36 Chambers – The Legendary Journeys: Execution to the max!

April 11, 2014

Heartbleed

Filed under: (In)Security — Kevin Feasel @ 6:00 pm

So…it turns out that OpenSSL has been broken for a couple of years.  Most UNIX-based servers are going to be affected.  If you use OpenSSL on a server, get this fixed now.  Many of the big companies are doing so now.  If you don’t, you’re probably going to get several “Hey, you should change your password” e-mails over the next several days.

Bruce Schneier has more.  For a humorous take, check out The Daily WTF.  Several people there make the argument that we shouldn’t use C or other languages without boundary protection for…well, pretty much anything.  Given how easy it is for a good developer to make a catastrophic mistake and for it to sneak by code reviews for years, I think they have a point.

April 10, 2014

SQL Saturday Update

Filed under: Database Administration — Kevin Feasel @ 6:00 pm

SQL Saturday #320 will officially be at Wake Tech North.  We’ve signed the paperwork and will have room for 10 simultaneous sessions.

I’m quite excited about the event and will probably have a couple more updates as we get closer to the go-live date.

April 9, 2014

Going To Derbycon

Filed under: (In)Security, Where's Poochy? — Kevin Feasel @ 6:00 pm

I will be going to Derbycon for my third straight year.  This year, I’m taking Carlos Perez’s training course on using Powershell for defense and post-exploitation.  The last couple of years, I branched out into parts of security in which I had no experience; this is coming a lot closer to my wheelhouse.

I also have submitted a paper for their CFP.  Here’s my title and abstract:

A Gentle Introduction to Security Economics

Why do software manufacturers release software known to be vulnerable? Why are 419 scammers’ e-mails often so poorly written? Is making software open source better for security–or could it actually be worse? These are all questions which we can answer using economic tools. Economics is, at its core, the study of human behavior; given that security is fundamentally a human problem, marrying economic concepts to security analysis can give security researchers a better perspective on the problems we’re all trying to solve.

This talk assumes little to no knowledge of economics among attendees and will feature exactly zero Lagrangian calculations.

This talk is somewhat far afield of your standard Derbycon talk—which tends to be either highly technical or advocacy-related—but with luck, the committee will select my paper and I’ll have a chance to present in front of a brand new audience.

April 8, 2014

Wage Suppression

Filed under: Curmudgeonliness, Economics — Kevin Feasel @ 6:00 pm

Steve Sailer has been posting a lot lately about wage suppression, especially in software development and tech recruiters.  The special agreement hiring policy doesn’t quite say what Sailer’s saying, though—the collusion involves managers, not engineers.

On the other side of things, where I think Sailer’s argument is much stronger, we’re getting our annual “We’ve got to increase immigration or else the US will end!” warnings.

April 7, 2014

New Presentation Laptop

Filed under: Computinating — Kevin Feasel @ 6:00 pm

My current presentation laptop is a 2-core machine with (maxed out) 4 GB of RAM.  That’s fine for doing basic work, but was really getting long in the tooth and prevented me from doing more interesting scenarios, like having several virtual machines interacting at once.

As a result, I decided to upgrade.  I ordered an Asus N550-JV-DB72T notebook.  By default, this comes with a slow hard drive and 8 GB of RAM, but I ended up bumping that to 16 GB of RAM and a 250 GB solid state drive.  At this point, my new laptop will be a bit more powerful than my current desktop machine, and will definitely allow me to do more complicated demos.

I might have a full review of the laptop after I receive it, but that won’t be for at least another week or so.

Thoughts on Wrestlemania

Filed under: Our Favorites, Wrestling — Tony Demchak @ 4:37 pm

As a reminder, I haven’t seen the show, just read recaps. Here are my back of the envelope thoughts:

– With one massive exception, the right person won in every match. I’m happy about that. They didn’t go with my predicted Fatal Four Way, but I’m okay with that. Predictions I was right about: Cena, Bryan in the main event, the Shield, the Usos. That’s 50%!

– Sounds like the only genuinely bad match was the Divas bout, which lacked any kind of direction; A.J. winning isn’t what I expected it, but it’s a perfect legitimate finish, if it eventually leads to her getting some serious competition (*cough* Paige *cough*).

– The Shield squashing Kane and the New Age Outlaws was unexpected. No real angle advancement there either; I guess they aren’t going to be breaking up right away.

