DaRoost

A wayward journey into the depths of sanity...

The online home of Greg Nokes
(aka tsykoduk)

Linky Links

IaaS < PaaS < ????

In the mid 2000's a bookseller accidentally changed the world. Yes, that bookseller was Amazon, and the change was the introduction of a IaaS. Quite possibly the first Infrastructure as a Service. At least the first commercially viable IaaS. This allowed companies to not worry about having to provision hardware to host their services. It allowed you to pay only for what you used. So if you had a job that required large amounts of compute one day a month, you could scale up for that, and then shut it off when you did not need it. If you were a few developers in a garage, you could concentrate on developing, and not on buying hardware to run your code on. That was a sea change in IT, and we are still digesting it. Enterprise IT is slow to adopt new ideas, and this was a big change. I've posited before that it was not the radical change that some people seem to think, however. It was just the next evolutionary leap in how we interact with servers. The next sea change was PaaS. Platform as a Service was actually more interesting then IaaS in my mind. It allows for developers to not even think about servers, routers or load balancers, and just use the famous git push heroku (or what ever your PaaS uses) to deploy code to production. This actually changed developers workflow, and allowed them to increase their velocity tremendously. It allowed one or two people to develop, deploy and run world class, high scale apps. When there was just one or two PaaS's or IaaS's out there, they was not much choice. However now, you have a lot more to choose from. If there are 10 PaaS's for you to choose from, you need to think hard about which one will best serve you. Also if there are 10 IaaS's out there, you need to take some time to shop to see which one offers the features that you need, and does not lock you in. However I feel that the next wave will change even that... I believe that the next big thing is larger then IaaS or PaaS. I feel that the next big thing is Orchestration. Sitting above IaaS and PaaS, this will allow you to configure, deploy and manage large scale, complex sets of services across many providers. For example, you could provision an IaaS for your databases and a PaaS to handle your code and deployment. You could even have it manage a backup IaaS region or provider, failing over if the primary runs into problems. It can even manage other things, such as Service as a Services, internal apps or what have you. You should be able to define your entire infrastructure in one place. You'll have checks to insure that it is running the defined configuration. Including the tested versions of each granular part of your overarching architecture. If a part of your system goes out of scope, the system will detect that, and bring it back into compliance with your rules. You should be able to clone your infrastructure easily to test new code, systems or configurations. You will be able to easily push tested changes out to production with automated, tested and repeatable systems. You will manage internal and external systems and clouds using a single set of tools. This is just another step on the evolutionary ladder away from artisanal, hand crafted servers and environments to mechanized systems to deploy tested and repeatable systems at scale in the blink of an eye, across many locations and providers. It will be the assembly line of deployment. It will be self healing, set up to move services from location to location if it detects a failure. Sounds like science fiction? Not really. We are seeing the basis of these systems build today. Chef, puppet? These are the low level tools of tomorrow. I see a future, not too far off, where you will be able to run entire architectures from the command line. We will look back at the racks of lovingly built servers from the early 2000's and wonder how they were able to do accomplish so much with so little.

Automated Backup to HP Cloud Object Storage, Code Included

(cross posted from the HPCloud Blog. With 75% more typos!) One of the most basic problems with systems that need to persist data, is making sure that you can recover those systems in the case of a critical error. I’ve used and written backup systems for more time then I’d like to admit (for example). With the advent of cloud storage systems such as S3, moving your data offsite has become much easier, and much easier to recover data from your offsite storage system. Back when I got started in this industry, a tape backup would take hours. And then you’d have to drive it to your safety deposit box and store it. When you needed to recover data, it was a drive and then hours to restore it. The next iteration was removable hard drives. These were quicker to back up to and restore from, however the offsite portion was still onerous. That’s why I developed SyncScript - caching a local copy of the backup mades sense when most of the restore request were for things deleted in the last 24 - 48 hours. However with the advent of Cloud Storage and higher speed internet pipes you can keep offsite backups, and get them back reasonably quickly. Since I work with OpenStack now days, that’s the hammer that makes sense to use. Here is what I did to get a dead simple backup from a HP Cloud instance to HP’s Object Storage. First, I installed the python tools. I followed the directions below: For Centos 6.3:
yum install python-pip
pip install python-keystoneclient
pip install python-swiftclient
For Ubuntu 13.04:
aptitude install python-pip
pip install python-keystoneclient
pip install python-swiftclient
Then I edited the .bashrc for the user preforming the backup using nano ~/.bashrc to include this
## Enable openstack client stuff
export OS_TENANT_NAME=MY-PROJECT-NAME
export OS_USERNAME=MY-USER-NAME
export OS_PASSWORD='MY-PASSWORD'
export OS_AUTH_URL=https://region-b.geo-1.identity.hpcloudsvc.com:35357/v2.0/
export OS_REGION_NAME=region-b.geo-1
This will back up to US-East. If you wanted to backup to US-West, you’d want a .bashrc that included this:
## Enable openstack client stuff
export OS_TENANT_NAME=MY-PROJECT-NAME
export OS_USERNAME=MY-USER-NAME
export OS_PASSWORD='MY-PASSWORD'
export OS_AUTH_URL=https://region-a.geo-1.identity.hpcloudsvc.com:35357/v2.0/
export OS_REGION_NAME=region-a.geo-1
After I finshed updating the .bashrc, I went ahead and ran source ./bashrc to load the changes. I was then able to access swift. I tested that like this:
ubuntu@test-server:~$ swift list
Server_Backups
ubuntu@test-server:~$
I had already created the Server_Backups container via the web interface, following these directions. Once I had my server set up to access Object Storage, I was able to use the following script and cron to automate a complete backup of everything that was important on my server.   (up to date source code lives on GitHub)

Readings on Mindfulness

Just a disclaimer - I am a Buddhist, so I tend to frame my thinking in Buddhist language. However I am not a religious Buddhist. The only reason that I identify as Buddhist is that the philosophies put forward by the Buddha resound with me, as do the ways that they are presented. I firmly believe that Mindfulness is integral to any spiritual practice, and I personally feel that the Buddha explained it best. That being said, here are a few highlights from my reading on this subject. [Chop Wood, Carry Water](http://www.amazon.com/Chop-Wood-Carry-Water-Fulfillment/dp/0874772095/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1377531250&sr=8-1&keywords=carry+water+chop+wood) was the first book that I read that that introduced me to this whole "thing". I was on a very different path before (not bad, just different) and this book had a profound impact. It really opened my eyes. I went on to reading several others by the same author. Speaking of Rick Fields, another of the books that I found that he curated was [The Awakened Warrior](http://www.amazon.com/The-Awakened-Warrior-Compassion-Consciousness/dp/0874777755). Parts of it had impact on me. Parts of it left me thinking WTF, but I feel that was the essence of the book. Thinking about things. I then took several years off, but kept thinking about the ideas raised in Chop Wood, Carry Water. I decided to do some research, and found a local[ Buddhist Temple](http://www.spokanebuddhisttemple.org). I went down, and they were reading [The Art Of Happiness](http://www.amazon.com/The-Happiness-10th-Anniversary-Edition/dp/1594488894). I had gotten a copy a few months before when I saw it in my local big box book retailer, but that was the push to start reading it. This lead me to Buddhism as a font of great ideas, and informed a lot of my reading over the next decade. I like to start at the foundation, so when I decided that I wanted to learn more about the Buddha's teachings, I decided to just [read what he said](http://www.amazon.com/Buddhas-Words-Anthology-Discourses-Teachings/dp/0861714911). There is a lot of wisdom there. After I read the Buddha, I started to expand out into some of the current thinkers. If you know anything about me, you know that I love Physics - so when I saw [The Quantum and the Lotus](http://www.amazon.com/The-Quantum-Lotus-Frontiers-Buddhism/dp/1400080797) I had to get it. If you are science minded like I am, this is a great exploration of where the philosophy meets science. I was raised in a Christian household (and I even taught Sunday School in a Southern Baptist church when I was in my teens!), so when I happened across [this book](http://www.amazon.com/Going-Home-Jesus-Buddha-Brothers/dp/1573228303/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1377531210&sr=8-2&keywords=jesus+and+the+buddha), I was intrigued. It's really true that no matter the path you take, the end of the journey is the same. It's also true that the tools are the essentially the same - with Mindfulness or Prayer being one of the core tools that is used to quiet the mind and expand internal vision.

Talk at Lone Star Ruby Conf

I was invited to speak on a panel about Cloud Computing at Lone Star Ruby Confrence this year. It was a good time, and not much blood was spilled. After the break, find the video...

To comment or not to comment

One of the trends that I personally have noticed is the removal of the ability to comment from articles on blogs. I'm not sure which camp I'm in,  so I decided to preform an experiment. I turned off comments on the last few articles that I have posted, just to see how that makes me feel. Honestly, I feel like I'm missing something. I really feel like comments power three positive things - increased visibility for the commenters, discourse and article stickiness. I also understand the drawbacks - including trolling, spamming and all of the nastiness that comes with that. Also, you increase the surface of attack by opening up your site to comments. I guess that I kind of miss the heyday of blogging for me - back in 2005 - 2007 when the comments flowed freely. Since I hate making choices, I thought that I'd just open it up, turn on comments on this article and see if anyone actually has an opinion about it.

Running and Optimizing Production apps on Heroku

Over the last few months, I've done a few webinars. On was[ Running Production Apps on Heroku](https://blog.heroku.com/archives/2013/7/11/running-production-apps-on-heroku), and the other was [Optimizing  Production Apps on Heroku](https://blog.heroku.com/archives/2013/8/1/video_and_slides_optimizing_production_apps_on_heroku). Below the fold I have the slides and video from the talks. **Slides and Video from [Running Production Apps on Heroku](https://blog.heroku.com/archives/2013/7/11/running-production-apps-on-heroku):**
Resources from the presentation: * [Log2viz](https://blog.heroku.com/archives/2013/3/19/log2viz) * [Log-runtime-metrics](https://devcenter.heroku.com/articles/log-runtime-metrics) * [Getting Started with Unicorn](https://devcenter.heroku.com/articles/rails-unicorn) * [Follower Database](https://devcenter.heroku.com/articles/heroku-postgres-follower-databases) * [Which Postgres Plan is Right for You?](https://devcenter.heroku.com/articles/heroku-postgres-plans) * [Production Check](https://devcenter.heroku.com/articles/production-check) * [Building Apps Efficiently on Heroku](https://blog.heroku.com/archives/2013/6/12/building_apps_efficiently_on_heroku) * [Bloat Script used in Demo](https://github.com/tsykoduk/hello_world)   **Slides and Video from [Optimizing  Production Apps on Heroku](https://blog.heroku.com/archives/2013/8/1/video_and_slides_optimizing_production_apps_on_heroku):**
Resources from the presentation: * [S3 Best Practices](https://devcenter.heroku.com/articles/s3) * [Postgres Performance](http://www.craigkerstiens.com/2012/10/01/understanding-postgres-performance/) * [Using PG Backups to Upgrade Heroku Postgres Databases](https://devcenter.heroku.com/articles/upgrade-heroku-postgres-with-pgbackups) * [Follower Database](https://devcenter.heroku.com/articles/heroku-postgres-follower-databases) * [Octopus Gem](https://github.com/tchandy/octopus) * [Correctly Establishing Postgres Connections in Forked Environments](https://devcenter.heroku.com/articles/forked-pg-connections) * [PGBouncer Buildpack](https://github.com/gregburek/heroku-buildpack-pgbouncer) * [Caching and Performance](http://guides.rubyonrails.org/caching_with_rails.html) * [Runtime Metrics](https://devcenter.heroku.com/articles/log-runtime-metrics) * [Dyno Queuing](https://devcenter.heroku.com/articles/newrelic#interpreting-new-relic-request-queueing) * [Logging](https://devcenter.heroku.com/articles/logging)

Inbox as a task list

So, yesterday I read [this](http://xph.us/2013/01/22/inbox-zero-for-life.html). It echoed a lot of how I approach my inbox as a task list, and some of the ideas there pushed my inbox-fu to black belt levels. However I work in a different environment then Keith does, with a lot more customer facing email. I've merged Keith's ideas with my workflow, and have come up with a gmail centric inbox-fu which is agile, powerful, and above all easy. First off you'll need to get the tools that you will need. I use the wonderful [boomerang](http://www.boomeranggmail.com/faq.html) to schedule things. You will also need to set your inbox to "starred first": [Screen Shot 2013-07-30 at 8.35.52 AM](http://greg.nokes.name/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/Screen-Shot-2013-07-30-at-8.35.52-AM.png) This will give you a good view into what you need to work on. So, now that you have your workspace set up, you'll need to start dealing with email. As [Keith](http://xph.us/2013/01/22/inbox-zero-for-life.html) says "triage". Deal with your email. If it's going be more then a line or two of text, or 30 seconds to research, star it and forget it. If it's a task that you need to follow up on later, [boomerang](http://www.boomeranggmail.com/faq.html) it. If it's none of the above, archive it. When you are done with your unstarred items, start on the bottom of your starred list and take the time to deal with them correctly. I set aside a few times a day to deal with keeping up with my inbox. If I set aside time, I find that I'm not worrying about it as much. I also know that I can use downtime to catch up if I need to. I think that the secret here is ruthless triage. You have to keep in mind that people's feelings will not be hurt if you mute their email threads, or skim and archive them. Be a stone faced email killer. Only star the few things that you need to respond to, and archive everything else when you read it. I cannot stress that enough. If you wait a while, you will never do it. Now, excuse me while I archive the email that came in while I wrote this. **ABA** (Always Be Archiving)  

Footprints in the Sand

Footprints in the Sand ...the Discordian version I dreamed that I was walking down the beach with the Goddess. And I looked back and saw footprints in the sand. But sometimes there were two pairs of footprints and sometimes there was only one. And the times there was only one set of footprints, those were my times of greatest trouble. So I asked the Goddess, "Why in my greatest need did you abandon me?" She replied, "I never left you. Those were the times we both hopped on one foot." And I was really embarassed for bothering Her with such a stupid question.

You Have Another Version of Skype Running

I really hate this error. Skype is so unstable for me that I get little slowdowns and lock ups weekly, And about once a month I get this error after I've force killed it. I used to have to google it every time, drop to a command line and do a bunch of stuff. Well no more. Now there is a script to clean up after Skype's mess! Skype - you can barrow this if you want. Just have it run when Skype is launching.

rss -> feedburner -> rss

I'm going to move away from Feedburner, as I am no longer confident in it's long term viability. This is thanks to Google shutting down reader and moving everything towards the walled garden that is Google Plus. So, if you are one of the two or three people that still follow this blog via RSS, you'll want to move to the feed at [http://greg.nokes.name/feed](http://greg.nokes.name/feed) instead of any other. I will not be shutting off the feedburner anytime soon but that day is coming. Let this be a lesson. There have been several external companies that I have relied upon for "forever" services and every one of them has failed. The first was bigfoot.com and their email redirector (remember them? Email address for life!) and there have been several since then. The lesson is keep you data in a portable, open format. Keep several copies. Do not rely on one technology, group or organization to do that for you. This is one reason that I don't give money to companies like Pandora. I prefer have control over my music. Yes, it's in a not very widely used format right now (thanks, Apple) however it's trivial to move to mp3's or what have you. This is also a reason that I maintain my own domain name. Gmail might die, but I can aways move elsewhere and still get my mail. Anyways, I'll get off my soapbox. After all, two blog posts in as many days? Must be a sign of the apocalypse, right? As always you can send thoughts about this to me via [twitter](http://twitter.com/tsykoduk)

Top Songs

One of the interesting things about using a tool like iTunes for a long time (over 5 years for me) is that you can build up a lot of metadata around your use of that tool. In iTunes there are really two pieces of metadata that are interesting to me - the number of times that I have skipped a song and the number of times that I have played a song. I've used the smart playlists feature for several years to surface intreating songs that have not been played in a while or other such neat stuff. Today I wanted to find something - what were my most played songs? Well, there were a few in there that were not my favorite songs for sure. So I went ahead and added in a new search criteria - most played song that I had not skipped. And here is the list of songs, artists and number of plays recorded: * Hometown Glory (Radio Edit) by ADELE, 56 Plays * Factory Girls by Flogging Molly & Lucinda Williams, 51 Plays * Error 404 by Skold Vs. KMFDM, 41 Plays * Magpie by The Mountain Goats, 39 Plays * Beautiful Gas Mask by The Mountain Goats, 34 Plays * Hast Thou Considered the Tetrapod by The Mountain Goats, 33 Plays * Ever After by KGC, 32 Plays * Lawyers, Guns And Money by Warren Zevon, 32 Plays * Antigeist by Skold Vs. KMFDM, 31 Plays * Stare At The Sun by MDFMK, 31 Plays * Feel Good Inc. by Gorillaz, 30 Plays * Heaven by The Talking Heads, 29 Plays * Hall of the Mountain King by Apocalyptica, 28 Plays * Firestarter by Prodigy, 25 Plays * This Year by The Mountain Goats, 25 Plays * Floating Angels by Kidneythieves, 24 Plays * Heretic Pride by The Mountain Goats, 24 Plays * San Bernardino by The Mountain Goats, 24 Plays * The Worst Day Since Yesterday by Flogging Molly, 24 Plays * When Worlds Collide by Powerman 5000, 23 Plays * Autoclave by The Mountain Goats, 22 Plays * Damn These Vampires by The Mountain Goats, 22 Plays * Fear by Lucia, 22 Plays * From Out of Nowhere by Apocalyptica, 22 Plays * None Shall Pass by Aesop Rock, 22 Plays I find it really interesting that a band that I only found a year and a half ago absolutely dominates this list. Several of my "favorite" groups are missing, and what the hell, Adele is the top listened song? How did that happen?

Viking Coding

I have been using the term "Viking Coder" for a several years now. Honestly, it was a "equal and opposite" reaction to the rise of the Rockstar Ninja Samurai whatevers in job descriptions. I don't play a guitar or dress in black PJ's. I am a big dude, and I like big, simple solutions to problems. And I have a least a little bit of Scandinavian in me.

Some folks asked me what I meant by viking coders. So, with out further gnashing of teeth, here you go.

Building a custom build pack on Heroku - the HARD WAY

So you want to build yourself a custom [heroku](http://heroku.com) buildpack, and you want to do it the hard way? Look no further, for within lies insanity. There are a few caveats that you'll need to understand. The first, is to use google and make sure that some one else has not already embarked on your particular path of insanity. The second is that there are easier ways then this path. You'll especially want to look at things like [Vulcan](https://github.com/ddollar/vulcan), which will make parts of this a lot easier. One of my many failings is a need to understand how things work at their core. So I actually took the time to do this the hard way, and determine exactly what was going on at each step. Hopefully this helps you in some way, and you'll not have to follow me. **Step one. Google** Make sure that your buildpack was not already created. There are a bunch out there, so just do so. In my case, I needed a PHP buildpack with several minor changes, and there was not an alternative at the time. **Step two. Google** Find a build pack that is close to what you need. Fork it on github. Start out standing on the shoulders of giants, and you'll reach higher. **Step three. Compile** Create a temp app using the forked buildpack. Do heroku run bash and get a dev environment. Pull in the source for the binaries that you need. compile them all. Install them. Tar up the new directories, and push them off the dev environment. This is the tricky step. Following my mantra of doing things the hard way, I decided against using a tool like [Vulcan](https://github.com/ddollar/vulcan), and ended up using my old standby - ./configure && make && make install. I then tarred up the apache directory and the php directory, and scp'd it down to my box. Don't do what I did. Use vulcan. **Step four. Hack** Now that I had the binaries in hand, I was able to stash them someplace accessible via a http request, and modify the buildpack to pull my modified binaries rather then the original ones. I was also able to change the builpack's http.conf file to add in the functionality that I had just added. Change this in the buildpack rather then in the compile stage. In my case, the buildpack overwrote the binaries config file. Just sayin, be sure you know where the changes are coming in. **Step five. Deploy** Now that you have that new buildpack you can either create yourself a new cedar stack app with it, or change an existing cedar stack app to use it. *Please* be smart and test this before you use it. To create a new app: heroku create-s cedar -b git://github.com/myname/mykillernewbuildpack.git To change the buildpack on an existing app: heroku config:add BUILDPACK_URL=git://github.com/myname/mykillernewbuildpack.git **Step six. Beer** You thought it was going to be profit, right?

Odd little gem error

While hacking at my favorite [tavern](http://www.afktavern.com/), I noted that I needed to update a gem file. When I tried, gem said that it had succeeded, but there were some odd little errors:

And the gem had not incremented it's version. Hmm.

I decided to fire up my hotspot and see if that changed anything, and yup. Bingo. Success. Gem updated! Best I can figure they are blocking something that gem needs. So, if I had found this article before that, I would have saved myself 20 minutes of troubleshooting.

Using environment variables for application configuration

One of the cool things about what I do, is that I get exposed to some really interesting paradigms. One of the latest is the [12 factor app](http://www.12factor.net/). It's an evolution of some of what I have thought in the past, and a radical departure in others.

I'm going to talk about just one of the concepts right now. It was one of the ones that made the least amount of sense to me, until I started to use it. I'm also going to show a concrete example of how to use it in a production system.

Of course, I'm talking about the use of [environment variables for application configuration](http://www.12factor.net/config). At first, I though that it was a "nice to have" or perhaps even a little more work then was really needed. Now, I'm going to standardize on this no matter where I deploy, or what I deploy.

I think that there are several reasons to use this tactic, but the one that hit me over the head was simply "*No passwords in version control*". You know that you've done it. Committed to a repository with your database.yml or wp-config.php all full of DB passwords. It's almost a necessary evil, right?

So there I was playing around with WordPress, getting it deployed on [Heroku](http://heroku.com) and I sat back after figuring this out:

Looking at that gist, one thing became evident to me. The password **could not** be committed to a repo. I would not have to use [arcane git commands](http://progit.org/book/ch6-4.html) again! Well, not to purge passwords at least.

There are a few other benefits as well, ones that have not caused me as much pain as the passwords thing. You can easily manage developer/staging/test/QA/production/live environments by simply calling out the correct config when you build the servers. Need to change a DB password? Just create the new user, spin up boxes using it, deploy your code, and then delete the old user.

Ops does not need to touch code to massage it into the correct environment, and developers do not need to care what the latest username and password for the DB they need is.

Seems like a pretty big win from my point of view..

RVM, Lion and Commandline Tools

So, I was updating ruby etc on my Lion box, and I ran into a few issues. First off, I'm using [Apple's commandline tools](http://kennethreitz.com/xcode-gcc-and-homebrew.html). I found that I needed to export CC=/usr/bin/gcc before RVM would work. Then it tossed an "rvm requires autoreconf to install the selected ruby interpreter however autoreconf was not found in the PATH." error. Well, brew install automake seem to fix that little kink. (Wait, you don't have [homebrew](http://mxcl.github.com/homebrew/)? Well, go get it!) So, now I'm fully updated on RVM and ruby.

The Hardest Thing

Today, I was blindsided by my 3 1/2 year old self. You see, when I was prying my 6 year old son off me, he was screaming "I don't want to leave daddy!" and I was taken back to when I was 3 1/2. That is when, as far as I can recall, my mom and dad split. I really don't remember what happened, but I was hit by a wave of emotion. From way back in the peanut gallery of my past selves. Abandonment, fear, pain, sadness. Uselessness. A feeling of things spiraling out of my control. What can you tell him, other then "it will be ok", even though you know from the emotional roller coaster you're feeling 38 1/2 years later, that it's not going to get better. That it will get different, but different is not always better. The hardest thing was walking away from him today. Knowing that it was not my choice. Knowing that he would blame me. Knowing that I would give almost anything to have him back, but there was nothing that I could do but walk away. Seeing my self walking away through my 3 1/2 year old eyes.

PSSH.....

One of the issues that I have run into several times is the securing of access to server farms. You generally end up with a ton of keys laying around and it gets really messy. At one of my past jobs, they had written a pretty killer tool that gave me the springboard for pssh. Pssh is cool because it knows what servers you have by interrogating the AWS APIs, what keys they need and even what their internal DNS name is in your cloud. So, enter pssh, the Proxy Secure SHell! a SSH automation tool suitable for use as bastion ssh server, or general hand holder. At this time, only works on AWS. Since it’s built on the killer @fog gem, it can be easily expanded to just about any cloud provider. **Wait, what?** So, this basically allows us to abstract key management away from the user. The most common use case would be to have a publicly accessible server, with authentication done via the user’s ssh keys. When the user sshed into the pssh server, they would be able to use the command line: *pssh ServerName* and have an SSH session setup and executed for them, with out knowing what keys the internal server needed, the ip address of the internal server or any other boring details. Taking things a step further, you can restrict all of your internal server’s SSH access to just the pssh server(s) ip address, basically creating a choke point for ssh access. Also, when you need to change keys (you do change your keys every 6 - 12 months, right?) it’s as easy as just adding the new key files to the pssh server. The users need never know that anything happened. **pssh In The Wild** Here is an extreme use case of pssh - valid for hosting providers, or large teams. *external access* First off, have two pssh servers set up. Use your load balancer to balance access to them, and either use a shared filesystem or some configuration management tool like Puppet or Chef to create users and managing their access. *internal servers ssh access* All of your internal servers should be set up to only allow SSH to and from the pssh cluster. This means that even if someone gets a key off of the pssh server, then cannot easily ssh directly to an internal server, reducing risk. These servers should be organized into groups. There should be user groups that correspond with these server groups on the pssh servers. Internal keys should have their privileges locked down based on these groups. *workflow* Each user that needed command line access to an internal server should be granted an account on the pssh server. I recommend that they provide a ssh key for access. When they are granted access, add them to the groups that grant access to the keys to the servers that they need. They then will be able to use the *pssh list* command to see the names of the servers that they can access, and *pssh ServerName* to build an ssh connection. From their ssh client of choice, they would *ssh NameOfPsshServer*. I normally set up my local ssh config file with to define the pssh server (or cluster) as pssh, so it would be *ssh pssh*. They are then connected to the pssh server. If they wanted to ssh to server AppABC, they would simply execute the comment *pssh AppABC* and presto. **Setup** There is a bit of setup needed, and a few ways of approaching it. The most scaleable is a central key repository. We tend to create a /srv/keys directory, and grant folks access to which ever keys they need based on groups (ie, perhaps the sysadmin group needs access to servers 1 and 2, and the devs need access to servers a and b. chown the key for servers 1 and 2 root:sysadmin and the key for a and b root:devs - chmod 640 the entire lot. If the sysadmins also need access to a and b, just put them into the dev group as well.) I default to a group called “staff” as the general “can go everywhere” type of person. If you want to use a different group - just make sure that you change that in the settings. I personally put a symlink to pssh into /bin - and then drop it in a logical place. Users can then just fire off pssh from where ever they are at. **config.rb** You’ll need to edit the /lib/config.rb to reflect your real environment. pssh will not work with out this. **pssh.rb** you will also need to edit the @pathing = line in pssh.rb. **Tags** you’ll also need to set up some tags on your EC2 instances to support all of this. short_name - the “friendly name” of the machine. ie web2 group - the group that has access to this box. ie sysadmin or devs **Coming soon:** On the plate for pssh is an scp command with multi file support (ie pssh send file1 file2 file3 to servername1:/path servername2:/path and pssh pull /path/to/file/on/local/host) as well as a script execution interface (ie pssh run file.sh on server1 server2) Check it out on [GitHub](https://github.com/tsykoduk/pssh" target="_blank)

Dusty

If you notice some dust around here, I am working on getting some cool backend stuff set up. I'll blog about my experiences setting up: * WP Supercache * WP Supercache with a CDN * CDN Sync * Minification of JS/CSS files I'm also going to be testing my current shared hosting vs a AWS Micro Instance. Given time, I might test Apache vs Nginx on the AWS instance.

Quick and dirty storage

With the advent of low cost, high capacity storage solutions, and really easy SAN tools baked into most linux distros, a DIY SAN solution is a lot easier then it might seem.

Lets start with the hardware. Depending on your needs, a BackBlaze Storage Pod might be right up your alley, or a [SuperMicro 24 disk 2U SAS](http://pogolinux.com/bomquotes/webbom?system=218) chassis with 15k RPM SAS drives might power your virtual database.

The Backblaze is an awesome solution - for massive, low cost storage. Since you are not using RAID cards, you'll want to use mdadm to arrange the drives into a big RAID10 array. You loose 50% of your space to redundancy - however you gain short rebuild times, and the ability to survive multiple drive failures. You also get quite a nice speed boost, if that's at all important to you. I'd suggest 2 GigE network interfaces, bonded together. You're not concerned about massive speed, however the ability to get good transfer rates no matter what else is happening is nice.

If you are using one of the 24 disk 2U chassis, you'll have hardware RAID - and I'd use that. Again, RAID10 for speed, or a bunch of RAID5's for smaller filesystems. You can even build out a RAID50 using a few RAID5's and LVM on top of them. For a machine like this, I'd use the two built in GigE ports for the management interfaces, and then add a 4 port card for the SAN traffic.

On top of the mdadm RAID array, you can put LVM, if you wish. You gain the ability to snapshot and move filesystems. I've personally set it up with and with out LVM. It totally depends on the use case and your comfort level with LVM.

The next item in the stack is the filesystem. On linux I like to use [XFS](http://xfs.org/), as it deals with large files well and is stable and mature. On BSD ZFS is the flavor du jour, and is well supported.

Beyond that, there are several choices you will need to make. Are you going to expose the filesystem using NFS (targeting macs, VMWare or Linux), Samba and CIFS (Targeting Windows machines) or iSCSI (building out a real SAN solution)?

Any choices you make on how to deliver the data you'll want to take a look at the network layout closely. Separate switches for the SAN are preferred, however a VLAN works as well. You'll want to enable jumbo frames, and give the SAN interfaces separate, non-routable address space. One of the tactics that I have seen is to give the SAN device a single network interface on the data network, so that it is remotely manageable, and dedicate the rest to the SAN network.

With the advent of built in iSCSI initiators in Windows Server 2008, and the fantastic iSCSI IET project, the barriers to entry with iSCSI have come down a lot. It's simple to spin up an iSCSI target on a linux box, and then mount it on windows, VMWare, or linux machines.

Here is how I proceeded.

First I obtained my storage device. I installed Debian 6, and the following packages

apt-get install iscsitarget iscsitarget-dkms lvm2 xfsdump xfsprogs

I arranged the disks into a RAID10 using mdadm. Then I layered LVM and then XFS on top of it.

To host the acutal iSCSI device, I created a sparse file using the linux dd command. This basically works as a quota, with an option for easy growth. The exact command that I used to create the sparse file is

dd if=/dev/zero of=/path/to/file/name bs=1 count=1 seek=size.

For a iSCSI share aimed at a linux host, you will want to then put a filesystem on the sparse file. (confusing, eh?). I used the command

mkfs.xfs /path/to/file/name

If you were going to be mounting the device on a windows machine, I'd use the windows tools to format it using NTFS. Just mount the iSCSI device on the windows machine, and use the tools there to prepare and format it.

Sizing the file can be a daunting proposition. However, don't worry. It's really easy to grow the device when you need to. Just use the same dd command, with a larger size switch. You'll want to back up the file first, and test how the filesystem handles growth before you try this on real, live data.

Now you have to set the device up as an iSCSI target. Using IET is actually really simple. The conf file pretty much explains itself. On Ubuntu the file is at /etc/ietd.conf - and on debian 6 it's at /etc/iet/ietd.conf. Not really concerned about security (this being a test enviroment) I only added 1 line to the ietf.cong file:

Target iqn.2005-00.nokes.name:storage.vol1.pool.lvm

and presto, instant iscsi target goodness.

As an aside, you can also mount the device locally, if you have filesystem support for it. For example,

mount -t xfs -o loop /pool/iscsitarget /mnt/

would mount my xfs formatted sparse file onto the /mnt directory.

In retrospect, a home built SAN solution is a lot less expensive, and a lot easier then you'd think.

Social Aspects of Scaling Web Applications

[](http://greg.nokes.name/wp-content/uploads/2009/06/padlocks_thumbnail.png)*Sometimes you have to kill the sacred cows in the room to get the job done. Some times the cows kill you.* I think that we have moved past "ruby does not scale" or "rails does not scale". However the feedback that I have gotten over the last few months is more along the lines of "Rails is just kids, hackers and rockstars. It's not a serious contender". We (as a community) have done fantastic work getting rails to scale, and showing the world that it does. Our next challenge is to show that we are grown up. We need to "scale" the community if we want to continue our growth and penetrate more and more markets. I dare say that most of us of us do not "[code like porn stars](http://theworkinggeek.com/2009/06/dirty-presentations-xkcd-and-the-perils-of-140-cha.html)", use [profanity](http://www.loudthinking.com/posts/15-potty-mouths) in presentations for shock value, or use their bully pulpit to leverage personal attacks against others works and/or past works. We all make mistakes, however poor editing is not an excuse. The few occurrences of this sort of behavior that do crop up every few years give us all a black eye. Personally, I do not have any idea what to do about this sort of thing, other than to try and hold myself to a higher standard. I hope that those of us who do will get our point across. *"Praise in public, criticize in private."* and *"If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all."*

Privacy vs. Anonymity

One of the perceived issues with the increased use of social networks and pervasive online activities is eroding of personal privacy. Some would have us believe that there will be no privacy in the future, and we just need to accept that fact. I feel very differently. What is eroding is personal anonymity, which is very different then privacy. We are coming up on a world where anonymity simply does not exist for most people. In most cases, I do not see this as a bad outcome at all. The way that I look at it is the Internet is like a public commons area. Anyone should be able to exercise free speech there. In the public commons, you can see who your detractors are, and this identification reduces their ability to attack your ideas in mass with slander and lies. Anonymity gives rise to a culture where discussions are lost to the faceless mobs with the loudest voices. For example, if there are a few people in the public commons who respond to anyone saying anything that they remotely disagree with by screaming at the tops of their lungs, our forefathers would just remove their privileges to the common area. Problem solved. If everyone is basically anonymous, how can you take any action? This is the problem these days. Since there is a large degree of anonymity on the Internet, people are free to use bullying tactics and shout down any opposition to their views. People can also present themselves as experts, and their opinion as fact, with out most people being able to verify their validity as a source. There are, of course cases where anonymity is warranted, and even a good thing. For example, living under a regime that takes hostile action against anyone who speaks out. In that case anonymity is highly advised, however it is achieved. Privacy, on the other hand, is about how much personal information is out there. You have a lot of control over that. If you do not want a popular social networking site to know some facts about you, do not post them. It's that simple. Your privacy is in your control. Even if you choose to use social networking sites, you can still limit your exposure simply by censoring what you post. It's not Facebook's fault that you post some embarrassing material on their site, and someone sees it. Even with tight privacy controls, someone can forward or even take a screen shot of it, and repost it. Once you post it, it is out of your control. I feel that we are holding the Facebooks and Googles of the world to a higher standard then is warranted. There is no more assumption of privacy when you post on your wall then if you are talking in a coffee shop. People can (and do) eavesdrop. Just keep that in mind. Realize that when your public face on the Internet causes you grief, who's fault is it? After all, you posted it, and if you did not there are already laws on the books to handle that.

_why day

It's _why day. woo. go do something wonderful. Who/what/where/when/why is _why, you ask? [read on..](http://greg.nokes.name/poignant-guide/)

Building an ArchLinux hosting box (part 1)

[](http://greg.nokes.name/wp-content/uploads/2010/08/Other-Linux-2.6.x-kernel-64-bit.png)One of my favorite linux distros has been [archlinux](http://www.archlinux.org/) since the early oughts. It's default install is super lightweight, and it's configuration system is a joy (especially after working with several distros with many rc directories and hundreds of symlinks). However, there is a learning curve with archlinux. Since it's so stripped down, some things that you might expect to see are not installed or configured. And following it's minimalist mantra, packages tend to not configure themselves when you install them. Following is blow by blow to help get a box booted up and running. First off, you need to get the installer. archlinux used to come in one flavor (i686), which back when everyone else was running i386 was really really nice. Now days, they offer i686 (for older boxes) or x86-64 (for 64 bit boxes) Head on [over](http://www.archlinux.org/download/) and grab a netinstall. Be nice and leave your torrent running for a while. You also can grab a core cd. It's quicker, but you might have a big update to do right after the first boot. Pop the CD in, start the VM with the image or what have you. You are then presented with a nice grub screen. Choose the default, and proceed. Login as root and fire up /arch/setup. You'll want to read the intro screen, but the main takeaway is that alt-f7 will show your stdout, should you need it. Choose option 1 *select source* and then choose http/ftp. It will ask you to configure your network. Normally, you can just accept all of the defaults. If your NIC is not recognized, you'll need to get the driver for it, and install it by hand. That has not happened to me in years however. Once you get to the *Network is configured* screen you are ready to proceed onwards. [woot!](http://greg.nokes.name/wp-content/uploads/2010/08/Other-Linux-2.6.x-kernel-64-bit-3.png) You'll want to choose a mirror to download from. Try and make a sane choice. The archlinux.org one is throttled, so it will be rather slow. I personally like kernel.org, but your milage may vary. You'll be prompted to set you clock next. I suggest choosing your timezone, and then setting your system clock to UTC. I normally tell it to just use NTP, and go with it after that. [](http://greg.nokes.name/wp-content/uploads/2010/08/Other-Linux-2.6.x-kernel-64-bit-4.png) Next up, the always scary hard drive partitioning. You are using a system with drives that have nothing on them, right? Unless you have special needs, letting it have at it gives a good, solid default setup. If you need LVM, or some weird scheme, by all means, have at it. It will want to create a /boot, swap, / and /home partition. It asks you how big you want each one, with home being the last. remember to leave some space for your home directory! It will ask you what format you want to use (ext3 for safety, ext4 for cutting edge, xfs for 200% more fun), so tell it, and proceed onwards. Once you see the magic OK button, we are good to go! Choose return to main menu, and *select packages* will be highlighted for you. So that's what you should do next. You'll want to choose the defaults here, as the "base" package list is just that. Click on through to install, and let it go. Take a moment to revel in the up to date packages flying past. Also take a moment to grab a frosty cold beverage of your choice. It's going to be awhile. Next up, configuring the system, and installing the bootloader. You might want to change the root password. All of the above is pretty straightforward, if you ever have installed linux before. After the system reboots, you'll be presented with a baseline system. Not much is running, and not much is installed. We need to do some work to get the system into a useable state. [](http://greg.nokes.name/wp-content/uploads/2010/08/Other-Linux-2.6.x-kernel-64-bit-8.png) **First Update:**
Note: As a rolling-release distribution, updating your Arch Linux system is not always as straightforward as with other fixed-release distributions. Furthermore, pacman is not a "fire-and-forget" package manager. As a result, properly maintaining an Arch Linux system with pacman tends to confuse new users (as recurring forum discussions would indicate). **Please read the following section thoroughly before continuing.**
from [Upgrading packages](http://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/Pacman#Upgrading_packages) You'll want to run a quick update. [pacman](http://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/Pacman) is Arch's package manager. The basic upgrade command is pacman -Syu. You'll want to run this to preload the package files anyways. **SSHD** One of the first things that I like to install is SSH. The Archwiki has a great section on [installing ssh/sshd](http://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/SSH). Basically, you will want to install the package (pacman -S openssh), edit the /etc/ssh/sshd_conf, /etc/hosts.allow and /etc/rc.conf and then start sshd using /etc/rc.d/sshd start. You should then be able to ssh into to the box. **sudo** pacman -S sudo will get that setup. You'll want to add what ever users need sudo access to the /etc/sudoers file. **Webserver** There are a few choices here. In my mind, the better choice is [Nginx](http://www.archlinux.org/packages/community/i686/nginx/), and the "safer" choice is [Apache2](http://www.archlinux.org/packages/extra/i686/apache/). But, if your tastes run to the exotic, you can choose from cherokee, yaws, or several others. Mongrel2 is not packaged for Archlinux as of yet, but when it becomes stable, I'm sure it will be included. **Why Nginx?** Nginx is a light weight, fast, simple web server. It's config files are fairly straightforward, and did I mention it's fast? It's best used as a front end, serving static files and balancing between several back end application servers (unicorn or passenger for Ruby, php-fpm for php, and what ever python uses these days for python.) **Ruby** pacman -S --noconfirm gcc gcc-libs make kernel-headers zlib libtool bison gdb strace gettext openssl git readline to install the prerequisites for rvm and building rubies, and bash <<( curl -L http://bit.ly/rvm-install-system-wide ) for rvm system wide. You can also do bash < <( curl http://rvm.beginrescueend.com/releases/rvm-install-head ) for a per user install. You'll need to add source /usr/local/lib/rvm to your /etc/bash.bashrc file, and either open a new terminal window or run the source command to initialize rvm. I advise that you read up on [rvm](http://rvm.beginrescueend.com/). It's a killer tool, and if your not using it, your doing it wrong. I then install the ruby and gems that I need (rvm install version and then gem install blarg, where blarg is a list of real gems.) **PostgreSQL** (or, if you insist, MySQL) Arch's wiki has a really good [article](http://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/PostgreSQL) on PostgreSQL. It also has a great article on [MySQL](http://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/MySQL). Head on over after you choose your poison. **Finishing Touches** You have a solid box for hosting setup. You'll want to harden the machine, but that's another article...

NoGUI VMWare Fusion

One of the things that I like to do it launch my VM's with out a GUI - it takes a little less resources, and it does not clutter up my Mac's desktop with windows that I do not need. It's been hard to do in the past.

Enter [VMWare Fusion Launcher](http://github.com/tsykoduk/VMWare-Fusion-Launcher). Currently it's tested under Ruby 1.9.2dev, so YMMV.

Interesting Woops

I just had an interesting woops. Installed iPhone SDK onto my snow lepoard machine (for the first time) and it added a PATH= to the /etc/profile file. That took a little working around!

Binary Searching and other tools of the trade

[](http://greg.nokes.name/wp-content/uploads/2010/04/binary_search.png)One of the tools that I use on an almost daily basis is the Binary Search. I think that this tool is one of the ways that a good troubleshooter seems so much more efficient then a mediocre troubleshooter. It's a pretty simple tool, as the diagram show. Split the problem's area into two, and determine which side of the split the issue lies on. As you continue to split the set of problems down, you'll either reach a level where you only have one issue, or only have one logical direction to proceed. For example, if you are presented with a host that will not talk to the internet, you might start by trying to ping the gateway IP address. If you can ping that address, then you know the problem lies on the other side of the gateway. This is a text book example of how a binary search can save you time over a large set of cases. Yes, if the problem is the NIC drivers, and the first thing you do is reinstall them, you took care of the issue in a lot less time. However every other case where they are not the problem, you just caused yourself extra work and frustration. This tool has obvious uses in web application scaling as well. For example, most high traffic web applications are broken up into [NTier ](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Multitier_architecture) layouts. If you can quickly determine which of the tiers is the bottleneck, you can save yourself tons of time. This is one of the core reasons that I recommend people break their applications up into tiers as soon as they can. Luckily, the current technologies employed by web applications fit snugly into this. The first layer generally becomes the cache or [CDN](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Content_delivery_network). A CDN provides obvious benefits over  a local cache server, however at certain levels of scale, one or the other become mandatory. The second layer generally is the application servers. Web servers fronting [mongrels](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mongrel_(web_server)), [passenger ](http://www.modrails.com/)clusters, [unicorns](http://unicorn.bogomips.org/) or what ever flavor you use. Next we generally see the database layer. We have [SQL based database](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SQL) clusters, [Memcached](http://memcached.org/) clusters or [NoSQL](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NoSQL) clusters. By keeping these layers separate, we can easily determine where the issue is, and test different configurations in the layer that is the bottleneck. It also allows us to gain easier insights into which layer is causing the problem. For example, high IO wait on the DB will effect the DB, but if the app servers are on the DB server, it will also effect their performance, and you might get several symptoms caused by one issue (the DB thrashing the disk).

Risk Analysis and Spending

People are very poor at risk analysis. As such, people "in the biz" come up with metrics to determine [ROI](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rate_of_return). This might seem cold hearted. Since money is not infinite, we need to have some tool that we can use to measure the effectiveness of each dollar that we put into mitigating risks. Let's imagine that your mom had been killed by a falling piano. If we could mitigate this threat and it would cost 2/3's of our budget, would you? What if random lunchmeat explosions costs 2/3's of the budget to mitigate as well? What if falling piano's claim 10 people a year, and random lunchmeat explosions claim 100,000? When you look at events with the correct lenses, it's possible to start to understand what's really going on. These are the tools that [actuaries](http://books.google.com/books?id=sKcdsD1v12oC&lpg=PA38&ots=MLzbeddP4i&dq=john%20hodgman%20actuary&pg=PA37#v=onepage&q&f=false) use to model the world. It's also the tools that security folks should use to model their spending against threats.
There is a general agreement about risk, then, in the established regulatory practices of several developed countries: risks are deemed unacceptable if the annual fatality risk is higher than 1 in 10,000 or perhaps higher than 1 in 100,000 and acceptable if the figure is lower than 1 in 1 million or 1 in 2 million. Between these two ranges is an area in which risk might be considered "tolerable." These established considerations are designed to provide a viable, if somewhat rough, guideline for public policy. In all cases, measures and regulations intended to reduce risk must satisfy essential cost-benefit considerations. Clearly, hazards that fall in the unacceptable range should command the most attention and resources. Those in the tolerable range may also warrant consideration -- but since they are less urgent, they should be combated with relatively inexpensive measures. Those hazards in the acceptable range are of little, or even negligible, concern, so precautions to reduce their risks even further would scarcely be worth pursuing unless they are remarkably inexpensive. As can be seen, annual terrorism fatality risks, particularly for areas outside of war zones, are less than one in one million and therefore generally lie within the range regulators deem safe or acceptable, requiring no further regulations, particularly those likely to be expensive. They are similar to the risks of using home appliances (200 deaths per year in the United States) or of commercial aviation (103 deaths per year). Compared with dying at the hands of a terrorist, Americans are twice as likely to perish in a natural disaster and nearly a thousand times more likely to be killed in some type of accident. The same general conclusion holds when the full damage inflicted by terrorists -- not only the loss of life but direct and indirect economic costs -- is aggregated. As a hazard, terrorism, at least outside of war zones, does not inflict enough damage to justify substantially increasing expenditures to deal with it. To border on becoming unacceptable by established risk conventions -- that is, to reach an annual fatality risk of 1 in 100,000 -- the number of fatalities from terrorist attacks in the United States and Canada would have to increase 35-fold; in Great Britain (excluding Northern Ireland), more than 50-fold; and in Australia, more than 70-fold. For the United States, this would mean experiencing attacks on the scale of 9/11 at least once a year, or 18 Oklahoma City bombings every year
--[John Mueller and Mark G. Stewart](http://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/66186/john-mueller-and-mark-g-stewart/hardly-existential?page=show) via [Bruce](http://www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2010/04/terrorist_attac.html) Makes you think, eh?

Insomina

So, I've had this curse since I was a kid. I just cannot sleep sometimes. I'm still really tired and groggy, I just can't sleep. It's really times like this that get the mind running into some of it's darker corners. This is that mystical point, where good ideas flow, and right when I get a head of steam up on an idea, I fall asleep.

Borked Filesystems

In a recent blog post, Brian Krebs mentions the following:
I also urge users to segment their systems so that important data files are on a separate chunk of hard drive space than the Windows operating system, which tends to make restoring backups a far simpler affair.
This is fantastic advice, and should be followed by every operating system rather then just Windows. I've espoused this method for years, and have actually gotten some grief about it. I think this should into the "duh" category, but so many people opt for the easy and less safe monolithic partioning scheme (I'm looking at you, @mystic). If your OS implodes, and you have to re-install, it's much easier to just wipe and reinstall the O/S partition and not worry about the user data in the /home partition. This does not in any manner replace the needs for backups - your /home partition could just as easily implode. The event that really pressed this home for me was watching an old DOS 5 machine unravel when it's FAT table got really confused. We ended up having to format from floppy, and reinstall everything. Total loss.

rooting with rvm

[](http://greg.nokes.name/wp-content/uploads/2010/03/GrowlHelperApp-1.jpg)rvm (ruby version manager) is a kick ass tool that I use on a daily basis. It allows you to install lots of ruby versions, gems, gem sets, and what have you. You can test your app against new (or old) versions of ruby easily. You can also use it to manage rubies on a production system, for all users of that system. Yes, you heard me correctly. After needling Wayne into getting root support built into RVM so many weeks ago, this is really the only way that I use it. There are a few gotchas however. I will go through my best practices for installing rvm system wide in this article. **updated: 8/1/2010 : [@sutto](http://twitter.com/sutto) and [@wayneeseguin](http://twitter.com/wayneeseguin) have baked ****[root support into rvm](http://rvm.beginrescueend.com/deployment/system-wide/) - use that!** ## Preparation The first step is to prep the system for rvm. On a **ArchLinux** system run the following:
pacman -S --noconfirm gcc gcc-libs make kernel-headers zlib libtool bison gdb strace gettext openssl git readline
**Centos**:
yum install -y gcc gcc-c++ kernel-devel zlib libtool bison gdb strace gettext git rpm-build redhat-rpm-config zlib-devel openssl openssl-devel git readline-devel
**Debian**:
aptitude install -y build-essential libreadline5-dev libssl-dev bison libz-dev zlib1g zlib1g-dev libxml2 libxml2-dev libxslt-dev libssl-dev openssl git readline-devel
And on your **Mac**, you'll want to get the latest XCode installed. ## Install rvm I normally add gem: --no-rdoc --no-ri to the /etc/gemrc file. I really dislike getting all of the RI and RDoc stuff generated, at it normally takes more time then the gem install. When I install the base rvm package, I tend to use the latest git head. That way, I do not need to muck about getting ruby and rubygems installed on the machine in question. As long as I have git, I am good to go.
cd ~
git clone git://github.com/wayneeseguin/rvm.git temp_rvm
cd temp_rvm
This is all straight forward up to this point. We've done everything "by the [book](http://rvm.beginrescueend.com/)" as it were. From here on out, be advised that installing things as root might cause breakage or instability. ## Here there be dragons We'll start off with this:
sudo su
and then continue from the temp_rvm directory we just created:
./install
cd ~
rm -rf temp_rvm
Now, you should have a non-working rvm install located in /usr/local/rvm. We are almost done, just a few more little things left. First off, create a /etc/rvmrc file and add this line:
export rvm_path=/usr/local/rvm
Next, edit your /etc/profile to include the following line on the bottom:
# Load RVM if it is installed,
#  first try to load  user install
#  then try to load root install, if user install is not there.
if [ -s "$HOME/.rvm/scripts/rvm" ] ; then
  . "$HOME/.rvm/scripts/rvm"
elif [ -s "/usr/local/rvm/scripts/rvm" ] ; then
  . "/usr/local/rvm/scripts/rvm"
fi
## Cleaning up You'll want to chown the /usr/local/rvm directory to add a group that contains the folks you want to be able to administrate your rubies, install gems and what not. I then chmod -R g+w /usr/local/rvm to allow the group access. I have had mixed luck with this - best case scenario is to grant ownership to the 1 user who is going to be tasked with loading rubies and tell him to get at it. I also use the rvm use ruby_version --default option when I select a ruby for use system wide. It works really well. ## Closing thoughts, and a present for all that read this far... rvm is an excellent tool. I have run it on several production systems as root, and only run it that way any more. It sits next to homebrew on my Mac, and makes testing stuff super simple. Here is the setup script that I use which automates everything above:

With Clouds, Come a Chance of Rain

One of the interesting paradigms in the technology field now days is "cloud". I think that I have seen it bandied about more then "web 2.0" a few years ago. It's hit required buzz word compliance status in market-speak. I believe that is it over used, misunderstood and used to mislead. Let's cut through the hyperbole and see what is really going on. Let's dissect the meaning behind the word, and then look at some of the pros and cons.
"Cloud computing is a model for enabling convenient, on-demand network access to a shared pool of configurable computing resources (e.g., networks, servers, storage, applications, and services) that can be rapidly provisioned and released with minimal management effort or service provider interaction. This cloud model promotes availability and is composed of five essential characteristics, three service models, and four deployment models."
-- [NIST](http://csrc.nist.gov/groups/SNS/cloud-computing/index.html)
"..convenient, on-demand network access to a shared pool of configurable computing resources"
This sounds like my old [Yahoo Webmail](mail.yahoo.com) account. Or my really old [Gopher](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gopher_(protocol)) account. Is this really anything new, or simply repackaging of existing concepts?
"..rapidly provisioned and released with minimal management effort or service provider interaction."
This is honestly the nugget in the rough. However, as a consumer of services, you really don't care, do you? This is because of system administrators, programmers and other smart folks who got tired of racking physical hardware every time someone wanted a new server. Do you care if it takes Google a week, a day or an hour to create a new compute instance? Not as long as they provide you the service that you need. As an IT manager or web developer you do care about this. It allows you to consume resources when they are needed. The thought is that by doing this, you streamline your costs. Sadly, generally it does not lower cost. It allows you to respond to needs with less planning and forethought. When you get hit by a traffic spike, you can provision new resources in a few hours rather then a few days. Nothing in this world is free, and the increased agility comes at a price in performance and or money. So, with planning and work ahead of need, you can get more performance out of your spend, or by doing things last minute you can spend more for less. The NIST goes on to explain that the five essential characteristics are "***On-demand self-service***, ***Broad network access***, ***Resource pooling***, ***Rapid elasticity*** and ***Measured Service***." **On-demand self-service** Quite honestly, there is no such thing as the NIST's vision of "A consumer can unilaterally provision computing capabilities, such as server time and network storage, as needed automatically without requiring human interaction". It simply cannot happen with the current technology. When there is a run on compute power, and the Service Provider needs more to fulfill the requests, do you think that they add it "without requiring human interaction"? People order, build, assemble, configure, install and provision the hardware that the cloud runs on. People monitor the servers, replace them when they fail. People run the cloud. There is always human intervention. **Broad network access** Broad network access is nothing new or exciting. It's called the internet. However they explain this as "accessed through standard mechanisms that promote use by heterogeneous thin or thick client platforms". This has nothing to do with the platform in question, rather it deals with the programming of the application living on the platform. You can run a thick client application back end on Amazon's AWS or a dedicated server in a data center just as easily as you can run a web application. **Resource pooling** This is just a nice way of saying "multi-tenant". This means that other people very well might be stressing the system that you are on, leading to performance hits or at the very least, variable performance. For small scale applications, this can work well, as providers can oversubscribe resources that are not stressed, increase their bottom line, and hopefully return that to their customers in lower costs. High performance or applications looking for a consistent performance profile do not fair as well. When they need the resources, they need them right then. If someone else is trashing the disk, eating RAM or slurping down CPU cycles, that could be a few hundred milliseconds added to your requests. **Rapid elasticity** In my mind, this is the one point that cloud should be defined by. The ability to add services as needed, quickly. Even extremely high performance applications have parts which need to be scaled upon high traffic events. The ability to make copies of a application server rapidly is powerful. However there are parts of an infrastructure that cannot be scaled in this matter. Learning which parts of your application fit into each use case is very important. However, there is nothing revolutionary about this either. Elasticity has been around for a long time - our definition of rapid has just changed. in a decade we will probably look back and laugh, thinking that Rapid Elasticity means new servers in 10 seconds. A decade ago rapid was a day. **Measured Service** Again, this is nothing new or exciting. Every well run service that you and I use is measured. Take Cell Phones. If the cell companies had no method of measuring your usage, they would quickly go out of business. To include this as a requirement seems silly. Honestly, how can you bill for something if you do not measure it's usage. **Where to go from here?** The rest of the paper goes on in the same vein, spinning existing technologies under new terms. Software as a Service has been around since early computers used time sharing to remote terminals. Unix itself was built with this concept in mind. I think it's time to back away from the abyss, and start using the term in a manner that actually makes logical sense. Cloud is not everything, and not everything needs to be cloudy. Just because something has the word cloud in it's description, does not mean it is a good tool. Think back to firms like pets.com, flooz.com, GovWorks.com or Kozmo.com. Just because they were dot com's, did not mean they were good ideas, or worth investing in. The Cloud is a method of deploying servers. Nothing sexy about that. It is evolving back end infrastructure. It is not generating mystical world peace or printing money, no matter what people are telling the investors. It is another step in a good, long term, evolutionary change in technology. Just because some application is touted as being in "the cloud" does not make it better or worse then any other application. The point to take away is that the Cloud does not remove the need for careful planning and optimization. It can shorten the time line on deployments of parts of your infrastructure. However the big boys are still going to need beefy servers behind critical parts of their applications. If you agree, disagree or don't care - post a comment! I think that only through some discourse on this topic will we put this myth to rest.

Using RVM to benchmark Ruby

Screen shot 2009-12-16 at 5.19.10 PMOne of the things that I get to do is advise folks on web application architecture and backend process optimization. All of that is to say that I need to know how certain versions of things like ruby perform under different loads, and be able to advise people on when and where to deploy each one. For testing ruby and ruby programs, [RVM](http://rvm.beginrescueend.com/) is invaluable. I'll take you through how I tested a slew of ruby version automagically in this article. For reference, the machine that I ran these tests on looks like this:
MemTotal: 16,416,772 kB
CPU: Dual Core AMD Opteron(tm) Processor 880
CPU MHz: 2405.522
CPU cache size: 1024 KB
CPU bogomips: 4813.78
Total number of Cores: 4
OS: Centos 5.4 x86_64
The first step is to make sure that you have RVM installed, and the rubies that you want to test against installed.
gem install rvm 
&& rvm-install 
&& rvm reload
&& rvm install 1.8.6,1.8.7,1.9.1,ree,jruby
Since I wanted to test against 1.8.6 - 1.9.1 as well as ree and jruby, RVM let me install all of those rubies with one command. I then grabbed the swell [ruby benchmark suite](http://github.com/acangiano/ruby-benchmark-suite). Once I had that all cloned from GitHub, I proceeded on to the actual meat of the process.
rvm use 1.8.6
rake bench:file FILE=benchmarks/macro-benchmarks/bm_hilbert_matrix.rb
rvm use 1.8.7
rake bench:file FILE=benchmarks/macro-benchmarks/bm_hilbert_matrix.rb
rvm use 1.9.1
rake bench:file FILE=benchmarks/macro-benchmarks/bm_hilbert_matrix.rb
rvm use ree
rake bench:file FILE=benchmarks/macro-benchmarks/bm_hilbert_matrix.rb
rvm use jruby
rake bench:file FILE=benchmarks/macro-benchmarks/bm_hilbert_matrix.rb
Then, you wait. I chose to run the Hibert Matrix test - it seemed a good baseline emphasizing computational speed. Since it's the same code for each test, there is not an issue with code optimization.
In linear algebra, a Hilbert matrix is a square matrix with entries being the unit fractions...The Hilbert matrix is symmetric and positive definite. The Hilbert matrix is also totally positive (meaning the determinant of every submatrix is positive). The Hilbert matrix is an example of a Hankel matrix. The determinant can be expressed in closed form, as a special case of the Cauchy determinant.
[Answers.com](http://www.answers.com/topic/hilbert-matrix) Greek to me, but I guess it means that it's a complex mathematical formula. Anyway, here are the results: **Ruby 1.8.6** 1.8.6 was able to run the benchmark in 0.04116 seconds at it's quickest. This was at 10 dimensions of the Hilbert Matrix, and it used 4,460,544 bytes of RAM. One of the interesting things that I noted was the the memory bump between each run. On the 60 dimension run, for example, we had memory usage of 12,062,720 bytes for the first run (which completed in 21.785932 seconds), 12,161,024 bytes for the second run (completing in 22.652201 seconds) and 12,308,480 bytes on the third run (completing in 23.352486 seconds). After that, the memory stabilized and the times actually came down into the mid 22 seconds. **Ruby 1.8.7** 1.8.7 faired worse then 1.8.6 at the lower dimensions of the test. It's quickest run was 0.043361 seconds, using 4,575,232 bytes of RAM. The RAM bloat was still evident - ranging from 4,575,232 to 5,255,168 bytes in the 10 dimension runs. It was also markedly slower at the higher end of the tests then 1.8.6 - it's best time at 60 dimensions was 27.688745 seconds, however it was frugal on it's RAM, only needing 11,960,320 bytes. The longest run took an astonishing 28.061131 seconds. **REE 1.8.7** REE's current version is based on 1.8.7. It purports to be an optimized version, so it should have better numbers then 1.8.7. Well, it does. It's fastest run was 0.040396 second, using 10,399,744 bytes of RAM. Memory growth was also evident - in 10 dimensions we saw growth from 9,875,456 bytes to 10,997,760 bytes - however it did stabilize on the last few runs. **JRuby 1.8.7** JRuby is also currently based on the 1.8.7 branch. At lower numbers of dimensions it was hideously slow - .4 seconds for the first run in 10 dimensions. The second run was .19 second, and then down to .09. It used from 61,407,232 bytes of RAM to 68,616,192. However, at the higher ends it began to shine. All of the runs were in the 10.8 second range (twice as fast as any other 1.8 ruby!) using an amazing 235,077,632 bytes of RAM. **Rubinius 1.8.7** I really wanted to test this - however at the time of publication, I was not able to get it up and running. I think when they are closer to a final product, this will bear investigating. **1.9.1** Out of the gate, 1.9.1 was a strong competitor. The first run took only .0075 seconds. The next four ranged from 0.0046 to 0.0044 seconds. Yes, 10 times faster then 1.8, and 100 times faster then JRuby. More amazing, the memory started at 6,303,744 bytes, *and did not move*. As the dimensions climbed, the RAM rose a bit to 6,377,472 bytes. At 60 dimensions it completed the task in a amazing 8.81176 seconds at best. That's a full two seconds faster then anyone else. **Final Thoughts** I think it's safe to say, look at moving your applications to Ruby 1.9. It appears that there are some very strong benefits to be gained by the move. You should also keep an eye on REE when they update it to run 1.9, as well as when Rubinus makes it out of the gate. ***update* - after some data normalization, I was able to cobble together these charts:**

[](http://greg.nokes.name/wp-content/uploads/2009/12/Screen-shot-2009-12-23-at-10.25.41-AM.png)[](http://greg.nokes.name/wp-content/uploads/2009/12/Screen-shot-2009-12-23-at-10.25.49-AM.png)[](http://greg.nokes.name/wp-content/uploads/2009/12/Screen-shot-2009-12-23-at-10.25.56-AM.png)

Theater - fun to see, not fun to be

Unfortunately for politicians, the security measures that work are largely invisible. Such measures include enhancing the intelligence-gathering abilities of the secret services, hiring cultural experts and Arabic translators, building bridges with Islamic communities both nationally and internationally, funding police capabilities -- both investigative arms to prevent terrorist attacks, and emergency communications systems for after attacks occur -- and arresting terrorist plotters without media fanfare. They do not include expansive new police or spying laws. Our police don't need any new laws to deal with terrorism; rather, they need apolitical funding. These security measures don't make good television, and they don't help, come re-election time. But they work, addressing the reality of security instead of the feeling.
[Bruce](http://www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2009/11/beyond_security.html) is echoing what I have been saying for a long time -- new laws, new powers, new technology is not needed to combat terrorism. We have had the tools for a very long time, and we have successfully used them in the past. These are criminals - not soldiers. Next, we'll be saying the mafia is a "non-state actor" and shipping them off for a secret military tribunal? Seriously - read the [article](http://www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2009/11/beyond_security.html).

RailsBridge Bugmash VM Script

corot7b_eso_big After fooling around with creating a VM for the RailsBridge Bugmash insta-server, I decided that it was just too unwieldy. There are simply too many moving parts to make a small VM. That got me thinking... Enter the script! I have hacked together a basic Debian script which will take a bare bones system, install all of the requirements and use [rvm](http://rvm.beginrescueend.com/) to download, install, configure and gem up several flavors of ruby. It's over on [github](http://github.com/tsykoduk/Rails-Bugmasher) - so please feel free to fork, improve, and send pull requests.

Railsbridge BugMash VM

One of the things that came out of our [rails bugmash](http://wiki.railsbridge.org/projects/railsbridge/wiki/BugMash) team and time at [Blue Box Group](http://blueboxgrp.com) was that the real time killer was a lot of the prep work. Installing 3 databases, and all of the other tools and goodies can take hours which could be used mashing bugs and racking up points. Enter the BugMash VM - in VMWare flavor right now. It's an early beta - but right now it has everything that you could need to test Rails or a Rails application. The next iteration might just run on [Arch Linux](http://www.archlinux.org/) and be a [VirtualBox](http://www.virtualbox.org/) image, or perhaps just be an install script. Below is the start of the read me - and attached is the (HUGE) image file. Beware, this weighs in at about 1.2 GB. If you have some time to spare, grab a copy of the Bugmash VM Image, and send me feedback. **UPDATE***: Check out the script article above. It does everything for you. It's being updated to include rails3 bundler etc.* **RUBY ON RAILS TESTING VM IMAGE** Welcome to the RoR BugMash Testing VM. This was created as a tactical tool to increase the productivity of bugmash teams by removing the need to set up a rails test system with all of the packages that entails. **BASICS** The VM image is a VMWare image. It has two users defined: Work and Root. Each has the ultrasecure password of "password". Do we need to point out that this is ***NOT A SECURE SYSTEM*** and is ***NOT MEANT FOR PRODUCTION and** NOT MEANT TO BE USED ON THE INTERNET*?** We have used and or created several tools to help with the tasks at hand. rvm for managing our rubies, cinabox for setting up the rails testing/CI server and several small bash scripts to automate routine tasks. Thanks to wayne ([http://rvm.beginrescueend.com/](http://rvm.beginrescueend.com/) - he's the one crushing the red bull can on his head), chad ([http://github.com/thewoolleyman/cinabox](http://github.com/thewoolleyman/cinabox)), and the turnkey linux team ([http://www.turnkeylinux.org/](http://www.turnkeylinux.org/)). We are standing on the shoulders of giants! **USAGE** rvm is a superkiller tool for managing many ruby installs on 1 box. We use this in our testing scripts. If you would like to test vs the default system ruby, just cd ~/code/ruby then rake. If you'd like to test vs many rubies, run ~/test.rails. If you like quiet output use ~/json.test.rails. cinabox is a CI server "in a box". We have the full CI server installed - not tested yet. ~/update.box runs all of the update scripts.

Weirdness in terminal.app

I have run into this three or four times now. Each time takes some googling, and that is counterproductive. So here you go. For all of the times you get a new mac, or install a new version of OSX, and you start seeing weirdness in terminal.app while SSH'd into a *nix box..
Through trial-and-error, this seems to be the best way to unbreak the Backspace key on a Mac when using the native Terminal.app to SSH to a (Debian) Linux machine, and then running Emacs inside a Screen session.
Open Terminal -> Preferences
Declare terminal type ($TERM) as: rxvt
Open Terminal -> Window Settings
Choose Keyboard panel
Uncheck "Delete key sends backspace"
  (i.e., this setting is "off")
Click button "Use Settings as Defaults"
This way, you shouldn't have to mess with stty; you'll still get all the features of xterm-color (ANSI color text, screen save/restore, etc.); and the Backspace key will work normally, even in this situation: Terminal.app -> SSH (to Debian box) -> Screen -> Emacs
Under Snow Lepoard - you do not need to mess with the Uncheck Delete key.. stuff. Thanks, [Chad](http://chad.glendenin.com/macosx-backspace.html)!

Snappy Chicken and Veggies

One of the things that I really like to do is to cook. I'm going to start to post new recipes as I come up with them. So this should be the first of many articles in this category.
Snappy Chicken and Veggies
Snappy Chicken and Veggies
**Snappy Chicken**
2 pounds Chicken
2 cups Veggies (broccoli, cauliflower, carrots)
2 cups uncooked Rice
1 tbsp. Chinese 5 spice
1 tsp. Garlic
2 tsp. Cayenne
1/4 cup Soy Sauce
1/2 cup Olive Oil
Prepare the rice according to it's directions. Cut the chicken into medallions about 1/4 to 1/3rd inch thick. In a large wok, heat the oil. While the oil is heating, mix the spices and Soy Sauce and set aside. Drop the chicken into the heated oil (being careful that the hot oil does not splash or spit on you). Stir fry until the chicken is white all over, and there is a touch of pink in the middle. Drop the veggies in, splash the spices on the top, cover and lower to a simmer. Let simmer until the veggies are hot, but still crisp. (yes, that is a good time to eat some and make sure they are still yummy). Spoon the chicken and broth onto the rice, and enjoy.

Sacred Cows and Stressed Farmers

Several things have happened over the last few months that gave me pause. Pause is a great time to practice mindfulness. A few days ago, Les Paul left us. Walter Cronkite too. I was laid off from my job, and I got an exciting opportunity presented to me. Change has been pretty rampant. However the curious case of a hacker named _why has hit me closest to home. tumblr_kon03ndTxn1qzln4lo1_400 Just yesterday _why left us. All of his digital presence is gone. Code, Writing, Songs, Chunky Bacon. "But, wait, who is _why, and why do we care about _why?" you ask. Well, I guess you are not a rubyist. He was one of three luminaries in the community, and one of the reasons that many of us got involved. He wrote the greatest programming book ever (with a sound track!), and coined "Chunky Bacon". DHH gave us "and, Woops" and matz the language itself. But _why gave us the quirky character. The oddness. The wonder and joy. Being ok to look at some code and go "wow, that's cool" with a childlike glint in our eyes.
One day the Buddha was sitting in the wood with thirty or forty monks. They had an excellent lunch and they were enjoying the company of each other. There was a farmer passing by and the farmer was very unhappy. He asked the Buddha and the monks whether they had seen his cows passing by. The Buddha said they had not seen any cows passing by. The farmer said, “Monks, I’m so unhappy. I have twelve cows and I don’t know why they all ran away. I have also a few acres of a sesame seed plantation and the insects have eaten up everything. I suffer so much I think I am going to kill myself.
Will he come back? Who knows. His exit has caused quite a stir in the Ruby community. But can the Ruby community really be defined by one, two or three people? I'd say no. _why gave us a wonderful sense of joy and childlike zeal to the community. Just because _why left, why do we need to loose that? After all, _why was a character in all of the definitions of the word. I'd also like to take a second to lay to rest a misconception. _why does not owe anyone anything. Did any of us pay him for ongoing support? We befriended a character, and that character's story is over. Do Sam Spade and Luke Skywalker owe us anything? No. It's silly to even think like that.
The Buddha said, “My friend, we have not seen any cows passing by here. You might like to look for them in the other direction.” So the farmer thanked him and ran away, and the Buddha turned to his monks and said, “My dear friends, you are the happiest people in the world. You don’t have any cows to lose. If you have too many cows to take care of, you will be very busy. “That is why, in order to be happy, you have to learn the art of cow releasing (laughter). You release the cows one by one. In the beginning you thought that those cows were essential to your happiness, and you tried to get more and more cows. But now you realize that cows are not really conditions for your happiness; they constitute an obstacle for your happiness. That is why you are determined to release your cows.”
So, _why, thank you. If you ever need anything, you know where we are. We love you. Have a good journey.

Testing

As a test I was asked the following question "describe how the internet works. Be detailed. Ignore the physical layer. You have 1 hour and no reference materials." Wow. It was kind of fun though. Below the jump is How The Internet Works by Me. Typos and all. Total stream of consciousness writing. Honestly, reference materials would have just slowed me down. If you think it's easy, get out a timer, and go - just don't read mine first. ;-) ** How the internet works:** At a very high level the internet is made up of lots of little networks which have agreed to use a common protocol and addressing scheme. This allows messages to travel from network to network - and just about any host (a host is a computer, server, router, printer - anything with an address) on the internet to talk to just about any other host. Now, that's all well and good, but there are several major flaws with the system described above. First off, if anyone can talk to anyone, then bad guys are able to do bad things to hosts they should not have access to (like ATM's). Secondly, there are a finite number of addresses in the addressing scheme that was developed way back in the stone ages. We'll talk about the flaws in a bit. First we need a basic understanding of the lingo. * Host (as described above) is a computer, printer, router, or anything else that talks on the network (iPhones...) * An IP address is just like a postal address - and you read it very similarly. It looks like XXX.XXX.XXX.XXX with the last number being the most specific and the first being the most general. Like 1234 anystreet, anytown in reverse. * A MAC address is the physical address of a network card/device. IP addresses are translated to MAC addresses late in the game. * A router reads the IP address and determines if it needs to send the message along to another network. For example, if you are on the 10.10.0.0 network and you are sending a message to 192.168.0.45 - you will need to use a router to pass the packets between the subnets. Routers use Routing tables to find other networks. Since having a table of every network on the internet would be to big for a router to parse rapidly, we use several protocols for routers to determine who is next in line on the trail to the destination. Some of those protocols have odd names like OSPF, BGP or RIP. Misconfigured routers can cause all kinds of headaches including the dreaded "routing black hole" (insert scary music). * A subnet is a logical IP address grouping that might map to a physical network. It's defined by the Subnet Mask. An IP address might be 10.10.0.2/255.255.255.0. that says that the host is only defined by the last octet (number) of the IP address (the 2). The rest of the address (the 10.10.0) defines the network. Notice that their is a distinction between 10.10.0.0 and 10.11.0.0 and 10.10.10.0 - all are different networks. Supernetting is used to fuse two or more subnets together into one network (this is used when you have several ip address ranges, and you don't want the overhead of routing between them) * A gateway is the router that handles traffic in and out of the network that you live on. * A Firewall is a special type of router that examines messages (packets) to insure that they are not from bad guys. Firewalls also will disallow traffic to and from certain hosts, or only allow traffic in response to a request from an internal host. Many firewalls also do NAT. * NAT allows us to map internal IP addresses to external. You can do a one to one mapping (each internal address has a corresponding external address), or many to one mapping (several addresses internally share the same external address). NAT can cause problems with certain internet protocols - and some protocols have been developed which can traverse NAT routers with variable success. Anyways, now that we have that out of the way, we can press on and talk about the two main issues. We are quickly running out of those addresses - so there is a new version of the addressing scheme that is being touted as the new hotness. Not many people use it yet, however it is slowing growing. One of the hindrances to adoption has been the universal use of NAT. What NAT does is allows IP addresses to be mapped from one to another. Now, there are several ranges of IP addresses which were declared "off limits" by the great grey beards in the sky back in the stone ages, so they cannot cross the internet. Properly configured routers will simply discard (drop) packets that are to or from such an address. NAT allows us to map these "internal" addresses to an external "internet" IP address. Most SOHO gateways use NAT these days. It allows many internal machines to share 1 or a small number of external addresses. This has relived the burden on the IP Addressing space somewhat. Now not every machine needs an internet IP address - just some of them. However, we are rapidly approaching "peak IP", when the last IP address will be handed out. IPv6, the new hotness, will allow for a quantum leap in addressing space, and hopefully we will not need IPv7 for many many years. One of the other major issues with the internet is (remember that scary music? yeah - play it now) Bad Guys. Bad Guys can do all sorts of nasty things, but the most common today seems to be taking a machine with an OS from the seattle area, inserting evil code, and using it for Distributed Denial of Service attacks, spam generate, phishing attacks and other bad things. They are not called Bad Guys for nothing! There are several things that can be done to keep the Bad Guys at bay. The first, is to properly secure your system before going out on the information superhighway. Patches, firewalls, Antivirus scanners are all a good idea. A better idea is to run a system that was designed with security in mind (*nix comes to mind) so you have less to worry about. Internet based applications are another story entirely. Their issues are ones of scale, and traffic. If you get popular, how do you deal with all of the traffic? This is a harder problem then security and IP addressing ranges. I actually wrote a paper at my last job detailing out a high level overview of scaling web applications. Basically, it comes down to this: Break your application into logical parts and make them do their job with as much speed as possible. Add hardware to the places that need it. Virtualized hardware is a huge win here, as it can be added very quickly. Being able to spin up "servers" quickly (minutes or hours instead of days) and put them in the systems that need them in response to detected issues is a game changer. Load Balancing (LB) is also huge. Many LB's use NAT - so you have 1 IP address outside accepting requests, and they use some logic to split the traffic between several machines behind them. You can layer your LB's even In an extreme case it might look something like this: Internet --> LB --> Content Servers --> LB --> Application Servers --> LB --> Database servers The internet traffic hits the external LB, and is split into several content servers. If the content is a hard asset (a picture, or a cache item) it's simply delivered back to the LB and sent on it's merry way. If not, then the request hits another LB (which might be built into the content server) and the traffic is routed to a not so busy application server. If the app server needs to make a DB call, then the request hits another LB, and is routed to a DB that can handle the request and that is not busy. In the past I have found that Nginx is a great content server. The application server depends on the back end application (mongrels/thin/passenger for rails, tomcat etc for java...), and not all DB's support load balancing (at least for writes). You need to have DB, App and Asset caching in there somewhere. The basic rule of thumb is that if you have to hit disk you are dead in the water. Disk access can add hundreds of milliseconds to a request. It a border line system or during a traffic spike requests can start to queue up behind the slow requests, and you have unhappy customers.

RailsBridge

On of the tasks that I have undertaken is helping out a non-profit called [Railsbridge](http://railsbridge.org) by increasing community awareness. They do a ton of really cool things - like Rails Workshops for Women (one upcoming in [San Francisco](http://www.sarahmei.com/blog/2009/07/06/julyaugust-ruby-workshop-registration-open/)!), [Rails Mentoring](http://railsmentors.org/), [Student Code Reviews](http://teachingkids.railsbridge.org/), and undertaking [development efforts](http://builders.railsbridge.org/) for worthy Non Profit organizations. So, stay tuned - good stuff is going to come of this little project. We tend to hang out in #railsbridge on freenode, so if you want to learn more, or you want to see more, head on over, and I'll see you there!

Linux Mint

I found a new Linux distro last night, and I am really impressed so far - it's [Linux Mint](http://www.linuxmint.com/), and I must say, it's the most polished, pretty distro that I have ever seen. It's based on [Ubuntu](http://www.ubuntu.com/), so it's pretty much rock solid under the hood as well. I'd say, if you get a chance - check it out. It's well worth it. It installed with out a problem on VMWare Fusion as well, and it's quite snappy. The install was the super simple ubuntu experience that I have come to expect. Not much different there. It comes with an impressive applications stack set up - so more stuff should "just work" then most linux geeks are used to. Then even include the Ndiswrapper application by default - so if there is not a native linux driver for your wireless card, you should be able to just install the windows version and press on. All of that can be done on Ubuntu however, so it's nothing special. It's nice to have it all set up already. Where Linux Mint shines however is in the time they have taken to polish the look and feel. It's simply gorgeous out of the box.

They have done a great job of integrating things like slab to provide a excellent experience - you can tell that they have some UI folks working with them.

They have a nice icon set

and their finder is laid out well.

All in all, they simply took away the first task that I had when building a new linux workstation - futzing with the themes until I get one that I like. Well done, [Mint](http://www.linuxmint.com/)!

