30 Nov 2004

cl welcomes me with open arms

as part of the restructuring process to get the LCE out of intellectual bankruptcy proceedings, we've accepted a merger with the cash-laden computer laboratory. as part of the deal, we get to become computer scientist and in return, their sysadmins can get us to bend over.

today i was issued with an incredible set of randomly generated vowel free passwords which i had to type into various computers. with pockets of resistance like SN17, i've had to venture out of my well insulated quake cocoon to the dark side of CL window(s) machine. first off, the default installation doesn't have a decent web browser installed. by decent web browser, i mean firefox.

after i worked passed the password prompt and the fact that i'm using a 2 year old browser, i was able to decided to go to the CL webpage to figure out which public general access ssh server i could log into to change my unix password. it turns out to access that confidential(!) information, you have to have a WWW password, which i do not have. Bizzare thing is that:

1. i can only access the local pages from the CL network

2. i was inside the cozy CL network, but still needed a password ??

so apparently, in order to get a www password, i need to have ssh access into one of their unix boxen. but without the ability to figure out which unix box i should log in to, i was caught in a circular dependency.

so, of course, being athletic and all, i walked a whole 10 metres to our resident interface to the complex jungle of red-tape, and was able to su into my account via his machine. after changing my password like a good computer user, we then figured i would like to change my WWW password as well. but for some bizzare quirk in programming eliteness, no matter what we tried (su, su -, etc), it insisted that i was not logged in as myself. nothing in my environment vars or the output of 'whoami' could tell me why this set-www-passwd thinks i am not who is logged in. i think it is all to do with context-aware computing. it's evil i say! or it could just be that they belong to the thedailywtf.

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