Quickly Setup a Decent Vimrc

I’m on new servers pretty often, and usually their vim configuration is quite lacking, I mean, come on /etc/skel can only get you so far these days.. While I have my .vimrc out there, copying it down fails because I don’t have the right version of vim installed, plus I’m missing plugins and other goofy stuff I call out that should be in my $HOME/.vim directory. So, here’s a start to get me rolling on a new server with a decent, basic vimrc setup so I can get to work.

A shell script to check a webserver's cipher suites

Today we wrote a simple shell script to query an SSL enabled webserver. Pretty fun to have in the aresenal, it looks like this: Let’s run it against our site and see what we get: $ ./ssl_cipher_test.sh fak3r.com tls1_2: ECDHE-RSA-AES256-SHA tls1_2: AES256-SHA tls1_2: ECDHE-RSA-AES128-GCM-SHA256 tls1_2: ECDHE-RSA-AES128-SHA tls1_2: AES128-GCM-SHA256 tls1_2: AES128-SHA So what do you think?

Build a Headless Spotify Connect Server


I’ve run various projects on Raspberry Pi computers since they came out, but the one I’ve used the most has been the one I bought an external DAC (digital audio converter) for, and hooked it up to a stereo so I could remotely stream music. Technically you could use a Y-cord (3.5mm Mini to RCA Stereo) plugged into the headphone out of the Pi, and have it connect via RCA to your stereo, but then you’re using the on board audio, which is far inferior to a dedicated DAC. While I liked frontends like Pi Musicbox, Rune Audio, and the polished looking Volumio, they did far more than I needed, and over time I’d have random issues that would take me longer to fix than I’d like, so I decided to rebuild my setup from scratch, and just make it a Spotify Connect server. This means that the system can be a ‘source’ for any Spotify client to stream audio to, cutting out the need for a web-based front end like the other projects.

Rapberry Pi w/HiFi Berry DAC+ PRO in case

Proxy Nexus-IQ via NGINX with SSL

Today, working on a client project, I was strugglying to get their Apache configuration working with virutal hosts, fuctioning as a reverse proxy to a Nexus IQ server while providing SSL. Between different virtual hosts pointing to differnt port, while rewriting parts of it, I wouldn’t get it to do everything I needed. After a few hours I took a different tact and figured it out quickly in NGINX. I’ve only used NGINX for personal projects (and most work projects) for the past 6 years or so… it’s better, faster, more flexible, easier to config, more reliable… forget about it, for my money it is tremendous.

Best Music of 2017

The shows Kevin Morby at Off Broadway, Wednesday, September 13, 2017 (photo by me) I still love seeing live music more than anything, and it’s always such a kick to see my favorite bands, as well as seeing bands I’ve never heard of, usually opening the show, becoming a new favorite. There were some great shows this year, and I ate them up - honestly I didn’t misss much that I wanted to see.

Upgrading GitLab from 6x to 10x

Recently at my day job, the client tasked me with bringing their development stack up to date. The (fun) difficultly here was that these servers were about 4 years out of date and included Jenkins, Sonar, GitLab), and Nexus. Jenkins was the jumbled mess you'd expect with unsupported plugins, new configurations breaking builds, and more fun, Sonar was so out of date I started from scratch after dropping the old databse, but GitLab was the one I was looking forward to, and while it was enlightening, it wasn't much fun!

The Power Trio Behind Superflex

This documentary about Superflex, a Danish art collective responsible for the current main hall exhibition at Tate Modern in London, is remarkable. Artists Jakob Fenger, Rasmus Nielsen and Bjørnstjerne Christiansen, are Superflex, who are, “…famous for getting audiences involved in artworks, which playfully challenge conventions.” Some of the conceptual ideas that their work has pushed are really eye opening, and it follows my long held belief; if you have to ask, “But is it art?

Checking for, and fixing, broken RPM packages

Sometimes you’ll run something in the commandline, only to realise you weren’t in the directory you thought you were in. Most of the time this is fine, you get an error and move on. But wait, what if you think you’re moving backups to another directory and you just use a * to catch them all because you’re not paying attention… oh, and it ends up you were in / at the time.

HOWTO Automate the Lynis auditing tool

Often when working with a client I’ll have recommendations on server settings and configurations, but sometimes things are not obvious, and I want another set of eyes to audit security settings. External scanners are fine but are mostly relegated to be run by the security teams, so using an open source auditing tool can help with security auditing, hardening, and compliance while helping to determine if you have things configured and setup optimally.

New 45 logo

Thanks to Mike Mitchell @sirmitchell for the new 45 logo, inspired by Trumps recent comments on the Charlottesville clash. Here's a high res copy which I'm allowing for personal use (signs, shirts, buttons). Spread it far and wide: https://t.co/k0GqGslx6W 🚫45 pic.twitter.com/1bWM00CHtj — Mike Mitchell (@sirmitchell) August 15, 2017 > “When someone shows you who they are, you should believe them. And Donald Trump is again letting Nazis and white supremacists off the hook for their violence in Charlottesville.

HOWTO Use Systemd to Control VPN Connections

Today I had a case where a coworker wanted a Linux server to connect to a particular VPN, and we didn’t want to make it use some hacky way like putting a script in /etc/rc.local for it to run on boot. By using systemd we learned how to use it to control connecting to the VPNs, using the OpenVPN client. Steps Install the OpenVPN client Verify the openvpn client is installed Debian/Ubuntu apt-get install openvpn RHEL/CentOS yum install openvpn Get VPN keys, certifiates and configs From your remote host, get the files or zip file that includes your VPN keys, certificates and configs Place the files (unzipping any archives) into /etc/openvpn on your client Configure OpenVPN session In the directory /etc/openvpn copy the .

Best music of 2016

Cheap Girls (photo courtesy of Cheap Girls) The year It’s been a great year (musically), and I’ve kept my head above water by going out to see some great shows. Highlights include; Basia Bulat, Jason Isbell, Shovels & Rope, Neon Indian, Guided by Voices, The Thermals, Summer Canibals, Screaming Females, Aye Nako, The Waco Brothers, Cheap Girls, Bob Mould Band, Lydia Loveless, Will Courtney & the Wild Bunch, Built To Spill, The Posies, Shellac, Shannon Wright, Amanda Shires, Colter Wall, and Sloan.

HOWTO setup a very secure webserver

When getting started with Linux and open source software, running websites was one of the first things I learned how to do. Of course with the way software evolves, I’m still learning new ways to better secure, encrypt and protect web assests. Recently I wanted to build a new project and decided I wanted to use OpenBSD, arguably the most secure operating system out of the box. While years ago I switched to FreeBSD for web and mailserver handling, OpenBSD is just more stringent about how it presents things. There’s more to learn, sure, but that’s all part of the fun. Now, if you look around at normal VPS options like DigitalOcean and Linode won’t allow you to run OpenBSD, but with Vultr (affilate link) you can use any ISO you can point to. They have a $5/month option, but they give you 768M RAM versus the 512M that you get from most other VPS providers for that price. With that decided I ran through the install using their console and was up and running in no time. Now for the fun part, let’s ssh to the server and setup a very setup a secure webserver!

HOWTO Bias ASL Tube Amps

I’ve wanted to get into tube audio amplifiers for my stereo systems for a long time, so years ago I bought my first ones, a pair of Antique Sound Lab AV-25 monoblocks. One thing that was a bit tricky was to bias the amps, and the units didn’t come with directions, so I eventually got info directly from the company, but could’t find it anywhere online. I’m transcribing them here for my reference and for others, in case they have the same, or similar, amps from Antique Sound Labs.

What About Them?

This is a previously unpublished sketch written on 2007-04-18 of two people talking about the constant state of fear in a nation controlled by the media. Strangely it’s still relevant today. […] “But what about them; what’s the difference?” “What?” “With their outlook on things, everything is just so negative, have we evolved that way?” “You’re telling me you mean we became more negative as a species over 50 years?

Best music of 2015

Metz (photo from radio1190 ) Another year, another batch of new toons to love. As always, discovering new music never gets old, the endless digging for new sounds continues to be one of my favorite things. Let’s rock! Courtney Barnett “Sometimes I Sit and Think, Sometimes I Just Sit” Built To Spill “Untethered Moon” Deerhunter “Fading Frontier” Hop Along “Painted Shut” Jason Isbell “Something More Than Free” Jamie xx “In Colour” Metz “II” Refused “Freedom” Sleater-Kinney “No Cities To Love” Supersuckers “Holding the bag” Waxahatchee “Ivy Tripp”

HOWTO build nginx with HTTP 2 support

UPDATE 02-29-2016 a reader had issues getting this working, and after reproducing his issue I found that the ssl_cipers HIGH:!aNULL:!MD5; no longer works. Apparently sometime after I wrote this, the HTTP/2 specs were updated, and browsers followed suit. This blog post tells us, “According to the HTTP/2 specification, over TLS 1.2 HTTP/2 SHOULD NOT use any of the cipher suites that are listed in the cipher suite black list, found here” So now, we have to call out another cipher before the blacklisted ones ssl_ciphers AESGCM:HIGH:!aNULL:!MD5 Thanks for the note Elias!

Last week nginx relased mainline version 1.9.5 which features experimental HTTP/2 module. According to the Internet Engineering Task ForceHTTP/2 enables a more efficient use of network resources and a reduced perception of latency by introducing header field compression and allowing multiple concurrent exchanges on the same connection. It also introduces unsolicited push of representations from servers to clients. This specification is an alternative to, but does not obsolete, the HTTP/1.1 message syntax. HTTP’s existing semantics remain unchanged.” You can get an idea of how HTTP/2 is better and faster on this demo page which shows the multiple connections making a significant difference.

TL;DR it’s faster, backwards compatible and the new hotness (obviously).

Bruce on privacy

I’ve written about Bruce Schnier many times before, but this recent comment perfectly captures why we all need to be concerned about our only privacy

Best Songwriters Morrissey and Marr

In a recent article, the magazine Rolling Stone tries to list the 100 Greatest Songwriters of All Time, and while any list that a audacious will have it’s detractors (and there is much to criticize in this one), it’s refreshing to see the songwriting tandem of Morrissey and Marr getting the props they deserve. Breaking in at #67, the post features some very nice quotes from Marr about Morrissey, and a photo of the pair of key Smiths that I’ve never seen before. Here are both, for review.

They're made out of meat

I’m a big fan of science fiction writing, and with humor it’s even better! Here’s a great one I found online, first a note from the author Terry Bisson, “I’m honored that this often shows up on the internet. Here’s the correct version, as published in Omni, 1990. Thanks for your interest in my work. If you enjoyed this little piece, please give a dollar to a homeless person.”

HOWTO use npm behind a corporate proxy


Working at $big_company is not without its challenges, but the least of which should be network access, right? No, of course not. Installed “security appliances” (see the SSL MiTM post for more on that) on the network always limit access from within the corporate firewall out to the Iernet at large to protect from security vulurables. This is all great and fine, but that kind of protection always errs on blocking, so working with open source projects that are easy to install and run out in the real world become a nightmare when you’re inside the coporate firewall.

Does your employer run SSL MiTM attacks on you?

TL;DR companies are buying appliances that run SSL MiTM (Man in The Middle) attacks against their users, decrypting sessions on the fly without the user’s knowledge. You should find out if this is happening to you. As a self described privacy advocate, I consider myself pretty cognizant of when I might be under some sort of network surveillance; I know what to look for, and enjoy understanding ways to avoid it (often by not visiting certain sites from certain networks), but one day I hit something that surprised me.

HOWTO Turn On Firefox Tracking Protection

Years ago there was a lot of excitment about Do Not Track (DNT) as a way to enhance online privacy for users by allowing them to ‘opt-out’ of tracking by websites and advertisers. The idea as defined on Wikipedia:


I’ve used CoreOS a good deal for the last few months, automating it on Amazon Web Services to run Docker instances like a boss, but when a new version comes out, figuring out the new AMI ID to target is cumbersome. What happens is that a new CoreOS version will be built with AWS, resulting in a new AMI ID, but going to the CoreOS cloud provider’s page to manually grok the ID is no fun. I knew there had to be a automated way to do this, but earlier attempts failed. That changed today as I got a clue from the #coreos channel on irc.freenode.net. Here’s the gist:

Mogwai, Helicon 1

One of my all time favorite bands Mogwai (still #2 on my last.fm listen list) is releasing a career spanning 3 CD / 6 LP set called Belters Box. For the occasion they’ve released a new video, for an old song, Helicon 1. Directory Graig Murray has this to say about it, “The film you see is made from 100% 35mm stills which I shot off the screen: I used about 100+ rolls which were all individually scanned. All effects you see in the film are physical workings of the negatives (scanner compositing, scratching, liquids etc). Given the logistics of shooting everything discreetly and also in the sea, the original footage was all shot on an iphone and a go-pro, with some addition animation using 35mm.”

Snowden on privacy

While Edward Snowden may be hiding in Russia, he understands and thinks about the freedoms American’s take for granted everyday. In a recent Reddit AMA he succinctly described why he is such a firm believer in privacy, giving his argument against the often heard, “I don’t care if they violate my privacy; I’ve got nothing to hide”.

HOWTO build microservices infrastructure with Mantl


I’ve been watching ciscocloud/microservices-infrastructure for awhile, an ambitious project designed to get a microservices infrastructure setup with a reasonable set of defaults. Now they seem to be getting more serious about the project and have renamed it mantl, which they define as, “A container orchestrator, docker, a network stack, something to pool your logs, something to monitor health, a sprinkle of service discovery and some automation”. This sounds amazing, and certainly similar to something I did/try to do with my stax project… but just like with stax, there’s lots to do up front. Let’s give it a go. Will run it on AWS, but note that it can also be run on Vagrant, Openstack, Google Compute Engine, as well as bare metal, via Terraform. As usual I’m working from Debian, so if you’re in something else, or OSX, your initial setup will vary.

HOWTO build tiny docker images

Overview For the past year it seems, everyone is trying Docker, running processes in containers to make environments more predictable and reproducable. However old habits die hard, and once again I see installations that are far larger with wasted resources at best, and insecure, unused services running at worst. Most people running Docker are using huge images with needless applications installed and taking up space for their containers. Meanwhile, if you search in the Docker Registry for ‘debian minimal’ you’ll come across some images that are over 260 MB!

HOWTO get started with lxc and lxd

Today Ubuntu released 15.04 (Vivid Vervet) which is a huge release for the lastest cloud and server options. Updated OpenStack, Juju, libvirt, qemu, Open vSwitch, Ceph, cloud-init, docker, corosync, haproxy, pacemaker - and the stars of the show, Ubuntu’s take on the container world, lxc, lxd and Ubuntu Core, aka Snappy. With all of that fun stuff I didn’t waste any time, I grabbed the server ISO of 15.04 and slapped it on a server. I got started with lxc and lxd to check them out, and while there’s plenty more to do and learn, here’s how to get started with them.

Green Chile Chicken Enchiladas

And now for something completely different, it’s a followup to my only other cooking post, Migas. Keeping it in the Mexican/Tex-mex realm, today we’re going to make some green chile chicken enchiladas!

Green chile chicken enchiladas

The Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA)

From an article about the court case against weev (yes he’s a creep, but he still has rights) is an apt, consise definition of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) and how it’s being used/abused today. ”… the CFAA, a law passed 30 years ago before every home — indeed, every person’s pocket or purse — held a computer. The CFAA is an anti-hacking statute that makes it a crime to obtain information from a computer “without authorization.

Best Music of 2014

HOWTO update Googledrive icons to go with the dark Yosemite theme

I’ve been using Apple OS X Yosemite since the first beta, and I’ve been very impressed with its stability, and slight UI updates. Once it went official, I immediately tried out the ‘dark’ theme (System Preferences > General, then check: Use dark menu bar and Dock) which gives you just that, a dark menubar (black actually) with white icons and writing. The cool thing is that in the past this is one thing you could never (officially) change in OS X, so now that they’ve given it a proper integration and UI testing, it looks nice and feels new. Since the dark theme in Yosemite is so new not all apps support it, so they might have an icon that doesn’t stand out as well now that the background isn’t light. This is certainly the case with Google Drive, which I’ve been trying out as a way to consolidate documents and files that don’t need to be private. The screenshot tells the tale of the icon, and it isn’t pretty:

HOWTO serve Gandi SSL certs in nginx

I’m a big fan of Gandi for domain hosting since they are very transparent about their operation, support the efforts of EFF and last but not least, are based in Paris. So today I transfered fak3r.com over to Gandi, and earned a free SSL cert for a year for doing so! Cool, since my old StartSSL cert expired, I needed to replace it, so this was nice timing. Now while Gandi’s documentation is very good, and I’ve done plenty of SSL setup before, I still hit a snag that I’ve hit before, so this time I wanted to record it so I wouldn’t have to look it up again next time.

More tech pros earning six figures than ever

A new report from Dice.com, “…suggests that more tech people are earning six figures a year than ever. Some 32 percent of full-time tech pros took home more than $100,000 in 2013, according to the findings, up from 30 percent in 2012 and 26 percent in 2011. For contractors, the data is even better: In 2013, a staggering 54 percent of them earned more than $100,000 a year, up from 51 percent the previous year and 50 percent in 2011. How far that money goes depends on where you live, of course, but it does seem like a growing number of the world’s tech workers are earning a significant amount of cash.”

So while this isn’t breaking news, it’s encouraging…

Office Space script

While looking for quotes from the movie Office Space, I came across the script on IMSDb, and liked it so much I reposted it here (you know, for great justice). This movie is universal, everywhere I’ve worked people call out quotes from it, and it’s like, ya, they get it too. Recommend.

Office Space

HOWTO install open source Adobe terminal fonts

In September 2012, Adobe released its second open source (under the Open Font License 1.1) typeface family, Source Code Pro. This is a monospaced version of the first one, Source Sans Pro, and that’s significant because I’m always looking for a good, monospaced font I can use in my terminals. This one looked like a great option to try out, so I downloaded it and gave it a run. Below are the steps to manually install it via the command-line, and while this is in Ubuntu, Debian and other Linuxes should work the same way, but as always YMMV. So let’s get started.

Through a PRISM, Darkly - EFF at 30c3

Here’s a great talk from the Chaos Computer Club’s current event, 30c3 happening now in Munich. Here Kurt from EFF gives a great overview of what we know the goverment is doing, and ways to fight against mass surveillance. “From Stellar Wind to PRISM, Boundless Informant to EvilOlive, the NSA spying programs are shrouded in secrecy and rubber-stamped by secret opinions from a court that meets in a faraday cage. The Electronic Frontier Foundation’s Kurt Opsahl explains the known facts about how the programs operate and the laws and regulations the U.

Best music of 2013

Here is my annual post of the best music released in the year of 2013. I’m looking forward to seeing Arcade Fire, and later Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds in the Summer or 2014. I have some links so you can hear some of the music that got me through this year. Give those a listen, then buy music and finally, go out and see bands play live! Photo from http://nickcavefixes.

Retron5 delayed again

So while it’s not a secret, no one I talk to ever knows what the Hyperkin Retron 5 is, or why its release has been so anticipated by old school gamers like me. Basically, Hyperkin has released other “Retron” models that play the old 8-bit Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) and the Super Nintendo Entertainment system, with varying degrees of success, but with their latest release, Retron 5, they promise compatibility with ten classic gaming system cartridges: NES, Famicom, Super NES and Famicom, Sega Master System, Genesis and Mega Drive, and Game Boy original, Color and Advance.

Remembering Otis Redding

Today a random tweet directed me to this post, Otis Redding’s Tragic Plane Crash in Wisconsin, reminding me that Otis Redding died on this day in 1967 at the age of 26. His songs and songwriting are some of the best I’ve ever heard. We’re big fans of his music at home and also have some video performance of his from the DVD Otis Redding: Remembering Otis. Here’s the video on Youtube.

HOWTO mine Bitcoin in Linux

I started mining Bitcoin back in August, and have had modest success (more in a later post), but when I was getting started I couldn’t find a good/current HOWTO; this post aimes to fix that. As usual these directions are for Debian GNU Linux, but should work identically in Ubuntu, and in other Linuxes with the correct names for the needed packages. So, with that out of the way, let’s get started!

Why care about the N.S.A.?

A short film from the New York Times that explores whether ordinary Americans should be concerned about online surveillance. This is an important video that I want everyone to watch and think about the implications of these issues. One of the commentators is Kurt Opsahl, the first EFF attorney I talked to at DEF CON many years ago, whose insight led me on the path I’ve been on for years.

HOWTO install chef and vagrant on 10-9

O'hai! I did a clean install of Apple's OS X 10.9, Mavericks, so I had to reinstall Ruby, rubygems, chef, virtualbox and vagrant. Since this has been somewhat of a black art before, I wanted to document how it works; now. This is a quick and dirty reference, no explanations, but the results should get you up and running quickly. Install rbenv ruby -e "$(curl -fsSL https://raw.github.com/mxcl/homebrew/go)" brew install rbenv if which rbenv > /dev/null; then eval "$(rbenv init -)"; fi To make your shell use the rbenv set ruby each time, add the following to your `~/.

RIP Lou Reed

It would be hard for me to overemphasize Lou Reed’s impact on music history. Rolling Stone has a good overview of his life and all that he accomplished, and while he wrote so many great songs Sweet Jane will stand as one of the greatest rock and roll songs ever written. For now Rolling Stone ranked it #335 on their list of the 500 greatest songs of all time. When I saw him play in 1996 he opened with that and then played a perfect set.

On learning

Sometimes you find something that speaks to you, makes a point that you’ve tried to make, but it does it so much better. This is one of those quotes, it encapsulates everything I’ve ever thought about technology and learning. You will be newbie forever. Get good at the beginner mode, learning new programs, asking dumb questions, making stupid mistakes, soliciting help, and helping others with what you learn (the best way to learn yourself).

HOWTO properly paste code into vi/vim

I’m sure you’ve done this before, you copy a big block of text or code and paste it into vi/vim (from now on referred to simply as vi). Instead of looking like you want it to, it takes every tab and just autoindents like crazy giving you a mess to clean up. So, for example, you copy the following

current_dir = File.dirname(__FILE__)
node_name                user
client_key               "#{ENV['HOME']}/.chef/#{user}.pem"
validation_client_name   "#{ENV['ORGNAME']}-validator"
validation_key           "#{ENV['HOME']}/.chef/#{ENV['ORGNAME']}-validator.pem"
chef_server_url          "https://api.opscode.com/organizations/#{ENV['ORGNAME']}"
syntax_check_cache_path  "#{ENV['HOME']}/.chef/syntax_check_cache"
cookbook_path            ["#{current_dir}/../cookbooks"]
cookbook_copyright "Your Company, Inc."
cookbook_license "apachev2"
cookbook_email "cookbooks@yourcompany.com"

and paste it into vi, and it ends up looking like…

HOWTO get started with chef, librarian-chef and vagrant

I’ve used Chef to automate environments before, and the more I work at different, large clients, the more I see the need to use it, or puppet, for controlling/managing servers. Now, I don’t want to start a flamewar here, but what’s the deal with… no, just kidding, I technically have tshirts from both Chef and Puppet, so I’m as impartial as you can get! Since a new gig I have starting up soon promises to make me into the top chef in the office, I thought it was time to dust off my skills with a new HOWTO to get Chef installed, using Vagrant, started and configured. Bonus, I found that it’s actually easier than it used to be to get up to snuff, now it can be condensed into a few steps.

  • Install needed software
  • Configure Vagrant with a base box definition
  • Configure Chef by adding cookbook with Librarian-chef
  • Tell Vagrant about the new cookbook
  • Build a vagrant instance, then have Chef-solo install a webserver on it
Simple huh? So let’s get started.

HOWTO build a simple log server with Splunk-like features

Logging is something that continues to become more and more important, and it used to take great pains to have a centralized log server that everyone could use. Yep, I used Splunk early on, when they had a good open source option, but now their ‘freemium’ only offering leaves a gap. So let’s create one using open source software and get some of the Splunk-like features by building a basic log server. Now some will say, you should do it this way, you should scale it this way, etc, but my goal here is to have something that works, something admins can use, and then once they ‘get it’, they can expand it, update it as they need. So for this we’ll be using Logstash as the log parser, which will recieve and send the logs to Elasticsearch, which is the backend that stores the logs while allowing searching against them, which will be viewed by Kibana, a web/front end. Let’s see how simply we can do this.

HOWTO connect to SSH via SSL with sslh

Since I’m in the commandline fulltime, SSH is an indispensable tool for ‘getting things done’ - heck, I even run it on my Android phone now so I can poke around there (haven’t broken anything… yet), so when I’m traveling or at a client’s site that doesn’t allow outgoing ssh (port :22) we have a problem. In the past I’ve always mapped SSH to some port other than :22 to prevent drive-by brute forcing login attempts, so I’ve put it on :443 (which is rarely blocked for outgoing is connections), but now that I’m running this site with SSL, that is no longer an option. Yes, we could try out :8080 (Tomcat’s port), :8443 (Tomcat’s SSL port) or :8181 (Debian’s old Tomcat port), but we’ll always have a better chance to get out over :443. While I’ve read how this might be possible using the great HAProxy, that always seemed like overkill and begged for a simplier solution. Apparently there already was one, I had just never heard of it; sslh is an applicative protocol multiplexer, that forward ports initially sent to :443 on to other needed ports. Their description on what it can do:

Probes for HTTP, SSL, SSH, OpenVPN, tinc, XMPP are implemented, and any other protocol that can be tested using a regular expression, can be recognised. A typical use case is to allow serving several services on port 443 (e.g. to connect to ssh from inside a corporate firewall, which almost never block port 443) while still serving HTTPS on that port.

Sounds perfect, so I went to install and configure it, and it was easier than I expected so let’s get started - first of all I found a schmatic that illustrates what’s happening [source]

The package is already in Debian’s Wheezy repo, and likely others, so for me it was simple to get rolling:

Vote for your top 10 albums of 1986

Alright, this is just a fun post, try to pick your top 10 albums from 1986. This was very difficult for me as it was an amazing year for music as well as a pivotal time in my life (I was 17). I remember buying the They Might Be Giants debut on vinyl (still have it) after seeing their videos on 120 Minutes (which started in 1986 and was an amazing resource for new music back then).

Obama's Promise To Protect Whistleblowers

With all that’s gone on with Snoden, it’s dissappointing to find that the Sunlight Foundation has reported that Obama’s promise To ‘Protect Whistleblowers’ has disappeared From Change.gov. While this turn of events isn’t surprising now, does anyone remember back when Obama was promising greater government transparency and support for whistleblowers? Of course nothing is ever really deleted from the internet, so I found it here at Archive.org. The full text is (was):

Earth, Jupiter, and Venus seen from Mars

Earth, Jupiter, and Venus seen from Mars [source]

Bruce Schneier Talks at Google

Great talk by Bruce Scheier a month ago at Google. Highly recommended. “Human society runs on trust. We all trust millions of people, organizations, and systems every day – and we do it so easily that we barely notice. But in any system of trust, there is an alternative, parasitic, strategy that involves abusing that trust. Making sure those defectors don’t destroy the cooperative systems they’re abusing is an age-old problem, one that we’ve solved through morals and ethics, laws, and all sort of security technologies. Understanding how these all work – and fail – is essential to understanding the problems we face in today’s increasingly technological and interconnected world.”

Scalia’s dissent in Maryland v King

Last month the Supreme Court made their decision on Maryland v. King. It gave the nod to the collection of DNA from suspects (not convicted criminals) of major crimes, and went against things like unreasonable searches and seizures (4th Ammendment). I meant to comment on it at the time, but it got lost in the shuffle. Luckily I came across Parker Higgins’ site, after finding him from other EFF staffers. I’m with him, as I don’t expect to agree with Justice Scalia very often, I found this dissent to be spot on.

Take back the 4th on the 4th

Privacy Policy

What you should know when visiting my site; pay attention, this stuff is important! Does fak3r.com use cookies? NO, I do not use cookies. Does fak3r.com track users in any way? NO, I do not track users in any way, and in fact I've even gone to the trouble of disabling some javascript that get web fonts which can also track you! I *highly* recommend you run Abine' DoNotTrackMe plugin in your browser so you can verify my claims yourself, and defend yourself against the many other tracking agents online.

Terms and Conditions

1. Terms By accessing this web site, you are agreeing to be bound by these web site Terms and Conditions of Use, all applicable laws and regulations, and agree that you are responsible for compliance with any applicable local laws. If you do not agree with any of these terms, you are prohibited from using or accessing this site. The materials contained in this web site are protected by applicable copyright and trade mark law.

OWASP top 10 web application risks for 2013

OWASP is, “The Open Web Application Security Project (OWASP) is a 501©(3) worldwide not-for-profit charitable organization focused on improving the security of software. Our mission is to make software security visible, so that individuals and organizations worldwide can make informed decisions about true software security risks.“ They’ve released their 2013 top 10 list of risks associated with the use of web applications in an enterprise: Injection Broken Authentication and Session Management Cross-Site Scripting (XSS) Insecure Direct Object References Security Misconfiguration Sensitive Data Exposure Missing Function Level Access Control Cross-Site Request Forgery (CSRF) Using Known Vulnerable Components Unvalidated Redirects and Forwards

Deerhunter plays Monomania on Fallon

I’ve followed Deerhunter for a few years, catching them two years ago at Loufest, but I’m really jazzed for their new release, Monomania, which hits May 7th, after their performance last week. On Tuesday they were the musical guest on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon where they played the title track, and just tore things up. A lot of response I’ve read online has questioned, or poked fun at, Bradford Cox’s outfit and his walking off set near the end of the song, but who cares, it’s rock and roll, it’s great.

