Saturday, October 21st, 2006

Monday, October 9th, 2006

Sunday, October 8th, 2006

Blog Posts

When Sweet Shrimp Attack

Shrimp Leg

Last night after the Detour show, my friend Mike Rocchio and I went to Oomasa for sushi. I ate sweet shrimp, with the shrimp heads in soup form. Afterwards I felt a little tickle in my throat, but I was still fairly buzzed and it didn't really bother me until I was about to go to sleep. I had what I thought was a little bit of shrimp antenna lodged in my throat. I tried to wash it down with some cereal and copious amounts of water, but it stayed stuck in there. I went to bed hoping it would work its self loose by morning, but when I awoke it was still there.

I decided to call Kaiser and see what they recommended, but while I was on hold I decided to look in the mirror and see if I could see anything. Lo and behold, there it was, a big honkin' shrimp leg lodged in the back of my throat. Penelope, my wonderful wife / nurse in training offered to extract it with a pair of tweezers. After a few tries she skillfully snatched it and removed it. I took a few photos with a nickel for scale here.

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Tuesday, October 3rd, 2006

Monday, October 2nd, 2006

Saturday, September 30th, 2006

Thursday, September 28th, 2006

Blog Posts

Monday, September 25th, 2006

Photos

Sunday, September 24th, 2006

Photos

Wednesday, September 20th, 2006

Blog Posts

Monday, September 18th, 2006

Saturday, September 16th, 2006

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Wednesday, September 13th, 2006

Blog Posts

Monday, September 11th, 2006

Blog Posts

Canon EOS 30D

As I mentioned earlier, my 20D's shutter is kaput after about 50,000 exposures over that last 2 years. Today I made my way down to Samy's Camera on Fairfax and picked up a Canon EOS 30D. One of the cool things about Samy's is that, although their website always has lower prices than they advertise in their store, they will always match their website pricing, plus shipping. The 30D ended up costing me $1216.97 plus tax, which is more than I would have paid if I had ordered it from B&H or Adorama, but I would have had to wait a week before it came, and I need it for a shoot I am doing on Friday. Another cool thing about Samy's, and any retail store front for that matter, is that they are willing to work with you on pricing and I got a good deal on a Stratos flash bracket, a Hoodman 2GB 150x CF card, a Stofen Omni Bounce, and an Off Camera Flash Cable.

One of the first things I noticed about the 30D is that the shutter mechanism, which is rated to 100,000 exposures, is much quieter than the one in my 20D. I am not sure if this is because my 20D's shutter mechanism was on its last legs and was starting to die, but it was at least twice as loud as the one in my 30D. Of course the 30D also has spot metering (finally!!!) as well as nice big 2.5" LCD. I am a little bummed that the body shape changed as my Really Right Stuff L Bracket will no longer fit, but that's ok, I really should have one on both of my rigs. I am already very happy with the test shots I took using the flash bracket, having it off camera really makes a big difference.

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Wednesday, September 6th, 2006

Blog Posts

My First Hoist Ride

hoisting

Last night I got an email from the commander of the Search and Rescue (SAR) team that I am a part of, about a mutual-aid callout on San Jacinto for a missing hiker. I got the call at about 2230 and quickly responded that I would be there. I got about 4 hours of sleep as I had to wake up at 0330 in order to be at the Sheriff's Office at 0500 to pick up one of the Sheriff's vehicles and drive to the base of the tram by 0600 hours. I am not normally one to be on time, but when it comes to searches it is important to be punctual as someone's life is on the line.

At the briefing my teammate Mark Kinsey and I got our mission which entailed us riding up to the San Jacinto peak on Los Angeles Sheriff's Department's gargantuan Sikorsky SH-3 Sea King known as Air Rescue 5 then riding the hoist down to the summit and then hiking cross country through the west side of San Jacinto and eventually coming to a trail that would take us to the tram. I was excited about riding in a helicopter, as the last time I had the pleasure of rotor based travel I was in Search and Rescue in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Zipping down from a hovering helicopter on a piece of aircraft cable attached to my seat harness whilst carrying my 24 hour pack was quite a rush. Once I was on the peak and I unclipped from the hoist I snapped a few photos of the bird and Mark and I made our way across the ridge.

The mission was supposed to be technical so we kept our harnesses on, but we never ended up needing them apart from the helicopter bit. It was really just bouldering for the first mile or so until we turned down towards the saddle between two peaks, at which point we had to walk on top of dense brush for about another 1/2 mile dropping several hundred vertical feet. After the brush it was fairly easy going for the next couple of miles until we hit more dense brush and it started raining. Despite the rain and the brush we made good time and soon enough we were on a real trail. We double-timed it back to the tram and made our way down to the command post for debriefing at around 1530.

