October 29, 2002

Attack of the Flashing Tomatos

Been having to think about attacking an online demo in Flash at work recently. Spent a lot of time reading some of the Flash tutorials and figuring out how I would go about it. The biggest thing is understanding how to make the text transitions. It's not TO bad... but can be tedious. I found some easier ways to do things, and thought I should make a test to see how I would do. So, if anyone would like to learn something about me... clicking on the previous link will play a real simple flash animation I made. Please note... I am new to this... so don't flog me for using so many transitions. I am just trying to learn how to use the tool.

I am pretty happy with how it turned out... except for the sound merging. IT SUCKS. Instead of making a huge single mp3, I tried to use the loops and cut it down with two separate sections, one with trumpet and one without. The transitions for that suck. I need to read up a bit more on how to make that work.

On a different tangent... I am finding myself reading other people's blogs a lot. It is getting to be a morning ritual. Grab my water, go sit at the computer, and start loading. Get disappointed as to the frequency of some blogs, and find others to be entertaining every day. SOME people eat way to many weird things before bed and have psyco dreams which is a hoot... while others think Wiki is the way to blog. (*Yer a sicko dude*) :)

Anyways... I am unofficially calling November BLOG MONTH. As such, everyone should try to maintain their blog every other day... or better. Lets make my morning ritual more interesting... and entertaining!

Posted by SilverStr at 05:05 PM

October 26, 2002

USA at it again

Ok, now I have seen it all. Apparent the US is building a nano-technology coating that can be applied to their paint for armoured vehicles. In this way, you can actually change the camouflage by electronic pulse to change to the surroundings. A chameleon so to speak. I really want to join an army that opposes the USA, just so I can build counter-measures to this. Not to kill my friendly Americians... just to wake them up. So you are hiding your tank in the trees. A nice electro-pulse cannon is attached to my Coyote Recon Vehicle and I then shoot, and change the camo to a nice bright RED color. Talk about being marked. So... now they have to figure out how to make the nano devices work for only US pulses. Ya right. Lets see, no material on the planet can have that many integrated circuits in it for the size it is. So... they will have to work together to build more complex systems for authentication of the particular pulse. In the mean time, You simply overload a section of the paint, rendering the entire thing useless. You can't win for losing. Only an American would believe this will be tested on tanks in 2005. *sigh*

Sorry if I sound like I hate Amercians. Thats not the case. Its just that if they put their research money into medicine, or bio-tech.. or nano-technology to HELP humanity... we would all be doing a hell of a lot better than worrying about building weapons of war that would make Jordie LaForge happy. Lets see, eliminate poverty, hunger and desease and build a peaceful world. What a novel concept.

Posted by SilverStr at 07:03 PM

XP Heart attack

Well, today I almost had a mini-heart attack during the process of upgrading to XP SP1. Well, more to the point, SP1 installed, and then the system didn't come back up. My fault entirely... not Microsofts.

Seems it doesn't LIKE you to use a hacked kernel. You shouldn't muck around with it... its a bad thing. Of course.. you know me, if I am not tweaking and playing with the OS.. what good is it. Well anyways, the hacked NT kernel refused to boot. It was the ONLY entry in my boot.ini, so there was NO way to recover. Or so I thought.

Ends up, on the XP CD is an option called "Recovery". With it, it lets you "log" onto the NTFS partion and run some special commands. One being BOOTCFG. Note that for the future my friends. You ever nuke something.. this is yer friend. After some trial and error, I was able to basically create a new entry for the core kernel and redirect it away from my hacked one. Then it booted up fine. Fixed the issue with my hacked kernel... and everything is running tickety-boo.

I found an interesting "feature" in the MS debugger. You have always been able to do an asm{ int 3; } to fire a breakpoint interrupt which typically can then be caught in your debugger. VERY useful trick when you need to do some REAL low level break point catching in a "production application" (reminds me of the story about the Russian Nuclear Defense system response code that someone accidently left in there and was only found AFTER the cold war basically ended) But don't do that in a device driver or any dll MS might load. Ok? Please don't. Nothing like watching Developer Studio TRY to load XP into the debugger. I had over 512 megs of ram FULL before I finally was able to terminate it. *shutter*

I am wanting to get back into Squash again. If anyone is interested, I am shooting to play atleast two times a week now. So if you are willing to play in Chilliwack, drop me a line and we can set something up. No earlybirds please.

Posted by SilverStr at 04:59 PM

October 21, 2002

Kewl Tron Site

I am a big fan of well done Flash sites. Just came across a REALLY kewl one where they sure like to push the limits of it. Check out www.tron20.net. Well worth a few moments to check out.

