March 31, 2003

Refresh my Blog

Well, I figured it was about time to update the look of my blog. I wish I could say I was the creative type, but I decided to try Moveable Type, which is a canned blog that works well. I also was lucky to "borrow" Chris Pirillo's idea on using a neat font through web fonts and eot. (If you can't see the font, download it here. My blog will look much better with the font)

I have lots to add/update, but alteast the core system is in place. Feedback and comments welcome.

Posted by SilverStr at 10:50 PM | Comments (2)

March 28, 2003

Mac Lust!

So I am not the only one lusting after a box with OSX. Of course, I am not into wanting an iMAC. I would like something a little more sexy:

HEY.... I CAN DREAM!. Of course, by the time I can afford this, there will be a 21" or something that is nice. I like this 15 better than the 17. Dunno why. Oh well... I will settle with my Toshiba Portege 3480CT (PIII 600) running XP for now.

Posted by SilverStr at 10:11 PM | Comments (1)

New digs!

Well, outside of a tonne of boxes to unpack, my life should be back to normal pretty soon. We have moved from our dream home to a much smaller place while I start up my new company. The move signficantly reduces our stress level financially and allows me some freedom to build a new company. This was the responsible thing to do, and as my wife puts it, "we can always build a new dream home".

Of course, going to a place that is half the size of the old one has some down falls. We have WAY to much stuff and are pretty crowded. Top that off with the fact we can't afford stuff we need for the new place (its all hardwood floors and we need some throw rugs that look half decent), and I can see we will have fun and be cozy as we work through the next year or two. If you haven't already, wait till you get to experience hardwood floors in bare feet first thing in the morning *shutter*. I really need to find the box that has my slippers in it. Should be a neat adventure though. I look forward to the next year.

I would sit and chit-chat but I have to finish setting up my office. The move has everything in boxes, and I need to find simple things like "pens" so I can fill out some paper work I need to complete. TTYL

Posted by SilverStr at 10:09 PM

March 25, 2003

On the lighter side...

Well, with the war continuing I thought we should lighten the mood a bit I saw on Chris Pirillo's site. Perhaps you might start to understand WHY so many men are patriotic in the US. Could it be because of patriotic babes?

Posted by SilverStr at 10:06 PM

March 23, 2003

Robert Frost I am not

Yesterday was the anniversary of probably some of the most stressful times for a lot of people around me, especially a lot of you that read this blog. Its great to see so many of you now succeeding and flurishing in new areas of your careers. Many like myself, are starting new businesses and moving forward in spite of the hard economic times in the technology industry. As I have been cleaning my office I stopped to look at a poem I put on my wall that drives me everytime I read it. I thought I would share it with you, and hope you will gain the internal wisdom and motivation to keep going.

Don't Quit

When things go wrong
as they sometimes will,
when the road you're trudging
seems all uphill,
when the funds are low,
and the debts are high,
and you want to smile,
but you have to sigh,
when care is pressing you down a bit...
rest if you must - but don't you quit.

Success is failure turned inside out,
the silver tint of the clouds of doubt,
And you never can tell how close you are,
it may be near when it seems afar,
so stick to the fight
when you're hardest hit...
it's when things go wrong,
that you mustn't quit.

Posted by SilverStr at 10:04 PM

March 22, 2003

For Sale

Any aviation fans out there? I am in the process of packing up some stuff and re
alize I have a few things to sell:

  • RC Model Plane - Piper Cub training Plane, with full radio controller, servos etc. Completely built... ready to fly. Includes engine fuel. Flown only once. Chilliwack has a great RC club on fairfield island where you can learn to fly it. Price: $50 OBO (The controller is worth that alone)
  • 24 pin Raven dot matrix printer. Great for printing source code. $20 OBO
  • Flat bed Scanner. Needs a SCSI card to work. $20 OBO
  • Baby bike seat. $10 OBO

Prices good until Wednesday. Email me and make an offer.

Posted by SilverStr at 10:01 PM

March 21, 2003

RegEx in C/C++

With my daughter on spring break I decided to take the day off yesterday and spend it with her. Original plan was to visit the Vancouver Zoo, but the rain was so heavy we had to nix that, and decided to head to the aquarium.

The aquarium is a place from my youth I have always enjoyed. Since the days of the TV show Danger Bay I thought I would enjoy being a marine biologist, focused on whales since I love them so much. (Well, that was until I watched the 1977 thriller flick "Orca" when killer whale has an ENTIRELY new meaning). I thought it would be fun to take my daughter to enjoy the whales and other marine life.

