Racing Through Paris
First dog watch, 1 bell (4:56 pm)

Unfortunately, no French persons were harmed in the making of this film—although he almost takes out a flock of pigeons.

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Nice Screwdriver
First dog watch, 1 bell (4:35 pm)

I want one of these: a yankee screwdriver—made in England.

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Finishing the Basement
Posted in General
Afternoon watch, 8 bells (4:18 pm)

Well, it's not real a basement—it's all above-ground, but it is the lesser-used downstairs of my house. And yes, it's still unfinished. But I think I have a good plan now that I'm mostly happy with. With some help from The Gimp and Chief Architect (the company I work for), I sketched up a copy of my downstairs and lightened the existing construction so you can easily see what needs to be done.

You may view the master plan here.

I know the bathroom's a little narrow (the upper part of the bathroom is the built-in shower), I want to do ceiling-mounted showerheads instead of the wall-mounted type. The one thing I don't like is there's no room for a tub. But then again, I despise tub-shower combination units.

Also, the Library plan is just some ideas. The right-hand wall will have a pellet stove with a mantle around it. The rest of the walls will have built-in shelving. I've been toying with the idea of building a fishtank in the wall between the bedroom and the Library, with shutters on the bedroom side for privacy. That would require splitting that nearly 10 foot long closet into two smaller closets, but it may be worth it. The Library will have shelves going around the room continuously (the corners in my plan don't reflect that—I couldn't get the symbols right).

I also totally want to build a secret panel behind a bookcase with access to the area under the stair landing towards the bottom-left of the plan.

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Phone Hack
Posted in Tech
Afternoon watch, 8 bells (4:05 pm)

Today I tore apart an old handset from a phone and de-soldered the speaker wires, then attached them to a 1/8" stereo jack, then plugged that in to our sound system so we could have big volume on a conference call. It worked great, until we took the phone module down because I hadn't grounded it. That was funny. I hacked a ground out of a short piece of cat-5 cable, and wrapped it around the metal switch that raises and lowers the podium, it worked great.

Except we never ended up using it—the speakerphone volume was loud enough, and although the volume was loud on the hacked version, the person on the other line couldn't hear anything you say, even into the handset. I don't know why, but figured as an "announcement" hack, I didn't need to spend the time on it.

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Ugly Sheep Creating a Better Tomorrow
Posted in Strangeness
Forenoon watch, 5 bells (10:34 am)

This story about Australians looking for ugly sheep to improve wool quality isn't anything special—except for the humorous fact that Australians are separating the cute from the ugly ones...

More Cities and Knights
Posted in General
Afternoon watch, 4 bells (2:09 pm)

Last night we played Cities and Knights again, for what may be the last time for a while. Jason and Danica are heading back out of town, their vacation done. And, unusually enough, I got trounced in the game. I made the serious mistake of not being on any grain. I had cities destroyed by barbarians not once but twice, and was kept down by the other players enough so that I never recovered. I ended the game with only four settlements.

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Free Stuff
Forenoon watch, 5 bells (10:39 am)

I got a box from this morning that I didn't order. I thought it was a bit weird, but when I opened it up, I found it was a promotion for their new Grocery Service, full of foodstuffs and a few other items! I was taken aback at the gesture, but also impressed that I'd get on their "valuable customer" list.

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Cities and Knights of Catan
Posted in Reviews
Forenoon watch, 2 bells (9:06 am)

Last night we played our first game of Cities and Knights of Catan—and it was fun! I'm not quite sure how, but I seem to win around 90% of the Catan games we play, and this one was no exception. The game is radically different from the other Catan games, and introduces Commodities (cloth, coin, and paper), a barbarian horde that invades Catan regularly, and knights that defend against them. I was a bit worried it wouldn't be fun for everyone, but we had a great time playing it, and stayed up until 1am finishing it.

Quake Revisited
First dog watch, 3 bells (5:40 pm)

I just ran across this video again, a guy runs through a bunch of Quake levels in amazingly fast time. He (or they, aparently the videos are done by several different people) is the king of rocket-jumping. It's worth watching the whole thing, despite the not-so-funny one-liners.

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Cinnamon Vanilla Cashews
Posted in Recipes
Afternoon watch, 8 bells (4:12 pm)

Last weekend Lorien bought some cinnamon vanilla glazed cashews and almonds. They're great, I really like the flavor, and I've been looking around for a recipe. If any of you have a good one, please leave it in a comment below.

