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vsergu (505)

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Journal of vsergu (505)

Monday December 01, 2003
02:04 PM

Spot the SQL bug

Trying to fix case:

UPDATE users SET state = 'DC' AND city = 'Washington'
WHERE state = 'DC' AND city = 'Washington'

Sunday November 02, 2003
11:50 PM

Memento mori

I just saw an episode of "The Larry Sanders Show" that IMDB tells me was from 15 Sep 1993. The guest stars were Elizabeth Ashley, Gene Siskel, Warren Zevon, and John Ritter. These are not old people, but ten years later, three of the four (all except the oldest) are dead. Two of them died 8 and 4 days before the 10th anniversary of the original airing of the episode.
10:13 AM

Insane return values

From the documentation for the signon() method in Net::AOLIM (emphasis added):

Returns undef on failure, setting $main::IM_ERR and $main::IM_ERR_ARGS as appropriate. Returns 0 on success.

Aagh! And most of the other methods in the module seem to work the same way. Is there some strange programming subculture where such things make sense (perhaps there's a taboo against ever returning true values)?

Of course, I can't get the module to work anyway, so I may go back to Net::AIM, which was sort of working.

Sunday October 05, 2003
02:56 PM

Kill Bill: Volume 1

A friend called me early Friday to say he'd gotten passes to the press screening of Kill Bill: Volume 1 at 10:30 a.m. and ask if I'd like to go, so I asked my boss for the morning off. The screening was at the MPAA offices, one of many centers of Evil here in DC, but at least I was avoiding giving them money.

It's not Pulp Fiction, but it's entertaining. It's all about vengeance, starting from the initial screen with the "Klingon proverb" (which apparently was used in Dangerous Liaisons in 1782). Things to expect:

  • Hong Kong–style over-the-top violence, including fountains of blood and lots of severed body parts
  • nonlinear storytelling
  • samurai swords
  • anime

Things not to expect:

  • realism
  • complex plot

Just "lay down all thought, surrender to the void", and enjoy it for what it is. Tarantino should probably have kept it to one movie rather than splitting it. It could have used some trimming, particularly in an overlong fight scene reminiscent of the overlong fight scene in The Matrix: Reloaded.

Friday October 03, 2003
07:50 PM


Found on the NANOG list (emphasis added):

VeriSign was directed by ICANN to suspend the Site Finder service by 0100 UTC on Sunday, October 5. We requested an extension from ICANN to give more notice to the community but were denied. We will be removing the wildcard A records from the .com and .net zones beginning at 2300 UTC on Saturday, October 4. The former behavior for these zones (returning Name Error/RCODE=3 in response to queries for nonexistent domain names) will be in place by 0100 UTC on Sunday, October.

Matt Larson <>
VeriSign Naming and Directory Services

So breaking DNS requires no notice, but if you're suddenly forced to restore it, then a couple of days is rushing things. Are these scum ever going to lose their contract?

Sunday September 21, 2003
01:33 PM


I was mostly untouched by Sobig, but two of my accounts are being slammed by Swen. Both have been used on Usenet recently (one through a mailing-list gateway).

For my home account, I had been handling my junk mail by running SAProxy (which uses SpamAssassin), but I got tired of having to download all the viruses before filtering -- plus I was afraid my mailbox would fill up. So I've finally learned the basics of procmail. For now, I'm keeping the headers so I can see how many I get (and contact the sender on the off chance that somehow a real message gets trashed). I'm also keeping a count of the total bytes received. The body of the mail gets dropped, so my mailbox fills much more slowly, and no messages get send into the queue to be retrieved with POP.

There's probably a better way, but here's the .procmailrc file:

:0 HB:
*^Content-Type: (application/x-msdownload|audio/x-(wav|midi));
    :0 hc

    | wc -c >> junk-mail.txt

Tuesday July 01, 2003
10:06 AM

Hormel turns nasty

It's a little late, especially after posting a statement on the company site saying that using "spam" to mean unsolicited commercial e-mail is okay, but Hormel is opposing a trademark application by Spam Arrest. Of course, since Spam Arrest sells one of those challenge-response "solutions" currently plaguing the e-mail system, I can't help but hope that Hormel causes them at least enough trouble to outweigh the free publicity.
Friday June 06, 2003
07:56 PM

CPAN maintainers in the comics

Okay, it's really just a Finnish stereotype, but most of us don't know many Jarkkos.
Thursday May 15, 2003
06:28 PM

Electronic voting, again

The New York Times has an article today, "To Register Doubts, Press Here", in which various computer scientists (including Rebecca Mercuri, of course) insist on accountability for electronic voting systems and various officials of county election boards and voting machine companies insist that there's nothing to worry about. After all, fraud was possible under the old system, so we don't need to concern ourselves with whether fraud might be easier under a new system or how we'd detect it if it occurred. And who would you rather trust, a bunch of academics who haven't even looked at the hardware or software (because they're not allowed) or the people selling the systems?

The most amusing point is that Theresa LePore is quoted in support of unauditable voting systems. You may remember her as the designer of the user-friendly butterfly ballot in Palm Beach County, Florida in 2000. This time she's explaining that lots of people come in to vote, wait patiently in multiple lines, and then turn in blank ballots because they don't want to vote for anyone.

Friday February 21, 2003
08:09 PM

Microsoft embraces RMS

Wonder what the real RMS will have to say about this!