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You Look Like I Need a Drink

**Not Quite Web 2.0**

Hacking Vodka into Absinthe

Friday, September 30, 2005

I thoroughly enjoyed the article on Hacking Vodka that was put out nearly a year ago. I don't know why I have not posted this sooner but here is a quick and basic way of hacking regular store bought vodka into absinthe. If you don't know what absinthe is, go here for the wiki. All you need to know is that it has been banned in the US since the early 1900s, long term usage seems to cause some major dementia, that many famous dead people drank it, and that I am going to show you how to make it for about 30 dollars. Now some stores in the US will claim to sell absinthe but it will be missing a key ingredient.

1.)Supplies: Vodka (any will do but better vodka will taste better, or hacked vodka), 1 ounce of liquid wormwood (you can order it here or here ), 1 bag of Jolly Ranchers, 1 glass, and 1 hammer.



2.)Pour a little more than 1OZ of vodka into a glass (waste not, want not- or something like that)




3.)Undo the cap for your wormwood extract (sorry about the blue tape earlier, it was shipped like that.




4.)Pour the contents straight into the vodka bottle.




5.)Take the jolly ranchers and separate the greens from the other colors. Original absinthe obviously did not use jolly ranchers but we don't really need the other herbs as long as we have wormwood. Mostly for aesthetics than for taste (you will see)



6.)Here I am about to hammer the shit out of the jolly ranchers (for a quicker breakdown)




7.)Now just add the pieces of jolly ranchers to the vodka and let it soak up for a nice greenish tint.



My homies and I have used this exact recipe for over 5 years now and none of us have died or gone blind. There are a number of other 'recipes' out there but apprently mixing the wrong amount of ingredients can possibly cause some bad side effects. Before I forget, shout outs to Mike from ouchmyeye.com for the wormwood and awesome site shirts.

digg: this article

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posted by aL, 10:41 PM | link | 4 comments |

Maybe I am a Cam Whore?


All at once I got a bunch of snail mail from some friends. I must thank Kpr for sending me the complete first season of Thundercats which I loved watching as a child but now seems utterly humorous and somewhat sad. This is the reason why I refuse to watch G.I Joes and Transformers. My childhood memories of such wonderful shows will not be tainted by my adulthood. Oh well, at least Kpr also sent me Scrubs Season 1 as well as the Suicide Girls DVD (ahh, girls with tattoos and piercings, what will they think of next?). Anyway, if I got that damn Nokia 770 I was writing about the other day, I do think I would have to send out a pair of my used boxers but in the mean time I will sit and watch 6 DVD's full of Thundercats (Ho!) laughing and crying all at the same time.
Oh, shout outs to Kpr for the DVD's and emergency blanket.

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posted by aL, 5:47 PM | link | 0 comments |

2 Updates

1. The item I was waiting for in the mail has arrived. I will get cracking on my project and should have pics and a tutorial by early Saturday morning. This is going to be a big one, I promise.

2. Our site launch- lifeofstrife.net will be offical as of 10-1-05. We are still taking submission stories on why life sucks so much. Think you can top ours?

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posted by aL, 5:43 PM | link | 0 comments |

Archie McPhee Product Review

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Ok, blogger is working. Let's get this product review up before it crashes again. I ordered the 'cubes' line of toys from Archie McPhee because it reminded me of my office. Six business days later, my box arrived. Here is my 'cubes' set out of the box.



Here is my 'cubes' set after construction (notice the 40 oz in the back).


How nice of them to send me a free poster of 'parasite pals' which is essentially japanesed versions of cute parasites.


Here is the entire contents of the box which includes the 'cubes,' a parasite poster (free), a booklet of recipe cards (free too and also look like recipe cards from the 60s or 70s) and also a nifty catalogue. 40oz not included but necessary for construction of toys.


Overall this is what I rate them.
3.5 out of 5 for product quality (nice but not spectacular. Might have to glue gun some parts together)

4 out of 5 for service and delivery (would have been 3 but they threw in a bunch of freebies).

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posted by aL, 10:16 PM | link | 0 comments |

Blogger Problems With Uploading Pictures

My deepest apologies to those who came back expecting a product review on Archie McPhee. I sat down at my desktop promptly at 10:09AM, dumped the pics from my camera onto a folder on the desktop, cropped the pictures and proceeded to upload them onto blogger. Much to my dismay, they were having some problems and rather than just do a text based review, I figured I would check back in a few hours to upload the pictures. Well I will try again tonight. In the meantime, for your toy fix, go to giantrobot.com

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posted by aL, 4:02 PM | link | 0 comments |

Sleep is Overrated( I think...)

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Sorry for the lag in posts lately, I have been incredibly busy for the new site lifeofstrife.net which is scheduled to launch on Saturday, October 1/05. We are still taking submissions for the official launch so feel free to visit and submit a story. Once that is set and functioning well, I should have more time to catch up here.

