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I’d like to take a break from the normal geeky content on the site, and shift gears to something a little more philosophical.  But still a little geeky.

I am circumcised.  I wear socks with sandals.  Are these two concepts mutually exclusive?

I wear socks with sandals because of the sheer logical benefits.  My feet don’t sweat against the bottom of the sandal.  They don’t get stinky and sticky.  I don’t get dirt under my toenails.  It provides some more cushion in my step, and therefore creates a more comfortable day for me.  Plain and simple.  I have no idea why wearing socks with sandals is a social faux pas. I personally don’t like seeing people’s disgusting toenails poking out from a dirty Birkenstock.  Cover up that horrible looking fungal infection with a sock you fucking hippies!  You might actually prevent the spread of your disgusting infection as well.

I can think of zero reasons to wear sandals without socks.  So that leaves only one possible explanation why a majority of the population does not wear socks with sandals:  conformity.  There is no logic.  No pros & cons.  No discussion of attributes.  It’s just a blind submission to a social convention.

Now, how is this different from circumcision?  There are many pros & cons, which I will describe later.  But after comparing the social and political motivations to each attribute, I find that it all comes down to a personal choice.  There really aren’t any major reasons to circumcise, or not to circumcise.  So it all comes down to conformity.

I am a person that believes in conformity.  Following the crowd is usually beneficial.  We get immunizations.  We grill steaks and burgers on the 4th of July.  We visit a fully qualified medical doctor when we’re sick.  (Cough cough, except Steve Jobs)  It’s the actively non-conformist hippies out there that really piss me off.  “Hey man, you shouldn’t buy that, you’re just supporting the evil corporations.”

So when it comes to most decisions and behaviors in life, I think social conformity is natural and beneficial to the individual.  Nobody wants to the the painted bird. So then, WHY do I love to wear socks with my sandals?

Maybe it’s because it’s such a minor clothing selection.  I’m quite utilitarian when it comes to appearance and clothing.  Plain shorts, plain white T-shirts, buzz cut hair, and of course, socks with sandals.  In the case of my first impression appearance, it may look like I’m a non-conformist…  but on a closer introspection, I’m not.  I just don’t give a shit what other people think about me.  Not in the matters of clothing that is.  I do enjoy when people to find out that I’m intelligent, kind hearted, funny, and sexually virile.  An opinion on my clothing shouldn’t affect any of those qualities about me.  I choose my own personal comfort over any attempt of an ornamental display.

In fact, the very notion of being a non-conformist is in itself an act of conformity. People that drive a Prius tell me how unique they are for saving the planet with their car.  People that eat Vegan food have the compulsion to tell me that my McDonald’s hamburger contains cow eyeballs.  And I’m just another dumb American conforming to corporate TV ads along with the rest of the SHEEPLE.  (I really hate that word)

This is not non-conformity.  It’s just conforming to the smug hippie liberal guilt machine.  All non-conformity is politically motivated and driven by guilt, hate, and fear.  It sucks in fresh meat with the prospects that you’re “cool” because you don’t follow the crowd.  “I’m so super cool and better than other people because I drive a hybrid.”  It keeps hooked because of the fueled hatred for the rest of society.  “Rich fat cat CEOs are killing poor helpless homeless people by working them to death in sweatshop factories!”  The fresh young non-conformist hates rich people now.  Fear helps spread the rumor that the Earth’s water will run out in 50 years.  And guilt motivates them to buy free range chickens because of all of the horrible insider video they’ve seen on Tyson farms.  “If you don’t buy free range chicken’s, you’re torturing poor defenseless chickens that live miserable lives.”

So this is why I don’t think my personal selection is qualified as being a non-conformist.  It just so happens that the personal choice I make with wearing socks and sandals isn’t very popular.  There is zero political motivation behind my decision.   Wearing socks with my sandals will not save the world.  I also have no motivation to try and convert others into wearing socks with sandals.  However, I would like people with disgusting feet to wear socks with sandals.  But it’s not a big deal, I just try to avoid staring at people’s gross toenails.  Who looks at people’s shoes anyway?  I rarely do.  And it seems that when someone does point out my foolish error of wearing socks with sandals, they’re a bit of a smug asshole themselves.  If you’re reading this and you’re about to comment about how retarded I am for wearing socks with sandals — don’t.  You’re gay for giving a shit about what other people wear on their feet.  End of story.

We’ve defined why I love to wear socks with sandals.  It’s not a non-conformist act, but simply a utilitarian choice based on plain logic.  How about circumcision then?  Why do I have such a strong conviction to circumcise a son?

First of all, lets look at some popular information, and misinformation out there on circumcision:

* Circumcision rates have dropped to around 50%.  It’s no longer “unpopular” to leave your child uncircumcised.  Soon the circumcision rates will be so low that DOING a circumcision will mean your child will be the odd one in the locker room!

