Computing gentoo

ss, com_err, e2fsprogs-libs blocking

No doubt your wondering what to do about blocking packages in Gentoo. The latest example involves a new package called sys-libs/e2fsprogs-libs. It seems e2fsprogs-libs now includes functionality that was performed by sys-libs/ss, sys-libs/com_err, and sys-fs/e2fsprogs. The solution is to unmerge sys-libs/ss, sys-libs/com_err, and sys-fs/e2fsprogs then update like normal.

ebrake@scanner ~ $ emerge -pvuDN world

These are the packages that would be merged, in order:

Calculating world dependencies... done!
[ebuild     U ] sys-apps/findutils-4.4.0 [4.3.13] USE="nls (-selinux) -static" 1,983 kB
[ebuild     U ] sys-fs/e2fsprogs-1.41.2 [1.40.9] USE="nls (-static%)" 4,263 kB
[ebuild  N    ] sys-libs/e2fsprogs-libs-1.41.2  USE="nls" 479 kB
[ebuild     U ] net-fs/nfs-utils-1.1.3 [1.1.0-r1] USE="tcpd -kerberos -nonfsv4" 793 kB
[blocks B     ] sys-libs/ss (is blocking sys-libs/e2fsprogs-libs-1.41.2)
[blocks B     ] <sys-fs/e2fsprogs-1.41 (is blocking sys-libs/e2fsprogs-libs-1.41.2)
[blocks B     ] sys-libs/com_err (is blocking sys-libs/e2fsprogs-libs-1.41.2)
[blocks B     ] sys-libs/e2fsprogs-libs (is blocking sys-libs/ss-1.40.9, sys-libs/com_err-1.40.9)

Total: 4 packages (3 upgrades, 1 new, 4 blocks), Size of downloads: 7,516 kB

The next time you update =sys-fs/e2fsprogs-1.41.2 and sys-libs/e2fsprogs-libs will be installed.

everything else

Sarah Palin for the Win

All the polling numbers you see Obama vs. McCain are misleading. They are all asking the wrong question. The actual election this year is Obama vs. Palin and I can prove it. Sarah Palin is Blue. B. Hussein Obama is Red. John McCain is yellow. Using Google Trends you can graph the popularity of arbitrary keywords.

Google Trends August 2008
Google Trends August 2008
Google Trends Sept 2008
Google Trends Sept 2008
Google Trends Oct 2008
Google Trends Oct 2008

As you can see Sarah Palin has consistently been flying in the stratosphere since she was picked as McCain’s VP. While McCain and Obama battle it out at the ground level. Interestingly, the MSM’s bias is also visible here because while she holds the number one position in search volume. She is the least mentioned in news volume. I’ll make a prediction that if McCain wins it’ll only be because Palin is on the ticket. Without her, the conservative base would stay home.

everything else hopkinsville

Dealer Warranty Services Reloaded

Dealer Warranty Services is still sending out those misleading post cards. Everything I said before still applies.

Front side of the post card
Front side of the post card
Backside of the post card
Backside of the post card

The latest news about the lawsuits in Missouri comes from August when National Dealers Warranty Inc was forced to change the way they do business and pay almost $30,000 in fines.

A St. Louis-area business that sent misleading postcards and letters to consumers informing them that they had limited time to purchase renewed, extended warranties for their vehicles will pay $29,955 to consumers and the state, and make fundamental changes in the way it operates. Attorney General Jay Nixon had sued National Dealers Warranty Inc. and five other businesses in March as part of “Operation Taken for a Ride”, a crackdown on fraudulent solicitations for motor vehicle extended service contracts (MVESCs). […]

Lawsuits against five other businesses that were sued as part of Operation Taken for a Ride are still pending.

For the record, the five businesses being sued under Operation Taken for a Ride are… *Drum roll*

  • TXEN Partners AKA Service Protection Direct of St. Louis AKA United Warranty Solutions
  • Dealer Warranty Services/ St. Charles
  • Certified Auto Warranty Services Inc/ Lenexa, Kansas
  • National Auto Warranty Services Inc/ Wentzville
  • Smart Choice Protection of St. Louis, AKA Direct Dealer Warranties
Computing Linux

Hardcore Kernel Literature

Previously, my hard core Linux kernel news has come from free sources like kerneltrap and kernelnewbies. When I started tracking the development kernel releases. I wanted more information about the changes coming and what it meant for my hardware. When kerneltrap is writing regular updates he provides pretty good information. kernelnewbies is another good source for functional changes to the kernel. The human readable changelog is a good look at the kernel in broad strokes. The diff -u section in the LinuxJournal is another broad overview with some discussion of kernel politics thrown in. The disadvantage in reading free sources, blogs is that the author often posts in spurts then goes to sleep again. That’s the nature of blogging. The BrakeBlog was dead for several months before I revived it again.

