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Ralsina.Me — Roberto Alsina's website

Whoa. Hits!

Looks like the pro­gram­ming tu­to­ri­al was well re­ceived. About 5000 hits in 12 hours :-)

To­day´s ran­ings:

Lat­er­al Opin­ion (link) 2355 SPE - Stani's Python Ed­i­tor (link) 86

If it con­tin­ues, Lat­er­al Opin­ion will reach 50K hits to­day. I´ll have a beer for that!

Rapid Application development using PyQt and Eric3 ... in realtime!

Now, this is not a tu­to­ri­al in the sense that you gonna learn how to do stuff.

How­ev­er, it may show you what is pos­si­ble!

So, hop in and en­ter the won­der­ful world of one evening of de­vel­op­ment in the com­pa­ny of PyQt, Er­ic3, and Python.

I knew the CS in CSI was not for Computer Science!

Last night I saw an episode of CSI Mi­a­mi.

While I like a tech­no-geeky po­lice pro­ce­dur­al show as much as the next guy (and most guys do :-), it left me with a queasy feel­ing.

Have I been bam­boo­zled?

In this episode, one of the corpses was killed in his of­fice, where ap­par­ent­ly he had been us­ing his note­book to con­nect via Wi-­fi to use an­oth­er build­ing's ac­cess point to reach an es­cort via email, by­pass­ing the se­cu­ri­ty of his of­fice net­work.

Now, that's all cool and nice, but the prob­lems start­ed quick­ly.

First, they man­aged to read an email the de­ceased had sen­t, by in­spect­ing some com­put­er in the ac­cess point LAN.

Ok, maybe they had a SMTP prox­y, or the guy had used the SMTP serv­er and they had full mes­sage log­ging (but no send­ing ad­dress con­trol?).

Un­like­ly, but pos­si­ble.

The big prob­lems came when they re­cov­ered the note­book and could see two re­sponse mails from the es­cort.

  • They had IP ad­­dress­es like 24.123.43.12.1109

  • They saw that one had that ad­­dress, and the oth­­er mail had .1108, so they de­­cid­ed that:

  • One was a forgery

  • Both came from com­put­ers in the same net­­work

  • They could find both com­put­ers in the cy­ber­­porn out­­­fit where the es­­­cort worked

What's wrong?

Well, Those IP ad­dress­es are might­ly long and have very large bytes. Al­so, why on earth did the com­put­ers that sent the mes­sages have stat­ic IP ad­dress­es?

Should­n't both have been NAT­ed to the same IP?

Un­less they used a pri­vate SMTP server, of course! In which case, it would have had email ad­dress checks on the sender. Re­mem­ber, this was a cy­ber­porn out­fit, the porn peo­ple KNOW IT. Bet­ter than most com­pa­nies!

Fi­nal­ly: they went af­ter a sus­pect be­cause of the IP ad­dress in an email???????

That is so easy to fake it's not fun­ny. If the stuff I know about is so wrong, how right are the things I don't know about, like DNA test­ing and what­ev­er.

BTW: one of the in­ves­ti­ga­tors had a blood sam­ple "done", with­out telling the lab work­er the rea­son, had a sin­gle page print­out, and com­par­ing two num­bers to a sim­i­lar page of a dead guy, he knew the blood was from the dead guy's daugh­ter.

I am pret­ty sure that to test ge­net­ic re­la­tion, you need to do some­thing a bit hard­er than that! ;-)

So, in short, sure, we are bam­boo­zled ev­ery week. All the mag­ic is smoke and mir­rors. But hey, it's fun, and the CSI of­fices look like star­ship En­ter­prise cir­ca 2300, ex­cept the desks are cov­ered with bot­tles of pret­ty colours :-)

Using linux without the CLI (Newsforge)

Nice ar­ti­cle by Robin Miller at News­forge.

I agree with most of it, ex­cept for one thing.

The au­thor says "I al­ways con­sid­ered the "scratch your own itch" hack­er ethos an es­sen­tial­ly mas­tur­ba­to­ry thing. It would be like me writ­ing ar­ti­cles I want to read in­stead of ar­ti­cles I think you want to read­."

Well, Robin, ar­ti­cles and code are ex­treme­ly dif­fer­ent things. For one thing, ar­ti­cles are 100% use­les for the au­thor, un­less some­one else reads them, whicle code can be 100% use­ful for the au­thor even if noone else has tried it.

I would say it´s like com­par­ing ap­ples and or­anges, ex­cep­t... well, both are fruits and we com­pare them when­ev­er we choose what fruit to buy. This is a less com­pa­ra­ble pair.

For ex­am­ple, I am prob­a­bly the on­ly us­er of KRsN in the world. But it is use­ful for me. It saves me al­most an hour a day, so I wrote it.

On the oth­er hand, I will con­tra­dict my­self: ar­ti­cles al­most noone reads (like this one ;-) are use­ful for shap­ing one´s mind, al­though that´s not a fre­quent goal.

On the grip­ping hand[1], mas­tur­ba­tion is good, dude. Don´t slam it un­less you have nev­er done it. And if you have nev­er done it, don´t slam what you don´t know ;-)

In fac­t, pro­gram­ming be­cause it itch­es is... well, it´s like scratch­ing. It may even be bad for you, but don´t tell me it does­n´t feel good.

[1] One geek cred­it to the one who catch­es the ref­er­ence.