Welcome to Bob & Eileen's web site. Bob generally blogs here while Eileen blogs over at her site. You can see our photos from here or click the little camera in the upper right corner.

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July 4, 2006

Google Knows Everything

Filed under: Work,World Wide Web — Bob @ 7:10 pm

Google sometimes does the most surprising things. It (they? is Google a person, place or thing?) found this site and linked me to a page regarding my former employer Creo. I would have never discovered this except that someone else found it and followed the link, and I found the result in my access log. Weird.

Of course their page doesn’t actually detail the current state of Creo; it doesn’t really exist any longer, it was purchased by and subsumed into Kodak over a year ago. Maybe they don’t know everything but it must be close to everything.

July 2, 2006

Spam As A Secret Communications Method?

Filed under: Software,World Wide Web — Bob @ 3:19 pm

I had an interesting thought this morning while shaving: could spam be used as a communication method for a large, distributed secret organization?

There are two variants possible: hide your message inside plain text using typical cryptographic means or inside images using techniques such as stenography, or send your message as an encrypted blob of data that is otherwise unintelligible.

I received a curious message that got this thought process rolling. The SMTP mail header contains a bunch of HTML strings that got stuffed into Message-id lines. Normally I’d think this was just incompetent message formatting – spam generators often screw up like this. However the body text contains 17,776 characters like this:

WRzFXjk2HB+rXQtUYc0nZoVXaHhfB2HoehrfNI1Rp2qsQoLMcADJJrtLfaGbwtGuMH

This is a very curious message indeed. It originated from IP address 24.60.64.32 which is part of the Comcast network. The owner (I don’t know who it is specifically) is running a web server that claims to be Apache and serves up blank pages. There is no SSH server and no telnet server. The mail server claims to be a Microsoft server but I doubt it.

So continues my conspiracy thinking: its apparently easy enough to send spam; a seemingly endless stream of offers of Viagra and Rolex watches and such in my mailbox demonstrates that. Its even easier to receive spam; do you know anyone who doesn’t get it?

Let’s pretend you are a secret agent in the field, working under cover. I’m headquarters, wanting to relay important information to you. I create the secret message, embed it in an offer for a hot new stock pick, and send it off to millions of people. Only you would know how to decode the secret message, everyone else would simply delete it. Anyone observing the message traffic might not see a one-to-one communication method, they’d see a broadcast of junk to nobody in particular.

If you wanted to communicate covertly at a distance, wouldn’t this be a good way to do it? It’s sort of like hiding in plain sight.

More likely, its just spam. But maybe not. :^)

January 18, 2006

Blonde Jokes May Be Funny

Filed under: Humor,World Wide Web — Bob @ 9:56 am

Robert Scoble posted a link to what might very well be the best blonde joke ever. Follow the link and judge for yourself. Being blonde, I fell for it. Maybe you will too?

December 3, 2005

More Site Progress

Filed under: Site Stuff,World Wide Web — Bob @ 10:56 am

I’ve slowly started to clean up things in the presentation. I still don’t fully grasp style sheets with layout so things continue to be an odd mix of CSS and traditional HTML attributes for my tables. Probably will sort it out sometime in the future, as right now the presentation is good enough even if the underlying code is not.

Got Gallery back online too. Click on the little camera picture in the upper right corner to enter the photo gallery section. If you know the old bobandileen.com site then you’ll recall that I had created my own gallery database but sort of “forgot” to keep updating it. In the meantime there is something like a bazillion different gallery implementions available and many of them are really nice. I settled on Gallery2 and I’m extremely happy with it.

Also managed to get the Archives page working but there are still some ugly presentation issues to sort out. Sigh. Next up will be the Contact page.

Eileen had recently checked in on my progress but didn’t notice that the Photos link was attached to the camera picture. So I added some clickable text below the graphic with the hope that visitors will discover one or both of the links.

I typically don’t enable comments for my posts. This is for two reasons: I don’t think very many people (if any) know that I’ve started writing new articles for this site, and I don’t want to have to figure out how to deal with spammers and other lower forms of life filling up comments with crap. But someday I will probably switch my thinking on this.

Eileen says she wants more help getting her site configured, so that will be a focus for several hours this weekend I’m certain.

November 27, 2005

WordPress 1, Mambo 0

Filed under: Site Stuff,World Wide Web — Bob @ 2:17 pm

I started a few weeks ago to install and configure Mambo here at bobandeileen.com. Before long I realized that Mambo (or Joomla, if you prefer) does way more than I’m interested in doing here. Ditto for Drupal and many other “portals”. As a result of doing more, those sorts of tools require more time for setup and more energy for long-term maintenance. So a new search began for something lightweight, secure and yet useful for a “personal portal”. I stumbled into WordPress after looking at least three other weblog tools that seemed promising (thanks Google). I was immediately drawn to WordPress because of its sense of style. The details are polished, and while those other packages were functional, this one looks and really feels great.

So now I’m in the process of setting up WordPress and I also have to reconfigure Gallery2 as it looks like I might have deleted too much stuff on the webserver. :^)

More later as I get set up here. By the way, I also installed WordPress for Eileen over at her site although she hasn’t quite got things configured beyond some simple things (I helped tweak a theme that she liked).

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