Friday, May 25, 2018

The long hot summer ahead

It is the beginning of Memorial Day weekend. This is always a mixed bag for me. On the one hand summer is here, my favorite time of the year. Hot weather, swimming, camping, long weekends, scantily clad women, smoking pot and fucking on the beach, Whats not to love. On the other hand, I am probably not going to get to enjoy any of that stuff, I will blink and it will be Labor Day. Sigh!, I hate my life.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Question of the day

Question: Why do men like girl on girl porn?
Answer: No dicks.

Friday, May 18, 2018

Virtualization of Windows

A couple of weeks ago I heard about something called PCI Passthrough, which is basically giving virtual machines direct access to your hardware. This is useful for many things, the most common being playing Windows games on Linux. Now this is not something I particularly need to do, I don't play games and even when I do, I generally loose interest pretty quickly. I also have not particularly needed to use Windows for a couple of years now. The only exception being the Oculus Rift, which was great for the first couple of months, but then like all gaming platforms, I lost interest. I was told the best Linux distribution to accomplish this was Arch Linux and it just so happened that I switched to Arch a couple of weeks ago. I have been looking for some new technical challenges lately, something to sharpen my skills and reassert my nerd cred and this seemed like a good project.

Let me first say, this process is a pain in the ass. This is not something for a Linux n00b to tackle. I have years of experience with Linux and it took me 3 days of work to figure it out and make it work. If you are looking for a plug and play solution, this is not it. I am not even going to try and give instructions to do this, I spent too much time going from website to website following different instruction sets by people who swore it worked for them. I did not keep notes and frankly I have no idea what finally worked. What I will say is this will require you to have two video cards in your system, it simply will not work with one video card, it is also easier if you plug in a second  mouse and keyboard to dedicate to the VM.

Now while this is a difficult process, it is worth every minute you put into it. The VM works perfectly, I ran Doom 3, Portal and World of Warcraft flawlessly. My next project is to see if I can get the Oculus Rift to work, there are plenty of people who say it works fine this way, but more than a few are also saying it does not, so we shall see.

Monday, May 14, 2018

Question of the day

Question: If someone cloned you, would you have sex with the clone?

Answer: Yes, how could I resist such a handsome devil.

Enigmail Vulnerability

The Electronic Freedom Foundation released a statement recently telling users of OpenPGP based products that they should disable or uninstall the plugin in their email client. One of the affected products was Engimail plugin for Thunderbird, which is what I use. Now mind you, I do not use encrypted email at all, I do maintain a key, but I have never used it for anything other than a few test emails with friends. I do however think it is important have a plan in place, you just never know when such a thing might become useful.

To sum up the vulnerability, basically if an attacker intercepts one of you encrypted emails, they can insert a couple of lines of HTML and send it back to you, when your email client automatically decrypts the message, the HTML code then sends the clear text message back to the attacker. This is actually kind of clever. The problem is it depends of the my client to be configured in a very specific way. If for instance you have a very aggressive junk mail filter, chances are you will never see the email. Also, if you have remote content disabled, this would deny the attacker the ability to run arbitrary javascripts or load anything else remotely. Finally, if you disable HTML and only allow plain text, your email client will strip out anything that is not the plain text message, and even if the HTML is still there, it is rendered as plain text. Any one of these settings is likely to stop this form of attack in its tracks.

While this is kind of a big deal, it is also very easy to protect yourself against. I do not think it is particularly necessary to disable the plug in or uninstall it, unless you are either very paranoid, or know for a fact someone is attacking you. The moral of this story is, please be careful out there, but don't panic, it is probably not as bad as you think.


The Mozilla Foundations update on this issue:

Thursday, May 10, 2018

I knew it, I totally called it!

I told them to leave the eyes, it was not worth the risk, BUT NOOOOO!, they just had to climb up there and pry it out. Those fricking thieves just could not leave well enough alone.

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Justice League v. Avengers

Shannon and I went to see the new Avengers movie last week and I have to say I was a bit disappointed by the movie for a couple of different reasons. For instance, we know the majority of the characters who died will be resurrected in the next film, there is no way they leave Spiderman, Dr Strange, Black Panther or most of the Guardians of the Galaxy dead. This kind of cheapens the whole thing for me, especially the Groot and Spiderman death scenes. Second, there were three distinct plot lines happening, each with 4 or 5 characters involved. With 15 or so characters in the movie, this meant no one got enough screen time for any meaningful character development. Pretty much everyone got one or two cute lines in and that was pretty much it. Finally, in the comic he was an interesting and dynamic villain with some off the wall motivations, the movie adaption of Thanos was a bland villain whose motivations were not very interesting and in the final battle he basically wins by not loosing.

