Thursday, August 25, 2011


As far as Al-Jazeera is concerned, the West is wrong all the time. They expect free intervention with no payoff for Western countries that provided military assistance to the Libyan rebels. Well, I'm sorry, but there ain't so such thing as a free lunch. Instead of obsessing over Israel, Al-Jazeerists should read a couple of the best novels by R. A. Heinlein.

The writer of this Al-Jazeera editorial quite obviously hates everything about the West. So, go to live in Iran, where you can join the morality police and beat up couples that kiss in public.

Sometimes I read Al-Jazeera and have the impression it's reasonable. Other times, I read it and come away thinking it is the mouthpiece of Iran's regime. I think that the editors need to remove the rancid pistachio nuts from the fruit salad.
by igor 04:20 8 replies by igor 09:32 6 comments

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Namecheap Arbitrarily Changes Passwords

Namecheap, a web host, arbitrarily changes the FTP password on its customers without warning.

Namecheap has been nothing but aggravation for me.

A more incompetent outfit, I hope I never see.
by igor 04:20 8 replies by igor 09:32 6 comments

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Libya vs. Iraq

Obama handled Libya the right way.

Don't put pale faces on the ground in a country where they don't speak the language.

That's a very bad idea; that's the type of idea a Republican would have.

Let the locals do the heavy lifting on the ground. They know the people, the language, the culture, and the terrain. They have a Ph.D. in their land. Leave it to the experts.
by igor 04:20 8 replies by igor 09:32 6 comments

Monday, August 22, 2011

A Crooked Judge

The "kids for cash" scandal ensnaring a crooked Pennsylvania judge leads me to observe that few other offenses can compare to a judge that sells out. If there is a death penalty, then it should be applied to corrupt officials, as is the case in China. China is admirable in that respect. It might be therapeutic for the mother of a son who committed suicide to watch the former judge hang.
by igor 04:20 8 replies by igor 09:32 6 comments

What Does a College Education Get You?

Graduate from college, go back to college, graduate again, all with a 3.8+ GPA, and that will get you a job at McDonald's flipping burgers in this economy. Employers don't care about learnin' and don't even care about experience.

When I read in the Wall Street Journal that Silicon Valley companies are "starved for talent," I thought to myself: what liars. They are just bald-faced liars. They use that lie to justify going over to India, China, Russia and Brazil, which they wanted to do all along in order to get cheap labor. If the Silicon Valley companies were, indeed, "starved for talent," then they could easily hire homegrown talent, which is plentiful.

Starved for talent, my foot. The U.S. job market is saturated with highly educated, highly trained talent, ready to assume every conceivable role. Companies just don't want to hire Americans.
by igor 04:20 8 replies by igor 09:32 6 comments

Sunday, August 21, 2011

I'm Glad Khadaffy's on the Skids

I'm glad the Libyan rebels seem to be emerging victorious in their lengthy civil war, thanks to NATO air power. Although many in the West bellyached about the cost and morality of the intervention, in this particular case, I think the investment will pay off a sizable dividend in terms of world peace.

It really is too kind to invite such trash as the Khadaffy clan to stand trial anywhere. I rather sympathize with the rebels who wish to mount Khadaffy's head on a pike. I'm not sure dictators deserve any sort of trial. Their guilt is established already in so many ways. It is like having a trial to determine whether there is water in the ocean. The entire Khadaffy family should have their heads mounted on pikes and placed in the Green Square in Tripoli. Trials should be reserved for common folk, low-level officials whose guilt may be in doubt.

From the perspective of the U.S., the war was justified payback for a thousand misdeeds. Europe is safer without Khadaffy, who was never anything more than a thug.

Perhaps in the future, Tripoli can become a popular tourist destination, now that the cancer is on the verge of being removed.
by igor 04:20 8 replies by igor 09:32 6 comments

The Case of the Three Hikers

I have been interested in the case of the three American hikers kidnapped by Iran and sentenced to eight years in prison for espionage.

My belief is that they have nothing to do with espionage. Vacationing in Iraqi Kurdistan, they went hiking on a trail recommended by locals, only to be seized by Iranian troops. One suspects they were set up by the very same locals, sold out for a bounty provided by the Iranian army, which is always eager to seize Westerners. Iran has a long history of holding hostages. It is part of their sadistic psychology and dates back to the Iranian hostage crisis. Iran uses these three hikers as a political chip, to say to the world, "look, we caught three spies, we are being vigilant against American espionage, and see how they try to interfere with our country?"

Westerners need to realize that people in other parts of the world do not necessarily have the same moral values as we do. To trust any of the local inhabitants seems unwise. I would not trust anyone within one hundred miles of Iran. I would not vacation within one hundred miles of Iran. Iran must be thought of as a demon with tentacles extending out to grab Westerners and devour them. It is ruled by ignorant tyrants who do not value human rights, either for foreigners or for their own people. The only way to visit Iran is in the cockpit of a bomber jet.

I remember at the height of the Iranian hostage crisis in the 70's, a wit scrawled "Nuke Iran" on a bridge in my city, in a high-traffic area, and the graffiti remained there over a year, to my surprise. I suppose most people did not find it offensive. Eventually it was removed, but not before I had read it about a hundred times over. I thought nuking Iran was not a good idea, but did have some sympathy for the anti-Iranian sentiment. To kidnap hostages, who themselves may have done little or nothing wrong, is a very Iranian thing to do, but it is also dishonorable, and only generates sympathy for the hostages and animosity toward the hostage-takers. It is a counter-productive action that fulfilled a childish need for revenge on the part of Iranians, but spawned hostility in an entire generation of Americans. I wonder if the Iranians realize that in my elementary school, many students wore an armband with the number "50"? To think that such children will forget, even fifty years later, is a bit naive. Not even the Soviet Union provoked such animosity, perhaps because the Soviet Union had a bit more political sensitivity, even though it might have been more wicked on balance.

