MOTD::Archive::Summer 2000 (18 August 2000)

Spring 2000 MOTD

Week Ending 18 August 2000

This Sucks -- Another Machine Cracked
It didn't take long (about a week), but has been cracked. The machine is running Linux Red Hat version 6.2. It looks as though somebody used anonymous FTP to down-load some program that allowed them super-user privileges. They created a couple of accounts, but beyond that I'm not sure they did anything else. I subscribed to the Phoenix Linux Users Group "security" mailing list and posted a message seeking help, but assistance has been minimal. I've been getting lots of news about fire-walls and I think that will be a project this semester -- to setup and maintain a firewall.

90 Million Internet Hosts
On 11 August 2000, according to the Matrix Information and Directory Service (MIDS) the Internet exceeded 90 million hosts (90,019,520). Calculating this number is non-trivial, but here is a description of how MIDS gets its numbers.

Keep The Internet Fun
In anticipation of designing a potential CSC285 project, I have registered the Domain Name. I'd like to create a website that provides information and hyperlinks to other dot-orgs that are committed to keeping the Internet free and open. I am hoping the hyperlink will be active by the start of classes on Monday, 21 August 2000.

[18 August 2000 (Scattered clouds... 82°... @ 9:53am) top]

Week Ending 11 August 2000

I Will Be Having Office Hours Next Week
I lost a week. The start date for school creep-ed up on me and took me totally by surprise. I even went as far as to say "shit" when reality sunk in. I will be having office hours next week: 10am to 12pm, Monday through Friday. By office is room CM-424 located in the new Computer Technology and Mathematics (CM) Building on the SCC campus. [ Campus Map]

csZero eGroup to be Used This Fall 2000
I am going to require all of my students to subscribe to the cszero egroup. All of the my other egroups are going to be removed. If you are going to be with me during the Fall 2000 semester, then you can get a jump start by subscribing to csZero (if you are already subscribed, then you have already jump started).

More Women Use the Web Than Men
A recent study has found that during the first quarter of Year 2000, women and girls made up 50.4 percent of the total U.S. web audience -- the first time in the history of the Internet that they have outnumbered men. The total number of people using the Web grew by 22.4 percent during the past year, the number of female users grew by 34.9 percent. Particularly strong growth was found among teenage girls. The study found the number of female web surfers between 12 and 17 shot up 125 percent over the past year. Thanks to KathleenM for the URL to Entertainment & Media Study.

I Write DotCom But It Should Be Dot-com
According to Webster's, "DotCom" when used in writing should be spelled dot-com. I've written DotCom all over ThurmUnit, but I guess we better change our ways.

My ISP Causes Woes for Others
It turns out I am not alone when it comes to being annoyed with my ISP (Internet Service Provider). Here are a couple stories.

He's Gone... Nothing's Going to Bring Him Back... He's Gone
Thanks KevinM for reminding that five years ago on 09 August Jerry Garcia died.

[11 August 2000 (Partly Cloudy...humid... 102°... Thu Aug 10 15:20:08 MST 2000) top]

Week Ending 04 August 2000

My ISP Woes
I won't go into details here in the MOTD, but I have had major problems with my ISP (Internet Service Provider). I am considering posting this note to the AZIPA (Arizona Internet Professionals Association).

Video Billboards
Just what we need... constantly changing billboards. As if talking on the phone isn't enough to take our minds off of driving, I can envision people slowing down to see what roadside billboards do next. I'm not sure why video billboard implementors don't use Unix as evidenced by these pictures of a crashed billboard.

About Women In Computing
ThurmUnit lost some information on the topic of women in computing. Luckily, a search of WiredNews results in a display of numerous articles about women in computing.

We Have a Non-EDU Machine on the Internet
Yesterday (03 Aug 2000) I installed the Professional Version of Red Hat Linux 6.2 on a machine that has been connected to the Internet. This OS allows us to use SSL (Secure Socket Layer) and the https protocol. SSL usage is almost mandatory when it comes to doing eCommerce type of things over the web. The primary website for this system had not be initialized yet, but visit and read the "Apache Successfully Installed" webpage.

