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This is the archive for July 2007

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

My site, as well as some fellow sites as .i.e. Falcon has been more down than up this days. This due to the pasttime of a cute cracker that thought that was quite funny to get down an harmless server.

And the worst thing is that I know quite a bit about Linux, servers, security and stuff like that.

The point is that I have a relatively cheap virtual hosting, and the software up there was a bit... uhm... outdated. Fedora Core 2, to start with. Also, my host didn't want ppl on his virtual servers to mangle with kernels, distros and so on. Long story short, all the ppl in this hosting is living on a piece of crap with software that was already easy to break 2 years ago.

I put up a bit of dutch tape here and there, i.e. writing little scripts that would restore services that were killed with a DoS, and that recorded via ngrep the remote attacker IP and the timestamp. That worked, and kept idiots at bay for some time (and also caused a couple of them to be thrown out of the net by theirs provider), but it couldn't last for long. When someone has found that we were running a kernel version 2.6.9/11, that could be DoSsed EVEN with a well malformed CPIP packet, the machine was hung for good.

So I decided to lure my ISP by with gentle words and I upgraded the system to something barely decent.

Figure what? --- they was probably happy someone tried it on their virtual servers, so they can apply some security patch around.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Well, I have been so busy lately that I haven't found even the 5 minutes needed to write down an -at least worthy- blog entry. So, what's about the title? Well it's more or less a sum of the things that I wanted to write in the blog; I was thinking at those topics while i.e. commuting to work and back home, but I was too busy or too tired to put down two lines about those when sitting on the PC.

About Bach, well, you can write every word that has been written on him again, yet a sole beat of his music will defeat anything you may write. So I won't write; I will just point out that Bach is also great as a background when programming. It is both relaxing and rythmic, and gives a great pace to code lines flowing by.

About the stone, I am referring to the "suzuri", or ink stone.
A sample suzuri.
It's an instrument used to melt the solid ink, and then used as a liquid ink source for oriental calligraphy. I have finally been able to get one; here in Milan I hadn't been able to find it easily, and a friend of mine brought it to me from Florence, where oriental art shops are more common. I had it on tuesday, but I weren't yet unable to use it because of lack of time... Sooner or later, I must invent a time machine... :-)

About Rachmaninov, I was simply stunned by the beauty of the 2nd piano concert which I listened to by chance. I must admit that my culture in classical music is superficial at best, and in fact I discovered Rachmaninov to be a quite famous artist. He is a contemporary of Ravel and Debussy, but IMHO he's overall more pleasurable of the both of them. Rachmaninov may be a bit technical, especially on the piano, but the overall melody of his composition is very romantic, and the harmonic structure is sophisticated yet progression seems quite natural. When played by the right pianist, with the right orchestra and with a director that understands what takes to make a symphony to take life, Rachmaninov is simply overwhelming reason and emotion. I found this combination in s "Decca" recording, the 4 piano concerts played by Vladimir Ashkenazy and the London Symphony orchestra, directed by André Previn. Pitifully, the master recording was an analog tape from 1972, and a couple of spots in the first concert are audibly slowing down (at least, if you have a trained ear). Also, there are a couple of almost inaudible distortions in the third and second concert. Finally, at times the piano is a bit too in the background, while even the "pp" parts were meant to be clearly audible melted with the orchestra. Nevertheless, this remains the best execution I have heard, and it is definitely worth even with those minor recording problems.

About atomic queues, well... that's definitely another story. Maybe next week.