or bust? Or D-Link busted?

Those of you who’re fairly close know that I’ve been having network problems back at the ranch lately.

A few months back, I was doing a firmware update to my router and it bricked. And, since I’d had it over a year and a half, tech support was NOT going to RMA it. Especially since the device was no longer in production.

So one fairly-well-working 808-HV down the tubes.

So here I was, looking for a router with more than 5 ports again.

Other than the bricking, which I put down to unfortunate happenstance, I’d been fairly happy with D-Link. And since most of the other high-end consumer/prosumer router devices out there usually maxed at 5 ports (and I needed more), I would either have to buy D-Link again, upgrade to a low-end pro router, or go with a router and a second switch.

My setup isn’t so tough that I really NEED a pro-grade router. Plus plunking down several hundred bucks for one isn’t something I can easily justify.

I also would like to avoid sprouting network devices all over the place. Adding a separate router/switch combo adds another possible point of failure to my network and also increases network latency.

So I settled on the DIR-130. Nice little router. 8 ports. Pretty much all the features I had before.

Here, my troubles began.

I was able to duplicate my original setup in relatively short order. And everything was nice. For a while.

Then I noted that the router would periodically “lose” the web interface. The device still functioned, it still router, it still did DHCP and port-forwarding. But the web interface simply stopped functioning (or even being accessible). The only way to get the management interface back was to bounce (power-cycle) the router. A MAJOR pain in the cojones, but not a complete show-stopper. Additionally, I’d seen complaints about this around the web, and the next firmware update was supposed to fix this. Being a somewhat happy D-Link camper, I chose to wait.

Fast forward to September. The new firmware update was out as of August. So I snagged it and, being somewhat leery since I’d bricked my last device this way, flashed the router.

Everything came back up nicely. No headaches. Nothing. Success!

Ha. Ha. Ha.

So, thinking everything was great, I began browsing the interface, looking for updates/changes, making sure my settings were all preserved, etc. Then next thing I know, my network just “goes away”.

Just to be on the safe side, I reboot every device on the network. Then I notice I’m not pulling DHCP. Nor is the LAN working, even with static IP assignments. Worst, I can’t access the router!

One emergency call to D-Link later, and I was faced with yet ANOTHER bricked router.

So I drop the $150 for expedited cross-shipping. A full week goes by and the new device arrives. And guess what, the device isn’t running properly, and the default logon in the manual isn’t working. Unfortunately, with this device I’m only eligible for 9-5 weekday tech support to make sure the device runs, and it’s Friday night 8PM.

So I had the privilege of waiting an entire fscking weekend to get my stuff working. And by the time I got on with D-Link support, I was swearing up and down that if they didn’t get it working, they were getting the RMA unit back in the mail.

Sure enough, the default logon was different from what was in the manual. So I was in. I set the router up on the 1.0 firmware (why the fuck are they shipping new units with the old firmware anyhow?), then held my breath and flashed to the 1.10. I browsed around in the interface for a bit, then pushed my config into the router.

And problems started… again.

Certain ports (ssh, FTP, web) weren’t functioning properly. I had portions of the interface that showed this data, but the sections were grayed out, and duplicating them in “live” sections of the interface didn’t help.

So I bit the bullet and restored the router to default and got ready to manually config.

My setup isn’t much.

Approximately 5 DHCP reservations. Three computers, one NAS device, and one Wireless AP. This way, when I remote in, I don’t have to hunt all over my network for a random address. No problems right? WRONG!

First off, DHCP reservation is FUCKED UP on this device. Initially I’d reset the DHCP assignments to be between 2 and 150 (150 being the default upper limit). So when I tried to assign my first workstation to *.2, I get an error stating “2 must be within the DHCP range”.


Back on the phone with D-Link IMMEDIATELY.

For some reason, the interaction of DHCP and address reservation isn’t working properly. I have to shrink the pool of DHCP addresses down to within 50 addresses (the maximum number of reservations on this device is 50) before it works properly. And the imbecile on the other end of the phone hangs up on me thinking that the problem is solved. It isn’t!

Random addresses within that range STILL don’t auto-assign! I get the “# must be within the DHCP range” bullshit. Literally, I can assign IP addresses 2-5 fine. But then, DHCP’s first address assignment after that is 23! And doing reservation of an IP for anything between 6 and 22 fails!

Yes, I could go ahead and statically assign addresses to my standard network node but why the fuck should I have to? This is what I bought this device for! Now I need to call in to them yet AGAIN. Waste MORE time. All for something that should work out of the box.

Worse still, they have yet to credit the $150 back to my bank account.

Needless to say, in the future, I’m not putting D-Link on my short list of network equipment providers.

Yup. It’s all the fault of games.

I knew it was going to happen. The “experts” simply couldn’t help themselves.

Sooner or later some overqualified idiot was going to lay the blame at the feet of “violent video games”.

Last time I checked, a video game doesn’t force you to go around blowing people away. Just like the gun doesn’t point and fire itself. Just like people don’t automatically put themselves in the line of fire.

