Friday, December 31, 2004

Tsunami relief

I haven't mentioned the tsunami that's taken so many lives (135,000 as of now according to What could I say?

However, there is something you can do. A monetary donation, no matter how small, to a relief organization like the Red Cross can help. has made it easy for you to donate to the Red Cross using your Amazon account.

Give a little, if you can.

Thursday, December 30, 2004

So much for doing it yourself to get it right

It turns out that I needed to call my plumber to complete the dryer install after all.

A few hours after running the second load of wash I smelled some gas. After getting Judith to confirm that I wasn't having olfactory hallucinations I shut off the supply via the cutoff. This morning I called my plumber, who luckily, was able to make it out today.

It turns out that the source of the leak was the old gascock itself. If it had been left alone it would've been fine but by using it, we caused a leak. So, he wound up replacing the gascock and also added another extension pipe to get the rigid gas line closer to the dryer. While he was here I also had him replace the water shutoff valves and the lines to the washer. We also shut off the supply of gas to the fireplace in our den, since it provides next to no heat and we haven't used it this winter. Since it is old enough to have a pilot light, that'll be a little less gas we have to pay for each month.

I'm happy to give my plumber an unsolicited plug, btw. His name is Lawrence Pizzico and he can be reached at 610-279-8111. He works out of Norristown in SE PA.

Wednesday, December 29, 2004


In contrast to the Sears experience, we had a good one with Sleepy's, a bed retailer. The deliverymen just left after having brought in and assembled a new bed for Alexandra. Tonight she'll be sleeping in a bed for the first time. It's going to be interesting to see her reaction.

When you want something done right...

... you often need to do it yourself.

Sears came back this morning to finish the dryer install. They couldn't do it because they didn't have a long enough gas line. This despite the fact that it was the same guys who delivered the thing. At this point I said "fuck it" and decided to do it myself.

So after Dumb and Dumber left I went to Lowe's and bought a two foot black iron gas pipe, a coupler to join it to my existing gas pipe, a can of pipe joint compund (I looked at several and bought one which mentioned use on gas lines), and a four foot flexible gas line, which I wound up not needing and will return.

After getting home I slathered all the threads with pipe joint compound and screwed everything together, using the section of flexible line Sears had left me. I turned the gas cutoff on this line back on and waited about 20 minutes. Not smelling any gas, I gave Judith the OK to put in a load of wash.

Tomorrow I'll call Sears customer service and give them an earful.

Monday, December 27, 2004

Monday update

I hope you all had a Merry Christmas. Being Jewish, Saturday was pretty much just another day for us, although we did induldge in what's become a tradition for a lot of Jewish folks on that day: have Chinese food for dinner. Around here, if you go to a Chinese place on Christmas it'll be packed with us Hebes. Since we have two small kids, we had takeout, which is a lot easier than sitting in the restaurant.

Yesterday after breakfast Judith and I took the girls up to the Plymouth Meeting Mall to look for Alexandra's first bed (didn't buy anything) and to kill some time before their naps. Alexandra really likes the water fountain. She also likes the merry go 'round, but apparently only if Mommy rides it with her. I took her on it and she flipped out. Luckily, nobody else was on the ride so they were able to stop it early. Oh well.

We got about an inch of snow last night and it's largely melted by now. All the snow I should be clearing with my new snow blower is getting dumped elsewhere.

Both Judith and I are on vacation this week, so after dropping the kids off at daycare we were able to enjoy a nice breakfast by ourselves at the local Cracker Barrel. Since everything they serve is pretty much a heart attack on a plate, we don't go very often.

At about 1100 our new Sears clothes dryer -- replacing the one which died a couple weeks ago -- was delivered. Unfortunately, they couldn't complete the hookup because they didn't have the correct male/female coupling for the gas line. They left it up to me to get the right coupling and call back to schedule completion of the job. I was able to find the right coupler at Lowe's and schedule an installer to come out but not before Wednesday. (I could probably do it myself now, but there are certain things I don't do around the house, preferring a professional to handle them. These include anything to do with A/C current, plumbing, or gas lines. IOW, stuff that can get me killed if I foul up.)

And you can bet Sears is going to hear from me about putting the onus on me for getting the right coupler.

Saturday, December 25, 2004

Secure that wireless LAN

One of the prks of my job is that vendors send us equipment to play around with. They often send us several copies of the same unit, so we can take one home and use it on a daily basis to wring it out. Hence the new Netgear WG602 wireless access point I installed this morning. Setup was pretty straightforward, although you do need to connect to the box with an Ethernet cable to login and configure the wireless settings before you can connect wirelessly.

This brings me to the main point of this post: Secure that wireless LAN!

When my iBook booted up, it detected a wireless LAN belonging to one of my neighbors. It is wide open. I was not only able to get an IP and get onto the Internet, I was able to login to his wireless router because it still had the factory default settings.

Tips for securing a wireless network:
  1. When setting it up, change the default administrative password.
  2. After you have your clients associated with the access point, disable SSID broadcast.
  3. Enable WPA or WEP encryption.
  4. Enable MAC filtering, which limits what wireless cards can associate, using their hardware addresses.
  5. Disable DHCP and manually configure the IP settings of your wireless clients.
A wireless network by its very nature won't be as secure as a wired Ethernet, but you can make things a lot more difficult for would-be interlopers.

Friday, December 24, 2004

Optics shuffle

I had a $50 gift certificate to Cabela's and a $30 coupon good on orders for $100 or more, so last week I ordered a Bushnell Trophy red dot sight, which arrived today. The regular price was about $110, but with the gift cert and the coupon I wound up paying only about $40 after shipping.

The Bushnell sight has four different reticles: a 3 MOA dot, a 10 MOA dot, crosshairs, and a 3 MOA dot surrounded by a 65 MOA circle. So far I'm liking that last option. It looks like it'll give me a relatively recise aiming point for smaller or more distant targets, while giving me something large for fast acquistion on close-in targets.

Aside from the sight itself, the Bushnell box contained a set of vertically split 30mm rings, a sun shade extension, a lens cleaning cloth, and a polarizing filter for the objective lens. I have the sun shade on, but not the polarizer.

I decided to mount the Bushnell on my ArmaLite AR-180B and move the PK-01V over to my Bulgarian SLR-101. Since the range was closed the one time I took it out to sight it in, it's not like I'm losing a good-to-go setup.

Hopefully I'll get both rifles out to the range during next week. I'm on vacation and with the exceptions of Monday and Wednesday, I don't have anything planned yet.

Thursday, December 23, 2004

More pistol packin'

To continue the packin' heat theme of this week, I found a new site of interest via Geeks With Guns. Check out for information on which states allow open (i.e., not concealed) carry of a firearm.

10 Steps for Securing Your MS Windows PC

On an email list to which I subscribe we're having a disucssion about spyware. I contributed a post with ten things you can do to prevent your PC from getting infected with malicious software. Here's the meat of that post:
  1. Run Windows Update regularly; if your version of Windows support automatic update checking, make sure it's enabled.
  2. 2. Do not use Internet Explorer as your browser, unless you are viewing a site which requires it. Use Mozilla, Firefox, or Opera instead. I use Firefox. By not using IE, you'll prevent most spyware and web-borned viruses from getting onto your system.
  3. Install the Google Toolbar for IE, because it includes an excellent pop-up blocker, for when you must use IE.
  4. Run an antivirus program and keep it updated. I use and recommend the free personal version of AVG Antivirus.
  5. Use a hosts file to prevent your PC from loading spyware sites.
  6. If you are on broadband use a hardware firewall. Routers that sit between your PC and a cable modem or DSL connection can do a lot to protect your machine. I've had good luck with Netgear equipment.
  7. Don't use Outlook Express for email. It's a virus trap. Use something else -- Mozilla Mail, Thunderbird, or Eudora.
  8. Don't open unexpected file attachments which you receive in email.
  9. Install and run Spybot Search & Destroy and Lavasoft Ad-Aware to clean up spyware. Spybot includes an "immunize" feature which can prevent known spyware from getting installed in the first place. Both can be downloaded from
  10. If you are using a PC with Windows NT, 2000, or XP, your regular user account should not be a "computer administrator." Rather, setup a separate account as a "limited user." That way if malicious software does get onto your computer its impact will be minimized.

Top States in Absolute Numbers of CCW Permits

We've done percentages, now let's do actual numbers. The top 5 states for number of adults with licenses to carry a concealed firearm are:
  1. Pennsylvania: 525,600
  2. Florida: 332,400
  3. Indiana: 302,000
  4. Washington: 225,200
  5. Tennessee: 160,000

Go PA!

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

If you think a 12 gauge pump isn't enough...

...check out this:

To paraphrase Samuel L. Jackson, "When you absolutely, positively need to kill every MFer in the room, accept no substitute!"

Supposed Moms Link

There's a rumour floating around that has somehow "joined" with the Milliom Mom March this holiday season and is supporting the MMM's goals. The origin of this appears to be an affiliate link on the MMM's home page (which I won't deign to link to).

The Amazon affiliate program is open to any person or organization that signs up for it and places the links to whatever they're selling on their web page. It's a big part of Amazon's business model. I can do it, pro-gun groups can do it, and so can anti-gun groups.

If Amazon was "joining" with MMM, then certainly there would be a press release to that effect on Amazon's site. There isn't one; I checked.

