18 December, 2007

Datacenter Confidential #13

A blast from the past, circa 1994!
Well here's a special feature on new groupz that appear on the IRC, this
feature is covering the mysterious and often misunderstood SK, better known as
SaTaNzKiDz. So who are these guyz? Well let me show their membership list
cum info sheet :

SK.NFO -=- STARTS HERE -=- SK.NFO

[ Satanz Kidz ]

Satanz Kidz is a group. The actuality of being a child of satan is
handled on a per-member basis. We are not here to re-structure irc. We
are not here to put out k-spiffy 'zines for people to chuckle at. We are
here to look out for one and other, we are here to merely signify an
alliance (excuse the pun) of irc kiddies that think in relatively the same
distorted, sick, perverted manner. There are only two requirement you
must fulfill in being a Satanz Kidz member; being a generally k-rad guy
(or girl), and having [Satanz Kidz] in your ircname in some form.
Tattoo's, brandings, and other semi-permanent markings may earn brownie
points in the Founding Fathers' eyes.


[Founding Fatherz]:

HappyMeal - *@*
Mr. p|pe hed - jacklin@cyberspace.net
Plexor - plexor@paranoia.com - he's too texan to
pick a new handle.
Mental Retard - retard@argyle.sox.net

[Memberz as of Oct 2, 1994]:

draftb33r - drunk@and.living.in.the.uk
whyteb0y - elastic@LAME.CAPZ.SITE.EDU
_fool - fool@dfw.net - his nick was funny enough
klueless j0e - rebel@warez.warez.warez
SH33P - oldsk0ol@iii.net - note: sh33p is dead, but his
old sk0ol memories live on in [SK]
crackh0e - noise@en.com
_kAHV_ - cavalier@shadow.net

[Wanna-Be lamerz]:

Skipjack - plexar@netcom.com (note: he's still lame, he just
changed his nick)

Reguardless, see all you fewlz on irc.

, ,
/( )`
\ \___ / |
/- _ `-/ '
(/\/ \ \ /\
/ / | ` \
O O ) / |
`-^--'`< '
(_.) _ ) /
`.___/` /
`-----' /
<----. __ / __ \
HappyMeal [SK] <----|====O)))==) \) /====
<----' `--' `.__,' \
"We have no purpose, | |
but we have eliteness, \ /
and from eliteness purpose will arise." ______( (_ / \______
-HM ,' ,-----' | \
`--{__________) \/
[artist unknown]

SK.NFO -=- ENDS HERE -=- SK.NFO


Heh! More on this later..

12 December, 2007

Call to Action - Kucinich barred from Iowa debate

The Des Moines Register has arbitrarily barred Democratic Congressman and Presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich (OH) from participating in their Democratic Presidential Debate.

Please register your displeasure, politely, with the Des Moines Register here:

http://www.desmoinesregister.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20071212/NEWS09/71212029/0/NEWS09

Also, you can, and should, email or call them and register your displeasure. Public debate, regardless of being sponsored by corporate media, should be beholden to equal time rules -- barring Kucinich may not be illegal, but it is surely immoral and unfair.

Call the Des Moines Register at 1-800-247-5346 and protest their private decision to censor a public election. The Iowa Caucus has National Implications and the Des Moines Register is excluding Dennis Kucinich from the Debate based on local politics. If that infuriates you, step up and call the Des Moines Register at 1-800-247-5346.

Better yet, call their Editorial Board too:
Carol Hunter - 515-284-8502
Laura Hollingsworth - 515-284-8041

Those of you calling The Des Moines Register to prtest their censorship of Kucinich, should also email their editors at the following...

Carol Hunter - 515-284-8502
chunter@dmreg.com

Laura Hollingsworth - 515-284-8041
Lhollingsworth@dmreg.com

08 December, 2007

War is Over

27 years ago you were taken from this world, John.

This was the first time I remember feeling sad about something, about someone I never knew. I was not even 6 years old. Your's is also the only Christmas message that seems to have anything at all to do with the philosophy of the Jesus Christ of the Bible:

War is over (if you want it).

