Pitfalls of New IP Space

With the almost complete allocation of previously available IP4 addresses, ICANN released IP address block from previously reserved ranges to private ISPs. Unfortunately for these ISPs and their customers (one in particular), in the past these IP blocks were heavily used by malicious individuals who spoofed their IP addresses. This resulted in many servers that simply refuse connections to the entire block. What block is this? It’s the 173.x.x.x block.

For a year now, Mediacom has assigned IPs under the 173.18.x.x block. Thanks to that, one’s IP address is in this range. There are sites one literally can not visit due to having a legitimate IP address in the 173.x.x.x range, instead one gets a nice “network timeout error”. In the past it was the Weblogs.us forums (now down for everyone as phpBB committed suicide), now it’s other sites. Sure one can use a webproxy, and have, but that is more trouble than it’s worth. It would be nice if these servers would at least keep current with their IP block blacklists. Even better, new blacklists not containing known to be good IP blocks because of their prior illegitimate use would be a welcomed change.

-John Havlik

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Windows 7 and PunkBuster

When you resort to tactics within the realm malice, are your actions still benevolent? Even Balance should consider this question while working on PunkBuster. While hackers/cheaters are an annoying, when the tools that keep them out operate maliciously the tool maker has gone too far. PunkBuster’s behavior is absolutely uncalled for.

There is absolutely no reason for a legitimate piece of software to download itself from a remote site and reinstall/restart every 15 seconds to 5 minutes. This is how PunkBuster works right now with its PnkBstrA.exe and PnkBstrB.exe services. PnkBstrA.exe will redownload, reinstall, and restart PnkBsterB.exe periodically while in a game “protected” by PunkBuster. If anything goes wrong PnkBstrA.exe will kick the user from a server and give a error in the 13xxxxxx range. PnkBstrB.exe is what actually looks for hackers/cheaters and kicks them. PunkBuster also looks for unknown APIs and will kick you if it finds any, this is the issue it has with Windows 7.

“Why are you playing games on a beta OS?” What’s the point of a beta OS? To test things, that’s the point of beta releases. By playing, or rather try to play, a game I’m testing Windows 7. Since I built a new (for me) computer that is running Windows 7 (64bit), there really is no going back to XP (I do not have Win XP 64bit edition). My gaming is limited to offline games, any Valve title, or Test Drive Unlimited. Basically, anything that doesn’t depend on the horribly broken PunkBuster.

The real shame is that Even Balance has not made any visible effort towards supporting Windows 7. The beta is very solid, a release candidate should be out soon, and at that time the Windows 7 “API” will be “locked” and Punk Buster should be able to be updated to work with Windows 7. If, upon public release of Windows 7, PunkBuster still does not work properly, I’d like to see a someone bring a class action lawsuit against Even Balance for negligence (yes, PunkBuster has angered me to that point).

-John Havlik

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Sammy’s Banished

Sammy Kamkar, the one who over a year ago unleashed an exploit on MySpace that caused anyone who viewed his profile, or his friends’ profiles to automatically request to be his friend. MySpace filed a civil suit against Kamkar, who plead guilty and is now banished from the Internet for a classified amount of time. The plaintiffs claimed that they are “committed to protecting our community from any abusive misuse of the site.”

Frankly, after reviewing the code and reading the explanation of his method, the hack only worked for IE and certain versions of Safari. In reality the exploit was of both the browsers and MySpace, his code should never have executed in the browsers. News Corp. should go after Microsoft as they are equally responsible for this exploit. Regardless, it’ll be interesting to see how they will go about keeping him off the Internet.

In other news, Boston needs to get a brain. Overreacting to the ten or so PCBs with LEDs attached and a black plastic bag protecting the batteries was idiocy. If the police can’t tell the difference between a bomb and a LED sign, how are they supposed to do their job? Seriously the media needs to stop spreading misinformation and disinformation before the people revolt against them, oh wait that’s already about to happen (the Internet, YouTube, p2p, etc).

-John Havlik

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Orin Safier v. Western Digital Corporation

After reading the complaint that was filed, I feel that the plaintiff is a serious prick, and because of that I will have my own little rebuttal.

Yes, the ICE does now want us to use MiB and GiB instead of MB and GB when referring to the base two system (binary). The plaintiff fails to acknowledge that the current system, using SI prefixes, is actually incorrect as it does not follow the SI rules of a strictly base ten system. Therefore, when hard drive manufactures claim that a hard drive holds 200 GB they mean, in accordance to the SI rules, that it equals 200×10^9 bytes, not 200×2^30 bytes which is 200 GiB. Yes the standards should be enforced, but don’t sue hard drive manufactures for adhering to the SI standard instead of the incorrect usage.

In reality, it is every one else’s fault for not changing binary ratings to the MiB/GiB terminology, this includes CDs, RAM and other solid state memories, CPU caches, Video memory, Windows, and just about every other piece of software. The plaintiff incorrectly assumes that the common use of MB and GB are the correct use. This is not true, why do you think DVD media is measured in MB/GB based on the SI standards of a base 10 system? I say that everyone else needs to get their butts in gear, on either adding that all important separating ‘i’ or face lawsuits from idiotic consumers.

Today I wish that I hadn’t thrown away the paper insert to the plastic packaging to my 200 GB (I’m referring to the proper SI use (200×10^9 bytes)) hard drive, which clearly stated on the package that 1 GB = 1,000,000,000 bytes on the packaging. This is clearly telling the consumer that they are using the SI standard, not the common and incorrect usage.

Part 56 of the complaint is invalid. Especially since this person is claiming that this problem is only for retail units, not OEM, which carry no such warning since it isn’t printed on the label on the drive cover itself. As for part 57, this is true to an extent since the manufactures to use some slight rounding so that we aren’t buying 200.047001600 GB (base 10) hard drives, which is the case for my drive, and is actually in my favor. And, that invalidates part 58 of the claim, since in my case they understated the size of the drive. I have also invalidated part 60-65, I really could have saved WD’s butt on this one, if only I could find that all-important slip of paper-stock.

My last major point is that it is a hard drive industry standard that they use the SI base 10 units instead of the incorrect binary usage. As-long-as I remember the hard drive industry has always used the correct SI usage for MB/GB, this goes back to 10MB hard drives; so that was way back in the early 90’s, late 80’s. If a consumer doesn’t know this because of their own ignorance, that is their own fault. Also, if they don’t understand this they shouldn’t be purchasing computer storage products anyways. Instead, they should pay someone, who actually possess half a brain, to do it for them. To further rub this in, I have had numerous clients that know the exact same thing as I do about the rated capacities and factor that in. Though, it really doesn’t matter since every manufacturer uses the same rating system, unlike Intel and AMD, so you can compare apples with apples, the exact opposite of what the plaintiff claims.

It looks like WD agrees with me, but it looks like they are settling out of court to get the person to shut up. Though they are admitting to not advertising that they use the proper use of GB and MB on their packaging, which I know they had done when I purchased my drive.

Here is the link: Western Digital’s brief ISO preliminary approval (HTML, Secure Connection)

Here is the link: Plaintiff’s Compalaint (PDF, Secure Connection)

-John Havlik

[end of transmission, stay tuned]