– The Cesaro face turn (I know this will be solidified tonight on RAW one way or the other) was brilliantly done, and having him pitch Big Show out of the ring to close out the Battle Royal was genius and a great tip of the cap to Hogan-Andre.

– I’ve heard mixed reviews about Cena-Wyatt; Cena winning isn’t the issue, but how he won. Some say he went SuperCena towards the end; others say there was real doubt in Cena’s mind and that he almost cheated. This feud undoubtedly continues, as it damn well should.

– HHH made Daniel Bryan look awesome in the opener, and the main event was pretty good too. As long as Bryan doesn’t drop the belt tonight, it’s all to the good.

 

Okay, the elephant in the room: Brock Lesnar breaking the Streak. Keep a few things in mind: 1) They will never have another Streak, at least not on purpose. Even for Undertaker it was largely accidental. 2) Brock Lesnar is a part timer, who wrestles a handful of matches and makes about 20 appearances. 3) This may well be Undertaker’s match.

All of that said… I don’t get it. You’re giving one of the biggest rubs left in the WWE to a guy who arguably doesn’t need it, and won’t be around very much to use it. Now, the rumor is that it was Taker’s call, and that the plan was for Taker to lose to Brock all along. Okay, fine. I don’t like it, but fine. The fact that Taker got hurt during the match might play a role too; again, that would be entirely logical and I would have no complaints. But if it wasn’t Taker’s call… this is a mind-bendingly dumb decision. It’s the very worst example of a swerve for the sake of a swerve.

I have just enough faith in the WWE that I’m willing to bet this third scenario isn’t the right one. I think the first (it was Taker’s call) is the most likely. I still find it very bizarre, all the same.

April 6, 2014

Mike Williams In Buffalo

Filed under: Sports — Kevin Feasel @ 7:04 pm

The Bills have traded for former Buccaneer Mike Williams.  They gave up a 6th round pick, making this a good risk, but there have been some questions about his relationship with Doug Marrone.

Also, with Williams in, Stevie Johnson might be on the way out.  The Bills won’t gain anything financially by cutting Johnson, however:  they would only get a $25K cap room breather.  Because of that, I am looking forward to Buffalo running out a wide receiver starting lineup which includes Johnson, Williams, and Robert Woods, and also features Marquise Goodwin as a deep threat.  Assuming Williams hasn’t gone off the deep end, this gives EJ Manuel several good receiving targets.

April 5, 2014

Wrestlemania XXX, including predictions!

Filed under: Sports — Tony Demchak @ 12:02 pm

So, Sunday is Wrestlemania XXX. (Do. Not. Think. About. That. Joke. Hulk Hogan!) We have the WWE Network at home, but since I am in Russia, that does me little good. In fact, I’ve watched zero wrestling since August. However, I have been keeping up with things via written recaps, so you may consider the following wild ass guesses to be AUTHORITATIVE wild ass guesses. They will almost certainly add another match or two, unless they don’t. See? AUTHORITATIVE!

Pre-Mania match: The Usos (c) vs Los Matadores vs The Real Americans vs Rybaxel

Likely quality of the match: *** (out of five). The Real Americans (Cesaro and Jack Swagger) and the Usos are fantastic. Los Matadores (Eddie Colon and a cousin of some sort) are good high flyers. Ryback and Curtis Axel are reasonably athletic. A lot depends on the actual rules — if it’s 1 v 1, with people tagging in and out (including the ability for other wrestlers to tag themselves in), it might be a clusterfuck and thus less good, on the whole. None of the wrestlers are actively bad (Ryback might get gassed, but probably not).

Build: *. The tag team division is slipping a bit, and most of this was thrown together at the last minute. Hence, pre-show.

Probable winners: Okay, pro wrestling logic 101 here: faces win on the pre-show, because it’s mostly for the live crowd, and they like it when faces win. That means the Usos or Los Matadores. Eddie Colon’s father is being inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame, so there’s a better than average chance that they’ll win, but the Usos haven’t held the belts for long, and they’re tremendous. Usos retain.

Who I want to win: The Usos, but Cesaro’s Giant Swing launches El Torito (the tiny bull mascot — did you forget this is professional wrestling? — of Los Matadores) into orbit.

