Web 2.0, The New Brain Sucker

If anyone’s interested in grabbing a copy of my feed subscriptions from Bloglines, grab ’em quick. I’ve decided that RSS feeds are just as insidious as television, if not more. When I started this blog, there weren’t that many out there and there were definitely only a handful of security blogs. I spent a lot of time writing about topics that interested me and tried to stay out ahead (or away) from the gathering crowds.

Nowadays, I don’t write much and there aren’t many topics not covered by a blog. Also, you don’t have to travel too far to find any two security experts willing to contradict one another.

As such, I am attempting to crawl out of the RSS sinkhole and go back to researching the more cutting edge stuff. I may blog about it, I may not. To help do this, I’m pulling the plug (unsubscribing) from all of the feeds that I read (there’s over 300 of them), except for those of a few close friends and one or two high signal-to-noise feeds.

For those of you that are totally immersed in RSS feeds or other forms of social network (yeah, you guys in the Twitter pool are included), the world is passing you by. Take a look around. The time that you used to spend coding or researching a topic has now disappeared into “reading time”. You’re probably spending the majority of your free time following the kruft growing in other peoples’ lives or watching a couple security “experts” bicker.

If you’re skeptical of my intent or even just of my possible success, you can call it a blogger’s mid-life crisis. Me, I’ll call it an escape attempt.

Product prejudice

“Product hate” tends to last longer that the reason for it. Case in point: I’ve asked a few Grandstream-related questions in some well-known forums and, instead of receiving legitimate answers (or even “don’t know”), I’ve ended up on the receiving end of invective that is reminiscent of the old MS-v-Linux quasi-religious “purism”.

The company may have had some crappy products in the past, but I’ve used a number of their products recently and I’m quite happy with them. Admittedly, the previous firmwares did cause a number of unbearable issues but the current versions work quite nicely. I’d recommend taking another look at the Grandstream stuff if you’re needing some cheap equipment. Some of the newer models have a few bells/whistles that you might be interested in, too.

It’s the little stuff

Just about everyone that’s tried to cause Asterisk to play hold music that’s streamed from elsewhere has run into the “Stopped music on hold on Local/202@default-b77d,2” issue. Googling for it is no help whatsoever. There are dozens, if not hundreds, of people asking about this error.

The answer is quite simple: if you’re sucking off of a stream, comment out the line that starts with “directory”. You only need the “mode” and “application” lines.

How do I know this? Well, let’s just say that I spent a few hours today, tracing just that very problem.

Overkill

Many of us like to pop a bowl of popcorn, toss a DVD into a player, and watch a movie (esp. in an election year), say, like “National Treasure 2”. Here’s a hint to the Effin’ marketing department: the previews shouldn’t last longer than the d**n bowl of popcorn.

(To borrow from the real SJ) Oh! And one more thing… Converting a crappy stop-motion animation to “high def” doesn’t mean that I’ll consider buying it, especially when it’s placed somewhere around minute seven in the previews of other movies that I’d never watch/buy, with the fast forward feature disabled. It’s enough to make you barf your popcorn back up!

Yeah, I’m in a mood. What of it?