In the meantime, I have gotten my Archie McPhee Cubes in the mail (finally) and have taken a number of pictures. Come back tomorrow to see the pics and the product review. In the meantime, I need to get some sleep for work calls early at 2AM.

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posted by aL, 9:33 PM | link | 0 comments |

Headbangers Unite (in Southern Maryland?)

Like most of my other posts, this one also happened while I was driving. Last night, my cell phone rang while I was waiting at a stop light in Southern Maryland. My friend Kai from Hawaii was calling to check in. Out of the corner of my eye, a truck pulled alongside me and started creeping forward even though it was a red light. Rolling down a window, the guy sitting in the truck next to me in the passenger's seat kept glancing at me. Because I was trying to talk to Kai, I didn't pay much attention to the truck next to me. Apparently they wanted my attention because they turned up some awful nu-metal and started headbanging and boucing around in their truck--all while glancing at me to see if I had seen their antics. At this point, a conversation on the phone was nil until I acknowledged the presence of these frat boys so I looked over, and nodded. The guy headbanging in the truck flashed me the devil sign so I gave him the universal sign for 'rock on' as well and that seemed to soothe the savages. At that point, the light turned green and I was able to get back to my call.

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posted by aL, 11:59 AM | link | 0 comments |

So You Hate Your Neighbor's Kid(s)...

Tuesday, September 27, 2005


Ok, for the record I do have a kid so after reading this article, don't harass me with emails about how much I loathe children.

So you happen to have a neighbor who has a kid that annoys you to no end. "What can I do aL?" you ask? Well nothing is a nicer gesture than purchasing a nice toy that a child will love, appreciate and maybe choke on. What a nefarious deed you say, but where can I find such toys? Luckily for you, the US Consumer Product Safety Commission (take a breath now) has done the research for you, collected the data and put up a list of toys you should buy for children you hate (excellent, Smithers...). So what the hell are you waiting for, let's thin the population.

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posted by aL, 4:17 PM | link | 0 comments |

Wealth of Tech Info (quick post)

I still seem to get a bunch of people looking for the Brutus tutorial here as well as a few viewers that are looking up information on Cain and Abel. Today, I wanted to point you to a forum that offers a wealth of information from the n00b to the 1337. If you have not already been to the binrev forums, I highly recommend you give it a look. A lot of major big name hackers/phone phreaks post there on a regular basis with some highly technical information. But even if you are just getting your feet wet, they offer a section of the forums to people just getting into the scene. So give it a look and you might just find yourself hours later wondering what the hell happened to the time passed.

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posted by aL, 11:37 AM | link | 0 comments |

Official Launch set for lifeofstrife.net

Monday, September 26, 2005

The crew and I have set a launch date for lifeofstrife.net. Launch set for Saturday, October 1st/2005 but we are currently taking submission stories on getting screwed by the system or general gripes on why life sucks so damn much. Until our submission page is up, just email us your entry at biggestloser@lifeofstrife.net.

On a side note, I am still awaiting for a mail order (not bride) so that I can finish my next article to digg.com. And my damn office toys (see a post from a few days back) still have not come in. I do have to say that I ordered from interpunk.com the same day I placed an order for those office toys and 2 days later, my shirts were in, so kudos to those people.

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posted by aL, 5:10 PM | link | 0 comments |

Have a Focus Before You Present an Argument

I was driving home from Dulles (VA) this morning and draped over a freeway overpass were two sheets with messages on them. One was a white sheet with the circled 'A' indicating anarchism or anarchy, and the black sheet next to it had the word 'resist' spray-painted on it. Now I will admit that back in highschool, I would doodle the anarchy symbol on my textbooks but really, if you are trying to get a message out to 'resist,' have a fucking clue and express what people are supposed to 'resist.' Maybe I am just getting old and jaded but an unclear sign to me is just another sign.

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posted by aL, 8:53 AM | link | 0 comments |

WiFi Bunnies(Nabaztag)

Saturday, September 24, 2005


Yes, this company has already been slasdotted but I couldn't help not writing about it. A cute and cuddly WiFi sniffing bunny? OK, so it doesn't 'sniff' WiFi (yet) but is WiFi enabled which means a bunny gets to non-verbally communicate the weather, notify you of incoming emails, or other types of news. Featuring flashing lights and moving ears, this litte rascal intends to take internet enabled news hardware to the next level.
What I am looking for however, is when the modders get their hands on this electric bunny come up with some designs of their own. I'm thinking firmware upgrades and turning the cute rabbit into something more functional-like a router. We will have to wait and see. For Nabaztag's (yeah, what a name--couldn't they have gone with SK-056?) flash demo, go here.