HOWTO fix a Nintendo 3DS with broken wifi

So my son’s Nintendo 3DS wi-fi stopped working a few weeks ago, and I finally had time to take a look at it to see if there was anything that could be done. The situation was that it would work fine playing games or doing anything not needing wi-fi access, but as soon as you’d turn on the wi-fi switch, after about 10 seconds, the screen would go black and display the message: Error Message: Error Has Occurred.


Me I am a hacker, open source technologist at-large, sometimes writer and speaker. I’ve been honored to speak at infosec conferences like DEF CON, DerbyCon, BsidesLV, SecureWorld and SEMAFOR (ISACA Warsaw Chapter). I am an active member of the EFF (Electronic Frontier Foundation), I lead and moderate discussions about electronic rights and civil liberties while educating users how their data is used by companies without their knowledge; things that are ‘free’ online, actually aren’t free.


Songs to learn and sing The following are what I believe to be the greatest recorded works ever created. Feel free to disagree and/or complain, but I hope you discover some new favorites. pre 1969 The Beatles “Rubber Soul” The Beatles “White Album” James Brown “Live at the Apollo (1963)” Ornette Coleman “The Shape of Jazz to Come” John Coltrane “Giant Steps” Miles Davis “Kind of Blue” MC5 “Kick Out the Jams” Charles Mingus “Mingus ah uhm” Sonny Rollins “Plus 4” Sonny Rollins “Way Out West” Thelonious Monk “Monk’s Music” Velvet Underground “The Velvet Underground & Nico”


Search functionality provided by DuckDuckGo


Follow me, or get in touch   pgp public key fingerprint 04A1 69CC A79F 7188   email fak3r @ fak3r . com   freenode fak3r   twitter fak3r   telegram fak3r   github fak3r   lastfm fak3r   flickr fak3r   lanyrd fak3r   bitcoin 1AubVQPJ41SFThtKMHV7p7rYYRqGFQGPAu

My enhanced gitrc file

At my last gig I got a crash course in using git fulltime, and I really enjoyed getting used to it, and leaving things like subversion and CVS behind forever. And yes, while I’m sure I gave Ant a few gray hairs on the way, we eventually got there together. He gave me a customized .gitrc to use, which I’ve modified a bit, and now have shared as a gist. This .

Best music of 2012

![Tame Impala rocking it in New York (photo from Pitchforkmedia)](https://cdn3.pitchfork.com/news/47431/f25e0a8f.jpg)Another year of fun discovering new toons, what's not to like? This year took on a more guitar friendly indie sound than past years, a trend I fully support. While there are some comebacks there are more than a few new entries, which again, is that discovery that keeps me going. If I had to pick one disk that I listened to most it'd probably be Swearin', the fine outfit from Brooklyn that I got to see open for the Japandroids this year; what a fun, unexpected bunch of songs.

Banksy on advertising

[![](/2012/the-joy-of-not-being-sold-anything.jpg.jpg)] This excerpt of Banksy’s thoughts on advertising is making the rounds, and it’s spot on. With companies tricking consumers into revealing more of themselves becoming the norm, this kind of blowback needs to happen. Somebody get this guy a drink, he’s making more sense than anyone else these days; he’s a smart chap. People are taking the piss out of you everyday. They butt into your life, take a cheap shot at you and then disappear.

Online privacy in the year of the dragon

I was honored to be asked to speak at yesterday’s SecureWorld St. Louis, my talk was titled_ Online Privacy in the Year of the Dragon_. My short abstract; “Businesses change online privacy policies to make user’s data, and their interaction with websites, more profitable for the website’s owners. Users need to understand what privacy is being lost, how their data is being used and how they can improve their online privacy with knowledge and open source software.

Playboy Interview: Richard Dawkins

[] Today I read the recent interview with Richard Dawkins, the English ethologist, evolutionary biologist and the worlds best known atheist, on Playboy.com, and as always found his candor enjoyable and refreshing. While I’m all for anyone going anywhere they want while online, I’d rather not post a link to said site, so I’m reproducing the interview here, with (afaik) proper attribution for the original work; I did not write this, and I don’t want to profit from it.

Refused (Still) The Shape of Punk to Come

Here’s my all time favorite Swedish hardcore band, Refused, doing “The Shape of Punk to Come” their release of the same name during a set on Jimmy Fallon, July 18th of this year. This is why I want to see them on this reunion tour they’re doing, they are just so freaking intense. Bonus, here they are doing their, for better or worse, most popular song, “New Noise”.

HOWTO update OpenELEC on Raspberry Pi

OpenELEC (Embedded Linux Entertainment Center) One of my goals after getting my Raspberry Pi was to use it as an XBMC server. XBMC is an open source (GPL) software media player and entertainment hub for digital media. It runs on Linux, OSX, and Windows, and works great as a set top media center, ala something like Apple TV. Meanwhile another effort called OpenELEC is like a live build of XBMC that you can install on embedded hardware that has been built from scratch specifically to act as a media center, stripped down to the very most basic essentials for a light installation with a quick boot time.

HOWTO run a Tor node in the cloud for free

Tor (The Onion Router) is a network of virtual tunnels that improve privacy and security online **UPDATE 2 **a friend has posted an awesome overview of Tips to running tor bridges on the Torproject.org site. Plenty of details so you really know what you’re getting into, bandwidth and cost-wise when running your own Tor bridge. Great stuff! UPDATE after running Tor on Amazon EC2 I have not been charged anything additional.

HOWTO fix no route to host in OpenBSD

I installed OpenBSD 5.1 recently on my new box that’s running Proxmox 2.1. I want OpenBSD to run pf to provide a firewall to protect all the other virtualized hosts on the box. I don’t remember what I put for my default route during the install, and that came back to bite me as I couldn’t get outside of my network. Issuing a ping would resolve a hostname (I run a local DNS server) but then it didn’t have a route to the resolved IP, so it would fail with the error ping: sendto: No route to host

HOWTO enable automatic security updates in Debian

In installs of the latest Ubuntu Linux you’ve given the option at the end to turn on automatic updates for security updates, which a great option for a server. I’ve always been a big purveyor of autonomous computing, after all, they know how to do their job, so give them enough rope to hang^K^K^K do it themselves. The old way of running cron-apt followed by apt-get upgrade is a big hammer for a small job and will break services, it’s a guarantee.

If you're depressed, please get help

I’ve started to write this post many times over the years, but sadly something has happened so close to me, that I know it’s time to get it out and share more than I usually do here. First off, let me say, if you have depression, anxiety, or are suicidal, please get help. While mood swings and other feelings can come and go, don’t mess around if you even think you are depressed, talk about it with your doctor or anyone; get help.

HOWTO create a normal MySQL user

I found this online, and it’s a perfect example of a bad habit I’ve been trying to clean up for some time. When I’m trying out software that needs a MySQL database, I’m used to create database foo; but not creating a specific user for that database. Sure, if it’s in the install steps it’s easy to cut and paste, but otherwise root ends up accessing everything, and just like using root in Linux, that’s not a good idea, security wise.

Beastie Boys: The Grand Royal Mixtape

While I’ve been remiss in mentioning the death of the Beastie Boy’s Adam Yauch (MCA), it’s only because there is so much I want to say to cover what that band has meant to me for over half of my life. Meanwhile a DJ’s mix of some of their rare mixes, bsides and live tracks has hit the sharing networks, apparently it was created for the band’s Rock and Roll Hall of fame entry, but has become an unofficial memorial (download links below!

'HOWTO create a Linux LiveCD '

I’m working on a project that calls for a Linux LiveCD, so it can be booted off of a CD-ROM or USB drive, and not require any sort of permanent install to run. You’ve probably seen this in things like Ubuntu’s LiveCD where you can try the latest version without having to install it, or you can even install it from within the Live environment, but I’m not trying to do that.

HOWTO use ionice to control long running jobs

If you have a long running process (rsync, cp, find updatedb, etc) that causes a high load on your Linux system, it’s likely going to cause a problem (and unneeded Nagios alerts!) when it’s run via cron. This was happening on a server of mine that backed up the Apache Solr indexes every night, so after searching around I found a utility to handle this situation, ionice. This works much like the venerable nice command, but focuses on I/O priority instead of processor priority.

HOWTO run Apache Solr replication with multi-core indexes

After having an Apache Solr search server running across multicores (that’s multiple “search” cores, it has nothing to do with multicore processors) we need to expand it by using replication for backups, as well as eventual load balancing for performance reasons. The 8 cores’ indexes are currently about 18Gig, so it’s no small undertaking to backup and move these suckers around, so we’re using KVM vitual machines as new slave nodes.


UPDATE: since yesterday was May 28th, I submitted this proposal late last night, along with another one covering a new project I’m toying with called blackGATE, more on that in a bit. Below you’ll see the extended outline that roughly sketches out what I’ll be covering in the talk. The DEF CON© CFP (Call for Papers) is open now until May 28, 2012, so this year instead of writing up my CFP proposal on a wiki like I did last year, I’m just going to do it here and update it as I go until I submit it.

Thought for the day

Yet another work issue that I should have replied to with the terse, but accurate, “These are not the droids you’re looking for” — aka ★ Phil (@fak3r) March 21, 2012


I’ve always loved Mexican food, but it wasn’t until I lived in Austin, Texas that I came to really appreciate it. When I worked at Hoover’s as a technician, the receptionist would announce when the taco truck pulled up so we could queue up and get breakfast tacos with egg, potato, cheese and salsa. After finding my taste for migas, I realized that I could eat them for every meal, they’re that freaking good.

HOWTO run a secure, caching DNS server in chroot

Unbound DNS I want to run my own DNS server, while I’ve done this before it was always a one off that I never spent much time researching or implementing it as well, and securely, as I wanted. When I tried out DNSCrypt from the OpenDNS folks, I emailed them and asked if it was available to run on a server, and sure enough, they have it in their Github repo, ready to compile in Linux.

HOWTO install Samba on Solaris

At work we’ve had an old(ish) Sun Fire X4500 (aka Thumper), that has been under utilized. With 48 harddisks, it has about 40 Terrabytes of storage, not too shabby for a 4 rack unit box. Of course digging in and actually doing stuff in Solaris is not as much fun as Linux, but we needed to get Samba running on this montster to give us some breathing room for our storage.

The Filter Bubble

This TED Talk from Eli Pariser covers his concept of The Filter Bubble, and is a must watch for anyone concerned about internet privacy and what’s being done with personal data we’re freely exposing to companies. “Every year, thousands of entrepreneurs, change-makers, innovators and scientists gather in Long Beach, California for TED, the world’s leading thought conference. In 2011, the audience included executives from Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Yahoo, and many other Silicon Valley startups.

This site has been found to be in violation H.R. 3261, S.O.P.A

“Congress is about to pass internet censorship, even though the vast majority of Americans are opposed. We need to kill the bill - PIPA in the Senate and SOPA in the House - to protect our rights to free speech, privacy, and prosperity. Click here to learn more.” American Censorship Day organized by:

Lessons from the dying

It’s time to turn the page on another year, so I think it’s a good time to reflect, and understand what’s really important in our lives. So much is made of things that can be bought, with not enough focus on what we have, and what’s most important to us. I found this post of regrets a nurse compiled from patients before they died, I think it provides the most honest perspective that it forces you to think about what’s important to you, and what you want to accomplish in your life.

Best music of 2011

This best of list has taken time to compile, all year I guess, and some of fallen off as the year has moved on, as it should be. I still need to put up slicks to look at and sample tracks to listen to, but I haven’t had the time or motivation, so until then Now that I’ve gotten the slicks and sample tracks all lined up, here are the ones that I think are the best from 2011.

HOWTO run DD-WRT on a Netgear WNDR3700

At home I’ve had my trusty Linksys WRT54GL, the Linux based router that ran the Tomato firmware so well, for years; it’s an awesome router and the only time it went down was when I was upgrading it. The only reason to look for a new one is that the wifi is G speed, and the network is only 10⁄100. Eventually newer, sleeker, and far faster routers, tempted me too much.

LinkedIn is spamming all of my Gmail contacts

**UPDATE2 **I finally got a response on Thu, Oct 27, 2011 at 7:24 AM, it said, “I would first like to apologize for the delay in responding to your inquiry. This is certainly not the customary wait time for a reply from LinkedIn Customer Support. We have been experiencing higher than expected volumes, and your patience is greatly appreciated.” So, they’ve been so busy that it took 2 1⁄2 weeks to get back to me?

HOWTO install php5-fpm on Debian Squeeze

[caption id=“attachment_3298” align=“alignright” width=“281” caption=“PHP5-FPM”][/caption] Once PHP hit version 5.3, it started shipping with PHP-FPM, which is the new way to handle PHP requests when serving web content. Their site describes it as, “PHP-FPM (FastCGI Process Manager) is an alternative PHP FastCGI implementation with some additional features useful for sites of any size, especially busier sites”, but this is being pretty modest when you consider the host of improvements it brings over the old way of doing things when running PHP with an ‘alternate’ webserver such as lighttpd or nginx.

Guided by Voices announce new album with classic lineup!

[caption id=“attachment_3267” align=“aligncenter” width=“608” caption=“Bob Pollard of Guided by Voices (Photo by Jasper Bernbaum)”][/caption] Since 1993, Guided by Voices has been one of my all time favorite bands, having seen them countless times, and hanging out having beers with Bob and the band a few times, they’re unlink any other. The band’s recorded output from 1992-1996 was amazing, but their live shows from the period were magical; it was just a perfect band.

HOWTO tame Apache Tomcat's logging

[caption id=“attachment_3248” align=“alignright” width=“240” caption=“Apache Tomcat”][/caption] If you’re like me, you’ve had to support Apache Tomcat for a good chunk of your IT career, and it hasn’t all been wine and roses. Typically Tomcat will work great in a development, or in a proof of concept environment, but when it comes time to put it in production and have it face some real traffic, well, you get complaints. Now, why do I have a picture of Tomcat on a messenger bag here?

DJ Mehdi RIP

Wow, I hate to hear about new music this way, but the influential DJ Mehdi of Paris has died at the tragically young age of 34. [caption id=“attachment_3192” align=“aligncenter” width=“608” caption=“DJ Mehdi”][/caption] The quick background on his short life, “Mehdi Favéris-Essadi was born in 1977 in the suburbs of Paris. He got his start as a hip-hop producer, and found his signature sound by combining the style and attitude of hip-hop with elements of electro and house.

Plains Milky Way timelapse

Awhile back I found this article on Wired, with an amazing accompanying video of a timelapse of the night sky, done over three weeks. It’s some pretty amazing footage, if marred slightly by the music…but I digress. Here it is, details from the article below. Plains Milky Way from Randy Halverson on Vimeo. Far from starscape-dulling city lights, farmer and photographer Randy Halverson spent three weeks creating a new video of the spinning night sky.

HOWTO automate Debian installs with preseed

I’ve installed Linux, probably 100s of times, and while going through all the questions and answers used to be fun, once you have everything decided it’s mainly a case of tab, space, enter, tab, tab, enter, space, space, tab, enter. I remember reading about kickstart, which was Red Hat’s way of automating the install process, but Debian GNU/Linux (and by extension Ubuntu Linux) support preseed. From Debian’s wiki, “Preseeding provides a way to set answers to questions asked during the installation process, without having to manually enter the answers while the installation is running.

DEFCON 19: Taking your ball and going home

DEFCON 19 logo UPDATE you can now view a video of my slides, along with the audio of my talk on the DC archive page (45 Megs) Two weeks ago, at this year’s DEFCON conference in Las Vegas, I gave a talk covering privacy and security issues concerning Dropbox, which led into questions about how much we should trust ‘cloud’ services, and my solution, the open source project lipsync. The full title of the talk is, Taking yourball and going home; building your own secure storage space that mirrors Dropbox’s functionality, and shows what can be done when you use multiple open sources applications to make something with new functionality (or at least new functionality to to open source world).

New trends in computer hardware

While the trajectory of consumer laptops and desktops is obvious in consumer publications, the behind the scenes systems, such as the Industrial pc has continued to become smaller, more reliable and more power efficient. Embedded Systems handle a variety of application environments, with single board computers comprising of the majority of the silent, always on systems. Many run in a fanless configuration, which means not only less heat and noise, but less power and generally more reliability as there are no moving parts to wear down or break.

HOWTO retrieve email with fetchmail and forward it on with procmail

[caption id=“attachment_2968” align=“alignright” width=“100” caption=“fetchmail logo”][/caption] I’m starting a new gig Monday, so I got a new email address for use while I work there. Now of course, I have many, many email addresses, but thanks to Google Apps, I still check them all through a Gmail frontend, and can ‘send as’ any address I want; which makes it almost seamless to integrate new email accounts. However, today we hit a snag, whereas my last client offered to simply forward my mail to another address, the new one wouldn’t with something about auditing as their reason, which I can completely understand, as long as they understand, having to check email via multiple clients just won’t scale.

HOWTO start a detached process in screen on boot

Ok, a quick one today - at work I had the problem of needing a process to be automatically started during boot, and have it running in the background, but it didn’t have its own init.d script. I knew there was a way I could use GNU Screen (one of my favorite ‘must have’ sys admin tools) to do this, but it took me some time searching to find the right syntax to translate for my needs, so I’m posting it here.

Super Mario Brothers visualized on a curb

The timeless classic, Super Mario Brothers, visualized on a curb. What more is there to say?

HOWTO make a DIY Record Store Day sign

UPDATE: My wife got a great picture of me enjoying myself at Euclid Records (see it at the bottom of this post) celebrating Record Store Day 2011 - such a great day! Thanks again to all at Euclid, thanks toDave the St. Louis PBR rep and to RSD organizers everywhere! BONUS: I’ve got a shot of the finished sign, installed in my yard, at the end of the post now.

Jenny Holzer Truisms

[caption id=“attachment_2885” align=“aligncenter” width=“456” caption=“Jenny Holzer ‘Truisms’ 1977”][/caption] I’ve long been a fan of Jenny Holzer’s art, dealing with text, originally printed as photostat, but later displayed on billboards, in Times Square on the big screen (pictured) and later projected in huge letters on buildings. The idea of presenting ones ideas, or as in this case, declared maxims for her Trusims. I can’t recall where i first came across this piece, but I love reading through them all, with the one “abuse of power comes as no surprise” being my favorite.

Mogwai 'Mexican Grand Prix' (video)

UPDATE: from now until Feb 15 you can stream the new cd from Rolling Stone, I’m liking it so far, natch! While I haven’t seen Mogwai live since I lived in Austin, I’ve been a big fan for many years and by looking at my Last.fm profile, it’s clear that I’ve spent many hours at work trying to figure out some strange server issue, while their droning feedback played in my headphones.

HOWTO reclaim your Linux bootup messages

[caption id=“attachment_2775” align=“alignright” width=“210” caption=“Ah, does it get any better than this?”][/caption] You know the drill, you bootup a Linux box and watch the boot messages scroll by on the screen, now prepended with lines telling you the seconds since boot, and then you end up at a shell prompt for login. Ahh, the way Linus intended, epic! Oh, you don’t see that? Instead you see some animated Linux distro logo or something as useless like a progress bar tracing across the screen?

Best music of 2010

[caption id=“attachment_2581” align=“aligncenter” width=“545” caption=“Sleigh Bells”][/caption] As always, this was a big music year for me, while attending less live shows I think I’ve bought and listened to more music to (sort of) make up for it. I’m also enjoying the home stereo even more now with my early 70s McIntosh MA-6100 pre-amp/amp, and now even some respectable headphones for work, the Grado SR60i. This year bands introduced via Twitter from other music freaks have greatly helped diversify my palate.

A free Gorillaz album released

Gorillaz ‘The Fall’ Over** the weekend, GORILLAZ JUST POSTED** their new album The Fall, which was mixed and recorded using Damon Albarn’s Apple iPad during their recent US tour, for free. You can currently stream it (for the price of your email address) on thefall.gorillaz.com - or download it from file-sharing sites, linked to by good chaps such as 2dopeboyz.com. Additionally, a physical release of the album is planned for 2011, bringing to mind the first large scale attempt at this when Radiohead released In Rainbows.

Cookies by Douglas Adams

To me it seems comforting to re-read bits and stories by Douglas Adams. Since his Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series has been such a force since it came out, it’s clear that his humor and insight was no fluke; it’s continuous and holds up today. Hell, I played the text based Hitchhiker game by Infocom back on the Apple //e, his work is just timeless. It reminds me to reread the series, and his final, unfinished work, The Salmon of Doubt: Hitchhiking the Galaxy One Last Time, which he was working on when he passed away, a look.

The security mess that is Gawker

There’s a great write-up on Forbes about the recent Gawker 0wnge, let’s see, they were using 3 year old linux kernels, DES for password encryption, apparently no auditing of what users were using for their passwords since, “1,958 Gawker users’ password was ‘password’.”, and that’s not even all of the problems. The fun part is this covers accounts, emails and passwords for a slew of other sites that Gawker host such as ifehacker.

HOWTO monitor Tomcat with monit and munin in Debian

I have an existing Tomcat installation in production that has been running hot and causing monit to send me notices that such and such service is down, only to come back clear on the next run. Of course since I use monit I can see that the service was never restarted, plus I’ve never had this happen on other servers with monit, so I’m convinced that Tomcat, with its hunger for Java, is the culrprit here.

HOWTO set Facebook privacy settings

** UPDATE ** (2017-09-20) added a link to Comparitech’s Reclaim Privacy which looks at securing Facebook as well as other accounts and online applications. Thanks! While I’m working on a Facebook inspired privacy discovery project, I need to highly recommend that everyone take the time to review their the official Facebook privacy settings page to understand how data about you is used and shared, but in a nutshell Facebook tells us:

Roger Ebert's Journal: Put up or shut up

[caption id=“attachment_2326” align=“alignright” width=“157” caption=“Roger Ebert”][/caption] Every now and then I read something that makes so much sense, it almost seems silly that it has to be said; but this does. Leave it to the brilliant mind of Roger Ebert to make sense of the whole religious ferver that has been building up from Limbaugh, Beck, Palin and others keeping Republicans misinformed by spouting out fear based talk of Muslims with cries of Islamic law, religious wars and other crazy talk.

My name is John Daker

Internet memes come, and internet memes go. Some have more traction than others and just become part of the lexicon, while some, seemingly worthy of adoration, don’t. When I first saw this one it was linked to on Twitter by Charlie Day (aka Charlie on the incredible It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia) who posted, _@TheCharlieDay: http://bit.ly/aCUAAz Also Glenn sent this to me and it rules. _The backstory to is that John Daker, in 1990, was on a Peoria, Illinois public access channel singing for a music teachers’ bi-annual recital, and the tape ended up online, and people (naturally) took notice.

HOWTO monitor your servers via Twitter

[caption id=“attachment_2228” align=“alignright” width=“240” caption=“Alert: your server has failed!“][/caption] **UPDATE: **thanks to a reader’s comment I looked into what it would take to get this working again since Twitter has completely disabled the old style of authentication in favor of full on OAuth. Basically a lot. To just post messages now it seems far more complex than it once was.My original idea with this was to do it as low tech as possible so users wouldn’t have to install a ton of stuff and configure it - I wanted it to ‘just work’ easily.

HOWTO use monit to monitor sites and alert users

Ok, I’ve used the process management software, monit, since at least 2004, and it is simply an indespensible tool in my sysadmin cache. Basically it watches a process, say like Apache, and restarts it if it dies. But wait, that’s not all, it does tons of other things. Want it to watch it and restart it at a certain time? Sure. How about if it uses 50% of system memory in 5 cycles (cycles are checks, 120 seconds by default)?

HOWTO sort web-server logs to find top users

The other day I came across a situation where a web-server was getting hammered, and we needed to know who the offend(ers) were. While watching a logfile tail by at high speeds is always fun, we wanted to be able to sort the web-server access log and find top users, to be able to narrow down where the traffic was coming from. While we don’t want to block users that want to access our data, sometimes we need to throttle things back so one requester doesn’t overwhelm all the available bandwidth and make the site unusable for others.

Tea partiers: You get mad now?

[caption id=“attachment_2147” align=“alignright” width=“277” caption=“another solid argument from a ‘tea bagger’”][/caption] Since the health-care debate brought out the worst in the tea party protesters, we’ve seen a shift from fear mongering, to the disgusting behavior of last weekend that included bigoted, racist name calling, spitting on on elected officials and finally vandalism and death threats. If it weren’t clear before, the ‘movement’ has truly showed us what is behind their manufactured anger, and it ain’t health care.

School spies on student, busts him for...eating candy

[caption id=“attachment_2112” align=“alignright” width=“358” caption=“Prototype of the school’s proposed catcam 3000”][/caption] **UPDATE: **it looks like this case has been settled, Pennsylvania school settles laptop webcam spying suits for $610,000 -but- Less than a third of that will go to the students. “A total of $185,000 will be put in trust for the students. Their lawyer will receive $425,000.” ** **_Today fak3r from fak3r.com_ and Matt from _Obtuseview.com are working together to bring you a multi-perspective piece on internet security.

Best music of 2009

[caption id=“attachment_2036” align=“alignright” width=“300” caption=“live photo of Part Chimp courtesy of Last.FM “][/caption] Well 2009 was another stellar year for music if you ask me, and as usual, my yearly ‘top’ list is going on a month late. I always have these grand designs of writting a short paragragh about each selection, why I picked it, how I first heard it, etc, but you know how that goes. I will say that this year, while I’ve gotten into many bands the way I have in years past (trolling record stores, randomly listening to anything I can find online), I’ve also found things I wouldn’t have found thanks to my Twitter account.

Upcoming live release from Mogwai

This year Mogwai will release a live cd and album, Special Moves, and a dvd, Burning, covering a three night set during the 2009 shows in Brooklyn. Here they are doing Mogwai Fear Satan, which while from the same tour, is not from the film, but is shot by the same people (thanks for the info Stuart, pictured above) so it’s a good look into what to expect. If it’s all like this it looks like the perfect live film in my opinion, focused on the band interactions and movement, not the audience.

HOWTO securely delete files in OS X on the commandline

So I’ve had my MacBook Pro for a few months now, and since I have a 500 Gig harddrive, I haven’t bothered to empty my trash yet. I’m currently on a work trip in China, and it makes me think about the privacy (internet and otherwise) that I have in the US, that I don’t expect here. In fact, since we’re blocked from posting to either Facebook or Twitter, I know this post will only make it there because this site will post if for me after I post it to my site (again, not something you’d think about just living in most other parts of the world).

HOWTO run Chromium OS on a Dell Mini 9 with wifi

UPDATE 2: it’s 2012, and now I’m running the special Dell builds, with wifi (Hexxeh’s builds (even Lime) don’t support wifi on the Dell Mini 9 for me, even though the docs say it supports Broadcom BCM43xx chipsets), but there are docs to get Dell’s custom builds rolling. The updated instructions are available on kirsle.net (thanks Kirsle!) Note that I also had the issue with the Dell April 15 build not booting after install without the USB drive, but there was a solution in the comments pointing to this page on My Dell Mini and now it’s all good.

HOWTO defend databases from SQL attacks with GreenSQL

UPDATE: as if to underscore the importance of this tool and approach, yesterday a story hit about a SQL Injection attack infecting over 132,000 systems in short order. Net-Security have the full details on this attack, including how it probes the host via JavaScript to check for known vulnerabilities, how it exploits them, and how it ultimately downloads a back-door trojan to get the game going. It’s really amazing to see how complicated and professional these things have gotten, and just adds to the reasoning that we have to step up to the plate and learn how to better defend against them.

Talking about clouds, TDWG and Eucalyptus

We had a alternate (un-official) cloud talk at TDWG. Organized here http://bit.ly/8LGUCr - one of the main things we wanted to cover, is to review what data is available now (or should be) out on Amazon’s free public data sets: http://developer.amazonwebservices.com/connect/kbcategory.jspa?categoryID=243 From there we derived a software stack from ideas of what would be useful for biodiversity folks to have on an EC2 compatible Debian Linux instance to do distributed computing against those sets.

EFF's SSD (Surveillance Self-Defense) Project

EFF has a page covering what they call The SSD Project (Surveillance Self-Defense) which they provide, “…to educate the American public about the law and technology of government surveillance in the United States, providing the information and tools necessary to evaluate the threat of surveillance and take appropriate steps to defend against it.“ This is important stuff, and what I wish others would know, so I’m posting links to the source in the hope it will get more exposure and results in the search engines of the Internet.

Ruby on Rails: gem install versus apt-get

UPDATE: Thanks to Ryan, Ant and Fern for the tips. With that in mind I found an online Slicehost tutorial that contained the steps and explained how to install ruby via apt-get, then get the latest rubygems, install that manually, ran gem to update itself, then run gem to install rails - as suggested. The steps I took from that page: On a Debian Lenny system that does not have ruby, rubygems or rails installed on it yet:

Dark Night of the Soul

Notice: the text of this post in the gray, blockquote area was taken from the website Look Into My Owl, and I forgot to attribute it to them. The reason I used a blockquote was to signify that it was a direct quote, and that it wasn’t mine, but I didn’t say it wasn’t, and didn’t put a link to the original work as I usually do. It was an oversight on my part, and I regret it.

HOWTO build your own open source Dropbox clone

**** **UPDATE #4 **It’s 2012, and this project is still alive, although I haven’t worked on lipsync as much as I should. I want to, and have new ideas to implement and try out in the next few months. The two way sharing is a bit hacky, and I don’t like it, the installer creates a cronjob: that checks for server changes to sync back every minute - and it tries to avoid conflicts by not running if a sync the other way is happening.

Twenty-six Lies About H.R. 3200

With all the craziness around the health care debate, the facts are getting lost. There is simply no way we’re going to have a productive conversation on the issues when the facts are not known or heeded. There is a great article on Factcheck.org that debunks many of the non-truths that are being thrown around as justification for calling people Nazis. Let’s grow up and figure out a way to see both sides without name calling, please review these and expose them to others who are not using facts in their arguments.

