Table for one

| 216 Comments | 8 TrackBacks

Sorry about the lack of technical postings for a while, this last month or so has been rather hard for me.

On 13th February I became suspicious that something wasn't quite right with Michelle, my partner for the last 17 or so years. My suspicions increased and I ended up setting up my laptop in the equipment cupboard as a packet sniffer running Ethereal (now WireShark). I then connected to the laptop via a Remote Desktop Connection and controlled the sniffer from my main PC. A note to anyone reading this who isn't "a techie"; if you plan to use technology when cheating it's probably best to understand the technology involved better than the person that you're cheating on...

[Geek note: setting up the sniffer was actually considerably harder than I expected; mainly due to hardware issues; being able to monitor the network had never been a design constraint on the original installation or the subsequent equipment upgrades. I currently use a combined ADSL modem, router and WIFI access point and it proved impossible to sniff the WIFI network segment from the wired network and equally impossible to sniff the WIFI via the WIFI on my laptop. What's more the fact that I'd replaced my hubs with switches would also have caused me problems... In the end I pulled out my "old hardware" box and connected up my old ADSL modem to the incoming line, put an old 8 port hub between that and the combined router and WIFI box and turned off the ADSL modem in the combined box. All network traffic was now routed across the hub to the old ADSL modem. Plugging my laptop into the hub gave me the logging capabilities that I required... ]

But I digress; the sniffer provided me with evidence that Michelle had been having an affair since mid January. I confronted her and we decided to try and see if we could "work it out" during our ski trip to Colorado. During the trip I decided that the relationship couldn't continue and so on our return she moved out. We're currently doing the separation of assets thing. We hope to be able to remain friends. Since I don't hate her, I figure that nobody else is allowed to...

Right now I still find it quite difficult to concentrate enough to get any technical work done. I expect technical postings will resume once I get my head sorted out. Not sure when that will be. This morning has been the first time since we returned from Colorado that I've been able to sit down and code... So I guess things are getting better.

8 TrackBacks

Just after we returned from this year's trip to Megève I was bemoaning the fact that I was back, keen to "run away to the circus" and do another season and wondering how it could be possible to fit all... Read More

Auf meinem kleinen Streifzug durch englischsprachige Weblogs habe ich zwei interessante Artikel gefunden: Die englische Zeitung Times stellt fest, dass die Deutschen durchschnittlich den höchsten IQ haben. Ausgerechnet die Holländer kön... Read More

A guy uses a packet sniffer to catch his girlfriend cheating. [via] Read More

Early Morning Reading from the 60 billion $$ man on March 29, 2006 2:19 PM

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Google patents free Wi-FiThe search-engine giant has developed three technologies for offering wireless Internet access, and advertising, free of charge. Plus: London fights graffiti with cameraphones. By Owen Thomas, Business 2.0 Magazine online edito... Read More

Packet Sniffer to the rescue, kind of. Read More

Just after we returned from this year's trip to Megève I was bemoaning the fact that I was back, keen to "run away to the circus" and do another season and wondering how it could be possible to fit all... Read More

If you are going to cheat on someone, it is always recommended to be smarter than that person. If you are going out with a techie, dont be cheating online. That is the mistake one female recently made and the... Read More


Keep your head up and your upper lip stiff.

ah i remember making such a discovery but more low tech. while doing the fun thing i noticed a strange spot on her back. it ended up being rug burn... but her first story was a long one about it being caused from gouging her back while reaching for the iron. the story so implausable i asked her to demonstrate. showing me how she reached up for the iron in the closet resulting in coming down against a closet door handle which gouged her back. problem was the handle was totally round. she then spilled the beans.... my current view is: sometimes its just sex. sometimes it matters. i wish you well.

Sounds like something I woulda done. Usually easier to just setup VNC and view desktop though. :)

Way to be... stick with your guns

Bummer dude, especiaaly after 17yrs.
Well, had the same thing happening to me, and took care of it in the same way.
Keep you head and chin up.
A better girl will come.

And remember: everything happens for a reason. Good or bad.

The very first commercial software product I ever wrote was a keystroke logger for the Mac called Last Resort. It was published by Working Software, which is no longer in business. Unlike today's keystroke loggers which focus on capturing passwords and credit card numbers, my product was marketed for the purpose of capturing text lost due to power failures and crashes, even if it had never been saved. Many of my users were novelists.

