The pinnacle of FPS gaming

December 16, 2010

Just came across an old archive of movies, and recordings from my Tribes2 days, and yikes. I’m surprised that nothing has really matched it (ok, left4dead was pretty cool).

Tribes2 was simply the ultimate in fast paced, free space motion, fps action, team play. And if you wanted to be a simple engineer doing (important) menial repair work — it had a place for you too.

This was all shot by Yavor from real ingame footage.

Yavor rocked with movie making. As did Tribes and Tribes2.

I guess my question is — why hasn’t anything really reached this kind of scale, and action ? I mean, it is 7 years later after all..

*sob* I need something decent to play.

Internet | 1 comment
1 response to “The pinnacle of FPS gaming”
  1. R says:

    Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory and Team Fortress 2 are the closest to the sort of gameplay that Tribes provided for me.

    .. no jet packs though 🙁


 Trustfabric or, “Can halp me?”

November 30, 2010

So, a while ago (like three months ago), I got an email from Joe to beta TrustFabric.

It looked a little like this:

from TrustFabric
to rodent {at}
date Tue, Oct 19, 2010 at 10:12 PM
subject TrustFabric Alpha Invite
hide details Oct 19

Joe Botha has invited you to join TrustFabric.

To join the TrustFabric Alpha service please follow this link:….

If you like TrustFabric feel free to invite your friends via the Invite page.

Please keep up with TrustFabric news:


Welcome to a new way of thinking about personal information management.

TrustFabric simplifies the admin in your life. It’s a safe and easy way to
selectively share the personal information you are required to share.

During the sign up process you’ll be asked to chose a TrustFabric
Identifier (TFID). Once you’re signed up you can create documents,
establish relationships and control who you share your information with.

We’d like to hear your feedback on:
* Usability
* Features you’d like to see

Please note:
This is an Alpha version, it can break or go down. We’re aiming to add
features every month from now on, so it will probably be down for upgrades.

Have fun.

The TrustFabric Team

The conundrum, or my memory fails

Today, I was trawling my (mostly unread) personal mailbox and came across the invites, and thought: “Hey, let me try this TrustFabric thing” — Joe’s been blogging about it a lot!

So, I cannot recall whether I actually clicked on the link or not (my longterm memory is handled by my mail client and browser password agent).

But the invite link is now dead, it just takes me nowhere. And when trying to login with my usual credentials, I get a simple “Login Failed”, with a faint reference to retrieve my password.

And I can’t recall whether I gave TF my details or not, or actually registered. (Typical user conundrum).

The invite link ( just displays the usual site without any additional information like “This invite has already been used”, or anything useful. In fact it appears to be a bog standard redirect to the main page.

So, I tried “password retrieval”. When prompted for my TFID I just hit my email address, which apparently doesn’t work. And my cellphone number either.

So, here’s my conundrum. Am I registered ? If at least the invite link told me that I’d already used it, I’d have been reasonably sure. Right now I don’t whether I registered or not. I also don’t know where to go from here, or contact to do anything. I’m lost. I got an invite. But it’s either invalid, or expired, or I never used. I also dunno how to fix this…

Either way, I have no idea of finding out what my TrustFabric status is.

Note to web 2.0 people — If you send out a link, that may persist in an email for years, or months best you make sure that it continues working or displays something useful. An HTTP link with query string arguments is a CONTRACT. Dont’ BREAK IT.

Joe. Whip.them.programmers.some.more….



Apparently my invite was used, and my TFID is NOT my email addy but my Nick. Thanks for the help Joe!

Internet | 1 comment
1 response to “Trustfabric or, “Can halp me?””
  1. Joe says:

    I’m guessing your invite was used.

    TDIF: rodent, joined 2010-10-19 23:24:26

    Let me know if you can’t reset your password and I’ll send you a new invite.

    Thanks for the suggestion above. Feel free to email me or use the feedback form inside the TrustFabric UI if you have more suggestions.


 News24 gets it wrong.

March 24, 2010

I don’t generally refer to news articles on commercial news sites, even though the good old “biting the hand that feeds IT” is one of my favorite daily reads, and has been for more than 10 years.