Architecture for future LSID resolvers

_NOTE: __the following is my generalized overview of some thoughts I came up with months ago in regards to LSID resolvers, and how to architect a fault tolerant solution (LINK). I missed the meeting in Denmark last week (I was on a family vacation for once) where they were discussing this, and wrote the following for another attendee to submit on my behalf. I’m posting it here for further exposure and discussion of the merits and shortcomings of these ideas.

Equating Obama to Hitler is very dangerous!

[caption id=“attachment_1711” align=“alignright” width=“150” caption=“Act now to stop…Obama’s Nazi Health Plan? WTF!”][/caption] I came across this image online, and I had to look into it to see if it was real or not. After I did that I knew I had to bring more people’s attention to it. Look, this is just too much, agree or disagree with our president, but equating him with Hitler destroys any chance of a reasonable conversation of the issue.

fak3r twitter post regarding silos...

[caption id=“attachment_1676” align=“aligncenter” width=“450” caption=“silos of info w/unreliable webapps to present them is bad: future apps MUST be more portable, sharable http://is.gd/1afwc #couchdb”][/caption]

this is vendor lockin...

File system full, but why?

UPDATE: posted my workaround code below, good feedback already from Ryan (djatoka dev) and I’ll be testing the proper fix on the server soon. I’ve got a server that keeps filling up its disk space and failing to serve images after it gets to the file system full error message. First of all let me say, I don’t blame it in the least, if the admin (aka me) doesn’t do enough to secure the server enough disk space to do its job, I say, let me have it.

Four free Linux eBooks

While looking for something else, (which is mainly when I find other interesting things) I found an article which included links for four free Linux eBooks. This is a great resource for anyone with some Linux experience, back to others who may be looking to get started with tux, and I would have loved to have this when I started, but that was before the Internet was available to most people.

Resolving LSIDs with URL resolvers and CouchDB

Recently I’ve been looking at ways to solve some of biodiversities’ long standing issues with LSIDs, which are, “Life Science Identifiers are a way to name and locate pieces of information on the web. Essentially, an LSID is a unique identifier for some data, and the LSID protocol specifies a standard way to locate the data (as well as a standard way of describing that data). They are a little like DOIs used by many publishers.

Red Dwarf: Back to Earth

The British comedy Red Dwarf has been a favorite of mine for many years, and this year it celebrates its 20th year anniversary. While they show hasn’t constantly been in production this fact is a bit misleading, but regardless, this year the crew of The Cat, Rimmer, Lister and Kryten are reuniting for a new 3 part series, Back To Earth.Their previous adventures cover all sorts of ground, but basically there’s a skeleton crew left in a mining ship lost far out in space.

HOWTO: install Fedora-commons repository software on Debian

So I’ve been using Fedora-commons for almost a year, first off, no it is NOT the Linux distribution, it is a digital repository used by libraries, museums, etc, worldwide to keep track of their digital collections. For this Fedora-commons is very good at its job, but there was a steep learning curve when I first jumped in with, a complaint I’ve heard repeated by many who aren’t Java jockeys (just made that up).

Record Store Day - April 18, 2009

UPDATE: read Euclid Records excellent post from last year by the owner Joe, “Record Store Day: What It Means To You and Me” for some insight into why you should care and participate in RSD If you’re like me, you can’t wait for Record Store Day 2009. If you were with me last year, you’ll recall that I blogged about it and gave my review of it afterward - I really enjoyed walking up to Euclid Records where I saw the same old staff I’ve seen for years, along with people from the neighbor hood, a local(ish) band play (which my kids said were too loud (win!

Röyksopp - Happy Up Here

I have an older Röyksopp cd, and Norwegian duo has everything you could want in an electronic outfit; driving beats, unobtrusive synthesized vocals topped by happy melodies to rule them. Of course if the video features a Space Invaders theme, it’s going to immediately get my attention, plus I love the idea of advertising attacking us, so here we are. Am I that transparent? Na, I think I just like some escapism from indie rock every now and then and this kind of pop is the vessel.

Racial profiling no better than random screening

While the TSA alway seem to be trying to cover every eventuality, even warning me about my 6 oz. tube of hair gel last week in Rhode Island, statistical studies are showing that racial profiling is no better than radom screening in finding terrorist suspects. Just as people with the same names as potential suspects are showing up on watchlists, this is not a good way to determine their threat level.

HOWTO: configure MySQL's my.cnf file

**UPDATE: **I recently used this MySQL tuner script, I basically went with what it told me, but I’m using a higher query_cache_size than it recommends, basically because I don’t see anything online saying it will hurt things. So I’m now using the following values on my server: [mysqld] user=mysql bind-address= datadir=/var/lib/mysql pid-file=/var/run/mysqld/mysqld.pid socket=/var/run/mysql/mysql.sock port=3306 tmpdir=/tmp language=/usr/share/mysql/english skip-external-locking query_cache_limit=64M query_cache_size=32M query_cache_type=1 max_connections=15 max_user_connections=300 interactive_timeout=100 wait_timeout=100 connect_timeout=10 thread_stack=128K thread_cache_size=128 myisam-recover=BACKUP key_buffer=64M join_buffer=1M max_allowed_packet=32M table_cache=512M sort_buffer_size=1M read_buffer_size=1M read_rnd_buffer_size=768K max_connect_errors=10 thread_concurrency=4 myisam_sort_buffer_size=32M skip-locking skip-bdb expire_logs_days=10 max_binlog_size=100M server-id=1 [mysql.

HOWTO: serve jpeg2000 images with a scalable infrastructure

At the Biodiversity Heritage Library, we have replaced a proprietary jpeg2000 image server, that was straining under the load, with a new, open source jpeg2000 server, djatoka. Chris Freeland and Chris Moyers cover the background in far more detail on the BHL Blog, so here I’ll cover my rationale and decisions I made to provide a scalable, stable infrastructure to provide the images as efficiently as possible. When I started sketching out how I wanted to run djatoka, I knew I wanted it to provide security, caching for performance and scalability and fault tolerance.

Mick Harvey quits the Bad Seeds

Multi-instrumentalist Mick Harvey, who has been a force for decades helping to define and refine Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds sound, has left the band after a string of Australian gigs. His history with Cave started when he played a pivotal role in the Cave-fronted Boys Next Door (1977-1980) before playing in the seminal Aussie punk band, The Birthday Party (1980-1983). I was a big fan of The Birthday Party, and while I’d categorize them as punk, they were unlike any other punk band you’ve heard.

Day one, Obama calls for open government

[caption id=“attachment_1432” align=“alignright” width=“150” caption=“Obama, keeping it real, as promised!”][/caption] UPDATE: the memo is already posted on the whitehouse.gov site for anyone to review! How refreshing! During this, his first day in office, President Obama called for open government, and issued a memorandum which spells out to approach the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) “with a clear presumption: in the face of doubt, openness prevails.” This presumption of openness is in direct contrast with limits the Bush administration put in place, a fact driven home by the last line of the memo: Sec.

01-20-2009 - new day rising

“As for our common defense, we reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals. Our founding fathers, faced with perils we can scarcely imagine, drafted a charter to assure the rule of law and the rights of man, a charter expanded by the blood of generations. Those ideals still light the world, and we will not give them up for expedience’s sake.” Barack Obama, Washington DC, 20 January, 2009

01-20-2009 - the end

“I’ll be long gone before some smart person ever figures out what happened inside this Oval Office.“ George W. Bush, Washington DC, 12 May, 2008 So I did some checking to get a source for this, and as I expected, it’s slightly taken out of context (Bush was trying to infer that someone would be impressed with what he accomplished). The interview was done by Shmuel Rosner of Haaretz.

Best music of 2008

It’s time (well, past time, but…) for my yearly list list covering the best music releases of the year, 2008. I continue the trend of discovering more music online through mp3 blogs, and social sites like last.fm and blip.fm where you can not only see what people are listening to, but how their tastes spread out from that certain selection that you like. This kind of RIYL (the old ‘recommended if you like’ suggestion from CMJ Journal) has always helped me jump from band to band and genre to genre, opening up far more than I would have had access to.

Obama to take a stand on detainee rights early

[caption id=“attachment_1346” align=“alignright” width=“190” caption=“Ali al-Marri is being held in a Navy brig in South Carolina”][/caption] Late next month we’ll know where Obama stands on one of the most contentious actions of Bush; that the US can indefinitely detain anyone deemed a ‘terrorist’ without charge. He’ll make his thoughts known in a brief due February 20th which will address the specific case of a student from Qatari, who has been held on our mainland since December 2001.

Varnish web accelerator - the right tool for the job?

Note: The following testing and writeup occurred in the Fall of 2007 following months of research and conjecture. I repost it now because it was not originally posted publicly, and because the results are still a driving factor in how I architect systems for web production. This week I am implementing Varnish to enhance an image server’s ability to scale and serve images online. The Job A client’s new ‘enterprise’ content management system proves to be far too slow to serve the multiple dynamic web sites that it’s scheduled to handle, and a reverse proxy was recommended by the company that sells the CMS to remedy the issue.

HOWTO log the user IP, not the proxy in nginx access log

So back in January I had a post about HOWTO: log the user’s IP, not the proxy’s, in Lighttpd access log, but today I switched that system to run nginx (actually nginx has been running since early this year, I just got lazy on running Varnish) fronted again by Varnish. I had the same issue, but not much trouble solving it. Since I often refer to my own notes on fak3r, I’m recording it here for myself, and anyone streaming in from Google.

Daily Digest for 2008-12-16

8:46am Posted a tweet on [Twitter](http://www.twitter.com/fak3r). Open Semantic Collaboration Architecture Foundation http://www.oscaf.org/node/13 ![twitter (feed #10)](http://www.fak3r.com/wp-content/plugins/lifestream/images/twitter.png) 9:38am Posted a tweet on [Twitter](http://www.twitter.com/fak3r). @kopper ok, I just bit too, what does this give us that MyBlogLog doesn’t? ![twitter (feed #10)](http://www.fak3r.com/wp-content/plugins/lifestream/images/twitter.png) 9:38am Posted a tweet on [Twitter](http://www.twitter.com/fak3r). @cminor9 but with that many buzzwords it must be good! ![twitter (feed #10)](http://www.fak3r.com/wp-content/plugins/lifestream/images/twitter.png) 9:53am Posted a tweet on [Twitter](http://www.twitter.com/fak3r). Dries on his software Drupal, the semantic web and search - http://tinyurl.

Bush dodges thrown shoes during surprise visit to Iraq

[caption id=“attachment_1232” align=“alignright” width=“234” caption=“Shoe of mass destruction?”][/caption] UPDATE: Iraq Shoe Tosser Guy: The Animated Gifs In a surreal event, an Iraqi reporter hurled his shoes at President Bush in his surprise ‘farewell’ appearance in Iraq. Amazingly the reporter was able to throw both shoes - with nary a sign of resistance from those around him. The first pitch came in on the inside, and Bush (showing more speedy judgment than I expected) barely got out of the way.

HOWTO: disable IPv6 networking in Debian

UPDATE 3 Ohai! now it’s 2015 and Debian lists an offical way to disable ipv6 in /etc/sysctl.conf, just add: net.ipv6.conf.all.disable_ipv6 = 1 net.ipv6.conf.default.disable_ipv6 = 1 net.ipv6.conf.lo.disable_ipv6 = 1 net.ipv6.conf.eth0.disable_ipv6 = 1 Then reboot, or issue the command sysctl -p So, while I’m (still) all for IPv6 becoming the new standard, until it does I’m going to turn if off on my servers if it’s not being used. UPDATE 2 It’s 2014 now, and this is much easier.

Black Friday: deals cause total carnage

[caption id=“attachment_1201” align=“aligncenter” width=“500” caption=“When does a crowd become a mob?”][/caption] When I was younger I worked retail, and I remember dreading the holiday season; we’d be completely busy, and customers were never ruder. I’ve seen ads poking fun at rabid crowds trying to break down doors before stores open to get the latest deals around the holidays, and it’s always some comment about how the store’s prices left the customers chomping at the bit to save that 15%.

Olbermann's commentary on Prop 8

The fact that Proposition 8 passed this last week in Califonia is a sad commentary on people’s morays and the discrimination that they still think is ok to pass on to others. Of course the statistic that African Americans (whose strong turnout is being attributed to Obama) voting 2 to 1 for the measure is particularly ironic. The best commentary I’ve heard on this issue comes from Keith Olbermann, who says all I’d like to, and more.

HOWTO: install Ruby on Rails on Debian or Ubuntu Linux easily

In the early days of this blog I used to run it on Typo, which was a great Ruby on Rails blogging platform (at one time). Unfortunately the project stalled (for years) and I ended up jumping ship after a few months of bugs and the ever crashing Rails server, WEBrick. Yes, if you search Netcraft you could see that was my exposed server at the time…not good! ;) Now if you look, Typo is still kicking, and it may be a solid platform now, I hope it is, as I even contributed a ton of the achieved themes that live on in the ‘Theme Garden’ there.

Equal Rights for All

Here’s a great, recent News of the Weird article,”_Roy Hollander filed a civil rights lawsuit against Columbia _University in New York City in August, claiming that its “women’s studies” curriculum teaches a religion-like philosophy that oppresses men by blaming them for nearly all social problems. (When interviewed by the New York Daily News, Hollander declined to give his age, saying such a revelation would crimp his pickup success with young women: Frequently, he said, women “think I’m younger than I am, so I don’t want to disillusion them.

Wassup 2008

File under: it’s funny cause it’s true. I mean, tru, tru.

A rural county pining for a racist past

[caption id=“attachment_1129” align=“alignright” width=“175” caption=“Ah, good memories”][/caption] With all the polls it feels like there’s been a sea change in how America sees race, or maybe not. Maybe it’s W’s 22% approval rating skewing the numbers, because there are obvious still some serious misconceptions and racism playing big in the election. Interviews in the ‘bootheal’ region of Missouri (only a few hours South of me here in St. Louis, where Obama drew 100,000 people under the Arch last week) show that indifference, mixed with the old school racism and ignorance, is still alive and well.

Army: Twitter could be a terrorist tool

[caption id=“attachment_1135” align=“alignright” width=“128” caption=“Tweet, tweet, bomb? “][/caption] Hmmm…so the Army has claimed that terrorists may be ‘tweeting’ along to plan and organize attacks. Well yeah, I guess they could use Gmail, Slashdot comments and other things the same way, it seems their claim is that since this is more ‘real time’ it could be a danger. Ok, oh, and they take a swipe at Skype as well. Additionally they define a new name I would happily accept, “The report describes hacktivists as politically motivated hackers”.

Distributing biodiversity data globally

My current project at work will take me far into next year, and that’s good because I’m facing an unprecedented amount of data, that will only continue to grow. Because of this I’m finally getting to put my money where my mouth is. For years I’ve talked about my ideas and theories about how I could network disparate systems together and have them leverage each other to keep everything in sync.

How to become a hacker

[caption id=“attachment_1098” align=“alignright” width=“140” caption=“The Glider: A Universal Hacker Emblem “][/caption] There has long been a movement in the geek community to expunge the negative thoughts attached to the word hacker, the image to the right The Glider, being one of the latest and most visible. In the beginning there were hackers (people who worked on computers, programmed and made things work) and crackers (people who would use computers for nefarious purposes, crimes, viruses, etc), these were two distinct camps, with some miscreants jumping the fence back and forth to confuse the issue.

Volunteering for change

[caption id=“attachment_1085” align=“alignright” width=“154” caption=“Barack Obama FTW!”][/caption] This afternoon I volunteered at the local field office in South St. Louis for Barack Obama. When I got there there was a flurry of activity, and I could tell people were there because they wanted to be. As we waited for others to show up to get started, I saw a pile of boxes; they had just gotten in a huge shipment of yard signs, after being back ordered for weeks.

HOWTO: send commandline email with attachments

Are you like me, do you have scripts running on servers and you need to know what they know? If there’s output in a file you can sed/grep/awk info out of them and have them emailed to you, but if you don’t know specifically what you’re looking for you may need the entire file/log/whatever. You’ll need a utility called uuencode, which is a utility that,“…_writes an encoded version of the named input file, or standard input if no file is specified, to standard output.

McCain's acceptance speech echos Bush's

[caption id=“attachment_799” align=“alignright” width=“138” caption=“Why McCain would be another 4 years of the same”][/caption] This is glorious, The Daily Show obliterates McCain’s acceptance speech by interspersing clips of Dubya’s acceptance speech. It’s funny that much of it is the same - WORD FOR WORD! So I guess that’s the change they keep talking about. Damn McCain, you crazy Mavrick! (sic)

HOWTO: webserver in 100 lines of Bash

I’m a big Bash fan, I know Perl is the more popular scripting language, and I’m slowly using it more, but hey, if I need something done, I can do it quicker in Bash (keeping in mind that I’m a systems guy, not a dev guy). While at work looking up Bash related syntax I came across a page describing how to run a webserver with 100 lines of Bash. It uses the old school GNU utility Netcat (nc) for communication between the pipes, and just a ton of basic logic and functions to pass it on to the user.

The ongoing hypocrisy of the Republicans

[caption id=“attachment_1001” align=“aligncenter” width=“344” caption=“McCain and Dubya eating cake while Katrina kills”][/caption] This shows what I hate about the conservative “right” - blatant hypocrisy. As usual, The Daily Show highlights these … let’s say shifts of opinions, with recent videos that show them playing both sides of the issue, depending on the subject. If it was a liberal issue, they’re all over it, if the EXACT issue comes up with them, it’s off limits and we’re the “angry left” for bringing it up!

No downtime for online free speech

EFF - Electronic Frontier Foundation In a statement today, EFF reminds online service providers to stand firm against alleged terms of use violations that are used to bully and silience online critisims. We only need to look at EFF’s work with the MIT students at Defcon, and the fact that so many ISPs are now filterning previous unfettered access to Usenet newsgroups to know that these tactics are alive and used to push debate offline and away from the limelight.

Credo mobile: eat yr iphone

[caption id=“attachment_939” align=“alignright” width=“263” caption=“Dik needs no support from u.”][/caption] Since its introduction, my beef with the iPhone has been obvious; buying it ties you to AT&T, a company that violated the law, and the rights of its customers, by allowing and assisting with the illegal wiretapping and data-mining for the NSA. Keep in mind, there were other phone companies asked … but AT&T is the one that said yes. So if you want to put your money where your mouth is, be like me and consider Credo Mobile.

Join the McCain G00gle b0mb - spread the truth

Moved by Obama’s acceptance speech in Denver? Yeah, me too. I wanted to find out how I could help highlight the differences in Obama’s vs McCain’s stances. Chris Bowers had some great points about finding factual McCain quotes and the easiest way to get these facts in front of voters is to raise their prominence in search engine results; this is my attempt to help. If you have a site and want to participate, read Chris’ comments here.

Anthropomorphic cannibalism at Flickr

Someone has taken time collecting pictures of Anthropomorphic Cannibalism at Flickr, which is essentially ads for food, showing the subject of the food, eating itself. Really funny when you think about it, but it took this pool of pics to really make me see it. Pretty cool, but anytime you look at ads too closely you’ll find disturbing things - I really long for a place without the constant distractions of ads thrown in your face, and no, me having ads on my site does not play into that…

HOWTO: conky config (conkyrc) for Debian Part 2

I changed around my Conky config, and it’s something you could do forever, but it’s great because it can be as heavy or light as you want it. Recently I dropped Gnome almost all together to run Openbox (full HOWTO on this forthcoming). I found a panel that will house things like nm-applet output, but was missing things like a simple clock, network activity, etc. So now, using most of the same code/look that I used here, I have a small, transparent strip at the bottom of the screen showing me time, date, proc, proc temp, network up, network down, and power status (battery, AC and the level of charge).

Super Mario Bros voted greatest computer game ever

Here’s some news that near and dear to my heart, Super Mario Bros has been voted the greatest computer game…evar! (in one poll at least) “The classic platform game was first released in 1985 and has since become one of the biggest selling ever with more than 40 million copies flying off the shelves worldwide. In the game brothers Mario and Luigi - now recognized the world over - try to conquer the Mushroom Kingdom in a bid to save Princess Peach.

Free Obama - Biden bumper sticker

UPDATE: check it - now MoveOn has, free buttons available too. It’s old news now, but earlier today Obama chose Senator Joe Biden to be his running mate. What a great pick, I’ve always been a fan of Biden, especially his appearances on The Daily Show. He has generally voted with Obama, and along party lines but has been outspoken on many issues. He’s a seasoned congressional veteran well-versed in foreign policy and national security issues which should help blunt Republican attacks on Obama’s lack of experience in these areas.

Stream 'Everything That Happens Will Happen Today'

Stream the new David Byrne / Brian Eno disk, Everything That Happens Will Happen Today below, it’s their follow-up to the cult classic In The Bush Of Ghosts from 198-. Both are recommended listening.

Citizen's laptops may be detained at border: no suspicion required

Ok, I’ve read this a few times, but I still cannot believe it. Yesterday the Department of Homeland Security disclosed that traveler’s laptop computers “or other electronic devices” can be confiscated, without any suspicion of a crime! Better yet, they can make and share copies of your data, have the data translated, unencrypted, etc. This is especially topical for me since I’ll be leaving the country on Sunday with the laptop that I’m typing this on.

Black Hat and Defcon: all the drama you've been craving

This is great, Defcon16 is a mere few days away, but already, the drama has started! Of course there’s the excitement about security guru/celebrity Dan Kaminsky discovering the DNS flaw a few months back that will be revealed this week (so that folks won’t be able to reverse-engineer them to exploit the vulnerability…ahead of time at least), but now there’s a reneg by Apple that’s sure to raise a few feathers, as well as highlight how they weren’t the most forthcoming with their DNS fix (which hasn’t hit yet even though all other vendors have released patches).

Total borrowing from the Federal Reserve

What’s wrong with this picture? Can you say debt? Good, how about recession? Notice the gray areas, those are recession periods, we’ll wait for ours to appear here. Who thought it could get this bad this quickly? Here’s the graph at the Federal Reserve for you to research. Enjoy

Google mp3blog search widget

[caption id=“attachment_1167” align=“alignright” width=“173” caption=“YouTube”][/caption] Found this mashup of a script that searches +5000 mp3blogs for tunes. Just type something in and see what you can find. I still contend that MP3s are the best way to discover new music - and having something so open like this allows you to hear any band you can think of. Put quotes around multi-word entries to narrow things down. (ie- “The Smoking Popes”)

Picture of the day

[caption id=“attachment_843” align=“aligncenter” width=“500” caption=“Here’s another new feature I’m implementing, Picture Of The Day. We’ll kick things off with this killer image, enjoy!”][/caption]

HOWTO: convert an AVI or to DVD (VOB) in Linux

I have some AVIs that I needed to get into the VOB format so I could burn them to DVD. I knew I could do this in Linux, but didn’t know how. Here is how I did it with Debian GNU/Linux (testing - Lenny). First I installed the GTK+ app, Avidemux (don’t worry, we’ll get back to the commandline soon). The I opened the AVI in Avidemux - after it imported it I clicked on FILE -> SAVE -> SAVE VIDEO - then choose where to save the file.

Blublocker photography

Here’s a cool idea, shoot pictures through some old Blublocker sunglasses and you get Blublocker photography! While I’ve shot through different lenses before I never thought of aiming through sunglasses, but it makes sense, it’s just another filter. Judging by the shots he’s posted on flickr, it gives things an almost otherworldly Mars-like appearance. Cool effect, I’d like to see this done in a low light enviroment to see what really stands out.

Reasons to use a web proxy in a production environment

NOTE: _at work I installed a web proxy to separate internal user traffic from external traffic hitting our prod_uction servers. While I’m not part of the network team, they asked me to do this because of my prior experience and interest in such things. The idea of this was to be a temporary fix until they get a new line installed providing greater bandwidth, but my argument is for the continuation of this segmentation even after the new line is installed.

TIDL: mock turtleneck shirts

It’s time to start up a new feature, an outlet for my critical eye that I call things I don’t like, or TIDL for short. To kick things off I’ll start with mock turtlenecks. The online Merriam-Webster dictionary defines them this way: _mock turtleneck __Function: __noun _Date: 1966 1 : a collar that is lower and usually looser than a turtleneck and is not turned over 2 : a garment with a mock turtleneck, while a Wikipedia entry paints them with the same brush as a polo neck shirt.

HOWTO: recursively download only specific file types

Have you ever found a batch of mp3s online on someone’s ‘Index of’ page? I know you have (and if not, do a search for ‘google hacks’ in google to learn about the fun) The issue always comes up that I find an album I want to grab, but the individual files are in a directory, so you have something like band_name-album_name/01-songone.mp3, and so on. To grab all of them I used to issue a wget command, with the -r (recursive) switch like this:

Commentary: AB sold to InBev

[caption id=“attachment_1047” align=“alignright” width=“299” caption=“Where there’s Life…there’s Bud!”][/caption] NOTE: _As a St. Louis native, I was asked to comment on the sale of local St. Louis brewer Anheuser-Busch to European beverage conglomerate InBev. The following are my comments from the thread. _ A couple of things here, AB has been a big STL employer for years sure, but just because they’re big doesn’t mean they’re good. Look at other big employers here; Boeing, AG Edwards and now AB - while they’re headquartered here, they’re not much more than bragging rights for St Louisans - just because they’re based here, they’re far from ‘local’.

HOWTO: fix fonts in Debian Lenny/Sid

UPDATE: also, before you try this, make sure you have some good fonts installed, after a fresh install of Lenny at work, I needed to run this first: apt-get install ttf-mscorefonts-installer msttcorefonts After a…slight slip up, I finally had the chance to install Linux from scratch on my laptop (Dell Vostro 1500) the way I’ve always wanted it with Debian GNU/Linux - Lenny and partitioned with LVM (Linux Volume Management). After that I set out to get the desktop fonts to look as good in Debian as they did (by default) in Ubuntu.

Use a safer browser!

If anything, that should be the message to all Internet surfers out there. This graphic shows the danger, the percentage of users who have their browsers at their most secure, in regards to patches/updates being applied. Clearly people running IE aren’t going through the trouble of updating, while Firefox has updates built in that you can even automate. Another thing to keep in mind is plugins; Firefox has millions of those, and now it takes care of keeping those updated, and disabling ones that aren’t.

iPhone activation nightmares

Wow, it sounds like this wasn’t thought through too well, apparently Apple requires you to activate your new iPhone at the store you buy it from. On a normal day this should work out alright, but not on today, with the rash of people snapping up the new model. “Problems with the iTunes server caused some enthusiasts who had waited in line for hours to walk out of the store unable to use their new iPhones, according to the disgruntled customers.

Stupid human tricks

Bored at work, well I’m not, but I did take a second to try this stupid thing, and it turns out it’s kind of interesting. Give it a shot, and remember, I never promised you all of my posts would be entertaining! ;) While sitting at your desk, raise your right foot off the floor and make clockwise circles. Now, while doing this, draw the number “6” in the air with your right hand.

The dangers of auto-replace!

[caption id=“attachment_1003” align=“alignnone” width=“420” caption=“homosayswhat?”][/caption]It looks like the ultra conservative news site, OneNewsNow, brought to you by our friends over at the American Family Ass (remember them?), aren’t very hip with those new web technologies. Oh sure, they block plenty of news that doesn’t meet their views so they can present the user with a tainted view of the world in order to support their viewpoints, but they also fail hard when they do a blind ‘find and replace’ of the word ‘gay’ to ‘homosexual’.

10 Unconventional Diet Tips: lose 50 pounds in 3 months

I found this inspirational post on Lifehack once about losing 50 pounds in 3 months, and I’ve had it bookmarked ever since. It seems to promote 10 positive steps to loose weight that are sensible and attainable. Perhaps I’ll give this a go sometime soon, even though I only want to loose 15-20 pounds (hello? Wii Fit?) “The following are 10 unconventional weight loss tips that worked for me. Between January 4, 2006 and March 31, 2006 I lost fifty pounds.

Zoomii - a new kind of online bookstore

Half the fun of the Internet (capital ‘I’ please) is discovering new things, but it’s rare that you see something new that really changes your perception of things. For me that happened when I came across the online bookstore Zoomii.com, which sells books via Amazon; think of it as a new front-end to the Amazon book site. You really have to try it out to understand it, but in a nutshell you navigate the ‘store’ via a huge overview of all the ‘books’ with an interface that feels quite a bit like Google maps since you can click and ‘drag’ the background.

HOWTO: burn an iso file from the command-line

Put this in the ‘post it here so I won’t forget it’ section, here I show how to use cdrecord to burn an ISO from the commandline. When I download an ISO I hate having to open the cdburning program and get everything configured to burn, I’d rather shoot off a one liner, that’s what this is all about. cdrecord -v speed=24 dev=/media/cdrom filename.iso And for extra credit, I now have a shell script called burnit.

Gandhi's top 10 fundamentals for changing the world

“You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty.” _“The difference between what we do and what we are capable of doing would suffice to solve most of the world’s problem.” _ _“If I had no sense of humor, I would long ago have committed suicide.” _ Mahatma Gandhi needs no introduction. Everyone knows about the man and his incredible words of wisdom, here I print a list I found online once entitled 10 fundamentals for changing the world, with accompanying quotes from him on the topics.

American Family Ass. boycotting McDonald's homosexual agenda

Right-wing American Family Association (AFA) are boycotting McDonalds of their ‘gay agenda’. They’re pissed because McD’s Vice President of Communications Richard Ellis’s is serving on the Board of Directors of the National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC). Sounds like the end of the world to me, lets get their word on the matter: What the boycott of McDonald’s IS about? It is about McDonald’s, as a corporation, refusing to remain neutral in the culture wars.

