Your leaking thatched hut during the restoration of a pre-Enlightenment state.


Hello, my name is Judas Gutenberg and this is my blaag (pronounced as you would the vomit noise "hyroop-bleuach").


decay & ruin
Biosphere II
dead malls
Irving housing

got that wrong

appropriate tech
Arduino μcontrollers
Backwoods Home
Fractal antenna

fun social media stuff

(nobody does!)

Like my brownhouse:
   viruses and the Folly of Man
Thursday, March 18 2004
Completely unexpectedly, Rachæl, a young woman from Brooklyn whom Gretchen knew as a fellow dog walker in Prospect Park, recently moved to the area. By "the area," I mean a quarter mile away on Dug Hill Road. Gretchen had dropped out of contact with Rachæl, who'd relocated to Portland, Oregon for a time after leaving Brooklyn. But she had remained on Rachæl's mailing list, and this was how Gretchen discovered the freakish coincidence. Today Rachæl walked to our house with her crotchety eight year old mutt and joined us on a walk more than a mile down the Stick Trail. The woods are snowy once more in the aftermath of a burst of last-minute wintery weather.
On the walk back, Rachæl was telling us about how desperate the situation was getting in Oregon when she and her fiancé left. Evidently the state had run out of money and couldn't manage to pass any tax increases capable of surviving an immediate anti-tax ballot initiative. So the state was forced to cut all manner of social services, including (briefly) a program providing medicine to dying indigents.
Every time I hear about populist anti-tax absolutism, I remind myself that these are the same selfish people who like to build their houses on floodplains and then come crying for assistance when their living rooms are knee-deep in brown water. These assholes never want to pay for society if there's a chance that anyone in a position other than their own will ever benefit. It's testament to the Folly of Man that these people have accumulated a lot of power, and on a national level they're so greedy and short-sighted that they've decided to rob not just welfare queens and freeloading drug addicts, but their own children as well.

Repeated exposure to the computers of regular people has shown me how beside-the-point Anti-virus software is becoming. This software does nothing to stop the sneaky installation of computer-crippling adware, the most common problem with computers today. It only provides benefits to people who download pirated software from file sharing networks or people who are stupid enough to open attachments to robotically-generated emails1 (I'm talking about emails that would never pass a Turing test). People in that latter category are likely so dumbfounded by their machine that any action it takes seems within the realm of acceptable. In my household I only have virus software (freeware, mind you) installed on one machine, Woodchuck, my main computer, and it's just there so I can test dubious software coming from untrusted sources. Since our IQs are above 75, the opening of dubious attachments is not a big problem around these here parts.
I read an article today about the increasingly dubious utility of anti-virus software and this made me wonder if perhaps there were any purely heuristic anti-virus programs available for the Windows platform. There weren't any, but there were some that incorporated heuristic technology, and these probably work better than an expired copy of Norton Antivirus:

  • Avast - "The heuristic module performs a thorough investigation of every e-mail message and watches for suspicious signs that might announce virus presence. When the number of those signs exceeds the user-defined level, the message is considered dangerous and the user is warned."

  • AntiVir Free - this is what I use. It's got some heuristic technology, particularly for Word macro viruses. It also catches some adware that Norton (the "been in your mouth for two days" chewing gum of software) ignores. At this point I'd like to say something witty about the world we live in and how it makes no sense for Word to run code inside word processor documents, but it's all been said before. But allow me these questions: Does Johnny's book report need to send data out through his USB ports? Does his letter to granny need to make a call to a phone in Moldova?

This evening Gretchen and I watched a DVD of the movie From Justin to Kelly, a beach movie built around an imagined puppy love story between the the first American Idol Winner, Kelly Clarkson, and the benosejobbed runner-up, Justin Guarini. The main reason for watching such a movie is to get a clearer idea of why it is we are so selective about our intake of contemporary pop culture. Under such logic, if the movie wasn't awful, we wouldn't be getting our money's worth.
A movie like this is unwatchable for non-sober non-preteens, so (in anticipation of the delicious disgust I would soon be feeling) I picked up a forty of malt liquor on my way home from a housecall.
From Justin to Kelly turned out to be a traditional musical, the kind where the flow of the plot is interrupted and entire crowds break into song and choreographed dance numbers. There were plenty of sanitized beach scenes full of hundreds of people (as Gretchen pointed out) "imitating Britney Spears imitating Janet Jackson."
Despite the malt liquor, it didn't take long before the repetitiveness and predictability of it all started getting to me. The characters had all been beaten into the simplistic molds of their "type." There was the nerd, the playboy, the bitch, the smart girl, the nice girl, and thes nice boy. The latter two were Kelly and Justin, and (as usual in movies such as this), their characters and their story, the focus of the movie, was less interesting than the side characters and their subplots. I could barely watch as the loose tangle of misunderstandings were put right and Justin and Kelly went in for their inevitable kiss. Knowing their backstory, that they'd been co-contestants in a teevee talent hunt, that kiss had some of the revolting quality of incest. Perhaps this was why they only kissed once in the entire movie.

