July 31, 2005

Saturday at DefCon, Blackjack in Vegas

Filed under: Events,Friends,Places,Technology — Cory @ 5:22 pm

Yesterday at DefCon there were a few interesting sessions, but the my favorite of the day was the Introduction to Lockpicking and Physical Security. It was interesting to see how insanely easy it is for someone to unlock a lock within seconds. The only other session I thought was really interesting was the Be Your Own Telephone Company…With Asterisk talk. I’d like to try setting up an Asterisk PBX sometime soon.

Yesterday I ended up hanging out with Dirk and Richard for most of the day. We met up with some friends of theirs for dinner at Wolfgang Puck‘s Bar and Grill at the MGM Grand. I had the Mustard Glazed Salmon with Warm Potato, Granny Smith Apples, and Watercress, and it was excellent. I ate to the point of discomfort, which is not something I often say. After dinner we walked around for a while and saw the sites. Dirk and Richard taught me a lot about blackjack during the night and after several hours of watching and asking questions, I finally decided I was ready to give it a try. I decided that $20 was all I was willing to put on the line, so at a $5 table I got $20 worth of chips and began playing. I was never down, and after about 30 or 45 minutes I had $60 worth of chips. At this point I decided it would be a good idea to cash out and quit while I was ahead.

Las Vegas reminds me a lot of New Orleans because it is very easy to loose track of time if you are not paying attention. I made it back to my room around 5:30, and I didn’t even feel tired. I think I like this town. ;)

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July 30, 2005

Friday at DefCon 13

Filed under: Events,Technology — Cory @ 5:23 pm

So yesterday was the first day of DefCon 13, and I arrived at the conference with some friends a little before 10, in time to get into the tent to see Phil Zimmermann‘s talk. Well, he arrived an hour late and when he finally gave his presentation on secure VOIP, he couldn’t get the software to work. It was a little disappointing, but what are ya gonna do. We attended a few more sessions, including a talk by Paul Vixie, and then met up with some more friends and generally had a good time.

The best session I saw yesterday was the Bypassing Authenticated Wireless Networks, where the presenters released a tool call PickupLine. Basically, PickupLine makes it really easy to scan wireless networks that require authentication via some webpage; products like NoCat provide this functionality. PickupLine is only available for Linux at this point, but I’m sure someone will port it to Mac OS X real soon.

In the evening we headed over to the Hard Rock Hotel for the iDefense party. We met up with some friends and talked for a while. After the party on the patio ended everyone moved to a party upstairs, where we ended up meeting a lot of interesting people in the Internet security world. Around 2 we decided it was time to end the night, so we hopped on the monorail and went back to our hotels. All in all, a great day.

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July 29, 2005

Las Vegas for DefCon

Filed under: Places,Technology — Cory @ 1:12 am

So I arrived in Las Vegas today for DefCon 13. It’s been 10 years since I was last out here, and the town has grown quite a bit since then. We are staying at the Sahara Las Vegas, which seems pretty decent. I spent most of the day wandering around with some friends. After only 4 hours of sleep last night, I’m exhausted.

The conference starts tomorrow, and I am pretty excited. I registered today and bought a t-shirt. This will be the first industry conference I have attended, so I am looking forward to meeting some people. The conference ends on Sunday and we are heading back to San Antonio late Monday night. It should be an interesting few days…

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Hank Williams III, Wayward Drifters

Filed under: Music — Cory @ 12:57 am

Tuesday night I went down to The Sanctuary to see the Hank Williams III show. Tate suggested that I check it out, and since it was a Tuesday night and there wasn’t much else going on, I figured why not.

I arrived just before 10pm, grabbed a Shiner and walked into the music room. J.B. Beverley and The Wayward Drifters was the opening band and they were about halfway through their set when I got there. I was a little uneasy with the crowd that was there, but I chilled and focused on the band. They were playing some really great original music that J.B. composed himself. It reminded me of the Plum Hollow Band (Woodstick) that I used to see back when I was in college. The banjo player looked like he could even have been Barney Barnwell‘s long lost brother. They tore up a few bluegrass songs as well, but mostly stuck to anti-Nashville country stuff. I bought a live CD of their’s and its pretty good as well.

After J.B. and the boys finished up, there was about a 20 minute break before Hank III and his guys came on stage. I noticed during the setup that there was a white Gibson SG on stage that sounded a little rough for a country show, but whatever.

Hank III and his band came on stage and the place went wild. Normally that doesn’t mean much, but at The Sanctuary it does. This was not a normal crowd. These guys and gals were the roughest of the rough that San Antonio has to offer. Frankly, I was a little scared. During the break I had made my way up to about the 4th row of people from the stage. As soon as the band started playing the guy immediately in front of me started a fight with the guy in front of him. I gradually stepped back a row or two and tried to focus on the music. Hank III has a great stage presence, and is really fun to watch. As for the rest of the band, well, they are an animated bunch of unruly souls. I kept thinking that these guys looked like they belonged in a death metal band, not an old-school country band. They played a bunch of original songs, and a lot of covers from Johnny Cash, Hank Sr, Hank Jr, and even covered the classic “Wreck of the old 97“. Whenever he saw a fight about to break out, Hank told the crowd many times that he was going to come down and kick some ass. He never discouraged the fight, he just let them know that he was going to get involved if necessary. That seemed to be enough to make people chill out, temporarily. Nevertheless, I eventually ended up near the back because of all the fight-happy people there.