WRONG.  This is complete bullshit.  There are bogus statistics all over the web for circumcision rates.  They’re all politically motivated.  Real statistics are hard to find, because we’re dealing with humans here.  You can’t just publish data without consent to be in a study.  Plus, many babies are circumcised after being released from the hospital.  (Religious ceremonies, separate pediatrician, etc)

The best I can come up with is straight from my own doctor’s mouth.  Circumcision rates in California are pretty low, reaching towards 50%.  Plus, I think we can pretty much ignore California in any statistical sampling.  All of Californians are fuckin’ hippie nut jobs.  Only in California is there a law requiring all McDonalds to display a huge warning sign that their french fries give you cancer.  Shit, my lawnmower is considered a hazardous pollutant in the State of California.  These people are just disconnected from reality, and living in a
world full of cynical propaganda.

But here in the rest of the US, it’s a different story, and it’s closer to 98% circumcision rates.  The doctor himself told me he has only a couple babies he does not circumcise per year,
out of the hundreds of deliveries he does.  So, that’s about 2%.  He’s also a conservative, Christian doctor, and he said most of his patients are also conservative.  So that rate might be skewed, but he said it’s well above 90% circumcision rates in other practices.

* An uncircumcised penis can be kept clean with soap & water.  Any arguments
saying a circumcised penis is easier to keep clean is wrong.  This is AMERICA
and we have easy access to soap and water here.

I think this is also bullshit.  I soap up my balls daily, and I still get jock itch occasionally.  Soap and water doesn’t protect skin folds during a whole day’s worth of activity.  I’d like to see how many uncircumcised guys out there actually have a clean dick after sweating for a day.  My circumcised dick gets a proper amount of air circulation and prevents bacteria from growing.

* Circumcision decreases pleasure!!!

This is a very popular debate point.  Why would you brutalize your son and decrease his sexual pleasure!?  It’s a perfectly constructed guilt-tripped, fear mongering statement.

First off, I’m circumcised, and I have NO problems with pleasure and achieving orgasm.  In fact, I could probably do with a little bit less pleasure!   I can easily blow my load in 30 seconds of being in a hot, wet pussy.  Two pump chumps for the WIN!

Pleasure is by its very definition, a completely subjective measurement.  Only you know if you are receiving pleasure, and it’s difficult to quantify how much pleasure your brain is perceiving. It’s kind of an on/off switch.  Ramming your dick in a pussy can be perceived as a wonderful, magical, romantic, mind blowing orgasmic connection with your partner.  Or the exact same stimulation under a bad context (fighting, pity fucks, partner-is-falling-asleep sex) can be just as lame as that quick jerk off in the shower when you start your day.

Other points say that the foreskin is packed with nerve endings, and that it’s an important part to sexual stimulation.  I don’t know, I call bullshit on that as well.  It’s just a protective sleeve over the head, made of the same skin that the shaft is made out of.  The shaft skin doesn’t have very many nerve endings.  But still, even if it did, I stick to the proof that pleasure is in
your head, not in your dick.

Think of paraplegics.  If a spinal injury blocks the sexual organs from transmitting to the brain, the brain begins to remap a different part of the body as a sensitive, sexual area.  There was a TED talk on this.  One woman that had a spinal injury reported that her gums were extremely pleasurable.  She could have an orgasm from brushing her teeth!  Other spinal injuries resulted in sensitive areas on the stomach, or other places on the body.

The point is, counting up nerve endings in what skin you take off a baby shouldn’t have any correlation with the amount of pleasure that person perceives as an adult.

* The foreskin isn’t like the appendix.  It has a natural purpose, to PROTECT the head of the penis.

Sure, okay.  I’m fine with that.   The *natural* purpose was to protect a sensitive area of the body when our ape ancestors were romping through the jungle.  I wouldn’t want to walk through a forest naked, my dick would probably be full of twig scratches and poison ivy!

But there’s this miracle invention of modern man:  UNDERWEAR.  Plus, it’s been years since I’ve romper stomped through a forest on a camping trip.  My daily life involves a torturous trek through an air conditioned office.

But then there’s also the argument that the head of the penis is still keratinized by rubbing on clothing.  (Forms a protective layer of dead skin cells from the chafing)  Well, I suppose I might agree with that a bit, but in no way has that affected my sex life.  The pictures I’ve seen as an example of a keratinized dick look fucking disgusting.  It’s obviously a rare case example,
because 98% of the population doesn’t complain about dick chafing like this.

And if a foreskin was meant to protect chafing, doesn’t the foreskin chafe anyway?  And what about people that jog and wear nipple protectors?  Isn’t that just the same concept — using a modern, simple invention to protect your skin during exercise.  We do it all the time.  It shouldn’t be a selling point on circumcision!  These argument points are just silly!