On the spur of the moment I bought a subscription to I think I’m going to be very happy with it. Reading through this week’s LWN I was pleased with the twenty bucks I spent. I was so inspired that I went to work creating a LWN badge to display on my website. Read LWN Go steal it for your own use I don’t care. If you make a better one let me know.

Random Links

Shatner Kicking Ass

A scene from Boston Legal has Bill Shatner kicking ass and taking names. In this scene, Denny Crane is held at gunpoint by a black man but the robber is too slow on the draw.

Computing rant

Murder Your Virtual Husband, go to Real Prison

TOKYO, Japan (AP) — A 43-year-old Japanese woman whose sudden divorce in a virtual game world made her so angry that she killed her online husband’s digital persona has been arrested on suspicion of hacking, police said Thursday.

The woman, who is jailed on suspicion of illegally accessing a computer and manipulating electronic data, used his identification and password to log onto popular interactive game “Maple Story” to carry out the virtual murder in mid-May, a police official in northern Sapporo said on condition of anonymity, citing department policy.

“I was suddenly divorced, without a word of warning. That made me so angry,” the official quoted her as telling investigators and admitting the allegations.

The woman had not plotted any revenge in the real world, the official said.

She has not yet been formally charged, but if convicted could face a prison term of up to five years or a fine up to $5,000. […]

The woman used login information she got from the 33-year-old office worker when their characters were happily married, and killed the character. The man complained to police when he discovered that his beloved online avatar was dead.

Bold emphasis is mine. Can somebody tell me what crime this woman actually committed? She “hacked” this guy’s account because he shared his login with her. Duh, if you share your password with other people there might be data loss. Another question, why does this man flippantly give away his password but calls the cops when this non-crime happened. I thought most online services wrote it into the TOS that users were required to keep their logins secure. His avatar is obviously not irreplaceable, if he spent any real money to outfit his character then whatever. Sue her in civil court!

The other aspect is the moral degradation present in this situation. My virtual character “marries” your virtual character. Human relationships including marriage, gender, social experimentation, personal identity, and personal consequences become unglued from reality. If Obamessiah wins the presidency in November that will be the world we’re going to be living in. Capital “L” Liberals believe there are no absolutes, no right or wrong, no consequences.

Computing rant

BB&T Bank Passwords

I just happened to change my password recently on my online banking. I found out that Branch Banking and Trust (BB&T) limits the maximum password length to 12 characters, cannot contain any special characters like an exclamation point, and the passwords are not case sensitive. Screenshots are below of the online banking interface.

New password screen for BBT
New password screen for BBT
Error page for BBT Online Banking
Error page for BBT Online Banking

Putting such restrictive limits on passwords seems to be very common. Multiple listeners of Security Now! have written in saying that their bank also has poor password policies. Mostly due to legacy requirements or compatibility with disparate systems.

Security Now! 162

Leo: Good luck. Jon Kuhn in Ann Arbor, Michigan has discovered that Wells Fargo is in bad company. Oh, boy. After hearing about Wells Fargo on the Security Now! podcast, I decided to try out all of my GRC Perfect Password-derived passwords, all of them alphanumeric with upper and lower case. I found that Chase, Citibank, Vanguard, and my credit union all have non-case-sensitive passwords. Just thought you might find that interesting.

Steve: So Wells Fargo is sharing the doghouse with these other people. But given that they’ve got lockout provisions, and I imagine that our listeners may now be curious to poke at their – deliberately log in incorrectly and see what it takes, verify in fact that anyone trying to guess their passwords will be shut down very quickly and then have to go through the extra reauthenticating hoop-jumping in order to get their account reactivated. Which, again, it certainly does mitigate the problem of passwords being non-case sensitive.
Leo: There’s got to be a reason they’re doing this. Is it possible that some older computers or older…
Steve: Matter of fact, if you keep reading, we will come to the reason.
Leo: Ah. I like it. I like it. Steve is always way ahead of me. Brent McLaren in Ajax, which is near Toronto in Ontario, Canada, brings up a very good point. It’s a point about case-insensitive banking passwords.
Steve: Speak of the devil.
Leo: He says: Hi, Steve. Been listening to Security Now! since Episode 1. I really enjoy the show. Me, too. Even though I work in IT and spend my days working with security and networking technology, I’ve found your insight and ability to explain complex topics very valuable. So I just wanted to pipe in on the topic of case insensitivity for Wells Fargo’s online banking log-in. I know that for my bank the password used for online banking is shared with telephone banking. As a result the password has to be limited to alphanumeric passwords with no case sensitivity. It’s also limited to six characters. I believe this is one of those tradeoffs between security and usability that is necessary. Having separate passwords for the different channels would be beyond confusing to people. That’s a very good point.
Steve: Isn’t that a good point? I liked that because you could imagine trying to explain to somebody that you’ve got, you know, what a circumflex is or…
Leo: I don’t think there’s a circumflex on my phone. Yeah, you’re right.
Steve: Or the pound sign. What? Well, it’s that number sign, the thing, you know, I mean, so if passwords were really complex, it could be difficult for them to be used, the same password to be used, essentially repurposed through different venues with the same institution. And so it’s like, okay, that makes some sense. You could imagine that trying to explain your password over the phone to somebody could be a problem, much more so than you typing in some strange concoction with shift keys and so forth on your keyboard.
Leo: And I actually remember that I got started in online banking with Bank of America in 1984 or something with phone banking. And so I think that probably it’s the same system it’s been all along. In fact, and this is what made me ask the question earlier, I remember it was almost a TTY the first time I started doing online banking. A black screen would come up with white letters on it, all uppercase. The menu structure would be, you know, type “1” for this item, type “2.” I mean, it was very primitive. And I bet you it’s the same back end.