Examples of pro-RKBA sites who participate in the affiliate program:

So does this mean that Amazon is "joining" with pro-RKBA forces?

Unless someone can point me to something more concrete, I'm calling B.S. on this one.

Edit: Doh! I forgot I already posted about this. Oh well. I'll leave this up since I go into more detail in this post. I plead too much Knob Creek tonight.

Follow up on CCW %s

Here's a follow up post by Ken, breaking the figures down by "red" and "blue" states.

Here's a Red and Blue assessment of those numbers.

7.45% - Red - South Dakota
6.79% - Red - Indiana
6.76% - Blue - Pennsylvania
5.23% - Blue - Connecticut

x.xx% - Red - Georgia (guessed in)
x.xx% - Blue - New Hampshire (guessed in)
5.12% - Blue - Washington

4.34% - Red - Idaho
4.10% - Red - Utah
3.86% - Blue - Oregon
3.45% - Red - Tennessee
3.15% - Red - Alabama
2.72% - Red - Florida
2.71% - Red - Kentucky
2.67% - Red - Wyoming
2.41% - Blue - Maine
2.18% - Red - Arkansas
2.11% - Red - Virginia
1.94% - Red - West Virginia
1.76% - Red - Arizona
1.75% - Red - Oklahoma
1.70% - Red - Montana
1.70% - Blue - Michigan
1.62% - Red - Texas
1.39% - Red - South Carolina
1.34% - Red - North Dakota
1.00% - Red - North Carolina
0.86% - Red - Mississippi
0.62% - Red - Louisiana
0.58% - Red - Nevada
0.45% - Blue - Minnesota
0.36% - Red - Missouri
0.33% - Red - Ohio
0.20% - Red - Colorado
0.17% - Red - New Mexico

Now the REALLY interesting stuff.

Red States

Total licensees among the Shall Issue states:

Total population living in True Right To Carry states:
648,818 (0.22 percent)

Total population living in Shall Issue states:
141,766,564 (48.84 percent)

Total population living in May Issue states:
2,944,062 (1.01 percent)

Total population living in No Issue states:
4,462,798 (1.54 percent)

Blue States

Total licensees among the Shall Issue states:

Total population living in True Right To Carry states:
619,107 (0.21 percent)

Total population living in Shall Issue states:
43,272,643 (14.91 percent)

Total population living in May Issue states:
78,406,558 (27.01 percent)

Total population living in No Issue states:
18,125,843 (6.24 percent)

Ken Grubb
Bellevue, WA

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Bogus Moms Rumor

Earlier today I was forwarded an alert from the "US Sportsmen's Alliance" containing the statement that has "joined forces with the Million Mom March" for the holiday season. This didn't pass my smell test, so I checked both Amazon's and the Million Misguided Mommie's websites and found no reference to Amazon "joining" with the MMM. The Amazon link on the MMM site is an affiliate link.

Among other organizations which I've seen with an Amazon affiliate link is JPFO.

Spreading rumors like this one does our cause no good whatsoever.

Welcome InstaPundit Readers

w00t! I got Instalanched!

Welcome InstaPundit readers. I hope you poke around some more and come back.

Percentage of Adults With Carry Permits in "Shall Issue" States

I am reproducing in its entirety a post by Ken Grubb which appeared this morning on the PA-CCW mailing list. This ranks each of the "shall issue" CCW states by the percentage of adults who have a permit to carry a concealed firearm.

After crunching through the 2000 Census and 2003 Census estimates, the numbers in Chris Bird's Fourth Edition "The Concealed Handgun Manual", some official sources online which are a little more current, and filling in a few gaps from a 1998 CCRKBA report, the winners are:

Percent of Adults with a License to Carry in each Shall Issue State

7.45% South Dakota
6.79% Indiana
6.76% Pennsylvania
5.23% Connecticut
5.12% Washington
4.34% Idaho
4.10% Utah
3.86% Oregon
3.45% Tennessee
3.15% Alabama
2.72% Florida
2.71% Kentucky
2.67% Wyoming
2.41% Maine
2.18% Arkansas
2.11% Virginia
1.94% West Virginia
1.76% Arizona
1.75% Oklahoma
1.70% Montana
1.70% Michigan
1.62% Texas
1.39% South Carolina
1.34% North Dakota
1.00% North Carolina
0.86% Mississippi
0.62% Louisiana
0.58% Nevada
0.45% Minnesota
0.36% Missouri
0.33% Ohio
0.20% Colorado
0.17% New Mexico <-- Slight correction 12/22/04, per Ken Grubb

Honorable mentions go to Georgia and New Hampshire. These are "old wave" Shall Issue states--IOW, pre Florida. Because issuance is scattered among many local agencies, no one in either Georgia or New Hampshire is collecting statewide numbers on how many folks are packing. Seems reasonable to place 'em somewhere between the two statistical extremes among the other "old wave" states (South and North Dakota). However, if I were a bettin' man I'd put 'em near the top, and probably above Washington.

Total licensees among the Shall Issue states (excluding Georgia and New

Total population living in True Right To Carry states (Alaska and Vermont):
1,267,925 (0.44 percent)

Total population living in Shall Issue states:
185,039,207 (63.75 percent)

Total population living in May Issue states:
81,350,620 (28.03 percent)

Total population living in No Issue states:
22,588,641 (7.78 percent)

Ken Grubb
Bellevue, WA

Edit: Welcome to new readers coming in via Instapundit (and thanks to Mike for suggesting I edit this post). If you liked this post, you may also find these older posts interesting:
Also, I'd like to draw your attention to The Shooter's Bar(SM), my online list of pro-RKBA attorneys. I hope you enjoy your time here and stop back again.

Static IP Back Online

Whatever routing problem I experienced on Sunday appears to have worked itself out for now. Last night I reconfigured the SMC to use the static IP and got back online.

I ran some ping tests from my iBook and saw some packet loss and the occasional duplicate packet. The latter is an indication of hardware problems. When I re-ran the ping tests from Mail, which is on 10/100BaseT, I had no packet loss or dupes. I'm willing to bet a chocolate chip cookie that the cause of the packet loss and duplication is the craptacular Linksys Wireless-B router which I use as a WAP. (I'll keep it until is croaks, then get either an Apple AirPort or a Netgear 802.11g unit.)

Monday, December 20, 2004

10 more Gmail Invites

I got 10 more Gmail invites to give away. Previous batches of invites came in blocks of 6, perhaps the completely public debut of Gmail is in the wings. Anyhoo, if you want one, drop me a line at davemarkowitz at

Static IP Problems

Yesterday at about 1430 my Internet connection dumped. The modem appeared to be online -- the cable light was solid green -- but I couldn't get out. I rebooted my SMC gateway (which has the modem built-in) but this made no change.

My next step was to do a factory reset on the gateway, which changed the config from my static IP to looking for a public IP via DHCP. Once it rebooted and the changes took effect, I was able to pull a DHCP IP and get back online.

Another tester in my department experienced major packet loss on his SMC on Friday night/Sat. morning, but only when using his static IP config. When set to pull an IP via DHCP it worked fine.

Apparently, some kinks in our network still need to be hammered out.

Tonight I'll try reconfiguring my unit with the static IP config to see if I can get back online. Hopefully, whatever was causing the problem will have been resolved by then.

Saturday, December 18, 2004

Valley Forge Gun Show

After the kids went down for their afternoon naps this afternoon, I snuck out to the Valley Forge Convention Center, where a fun, err, gun show was being held.

The last show I attended was a week or two after the Assault Weapons Ban sunset, and I noticed a lot more rifles with all the evil features (flash hiders, folding stocks, etc.) there today. Some vendors are still smoking dope when it comes to prices, though. For example, I saw a stainless Mini-14 GB with a $975 price tag, and another selling beat-to-hell Colt AR-15 20 round mags for $25.

I limited my purchases to some accessories:
  • A pair of 1945-dated GI shoulder strap pads for my musette bag. I don't think they are repros even though they look new. They don't smell new, if you know what I mean. I wish I'd had these when I was using a musette bag as my book bag in grade school, because the unpadded straps are not too comfortable.
  • A pair of GI M1965 trigger finger mitten shells. They should be nice and toasty this winter (I already have liners).
  • A pair of GI 20-round M-16 mag pouches; they hold 3 each and I currently have 6 20 round M-16/AR-15 mags.
  • Two NHTMG AR-15 mags dated 9/04, right after the sunset. NHTMG is the company which OEMs AR-15 mags for Colt. They were $16 each.
  • Two boxes of American Eagle .45 ACP ball.
I was tempted by some $85 Mosins but kept my desire for more new/old rifles under control.

Thursday, December 16, 2004

SMC Wireless Access Points

Yesterday and today I spent some time testing out a pair of SMC 2586W-G wireless access points. These are WAPs, not wireless routers. The main reason we're looking at them is for use with our commercial MDU product as a way to extend Ethernet coverage.

The SMCs include bridge functionality. I.e., you can create a wireless link between a pair of them in order to extend the size of a WLAN. My setup wass follows:

(Router) - (Patch cord) - (WAP) - (~75' through a couple walls) - (WAP) ---- (Laptop)

I first established the range of a single WAP then placed the second unit near the periphery of it's coverage. I then connected my laptop wirelessly to the LAN created, hopping on using the second unit. To test how robust the link would be I slammed it with traffic: SMTP; IMAP, HTTP, HTTPS, and FTP. It handled the load pretty well but I found that the units overheat easily if placed near warm equipment. When they overheat, they lock up.