I made some effort to make Last Resort's presence obvious to the user, lest it be planted on their Mac, and it could be disabled to allow safe password entry. But all my efforts didn't help David Pogue's girlfriend. David Pogue was at the time an editor for Mac User magazine. He now writes for the New York Times.

At a MacWorld Expo he ran up to me and said how grateful he was that I wrote Last Resort, as he had used it to catch his girlfriend writing love letters to the man she was having an affair with. He broke up with her, and told me he was very happy I had enabled him to find out.

I was completely floored. I would have thought a more natural response would be for him to curse my name. But no, he was indeed happy, and to show just how happy he was with my product, he used it (under a fake, but obvious name) in a novel he wrote about the software industry, in which Last Resort saves the world because it captures an important, secret password.

Let's see if I can find it... here we go, it was called "Hard Drive". It's out of print, but can be had used from Amazon and

I do want to say, having sufferred my own share of heartbreak, that I sympathize with your loss. I'm glad you're able to take it as well as you have.

There's an old saying, "easy" come, "easy" go.
You might try to find a girl who isn't so easy to get. If you have a hard time getting her, just imagine how hard it would be for another to. Stay away from blondes, as they drop their skirts for anything, man, woman, or german shepherd.

What you did is illegal and immoral. Nevermind you were right and she was cheating. It could have been otherwise. Plus the method you used, is so bloated and exxagerated. Could have been done with two 20k apps paired right on the target machine that you had access to.

shame on You,

Hi man,

I just ended my relationship with my fiancee for different reasons, but I highly respect your choice. It takes a lot of courage to move on and make the most honest choice for yourself.

Take it on step and one breath at the time. It'll take a while.

Good luck,

"Everything happens for a reason" is pretty much the rule that I live my life by. There's no point in wasting energy on "if only"s. Things happen and they need to be dealt with. Sometimes it does take a while to work out what the reason is though...

I think my INTJ tendancies help here. When most things actually happen I seem to have already been through a worse outcome in my head at some prior point and having already faced up to the possibilities it seems easier to face the reality. Having said that I'd never done "contingency planning" for this particular situation, it came completely out of the blue, but my "what if she dies in a car crash, how could I cope alone" planning can be put into service...

As I said in my piece about my "Introspection on INTJ", this kind of reaction can make one appear heartless, I'm not, it's just my way of coping. Life goes on.

heh, dude - what were you doing with her after 17 years? She prob got bored and decided she wanted a man of action instead of a man of words. Fear of commitment will send them running. Or at least, not keep them close by.

Sorry to hear about it, dude, but honestly if you spent as much effort on the relationship as spying on your own local network, she prob wouldn't have drifted away.

And by work I don't mean "telling her how you feel" all the time. I mean, like actual growth.


Illegal and immoral? Whatever.

Given I had a limited amount of time to work with the target machine and I had no previous experience in monitoring a machine in a way that wasn't detectable and given that my priority was to gather as much information as possible over an unknown period of time I figure that monitoring the network was the safest and least disruptive option available to me.

Hang in there. It will take a couple months to feel and work through the emotions. But it goes away. And working on something for "you" actually helps.

Went through the same thing myself back in 2001/2002. WinWhatWhere helped me.

Good Luck and Peace.

Holy fricksticks, chum. That's a shame. Can't understand why you couldn't capture packets from one wi-fi laptop to another, though? Surely if one was in promiscuous receive mode all should work?

P.S. Wasn't allowed to post my URL

"What you did is illegal and immoral."

BS. if he owns the equipment its legal.


I didn't spend much time trying to work out the wifi capture problem as I had limited time alone to make the changes. I knew I had the hardware I needed to change the configuration and get everything.

you're a bit of a loser if you have to *snoop* on your "girlfriend". You might have just realised that if there was no trust, it was over already.


Perhaps. However, I was snooping so that I had solid evidence (rather than purely circumstantial stuff) for when I confronted her. Perhaps living with a litigation lawyer for 17 years has rubbed off... Either way, it worked for me.

Bummer to hear this. Although I just busted mine a week ago in a similar fashion..ok women, you want to talk to ex's or new loves it on your own computer at your own house on your own damn paid for line. Whores everywhere..