This article, however was just a priceless win. The subtleties obviously escaped whichever news24 monger was at the helm that day, and simply googled “london 2012 logo”. That, or he/she was actually enough of a subtle bastard to use TheRegister’s version in the hope that nobody would notice…

Either way, it has absolutely made my day.

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 The whole ZA-Portal Saga, and what it means for the ZA internet.

July 1, 2009

MyADSL recently wrote an article about “Free proxy service fraud allegations“. Basically some guy from George, apparently, named Zaine Lourens installed a PHP based web proxy, firstly on a server at Hetzner, then at Afrihost, and then finally at Elitehost.

I read thru the entire “thread” where Lourens originally posted information about his “free” international web proxy.

The amount of social engineering that was enacted by this guy is actually pretty amazing. He fed off MyADSL forumites’ hate for Telkom and being capped and only having local access.

He turned that thread into his own personal glorification field day and I can see how things went from bad to worse over the course of a month. Nearing the end of August, when both Hetzner, Afrihost, and Elitehost had finally kicked him off their servers for breach of Acceptable Use Policy  he simply started pasting the IP adresses of some REAL open proxy servers listening on port 3128. Placating forumites with “I’m checking it out” (when they inevitably went down) and inferring that they are somehow “his proxies”.

He had to keep feeding his ego somehow, because everyone was just calling him “Mr Awesome”. And the reaction of people in the forum was even more shocking. Of course MyADSL’s userbase contains all kinds these days, so I guess it’s only natural that something like this happened, and then actually got some airtime on MyADSL in the form of an article.

Unfortunately, now, people are crying because fraud has been perpetrated, donations have been sent to a fraudster, and waaaaah all around. If it’s too good to be true, then chances are that it’s too good to be true. If someone offers me something for free, my geneneral first response is: “What’s wrong with it?”

Enough about Lourens though, it is on these open proxies that I want to focus for a bit. The info  is all publically available information from the posts. (
Hosted by: MWEB
FAIL: 8080, 8081, and 3128 left open with no ACLS or authentication.
Status: Looks like ACL’s have been applied.
Hosted by: Datapro
Type: CentOS
FAIL: Squid/port 3128 left open by admins with no ACLS or authentication
Status: Looks like 3128 is now being filtered.
Currently: mysql and another bunch of stuff quite open., and
Hosted by:Datapro
Type:FreePBX boxes
FAIL: squid/port 3128 left open by admins with no ACLS or authentication
Status: Looks like 3128 is now being filtered
Currently:  mysql, webmin and others still wide open.

The FreePBX boxes are weird. What are they doing with an Open proxy installed? Is this a default thing ? Why do you want squid on a PBX ?

In conclusion:

Someone told me the other day that Africa, and South Africa isn’t really prepared for this “true  broadband” and “loads of bandwidth landing on the continent thing”.  If we consider that these proxies were well-abused over the course of a month, and were probably copied and pasted from  some standard “Open Proxy List” off the Internet, or even just discovered using nmap, then I have to say that that statement is probably holding true.

Once hackers, and script kiddies get nice low-latency access to South African data centres, they’re going to have a field day. And I reckon most local companies simply aren’t ready for it. Go get some kind of security certification now and I reckon in a year or two’s time you’ll be earning top dollar.

Internet | 1 comment
1 response to “The whole ZA-Portal Saga, and what it means for the ZA internet.”
  1. Kaishux says:

    Just want to say that Zaine is a great guy and he was only giving people what they deserved instead of waiting for the big guys to lower their stupid prices which will never happen. It sucks that he got busted but he was doing something good and I just wish everyone would lay the hell off him he aint a normal hacker and he aint a script kiddie, he’s way too smart for that!!

    Peace 😀


 How to get local routing(BGP) info for South Africa

November 19, 2006

I recently went on a mission to discover, which subnets are “local” to South African networks, whether by ISP peering arrangements, or direct connection. I wanted this information, so that I could setup my home linux router to use Telkom’s ADSL connection for local traffic, and to use Sentech’s MyWireless connection for international traffic. Reason: Sentech pings aren’t really good for local gaming, but international speeds are great.

BGP (Border Gateway Protocol) 

All route information is published, and synchronized between ISP peers, via the BGP protocol, which is a dynamic routing protocol.

