syntonic_comma: 4-legged plush duck (syntonic)
syntonic_comma ([personal profile] syntonic_comma) wrote2012-07-23 08:02 pm
Entry tags:


Mon Jul 23 20:02:40 EDT 2012

Coming to work an hour late makes the day noticeably shorter, especially if you don't stay an hour late. I just couldn't get going this morning. Working the later shift last week and staying later and later every night really made it hard to get back to the regular time today.
syntonic_comma ([personal profile] syntonic_comma) wrote2012-07-23 08:45 am
Entry tags:

oops (peuw!)

Mon Jul 23 08:45:18 EDT 2012

ZaharaI realized in the shower last night that while I had bought a lot of cat litter, I had forgotten to clean out the litter box. I guess it can wait until tonight, but I hate doing that to the cat. (I'd completely forgotten it again by the time I was out of the shower.)
syntonic_comma ([personal profile] syntonic_comma) wrote2012-07-22 08:26 pm


Sun Jul 22 20:26:31 EDT 2012

I went shopping today. I really don't like going shopping any more. I used to enjoy it when I was younger, but at some point I stopped looking at the Sunday-paper ads, and there was no reason to go to the stores, and no need to spend money on things we didn't really need. And today's trip took a lot of time with so little to show for it. And the stores were crowded. And I never like driving anyplace to begin with.

The items on today's list: ice chest, underwear, kitty litter, and anything that looks useful for camping.

Igloo Island Breeze MaxCold Roller (50 Qt/47 L) ice chestOur ice chests are old – too old for us to remember how old they are – and they're not so great. The older one, metal, keeps cold better than the newer, plastic one. But if it isn't kept inside the tent (and space is limited) it's going to rust more from dew and rain. And both coolers have drain-plug problems. (One plug is gone.) New ice chests claim to keep ice for 5 days in 90°F/32°C-weather. If I'm buying half as much ice, the ice chest will pay for itself in 3-4 years (2 years if I/we keep going for 2 weeks instead of 1), plus the benefit of not needing to take time to buy and carry ice back to camp as often.

And it would be nice to have enough underwear to go 2 weeks, and all my underwear is old. How old? The labels (with the size) on the newer old underwear are unreadable. The older underwear is starting to fall apart. There's still some older-yet stuff around, too small for me to wear, but I think [ profile] anniemal grabs them sometimes; their elastics are failing.

Useful for camping: I bought a dustpan and brush set, which will help keep the tent clean. We usually take one, but Anniemal said something about not being able to find one around the house. It's probably in the van, or at the hippie-farm campsite. In any case, I don't want to squabble over "her" set, so I've got another one.

Five Star® Poly Binder (1")We need black folders for our concert music. There's old ones kicking around the house someplace, but I thought a new one would be nice. And I happened across this particular one. It was a little pricey ($3.89, and there were other 1-inch binders for half that), but the way it's made it just felt good in my hand. (Like that goblet I bought at Pennsic a few years ago; it just felt right.) The spine has a calculatedly-odd shape, but it rests well in curved fingers. I think it's going to be easier to hold it for singing, and that is its purpose. There's a little bit of white print on the front that needs to be scraped off or covered with permanent black marker.
Black & Decker CMM1000 cordless electric lawnmower (ours, older, is green, not orange)
Kitty litter — bought 3 40-lb/18kg bags of pelletized sawdust at the PetSmart next to Target. We won't need to do that again for a while.

Afterward I mowed the lawn. It's been at least 3 weeks, maybe 4, but I guess there hasn't been that much rain. (What rain there has been has affected my bike commuting. >:-|)
Sun Jul 22 22:19:31 EDT 2012
a can of spam at a terminal (by Bill Holbrook)
Bill Holbrook

Ironic that I should receive this spam so soon after mentioning how much I love shopping – not.
From Sun Jul 22 22:07:53 2012
Date: Sun, 22 Jul 2012 10:43:25 -0700
From: Mrs.Claudia Carson <>
Subject: SecretShopper LLC?

Welcome Secret Shopper .....

We are accepting applications for qualified individuals to become Mystery Shoppers.

1. You will receive funding for the assignment.
2. You will receive the Instruction for your assignment via email on the location and details of the assignment.
3. You are to complete the assignment as fast and discreetly as possible.
4. You will be asked to visit a business location to conduct business be it a restaurant, shopping store etc.

