Sunday, October 29, 2006

The Joke of Airline Security

From Wired:
Security researcher Christopher Soghoian created the Northwest Airline Boarding Pass Generator in the hope of spurring Congress to look closely at the nation's aviation security policies, which he calls "security theater."

The site lets anyone create a facsimile of a Northwest Airlines boarding pass, with whatever name they choose.

On Friday, Congress heard Soghoian's message loud and clear. But instead of promising to reform broken airport security procedures, Rep. Edward Markey (D- Massachusetts), a member of the House Homeland Security committee known for his defenses of privacy, wants the site shut down and Soghoian arrested.

A warrant was submitted, and the Feds broke down his door taking computers, etc. I guess it is a crime to point out that the emperor has no clothes. This "fake boarding pass generator" had nothing to do with computer security. Any 6 year old that can type on a keyboard could edit the HTML of an internet issued "boarding pass" and reprint it.

My point here is that the government really doesn't care about security. A state of fear is to be instilled in the populace, and limited token steps are taken to give the impression of security. Not only does this create a cycle of dependence on the powers that be for security, it is a slow path to the elimination of freedoms of the public and empowerment of the establishment.

Maybe I am just a cynic and see pretense and dissimulation in the place of stupidity, shortsightedness, and incompetence.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

The Merchant Hound site is coming along quite nicely. Fun Ajax action, and very aggressive caching make for a fast enjoyable experience. I'd use the site myself if I bought anything online anymore. I am still working out some of the kinks in the page and database cache, so performance can be spotty at times, especially when I am committing changes for the day.

I fixed the XML product feeds today. They look beautiful on the Google feed reader.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Installing Java, the Ubuntu Way

sudo apt-get install fakeroot java-package java-common
fakeroot make-jpkg --full-name "My Name" --email ""
sudo dpkg -i sun-j2re1.5_1.5.0+update05_i386.deb
sudo update-alternatives --config java

Italian Sausage Soup


  • 2lb. italian sausage
  • 1 onion sliced
  • 2 cans stewed tomatoes
  • 1 12oz can tomato sauce
  • 3 raw potatoes julienne sliced
  • 1 bag frozen vegetables (asian blend)
  • 1 tsp. basil
  • 3 tbs. parsley
  • 1/4 tsp. oregano
  • 1 tsp. onion salt
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 3 bay leaves


  1. Brown meat
  2. Combine ingredients in large pot
  3. Add water to 1 1/2 in. of top of pot.
  4. Bring to boil.
  5. Simmer covered for 45 min. to 1 hr.

Serves …a lot of food


To announce that there must be no criticism of the president, or that we are to stand by the president right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public.
-Theodore Roosevelt

If Tyranny and Oppression come to this land, it will be in the guise of fighting a foreign enemy.

-James Madison

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Late Night Rambling

There is far too much information, and far too many ways of storing it. I have a local blog and wiki, for sake of data ownership, but I would like to push data to the wider net as well to give back.

Everything I could possibly care to know and more is available due to the work of others, and it is a small effort to return the favor.

Cannot Install any Ruby Gems

Problem: Error trying to install ANY gem.
Error Message:
ERROR: While executing gem … (Gem::GemNotFoundException)
Could not find rubyzip (> 0) in the repository
Solution: Delete source_cache file (run gem environment to find the Gems install location)

Rails Setup With Mongrel and Apache mod_proxy

I set up Apache to proxy requests to the 3 Mongrel servers providing blogging, wiki, and todo list functionality.

This setup is for local access only.

  • Create mongrel system group and user

  • Place Rails applications in /var/www/mongrel

  • chown -R mongrel:mongrel /var/www/mongrel

  • Create mongrel initscript: /etc/init.d/mongrel and symlink to /etc/rc2.d/S99mongrel

case $1 in
for appdir in `ls /var/www/mongrel`; do cd /var/www/mongrel/$appdir ; echo " * Starting $appdir on port $port."
mongrel_rails start -d -e production -p $port --user mongrel --group mongrel -a ; port=`echo "$port + 1" | bc`
for appdir in `ls /var/www/mongrel`; do cd /var/www/mongrel/$appdir ; echo -n " * Stopping $appdir..."
mongrel_rails stop ; done
for appdir in `ls /var/www/mongrel`; do cd /var/www/mongrel/$appdir ; echo -n " * Restarting $appdir..."
mongrel_rails restart ; done

  • Start mongrel service and test

  • Add entries for blog.localhost, wiki.localhost, etc. to /etc/hosts

  • Enable mod_proxy (sudo a2enmod proxy)

  • Allow local proxy requests by modifying the /etc/apache2/mods-enabled/proxy.conf (Allow

  • Add Listen, etc. to /etc/apache2/ports.conf

  • Create VirtualHosts entries for the servers in a new sites-enabled file (I used proxy)

NameVirtualHost wiki.localhost:80
<VirtualHost wiki.localhost:80>
<Directory "/">
Order allow,deny
Allow from all
ProxyPass / http://localhost:12000/

  • Restart Apache