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**Gibson guitars (Les Paul, SG, Explorer and more) for less are right here

Taking the low road

Every day I drive on Interstate 395 (Connecticut) to get to work. I go Southbound to get there, Northbound to go home. Today it rained. It wasn't a hard rain by any means, but it was enough to turn the skies to gray and put a mist on the highway from all the cars that were driving, sort of like a man-made fog.

At Northbound exit 83 I see a wave of tailights ahead.

"Uh-oh, must be an accident."

I was right. In the distance I see a car that is semi-sideways and a few other cars that were definitely not going anywhere. Couldn't really tell that much more because of the rain and mist. I happened to be right next to exit 83. I take it. I've never taken that exit before but I'm sure as hell not going to hang around to wait for the highway cleanup.

At the end of the ramp is a gas station.

"Methinks I should fill up since I'm below a 1/4 tank."

I pull in and there are basically no cars there. I fill up, then go inside to pay. Inside I see a very cramped and tiny store. I go and grab a Mountain Dew AMP drink, a bottle of dry gas and head to the counter. As I'm paying, all of a sudden the store fills up. What was once just a few people turned into almost twelve. As I finish paying and leave, every single free gas island spot is taken with cars.

"Whoa, time to get outa here."

I put the dry gas in the car, get in, start up and off I go. I make the decision right there to not take I-395 home because as I'm leaving I see a cop going the wrong way up the ramp to give assistance. It must be bad.

I head North 97 then pick up East 138 towards Jewett City.

Small note about 2 and 3-numbered rural routes in Connecticut: Very windy (that's wind like a clock, not like blowing wind) roads. CT is full of these everywhere you go. Best thing to do is take them slow if unfamiliar with them. Even though I knew 138, I'd never been on this part of it.

I get into Voluntown and remember I dated a girl named Susan here once. Cute butt. Should I stop by to see how she's doing? Nah. I dumped her for a reason.

I get into Jewett City, get on to 12 Northbound and dead smack in the middle of the road a truck breaks down right next to Jewett City Savings bank, effectively blocking my side of the road entirely.

"Great. Just great."

My frustration was short-lived. I was able to get around the guy after two minutes.

I continue on 12 North and pick up I-395 North in Plainfield. From here on out I consider 395 "safe" for the rest of the distance home. It was. Got home without a scratch, save for arriving 20 minutes later than I would have ordinarily.

As I get home I am reminded that life is short and that taking the road less traveled is sometimes the best choice.


**Hard-to-find secret Fender FSR guitars? They exist, and they're right here.


Back up.. for now

Seems like I keep talking about this over and over, but whatever.

My Counter-Strike server (69.0.103.230:27015) has been an ongoing up-again/down-again thing. This is mostly because a) It's Linux and b) It's Linux. A lot of stuff going on has been the old trial-and-error method.

Update: Finally found out why the server kept crashing so much. Louis (the guy who owns the box and graciously lets me use his internet to run a server there,) kept opening Linux bash sessions and never shut them down properly. He would remote into the box, then just "x" out the application - meaning the session never closed properly.. and there'd be something like 20 sessions open. OBVIOUSLY this would crash the box because it would suck up all the memory with 20 running processes. He asked me today "Um, does it matter how you exit a Linux bash session?", and I say "Um, YEAH" and explained why. We both had a good laugh about it.

Other updates: The server is now running RAID-5 drives. Noticeable increase in performance. Who'da thunk it. And no this is not that crappy SATA-Raid (which is garbage,) this is real-deal true blue server style RAID, with controller and all. Really packs a punch concerning how fast those drives are.

The server box (for those interested) is a P4 with 768MB of RAM and the aforementioned RAID-5 setup. The linux flavor is SuSE 9.1. Very solid. The difference between the SuSE setup compared to the Windows XP setup is like night and day. Windows was slow, doggy and just plain awful. The Linux is amazingly stable and smooth considering how OLD that box is.

I highly recommend to anyone to learn Linux for LAN parties and use it instead of Windows. You'll only need 1/2 the power/speed you would normally need for an XP setup.

--

In other CS related stuph:

Decided to going back to my old player name "Schecter". I am usually welcomed with a round of "sup's" and "yo's" whenever I arrive in certain servers - it's a very recognizable name which is why I picked it in the first place. Everyone is still spelling my game name wrong - which is spelled properly as Schecter. I have seen it spelled as "Shecter" "Scecter" and a few others. I used to complain about it but ah, whatever. Who cares. No one knows how to spell, big surprise. (grin)

It will be a bit sad when I have to eventually hang up my gameplay guns to concentrate on more important things in life (coming around real soon). For now I'm just enjoying the game.



Maybe it's better to pay in cash?

I got this e-mail from my merchant account provider (yes I am an authorized merchant and can accept MasterCard/Visa/AMEX/Discover):

Please be aware that our servers continue to be hit with a continuous distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack. We have very qualified technicians watching the incoming attack and combating them.

Until the attack ceases there will be some brief outages and some delays in transaction processing. We understand that these issues greatly impact your business, and we will continue to put our resources into fighting the attack and keeping all services functioning.

We again thank those who have contacted us sharing your support, ideas, concern, and/or experiences with your own DDoS attacks. We greatly appreciate your support and confidence.

Again, we appreciate your understanding during this time.

We have included a link (below) to an article at ComputerWeekly.com indicating that the most recent DDoS attacks on the Internet are being targeted against e-commerce companies.

Link

First of all it's cool that my merchant provider does in fact care about its customers like myself - and even when the going gets rough they do notify everyone when stuff is going awry.

I read the article linked above. Interesting read, but at the same time scary. DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attacks are a very real threat to any business that accepts any type of payment that is electronic. This includes online transactions, in-store credit card transactions and EFT's (Electronic File Transfers) a.k.a. Electronic Checks.

I actually knew someone once who got hit with a DoS (Denial of Service) attack for his online business. All he could basically do is sit there and watch it happen; his web server was hit hard. Customers were calling and complaining that his site and services were down and the phones were ringing off the hook. Very real and intimidating experience.

Now I can understand if someone gets hacked for security reasons, as in to "teach them a lesson" so to speak. Many colleges are like this and have extremely poor security measures in place. However, in the article linked above, it's outright extortion - that's wrong. It's basically large-scale blackmail and it's not just done by some kids who want to have some fun. These are real-scale pro criminals who are out to get the cash by any means necessary.

I hand it to anyone who runs an online business, because your balls are in the wind every second your site is online.