You will receive a flat sum of $250 per assignment. The company will furnish you with all expense.
Needed for the assignment and any other expense incurred during the course of executing your assignment.

It's fun.There is no charge to become shopper and you do not need previous experience and you would be paid $250 for every duty you ,


Mrs.Claudia Carson
SecretShopper® LLC
syntonic_comma ([personal profile] syntonic_comma) wrote2012-01-22 03:00 pm
Entry tags:


Sun Jul 22 15:00 EDT 2012

glass paperweight, orange flowerglass paperweight, orange flowerAfter installing a newer version of Pinta 6-7 weeks ago, I was able to create images with transparent backgrounds. I've been making .png files for many of my .jpg and .gif images, and last night/this morning I went through my icon collection and changed many of the images. I'm leaving the old images on the Comcast server; my old DW and LJ entries are full of links that use them, and I'm not about to hunt them all down to update them. (Other people may be hot-linking to them too; I don't know.) But henceforth I will be using the newer images. They're probably not all uploaded yet. There's an automated process that handles that, but it was probably confused by my creating the .png files so long before they were referenced anywhere; they're no longer considered "new" files. But it won't be hard to identify the new files by date and trigger the upload process. The .png files are often much bigger than the .jpg files. This shouldn't be a big deal for a few 100x100-pixel images in a journal entry, but it may be noticeable for loading the whole icon-collection or copy+paste pages.
Femur (by James Thurber)
James Thurber
Femur (by James Thurber)
James Thurber

But I just think the icons will look cooler without the typical white background, especially for those of you who read my journals in a Style different from mine, with some other background color.
syntonic_comma ([personal profile] syntonic_comma) wrote2012-07-19 02:00 pm
Entry tags:


Thu Jul 19 14:00 2012

Icon Rogue 2 100-Lumen Flashlight (gray)Icon Rogue 2 100-Lumen Flashlight (green)Remington High-Powered 3-watt LED HeadlightI did a little woot! shopping that I hope arrives in time for Pennsic. One of these slim 2-AA flashlights would be easier to carry in my belt pouch than the 4-AA bike LED headlight I carried last year. And probably be much brighter, when needed. It should be about 2/3 the brightness of the headband light I use on my bike commutes. It should be more than sufficient, even without streetlights, since I won't be going anywhere close to 30 mph (48 km/h) at Pennsic.
syntonic_comma: winter commute on Vision R-40 recumbent LWB USS (bike)
syntonic_comma ([personal profile] syntonic_comma) wrote2012-07-18 08:31 pm


Date: Thu, 19 Jul 2012 00:31:36 +0000

The lizard-tan on my hands from the biking gloves has become particularly pronounced after the last week of hot, sunny biking. There are some bands on my legs too between the tights, knee braces, and socks.

Date: Thu, 19 Jul 2012 00:55:34 +0000

I've been really hungry today. Perhaps I'm not eating enough. Maybe what I had for dinner last night should have been split into 2 portions instead of 3. [ profile] anniemal was planning to get pizzas tonight, so I guess I'll find plenty to eat when I get home. For a change.

Thu Jul 19 23:00 2012

[ profile] anniemal did not get the pizzas last night, so I was really hungry last night and not terribly satisfied. Hooray for frozen pot pies.

But – they bought pizza for lunch at work today. Which of course all happened long before I arrived, but there was some pizza left. I actually had 6 (octet) slices, and the first 4 went into a vacuum. And I managed to set aside another 4 slices for tomorrow night; I know I'm going to be working late again.
spiralsheep: Einstein writing Time / Space OTP on a blackboard (fridgepunk Time / Space OTP)
Humph ([personal profile] spiralsheep) wrote2016-10-24 12:31 pm

In which there is Margery Sharp's husband (he wrote it but....)

Imagine my GLEE when I deduced that Margery Sharp's husband was not only the aeronautical engineer Geoffrey Castle listed in all the biographies of her (that a casual online/offline search revealed anyway), and to whom she persistently dedicated her books after their marriage, but her husband was also... Jeffery Lloyd Castle the minor English science fiction author! No, rly! Look at his age, career, and place of death.

