Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Ruby on Rails

...but still here.

My latest interest is Ruby on Rails. From a complete Ruby on Rails n00b to a custom, from scratch, multiple bank account balancing web app in less than 9 hours. Yeah, thats 9 hours INCLUDING reading, learning, debugging, etc. WOW!

The framework seems to be worth the hype.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

VNC Server Setup on Ubuntu 4.10

VNC Server Setup on Ubuntu 4.10
$ sudo vi /etc/apt/sources.lst
# uncomment the unverse repository
$ sudo apt-get update && apt-get install vnc4server
$ sudo vi /etc/X11/Xwrapper.config
# change
$ sudo vi /etc/vnc.conf
# change
$XFConfigPath = "/etc/X11/XF86Config"
$XFConfigPath = "/etc/X11/xorg.conf"
$ echo "gnome-session &" > vi ~/.vnc/xstartup
$ vncpasswd
# set password here
$ vncserver -geometry 1024x768 -depth 24 :1
$ vncserver -kill :1
# to kill vnc

Friday, September 30, 2005

VMware Error

"Unable to change virtual machine power state: Failed to connect to peer process."

chmod o+x /opt/vmware/lib/bin/vmware-vmx

Friday, September 16, 2005

Perl Script to Convert CSV to Tab Delimited

Converting commas to tabs is trivial: print s/,/\t/g;

Now, handling quoted commas makes it interesting, especially when the quotes are only present when necessary. I wrote this today as an exercise. Perl r0XX0r5!!!!

# Converts comma delimited text to tab delimited text
# Input from STDIN, output to STDOUT
# Note: any pre-existing tabs are converted to commas

while (<>) {
while (m/"[^\t"]+\t[^\t"]*"/g)
{ s/("[^\t"]+)\t/\1,/g; }


Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Video Problems

Apparently, there is a bug in old AMD implementations of the AGP specification, leading to instability and crashes. For example I have an ASUS A7M266 mobo with the AMD 760 Northbridge and the VIA VT82C686B South Bridge and an AMD Athlon Thunderbird 1.4Ghz processor. This hardware combination prevents 3D games from working properly or at all without driver updates.

To fix, install: the latest BIOS, the VIA 4-in-1 chipset drivers (do not install the AGP driver), and the AMD AGP Miniport Driver.

This fixes problems in Windows, but in a linux install, you seem to be out of luck.

Monday, September 12, 2005


The Roslin Institute announced the creation of a human embryo without male genetic material.

Keep up the good work! It is a pity that so many people see an ethical problem with genetic and reproductive research.


Many people are blaming President Bush for the bungled response to the Katrina disaster for really stupid reasons. Here is a real one: his appointment of Michael Brown as FEMA director, a man with absolutely no disaster management experience (he was formerly the "Judges and Stewards Commissioner" of the International Arabian Horse Assoc). Mr. Brown resigned today in the face of his incompetence.

One must ask oneself how concerned our President is with the security and well being of the American people when he appoints such incompetents to important posts. Obviously Bush relies completely on the suggestions of his advisors. The blantant corruption and pork-barreling of the Administration is sickening and should be frightening to everyone. As they say: "If You're Not Outraged, You're Not Paying Attention!"

The culpability of the President of the actions or inaction of his appointees needs to be addressed.

Friday, September 02, 2005

A few words on the political spectrum...

On one side lies the liberals, who want a federal government that cares for them, provides for them, and tells them no when they make fun of their friends, graciously relieves them of their dirty evil money to fund massive social programs, and has laws on the books for just about everything. The interests of individuals trump business, and the state always knows best regulating every last minuitae of business and private doings.

On the other side lies the conservatives, who want a government with few laws but those laws are enforced in a severely draconian fashion. This is a government with low taxes, but spends freely in overseas military and police action to impose the freedom of "Democracy." Business interest trumps individual, and in practice business runs the state.

