On-line Opinion Magazine…OK, it's a blog

Random header image... Refresh for more!

Cyclone Ita

The ABC updated reporting:

Cyclone Ita, a destructive category-five storm, is on a collision course with far north Queensland.

The weather bureau says Ita has slowed down as it heads towards the coast and should make landfall near Cape Flattery, about 70 kilometres north of Cooktown, late tonight.

The dangerous system will generate storm surges, high tides and very destructive winds of up to 300 kilometres per hour [186mph].

Parts of the coast could receive up to 300 millimetres [a foot] of rain every six hours for several days after Ita hits.

I added the conversions in brackets.

This is going to be as bad as Yasi was. The storm is slowing, so it won’t be a quick transit, and it will have more time to build the storm surge.

April 10, 2014   4 Comments

This And That

They have picked up more signals off the coast of Perth, Australia consistent with the data recorders on the missing aircraft, but they seem to be fading. The batteries are at the end of their useful life. The new captures are reducing the size of the search area.


‘Heartbleed’ is causing heartburn at a lot of major sites. You have to fix the server software first, and then get a new Certificate. Until that happens having users change their passwords accomplishes nothing effective. This problem has existed since the first release of OpenSSL, so it has been around for a while.


Also Downunder, the northeast coast is about to get smacked by Cyclone Ita, which is at category 4 and expected to be that strong at landfall. It is due to arrive Friday evening with the high tide, which will increase the storm surge. Been there, done that – I wish them well.

April 9, 2014   4 Comments

More Fun

CBS is reporting the problem with a misleading headline: “Heartbleed” bug in Web security exposes passwords to hackers

The bug afflicts version 1.0.1 and 1.0.2-beta releases of OpenSSL, server software that ships with many versions of Linux and is used in popular Web servers, according to the OpenSSL project’s advisory on Monday night. OpenSSL has released version 1.0.1g to fix the bug, but many Web site operators will have to scramble to update the software. In addition, they’ll have to revoke security certificates that now might be compromised.

This is definitely a ‘bad thing’, but the reporting waits a long time to get to the ‘how’ it affects you. Among the more common uses of OpenSSL is preparing the keys for you to submit to a Certifying Authority to be granted the certificate used for encrypted data, like passwords, to be exchanged between users and a server. If you can capture the keys to the server, you can set up a listening post on the line and capture information like passwords and account names.

The real problem is getting people to update their software. There are a lot of problems that are still hanging around because too many people don’t update often enough, with a few who have never updated.

April 8, 2014   29 Comments

The View From Down-Under

It looks like the Chinese were on to something with their report. The BBC reports that:

An Australian vessel searching for the missing Malaysia Airlines plane has detected signals consistent with those from “black box” flight recorders.

The Ocean Shield ship picked up the signal twice, once for more than two hours, said Angus Houston, a retired air chief marshal leading the search.

The batteries on the location devices are reaching their limited lifetime, so they may not be of help much longer, but they have indicated an area to search with the other tools available. The area is consistent with other data that has been calculated regarding flight path and possible impact point, and the signals were received for an extended period, indicating that the origin was closer than the Chinese vessel.

The ABC has coverage of the Australian-Japan ‘free trade agreement’, which shows that many in Abbott’s own party are not happy with the deal that was struck.

The agreement has its own limited definition of ‘free trade’ that doesn’t include many segments of the agricultural sector. These are important supporters of the Prime Minister’s ruling coalition, and they are openly expressing displeasure with the deal.

These deals can’t please everyone, but politicians usually work to please their own supporters.

April 7, 2014   No Comments

Slowwww News Day

About the only thing of interest was the latest report on the Malaysian airliner. A Chinese vessel reported hearing two pings on the locator frequency used by aircraft data recorders. A specialized naval vessel was sent to the area to search with high tech sensors.

Signals can travel long distances in the water, and if the recorders were really close, there should have been a more constant signal, but if the specialized vessel can pick up a ping, it can back track it.

The Chinese vessel was in an area that is considered a high probability search zone.

April 6, 2014   5 Comments

What A Wonderful Day

My day started at 3:30AM with a knock on my door from a neighbor telling me the power was out. He was playing computer games after getting off work, so he was awake. As I woke up I noticed the beeping from the UPSs confirming the problem, and walking outside showed it to be widespread. The neighbor knows about my Mother’s oxygen system, so he felt I should be told.

I went to my Mother’s house and hauled out a large tank of O2 and swapped the necessary connections to restart the flow. Then I called the power company’s outage line to get an estimate of the duration of the outage. They said that the power would be restored at 4:30AM, so I sat down to wait.

When the power wasn’t back at a quarter to 5, I checked again, and they said 7:30AM. That was too long, so I decided to bring the generator on-line to power the oxygen concentrator and some other equipment.

