Saturday, November 11, 2006

Slackware 11

Not much of a post...

...just, welcome old friend.

Installed just the way it ever was... dependable, uniform, comfortable.

More to follow...

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Friday, November 10, 2006

Security Alert: Privacy is dead!

Two (count 'em, 2) years ago I posted this (adult content) which was a repost of a "Privacy " rant that I had originally posted at Winextra.

Today I followed a link pointed to by noted security specialist Bruce Schneier which took me to an interesting article on Data Mining.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Hot Mama!

BEFORE you go all ballistic on me... I am NOT referring to a woman or a stereotypical group of women in this title.

A 'Hot Mama' is a wondrous culinary delight that grew out of a special ministry that was shepherded by Tom when he lived at a student cooperative during his undergraduate years.

In the early 1970's at a small liberal arts college in southern lower Michigan there existed a 'radical-hippie-commune' student cooperative called the Goodrich Club. (The Club still exists today and carries on many of the traditions of earlier years.)
At the time the Club was all-male - a legacy of the strict views of the college. Tom decided that his personal contribution to the Club, above and beyond his regular duties, was to bake bread. At the time he was working for a Pizza shop and worked out a deal to use the mixer and the ovens after hours. So there was an abundance of fresh baked bread.

I am sure in my own mind that Tom's Gift to the club was a sort of a cross between meditation and service (ministry in action). Perhaps there was no distinction for Tom. Perhaps baking bread was just his calling.

So there was bread, many many loaves of fresh baked bread. And there was a house full of hungry young men. Young radical hippie young men and associated radical hippie young women who frequently stimulated their appetites with the serious pursuit of academic excellence, intellectual stimulation, long days and long nights of applied study and of course just a little, just a wee bit of... the munchies.

Did I mention the ministerial efforts of Tom and the presence of fresh baked bread? Oh yeah! Night or day, morning or evening there was bread. Two slices cut to an individual's particular taste and popped into the toaster. Liberally spread (it is a liberal arts college, after all) with butter on one piece and peanut butter on the other then joined in culinary matrimony to become the 'Hot Mama'. Oh yeah!

In our hours of need Tom's ministry fed us. Thanks Tom.

This was brought to the surface of my fuzzy memory by the grace of my wife's contribution, Gift, to our family - fresh baked bread. That I dutifully toast, butter, peanut butter and then enjoy as a 'Hot Mama'.

[UPDATE] Tom offered the following ...

Out of respect to the memory of my late Gramma who taught me to love
hot mammas, it must be said that the 'original' is (simply) open-faced, toast with peanut butter and jelly. And to this day, in our clan--or tribe--that is what a hot
mamma is.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

SLED, Ubuntu and Slack, oh my....

Here I am back in SLED10.

This is after an excursion into Ubuntu6.1 this morning.

U6.1 isn't too bad, as canned distos go.

Had to fight with a couple of 'features'...
  • Video still defaults to 1024x768, 800x600 or 640x480 (what is that for? PDAs?) I was able to locate an online HOW-TO that walked me through the sudo based commands to reconfigure the X Server (If this sounds scary it is a seasoned Linux Admin.)
  • Went into the 'system' controls menu and tried to reset 'Time and Date' - FUNKY! Finally realized that after setting the time I had to hit the 'Synchronize' button to get it to set the time. Sheeeeeesh.
  • I thought instead of me setting/correcting the time I would just invoke the NTP service and let it go to the network for accurate time. When I checked the box it prompted me to provide it with root credentials and then asked if I wanted to install the NTP service. When I clicked 'Install' it just thought for a second (whirling thinking symbol) and then it stopped... no dialog box, no install window, no NTP services. Harrrrumph!
  • Something down-deep that I didn't care for was a kind of latency when it comes to mouse clicks and button choices. On a couple of occasions the system seemed to offer a button, give it focus, but not let the user click on it. Seems I had to click somewhere else and then return to the button in question.

So I have returned to SLED...

Prepared by Novell, SLED is a commercial package. It is prepped to a commercial standard. It works exactly the way it is supposed to, with rare and as yet unfound exception.

This is very important in the distro perspective of things. If putting together a distro is fun and interesting that is one thing. If prepping a distro is a matter of commercial livelihood - for which a company will be held accountable - that is anther thing entirely.

As a canned distro goes, SLED10 is one of the very best I have seen. But... it is still canned.
So I will be patient ... let vamp download the 6 CD ISO images that constitute Slackware 11.

More to follow...

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

How do I compute?

This will be an 'all-day' post... chronicaling my use of this computer and others in my work and home environments.

Laptop off the changer at home, didn't fire it up - had to vote.
Laptop on the docking station at work, changed from WiFi to wired
* Logged into Laptop WinXP, started Lotus Notes, noticed there was no new spam,
* Woke up sledix (SUSE SLED10), started FireFox
Loaded Google Home Page, GMail, GReade, Meebo,
Opened three linked sites from GReader, marked 7 articles "Not Read' to save for later
Loaded to begin this post.
* Woke up polyx (Slackware 10), checked overnight download (vamp) for latest Ubuntu disto
Checked Hobbit/MRTG display for status of network
* Connected sledix to polyx via vmware-server-console
Installed latest version of Ubuntu - Disappointed that it did not automatically upgrade!
* Installed new HD in sledix, loaded Ubuntu 6.06.1
Disappointed with video resolution, poor documentation, uncomfortable GNOME UI.
(Cabled SUSE HD back and rebooted to SLED10)
* Updated Red Hat SQL server
* Checked GMail, GReader.