But no. Nowadays nobody’s really at fault for their own actions. It’s their terrible upbringing. It’s the media. It’s games. It’s that they were abused by someone. It’s that they didn’t get enough sex from their girlfriend.


Nobody forced them into this. They made the damn decision to go postal on their own. Their own sad way of drawing attention to themselves. Because they were too stupid to find another, productive way to draw attention to the fact that “hey, their life sucked!”

However, it’s always easier to affix blame to something else. Especially now that this jackass is worm-food, by his own hand. So the option for revenge (not justice) has been severed. That and there’s a lot more MONEY available from the game companies than there is from this guy’s parents.

I’m not inured to the tragedy these people suffered. It’s horrible, and I wouldn’t wish it on more than one or two people.

HOWEVER, we sometimes have to accept the fact that people go nuts for no discernable reason and pull fucked up things like this. Trying to place blame is natural of course. But ultimately pointless.

Apple vs Microsoft: The greatest fight that never was.

Yet again, we’re hearing about why Microsoft should fear Apple. I wish some of these “journalists” would find some REAL news to report.

“I, a journalist, in the publishing business, tried a Mac and prefer it to a Wintel PC.”

Big freaking whoop!

“Microsoft should be scared. Now I can run their stuff on MacOS through Parallels!”

Excuse me? What? Did you have a valid point there somewhere? No? So sorry!

Microsoft doesn’t give a shit about the Mac. Seriously! Sure, they steal interface cues from them (and have some things stolen back in return). This entire myth about Microsoft and Apple being in a knock-down, drag-out fight is utter crap!

Why? Let’s walk through this.

You bought a Mac! You’re rebellious and unique! Just like a few million other people.

It runs MacOS! Woo!

You can run Parallels on there and load Windows. Then you can run Windows apps!


THINK about this for a second.

You bought a Mac. Then went out and bought a full-blown copy of WINDOWS to load on there as well. Plus all the Windows apps!

How EXACTLY has Apple now, via you, bitten into Microsoft’s market? Guess what. They HAVEN’T.

The only one whose market gets bitten into are the OEMs, HP, Dell, IBM, etc.

Apple got their money. Microsoft got THEIR money. And more, the situation is probably even MORE profitable for Microsoft, as most of the people looking to buy a Mac are likely buying full RETAIL copies of Windows and assorted software to chuck into Parallels! This means higher margins for Microsoft versus the margins they get from the OEM licenses they provide.

Here’s the math. It probably costs Microsoft a grand total of $2 PER PACKAGE to put out a retail copy of Vista Ultimate. Which retails for between $250 and $360. That’s a 12,500-18,000 percent profit margin based on materials costs alone (ammortizing development costs into it brings it down to a more far reasonable margin, I’m sure). They receive FAR less in the way of margins from their OEM licensing.

So for all the children out there who want to see a face-off between Cupertino and Redmond, then stand back and chant “fight fight fight”, grow up already. The current arrangement is beneficial to BOTH companies. So it’s highly doubtful they’re going to start poking each other in the nose now.

Oh for the love of…

Have you EVER had one of those days where someone just did something to you that’s well and truly death-worthy?

I walked out of work today to find my hood dented and my front grill pushed in.

A co-worker who’d been trying to get out of the driveway had been trying to back out around me. And, instead of just coming to get me, or at least get my keys, he decided to mickey-mouse his way out. In the process hitting me.

THEN, instead of coming in to tell me he hit me, he leaves! So I walk out of work half an hour or so later and find my car fucked up!

I get his ass on the phone and he tells me “well I knew I bumped you, but I didn’t see anything wrong”.

Gigantic WHAT THE FUCK here people! If you hit someone, ESPECIALLY if they’re less than fifty feet away COME AND TELL THEM!


The smug and the self-entitled.

As some of you know, I have ties to the local 2600 group here in Chicago. Now, those of you who know me know I’m anything BUT a budding computer criminal, as are most of the people I interact with there. There’s an astonishing variety of interests there, and, over the last three or so years, we’ve built the group into something to be proud of.

We have a great venue in the Neighborhood Boys and Girls Club. The people running the club like us and are genuinely interested in what we have to say and offer. And, as a result, we’re been pushing like hell to help them out in various areas where our myriad levels of technical expertise can assist them.

The rules are fairly simple. The 2600 meeting guidelines are as follows.

