My new chair arrived today, packed into a surprisingly small box thanks to the marvels of German engineering (or something). A deft bit of allen key action later, and it was ready to go. Initial impressions are that it’s going to take some getting used to. The gas lift does indeed go high enough to use with a standing height desk, and it’s very solidly built and very stable, which is good when you’re perched that high.

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Obviously I’ve been doing a lot of web work this week, getting ogre3d.org back to how I want it. In a lot of cases that’s meant changing the software wholesale - something you really don’t want to be rushed into, but in this case I had no choice. It’s been one of those weeks where I feel like I’m desperately doing a headlong sprint, only to run into an invisible brick wall two feet from the finish line.

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I live on an island that often gets bad press for being a ‘tax haven’. Those in the local financial services industry don’t like that term of course, pointing out how standards-compliant the finance industry is, and how many information exchange agreements we have with other countries (the line ‘the lady doth protest too much’ bubbles to the surface in some people’s minds I’m sure at this stage). So, we’re not technically a tax haven according to the OECD definition, but we’re certainly a place for people to stash their money and avoid paying tax on the income they derive from it in the juristictions in which they live.

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Despite my initial positive reaction to working standing up, since I made that post my back has gone steadily downhill again, starting with a dodgy weekend that I hoped was a blip, but grumbled on for pretty much all last week, before taking a rapid decline this week. This morning I’ve been in the kind of pain I haven’t had since late last year. So, coupled with the ogre3d.org hack, colour me extraordinarily pissed off this week.

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A small bit of musing while I wait for another back-up to run… Reinstalling a server from scratch sucks. Obviously. Not being able to use direct dumps of the old system itself because of concerns of how far a malicious attack got, and how long ago (even though we’re running SELinux) means that everything has to be constructed afresh. How much fun I’m having. But if there’s one silver lining here, it’s that at least Linux stores every shred of its configuration in a simple, plain text format, and in one dedicated subtree of the file-system.

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So, now that I have basic service back at my newly reinstalled server, it’s time to start re-downloading clean packages for the software that makes up ogre3d.org. Imagine my surprise when I went to phpBB.com and saw this: Looks like I’m not the only one having a bad week 😕 Current priority is getting the forums back online, watch that space.

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Great. I got a call from the provider of the server on which ogre3d.org runs today saying that the server had been compromised, and that they were going to have to resinstall it. Seems that an unpatched flaw in a Joomla! component allowed a backdoor to be created which was spamming. My fault - I should have patched Joomla! more often. But, I’m busy. What’s annoying is that even though I can 100% guarantee that the compromise could not have extended beyond a certain defined scope, since SELinux prevents that at the kernel level, the host has insisted on taking a tough line on this - their unshakeable policy says that a completely fresh reinstall is required, and it has to be done today.

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We don’t get ‘proper’ snow very often here (gulf stream, island salt air etc), so it was a surprise to wake up to about 3-4 inches on the ground this morning. Unsurprisingly, our completely unprepared community has ground to a complete halt, in conditions any Russian or Canadian would find laughable. It doesn’t stop me from going to work of course, or my wife who also only has a short walk to work.

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We all know that the economy is badly screwed. And this isn’t just some country-specific problem, it’s economic buggery on a global scale, thanks to the wonders of a joined-up international banking system run by people who thought they were a lot smarter than they actually were. “Gold rushes” always collapse eventually, it’s just that in this case the gold rush knew no national boundaries and when it ended, everyone is left with a hangover, even (or perhaps even especially) the people that didn’t benefit stratospherically from the good times.

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Microsoft Songsmith is a research project that generates accompanying music to a singer’s voice (and optionally instruments), presumably using the same approach a chromatic tuner uses to identify notes. Some genius decided to feed Radiohead’s classic song “Creep” into it, to see what it would do. This is the simultaneously horrifying and incredibly funny result: Jump to 1:55 for the ultimate effect. Oh, the humanity. Edit: click here for more musical attrocities.

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