As things stand now, Iran is more likely than ever to be nuked, because it is developing nuclear technology. They tell the world, "Blame me," which seems most unwise. If in the future, there is any kind of nuke attack connected to terrorists, whether Islamist or not, with or without evidence, all fingers will point to Tehran. Indeed, if in the future, there is any kind of nuclear war, involving anyone, then Iran may well find itself on the short list of targets, whether or not it was initially involved. I find it most unlikely Iran will be left alone in a future nuclear conflict. Perhaps nuclear armament is a source of national pride for them. The Christians have a proverb, "Pride cometh before a Fall." The Iranian elite would be better served fulfilling the promise of their Islamic "Republic." Why they choose to oppress, torture and kill their own people is strange, a symptom of mental instability.

For my part, I can never accept a country that kills gay people for being gay. I will always be against Iran for that reason alone. But Iran is generous. It gives many other reasons. Iran is one of the least lovable countries in the world, although it does rank above North Korea in morality and popularity. North Korea is simply atrocious, ruled by orcs, plain and simple.
by igor 04:20 8 replies by igor 09:32 6 comments

Republican Ignorance

Let us hope that most Republicans are not as woefully ignorant about U.S. and world history as one of the apparent frontrunners among the Presidential candidates. I'm reminded of the ignorance of G. W. Bush. Ignorance, to Republicans, is a virtue, while learning is a liability, and intellectual curiosity is a weakness. That is why I am not a Republican.
by igor 04:20 8 replies by igor 09:32 6 comments

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Jerry Buell Likes to Talk Smack About People He Doesn't Know

I think some media pundits are confused about which country they live in. This is America. I never once felt like I could express my political opinions in any forum with impunity from my managers, co-workers and employers, present or future. That is why many people choose to wear a cloak of anonymity on the Internet, providing a layer of protection against all save law enforcement.

There is, in a practical sense, not a limitless amount of freedom of speech, except for those who are independently wealthy and do not have to work for a living. They are free to say what they think. Those who are not rich must take care what they post under their own name. I speak from experience. That's just the way it is.

As for the teacher who spouted anti-gay rhetoric on his Facebook page, I am uninterested in discovering the depth of his ignorance, and my first inclination would be to ignore him altogether, but on the other hand, what if he had posted racist remarks on his Facebook page? I am sure the very same writer at the L.A. Times would be calling for his dismissal. Racist teachers aren't okay. Well, if that's the case, then homophobic teachers aren't okay, either. If on the other hand, homophobic teachers are considered okay, then teachers should also be free to espouse unorthodox opinions concerning race. I don't think people should get into the business of saying some groups are protected and others are not.

Apparently, according to media sources, Mr. Buell believes gay marriage is a "cesspool." I think the chief concern that people have is that all kids should be treated as kids, not as products of a "cesspool." I hate to imagine being a gay student in one of Mr. Buell's classes. I had one or two homophobic teachers while I was attending high school, and they contributed to the problems I had during that period. In my experience, they were the worst teachers, not just because of their beliefs but because of their general incompetence. Homophobic teachers are an oxymoron to anyone who is familiar with the origins of classical education.

The more I read about this individual, the more I'm disgusted with him.
by igor 04:20 8 replies by igor 09:32 6 comments

Friday, August 19, 2011

Reparations owed by the U.S.

The U.S. owes the heterosexual community a large sum in reparations for kidnapping their children due to marijuana possession. The founders of this country would be appalled to learn just how far the nation has fallen into the abyss of tyrannical injustice.
by igor 04:20 8 replies by igor 09:32 6 comments

Paradise Lost

The story of the "West Memphis Three" provides a revealing glimpse of the South, its attitudes and ways of dealing with problems.

I don't think any state in the South should have the death penalty, due to the region's poor record of justice and jurisprudence throughout history.
by igor 04:20 8 replies by igor 09:32 6 comments

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

My Favorite Politician

My favorite politician is not Obama. He doesn't lead, he follows, and he doesn't always follow the right people, either. Obama is more Republican than Democrat.

My favorite politician is Gorbachev. He ended the Cold War, reformed the U.S.S.R., and was the answer to a personal prayer and premonition I had at the age of ten. I remember thinking about the U.S.S.R. and all of the evil associated with it and the threat of nuclear annihilation, and I felt a change was coming and that it would come within my lifetime. It was a sensation based in the heart, a feeling only, and I was not sure whether to trust it. Maybe popular music and the popular media had inspired me to feel this way. The same may have inspired Gorbachev. At any rate he has a heart, a good heart. Not many politicians, at least on the Republican side of the aisle, do.
by igor 04:20 8 replies by igor 09:32 6 comments

High Hopes for Chessmaster 9000

I have high hopes for Chessmaster 9000, ordered a few days ago for a laughable $8 from Ebay. Somehow it doesn't seem right that a world-class chess program sells for so little. Nowadays, even computer programs running on desktop PC's are beating grandmasters. The day of the human is over, I'm afraid.

And good riddance. I hate to say it, because I like playing against friends in real life, but many of the chess players I've encountered online are poor sports. Maybe it is because they are anonymous. Part of it is because the game is so cutthroat. When humans compete, a sizable percentage do feel the temptation to turn nasty and take winning or losing personally.

I like to play Chess960, which I believe is the same as Fischer chess. Chess Cube does not permit players to specify their preference concerning Chess960, so many idiots novices join my Chess960 games unawares. They abort the game after staring at the Chess960 board for 1-2 minutes, making me wait on the "Duh...?" to be processed by their Celeron-powered, single-core, .1 ghz noggin. When they abort, the system does not penalize them and does not reward me, so it's all-lose for me, just a continual irritation. The ratio of abortions to playing games is an incredible 4:1.

When I first started playing chess online, I thought it would be neat to interact and chat with human players. The reality is that few people want to discuss chess, few even want to talk, and only a handful are even willing to say hello. Most players, if they do chat, talk about the few women they have identified online, because they are lonely, str8, and sexually frustrated. Chat is inane. Lowered expectations cannot even begin to describe the chat scene.