Rest in Peace, Mr. Lennon. You may be dead, but you are not gone.

Religious Freedom

[Note: this is in response to Joe Conason's Op-Ed regarding the religiosity of Republican Candidates for President over at Salon.com]

It is interesting that of the three supposed forerunners on the Democrat side of the 2008 race to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, in order, the top to bottom, their pronouncements of faith are less and less disingenuous: Hillary Clinton, who no doubt is as religious as I am a Black-Asian Lesbian Amputee from Mars, to Barack Obama, who I am sure feels some affinity for a generic Church and form of worship, but whose real idols are secular progressive pursuits and their real-life embodiments in the Civil and Human Rights campaigns of the last century and Edwards, whose good works bely his Southern religious values of which I feel he genuinely and deeply believes (and, going through what his family is going through regarding Elizabeth Edwards, I'm sure that it is for him a source of strength and stability -- the only real purpose of spiritual belief in this supposedly rational age of Chemotherapy, MRIs and echo-cardiograms).

To accuse the left as a whole of not examining the role of religiosity in their own political backyard is an unfair, and untrue assumption. For me Senator Clinton's unseemly disingenuous embracing of religion, as well as any number of other genres, means that primary or not I cannot in good consciousness bring myself to vote for her. I fear that Obama may be tempted to fall into this trap, and as disdainful and unfair Clinton and others' criticisms of him are on the basis that he is young and inexperienced, that he would fall into the trap of trying to please everyone and in the end pleasing no one is a result of not knowing better -- being young and inexperienced affords him a certain degree of flexibility of thought, just enough to be flexible enough to fail. John Edwards will do himself, his family and the world a great service when, like Albert Gore Junior, he leaves politics and makes his mark on the world. Mark my words, in less than 20 years he will be invited to Sweden to receive an award from the King.

Dennis Kucinich holds what common Beltway conventional wisdom regards to be the looniest of views. But Kucinich neither runs away from them nor shoves them in your face. Unlike "serious" candidates, Kucinich really has no fear to state his views exactly as he holds them without parsing or affected speech (a common speech disorder of politicians is to make unclear what any sane or rational person would see as cut and dry). 'Anyone who would not grant the right to marry to gays,' to paraphrase Kucinich, 'does not believe in equality for all people.' Bra-vo, Dennis, bravo. That is exactly right, and that is a more righteous stance than any supposedly pious mouthpiece in the field, Democrat or Republican, has managed to articulate in any debate before or since. So, we must quickly change the subject on Kucinich to his belief in UFOs (which is like saying you believe in pasta -- both things exist, spaghetti and objects, which while in flight, that cannot be identified). Salon.com, to its great discredit, has engaged in this hypnotic lack of discourse by citing that example. Who cares? You know what, I saw that same UFO, and so did all of my friends, and hundreds of other people, if not thousands. But somehow it is crazier to say I saw something flying and glowing that I couldn't identify than to say that I believe in a cosmic Jewish zombie who is his own father?

Which person sounds like a lunatic? But because these ideas of religiosity are attached to authority of consensus does not alter their real face value. Going to war because God told you to do it is a bad idea, whether that God is Allah, Yaweh, Jesus or the Flying Spaghetti Monster. And if your God tells you that two adults in love cannot be married because their plumbing is the same, then you are against freedom for all people. Period. End of discussion. Maybe people resist considering Kucinich because to consider him valid, one has to consider his ideas valid, and to consider his ideas valid, one has to consider their own to be suspect, and worse, to make the difficult choices required to divorce oneself from the status quo. That is why Kucinich faces an uphill, but worthwhile battle. And if Jesus came back today, I'm sure he'd be Kucinich's running mate.

If Jesus ever actually existed anyway. But that's not for my Government to decide, and you would think that they made that pretty clear when they wrote the US Constitution. Sadly, that seems not to be the case.