In the meantime, here's a recipe I found that I'd like to try:

Cinnamon glazed pecans

2 egg whites
1 lb. pecans
3/4 c. sugar
2 tsp. cinnamon

Beat egg whites until stiff. Stir in pecans. Add sugar and cinnamon. Spread on cookie sheet on cake pan. Bake 1 hour at 200 degrees, stirring every 15 minutes.

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DIY Projection Screen
Afternoon watch, 2 bells (1:13 pm)

You simply must pay tribute to the Rear Projections Bedroom TV Project—what a cool idea!

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Posted in Tech
Forenoon watch, 8 bells (12:24 pm)

I downloaded the source to Wireshark since I heard it's the successor to Ethereal, which I really liked using. There seems to be no binary package for SuSE. Building from source is not something I'm scared of, though. I do a lot of coding. This one fooled me, though. About eight minutes into the build, it did this huge link I could have sworn was the end of the build, but it's still going, I'm about 10 minutes into building the application now and I have no idea how much longer I have to go.

By the way, I've never seen so many compiler warnings in my entire life as I've seen roll by on this single build. I'm not nit-picky about it, but man there's a lot of them.

PS: It finished up just shy of 13 minutes. That's on a dual-core 3.0Ghz Pentium with 2Gb RAM.

PPS: I love the packet capture screen, it's nice. I just found out that someone on my network is running AppleTalk protocol. Whisky Tango Foxtrot??

PPPS: I got a great response about this in my email this morning (23 August 2006) from Guy Harris:

By the way, I’ve never seen so many compiler warnings in my entire
> life as I’ve seen roll by on this single build. I’m not nit-picky about
> it, but man there’s a lot of them.

Yup. They bother me, too.

A *lot* of them come from automatically-generated dissectors, mostly, I
think, the ASN.1 ones.

Some of those are the result of routines having a standard signature -
i.e., called through a pointer, so they have a standard set of arguments
- but not all of the routines with that signature using all of the
arguments (some do, so the argument can't be eliminated). In that case,
the script should probably generate _U_ in the function definitions, so
the compiler doesn't worry about unused arguments.

Others are apparently due to routines being generated but not used. I
don't know whether this is because the ASN.1 is describing stuff not in
the protocol (so that the routines aren't needed to dissect real
traffic) or not describing stuff that is in the protocol (so that the
routines *are* needed to dissect some real traffic, but aren't called,
so that traffic won't get dissected correctly).

At some point, I hope I'll have time to look at that. Now,
unfortunately, isn't the time. (A move to a place about half the size
of our current place, plus my day job, are eating a fair bit of time.)

There are a bunch of others. I hope I'll have time to look at them, too.

> PPS: I love the packet capture screen, it’s nice. I just found out
> that someone on my network is running AppleTalk protocol. Whisky Tango
> Foxtrot??

I'll bet it's a printer whose firmware supports AppleTalk printing, so
it's advertising itself with AppleTalk. If so, I'll bet it's also
advertising itself as an SMB print server using SMB over NetBIOS - using
one or more of NetBIOS Frame (NBF, which Wireshark just calls
"NetBIOS"), NetBIOS-over-TCP (or, in this case, UDP), or NetBIOS-over-IPX.

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TCP Traffic, Revisited
Afternoon watch, 6 bells (3:08 pm)

Well after much analysis (I love Ethereal, and by the way, somebody buy me one of these or these!), I'm pretty sure I've identified the problem, despite the fact that my DMZ is a switch, and not a hub. I've been scouring the office for a hub, but I don't have any lying about, I got rid of them because you can sniff packets easily on a hub—ironic, isn't it?

None of the traffic snapshots I took last night pointed to the culprit. By eliminating all the NICs that would indicate the source of the problem, I was only left with a couple more possibilities. And the best of those is the Google Mini. In fact, the more I think about it, the more likely I believe it to be the issue. I'll have things verified by tomorrow morning, for sure.

Decoding TCP is Fun
Posted in General
Middle watch, 2 bells (1:05 am)

Well, I have lots of snapshots of network traffic from four different interfaces, and tomorrow I'll sift through and analyze the TCP traffic to find out what's going on. I swear, if it's somebody downloading music I'm gonna be qi de yao si.

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Late Night
Posted in General
First watch, 8 bells (12:15 am)

I'm up late tonight investigating a network issue that seems to only happen around this time. I don't like late nights, but sometimes you just have to take 'em.

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