I'm looking forward to the arrival of Chessmaster 9000, so I can play old-school, on my computer, without an ill-mannered, impatient, unsociable, uninteresting and under-skilled human opponent. I've already downloaded the No-CD crack from that wonderful site, From what I've read, copy protection is the chief complaint against Chessmaster 9000. I'll be taking a long and much desired vacation from the online chess jungle. Enough with the mosquitoes, pythons and pygmies with the poisoned arrows, I say.

Computers are superb opponents. They don't abort games. If something comes up, and you have to leave, they are willing to wait and play later, or never, whichever you prefer. They don't change moods, whether they win or lose. And they permit a large variety of configurations. Chess960? No problem. They will play every time, without aborting the game. I'm looking forward to that special package in the mail. And I do plan to leave positive feedback for the ebay seller.

Update: After reading reviews of Chessmaster 9000, I discovered it does not support Chess960. Fritz 12 does, so I bought a copy of Fritz 12 from Amazon for $20. Fritz 12 also seems to be a much stronger chess engine. One reviewer stated that Chessmaster is for children, and Fritz is for adults.
by igor 04:20 8 replies by igor 09:32 6 comments

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Seagate Hard Drive Barracuda 7200.11: Garbage

I was one of the unlucky loyal Seagate customers that purchased a Seagate hard drive, Barracuda 7200.11, only to have it decide one day out of the blue to turn into a brick. The 7200.11 suffers from a known firmware issue.

I used to be a fan of Seagate. Long ago, they had a better reputation. Today, Seagate makes quite clear on their web site that they prefer to keep the money than to honor their warranty. I investigated the RMA/Warranty terms, and they are outlandishly unfair. First of all, they have placed about an hour's worth of barriers on the web site before an RMA can be accessed. They assume that they customer has never used a computer before, and require everyone to jump through about twenty hoops before even getting to the RMA/Warranty process.

Their fine print is mind-boggling in its minute details. To return a drive to Seagate is to risk adding insult to injury; they will keep the drive if they decide the drive is acceptable. There is, as Seagate is fully aware, a chance that a drive may suffer from an intermittent issue, or an issue relating to its interaction with other hardware, but no provisions are made for that. Seagate will keep the drive if they feel like it, passing it on to another customer. In the best case scenario, Seagate will replace the drive which has defective firmware with another, used drive that also has defective firmware, which means the entire return process must be completed again, and again, and again, as each replacement fails in succession, until the expiration of the warranty.

You know what, Seagate can keep the $70. I accept that Seagate cheated me out of my money. But you know what else? I will never purchase another Seagate product of any kind. I've added a helpful little reminder to the right-hand side of the blog.

My problems with the Seagate Barracuda 7200.11 were not confined to the firmware issue, the one that turned the drive into a brick. Maybe if I had enjoyed a year or two of good performance from the drive, I wouldn't have minded so much when it stopped working. But that wasn't the case.

When the drive first arrived, it could not boot more than half the time after Windows XP was loaded onto it. If the boot failed, a black screen displayed with something along the lines of "FATAL SYSTEM ERROR." If the reset button was pressed, then Windows XP would load as usual. This happened every time without fail. To eliminate any other possible cause, I cloned the Seagate drive onto a Western Digital drive that booted every time without fail. Only the Seagate drive hiccuped during boot. And this was brand new, fresh out of the box!

Did I suffer in silence? No, as any reader might have gathered, I'm not the type. I invested an hour speaking with a CSR from Seagate technical support, who walked me through a laborious process before reaching the same conclusion I did. His answer? Seagate does not permit returns unless the drive is dead. Well, now that it really is dead, I'm not sure I want another drive just like it.

I'll tell you what, I'm looking forward to getting one of those keen solid state drives with no moving parts. Competent players like Intel are producing these drives. I've heard good things about Intel drives. All I'm waiting for is the price to go down. The sweet spot for me will be 1gb/$1, although I might hold out for 2gb/$1. Solid state drives are the answer to so many techies' prayers. I would estimate 15% of the problems with computers today derives from hard drives. Solid state drives promise reliability, which by itself justifies their existence, even if they weren't faster, but the icing on the cake is that they are faster, much faster as a matter of fact. Low energy consumption and small footprint are, of course, added benefits, if such were needed.

My dream system is an AMD Athlon II X2, 4 GB of DDR3 memory, a 60GB Intel or Corsair SSD, and a 2 TB WD hard drive. I'm not particular about motherboards, because I don't overclock and don't have any need for HDMI. I prefer on-board video, because I don't play fancy games and don't want a video card. I've priced all this, and with a humble motherboard, mouse, keyboard, and a dvd burner, the price is south of $400. That's the system I plan to reward myself with one day.

Where will I buy my dream system? NewEgg, of course. There is no other rational alternative. One of my friends annoyed me recently by buying a desktop from Best Buy for $900, when I could have built a far superior one for him for $600 (with an LCD monitor). I'm practically willing to build a system for free. My usual flat rate for friends is $50. All right, his system looks nicer, with everything packed inside a monitor-gizmo of some sort. I'll admit I'm not familiar with that layout.

I'm old-school, and to me towers are the way to go. They are easier to maintain, easier to tweak, easier to fix if something goes wrong, which, let's be honest, happens quite enough. I don't like the modern emphasis on minimizing footprint, unless it results in a system that is easier to maintain and troubleshoot, which should always be the bottom line--I don't care what business or profession someone is in. If a system is unreliable or can't be fixed without tossing the whole shebang, then that's a massive problem. Now, laptops have made great strides in this area, and I know techies that troubleshoot and repair laptops without much difficulty. Even so, I prefer desktops. Always have and always will. To me, there's nothing better than a nice, big, fat display with maximum resolution, and a secure, stable power supply that's not going anywhere, a fast box, and a big fat keyboard and big fat mouse for my big fat fingers!
by igor 04:20 8 replies by igor 09:32 6 comments

Saturday, August 13, 2011

How to Undo Yassine Edder's Vandalism

The following is a guide to recovering a compromised Wordpress site, written at the request of a visitor to this blog.

