This server was unreachable during the last 24h

This host was cut off from the net for a while. I’ll tell you why, and I’m sure you’ll find it very funny, because geek humor is something *everyone* can relate to!

The story goes thus: There is a privilege escalation vulnerability in Linux kernels 2.6.13 to anything before, and terror has been running 2.6.14.something. The vulnerability explained:

“The bug allows a local user to gain root privileges via the PR_SET_DUMPABLE argument of the prctl function and a program that causes a core dump file to be created in a directory for which the user does not have permissions.”

Ah, yes, I can see how that can put a damper on your BBQ. So I innocently baked a new kernel and rebooted terror from at home, hoping it would cheerfully fsck its disks during the reboot and be ready for people’s wishes again in a few minutes. But half an hour later, the poor thing still hadn’t ponged my pings. So I thought I might have screwed up the initrd and left it at that, postponing any new discoveries until I could be physically present near the server today.

Come Monday: I energetically bounce into the server room, certain that a reboot to the old kernel and some poking here and there would bring back terror. But what dost my eyes see-eth? The thing is back up and blinking its login prompt at me. “Odd,” thinks I, “how did it manage to boot the new kernel?”

The machine was humming along and full of stored up servitude, because the network device hadn’t come up during reboot, so nobody could reach it and it couldn’t reach anybody. A quick manual try reveals that it doesn’t understand iptables anymore. Iptables! Its old friend! Suddenly a stranger! Looking at the kernel configuration system I saw a bunch of new options concerning “xtables”, and the IP filter config looked radically different. I manually brought up the network interface without iptables, and lo, it worked! I just hadn’t kept up with the kernel news and any migration/upgrade documentation, so I paid the price and now have a non-working iptables.

To make a short story not longer than it actually was, I’m now putting the patched Debian kernel in place. I don’t have time to research xtables and why my particular selection of modules wouldn’t mimic the old iptables functionality, so there. It’s not like I’m losing anything in the process. The moral of it all: Always read the kernel news.

See, I told you it would be funny! Now do you want to help me knit a man-size 12-sided die?

Forgotten Games: Maximo vs. the Army of Zin (PS2)

I’ve picked this up from a bargain bin because it was bestickered with good review ratings. It seems rather short (I’m 76% through the game after three not-so-long sessions), but I’m having a huge amount of fun.

It’s the successor to the spiritual successor to the successor to Ghosts ‘n’ Goblins. Everyone complained that the first part was too hard, so this sequel has a save function that’s accessible rather freely, more lives and less frustrating platform passages.

In essence, it’s like God of War, but with some substance instead of just graphics, and with less silly puzzles and dumb collision detection. You swing your sword, do your combos, slice through different enemy types and feel sort of oldschooly. Also, the music is surprisingly well made in some levels (am I hearing half an orchestra? Why, I am!) The story is totally forgettable, but that’s to be forgiven. At least you won’t have to endure hours of unskippable dialog.

Replay value? Not much, unless you want to get 100% on all items and all secrets in all levels.

I saw this on the American eBay site for USD 5 and on Germany’s for EUR 9, and it’s still in bargain bins here around that price. It’s an action-platformer that won’t require your undivided attention for several weeks but is still wholly satisfying. If you remember how games used to be and feel an urge to say “that, please, just more prettier”, give this one a spin.

[Screenshot 1](
[Screenshot 2](

Lactose content of Zweifel snack products

I’ve asked Zweifel, the company that makes Switzerland’s most popular potato chips and snack products, whether they know how much lactose is in their food. Huge surprise: they know! Many companies don’t like to give you numbers, though, so I was very pleased to receive an e-mail from Zweifel/Pomy Chips’ Roland Zimmerli. He had gone and asked the specialists at Zweifel for their input, and they compiled a list of lactose percentage of *all* their products. Teh amaze!

I’ve [attached the list for all to see]( This won’t do you much good if you’re not in Switzerland, but if you’re a visiting lactose intolerant from a place such as “Foreign”, it might be helpful.

Yay for Zweifel!

DS Lite for sale in the USA – 10 days early!

It looks like some stores don’t know or care about the official street date for the US DS Lite release (Hint: June 11) and have [started selling them already]( Congratulations to the early buyers. You’re spoiled. Spoiled!

In other Nintendo news, you ‘mericans are getting Super Paper Mario (GC) on October 9th and Baten Kaitos Origins (also GC) on October 29. Those might be the last GC games to be released before Zelda: Twilight Princess, which will be the title to turn off the lights and lock the doors. But then again, didn’t somebody say the Dreamcast is dead, and now [look what happened]( So there.

God bless America and all that.

The GIA mirror now (mostly) complete

My [mirror of The GIA]( is now complete, as far as anyone can tell. It’s not entirely my work, though. My old copy was only about 2 GB in size, but someone in the USA managed to track down an 8 GB copy and send me the files by snail mail on two DVDs. Thanks a lot 🙂

I’m currently trying to make .torrent files for it. If that’s successful, I hope to be able to offer the entire thing through Bittorrent soon. That’s *in addition* to the normal, web-accesible mirror of course.

Yay for the GIA!

Nintendo: Deluge of new DS games announced at E3

We’re being showered with new stuff! If you’ve read the announcements elsewhere, I’m sure you’ve already picked your favorite titles. Several old guys come to new platforms to try their DS legs, such as Star Fox and Diddy Kong in [Star Fox DS]( and [Diddy Kong Racing DS](, respectively. A complete surprise to me was the announcement of [Super Paper Mario]( for the NGC, a mix of plain Super Mario jump’n’run elements and Paper Mario graphics and chunks of RPG. Odd. The graphics look like something a 12 year old might cook up in Flash over a weekend otherwise spent trolling IGN’s forums. But hey, who am I to judge a book by its screenshots.

The big names were present too, of course, such as the previously announced [Zelda: Phantom Hourglass]( for the DS. Talking about the DS, the thing is getting something close to a hundred titles this year. While quantity is not quality, I’m cheerful. Mario basketball game, check. Fighter jet simulation with multiplayer, check. Sequel to Yoshi’s Island, check. It’s like someone rummaged through the forgotten closet of abandoned franchises at Nintendo’s HQ and stuck everything he found into a DS game making *engine* of sorts, churning out six dozen games an hour and sticking the glossy press kits into a briefcase chained to Reggie Fils-Aime’s wrist before a hydraulic boot of sorts launched the entire press person into the vague direction of E3.

And that’s just the DS and NGC. The wiily wiizards at Wiintendo had a few wiild surprises for the Wii under their wiings too. But you can wiid that elsewhere.