Lunch was spent with Jim in his Poetry Garage - So good I feel uncomfortable thinking I can write.

Just finished reading a Rob Reilly review of Ubuntu 6.1 "Edgy" and then visiting the "U" site... Now I am really torn... The prospect of loading Ubuntu6.1 vs. Slack11.0 - very difficult choice....

Configured vamp to download Ubuntu 6.1 ISO and Slack11 ISOs tonight

Problem: ActiveX applette doesn't recognize IE 7 as a supported browser
* RDP from polyx (Slack10) to Win2K3 IIS server... locate *.ini files
decoded/transliterated and edit *.ini files
* Mapped laptop to Win2K3/C$ to write edited *.ini files back to IIS server

* RDP Win2K3 IIS to stop and start web server
Tested intranet pages - activeX applette works in IE 7 ... Yea!!!

* Checked GMail, GReader.

* Changed the backup tapes...

* Go home

Ahhhhhh, got home. Pleasant family dinner, ahhhhhh.... then the election results started coming in....
* Laptop connects to home wifi (connected to DSL)
~3 hours trying to find feeds for local races in KY and MI
checked gmail
went to sleep

(awake at 05:00, repeat...)

Monday, November 06, 2006

Moving FUDward?

Anthony Taylor in his report Microsoft’s perfect timing goes a long way to putting this naive boy in his place... I just finished saying that the agreement between Novell and Microsoft was a beginning... I guess I should take lessons in 'getting a clue'

Microsoft’s perfect timing

By Anthony Taylor

Online on: 06/11/2006

Microsoft has always had excellent timing. They know when to announce a product; they know when to begin grass-roots movements to build hype for a product; they know when to create an alliance; they know when to break an alliance. They have missed some marks, that's true. They almost missed the internet boat, but were able to quickly recover with the licensing of Spyglass, Inc's browser. Microsoft's best timing, though, has always been when and where to spread Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt.

And that brings us to Novell.


Now, less than a month before the release of corporate Vista, Microsoft has created a climate that will chill that negotiation tactic. We saw Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer begin this chilling effect this last week, when he said, "If a customer says, 'Look, do we have liability for the use of your patented work?' Essentially, If you're using non-Suse Linux, then I'd say the answer is yes."

"Oh," the sales rep can say during licensing negotiations, "are you planning on installing Suse Linux?" Then they can go on about how dangerous it is to deploy GNU/Linux, unless it is Suse Linux. "And do you know how expensive that is?" they can ask.

Until now, there has been little fear about installing GNU/Linux, SCO lawsuits notwithstanding. Red Hat Linux is a particular favorite, but there are many installations of GNU/Linux without any commercial support. System administrators simply download the latest version of their favorite distribution and install. Now, businesses will be more likely to require installation of GNU/Linux with "indemnification," such as Red Hat Linux of Suse Linux, increasing substantially the price of initial implementation and adding to recurring costs. This decreases the GNU/Linux value compared to Microsoft products.

Visits from the Business Software Alliance (BSA) never worried those with GNU/Linux. With the threat of Microsoft retaliating with patents, very large corporations -- those most likely to turn to GNU/Linux, or at least use it in license negotiations with Microsoft -- are less likely to consider GNU/Linux at all, at least until this is all sorted out. By that time, they will have upgraded to Vista, allowing Microsoft to continue domination through this upgrade cycle.

In the end, this is all about Vista. This is all about a forced-march upgrade cycle. This is all about pulling the prop from under corporate threats of a mass GNU/Linux migration. This is all about removing choice.

It's all about marketing the idea that GNU/Linux is not safe, and you should probably stick with Vista.


I was surprised by Gold Farming in China... Oh yeah, surprised is not the word I will continue to use...

Second Life: Real Money in a Virtual World [Link]

I won't suggest this is ethically wrong. I won't suggest this is morally wrong.

I will only state for the record that in its entirety this is completely WRONG!

Sunday, November 05, 2006

at least M+N are trying to move forward

David Sugar in his FreeSoftwareMagazine article, From freedom to slavery; a week of two distros, issues a rallying cry, bemoaning the Novell+Microsoft deal. His rhetoric is strong and his positions are compelling. My first inclination is to uninstall my most recent SUSE instance and wave my GPL/FOSS flag high.

Yet I am left wavering... first, wishing to acknowledge that Novell's SUSE is a great distro. One of the few that, as a tool, has 'met my hand''. ("If the tool does not meet the hand do not pick it up.") SLED10 is well appointed and comfortable. The comfort is an indication that thought and preparation went into the UI. Right from the 'box' SUSE is both accessible and visually appealing. Form without function is the downfall of many distros - the Chameleon's selection of Gnome based applications provides a well integrated suite of software tools. (I once heard a Novell rep refer to the lizard as a gecko - I don't think so!)

More important than my personal tastes in Linux distributions is a base, fundamental question; Where will the reconciliation start? To this end I applaud both Novell and Microsoft in their willingness to face the reality of our current situation and hammer out a working arrangement. Only the hind sight of history will validate or vilify this agreement but... at least M+N are trying to move forward.

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