Jeffery Lloyd Castle, or Mr Margery Sharp as I will forever think of him, wrote two science fiction novels (and a book called How Not to Lose at Poker but let's leave that aside for now despite the intriguing title). It's my clear duty to read one of his ventures into skiffy forthwith, but which one? He dedicated his first novel, Satellite E One, 1954 (but set in 2017), "TO MY DEAR WIFE MARGERY" so obviously that's a plus point but on the downside it's reputedly mostly a technical manual on How Not to Lose at Building a Space Station with 1950s science including "centrifugal force"*, some unscientific-even-in-1954 references to "luminiferous ethers", and a central character with that lack of charm generally associated with the sort of self-made men who want to propel themselves into space... so basically Elon Branson and the Luminiferous Ethers of Dullness IN SPACE. I admit I'm not sold on reading this. Luckily for me, Mr Sharp's second novel Vanguard to Venus, 1957, is idek something to do with Ancient Egyptians IN SPACE? Done deal. ::reads with low expectations::

Vanguard to Venus wasn't published in the UK so my copy is from the US and has a name and address written in the front in teen-print handwriting. It occurred to me that the ex-owner might still be alive and a member of sf fandom so I googled him and discovered that, yes, he was an sf-reading teenager and he grew up to be a NASA engineer successfully specialising in scientific satellites. He was also a founding member of the Music and Drama Club at the Goddard Space Flight Center, so he presumably maintained his interest in fiction too. He would have been about 16 years old when he wrote his name in Vanguard to Venus and looked like this (scroll down) in 1959. Gene Allen Smith, 1940-2007.

Oh, the 1959 Spanish translation of Expedicion a Venus had this cover... SOLD:

Expedicion a Venus, aka Vanguard to Venus, by Jeffery Lloyd Castle, 1959 EDHASA edition

* My "how centrifugal force got me a dance partner" anecdote: I was at a dance class (in the 2010s) and the teacher, who was French, was struggling to describe the physics of motion so he asked the class and they overwhelmingly responded: "You mean centrifugal force!" And being me I couldn't help piping up: "I think you mean centripetal force?" Which everyone else ignored except one man who gave me a big smile and then, when we were told to find partners, came over and asked me to dance. We practiced the physical application of centripetal force many times that evening. /engineering romance
supergee: (rocket coyote)
Arthur D. Hlavaty ([personal profile] supergee) wrote2016-10-24 06:33 am
supergee: (football)
Arthur D. Hlavaty ([personal profile] supergee) wrote2016-10-24 06:07 am


There are two philosophies of football: air warfare and trench warfare. I am of the former party: For me the ideal game is 80 passes, 80 points, last team with the ball wins. Last night I had the good fortune to be asleep whilst the Cardinals & Seahawks played the other kind: a 6-6 overtime tie. Of course, a Sports Illustrated writer was enraptured by it, calling it “hard-fought actual football.” I think it’s the sort of thing Donald Trump should be sentenced to watch.
supergee: (nebula)
Arthur D. Hlavaty ([personal profile] supergee) wrote2016-10-24 05:59 am


Michael Swanwick on his many story collections

Thanx to File 770
supergee: (actual)
Arthur D. Hlavaty ([personal profile] supergee) wrote2016-10-24 05:45 am
the_comfortable_courtesan: image of a fan c. 1810 (Default)
the_comfortable_courtesan ([personal profile] the_comfortable_courtesan) wrote2016-10-24 09:15 am

A family reunion and an antient favourite

I go visit Lady N-: 'tis alas no weather to take her driving: 'tis cold with a chill rain that sometimes turns to sleet, but 'tis agreeable to go see her and observe how much interest she finds in the matter of furbishing O- House.

O, she cries as I enter her chamber and find her, with Selina’s assistance, perusing some samples of wallpaper, quite the most amuzing thing.

Really, my dear? says I. Say on.

She smiles and looks for a moment like a naughty child, and says, her husband the Earl came talk over with her this matter of how skittish our dear Nan goes over this fine propos’d match, that he does not see how she could have any objection to, and can I not bring a mother’s advice to the matter to show what an excellent thing it would be.

Why, I say to him, she goes on, 'tis entire pity you did not open the matter to me before you disclos’d your intent to her, for I could then have prepar’d her mind for it, given her maternal counsel about the benefits of a suitable match. Instead you have fright’d her by putting it to her so sudden, so she goes act like a nervous filly, 'tis entire understandable.

Oh, says he, indeed I will mind of that when it comes to her sisters. But meanwhile, might you endeavour to bring her into a better frame of mind? Sure this volatility of hers gives the Marquess some concern and I am in great fears that he may cry off.