HOWTO: conky config (conkyrc) for Debian

If you run a Linux desktop you need to be using conky. It compiles all those shiny gadget you see on other desktops eating system RAM, down to what you need; information on what your system is doing. So try it out, install conky, and then drop this into your home directory as .conkyrc - then run conky. The file is pretty self explanatory, enjoy! # Create own window instead of using desktop (required in nautilus) own_window yes own_window_hints undecorated,below,skip_taskbar background no # Use double buffering (reduces flicker, may not work for everyone) double_buffer yes # fiddle with window use_spacer yes use_xft yes # Update interval in seconds update_interval 3.

Content Delivery Networks (CDN) options

Does anyone have any CDN experience they’d like to share? At my gig we need to move about 80-100GB of files to another provider, because we’re serving up ~8.5GB/day, and it’s killing our internal bandwidth. (yes, we’re going to segment this soon) We’ve considered things as basic as GoDaddy, but at 6.99$/month that has to just be file hosting, not a CDN right? A package for that amount of data at Cachefly looks like it’d be around 99$/month.

Meeting Moore, Internet Archive, PLoS, Flickr in San Francisco

I’ve gotten my pictures online from my San Francisco trip. The city was everything I always hoped it would be, and I really loved it there. I had the opportunity to meet with diverse people that all intersect with various aspects of my job (now being refered to as my career). From The Moore Foundation (the most amazing workspace I’ve ever seen) that provide us grant money to do our research to other non-profits partners like Internet Archive, The Smithsonian, Califonia Academy of Science, Public Library of Science to some of the folks that run the servers and dream up new ideas at Flickr (they use MySQL shards, Squid and memcached all over the architecture to navigate all that data - so I’m on the right path!

Blitzen Trapper Furr

Over the past few days I’ve become quite the fan of Blitzen Trapper from Portland, Oregon. A single on Subpop’s 20 year anniversary CD (which I got in a goodie bag on Record Store DayBTW) led me to this track, which turns out to be NOT indicative of their style. I’m giving their recent release a run now, and it reminds me at times of another Portland band, Menonema which is good.

Developers' operating system of choice

So while I realize this won’t be of interest to the majority of people out there, to me it’s very cool (something I would even blog about!) So I’m in San Francisco last week meeting with developers and programmers from a variety of backgrounds; web 2.0 start-ups, .com verterans, non-profit and academic folk alike. We’re all sitting around a conference table, each one with a laptop, so you can see what’s coming, here’s the breakdown: 11 laptops, 4 running Apple’s OSX, 4 running Linux (Debian, Ubuntu, Mandriva) and only 3 running Windows XP!

John McSame - why M.c.Cain would be 4 more years of the same

UPDATE: months after confusing Iran and Iraq, (multiple - times), M.c.Cain continues to try to upstage Bush’s famous canon of mis-spoken quotes by stating that Putin is President of Germany. Say what you want about Barack Obama’s ‘change’ message, just know if you go with J.o.hn M.c.Cain you’re saying yes to four more years of Bush style politics. While he’s still hawking that ‘maverick’ tag, don’t believe the hype, instead, let’s look at some statements by the senator.

The importance of understanding net netrality

To understand how importance net neutrality is you need to watch the following video. Think about the freedom that the Internet allows you, now think about how you are limited to certain ‘packages’ when you pay for cable or satellite access to watch TV. This is exactly how the corporate behemoths want to make your choices for the Internet. It makes sense, they’re not stupid, they see the opportunity to make money, and making your freedom into the proverbial carrot and stick makes perfect sense…for them.

HOWTO: automatically reconfigure Xorg in Debian

If you’re like me, you’ve messed up your xorg.conf before and wanted to start over with the default that you know dpkg-reconfigure can set it to. Because of this I’m posting here because I’ve needed it multiple times in the past and have tired of looking it up! To automatically reconfigure Xorg in Debian or Ubuntu issue the following: sudo dpkg-reconfigure -phigh xserver-xorg Then logout/login or restart X via contrl-alt-backspace.

bloxtr.com - the network is the computer

Haven’t we seen this before? clipped from www.mumbaimirror.com bloxtr.comTired of lugging that heavy laptop around? Today’s Web site lets you take your computing online, and access it from anywhere. Bloxtr is completely free, and offers a familiar Windows-like interface; complete with an office suite, games, and accessories. clipped from objsam.wordpress.com Don’t have a laptop? Try the virtual computer! K. Ansar and P.P. Ismail, final year computer science students at an engineering college in Kerala India, have set up www.

Morrissey turns 49

[caption id=“attachment_792” align=“alignright” width=“240” caption=“Morrissey”][/caption]I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention Morrissey’s Birthday today, he turns 49. It was one year ago tonight that I saw him play here in St. Louis for his 48th…time flies. Over the weekend my wife and I watched a dvd of a rebroadcast concert from Madrid in 1984 of The Smiths, and the songs still stand. Here’s hoping many happy returns to the man whose music has stuck with me now for more than 20 years!

California to allow same sex marriage

Yesterday California Supreme Court struck down the ban on gay marriage, making it only the second state to allow/acknowledge same sex marriage. Here’s hoping this will be the trend, or at least a precident, for the future. Which will be the next state to grant the basic right of marriage to everyone? Human rights, what a concept! The court’s comment is very powerful, “Our state now recognises that an individual’s capacity to establish a loving and long-term committed relationship with another person, and responsibly to care for and raise children, does not depend upon the individual’s sexual orientation, and more generally that an individual’s sexual orientation — like a person’s race or gender — does not constitute a legitimate basis upon which to deny or withhold legal rights.

Radiohead was freaking fantastic

We saw Radiohead last night, and they did not disappoint. My wife and I weren’t looking forward to the venue, a big shed and lawn ‘pavilion’ that everyone has now, but in the end it turned out to be a great night, with the location not being bad at all. We last saw Radiohead at the same venue twelve years ago during their tour for The Bends, but it wasn’t until just after that with the release of OK Computer that I went completely ga-ga for them for life.

Chat on Skype via Pidgin on Linux (or Adium on Mac)

This is a big deal for me, I played with Skype back in the day, but never really used it much since it required a second client, and I have always used Gaim (which is now Pidgin) to consolidate all of my accounts into one client and didn’t want to break out of that mold, but now I don’t have to. Using the Skype API, Eion Robb has created a Pidgin plugin called Skype API plugin for Pidgin/libpurple/Adium.

HOWTO: Configure nginx for Debian / Ubuntu

**UPDATE: **I'm reworking my config blending in the security ideas found on [camomel.org](https://calomel.org/nginx.html) they're really thought things through on this, this should make for a very secure environment. I’m always trying new software, and with the webserver I’ve moved from Apache 1.3 to 2.0 to 2.2, and then later I moved everything over to Lighttpd, which I’ve liked, save for some memory issues that popped up. Now, enter a web server named nginx (engine x), written by a Russian hacker.

4 reasons why Macs are moving into the enterprise

With the barriers lowering, and other market factors creeping in, Macs are slowly making a move into the enterprise. While this may/may not solely be Apple driven, the fact is that people like choices, and the Macs are now far more compatible with other systems than they once were, so finally folks have options. In my recent travels to Woods Hole we had ~14-15 developers from around the world, and there were 4 Macs there.

Nomina meeting in Woods Hole

Last week I traveled to Woods Hole, MA to attend Nomina 2. Woods Hole is the home of the Marine Biology Lab, and it’s where Encylopedia of Life is based. EoL played the host, and did a wonderful job at making us confortable in a very quaint, peaceful town. The meeting was organized by TDWG - an international group that proposes biodiversity information standards and protocols for sharing biodiversity data. Basically they’re a taxonomic group that have and collect data on zoology, biology, botany, viruses, insects, (don’t know what *logy those last two fall in) etc, in order to be able to provide that data to the world in a way that can be shared between different groups.

First ever Record Store Day rocked!

So, as I mentioned earlier, last Saturday was the first ever Record Store Day, and yeah, it rocked. I took the whole family down the street to our local Euclid Records, where tables outside the store hawked BBQ and cheap cds, with a crowd inside buying records, cds and enjoying local bands rock out. We just missed The Bottle Rockets, but did catch Finn Motel, which featured a neighbor on drums, who we didn’t know was in a band or even played drums!

Off we go...

Image via Wikipedia Heading out today for Woods Hole, MA - it’s supposed to be beautiful (expect pictures on my grossly underused flickr account). I’m representing the Biodiversity Heritage Library in a meeting with the Encyclopedia of Life folks as we discuss standardizing data streams for upcoming sharing of data. It may not sound like it, but this is fun. While I’m on more of the technical end of the spectrum, the way these things will be shared/directed/pushed along the wire is where I’ll come in and I’m very interested in their efforts and methods, so I expect to learn a ton.

Back up

Our DSL went out last Friday, and didn’t come back up until yesterday…frak. I’ve hosted all of my websites on homebuilt servers for over 7 years now, and I love doing it, but when the temps change or some phone repair guy plugs something in wrong, we’re down. It’s never the internal wiring, it’s never our ISP (the still wonderful Speakeasy), it’s always something funky with the line. This time they had to send out a new modem before they could dispatch the phone company, and being that it was the weekend I couldn’t get it until Tuesday, so that was that.

Early Morning, April 4


Record Store Day - April 19, 2008

“On Saturday, April 19, 2008, hundreds of independently owned music stores across the country will celebrate Record Store Day. On this day, all of these stores will simultaneously link and act as one with the purpose of celebrating the culture and unique place that they occupy both in their local communities and nationally.“ There you go, April 19th I expect all of you to visit an independent music store in your area and buy some music; records, cds, 45s, posters, tshirts - hell, consider getting a new turntable, the kind with the USB plugs so you can rip that new vinyl!

White trash charms Japan

This has to be my favorite ‘lost in translation’ picture ever. If that’s not a band name or a website I don’t know what is. [Source link]

Open Source is good for you

A recent study by a tech group talks about not only there being a positive monetary benefit for IT workers to know Open Source, but a more fulfilling sense of purpose as well. While this tells me nothing I don’t already know, it’s something that’s important as the next wave of IT geeks start knocking on the doors. “Want to make more money as an enterprise application developer? You’re in luck–if you know open source.

Refused live album forthcoming

Swedish band Refused is my all time favorite hardcore band, which ended after the release and abbreviated tour of their last album, the monumental, The Shape of Punk to Come - a CD permanently on the list of my all time fav records. Word from the Refusedfan.com website is that Refused member David Sandström has dropped that a live cd will finally see the light of day this year. “_This year will most likely give us a new REFUSED record!

Arthur C. Clarke has died

Arthur C. Clarke has died in Sri-Lanka, at age 90. Now I’m by no means a big reader, I’d love to be, but I really never have the time. Still, from where I’m typing this I can count 25 books authored by Mr. Clarke on my bookshelf. His stories are an amazing blend of science fiction with facts or actual theory behind it. I was always a big fan of, 2001: A Space Odyssey, a flick my Mom first took me to when I was 8.

Hawaii Chair

You have got to be fucking kidding me.  Props to Cofano for pointing this out and making Infomercial Hell a new favorite site of mine.

HOWTO: make old Firefox extensions install in 3.0 betas

If you’re like me you’re already running one of the Firefox 3 betas and loving the new features and stability lacking in the earlier series. The only issue now is that it’s taking extension writers time to update their extension to be compatible with the new Betas. Some of these extensions can almost hold me back to the 2.x series since they’re so useful, but 3 is just so much better in many ways.

The biggest pool in the world

Ok, it covers 20 acres (eight hectares), is more than 1,000 yards long, is 115 feet deep at the deep end and holds 66 million gallons of water, so it’s no surprise that this pool in Chile has been named the biggest in the world by the Guinness Book of Records. The previous champ is in Morocco, but it’s a mere 150 yards long and 100 yards wide. For reference, an Olympicsize pool measures 50 yards by 25 yards.

HOWTO: determine optimal fastcgi settings for Lighttpd

Anyone building a server with a LAMP stack today has tons of options, mine have evolved to using Varnish -> Lighttpd -> Xcache -> PHP5 -> MySQL. Once I had Lighttpd (aka Lighty) installed and running PHP pages I looked to optimize the configuration and push it as hard as possible for more speed. Of course lately I’ve been getting unexplained slowdowns, with many instances of php5-cgi appearing to be taking up almost all of my available CPU on top.

Man stabs brother-in-law over political argument

I’m all for having opinions, but if a simple disagreement turns to violence, someone must be watching too much tv. The apparent argument was over a Hillary Clinton-Barack Obama argument! “…Jose Antonio Ortiz, a Clinton supporter, allegedly stabbed his brother-in-law Sean Shurelds in the stomach after they argued over the race for nomination. Shurelds, 41, an Obama supporter, told Ortiz his candidate was “trashing” Clinton, in reference to a string of recent victories by the Illinois senator in preliminary voting in various states.

Reviewer makes *educated guess* that new Black Crowes album blowes

While I don’t look to Maxim for advice on buying music, it seems hilarious that one of their writers slammed the upcoming Black Crowes’ release, giving it only ** 1⁄2 stars out of *****, without even hearing the full album. That’s cold. “_The band posted an exasperated statement on its Web site last week, saying the Maxim writer hadn’t heard the entire album because advance copies were not available. The Cro_wes’ manager, Pete Angelus, said the magazine explained that its review was an “educated guess.

Olbermann chronicles Bush's nexus of politics and terror

Watching the “coincidences” between political decisions and terror alerts since 2001 (we’re currently at Bert!) has been a favorite spectator sport of mine, but of course it takes Keith Olbermann to fully chronicle the ongoing Bush legacy. Called “The Nexus of Politics and Terror” it provides “…the Bush administration’s exploitation of terror threats for political gain. Olbermann’s exhaustive account weaves from each revelation of an intelligence failure or a Democratic political victory to an almost immediate orange alert or “new threat” from al Qaeda.

HOWTO: sound after hibernate in Linux (Gusty/Lenny)

With all the tweaking to get my Dell Vostro 1500 working with Ubuntu, it’s still been an annoyance to get sound working evertime after hibernation. It goes to sleep fine, it wakes up fine, it obeys all of the power preferences I defined within Gnome fine too, it’s just that when it comes out of hibernation, the sound is usually off. It’s not muted, it’s off. Trying to restart alsa (the sound server) is a lession in frustration, so until now I’ve been ignoring it since it was rare that I would need it, but still…come on.

(Paranoid) Android demo

Here’s a working demo of Google’s Android operating system in action. It’s got some pretty fly features, with a few bits that remind me a bit too much of the iPhone, but hey. Now if they put it on a decent phone (OpenMoko anyone?) with a data plan that doesn’t require the use of AT&T, we’ll talk… [youtube:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1FJHYqE0RDg]

HOWTO: Speedup Firefox in 5 easy steps

These are some basic tweaks to speed up Firefox that have been tried and true for some time now. I haven’t seen these collected in one place recently, so if you have Firefox and want to improve its performance, try these steps. If you have a broadband connection (who doesn’t?), you can speed up your page loads considerably using these steps. Basically you’re allowing Firefox to load multiple things on a page instead of one at a time.

An historic auction of millions of records, cds, etc

With a starting bid of US $3,000,000.00 this is one crazy eBay auction. Described as “The World’s Greatest Music Collection (3 Million Records, 300,000 CDs, 6 million+ Song Titles)”, you’re ostensibly buying a record store. In an interview, “Paul Mawhinney, owner of the Record Rama Sound Archives in Pittsburgh, Penn., is selling off what he calls “The World’s Greatest Music Collection” — as a whole — with a starting bid price of $3 million US ‘I want the history of American popular music to be available for future generations.

HOWTO: use monit to keep Lighttpd and Varnish running

Thanks to a post from Steve over at debian-administration.org, I finally got around to setting up monit, the little monitoring app we use at work to keep things sane. I was getting around to installing it at home, but it became more urgent when Varnish went down last week; without it running there’s nothing to handle requests on :80, so as a webserver it’s dead. So here’s my monitrc for the webserver Lighttpd fronted by Varnish, acting in the reverse proxy/http accel role.

Amy Winehouse had to cover up pin-up girl tattoo for Grammys

This is just silly, so apparently during her Grammy performace, Amy Winehouse was told to cover up exposed breasts…on one of her tattoos! The reason given was that, “Grammy bosses were scared she’d offend US audiences” with her pin-up girl tattoo on her left upper arm. Really, that would have offended Americans? “The ‘Back to Black’ star used her trademark black eyeliner to disguise the breasts of a nude girl tattooed on her arm as she performed via satellite link from London at the Grammys.

Latest e-mail scam: death threats

I guess since the Nigerian scams are too common people are working on new angles to rob people via email. This is a great one too, the email purports to be from a contract killer with the recipient being the intended target, but the killer will renege on the killing if the person will cough up some cash. It said, in part, “Am very sorry for you my friend, is a pity that this is how your life is going to end as soon as you don’t comply.

Thanks for your anticipated action

I’ll admit it, I’m often entertained by spam, and with the slew of job opportunity emails I’ve been seeing lately it’s easy to get them confused, except for this one. It really stands out, and while it’s not the right opportunity for me, I hope it is for someone (I’d like to know exactly how they scam people with this, since it’s not apparent from the intro). From Alfonzo Merrill bbpesq@aol.

Amy Winehouse to perform at Grammys via satellite

**UPDATE: **So Amy took 4 of the 5 awards she was nominated for, Mark Ronson, the producer of Back To Black took Producer of the years, and most importantly she tore it up on a medley of I’m no Good and _Rehab _from London. Good for her. While I can’t think of a time I looked forward to the Grammys, this year is the exception. After getting approval from the rehab center she’s currently staying in, she was still denied a visa to travel to the US to attend the Grammys, but Amy Winehouse will perform via satellite for the show.

Super Tuesday results

Robert De Niro on Obama's inexperience

http://www.fak3r.com Today one of the greats gave Obama the nod at a rally in New Jersey. He surprised people by seeming attacking the Senator though, “Barack Obama does not have the experience to be president of the United States. He wasn’t experienced enough to authorize the invasion of Iraq. And that’s not all, it’s clear Barack Obama does not have the experience to let the special interests run the government. That’s the kind of inexperience I can get used to.

Arrested Development movie in the works?

Wow, amazing news of late for people like me that are still laughing so hard it hurts while rewatching the Arrested Development DVDs, a movie deal is brewing. From a recent interview with Bluth family spokesperson…er, I mean Jason Bateman “I can confirm that a round of sniffing has started,” Bateman says. “Any talk is targeting a poststrike situation, of course. I think, as always, that it’s a question of whether the people with the money are willing to give our leader, Mitch Hurwitz, what he deserves for his participation.

Obama challenges Clinton to breakdancing duel

Ok, now to lighten the mood a bit after my prior post, apparently Obama has challenged Hillary to a breakdancing showdown, who saw this coming? With Clinton could result in splintering the Democratic party. Apparently Barack is, “…planning to “turn the tables and take it old school. Bring your cardboard, woman, and that busted hair, because we are going to settle this with a break-off,” Obama told the crowd at a press conference in Reno.

It's time to lose the faith talk in politics

We’ve got to find a way to take the conservative symbolic message of faith talk out of American politics. First let me state what I believe in as far as religion; I believe religion is a very personal thing, and I feel it should be that way for everyone. This goes a long way in understanding my disdain for so called ‘faith-based politics’, examples of which have been in abundance this campaign season.

New Rambo film most violent yet

Oh yeah, just in case you thought us American’s didn’t stand for anything anymore, out of the chute comes a newly reworked Sylvester Stallone (who directed and co-wrote) the new “Rambo” , out to prove that we’re still number one in over the top, mindless violence! “_The new Rambo film is the most violent yet - with more than two on-screen deaths every MINUTE. There are a total of 236 “kills” in the 93-minute-long action flick, which has just been released in America - an average of 2.

Texas is number one

As everyone knows, Texans like to brag, so being number one seems like a great place for anything Texas; save for this. “Texans’ fondness for large, manly vehicles has helped make the Lone Star State the biggest carbon polluter in the nation. The headquarters state of America’s oil industry spewed 670 million metric tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere in 2003, enough that Texas would rank seventh in the world if it were its own country, according to the most recent figures from the U.

Running XP on a Mac - is Boot Camp active when Windows is loaded?

Today at work someone running Windows on a Mac was having an issue communicating through the third party firewall software. The response from the third party was that they don’t support Mac, but my contention is that Mac has nothing to do with someone running Windows, after installing it via Boot Camp. I want to know the answer to this, so I’m posting it here, feel free to educate me if I’m missing something.

Do the collage - the art of Bob Pollard

On December 9, 10 Robert Pollard had his debut art exhibit called Do The Collage (a play on the title of Guided by Voices 1999 release, Do The Collapse) at Studio Dante. in New York City. Now the entire exhibit is online (but note the person pictured at that link is not Bob), and it displays the talents of Bob’s cut and paste collages, much like the sound of his band’s early recordings.

Radiohead coming to St. Louis next tour

**UPDATE: **according to a Pitchfork post, 05-14 St. Louis, MO - Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre So it’s been confirmed, Radiohead **will **play St. Louis on this tour; what incredible news. I last saw them during the tour for The Bends, far, far too long ago. “St. Louis is confirmed as a stop on British rock band Radiohead’s upcoming North American tour. Exact dates and venues are to be announced. The tour will be broken down in two parts – a first leg prior to a European summer tour, and another leg after the European tour.

The premature crowning of Hillary

Hillary is being crowned the ‘come from behind kid’ after ‘winning’ the New Hampshire primary; but this appears to be nothing but spin. First of all the results, Hillary took 39% of the popular vote to Barack ’s 37%, so Hillary wins, right? Not exactly, if you look at the delegate count you’ll see a different picture. Remember, people can win the popular vote and loose the election (Gore). From the article/discussion on CNN’s Political Ticker you’ll see the results: In the New Hampshire Democratic primary

5 steps for surviving using XP in the workplace

Ok, I’m not typical by any means when it comes to operating systems, but desktop systems - even less so.  I’ve  run Linux on the desktop since ~1997, and I’m very comfortable with it…at home.  While there are a few exceptions where companies would let me run Linux on the desktop, that’s not the theme of the larger companies I’ve frequented of late, so of course I’ve had  to use XP for the past 3 years, and it hasn’t been all blood and roses.  First of all I can’t stand the  Fisher-Price UI - it’s awful, really, how dumb do I look? (that’s a rhetorical question)  The first thing I do  to a new system I have to use is to revert the UI back to its ‘classic’ looks - at least this way I wouldn’t be  reminded of how much better XP was supposed to be since they changed the way some widgets look (seriously,  right click on yr desktop, choose ‘Properties’ then look at that same dialog box that you saw in Windows 95!).  I usually end up  making Windows look and act as much like a Linux desktop, to make it more tolerable for me to use, but first we’ll start with what really bugs us about Windows, resources that seem to be constantly straining, regardless  installed RAM!  Disclaimer: use my suggestions as just that, if things catch on fire, businesses fail, war breaks out, I can’t be held responsible.  Having said that, life is short, and what’s the worst that can happen?

HOWTO: log the user's IP, not the proxy's, in Lighttpd access log

When you run a webserver behind a reverse proxy or HTTP accelerator like Squid or Varnish, the webserver access logs will display the IP of the proxy (generally instead of the end user’s IP. This not only breaks any kind of tracking or reporting you want to run against your webserver logs, but it also takes away a datapoint I’ve had use for in general server admin tasks. This server runs Varnish in front of Lighttpd, and it reveals the end user’s IP in the header as X-Forwarded-For, so it’s just a matter of making Lighttpd (lighty) use that variable in its access logs instead of the default variable defining the referring IP.

Stewart, Colbert back on without writers for now

Yep, call me a day late and a dollar short, but after all this time, Stewart and Colbert were back on last night, although still sans writers. While I understand it’s a tough situation for all, having this many people out of work (not just Jon, Steven and the writers, but everyone from makeup to camera to sound, etc) is crazy. Think about your job if you were ‘off’ for two months and had no way to resolve it yourself?

1 2 3 4 by Feist

Ya, you’ve heard the song 1 2 3 4 by Feist, even if you don’t realize it; it’s that iPod ad. That ad gave you a sense of the melody of the song, which is beautiful IMO, as is the cd which easily made my best of 2007. Why am I bringing this up? It’s the full video, you must see it. Rarely does a video move me enough to want to talk about it, I can think of some Sigur Ros ones, and a couple of others, but this one is just fantastic and suits the song very well.

Best music of 2007

It’s that time again, our annual list of our favorite music from each year. New for 2007’s best of list is far more detail and interactivity than before, and it’s even linked to the fak3r’s aStore at Amazon in case you want to pick up any of the recommendations from the page, how convenient!. As always, scroll to the bottom for picks from years past. Leave comments here if you have ones you disagree with, or ones we missed.

Neko Case on NPR

Damn, it seems that NPR has a continuous thing for Nico Neco (uggg, I still spell her name wrong), I mean Neko Case, as they have gone out of their way to showcase her most recent album, Fox Confessor Brings the Flood, Her continued recording and touring work with The New Pornographers and now even boasts a full concert of her playing the Disney Hall in LA from November 16th (props to scooter b for the original tip).

Virallink - Link Exchange Program

Below is a matrix of 120 stars, I have already added a link to my blog onto oneof the stars, all you need to do is copy and paste the grid into your blog and add your own link to one of the other spare stars, and tell others to do the same! Viralink ******************** ***************** *[](http://www.linkrambler.org/)***[](http://afterlight.110mb.com/)***** ********[](http://www.stephenwelton.com/)**** ******[](http://www.andy-coates.com/blog)**** ******************[](http://www.sitelogic.co.uk/) New Addition:When I receive a ping back once you have added the Viralink to your site I will add your link to this grid, and each person who copies the grid from here will also link to your site!

Little pink houses for you and me; can Brad save NOLA?

Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie have a home in the French Quarter in New Orleans, and are spending the holidays there this year to support Brad’s “Make It Right” foundation. The foundation aims to build 150 homes by next Summer in the Lower 9th Ward, a neighborhood decimated by Katrina. Brad is pulling this off with residents of the area, Democratic fundraiser and movie producer Steve Bing, and a team of world-renowned architects launched a national fundraising campaign this week to help the city recover from the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina.

They Might Be Giants

Last night at Dinner, my son, soon to be 5, let it be known that his favorite They Might Be Giants album is Flood. My kids got into TMBG after we got them the band’s first kids cd, NO!, followed by the amazing Here Come The ABCs on both cd and DVD (highly recommended if you have kids). A greatest hits compilation, A User’s Guide… rounds out the bunch which gives them a wider swath of material to judge TMBG, who now perform family shows, as well as the traditional 21 and over shows, while on tour.

Glassbooth - how do you line up with the candidates?

You owe it yourself, or me, to visit Glassbooth and fill out their survey. It’s all about politics, specifically how your thoughts line up with the current batch of candidates. Of course mine pull up to Dennis Kucinich, followed by Mike Gravel and John Edwards. Hills is fourth, with Obama a disappointing sixth. Once you have your results you can cross reference every candidate with every issue and get information about how they stand, what they’ve said and how they’ve voted on everything.

Music that stands the test of time

Carrie Brownstein (former Sleater-Kinney guitarist) now has a great blog on NPR called _Monitor Mix__. _A recent post talked about her learning what bands were important to her father over the years, and it leads to a question I’ve always wondered, what music that is important to us be as important for our kids when they grow up? In other words, what will make the jump. I posted a comment, and the submission form wouldn’t let me post it!

Aquadots sweetened with the date-rape drug 1,4-butanediol

It’s amazing, with all the toy recalls this year, the Aquadots one just stands out since it apparently contians the same active ingrediate in the ‘date rape’ drug! And how could such a hazardous chemical have ended up in a child’s toy? Remember, it’s all about money… “The toys were supposed to use 1,5-pentanediol, a nontoxic compound found in glue, but instead contained the harmful 1,4-butanediol, which is widely used in cleaners and plastics.

HOWTO: create a pidfile for a startup script

On the monit mailing list today someone asked how they could monitor a process that didn’t have a pidfile associated with it. Without thinking I jotted this down, there’s likely a better way, but this should work and may be all I need for some init.d scripts for a couple of apps on ramon (the home server). In the the beginning of the startup script, define the PIDFILE with the path and the cmd followed by the pid suffix and then just dump the PID number from the ps output into it:

Allow Varnish to reuse its shared object

BACKGROUND:** **_The following is a proposal I submitted to the Varnish developers in order to make it simpler to integrate Varnish_ (an HTTP accelerator for web sites) into production environments. fak3r uses Varnish in front of its webserver, Lighttpd, so it’s likely that the page you’re now reading was served to you not by the webserver, but via Varnish. Currently Varnish requires a C compiler to be present on the machine it’s running on, since it needs to compile the VCL config file into a shared object each time it starts.

Jon Stewart to pay his writers out of own pocket during strike

This is cool (and somewhat of a relief), Jon Stewart will be paying his writers out of his own pocket during the writers strike. “In a show of solidarity with his fellow scribes, the Daily Show host has told his writing staff that he will cover all their salaries for the next two weeks, according to a well-placed source. He has also vowed to do the same for writers on The Colbert Report.

shutdown -h now

Just shut down the old server, chavez, which was running FreeBSD 6.1 - it was an awesome server. I’ve switched to Debian for now, and I’m really loving it, having used it in the past I really never dug into it as a server until recently. Administration is just easier, and it’s in line with me trying to cut back on things I have to do on the computer; gives me more time for other efforts.

Colbert into double digits in recent poll

Apparently Stephen Colbert’s “candidacy” has started to take off, apparently a new poll (in South Carolina only natch) shows him in double digits! “_Comedian Stephen Colbert, who recently announced he would run for U.S. president as both a Democrat and a Republican but only in the state of South Carolina, scored 13 percent in a new poll conducted by Rasmussen Reports. The national telephone survey found that 13 percent chose Colbert as an independent candidate in a race against Democratic Sen.