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posted by aL, 9:01 PM | link | 0 comments |

Some Interesting Stats For This Site

Friday, September 23, 2005

Before I installed StatCounter a few weeks ago, I thought maybe 10+ people were hitting the site a day. Funny enough, I seem to have more readers than I thought (like 11). But before I go and get more full of myself, let me give StatCounter a quick plug. They are an invisible tracking tool, free for their basic service, very user friendly and incredibly quick to set up. They have a multitude of features including browser trackers, IP logs, keyword lookups and my favorite, link referrers. Now getting onto the heart of the post, here is a basic breakdown of how people are finding this site.

TOP REFERRERS

www.makezine.com/blog/archive/2005/08/diy_coffee_scen.html
(damn, are people still looking this up???)

search.msn.com/results.aspx?q=cracksearcher&FORM=QBRE
see also www.google.com/search?sourceid=navclient-ff&ie=UTF-8&q=cracksearcher
(lots of international pirates looking for Cracksearcher here I might add)

www.ntk.net/ (Need to Know in da hizzle!)

www.dcblogs.com/ (Shout outs to Kob)


INFORMATIONAL LOOKUPS
www.google.com.au/search?hl=en&q=wordlists brutus&meta= see also
timgrigg.co.uk/modules/news/index.php?storytopic=16
(Quick Brutus Tutorial)

digg.com/hardware/Hacking_a_Symbol_Barcode_Scanner_at_Kohls
(self explanatory)


FAVORITE SITE REFERRERS
search.msn.com/results.aspx?q=i hate barney&FORM=QBRE (This one is funny because the title has absolutely nothing to do with the post, but I was drunk as bloody hell and the title was taken from my daughter talking in her sleep)

search.msn.com/results.aspx?q=rubber+maid+kohls&FORM=QBHP
(This cracks me up. Some housewife was probably looking for products at Kohls)

www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=voss sparkling
(Same thing but looking up information on sparkling water)

And my absolute favorite, search.msn.com/results.aspx?q=penis+docking&first=41&FORM=PORE
(Someone who looked up 'penis docking' actually found my site)

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posted by aL, 2:15 PM | link | 1 comments |

If I were a Cam Whore (this is what I would ask for)


I have long since given up the idea that people on the Internet will buy me things based solely on my looks (but why not personality?!). Ever since Sharp release the Zaurus a few years ago, the geek/hacker community has embraced this product as the official Linux based PDA. Irongeek has whole number of tutorials and howtos on installing linux apps on the Zaurus.

Nokia is now entering the game with a non-phone PDA dubbed the Nokia 770. This product is more of a small tablet PC than PDA but the clincher here is that it will run linux on a Debian based OS (how sweet is that?).
Touting built in WiFi capability, 800X400 high res touch screen, supporting audio and video, this thing has great promise. Set release to be 'planned in the 3rd quarter of 2005,' this one is definately on my Christmas list. Now if someone who were obsessed with me wanted to send me one, hell, I will do the honors of sending you my used underwear.

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posted by aL, 1:19 PM | link | 0 comments |

2AM Robots

Thursday, September 22, 2005


I totally forgot to post this yesterday. When I woke up at 2AM to go to work (don't bother asking why), I dragged my sleep deprived body into my truck, turned on a podcast( err-radio show)of Infonomicon and proceeded to drive out to rt 50. Right as I was merging onto the freeway behind a tractor trailer, I noticed that I was looking at a huge picture of Honda's very own robot named Asimo on the back of the trailer. I don't think it was a side effect from sleep loss but I have never seen this ad for Honda's robot during the day.
For a quick video of Asimo running, go here.

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posted by aL, 10:07 AM | link | 0 comments |

Proud and Lousy Parents (a southern maryland thing?)

Wednesday, September 21, 2005


I don't normally post family pictures because of some of the content I post here but damn if this picture of my kid doesn't make me smile, I don't know what will. Pictured here, my 5 year old is at Kmart trying on ski masks.

I took her to the neighborhood playground today after school and she immediately found some other kids to play with. Grabbing a seat, I started scoping out the other parents to see if I knew any. Sitting about 50 feet in front of me were two fat white chicks smoking cigarettes while their multiple spawn roamed the playground with blissful glee. I happened to notice that these fat chicks were so busily engaged in conversation that they didn't even notice one of their 2 year olds bent over the woodchips shovelling wood chips into his mouth. Now I won't claim to be the most responsible parent (as I let my kid watch Shaun of the Dead--only once though), but damn, if you are going to have offspring, at least take fucking care of them. Maybe it's a Southern Maryland thing but I will be damned if I have to stand idly by while my brood (I am stopping at 1 as God had intended) shovels fist-fulls of dirt into her mouth.

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posted by aL, 8:29 PM | link | 1 comments |

In Google We Trust (Right??)

