I miss Nurse Myra

Word of the Day for Tuesday, April 29, 2008

gimcrack JIM-krak, noun:

1. A showy but useless or worthless object; a gewgaw.
2. Tastelessly showy; cheap; gaudy.

Yet the set is more than a collection of pretty gimcracks.
— Frank Rich, Hot Seat

In those cities most self-conscious about their claim to be part of English history, like Oxford or Bath, the shops where you could have bought a dozen nails, home-made cakes or had a suit run up, have shut down and been replaced with places selling teddy bears, T-shirts and gimcrack souvenirs.
— Jeremy Paxman, The English: A Portrait of a People

And as for coincidences in books — there’s something cheap and sentimental about the device; it can’t help always seeming aesthetically gimcrack.
— Peter Brooks, “Obsessed with the Hermit of Croisset”, New York Times, March 10, 1985

The origin of gimcrack is uncertain. It is perhaps an alteration of Middle English gibecrake, “a slight or
flimsy ornament.”


Nurse Myra is due back any moment now, I just know it. I’m sending white light to her internet connection.



Patches Pose Significant Risk, Researchers Say
SecurityFocus (04/23/08) Lemos, Robert

A team of computer scientists has developed a technique that exploits patches and updates by automatically comparing the vulnerable and repaired versions of a program and creating attack code. The technique, which the researchers call automatic patch-based exploit generation (APEG), can generate attack code for most major vulnerabilities in minutes by automatically analyzing a patch design to fix a flaw. If Microsoft does not change how it distributes patches to customers, attackers could create a system that attacks the flaws in unpatched systems minutes after an update is sent out, says Carnegie Mellon computer science PhD candidate David Brumley. The technique is built on methods used by many security researchers, who reverse engineer patches to find vulnerabilities fixed by the update. Normally the process can take a few days, or even hours, but Brumley and his colleagues were able to use APEG to create exploits in five recent Microsoft patches in under six seconds each time. The system does not create fully weaponized exploits and may not work on all types of vulnerabilities, but it shows that developing exploits from patches can be done in minutes. The researchers suggest that Microsoft could increase the likelihood that customers receive patches before attackers can reverse engineer them by obfuscating the code, encrypting the patches and waiting to distribute the key simultaneously, and using peer-to-peer networks to increase the distribution of patches.

I know I should treat all this as a challenge but I’m ready to pull my hair out. We work to keep everything patched to a safe level, which requires a lot of time.   If one is using WSUS for the windows patches, that’s scheduled and pushed out on a regular basis, but that means there are gaps and the machines are vulnerable for a certain amount of time between patches.  GAG.  If one is letting the computer do the automatic updates, you are at Micro$oft’s mercy as to which download group the machine will be in. I’ve had 3 day gaps between machines getting the same updates pushed out.  Does that sound safe?

Not so much.

Feh.  I think I’ll take up painting or something and see if I can make a living from that.  Umm hmm.

Election Haiku

I like number 3 a lot.

C  L  U  B  T  O  P  5
Lose 5 inches off your mid-section — guaranteed!
Interact with TopFive!
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/topfive
Myspace: http://www.myspace.com/top5list
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=608060595

April 23, 2008


Think TopFive can’t be classy?
We’ve got *poetry* for you today!

The Top 25 Election 2008 Haikus

25> Evil Viet Cong
And their horrid torture camps?
No match for this crap!

24> Dennis Kucinich
Said he saw UFOs, then
Disappeared in one.

23> The time has long past.
The fat lady sings to thee,
Huckabee, go home!

22> Hillary’s *so* tired.
Pranksters won’t stop calling her
Right at 3 a.m.

21> John McCain am I.
So strong, can crush you like bug.
Do not look at me!

20> Who wants the lesser
Of three evils? Bill Bradley,
Won’t you please come home?

19> John McCain makes speech:
“My fellow Americans,
Get off my damn lawn!”

18> Barack, be like Bill.
He *does* love America —
One chick at a time.

17> Ron Paul is still in.
Waiting for the mothership?
Reality check!

16> Hillary Clinton’s
Fades like Mets in fall.

15> Just say what you mean!
Don’t start every speech with
“What I meant to say…”

14> John McClain? “Die Hard”?
Hey, Iran: Yippie-kay-yay,
You evil mofos!

13> Hillary Clinton
Fighting Barack Obama?
You two get a room!

12> GOP to Dems:
Good luck choosing nominee.
Wake us in August.

11> Hillary was the
Odds-on favorite to win —
Like the Patriots.

10> Many candidates,
All of them equally bad.
Write in for Chris White!

9> Pennsylvanians
Can indeed be quite bitter —
Like Reverend Wright.

8> When will it be safe
To watch my TV again?
I’m sick of this crap.

7> Who won’t die, but comes
Once again to eat our brains?
Zombie Ralph Nader!

6> Hi. I’m John McCain.
Some say I’m too old to run.
Hi. I’m John McCain…

5> Bosnian snipers
Over a decade later
Shoot holes in Clinton.

4> Forget the war and
Economy plummeting —
Where’s his damn flag pin?!?

3> I’m watching Fox News.
Apparently, the sun shines
Out of McCain’s ass.

2> 3 a.m. phone call
Hillary answers, first ring
It’s Trixi, for Bill.

and Topfive.com’s Number 1 Election 2008 Haiku…

1> Hypnotizing me,
Winning my heart and my vote:
Obama Girl’s boobs.

[ Copyright 2008 by Chris White/TopFive.com ]

News Briefs

–==++ TopFive’s News Headlines ++==–

Pictures of Mormon Cult Wives Shatter All Polygamy Fantasies

Pope Blesses Godless Hell-Bound Churchgoing Protestants

Work Begins on New George W. Bush Liberry

California Points, Laughs at Illinois’ Tiny, Silly Earthquake

Suicidal Man Tells Wife Dress Makes Her Ass Look Fat

Opinion: This Pope Fellow Seems Awfully Obsessed With Catholicism

Credits: Davejames (1), Mark Niebuhr (2), Jerry L. Embry (3),
Joseph Moore (4,7), Bill Muse (5)

Send submissions to headlines@topfive.com

Liberry. Hah hah, they said Liberry!

Price match

Today, at the cheapest Chevron on or near my route, a gallon of regular was $3.79.  A pack of cigarettes was also $3.79.  Amazing serendipity.  Or not.  Glad I don’t smoke, glad I drive a hybrid.  Sorry I commute so far. Makes me want to smoke.

In the little town where we live, premium hit $4.20 over the weekend. For some reason I thought it would stop at $4.00.  No justification for thinking that, it’s just how far my disbelief would let me go.

New words

I was trying to help a near family member with a computer file problem.

I asked him how big the file was.

“52 Kegabites” he promptly said. He said Kegabites maybe four more times and I started repeating it back to him as Kilobytes, and after a bit he said Kilobytes, too. Once. Then he was back to Kegabites. Ha ha. Can’t teach an old dog, I guess.

Then I was trying to tell him how to attach a file to an email, so I had him right click and select Send To and then choose Recipient.  He couldn’t find it and swore several times that it wasn’t there, and then he found it. “Ahha!” he says, “Send to Re sip uh kunt.”   Yeah.  Re Sip Uh Kunt. Then he said it a few more times so I knew I didn’t hear it wrong.

Sigh. I would go insane if I had to live with a native speaker who botched the language so badly so often. Or, more likely, the person I lived with would go insane from being corrected all the time by Ms. Know-It-All.