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Ramblings from the Marginalized » 2007 » April

April 2007

Internet April 30th, 2007 by HMTKSteve

I just found out. Props to Steve Sandells from wotZcool.com for sending me a message about it.

It looks like the same folks who hacked him last time are up to it again.

This time they were being a bit trickier by loading junk in iframes in the background while leaving john's actual content up and running.

This results in a very slow load time but, otherwise the site looks as it normaly does.

I contacted John but he already knew.

Last time this happened he had to pull his blog down for almost a day and plug the hole that was exploited. Hopefully he'll get this new hole fixed soon!

If you do visit John's blog JohnChow.com be sure to blast out your cookies and what-not. You don't know what might be lurking there after the hackers strike!

Internet and Programming April 30th, 2007 by HMTKSteve

This applies only to super users who have db access rights. This feature should not be abused. It should only be used in cases of harrasment.

A problem that sometimes arises is that of users sending nasty-grams via PM to each other. Unlike some forum software, vbulletin does a good job of keeping private messages private.

If you find yourself in a situation where you need to know the contents of a private message the following two SQL queries can be performed in the back-end of the vbulletin admin area.


select * from vb3_pmtext where fromusername='USERNAME'

The above code snippet (change USERNAME to whoever you are searching for) will pull a listing of all PMs sent by a user.


select * from vb3_pmtext where touserarray like '%USERNAME%'

The above code snippet (change USERNAME to whoever you are searching for) will pull a listing of all PM's sent to that user.

Once again, these two commands are very powerful and should only be used when the need is great. Remember, your forum community places a good deal of trust in you, it is up to you to keep that trust by not abusing the privacy of private messages.

Star Wars April 28th, 2007 by Force Drainer


Several Imperial Troopers were spotted in Southington, CT while they were supporting the TEAM MORGAN/ Easter Seals Benefit Dinner.

This event was definately a ‘high voltage’ event; the members of The Empire certainly turned a lot of heads toward this great cause and raised money for Easter Seals ‘Walk With Me’ event, which will take place on May 6th, 2007 in Mystic , CT.

If you donated to our team, many thanks. If you have not, please do so by clicking HERE.

If you would like to see pictures and a humorous video from this event, please click HERE.

Paul Starybrat
The Force Drainer

Morgan Pratt, Ambassador for Easter Seals

Ramblings April 28th, 2007 by HMTKSteve

LawnBatavia Ohio, A jury recently convicted Charles Martin, an obsessive 67 year old man, for the shooting death of teenager Larry Mugrage jr. (15 years old) who "walked on his lawn".

I've heard of some cranky older folks and the old, "get off my lawn," line has been overused in some circles but, to actually shoot someone for walking on your lawn?

In less than 4 hours the jury returned a guilty verdict. Though the man was tried on a charge of aggravated murder the jury convicted him on the lesser count of murder because they could not come to an agreement as to wether the murder was planned or not.

The defense did not dispute the fact of the murder. Instead they focused on the harrasment Mr. Martin has suffered at the hands of these teens who routinely ignored his pleas to, "stay off my lawn!"

On the day of the murder the victim stepped on the lawn on the way to play basketball. Mr. Martin yelled at him and retrieved his shotgun from inside his home. Later that same day Mr. Mugrage again stepped on the lawn. This is when Mr. Martin pulled out his shotgun and fired at him twice!

Mr. Martin then called 911 and told the dispatcher, "I just killed a kid."

Let that be a warning to all of you youngsters out there. If an old man tells you to get off his lawn, get off of it! you don't know if he's packing a shotgun or not so why take the risk?

Technology April 27th, 2007 by HMTKSteve

The news has just come down from on high, Ed Whitacre, CEO of at&t, is retiring come June 3, 2007. He is being succeeded by Randall Stephenson.

Whitacre, 65, is the longest-serving CEO in the telecommunications industry, and one of the longest-serving in the Fortune 500. He has been Chairman and CEO since 1990, when the company was Southwestern Bell, then the smallest of the so-called "Baby Bells." During his tenure, Whitacre led a dramatic transformation of the company into the new AT&T, the world's largest communications company, re-shaping the telecommunications landscape in the process.

Stephenson is at&t's current COO (chief operating officer). Before becoming COO, Stephenson was senior executive vice president and chief financial officer for SBC, during which time the company reduced its net debt from $30 billion to near zero by early 2004, positioning the company to make strategic acquisitions of AT&T Wireless, AT&T Corp. and BellSouth.

Internet and Social Bookmarking April 26th, 2007 by HMTKSteve

A while back Digg announced some changes to their algorithm in regards to fixing their perceived gaming problem. There was a lot of shouting and back and forth on the subject but, eventually, things quieted down and people moved on.

In the intervening time I reported on a few cases of reverse gaming where people were using bury tactics to remove content similar to their own from the queue. This was very prevalent in the gaming sections of Digg as everyone was reporting on the same PS3/X-Box/Wii news of the day. I don’t know if Digg took notice of the overt “bury-game” being played and I don’t much care at this point.

What I’m about to tell you about is something else that I have recently discovered about Digg’s anti-gaming algorithm.

It seems that Digg has decided (in their infinite wisdom) that if a user routinely digs content submitted by a friend they mark this as gaming. Yep, your friends can sink your content just as quickly as you submit it! What ends up happening is that Digg identifies what it considers to be gaming and, when you apply your dig to the story, it gets buried!

