Archive for November, 2011

My Computer Has No Respect

Posted in On A Personal Note with tags , , , , , , , , , on November 8, 2011 by Justinzero

It’s been said that computers are only as smart as the person using them and for the longest time I couldn’t have agreed more. I think I spend nearly 16 hours a day using them, tirelessly completing all sorts of unproductive tasks ranging from reading/sending email to studying the finer details of kernel architecture. I push my machines hard, ask a ton from them and demand efficient results! I suppose you could call me a masochist, or better yet one of those “bad boyfriends” you hear about when you’ve hit the 2 month mark with a new lady (because that’s what every guy wants to hear about, no?), but who isn’t that way with their technology?

I’ll be the first to admit, I’m not always fair with my computers and can be unjustly harsh when they don’t do what I want. I have a concave keyboard on my macbook; A result of a crash that is, apparently or “without a doubt impossible” depending on who you ask, not supposed to happen on the scarf-happy Apple OS X. I guess you could call me a techno-tyrant. Whatever the case, the computer never talks back and is bereft of attitude. It’s a healthy relationship from my point of view (muahahah!), one that I’d hoped would never change.

It changed (See: Newton’s Law).

I was playing around in openBSD today, trying to get away from using a root account to do administrative tasks on that particular machine. This requires normal users to have access to sudo commands. All you have to do is add said user to the “wheel” group and edit a few lines using visudo which grants them access, or rather, THE POWER. A few commands and a couple minutes fighting with vi – five minute job at best. All that was left to do was test if my tinkering had worked. I figured an innocent DHClient to test the waters could do the trick.

Entered the command with sudo;
was prompted for my pass;
entered my pa~keyboard-fail;
insulted by my machine for typing the incorrect password;
entered my pass again properly……WTF!?!

Apparently, my computer thinks I’m dumber than a rutabaga. A flipping rutabaga. A turnip. That annoying vegetable that looks like a potato – tastes like a rutabaga. The bane of Asian soups the world over.

I have to admit, this had me laughing pretty hard. I did some checking and this is semi-common on Linux systems if you add the “insult” parameter to the sudoers file. I combed through the openBSD version and couldn’t find it which either means I’m dumb (rutabaga dumb!) or the system just insults you by default.

Check this page out for info on how to turn this on in Linux.

Has anyone else seen this? What distro of *nix or better yet, Windows?