[04 August 2000 (Partly Cloudy... 98°... @ 10:04am) top]

ThurmUnit is Broken

Inficad had a disk crash on 27 July 2000 and they restored a backup from around 12 June 2000. This SUCKS. I made a disk backup of ThurmUnit on 05 July 2000; therefore, I have lost three weeks of work. Inficad protects their ass by claiming it is up to the end-user to backup their own stuff. What's the saying? Live and learn.

I've restored the MOTD from my backup, but the other sections of the website (e.g. Unix and Linux Logger, Internet Observer, Security Watchdog, and the Learning About Computing Summer 2000 Projects) are as of early June 2000.

[31 July 2000 (Humid... Possible monsoon activity tonight... 99°... @ 1:28pm) top]

ThurmHoliday: Happy Independence Day (4th of July)

Week Ending 30 June 2000

Large Companies Attract The Government
Microsoft, Intel, and now AOL. The computing environment is a lot different today than it was when the government busted up AT&T. [nyse: T] So... what's the news on AOL? In a nutshell, AOL's size gives it a distinct advantage and the company currently dominates the instant-messaging application. Here is a instant-messenger primer from the

" is helping to support a movement to keep the Internet unfettered by monopolistic corporate actions and intentions."
Note: On 23 June 2000 AOL shareholders approved AOL's pact with Time Warner. [ Washington Post article]

Canadian Programmer Finds a Software Flaw in Slot Machines
WMS Gaming is suing a man for $10 million because he threatened to publicize a software flaw in its slot machines that allowed players to consistently win large amounts of money. The man, Zues Yaghi, began describing the defect on Internet-based message boards back in February and I guess this has pissed WMS Gaming off. From WiredNews::Politics comes an article about the Revenge On the One-Armed Bandit

A Potential Collector's Item?
The July issue of Java Report Magazine contains an extensive interview with Dennis Ritchie, Bjarne Stroustrup, and James Gosling -- the Fathers of the C, C++, and Java programming languages, respectively.

[30 June 2000 (Hot and Humid... 98°... @ 2:36pm) top]

Week Ending 23 June 2000

Highway California 78 is Great for Road Tripping
I was in San Diego CA on Monday and Tuesday, June 19th and 20th, respectively. Here is a note on the trip.

According to the Business Section of The San Diego Union Tribune, high-techs (especially Internet adventures) are hitting the Carlsbad area. I understand why; I wished I owned some land in Carlsbad [although I've never officially been there].

About "Digital Signatures"
I don't know anything about digital signatures, but something has happened that is important with respect to them. Our Congress has passed a Bill concerning digital signatures that was passed due to $$ from the business world [Bill Clinton is expected to sign this Bill]. Computer Scientists are scared about this Bill because it assumes a secure Internet, which today, is a bunch of bull stuff.

UCLA Professor Phil Agre published an article and as usual did an excellent job pointing out the problem. If you are learning about computing, then you should follow this guy. Agre shared the following URL Open Systems, Free Markets and the Regulation of Internet Commerce. This is a long article that I have not read, but I do have it bookmarked for future reading. [ThurmFoo] Bookmark administration sucks.

Professionals For Internet Responsibility has issued a Statement on Electronic Signatures and Documents [] I make one quote from the PFIR statement:

Just about "anything" that two parties care to call an "electronic" signature will be treated as valid. Online documents will have the same force of law as paper contracts and records. Remarkably though, the legislation makes no attempt to set any standards for how, or even if, such documents would need to be protected to prevent them from being easily modified by error or criminal design.
A keyword in the aforementioned quote is error. You can bet there will be criminal elements attacking our information, but don't forget about the errors. You have websites being designed and developed by $8 an hour contract programmers who are in it for the learning and a group of talented teen-agers that may not be aware of the Golden Rule. A bunch of DotComs have been created for no other purpose than to make a quick buck with no concern for the betterment of the Internet.