Blind trust is something you should not have when it comes to hardware/software companies or anything in general. I love my 3rd generation iPod but I am kicking myself for not having to wait another 5 months so that my battery life would be improved (now I can only listen to it in the car while charging).

For search engines, I do swear by Google, which is something many people do. With them branching out to other services like gmail, maps, messengers, web accelerators (and Blogger).

I have to say that they are trying to become a one-stop shop on the net. This means that if you use their services regularly, although free, they are building up information about your browsing habits, where you like to go on the net and *ping, your IP address. This is not innovating or new but how much anonymity are you willing to have now? Gmail service so far is great (although I hear that the next Yahoo email is one step up on Google), but did you know that Google pulls words from your emails and bases the ads on the page from YOUR emails? And if you have a Google toolbar, you can erase your search history BUT if you are logged onto your Gmail account and do a search in another tab/window or fail to logout, all of those searches for dirty butt pr0n will show up under your next search when logged onto your Gmail. Fishy if you ask me.

Now with their release of Google Secure Access Installer, Google claims that all of your wifi traffic will be encrypted, sent to their servers which will give you the what you are looking for and then encrypted and sent back. I have downloaded it and use my laptop wirelessly more often than not, but I think I will sit and wait a few weeks until I hear a little more about this aplication. If you don't remember what a disaster their Web Accelerator was consider yourself lucky. If you get one thing from this article, get that just because you hear a familiar name or a name everyone trusts, don't blindly be a lemming too. Think for yourself and decide whether or not something is good based on your needs and not what everyone else thinks.

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posted by aL, 11:55 AM | link | 0 comments |

Check Your Certifications (digg.com is hiring)

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Like thousands of others, I am addicted to digg.com. It seems that because of their rapid growth, they are now expanding their staff. Here are some of the necessary qualifications needed to apply.

'Title: MySQL DBA
Location: San Francisco, CA
Type: Full-time

Experience:
* 4+ years experience in MYSQL on a high load/volume website
* Advanced knowledge of database design and SQL
* Administering of InnoDB and MyISAM table types
* Experience with MYSQL replication
* Experience with multi-master clustering (HA) a plus
* Experience with MYSQL performance tuning and optimization. (query optimization, index tuning, caching and buffer tuning)
* Experience with backup and recovery process
* Strong knowledge of Linux
* Knowledge/experience creating automated reports using python/perl/php a plus
* Strong knowledge of Apache a plus
* BS/MS in Computer Science or related field'

For the full detailed list including contact information, go here

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posted by aL, 9:34 PM | link | 0 comments |

Quickly Setting a Browser Icon For Your Site (URL Icon)

One of the quirks of setting up a site is knowing the right terms or lingo. For our new site (which will be launched shortly), one of the things we wanted to do was create a custom icon on the browser bar. Having set up webpages years ago and moving onto learning more about hardware, when it came back to setting an icon, I tried in vain viewing the page source and scrolling through lines of code attempting to figure out the right line for a browser icon. So I went to google and did a quick search and found that setting an icon for your site can be done quick and painlessly. Here is a quick overview.

1.)Resize your .jpg or .gif icon to 16X16

2.)Save the name of your icon to favicon (must be this name)

3.)Download IrfanView. Open your favicon and save it as .ico

4.)'Place the favicon.ico file in the 'root' directory on your
web server (where your main index page is)'

BAM! Now was that easy or what? Suppose you don't have a web server? Well there are other ways of getting that icon on your page. This site has some pretty good information on it.
There is your 1 minute tip of the day.

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posted by aL, 3:20 PM | link | 0 comments |

Another Quick Random Update

The new site I have been working on with the crew should be up within the next 3 weeks. We are currently working out some of the kinks but will let the word out about the launching of the new site.

The DIY article I am working on this month is currently on pause as I am waiting for one key ingredient in the mail. Expect some posts later today.

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posted by aL, 9:57 AM | link | 0 comments |

Failing in College

Monday, September 19, 2005



I don't go to college anymore but this site sure did bring back some fond memories of those test taking days.

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posted by aL, 8:32 PM | link | 0 comments |

Photoshop Tips and Help

I spent most of my weekend on a new project site that should be launched shortly. I ended up spending quite a few hours playing with Adobe Photoshop CS2 as well as Adobe Illustrator. As it has been a few years since I needed to really manipulate an images, it took a little while to get used to. Luckily, I have been using it for enough years where much of the imaging process comes back naturally. I will be quick to say however, that I am no photoshop guru and there are tons of different tools and things you can do with Photoshop that I can't even touch on. Here are some good links for Photoshop tips, help and tutorials.

www.adobe.com/products/tips/photoshop.html
www.photoshopsupport.com/tutorials/cs2-photoshop-9.html
www.mccannas.com/pshop/menu.htm (This one is a little older but some good reading and highly user friendly).
www.photoshopcafe.com/tips.htm
posted by aL, 10:25 AM | link | 2 comments |

Southern Maryland Drunk Drivers

Sunday, September 18, 2005


I was driving home last night in Southern Maryland and not out of ther norm, I realized I was either following someone that was sleepy or drunk. I have come to realize that there are basically two types of drunk drivers: the drunk driver who thinks that he/she is a good driver but is all over the road, and the drunk driver that is actually quite good at driving while intoxicated.