* Fathers shouldn’t want a son to “look like him” and circumcise a boy just
  on that personal desire

Bullshit.  The whole reason we reproduce is to create a little person just like ourselves.  Reproduction is our only remote connection with a possible immortality.  I create my son in my own image.  I create my daughter in her mother’s image. It’s the circle of life.  Sure, sometimes they don’t end up the way we romanticized about when they’re babies.  But all children retain many of the attributes of their parents.  In fact, I’d say having my boy circumcised like me adds a bonding experience.  We are one in the same, and we will conquer life together as I teach him my values and perceptions of the world around us.
* Uncircumcised penises look like a disgusting dog dick.

This is my own bullet point.  They look like an animal’s dick.  I think circumcised penises are what separate us from the animal kingdom.

In general, I believe an uncircumcised penis will scare off the ladies.  Penises are already scary enough for a young lady.  Don’t add some sand-wormy looking thing off of Beetlejuice to your son’s prom date night.  It’s hard enough to get a woman to even look at a normal penis.  Now add to that a stinky cheese dick encrusted with dried piss, popping out of a wormy sheath at her face.  Any woman that’s NOT a slut will freak out and run away from that.  Or, she’d try to play it off nice and say “hey lets be friends” or “I don’t really want to fool around yet, lets take this relationship a little slower.”  And that’s just the gateway to a woman finding the right words to break up with him.

* An uncircumcised penis has a 3x-7x increases in the chance of a Urinary Tract Infection

Well, whatever.  That’s a pro for circumcision, but it’s not that interesting. I’ve never had a UTI, but these are easily curable with antibiotics.  This shouldn’t even be a discussion point.  There are so many causes for a UTI that statistically correlating it to circumcision seems like a Red Herring argument to me.

And yes, I realize I’m calling my own argument point bullshit.  My whole goal here is to show that circumcision all comes down to a personal choice, not a medical or logical one.

* Circumcised penises have a reduced chance of getting an STD and/or cancer.
(Various studies done with HIV, syphilis, cervical cancer, etc)

This is a similar point as above.  Yeah, I get it:  the foreskin traps shit in there, and if you did a study on how many STD’s brew up in an uncircumcised cock vs a circumcised one, you’d see a higher rate of infection.  Because a fuckin’ cheese dick practically recreates the environment of a Petri dish, this seems pretty reasonable.

But hey, this point is still insignificant.  If you’re going to be banging whores in Las Vegas, WEAR A FUCKING CONDOM!!!

This point is like saying pulling out half way through blowing your load reduces a chance of getting her pregnant by 50%.  Sure, maybe 1/2 of your billions of sperm might result in a 50% pregnancy rate over a large statistical sample… but what the fuck dude!?  What a pointless statistic, wear a damn condom!

* It’s TRAUMATIC and dangerous for the baby!

There are so many videos of horror shows for young parents out there.  There’s a Penn & Teller: Bullshit! episode that sums up all of the ignorant fear propaganda out there.  It’s like their research for that show relied 100% on searching Yahoo Answers.

And I have to say, it’s difficult to watch them.  But these videos are at least 10 – 20 years old.  These days, babies get a shot of lidocaine, EMLA cream, and a sugar pacifier during the procedure.  My little guy didn’t even make a peep during the whole thing.  The doctor told me that most babies fall asleep during the circumcision.

And there’s also so many horror descriptions about the “circ board” they use. “Like Jesus being crucified” I read somewhere.  Do you people not understand this?  BABIES SQUIRM AROUND!  You can’t have a razor sharp scalpel around a baby that’s doing his usual squirmy wormy thing.  You’d end up cutting the shit out of him. The board keeps them strapped down so they can’t hurt themselves during the procedure.  DERRRRP.

The other horror story I heard is that “a small percentage of babies hemorrhage blood, and need an emergency blood transfusion after the bleeding is under control”  I call bullshit on this.  I just don’t see how a hemorrhage could happen, when its just nipping off a little bit of skin.  The only way this would be possible is if the doctor used the wrong tools, or made an extremely stupid mistake.  I assisted with the procedure on my boy, manning the sugar pacifier.  There
wasn’t even a full drop of blood.  Just a little dab of blood on the gauze from the raw skin on the tip of the penis.  The circumcision clamping device cuts off all the blood to the foreskin.  When the foreskin is cut off, there’s a little bit of blood in that, but not much.

Again, the only way some major complication could happen is with doctor that doesn’t have much experience doing circumcisions.  My doctor said he’s done at least 1,000 circumcisions over his 20 year career.  That’s more than enough of a resume for me, and he did an excellent job.

* The child should be able to make HIS OWN decision on whether he wants to mutilate his body!

First, that’s such a loaded statement.  Again, the guilt-tripped liberal agenda that seeks to make you feel like a bad parent.  As a parent, you’re going to be making TONS of decisions for your kids.  Circumcision is just one of them.