Scaling Wide

One of the questions that I am asked often is "how do I scale my web application?" or "we're expecting 200 times the traffic tomorrow, what do I do?". The second question is usually too late. The first however, when asked at an appropriate time, can be what saves you from asking the second. A good knowledge of best practices to start with, and then a rigorous testing and introspection process will do more to inform you "when" then any thing else. **Cache, cache, cache...** You need to cache everything you can. Memcache, disk cache, what ever you can cache should be. **Find your Hotspots!** The first step in any scaling action is finding out what part of your application needs to scale. If you are having issues with your database, and you build a spiffy disk sharding scheme, you just fixed a problem that does not exist. Doing the proper discovery will allow you to allocate your efforts for best effect. Basically, I subscribe to the "least effort" camp. Do the least that you can, as long as you are 1) fixing the problem and 2) giving yourself breathing room to start on the next problem before it becomes a serious issue. This will allow you to still work on the other parts of the app, rolling out new features and creating new hotspots to find. Finding your hotspots is very important in this process. Usually, hotspots are where the flames start. Knowing your points of pain allow you to triage correctly, and to know how to best spend your developers time. One of the things to keep in mind is that this process is ongoing. You might be optimizing disk reads and writes one week, and be neck deep in SQL the next. When you clear out one hotspot generally another one will crop up to take it's place. If you have a proper staging setup, you can build estimates against generated traffic. This can give you a (blurry) view into what the next hotspot might be. The best process that I have seen is to capture a hour or so worth of traffic on the live site, and replay it 2, three or more times faster against the staging environment. You want the traffic to be as real as possible. Using introspection tools on your production environment is invaluable. You want these tools to be as real time as possible. **When to go deep, and when to go long..** After you have killed all of the hotspots you can, and added all the resources you can afford, it's time to look at the next level. Usually this is when when start to see people thinking about sharding of some manner. There are three major types of sharding at the moment - Filesystem, Database and Application. I will touch on each of these topics, starting with the highest level, and hardest. **Application Sharding?** Application sharding is the most extreme, provides the most benefit and is the hardest to accomplish. If you can split your users amongst several vertical groups, you can basically install copies of the application for each segment. You can also look at abstracting any shared logic into a back end API driven application. The rule of thumb there is to have each back end application do one thing, and do one thing very very quickly. For example, if you can segment your user base into three groups who do not really interact, you can simply provision 3 environments and install 3 separate copies of the application. An example of this might be a site hosting application. Each site hosted will not need much (if any) interaction with the other sites hosted. This is by far the easiest method of sharding your application. You can also look at this from a business logic view. If you can cut your application into portions (say, photos, chat and games for a social site) you can create smaller applications to handle authentication, user information storage, photos, chat and games. You would have the photos, chat and games applications leverage the back end authentication and user information applications to read and write shared information. This gives us several advantages. For the back end application remove all unneeded code (i.e., if you are not going to need to use views, then remove ActionView), plugins and gems. Keep the app as light as possible. Optimize the DB access and make use of memcached as much as possible. Host each of the application shards on dedicated resources (i.e., their own Database's and Slices). One of the large advantages of this approach is that you can start to optimize your hardware spend. If your chat application is 1/2 as intensive as your photo and games applications, it's far easier to assign resources in a targeted fashion and maximize returns. In a monolithic application, if the photo application breaks, or needs more resources the entire stack is effected. With sharding, you get some buffering from some site wide issues, and the ability to assign hardware exactly where it's needed. The big drawback is that it's not easy. **Database Sharding...** Another step that can be looked at in certain circumstances. If the amount of data you need to process is so huge, or the number of transactions is really large, you can look into database sharding. Basically, you take your database and break the schema up amongst several DB's. There are tools in most major RDBMS's which will allow you to take care of this. Informing the application where the data is might be complex depending on which RDBMS you use. Look for a in-depth treatment of this subject in a later article. **Filesystem Sharding** If your application is filesystem IOPS heavy, filesystem sharding might be the route that you want to look at. Basically you add more hardware disk arrays, and split the reads and writes between them. You need to inject some logic into the save and open functions in your application so that it knows which filesystem each file is to be saved to and opened from. Usually you create a hash of the filename, and key off the first couple of characters in the hash. You can read more on this technique [here](http://greg.nokes.name/2008/12/25/filesystem-scaling-in-high-traffic-web-applications/). (a repost of the unedited content from [this](http://www.engineyard.com/blog/2009/a-quick-primer-on-sharding-for-ruby-on-rails) article)

Resources for learning Rails and Ruby

It's been a while since I had to get my fingers dirty in code, and as such I am a little rusty. There are also some areas of Rails that I never took the time to learn. Luckly I found that the community has grown, and there are some great resources out there for the aspiring coder. One of the first places that I go when I need some help is [GotAPI](http://www.gotapi.com). It's a one stop shop for all of your documentation needs. It even includes HTML and CSS docs from [w3schools](w3schools.com), probably once of the best HTML/CSS resources out there. [RailsGuides](http://guides.rubyonrails.org/) is another great resource for helping understanding the nuances of Rails. I have also stumbled across [RailsBridge](http://railsbridge.org/), a group of teachers and coders trying to help folks out. They have a few great tools and projects to help bootstrap people into rails development. For example, they offer [online mentoring](http://www.railsmentors.org/) by a group of volunteers. The project is at an early stage, but they have some great ideas! [IRC](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internet_Relay_Chat) is good resource. Who would have thought it, back in 1988 when it was first dropped into production, that 20 years later it would **still** be used? I personally hang out on [freenode](http://freenode.net/) as it seems to be the most popular. There are a bunch of channels, and one of the issues that can easily happen is overload via signal to noise ratios. However if you pick your channels carefully you'll be fine. Another way of sharpening your chops is to contribute to a OSS or other project. RailsBridge has a few projects for needy organizations under their [Builder](http://builders.railsbridge.org/) program. Also projects like [RailFrog](http://railfrog.com/) or [Mephisto](http://github.com/emk/mephisto/tree/master) are good choices if you want to lend a hand. All of these just scratch the surface, but they are a great beginning. I think that the greatest assets a coder can have is a humble nature and a thirst for knowledge. Heck, if you don't look at your old code and think "what the hell was I thinking??" then you are doing something wrong.

IBM claims method of homomorphic encryption

I just ran across several articles ([Forbes](http://www.forbes.com/2009/06/24/encryption-rsa-privacy-technology-breakthroughs-ibm.html), [eWeek](http://www.eweek.com/c/a/Security/IBM-Uncovers-Encryption-Scheme-That-Could-Improve-Cloud-Security-Spam-Filtering-135413/) and [The Ashdown Group](http://www.ashdowngroup.com/news/ibm-boost-cloud-computing-with-encryption-breakthrough-news-19238766)) about IBM's announcement of a mathematical method for [homomorphic encryption](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homomorphic_encryption). When we can implement this, the implications are huge. You will be able to process large amounts of encrypted data to find broad trends, with out knowing the contents of the encrypted files.
Charles Lickel, vice-president of IBM Software Research, said: "Fully homomorphic encryption is a bit like enabling a layperson to perform flawless neurosurgery while blindfolded, without later remembering the episode."
--[The Ashdown Group](http://www.ashdowngroup.com/news/ibm-boost-cloud-computing-with-encryption-breakthrough-news-19238766) One of the uses for this that I can see, is doing spam filtering on encrypted email, with out breaking the encryption. So you could broadly publish a private key, and allow everyone to use it - but not open yourself to spam. Another use would be in large scale data analysis across encrypted and secure clouds. You could (as the cloud provider) mine data about performance from your entire cloud, with out violating any one users privacy. Companies like Google who depend on relevant, targeted adds could use this to not intrude into your privacy but still deliver the same level of targeting. Heck - this might be the silver bullet for digital money. People could carry an encrypted file with some digital money in it on a card, and when you swipe the card, the merchant can see if you have enough for the purchase with out seeing your balance. Neat stuff!

Me on Web App Scaling

I have have a couple of things published on Web App Scaling in the recent past. Here is a list:

* [A Quick Primer On Sharding For Ruby On Rails](http://www.engineyard.com/blog/2009/a-quick-primer-on-sharding-for-ruby-on-rails/): I discuss application sharding techniques at a very high level. * [Masters Interview at New Relic](http://railslab.newrelic.com/2009/02/04/greg-nokes-lead-technical-account-manager-engine-yard): I talk about all kinds of scaling concepts. * [Filesystem Sharding Tactics and Processes](http://www.engineyard.com/docs/EY_Filesystem_Sharding_Tactics_and_Processes.pdf): A look at how to shard filesystems. Many of the ideas can be used for sharding just about anything.

For those that do not know. I'd like to take a second and define sharding - even though I did not invent the term. Sharding is taking a system and breaking it up into smaller pieces, each with their own dedicated resources, to improve performance. It's that simple.

Anyways, enjoy!

Back, and Better then Ever!

Um - ok. not better then ever. This blog has had quite the interesting (in the chinese meaning) life. It started out years and years ago as a [blogspot](http://www.blogger.com) site, and soon was moved to [WordPress](http://wordpress.org). It then almost migrated to several other platforms, but ended up on [Mephisto](http://mephistoblog.com/). Well, we're back on Wordpress for the time being. Will we stay? Probably not, even tho I like all of the cool toys baked in.

SaaS vs The Cloud

In an article today ("[Cloud Computing](http://www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2009/06/cloud_computing.html)") Bruce Schneier makes some great points about SaaS and Cloud Computing.
But, hype aside, cloud computing is nothing new . It's the modern version of the timesharing model from the 1960s, which was eventually killed by the rise of the personal computer. It's what Hotmail and Gmail have been doing all these years, and it's social networking sites, remote backup companies, and remote email filtering companies such as MessageLabs. Any IT outsourcing -- network infrastructure, security monitoring, remote hosting -- is a form of cloud computing.
It also breaks the 80/20 rule that I learned back in the old days of BNC connectors. 80 percent of the processing should be local, and 20 percent remote. For some things (the 20 percent) it certainly belongs "in the cloud". However, some things do not belong out there. I think, however, that the Bruce misses the point of "the Cloud". From my perspective, it's not about SaaS - it's lower level then that. It's about being able to provision servers in moments in "the Cloud". It brings location independence to bare metal servers. It allows me to create a cluster with a deployed web application, several application servers and a database server in minutes, instead of hours or days. That's the "cloud" that I think of - things like [AWS](http://aws.amazon.com/), [vCloud](http://www.vmware.com/solutions/cloud-computing/vcloud.html), [Heroku](http://heroku.com/)and [Engine Yard](http://www.engineyard.com). SaaS can certainly be built on top of this infrastructure. That is the compelling paradigm behind the Cloud. Being able to elastically provision resources, on demand, almost instantly. Being able to write an application, push a button and having it out there for the world to use. This new paradigm lowers the entry level to becoming a "web business" dramatically. SaaS and the Cloud are interdependent - the Cloud came to be because of the needs of SaaS and I agree (totally) that SaaS has issues. For example, I have witnessed an entire office taken off line because the login server was remote. However, to lump SaaS's issues into this new way of looking at servers and capacity is just not getting the big picture.
Trust is a concept as old as humanity, and the solutions are the same as they have always been. Be careful who you trust, be careful what you trust them with, and be careful how much you trust them. Outsourcing is the future of computing. Eventually we'll get this right, but you don't want to be a casualty along the way.
Also trust them with how much information you give them, and make sure you keep a backup.

Limechat blowing chunks

I love [Limechat](http://limechat.net/mac/) for my mac IRC needs. However, it started blowing chunks a few OSX updates ago, and that was plain annoying! ***update** [Limechat 1.0](http://limechat.net/mac/) fixes the problem. Yay!* I found a really simple fix. Open up markedscroller.rb and comment out line 40. Works like a charm for me. Simply do sudo mate /Applications/LimeChat.app/Contents/Resources/markedscroller.rb and scroll down to line 40. make the changes below.
1
2
3
4
**5**
6
7
8
  <span class="c"># draw lines</span><tt>
</tt>      <span class="c">#This line seems to blow chunks when highlights happen. W/o it it seems to work?</span><tt>
</tt>      <span class="c"># NSRectClip(self.rectForPart(NSScrollerKnobSlot).inset(3.0, 4.0)) </span><tt>
</tt>      <span class="c"># end changes</span><tt>
</tt>      <span class="iv">@dataSource</span>.scroller_markColor(<span class="pc">self</span>).set<tt>
</tt>      lines.each {|i| i.stroke }<tt>
</tt>      <span class="pc">self</span>.drawKnob<tt>
</tt>  <span class="r">end</span>
*Note, if you do not use textmate, or do not have the command line bindings installed, substitute your favorite text editor for the mate command.*

Mixtapes and Musical Tastes

One of the things I have done for a long time is create what the cool kids today call mixtapes. I used to use a turntable and cassette recorder, now days I use iTunes to burn CD’s for the truck. I usally do one every year or so, and I thought that I’d toss some out there for posterity’s sake. **Driven Wit Da Dukk I (2006ish?)** * Vogue, KMFDM, Vogue / Sex on the Flag (Single) * Dragula, Rob Zombie, Hellbilly Deluxe * Under The Gun [Jutland mix], The Sisters Of Mercy, Under The Gun * These Boots Are Made For Walkin’ (Bombs Remix), KMFDM, Boots * Can You Feel The Passion (Palladium Mix), Blue Pearl, Rave ‘Til Dawn * Startin’ Up a Posse, Anthrax, Attack of the Killer B’s * Get Out Of My Head, MDFMK, MDFMK * Business, Eminem, The Eminem Show * Glory (Cajun Dub), KMFDM, Glory * Thunder Kiss ‘65 (The Remix That Wouldn’t Die Mix), KMFDM, Nightcrawlers: The KMFDM Remixes * Torpedoes, MDFMK, MDFMK * If I Ever Leave This World Alive, Flogging Molly, Drunken Lullabies * Jesus Built My Hotrod, Ministry, Psalm 69 * Megalomaniac (Tvva), Mix By DJ Talla 2xlc * RAPPERS WE CRUSH (FEAT. MC FRONTALOT), KOMPRESSOR, KOMPRESSORMUSIK * Firestarter (Prodigy), South Park (Cartman) ** Driven Wit Da Dukk II (2007?)** * Wherever I May Roam, Metallica, Metallica * Wake Me Up When September Ends, Green Day, American Idiot * Take On Me, A-Ha, Chart Toppers Dance hits of the 80s * Witch Hunt, MDFMK, MDFMK * Smile (Radio Edit), Lily Allen, Smile – Single of the Week * RAPPERS WE CRUSH (FEAT. MC FRONTALOT), KOMPRESSOR, KOMPRESSORMUSIK * Crazy, Gnarls Barkley, St. Elsewhere * Jump In My Car, David Hasselhoff, Jump In My Car – Single * So Fresh, So Clean, OutKast, Stankonia * Rich Girl, Gwen Stefani & Eve, Love, Angel, Music, Baby * When You Don’t See Me, The Sisters Of Mercy, Vision Thing * Bring the Noise, Anthrax, Attack of the Killer B’s * Brass Monkey, Beastie Boys, Licensed To Ill * We Didn’t Start the Fire, Billy Joel, Billy Joel: Greatest Hits * Stare At The Sun, MDFMK, MDFMK * Break My Stride, Matthew Wilder, Modern Rock * (Go to) California, Rob Zombie , The Sinister Urge **Driven Wit Da Dukk III (2008)** * Get the Party Started, Pink, M!ssundaztood * Hard Target, 今堀恒雄, Trigun Spicy Stewed Donut * Mirrorshades, We Don’t Take, Information Society, Hack * One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer, George Thorogood, Greatest Hits * (Go to) California, Rob Zombie, The Sinister Urge * The Devil’s Rejects, Rob Zombie, Educated Horses * Stare At The Sun, MDFMK, MDFMK * Holy Diver, Dio, Holy Diver * Urban Monkey Warfare, KMFDM, Attak * Goodnight Julia, The Seatbelts, The Complete Cowboy * Sasurai no Cowboy, Ein, The Complete Cowboy Bebop * The Real Folk Blues, The Seatbelts, Cowboy Bebop – Vitaminless * My Dads Gone Crazy, Eminem, The Eminem Show * Megalomaniac, KMFDM, Symbols * Crazy Train, Ozzy Osbourne, The Essential Ozzy Osbourne * Rainbow In The Dark, Dio, Holy Diver * Moving in Stereo, The Cars, Complete Greatest Hits * Crazy Train, Ozzy Osbourne, The Essential Ozzy Osbourne **Driven Wit Da Dukk IV (5/2009)** * Muppets Theme, KMFDM * Hey Hey, My My (Into the Black), Neil Young, Rust Never Sleeps * Antigeist, SKOLD vs. KMFDM, SKOLD vs. KMFDM * Empire, Queensrÿche,Queensrÿche: Greatest Hits * Dogma, KMFDM, XTORT * Rainbow In the Dark, Dio, Holy Diver * Love Is Like, SKOLD vs. KMFDM, SKOLD vs. KMFDM * Jet City Woman, Queensrÿche, Queensrÿche: Greatest Hits Rock * Error 404, SKOLD vs. KMFDM, SKOLD vs. KMFDM * All Along the Watchtower, Bob Dylan, The Essential Bob Dylan * (Symbol), KMFDM, Blitz (Deluxe Edition) * Invisible, Dio, Holy Diver * Ready To Blow, KMFDM, Hau Ruck * Silent Lucidity, Queensrÿche, Queensrÿche: Greatest Hits * A Common Enemy, SKOLD vs. KMFDM, SKOLD vs. KMFDM * My My, Hey Hey (Out of the Blue), Neil Young, Rust Never Sleeps

Railsconf 2009

Well, it's almost over for me, but here are my thoughts about Railsconf 2009...

I think that this picture (possible NSFW?) [sums it up](http://www.flickr.com/photos/glagla/54320217/). We are grownups. the [kerfluffle](http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=kerfluffle) is over from when Ubuntu "crossed the line" and it will pass for Rails/Ruby as well.

[Flex](http://www.engineyard.com/blog/2009/engine-yard-flex-announced-new-features-added-to-solo/) is awesome. The coolest feature - to upgrade an instance to the newest stack, destroy it and recreate it. Heck, create a new one, spin it up, and then destroy the old instance.

Scaling is pretty simple. Start with solo, grow the instance as large as you need to, and then after you out grown a single instance environment, simply drop and re-add a flex instance. Database gets moved to it's own instance, and presto - you have a horizontally scaleable cluster in the cloud. Pretty powerful.

Met some neat people, and I am going to dig into a few new products and see if I need to add them to my tool belt. More on that later.

I get the feeling that Rails (and ruby) is starting to penetrate the enterprise market space more and more, and I think that's a good thing. It's a powerful tool, and with nginx/passenger or apache/passenger it's pretty easy to run internally if you need to. If you can run it outside, [Solo](http://www.engineyard.com/plans/solo/) for low to medium traffic applications is dead simple.

And, no this is not an advertisement for my [employer](http://www.engineyard.com). I honestly think that Solo/Flex is the easiest deployment option out there. I deployed Rubyflow about 4 or 5 times in 2 hours. I snagged a $30 coupon for [Heroku](http://heroku.com/) so I will be giving them a shot in the next week or so, so expect a side by side shootout.

Mephisto Caching with Nginx/Passenger

Now that I had this test bed for new hotness running the new hotness, I decided I should get the caching working again.

Well, this is 2.0 of the code. This seems to work a lot better (like, works in general).

server {

  listen  80;
  server_name  some_spiffy_name;
  root /wheremyappis/public;

  access_log /somelogfile.access.log main;
  error_log /someotherlog.error.log notice;
  client_max_body_size  50M;
  passenger_enabled on;

   location /assets/ {
        rewrite ^/assets/(.*)$ /assets/$http_host/$1 break;
   }

   location /cache/ {
        rewrite ^/cache/(.*)$ /cache/$http_host$1 break;
   }

}

And, as an added bonus, it's much easier to read!

Thanks to mibb in IRC, we were able to hack the following out:

server {

  listen  80;
  server_name d;
  access_log ;
  error_log ;

  root ;
  passenger_enabled on;

location /assets/ {
  rewrite ^/assets/(.*)$ /assets/$http_host/$1 break;
}

# this appears to be broken
# / -> index.html
#  if (-f $document_root/cache/$host$uri/index.html) {
#    rewrite (.*) /cache/$host$1/index.html break;
#  }

# /about -> /about.html
  if (-f $document_root/cache/$host$uri.html) {
    rewrite (.*) /cache/$host$1.html break;
  }

# other files
  if (-f $document_root/cache/$host$uri) {
    rewrite (.*) /cache/$host$1 break;
  }

}

Firefox vs Safari

People chide me on my choice of Safari over Firefox on my macs, but here is a reason why…. So, when I was hacking together the layout for this blog, I noticed something weird. I had a tweet with a really really long “hashtag” in it. Like this: Obviously, the text ran out side of the sidebar, and looked ugly. [Google](http://lmgtfy.com/?q=css+force+text+width) to the rescue. I found some cool CSS v3 stuff that would fix it.

        text-wrap: unrestricted;
        word-wrap: break-word;
Worked like a Charm under Safari. Just like the CSS v3 docs said it should. but not so much under Firefox. I was forced to add
overflow: hidden;
and get this… Sigh.

Now with Nginx-Passenger Goodness!

That's right, twice the geekyness for half the cost!

Cups vs Avahi vs Mac

I have an old HP Laser Jet 6L as my primary printer at home. It's a trooper - I got it new years ago, and I have never had a problem with it. A few years ago, I got an APC Parallel Port to USB converter. That works great, until I tried to plug it unto my new Airport Express 802.11n. Woops. Lucky me I have a Linux box right next to the printer..

So the box was running Debian Etch and a Half. I had Netatalk and Avahi running on it with a custom compiled netatalk including SSL support for DHX authentication.

I plugged the printer in, CUPS saw it, and presto. But when I went to add it to my mac, I could not browse for it. No problem, right? add it to Avahi. No sweat.

Not so much. Total PITA. However in my searching, I found this [article](http://blog.venthur.de/2007/08/17/howto-setup-a-print-server-for-windows-and-others-using-cups-and-zeroconf/).

First you need to install CUPS 1.3 or higher on your print server and setup the printer (the web interface makes this task dead easy)

Ug, Etch is running at CUPS 1.2.x. With a little research, however I find that [Debian Lenny](http://www.debian.org/releases/stable/) has [CUPS 1.3.x](http://packages.debian.org/lenny/cups). Lenny was also released as stable a few days ago, so it might be a good time to upgrade my server.

Did I mention how much I love debian?

So here are the steps to upgrade:

1) Edit /etc/apt/sources.list. Take all of the instanced of etch and replace with lenny

2) Run sudo apt-get install apt dpkg aptitude to upgrade apt and aptitude.

3) Run aptitude full-upgrade. I ran it three times (until it did not pick up any new packages). You'll need to keep an eye on this, as it will ask you several questions, and some of them are quite important (do you want to revert importantconfigfile.conf to the maintainers version or keep your own?)

So after all of that, I restarted CUPS and presto - printer showed up in my Mac's printer browser.

Sitemap Generator for Mephisto

The old sitemap generator for mephisto was broken under the newer rails/mephisto plugin scheme. So I spent a few minutes in an airport hacking on it. It now works, with all default settings set, well, defaulty. Go [get it](http://github.com/tsykoduk/mephisto-sitemap-generator/tree/master)!

**Update:**

Also... I spent a little time integrating the plugin into mephisto core - including admin side settings. [go get it!](http://github.com/tsykoduk/mephisto/tree/master).

Interview with a reformed adware programmer

I should probably first speak about how adware works. Most adware targets Internet Explorer (IE) users because obviously they're the biggest share of the market. In addition, they tend to be the less-savvy chunk of the market. If you're using IE, then either you don't care or you don't know about all the vulnerabilities that IE has.

[Bruce](http://www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2006/08/bruce_schneier.html) has a [link](http://www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2009/01/interview_with_10.html) to a great [article](http://philosecurity.org/2009/01/12/interview-with-an-adware-author) this morning. Good read. My most jucy bit:

S: In your professional opinion, how can people avoid adware?

M: Um, run UNIX.

S: [ laughs]

M: We did actually get the ad client working under Wine on Linux.

S: That seems like a bit of a stretch!

M: That was a pretty limited market, I’d say

Banning water...

As usual, [Bruce Schneier](http://www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2006/08/bruce_schneier.html) has an interesting look at security, and how banning things like Google Earth might not be such a good idea.

Criminals have used telephones and mobile phones since they were invented. Drug smugglers use airplanes and boats, radios and satellite phones. Bank robbers have long used cars and motorcycles as getaway vehicles, and horses before then. I haven't seen it talked about yet, but the Mumbai terrorists used boats as well. They also wore boots. They ate lunch at restaurants, drank bottled water, and breathed the air.

-[Bruce Schneier](http://www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2009/01/helping_the_ter.html)

Bruce's unique look at security is a pleasure to read, and a refreshing breath of fresh air.

How an engineer sees the world

Some times you just have to assume that the rest of the world is insane and you are sane.... [](http://xkcd.com/530/)

iTunes Backups

Now that we are starting to buy / rent movies on our Apple TV, I wanted to have a seamless backup mechanism. The fact that we are running Tiger made it a little more challenging, along with my distain for COTS software. After all, all I really want to do is keep 2 copies of 1 (rather large) directory else where on the network... So, I have a 750gb disk on my AirPort Extreme as a backup target for the Leopard laptops in the house. TimeMachine loves to automagically attach and back up all the time. I do not have the luxury of Time Machine on my iTunes server, as it's hosted on an old powerbook running Tiger (lappy for long time readers). Knowing that Mac OSX has rsync by installed by default, I thought that it should be a trivial task to just rsync the data over to the AirPort. rsync -r --eahfs --showtogo * /Volumes/backup/itunes/ Seems to work like a charm! --eahfs tells rsync to maintain the extended HFS attributes, and --showtogo gives us a progress indicator. (by the way, for all you linux geeks out there, --progress shows progress on my Debian box). *Note: we assume that you have mounted the backup volume and created an itunes directory on it*. Macs have this wonderful directory /etc/periodic. You can guess what it does. I dropped my daily script into the /etc/periodic/daily directory, and the weekly script into /etc/periodic/weekly. Could not be easier. The two scripts simply backup to different directories on the backup volume (itunes.wky and itunes.dly). Presto, quick and dirty backups. Next week, I add error checking and email reporting to the mix! **Daily code** #!/bin/bash #backup of itunes directory to shared HDD on networky #daily backup rsync -r --eahfs /Volumes/monolith/iTunes/* /Volumes/backup/itunes.dly/ **Weekly code** #!/bin/bash # backup of itunes directory to shared HDD on networky # Weekly backup rsync -r --eahfs /Volumes/monolith/iTunes/* /Volumes/backup/itunes.wky/

airtunes ftw

As many of you (all one of you?) know, I work from home. Yay me. Well I just reorganized my office, and thought I would share

My primary workspace is a 3 level corner desk. I have Harmon Kardon Sound Sticks as my speakers, a 19's NEC Opticlear as my primary monitor, an apple aluminum keyboard and a mighty mouse. My primary computer is a white MacBook, and it's monitor is my secondary screen.

I have an old Dell Intel® Pentium® 4 CPU 1.60GHz with 645624 kB RAM, a 20gb HDD and Linux 2.6.24-etchnhalf.1-686 running on it. I use the digital port for my macbook, and the analog port for the debian box, but 99% of the time I just ssh into it.

To reduce clutter, I have all of the USB stuff going through the back of the monitor.

My network starts with a 7mb DSL connection downstairs, and an Airport Extreme with an old Express 802.11g for iphone and guest access. Upstairs I have an Express extending the 802.11n network, providing printer sharing for my laser printer and also serving my Sound Sticks via AirTunes.

Since they are on the same desk as my laptop, why do I use airtunes? Two reasons. First, when ever I would pull the plug to move my laptop I'd get some harsh cracking and feedback. Secondly, it allows me to control the speakers volume from my iTunes dashboard widget and still have my computer alert sounds decoupled from that. When I am on the phone, I tend to turn down my tunes, but I still want to hear the alerts.

Also, when in bridging mode, the Express offers an ethernet port with access to the wireless. So the old *nix box has 100mb to the wireless via a switch. No need to pull cables. Neat-O!

Long way of saying, problem solved!

PHP and Nginx on Debian

I needed to drop PHP5 on a home dev box (running Debian Stable) and since Nginx is all the rage, I wanted to see if I could use that instead of apache.

I found a great [article](http://jit.nuance9.com/2008/01/serving-php5-with-nginx-on-ubuntu-710.html) on how to get r done. There were a few gotcha's that I ran into, but honestly, it worked like a charm.

The largest issue was that the line:

fastcgi_param SCRIPT_FILENAME /var/www/nginx-default$fastcgi_script_name

was truncated to

fastcgi_param SCRIPT_FILENAME /var/www/nginx-default$fastcgi_script_

So I cleaned that up, and ended up with

fastcgi_param SCRIPT_FILENAME /var/www/$fastcgi_script_name

and Bam. Chili Fries.

Load Testing

If you notice some slowness, I am playing around with the fantastic [New Relic](http://newrelic.com) performance and code introspection tool.

I have found that at about 15 - 20 requests per minute per app server, [Mephisto](http://mephistoblog.com/) starts to bog down a little. We went from a wall clock of 1 second per page view to about 3. Not to bad.

With the VPS I am running on (a [Engine Yard](http://engineyard.com) slice) the CPU was not taxed. I am running [Thin](http://code.macournoyer.com/thin/) and each of them grew to a manageable 200 mb of RAM and hovered there.

The largest factor was Database hits. Every request touches the database, so putting a simple memcache server into the mix could be a huge win.

Filesystem scaling in high traffic web applications

One of the more interesting problems that high traffic, high load web applications face is how to scale the filesystem. As load increases, vertical scaling (bigger servers) simply does not work. You have to add more application servers, and more layers to effectively serve the needs of the users. One of the issues that many such applications have to overcome is how to serve assets (pictures, podcasts, video) to all of the edge servers that a user might access the application from, and allow users to upload user generated content. ### What is Filesystem Sharding? As disk IO based applications grow, they tend to run into limits of IO speed, file system size and stability. This trend is especially relevant in clustered web applications using a cluster aware filesystem such as GFS, NFS or Lustre FS. However it effects all applications which use disk to store assets at some point. There are several low level tactics which can mitigate this issue in the short term, such as using high performance RAID arrays, and various tuning parameters in the Operating System hosting the application. Ultimately, these measures will fail to meet demand. At that point, filesystem sharding needs to be investigated. This discussion is predicated upon the use of Linux as the host operating system. There are similar tools and concerns in the Windows environment, however they are different enough to warrant own treatment. ### Tactics There are two basic levels of filesystem sharding, basic file system sharding and application filesystem independence. Basic sharding will take an application to a certain point, and after that application level sharding needs to be implemented. Often, the authors have seen that basic sharding will allow an application to continue to grow while filesystem independence is implemented. At a high level, basic sharding is accomplished by inserting an algorithm into the save and load modules, keying off of a unchangeable feature (such as username, file name, etc). You then share to different physical devices mounted under your main partition. Application level filesystem independence includes rewriting the save and load functions to abstract out the filesystem, allowing the application to use what ever file store it needs, where ever that filesystem resides. This is usually implemented as an agent. The application talks to an agent somewhere requesting assets. This allows you to abstract the file system to another machine or even another data center if needed. ### Basic Sharding Basic Sharding is accomplished by taking the shared file system, and adding several mount points inside of it. The only application change is a hashing algorithm to determine which file system is used. It can be as easy as inserting a snippet of code into the save and load methods. As an aside, one of the limitations of many cluster file systems is performance degradation when there are to many files in one directory. In preparation for sharding the filesystem, it's often beneficial to use this hashing system to break up your filesystem before implementing complete filesystem sharding. One of the advantages is that this positions you for painless movement to the goal. Since Linux mounts filesystems as directories, it is a trivial task to move the existing directories, mount the new filesystems, and then move the data back. If you already have the hashing system in place and tested, this makes the move that much less stressful. if user.name is odd ... use /data/shard_1 else ... use /data/shard_2 end Logically the disk layout will be very simple,
/data
    /shard_1
    /shard_2
and the physical layout will be similar.
/dev/sda1 mounts to /
/dev/sdb1 mounts to /data
/dev/sdc1 mounts to /data/shard_1
/dev/sdd1 mounts to /data/shard_2
The advantages of this over a standard one file system approach are two fold. First, mount times and file system repair/check times are decreased, as the file systems are each smaller. Secondly, file system maintenance can be preformed on the live application with less undesirable side effects then simply taking the entire application off line. One can imagine a error rescue that displays a maintenance page when a users file share is not accessible, thereby allowing some users access to the application while other filesystems are being maintained. From a physical layer, this also allows us to do some interesting things like splitting the filesystem to different RAID arrays. We can even split out the filesystems across different RAID controllers. We can also start to explore using expensive, fast RAID arrays only where you actually need them, and use slower, less expensive disk where warranted. A more robust version of the sharding algorithm could look like
case user.name first character
    when = "abcd"
        ... use shard_abcd
    when = "efgh"
    etc...
It's logical disk layout would be
/data
    /shard_abcd
    /shard_efgh
    /shard_ijkl
    /shard_mnop
    /shard_qrst
    /shard_uvwx
    /shard_yz
It's physical layout would be similar to the first example - each shard mount would be on it's own physical device. ### Application level filesystem independence Application level filesystem independence is an architectural choice, rather then a quick fix. When you reach the point where you are considering this as an option, you have probably already implemented basic sharding. A low level discussion of how to accomplish this is beyond this paper, however we can present some ideas that we have seen work in production sites. The most basic implementation of this concept includes injecting logic into the save and load functions which call a module. This module then determines which file server it is going to talk to based on some algorithm. It then opens a socket to an application running on that server, and requests the filesystem operation via the remote application. This level of abstraction allows us to do some interesting things. Advanced implementations could include ideas like geo-ip tagging, smart synchronization and advanced request forwarding. For example, our file system agents can reside on different servers, in different data centers if we wish. We can build a peer to peer synchronization routine into the remote agents, allowing our application to spread load out amongst physical file servers and giving us easy failover and redundancy. In this case, each single asset could be written to several file servers We would use geo-ip to redirect the request to a file server closest to the requester. Often we do not want to use this on the client machines, as their location might change. We see this keyed off of application server location. Advanced request forwarding allows files not in the local store to be served up. The logic built into this idea should allow an agent to determine if it has a copy of the file in question. If it does not, it should check out a copy from the closest file server which does have a copy. This allows us to start trying and pre-cache items that the requester will need. All of these are ideas which others have implemented with varying degrees of success. ### Summary Basic web frameworks can carry a website quite a ways as far as scaling goes. Using clustered filesystems can shoulder the load further. After exhausting the capabilities of vanilla deploys of each of these, you need to look into sharding to carry your application to the next level. Filesystem sharding is a good fit for high disk IO applications.

And, we are back!

Yup - after some hair pulling, gnashing of teeth etc, we are back up and running. Woo Hoo - another lame blog.

ooh. Shiny!

Yep - shiny new look here. I think it'll make it easier to see all of the old crap laying around. Have fun, eh!

7 things

You know, I hate these "tag you're it" memes. But here goes - for the [Cuz](http://katielejoi.blogspot.com/2008/11/seven-things.html) I have not seen in years factor.

1) I am tall and old. My MySpace profile points out that I am 8'11" and 99 years old. Here is a picture of me when I was a teenager at the Worlds Fair in Saint Louis. I was on the team of crack icecreamologists who developed the waffle cone. Since I was also part of the defense contractor team who invented plastic, I actually wanted to make a wiffle cone. Taste tests, however showed that the waffle cone was far superior. So I relented on that one. However, I was able to drastically improve the plastic content of Spam.

2) The Ghost Bat (Macroderma gigas), also known as the False Vampire Bat is a bat endemic to Australia, named for the extremely thin membrane of its wings that makes it appear ghostly at night. Ghost Bats have grey fur on their backs and pale grey or white fur on their undersides. They have long, narrow wings but no tail, averaging 11 cm in length. Females are generally smaller than males. The adaptations of the ghost bats: They have large ears for long distance hearing, and very sharp teeth so they can attack prey.

3) I stole that from the wikipedia article on Ghost Bats. Seriously. You can see it right at the top of the [page](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ghost_Bat). I googled two random words, and picked a random link that came up. Well, in all probability it was not really random, as I tend to gravitate towards wikipedia for reasons unknown. It's like a glue that causes me to stick to it. Or perhaps it has lots of [little hairs](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gecko#Gecko_toes:_setae_and_van_der_Waals_forces) on it's feet.

4) I honestly believe that everything can be explained using a combination of Google and Wikipedia. Except for that one burning question. Why do we really need [hair](http://uncyclopedia.wikia.com/wiki/Nihilism)?

5) I often tell the truth.

6) I like pictures.

7) Who is this guy? I mean, really, honestly, truthfully, who is he? Is it a he? or a she? or a they? a we? I have a Wii. I do like it.

Good Stuff, Manard!

Learning Rails Free Online Course in Ruby on Rails

Good series on Rails and how to build web apps.

No time

I really have not had the time to work on anything productive except work type stuff for the last 4 or 5 months. It's amazing - when I worked at my old job, I was bored to tears - now I do not have enough time to even think - and I love it!

I have been doing a lot of thinking in regards to the upcoming election. I was sad, but not surprised when Ron Paul did not make it. He at least brought some actual conservative ideas to the debate. As I expected, the Republican Party dismissed him out of hand, and dismissed the ideas that he proposed as "silly".

Well, neo-cons - look where your ideas have gotten us over the last 8 years. It is time for a change in Washington. So, McCain does not have my vote. He seems to bring a reckless nature to the game which we really don't need. So far Obama has not done anything to dissuade me from voting for him (and no, spurious reports from Fox News do not count).

Obama's views on taxation concern me. I do agree that lowering taxes and spending more (as the current administration has done) seems to be a wee bit counterproductive. I disagree that more regulation will solve all of our woes.

We'll see how the next 40 days run. I just might be writing in Ron Paul.

Lack of Sleep

NoseGeneral lack of sleep equates to this blog moving in the near future. I don't know if I am going to care and keep the old posts and comments yet. That is in the "to be determined' category. What has been determined is that this place needs a major revamp. So, a revamping I go, a revamping I go... Yeah... Lack of sleep. Chalk it up to that, not the things hiding in the curves of the corners.

Hmmm

So, have you ever had that experience were you look up and almost 2 months has passed? It seems such a short time, but you have a hard time recalling before?

Yeah. The new job rocks. The people are all energetic and passionate. That is such a breath of fresh air. Change is embraced when it is for a positive. Opinions are actively sought out.

I told some one today that it's a lifestyle, not a job.

RailsConf Recap

So, I got to go hang out with all of the folks at RailsConf in portland this year. Way cool, lots of fun!

Highlights:

"If you think I am lying, just punch me!" - WACK - OW! (the great stripper brawl of 2008)

"Is that Bacon on that maple bar??" (asks a New Yorker)

"apparently we should use our surplus to build giant demonic penises. i mean, towers. yeah." (Via Twitter when DHH's keynote shows a slide of Dubai)

"You mean we have been following directions from someone who's nickname was Mr Magoo? WTF??" (after 23 hour trek thru downtown portland looking for a bar... any bar...)

Yeah - so bad [pictures](http://gallery.mac.com/tsykoduk#100008&view=mosaic&sel=0&bgcolor=dkgrey) have been posted, sleep has been obtained, and the trip is over.

Put me back in, coach!

I just found [this site](http://www.secondrotation.com/). Really cool concept. Read it, use it, rinse and repeat. I have a feeling that ol' Lappy is going to them soon. Shela will be getting a newer laptop soon (she wants an Air) and I need an iMac to go with my new Macbook.

Anyways... good stuff. I will report back after Lappy is sent off to the wild blue.

Big News

Well, today was my last day on the government contract. I decided to move on, and pursue a fantastic opportunity which came along. Leaving was really hard. I had worked at the same office for 5 years, and for the same agency in Spokane for 8 years. I have a lot of friends there, but it was time to move on.

I will be posting more about what I am going to be doing in the next few weeks, so stay tuned!

Happy Tax Freedom Day

So - from January 1st till yesterday, you were working for the government. Today on, according to the [Tax Foundation's](http://www.taxfoundation.org/) [report](http://www.taxfoundation.org/publications/show/93.html), you get to keep what you make. As a comparison, you had to work 114 days to pay for the Government, and only 108 for Housing, Clothes and Food.

Seem excessive?

If we run into such debts, as that we must be taxed in our meat and in our drink, in our necessaries and our comforts, in our labors and our amusements, for our callings and our creeds, as the people of England are, our people, like them, must come to labor sixteen hours in the twenty-four, give the earnings of fifteen of these to the government for their debts and daily expenses; and the sixteenth being insufficient to afford us bread, we must live, as they now do, on oatmeal and potatoes; have no time to think, no means of calling the mismanagers to account; but be glad to obtain subsistence by hiring ourselves to rivet their chains on the necks of our fellow-sufferers.

-[Thomas Jefferson](http://etext.virginia.edu/jefferson/quotations/jeff1340.htm)

What does God Believe?

[](http://www.tmcm.com/comics/tags/too+much+coffee+man/169_athe)

SyncScript

nSyncOne of the challenges where I work is keeping a near line copy of large amounts of data. Tape is to slow to restore off of, and can be a hassle since we have off site tape storage requirements. Thus SyncScript was born. It's a windows only, quick and dirty little ruby app to move about large amounts of data using a rather brute force method... Did I mention that it's windows only? You will need to have either Ruby installed or use the spiffy [AllInOneRuby](http://www.erikveen.dds.nl/allinoneruby/index.html) script to build yourself a ruby.exe. Well, let's go ahead and jump right in and look at the config.rb
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#SyncScript Config
#
# Standard ruby lang here
# so you can do things like
# if date == Friday then ....

#List backup sources here as UNC paths,
#ie \\\\myserver\\myshare

@job_name = "Daily Backup"

@sources = [
  "\\\\someserver\\someshare",
  "\\\\someotherserver\\someothershare" #,

]
You will want to give the job some pithy name, and a few sources.
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# Where do we want to store the backup?
#Do not use a trailing slash - bad things will happen



if Time.now.day.to_i % 2 != 0
  @target = "c:\\backups\\day"
else
  @target =  "e:\\backups\\day"
end
Here we are showing off some of the strength of the config file. Since it's simply a ruby file, we can use whatever ruby idioms we want - in this case, we have 2 hard drives in the target machine (c: and e:) and we want to split the backups between them for redundancy's sake. We could have simply mirrored them, but this way we get the full capacity and we still get some backup... the most we will loose is 1 day if a hard drive fails. Since this is a near line enhancement to an existing tape based system, that risk was deemed acceptable.
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#Valid types: Date, Incremental, Diff, Full, Copy

@type = 'Full'

#Rotation Scheme
# Pass how many _old_ jobs you want to keep
# If you want to keep the most recient and 4 older backups
# pass 4. That will keep a total of 5 backups (your current and 4 old)
@rotate = 2
Pretty basic stuff here. The job types work - however full is the only one tested in a production environment - YMMV. The rotate # is the number of old backups you want to keep.
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#if you want to pre-run a batch file or command line command, put it here

@prerun = nil
Yes, we can do pre-runs to clean up, or set stuff up for the backup (mapping a target drive, shutting down the AV system...)
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#Do you want crc32 validations done on all of the files after the run
#At this time, this is unimpletmented. the copy routine does a validation as it runs.

@validate = false
The crc32 is from when I was coding this as a linux app. However, that was shunted - and we use xcopy's validate function now.
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@maillist = [
  'youremailaddress@domain.com',
  'anotheremailaddress@domain.com'
]
Where do you want the reports sent to. You can go ahead and [download](http://greg.nokes.name/assets/2008/4/18/SyncScript.zip) the full app if you wish. It's fully [copyleft](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Copyleft) - please just drop me a comment if you choose to use it or a child. **update:** Just moved the code to [github](https://github.com/tsykoduk/sync_script)

Educational Quote

sterano: Whats the difference between Raid_0 and Raid_1?
Steve: In Raid_0 the zero stands for how many files you are going to get back if something goes wrong.

(From [QDB](http://bash.org/?854608))

Shadow IT Departments

The Shadow KnowsThis morning I read an interesting [article](http://www.infoworld.com/article/08/04/14/16FE-guerrilla-it_1.html) at Infoworld. It deals with the collision of paradigms between old IT and the new Infoworkers.

Here's a sobering statistic: Eighty percent of enterprise IT functions are being duplicated by folks outside of the IT department, says Hank Marquis, director of ITSM (IT systems management) consulting at Enterprise Management Associates. In other words, for every 10 people doing IT work as part of their jobs, you've got another eight "shadow IT" staffers doing it on their own.
You probably know them. They're the ones who installed their own Wi-Fi network in the break room and distribute homemade number-crunching apps to their coworkers on e-mail. They're hacking their iPhones right now to work with your company's mail servers. In short, they're walking, talking IT governance nightmares.

-[Infoworld](http://www.infoworld.com/article/08/04/14/16FE-guerrilla-it_1.html)

I would amend this - they are old IT's worst nightmare. As the article points out, they can become an organizational asset.

The reason superusers go rogue is usually frustration, says Marquis. "It's a symptom of the IT organization being unable to meet or even understand the needs of its customers," he says. "Otherwise, it wouldn't be happening."

-[Infoworld](http://www.infoworld.com/article/08/04/14/16FE-guerrilla-it_1.html)

One of the things that IT sometimes forgets in their rush to security is that IT is a tool for business. It should be an enabler, not a hindrance. Too often, old IT implements rules and regulations which stifle creativity and solutions, with out an understanding of the real world problems that the business is facing. They mean well, however they do not understand the reality of life in the trenches.

There is a fine line between rules and regulations which enable a safe environment, and rules which are a hindrance and circumvented simply to get the job done. A perfect example is a company that I once worked with. They had a rule about thumb drives (only a specific model, only with encryption turned on, etc). There was no way of using the drive with out being an admin on the workstation - as drivers need to be installed and loaded each time the device was inserted.

So, no one used thumb drives. They used CD-RW's instead. Every machine had a CD-RW drive in it (as all modern machines do) and the software loaded. It was more of a headache, but they could still move large files around. Users are smart. They tend to find ways around policies and rules if they need to.

Procedures are a tough balancing act. If they're too lax, there will be security problems. If they're too tight, people will get around them and there will be security problems.

-[Bruce Schneier](http://www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2008/04/people_and_secu.html)

One of the solutions that I have used in the past, and the Infoworld article talks about is bringing the 'superusers' into the fold. Make them part of IT in some fashion or other. The article has several good examples, and I have actually used a few in the past. But here is the skinny, IMHO...

Superusers can be a great ally. Policies are no use if they are not used. If the superusers understands why a policy is in place, and how to still use their tools in an effective manner, they can be a powerful public opinion tool. After all, if the superusers are grousing about this or that, they will bring down the collective opinion of the IT department.

"My goal is to have 100 percent of our knowledge workers be shadow IT," says Weider. "Every employee must be tech-savvy and leverage the tools provided in order for us to have any hope of achieving a return on our very expensive IT investments."

-[Infoworld](http://www.infoworld.com/article/08/04/14/16FE-guerrilla-it_1.html)

It all comes down to ROI. Organizations that have users which, via polices and training, are enabled to leverage technology will see a higher ROI. They will become agile and more entrepreneurial. They will foster creative and relevant solutions, and survive in the global marketplace.

The way I see it, an IT 'group' is an outmoded way of thinking. IT should become a decentralized, organic part of the company. As the MySpace generation enters the workforce, I think that we are going to see more and more of this. And it's a good thing.

Seen on Evil.com

We did like this one...

Seen in mail header: Free Tibet with purchase of China.

-[Evil.com](http://www.evil.com/archives/2008/200804/20080409.htm) - They Get It... Daily

Bo Knows...

I about had an aneurism when I saw this... so be warned... funny funny stuff below!

I remeber Bo from the day... but I had no idea just how bad-assed he was... observe..

(Bit HT to [Topless Robot](http://www.toplessrobot.com/2008/03/meet_the_biggest_video_game_badass_of_all_time.php)!)

Perfect Pour

One of the things that I have started to enjoy over the past year or so, is a pint of Guinness every once in a while. I just got set straight on how to pour a perfect pint, and thought that I would share the lesson...

(HT: [Guy Kawasaki](http://blog.guykawasaki.com/2008/03/the-art-of-the.html))

Checking up on stuff

*In doing some spring cleaning, I found this old article from years past. Enjoy!* If you work in networking, you probably want to be notified when something crashes, looses connection or just generally goes T.U. Enter, Condor NG! Condor NG is a simple shell script used by yours truly to monitor my work network. It's light, easy and just plain works. There are only two config files, the Site file (site.cfg) and the Mail file (mail.cfg). site.cfg should have a list of host names to check, one per line. As many as you want. mail.cfg should have the email addresses that you want to send reports to, one per line. The rest assumes that we are installed into /belfry with a /belfry/tmp and /belfry/log - change as needed. You can change that under defines in the script. If you want it to email you (or text your cell phone thru the email interface - check with your provider for details if you do not know how) you will need to set the mailgate define to the host name of your mail gateway. If not, set mailgate to localhost, so it will not think that the entire world has crashed. Use cron to schedule (I run it every five minutes) **Update 10/17/2010: **Check out the updated code on [GitHub](http://github.com/tsykoduk/CondorNG)!
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<span class="c">#!/bin/sh</span><tt>
</tt><span class="c">#set -x</span><tt>
</tt><span class="c"># Code (c) Greg Nokes under GPL 2 or later</span><tt>
</tt><span class="c"># greg (at) nokes (dot) name</span><tt>
</tt><span class="c">#Pinger 2.0a GNokes 10/7/05. Took original code, cleaned up.</span><tt>
</tt><span class="c">#</span><tt>
</tt><span class="c">#</span><tt>
</tt><span class="c">#3.0.1 10/18/05 added mail.cfg and re-wrote callhome() to use it; also cleaned up code a wee bit</span><tt>
</tt><span class="c">#3.0.2 10/18/05 removed path from config files</span><tt>
</tt><span class="c">#3.0.3 10/18/05 readded path to config files</span><tt>
</tt><span class="c">#</span><tt>
</tt><span class="c">#3.1.1 10/19/05 removed two call homes - program only calls home when host is down, comes up.</span><tt>
</tt><span class="c">#3.2 10/31/05 Need to follow one email directive</span><tt>
</tt><span class="c">#3.3 11/02/05 Need to have email sent only after host down on second cycle; added safteynet</span><tt>
</tt><span class="c">#3.3.1 11/03/05 Added MAILGATE, changed all paths to belfry. Moved exectution to belfry.</span><tt>
</tt><span class="c">###########</span><tt>
</tt><span class="c"># Defines #</span><tt>
</tt><span class="c">###########</span><tt>
</tt><span class="co">BASE</span>=<span class="rx"><span class="dl">/</span><span class="k">bin</span><span class="dl">/</span></span><tt>
</tt><span class="co">TEMP</span>=<span class="rx"><span class="dl">/</span><span class="k">belfry</span><span class="dl">/</span></span>tmp/condor.tmp<tt>
</tt><span class="co">LOG</span>=<span class="rx"><span class="dl">/</span><span class="k">belfry</span><span class="dl">/</span></span>log/condor.log<tt>
</tt><span class="co">TRACK</span>=<span class="rx"><span class="dl">/</span><span class="k">belfry</span><span class="dl">/</span></span>log/condordown.log<tt>
</tt><span class="co">SITE</span>=<span class="sh"><span class="dl">`</span><span class="k">cat /belfry/condorNG/site.cfg</span><span class="dl">`</span></span><tt>
</tt><span class="co">TOAST</span>=<span class="rx"><span class="dl">/</span><span class="k">belfry</span><span class="dl">/</span></span>tmp/condor.toast<tt>
</tt><span class="co">ML</span>=<span class="sh"><span class="dl">`</span><span class="k">cat /belfry/condorNG/mail.cfg</span><span class="dl">`</span></span><tt>
</tt><span class="co">RPT</span>=<span class="rx"><span class="dl">/</span><span class="k">belfry</span><span class="dl">/</span></span>tmp/condor.rpt<tt>
</tt><span class="co">MAILGATE</span>=<tt>
</tt><span class="c">#############</span><tt>
</tt><span class="c"># Functions #</span><tt>
</tt><span class="c">#############</span><tt>
</tt><span class="c"># All of my functions go here</span><tt>
</tt><span class="co">PING</span> ()<tt>
</tt>{<tt>
</tt><span class="c"># Do Pinging and write to Logfile</span><tt>
</tt><span class="c"># Also check for previous down state, ignore if site was up</span><tt>
</tt><span class="c"># callhome with down if site down, callhome with up if site came back up</span><tt>
</tt> <tt>
</tt><span class="r">for</span> i <span class="r">in</span> <span class="gv">$SITE</span><tt>
</tt><span class="r">do</span><tt>
</tt><span class="r">if</span> ! ping -c <span class="i">3</span> -w <span class="i">5</span> <span class="gv">$i</span>><span class="rx"><span class="dl">/</span><span class="k">dev</span><span class="dl">/</span><span class="mod">nu</span></span>ll<tt>
</tt><span class="r">then</span><tt>
</tt>echo <span class="gv">$i</span><span class="sy">:noping</span><tt>
</tt>printf <span class="s"><span class="dl">"</span><span class="k">Host:</span><span class="ch">\t</span><span class="k">Down</span><span class="ch">\t</span><span class="k">$i</span><span class="ch">\t</span><span class="k">$(date)</span><span class="ch">\n</span><span class="dl">"</span></span>>><span class="gv">$LOG</span><tt>
</tt><span class="r">if</span> [ -e <span class="s"><span class="dl">"</span><span class="k">/tmp/$i.ping.dropped</span><span class="dl">"</span></span> ]<tt>
</tt><span class="r">then</span><tt>
</tt>echo <span class="gv">$i</span><span class="sy">:down</span><tt>
</tt><span class="co">CALLHOME</span> <span class="gv">$i</span> <span class="co">Down</span><tt>
</tt>rm <span class="rx"><span class="dl">/</span><span class="k">tmp</span><span class="dl">/</span></span><span class="gv">$i</span>.ping*<tt>
</tt>touch <span class="rx"><span class="dl">/</span><span class="k">tmp</span><span class="dl">/</span></span><span class="gv">$i</span>.ping.no<tt>
</tt>printf <span class="s"><span class="dl">"</span><span class="k">Host:</span><span class="ch">\t</span><span class="k">Down</span><span class="ch">\t</span><span class="k">$i</span><span class="ch">\t</span><span class="k">$(date)</span><span class="ch">\n</span><span class="dl">"</span></span>>><span class="gv">$TRACK</span><tt>
</tt>elif [ -e <span class="s"><span class="dl">"</span><span class="k">/tmp/$i.ping.yes</span><span class="dl">"</span></span> ]<tt>
</tt><span class="r">then</span><tt>
</tt>echo <span class="gv">$i</span><span class="sy">:dropped</span><tt>
</tt>rm <span class="rx"><span class="dl">/</span><span class="k">tmp</span><span class="dl">/</span></span><span class="gv">$i</span>.ping*<tt>
</tt>touch <span class="rx"><span class="dl">/</span><span class="k">tmp</span><span class="dl">/</span></span><span class="gv">$i</span>.ping.drop<tt>
</tt>printf <span class="s"><span class="dl">"</span><span class="k">Host:</span><span class="ch">\t</span><span class="k">Dropped</span><span class="ch">\t</span><span class="k">$i</span><span class="ch">\t</span><span class="k">$(date)</span><span class="ch">\n</span><span class="dl">"</span></span>>><span class="gv">$TRACK</span><tt>
</tt><span class="r">else</span><tt>
</tt>echo <span class="gv">$i</span><span class="sy">:dropped</span><tt>
</tt>rm <span class="rx"><span class="dl">/</span><span class="k">tmp</span><span class="dl">/</span></span><span class="gv">$i</span>.ping*<tt>
</tt>touch <span class="rx"><span class="dl">/</span><span class="k">tmp</span><span class="dl">/</span></span><span class="gv">$i</span>.ping.drop<tt>
</tt>printf <span class="s"><span class="dl">"</span><span class="k">Host:</span><span class="ch">\t</span><span class="k">Dropped</span><span class="ch">\t</span><span class="k">$i</span><span class="ch">\t</span><span class="k">$(date)</span><span class="ch">\n</span><span class="dl">"</span></span>>><span class="gv">$TRACK</span><tt>
</tt>fi<tt>
</tt><span class="r">else</span><tt>
</tt><span class="r">if</span> [ -e <span class="s"><span class="dl">"</span><span class="k">/tmp/$i.ping.no</span><span class="dl">"</span></span> ]<tt>
</tt><span class="r">then</span><tt>
</tt>echo <span class="gv">$i</span><span class="sy">:back</span><tt>
</tt><span class="co">CALLHOME</span> <span class="gv">$i</span> <span class="co">Up</span><tt>
</tt>printf <span class="s"><span class="dl">"</span><span class="k">Host:</span><span class="ch">\t</span><span class="k">Up</span><span class="ch">\t</span><span class="k">$i</span><span class="ch">\t</span><span class="k">$(date)</span><span class="ch">\n</span><span class="dl">"</span></span>>><span class="gv">$TRACK</span><tt>
</tt>printf <span class="s"><span class="dl">"</span><span class="k">Host:</span><span class="ch">\t</span><span class="k">Up</span><span class="ch">\t</span><span class="k">$i</span><span class="ch">\t</span><span class="k">$(date)</span><span class="ch">\n</span><span class="dl">"</span></span>>><span class="gv">$LOG</span><tt>
</tt>elif [ -e <span class="s"><span class="dl">"</span><span class="k">/tmp/$i.ping.drop</span><span class="dl">"</span></span> ]<tt>
</tt><span class="r">then</span><tt>
</tt>echo <span class="gv">$i</span><span class="sy">:back</span><tt>
</tt>printf <span class="s"><span class="dl">"</span><span class="k">Host:</span><span class="ch">\t</span><span class="k">Up</span><span class="ch">\t</span><span class="k">$i</span><span class="ch">\t</span><span class="k">$(date)</span><span class="ch">\n</span><span class="dl">"</span></span>>><span class="gv">$LOG</span><tt>
</tt>printf <span class="s"><span class="dl">"</span><span class="k">Host:</span><span class="ch">\t</span><span class="k">Up</span><span class="ch">\t</span><span class="k">$i</span><span class="ch">\t</span><span class="k">$(date)</span><span class="ch">\n</span><span class="dl">"</span></span>>><span class="gv">$TRACK</span><tt>
</tt>elif [ -e <span class="s"><span class="dl">"</span><span class="k">/tmp/$i.ping.yes</span><span class="dl">"</span></span> ]<tt>
</tt><span class="r">then</span><tt>
</tt>printf <span class="s"><span class="dl">"</span><span class="k">Host:</span><span class="ch">\t</span><span class="ch">\t</span><span class="k">$i</span><span class="ch">\t</span><span class="k">$(date)</span><span class="ch">\n</span><span class="dl">"</span></span>>><span class="gv">$LOG</span><tt>
</tt>fi<tt>
</tt>echo <span class="gv">$i</span><span class="sy">:pingcheck</span><tt>
</tt>rm <span class="rx"><span class="dl">/</span><span class="k">tmp</span><span class="dl">/</span></span><span class="gv">$i</span>.ping*<tt>
</tt>touch <span class="rx"><span class="dl">/</span><span class="k">tmp</span><span class="dl">/</span></span><span class="gv">$i</span>.ping.yes<tt>
</tt>fi<tt>
</tt>done<tt>
</tt>}<tt>
</tt> <tt>
</tt><span class="co">CALLHOME</span> ()<tt>
</tt>{<tt>
</tt><span class="c">#Build the Report</span><tt>
</tt> <tt>
</tt>printf <span class="s"><span class="dl">"</span><span class="k">$1 $2</span><span class="ch">\n</span><span class="dl">"</span></span>>> <span class="gv">$RPT</span><tt>
</tt> <tt>
</tt>}<tt>
</tt> <tt>
</tt><span class="co">MAILER</span> ()<tt>
</tt>{<tt>
</tt><span class="c"># Check to see if we can get to the gateway</span><tt>
</tt><span class="r">if</span> ping -c <span class="i">6</span> -w <span class="i">10</span> <span class="gv">$MAILGATE</span>><span class="rx"><span class="dl">/</span><span class="k">dev</span><span class="dl">/</span><span class="mod">nu</span></span>ll<tt>
</tt><span class="r">then</span><tt>
</tt><span class="c">#Yup - proceed</span><tt>
</tt><span class="r">for</span> m <span class="r">in</span> <span class="gv">$ML</span><tt>
</tt><span class="r">do</span><tt>
</tt>cat <span class="gv">$RPT</span> | mail -s <span class="s"><span class="dl">"</span><span class="k">Condor Report</span><span class="dl">"</span></span> <span class="gv">$m</span><tt>
</tt>done<tt>
</tt><span class="r">else</span><tt>
</tt><span class="c"># Uh-oh. We have a problem!</span><tt>
</tt><span class="c"># In a perfect world we would dial out with a modem</span><tt>
</tt>printf <span class="s"><span class="dl">"</span><span class="k">ALERT ALERT ALERT ALERT ALERT $(date) CANNOT SEND MAIL</span><span class="ch">\n</span><span class="dl">"</span></span>>><span class="gv">$LOG</span><tt>
</tt>printf <span class="s"><span class="dl">"</span><span class="k">ALERT ALERT ALERT ALERT ALERT $(date) CANNOT SEND MAIL</span><span class="ch">\n</span><span class="dl">"</span></span>>><span class="gv">$TRACK</span><tt>
</tt><span class="c"># Write a temp file so we can tell next cycle that we had a problem</span><tt>
</tt>touch <span class="gv">$TOAST</span><tt>
</tt> <tt>
</tt>fi<tt>
</tt> <tt>
</tt>}<tt>
</tt> <tt>
</tt><span class="co">MCP</span> ()<tt>
</tt>{<tt>
</tt> <tt>
</tt><span class="c"># Master Control Program</span><tt>
</tt> <tt>
</tt><span class="c"># Initial housekeeping</span><tt>
</tt>mv <span class="gv">$TEMP</span> /tmp/condor2.tmp<tt>
</tt>touch <span class="gv">$TEMP</span>><span class="rx"><span class="dl">/</span><span class="k">dev</span><span class="dl">/</span><span class="mod">nu</span></span>ll<tt>
</tt><span class="c"># We need to create the file, so the delete does not throw an error</span><tt>
</tt>touch <span class="gv">$RPT</span><tt>
</tt>rm <span class="gv">$RPT</span>><span class="rx"><span class="dl">/</span><span class="k">dev</span><span class="dl">/</span><span class="mod">nu</span></span>ll<tt>
</tt> <tt>
</tt><span class="c"># Write cool line to log</span><tt>
</tt>echo <span class="s"><span class="dl">"</span><span class="k"> =========================================================================</span><span class="dl">"</span></span>>> <span class="gv">$LOG</span><tt>
</tt> <tt>
</tt><span class="c"># Run Ping Checks on all target hosts</span><tt>
</tt><span class="co">PING</span><tt>
</tt> <tt>
</tt><span class="c"># Did we have a major problem last cycle?</span><tt>
</tt><span class="r">if</span> [ -e <span class="s"><span class="dl">"</span><span class="k">$TOAST</span><span class="dl">"</span></span> ]<tt>
</tt><span class="r">then</span><tt>
</tt>printf <span class="s"><span class="dl">"</span><span class="k">ALERT ALERT ALERT ALERT ALERT $(date) Main Site BACK!!</span><span class="ch">\n</span><span class="dl">"</span></span>>><span class="gv">$RPT</span><tt>
</tt>rm <span class="rx"><span class="dl">/</span><span class="k">tmp</span><span class="dl">/</span><span class="mod">s</span></span>pokane.toast<tt>
</tt>fi<tt>
</tt> <tt>
</tt><span class="c"># If we have something to report, then send it off</span><tt>
</tt><span class="r">if</span> [ -e <span class="s"><span class="dl">"</span><span class="k">$RPT</span><span class="dl">"</span></span> ]<tt>
</tt><span class="r">then</span><tt>
</tt><span class="co">MAILER</span><tt>
</tt>fi<tt>
</tt>}<tt>
</tt> <tt>
</tt><span class="c">###########</span><tt>
</tt><span class="c"># Program #</span><tt>
</tt><span class="c">###########</span><tt>
</tt> <tt>
</tt><span class="co">MCP</span>>> <span class="gv">$TEMP</span><tt>
</tt>

Black Holes, Stranglets and Oh My!

The builders of the world’s biggest particle collider are being sued in federal court over fears that the experiment might create globe-gobbling black holes or never-before-seen strains of matter that would destroy the planet.
This is serious. Globe Gobbling Black Holes? Destruction of the Planet? Stop the Presses!

[Amazing Image](http://deanreevesii.deviantart.com/art/An-Earth-Shattering-Experience-146786821?q=gallery%3Adeanreevesii%2F23937479&qo=0) © 2008 [Dean Reeves](http://www.deanreevesii.com) II

(from [MSNBC](http://cosmiclog.msnbc.msn.com/archive/2008/03/27/823924.aspx))
The Large Hadron Collider, or LHC, is due for startup later this year at CERN’s headquarters on the French-Swiss border. It’s expected to tackle some of the deepest questions in science: Is the foundation of modern physics right or wrong? What existed during the very first moment of the universe’s existence? Why do some particles have mass while others don’t? What is the nature of dark matter? Are there extra dimensions of space out there that we haven’t yet detected?
Ok, so we have Big Science being done… but where are the black holes?
Former nuclear safety officer Walter Wagner has been raising such questions for years - first about an earlier-generation “big bang machine” known as the Relativistic Heavy-Ion Collider, and more recently about the LHC. Last Friday, Wagner and another critic of the LHC’s safety measures, Luis Sancho, filed a lawsuit in Hawaii’s U.S. District Court. The suit calls on the U.S. Department of Energy, Fermilab, the National Science Foundation and CERN to ease up on their LHC preparations for several months while the collider’s safety was reassessed.
Ahhh… I start to see the light. Silly people, science is Good! Honestly, (as the article discusses) the interaction between Cosmic Rays and the upper atmosphere is higher energy then this little dinky thing. After all, I seem to recall (but cannot find a citiation for) there was a fear that the first Fusion Bomb would cause a chain reaction and blow up the world’s oceans. Some level of prudent care must be taken, but I doubt that these scientists **want** to blow up or implode the planet. Here’s to the LHC providing us with lots of years of cool stuff to come!

Passing of another Giant

Sir Arthur C. Clarke, who peered into the heavens with a homemade telescope as a boy and grew up to become a visionary titan of science fiction best-known for collaborating with director Stanley Kubrick in writing the landmark film "2001: A Space Odyssey," has died. He was 90.

-[LA Times](http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-clarke19mar19,0,393161.story)

Console Ninja'ry

In an ever misguided attempt to reorginize this blog, I decided that I had far too many sections. I wanted to use tags more, and sections less. But that left me with the following question - how to move the articles around? Should I do it by hand? Na....

So, the first task to tackle was to make sure that the existing section structure was migrated over to tags.

I cobbled together this little hunk of code

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sections = <span class="co">Sections</span>.find(<span class="sy">:all</span>)<tt>
</tt><span class="r">for</span> sect <span class="r">in</span> sections<tt>
</tt>  arts = sect.articles<tt>
</tt>  <span class="r">for</span> art <span class="r">in</span> arts<tt>
</tt>    art.tag = sect.name<tt>
</tt>    art.save<tt>
</tt>  <span class="r">end</span><tt>
</tt><span class="r">end</span>

This will parse all of the articles in the database, and add a tag for each section that they belong to.

Second was how to move the articles around...

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sect = <span class="co">Section</span>.find_by_name(<span class="s"><span class="dl">"</span><span class="k">old_section_name</span><span class="dl">"</span></span>)<tt>
</tt>new_sect = <span class="co">Section</span>.find_by_name(<span class="s"><span class="dl">"</span><span class="k">new_section_name</span><span class="dl">"</span></span>)<tt>
</tt>arts = sect.articles<tt>
</tt><span class="r">for</span> art <span class="r">in</span> arts<tt>
</tt>  <span class="r">if</span> art.sections.include? new_sect<tt>
</tt>    art.sections.delete sect<tt>
</tt>  <span class="r">else</span><tt>
</tt>    art.sections << new_sect<tt>
</tt>    art.sections.delete sect<tt>
</tt>  <span class="r">end</span><tt>
</tt>  art.save<tt>
</tt><span class="r">end</span>

Since it's not really an automatable choice, I plugged the correct values in for old_section_name and new_section_name and allowed it to move stuff where I wanted it. Viola, 20 sections down to 4.

Archive in Mephisto

So, I could not find this anywhere - at least not detailed out enough for my small brain. Here is a short how-to on creating monthly archives in Mephisto, using Liquid....

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**5**
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<span class="ta"><h1></span>Archives<span class="ta"></h1></span><tt>
</tt>      {% if section.months.size <span class="er">></span> 0 %}<tt>
</tt>        <span class="ta"><ul></span><tt>
</tt>        {% for month in section.months %}<tt>
</tt>          <span class="ta"><li></span><span class="ta"><a</span> <span class="an">href</span>=<span class="s"><span class="dl">"</span><span class="k">{{ section | monthly_url: month }}</span><span class="dl">"</span></span><span class="ta">></span><tt>
</tt>                    {{ month | format_date: 'my' }} <tt>
</tt>                    <span class="ta"><strong></span><span class="en">&#187;</span><span class="ta"></strong></span> <tt>
</tt>                     {{ section | monthly_articles: month | size }}<span class="ta"></a></span><span class="ta"></li></span><tt>
</tt>        {% endfor %}<tt>
</tt>        <span class="ta"></ul></span><tt>
</tt>      {% endif %}
Pretty slick - it took me a bit of digging to find all of this stuff and put it together.

Dell vs Apple

Doctor!




Scary Story

"I have opponents in this race who do not want to change the Constitution," Huckabee told a Michigan audience on Monday. "But I believe it's a lot easier to change the Constitution than it would be to change the word of the living god. And that's what we need to do -  to amend the Constitution so it's in God's standards rather than try to change God's standards so it lines up with some contemporary view."
—[Mike Huckabee](http://rawstory.com/news/2007/Huckabee_Amend_Constitution_to_meet_Gods_0115.html)

Short, and too the point

Government big enough to supply everything you need is big enough to take everything you have ... The course of history shows that as a government grows, liberty decreases.
-Thomas Jefferson

Ron Paul on Taxes

The Founding Fathers did not have this current state of taxation in mind when the high taxes of England drove them to rebellion and the creation of our nation.

-[Ron Paul](http://www.ronpaul2008.com) in his [Texas Straight Talk column, March 20, 1997](http://www.house.gov/paul/tst/tst97/tst032097.htm)

My query is: How much have taxes gone up since then?

A breath of fresh air

But Mr. Gibson withdrew whenever the discussions grew heated. And by not intervening more forcefully early on in the Republican debate, he allowed much of their discussion to remain staid and uninformative — Representative Ron Paul, of all candidates, dominated the foreign policy debate.

-[NYTimes: He Came, and He Saw, but Did He Moderate?](http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/06/us/politics/06watch.html?_r=1&oref=slogin)

The other Republican candidates seem out of touch with reality. Rudy Giuliani actually said that the past US Foreign policy had nothing to do with the 9/11 attacks. True, they were carried out by people with a choice; however our foreign policy in the region never has been one that thought of the people in the region. Rather we have sought outcomes which serve our interests, at the detriment of the people. And we wonder why the people of the Middle East dislike the United States. We have used these people for years as pawns in our grand game of world domination. And, now the bill for our misbehavior is coming due.

This philosophy of a 'Just War' that has been bandied about for the last few years is deeply flawed. Any unprovoked aggressive action is not just. Bullets and Bombs do not spread democracy , they spread hate. Think about it this way. If Iran were to bomb us, invade us, occupy us and tell us that we had to install a Islamic government, how would we react?

And yet, the warmongers in Washington keep bombing, invading and occupying other countries, and expecting them to suddenly become a 'democratic' country. Or, we get an election, and if the people elected are not the ones we want, we take actions which harm the people on the street.

A perfect example of this flawed policy is Palestine. They had a free and fair election. They elected the party that they believed in. We pulled all aid (which has been propping up their economy for decades). Their country crumbled; there were riots, civilian deaths, and street warfare. How is this fair? How does this engender the person on the street to the US?

We simply have to stop interfering in the internal affairs of other countries. We need to stop propping up governments that are expedient to our short term aims, and start to truly spread freedom by example. We need to become world leaders again, instead of bullies.

Whether the United States was trying to keep the shah of Iran in power or trying to prevent the rise of Arab nationalism and nonalignment, its policy was a blunt instrument applied presumptuously to subtle and complicated problems. One journalist has likened it to playing pool with a 20-foot cue stick. It would have been a miracle had the result not been chronic turmoil. The impracticality of the policy would have been a stumbling block even if the United States had not been on the side of injustice.

Cato: "Ancient History": U.S. Conduct in the Middle East Since World War II and the Folly of Intervention

It's time to back away from brinkmanship and interventionist policy. It's clear that it has not worked , the last 50 years of history have show that beyond that a shadow of a doubt. If we are to shake the image of a bully, and regain our good standing in the world, we must become a force for positivism rather then negativism.

NYSE Goes Linux!

[](http://ars.userfriendly.org/cartoons/?id=20071216)

Spokane RP Folks

New Aim

In order to get the 'juices flowing' I am to post at least one thing a da.... week. Yup. A week.

In that mindset..

American Pie

The King is dead, long live the King

So, with this [article](http://weblog.rubyonrails.com/2007/11/29/rails-2-0-release-candidate-2), Rails 2.0 is almost on us.

I am starting a new F/OSS project as basically the lead developer (until we get some one better). I had about 2 or 3 hours of work into it, found this article, and decided to scrap all of the work and build with rails 2.

I plan on documenting the changes and cool things that I find here...

Surreal is as Surreal does

New version of spam filtering

I actually think that this [project](http://stupidfilter.org) is going to have some really good uses. I will have to look at porting it to Ruby and Mephisto when they release code.

snicker

One for the geeks out there.

-[xkcd](http://xkcd.com/327/)

End of an Era

I cut my teeth on NetWare 3.1x servers oh so many years ago. So this announcement is bitter-sweet

Novell's long journey from NetWare to Linux is finally complete. On Oct. 8, Novell released Open Enterprise Server 2 to its customers worldwide. Shortly after acquiring SUSE and its enterprise-focused Linux distribution, Novell announced that its follow-on to NetWare 6.5 would ship as a set of network services that could run atop the NetWare and the Linux kernel, OES 1.0. OES, which began shipping in April 2005, was the first major step in Novell moving NetWare's services from its native operating system to Linux. Now, with OES 2.0, the NetWare operating system kernel, NetWare 6.5 SP7, is still there if you run it, but it runs on top of the Xen hypervisor. You can also run the NetWare services, or a para-virtualized instance of NetWare, on top of Xen with the SLES 10 SP 1 kernel. So, if you're wedded to NetWare and its way of doing things, you don't have to wave good-bye to it.

-[OSNews](http://www.osnews.com/story.php/18746/Good-Bye-NetWare-Hello-Linux-Novell-Open-Enterprise-2.0/)

I have felt that NetWare needed a fork stuck in it for quite a few years now. I moved away from using it day to day about 4 or 5 years ago. Don't get me wrong, I administer 10 or 12 NetWare 6.5 servers, however I can count on one hand the number of times I have had to do anything with them this year, other the change users passwords and reload the backup program.

I guess that was one of the nice things about NetWare. It just ran. It was the best file and print server at the time, bar none. However, now I would prefer to run a CUPS server and Netatalk/Samba for my print and file services. Really, the only thing that I miss is the file system rights and IRF's. Their rights system was clean, easy, and very very powerful. Not a combination that one sees often.

AD vs Ruby vs Me

So, I was tasked to create a authentication system for one of the apps that I wrote a while back at work. I had written the application in Ruby on Rails, and we use Microsoft's Active Directory for network authentication. Taking pity on the users of my application, I decided to do some research and see if I could bump my authentication vs the AD LDAP server. This is what I came up with...

First things first - we need to add the secret sauce to the model which will allow use to connect to a LDAP server. We want to add the following function to the model that handles your users. We also need to add a require 'ldap' to the model, before the class definition. You also want to define AD_DOMAIN_NAME to be what ever the domain that your users will be logging into.

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  attr_accessor <span class="sy">:password</span><tt>
</tt>  <tt>
</tt>  <span class="r">def</span> <span class="pc">self</span>.login(login, password, host)<tt>
</tt>    <span class="r">begin</span><tt>
</tt>      <span class="r">if</span> password.nil? || password == <span class="s"><span class="dl">"</span><span class="dl">"</span></span> || login.nil? || login == <span class="s"><span class="dl">"</span><span class="dl">"</span></span><tt>
</tt>        <span class="r">return</span> <span class="pc">false</span><tt>
</tt>      <span class="r">else</span><tt>
</tt>        conn = <span class="co">LDAP</span>::<span class="co">Conn</span>.new(host, <span class="i">389</span>)<tt>
</tt>        conn.set_option(<span class="co">LDAP</span>::<span class="co">LDAP_OPT_PROTOCOL_VERSION</span>, <span class="i">3</span> )<tt>
</tt>        fulllogin = <span class="co">AD_DOMAIN_NAME</span> + login<tt>
</tt>        conn.bind(fulllogin, password)<tt>
</tt>        <span class="r">if</span> conn.err == <span class="i">0</span><tt>
</tt>          conn.unbind<tt>
</tt>          <span class="r">return</span> <span class="pc">true</span><tt>
</tt>        <span class="r">else</span><tt>
</tt>          conn.unbind<tt>
</tt>          <span class="r">return</span> <span class="pc">false</span><tt>
</tt>        <span class="r">end</span><tt>
</tt>      <span class="r">end</span><tt>
</tt>      <tt>
</tt>    <span class="r">rescue</span><tt>
</tt>      <span class="r">return</span> <span class="pc">false</span><tt>
</tt>    <span class="r">end</span><tt>
</tt>  <tt>
</tt>  <span class="r">end</span>

I also added the following to allow me to create the basic user skeleton with out the validations running on it.

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  <span class="r">def</span> <span class="fu">build</span><tt>
</tt>      <span class="pc">self</span>.save(<span class="pc">false</span>)<tt>
</tt>  <span class="r">end</span>

I did not want the users passwords to be recorded in the log files, so we need to add this to the application controller


   filter_parameter_logging <span class="sy">:password</span>

Now, we need to add some code to the controller which controls your users and their authentication. I use the following

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  <span class="r">def</span> <span class="fu">authenticate</span><tt>
</tt>   temp = params[<span class="sy">:login</span>]<tt>
</tt>   <span class="r">if</span> <span class="co">User</span>.login(temp[<span class="sy">:userid</span>], temp[<span class="sy">:password</span>], <span class="co">LDAP_SERVER</span>)<tt>
</tt>     <span class="r">if</span> <span class="iv">@user</span> = <span class="co">User</span>.find_by_userid(temp[<span class="sy">:userid</span>].downcase)<tt>
</tt>       <span class="iv">@user</span>.last_login = <span class="co">Time</span>.now<tt>
</tt>       <span class="iv">@user</span>.save<tt>
</tt>       session[<span class="sy">:id</span>] = <span class="iv">@user</span>.id<tt>
</tt>       flash[<span class="sy">:notice</span>] = <span class="s"><span class="dl">'</span><span class="k">Login Successful! <br/> Welcome back, </span><span class="dl">'</span></span> + <span class="iv">@user</span>.firstname<tt>
</tt>       session[<span class="sy">:timeout</span>] = <span class="co">Time</span>.now<tt>
</tt>       redirect_to <span class="sy">:controller</span> => <span class="s"><span class="dl">'</span><span class="k">tickets</span><span class="dl">'</span></span>, <span class="sy">:action</span> => <span class="s"><span class="dl">'</span><span class="k">new</span><span class="dl">'</span></span><tt>
</tt>     <span class="r">else</span><tt>
</tt>       <span class="iv">@newuser</span> = <span class="co">User</span>.new<tt>
</tt>       <span class="iv">@newuser</span>.userid = temp[<span class="sy">:userid</span>].downcase<tt>
</tt>       <span class="iv">@newuser</span>.last_login = <span class="co">Time</span>.now<tt>
</tt>       session[<span class="sy">:timeout</span>] = <span class="co">Time</span>.now<tt>
</tt>       <span class="r">if</span> <span class="iv">@newuser</span>.build<tt>
</tt>         session[<span class="sy">:id</span>] = <span class="iv">@newuser</span>.id<tt>
</tt>         flash[<span class="sy">:notice</span>] = <span class="s"><span class="dl">'</span><span class="k">Please update your information</span><span class="dl">'</span></span><tt>
</tt>         redirect_to <span class="sy">:action</span> => <span class="s"><span class="dl">"</span><span class="k">myaccount</span><span class="dl">"</span></span><tt>
</tt>       <span class="r">else</span><tt>
</tt>         flash[<span class="sy">:warning</span>] = <span class="s"><span class="dl">'</span><span class="k">Error saving your account information</span><span class="dl">'</span></span><tt>
</tt>         reset_session()<tt>
</tt>         redirect_to <span class="sy">:controller</span> => <span class="s"><span class="dl">'</span><span class="k">users</span><span class="dl">'</span></span>, <span class="sy">:action</span> => <span class="s"><span class="dl">'</span><span class="k">index</span><span class="dl">'</span></span><tt>
</tt>      <span class="r">end</span><tt>
</tt>    <span class="r">end</span><tt>
</tt>   <span class="r">else</span><tt>
</tt>     flash[<span class="sy">:warning</span>] = <span class="s"><span class="dl">'</span><span class="k">Login Failed! Please verify your user ID and password and try again</span><span class="dl">'</span></span><tt>
</tt>     redirect_to <span class="sy">:action</span> => <span class="s"><span class="dl">'</span><span class="k">login</span><span class="dl">'</span></span><tt>
</tt>  <span class="r">end</span> <tt>
</tt> <span class="r">end</span>

What does this mess do? Let's look at it.

First we assume that we have a form already hooked up to this function. When we call this, we assume that we have been passed 2 values, userid and password. We assume that we have defined LDAP_SERVER = "your_server" some where else in the controller.

So, first things, we pass the user name and password to the model and attempt to authenticate. We check to assure that none of the fields are blank. The line if password.nil? || password == "" || login.nil? || login == "" takes care of this, and we pass a false value back to the calling function if any of it is true.

Next, we need to set up the connection to the LDAP server conn = LDAP::Conn.new(host, 389) and conn.set_option(LDAP::LDAP_OPT_PROTOCOL_VERSION, 3 ) takes care of this. Assuming that everything works, we now have a good connection to the LDAP server. You can test this assumption with conn.bound? (for example, from the console).

We need to pass the user name and password to the connection and see if we get a positive result from the resultant credentials check. fulllogin = AD_DOMAIN_NAME + login formats the ad domain name and user name correctly, and then conn.bind(fulllogin, password) sends the credentials off to the LDAP server. It will pause, and then return the LDAP object.

This is all well and good, but did we log in? if conn.err == 0 checks the error code returned when we tried to authenticate. If we have anything other then 0, we had problems, so we toss a false back up to the calling function. If we get a 0 back, then we toss a true back up to calling function and press on.

Let's assume that we get a true back in the controller. So, the user has provided AD a good user name and password. We might have some information that we want to cache locally in the application for performance reasons. For example, I cache the users email address, first name and last name. I made a design choice to keep my applications interaction with AD as little as possible, so I do not pull that information from it.

If the controller can find a user record with the same user name as the user name which was provided, we press on. If not, we pop the user over to their 'My Account' page and force them to fill out a form which captures the data that we need.

We then save that data to the local database. Auto populating the database with information from AD is left to the gentle reader.

Yeah!

After the success of the transformers movie, it looks like a really good Giant Robot franchise is coming back.

Spider-Man star Tobey Maguire will produce and may star in a film based on the classic SF anime Robotech, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Warner Brothers Pictures picked up the rights to Robotech, which features giant robots known as mechas. Maguire is producing through his Maguire Entertainment banner and is eyeing the lead role in what the studio plans as an SF franchise a la Paramount's hit Transformers.

Drew Crevello also is producing through his Supercool Hollywood BigTime Productions. Craig Zahler has been tapped to write the screenplay.