Somewhere completely off on a tangent lies the libertarian who wants a very small government. One with minimal involvement, existing merely to facilitate the contruction of infrastructure and organize a militia to defend life, property, and borders. Taxes are negligible. In practice, business trumps all.

Of course this is theory and idealism. A more pragmatic point of view incorporates a little of all three.

Myself...I lean toward the latter.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Hurricane Katrina

New Orleans is in chaos. I can't say that I wouldn't be looting for supplies and guns myself, stuck in a flooded city without water, electricity or other means to acquire food. I would rather be out there than in the Superdome packed like sardines with 25,000 other people. The reports coming out of the Superdome seem quite dire as well. Not enough food, 2 bottles of water a day, no electricty or running water. One can only imagine the stench of 25,000 people in the humid New Orleans summer heat. It has been about 4 days these people have been stuck there. Gunfire has stalled evacuation from the Superdome.

Gas Prices

Premium is over $3/gal. now, and unleaded at $2.95.

I told all my friends at the beginning of the year that we would be seeing this by years end. I wish I hadn't been right, I didn't think I would be right so soon.

Economically and politically, the United States is experiencing a "perfect storm." I just wonder how worse it will get, and I don't want to know. I am hating driving my V8 truck 20 miles to work and 20 miles back every day, it really hurts the wallet.

Where is our nuclear/hydrogen economy? That is the only sustainable solution for energy, as far as I see. I see banks of wind generators at sea powering the electrolysis of sea water supplementing nuclear power plants. Electricity for the home, hydrogen fuel cells for autos. Ship the nuclear waste to Antarctica.


Opera was having their 10 year "anniversary party" and offered free registration codes for their browser. I took up the opportunity and installed Opera in Windows and Gentoo. WOW, I am a convert! This a a brower for a power user! The functionality built into this app is quite impressive. Normally I would consider this bloat, but the memory footprint of Opera is actually the same or less than Firefox!

The email client can be confusing at times, but I am now using it on my Gentoo box to check system mail, I am not fond of KMail. (Side Note: Opera does not support local maildir or mailspool so installing a local IMAP server was necessary. Courier-IMAP would not give me joy and I had little patience to fiddle with it, so Dovecot saved the day. Courier-IMAP is a powerful and extremely flexible IMAP server, but Dovecot "just works" with very very little configuration)

I never bothered trying Opera because I hate ads, I see now that I really wouldn't have cared.

Friday, August 26, 2005

From a Whitewash to Finger Pointing...

A highly classified report was released detailing failures within the CIA before 9/11. At last there is some semblance of accountability, but who knows if the fingers are pointing in the right direction. More misdirection as I see it.
"...But a former intelligence official close to Mr. Tenet said Mr. Helgerson's team had failed to interview policy makers and intelligence officers outside the agency or to note that the agency was more focused on Al Qaeda than any other arm of government was before 2001." (article)

Google Earth

I FINALLY got around to installing Google Earth on my WinXP partition. Simply amazing. The first time you zoom in on your house from space is mind-boggling. The community is amazing as well. I spent most of last night sight-seeing. =)

FedEx Furniture

Furniture made from FedEx boxes... Wouldn't it be cheaper to go to a garage sale or goodwill. Cool nonetheless.


Thoughts on MS Vista

Considering the hardware requirements of Vista, the majority of installations of the new Windows release will be preinstalled on new computers, rather than upgrades. An entrenched monopoly like Microsoft will have the upper hand here, an 800-ton gorilla upper hand

As for Linux competition with those taking the XP to Vista upgrade, Microsoft will need to flex its lock-in muscle. Such as with Vista-only IE feature updates, cooperation with online media outlets for Vista-only DRM, and incompatibily/reduced performance with OpenGL for games. Considering the high hardware requirements, again it seems that a consumer eying an upgrade to Vista will most likely purchase a new computer, as it will be a better value proposition. Of course the power user and enthusiast will mostly likely have the required hardware already and is probably dual booting with Linux.