First off, the old whale tank is now a large haven for the resident dolphin "Spiniker". So with no killer whales there, we were content watching the belugas. During the amazing dolphin show, I realized WHY I don't normally go out to crowded areas with parents and their kids. I CAN'T STAND THEM.

It's not personal. I hate all people equally. But when adults have their kids, they turn into entirely different beasts. I have never been in such close quarters with the rudest people in the world. Don't believe me... lets see if I can sum it up:

  • While standing in line to get some lunch at the cafe, I got sacked by a kid throwing his arms around during a tantrum. Mother looks right at me and instead of apologizing, looks at the kid and says to me "What can you do". How about calming yer fsking kid down. DON'T BUY HIM ANY MORE SODA!

  • While standing patiently waiting for the dolphin show to begin, with my daughter standing on the bench with me behind her, some guy with 4 kids pulls the back of my jacket and tells me to move as his kids need to get in there, and this show is for kids. He did not ask me... he told me how it was. Then to top it off, he stands in front of me so one of his kids, sitting on his shoulder, could get a good view. I was so vexed I almost threw him in the tank. If he wouldn't have had that kid on his shoulders, I might just have done that. (Atleast my daughter got to see the show)

  • While waiting in line so my daughter could enjoy face painting, an impatient mother walks in to the front of the line (where my daughter is patiently waiting her turn), pulls a kid off a chair (not her kid mind you) that was just finished and throws (literally) her kid in there and says it's her kid's turn(which it wasn't). She acted like her kid was the only one that matters, and of course that as the mother we should all hail her as queen of the mothers. Queen of the bitches would be more like it. While counting to 20 to try to calm down one of the aquarium employees (who i think was just as frustrated with this demon of a mother) kindly takes my daughter and gives her the most amazing attention I ever saw. While making the queen bitch jealous, it calmed me down to see my daughter get some real attention. Of course the queen bitch then calls her other kid to then sit down when her first kid was finished, leaving the next kid in line disappointed she had to wait some more. At that point I wanted to say something, and in my minds eye I did, and had her run away flustered that anyone would stand up to her. I was pretty sure I got the closest thing you could get to a standing ovation when everyone is already standing. And then I snapped back to reality and realized it was a flashing day dream. That kinda made my day, but still... if you haven't caught it yet... she was a bitch!

  • While walking to the Amazon area, a very small kid ran through my feet and tripped me up. Now, it was actually kind of cute, and the mother was apologetic. But the dick holding the door decides he wants nothing to do with this, and lets the door go and basically smacks the little kid down when the door closed on her face. In great pain, the little girl is crying and the guy turns and walks away. Jerk should have had his lights punched out for that. Even though it wasn't my kid, it wasn't right

  • If a family with like 10 kids comes to the aquarium, do they have the right to pile all their coats, bags and stuff around the benches at the underground beluga wathing area, saving the benches for later when we are sitting there? I swear I thought a closet blew up. With no parents in sight. Just crap everywhere. And then when we sit on the precious benches, we are informed they are THEIRS after about 10 minutes, as their stuff is thrown all around it. I'm so sorry. I didn't know this east indian covenant existed in Canada. *Sigh*

  • Spring Break + Kids = Packed Aquarium of screaming kids. Need I say more?

I could go on, but its not worth anyones time to read about it. Lets just say I
now know why I hate people. I leave the house to have an enjoyable day with my daughter, and end up tied in knots with the stress of such an event. I have no clue how raskal made it through the day when he went earlier this week. Atleast my daughter had a good time, which made the trip a success.

Today I am back at the grind stone. Having a lot of fun actually. I hacked in support for perl-style regular expression parsing into my C/C++ code this week. It's good for untrusted user validation. I used the PCRE engine which is used in Apache and Exim, and I must say it was a neat addition. I like being able to use regex in C++ code when moving data between any untrusted to trusted boundry. Now I just got to fight with some neat regex tricks to do more complex checking. Which reminds me, I need to get back to that. TTYL

Posted by SilverStr at 09:59 PM

March 18, 2003

Flash, and its over

Well, finished the Flash presentation yesterday. I am quite proud of myself, it looks pretty good. I even got some good feedback from people, including one guy not believing I was the narrator of the script. He really didn't think it was me. ( /me waves to Mike :P ) I can really see why people charge like $5000 - $7500 for one of those. It is a LOT of hard work, and patience. Saving the money was nice though, and I didn't do to bad a job. Worst part would have to be the audio recording, as I couldn't seem to keep the sound/tone to the same levels between tracks. I am sure there are ways to do it, I just don't have the experience. But no worries, I will live with it.