So this guy was drifting onto the rumble strips, weaving back and forth crossing the lanes and just being a dumbfuck. A few minutes later, a policeman pulled up beside me. I passively watched the cop follow alongside the weaving car, then pull up in front of me right behind the drunk driver. At this point I was sure the cop was going to flash some lights and pull the drunk driver over as the guy was still all over the road. But no, the cop must have been too busy because it got over another lane and left. What a fucking system...

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posted by aL, 12:16 PM | link | 0 comments |

Archie McPhee Toys (not sex toys you deviates)

Friday, September 16, 2005


I am not a crazy toy collector, but when I saw these cubicle life figures, I had to order some. For the actual site, go to www.mcphee.com/. After I get them in the mail, I will have to do 2 things.

1.)Re-enact my office down to the conversations about different places to eat.

2.)Re-enact the movie Office Space.

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posted by aL, 10:22 AM | link | 0 comments |

Broads Who Talk Too Much...


Before I alienate all one or two of my female readers, this also applies to guys who have diarrhea of the mouth. Back when I was living in Hawaii, my mom had a friend over for dinner every so often (whom shall be referred to as C). This lady was about 10 years older than me and in some way not a blood relative but a family friend. I don't know how your family eats dinner but in my Chinese family, we eat and then get the fuck on with whatever we need to do. Some polite chatter is always present, but not a necessity.

I recall one night when C came over for dinner. After the food was served, we all began to eat except for C. She started talking about how she liked the buses in Hawaii except that certain ones had certain problems. I promptly tuned her out and started eating my dumplings. Five minutes later, I looked up and realized that my mom had a sour expression because she was forced to engage in conversation with C (because the rest of us didn't bother paying attention and were busy stuffing our mouths). Anyway C went on to how she liked the designs of the new bus passes and seriously would not shut the hell up. Much later, I found out that my mom had that look on her face because she wanted to eat and was unable to because C was talking so much.

When I left the island, I thought I would only maybe have to deal with C when I went back to Hawaii on holidays but much to my dismay, my mother told me that C will be visiting an uncle in the DC area later this month. C has already called me twice and I have luckily chosen to not answer her. Both times, the messages have been about 3 minutes long which could have been easily whittled down to 30 seconds of actual information (not unlike this post). I was thinking maybe if she were a little more pleasing to the eye, I might consider calling her back right away and then decided she could be hot as balls and I would still not call her just because of her incredibly irritating personality. I do feel a little bad but damn, some people need to learn to shut the fuck up once in awhile.

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posted by aL, 10:01 AM | link | 0 comments |

Robot Obsession...

Thursday, September 15, 2005


What is it with mankind's obsession with creating robots to do our bidding? I have to say that ever since I was a young lad, the Transformers show took me to a wonderful place in my imagination that one day, I too would be able to create an evil robot to do my immature deeds. Now that I am much older, I still secretly harbor these once delusional fantasies. The only difference is that now technology is moving toward actual robots. Have you seen Sony's QRIO? Shit, still not convinced? What about Honda's ASIMO? Granted, the technology still needs some fixing, upgrades and a market before they become mainstream but the time is not too far off. Now what about robots to help us with utilities? The picture here is the world's largest digging machine (I think it has a dock for the Millenium Falcon).



Now this fascinating article from Nation Geographic describes how the scientists at Cornell University have created a self reproducing robot. I don't have the time to get into nano-technology but combine that with a self reproducing robot and you have yourself some instant military funding.
I really have to get going. Guess I will grab the laptop, iPod, palm pilot, digital camera, and cell phone until I can get a snazzy robot butler or maybe sexy robo-maid to grab my gadgets for me.

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posted by aL, 3:00 PM | link | 0 comments |

Trailer Trashed...


Nothing says 'I abhor your existence' more than a hate filled sign. This picture was taken back when I was working in Arlington and had to ride the Metro. Sometimes on my lunch breaks, I would take a walk through the older but extremely high priced homes. Call it trashy, lacking class or whatever you want but there are ways of getting back at bad neighbors in which it doesn't reflect a negative image on your credibility and make you look like a redneck hick sitting on the porch shining an old shotgun.

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posted by aL, 12:24 PM | link | 1 comments |

So You're Still Looking for CrackSearcher eh???