If deployed with their environmental limitations kept in mind, they seem like pretty decent little boxen.

A Nation of Wimps

From Psychology Today:

Parents are going to ludicrous lengths to take the bumps out of life for their children. However, parental hyperconcern has the net effect of making kids more fragile; that may be why they're breaking down in record numbers.

It's a long article but well worth reading.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Bill of Rights Day

Today, December 15th, is the anniversary of the ratification of the Bill of Rights. Many folks today don't realize that without the BoR, the US Constitution would never have been ratified. During the debates over the ratification of the Constitution, opponents of a strong Federal government (the Antifederalists) were concerned that without some written declaration of rights, the Federal governement's power would grow to an oppressive extent. In contrast, the Federalists worried that by enumerating specific rights, other unenumerated rights would be seen as free to trample upon.

I'd say the Antifederalists were optimistic. Even with the safeguards enshrined in the BoR, the Federal government has morphed into something the Framers would probably rebel against, largely due to Congress's abuse of its power under the Commerce Clause, and the Federal judiciary's acquiesence. So much for a government of "limited and enumerated powers."

With that rant out of the way, I present to you the text of the Bill of Rights, including the oft-overlooked preamble:


Congress of the United States begun and held at the City of New York, on Wednesday the fourth of March, one thousand seven hundred and eighty nine.

THE Conventions of a number of the States, having at the time of their adopting the Constitution, expressed a desire, in order to prevent misconstruction or abuse of its powers, that further declaratory and restrictive clauses should be added: And as extending the ground of public confidence in the Government, will best ensure the beneficent ends of its institution.

RESOLVED by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America, in Congress assembled, two thirds of both Houses concurring, that the following Articles be proposed to the Legislatures of the several States, as amendments to the Constitution of the United States, all, or any of which Articles, when ratified by three fourths of the said Legislatures, to be valid to all intents and purposes, as part of the said Constitution; viz.

ARTICLES in addition to, and Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America, proposed by Congress, and ratified by the Legislatures of the several States, pursuant to the fifth Article of the original Constitution.

Amendment I - Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Amendment II - A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

Amendment III - No Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.

Amendment IV - The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Amendment V - No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

Amendment VI - In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.

Amendment VII - In suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise reexamined in any Court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.

Amendment VIII - Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.

Amendment IX - The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

Amendment X - The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Some days you're the windshield...

...and other days you're the bug. I feel like the bug today.

It started at about 0230 when Amanda -- who generally sleeps through the night -- decided she was hungry. Although Judith got up and fed her I didn't get back to sleep for over an hour.

When my alarm clock went off at 0600 I had to drag my butt out of bed. I didn't bother shaving as I got ready for work (maybe it's time for a beard again, anyway).

As I was driving up my street to take Alexandra to daycare, I realized that I'd left my wallet at home. (Insert long string of expletives here.) So, I turned around and went back to the house to get it. I left the truck running while I went inside.

After coming back out to the truck I found that I had locked myself out, with Alexandra still inside. (Insert really long string of foul language here.)

I called Judith, who was at the daycare having just dropped off Amanda. She got home in about three minutes (the daycare is around the corner) and unlocked the truck. I was then able to drop off Alexandra and get to work without further incident.

This is the first time I ever locked myself out of a car. And yes, I'm going to get a spare key to put in my wallet.

Monday, December 13, 2004

iChat Audio Chat

iChat is the AIM-compatible IM client included with Mac OS/X. It includes an audio chat feature which I just got done using. My boss, who is a big Mac fan, saw that I was logged on and "called me." The sound quality is very good, as good as a regular phone, although I had headphones on because I'd been listening to some Allman Brothers MP3s when he called; the sound from my iBook's onboard speakers wouldn't have been as good.

Sunday, December 12, 2004

"'It looks like the end of the world. Hell has come to earth"

The endgame of the Nazi soldiers in Warsaw was brutally clear: "By 1945, there will not be one Jew left in Europe." Yet, as the residents of the city's Jewish Ghetto began their desperate, doomed 27-day uprising against systematic slaugher, one young woman hiding in a lice-infested, bomb-blasted bunker bagan to record a diary of the last days.

Written from her underground hideout, while fighting raged all around, the six-page journal has only just been unearthed from archives in an Israeli museum. It is now being put on display for the first time at the Ghetto Fighters' House in western Gaililee as the sole surviving contemporary chronicle of life during the 1943 urban insurrection. It begins five days into the revolt and describes in harrowing detail how she and 45 fellow Jews in the shelter are starving, terrified and awaiting certain death.

Read the rest here.

Never Again.

Saturday, December 11, 2004

It followed me home

Honest, I just followed me home.

My Compaq laptop has been having problems charging its battery lately. I need a laptop when I do my side consulting work. So ... I picked up an Apple G4 iBook today at Microcenter, where they were running some good deals.

The iBook that followed me home has these features:
  • 12.1" screen
  • 256 megs of RAM, upgradeable to 1.25 GB
  • 1.2GHz G4 CPU
  • 30 GB HDD
  • DVD-ROM/CD-R drive
  • Airport Extreme 802.11g wireless NIC
  • 10/100 Ethernet
  • 56k modem
  • Mac OS 10.2.3 Panther
It's nice and light and the keyboard is pretty good. The layout is taking some getting used to, as is the UI. But it's extremely nice to have the killer Mac OS GUI but still be able to drop to a Bash prompt.

So far, I've installed several familiar apps: Firefox, Thunderbird, 1.1.3, Gimp, and X11 (upon which OO.o and the Gimp rely). The Mac came with AppleWorks and a 30 day demo of MS Office for Mac which I'll probably delete, plus the various Apple iThings like iTunes, iPhoto, etc.

Since the Compaq is still useful as long as there's an AC outlet handy, it will be re-purposed as Judith's "upstairs PC." I just need to clean some stuff off it first. And Bagend will remain used as my desktop but I'm thinking of also making it my mail and file server. It has plenty of horsepower for the server job and can be kept secure, since it's running SuSE Linux.

Friday, December 10, 2004

Limiting the tenure of Federal judges

Federal judges receive lifetime appointments to the bench. The rationale behind this is that once they are confirmed they will be no longer beholden to political influence, since they don't have to worry about impressing either their appointors or the electorate.

The down side to lifetime tenure is that it's damn near impossible to get rid of a bad judge. The sole remedy for doing so is impeachment. When was the last time you heard of a Federal judge getting impeached? I thought so.

Also, because judges naturally want to be replaced with someone ideologically similar when they retire, they often stay on the job longer than they should, hoping for a president who shares their political philosophy to be elected and who can then appoint a successor.

So, this morning on Findlaw, I read with interest the article "Life Tenure for Federal Judges: Should It Be Abolished?," by Edward Lazarus. He discussed this issue in more detail than I have here, and proposes a Constitutional amendment to replace lifetime appointments with terms lasting 18 years, which cannot be renewed. If you have the slightest interest in this, check it out.

Thursday, December 09, 2004

Penn State recommends against IE

Wow. Penn State's IT department is now recommending that you use something other than Internet Explorer, due to the unending flow of IE vulnerabilities. When a major university is telling its students to not use a Microsoft product, you can tell there is a real backlash brewing.

Babylon5 Theatrical Movie

I just saw this courtesy of /. The first B5 theatrical movie begins filming in April.

Best. Sci-fi. Series. Ever.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Happy Chanukah

Today is the first full day of Chanukah, the Jewish Festival of Lights, commemorating the successful rebellion of the Jews against their Hellenic overlords and the subsequent miracle in which the Temple's one day supply of oil lasted for eight days. (There's a good overview here.)

At least in the US, Chanukah has largely become the "Jewish Christmas," a commercialized holiday devoted to giving and receiving gifts. But there is a much deeper significance to the story, even if you don't believe in the miracle of the oil lasting for eight days.

The Maccabees -- the Jewish rebels who tossed the Greeks out on their posteriors -- didn't win with pleas for tolerance or even harsh language. It was an armed rebellion. Too many Jewish Americans gloss over this fact during all the holiday shopping, menorah lighting, and wolfing down potato pancakes.

The point that American Jews need to take to heart from Chanukah is that sometimes the government is not here to help and the only way left to preserve our freedom is through force. That means the willingness and means to use force. In 2004, the means of force are firearms and that's why it pisses me off to no end that so many Jewish Americans support gun control, especially in light of the most blatant act of antisemitism in history -- the Shoah (Holocaust) -- being a mere 59 years ago.

Obviously not all Jews in the US support gun control (me being an obvious example) but I'd say the majority of us do, and that kind of historical blindness will only serve to come back and bite us in the rear end.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Mozilla Thunderbird 1.0 Available

The hackers at released Thunderbird 1.0 to the world today. Since wasn't as bogged down as it was when Firefox 1.0 was released, I downloaded and installed it on my Dell Latitude this afternoon. If I run into anything funky I'll make note of it here.

Remember Pearl Harbor

Never forget.

Feedback on 1&1

Reader Brett E. sent me the following email:

Hi Dave,

I have had a vanity site up for a few weeks on their Linux Hosting - Home package. I was primarily attracted to cheap too. $5/month and it included a domain registration. So far, no problems.

Hope this helps a little.

