2011 — 8 July: Friday

If you can read this1 then BlackBeast is up and running "under new management". It's cool and grey out there, and has obviously been raining. Must be summer. But with my regained ability to drink my tea at a proper temperature... who cares?


... is merely off-putting behaviour. AL Kennedy is always an entertaining read. Love the kettle. (Link.)

And, in other off-putting behaviour, the New York Times offers a useful summary of some of the most recent disgraceful goings-on in the UK's Street of Shame, which is "Private Eye's" term (not mine) for Fleet Street — the river Fleet having long since turned into a sewer. I don't think I would miss a single part of the lovely Mr Murdoch and his fragrant media empire. But if my fellow subjects (not citizens, note) wish to wallow in crap, let them get on with it. I expect the "Daily Mail" will still be there for them! (Until it publishes a story proving that reading the Daily Mail causes cancer, of course.)

Time (09:33) for some breakfast before I resume smoothing some of the rougher edges of my little BlackBeast's own off-putting behaviour.

Given dear Mama's scathing dismissal of my preferred SF reading in years past as meretricious nonsense (even after I'd sneaked her copy of "Peyton Place" off her shelves) I wonder what she would have said about the global media landscape portrayed in John Brunner's superb novel The Jagged Orbit back in 1971?

Things change

I must say, I wonder what Fleet Street looks like nowadays. I was last there almost exactly 34 years ago. I was being interviewed by a recruitment consultant as I was in the middle of a salary benchmarking exercise to argue2 that ICL was underpaying me at the time. Mind you, that consultant actually failed to notice — in the flood of freelance programming and writing activities I'd been describing to him — that I already had a fulltime job too. The things we do when we're young, heh? :-)

I always thought...

... my 1989 ARM-powered Acorn Archimedes was a smart cookie. Now look what they're getting into:

Neither Furber nor Brown think that the SpiNNaker machine will help solve the wetware riddle of the human brain. But they think that a million-ARM machine will go a long way towards helping researchers run better models of the brain on a system that acts more like the human brain than previous hardware did.

Timothy Prickett Morgan in The Register

How long before we get to Heinlein's "Mike, that dinkum thinkum", I wonder?


I've been using a home accounting package since February (the one, in fact, that reckons I'm worse off than my online bank thinks I am). I was in the process of re-installing it — using the trial download I'd obtained at the time (and intending to upgrade it, of course, after I'd plugged in my application key) — when I got my first-ever bright red alarm popup from Microsoft Security Essentials. Exploit:Java/CVE-2008-5353.WX is, it seems, an obfuscated malicious Java class component. I've not yet (knowingly) put Java on to BlackBeast, and take a dim view of anyone or anything that does that without telling me, too.

It's a 7605 bytes "BlogRoner.class" java applet which is a part of 13914 bytes Java JAR package.
The applet instantiates the Managed Bean Server which is implemented in "CusBen.class" and
"Clrepor.class". "Glorussstmz.class" exploits the CVE-2008-5353 vulnerability, and runs
"hubert.class". "Hubert.class" and "Glorussstmz.class" files are also found inside the JAR
package. The "BlogRoner.class" applet reads the parameter "url" from the referencing it HTML
file, and uses this data to construct a URL for downloading a file for execution

Charmless, nicht wahr?

Oops! 2

Despite carefully keeping the activation key for my trusty CD-ripping software (as advised by the people who wrote it, just in case it ever needed to be re-installed) activation now fails with "Error: Code 5". I love good programming. I have 30 days use remaining, so I'd better stop buying CDs, I guess.

It's 20:39 and I think I shall resume watching "Paul". I was too tired to finish it last night. [Pause] Excellent film, and some amusing extras, too.



1  As they say...
2  Successfully, as it turned out — four months later I was promoted to manage the group I'd joined as a trainee three years earlier. I hated management almost as much as I hated being managed. I was also offered (but rejected) a rolling contract to work in West Germany on documentation regarding the weapons delivery system for what was then known as the MRCA (ask Big Bro!). I'd like to say that my objection was purely on ethical grounds but, in fact, the sticking point was that (had the contract ever not been renewed each year) I would have been redeployed back to the UK at 60% of my then-current salary "because that's what we pay our writers". I turned down a job with DEC, too. Their personnel policies struck me as ridiculously inflexible, and you could be fired for mentioning the word "salary" in the workplace. Whatever happened to DEC?!