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Due to the overwhelming requests for where to find CrackSearcher, I did a little research as it is no longer hosted by Kaspar (phone number is...-hey Kaspar, look, you're on Google again!). Anyway, I did manage to find a site hosting it, but for how long I am not sure. Well folks, here you go: www.eyghon.org/modules.php?name=Downloads&d_op=viewdownload&cid=4
and here is another site hosting CrackSearcher: qqsoftware.xs4all.nl/software/software.htm

Hopefully that satisfies you people. Also, I cannot guarantee the validity or legal ramifications from using such software so run a virus scan on it before running the .exe file (as you always should).

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posted by aL, 2:35 PM | link | 3 comments |

Voss Sparkling Water (Nectar of Norse Gods)

Tuesday, September 13, 2005


I was in the local neighborhood liquor store over the weekend (surprise surpise!) and while scanning for brew with pirates on the labels (don't ask why), I happened to glance over to a new display. There, like a shining beacon, my attention was drawn to a strange bottle. At that point I wasn't sure if it even had alcohol in it, but just that I needed to have it. Call it All-American consumerism greed but this tall, clear bottle called Voss beckoned to me like some some hot mermaid luring seamen to their deaths. Boldly claiming to be the purist drinking water, I knew that my $3.99 would be well spent. Hell, to be honest, I don't even drink bottled water that often as water from my tap will do just fine. But this tall glass bottle is what caught my eye and now it is sitting on my DVD shelf collecting dust, albeit pretty Norway attracted dust. Needless to say, if they were selling ass-juice in that bottle, I would probably have still bought it for the bottle. I don't know what I will do with this bottle. I had thought maybe I will get some formaldehyde and shove a freshly dead animal in it or something. Ideas?

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posted by aL, 8:42 PM | link | 2 comments |

Stupid Signs for Stupid Managers (which trickles down to stupid employees)

Monday, September 12, 2005


I took this picture the day I was at Kohls hacking their Symbol Barcode Scanner. I thought it would be funny to photoshop a picture of Molly Shannon saying, "Superstar!" but I am too lazy and the more that I think about this sign, the more I am disgusted at what employers will do in attempting to boost employee morale.

Would I be happy if I had my picture up as Employee of the Month? Hell no, would you? It's not like they are paying you a bonus or giving you more stock options. What they are really doing is giving you a free reward so you will stay loyal to the company. Think of a parent giving a child a piece of candy to chew on during church so the child will shut the fuck up allowing the beaming parents to display what a good, quiet (emphasis on the word 'quiet') and well behaved child they have. Now going back to the big picture, A Superstar of the month gets to park 10 feet closer to the door (wow, I really get 10 whole feet?), and gets to be hated by other co-workers who have less drive (and no spiffy sign for where they park their car). I digressed there as it was not a look at the forest but merely the trees. But take a step back and look what it does for the company.
They get loyal employees for offering a fucking piece of asphalt for their worker bees to park their piece of shit cars, or put up their ugly mugs (faces) on poorly constructed poster boards proudly displaying Employee of the Month. Remember that unfortunately business is business, and that no matter how much you think your work loves you, think a little more before they dangle a carrot in front of your nose and that no matter how charming, handsome, pretty or slutty you are, you can be replaced in a wink if need be. They will pay you as little as they can but don't let them buy your loyalty with a fucking moronic sign or small billboard.

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posted by aL, 12:58 PM | link | 0 comments |

Old Skool Technology (Ellison Die Cut)

Sunday, September 11, 2005


So I was helping Liz out at her work (she is a public school teacher) and when she asked if I could assist her in making some die cuts of letters, I stood there with my eyebrows raised trying to decipher her cyptic speech. Seeing that I did not follow her train of thought, she told me to go upstairs to and take a look at their Ellison Die Cut Machines. Awaiting upstairs was an archaic levered machine that I had never met. Seeing that there was no Cat5 cable plugged in the back, or power source, I used my incredible brain power to deduce that this machine was hand operated. The picture above is the machine that is basically a large press that appplies force downward when the handle is pulled down. Now let's move onto the next picture.


The woodblock on the left has a design (not unlike a cookie cutter shape) and is encased in rubber foam. Paper is put under the rubber foam and when pushed down by the lever, pressure is applied, pushing the metal insert (think cookie cutter) past the rubber foam and onto your piece of paper under the woodblock.


Make sure the woodblock is facing the rubber foam side down and the woodgrain on the top.


Pump the lever up and down a few times to press the woodblock onto the paper 'cutting' the print out onto the paper. If the paper is more than 1 sheet thick, apply more pumps to the lever.



Look Ma! I got me some shamrocks! Not exactly on par with lazer cuts now but then again most schools won't drop big bucks for something like that. These machines seem to get the work done and damn, I had a good time making turkey, shamrock and snowmen cuts.