Robotech was a cartoon series during the 1980s from Harmony Gold USA and Tatsunoko Productions. It was re-edited and re-dialogued to combine three Japanese anime series to give the producers enough episodes to air as a daily syndicated series.

Robotech takes place at a time when Earth has developed giant robots from the technology on an alien spacecraft that crashed on a South Pacific isle. Mankind is forced to use the technology to fend off three successive waves of alien invasions. The first invasion concerns a battle with a race of giant warriors who seek to retrieve their flagship's energy source, known as "protoculture," and the planet's survival ends up in the hands of two young pilots

-[SciFi Wire](http://www.scifi.com/scifiwire/index.php?id=43915)

Sorted...

[](http://www.thealmightyguru.com/reviews/harrypotter/docs/quiz-house.html" style="text-decoration:none;border:none;)
[Which Hogwarts house will you be sorted into?](http://www.thealmightyguru.com/reviews/harrypotter/docs/quiz-house.html" style="text-decoration:none;border:none;)

(HT: [Pawprints](http://blog.360.yahoo.com/blog-GgIvRtgic6OBSZQ8afCXKPDTJVDV?p=488))

Inefficiency is good

The only thing that saves us from the bureaucracy is inefficiency. An efficient bureaucracy is the greatest threat to liberty.
Being in politics is like being a football coach. You have to be smart enough to understand the game, and dumb enough to think it's important.
One thing about a pig, he thinks he's warm if his nose is warm. I saw a bunch of pigs one time that had frozen together in a rosette, each one's nose tucked under the rump of the one in front. We have a lot of pigs in politics.
The two-party system has given this country the war of Lyndon Johnson, the Watergate of Nixon, and the incompetence of Carter. Saying we should keep the two-party system simply because it is working is like saying the Titanic voyage was a success because a few people survived on life-rafts.

- [Eugene McCarthy](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eugene_McCarthy)

iPhone, day 1

Well, today was day one with my new techno-lust-gadget. It's fit and finish is what you would expect from Apple. The device feels good in the hand, and fits as a phone, unlike some of the blackberrys that I have used. I must say that I am very impressed over all with the device.

Here are my day one notes.

* Battery life is acceptable. I have been using it very heavily today, and I have used less then half the battery. By my estimation, I should get 8 hours of heavy use w/o a recharge. * The browser is wonderful. I was able to pull up a page and drill down to a photo on the page before my corporate network could get the page loaded. The buttons are intuitive and easy to use, and the look and feel is fantastic * Activation was a snap. Under 10 min for 2 phones. * It plugged right into my Kilpsh iPod speakers, and worked out of the box. The only issue was that it wanted to be in airplane mode due to interference with the speakers when a call was received. * Typing on the keyboard (or lack thereof) was a concern. I have poor typing skills, and big fingers. However, it seems to work as well as or better then a normal keyboard * The Calendar is just freaking cool. I do however, really want to see tasks added in. * I was frugal (cheep) and only sprung for the 4 gig model. My top played list fits just fine however, and I am going to use that money to get the Apple headset

More later...

R.I.P. George 'kittermus Maximus

[Picture 007](http://www.flickr.com/photos/tsykoduk/8479792/" title="Photo Sharing)

Leukemia and Kidney Failure. He will be missed...

Ninjas!




Why is it when you stop looking for it, you find it?

Alone

If it's true that our species is alone in the universe, then I'd have to say that the universe aimed rather low and settled for very little.

-[George Carlin](http://www.quotationspage.com/quote/37617.html)

I see a trend...

Devices getting bigger and bigger instead of smaller and smaller.

Yeah.

Take that you miniaturization nuts!

Political ED?

OMFG

(ht: [BA](http://www.badastronomy.com/bablog/2007/06/18/absolutely-frakking-brilliant/))

Ok, they offically suck. But the video is still a scream. You can catch it [here](http://www.adultswim.com/video/?episodeID=8a25c392132567540113259bc3e6001d).

Booo!

Hisss!

Scan and Copy Redux

A co-worker pointed out that [Scan and Copy](http://greg.nokes.name/2007/4/3/scan-and-copy) did not work all that well on XP. Not a real issue, since I had used it to back up win2k machines in prep for a XP roll out. Well, anyways, I made the few changes to XP it, as well as adding in some more functionality.

There are now 3 command line options

* -name Names the target directory, which will be created if it does not exist * -target Gives a target directory to place the backup folder in. * A list of file extensions to look for
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<span class="c">#Stuff we need</span><tt>
</tt>require <span class="s"><span class="dl">'</span><span class="k">getoptlong</span><span class="dl">'</span></span><tt>
</tt>require <span class="s"><span class="dl">'</span><span class="k">ftools</span><span class="dl">'</span></span><tt>
</tt> <tt>
</tt><span class="c">#Get the command line options</span><tt>
</tt><span class="c">#Required command lines</span><tt>
</tt><span class="c"># --name 'user name'</span><tt>
</tt><span class="c"># a list of extensions to search for</span><tt>
</tt><span class="c"># -- target 'path'</span><tt>
</tt><span class="c"># Target directory to put stuff into</span><tt>
</tt> <tt>
</tt><span class="iv">@backed</span> = <span class="i">0</span><tt>
</tt><span class="iv">@collisions</span> = <span class="i">0</span><tt>
</tt><span class="iv">@totfiles</span> = <span class="i">0</span><tt>
</tt><span class="iv">@filetype</span> = <span class="co">Array</span>.new<tt>
</tt> <tt>
</tt>opts = <span class="co">GetoptLong</span>.new(<tt>
</tt>      [<span class="s"><span class="dl">"</span><span class="k">--name</span><span class="dl">"</span></span>, <span class="s"><span class="dl">"</span><span class="k">-n</span><span class="dl">"</span></span>, <span class="co">GetoptLong</span>::<span class="co">REQUIRED_ARGUMENT</span>],<tt>
</tt>      [<span class="s"><span class="dl">"</span><span class="k">--target</span><span class="dl">"</span></span>,<span class="s"><span class="dl">"</span><span class="k">-t</span><span class="dl">"</span></span>,<span class="co">GetoptLong</span>::<span class="co">OPTIONAL_ARGUMENT</span>],<tt>
</tt>      [<span class="s"><span class="dl">"</span><span class="k">--help</span><span class="dl">"</span></span>,<span class="s"><span class="dl">"</span><span class="k">-h</span><span class="dl">"</span></span>,<span class="co">GetoptLong</span>::<span class="co">OPTIONAL_ARGUMENT</span>])<tt>
</tt> <tt>
</tt><span class="c">#Parse the options, assigning them to the correct variables.</span><tt>
</tt>opts.each <span class="r">do</span> |opt, arg|<tt>
</tt>  <span class="r">case</span> opt<tt>
</tt>    <span class="r">when</span>  <span class="s"><span class="dl">"</span><span class="k">--name</span><span class="dl">"</span></span><tt>
</tt>      <span class="iv">@name</span> = arg.to_s<tt>
</tt>    <span class="r">when</span> <span class="s"><span class="dl">"</span><span class="k">--target</span><span class="dl">"</span></span><tt>
</tt>      <span class="iv">@target</span> = arg.to_s<tt>
</tt>    <span class="r">end</span><tt>
</tt><span class="r">end</span><tt>
</tt> <tt>
</tt><span class="r">for</span> ext <span class="r">in</span> <span class="pc">ARGV</span><tt>
</tt>  <span class="iv">@filetype</span> << ext<tt>
</tt><span class="r">end</span><tt>
</tt> <tt>
</tt> <tt>
</tt><span class="r">if</span> <span class="iv">@target</span>.nil?<tt>
</tt>  <span class="iv">@target</span> = <span class="s"><span class="dl">"</span><span class="k">y</span><span class="ch">\:</span><span class="ch">\\</span><span class="k">backups</span><span class="ch">\\</span><span class="dl">"</span></span><tt>
</tt><span class="r">end</span><tt>
</tt> <tt>
</tt><span class="iv">@path</span> = <span class="iv">@target</span> + <span class="iv">@name</span><tt>
</tt> <tt>
</tt><span class="c">#let's tell everyone what we are doing...</span><tt>
</tt>  puts <span class="s"><span class="dl">"</span><span class="dl">"</span></span><tt>
</tt>  puts <span class="s"><span class="dl">"</span><span class="k">Copying to...</span><span class="dl">"</span></span><tt>
</tt>  puts <span class="iv">@path</span><tt>
</tt>  puts <span class="s"><span class="dl">"</span><span class="k">Looking for...</span><span class="dl">"</span></span><tt>
</tt>  puts <span class="iv">@filetype</span><tt>
</tt>  puts <span class="s"><span class="dl">"</span><span class="dl">"</span></span><tt>
</tt> <tt>
</tt><span class="c">#Do basic checking to insure that everything we need is there</span><tt>
</tt> <tt>
</tt><span class="c">#need to improve logic here - </span><tt>
</tt>  <span class="r">rescue</span> <span class="r">if</span> lower level directorys <span class="r">do</span> <span class="r">not</span> exist!<tt>
</tt><span class="c">#Create base path if it does not exist?</span><tt>
</tt> <tt>
</tt><span class="r">unless</span> <span class="co">File</span>.exist?(<span class="iv">@path</span>)<tt>
</tt>    <span class="r">unless</span> <span class="co">File</span>.exist?(<span class="iv">@target</span>)<tt>
</tt>      <span class="co">Dir</span>.mkdir(<span class="iv">@target</span>)<tt>
</tt>    <span class="r">end</span><tt>
</tt>      <span class="co">Dir</span>.mkdir(<span class="iv">@path</span>)<tt>
</tt><span class="r">end</span><tt>
</tt> <tt>
</tt>  <span class="c">#Start main process of program</span><tt>
</tt>  <span class="co">Dir</span>.chdir(<span class="s"><span class="dl">"</span><span class="k">c:</span><span class="ch">\\</span><span class="dl">"</span></span>)<tt>
</tt>  <span class="co">Dir</span>[<span class="s"><span class="dl">'</span><span class="k">/**/**</span><span class="dl">'</span></span>].each <span class="r">do</span> |item|<tt>
</tt>    <span class="iv">@totfiles</span> = <span class="iv">@totfiles</span> + <span class="i">1</span><tt>
</tt>    <span class="r">unless</span>(<span class="co">FileTest</span>.directory?(item))<tt>
</tt>      <span class="r">if</span> <span class="iv">@filetype</span>.include?(<span class="co">File</span>.extname(item))<tt>
</tt>        <span class="r">if</span> <span class="co">FileTest</span>.exist?(<span class="iv">@path</span> + <span class="s"><span class="dl">"</span><span class="ch">\\</span><span class="dl">"</span></span> + <span class="co">File</span>.basename(item))<tt>
</tt>          p = <span class="iv">@path</span> + <span class="s"><span class="dl">"</span><span class="ch">\\</span><span class="dl">"</span></span> + <span class="co">File</span>.basename(item, <span class="s"><span class="dl">"</span><span class="k">.*</span><span class="dl">"</span></span>) + <span class="s"><span class="dl">"</span><span class="k">_</span><span class="dl">"</span></span>+ <tt>
</tt>            rand(<span class="i">100000000</span>).to_s + <span class="s"><span class="dl">"</span><span class="k">_</span><span class="dl">"</span></span> + <span class="co">File</span>.extname(item)<tt>
</tt>          <span class="co">File</span>.copy item, p<tt>
</tt>          printf(<span class="s"><span class="dl">"</span><span class="k">C</span><span class="dl">"</span></span>)<tt>
</tt>          <span class="iv">@collisions</span> = <span class="iv">@collisions</span> + <span class="i">1</span><tt>
</tt>          <span class="iv">@backed</span> = <span class="iv">@backed</span> + <span class="i">1</span><tt>
</tt>          <span class="c">#Duplicate File Error.</span><tt>
</tt>        <span class="r">else</span><tt>
</tt>          p = <span class="iv">@path</span> + <span class="s"><span class="dl">"</span><span class="ch">\\</span><span class="dl">"</span></span> + <span class="co">File</span>.basename(item)<tt>
</tt>          <span class="co">File</span>.copy item, p<tt>
</tt>          <span class="c">#Backed up file</span><tt>
</tt>          printf(<span class="s"><span class="dl">"</span><span class="k">B</span><span class="dl">"</span></span>)<tt>
</tt>          <span class="iv">@backed</span> = <span class="iv">@backed</span> + <span class="i">1</span><tt>
</tt>        <span class="r">end</span><tt>
</tt>      <span class="r">else</span><tt>
</tt>        printf(<span class="s"><span class="dl">"</span><span class="k">.</span><span class="dl">"</span></span>)<tt>
</tt>      <span class="r">end</span><tt>
</tt>    <span class="r">end</span><tt>
</tt>  <span class="r">end</span><tt>
</tt> <tt>
</tt> <tt>
</tt>puts <span class="s"><span class="dl">"</span><span class="dl">"</span></span><tt>
</tt>puts <span class="s"><span class="dl">"</span><span class="k">Checked </span><span class="il"><span class="dl">#{</span><span class="iv">@totfiles</span><span class="dl">}</span></span><span class="k"> Files.</span><span class="dl">"</span></span><tt>
</tt>puts <span class="s"><span class="dl">"</span><span class="il"><span class="dl">#{</span><span class="iv">@backed</span><span class="dl">}</span></span><span class="k"> Files backed up with </span><span class="il"><span class="dl">#{</span><span class="iv">@collisions</span><span class="dl">}</span></span><span class="k"> filename collisions</span><span class="dl">"</span></span><tt>
</tt>

An', what do ya'll talk like?

Gnome settings

I am a pretty die-hard gnome user (when I am on a *nix box). I have developed a set of default settings which make it really usable, and pretty...

So here goes..

Global Settings
Theme
Controls: Clearlook
Window Border: Alphacube 0.9b Metacity Color
Icons: Dropline Neu!
Font: All default except Application Font: Berylium

gEdit settings
Plugins Enabled:
Document Statistics
File Browser Pane
Gemini
Insert Date/Time
Modelines
Snap Open
Snippits
Font
Monaco 10px

Response

Today my local congresscritter emailed me a quick survey.

Q. What is the best way to help lower gas prices and reduce our nation's dependence on foreign oil?
* Invest in alternative energy sources such as solar, wind and hydropower * Increase domestic supply by drilling in ANWR and the Outer Continental Shelf * Promote conservation * Invest in biofuel * Prohibit price gouging * Other

So, of course I chose 'other'.

heh

Yes. All of these approaches are needed. We must invest in the future, while still meeting today's demands. Looking forward, a petrochemical based economy is simply unsustainable. If it's peak oil, or Global Climate Change, or Mideast instability, it is irresponsible to assume that we can continue on the same path that we have been. Bio-fuels and Solar power would be a boon for Eastern Washington, as we have extensive agribusiness. Solar and Wind power both are interesting long term solutions to a growing energy market.

However, these technologies are neither cheap nor quick to implement. In the short term, using the technologies that we have at hand, we must find a way to drastically reduce our reliance on others to feed our growing energy appetite. Conservation is already happening. Market forces have realised that conserving energy saves them money. With a small nudge in the right direction, conservation could cut our total energy input needs dramatically.

Just look at the difference between a Volkswagen Jetta v6 and TDI's economy. The TDI gets better real world fuel economy then a hybrid. We must look at technologies that can help us in the short term, while still readying us for the long term.

Couple a reduced domestic demand with an increase in local petrochemical production, and we have a winning short term tactic. Drilling ANWR is not a pleasing though to me, however, if it would allow us to detach from the politically unsavory deals that we must make to feel the American need to drive, then so be it.

I do not believe that there is any one thing that we can do which will solve our energy problems. It's going to take a multi-pronged approach to resolve this issue. It's going to take a bi-partisan group, partnering with business and local concerns.

Peace. Out.

So it goes

Like so many Americans, she was trying to construct a life that made sense from things she found in gift shops.
Say what you will about the sweet miracle of unquestioning faith, I consider a capacity for it terrifying and absolutely vile!
Those who believe in telekinetics, raise my hand
One of the few good things about modern times: If you die horribly on television, you will not have died in vain. You will have entertained us.
1492. As children we were taught to memorize this year with pride and joy as the year people began living full and imaginative lives on the continent of North America. Actually, people had been living full and imaginative lives on the continent of North America for hundreds of years before that. 1492 was simply the year sea pirates began to rob, cheat, and kill them.
- [Kurt Vonnegut](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kurt_Vonnegut).

Faith

Due to having faith one relies on the practices,
Due to having wisdom one truly knows.
Of these two wisdom is the chief,
Faith is the prerequisite.

-[Nagarjun](http://www.iep.utm.edu/n/nagarjun.htm)

Scan and Copy

One of the ways I am able to exercise my Ruby skills is in the day to day network admin tasks. For example, I had to come up with a method of saving all of a users 'important' documents off of their desktop computer in preparation for a wipe and re-image. Not only that, but it's a good idea. So I wrote 'scan and copy'

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<span class="c">#Stuff we need</span><tt>
</tt>require <span class="s"><span class="dl">'</span><span class="k">getoptlong</span><span class="dl">'</span></span><tt>
</tt>require <span class="s"><span class="dl">'</span><span class="k">ftools</span><span class="dl">'</span></span><tt>
</tt><tt>
</tt><span class="c">#Get the command line options</span><tt>
</tt><span class="c">#Required command lines</span><tt>
</tt><span class="c"># --name 'user name'</span><tt>
</tt><span class="c"># a list of extensions to search for</span><tt>
</tt><tt>
</tt><span class="iv">@backed</span> = <span class="i">0</span><tt>
</tt><span class="iv">@collisions</span> = <span class="i">0</span><tt>
</tt><span class="iv">@totfiles</span> = <span class="i">0</span><tt>
</tt><span class="iv">@filetype</span> = <span class="co">Array</span>.new<tt>
</tt><tt>
</tt>opts = <span class="co">GetoptLong</span>.new([<span class="s"><span class="dl">"</span><span class="k">--name</span><span class="dl">"</span></span>, <span class="s"><span class="dl">"</span><span class="k">-n</span><span class="dl">"</span></span>, <span class="co">GetoptLong</span>::<span class="co">REQUIRED_ARGUMENT</span>])<tt>
</tt><tt>
</tt><span class="c">#Parse the options, assigning them to the correct variables.</span><tt>
</tt>opts.each <span class="r">do</span> |opt, arg|<tt>
</tt>  <span class="r">case</span> opt<tt>
</tt>    <span class="r">when</span>  <span class="s"><span class="dl">"</span><span class="k">--name</span><span class="dl">"</span></span><tt>
</tt>      <span class="iv">@path</span> = <span class="s"><span class="dl">"</span><span class="k">y</span><span class="ch">\:</span><span class="ch">\\</span><span class="k">backups</span><span class="ch">\\</span><span class="dl">"</span></span> + arg.to_s<tt>
</tt>    <span class="r">end</span><tt>
</tt><span class="r">end</span><tt>
</tt><tt>
</tt><span class="r">for</span> ext <span class="r">in</span> <span class="pc">ARGV</span><tt>
</tt>  <span class="iv">@filetype</span> << ext<tt>
</tt><span class="r">end</span><tt>
</tt><tt>
</tt><tt>
</tt><span class="c">#let's tell everyone what we are doing...</span><tt>
</tt>  puts <span class="s"><span class="dl">"</span><span class="dl">"</span></span><tt>
</tt>  puts <span class="s"><span class="dl">"</span><span class="k">Copying to...</span><span class="dl">"</span></span><tt>
</tt>  puts <span class="iv">@path</span><tt>
</tt>  puts <span class="s"><span class="dl">"</span><span class="k">Looking for...</span><span class="dl">"</span></span><tt>
</tt>  puts <span class="iv">@filetype</span><tt>
</tt>  puts <span class="s"><span class="dl">"</span><span class="dl">"</span></span><tt>
</tt><tt>
</tt><span class="c">#Do basic checking to insure that everything we need is there</span><tt>
</tt><tt>
</tt><span class="r">unless</span> <span class="co">File</span>.exist?(<span class="iv">@path</span>)<tt>
</tt>  <span class="co">Dir</span>.mkdir(<span class="iv">@path</span>)<tt>
</tt><span class="r">end</span><tt>
</tt><tt>
</tt>  <span class="c">#Start main process of program</span><tt>
</tt>  <span class="co">Dir</span>[<span class="s"><span class="dl">'</span><span class="k">/**/**</span><span class="dl">'</span></span>].each <span class="r">do</span> |item|<tt>
</tt>    <span class="iv">@totfiles</span> = <span class="iv">@totfiles</span> + <span class="i">1</span><tt>
</tt>    <span class="r">unless</span>(<span class="co">FileTest</span>.directory?(item))<tt>
</tt>      <span class="r">if</span> <span class="iv">@filetype</span>.include?(<span class="co">File</span>.extname(item))<tt>
</tt>        <span class="r">if</span> <span class="co">FileTest</span>.exist?(<span class="iv">@path</span> + <span class="s"><span class="dl">"</span><span class="ch">\\</span><span class="dl">"</span></span> + <span class="co">File</span>.basename(item))<tt>
</tt>          p = <span class="iv">@path</span> + <span class="s"><span class="dl">"</span><span class="ch">\\</span><span class="dl">"</span></span> + <span class="co">File</span>.basename(item, <span class="s"><span class="dl">"</span><span class="k">.*</span><span class="dl">"</span></span>) +<tt>
</tt>             <span class="s"><span class="dl">"</span><span class="k">_</span><span class="dl">"</span></span>+ rand(<span class="i">100000000</span>).to_s + <span class="s"><span class="dl">"</span><span class="k">_</span><span class="dl">"</span></span> + <span class="co">File</span>.extname(item)<tt>
</tt>          <span class="co">File</span>.copy item, p<tt>
</tt>          printf(<span class="s"><span class="dl">"</span><span class="k">C</span><span class="dl">"</span></span>)<tt>
</tt>          <span class="iv">@collisions</span> = <span class="iv">@collisions</span> + <span class="i">1</span><tt>
</tt>          <span class="iv">@backed</span> = <span class="iv">@backed</span> + <span class="i">1</span><tt>
</tt>          <span class="c">#Duplicate File Error.</span><tt>
</tt>        <span class="r">else</span> <tt>
</tt>          p = <span class="iv">@path</span> + <span class="s"><span class="dl">"</span><span class="ch">\\</span><span class="dl">"</span></span> + <span class="co">File</span>.basename(item)<tt>
</tt>          <span class="co">File</span>.copy item, p<tt>
</tt>          <span class="c">#Backed up file</span><tt>
</tt>          printf(<span class="s"><span class="dl">"</span><span class="k">B</span><span class="dl">"</span></span>)<tt>
</tt>          <span class="iv">@backed</span> = <span class="iv">@backed</span> + <span class="i">1</span><tt>
</tt>        <span class="r">end</span><tt>
</tt>      <span class="r">else</span><tt>
</tt>        printf(<span class="s"><span class="dl">"</span><span class="k">.</span><span class="dl">"</span></span>)<tt>
</tt>      <span class="r">end</span><tt>
</tt>    <span class="r">end</span><tt>
</tt>  <span class="r">end</span><tt>
</tt><tt>
</tt><tt>
</tt>puts <span class="s"><span class="dl">"</span><span class="dl">"</span></span><tt>
</tt>puts <span class="s"><span class="dl">"</span><span class="k">Checked </span><span class="il"><span class="dl">#{</span><span class="iv">@totfiles</span><span class="dl">}</span></span><span class="k"> Files.</span><span class="dl">"</span></span><tt>
</tt>puts <span class="s"><span class="dl">"</span><span class="il"><span class="dl">#{</span><span class="iv">@backed</span><span class="dl">}</span></span><span class="k"> Files backed up with </span><span class="il"><span class="dl">#{</span><span class="iv">@collisions</span><span class="dl">}</span></span><span class="k"> filename collisions</span><span class="dl">"</span></span>

Plans for 2008

Well, all of the backers, my committee and I met last night. Wifie had several objections, and pulled all of the funding for the effort.

Here's to 2012!

Important Announcement!

Working with a core group of my friends, I have decided to put together an exploratory committee to look into forming a campaign for President in 2008. We have had several meetings laying the groundwork for this effort. We are excited to announce that we have already secured several large backers who believe that my presidency would bring solutions to most of the worlds problems.

Our first full scale meeting is tonight, so expect an exciting announcement tomorrow.

Microsoft Accused of Mugging

Except that I'm left with the uneasy feeling that I've been ever-so-elegantly mugged. Presumably there's no connection between your recent sales downgrade and what you might call the negative goodwill generated for customers like me.

-[Robert Peston](http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/robertpeston/2007/03/dear_bill_gates_again.html) in an article about Vista.

Good read. I used to be of the mind that high security meant a lack of usability, however, that is not always the case. In any matter, the reverse it certainly not true. Vista seems to be a big 'FU' from Microsoft to the users who complained about the lack of security.

A serious lack of humor...

Nothing to say about this one....

21 steps if your identity is stolen

Identity theft accounted for 255,000, or 37 percent, of more than 686,683 complaints registered with the FTC in 2005. These figures mark the sixth year in a row where identity theft has topped the list of complaints filed with this agency. The most commonly reported form of identity theft was credit card fraud, followed by phone or utilities fraud, and bank (electronic funds transfer) and employment fraud.

You can reduce your risks for identity theft, but you don't have control over government agencies, hospitals, or retail stores that manage to lose your personal information. The following list will walk you through the steps that will help you recover your identity and restore your credit rating.

The [story](http://www.yourcreditadvisor.com/blog/2007/03/your_identity_h.html) goes on to explain the 21 steps to take when you're identity has been stolen. Good reading, good to know.

(HT: [Bruce Schneier](http://www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2007/03/how_to_recover_1.html))

Risk Analysis

From [Go Comics](http://www.gocomics.com/calvinandhobbes/2007/03/27/)

Life, explained

When we remember we are all mad, the mysteries disappear and life stands explained.

[Mark Twain](http://www.quotationspage.com/quote/1280.html)

Lily Allen

I kinda have a thing for Lily Allen - a new British pop sensation. Well, I guess that the makers of the SIMS like her tuneage as well... so they did this..

You must check out the original as well... so here it is.

'Evil is as evil does'

**You Are 66% Evil**
You are very evil. And you're too evil to care.
Those who love you probably also fear you. A lot.
[How Evil Are You?](http://www.blogthings.com/howevilareyouquiz/)

On Global Warming

Over on another site, there is an intresting discussion raging about [Global Warming](http://www.nwgamers.org/ForumsPro/viewtopic/t=1284.html). Just thought that I would cross post my first response over here.

-

Let's just stick to facts:

Over the last century the average temperature has climbed about 1 degree Fahrenheit (0.6 of a degree Celsius) around the world.
([National Geographic](http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2004/12/1206_041206_global_warming.html).)

That's from 2004. A lot has happened since then.

So, now we have proven, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that global warming exists, is happening, is real.

The debate seems to be over two other points - 1) Do we have a global effect? and 2) What is it going to cause?

Let's start with the last one... and go to the most extreme real world example we have.

Look at Venus. That is the classic example of runaway global warming - and some think that is where we are headed. Are we? Who knows. I don't. However it is **possible** that we could end up with a Venus on our hands.

If you look at the **theory** about the gasses trapped in the permafrost, add in some basic albedo calculations, factoring the loss of ice (highly reflective to heat), the Earth just might become a pressure cooker.

Will it? There is a chance. What is that chance? I dunno. Should we try and do something to stop it? I believe that we should. Should the government do it? That is an entire other question, but suffice it to say, since they are taking our taxes, I would rather see that money spend on alternative fuels/energy research then some of the other silly pork barrel projects that are running amok.

Current theories believe that Venus might have been earth like at one time, however due to several factors, dumped all of it's Carbon and H20 into it's atmosphere in a horrific version of global warming.

So, with that in mind, do we contribute to the effects? Yes, with out a doubt we do.

World carbon dioxide emissions continue to increase steadily in the IEO2006 reference case, from 25.0 billion metric tons in 2003 to 33.7 billion metric tons in 2015 and 43.7 billion metric tons in 2030. Carbon dioxide is one of the most prevalent greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, and anthropogenic (human-caused) emissions of carbon dioxide result primarily from the combustion of fossil fuels for energy.
([US DOE report, International Energy Outlook 2006](http://www.eia.doe.gov/oiaf/ieo/highlights.html))

I ask one simple question: How can 20 - 30 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide not have some effect?

Take, for example Volcanos...

On the Big Island, we have a significant natural source of greenhouse gas. Kilauea volcano emits more than 700,000 tons of CO2 each year, less than 0.01% of the yearly global contribution by human sources
([US Geological Survey](http://hvo.wr.usgs.gov/volcanowatch/1998/98_10_22.html))

And, that's in 1998. Almost 10 years later, the anthropogenic emissions have steadily risen. Do we have an effect? You bet.

Is all of this correct? Possibly: that's why they are called theories and not laws. A theory is a working set of assumptions on how something works. When a theory breaks because of new evidence or what ever, you either change the theory or discard it and start anew. That's what science is, folks. Science is not about faith - it's about proof and skepticism. It is grounded in empirical reality.

Pale Blue Dot

[The BA](http://www.badastronomy.com/bablog/2007/02/27/pale-blue-dot/) brought this video to my attention. Fantastic stuff.

I really believe that we are on the cusp of a transcendence. Not really in a metaphysical way, but in a social way. People have been talking about it for a long time, because they could *feel* what was coming. Many have tried to wrap their religion or metaphysics around it. It's simpler then that.

I think that we are going to see a move away from the old superstitions which hold us back. As we discover more and more about the universe, how it works, and our place it in, it becomes evident that we are not the center of anything.

We, however do have a great impact on the world which we live on. If we plan on living here much longer, we need to take steps, hard steps, to insure that the world will support us. We are not here to 'dominate' the world, we are here as guests of the world.

It's far past time to realize that simple fact. We are not the reason that the world is here, the world is the reason that we are here. Once we shift our thinking away from dominance towards partnership, we will be in a lot better place socially, environmentally, and economically.

After my own heart

Seattle

Decided yesterday to head on over to Seattle for the weekend. So, I am in Lakeview (just south of Seattle for all of you poor folks who do not live in the Pacific Northwest), posting from a freinds livingroom.

I was going to work on building a site for a new convention that is coming to spokane in the next year or so. You can see how much work I got done [here](http://nokes.kicks-ass.net).

LoL.

Anyways, I will be using Mephisto as the front end for the application. I will also be building a registration system and a game scheduler.

Should be fun.

Complaints Singers

Found about it [here](http://www.cbc.ca/radioshows/AS_IT_HAPPENS/20070212.shtml)...

YANT

Yet Another New Theme.

Just switched to the slick [Reddish](http://www.benlog.org/projects/reddish) theme. I think that I have decided that I am going to try and stay away from creating themes for the time being. I am having much more fun doing back end stuff anyways. So, I will use other's themes, and tweak them to my vision of perfection....

Namer

In an application I am writing, we gather three items about a person's Name: Their Username and their First and last names.

In different parts of the application we want to have their names displayed in different ways. For Example, we want to have the opening page say Hi, First Name!. We want log entries to display their Username in one field, and their Last Name comma First Name in another field. We want to have their First Initial comma Last Name in another area.

In this application, we store names as attributes in an attributes table, rather then in the person table. I talked about [Cross Model Attributes](http://greg.nokes.name/2007/1/3/cross-model-attributes) a while ago.

We assume the following:

* Person is the model for people * Person.name is the username * Attrib is the model for attributes * Attrib.name holds the name of the Attribute * Attrib.value holds the value * We have polymorphic associations set up

To accommodate all of these different display needs, I wrote this little snippet of code:

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12
13
14
**15**
16
17
18
19
**20**
21
22
23
24
**25**
26
27
28
29
**30**
31
32
33
34
**35**
36
37
38
39
**40**
41
42
43
44
**45**
46
47
  <span class="r">def</span> <span class="fu">namer</span>(person_id, format)<tt>
</tt>     <span class="c">#Namer will return the person_id's name in the desired format</span><tt>
</tt>     <span class="c">#0 is First name only</span><tt>
</tt>     <span class="c">#1 is Last name only</span><tt>
</tt>     <span class="c">#2 is Last Name, First Name</span><tt>
</tt>     <span class="c">#3 is First name Last name</span><tt>
</tt>     <span class="c">#4 First Inital, Last Name</span><tt>
</tt>     <span class="c">#5 First name, last inital</span><tt>
</tt><tt>
</tt>     person = <span class="co">Person</span>.find_by_id(person_id)<tt>
</tt><tt>
</tt>     <span class="r">unless</span> person.attrib.find_by_name(<span class="s"><span class="dl">'</span><span class="k">First Name</span><span class="dl">'</span></span>).nil?<tt>
</tt>       f = person.attrib.find_by_name(<span class="s"><span class="dl">'</span><span class="k">First Name</span><span class="dl">'</span></span>)<tt>
</tt>       first = f[<span class="sy">:value</span>].to_s<tt>
</tt>     <span class="r">else</span><tt>
</tt>       tmp = <span class="s"><span class="dl">'</span><span class="k">No Name</span><span class="dl">'</span></span><tt>
</tt>       <span class="r">return</span> person.name<tt>
</tt>     <span class="r">end</span><tt>
</tt><tt>
</tt>     <span class="r">unless</span> person.attrib.find_by_name(<span class="s"><span class="dl">'</span><span class="k">Last Name</span><span class="dl">'</span></span>).nil?<tt>
</tt>       l = person.attrib.find_by_name(<span class="s"><span class="dl">'</span><span class="k">Last Name</span><span class="dl">'</span></span>)<tt>
</tt>       last = l[<span class="sy">:value</span>].to_s<tt>
</tt>     <span class="r">else</span><tt>
</tt>       tmp = <span class="s"><span class="dl">'</span><span class="k">No Name</span><span class="dl">'</span></span><tt>
</tt>       <span class="r">return</span> person.name<tt>
</tt>     <span class="r">end</span><tt>
</tt><tt>
</tt>     <span class="r">case</span> format<tt>
</tt>     <span class="r">when</span> <span class="i">0</span><tt>
</tt>       <span class="r">return</span> first<tt>
</tt>     <span class="r">when</span> <span class="i">1</span><tt>
</tt>       <span class="r">return</span> last<tt>
</tt>     <span class="r">when</span> <span class="i">2</span><tt>
</tt>       tmp = last + <span class="s"><span class="dl">'</span><span class="k">, </span><span class="dl">'</span></span> + first<tt>
</tt>       <span class="r">return</span> tmp<tt>
</tt>     <span class="r">when</span> <span class="i">3</span><tt>
</tt>       tmp = first + <span class="s"><span class="dl">'</span><span class="k"> </span><span class="dl">'</span></span> + last<tt>
</tt>       <span class="r">return</span> tmp<tt>
</tt>     <span class="r">when</span> <span class="i">4</span><tt>
</tt>         tmp = first[<span class="i">0</span>..<span class="i">0</span>].upcase + <span class="s"><span class="dl">'</span><span class="k"> </span><span class="dl">'</span></span> + last<tt>
</tt>         <span class="r">return</span> tmp<tt>
</tt>     <span class="r">when</span> <span class="i">5</span><tt>
</tt>       tmp = first + <span class="s"><span class="dl">'</span><span class="k"> </span><span class="dl">'</span></span> + last[<span class="i">0</span>..<span class="i">0</span>].upcase<tt>
</tt>       <span class="r">return</span> tmp<tt>
</tt>     <span class="r">end</span><tt>
</tt><tt>
</tt>   <span class="r">end</span>

MortalKo.... Wha?

Team Overboard

Enjoy the Superbowl this weekend, but just make sure you don't do it with strangers on a display larger than 55 inches. If you do, you will be violating the NFL's copyrights to the game. Mass out-of-home viewings at a place where sports viewing is not ordinary business practice goes against the NFL's copyrights.

Also, inviting strangers or charging admission (i.e. you're buying the keg) is against the law.

-[Wired](http://blog.wired.com/music/2007/02/your_superbowl_.html)

Sad, really.

Think before you...

Debate!

There is an interesting thread over at NWGamers. It's not really about Gaming, so I have requested that the fascinating discussion move over here, so I am cross posting my last response here.

Ye shall utterly destroy all the places, wherein the nations which ye shall possess served their gods, upon the high mountains, and upon the hills, and under every green tree: And ye shall overthrow their altars, and break their pillars, and burn their groves with fire; and ye shall hew down the graven images of their gods, and destroy the names of them out of that place.

Deuteronomy 12:2-3

Um. Loving. Nice. Kill everyone who does not agree? This must be a mistake.

The righteous shall rejoice when he seeth the vengeance: he shall wash his feet in the blood of the wicked.

Psalms 58:10

Wait a minute. God, the God of Love expects His followers to rejoice when he 'washes his feet in the blood of the wicked'? WTH?

Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. And a man's foes shall be they of his own household.

Matthew 10:34-37

There goes the idea the Jesus is a peaceful guy.

As far as folks using Christianity as a basis for murder:

My feelings as a Christian points me to my Lord and Savior as a fighter. It points me to the man who once in loneliness, surrounded only by a few followers, recognized these Jews for what they were and summoned men to fight against them and who, God's truth! was greatest not as a sufferer but as a fighter. In boundless love as a Christian and as a man I read through the passage which tells us how the Lord at last rose in His might and seized the scourge to drive out of the Temple the brood of vipers and adders. How terrific was His fight for the world against the Jewish poison. To-day, after two thousand years, with deepest emotion I recognize more profoundly than ever before in the fact that it was for this that He had to shed His blood upon the Cross. As a Christian I have no duty to allow myself to be cheated, but I have the duty to be a fighter for truth and justice.... And if there is anything which could demonstrate that we are acting rightly it is the distress that daily grows. For as a Christian I have also a duty to my own people.... When I go out in the morning and see these men standing in their queues and look into their pinched faces, then I believe I would be no Christian, but a very devil if I felt no pity for them, if I did not, as did our Lord two thousand years ago, turn against those by whom to-day this poor people is plundered and exploited.

That was Hitler. Yup. [Adolf Hitler, in his speech on 12 April 1922](http://nobeliefs.com/speeches.htm).

All of this just goes to say that, just about any religion can be used 'for evil', or at the very least to rationalize the use of Evil. It has been said that God is the basis for all evil. I do not know if I believe that or not, however 'His' writings can certainly be used to justify Evil.

And it's not just a Muslim thing.

I think that this needs to move to a non-gaming site, as it is not really in the scope of the site. I will cross post this to my Blog, and you can feel free to flame me there.

Thanks! :)

3steves

This is actually a very good video. That's one of the things that I like about Boston Legal - every once in a while they slip some good social commentary into the show.

Most organizations should take this to heart. How many really leverage their technology? Google does. Microsoft does, Apple does.

Technology should be an enabler. We are past the point where location independent computing is a reality - however not many people make use of that paradigm. Technology should act as a 'force multiplier'. It should enable you to get more done with less.

In many of the organizations that I have worked with, this is just not true. Technology detracts from the work flow, or even worse, technology dictates the work flow. Take for example, SAP. You have to restructure your business around how their application works. An application should not dictate how you run your organization, rather, your origination should dictate how the applications work.

Now days, with [RAD](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rapid_application_development) tools such as [Rails](http://www.rubyonrails.org/), a competent coder should be able to have a baseline beta application out the door fairly quickly. No longer are folks forced to shoehorn [COTS](http://www.webopedia.com/TERM/C/COTS.html) software into their business model. Now days, just about everyone can have their own vertical application space created, quickly and efficiently.

Mr Deity...

And, lo - Thus started a YouTube Show. And it was good...

Zunephone

I gotta get me two of these!

Things that make you go Hmmm redux

First, go [here](http://lessig.org/freeculture/free.html). After you watch that, let's talk about it.

Do you think that anything needs to be done, or are we good with the status quo?

Will Vista's unbridled, stifling DRM'y'ness effect you in any way? Is our culture doomed to stagnation and death?

So, what have you done?

Sharp333

The theme that this site displays right now is Sharp333 - a modification of [Sharp000](http://dairon.net/2006/12/19/mephisto-theme-called-sharp000). I made the following changes:

* DRY'd up the code by splitting the main theme template out into layout.liquid, header.liquid, footer.liquid and sidebar.liquid. * Added an 'about' page * Transmogrified the layout from Fixed Width to Liquid * Added Coderay CSS support for code display * Futz'd with the verbage a wee bit in a few places
  • Tweaked the CSS layout a wee bit

    If you like it, feel free to [snag](http://greg.nokes.name/assets/2007/1/8/sharp333.zip) a copy, and let me know what ya'll think!

    updated to version 1.10

    Site has changed to a theme that I am working on right now

  • New York Times on Computer Security

    Using a non-Windows-based PC may be one defense against these programs, known as malware.. Like Windows, Microsoft's Internet Explorer browser is also a large, convenient target for code-writing vandals. Alternative browsers, like Firefox and Opera, may insulate users.

    -[NYT](http://www.nytimes.com/2007/01/07/technology/07tips.html?_r=1&oref=slogin)

    Need I say any more?

    Enter Ms. Dewey

    Microsoft has a new search interface - [Ms. Dewey](http://www.msdewey.com/).

    This is bad UI design on so many levels. First off, it gets annoying in about 35.3 seconds. Secondly, it's a freaking pig. Slow, slow slow. And, to top it all off, you only get a few results after putting up with Ms. Dewey's lame jokes.

    I think that this really underscores how Microsoft views their consumers. They know best, and we just have to sit down, shut up and ride. I for one want off that wacky roller coaster.

    When are they going to realize, on Mount Redmond, that the consumer is fed up with crappy, insecure, poorly designed, not thought out bloatware?

    If you had a choice between a glitzy car, with all the bells and whistles, which would break down every 100 or so miles, or a sleek, well designed 100 mile to the gallon virtually indestructible car, or a free tank, which one would you choose? (read [this](http://www.cryptonomicon.com/beginning.html) to get the analogy, and a good history of computers and the IT industry)

    I for one, use tanks for my servers, and sleek machines for my laptops.

    Cross Model Attributes

    I am sure that all of the programmers out there will say "Well, Duh!" but I wanted to put this into writing for my own purposes. Basically so I do not forget it. If you happen to get some good ideas from it, well then score.

    So, I have several models which all need to have attributes. Not all of them need the same attributes, however we want a method of quickly searching and creating new types of attributes for models.

    Hu?

    Ok...

    Suppose we have the following models:

    * Laptop * Desktop * Server * Person * Building

    All of these might have a attribute of color, but only the computers will have an IP Address. However, we want to be able to search all computers based on the IP address. Just to make it more difficult, Laptops, Servers and Desktops are all computers.

    My solution at this time is to create another model, which I have called Attributes. This has the following layout:

    1
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    **5**
    6
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    9
    **10**
    
    <span class="r">class</span> <span class="cl">Attribute</span> < <span class="co">ActiveRecord</span>::<span class="co">Base</span><tt>
    </tt>  belongs_to <span class="sy">:owner</span>, <span class="sy">:polymorphic</span> => <span class="sy">:true</span><tt>
    </tt>  <tt>
    </tt> <span class="c"># Attribute has the following fields:</span><tt>
    </tt> <span class="c"># owner_type as string</span><tt>
    </tt> <span class="c"># owner_id as integer</span><tt>
    </tt> <span class="c"># type as string</span><tt>
    </tt> <span class="c"># value as string</span><tt>
    </tt><tt>
    </tt> <span class="r">end</span>
    

    Each of my models which will use these will include the has_many directive:

    
    
     has_many <span class="sy">:attribute</span>, <span class="sy">:as</span> => <span class="sy">:owner</span>
    

    When a new instance of a model is created, I run an after_create function (which I cleverly call Templater) which figures out which type (or species) of model is being created, and pre-populates a default set of attributes.

    For example, a Laptop might be created with the attributes: CPU, RAM, IP Address, and OS. In fact, all computers could be created with that same default set of attributes. Then, when we decide to build a query that gives us all computers with less them 1024 megs of RAM, we can simply search the attributes table for all records where type is RAM and value is less then 1024, and return their owner ID's.

    Where ever our feet may roam

    So... in between heaps of code, I was reminiscing about the old days when I was a BBS geek. The most memorable BBS that I was on was called Club Fresno. It had about 30 phone lines, and was a true trend setter for it's day - a multi-line BBS. [Google to the rescue](http://www.google.com/search?q=%22Club%20Fresno%22%20bbs&sourceid=mozilla2&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8). Heh. I only found two mentions of good ol' club Fres out there - one blog post by an [ex-member](http://debicollinsworth.blogspot.com/2005/07/ode-to-sister.html) and a [My Space](http://profile.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=user.viewprofile&friendid=118109418) profile.

    So, here's a third result about Club Fresno, the Multi Line BBS.

    :)

    Checking your target market

    Checking your target market seems to be a good idea. Obviously these folks did not...

    [Checking your target market...](http://www.flickr.com/photos/tsykoduk/336420281/" title="Photo Sharing)

    Windows Vista Content Protection specification

    Peter Gutmann wrote an interesting article about Windows Vista's content protection protocols that really deserves a good read...

    Windows Vista includes an extensive reworking of core OS elements in order to provide content protection for so-called "premium content", typically HD data from Blu-Ray and HD-DVD sources. Providing this protection incurs considerable costs in terms of system performance, system stability, technical support overhead, and hardware and software cost. These issues affect not only users of Vista but the entire PC industry, since the effects of the protection measures extend to cover all hardware and software that will ever come into contact with Vista, even if it's not used directly with Vista (for example hardware in a Macintosh computer or on a Linux server). This document analyses the cost involved in Vista's content protection, and the collateral damage that this incurs throughout the computer industry.

    Some of the details in the article are down right scary, for example

    Once a weakness is found in a particular driver or device, that driver will have its signature revoked by Microsoft, which means that it will cease to function (details on this are a bit vague here, presumably some minimum functionality like generic 640x480 VGA support will still be available in order for the system to boot). This means that a report of a compromise of a particular driver or device will cause all support for that device worldwide to be turned off until a fix can be found.

    Read that last sentence again. This cannot be true, can it?

    Yes, it is. According to Microsoft's White Paper, [Driver Package Integrity during Plug and Play Device Installations in Windows Vista](http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&ct=res&cd=1&url=http%3A%2F%2Fdownload.microsoft.com%2Fdownload%2Fa%2Ff%2F7%2Faf7777e5-7dcd-4800-8a0a-b18336565f5b%2Fpnp-driver.doc&ei=3kyMRZzaLqiUgAOY9tigDw&usg=__eFShNs4H156r9HezjkpUnMRAuiQ=&sig2=slDaITf7O8Z3UCecdzcW7g)

    If users want to play next-generation premium content on Windows Vista, such as HD DVD and other formats that are licensed under the Advanced Access Content System (AACS) specification, all kernel-mode components on their system must be signed. That means that, if an administrative user chooses to install an unsigned or altered driver, the system is not allowed to play premium content

    Wow.

    Choose anything but Vista. Run as fast as you can from it. Microsoft of Borg is coming, and they think they own your hardware.

    Oh yeah, and Merry Christmas!

    Update

    I was thinking more about this. I wanted to take a second and explain it more directly.

    1) I buy a high end sound card, who's manufacturer has not payed the Microsoft tax, so their driver is not signed by Microsoft.

    2) I buy some Microsoft designated 'premium content' - say Jose and the Pussycats on Blue-ray.

    3) I play my new Blue-ray disc on my computer with the OS that I bought.

    No sound.

    Microsoft has not blessed the folks who built my sound card with a certificate, so Microsoft decides that I cannot play the movie that I bought on the computer that I bought, using the OS that I payed good money for.

    Uh. No. Sorry - I will not play that game. If I buy a freaking movie, I want to watch it on the hardware that I choose.

    View from the office

    I had to take a little trip yesterday, and I snapped this photo when we were where we were going.

    Google circa 1960

    [Check](http://fury.com/images/weblog/google_circa_1960.jpg) this out. It amazes me how far technology has come in the last few decades. Makes you think!

    Password strength

    Bruce Schneier has an interesting [article](http://www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2006/12/realworld_passw.html) posted about real world password strength. He bases his findings off of a list of passwords recovered from a phishing attempt on MySpace. Well worth reading...

    How good are the passwords people are choosing to protect their computers and online accounts?

    It's a hard question to answer because data is scarce. But recently, a colleague sent me some spoils from a MySpace phishing attack: 34,000 actual user names and passwords.

    The attack was pretty basic. The attackers created a fake MySpace login page, and collected login information when users thought they were accessing their own account on the site. The data was forwarded to various compromised web servers, where the attackers would harvest it later.

    MySpace estimates that more than 100,000 people fell for the attack before it was shut down. The data I have is from two different collection points, and was cleaned of the small percentage of people who realized they were responding to a phishing attack. I analyzed the data, and this is what I learned.

    Accessing DragonflyCMS cookies in Rails

    At work, we run two [DragonflyCMS]() sites (soon to become [Nexos]()). As I do not do much in php except hack, when I was tasked with writing an application which used the authentication token generated by the DragonflyCMS site, I decided to do it in Ruby/Ruby on Rails. This posed a bit of a question. How do I check authentication and get the username out of a PHP based application?

    The Rails Wiki had a good article on checking authentication vs a phpBB site, and that gave me the springboard that I needed.

    I created a user, group, user_group and session model as follows:

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    **5**
    6
    7
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    9
    **10**
    11
    12
    13
    14
    **15**
    
    <span class="r">class</span> <span class="cl">User</span> < <span class="co">ActiveRecord</span>::<span class="co">Base</span><tt>
    </tt><tt>
    </tt>  establish_connection(<tt>
    </tt>  <span class="sy">:adapter</span> => <span class="s"><span class="dl">"</span><span class="k">mysql</span><span class="dl">"</span></span>,<tt>
    </tt>  <span class="sy">:host</span> => <span class="s"><span class="dl">"</span><span class="k">localhost</span><span class="dl">"</span></span>,<tt>
    </tt>  <span class="sy">:database</span> => <span class="s"><span class="dl">"</span><span class="k">dbname</span><span class="dl">"</span></span>,<tt>
    </tt>  <span class="sy">:username</span> => <span class="s"><span class="dl">"</span><span class="k">username</span><span class="dl">"</span></span>,<tt>
    </tt>  <span class="sy">:password</span> => <span class="s"><span class="dl">"</span><span class="k">somepassword</span><span class="dl">"</span></span>)<tt>
    </tt>  <tt>
    </tt>  has_many                  <span class="sy">:session</span><tt>
    </tt>  has_many                  <span class="sy">:group</span><tt>
    </tt>  set_table_name            <span class="sy">:cms_users</span> <tt>
    </tt>  set_primary_key           <span class="sy">:user_id</span><tt>
    </tt><tt>
    </tt><span class="r">end</span>
    
    1
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    4
    **5**
    6
    7
    8
    9
    **10**
    11
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    13
    14
    
    <span class="r">class</span> <span class="cl">Group</span> < <span class="co">ActiveRecord</span>::<span class="co">Base</span><tt>
    </tt><tt>
    </tt>  establish_connection(<tt>
    </tt>  <span class="sy">:adapter</span> => <span class="s"><span class="dl">"</span><span class="k">mysql</span><span class="dl">"</span></span>,<tt>
    </tt>  <span class="sy">:host</span> => <span class="s"><span class="dl">"</span><span class="k">localhost</span><span class="dl">"</span></span>,<tt>
    </tt>  <span class="sy">:database</span> => <span class="s"><span class="dl">"</span><span class="k">dbname</span><span class="dl">"</span></span>,<tt>
    </tt>  <span class="sy">:username</span> => <span class="s"><span class="dl">"</span><span class="k">username</span><span class="dl">"</span></span>,<tt>
    </tt>  <span class="sy">:password</span> => <span class="s"><span class="dl">"</span><span class="k">somepassword</span><span class="dl">"</span></span>)<tt>
    </tt>  <tt>
    </tt>    set_table_name          <span class="sy">:cms_bbgroups</span><tt>
    </tt>    belongs_to              <span class="sy">:user</span><tt>
    </tt>    set_primary_key         <span class="sy">:group_id</span><tt>
    </tt><tt>
    </tt><span class="r">end</span>
    
    1
    2
    3
    4
    **5**
    6
    7
    8
    9
    **10**
    11
    12
    13
    14
    **15**
    
    <span class="r">class</span> <span class="cl">User_Group</span> < <span class="co">ActiveRecord</span>::<span class="co">Base</span><tt>
    </tt><tt>
    </tt>  establish_connection(<tt>
    </tt>  <span class="sy">:adapter</span> => <span class="s"><span class="dl">"</span><span class="k">mysql</span><span class="dl">"</span></span>,<tt>
    </tt>  <span class="sy">:host</span> => <span class="s"><span class="dl">"</span><span class="k">localhost</span><span class="dl">"</span></span>,<tt>
    </tt>  <span class="sy">:database</span> => <span class="s"><span class="dl">"</span><span class="k">dbname</span><span class="dl">"</span></span>,<tt>
    </tt>  <span class="sy">:username</span> => <span class="s"><span class="dl">"</span><span class="k">username</span><span class="dl">"</span></span>,<tt>
    </tt>  <span class="sy">:password</span> => <span class="s"><span class="dl">"</span><span class="k">somepassword</span><span class="dl">"</span></span>)<tt>
    </tt>  <tt>
    </tt>  has_many                    <span class="sy">:group</span><tt>
    </tt>  belongs_to                  <span class="sy">:user</span><tt>
    </tt>  set_table_name              <span class="sy">:cms_bbuser_group</span><tt>
    </tt>  set_primary_key             <span class="sy">:group_id</span><tt>
    </tt><tt>
    </tt><span class="r">end</span>
    
    1
    2
    3
    4
    **5**
    6
    7
    8
    9
    **10**
    11
    12
    13
    14
    
    <span class="r">class</span> <span class="cl">Sessions</span> < <span class="co">ActiveRecord</span>::<span class="co">Base</span><tt>
    </tt><tt>
    </tt>    establish_connection(<tt>
    </tt>    <span class="sy">:adapter</span> => <span class="s"><span class="dl">"</span><span class="k">mysql</span><span class="dl">"</span></span>,<tt>
    </tt>    <span class="sy">:host</span> => <span class="s"><span class="dl">"</span><span class="k">localhost</span><span class="dl">"</span></span>,<tt>
    </tt>    <span class="sy">:database</span> => <span class="s"><span class="dl">"</span><span class="k">dbname</span><span class="dl">"</span></span>,<tt>
    </tt>    <span class="sy">:username</span> => <span class="s"><span class="dl">"</span><span class="k">someuser</span><span class="dl">"</span></span>,<tt>
    </tt>    <span class="sy">:password</span> => <span class="s"><span class="dl">"</span><span class="k">otherpassword</span><span class="dl">"</span></span>)<tt>
    </tt>    <tt>
    </tt>    belongs_to                  <span class="sy">:user</span><tt>
    </tt>    set_table_name              <span class="sy">:cms_session</span><tt>
    </tt>    set_primary_key             <span class="sy">:uname</span><tt>
    </tt>  <tt>
    </tt> <span class="r">end</span>
    

    This allows us to connect to the DragonflyCMS database, and get information about the users, groups and sessions. I pulled this directly from the wonderful wiki article.

    As per the wiki, I set up a before filter in my application.rb - but I had to modify it quite a bit..

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    **5**
    
       before_filter <span class="sy">:has_session</span><tt>
    </tt><tt>
    </tt>   <span class="r">def</span> <span class="fu">has_session</span>()<tt>
    </tt><tt>
    </tt>      <span class="r">if</span> session[<span class="sy">:user_id</span>].nil?<tt>
    </tt>
    

    We have run the before filter and started the module to check the authentication. One of the things that I decided to do differently was check to see if we already had a session or not. It seemed to me that we could save some time by bypassing all of the work below if we already had the session set up. Now, we are read in the cookie:

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             sid = <span class="co">Base64</span>.decode64(cookies[<span class="sy">:my_login</span>]).split(<span class="s"><span class="dl">'</span><span class="k">:</span><span class="dl">'</span></span>)<tt>
    </tt>
    

    DragonflyCMS uses base64 encoding for it's cookies, and also uses a ':' as a field delimiter. So, we read the cookie in, decode it, and split it. We know that the user ID is the first field in the cookie, so we can do this:

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            t = <span class="co">User</span>.find_by_user_id(sid[<span class="i">0</span>])<tt>
    </tt><tt>
    </tt>        <span class="r">if</span> s = <span class="co">Sessions</span>.find_by_uname(t.username)
    

    We take the user ID out of the cookie, and cross reference it with the Users model to insure that the user really exists in the DragonflyCMS system. We then check if the username has a active session in the sessions table, and presto! we have a live user who is authenticated vs the dragonfly system.

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    **5**
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    **10**
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    **15**
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                <span class="r">if</span> <span class="co">Person</span>.find_by_name(t.username)<tt>
    </tt>               session[<span class="sy">:user_id</span>] = <span class="co">Person</span>.find_by_name(t.username).id<tt>
    </tt>               session[<span class="sy">:username</span>] = t.username<tt>
    </tt>            <span class="r">else</span><tt>
    </tt>               <span class="iv">@person</span> = <span class="co">Person</span>.new(<span class="sy">:name</span> => t.username)<tt>
    </tt>               <span class="r">if</span> <span class="iv">@person</span>.save<tt>
    </tt>                  flash[<span class="sy">:notice</span>] = <span class="s"><span class="dl">"</span><span class="k">Welcome to Application, </span><span class="dl">"</span></span> + <span class="iv">@person</span>.name + <span class="s"><span class="dl">"</span><span class="k">! Please take the time to fill<tt>
    </tt>in all of the required information.</span><span class="dl">"</span></span><tt>
    </tt>                  redirect_to <span class="sy">:controller</span> => <span class="s"><span class="dl">'</span><span class="k">people</span><span class="dl">'</span></span>, <span class="sy">:action</span> => <span class="s"><span class="dl">'</span><span class="k">edit</span><span class="dl">'</span></span>, <span class="sy">:id</span> => <span class="iv">@person</span>.id<tt>
    </tt>               <span class="r">else</span><tt>
    </tt>                  <span class="c">#If we are here, it's a major WTF</span><tt>
    </tt>                  flash[<span class="sy">:notice</span>] = <span class="s"><span class="dl">"</span><span class="k">Some strange error occured. Perhaps you had chocolate chips in your cookies?</span><span class="dl">"</span></span><tt>
    </tt>                  render <span class="sy">:controller</span> => <span class="s"><span class="dl">'</span><span class="k">welcome</span><span class="dl">'</span></span>, <span class="sy">:action</span> => <span class="s"><span class="dl">'</span><span class="k">index</span><span class="dl">'</span></span><tt>
    </tt><tt>
    </tt>               <span class="r">end</span><tt>
    </tt>            <span class="r">end</span>
    

    That huge chunk of code does a lot of stuff!

    First, since we have a live user, we want to check to see if they have logged into our application before. I have a model called 'Person' which contains some information about the user that this application needs.

    If they have not logged in before, we build them a new person object, and dump them into their edit page so they can fill out all of the neato little fields.

    If they have logged in before, we create the session information in Rails which will allow us to authenticate them vs various models and functions as we need to.

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             <span class="r">else</span><tt>
    </tt>            session[<span class="sy">:user_id</span>] = <span class="pc">nil</span><tt>
    </tt>         <span class="r">end</span><tt>
    </tt>      <span class="r">end</span><tt>
    </tt>   <span class="r">end</span>
    

    If all else fails, we make the session information read Nil, so that next time a page loads or what have you, we check again to make sure that the have not logged in elsewhere.

    I also have been thinking about ways of increasing security. DragonflyCMS records the IP address of the session's user - it would be trivial to cross check that as well to insure that the cookie is not forged. As this application resides on an intranet, I have not implemented that level of cross-checking yet, but probably will in the future.

    Wups...

    Microsoft is investigating a new report of limited 'zero-day” attacks using a vulnerability in Microsoft Word 2000, Microsoft Word 2002, Microsoft Office Word 2003, Microsoft Word Viewer 2003, Microsoft Word 2004 for Mac, and Microsoft Word 2004 v. X for Mac, as well as Microsoft Works 2004, 2005, and 2006. In order for this attack to be carried out, a user must first open a malicious Word file attached to an e-mail or otherwise provided to them by an attacker.

    Sounds like yet another major woops from Microsoft. Have they released a patch yet? Nope. Their advice is :

    that users 'not open or save Word files,' even from trusted sources.

    So, shut down Word. Take a break. Drink some of your favorite frosty warm beverage. Wait for Microsoft to issue a patch.

    Sigh.

    Hawkish outlook....

    Well I've been hiding a secret for the past two weeks. It's something that I've felt conflicted and unsure of, something that I've felt ashamed of and proud of at the same time. Something that I've been trying to sort out before I actually wrote about it. Most people will probably say, "yeah, big deal." But for me it kind of is a big deal. I haven't told very many people. I showed Robert Scoble last week but have been kind of hiding it otherwise.

    A little over two weeks ago I walked into the Apple store in Palo Alto and bought myself a new MacBook Pro. Yes, the new sexy Intel dual core MacBook Pro. And I went home and after not using a Mac for over 15 years, put my Dell PC notebook literally in the bookshelf and have been using this new Mac as my primary computer for the past 2 weeks.

    -[Thomas Hawk](http://thomashawk.com/) via [Apple](http://www.apple.com/hotnews/)

    Another story from a switcher.

    I am forced to use a Dell laptop at work - and I must say that I hate it. I even have gotten to play around with their Dual Core d620 - and it just makes me want to use my trusty G4 Powerbook all the more. It's not just bigotry here - I actually prefer how the Powerbook works, and feels. When I hold the Dell, and it flexes it just feels like a toy - not a tool. When I hold the powerbook, it's solid and feels like it's there.

    They keyboards are also very different. I am very aware of the tactile response that a keyboard provides. The Dell's keyboard feels - well, cheap. My fingers catch the undersides of the keys, and there is very little travel in the keys. The mac laptop is tight, back lit, and when you press a key, it travels up and down fluidly with a just about the perfect tactile feedback.

    It's these little things that have really make the experience work for me. It makes working with the device more of a pleasure then a chore.

    Polymorphic associations in Rails

    In a project that I am working on, I finally needed to dig into polymorphic associations in Rails Models.

    If you just thought to yourself '*Hu? WTH is this freak talking about?*' let me give you a little background.

    Rails is built around a '[MVC](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Model-view-controller)' model of programming. So, each program is logically broken up into three parts - The Model (the data), The View (the part the user interacts with) and the Controller, (the part that interacts between the data and the the user).

    Delving into the model - chunks of data can have some sort of relationship. For example, an address could be associated with a person. People could have many addresses (home, work, favorite bar). In railspeak, that is called a has_many relationship. People has_many addresses, and addresses belongs_to people. However, we can get into problems - dogs have addresses to. They tend to live in a house with people, and you can send them mail. So - let's see what this looks like:

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    <span class="r">class</span> <span class="cl">Address</span> < <span class="co">ActiveRecord</span>::<span class="co">Base</span><tt>
    </tt>  belongs_to <span class="sy">:person</span><tt>
    </tt>  belongs_to <span class="sy">:dog</span><tt>
    </tt><span class="r">end</span>
    

    But the problem with that is that an address belongs to **both** a person and a dog. What about those happy homes who have no dogs? Or that have a cat, instead? we need a belongs_to 'or' statement.

    Enter the polymorph.

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    <span class="r">class</span> <span class="cl">Address</span> < <span class="co">ActiveRecord</span>::<span class="co">Base</span><tt>
    </tt>  belongs_to <span class="sy">:owner</span>, <span class="sy">:polymorphic</span> => <span class="pc">true</span><tt>
    </tt><span class="r">end</span>
    

    This says an address belongs to a class of thing called *owner*. It will look for two columns in the database : owner_type (to record what model owns that record) and owner_id (to record the id of the model that owns it).

    So, now we have the address all set up! But, what about the other side? How do we tell the people, dogs and cats that they can have an address?

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    <span class="r">class</span> <span class="cl">Person</span> < <span class="co">ActiveRecord</span>::<span class="co">Base</span><tt>
    </tt>  has_many <span class="sy">:address</span> <tt>
    </tt><span class="r">end</span>
    

    This is how we tell rails that a person could *have many* addresses, Rails would expect to find a column called person_id in the addresses table. However, there is not a column called person_id, as the address model does not belong to an person. Addresses belong to owners. How do we tell Rails that it should find all of the addresses for owner type 'person' where the id is what ever the id number is?

    Well, Rails has a way. Imagine that.

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    <span class="r">class</span> <span class="cl">Person</span> < <span class="co">ActiveRecord</span>::<span class="co">Base</span><tt>
    </tt>has_many <span class="sy">:address</span> <span class="sy">:as</span> => <span class="sy">:owner</span><tt>
    </tt><span class="r">end</span>
    

    So now, we in people_controller we can say things like:

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    <span class="r">def</span> <span class="fu">find_addy</span> ()<tt>
    </tt>  <span class="iv">@dog</span> = <span class="co">Site</span>.find_by_id(params[<span class="sy">:id</span>])<tt>
    </tt>  <span class="iv">@address</span> = <span class="iv">@dog</span>.address<tt>
    </tt><span class="r">end</span>
    

    The @dog.address will automagically return us the address associated with the site contained in @dog. We can also say other cool things like @dog.address.create, which will create a new address associated with the site in @dog.

    And, if we later decide to add cats to the mix, we simply add
    
    
    has_many <span class="sy">:address</span>, <span class="sy">:as</span> => <span class="sy">:owner</span>
    

    to the Cat model, and Bam! Chili fries!

    Ken Miller on Genome Sequencing

    -[Ken Miller](http://www.millerandlevine.com/km/evol/)

    I really think that the evidence is mounting which shows that Evolution is the theory that best explains our origins. We are reaching the point where to believe in Intelligent Design or Creationism is hard to justify.

    There are those who scoff at the school boy, calling him frivolous and shallow. Yet it was the school boy who said, Faith is believing what you know ain't so.

    -[Mark Twain](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mark_Twain) in Following the Equator, Pudd'nhead Wilson's Calendar

    I understand how hard it can be to release concepts that one is attached to. As we 'build our faith' in something, we allow it to become almost part of us. We are bound to it, and when it is challenged, it can actually cause us harm. Even Christianity talks about this. 'Let go, let God' comes to mind.

    To state 'This is what I believe' is a wonderful thing. To then never budge from that belief when presented with evidence, empirical or logical, which refutes that belief is closed minded. Our paradigm or world view is colored by all of our experiences. It is safe to say that we are not the same person that we were a day ago, or even 5 minutes ago. Each experience that we have changes our core being in ways that we cannot fathom. To say 'This I Believe now and forever' is to stay a caterpillar, never transcending into the next state of being.

    The Buddhist texts refer to four strands of grasping (*upaadaana*): grasping of sense pleasures (*kaamupaadaana*), **of views (*di.t.thuupaadaana*), of rule and custom (*siilabbatupaadaana*), of doctrines of self (*attavaadupaadaana*).** All of these can also be described as forms of *raaga* or desire. To destroy their power over the human psyche, attachment to them must be transformed into non-attachment. Non-attachment or non-grasping would therefore flow from the awareness that no possession, no relationship, no achievement is permanent or able to give lasting satisfaction; from the discovery that there is no self which needs to be protected, promoted, or defended; and from the realization that searching for selfish sensual gratification is pointless, since it leads only to craving and obsession.

    -[Elizabeth J. Harris](http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/authors/harris/bl141.html)

    (e*mphasis mine*)

    I think that it is like having a rope tied to yourself and a big horse. That horse is traveling away from you at a steady, but slow rate. When you are 'grasping', you firmly plant you're feet and refuse to budge. This will be fine for a time, but when the pressure builds, it starts to become painful. As the rope tightens, your fists start to get crushed, and your torso squeezed.

    Would it not be much better to simply give in to the change, and walk with the horse?

    Spaghetti Grenades

    You think this is silly, and it is, but a week ago my mother caused a small commotion at a checkpoint at Boston-Logan after screeners discovered a large container of homemade tomato sauce in her bag. What with the preponderance of spaghetti grenades and lasagna bombs, we can all be proud of their vigilance. And, as a liquid, tomato sauce is in clear violation of the Transportation Security Administration's carry-on statutes. But this time, there was a wrinkle: The sauce was frozen.

    No longer in its liquid state, the sauce had the guards in a scramble. According to my mother's account, a supervisor was called over to help assess the situation. He spent several moments stroking his chin. "He struck me as the type of person who spent most of his life traveling with the circus," says Mom, who never pulls a punch, "and was only vaguely familiar with the concept of refrigeration." Nonetheless, drawing from his experiences in grade-school chemistry and at the TSA academy, he sized things up. "It's not a liquid right now," he observantly noted. "But it will be soon."

    -[Bruce Schneier](http://www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2006/11/tsa_security_ro_1.html)

    There are things that we can do to make us safer. This is not one of them.

    I gotta go here...

    I think that I will have to take a trip to this museum...

    The world's first Creationist museum - dedicated to the idea that the creation of the world, as told in Genesis, is factually correct - will soon open. Stephen Bates is given a sneak preview and asks: was there really a tyrannosaurus in the Bible?...

    ...Theological scholars may have noticed that there are, in fact, no dinosaurs mentioned in the Bible - and here lies the Creationists' first problem. Since there are undoubtedly dinosaur bones and since, according to the Creationists, the world is only 6,000 years old - a calculation devised by the 17th-century Bishop Ussher, counting back through the Bible to the Creation, a formula more or less accepted by the museum - dinosaurs must be shoehorned in somewhere, along with the Babylonians, Egyptians and the other ancient civilisations. As for the Grand Canyon - no problem: that was, of course, created in a few months by Noah's Flood.

    ...But what, I ask wonderingly, about those fossilised remains of early man-like creatures? Marsh knows all about that: "There are no such things. Humans are basically as you see them today. Those skeletons they've found, what's the word? ... they could have been deformed, diseased or something. I've seen people like that running round the streets of New York."...

    ...A little licence is allowed, however, where the Bible falls down on the details. The depiction of a wall-sized section of Noah's Ark is based, not on the traditional picture of a flat-decked boat, but one designed by navy engineers with a keel and bows, which might, at least, have floated. "You can surmise," says Marsh. When you get inside, there's nifty computer software telling you how they fitted all the animals in, too....

    You know, this really speaks for it's self. But I still want to know - How did they fit 2 of each of the [between 2 and 100 million species](http://hypertextbook.com/facts/2003/FelixNisimov.shtml) in a boat?

    Busy

    Just got a huge project dropped in my lap at work. I am really busy right now. I have not died :)

    Expect to see some ruby code published here soon. I just got done with a DragonflyCMS/Rails authentication integration snippit - works like a charm.

    Just finished [Misquoting Jesus: The Story Behind Who Changed the Bible and Why](http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0060738170?ie=UTF8&tag=nwgamersorg-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=0060738170). Really good book. The author does a great job of balancing facts about the uncertainty in the origins of the Bible with a positive take on the message. I'd say it's a must read for any student of Christianity.

    I also just picked up a copy of [Living Buddha, Living Christ](http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1573225681?ie=UTF8&tag=nwgamersorg-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=1573225681). I have only read one chapter it in so far, but I am very impressed.

    There is one story that I want to recount from it, as it sparked a lot of thought in me.

    It seems that one day a person asked the Buddha "How do you and your monks practice your path?".

    To this, the Buddha replied "We walk, we sit and we eat."

    "But everyone walks, sits and eats!"

    "However, when we walk, we know that we are walking. When we sit, we know that we are sitting, and when we eat, we know that we are eating"

    Being mindful of what is happening in the here and now is very important. Allowing past emotions, or future fears to rule you is counterproductive. By being fully engaged in the present, we are better parents, employees, and citizens.

    WTF?

    During a telephone conference with reporters yesterday, outgoing Microsoft co-president Jim Allchin, while touting the new security features of Windows Vista, which was released to manufacturing yesterday, told a reporter that the system's new lockdown features are so capable and thorough that he was comfortable with his own seven-year-old son using Vista without antivirus software installed.

    -[OSNews](http://www.osnews.com/story.php?news_id=16445)

    I run Antivirus software on my linux boxes and my Macs. First off, you cannot be too careful. Secondly, I do not want to be passing Virus infested file off on to anyone.

    This has got to be just about the worst advice since 'Eat the Apple'.

    New Land Sighted!

    The Pacific Ocean has given birth to a new volcanic island near [Tonga](http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&q=tonga&ie=UTF8&z=7&t=k&om=1), according to ocean-going eyewitnesses.

    Crew on board a yacht called the "Maiken" believed they were the first to see a volcanic island forming a day out from Neiafu, Tonga, while sailing towards Fiji in August, the Matangi Tonga news website reported Wednesday.

    -[Seed Magazine](http://www.seedmagazine.com/news/2006/11/pacific_ocean_gives_birth_to_n.php)

    It's refreshing to be reminded about the cyclic nature of life and death and how it applies to so much more then just humans and other animals. This sort of event reminds me that I am insignificant in the grand scheme of things. Just think - there are events happening out there that dwarf anything we humans could conceive of doing at this time. [Case in point](http://antwrp.gsfc.nasa.gov/apod/ap061105.html). Humbling.

    New version of Office Space

    Just funny

    [This](http://www.boingboing.net/2006/11/08/rumsfeld_resignation.html) is a pretty funny take on Rumsfeld's resignation, from a Mac Geek view..

    God loves Lexus

    And there you have it. Proof of God. Proof that God, clearly, has a wicked sense of humor. Proof that God drinks far, far more heavily than you. Proof that God sees the deep irony of life, and war, and oil, cars, cognac, parking spaces, everything, and laughs demonically. There is simply no other explanation.

    -[Mark Morford](http://sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/gate/archive/2006/10/27/notes102706.DTL&nl=fix)

    Mark makes a great argument for the existence of God - and one who drinks heavily. Now, there's a God that I could get behind!

    hick<

    Enlightenist Manifesto

    Enlightenists believe in the awe-inspiring, wonder, beauty and complexity of the universe, and aspire to unpick its mysteries by reason, constant questioning, observation, experiment, and analysis of evidence. The bedrock of our morality is empathy, from which logically springs love, forgiveness, tolerance and a profound desire to make a just, egalitarian society and reduce suffering. The more knowledge a person has, the more they question and understand the real world, and the more they are required to analyse what is true then the greater the increase in empathy. Enlightenists care and wish to do good not because a vengeful God tells them to, but because intelligence suggests it is the only and the right thing to do.

    -[Muriel Gray](http://www.sundayherald.com/58809)

    Quicky

    Just a quick pointer to an article over at [37Signals](http://www.37signals.com/svn/posts/84-web-developers-microsoft-has-no-idea-whats-going-on) about the differences between installing a simple tool in OSX and Windows Vista.

    It's a very chilling look at where 95% of the computers are headed, unless we get cracking! Remember: [Ubuntu](http://www.ubuntu.com), [Debian](http://www.debian.org) or [Apple](http://www.apple.com) can help you out of the Vista Horror!

    :)

    This I believe....

    I believe that there is no God. I'm beyond atheism. Atheism is not believing in God. Not believing in God is easy-you can't prove a negative, so there's no work to do...

    -Penn Jillette on [This I Believe](http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5015557)

    I believe that there is an elephant in Penn's trunk.

    I heard this spot when it was on, and I must say that I was moved. It concisely sums up a lot of the problems that I have with the entire concept of there being an 'omni-whatever' being. This is a topic that I have done a lot of writing about, and a lot of thinking about, and Penn can sum up my years of pondering in a few short paragraphs.

    When I first stumbled across the Buddhist teaching about God, I felt like I had come home. It felt right, and correct, and that it was summing up what I had been trying to verbalize all of these years. To sum it up - If God exists, and is all powerful, then he is evil to allow all of the suffering that has occurred at the hand of Man and Nature over the years. Evil to have turned a blind eye to what his creation has wrought.

    The idea that we need to ask forgiveness for our 'sins' from some higher power always struck me as wrong. What about the Hitlers of the world? What if they, after inflicting suffering upon their fellow man, saw the error of their ways, and recanted just before they died? Would they get treated the same as a Dali Lama or a Mother Theresa? According to the majority of the modern Christian movement - yes. Once you are 'washed in the blood of Christ' all your sins are forgiven. All.

    I believe that we are each totally responsible for our actions, and that we cannot seek forgiveness because there is no one to give it, others then the folks we have wronged. I believe that everyone else in the world believing this would make the world a better place.

    In my belief, there is no place for people who commit atrocious acts in the name of some religion, expecting to be forgiven. There is no forgiveness, Only consequences.

    Whew!

    [ You are 34% white and nerdy.
    How White and Nerdy Are You?](http://www.bbspot.com/News/2006/09/white-and-nerdy-quiz.php)

    (HT: [Justus](http://www.davejustus.com/2006/10/23/somewhat-embarrassing/), who is far more white and nerdy then I)

    24 hours...

    "Not 24 hours after the release of IE7, Secunia reports Internet Explorer Arbitrary Content Disclosure Vulnerability. So much for the "you wanted it easier and more secure" slogan found on Microsoft's IE Website."

    -[Secunda](http://secunia.com/Internet_Explorer_Arbitrary_Content_Disclosure_Vulnerability_Test/) via [Slashdot](http://slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=06/10/19/1326247&from=rss).

    Sorry - not even gonna touch this one.

    update:

    Christopher Budd has this to say on the [Microsoft Security Center Response Blog](http://blogs.technet.com/msrc/archive/2006/10/19/information-on-reports-of-ie-7-vulnerability.aspx):

    We've gotten some questions here today about public reports claiming there's a new vulnerability in Internet Explorer 7. This is an issue that we have under investigation and so we have some technical information we can share about the issue.

    These reports are technically inaccurate: the issue concerned in these reports is not in Internet Explorer 7 (or any other version) at all. Rather, it is in a different Windows component, specifically a component in Outlook Express. While these reports use Internet Explorer as a vector the vulnerability itself is in Outlook Express.

    Hmm... that's like saying "You did not get food poisoning from the Hamburger you ate, you got it from the contaminants **in** the hamburger. Ok, so it's a problem in Outlook Express. However, IE is the target and attack vector. So, it's a problem with IE. Trying to pass the buck to another program is simply corporate misdirection. Time to own up, Microsoft!

    While we are aware that the issue has been publicly disclosed, we're not aware of it being used in any attacks against customers.

    We do have this under investigation and are monitoring the situation closely and we'll take appropriate action to protect our customers once we've completed the investigation.

    How about simply taking the novel approach of - say - releasing a patch? If it is in fact a problem with Outlook Express, and not IE - then sever that link between the two programs and call it good.

    And, since it has not been used to attack customers yet - why wait? According to Secunia, this exact same issue has been present in [IE6](http://secunia.com/advisories/19738/) for 6 months now. How long do your customers dangle, Microsoft?

    37 Signals on Why Mac?

    You can see the video [Here](http://www.apple.com/education/whymac/compsci/video.html).

    I agree a lot with what they say - but I add that the Mac just gets out of the way. Things work like I expect them to, and I do not have to think about the details of what I am doing as much as the big picture.

    To steal a marketing slogan - "Mac: Let your fingers do the walking"

    Interesting historical note...

    The [Reichstag fire](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reichstag_fire) was an important event in the establishment of the Nazi Party as the rulers of Germany in 1933. On the night of 27 February (yes, a Monday), the [Reichstag](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reichstag_%28building%29) - the building in which the German Parliament assembled - caught fire and was partially destroyed by a subsequent explosion.

    Hitler had been sworn in as Chancellor of Germany less than a month earlier. Parliamentary president and Nazi Party official [Hermann Göring](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hermann_G%C3%B6ring) quickly declared the fire the work of communist insurgents. Hitler then declared a state of emergency and persuaded the aging German President [Paul von Hindenburg](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_von_Hindenburg) to sign the [Reichstag Fire Decree](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reichstag_Fire_Decree), which suspended the [Weimar Constitution](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Weimar_constitution), thus nullifying many of the basic civic liberties previously guaranteed to German citizens on the grounds that the state needed to act against communism and needed the powers to search, detain, ban, disperse, and censor anything they deemed subversive.

    In hindsight, von Hindenburg's assent wasn't the greatest political move ever made.

    As to the fire itself, known communist Marinus van der Lubbe was tried, found guilty, and executed by the Nazis after he confessed to starting the fire. It later emerged that van der Lubbe had been tortured to confession. Later in 1933, a retrial held by the pre-Nazi German Imperial Court found the (now dead) van der Lubbe and the Communist Party leaders to be innocent. This infuriated Hitler, who established his own court, the [Volksgerichtshof](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Volksgerichtshof), at which treason and other capital offences were to be tried. The Volksgerichtshof became famous for the huge number of death sentences it handed down.

    Further investigation into the Reichstag fire further muddied the waters, with serious suspicions (including a sworn affidavit by Nazi general Franz Halder at the Nuremburg Trials) that Göring himself had started the fire. Historians argue variously that communists really did start the fire and that the Nazis simply seized a golden opportunity to tighten their grip on Germany, while others conclude that the Nazis masterminded the entire plot themselves and framed the communists.

    -[David Morgan-Mar](http://www.irregularwebcomic.net/1155.html)

    Any resemblance to current events is simply coincidental.

    I **do not** believe that Bush is a Hitler wanna-be. I simply use this to point out - when the citizens stop watching, this is what can happen.

    Let me reemphasize this.

    **I am not drawing a correlation between any current U.S. government official, elected or otherwise and Hitler. I am not even saying that we are heading down this path**. I am simply stating that a strong, active, and knowledgeable populace is what we need to stave off this kind of event.

    Nihilistic? Not really...

    One of the concerns that has been conveyed to me about Buddhism by many people - is that it's teaching of 'non-attachment' is [nihilistic](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nihilism). I have struggled with explained how a teaching of non-attachment is, not only not nihilistic, but is all about being engaged in the world. Albeit from a different perspective.