I laugh somewhat immoderate, and Selina, that has been about curling up in my lap, gives me an affront’d stare, and jumps down again.

Indeed, says Lady N-, 'tis quite the comedy. She then looks a little melancholick and says, she sometimes feels most entire envious of her girls when they come in and tell her about when they go to the play with Her Grace.

I give a little grin and say, alas, I confide that amateur theatrickals are not quite the same thing.

But sure, she says, it keeps 'em busy and out of mischief: 'tis excellent to see how they continue practice while Miss A- is in Harrogate.

Why, says I, 'tis most exemplary and perchance I should offer go see how they get on some time.

My dear Lady B-, they would be quite ecstatick! Most exceeding kindly of you.

Sure, says I, I feel some responsibility for the matter.

We go convoke a little over wallpaper.

There is a noise outside the door and a sound as of scuffling, and then the door opens and quite tumble in two young gentlemen and Lord Geoffrey, follow’d by an older fellow.

O, cries Lady N-, holding out her arms, my dearest U-! and Eddy! sure I did not expect to see you this age.

They both go make exceeding affectionate to their mama, exclaim that she looks extreme well, sure they have a deal of matter to tell her and presents when they unpack their trunks.

But, my dears, do you not observe that I have company? – they both stand up and put themselves a little more in order – Lady B-, may I present my sons Lord U- and Lord Edward?

Enchant’d, says I, extending my hand and making a curtesy.

Once these introductions have been made, Lord U- turns to Lord Geoffrey and says, sure I thought this was just one of your exaggerations, you dog.

He and his brother go punch one another in the shoulder and scuffle affectionately.

The older fellow clears his throat and says, he fears this boisterousness will upset the Countess.

'Tis an entire delight to have my boys back safe and in good spirits, says Lady N-, but, Lady B-, permit me to introduce Sir C- F-, that is U-'s godfather and has very kindly bear-led U- and Eddy about the Grand Tour.

Sir C- F- and I look at one another and both give a little private smile; for, some several years since, we spent a most delightfull summer together at Brighton. I make him a curtesy and he makes me a leg. He then looks again at Lady N- and I confide he has a very chivalrous devotion towards her.

Indeed you are looking well, Lady N-, he says, but who would not when you have such excellent company?

Lord U- and Lord Edward go perch beside their mother on the chaise-longue.

Why, says I, this is a family reunion, sure I should be leaving.

There is some clamour that indeed they would not drive me away, but I am determin’d, and say I will return another day to talk over the matter Lady N- and I were about.

Lord U- notes the wallpaper samples and says, what, has Papa finally been persuad’d to a redecoration?

Lord Geoffrey snorts and says, is the moon blue? I confide 'tis for the furbishment of O- House.

Sir C- F- remarks that indeed he had heard that Lord Anthony had succeed’d as Marquess and 'twould be like that he would be opening up O- House. But he takes a little surprize that Lady N- is bother’d over the matter.

He then glances at me and I see him speculate that perchance I go marry another Marquess, and adds, tho’ Lady B- shows a fine appreciation of Lady N-'s taste -

And, blurts Lord Geoffrey, 'tis hop’d that 'twill be to Nan’s liking, that still goes dither over this proposal.

Both his brothers start speaking at once: I apprehend that they have not yet heard about this intend’d marriage.

Really, says I, this is family business and I must be gone.

Sir C- F- escorts me to the door and says he is delight’d to see me in such fine state. Indeed, while they were in Prague and afterwards they heard a deal about Lady B- from my great admirer young Mr K- - an excellent fellow, exceeding good ton.

He then sighs and lowering his voice, says, he confides that the Earl is still the same nip-cheese about domestick expenditure?

I nod. 'Tis not just my own observation, then?

Alas, no, I have been friend of the family these many years and have endeavour’d to bring him to a more generous practice.

Dear Sir C-, says I, why do you not come and take tea with me – or I have some exceeding excellent port in my cellar – for I see that you are a great friend to the family and indeed one sees that there are certain matters that perchance an old friend might contrive to improve.

When my carriage comes round, he looks at the box and says, what, is that Ajax, that rode so many winners?

Indeed, says I, was oblig’d to give up the turf.

And is that fine fellow Hercules – no, Hector? – still in your service? Sure Sir B- W- was most put about that his intend’d prizefighter had found other occupation.