Paul Raven dead of a heart attack

Wow, here’s an unexpected blast from the past, Paul Raven, bass player for industrial bands that I used to love like Pigface and Murder, Inc., as well as Killing Joke and Ministry contributer, has died in his sleep of a heart attack in France at the age of 46. “MINISTRY bassist Paul Raven was found dead yesterday (Saturday, October 20) in a private home in a small French village on the Swiss border after suffering an apparent heart attack.

PayPal: Open Source Essential to Success

PayPal has used Open Source and Linux exclusively. In an op-ed piece, Matthew Mengerink from PayPal gives his four reasons why Open Souce is Essential to Success. “PayPal transacts more than US$1,500 every second of every day, with millions of people around the world relying on the robustness of its system. It comes as a surprise to many people that PayPal runs such a large financial services company on an open source platform, but that’s precisely how we’re able to deal with the two competing demands our business Over 800,000 High Quality Domains Available For Your Business.

Johnny Marr: The Smiths might reform

So last week we thought the biggest Johnny Marr (who is currently still touring with Modest Mouse) news was that he’s ”…been announced as Salford’s new professor of music. Not just an honorary title, Marr’s responsibilities will include hosting workshops on the composition and performance of popular music.“ Salford University is in Manchester, England, where Johnny was born, and the Salford Lads Club is famously featured in an indside picture of The Smiths 1985 release, The Queen Is Dead.

crash Internet Explorer with a link

I thought the days of crashing IE with just some malformed code were over, apparently not. I just takes a misplaced wildcard in a style declaration to send it down. <style>*{position:relative}</style><table><input /></table> This took out IE on my work computer which is fully patched. I’ve read that people running IE under Wine in Linux have it crash as well, so it’s certainly app dependant. For those of you playing at home, just click here to try it for yourself.

Scammers (not) showing heart by donating to charity

This is interesting, apparently to test out stolen credit card numbers, scamers are donating small amounts to charities to verify they have a working number on their hands. “In the world of carding, where stolen credit card information is bought and sold, carders need to know if the credit cards they are buying or selling can actually be used. It is sometimes difficult for them to verify this without raising any alarm bells and risking that their cards will be identified as stolen and disabled.

Publishers shifting significantly to Wii

(stated in Prof. Farnsworth voice) “Good news everyone!“ Outlook for new Wii games is very strong for 2008. According to a new article by Screen Digest, “…publishers are “flocking to Wii” and that this holiday season will lead into a 2008 with plenty of Wii fun to come. “Nintendo’s success is reaping the rewards of great support from publishers … 86 titles are scheduled for release on the Wii in Q4, compared with 47 for Microsoft’s Xbox 360 and just 38 for the PS3.

PJ Harvey photos from New York Show

Some amazing photos of PJ Harvey at her New York show last night at the Beacon Theatre. Especially cool since she’s playing two (2!) stops on this ‘tour’ of America. I first saw her in 1993 and have always been amazed at the way she’s evolved as an artist. I highly recommend you pickup Is This Desire, and if you’re a fan of that and want more guitars grab Stories from the City, Stories from the Sea.

Buying a Linux laptop in 2007

It’s time for a new laptop, as I’ve detailed, I’ve ripped apart, inserted coins and duct-taped  the old iBook back together again enough times, and it’s no longer viable. It’ll work fine on a flat surface, but if you try to use it as a laptop the minor flexing must loosen the video chip, because you quickly find your video locked, with a hard reboot the only fix. The wildcards are me as a buyer, since I’m hardly ordinary with my expectation that any laptop or desktop I’m going to buy is only going to run Linux, and the recent announcements by HP, IBM/Lenovo and Dell about their Linux support (some even pre-installed), I knew I’d finally have choices to consider.

The Shins 'Wincing the Night Away'

After months with it, I now appreciate The Shins current release, Wincing the Night Away, on a much higher level. It’s a fantastic release and displays a perfect cross section of light and dark pop that their earlier releases barely hinted at; it’s a great/solid listen. With critics, including my wife, in almost universal agreement of this releases’ merits, many don’t see anything better coming out this year. But of course with this being only October, don’t call it the album of the year…yet.

HOWTO: notes on securing Debian

Looking over the Debian own harden-doc guide online, (which is a monster of a resource) as well as Debian Help’s security page gave me some excellent new ideas on how to secure Debian and Linux in general. Also today i found a netstat command with some nice switches to help you figure out what is listening on each port in an easy to read layout, -plunt: netstat -plunt Plus it’s fun to say, ‘plunt’.

Wii - good for the body, good for the brain

Another article extolling the virtues of playing the Wii for fitness, this time not only for the body, but for the mind. “_Physical therapists are turning to the Nintendo Wii to help the injured and infirm get their grooves back while increasing flexibility and strength. […]Nintendo’s _Brain Age_ series is popularly prescribed to help elderly patients stay sharp as a sort of “exercise” for the mind. therepy schedules […] The Wii, though, is moving gaming out of niche applications and into the mainstream because the console is so accessible to such a wide variety of players.

girls call me duckie

This past weekend I met up with an old friend from college who I haven’t seen or talked to in many years. Back in the day we took a two hour road trip together to see R.E.M. on their Document tour, and another time saw The Replacements on their very last tour. I credit him for getting me into other bands that remain favorites to this day like The Smiths (<3), The Cure and X.

Radiohead groundbreaking release 'In Rainbows' eminent

In a bold move, UK band Radiohead announced that the release of their new effort, In Rainbows, would be released on October 10th, a mere 9 days from the announcement. How can they do this? After all, releases must be planned well in advance so they can receive the proper advertising and hype, or do they? Since their 2003 masterpiece, Hail to the Thief, they have been free of any record label contract, and rampant speculation has been trying to predict how they would release their latest work.

Software support must evolve with Open Source

As a IT contractor I’m enjoying giving my opinion when asked, and sometimes even when I’m not asked; I have the confidence to be open and honest with everyone and want them to know that. Because of this I’ve been getting to do things I otherwise would not have since they would not have known I was interested or experienced in such things. One of the things I was hired for was to setup Apache on Linux to work with their web instances.

Madonna in scuffle with Bloc Party road crew

Sometimes I just find news that makes me smile, here Bloc Party’s security didn’t recognize a guest, and they reacted accordingly. “To many Madonna is probably the most recognizable female face on earth, but apparently that is not the case with some members ofBritish band Bloc Party’s road crew. The singer of the indie band, Kele Okereke, described the “surreal” moment as the raunchy star responsible for “Holiday,” “Like A Virgin,” and “Vogue” tried to get backstage to meet them.

80G Black iPod classic FTW!

UPDATE: Hold the phone here, before going too gaga over the new iPods, it’s been revealed that they’ve been ’re-engineered’ to lock out folks trying to sync their iPods using 3rd party apps, or (gasp) Linux! That’s right, they want you to use ONLY Windows or OSX and iTunes…this is ridiculous. See my post on our sister site Left to chance to learn more. This is what we talk about when we say Digital Rights, we can’t give them up now and expect to have them in the future!

Dell's Linux support numbers

I’ve read a few posts online that review Dell’s Linux support, and most complain that they have to call the ‘regular’ number first, only to get the “What version of Windows are you running?” support. After redirected to the correct number for Linux support, they get excellent support. So, to try and help propogate the Linux support numbers, I present them here. Dell’s Linux support number for hardware is 866-622-1947, and for software it’s 866-982-8688.

Jazz drummer extraordinaire, Max Roach dies 83

Hard bob pioneer Max Roach died last week at 83 in Manhattan. His contributions to Jazz are immense, as he likely played on far more Jazz recordings than I knew about, over 70 in all. He’ll always be one of the top Jazz drummers, and someone I’ll listen to for the rest of my days, since his recordings touched so many classics. There some great background on his life and achievements out there, here are some select highlights.

Perseid meteors this Sunday night

The site Bad Astronomy has a great article to reference for this Sunday’s meteor shower called, 12 things you need to watch the Perseid meteors Sunday night. Looks like after midnight, with a clear view of the Eastern sky are two of the main points. I’m going to try and get out for this one. [](http://www.badastronomy.com/bablog/2007/08/09/12-things-you-need-to-watch-the-perseid-meteors-sunday-night/)

new elements in HTML 5

Want to learn elements that will appear in the upcoming HTML 5? Yeah, I didn’t think so either, but it’s actually really cool. New Elements in HTML 5 shows you how to use new tags like header, section, article, footer, menu, and such, show that you won’t have to define DIV’s all day, and laying out a page will be a snap, it’s much more CSS friendly. I wonder how long it’ll take to actually implement and be supported by the majority of browsers?

Security researcher Dan Kaminsky

Dan Kaminsky is a 7 year veteran of Black Hat and Defcon in Vegas, and he was pretty much a fixture when I was there last year. His performance during Friday nights’ TCP/IP drinking game was hilarious, and his talk the next morning even more so. This year he’s presenting info on the under addressed issues dealing with Web 2.0 and its inherint in-security. “He’s looking at design bugs, which he cautions are not the same as pure vulnerabilities: “The system is doing exactly what it was built to do… People expect it to authenticate silently, and have a port open for everyone.

Defcon15: new variant of Evil Twin to be revealed

Defcon is almost here, and now I have a highlight planned for Saturday: AirTight Networks will be revealing a new varient of Evil Twin. Evil Twin has been known about longer that I was aware; basically it’s someone running a laptop in a wifi hotspot (like a coffee shop) that impersonates the hotspot’s access point (AP) so that unknown customers connect there instead of the real hotspot. After that it’s up to the attackers imagination, but the best ploy would be to pass packets along to the real hotspot, while logging everything that the customer sends/receives via wifi.

All your data are belong to Microsoft

In another scary move, Microsoft is behind a recent patent for an “advertising framework” that appears to be little more than an adware application on steriods. Coupled with another patent that aims to use “context data” from your hard drive to show you advertisements and “apportion and credit advertising revenue” to ad suppliers in real time. … The application, filed in 2006, describes a multi-faceted, robust ad-delivering system that lives on a “user computer, whether it’s part of the OS, an application or integrated within applications.

Tux on a Visa

Classic, nice to have this back as an option; you can now get Tux on a Visa card from linuxfund.org. If I wasn’t completely enamored with my ‘Working Assets’ card I’d grab one of these. Who knows, maybe sometime down the road I’ll get one, it’s for great causes of course, “Each time a cardholder uses their card, a donation is made to The Linux Fund by the card issuer, U.

birmingham baggage alibi

You get tons of spam daily, in my case 99% gets caught by various spam filters and I never see it, but I’m so glad I saw this one. With the topic, “bimingham baggage alibi” it has to be the best spam topic I’ve ever read. Should be a band name or the name of an art movement.

Confessions of SpammerX

A former spammer comes forth to tell his story, an amazing look at how easy something like this is to get away with. “Ed,” a retired spammer, built a considerable fortune sending e-mails that promoted pills, porn and casinos. At the peak of his power, Ed says he pulled in US$10,000 to $15,000 a week, storing the money in $20 bills in stacks of boxes.“ In his last year he pulled in $480,000.

Black Shoe Diary

I haven’t read McSweeney’s in a long time, and only passively checked it out years ago after being hipped to it by the recommended links in my friend Yvonne’s blog. Today I stumbled back upon it, and read what has got to be one of the funniest things I’ve read online in a long time. From writer Eric Feezell, Black Shoe Diary: The Daily Musings of Shuruku Umezawa: Junior Salesman, Ninja.

our daily gas consumption compared

Take a quick look at how much gas we use in America versus the rest of the world - EVERY SINGLE DAY. Amazing. [caption id=“attachment_3502” align=“aligncenter” width=“564” caption=“World Oil Consumption 2009”][/caption] “With less than 5% of the world’s population, the US consumes 25% of the world’s oil production.“

Johnny Marr and Morrissey still friends

File under “That’s News To Me”, but apparently Johnny Marr and Morrissey are still friends, according to a recent Marr interview. “Johnny Marr and Morrissey often “hang out” together but never talk about the Smiths, the legendary guitarist has revealed. The pair are known to have fallen out when the iconic indie group split 20 years ago, and were not thought to have made up. However, in a new interview, Marr reveals he has a decent relationship with Morrissey, although there appear to be no plans for them to work together again.

Moozaget: search for music online

Ah, just what I need, another new way to get more music online; Moozaget. This one seems to employ a special search with specific options that I used to have bookmarked, for example it will search for “Index of” servers, in other words ones without websites, just a bare directory listing. If you do a similar search on Google you’re clogged with fake sites, misleading meta words and porn links. It seems they’ve just created a search for mp3s that uses Google’s Search API to filter out the junk.

do you have your id on you?

Getting carded for buying a 6-pack when you’re 25 is annoying, but when it happens when you’re 38 it’s pretty sweet. While it doesn’t happen as often as it used to, it’s not an isolated incident, so I must be doing something right…either that or I act pretty immature, but even with that, I really think they go on looks, so yeah.


Oh yeah, I’m going to Defcon again this year, just found out this Friday for sure. It’s August 3rd - 5th, in Las Vegas, and this year it’s all paid for by my new consulting group; what a great thing. I argued that I would learn so much more there than any class, for a fraction of the cost; and I will. More on this later.

Download iPhone ringtones

In a sure bid to quickly tap out out his bandwidth quota, Jason Romero posts a set of iPhone ringtones. “Until you are ready to shell out $600 for the new iPhone, you can trick out your current phone with the ringtones taken straight off of the iPhone. Dowload them HERE.“ I’m a fan of the ‘pinball’ one, that may fit well on my Razr with the help of moto4lin.

wii outsells PS3 in Japan 6 to 1

Wii have a winner, by a long shot! “_Nintendo’s Wii game console outsold Sony’s PlayStation 3 by a ratio of more than 6 to 1 in June in Japan, a game magazine publisher said, solidifying Nintendo’s leading position. Nintendo sold 270,974 units of the Wii in the four weeks ended June 24, compared with 41,628 units for the PS3 and 17,616 units for Microsoft’s Xbox 360 … The Wii’s lead against the PS3 was 4 to 1 in April and 5 to 1 in May_.

ten things you need to know before buying a solar electric system

Here’s a great list of ten things you need to know before buying a solar electric system. I’d love for it to be more affordable so I could build a starter system now, but it looks like I’ll be waiting for a refi.

The Verve reuniting

Of all the brit pop bands to have gone away, The Verve were a great one, and a fitting one to reunite. “Silent since 1999, U.K. rock act the Verve is reuniting for a new album and fall live dates. According to a post on the group’s newly launched Web site, Richard Ashcroft, Nick McCabe, Simon Jones and Pete Salisbury were in a London studio last week laying down tracks for the album, which will be completed in the fall.


I’m planning on unloading some stuff on eBay, so I went out to do some research on current pricing of similar items. I’ve always hated eBay’s UI, its search/results screen stinks, and anytime you do a search you get 100s of things that are hardly related (try doing a search for ‘ipod’). Of course there are sites out there to fill the void, and in my opinion, Gumshoo is the one to beat.

tricks to keep your house cool this Summer

Some oft repeated ideas, but worth mentioning, tricks to keep your house cool this Summer. Some new ideas that I hadn’t thought of like, “plant trees or shrubs to shade air conditioning units” I will look into doing this weekend. There’s always more you can do, but while I’m not going to paint my roof white, covering it with solar panels would be even better; provide shade for the roof, while taking the brunt of the energy out of the sun and putting it to good use.

HOWTO: failed to set xfermode [SOLVED]

UPDATE: thanks to a comment below from Ted, we now have a solution to have this option persist across kernel updates. In grub, “…at the end of this new menu item add it as an argument to the line: defoptions=quiet splash irqpoll I knew there had to be a way, thanks for the post Ted! There’s a known bug in Ubuntu 7.04 (Feisty) with some ata detection routine that causes the system to take over 2 minutes to boot.

HOWTO: Jimmac mouse cursors on XP

So the only thing I don’t love about my new job is the same old thing; you have to run Windows XP on the desktop. Yeah, I’ll give it a bit more time before I really start pushing to run Linux on the desktop, so until then it’s my ongoing struggle to get XP to work the way I want it to (ie- more like Linux). One simple way is to install the excellent Jimmac mouse cursor theme that’s the default for the majority of Linux distributions.

AT&T DSL plan for $10/month

I’m in no way endorsing AT&T, but I’m encouraged when I see a more ‘tiered’ approach from ISPs, and DSL for $10/month is a great choice for consumers. It seems that this tiered or ‘naked DSL’ is only being offered up by AT&T as part of the “…concessions made by AT&T to the Federal Communications Commission to get its $86 billion acquisition of BellSouth Corp. approved last December.” The speeds are what you’d expect for the price, 768 kilobits per second and upload speeds of up to 128 kbps, but this is far and away fast enough for 90% of subscribers I bet, the ‘speed’ that they try to sell is not something a normal user is going to bump up against.

The best companies to work for

It’s rewarding when you work at a company that seems universally recognized as a great place to work. I’ve only found this out recently, since my current employer, Edward Jones, always makes the ‘best of’ lists. Today it was ranked on Computerworld’s list of 100 Best Places to Work in IT at number 52. Meanwhile Jones has been on Fortune’s 100 Best Companies To Work For for years, and they’re currently ranked at 29.

Making the case for Google Linux

There’s been plenty of talk of late about Google getting more behind Linux, but theories abound as to what role they would play. Some of this may be answered soon, judging by some back room dealings going on over there in conjunction with The Linux Foundation, the group that “offers programs to promote standardization and technical collaboration” for Linux, as well as sponsoring Linus Torvalds so he can continue to work fulltime on the Linux kernel.

Free Jazz legend Ornette Coleman hospitalized

Free Jazz legend Ornette Coleman collapsed from heat stroke ”…during his performance Sunday at the Bonnaroo festival in Manchester, Tenn. Sunday night he remained in a local hospital under doctor’s supervision. After collapsing on stage, the 77-year-old saxophonist was rushed to a nearby medical tent and given intravenous fluids, according to a Bonnaroo spokesperson. Coleman was said to be lucid and insistent that he had no symptoms before the incident. Late Sunday, the artist was resting at the local Coffey County Hospital.

Apache server lockdown challenge

One of my favorite things about being a Linux admin is the ability to specify how things are going to be executed on the servers. I’ve been running the Apache web server for over 10 years now (1997), so setting up a new environment is no big deal, but I wanted to take it farther and cut as much out of a base install as possible, which still having it do what I need.

Morrissey May 22 - Saint Louis

“Let this be a warning, this is what 48 looks like… So you may not want to stick around.” This is how Morrissey started his Saint Louis show, celebrating a birthday, and giving an all out incredible show, his first here since 1992. Appearing completely at ease, he commanded the stage while the crowd went absolutely nuts; he could do no wrong. Setlist (courtesy of Morrissey-solo.com) The Queen Is Dead First Of The Gang To Die The Youngest Was The Most Loved In The Future When All’s Well You Have Killed Me Disappointed Panic Let Me Kiss You I Just Want To See The Boy Happy The National Front Disco I Will See You In Far Off Places All You Need Is Me Girlfriend In A Coma Everyday Is Like Sunday The Boy With The Thorn In His Side Irish Blood, English Heart At Last I Am Born I’ve Changed My Plea To Guilty Life Is A Pigsty How Soon Is Now?

HOWTO: populate your term's title automatically

When you’re running a ton of termial windows or tabs, it helps to have the title of the box name, along with some environment values, easily available to keep you orientated. Here’s a quick script I created to do this automatically when called via your .profile file in your home directory. #!/bin/bash HOST_NAME=`hostname -f` if [ `id -u` = 0 ]; then OPT="`uname` (`uname -a | cut -f12 -d' ' -`) - ROOT USER" else OPT="`uname` (`uname -a | cut -f12 -d' ' -`)" fi REPLACE="${HOST_NAME} - ${OPT}" echo -n -e "33]0; $REPLACE 07 " echo "${REPLACE}" exit 0 When I run this script in my term here at work, the title or tab becomes:

Tie goes to the runner

[caption id=“” align=“alignright” width=“237” caption=“Tie goes to the runner, tie one on, fit to be tied, what other bad puns can I think up?”][/caption] I’ve had a ton of jobs, some would say this is a liability, but if questioned I have perfectly good reasons why I stayed at x company 3 years, and y company 5 months. For backup my references have no problem singing my praises and sighting my work ethic and humor as positive components that I bring to the scene.

Sicko: The one film you must see this summer

Like him or not, Michael Moore is back with Sicko, his documentary on the failing health care system in America, on June 29th. Seems he’s made a strange, but very powerful, ally in the fight to get his movie seen; Oprah. “_Michael Moore will appear on Oprah on Tuesday June 5th where he will present, for the first time on television, scenes from his new film, Sicko.” Oprah will interview Michael about the movie and the attention it’s receiving before its release.

HOWTO: fix a G3 iBook with a *bad logic board* for 26 cents

I’ve had a 12” G3 iBook since ~2002, and I’ve really liked it. Of course me being me, I’ve run Linux on it for almost the whole time, even running a dual boot of OS X and Gentoo Linux back when I used this puppy on the job. The only thing I (and likely millions of other customers) didn’t like is the systemic “logic board” failure. Yes, the logic board, which is just Apple’s name for the motherboard, would fail, prompting a call to Apple, followed by about a one week turnaround on the repair, which was all covered under warranty.

Elliot Smith New Moon

I’ve been reading a bunch of reviews about Elliot Smith’s new release, New Moon while playing it on the iPod. It’s a compilation of mostly acoustic bsides and demos from his fertile period between 1995-1997 when he recorded for Kill Rock Stars, and includes gems that folks familiar with Elliot’s music will enjoy uncovering. As a whole, most reviews point new users away from this one, but highly recommend it for those familiar with his music, and I’ll agree there.

Five ways to stop global warming

I’m a big fan of Working Assets, and lately they sent out an email with five suggestion how you can help to stop global warming. Yes, the last suggestion is to get their credit card (I have had one for years now), but look at the benefits you get from theirs, versus what you’re getting from yours and decide if that’s important for you. When they offer things like planting a tree and donating .

tonight's fortune

My fortune cookie with tonight’s Chinese dinner read, “This year your highest priority will be your family”. Here, here, let’s all remember what is truly important to all of us; material possessions will only take you so far.

The Jesus and Mary Chain Psychocandy

[caption id=“” align=“alignright” width=“200”]Psycocandy[/caption] I recently re-bought The Jesus and Mary Chain “Psychocandy” on the reissue DualDisc…and what a nice package. The stock album is a great upgrade in fidelity (props to them for NOT adding bonus tracks to the original recording - even going so far as taking out the ‘bonus track’ that appeared on the 1980s era tape!) and the second side boasts the DVD-Audio version of the album, as well as all of the videos from that release.

Virginia Tech

In regards to the Virginia Tech shootings, I don’t have anything to add to what’s been said, I just want to put forth my idea here. Yes, it’s terrible, and is just another in a string of those occuring at work or schools - they seem to happen there were there’s a certain closeness to others. So what’s the common thread? Males, sure, but why? Here’s my take, I think it has to do with the fact that males are raised to suppress their emotions, and be ‘tough’, ‘boys don’t cry’, suck it up, don’t be a pussy and (my all time favorte) you’re gay.

HOWTO: ssh tunneling for fun and profit

Recently I had an issue at work; while trying to transfer files between Unix hosts we were unable to hit the known scp port, but we could still hit the ssh port. All of this was occurring from home, late at night on a Saturday where I was the main technical point man to move/install these files. In the past I had done ssh tunneling, but never on the fly to fix something like this, so I cracked open my notes and did a quick Google search for a refresher.


I’ve been a Lala member since November 2006 (I wanted to wait awhile before I came out and recommended it) and it rocks. (takes on a Dr. Cox voice) Look, here’s the deal, you create a profile, and then a list of cds you have that you are ready to trade, and then a list of cds you want. Lala sends you the envelops and cd cases for shipping, then you sit back and wait for cd ‘orders’ to fill and mail off (ala Netflix), and then watch your list as others send you cds.

Silkworm drummer Dahlquist killed in car crash

UPDATE 10/31/2007: “Jeanette Sliwinski of Morton Grove was found guilty of three counts of reckless homicide with mental illness, as a grueling two-week trial concluded in the Skokie courthouse. Her sentencing is scheduled for Nov. 26, where she could receive up to 10 years in custody, prosecutors said.” Full coverage Also, a fellow poster on digg.com  shared a link to a memorial site for the victims here: http://www.dougjohnmichael.com/ NOTE: _I originally posted this to my old blog, July 19th, 2005, but have reposted it here after receiving an email about a Silkworm documentary in the works, with an accompanying trailer that gave me goose bumps.

Wedding Present to Recreate George Best

Longtime (since ~1988) fav band, The Wedding Present, are set to recreate their classic CD from 1987, George Best_ _live this fall. “To mark the 20th anniversary of its George Best (Reception Records), the band will hit the road in a special tour where it’ll play the 1987 album in its entirety. Not content to stop there, the act’s tour will stop off in the same towns that the band originally visited when promoting the album.

Windows XP to be phased out by year's end despite customer demand

Microsoft is set to phase out Windows XP by the end of this year, even though the majority of businesses have no reason or desire to update to Vista, since most of those updates would require new hardware. It’s just another example of Microsoft not listening to their customers, just to their shareholders. “_Computer makers have been told they’ll no longer be able to get Windows XP OEM by the end of this year, despite consumer resistance to Vista and its compatibility problems.

The evolution of the video game controller

Like a walk down memory lane, you’ll never forget your first…video game controller that is. That’s mine on the right, yeah, she got around a bit, but hey. So anyway, here’s a great site with an overview of the evolution of the video game controller, all the way back to the Magnavox Odyssey. Wow, I’ve owned 8 of those systems! Atari 2600, Colecovision, NES, Sega Genesis, SNES, Sony Playstation, Gamecube and now the Wii.

Kurt Vonnegut dead at 84

Writer Kurt Vonnegut has died at age 84. “_Kurt Vonnegut, whose dark comic talent and urgent moral vision in novels like “Slaughterhouse-Five,” “Cat’s Cradle” and “God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater” caught the temper of his times and the imagination of a generation, died last night in Manhattan. He was 84 and had homes in Manhattan and in Sagaponack on Long Island.__ His death was reported by Morgan Entrekin, a longtime family friend, who said Mr.

Painter Sol Lewitt dead at 78

Sol Lewitt, a great American artist whose work covered minimal and conceptual abstract expressionism, died Sunday morning in New York City at 78. “LeWitt is one of the key artists of the 1960s. His work bridges Minimal and Conceptual art, movements that abandoned the emphasis on psychological content and gestural form typifying Abstract Expressionism in the 1950s. In a seminal text in written in 1967 titled “Paragraphs on Conceptual Art,” LeWitt emphasized his view of art: “No matter what form it may finally have it must begin with an idea,” and, “When an artist uses a conceptual form of art, it means that all of the planning and decisions are made beforehand and the execution is a perfunctory affair.

Homage to Donkey Kong in post-it notes

Ten engineering students at UCSC recreated Donkey Kong using ~6400 3x3” Post-It® Notes on glass covering 4 floors x 2 windows E2 Building UCSC. In the ‘About this piece’ section they note, “Donkey Kong (Miyamoto, et. al.,1981) was the first appearance of the Itallian plumber we now know as Mario. While this game’s early ‘80s arcade popularity predates most of today’s engineering students, it represents the amazing results that a small development team can produce.

thought for the day

We have the following quote pasted on our refrigerator at home, and it relates to me, my wife and family. “We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.” - T. S. Eliot

Global warming: 51 things we can do

Time has an article about 51 things we, along with scientists, businesses and governments, can do to slow global warming and cut carbon emissions. “Here is our guide to some of the planet’s best ideas” This is getting more and more press of late thanks to Al Gore’s movie, An Inconvienent Truth, and regardless of what you think about that, thinking longterm for our environment helps EVERYONE! While we’re on the topic, to keep in this mindset and come up with new ideas, visitEcoGeek and Treehugger; both fantastic sites.

Martin Luther King's other causes

On this, the anniversary of the death of Martin Luther King, there’s an important article by some truthout guest contributors titled The Martin Luther King You Don’t See on TV. It covers King’s under reported life from 1965-1968 when he was assassinated. After the civil rights bills were passed in 64 and 65 King took on economic rights. He argued that that for poor people anti-discrimination laws were hollow, since they couldn’t afford a house, or the right to eat in a now “equal” resturant.

TJX breach total: over 45.7 million card numbers stolen

I reported on this earlier, but only now are we learning the scope of the breach. “_At least 45.7 million credit and debit card numbers were stolen by __hackers who broke into the computer systems at the TJX Cos. in Framingham and the United Kingdom and siphoned off data over a period of several years, making it the biggest breach of personal data ever reported, according to security specialists. TJX, the Framingham discounter that operates the T.

Explosions In The Sky live show online

[](http://fak3r.com/2007/03/29/explosions-in-the-sky-live-show-online/explosions-in-the-sky/) I’ve been listening to Explosions in the Sky like crazy recently. I really love the new cd, and shows of theirs are available in a few places online. You can grab one from the current tour on npr.org, as part of their ‘NPR Live Concert Series’. It’s easy to download, as they have it packed as one 66Meg mp3 (hey, IMO concerts don’t have a forward or back buttons to skip songs, so why should this?

NO CARRIER (Speakeasy bought by Best Buy!)

I’ve long sang the praises of Speakeasy (Why I Love Speakeasy), and loved that I actually had a choice when it came to selecting DSL, which I needed because I’m pretty picky about such things. I need static IPs and I need support to help me diagnose line issues, NOT OS issues. From them to my DSL modem, that’s all I need help with; please don’t ask me to reboot again!

