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You Look Like I Need a Drink

**Not Quite Web 2.0**

Practically Anonymous (setting up Tor on Firefox)

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Tor has come a long way since its inception at DARPA. A basic (very basic) overview for those unfamiliar, is a more secure way of using the internet by hiding amongst 'virtual tunnels' over many servers. The overview (accompanied with pictures) helps visualize the onion routing. The end result is a new IP, and more secure, less traceable digital footprints on the net. Combine Tor with Privoxy (for managing those cookies while on the Tor NT and also to keep from leaking DNS requests). But all this is no good if Tor is a beast to set up and from the get go, it honestly was more for the geekier crowd. With the new builds ( and, using Tor on Firefox is now a snap. I decided to give the new version a try so I went to download the latest version.
Using Firefox, there was already an extension built in that allowed me to toggle on and off of the Tor circuit. I downloaded the extension here, installed it and then rebooted Firefox. I started Tor, then Privoxy and then ran Firefox. On the lower right hand bottom of my browser (right above the task bar) sat a 'Tor Disabled' button that toggled to 'Tor Enabled' when clicked.
Going with a more visually pleasing check (as opposed to the 'cmd' prompt), I pulled up GeoTool and indeed my connection was now bounced to Ohio.


posted by aL, 9:17 PM | link | 2 comments |

No Itchies From New Tattoos

My last tattoo (much smaller in size) gave me a wild itching sensation like some ill gotten STD from a woman you thought was short but the next morning realized was truly a midget. I think it was day 3 or 4 when the newly inked tattoo was nearly the equivalent of seared flesh but in form of itching. This time, with my new ambigram tattoo I decided to try a different skin revitalizing lotion. Wanting to keep it sterile and non infected, I went with Vanicream (yeah yeah, I know it sounds like some feminine hygeine product) but the reason I chose this over what the tattoo parlor gave me last time (some mucky semi-translucent gel) was that Vanicream is free of dye, perfume, fragrance, lanolin and most importantly, formaldehyde.
Night one was the worst and I applied the Vanicream over the new tattoo religiously all night on the hour. Day two, my flesh was on the mend and a drastic transformation took place where the tattoo had been set. No raised bumps, or itching. I am up to day 4 now and a regular coat of the Vanicream has kept me from even thinking about possible itches. A new cure? Or maybe just an old one I never heard about.


posted by aL, 9:01 PM | link | 3 comments |

Pirate Radio (not mine)

My commute from Virginia through DC and to Maryland has few perks. Four years ago, when FM transmitters were just starting to saturate the market, I could pick a random station, plug a FM trasmitter into an MP3 Player (Nomad Jukebox at the time) and have my portable music with me at all times. Times sure have changed and now when I use my 3rd Gen iPod with iTrip left at the default 87.9 frequency, I will occasionally pick up other people's transmitted tunes clashing violently with my own. That comes with the territory. Yes, I have read numerous accounts of 'hacking your iTrip,' but that frequency clashing is not all the frequent (until now). I have found a steady pirate radio station on 87.9 in-bewteen the underpass tunnels from 395 to New York Avenue. In this section, my iTrip gets pwned and I am forced to listen to mindless drivel for about 3 minutes. Griping aside, I guess I could sit here and complain or do something about it.


posted by aL, 8:50 PM | link | 0 comments |

Spongecell (watch your back)

Monday, April 17, 2006

A little over 2 months ago, Spongecell launched, boasting a AJAX calendar with the platform based on Ruby on Rails. What does that earful mean? A fancy looking calendar that ought to shock and awe you, enticing you to use their service as an online planner that you and your friends (if you have any) can set your church burning schedules to. Joking aside, I was itching to give this a try at the release but somehow, my tumultuous life is more or less maintained in my head and I don't usually have much need for a calendar, let alone an online calendar (my Palm Tungsten collects more dust than a hand knitted seasonal sweater made by a farsighted in-law). But with the advent of popularity of online based calendars: 30 Boxes, CalendarHub, HipCal and Planzo to name a few, I figured it would not pain me so to sign up with an account with Spongcell to see what all the fuss was about. I rolled up my sleeves and signed in, greeted by some helpful hints on what Spongecell was capable of.

Filling out some basic events was a snap, although I did notice some lag time in saved events to when they actually showed up on the weekly calendar. Not a huge drawback as navigation was easy (as it should be-it's a freakin calendar-not programming in Fortran!). The options set were pretty standard but did allow the choice of being viewed by 'friends' or set to private (which might come in handy with the church burning thing mentioned earlier).

