watching the rain Jul2005

It's been a while since I've posted anything. I'm currently sitting in my garage, garage door lifted fully, watching the rain. It's one of those great kinds rains you miss when summer is gone. Thunder, lightning, dark skies, lots of wind, water pounding the concretes/lawn in droves. Good stuff.

Anyways, as weird as it seems, sitting in my open garage for all the world to see is actually the most secluded place in the house. Maybe it's too warm and humid outside, so noone ventures forth. Maybe it's dirty and grimy (it is - my fault...), or maybe it can't compete with video games and dvd players. Whatever the reason, I feel completely at peace out here, stretched out in a lawn chair, laptop churning, rain pounding everything into submission, and the Gladiator soundtrack playing in xmms. A good orchestral cd and a nice thunderstorm go really well together.

So - what have I been up to lately?

differences in compiled binaries At work, I started writing a binary diff type tool to try and be able to tell the differences in two compiled binaries. Version 1 took about 2 days and 3 hours of sleep to get it working. I did a LOT of things wrong at first and started over a couple of times. In the end, I used Ero Carrera's excellent REML tools to export each binary from IDA Pro. This gave me a list of function definitions and their asm instructions in an easy to parse xml format. From there, I just started comparing based on a couple of different attributes. If the binaries hadn't changed too drastically (function frames were unchanged and only one or two asm instructions were modified), my differ could tell me which func and which instruction at which offset was changed. Unfortunately, anything more than that, and it would get confused and start printing many false positives. Anyways, I'm in the middle of the next version, and I'm taking a completely different approach to creating the necessary data structures to compare binaries. I think it's going to be fairly effective. Anyways, more to come as I get further along. I'm not sure if management will let me release it publically, but if so, I'll post it on with a couple of other minor things I've been working on.

the boys The family is still chugging along. We're still trying to figure out what it means to have our nephews living with us. Their mother (my sister) and I don't see eye to eye on anything, but instant father-hood has been somewhat of a sobering situation. We're still praying about what to do longterm...

The Robot summer project is coming along pretty well. We had a set back when we realized the 1" tubing we were going to use for the frame wasn't going to work. Fortunately, we just started over immediately using 1" angle aluminum and that seems to be holding up well.

and so the solitude escapes... Well, time to finish up this post. The boys have come into the garage and it looks like they want to spend a little time working on the bot some more. The rains have passed as I've been typing and now the skies are a gorgeous blue. There goes my storm-induced solace. ;)

These thoughts are my own, unless they're yours. And if they're yours, we may have metaphysical problems beyond simple concept ownership and should probably talk soon.