Tone Parsons

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It’s a dirty damn box

My laptop has been less than pleased with the world since my trip to Boston.

While connected to the hotel’s network, it appears that it became infested with all manner of evil. I was having issues with popups, something trying to modify my registry, etc.

After installing and running 4 different spyware programs (Spybot, Ad-Aware, Defender, and Ewido) as well as my anti-virus, it became very clear that things were bad in laptop land.

Ewido found a couple of issues

After doing all of this, I thought I had it… I thought it was clean and I was good to go. I thought wrong.

Whatever was having it’s way with my laptop was hidden well. It appears that they used the Sony DRM rootkit to hide the source and I was only picking off the files that were infected (thanks a lot, Sony….. you fuckers!). I would clean it, it would stay that way for a couple of days, then all hell would break lose again.

Yesterday, I decided I’d had enough of it, backed up my documents, and re-imaged the laptop back to the way it was when our IT department assigned it to me. I was able to save everything with the exception of my archive .pst for 2006 (there goes all the email I’ve recieved for this year!). It could have been much, much worse.

The 3 main things I found while scanning the drives were:
Backdoor.Sensive.51 (who ever wrote this needs a kick in the gonads)
Downloader.Zlob.ja (aka: SpyAxe… those bastards!)
Dialer.Rpcnet.b (which doesn’t show up on google at all)

Things appear to be good now. I spent most of yesterday and last night re-installing my applications and getting it back to where it needs to be so I can do my job. Hopefully, I didn’t forget to back up anything too critical.

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Back to the “real world”

I flew back to Spokane yesterday.

My day started at 4:00am on the east coast.  I was all packed and ready to hail a cab by 5.  The cab I ended up getting in was a little beat up (one headlight was pointing in a different direction than the other) which should have given me a clue that the driver took risks.  This was without a doubt the scariest ride I’ve ever had.

The driver was all over the road (he was talking on his cell phone for the entire drive), followed other vehicles with mere inches between the bumpers, and generally scared the holy living crap outa me.  He did, however, get me to the airport rather quickly.

After finishing “Death Ride, 2006” (and yes… I tipped him), I went about checking in with the airline, getting my suitcase weighed (it was 5 pounds over the limit… but they took it anyway without charging me extra), going through the security checkpoint (both my carry on bags were searched because of all the computer stuff I had in them), and finally finding my gate.

The flight left on time and was fairly uneventful.  First class is nice (and the only way to fly!), but all the planes I few in looked horrible on the inside.  The seats and carpet were very worn and all the surfaces looked dirty.  Even the plastic covers for the recessed cabin lighting looked like they haven’t been cleaned since they banned smoking on flights around 10 years ago (they were yellow and dingy).

My connection in Minneapolis was on time (one hour layover) and I was on the ground in Spokane at 12:20 pm (pacific time).  The total trip took about 8 hours (7 hours of which I was in the air).

After taking the wrong shuttle to get to my car (and ending up miles away from the Airport) I called my wife and she picked me up, drove me back to the airport, and I got my car.  We then met up for lunch and I drove home.

I started doing laundry when I got in (all my jeans were in my suitcase), played with my dogs (oh man… were they excited to see me!), and downloaded the Euro Force expansion for Battlefield2.

I did manage to stay awake until 9pm, but it was a real challenge, since my day began at 1am local time.

Today, I’m back at work (and damn tired).

On a positive note though, the company I went to work at in Boston called the project manager here and told them that I was very friendly, professional, and brought a lot to the table (she relayed that to my manager as well).  That’s great to hear, especially since my annual review is on Friday 🙂

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I’m here!

After much turmoil, I have arrived in Boston.

I got to the airport last yesterday at 5:20 am.  My flight was booked to depart at 7:00, and I wanted plenty of time to get checked in, stroll through security, and get some coffee.

Plenty of time is exactly what I got.

Due to a massive snow storm in Minneapolis, our flight was delayed.  First for an hour, then for an additional hour and a half.  We finally got off the ground around 9:30.

Of course, this mean that I was going to miss my connecting flight, so I called the travel office and had them book a second flight for me.   Unfortunately, they didn’t have anything in first class so I had to book coach.

The flight from Spokane to Minneapolis was fairly uneventful.  They served a wonderful meal of rasin bran with a blueberry muffin and a banana (um… yuk!).

Once I hit Minneapolis (around 3pm their time), I had to to the typical “Minneapolis Sprint”.  For those who’ve never experienced the airport there… it’s OMG XBOX HUGE!!  Since it’s a major hub for flyers, it has hundreds of gates, and the concourses are seperated by long distances.  I had to move my feet to catch my next flight (scheduled at 4pm).

Once I found my gate, I got in line to check in.  The woman running the counter was incredibly cool and found me a first class seat.  The flight to Boston left right on time.

Boston itself I haven’t seen much of yet.  I’m in the middle of down town and am surrounded by very tall buildings.  Hopefully I’ll get to see some of it when I leave to visit the client (which is in about 15 minutes).

Oh… and the hotel that said it had high speed access in every room, well…. it doesn’t.  I have a modem port.  *sigh*  I guess this means the webcam may be limited (if I can get my IT department to fix my username/password connection to work).

More to come….

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Last minute preparations

I’m trying to get ready for the trip to Boston.

I fly out on Monday morning and I still have a few things to do. I’m missing one software package (the BEA Weblogic), but I’ve been promised that It’ll be there today. I hope so… or I’ll have nothing to do once I get there.

I did pull up a google map of where I’m staying and where I need to be (to set up the servers). Fortunately, they’re very close to each other (about 6 blocks), so I can walk. Renting a car in Boston isn’t my idea of fun (the traffic is insane, and it’s very hard to find parking).

I also took the guided tour of the hotel, the Double Tree Downtown. It looks swanky and stuffs (click for a larger view)
The DoubleTree Downtown - Boston What my room will look like The all important hotel bar

They also have an indoor sports facility and workout room, but I’ll be too busy drinking beer and smoking cigarettes to check them out (priorities are important!)

I’ll be posting lots and lots of pictures while I’m there (they have high speed internet in the room) and will probably bring the webcam too (because I’m all narcissistic and stuff).

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