    The image of an extinguished fire carried no connotations of annihilation for the early Buddhists. Rather, the aspects of fire that to them had significance for the mind-fire analogy are these: Fire, when burning, is in a state of agitation, dependence, attachment, and entrapment—both clinging and being stuck to its sustenance. Extinguished, it becomes calm, independent, indeterminate, and unattached: It lets go of its sustenance and is released.

    -[Thanissaro Bhikkhu](http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/authors/thanissaro/index.html), "[Mind Like Fire Unbound](http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/authors/thanissaro/likefire/index.html)"

    So, by extinguishing our 'inner flame' of emotion driven responses to everything, we gain a dispassionate view, where we can attempt to chart the best course based on long term outcomes, rather then knee-jerk responses.

    Soap...

    It does a body good!

    [This](http://www.campaignforrealbeauty.com/home_films_evolution_v2.swf) little flick kinda sums it up.

    Who watches the watchers?

    All new threats entail huge uncertainties. Then, as now, there was a pronounced tendency to assume the worst, and for the government to claim enormous discretion in protecting the American public. The Bush administration has consistently argued that it needs to be protected from Congressional oversight and media scrutiny. An example is the National Security Agency's warrantless surveillance of telephone traffic into and out of the United States. Rather than going to Congress and trying to negotiate changes to the law that regulates such activities, the administration simply grabbed that authority for itself, saying, in effect, 'Trust us: if you knew what we know about the threat, you'd be perfectly happy to have us do what we're doing.” In other areas, like the holding of prisoners in Guantánamo and interrogation methods used there and in the Middle East, one can only quote Moynihan on an earlier era: 'As fears of Communist conspiracies and German subversion mounted, it was the U.S. government's conduct that approached the illegal.”

    Even if we do not at this juncture know the full scope of the threat we face from jihadist terrorism, it is certainly large enough to justify many changes in the way we conduct our lives, both at home and abroad. But the American government does have a track record in dealing with similar problems in the past, one suggesting that all American institutions — Congress, the courts, the news media — need to do their jobs in scrutinizing official behavior, and not take the easy way out of deferring to the executive. Past experience also suggests that the government would do far better to make public what it knows, as well as the limits of that knowledge, if we are to arrive at a balanced view of the challenges we face today.

    -[Francis Fukuyama](http://www.sais-jhu.edu/faculty/fukuyama/) via [NY Times](http://www.nytimes.com/2006/10/08/books/review/Fukuyama.t.html?_r=2&8bu&emc=bu&oref=slogin&oref=slogin), via [Bruce Schneier](http://www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2006/10/fukuyama_on_sec.html)

    We do.

    Star Wars like you've never seen it before

    You have to telnet to towel.blinkenlights.nl - open a command prompt and type telnet towel.blinkenlights.nl

    Ok.. so, go to start/run and type in cmd.exe.

    Got it?

    Good.

    It's best to know when to give up...

    Ain't technology grand?

    Wait for it..

    If you give this a chance, it's actually really cool...

    What am I?

    really?

    Your Political Profile:
    **Overall**: 55% Conservative, 45% Liberal
    **Social Issues**: 75% Conservative, 25% Liberal
    **Personal Responsibility**: 50% Conservative, 50% Liberal
    **Fiscal Issues**: 100% Conservative, 0% Liberal
    **Ethics**: 0% Conservative, 100% Liberal

    Confused?

    New version of Skeet Shooting?

    [This](http://www.glumbert.com/media/carshoot) seems like a great new sport...

    Avahi Configuration

    So - a while back I talked about getting [Edgy Eft](https://wiki.ubuntu.com/EdgyEft) installed and spun up on my home Server. One of the issues that I had was getting my [Macs](http://www.apple.com) to play nice with this new version. I used to use [Howl](http://www.porchdogsoft.com/products/howl/GettingStarted.html) to provide my [mDNS](http://www.multicastdns.org/) goodness. Well, Howl is no longer supported - or even developed. So, it was time to get with the, errr, times. [Avahi](http://avahi.org/) is the new kid on the block. I was hoping that it would automagically pick up all of the services that I had running on my box, and publish information about them. Well, that was not the case. I have heard rumors that [netatalk](http://netatalk.sourceforge.net/) (the Linux implementation of [AFP](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apple_Filing_Protocol) - Apple's file sharing protocol. OSX also supports [SMB](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Server_Message_Block), [NFS](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Network_File_System) and others, but AFP is native, fast, and easy.) would automagically register with Avahi, but that did not work. So, I have been putting off getting it configured, and relying on SCP/SFTP to access my server shares. As OS X does not support writing to FTP/SFTP out of the box, I have had to use a third part tool ([Fugu](http://rsug.itd.umich.edu/software/fugu/) - I cannot recommend this program highly enough) to accomplish this. Last night, I had some time, and hacked on Avahi until it worked. The Edgy install of Avahi pretty much worked out of the box. However, it did not configure any services. I had to dig through several man pages to get the following [format](http://greg.nokes.name/assets/2006/10/5/afpd.service) figured out: This goes into /etc/avahi/services - or where ever you have your Avahi services directory. It's pretty easy once you get the format down. I made services for [ssh](http://greg.nokes.name/assets/2006/10/5/sshd.service) and [http](http://greg.nokes.name/assets/2006/10/5/httpd.service) as well. *Update: Just did basic setups for [svn](http://greg.nokes.name/assets/2006/10/6/svn.service), [rsync](http://greg.nokes.name/assets/2006/10/6/rsync.service), [ntp](http://greg.nokes.name/assets/2006/10/6/ntp.service) and [ipp](http://greg.nokes.name/assets/2006/10/6/ipp.service)* I would like to see the Avahi folks include a directory called 'services-disabled' or some such thing, and have the common service definition files in there already. All you would have to do is symlink the files over to the services directory when you needed them enabled - you could have the daemon startup scripts automagically look for and do this when they start. Then, you would have Linux with the plug and play simplicity of a Mac.

    Hu?

    With little public attention or even notice, the House of Representatives has passed a bill that undermines enforcement of the First Amendment's separation of church and state. The Public Expression of Religion Act - H.R. 2679 - provides that attorneys who successfully challenge government actions as violating the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment shall not be entitled to recover attorneys fees. The bill has only one purpose: to prevent suits challenging unconstitutional government actions advancing religion.

    -[Washington Post](http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/09/29/AR2006092901055.html)

    Edgy Eft

    [Ubuntu Linux](http://www.ubuntu.com) is getting ready to release a new version - [Edgy Eft](https://launchpad.net/distros/ubuntu/edgy). You can check out a list of goals for Edgy [here](https://launchpad.net/distros/ubuntu/edgy), as well as see the progress being made on them.

    I have installed the beta on three desktop machines now, and I must say, I am really impressed. For a beta, the fit and polish is really nice. It's darn close to what a Linux machine needs as a Windows replacement. It's snappy, even on my old P-3 machine - it positively flies on my P4 HT machine.

    Is it to the point where I would replace OS X with it? I don't think so. I don't mind using a proprietary OS or programs - if they get the job done. If there is a F/OSS program that does as good of a job, or better, then of course I will use it. OS X is unix based, stable, fast, and elegant. It does the job for me, and quite well, at this point.

    The old thing that I would like to see is better integration between [Avahi](http://avahi.org/) (the [mDNS](http://www.multicastdns.org/) stack) and [netatalk](http://netatalk.sourceforge.net/) (the implementation of AFS for Linux).

    I have not really spent much time hacking on that particular issue yet - so check back for updates.

    OM's vs Volts

    So - it seems that there is some scientific evidence starting to mount that Mediatation can improve your physical health.

    The vagus nerve controls the production of tumor necrosis factor (TNF), a protein that signals the body to mount an inflammatory response. Decreasing vagus nerve activity ups TNF synthesis, whereas increasing vagus nerve activity limits TNF production and therefore inflammation.

    Though inflammation can be useful in fighting infection, excessive inflammation can cause disease, such as Crohn's disease or rheumatoid arthritis.

    Tracey's research opened the door to treating inflammatory diseases with drugs or devices that control vagus nerve activity, an approach that has proven successful in animals.

    But at the conference, Tracey raised the possibility that vagus nerve activity, and therefore inflammation, could also be controlled mentally.

    Meditation has been shown to slow heart rate via signals that travel down the vagus nerve. Those same signals, Tracey speculates, may also dampen immune response, making it possible for people to ease the symptoms of inflammatory diseases through exercises such as meditation and yoga.

    -[Seed Magazine](http://www.seedmagazine.com/news/2006/09/an_om_a_day_could_keep_inflamm.php)

    We know that Mediation seems to have profound effects on the mind, spirit and body. Mediation can lead to a [trance](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meditation) state - which is what hypnotists use to effect changes on their subjects.

    We have also seen the incredible 'mind over body' that intense concentration can give - granting folks the ability to overcome great amounts of pain or discomfort. How do we explain these feats?

    I think that this is the first step towards the West recognizing that the Eastern Mystical traditions might be based on some physical evidence.

    Where is the Buddha?

    The Buddhist Channel is pleased to present to you the last book written by the late Chief Ven. Dr K Sri Dhammananda. To fulfill the wish of the late venerable, this e-Book shall be distributed free of charge. Please help to fulfill his wish by forwarding it to as many people as you can.

    To help, I am also hosting this book [here](http://greg.nokes.name/assets/2006/9/22/WhereistheBuddha.pdf). It's a great read....

    Star Chambers - Out!

    I abhor any use of torture to gain information. By stooping to these base tactics, we are no better then those who we fight. America is supposedly a beacon of freedom in this dark world. Are we to become simply another thinly veiled totalitarian regime?

    We are at a turning point in our history as a nation and as a world. Do we want to be friends with the world, or at war with the world. If we do aspire to rule the world, is it through military might or inclusive partnerships?

    I cannot stress enough how strongly I am against us modifying the Geneva Convention for this 'war on terror'. Terror is not an army which we can meet on the battlefield and vanquish. It's a group of thuggish criminals who operate outside of the rules to gain an upper hand.

    Treat them like the criminals they are, arrest them, jail them, but treat them fairly. As you would want to be treated were the circumstances reversed.

    I urge you to [send a letter](http://action.downsizedc.org/wyc.php?cid=56) to your congresscritter in regards to this issue.

    Bigger, Badder, Wilder

    Less than three weeks after Hurricane Katrina, a study published in Science showed that, while the number of tropical cyclones had not increased between 1970 and 2004, their strength had surged: Category-4 or -5 hurricanes where more than 50 percent more frequent in the second half of that period than in the first (Webster et al., Science, 16 September 2005).

    -[American Institute of Physics](http://www.aip.org/pnu/2006/split/793-1.html?source=rsspnu)

    Hmm... I wonder why this would be happening? Perhaps we should look around for other trends during the same time slice?

    Elsner used an elaborate statistical method (first devised by economics Nobel Prize winner Clive Granger) to answer the first of those two questions. He examined spikes in global atmospheric temperature (using satellite and ground-based data collected by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) and compared them to seasonal changes in average sea-surface temperatures for the entire northern-hemisphere part of the Atlantic (based on National Atmospheric and Oceanic Administration data). His analysis showed that the spikes in atmospheric temperature mostly tended to come right before hurricane-season spikes in oceanic temperature, suggesting that the first were causing the second.

    -Again, the [AIP](http://www.aip.org/pnu/2006/split/793-1.html?source=rsspnu)

    The earth is a huge series of interconnected systems. (and you thought I was going to say pipes). The Average person dumps around 24 pounds of carbon a day into the air (world average, the average American dumps 122 pounds per day into the air). The earth can absorb about 9 pounds of carbon per person per day. That means, the carbon levels are increasing by about 13 pounds per person per day. Or about 65 billion pounds per day. That much change to one of the earth's systems will have an effect on the others.

    We know several things here.

    * The carbon levels are the highest that they have been in 800,000 years (as far back as we can see). * The carbon change has been unprecedentedly fast * We are pumping billions of tons of carbon into the air per year * Carbon absorbs heat. * Carbon in the air changes the Albedo of a planet

    I know that there are some who do not feel that global warming is true - or even possible. However, science is often simply applied common sense. It makes sense, given the evidence, that we have had an effect on the global climate. It's time to wake up to that fact, and stop playing Chicken Little.

    This is not Science Fiction!

    European scientists voiced shock as they showed pictures which showed Arctic ice cover had disappeared so much last month that a ship could sail unhindered from Europe's most northerly outpost to the North Pole itself.

    The satellite images were acquired from August 23 to 25 by instruments aboard Envisat and EOS Aqua, two satellites operated by the European Space Agency (ESA)

    -[Yahoo! News](http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/climatewarmingarctic) and [Others](http://news.google.com/news?hl=en&ned=us&q=polar+ice+north&btnG=Search+News)

    This is a troubling trend. I have a gut feeling that we are either on, or just past the tipping point. What is the tipping point? It's when we can no longer fix the damage that we have done..

    You see, there are several contributing factors here. The first is called the [Albedo](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Albedo) of a planet. It is usually expressed in a percentage (0 - 100%). Basically, it's the percentage of light that is reflected back from a solar body. The big issue here is that ice is very reflective. When the polar Ice caps start to loose large areas, the earths albedo gets lower, we absorb more energy from the sun, and we heat up. This causes more ice to melt, and the albedo lowers again...

    The other issue is there are green house gases trapped in the ice around the world. So, we have the ice melting, albedo lowering, more green house gases are released, and the global temperature goes up even faster.

    Now, I do not think that humans are the sole cause of this, however, we have sure accelerated the changes. We are dumping so much carbon into the air that we simply cannot not be effecting the natural cycles.

    Not bad, but Not true.

    To be serious for a second: my thing about religion is generally not that it's bad, but that it's false. The history of religion is far too complex to be summed up as 'good” or 'bad,” and there are obviously components of both. The Salvation Army, odious discrimination policies notwithstanding, does a tremendous amount of good. Religious people are generally better at donating to charity than non-religious ones (last I heard; I don't have specific figures, so this could be wrong). And I like a lot of the art and architecture.

    -[Sean at Cosmic Variance](http://cosmicvariance.com/2006/09/15/no-true-believer/)

    I think that most large movements (religious, political, economic) have good sides and bad sides.

    Look at Iraq. Saddam was an ruthless dictator who ruled with an iron fist, but the streets were safer. We are trying to give Iraq democracy and freedom, but the streets are less safe then a white guy in a white sheet with a pointy hat in Compton.

    I think that we need to look at all of our institutions, and remove the negative portions. They are simply not healthy for us, or for our children.

    You can Do It!

    [Ubuntu Linux](http://www.ubuntulinux.org) is looking for your help. Even if you do not use Linux for what ever reason, they want to know. They have posted a quick and easy [survey](http://surveys.geekosophical.net/) for you to take about Operating Systems. Go - tell them what's wrong with Linux and let's give Microsoft a real competitor on the desktop!

    Drop a line here with your thoughts on the survey and we will bat it about.

    800,000 Years seems like a long time to me...

    Carbon dioxide levels are substantially higher now than at any time in the last 800,000 years, the latest study of ice drilled out of Antarctica confirms.

    The in-depth analysis of air bubbles trapped in a 3.2km-long core of frozen snow shows current greenhouse gas concentrations are unprecedented.

    --[BBC](http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/5314592.stm)

    It really seems to me that it's time to 'wake up' to climate change. We have evidence all around us that it is actually happening. Temperatures are on the rise, storms are getting more violent and the world is going to end. Was this caused by Humans? We don't know for sure, but the evidence points that way.

    Does it really matter? No. We need to batten down the hatches, because we are coming out of a very peaceful time, according to the past climatological evidence. The estimated [6500 million tonnes of carbon](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carbon_dioxide#Concentrations_of_CO2_in_atmosphere) that we put into the air per year cannot be helping. Just think about this: "Volcanic releases are about 1% of the amount which is released by human activities". And then we go and deforest large parts of the world. Trees eat CO2

    Another major concern is the speed of the change

    The "scary thing", he added, was the rate of change now occurring in CO2 concentrations. In the core, the fastest increase seen was of the order of 30 parts per million (ppm) by volume over a period of roughly 1,000 years.

    "The last 30 ppm of increase has occurred in just 17 years. We really are in the situation where we don't have an analogue in our records," he said.

    . 1,000 years of CO2 in 17 years. That cannot be a good thing.

    Massive Changes

    So, in my quest to find the perfect combination of blogging software and learning a new language, I have decided to migrate this site - again - to yet another platform.

    This migration was not as clean as the last few - no fault of the software that I was or am running. It was totally my mess up, and I freely admit that.

    Anyways, poke around and see what you think.

    Return of the 'One'

    If you cast your eyes to the upper right hand side of this site, you will see that the little 'ribbon banner' back. If you are a long time reader, you might recall [a few articles](http://greg.nokes.name/?s=one.org&sbutt=Go) about One.org. Go, and check it out. After all, they do not want you're money, just your voice...

    Site updates

    So, I have changed things up here yet again. I am still working on the new theme, but most of the dust has settled. I also updated the About page with some pithy words... ok... not pithy, but what the heck, eh?

    Hosting problems...

    Looks like the spam bots might have chalked up another victory. This site (and all on my account) were taken down due to a massive database hit - all comments. I assume that the spambots where hammering me - and hammering me hard.

    Well, we have added another layer to the defenses. I brought [Bad Behavior](http://error.wordpress.com/2006/07/04/bad-behavior-2/) back. We'll see how this works...

    Interesting talk...

    Marilyn Manson on the O'Reily Factor: <!-more->

    Give it a chance - it's an interesting talk.

    Happy sysadmin day!

    Yup - it's that time of year [Again](http://www.ukuug.org/sysadminday/)!

    Remeber to buy your sysadmin some presents (iPods, good Chinese Food, geeky toys all accepted) or s/he will turn into [the](http://bofh.ntk.net/Bastard1.html) [BOFH](http://www.theregister.co.uk/odds/bofh)!

    Yet another take on Net Neutrality

    Yet another take on Net Neutrality... <!-more->

    Oh yeah - Windows is the place to be

    Washingtonpost.com's Security Fix blog reports that a banner ad running on MySpace.com and other Web sites used a Windows security flaw to push adware and spyware out to more than one million computer users this week. The attack leveraged the Windows Metafile (WMF) exploit to install programs in the PurityScan/ClickSpring family of adware, which bombards the user with pop-up ads and tracks their Web usage.

    -From the [Washington Post](http://blog.washingtonpost.com/securityfix/2006/07/myspace_ad_served_adware_to_mo.html) via [Slashdot](http://it.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=06/07/20/042253&from=rss)

    Two lessons here...

    * Update update update! * Don't run Windows!

    Just go to defcon/blackhat/hack in a box/etc... and look around. How many folks are running windows on their laptops?

    Can I have one?

    Martin Eberhard holds the brake down with his left foot and presses on the accelerator with his right. The motor revs, the car strains against the brake. I hear ... almost nothing. Just a quiet whine like the sound of a jet preparing for takeoff 5 miles away. We're belted into a shimmering black sports car on a quiet, tree-lined street in San Carlos, California, 23 miles south of San Francisco. It has taken Eberhard three years to get this prototype ready for mass production, but with the backing of PayPal cofounder Elon Musk, Google's Larry Page and Sergey Brin, and ex-eBay chief Jeff Skoll, he has created Silicon Valley's first real auto company.

    -[Wired](http://www.wired.com/news/wiredmag/0,71414-0.html)

    It's a interesting [mash-up](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mashup_(web_application_hybrid)) of IT smarts and Detroit muscle. These sort of synergistic effects are what are really needed. People sometimes get blinders and only see the ground in front of their feet. We need to look beyond our self induced horizons to see the real world...

    In this world and the next

    Here he grieves he grieves hereafter. In both worlds the wrong-doer grieves. He grieves, he's afflicted, seeing the corruption of his deeds.

    Here he rejoices he rejoices hereafter. In both worlds the merit-maker rejoices. He rejoices, is jubilant, seeing the purity of his deeds.

    -Dhammapada, 13-14, translated by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

    Many people take issue with the Buddhist belief in reincarnation. I never really have. It makes logical sense to me. I do not expect it to make any kind of sense to anyone else, in the traditional understanding. It's pretty out there, right up there with FSM's. That's OK. I really do not expect anyone else to understand.

    However, that does not mean that others cannot learn from this example. We can look at this concept from another angle. For example, we are reincarnated, each day, with each choice that we make. We can never go back to that person that we were yesterday, we can never know who we will be tomorrow. It's a death of a thousand cuts if we make the wrong choices, but it can slowly lead to contentment and happiness if good choices are made.

    Take, for example, the common criminal. He often feels the social, spiritual, mental and physical ramifications of his deeds. This path that he is on is not a happy path, and yet he keeps choosing it. Why? Is is some karmic inertia? Some mental defect? Some social defect?

    I would suppose that it's the path of least resistance. It's easy to keep on doing the same thing, hoping for better results. It's hard to move away from those choices. It takes a lot of discipline and intestinal fortitude. The first step is to release all of the negativity that encumbers you. When you even think negative thoughts, for a fleeting moment, that effects your outlook, and ultimately the outcome. It's a classic case of [Self-Fulfilling Prophecy](http://changingminds.org/explanations/theories/self-fulfilling_prophecy.htm).

    Journler

    So, I am trying out some new software called 'Journler'. It's - gasp - journaling software built for the Mac. It's look and feel is really nice, and it seamlessly integrates with Wordpress and several other blogging platforms. So, after two whole days of use, I have to give it two feathers up!

    What ever that means.

    Does the Dali Lama get Pedicures?

    Would the Buddha enjoy manicures?

    These thoughts crossed my mind as I was relaxing on fathers day. My son and my wife got me a Pedicure that morning. I must say, it was a very relaxing experience.

    Physical pleasure seems to be engraved into our very core. There are evolutionary reasons, things that help us survive as a individual and as a species tend to feel good, whist things that might impact our survival chances for the worse seem to feel bad. So, physical pleasure keeps us on a path that is perhaps best for the species and ourselves.

    I recall a story that I read once, where they had taken soldiers and "re-wired" them so that physical pain felt good to them. The problem was that they tended to get themselves killed by ignoring wounds and just pressing on. Good suicide troops, but not what you would want for the regular military.

    So, we can assume that our pleasure/pain responses are there for a reason. And, it has served us pretty well in the past.

    However, perhaps it's time to start to take a look at these responses, and make conscious choices about them. Do I want to engage in this pleasure? Do I have the capacity to deal with this pain? What will the outcome of all of this be? It can be a very Zen like moment when you realize that you can look in the future, and make a choice about this experience. You can decide if it's in your and your communities best interest to do this. You have to reflect on your actions, motives and beliefs.

    Life is reflective. Your actions reflect back on you. All of life is reflective in this manner. Your outlook, your demeanor will reflect back on you. How you perceive the world is how the world becomes. If you take the time to reflect on your actions a pattern will emerge. If you are hateful, you will tend to get hate in return. If you are loving, you will tend to get love in return. You should question each act and belief. Assure yourself that it does not harbor any hate.

    Questioning is a integral part of this thing we call life. You have to question yourself, your motives and your actions at every turn. Some seem to take questioning as an affront. Questioning simply is a tool for exploration. If your belief structure cannot stand up to a question, how strong is it?

    If your belief cannot stand up to a pedicure, well, that's just another story.

    UF scoop on AT&T's new privacy policy

    [](http://ars.userfriendly.org/cartoons/?id=20060625)

    More on Net Neturality

    Net neutrality is this: If I pay to connect to the Net with a certain quality of service, and you pay to connect with that or greater quality of service, then we can communicate at that level.

    That's all. Its up to the ISPs to make sure they interoperate so that that happens. Net Neutrality is NOT asking for the internet for free.

    Net Neutrality is NOT saying that one shouldn't pay more money for high quality of service. We always have, and we always will

    -[The Inventor of the World Wide Web](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tim_Berners_Lee), Sir Tim Berners-Lee.

    Go - read the [rest of his post](http://dig.csail.mit.edu/breadcrumbs/node/144). This is a very serious issue, and could have major impacts on the ability of the United States to continue to compete in the new global economy...

    Cool stuff!

    [The Theban Mapping Project](http://www.thebanmappingproject.com/) has some really cool maps and 3d walk throughs of the tombs in Thebes and the Valley of the Kings.

    Since its inception in 1978, the Theban Mapping Project (TMP, now based at the American University in Cairo) has been working to prepare a comprehensive archaeological database of Thebes. With its thousands of tombs and temples, Thebes is one of the world's most important archaeological zones. Sadly, however, it has not fared well over the years. Treasure-hunters and curio-seekers plundered it in the past; pollution, rising ground water, and mass-tourism threaten it in the present. Even early archaeologists destroyed valuable information in their search for museum-quality pieces.

    I just blew about an hour there. :)

    Intresting debate

    (HT: *[Agent Sierra](http://beginaneweachday.blogspot.com/2006/06/i-heart-jon-stewart.html#comments) *)

    Gotta Love It!

    Working on some [skunkworks](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Skunkworks) stuff right now. This is just a test of said skunkworks stuff...

    Bringing it all home...

    In a comment on Lord Chimmy's [post](http://bloodsuckingfiends.blogspot.com/2006/06/bitches.html) about Ann Coulter's new book, we are directed to [this article](http://www.commondreams.org/views06/0610-23.htm).
    Now that its original meaning has been hopelessly distorted by hatred and bad vibes, the term "Christian" really should be banished to the hall of linguistic abominations where it belongs.

    Say "Christian" in mixed company and the image of a bejeweled evangelist hawking a right-wing social agenda will come immediately to mind.

    Very few think of Christians as the same folks who embraced lepers and other social outcasts even before faith-based tax credits kicked in to provide "incentives" for doing the Lord's work.

    Tony Norman really hits the nail on it's head. He does an excellent job of summing up what I have been trying to say:

    Christianity, as it is practiced today, is not a positive influence on the world. I really feel that today's version of Christianity is not all in sync with what Jesus taught. We will really never know, as we do not have any good accounts of his life, other then the massively edited and contradictory Bible.

    Some who call themselves Christians are very good and helping people, however, more are self absorbed and only really in it for the *afterlife insurance* policy that it gives. I was actually told "Well, since you do not believe in an afterlife, what's to stop you from being a Christian just in case they are right?" Am I missing something? Does God really want followers who follow for the sake of following?

    I propose the following: Re-write the Bible. Get rid of as many of the problems as you can. Extract the essence of Christianity, and repackage it for a new century. Don't say 'if it's not broke don't fix it' because it is broken. Look at the perception that is out there. "*Say "Christian" in mixed company and the image of a bejeweled evangelist hawking a right-wing social agenda will come immediately to mind.*" pretty much sums it up.

    Now, don't get me wrong. I am certainly not espousing moving the 'Christian Agenda' away from the Right. I simply want folks to understand what Christian means. And it's not forcing your version of family values down my throat through laws aimed at removing my choice. You could make a law that stated "everyone in this great nation was mandated to attend Church and profess the Christian Faith". Would that make us all Christian? I don't think so.

    That would simply take the rest of the meaning out of the word. We think it's barbaric when a person is executed in a Muslim country for infractions such as dressing wrong, but in attempting to make every action that does not agree with Christian morality illegal, we are fast slipping down the slope towards just such a barbaric legal system.

    I heard an Evangelical talking on some talk show. They said that they would use every means at their disposal to enforce their views - because if you disagreed with them, it was analogues to drinking drano, and of course we would try and stop someone from drinking drano. Yes, if I were to see some one drinking drano, I would attempt to stop them. I would do this because I have empirical evidence that drinking drano can kill or seriously harm you. No one has evidence that if you are not Christian, you are in physical or spiritual danger. We have beliefs about it, but beliefs do not proof make.

    I guess that I can sum it up as: Be damn sure before you force another person to act or not act in a certain way. There is nothing black and white in faith based religions. Faith, by definition, is not provable. When it comes to effecting others, make sure that you are on the side that is provably good."*an it harm none, do as thou wilt*"

    More on a netural 'Net

    Allowing broadband carriers to control what people see and do online would fundamentally undermine the principles that have made the Internet such a success...A number of justifications have been created to support carrier control over consumer choices online; none stand up to scrutiny." [Vint Cerf](http://commerce.senate.gov/pdf/cerf-020706.pdf) [PDF] Google Chief Internet Evangelist and Co-Developer of the Internet Protocol
    and
    The neutral communications medium is essential to our society. It is the basis of a fair competitive market economy. It is the basis of democracy, by which a community should decide what to do. It is the basis of science, by which humankind should decide what is true. Let us protect the neutrality of the net." - [Tim Berners-Lee](http://dig.csail.mit.edu/breadcrumbs/blog/4) Inventor of the World Wide Web
    Check out the [open letter](http://www.google.com/help/netneutrality.html) from Eric Schmidt

    Stellar Size

    Size some times really does matter.

    One of the things that I pass the time with is [Traveller](http://www.farfuture.net), especially [G:Traveller](http://www.sjgames.com/traveller/), and the new [G:Traveller Interstellar Wars](http://www.sjgames.com/gurps/books/traveller/interstellarwars/). 'Hard' Science fiction has always been a favorite read for me, and Traveller brought it to the gaming table. I think that I got my first Traveller book in '82. It's been a non-stop obsession ever since. I own a copy of the basic rules of every iteration of the game - Classic Traveller, Mega Traveller, Traveller: The New Era, Traveller 4, Gurps Traveller and Gurps Traveller 4th edition.

    So, I guess that you could call me a traveller geek!

    One of the basic technologies of Traveller is the Jump Drive. It allows you to leave 'normal space' at point A and emerge at point B in about a week. Depending on the ship, point B could be as much as 6 parsecs (18 light years) away. There are a few caveats, however. The most important is that you do not want to start or end your jump with in 100 diameters of a massive object. For some reason, stellar objects have been ignored in this calculation.

    Enter my quick and dirty Stellar Data Tables! (v2:Stellar Data)

    Happy 5/23!

    Fnord....

    Linux Posters

    [](http://www.flickr.com/photos/glagla/54320217/" title="photo sharing)
    This kind person has posted a bunch of inspirational Linux posters for hanging about the office. You should go and check them out. There certainly are a few that really - um - stand out.

    Hrm...

    [](http://www.eff.org/legal/cases/att/)

    I have been watching this controversy for some time now and I have really mixed feelings about this. I can see the worth of having a database of who called who, but I find the implications to civil liberties to be chilling. I do believe that the Government has a responsibility to it's citizens to attempt to protect them, and their liberties as much as possible. I know that the line we have to walk is very very fine some times. However, I believe that if the government needs some additional powers, it needs to follow the established protocols to obtain those powers. Not simply grab them.

    I fully support the efforts of watch dog groups like the EFF. I think that the freedoms this country was founded upon are in part because of 'watchdog groups'. I also support using the tools that we have at hand to defend ourselves against folks who want to take all of our freedoms and lives away.

    The advent of the internet, and it's associated technologies, are going to totally change our culture. They all ready have in fact. Just check out you tube or myspace!

    I hope that the citizens have a say in how this brave new world is formed...

    Vitally important issue

    Actually, this is a really important issue. Call your congresscritter today!

    Another (slightly more technical) update after the jump:

    <!-more->

    If fryer biodiesel smells like fries...

    Marlborough Company Produces World's First Sample Of Bio-Diesel From Algae Extracted From Region's Sewerage Ponds

    Marlborough-based Aquaflow Bionomic Corporation announced today that it had produced its first sample of home-grown bio-diesel fuel with algae sourced from local sewerage ponds.

    'We believe this is the world's first commercial production of bio-diesel from algae outside the laboratory, in 'wild' conditions. To date, bio-diesel from algae has only been tested under controlled laboratory conditions with specially selected and grown algae crops,” explains Aquaflow spokesperson Barrie Leay

    -[Scoop](http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/SC0605/S00030.htm)

    Christian -anity -ism -ist?

    Are you a Christian who doesn't feel represented by the religious right? I know the feeling. When the discourse about faith is dominated by political fundamentalists and social conservatives, many others begin to feel as if their religion has been taken away from them.

    The number of Christians misrepresented by the Christian right is many. There are evangelical Protestants who believe strongly that Christianity should not get too close to the corrupting allure of government power. There are lay Catholics who, while personally devout, are socially liberal on issues like contraception, gay rights, women's equality and a multi-faith society. There are very orthodox believers who nonetheless respect the freedom and conscience of others as part of their core understanding of what being a Christian is. They have no problem living next to an atheist or a gay couple or a single mother or people whose views on the meaning of life are utterly alien to them-and respecting their neighbors' choices. That doesn't threaten their faith. Sometimes the contrast helps them understand their own faith better.

    [Andrew Sullivan](http://www.time.com/time/magazine/printout/0,8816,1191826,00.html) has showed why he gets paid to write and I do not. Read the article, I found it fascinating.

    Conestoga!

    Music video after the jump...

    <!-more->

    Emptyness

    Buddhism says that suffering is the lot of all creatures (everyone is in hell in a way) and that the only way out is non-existence. I find both the preoccupation with suffering and the concept that not existing is better than existing to be extremely troubling.

    Buddhism does indeed say that life is suffering. I don't see this 'preoccupation' as anything other then looking around and seeing that the world is in fact a suffering filled place. Realizing that suffering has been an essential part of life for all of recorded history is the first step towards learning how to live with out the addiction to suffering that we all, well, suffer from.

    If we are not aware that we are sick, how can we cure ourselves?

    Happiness is transient. So is suffering. Everything in this world is transient. Buddhism sees this, and gives us a path out of suffering. This path does not lead to non-existence, but rather to emptiness. There is a very large difference between non-existence and emptiness. It has taken me over 20 years of asking questions and searching to get to where I am now, and to the miniscule level of understanding that I have.

    "Emptiness:" this is one of the most subtle, elusive and widely misunderstood of all Buddhist ideas, sometimes summed up with the phrase "the unsubstantiality of all phenomena." Contrary to popular misconception, this is not a nihilistic philosophy, as it does not deny the very real existence of things - it just asserts that things are not as they seem. The concept is that reality as we know it is illusory in many ways, and is actually empty of certain qualities we believe it to have, because our perceptions and conceptions are misleading. This is not to say that things don't really exist, but rather it is to say that they exist in a way that is vastly different to what our perceptions would lead us to believe. So in Buddhist thinking, our ordinary "reality" or "existence" is empty of certain qualities it appears to have. An example of a quality we mistakenly perceive in some things is permanence. Things are actually empty of permanence, because everything changes, and there are no exceptions to this. Even though a mountain might seem like a permanent feature of the planet, or even the universe, in fact the mountain, as well as everything else, is in a state of continuous flux and decay. It's just that we aren't aware of some of those changes which occur too slowly for us to notice. One of the most interesting examples of this principle of Impermanence is that the top of Mt Everest is made of the same stuff as the ocean floor - limestone. That's because the top of Mt Everest once was the ocean floor! Due to the ongoing continental drift, the earth's crust is still buckling and pushing up the height of the Himalayas by a few centimeters each year. . . Other examples of apparent qualities that our existence is actually empty of are self-identity and inherent [ie, non-conditional] existence

    -[Dharma the Cat](http://www.dharmathecat.com/buddhism.htm)

    Nirvana is pointed to as the ending to the Buddhist path.

    The fact is, Nirvana can only be explained to the 'unenlightened' by negation. The Buddhist texts tell us what it cannot be thought of as, but the only positive descriptions of it tend toward non-existence. An example of this is the simile of the fire that the Buddha uses in his dialogue with Vacchagotama. He asks whether the fire, when it is extinguished, can be said to have gone north, south, east, or west. Of course, the obvious answer is that the fire no longer exists. Nirvana, however, cannot be described as existing, not existing, both existing and not, or neither existing nor not. For Buddhism, even nothingness is constituted by the relative contingencies that arise co-dependently as samsara.

    -[Omar Moad](http://www.the-philosopher.co.uk/buddhism.htm)

    The fact of the matter is we, as unenlightened beings, can no more understand enlightenment then a earthworm can understand flight. Only by walking the path can we come to understand where it ends.

    This in no way means that we are blindly faithful to the path. It's more like stairs then a path. Each step up is hard work. Each step also lays out a definitive goal *for that step*. The Buddha instructs us to walk away from the stairs if at any time they fail us.

    This truth is as equally attainable by the disciples as it was by the Teacher, and their knowledge is independent of him. The Buddha once asked Shariputra, "Do you believe what I have been explaining to you?" Shariputra answered, "Yes, I see that it is so." The Buddha asked him, "Are you saying this just out of faith in me?" Shariputra answered, "No, I answered in agreement not because of faith in the Blessed One, but because I clearly see for myself that it is so." [Pubbakotthaka Sutta, Saim. S.V. 220]

    -[Bhikkhu P.A. Payutto](http://www.buddhistinformation.com/role_of_faith_in_science_and_bud.htm)

    We are at all times to question, think and examine what we believe and what we hold to be a truth. We are all walkers on these steps - our only difference is where we are on them, and what path we have taken up them.

    At least Christianity has a heaven.

    Which seems more reasonable? An eternal life sitting on clouds and singing which cannot be proven to exist, or learning how to be happier here and now?

    Cool Commercial

    Yeah - Water has never been so [Cool](http://www.epica-awards.org/assets/epica/2004/winners/film/flv/06037.htm)!

    Al sez...

    We are part of the whole which we call the universe, but it is an optical delusion of our mind that we think we are separate.

    This separateness is like a prison for us. Our job is to widen the circle of compassion so we feel connected to all people and all situations.

    This terrible individualism must inevitably have an end

    -[Albert Einstein](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Albert_Einstein)

    Apple's got some new ads out

    And, ho boy, they are [doozies](http://www.apple.com/getamac/ads/). My favorite was 'viruses', what was yours?

    My future's so bright, I gotta wear shades...

    [](http://solarsystem.nasa.gov/multimedia/gallery/PIA03149.jpg)
    Just saw this rather bright image... Click through for the *large* full size image. Rather impressive!

    New Space Suits on the Horizion

    [](http://mvl.mit.edu/EVA/biosuit/index.html)
    Well, we are certainly getting closer to the a workable space suit. Gotta love those folks at MIT!

    Attachment...

    One of the misconceptions that I have heard about Buddhism is that Buddhists, being detached from the world, are uncaring or cold.

    This shows a great deal of misunderstanding about what reducing attachment actually means. We we talk about being attached to the world, or things in the world, we are talking about emotional and mental ties to these things. A perfect example is folks who get violent or emotional because their team lost a game. It's only a game. Even if you had bet all your money on the game, it's only money, that you lost because of a **game**. With out attachment, we can enjoy the game, with out the negative side effects if "your" team looses.

    Does this mean that I cannot feel love for someone or something? No. I can be dispassionate and unconnected, and still feel compassion and love for some one or something. One of the things that I recall from a book that I read by the Dali Lama was "*When you look at some one, think, I Love You towards them. Even if you do not say it, your demeanor will show it, and they will respond*" (paraphrased). Letting go of attachment allows you to honestly and openly practice this.

    Releasing attachment actually allows a person to be more loving and compassionate.

    I quit!

    We now have [proof](http://www.devilducky.com/media/44860/).

    Is that biodiesel in your pocket or..

    PORTLAND, Oregon-A tiny chemical reactor that can convert vegetable oil directly into biodiesel could help farmers turn some of their crops into homegrown fuel to operate agricultural equipment instead of relying on costly imported oil.

    "This is all about producing energy in such a way that it liberates people," said Goran Jovanovic, a chemical engineering professor at Oregon State University who developed the microreactor.

    -[Wired](http://www.wired.com/news/wireservice/0,70702-0.html?tw=rss.index)

    4 billion loosers!

    Scott Adams [asks](http://dilbertblog.typepad.com/the_dilbert_blog/2006/04/4_billion_loser.html)
    Now I have another question for the believers. And by the way, I'm genuinely curious. I don't do this just to stir up things, although that's fun too. I actually wonder how you think. My question is this: How do you explain to yourself that 4 billion people (minimum) believe different from you?

    These are the only reasons I can imagine. Pick one or tell me what I missed.

    A good read.

    The unspoken bias in America

    According to a University of Minnesota survey in the April issue of the American Sociological Review, atheists are the least trusted minority in the U.S., less trusted than Muslims, recent immigrants and gays and lesbians.

    The survey suggests that many Americans still associate atheism with immorality, an association motivated by the old canard that ethics necessarily depends on religion, that you can't be good without God...

    ..Perhaps most egregiously, atheists (and their children) have suffered at the hands of family courts. In an essay that will appear in the May issue of the New York University Law Review, UCLA law professor Eugene Volokh provides evidence that courts have discriminated against atheists in custody disputes.

    Volokh, who also runs the insightful weblog [The Volokh Conspiracy](http://volokh.com/), documents examples of anti-atheist discrimination in 17 states (including New York, Connecticut, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and many southern states) and the District of Columbia.)

    - ([The Vancouver Sun](http://www.canada.com/vancouversun/columnists/story.html?id=92ae2eb3-7d80-42b9-befb-7a207192f1f1&p=1))

    It's a really good read..

    Freedom

    Do you want people to be free? I know that I do. And a large part of being free is having the ability to make up our own minds about choices in our lives. Take abortion. Personally, I do not agree with it, and would never condone having one done. However, I do not think that I am near smart enough to make that choice for everyone else. So I will let people make the best choices that they can. If they choose to do things that are, in my opinion, ethically wrong, I cannot judge them. I have not travelled in their shoes, and I do not know their mindset nor what caused them to make that choice.

    When thinking about forcing your opinion and religion upon others, recall the following :

    Matthew 7:1,2 "Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again."

    John 8:7 "So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her."

    Thunder Bay Buddhist Fellowship: "We must be ever mindful of our actions. We must live in awareness. Are we filling our mind with angry judgmental thoughts, which will impact the way we treat others? Or are we cultivating empathy toward those around us?"

    2014?

    Hoth. Cold Planet. Lots of Snow.

    So, why not the [2014 Winter Olympics](http://www.hoth2014.com/) there? They sure have enough snow!

    This gives the Cold Shoulder a new meaning!

    Even accounting for the incomprehensible bogosity and difficulty of the act-they have to bring in the pole marker because it gets stolen.

    As reported in the January 5th, 2003 edition of the Antarctic Sun, the National Science Foundation's newspaper written and published on the seventh continent:

    *Larry Hothem, project leader for geodetic science for the United States Antarctic Program at the South Pole Station said: "There's been a couple stolen. I know the 1994 marker is missing." *

    The pole marker is a stainless steel rod about 10' long with a large brass head four to six inches in diameter, machined by craftsmen each year to commemorate another year of human habitation. Each year a new one is made and placed in the spot that is exactly geographically 90 degrees south, where all the longitude lines merge. The old ones, barring theft, are left in place. There would be a long line of them. Each is unique, having been designed by the winter-over team from the prior year. (There are about 200 inhabitants of south pole station in the summer, and only 50 support staff and scientist "winter overs" to keep things going during the dark season.)

    Heh. [Steal the South Pole](http://everything2.com/index.pl?node_id=1411653)? Sounds like a mission for...

    Never mind. To much hard work. And, it's cold there. Really cold

    Who brought the marshmellows?

    centralia3
    [Centralia, Pennsylvania](http://www.damninteresting.com/?p=479) was never a particularly large community, but it was once a lively and industrial place. At its peak the coal mining town was home to 2,761 souls, but today the population of its cemeteries far outnumbers that of its living residents. The series of events which led to the community's demise, slowly diminishing its numbers to less than a dozen, began about forty-four years ago.

    In 1962, workers set a heap of trash ablaze in an abandoned mine pit which was used as the borough's landfill. The burning of excess trash was a common practice, yet at that particular time and place there existed a dangerous condition: an exposed vein of anthracite coal. The highly flammable mineral was unexpectedly ignited by the trash fire, prompting a quick effort to put it out. The flames on the surface were successfully extinguished, but unbeknownst to the fire fighters, the coal continued to burn underground.

    Boats? We don't need no stinken boats!

    116204838_862deb998e.jpg

    So - imagine my surprise when I woke up to this!

    Truth stranger then fiction?

    An Afghan man who recently admitted he converted to Christianity faces the death penalty under the country's strict Islamic legal system... Prosecuting attorney Abdul Wasi told the judge that the punishment should fit the crime. He says Rahman is a traitor to Islam and is like a cancer inside Afghanistan. Under Islamic law and under the Afghan constitution, he says, the defendant should be executed.
    -[VOA News](http://www.voanews.com/english/2006-03-18-voa7.cfm) and [others](http://news.google.com/news?hl=en&ned=us&ie=UTF-8&ncl=http://www.voanews.com/english/2006-03-18-voa7.cfm)

    I just wanted to get this story out. It's things like this that make me fear 'us vs them' and black and white thinking.

    Why should I...

    [Dave](http://greg.nokes.name/spirit/712/#comment-1587) posed this intresting question a few days ago, and I really wanted to highlight it and my response to it.

    Let me ask you something else. In a simple paragraph, can you answer why I should follow Buddhism? What benefits it will give me and what I will miss out on if I don't?
    You should not. You should follow what ever path your own feet lead you to. You should also see that other people's paths are just as valid as the one that you tread on. Religions are based on faith, which by definition is unprovable, so to assume that you know better then your neigbhor is silly. Acting on that assumption by forcing them to follow your beliefs is a special kind of Hubris.

    Honestly, I do not care if you worship God, Satan, The Flying Spaghetti Monster, Zeus, Bob, Eris or Dogbert. You can believe what ever you want, as long as you do not try and force me to believe as you do.

    Note the use of the word Force. That's important.

    So, in an earlier [post,](http://greg.nokes.name/spirit/buddhism/680/) I expounded on a way of looking at reality and the universe that depends on your internal filters. To sum up, there are three universes. The real external universe, the universe of what you perceive and the universe of how you comprehend what you perceive. You cannot directly interact with or perceive the outermost real universe, because of the time delay between when something emits a signal and when that signal makes it back through your sense receptors and sense processors to your subconscious.

    Your interaction with the middle universe is tenuous at best, as everything that comes out of your signal processors in your subconscious is filtered through the interface between your subconscious and conscious minds. Your culture, perceptions, upbringing and everything else 'spins' the data slightly and then presents it in the altered fashion.

    Since we cannot interact with anything more then an approximation of the real universe, to say that there is some ultimate truth that I or You or We have is an untenable platform. Ultimate truth should be able to be proved with empirical experience. However, most of the ultimate truths that I have seen bandied about are beliefs. Things like 'God/Allah/Zeus is real, powerful and good' or 'it is a universal truth that sentient beings should be free to act according to their own consciousness'.

    Neither of these statements will pass any evidentiary tests.

    Back to force. If these 'universal' truths cannot pass any evidentiary tests, and are in fact nothing other then closely held belief structures, might others feel differently? If there is that possibility, then forcing your beliefs on others seems to be a might bit silly, since [beliefs](http://www.answers.com/belief&r=67) cannot be [proved.](http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&ct=res&cd=7&url=http%3A//www.rcpsych.ac.uk/college/sig/spirit/publications/levy_01_jun_03.pdf&ei=qekaRInVD56CYdDgndQO&sig2=FPGo_HnEq0vHQYPYEDHRUA)

    So, in summary -

    if belief truth && belief proof then universal_truth = 1 else universal_truth = 0 end

    bitty bits

    You should probably buy a shredder today.

    I get a heck of a lot of credit card applications in the mail. A bunch for Visa, quite a few from Mastercard and tons of them from American Express.

    I almost always tear them in half and throw them away.

    Sometimes, if I am feeling particularly paranoid, I'll tear them into little bitty pieces.

    Is that good enough?

    Thus starts a great little [story](http://www.cockeyed.com/citizen/creditcard/application.shtml).

    Google Maps - the next leap

    Yup - [Mars](http://www.google.com/mars/). Cool beans stuff there. I expect the images from the [MRO](http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/MRO/main/index.html) to start showing up there...

    Mars data coming in

    With a crucially timed firing of its main engines today, NASA's new mission to Mars successfully put itself into orbit around the red planet.

    -[NASA](http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/MRO/news/mro-20060310.html)

    With the red planets ability to suck probes into oblivion, this is good news. This orbiter will give us a better look at Mars then we have ever had before. As Mars is a likely target for our next big push in exploration, this is an important first step.

    "Our spacecraft has finally become an orbiter," said JPL's Jim Graf, project manager for the mission. "The celebration feels great, but it will be very brief because before we start our main science phase, we still have six months of challenging work to adjust the orbit to the right size and shape."

    One of the things that I am really looking forward to is some of the pictures that this will give us. One of the cameras can send back over 700 mega-pixel images. There will be some great desktop pictures!

    Water near Saturn

    NASA's Cassini spacecraft may have found evidence of liquid water reservoirs that erupt in Yellowstone-like geysers on Saturn's moon Enceladus. The rare occurrence of liquid water so near the surface raises many new questions about the mysterious moon.

    "We realize that this is a radical conclusion-that we may have evidence for liquid water within a body so small and so cold," said Dr. Carolyn Porco, Cassini imaging team leader at Space Science Institute, Boulder, Colo. "However, if we are right, we have significantly broadened the diversity of solar system environments where we might possibly have conditions suitable for living organisms."

    -[NASA](http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/cassini/media/cassini-20060309.html)

    Pretty cool.

    Insulting, isn't it?

    So in a democracy no one, however powerful or impotent, can have a right not to be insulted or offended. That principle is of particular importance in a nation that strives for racial and ethnic fairness.
    -From [The Right to Ridicule](http://www.nybooks.com/articles/18811) By [Ronald Dworkin](http://www.nybooks.com/authors/90)

    I've never heard of this guy before, but he certainly has written a lot. I really like what he said in this article, however. Good read.

    Is faith allergic to sunlight?

    In a [comment](http://greg.nokes.name/spirit/710/#comment-1560), [Obidavekenobi](http://studentoftheforce.blogspot.com) said:
    The percentage of your posts that deal with bashing the Christian religious world view is rather high. It sometimes disturbs me.
    Is faith allergic to sunlight? If you cannot even question it with out breaking it, how strong is it?

    My belief structure morphs over time - because I work it out. I pull it, twist it, and stretch it. It has not broken in a since I lost my faith in God. It was brittle and hard, and now it's elastic and strong. It just changes when presented with a new idea, or a new way of looking at something.

    I do not believe something because I read it or I am told it - I believe it because it makes logical and reasonable sense to me. I accept outside sources when I have several trusted authorities that corroborate each other. Or I try it. It's that simple. Meditation is good for mental stability say the Buddhists. I do not believe them, so I try it. Guess what, they are right. Good old empirical evidence.

    My belief is based on reasoning. True, it's the limited reasoning that I am capable of, but we have to work with the tools that we are given. If some one wants to be a Christian, I applaud them for their faith. Christianity has some really good teachings. However, I believe that they should know what they believe and why. Circular logical and superstition is not knowing what and why - it's taking the easy road out of the valley.

    When it comes down to it, one side said says '*it's true because I believe it and I believe it because it says it's True*' and the other side is asking '*why do you believe it, why is it true?*'. There is a huge disconnect in fundamental thinking between the two. One argument is grounded in reason, logic and evidence. The other is using superstition, tradition and blind faith. The problem is when the faith based folks also feel that they have the **only** truth available. They are not willing to allow others to believe differently then they do, or act differently then what they think is 'correct'.

    If you have faith, and you cannot even defend it with out dropping back on '*its true because I believe it*', should you be making moral choices for others? My concern is that a lot of people are trying to force their faith based moral choices on the rest of us. They feel that they have a manifest destiny to do this. Their faith gives them this manifest destiny. They might be a minority, but they are very vocal, and they are pushing legislation based on their black and white world-view.

    For example, does it really hurt someone to allow the Marriage of two people who love each other? According to some, it causes grievous harm in certain circumstances. So much harm that there are constitutional amendments being proposed that stop this from happening in these cases. This is an example of civil penalties for not following the faith based belief system of a certain religion. They do this because feel that they have a monopoly on *Truth*, and anyone who disagrees with their version of *Truth* is a sinner or heretic.

    In every part of life we accept that the world is not black and white, except religion. I have been told by preachers and priests that '*if you're not with us, you are against us*'. That is the kind of sick thinking that I try and debunk. And, yes, it's **sick**. It's a mimetic virus that is trying to make sure that it survives in a global survival of the fittest ideas war.

    What the people carrying this disease fail to understand is this war will only be lost.

    Post sez it all

    [](http://www.fireflyseason2.com/)

    I refuse to believe

    Buddhism is not a religion because 'belief' in the Buddha's teachings is not blind belief, blind faith, and far from superstition. Shakyamuni Buddha taught us not to blindly believe what he tells us, he wants us to try the teachings and prove them for ourselves. The Buddha wants us to know, not merely believe.
    -[Chin Kung](http://www.brown.edu/students/Buddhism_Society/profiledir/chinkung.html)[ ](http://www.brown.edu/students/Buddhism_Society/profiledir/chinkung.html)

    The difference between what Christianity teaches and what Buddhism teaches is vast - not only in theology, but also in philosophy. Christianity teaches us to have faith in it's teachings, and the book that they are based on. It's like Ice Cream manufactures telling us that Ice Cream is the best food ever, and all we should ever eat is Ice Cream.

    If you dare question, you are subject to many punishments. They range from burning at the stake in yesteryear to social and civic penalties today.
    You shouldn't think something just because you believe it. You need reasons. That applies to religion. That applies to politics . . . just because your parents believe something isn't good enough.
    -[Bart Ehrman](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bart_Ehrman) As more and more people start to dig deeply into their Christian Faith, some are seeing that it is a house of cards. There is no historical evidence to support the Bible's claims. If people want to believe in Christianity, I have no problem with that - however I do have a problem when they tell me that the Bible is The Truth.
    There are some 5,700 ancient Greek manuscripts that are the basis of the modern versions of the New Testament, and scholars have uncovered more than 200,000 differences in those texts.

    "Put it this way: There are more variances among our manuscripts than there are *words* in the New Testament," Ehrman summarizes.

    -[The Book of Bart, at the Washington Post](http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/03/04/AR2006030401369.html?sub=AR)

    Here's a wake up call - truth is subjective. It depends on the circumstances. There is no universal truth that we have ever found. Your way might be right for you, but that does not give you the mandate to force your way on others! It does not give you the right to kill, imprison, maim, or ostracize those that have a different truth.

    Words work - tell others why you believe this way, what evidence you have. Through discourse, ideas spread, and perhaps you will get more and more people to agree with you.

    This does not work if you have no reasons to believe what you believe. This tension between a person's heartfelt belief and their lack of reason for that belief is what fosters radicalism.

    "I cannot convince you that I am right because I have no evidence, so I am going to make it a law!" or kill, or whatever.

    Well, you know what? If ya'll don't get more tolerant, I am going to pass laws to force ya'll to become good little Buddhists.

    Turning the heat up...

    Feb. 21, 2006 — A new study of the Arctic permafrost forecasts that global warming will thaw and shrink the total area of perennially frozen ground 60 to 90 percent by 2100.
    -[Discovery Channel News](http://dsc.discovery.com/news/briefs/20060220/permafrost_pla.html?source=rss) Are we approaching the [tipping point](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tipping_point), or are we past it?
    If true, it will...lead to the release by soils of vast doses of greenhouse gases, and upset ecosystems over wide areas
    -[Discovery Channel News](http://dsc.discovery.com/news/briefs/20060220/permafrost_pla.html?source=rss)

    Where would these greenhouse gasses come from? How about [Siberia](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Siberia#Geography_and_geology)? A large portion of Siberia is made up of [**Histels**](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Histels), "*which are organic soils that have permafrost within 2 meters below ground surface. They have 80 % or more organic materials from the soil surface to a depth of 50 cm or to a glacic layer or densic, lithic, or paralithic contact, whichever is shallowest.*"

    What does that mean? There is lots of frozen organic mush in the ground up there. If that were to thaw, we would see a methane plume hit the air which could cause more thawing, which would cause...

    You get the picture.

    Honestly, I do not know if [Humaniti](http://foreven.com/libdat/libdat/h/Humaniti.htm) is to blame or not, or if we can even stop it. However, we need to be forearmed. Massive environmental change is not uncertain - it will happen, and is happening around us right now. Sort of like a massive impact scenario. It's gonna happen folks. The question is if we will be prepared.

    Gasp...

    [SaaM](http://blog.robballen.com/archive/2006/02/23/Quantumphyiscshumour.aspx) has done it again.

    What am I?

    You scored as **Existentialism**. Your life is guided by the concept of **Existentialism**: You choose the meaning and purpose of your life.Man is condemned to be free; because once thrown into the world, he is responsible for everything he does.

    It is up to you to give [life] a meaning.

    -Jean-Paul Sartre

    It is man's natural sickness to believe that he possesses the Truth.

    -Blaise Pascal

    More info at [Arocoun's Wikipedia User Page...](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:Arocoun)

    Existentialism
    85%
    Utilitarianism
    70%
    Hedonism
    60%
    Kantianism
    50%
    Strong Egoism
    50%
    Justice (Fairness)
    45%
    Apathy
    30%
    Nihilism
    25%
    Divine Command
    10%

    [What philosophy do you follow? (v1.03)](http://quizfarm.com/test.php?q_id=13060)
    created with [QuizFarm.com](http://quizfarm.com/)

    (ht: [Justus](http://www.davejustus.com/2006/02/17/what-philosophy-are-you/))

    A Muslim on Hatred

    The controversy regarding the Danish cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed completely misses the point. Of course, the cartoons are offensive to Muslims, but newspaper cartoons do not warrant the burning of buildings and the killing of innocent people. The cartoons did not cause the disease of hate that we are seeing in the Muslim world on our television screens at night - they are only a symptom of a far greater disease.
    - [We were brought up to hate - and we do](http://www.portal.telegraph.co.uk/opinion/main.jhtml?xml=/opinion/2006/02/12/do1205.xml&sSheet=/opinion/2006/02/12/ixop.html), by [Nonie Darwish](http://www.noniedarwish.com/pages/745434/)

    A good read.

    Only by spreading the meme of Love will we overcome this current disease of hatred. I know that sounds really hokey - but it's true. Killing them only makes their resolve stronger. Killing us only makes our resolve stronger. The weapons are not bullets and bombs but rather are hate filled minds. Only by defusing those weapons will we ever win this war.

    The West cannot do it. Only the Muslim world can do it. Let's hope that the moderates can prevail. I hate to think what will happen if they do not.

    Really?

    You scored as **Moya (Farscape)**. You are surrounded by muppets. But that is okay because they are your friends and have shown many times that they can be trusted. Now if only you could stop being bothered about wormholes.
    Moya (Farscape)
     
    81%
    Babylon 5 (Babylon 5)
     
    75%
    SG-1 (Stargate)
     
    75%
    Serenity (Firefly)
     
    75%
    Millennium Falcon (Star Wars)
     
    69%
    Nebuchadnezzar (The Matrix)
     
    63%
    Enterprise D (Star Trek)
     
    56%
    FBI's X-Files Division (The X-Files)
     
    56%
    Andromeda Ascendant (Andromeda)
     
    50%
    Deep Space Nine (Star Trek)
     
    50%
    Galactica (Battlestar: Galactica)
     
    50%
    Bebop (Cowboy Bebop)
     
    44%
    [Your Ultimate Sci-Fi Profile II: which sci-fi crew would you best fit in? (pics)](http://quizfarm.com/test.php?q_id=111863) created with [QuizFarm.com](http://quizfarm.com/)
    (HT:Justus)

    c4, Monsters and Death

    [Heh](http://www.deathjr.com/c4hamstergame/)

    A fantastic definition

    is [here.](http://uncyclopedia.org/wiki/Nihilism) What do you think? Does it define the word correctly?

    Well, don't that just beat all

    **(AP) **The Vatican newspaper has published an article saying "intelligent design" is not science and that teaching it alongside evolutionary theory in school classrooms only creates confusion.

    The article in Tuesday's editions of L'Osservatore Romano was the latest in a series of interventions by Vatican officials **including the pope** on the issue that has dominated headlines in the United States.

    -[CBS News](http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2006/01/18/ap/world/mainD8F7BDS03.shtml)

    I think that this issue is layed to rest.

    Nerdyness

    [I am nerdier than 86% of all people. Are you nerdier? Click here to find out!](http://www.nerdtests.com/ft_nq.php?im)

    Yup - that says it all.

    (HT: [Justus](http://www.davejustus.com) the big non-nerd. I think that he cheated.)

    The Joke..

    Just stumbled across this [blonde joke](http://sharpmarbles.stufftoread.com/archive/2006/01/10/4383.aspx) - you really need to check it out!

    Intolerance

    The Buddha said: "If outsiders speak against me, the Teaching, or the Order, you should not be angry, for that would prevent your own self-conquest. Similarly, if they praise us. But you should find out what is false or true, and acknowledge the fact. And even in praise it is only of trifling matters that an unconverted man might speak of me."
    I am really intolerant of intolerant people! Thus goes the circle of hate and bigotry. I have read several comments to articles in the last weeks that have really hit this point home:
    I'm all for humor and poking fun. However these folks find the show offensive. If it was Buddha or Mohamad showing up would it be any less offensive?
    -[Alvin York](http://www.misterorange.com/2006/01/book-of-daniel.html#113656868757448326) on [The Search for a Good Story](http://www.misterorange.com/2006/01/book-of-daniel.html) in regards to the new TV show [The Book of Daniel](http://www.tv.com/the-book-of-daniel/show/32641/summary.html&full_summary=1)
    it is either the truth or a lie, but chritianity espouses no theories.why do you not rail against ra , vishnu or the odyssey? is it because your not afraid they might be true? ([sic](http://www.answers.com/sic&r=67))
    -Floyd on [Heretical Ideas](http://hereticalideas.com/wordpress/wp-comments-popup.php?p=3312&c=1) in regards to a post about the DVD '[The God Who Wasn't There](http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0455507/)'

    However, a rigid worldview based on the teachings of a book - any book - might not be the best way to approach things. We have an amazing intellect at our beck and call, and yet so many people shelve it to allow others to do their thinking for them. They let their governments choose what is good and bad for them, and they sit in churches letting a pastor, priest or imam tell them what to think about social and philosophical topics.

    It's this kind of reliance on others thinking for your basic belief structure that breeds [murdercide](http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?articleID=0006A854-E67F-13A1-A67F83414B7F0104) and the [bombing of abortion clinics](http://www.religioustolerance.org/abo_viol.htm). If you really have the truth, why do you need to kill people that disagree? It's only through your own disbelief that such acts are fostered. And that really troubles me. It's like the world needs a wake up call. 9/11 seems to not have been it. What's next?

    I will leave with some thoughts from the Dalai Lama:
    Buddha always emphasized the rational pursuit of truth. "He instructed his disciples to critically judge his words before accepting them. He always advocated reason over blind faith."

    "Buddha was speaking about reality," says the Dalai Lama. "Reality may be one, in its deepest essence, but Buddha also stated that all propositions about reality are only contingent. Reality is devoid of any intrinsic identity that can be captured by any one single proposition , that is what Buddha meant by "voidness." Therefore, Buddhism strongly discourages blind faith and fanaticism."

    "Of course, there are different truths on different levels. Things are true relative to other things; "long" and "short" relate to each other, "high" and "low," and so on. But is there any absolute truth? Something self-sufficient, independently true in itself? I don't think so."

    "In Buddhism we have the concept of "interpretable truths," teachings that are reasonable and logical for certain people in certain situations. Buddha himself taught different teachings to different people under different circumstances. For some people, there are beliefs based on a Creator. For others, no Creator. The only "definitive truth" for Buddhism is the absolute negation of any one truth as the Definitive Truth."

    -[1000ventures](http://www.1000ventures.com/business_guide/crosscuttings/cultures_buddha.html)

    Neato Quiz

    So, I took the quiz at Beliefnet called "[Belief-O-Maticâ„¢](http://www.beliefnet.com/story/76/story_7665_1.html)". Go and take it. My scores are after the jump...

    <!-more->

    ** **
    **1. ** **[Unitarian Universalism](http://www.beliefnet.com/story/80/story_8041_1.html) (100%) **
    **2. ** **[Theravada Buddhism](http://www.beliefnet.com/story/80/story_8042_1.html) (98%) **
    **3. ** **[Neo-Pagan](http://www.beliefnet.com/story/80/story_8058_1.html) (89%) **
    **4. ** **[Secular Humanism](http://www.beliefnet.com/story/80/story_8040_1.html) (89%) **
    **5. ** **[Mahayana Buddhism](http://www.beliefnet.com/story/80/story_8045_1.html) (83%) **
    **6. ** **[Liberal Quakers](http://www.beliefnet.com/story/80/story_8038_1.html) (81%) **
    **7. ** **[New Age](http://www.beliefnet.com/story/80/story_8055_1.html) (77%) **
    **8. ** **[Jainism](http://www.beliefnet.com/story/80/story_8048_1.html) (67%) **
    **9. ** **[Taoism](http://www.beliefnet.com/story/80/story_8059_1.html) (67%) **
    **10. ** **[Mainline to Liberal Christian Protestants](http://www.beliefnet.com/story/80/story_8028_1.html) (66%) **
    **11. ** **[Sikhism](http://www.beliefnet.com/story/80/story_8049_1.html) (62%) **
    **12. ** **[Nontheist](http://www.beliefnet.com/story/80/story_8027_1.html) (61%) **
    **13. ** **[Reform Judaism](http://www.beliefnet.com/story/80/story_8054_1.html) (57%) **
    **14. ** **[Hinduism](http://www.beliefnet.com/story/80/story_8047_1.html) (50%) **
    **15. ** **[New Thought](http://www.beliefnet.com/story/80/story_8056_1.html) (47%) **
    **16. ** **[Orthodox Quaker](http://www.beliefnet.com/story/80/story_8037_1.html) (44%) **
    **17. ** **[Scientology](http://www.beliefnet.com/story/80/story_8057_1.html) (44%) **
    **18. ** **[Bahá'í Faith](http://www.beliefnet.com/story/80/story_8051_1.html) (39%) **
    **19. ** **[Christian Science (Church of Christ, Scientist)](http://www.beliefnet.com/story/80/story_8039_1.html) (31%) **
    **20. ** **[Orthodox Judaism](http://www.beliefnet.com/story/80/story_8053_1.html) (31%) **
    **21. ** **[Islam](http://www.beliefnet.com/story/80/story_8052_1.html) (22%) **
    **22. ** **[Mainline to Conservative Christian/Protestant](http://www.beliefnet.com/story/80/story_8029_1.html) (22%) **
    **23. ** **[Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormons)](http://www.beliefnet.com/story/80/story_8035_1.html) (20%) **
    **24. ** **[Seventh Day Adventist](http://www.beliefnet.com/story/80/story_8036_1.html) (18%) **
    **25. ** **[Eastern Orthodox](http://www.beliefnet.com/story/80/story_8033_1.html) (13%) **
    **26. ** **[Roman Catholic](http://www.beliefnet.com/story/80/story_8030_1.html) (13%) **
    **27. ** **[Jehovah's Witness](http://www.beliefnet.com/story/80/story_8034_1.html) (10%)**
    Interesting results - pretty much expected however. But 81% Liberal Quaker? that's just odd.

    New Theme

    After I did some [themes](http://www.davejustus.com) for [a](http://princess.nokes.name) few [freinds](http://geek.nokes.name), I decided that it was time to give ol' betsy a face lift. Almost done, close enuf to roll it out. Some things still do not work, but I will get to them as time permits.

    It's getting bad out there

    Check this out; There is a nasty nasty windows problem in the wild (a '[Zero Day Exploit](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zero-day_exploit)'). This one is bad. Microsoft is not doing anything about it until next week. - So, check out my [Tech Blog](http://geek.nokes.name) for a detailed how to on [fixing this](http://geek.nokes.name/archives/200).

    This is totally serious, and could become a major problem.

    *UPDATE (1/5/05) Microsoft just released the patch. Go to windows update to get it!*

    Instead of ID, IC?

    ID vs. IC: what is the distinction? Simply put, Intelligent Design posits that the universe needs a cause, but that the cause is a creature who designs and plans like a limited human being (but with supernatural powers), and this creature appeared from nowhere (by accident?) and needs no cause or creator of its own (the 'first cause” idea). Infinite Causes, on the other hand, is so named because of the belief that there are an infinite number of causes and conditions that made the world the way it is. There is no 'first cause' or 'one cause' because all things are intertwined in an endless web of causality with no beginning and no end. Both natural and supernatural forces may be involved.
    -[Teaching alternatives to evolution: How to distinguish the Buddhist "Infinite Causes" and Christian "Intelligent Design" theories](http://www.geocities.com/Xenodharma/IDIC.html)

    If the ID proponents want ID taught in school - then we certainly should include alternate theories of the creation of the universe. This is one of them.

    A lot of the argument for ID seems to hinge on two points: * Life is too complex to have emerged on it's own * The universe is too finely tuned to our needs to have happened by random chance As far as point 2 goes - IC states:
    According to some cosmologists, the universe began as a quantum fluctuation in the limitless Void (Hartle Hawking cosmology). In the absence of an observer, the evolving universe remained as a 'multiverse' - a coherant quantum superposition of all logically possible states...

    ...[Quantum theory](http://home.btclick.com/scimah/Quantumphenomena.htm) states that any physical system remains in a superposed state of all possibilities until it interacts with the mind of an observer. Both quantum theory and Buddhist teachings on [sunyata](http://home.btclick.com/scimah/sunyata.htm) suggest that as soon as an observer's mind makes contact with a superposed system, all the numerous possibilities collapse into one actuality. At some instant one of these possible alternative universes produced an observing lifeform - an animal with a nervous system which was sufficiently evolved to form [a symbiotic association with a primordial mind.](http://home.btclick.com/scimah/Symbioticmind.htm) The first act of observation by this mind caused the entire superposed multiverse to collapse immediately into one of its numerous alternatives.

    That one alternative version of the multiverse was not just the first configuration to be inhabitable by mind. The fact that it was the **first** configuration also guaranteed that it was the** only** configuration. All uninhabited alternative universes, ranging from the nearly-but-not-quite habitable few, to the anarchic and unstructured vast majority, were instantly excluded from potential existence. According to the participatory anthopic principle the evolving multiverse was thus always destined to resolve itself into a sufficiently ordered state to allow itself to be observed.

    So, according to this theory, the universe is the way it is because it was observed to be the way it is. Thus, the universe is completely suited to life's existence - down to [Planck's constant](http://www.answers.com/topic/planck-s-constant?method=8). Which, if it was off by more then a few hundredths of a percent would not have allowed matter to form.

    It's an interesting thought!

    Cross site plug

    I just wrote a *most excellent* article on Internet Explorer's security over at the [Geek's Grotto](http://geek.nokes.name/2005/12/27/microsoft-ie-unsafe/). If you are still using IE, you might want to check it out. It includes a link to a browser security check site that seems to be pretty darn good.

    God's Keynote speach at HeavenExpo '06

    Yup - you read it correctly! Listen to God's [Keynote speech](http://media27b.libsyn.com/podcasts/dailybreakfast/godskeynote.mp3) from the exclusive HeavenExpo '06. God seems like a really cool guy.

    [](http://media27b.libsyn.com/podcasts/dailybreakfast/godskeynote.mp3)
    (HT: [TUAW](http://www.tuaw.com/2005/12/24/gods-keynote-address/))

    I Believe

    I see the magic in a leaf, I see the wonder in a drop of rain. I am enthralled with this world, and all of the wonder that is has.
    I have a very strongly held belief structure. It can be summed up in two statements: * I believe that people should treat one and another with real compassion and as much understanding as they can muster. * I belive that people should allow each other the space to make their own choices These might seem contradictory in places, however they really flow into each other. By treating others with compassion, we should allow them to think for themselves. This allows them to grow stronger. Sheltering them only weakens them, and in the long run damages them. By allowing free choice, we give others the ability to grow stronger by making mistakes and learning from them.

    However, this in no way means that we are to allow people to come to harm through our inaction. Rather it means we should allow them to make their own choices, think for themselves, and help when we can. Suffering and impermanence are parts of life - woven into the very essence of this universe. However, we must do what we can to help ourselves and others be as happy as we can.

    Before we can help others, we need to help ourselves. Have you ever flown? You know how they tell you to put your 02 mask on before you help others? Life is the same way. How can you help some one else, if you are broken, or breaking?

    I wander the fields that Thoreau loved, I taste the apples in the buds of the blossoms in the trees where I grew up

    I love to be out of doors, and I enjoy this fine area that we are blessed to live in. Everything that I experience right now is processed through my past experiences, making a tapestry interwoven with memories, sights and sounds. I understand what I can touch, see and smell. I try and use what logical ability that I have to understand what is beyond my senses, as there is a world beyond our weak perceptions. If it's the universe of the super small strings that might make up the atoms that make up the molecules that make us up, or the world of the large - stellar bodies spinning at break neck speeds through the empty universe, and yet clustered into great spinning masses, This universe is indeed wonderful!Events, however, show us that we are a small part of this universe. We are not the center of the universe, and we need to get used to that fact. When we realize our place in the grand scheme of things we will be one step closer to happyness.

    I try and dance on the head of a pin at least twice a week! I call to angels, I see the beauty in a rusty old car

    I treat others with as much compassion and love that I can muster. I bring humor to most situations. I am nothing if not imperfect - I get angry in traffic with the best of them. However I do try and reflect on this, and grow from the experience. I try to give people the same breaks that I my self look for. I have found that driving a large truck has increased my patience. When I drive a small car, I zoom about. When I drive a 7000 pound hunk of steel, there is no zooming. There is just measured progress.Life is like that. I watch the people who 'zoom' through life at breakneck speeds and never get anything done. I try to observe, and plan my actions to achevie the greatest effect. Some times, the slow car wins the race!

    Laughing, I leap off cliffs to the water below Splashing down Drinking life up

    I often try and take 'the road less traveled'. God put a head on my shoulders, and I try to make the most of using it. I have studied many philosophies, and cull the wheat from each to form my own opinion. Everything has worth, when seen through the right eyes.

    Empty vs Empty

    Justus posed an interesting question in a comment. I really felt that it needed more then just a comment in reply, as sometimes the paradox itself is central to the lesson
    But shouldn't we become childlike instead of knowing things like that we are insignifigant?
    Yes.

    Also:

    No.

    It's deep man, but you have to balance your emptiness with fullness. It's like this:

    My mind is like a cup. If it holds (heh) one cup, and I put a cup of Schnapps in it, it is full, correct?

    What if I could make the cup larger? Make the cup hold 10 cups? Is it full now? Is is empty? Closer to which one? What if I made it able to hold 1000 cups of liquid?

    Our minds are like that. They are elastic, can stretch and bend and wiggle. If you work yours out, then you can stretch it to accept new ideas. If you are locked into one mode of thought, then your mind will become like a steel trap - rusted shut.

    The emptiness/fullness is just an analogy to reality - and a simple one at that. But it is very useful in teaching. We would never expect some one to unlearn everything that they ever knew to become truly empty. Rather, it's a way of looking at the world as created new each second. Not letting past experiences limit your outlook now.

    Cure my Music

    **The Cure Shares Your Taste in Music**

    See their whole playlist here (iTunes required)
    [Which Musician (or Group) Shares Your Taste in Music?](http://www.blogthings.com/whichmusiciansharesyourtasteinmusicquiz/)

    And, I actually like the Cure! :)

    Whew!

    **You Passed 8th Grade Science**
    Congratulations, you got 8/8 correct!
    [Could You Pass 8th Grade Science?](http://www.blogthings.com/couldyoupasseighthgradesciencequiz/)

    Holiday Cheer!

    So, I think that I have found one of the better [Holiday Sites](http://www.zug.com/scrawl/wonderland/001.html) out there.

    ID - take two

    [This](http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5024450) real audio snippet from NPR is a really good look at ID. You should listen to it. They present some powerful arguments for and against ID.

    Good stuff.

    A Child's Mind

    A successful businessman went to a Zen master and announced he had come to learn all about Zen. The master invited the man to sit down and have tea. As the master poured the tea, it overflowed. The businessman shouted, "It's spilling, it's spilling!" To which the master replied, "Precisely-you came with a full cup. Your cup is already spilling over, so how can I give you anything? Unless you come with emptiness, I can give you nothing." Your journey . . . begines when you empty your mind of all the overused and undernourishing ideas you have inherited . . . Using your Beginner's Mind, you will see things in a refreshing, exhilirating way . . . Open yourself up to your unlimited potential . . . This is your initiation into the eloquence of the thinking body and the grace of the dancing mind. *Huang, Chungliang and Jerry Lynch. Thinking Body, Dancing Mind: TaoSports for extraordinary performance in athletics, business, and life. Bantam, 1992, p. 29*.

    -[What is the beginner's mind?](http://www.beginners-mind.net/what_is.htm)

    I have made a career out of learning. No, not a career, a life. One of the things that I have found most important in this life of learning is to throw away preconceived notions. Approaching problems with an open mind is crucial. If you have some idea in your head about what is causing an issue, you can poison your mind to other options. Only with an open mind can you really see.

    Seeing is important.

    Reading Liturgy as Literature

    [This](http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5048309) story was pretty though provoking for me. It's an NPR story, and it's audio - but give it a listen.

    The Universe

    Can you prove you love your wife?

    I tend to break the universe down into three parts:

    **The Subjective Universe**

    This is the realm of our feelings and beliefs. Love and Faith and Hate and God live here. It's all internal to our minds and psyche. There is no truth or proof here - only opinion and faith.

    **The Objective Universe**

    This is what we perceive. It's still not fact - but it's as close as we can get to truth by ourselves. Our perceptions are all edited for content by our subconscious as they are traveling the neural pathways into our minds. We basically have a few passive sensor systems - our eyes, ears, touch and smell (taste is part of smell). We have parts of our brains that are dedicated signal processors. They take as input the raw data from these sensory systems and output processed data that we can understand.

    There is a time lag between the perceptions and the post-processing data. So, the external world is not really perceived as it happens. The processing takes place in the subjective universe. Everything is spun according to the whims of your subconscious. This leads to...

    **The Real Universe**

    This is what is really real. We cannot directly perceive this. It's like the story of the four blind men and the elephant. We each base what we believe reality to be on our perceptions. It's only when we actually sit down and discuss what each of us perceive that we can come close to approximating what reality really is.


    I see the universe as a matrix made up first of the bubbles of each persons subjective universe which are contained in overlapping fields of people's objective universes all contained in the greater real universe.

    So - to answer the question: No. I cannot prove it except through my actions. Love, Hate, Good, Evil - these are all parts of each of our subjective universes.

    Cosmology, ID and Special People

    One of my problems with ID and it's attendant philosophies is that it assumes that we are special somehow. What folks fail to realize is that there are billions of earth like planets out there - and possibly billions of universes. We think that the universe was specially created for us because the cosmological constants are pretty much tailored for us. However, that's simply not the case.

    The constants are 'tailored' for us simply because we evolved under their rules. So we are in fact tailored to the environment that we evolved in, not the other way around.

    I think that some folks are bent on Humanity being 'special' somehow. Here is a news flash: We are not special. We are not the center of the universe. The universe was not designed for us, rather we were designed by the universe. If some of the constants had been different, we would have evolved differently - or not at all. To claim humanities specialness because the universe is so suited for us is to have it backwards. We are suited for the universe.

    I am Thomas!

    Ok, so the whole weekly thing is on hold for the holidays. Discipline is not one of my strong suites. :) Expect a missive on the importance of discipline in the next few weeks.

    Anyways...

    Those old religious manuals were written for a time before stock markets and viral epidemics and robotics and biomedicine and capitalism and the internet, and even if they'd known about these things, their underlying message would have still been the same.. chill, love each other, do your work... They are preparation, no more.

    The good ones don't tempt humans to contemplate God, but to perfect themselves on Earth. Being "at one with God" or "a part of the creator" is your birthright, sure, but you were born on planet Earth.

    -[Corzblog](http://corz.org/blog/index.php#%0A%09%09one%20word%2C%20maybe%20two..%0A)

    I like the article - read it all.

    One of the things that I like about Buddhism, is it's realistic approach to life. It does not expect blind faith. It expects us to try, learn, and come to our own conclusions. I have talked at length about this before, but I saw a sign that really drove the point home for me.

    Feeding your faith, starves your doubt

    I would posit that a liberal dose of doubt is healthy. When the church leader asks me to drink the KoolAid, I should be able to think on my own and and say 'No'. Reliance on faith leads to weak minds. Doubting, discussing, and dissension leads to strong minds.

    I once called faith a crutch. I do believe that it can be. It is very unhealthy when used to the extreme. Just because some one wrote it in a book does not make it true! You need to examine those words and beliefs, process them, and make sure that they have constancy and truth.

    Blind faith leads us to the Jonestowns and Wacos.

    We need to teach critical though, self examination and healthy doubt. We will not survive with out it.

    New Class

    A course being offered next semester by the university religious studies department is titled 'Special Topics in Religion: Intelligent Design, Creationism and other Religious Mythologies.”

    This is how ID should be taught. Leave religion in the religion class and science in the science class.

    (HT: [DotClue](http://dotclue.org/archives/002442.html))

    Things that make you go Hmmm

    I don't know the veracity of the claims that these folks make, however, they raise some really good points.

    ...Switching to alternative energy now is a win win situation.

    ...Market forces will not be able to fix the problem with out great pain.

    ...The longer we wait, the worse it'g going to be.

    Check out their little [ditty](http://www.powerswitch.org.uk/portal/images/stories/animoil.swf).

    Roads

    And, sometimes, you take the road less travelled...

    Here we go again...

    Exploit code for a critical flaw in fully patched versions of Microsoft Corp.'s Internet Explorer browser has been released on the Internet, putting millions of Web surfers at risk of computer hijack attacks.

    The zero-day exploit, posted by a U.K.-based group called "Computer Terrorism," could allow a remote hacker to take complete control of a Windows system if the victim simply browses to a malicious Web site.

