Frustrations on Wednesday

Two things. One with me, one not with me.

I just found out today from a local insurance company that my Indiana driving-license was suspended back in April. I have apparently been driving on a suspended license for about 4 months now! The reason why? The minor scrape of an accident I was in back in February (the other driver thought it would be a good idea to paint a racing stripe on the passenger side of my car using his front fender), for which I PROVIDED my insurance number, apparently needed a “certificate of compliance” form filled out. They allegedly sent it to me, but I just realized today that the address on my license is old — it’s an old PO Box that I no longer use. So that’s partly my fault, I suppose. Regardless, I think it’s silly that I need to send them this information — I have the card saying I was covered then. I’ve been covered since 2001! If I have to pay a substantial fee (anything over $50) I’m going to be FUMING about this.

Second. A few weeks ago, Rich Jackson (a friend of Melissa and I) was fired from his position as managing editor of the Palladium-Item. There is a great interview about it in “Editor and Publisher” magazine. His termination wasn’t quite “atrocity”-level of an injustice (yet…Rambo still hasn’t gotten back to me. He must be too busy filming his next movie), but it’s definitely well above “unfair / unjust.” The conditions of his termination (for which he received no severance pay) were cited on the count of the “poor quality of the paper,” as well as the existence of a personal MySpace account which contained some allegedly “sexual” content. Personally, I think they probably felt threatened by his headline: “I’m something of a hepcat.”

Citing “poor quality of the paper” is a pretty subjective claim. I could attest that I think the Publisher is a man of poor moral fiber, or I could say that Dr. Phil has a poorly covered head. They obviously didn’t quantify or corroborate their claims with the fact that the paper has won numerous awards for quality (over 25) during Rich’s tenure. I think what they really mean is: “The paper did a poor job of spin-doctoring local influential individuals in a way that was desirable to them.” And I’m not just talking about his coverage of the EDC either. He’s a really smart guy, and he was very open-minded to new ways for keeping existing readers and acquiring new readers.

This just in!

Yet another thing to make my hair fall out (and then *my* head will be poorly covered). We just got a report from one of the main internet trunks (a “fat pipe”) in the area that apparently one of the city’s servers were being used to attempt to compromise access on some server down in Brazil. I started scouring the logs and found that this whole week a number of our servers have been getting HAMMERED from a series of different addresses. One user had actually succeeded in hacking user-level access (the lowest level of access) on one of our servers; That IP address was immediately blacklisted by County after I made a phone call, the password changed, and the user booted. I have a feeling that was what was causing the Brazillian traffic.

I ran some lookups on DNSStuff and found the origin of most of the attempts to be Chinese addresses. Apparently Chinese kids have nothing better to do than try to compromise US servers and farm fake money in Multiplayer Online RPG’s like World of Warcraft. One of the addresses was in South Carolina — I contacted the abuse address and sent them log excerpts. This stuff pisses me off. I’ve started a crusade to have more secure passwords for *all* users, no matter what their position. This incident has given us solid proof that our system is only as strong as its weakest password.

What a day! I hope this is the extent of the excitement.