Archive for July, 2009


Coin That Phrase

ctplogoWhat differentiates a web start-up that has actual business potential from a Bubble 2.0 joke?  The question isn’t any easier to answer than it was during the first tech bubble.  As always, it depends on who you ask.

When Goldman Sachs and other ethically crippled investment banks inflated the year 2000-era tech IPO market bubble to the absurd heights it reached, not everybody bit — it just seemed that way.  Although scores of certifiably stupid and /or crazy persons were making piles of money buying shares in dubious business plans, skepticism reigned among two party-pooping minority groups.

First were traditional investors who concerned themselves with fundamental notions of P/E ratios and other metrics of legitimate business.  These fuddy-duddy Warren Buffet fans stood justifiedly on the sidelines as lots of dumb money was sucked into and the like, only to evaporate with a pop later.

Second were the Internet Nerds, the technologists who actually understood the web in a practical sense and as such were even more skeptical than the first group, their doubt informed by command of the basic technical and social facts of online life.

I belonged to the second group.  I still do.  And when I work as a writer for a start-up, it matters to me if their plan makes sense.  As I’ve written here before, I’d rather let the work of toiling on crap that isn’t getting anybody anywhere be done by people better suited to it than I am.  I don’t want any part of Bubble 2.0.

That’s one of the reasons I do blogging for a startup named  I’ve been pals with its CEO Noel Burkman (he, too is in the second group) for a while and I watched him while he worked quite a bit of e-commerce magic at the behemoth, basically birthing the textbook seller’s multimillion-dollar e-commerce channel.

Coin That Phrase is Noel’s idea about the intersection of social networking and e-commerce, centered on the creation and exchange of pithy quotations – forever the fodder of merchandise.  You “coin” a phrase, and can buy the right to make and sell merchandise emblazoned with that phrase – T-shirts and the like (all organic and sustainable, natch).  To those who see the net as a marketplace, CTP’s a new monetization model that leverages social media and merchandise.   And to those who see the net as a commons, it’s a crowdsourced database of pithy quotes that aims to be the mother of all quote databases.

CTP isn’t inflating any bubble – it’s a solid and informed look ahead at how crowds do their thing on the net and how to monetize it. CTP is cool stuff, and I’m glad to help out – on and off the clock.


Put Black Cock In Your Ears

Austin aggro-art-rockers Black Cock came to my attention (thanks to one Faiz Razi) while loitering on a macrame’ hobbyist message board called  I remember it as if was last month – because it was.    On Faiz’s advice, I played their web album Robot Child With A God Complex (linked above) 11 or 12 times.  Sure, I liked Black Cock, but was it just infatuation?   A temporary dalliance?  To find out, I had to take the Black Cock out of my ears for a few weeks and return later on, testing carefully for lasting qualities.

As it turned out, once I had sampled Black Cock, there was no going back to a world without its whirring/buzzing klank/skronk.  I don’t have enough thumbs to point to the sky concerning this band.  And that’s why I’m telling the world: I enjoy Black Cock, and I don’t care who knows it.


John Yoo’s International Law Class: Torture To Sit Through

John Yoo, previously known as a low-level right-wing toady at the Bush Department of Justice, is today infamous as the legal architect of the Bush administration’s authorization of torture.  In the above clip, looted from The Chaser’s War On Everything by way of True/Slant, Professor Yoo does nothing to improve his reputation as a nervous authoritarian when he becomes the subject of a prank in his classroom.  During a session of the UC Berkeley* class he teaches in International Law (?)(!) an Abu Ghraib-style hooded figure rises, spreads his arms and asks the torture fan how long he should maintain the stress position.  When faced with this commentary on Yoo’s career under Bush, the legal scholar’s taste for extralegal force manifests as a rather weak appeal to a grey-haired school functionary who comes to shoo away the prankster. One wonders if he will again call upon her if subpoenas from Eric Holder’s office arrive.

* UPDATE 1: A commenter from UC Berkeley (in record time, I might add) has let RW370 know that Professor Yoo is on leave from UC Berkeley and is instead teaching at the Chapman University School of Law.  Thanks for the correction, which I am posting pending confirmation.