Retirement community holds a Wii bowling tournament

The blog Popcandy has a great article about a retirement community is holding Wii Bowling tournaments! (hit the link for video of the fun too) The Wii is amazing, and it’s becoming the revolution it promised to be. This has to be my favorite story I’ve read in a long time, and it hits home. My Mom who is 65 came over add had a blast playing, so much so that she wants one for her own.

Shellac's Excellent Italian Greyhound out in June

I’ve written before about Shellac, as they’ve been a favorite of mine for a long time. I’ve only seen them on their fist tour, which may have been some 13 (?) years back, but their recorded work wears well. They’ll release their new record, Excellent Italian Greyhound, on June 05, 2007, their first since 2000’s 1000 Hurts. I have an old friend in Austin who was a big Shellac fan, but that’s about it.

cooking with wine? go cheap

The New York Times tested the adage that you shouldn’t cook with any wine you wouldn’t want to drink. And guess what: It worked out just fine. “It wasn’t that the finished dishes were identical – in fact, they did have surprisingly distinct flavors – but the wonderful wines and the awful ones produced equally tasty food, especially if the wine was cooked for more than a few minutes.“

Coffee is for closers

Ah, being on call will do it to you, and this spoof of the classic Glengarry Glen Ross monologue sums things up perfectly today. At least it’s Friday, and it reminds me that I need to watch that movie again too. (warning, plenty of language, and it’s all bad).

Morrissey to tour the US this Spring

UPDATE: Tickets onsale for Tue 22 ST LOUIS, MO : The Pageant - 10 a.m., March 31. I’m assuming this is via Ticketmaster, but I’ll try to find out ahead of time. Also, the Austin show goes onsale at the same time. Just announced, Morrissey is doing a Spring US tour, but for the first time in 16 years, he’s playing Saint Louis! Tuesday, May 22 at The Pageant, my favorite mid sized venue, holding only about 2000.

Shigeru Miyamoto

Livenintendo.com has a quick bio of perhaps one of the visionaries of video games, Shigeru Miyamoto. “Considered by his peers to be the greatest video game designer in the world and called “The Spielberg of Video Games” by Time magazine (May 1996), Shigeru Miyamoto serves as the creative force behind the world’s most popular and enduring video games for Nintendo video game hardware systems. Miyamoto joined Nintendo in 1977 as a staff artist and quickly built a reputation for himself.

Ted Haggard massage table on eBay!

Mike Jones, the former prostitute who Ted Haggard visited, has the offical massage table on eBay! It’s currently at 1175$ with 6 days to go, and with “All proceeds benefit ‘Project Angel Heart’, who provides people living with HIV/AIDS, cancer and other life-threatening illnesses nutritious home-delivered meals” it’s for the right reasons. I took the opportunity to send him a note myself, “Mike - Don’t think your bravery wasn’t noticed, thanks for doing what you did, and what you’re doing now.

Amon Tobin - Foley Room trailer

I’m a big fan of a few of Amon Tobin’s previous releases, especially _Briolage. _He created his upcoming release by recording real sounds from all over, and then taking them back to the studio to sample and mix. The results are very cool, but they still sound like Amon. There’s a limited edition that comes with a DVD of the process, here’s the trailer for it.

Kill Dash Nine!

Here’s a video of some Standford kids going by the moniker Monzy doing a pseudo (sudo?) rap to a Unix administrator’s ace in the hole: kill -9. It’s pretty dorky, but in a geeky way, and thus funny; at least to me. It’s Nerdcore Hip Hop at its best. MP3 download and Lyrics after the jump. ) mp3: Kill Dash Nine http://graphics.stanford.edu/~monzy/KillDashNine.mp3 Lyrics: Kill dash nine I guess I’ll have to shut you down for good this time, Already tried a SIGQUIT, so now it’s KILL DASH 9.

More inroads for Linux

While it seems every year someone proclaims this will be the year of Linux on the desktop, there are always a steady stream of those who ‘get it’ and are reaping the benifits of freeing themselves from the upgrade and licencing cycle, making it feel as if a tipping point is indeed at hand. Here’s a roundup of some very interesting news in that regard from this week. First up, a California school district aims 5,000 desktops at Linux.

Reduce ewaste with Linux

A really nice site, Ecogeek (now linked to here) has a great article about ewaste (see my previous post on the topic), and how Windows new OS, Vista, will contribute to it greatly. It’s something I was talking to my Pops about just last weekend, and I threw in that people really didn’t need faster computers, and that if they just ran Linux, they would get a speed increase over anything they’re running Windows XP on; and it would contain all the software they’d need.

mod_security rules to prevent Wordpress 2.1.1 attack

Anyone hosting a Wordpress 2.1.1 install should upgrade or immediately prevent access to certain queries to prevent an attack described here. If the server is running Apache with mod_security, simply update your httpd.conf with the following rules: <IfModule mod_security.c> SecFilterEngine On SecFilterDefaultAction "deny,log,status:412" `# RULES: Prevent Wordpress 2.1.1 attack http://wordpress.org/development/2007/03/upgrade-212/ SecFilter “ix=” SecFilter “iz=”` [...] </IfModule> And then restart Apache. Note that while this is an effective temporary workaround, upgrading is recommended.

Somebody set up us the bomb

In this day and age security is often OVER emphasised in the guise of erroring on the side of caution (cue to pictures of shoeless passengers muddling through security checkpoints). I know people will say ‘better safe than sorry’, but when things like this happen, it makes you question if any of this is making us any safer. “_iPod prompts airport scare in Ottawa - A suspicious package found in an aircraft washroom on a flight from Chicago on Tuesday afternoon brought out Ottawa police canine and bomb-disposal units.

Modest Mouse - Dashboard video

Modest Mouse’s new one, We Were Dead Before The Ship Sank, doesn’t come out until March 20th, but the video for the first single, Dashboard, is already out. It’s a really good song that sounds more rocking than their last release; harking back to a bit earlier days, which is good. And hey, give them credit for the video, it’s pretty nice as well, plus I think you can see Johny Marr in the backgroud there near the end, wowser.

Action video games can improve eyesight

Ah, after plenty of positive Wii news, here’s more great news about the benefits of playing video games! “Video games that contain high levels of action, such as Unreal Tournament, can actually improve your vision, according to a group of Researchers at the University of Rochester. In an article to be published in Psychological Science, they have shown that people who played action video games for a few hours a day over the course of a month improved by about 20 percent in their ability to identify letters presented in clutter—a visual acuity test similar to ones used in regular ophthalmology clinics.

Bob Mould's hard drive crashes, contained new album!

And you were bummed when you lost your last years worth of email? Checkout this post from Bob Mould (Husker Du, Sugar, Bob Mould Band) on January 29: “Today, I’m off to see the data recovery people. My main external drive failed yesterday afternoon; yes, all the files for the new album are on the drive. It started making a clicking sound before crashing, so it could be any of a number of problems.

Boycott the RIAA in March

Since I support this idea I’m reposting it from Gizmodo.com. “Alright, we’ve been following the RIAA’s increasingly frequent affronts to privacy and free speech lately, and it’s about time we stopped merely bitching and moaning and did something about it. The RIAA has the power to shift public policy and to alter the direction of technology and the Internet for one reason and one reason alone: it’s totally loaded. Without their millions of dollars to throw at lawyers, the RIAA is toothless.

Explosions In The Sky - Live on Conan

Here’s another great band from Austin that I’m now only hearing about after being away for two years, Explosions in the Sky. In my defence, while I’ve heard of these guys, they’ve only been putting out discs since 2000, so I haven’t missed that much, but they are very good. Think of Godspeed You Black Emporer and Mogwai; two great tastes that taste great together. Here’s their appearance on Conan O’Brien with them doing Welcome, Ghosts.

Sidney Poitier turns 80

One of my favorite actors, Sidney Poitier, turns 80 today. While displaying his talent as a powerful actor, his films have often dealt with race and civil rights in America. He won the Best Actor Oscar for his role in 1963’s Lilies of the Field, and went on to star and direct many more (hey, he even directed Stir Crazy!), but it was his two films from 1967, Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner and In the Heat of the Night, that are my favorites.

how to figure annual salary from hourly rate

It’s funny, I’ve always figured how much an hourly rate transmitted to annual salary by taking the hourly rate and muliplying by 2080 (number of work hours in a year), but today I stumbled across a simplier/quicker way to estimate this on Life After Coffee. “…a simple way to estimate yearly income from hourly rate on the fly. Let’s say you are offered a job for $11/hour. If you assume you work 40 hours a week for 50 weeks a year you can simply double the hourly rate and that will be the yearly income in thousands, so $11/hour = $22,000/year.

Fitness experts endorse Wii for health benefits

More great news about Wii playing and health! “The International Sports Sciences Association (ISSA) has released results of a new survey into exercise and video games, finding that technologies such as Nintendo’s Wii “_may prove to be just what fitness experts are looking for to help their clients get more active_”. Dr. Josh Trout, Professor of Kinesiology at California State University Chico, who specializes in video game technology and exercise movement, is cited as saying: “_Exertainment and home video consoles are the wave of the future.

First post via Wii!

Yea! I got a Wii for my 38th birthday this weekend, and it is very sweet. Believe all of the hype, it’s a blast for all to play. So far tennis, boxing and bowling are rockin’ m(ii)e. Plus, after my first round of boxing I had to take a break; it’s a real workout, with sweat included. Time to try the wii sports diet for myself. So far both kids and wife are lovin’ the wii just as much.

Elliott Smith rarities compilation out in May

From Punknews.org, “_Kill Rock Stars has announced that on May 8th,2007 they will release a double album of Elliott Smith b-sides recorded from 1995-1997 entitled _New Moon. Also, a significant amount of the proceeds will go to Outside In, a Portland-based social service organization dedicated to providing diverse services for homeless youth and low-income adults. Elliott Smith passed away in 2003. His final recordings were issued as From a Basement on the Hill in 2004 via Anti-.

jazz quotes

A cat active in the Wordpress circles, PhotoMatt, has an awesome page of quotes from Jazz musicians through the years. I have a couple I want to submit, but cruising through them is very inspiring.

Web 2.0 ... The Machine is Us/ing Us

A nice overview of what the Web 2.0 term means/could mean/will mean. My take? A moving target with no center, dot.com_v2 - but with ideas that can/could/will actually make money.

did you get that memo?

** BILL Lundberg:** Mmmm…yeah, you see, we’re putting the coversheets on all TPS Reports now before the go out. Did you see the memo about this? PETER Gibbons: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. I’ve got the memo right here, but, uh, uh, I just forgot. But, uh, it’s not shipping out until tomorrow, so there’s no problem. BILL: Yeah. If you could just go ahead and make sure you do that from now on, that will be great.

Transfer files via netcat and tar

Netcat (nc) is a “…simple Unix utility which reads and writes data across network connections, using TCP or UDP protocol. It is designed to be a reliable back-end” tool that can be used directly or easily driven by other programs and scripts. At the same time, it is a feature-rich network debugging and exploration tool, since it can create almost any kind of connection you would need and has several interesting built-in capabilities.

Andrew Bird - Heretics

Andrew Bird’s new release, _Armchair Apocrypha, _doesn’t come out until March 20th, but I’m already expecting it to be killer, simply because his last, The Mysterious Production Of Eggs, continues to amaze me. He’s touring pretty extensively for this one, coming back to St. Louis in March. Seeing him recreate the songs live with just him and a drummer is something else and his last appearance was a really good show, but I was hoping for a more intimate room than The Paegant for this go around, but no.

FBI lost 160 laptops in last 44 months

A new report tells us that the FBI has lost 160 laptops in the last 44 months! “Perhaps most troubling,” says the report, “the FBI could not determine in many cases whether the lost or stolen laptop computers contained sensitive or classified information. Such information may include case information, personal identifying information, or classified information on FBI operations.” Laptops can also contain goodies like the software that the FBI uses to make its identification badges, a copy of which was installed on a laptop stolen from the Boston Field Office in July 2002.

Morrissey chooses final resting place

While certainly putting the cart before the horse, Morrissey has chosen where he wants to be buried; Los Angeles celebrity cemetery Hollywood Forever, right next to Johnny Ramone. “I like that cemetery. I stumbled across Johnny Ramone’s stone and thought it was very nicely placed,” he told The Daily Express. “I sat there for a long time and I felt quite good about it. It was nice his bones were under the soil I was sitting on.

psst, time to change your password

According to tech site Intechnology (does that name remind anyone else of Initech?) the top 10 most common passwords are: Thomas, arsenal, monkey, charlie, qwerty, 123456, letmein, liverpool, password and 123.

Dam it

Dam it. (click image to download a PDF version, suitable for framing)

Current Sxsw band lineup now at 503

Blah, here’s an updated list of the now 503(!) bands scheduled to play this years’ SXSW music festival; and these are just the ‘offical’ bands, over the years there’s been more and more day shows that were mainly free, so you could see a ton more than we used to over the 5 days/nights. I used to go every year, from 1995 to 2004 - so to miss it for 3 years hurts.

Jon Stewart to appear on Jack's Big Music Show

One of the best kids shows out there today is Jack’s Big Music Show. Plenty of sing-along songs that I and my kids keep singing, even after the show is over. Jon Stewart, a parent himself, is going to play a news reporter character, and I’m sure it’ll be a hoot. “Feb. 2 episode, there’s Jon Stewart (Brunk Stinegrouber of the Groundhog News Network, in a nifty earflaps hat) trying to coax a frightened Gertrude the Groundhog out of her home.

The Beautiful South calling it quits

The Beautiful South is breaking up…after 19 years! I got into this band immediately after The Housemartins, and their first few cds, especially Choke, were fantastic. Seems they were very big in their homeland (UK), which is good, I think they deserve at least that. The lyrics were some of the most caustic, British words I have seen this side of Morrissey! “Pop group The Beautiful South have split after 19 years - blaming, with a humour typical of the band, “musical similarities.

1-31-07 Never Forget!

UPDATE: goldenfiddle.com has great coverage of the image, and it’s use as a tshirt design; it looks like this is really going to happen! “…Cause we are the Aqua Teen (Hunger Force)!” As for all of the knee-jerk reactionaries in Boston that brought on this craziness (which didn’t happen in the other 8 cities this PROMOTION, NOT HOAX was set up in), I only have to say this, “we are not bombs” (credit goes to some dude on Digg.

Volume of spam increased 147 percent in 2006

These are just amazing statistics that the volume of spam increased 147% in 2006 and that 94% of all email in December was spam! The primary reasons are armies of zombie computers “botnets” (that are hijacked due to users inability to protect their systems from malware) all ready to send out a distributed attack from anywhere; mail servers are helpless. Plus the problem is going to get worse because not only, “…the rising volume of spam that’s a problem, but the size of the spam messages.

New PuTTY release

The first new version of PuTTY in over two years has been released. For anyone that has had to connect to Unix servers via telnet or SSH from Windows hosts, you know how important PuTTY is. (Windows cmd commandline has always been a joke) Providing an xterm terminal emulator to work in, the familiar putty.exe has followed me everywhere (it’s even on my USB keychain). Version 0.59 comes with a host of changes including speed, plenty of SSH-2 improvements and plenty of bugfixes.

one-third of students in Texas don't graduate

What a terrible statistic from Texas, “One out of three Texas students don’t graduate, and more students drop out than finish high school in the state’s largest cities, according to education experts. The research group says more than half of students in Texas’ largest cities drop out. The dropout rate among blacks, Hispanics and low-income students is about 60 percent, according to the Center for Education at Rice University. The statewide dropout rate is about 33 percent — or 20 points higher than what the Texas Education Agency reports.

Return of the Muppets?

I would love to see another Muppets series, what in the day of American Idol, and all the other real(ly awful)ity TV that’s out there, how cool would it be to see everyone again? Plus, the idea sounds funny: “…a brand new pilot for a Muppet mini-series is being passed around Disney, a spoof on mockumentary series like The Office that has the Muppet gang getting back together to put on a new show after venturing off on their own to find new jobs.

Neko Case on Austin City Limits

Neko Case’s Austin City Limits appearance has been released on dvd, it’s worth checking out. Here’s a clip of her doing Behind The House. (damn I get homesick looking at that skyline in the background…) [kml_flashembed movie=“http://www.youtube.com/v/-XJ4qi-PeMs" width=“425” height=“350”/]

stolen TJX data being used for fraud

As a follow up to TJX Companies data breach reveals credit card data, it’s now been confired that customer data stolen HAS been used to make fraudulent debit card and credit card purchases “…in the United States and overseas, the Massachusetts Bankers Association said Wednesday. The fraudulent purchases have been made in Florida, Georgia, and Louisiana, and overseas in Hong Kong and Sweden, the association said.“

Lester Borchardt, Cheerios inventor, dies

When I was a kid Cheerios were my favorite cereal, hell, I remember ~10 years back eating them at night after my wife and I would get home from bars, and I still eat them off an on to this day. Any parent is going to have a personal relationship with them since it’s one of the best first foods for infants, plus the ones that hit the floor are easily picked up by the dogs!

FreeNAS: network backup system

Yesterday NewsForge had an excellent article called, “A look at the FreeNAS server”. Basically FreeNAS is a small operating system based on FreeBSD 6 that provides NAS, or network-attached storage, (Wikipedia page) services like NFS (Network File System), CIFS (Microsoft’s Common Internet File System aka Samba) as well as tried and true Unix utilities like ftp, rsync, unison, ssh, scp, etc. The short explanation, this will take an old/unused PC and turn it into a true network accessible backup system that all of my home clients (Linux, Mac OS X and Windows) can talk to.


So my new job requires me to drive 29 miles each way, a big farther than my last job, but since I don’t have as much traffic, it doesn’t seem to take that much longer, still, I’m using more gas. Just did a tank to tank to get my miles per gallon, and I’m seeing 26.825 - not bad, but not great, since we’re doing just about all highway miles. Oh well, I’m currently cruising in a secondhand 1998 Honda Accord, 4 cylinder, so I could be doing worse.

misplaced priorities

Damn, file this under pathetic and sad, Americans spend more time with PC than spouse. “A recent survey conducted by Kelton Research discovered what many spouses have known for years. A startling 65% of people asked to participate spent more time with their household PC than with their own spouse. The survey also found that 52% of those same people said their “most recent experience with a computer problem provoked emotions such as anger, sadness or alienation.

Born Ruffians

Today I heard a track from Born Ruffians (a band I hadn’t even heard of before) debut EP, and it’s pretty nice, making I (heart) music’s top EP of the year. Pitchfork sums them up with; “Born Ruffians are three Toronto teenagers with the precise sound we imagine when we think of indie rock in this post-Arcade Fire, post-CYHSY world. Of course, originality doesn’t matter much as long as the band gets the details right, as BR do.

Google maps shooting Sydney

This could be interesting… “Search engine giant Google has announced it will be photographing the Australian city of Sydney this Friday, Australia Day, and is encouraging Australians to come out and hold signs, or arrange themselves into funny formations. If the photos are of a good enough quality, Google Australia has promised that the photos will be included on Google Maps, the free mapping software offered globally by the company. Google has special permission to fly at 600m across the city.

10 steps to becoming stress free

I found this article about 10 Steps to Becoming Stress Free before the holidays, but I saved it to post for later, at a time when we’re through with thinking about that time of year, and have a chance to really integrate it (or at least plan on integrating it) into our lives. We always have more to do and less time to do it in, this causes stress, but what to do about it?

TJX Companies data breach reveals credit card data

Ah, nothing new, just another big corporation leaking credit card and issuers personal data. “The TJX Companies, a large retailer that operates more than 2,000 retail stores under brands such as Bob’s Stores, HomeGoods, Marshalls, T.J. Maxx and A.J. Wright, said on Wednesday that it suffered a massive computer breach on a portion of its network that handles credit card, debit card, check and merchandise transactions in the United States and abroad.

Flash Player 9 for Linux released

If you like Flash or not, it’s still a pain to surf without it since is so widely used (not always for the best; record companies, I’m looking at you), so it’s great that Adobe has released Flash Player 9 for Linux. They have a blog about their Linux development, and some nice wiki style docs as well. After Flash 7 they didn’t work on a Linux port, causing quite the worry in the Linux desktop arena, but their renewed investment only bodes well for more widespread use of Linux as a desktop (which 0wns all other workstations IMO).

Spam levels mysteriously fall 30 percent in a week

This is an amazing statistic, particularly after knowing how much email was just spam as of last month, the level of spam is down 30% from last week. “After rising steadily for many years spam levels have mysteriously dropped 30% in the first week of January. According to SoftScan the most plausible explanation is that a botnet has broken down and lost control of it’s zombie computers. Other possible explanations have been put forward including a large number of infected machines getting replaced by new computers received for Christmas or spammers being isolated by the Asian earthquake.

HOWTO: have vim create backup and tmp directories

This may only apply to those of us geeks that use vim to admin servers daily, but today I needed a way to backup, and automate the creation of backup and tmp directories to house those ever annoying ~ and .swp files from showing up in my working directory ($PWD). I didn’t want to lose them, just move them somewhere so they don’t clutter up the directory I’m working in. The solution was a function I found on the vim forums.

The Wii Sports Experiment

For anyone trying to find a fun way to get/stay in shape, this is encouraging. “Six weeks ago, I began what has become a huge obsession of mine. It is called the “Wii Sports Experiment” I outlined a 6 week game plan for myself, the idea being that I would continue ALL normal activity and eating habits, and simply add 30 minutes of Wii Sports to my day. For the past month and a half, I’ve stuck to these guidelines very strictly.


The Earth, as seen from 4 billion miles away, photographed by Voyager 1 on June 6, 1990.

Secure passwords keep you safer

Bruce Schneier, a long time computer security guru, has a great article up on Wired about passwords, and how most are crackable even with some thought put in to making them safe. Read up and learn how to build better passwords, and if you’re like me and can’t remember them all use something like Password Safe (created by Schneier) for Windows. or Password Gorilla, which is bassed on Password Safe, but available for Windows, OS X, Linux and *BSD.

Download 'Linux Kernel in a Nutshell' for free

I used to build new kernels in Linux all the time to bring new functionality into Linux, and all the use of any type of hardware. Nowadays most just use whatever kernel the comes with their distro, but it really is worth taking the time to build your own. It’s a lot to learn in the beginning, but after you get it it’s easy enough to script, using all the parameters from your .

Voxtrot starts debut album

The news is out, Austin’s Voxtrot has finally started work on a proper debut album. So far we’ve had 3 very strong CDEPs, for sale on their site and iTunes, but now we should really see them stretch out and gain the following they deserve. No release date is set, however it will be released on Beggars Banquet. With their Smiths/Belle and Sebastian sound (and completely nice Smiths style cover art) they put forth something that I hadn’t associated with my former hometown prior.

Sharing the truth

If you haven’t seen An Inconvenient Truth, now you can get a copy on DVD for free. Just fill out your details on this site. From their blurb, “_…_it is so grounded, so filled with integrity that even a lifelong republican who despised Al Gore in 2000 concludes that it’s “simply great” (cite). And our generous donors will buy you the DVD. Oddly enough, this is probably the last movie on Earth that you need to be paid to see.

A Picasso for 1$

__Whenever I see yard sales I see a lot of old kids toys and clothes, next time I’ll look closer, perhaps there’s a Picasso in the lot for cheap. “Pete Bivens and his fiancé had the painting analyzed last week by art historians. They think the painting could be an original piece. Now they have to begin the lengthy process of having the painting carbon dated and authenticated. Bivens and his fiancé bought the painting at a yard sale more than a decade ago for one dollar.

HOWTO generate a list of installed packages for disaster recovery

I came across this page again, seems they took my advice to heart on the one line command to grep out a list of all installed packages on a Debian or Ubuntu system. This creates a file that you can use as a DR (disaster recovery) map of all installed apps – you only need to install your base system, and then use this file to reinstall all of your apps.

Prejudice at Age 6

A sad study showing that most kids are already prejudiced by age 6. Damn, this is awful. By age 6, many kids are well schooled in societal prejudice. In a study, researchers interviewed 92 African-American first- and sixth-graders from varying socioeconomic backgrounds about job status and their own interest in particular occupations. Children from all economic backgrounds associated white workers with jobs that they saw as higher in status. Furthermore, when asked about unfamiliar and even imaginary jobs such as a “tenic,” someone who organizes and marks handicapped parking spaces, children rated careers pictured with white workers above those depicted with black workers or a mixed group.

Poo Poodles free EP

Do me a favor, go download the Poo Poodles free EP sampler. It’s about time you put some new toons on that iPod, and what better way than to try out something completely new. They have an edge to them, and I suspect you’ll either like them or not, middle ground won’t be an option, but hey, taking chances is how you find new sounds. Be sure to read their ‘disclaimer’ first: “POO POODLES RECORDINGS are used to treat different types of problems, such as difficulty in enjoying music, difficulty in maintaining consciousness while listening to music, and becoming angry while listening to music.

Nevada going geothermal

UPDATE: the links in this post are dead, and the site http://www.renewableenergyaccess.com is dead. For more infomation, check https://evergreensolar.com A new report from the Geothermal Energy Association shows that Nevada is going after geothermal energy, a limitless, pollution free energy solution. “Nevada is on-track to be producing more than 1000 megawatts (MW) of geothermal power in the next 3-5 years, a level that would meet roughly 25% of the state’s total power needs, according to a new report from the Geothermal Energy Associationhere (GEA).

How beer works

Pssst…this is a new kind of post, an aside. Think of it as me leaning in and just telling you something quickly without much explanation. So this is cool, it talks all about how beer works. As a beer lover and sometimes home brewer, I consider this very important reading. Note to self, I need a cool hat like that dude has on.

Kickin' it Technorati style

UPDATE: check it to the right, you can now add fak3r.com to your Technorati favorites, or subscribe in a few different ways. The email one is the easiest, you just get one email each day when there’s an update; no muss, no fuss. I’m now kickin’ it with a new Technorati Profile - which is something I’d been meaning to checkout. According to them I’m ranked as number 230,035…so there are a few before me, no matter, this is just another attempt to open up fak3r.

James Brown is dead

While it’s old news now, legendary soul singer James Brown passed away early in the morning on Christmas Day in Atlanta. He was 73. I found it funny that there was an article out yesterday stating that James Brown may ultimately have been more influential than Elvis. Uh, may have been? WTF, think about which artist brought his own sound, his own moves, his own songs to the people, and then re-ask that question.

Best of 2006

The time is neigh so here is my list (in alphabetical order) of my favorite releases of the year, 2006. It was a great year, again, as I found a lot of new stuff that I will take with me. Band of Horses came out of nowhere with an incredible cd, if I had to choose one from the year, that could be it. Straight outta France came Birdy Nam Nam, four DJs playing their 1200s as if they were a band, and it works!

Parting shot

Today I leave my current job, ending a tenure that saw me at the biggest corpy-corp workplace of my career. With over 10,000 employees, the feeling of being a cog in the system doesn’t begin to describe it. If you’ve seen the movie Brazil (and if you haven’t, what’s up with that?), you likely know how I feel, but don’t worry, I’m actually taking the ‘alternate ending’ version of the movie; yeah, the happy one.

The Good, The Bad, and The Queen

This is just a crazy Brit supergroup, The Good, The Bad and The Queen features Damon Albarn (Blur, Gorillaz), Paul Simonon (The Clash), Simon Tong (The Verve) and Tony Allen (Africa 70, Fela Kuti). All of these guys have solid pedigrees coming into this project, add to that Damon who is on a tear with everything outside of Blur that he touches. Oh, did I mention who’s producing? Yeah, that’d be Dangermouse, who again, seems to have a golden halo lighting everything he’s near.

mod_security for Apache

I’ve worked with mod_security before, but now it’s running on this webserver, as I’ve just seen a ton of crap being thrown at the server. Webservers are just a good target, they’re out there and they usually ‘just work’ so most people don’t keep on top of them. Plus, plenty of crafted URLs can do funny POST or GET commands and cause trouble, or worse, expose a system that is vulnerable to SQL injection attacks.

Silversun Pickups

With all of the early Smashing Pumpkins comparisons to live down (if you ever heard Gish you know what I’m talking about), LA’s Silversun Pickups (named after a package liquor store in the area) put forth a lot more rock than I was expecting. Like Band of Horses earlier this year, my wife hipped me to this band during a Letterman performance, and it left me interested. Here’s the single from their long player that came out earlier this year called Carnavas.

Velvet Underground record back on eBay

It’s back on, after the failed effort, the rare Velvet Underground acetate is back on eBay. “_We ran this auction_ last week, but as we have reported to the international press which has enquirer, the winning bid was found to have been perpetrated by prankster. We are rerunning the auction this time with amendments to the effect that in the present auction, identities of bidders will be kept private to avoid attracting non-serious attention-seeking bidders, and we are also requiring that interested bidders register before bidding so that we may examine their references.

Separating the man from the soy

An amazing proclamation from a column by James Rutz (pictured), chairman of Megashift Ministries and founder-chairman of Open Church Ministries, titled, “Soy is making kids ‘gay’”. Yep, apparently it’s just that simple folks, Mr Rutz blazes on without nary a mention of sources or anything resembling science, but I’m sure those things will just fall into place. Here’s the gist of his commentary, but feel free to read it yourself from the link above.

I heart music

[caption id=“” align=“alignright” width=“220”]The CD stacks, Fall 2006[/caption] Here’s a relatively current picture of my front closet at home, with my custom/built-in cds shelves running floor to ceiling. Yes, I have a lot of cds, but note that this composite picture (roughly pasted together with The Gimp) doesn’t show the ~300 that I’ve pulled for sale/trade in. I’ve been shopping for cds since 1985, and I used to really enjoy hitting used stores all around the St.