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posted by aL, 6:10 PM | link | 2 comments |

How to Keep Track of Your Drinks (when on a binge)

Saturday, September 10, 2005


I am not divulging a secret here that is not widely common but something you or your friend may not know about, or didn't bother to think about. This trick works well when not at a bar but more at a house setting where beer is flowing from coolers or behind a personal bar.
Ok basically, there have been many a night where I will kick back some drinks with the homies and later on in the night regret how much I have drank, but am unable to determine exactly how much booze I had consumed. I don't recall where I heard of this trick but when drinking a beer, remove the tab on the can or save the bottle cap (if it is from a bottle) and keep it in a pocket. Do this with every beer you drink and when you want to see how much you have consumed, you have a concrete visual on the beer meter.

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posted by aL, 11:58 PM | link | 0 comments |

Dawning Realization(updated since 9/12)

So it's been awhile since I went to look at my site's traffic log. Apparently MAKE had me listed for my article on making your own coffee scented car freshner and I didn't even know. Much thanks goes out to them.

I was also wondering why I was getting a bunch of traffic from the UK. As I found out, I have also been noted on Need To Know. Go check out their site, Cheers!
I should have another DIY article by the end of the month which has to do with booze so check back.

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posted by aL, 12:56 PM | link | 0 comments |

Bordello Kind of Guy


I just realized that I have not posted much about music lately. I also have not been to a show recently but that has more to do about saving up on the funds as well as not having the desire to see any of the bands that have come through. I have caught wind however, that a number of bands will be playing a free concert on the Mall at the Nation's Capital at the end of the month which includes a few acts such as The Bouncing Souls and Anti-Flag so I will be attending that. Besides, who can argue with free?

Gogol Bodello is featured today. Hailing from New York City, the kings of their self created genre of 'gypsy punk,' are now getting more exposure by playing on the Warped Tour. Immigrants from Russia and Eastern Europe, they have created a blend of gypsy bohemian culture to punk music forming a unique sound that is catchy, loud and surreal. In some ways it's like listening to Serj(from System of a Down) belt out musings if he were in love with the color purple. Outfitted with the usual instruments and combined with an accordian, back up Asian women that bang on drums and have cues to scream and fall backward, it is almost a production of some strange European circus act. Strangely enough the music works well, and is like a foreign (but not so foreign it is unacceptable) treat to the ears. Even to those who do not particularly favor punk music, Gogol Bordello is a band that might just change your opinion. Give them a listen and if you are lucky enough, go see them live.

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posted by aL, 8:19 AM | link | 0 comments |

Online Profiles Rule

Thursday, September 08, 2005



I have been trying in vain to get a friend to set up a profile on eharmony.com. I think it would be awesome to set my friend up with a tongue-in-cheek profile with different people administering it. It would be like the modern day version of Cyrano De Bergerac except that my friend does not have a huge honking nose. Shit, sounds like I am digging myself in a hole here but the intention is to have him hook up with an hottie through an online dating service and document the different steps while sitting in the background offering my sound advice. We'll see if he cracks and lets me put up a profile. I will keep you updated.

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posted by aL, 5:39 PM | link | 3 comments |

SS Kazaa is Sinking...

Wednesday, September 07, 2005


They days of Kazaa's file sharing is almost up. Now completely riddled with spyware, malicious script, trojans and an assortment of other nasties, the future for Kazaa does seem grim. Also do not forget that the MPAA and RIAA is constantly on Kazaa lurking and waiting for users to download hot copies of movies, music and software. Do you want to get slapped on the wrist with a 3 thousand dollar lawsuit for downloading the new Backstreet Boys album? And yes, there is a multitude of ways around the MPAA and RIAA finding you but today I am not going to tell you how (if you don't already know). Currently, I am severly sleep deprived at the moment and am stuck waiting outside for my Toyota to be fnished so I can go home and sleep like the dead(notice I used the word 'like' and not 'with'). If you have any qualms about stealing software or music don't want to be caught, here is an easy solution. DON'T do it. If it seems sketchy, leave it alone. There are my words of advice. Now I am going to go back in and see if I can't find me a chair.

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posted by aL, 10:31 AM | link | 0 comments |

Dazed and Somewhat Confused..

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

First off, thanks to everyone that went to digg my article on hacking Symbol barcode scanners. Well it still appears that my article (even after 35+ diggs) still has not made it to the front page while other submissions have been posted to the front page after 20+ diggs. I read somewhere it also has to do with some algorithms. Oh well, at least it got some exposure.

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posted by aL, 7:19 PM | link | 0 comments |

Hacking a Symbol Barcode Scanner at Kohls

Monday, September 05, 2005

I was meandering around a Kohls Department store in Baltimore the other day and happened to notice their new spiffy barcode scanner kiosks located in different sections of the store. After letting my daughter scan a few random things, I looked over and happend to notice that under the screen were 4 grey unmarked buttons. Realizing that I might be able to pull up an interface, I started pushing some button combinations. For the sake of the article, I will call the buttons 1,2,3,4 (reading from left to right) as they are unmarked. I also took note that the scanner was made from a company called 'Symbol' and stored that information for later use.