It had been a while since the generator had been used, so I checked with our lawn guy who had two gallons of fresh gas, and then went over to prepare the generator while he went after the gas. Amazingly the generator started right up the second time the starter rope was pulled, and we began running cable.

As I came around the corner, I saw the outside light by the kitchen door burning brightly, so I went back to the generator and shut it down.

Given the time this happened I would assume someone given the choice of 7 lanes to drive in, decided to drive in lane eight, where the utility poles rise.

April 5, 2014   11 Comments

Friday Cat Blogging

A Banquet For One

Friday Cat Blogging

Mine… All mine!

[Editor: Froggy is taking advantage of the early start I made, as none of the others are around at the moment.]

Friday Ark

April 4, 2014   6 Comments


A couple of thing on the CBS site struck my interest:

The first was – $1,000-a-day miracle drug shocks U.S. health care system. The health care system is reportedly upset because the corporation that developed a safe and effective treatment for Hepatitis C is charging almost $90,000 for the drug’s treatment regime that actually seems to eliminate the virus in three months.

Those who are shocked are the same people who charge $1004 for 2 liters of sterile normal saline solution – salt water.

The second was – Senate Intelligence Committee votes to declassify CIA report. The vote to declassify the introduction and summary of the report wasn’t even close. The CIA got caught spying on the committee, and that upset the members, who don’t like it when they are treated like ‘regular citizens’, instead of the ‘special people’ that they see themselves as being.

April 3, 2014   7 Comments

The Poor Have No Rights

Jeffrey Toobin explains about the latest 5-4 decision by the Supreme Court to increase the ability of the 1% to buy political influence because money talks and fairness walks.

It was certainly a terrible imposition on the 1% that they could only buy a dozen or so politicians every election. [/snark]

When you look at the 5-4 decisions about elections and voting it because obvious that the ’5′ think that elections should go to the highest bidder, and not the result of votes by the ‘lower classes’.

April 2, 2014   No Comments

A Lack Of Trust

It took a few stories before I realized it was April 1st and much of what I was reading was probably bogus. Much of the output was obviously at joke because the pride in a good ‘goof’ has disappeared. There certainly hasn’t been an attempt to approach the quality of the BBC Panorama Spaghetti Harvest program.

It is a sad commentary that we can’t even create a decent prank anymore. I realize that our media and political organizations are huge jokes, but they don’t know it, so they can’t be counted as pranks.

April 1, 2014   5 Comments

Real Life Sucked Today

A drug interaction got by me and it created havoc.

Hopefully things will return to more normal after the drugs are out of the system. Both are good at what they do and cause no problem with the other medications, but taken in close time scale they produce a ‘bad acid trip’. It is very hard to deal with someone who is lucid one moment, and in a different universe the next.

Tomorrow should be better.

March 31, 2014   6 Comments

What A Mess

The problem with having cable companies and telephone companies as ISPs is that they don’t have any real experience creating web sites, and so they contract the job out. My current ISP must have hired someone who was too terrible to work on healthcare.gov.

First off, they don’t understand the difference between a sales and marketing web site, designed to bring in new business, and a web sites for the people who are already customers.

Trying to establish an account was one of the worst experiences with a web site I have ever had.

First off, there is the assumed knowledge – I was expected to know that they only gave me the part of the account number that changes, and I should automatically insert the 6 digits at the beginning that all accounts have in common, 6 digits that will appear on the written bill, if I ever get a written bill. Then there was the Personal Identification Number that no one told me I had or what it was.

The other annoyance was their password evaluation app. I generated a 14 character password with upper and lower case letters, numbers, and special characters, and their ‘evaluator’ declared it too weak to use. So then I went back and re-entered the first 8 characters, and the ‘evaluator’ found it acceptable. There is no information as to what they consider acceptable in passwords, all you have is the colored bar graph.

I assume that these guys provide e-mail accounts, but I’m too busy to find out if they exist. I may get one later that I can give to annoying people because I certainly have no intention of looking at anything that goes there.

March 30, 2014   5 Comments


Who knew the Phone Company had so much pull with the computer gods?

Since switching, the company that provides the e-mail hosting for dumka.com has had a radical increase in its security. It has changed to the point that my favorite e-mail client could no longer connect with the SMTP server to send e-mails. So I’ve had to shift to Thunderbird, which does connect properly.

Then my host for this site had a server fail, and the backup corrupted, which is why you will have seen the maintenance message for the past few hours.

At least downloading the software is much quicker on the new system, than DSL.

March 29, 2014   12 Comments

Friday Cat Blogging

A Gentleman at Leisure

Friday Cat Blogging

Keep the noise down.

[Editor: Ninja out and about on his rope, enjoying some of the rare sunshine. Obviously not taken today.]

Friday Ark

March 28, 2014   5 Comments