Posted by SilverStr at 04:57 PM

October 20, 2002


You know, when the latest "Enterprise" show came out, I thought that the introductory song with really corney, especially since it didn't follow all the other shows starts. Well, last Wednesday I really listened to it and watched the mosaic of movie clips, and really LIKE it now. I am not sure why I have the change of heart. For some reason, it "touched me". It was weird. Kinda overwhelming to think we have come so far from Sputnik to the ISS. I definitely like the newest series the best, although it may be because its new. I used to think the same thing about TNG, and then Voyager. Also.. could be Tapaul in the decontamination room. :)

Work has been interesting. I have been writing an IPSec Configuration Client for Windows XP/2K in C++/MFC. I have to admit, I still think Microsoft's BEST application is Developer Studio. It is extremely well designed if you know how to use it. Been years since I did any heavy work in it... but the short cuts came back to me in a matter of a few hours and I was in the bowels of the debugger without any problems. CVS is kinda ugly for MFC projects though. May make more sense to use SourceSafe, but I will continue to work with CVS to stay consistant. Not a huge problem, but migration from the IDE on my laptop and the desktop is nicer without the CVS crap attached. SourceSafe is ok for that.. but we don't have any Microsoft server platforms. Refuse to use them. Linux/Unix all the way baby, with sprinkles of samba for the Window clients.

Here is a neat little tip if you like to hack at your favorite MS OS. Go over to Sys Internals and grab their RegMon application. This baby will track every push and pop on the registry stack and record creation, modification, reads and deletions within the registry. If you wanna crack an application and wonder what its using in the registry, this baby will record it all. In my case, I was reverse engineering Microsoft's IPSec driver implementation, and within 15 minutes I had it totally mapped out, and didn't reverse engineer the code at all. I know what they are calling, and now doing it myself. Great tool to add to your arsenal. And, if you are like me and like to geek out on how they did it, they include source!

I LOVE what what Chicks Dig Unix did with their blog. I used to use CDE a lot (especially on Solaris) and it was really kewl to see that. I know engel isn't much of a fan, but that was still pretty creative. Wish I would have thought of that. Maybe Solas will do a windows dressing version ;-). Ok... maybe not. But this guy already did it.

Posted by SilverStr at 04:55 PM

October 15, 2002

Thanksgiving Wrap up

Well a week ago I took my daughter to the space centre. Thought it would be interesting to apply some of the knowledge we learned at the Planetarium and decided to pack up and spend the Canadian Thanksgiving weekend in the abyss of nature away from light pollution so we could gaze at the stars. Decided to go up as a group, and took a bunch of families up to enjoy the splendors of the wilderness for the weekend camping. The evenings were amazingly clear, and we spent some time gazing at the constillations on the beach at Hicks Lake, just outside of Harrision.

The days were filled hiking around the lake and just enjoying the palette of autumn colors changing the trees in the forest. One of the hikes was a two hour journey right around the lake. Very nice walk as the cedar lined ground was quite soft and easy to walk on. Roots were not to bad, and except for one muddy place which was alittle steep a trail you could consider "Easy". Even so, it was a great way to excercise while having fun.

Before leaving for the mountains, I left work with the merging of all my SNMP code into stable. You can now fully utilize SNMP event traps with executed commands through the SNMP Action Manager. I even worked around an annoying problem we have with the HTML rendering component. Windows has a bug in the code to deal with the changing of state for cursors through Java, so even though you SAY to show the wait cursor, it won't unless you move the mouse a certain way. Quite annoying if a long task is at hand, and you think you clicked on something and nothing happens. I got around this by doing something Sun said couldn't be done. I created a titleless, borderless and transparent window showing an animated time piece during a long wait state. (Ok.. I ripped the idea from enlightenment... but YOU try doing it in Java). Anyways... with the way I did it, longer tasks now appear to make sense to the customer. Guess "time" will tell if customers like it. (/me groans at my own bad pun)

Scarey thing is, with this new hack I wrote, I COULD make a "clippy" for our application. Not that I would actually do something that evil... but the fact Sun says it can't be done makes me happy... since I am doing it now! :) The trick is to build invisible "glass pane" windows on top of your application and selectively control the keystroke, mouse movement and painting. All tools that exist in Java, and work to the parent of the Operating System. Windows can't stop ya.