After setting a few mundane tasks, I decided to see what further options were allowed. As afore mentioned, pretty much standard calendar options. Nothing much over Outlook or Thunderbird but then again that is somewhat comparing midgets to dwarves. My overall view of Spongecell was that it was pretty and quite functional but perhaps not something I would use on a regular basis given my many options to choose from. Something that the infamous Google has over them is the integration of GMail with their Calendar. If that isn't the ol 1-2 combination to sites like SpongeCell, I don't know what is? But I am rooting for them as they offer a decent product that will hopefully develop more as time allows and maybe they too will one day be acquired like the folks at Writely.


posted by aL, 10:07 PM | link | 1 comments |

Against Me! @ Nations

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Against Me! opened up for Alkaline Trio at Nations in DC last week. I was slightly apprehensive about going to a show where Against Me! was opening, as they normally headline but we got in free via the guestlist so I could not refuse the offer. However, the Alkaline Trio fans were there in full force and I reckon that 1/3 of the people using Myspace were at the show (ok, I jest). Against Me! started promptly at 8pm blasting into songs from their latest album, as well as adding some of the older crowd favorites (Pints of Guinness, Rice and Bread). The crowd of which maybe consisted of 200+ people packed in the front while the Trio fans, deathly underage and staring forlornly at the open bars hung out back, on the other levels, or trickled in late. Against Me! also did a mock jam session at the end of the song 'Turn Those Clapping Hands Into Angry Balled Fists' which went over quite well. The only big complaint from me was the audio was slightly skewed and the PA come out sounding somewhat tinny.

After their set, we walked to the front of the club where it was rather empty and hung out and had a few drinks while waiting for Tom to finish up. Liz had brought a sweat shirt laden with buttons that Tom's mom had made for Liz back when they were kids. No sooner had the guys from Against Me! started strolling through the club was when we suddenly had an exponential growth of friends. I guess it would be a blessing and a curse to have rabid fans (will never find out as a blogger) but eventually the ass kissing got to be too much for Tom so we headed backstage to hang out. All in all, it was a pretty good night.


posted by aL, 12:07 PM | link | 4 comments |

How to Fold a Mattress Cover (for the XY's)

Sunday, April 09, 2006

As a guy, folding my mattress cover after laundry day was quite a chore. With the corners and flaps sticking out, I used to just roll the mattress cover up under my arm in a ball and that was that. Today, I will share with you other clueless mattress folders how it can be done easily and quickly.
Step 1: Lay your mattress cover flat and pinch the corners until you have a rectangular shape. The mattress cover should resemble some odd looking elongated donut.

Step 2: Bring your pinched corners together but do not line them up.

Step 3: Here is the tricky part. With the pinched corners next to each other, take the bottom corner and slide it under the pouch of the top corner.

Step 4: If you have followed the instructions so far, your mattress cover should look something like this. If it looks slightly sloppy, do not fear, for we still have a few more steps and in the end you will have bragging rights.

Step 5: Now fold as you would normally fold. Those sneaky mattress cover flaps don't stand a chance.

DONE! Quite painless I must admit. Shout outs to Liz for showing me this trick.

*this post via Lifehacker!


posted by aL, 10:31 AM | link | 115 comments |

The Tragic Flaw Theory (the unicorn girl does not exist)

AK0808 writes:*What is the Tragic Flaw Theory (TFT)?

In essence, a tragic flaw is the one glaring flaw you find in a potential partner that keeps you from pursuing that person. A tragic flaw is not always based on physical deformities such as a severed appendage, a glass eye or malformed baby sized arm on an adult. A tragic flaw is not always revealed quickly as the flawee may already be aware of the flaw and attempt to mask it.
Tragic Flaw Theory states that in every ideal partner, there will always be one all encompassing reason why a relationship with this person will never work.

1337 Sl4x0r writes:*If TFT exists, then why are so many people married and in love?

People are willing to overlook the shortcomings of their partners based on various reasons. The number one reason is that the tragic flaw has not yet been identified. Have you ever heard the term 'ignorance is bliss?' Truth of the matter is that there is no 'Unicorn Girl' (will be explained shortly) and that humans are full of flaws and more willing to bypass the cracks in a mate's personality or physical aspects and settle. But deep down underneath those lint caked toenails lurks the deadly infection of ideas. 'Would I love her more if she had bigger boobies?' 'Would he be the one if he could keep a job?'

drkmatter writes:*Tell me more about Unicorn Gril (sic).