    Ziff Davis Internet News have verified that the exploit works on fully patched Windows XP systems with default IE installations...

    ...The group that published the exploit said Microsoft has been aware of the Javascript Window() vulnerability for several months but was mistakenly treating it as a low-priority denial-of-service flaw.

    Benjamin Tobias Franz, a German security researcher, originally published an advisory in May this year to warn of the denial-of-service bug.

    -[EWeek](http://www.eweek.com/article2/0,1759,1891749,00.asp?kc=EWRSS03119TX1K0000594)

    You know the mantra.

    Switch to another [browser](http://www.browsehappy.com). Practice safe computing. Keep the scanners and firewalls on high alert. Or, switch to [Linux](http://www.ubuntulinux.org) or [Mac.](http://www.apple.com)

    Seen in the wild

    I just Have to get one!

    Ok... for those that don't get the joke.

    Longhorn was Microsoft's codename for Windows Vista before they named it. Notice the little Mac OS X logo underneath.

    Everyone laugh along now.

    Cold War Cyberwarfare

    In January 1982, President Ronald Reagan approved a CIA plan to sabotage the economy of the Soviet Union through covert transfers of technology that contained hidden malfunctions, including software that later triggered a huge explosion in a Siberian natural gas pipeline, according to a new memoir by a Reagan White House official.

    -[MSNBC](http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/4394002), via [Schneier on Security](http://www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2005/11/cold_war_softwa.html)

    [Computer security](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Computer_Security) is a hobby/profession of mine. I have been worried for a long time about the possibility of a [cyber-terrorist](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cyberterrorism) attack, or even a conventional attack aimed at large scale economic disruption. This is the 'proof in the pudding' that such a thing can happen, and has happened already.

    To use [insecure](http://www.microsoft.com/windows) systems in such a world for our critical infrastructure should be criminal. If a major flaw in Windows were uncovered and used to attack the US's banking industry - how much damage could be done? How many billions of dollars could be simply erased?

    Computer systems are no longer just for email and word processing. Businesses live and die by their systems. Their entire accounting ledger is on a computer now.

    Imagine, if you will, a [rootkit](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rootkit) like [worm](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Computer_worm) that would simple shred any Quick Books files that it found. Or one that scrambles the BIOS of the computer so that it will not boot. Or one that overwrites the allocation tables on the Hard Drive to trash the entire thing. You would want to make sure that it could propagate, so have it wait to do anything until it infects four other machines, or 6 hours pass.

    That's the kind of thing that keeps me awake at night.

    An, we still run out in droves to buy products that are proven time and time again to be totally inadequate to the task. Worse then that, we run our businesses and governments on these products. We listen to the [people](http://www.templetons.com/brad/billg.html) who make, sell and profit from these products as they tell us how secure they are - how they are working hard to fix the problems that they themselves have created.

    And we give them our money, and they get richer.

    [Cyberwar](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cyberwar) is already here. The first battles in this new realm were fought over 20 years ago. It's only time before we are hit again.

    Do you think that we are ready?

    Your computer, My Music!

    For the three people on the moon who have not heard about [Sony](http://www.sonybmg.com/)'s [RootKit](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rootkit) [DRM](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digital_rights_management) program, here is the scoop.

    Sony/BMG has put some software on their music CD's which modify how Windows (and attempt to modify how Mac OSX) works at the [kernel](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kernel_%28computer_science%29) or core level. This is a '[Bad Thingâ„¢](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bad_thing)'.

    A rootkit is a program that takes over your computer, hides it's self and does what ever it wants to. In this case, it stops you from copying the music off of the CD. The problem is that it basically makes it's self 'root' or supreme commander of your computer. All rights to do anything that it wants.

    Shame on you Sony.

    Microsoft, Symatec, McAffee and some others were aware of the Sony rootkit months ago. They either turned a blind eye or actively helped Sony 'hide” their little present deep into your Windows system
    -[helios](http://lobby4linux.com/WordPress/?p=58)

    Hey, That's Great. So the people that some of us trust to write our OS's and the security software to protect that OS are implicated in creating a custom rootkit for a third party. That's like Ford helping out car theives.

    I certainly hope that people everywhere take notice of this. Your computer running Windows is not yours - according to Microsoft, Sony and the other fat cats. You should have no control over it, they say. I say - [switch](http://www.transbuddha.com/mediaHolder.php?id=174). [Switch](http://www.apple.com/switch/) quick.

    (Cross posted on the [Geeks Grotto](http://geek.nokes.name))

    Hybrids down in flames?

    Gas-electric hybrids are the most fuel-efficient passenger cars on the road and ecologically there isn't a more viable option. Until something big changes, though, the industry-high efficiency can't economically offset the steep sticker price.
    -[OmniNerd](http://www.omninerd.com/articles/articles.php?aid=41)

    I have been saying this for quite a while now. They just did the math to prove it.

    Week 8: The Zen of Woodpiles

    So, yesterday I moved about 2 or 3 cords of wood from point A in my yard to point B and C (made two piles). I was doing a lot of thinking during the task. When we started it was snowing and windy. By the time we ended, it was raining and windy.

    ick.

    I learned a lot about the meaning of Zen today.

    The ground was slippery, muddy. Our grass has not come back in after the trees were removed and the fence installed, so it's patchy, slippery and rough. Each step was a challenge. Each step took concentration. Each step took focus.

    Zen is like that. Each step of each thing that we do should demand our total attention. Zen is simply paying attention.

    We owe so much money we're not broke we're broken We're so poor we can't even pay attention So what do you want You want to be famous and rich and happy But you're terrified you have nothing to offer this world Nothing to say and no way to say it
    -[KMFDM](http://www.kmfdm.net) ([Dogma](http://www.kmfdm.net/lyrics/dogma.htm))

    Simply paying attention to our daily lives, each step of what we do, the fleeting feelings that invade our thoughts is a very liberating feeling.

    At first it's a concious choice - that is where I am today - but sooner or later it will become a habit. It's odd, as I type this, I can feel the keystrokes on each finger indvidually. Paying attention.

    As we learn to pay attention, we can start to pay attention to more and more of what we are doing and what is going on around us at once. It's a way of interacting with the physical universe on a more viceral level. It's a way of always making sure that what you are doing is the best that you can.

    Zen is another word for Mindfulness. We should aspire to be mindful of our actions, pay attention to our deeds, and do the best we can at each thing that we do.

    What Peanuts Charactor am I?

    Ya wanna know?

    Did not think so.. :)

    Franklin
    You are Franklin!

    [ Which Peanuts Character are You?](http://quizilla.com/users/anonymousnowhere/quizzes/Which%20Peanuts%20Character%20are%20You%3F/)
    brought to you by [Quizilla](http://quizilla.com)

    (HT: [Sam](http://www.samanthaburns.com/archives/2005/11/peanuts_quiz.html))

    Mad Drawing Skilz

    Yeah - check [this](http://fcmx.net/vec/v.php?i=003702) out as you watch a woman being drawn from the inside out. Pretty trippy.

    Not really work safe.

    It's the USMC's 230th today!

    It's the [USMC](http://www.usmc.mil/)'s 230th birthday today. I found this [little](https://www.godaddy.com/gdshop/holiday/usmc/2005_playmovie.asp?isc=gdg1110&se=%2B) flash movie about it.

    We do not always agree with the policys that send the Marines in, but with out them, the Army, Airforce, Navy and Coast Guard, we would not enjoy the freedoms that we do today.

    Don't hit at all if it is honorably possible to avoid hitting; but never hit soft.

    -[Theodore Roosevelt](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Teddy_Roosevelt)

    Here's to every one who ever served, is serving, or is going to serve.


    Update: The USMC's Birthday was yesterday (November 10th), however today is Veterans day in the US - A time to remember all those who helped and help us stay free.

    [Sam](http://www.samanthaburns.com/archives/2005/11/remembrance_day_1.html) has some good info on Canada's contributions - let's not forget our neighbors to the north!

    [Justus](http://davejustus.blogspot.com/2005/11/thank-you.html) has a nice graphic up as well

    A very heartfelt [article](http://botanicalgirl.blogspot.com/2005/11/thanks-to-veterans.html) - good stuff

    New Blog Redux

    Just got done with another new blog - [Opinions from On High](http://princess.nokes.name). I guess that I have been on a blog building frenzy as of late. This one I am really proud of though. I like the effects, and I think that the colors really go well.

    Well...



    You scored as William Wallace. The great Scottish warrior William Wallace led his people against their English oppressors in a campaign that won independence for Scotland and immortalized him in the hearts of his countrymen. With his warrior's heart, tactician's mind, and poet's soul, Wallace was a brilliant leader. He just wanted to live a simple life on his farm, but he gave it up to help his country in its time of need.

    Neo, the "One"

    83%

    William Wallace

    83%

    James Bond, Agent 007

    79%

    Captain Jack Sparrow

    71%

    Indiana Jones

    58%

    The Terminator

    54%

    Lara Croft

    50%

    El Zorro

    50%

    Maximus

    50%

    Batman, the Dark Knight

    50%

    The Amazing Spider-Man

    33%

    Which Action Hero Would You Be? v. 2.0
    created with QuizFarm.com

    (HT: [Gamer Geek](http://www.livejournal.com/users/gamergeek007/13715.html))

    A dark day

    ...the Kansas Board of Education approved new public-school science standards Tuesday that cast doubt on the theory of evolution.

    The 6-4 vote was a victory for 'intelligent design” advocates who helped draft the standards. Intelligent design holds that the universe is so complex that it must have been created by a higher power...

    ...In addition, the board rewrote the definition of science, so that it is no longer limited to the search for natural explanations of phenomena.

    -[MSNBC](http://msnbc.msn.com/id/9967813/)

    This is one of the reasons that I fear Christianity as it is practiced in America, especially by the far right conservative movement. As a Religion, it seems bent on legislating it's point of view. Forcing everyone to agree with them. Abolishing freedom of religion and choice.

    Some in this country seem to wish nothing more then to take away the freedom of choice that they believe God himself gave to us. Now they want to even change our definition of science? I have no problem with ID being taught in school - as a religious theory, in a religion class. Science and religion are two very different things, and should be treated as such.

    Our schools should be a place where our young are taught to think and to reason. If religion is to be taught, then all of them should be explored. Christianity, Wicca, Buddhism and the rest. However, it is my opinion that Religion should not be taught in schools at all. That is best left to the parents.

    Everyone should have the freedom to raise their children as they see fit. Even Christian fundamentalists.

    *Update: and from the picture on the linked article, they use Dells. :( *

    Snuffy!


    You scored 43% Organization, 51% abstract, and 52% extroverted!
    Snuffleupagus
    This test measured 3 variables.

    First, this test measured how organized you are. Some muppets like Cookie Monster make big messes, while others like Bert are quite anal about things being clean.

    Second, this test measured if you prefer a concrete or an abstract viewpoint. For the purposes of this test, concrete people are considered to gravitate more to mathematical and logical approaches, whereas abstract people are more the dreamers and artistic type.

    Third, this test measured if you are more of an introvert or an extrovert. By definition, an introvert concentrates more on herself and an extrovert focuses more on others. In this test an introvert was somebody that either tends to spend more time alone or thinks more about herself.

    You are somewhat organized, both concrete and abstract, and both introverted and extroverted.

    I bet you didn't think you were Snuffleupagus. Let's find out why.

    You are both somewhat organized. You have a good idea where you put things and you probably keep your place reasonably clean. You aren't totally obsessed with neatness though. Alloyius Snuffleupagus (and all Snuffleupagus') is not sloppy by nature, but he moves so incredibly slowly that it is impossible for him to be totally organized.

    You both are about equally concrete and abstract thinkers. You have a good balance in your life. You know when to be logical at times, but you also aren't afraid to explore your dreams and desires... within limits of course. Snuffy generally has very basic interests, but he explores his abstract sensitive side when he plays his snuffleflute.

    You both are somewhat introverted. Originally Snuffleupagus was very shy and was only Big Bird's invisible friend. However as he has aged he has started to build new friendships with new characters. Like Snuffy, you probably like to have some time to yourself. However, you do appreciate spending time with your friends, and you aren't scared of social situations.

    The other possible characters are
    Oscar the Grouch
    Big Bird
    Cookie Monster
    Ernie
    Elmo
    Kermit the Frog
    Grover
    The Count
    Guy Smiley
    Bert

    If you enjoyed this test, I would love the feedback! Also if you want to tell me your favorite Sesame Street character, I can total them up and post them here. Perhaps your choice will win!




    My test tracked 3 variables How you compared to other people your age and gender:
    [free online dating](http://www.okcupid.com)[free online dating](http://www.okcupid.com)
    You scored higher than 18% on Organization
    [free online dating](http://www.okcupid.com)[free online dating](http://www.okcupid.com)
    You scored higher than 45% on concrete-abstra
    [free online dating](http://www.okcupid.com)[free online dating](http://www.okcupid.com)
    You scored higher than 31% on intro-extrovert
    Link: The Your SESAME STREET Persona Test written by greencowsgomoo on Ok Cupid, home of the 32-Type Dating Test

    (HT: [Justus](http://davejustus.blogspot.com/2005/11/what-sesame-street-character-are-you.html))

    Week 6: More of the Eightfold Path

    Ethical Conduct: 3. Right Speech 4. Right Action 5. Right Livelihood

    The first part of the path was knowing. It was looking inwards. Now we look outwards. We watch how we interact with the world, and we strive to spread peace rather then unrest.

    Speech is one of the most powerful tools that we have at our disposal. Speech can start wars, or heal years of hate. I was watching a show on Discovery Channel yesterday about the evolution of man from Homo Erectus to Agriculture. One of the most amazing things is the ablity to think in concepts and communicate them. When we were able to reach that level of thinking, things took off. Communication is essential to our culture, our species and our advancement.

    Right speech is to tell the truth, to speak friendly, warm, and gently and to talk only when necessary.

    Right Action ties directly into Right Speech. After all, what is talk with out the walk? We must act kindly and compassionately, be honest, respect the belongings of others, and keep sexual relationships harmless to others.

    At it's core, buddhism is really quite simple and straighforward. Treat others well. Speak with others feelings in your mind. Make your livelihood in accordance with these guidances.

    Right Livelihood is the hard one. Especially in this global economy. You never really know what effects your actions are having across the world. Web Software you develop could be used to assist with weapons transactions across the globe.

    This is where intent comes in. Your actions need to be targeted at spreading good. If you write some code for 'bad' means, then that is bad. If you write some code for good, and it ends up being used for bad, then that's good - not good how it got used, but not your fault some one else brought negitave karma down on themselves by using your code for bad. (according to [Thich Nath Hanh](http://www.plumvillage.org))

    Four of the Five Mindfulness Trainings:
    *First Training*

    Aware of the suffering caused by the destruction of life, I am committed to cultivating compassion and learning ways to protect the lives of people, animals, plants, and minerals. I am determined not to kill, not to let others kill, and not to condone any act of killing in the world, in my thinking, and in my way of life.

    *Second Training*

    Aware of the suffering caused by exploitation, social injustice, stealing, and oppression, I am committed to cultivate loving kindness and learn ways to work for the well-being of people, animals, plants, and minerals. I am committed to practice generosity by sharing my time, energy, and material resources with those who are in real need. I am determined not to steal and not to possess anything that should belong to others. I will respect the property of others, but I will prevent others from profiting from human suffering or the suffering of other species on Earth.

    *Third Training*

    Aware of the suffering caused by sexual misconduct, I am committed to cultivate responsibility and learn ways to protect the safety and integrity of individuals, couples, families, and society. I am determined not to engage in sexual relations without love and a long-term commitment. To preserve the happiness of myself and others, I am determined to respect my commitments and the commitments of others. I will do everything in my power to protect children from sexual abuse and to prevent couples and families from being broken by sexual misconduct.

    *Fourth Training*

    Aware of the suffering caused by unmindful speech and the inability to listen to others, I am committed to cultivate loving speech and deep listening in order to bring joy and happiness to others and relieve others of their suffering. Knowing that words can create happiness or suffering, I am committed to learn to speak truthfully, with words that inspire self-confidence, joy, and hope. I am determined not to spread news that I do not know to be certain and not to criticize or condemn things of which I am not sure. I will refrain from uttering words that can cause division or discord, or that can cause the family or the community to break. I will make all efforts to reconcile and resolve all conflicts, however small.

    -[The Big View](http://www.thebigview.com/buddhism/index.html)

    Mindfulness is definded as

    The practice whereby a person is intentionally aware of his or her thoughts and actions in the present moment, non-judgmentally.

    -[Wikipedia](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mindfulness)

    Mindfulness is a very important part of Buddhism. By becoming reflexively introspective, you reach a point where you can make choices based not on fleeting feelings, but rather on what is best for you and the others that your choice will effect.

    Using these tools, Buddhists should strive to bring more peace and harmony into the world. They should leave the world better then they found it - like the Boy Scouts who are admonished to 'leave the camp site cleaner then they found it'.

    We are all camping in this world, sharing it's fire. We should leave it cleaner then we found it, more advanced in sciences and humanities, and an all around better place for those who follow us.

    New Blog

    So, I have partnered up with [Mystic](http://lifeinahandbasket.blogspot.com) and started a [Tech Blog](http://geek.nokes.name). Should be fun! Most of my computer related musings will be posted there now. See ya on the flip site!

    Week 5: The Eightfold Path

    1. Wisdom (panna) Right Understanding (samma ditthi) Right Aspiration (samma sankappa)

    The first step on the Eightfold path is about understanding and knowledge. After all, if we do not know, we cannot do.

    Right view is the beginning and the end of the path, it simply means to see and to understand things as they really are and to realize the Four Noble Truth. As such, right view is the cognitive aspect of wisdom. It means to see things through, to grasp the impermanent and imperfect nature of worldly objects and ideas, and to understand the law of karma and karmic conditioning. Right view is not necessarily an intellectual capacity, just as wisdom is not just a matter of intelligence. Instead, right view is attained, sustained, and enhanced through all capacities of mind. It begins with the intuitive insight that all beings are subject to suffering and it ends with complete understanding of the true nature of all things. Since our view of the world forms our thoughts and our actions, right view yields right thoughts and right actions.

    -[The Big View](http://www.thebigview.com/buddhism/index.html)

    Only through seeing things as they really are, can we start on the path. Only by traveling the path, can we see things as they really are. Basically, if you think everyone is out to get you, then you will act furtively, and people will not trust you. Self fulfilling prophesy. By penetrating the veil of illusion, by seeing through the emotion and seeing what is really happening we can act appropriately. If our vision is clouded by emotion, we will see phantoms and act from fear and confusion.

    We must move beyond simple understanding. We can intellectually understand that we have to see things correctly to proceed. We have to move beyond simple intellect however. To barrow a word, we have to [grok](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grok) right understanding. We have to *be* right understanding. It's a tall order, and most of us will not reach it all of the time. We can strive for it, and in the striving we become better people. How do we strive?

    While right view refers to the cognitive aspect of wisdom, right intention refers to the volitional aspect, i.e. the kind of mental energy that controls our actions. Right intention can be described best as commitment to ethical and mental self-improvement. Buddha distinguishes three types of right intentions: 1. the intention of renunciation, which means resistance to the pull of desire, 2. the intention of good will, meaning resistance to feelings of anger and aversion, and 3. the intention of harmlessness, meaning not to think or act cruelly, violently, or aggressively, and to develop compassion.

    -[The Big View](http://www.thebigview.com/buddhism/index.html)

    Part of understanding right sight is practicing it. This step on the path asks us to practice what we learn as we learn it, enabling us to learn more. By practiceing good intentions, we can learn how to see correctly, and by seeing correctly we can learn how to practice right aspiration.

    This is follows the law of [Karma](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Karma#Buddhism): You reap what you sow. If you are a negative person, and treat others badly you will not find much happiness in the world. However if you are a positive person, then you will find that life seems easier.

    By practicing Right Aspiration we start our selves down the road towards being more positive people. We start down the road towards peace and happiness.

    Thoreau Speaks

    Nature now, like an athlete, begins to strip herself in earnest for her contest with her great antagonist, Winter. In the bare trees and twigs what a display of muscle!

    -[Thoreau](http://blogthoreau.blogspot.com/2005/10/thoreaus-journal-29-oct-1858.html)

    Ka-Ching!


    My [blog](http://greg.nokes.name) is worth $11,855.34.
    [How much is your blog worth?](http://www.business-opportunities.biz/projects/how-much-is-your-blog-worth/)

    [](http://www.technorati.com/" style="border: 0px;)

    Exxon's Wad

    More than a billion dollars a day, $45 million an hour, almost $340 for every living American — that's what Exxon Mobil reported in third-quarter revenue Thursday.

    For the oil giant, that translated to $9.9 billion in net income.

    -[Seattle Times](http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/businesstecinexpensive.hnology/2002588325_oilearns28.html)

    They must have made so much money because Oil prices were so high, they just had to raise the prices of their gas.

    Now, I do not begrudge them these high profits. We are in a sellers market when it comes to fuel - there are limited ways to get it, and we all need it. That is why we must start to depend on fossil fuels less, and start to invest in ways to make ourselves independent of other countries and oil conglomerates whims.

    I hope that the last years events have shown that, when we can, energy production should be as close to the energy users as possible, clean and inexpensive. We can do this, we just need to make it happen. They Spokane biofuels plant that is being planned is a good start. Nuclear power stations through out the country are another good start.

    Biodiesel coming to Spokane?

    A prominent state lawmaker is calling for construction of a biodiesel fuel refinery in Eastern Washington, fed by local crops and paid for partly with millions of dollars in state money.

    "There's benefit for everybody if we get this thing going," said Rep. Hans Dunshee, D-Snohomish, who chairs the House construction- budget committee. So far, he said, groups in Lincoln County, Columbia County and Spokane Valley are interested. The Spokane-area proposal comes from several local farm cooperatives and the county conservation district.

    -[Spokesman Review](http://www.findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qn4186/is_20050929/ai_n15649732#continue)

    This sounds like an excellent idea. To be able to produce our own fuel, locally, and with out extensive harm to the enviroment is a great thing. Spokane currently uses about 10,000 gallons of B20 blend a month. It is shipped into town from plants back east.

    If we could localize the production of this resource, and start to offer it at more and more retail outlets, the Diesel community would embrace it. Especially since it *should* be cheaper then Dino-Diesel once we have the production up and running here.

    I think the solutions will lay in the details. If we can get a refinery and mash plant constructed and operational here, that will cut the prices of Biofuel. If the State would cut taxes on it (as it is better on the enviroment and will help with the Federal Clean Air act responsiblities), it would be a win/win scenerio.

    With the call for a [Light Rail](http://spokanelightrail.com/spokanelightrail/) system in Spokane, and with many of the trains running on Diesel - B100 would be a perfect fuel. Personally, I would not support any light rail system that was not B100 powered, or at least as clean in totality. Electric might not be the awnser either - where is that power generated, and using what methods?

    Much of the energy producted in the Spokane area is hydropower. Hydropower is a good solution, however there is a significant portion that is produced by Gas powerplants. With the current spike in natural gas prices, we can see why we might want to look towards local, clean, power production.

    Honestly (and I know that I am not going to win any awards for thinking this), I would support a new Nuclear power plant in Eastern Washington. Nuke Plants are not what they used to be.

    One of the major requirements for sustaining human progress is an adequate source of energy. The current largest sources of energy are the combustion of coal, oil and natural gas ... They will last quite a while but will probably run out or become harmful in tens to hundreds of years. Solar energy will also work but is not much developed yet except for special applications because of its high cost. This high cost as a main source, e.g. for central station electricity, is likely to continue, and nuclear energy is likely to remain cheaper. A major advantage of nuclear energy (and also of solar energy) is that it doesn't put carbon dioxide (CO2) into the atmosphere. How much of an advantage depends on how bad the CO2 problem turns out to be.

    -[John McCarthy](http://www-formal.stanford.edu/jmc/progress/nuclear-faq.html)

    If we as a species are to survive for the long term, we need to start thinking in the long term. We **must** find ways to sustain ourselves, and not impact the environment too greatly. Our current use of dirty fossil fuels has got to stop.

    Waaaay to much time

    Ok.. this is cool, and an example of what happens if you have waaay to much time on your hands:

    [](http://www.extremetech.com/slideshow/0,1206,pg=0&s=200&a=163159,00.asp)

    Yes, that's an R2D2 computer case. Click through to see how it was built.

    Rest in Peace, Rosa

    [](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rosa_Parks)

    (HT: [Apple](http://www.apple.com:) for the image; Here is a full sized [image](http://images.apple.com/home/2005/images/rosaparks20051025.jpg))

    Apple's newest announcement

    An invitation sent out to the press by Apple displays the words, 'We Got Nothin'” on top of a picture of a shrugging Steve Jobs. The pockets on Jobs' trademark blue jeans are turned inside out, apparently signifying that hardware updates or new OS X applications are not on tap for next week.

    Read the rest at [MacWorld](http://www.macworld.com/weblogs/editors/2005/10/noevent/index.php?lsrc=rsswidget). Apple is certainly racking up the announcements over the last few weeks, and this one is a doozy as well.

    And one post in darkness to bind them

    Ok.. the entire blogosphere has just been summed up in one (yes **one**) [post](http://chieflymusing.com/?p=134).

    (HT - [SaaM](http://sharpmarbles.stufftoread.com/archive/2005/10/21/4126.aspx))

    Week 4: The 4th Noble Truth

    I took a week off - there was a wedding that I was a videographer for, and several other pressing concerns that I could not shake.

    Anyways - on to the Fourth Noble Truth: The Eight-fold Path.

    In summary, the Eight Fold path is:

    1. Wisdom (panna)

    Right Understanding (samma ditthi) Right Aspiration (samma sankappa)

    2. Morality (sila)

    Right Speech (samma vaca) Right Action (samma kammanta) Right Livelihood (samma ajiva)

    3. Concentration (samadhi)

    Right Effort (samma vayama) Right Mindfulness (samma sati) Right Concentration (samma samadhi)

    - [The Four Noble Truths](http://www.buddhanet.net/4noble.htm)

    As we spoke about [last time](http://greg.nokes.name/2005/10/09/buddhism-week-2-suffering-and-the-path/), suffering and pain is a very real part of the world that we find ourselves in. By understanding that desire and wanting is the root of all suffering, we can start to elevate ourselves above it. We are still part of the world. However we see, and act differently when we understand that everything suffers, that everything is impermeant, and that desire fuels our suffering.

    When we put our desire on something - be it physical (I want this new car), spiritual (I want to be a better person) or personal (I hope s/he loves me) we attach energy to that object. When that object is not as we wish it, or when it fails us (as everything will, due to nothing being permeant) we feel suffering due to the loss of that energy. We give it power over our feelings and our lives.

    One way to conceptualize this, is that everything; feelings, physical objects, interpersonal relationships, exist in a sort of hyper-space. This Hyper-space exists out side our universe, but in our timestream. It intersects with our space in that these objects in Hyper-space 'exist' in our space. We can attach ourselves to these 'hyper-space objects' with filaments of our being, if we so choose.

    When these objects try and follow their destiny and we are attached, one of two things happen - either the line snaps, or we engage in a struggle, trying to pull the object back to us. One way is fast, hard pain and the other is long drawn out suffering.

    Making a choice to be unconnected from these 'hyper-space objects' we do not have to suffer when they change or leave.

    Please note, being unconnected does not mean that we are ascetics. It does not mean that we are indifferent about our fellow life forms suffering. Instead, it means that we follow the [Middle Way](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Middle_Way). We are engaged in the world, but we also see it for what it really is. We do not self-indulge too much, neither do we practice self-mortification. We follow the Middle Way. We walk the path between the cliffs and the mountains.

    How does this tie into the Eight Fold Path? The path *is* the way. It **is** the path between the cliffs and the mountains. It teaches us how to live in harmony with the universe, and how to really see. It's not a path of eight steps however. You do not graduate from step one to step two. Each step is to be practiced with each of your breaths, as well as you can.

    Of course, we cannot do everything all at once - so I suggest breaking it into smaller chunks. When meditating, practice samma samadhi. When talking practice samma vaca.

    I want to leave you this week with one thought from the Buddha:

    On one occasion, while Venerable Sariputta was sitting, listening respectfully at his feet as the Buddha expounded the Dhamma, the Buddha turned to him and asked,

    "Sariputta, do you believe this teaching?"

    Venerable Sariputta replied, "No, I don't yet believe it."

    Now this is a good illustration. Venerable Sariputta listened, and he took note. When he said he didn't yet believe he wasn't being careless, he was speaking the truth. He simply took note of that teaching, because he had not yet developed his own understanding of it, so he told the Buddha that he didn't yet believe-because he really didn't believe. These words almost sound as if Venerable Sariputta was being rude, but actually he wasn't. He spoke the truth, and the Buddha praised him for it.

    "Good, good, Sariputta. A wise person doesn't readily believe, he should consider first before believing."

    -[Venerable Ajahn Chah](http://www.saigon.com/~anson/ebud/ebmed090.htm)

    Fun Flash Game

    Sorta like a combination of tetris and teletubbies. Maximum Evil!

    Update - Linkage might help :)

    Update 2 - Ok.. I am a total space cadet. I cannot find the fscking thing again. So, you will just have to live knowing that it was one of the cooler things that I have ever seen.

    sorry.

    What General am I?

    George MacClellan
    You scored 50 Wisdom, 92 Tactics, 37 Guts, and 35 Ruthlessness!

    Like General McClellan, you're smart enough to know what tactical decisions to make. However, the problem with McClellan is that he could never sprout the balls to act on his information, and in the end, that's why Geoge McClellan is only a sidenote in the history books.

    After graduating from West Point, he served with distinction in the Mexican War and later worked on various engineering projects, notably on the survey (1853-54) for a Northern Pacific RR route across the Cascade Range. Resigning from the army in 1857, he was a railroad official until the outbreak of the Civil War. In May, 1861, McClellan was made commander of the Dept. of the Ohio and a major general in the regular army. He cleared the western part of Virginia of Confederates (June-July, 1861) and consequently, after the Union defeat in the first battle of Bull Run, was given command of the troops in and around Washington. In November he became general in chief. The administration, reflecting public opinion, pressed for an early offensive, but McClellan insisted on adequate training and equipment for his army. In Mar., 1862, he was relieved of his supreme command, but he retained command of the Army of the Potomac, with which in Apr., 1862, he initiated the Peninsular campaign . The collapse of this campaign after the Seven Days battles was charged by many to his overcaution. In Aug. 1862, most of McClellan's troops were reassigned to the Army of Virginia under John Pope . After Pope's defeat at the second battle of Bull Run, McClellan again reorganized the Union forces, and in the Antietam campaign he checked Robert E. Lee's first invasion of the North. He was slow, however, to follow Lee across the Potomac and in Nov., 1862, was removed from his command.




    My test tracked 4 variables How you compared to other people your age and gender:
    [free online dating](http://www.okcupid.com)[free online dating](http://www.okcupid.com)
    You scored higher than 8% on Unorthodox
    [free online dating](http://www.okcupid.com)[free online dating](http://www.okcupid.com)
    You scored higher than 99% on Tactics
    [free online dating](http://www.okcupid.com)[free online dating](http://www.okcupid.com)
    You scored higher than 6% on Guts
    [free online dating](http://www.okcupid.com)[free online dating](http://www.okcupid.com)
    You scored higher than 12% on Ruthlessness
    Link: The Which Historic General Are You Test written by dasnyds on Ok Cupid, home of the 32-Type Dating Test

    (Hat Tip, [Justus](http://davejustus.blogspot.com/2005/10/which-general-are-you.html))

    The Shining

    is coming out again - check out the [trailer](http://www.angryalien.com/0504/shiningbunnies.html)!

    ***edit**: Yes - two new versions of The Shining. [Shiny](http://browncoats.serenitymovie.com/serenity/)!*

    New search engine

    I found this new search engine. Its pretty cool. I think tizzy I W-to-tha-izzill use it fizzle now on


    In tha first story, Spokane po-po brotha were unavailable ta respond ta a citizen clockin' n interven'n in a felony in progress where tha potential fo` violence was real. In tha second story, Spokane po-po offica were available ta be dispatched ta investigate a 'false alarm” at an unoccupied business, Anthony's Restaurant, a site favored by Spokane Mayor Jim Wizzy . Hollaz to the East Side.

    Spokane Cops Chasing their Tails?

    In the first story, Spokane police officers were unavailable to respond to a citizen observing and intervening in a felony in progress where the potential for violence was real. In the second story, Spokane police officers were available to be dispatched to investigate a "false alarm" at an unoccupied business, Anthony's Restaurant, a site favored by Spokane Mayor Jim West.

    -[Whitecaps](http://whitecaps.blogspot.com/2005/10/false-alarm-oh-send-cops-anyway.html)

    With the current budget woes that Spokane faces, Whitecaps makes some good points. Why respond to unverified alarms, and let citizens swing in the wind?

    Things that make you go Hmmm

    Star Wars: Photoshopping Project

    [](http://www.bloggerheads.com/star%5Fwars/) *"Seth, I'm telling you, I saw her signalling the stormtroopers!"*

    Tom Cruse Unmasked!

    Little did we know that Tom Cruse is none other then...

    Darth Stupedus!

    Yup. It happened on [Oprah](http://www.nwgamers.org/Tom_Cruise_Kills_Oprah.mov).

    (HT - That [Drogitty](http://drogidy.blogspot.com/2005/10/where-martians-and-wookies-collide.html) Fellow)

    Also on his site, a link to this gem:

    [](http://adrune.blogs.friendster.com/photos/my_favorite_movies/index.html)

    Buddhism - Week 2 - Suffering and the path

    So - last week we talked about Suffering, and how it is universal. Like it or not, everyone will feel some suffering some time in their life. Suffering is the first of the Four Noble Truths that the Buddha talked about during his first sermon after reaching enlightenment.

    1. Dukkha: There is suffering. Suffering is an intrinsic part of life also experienced as dissatisfaction, discontent, unhappiness, impermanence. 2. Samudaya: There is a cause of suffering, which is attachment and desire (tanha). 3. Nirodha: There is a way out of suffering, which is to eliminate attachment and desire. 4. Magga: The path that leads out of suffering is called the Noble Eightfold Path.

    Having the stage set, this week we explore Why? Why is suffering universal? What causes it? Now that we know that the sickness exists, what is it's cause?

    The clinging to desire comes from our experience that short-term satisfaction comes from following desire. We ignore the fact that satisfying our desires doesn't bring an end to them.

    I think that those questions can be summed up as Attachment and Desire. We become unhappy when things in the illusory external universe, things which are impermanent, fail us. When we invest ourselves into a relationship, and the other person cheats, lies, or just up and leaves, we become unhappy. When we are attached to our physical possessions, and they are stolen or lost in a flood, we become hurt.

    there is an origin of suffering and that the origin of suffering is attachment to the three kinds of desire: desire for sense pleasure (kama tanha), desire to become (bhava tanha) and desire to get rid of (vibhava tanha). This is the statement of the Second Noble Truth, the thesis, the pariyatti

    This is the point where Buddhist philosophy and psychology leaves most people behind. They think that the 4th truth is about severing all ties to everything. Being a buddhist in the real world is **not** about being a cold or uncaring person. It is **not** about being unconnected from everything.

    In emptiness, things are just what they are. When we are aware in this way, it doesn't mean that we are indifferent to success or failure and that we don't bother to do anything. We can apply ourselves. We know what we can do; we know what has to be done and we can do it in the right way. Then everything becomes Dhamma, the way it is. We do things because that is the right thing to be doing at this time and in this place rather than out of a sense of personal ambition or fear of failure.

    -[The Four Noble Truths](http://www.buddhanet.net/4noble.htm)

    When you exist in the now, and you have no delusions about the outside universe, you can make your choices from a much more informed point then if you are trying to unravel everything about you. For example, if you were talking to a person, and you were trying to figure out what they were thinking about you, about what you were saying you probably would act a certain way. Would that person be **you**?

    We interact with a world that does not exist. We make large portions of it up in our minds, and then become confused when things do not work exactly like we want them to. We assign feelings to people that might or might not have them, and then act as if they did.

    Buddhism is about penetrating that veil of illusion and seeing the world as it really it. In my mind, enlightenment means *seeing clearly*. Buddhism is more then just a religion, more then just a philosophy. It's a psychology, a way of learning to live in harmony with the real world. It is very pragmatic. In Buddhism, you are instructed to think for your self - to investigate and learn. Nothing should be taken on faith.

    Re-Evolution

    *If the truth can be told so as to be understood, it will be believed.*

    Human history represents such a radical break with the natural systems of biological organization that preceded it, that it must be the response to a kind of attractor, or dwell point that lies ahead in the temporal dimension. Persistently Western religions have integrated into their theologies the notion of a kind of end of the world, and I think that a lot of psychedelic experimentation sort of confirms this intuition, I mean, it isn't going to happen according to any of the scenarios of orthodox religion, but the basic intuition, that the universe seeks closure in a kind of omega point of transcendance, is confirmed, it's almost as though this object in hyperspace, glittering in hyperspace, throws off reflections of itself, which actually ricochet into the past, illuminating this mystic, inspiring that saint or visionary, and that out of these fragmentary glimpses of eternity we can build a kind of map, of not only the past of the universe, and the evolutionary egression into novelty, but a kind of map of the future, this is what shamanism is always been about.

    A shaman is someone who has been to the end, it's someone who knows how the world really works, and knowing how the world really works means to have risen outside, above, beyond the dimensions of ordinary space, time, and casuistry, and actually seen the wiring under the board, stepped outside the confines of learned culture and learned and embedded language, into the domain of what Wittgenstein called "the unspeakable", the transcendental presense of the other, which can be absanctioned, in various ways, to yield systems of knowledge which can be brought back into ordinary social space for the good of the community, so in the context of ninety percent of human culture, the shaman has been the agent of evolution, because the shaman learns the techniques to go between ordinary reality and the domain of the ideas, this higher dimensional continuum that is somehow parallel to us, available to us, and yet ordinarily occluded by cultural convention out of fear of the mystery I believe, and what shamans are, I believe, are people who have been able to de-condition themselves from the community's instinctual distrust of the mystery, and to go into it, to go into this bewildering higher dimension, and gain knowledge, recover the jewel lost at the beginning of time, to save souls, cure, commune with the ancestors and so forth and so on.

    Shamanism is not a religion, it's a set of techniques, and the principal technique is the use of psychedelic plants. What psychedelics do is they dissolve boundaries, and in the presence of dissolved boundaries, one cannot continue to close one's eyes to the ruination of the earth, the poisoning of the seas, and the consequences of two thousand years of unchallenged dominator culture, based on monotheism, hatred of nature, suppression of the female, and so forth and so on. So, what shamans have to do is act as exemplars, by making this cosmic journey to the domain of the Gaian ideas, and then bringing them back in the form of art to the struggle to save the world. The planet has a kind of intelligence, that it can actually open a channel of communication with an individual human being. The message that nature sends is, transform your language through a synergy between electronic culture and the psychedelic imagination, a synergy between dance and idea, a synergy between understanding and intuition, and dissolve the boundaries that your culture has sanctioned between you, to become part of this Gaian supermind, I mean I think it's fairly profound, it's fairly apocalyptic. History is ending. I mean, we are to be the generation that witnesses the revelation of the purpose of the cosmos. History is the shock wave of the eschaton. History is the shock wave of eschatology, and what this means for those of us who will live through this transition into hyperspace, is that we will be privileged to see the greatest release of compressed change probably since the birth of the universe. The twentieth century is the shudder that announces the approaching cataracts of time over which our species and the destiny of this planet is about to be swept.

    *If the truth can be told so as to be understood, it will be believed.*

    The emphasis in house music and rave culture on physiologically compatible rhythms and this sort of thing is really the rediscovery of the art of natural magic with sound, that sound, properly understood, especially percussive sound, can actually change neurological states, and large groups of people getting together in the presence of this kind of music are creating a telepathic community of bonding that hopefully will be strong enough that it can carry the vision out into the mainstream of society. I think that the youth culture that is emerging in the nineties is an end of the millenium culture that is actually summing up Western civilization and pointing us in an entirely different direction, that we're going to arrive in the third millenium, in the middle of an archaic revival, which will mean a revival of these physiologically empowering rhythm signatures, a new art, a new social vision, a new relationship to nature, to feminism, to ego. All of these things are taking hold, and not a moment too soon.

    -[Terence McKenna](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Terence_McKenna)

    First off, I disagree that psychedelics are necessary, or even a good path. I think that the same results can be obtained with deep meditation and the search for enlightenment. Honestly, I feel that the results from a mediative study are easier to reproduce, and more 'accurate' then those obtained though the use of mind altering drugs and plants. In no way, take this as a validation of using drugs. Ok, that's out of the way! :)

    I was first introduced to this philosophy when I was listening to the Boss Drum by the Shamen about 12 or 15 years ago. It really resonated with me on several levels.

    I just wanted to post it - because I find it fascinating.

    Google Newreader

    I read a lot of RSS feeds - and I have trying to find a tool that will help keep them all straight. The best reader that I have found is safari - it's included with my Mac, it does a good job and it's really straight forward.

    Enter [Google](http://www.google.com/reader/things/intro). Looks like they just might have another kewl tool in the wings. It's a bit slow right now, but I expect to see good things coming from this. And - in a google first - it works with Mac right out of the gate!

    A look ahead for Internal Combustion Engines

    But it is no accident that the U.S. Department of Energy and other organizations are focusing most of their research on diesel and HCCI engines.

    -[Combustion Modeling](http://www.llnl.gov/str/Westbrook.html)

    Looks like the DOE and others agree with me - Diesel is the technology that we need to invest in for the short term goals.

    Just look at it this way - what powers the majority of our transportation system? Diesel trucks and trains. Making them even a little more efficient will garner great gains.

    Willy Nelson has circumstantial evidence posted that show a 40% increase in efficiency when you switch to BioDiesel (5 mpg to 7 mpg) ([Willie Nelson's Biodiesel](http://www.wnbiodiesel.com/customers.html)). A 40% increase in fuel efficiency would be a huge savings for the transportation sector.

    Last year, we averaged [382.4 million gallons](http://www.eia.doe.gov/neic/quickfacts/quickoil.html) of fuel a day. At the current average price of $3.00 a gallon, we are spending in the range of $1,152 milllion a day on fuel. Over 60% of that is spent by the transportation sector. So, they are spending $690 million a day on fuel. Cut that 40% and we get over $270 million a DAY saved. That's $98.5 billion a year in savings. We could pay for the biofuel refineries in one year, just off of the savings.

    Close on the horizon is the [HCCI](http://www.google.com/search?q=hcci+engine&sourceid=mozilla-search&start=0&start=0&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&client=firefox&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:unofficial) engine - a next generation diesel engine that is even cleaner and more efficient then standard diesel engines.

    New Flick

    I just have got to see this new [movie!](http://www.ps260.com/molly/SHINING%20FINAL.mov)

    (HT: [Justus](feed://davejustus.blogspot.com))

    Stupid Laws, Phishing's for Kids!

    One of my beefs with the US's whole system is the stupid laws that get inacted by well meaning folks. One of my favorite is the 'no talking on cell phones while driving' law. We don't need another law about that! There is already one on the books. It's illegal to drive while you are distracted. So, if you are chattering on your cell phone, and swerving all over the place - that pretty much looks like distracted driving, right?

    Well, California has done it again. It's now illegal to '[Phish](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phishing)'. Phishing is the art of stealing folk's bank account access numbers and passwords, and then robbing them blind. So, stealing was not already illegal in California? Or is this just another stupid law about something that is already covered?

    Windows OneCare

    So, Microsoft just debuted Windows [OneCare](http://beta.windowsonecare.com/) - a product to secure their OS.

    Are you tired of spending time trying to protect and maintain your computer? Are you worried that you're still not doing everything you should to keep it safe and running at optimal performance? If your answer is "Yes," then Windows OneCareâ„¢ is for you. Windows OneCare is built specifically for people who don't have the time or technical expertise necessary to secure and manage a computer on a daily basis. It is a comprehensive PC health service that goes beyond security to take an integrated approach to help protect and care for your computer.

    -Microsoft's [OneCare site](http://www.microsoft.com/windows/onecare/default.mspx)

    Microsoft reportedly is looking at selling this as a subscription product. So - again, you pay for the OS - and you pay to keep it running? It's sort of like having to buy a car, and then pay a subscription to keep twits from slashing your tires. In some areas that would be called protection money.

    Getting tired of this? There are [ways](http://www.apple.com/store/) out of the mess...

    Serenity

    Saw Serenity over the weekend. Quite a ride. I had high hopes for this film, and except for a few very minor points that my over critical mind came up with, it was Fricken Fanstastic! :)

    Also - there is a trailer for the next one in the chute - check it out [here](http://www.mosquitoverse.com)

    Weekly Buddhism - Week 1

    I think that I am going to try and write an article on a specific portion of Buddhism each week. This will help me learn more, as I am forced to explore the philosophy more and more.

    So, let's start at the beginning.

    **The Four Noble Truths**

    When the Buddha became enlightened, the first talk that he gave was about the Four Noble Truths. They are:

    1. Dukkha: There is suffering. Suffering is an intrinsic part of life also experienced as dissatisfaction, discontent, unhappiness, impermanence. 2. Samudaya: There is a cause of suffering, which is attachment and desire (tanha). 3. Nirodha: There is a way out of suffering, which is to eliminate attachment and desire. 4. Magga: The path that leads out of suffering is called the Noble Eightfold Path.

    Dukkha sums up our experience. We have all been unhappy, suffered, been depressed. This is called life. We have had our hearts broken, been passed up for a promotion. It is summed up nicely in the cliche:

    ***Life sucks and then you die***

    "And what have I taught? 'This is stress... This is the origination of stress... This is the cessation of stress... This is the path of practice leading to the cessation of stress': This is what I have taught. And why have I taught these things? Because they are connected with the goal, relate to the rudiments of the holy life, and lead to disenchantment, to dispassion, to cessation, to calm, to direct knowledge, to self-awakening, to Unbinding. This is why I have taught them.

    "Therefore your duty is the contemplation, 'This is stress... This is the origination of stress... This is the cessation of stress.' Your duty is the contemplation, 'This is the path of practice leading to the cessation of stress.'"

    -[Buddha](http://www.accesstoinsight.org/canon/sutta/samyutta/sn56-031.html)

    Realizing that suffering exists is the first step in obtaining happiness. Understanding it is the first step towards real compassion. When we see and understand that Suffering is *the* common human bond, we can start to feel real compassion. It's sad, but I think that unhappiness is the primary motivator for most people out there. Their actions are trying to fill a void.

    When we are driving, and some one cuts us off - how do we react? Usually we get angry. We say some not to nice things about that person. Compassion is when you try and understand that that person is simply attempting to escape from or mitigate his suffering. Perhaps they are late, and are concerned that they will be in trouble? Perhaps they simply do not care about others, and are only thinking of themselves.

    'Hey Jake,” I say calling my newest waiter over,” check this shit out.”

    After I relate the story Jake smiles and says, 'When I wake up in the morning you know what I sometimes say to myself?”

    'What?” I reply.

    'I'm gonna win today,” he says.

    Jake's words hit me like a thunderbolt. Suddenly I understand why I mixed it up with the guy at the bank.

    'Sometimes you feel like you have to come out on top,” I say.

    'Exactly.”

    'Which, more often than not, is an illusion.”

    'We're just wired that way I guess,” Jake says walking away.

    I'm gonna win today. That's how I felt in the bank. That's how I felt on the highway and in Starbucks. Not a healthy sense of competition or ambition, just a grubby graspy feeling of 'I want what I want when I want it.” That attitude is more appropriate for those infants squealing in their Baby Hummers than a grown man.

    -[Waiterrant](http://waiterrant.net/?p=207)

    We are wired to want to win in every interaction with each other. Part of compassion is putting that visceral winning need aside for a time, and trying to understand the other person. The first step along the path is to look deep with in, and comprehend our suffering. To see that all humans have and will suffer. Black, white, brown or purple, humans are an unhappy species.

    Once we have that connection with others, it's easer to see that they are people just like us. People who worry about taxes, work, their love life. People who are not faceless enemies. People who love, laugh, and enjoy time with their children. People who hurt when their parents die. People who are saddened by the senseless death of their friends.

    The Pali word, dukkha, means "incapable of satisfying" or "not able to bear or withstand anything": always changing, incapable of truly fulfilling us or making us happy. The sensual world is like that, a vibration in nature. It would, in fact, be terrible if we did find satisfaction in the sensory world because then we wouldn't search beyond it; we'd just be bound to it. However, as we awaken to this dukkha, we begin to find the way out so that we are no longer constantly trapped in sensory consciousness.

    -[Buddhanet](http://www.buddhanet.net/4noble.htm)

    So many people try to find satisfaction in the sensory world. They use drugs, sex, emotion as a salve for their Dukkha not even knowing that they cannot fill that hole. A pastor of mind used to say that the need for God was a hole that we could not fill. We would try, but the only thing that could fill it was God. I think that knowing about that hole, seeing that hole, and seeing that hole in others is the first step on a long path.

    I have brought up this theory that suffering is universal before, and folks seem to think that it's pessimistic. I disagree. Its like a disease. If we do not know that we are sick, then how can we fix it? People are like that. They suffer, and they do not even really realize it. They do not know that there is a better way out there. Buddhism is all about curing Dukkha. It's not easy, but I think that even a fractional decrease in our collective suffering will be a great thing.

    Homework for the week (Ha! and you thought that you would get off easy?) Meditate on suffering. If you do not meditate, then just think about the suffering in the world. Do not get yourself into a funk! If you start to find yourself focusing your entire week on misery, then get out side, play a game, be with friends. When you start to feel unpleasant thoughts, find their root. Understand them.

    When interacting with people, try and look at them with the compassion that understanding the commonality of suffering allows. Try and imagine yourself consoling them. Feel and emote love towards them.

    Read the first Truth at [Buddhanet](http://www.buddhanet.net/4noble.htm)

    Tune in next week for the Second Noble Truth...

    Wow

    Listening to [MDFMK](http://www.kmfdm.net/) right now. Sheila and I got a new receiver and speakers a few days ago. Wow. *Thumpilicous*. 750 watts rocks hard. :)

    Mac TCO Spreadsheet

    Winn has posted a very good look at the TCO of Mac vs. Wintendo. The [article](http://securityawareness.blogspot.com/2005/09/mad-as-hell-finale-recommendations-and.html) is well worth reading, and the following comments are also worth slogging through.

    419'ers Monologue

    Yeah - [this](http://www.zefrank.com/request/index_better.html) is actually really cool!

    In other news I have the day off (WooHoo!) in order to do some housework (Booo! Hisss!) Got the tunes blasting right now...

    Terrorist strike hard

    A digital virus spread by terrorists left bodies on the streets and cities quarantined by the government...For a week, the efforts of malicious players left behind massive casualties, made cities nearly uninhabitable...

    -[SecurityFocus](http://www.securityfocus.org/news/11330)

    Luckly this was just in a game - but this poses an intresting thought. In game, terrorists took a plague and spread it all over. I don't know if the terrorists had any agenda besides death and destruction, but what if they had? Could you threaten a MMOG publisher with acts of in game terror to get some change made? Could they hold you responsible for acts of in game terror?

    Ahhh.. With a Laaaser in it's head!

    So, some guys with a bit to much time on their hands build an automated sentry gun. [Really](http://cs-people.bu.edu/aaron/turret/turret.htm)!

    Another new iPod?!?!

    [Check](http://www.ifilm.com/ifilmdetail/2680559?htv=12&htv=12) it out. I just might have to get one!

    A Powerless God?

    'God is weak and powerless in the world, and that is exactly the way, the only way, in which he can be with us and help us.”

    -[Waiter Rant](http://waiterrant.net/?p=200) and Father [Dietrich Bonhoeffer](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dietrich_Bonhoeffer)

    Father Bonhoeffer (Saint? he was martyred I don't know what that would make him) seems to have been a very thoughtful man. He wrote of a 'Religionless Christianity', but did not have time to expand on it during his short life.

    A Powerless God is a fascinating line of thought. It really explains a lot about how the world seems to work. Taking the view that God cannot have power in this world, he could exist out side of the time stream, and many paradoxes go away.

    But then why God? If he is indeed powerless, how can he communicate his will to us? If he is powerless what use is he, can he even forgive sin? With no power, how could he have caused the bible to be written, and rewritten by so many people with out error?

    I guess that one of my problems with the philosophy behind modern Christianity is that of Original Sin. You are condemned to some eternal punishment, unless you ask for forgiveness. It seems like a problem was created just so that we would be beholden to God. Why even put the 'Tree of Knowledge' in the Garden to tempt Adam and Eve? We are told by many of the Christians out there that with out belief in God, we are dammed to Hell. Not really a nice, loving though.

    To me, If there is a God, he should appreciate good works. Even if we do not give him homage. If we practice love and oppose evil, should he not welcome us? If he is such a petty God that he would not love us for who we are if we do not pay lip service to him... well, He would not be worth my respect.

    I choose not to believe that. Since faith is belief in something that cannot be proven or disproved, I choose to believe that God's Infinite Love™ allows him to look into our souls and see what kind of person we are. If he in fact exists, after I die, he will see that I was mostly good, mostly harmless and usually attempted to act with my and others best interest in mind. I also choose to believe in [FSM](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flying_Spaghetti_Monster).

    It's Justus's BirthDay

    Happy Birthday to Me!

    Today is my birthday, which gives all of my readers a wonderful chance to link to me and say nice things about me!

    You all are so lucky to have this opportunity!

    In keeping with my reverse aging methodology, today I am 25.

    Yesterday was Gib's birthday, so you probably should say nice things about him to. Less nice than about me of course.

    [He](http://davejustus.blogspot.com/) is confused, but a nice guy. :)

    My Political Stance

    You are a

    Social Liberal
    (75% permissive)

    and an...

    Economic Conservative
    (68% permissive)

    You are best described as a:

    Libertarian




    Link: The Politics Test on Ok Cupid

    (HT: [Justus](http://davejustus.blogspot.com/2005/09/politics-test.html))

    Federal Troops in the Homeland

    Morning Edition, September 22, 2005 · Federal troops assisting local governments with disaster relief are not allowed to engage in law enforcement, according to the 1878 law known as the Posse Comitatus Act. But the Bush administration, the Pentagon and members of Congress are considering loosening that longstanding restriction.

    -[NPR](http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=4858832)

    This might be a really scary thing, if they are in fact talking about allowing federal troops to operate as Law Enforcement in the U.S. While I do not think that this administration would abuse those powers, I am not as confident that all of the administrations in the future would be as trustworthy. If the current administration does start to ask for these powers, I will be greatly troubled.

    Whoever, except in cases and under circumstances expressly authorized by the Constitution or Act of Congress, willfully uses any part of the Army or the Air Force as a posse comitatus or otherwise to execute the laws shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than two years, or both.

    -[Wikipedia](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Posse_Comitatus_Act)

    Evidently, it can be overridden in certain cases, such as:

    * National Guard units while under the authority of the governor of a state;
    * Troops when used pursuant to the Federal authority to quell domestic violence as was the case during the 1992 Los Angeles riots;
    * The President of the United States can waive this law in an emergency;
    * In December 1981 additional laws were enacted (codified 10 USC 371-78) clarifying permissible military assistance to civilian law enforcement agencies—including the Coast Guard—especially in combating drug smuggling into the United States. Posse Comitatus clarifications emphasize supportive and technical assistance (e.g., use of facilities, vessels, aircraft, intelligence, tech aid, surveillance) while generally prohibiting direct participation of Department of Defense personnel in law enforcement (e.g., search, seizure, and arrests). For example, Coast Guard Law Enforcement Detachments (LEDETS) serve aboard Navy vessels and perform the actual boardings of interdicted suspect drug smuggling vessels and, if needed, arrest their crews.
    * Under 18 USC 831, the Attorney General may request that the Secretary of Defense provide emergency assistance if civilian law enforcement is inadequate to address certain types of threat involving the release of nuclear materials, such as potential use of a Nuclear or Radiological weapon. Such assistance may be by any personnel under the authority of the Department of Defense, provided such assistance does not adversely affect US military preparedness.

    -Again, [Wikipedia](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Posse_Comitatus_Act)

    So, it sounds like the president can overcome the act anyways. However, the more layers of red tape between the office of the president and the ability to order our troops to act on our soil in a law enforcement or military manner the better.

    I whole-heartily support the Posse Comitatus Act, and would urge folks to contact their representatives and make sure that they stand for the separation of powers that the constitution guarantees us.

    IF Theory

    TOPEKA, KS - As the debate over the teaching of evolution in public schools continues, a new controversy over the science curriculum arose Monday in this embattled Midwestern state. Scientists from the Evangelical Center For Faith-Based Reasoning are now asserting that the long-held "theory of gravity" is flawed, and they have responded to it with a new theory of Intelligent Falling.

    -[OhmyNews](http://english.ohmynews.com/TALK_BACK/bbs_view.asp?ba_code=63&bb_code=298730)

    H.G. Wells

    It's his Birthday Today!

    New MTG game!

    This is just wrong.

    You were warned!

    [Enter at your own risk](http://www.brokentoys.org/?p=6849)

    Corporate Speak

    ** You talk about Vista and the CRM product. One of the complaints I've heard is that if Vista is delayed, it delays products that are tied to it. Is that a concern?** No, Vista will be out next year.

    **But it had been delayed?** Vista will be out next year. Vista has never been delayed. I mean, we had earlier conceptualizations, but the thing that is Vista is on its track.

    -[Steve Ballmer on Business Week Online](http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/05_39/b3952008.htm)

    Read on for a truely fanstic example of Corporate Speak - the art of saying a lot with out really saying anything at all.

    Alan Cox on Computer Security

    O'Reilly (Ho, [Sebastopol!)](http://www.ci.sebastopol.ca.us/) has a really good interview with Alan Cox about where computer security is going.

    It is beginning to improve, but at the moment computer security is rather basic and mostly reactive. Systems fail absolutely rather than degrade. We are still in a world where an attack like the slammer worm combined with a PC BIOS eraser or disk locking tool could wipe out half the PCs exposed to the internet in a few hours. In a sense we are fortunate that most attackers want to control and use systems they attack rather than destroy them.

    -[Alan Cox](http://www.oreillynet.com/pub/a/network/2005/09/12/alan-cox.html?page=1)

    If you are at all interested in computer security, I recommend that you go and read this.

    Here is my take:

    A lot of what he says is accurate. By increasing the sophistication of the programmers toolkit, and making it more 'bug aware', I think that the average quality of code will increase. More quality code will mean less holes.

    However, it's more then just well written code. There are several other layers to this. First off, how much interaction between parts of the computer do we allow? Do we allow your web browser to read your address book? Do we allow the web browser to create files on your local machine? This interaction can be dangerous, and exploited. As we build more complex bounds checking on the actions that any one application can take, we increase the complexity of the code, and make the programmers life harder.

    I think that the new tools that Alan talked about will end up just keeping the status quo. As the code gets more and more complex, and we need communication channels between different applications on a machine,or across the network, it's going to become harder and harder to think of every method that could be used to hijack a process and use it for ill.

    It's going to be an arms race. White hats vs black hats. It's been that way for a long time, and it's only going to increase. What has changed is the amount of interconnectedness in the world, and the fact that 90% of those machines are running a joke of an Operating System.

    Certain large software companies have convinced us that we need to have large amounts of interaction between all of our applications, all of the time. I do not know if this is as true as some think. Interaction is good, however it needs to be regulated by the user. Users also should not be able to make certain modifications to the machine with out an administrators approval.

    Under Linux and Mac OS X, if you are going to install certain applications (ones that effect the entire OS, and not just your user space) you are prompted for a admin password. That is the way that it should be. Windows (2k and above) will fail to install, saying that you must have admin rights. The problem is that, under windows, 99% of the users are admins on their machines. With all of the remote exploits for Windows, it really does not matter, as you no longer have to actually install bad code, you can just get it like you get a cold.

    If Windows were to [sandbox](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sandbox_%28computer_security%29) the user space in better, then most of these issues would not be issues. If you are logged in, and you visit a evil web page that tries to install evil spy ware, if windows sandboxed the userspace your machine would be o.k. There are just so many processes running in the background in windows, trying to make your life easier for you, that the evil software piggybacks off of one of them, and presto - you are infected.

    In the mean time - if you are buying a new computer, get a [Mac.](http://www.apple.com) Practice [safe computing](http://greg.nokes.name/safe.jpg)! Be careful out there!

    It's dangerous out there

    If you get a call from someone claiming to be a local court worker claiming you failed to report for jury duty, and you haven't been asked to serve, red flags should go up in your head immediately, state officials warn.

    According to a consumer alert from the office of Tom Gallagher, the state's chief financial officer, the caller tries to put the victims off-guard by saying an arrest warrant has been issued. When victims say they never received a jury duty notice, the scammer asks for personal information to check their records.

    -[Security Awareness for Ma, Pa and the Corprate Clueless](http://securityawareness.blogspot.com/2005/09/new-id-theft-scam-raises-red-flags.html)

    You know, I am amazed how often these things happen. It's not that hard folks. Just verify their story. If some one calls you claiming to be from the Court, how about getting their name and information and calling the courthouse back? You can even play it off. Say that you are on the other line, and you need to take a message. Take the message and check it out.

    I was interviewed for a security position that I did not get awhile back. I am not certified in computer security, and honestly, I do not see the reason to get certified. It's just common sense to me. One of the topics that was brought up in the interview was single firewall crust defense vs a layered defense.

    A crust defense is when you have a defensive measure at the gateway. Sort of like a sentry that watches all traffic coming and going. A layered defense is when you have that sentry, but also have guards patrolling around inside as well. In computer speak - a crust defense would have a firewall at your connection to the rest of the world. A layered defense would have that firewall, and also firewalls on all of the machines inside of the network, and firewalls on connections to other remote sites internal to your network.

    Layering works well when you switch up the firewall vendors as well. For example - have brand X at the gateway, and then brand Y at all internal connections and brand Z on your machines. If any one of the brands develops a problem, you are still safe. Also, if a hacker cuts through your first layers of defense, give him another problem, rather then just more of the same.

    I don't know if I am special or not, but that just makes sense to me. The more layers of defense that the bad guys have to get through to get to your stuff the better. Security really is no more then common sense taken and applied to real world problems.

    Sometimes it seems like the people in charge of homeland security spend too much time watching action movies. They defend against specific movie plots instead of against the broad threats of terrorism.

    We all do it. Our imaginations run wild with detailed and specific threats. We imagine anthrax spread from crop dusters. Or a contaminated milk supply. Or terrorist scuba divers armed with almanacs. Before long, we're envisioning an entire movie plot, without Bruce Willis saving the day. And we're scared.

    Psychologically, this all makes sense. Humans have good imaginations. Box cutters and shoe bombs conjure vivid mental images. "We must protect the Super Bowl" packs more emotional punch than the vague "we should defend ourselves against terrorism."

    The 9/11 terrorists used small pointy things to take over airplanes, so we ban small pointy things from airplanes. Richard Reid tried to hide a bomb in his shoes, so now we all have to take off our shoes. Recently, the Department of Homeland Security said that it might relax airplane security rules. It's not that there's a lessened risk of shoes, or that small pointy things are suddenly less dangerous. It's that those movie plots no longer capture the imagination like they did in the months after 9/11, and everyone is beginning to see how silly (or pointless) they always were.

    and

    We need to defend against the broad threat of terrorism, not against specific movie plots. Security is most effective when it doesn't make arbitrary assumptions about the next terrorist act. We need to spend more money on intelligence and investigation: identifying the terrorists themselves, cutting off their funding, and stopping them regardless of what their plans are. We need to spend more money on emergency response: lessening the impact of a terrorist attack, regardless of what it is. And we need to face the geopolitical consequences of our foreign policy and how it helps or hinders terrorism.

    -[Cryptogram](http://www.schneier.com/crypto-gram-0509.html) by [Bruce Schneier](http://www.schneier.com/)

    Too often people get caught up in the minutia of security. The banning of pointy objects on planes, or installing a '*$100,000 ASIC-based turbo-stateful packet-mulching firewall*'. They miss the secretary sitting two cubes down that just got a call from 'Ted' in at the Help desk and gave him her password and login information, not to mention her Social Security number and home address. They miss the bus with a bomb in it because they are worried about protecting airports.

    Any time that you declare that you only have to protect this point in space, there will be others that look for other ways in. To be truly secure, we need to step back, and take a broader view.

    For example - take my home network. I have a firewall at my gateway. I also have a firewall running on every machine that is on the network. I am not really concerned with virus attacks, but I run a program to sweep my machines free of virus infestations every night. I make backups of my information onto multiple computers.

    If I followed the views of some, I would simply put a firewall on my gateway and call it good. Not good enough. I value my data, and my time.

    New Maps Interface

    There is a new interface to Google Maps and MSN VE out there - [Check](http://www.flashearth.com/) it out!

    Hrum

    You know, I like [breakfast](http://greg.nokes.name/Breakfast.wmv). But I am a latte and cookie type of fellow.

    (HT: [Echo9er](http://www.echo9er.net/blog/?p=166))

    More information then you can shake a stick at!

    Ok.. so, I wanted to let ya'll know what tunes I was listening to (*out of some strange wanting to let the world live through my iTunes playlist*). So, if you now look at the 'sidebar' you will see *What's Playing*. Strangely enough, it shows what I am listening to right now.

    Ain't technology just cool?

    Diagnosis: Cooties

    I should have known better then to trust a [Sith Lord](http://welcomesithlords.blogspot.com/2005/09/diagnosis-cooties.html)!

    So unless I want 7 years of bad luck, or whatever bad befalls those who don't participate in the tag, I should answer these questions seven:

    <!-more-> 7 things I plan to do before I die:

    1) Retire, and enjoy it. 2) Finish a project. Any freaking project! 3) Collect all of them! 4) Get my pilot's license 5) Learn to Scuba 6) Dance on the head of a pin (working on building a really big pin) 7) Transend

    7 things I can do:

    1) Focus really hard 2) Forget things really well 3) Lie well 4) Use lies to make funnys ("They just found out that ketchup is cancer causeing." "Really??" "Noooo. Silly") 5) Recall all sorts of strange facts (great at trivial pursuits and crainum) 6) Have fun! 7) Enjoy myself even if I am not 'winning'

    7 things I cannot do:

    1) Play pool well (not that I do not try...) 2) Play golf well (not that I do not try...) 3) Talk to girls (luckly Wifie did all of the talking the first - oh - several years) 4) Dodge wifie's thrown shoes when I give her lip. 5) Understand stupid people (that includes me. I can be really stupid at times) 6) Eat just one. 7) Be totally serious

    7 things that attract me to the opposite sex:

    1) Committed (as in long term relationships - alto the other helps too...) 2) Smart 3) Funny 4) Upbeat (cannot stand mopyness. I do enough of that myself) 5) Energetic 6) Understanding that I am a total screwup, and being ok with it 7) Some one that is not weak - Some one that can take care of herself. 8) Some one just like Wifie (to make up for #3 above, so I do not have to practice #4)

    7 things I say most often:

    1) Have Fun! 2) Have A Good One 3) I'd like a venti, triple, black and white mocha, soy and no wip 4) I'm tired honey... 5) I don't want to do the dishes! 6) One more game, honey, Please? 7) Ouch.

    7 celebrity crushes:

    1) Hmmm... Laura Croft (money and... um... yeah) 2) Traci Lords 3) RuPaul 4) the chic in Alias 5) Starbuck in the new Battlestar 6) Tux, the Linux Pengiun 7) Aphrodite (you know, the greek goddess?)

    7 people I want to do this:

    1) I second ObiWazzhisfaceKenobi 2) IllumanitiRob 3) Mystic 4) Dave Justus (sucks, don't it? Trying to be a serious blogger and you get this?) 5) Elmo 6) God 7) You - There - Reading this! Yes, you. You too!

    Sometimes, size does matter!

    [Really!](http://www.bigad.com.au/movie.html)

    It is very big, however.

    The six dumbest ideas in Computer Security

    The Six Dumbest Ideas in Computer Security

    There's lots of innovation going on in security - we're inundated with a steady stream of new stuff and it all sounds like it works just great. Every couple of months I'm invited to a new computer security conference, or I'm asked to write a foreword for a new computer security book. And, thanks to the fact that it's a topic of public concern and a "safe issue" for politicians, we can expect a flood of computer security-related legislation from lawmakers. So: computer security is definitely still a "hot topic." But why are we spending all this time and money and still having problems?

    Let me introduce you to the six dumbest ideas in computer security. What are they? They're the anti-good ideas. They're the braindamage that makes your $100,000 ASIC-based turbo-stateful packet-mulching firewall transparent to hackers. Where do anti-good ideas come from? They come from misguided attempts to do the impossible - which is another way of saying "trying to ignore reality." Frequently those misguided attempts are sincere efforts by well-meaning people or companies who just don't fully understand the situation, but other times it's just a bunch of savvy entrepreneurs with a well-marketed piece of junk they're selling to make a fast buck. In either case, these dumb ideas are the fundamental reason(s) why all that money you spend on information security is going to be wasted, unless you somehow manage to avoid them.

    -[The six dumbest ideas in Computer Security](http://www.ranum.com/security/computer_security/editorials/dumb/)

    I think that a lot of us have been guilty of several of these.

    Unless specifically compelled otherwise for legitimate and extenuating reasons, all new computer users should buy a Mac. It makes all of our lives easier. (Read: less customer support from geeks to users.)

    -[Winn Schwartau](http://securityawareness.blogspot.com/2005/09/mad-as-hell-xvi-final-mah.htm) *Get a better blog! Blogger? Come On! :)*

    Macs are not the panacea that so many think. Right now they are far far more secure then win-tel, and I think that they will be more secure for the foreseeable future. That does not mean that they are invincible. Macs can get hacked just like any other machine. However, since they have more security in mind when they were coded, I will bet my $$ on them and Linux for the time being. But - if Macs turn to crap and Linux implodes, you will see me gritting my teeth and going Windows.

    The Man-Made Disaster of the Welfare State

    It took four long days for state and federal officials to figure out how to deal with the disaster in New Orleans. I can't blame them, because it also took me four long days to figure out what was going on there. The reason is that the events there make no sense if you think that we are confronting a natural disaster.

    If this is just a natural disaster, the response for public officials is obvious: you bring in food, water, and doctors; you send transportation to evacuate refugees to temporary shelters; you send engineers to stop the flooding and rebuild the city's infrastructure. For journalists, natural disasters also have a familiar pattern: the heroism of ordinary people pulling together to survive; the hard work and dedication of doctors, nurses, and rescue workers; the steps being taken to clean up and rebuild.

    Public officials did not expect that the first thing they would have to do is to send thousands of armed troops in armored vehicle, as if they are suppressing an enemy insurgency. And journalists—myself included—did not expect that the story would not be about rain, wind, and flooding, but about rape, murder, and looting.

    But this is not a natural disaster. It is a man-made disaster.

    The man-made disaster is not an inadequate or incompetent response by federal relief agencies, and it was not directly caused by Hurricane Katrina. This is where just about every newspaper and television channel has gotten the story wrong.

    The man-made disaster we are now witnessing in New Orleans did not happen over four days last week. It happened over the past four decades. Hurricane Katrina merely exposed it to public view.

    The man-made disaster is the welfare state.

    -[An Unnatural Disaster: A Hurricane Exposes the Man-Made Disaster of the Welfare State](http://tiadaily.com/php-bin/news/showArticle.php?id=1026)

    Great article, Great read. I highly recommend it.

    People that rely on handouts in normal times will have no idea how to even function under bad conditions. When we train people to be reliant upon the state for all of their needs, when the state cannot help them you end up with tragedies like this one.

    What Hurricane Katrina exposed was the psychological consequences of the welfare state. What we consider "normal" behavior in an emergency is behavior that is normal for people who have values and take the responsibility to pursue and protect them. People with values respond to a disaster by fighting against it and doing whatever it takes to overcome the difficulties they face. They don't sit around and complain that the government hasn't taken care of them. They don't use the chaos of a disaster as an opportunity to prey on their fellow men.

    But what about criminals and welfare parasites? Do they worry about saving their houses and property? They don't, because they don't own anything. Do they worry about what is going to happen to their businesses or how they are going to make a living? They never worried about those things before. Do they worry about crime and looting? But living off of stolen wealth is a way of life for them.

    Giving people ownership in their lives and communities goes a long way towards encouraging people to act more responsibly. I know for a fact, when I rent an apartment, I treat it differently then when I live in my own house. Why should I care what happens to something that I do not care about?

    I have not seen anyone talking about this - just about the failure of the government to provide for these people. These people should be able to take care of themselves. After all, the federal government has been advising people to make [ preparedness kits](http://www.ready.gov/index.html) for years now. But never mind that! Never mind that these people were under prepared to take care of themselves - they just ran into the night, assuming that the Great Government in the sky would save them - and they cried bloody murder (and murder) when that did not happen.

    I am sickened by what happened there. I wish that it had been possible to move more quickly to save these people. However, if they had been at all ready, they could have saved themselves. That is the lesson that we need to take away from this. When it gets really bad - it's not some higher power, it's not some government - it's your responsibility to do everything possible to be civil, civilized and take care of yourself.

    All of that said and done - that is a lesson that we must learn for next time. What we need right now is to save the rest of the folks out there.

    Wow.

    All that I really can say is Wow.
    POCATELLO, Idaho (Wireless Flash): Here's a theory that's sure to cause a storm of controversy: A meteorologist in Pocatello, Idaho, claims Japanese gangsters known as the Yakuza caused Hurricane Katrina.
    Thank to the [Daily Illuminator](http://www.sjgames.com/ill/archives.html?y=2005&m=September&d=10) for the link to the [article](http://www.flashnews.com/news/wfn1050908J5463.html).

    Good comment stream!

    Who can we blame for building levies that were designed to withstand a cat 3 storm? Who can we blame for sending a cat 5 storm?

    Let's fire God. If you want to push the blame up, and fire the guy who is really responsible, well, God let all of this happen right?

    God must be evil.

    All of this blame and firing crap is just stupid, as the previous few paragraphs tried to point out. Bush is not an evil person. Clinton was (is) not evil. I disagreed with his handling of a lot of things (Somalia, the Balkans, Cigars) however, I did not, and do not, think that he was the devil. When I got the chance, I voted my feelings, and lost (he got a second term). I accepted that. I am a grownup - I know that I do not always get my way.

    That is my latest post on [this](http://emilyscraziness.blogspot.com/2005/09/frustration.html) comment stream. Good stuff, on a Good Blog!

    New Toys!

    I am sure that you have heard this everywhere, but Apple has released some new toys..

    [](http://www.apple.com/ipodnano/)

    and

    [](http://www.apple.com/itunes/mobile/)

    being two of them. Yep - a iTunes phone and a new iPod that is slimmer then a pencil. I gotta get me some! :)

    What were they thinking?

    [http://www.nice-tits.org/](http://www.nice-tits.org/)

    [http://www.whorepresents.com/](http://www.whorepresents.com/)

    [http://www.penisland.net/](http://www.penisland.net/)

    [http://www.molestationnursery.com/](http://www.molestationnursery.com/)

    And Lo, the FSM found it good, and unto us he said 'Arrrrggh'

    [You](http://www.gophergas.com/funstuff/flyingspaghettimonster.htm) too can now convert masses to FSMism.

    (HT: [Drogidy Blogidy](http://drogidy.blogspot.com/2005/09/fsm-fun-religion.html))

    *Update - Links now fixed! Do'h!*

    Round up

    Starbucks is taking donations for the Red Cross Emergency Relief Fund. If everyone that buys a drink there just rounds up to the nearest dollar, we could make a major dent in the money needed to help these folks

    Pocket Mod

    A new [PDA](http://www.pocketmod.com/) - best of all, it's Free!

    Stuff on Cats

    [Stuff on cats](http://www.stuffonmycat.com/) - the title really says it all.

    Dogs , dating and Judo

    What more can I say? [Check](http://www.dogjudo.co.uk) it out..

    Live blog from the Big Easy

    Nothing to say - just check out the real scoop from some one on the [ground](http://mgno.com/).

    It's a miracle! mice regrow hearts

    SCIENTISTS have created "miracle mice" that can regenerate amputated limbs or damaged vital organs, making them able to recover from injuries that would kill or permanently disable normal animals.

    The experimental animals are unique among mammals in their ability to regrow their heart, toes, joints and tail.

    -[The Australian](http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/common/story_page/0,5744,16417002%255E30417,00.html)

    We all know that 'mice today, people tomorrow'. Imagine the possiblities. Broken wrist that will never heal correctly? Chop it off, and let it regrow new.

    It reminds me of a quote from Firefly.

    Wash: "Psychic, though? That sounds like something out of science fiction."

    Zoe: "We live in a space ship, dear."

    We are truly living in a spaceship, dear.

    Life In A Handbasket: A Man I Knew Died Today

    A man I knew died today.

    I was working late when the news came in. It was a heart attack at around noon. He was 57 years old, and just retired a month earlier.

    He was a good man, who enjoyed life, people, and a good laugh.

    When visiting him at his desk I was always amazed at his knowledge, and his outlook on life. He enjoyed reading, and seemed to know everything about history and religion. Because of this I often tried to coax him into joining my website so we could dive deep into discussions, but he was never much of a computer person.

    On the day he retired he was given a large red rocking chair, and looked very at home sitting in it with a grin from ear to ear.

    Although I have only known him for about three years, the news of his passing hit me like a 2×4 between the eyes. I liked him, enjoyed his company, and welcomed his manner as he spoke about life and living.

    Someone was removed from life who really enjoyed it and there is no amount of pondering that can explain why. There is never any rhyme or reason when it comes to death. The man is gone, but his life will forever be remembered by those of us he has associated with.

    The important thing is that this man was loved by many, and had touched more lives then I could explain here. I know that for the rest of my days I will always remember the brief time we had spent together locked in debate about life, the universe, and everything.

    It was an honor to know this man, and to get to share in his wisdom if only for a short time. Would he have known of the impact he left in my life just from our acquaintance? Probably not, but then again, I believe it shows that how you live your life day to day can affect many people you would not even think of.

    Go out into the world to work and play. Spend as much time with your family as you can, because each and every day is precious. More importantly, take a moment to remember those who have passed. Not to dwell on the sad times, but reflect on the good times. Think of them and smile. That is what they would want you to do.

    A man I knew died today, and he will be missed.

    -[Life In A Handbasket](http://www.handbasket.info/News/article/sid=165.html)

    The author of Life in A Handbasket is a co-worker of mine, as was the Man who Died yesterday. I knew him for over 5 years. We worked in diffrent areas, but our paths crossed every month or so. I always enjoyed talking with him. He was a great man. One of the few great men that I had ever met.

    My heart goes out to his family.

    Irregular Webcomic

    The Irregular Webcomic is one of my daily reads - [today](http://www.irregularwebcomic.net/cgi-bin/comic.pl?comic=949) showcases why!

    Music Meme

    Gee - this sounds like Fun! (HT: [Agent Sierra](http://beginaneweachday.blogspot.com/2005/08/music-meme.html))

    A.) Go to [musicoutfitters](http://www.musicoutfitters.com)

    B.) Enter the year you graduated from high school in the search function and get the list of 100 most popular songs of that year

    C.) Bold the songs you like, strike through the ones you hate and underline your favorite. Do nothing to the ones you don't remember (or don't care about).