An automated robot using the nym "Yassine Edder" attacked my beloved's Wordpress site last month. I was caught unprepared, in that I was unfamiliar with the security aspects of Wordpress and had not taken the proper precautions. I accepted the blame for that negligence and pulled an all-nighter undoing the damage and locking down the site so that no one will ever be able to compromise it again and installing countermeasures that will inconvenience spammers and malicious hackers.

The message content of Yassine's graffiti manipulates victims into assuming that Yassine Edder is some sort of harmless attention-seeking teenager inspired by the media. Make no assumptions about the motives of the criminal. All that is known is that Yassine Edder is a criminal running an automated script.

Yassine's modus operandi is quite simple*. First of all, understand that Yassine is not a human being, but an automatic robot running via script. The attack is completed within two minutes. The robot attempts to read wp-config.php, and if your file permission permits this, then it can extract the password to your database. Many people, myself and my partner included, neglected to set the file permission of wp-config.php to 400 or 440, the secure setting. In order to do this, you will need to FTP into your site with a program such as FileZilla, right-click on wp-config.php, and alter the permission. This is the very first thing you must do, because until you do it, your site can be compromised again and again. There is no point in performing a clean-up until you secure wp-config.php. Clean-up is not as important as establishing security. You must change the password to your database, because it has been compromised. Change it immediately in wp-config.php, lock down wp-config.php by setting the file permission, and then go into CPANEL and change the database password on your host. This will partially close the door to Yassine Edder. However, Yassine has established an admin account, and this must be deleted from the database as well in order to slam the door in his ugly face.

The next step is to delete the admin account and also remove the graffiti Yassine left behind. I call this the clean-up stage. Bear in mind that Yassine was not permitted more than a few hours of access to my partner's site, and the damage was undone quickly. I am not sure what the consequences are for people whose site has been compromised for several days or weeks. It may be that other robots or human beings return to cause more damage. If that is the case, then there may be backdoors installed in your site. You will need to scrutinize everything carefully. The best prognosis might even be obtained by recovering from backup. I did not have to do that, but again I nipped the problem in the bud early. You should examine your logs to see what has been happening. If you are not in the habit of examining your web host logs in their raw format, now would be a good time to start. By doing so, I was able to learn which IP address or addresses conducted the attack, how long it took, and how many files were accessed. That was helpful information that I later used to ban the very same IP addresses. The Yassine robot can never access our site content from the same IP address used before. All he will get will be a stern warning with links to spam-killer and harvester-killer sites.

Now I will discuss precisely how Yassine turns your site into his personal graffiti wall. There is not much to it really. The good news for me was that the damage was not severe or widespread, at least in my case, although that may not be true for all. I can only speak from my own limited perspective.

After obtaining the password to your MySQL database, Yassine then inserted records establishing a username and password, permitting a human criminal to visit later at his leisure. Go to your web host's Cpanel, go into MySql and modify the database records that Yassine has inserted or altered. If you do not know how to deal with MySQL, you must learn, as I did. Do not be intimidated. It is not really difficult. Obviously you will want to remove the record with Yassine's username and password. You will also want to remove the record that is causing your site to greet all visitors with Yassine's stupid graffiti. Take your time examining the database, because the malicious damage will be there. To my recollection there was one record with Yassine's username and password, and one record with the graffiti. However, there may be more. It should not be assumed that every site has the same experience.

After undoing the database damage, you should be home-free, or at least I was. My partner's site at this point was fully recovered with no damage and no backdoors. So I got a great big hug and a thank-you and a cup of hot cocoa. Take this opportunity to pursue the other security recommendations I have suggested elsewhere. Wp-config.php is not the only Wordpress vulnerability. There are others that should be eliminated as well. Also, the whole fiasco is a wake-up call to start making regular back-ups of your entire site, not just the files but the database as well.

There is also the possibility your FTP password could one day become compromised due to a local virus on your PC or a man-in-the-middle attack. I suggest using SFTP at all times, which is encrypted FTP. Securing your local network against viruses is important. Any compromised computer on a local network can monitor network traffic, so don't be complacent about your spouse's, roommates' or children's computers. All computers must be clean.


[*] - This post and others makes an assumption that wp-config.php was the focal point of Yassine's attack. That assumption appears shakier the more I think about it. One thing I've learned in computers is that one should never be too sure about something. There are two problems that bother me about the wp-config.php hypothesis.

In the first place, I was under the impression that .php files were executed server-side and could not be read by the client. However, maybe there is a way to read the source code of an unprotected .php file. I don't know. I'm no .php expert, although I have coded .php programs of simple to moderate complexity.

Even more disturbing was the behavior of my partner's web host, the accursed Namecheap, which I have panned elsewhere for unrelated reasons. Following Yassine's attack, the entire host went down for several hours "for security-related issues", which suggests a server, or all servers were hacked. If that was indeed the case, then the host, Namecheap, was negligent in some unknown way. It may be that every Wordpress blog on certain compromised servers was attacked. I am not willing to rule out this possibility, but I don't have the resources or motivation to determine the facts of the matter.

As a general aside, I think it is interesting that I'm currently unemployed and can't get a job because employers assume I know nothing about the web. They discount the skills I obtained through self-learning. They think I know nothing. Well, skills are skills. It does not matter so much whether they are obtained on a 9-to-5 job. However, this seems to be outside the understanding of today's employers, who discard my cover letter and resume because I lack recent web-related work experience in an actual paid job. I have encountered an iron wall in the job market locking me out of any kind of technology job. However, whether I ever get a job or not, I will always be keen on computers. I'm ready, able, and willing, but the job market, the economy, is not. My potential is going untapped or diverted into recreational avenues like this blog, online chess and Scrabble. Oh well. I suppose I've got my health to be thankful for, among other things.
by igor 04:20 8 replies by igor 09:32 6 comments

Friday, August 12, 2011

A Reasonable Opinion

I agreed with the recent court decision striking down a portion of Obama's health care plan.

Regulations for corporations that intend to insure people are fine and dandy, but any provisions of a health care law should be optional for individuals.