Thom Yorke 'The Clock' (acoustic)

Here’s Thom Yorke performing The Clock , a song off his solo album The Eraser, acoustically on Jools Holland this past weekend. I really love this disc, but to see him perform this so stripped down like this really shows it off. [kml_flashembed movie=“http://www.youtube.com/v/huXb6lLLy10" width=“425” height=“350”/] NOTE: for some reason this video is showing up on/off here, not sure why but I suspect it’s the new caching system I put in place.

Math and Physics Club

Much like The Lucksmiths, The Isles and Voxtrot, Seatle’s Math and Physics Club put forth a Smiths rendered pallet as seen through a Belle and Sebastian filter, and it sounds nice. I think Pitchfork summed it up, without as much name dropping, really well; “The Seattle quintet’s self-titled album should get some warm looks from a new generation of tender-hearted, bookish music listeners. Following a pair of solid (if by-the-book) 2005 EPs, Weekends Away and Movie Ending Romance, MAPC’s full-length debut dusts off another 10 brazenly sweet songs of quiet heartbreak, late-summer acoustic guitar, reverb-laden Rickenbacker, tambourine, and occasional violin.

Ultra-rare Velvet Underground Vinyl on eBay for over $100K - DENIED

UPDATE4: The top bid(s) were bogus, and the auction ended without a buyer. Looks like it was too good to be true. Regardless, sounds like he’s going to give it another go, “Montreal man thwarted in eBay auction of rare record to try again” As always there’s some fun Monday morning quarterbacking going on over at digg.com on the issue. UPDATE3: The auction is over, winning bid $155,401.00 UPDATE2: I’ve found more info on the original recording (and the likely source of the FLAC posted for download here - which while it has plenty of surface noise is still very, very cool) plus a full listing of this record on a VU archives site.

UN warning on e-waste 'mountain'

There is a warning out from the UN about the huge amounts of e-waste that is being generated and distributed overseas. Currently e-waste including old TVs, CPUs and phones are being shipped off to China, India and more recently, Africa. It’s estimated that up to 50 million tons of waste from discarded electronic goods is generated annually, and of that up to 75% of the shipments are defunct - in other words e-waste.

Dead children playing - Stanley Donwood

While the artist Stanley Donwood might not be a household name, his artwork is immediately recognizable. As the former art-school friend of Thom Yorke, he has been Radiohead’s resident cover artist, having designed all of the band’s record art since 1994’s My Iron Lung EP. Most recently he created the frontispiece of Tom Yorke’s solo debut, The Eraser. He now has a show at Iguapop Gallery in Barcelona, Spain opening this week entitled Dead Children Playing highlighting his work with the band, and features the art for Kid A, Amnesiac, and Hail To The Thief, among others.

Tokyo Police Club

Tokyo Police Club hail from Toronto, land of indie favs the New Pornographers and Broken Social Scene, among others. I just grabbed their debut EP, A Lesson In Crime, and it’s fantastic. Think of some of the manic efforts of Brianiac, but with a more reined in feel, ala The Strokes. With their back and forth they sometimes sound like We Versus The Shark, but it’s a more focused song structure.

Back in black

Well, to make a long story short, we’re back. Installed a fresh version of FreeBSD 6.1 on my old(er) server that I built a few years back, and it’s humming along nicely. Going to try and make things simpler here, add a little more focus and less razzle dazzle - which seems to be something like feature creep here in the blog world. For now, sit back, I’ll have some new music coming up, geek talk and later maybe some beer.


Nick Cave has a new band that sounds much more like the degenerated blues of his early band, The Birthday Party (an old favorite of mine), but with more of almost a Stooges feel. Nick has formed Grinderman with Martyn Casey (of The Triffids), Warren Ellis (of The Dirty Three and The Bad Seeds) and Pat Sclavunous (of The Cramps). It seems that Nick will also play guitar in the band, which will their debut album out 05 March 2007, and play live at All Tomorrow’s Parties in the U.

You might be a geek if

Got this in my email today, recommendations from Amazon based on previous purchases. As you can see, I’m a father, and I’m a geek. This week’s recommendations: Dora’s Book of Manners, FreeBSD 6 Unleashed, Count with Dora!, Good Night, Dora!: A Lift-the-Flap Story, Dora’s Big Book of Stories, Network Security Hacks, Secure Architectures with OpenBSD and Linux Server Hacks. Since I have a few of these, now all I need is: Boots learns about Open Source Software, Dora: GPL vs BSD Licensing Considerations and Stopping Swiper with OpenBSD’s Packet Filter Firewall.

The hold steady

I’ve been going back and forth with the “Boys and Girls in America” by The Hold Steady, listened to the standout single, and streamed the full CD…it’s got some really good tunes, but I’m not sure if it’s going to get the nod at the local rekerd store or not. Feel free to give your feedback after some listens, it shouldn’t hurt. Give a listen to ‘Chips Ahoy’: [audio:http://downloads.pitchforkmedia.com/Hold%20Steady%20-%20Chips%20Ahoy.mp3] Then you can listen to an acoustic version of the album opener, ‘Stuck between stations’

City of Chicago Begins Migration to Linux

More nice news about adopting Linux, this one is the City of Chicago. Nice. “Red Hat has announced that the city of Chicago has started migrating to the Red Hat Enterprise Linux operating system. The city has already saved $250,000 from switching to Linux, according to Red Hat. Systems required for vehicle registration, restaurant inspections, online job applications, ethics training and other systems will have Red Hat installed._ “For the City of Chicago, information technology (IT) is an integral part of the government’s processes and services to the city’s nearly 3 million residents.

Firefox 2.0 tweaks

By now you should know that if you surf the web, you should be using Firefox. Earlier this week they released version 2.0 with a host of improvements (many small) and some needed polish. While the jump to 2.0 may have been a bit of a reach, the direction Firefox is heading is always interesting. Of course being an open source project there’s always room for tweaking, and while I now take a much more conservative approach to it, I still think changing some things make it (much) better.

Bad Brains - Pay to Cum

Between listening to lots of early Ramones, thanks to my son, and the closing of CBGB, it’s very cool that I found this today; it just made my day. Bad Brains at CBGBs in 1979, damn, just behold the power of punk!

Imagine Earth without people

A fancinating article at New Scientist looks at what might happen if all of a sudden we weren’t here to ‘impact’ the earth’s natural growth. “Humans are undoubtedly the most dominant species the Earth has ever known. In just a few thousand years we have swallowed up more than a third of the planet’s land for our cities, farmland and pastures. By some estimates, we now commandeer 40 per cent of all its productivity.

Watering down music for kids?

[caption id=“” align=“alignright” width=“180” caption=“But…why not the real thing?”][/caption] I was amused, and then annoyed to learn that there is now a ‘kid friendly’ cd with Ramones tracks called Brats on the Beat: Ramones for Kids. Coming out in November on Go-Kart Records, it, “…lets 12 punk and hard-rock veterans get their Raffi on and recreate classic Ramones songs in a kid-friendly format.” So the lineup of artists covering them seem cool enough, it will expose kids to one of the best rock bands ever, which is fantastic, but my beef is, why?


Not much to say on this one, while it’s shame it closed, I sure am glad it opened; it changed a lot about rock, giving bands like Television, Talking Heads, Blonde and (of course) The Ramones, a fighting chance against Disco and Donnie and Marie. “_It was the final last call at CBGB last night. The legendary New York rock club closed its doors yesterday (Oct. 15), after Patti Smith played the venue’s final show.

The Daily Show is as substantive as the *real* news

“The Daily Show is much funnier than traditional newscasts, but a new study from Indiana University says it has the same amount of meat on its bones when it comes to coverage of the news. The brand of news coverage Jon Stewart and the rest of The Daily Show’s staff brings to the airwaves is just as substantive as traditional news programs like World News Tonight and the CBS Evening News, according to the study conducted by IU assistant professor of telecommunications Julia R.

Art teacher suspended due to museum trip

An Art teacher with 28 years experience is out of a job after taking her fifth-grade classes last April to the Dallas Museum of Art. Why? One of her students saw nude art in the museum, and after the child’s parent complained, the teacher was suspended! This infuriates me beyond belief! Why is this a problem? A Times article relays more of the details, please notice the OFFENSIVE art pictures in this post, yep, those are the pieces of OBSCENE art that got this teacher suspended!

First Beta Release of Ubuntu 6.10

The Ubuntu team is proud to announce the Beta Release of Ubuntu 6.10 - codenamed “Edgy Eft”. Featuring the new init system, Readahead, is dealing with speeding up boot times, Betas of the lastest Firefox and Gaim, new photo software F-Spot, Tomboy on by default, and for compwiz fiends (like me) we can play with AIGLX natively with Xorg 7.1 - nice. To Get Ubuntu 6.10 Beta, Download from a US mirrors here: http://us.

New Shellac album, early 2007

Heard the good news yesterday that Shellac will soon have a new record out, and it’s about time. “_The celebrated underground producer’s band, Shellac, will break a six-year recording hiatus with Excellent Italian Greyhound, which is tentatively penciled in for an early 2007 release from Touch and Go Records. The album will be the act’s first since 2000’s _1000 Hurts (Touch and Go).” From reading up on them I learned more about the guitars Steve Albini perfers, ones by Travis Bean which are pretty rare and “…featuring machined aluminum necks (an unusual design that provides incredible sustain, also used in Veleno and early Kramer guitars) running through the instrument body.

Why email is addictive (and what to do about it)

“Email is addictive because it is a variable-interval reinforcement schedule. Checking email is a behavior that has variable interval reinforcement. Sometimes, but not every time, the behavior produces a reward. Everyone loves to get an email from a friend, or some good news, or even an amusing web link” i.e. rewards. read more | digg story

Better days will haunt you

[caption id=“attachment_2759” align=“alignright” width=“240” caption=“Chavez ‘Ride The Fader’”][/caption] Chavez (no, not Hugo!) was a Matador band in the 90s, and their cds have now been brought back into print, with an accompanying dvd chronicling the band’s work. “Better Days Will Haunt You” is a fully remastered (what isn’t these days?) double CD-plus-DVD, and is billed by Matador as ‘…a tribute to over-completeness and deluxitude’. While only churning out 2 albums, they had some great songs, and rocked out live.

Austin musician Don Walser dead at 72

From Austin the sad news comes that Don Walser has died at 72, from complications from diabetes. “Walser, who turned 72 last Thursday, was a country music icon in Austin. He had the fortune of a late-life career revival. He was a regular performer at Jovita’s, The Broken Spoke, the Continental Club. And he was also famous for bringing country music to Emo’s. He attracted a unique fan base, often opening for the Butthole Surfers.

PJ Harvey - The Peel Sessions 1991 - 2004

[](http://www.pjharvey.net/) I’ve been a fan of PJ Harvey since the beginning, and she continues to amaze me. Her live DVD from last year was tremendous, and shows how she’s grown as an artist even in the past few years, so it’s cool that she’s now going to release ‘The Peel Sessions 1991 - 2004’ on Island Records 23rd October 2006. Of course I already have the collections from ‘91 (first year I saw her play live) and ‘93, but having it all in one package will be give a real overview of her art.

HOWTO: Use a file list in Ubuntu for quick system restore

While I’ve read this plenty of times, today via Digg I found complete docs that I wanted to save on how to restore a Ubuntu Linux install; bringing it back to the way you had it from a fresh install easily. Why would you need this? Well, hard drives die, but more often (in my case at least) it’s fun to start with a fresh system when new versions of Ubuntu come out, or when you have to try out the latest/fastest filesystem, or you can’t live without the latest/bleeding edge apps/features.

I dig The Diggs

Been hipped to the band The Diggs of late, after extensive mp3 blog surfing led me to get to know them (being bored at work has it’s benefits). It’s what I’ve been looking for lately, and I highly recommend them. Haven’t found anything like this recently, you know, the newer/indie/shoegazey (mbv ) stuff with the blend of Broken Social Scene-age, and from a trio to boot. The live pic below is from their Northsix show, from just a scant few days ago in Brooklyn.

Green tea reduces risk of early death

Back when I was in Austin, I worked with a girl from China, her accent was very hard to understand, and her database administration was a bit heavy handed, but for the most part she knew what she was doing. Also, she would drink green tea practically all the time. Knowing it was good for you, I and another chap started the practice, which I’ve carried on (off and on that is) until present day.

Things that I will keep

I could write a website about Guided by Voices (GbV) and how much they mean to me, but who has the time? Instead here’s a song from their later years; years fraught with releases that were far more produced, and thus not nearly as good as their mid period peak (1994, I’m looking at you) - yet this one stands out, and it was a great one live. Bob, a salty salute to you, always!

Please Listen Closely, As Our Menu Options Have Changed

From the great Freakonomics.com, an article about an online database that’ll get you through the ‘phone trees’ or mazes anytime you have to call some company for customer service. _“One solution to Phone Tree Hell is the beautifully named GetHuman database, which provides a nearly encyclopedic list of companies’ phone numbers and the string of menu choices you must press to bypass the phone tree and get to a human. Example: “SUNOCO … 800‑278‑6626 … Press 0 five times, then mumble when prompted for an account number.

Andrew Bird

I’m a big fan of Andrew Bird, his songs seem to grow organically while they progress, and this holds true live when you realize how he makes his music. Starting with a gentle plucking of his violin played into a sampler, he’ll loop that in real time, perhaps bow the violin for a bit, sample, loop that, then on to the guitar and proceed to sing and whistle the rest of the song.

HOWTO: slick fonts in Firefox under XP

Finding fonts that looked right in Mozilla on Linux used to be a pain, whereas today that seemingly little issue is far behind us. Now I want the fonts on my work machine running XP to look as nice. With a little help from Microsoft’s ClearType Tuner and this font combination, I’ve found the sweet spot! I’ve been involved with Mozilla since almost the very beginning. I first developed an update script during the M20 milestone days of Mozilla in 2000, but one of the ongoing challenges was finding a font combination that looked good in Linux.

Anti-telemarketing script

“The Direct Marketing sector regards the telephone as one of its most successful tools. Consumers experience telemarketing from a completely different point of view: more than 92% perceive commercial telephone calls as a violation of privacy. Many business can avoid telemarketers with a blocking function on their business phone system. Telemarketers make use of a telescript - a guideline for a telephone conversation. This script creates an imbalance in the conversation between the marketer and the consumer.

HOWTO: Passwordless ssh logins

UPDATE2: Recently, while building a proof of concept computer cluster, I came across a much simpler way to do this. If you have ssh-keygen and ssh-copy-id installed, it’s a two step process First, create a password-less ssh rsa key: ssh-keygen -b 2048 -f ~/.ssh/id_rsa -P '' Second, copy the key to your remote host: ssh-copy-id user@remote.host Note, if you’re using a different port, or want to call out any other ssh features, put it in single quotes like this:

Dale Chihuly expose

Since first studying his work in art classes during college, I knew that Dale Chihuly produced things differently than the traditional current artists that most people envision. He has a ‘factory’ where ‘helpers’ follow his directions in assisting in creating the glass sculptures. This wasn’t unprecedented, as masters did this type of stuff 100s of years ago. Fast forward a few years and I was placing his works (very carefully!) in the gallery space where I worked in for years after college.

HOWTO: Ultimate Ubuntu eye-candy with Xgl and Compiz

Back a few months I installed Compwiz/Xgl, (developed by Novell) on Ubuntu. While it was still really new, I liked using it and was looking forward to seeing how it progressed. Well, it’s progressed quite well, and now I’ve found a simple (and easy to back) way to install and run Compwiz on Ubuntu 6.06. If you haven’t heard about it, Compwiz is, “An OpenGL powered desktop, Composite, OS X-rivalling effects”, which just means it makes using your desktop a blast, and more productive, which I agree with.

Former Smith Johnny Marr joins Modest Mouse

This is pretty amazing, I knew he was recording with the band for the new album, but apparently they got along pretty well. “Modest Mouse has been busy recording a new album, tentatively titled, We Were Dead Before The Ship Even Sank, with former Smiths guitarist Johnny Marr. What began as a simple project helping Isaac Brock and Modest Mouse has turned into a full-time gig as Marr has officially joined the band.

HOWTO: Elevator hack

Here’s something for me to try out on my trip to Vegas this weekend, could come in handy at those hotels. “The designers of some elevators include a hidden feature that is very handy if you’re in a hurry or it’s a busy time in the building (like check-out time in a hotel). While some elevators require a key, others can be put into “Express” mode by pressing the “Door Close” and “Floor” buttons at the same time.

DEFCON 14? That's approved

In a late development, I will be attending DEFCON 14 in Las Vegas August 4-6. DEFCON (started in 1993) is one of the oldest continuous running hacker conventions around, and also one of the largest. I’m meeting some old geek friends (for now known only as Thing1 and Thing2) that I got to know in the great state of Texas (mostly while in the great state of inebriation); and attending plenty of talks/presentations on all things hack/security/geek/etc.

Debian to run on AMD64

This is great news, I used to run Debian Linux on my server, but have dropped it as dropped it in favor of FreeBSD. Now that I’m testing the waters of web-hosting and collocating a 1U server I’m finding I can build a great AMD64 box for not much cache(!), and with Debian supporting it it’ll be quite tempting to build on that instead of FreeBSD for the server. Debian’s focus on stability and security has always been a plus for them, making it a perfect server option.

Girl Talk

If you’re like me you like DJ tracks with disparet samples dropped everywhere over layers of deep beets, the trouble comes when the artist has to clear all of those samples which hinders the artistic output. This was solved by Danger Mouse on The Grey Album, by simply NOT clearing any of the samples. Another DJ with the same mindset (and arguably more originality) is Girl Talk. From the aptly named site Illegal Art that hosts/sells Girl Talk’s music, they describe the artist, “_Girl Talk (aka Gregg Gillis) is back with his 3rd album on Illegal Art.

Band of Horses Funeral

Here’s a band that is definitely worth a listen; Band of Horses. I’d heard about them, but hadn’t heard them until my wife hipped me to this track last week. Check out the lead track below, and then hear more here. [audio:http://www.bandofhorses.com/mp3/Funeral.mp3]

CBGBs to reopen in Las Vegas

It seems that the oft repeated rumor is true, CBCB’s owner Hilly Kristal has stated that “…he’ll start disassembling his club, which has been a fixture on the Bowery since 1972 and start scouting locations in Sin City. Kristal announced that, following a long legal battle with his landlord, he’ll shutter the legendary club Sept. 30 […] The club, which has struggled to avoid closing its doors for nearly a year and a half, will host its final show Sept.

U.S. gov't mandates laptop security

Finally, after all of the crazy data theft, the Bush Administration is giving federal civilian agencies 45 days to comply with new recommendations for laptop encryption and two-factor authentication. I can’t believe this wasn’t a standard before, but oh well, from now on out this has to be. Next up, private industries, while not under any direct order, it’s going to be something they have to do to give their customers the assurance that they’re doing something about the problem.

See the ISS and Shuttle Discovery over your city

NASA has a page where you can find out when you can see the ISS and Shuttle Discovery as they orbit about 386 kilometers (240 miles) above. They will will be a steady white pinpoint of light moving slowly across the sky. Too fast for telescopes, but a good pair of field binoculars may reveal some detail of the structural shape of the spacecrafts. read more | digg story

PayPerPost.com: Bribing Bloggers to Promote Products?

“Ted Murphy, CEO of advertising firm Mindcomet, has launched a new service called PayPerPost.com. You guessed it, it’s a marketplace for companies to connect with bloggers who are willing to blog about a product - for a price. The companies can set guidelines for their requests such as whether a picture must be included and whether they will only pay for positive blog coverage. There does not appear to be any requirement that the payment for coverage be disclosed.

Good Mornin'

This is my first post with the Audio Player Wordpress plugin by 1 Pixel Out. It looks pretty fly, let’s give it a go, with a classic You Am I toon, eh? [audio:http://www.youamiserver.com/mp3/you_am_i_-_good_mornin_(live_on_rove).mp3]

Sleater-Kinney to hang it up

Sleater-Kinney is breaking up, or going on ‘indefinite hiatus’, but either way, this is disappointing news, especically since their last release, The Woods, was their first on big label, and so well recieved by critics (not to mention making my ‘Best of 2005’ list). The posting on their site tells it all, “After eleven years as a band, Sleater-Kinney have decided to go on indefinite hiatus. The upcoming summer shows will be our last.

Birdy Nam Nam - Absesses

Birdy Nam Nam (4 DJs from Paris), combine their talents to make one song, for this they won the DMC World Team Championship. Holy hell… [kml_flashembed movie=“http://youtube.com/v/qMYMC6atRoE" width=“425” height=“350”/] UPDATE: Found an mp3 of another song of theirs : Kind of Laid Back. Hearing a lot of jazz in there that I really, really like. They have some more vids on their site (flash warning)

Anthony White - The Money Series

Like all good artists, it seems that Anthony White has found a niche, with no end in sight to the interest (pun intended) of his works. From the artist’s statement, “_I’ve been producing and selling the Money Series for over two years. I sell the paintings for the money amount printed on the canvas. I work in Australian Dollars, US Dollars, British Pounds and Euros. The Money Series started at $US1/$AU1/₤1/€1 and continues up in $US1/$AU1/₤1/€1 increments.

Choicepoint: lessons learned

I’m very interested in Data security, and with more and more information being collected daily, it’s going to be more of an issue in the future. Here, the name synonymous with data loss, Choicepoint, covers lessons learned since their big incident. Sounds like they have some good things in place, let’s hope this model is mirrored by others before breaches and not after. And speaking of, be sure to review the this great site at Privacy Rights, “A Chronology of data breaches since the Choicepoint incident”, an ongoing tally of loss of data.

Futurama *is* coming back!

Good news everyone! After the rumors and false Billy West statements, Futurama really is coming back, with the same cast to boot! “_Futurama” star Katey Sagal confirmed the return of the show on Comedy Central Tuesday night during an appearance on Craig Ferguson’s “Late L_ate Show. … The quirky animated show from “Simpsons” creator Matt Groening was canceled by Fox about two years ago, but will return with at least 13 new episodes on Comedy Central by 2008.

Why I love Speakeasy

My ISP is Speakeasy a small one located in Seattle. They don’t have 12.99$/month deals for the first 6 months, they have reasonable rates (the basic package that is likely analogous to what most people have is 49.95$ month) and excellent service. Yes, anytime I tell folks I pay ~70$/month for DSL they can’t believe it, but I don’t have a default package and I get great support for nothing extra.

Personal info more likely to be stolen from the Government than hacked

More Private Data Is Burgled From Government Than Hacked While the news aims to spread fear that ‘hackers’ are going to steal your identity, numbers show that they really should be fearful of our government. “America’s universities admit that, in the first half of 2006, they let a million Social Security numbers slip through their fingers. Accountants, banks and brokerages have proven themselves to be half as competent at protecting your critical data, conceding to more than 1.

Hello (again) world

Are you like me, do you like to roll with the changes? Well I have, as you can see, with a move to Wordpress from the cool, but unstable Typo. My Typo experience was a blast, but honestly I just don’t have the time to babysit a webapp running on my server (which I’m already looking after) that seemed to prefer to bomb out than work more often than not. So, welcome to fak3r.

HOWTO get Typo themes to work with Trunk

I wrote to the mailing list last week to inquire about what themes work with Typo trunk. After a response I found that a fix had already been posted out there in the Internetland. So, mad props and shout outs go to Piers Cawley for posting the solution to getting all the great themes from the Typo themes contest to work with Typo Trunk (most themes are br0k3d due to some basic changes in Typo’s API).

Boards of Canada

Nice, there’s a new Boards of Canada cd coming out “The Campfire Headphase”. Also, put them up as my favorite music to chill out to at work just after Mogwai. Click below for video to the Boards’ latest single, Dayvan Cowboy.

Cell customers want simple phones: survey

As far as cell phones, this is what I’ve been saying all along; make simple phones that are easy to use, drop the idea of making some all-in-one camera, instantmessanger, emailchecker, websurfer, gamesystem and just give me a phone to call home with. ”Most cell phone customers don’t use the camera, email, or gaming options offered by their wireless providers. According a survey by JD Power and Associates, most are satisfied when they can simply place a call efficiently.

Roundcube Webmail update script

The Roundcube Webmail Project is moving along, and my Roundcube HOWTO install is one of the more popular ones on my site. Today I updated to the latest SVN version, since they’ve recently moved from CVS to SVN for version control, and wrote a script to automate this so I can just run it nightly via cron. Click on ‘Read more…’ to see the script; you should be able to just cut/paste it, set the perms to 755, edit the variables at the beginning to suit your system and run.

Stop aktion

I love that people have so much more creative options these days, what with things like digital cameras, and easy apps like iPhoto and iMovie to exploit for artistic reasons. Here’s a great short film about nothing in particular, but it’s a stop action film built out of 580 digital images, all glued together and audio-fied with iMovie. It’s obviously a DIY project, and it’s really fun, she calls it et cetera.

My music at work

Marketing, it’s pretty pervasive, and with the ‘we noticed you bought this, so we thought you’d be interested in buying this’ routine it’s very personalized now. So today I’m working on a ton of source file conversions; moving files from here to there, running a Perl script over and over, cutting/pasting converted files out…and repeat. It’s a task waiting for a ‘while true do’ loop, but it won’t work like that.

Study: video games good for kids

It’s an ongoing debate, but a recent study in the UK downplays link of video games to violence. ”_Playing computer games may actually be good for children, according to a government study that found no proof that even violent games triggered aggressive behaviour. The games can improve children’s decision-making and instill ‘positive learning traits’, some research suggests. At least one study argues that make-believe violence helps children ‘conquer fears and develop a sense of identity’, as gruesome fairy-tales once did.

Linus interviewed on CNN

There’s a nice interview with Linus Torvalds over at CNN, looks like it’s going to be on the air at 03:30 ET Saturday, and 07:30 ET Sunday. Not too indepth, but gives a good update to what he’s been doing. My favorite quote is about meetings, which I think are just as big of a waste of time as Linus, ”CNN: So the face to face thing is a little bit overrated?

Anheuser-Busch buys Rolling Rock

With all the mergers of big companies, it’s important to remember ones that are…closer to our hearts, that’s right, beer. Today, Anheuser-Busch buys Rolling Rock beer brand, solidifying their stand as the biggest brewer in the world. ”Anheuser-Busch, the largest U.S. brewer, said Friday that it has purchased the Rolling Rock beer brand from Belgium’s InBev for $82 million to expand its portfolio of products. Anheuser-Busch acquired Rolling Rock’s global brand rights and recipes and will begin brewing Rolling Rock and Rock Green Light in August.

MySQL Cheat Sheet

Here’s a page that’s just too useful not to mirror, some cat named Neal Parikh has a page he calls a MySQL Cheat Sheet; click that link for the latest revision, or read more for my mirrored copy for reference. When I have to do DB work outside of what I usually do day-to-day I hit Google for some tutorials, so having this as a reference will be helpful in the future.

Sun to support Ubuntu Linux

Ah, so my very first accepted story submission to the venerable Slashdot.org occurred today, and it’s a dozy. ”_Sun today announced that they are putting their weight behind Ubuntu Linux. While Ubuntu has been many people’s desktop Linux choice for a few years now, with its Debian heritage, you can see what kind of server it could be. Slap that on the new Sun 1Us with the new Niagra T1’s CPU, the one that will have four, six or eight cores each, and go to town_.

Quake II Universal Binary released

Anyone that knows me (or Chuck Bucket) knows that Quake II is my all time favorite online game. I can’t even imagine the time I spent playing that game, I’m just glad it didn’t come out when I was in college, because then it would have just taken over everything. As it was I spent plenty of late nights fragging away with friend and foe. I fell in with a particular mod called Weapons Of Destruction back in 1997 or so, on a server out in Orange County, CA called DugDogs.

Speed up Ruby-on-Rails with memcached

Today I learned about memcached, which I’d heard of before, but never really investigated. From the project’s site, ”memcached is a high-performance, distributed memory object caching system, generic in nature, but intended for use in speeding up dynamic web applications by alleviating database load.” So, even though I don’t have a huge amount of traffic, I still have dynamic sites, and I’m always looking at ways to speed up my Typo blog (this site not anymore).

Linux speeds past OS X (again)

Alright, so now that you can run Linux and Mac OS X on the same native hardware that Linux was originally built, a more direct comparison of speed and efficiency can be achieved between the two venerable operating systems. (You know, because before Apple moved to Intel chips, PowerPC/RISC was tons more efficient and x86/CISC instruction set was so old, crappy, etc…or as the marketing folks wanted you to think…) Yes, in the past we saw how Linux was far more efficient as a server when running on an Opteron vs a G5.

A Picasso sells for $95M

The second highest price ever paid for a painting occurred earlier this week, a portrait by Pablo Picasso of his longtime companion Dora Maar sold for $95.2 Million. ”Picasso painted Maar many times during their nine-year affair, which began in 1936 when she was making a name for herself as a surrealist photographer. The pair quickly became lovers, Maar remaining close to Picasso throughout the late 1930s and early 1940s and assisting with several of his works, including the monumental mural Guernica.

OS X: 6 new zero-day exploits

Logic dictates that as Apple gets more popular it will increasingly become a more popular target for nefarious types, thus more vulnerabilities will be discovered, but this one is huge; OS X hit by 6 new zero-day bugs. ”At least six zero-day vulnerabilities in Apple Computer Inc.’s Mac OS X were disclosed earlier this week by an independent researcher, who noted that all can crash applications or the operating system, and some may let attackers hijack systems.

Mac Mini doing fast OS switching

Wowser, here’s vid of a Mac mini Duo, doing some fast OS switching. It’s running OS X with Parallels and Virtue Desktops which allows it to run Windows XP and Red Hat 4 ES all at the same time. The switching between the 3 OSs uses the ‘cube effect’ just like the fast user switching of OS X, and looks to be just as swift. I think that’s about all I need to see, if I can have a Mac Mini Duo running a triple boot like that, I think I’ll be all set (for a few weeks).