We didn't find any tracks or signs of the missing subject, but hopefully other teams will find him tomorrow. [You can find the rest of the photos here]

Update They found him and he is ok!

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Tuesday, September 5th, 2006

Blog Posts

The Day My Camera Died

Yesterday Penelope and I made a trip down to the San Diego Zoo and about half way through our adventures my camera started taking photos on its own in rapid succession while flashing Error 99 on the LCD. I tried pulling the batteries and letting it sit for a while, but that didn't cut it. I looked through my photo archive and I've taken well over 50,000 photos with it since I bought it in February 2005. Looks like I will be without a digital SLR (still have a film SLR body) for a couple of weeks while I get it repaired.

Update After finding someone who had the exact same problem that I did and emailing said person, I found out that I needed to replace my shutter. Canon will do it for $196 which also includes a complete overhaul and cleaning of the camera. It takes 7-10 business days to complete. I am sending it off today.

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Friday, September 1st, 2006

Photos

Sunday, August 27th, 2006

Photos

Saturday, August 26th, 2006

Blog Posts

Wednesday, August 23rd, 2006

Blog Posts

RPA Photo Use

My photography has been published before in a local music rag called Jointz Magazine. I was excited to find out that one of my protest photos (shown below) will be published in a report about American population growth and land use trends for a New York based not-for-profit organization called the Regional Plan Association. I will post a copy of the report once it prints.

Protesters

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Monday, August 21st, 2006

Photos

Saturday, August 19th, 2006

Photos

Monday, August 14th, 2006

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Sunday, August 13th, 2006

Monday, August 7th, 2006

Photos

Thursday, August 3rd, 2006

Blog Posts

Subverting Vista Kernel For Fun And Profit

Joanna Rutkowska

Joanna Rutkowska gave a highly informative talk at Black Hat called "Subverting Vista Kernel For Fun And Profit." In the first part of her talk, she demonstrated an attack on Vista's code signing feature that requires any code that is loaded into the kernel to be signed by Microsoft. Her attack did not take advantage of an implementation bug or a vulnerability, but instead used the built in raw disk write access to change a few lines in the pagefile. Once the pagefile was altered and the changed data was read back into memory she was able to load any code she desired into the kernel. She stated that this didn't mean that Vista was insecure, just not as secure as Microsoft says.

I talked to her for a few minutes today about her talk and asked if she was going to be releasing the code, and she said she didn't see the point of doing that. Her goal was not to provide people with a way to hack systems, but to alert the community and Microsoft of a flaw in the system. She also mentioned that she is in active informal discussions with Microsoft and they are aware of the problem and the potential solutions she laid out in her talk, but she didn't want to comment on what they were going to do about it.

Joanna Rutkowska

The second part of her talk covered a proof of concept root kit called Blue Pill that takes advantage of the extremely powerful new virtualization features in the new 64 bit AMD processors. Blue Pill takes a running operating system and completely virtualizes it beneath a Hypervisor which can then be used to intercept certain system calls and execute arbitrary code nearly completely invisible to the user. As the system is truly virtualized on the processor level and not in kernel and userspace, the virtualized system has direct access to the hardware (except for calls the hypervisor is intercepting) and detection would be non-trivial to say the least. Although she did her research on the AMD processor, she said the same attacks would be possible on the new Intel chips, although their virtualization implementation was not as powerful.

where do you want to go today?

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Wednesday, August 2nd, 2006

Blog Posts

Pushing Hackers to the Tipping Point

People love free booze and tickets to parties at which free booze is provided are a hot commodity at security conventions. A company called Tipping Point that is a subsidiary of 3Com is throwing a party tonight at Body English in the Hard Rock. To get an invite you would have had to RSVP with their PR people before the convention, which of course I didn't, or you would have to wait in "line" and get a ticket on a first come first served basis. I put line in quotes because the folks manning the booth didn't seem to have any idea about how to do an orderly giveaway. They told everyone to stand there and wait their turn, but never actually instructed people to get into a single file line. The "line" was actually more like a mob and when they started giving away the tickets it turned into a writhing blob of stinky geeks, I almost lost my camera bag in the chaos. In the end I got my pass to the party and I will go and take part in the booze drinking. I don't want to make a presumption about the quality of their product based on the lack of organization of their giveaway, but it is hard not to.

Update Last night we defeated the authentication system of the Tipping Point party and got about 12 people in with just the 1 token I won, plus 2 or 3 tokens that we temporarily borrowed from random people. The flaw in the system was pretty simple, the bouncers didn't take your token away when you got in so if you went outside to make a phone call or whatnot you could give your token or several you borrowed to your friends. The part was fun and being 23b, we danced.

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