I caught my ex the same way more or a less, but by accident. I had been legitimately using a packetsniffer to monitor network traffic coming from a game that we were both playing at the time (everquest) and I noticed a big spike in aim traffic when I wasn't home at a certain time every day... decided to find out what it was. The first line I got was "God I wish you were here right now so I could be f***ing you." from her to him... and it didn't get much better. Foolishly, I took her back after that breakup and wasted another couple years of my life. Stick to your guns, it's *DAMN* hard, but in the end you'll be glad you did (took me about a year after we broke up the last time to really "get over" the whole mess.)

Oh man, you should have called the guys from the show Cheaters... Well, at least you can now call them to start a new show: Cheaters Tech Edition, where they use CSI equipment to discover the unfaithfuls.


Hell i feel for you! I did the self same thing... twice! and caught two seperate g/fs at the cheating thing.

But chin up, it gets better and easier as time goes by. It is natural to think back on the good times so don't berate yourself for it.

And keep your composure, do not reply to any flame-bait comments! Chin up! You know you did the right thing, so don't pay attention to the twisted ones...


this made it to Digg so you are so going to be overwhelmed with comments... but.. as for the skiing stuff.. Love It.... but next time skip Vail and go to Alta/Snowbird/Utah... you will get the powder experience there unless you really get unlucky... like the ski video footage .. good luck moving on .. life is always ready to throw you challenges...

It's like cancer, it's a terrible thing to find, but you need to, so you can cut it off.

Len, well you got your "evidence" bro. Nice detective work. You coulda just said: "there's no trust between us. I'm suspicious of you, and btw I'm not above snooping on you."

So you didn't trust her, and further snooped on her. If you had found nothing, would you have just continued in the relationship? "Oh, I spied on her, but I didn't find any evidence, so I still love her." WTF

Seriously, dude. Sorry to hear about it but from all accounts it sounds like an unhealthy, unhappy situation all around. Be glad it's over.

I caught my ex gf in a similar manner. I used Remote Administrator and just viewed her desktop while she was chatting with the other guy.

17 years is a long time! Keep ur chin up man.

Tough break dude.

Once you get everything sorted out, you'll be back on your feet before you know it.

Got any pics?

I found that TightVNC with a hidden icon and Tiny Key Logger worked extremely well, though AVG Free now detects and removes TKL. I even went as far as to have apache on my machines so that I could view the key logs in realtime online, anywhere as well as using php to restart the keylogger or vnc if they were exited. I gave her ample time/opertunity to come clean but she denied everything until I slapped down a print out. Not fun, but at least I knew beyond the shadow of a doubt.

Same thing here. I had a suspicion my gf was up to something, so I used a keylogger to get her email password. When I read her email I found correspondance between her and some guy I didn't know; and it was R-rated.
I confronted her, and she ditched the other guy and we tried to work things out, but in the end we broke up.
All you can do in situations like these is to remember that even though it hurts like hell right now, at some point you will get over it.

I am very sorry your girl didn't have the strength to end your relationship before she started another. You should keep your chin up. Things will get better.

ok... so im in the same situation, I have a switch with two pcs connected.. was gonna go the sniffer route but its proving to be beyond my level as yet. A simple logger on the machine in question would be much easier? If anyone knows the easiest way to record/capture msn conversations ! would be much oblidged!

Isn't illegal in your state to spy on other people communications?

Man that sucks :/

I agree with Shad, specially if you don't have children, which I guess you don't, since it would probably be mentioned.

Usually men are different from women when they break up. The women suffers more for a shorter time, and the men, sometimes for years. Don't let this happen to you...

You've constructed a routine around her life, which is the hardest thing to let go. For the next year or so, avoid the places where you used to go together, and things that you did as a couple.

I know this will sound ridiculous now, but read it again in four weeks. Remember everything that everyone says about being single and party on :) Life goes on :)

Similar thing here... When I was suspicious, I hacked into a "mates" email and found a registration to adultfriendfinder... So I left it a few weeks and replied to him as a woman.

Within a few days he was sending me rude photos of himself and telling me all about his affair with his mates wife and how her husband was so stupid that he would never find out

Anyway, I have two small kids so for their sake I had no choice but to work things out.