    <!-more-> 1. **Walk Like An Egyptian, Bangles ** 2. **Alone, Heart** 3. Shake You Down, Gregory Abbott 4. I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me), Whitney Houston 5. **Nothing's Gonna Stop Us Now, Starship** 6. C'est La Vie, Robbie Nevil 7. **Here I Go Again, Whitesnake** 8. **The Way It Is, Bruce Hornsby and the Range** 9. Shakedown, Bob Seger 10. **Livin' On A Prayer, Bon Jovi ** 11. **La Bamba, Los Lobos ** 12. **Everybody Have Fun Tonight, Wang Chung** 13. Don't Dream It's Over, Crowded House 14. Always, Atlantic Starr 15. With Or Without You, U2 16. Looking For A New Love, Jody Watley 17. Head To Toe, Lisa Lisa and Cult Jam 18. I Think We're Alone Now, Tiffany 19. **Mony Mony, Billy Idol** 20. At This Moment, Billy Vera and The Beaters 21. Lady In Red, Chris De Burgh 22. Didn't We Almost Have It All, Whitney Houston 23. I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For, U2 24. I Want Your Sex, George Michael 25. **Notorious, Duran Duran** 26. Only In My Dreams, Debbie Gibson 27. (I've Had) The Time Of My Life, Bill Medley and Jennifer Warnes 28. The Next Time I Fall, Peter Cetera and Amy Grant 29. Lean On Me, Club Nouveau 30. Open Your Heart, Madonna 31. Lost In Emotion, Lisa Lisa and Cult Jam 32. **(I Just) Died In Your Arms, Cutting Crew** 33. Heart And Soul, T'pau 34. You Keep Me Hangin' On, Kim Wilde 35. **Keep Your Hands To Yourself, Georgia Satellites** 36. I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me), Aretha Franklin and George Michael 37. Control, Janet Jackson 38. Somewhere Out There, Linda Ronstadt and James Ingram 39. **U Got The Look, Prince** 40. **Land Of Confusion, Genesis** 41. **Jacob's Ladder, Huey Lewis and The News ** 42. Who's That Girl, Madonna 43. **You Got It All, Jets** 44. Touch Me (I Want Your Body), Samantha Fox 45. I Just Can't Stop Loving You, Michael Jackson and Siedah Garrett 46. Causing A Commotion, Madonna 47. **In Too Deep, Genesis** 48. Let's Wait Awhile, Janet Jackson 49. **Hip To Be Square, Huey Lewis and the News** 50. Will You Still Love Me?, Chicago 51. Little Lies, Fleetwood Mac 52. Luka, Suzanne Vega 53. **I Heard A Rumour, Bananarama ** 54. Don't Mean Nothing, Richard Marx 55. Songbird, Kenny G 56. Carrie, Europe 57. Don't Disturb This Groove, System 58. La Isla Bonita, Madonna 59. Bad, Michael Jackson 60. Sign 'O' The Times, Prince 61. Change Of Heart, Cyndi Lauper 62. Come Go With Me, Expose 63. Can't We Try, Dan Hill 64. **To Be A Lover, Billy Idol** 65. **Mandolin Rain, Bruce Hornsby and the Range** 66. Breakout, Swing Out Sister 67. **Stand By Me, Ben E. King** 68. **Tonight, Tonight, Tonight, Genesis** 69. **Someday, Glass Tiger** 70. When Smokey Sings, ABC 71. Casanova, Levert 72. **Rhythm Is Gonna Get You, Gloria Estefan and the Miami Sound Machine** 73. **Rock Steady, Whispers ** 74. **Wanted Dead Or Alive, Bon Jovi ** 75. **Big Time, Peter Gabriel** 76. The Finer Things, Steve Winwood 77. Let Me Be The One, Expose 78. Is This Love, Survivor 79. Diamonds, Herb Alpert 80. Point Of No Return, Expose 81. Big Love, Fleetwood Mac 82. Midnight Blue, Lou Gramm 83.** Something So Strong, Crowded House ** 84. **Heat Of The Night, Bryan Adams ** 85. Nothing's Gonna Change My Love For You, Glenn Medeiros 86. Brilliant Disguise, Bruce Springsteen 87. Just To See Her, Smokey Robinson 88. Who Will You Run Too, Heart 89. Respect Yourself, Bruce Willis 90. Cross My Broken Heart, Jets 91. Victory, Kool and The Gang 92. Don't Get Me Wrong, Pretenders 93. Doing It All For My Baby, Huey Lewis and The News 94. Right On Track, Breakfast Club 95. Ballerina Girl, Lionel Richie 96. Meet Me Half Way, Kenny Loggins 97. I've Been In Love Before, Cutting Crew 98. **(You Gotta) Fight For Your Right To Party, Beastie Boys** 99. **Funkytown, Pseudo Echo** 100. Love You Down, Ready For The World

    Ancient African Nuclear Reactors

    It turns out that 16 nuclear reactors were discovered in [Oklo, Africa](http://antwrp.gsfc.nasa.gov/apod/ap021016.html). The surprising part is that they are from 2 **billion** years ago.

    That is not a typo.

    They have come up with [theories](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oklo) showing how they might have formed naturally - but come on.

    Our recorded history only stretches back a few thousand years. From what we can glean looking at old fossils and such, we have been around for a few hundred thousand years.

    Who is to say what came before us? Our racial lifespan is like the blink of an eye in the life of this planet. What blinks have come before us? What blinks will come after?

    What traces of us will be there in 2 billion years?

    Hi Speed Yoda

    You just HAVE to check [this](http://homepage.hispeed.ch/molph/vids/yoda.mpg) out! It's big (14 + megs) but work safe (no naughty bits showing).

    Howl and Bonjour, Together Forever!

    So - as my regular readers know, I have [switched](http://www.apple.com/switch/) from Linux for my main OS at home. One of the reasons I jumped to Linux was due to my frustration with Windows 98's issues. Yeah - that kind of dates me. My journey with Linux was wonderful. I still love the OS. However after the second Ink jet that I got failed to work with parts of it, I gave up. I work on problematic computers at work (windows 2000 mainly) and I really Just Wanted Stuff to Work at home.

    Enter Mac OS X. The hardware was sexy (even before this Switch, I wanted a PowerBook), and the promise of stuff just working was really enticing. So, I got a Mac Mini. Even before I had left the store, I had bumped the RAM to 1 gig (the most it could handle). Got it home, and was like a kid at christmas.

    First step - use the included CD to upgrade to Tiger. No problem. Worked right out of the box. Well, after a month of using Tiger and the Mini, I had made up my mind. Next was the Powerbook. Sweet machine. really sweet.

    Anyways, to bring this back onto topic, I was left with several linux boxes laying about the house. I sold one to a friend for use as a firewall (nudge, nudge?). One was left behind (future web-server for the house) and the 1.6 gig machine was sitting, all alone. Busted out a new 250g HDD for it, and slapped it in. (Gawd, I love linux. Had it installed, configured, formated and data copied in about 10 minutes).

    Now, the hard part. How to make Linux speak Mac. After some research, I found that Mac uses AFP (still) as their native file sharing protocol. Bonjour is used to discover services on the fly. So, my linux box needed to speak those two languages.

    (warning - geekspeak follows!)

    The Linux Box: Dell 1.6g P4 768 megs RAM, 1 20g HDD (/, boot, home, usr, var, etc) 1 250g HDD (/share). 1 Netgear 10/100/1000 NIC. Ubuntu Linux - Hoary Hedgehog all security patches etc.

    So, first things first, let's let appletalk running. Open Synaptic, and get netatalk. install it. presto.

    Edit the /etc/default/netatalk file and turn off everything except afp

    Next, we need to install Bonjour - called Howl under Linux. So, get howl-utils and mdnsresponder.

    Edit the /etc/mdnsresponder/mDNSresponder.conf file and add a few lines to define your services

    Add the services that you need - the one thing that took me a while to figure out is that afp is called afpovertcp and you need to put a .local after the servername

    Restart both /etc/init.d/netatalk and mdnsresponder

    That should do it for you.

    There are some good howtos out there - I like this [one](http://viebrock.ca/article/22/file-sharing-from-linux-to-os-x-a-quick-guide) quite a bit. Google is your friend!

    I've been giving the protocol stack a good workout - I had 3 copies going at once (a 13 gig, a 5 gig and a 500 meg) and the box just keeps slurping it up.

    Ok Go

    If you have not heard about this band - you really do need to check it out. First - [listen](javascript:getMedia('ATC',%20'30-Aug-2005',%20'20',%20'RM,WM');) to the NPR story, then watch the [video](http://boss.streamos.com/download/capi001/okgo/amillionways/video/amillionways_v750.mov), then [buy](http://phobos.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewAlbum?playListId=79392933&originStoreFront=143441) the album!

    From Security Awareness for Ma, Pa and the Corporate Clueless©

    Therefore, I had to come up with my own (hopefully rational) reasons as to why WinTel will fail , and has to fail. [1] Worse yet, we have built a society and our national defense upon systems that we know are going to religiously fail for countless reasons; nonetheless I will try.

    -Winn's latest [Rant](http://www.securityawareness.blogspot.com/)

    This is a must read, if you are Ma, Pa or in the Industry. What scares me the most is the line "we have built a society and our national defense upon systems that we know are going to religiously fail for countless reasons".

    We are building a house of cards on quicksand. Time for a rude awakening!

    Katrina - Favorite Photo

    [](http://www.flickr.com/photos/tsykoduk/38628026/" title="photo sharing)
    [Built Ford Tough: Rain](http://www.flickr.com/photos/tsykoduk/38628026/)
    Originally uploaded by [tsykoduk](http://www.flickr.com/people/tsykoduk/).
    Here is an edited version of my Favorite photo so far from Katrina. My hat's off to all of the brave men and women that risked themselves to help out when they were called.


    War Reporting for Cowards

    In [ War Reporting for Cowards](http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=4823346) NPR does a really interesting radio report about Chris Ayres, a self-described "neurotic, Gen-X hypochondriac," who ended up embedded in a Marine unit during the invasion of Iraq. He details out some of the hardships that he faced - like picking out a tent. A must listen!

    Pictures from Katrina

    A lot of pictures are starting to come in from Katrina on [Flickr](http://www.flickr.com/photos/tags/hurricanekatrina). Some good stuff in there. Our thoughts are with those that were in the path, and we hope that they have come through safely.

    Update 10:43 pm PST More flickr pictures are [here](http://www.flickr.com/photos/tags/katrina/clusters/) - over a sixteen hundred at this time. Long live the new media!

    Five reasons NOT to use Linux

    But, Linux isn't for everyone. Seriously. Here are my top five reasons why you shouldn't move to Linux . . .

    Thus starts a really good [article](http://www.linux-watch.com/news/NS8124627492.html) about Linux, Windows and Why to stay on Windows. I have ranted about a lot of these very issues lately - here is another persons take.

    Congrats to the Bro

    [He made it](http://noctrine.blogspot.com/2005/08/what-officially-important-stuff-have-i.html)! Now back to the grindstone for you! Muhahahaah

    Windows reaches the 30 billion mark

    According to [Dvorak](http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,4149,1210067,00.asp):

    I think that when we put all the numbers together, we can estimate that there are a minimum of 30 billion Windows system crashes a year.

    Read the article - it has some really good points - like 30 billion is the number of stars in the Milky Way.

    Why do people take this?

    Gates said that 5 percent of Windows machines crash, on average, twice daily.

    And yet people still run out to buy it. It's like this:

    I go and buy a [Car](http://www.vw.com/passat/index.html). But I have to pay extra for the Tires, the Paint, the Keys (and locks). When you buy a Windows computer - what do you do? You run out and buy [Anti-Virus](http://www.antivirus.com), [Office](http://www.openoffice.org), [Firewalls](http://www.zonelabs.com/), [spyware killers](http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyId=321CD7A2-6A57-4C57-A8BD-DBF62EDA9671&displaylang=en). You download and install a host of third party apps ([FireFox, thunderbird](Used cars anyone?

    No?

    Then how about a supersonic fighter, only slightly used, for [$100](http://times.hankooki.com/lpage/200508/kt2005081519485168040.htm) US?

    Bring It On, and On, and On

    In general, terrorism is a violent tool in a political struggle, where one side is overmatched in conventional terms. Robert Pape, author of the new book, Dying to Win, reviewed 315 suicide bombing attacks between 1983 and 2003 and found that virtually all of them had "a specific secular and strategic goal: to compel democracies to withdraw military forces from the terrorists' national homeland."

    and

    Observes Robert Pape: "Since suicide terrorism is mainly a response to foreign occupation and not Islamic fundamentalism, the use of heavy military force to transform Muslim societies over there, if you would, is only likely to increase the number of suicide terrorists coming at us... Suicide terrorism is not a supply-limited phenomenon where there are just a few hundred around the world willing to do it because they are religious fanatics. It is a demand-driven phenomenon."

    -[Cato](http://www.cato.org/pub_display.php?pub_id=4312)

    I guess that this is the crux of the matter. Now days, we are paying the price for years of mismangment of foriegn affairs by ourselves and the Eurpoeans. There are real reasons that we are hated in portions of the world. It's not just because we are wealthy (altho that does not help) and it's not because we are of a diffrent religion. It's because of our hubris.

    Inside Microsoft's Zotob Situation Room

    When Microsoft Corp. shipped the MS05-039 bulletin on Aug. 9 to patch a "critical" flaw in the Windows Plug and Play service, there was general feeling of trepidation within the Microsoft Security Response Center.

    -[Inside Microsoft's Zotob Situation Room](http://www.eweek.com/article2/0,1895,1852594,00.asp) by eWeek

    What amazes me, is how much work is generated by this kind of event. I know that it impacted my work week significantly. Microsoft has made some large claims about the security of Windows Vista - honestly I hope that they are at least half true.

    The problem is that folks are getting sick of the upgrade cycle. I for one, want a machine that is going to do what I need for the next couple of years. I do not want to have a pay $$ for a new machine to run a new OS every few years - and I doubt that any enterprises will either.

    Another problem is that folks look at Windows 98, 2000, and XP (or what ever is installed on their machines) and they think that it's good enough. Why pay through the nose for a new OS that might or might now have any new features that are actually needed?

    In my never-so humble opinion, we are going to see a great slow down on upgrading. There is going to come a time when a 1/2 gigahertz jump in processor speed and some new glitzy featurette in the OS will not cause people to buy new computers.

    Would you buy a new refrigerator if it got 3 degrees colder inside? Computing is going to become an integral part of life - it's going to be like the toaster. It just will work, and be tied into our entertainment, communications and lives in ways that we cannot dream right now.

    Hollow

    [This](http://johnnyhollow.com/index2.html) is a trippy website. I might have to get their album, tho...

    Covet his Ass

    Mr. Robertson is on a roll!

    Speaking on the television program he hosts, 'The 700 Club,” Mr. Robertson lashed out at the Venezuelan strongman once more, telling his audience, 'It's high time that the United States coveted Hugo Chavez' wife.”

    Warming to his topic, the opinionated preacher added, 'And while we're at it, we should covet his house, his manservant, his maidservant..and his ass, for that matter.

    -[Andy Borowitz](http://www.borowitzreport.com/archive_rpt.asp?rec=1202&srch=)

    Google Talk

    [Google Talk](http://www.google.com/talk/) came out last nite - it's a jabber based IM system with some cool features right now. I have it spun up on my Mac at home. Check it out!

    I give it 3 out of 4 dukks.

    Zombie!

    Ok, [this](http://www.urbandead.com/) is pretty damn addictive.

    Christian Terror?

    I was just going to ignore this, but...

    As you probably know, Pat Roberston called for the assassination of Hugo Chavez, the semi-democratically elected leader of Venezuala, and he is getting pilloried by both the right and the left on this...

    Many are calling his remarks 'un-Christian.' I don't know that that criticism is appropriate. Certainly it is not clear to me that assassination would be precluded by the Christian faith.

    -[Justus](http://davejustus.blogspot.com/2005/08/robertson-and-chavez-assassination.html)

    This was my response:

    That is a really scary comment. What is more scary, is that it can be true - depending on your interpretation of the Bible. If you follow J.C.'s version of Christianity - then no. Killing is simply not condoned at all.

    If you read the Old Testament - then heck yeah - kill all of the folks that you do not like, that live in your land, that look askance at your goats. This is what Abortion bombers and radical Irish Christians use to justify their deadly practices.

    I applaud the Christians that have actually come out and said that Robertsons comment was way out of line. To have a Religious leader from the US talking about an act of Terror like assassinating someone? That is what we are supposedly fighting against.

    Now, I do not advocate any legal action against Mr Robertson. He is well within his 1st Amendment rights to say such a thing. However, I feel that it is on our shoulders as fellow Americans to show the world that we do not agree with an extremist view such as that.

    If the people of Venezuela disagree with what their leader is espousing, then it is their job to make this thing right. America does not have the resources, nor the right to topple every government that we disagree with, and replace it with one of our liking.

    I do feel that democracy is probably one of the better forms of government that is out there, however it is not our place to force the rest of the world to follow our lead. When they are ready, They will do it. We have seen it in the former USSR and other places. People are generally smart creatures. They can usually see what is up, and make choices to take action.

    Dave went further in a comment:

    Particularly that no dictorship has a right to exist, and any free nation wishing to topple a dictorship has the moral right to do so. Protecting another people from aggression, even agression from their own government, is allowable under just war theory.

    I follow the 'Do not start it, but finish it' theory. There is no such thing as a '*just*' aggressive act. The only time that violence can be justified in any way is in self defense. That includes Governments - the only time that we can justify war is when we are attacked.

    The 'war on terror' is justifiable. WW II was justified. Iraq was not. Toppling Governments because we disagree with them is certainly not justifiable.

    However, since we are in Iraq, we need to make sure that the job is 100 percent done before we leave. If we just leave now, the Iraqi people will be left in quite a lurch. No stable government, no stable anything. Many would die, and more then likely, the country would be worse off then when we started over there.

    That is unacceptable. We created this mess - we need to fix it. I fully support the troops, and Bush in saying that we have to stay the course.

    Gaming Fun

    In case you were wondering:

    250 things Mr. Welch can no longer do during an RPG

    1. Cannot base characters off the Who's drummer Keith Moon. 2. A one man band is not an appropriate bard instrument. 3. There is no Gnomish god of heavy artillery. 4. My 7th Sea character Boudreaux is not 'Southern' Montaigne. 5. Not allowed to blow all my skill points on 1pt professional skills. 6. Synchronized panicking is not a proper battle plan. 7. Not allowed to use psychic powers to do the dishes. 8. How to serve Dragons is not a cookbook. 9. My monk's lips must be in sync. 10. Just because my character and I can speak German, doesn't mean the GM can.

    -[Subversive Puppet Show: Gaming Fun](http://piratelog.blogspot.com/2005/08/gaming-fun.html)

    There are a lot more on the site.

    I personally have done several of these. Guessing which is left to the reader...

    Yes, Linux can do anything

    11 years ago, April 1st 1990, rfc 1149 was written. This rfc specifies a protocol for IP over avian carriers, CPIP (carrier pigeon internet protocol). In 11 years, noone has bothered to implement this important protocol stack. But happily, we don't need to wait any longer! BLUG in cooperation with Vesta Brevdueforening has given you rfc 1149 support for Linux.

    -[Bergen Linux User Group](http://www.blug.linux.no/rfc1149/)

    For you backwoods types, now you can do IP over Carrier Pigeon.

    Cheaters Chili

    1 tbs. Oregano 1 tbs. Sage 4 tbs. dried Onion 1 tsp Cayenne Powder (more if you like it hotter) 2 - 4 tbs. Garlic (mushed fresh the best) 2 lb. ground beef 1 can tomato sauce 1 can Black Beans 1 can Pinto Beans 6 oz good beer 6 oz your favorite salsa (heat up to you) Jalapeno Tabasco to taste Salt to taste

    Heat some oil in a stew pan with the Sage, Garlic, Onion and Oregano. When it is hot, add beef. Mush it up good - we don't want any large parts left. After the beef is browned (but the grease is still there) add beer and salsa. simmer for a few moments. While that is simmering, take 1/4 of each of the cans of beans and smash them up good. Add all of the beans and the tomato sauce. Stir while it's simmering. Simmer for about 30 min to an hour. Season to taste.

    Optional - for the truly dukky taste - add 1/2 cup hot, black, strong coffee to the mix.

    Serve it with some fresh White Onions over it, and perhaps some good Extra Sharp Cheddar.

    He just might have my vote

    It really depends on the politics. But [he](http://www.walken2008.com/politics.html) gets major points for style!

    Intel outlines platform directions

    In the second half of 2006, Otellini said Intel will introduce the micro-architecture, which combines the strength of the company's current Intel NetBurst and Pentium M micro-architectures and adds new features.

    The multicore foundation will help enable unique computer designs that will power the industry's most sophisticated and user-friendly digital home and office PCs, according to the company. It will also help IT managers increase responsiveness and productivity while at the same time reducing real-estate and electricity burdens company's face as server data centers grow.

    -[AppleInsider](http://www.appleinsider.com/article.php?id=1244)

    Also check out the story (with Pictures!) at [AnandTech](http://www.anandtech.com/tradeshows/showdoc.aspx?i=2503)

    No unexpected news here. Sounds like Intel is jumping on to the PPC bandwagon - it's not raw clockspeed that matters, rather it's real preformance, power consumption and heat that really matters.

    I mean - who cares if you have a 6 gigahertz chip that melts down in 65 seconds? Really!

    The Toaster Rebellion of '08

    The appliance fanatics will no doubt tell you it was a lot worse than it really was. For the rest of us, though, it will go down as a humorous lesson for mankind. An historic footnote not quite on a par with the launching of Sputnik , but closer to when the Air Force shot down Larry Ellison's[1](#fn1) MIG-23 because he just wouldn't stop buzz-strafing Bill Gates' bigger and better home.

    -[Information Warfare: The Toaster Rebellion of '08](http://informationwarfare.blogspot.com/2005/08/toaster-rebellion-of-08.html)

    Ok.. you really need to check this story out. It is just cool!

    Open Source?

    * An open source project is about people producing free and open software and contributing to something as a team for the benefit of others. * Open source projects reflect the spirit of collaboration and fun while garnering community feedback and providing good governance that allows for business to confidently invest in its development. * Open source projects are open to the participation of anybody who can contribute value and is willing to work with the community.

    -[OpenSourceMatters](http://www.opensourcematters.org/)

    I think that this is one of the best definitions of Open Source that I have seen. So many of the Open Source projects forget these tenants. The leaders seem to be off on some adolescent power trip - and beware anyone who questions, asks or even makes a small noise in the corner.

    I guess the beauty of Open Source is that the projects that are run like this will die off, and the better managed ones will succeed.

    Leeeeeeeroy!

    The whole [Leeroy Jenkins](http://www.google.com/search?client=safari&rls=en&q=leeroy+jenkins&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8) thing has spawned some interesting stuff. For example, [this](http://greg.nokes.name/LJRemix.mp3), [this](http://greg.nokes.name/leeroy_techomix.MP3) and [this](http://greg.nokes.name/LJmix.mp3). There is a bunch more stuff like this out there, but these three are, IMHO, the best that I have come across.

    The Ultimate Rejection Letter

    Herbert A. Millington Chair - Search Committee 412A Clarkson Hall, Whitson University College Hill, MA 34109

    Dear Professor Millington,

    Thank you for your letter of March 16. After careful consideration, I regret to inform you that I am unable to accept your refusal to offer me an assistant professor position in your department.

    This year I have been particularly fortunate in receiving an unusually large number of rejection letters. With such a varied and promising field of candidates, it is impossible for me to accept all refusals.

    Despite Whitson's outstanding qualifications and previous experience in rejecting applicants, I find that your rejection does not meet my needs at this time. Therefore, I will assume the position of assistant professor in your department this August. I look forward to seeing you then.

    Best of luck in rejecting future applicants.

    Sincerely, Chris L. Jensen

    (HT: [Chaos Matrix](http://www.chaosmatrix.org/library/humor/reject.html))

    Your password is like..

    Your password is like a Lover. Best when enjoyed alone, and not passed around.
    Let me just sum this up with a bit of security advice: Don't ever give your account info to anyone else AND don't ever let someone (not even Ma or Pa) use your computer logged in as you. Yes, there are times when you will want to for convenience sake, and I'm sure the usage will appear inert and innocent, but they always do. Guest accounts are there for a reason. Your account is meant for you and no one else.
    -[Security Awareness for Ma, Pa and the Corporate Clueless](http://securityawareness.blogspot.com/2005/08/root-nasty-four-letter-word.html) I have run into many problems with accounts, passwords and failure to control them over the years.. a few of my favorites follow First off - years ago a company lets their network admin go. They leave on less then pleasant terms. A week later, they realize that they do not have the supervisor password to there NetWare 3.x box. They call the ex-admin. He says that he does not have the password anymore. They panic They call me - I charge them an hour's labor to drive out, and execute an NLM that changes the password for the supervisor user on a NetWare 3.x box. Another one - An admin deletes the Admin account on a NetWare 4.x tree. The only admin account. They do not notice until they need to add another user. They cannot get into the tree to do anything. They call me, I come out. They only tell me that they needed help adding a user. Several hours later (and a call to Novell Tech Support, a Fax to them with the signature of the owner of the company and a downloaded one shot NLM) we run an NLM and create a new admin user account. A teacher leaves his computer logged in and unlocked during the lunch hour. Some kids use his computer to access less then appropriate material. The teacher is written up for accessing the material as it was his user name and computer that accessed it. A user leaves his computer logged in. Another user uses his email account to send less then Politically Correct jokes to their supervisor. Guess who gets written up? The user that left his computer logged in. All of this should go to show that your account is extremely important. Do not give out your password to anyone. I used to run training for security awareness for several companies that I used to work for. I would ask the question - what if your helpdesk calls and needs your password for some work on your account? What if the president of the US needs your password? Just say no. Keep your passwords to yourself. Change your passwords often, and use things that are complex, and memorable. like the following Iluv2:)@thesun I love to smile at the sun Hard to guess, hard to hack, good password. Good luck out there - it's a dangerous world!

    Theme woes

    Ok. so I blew my theme up. Still works fine under FireFox and Safari, but IE displays total uglyness.

    Switched to a 'temp' theme for the time being.

    Summer Car?

    Your Summer Ride is a Jeep
    For you, summer is all about having no responsibilities. You prefer to hang with old friends - and make some new ones.
    [What's Your Summer Ride?](http://www.blogthings.com/whatsyoursummerridequiz/)

    Woo Hoo!

    (HT: [Justus](http://davejustus.blogspot.com/2005/08/summer-rides.html) - have fun on your vacation!)

    Internet Storm!

    CNN reported a worm outbreak this afternoon involving their network, ABCNews, NYTimes, as well as Capitol Hill.

    Information is still flowing on this situation, but here's what we have so far:

    Symantec just released info on the W32.Zotob.E worm here.

    Trend Micro also released information under WORM_RBOT.CBQ.

    McAfee released information as well: W32/IRCbot.worm

    This is an IRC bot worm, and will scan for TCP port 445, and for file shares. McAfee reports in it's bulletin that systems not patched for MS05-039 will continually reboot.

    It exploits known vulnerabilities, and the patch is available from microsoft here: Microsoft Security Bulletin MS05-039

    More updates coming as we analyze and gather more information!

    From the [SANS Internet Storm Center](http://isc.sans.org/index.php?on=port)

    Hope ya'll patched your Windows boxes. If not, get to work! I have already noticed some slowness on the internet - possibly because the cable modem segment that I am on is filled with unprotected Windows boxes.

    Let me check my home network...

    2 Macs - Check 1 Linux - Check

    All done!

    What is totally silly about this is that the worm exploits the windows Plug and Play system via port 445. A big WTF goes out to the guys in Redmond: why does Plug and Play need to access *any* IP ports? Unless ya'll are using PnP to mount network drives - but come on. No one would be...

    Well, perhaps they are?

    Mentioned in last months Network World

    Yep - little old me!

    Graphically beautiful, greg.nokes.name is the home of the online ramblings of Greg Nokes, who offers a decidedly political bent that focuses on ending poverty around the world.

    Graphically Beautiful - I'm swooning!

    Read the entire story [here](http://www.networkworld.com/you/2005/072505-blogs.html)

    Canada's Secret Mission to Take Over the US

    Whistler Blower: Canada's Secret Mission to Take Over the US

    While you Americans are distracting yourselves overseas, Canada has been secretly preparing for final battle plans to take over the US.

    [Samantha Burns](http://www.samanthaburns.com/archives/2005/08/whistler_blower.html) goes on to outline this dasterdy plot. Yes, I will say it - this is a plot of the likes the world has not seen since Snidley Whiplash was on the scene.

    Oh my! Thank GOD for people like Ms. Burns - she is truly an American Hero!

    Education Spending?

    In the U.S. public education system, this assumption is dead wrong. There total expenditures are allocated from the top down to mop up available revenues. How much any public school spends depends not on how much it "needs" for efficient operation but on how much it can extract from taxpayers. These revenues are then dissipated among various squabbling constituencies to feed their continuous demand for public funds.

    In the topsy-turvy world of public education, the incentive is for efficient, low-cost schools to imitate the less efficient, high-cost schools by spending more. The result is that U.S. public education is greatly over-funded. Public school per-pupil costs are roughly 40 to 45 percent higher than those of private schools. When we take into account the larger number of private elementary schools and further adjust for special ed, the difference narrows to about 36 percent.

    -[Cato Daily Dispach](http://www.cato.org/pub_display.php?pub_id=4210)

    And, might I add that private schools tend to be better at educating their their public counterparts? And, why am I paying to put my neighboors kids though this?

    Saint Cindy?

    [SaaM](http://sharpmarbles.stufftoread.com/archive/2005/08/15/grilledCheeseSheehan.aspx) has this to say about Cindy:

    Crawford Tx. , Thousands of people gathered today to try to catch a glimpse of a grilled cheese sandwich that supposedly sported the likeness of Mother Sheehan, the Patron Saint of Left Causes. Mrs. Sheehan is grieving her lost son Casey, who was killed in combat after apparently being forced to volunteer for military duty, and currently camping near President Bush's vacation ranch to protest the war. Grilled to perfectionMrs. Sheehan was recently bestowed the highest honor the Left can give: Victim.

    Check it out, see the sandwich, believe!

    Destroying Faith

    When we debunk a fanatical faith or prejudice, we do not strike at the root of fanaticism. We merely prevent its leaking out at a certain point, with the likely result that it will leak out at some other point. Thus by denigrating prevailing beliefs and loyalties, the militant man of words unwittingly creates in the disillusioned masses a hunger for faith. For the majority of people cannot endure the barrenness and futility of their lives unless they have some ardent dedication, or some passionate pursuit in which they can lose themselves. Thus, in spite of himself, the scoffing man of words becomes the precursor of a new faith.

    -[Eric Hoffer](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eric_Hoffer)

    (HT: [Da Heretics](http://hereticalideas.com/index.php?p=3151))

    Profiling

    Since the London bombings, there has been a lot of discussion about profiling. To help, here is what I wrote on the subject in "Beyond Fear" (pp. 133-7):

    "Good security has people in charge. People are resilient. People can improvise. People can be creative. People can develop on-the-spot solutions. People can detect attackers who cheat, and can attempt to maintain security despite the cheating. People can detect passive failures and attempt to recover. People are the strongest point in a security process. When a security system succeeds in the face of a new or coordinated or devastating attack, it's usually due to the efforts of people.

    and

    Despite what many people think, terrorism is not confined to young Arab males. Shoe-bomber Richard Reid was British. Germaine Lindsay, one of the 7/7 London bombers, was Afro-Caribbean. Here are some more examples from a speech by the U.S. Secretary of Transportation Norman Mineta:

    "In 1986, a 32-year-old Irish woman, pregnant at the time, was about to board an El Al flight from London to Tel Aviv when El Al security agents discovered an explosive device hidden in the false bottom of her bag. The woman's boyfriend - the father of her unborn child - had hidden the bomb.

    "In 1987, a 70-year-old man and a 25-year-old woman - neither of whom were Middle Eastern - posed as father and daughter and brought a bomb aboard a Korean Air flight from Baghdad to Thailand. En route to Bangkok, the bomb exploded, killing all on board.

    "In 1999, men dressed as businessmen (and one dressed as a Catholic priest) turned out to be terrorist hijackers, who forced an Avianca flight to divert to an airstrip in Colombia, where some passengers were held as hostages for more than a year and a half."

    The 2002 Bali terrorists were Indonesian. The Chechnyan terrorists who downed the Russian planes were women. Timothy McVeigh and the Unabomber were Americans. The Basque terrorists are Basque, and Irish terrorists are Irish. The Tamil Tigers are Sri Lankan.

    And many Muslims are not Arabs. Even worse, almost everyone who is Arab is not a terrorist - many people who look Arab are not even Muslims. So not only are there an large number of false negatives - terrorists who don't meet the profile-but there an enormous number of false positives: innocents that do meet the profile.

    -The [Crytpo-Gram](http://www.schneier.com/crypto-gram-0508.html#1) by [Bruce Schneier](http://www.schneier.com/)

    Profiling - if done properly is a **good** thing. It's when we start doing it incorrectly that we run into problems. I think that we need to realize it's benefits and, and train folks how to legally and effectively profile. Point in fact, I think that we all already do.

    Everyone does it all the time. When you see someone lurking in a dark alley and change your direction to avoid him, you're profiling. When a storeowner sees someone furtively looking around as she fiddles inside her jacket, that storeowner is profiling. People profile based on someone's dress, mannerisms, tone of voice ... and yes, also on their race and ethnicity. When you see someone running toward you on the street with a bloody ax, you don't know for sure that he's a crazed ax murderer. Perhaps he's a butcher who's actually running after the person next to you to give her the change she forgot. But you're going to make a guess one way or another. That guess is an example of profiling.

    So, by looking at a situation, evaluating the possible risk and acting with out first getting conformation that the threat is real, well, you are a profiler. You dirty bad guy. :)

    I wish that we lived in a world were we all acted with pure motives, no one ever hurt anyone else - and making personal security decisions based on gut instinct was not needed. But we do not. So, we have to use the tools at hand. Our gut is one of the best tools that we have, as long as we are not consumed by terror and fear of imaginary bad guys behind every corner.

    Thoreau Speaks

    May I love and revere myself above all the gods that men have ever invented. May I never let the vestal fire go out in my recesses.

    -[Henry David Thoreau](http://blogthoreau.blogspot.com/)

    Is Safe Water too much to ask for?

    The issue of mass medication of an unapproved drug without the expressed informed consent of each individual must also be addressed. The dose of fluoride cannot be controlled. Fluoride as a drug has contaminated most processed foods and beverages throughout North America. Individuals who are susceptible to fluoride's harmful effects cannot avoid ingesting this drug. This presents a medico-legal and ethical dilemma and sets water fluoridation apart from vaccination as a public health measure where doses and distribution can be controlled. The rights of individuals to enjoy the freedom from involuntary fluoride medication certainly outweigh the right of society to enforce this public health measure, especially when the evidence of benefit is marginal at best.

    -[Fluoride Action Network](http://www.fluoridealert.org/limeback.htm)

    John Robideaux, chairman of Fluoridation Works, said his organization has not given up its effort to introduce fluoride into Spokane water and may mount another petition drive in the spring.

    -[the Spokesman Review](http://www.spokesmanreview.com/top/story.asp?ID=22699)

    I guess that my major concern with this is that I will have to pay for something that not only do I not want, but that I will have to take more action to rid my self off. So, if this passes, they are going to charge me to put this stuff into the water, and then I will have to pay to get it removed again.

    Sucks to be me if this actually makes it, right?

    Why not let people choose? If I want to fluoride my self and my kid, let ME make that choice.

    Gun Safety

    Yeah. [This guy](http://www.putfile.com/media.php?n=03084899) needs to be sent back to a basic safety class.

    Techno-weenie-ness

    So.. just added a new feature to this site. If you look down the sidebar, you will see a new iTunes section. This shows - realtime - what is currently playing on my 'puter and what the last ten songs were.

    The Inventor of the @?

    [Ray](http://openmap.bbn.com/~tomlinso/ray/home.html) is the 'father' of Email - and no he did not invent the 'at sign'. But he did make email address like the ones we use today, well, like the ones that we use today.

    When September Ends

    [Green day](http://www.greenday.com/) has a new [video](http://www.warnerreprise.com/qt-ref/greenday_wakemeupwhenseptemberends-video_ref.mov) posted. Pretty darn good stuff.

    (HT: [ebuddha](http://integralpractice.blogharbor.com/blog/_trackback/113039))

    Quote of the Day

    Mediocre minds usually dismiss anything which reaches beyond their own understanding.
    -Francois de La Rochefoucald

    (HT: [Heretical Ideas](http://hereticalideas.com/index.php?p=3140))

    More on Ciscogate

    Wired has a really good reposting from the blog of the attorney that represented Mike Lynn during Ciscogate

    The two part story is here and [here](http://www.wired.com/news/technology/0,1282,68466,00.html).

    A must read!

    Neat Java!

    And, not the coffee type. Check out [Math, Physics, and Engineering Applets](http://www.falstad.com/mathphysics.html) for some cool science based java applets.

    Blog update

    So... If you put <base target="_blank" /> into the header of your site, it will default to that on all links. (BTW that is opening all links into new windows) One of the long time readers asked me to do this for his lazy a... for his ease of use.

    So, what do you all think? Yea? Nea? WTH is he talking about?

    Win2k Resource Kit

    If you are like me, you often need a tool, like shutgui.exe. Now, you can pay some bucks to Microsoft to get their Resource Kit (a big book and a cd) - or you can go here: [Download Free Windows 2000 Resource Kit Tools](http://www.petri.co.il/download_free_reskit_tools.htm) to get them. It's a life saver.

    *use these tools at your own risk. most can really wonk up your computer if used incorrectly. It can be hard to figure out how to use these correctly, so buyer beware! In other words, if you wonk your computer up by playing with these, expect only laughter from me* :)

    My Wife

    My Wife is the most wonderful, beautiful woman around!

    Mac Tips

    Just found a good site off of [Photo Matt's](http://photomatt.net/2005/08/03/mac-tips/) blog

    [Mac Tips](http://www.mactips.org/) - a warehouse of mac ideas and shortcuts.

    ID vs Goats

    Joe said: I see a building, and I can recognize that it was created by some intelligence, for some purpose. I may not know how it was built, or for what purpose, but the form and symmetry and structure (the sides are plumb and level, etc.) tell me it was created by intelligent design, and not a random occurance of stone and glass.

    I answered: Setting aside the strawman nature of this analogy, imagine two men confronted with this building. One devotes his life to methodically studying what it's made of and how it was built. The other guy sacrifices a goat in front of it once a month.

    If you went to these men and asked them what they knew about the building, the first guy would show you his notes, explain his methods, and present the evidence for his claims. The second guy would ask if you had any spare goats.

    Intelligent Design is what you get when the second guy pretends to adopt the methods and terminology of the first in order to talk you out of your goats.

    - [dotclue: "Intelligent Design" vs. science](http://dotclue.org/archives/002366.html)

    And it starts...

    Five proof-of-concept viruses that target Monad, the next version of Microsoft's command prompt, were included in a recently published virus writing magazine, according to Mikko Hyppönen, the director of antivirus research at F-Secure.

    - [ZDNet Australia](http://zdnet.com.au/news/security/soa/Windows_Vista_tool_targeted_by_virus_writers/0,2000061744,39205746,00.htm)

    Heh - and it starts. It's not even out yet and it has more viruses then OS X and Linux/BSD.

    Cisco Movie

    There is a really cool movie traveling the net [highlighting](http://downloads.oreilly.com/make/cisco.mov) [Ciscogate](http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&lr=&client=safari&rls=en&q=ciscogate&btnG=Search) at Defcon. It's very funny....

    (HT: [Security Awareness for Ma, Pa and the Corporate Clueless](http://securityawareness.blogspot.com/2005/08/ciscogate-caught-on-video.html))

    Moving fight

    **OPEN LETTER TO KANSAS SCHOOL BOARD**

    I am writing you with much concern after having read of your hearing to decide whether the alternative theory of Intelligent Design should be taught along with the theory of Evolution. I think we can all agree that it is important for students to hear multiple viewpoints so they can choose for themselves the theory that makes the most sense to them. I am concerned, however, that students will only hear one theory of Intelligent Design.

    You really should read the rest of [this](http://www.venganza.org/index.htm). It's an example of how one person can really make a difference. It brought tears to my eyes. It's people like this that really make a diffrence.

    Can the Kingdom of Heaven be fought for?

    Our history is chock full of some gut-wrenching atrocities that have been committed in the name of various gods. Does this bring us closer to the Kingdom of Heaven? Nirvana? WallyWorld?

    I would say no. In fact, I would say that violence should never be used aggressively. Self Defense is one thing, but going out and killing others for no good reason? Or, even for a good reason?

    If we assume that a stepping stone on the path to WallyWorld is a world where peace reigns, then we can look at every aggressive act as moving us further away from WallyWorld. When you are aggressively violent, and even when you are defensively violent, you do more then just hurt some one's body, you damage the psyche of the community. Looking at 9/11, the people that did that were horrid people. They scarred the Americans collective psyche for generations to come. We are still dealing with the ramification of this. The Patriot Act, the War Hawks, the extreme split between the Right and Left.

    A small percentage of us shouted for revenge! We wanted the people responsible dead. A larger percentage of us shouted for Justice! We wanted to see the perpetrators brought to justice. Another group of us shouted for, well, nothing. To hide and hope that it would not happen again.

    My feelings at the time ranged from Revenge to Justice. But, the point is that there is an equal and opposite reaction for every action. That is what the Terrorists see, and count on. Look at the shooting today in [Gaza](http://www.sciencedaily.com/upi/?feed=TopNews&article=UPI-1-20050804-18415500-bc-israel-bus-1stld.xml). They count on the fact that the targets will become enraged, and topple the peace process.

    With the notion that "to kill an infidel is not murder - it's the path to heaven", there was the prevalent concept that heaven can be won through putting non-believers through "hell", which they are deemed to deserve. But how can anyone be rewarded karmically through acts of hateful violence? "God wills it!" is uttered as a war cry throughout the film, but it is obvious in many instances that it was the deluded men themselves, who willed what they did, while the gods themselves remain ominously silent. It forces the audience to question how much were they fighting for God and how much for themselves, to covet land and wealth. Grave ungodliness in the name of God?

    - [Can the Elusive "Kingdom of Heaven" be Fought For?](http://www.buddhistchannel.tv/index.php?id=12,1178,0,0,1,0) about the movie [Kingdom of Heaven](http://www.kingdomofheavenmovie.com)

    If God is in fact a God of Love, then how can people even think that he would have us make war on each other, and maim, torture and kill each other *in his name*? I believe very strongly that acts of war, torture and what have you are in fact not divine in origin, rather are man made, and God is simply used as convenient rationalization. I believe that if God is still watching over us, if there is a God, he/she/it is disgusted.

    More then that: Entrance into WallyWorld is predicated on a certain behavioral standard. It is rare to see such a standard which includes mass murder. In the Buddhist philosophy, each negative act garners you bad karma. Any bad karma that you have, must be worked off before you can reach the level of calm that enlightenment requires. So, the mass murderers probably will not attain WallyWorld any time soon.

    The question of self defense has often bothered me. As a Buddhist, if I am attacked, am I simply to stand and die? If my Family is attacked, am I just to watch in horror? That is where I draw the line. I am a pacifist. I do not think that killing or violence is a good answer to any question. However, when force is brought to the table, I will respond in a fashion that will assure the safety of me and mine.

    I have a very high level of respect for the Police Officers and Solders in this world. Most do an outstanding job of taking the community on as 'family' and protecting them all. The eventual answer to violence will be two pronged. First we have to assure that the misguided people who think that they can initiate violence to get what they want are stopped cold. We also need to be able to teach a lifestyle of tolerance, and peaceful response to stress.

    This War on Terror will not be won with bullets and bombs - if you consider winning to be a more peaceful world. However, those bullets and bombs just might buy us the time to engage in the discussion and diplomacy that *will* win the war.

    Quick and dirty backup

    I have been working on a quick and dirty backup script to backup a MySQL database and several directories. Here is the fruit of my labor

    # change dir to backup dir

    cd /backup

    # build next days worth of file backups

    rm -rf /backup/backup.4 mv /backup/backup.3 /backup/backup.4 mv /backup/backup.2 /backup/backup.3 mv /backup/backup.1 /backup/backup.2 cp -al /backup/backup.0 /backup/backup.1 rsync -a-delete /srv/ /backup/backup.0/

    # Backup etc

    tar -cvf etc.tar /etc rm /backup/etc.tar.gz gzip etc.tar

    # backup MySQL databases

    rm /backup/backup4.sql mv /backup/backup3.sql /backup/backup4.sql mv /backup/backup2.sql /backup/backup3.sql mv /backup/backup1.sql /backup/backup2.sql mv /backup/backup.sql /backup/backup1.sql mysqldump-all-databases >/backup/backup.sql

    # Make 1 compressed tarball of entire shebang

    rm /backup/backup.tar.gz tar -cvf /backup.tar /backup/* mv /backup.tar /backup gzip /backup/backup.tar

    # Move backups offsite

    ncftpput -u *username* -p *password* *servername* *target_directory* /backup/backup.tar.gz

    All of this assumes that you have a directory called 'backup' off the root of the file system that you can use for moving stuff about. It will provide you with 5 complete days of full file backups (in the space of 1, plus changes), 5 full days of MySQL backups and a daily snapshot of the /etc/ directory for what ever reason.

    The case for intelligent design

    The case for intelligent design

    What is Intelligent Design? Many scientists - well, nearly all scientists - seem surprised that the President of the United States thinks Intelligent Design should be taught in schools. (See today's news reports about that by Fox News and others.) Most likely, the President is referring to the persuasive 1998 report prepared by J.J. Rivera of Sandia National Laboratories:

    Design engineers are becoming few in number and years worth of experience is about to be lost. What will happen when new weapons are designed or retrofits need to be made? Who will know the lessons learned in the past? What process will be followed? When and what software codes should be used? Intelligent design is the answer to the questions posed above for weapon design.

    The report is titled "Intelligent design using expertise knowledge, manufacturing data, and legacy codes." Its final section, labeled "CONCLUSIONS," says:

    The intelligent designer is still being developed.

    - [Improbable Research](http://improbable.typepad.com/improbable_research_whats/2005/08/the_case_for_in.html)

    Wow... that conclusion says it all.

    Martin Luther on Reason

    'Whoever wants to be a Christian should tear the eyes out of his Reason.”

    , [Martin Luther](Whoever wants to be a Christian should tear the eyes out of his Reason), HT: [Heretical Ideas](http://hereticalideas.com/index.php?p=3113)

    Also found:

    Reason must be deluded, blinded, and destroyed. Faith must trample underfoot all reason, sense, and understanding, and whatever it sees must be put out of sight and ... know nothing but the word of God

    and

    Reason is the greatest enemy that faith has: it never comes to the aid of spritual things, but-more frequently than not-struggles against the Divine Word

    True Evil?

    [Emily](http://emilyscraziness.blogspot.com/2005/07/politics-kind-of.html) had this to say

    One thing I don't understand is how generally intelligent people (sorry if you're offended, Brando, but this really did bother me) can get sucked into conspiracy theories, etc., spouting rumors about Bush being evil and about government really being just a front for powerful people to get what they want.

    About this [article](http://leahytome.blogspot.com/2005/07/sour-taste-in-my-mouth.html)

    lets start with the first: Bush and Regan are utterly evil. This is also backed up with the subclause that their stupidity not only makes me brain wavier on the edge of an anureism, but is frightening because of the power that they, and (mostly) their cohorts wield.

    I must say, that this article bothered me as well. Perhaps not for the same reasons that Emily was - More on that later - it's really late!

    This is my response, in a Comment on Emily's site.

    Evil is only really evil in it's opponents eyes. For example. I feel that Hitler might have been 'evil'. However, if you were to ask him, I doubt that he would have though of himself as 'evil'. Only really really sick people think of themselves as evil.

    It's a case of understanding what underlying motivations cause actions. Sane people do not tend to simply cause harm to others for no apparent reason. Only sick people do this.

    Please note - by these statements I in no way condone immoral or wrong actions. Sickness is not an excuse. By trying to understand these people, and their motivations, perhaps we can approach an understanding of them, how to help them better, and how to help society deal with them.

    This world is not one of black and white absolutes, but rather of shades of grey. People tend to try and do the best that they can to achieve their aims. When we elect some one, we hope that their aims are close to ours.

    To look at President Reagan or President Bush and declare him to be the possessor of some dark and absolute evil? That is a very childish world view. In the realm of humanity, there is no such thing as pure evil. There is, of course, sickness and putrid wrongness, but evil? That's just silly. There is no such thing.

    System Administrator Appreciation Day Friday July 29th 2005

    [System Administrator Appreciation Day](http://www.sysadminday.com/) is Friday July 29th 2005.

    Let's face it, System Administrators get no respect 364 days a year. This is the day that all fellow System Administrators across the globe, will be showered with expensive sports cars and large piles of cash in appreciation of their diligent work

    So, I am awaiting my piles of cash.

    High School Stereotype


    You scored as Loner.

    Loner

    69%

    Drama nerd

    50%

    Punk/Rebel

    44%

    Stoner

    38%

    Goth

    31%

    Geek

    31%

    Ghetto gangsta

    19%

    Prep/Jock/Cheerleader

    6%

    What's Your High School Stereotype?
    created with QuizFarm.com

    (Gee, let's all thank [Justus](http://davejustus.blogspot.com/) for this timewaster!)

    My 'Humor Index'

    the Wit
    (56% dark, 39% spontaneous, 33% vulgar)
    your humor style:
    CLEAN | COMPLEX | DARK


    You like things edgy, subtle, and smart. I guess that means you're probably an intellectual, but don't take that to mean you're pretentious. You realize 'dumb' can be witty-after all isn't that the Simpsons' philosophy?-but rudeness for its own sake, 'gross-out' humor and most other things found in a fraternity leave you totally flat.

    I guess you just have a more cerebral approach than most. You have the perfect mindset for a joke writer or staff writer. Your sense of humor takes the most effort to appreciate, but it's also the best, in my opinion.

    Take it [here](http://www.okcupid.com/tests/take?testid=17565214125862764376)

    Hat tip - [Integral Practice](http://integralpractice.blogharbor.com/blog) and others...

    Failing states and terror

    America is now threatened less by conquering states than we are by failing ones. That was the conclusion of the 2002 U.S. National Security Strategy. For a country whose foreign policy in the 20th century was dominated by the struggles against powerful states such as Germany, Japan, and the Soviet Union, the U.S. assessment is striking. Nor is the United States alone in diagnosing the problem. U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan has warned that ignoring failed states creates problems that sometimes come back to bite us. French President Jacques Chirac has spoken of the threat that failed states carry for the world's equilibrium. World leaders once worried about who was amassing power; now they worry about the absence of it.
    - [Justus](http://davejustus.blogspot.com/) It’s interesting how our foreign policy’s success has now turned on us. For example – Most of the former USSR is shown as ‘borderline’ or worse on the map provided. Many of the battlegrounds of the cold war are probably worse off for the wear. The choices made in the past effect us now. It does us no good to second guess what we did – but we should look at the results and see what our aggressive and expansionistic policies have reaped. I agree that the destabilized areas of the world are where trouble is going to brew. In this day and age, when the US alone out spends the entire world in military spending (notice how they call it defense spending? What is up with that? If we spend more on our defense then everyone else put together, are we paranoid?) no one can stand toe to toe with us anymore. There is no battlefield that any one (or two or ten) country can defeat us on. So, people who rebel against our mass-marketed culture take to the back alleys, the coffee shops. The meet and talk, and the really whacked out ones strap bombs on and blow themselves up in pointless gestures of defiance and misplaced rage. The suicide bombers worry me – but the smart ones scare me. The ones that are actively plotting to destroy our culture and, it seems at times, are winning. These are the ones that talk the whacked out ones into their path of destruction. The Imams and Clerics that preach the radicalized version of Islam. The ones that create and spread the really toxic memes. I believe that violence will only beget more violence. I do not think that guns will solve this – talking will. But how do you convince some one that thinks your entire belief system and way of live is a puss-filled ulcer on a otherwise godly earth that they are wrong? How do you teach them tolerance? Can you? Should you even try, or should you just take the short term solution, the quick fix? I do not pretend to have the answer to these questions. I question our current policy, however I do not have any better ideas. Talking is not an option, as they believe that we will simple lie to them. Money is not an option, as many of them come from well off families. There are no easy solutions.

    White puffyness

    Took this photo in Yakima - saw the clouds and just fell in love with them. Clouds remind me of flying.

    [](http://www.flickr.com/photos/tsykoduk/27247165/" title="photo sharing)

    Speaking of flying, watched the [Shuttle](http://www.space.com/missionlaunches/050726_sts114_launchsuccess.html) today. Really great that we are making it back into space. I hope that the crew makes it back home safely, with all their science and tasks done safely, and easily.

    I really loved the signs that [Soichi Noguchi](http://www.google.com/search?q=Soichi+Noguchi&sourceid=mozilla-search&start=0&start=0&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&client=firefox&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:unofficial) came up with - if you missed them they were a hoot!

    It's sad, but I think that the Columbia Disaster has brough more awareness back NASA and the manned missions. In the shuttle's heyday, they did not even broadcast the launches. Now, they certainly did broadcast, and give a good blow by blow.

    Speaking of which, did you see the 'fuel tank cam' shot when the shuttle seperated from the main tank? Wow.

    New trailer

    The new trailer for Serenity is [Here](http://www.uip.nl/Pictures/seren/trailer2.mov). Getting excited!

    Using Rsync to build a filebased backup system

    rm -rf backup.3 mv backup.2 backup.3 mv backup.1 backup.2 cp -al backup.0 backup.1 rsync -a --delete source_directory/ backup.0/

    (Hat tip to [Mike Rubel](http://www.mikerubel.org/computers/rsync_snapshots/) for the code!)

    Quick and Dirty MySQL backup

    cd ~/backup rm backup5.sql mv backup4.sql backup5.sql mv backup3.sql backup4.sql mv backup2.sql backup3.sql mv backup1.sql backup2.sql mv backup.sql backup1.sql mysqldump --all-databases >backup.sql

    This is a very quick and dirty backup script that should back up all of the Database's (databasi?) in a MySQL database, and maintain 5 days of storage. Next week, off site!

    The Magical Curtain

    In my day job I work with mostly Windows users and I'm often asked how to go about doing this or that on a Mac. Frequently such questions are followed up with the statement, ” So why doesn't it work like Windows?”

    I starting thinking the other day that here lies a great irony of technology. The irony that because so many PC users spend so much time in the dark trying to figure out what's going on behind the magical curtain that is Windows, they automatically assume that using a Mac would be just as confusing. Many never decide to switch because they feel they'd have to learn that awful process all over again. Take the process of uninstalling applications for example…

    Windows: Start menu -> Control Panels -> Add/Remove Programs -> scroll to application you want to remove -> click Remove -> click Yes to confirm.

    Mac: Select the application you want to remove on your computer -> drag it to the trash.

    My point?

    * The difference between Windows and Mac OS is the difference between a process so complex that it requires a separate process to manage (Windows) versus a process specifically designed from the beginning to be intuitive enough that it just makes sense (Mac).*

    Technology is complex enough in its own right, the beauty of the Mac is that someone, somewhere actually knew that and went out of their way to make easier on the rest of us.

    Who needs a curtain anyway?

    -[Clif](http://education.apple.com/students/blog/index.php/archives/2005/04/05/) at the Apple Student Blog
    How to install a program on mac (like [BZFlag](http://www.bzflag.org)):

    1) Download 2) Open File 3) Drag app to a folder. Apps folder is probally a good choice, since you will then know where to find it

    That's it. As the quote above says, to uninstall it, you find it, and drag it to the trash. No problems. Very Easy.

    I love Linux - and the total control it gives me over my system. I like distros like [ArchLinux](http://www.archlinux.org) for that simple fact. I can look at the [daemons](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daemon_%28computer_software%29) that are running and know what each one does, why it is running, and recall when I installed it.

    However, when I am at home, I just want the bloody thing to work, and work with out thought. So, my lappy and my workstation are Macs, and my server is (being built as) ArchLinux.

    Gun Control?

    [Check](http://www.photosig.com/go/photos/view?id=1570120&forward=) this out.

    (Hat Tip: [SaaM](http://sharpmarbles.stufftoread.com/archive/2005/07/21/3658.aspx))

    Google Moon - Lunar Landing Sites

    [Google](http://moon.google.com/) has turned their mapping software upwards. Check it out!

    Juxtiposition

    Would there be a universe with out a consciousness to measure it? In physics we see that the act of observing something changes that something. For example, we can measure a particle for it's speed, or it's location - not both. The more exactly we discern it's location, the less we can tell about it's speed. If we know that Right Now, it's Right Here, we cannot determine it's velocity nor direction of travel.

    Cosmology, is the study of the universe in its totality and by extension man's place in it. Though the word cosmology is itself of fairly modern origin, first penned in Wolff's Cosmologia Generalis (1730), the study of the universe has a long history involving science, philosophy, and religion

    -Wikipedia

    I think that life is like that. We either know where we are, or where we are going. And, this is not a bad thing. We need to really concentrate on what is important to us now. Where we are. It's like this - if we get all frazzled and worried about the endgame before we get the ball - how do you think that we will do when we get the ball?

    Not well. We need to keep our eyes and thoughts on what we are doing right now. For example, when one is 'looking' one rarely finds a mate. When one is comfortable in our own skins, and do not need some one to complete us, that is when we are ready to settle down.

    Mindfulness is the practice whereby a person is intentionally aware of his or her thoughts and actions in the present moment, non-judgmentally. Largely associated with Buddhism, in which it is called sati, the practice of mindfulness is also advocated by such people as medical researcher and author Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn, psychologist Nathaniel Branden and philosopher Ayn Rand.

    -[Wikipedia](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mindfulness)

    Moving to a slower beat, watching each step that we make, being mindful, that is what will get us to the endgame.

    Poll Finds Drop in Muslim Support for Terrorism

    Osama bin Laden's standing has dropped significantly in some key Muslim countries, while support for suicide bombings and other acts of violence has "declined dramatically," according to a new survey released today.

    In a striking finding, predominantly Muslim populations in a sampling of six North African, Middle East and Asian countries are also as alarmed as Western nations about Islamic extremism, which is now seen as a threat in their own nations too, the poll found.

    "Most Muslim publics are expressing less support for terrorism than in the past. Confidence in Osama bin Laden has declined markedly in some countries, and fewer believe suicide bombings that target civilians are justified in the defense of Islam," concluded the Pew Global Attitudes Project.

    - [Poll Finds Drop in Muslim Support for Terrorism](http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/07/14/AR2005071401030.html)

    I don't know if this is spun at all, but if it is true - are we starting to see the start of the beginning of the end?

    Suicide Bombing as a Virus

    It seems that some other folks are starting to 'get it'. [Toxic Memes](http://greg.nokes.name/index.php?s=memes&submit=Search) are the most dangerous threat to our race of all time.

    It seems that what we're dealing with here is something far more elusive than a shadowy and sinister organization. It's an idea, a particularly virulent viral meme. It seeds itself via websites and chat rooms, is nurtured and grown in the soil of hate and disenfranchisement and eventually kills it's host. Trying to fight this idea with guns, arrests and an 'US' against 'THEM' dichotomy is stupid, pointless and just produces more mental fertilizer for the idea to grow in. The only way to fight ideas is through other ideas. Ideological antibiotics, administered through the opening of dialogue between communities, breaking down boundaries instead of setting them up and nurturing more beneficial strains of meme.

    - [ do not think of a blue elephant](http://www.donotthinkofablueelephant.co.uk/)

    Changing the meme structure of these people is a hard row to hoe.

    I wish I knew a sure fire silver bullet that would end Islamism. My bet is that the answer is accountable, democratic governments in the Middle East, but that is admittedly just a guess at this point.

    - [Justus](http://davejustus.blogspot.com/2005/07/some-democrats-get-it.html)

    I think that this is a good start. Free societies tend to breed people that believe in tolerance more then death - more positive Memes if you will.

    However, this is just the start. This problem has been brewing since Biblical times. It's not going to end anytime soon.

    Costco Trumps Walmart!

    But there's another company that is breaking the Wal-Mart mold: Costco Wholesale Corp., now the fifth-largest retailer in the U.S. While Wal-Mart pays an average of $9.68 an hour, the average hourly wage of employees of the Issaquah, Wash.-based warehouse club operator is $16. After three years a typical full-time Costco worker makes about $42,000, and the company foots 92% of its workers? health insurance tab.

    How does Costco pull it off? How can a discount retail chain pay middle-class wages and still bring in over $880 million in net revenues? And, a cynic may ask, with Wal-Mart wages becoming the norm, why does it bother?

    - [The Costco Challenge: An Alternative to Wal-Martization?](http://www.laborresearch.org/print.php?id=391)

    Interesting read and well worth the time. I personally only shop at Wally-World when I know that I cannot get the item elsewhere, or when the price delta is large. We normally shop at Costco, so it's nice to see that they try and treat their employees so well. It really shows, the checkers at Costco seem to be somewhat happy to be there. Wally-world ones usually exude tiredness.

    On Meditation and Reality

    This is not some crummy 'meditate so you'll be nicer to people” post. This isn't 'meditate so you'll be calmer” post. This is 'meditate so you can escape verbal confinement and roam free in the universe.” Meditation as revolutionary politics, as anarchy, as Will and Life and Freedom. You know that your mind is a cage: that other people wrote the language you think in, that your conceptual frameworks were moulded first by your parents, then by your schools, then by Aleister Crowley, Bill Burroughs and Swami Shivananada. Everything in words is garbage, ever more confining and sophisticated traps to keep you in the realm of experience to which words can meaningfully refer.

    Thus starts a very good article over at [Key23](http://www.key23.net/occulture/archives/2005/07/08/detonating-the-mind-bomb-punk-rock-vedanta/).

    I think that Bastart has some very good points. What we see is a illusion, defined by our cultural context. I used to try and explain it like this:

    Reality is defined by two things. First off is our belief structure. What we believe defines our personal reality. Many people do not understand this. They feel that if they see it certain way, that everyone should agree with them. They do not understand that most of their beliefs are constructed by their own meme structure. The first step to freedom is to realize that others have different paradigms - and therefore different realities. They live in different worlds then we do.

    Most people think in terms of symbols and labels for the objects and relationships between the actual objects of reality. They take the "idea" to be the thing and work mentally with these concepts about the things of reality alone, usually paying little attention to how closely these concepts or ideas accurately relate to actual observable things.

    - Reality, Belief and The Mind by [Gene Zimmer](http://www.sntp.net/essay1_2.htm)

    The second definer of reality is culture. Everyone else's beliefs will impact your belief. It's like inertia. It's hard to change speed and direction when you are weighted down by everyone else's beliefs. Only by breaking the paradigm that your culture has installed into your mind, can you really see the universe for what it is. The second step to freedom is to free your mind from the background noise that exists all of the time. To quiet it, and allow your perceptions to work alone, so that you can see what is really happening, rather then what your meme complex says that is happening.

    This is the enlightenment that the Buddha spoke of. It's not super powers, or some spiritual transmogrification. Rather, it is a new way of seeing the universe. A way of seeing with out the baggage of thousands of years of memes and cruft that was passed down to you by your parents, your teachers, your pastors.

    To survive in this world, to find lasting happiness and peace, you must throw away the constructs that run rampant in the back of your mind - quiet them and allow reality to bubble to the front. Stop using symbols in your mind to define reality, but allow reality to define it's self.

    Site updates

    I removed the Make Poverty History banner - the G-8 summit is over, and they accomplished many of their laudable goals.

    I also put a rotating header picture up - hit refresh a few times. I do not have that many photos up yet - let me know what you think!

    -Tsyko

    A case for private schools

    [Cato](http://www.cato.org/pub_display.php?pub_id=3981) has a good article pointing out some reasons that schools should be private.

    In 1925, the Tennessee legislature passed a law forbidding teaching in public school "any theory that denies the story of divine creation of man as taught in the Bible." A young teacher, John T. Scopes, taught the theory of evolution in a high school biology class and was arrested for violating the new state law. Two famous lawyers, William Jennings Bryan and Clarence Darrow, came to the little town of Dayton to prosecute and defend Scopes. Their confrontation defined the clash between evolutionary theory and creationism, science and religion, for years to come.
    How does this battle relate to school choice? It illustrates the problem with a one-size-fits-all monopoly school system. Lots of Tennesseans wanted their children taught the Biblical story of creation. But there were others, probably a minority, who wanted their children to learn the scientific consensus in biology class. Because the school system was a state monopoly, they could't both get what they wanted.

    Do you want a committee to decide what you kids learn? What if the Liberals/NeoCons/Wacky Religious Nuts take over your school board? Why not allow folks to have choice in what their children learn?

    In a market system, customers can choose from a wide variety of options. Don't like steak? Eat at a vegetarian restaurant. Don't like traffic? Live in a bucolic neighborhood.
    In a political system, like the school system, however, one group "wins," and the losers are stuck with products or services they don't like. Different preferences become the subject of endless political, legislative, and judicial squabbles.

    When it comes to important things like my child's education, I really do not want to be "stuck with products or services they don't like". My child deserves to be educated in a way that my wife and I deem to be best - not a state run committee that panders to voters, special interests and the lowest common dominator.

    I also want my child to actually be challenged. Forget all of this pandering to test scores, slowing down the classes so that the slowest kids can keep up. I was in the public school system, and I did horribly - because I was bored off my asterisk.

    So, personally I want a few things for my child's schooling

    * A challenging and stimulating environment * An environment that stresses critical thinking over rote memorization. I have always hated the school of thought that requires kids to know in 1482 Columbus sailed the Ocean Blue, but not impart a understanding of the backdrop behind the event. I could care less exactly what year the 100 Years War started, but you bet your bippy I want to understand what caused it, the outcome, and what effects it had on the socio-political environment of the time * An environment that teaches tolerance, understanding, and social graces.

    That's a really tall order for the current crop of PC Public Schools. So, the kidlet will probably go to private schools, and we will pay out the nose for that privilege. All the while paying with taxes for everyone else's kids to go to sub-par public schools. It does not make sense, nor is it at all fair.

    Even if our tax monies are returned in the form of Vouchers, that would be a step in the right direction. The best solution all around would be for folks to not have to pay taxes for the running of these public schools, and rather spend that money on schooling for their children that they find acceptable.

    More Pictures

    Been out and about taking more pictures...

    [IMG_1874](http://www.flickr.com/photos/tsykoduk/24702125/" title="Photo Sharing)
    [IMG_1875](http://www.flickr.com/photos/tsykoduk/24702278/" title="Photo Sharing)

    Just a sample of my latest photo-skilz. Word up.

    Bad Behavior

    Just installed a Wordpress Plugin called [Bad Behavior](http://www.ioerror.us/software/bad-behavior/). Impressive stuff. It blocked over 425 spam-bots/comment spams and other evil little things in 24 hours. Woot!

    Steve on 070705

    So . . . the murderous thugs have done it again.

    I don't think the English will be pushed around, though. I doubt they'll all go out and buy magnetic ribbons for their cars, and I really don't think they'll express their rage by renaming snack foods. But I won't be in the least surprised if, at street level, they are both angrier and more sensible about July 7 than we were about September 11. After all, the British have been bombed by a mass murderer before. They survived. They took the fight to the enemy. Other nations had the privilege of helping, but in England the free world made its stand, and came back to win. The murdering madman and his sycophants and his hirelings and his bombs and his poison gas and his mass graves are gone, and in their place is a decent nation that doesn't murder its own people or invade its neighbors.

    But it cost the free nations a lot of blood. Who can expect this war to be any different?

    -[Steve Jackson](http://www.sjgames.com/ill/archives.html?m=July&y=2005&d=8) (yes, That [Steve Jackson](http://www.io.com/~sj/))

    Great read!

    You need to check out [Waiter Rant](http://waiterrant.blogspot.com/). Fantastic reading.

    From Dork Tower

    (Hat Tip - [John](http://archive.gamespy.com/comics/dorktower/))

    William Gibson on Mixes

    Today, an endless, recombinant, and fundamentally social process generates countless hours of creative product (another antique term?). To say that this poses a threat to the record industry is simply comic. The record industry, though it may not know it yet, has gone the way of the record. Instead, the recombinant (the bootleg, the remix, the mash-up) has become the characteristic pivot at the turn of our two centuries.

    - [William Gibson](http://www.williamgibsonbooks.com/index.asp) in [*Wired*](http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/13.07/gibson.html)

    Gibson has some great points in his article. To try and stop the flow of technology, culture and media away from objects and towards bits is like the print media trying to stop bloggers. It's just not going to happen. I have found podcasts that are simply mixes of music. The entire spectrum of media and entertainment are collapsing into a new digital medium that no one will have total control over. No matter how hard they try.

    Why Terror?

    It is hard for most people steeped in the humane, liberal values of Western Civilization to understand the massacre of innocents. To slaughter to make a political point. But terrorism is not likely to disappear. Indeed, it is a surprisingly common practice. Although Americans were taken unaware on September 11, many other peoples have long suffered from the murderous attention of domestic and foreign terrorists.

    Terrorism is common, and will persist, because it is a tool of the weak versus the strong, a cheap military weapon to achieve expensive political goals. As long as there are people willing to kill to advance their ends, there will be terrorists.

    - [Doug Bandow](http://www.cato.org/pub_display.php?pub_id=3317)

    All your Bases Rhapsody

    All your bases, with a [Twist](http://www.pwned.nl/ayb/)!

    This time in London.

    British Prime Minister Tony Blair condemned on Thursday a "barbaric" series of attacks in London and said it was "reasonably clear" that terrorists were behind the wave of explosions.

    Blair said he planned to leave a G8 summit of world leaders in Scotland in "the next couple of hours" and return to London, but he added that he would fly back to Gleneagles later in the day to re-join the talks.

    "It's reasonably clear there have been a series of terrorist attacks," a somber-looking Blair said in his first comment on a series of blasts that rocked London earlier on Thursday.

    -[Wired News](http://wireservice.wired.com/wired/story.asp?section=Breaking&storyId=1060229&tw=wn_wire_story)

    Three explosions rocked the London subway and one tore open a packed double-decker bus during the morning rush hour Thursday. The blasts killed at least two people and reportedly injured more than 90 in what a shaken Prime Minister Tony Blair (video) said was a series of "barbaric" terrorist attacks.

    Police reported "a number of fatalities" at one London subway station. "Things are still relatively confused," Superintendent John Morgan told reporters.

    -[CBS News](http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2005/07/07/world/main707053.shtml)

    My heart goes out to the brave people in England. No one deserves this kind of thing, and it simply goes to show that we have a lot of work ahead.

    Hat tip [Of The Mind](http://www.ofthemind.com/archives/2005/07/resolute_1.html)

    More on the Mini

    So, I have been using the 'mini for several weeks. I am impressed. It's not a speed deamon, but it really 'gets r done!'.

    For example, I just got done putting together a short movie in iMovieHD - the file size is 9.5 gigs. It's about 40 min of video, pictures and music. It never slowed down. To be able to edit a 9.5 gig file with out a pause was really nice.

    Sheila was even able to jump in and play with the music transitions. So, here's the score.

    Plug in and get movies off camcorder - check. Import movies into and out of iMovieHD - check. Add pictures, music, titles and transitions - check.

    And all with out hitting help or google once.

    Pretty good!

    Fur vs Leather

    "People are more violently opposed to fur than leather because it's safer to harass rich women than motorcycle gangs."-John Varley

    Hat Tip [Heretical Ideas](http://hereticalideas.com/wordpress/wp-trackback.php/3065)

    Spokane Light Rail

    Did you ever want to know about the Light Rail Project in Spokane? Well, the [Spokane Light Rail Blog](http://spokanelightrail.blogspot.com/) will sure fill you in!

    EU Parliament kills software patent bill

    [EU The Register](http://www.theregister.co.uk/2005/07/06/eu_bins_swpat/) says:

    The European Parliament has voted by a massive majority to reject the software patents directive, formally known as the Directive on the Patentability of Computer Implemented Inventions. The vote to scrap the bill was passed by a margin of 648 votes to 14, with 18 abstentions.

    With the [recent](http://davejustus.blogspot.com/2005/06/file-sharing-networks-can-be-held.html) issues in the US, this is a big win for the F/OSS folks. Way to go!

    London site of 2012 Olympics

    London has been choosen as the site for the 2012 Olympic Games, according to [various news outlets](http://news.google.com/news?ncl=http://news.scotsman.com/latest.cfm%3Fid%3D749722005&hl=en). Congrats London!

    Astrologer Sues NASA Over Comet Probe

    From the Too Stupid to be True? department

    [Slashdot ](http://science.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=05/07/05/1422222&from=rss) says:

    NASA's mission that sent a space probe smashing into a comet raised more than cosmic dust - it also brought a lawsuit from a Russian astrologer. 'Bai is seeking damages totaling $300 million - the approximate equivalent of the mission's cost-for her "moral sufferings," Izvestia said, citing her lawyer Alexander Molokhov. She earlier told the paper that the experiment would "deform her horoscope."'

    And, that folks, is that.

    Culture of Fear grows

    [Michael Hanscom](http://www.michaelhanscom.com/eclecticism/2005/07/you_dirty_pedop.html) talks about an experience yesterday (July 4th 2005):

    I was having a good day wandering around Myrtle Edwards Park for the Fourth of Jul-Ivar's festivities until someone sicced the security goons on me. Apparently a parent had decided that since I was taking pictures of kids playing in the surf at one of the small beach areas, I was some creepy scumbag who had to be brought to heel.

    One security guy came up to me and pulled me aside, telling me that there had been complaints that I was taking pictures of children.

    Michael goes on to explain that he freely deleted the pictures of the clothed children playing in the public park, but was told that if he stayed, 'he would be watched'

    I think that Michael sums it up nicely with:

    Happy Fourth of July everyone. You know — independence, liberty, freedom, and civil rights and all that.

    This all comes back to the culture of fear that we live in. The media has us scared into thinking that we are in deathly fear for our lives, and crime and dismemberment are right around the corner.

    The statistics simply do not show this, however. If you read my [earlier post](http://greg.nokes.name/2004/10/19/politics-media-and-personal-safety/), you will see that crime is in fact *down* in the US. However, with the advent of global coverage - we see the few crimes that are committed spread sea to shining sea. We get daily, or hourly, updates on the fate of a missing girl in Aruba. While that is a very sad occurrence, how many people were in Aruba vacationing that weekend? What percentage were abducted? Does the media tell us this? Or do they just focus on the fear that they can generate?

    That does not sell papers. Fear sells papers. Let's look at the war in Iraq. We are horrified that we have lost [1746 people](http://www.antiwar.com/casualties/) in Iraq since the inception of hostilities on 3/19/03. That's 1% of the [170,000](http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/ops/iraq_orbat.htm) troops that we have on the ground. In '[Nam](http://web1.whs.osd.mil/mmid/casualty/castop.htm) we lost 58,209 people, out of 2,594,000 serving. That's 2.2% losses. [Korea](http://web1.whs.osd.mil/mmid/casualty/castop.htm) was worse - with 54,246 total deaths out of 1,789,000 on the ground. That's just over 3% dead. The world wars are even more grossly horrific. So, for being at war, we are doing pretty well.

    As an aside, 170,000 in Iraq is a very conservative estimate. I was looking for the total number of troops that have served in the theater, as the numbers from the rest of the conflicts are based on total numbers that served through the conflict not the highest force levels. I have found numbers in the 250,000 range, but none from really good sources. With the quarter million number, the KIA percentage is an even lower %1/2.

    However, the media plays what they want you to see up. They do not show reality in the true light, rather in what ever light sells more papers, and advances their agenda. The media no longer is impartial. They are trying to sell the public a bill of goods. "Stay at home - be afraid - listen to us and we will tell you about all of the horrible things out there!"

    So, you can hide behind your locked doors, looking out of the drawn curtains, or you can free yourself and go out into the world, safely, sanely and with the correct amount of precautions.

    Net Pioneer Wants New Internet

    Over at Wired they have an [article](http://www.wired.com/news/infrastructure/0,1377,68004,00.html?tw=wn_6techhead) about a 'new Internet' that is in development. There is a lot of discussion about the 'clean slate' vs the 'incremental changes' idea of implementing this new idea.

    [David Clark](http://www.networksorcery.com/enp/authors/ClarkDavidD.htm) is heading up the 'clean slate' group that is working on their ideas at the [National LambdaRail](http://www.nlr.net/).

    "Look at phishing and spam, and zombies, and all this crap," said Clark. "Show me how six incremental changes are going to make them go away."

    Well. Let me tell you about ONE change that will make about 90% of that 'crap' go away, Mr Clark. Stop using Windows!

    The statistics clearly show that Windows is not an 'Internet Ready' operating system. [Sophos,](http://www.sophos.com/) a major Anti virus vendor just released the results of a test that they did - and an [unprotected Windows system has a 50% of being compromised in the first 12 minutes](http://www.zdnet.com.au/news/security/0,2000061744,39200021,00.htm) of being attached to the Internet. In the first quarter of 2005, 8000 viruses were released into the wild for Windows.

    A lot of people respond with "Well, [Linux](http://www.ubuntulinux.org) and [Mac](http://www.apple.com) don't have the market share. Virus writers don't want to target them because there are not a lot of them out there." To that, I say - Hogwash! Let's look at the numbers.

    2005 Win XP W2000 Win 98 Win NT Win .NET Linux Mac
    June 64.9% 19.1% 3.6% 0.7% 1.5% 3.5% 3.0%
    May 64.5% 19.4% 3.9% 0.8% 1.4% 3.3% 2.9%
    April 64.0% 19.7% 4.1% 0.8% 1.4% 3.3% 2.9%
    March 63.1% 20.2% 4.7% 0.9% 1.4% 3.2% 3.0%
    February 62.0% 21.1% 5.1% 0.9% 1.3% 3.2% 2.9%
    January 61.3% 21.6% 5.3% 1.0% 1.2% 3.2% 2.8%

    So, according to the stats from the [w3schools](http://www.w3schools.com/) - [Linux](http://www.ubuntulinux.org) and [Mac](http://www.apple.com) have about 3% of the on-line market each. If there were 8000 virus writing in Q1 2005, would you not expect to see about 6% of them to target Linux and or Mac? Where are those 500 viruses? They are not there - because it's a combination of factors that makes Windows such a choice target, not just pure numbers.

    Windows was designed as a single user system. It was not designed as a networked system from the start. It has had all of these bells and whistles added on after the fact. Shoe-horned on, if you want the truth. *nix (OS X, BSD, AIX, Linux etc) have all been designed with networking as a core concept. When you design a system with networking as a core concept, you tend to give some thought as to how to make sure that people that you do not want in are not allowed in. It's as simple as that.

    Microsoft did not have security as a core concept until Windows XP SP2 - about 2 years ago. BSD has been doing it for 30 years. You make the choice.

    I am not saying that there will never be security issues with these other OS's - rather that they are *more* secure by default. It's like a house. If you are going to store valuables, what are you going to store them in? A grass hut or a steel vault? Even if you choose the steel vault and you leave the door wide open, you are going to have problems.

    So - instead of doing a rip and replace on the Internet to improve security, lets go ahead and deal with the source of the problem. The Internet is a collection of networks of computers. Let's push the security to where it belongs - the computers that make up the networks. Asking the network to secure it's self is like asking the roads to stop people from breaking into our houses.

    So, lock the doors to your house, and make sure that it's not a straw house.

    Comments and Email

    You can now be notified when some one else comments to a comment stream that you have commented on.

    Confused yet?

    Just check the little box under the comment feild and you will be one with the way of comment notification.

    Heh

    " They keep talking about drafting a Constitution for Iraq. Why don't we just give them ours? It was written by a lot of really smart guys, it's worked for over 200 years, and hell, we're not using it anymore." , Jay Leno

    (From [Heretical Ideas](http://hereticalideas.com/index.php?p=3055))

    EFF on MGM v. Grokster

    As many of you know, EFF represented StreamCast in the MGM v. Grokster case. The Supreme Court's decision held that software innovators may be held liable for inducing the copyright infringement of their users. EFF believes that the Court unleashed the potential for a torrent of new litigation by creating a test that has many factors, is very fact-specific, and is difficult to predict. The Court also set us up for a world where consumers are given fewer choices in the marketplace, because innovators will be scared to introduce products that do not have Hollywood's seal of approval.

    There is no question that there will be a flood of litigation as a result of this decision, as well as congressional hearings. EFF must be there to represent the rights of innovators and consumers in the fights to come. Now, more than ever, we need your support to continue to protect innovation and new technologies in cyberspace.

    If you haven't done so already, please become a member of EFF at [http://secure.eff.org/membership](http://secure.eff.org/membership) to continue the fight for innovation and digital rights. If you are already a member, you can make a quick gift now at [http://secure.eff.org/saveinnovation](http://secure.eff.org/saveinnovation) to ensure the future of technology innovation.

    Thank you for your support!

    Head on over, and lend a hand, or at least get set up on their [action items list](http://action.eff.org/site/PageServer?pagename=ADV_homepage). Also check out [Chilling Effects](http://www.chillingeffects.org/) - they have a lot of good information there.

    Not just for war anymore!

    [Not just for war anymore!](http://sharpmarbles.stufftoread.com/archive/2005/06/29/3552.aspx)

    We all know about Chickenhawks , those people who support war but aren't willing to walk down to the recruiter's office and sign up! The cowards. How dare someone want somebody else to do the dirty work for them! Well, they're not alone! Here is a list of other cowards and their hypocracy.

    I will add:

    ChickenHaxors - people who want to use computers but are too afraid to become l33t haxors and defend their turf.

    ChickenBallers - People who love sports, but who's asses are stuck to the couch so that they cannot get out and play themselves

    Seen on Slashdot

    In his maiden speech to the House of Commons, the Hon. Member for Copeland, Jamie Reed MP, announced that he is a Jedi: "as the first Jedi Member of this place, I look forward to the protection under the law that will be provided to me by the Bill"

    From [Slashdot](http://politics.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=05/06/29/1740254&from=rss)

    And here is the comment stream that makes this so intresting:

    The Force is **retarded** with this one... (Score:4, Funny) by TripMaster Monkey (862126) * on Wednesday June 29, @02:23PM (#12943117) (Last Journal: Tuesday May 17, @11:38AM)

    This whole Jedi religion [scaryplace.com] dreck has now officially gone too far. To those misguided simpletons out there who insist on calling themselves 'Jedi knights', I offer you this chance to prove yourselves:

    * Just build a lightsaber. A real one. That's all.

    What's that...you can't? Don't have suitable raw materials, you say? OK...that's fair...how about this, then:

    * Force choke me. From where you are right now. Go ahead...it's OK.

    Are you doing it? I'm not feeling anything...

    And ...

    Re:The Force is **retarded** with this one... (Score:5, Insightful) by Phillup (317168) on Wednesday June 29, @03:07PM (#12943653) There's no such thing as the force, and there never will be

    And, this is different from other religions how?

    I think that a lot of religous folks should take these comments to heart. And I am not just talking about Christians here. There are a lot of other religous folks that feel that they have the exclusive ownership of some universal truth that transends all, but cannot be proven by empirical or logical reasoning.

    To this I say - Bull. Faith is not enough to validate a universal truth.

    Let's look at what the Truth about Truth is:

    truth (trūth) pronunciation n., pl. truths (trūTHz, trūths). 1. Conformity to fact or actuality. 2. A statement proven to be or accepted as true. 3. Sincerity; integrity. 4. Fidelity to an original or standard. 5. 1. Reality; actuality. 2. often Truth That which is considered to be the supreme reality and to have the ultimate meaning and value of existence.

    (From [Answers.com](http://www.answers.com/truth&r=67)). We can throw out meaning #2 right now, as it is [recursive.](http://www.answers.com/recursive) Truth, by definition, is based in fact. Not faith. When some one decides to blow themselves up, I would hope that they have truth on their side, and not faith. Did Jesus want people to declare Crusades in his name? Burn witches in his name? Or, did he want people to just get along and love one and another?