It’s much easier on your boy to get the circumcision done within the first few days of birth.  The foreskin is very thin at birth, and thickens up within the first few weeks.  If you wait more than a few months, a circumcision usually requires general anesthesia at that point.  And on top of that, adult circumcision is a more complicated procedure than in an infant.  The infant foreskin doesn’t scar as much compared to the adult circumcision.

More than likely, the decision on circumcision won’t be as significant as other decisions you make as a parent.  But still, my stance is that you can only add to your child’s humiliation by not circumcising.  I don’t want to attempt to fear monger here, I’m just stating the statistical norm.  If you stick by not circumcising, then fine.  It’s your job to then help him deal with that humiliation in a healthy way.  Every child is going to have to deal with bullying in some form.  I personally would just like the subject of my son’s bullying to NOT be about his dick.  I’d like to avoid the psychological inadequacies later on in life.  We have enough baggage as we get older, I don’t think a parent should add to that.  I would be more apt to deal with bullying because he’s a band geek, or he reads comic books.  Normal kid stuff, not dick stuff.

* Foreskin Restoration

This is for the nut jobs that think they were wronged at birth.  Their parents made the most horrible mistake of their lives by circumcising them.  To fix this horrible atrocity, they tie weights to their cock to stretch out the skin over time.  This eventually recreates a freakishly looking foreskin… for, whatever reason.

I think these guys just got caught up in the anti-circumcision propaganda and are now shining rock stars of the movement.  The more people these hippies can acquire, the louder their voice.  And that voice is especially strong when they have people that have converted and can say, “Oh praise Gaia!  My restored penis truly IS BETTER than my mutilated circumcised penis!”  That sentence is funny, because the “restored foreskin” looks fucking disgusting.  Like some nasty
stretched out old man nut sack over the top of a withered, stinky penis.  (Just do a Google image search, on an empty stomach)

I say, if you circumcised your son and he grows up to be an anti-circumcision propaganda whore that goes through foreskin restoration — you’ve had bigger problems with him than this foreskin stuff.  Your parenting went to shit when you missed his Tee-Ball games.  You disapproved of his hippie friends as a teenager and alienated your relationship with him.  You yelled at him at the top of your lungs when he chose Art History as a major, instead of Civil Engineering like you wanted.

Foreskin restoration is just a side effect of your shitty parenting skills.  A close bond between father and son does not result in such hatred of your own body.

———————

So after all of this discussion on the pros & cons, I’ve learned that circumcision isn’t about pros & cons, attributes, qualities, or statistics.  It’s all moot in the end.  It all comes down to conformity.  DO you want your kid to fit in, or not?  Do you think not fitting in builds a more stable personality?

I don’t think so!  The more normal a kid can be, the better.  And maybe hundreds of years in the future, uncircumcised cocks will be normal.  But definitely not now, nor in the next few generations.

But this still doesn’t fully answer the question:  WHY do I love to wear socks with sandals, but am SO adamant on circumcision?  How can I not care what people think of my clothing, but care so much about the appearance of a cock they most likely won’t see?

First, I think it’s an important separation that I’ve been thinking about this when deciding the fate of my son.  My cock is already circumcised, and I am glad it is.  However, even as an adult, I’d still feel uncomfortable at the gym if I were uncircumcised.   Feeling like I’ve got a freak dog dick dangling between my legs would just make me feel like an outcast. To have a physical abnormality strikes us more deeply than the style of clothes we wear.  You don’t necessarily remember that your coworker wore a pink shirt one day, and you gave him shit for looking like a gaywad in it.  If you saw that your coworker had an uncircumcised penis, you would remember that as a permanent attribute about him.  “Oh there’s Bob, the guy that is most likely a child rapist with his throbbing, uncircumcised member.”

I don’t care if my son wears sandals without socks.  That’s his personal choice to make.  And, it’s easy to change your mind on the whole socks & sandals conundrum.  You just have
to set aside 30 seconds out of your life to take a trip to the sock drawer.

A circumcised dick is for life.  It’s more like a guild membership, or a rite of
passage that Americans do at birth.  Since I’m not religious, it’s still important to have rites of passage.  For me, a circumcision feels just as important as a baptism, or a bris, or any religious ritual.

Some choose one side of the coin, while most choose the more popular side.  I think the most important part of this decision is to do some introspection on why you made your decision.  Don’t decide because someone made you feel guilty about the opposite outcomes.  And
certainly don’t crumble to an irrational fear.  Shit, my own motivations are partially due to fear, but I accept this for its own reality.  Fear of rejection, and fear of being different.  But I believe these fears to be rational in the context of normal social interaction.  Nobody wants to be an outcast.  To fear a circumcision because there are horror stories of babies dying from blood loss is completely irrational.  There’s a big difference.

