August 2003 Archives

Aug 19 11:07:00 2003

"Do you know who Leslie Smith is?"

So i was locking my bike up just a few minutes ago (yes, late to work again), and a guy who was helping a big cement mixer pour some concrete came over and asked me if i knew who Leslie Smith is.
I said "no." He said, "OK" and walked off.
So now i'm googling for "Leslie Smith" because i'm wondering what in the hell i just missed. A discussion about a Neural Nets, the Epistemology Development or a gallery of 19th and 20th Century paintings? Free tickets to a Fusion or Folk singer-songwriter concert? Or maybe i distantly resemble the third Provost of Dunoon?
Or maybe he was just trying to make my day a little more surreal.

Posted by johan | Permanent link

Aug 14 11:47:00 2003

DVD player troubleshooting

This is another posterity-type post, about my (luckily) successful attempts to fix my Rotel DVD player. Maybe someone will find it googling and get some use out of it. Other than that, it's entertainment value is pretty meager.

Posted by johan | Permanent link

Thu Aug 14 11:09:05 CDT 2003

Fixing my Rotelish DVD player

So my way-too-expensive, two-year old Rotel RDV-985 DVD started doing something unpleasant about a week ago. Every DVD i tried failed to play and the DVD player put up "REGION CODE ERROR" on the TV before appearing to sort of reset. The first DVD it did this with was _Wings of Desire_ (region 1). Every other DVD i tried (all region 1) also did this. These were all DVDs it had previously played.

[email protected] was mostly useless, they just suggested i contact the store i purchased it at. I did so, and they (Audio Video Solutions in Laurel, MD), had no suggestions. After poking around on the 'net for awhile, i ran across some reviews claiming that the Rotel 985 is the same unit as the much cheaper JVC XV511 (There are quite a few reviews at that site discussing this, so if you are curious keep reading through the reviews...) Left with not much of an option, i tried dorking around with the Rotel. As it happened, techniques for getting a JVC into test mode worked with my Rotel. Along these lines:

  1. unplug the DVD player
  2. Hold down the "eject" and "play" buttons
  3. Plug in the unit. (it should turn "on" because buttons are being pressed)
  4. Press the "DVD Menu" button once or twice on the remote.

At this point, it was all experimentation. the "5" key seemed to switch the on-screen menus to English. A lot of the menus seemed to be catalogs of icons. I dorked around with it for quite sometime, and eventually seem to have done something that fixed the player. It's playing DVDs again.

I'm fairly sure that it was not just putting the player in test mode. It was something i did while in the menus.

Posted by johan | Permanent link

Aug 14 01:53:00 2003

It's the contrast?

I had a great time playing futball in the rain Wednesday evening with Hangover United. Even more so because no one was struck by lightening.
I really like this weather, and it makes we wonder if perhaps i'd prefer the weather of somewhere like the Pacific Northwest. But i can't help but think the Endless days of Gray and high latitudes would not (again) wonkify my happiness levels. Wednesday evening rain and 21C (70F) was wonderful in its contrast to last Wednesday's 42C (108F) high and the last 5 months of blazing (Texas) Sun. But after 6 months of drizzle and grayness in Seattle, i worry i might just open a (major) vein.
Perhaps it's just not possible to de-program the latitude of where one grew up.

Posted by johan | Permanent link

Aug 12 11:18:00 2003

Posted by johan | Permanent link

Aug 12 10:56:00 2003

Spam chronicles 2

Spam chronicles, part deux: fishing for email addresses.

Posted by johan | Permanent link

Tue Aug 12 10:34:18 CDT 2003

SPAM: Ebay Fraud SPAM

I received some more fraud spam, the kind that is basically a web form in a mail message. This time, it attempted to deceive me into revealing my Ebay password. It's pretty cleverly done. Like the recent Paypal fraud SPAM, they author uses many images from Ebay, but when the form is submitted (from the email message), the data (Ebay password) goes to "/". It's really the freakin' Wild West out there. Never, ever, ever, send passwords through email, or trust that a message you get is "real." For posterity, here's the fraudulent SPAM.

Posted by johan | Permanent link

Tue Aug 12 10:21:03 CDT 2003

SPAM: Email address fishing.

I noticed a new form of SPAM today, which didn't even contain a URL, just an email address. So i guess they are just fishing for active email addresses. Here's the message:

Hello,  I'm 22 years old female and my name is Anna.  I saw your profile
on the net and found to be interesting.. email me back at
 [email protected] if you want to exchange pictures or whatever.. 

Hugs, later...

Why do i think Anna is bogus? Two reasons, apparent from this line in the headers:

Received: from sender1590 ( [])
        by (8.11.6p2/8.11.6) with ESMTP id
        h7CCGwu18838; Tue, 12 Aug 2003 07:16:58 -0500 (CDT)

My machine,, that received the mail message is the lowest priority backup mail exchanger (MX) for It shouldn't be getting mail unless three other machines fail to accept mail. And since kurma delivered the message to lakshmi (the primary MX for 4 seconds after it received it, it seems very unlikely that lakshmi was inaccessible when the message was delivered to kurma. So it seems that the person deliberately picked a backup MX to dump the SPAM on. I've previously seen spammers do this. I suspect it's because they think that backup MXs will be "more accepting" than the primaries. (That isn't the case for my machines, though that's irrelevant for this piece of spam.)

The second clue is that the machine that dumped the SPAM on kurma identified itself as "sender1590," even though it's IN ADDR record in the DNS identifies itself as "".


Posted by johan | Permanent link

Aug 12 10:18:00 2003

SPAM chronicles, part 1.

I compiled some spam stats and stuck them in my "old" journal on my site. For some reason, i feel better about keeping my content on my machines, so don't be weirded out when the URL is something other than LJ. If you care, which you probably don't. But anyway, the SPAM thing is an becoming a more active crusade, and there will probably be more posts in this vein to ignore.

Posted by johan | Permanent link

Mon Aug 4 10:20:56 CDT 2003

SPAM: Mail stats

So last Friday, 1 Aug 2003, i compiled some statistics about my email. (Just my personal email, not any other user on my system). My system mail logs go back to 18 May 2003. So these statistics cover the last 75 days:
Total Messages Received 8,244
Auto-replies and bounces from SPAM complaints (I send mail about most pieces of spam i receive.) 740
Total Messages, minus SPAM auto-replies: 7,504 (100%)
Spam 2,465 32.85%
Mailing lists 2,018 26.89%
System jobs 1,625 21.66%

I remove those auto-replies because my mail server would not have received them had someone in their domain not spammed me.

On average, i probably receive about two personal mail messages a day out of about 151 total messages per day.

I've saved all the SPAM i've received since 21 June 2002; It's 45 MB, uncompressed.

Posted by johan | Permanent link

Mon Aug 4 10:13:06 CDT 2003

home sweet my machines.

I'm thinking i like writing to my own journal better than to LJ, for a few reasons:
  • I just like having my stuff on my machines, and i already have lots of machines running.
  • Technically, i do appreciate being to use the wealth of Unix tools (grep, awk, etc.) to dork with my HTML.

Posted by johan | Permanent link