    I do not discount people's right to choose what they believe. However, this belief should be held with the understanding that it might not be consistent with fact or reality. This should temper their understanding of other's choices to believe as they see fit. When you understand that you, in point of fact, do not really understand how the universe works, it makes you more humble. We are like worms living in an apple. We think that is the entire world, not seeing the tree, roots, seeds and other apples.

    Things that make you go eeeek

    Read the following (from [Fungi from Yuggoth](http://sprg.ssl.berkeley.edu/~wcoburn/hpl/fungi.html))

    It is a certain hour of twilight glooms, Mostly in autumn, when the star-wind pours Down hilltop streets, deserted out-of-doors, But shewing early lamplight from snug rooms. The dead leaves rush in strange, fantastic twists, And chimney-smoke whirls round with alien grace, Heeding geometries of outer space, *While Fomalhaut peers in through southward mists.*

    This is the hour when moonstruck poets know What fungi sprout in Yuggoth, and what scents And tints of flowers fill Nithon's continents, Such as in no poor earthly garden blow. Yet for each dream these winds to us convey, A dozen more of ours they sweep away!

    Now, go look at [this](http://www.newscientistspace.com/data/images/ns/9999/99997564F1.JPG) and realize that it's the star *[Fomalhaut](http://www.solstation.com/stars/fomalhau.htm)*. No, [Really](http://www.newscientistspace.com/article/dn7564)!

    Wonder what ol' Lovecraft really knew?

    Error message says it all

    [](http://atom.smasher.org/error/gallery/)

    User Freindly

    [User Freindly](http://ars.userfriendly.org/cartoons/?id=20050629)

    Ok, so if you do not read User Freindly, you should. Go there now. Spend Money. Revel in the glory that is UF.

    Whitecaps Response to West

    WEST: Today my lawyers are filing an appeal to allow the state Supreme Court to review the recall petition filed against me. The citizens of Spokane deserve to know why I have decided to appeal. Simply put, it is because the charges are false, and the ballot statement they would vote on was improperly prepared and is prejudicial.

    WHITECAPS: If the charges in Shannon Sullivan's recall petition are false, West's lawyers are skilled enough to show that, and the voters of Spokane are intelligent enough to see it. It is West's lawyers' job to make his side of the story known to the electorate who would vote in the recall petition. Questioning the adequacy of the form and content of the ballot is appropriately the duty of the Spokane County Auditor. Putting that question to the State Supreme Court now would be premature since the ballot has yet to be prepared. If the ballot wording is prejudicial, it can be contested once it has been finalized.

    [Whitecaps](http://whitecaps.blogspot.com/2005/06/response-to-spokane-mayor-james-west.html) does a very good job of a point by point response to Mayor West's rebuttal and actions over the last few weeks.

    If the Mayor is so certain that he is not guilty and still fit for the job, then he should let the recall go forward. If he is infact still fit for the job, he should not have an issue convincing the voters of that. However, his actions speak of fear, not confidence.

    Take That, or Just Desserts?

    Here is one way to fight back against the Kelo decision that took away your property rights. Logan Darrow Clements of Freestar Media, LLC anounced the attempted acquistion of Justice David H. Soute's home in Weare, New Hampshire. Plans for the property include a new hotel which constitutes better public use of the property than Mr. Souter's simple ownership.

    (Hat Tip [Of The Mind](http://www.ofthemind.com/archives/2005/06/lost_libert_hot.html))

    Sunsets

    There are meteorologists, but who keeps a record of the fairer sunsets? While men are recording the direction of the wind, they neglect to record the beauty of the sunset or the rainbow.
    - [Henry D. Thoreau](http://blogthoreau.blogspot.com/2005/06/thoreaus-journal-28-jun-1852.html)

    Egads!


    [What Type of Villain are You?](http://www.mutedfaith.com/quiz/vq.htm" target="new)
    [mutedfaith.com](http://www.mutedfaith.com" target="new).

    (Hat tip [Justus](http://davejustus.blogspot.com/2005/06/curses-foiled-again.html))

    The Willing

    [Chrenkoff](http://chrenkoff.blogspot.com/2005/06/willing.html) has a bunch of pictures of the countries that are lending a hand in Iraq.

    (Hat Tip [Justus](http://davejustus.blogspot.com/2005/06/pictures-of-unilateralism.html))

    Wallpaper

    [Widescreen](http://mritche.net/wallpaper/widescreen/) wallpapers. Wow.

    (Hat tip, [DVD John](http://nanocrew.net/?p=3))

    Immanentize the Eschaton?

    Catholic term for the sin of most heretic groups who attempt to either create heaven or hell in this world instead of waiting for it in the next.
    From [Chaos Matrix](http://www.chaosmatrix.org/library/chaos/texts/ite.html) People seem to expect perfection from their leaders – they want Heaven on Earth, but complain that they are living in Hell on earth when *their* leaders are not elected. They fret that everything is not perfect, they explode when things are not 100% the way that they want them to be. They are trying to live in a “Heaven” on earth. Sadly, this does not work, and leads them to more frustration, fear and loathing of what ever they see standing in their way. It’s a downward spiral into depression, rage and death.
    Winston Churchill noted that, “Those whose minds are attracted or compelled to rigid and symmetrical systems of government should remember that … human beings and human societies are not structures that are built or machines that are forged. They are plants that grow and must be treated as such.” As an old (and gleefully incomprehensible) conservative slogan puts it: Don’t Immanentize the Eschaton! That is, heaven ain’t coming to earth, and the standard by which governments and their policies must be judged is not some fantastical Kingdom of Heaven on earth..
    From [The Daily Barometer Online](http://barometer.orst.edu/vnews/display.v/ART/2005/05/25/4294a5209a99e) Living under unrealistic expectations will always lead to unhappiness. This is why Buddhists teach that *Life is Suffering*. When you expect suffering and hardship, those moments of peace and happiness are all the more sweet. However, this concept goes far beyond mere happiness for individuals. When leaders start to try to create their vision of Heaven or Hell on earth, bad things can happen
    For Voegelin, as least in his role as political scientist, the great dividing line is between certainty and uncertainty. The good thing is uncertainty. Why? Because people who are certain about humanity's ends often seek to divinize society, to reunite heaven and earth, by establishing within this world the true and final purposes of man. For Voegelin, this form of certainty is the great threat to humanity. For the man who is certain in this way will not leave the transfiguration of the world to the grace of God beyond history but will do the work of God himself, right here and now, in history. Cromwell was certain in this way. Lenin and Hitler were, if anything, even more certain. Indeed, leaders and social movements possessed of this type of certainty shaped much of the 20th century, including almost all of its bloodiest and ugliest parts
    From [Uncertain](http://www.propositionsonline.com/html/uncertain.html) by David Blankenthorn Uncertainty should be a part of our lives. When we know that we have ultimate truth (if such a thing can exist) we have the mindset that anyone that disagrees with us is wrong. If they are wrong, and cannot be convinced other wise, then they are flawed. If they are flawed, then they need to be helped. If they cannot be helped, then they are the enemy! I propose a simpler philosophy:
    It is my firm belief that the mistake your mistake is trying to understand. How can one understand the Goddess of confusion? Then again it is our firm belief that it is a mistake to hold firm beliefs. If you believe it. Hail Eris!
    -Episkopos Galactus I, Keeper of the sacred Backbacon (23 Sep. 1996). When we are able to see that all belief structures come from the same essential chaos, our lives will be happier and simpler. When we see that anything that we hold dear is simply a fleeting image and not real, we will be able to deal with life, death, and politics with grace and ease.
    This was on the fifth night, and when they slept that night each had a vivid dream of a splendid woman whose eyes were as soft as a feather and as deep as eternity itself…she spoke in a warm and gentle voice: ‘I have come to tell you that you are free. Many ages ago, My consciousness left man, that he might develop himself. I return to find this development approaching completion, but hindered by fear and by misunderstanding. You have built yourselves psychic suits of armor, and clad in them, your vision is restricted…your spirit broiled by the sun. I am chaos. I am the substance from which your artists and scientists build rhythms…I am alive and I tell you that you are free
    - No one

    Security Awareness for Ma, Pa and the Corporate Clueless

    [Security Awareness for Ma, Pa and the Corporate Clueless](http://securityawareness.blogspot.com/) says:

    Antonio Marcelli killed people for a living. At least a few he admitted to. The feds caught him, he turned state's evidence, testified in open court against the capos and subsequently entered the witness protection program. He was safe until his new name and location hit the Internet.

    A computer junkie from Kentucky had bought a heap of old hard drives that the Justice Department had discarded. Lo and behold, names and addresses of people in the witness protection program popped up in a perfectly readable format.

    Wow. There are (or should be) standards for 'cleaning' data off of gear that is old and gotten rid of. Following them might be another thing, as this case shows.

    This helps to show that there can be real consequences for computer security (or a lack thereof)

    Webtools

    [HTML Color Code Combination Chooser](http://www.siteprocentral.com/html_color_code.html) is a cool tool for the modern webdude/tte.

    Don't let them

    Don't let them Immanentize the Eschaton!

    It's all over

    [SaaM](http://sharpmarbles.stufftoread.com/archive/2005/06/21/3441.aspx) brings us this scary and chilling statistic:

    Did you know that the worldwide death rate is 100%? Scary!

    It's over folks. This blog is shutting down, as we are all really dead.

    Musings on a Personal God

    Wabi my Sabi has an interesting [post:](http://wabimysabi.blogdrive.com/archive/122.html)

    Judaism, Christianity, and - to a lesser extent - Islam have all developed the idea of a personal God, so we tend to think that this ideal represents religion at its best. The personal God has helped monotheists to value the sacred and inalienable rights of the individual and to cultivate an appreciation of human personality. The Judeo-Christian tradition has thus helped the West to acquire the liberal humanism it values so highly.

    There are various logical and philosphical issues with there being a God and this article exposes some of the issues when you make God into a person. When you anthropomorphize something, you assign it human attributes where none exist. For example, you might feel that your computer is 'out to get you' when your computer, in fact, is no more capable of caring about you at all then making you a latte with extra foam after giving you a back rub.

    Yet a personal God can become a grave liability. He can be a mere idol carved in our own image, a projection of our limited needs, fears and desires. We can assume that he loves what we love and hates what we hate, endorsing our prejudices instead of compelling us to transcend them

    Giving the Godhead a personality is a dangerous road to travel. We then can assign him emotions. Perhaps he hates our enemys as much as we do? Perhaps he condones acts of barbarism on them, as they are his hated foe? Perhaps he feels that we should take the civil liberties of a certain class of people becuase they are 'dirty' or 'evil' in his eyes?

    We need to move beyond a personal God to a transcendental Godhead which **is** compassion and love for all creatures and things.

    What planet am I from??

    You Are From Saturn

    You're steady, organizes, and determined to achieve your dreams. You tend to play it conservative, going by the rules (at least the practical ones). You'll likely reach the top. And when you do, you'll be honorable and responsible. Focus on happiness. Don't let your goals distract you from fun! Don't be too set in your ways, and you'll be more of a success than you ever dreamed of.
    [What Planet Are You From?](http://www.blogthings.com/planetquiz.html)

    (Hat Tip, [Justus](http://davejustus.blogspot.com/))

    Computer-generated webpage design

    [StrangeBanana](http://www.strangebanana.com/default.aspx) is the odd name of a cool tool for Website Design. What is does, is randomly crops together a stylesheet for a website layout. Pretty cool stuff!

    Onward, Moderate Christian Soldiers

    In the decade since I left the Senate, American politics has been characterized by two phenomena: the increased activism of the Christian right, especially in the Republican Party, and the collapse of bipartisan collegiality. I do not think it is a stretch to suggest a relationship between the two. To assert that I am on God's side and you are not, that I know God's will and you do not, and that I will use the power of government to advance my understanding of God's kingdom is certain to produce hostility.

    John C. Danforth has a lot to say about the current crop of right wing Christians in this N.Y. Times [article](http://www.nytimes.com/2005/06/17/opinion/17danforth.html?ex=1119844800&en=ff5dd6ef0c0d9b2a&ei=5070&emc=eta1). It's a very good read, and should be taken to heart. If more Christians followed Mr. Danforth's beliefs, I feel that Christianity would not be at the crossroads that it is today.

    Conversely, if the political parties took his advice to heart, I do not think that the country would be in the state that it is today. We, as a people, are far to divided. We engender hatred over politics. I am sorry, but Hatred over politics is just plain silly. The differences between Bush's and Kerry's platforms were trivial. It all came down to character - not actions and path. We are in a country where every election is poised to become a court battle 'because we did not win!' And we are trying to bring the rest of the world into Democracy. Perhaps we should lead with our actions, instead of just words.

    A few days with the new 'puter

    And I am in love with my Mac Mini. OS X is slick, quick and very user friendly. The dashboard has quickly become a favorite application. I have a very cluttered dashboard. :)

    From automatically displaying some of my favorite comics to a slick word of the day applet this thing has a lot of cool features.

    My favorite is called 'Buzztracker'. They even have a [website](http://www.buzztracker.org). Ok, so the website came before the widget, but what ever. It displays a map of the world, with little red specks for news items, and ranks the areas of the world by how much news is generated. Today I have watched Gaza, which started with the lead at about 16%, end up 4th (even under Madrid) with only 6%. Cool stuff.

    Other then that, there is a ton of great software out there (yes, great software). I downloaded and installed NeoOffice/J, a port of Open Office for the Mac, and have had all the convenience of Open Office 1.x at my fingertips.

    Still posting from the widget for Wordpress. Oh - you have got to see the RSS reader in Safari. Wow. makes keeping up with my RSS feeds a snap.

    I feel sad, but I actually enjoy using this computer more then my Linux boxes. When Gnome or KDE gets to this level of sophistication, which I am sure that it will, I will be overjoyed.

    The only thing that I miss from Linux is the ability to skin Gnome or KDE so much. Especially Gnome. Apple has done a fantastic job of making the look and feel of OS X really polished, but I like to play with the icons and window borders a wee bit.

    Not a lot to complain about. The machine is really well built, silent, stylish, and seems to be crash proof. I have a firewall on my router, but I have not configured the one on this computer yet.

    Anyways, time for bed. Nite all!

    This, I have been waiting for

    [GURPS Traveller](http://www.sjgames.com/gurps/traveller/interstellarwars/): Interstellar Wars covers the 200 years of war, peace, and overwhelming change as the ancient Vilani Imperium falls to the upstart Terrans. In this time of conflict, the opportunities for adventure are more exciting than ever before!

    Coming in October!

    Firefly back!

    **It's BACK!**

    TV.com [reports:](http://www.tv.com/story/story.html&story_id=335)

    Firefly, a science fiction series that was canceled midway through its first season on Fox, has found a new home on the Sci Fi Channel. All existing episodes will air this summer, though there is no word on a second season

    And SciFi [says](http://www.scifi.com/scifiwire2005/index.php?category=0&id=31260):

    SCI FI Channel announced that it will air reruns of Fox's canceled SF series Firefly, including three episodes that never aired on Fox. SCI FI will air all 14 hours of the show, from creator Joss Whedon (Buffy the Vampire Slayer), starting July 22, in the 7 p.m. ET/PT Friday timeslot. It will be followed by new episodes of Stargate SG-1 at 8, Stargate Atlantis at 9 and Battlestar Galactica at 10.

    Fantasic news. I hope, if the [movie](http://www.serenitymovie.com/) does well, and the series does well, that SciFi will start in on new episodes. What a Friday lineup! Get your DVR's primed for July 22!

    If you have not seen the trailer for the FireFly move - run, don't walk [here](http://www.serenitymovie.com/) and watch it. Several times.

    For those that care

    Terri Schiavo's Autopsy [findings](http://news.google.com/news?hl=en&gl=us&ie=UTF-8&q=Schiavo+autopsy&btnG=Search+News) are in.

    But I'm a Cheerleader, or Saved!

    I saw parts of [But I'm a Cheerleader](http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0179116/) - and honestly, could not get past the horrid acting. [Saved](http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0332375/) was funny as heck, and probably had a better ending. However, I did not think that [things](http://www.loveinaction.org/) like that actually existed!

    Imagine my horror when I read the following on [Heretical Ideas](http://hereticalideas.com/index.php?p=3020).

    Well today, my mother, father, and I had a very long "talk" in my room where they let me know I am to apply for a fundamentalist christian program for gays. They tell me that there is something psychologically wrong with me, and they "raised me wrong." I'm a big screw up to them, who isn't on the path God wants me to be on. So I'm sitting here in tears, joing the rest of those kids who complain about their parents on blogs - and I can't help it.

    Not really beliving, I [followed](http://www.dailykos.com/story/2005/6/10/20406/0177) a [few](http://blog.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=blog.view&friendID=7428306&blogID=29364299&Mytoken=20050614144332) [links](http://www.gbconline.net/templates/cusgermantown/details.asp?id=20898&PID=39132). All that I can say is 'wow'.

    Justus has a [post](http://davejustus.blogspot.com/2005/06/parental-notification.html) today that is somewhat related about parential notification in cases of abortion. He says

    I will back up anyone on having as a part of parental control laws a strong system of counseling and child protective services to deal with this sort of problem. The idea though that a 13 yo girl, when having these sort of problems and facing the need for an abortion should just have minimal tools to try and be self reliant is repellent however.

    This same topic applies here - however it is a fine line. When do we allow the goverment to step in and stop what could amount to toture? When is the freedom of the child eclipsed by the freedoms of the parents to raise their child as they see fit?

    First post from my Mac Mini

    Yup - I got a mac Mini for Fathers Day. Well, kind of for fathers day - it was a few days early. So this is my first post from the new box. I found a widget for Dashboard that posts to wordpress sites, and ho-boy it's slick.

    Seeing others as yourself

    So this is the practice of shining light. We look at somebody in the [Sangha](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sangha) and ask ourselves if we are like that person. Maybe we are a twin of that person. We are exactly like that person. When we look at that person we see ourselves, and when we see ourselves we have to practice straight away to change the situation. We have a weakness and we know we have that weakness. Whenever we see that we have a weakness, we accept that we have that weakness. That is awakening; that is enlightenment. Our success in the practice is due to these moments of enlightenment. "I have that weakness and I accept that I have that weakness."

    [Thich Nhat Hanh](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thich_Nhat_Hanh)

    Living is not all that hard. Living at peace with your fellow beings is not all that hard either. All you have to do is understand that they are people to, and see the world from their perspective. Or at least try.

    In times of War, it is often easier to de-humanize the enemy. Turn them into monsters or some sort of subhuman creature. It is easier on 'your side' to justify killing them. However, I think that we need to step back from this. We need to keep thinking of these people as people. This should not stop us from defending ourselves, however it should be done with the realization that we are killing real people with mothers and fathers and children. Diplomacy should always be our first option, killing our last.

    I think that the [Taser gun](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taser) is a great advancement. I know that there have been deaths associated with the Tasers, and people are all up in arms about this. I ask this however - Which would you rather get shot with? A real gun or a taser? One gives you a chance of survival, one is incredibly destructive to the body. Where ever possible, less then lethal weapons should be used to capture criminals.

    And do not get me wrong, terrorists are simply criminals. Their crimes are grand in scope, but criminals they are none the less. To treat them as combatants in a war gives them and their cause more credibility then they deserve. They are enemies of peace, however they are no different then gangsters. They should be treated as such. Apprehended, and tried for their crimes.

    It takes the wind out of their sails as well. Look at Saddam. If he died in a desperate firefight, he might have become a martyr. Now, he is just a sad old man, standing trial for his crimes.

    Niche Market

    AbysS (11:20 PM) : I accIdentally took my dice home from gaming last week :) they were in my pocket :) Kaedenesque (11:20 PM) : Why were your dice in your pocket?

    Thus starts an interesting discussion [over on the Rubber Becca's](http://www.livejournal.com/users/morpheus0013/163337.html) site..

    Warning! This is not for the prudish!

    Why Buddhism?

    Several people have asked me the question, "why [Buddhism](http://buddhism.about.com/)?" There are several reasons that I feel drawn to this path, and I wanted to take a few moments to expand on them

    First, and foremost, I agree with the [philosophy](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buddhist_philosophy) and the [psychology](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buddhism#Principles_of_Buddhism). I have travelled parts of the path, and felt how it can promote internal peace and harmony. It is really a simple and easy path - it just takes doing. What I have gotten out of the baby steps that I have made have been well worth the effort.

    Secondly, there is an ancestral tie there. For those of you that do not know, I have felt a connection with my [Celtic](http://www.data-wales.co.uk/celt4.htm) roots most of my life. What does this have to do with Buddhism you ask? Well, that is a long story.

    The Celts came from the steppes of Russia a long time ago. There were two branches of this migration - one into Europe and one into India. They were called the Indo-Europeans. They did develop differently, simply because of the great distances - however many people that study the Celts have commented that the oldest Indian writings, the Rig Vedda, is very similar to the Celtic tales that have been handed down. Some have gone even so far as to say that the stories are the same, except the names are different. In fact, [Sanskrit and Gaelic](http://www.google.com/url?sa=U&start=2&q=http://colfa.utsa.edu/drinka/pie/lang_sanskrit.htm&e=747) even have a common linguistic ancestor.

    As Buddhism is a growth out of the Hindu religious beliefs of 2500 years ago, and the Hindu beliefs are a melding of the Indo-European and the original Indian inhabitants, one could (and some do) draw parallels between the Ancient Celtic beliefs and the Hindu/Buddhist beliefs. There certainly are similarities. Both believe in reincarnation. Both follow the same practices and similar beliefs.

    However, the European Celts clearly practiced, and a few still do, more orthodox Vedic type religions, with similar traditions of chanting, rituals, deity worship, mantra and meditation, with direct parallels to most of the ancient and modern orthodox Hindu sects found in India. As such, it is theorized by some scholars that the two branches split because the Celts maintained the older dharma, whereas the people who stayed in the regions north of the Himalayas accepted Buddhism, perhaps from Kashyapa Buddha.

    From [Hindu and Celtic Culture Are One](http://www.vedanet.com/HinduCeltic.htm)

    But in the March issue of Scientific American, British expert Timothy Taylor convincingly resurrects the cauldron's Indian connection. "I saw that the Gundestrup scene showing a pair of elephants flanking a central female figure clearly depicted the ritual bathing of Lakshmi, the Hindu goddess of good fortune."

    from [Hindu Icons on Celt Cauldron](http://www.hinduismtoday.com/archives/1992/05/1992-05-05.shtml)

    Countless studies on European pre-history, ancient languages and religions have brought to light a surprising number of similarities between cultures of the various peoples that lived in the vast area from Ireland to India and from Scandinavia to North Africa. It also appears that the Druids had much in common with the Shamans of Eastern Europe and the Brahmins of India.

    from [CELTS AND HINDUS, The Encyclopaedia of the Celts](http://www.google.com/url?sa=U&start=7&q=http://www.isle-of-skye.org.uk/celtic-encyclopaedia/celt_c2c.htm&e=747)

    The Druids of the ancient Celtic world have a startling kinship with the brahmins of the Hindu religion and were, indeed, a parallel development from their common Indo-European cultural root which began to branch out probably five thousand years ago.

    from Our Druid Cousins The evidence that the Celts and Druids were related to the very Brahmins that the Buddha preached to is compelling. In fact, I feel that if there had not been the turbulent political climate in Europe that there was, we might have seen a similar development in the Celtic belief system.

    So, there is a connection for me between what the Buddha taught, and what I feel drawn towards. Buddhism is more relevant then the Celtic Religion today, and I feel that I have more of a chance of learning about it, since it's teachings have not yet been eradicated.

    Buddha was a Celt, and so am I.

    Pictures from Darfur

    Here is a really good [photo set](http://www.flickr.com/photos/andrewheavens/sets/416158/) from Darfur.

    This is one of the things that I really think is fantastic about the "*new media*". People are able to post things almost as they happen. You are able to see views into others lives in unprecedented clarity. Shrinking the world is a good thing. If we know our neighbors, and know that they are people with wants, fears and needs just like we are, perhaps we will be less likely to want to kill them.

    I have great hopes for the future.

    New Traveller Site

    One of my hobbies is [Traveller.](http://www.sjgames.com/gurps/traveller/) So, imagine my glee when I was able to help set up a new site for a [Traveller](http://www.travellerrpg.com/) Fanzine - [Stellar Reaches](http://stellarreaches.nwgamers.org). If you are a [Traveller](http://www.farfuture.net/) Geek - you really should check it out!

    Heretical Ideas » PHONE COMPANY PLAYS MORALITY CARD IN ADVERTISING

    Did you know that:

    MCI distributes child pornography?

    Verizon makes its employees 'accept homosexuality” (as opposed to just asking them not to aggravate gay co-workers and customers)?

    God hates the major telecommunications carriers?

    Read the rest of this startling revelation [here](http://hereticalideas.com/index.php?p=3011)

    One way to get rid of telephone sales

    "Ya? Hedlo"? (OK, maybe it's more Swedish than German but give me a break, it was 8:12am). "Hey Scarlett! How's it goin? Are you diggin' the new neighborhood"?

    Read the rest on [WhyAreWeInThisHandbasket](http://whyareweinthishandbasket.blogspot.com/)

    With no fanfare

    The latest stable release of Debian is 3.1. The last update to this release was made on June 6th, 2005.

    Run - don't walk, and get it [here](http://www.debian.org/distrib/)!

    From Brad Pitt:

    Dear Friend,

    Every single day 30,000 children die from the effects of extreme poverty and it almost never makes the news. Tonight, that's going to be different.

    I visited Africa last month with Diane Sawyer to record a "Primetime Live" special, and tonight that program will air at 10pm/9pm Central on ABC. The show is not only about the emergency in Africa, but also about successful projects that are saving people's lives and building new hope in entire communities.

    Yesterday the ONE campaign asked all of us to do something that will make a real difference for the people we met in Africa: sign a letter to President Bush asking him to seize the best opportunity we've had in decades to actually end extreme poverty. The ONE letter asks the President to support three bold commitments at the G8 summit of world leaders on July 6th: more and better international assistance, debt cancellation and trade reform.

    Last week I signed the ONE letter to President Bush, and since yesterday thousands of you have too. That is an amazing show of support. The ONE campaign has set a goal to get ONE million letter signatures by the upcoming G8 summit on July 6th. We can get half way there by the end of this week if you join with me and sign the ONE letter to President Bush and ask your friends and family to sign as well:

    Sign the ONE letter to President Bush.

    Thanks, and please tell all your friends to watch the show tonight: 10pm/9pm Central on ABC.

    Brad Pitt

    Visit [One](http://www.one.org/) to sign the letter

    Blue Eyes

    When lip service to some mysterious deity permits bestiality on Wednesday and absolution on Sunday, cash me out

    [Frank Sinatra](http://quotes_wisdom.linkgrinder.com/wisdom/Frank_Sinatra_When_lip_service_to_some_mysterious_deity_permits_bestiality_on_2259_2.html)

    (Hat Tip, [Pawprints in the Mud](http://blog.360.yahoo.com/blog-GgIvRtgic6OBSZQ8afCXKPDTJVDV?p=105&.login=1))

    Apple on x86!

    "Mac OS X has been leading a secret double life. There have been rumors to this effect... We've had teams working on the 'just in case' scenario." said Steve Jobs. Apple will ship a Mac with Intel processors by June 6th, 2006, as reports said. It should be complete by June 2007. Says that Intel offers a better roadmap for the markets that Apple services.

    Steve also [talked](http://www.osnews.com/story.php?news_id=10765) about the [reasons](http://live.macobserver.com/article/2005/06/wwdc2005_keynote.shtml) for the [switch,](http://news.com.com/Apple+throws+the+switch%2C+aligns+with+Intel/2100-7341_3-5733756.html?tag=nefd.top) and some ideas about life after.

    Wow.

    Freecycle

    Nope - not a biking thing - a way to find people who want your old stuff (or find old stuff that you need)

    Spokane has a [group](http://http://groups.yahoo.com/group/freecyclespokane) with almost 1300 members right now - so you might want to check it out.

    (Hat Tip, [Wabi my Sabi](http://wabimysabi.blogdrive.com/archive/110.html))

    Judge rules in favor of Democrats

    WENATCHEE , A Chelan County Superior Court judge today said that despite evidence of numerous election errors, Republicans failed to prove those errors cost their candidate the race.

    Gov. Christine Gregoire's narrow win over Republican Dino Rossi stands, the judge ruled.

    'Irregularity ... is not sufficient to invalidate an election,” Judge John Bridges said, who was flanked by two sheriff's deputies as he read his lengthy ruling.

    There is no evidence that ballots were changed or that, as Republicans maintained, ballot boxes were 'stuffed,” he explained. 'Unless an election is clearly invalid, when the people have spoken, their verdict should not be disturbed by the courts,” he added.

    From the [Spokesman](http://www.spokesmanreview.com/breaking/story.asp?submitDate=20056695639)

    Guerilla Minds Eye Theater

    Wabi my Sabi has a link to [this](http://www.billboardliberation.com/ronald.html). It is one of the most brilliant Guerilla Minds Eye Theater events that I have seen in a long time.

    As a Discordian, I feel that the event should not have had meaning at all.

    I do not agree with the agressive tone that some of these things have, for example I would not have invaded a resturant. It is enough to teach. Any time a person tries to block anyone else's choices - that is not freedom. People should be allowed to make stupid choices - but should be educated about the those choices.

    Really just rambling - did I make any sense?

    Ummm

    Not to much that I can say about [this](http://eclectech.co.uk/mindcontrol.php).

    Pulp Fiction - a great flick

    [What Pulp Fiction Character Are You?](http://www.pyrrha.org/pulp)

    Your name alone strikes fear into others; but maybe, just maybe, there's a little vulnerability and weakness beneath that stoic, fierce exterior of yours.

    Take the [What Pulp Fiction Character Are You?](http://www.pyrrha.org/pulp) quiz.

    Hat Tip - [Wabi My Sabi](http://wabimysabi.blogdrive.com/)

    Things that make me laugh

    Ads By Google Linux Comparison Get The Facts: Windows vs. Linux. Read The Independent Analysis Now. www.microsoft.com

    Seen at Slashdot...

    Mayor West Speaks

    Mayor West talks on The Today Show, and the Spokesman posts a [transcript.](http://www.spokesmanreview.com/jimwest/story.asp?ID=053105_transcript_today) Good read.

    Lauer: Do you expect them to rally around you? I mean, there are many calls for your resignation.

    West: I've received letters and emails. My mail and my emails are running two to one in favor of me resigning. (sic) I have with me emails from people who said I didn't vote for you, but you're doing such a great job as Mayor ...

    Lauer: Wait, wait. You're saying two to one in favor of you not resigning?

    West: Not resigning. The mail that's coming to me, the emails that are coming to me are running in my favor not to resign. Stand your ground. They say if the allegations are true, you ought to go. Well, they're not true. But they say if they're not true, stand your ground, you shouldn't be run out for just simple allegations. Because if you can do that, they you can run anybody out of office.

    Thoreau Speaks

    The morning wind forever blows; the poem of the world is uninterrupted, but few are the ears that hear it.

    - [The Blog of Henry David Thoreau](http://blogthoreau.blogspot.com/)

    Cyborg Name

    [

    ](http://www.cyborgname.com/)

    Danger, Will Robinson!

    A conservative news outlet just released a list of the most dangerous books of the last 200 years. While some of the books (Hitler, Keynes, Marx to a lesser extent) might actually deserve the descriptor 'dangerous", some of these are ridiculous picks. Nietzsche? Kinsey? John Stuart Mill? Freud? Darwin?!? These are considered dangerous?

    Read the full article at [Heretical Ideas](http://hereticalideas.com/).

    Move the moon?

    All of this Earth moving talk had me thinking back to [High School](http://www.analy.org/), where we once talked about how the moon might have formed. Since it has been a few decades (centuries?) since I was in High School, I decided to take a gander at the current thinking. I found several sites - most are just the same old theory, which is quite good.
    At the time Earth formed 4.5 billion years ago, other smaller planetary bodies were also growing. One of these hit earth late in Earth's growth process, blowing out rocky debris. A fraction of that debris went into orbit around the Earth and aggregated into the moon.
    This theory ([here](http://www.onlineuniversity.net/earth-science/origin-of-the-moon/) or [here](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moon_Formation)) is pretty well though out. In 2001, there were some computer simulations done by the [Southwest Research Institute](http://www.swri.org/) that showed this process working. They have posted [video](http://63.114.151.211/release/2001/anim24n.wmv), and [pictures](http://www.swri.org/press/fig1biga.tif) [here](http://www.swri.org/press/impact.htm). [Space.com](http://www.space.com/scienceastronomy/planetearth/moonwhack_main_000901.html) has a good article on this as well. Interesting stuff.

    Guide to moving Earth

    Freindly URLs

    Welp, I went and did it. Installed some more tweakage to the site that allows us to use freindly URLs to access pages. Not really that important, but pretty cool none-the-less.

    Metaphor 1.42

    The reason Windows people think they're just as safe is because they're the victim of a propaganda war about the existence of Security By Design. Microsoft tries to play both sides of Security By Design, and most people don't even notice.

    [Thus starts](http://securityawareness.blogspot.com/2005/05/mad-as-hell-metaphor-142.html#comments) a really good article that does a fantastic job explaining the diffrences between Mac and Windows. Go, Read it!

    Notable Nearby Stars

    [Notable Nearby Stars](http://www.solstation.com/stars.htm) - a great resource page.

    Another [good page](http://www.projectrho.com/smap06.html) - lots of 3d stuff.

    NASA's [Nearby Stars Database](http://nstars.arc.nasa.gov/index.cfm)

    Memey Goodness

    Gee - thanks [Jesster](http://poorrolemodel.blogspot.com/2005/05/meme.html).

    3 names I go by: Duk, Fred, Greg

    3 physical things I like about myself: Brain, Arms, Hair.

    3 physical things I dislike about myself: Buddha Belly, Scars, Lack of Endurance.

    3 parts of my heritage: Welsh, Scottish, Irish

    3 things I am wearing right now: Clothes, Glasses and Shoes.

    3 favorite bands / musical artists: Pink Floyd, KMFDM, Paul Okenfold

    3 (of many) favorite songs: Genius of Love, Several Small Species of Animals in a Cave grooming with a pick, Starry Eyed Suprise

    3 things I want in a relationship: My Wife. :)

    3 physical things about the preferred sex that appeal to me: Personality, Hot Bod, Sense of Humor

    3 of my favorite hobbies: Gaming, Computers, Reading.

    3 things I want to do really badly right now: Sleep, Go to Starbucks, Eat a Cookie.

    3 things that scare me: Pain, Running so fast that I fall on my face, Running out of cookies.

    3 of my everyday essentials: Coffee, Computer, Book.

    3 careers you have considered or are considering: Spaceman, Computer Geek, Grownup.

    3 places you want to go on vacation: The Homeland (Scotland, Ireland, Wales), Asia, Under my bed.

    3 kids' names you like: Justin Case (vetoed) Jaxon Kail (chosen) Mythic Starwalker (um. yeah. nothing to see here, citizen).

    3 things you want to do before you die: Not grow up. Go into space, retire.

    3 ways I am stereotypically a boy: Um. Gassy. Let's just leave it at that. Eat fast, Enjoy Girls.

    3 ways I am stereotypically a girl: Hmm.. Puts hands on head - trying to get in touch with Feminine Side... No luck, sorry.

    3 celeb crushes: Cujo, Mr Bean, King Arthur (from Monty Python's the Holy Grail.)

    3 people who are up next: [Mystic,](http://lifeinahandbasket.blogspot.com/) [Dave,](http://davejustus.blogspot.com) [Emily](http://emilyscraziness.blogspot.com) (when she gets back to the Internet)

    They found his wedding ring at the bottom of the elevator shaft

    Jesster had a ['thing'](http://poorrolemodel.blogspot.com/2005/05/theres-good-story-in-there.html) on her site this morning. This is the result. Cliched. I know. :)


    Dan was fidgeting in the chair as he waited for the conference room to clear up. He had the pastries that he usually brought to the IT meetings sitting next to him. He drew a mouthful of coffee.

    As the 9 am meeting let out, he saw Jesster walking away with some of her people. He got up, straightened his shirt, grabbed the box of goodies and went into the room. Booting the laptop, he logged in and got his presentation ready.

    As soon as all of the members of the meeting arrived, the doors shut and he began.

    'So, in closing, we really need to move to Reiser4 for our data volumes” and he sat down.

    Over the next half hour, the meeting droned on. It was a normal corporate knife fight over new technology implementation. He really tried to remain involved, however he simply could not.

    His eyes snapped open, and he looked around. Still in the meeting, and no one was looking at him. He could not believe that he had fallen asleep.

    'Dan, what do you think about using the Nuclear Option on the Chinese book trade?”

    He focused on the questioner, a suit from the office in New York. 'Um, I guess I do not understand the question?”

    'It's simple , do we deploy our tactical nuclear weapons on the border with Chile to stop the Chinese book boot leggers?”

    'I am sorry, but I really have no idea what you are talking about”

    'What the hell? Did you just sleep through the last four hours of meeting?”

    'Well, um..” The suit pulled out a handgun and fired it. Dan looked down at his chest, blood staining his shirt. 'Oh.. Oh.. God”

    His eyes snapped open. His hand moved to his chest

    *Thank god, it's dry. It must have just been a dream*

    He scanned the room. Nothing. No one even noticed that he had been asleep. Their discussion was centered on standards for the data center. No weapons of mass destruction. Sighing with relief, he grabbed his paper coffee cup. He gasped with pain as the paper disintegrated spilling a glowing golden liquid on his hand.

    Screaming in pain, Dan jumped up, watching in horror as his hand started to melt away.

    His eyes snapped open. The conversation droned on about file system standards. Panic began to well in his hind brain as the reality of what might be happening to him sunk in.

    The floor shook under his feet. He looked out the window, and saw a 747 fly past.

    'But we're on the third floor!”

    His eyes snapped open.

    His eyes snapped open.

    His eyes snapped open.

    The Police officer spoke into the phone, 'That's correct Captain. The only thing left was the wedding ring at the bottom of the elevator shaft.”

    Windows rapidly approaching desktop usability?

    Every year or so I like to see how Microsoft is doing in its attempt to make a desktop operating system as usable as Linux. Microsoft Windows XP, Home Edition, with Service Pack 2, is a tremendous improvement over previous Windows versions when it comes to stability and appearance, but it still has many glitches that keep it from being competitive with GNU/Linux for everyday users, including a tedious installation procedure, lack of productivity software included with the operating system, hardware compatibility problems, and a price so much higher than any of the Linux distributions I've tested lately that I don't feel this product is a good value for most home or small office users

    [Robin 'Roblimo' Miller](http://os.newsforge.com/os/05/05/18/2033216.shtml?tid=149&tid=73&tid=16) goes on in this article to point out some of the flaws with the upstart Windows OS that Microsoft is positioning as a Desktop Replacement for Linux, BSD and OS X.

    Blogs Ate My Teenager!

    Is blogging dangerous? The Christian Science Monitor hopes it might be, in a terrifying new article entitled "Teens: It's a diary. Adults: It's unsafe." The article, which oversimplifies blogs as "self-published Web pages," cites stats given by Parry Aftab of Wiredsafety.org: "Internet stalkers have killed at least four minors in the past three years, and law enforcement authorities count about 5,000 reports of attempted sexual predation over the Internet in the past year..." Compare this to the 374 Americans struck by lightning and killed between 1995-2000 (apha.confex.com, May 25, 2005), and you may relax somewhat. Sure, cyberstalkers are scary, but so is the wrath of Zeus.

    From [Clickable Culture](http://secretlair.com/index.php?/clickableculture/entry/blogs_ate_my_teenager/)

    Yet another case of statistics gone wrong. It's like I said [before](http://greg.nokes.name/?p=425), The media is in the business of selling papers, air time or what ever. They are not going to report things that will not sell. I agree that parents should be aware of their children's activities, but to be terrorified because they have less then a 0.00001% (5000 acts vs 297 million people in the US) of being victimised? It's more dangerous to step off the curb.

    (Hat Tip [Weblogs Tools Collection](http://weblogtoolscollection.com/archives/2005/05/26/blogs-ate-my-teenager/))

    Top 10 Ways to Destroy the Earth

    [Top 10 Ways to Destroy the Earth](http://www.livescience.com/technology/10ways_destroyearth.html)

    Yup - that says it all. Edit: Sam has a better '10 ways' article [here](http://ned.ucam.org/~sdh31/misc/destroy.html)

    Mad as hell, switching to Mac

    Winn Schwartau says:

    In the coming weeks I'm going to keep a diary of an experiment my company began at 6 p.m. April 29, 2005 - an experiment predicated on the hypothesis that the WinTel platform represents the greatest violation of the basic tenets of information security and has become a national economic security risk. I do not say this lightly, and I have never been a Microsoft basher, either. I never criticize a company without a fair bit of explanation, justification and supportive evidence.

    I have come to the belief that there is a much easier, more secure way to use computers. After having spent several years focusing my security work on Ma, Pa and the Corporate Clueless, I also have come to the conclusion that if I'm having such security problems, heaven help the 98% of humanity who merely want a computer for e-mail and multimedia.

    Thus starts a really good [Story](http://www.networkworld.com/columnists/2005/052305schwartau.html) over at [Network World](http://www.networkworld.com)

    For me, this is not just another switcher article. I have read Winn's security column for a while, and to see him lay out why the Wintel platform is so full of holes is intresting. He also has a blog called [Ma, Pa and the Corporate Clueless](http://securityawareness.blogspot.com/). Good reading

    So, go, read.

    Intel exec says "Buy Apple"

    New Intel CEO Paul Otellini has flashed a level of marketing savvy unseen with his predecessor by making the unusual suggestion that consumers by Apple's Mac computers if they wish to avoid immediate security risks.

    Confused? You're not alone. Otellini had attendees of a Wall Street Journal technology conference in Carlsbad, California scratching their silicon this week, as they puzzled through his pro-Mac statements. The paper recounts the episode as follows;

    Pressed about security by (a reporter), Mr Otellini had a startling confession: He spends an hour a weekend removing spyware from his daughter's computer. And when further pressed about whether a mainstream computer user in search of immediate safety from security woes ought to buy Apple Computer Inc.'s Macintosh instead of a Wintel PC, he said, "If you want to fix it tomorrow, maybe you should buy something else."

    From [The Register](http://www.theregister.com/2005/05/26/otellini_buy_apple/)

    I think this speaks for itself.

    Misguided Jurisprudence

    [Court Orders: No Wicca for YOU](http://www.indystar.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20050526/NEWS01/505260481)!!

    Judge: Parents can't teach pagan beliefs Father appeals order in divorce decree that prevents couple from exposing son to Wicca.

    By Kevin Corcoran

    An Indianapolis father is appealing a Marion County judge's unusual order that prohibits him and his ex-wife from exposing their child to "non-mainstream religious beliefs and rituals."

    The parents practice Wicca, a contemporary pagan religion that emphasizes a balance in nature and reverence for the earth.

    Cale J. Bradford, chief judge of the Marion Superior Court, kept the unusual provision in the couple's divorce decree last year over their fierce objections, court records show. The order does not define a mainstream religion.

    Bradford refused to remove the provision after the 9-year-old boy's outraged parents, Thomas E. Jones Jr. and his ex-wife, Tammie U. Bristol, protested last fall.

    Through a court spokeswoman, Bradford said Wednesday he could not discuss the pending legal dispute.

    Wow.

    Want to talk about freedom of religion anyone?

    Some people have talked about an assualt on Christianity in the US over the last few years - pagans have been under assault since, well, since Christanity came about.

    It should be about tolerance. Some people just do not get that.

    (Hat Tip, [Hildulf](http://blog.360.yahoo.com/blog-9GOTIkI5cqomq0cm3ycs?p=60&n=28500))

    More One

    Dear Friend,

    This summer, President Bush and seven other leaders from the world's wealthiest nations will gather to discuss the fate of the **ONE billion** people around the world living in extreme poverty. In early July, the Group of Eight (G8) will discuss the major social, political and economic conditions that contribute to extreme poverty.  There are historic plans in place to beat poverty in Africa and the poorest countries. This is our chance to support our leaders in making these plans a reality. Let's raise our voices as **ONE to Make Poverty History.**

    [Tell your friends about ONE today!](http://tracking.one.org/cgi-bin/track.cgi?11-754-933294-4200-http://www.one.org/ActionEmail.aspx" name="Tell your friends about ONE today!" TRACK="true)

    Your voice is already making a difference.  [ONE](http://tracking.one.org/cgi-bin/track.cgi?11-754-933294-4201-http://www.one.org/InTheNews.aspx" name=Yesterday TRACK="true" s Washington Post featured ONE?>Yesterday's Washington Post featured

    [Ask your friends, family and colleagues to join us at this crucial moment](http://tracking.one.org/cgi-bin/track.cgi?11-754-933294-4200-http://www.one.org/ActionEmail.aspx" name="Ask your friends, family and colleagues to join us at this crucial moment" TRACK="true)

    Together as **ONE**, we can let President Bush know Americans support the fight against global AIDS and poverty!

    On **June ONE**, we will launch an unprecedented mobilization of Americans calling on President Bush to deliver a historic deal for the world's poor at the G8 Summit.  If everyone who reads this e-mail encourages just 3 friends to join **ONE**, we will be well over **ONE MILLION** strong in time for the G8 Summit. That's **ONE **million voices united behind **ONE message: Make Poverty History!**

    Make history this summer.  [Tell your friends](http://tracking.one.org/cgi-bin/track.cgi?11-754-933294-4200-http://www.one.org/ActionEmail.aspx" name="Tell your friends" TRACK="true) that **NOW is the time for action **- ask them to join you for the largest-ever movement against global poverty in American history.

    Thank you, The ONE Team

    P.S. For more information about the G8 and the historic opportunity to fight global poverty and AIDS through more and better aid, debt cancellation and trade justice, [click here](http://tracking.one.org/cgi-bin/track.cgi?11-754-933294-4202-http://www.one.org/Events.aspx" name="click here" TRACK="true).

    Amida B.C.

    There is a new [Amida](http://www.wsu.edu:8080/~dee/GLOSSARY/AMIDA.HTM) Blog, close to home.. [Amida B.C.](http://amidatrust.typepad.com/amidabc/). I look forward to how this develops!

    Feel, see taste the difference

    Undermining my belief in humanity

    [Mirror.co.uk - News - Showbiz News - LIGHT-SABRE DUEL PUTS TWO IN HOSPITAL](http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/showbiz/tm_objectid=15552841&method=full&siteid=94762&headline=light-sabre-duel-puts-two-in-hospital-name_page.html%5B/url%5D)

    TWO Star Wars fans are in a critical condition in hospital after duelling with lightsabres made by filling fluorescent light tubes with petrol.

    The pair - a man aged 20 and a girl of 17 - are believed to have been filming a mock fight when one of the devices exploded in woodland on Sunday.

    Oh my.

    And I often tell people that I really belive in the intellegence of humanity.

    And then they go and do this.

    I Await the Day

    I Await the Day

    I await the day when the only war you will find is in history books. I will cherish the moment that Muslims can sit down with Jews and share a laugh over coffee. I relish the time when there are no guns because there is no need for guns, when people realize that it is better to live in peace and harmony and help those who need it.

    Thus starts a really good [article](http://sharpmarbles.stufftoread.com/archive/2005/05/24/3206.aspx) over on SaaM. I implore you to go and read it. You will reach enlightment sooner if you do.

    Morals and Sock Puppets

    [Dave](http://davejustus.blogspot.com/) ruminates on his blog:

    *Can an individual action be morally wrong if it is entirely private and no-one, not even the person doing the act, is harmed by it at all?*

    This statement is really the meat of this survey. I answered yes here. Not doing harm is, in my mind anyway, the beginning point, not the ending of morality.

    I would like to see a action that does no harm to anyone, is private, and is immoral. I personally do not feel that can exist.

    Morality (in my ever so humble opinion) is part culture, part personal. There is no natural law of morality that says X shall always be immoral. If you were to belive in that, then there would have to be some mechinism for acts that had never been considered before to be measured against some natural moral stick.

    For example, the first creature that masterbated - this was an act that have never happened before. Now, at that moment, it would have had to be decided if that act was moral or not. That takes a choice to be made. That takes some sort consciousness.

    Dave also says:

    *Do you think that morality comes from God or some other source outside of nature, society and human judgement?*

    I answered no here, as should be unsurprising given my previous explanations. If morality is defined as the best possible choice, than it is a thing into and of itself, so it would arrise from nature.

    However, for there to be some natural law of morality - there has to be a God or God like force that adjudicates it. So these anwsers contradict each other.

    Morality is either decided by the culture and the people in the culture or it is given down from on high. There is no middle road here.

    Trial tribulations

    [Frank](http://www.spokane7.com/blogs/hard7/archive.asp?postID=1581) of Hard 7 reports this:

    Democratic honcho Paul Berendt delivered the funniest, but most impolitic, line. Dismissing the GOP's attempt to cite alleged felon votes to undermine Christine Gregoire's election as governor, Berendt said, "The Republican base has always been nonunion, white, blue-collar males, and that's who the felons are in the state of Washington." After months of pummeling from the right, the gloves are off on the Democratic side as well-and someone just slipped on a pair of brass knuckles.

    The full story is [here](http://www.nytimes.com/2005/05/23/national/23governor.html).

    It's these kind of attacks that are making people sick of this whole process. With as many questions about the elections in Washington State, there should have been something done by the 'winner' a long time ago. If she was so sure of her victory it would have gone a long ways towards brining this fractured voters together if she had been able to assume power with out the great black cloud that hangs over her head now.

    I for one, think that we should bring [UN Election monitors](http://www.un.org/Depts/dpa/ead/eadhome.htm) in for the next gubernatorial election.

    High Holy Day

    Today, 5/23 is the High Holy Day of the Spokane Chapter of the Evil Penguin Discordian Church.

    Did you know that 5=2+3? and 5+2+3=10? and 10/5=2?

    Let us not partake in bunless hotdogs on this day. Let us shake the [cabbage](http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=cabbage+in+head&btnG=Google+Search) out of our brains, let us take [communion](http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&lr=&q=communion+starbucks&btnG=Search) at StarBucks (the official [Evil Penguin Discordian Church](http://www.thedistributors.com/inven/subject/philwst.htm) Facilties management company). All hail who the hell ever you want to hail, or not to hail. Let us work to banish GreyFace! Let us use the great [turkey curse](http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&lr=&q=Turkey+Curse&btnG=Search) at all times! [Semper Discordia](http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&lr=&q=Semper+Discordia&btnG=Search)!

    *Attributed to Saint Pope Fred the Penguin King. *

    New Pope Redux

    There is an intresting [article](http://www.uscatholic.org/2005/06/dietmarmieth.pdf) over at [US Catholic](http://www.uscatholic.org/) about the biography of the New Pope. It seems that he was at one time rather progressive - and it details his change towards conservatism. A good read - and one that is rather optimistic about Pope Benedict and the future of the Church. After reading this, I have higher hopes for the direction of the Catholic Church in the next few years.

    (hat tip: [Rebecca](http://www.spokesmanreview.com/blogs/journey/archive.asp?postID=2460))

    De-Animator

    The [Daily Illuminator](https://gmail.google.com/gmail) says:

    Flash games are good. Shooting zombies is good. This [game](http://artscool.cfa.cmu.edu:16080/~lee/deanimator.html) would therefore seem to have more than its fair share of goodness.

    In fact the entire site is pretty cool.

    Neat Commerical

    [Blaupunkt - Pimp my Ride](http://greg.nokes.name/Blaupunkt_Pimp_my_Ride.mpg)

    BBC escapes censure over Springer broadcast

    "...Freedom of expression should never be sufficient reason to attack the values of any section of the community and this particular programme appeared to set out to do this to people of Christian faith."

    You can read the full story [here](http://media.guardian.co.uk/site/story/0,14173,1480005,00.html). Jeeze, some people get their nappies in a bunch about just about anything.

    Humor is a central part of life. With out it, we turn into fuddy-duddys, which is what [Grey Face](http://jubal.westnet.com/hyperdiscordia/negativism.html) wants.

    Turn away from [Gray Face](http://user.sezampro.yu/~babbage/ChaosGos.html)! Embrace Fun!

    Spirituality begins at home

    The [Buddhist Channel](http://www.buddhistchannel.tv/index.php?id=7,1194,0,0,1,0) has a good cross-religion article about creating sacred space in our homes.

    Creating sacred space in the everyday world is part of honoring the fact that the spiritual is part of life and that all our life is sacred.

    I have felt this for a long time, and usally have items around the house that remind me of sacred. Ones home should be sacred space - there is no safer and more comfy place to relax.

    "On the internet no one knows your a ..."

    [7 ](http://www.spokane7.com/editions/story.asp?ID=70520) has a good story about the power of Blogs and the new media.

    The young author is identified in a tagline as "the chair of [Permanent Defense](http://www.nwprogressive.org/)." That's the group he formed way back in junior high.

    One of the really positive things about this New Media is that everyone can make a diffrence. It's the great equalizer.

    What drives a teen to pour his energies into politics like that? "I was worried about the direction this nation was taking and I wanted to do something about it," he says.

    While I might not agree with his politics, I applaud him for letting his voice be heard. It's only through discourse that we can advance.

    Inside Eda

    [Eda](http://insid-e-da.blogspot.com/2005/04/marriage-proposal.htm) says:

    He asked many times to get married. I teased, I joked, I let him dream at times. Deep inside I knew, my heart knew that I got married long time ago to someone else.

    I know that feeling.

    I have been left in the dust, watching some one who I thought that I knew do what she had told me all along she would do to me.

    It still hurt.

    I am glad that it happened. With out that point in my life, I would not be who I am today.

    Taboo!

    Here are my results from the [Taboo Test](http://www.philosophersmag.com/bw/games/taboo.htm), which I discovered on [Heretical Ideas](http://hereticalideas.com/index.php?p=2961)

    Taboo - The Results

    Results

    Your Moralising Quotient is: 0.10.

    Your Interference Factor is: 0.00.

    Your Universalising Factor is: 0.00.

    Are you thinking straight about morality?

    You see very little wrong in the actions depicted in these scenarios. However, to the extent that you do, it is a moot point how you might justify it. You don't think an action can be morally wrong if it is entirely private and no one, not even the person doing the act, is harmed by it. Yet the actions described in these scenarios at least seem to be private like this and it was specified as clearly as possible that they didn't involve harm. Possibly an argument could be made that the people undertaking these actions are harmed in some way by them. But you don't think that an action can be morally wrong solely for the reason that it harms the person undertaking it. More significantly, when asked about each scenario, in no instance did you respond that harm had resulted. Consequently, it is a puzzle why you think that any of the actions depicted here are of questionable morality.

    The chicken question got me as well - but people really do need to be allowed to make their own choices.

    Quote of the Day

    Holden: *Ahh, Come on. That's a bunch of horse shit! Lando Calrissian was a black guy, you know, he got to fly the Millenium Falcon, what's the matter with you?*

    Hooper: *Who said that?*

    Holden: *I did. Lando Calrissian is a positive role model in the realm of Science Fiction and Fantasy.*

    Hooper: *Fuck Lando Calrissian, Uncle Tom nigger! Always some white boy has got to invoke the Holy Trilogy. Bust this. Those movies are about how the white man keeps the brother man down, even in a galaxy far, far away. Check this shit, you got cracker farm boy Luke Skywalker, Nazi poster boy, blonde hair blue eyes. And then, you got Darth Vader, blackest brother in the galaxy, Nubian god.*

    Bankie: *What's a Nubian?*

    Hooper: *Shut the fuck up…Now, Vader's a spiritual brother, down with the Force and all that good shit. Then this cracker, Skywalker, gets his hands on a lightsaber and decides he's going to run the fuckin' universe, gets a whole KLAN of whites together. And they are goina' bust up Vaders hood, the Death Star. Now what the fuck do you call that?*

    Bankie: *Intergalactic civil war?*

    Hooper: *Gentrification! They goina' drive out the black element to make the galaxy quote/unquote safe for white folks. And Jedi's the most insulting installment. Because Vader's beautiful black visage is sullied when he pulls off his mask to reveal a feeble, crusty, old white man. They trying to tell us that deep inside, we all want to be white!*

    Bankie: *Well, isn't that true?*

    ,[Chasing Amy](http://www.viewaskew.com/chasingamy/)

    From [Heretical Ideas](http://hereticalideas.com/index.php?p=2976)

    IMHO [Chasing Amy](http://www.viewaskew.com/chasingamy/) was one of [Smith's](http://www.viewaskew.com/main.html) best.

    John 3:16 offensive

    OLYMPIA-The Department of Licensing's Personalized Plate Review Committee today dismissed a complaint against a vanity plate with the message "JOHN316."

    A complaint was filed against this vanity plate in April. This complaint triggered a routine review process the department conducts whenever a complaint is received.

    From the [Washington State Goverment](http://access.wa.gov/news/2005/May/n2005417_6164.aspx)

    Ok - I just heard this on NPR durning my drive in. The story is that someone saw this vanity plate and was 'offended' by it.

    Now, I support seperation of church and state - I do not think that it is correct to force children to mouth platitudes to a God that they might or might not belive in, but..

    Come on! The person that filed the complaint cannot have been serious. Having a personally choosen vanity plate that espouses a religous preference on a car cannot be seen as the state supporting any religious preference. It's the person's choice what goes on those plates. Each person has the right to worship as they see fit. It's pretty simple folks!

    New vacation site

    I think that I want to go [Here](http://maps.google.com/maps?ll=37.666926,-116.027856&spn=0.015557,0.016501&z=1&t=k&hl=en)

    Tried and true is better

    A software problem is causing some Toyota Prius gas-electric hybrid cars to stall or shut down while driving at highway speeds, according to a published report.

    Reports [CNN](http://money.cnn.com/2005/05/16/Autos/prius_computer/index.htm?cnn=yes).

    You know, the more that I hear about these hybrids, the more I think that I like my diesel. It just plain works.

    Buddha and the gang bangers

    Given the forces of divisiveness and violence that have been unleashed in many parts of the world in recent years, I have been asked to explain what resources within Buddhism I draw upon as a Buddhist scholar and Dharma teacher that might help empower people in their quest for genuine peace.

    This [article](http://www.buddhistchannel.tv/index.php?id=7,1166,0,0,1,0) is a fantastic read, and a very good look at the ever escalating cycle of violence that we must break to bring real peace to this world.

    This is one of the hardest things for me. There are some situations where the use of force is very justified - for example if my Son or Wife were to be attacked with deadly force, I would not hesitate to bring deadly force to the table in an attempt to make them safe. However, this is a slippery slope. Hatred and violence do breed more of the same.

    This is one of the largest issues with which I wrestle as a Buddhist. There are historical examples of Buddhist sects and monks that employ violence in self defense. I think that in certain cases this is justifiable. These tactics need to be used with the utmost caution however, as it can further hatred. If anything, violence must be tempered with love and understanding.

    Just thinking 'out loud' :)

    Welcome to the Dark Side...

    [Chrenkoff](http://chrenkoff.blogspot.com/2005/05/open-letter-to-george-lucas.html) explains 'the Dark Side' to Lucas...

    bodhivision

    The birth of an abstract idea begins with an empty paper, or in this case, an empty screen. It is through the empty paper or screen that many possibilities are born. We hope that through this myriad representation of digital abstracts, we can help to open some hearts and minds. A life based on the teachings of emptiness opens up to many possibilities..

    [bodhivision](http://www.bodhivision.net/)

    Personal Empowerment

    It should be accepted by all that faith can be a good thing or a bad thing, depending upon how it is used. Also - there are too many stories of how faith has transformed lives for the positive to dismiss it out of hand.

    There are several ways to look at it. My personal take is that we all have abilities that we normally cannot tap. Through belief in some external entity (or what ever smoke and mirrors we wish), we can free the parts of our minds that are fettered by the cultural reality that binds us day to day.

    For me, it's a question of moving beyond the need for the crutch of godhead - and realizing that I have the ability to change my life for the better. I believe very strongly in personal empowerment, and there is no more empowering feeling then to be able to look at a portion of your life, good or bad, and say "I survived that, I prospered then, I learned the lessons that I needed to learn" rather then "I was to weak - I needed to be carried through that".

    Our culture is steeped in taking power away from the individual, and giving it to the government, the Godhead, the leaders.

    "We need laws to regulate how hot our beef is cooked until, because we might get sick if we order it wrong!"
    "Lord, you said that once I decided to follow you you'd walk with me all the way, but I have noticed that during the most troublesome times in my life, there is only one set of footprints. I don't understand why when I needed you most you would leave me." The Lord replied, "My precious, precious child, I love you and would never leave you. During your times of trial and suffering when you see only one set of footprints, it was then that I carried you."
    "I was only following orders!"

    As a Culture, we need to move beyond laying the blame for our weakness at some one else's doorstep, and take responsibly for our actions, our choices and ultimately, our feelings.

    Red vs Blue??

    [Dave](http://davejustus.blogspot.com/2005/05/beyond-red-and-blue.html) has a link to an intresting political survey - here are my results:

    Upbeat

    Based on your answers to the questionnaire, you most closely resemble survey respondents within the Upbeat typology group. This does not mean that you necessarily fit every group characteristic or agree with the group on all issues.

    Upbeats represent 11 percent of the American public, and 13 percent of registered voters.

    Basic Description Upbeats express positive views about the economy, government and society. Satisfied with their own financial situation and the direction the nation is heading, these voters support George W. Bush's leadership in economic matters more than on social or foreign policy issues. Combining highly favorable views of government with equally positive views of business and the marketplace, Upbeats believe that success is in people's own hands, and that businesses make a positive contribution to society. This group also has a very favorable view of immigrants.

    Defining Values Very favorable views of government performance and responsiveness defines the group, along with similarly positive outlook on the role of business in society. While most support the war in Iraq, Upbeats have mixed views on foreign policy , but most favor preemptive military action against countries that threaten the U.S. Religious, but decidedly moderate in views about social and cultural issues.

    Who They Are Relatively young (26% are under 30) and well-educated, Upbeats are the second wealthiest group after Enterprisers (39% have household incomes of $75,000 or more). The highest proportion of Catholics (30%) and white mainline Protestants (28%) of all groups, although fewer than half (46%) attend church weekly. Mostly white (87%), suburban, and married, they are evenly split between men and women.

    Lifestyle Notes High rate of stock ownership (42%, 2nd after Enterprisers).

    2004 Election Bush 63%, Kerry 14%.

    Party ID 56% Independent/No Preference, 39% Republican, 5% Democrat (73% Rep/LeanRep)

    Media Use Upbeats are second only to Liberals in citing the internet as their main news source (34% compared with 23% nationwide); 46% also cite newspapers. No more or less engaged in politics than the national average.

    PostSecret

    For those of you that have not gone to [PostSecret](http://postsecret.blogspot.com/) here are two examples of why I read it

    (insert photo of cool postcard here)

    and

    (insert photo of cool postcard here)


    Every week, this site brings me insight, fear, humor and sadness. The complete range of human experience. I am a better person for it, and I want to thank the people behind it, and bring more people to it.
    Ok, so the pictures are not always coming through. When I get a chance, I will check out what I can do about that. Just go to the site - you will see what I mean.

    Busy like a little bee

    Sorry about the derth of posts - I have been really busy lately. Most of this week is shot...

    Tulips

    Tulips

    Got these out of the back yard, and Shelia arranged them.

    Quotes from The Big E

    The mystical trend of our time, which shows itself particularly in the rampant growth of the so-called Theosophy and Spiritualism, is for me no more than a symptom of weakness and confusion. Since our inner experiences consist of reproductions, and combinations of sensory impressions, the concept of a soul without a body seem to me to be empty and devoid of meaning.
    I have repeatedly said that in my opinion the idea of a personal God is a childlike one, but I do not share the crusading spirit of the professional atheist whose fervor is mostly due to a painful act of liberation from the fetters of religious indoctrination received in youth. I prefer an attitude of humility corresponding to the weakness of our intellectual understanding of nature and of our own being.
    A man's ethical behavior should be based effectually on sympathy, education, and social ties and needs; no religious basis is necessary. Man would indeed be in a poor way if he had to be restrained by fear of punishment and hope of reward after death.

    and

    The religion of the future will be a cosmic religion. It should transcend personal God and avoid dogma and theology. Covering both the natural and the spiritual, it should be based on a religious sense arising from the experience of all things natural and spiritual as a meaningful unity. Buddhism answers this description. If there is any religion that could cope with modern scientific needs it would be Buddhism.

    All of these from ol' Albert Einstein himself.

    Guess the Google

    Just found [this](http://grant.robinson.name/projects/guess-the-google/) little addictive game. I warned you!

    The idea is that you are presented with 20 images, and you have to guess what term was googled to get them. It's timed.

    I only got 146 points, but I am slow on the uptake sometimes.

    Modified interrogation tactics: Good news for us!

    William Anderson has this to [say](http://blog.lewrockwell.com/lewrw/archives/007992.html#more)

    Cal Thomas, in a recent column, [endorses torture](http://www.townhall.com/columnists/calthomas/ct20050502.shtml) of our "enemies," but at least he does not directly try to Christianize it... This column, however, demonstrates that Thomas's moral compass is a bit skewed.

    [Thomas ](http://www.townhall.com/columnists/calthomas/ct20050502.shtml) says in the article:

    These people are evil to the core. The only way to protect ourselves is to extract information they might have by whatever means necessary. This war won't be won (at least by our side) if we impose on ourselves restrictions that the terrorists do not impose on themselves.

    and

    Are we not paying attention to the beheading videos? The barbarians are at the gate. In fact, they have broken down the gate. Why are we letting them in and treating them only a little more harshly than unwelcome holiday relatives?

    I would hope that we treat the with the dignity that they deserve as human beings! Yes, they have information that we need. There are other ways to get it that do not include torture. I understand more then most that we are at war - that our enemy wants nothing less the the destruction of our very culture. And I understand that they will stop at nothing to achive their ends.

    Lowering our selves to their inhuman standards is not the path to take. We might defeat them using those tactics, however we will become them. And they would win in the end.

    We are the good guys. We need to remind ourselves of that, and act like it. We are fighting thugs and bullys - let's not slip and become what we fight!

    "*This war won't be won if we impose on ourselves restrictions that the terrorists do not impose on themselves.*"

    So - let's go all out and strap bombs onto some Marines and send them into buildings full of civilians. If we must use the Terrorist's tactics, let's not slip up and forget one. How about just carpet bombing the Gaza Strip. Oh and we cannot forget the Montana Militia - we should car bomb their Safeways and Albertsons.

    We **must** impose restrictions on ourselves that the Terrorists will not impose on themselves. To even consider not is ludicrous.

    A Creator?

    [Emily](http://emilyscraziness.blogspot.com/2005/05/couple-links.html) posted about [this](http://ambivablog.typepad.com/ambivablog/2005/05/god_and_science.html) article - and I went and read it. I think that it is a good read, and recommend anyone intrested check it out.

    Some have accused (pointed out?) me of being an Athiest. This cannot be farther from the truth. I belive that we cannot prove nor disprove that God exists, so it's a question of Faith. The logical evidence that we have in front of us is pretty good that God cannot exist in any way that we could comprehend. So, in my personal belief, I choose to act like he does not exist.

    I make my choices dependant on what my internal logic and philosophy dictate. I do not rely upon an outside force to help me, guide me, nor carry any of my weight.

    I simply try and be the best person that I can - training my mind to reject that which is negative and foster postive thinking.

    The question of if we were created or not, while interesting to discuss, is as irrelevant to every day life as the question of what color your great grandmothers hair was. We are here, rest assured in that, and beyond is only speculation. To get upset when some one disagrees with you on speculative topics is the hight of sillyness, in my mind.

    To quote one of my favorite [books:](http://www.principiadiscordia.com/book/60.php)

    NONSENSE AS SALVATION

    The human race will begin solving it's problems on the day that it ceases taking itself so seriously.

    To that end, POEE proposes the countergame of NONSENSE AS SALVATION. Salvation from an ugly and barbarous existence that is the result of taking order so seriously and so seriously fearing contrary orders and disorder, that GAMES are taken as more important than LIFE; rather than taking LIFE AS THE ART OF PLAYING GAMES.

    To this end, we propose that man develop his innate love for disorder, and play with The Goddess Eris. And know that it is a joyful play, and that thereby CAN BE REVOKED THE CURSE OF GREYFACE.

    If you can master nonsense as well as you have already learned to master sense, then each will expose the other for what it is: absurdity. From that moment of illumination, a man begins to be free regardless of his surroundings. He becomes free to play order games and change them at will. He becomes free to play disorder games just for the hell of it. He becomes free to play neither or both. And as the master of his own games, he plays without fear, and therefore without frustration, and therefore with good will in his soul and love in his being.

    And when men become free then mankind will be free. May you be free of The Curse of Greyface. May the Goddess put twinkles in your eyes. May you have the knowledge of a sage, and the wisdom of a child. Hail Eris.

    Why Google Scares Bill Gates

    What does Google make of Microsoft's growing animosity and paranoia? Although neither the co-founders nor CEO Schmidt would comment for this story, Schmidt told an audience of Internet pioneers at UCLA last fall, "One of the criticisms that the media makes is to compare Google to previous-generation companies. Google is trying to solve the next problem, not the last problem."

    Very good [article](http://www.fortune.com/fortune/technology/articles/0,15114,1050065-5,00.html) - I highly recommend reading it.

    Hat tip [Justus](http://davejustus.blogspot.com/2005/05/google-vs-microsoft.html) and [Reason's Edge](http://reasonsedge.blogspot.com/2005/05/underdog.html)

    Neat Google Search

    [here](http://www.google.com/search?q=What%27s+the+answer+to+life%2C+the+universe%2C+and+everything%3F&sourceid=mozilla-search&start=0&start=0&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&client=firefox&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:unofficial).

    Now, this is what goverment is for!

    ]]]] LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF IDAHO ]]]] Fifty-eighth Legislature First Regular Session - 2005 IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES HOUSE CONCURRENT RESOLUTION NO. 29 BY WAYS AND MEANS COMMITTEE 1 A CONCURRENT RESOLUTION 2 STATING LEGISLATIVE FINDINGS AND COMMENDING JARED AND JERUSHA HESS AND THE 3 CITY OF PRESTON FOR THE PRODUCTION OF THE MOVIE "NAPOLEON DYNAMITE[...](http://www3.state.id.us/oasis/HCR029.html)"

    I always liked [Idaho!](http://maps.google.com/maps?ll=47.727539,-116.802343&spn=0.464172,0.467606&t=k&hl=en)

    Why are we here?

    We no longer fear the biological events that once demanded an explanation, yet society still cannot accept the fact that human beings are in control of their own lives and nothing more.

    It seems to me that the next logical step is for people to realize that there is no supreme being guiding their lives and determining their destiny. This is already starting to happen.

    Mystic goes on in his [writing](http://blog.handbasket.info/?p=153), but I think that this point really has it down. **We** are responsible for who we are, what we do, and what mark we leave on the world.

    New banner on The Roost

    [ONE Campaign](http://www.one.org)

    Did you know that: * Every day 6,500 people in Africa die from HIV/AIDS? * More than 300 million people in Sub-Saharan Africa live on less than one dollar a day? I thought you would be interested to learn more about what's going on to stop these crises at The ONE Campaign. Americans from all over are lending their voices to this campaign and helping to fight global AIDS and poverty-one person and one vote at a time.

    Please visit [ONE.org](http://www.one.org) website and learn how you too can get involved by signing the petition

    You probably will notice a new banner on this site. I have done a bit of research into this organization, and [I support it](http://www.one.org/Signatories.aspx). I would ask everyone to look at their [site,](http://www.one.org/) and if you feel moved - please support it as well.

    So I aspire to a Crusade, or Setting the Record Straight

    Cool! I am a crusader now!

    This just in from [Brain Fertilizer](http://brain.mu.nu/):

    Yes, I do think there is a [recently-undertaken campaign](http://greg.nokes.name/?p=356) against religion in America. [Here are some more indications](http://www.mcgeheezone.com/weblog/index.php/weblog/categories/C12/) of that campaign.

    As I said in the comments on the first linked post:

    ...no one is going to convince me that after 200 years of having references to God in all sorts of government literature, that saying 'Under God” in the pledge is somehow suddenly an assault on religious freedom.

    and

    I'll say it plainly: It is retribution/revenge for the failure of the homosexual movement to win same-sex marriage rights across the entire nation. They blame religion for being the motive force behind the rejection, and so are trying to eliminate the free expression of religion nationwide.

    The second one wins the **WTF** of the month award. Nuff' said on that.

    About the first - I have been totally mis-represented.

    1) I am not trying to stop anyone from any religious expression - with in the law.

    2) I do not feel that Christianity has some 'dark agenda'. In fact, far from it. I was married in a Christian Church, and plan on sending my children to Christian schools.

    What I do have, is a personal belief that is not Christian. Yes, I am a non-devout Buddhist. And I have a desire to discuss Buddhism, Christianity and other ideologies. Why? I benefit from these discussions, as they force me to learn more about me, what I belive and point out flaws in my paradigm. I do not fear discorse. I fear small minded people taking away my freedom of Religion.

    I do, however feel that the Goverment is not a place for Religion. I feel that the Goverment should not lift any one religion above any other. That is a personal choice - like abortion, and people should be given the rights to make those choices on their own.

    I think that we all should have the right to practice what ever faith that we want. That means, I do not want me or my children to be forced to mouth platitudes to a God that I might nor might not belive in. I want them to have the **choice** to worship as they wish.

    The Framers of this noble country were very specific in their thoughts and writings on this subject - and it does not support this country as a "Christian only" Country. This country is a place where freedom is the law of the land. When people impinge on that freedom - for everyone, Christians, Buddhists, Muslems, Wiccans, etc - I think that is a bad thing.

    How can my defending *your* freedom to worship as you want be constituted as a "campaign against religion in America." and " trying to eliminate the free expression of religion nationwide"?

    Debian GNU/Linux System Administration Resources Website

    The [Debian GNU/Linux System Administration Resources](http://www.debian-administration.org/) website is a pretty good resource for all of you Debian Geeks out there. It has a bunch of Howtos, Whytos, and other intresting articles. Go, check it out!

    Quiz Time

    [](http://www.blifaloo.com/quizzes/trek/trek_quiz_start.php)
    [Take the Star Trek Quiz](http://www.blifaloo.com/quizzes/trek/trek_quiz_start.php)

    Hat Tip [Yrsa](http://blog.360.yahoo.com/blog-GgIvRtgic6OBSZQ8afCXKPDTJVDV)

    Global Warming Misunderstanding

    *(I have not been able to get in and comment on this on Justus For All - Blogger is having issues again. So, my comment is posted here)*

    On [Justus for All](http://davejustus.blogspot.com/2005/04/new-data-show-global-warming.html#comments), [Cube](http://www.blogger.com/profile/1891511) says the following:

    Global warming is a problem that will solve itself.

    If things get warmer and ice melts, then you are going to have longer growing seasons and more greenery.

    The warmer it gets the more ocean you will have also (Most oxygen is produced by the ocean, i bet the ocean also uses the most C02).

    This is not totally untrue. The world will adjust. I guess my concern, is will the human race adjust?

    When that ice melts, the oceans level will rise. Our beach front properties will become more difficult to get to (being under water and all) and our inland cities will be the new beachfront meccas.

    Many of the current breadbaskets (the Central Valley of California for example) will no longer be able to support agribusiness. Food will become scarse. Life will suck for the surviors.

    I am not saying that this will happen tomorrow, or the next day - but it's in our cards unless we do take drastic action.

    Setting the Record Straight on Climate Change

    A vast majority of climate scientists agree that global warming is happening and that it poses a serious threat to society. They also agree that it is being caused largely by human activities that release greenhouse gases, such as burning fossil fuels in power plants and cars and deforesting the land. These highlights - and the full full report - lay out some common myths and misunderstandings regarding climate change.

    Read the rest of the article at [Undoit.org](http://www.undoit.org/what_is_gb_myth.cfm)

    Here is a choice passage:

    Before the Industrial Revolution, the amount of CO2 emitted from large natural sources closely matched the amount that was removed through natural processes. That balance has now been upset by human activities, which since the Industrial Revolution have put twice as much CO2 into the atmosphere as can be readily removed by the oceans and forests. This has resulted in the accumulation of CO2 to the highest levels in 420,000 years.

    The highest in 420,000 years!

    Comments

    Just added the Comments block to the sidebar. I am playing with the length of the comment 'blurb' that it displays. Right now, it's at 60 charactors. If you like/dislike it please comment and let me know.

    Update: Futzed with it more.

    Playground Politics

    A lot of world politics are just as inane and silly as the old days (well, old days for me) when I was in elementry school. It's a story of gangs of freinds, outsiders and the feelings that engenders. In my opionion we are too free to enter into treaties and keep them to long.

    Why? It's like this. Suppose that you are country A. You and Country B have a disagreement. B, C and D enter into a treaty orginization to 'defend themselves' in case you attack.

    This is all well and good so far.

    So, the disagreement ends. How would you feel if B, C, and D all stayed in the treaty? Would you feel safer, or less safe?

    Gangs tend to make people feel less safe. The normal response to a gang is to form a group of your own for "*self defense*".

    To bring this into foreign policy and the real world - orginizations such as NATO (which was formed to combat Soviet expansion) have lived their usefullness. Short term alliances are a good idea, long term freindships are a good idea. When we start collecting into groups for the express purpose of military defense or expansionism, well, that's just a bad idea.

    Hitchhikers

    Saw [Hitchhikers](http://hitchhikers.movies.go.com/) last night. I have been a fan of the series for years and years now - even having gone so far as to listen to the Radio BBC series a few (ok more then a few) years back. I must say - It was not worse then I thought it was going to be. I actually enjoyed it!

    Not a must see, but if you like British Humor - this might be a good flick to watch.

    A good Cause!

    My [brother](http://noctrine.blogspot.com), Nelson, is 'Riding for Aids'. This explains what this is all about:

    Last June I participated in the AIDS LifeCycle 3 as a volunteer. Over 1200 riders pedaled the 585 mile route from San Francisco to Los Angeles, raising $4.9 million dollars. I am registered as a rider for AIDS LifeCycle 4, and am committed to raising $2500 to participate in the ride. This money goes directly to the San Francisco AIDS Foundation to support people living with HIV and AIDS in the Bay Area. This foundation provides counseling, free or reduced-cost medications to individuals, public policy and advocacy, and much more.

    You can find out more information about the AIDS LifeCycle and affiliated organizations on my fundraising website:

    olofin*

    The site has answers to common questions, a training log, photos, and information on how to sponsor me in my ride to end AIDS.

    Donations of any size are greatly appreciated.

    Thank you for your support,

    Nelson

    Lil Bro is on his way to his goal , let's all pitch in a few dollars and see if we can hit the mark!

    [Make a Donation](https://www.aidslifecycle.org/donate/5270)

    (This is reposted from my old site. He is on the way - he has $1,087 out of the $2,500 that he needs. If everyone tosses in a buck or two, that will put him a long way towards his goal. This is a great thing that he is doing, and Sheila and I are **very** proud of him.)

    Brits..

    The British Government's policy of socialized medicine has recently been broadened to include a service called "Proxy Fathers". Under the government plan, any married woman who is unable to become pregnant through the first five years of her marriage may request the service of a proxy father — a government employee who attempts to solve the couple's problem by impregnating the wife.

    Check out [My Monkey Made Me Do It](http://mymonkeymademedoit.blogspot.com/2005/04/todays-chuckle.html) for the rest of the story...

    Let Go the Status Quo

    In defending the Social Security status quo, many liberal commentators take inconsistent position

    Thus starts a good article over at the [ Cato Institute](http://www.cato.org/pub_display.php?pub_id=3748) about the need for Personal Accounts in Social Security.

    I agree that people need to be given ownership of their monies. The goverment has proven that it cannot be trusted with that money, so let's allow folks to keep it, build it, and then spend it when they are older.

    Combine this with a [Fairtax](http://www.fairtax.org) based on sales rather them income, and we have a win win situation

    Retro Junk

    Retrojunk has some - well, [retro junk](http://www.retrojunk.com/)..

    Taxes - the Real Story

    I have been a proponent of Sales Taxes rather then income taxes at the Federal level for many years now. It just makes sense to me. Tax on what is bought and sold rather then on what money people make just seems to be a little better way to go.

    My feeling is if I invest some of my money wisely, and make more money back, why should I be taxed on that? I probably invested my money in some company, and they probably made something that got taxed, and they paid income taxes to their employees and capital gains taxes and pig-in-poke taxes - it's just silly.

    One of the arguments that I have heard is that the federal sales tax would have to be at 50 - 60%. That would be quite a burden to bear. I never though that made much sense - because that would mean that the federal government consumed 50 - 60% of the GDP in cash every year. Now, I know that we have a bloated government, but come on!

    So, I did a little math. The [Federal Budget](http://www.fms.treas.gov/mts/mts0305.txt) listed tax income for 2004 as $1,879,783 million. The [CIA fact book](http://www.cia.gov/cia/publications/factbook/geos/us.html) (a great site, by the way) listed the '03 GDP as $10.99 trillion. So with some simple math - in order to come up with the same amount of federal revenue, we would need to have a sales tax (GDP tax) of $0.17 on the dollar. The $0.23 on the dollar that [FairTax](http://www.fairtaxvolunteer.org/smart/sketch.html) proposes would garner the Fed $2,525,400 million a year.

    If we were to believe the nay-sayers, we would need to tax at a rate of $0.50 per dollar, giving the Fed $5,490,000 million a year. Wow. Sounds like they are for **really** big government to me.