I am circumcised.  I wear socks with my sandals.  Both are attributes of ME. On the surface they appear to be two similar things.  But digging through the details, circumcision defines your physical and sexual self.  Socks with sandals is a personal expression, merely for the sake of the freedom of expression and personal utility.

You know what word I hate more than all of the Web 2.0 buzzwords combined?  Policy!  If I’m attempting to get something resolved with a customer service representative, I know I’m getting shafted when this word pops out.  It’s like a magic shield that’s supposed to protect the employee, and stop the consumer in his tracks.  “Woh holy shit, you said it’s your company policy that I get fucked out of my money?!  Oh gosh, I’d better calm down and hang up the phone.”   What a show stopper argument!   The ultimate word of customer service fisticuffs!  It just “makes sense” you know?  It’s a policy that’s ass raping my stink hole, so that makes me feel better.

Part of the reason this word makes me cringe, is because I’ve been on the other end.  Many moons ago, I worked in Gateway 2000 phone tech support.  (Back when it was called Gateway 2000, and Ted Waitt was holed up in California snorting coke off a hooker’s ass)   I’ve had to tell people they are absolutely fucked, and there’s “nothing I can do about it.”  I used the P word, many times… and I felt horrible doing it.  I knew all of these people were being screwed out of their money.  Gateway computers were shit parts stuffed in a white case with a cow spotted logo.  Calls were randomly monitored, and I couldn’t let people return their systems for a refund.  In fact, I had a limit of 3 permanent returns.  Going over that number was “grounds for termination.”  If my average call time was over 12 minutes, I didn’t get a raise.  There was a reason why I had to be a dick to customers — I would be fired for thinking out of the box and using common sense to assist people.

I was fired from Gateway 2000.

Have things changed since then?  I’ve stayed far away from call centers since that experience!  Being on the consumer end now, I still hear the same bullshit lines I used to use.  I can see right through the words and it instantly pisses me off.

My hate has nothing to do with any anti-corporate movements, and has no political agenda.  There’s a reason why Gateway went down the shitter, it was a bad company, with a shitty product, and horrible customer service.  But it still took 20 years to die, and still made a few billion dollars.  I just wish the process of consumer feedback to companies was quicker.

Are consumers smarter than they were 12 years ago in “the bubble?”

I think they try to be, but it’s difficult to get unbiased information with fake Amazon reviews and Google PageRank stuffing.  There needs to be a more rapid process that cuts demand to shit products, in favor of an intelligent purchase.

Just my ramblings for now.  Please comment if you have some epiphany that solves the entire economic transaction system of the web.

 

 

I’m a careful person when it comes to my Internet presence.  The content one posts on the web is forever etched as your persona.   I choose my words carefully when using my name.  I remain thoughtful and courteous. /sys/toilet is an entirely different world, and I choose to do it anonymously.  I use Tor.  I never tie the wordpress accounts to a name.  I use multiple email redirections.  I want to protect my own personal intellectual property, which defines me.

I can’t explain why I’m so careless with my piracy.  It must be due to laziness.  “Hey, there are millions of people using illegal torrents right now.  In fact, there are twenty thousand others downloading the same file I am.  Safety in numbers!

I received a certified letter in the mail from my ISP, and my heart immediately stopped.  “Oh SHIT!” I thought.  Before I opened it, I thought it must be a DMCA take down notice.  A strongly worded slap-on-the-wrist, cease and desist letter.  “Stop what you’re doing, or we’re going to cancel your Internet service.”

As I signed for the letter, my mind raced through the procedures I’d do to cover all of this up.  I’d sign whatever was necessary to state I’d never do it again.  Then, I’d start researching the various proxying techniques that work well with torrents.  “Maybe I’ll start out with testing HTTP proxies as they’re the easiest to use.  I could try Tor, but I’m guessing that will be really slow and shitty.  But SOCKS 5 proxies are the most secure, and allow me to tunnel ssh traffic and all sorts of goodies through them.    Oh, but the best of all would be an anonymous VPN!  I could find something that used IPSec or PPTP and even encrypt my traffic.  But that might not work well with the chit-chatty torrent protocol, all of that encryption overhead would be super slow.

All of this zoomed through my head as I opened up the envelope.  As I glanced at the cover letter, the words SUBPOENA and “The Hurt Locker” jumped out at me.  “Oh fuck me!” was the only thing in my head after that.  The second thing that I remembered is I didn’t even watch that movie!  I just stuffed it in my list of other shit and never got around to seeing it.  One year later when I received the letter, I had forgotten that I downloaded it.  I had to actually look back in my old content to see that I actually had the damn movie.  What a kick in the teeth that is!

I immediately started to Google search for advice.  This ended up being a bad idea.  This entire lawsuit is such a fucking scam, but it’s completely legal in our system.  The lawyers are bigger criminals than the pirates!   One firm out of Phoenix is offering to negotiate a lower settlement for only $295.  Another guy in Florida is selling documents for $20 that you can file yourself.  These are both just examples of shark lawyers trying to feed off the scraps from the fear created by Voltage Pictures and Dunlap, Grubb & Weaver.

