Jeff Duntemann's Contrapositive Diary Rotating Header Image

January 23rd, 2009:

Odd Lots

  • From the Words I Didn’t Know Until Yesterday Department: The Ranters were a wild-eyed seventeenth-century religious fringe group, who were perhaps most notable for incorporating nudity into their worship. (Whatever else they might have been, they sure weren’t Catholic.)
  • From ditto: In modern urban slang, a “butterface” is a homely girl with a great body, as in, “Every part of her was perfect but her face.”
  • And elsewhere on the words front, even William Safire, from whom the scariest words recoil in terror, was unable to determine the origin of that very up-to-date and with-it 90s expression, “it is what it is.” Wikipedia suggests that it was coined by John Locke, circa 1680. So much for being up-to-date.
  • From the Microprocessors I Never Heard of Until Yesterday Department: There was an 80376. It was an embedded variant of the 80386 that did not support real mode, but only protected mode, and was produced from 1989 until 1994.
  • Much angst is flowing about the blogosphere concerning the Conficker worm, but this is the first page about it that I respect at all. I’ve long since disabled Autorun, and in fact, “autorunning” things is one of the worst ideas in computing since DLLs. Make sure you’ve got that November patch they speak of
  • And while we’re talking worms, here’s some news on a piece of malware that comes in on pirated Mac software, evidently with the intent of creating an all-Mac botnet. The dangerous thing here is that a lot of nontechnical people seem to believe that the Mac is immune to malware somehow. OS/X is certainly tougher to infect than Windows, but it can be done, especially when people are sure that it can’t.
  • Carol and I launch our Internet-facing apps under a clever mini-utility called DropMyRights, which basically runs such apps with limited user account privileges instead of admin privileges, even if you’re running as admin. Doesn’t work on Win2K, so I have not used it myself until fairly recently, but I installed it on Carol’s XP box probably two years ago, and she has used it daily without any issues since then.
  • I have tried and failed to make a Linux utility called KGrubeditor work under my instance of Ubuntu Intrepid. When I attempt to launch it, an item appears in the taskbar for about fifteen seconds before vanishing, and nothing else happens. At least one another person I know has made it work correctly, but I just don’t see what I’m doing wrong. I installed it through Ubuntu’s apt-get shell and saw no errors during the process. If any of you are users and are aware of any trickiness in the utility, I’d love to hear more.