Tonight, I watched the Justice League for the second time and I think it stood up pretty well. I said when it first came out that the movies biggest problem is it was not an Avengers movie. Now I think it is the other way around, the problem with the Avengers movie is that it was not a Justice League movie. Both movies have similar plots, evil cosmic powered bad guy collecting MacGuffins to destroy something. Both movies were on the dark side, but the big difference was the point of the Justice League, was Bruce Wayne trying to return hope to the world, at the end of the movie, I felt that aim was accomplished. The point of the Avengers movie was to drag the plot out to justify another movie and kill off a bunch of characters so the producers could say "Look at how edgy we are, we killed Spiderman", and it just felt cheap and shallow.

Monday, May 7, 2018

Missing Characters from B1 – Explanation

In the original B1 n Search of the Unknown, there was a set of per-generated characters to be used by new players or as hirelings. Bruce and I stole the names of a couple of those characters and played them for almost a year before both died horrible screaming deaths. Recently Goodman games published a Dungeons & Dragons 5E conversion of both B1 In Search of the Unknown and B2 The Keep on the Borderlands called Into the Borderlands. Goodman Games updated several of those characters to 5E, but not Brandon or Evro. I have taken it upon myself to do these conversions.

Missing Characters from B1 - Evro

The original Evro from B1
Evro (Fighter - Elf)
Str 14, Int 13, Wis 7, Con 12, Dex 11, Cha 9

Male Wood Elf Fighter 1
Medium humanoid, chaotic good

Armor Class 18
Hit Points 11 (1d10+1)
Speed 35 ft.

STR 15 (+2), DEX 14 (+2), CON 13 (+1), INT 13 (+1), WIS 11 (+0), CHA 10 (+0)

Saving Throws Str +4, Con +3
Skills Animal Handling +2, Athletics +4, Insight +2, Perception +2, Survival +2
Senses Darkvision 60 ft., Passive Perception 12
Languages Common, Elvish, Orc
Two Weapon Fighting Style. When you engage in two-weapon fighting, you can add your ability modifier to the damage of the second attack.

Light Crossbow. Ranged Weapon Attack: +4 to hit, range 80 ft./320 ft., one target.
Hit: 1d8+2 piercing damage.

Scimitar. Melee Weapon Attack: +4 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target.
Hit: 1d6+2 slashing damage.

Scimitar. Melee Weapon Attack: +4 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target.
Hit: 1d6+2 slashing damage.

Unarmed Strike. Melee Weapon Attack: +4 to hit, reach 5 ft., one creature.
Hit: 3 bludgeoning damage.

Equipment Chain mail, Light Crossbow, Scimitar, Scimitar, Backpack, Bedroll, 64 gp

Missing Characters from B1 - Brandon

The original Brandon from B1
Brandon (Fighter - Human)
Str 14, Int 8, Wis 11, Con 13, Dex 9, Cha 12

Male Human Fighter 1
Medium humanoid, chaotic good

Armor Class 19
Hit Points 12 (1d10+2)
Speed 30 ft.

STR 16 (+3), DEX 11 (+0), CON 15 (+2), INT 9 (-1), WIS 13 (+1), CHA 14 (+2)

Saving Throws Str +5, Con +4
Skills Animal Handling +3, Athletics +5, Intimidation +4, Survival +3
Senses Passive Perception 11
Languages Common, Orc
Defensive Fighting Style. +1 to AC when wearing Armor

Light Crossbow. Ranged Weapon Attack: +2 to hit, range 80 ft./320 ft., one target.
Hit: 1d8 piercing damage.

Longsword. Melee Weapon Attack: +5 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target.
Hit: 1d8+3 slashing damage or 1d10+3 slashing damage if used with two hands to make a melee attack.

Unarmed Strike. Melee Weapon Attack: +5 to hit, reach 5 ft., one creature.
Hit: 4 bludgeoning damage.

Equipment Chain mail, Light Crossbow, Longsword, Shield, Backpack, Bedroll, 57 gp

Sunday, May 6, 2018

My Desktop

Here is a screen shot of my current desktop. It is nothing amazing or even particularly interesting.

On the bottom left is an xterm that I have embedded into the background by a utility called Devilspie, I always have one open anyway, this way it is always there and available, but out of the way unless I need it. On the right hand side is a real time system readout rendered by Conky. I started with a blue color scheme, but I found that too difficult for my old eyes to read, so I switched to a green color scheme.

My chosen windows manager is Mate, I prefer it because I do not care for Gnome 3 and Mate is a fork of the now defunct Gnome 2. It is a bit ironic that one of the things I like about Linux is the flexibility of the windows managers, I can pretty much make it look anyway I want, and I usually make it look like Windows.


No, my old blog did not crash and burn, I took it down. There were several reason why I did that, chief among them was it had a ton of problems stemming from the fact that it started out 10 years ago on hosted web space and has since moved 4 or 5 times. It was just tiresome maintaining all the outdated software and plugging holes every time I did manage to upgrade something. So I am starting out completely fresh, a clean install of LAMP Ubuntu 18.04 Server, I am not importing anything from the old server, it is now retired. There were other reasons why I shut it down and I may go into those later, but for now, this is what it is.