Unfortunately, it’s not as simple as install something like Zebra (a routing daemon for linux that does BGP, set it up on a Linux machine, receiving a BGP feend and have it make clever routing decisions.

No ISP will let you connect to their routers’ BGP port. Easily, or without a fight, or without paying them money for transit. This kind of public routing information, is unfortunately only available to the end-user via a series of public route-servers, and there aren’t any that I know that will allow you to receive the feed via BGP either.

So, I looked at alternative methods. I went from writing scripts to dig through the ripe, arin, and radb databases, to turning to lists of IP ranges arrange by geographic location. All the time, using whois queries to resolve the AS (AutonomousSystem) numbers, and then querying them for their official public routes. The problem is, that these routing databases aren’t always up to date, and that it’s quite difficult to figure out which AS numbers are actually local ISPs.

AS Numbers

An AS number is a  unique number, assigned by ARIN, or RIPE, that defines a BGP routing “area” or an ISP. Internet Solutions’ AS number is 3471. To see the details in the registry for an AS, go to

To see the routes published by this AS, go to!gAS3741

There is a set of RESERVED AS numbers, similar to “reserved” IP ranges that is supposed to be used for people that don’t have AS’s to obtain BGP information, or used for private or interior routing. Again, good luck in finding someone that’s prepared to configure a feed for you using a private AS, on a dynamic IP such as ADSL.

In the end, Gregory Massel, of fame, helped me to get hold of directly accessible BGP route information, courtesy of telnet://, a public service by Internet Solutions. SAIX also runs a route-server at telnet://
I wrote a small script that would telnet to this router, and dump the BGP routing table. This table contains local subnets, which is exactly what I was after.

From here on, it’s pretty simple to modify the script to add routes on my linux machine for these subnets on a specific interface. The net result in my scenario: ADSL gets used for local traffic, and Sentech for international.

Example script:


use Net::Telnet;

$prompt = '/public-route-server>/';

print "Connecting to $servern";
my $session = Net::Telnet->new(Host => $server,Prompt => $prompt,Timeout=>30);


#turn off paging
$session->cmd("terminal length 0");

#get list of local routes
print "Retrieving BGP routes\n";
my @output = $session->cmd("show ip bgp\n");
print @output;
print "Route list received\n";
Internet | 4 comments
4 responses to “How to get local routing(BGP) info for South Africa”
  1. rodch says:

    Thanks for this.

    BTW. Some of the \n nl chars in your perl script lost their \.(As seen by me in FFox)

    To reduce the size, I tried running the list through a couple of cidr subnet aggregators, which fail variously.

    I am cisco-illiterate, Any idea what a subnet like , (without mask bits) means? One aggregator tries another barfs with “line too long”

    A quick ping scan tells me there are live hosts within the space.

    • roelf says:

      Hi Rod. A subnet without a mask means that it’s a “standard” class prefix. E.g. you can assume /24 for the subnet, or /8 for a subnet. It’s a bit schizophrenic I must admit.

  2. xarion says:

    Awesome, I found that the server now reports a: “local-route-server” prompt so for whoever wants to use the script just needs to change $prompt = ‘/public-route-server>/’; to $prompt = ‘/local-route-server>/’; How do I spew out just the address not all the other columns?

  3. Jaco says:

    Mod on Script:
    1) Use Saix server
    2) Display only destination subnet
    3) Add standard prefix where required


    use Net::Telnet;



    $saix_cmd=”show ip bgp community 5713:56225\n”;

    print “Connecting to $server\n”;
    my $session = Net::Telnet->new(Host => $server,Prompt => $prompt,Timeout=>30);
    $session->login(“saix”, “saix”);

    #turn off paging
    $session->cmd(“terminal length 0”);

    #get list of local routes
    print “Retrieving BGP routes\n”;
    my @output = $session->cmd($saix_cmd);
    foreach (@output) {
    @fields = split(/\s+/);
    $fields[1] =~ s/^i//;
    @parts = split(/\./, $fields[1]);
    if ($parts[3] =~ /\//) {
    print $fields[1] . “\n”;
    } elsif ($parts[0] < 128) {
    print $fields[1] . "/8\n";
    } elsif ($parts[0] < 192) {
    print $fields[1] . "/16\n";
    } elsif ($parts[0] close;

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