But indeed, he says, you have risen in the world. I am entire delight’d for you – tho’, 'tis true, I am most glad that you have not been oblig’d to go write your memoirs to supply your retirement.

O, fie upon it! I cry, 'tis exceeding poor ton.

The tales you might tell – he goes on with a smile.

Silent as the grave, says I, tapping a finger to my lips.

He looks out of the window and says, still the same charming house? Would have thought you might be found in state at B- House.

O, says I, I daresay you heard the shocking tale of the present Marquess, the intending bigamist and incarcerate lunatick? that was living there in entire squalor until he was convey’d to that fine madhouse in Sussex.

He laughs and says, sure he has been being a country gentleman these several years and seldom hears the on-dits of Town. Does he look at the newspapers 'tis to see how fat-stock prices go.

We go in and he greets Hector very civil. I desire Hector to bring port, and some tea for myself.

Sir C- looks about my pretty parlour and says, why, is that not good old General Y-'s portrait of his bibi? Had it in his trophy-room at his fine place in Surrey: those were fine bachelor parties.

Comes Hector with port, follow’d by Celeste with tea and what I observe to be currie-puffs.

O, so you still have that fine cook?

I explain that Seraphine is now marry’d and in Milord’s employ, but that Euphemia, that is marry’d to Hector, was school’d by her in the culinary arts.

We sit vis-à-vis by the fire. He sips his port – most excellent, he says, you must tell me your wine merchant – then gazes into the fire a little and says that indeed he is concern’d for the poor Countess.

One sees that you are very fond of her.

He sighs and says he had hop’d to marry her, but her parents were extreme eager for her to marry an Earl’s heir. And in those days he had not become the penny-pinching wretch he later show’d.

Does not pinch pennies over everything, says I. Spends a deal upon his hobby-horse of botany and hortickulture.

Indeed, says Sir C-. But 'tis a delicate matter to point out a fellow’s miserly ways and the hurt they do to his family. Sure 'twas entirely my pleasure to take the young fellows about a Grand Tour, in my position as young U-'s godfather; but I confide 'tis not my place to go provide a fine comfortable invalid carriage for Lady N-, much tho’ I should like to. 'Twould look somewhat particular.

Indeed, says I with a sigh, but your sentiments do you a deal of credit. I am now become quite an intimate of the household, and go about to see is there anything I can do –

He gives a little laugh and says, sure, he recalls certain contrivances when we were in Brighton.

I put on an innocent expression.

syntonic_comma: a tiger (tiger)
syntonic_comma ([personal profile] syntonic_comma) wrote2012-07-14 06:23 pm
Entry tags:


Sat Jul 14 18:23:04 EDT 2012

It's amazing the things people will choose to believe.
According to an article that appeared in the Journal of Black Psychology:
Historically, suicidal behaviors among African Americans received scant attention because of the belief that very few African Americans completed suicide; it was also assumed that they did not experience depression. Blacks were historically viewed as a psychologically unsophisticated race that were naturally high spirited and unburdened with a sense of responsibility.
I hope I don't believe anything that will seem this patronizing, groundless, or simply wacky to those with more perspective.
syntonic_comma: a tiger (tiger)
syntonic_comma ([personal profile] syntonic_comma) wrote2012-07-14 02:54 pm

hiding passwords

Date: Sat, 14 Jul 2012 18:54:24 +0000

Instead of showing me a row of asterisks or bullets to hide the password I'm typing, it would be much more useful for me to have a count of the number of characters I've typed. My most common mistake is probably hitting two keys and getting an extra character, and it would be easier to catch that by having a count displayed instead of trying to count the dots.
Firefox web-browser logo
What's most useful, when I'm not where anyone else can see, is the Firefox add-on Unhide Passwords that simply lets me see the password I'm typing. That's the easiest way to spot errors.
syntonic_comma: 4-legged plush duck (syntonic)
syntonic_comma ([personal profile] syntonic_comma) wrote2012-07-14 03:46 pm
Entry tags:

vanity tag

Sat Jul 14 15:46:12 EDT 2012ACME License-Plate Maker

syntonic_comma: winter commute on Vision R-40 recumbent LWB USS (bike)
syntonic_comma ([personal profile] syntonic_comma) wrote2012-07-11 09:00 pm
Entry tags:

metal bottle

Wed Jul 11 21:00 EDT 2012

27oz (800ml) Klean Kanteen® Classic stainless steel hydration bottleI found one of these in the road on my ride home tonight – a 27 oz (800ml) stainless-steel water bottle. I found their website, and these things are $18! It's got a few dents in the bottom, and the paint is scratched, but it's perfectly useable. I don't usually stop for water on my commute, but I like to have water with me, just in case. So the water is in those bottles for months, and it of course tastes funny when I finally want/need it. I think this bottle will replace the 2 smaller plastic bottles I've been carrying. Maybe it fell off the roof of somebody's car, but I found it in an odd spot for that. I might try to push or tap the dents out from the inside, if I can find a bolt or stick or something to reach down to the bottom.