Brett E.
Thanks! Anybody else? Post a comment here and share your experiences.

It was only a matter of time

I noticed the other day that I'm starting to receive a bit of spam in my Gmail account. So far, Google's filters are catching them all and dumping them into the spam folder. Hopefully, it won't become the torrent that I get in my other accounts at Yahoo!,, and

Speaking of Gmail, I have one invite left. If you want it send a message to me at davemarkowitz at

Monday, December 06, 2004

Blocking ads and parasites with a HOSTS file

My friend Todd sent me a copy of the HOSTS file that you can download here. In the creators' words:

The Hosts file contains the mappings of IP addresses to host names. This file is loaded into memory at startup, then Windows checks the Hosts file before it queries any DNS servers, which enables it to override addresses in the DNS. This prevents access to the listed sites by redirecting any connection attempts back to the local machine. Another feature of the HOSTS file is it's ability to block other applications from connecting to the Internet, as long the the entry exists.
I loaded it onto my work laptop and will use it for a little while, then see what Spybot and Ad Aware turn up. But it looks promising.

Sunday, December 05, 2004

1And1 Internet?

Anybody out there use 1And1 Internet for their web hosting? I'm happy with Pair but 1And1 is cheap. A guy at work has some stuff hosted with 1And1 and is happy, but I'm looking for a larger sample.

Friday, December 03, 2004

Rats, foiled again

Not only was I less successful last night that I'd hoped for, today I got screwed out of a good time at the range. I called up the place where I shoot and got their ansering machine. It said their winter hours were Friday, Saturday, and Sunday 9:00 - 4:30. So, I expected they'd be open.

Wrong. I got there only to find a sign on the door to the range house indicating that they are closed during the week during buck season. I.e., today and next week. (Insert long string of expletives here.)

I figured that since I was already halfway there, I might as well take a ride up to Cabela's in Hamburg, since I knew there'd be things I need that I could pick up. I walked out of the store with:
  • A spare magazine for my Savage 93GL .22 Mag.
  • A .30 caliber Bore Snake
  • Two .50 caliber ammo cans
  • Two boxes of Ultramax .223 55 grain FMJ remanufactured ammo
  • A Cabela's teddy bear for Amanda
  • A chocolate bar
So the day wasn't a complete waste.

Forget Lysol, get out the Raid

After much dicking about last night with Spybot, Ad Aware, Norton Antivirus, and even Knoppix, we would up using the HP system restore option to clear up my neighbor's PC.

I'd had high hopes for Knoppix using the captive-NTFS option to give me r/w access to the hard disk, which would've allowed me to delete the corrupted Temporary Internet Files, but I couldn't get it to work. I need to experiment with it on my own hardware and see what I need to do to get it running, because it's potentially a very valuable tool.

Thursday, December 02, 2004

Time to break out the Lysol

After dinner tonight I'm going over to a neighbor's house to disinfect his PC. It's been infected with Download.Trojan and who knows what else. Apparently, NAV has detected it but can't delete it. So today I updated my PC Toolkit USB flash drive with the latest versions of Spybot, Ad Aware, Trend Micro's system disinfection tool, among other things. I'll also bring over my Knoppix 3.6 CD to run f-prot, in case the box is really fouled up. This should be interesting.

Coincidentally, Slashdot is running a couple of pertinent articles today, here and here. In light of some of the comments posted to the second article, I think I need to print up some flyers and do some advertizing. I can always use a few more bucks.

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Time off

The end of the year is rapidly approaching and I have five and a half vacation days that I need to use or I'll lose them. So, I'm starting off by taking off on Friday, seeing as the weather forecast looks decent. Naturally, I intend to go to the range.

I have several guns that need shooting:
  • The Ruger Police Service Six revolver which I bought a few months ago but still haven't put a single round through.
  • The AR-180B and its newly installed brass deflector and red dot sight.
  • My Savage Mark IIGL .22 LR and 93GL .22 Mag bolt actions, both with newly-mounted scopes.
  • The Bulgarian AK.
I'll probably limit myself to the Ruger, AR, and AK this range trip. I'll try to fit in another trip later in the month so I can sight in the rimfires. It looks like my load of choice for the .22 Mag will be CCI Maxi-Mag JHPs. They shoot accurately in my rifle, are readily available, and should work well on varmints; I'm hoping to take the rifle woodchucking sometime. (A friend's in-laws have a farm where they need to keep the 'chucks under control and he said I can come help.)

For the Mark IIGL, I bought a couple boxes of CCI .22 LR subsonic HPs which I'm hoping shoot well. If they do shoot accurately, they will make nice, quiet small game loads, should I ever get back into hunting.

Uh oh

I tried to make a backup of my mail server last night using e-Smith's built-in "backup to desktop" utility. It's supposed to backup all your data in a .tgz file that gets downloaded onto the desktop machine you're logged into the admin interface from. Well, it didn't work. I have about 7 GB of data on the box and after running for a few hours, the utility crapped out on me.

So, it looks like I'll need to build a replacement mail server sooner rather than later. My initial plans are to setup another machine running a fairly stripped-down SuSE 9.2 Pro with Postfix as the MTA and an as-yet-to-be-chosen IMAP implementation. As I mentioned recently, I'm considering running a Citadel BBS on the new box, but that will probably come later, after I had more time to experiment with it.

Still, mail's current uptime as of this writing is 312 days, 17 hours, and 45 minutes. The box has been quietly humming along since the last power failure we had that outlasted my UPS.

Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Jonatahn Hassell Posting Again

Fellow Daynoter and author of neat computer books, Jonathan Hassell, is posting. I noticed he has a Blogspot blog when going through my referral links.

Check out his blog here.

Lycos Anti-Spam Screensaver

This is an interesting approach, especially for an established Internet business like Lycos. It seems that Lycos is planning to make available a screen saver which when active, will flood websites linked to in spam emails with data requests, in order to suck up their bandwidth, and hopefully dissuade the site owners' from hiring spammers to promote their wares. In other words, it's a corporate-sponsored DDOS attack against spammers and their backers.

I have to wonder about the wisdom of this. Unintended consequences and all that. But, you wouldn't see this kind of measure if otherwise legit ISPs weren't desperate to stem the flow of spam.

It'll be interesting to see how it pans out.

Monday, November 29, 2004

Citadel BBS

I started playing around with the Citadel BBS package today. One of the mailing lists to which I subscribe is hosted on Yahoo! Groups. Periodically, we get dissatisfied with the way they handle things. In the past, I've created shell accounts on my mail server as a primitive backup to the YG listserv, but hadn't installed anything like a real mailing list manager.

Citadel may be a viable alternative, especilly since the list in question is a continuation of a Fidonet echo. Citadel offers not only an old-school BBS experience, but also provides POP, IMAP and authenticated SMTP service. The SMTP service can be integrated with Spamassassin, too. Even if we decide not to migrate the list over to Citadel running on one of my boxes, I may use it for my mail server software when I build a new box for that purpose.

MS Using Pirated Software In House?

I found this one via Mad Ogre:
Chicago (IL) - Members of a former software cracking group have discovered that audio files created with one of its cracked programs are distributed with each copy of the Windows XP operating system, possibly exposing Microsoft to a large-scale copyright infringement lawsuit.

If true, somebody is in for a world of shit.

Sunday, November 28, 2004

Weekend recap

Yes, I've been lax about posting for the past few days, so I may as well include updates for several things I've written about recently.

I now have a brass deflector on my AR-180B. Instead of the piece of PVC I mentioned in my last post on the topic, I wound up using a rubber stopper as the raw material. Aside from matching the receiver better, it was easier to work and the base shape was closer to what I needed. I'd wanted to get to the range today but the weather was crummy.

Thursday we went down to Aberdeen, MD for Turkey Day. I managed to not stuff myself to the point where I couldn't move. I used to do that on Thanksgiving but I've gotten away from that the past few years.

On Black Friday I made an impulse purchase of a Green Rifle. An Arsenal, Inc. SLR-101SG1, to be precise. (I made the mistake of going over to Surplus City and not leaving my Master Card home.) It's a Bulgarian-made semiauto Kalashnikov with US-made green synthetic furniture, and a milled receiver. Most AKs have receivers made from stamped sheet steel. However, the first mass-produced AKs had receivers milled from solid billets of steel. My new toy is of this type. The SLR-101s were originally imported with thumbhole stocks and could take only single-stack magazines, not regular AK mags. However, Arsenal, Inc. modifies them to a proper configuration by replacing enough of the imported parts with US parts to meet the requirements of 18 USC 922(r). As such, my rifle was also modified to accept standard AK magazines. It came with a single Bulgarian made 5 round plastic "waffle" mag, but I have a bunch of 20 and 30 rounders, plus a 75 round drum.

By all accounts, the Bulgarian rifles are top-notch. The fit and finish on mine is head and shoulders above any Chinese AK or the Century Arms Romanian hack jobs that are most common in the US. The Bulgarian rifles are also supposed to be among the most accurate AKs. Compared with the 4 MOA that you can expect from most Kalashnikov sporters, the Bulgarians can be expected to halve that. (I sure hope so.) A report will follow when I get it out to the range. I have some vacation days to be used by the end of the year so I may blow off a day or two in the near future with the intent of going shooting.