05 December, 2007

For Immediate Release

Fuck the DEA.

http://www.usdoj.gov/dea/pubs/states/newsrel/sanfran120307.html

Contact: Casey McEnry
Number: 415-436-7994

Everyone is encouraged to call Agent McEnry and communicate how you feel about the illegal capture of political prisoners by our lawless prohibition junta thugs and their mendacious supporters in the legislatures.

Thanks for ruining my New Years plans. LSD is harmless.

Also:

Rudy Giuliani, you are a liar. Your own kids hate you. Stop lying for once in your sorry political career.

03 December, 2007

Datacenter Confidential #12

After taking an incredibly unscientific poll of friends and colleagues, I have discovered that the Linux users tend to lean toward Ron Paul and the FreeBSD users tend to lean toward Dennis Kucinich.

That said, I have a handful of 7.0-BETA2 and BETA3 boxes up and running at ApartmentNet. So far so good, no major upsets. I even managed a "JumpStart"(*) install of 7.0-B1.5 on a box without a CD/DVD without too much hassle. SMP seems to handle noticeably faster, but like the Ron Paul/Kucinich test, there is no hard data to back that up.

What I've also never had any hard data to back up is why I have never really been comfortable with Linux and more specifically the Linux "community." It would be cliche (and also false) to say that my disdain goes back to the 0.9X kernel days where you had to download 20 floppy disk images over 28.8k modem, but I think that the real turning point actually came shortly thereafter when people started distributing their pre-packaged versions of Linux on CD-ROM. "No good," I thought to myself back then in 1994 and 1995, "can ever come of this."

It should be noted that even that early on I was already well on the path of Unix snobbery having been given or taken shells on various AIX and Sun machines, not to mention having a brief stint as a junior systems administrator for an extremely small ISP running BSDi on literally two 386 boxes whose combined horsepower pales in comparison to my shitty cellphone -- hell, an iPhone today probably outpowers those boxes by an order of magnitude, and if you could figure out how to hook up a dozen serial modems to an iPhone, you would have twice the dial-in capacity.

My first ever legitimate shell account (using the term legitimate in its loosest possible sense) was on a research server at Case Western Reserve University run by the then wife of one of the local stoner/hackey-sack/2600 geeks. The machine was an RS6000, roughly the size of a small "beer" refrigerator running AIX, and we all used tcsh (the Turbo C Shell) because you could use arrow keys to edit your command line or page up and down through a buffer of recently typed commands -- an innovation later picked up by the Linux community and applied to the Bourne shell in bash, the Bourne-again Shell. Despite the extremely cumbersome conditional syntax of tcsh, the desire for rapid command-line editing won over sh (Bourne)'s easier structure.

Ironically, I still use tcsh for my login shell (along with an environment that is essentially 15+ years old), but I code shell scripts exclusively in Bourne.

Having as real-world examples only academia to rely on in the very early days I became accustomed to there being a right and wrong way to do things on the command-line; ourselves, right or wrong, not actual students or academics by any stretch of the imagination (some of us being 13 or 14 at the time, still some even younger) would nevertheless mimic in our own burlesque way the formalities of proper Unix habits. As teenaged crackers, we kept neatly (if not clandestine) organized home and working directories, wrote properly tabbed and commented scripts, and would even go so far as to fix or preempt problems on machines we weren't supposed to have root on.

For some time Linux remained a marginal pass-time for like-minded hobbyists, something you could install on an old 286 and show off to your fellow hacker friends, bragging, "yeah I have root@my house." ${DEITY} forbid your modem should fail forcing you to spend 8-10 hours recompiling your kernel to accommodate a new or different modem -- especially considering the fact that the odds were not in your favor that the new driver would even build, much less work. Everyone running Linux back then would also become intimately familiar with "fsck", and would run it at their own peril.