I also found a quarter (25¢) on the way to work this morning, and I found a very shiny penny (1¢) in the parking lot when I was leaving last night (in between the rain).

Thu Jul 12 01:00 EDT 2012

Klean Kanteen's FAQ page actually answers a lot of pertinent questions. It even covers reversing dents – they recommend a dowel and a hammer.
Why a size like 27oz/800ml? To hold a bottle of wine!
syntonic_comma: a tiger (tiger)
syntonic_comma ([personal profile] syntonic_comma) wrote2012-07-10 04:34 pm
Entry tags:

"secure" USB flash drives

Date: Tue, 10 Jul 2012 20:34:01 +0000

So you've got this encrypted USB flash drive. You need a password to get your data. But on some brands, your password isn't used to encrypt the data. Another string is used for the crypt. A constant string. The same string, on all the flash drives. On models from 3 different manufacturers. So the bad guys who figure out the crypt string don't even need your password; they can read your data.
stardreamer: Lit candle (in memoriam)
stardreamer ([personal profile] stardreamer) wrote2016-10-23 07:49 pm
Entry tags:

R.I.P. Kerry Gilley

Kerry was a stalwart of the fannish circles I ran in when I lived in Nashville. He lived in Kentucky, and so our ranges overlapped a lot. He was an amiable guy, a fan and a comic-book dealer; no reasonably large convention in the area was complete without his booth in the dealer room. When I first knew him, he was also a stout fellow -- say, about a 2X shirt on a frame not much taller than mine. Later he lost quite a bit of weight, and I remember hearing that he'd developed diabetes. After I moved to Texas we fell out of contact; I do recall hearing that he was having health problems, type unspecified, and had been into and out of the hospital several times.

Unfortunately, Kerry did have some That Guy tendencies. He was more attracted to me than I was to him, and sometimes he got handsy; he was always offering me back-rubs, which I really didn't want, and would spend a lot of words reassuring me that I didn't have to worry about him wanting to take it any further. These days I would have handled it with a more direct approach than was available to me at that time, but it was a major contributing factor in my drifting away from him especially after I moved and no longer saw him except at Worldcons.

But the thing I'll always remember about Kerry, and the story which has rightfully earned him a place in the annals of fandom, is this incident from Xanadu in 1988:

Dan Caldwell writes:
The con staff was expecting another increase in attendance, but the con suffered a small (50 people) drop in attendance. We shared the hotel with members of a bridge tournament being held at Opryland that weekend. Saturday evening Kerry Gilley got on the elevator with several "blue haired" types. They asked if he was "one of those strange people?" Kerry made one of the great comebacks of all time by replying "No ma'am, I have never played bridge in my life." The con chair almost gave him a free membership.

I have posted about his passing on File 770, which should bring him to the attention of the people who do the Worldcon In Memoriam list. Fly with the sparks, Kerry -- you will be missed.
syntonic_comma: a tiger (tiger)
syntonic_comma ([personal profile] syntonic_comma) wrote2012-07-09 10:24 pm

DNS Changer Malware

Mon Jul 9 22:24:41 EDT 2012

I don't recall hearing anything about this until it was all over. (Well, it's not exactly "over". The workaround enabling the infected computers to access the Internet "safely" has been shut down (today!), and the infected PCs (and routers) will have to be cleaned up and reconfigured.)
What is the DNS Changer Malware?
On November 8, the FBI, the NASA-OIG and Estonian police arrested several cyber criminals in "Operation Ghost Click". The criminals operated under the company name "Rove Digital", and distributed DNS changing viruses, variously known as TDSS, Alureon, TidServ and TDL4 viruses. You can read more about the arrest of the Rove Digital principals here, and in the FBI Press Release.

