Why such a need for control?

    It seems these days that while more and more companies are releasing the APIs and SDK for their products, that a few companies are trying to hold on tighter and tigher. The iPod for example used to be open enough so you could use third-party software to access it, and even write your own. Now however, they have gone the way of the Zune and made it so only iTunes can access it, which effectively locks out Linux users who don't want to go through loop-holes. Also, with every iPhone firmware update, it un-unlocks the phone and removes any third party applications. I am curious why, take the iPhone for example, if anything more people would want to buy one if they can put custom applications on it, and make it more useful for their personal needs. Also, for the Zune and iPod, it would let your hardware reach a larger audience and sell more players. It all seems quite rediculous; many companies are making their profits on selling open devices for people to use as they wish.

    It's very sad that companies must restrict their users in this way, I always think, when I see a Zune, or other locked down piece of software how much better that software could be (*cough* Vista *cough*) if all that time and evergy spent on trying (and failing) to lock down the product was spent on improving it.

 

                                   Happy new year,

                             Ranok
 

Squashing Botnets!

Well, today I helped diffuse a botnet by destroying it's control method. Some of you may not know, but I happen to be a services operator on CAIRC, and I was noticing some strange connect lines, with users from all over with the nick: XP|USA|000|2394 that were all idling in a channel called #V3NOM. So I decided to join and see what was going on, and lo and behold, there were about 10 of them idling along, not responding to any message or private messages. I looked at their IPs and they were connecting from all over (Belgium, USA, Estonia, etc…) so I assumed that they were part of a botnet. I started by taking over the channel and setting the mode to +mutn (so they couldn't talk and see anyone else in the channel), just to neutralize any control mechanism, and I set a JAKILL (regex AKILL) which easily took them all out

This is my second botnet that I detected and stopped, though this one was larger than the other one. So hopefully I'm doing my part to help slow the growth of the "zombie armies". 

 EDIT: After talking with the other IRCops, it was decided to let them join, but join the channel with a bot like nick, hopefully gathering the passwords so we can remove/disarm the bots.

                Peace and chow,

                 Ranok 

Finals Week

For many of you, this week ahead is one of stress, late nights and falling asleep on a pile of books. I want to wish everyone the best of luck on your exams, and I hope that everyone has a happy and healthy vacation, regardless of what you choose to do with it.

 

                                      Peace and chow,

                                        Ranok

Bitlbee – For those loyal to IRC

I recently install Bitlbee on the comm image so that people who want to chat on IRC don't need to have a separate client open to chat with those who are less enlightened. All you need to to do is connect to the Bitlee server, and register your other IM accounts (Oscar/Jabber/MSN) and then it populates the 'control channel' with your buddies. Then it's a simple process of typing <BuddyName>: <msg> to send them a msg, or /msging them to chat with them in a separate window/tab. A very cool thing to play with overall.

 

                                            Peace and chow,

 

                                                 Ranok

Playing With Zimbra

Yesterday, I installed the latest version (5RC2) of the open source (YPL) groupware suite Zimbra. After messing with the /etc/hosts file (zimbra is not a fan of IPv6 entries) and tricking it into thinking my Ubuntu 7.10 was 6.10 (modifying /etc/lsb-release and /etc/debian-version) it installed quite easily. After getting it installed, I figured out that I had done it wrong, and I was unable to send/receive emails (my MX records were incorrect). Asside from that, I love it, it's feature-filled, easy to use, and very simple to manage through the web administration console. I like how it has a built in Jabber/Oscar/MSN client, and has a shared documents and calendar system, making it very easy to keep group projects organized. Overall, it's a very nice system, and after some more testing on a beefier machine (one of the blades) I hope to show it off to OIT as an alternative to Exchange, which is very miserable to use.

 

                                             Peace and chow,

 

                                                    Ranok