Trying to force people to do things is the type of reasoning behind Prohibition and the ban on gays in the military. It is not democratic, it doesn't work, it leads to unhappiness and it reduces productivity.
by igor 04:20 8 replies by igor 09:32 6 comments

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Obama on Afghanistan

I watched half of Obama's Dec 1st, 2009 speech to the cadets of West Point, in which he defended the escalation in Afghanistan. I couldn't watch the whole thing, because it made me feel as uneasy as some of the cadets looked whenever the camera zoomed in to show their reactions. I wasn't impressed either by Obama's arguments or his delivery and had the distinct feeling that he did not believe in half of what he was saying. He seemed to be playing devil's advocate. I think Obama goes along with the war in Afghanistan due to political calculations. Obama strikes me as a pragmatist, rather than an idealist, and much of what he says and does is based on politics rather than reason. I don't find pragmatism particularly objectionable, but it's not terribly inspiring either.

His response to people like me, who compare Afghanistan to Viet Nam, is as follows:
  1. The insurgency in Viet Nam was broad-based, while the Taliban is not.
  2. Al-Qaeda attacked our homeland, whereas Viet Nam did not.
  3. Our coalition in Afghanistan has broad international support.
Our so-called international coalition was bought and paid for in some cases and seemed halfhearted at best. To me, the strongest argument is #2. I've argued against that salient point elsewhere in my blog. I'll be the first to admit that it is natural and justified to want to smash those who attacked us.

Sometimes, a giant must ignore the sting of a gnat, when there are dragons lying about in wait. Our only real enemy in the modern world is China. Al Qaeda is a joke. It is a can of assorted nuts with few pistachios.

In deciding a proper course of action, one must weigh the costs against the benefits. This is a difficult medicine for wealthy and arrogant men to accept. The wealthy elite sacrificed trillions from the public coffer for vengeance. Now they demand that the working class, students, the poor and elderly pay the bill in full. Only the lower classes are being required to make sacrifices.
by igor 04:20 8 replies by igor 09:32 6 comments

Rioters in the U.K.

Rioters in the U.K. and the U.S. have learned from their social superiors. The bailouts taught the working classes that incompetence, greed, and wickedness are rewarded and held in high esteem. Hard work, on the other hand, is regarded as stupid and pointless. Worker's rights and worker's benefits are down. Benefits for the idle rich are up. There is less honor, less comfort, and less prestige in working for a living. What is valued is knowing the "right" people and having the "right" connections. If those two prerequisites are not possessed, then getting ahead any which way seems to them the only way left. There are not enough jobs to go around. Young people are being told, in effect, to stay at home and do nothing. Education, self-improvement and studying are held to be of no value. The young people of the U.K. have digested this unfortunate lesson. Now society smells the end product of their digestion.

I think things can get a lot worse than they are right now. I don't see many reasons to have optimism in the future. The U.S. is in long-term decline, having sacrificed its future to the half-baked notions of the Republicans. Tyrannical China is emerging as a world power and is on course to eclipse the U.S. There is no reason to have any optimism about Russia. The world will become less free and less progressive as a result, and more people will be enslaved and oppressed. Global warming will continue unchecked, with unpredictable consequences. Iran cannot be stopped, but will eventually develop nuclear weapons, not a good scenario for a country that sponsors terrorism.

Already people are looking back with nostalgia for the 1990s, that bygone, blissful era of prosperity that is not likely to return in our lifetimes. There is a greater danger of political extremism, such as was experienced in 1930s Europe, in times of prolonged economic depression.
by igor 04:20 8 replies by igor 09:32 6 comments

Translating Ann Coulter

I've long suspected that Ann Coulter has something wrong with her brain. There's a loose screw rattling around in that empty can. Compassion, of course, is out of the question, because Coulter is sworn to the dark side. One can only hope for reason or logic from a disciple of evil, not morality. With Coulter, even reason and logic are out. Her statements are often obviously false, with no attempt to seem either reasonable or logical.

Coulter's media presence used to annoy me, but over time, I've learned not to take her at face value. Instead, I psychoanalyze her utterances. Whatever she writes or says has to be translated from Coulterese in order to derive the actual meaning.

The first step in understanding Coulter (if you must, borrowing from the title of one of her abominable books) is to realize that for her, everything is personal. She interprets the world as revolving around her. Her imagination is limited, so when talking about others, she is often talking about herself. The following example was taken from an editorial discussing her appointment to GOProud's Advisory Council. It's a Coulter quote.

"I didn't expect that so many gays would be such huge fans of mine, but yet, it's true. I think all gays who were born gay are overwhelmingly conservative—maybe apolitical—and all those angry gays, causing trouble for everybody, I don't even think they were born gay, I just think they were angry at their fathers."

Here's the translation:
The gays that assist my career are either conservative or apolitical. Other gays are not useful to me. I'm angry, causing trouble for everybody, but I wasn't born this way. I'm just angry at my father.
Her father may have done nothing wrong, much like the other targets of her free-floating hostility.
by igor 04:20 8 replies by igor 09:32 6 comments

How to Report Phishing Scams

Any computer user with half a brain could sniff this phishing scam a mile away. If you think that you might have fallen for it, then you need to reconsider using email and even the Internet.

Dear Igor,
Our Company is known as a payment processor with services designed for international small businesses. Our Organization
have found your resume in web-site reviewed it and sure that you to be a ideal applicant for this
job which we offer.
We are currently looking for a few qualified individuals for a vacant position "Check Assist Manager".

The general duties of this position is collecting payments [ wire transfers and bank cheques ] from our customers in
United States.
Every fund transfer will follow with detailed instructions.
If you don’t have bank account We will help you to open a new account.

Average income is $600-$800 per week.

Basic Requirements:

- US Citizenship
- Available 6-10 hour per week;
- Computer skills [MS Word] personal e-mail address
- Honesty, responsibility and promptness in operations
- Willingness to work from home
- not less than 21 years old
It is a part-time job which doesn't require leaving your main job

There are no any start-up or training fee

If you want to join our team please fill form on our web-site.

