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Dealing with the IRS

[Update 6/13/2012: that interest charge that made no sense was eventually removed]

I arrived back from a little traveling, and found an notice from the IRS.  For those not in USA, the IRS is the department of government responsible for collecting taxes.

A message from the IRS is usually not a friendly greeting.  And this one was no exception.  It demanded that I pay up a chunk of money real soon, or else. Read More…


Another rant about opensuse forums

At least connections are not hanging the way they were two or three weeks ago.  But the forums are still badly broken.

I logged into opensuse forum, and loaded the “New Posts” page.  I browsed a couple of threads and even posted an answer to one.  But then, on my next attempt to load a page from the forum, I got:

Corrupted Content Error

The page you are trying to view cannot be shown because an error in the data transmission was detected.

This was a firefox message.  I had a similar problem yesterday. Read More…

Annoying – WordPress changes its defaults

WordPress defaults now seem to be that a commenter is automatically subscribed to email notifications for any other comments to that post.

I posted a comment on a high volume blog, and I already have 178 emails from that.

If you are commenting on a WP blog, be sure to check whether that option is checked, and to uncheck it if you don’t want to be besieged with email

Is SuSE in its death throes?

I logged into the opensuse forum this morning, before breakfast.  I have not been able to login since then.  It is a month since I posted about forum frustration, and things have only gotten worse since then.  Sometimes I click on the forum link in my browser bookmarks, and the connection times out.  Another time I will connect, but find I am not logged in.  So I click on the login link, and the connection to the authentication server times out.  Or, sometimes I’ll get through authentication, and then the redirect back to the forum page fails. Read More…

Openuse forum frustration

I am becoming increasing frustrated with opensuse forums.  Sometimes the forum main page loads, but there is a timeout when trying to load the “What’s New” page (the new posts).  At other times, the list of new posts loads, but there is a timeout when trying to read a particular thread.  And the worst is when posting a reply, and there is a timeout that affects the attempted post.

My natural reaction is to visit the forums less often.  It’s hard to tell, but it seems to be affecting others in the same way.  The volume of posts appears to be a lot lower than it was a year ago.

Bad move, Attachmate.  This will persuade some users to try different distros.

Security “experts” – a rant

Some internet sites have ordinary security.  They require an account and password for access, but they don’t go to special lengths.  And then there are those who use a security expert (or a security BOFH).  I’ll call those the “super-security” sites.

When I visit an ordinary internet site, I take reasonable care to use a good password.  In fact, I generate that password with a random password generator to be sure that it isn’t easily guessed.  I store a copy of that password in an encrypted file.  But, mainly, I allow the firefox password manager to handle it.  I did configure firefox to encrypt its password database, so that I have to unlock that once per firefox session.  But then, logging into the site is rather simple, with firefox filling in the required information. Read More…

The trouble with DNS redirection

DNS redirection is when your DNS server deliberately gives you a wrong answer, so that if you are using the DNS lookup for a web page that will redirect you to a different web page.  OpenDNS practices DNS redirection.  A number of ISPs practice DNS redirection.

The reasons given for DNS redirection are: that it can serve as a web filter to block access to malicious or other “undesirable” sites; that it can provide a user friendly web page when you have mistyped a url.  Typically, you are redirected to a page by the ISP or other DNS provider, and commonly that page contains advertising.  Some of us suspect that the advertising is the real reason, allowing the DNS provider to “sell your eyeballs” in order to earn extra income.

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DNSCrypt does not make sense – a rant

Over at the OpenDNS Blog, there is an announcement of a new service called “DNSCrypt”.  It is being advertised as a security enhancement.  But that makes no sense at all.  Perhaps it works for income enhancement at OpenDNS, but it is not clear that it could enhance security.

Read More…

Groupwise webmail – a rant

I have been saying nice things about openSUSE, which is part of Novell, and Novell is now part of Attachmate.  So, in some sense, I have been heaping praise on Novell.  Now it is time for the anti-praise of Novell.  I am required to use Groupwise mail by my university campus.  Campus adminstrative mail is sent using Groupwise.  I guess somebody on campus likes it, though I am not sure why.  To me, Groupwise is a piece of worthless junk.

Back when I was full time faculty (I am now semi-retired), I had the Groupwise client software bloatware installed on my office Windows system.  So I would occasionally bring up the Groupwise client to check for mail.  But now that I am only teaching part time, I read most mail from home.  Thus, I use the Groupwise webmail interface rather try installing their bloatware on my computer.

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“Intelligently designed” DNS?

The Uncommon Descent blog (hostname is one of the showcase sites of the Intelligent Design movement.  In this post, I shall discuss their DNS setup, which does not look to me like an example of intelligent design.

Read More…