Guilt by Association is a Double-Edged Sword.

Screen Shot 2015-11-30 at 11.15.59 AMChristopher Dorner

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Russian Script Kiddies.

My home server is Apache, and sees fairly sparse traffic. Still, I’m constantly seeing IP addresses that resolve to Russian control in the log files, looking for whatever they can find in “/admin/” or “/manager/”, then leaving disappointed. Today, I set up a special treat for them; now they can see themselves when they visit the ‘/admin/’ directory at any of the sites I run from home. Here’s how:

#!/bin/bash
echo 'Most recent assholes to check for an administrative app at this URL:'
tail -n500 /var/log/apache2/access_log | grep -v "my_ip_address" | grep '/admin/' | awk '{ print $2 }'

First, I knocked up the script shown above, which I named “mostrecentassholes.sh”, and placed it in a “safe” executable location. It should be fairly obvious what this script does, but if you’re not familiar with scripting, the ‘echo’ line prints that statement that follows it, then I “tail” the last 500 lines of my web server access log, exclude all instances of my own IP address, and include only access log lines generated by people looking for the ‘admin’ directory, finally using awk to print only the second field of the access_log entries, which in my instance of apache, happens to be the originating IP address a request was made from.

Then I created a subdirectory in the web documents directory called “admin“, and added the following chunk of PHP to a file in that directory called “index.php“:

<?php
$output = shell_exec('/pathtomyscript/mostrecentassholes.sh');
echo "<pre>$output</pre>";
?>

Finally, I spiced it up a little and added the other template crap, which includes my CSS formatting info, the surrounding text, images, etc. from my normal PHP page format, so it looks a little prettier.

If this continues to be a problem, I may automate the process of adding firewall rules preventing people from looking in the /admin/ directory, but for now, this should do.

The Dumbest Thing I’ve Read in Months, if not All Year

Senator Harry Reid issued a “press release” insisting that Congress act to close the “terrorist loophole” that:

“allows FBI terror suspects to buy guns and explosives legally, without background checks. As we speak, a terrorist on the FBI’s terror watch list can walk into a gun show in your hometown and buy as many AK-47s and explosives as they need to commit the kind of mass, heinous slaughter of innocents we witnessed in Paris and which we know terrorists want to perpetrate here in America.”

I’ve got better things to do with my time than unpacking the multiple layers of deception he’s engaging in here, but the short version would be something along these lines: fully automatic weapons and explosives, the likes of which that were used in the Paris attack,  are highly regulated, and not available at gun shows or gun stores. Period. There is no “terrorist loophole” that allows the legal purchase of these things by terror suspects. Claims to the contrary, particularly given a Congress that he knows won’t pass this sort of ridiculous and unnecessary legislation, are little more than moral posturing through deception. Now, the question as to why Reid chose to engage in this deception, right now, is a more interesting one. If I had to guess, I’d say he’ll see a cash inflow soon from the sort of people who believe in propagating the deception he’s peddling here.

You Aren’t Artists, You’re Just Self-Obsessed

I spent a little longer reading this apologia for “selfies” this morning than I should have. I will never get that time back. What I’ve learned, in bullet point format:

  • Never read anything written by Rachel Syme. It’s a waste of time from which you will gain nothing.
  • Millennials will spend countless hours (it took her six months to write this, according to her twitter feed, which is just embarrassing) rationalizing their collective behavior.
  • They will resort to intellectual sloth, and try to make everything that criticizes their narcissism into “sexism”. If that doesn’t work, they’ll try to turn it into “racism”, and if that fails, “ageism”.
  • They will posit themselves and their behavior as “artists” and “art”, overestimating their own relevance and importance to the point of hilarity.

Seriously, I wish, right now, that I had a time machine, so I could go back and stop Tim Berners-Lee from “developing” HTML/HTTP in 1992, and keep the world a place where, though you may be surrounded by idiots, they were, at least, still silent, and unrecognizable.

 

Stop Biting.

The past day or so, “social media” has been abuzz with people offering their opinions about Starbucks’ seasonal cups having been accused of being evidence that “Starbucks hates Jesus”, or other nonsense. The root of all this “furor” is Mr. Joshua Feuerstein, who, despite his “tribe-flavored” name (and no, that’s not an insult; my wife is, in fact, Jewish, as are my in-laws, and a substantial portion of the friends I’ve made throughout life) , describes himself as a “American evangelist, internet and social media personality”. Mr. Feuerstein is a troll. This isn’t his first attempt to troll his way to infamy; it is actually just his latest attempt. And mass media has bitten the troll bait, hook, line, and sinker. As a result, social media has followed the lead of the mass propaganda effort, and immersed themselves in the “controversy”, as well, with every individual feeling the compulsion to condemn the whole idea of Starbucks “removing Christmas” from their seasonal coffee cups as “silly.”

Well, here’s the thing; you’re all still focusing on the words of one man, and worst of all, this one man is an “Internet and social media personality”, which means this is exactly what he wanted out of the deal. Is the underlying issue “silly”? Hell yes, it is. So stop giving him the attention he wanted. Until you do that, you can expect this sort of crap to continue. I get it; you see something stupid, and you feel your own compulsion to hop on your Mighty Horse of Righteous Indignation to proclaim that thing as stupid. Resist the urge.

You’re biting. You’re biting hard. And until you learn to control your urge to bite, you can expect the trolling to continue, unabated. And the cynic in me can’t help but wonder of media complicity, given the actual events going on in the world today that somehow don’t merit the coverage we’ve collectively given Feuerstein’s troll. I mean, it’s not like there’s a growing proxy war in Syria and the Ukraine, is there? Oh wait…

In unrelated news, I need to go wash the stink of having pasted a “The Nation” link in this text box. But they’re not wrong in this case.

Dear Technology Recruiter: An unsent email that I probably should have gone ahead and sent.

Hello [redacted],

This position isn’t a good match for me, for a variety of reasons. Namely:

  1. The listed rate is entirely too low.
  2. The location is not one of the three locations I am willing to relocate to, nor is it in the location I currently live in, all of which are clearly defined at dice.com, wherein you found my resume/profile to begin with.
  3. The skills required for the job only match a fraction of my own, and include a number of skills which I do not have, all of which is, again, clearly defined in my dice.com profile and resume, where you found me.
  4. You list a series of requirements for the job, yet you tell me nothing about the employer, such as their name, the nature of their business, or what they do.
  5. Further, your insistence that I do the work of letting you know whether or not it is a good fit, when combined with your lack of initial research by means of comparing the described position vs. my skill set and my willingness to relocate to three specific locations, which do not include Long Island, nor the State of New York, for that matter, demonstrates a certain lack of attention to detail, and/or sloth on your behalf. If you choose to contact me in the future, you would do well to perform your job in a more effective manner, and not shrug off that responsibility to me. It is recruiters like yourself that result in job seekers purposefully circumventing you, and applying directly for the jobs whose fulfillment provides you and your employer with the rates that pay your bills.

    Regards,

    – Matthew N. Sharp