It's interesting that I wrote a little about viruses earlier, because later tonight I experienced a harrowing series of computer infections, none of which AntiVir could detect in the infecting files. AntiVir did, however, manage to alert me once the infections were under way. These weren't technically virus infections, they were Trojan horse adware applets, the kind Norton doesn't even bother to deal with. They seemed to have come in the form of .iso installations downloaded via KaZaA Lite, installations that had names that ended with .iso.exe. I'm always suspicious of such files, but AntiVir said they were fine, so I fired them up. That's when the new BHOs, Lycos Sidesearch, registry changes, and disturbing new .dlls appeared. If you fear you've been infected, a good place to check is the System32 folder in the Windows directory. Sort it by date and look at the newest items. (It sure would be great to be able to sort the registry and Add/Remove programs by date!) If you're infected, you'll see a cluster of suspicious looking things. What I saw was a series of files, including a suspicious new .dll called bridge.dll. I opened it in a text editor and could see that it phoned home to a place called Perhaps this was how it had managed to install links to the Golden Casino and the eminently useful Lycos Sidesearch on my desktop and in my Start Menu.
A lot of damage had been inflicted in a relatively short time. I ran AdAware and discovered a DyFuca malware infection that can supposedly dial 900 numbers on a connected modem and run up your phone bill in support of some asshole's business model.
I still find the ballsy instrusiveness of such software fascinating, and I stayed up late into the night trying to piece together the puzzle of intrigue behind these incursions into my personal digital universe.
In the course of my rooting around, I discovered a handy new search engine called BlazeFind. The folks at Google must really be quaking in their boots about the competition offered by this fresh-faced upstart. I did a search for "Redneckistan" and these are the results I got in Blazefind versus Google:

BlazeFind Google
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[REDACTED]Redneckistan Homepage
Redneckistan Homepage. ... - 9k - Cached - Similar pages

[REDACTED]Thanksgiving 2001: Camping With The Guys - redneckistan.jpg
Thanksgiving 2001: Camping With The Guys redneckistan.jpg. ... - 2k - Mar 18, 2004 - Cached - Similar pages

[REDACTED]Thanksgiving 2001: Camping With The Guys
... 71336 bytes, play-with-fire.jpg 600x450, 46164 bytes, real-purdy-hitch.jpg 600x450,
44938 bytes, real-purdy-mouth.jpg 600x450, 48150 bytes, redneckistan.jpg 600x450 ... - 10k - Cached - Similar pages
[ More results from ]

... fart Chicken Time Bomb deep anachronism dew rag Dirty Sanchez Faketopia fire-fighting
Harkness hot carl mullet my bad nu metal Redneckistan sausage party ... - 4k - Cached - Similar pages

[REDACTED]Big Fun Glossary RS
... redneck-inRedneckistan and perhaps elsewhere,there exists a kind of person who is
definitely "other." Perhapsthese are the people who have "S" in their Meyers ... - 94k - Cached - Similar pages

[REDACTED] - entry 563, 'Searchy goodness!' (August 10, 2001)
... social hindus are scum how soon can congressmen retire how to build funny bombs
make your own masterbators rackspace spammer redneckistan religion generator ... - 12k - Cached - Similar pages

[REDACTED] - entry 398, 'Thursday Tradition' (June 14, 2001)
... Dammit, Alabama is "Redneckistan." And the Metro DC area is "Imperial
Jetta Beltway Land" -- or is that a Japanese manga? I get confused. ... - 19k - Cached - Similar pages

[REDACTED]diary of a madman!!!
... hour. Today the fighting in Redneckistan continues despite the fact that
the Taliban regime has surrendered as of 3 weeks ago. Apparently ... - 57k - Cached - Similar pages

... 1997 - Charlottesville Viriginia Redneckistan BakeryFebruary University Valentine
Brazilian Jenfariello DaveMarch Malvernians Grandfather Alchemist CONFIRMED ... - 5k - Cached - Similar pages
[ More results from ]

[REDACTED]My Archives: May 2003
... hr width=60%>. Welcome to Redneckistan... Here's a picture of a group of signs
that went up at a tire store right around the corner from my house: ... archive-05042003-05102003.html - 95k -

1Obviously, if you insist on using Outlook and Outlook Express despite the better, freer, more secure alternatives, you also have to deal with vulnerabilities that allow these programs to install software without you opening anything.

For linking purposes this article's URL is:

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