So I guess now that people are reading this blog I should probably start posting a bit more often. I refuse to acknowledge any obligation to update this site for the sake of my own sanity. Unless people want to pay me or give me course credit for blogging, this site must remain a secondary priority to just about everything else. With that said, I'm in a fairly good mood today and have a bit of time to kill so here's a post...
I spent the weekend back home in Corning hanging out mostly with wedge and squirrel (handles used to protect the guilty). We found a few long forgotten closets in the basement of the nursing building at CCC and took a look around. After a few minutes of digging we found that it was mostly motor control hardware that looked fairly robot specific. Interesting, but not exactly worth spending hours dissecting. We spent the rest of the afternoon touring around Corning and I had an opportunity to introduce wedge to Soulfull Cup, an excellent coffee shop on Market Street in Corning.
Some sleep and a few phone calls later, I met up with the group at CCC once again to etch a PCB that squirrel had been working on. We were trying to use some blank PCBs that were about six years old with a shelf life of only a year. We were hoping that this was more of a guideline than a rule but it seems that that was not the case, we couldn't get the acid to eat through the last few layers left on the board. We spent a bit more time digging through rooms and closets to find an analog HeathKit computer and an Emma II. The HeathKit was pretty beat up and stripped down so it won't be very useful for much other than parts, but the Emma II is essentially an Apple II clone built as a trainer board. We snagged the Emma II and I managed to grab a CueCat for myself that had been buried under a pile of Symbol scanners than had been donated to CCC for no apparent reason.
I spent a good part of Saturday night reading up on the CueCat and it's hacking potential to find that the hacks are pretty much limited to disabling it's obfuscation of the codes and removing the serial number. I'm not too worried about either at this point because Digital:Convergence doesn't exist any more and the obfuscation can be taken care of with software (a Base-64 decode and an XOR against the letter 'C' does the trick).
Saturday evening was spent in the good ol' CCC Distributed Lab, also known as Joe's lab at the BDC. I tore apart the remains of the last cluster to figure out what had been causing kernel panics at the end of the summer. It turned out that the chipset drivers in the 2.6 kernel are fairly unstable and managed to crash the Debian netinst disc fairly reliably. I solved this by installing a 2.4 kernel. 2.6 is too much work to maintain anyway ;)
At the close of the weekend, I had a three node Pentium III Coppermine cluster with an AMD64 head node, all running Debian testing with the beginnings of a distributed John the Ripper setup. squirrel has a password hash from a box he had run seven years ago and he wants to know what password he was using at that time. Not to mention the coolness factor of being able to say that you have access to a password cracking cluster that's just l33t :p
You may have noticed yet another section on the sidebar of this page that tells you where I am right now. Believe it or not, I live in the physical world where internet access is practically ubiquitous. That being said, I'm trying to solve the problem of people always asking where I've been or what I've been up to. This probably wouldn't be nearly as much of a concern if I kept an away message up on AIM but that's a fairly clunky solution because I cannot update it from anywhere. We'll see how this system goes but it seems to be working fairly well at the moment.
If you've been following this blog, you know that I've applied for the ANSA program here at RIT in a near futile attempt to escape the Computer Science program. There is news to report in this area... As of last Wednesday (though it was not known to myself until today) I am officially an ANSA student thanks to Al Biles and various other IT/NSSA staff and faculty. This means that I no longer have to worry about not getting the degree I want if my grades suck this quarter. I don't expect my grades to suck, but it's nice to know that my future isn't resting so heavily on uncorrectable mistakes. I can always retake the classes to fix the GPA or just balance them out with a higher average overall.
I've started to get back into Magic: The Gathering a bit now that there are actually people around that like to play, namely Larp, Bedlam, and Crunchy. Why do my friends have such cool names? I digress... I'm not particularly good at the game, but it's fun and is fairly social as long as you don't get overly involved/addicted to it. As with anything else, Magic is good in moderation. Playing this game has also gotten me thinking that it would be cool to do a co-op with Wizards of the Coast. It would be cool to admin an MMORPG cluster and work with the code running on it.
Today is Halloween, the day on which everybody says they're going to dress up but rarely do after the age of twelve. The exception, of course, is costume parties. I'm not big on large parties so I'll sit this one out. I'll probably end up shooing people away from my dorm room door when they come begging for candy as if they can't put it on a meal option like a normal person. Sheesh.