Regardless, running Linux at home was a convenient way to stay logged onto (and logging) irc all day, provided you ran it inside screen. And having a stable, always up dial-in connection to the internet, or a machine on "the backbone" whose resources you could purloin for the purposes of running screens and irc put us scallywags at a strategic advantage compared to our peers, fellow hitchhikers on the 1nph0rm4t10n sup3r h4lfp1p3, all vying for dominance of one thing: Internet Relay Chat.

In the ancient times, the days of lore, there were BBSes -- bulletin board systems. The BBS was like the New York punk scene for anti-social losers in the late 1980s, early 1990s. Massive amounts of wire fraud and toll theft was perpetrated for the express purpose of one teenager in one area code being able to call into a BBS run by another teenager in another area code or even country. In fact, to say it was just teens is to be unfair to the burgeoning cottage industry of international software piracy run by enterprising adults in that era; these criminal enterprises relying on a small and powerful subculture of phone phreaks and crackers to grease the wheels and pave the way. Out of this came the distinct subculture that came to be known as the "H/P scene" for hacking/phreaking scene, or "the scene" to be ominously short.

Entire BBSes were set up as electronic hang-outs devoted exclusively to "the scene." Some scene members began to shun piracy, the porn trade, and cheap hucksters trading in calling and credit cards, not to mention the underground art scene on the BBSes (ANSI kids -- a subject for a future post). Rifts were formed, and naturally turf wars and rivalries erupted out of the BBS h/p scene, which brings us back to irc.

The Internet Relay Chat was a natural evolutionary step above BBSes because it enabled users to communicate across the globe in real time en masse at a scale that far exceeded the biggest BBSes. IRC was essentially a globally networked version of multi-user chats available on BBSes with more than one dial-in line. Some BBSes could have as many as 30 or 40 dial-in lines -- although these bigger BBSes were almost exclusively paid-subscriber systems (AOL, famously, was originally nothing more than a multi-line dial-up BBS), meaning h/p scenesters would have to purloin accounts subject to frequent suspension, and BBS systems operators (sysops) would limit the time users could tie up limited phone resources. Internet Relay Chat offered scene kids chat rooms on servers that were always online with practically no limit as to the number of simultaneous users. If you had access to a stable shell account on a server with a perpetual connection to the internet, you could literally stay on irc 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

And if you are going to be online that long, you might as well make yourself at home. But like any frontier, when the settlers started getting in each other's way, conflicts naturally arose.

Like a young Ian McKay being in the right place at the right time to see the Bad Brains come onto the punk scene in DC, I happened to butt my head into the burgeoning IRC scene at just the right moment in internet history and subsequently got caught up in the maelstrom.

For sure, it was a wild ride that took me places I could have never imagined as a teenager living in the suburbs of Cleveland.

(*) Its not really JumpStart, but it sure isn't KickStart. But, it's getting a bootfile from DHCP (which is bootp on steroids) and then NFS mounting root and running an install.

02 December, 2007

Grow a Flower, Go to Jail

As this (early) political season and Christmas season heats up, remember that millions of Americans, wifes, children, fathers, mothers are separated from their loved ones held as political prisoners in America's war on Black Men and The Poor. Remember as our wars become more and more existential, our freedoms suffer as a result: the war on hunger, drugs, terror, ephemera, et cetera, et cetera.

I saw Ethan Nadelmann give this speech, repeated several times on public access cable in Cleveland, Ohio over the Thanksgiving break. Nadelmann heads the Drug Policy Alliance, one of many organizations dedicated to decriminalizing victim-less crime and bringing awareness to alternatives to imprisonment of drug users and dealers. To be sure, Nadelmann forcefully points out that when someone harms someone else, whether or not as a result of drug or alcohol use, then that person must be held accountable. But in the drug war, he points out, usually no-one is helped and those harmed most are people on the margins of society: overwhelmingly persons of color, and the poor.

Here is a talk Nadelmann gives in Detroit, Michigan. In Michigan, the statistics and the census is very similar to the make-up of Ohio, both in minority population (under 15% African-american) and prison population (50% and over African-american). Please watch this video with an open mind.