Those that cannot afford the inevitable hardware and software upgrade for Vista will find Linux a very affordable and functional route.

The funtional improvements in Vista seem very debatable at this point. Businesses will ask themselves what ROI will materialize from an upgrade. Many business have not migrated from Windows2000 to XP as of yet. Case in point, I am writing this post from a Win2k machine, and there isn't a single install of XP at my choice.

So in summary, my $0.02 is that the outlook for Linux migrations look quite rosy, and the majority of MS Vista installations will be new computer purchases. I forsee retail sales of Vista to be very disappointing.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Iran and Nuclear Power

An interesting article about Iran pursuing nuclear energy. You might as well call this "The Economic Case for Nuclear Energy in Iran." Here is a nice quote from the article.
David Kay, former head of the Iraq Survey Group, speaking in November 2004 at a forum sponsored by the Center for Strategic and International Studies said:
The first thing - of what we do know, and it's amazing how many Americans seem to skate over this - the first nuclear reactor given to Iran was given by the United States in 1967 - a five-megawatt trigger reactor, research reactor, under the Eisenhower Atoms for Peace Program. Still operated ... The other thing that Americans forget is that in 1974, the shah announced a policy of 23,000 megawatts of nuclear energy in Iraq. The US reaction? [Former US national security adviser and secretary of state] Henry Kissinger beat down the door to be sure that two US constructors, General Electric and Westinghouse, had a preferred position in selling those reactors. We did not say, "it's a stupid idea, why would you want to do that when you are flaring gas and you have immense oil reserves?" We said, "That is very interesting; it's an example of how the Iranian economy is moving and becoming modern." Imagine in Iranian ears how it sounds now when we denigrate that capacity. They remember. We were sellers of nuclear reactors and wanted to be sellers of nuclear reactors to the shah.
The Administration is showing the same kind of hypocrisy shown towards Iraq and it's "WMD"'s which were provided in-part by the US during the Iran-Iraq conflict.
"The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention sent samples directly to several Iraqi sites that U.N. weapons inspectors determined were part of Saddam Hussein's biological weapons program, CDC and congressional records from the early 1990s show. Iraq had ordered the samples, claiming it needed them for legitimate medical research." --USATODAY.COM (Another article here).

Google Talk

Yesterday, Google announced its "Google Talk" IM service which also offers voice communication. The service is Jabber based, no big surprise there. Finally an IM service I can depend not to break 3rd party client compatibility. I run Gentoo Linux, so have not tried the Windows native client, but Gaim works perfectly.

The service is obviously still in beta, so new features are bound to come. This will be necessary if Google wants to differentiate its service and expand its user base.

I would put money on that Google plans to place targeted ads in the chat window when the service comes out of beta.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

US Pressure on Iran

"The United States said that Iran should not be let off the hook although an independent probe has reportedly showed no evidence of clandestine atomic weapons activities in the Islamic republic."
Yahoo News

Here is more BS coming from the State Department. Iran's nuclear program is merely an excuse for war against Iran. Just as WMD's were for Iraq. An excuse and tool to instill fear and forward a neocon agenda. The US securing its worldwide interests is good and all, but the current implementation is unsustainable. Not to mention that the rhetoric is quite transparent.

Undoubtedly, Iran wishes to develop nuclear weapons. Just as Saddam desired to. What soverign nation wouldn't? (Key word here: sovereign) The US won't attempt to militarily intervene against a country with nukes. Case in point: North Korea. The problem in this case is that the US has little economic clout over Iran.

friggin SPAM!

...I knew it would happen eventually.

A piece of spam made it into my inbox through the to-date quite excellent combination of postfix, procmail, clamav, spamassassin, and rules de jour. The culprit: the origination address was forged to be from my account! Well, it probably would have been marked as spam if I had not whitelisted my own domain.

...reasons for existence

1. To archive opinions, news, tip-and-tricks.
2. sucks.
3. very pretty.

first post