Daniel Bryan vs. HHH — winner gets into the main event

Likely quality of the match: ****. HHH has good matches with good opponents, occasionally great matches with great opponents, and average matches with bad opponents. Daniel Bryan is the best wrestler in the WWE, from a purely technical standpoint. However, see my official prediction here in a bit.

Build: *****. It’s the heart and soul of Wrestlemania right now: Daniel Bryan vs. HHH, the evil guy who borked the owner’s daughter and effectively inherited it. The Authority has done everything they can to fuck over Daniel Bryan, and HHH must get his comeuppance. But will he?

Probable winner: This is an incredibly difficult call, believe it or not. There’s no way Daniel Bryan doesn’t win somehow. But how does he win? HHH goes apeshit and beats the bloody piss out of him with a sledgehammer? A wrestling classic for the ages? Tons of outside interference? Who knows? Here’s what I think happens: No contest. Either the match effectively doesn’t happen, or there’s a bunch of ambiguity. Both HHH and Daniel Bryan get into the main event, somehow (double DQ could also work). HHH doesn’t go over Daniel Bryan clean; of that I’m almost positive.

Who I want to win: No contest. The main event, as a Fatal Four Way, would be epic. I’ll talk about why a bit later on. The one thing that can’t happen is a clean win for either HHH or Daniel Bryan, in my eyes. You either cause a possible riot in New Orleans if HHH wins, or diminish the pop later on in the show if Bryan wins. There will be shenanigans of some sort.

New Age Outlaws and Kane vs The Shield (Roman Reigns, Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins)

Likely quality of the match: **1/2. All of the great wrestlers are all on one side (the Shield). Kane is competent, even a bit underrated, but the Outlaws are old as hell (50s for both of them). The Shield will do their damnedest, but I think they’ll come up short.

Build: **. Booking is a bit schizophrenic, because they’ve been teasing The Shield split for a while, and Roman Reigns has a rocket strapped to his ass (with his stablemates equally awesome but not quite as ripped). This also reeks of “thrown together at the last minute match.”

Probable winner: The Shield. They just turned face (as a group), they’ve been consistently outstanding, and the New Age Outlaws are probably done in the next couple of months.

Who I want to win: The Shield. These guys are going places and they need the Wrestlemania moment.

Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal (30 guys I’m not going to list)

Likely quality of the match: ***. It’s a Battle Royal; they’re really hard to screw up and are rarely all time classics.

Build: ***. Driven by Hogan, it’s been built up as kind of big deal on RAW and Smackdown.

Probable winner: The Big Show. Why not book the guy who was unofficially Andre the Giant’s son?

Who I want to win: Wade Barrett. Nobody is predicting him as the winner, and I’m not even sure he’s in the match, but he’s big, tough, and one of my favorite wrestlers. “Bad News” for the rest of the roster, maybe, but Wade Barrett has never had that high profile victory he needed to get to the next level; this could be it.

John Cena vs. Bray Wyatt

Likely quality of the match: ****1/2. John Cena is awesome when motivated, and he should damn well be motivated for this one. Bray Wyatt is by far the more talented son of IRS and amazingly quick for a guy of his stature. Could be the Match of the Night.

Build: *****. Bray Wyatt, along with the Wyatt Family, have gotten the better of Cena and the promos have been amazing. It’s a midcard match that could be a main event on any other card.

Probable winner: John Cena. It is really, really hard to bet against John Cena at Wrestlemania. He’s a great company guy, and will put Wyatt over if asked, but I think this feud continues after Wrestlemania; maybe Cena wins by DQ, but I think he wins.

Who I want to win: Bray Wyatt. I never liked Husky Harris one bit, but sometimes, every once in a while, a character repackaging works out. It’s even reasonably likely.

Undertaker vs. Brock Lesnar

Likely quality of the match: ***. The Undertaker is the Undertaker, but I really have my doubts about his ability to work with Brock Lesnar. Lesnar is an incredible athlete, but for his offense to work, Undertaker needs to take some big bumps. I don’t know if he can.

Build: ***. Paul Heyman has done a great job, but Brock has just not looked like a monster because he hasn’t dominated Taker.

Probable winner: Undertaker. Brock Lesnar can’t win this match. A part timer won’t break the streak.

Who I want to win: Undertaker. See above.