Right now I am working on my kernel mode driver for XP to deal with the packet interception before it hits the wire. I think I have figured a pretty neat way to basically rip apart the packet to inspect the payload quickly for HTTP requests. In this way I can use the same architecture to do content filtering (via URL) through the driver without any real overhead. If I can find a hack to read and integrate lists like the CyberNOT list or NetNanny, I will be able to have really good content filtering directly in my stuff to protect my daughter, and anyone elses child for that matter. Of course, this has the added benefit of doing content filtering for businesses as well, and gives me both a personal and business reason for writing it in. Who needs to hack transparent proxying and Dans Guardian when I can have it right in the stack for the operating system being used. Should be fun. If you have kids, and would like to test this when I get it working please let me know.

I need to wrap this up as I gotta go get ready for squash. Arc and I are about to beat the hell out of a little yellow dot rubber ball, and I still need to find my squash gear. I am pretty sure I left it in the laundry room when I washed my stuff, but I didn't see it there this morning. I better go find it... playing squash without a racquet would be kinda silly. TTYL

Posted by SilverStr at 09:50 PM

March 15, 2003

Big Fat Greek... Kung Pow Cow?

Spent the evening watching movies with my wife. The first one wasn't to bad I guess. It was My Big Fat Greek Wedding. Had lots of funny moments to chuckle to. Then disaster struck....

I am a sucker for "its so bad its funny" comedy like many of the Silent Bob adventures, some of Jim Carey's stuff etc.... but I sat through the most PATHETIC, idiotic movie ever last night. It is so bad I refuse to put it at the top of the page as a movie I have recently saw. If you take an old Hong Kong martial arts film, mix it with some CGI special effects, add some broth from your local toliet... and then mix.... you get Kung Pow: Enter the Fist.

Now in total honesty I laughed a lot. I went in with low expectations, and had a good laugh. The CG martial arts cow was just hilarious, but that doesn't make up for the over-silliness everywhere else in the movie. The over-dubbing of the voices, meant to be funny, was just ridiculious. A dog barks, and about a minute later you HEAR it. (You know the old Hong Kong dubbing that sucked... worse than that). I think I know a way to enjoy this movie. Instead of going in with low expectations, go in expecting it to be ridiculious. Then it might be funnier to you.

On the work front, my flash demo is coming along great. I hope to be done this weekend. I am very happy with how its turning out. The voice overs are clean, the flash animations are to the point, and its kinda fun to do. I couldn't do this for a living... but I have made a pretty impressive demo without shelling out a few thousand dollars to a flash guy to do it.

I recently heard some of the old gang was trying to get together for nachos and beer. Sorry I didn't reply in time. I am game if you guys want to do it again. It was fun last time we did all get together, and it was kewl to see BarqMulch's and Monkey's new babies. Drop me an email if you want to get together.

Posted by SilverStr at 09:47 PM

March 10, 2003

Will wonders ever cease

Limos pulls through! Got a nice email from Limos suggesting a neat GPL tool that works under Windows called Audacity. Seems to work quite well and is easy to use. Very little static in the recording and much easier to work with than n-Track Studio. Now the long journey of recording the script. *sigh*

Posted by SilverStr at 09:41 PM

Running with Least Privilege

Wanted to play some squash this morning, but couldn't make it as I had to take my wife to work and get my daughter off to school. Which is just as well... I basically killed myself on the treadmill yesterday. Was good to get everything done I wanted this weekend, and then some.

This weekend I was running an app that would not work for me. Ended up the author didn't think about the fact some of us run our operating systems in a least privilege environment, so we can't just write files arbitrarily to the Windows directory, or to registry keys belonging to the system. It got me thinking about how to many people take this for granted, and I decided to write an article on it.

This morning, I woke up to find that my article, posted on The Code Project hit a few nerves, both in the good and bad camps. Most of the comments I have received have been via private email, but a few commented on the article online. All and all, I had over 250 emails to read. Good to see I have some people thinking. Was even cooler to get some acknowlegements from some of the security experts I respect who said I was bang on. The few negative emails I got were people who don't have a clue, and I am not going to convince them other wise. Oh well.

Right now I am playing with an eight channel mixing board and a funky mic that the Chief has leant me to do some voice over recordings for my flash presentation. I don't have any real experience with sound mixing, but all the neat knobs sure look fun to play with. I now understand why Limos likes doing this so much. Now if I can just figure out how to use n-Track Studio (Apparenlty an excellent audio & MIDI multitrack recorder), I should be able to make some professional quality recordings. Time will tell I guess. I was hoping Limos was going to help me out, but he seems to have forgotten about this. I'll just fight with it and see what I can do.