Everyone stopped talking to him and he ended up leaving the area and 6 years later the wife and I are still together.

I was in almost the same situation around that time too. Except I had only been going out with the girl for 2 months and had suspected something from the start. She didn't seem to realise that msn messenger was logging her chats so confronted her with 40 pages worth of conversations showing she wasn't being as honest as she made herself out to be. It turns out there were at least 4 other guys she was involved with

or maybe things are getting worse. the mechanical land is well tended but has the land of spirit has become a desert?

While some people here point to the ethics of how you discovered her infidelity, I think it's safe to say this is no worse than following someone around.

It sucks that you had to resort to this, but as it turns out -- your suspicions were justified, and she's far more in the wrong than you are.

Just remember -- it's never the end of the world. Keep your head up.

Sounds like my kinda girl!

What a bitch. Why didn't that ho at least break up with you first? What is it with skanks? They're like a plague. I'd have to kill a bitch if she cheated on me.

Sorry to read about it. I've really come to the decision that all women are like this. A similar thing happened to me. Absolutely nothing immoral or wrong about what you did.

From my experience, and several friends, don't try to remain friends. It's over cut and run. But don't feel bad about remembering the good times. That's what memories should be for.

Wow, I know excatly how you feel. They come home and something is "Just Not Right". I had the same situation happen to me. I came home early from work one day and went to my computer. I noticed that she accidently didn't close her hotmail window but just minimized it. The message that was on the screen was very suggestive. Givien that and her new very strange daily habits I was getting concerned.

I did the low tech version of what you did. I installed a Key Logger on my home PC and went back to work. That night I was shocked to see the messages she was typing and to whom(My Army Buddy!).

That night I confronted her and my suspecions were confirmed. I threw her out that night. A 3 year relationship was over in a few hours.

It was hard, it was very hard aferwards, but life went on. Before her you could have labeled me a Nice guy, I still am, just I am a little more protective of my GFs now and guess what Most (not all) girls like that.

Just a Tip, Dont go looking for another Girl Friend just yet. Go out and meet and talk to diffrent girls. "Shop around" find out what you like. it has been 17 years. Go out with your frineds and have a good time. If you dont have any single guy friends Check out they have a free "wingman" service that can get you in touch with like minded guys in your area. Dont dwell on the past or what you could have done or what you might have missed. It is too late to think about that. you are a better person now because she is out of your life. Now go have some fun!

1 word: WHORE
you want to remain friends? you're crazy friend's don't even do that to eachother

"Surely if one was in promiscuous receive mode all should work?"

Weren't you paying attention? This is what caused the problem to begin with!

Dude I know this is rude but, you're a dumass! You deserved to have her leave you. 17 Years and you didn't make a single move to try and take it to the next level? All I can say is you deserved it. You're lucky she stayed that long.

Sorry to hear about your situation. I will echo the breakup and stay broken up them. I found out years ago that my wife had been involved in a few affairs. We tried to patch things up and stayed together. Now, two kids later we are going through the same thing except with the kids involved it gets really messy. I am really kicking myself for not severing the relationship years ago and starting over.

Best of luck,


Interesting viewpoint; actually, neither of us wanted to marry.

If you feel like reading:

My condolences, but this is par for the course, move on, always keep part of yourself withdrawn from all others, "adds weight to the personality", never trust anyone but yourself fully, women are cool to have around but don't become dependent on them.

Best Wishes for a new day.

Contact me if you want to talk, I am off work at the moment.

Sorry to hear about the breakup man ... I'm just another guy out here, but I know what it's like to lose someone. My g/f has cheated on me once, left me for it, but it wasn't a terrible occurrence, so she realized that she had screwed up and came back. I think it was pretty dumb of me to let her back in, but that's my decision and for now I'm sticking to it. I always believe that things (arguments, etc) can be worked out, but there's absolutely no excuse for a partner to cheat on the other. Len: I wish you the best happiness, and you know that there's someone else out there for you. Hang in there, I know it's really hard, and it really hurts badly, but just hang in there.

I feel your pain brother! I just found out my girl of 2 years was cheating on me for 6 months, and i used technology to find out. Remember cheaters, trillian saves conversations...

Personally i wouldn't try to be friends with her, she betrayed your trust, sry, just my view!