Divas 14 person match for the title

Likely quality of the match: **. I’m feeling charitable. Some of the divas are really talented wrestlers. Most are not. The addition of relative newcomers Summer Rae and Emma will help a lot.

Build: *. Unless Total Divas counts. Then it’s *****.

Probable winner: Okay, the match is a piss break, but actually has the possibility for at least some quality wrestling. Assuming a Total Diva needs to win the belt (and I think it’s all but guaranteed), it almost has to be a Bella doesn’t it?

Who I want to win: I’m going to keep the Total Divas requirement — if I didn’t I’d pick Emma in a heartbeat — but offer a crazy idea: Summer Rae. Apart from Natalya, she’s the best wrestler on the show, easy on the eyes, and has some credibility. You’d need to turn AJ or Summer Rae face for an extended feud (probably Summer), but it might work.

The Main Event: Randy Orton (c) vs. Batista vs. Daniel Bryan and/or HHH

Likely quality of the match: ***. Daniel Bryan is an amazing wrestler. HHH and Randy Orton are very good. Batista is channeling new Hall of Famer Ultimate Warrior in getting gassed really, really quickly. Batista should not have won the Royal Rumble; hell, virtually anybody else would have been a better fit.

Build: ****. The Randy Orton vs Batista vs HHH part of the feud was only recently developed, but the Evolution angle writes itself.

Probable winner: They’ve done a good job making everybody look a possible winner here (except maybe Orton, but hey, he’s the champ after all). Wrestling booking 101 has an obvious answer here: the only face – Daniel Bryan.

Who I want to win: Daniel Bryan.

Who I do not, under any circumstances, want to win: Batista.

Other generic predictions:

RVD will be part of the Battle Royal. He’ll do well, but not so well you’d think he had a chance to win the whole thing.

CM Punk returns in some capacity, or he doesn’t come back in 2014. If Punk is face, he helps Bryan in his initial match; if he comes back as a heel, he screws Bryan over after the title win, somehow. I actually don’t think Punk returns at all, in all honesty, but the possible outcomes of Punk returning are just too good for even HHH to let this one slide.

Sting doesn’t appear in a recognizable form. I’m relatively confident Sting shows up, but he’ll do so very cryptically. How do I know this? A true Sting sighting would get the pop of the night, and I don’t think WWE wants that to go to anyone but Bryan. Maybe the bat and trenchcoat?

 

 

April 4, 2014

Coming up…

Filed under: Where's Poochy? — Tony Demchak @ 11:42 am

Many of you are, no doubt, wondering why I’ve been posting infrequently. It’s because I’m lazy.

Well, not just because I’m lazy. Without the games themselves, it’s hard to write quality reviews of games. (I could go — and have gone — to boardgamegeeks.com, but then I could also just tell you to go to that site and find out 99% of what you need to know yourself.) So, until I get back to the States, that series is postponed.

I do plan on writing at least one post about Wrestlemania XXX, which is coming up this weekend. (Avoid the obvious joke. Here, I’ll help: Hulk Hogan, now in his sixties, is prominently involved with promoting the show. You’re welcome.)

However, I’m also moving to a new room here at the dorm, because reasons, I guess. Both my roommate and I were informed of mysterious “repairs” which require us to move. What is being repaired, why it is being repaired, and when we can return to this room are all unknown. My roommate speculated it’s just to give the room to somebody else, since nothing here is actually broken (except in the way that all old buildings are broken). We are close to the main lobby, so there’s that.

So, I leave for the new room tomorrow, and if the WiFi doesn’t reach the new room (I’m 99% sure it won’t), that will overall reduce my time on the Interwebz. Fair warning: you might be stuck with only Kevin for a while. Kevin the COWARD who will not pick up gauntlets when they are thrown down. Because he’s a COWARD.

April 3, 2014

Clone Wars

Filed under: Television and/or Movies — Kevin Feasel @ 6:00 pm

I just started watching the Clone Wars series recently, once Netflix instant picked it up.  I’m still in the middle of season one, but so far, it’s fantastic.  Because George Lucas had nothing to do with it, the writing is great, and it “feels” Star Wars-y, even if it’s set in a time when Y-wings are the hot new thing.

J.M. Stevenson says what I’m thinking (though I will say that I do like the first season, which makes me all the happier about anticipating season 2) and points out that you’d probably be better off just watching the series than the (generally bad) prequels.

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