Speaking of which... I need to go deal with the inputs on this dang mic. TTYL

Posted by SilverStr at 09:39 PM

March 07, 2003

Friday Five

Oh... why not be a lemming.

1. What was the last song you heard?

Listening to Mozart's "Andante from Piano Concerto No.21" as I type this. (Classical music is good to work to)

2. What were the last two movies you saw?

* Note to self... kill Arcterex for going to Dare Devil and forgetting to invite me. :P

3. What were the last three things you purchased?

  • A hair cut
  • A Diet Pepsi
  • A rose

4. What four things do you need to do this weekend?

  • Finish my story board and script for a flash presentation I am building
  • Work on my images in Photoshop for the flash presentation
  • Re-read a section in my Assembler manual to see if I can gain some speed in a section of code that is bothering me. (Need to also figure out the right switch for the compiler so inline assembly maintains its form as I am not using the Common Language Runtime Compilation [/clr] flag in Visual Studio .NET for my C++ code)
  • Run (well.. more like walk fast) on the treadmill

5. Who are the last five people you talked to?

  • My real estate agent
  • My banker
  • My hair stylist
  • My wife
  • Arcterex (does talking via talk daemon count?)

As I reflect on these questions I just realized I don't really have a life. *sigh*

Posted by SilverStr at 09:35 PM

March 05, 2003

Free Enterprise

Last night I was sitting on my couch doing a bit of coding (thank $DEITY for wireless access points) and a movie came on that had William Shatner. Hey, I'm a sucker for punishment and thought... "Why not". The movie in question is called Free Enterprise and all in all, wasn't all that bad. Now, this definitely won't win any oscars.... but its got Shatner in it... so you have to expect that. The movie reminds me of the humor of Dogma.. kinda sorta... without any grossness or grade 2 humor. Ok.. maybe a bit thrown in for good taste. Overall, if you like Star Trek in any way, you might get a kick out of the jabs in the movie. This will end up being a cult favorite, just no with the same kinda numbers. Of course, I am biased.... I have always thought Audie England was a very attractive woman, and it makes any movie bareable.

Posted by SilverStr at 09:30 PM

March 03, 2003

BSpudd has a Blog!

Will wonders ever cease...... BSpudd has a blog. Seems it's been going on for a few weeks now, and I didn't even know it. I wonder who else has a blog I don't know about. If you have one, and think I might not know about it.... drop me a line. I'll add ya to my daily reading efforts. It's good to know how people are doing that I can't get around to seeing more regularly.

Posted by SilverStr at 09:27 PM

March 02, 2003

Search for Reporting System

Well, the search for the right bug reporting system may be coming to a close. After bashing Bugzilla one to many times I got bombed with links to ways to clean it up. The best one came from Cuvarak who introduced me to customized templates in Bugzilla. Now, I will be honest and say I haven't actually TRIED them yet, but it sounds like it is bang on. One of my biggest compliants about Bugzilla is the fact I had to (or more to the point have others on the team) modify the friggen perl to simply change the behaviour of the look/feel and interaction. No more. It is a simple modification of the templates. The templates are done using the Template Toolkit which is a standard CPAN module for Perl that handles templates. I have seen a bunch of programs using it, and I was happy to learn that Bugzilla adopted this format instead of making their own.

I am awaiting some hardware and will then get a chance to try this out and hopefully get it going. It will be great to get a bug tracking system up as right now I am doing it all through email and its just not as efficient. With the sounds of how the templating works though, I will be able to make simple reporting forms to my liking for people to use. Perhaps I can even get the interaction as FogBUGZ does to accomplish the goals I am looking for.

Been working on a script for a flash presentation I am setting up. Only major issue is that of recording speech as I get this ready to go. Limos has a few ideas on how to get some professional quality recordings and hopefully will help me out in that regard in the next week. Would be great to get some professional advice from him and his crew who do a lot of sound through the church. Not all of us get to jump on sound boards and know how to filter out the cracking sound that the stupid mikes do. And I don't care what anyone says... those $30 dollar mics at London Drugs don't cut it. I've tried every damn sound program out there... the input still sucks.

On that note, I need to get back to the script. I want to make sure I got it all done before I have to record my golden^H^H^H^H^professio^H^H^H^radio^H^H^H^H... pathetic voice in the voice overs. *sigh*

Posted by SilverStr at 09:25 PM