UPDATE::Learning About Computer Summer Year 2000 Projects
It may be difficult to believe but progress is being made. We have something dangling in front of us that is a crucial tool in designing and implementing web-based applications. There is a window of opportunity here because today's web-based applications suck.

[23 June 2000 (The Monsoon Already?... Rain... 79°... @ 3:11pm on Thu 22 June 2000) top]

ThurmHoliday: Happy Father's Day

Week Ending 16 June 2000

Kick'em While They're Down
It is easy for many of us to think that all DotCom websites are successful. This is far from the truth. Most websites are software applications and most small software companies fail. provides real-world examples of DotComs that fail.

Certitude and Rectitude
Peter Neumann offers a short insight about programmer certification.

Techie Tuesday is Popular
I attended the June Techie Tuesday on Tuesday of the week just ended. It was crowded and a lot of different kinds of people were there. I'll probably go again next month.

By The Way... Which One's Pink?
I went to see Roger Waters on 16 June 2000. The concert was very good and Waters did a nice job covering numerous Pink Floyd tunes. Arizona Central and I agree that Roger Waters lives up to Floyd fan's expectations.

[16 June 2000 (Here comes the sun... 82°... @ 6:36am) top]

Next Security Watchdog Posting Selected

Los Alamos has lost some disk drives that contain national security related stuff. They have been missing them for a couple of months, but the FBI has just gotten involved. Programmers and SysAdmins can bend over backwards to secure their transactions, but they can't program for physical violations.

[12 June 2000 (Mostly cloudy... 102°... @ 5:55 PM), top]

Week Ending 09 June 2000

DOS -- Denial Of Service
A few years back DOS stood for Disk Operating System -- and it still does. But today's WWW DOS is often used to refer to Denial Of Service. These are attacks on the Internet to keep it busy doing nothing. When the Internet is busy doing nothing, then webpages cannot be fetched (or it takes too long to fetch them). On 05 June 2000 I had two email messages concerning DOS attacks. One of them caused my ISP -- -- to go down. A second was against a NHL website. [ More... from TechWeb]

DNRC -- Domain Name Rights Coalition
I've been fascinated with the profits that Domain Name speculation has generated. I want to know what happens when the ".shop" gTLD (Generic Top-Level Domain) is introduced into the system. If I sell stuff, then I want the Domain Name Sadly, lawyers and other suits are wanting to make money executing our transactions and that means little people like me have to pay to play. By the way [I refuse to use BTW], the Domain Name is for sale. I've registered, but I don't know if it is trademark free or whatever the legal stuff is; in other words, I may be cybersquatting. I am going to start supporting the Domain Name Rights Coalition (DNRC) located on the Internet at [ThurmAlert] Internet almost out of URLs... only five still available.

[09 June 2000 (It is dusk... 88°... @ 7:36pm on Thursday), top]

Week Ending 02 June 2000

More About Women Learning About Computing
WiredNews::Culture continues to provide information about programs that are being implemented to help get more women into computing., which conducts computer-related summer camps for students ages 7 to 16, is offering some girls-only one week sessions where the girls get to attend for free (an $895 value). From WiredNews comes the article Techie Girls Head Off to Camp.

Napster, Napster, Napster...
I suspect almost everybody who uses the Internet has heard of Napster. I've never used it, but it does sound cool. Thanks to KevinM for providing this hyperlink to ZDNet Music's Ultimate Napster Guide.

ThurmUnit Continues to Grow
The ThurmUnit website has exceeded 2100 webpages. This count does not include pages located on servers other than If I had the time, I would elaborate on this because the 2100 is understated.

   From Mon May 29 10:37:14 2000
   Date: Sun, 28 May 2000 22:56:27 -0700 (MST)
   Subject: has been spidered!

