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Gerry's Dream

Week of 19 February 2001

It is bad to fall asleep while eating Taco Bell nacho platters.

I had this really weird dream last night.

I wish I would have written the technical details as soon as I awakened but I let it go. It was basically your straightforward 'trapped in the net by Big Brother' paranoia-type dream.

Big brother was MS - it was actually Ballmer in this wizard-gown getup like some cheesy sci-fi movie.

But the part I wanted to remember the details of was this MS souped-up dynamic DNS type system. Kids received silicon implants (chips not mammaries) in their childhood vaccinations and everyone was identified by:

  1. A dynamically leased IP address.

  2. Geographical location as tracked by GPS satellites. The lease times for the IP addresses were dynamically determined by the magnitude of spatial movements from the GPS servers, thus effectively using a sort of space-time rather than plain old time as a DHCP algorithm. I think IP lease expiration time was directly and non-redundantly tied to DNS zone transfer in which in typical MS fashion open source terminology is incorrectly - either deliberately or just cause they are stupid - used by MS to mean something else. In this version of MSeze a DNS zone was the geographical coverage of a particular GPS satellite in a specific geosynchronous orbit.

    (I guess it was like air traffic control zones: You get 'handed off' when your flight leaves one airspace and enters another. Anyway they were not using the term zone in a 'normal' way, like when they implemented the DOMAIN security umbrella in NT and some people thought they meant domain like Internet domain names, which now they have actually pseudo-combined in their native mode AD/DNS - anyway I digress.)

  3. Your user ID: an assigned at birth credit card number.

    There was only one universal credit card; it was called something like 'ActiveXpress' or 'XPress' or something and it was used for everything and it was like that stupid joke:

    Q: Why is life like a cafeteria?
    A: Because you can get as much as you want but you gotta pay for it at the end of the line.

That's all I can remember about the system, but in the dream the technical details of the DHCP / GPS / ACL (Active Directory?) / Dynamic DNS were very clear, and I think I was employed as a DNS configuration technician.

I had discovered flaws in zone transfer mechanisms and specific vulnerabilities that could be exploited. They went unheeded. And then someone did the exploit - to me, resulting in the overall 'enemy-of -the-state', Ballmer's goons on my tail, shoot 'em up action sequences of the dream. One of them was that actor Bill Macy who is the voice on those new MS television spots ('no one has visited the servers in weeks - no one has had to') except he was talking to me and uttering the dialogue typical of films with themes similar to this dream.

'You have nothing to worry about. You and my employer are both the victims of an irresponsible malicious attack and we just want to reconfigure your hardware [he might have said 're-flash your XROM'] and straighten all of this out.'


Of course if I went along I was a dead man - the exact reasons for which I don't remember - but I think the reason I was marked for elimination was because of:

In MS Speak 'IP lease times' were determined by movements in space (Ballmer people didn't understand anything beyond Newtonian physics) so because they were using events in the spacial realm to determine lease lengths they really thought that they had done some magnificent thing with routing protocols using principles of cosmology or astrophysics or something.

Of course all they had really done was replace a temporal parameter with a spatial parameter while retaining the standard DHCP terminology ('lease time').

I think the flaw I found in my dream was data corruption introduced by the actual effects of real life space-time (I won't try to paraphrase Stephen Hawking or whatshis face the other Newton chair at Cambridge). Something like the different heights of the GPS server geosync orbits or the speed at which people were travelling were screwing up zone transfers. And anyway suffice it to say I had a very vivid dream about a MS screw-up with global implications - which I guess just means a fictionalised version of the truth.

And so I feel compelled to offer some advice: it is bad to fall asleep after reading 'Rants of the Week' and BIND manuals for six straight hours without a break while eating Taco Bell nacho platters.


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