  1. We meet in a public area. Nobody is excluded. We have nothing to hide and we don’t presume to judge who is worthy of attending and who is not. If law enforcement harasses us, it will backfire as it did at the infamous Washington DC meeting in 11/92. (You can find more information on this event in the Secret Service section of our web site.)
  2. We act in a responsible manner. We don’t do illegal things and we don’t cause problems for the place we’re meeting in. *Most* 2600 meetings are welcomed by the establishments we choose.
  3. We meet on the first Friday of the month between 5 pm and 8 pm local time. While there will always be people who can’t make this particular time, the same will hold true for *any* time or day chosen. By having all of the meetings on the same day, it makes it very easy to remember, opens up the possibility for inter-meeting communication, and really causes hell for the federal agencies who want to monitor everything we do. (A few meetings have slight variations on the meeting time – these are noted accordingly.)
  4. While meetings are not limited to big cities, most of them take place in large metropolitan areas that are easily accessible.While it’s convenient to have a meeting in your home town, we encourage people to go to meetings where they’ll meet people from as wide an area as possible. So if there’s a meeting within an hour or two of your town, go to that one rather than have two smaller meetings fairly close to each other. You always have the opportunity to get together with “home town hackers” any time you want.
  5. All meetings *must* contact us to let us know how things are going even if nothing unusual is happening. If we don’t hear from your city on a regular basis, we’ll have to stop publicizing the site since telling people to go to where no meeting is really doesn’t do anyone a service. You can email us at or call us at (631) 751-2600. We also need a way of getting back in touch with you. Anyone can have meetings and set whatever rules they wish. However, if they’re going to be affiliated with 2600, we ask that these few guidelines be observed. Thanks.

As noted, we have set a few additional rules. Mainly those requested by our venue.

  1. No smoking in the building. Smoking may be done outside however.
  2. No alcohol or drugs. This is a Boys and Girls Club.

However, recently, we’ve run into problems with a certain small group of people at the meetings. The worst of this group has been an individual by the name of Jeremy Hammond. And in the past few months:

He has rooted boxes owned by the BGC. Not bad in and of itself. However, on several occasions he’s done this without express permission. And, afterwards, he’s left the boxes in a compromised state and refused to clean it up. This has cost valuable man-hours of labor restoring the systems to a working configuration.

He has received permission to do an independent security audit on a system owned by one of the Chicago 2600 group. However, without permission, he proceeded to root the system and compromise it. Again, he refused to clean up after himself (or even enumerate the security flaws he utilized). And, again, caused someone else to incur expensive man-hours of cleanup. This security incident directly lead to the decision of the colocation provider to remove the system from their network.

After a disagreement with the individuals responsible for the Chicago 2600 website, he proceeded to compromise the network at the BGC and eventually was able to break into the administrative functions for the Chicago 2600 mailing list.

Also during this period, he was able to compromise the Chicago 2600 website in such a fashion that the site needed to be reverted to remove all the interactive features, just to keep him from interfering with it.

Additionally, he has repeatedly violated the guidelines for the meetings including:

  • Using systems in the BGC to compromise (break into) live systems (and websites) out on the Internet.
  • Consumption of alcohol on the premises of the BGC. Despite repeated warnings not to do so.
  • Posession and consumption of illegal drugs on the premises of the BGC. Again, despite warnings.

During this time, we also became aware of Jeremy’s activities in the larger community around Chicago. And, having already dealt with the FBI once over a whack-job who just happened to attend some meetings, what we learned about him and his civil and criminal activities made us all too eager to distance ourselves from him.

In his most recent escapade, Jeremy very nearly cost us the BGC as a meeting venue.

At the meeting on Friday, August 5th, 2005, Jeremy had attended the meeting, ostensibly to mend fences over the recent ugliness between him and several of the other 2600 members. Mostly, he just came off as smug and insincere, but, for the sake of peace in the group, it was just going to be left alone.

However, after the departure of one of his group (whom we later learned was a writer for the Chicago Reader), Jeremy and his friends went out, got high, and vandalized a building in the neighborhood. And not just any building. The Illinois Battery Company. They’re right across the street from, and a financial supporter of the BGC.

Rightfully, we were outraged by this, as were the trustees of the BGC, as well as the owner of the Illinois Battery Company. As pictures of the vandalism showed up almost immediately on one of the multiple sites Jeremy maintains, we had a pretty good idea who did it. Moreover, we had witnesses (neighbors) who observed Hammond and friends.

At that point, a group of us were ready to move the meeting to another venue, as we couldn’t guarantee that this kind of idiocy would not happen again, and we were unwilling to put the BGC and their community through that.

However, we’d underestimated the goodwill we’d accrued in the community. Not only were they NOT angry at us (as a group), the formally requested that we NOT move the meetings.

Anyhow, Jeremy, when confronted with witnesses and his own website as proof, admitted to the act and offered a half-hearted apology.

The BGC and the Illinois Battery Company agreed not to press charges if Hammond and one other accomplice would return to clean up the mess they’d made.

While they did show up, once, they didn’t complete the cleanup. And now, over a month later, the mess still hasn’t been cleaned up. And, as such, Jeremy is now banned from the premises of the BGC.

Now this young man is accusing the Chicago 2600 group of being “anti-hacker” and claiming he’s going to “reclaim” the group for *real* hackers.

Yep. This is the kind of stuff you want to be teaching kids.

A sample of the crap Jeremy leaves at meetings.

A sample of the crap he leaves at meetings.

Jeremy's try at vandalism

Jeremy’s try at vandalism.

Graffiti still visible a month later.

Graffiti still visible a month later.

Bah. Make the decision about this guy for yourself.

Just don’t say I didn’t warn you.