Aside from the SLR-101, I also picked up four OEM Ruger Mini-14 2o round magazines at Surplus City. Ever since the now-defunct Assault Weapons Ban was enacted, civlian-legal factory Mini-14 mags holding more than 5 rounds have been as scarce as hen's teeth. The cheapest I saw Ruger mags for since I got my Mini-14 last year was $75 for one mag. Even with the sunset of the AWB, Ruger is sticking to its policy of selling them only to government agencies. However, as departments sell off older rifles and mags, they make their way onto the market. And so, I was able to get four mags that while not new-in-wrap, look almost unused, for $25 each.

With my acquisitions I was presented with a problem, though. That is, how to pay for it all. I'd resigned myself to putting my Saiga AK up for sale on THR and TFL, but was able to get a better deal. Basically, I swapped it, along with four mags (I have plenty more) and 120 rounds of 7.62x39 for carpentry work at the house by a friend. Since I'd otherwise be paying him money, bartering the rifle for his work in effect paid for my new rifle, and I got some much-needed work done back at the house.

Thursday, November 25, 2004

Happy Thanksgiving... all my American readers, and anyone else who wants to join in.

A brief list of things for which I'm thankful this year:
  • I'm thankful for my second daughter, who was born in July.
  • I'm thankful for the love and support of my family.
  • I'm thankful I live in the greatest country which has ever existed.
  • I'm thankful I was able to transfer into a better job with the same company, also back in July.
  • I'm thankful that the PTB allowed our men and women to finally take off their gloves and kick some butt in Fallujah.
  • I'm thankful that we were able to get the AWB to sunset. (My wallet isn't, though. :-0 )
  • I'm thankful that prospects for a gun industry lawsuit protection law are brighter now after the results of this November's elections.
  • I'm thankful we flushed the Johns.

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Memo to the Left

I got this tonight in email. I wish I had written it:

To Michael Moore: Sit down and shut up... And do something about
your hair. And the ball cap.

To Jimmy Carter: big mistake to sit down and shut up next to
Michael Moore at the convention. Spend more time with drywall and
the glue gun.

To Tom Daschle: If you lean too far to the left, voters will tend to
lean right for a while, but will eventually push you out of the

To Al Gore: Please, sir, before it's too late ... Seek an
experienced mental health professional. You're beginning to make
Christopher Lloyd in "Back To The Future" look downright Rotarian-

To Dan Rather: Enjoy your early retirement. The next memo you get
will be real.

To the DNC: Your platform must not have lurched far enough to the
left. Keep it tilting southpaw. Read more Marx. P.S. Keep
insulting the voters with your moral and intellectual condescension
too. It goes well with that warp speed registering of folks in
plaid wool blankets pushing shopping carts. Lovely constituency.

To Bill Clinton: Thanks for hitting the campaign trail for Kerry.
Some of us needed a reminder of what we were trying to avoid.

To Hillary Clinton: PLEASE run in '08. The Heartland will be hungry
for more hors d'oeuvres by then.

To the MTV Kidz: Vote or die - or not. Like, whatever, dude.

To John "Breck Girl" Edwards: Can you help Michael Moore and Whoopi
Goldberg with a little basic grooming?

To Bruce Springsteen, James Taylor, Bono, etc.: We still like your
music, but if you ever want to sell another record, just sing and
don't go where you don't know. We don't pay to hear Colin Powell or
Condie Rice do air guitar either.

To George Soros: Want to buy an election? Not in *MY* America, you
monomaniacal, socialistic buffoon.

To the Mainstream Media: Congratulations on getting Kerry at least
thirty more electoral votes than he would have gotten without your
covert support. Imagine how badly he would have lost if you were
actually unbiased.

To the United Nations: Your worst nightmare will continue for
another four years. Deal with it.

To Howard "I Have A Scream" Dean: stick with something you
understand; like proctology for instance.

To Richard Holbrooke: learn to tell a joke. Learn to laugh at one.

To John Zogby: will post your resume.

To Maureen Dowd, Paul Krugman, Robert Scheer, and your minor league
imitators, Greg Plast and Mark Morford: you have no red states

To Teddy Kennedy: sigh, it's still the blonde in the pond that
leads your highlight reel.

To Ron Reagan "Junior:" Do you have talent for anything?
Nexxxxxxxxxxxxxxt ...?

To the Exit Pollsters: As long as you keep skewing the results in an
attempt to influence the election, we'll keep lying to you. If you
quit, so will we. Deal?

To Osama bin Laden: Bring it on, you sonofabitch, What's that? The
only attack you can muster now is on videotape? Hmm... No surprise
there, I guess.

To Teresa HEINZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ Kerry: teaching is a real job.
The Teachers Union, who supported your husband, can clarify any
continuing confusion. Oh, and it's not a "real job" to sleep with a
third generation ketchup heir and then cash the plane crash check.

To the European Union: See message for Michael Moore.

To Terry McAuliffe: See message for Dan Rather. And pay a little
attention to what Zell Miller reminds us of: 20 Democratic senators
from the south in 1960 and only six from the GOP. Today, 22
Republicans and four Dems.

To See message for George Soros

To James Carville: you're the only guy who seems to get it; and
you're very smart. Good luck finding an audience that's neither
medicated nor mendacious.

And finally, to John Kerry: Thank you for reporting for duty. You
are hereby dismissed.


Let it snow

The snowblower I ordered a week and a half ago came today. That's pretty fast service from Troy-Bilt. Now I hope we get a ton of snow this year, but of course Murphy's Law dictates that we'll get zip.

I should go do a snow dance.

Monday, November 22, 2004

Roll over, Amanda. And other stuff.

The big news in the Markowitz household is that Amanda is now able to roll over onto her back from her stomach. She'll be five months old on December 6th (Alexandra's second birthday).

It's interesting to see how each kid is developing differently. Alexandra had to be delivered 3 weeks early, and it shows. Developmentally, she's a bit behind most other kids her age. In contrast, I won't be surprised if Amanda is walking by the time she's one year old.

Otherwise, not much else is exciting. Alexandra, Amanda, and I all had colds over the weekend but they seem to be going away now. And my back was acting up again on Saturday, which prevented me from doing much.

I did finally find something to make a brass deflector for my AR-180B, though. I was at Lowe's yesterday picking up a few things and noticed an end plug for PVC pipes in the plumbing aisle. It's basically a threaded cylinder with a square nub on the end. There's sufficient material in it to allow me to machine a hump like on an M16-A2 receiver out of it. I'll then epoxy it to the AR-180B's receiver behind the ejection port. After it's on and tested I'll paint it black or grey to match the metal. This should keep hot brass out of my face.

Oh, I think I forgot to mention about ordering and receiving a scope mount for the AR-180B. One of my friends has an AR-180B and has a red dot sight mounted on it using a B-Square mount. It's a slick setup and something I've been thinking about for some time. MSRP on the B-Square mount is ~$150, which has been the major reason I hadn't bought one. Well, I found it on sale at MidwayUSA for $99 after I saw my friend's rifle, so I ordered one.

As with previous Midway orders, it came fast. I got a set of 30mm medium height scope rings, which place the centerline of the optics a little bit higher than the iron sights. I put my PK-01V, previously resident on my AK, on the ArmaLite. It is a nice setup which hopefully I'll get to try out soon.

Aside from the B-Square mount, I also picked up two sets of high rings for 1" scope, to be used to mount optics on my two Savage rimfire rifles. (Also made by B-Square, and also on sale.) With low mounts, the objective bell of a scope is fouled by the rear sight on these rifles, and the scope winds up being mounted too far forward. The high mounts should allow me to set them up with correct eye relief.

Friday, November 19, 2004

Linux Printing, Again

I've ranted in the past about the sorry state of Linux printing. Sure, if I plug an HP DeskJet into a parallel port, setting up printing is going to be pretty easy. But USB printers seem to give difficulties. I finally got my Samsung ML-1710 working on Bagend but had to resort to the same hack I used last time. Namely, using a the ppd file (driver) for the older ML-1210.

This is especially annoying since YaST auto-detected the printer as an ML-1710 and set it up using the ML-1710 ppd file. When testing the connection to the printer, everything came up ok. But trying to actually get any output was an exercise in frustration. Doing a tail -f /var/log/cups/error_log wasn't illuminating, either.

I tried using the setup program downloaded from Samsung's website and struck out with that as well. Finally, I decided to try setting it up in YaST and manually selecting the ML-1210 ppd, and it worked.


Ammo Day Purchase

I just did my part for Ammo Day and placed an order with Natchez Shooters Supply for the following:
  • 200 rounds of CCI .22 WMR Mini Mags
  • 200 rounds of CCI .22 LR Subsonic HPs
  • 50 rounds of S&B .357 158 grain JSPs
  • 1 Butler Creek Hotlips 25 round mag for my Ruger 10/22
Fun times ahead!

National Ammo Day

Thursday, November 18, 2004

Neat feature in Konsole

I just discovered the feature "Send input to all sessions" in Konsole, the KDE terminal app. Konsole is a tabbed terminal app -- a replacement for xterm -- that's part of KDE. It allows you to open more than one terminal session in the same window, much like Firefox allows you to open multiple tabs in your browser.

Well, if you open more than one terminal session withing Konsole and then go to View > Send Input to All Sessions, you can type a command in one terminal and have it entered in all the terminals you have open within that Konsole window.