What does the DNS Changer Malware do?
The botnet operated by Rove Digital altered user DNS settings, pointing victims to malicious DNS in data centers in Estonia, New York, and Chicago. The malicious DNS servers would give fake, malicious answers, altering user searches, and promoting fake and dangerous products. Because every web search starts with DNS, the malware showed users an altered version of the Internet. Under a court order, expiring July 9, the Internet Systems Consortium is operating replacement DNS servers for the Rove Digital network. This will allow affected networks time to identify infected hosts, and avoid sudden disruption of services to victim machines.

March 12, 2012: To assist victims affected by the DNSChanger malicious software, the FBI obtained a court order authorizing the Internet Systems Consortium (ISC) to deploy and maintain temporary clean DNS servers. This solution is temporary, providing additional time for victims to clean affected computers and restore their normal DNS settings. The clean DNS servers will be turned off on July 9, 2012, and computers still impacted by DNSChanger may lose Internet connectivity at that time.

How can you protect yourself from DNS Changer (and other Malware)?

If you think you have been affected by this malware, you do need to fix your computer. The malware tool kits used that change your computer's DNS settings are very pervasive. Initially, the only way researchers could ensure that a machine was fixed was to reformat the hard drive and reinstall the operating system from scratch. The malware affected the boot blocks on the hard disk of the computer, so even if people just reverted their operating system to a prior backup, the malware could reclaim the PC. Later on, several anti-malware software companies came up with fixes that removed software correctly. Some of them are listed below.
Have you changed the password on your (WiFi) router to something other than the manufacturer's default?
In addition to modifying your computer's DNS settings, the malware also looked for home routers to which the computer was attached and modified their DNS settings as well. Not only were the infected computers using rogue DNS services, but other devices in the household or office as well, including wifi-enabled mobile phones, tablets, smart HDTVs, digital video recorders, and game consoles. The criminals would change the web content that users downloaded to suit their needs and make money.
I'm guessing this would require the password for the router. [Confirmed by] The default passwords are easily found on the Internet, so make sure you've changed your router's. This isn't the first malware to attack home routers. Other malware has disabled the routers' prime function of protecting the local computers from myriad probings and assaults from all the rest of the Internet.

This is a rather elegant exploit. An analogy would be giving you an altered phone book, with phone numbers selectively changed. If you wanted the Better Business Bureau, you might get the phone number of a fake organization. Same for the public library, or the police, or the FBI, or some store you might want to shop at. With DNS, you could get a fake Google, or PayPal, or Yahoo, or AOL, or anything else. Fake bank web sites. Fake Windows software updates. Even if you typed in the URL, you're getting owned at a lower level. They could redirect individual targets as they developed new fake sites, and let everything else go to the real sites. Many, many people would be fooled.

DNS Changer did not infect Linux computers (just MSWindows and Mac), but if it was able to reconfigure your household router it could still redirect DNS requests from any uninfected devices (not just computers).

Operation Ghost Click (FBI website)
International Cyber Ring That Infected Millions of Computers Dismantled

Six Estonian nationals have been arrested and charged with running a sophisticated Internet fraud ring that infected millions of computers worldwide with a virus and enabled the thieves to manipulate the multi-billion-dollar Internet advertising industry. Users of infected machines were unaware that their computers had been compromised—or that the malicious software rendered their machines vulnerable to a host of other viruses.

Beginning in 2007, the cyber ring used a class of malware called DNSChanger to infect approximately 4 million computers in more than 100 countries. There were about 500,000 infections in the U.S., including computers belonging to individuals, businesses, and government agencies such as NASA. The thieves were able to manipulate Internet advertising to generate at least $14 million in illicit fees. In some cases, the malware had the additional effect of preventing users' anti-virus software and operating systems from updating, thereby exposing infected machines to even more malicious software.

There's more Cyber Crimes stories on the FBI website. Maybe you want to keep your laptop's camera covered when not in use: Web of Victims – A Chilling Case of 'Sextortion'.
syntonic_comma: a tiger (tiger)
syntonic_comma ([personal profile] syntonic_comma) wrote2012-07-08 09:25 am
Entry tags:

contra idea

Sun Jul 8 09:25:52 EDT 2012

A phrase in the tune that repeats a variable number of times, and a tempo that mimics a skipping record.
The corresponding activity in the dance is some motion between the partner and the neighbor, repeated with the phrase. When the repetition stops, you may be with your partner, or with your neighbor. The tune is crooked, and the dance is a mixer.