New features in Windows Vista!

Here’s a nicely done overview of the great new features you can expect from Windows Vista, whenever it’s released that is. A really nicely done comparison of what is new, and what is borrowed.

Daydream Nation now on the National Recording Registry

This is excellent, one of my favorite bands, Sonic Youth, has been honored by the Library of Congress with the inclusion of their masterwork, Daydream Nation on the National Recording Registry, where the entry reads, ”Daydream Nation. Sonic Youth. (1988) _Pioneer members of New York City’s clangorous early 1980s No Wave scene, Sonic Youth are renowned for a glorious form of noise-based chaos. Guitarists Thurston Moore and Lee Ranaldo had previously performed with Glenn Branca’s large guitar ensembles, and their alternative guitar tunings and ringing harmonies attest to this apprenticeship.

Neko Case goes off on auto tune and pitch-shifting

During a recent interview with Pitchfork, Neco Neko (still spell that wrong) Case has some choice words about “singers” that need software to make their voice listenable, it’s a good read. ”_Case: When I think about Jackie Wilson or the Platters and then I think about modern, Top 40 music that’s really horrible, it makes me mad. Singing isn’t important anymore. I’m not a genius– if I had been around during the time of Jackie Wilson or Rosemary Clooney or Patsy Cline, I would be shit.

Prayer doesn't help heart patients

Looks like the merits of prayer on under fire again, “A recent study conducted by the Duke University Medical Center on 700 patients, found that having people pray for heart bypass surgery patients had no effect on their recovery. Researchers emphasized their work does not address whether God exists or answers prayers made on another’s behalf. This result seems to contradict a previous study by the same authors that reported “cardiac patients who received intercessory prayer in addition to coronary stenting appeared to have better clinical outcomes than those treated with standard stenting therapy alone.

The (BSO) death of an iMac

Not much to say on this, one, so here’s the article. ”_Well, that didn’t take long. It seems that Windows’ crash-tastic tendencies aren’t limited to PCs. Check out this post by Deal Catcher forum user dbaxter. He writes that after installing Boot Camp, things were going swimmingly…for thirty minutes. While browsing USB devices, Windows did what Windows does best. Nothing. Since this is the first we’ve seen the BSOD as generated by Windows on an Mactel following a Boot Camp install, it would seem that dbaxter has produced the 1st “official” BSOD on an Mac.

Run Windows on Intel Macs with Apple's blessing

First let’s recall after Apple announced it was moving to Intel chips this quote, ”We haven’t done anything to explicitly prevent it, but we haven’t done anything to encourage it either,” Apple Senior Product Line Manager Wiley Hodges said of running Windows on Macs. If this was ever true, it is no longer. After all the talk about how to get Windows XP running on the new Intel Macs, and the subsequent contest that made some hacker 13,000$USD richer, Apple has gone ahead and released Boot Camp, software that sets up and allows for dual booting of OS X and Windows XP.

HOWTO: Fix login issue on Typo

NOTICE: Before you try this, see the update below - this could mess things up if you have more than one user, and you’re not trying to fix the Admin login fak3r.com runs the latest (greatest?) Typo code, but sometimes this leads to problems. After an update a few days ago I could no longer login to the site, thus I couldn’t add stories, admin the site or anything.

Live Yeah, Yeah, Yeah stream

UPDATE: As before, NPR did release it as one big mp3 after the show! Grab it here: Yeah Yeah Yeahs live at the 9:30 club in DC - April 3, 2006, because your iPod needs to be fed. [](http://www.npr.org/music/liveconcerts/yeahs/yeahs_big.jpg)[NPR](http://npr.org) has been sponsoring a bunch of great indie concerts and archieving them on their site for all to hear later. Sure most are Real Audio, but they used to have a mp3 version of an entire Bloc Party show.

Drum machine

I found a flash drum machine movie here, it’s pretty cool. Linked to from the blog of Radiohead singer, Thom Yorke. Nice to see pictures of the recording sessions, they’re going to do some shows over in Europe soon too. (now playing - Kid A)

Web advertising crosses the line

What the hell is happening to us? ”_Web Hosting Provider to Sponsor Child Birth - Website hosting company, Globat.com, will be sponsoring the birth of a baby girl to be named Samiah Wynn Francis. The expectant mother, Asia Francis, is a 21-year-old resident of St. Louis, Missouri. According to Globat.com, Ms. Francis, along with medical staff and other people present at the birth, will be wearing Globat.com T-shirts and hats throughout the delivery.

HOWTO: replicate, backup, copy or move a mySQL database

Sure, this is pretty basic, but I never had to do it before, and since I just had a request from a user (that’s a good thing) to bring their blog up to the latest Typo/svn version, I knew it was time to learn. Since you have to do a ’rake migrate on the database to update Typo there’s a chance (usually a good one with bleeding edge Typo) that the database may be worse for wear on the other end of the migration.

Flaming Lips take on Bohemian Rhapsody

Update: there is video of this available here and here Wow, here’s a track of The Flaming Lips covering Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody at SXSW 2006 [when the mp3 link goes dead, look for it via Google. With lyrics like, “…Is this the real life / Is this just fantasy / Caught in a landslide / No escape from reality / Open your eyes / Look up to the skies and see / I’m just a poor boy,i need no sympathy…” it’s a perfect selection for them.

Money changes everything

Morrissey’s recent interview during Austin’s Sxsw, stirred plenty of emotion of us old Smiths fans. ”Morrissey revealed that The Smiths were offered $5 million to play last year’s Coachella festival - and turned it down. Speaking at a press conference before his show at this year’s South by South West music festival (March 16), the singer explained that “money doesn’t come into it”. He added: “It never has. I do what I do because it’s all that I am.

'''Do not email'' registries for children'

In July, two states will open up an ‘opt-out’ list to prohibit sending commercial email to children’s email addresses which are registered. ”New state laws in Michigan and Utah will prohibit sending commercial email to children’s email addresses which are registered with the states’ new ‘Do not email’ lists. Officials in both states have confirmed that their new registry web pages for parents — websites where parents and guardians can soon make their kids’ email addresses off limits to email marketers — will be activated this month.

HOWTO: Install Ubuntu Linux in 2 steps

With full credit going to The Central West End Linux Users Group (CWE-LUG), here’s a TWO STEP way to install a base Ubuntu Linux on a computer. For a minimal install using the CD and a kickstart file on the net insert the Ubuntu 5.10 CD into the CD-ROM, then choose either step 2 or 3 For a minimal/server install, at the boot prompt, type: server ks=http://cwelug.org/~rwcitek/ubuntu/ks.cfg Or, for a full/desktop install, replace “server” with “linux”:

Morrissey questioned by the FBI

While he’s always been outspoken, one would hardly think of Morrissey as a threat to America’s national security! Well the FBI and British Intelligence disagreed, apparently. ”Singer MORRISSEY was quizzed by the FBI and British intelligence after speaking out against the American and British governments. The Brit is a famous critic of the US-led war in Iraq and has dubbed President GEORGE W BUSH a “terrorist” - but he was baffled to be hauled in by authorities.

Banana thefts increasing

There’s trouble going down in Oahu as the frequency of banana thefts is increasing, to the chagrin of local authorites. ”Kailua police are looking into a flurry of banana thefts within the last several weeks at Windward Oahu farms. Though agricultural thefts happen often, investigators said thefts at banana farms in particular have escalated from two to three incidents a month to two to three a week so far this month.


This has been entered on Typo’s bugtrack as Bug 784. Running Typo trunk with today’s latest Revision: 993 Using Markdown with Smartypants text filter (still fails when changed to ‘none’) I created an article with the name ‘??????’ and saved it. Everything within Admin works fine, you can modify things, edit it, etc. When you click on ‘View page on your blog’ from the Admin pages, or just navigate to the article directly with a link it doesn’t make it to the article page.

HOWTO: usable xterm configuration

UPDATE: if you’re using xterm in place of gnome-terminal due to speed, you aren’t any longer. The 2.14 version of Gnome sports a much faster gnome-terminal; it beats xterm for display by allot, and log startup is 20x faster than before! Wow, they did some work on tuning there! Ok, this is a cheap HOWTO seeing as how I just found it, cut/pasted it and restarted X - but hey, it rocks.

Flame Wars sparked by misread emails

Over at The Inquirer.net, they have a great article about the fact that flame wars are often sparked by misread emails, or if not misread, misinterpreted! Hmmm…this hits home since I know some disagreements have started over similar circumstances. ”According to a new study published by the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, people only have a 50-50 chance of detecting the tone of an email. However they actually think they have guessed it right 90 per cent of the time.

Thank you Mario! But our princess is in another castle!

UPDATE: eek! That page has gone away, but never fear, the Shockwave file is still out there to enjoy, just do a Google search for smb_super_synth.swf. I found it here, here and here. Someone has made a Flash page where you can replay all the audio from the NES (Nintendo 8-bit console) game, Super Mario Brothers! So fun, those sounds, especially the background music, is just burned into my brain. Funny, just this week I converted a Super Mario sound theme from Adium (available for download here) to work with Gaim!

Rating the risks

An interesting survey of 332 IT “executives” and managers by Forrester Research shows their concerns with outgoing email and IM data. Their take: 25% of outbound E-mails contain content that poses a legal, financial, or regulatory risk36% of companies employ staff to read or analyze outbound E-mail 47% intend to deploy technology for monitoring Web mail or IM traffic 70% are concerned about the use of Web-based E-mail to expose confidential data

IE 7 Beta 2 (and matching DoS attack) released

Amazing, so today Microsoft releases Beta 2 of IE 7, and almost simultaneously comes a tailor made DoS attack! ”Overview: A denial of service vulnerability exists within Microsoft Internet Explorer 7.0 Beta 2 which allows for an attacker to cause the browser to crash, and or to execute arbitrary code on the targeted host. Technical Details: When running a specially crafted .html file, urlmon.dll inproperly parsers the ‘BGSOUND xsrc=file://—’ (approx. 344 dashes) and causes the crash.

HOWTO: Mezzo desktop on Ubuntu

UPDATED (10/27/2006): Old debs are no longer available, newer ones coming soon, I will update the doc once we can get to them. From Mezzo’s developer Ryan, “Currently there are not. I am working to get a new repo online soon. The debs that were there were out of date. The new repo will have up to date packages. The next release 2006-12 will be released at the end of November.

An uncompromising insistence on excellence, as well as a healthy pessimism

I came across an interested quote in relation to quality and safety in relation to projects. Ignoring human instincts like the “gut reaction” of some to just get the job done. His ideas dovetail nicely into software engineering where due dates often compromise quality. ”…the words of Admiral Hyman Rickover, father of the nuclear navy and founder of a safety culture with a remarkable record. “Quality must be considered as embracing all factors which contribute to reliable and safe operation,” he wrote.

Apache versus Lighttpd

Since I’ve been running Typo for this blog I’ve been having Apache do a mod_proxy to pass anything bound for fak3r.com to a port that Typo is running on with LightTPD spitting up the pages. I’ve read about how much faster Lighttpd is, but today I wanted to test it out on my own enviroment in the hopes that it would convince me to migrate over, if for nothing else that to learn a new webserver.

How to Be a Curmudgeon on the Internet

David Pogue of the New York Times has written a great piece titled How to Be a Curmudgeon on the Internet which covers how rude and arrogant people are in their criticisms when sent via email. It’s so true, the autonomy gives authors a “right to speed” as it were. People think they’re entitled to say what they want, without thought of reprisal, since they’re behind a veil of ones and zeros.

Soul legend Wilson Pickett dies

Another clasic soul legend gone; Wilson Pickett dies at 64. ”Wilson Pickett, the soul pioneer best known for hard-driving hits Mustang Sally and In The Midnight Hour, has died of a heart attack in Virginia, his management company said last night. He was 64, and had been in declining health for the past year. “We’ve lost a giant, we’ve lost a legend, we’ve lost a man who created his own charisma and made it work around the world,” soul singer Solomon Burke, a close friend of Pickett’s, told Reuters.

In memory of Martin Luther King Jr.

“…I have a dream that one day the state of Alabama, whose governor’s lips are presently dripping with the words of interposition and nullification, will be transformed into a situation where little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls and walk together as sisters and brothers. I have a dream today. I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together.

Panic on the streets of Uniontown!

Here’s another example of people being afraid of what they don’t know about; Student accused of trying to crash school’s computer system. ”A Stark County high school senior has been arrested and charged for allegedly trying to crash his school’s computer system. Police say the student, created a website which connected to the school’s system. When enough users logged on and hit the F5 button, it overloaded the school’s system. But, Lake High School caught-on before the system crashed.

Sending 10,000 spam emails a minute

Earlier in the week I talked about the biggest security worry home users should have is that their systems can be hijacked, taken over, and used as a zombie to blindly send out spam emails. I had no idea how many a standard home DSL setup could handle, but learned from this article that it’s huge. ”Today, the biggest problem is “zombie” computers that have been hijacked by trojans, viruses, or other badness to do various nefarious tasks without the owners’ knowledge.

Blackberry handhelds/servers vulnerable to attack

While I’ve never had a Blackberry, but have played around with them and understand their appeal. Still, until today I didn’t have any idea of how the backend process is setup, and wow, it’s pretty invasive. Now we learn that Blackberry’s are also vulerable to graphics highjacking. If a bad graphic is emailed to a user and they click on it, things can go bad. ”[…] a vulnerability in the way Blackberry servers handle portal network graphics (PNG) images, was not disclosed by either RIM or the US-CERT advisory.

Best of 2005

Each year I compile my favorite releases of the past 12 months, and dammit if this wasn’t a great year. Of course I have gift cards to use now to buy new music, so I’m already working on next years’ list. Agree or disagree, this is the music I like hearing nowadays. Ben Folds Songs for Silverman Bloc Party ”_Silent Alarm_” Danger Doom ”_The Mouse And The Mask_” DJ Shadow ”_Endtroducing… [Deluxe Edition]_”

This is a picture

I don’t like Microsoft, everyone knows that, but I don’t needlessly bash them if people using Windows are comfortable with it, but here’s just another reason to reconsider options. ”_Microsoft acknowledged late Wednesday the existence of a zero-day exploit for Windows Metafile images, and said it was looking into ways to better protect its customers. Even worse, by the end of the day nearly 50 variants of the exploit had already appeared.

Dark chocolate is good for you

In more good eating news, a recent finding has determined that dark chocolate is good for the heart. Again, like beer and coffee, moderation is the key, but again, it’s that ‘daily’ mention that I like! ”Only a small daily treat of dark chocolate may substantially increase the amount of antioxidant intake and beneficially affect vascular health,” the report’s authors said. … The group, who were asked to abstain from eating foods rich in antioxidants for 24 hours, were given 40 grams of chocolate to eat.

Futurama to return?

In what would be a cool trend, Futurama could come back from the dead, ala Family guy. ”Nearly four years after it was cancelled, the popularity of Futurama on DVD could breathe life back into the animated television series. On the subject of a rumoured resurrection, creator Matt Groening, best known for his other animated hit, The Simpsons, says, intriguingly, “You never know.” Such a trail was blazed in 2004 by another animated series, Family Guy.

John Vanderslice show posted for download

[](http://www.fanaticpromotion.com/photos/john_vanderslice/john_vanderslice_3.jpg)Yesterday the venerable Pitchfork noted that John Vanderslice had released a recent live show for gratis on his website. Since seeing him at Sxsw during the Time Travel is Lonely tour, I’ve been hooked, and his recording output just continues to improve and impress. So today, from his mailing list, I got the word straight from the (pale) horse’s mouth as John writes, “22 songs from our last show of the “I’ve been living in a K-Hole” US tour, encoded in glorious hi-res mp3.


Today marks 25 years since the death of John Lennon, he would have been 65. Here’s hoping that his message of peace will continue to ring true for all time.

Firefox buffer overflow

There’s a Firefox buffer overflow script listed on Packet Storm. The Javascript can be embedded into HTML and make Firefox log a very long topic line into its history.dat file. Any ensuing Firefox starts will cause a crash due to a buffer overflow. The fix would be to delete the history.dat file, which would be recreated automatically during the next start, but that’s not something most users would know. I’m sure this will be patched quickly, but this has to be the first type of bug I’ve seen targeting Firefox.

Yes, I will have another

I’m always seeing reports that basically state the same thing; moderate drinking is good for you, but now we also learn that it can may lower risk of becoming obese! So while past reports have touted decreased chance of heart disease and high blood pressure, today’s report states that, “…new research suggests it may also help you stay svelte. Regular drinkers who consume one or two drinks a few times a week are less likely to be obese compared with people who do not drink” with the obvious disclaimer, “However, having four or more drinks per day increases the risk of being obese by 46 percent, researchers report.

Still I long for your kiss

“go find a jukebox, and see what a quarter will do…” Even though I spent most of my time listening to indie/punk bands while there, since leaving Austin (almost a year ago now, damn) my warmest memories of living there are brought back by the music of Lucinda Williams. Recently I’ve been listening not only to her recent double-live cd release but her last 4 cds, and it all ages so gracefully.

Pocket server

Ok, picture this; a 400MHz PowerPC, 64MB RAM, fingerprint scanner, SD/MMC slot, and either 256MB or 512MB storage, powered by host USB 2.0 interface, the size and weight (a 3.5” x 1.75”, 1.6 ounce) of a pack of playing cards, yes smaller than an iPod Nano! Yes, it’s the world’s smallest Linux server, BlackDog, and it can be had for ~$200. It runs a flash-based Debian Linux distribution with a 2.

More bad language

We’re big on phone meetings at the big company I work for; I guess when there’s over 10,000 folks in the company they think it’s a good idea. Anyway I had some more bizspeak spouted out yesterday on a call that just made my jaw drop. The speaker used the phrase tribal knowledge while referring to our groups’ ability to administrate. WTF? I have never heard that one, and wished we were in a face to face meeting so I could see if any others had the same look on their face as I did when I heard that one…and it was used AT LEAST FOUR TIMES!

Please verify your account

Got another PayPay phishing email today, my filters caught it no problem, so now let’s pollute their database of username and passwords. Here’s the direct link to the Phishfighting page that will flood the phisher’s site with bogus usernames and passwords. If you’re using Firefox I recommend center clicking on the link 5 times (or more) and leave those tabs open for a day (or more). Have fun. UPDATE: yep, after leaving it there all day while I was out I return to see the link throwing a 503 - server unavailable.

The death of the power chord

Link Wray has died at 76 in Copenhagen. “_… the rock guitar pioneer who gave birth to the aggressively primal sound known as the power chord on his 1958 instrumental hit “Rumble” and influenced two generations of rock guitarists, has died. He was 76. Mr. Wray moved to Denmark in 1978 into a house on an island where Hans Christian Andersen once lived_.” More on his life from The State: “Wray, who played in a trademark leather jacket, developed a style considered the blueprint for heavy metal and punk music.

Will the Crash-box 360 lead to a Revolution?

[](http://www.flickr.com/photos/80491849@N00/)While the Xbox 360 and Playstation3 (PS3) are going to ‘redefine’ game consoles from something that can play games to something that you can also watch movies on, chat, view pictures, etc, I’ll be sticking with the company that has always focused on making games that are fun to play; Nintendo and their upcoming console Revolution. From the wiki, the talk about the backwards compatibility sounds very promising. Think about it, Nintendo has some of the best games ever, and that goes back 20+ years; why not make them all available instead of locking them out?

HOWTO: Install Roundcube Webmail from SVN (was CVS) on FreeBSD

UPDATE3: The FreeBSD port is keeping up with this project very well, the current one is only 5 days old! I highly recommend going this route unless you’re a developer or someone who likes to get the bugs before anyone else! :) Thanks to Bernard for bringing this up. UPDATE2: Roundcube now uses SVN (Subversion) for version control instead of CVS, I’ve updated all effected instructions. UPDATE: Looking at the download page for Roundcube, I see that There’s also a Spanish version of Phil’s guide written by Daniel A.

A dead language

I hate bizspeak, always have. Be it Thinking outside of the box, A paradigm shift, Getting ramped up or Step up to the plate, they all offend. The idea that people use common phrases to make themselves sound like they know what they’re talking about drives me nuts. Today’s example heard by the watercooler: They can put that idea out there to change the mindset, but it’s not going to happen overnight.

A nursing home with a pub

_A nursing home in Ireland has hit on a cheering way to keep up the spirits of its elderly patients – by providing its own pub. St Mary’s Hospital in County Monaghan, near the Irish border with Northern Ireland, believes ready access to a good pint may help its patients – average age 85 – actually live longer. “We would say the whole social aspect of life does extend the years – it means the patients aren’t bored to death,” Rose Mooney, assistant director of nursing told Reuters.

I know what cd I'm buying next...

[ Sigur Rōs Takk…](http://www.sigur-ros.co.uk/) Glōsōli video The video for the track Glosoli, is (still) available, here.

Moving boxes

So over the weekend I moved my servers with the idea to gain a bunch of floors space that we need since we’re planning to build a room down there. I didn’t have much time to play with them, as I had a sick boy to take care of, but once he was down for a nap I headed down to the basement to move and reorganize my NOC (aka- a nice metal shelf with 4 computers on it) from the open area to a carved out nook under the stairs.

Mars and Venus viewable on Halloween

It looks like I’ll need to break out my telescope for the kids on Halloween, as both Mars and Venus will glow brightly on Halloween, with Mars not been this close in 60,000 years. “In the late-day glow of the western sky, starting about 30 minutes after sunset and extending thereafter, you can find the planet Venus. It is perhaps the easiest planet to identify, especially this Halloween, because, with the absence of the moon, Venus will shine in a brilliant yellow and should be pretty much by itself in the sky at twilight.

I'd rather be phishing...

It seems that the phishing site I referred to earlier is now dead (request timed out!) Yah, very cool, now how about another one to keep the ball rolling? Go ahead and try out this one: this one, YAPPS (yet another pay-pal scam). Feel free to open a bunch of tabs on that URL; I’ll throw up a new one once it goes down. This would be a good application for that ‘flash mod’ type of ideal; get a phish-fighting email list, send out a URL like this and have 100s of folks hit it at once.

Rock and roll icons

Typo has yet another really cool feature (no big surprise there) that allows you to upload things directly within the admin site. Surfing around a while back I found this picture from Australia’s Big Day Out in 1993, and it’s a great one. [caption id=“attachment_2249” align=“aligncenter” width=“360” caption=“Tex Perkins, Mark Arm, Kim Gordon, Iggy Pop, Nick Cave at Big Day Out 1993, taken from the book Stranded by Clinton Walker”][/caption]

New phisher site to fight!

I just got another PayPal phishing email, as always they include a link to ‘login’ to ‘PayPal’ to verify something or another in an effort to learn your username and password. Of course MailScanner tagged the bogus URL within the HTML, and SpamAssasin (this time Razor2) found that it was spam from content and a DCC (distributed checksum clearinghouse) list, so I really couldn’t accidentally fall for the scam, but after a good defense we need a good offense; it’s time to fight back.

Bruce Perens comments (on my comment)

In the flurry of discussion after one of my recent posts to Slashdot, none other than Bruce Perens (the author, creator of the Open Source Definition, founder or co-founder of the Open Source Initiative, The Linux Standard Base, Software in the Public Interest and No-Code International, and general open source guru) commented on my post! “Heavyweights taking on Rails - I visit Fortune 100 companies in my work for Sourcelabs. The managers comment that their engineers are clamoring to use Rails and the managers are holding back until the product is more mature.

Hula progress on FreeBSD

I’ve been pretty quiet about Hula since I’ve been unable to successfully build and run it since r370 (currently Hula is at r609). While I’ve solved and committed all the autogen build issues on FreeBSD, it still won’t run; the controlling hulamanager process just hangs, with no errors or output to help out. On the mailing list this behavior is reportedly due to the (hardlinked) renaming of ‘server messaging server’ to ‘hula messaging’ server, which bombs if you use the filesystem based mdb.

Sleater-Kinney show review

It’s always cool when you find a review of a show you’ve been to, but add a picture, and then you’re really feelin’ it. The venerable Pitchfork has a review of Sleater-Kinney’s October 8th show at Mississippi Nights, and I would call it spot on. What a great band, more solid and confident than I’ve ever seen them, with a packed crowd that just went nuts for everything they did. That kind of response makes me happy to be seeing shows in St.

95,899 hits in one day

I’m still posting on my Slashdot thread about Friday’s slashdotting of fak3r.com as well as learning what worked, and where the bottleneck occurred. First of all the all important numbers; visits, pages, hits and transferred data for 2005-10-15, as reported by Awstats: <code>Date Pages Hits Bandwidth 10-14-2005 18092 95899 644.47 MB</code> Holy smokes, 95,899 hits for the day while transferring almost a cd’s worth of data. Again, not a huge number for a colo’d webserver with a big audience, but for a home built rig behind a 384⁄1.

A minor Slashdoting!

This morning on Slashdot there was a story about Ruby on Rails and my comment turned out to the the second post. I took the opportunity to plug this site…err…I mean used this site as an example of Ruby on Rails via Typo and suggested people take a look and try out the ‘live search’ to give the database a workout, and did they ever. Logfiles were just scrolling along, httpd was throwing up pages, Ruby was driving all database queries via fastcgi.

Spell with flickr

Go try it yourself, it’s a good time.

Sonic Youth get stolen/vintage gear back

Back in 1999 I saw Sonic Youth play two nights at Liberty Lunch, mere weeks before it was torn down. Being one of my favorite live bands at my all time favorite live venue, those two night were a highlight of so many rocking shows I’ve seen. After the last encore on the second night, Thurston Moore proclaimed, “Goodbye Liberty” before leaving the stage. Amazingly I actually found a review of one of the shows that makes reference to the big story of the day; the theft of their equipment a few days prior while they played Coachilla.

Zimbra build script released

Here’s my first swing at a hacked together build script to download, build, compile and install the Zimbra Collaboration Suite. If you haven’t been hip to it, Zimbra just kinda appeared out of nowhere, with a pretty nice email/cal webapp that has all the AJAX goodness you could hope for, with true drag and drop, pop up balloons, live searching and more. They have a demo you can play with here, and it’s worth checking out, just to see what’s up.

We Versus the Shark

I crave music, I’m almost always listening to something, and am regularly hunting for new stuff as well. Between our home stereo to my car cd player to my iPod; I have plenty of outlets to plug into. For all the things I dig, the old DIY ethic holds a precious place in my heart. Sure, even though I’m open to hip-hop, americana, jazz, or whatever tag you need to put on things, there’s something about the raw energy (think the Stooges “Raw Power” or the Velvets “Loaded”) that can only be transmitted before a band gets too big and get’s a big name producer to commercialize their message (yeah Guided by Voices, I’m looking at you during the “Do the Collapse” era).

Giving back to the phishers

This past week I got another phishing email, and while they’re annoying, I was especially annoyed that this one got through my spam and virus filters. Generally the server stops them, with ClamAV catching and blocking them before they squirm to my Inbox, but this one made it through. It was another ‘Activate your PayPal account!’ style emails, with a link to a URL that started with mail.american.hu - so they didn’t even add PayPal to the sub domian to at least try to make it look legit (ie- paypal.

Windows shows its BSD heritage

It’s well known that MS utilized BSD code (which is allowed under the BSD License) in various places in Windows, but it’s still fun to see it in there. Unhappily I’m using XP at my current consulting gig, but I’ll fix that soon. If you are as well, drop to the cmd.exe window and do the following: <code>c:> strings.exe c:\\WINDOWS\\system32\\ftp.exe | grep Copyright</code> You’ll get back the following: <code>@(#) Copyright (c) 1983 The Regents of the University of California.

Fake gates chases fake park down the river

Last week (September 17 to 25, from 8 am to 8 pm every day) there was a Floating Island on a tugboat circling Manhattan for all to see. The original concept was dreamt up by Robert Smithson, best know for another of his ‘Earthworks’; Spiral Jetty from 1970. This exhibit was put on by a New York-based arts organization that puts on public art projects, since Smithson died in 1973.

Password deficiency in the workplace

So we’re implementing some new sort of change and bug tracking software where I work, no it’s not replacing the old one, it’s just wrapping the old one in yet more lovely red tape. So we have a meeting to discuss how this is going to work with an overly complicated Visio flowchart showing every single step a change and bug will take as it moves along (including where we would manually need to list what bug # it translates to devs on their own) So in the meeting the QA lady in charge of setting up the software as well as the rules about how it’s to be used mentions; “Well, there’s a password, it’s not a really good password, and it’s the same for everybody (hehe)” Yeah, she said that…and then laughed.

Deprecated proc and C debugging

While trying to debug Hula on FreeBSD I found that the normal GNU C debugging tools (gdb, truss, ktrace) fail since /proc is no longer on the filesystem, in FreeBSD 6.0, for them to write to. It was deprecated as a security concern and functionality moved to sysctl for 5.x, but for 6.x it’s just gone. I’m looking for a long term solution, but short term was just to recreate /proc on the server and mount it.

One two, one two, this is just a test

Here’s a post from BloGTK, basically a client app for Linux that allows me to post directly to my blog. It’s crazy simple to setup, but someone has posted a walkthrough with screenies. I really dig Typo, very different from Drupal that powers LTC, but of course with different goals. That live search is it, go ahead and search, bam there it is. Then after if finds something, delete the search, and poof the results disappear too!

f1rst p0st

Ok, so after having my ‘original’ blog online for four years I start this one, with the idea of staying truer to the blog ideal. I still love my main site, and will continue to write it, but it has taken a far greater swing towards politics than I had planned. These things needed to be discussed by me, and I like the way it naturally turned that way, but now it doesn’t feel like the right place for me to blab about beer, music, art or geeks stuff; so here we are.