I looked at this for five seconds, then forwarded it to the following parties:

US CERT : phishing-report [at]
CareerBuilder Phishing Scam Report: TSST [at] (Due to the fact this scam was conducted using CareerBuilder, CareerBuilder is interested in it.)

I considered the FBI, but the FBI only appears concerned with actual fraud cases. I would have had to have fallen victim. My desire to report is great, but not that great. The University of Minnesota maintains a useful page with info about reporting phishing scams.

I hope my action results in a black hat getting inconvenienced, at the very least, if not put behind bars. Scum of the earth, preying upon the unemployed, the mentally ill, the young and inexperienced and the elderly.

For more information on how to report and respond to a suspected scam:

Internet Crime Complaints can be filed at:

Suspected scam email messages can be forwarded to the Federal Trade Commission at:
by igor 04:20 8 replies by igor 09:32 6 comments

Republican Victory?

I don't see why some sources in the media are framing the Wisconsin recall election as some kind of Republican victory. Two out of six Republicans lost their seats. That's not what I would call a victory. Just because Republicans are mentally challenged doesn't mean the media should curve their test scores.
by igor 04:20 8 replies by igor 09:32 6 comments

Tuesday, August 9, 2011


In the eyes of employers, unless a skill was acquired on a job, it is not real. Recruiters don't really care what one has been studying or working on. This has many implications, one being that it is pointless to study any of the programming languages or contribute to any online project such as Mozilla. No matter how much one learns, all of the knowledge is considered to be imaginary. I have already learned a great deal about html and css, a bit of php, and even some javascript, but I have discovered that none of that matters, because employers won't hire anyone lacking on-the-job experience, which puts a damper on any desire to dabble in C, C++, .NET, Linux, or for that matter any other technology. It all seems pointless. Work, study and learn, and it doesn't even matter; so why work, study or learn at all? The time might be better spent reading books, watching documentaries, or playing games.

Another drawback with some compiled projects like Firefox is that they demand a faster system, and I can't justify even $300 to build a new rig, because the expected payoff would amount to nothing besides vanity. The various C-language projects I've studied are highly complicated time sinks, where just getting started can easily take days or weeks. As was the case when I built various web sites from the ground up, I suspect my efforts would remain unappreciated, unrewarded and unnoticed. Many people seem to have the impression that technology work is its own reward. Unfortunately, when individuals do work for free, whether as interns or volunteers, they feed into that notion and help to make it a reality.

I am learning not to to do anything for free. Just last year I refused the request of a pushy friend to fix her computer for free. I didn't regret it, even though I do enjoy doing such work. The fact of the matter is that I resent the implication that I should be some kind of geek slave. If that is so, then I would rather not do the work at all. Of course, her attitude towards me soured. I was no longer useful.

I was pleased to learn about her true nature. So much of what some people say is designed to manipulate others, and it is refreshing when another person's mask drops, allowing a glimpse of the real creature behind the mask. I would have paid a hundred dollars to divine her secret, but she let it slip for free, and I am grateful, as I always am when I discover the truth. It's never good to be deceived about others. It's best to be informed. The more information, the better.

This year, I quit working as an unpaid admin for a web site. The number of hours I put into that site, no one will ever know. Sometimes it was more than forty hours a week. I learned all about html, css, .htaccess, cron jobs, and even picked up php and javascript. Does any of that matter? No. Did it lead to a job? No. That's the reality of today's market.

For the first few weeks, I feared I would miss the prestige, power and creative outlet, but really I didn't miss it at all. Instead I am relieved to be cured of my addiction. I was addicted to work, and what's worse, I was addicted to performing free work, in effect being a slave. That's the worse kind of addiction I know, but it's a hazard to which geeks like me are prone to succumbing. I have an innate desire to be productive, to feel like I have accomplished something in my time on this earth. But it is important to be engaged in proper work, where one is compensated in some way, not necessarily money, but something.

It was a good move to quit the site. I am relieved not to be bothered. No one writes to an admin with praise or thoughtful comments, as beginners often imagine. Instead, complaints and work requests are the rule. All of the things that I worked on were, to an extent, appreciated by anonymous strangers, but the rewards were nonexistent. I received nothing in return, not friends, not helpful advice or comments, not thanks, and certainly not a job reference, and the expectation of the web site's users were that I was a geek-slave, as above, that didn't need any kind of compensation. That is an impression I aim to rectify in all my future dealings.

In reality, I have 10+ years experience coding html and css pages. According to recruiters, I have 0 years experience and am disqualified from all jobs that require html or css. It is like I am living in Soviet Russia, forbidden to work because of the system. If you need a job, then a job will be denied to you. If you don't need a job, then a job will be offered to you. That is the employment market today. Acquiring new skills is pointless. Training in new computer languages is pointless. Knowledge and ability are irrelevant. Around 2005 or so, the job market froze. Those who are in, stay in. Those who are out, stay out. Period. I don't see any way around that brick wall that has been erected in an arbitrary fashion. I'm just glad I have savings, unlike some. I suppose there are many people who are in more desperate straits.
by igor 04:20 8 replies by igor 09:32 6 comments


Razor hire[dot]com promotes itself by spamming job seekers. I have received unsolicited email from some idiot at Razorhire on a regular basis. Today I kill-filed razorhire.

Companies and web site owners need to think before spamming. It is not a prudent method of promoting a web site or a product. The most likely response of the recipient to unsolicited email from an unknown source will be hostile.

CameronCraig[dot]com is another spammy outfit that sends out deceptive emails trying to drum up traffic.

I don't want to be emailed by robots about other sites to look for jobs. If the site was not good enough for me to find it on my own, then it is a waste of my time.
by igor 04:20 8 replies by igor 09:32 6 comments

Good Judgment

In life, one has disappointments, such as not being the smartest, the tallest, the handsomest, the wisest, the most eloquent, the most charming, or the richest. Our qualities serve to counterbalance these things. We should recognize our qualities. It is not fair to find only fault in one's self. What is that cliched saying? Be good to yourself. Often a clause is added: because/if/when nobody else will. Everyone has certain aspects about themselves that are admirable when placed in contrast to a less fortunate soul. We should all count our blessings.

