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Name: Malcolm Scott
Member since: 2002-08-30 11:18:41
Last Login: 2010-05-04 17:22:08

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I'm a Research Assistant at the University of Cambridge Computer Laboratory. The information about me that was here was vastly out of date so has been removed. I no longer actively maintain my journal here. You might want to try my livejournal instead.

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Scary. People I know are googling me and finding this page. How embarrassing ;-)

As people may have noticed, I don't actively maintain my journal here any more; I just posted this whilst passing through to remove all references to my (somewhat abandoned) project previously known as MailTrack, due to trademark reasons......

Well, here I am in Cambridge University, starting a computer science course on Thursday. It's been an exhausting few days, but I'm enjoying it (although I was horrified to hear that I have 9am lectures every day - including Saturday!). I packed too much to fit into my small-ish room, but never mind. (Except I had to lug it all up three floors...)

And the download speeds here are amazing :-) After being stuck on 64 kbit/s ISDN for ages, downloading stuff at speeds approaching 40 Mbit/s is quite a shock to the system!

Spam, spam, spam, spam....

You know you've been spending too long organising spam filtering when you start writing <spam class=...> in a block of HTML!

The new UK anti-spam law is, um, a bit odd. I can't see the logic in not banning spam sent to businesses. Is this so we're allowed to spam the spammers back in revenge? :-)

Well, it's been a long time since I posted here - too long considering I've (in theory) had loads of spare time for the past month!

Real life

Starting with the "old news": I'm definitely going to Trinity Hall, Cambridge, and I've had a few billion forms to fill in about this... Two other people I know are going there, which is nice, and others are going to different colleges in the same university. I travel down on 4th October... and before then I've got to have sorted out everything I want to take with me, which will not be easy considering the state of my room!

I bought my Undergraduate Gown today (which I need on the second day in Trinity Hall, for the Matriculation Photograph). It's plain black. That's boring. Perhaps I should have chosen one of the colleges, e.g. Gonville and Caius which has a blue one. Oh well, never mind, at least my college is pronounceable!


The mailing list program I mentioned in my last entry works well now, and I've been paid. A few more features - fairly extensive ones - have been requested, and I'll hopefully have time to implement those (for a further payment, of course!). I would have started earlier, except there's been a disagreement over code licensing - but I think I've finally got permission to continue GPLing it (or at least I got "Thanks for the clarification; please proceed" which I think means the same). (Memo to self: sort out licensing before writing any code next time...) Thanks to aes for his help and suggestions in resolving this.

I've also started programming in C again - just a little bit, writing fixes for aes's calculator app - but I haven't done this for years, and have never before done any GUI work in C. Great fun. But my method of teaching myself probably means I'll end up with really bad coding style... (I suppose that's what my imminent CompSci course is for!)

The Network From Hell

A DNS server I set up a few months ago for a large, wide-area company network has started choking, complaining of excessive connections. This server is supposed to only handle DNS lookups for the Internet and for the non-Windows portion of their network (and there isn't much of that) - lookups for internal Windows machines should be handled by various NT Domain Servers before the queries get to my server. But no: it turns out that for the past couple of years, they've been doing their Windows DNS stuff completely wrong (mainly because they were using Windows NT techniques on Windows 2000 servers, I think) and this results in huge numbers of bogus queries being dumped on my server. E.g. a machine wants to find another Windows machine called "ABCD123". My server shouldn't see this request at all, since it should be handled by either a Windows NT Domain Controller or a Windows 2000 Active Directory Controller. But instead my server is thrown requests for "", "", "", "" and "ABCD123.". None of which exist. And this is happening hundreds of times a second from different machines all over the network...

And for once I can just say "it's not my fault; fix your network" :-) It's nice when it's Someone Else's Problem.


(Not something I do regularly, but why not, once in a while...)

I helped organise a small LAN party at a friend's house last weekend - and amazingly everything worked as planned. Now, with the enthusiasm gained at the LAN party, I'm trying to set up a Linux dedicated server for UT2003; this worked perfectly for about half an hour today, then mysteriously stopped working and nothing I do will make it work again. Clients just get stuck in some sort of loop whilst connecting, sending out about 10 six-byte UDP packets per second to the server. Oh well, more tweakage needed.

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