    Google Search: discordism

    Woot! Page one on a [Google Search](http://www.google.com/search?client=firefox-a&rls=org.mozilla%3Aen-US%3Aofficial_s&hl=en&q=discordism&btnG=Google%20Search)

    Heh,

    Responsibility

    Earlier this year, when Major League Baseball questioned Congress' right to hold public hearings on steroid use in the big leagues, Government Reform Committee Chairman Tom Davis (R-Va.) and ranking minority member Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) sent back a striking response. Davis and Waxman told baseball that the committee "may at any time conduct investigations of any matter."

    Any time. Any matter. And this from the congressional committee charged with curbing government excesses.

    Read the rest of the article [here](http://www.cato.org/pub_display.php?pub_id=3747)

    I think this brings up a valid point. Where do we draw the line? At what point do we tell the government to stop running our lives for us.

    I think that we are seeing is the progression of the Christian Culture of non-personal responsibility. If your faith tells you that your transgressions will be forgiven by some guy behind the curtain, what will happen when that seeps into real life?

    '*Give your life to God*'

    People are always looking for a way to take the pressure of living life off their backs. They want to let some one else take over for them. Often Christians tell me to 'Give my life to God'. God will make my life better - easier - less painful.

    I want to run my own life. I want to be ultimately responsible for my actions. If I choose a life of Evil, I do not want to be forgiven at the end, and I want the rewards of a good life to come my way. If I do make it to heaven, or what ever, I really do not want to see folks like Hitler there, simply because he asked for forgiveness.

    It is easy transformation from allowing God to make choices for you to allowing the Government to make all the hard choices for you.

    *You can't eat that because it's bad for you.*

    Yesterday, while I was driving, I switched to [590 Talk Radio ](http://www.newstalk590.com/main.html) and heard a segment where the 'talker' was exploring the possibly of a law suit vs Sesame Street because the Cookie Monster scarred him as a child - and made him into a cookie addict. It was in jest, but the point remains. When we espouse a culture of personal un-responsibility, we loose in many ways.

    Consider your pet. Surely Fido or Mittens is immune from government scrutiny, right? Nope. San Francisco passed a new building code earlier this year-for doghouses. In case you were considering a pair of double-Ds for your schipperke, West Hollywood, Calif. is considering a law that would ban cosmetic surgery for pets. And the state of California has banned genetically modified fish in your aquarium.

    In the end, I feel that we should be held accountable for our choices and our actions. If we choose to eat McDonald's every day, and we end up weighing in at 450+, that is our fault - not McDonald's.

    If we have the money, and want to pay for Cosmetic Surgery for our pet, that is our choice.

    Power to the People!

    Dangerous Hacker!

    The story starts (I'm shortcutting here) with an [Please control your cussing] insulting everyone on the IRC channel. Most people there believed it was rather funny, but it got even more funny. For information: The dangerous hacker is called bitchchecker and the one being hacked and original author of the comments, who is talking here, is known as Elch...

    You can read the entire story about this [Dangerous Hacker!](http://www.jellyslab.com/~bteo/hacker.htm) at Total Illusions. Thanks [Slashdot](http://www.slashdot.com) for the original story

    Social Engineering

    The [ GeekWithA.45](http://geekwitha45.blogspot.com/2005_04_17_geekwitha45_archive.html#111430965367547420) talks about his run in with Best Buy:

    Here's a rough transcript of my interaction with the cashier & subsequent managers:

    Chipper Teenage Cashier Girl: "May I have your phone number?"

    This is common enough at a lot of places. Retailers want keys to link together purchases, and can mine a lot of information on buying trends and purchase patterns if they can define a household in a granular manner. This is also the purpose behind most grocery store discount cards. For the most part, this is a fairly benign activity, requiring the voluntary cooperation of the consumer. It's also an activity that I routinely decline to participate in.

    Me {out of long habit}: "Nope. I don't give that out."

    CTCG: "Uh...the cash register says I have to get your address for this product."

    Me: {knowing that satellite radio needs a subscription, and thinking this would set me up on the spot} Ok, That's G-e-e-k W-i-t-h...uh, this signs me for the subscription, right?

    CTCG: "Uh, no, it's just for our records..."

    Me: {a slight frost creeping into my voice} "Then you don't need it."

    Hmm.. here is an easier method. Find the phone number for Best Buy. Give them that one. Works great, and has the added benifit of messing with their systems.

    The poor, undertrained teenyboppers that work at these places do not make the rules - so just give them what they think they need and move on. :)

    Hat tip [Cube](http://sandcastlesandcubicles.blogspot.com/2005/04/trends-in-marketing.html) and [GeekWithA.45](http://geekwitha45.blogspot.com/2005_04_17_geekwitha45_archive.html#111430965367547420)

    Call It A Hunch

    [Call It A Hunch](http://www.evilwhiteguy.com/blog/archive/2005/04/25/2311.aspx), but this guy is toast.

    Via [SaaM](http://sharpmarbles.stufftoread.com/)

    Taggers

    [Justus](http://davejustus.blogspot.com/) tagged me, rotten bas... um.. nice guy that he is. :)

    So, here are five things that people with whom I generally associate think are really cool, but that leave me cold.

    1) Bloated buggy code full of holes. Examples include Microsoft Office and Microsoft Windows. Windows networking is an even bigger joke. Yeah, and I am certified in Windows Networking by Microsoft. What ever. I guess the real pet peeve is consumers that choose badly made products because 'they are cool'.

    2) Televison. I really don't like about 99% of the Televison shows out there. I can stand several - luckly Sheila likes them as well, so I just get out the laptop when she is watching Gilmore Girls.

    3) Dungeons and Dragons. Ok, I am going to broadcast to the entire world what a Geek I am. I don't like D&D and the entire d20 system. It stinks. It's complicated, unrealistic and archers suck. In the real world, a longbowman was quite a scary dude. He could reach out and ram a 3 foot rod of oak through you at several hundred feet. So, I am archer dude in D&D. I shoot a 4th level fighter. He has on average (d10 * 4 or about 20 hp). I do an average of 4 hp per shot. Five shots later, he falls. And, just try aiming for a critical spot - say the chest or head. Give GURPS 4th Ed a try. Lame Name, Good Game. :)

    4) Fishing. I do not really enjoy fishing. It's boring. Really boring. I would prefer to play Paintball, or go bird hunting.

    5) And last - but not least... Confrence calls and meetings in general. I am a 'do-er' not a talker. Planning and oversite is important, but as far as just touching bases - there are better options out there. For example, forums are a great tool for keeping geographically dispersed workers communictating.

    Tag - [Emily,](http://emilyscraziness.blogspot.com/) [Mystic,](http://lifeinahandbasket.blogspot.com/) [SaaM](http://sharpmarbles.stufftoread.com/)

    Hybrid vs Biodiesel

    [Justus for All](http://davejustus.blogspot.com/) says:

    For example, hybrid cars, which even with the increased cost of oil don't make economic sense to buy. Purchasers will never realize in fuel savings the additional cost of the vehicle versus a comparable non-hybrid vehicle. Since the foundation of our economy is energy, I expect that the 'environmental savings' of a hybrid vehicle also does not equal out over it's lifetime. Hybrid cars cost more for a reason. They have extra parts and require additional steps in assembly. All of this translates pretty directly into having a higher energy cost to build and that correlates rather closely with needing more fossil fuel inputs and hence more pollution.

    This is exactally why we need to look at the current crop of hybrids as testbeds for future techinology. When I have a choice between a Toyota Prius for 60k that gets 60mpg (1k per mpg) or a Volkswagen Jetta TDI for 22k that gets 50 mpg (thats .44k per mpg) which makes more sense?

    I pledge allegiance to the moral majority...

    [Brain Fertilizer](http://brain.mu.nu/#077597) says:

    Don't you think this anti-religious movement is getting out of hand?

    So was this open season on religious belief brought on by libertarians who feel uncomfortable finding themselves under the same big tent as conservative Christians in voting for Bush, or liberals who feel they lost the 2004 election on the basis of religious values?

    about this on [Michelle Malkin](http://michellemalkin.com/archives/002186.htm)'s blog

    The Washington Times's Valerie Richardson has a story out today that wins my p.c.- hell-in-a-handbasket award: DENVER-The students in Vincent Pulciani's seventh-grade class were reciting the Pledge of Allegiance this week when they heard the voice over the intercom say something they'd never heard before, at least not during the Pledge.

    Instead of "one nation, under God," the voice said, "one nation, under your belief system."

    I ask this simple question:

    Should our children be forced to mouth phrases which could mean nothing to them? If a Wiccan child is forced to pledge allegiance to a God that they do not believe in, does that do that child any good?

    Would not God appreciate it more if it's heartfelt? Or, does he like to have people forced to love him?

    I think that some Christians are seeing that their faith is on the decline. And this scares them.

    Wicca projected to be [3rd largest U.S. religion](http://www.emediawire.com/releases/2005/4/emw231351.htm) by 2012
    "Witchcraft is growing so fast on high school and college campuses that Wiccan visionaires are rushing to establish their own schools." This is meant as a warning to Christian parents. Chas Cliftion, editor of Pomegranate: The International Journal Of Pagan Studies has a collaborating statement: "We (Pagans) are like a third world country that can't put up enough elementary schools fast enough."

    [Steve Wohlberg](http://www.wordoftruthradio.com/articles/wohlberg.html), [Hour of the Witch](http://www.endtimeinsights.com/site/v2_3/content/view/88/1/)

    People have to realize that intolerance is no longer an option. People have started to look beyond their parents faith. Faith based on guilt, and forgiveness of our personal shortcomings by some larger then life man behind the curtain falls short logically, and spiritually.

    Many people that I know prefer a belief structure based on personal responsibility, kindness, compassion and logic.

    This belief might or might not include a belief in a God or Godhead. It's not relevant. What is important is that these people are kind, compassionate people.

    And some would force them and their children to mouth allegance to a God that they do not believe in.

    America - land of the free as long as you agree with the majority?

    Short note

    You just HAVE to check this [post](http://porktornado.diaryland.com/albumcover.html) out. Go! Read! Gasp in Horror! Come back and Comment!

    Spamroll: The Apple virus revolution, or lack thereof

    Spamroll has a good [article,](http://www.spamroll.com/blogarch/2005/04/the_apple_virus.php) that I am going to repost here for my readers..

    The [Register](http://www.theregister.co.uk/2005/04/21/apples_big_virus/) just posted this piece on Apple OS X, and attempts to find a correlation between the recent proliferation of computer security issues, and Apple's exploding OS X platform sales.

    I have touted Apple as a solution for the malware that binds us, [over](http://www.spamroll.com/blogarch/2005/04/spyware_purveyo.php) and [over](http://www.spamroll.com/blogarch/2005/03/how_to_really_h.php) and [over,](http://www.spamroll.com/blogarch/2005/03/spyware_legisla_1.php) not because I am a "Mac-head," but because I bought one out of curiousity, and found it just plain works (and without all the nasties I became accustomed to with Windows).

    I have to agree with The Register - there is a correlation.

    If you are fed up, and are ready to make the jump, just click here: [Apple Store](http://click.linksynergy.com/fs-bin/click?id=rWSLPQplAy0&offerid=77305.10000493&type=3&subid=0).

    I have posted about this as well. Apples are great machines, and just about any alternate OS is going to be more secure then Windows.

    Neat stuff

    From [Slashdot](http://science.slashdot.org/science/05/04/20/0040220.shtml?tid=160&tid=14):
    Experiments at the worlds largest nuclear collider, RHIC, at Brookhaven National Laboratory reveal striking new features of the state of the early Universe. With RHICs enormous collision energy, the researchers can create matter that is composed of the fundamental building blocks of nature, quarks and gluons, in a state with temperatures of more than 1000 billion degrees. The Universe is believed to have been in this state in the first microsecond after the Big Bang. Later the quarks and gluons were trapped in the nuclear particles that the visible universe is composed of today. Until recently, researchers have thought that the quarks and gluons formed a gas. The latest results from RHIC, however, indicate that under the extreme conditions just around the phase transition from quarks and gluons to ordinary matter, the quarks and gluons behaved as a liquid - in fact an almost perfect liquid.

    Windows Server 2003 SP1 breaks things

    [eWeek](http://www.eweek.com/article2/0,1759,1788008,00.asp) reports: "The first reports from users installing Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 1 are in. And as was the case with its client counterpart—Windows XP Service Pack 2—the latest *Windows Server service pack breaks several key Microsoft and third-party applications*. SP1 (Service Pack 1) is primarily a security update. But as was the case with XP SP2 (Service Pack 2), Windows Server 2003 SP1 also will include some brand-new features."

    Well, duh!

    Product Page - Gadget Universe

    [We all need one of these.](http://www.gadgetuniverse.com/cgi-bin/sgin0101.exe?T1=TH+446&FNM=25&UID=2005040918585642&GEN9=)

    Oh my gawd.

    On biodiesel

    One of my goals in life is to help remove the dependence that we as a country have on external sources of fuel. I feel that the best short term solution to this is to cut over to Biodiesel.

    I have had many conversations with friends, foes, family and passersby about this subject, and I have heard many pros and cons to this tactic. I will try and address some of the cons now.

    *Why not Hydrogen?*

    The Bush administration has invested a significant amount of capital in to Hydrogen as a replacement fuel. Long term , very long term, this might be viable. But, unless you are willing to wait 30 years, this might not be the best solution.

    In an earlier article that I wrote about Biodiesel, I WAG'ed that a hydrogen pump might cost $100,000. Well, it seems that I was wrong. Hydrogen pumps are more on the scale of $1,000,000 each. As we have 176,000 fueling stations in the country , we are looking at $176 billion just to put one pump at each station.

    Not only that, but Hydrogen is far less efficient then then petroleum or bio based combustion engines. Biodiesel is on the order of 8 times more efficient then Hydrogen. The Volkswagen Jetta TDI has a 700 mile range, and the Toyota FCHV has about 180 mile range. This is because it takes so much more energy to produce hydrogen then biodiesel. Hydrogen is not an effective energy 'battery' , it's energy density is very low. For example, to get a 1000 mile range in a sedan, we would need 20 gallons of biodiesel vs 268 gallons of hydrogen.

    The cost of Hydrogen is steep as well. It would cost between $ 2.5 Trillion (wind power) and $25 trillion (solar power) to produce enough clean hydrogen to replace our current consumption. Algae based Biodiesel production plants would only cost about $170 billion to build. For a good comparison between different types of Low Emission Vehicles check [This out](http://www.unh.edu/p2/biodiesel/media/cars_on_different_fuels.doc).

    What is the energy efficiency for producing biodiesel? Based on a report by the US DOE and USDA entitled "Life Cycle Inventory of Biodiesel and Petroleum Diesel for Use in an Urban Bus"5, biodiesel produced from soy has an energy balance of 3.2:1. That means that for each unit of energy put into growing the soybeans and turning the soy oil into biodiesel, we get back 3.2 units of energy in the form of biodiesel. That works out to an energy efficiency of 320% (when only looking at fossil energy input - input from the sun, for example, is not included). The reason for the energy efficiency being greater than 100% is that the growing soybeans turn energy from the sun into chemical energy (oil). Current generation diesel engines are 43% efficient (HCCI diesel engines under development, and heavy duty diesel engines have higher efficiencies approaching 55% (better than fuel cells), but for the moment we'll just use current car-sized diesel engine technology). That 3.2 energy balance is for biodiesel made from soybean oil - a rather inefficient crop for the purpose. Other feedstocks such as algaes can yield substantially higher energy balances, as can using thermochemical processes for processing wastes into biofuels (such as the thermal depolymerization process pioneered by Changing World Technologies). Such approaches can yield EROI values ranging from 5-10, potentially even higher.

    From the [University of New Hampshire's Biodiesel Site](http://www.unh.edu/p2/biodiesel/article_alge.html)

    Bio-Diesel versus Petroleum Diesel A similar study was co-sponsored by the United States Department of Energy and the USDA, entitled, "Life Cycle Inventory of Biodiesel and Petroleum Diesel for Use in an Urban Bus." The study, published in May 1998, states; "Biodiesel yields 3.2 units of fuel product energy for every unit of fossil energy consumed in its life cycle." The report continues, "By contrast, Petroleum diesel's life cycle yields only 0.83 units of fuel energy per unit of fossil energy consumed." According to this analysis, the energy yield of biodiesel is (3.2/0.83) 280 percent greater than petroleum diesel fuel.

    From [The State of Minnesota.](http://www.mda.state.mn.us/ethanol/balance.html)

    Anybody can make biodiesel. It's easy, you can make it in your kitchen - and it's BETTER than the petro-diesel fuel the big oil companies sell you. Your diesel motor will run better and last longer on your home-made fuel, and it's much cleaner - better for the environment and better for health. If you make it from used cooking oil it's not only cheap but you'll be recycling a troublesome waste product. Best of all is the GREAT feeling of freedom, independence and empowerment it will give you. Here's how to do it-everything you need to know.

    From [Journey to Forever](http://journeytoforever.org/biodiesel_make.html)

    [States](http://www.uidaho.edu/bae/biodiesel/) are taking an interest in Biodiesel as well as [Local](http://www.localb100.com/) folks.

    Fairtax

    Just stumbled on a new site - [FairTax](http://www.fairtax.org/). Good stuff. More on it later.

    *yeah.. so that's the biodeisel article and now a tax article in my queue. Grreeeat.*

    :)

    My name is...

    My [Unitarian Jihad Name](http://tinyurl.com/6valr) is: **Brother Venerable Rail Gun of Rationality**. [What's yours?](http://www.elsewhere.org/cgi-bin/jihad)

    Yes, this is a follow up to this [article](http://greg.nokes.name/?p=336) - and the namer was pointed out by [Justus](http://davejustus.blogspot.com/)

    Memo to Karl Rove

    Bob Novak, writing about Terry Schiavo last month, inadvertently summed up the problem with the administration's Social Security reform strategy when he wrote, "This is not the cold, analytical debate over Social Security." Just so. If you're wondering why there's so little grass-roots support to date for the president's plan, it's because the focus has been on green-eyeshade issues such as solvency, transition costs, unfunded liabilities and rates of return. Actuaries to the barricades!

    Read the rest of the article [Here](http://www.cato.org/pub_display.php?pub_id=3738).

    Discord in Childhood

    [Discord in Childhood](http://www.bartleby.com/127/4.html), [D.H. Lawrence](http://www.online-literature.com/dh_lawrence/)

    OUTSIDE the house an ash-tree hung its terrible whips, And at night when the wind arose, the lash of the tree Shrieked and slashed the wind, as a ship's Weird rigging in a storm shrieks hideously.
    Within the house two voices arose in anger, a slender lash Whistling delirious rage, and the dreadful sound Of a thick lash booming and bruising, until it drowned The other voice in a silence of blood, 'neath the noise of the ash.

    Computers

    So - after several hours, I have determined that I have a 2.1, 1.2 and 2.1 gig HDD that are all dead. Dead as doornails. Have to wait to upgrade the firewall until after I get more hard drives, I guess. :(

    Lazy Days

    Just stitting here recycling old computer hardware - my house's firewall was on a P90 w/64m RAM - just swapped some computers around, and got a p-500 256m RAM box set up. Installing Debian on it, and listening to the disks thrash away. Music to my ears...

    Saw this on [Emily's Blog](http://emilyscraziness.blogspot.com/)

    ### Your Linguistic Profile:
    70% General American English
    15% Upper Midwestern
    10% Dixie
    5% Midwestern
    0% Yankee
    [What Kind of American English Do You Speak?](http://www.blogthings.com/amenglishdialecttest/)

    Now, where the heck did I get Dixie from?? I spent a few days in New Orleans a few years back being a tourist and all, but come on! :)

    Perhaps it's because I slip and say y'all some times - I even type it some times. Funny thing.

    Anyways - gotta make choices on the Deb Box.

    -Tsyko

    Munich picks its Linux distro

    Debian has got the nod from the city of Munich for its trail-blazing migration from Windows to Linux on the desktop

    The City of Munich has chosen to migrate its 14,000 desktops to a free Linux distribution, rather than a commercial version of the open source operating system.

    The City's administration said on Thursday that it will use the Debian distribution, which will be customised to meet the needs of the city administration.

    [Munich picks its Linux distro - ZDNet UK News](http://news.zdnet.co.uk/software/linuxunix/0,39020390,39195204,00.htm)

    One of the things that I most like about [Debian](http://www.debian.org/) and [Ubuntu](http://www.ubuntulinux.org/) is my ablity to completly customize it. Nothing is hidden behind the smoke and mirrors of Redmond. I can, and have, change the [complete look and feel](http://www.gnome-look.org) of the computer to [suit my personal tastes](http://www.kde-look.org).

    In a corprate enviroment, I think this kind of power would be greatly appreacated. For example, you can change out a few files, and have the boot up splash screen display your corprate logo, or legal warning banner - or what ever you want.

    Microsoft is starting to wake up, however. Their patch management has made huge strides over the last few years - and they are actually starting to consiter security as an important feature.

    The City of Munich is not the only government organisation to chose Debian. The German Foreign Office and the Office for IT Security, as well as the City of Vienna, have also opted for the free Linux distribution

    [Debian](http://www.debian.org/) has a rock solid track record - in fact I think just about the only group with a better one is [OpenBSD.](http://www.openbsd.org/) It seems that folks over in Germany are starting to see that, and see that free does not equal poor quality. All in all a big win for [Debian!](http://www.debian.org/)

    Exploding the Self-Esteem Myth

    Boosting people's sense of self-worth has become a national preoccupation. Yet surprisingly, research shows that such efforts are of little value in fostering academic progress or preventing undesirable behavior

    From [Scientific American](http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?chanID=sa006&articleID=000CB565-F330-11BE-AD0683414B7F0000&pageNumber=1&catID=2)

    The article is a good read. Our socity of pandering to everyone, even if they do not succeed is doing more harm the good. If everyone is given an award, then no one has anything to strive for. Competition is a heathly part of life. Conflict is also healthy. To remove these things from life does not teach anything, rather it removes the ablity to learn. When the children that are never challenged are presented with a real life challenge - what will they do? They will have no experince dealing with losing, or stress.

    We need to equip them with the tools that they need to have. They will not always win in real life. When they fail, they need to already know what that feels like. Also, if they are never challenged to suceed - they will always fail.

    -Tsyko

    Root Causes

    What are the root causes of terrorism, and what can we do about them?

    In an earlier article, I spoke a little about the root causes of Terrorism. I mentioned our foreign policy over the last 50 years , and I still feel that is part of the issue. However, writing about this made me want to find out what the real 'root causes' of terrorism are.

    This is what I have found so far:

    Those who hold to 'poverty as the root cause” do so even though the data does not fit their model. Even leaving aside multimillionaire Osama bin Laden, the backgrounds of the September 11 killers indicates that they were without exception scions of privilege: all were either affluent Saudis and Egyptians, citizens of the wealthy Gulf statelets, or rich sons of Lebanon, trained in and familiar with the ways of the West — not exactly the victims of poverty in Muslim dictatorships.

    From [Dr. Radu's](http://www.fpri.org/about/people/radu.html) [article](http://www.fpri.org/enotes/americawar.20020423.radu.futilesearchforrootcauses.html) The Futile Search for 'Root Causes” of Terrorism

    That makes sense. They need people who can move unnoticed through our society. People who were educated at our schools and speak our language very well. You will not find that amongst the poor in most countries.

    Most terrorists are not motivated by the prospect of financial gain or the hopelessness of poverty, says economist Alan B. Krueger, least of all in the Middle East. Only 13 percent of Palestinian suicide bombers are from impoverished families, while about a third of the Palestinian population is in poverty, according to new research by Claude Berrebi, a Princeton University graduate student. A remarkable 57 percent of suicide bombers have some education beyond high school, compared with just 15 percent of the population of comparable age. This evidence corroborates findings for other Middle Eastern and Latin American terrorist groups. Terrorists are drawn from society's elites, not the dispossessed.

    From [The Motivation for Terrorism](http://www.ncpa.org/iss/ter/2003/pd053003c.html), by [National Center for Policy Analysis](http://www.ncpa.org)

    One of the things that I have often felt, is that Terrorism targeted at us is related to how we are perceived on the on the global stage. Over the last 50 years, we have been, if not the most, one of the most powerful players in the world. How have we used this power?

    According to the Pentagon's Defense Science Board, a strong correlation exists between U.S. involvement in international situations and an increase in terrorist attacks against the United States. President Clinton has also acknowledged that link. The board, however, has provided no empirical data to support its conclusion. This paper fills that gap by citing many examples of terrorist attacks on the United States in retaliation for U.S. intervention overseas. The numerous incidents cataloged suggest that the United States could reduce the chances of such devastating-and potentially catastrophic-terrorist attacks by adopting a policy of military restraint overseas.

    From the [Cato Institutes's](http://www.cato.org/index.html) Article [Does U.S. Intervention Overseas Breed Terrorism? The Historical Record](http://www.cato.org/pubs/fpbriefs/fpb-050es.html)

    But, what kind of policy's are we talking about?

    The U.S., having decided that an Iranian victory would not serve its interests, began supporting Iraq: measures already underway to upgrade U.S.-Iraq relations were accelerated, high-level officials exchanged visits, and in February 1982 the State Department removed Iraq from its list of states supporting international terrorism.
    Iraq received massive external financial support from the Gulf states, and assistance through loan programs from the U.S. The White House and State Department pressured the Export-Import Bank to provide Iraq with financing, to enhance its credit standing and enable it to obtain loans from other international financial institutions. The U.S. Agriculture Department provided taxpayer-guaranteed loans for purchases of American commodities, to the satisfaction of U.S. grain exporters.

    From [The Saddam Hussein Sourcebook](http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/special/iraq/)

    So , we propped up Saddam, gave him money and material to fight a war, and now we don't understand why the people that he brutalized dislike us? There are more and more examples of this kind of duplicity on our parts. We helped the Taliban fight the Russians, and then we get angry when they continue with their same extremist ways. We help with one hand, and strike with the other. It makes no sense.

    I certainly hope that our Foreign policymakers see the problems that our history has caused, and take a more open, and constructive approach in the future. We should be helping people be free, happy and safe , not funding extremists and butchers. We should be leading this world by example , not by a leash.

    Sometimes

    Sometimes, I really hate computers.

    The road ahead

    [Dave](http://davejustus.blogspot.com/2005/04/calm-before-storm.html) sez:

    In short, the more the Jihadists lose in Iraq, the more likely they are to use their rump forces to try something really crazy in America to make up for it. So let's stay the course in Iraq, but stay extra-vigilant at home.Certainly something worth thinking about. There is endless speculation into the mindset and motivations of Al-Qaida types. Some of what they do seems to make sense, other things seem to be extremely bizarre

    I think that this almost goes with out saying. As a caged or cornered animal, I expect them to fight harder. I expect attempts at acts larger then the World Trade.

    The best way to keep this from happening is to keep them off balance as well as tightening security at home. If they are denied a base of operations, training areas, and the other infrastructure that it takes to run an organization that large, they will be pretty ineffective.

    I think that is what Bush is betting on. Keep hitting them hard - with conventional as well as unconventional forces, keep them running, and they will not have the time or energy to mount an effective attack.

    Long term, I do not think this will be an effective tactic. I feel that we need to start to look at the situation in a more strategic light. We need to identify the why of the matter. Why are these people so angry at us? It's not enough to say that it's just crazy people, or it's their religion - that is patently not true. There are underlying reasons - some caused by our foreign policy over the last 50 years, some caused by where these people live.

    To really end terrorism as it exists today, we need to fix the underlying problems. That is a very long term effort, and it's going to be a hard row to hoe. It will take a lot of introspection on our part, and apologizing for our missteps in the past. It will also take our engendering and promoting a culture of tolerance and openness.

    Nuclear pullet surprise

    A once secret plan to build a nuclear landmine 'run' by live chickens has gone on public display for the first time at The National Archives, Kew, as part of the acclaimed Secret State Exhibition.

    You can read the rest [here](http://improbable.typepad.com/improbable_research_whats/2005/04/nuclear_pullet_.html), but it boils down to this. They were going to stuff a nuclear landmine full of chickens to insure that the weapon's important parts did not get too cold and freeze up during the winter.

    Leave it to the human race to come up with an idea this unique.

    I don't know if I am amazed by our resourcefullness or sickened.

    New Terrorist Threat!

    People of the United States! We are Unitarian Jihad! We can strike without warning. Pockets of reasonableness and harmony will appear as if from nowhere!

    Jon Carroll, in the [San Francisco Examiner](http://sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/chronicle/archive/2005/04/08/DDG27BCFLG1.DTL), has the whole story.

    Hat Tip [SJ](http://www.sjgames.com/ill/archives.html?y=2005&m=April&d=13)

    On Blogging

    When is the last time you read a real blog entry? An entry that stood on it's own, instead of the 'he said, she said' stuff that goes around? When is the last time you read a weblog where the person who wrote was thinking, and adding to the collective intelligence instead of regurgitating someone else's thoughts by way of hyperlink?

    And bloggers, when is the last time that you wrote something that stood on it's own? When is the last time that you wrote something that didn't hyperlink an agreement or disagreement to someone else's weblog? When is the last time you wrote something that was thought provoking, instead of some dull improvised regurgitation?

    The reason that this is worth thinking about is because the currency of the blogosphere is the 'popular link vote', as determined by [Technorati ](http://www.technorati.com/)and the [Blogshares](http://www.blogshares.com/) game

    You should read the rest of the [article](http://mediacenter.blogs.com/morph/2005/04/desperately_see.html).

    PostSecret

    I heard about this [site](http://postsecret.blogspot.com/) on NPR a few days ago, and then promptly forgot about it. [Poor Role Model](http://poorrolemodel.blogspot.com/2005/04/have-you-seen-this-one.html#comments) posted about it - and I went to the site. Very powerful stuff.

    This game is wrong

    But I got 2037 feet. What [can you get](http://www.addictinggames.com/kittencannon.html)?

    A big win for Free Software

    [Mako says](http://mako.yukidoke.org/copyrighteous/ip/20050410-00.html)

    Greg Pomerantz pointed me to this article on a recent 2nd Circuit copyright decision. The case basically disambiguated the term "owner" in 17 U.S.C. §117 (a). It may seem nit-picky and obscure but (AFAICT, IANAL, OMG) this decision has good implications for free software hackers.

    and

    The case in question is Krause v. Titleserv Inc., 03-9303. Here is the back story: William Krause was a programmer and consultant hired by Titleserv to write a series of programs over the course of a decade. When Krause left Titleserv, he left the company the right use the software but not modify it. Using technical means that are not entirely clear from what I've read, he left the software "locked" so that the company did not have access to source code or the ability to modify the program. Evidently, the technical means were not very good ones. Titleserv managed to sidestep these restrictions and bring the software back into modifiable source form. They modified the program to keep it working a number of times and in a number of sometimes rather intrusive ways.

    Second Circuit Judges Pierre Leval and Robert Katzmann sided with Titleserv. Leval said that courts should, "inquire into whether the party exercises sufficient incidents of ownership over a copy of the program to be sensibly considered the owner of the copy for purposes of §117(a)." Rightful possession is ownership.

    Seems like a landmark case. If you have rightful possession of a program - then you own it and can freely modify it. This is huge!

    If you're really interested, here is another [article](http://www.nixonpeabody.com/copyright_article.asp?ID=55&PubType=A) and you can find the full case on Lexis and elsewhere.

    What is this world coming to?

    [WorldNetDaily: Man arrested, cuffed after using $2 bills](http://worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=43685)

    A man trying to pay a fee using $2 bills was arrested, handcuffed and taken to jail after clerks at a Best Buy store questioned the currency's legitimacy and called police.

    According to an account in the Baltimore Sun, 57-year-old Mike Bolesta was shocked to find himself taken to the Baltimore County lockup in Cockeysville, Md., where he was handcuffed to a pole for three hours while the U.S. Secret Service was called to weigh in on the case.

    Wow.

    Now, I do not fault the Best Buy employees as much as the police in this matter. After all, it seems that the average retail employee today is decidely wet behind the ears.

    I used to go about asking if places honored Federal Reserve Notes. I usally was told no, or got blank looks. *Note: Federal Reserve Notes are any legal US Cash.*

    My favorite quote:
    Commenting on the incident, Baltimore County police spokesman Bill Toohey told the Sun: "It's a sign that we're all a little nervous in the post-9/11 world."

    From [Michael Olesker](http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/local/bal-md.olesker08mar08,1,76004.column?ctrack=1&cset=true) at the [Baltmore Sun](http://www.baltimoresun.com/)

    Um. Yeah. Talking about blowing it way out of proportion. Let's use the terrorism card to cover up our mistakes. Some guy paying with $2 bills is going to be the next World Trade pilot. Yeah.

    People. Calm down a notch. Check out the situation before making a choice.

    "Remember, though, your best weapon is between your ears and under your scalp - provided it's loaded."

    B. P. Matson [Tunnel in the Sky](http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0345353730/survivalarts-20/102-7878343-2935344), by Robert Heinlein

    -Tsyko

    Under False Colors, by L. Neil Smith

    [L. Neil Smith says:](http://www.ncc-1776.com/tle2005/tle307-20050220-02.html)

    For those uninitiated in the ways of libertarians, the acronym "ZAP" stands for "Zero Aggression Principle", a slightly different term some of us have settled on lately for what the movement has long called the "Non-Aggression Principle". What it says is that nobody has any right to initiate physical force against anybody else, for any reason.

    Skipping over a lot of nitpicking that goes on among libertarians about formulation and implementation, what it means is that we're not pacifists. We will fight, we just won't start it. And if everybody acted that way—not starting it—about 90 percent of the world's problems, give or take the occasional volcano or tsunami—would be solved. I changed the name simply because I thought that the acronym "ZAP" was a lot more dynamic and attractive than the more traditional "NAP".

    One of the best and, to me, most interesting features of the Zero Aggression Principle is that so many different folks arrive at it from so many different angles. I'm not sure where it came from originally. I first read of it in Ayn Rand's essays, but later heard it explained in greater detail by Robert LeFevre. Other teachers have taught it, as well.

    In Independence Day, Will Smith puts it in terms his character might well have learned from his mom: "Don't start nothin', won't be nothin'!"

    Safe Blogging

    The point is that anyone can eventually find your blog if your real identity is tied to it in some way. And there may be consequences. Family members may be shocked or upset when they read your uncensored thoughts. A potential boss may think twice about hiring you. But these concerns shouldn't stop you from writing. Instead, they should inspire you to keep your blog private, or accessible only to certain trusted people.

    From the [EFF](http://www.eff.org/Privacy/Anonymity/blog-anonymously.php)

    Can you really, honestly blog privately? I would say - No.

    So - here is my advice. Blog safely. Consiter that this is not a private journal. Anyone in the world can read this. They can track down your IP address, and ask your ISP who was using that when you posted the article. They **can** find you.

    So, post like you are having a discussuion with a freind in a public place. There are things that you would not tell some one in that context. There should be things that you would not discuss on your blog.

    - Tsyko

    Alternative Fuels

    (This is a repost from my old site, but it is still relevant)

    So, the Bush Whitehouse has announced that they are going to put 1 billion dollars into researching hydrogen fueled personal vehicles. I have issues with this. I honestly think that it is a waste of money.

    We have an existing infrastructure that costs billions of dollars to put in place. We have an automotive industry that is tooled around building internal combustion engines. Why would we want to spend the money to retool this entire infrastructure?

    There is another option out there. Modern diesel engines are very fuel efficient, and when coupled with Biodiesel fuel they are very environmentally friendly.

    Volkswagen makes a model of their Jetta with a 2L [TDI (Turbo Diesel Injected](http://www.tdiclub.com/TDIFAQ/TDiFAQ-1.html)) engine that gets 50 mpg freeway and town. Couple that with a 14-gallon tank, and you have quite the cruising range. My F250 gets 16 in town and 20 on the freeway - pretty good for a 7.3L V8 with 525 f/lbs of torque. [Here](http://auto.howstuffworks.com/question399.htm) is a good page with lots of information about diesel engines, how they work and more.

    According to the EPA's [studies in 2002](http://www.epa.gov/otaq/models/biodsl.htm), when you run biodiesel three of the four major regulated pollutants drop by 50%, 50% and 80% (C02, Particulate Matter and Hydrocarbons), and NOx rises by about 10%. Note that these were done in 2002 with engines built before 1997. According to the National Biodiesel Board, B100's emissions are as following: HC:67%, Carbon Monoxide:48%, Particulate Matter:47%, NOx +10%, Sulfates:100%, Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons:80%, Nitrated PAH:90% and Ozone potential of speciated Hydrocarbons: 50%. All of this was taken from the [National Biodiesel Board's Research](http://www.biodiesel.org/pdf_files/emissions.pdf).

    A little about biodiesel. Many of the biodiesel fuels are blends with standard diesel. This is notated as B where the number is the percent of Biodiesel that is in the mix. So, B5 is 5% biodiesel and B100 is 100% biodiesel. Biodiesel in the US tends to be made from Soybeans.

    Biodiesel is also supported in existing engines - you do not need to modify the engine to run it. [The National Biodiesel Board](http://www.biodiesel.org/resources/fuelfactsheets/standards_and_warranties.shtm) has information about specific companies and if their warranties are voided by the use of Biodiesel.

    In Spokane you can get biodiesel at [City Service Valcon,18826 East Appleway, Pump 2](http://www.mapquest.com/maps/print.adp?mapdata=OE4WNszgW9w1%252f4HWa41NWUo6bFFkGVqyKjQNv36KWZRrBKqKpEMPpiPFucMzEWkF2eHoq4d0ZRw1N5pEe77syDot8GF67lr9HjM3airn9dNMWb4Ymk9HUqhN2dB9MK9whkwYtXIQtFHldMzXte4MzR%252f9sjpyHD%252bKHlrnwuiSi4BbjMS2b3eVoPCJlm6c2rJu6H%252brmmM5iJh25cFoXYhnTlkpDBWpv5egrAWIAwkDgeGJMUWyd%252f56%252bkMA0eUUTwXOnlLcdUNPActZqLTKJntShL3TmZy1AEchb3hJXlowsImqJ5QUY97%252fpvRVUjdWEoJDlwmjSEnDVgvJYaqcrD6qcgzxrZrejrjXF7it4TOR2S%252f%252f6Q81ehbqrYNxic%252f6ok%252fM99ZBNoqDYD2yCjeYaVO5KMKVhh%252fT4oGe3C3BnSeoLvYsjTpUuBfHkIIo8rFfjSc8Omm9GwcPdbYkD3%252bvnvYYmpDy9WfpNAfQLIpXHpJomS2tfi0sAjQxdv9k88jN%252bPbMytKJM0sRNUk%253d). You can find a biodiesel pump near you at (again) [The National Biodiesel Board](http://www.biodiesel.org/buyingbiodiesel/retailfuelingsites/default.shtm).

    As of this writing, Biodiesel is more expensive then normal diesel, however Congress just lowered the Excise Tax on it, and as soon as that goes into effect, it will become much more competitive.

    So, let's all help out Mother Nature with the tools that we have right now, and not pour billions of dollars into new infrastructure. Let's use what we have now, buy diesel and pour that vegetable oil into it!

    -Tsyko

    Rebuild the Twin Towers?

    [Vodkapundit - Rebuild Them](http://vodkapundit.com/archives/007746.php)

    We visited the WTC site after the attacks. On the plywood barrier next to the site people wrote personal messages. One of them struck a chord with me: it defiantly said, "It's still New York."

    I like the idea to rebuild the towers. Yes, almost 3000 people died that day: more than the number that died at Pearl Harbor. Rebuilding the towers says, "You can't beat us. You can't even slow us down." The enemy attacked building that were symbols. Fine. Rebuild the symbols they hate.

    I wouldn't put anti-aircraft guns on the top floor.

    I would move the UN into one of the buildings.

    Hat tip [Cube](http://sandcastlesandcubicles.blogspot.com/)

    Some intresting ideas on ID

    [Heretical Ideas » NOT-SO-INTELLIGENT DESIGN](http://hereticalideas.com/index.php?p=2773)

    But you'd think one thing that opponents of ID (like myself) should invoke more often are the examples of downright shoddy design put forth by the creator of the universe. The design of the human testicles, for instance. Here we have one of the primary reproductive organs located in a sac outside of the body and very, very vulnerable to damage. Why? Because human sperm can't be produced at normal human body temperature! That doesn't seem like intelligent design to me.

    Heh!

    I Supported A War For Oil....

    And all I got was $53.30 a barrel and $2.20 at the pump!

    Where's the cheap oil we're supposed to get? I mean, what good is warring for oil if the prices go up? It's almost like the war wasn't really for oil but that can't be true!

    From [Sharpest Marble](http://sharpmarbles.stufftoread.com/archive/2005/04/08/2896.aspx#FeedBack)

    Why switch to linux?

    This [short movie](http://www.nata2.info/humor/flash/switchlinux3.swf) explains it best.

    This is just to much fun!

    You have got to check this out! [Bowman](http://www.nata2.info/humor/flash/bowman.swf)

    Remember: One in the head beats two in the torso!

    Bloggers Woes, or why I left..

    [Blogger](http://www.blogger.com) is having major issues.

    I had my blog over there for quite a while, and honestly, I liked it. It was simple, effective and all in all a good thing.

    But [Blogger](http://www.blogger.com) has grown too fast. They are having serious preformance issues. The commenting system crashes. There are no ping/trackbacks. They post *"it's a free service, don't complain"*. If I could have signed up for a pay account that actually worked, I would have. I really liked their software (except the trackback issue). I hated the cronic slowness and other problems.

    So, I got [WordPress](http://wordpress.org/).

    I put the problems squarely in the lap of [Blogger.](http://www.blogger.com) They are now [owned](http://weblog.siliconvalley.com/column/dangillmor/archives/000802.shtml) by [Google.](http://www.google.com) Why not add a few hundred servers? Why not charge for premium accounts, and funnel that money back into expansion?

    Excuses aside, they are providing a service. If they expect to keep their good name, the service needs to meet expectations. If it does not, people will not use their service.

    Here's to hoping that [blogger](http://www.blogger.com) will get it together and fix their issues - they have done a lot to advance blogging, and they could become a force to be reckoned with in the blogosphere. Heres hoping that they come back in full force.

    -Tsyko

    Tam O' Shanter

    [Robert Burns: ](http://www.robertburns.org/works/308.shtml)

    When chapman billies leave the street, And drouthy neibors, neibors, meet; As market days are wearing late, And folk begin to tak the gate, While we sit bousing at the nappy, An' getting fou and unco happy, We think na on the lang Scots miles, The mosses, waters, slaps and stiles, That lie between us and our hame, Where sits our sulky, sullen dame, Gathering her brows like gathering storm, Nursing her wrath to keep it warm.

    Home Theatre PC Guide

    There is a good [Home Theatre PC Guide](http://www.2cpu.com/articles/113_1.html) out there. What they talk about is how to build a Home Theater PC - more then just a [TiVO](http://www.tivo.com). You will be able to record TV to a digital format, display photos, play your Sound Files. It is a one stop shop.

    I think that I am going to build one some day. I have a few old PC's that need a home :)

    Addicted, I tell ya!

    You Are Best Described By...
    Meditative Rose By Salvadore Dali
    [What Famous Work of Art Are You?](http://www.blogthings.com/whatfamousartareyouquiz/)

    Hat Tip [The Quizzer](http://emilyscraziness.blogspot.com)

    On Searching

    This one looks good - [yagoohoogle](http://yagoohoogle.com) takes the best from Yahoo and Google and just kind of mushes them together in a blob of searchy goodness.

    Also - Google has a new interface out:

    [New Google](http://photos4.flickr.com/8728285_446acbbccb_o.jpg)

    Cool write up!

    [Blogging in the Inland NW](http://www.spokesmanreview.com/blogs/local/) The Roost

    The elusive Tsykoduk lives in its own little world where everything is rosy and the gnomes make fresh espresso drinks for everyone. They often spell-check the street signs, write notes in the air and dance to 70's tunes. You can see them sitting under Bodhi trees, squawking about computers, politics, discordianism and other obtuse angles with the Quantum Ducks, a closely related species.

    Google Maps

    If you have not checked out [Google Maps](http://maps.google.com) you really need to. It's a cross between keyhole and mapquest. Wow.

    I Murder Hate

    Robert Burns (1759,1796), [I Murder Hate](http://www.bartleby.com/6/304.html)

    I MURDER hate by flood or field, Tho' glory's name may screen us; In wars at home I'll spend my blood— Life-giving wars of Venus. The deities that I adore Are social Peace and Plenty; I'm better pleas'd to make one more, Than be the death of twenty.

    More about Gas Taxes

    [An Increase in the Gas Tax Would Hurt Consumers and Slow the Economy](http://www.heritage.org/Research/Taxes/wm451.cfm) Some leaders in Congress want to increase the federal tax on gasoline by 5.45 cents per gallon, for the first year, and then index it to inflation. They would use the revenue from this tax increase to finance additional spending on highways and other transportation projects, which they say will benefit the economy. Macroeconomic analysis performed by the Center for Data Analysis at the Heritage Foundation, however, shows that increasing the gas tax would depress economic activity and the incomes of millions of Americans. It would also raise significantly less revenue than its proponents project. The President should be commended for his firm stand against raising the federal gasoline tax, and Congress would do well to abandon proposals to increase the gas tax and instead focus on spending highway dollars more efficiently, ideally by turning them back to the states.

    If gas taxes do not work on a federal level, how can they work at a state?

    [Gas Tax History - Seattle PI](http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/transportation/215368_transpo10.html)

    Takeaway - The national average is 23.7 cents a gallon, and right now, we pay 28 cents a gallon. And they want to tack another 15 cents a gallon on top of that.

    Let's talk about budget.

    According to [the State](http://www.ofm.wa.gov/budget/highlights/assets/pdf/highlights.pdf) we will be paying 4.6 billion in health care costs for 1 million people. As we have 6 million residents, 1 in 6 people are getting health care from the state.

    Instead of spending that 4.6 **billion** on bandaids why not find the root of the problem? Why can 1 in 6 people not afford health care? What can we, as a community, do to help these people get the satisfaction of paying their own way?

    'There is something wrong with the priorities of a state that denies children health care.” -Gov. Christine Gregoire

    The State does not deny children health care! They State is not an insurance company, nor is it a hospital. It is a State Government. If the state wants to insure that children have health care, then it needs to generate the opportunities the children's parents need to provide good homes and basic health care for them.

    So, we could more then likely carve the 500 million out of health care alone that they are looking for to improve roads and build new bridges.

    However, I know that I am shouting into the wind. After all, [Alexander Fraser Tytler](http://www.bartleby.com/73/424.html) said it best:

    A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largesse from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most benefits from the public treasury with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy, always followed by a dictatorship. The average age of the world's greatest civilizations has been 200 years.

    -Tsyko

    Washington State proposes 15-cent gas tax hike

    Seattle Times: Local News:[The Senators propose multiyear, 15-cent gas tax hike](http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2002230443_webtaxhike04.html)
    OLYMPIA: Senate transportation leaders today proposed a 15 cent per gallon increase in the state gasoline tax, to be slowly phased in over the next 12 years.
    Um.. Wow – we already pay $.28 a gallon in taxes on fuel, and now they want to tack on another $.15? Thats $.43 a gallon in taxes alone. More then likely, the answer is not new and higher taxes, but rather a re-allocation of existing funds. [Washington State took in $752,000,000](http://dor.wa.gov/Docs/Pubs/ExciseTax/FilTaxReturn/MajorTaxes.htm) in Fuel Tax in ‘03. Assuming that everything stays the same, they want us to pay out $1,150,000,000 in fuel taxes!
    The plan also includes a gross-weight fee on cars, sports utility vehicles and small trucks, as well as local-option tax increases for cities and counties.
    So our tabs are on the way up as well. What happened to the Flat Tabs? This is just getting silly. Higher and more complex taxes do not engender a stronger economy – they weaken it. We need to take the message to Olympia – No More Taxes! Spend the billions that you take in as if it were your paycheck! No more stupid spending.

    Browsing can be dangerous...

    Especially when you find [The Elvis Trooper](http://www.elvistrooper.com/menu.htm).

    Oh my.

    Hat tip [ The Katt](http://blog.ziffdavis.com/katt/archive/2005/04/05/6521.aspx)

    Feds Hack Wireless Network in 3 Minutes

    [From Slashdot..](http://hardware.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=05/04/05/1428250&from=rss)

    from the still-can't-balance-budget dept. xs3 writes At a recent ISSA (Information Systems Security Association) meeting in Los Angeles, a team of FBI agents demonstrated current WEP-cracking techniques and broke a 128 bit WEP key in about three minutes. Special Agent Geoff Bickers ran the Powerpoint presentation and explained the attack, while the other agents (who did not want to be named or photographed) did the dirty work of sniffing wireless traffic and breaking the WEP keys. [This article](http://www.tomsnetworking.com/Sections-article111.php) will be a general overview of the procedures used by the FBI team.

    And people think that I am paranoid for running a firewall between my Wireless and Wired LANs.

    Next step for me is IPSEC/VPN thru the firewall for access from my laptop. I will have it set up so that I can access my files and printers from anywhere with an internet connection. But first I have to re-wire the house.. :)

    Open Office 2 Pre-Review

    Well, I have been using RC1 of Open Office 2 for a few weeks now, and I just wanted to take some time to jot down some opinions.

    The interface is much cleaner then the 1.x era of Open Office. I must say that I really like it. The buttons are sharp and clean, and colorful. In the menus, they display the button icons next to the command, so it makes finding things easier.

    As far as stability, I have had no crashes with it at all. Considering this is a beta release, I am very happy with that. Still available is the PDF creator. The font wizard is pretty cool as well, allowing you to download and install LGPL fonts directly into Open Office.

    It seems to do a better job of importing and exporting from the Microsoft Office file formats then the older version. Excel to Open office is still lacking , only in the artistic area. I like using drop shadows when I create forms in spreadsheets. Open office does not yet support that. It's a little feature, but one that I am looking forward to.

    I currently am running it on Windows XP SP2. Due to some of the [core features](http://software.newsforge.com/software/05/03/22/204244.shtml?tid=93) being implemented in Java, however, getting it onto a Linux box might entail some work (installing the Java Runtime and then the Open Office package by hand), but that is work that I am going to do as soon as the full 2.o is out.

    Good Taste

    It seems that the theme that I have chosen for this site, won an award!
    [WordPress 1.5 Themes](http://www.alexking.org/software/wordpress/themes/blog/) Pixel Perfect Design Prize Winner * rdc* Theme * **FastTrack**

    Congrats!

    History of the Universe in 200 words or less

    Yes, you too can read the History of the universe in 200 words or less [Here](http://members.bellatlantic.net/%7Evze3fs8i/hist/hist.html).

    Hat Tip [Improbable Research](http://improbable.typepad.com/)

    Proof of water on Mars!!

    Yup - you heard it!

    The popular Astronomoy Picture of the Day page has photographic proof of water on mars. It will be a little difficult for those of you who don't have a degree on geology to spot the evidence, but with a little effort, I think you'll be able to make it out.

    Check [it](http://antwrp.gsfc.nasa.gov/apod/ap050401.html) out!

    Why I dislike Microsoft Products part 72

    From [Eweek](http://www.eweek.com/article2/0,1759,1781171,00.asp)

    A pair of newly discovered security flaws in Microsoft's Internet Explorer and Outlook programs could put millions of users at risk of code execution attacks, a private research outfit warned Thursday.

    This is part for the course - we expect there to be serious security flaws in Microsoft products.

    Marc Maiffret, chief hacking officer at eEye, said the flaws were rated "high-severity" because malicious hackers could run a successful exploit from anywhere on the Internet.

    "These are client-side vulnerabilities that could allow attacks via a Web browser or the Outlook client. The risk of a zero-day attack is quite high," Maiffret said in an interview with eWEEK.com.

    He said Microsoft was alerted to the first vulnerability March 16.

    March 16th? That's 16 days ago? Must be a biggie!

    A spokeswoman for the software giant confirmed that engineers at the Microsoft Security Research Center were investigating the eEye discoveries.

    "At this time, Microsoft is not aware of any malicious attacks attempting to exploit the reported vulnerabilities, and there is no customer impact based on this issue," she said.

    Once the investigation is done, she said Microsoft would "take the appropriate action" to protect affected users.

    They are investigating? What? 16 days and no patch?

    Microsoft is in serious trouble. To properly secure their OS, they need to re-write it from the ground up. But they cannot take the time to do that, as there are other OS's breathing down their neck. If they took a year off, and rewrote windows they would be two years behind (they are already at least a year behind Apple and the FOSS community). So they are stuck - keep developing Longhorn - keep slashing features from it and trying to shore up the issues that they already see coming, or drop it, and re-write the whole shebang. They have already basically lost the war in the web server market - Apache rules there with an iron fist. They are taking heat on the browser side, with Firefox and Opera starting to make serious inroads. Open Office is sniffing around at their flanks. Things are starting to look grim for the Faithful in Redmond.

    But, perhaps this is not as it looks at first. Taking into account that Bill [said he was going to give his money away](http://aroundcny.com/technofile/texts/tec091999.html), perhaps this is just a plot. If Microsoft were to fail, he could walk away with a hefty sum of money and claim that he kept his word!

    Conspiracy theory's aside, the technical challenges faced by Microsoft are immense. The choices that they are faced with are really tough - keep the old, or develop the new? My guess is that they stay the course.

    New communications methods discovered!

    From [Slashdot](http://science.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=05/04/01/1417218&from=rss)..

    Odin's Raven writes "Opera Software's R-and-D department today announced the discovery of a new technology dubbed 'Opera SoundWave' - a platform-independent speech solution for short- and medium-range interpersonal communication. Based on open standards, Opera's patent-pending P2P speech technology uses analogue signals carried through open air, enabling users to communicate in real- time without the use of computers or mobile phones. Details (including link to tech preview) are available in their press release. I wonder how long it will be before a FOSS implementation of this technology emerges?"

    Wow. that sounds really cool. I think that it could totally change the world, the way that we communicate and everything else. I think this is going to be big...

    Read more [Here](http://www.opera.com/pressreleases/en/2005/04/01/)!

    Google Gulp!

    Google is announcing a new product... [Google Gulp!](http://www.google.com/googlegulp/) Sounds yummy..

    Geeeorge!

    The cat is pissed. It seems that he was checking out my blog, and found several pictures of the idiot dog, but none of his most highness.

    Soooo.

    Geeeorge!

    New blog

    Moving into a possible new blog.. Excuse the mess, poke around and see what is happening..

    Change is the only constant...

    I rock

    New domain name for this blog - [greg.nokes.name](http://greg.nokes.name)! Cool - hu? If I ever decide to roll my own blogsite (which I am close to right now) that URL will stay the 'offical' one.

    Good Flash Movie

    Check This out...

    It's simple lessons like this that we need to learn. Often when I am wrapped up in my life and my problems, I am like Leo - not wanting to help, not thinking before acting. By training myself to be mindful, I can learn to float above the feelings that are generated in daily life. I still experience them, I still feel them, but they no longer dictate my actions. I am not ruled by my gut, but rather by my reason. I react not out of momentary passion, but out of thoughtfulness.

    -Tsyko

    Spamroll?

    Is that like a hamroll?

    No - silly - it's a [blog dedicated](http://www.spamroll.com/) to news about Spam, Spyware and other nastys that infect those poor sods that run Microsoft Products.


    (grin)

    Go Go Gadget-Tax!

    In an very good peice on Taxes, [George F. Will](http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/tribune-review/opinion/columnists/will/s_318862.html) says


    The power to tax involves, as Chief Justice John Marshall said, the power to destroy. So does the power of tax reform, which is one reason why Rep. John Linder, a Georgia Republican, has a 133-page bill to replace 55,000 pages of tax rules.

    His bill would abolish the IRS and the many billions of tax forms it sends out and receives. He would erase the federal income tax system - personal and corporate income taxes, the regressive payroll tax and self-employment tax, capital gains, gift and estate taxes, the alternative minimum tax and the earned income tax credit - and replace all that with a 23 percent national sales tax on personal consumption...

    ..Today the percentage of taxpayers who rely on professional tax preparers is at an all-time high. The 67 percent of tax filers who do not itemize may think they avoid compliance costs, which include nagging uncertainty about whether one has properly complied with a tax code about the meaning of which experts differ. But everyone pays the cost of the tax system's vast drag on the economy.

    Linder says Americans spend 7 billion hours a year filling out IRS forms and at least that much calculating the tax implications of business decisions. Economic growth suffers because corporate boards waste huge amounts of time on such calculations rather than making economically rational allocations of resources...

    ...Corporations do not pay payroll and income taxes and compliance costs, they collect them from consumers through prices. So the 23 percent consumption tax would allow taxpayers to stop paying the huge embedded cost of corporate taxation.

    Linder says the director of the Congressional Budget Office told him it costs individuals and businesses about $500 billion to remit $2 trillion to Washington. And studies show that it costs the average small business $724 to collect and remit $100...

    ...Furthermore, by ending payroll and corporate taxes, America would become the only nation selling goods with no tax component - such as Europe's value added tax - in their prices. With no taxes on capital and labor, multinationals would, Linder thinks, stampede to locate here, which would be an incentive for other nations to emulate America. "This," Linder says, "would unleash freedom around the globe."

    Critics argue that ending the income tax, with its deductibility of charitable contributions, would depress giving. Piffle, Linder says. In 1980, when the top personal income tax rate was 70 percent, a huge incentive for giving, individual charitable contributions were $40.7 billion. In 1986 the top rate was reduced to 28 percent and by 1988 charitable giving was $86.7 billion. The lesson, says Linder, is that we give more money when we have more money.


    This is something that I have been railing about for years now. I think this is a great idea! The more money you put into consumer's hands, the more they are going to spend. Or, more importantly, save. A stronger savings will allow more Venture Capital to fund more of what the US is so good at - ideas.

    Hat Tip Dave

    Watch your behind.. guess who's coming for dinner..


    [:: how jedi are you? ::](http://www.gaijindesign.com/lawriemalen/jedi" target="_blank)


    Thanks for another waste of time goes to Spokane's Quiz Queen

    Florida's New Living Will

    I, *__**__*_ (fill in the blank), being of sound mind and body, unequivocally declare that in the event of a catastrophic injury, I do not wish to be kept alive indefinitely by artificial means. I hereby instruct my loved ones and relatives to remove all life-support systems, once it has been determined that my brain is longer functioning in a cognizant realm. However, that judgment should be made only after thorough consultation with medical experts; i.e., individuals who actually have been trained, educated and certified as doctors.

    Under no circumstances - and I can't state this too strongly - should my fate be put in the hands of peckerwood politicians who couldn't pass ninth-grade biology if their lives depended on it. Furthermore, it is my firm hope that, when the time comes, any discussion about terminating my medical treatment should remain private and confidential.

    Living in Florida, however, I am acutely aware that the legislative and executive branches of state government are fond of meddling in family matters, and have little concern for the privacy and dignity of individuals.

    Therefore, I wish to make my views on this subject as clear and unambiguous as possible. Recognizing that some politicians seem cerebrally challenged themselves (and with no medical excuse), I'll try to keep this simple and to the point:

    1. While remaining sensitive to the feelings of loved ones who might cling to hope for my recovery, let me state that if a reasonable amount of time passes - say, *__* (fill in the blank) months - and I fail to sit sit up and ask for a cold beer, it should be presumed that I won't ever get better. When such a determination is reached, I hereby instruct my spouse, children and attending physicians to pull the plug, reel in the tubes and call it a day.

    2. Under no circumstances shall the members of the Legislature enact a special law to keep me on life-support machinery. It is my wish that these boneheads mind their own damn business, and pay attention instead to the health, education and future of the millions of Floridians who aren't in a permanent coma.

    3. Under no circumstances shall the governor of Florida butt into this case and order my doctors to put a feeding tube down my throat or through a hole into my abdomen to keep me alive. I don't care how many fundamentalist votes he's trying to scrounge for his run for the presidency in 2008, it is my wish that he plays politics with someone else's life and leaves me to die in peace.

    4. I couldn't care less if a hundred religious zealots send e-mails to legislators in which they pretend to care about me. I don't know these people, and I certainly haven't authorized them to preach and crusade on my behalf. They should mind their own business, too.

    5. It is my heartfelt wish to expire quietly and without a public spectacle. This is obviously impossible once elected officials become involved. So, while recognizing the wrenching emotions that attend the prolonged death of a loved one, I hereby instruct my relatives to settle all disagreements about my care in private or in the courts, as provided by law. If any of my family goes against my wishes and turns my case into a political cause, I hereby promise to come back from the grave and make his or her existence a living Hell.

    Hat Tip Sharp as a Marble

    I am proud of this one!

    lancelot
    Let's not bicker and argue about who killed who!


    [ What Monty Python Character are you?](http://quizilla.com/users/jackee/quizzes/What%20Monty%20Python%20Character%20are%20you%3F/)
    brought to you by [Quizilla](http://quizilla.com)


    Kudos to Spokane's Quiz Queen!

    Older Screenshots

    Here are a few older screenshots... (small to conserve space)

    [](http://nokes.name/photos/albums/userpics/10001/Screenshot%7E1.png)

    [](http://nokes.name/photos/albums/userpics/10001/Screenshot-2.png)

    [](http://nokes.name/photos/albums/userpics/10001/Screenshot-1.png)


    And, here is my home computer today..

    [](http://nokes.name/photos/albums/userpics/10001/Screenshot3.png)


    -Tsyko

    PyMusique vs Apple

    [Let fans decide on digital rights](http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/4379371.stm)

    The argument over the use of digital rights management (DRM) to control the distribution and use of music and other content took an interesting turn this week...

    ...What Jon and his fellow programmers have done is work out exactly what information the iTunes client sends to the store, and what responses it gets back when someone buys a song and downloads it.

    Jon earned the nickname "DVD Jon" for his exploits
    Then they have written their own program that does all of the same things with one key exception: their code does not add the FairPlay digital rights management wrapper to the downloaded music file.

    Instead of having to accept the limitations that Apple has placed on what you can do with the music you have purchased, you can use your own judgment as to what is fair and legal...

    ...It is great having people like Jon around because he combines astonishing technical ability with devotion to the spirit of copyright law and the importance of "fair use" rights.

    That is, the freedom to do things like make copies for personal use, or keep backups, or just play music on any computer or portable player you happen to own.

    For him, the purpose of PyMusique is not to encourage people to break copyright law but to point out how technology is being used to take away freedoms that we should be fighting to preserve.


    I agree with what the article says. Apple's 'FairPlay', and indeed any DRM scheme is destined for failure. Why should I buy a tune from Apple, when I cannot play it on my iRiver? When I cannot use my Linux box to play it on my Home Stereo?

    here is a simple solution for those who, like me, disagree with Apple's approach to selling music online and that is not to buy any.

    I do not buy locked-down music, so I will not buy songs from iTunes or anywhere else that limits what I can do with them.

    Instead, I use sites like [betterPropaganda](http://www.betterpropaganda.com/), which have indie artists and unlocked files.

    But most of the time I simply buy CDs and rip them to my hard drive.

    I get the artwork, I get a high quality copy of the music that I can re-copy at any time if I should lose my digital version, and I get a music file I can play on any device I choose, now or in the future.


    That's what I do. I do not share my [Ogg](http://tsykoduk.blogspot.com/2005/03/gimme-my-ogg.html) files with folks that do not own the CD, and I only play them in my truck, or on my home system, or when I DJ Raves.

    Just kidding about that last one.

    Or am I?

    -Tsyko

    The World's Most Devious Alarm Clock

    [The World's Most Devious Alarm Clock](http://hardware.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=05/03/25/0017259&from=rss)

    from the snooze-bar-with-a-mallet dept.
    wired_parrot writes 'If you have trouble waking up, try this: MIT media lab has created an alarm clock that, when you press the snooze bar, runs off into a corner, a different hiding place every day. Try hitting the snooze bar again now!'


    Anyone that knows me, knows that I simply have to get one. That's too cool! Imagine the possibilities - you could set traps for it (If I pile the clothes like this, when it jumps off the nightstand it will get stuck or Well, you see the alarm clock jumps down and hits this lever which trips this fan which blows this wirlygig which turns this crank which drops this ball into this track which rolls down and moves this seesaw which pushes this rod up which dumps this bucket of water into this other bucket which swings across the room which pushes this lever which turns on the coffee machine.)


    -Tsyko

    More on the non-story

    So, I found this. Warning - it has bad words and stuff.

    Many of the media stories sound just as silly and juvenile. When are people going to realize that we live in a free country? The 'Moral Majority' has no right dictating to us what to do and believe.



    -Tsyko

    New screenshot

    Ya know, I just love showing these things off. I am sure that none of you actually care about this but..

    [](http://nokes.name/photos/albums/userpics/10001/Screenshot%7E0.png)



    -Tsyko

    I am not going to post about...

    I am not going to post about certain news items from Florida. And I will not point to to this site that has a very good unbiased look at the action. Really.


    Nothing to see here blogizen. Move along.

    Gimme my Ogg!

    A friend and I were talking, when I brought up the topic of using Ogg files instead of MP3's. As his iRiver supports Ogg, I chided him on his use of MP3's.

    He asked what was wrong with MP3's. I explained that the format was encumbered by patents and costs. He responded 'So?'

    So? I was at a loss for words.

    So, I decided to find out why.

    I will start with the social issues, and then wander towards the technical issues.

    Digital technology and network distribution has removed the middleman between the artist and the music listener, but the content industry wants to put the middleman back in place. They can do this with the help of a proprietary music format and software that they can control, with artificial restrictions to limit its potential.

    (From Daniel James)

    It's all about the bucks. The content providers make a ton of money right now off of audio CD sales. They are not going to if the artists can interact directly with the consumers.

    All of the money advanced by the record company to the act has to be paid back by the act from it's small percentage of the CD returns. This percentage can be as low as 5%. Consequently, record companies are always in profit a long time before acts are, if they ever are.

    (From ABC Australia)

    With the advent of digital music, the content industry thinks that it can massively increase profits by eliminating the costs associated with conventional music distribution on physical media.

    (From Daniel James)

    Another advantage over MP3 is that Vorbis sounds better, and its smaller. There's two sides of that scale - either it's smaller or it sounds better. Vorbis can get a little smaller and still sound better than MP3, or it can get a lot smaller and still sound pretty good.

    (From Jack Moffitt)

    I'm a music fan. Why should I be interested?

    Because Vorbis provides a high-quality format for you to listen to your music.
    For a given file size, Vorbis sounds better than MP3. This means: You can keep your music collection at about the same quality level, but it'll take up less space or you can have your music collection take up about the same amount of space, but have it sound better. Vorbis already enjoys widespread player support and work is underway to play Vorbis files on portable hardware.

    (From Vorbis)

    I am ripping at an Ogg quality of 8, and I am getting about 6 megs per song. Sammy Hagar's Heavy Metal is 6.07 megs in size. I am going to set it back down to 6. I ripped that song at 8 and at 6, and I could not hear a difference.

    Dare to compare the difference between the formats.

    -Tsyko

    Andre MIA


    WVLT VOLUNTEER TV :

    Science fiction author Andre Norton, who wrote the popular 'Witch World' series of books, died today at her home in Murfreesboro. She was 93.

    Her death was announced by friend Jean Rabe, who said Norton died of congestive heart failure."


    From [Justus for All](http://davejustus.blogspot.com/)..

    Passing of a legend...

    Zombie-Fest

    Official Survivor
    Congratulations! You scored 69%!

    Whether through ferocity or quickness, you made it out. You made the right choice most of the time, but you probably screwed up somewhere. Nobody's perfect, at least you're alive.



    My test tracked 1 variable How you compared to other people your age and gender:
    You scored higher than 94% on survivalpoints
    Link: The Zombie Scenario Survivor Test written by ci8db4uok on Ok Cupid


    Gee thanks for another waste of time Dave

    Linux is insecure, unscalable

    According to the [Agility Alliance](http://www.eds.com/services/alliances/agility/),

    From a corporate perspective, we are not confident where Linux is right now today. A large enterprise needs to be sure because it relates to securifying [sic] the environment. We see some of the same things occurring that did to Unix - it could splinter into many different types of languages. We are quite cautious about Linux and its deployment


    and

    We are concerned about security on an open standard environment like that. We are also concerned about some of the scalability issues that we are seeing on our clients on a global basis. Also, we are somewhat cautious about what happened with Unix , it splintered into eight applications - until McNealy (Scott McNealy, chief executive of Sun) finally announced he won the battle and had the one surviving Unix out there. We think Linux has the possibility of going the same route


    and

    If you test Red Hat against Solaris 10 against whatever else… we would say that Solaris 10 beats it hands down on functionality and everything else


    (all from this article ad ZDNet)

    So, these guys are saying that Linux is not scaleable, and insecure, and we should use Sun's Solaris instead.

    I found it funny that the Members of this "Agility Alliance" include Sun and Microsoft, both companies that would profit greatly from the demise of Linux.

    I also found it funny to find the following article just two above on OSNews:

    The homegrown Linux operating system has come a long way from its origins as a college kid's pet project and computer hobbyist favorite. Refined in recent years by professional computer programmers at IBM, Hewlett-Packard, Novell and Red Hat, Linux now has become so technically powerful that it lays claim to a prestigious title-it runs more of the world's top supercomputers than any other OS.


    Also - guys, Sun does not own Unix. There are several flavors of Unix still out there - AIX, HP/UX, BSD and (shudders) SCO to name a few..

    Get your facts "straightified" before you start to pop off with stuff like this.

    So - who we gonna trust? Sun and Microsoft or Forbes?

    -Tsyko

    I want one

    of these.

    New definition of Drive Offensivly :)

    Obiligatory Nose Photo

    Don't Panic!

    F/OSS vs Commercial development theories

    Eugenia posted an article a few days ago, and then another was posted and the lists started up and another etc...

    The short and long of the entire thing is that Eugenia feels that F/OSS developers are not as open to feature requests as Commerical developers. I tend to agree with her. F/OSS developers tend to 'scratch their itches' and not mine or yours. They are not paid for their efforts after all.

    If you want a customer centeric experince, look into customer driven software. One where the developers have a vested intrest in developing for their clients. KDE and Gnome are good examples. Many of KDE's developers are employed by SuSE and Novell. Many Gnome devlopers are employed by Novell and Canonical.

    But, wait, those are F/OSS software, right? Right!

    Most major F/OSS projects are sponsored by large, paying companies. If you support those companies, you support those projects. You gain a more powerful voice with the project to see your goals met.

    So, the moral of the story is as follows. If you love using F/OSS software, and are happy with it, great. Support the companies that support the software, or donate.

    If some very important feature is missing, add it yourself, or support one of the companies, and tell them what you want.

    As an aside, The Open CD is a good thing. Go, download it and check it out. Some really cool F/OSS software for windows there. Go - get it!

    -Tsyko

    PTM: II - Physics for the Third Millenium

    [Physics for the Third Millennium](http://www.wyp-ptm.org/)

    In February 1998, Marshall Space Flight Center's Science Directorate hosted a Workshop/Training Conference which invited leading physicists to meet with Marshall researchers about the cutting-edge issues in the world of physics at the dawn of the new millennium. Seven lectures covered a variety of topics at the edge of knowledge.

    The Science Directorate is organizing a follow-on conference to again bring together leading physicists to participate in a series of lectures on open issues in physics in 2005. The intended audience is wider and the number of participants greater than at the 1998 meeting but the range of topics will be as exciting. We hope to bring together leaders in the fields who can discuss such topics as What is Gravity, Dark Matter and Energy, Neutrino Physics, Issues in Quantum Physics, String Theories and New Dimensions, Physics of High Energies and Temperatures, A Century of Relativity, Where Physics and Biology Meet, and others yet to be defined.

    A major feature of this meeting is the addition of a significant education component to the meeting goals and venue. We are bringing the lecturers together with students and teachers with the hope of putting a human face to the world of physics.


    Oooooohhh. Can I go?

    Coding

    Just been working on my other site. Spent the day tweaking a theme for it. I must say, I like it. It's not as sexy as the old theme, but it's pretty good for my coding skills.

    -Tsyko

    Geek I am!

    You are 40% geek
    You are a geek liaison, which means you go both ways. You can hang out with normal people or you can hang out with geeks which means you often have geeks as friends and/or have a job where you have to mediate between geeks and normal people. This is an important role and one of which you should be proud. In fact, you can make a good deal of money as a translator.

    Normal: Tell our geek we need him to work this weekend.


    You [to Geek]: We need more than that, Scotty. You'll have to stay until you can squeeze more outta them engines!


    Geek [to You]: I'm givin' her all she's got, Captain, but we need more dilithium crystals!


    You [to Normal]: He wants to know if he gets overtime.

    [Take the Polygeek Quiz at Thudfactor.com](http://www.thudfactor.com/geekquiz.php)

    Hmmm

    I got a 9 what did you get?

    Things that go bump in the night...

    So, reading more and thinking more. That is always a dangerous combination. Here is what I am thinking about right now.

    Given that the universe is at least as [holistic](http://www.encyclopedia.com/html/M/Machspri.asp) [as](http://arxiv.org/PS_cache/physics/pdf/0112/0112094.pdf) [modern](http://citebase.eprints.org/cgi-bin/citations?id=oai:arXiv.org:gr-qc/9812003) physics thinks it is, perhaps even more, what can we gain by exploring smaller and smaller parts of it to more and more resolution?

    I guess that the quandary is as follows. Every part of the universe, from the smallest particle can effect every other part of the universe. We are, in fact, all in this together. By segmenting our knowledge into smaller and smaller disciplines, are we in fact doing our greater good a disservice?

    To understand a system, be it a computer system, an engine, or a biosphere - one needs a high level understanding of how all of the pieces and parts interact.

    For example - you would never take you car to a person who only knew how spark plugs worked (but knew every last little detail about spark plugs) to get it fixed would you? You would want some one who had a general understanding of the entire thing worked.

    Same goes with modern science. We have people who are so tightly focused on their specialties that they cannot see the whole picture. We have people who only think about string theory and how it works, but know little about the structure of distant stars. I would think that generalists who have a good understanding of many fields of study (but not in depth) might be needed. If for nothing more then to keep abreast of all of the developments in all of the fields and try and see where one field might benefit from others.

    After all, we have seen that what is true at the microscopic can also be true at the macroscopic.

    -Tsyko

    How much am I worth?

    [I am worth $2,775,590.00 on HumanForSale.com](http://www.humanforsale.com" title="How much am I worth?)

    Thanks to Emily for the link...

    Screenshot!




    Here is a screenshot from the default install of Ubuntu Linux. They have done a really good job with a sexy look and feel, clean graphics, and a quick system. The only changes that I made from the default was to make the task bars translucent. You can click on the image for a 1:1 scale image - but it's really big.

    -Tsyko

    Edit: So I guess that size does matter. At the request of several of you, I have made the screenshot on the Blog bigger

    New Iraq Exit Strategy Announced

    (Read the full article - With Pictures!)

    Bush announces Iraq Exit Strategy: We'll go through Iran

    WASHINGTON, DC — Almost a year after the cessation of major combat and a month after the nation's first free democratic elections, President Bush unveiled the coalition forces' strategy for exiting Iraq.

    "I'm pleased to announce that the Department of Defense and I have formulated a plan for a speedy withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq," Bush announced Monday morning. "We'll just go through Iran."

    Bush said the U.S. Army, which deposed Iran's longtime enemy Saddam Hussein, should be welcomed with open arms by the Islamic-fundamentalist state.

    "And Iran's so nearby," Bush said. "It's only a hop, skip, and a jump to the east.


    I commend Mr. Bush's decision to announce his exit strategy from Iraq. We have needed such a strategy for quite some time, and I think that the troops in the field and the people at home will laud accolades on Mr. Bush for this announcement.
    We have needed an efficient and quick exit strategy for quite some time, and this fits the bill. Also, I think that Iran will lend us much assistance, as they must be relived that their long time foe, Saddam is gone.

    LAMP made Easy

    Just stumbled across this little chunk of software. Looks really easy.

    Now, truth be known, getting Apache, MySQL and PHP running on a modern Linux distro is dead simple. However, on a Windows box - well that's another story. Xammp makes that easy. So, as part of the first step towards breaking your dependance on the Windows Drug - go, get it, and play...


    -Tsyko

    Shelia took the test...

    [

    I am a d20](http://dicepool.com/catalog/quiz.php)

    [Take the quiz at dicepool.com](http://dicepool.com/catalog/quiz.php)

    I guess...

    I guess some lessons that we must learn
    are from others.
    We stand on the shoulders of giants,
    ones that have gone ahead for us,
    mapped out the way.
    And when we pass their dejected wrecks
    on the side of the path,
    we look,
    shake our heads
    and keep going.

    There but for the grace of God, go I.


    -Tsyko

    You know you are a gamer when...

    [

    I am a d6](http://dicepool.com/catalog/quiz.php)

    [Take the quiz at dicepool.com](http://dicepool.com/catalog/quiz.php)

    Hatty-ness


    What Sort of Hat Are You? I am a Fedora.I am a Fedora.


    The hat of the adventurous, I am spontaneous and active, perhaps sometimes a little foolishly. Regardless, I always come out alright. What Sort of Hat Are You?


    Yet again - Craziness

    My kung-foo is strong...


    What Video Game Character Are You? I am Kung Fu Master.I am Kung Fu Master.


    I like to be in control of myself. I dislike crowds, especially crowds containing people trying to kill me. Even though I always win, I prefer to avoid fights if possible. What Video Game Character Are You?


    Thanks Again - Craziness...

    Taster's Choice


    What Flavour Are You? I taste like Beef.

    I taste like Beef.
    I taste like beef. I'm probably made of beef. You are what you eat, they say, and if the title didn't mean something else, I would be a beefeater. I think red meat is good for you. Puts hair on your chest. What Flavour Are You?

    Hat tip Craziness

    I just don't know what I am doing wrong..

    [This site is certified 52% EVIL by the Gematriculator](http://homokaasu.org/gematriculator/?referer" target="_blank)

    Green Tea out the Nose

    Green tea shot out of one's nose really hurts. Especially when it's hot. I can blame Craziness for this one! Go here but keep the liquids away until you are done!

    Unhappy Birthday!

    From [Unhappy Birthday](http://www.unhappybirthday.com/)

    "Did you know Happy Birthday is copyrighted and the copyright is currently owned and actively enforced by Time Warner?

    Did you know that if you sing any copyrighted song:
    ...at a place open to the public
    ...or among a substantial number of people who are not family or friends
    You are involved in a public performance of that work?

    Did you know an unauthorized public performance is a form of copyright infringement?"


    You know, I had often wondered why many major chains (such as Applebees) do not use the 'traditional' words. I had heard rumors before that the song was copyrighted, but I had never tracked down the reality of story. Enter Mako, your freindly neighboorhood anarchist.

    So, the moral of this story is this - If you sing Happy Birthday to your freind or family member in a public place, you can be sued for copyright infringement? Check out Unhappy Birthday for the full scoop, and methods of turning in your freinds, foes and random people for this shocking crime!

    Shocking Trends

    In my browsing, I stumbled on Scary Story. Seems this kid in Highschool wrote a short story about a generic highschool being overrun by Zombies.

    So, he is being charged, and held for $5,000 bail. For writing a short story. For his English class. Wow.

    So, I started to do some research, and I found [This Site](http://zerointelligence.net/). Some good stuff there about the fear culture that we currently live in...

    -Tsyko

    Zogg..

    Cool spoilers from Star Wars III

    One of the best...

    I stumbled across one of the best photo-documentaries of 'The Gates' in New York. It's not of the massive art, but of the people taking pictures of the massive art..



    The Gates is a massive art installation by Christo and Jeanne-Claude in Central Park, New York City. It's only going to last for a little over two weeks. As a result, Central Park has been packed. Most of the people packing the park have come with cameras in hand.

    Today, Mika and I went to visit central park to see it under some freshly fallen snow. Rather than take pictures of the gates, which everybody does, we decided to (sneakily) take pictures of the people taking pictures of the gates.

    We're calling the resulting photo-documentary Picturesque: Picture of Pictures of the Gates


    Hat Tip - Mako, and you can view the entire work here

    Top of the morning to ya!

    Uncleanable spyware??

    From Slashdot:

    The Inquirer has a story that the next generation of Windows spyware and exploits are starting to make use of 'kernel rootkits'. A paper at Microsoft Research has details on a prototype detection tool. Computerworld has more details, as well. From the article: 'Newer rootkits can intercept system calls that are passed to the kernel and filter out queries generated by the software. This makes them invisible to administrators and to detection tools...'


    When are people going to wake up? The era of Windows as we know it is over. There is a race between the hackers and Microsoft, and Microsoft simply cannot keep up. So, I am going to buy a new computer. If I choose Windows, I have to also buy a virus scanner and a spyware scanner, and oh by the way, I might want to buy Office, and a backup program that works, and and and and...

    From an administrators standpoint, it is suicide to install windows. You simply have to install SUS or WUS (the WUS beta currently out requires a connection to a Microsoft SQL server), and it's a really good idea to install a centrally controlled workstation firewall, and virus scanner, and spyware scanner, and software inventory and control agent and and and...

    And yet people still recoil from the Mac, Linux and BSD. Why? Because 'they are not windows'. So, they spend and spend on all of the supporting infrastructure that running a somewhat secure Windows network requires.

    Here is a road map to the future for all of you companies stuck in the windows quagmire.

    1) Get all of you apps running on standards based web platforms (ie no ActiveX, VBScript etc). Use PHP, MySql and write to HTML specs.

    2) The apps that you cannot port to a N-Tier based architecture, get them running using a cross-platform coding tool (Mono w/ GTK, QT, or what have you).

    3) Swap out your applications with cross platform ones - ie use Firefox or Mozilla instead of IE. Use Open Office/Star Office instead of Microsoft Office. As your users become used to these tools, it will be trivial to swap out the underlying OS. Most might not even notice.

    4) Start moving your people to some thing else. - Move the light users first