A scenario where this could be useful is if you are using Konsole to ssh into multiple servers to check out log files. E.g., supposed you're maintaining three different mail servers. You could ssh into each one of them, each in it's own tab, activate the Send Input to All Sessions feature, then in one tab enter the command "tail -f /var/log/mail". This would allow you to easily switch back and forth between tabs and see what's going on. Likewise, if you needed to apply a patch to multiple boxes, you could login to them and issue a command to fetch the patch from a repository and install it.

Neat stuff!

New version of AVG Antivirus

I mentioned the free AVG Antivirus program the other day but didn't make it clear that version 7 of the free, personal edition of AVG Antivirus is out now. Updates for version 6 are going to be discontinued by the end of the year. Version 7 can be downloaded at:

If you are running AVG6, I suggest uninstalling it then installing v7, then running the update to ensure that the signature files are up to date.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

This just in!


Dr. Calvin Rickson, a scientist from Texas A&M University has invented a bra that keeps women's breasts from jiggling and prevents the nipples from pushing through the fabric when cold weather sets in.

At a news conference announcing the invention, a large group of men took Dr. Rickson outside and beat the shit out of him.

An Easy Way to Disable/Enable Windows Scripting Host

Windows Scripting Host is a component of MS Windows 9x, 2K and XP that allows Visual Basic Script programs to run. VBS files can be used to automate tasks in Windows, but they most commonly encountered by home users as viruses. So, by disabling WSH when it's unneed you can help secure your PC.

Symantec now has a free program called "noscript.exe" which you can download to your PC and which allows you to disable or reenable WSH with a couple of mouse clicks. Grab it here (and read Symantec's article for some background).

Note that Windows Update won't work with WSH disabled, so you'll need to turn it back on when you patch your PC.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

I'm So Glad

A number of classic rock and roll groups have announced reunion tours in recent years, but none is more surprising or potentially more exciting to fans than the news that legendary power rock trio Cream is getting back together for a series of concerts.

British newspapers are reporting the trio will reunite for a string of shows next year at London's Royal Albert Hall, the first time they have played together since the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame induction ceremony in 1993.

Original story here.
Wow. This is HUGE. I've been a huge Clapton fan since the mid-80s and naturally got into Cream. If their reuniting for a series of dates in London, is it too much to ask that they'll see how well they're received and actually do a tour? I've seen Clapton live twice and wore out Live Cream Volume 2 on tape. To actually be able to see them live ... DAMN!

Don't be shy... a comment! I appreciate comments to my posts and feel that input from my readers can help make this site better. If you have something pertinent to say, sound off!

Learning Bash scripting

One area of knowledge that I am deficient in is programming. I had a year of BASIC in high school and a term of COBOL in college, but haven't done any real programming since then. There have been times when the ability to create a script to automate a task would've come in handy, e.g., when I've had to reconfigure a large number of routers in advance of a deadline.

I therefore have been working my way through the Bash Guide for Beginners, one of the longer "guides" published by the Linux Documentation Project. So far, I'm quite impressed with it. It's well-written and generally pretty clear. I downloaded the Bash Guide in PDF format and found it put together very professionally -- with bookmarks, links, etc.

Check it out.

POP access to Gmail

Google is rolling out pop access to Gmail. I just noticed that I have it. If you have a Gmail account, once you're given POP access you'll see a "New Features" link at the top of the page. First, you'll need to enable POP access in your Gmail account settings. Then you'll need to configure your POP client appropriately -- Google is using non-standard ports and is requiring SSL connections. The server settings you'll need are:

Incoming Mail (POP3) Server – requires SSL:
Use SSL: Yes
Port: 995
Outgoing Mail (SMTP) Server – requires TLS: (use authentication)
Use Authentication: Yes
Use STARTTLS: Yes (some clients call this SSL)
Port: 465 or 587
Account Name: your Gmail username (including '')
Email Address: your full Gmail email address (
Password: your Gmail password

Combat video from Fallujah

The source of this video is "The Mac Allan," a member at It's a Windows Media file and about 4 megs. It's loud, so turn down your speakers if you're at work. (Lot's of shooting and cussing, but no visible gore.)

Monday, November 15, 2004

Saving my back this winter

My long-time readers (all 3 of you) will know that I have a bad back, which was exacerbated when I injured it on the job back in April. So, with winter coming up and the prospect of shoveling snow, I felt it was high time that I got a snow blower, even though putting another $600 on my Master Card wasn't something I really wanted to do. I therefore ordered a Troy-Bilt Storm 524 today. I chose a Troy-Bilt based on the experience of a friend's parents. They had a couple different pieces of equipment made by T-B (tillers, etc.) and never had any problems. Hopefully, it'll get here before our first snowfall.

I vacillated between getting a single stage unit, which would've been cheaper, and a two stage unit. I went with the latter because we sometimes do get dumped on and I wanted something which would handle deeper snow. A couple nice features of the Storm 524 are electric start and the four-cycle engine, which means I don't have to worry about a fuel/oil mixture.

Sunday, November 14, 2004

Another Wireless Network Install

I installed a wireless network at the home of one of my clients this morning. I had her order the equipment -- Netgear's 802.11g wireless router/PC card NIC combo -- then after it came in scheduled the install.

It went smoothly. As expected her Compaq desktop had no problems getting online through the router. I then installed the NIC in her IBM Thinkpad 600 which runs Win98. That took a bit of fiddling but it worked fine after a little tinkering and the connection speed was fast.

I also got the chance to employ for the first time my Sandisk Cruzer Mini USB flash drive for its intended use, as a replacement for my "PC Toolkit" CD. Her Compaq desktop was exhibiting some flakiness, so I plugged the Sandisk into a front USB port on the box and installed Spybot Search & Destroy from the "antispy" folder on it. Read speed was quite fast, definitely faster than reading from a CD. Very handy.

Free Antivirus Program

If you're running Windows, you better be using an antivirus program. The one I've been using for a couple of years now with good results is the free version of Grisoft's AVG, licensed for noncommercial use. The download page is at

In my experience, AVG causes less of a performance hit than Norton Antivirus or McAfee Antivirus. In combination with using something other than Outlook or Outlook Express, you'll be pretty well protected.

Friday, November 12, 2004

Configuring Outlook 2002 to display all messages as plain text

If like me, you're stuck using Microsoft Outlook XP (AKA Outlook 2002 or Outlook 10) at work, you can reduce your vulnerability to HTML-borne malware by setting it up to display all messages as plain ASCII text.

Unfortunately, doing so requires either a third-party utility or manually adding a value to the Registry. First close Outlook and make a backu of your registry. Then do (this works for Outlook XP SR1 or later):

1. Open regedit.
2. Go to the key HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\10.0\Outlook\Options\Mail
3. Create a new Value Name of DWORD type called ReadAsPlain.
4. Setting the DWORD value to 1 will force all messages to be read as plain ASCII, while setting the value to 0 will allow HTML to be rendered.

Thursday, November 11, 2004

G-ddamn French do it again

Foxnews is running a story here about Yasser Arafat's death, which includes a picture of his coffin being borne by a French military honor guard. By doing so, the French are literally honoring the man who has been reasonably described as the father of modern terrorism.

I think we can tell where France's sympathies lie. {spit}

Veteran's Day

To all US veterans, past and present, thank you for your service. It's appreciated.

Gmail POP access

Gmail is phasing in POP3 access. Some accounts already have it but I'm still waiting. As users are added, the "New Features" blurb will appear at the top of their browser screen.

I still have two Gmail invites left. First-come first-serve. If you want one, send me a request via email to davemarkowitz at

SUSE 9.2 Professional on Low End Hardware

As an experiment, I'm redoing Slacktop with SUSE 9.2 Professional. It'll be interesting to see how it runs on low end hardware (P2/366, 128 MB RAM).

More details to follow.

That blast of heat you felt ...

...was the gates of Hell opening up to give Yasser Arafat a nice, warm welcome.

May he spend all of eternity boiling in a bit vat of pig fat.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

SUSE 9.2 Professional

My order of SUSE 9.2 Professional Update edition from Amazon arrived yesterday. Damn that was fast.

The box included the OS on both CDs and DVD, a nice thick system administration manual, and a SUSE sticker. The discs came in a nice plastic storage case, an improvement over the cardboard sleeve thing prior versions of SUSE came in.

After reading the fine manual's section on system upgrades, I popped in DVD1 (DVD2 contains source code and wasn't needed for the upgrade) and rebooted Bagend. On reboot it loaded from the DVD, and I selected to do an install, then a system upgrade based on the already-installed packages.

A few mouse clicks later the YaST installer started the upgrade, first by deleting the installed software and then installing the new version. Because it first had to delete all the old stuff the whole process took significantly longer than a clean install, over an hour AAMOF.

The final step of the install was to verify Internet connectivity and download any patches released since 9.2 went gold. The default mirror that SUSE YOU chose was a server located in Los Angeles. I switched this to one in Georgia, which is closer to me. This was a mistake, as YOU couldn't retrieve the list of patches from the server. After hitting the Abort button about a hundred times, it finally gave up and let me try an FTP server in Chicago, which worked fine.

Upon booting into SUSE 9.2 for the first time I noticed that it had a somewhat updated version of the Liquid theme. It's flat-out gorgeous and makes the box very Mac-like in appearance. The mechanics of the UI remain standard KDE, however. (Which is fine by me.)

