Thursday Night

Paul Betts’s personal website / blog / what-have-you

I promise, I’m going to write actual technical articles here

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In the meantime, here’s a funny video.

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Written by Paul Betts

May 15th, 2009 at 1:21 am

Posted in Not Nerdy

Troll commenters, please continue

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One of the greatest things about this blog just happened again today – the troll commenter who randomly finds me via Google, then writes something idiotic, usually with bad Youtube’ish grammar. Now you may be confused – usually these comments make authors feel lousy, and question why they should be trying to help people who just come back with insults. Not me. I love every minute of it.


Because I’ve found the best thing to do to flame comments – use my Admin powers to edit them to be of the polar opposite opinion. I’m a “dumbass American?” Now I’m a “totally awesome guy”. Apologies, praise, and all sorts of positive feedback on my blog entries show up when the trolls come out. The best part is, the original commenter becomes absolutely fucking furious and posts way more negative comments, which I promptly edit again to say even nicer things about me. There’s no way I can lose here, it’s great!

Now, for those of you thinking that I’m an anti-free-speech asshole, I always am willing to leave comments up that disagree with me – I’ll never change that. Blogs without dissenting comments lose their value, as a means of generating discussion on a topic. If you’re intent on leaving nonsense on my blog however, I will almost certainly be enjoying myself that day….

Written by Paul Betts

November 18th, 2008 at 10:59 pm

Posted in Not Nerdy

August 2nd, 2008

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Written by Paul Betts

August 12th, 2008 at 9:22 pm

Posted in Family,Not Nerdy

I’ve found my new career

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Ulrike Stoll: Na ja, du kannst mich ja vom Büro aus anrufen, wenn es etwas Wichtiges ist Na ja, du kannst mich ja vom Büro aus anrufen, wenn es etwas Wichtiges ist Well, you can call me from the office of Justice if it is something important

Me: “The Office of Justice” – Awesome

(PS – that doesn’t *actually* say “Office of Justice” in German)

Written by Paul Betts

May 23rd, 2008 at 10:46 am

Posted in Not Nerdy

Everyone change your SSH keys, hooray

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Your keys are teh pwn3d

I’m sure everyone who uses SSH has heard by now, but you need to change your SSH keys if you are using Debian/Ubuntu (or took a key from said OS like I did). If you’re thinking that it’s not a big deal, you’re gonna get put in the hurt locker – the only source of entropy in those keys are the PID of the process that created them. That means, there are only 32768 keys; it takes a hacker ~20 mins to break into any server he wants.

If all of your machines are Debian-based, the best thing for you to do is to just delete all the entries in ~/.ssh/authorized_keys until you can regenerate them and patch all of your systems.

In miscellaneous news

  • We’re finishing up the beta for my super-cool project at work today – so far my clever attempt to sneak Ruby/Python through the backdoor at WinSE is turning out wonderfully, mwa ha ha.
  • Summer finally seems like it’s here, it’s nice to be done with the crappy weather. I need to find a cool bike so that I can start riding to work. Days like this make me wish I had a dog to walk, that’d be nice too

Written by Paul Betts

May 17th, 2008 at 3:06 pm

Posted in Linux,Not Nerdy

For Eli

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our eyes are closed, america
there are souls in the boots of the soldiers, america
fuck your yellow ribbon; you want to support our troops,
you bring them home, and you hold them tight
when they get here.

- Andrea Gibson, For Eli

PS: Click the link, it’s an MP3 and it will blow your fucking mind

Written by Paul Betts

May 3rd, 2008 at 5:20 pm

My ad-hoc Tivo

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What I’ve been up to

Work is far too busy, and it doesn’t give me anything to talk about – my job all day is to put out fires in Windows Vista, and there’s definitely no shortage of work in that department (though we’re definitely making progress!)

My Yahoo! Pipe

However, since I haven’t got any juicy Microsoft secrets to spill, instead I will share my clever Yahoo! Pipes rig that works like TiVo only free’er. Here’s a screenshot of its PVC goodness, click it to be taken to the page:

Yahoo! Pipes + Awesome = Very Yes

But what does this do?

What does this actually do for us though? Well, the output of this pipe is an RSS feed of Bittorrent files – put these into your favorite RSS-enabled torrent program, and it will watch the output of this pipe, and add all of the torrents to be downloaded! My favorite one is KTorrent:

Auto-downloaded goodness

How it all works

Here’s what some of these boxes do – keep in mind, our goal is to end up with a list of torrent files to download of our favorite new shows, with no duplicates or files we already have. I didn’t really arrange the pipes diagram very well – the flow of data is from right to left, and ending up in the center. So, starting at the right, we see that we have a lot of Fetch Feed blocks. These blocks serve as our data source, and fetch the results of searches from All of these go into a Union operator, which just mixes all of our sources into one list. So after we do that, we end up with data that looks like:

South Park 12×7 [DSRIP – REPACK – 0TV]
South Park 12×7 [DSRIP – 0TV]
South Park 12×6 [DSRIP – 0TV]
South Park 12×5 [DSRIP – REPACK – 0TV]
South Park 12×5 [DSRIP – 0TV]
South Park 12×4 [DSRIP – 0TV]
South Park 12×3 [DSRIP – 0TV]
South Park 12×2 [DSRIP – 0TV]

As you can see, we’ve got some problems: first, we don’t really want to treat the 0TV and the REPACK versions as separate, so let’s filter out the release group from the title with a Regex block; it’s like ‘search and replace’ but with a vague ‘search’ part. We replace ‘[anything]’ with nothing – in code it looks like “\[.*?\]”.

After that, I only want certain seasons of shows, so we only permit items if they contain certain text, like “Scrubs 7x”. Once we’ve done that, we’re almost finished; our only problem is that we’ve got a lot of duplicate entries, and they’re in random order. To fix that, we’ll use the Unique and Sort blocks to put them in chronological order.

The results

The Office 4×11
The Colbert Report 2008-04-24
The Daily Show 2008-04-24
Scrubs 7×9
30 Rock 2×13
Top Chef 4×7
The Daily Show 2008-04-23
The Colbert Report 2008-04-23

Written by Paul Betts

April 26th, 2008 at 10:38 pm

Dear Spammers, please die

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Dear spammers,

Quit automatically stealing my content as soon as I post it and trying to set up a trackback so you can get better Google PageRank.


Written by Paul Betts

March 16th, 2008 at 3:28 pm

Posted in Not Nerdy

Damn you Barack, you pretty motherfucker

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Instead of trying to write things as elegant as others have written, I’ll instead post this. Listen to it at least twice:

“Damn you Obama, for turning this cynic into a believer in the ideal of the audacity of Hope.”

Damn you Barack Obama, you pretty motherfucker – Darian Dauchan

Written by Paul Betts

February 5th, 2008 at 12:12 pm

Windows Live Translator – it’s like Babelfish, but works

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I finally got around to trying the “Add a Windows Live translate box” that I found on Lester’s WPF Blog, and I was really impressed with the great job they did

Two pane view is quite handy

They realize it’s impossible to get a 100% correct machine translation, so instead they make it really easy to compare the original with the translated view, as well as see which sentences match up. My only complaint is that the scrollbars aren’t synched in the two-pane view, but I suspect that’s impossible to do in a browser. Of course, since I now work at Microsoft, you are now obliged to consider me a total corporate shill for this post.

Update: Doesn’t work in Safari or Camino. Almost there!

Written by Paul Betts

December 3rd, 2007 at 8:58 pm

Posted in Microsoft,Not Nerdy