You bloody wanker, we are not talking about outdoor cooking machines here. 'Unicorn Girl' is a term dubbed by my associate kpR who states that not unlike a mythological siren or extremely attrative equine with one horn, the perfect woman simply does not exist. Like a unicorn, it is only fantasy.

IF UG=True, then unicorns, leprechauns, and menehunes exist as well.
IF UG=False, then TFT=True, as there is no perfect partner.
Case Study:
*Study (a)'s tragic flaw was an inability to carry on simple mundane conversations. Study (a) would have made up sexually for being such a lackwit, but the tragic flaw kept study (a) from being in a stable relationship.
*Study (b)'s tragic flaw is the inability to tell the truth. Although not a pathological liar, by fabricating too many false stories, the partner eventually caught on to some descrepancies in logic and in the timeline.
*Study (c)'s tragic flaw is errant and unpredictable behavior. Gang bangs and meth binges aside, study (c) suffers from clinical depression and is prone to wearing clown costumes while vacuuming the garage.
*Study (d)'s tragic flaw is simply, nagging. Study (d)'s nagging has driven a former partner to drinking and months of unabashed silence.

John911 writes:*Thank you for the overview of TFT. Are you really a scientist and are the case studies real?

The case studies are indeed factual and were tested on barnyard animals in a rural Pennsylvanian town. TFT is verified beyond all doubt.


posted by aL, 8:22 AM | link | 4 comments |

Spoof that MAC Address (on Windoze)

Saturday, April 08, 2006

You can change your MAC address on your network card using DevCon and diving through your registry to: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Class\{4D36E972-E325-11CE-BFC1-08002BE10318}.

I will agree however, that not everyone is totally keen on registry editing. A simple tool by the KLC Consulting, Inc dubbed SMAC will allow you to spoof your MAC address to another MAC-48 address. Why would you do this you ask? Think Mac filtering on NT's, more anonymity, and for the sake that it was not intened to be done.
Here is another screencap of my spoofed physical address. As such, the last time I downloaded SMAC, I was given a shareware version where the spoofed address was already set and in order to dictate my own address, I had to pay for a full registered version. Lucky for you, I still have a legal copy of SMAC 1.1 (older version but has been working for me for years now) which allows you to spoof away without software restrictions. Enjoy.


posted by aL, 9:25 AM | link | 0 comments |

DIY Lasik is 1337

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

At 10:24PM, I went to log into Digg and interestingly enough found an entry on a DIY Lasik kit. I wasn't about to check the link but because funny enough I was was just talking to a hot co worker about Lasik today and strangely enough the amount of diggs happened to be at 1337 diggs, it was pre-ordained that I needed to see the site. I must say the cartoon illustrations completely sold me on at least attempting to purchase the product. As seeing as I need some touch up being that it has been at least 5 years since my first Lasik treatment (honestly it was painless and quick with the aid of drugs), I proceeded to the checkout cart not really intending to purchase a modified pen lazer. But to no avail the order form was a no go. Oh well, April Fool's day came a little late but was amusing none the less.


posted by aL, 10:36 PM | link | 0 comments |

Orbox B and a Reason for Down Time

Monday, April 03, 2006

*Feel free to skip the rant and just click on the linked screenshot

Just when I was starting to sleep peacefully without the aid of over the counter medication, herbal remedies (not referring to weed), or plain old booze, my somewhat tumultuous personal life had to kick in (once again) and rear its ugly 3 headed beast of a cluster fuck magnet. What that translates to is that the lack of updates is largely due to drama. Another brief translation: now the mother of my child and I have been in only SMS (text messaged) based communication. No smiley :) faces, just pure unadulterated text based sarcasm. At this point, I could use a whole lot less drama and maybe more time testing out Fedora Core 5, the leaked version of gmail chat or a few other apps (or OS's) that I have recently acquired. I have a planned post that should hopefully make it to Lifehacker and or maybe 43 Folders when I finally get it out, but that is yet to be determined.

For the actual post, go play Orbox B to waste some serious time. Personally, I am not a gamer (the sux0rs) but I do have the old skool spirit of NES games buried in my intestinal tract somewhere. As is, I don't normally bother to post every online game I come across but Orbox B was pretty impressive. I got up to level 7 before I called it quits.


posted by aL, 11:22 PM | link | 2 comments |