UPDATE 2: Wired’s Danger Room blog confirms the prank took place at Chapman.  Thanks again to commenter Ryan Shaw for the tip.


HP Photosmart 1115 Driver + OSX 10.5.7 = Bummer

imgPhotoSmart 11151Hello, Googler.

I know why you’re here.  You tried to print from OSX 10.5.7 to your old HP Photosmart 1115 inkjet printer, didn’t you?

And what did you get for your trouble?  You found and installed the driver (e.g. “P1115”), you fired off a print job and the printer just sat there looking at you, didn’t it?

Well sure it did.  If it had worked, you wouldn’t be Googling around for a fix and you wouldn’t have found this blog post.

Brother / sister, I have your solution — and it’s not what you’d expect.  I stumbled across a magic bullet for this problem and now I will share it with you right here on teh intertubes.

This is what you do:

Send all the documents you want to print into the print queue, just select print as normal. The printer won’t move, but the jobs will go to the print queue.  If you open up OSX “Print & Fax” and select “View Queue” you’ll see them in there, trapped like kittens in a sewer.

Now make sure you know your user password.  Know it?  Good.

Now log out. Don’t turn the printer off, don’t touch anything, just log out of your Mac.  Use the Apple drop-down in the far upper left hand corner of the screen.

Usually when you log out of a machine, it’s the end of your session and time to focus on something else.  But not this time.  Oh, no.

Whirrr, whizz, g-zoo, g-zoo, g-zoo says the HP Photosmart 1115 once you log out – and every job in the queue gets printed!  You can even log back in before the jobs are done – which is handy since the 1115 seems to take five minutes per sheet.  In any case, you’ll need your user password to log back in, which is why I mentioned it.

Bizarre, I know.  But it works.

You’re welcome, Googler.


House Votes 429-2: Be It Resolved That Rob Warmowski Was Right

Last month, when President Obama used a signing statement to evade accountability concerning White House negotiations with the IMF, I posted about it at Huffington Post. Checking out the comment stream there will show the brickbats that are earned when a leftist complains about a corporate centrist President – as well as the attaboys from detestable right-wing douchebags.

The funny thing is, today, the House of Representatives went an voted 429-2 to do exactly what I did in print: call bullshit on the signing statement, and on the White House’s far-too-comfy relationship with the Wall Street pigs who doubled all of us down on mortgages they knew were bad.

I did a longer piece at HuffPo today in response.  Thanks, Congress.


Three-Day Long DDOS Attack From North Korea?

Diagram of a Stachledraht DDos Attack
Image via Wikipedia

Is North Korea pwning teh intertubes?

According to Associated Press reports here and here, both US Federal websites and South Korean governmental websites are undergoing constant denial of service attacks, which has effectively removed these sites from the Internet.   Affected are the websites for the US Treasury Dept, Federal Trade Commission and Transportation Department.

Further, South Korea reports the presidential Blue House, the Defense Ministry, the National Assembly, Shinhan Bank, Korea Exchange Bank and top Internet portal Naver have undergone DOS attacks for the same period.

The attacks have been sustained over three days, which is unusual for this kind of internet attack. Network World reports the list of IP addresses sending out bogus traffic numbers 50,000 and according to a quoted security expert is using 10-20 GB of bandwidth per second, or ten times greater an amount than the average DDOS attack.

Although there is no evidence at this time of the attack’s source, the seemingly simultaneous targeting of US and South Korean sites brings to mind the common political enemy of both countries, North Korea.  Even though Internet infrastructure in that country is poor, mounting a DDOS attack using a botnet does not use local bandwidth and doesn’t need widespread local infrastructure.

In a denial-of-service (DOS) attack, a website is targeted with millions of false requests for web pages until the targeted website can no longer respond to legitimate requests for pages, effectively removing that website from service.   A plain DOS attack has a single vector – that is, the fake traffic comes from a single or small range of IP addresses, and as such can be stopped by the targeted web site’s owner blocking all requests that come from the offending IP addresses.