Proof is in the fact I wrote a Java application to inivisibly catch all keystrokes of a user. When active, all keystrokes are logged at the top upper most window in the windows stack, and then passed down to the native applications. Kinda useless since the target would have to RUN the application first, but could be hacked in a way to install itself into the registry and work on next login. Of course, it was only a proof of concept (more a way for me to test HOW to build the invisible window and pass events to the main app), and isn't really all that usable as a security tool or some way to tick of the privacy advocates.

Today I have spent most of the day making the default state of our application to be more "useful" during initial setup by setting up default parameters and settings (ie: Making some default events for the Event Trap Manager) so the customer can get right to work. Everything is now in Beta and being tested by the team as we speak. Which now gives me enough time to update my journal, and then get back to writing a "Value Proposition" report for the Sales and Marketing team. Which... I need to go do. TTYL.

Posted by SilverStr at 04:52 PM | Comments (1)

October 08, 2002

To infinity... and beyond!

Took my daughter to the HR MacMillan Space Centre on the weekend to enjoy the final days of the big NASA ISS exhibit. NASA sent up some big rig trailers that are modelled inside to be a replica of what its like INSIDE the space station. Very educational, and very enlightening. Funny thing was when the were explaining that the toliet has a camera inside it to work as part of the "centering module" for when you gotta "go". THe ultimate form of voyerism. Next thing you know... some id10t will have a website with a cam. :)

Besides the bathroom, I took a few pictures of things of interest. Most of them seem boring when I look at them now, but a few stand out:

  • A picture of Jim Chamerlain. Those of you that know me well know I am an Avro Arrow fan, and proud Canadian about our technology heritage. In case you didn't know, most of the core engineers that actually got the USA into space were all Canadians, most of them on the engineering team at Avro before the stupidity of PM 'Baker. NASA had the forethought to hire the brains. Of course... isn't this a US tradition? :)
  • A neat picture of the Crab in front of the Planetarium.
  • A plaque explaining what the heck the Crab is.
  • A really beautiful tree on the side of the Plantarium.

The digital camera just couldn't do justice to that tree. My favorite season is autumn, as I like to see the trees change colors, the crisp clean air brush by the leaves and rustle them in a calming symphony of delight. The tree is just starting to change, and it was nice sitting by it and listen to the peacefulness. Have you ever tried to actually LISTEN to rain? It is quite calming. It was weird
being in the middle of downtown, with a light drizzle of rain and hearing very little noise pollution.

Work is going pretty good. Finished the main SNMP Trap code and merged it into stable. Finished the actual SNMP Action code last night, and just working on the triggering mechanisms. Its kinda funny. I set up a logging event to log anytime someone "pings" me. I then set an SNMP Trap to catch that event on the main gateway, and fire an event trap to the monitoring agent. On the agent (CSM) I set up an SNMP Action to play a "sonar ping" sound any time I was pinged. Thought it was a neat little trick to do....

... atleast until I had my heart almost stopped. It was like 11:30 last night, and some script kiddie was on a probing high. I was in the middle of some complex code I was REALLY trying to concentrate; so much so I even turned off the music. It was deadly quiet as I stared into the abyss of vi. Out of nowhere all of a sudden *PING* *PING* *PING*. After I got up from the floor, I quickly turned off that event, shakenly walked up stairs to get some Earl Gray tea, and sat down and decided that although kewl, that action for that particular trap is a no go.

Posted by SilverStr at 04:49 PM

October 02, 2002

Update on Trapping

Pretty much done the "marketing stuff" I had to do. Limos was a $DEITY-send as he took over the Reviewer's Guide which allowed me to make final changes to the technical documents I had to write, and then let me go back to some coding. Just finished adding SNMP Trap management to the tool, so you can now receive trap events to the central management console. Hopefully it will get merged into Stable soon, so I can use it on all our perimeter defenses.

Went with some friends to go see XXX again. The first time I didn't stay to watch the credits. Did this time. Holy cow those graphics are kewl. If you haven't seen XXX yet, and you plan to... stick around for the credits.

Been playing with C# a bit. I still like Java better, but can see how MS is trying to get it migrated into everything. I am not one for "web services" (actually hate them due to the bad security design - anyone who says SOAP is KEWL to run over HTTP needs to be shot... just HOW do you expect to restrict and control traffic flow if you open up your defenses to ALLOW for the application? Stupid to leave all the security at the authentication of user level for all services). If I had to write a Windows application, I would not use C# or forms. I would stick with C++ and use the MFC subsystem to deliver the UI.

Well, my daughter is really sick and I promised I would spend some time with her this morning working on homework while she was home. Good to see she loves school. She didn't get that from me. Well... should go be a teacher for the morning. TTYL

Posted by SilverStr at 04:45 PM