After talking with a “real” lawyer, I found that I was even more fucked than I originally expected.

  • Any case that does make it to court will most likely lose
  • The judge was not accepting any more anonymous Motion to Quash documents  (This means that all of the sharks out there selling assistance with this are just selling snake oil)
  • To actually get legal help with this would be more expensive than just settling
  • Dunlap, Grubb & Weaver were supposedly negotiable, and would settle at a reasonable offer.  So just lowball it first and see if they accept

So my only logical course of action after this information was to wait for the subpoena to go through and wait for the individual lawsuit against myself.  Then, contact these jackasses and offer some low number, like $500.  (My best assumption was that the initial settlement offer was somewhere around $1500 – $2000.)

Then a miracle happened.  A pirate miracle!  Our Lord Maddox himself must have had a hand in this.  That or the entire Pirate Bay.

The judge ordered Voltage Pictures to stop fucking around.  To paraphrase that five page mess of legal speak:

Dudes [Voltage Pictures], I’m really sick of you bastards using my courtroom as a legalized phishing scam.  Bring me some names of people that you are actually going to sue or I’m dismissing this shit.  In fact, I’m so pissed off that I’m tossing out those 5,000 people you’re attempting to subpoena, and limiting you to the first 687 IP addresses in the initial complaint.

Since I was not in the initial list, I’m off the hook.  Well, not completely, as these jackasses still have my IP address.  They could hypothetically haunt my ISP indefinitely with threats.  But, it seems like Dunlap, Grubb & Weaver are running into more difficulty with judges.  Hopefully these frivolous lawsuits will be illegal in the near future.

Until then…  what’s a pirate to do?  Newsgroups sound like a safe medium so far, but it seems like your privacy is only protected by the will of the newsgroup hosting service.  Many of them say “you’re safe with us, we don’t give out your information.”  But that’s just promises.  I’d like to see some proof that people like Giganews has fought a massive court battle to protect their members.

Plus, I have a deep disgust for shelling out cash to steal shit that’s free to begin with.  If I have to pay $18 per month to steal movies, I might as well just pay $8 for Netflix.

The only other option left is to firewall the hell out of myself and stick with torrents.  And that’s what I’m doing for now.  I setup moblock on my firewall box with auto-updating PeerGuardian lists.  It’s not perfect, and it blocks a lot of normal IP addresses too so I constantly need to tweak it.

I’m still a little hesitant to rely a firewall that blocks a list of IPs that are updated by humans.  Any investigator could just find a new route onto the Internet and start digging for seeders, right?  To keep things sane, I’m avoiding movies in general.  If I do see a movie I’m interested in, I check to make sure that it’s not created by Voltage Pictures.

I’d love to hear any of your suggestions, so please comment!

One of my favorite tools is less.  Less is more.  It’s such a fun name.  I just found a little known keystroke in less, upper case F.

From the man page:

Scroll forward, and keep trying to read when the end of file is reached. Normally this command would be used when already at the end of the file. It is a way to monitor the tail of a file which is growing while it is being viewed. (The behavior is similar to the “tail -f” command.)

Wow!  Now I can have a search running, tail some log files, and break out of the tail when I see something highlighted scroll by.

I watched Sintel, an open source short film.  During the buzz of the release I thought, “An open source movie?  How the hell…”  I downloaded it off a torrent so that I could feel like I was stealing, just like all of the other movies I steal.  The intro screamed of awesomeness — battles for power, fights to the death!  What is this super cool ninja struggle for?  Why isn’t that hot bitch taking her clothes off while she fights in the snow?

I was pumped the first 110 seconds of the movie, then it was all downhill from there.   It was completely retarded!  Something about a bleeding heart liberal agenda for saving injured animals, with a guilt trip ending about mistaken enemy identity.  (Disguised as a cheesy morality play)

This really mirrors my experiences with crappy open source software.  “WOW, OMG PONIES!  Something free and awesome at the same time!”  Then a big let down after you experience the quality of the product.  Sintel reminded me of the Final Fantasy movie with slightly cheesier graphics, and a Sesame Street plot.  I guess that means open source movies are 10 years behind in technology, and 25 years behind in content.

But hey, it’s open source right?  I can do whatever the hell I want with this movie!  All I need is 8,000 hours of free time to spare.  I’m going to make my own porno, called Pimptel!  It’ll have this skinny bitch as the main character:

She’s going to do everything naughty I can imagine.  It’ll be distasteful, and incredibly funny.  Pimptel will be part Final Fantasy and part Japanese RapeLay with sprinklings of HBO’s Rome and World of Warcraft.  She’ll take a pounding in the butt from Roman Titus Pullo, then get sloppy seconds from an Orc.  The baby dragon model will be involved too.  And maybe a few chickens.