SUSE detected my Samsung ML-1710 USB printer and loaded the correct PPD file. I'd tried to get it running under 9.0 after I installed it on Bagend, but couldn't get the printer to work. Now, it's installed and shows up as accepting jobs, but I'm still not getting any output. Getting the thing to work under 9.0 on Gondor was a real mofo so I'm not surprised, although I'd hoped the damn thing would work easily under 9.2 with the right PPD file. I'll get it working eventually although I may resort to using a driver and setup package I downloaded from Samsung on Monday.

Just once, I'd like to see a Linux box setup printing as easily as a Windows machine.

After the printer episode, one of the first things I noticed was that instead of separate icons on the desktop for each drive, SUSE now configures KDE with an icon labeled "My Computer." (No doubt this is intended for newbies coming over from Windows.) Clicking on My Computer opens Konqueror in file manager mode, with icons for the various drives.

As I use the system some more I'll post reports.

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Firefox via BitTorrent

I was able to grab Firefox 1.0 by using BitTorrent, the peer-to-peer file distribution system. The official torrents are here.

If you don't have a BitTorrent client installed (as I didn't until this morning) you can grap the official clients here, or the Java client Azureus here.

I'm going to play some more with BitTorrent for sure. The ~5 meg Firefox download took under 10 seconds using BT. Slackware and some other Linux distros are using it to distribute ISO images install CDs. Very, very neat.

Mozilla Firefox 1.0 Released

The guys over at Mozilla met their release date. Firefox 1.0 is finally out!

You can get it here although the site is currently being slammed. I plan to wait until later today or maybe tomorrow before downloading it.

Wheel mouse in Slackware Current

This morning I brought in my old Logitech FirstMouse+ from home and connected it to Slacktop. As expected, Slack recognized the PS/2 mouse and I was able to use its basic functions upon logging into X. However, the mouse wheel didn't work; Slackware still requires you to manually tweak the system's config to get the wheel running.

Doing so is quite simple, though. Become root and open in /etc/X11/xorg.conf in your preferred editor. Then find the section labeled "Core Pointer" and make it look like this:

Section "InputDevice"

# Identifier and driver

Identifier "Mouse1"
Driver "mouse"
Option "Buttons" "5"
Option "ZAxisMapping" "4 5"
Option "Protocol" "IMPS/2"
Option "Device" "/dev/mouse"
I had to had the last four lines above. The reason the option for "Buttons" is 5 is that the wheel is seen as 3 buttons -- one for each way it rotates and one for when you press it as a button.

If you have X already running you'll need to exit and restart the X server for the change to take effect.

Monday, November 08, 2004

Monday update

Yesterday morning we took the girls to the playground in Miles Park, over in Whitemarsh. Small as she is, Amanda likes being outside, and Alexandra loves running around and playing on the slides and going fast in a swing. Afterwards, she's so tired out that she takes a four-hour nap.

After getting back from the park and putting the girls down for their naps, I spent some time outside with the leaf blower and rake. We have a few trees that dump a ton of leaves on the property so it takes awhile to tidy up. Even though my leaf blower is also a vac that mulches the leaves, I put them all out for collection, rather than saving them for compost. There were a lot of pine needles mixed in and I'm concerned that using the resulting mix for mulch would kill more than just weeds.

I still haven't found my wedding band. What a PITA.

Friday, November 05, 2004

Home today

Alexandra got a cold the other day and I had to pick her up from the daycare at noon yesterday. We took her to the pediatrician later and she confirmed it seems to be a bad cold, but nothing worse. So, she needed to stay home today, something she was not at all happy about. She really enjoys going to daycare, which is run like a pre-nursery school (we refer to it as "school").

In other annoying news, my wedding band has gone AWOL. This is more than a little strange, since I generally never take it off. I noticed this morning it was gone. I'm hoping that it somehow came off in my sleep and I find it soon.

What a wonderful day.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

New cable modem

We will soon be rolling out a new option for our commercial cable modem customer -- static IPs. As a member of the new product deployment group, I get to be one of the guinea pigs to beta test the product. So, tonight I brought home one of our SMC 8013s, a cable modem & router.

I was given config file to upload to the box. After doing so and connecting it in place of my Motorola SB4101, I was online with my new static IP. I have a /30 subnet, which gives me 1 IP for the WAN side, 1 for the LAN's gateway, and 2 for hosts. Not wanting to putz with my LAN's config just yet, I'm still using NAT.

Sometime next week my boss and I are going to swap modems to simulate a node move. Basically, we want to make sure that what's currently my modem will come online at his house with the same IP I'm getting here, and vice-versa for the modem he now has.

As an aside, I want to note that continues to give great DNS service. With a new public IP, I needed to update the "A" record for After logging into and changing the IP, the record propagated very quickly. I was able to send test emails to myself from my Gmail and Yahoo! Mail accounts within about 15 minutes.

All Your White House Are Belong To Us!

In A.D. 2004 Re-election was beginning:

John Kerry: What happen?

Theresa Heinz-Kerry: Somebody set up us the re-election.

John Edwards: We get signal.

John Kerry: What!

John Edwards: CNN turn on.

John Kerry: It's You!!

Bush: How are you gentlemen!!


Bush: You are on the way to unemployment.

John Kerry: What you say!!

Bush: You have no chance to survive make your time.

Bush: Ha Ha Ha Ha ....

---Courtesy of Skunkabilly at THR.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Fifty Reasons Why...

Just go see them.

Election Day -- Finally

Finally Election Day is here and we can put this campaign behind us. Except for the inevitable legal wranglings. (frump)

I voted before work, after Judith and I dropped of the girls at daycare. I got to my polling place at about 0710 and there was already a line. My MIL works the polls at another polling site nearby and she told me that turnout was heavy.

Now there's nothing to do but wait and see how it turns out.

Monday, November 01, 2004

Computer time

If you run any kind of a server having the correct time set on the box is helpful for ensuring that items like log entries and emails are dated correctly. Even on a workstation, it's preferable to have the correct time. Often, a computer's clock will gain or lose time and you need to keep resetting it, which is a pain in the neck.

Thankfully, it's easy to automate this. Network Time Protocol provides a way to have your computer automatically keep its clock in sync with an authoritative clock, by polling an NTP server. Here in the US there are a number of publicly-accessible NTP servers. I have my machines set to access a server run by NIST, the National Institute for Standards and Technology. The page for the NIST Internet Time Service is here. On that page, NIST gives you info about NTP and links to NTP clients for Windows machines. It also provides info about how to use NTP from a Mac.

Pretty much all Unix and Unix-like OSes include an NTP client. For example, SUSE Linux includes xntp, which can be configured through YaST to start at bootup and poll an NTP server.

Saturday, October 30, 2004

Finally finshed

Today my partner and I finally finished the big cabling job we've been working on for one of my clients every weekend this month. The only things left to do today was punch down a couple jacks near a new piece of equipment, install a switch and a couple of hubs, and patch all the connections through from the patch panel to the core switch. I also installed their email and file server in their new locations.

Afterwards we grabbed lunch and he installed a new doorbell for me and fixed a fouled up flourescent light in my kitchen. Doing anything with AC power gives me the heebie-jeebies. It's good to be friends with an electrician. :-)

Friday, October 29, 2004

It's alive!

Finally, Bagend has arisen from the grave. I pulled it out of the crawlspace last night (no fun, there) and since I'd covered it in a Hefty bag, it actually wasn't all full of spiderwebs.

First order of business was to gut the case. Out came the power supply. Out came the motherboard tray. I decided to keep the 3Com NIC to see if it was still good, which turned out to be fortunate. I also kept the 32x CD-ROM drive, although I pulled it out of the case. There was no floppy to salvage, it having already been removed. Aside from the case itself, the only parts I reused were the 3Com NIC and the case fan. The mobo, RAM, CPU and old PS went into the trash.

Putting all the new components together took about an hour since I was taking it slow. Aside from the components obtained from NewEgg, I also installed a 52x CD-ROM drive which came out of my MIL's PC when I installed a CD-RW drive for her earlier this year. So, Bagend has two optical drives but no floppy drive. (I need to do something about that hole in the front of the case.)

It didn't boot up on my first try. After some head scratching, I realized that I'd connected the power switch to the mobo headers one pin off. Once I moved the connector over the box fired right up.

I did a little bit of tweaking in the BIOS, then rebooted, popped in the SUSE 9.0 Professional DVD, and commenced the install.

Installing SUSE from DVD beats the pants off using CDs. Instead of periodic disc swapping, once you're ready to actually install everything you click OK and it goes. I didn't time it but it took about a half hour to finish the installation. I didn't do a full-boat install but I did add a good amount of stuff to SUSE's default selection of software. WTH, I've got the disk space.

Speaking of which, I partitioned the drive with 512 MB swap, 30 GB for /, and the remained as /home. On a desktop or laptop I don't see the need for fancy partitioning schemes, but having /home on its own partion facilitates backups and allows you to reformat /, but leave your data instact, if you do an upgrade. I used SUSE's default filesystem -- ReiserFS.

It's a good thing that I didn't chuck the old 3Com NIC. For some reason during the install, SUSE didn't recognize my new mobo's onboard Realtek-based NIC. Without the old NIC I wouldn't have got the box online.

By the time I was finished it was around 2200, my normal weeknight bedtime. I didn't want to go to sleep just yet, so I putzed around by installing the latest releases of Firebird and Thunderbird. Since I'm no longer using Mozilla Composer regularly, I may stick with the individual apps, rather than the Mozilla suite.

