Archive for November, 2007

Black Friday: Rearranging my desk

Friday, November 23rd, 2007

I went shopping this morning at around 5am… and after awhile, I ended up with this (just the monitors are new, actually):


I’ve had triple monitors setup for quite awhile now (going on around 5 years or so), but I’ve always had CRT’s. Now, I have three 17″ widescreen LCDΒ  panels. Pretty awesome, and reasonably cheap too! πŸ™‚

OWS Analysis: Digg vs. Stumbleupon vs. Reddit

Wednesday, November 21st, 2007

So I added some new features to OWS, which allow you to filter any results manually by any field you want (you have to enable obsessively excessive options). I then applied this to my recent traffic and found these interesting (though, not entirely surprising) results:









Not surprisingly, Digg and Reddit have almost no tail traffic, with only a really huge burst and then it dies out. Reddit has a lot smaller tail though. Stumbleupon however, doesn’t really have much of a burst, but provides a really long tail of traffic, which ends up superceding (over time) the amount of traffic from Digg or Reddit.

So whats the lesson here?

Because of its nature, I think Stumbleupon will continue to keep providing high-quality traffic for awhile. Not only that, but it also provides repeat visitors too. It should definitely be on your radar when advertising through social bookmarking sites, even though its often ignored.

While traffic is good, traffic from the right places is even better, and can provide more traffic over time. I’ll have to put a stumbleupon button on my blog posts here… hehe.

Improved innovative Javascript/CSS enhanced resume

Monday, November 19th, 2007

I mentioned earlier this year that I had created an enhanced resume web page for myself, by using javascript and css to display either a ‘full’ or ‘condensed’ (one-page) version of the resume, and mentioned also that it would be pretty trivial for someone to make it work for different categories if they wanted.

Well, I did just that, and you can see my newly updated innovative computer engineering javascript/CSS resume on this site now! I’ve spent a lot of this weekend working on categorizing each part, and reducing each category so that they fit into one printed page (on most systems, anyways). Its pretty unique, you should check it out.

One of the things I’ve done with this is tried to refocus it to highlight my strengths in particular areas, and focus a lot more on my security/engineering background, as opposed to just my web background. I haven’t begun my job hunt yet, but with graduation in December, that may start soon if my graduate applications don’t work out. (more…)

Make BitTorrent/P2P less annoying at home using Linux, Iptables, and QoS

Saturday, November 17th, 2007

At home, I’ve been using a Linux router for as long as I can remember… since, a rather long time ago, I didn’t have money for a router but I happened to have an extra computer that I had been playing with Linux on it. So, I developed an ipchains script (which I eventually converted to iptables) to do NAT on it, and its worked pretty well ever since then. I honestly don’t remember where I derived the script from, however.

When I was in the dorms and afterwards in an apartment with others, we had used my Linux router, since it was pretty simple and theres a ton of things you can do with a Linux server. However, something we noticed (which wasn’t specific to this router) is that whenever someone was using BitTorrent or some other P2P app (you know, to download Linux distros and CC-licensed stuff), it would totally kill our internet access unless the person made their upload rate ridiculously low.. which is fine, unless a visitor stops by, plugs in, and forgets to turn their torrents down.

So, sometime last year I decided that there was probably a good way to filter different types of traffic so they don’t get excessive. Turns out, you can combine iptables and the QoS functionality of the kernel to do just that.


MBR Love Note Responses

Tuesday, November 13th, 2007

I have to say, I didn’t quite expect the wide variety of responses to my “MBR Love Note“. And… it was on the front page of Digg and BoingBoing, among other places. Which, has driven a ton of random traffic to the site. πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

I’m not going to bother posting the Digg comments, a lot of them were so far off base and yet wildly amusing.

Cory Dotorow classified it as a “Scary MBR-nuking program.. “.. I don’t know if I would go that far, thats a bit of an exaggeration.

Brandon said “it was a [real, non-script kiddie] hack”.. thanks. πŸ™‚
Gameboy genius filmed installation and booting of the love note and put it on YouTube… you can see it at his blog.