   Our search engine has finished indexing your site:
   Pages indexed: 2179

Saturday is National Trails Day
Saturday, 03 June 2000, is National Trails Day. Don't know where to hike? Then checkout the Arizona Trail Association at

[02 June 2000 (Clear and Sunny... 93°... @ 11:48 AM), top]

Finally... is back on the Internet.

[01 June 2000 (Clear and Sunny... 97°... @ 12:04 PM), top]

ThurmHoliday: Memorial Day

Week Ending 26 May 2000

About Women Learning About Computing
WiredNews::Culture continues to publish information about the lack of women in computing. They start off the article in a great way:

"A valuable talent pool in the employee-starved computer science world has been ignored for far too long: women. A group of educators is embarking on an ambitious project to get them on track and keep them there."
I won't group myself in with the educators [they are too academic for me], but I will support their efforts by sharing informaton like this with you. I'm all for Creating More Women Coders.

Subscribe to CRYPTO-GRAM by Bruce Schneier
Bruce Schneier is a computer security GURU -- and I say GURU with respect [lots of respect]. This month's newsletter is great stuff. Take some time and read Computer Security: Will We Ever Learn?

Remember ThurmUnit::Y2K Digest?
I spent a lot of time posting Y2K related items to the ThurmUnit::Y2K Digest. Sadly, today it isn't worth the disk space is it using. WiredNews::Culture offers us Y2K Worrywarts Look Back. [Although it is all noise, looking back can sometimes be fun... ThurmUnit::Y2K Digest]

csZerO is Still Down, csNet is Up remains down, but is Internet enabled. Maybe csZerO will be up and running by the end of this month (i.e. end-of-May).

[26 May 2000 (Sunny... 81°... @ 11:41 AM), top]

Status Report for 23 May 2000
I will be working tomorrow (Thursday, 24 May 2000) in my new office at SCC (CM 424) trying to get the Learning About Computing network back up and running. I will be there from 9:30am to whenever.

TomR and TomM both sent me news concerning the Mojave Desert Phone Booth: It has been disconnected. [Too much desert vechicle traffic.] Later, I found the following article.

The following websites have been initialized:

[24 May 2000 (Light clouds... 90°... @ 10:00 AM), top]

Learning About Computing is Down
The Learning About Computing collection of computers are down. This means the following websites cannot be accessed: 

The CSC machines are off the Internet; therefore, I need to work on them on campus. Yuck. The timing of all this sucked. I was under the impression that I could take may time moving into my new office, but that was wrong and I was forced to move on 18 May 2000. Now I've been notified that the IP addresses on our servers must be changed. Yuck2.

[ThurmFoo] TylerT and I had a very nice road trip. We did Canyon de Chelly, Monument Valley, Wupatiki, and Sunset Crater Volcano. We went to Page, but didn't see Lake Powell (too tired). Total miles: 1080.

[22 May 2000 (Sunny... 99°... @ 11:51 AM), top]

Week Ending 19 May 2000

SCC Hires New Computer Instructor
Audree Thurman is the new CSC/CIS instructor at SCC. Audree is a computing guru and is a major addition to our program. I have known Audree for 21 years [we were married for 19 of those years] and I can assure you that she is an outstanding teacher.

My Email Processing is Down
My son (TylerT) and I are off on a long week-end road trip to Northern Arizona. As a result, my email processing will be down until Monday, 22 May 2000.

Damn Computers
Late last week, gun sales were halted nationwide because of a software problem in the FBI criminal history database. This defect (i.e. bug) stopped instant background checks of gun buyers. Some people feel this was done on purpose as some form of gun control, but I doubt it. Computer programs have defects and databases get hosed -- that's life.

Spring 2000 MOTD Posting Archived
The Spring 2000 MOTD postings have been moved into the MOTD archive.

[19 May 2000 (Clear... 72°... @ 5:22 AM), top]