From the main screen which tells you to scan an item to verify its price, I tried a sequence of buttons in rapid succession but didn't come up with much. I finally tried holding random buttons down for a few seconds and lo and behold a different screen popped up. Holding down buttons 1,3 and 4 for about 2 seconds, I was greeted with a very familiar blank screen with a crosshair asking me to recalibrate with a stylus (hrmm, Palm OS??). Well luckily for them, I left my Palm Tungsten (haven't used it for ages now) at home so I wasn't able to do anything at this point. I decided to try and see if I could find any other key commands.




From the recalibration screen, I held down buttons 3 and 4 and was sent back to the main page asking me to scan an item BUT this time I was rewarded with a QWERTY keyboard onscreen labeled 'input panel.' Cursing the gods for not having a stylus, I was dragged away to look at womens' clothes (not by choice mind you).




I was able to spend a few seconds and minutes on the other Symbol kiosks at the store (about 5) and found that 4 of them would immediately send me to the stylus recalibration screen when holding down the 1,3 and 4 buttons but one kiosk refused to do so. I was also not able to duplicate the main screen + QWERTY except on one kiosk. Looks like I will have to make another trip out there with a stylus very soon. If anyone has information on this, I would love to hear it.

*Digg this article*

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posted by aL, 10:34 AM | link | 3 comments |

Flattering, or Just Plain Gross...

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Here is something my friend Nell sent me. You decide whether it is flattering or just plain gross. I personally think it is as flattering as a gay guy hitting on a straight male flattering. Anyway here goes:

so let me set up the scene... I'm waiting at the bus stop, and i have my headphones on blaring ministry's land of rape and honey (ah the classics) and this kid... okay well maybe he's around 17-20, pimply, glasses, wearing a blue shirt, and those basketball jersey shorts, but get this, he's got a hard on... that's right a 5 inch boner coming right at me!.. and he's just standing there in front of me.

so i take off my headphones figured he had asked me something and didn't realize i couldn't hear him...
"does this bus go to eat or westlake?"
"uh... westlake, well it depends on where you're going. it doesn't go to the mall" (where else is he planning on taking his "buddy"?)
so on goes the headphones. he's pacing and stops.
"is this bus always late?"
"yup. usually" (trying my best to talk to his eyes)
i'm thinking is he trying to copy Jackass with the dildo down the pants? did someone put him up to this? should i say something like "sweety, you got something you wanna tell me?" or wait for the bus driver to say "uh you can't board if you've got that" and on go the headphones again... but then... THEN!!! he plops on right next to me...
he stands up walks a bit and stops in front of me AGAIN!
"about how long does is the bus ride"
"not too long" (now i'm getting agitated, dude! there are reasons for the headphones)
just then i notice the bus (yay! never been so happy to see the bus) and all of a sudden he's got a green sweater over his weiner and i hear over the music "sorry i didn't know"

so what the hell?! should i be utterly grossed out or be extremely flattered?! i mean he couldv'e hung things off it! how could he not feel it?! can't you feel that?! JESUS CHRIST!!!

and that's my story for you. ta da!

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posted by aL, 5:47 PM | link | 2 comments |

My FM Station Got Hijacked and Pwned!


Yesterday as I was driving through College Park listening to This Week in Tech on my ipod, my podcast was suddendly overtaken by System of a Down blaring through my car. Well I love me some System of a Down so it wasn't a problem but I was slightly annoyed that I would have to pause the podcast I was listening to so I could wait until I was out of range of the other person running an iTrip in his/her car next to me. Basically, in order to listen to my ipod in my car, I need to add an iTrip which transmits its signal to an FM station. Because the default station is left at 87.9 (which most stations will not broadcast at), you have your own radio station within a 30 feet radius (or so the specs say). The problem is with the influx of people purchasing this product and driving in densely populated areas, signals will often get interfered. I am going to fix this problem so it never happens again.

Have a good long weekend.

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posted by aL, 10:08 AM | link | 0 comments |

New Article and New Gripe

Thursday, September 01, 2005


Fucking bloody hell. I was just finished listening to John Dvorak complain about blog spam and after coming home from a nice Italian dinner, find my first encounter with this shit.

On a side note, I just got my latest article submitted at www.dreamlogic.net . Go here to view my article.

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posted by aL, 7:58 PM | link | 5 comments |

Link of the Day


I am kind of in a surly mood and I am not quite sure why. Anyway, today's link is The Hacker's Choice:THC. They've got some pretty good papers on exploits and also have some exploits written in C that you can take a look at.

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posted by aL, 5:31 PM | link | 2 comments |