CustomPC wrote that “an expert assembly code programmer writes an app to make your computer greet you with a note when you switch it on”. Expert, eh? Really, its not all that hard…

As an aside, it really is quite trivial to uninstall the program. Look at the comments section for a hint if you really don’t have any idea. Though, you probably shouldn’t install it if you don’t have an idea. I don’t feel like dealing with thousands of people screwing their computer up. It probably (most likely) won’t destroy your computer by any stretch of the imagination..

My roommate Jon provided the text, which I believe he did get from ThinkGeek.

Oh, and yes, I did know the answers to the quiz when I made it. The only one I wasn’t 100% sure about on #3, but I was right when I looked it up. And the quiz is mostly for fun, but anyone who has messed with MBR’s and such should be able to get them right. And I would say a great deal of people *should* be able to get #1 right.

OWS Analysis of traffic to previous post

Sunday, November 11th, 2007

Looks like I’m getting a lot of traffic to my previous post about the MBR love note, which is pretty awesome. Heres a screenshot of the traffic so far in my open source website traffic analysis tool, Obsessive Website Statistics (I’ll update it later tonight, be more interesting). Its definitely eclipsed any of my other recent traffic…

Edit: this was the pre-digg screenshot


This is the post-digg screenshot. I bet you can’t tell when the page was on the front page of Digg AND Reddit..Β 


Inspired by XKCD: MBR Love Note

Sunday, November 11th, 2007

I am a huge fan of the webcomic, XKCD, which is a very geeky and amusing comic for those of you who haven’t read it. On Friday, the following comic was posted:

And this of course reminded me of when I first started programming — I started with assembly language in 2000 with an 80286 I got out of the trash. I quickly became interested in low-level system programming, and created a number of MBR-based programs and other random programs in assembly. I haven’t programmed in assembly in a couple years, but this was pretty simple once I started going. πŸ™‚

In any case, the comic has inspired me to write a Windows-based program that can write a “love note” to the MBR and display it when the computer starts. And of course, just for fun it shows the “Missing operating system” message as well. Shown is a screenshot:

Roses are red… missing operating system.


More semi-amusing referrer spam

Friday, November 9th, 2007

As you may know, I have my awesome computer engineering javascript and CSS resume posted on this site. And actually, I’ve gotten quite a few responses from random companies and people all across the US… which has been really encouraging for me, especially since I haven’t applied anywhere! But onto the amusing referrer spam.

Using OWS, I’ve noticed a lot of random referrer spam to my resume. And, its pretty consistent: each instance points to a (valid) resume for some totally random person. This is one instance:

hostname Date Time Referrer URL User-Agent
65.91.101.XXX 2007-11-02 10:37:26 ~vanhoose/resume/resume.html Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 5.5; Windows NT 5.0; SCF – Mean & Nasty; T312461)
65.91.101.XXX 2007-11-02 10:37:25 ~vanhoose/resume/resume.html Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 5.5; Windows NT 5.0; SCF – Mean & Nasty; T312461)
65.91.101.XXX 2007-11-02 10:37:22 Htm%20pages/resume.htm Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 5.0; Windows NT; DigExt)

Theres been around 10 or 20 of these types of referrer spam URL’s I’ve seen over the last few months. The weird part is that all of the different URL’s are always people of varying experience, and totally different career fields (teachers, businessmen, researchers), and even international students and such. And, theres been a few different IP addresses its originating from.. but who knows with how much adware/botware is out there.

What I can’t imagine is the purpose.. I mean, is someone paying for someone to spam their resume around? Totally untargeted referrer spam like that can’t possibly be effective — I mean look, they caught my attention, but is an HR person really going to look at website logs? Doubtful. And if they did, I’m pretty sure they would NOT hire that person for being so spammy. Maybe the spammers are just picking resumes at random…. but that doesn’t even make sense either! Heh..

Anyways, I really need to refocus my resume in the very near future (like.. this weekend) to a more engineering type of job, since right now it makes it looks like I want a web developer/related job. Which don’t get me wrong, I think I might enjoy a job doing web related stuff, but I think I’m really looking for somewhere I can innovate and contribute as a computer engineer, or something close. I’ll have to write about this soon.. since, the one thing keeping me looking for a job right now is that I’m waiting to see whether I’m accepted into the graduate school I wanted to get into or not. Wish me luck.