Is this degrading to the movie?  Of course!  But that’s what open source is all about.  Anyone can take a product, rape it, and probably arrive at greater success than the original developer.  *cough* *cough* MySQL *cough* *cough*.  I’m not providing an opinion on whether this is good or bad, it’s just a choice made by the original content creator.  You can enjoy the (cheap) popularity of making something for the public, or enjoy a rich, full life by selling intellectual property rights.

(Extended Caveat:  I realize advertising can be a big revenue maker for open source projects like this…  but I believe anything with a primary cash flow from advertising is a shitty business model to begin with.  But that’s another blag post.)

Lately I’ve been working a lot with SAML, and I have to say it’s an extremely complex, and obfuscated protocol.  The best analogy I can come up with uses our infamous light bulb jokes.  (“How many programmers does it take?”)  SAML is like building a mini nuclear reactor to power a light bulb in your office.  It’s certainly geeky, but what the fuck is the point?  You’ve over engineered something that should be very simple:  Single Sign-On.

Besides that point, who the hell cares about SSO?  I think most Internet users are comfortable with maintaining a list of usernames and passwords for various sites.  I don’t believe a “circle of trust” is needed these days for the sole purpose of saving a few keystrokes.  It seems very… 1998 to me.

OAuth is a different story.  From what I’ve gathered, OAuth is more of an authorization protocol to share protected resources with various third parties.  I would imagine this could be shoehorned into an SSO implementation… but OAuth is a little out of scope of my project.

No, the reason SAML exists and has amazing support is due to one thing: politics.  For some reason, the word SSO is a magical synonym for “synergy” and “Web 2.0.”  All I see is that I’ve made this Service Provider have butt sex with this other Service Provider while the Identity Provider was watching in the corner.  The people that make the calls and define the projects think they’ve synergized each other.

There are so many rotten things about this protocol.  It uses XML.  Everything is namespaced, signed, encrypted, wrapped.  302 redirects happen all over the place.  If a redirect takes too long or is interrupted, the entire process fails.  SAML is supposed to be an open protocol, yet none of the implementations of SAML will talk to each other without a lot of massaging.

I really despise XML as a data protocol.  It looks unclean to the eyes — in order to read it easily you have to tabulate it out and pretty print the contents to something more readable.  Pick anything else… CSV, JSON, they all look a little dirty depending on the contents, but it’s easy enough to scan for something you’re looking for.  XML might have all of these great features for namespaces and all of that, but are those actually used most of the time?  No, most of the shit I see in XML is configuration files, or RSS feeds.  I see data with more bytes in tags than of values.  That’s a dead giveaway of a protocol with a shit ton of overhead.

For implementations of the SAML protocol, we have two primary choices in the open source (free) world:  Shibboleth, and ZXID.  There are a few commercial products available, but most of them run on Windows only.  The one that I did look in to was PingFederate and in talking with a sales guy the pricing was similar to Oracle:  “If you have to ask about the price, it’s too expensive for you.”  But seriously, based on our traffic rate, PingFederate would have been around $80,000 – $100k for a “no questions asked” license, or around $20,000 per server for some other licensing plan.  That’s ridiculous!  All this thing needs to do is process some shitty XML and sign it with SSL keys.  It looked like the primary consumers of PingFederate were Windows users, which means the people that are using SAML are the ones that make poor IT decisions in the first place.

I’ve eventually found myself in a mixed up environment, using Shibboleth as an IdP and writing my own SP implementation using the ZXID libraries.  IT SUCKS! I can’t begin to describe how much of a setup pain this has been.  Shibboleth SP worked fine with Shibboleth IdP, but the SP has a lot of bugs with it.  Users get kicked off randomly.  The session cache can’t be shared between servers unless it’s backed with a broken ODBC driver, or a memcache driver.  Of course, storing session data in memcache is a clusterfuck to begin with because memcache is an unreliable cache and not something to be used with important data like session keys.  So, it was either use sticky sessions in our load balancer which sucks, or find some other Service Provider.

Forget about support with Shibboleth.  The primary author, Scott Cantor is a total dick.  I don’t have time to site email threads, but just search for a few, his attitude is all over the place.  He just has that smug, dickface geek attitude that says, “I wrote this, I know better than you, and your question is retarded.”

Ahh, here’s an example at the top of this page:

The Shibboleth 2 IdP does not support SLO. Period. Don’t bother looking. This document is NOT a recipe for implementing SLO. It’s a warning to those who think they understand SLO. They probably do not understand it and need to think about it long and hard before they even begin to contemplate it at some future point in time.