Tonight I'm going to try to fine tune the X config and restore all my data. I'm also going to see if I can get the onboard NIC working, as I'd like to take out the 3Com for use as a spare. Aside from the NIC issue I'm pleased with the box, which is a heckuva lot faster than Gondor was with the same OS.

Thursday, October 28, 2004

No Jury Duty

I checked Montgomery County's website for jury duty, and I don't have to report to the court house tomorrow. I would like to serve on a jury, but with my background as an attorney I doubt I would get past voire dire. So, I'm glad that I don't have to waste my time by showing up and then being told to go home.

The Secret Weapon

This is one of the best blog entries I've read in quite some time.

Well, for that matter the whole method and practice of Governance in the United States is a mystery to the people of the world. I get quiet exasperated trying to explain "separation of powers', 'federal vs. state powers' and 'constitutional law'. The idea that our system of government is designed to ensure that it doesnt work very well, is simply beyond them. When I explain that the "Bill Of Rights" does not in fact give you any rights, but actually limits the powers of government, that all rights are believed to be yours to begin with and that most of what the constitution does is limit, form and shape government, and that it does not actually say in any explicit language " you have this right or that one". It does tell every one "government can go this far and no further" on a number of subjects.

It gets better. Read the rest here.

WLAN Update

I got my client's WLAN up and running with WEP, but only the 64-bit flavor.

We first disabled Windows Wireless Zero Configuration and then tried 128-bit WEP. No joy. Her PC could associate with the WAP as before, but not pull an IP. We tried renewing the IP and disabling and reenabling the wireless NIC to no avail. It flat out would not talk to the network. So, as a last resort I we setup 64-bit WEP, she got an IP, and we verified Internet connectivity.

Very strange and incredibily annoying.

Still, between basic encryption and MAC filtering, IMO their LAN is reasonably secure.

Home Network Update

I got Rivendell swapped out for Gondor last night, after moving Judith's docs over to the newer PC. It didn't go completely smoothly, however.

Several of Judith's documents were created in MS Works 6.0, although she's been using Word for the past couple of years. I wanted her to have access to the old files in case she needs them, so I installed Works on Gondor. Big mistake.

Following the post-install reboot I discovered that Works was interfering with AVG Antivirus, preventing a core DLL from loading. This left the box without virus protection, an unacceptable state of affairs. So, I reinstalled AVG, which didn't fix it.

At this point I decided to remove Works. Judith no longer uses it and the older files hadn't been accessed in a couple of years, so if she ever does need them we can temporarily install Works, then use it to save the files in .doc format, and then wipe it off the box again. In the menatime, she's got 1.1.3, which should serve her needs well.

The Works-vs.-AVG fiasco is puzzling. Both programs peacefully coexisted on Rivendell, although under Windows 98SE. For some reason, they don't on XP. Go figure.

I never did get to start reviving Bagend last night. By the time I was done with Gondor is was about 2100 and I was pooped. I plan to work on it tonight though, especially since my NEC DVD burner and AMD Athlon CPU showed up yesterday.

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

RSS in Thunderbird

I upgraded Thunderbird on my laptop to the latest version, 0.8. A new feature is a built-in RSS/XML site feed reader. It's pretty slick, although it's not totally intuitive to setup.

You first need to go and create a new account in Tbird, via Tools > Account Settings > Add New Account. Choose "RSS News and Blogs" as the account type. This will create the basic site feed reader account. You then need to go into the account properties and subscribe to the feeds by adding their URLs. You can find out a feed's URL usually by clicking on an "XML" or "RSS" icon on a page in your browser. Then paste the URL into the RSS reader subscription box.

Blogger uses Atomz, rather than RSS, but Tbird reads this kind of feed just fine. The URL to subscribe to this site is

I'll need to add a link to this in the sidebar.

Gondor reborn

I got XP Pro installed on Gondor last night, then added SP2, ran Windows Update, and even installed some apps before calling it a day. I'm going to see if I can switch Judith over to, so I installed that instead of MS Office. I still find it annoying that on that hardware, XP runs faster than KDE on SUSE. KDE has simply become bloated, although it remains my desktop environment of choice.

Since Judith doesn't use POP or IMAP for her email -- she's content with Yahoo! mail -- I installed Firefox rather than the full Mozilla suite. I also installed the Noia theme, which is pretty slick looking. This morning I upgraded Firefox on my work laptop to the latest version and installed the Crystalfox theme, which I like even better. It's quite KDEish. I may install it on Gondor later. (I'm using Firefox today at work since I can't get to my mail server -- see previous post -- and just need a browser.)

Tonight I'll swap out Rivendell for Gondor after I move Judith's files and bookmarks over. Then I can hopefully turn my attention to reviving Bagend. Even if my new CPU and DVD drive don't arrive, I can gut the case of the old, fried components, install the new poer supply, RAM, video card, and motherboard.

Linksys SPI

The implementation of stateful packet inspection on the Linksys BEFSR11 router I use at home leaves something to be desired. I turned it on last night, and discovered when I came into the office this morning that I can no longer login to remotely. After a bit of googling, I discovered that the main effect of enabling SPI on this box is to turn off port forwarding.

Crap. Linksys could have documented this.

Oh well, since hosts my personal email there's no real harm done in my case. Of course, this could be a big problem in a different environment. I'll disable SPI when I get home and watch as the flood of pent up spam crashes in.

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Parts is parts

I got most of the parts that I ordered for my "new" PC from NewEgg today. The Athlon CPU and the NEC DVD+/-RW drive are still in transit, though. So, after unpacking the other components I installed the Netgear FS108 Ethernet switch, replacing my old 10 meg hub.

The Netgear switch is a nice little unit with a metal case and feels very solid. It uses a wall wart power supply which helps keeps down the size of the switch itself. One thing that impressed me is that unlike typical consumer grade networking equipment, this box has a connector on the back for a separate electrical ground.

After getting the new switch installed I finished backing up my data on Gondor. Last night, I'd made copies of my documents folder to my laptop. Tonight I added my dotfiles -- .kde, .gftp., and .mozilla. Then I burned the same files to a CD, so that I have two backups.

And so, Gondor is currently being reborn as a Windows XP machine for Judith. As I write this, the hard disk is almost finished being reformatted. I plan to get XP Pro installed tonight and maybe SP2. I'll load the apps she needs tomorrow, migrate over her data from Rivendell, and swap towers.


Slacktop -- my old Dell Latitude CPi P2/366 is now running Slackware-current, as the result of me running "swaret --upgrade -a" yesterday afternoon. I didn't have the chance to try it out before leaving the office yesterday, so I fired up the box early this morning.

I had to do some tweaking to get X to run. I issued "startx" and the XOrg server started to launch, but died with an error that it couldn't find the "keyboard" driver. I took a look in /etc/X11/xorg.conf-vesa and saw that the keyboard driver in that file was listed as "kbd," so I changed /etc/X11xorg.conf (the working config file) to match, and X worked.

The system upgrade included an updated to KDE 3.3.1, which I wanted to take a look at. It's very nice, although slow on this hardware.

Swaret isn't perfect but it's a pretty darn good tool for package management on Slackware. If you run Slack you should definitely give it a try.

Monday, October 25, 2004

Wireless LAN Headaches II

Well, I just got off the phone with the client for whom I installed the WLAN on Saturday. After dinking around in the WAP for a little while, I disabled WEP encryption. As soon as I did that and they reassociated with the WAP they were able to get online and to see each other's PCs in My Network Places.


MAC filtering is enabled on the WAP so their WLAN is not wide open, but I'd prefer to have multiple layers of security. I'm going to do some more research and then try 64 bit WEP and/or WPA. (WPA is supposed to be an improvement on WEP, although not much. I didn't enable it initially because I'm familiar with WEP.)

I have to wonder if this is some soft of stupid XP Home-ism.

Saturday, October 23, 2004

Wireless networking headaches

This morning I setup a wireless LAN at a 3-person law firm in Delaware. Initial setup was pretty straightforward, but it's not what I consider to be fully functional. I could use some input here.

The network consists of three PCs, two eMachines boxes and one Dell, all running XP Home (they had these boxes before they called me). Each PC has a Netgear WG311T wireless NIC which was installed according to the manufacturer's directions. There is also a Netgear WG302 wireless access point. The intented use of the LAN is to share a cable modem connection and allow file and printer sharing among the three users.

The Ethernet interface of the WAP has the IP The first eMachines box is, the Dell is .11, and the second eMachines box is .12 The WAP and all three PCs are pointed to for their gateway, which will be installed Monday.

Each PC is able to associate with the WAP and signal strength is excellent. All PCs are setup in the same Windows workgroup. No firewalls are running. NetBIOS over TCP/IP is enabled.

I was able to login and configure the WAP by connecting my laptop to its Ethernet port.

  1. None of the PCs can ping each other or the WAP.
  2. The PCs cannot see each other in My Network Places, except that the Dell can see eMachines box #1, although not access its shared folders.
  3. With my laptop connected to the WAP's Ethernet port, I can ping the WAP but none of the other PCs. Nor can any of the other PCs ping my laptop.
  4. The wireless PCs cannot pull up the WAP's login page in a browser.
WTF? Will this not work until a hub/switch is connected to the WAP's Ethernet port?