Wednesday, May 10, 2006

$00.002 a gallon gas? Hook me up!


The gas station is not exactly sure how many people took advantage of the situation. Since customers paid at the pump, clerks did not have face-to-face contact with the customers.

Mental note: From now on pay at the pump!

Driver Kenneth Krebs said he couldn't believe what he saw that allowed him to fill up his truck for 7 cents.

"I pulled into that gas station, put my card in to get gas and hit the 87 octane button and it came up like two-hundredths of a cent," said driver Kenneth Krebs. "So, I proceeded in filling up my truck."

Oh hell yea I would to.

A woman went into the store and told the clerk what was going on, showing her receipt for a few cents for several gallons of gas. That woman offered to come back into the store later Tuesday to pay the difference.

You fraking whench. Why you think gas prices are so high? Because idiotic people like you are obviously willing to pay that price. Honesty my arse.

The gas station is trying to determine if it can go back and charge the people who got the bargain regular price after the fact.

Yea I don't think so buddy. Your loss. Fire whoever the screwhead was that screwed up the pump.

OSHA safety inspection day

Safety inspections amuse me. The "safety commitee" at the place I currently work at decided to inspect the server room. First of all it's a server room. There is a lot of computers, a lot of cables, a lot of electricity and for security reasons dictated by the "security commitee" there is two doors in and out that are locked at all times.

Anyways so the three things they asked me, just being a regular grunt employee, is where the evacuation map was, where the emergency phone number list was, and if I feel secure working in this environment (supposedly the room has been deemed unsafe).

Okay so lets say there is a fire. I'm supposed to go look at the evacuation map, and find the emergency phone number list. No I'm going out the door, going outside and then I'm going home. I'm not going to bother calling 911 because our fire suppression system does that by itself if it is triggered, even if by accident. If someone needs to look at an evacuation map to figure out how to get out of the building they work in and find the emergency number list (911) then they deserve to die in a fire while I'm sitting at home watching it on the local news channel because I didn't waste my time looking for the map and number list.

That's just Darwinism.

Do I feel secure? Fire? Yea that I can handle. Unless the fire starts on my desk and I'm asleep on top of the stack of paperwork sitting on it fire doesn't bother me. Explosions on the other hand are a different issue.

However nothing in here is explosive except maybe the fire suppression system if for some reason the pressurized CO2 gets overpressured and blows up the pipes. Chances of that happening rank up there with the chances of a giant meteor crashing through the roof, hitting my desk, and starting a fire while I am asleep on the stack of paperwork sitting on it.

The safety commitee was very concerned that the tile floor hadn't been mopped for some time and that there was a paper clip on the floor though. Apparently I could trip and fall on that paperclip, landing on the unmopped tile floor, skid across, smack my head into a server, causing some sparks that leap accross to the stack of paper on my desk, and lighting it on fire.

Or something like that.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Security on the Net - MS Antispyware?

Last year about this time I was beta testing Microsofts Antispyware. Let me tell you first of all that it sucks. It was great at detecting things but was crap for actual removal of things. Even if you told MS Antispyware to remove it completely no matter what it said the spyware would come back on the next reboot. I wrote it off as just usual crap from MS and removed Antispyware from my system and went back to my tried and true standbys of Ad-aware, Spybot S&D, and Hijack This.

So today I was doing some research here at work and I stumbled on some interesting information. I wasn't researching spyware I was researching something completely different, but yea that's the nature of the internet.

Anyway I found some blog posts about a software company called Claria. Claria before their name change some years back was called GAIN, and before that Gator. GAIN and Gator are both well known spyware/malware companies.

Here is the Wikipedia entry for Claria:

So now that I have established Claria's presence in the spyware world let me describe what happened around the time I stopped using MS-Antispyware.

Antispyware originally had any products from Claria (GAIN and Gator) flagged as high risk and quarantine remove. At some point in time the default settings for those spyware programs were changed BY MICROSOFT to ignore and moderate risk. So what this meant is that is you used scheduled spyware scans MS-Antispyware would completely ignore anything by Claria and allow it to pass. If you used manual scan and removal then the next day MS-Antispyware would not flag the incoming reinstallation of Claria software as hostile, and again allow it to pass by.

This problem was of course easily remedied by ignoring the MS-Antispyware settings and setting them manually to remove/quarantine for the particular spyware. However on the next update (usually weekly during beta) the settings for those particular spywares would go back to the Microsoft settings of ignore moderate threat and the whole process would start over again.

Interestingly enough Claria is not the only company that MS has let skate by on their spyware/malware.

WeatherBug, which ships WITH AOL software (including AIM and ICQ), is considered spyware. While it seems to serve out weather information it also collects surfing habits and feeds that information back to a server for serving up directed advertisements. Yep spyware.

So MS-Antispyware originally had Weatherbug flagged as spyware for removal. Again the same thing happened. They updated the spyware database to show Weatherbug as a moderate threat, ignore. Here is the twist on this one though. AOL THEMSELVES threatened to sue Microsoft on the spyware classification of WeatherBug. Yea AOL, the guys with all the commercials touting their service and supposedly protecting their users agains spyware/malware. Microsoft instead of fighting, caved and deflagged WeatherBug as spyware.

It goes on more. WhenU, WebHancer and Ezula Toptext have also been autoflagged as ignore on MS-Antispyware. WhenU in particular was the program I was having the most fits with trying to remove.

Take a look at this screenshot from one of the reports:

That is pretty much what my MS-Antispyware report would look like every morning, even AFTER spyware removal with MS-Antispyware.

So the point of all this is just because something is made by a company supposedly looking out for you remember that with enough money and scratch through back channels, or in some cases threat of lawsuit, changes everything.

Current Setup:

Firefox + Adblock + Filterset.G
Grisoft AVG
Lavasoft Ad-Aware

Virus and Adware Free since August 2005.

Various links and references:,13793423