Now, why would you have something that allows people to log in, but not even bother to design the protocol to log back out easily?  That page goes into all of the excuses about why it’s “wrong” to implement SLO… but a second group of people forked the project and compiled in their own binaries that supports SLO out of the box.  I downloaded that, installed it over the top of my Shibboleth IdP tree and it worked great, no problems.  Why would you, as a project maintainer, leave out something so critical?  Then, why would you allow someone else to provide that same functionality and not be a nice guy and include it in your project?  That’s the attitude I’m talking about, and I see it all over the Open Source world.  Open Source developers need to lose the fucking ego and start focusing on creating a better product.

Shibboleth SP was out.  That’s where ZXID came in.  I can integrate it along side our current authentication methods.  Super!  But, nobody mentioned that SAML is not an open, standardized protocol, and everyone seems to implement it differently.     ZXID has all sorts of problems.  It segfaults on me, the API is horrible, the documentation is disgusting.   Despite that, ZXID seems like the lesser of two evils.

I have most of this working, but a few key signing problems to work out.  It’s taken me weeks of dedicated time to set all of this up.  I’m so fucking pissed off at SAML.  I have other tasks just piling up on me, and this project is due under a deadline.   On that note, I need to get back to work.   I’m not even going to take the time to re-read this for grammar, I just needed to bitch.  Please comment if you’ve shared in my misery!

This month’s Linux Journal has an article about Redis.  I read about it while sitting on the shitter, because that’s about all that Linux Journal is useful for.  The article itself was crap, but the introduction to this product was at least tempting.

The basics:  take memcached and add a disk backing, replication, virtual memory, and some cool additional data structures.  Hashes, lists, sets, sorting, joining, transactions, yay!  I instantly got a geek boner scanning the feature list.  My boner quickly faded to about half mast when I saw the C clients that are available.  No consistent hashing?  Wait, no server hashing at all? Yet they have a gay Ruby client, fully featured?  C is the lowest common denominator when it comes to language support.  Start there, then add high level bindings using this low level library.  libmemcached got it right.  You start on the bottom and work your way up to higher level bindings.  It seems that Redis took the wrong approach to this which will result in every language having a different client implementation.  This leads to inconsistencies between languages, which is bad news.  That on first glance gave me that headed-for-the-toilet feeling for this project.

With a half-mast boner, I decided to do some benchmark comparisons.  Perhaps I’ll see some real numbers that might arouse me.  Stand back, I’m going to do some science!

Read More »

I’m really disappointed with Cacti. It’s a great concept with great intentions, but implemented poorly. It’s been a long time since I’ve been angry with doing normal tasks in software, but Cacti really pisses me off every time I work with it. The main concern I have is that any change can break the graphs for an entire host.

Imagine if you were creating a chart in Excel. “Ooops, that should have been an XY scatter graph, not a line graph.” You make the change, and BANG — all of your data is gone, and the graph is broken. The only way to fix the situation is to delete the entire spreadsheet and start over with new data. This is what it feels like every fucking day when working with Cacti.

I wish I could switch to something else, but I have 260 servers and 4,500 graphs now. I don’t want to rewrite all of my polling scripts and templates for a new system. Hell, I’d pay $2,000 for a graphing system that imports my entire Cacti setup and doesn’t suck shit at the same time.

In Cacti’s defense, it is in active development, which still gives me a little hope it might improve. Not much hope, since it’s written in PHP and uses RRDtool as the backend. I will never be able to create (correct) multi-series graphs because the RRDTool guy shot himself in the foot with that one. Who the hell makes a graphing package and leaves out the ability to have multiple Y axes with independent scales? I spend a good portion of my script writing trying to massage my data to fit on a normalized graph. Fucking bullshit.

Many open source projects are like this — great ideas with half-assed code, annoying UIs, and assholes on the mailing list. (Although, Cacti’s support forums are somewhat helpful) Is the rule of thumb here, “you get what you pay for?” In that case, I think I’d rather go back to paying for software. Fuck open source, I just want it to work!

Hold on. My KDE4 taskbar disappeared. Where is that “kicker” binary that they used to have in KDE3? Gone. Wait, why is Firefox consuming 1GB of memory? WAIT, why is Pidgin consuming 650MB of memory!?

Ctrl Alt Backspace. WTF, that’s disabled by default in Jaunty now? Who the fuck made that decision?

You get my point. The idea of Open Source is great, but I believe it has become too chaotic with a complete disregard to good programming models. Closed source (pay) software can be horribly shitty as well, but at least there are consequences to half-assed code: you’re out of business.

I love Linux and Apache in the server role. It does a great job, because we make money with it. There is a strong motivation around the world to make Apache into a great product, because it’s directly related to our profit margins. My KDE4 taskbar will never make money, which is why the developer wrote it one-handed while simultaneously jerking off to his World of Warcraft in-game girlfriend.

Excuse me now, I need to search for some graphing software. (And jerk off to my in-game girlfriend)

First, bitches. It’s my blag, not Slashdot… so suck it.