Thursday, April 20, 2006

Dog hair begone

I swear sometimes in person, but tend to avoid it unless I'm with a small group of people I'm comfortable with (or who are drunk and won't remember). I rarely swear in writing, since I have all the time in the world to think about how I want to say something, and resorting to profanity just isn't necessary to get a point across.

I'm anti-consumerism, anti-commercialism, etc. There is a basic element in advertising that makes me angry, the emotional appeal. Look, it's someone using a product, and see how happy they are? His kid's are smiling at him, his wife is looking at him amorously. You want a happy family don't you? Don't you love your family? Or maybe it's a man in a labcoat explaining facts to you, while in the background is a chart with numbers and icons on it. See how smart you would be if you used our product? Don't you want to be smart? To use these kinds of appeals to make money is no better than running a whorehouse or a casino, preying on people with poor judgment.

So with the above commentary in mind, here is a quick product review of my newly purchased vacuum cleaner, the Dyson DC14 Animal: Holy shit!

My dog, Heidi, is a Siberian Husky, and just got through a seasonal coat-blow, and basically every fabric surface and every collection point on tile surfaces (corners, running boards, table legs) had hair on them. Trying to vacuum it up, I destroyed what I thought was a decent vacuum cleaner, a Bissel PowerForce bagless, which had until then done a stand-up job.

So yesterday I took a chunk of cash and went to Home Depot and grabbed a Dyson. With one simple jaunt around the living room, all the dog hair was gone, as well as the few outstanding Christmas tree needles, and a sizable amount of dust. With a pair of hose attachments, the stairs, corners, the couch, and my bed's comforter (frequent hangout spot of the dog) were all hair free.

In other news, Stacey got her first pair of glasses this week, and reports being able to see loads clearer. Time will tell if this has an impact on her school work, but I believe it will. Naturally, she still manages to look beautiful with glasses on.

We just got back from Spring break in North Carolina, where I spent most of the week bedridden with flu symptoms. I was well enough later in the week for us to run down to Carowinds and ride some rides and win some prizes. I'm better at the water-gun game (shoot the little target with a stream of water until the car drives to the top of the board), and won a pair of prizes that way. My new approach is to aim low, expect a miss, and be prepared to recover quickly from the miss, which worked for two out the three rounds I played.

Lastly, I've taken myself off of Lexapro. The end results were weight gain (30 pounds worth), higher blood pressure, constant fatigue, and slowed mental functions. I can't work at my job as a computer programmer if I'm tired and stupid, and was beginning to fall behind in my work. After the first few days of having a nasty temper (a know side-effect of withdrawal), I found my calm again, and for now it seems like I remember how to be calm and happy, and feel better than before I started taking Lexapro. I may need to revisit psychoactive drugs in the future, only time will tell. Right now I'm just happy to have a working brain again, normal blood pressure, and 8 of the extra 30 pounds gone. With my recent treadmill purchase, hopefully the other 22 (and more afterwards) will be gone in short order.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Fun with Postfix

The new web/mail server is online and configured to my liking. I decided to go with Postfix instead of Exim to try something new. It was painless to set up, but shortly afterwards I noticed a spam attack that successfully relayed a message using the server by a complex attack involving a bogus auterytech email address that was denied, followed by a blank from address.

It was a good exploit, actually, but it galvanized me into action, and I spent the next couple of days locking down the server against similar exploits and common identifiable spam headers. Since I don’t actually source any emails from auterytech, I was able to take further action and defer outbound SMTP traffic to a hold queue in case I missed something, and to go for broke I blocked outbound port 25 traffic on that server from my router. OK, relay a message now, Mr. Script Kiddie!

Why don’t I send email from auterytech? What’s the point of registering a domain and configuring a mail server to not send mail? Roadrunner. The IP address range for Roadrunner customers (and other services giving machines semi-dynamic addresses) is blocked on a lot of mail servers. I don’t have the money to pipe in my own T1 line, but I do have the serenity to accept the things I cannot change.