But the three-day length of the attacks strongly suggests that the attacks are in fact distributed DOS (DDOS) attacks, from which there is no effective defense. Under a DDOS attack, the false traffic requests come from hundreds or thousands of machines located physically all over the world.  Due to the high number of machines that are the source of the false requests, blocking all the IP addresses to stem the flow of bogus traffic becomes nearly impossible.

Often, these machines comprise a botnet, a name given to an ad hoc network of machines – personal, work, school – that have had their own security compromised,  and who follow instructions from the party that compromised the security in the first place.

Large botnets capable of sustained DDOS attacks have been a reality since ever since huge numbers of consumer operating system machines around the world such as those running Microsoft Windows have been left attached to the Internet full-time on DSL or cable modem.  An attacker can compromise the security of such a machine and leave upon it a “bot” process, which is software that quietly and invisibly waits for instructions from the controller of the botnet.

Botnets have been sold on the black market, used in DDOS attacks, used to spread worms and viruses and remain a real feature of the Internet that leverages consumer ignorance and the Internet technical architecture into a potentially devastating weapon that threatens whatever sites it wants whenever it wants.


A post at identifies a targeted host list as well as the Windows malware that is used in the botnet attack: Additionally, the poster says the IP addresses that the attacks are coming from are located inside China.

DDOS attack files.

filename: msiexec2.exe
size:33,841 bytes
When msiexec2.exe being excuted, it creates ‘uregvs.nis’ file.
There are many target addresses inside of msiexec2.exe code.

Following files attack those web sites.

size: 65,536 bytes

filename: wmiconf.dll
size: 67,072 bytes

some evidences about this attack.

1. attacker’s IPs came from China.
2. Using Botnet.
3. Using Zombie PC.
4. spreaded by internet.
5. it changes it’s code automatically.
6. addresses can be changed by attackers.

It has following Target Addresses.
Following addresses are related with South Korea gov and USA gov.
The attacker’s IPs came from China.

[Target addresses]
Some of websites still can’t be connected or slow.

<Korea> – bank -portal – bank  -bank  -mail service -gov -journal -a political party -gov -gov -gov -US military website in korea

<USA> -portal -gov -gov -gov -gov -gov -stocks -gov -gov -gov -bank -US postal service -gov -voice of america -gov -portal -journal -military -stocks

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Vice President Biden Terribly Rude To The Memory Of An Old US Chum

A Light Moment At the SOB Ball

“That S.O.B. is rolling over in his grave right now,” said Vice President Joe Biden of the late Saddam Hussein while visiting Iraq on July 4th.

Look, I understand what happens when a US figurehead gets a snootful of self-righteous holiday spirit and exults a scathing damnation of all things evil – sometimes the patriotism causes one to paint one’s self into a rhetorical corner.  So if President Obama can forgive Biden for once complimenting Obama by referring to him as “clean and  articulate” I too can forgive the VP for his bad manners.

But I wonder: can Don Rumsfeld do the same?

I imagine the former two-time Defense Secretary wistfully reviewing the photos of old friends, mayhaps made a tad misty by memories of happier times with bosom buddies of the United States who, like him, just got a bad rap in the end.

Okay, not exactly like him.  Some people get a rap, other people get a rope.

Happy 4th, if you can manage it.


Devo: Don’t Shoot, I’m A Man

“DON’T SHOOT” – DEVO from DEVO Channel on Vimeo.

Great new song, great new video from the Casale/Mothersbaugh axis.  I knew those inflatable-fan-guy things that you find parked in front of muffler shops and flea markets were totally Devo. Word is there’s a new Devo album in the works for Fall of this year. Oh, Dad, we’re all Devo!

For more DEVO at RW370:

What’s In Devo’s Basement?

Led Zeus Shit Jar – On Devo’s Gerry Casale and the Jesus Lizard



rob [at] warmowski [dot] com

@warmowski on twitter

Rob’s Bands

Rob Warmowski entry at Chicago Punk Database
1984-89: Defoliants
1991-94: Buzzmuscle
2001-05: San Andreas Fault
2008- : Sirs
2008- : Allende

Rob at Huffington Post

July 2009