Steve: It may very well be that they just stuck a web server on the front of it.

On a positive note, BB&T is slowly improving it’s security because my original password only had six characters and now the minimum is eight. In the future, there is the possibility of implementing two-factor authentication because they recently launched BB&T Mobile and BB&T Alerts. Both of these systems can interact with your phone via text messaging.

hopkinsville rant

Resentful Givers and Ungrateful Takers

It’s amazing to watch a conversation between a liberal-minded person and conservative-minded person. They might be in the same room or on the same Internet forum but they are in orbits counter to each other around the same gravity well.

Posted by DawgMa

What it Means to be a Democrat

I’m sure that some of you believe we’re hell-bent on raising taxes, killing babies and spending like crazy. Unfortunately for you (a little anticlimatic, perhaps), that is not what the Democrat party is about. Here’s a little something I wrote a while ago, in response to a question from one of my friends about why I was a Democrat:

The question it comes down to with me, as to ‘democrat’ or ‘republican’, is this notion:

Do I believe that America is a family? That we all have stakes in each other, everyone, in our collective future?

Or do I believe that the American dream is individual? That it exists for people to get ahead, that it is Darwinian in nature? That the wealthy should be applauded over and over and the poor should be ignored?

I believe in the former, because that’s how we formed as a nation. And any time I feel myself or the country getting bogged down in technical debates about immigration or abortion of gay marriage, I take a step back and look at things as I would with my own family.

Because it all boils down to the fact that, at the very end of the declaration, all those men in that room pledged “[their] lives, [their] fortunes, and [their] sacred honor” for each other and for the future of the country.

And what kind of country are we to horde our lives, our fortunes, and our honor to ourselves? I think somewhere along the line we kind of lost that sense that we’re all in it together, no matter how much land we occupy or how big our population is, no matter how diverse we all are–we are one people, and we occupy one great land.

Now, I am no socialist sympathizer or great equalizer…
But I’m not apathetic to others, either.

George W. Bush tried to champion something called ‘compassionate conservatism’ …And I believe in that mantra…he just didn’t do a good job of fulfilling that notion…

But whatever you are, conservative or liberal, I believe you should be compassionate above all.

Because you would be nowhere without the person next to you, homeless down the block from you, or with an M-16 slung thousands of miles away.

Yeah, we’re all in it together…and if that makes me a Democrat, then I’m proud to be one.


Very nice, if you were referring to people helping each other. But democrats want government to take that role, and that is where I disagree.


There isn’t enough consistency from the private sector to be called reliable. What about St. Luke’s Free Clinic? What about Aaron McNeil? Those are just two agencies who help the poor, and both go begging.


The Great Society, with all ots excesses, burned a generation of Americans with the entire idea of letting the gov’t try to help people. I wish donations to such groups as you mention were healthier, but the donors’ remorse or fatigue continues from the horrendously wasteful programs that simply grow and grow.
Without Lyndon Johnson, there would never have been Ronald Reagan.


Dixie, truer words were never spoken. As for Aaron McNeil and St Luke’s I personally have given time and treasure to both, as have many, many others. They do a fantastic job. I think more people would be inclined to help if they didn’t feel overtaxed and taken advantage of when their hard-earned dollars go to those who do not work and do not deserve it. You show me people that are busting their hump to get by and I will help them any way I can. Others, not so much. And I resent having that decision taken away from me. I think people would line up to help if we hadn’t all become so accustomed to letting the government do it. The programs of the Great Society have created resentful givers and ungrateful takers.

Before I started reading HTH I was a shallow liberal. I watched CNN and pretty much accepted what I saw. Three years later, I can say I am pissed off when I see the Feds acting against the will of the people. Paying money we don’t have to undeserving ingrates. The difference is that liberals believe somehow government can be made more efficient. Conservatives believe inefficiency is a fatal characteristic of bloated government. Period.