Now, this is not an instant bury, not at all. The way it seems to work is that if a story is dugg up by a majority of your (mutual) friends it will be buried as a gamed story. The rational appears to be that since only your (mutual) friends are digging it up it must be bogus.

This is wrong on so many levels!

As an aside, there are now certain sites (belonging to friends of mine) that, if I dig a submission targeting that site, the submission will get buried by my digging it! The opposite holds true as well in that there are certain digg members who can kill a link to hmtk dot com just as quickly!

I’m tempted to go in and remove all my friends from dig but I’m just too lazy for that amount of work!

Internet April 26th, 2007 by HMTKSteve

I just received a surprising email from MyBlogLog:

Hi HMTKSteve!

Part of what makes MyBlogLog so special is our ability to automatically add you to communities in which you have shown a repeated interest. We have just added you to the following communities:

1) MathPoints

2) Untwisted Vortex

3) Manthem.net

4) SiteLogic Web Development

Bonus -- The "Hot in My Communities" box on your My Home page will keep getting better and better with each community you join.

Note: If you decide one or more of these communities is not for you, simply visit that community's page on MyBlogLog and click the "Leave Community" button.

Rock on,

It looks like MyBlogLog is tracking where I go on the web (among their member sites) and making a value judgement for me. I'm not so sure I like this!

In your edit profile area you can set the auto join feature from a low of ten page views to a max of 100 page views before joining. Or you can just tell it to never auto-join you! I think I will keep it at ten for now and see how it goes.

Games and Stories April 26th, 2007 by Galanor

NinjaAfter a long wait I have been given permission to re-publish the works of the great and mysterious ninja known as Galanor. His works are not for everyone but I enjoy them. I hope you enjoy them too!

So now what you've all been waiting for. The ultimate tale of ninjas. First, let me get this off my chest. Why do all of you guys attack my posts on other threads? Then the board moderator sends me an email to knock it off. I'm just expressing my enthusiasm for a wholly awesome character class that deserves more attention than some may rightfully give him. The ninja, of course. It's a good thing I'm confident in my ninja skill or I'd get upset. I've mastered the ability to meditate long an hard before flipping out. And while my purpose as a ninja, still remains. I'm at whole other level of mastery that you cannot fathom.

Anyway, this story is for the fans. Those of you who dream to be ninjas. I'm here to tell you it can be done. I did it. I was only 10. Now you can to. First you need to role-play more than seek out a master. I found him and his name was Marvin. It took me weeks to get him to open up but he did. And I'm better for it. Man, I could go on and on about my skills but I won't. So sit back an enjoy my tale.

OK, we were playing Dungeons and Dragons, the role-playing game. That's a game where you get the chance to create characters with dice and use mathematical precision to recreate reality within the confines of a game. A lot of people claim you pretend to be someone else. But if you do it right, you get to live out your life as someone else. It's liberating especially if you aren't a ninja. So anyway, now that you get what a role-playing game is, I'll tell you what we did.

We had three players and a Dungeon Master, that's the guy who runs the game and tells you what to think and when. He's like B.A. in the Knights. So Barry was playing a halfling paladin (Hal), Tad was playing a Half-ogre/half-dragon wizard (Saijin), and I was a Wemic ninja-barbarian named Wedgie. We were hired by a band of knights to save the kingdom from an invading force. We were three but we had cool stuff. The paladin had the holy armor of righteous vengeance. Saijin had a Staff of the Magi, and I had two powerful magical katanas. This was your typical D&D game. Lots of explosions, winged gorillas, and singing vampires. So we found the castle and I was sent in to scout it out.

Being the ninja, I hoped over some guards, took them out, and climbed up the walls covered in fish fat. I set the fat on fire and snuck up through the sewer grate by the moat. I jumped over some pits and got skewered by a spiked roof. But luckily I had potions of healing inside my katanas. So I was ok. The other guys were getting bored to Saijin shoots a fireball at the front gate and blew up the wall. Hal goes marching in and nothing could hurt him. This created enough of a distraction for me that I was allowed to move in the castle unnoticed. That was until I found the Fairy Lich drinking a goblet of mule bile. I easily beat his guards with my katanas. I tell him to surrender because I'm the greatest wemic ninja ever to have walked the realms. The fairy Lich laughed <at me> and ordered me to surrender. He said he had a place for me if I decided to serve him. We could gain power and rule the world. I told him I was an honorable ninja raised in the ways of of my clan to serve our original employers. I told him that if he had hired me first, I could have served him. But now it was to late.

I then jumped across the room and sliced my sword across his wings. I rolled a twenty twice. The wings flew up in the air and I slammed them into his throat. Since he was a Lich, he choked on his wings and exploded. Hal and Saijin finally made into the inner chamber. I told them I beat the fairy lich. They got mad because I fought him without them and they wouldn't get the experience. As a result of the fight, I jumped up about 5 levels one swoop. They complained and screamed that it wasn't fair and said I should have waited. I was an honorable ninja that didn't take kindly to someone questioning my methods. So I took them both out. The lesson learned was don't mess with the Wemic Ninja. I retired Wedgie after several games. He became the god of ninjas when I stopped playing.

If you want to learn more about wedgie, I'll keep telling you stories. Just let me know.


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