I'm pleased about my good judgment in regards to people and animals. I am surrounded by good, kind and polite beings. I drew them to me and keep them about me. They are valuable. One of the purposes of life is to cultivate and nourish such a circle of friends. There is a kind of power and goodness in that. Each friend is a resource with strengths and abilities of their own, and they offer advice, insight, and companionship. It is far better to be together than alone.
by igor 04:20 8 replies by igor 09:32 6 comments

Monday, August 8, 2011


Anything Republicans set their hand to is almost guaranteed to fail. Not long ago, Republicans came up with a half-assed plan to make everyone half-assed. They called the plan No Child Left Behind. Check out some of the results from a red state.
by igor 04:20 8 replies by igor 09:32 6 comments

A Weaker Country, Thanks to Bush

There's no doubt in my mind that this is a weaker country than it was when G.W. Bush had the bright idea to invade two faraway countries. It's an error of historic proportions and combined with the general neglect, incompetence and inefficiency will cast a long shadow over U.S. history. I had the optimistic hope that he'd show half a brain at least where the economy was concerned, but in that hope I was mistaken. Not half a brain. No brain. The future went down the drain.
by igor 04:20 8 replies by igor 09:32 6 comments

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Domestic Violence

Domestic violence does seem to be a much bigger problem in the heterosexual community. It is unheard of among gay men. I think that, instead of interfering in the lives of gay couples, the straight opponents of gay marriage should concentrate on eliminating the sordid problems in their own community. Domestic violence is a real problem in the heterosexual community, rather than an imaginary problem, like gay marriage. But some people on the conservative right wing prefer to sit around worrying about imaginary problems because they are disconnected from the reality that is all around them.
by igor 04:20 8 replies by igor 09:32 6 comments

Rick Perry's College Transcript

You know, when I was in college, I did something that must be hard to fathom for a Republican. I studied. I worked hard. Republicans scoff at such naivety.

Look at Republican Rick Perry's college transcript.

He didn't study, he didn't work hard, but he sold out, becoming a tool of the rich and powerful. By doing so, he was promoted far above his natural station.
by igor 04:20 8 replies by igor 09:32 6 comments

Libya & U.S.

I remember reading about the situation in Libya where people were forbidden to work. That seemed strange to me, but upon reflection, it is similar to the situation here, where people can't find work, and employers won't hire those that don't already have a job. So you can't get a job unless you don't really need one. What are the unemployed supposed to do? Starve to death? There aren't many people who are willing to starve to death, as Khadaffy is learning. The lower a man is reduced, the less he has to lose. Freedom means nothing left to lose.
by igor 04:20 8 replies by igor 09:32 6 comments


I watched two documentaries about gangs in various countries. I have to say I found them boring. Rather than inspire trepidation, gang members arouse contempt. They are just a bunch of clowns, neither brave nor intelligent and certainly not attractive in any way, and their stupid claim to fame comes from victimizing weak and often defenseless members of society. Anyone can pull a trigger or swing a club. Boasts that one is tough or ruthless are childish. Plenty of people can be tough. It is not difficult. That gangsters assume it is difficult reveals that they are not tough at all. Why gangsters think they have a monopoly on ruthlessness is also strange.

Computer hacker gangs seem to be of the same ilk. They seize low-hanging fruit. I do not see the wisdom in attacking U.S. targets, when the U.S. has a better ethical record than countries like North Korea, Syria, Russia, Iran, and China. The reason they attack Western targets is that they lack ideals.

The recent so-called "protesters" in Tottenham are similar--barbarians, clowns, wastes of oxygen. They should fall down upon their knees and thank their lucky stars that they live in a modern Western Republic where their savagery was not met by even greater savagery.
by igor 04:20 8 replies by igor 09:32 6 comments

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Is My Play That Good?

On occasion, particularly when I'm just plain lucky or passing through one of my keener moments, I'm accused of cheating in online Scrabble or Chess. Players suppose that I must be using a computer program to assist my play. They persist in their accusations with bitterness and a sense of moral outrage. Sometimes they even quit the game. I should not take it amiss. It is a great compliment. I receive my most sincere compliments from my enemies. Only my enemies can fully appreciate my strength. With friends, I am soft and pliable. Friends are not in a position to observe my strength.
by igor 04:20 8 replies by igor 09:32 6 comments

Apocalypse Dream

Last night I dreamed that I was exploring a city empty of people. It was like many movies I had seen before. I didn't know why the people were missing and was trying to find the reason. After small adventures that seemed unimportant and are now forgotten, I met with a person or a group of people or a videotaped news program or a written document that told me that the entire area was blanketed with toxic levels of radiation. My own exposure meant I would not survive for more than a year at best. I was not too surprised by news of the nuclear apocalypse, as it was what many books and movies predicted, and based on human history it seemed the most likely outcome of our technological advances. Too many chimpanzees are in power, and there are not enough bonobos.
by igor 04:20 8 replies by igor 09:32 6 comments

Friday, August 5, 2011


I've decided to stand firm against the winds of the times and insist upon long games in both Chess and Scrabble. I'd rather not play at all than be slave to a ticking clock that tells me to stop thinking.
by igor 04:20 8 replies by igor 09:32 6 comments

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Hitler Working at Big Lots

I probably should not watch WW2 documentaries just before bedtime. I dreamed that Hitler was working outside Big Lots with a bullhorn in his hand, yelling to people in the parking lot about 5% off bubble gum, a fresh new inventory of underarm deodorant, and discount toilet paper. He seemed a bit embarrassed to be doing so. I decided I could not tolerate Hitler working at Big Lots, so I went up to him and said in a loud voice, "I'm not going to shop here anymore, because you're a monster, and I can't believe that this store hired you!" Hitler stared at his feet and did not say anything in reply. I continued, "You need to clear out this minute! I can't believe you got a job here. Is the management insane like you?"