After about an hour, Hank took off his cowboy hat, dowsed himself with a bottle of water, and said to the crowd “Well, that was the first part of our show”, picked up the white Gibson SG and began playing death metal. The real thing. Some other gnarly dude got on stage and started growling and making all sorts of awful noises. Out of pure shock, I stayed for the first “song.” By the end of the first noise-piece there was a full blown mosh pit, with people hitting each other and all that mess. Yeah, this was definitely not the sort of thing I normally see on a Tuesday night. When the band started making noise again I decided that the music I was interested in was probably over for the night, so I headed home.

An interesting night to say the least.

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July 25, 2005

Delbert McClinton’s Sandy Beach Cruise

Filed under: General — Cory @ 10:30 pm

So today I was checking out Davis Mclarty‘s website to see when Terry Allen would be playing next, and I noticed that he would be performing several shows at the Delbert McClinton’s Sandy Beach Cruise. I had a hard time finding information about the cruise, but I finally came across Delbert McClinton’s website.

Apparently the Sandy Beach Cruise is something Delbert McClinton has been putting together for the past few years. In addition to Terry Allen (who I really want to see), this year’s cruise is also featuring Mingo Fishtrap, a great funk band that is a lot of fun.

Unfortunately the cruise is already sold out, so there is no chance for me to waste money on it. Maybe next year though. :)

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Tour Guide Weekend and Carper, Floyd, Wilson

Filed under: People,Places — Cory @ 10:07 pm

So I played tour guide over the weekend while my mom and her cousin came to visit me from Virginia. I took them to some of my favorite restaurants in San Antonio, including Rosario’s, Blue Star, Liberty Bar, Chris Madrid’s and Adelante.

On Saturday I took them to Boerne, Gruene and New Braunfels, and then they wanted to shop at the San Marcos outlet malls, so I dropped them off there and went back down to Gruene for a while.

I was able to catch about 5 minutes of the Carper, Floyd, Wilson show at Gruene Hall on Saturday, but it was fantastic. The band was made up of a stand-up bass player, a guitarist, and a Grisman-like mandolin player. While I was there they played “Friend of the Devil”, which is one of my favorite songs anyway, especially the Garcia and Grisman rendition. These guys did a terrific job as well, but that was the last song I was able to hear.

Oh, and I finally bought my tickets for this years Austin City Limits Music Festival that is coming up in September. I’m especially looking forward to seeing Mofro, The South Austin Jug Band, John Prine, and Wayne Hancock.

Here I am at Starbucks, it’s 10pm on a Monday night, and some hippies are just hanging out with a baby here. It won’t stop crying. Wonder why.

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July 21, 2005

Most Excellent Websites

Filed under: General,Technology — Cory @ 12:43 am

Most websites out there on the big Interweb are pretty useless, but occasionally I come across a site that is so useful that it becomes part of my Internet Arsenal (I just coined a term!). Of course, Google is such a fundamental part of my life now that I can’t imagine what things were like before it. Here are a few other sites that I now use on a daily basis:

  • Wikipedia – The Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia is an online encyclopedia collectively written by thousands of people. Anyone can contribute content to Wikipedia, or edit what others have written. The result is an evolving base of knowledge unlike anything else. Need to know what a fedora is? Want to know more about Warren Harding, the 29th president of the United States? Wondering what Topoisomerase is? It’s all there in the Wikipedia. And if you are using Apple‘s OS X Tiger then you can use the Wikipedia dashboard widget to quickly search Wikipedia from your desktop. Be careful though, you can easily spend hours following links. :)
  • Bloglines is another great tool that I’ve recently discovered. Bloglines is a news aggregator, and provides an easy to use interface for reading news, blogs, or any other site that publishes content through a RSS or Atom feed. Once you create a Bloglines account you can begin adding feeds (like the one for this site), and read all your favorite sites in a single page. Here are some other feeds that I subscribe to:

    If you read a lot of blogs or news sites, setting up a Bloglines account might be worth your time.

  • Google Local is another amazing tool that I use almost every day. When you are trying to find information about something local to your town or city, searching the entire web is almost never helpful. Google Local allows you to limit your searches to a specific area. So when you are looking for the number to the nearest Papa John’s pizza, you don’t end up at the Papa John’s corporate website. It is even integrated with the excellent Google Maps site, which makes it extremely easy to find out where you need to go to pick up the pizza.

That’s all for now, enjoy!

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July 19, 2005

Amazing Weather Images

Filed under: General — Cory @ 11:59 pm

I have always been really fascinated by extreme weather. When I was a teenager I used to watch this cheesy VHS video of tornado footage at night while falling asleep. For some reason, it never got old. So tonight I was visiting weather.com to check on Hurricane Emily when I came across the weather picture of the day page. I browsed through the previous pictures and found some really cool images. Some of my favorites:

I also found this neat Hurricane Tracker dashboard widget.

• • •

July 16, 2005

How is the Weather in Your World?

Filed under: People — Cory @ 10:25 pm

Where do these people come from?


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July 15, 2005

Firefox 1.0.5 Update

Filed under: Technology — Cory @ 9:14 pm

Ok folks, time to upgrade. Head on over to getfirefox.com and download the new 1.0.5 release.

If you have been using Internet Explorer, Netscape Navigator, or the full blown Mozilla, then now is a good time to check out all the goodness that is Firefox. It’s a slimmed-down web browser that isn’t nearly as likely as IE to infect your computer with all sorts of nasty. And it will automatically import your “favorites” or “bookmarks”, so there’s no pain involved in switching. Go ahead, give it a shot. There’s even a Google Toolbar for Firefox now, so you have no excuse!

Firefox has been steadily gaining ground on IE, so let’s keep the trend going. Everyone pass the word on and help spread Firefox.

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