The unlikely character of the situation dawned upon me. I thought I might be witnessing a scene in Hell, where Hitler must forever work as a two-bit promoter at Big Lots, while encountering at frequent intervals individuals that recognize and confront him due to his deeds on Earth.
by igor 04:20 8 replies by igor 09:32 6 comments

Dresden, Hiroshima, Nagasaki

In regards to WW2, I don't find fault with the Allied actions against Dresden, Hiroshima, and Nagasaki. I think that those who do should reevaluate the nature of the Japanese and German regimes and reconsider their judgment. If the Axis powers had won, I would not be alive to write this post, and few if any of my readers would be alive to read it, and it is likely that the Internet as we know it would not exist. My uncle volunteered for WW2 and died in a bomber performing a mission over France. I have no doubt I would have volunteered if I had been alive at the time. If life is to have meaning, and if human life is better than the life of a cockroach, then to sacrifice one's life in a measured way against absolute evil can only be a positive good, and death should not be feared in all cases, but accepted in some.

A hundred Dresdens would not bother me, nor a hundred Hiroshimas. WW2 was a terrible crisis manufactured by the Axis powers, which by doing so, signed a blank check and handed it to the leaders of the Allied powers. Sometimes a patient needs harsh medicine to eliminate a cancer. Anyone who feels resentment should ask themselves whether they would prefer to live under Hitler or under the present-day Republics. If their answer is Hitler, then they should relocate to Iran and experience the closest approximation the modern world has to offer.
by igor 04:20 8 replies by igor 09:32 6 comments

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Top Four Interview Mistakes

There's nothing I hate more than working my tail off to score an interview, only to feel like I didn't perform to my utmost. All the work I put into my cover letter, resume, and in some cases questionnaire and I.Q. Test goes down the drain if the interview hits a road bump. Here are some lessons I've learned the hard way.
  1. Decide right away whether you are a morning person or an evening person. If you're not a morning person, then do NOT schedule an interview in the morning. I was so eager to please the HR rep that I agreed to a 10 AM interview. I was so excited the night before that I didn't sleep a wink. My wits weren't what they could have been. If I had only scheduled a 3 PM interview, I'd have been better off, and the interviewers more relaxed as well, because in general I've noticed that people tend to become more relaxed as the day wears on.
  2. The HR rear ends were taught in business school to always ask the interviewee whether he has any questions, on the theory that applicants are too scared to volunteer a question without being asked for one. I seldom have had any good questions, because I research the company beforehand and can adapt to just about any situation anyway. However, this looks bad in the HR rep's eyes. Here's a great question: Do you have any questions or concerns that you haven't mentioned yet? Here's another: Can you think of any reason that I wouldn't be a great candidate for this position? The goal is to shake out the pebble in their shoe, that lingering doubt or concern that they have observed, but not revealed. That secret doubt is your enemy, and it is best to bring it out into the open, where it can be addressed head on.
  3. Remember that most HR questions are complete B.S. designed to trick the interviewee into badmouthing former employers or sharing unflattering things about himself. Never utter anything that does not portray you in a positive light when viewed from any possible angle, because it will then be taken out of context and magnified tenfold. Strive to be cheerfully boring.
  4. Faulty memory is not a valid excuse. Always have a few canned anecdotes about your past experiences to share with the interviewer. These must all portray you in a positive light.
by igor 04:20 8 replies by igor 09:32 6 comments

Charity's Heart Contracted

Here's a line from the novel Summer by Edith Wharton: "Charity's heart contracted." The first thought that came to my mind was, I certainly hope so, because otherwise, she'd soon be dead.

One can count on Tolkien not to drop a howler like that in his prose. Did any of my English professors teach Tolkien? No. Tolkien is belittled in academia because he is popular and for no other reason than that.
by igor 04:20 8 replies by igor 09:32 6 comments

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Gen. Mark Clark

I don't have a favorable opinion of the military skills of WW2-era Gen. Mark Clark. If he were a chessplayer, he's the type I could defeat within twenty moves on any given night, even if I offered pawn and move.

In his latter years, he retired to a cushy job at The Citadel, the military college of Charleston, South Carolina. Some of the soldiers he commanded were not so fortunate.

In ancient times--and let us all be thankful that we are not in ancient times--his prognosis would not have been optimal. Let's just leave it at that. Sometimes understatement is best.
by igor 04:20 8 replies by igor 09:32 6 comments

Monday, August 1, 2011

I Thank My Lucky Stars

I thank my lucky stars that I was not born in Syria or Iran.
by igor 04:20 8 replies by igor 09:32 6 comments

New York Times Needs a Proofreader

I was surprised today to see a goof in The New York Times:
In analyzing these polls in the United States, I see clearly that voters feel ever more estranged from government — and that they associate Democrats with government. If Democrats are going to be encumbered by that link, they need to change voters’ feelings about government.

The writer meant to write "unencumbered," although that's not the best word to use. There's no need for a hyphen, either. Also, feelings in a group or an individual can be influenced, but cannot be changed by an outside entity. The entire paragraph is flawed.

Many elections that Republicans win are the result of a weak candidate or a candidate that was so far to the right, he might as well have been a Republican. I don't think the Democrats need to change anything except, in some cases, their delivery and salesmanship. The practice in which candidates are selected based upon their connections must be ended. Democratic candidates should be more combative and angry, in tune with the zeitgeist. Democrats need to move further to the left and own it. The people don't care which label is used. They will listen to any catchy tune.

End the overseas interventions, end the drug war, end foreign aid, cut out welfare for the rich, cut back outdated farm and factory subsidies, invest in America's working class, invest in American manufacturing, build new power plants, build mass transit in all American cities, slap tariffs on goods from slave nations, put America back to work, offer inexpensive health care and college education, and invest in scientific research.

This is all obvious. It isn't rocket science. The problem with some our leaders (not all) is that they have never created or fixed anything. They're not engineers. They don't understand how things work or how to make them work. And the only thing the Republicans care about is scoring political points. As far as the G.O.P. is concerned, America could burn, and that's fine as long as the G.O.P. gets to bite the ankle of Obama.
by igor 04:20 8 replies by igor 09:32 6 comments
techlorebyigor is my personal journal for ideas & opinions