The previous month is:
The next month is:
2 November 2003
Just back from vacation, and what do I see?
[brett@scandium ~]$ mailstat -st .procmail/pmlog 305093 57 /var/spool/mail/brett 25811 9 lists/M-W.WORD-OF-THE-DAY 2991 1 lists/MERCHANT-amex 5124 1 lists/bbspot 100079 32 lists/innercircle 56379 5 lists/jobs 8501 1 lists/line6 40947 5 lists/monster 110930 100 lists/myia 33415 7 lists/open-source-now-list 679634 129 lists/securityfocus 696487 155 spam/cutter 58782 19 spam/inner-flame 475768 78 spam/spamassassin [brett@scandium ~]$
Of the 57 delivered to my inbox, 40 were spam. Will have to analyze why - after I unpack.
3 November 2003
Good Charlotte, Pennywise and Sum 41 have always been known more for their practical jokes than their practical advice. That may soon change.
Next year these bands, Green Day, NOFX, Alkaline Trio and others will unite to raise political awareness and encourage pop-punk fans to vote in the next presidential election — against George Bush.
- Slashdot | Red Hat Linux Support To End
- Slash Site | Reasons For Switching From Red Hat Linux
- Fedora Project, sponsored by Red Hat
Ach, what a hassle.
4 November 2003
I really wish the sun would settle down already and stop sending out flares.
(Weird things affect your domestic life when you’re an astronomer’s spouse.)
5 November 2003
The Gunpowder Plot (should never be forgot):
IF Guy Fawkes had succeeded with his gunpowder plot he would have devastated much of London as well as blowing the palace of Westminster sky-high.
Experts at the University of Wales in Aberystwyth have worked out for the first time the true extent of the damage Guy Fawkes would have caused if his daring deed had not been foiled on November 5, 1605.
Physicists from the university’s Centre for Explosion Studies found that the amount of gunpowder Guy Fawkes packed into the cellar beneath the corridors of power would have been enough not only to destroy Westminster Hall and the Abbey but to cause substantial structural damage to many other buildings.
Biologists have linked a mysterious, underwater farting sound to bubbles coming out of a herring’s anus. No fish had been known to emit sound from its anus nor to be capable of producing such a high-pitched noise.
6 November 2003
Just stop, Sol! Just stop! I’d like to get some sleep!
Oldie but goodie: Microsoft Hotmail/Passport Service Interrupted
7 November 2003
GROKLAW: IBM Reply to SCO Response to IBM Motion to Compel Discovery
I am a consumer, and I did not win when the FCC voted 5-0 to require personal computers and other devices that might store video files to comply with a technical specification designed to protect copyright of high-definition television (HDTV). In this letter, I am going to do two things. First, I am going to explain why I am mad. Then, I am going to explain how I plan to get even.
8 November 2003
9 November 2003
10 November 2003
11 November 2003
Their position on the Iraqi War is irrelevant; shame on you, Time, for distorting the past. From The Memory Hole:
On 21 September 2002, The Memory Hole posted an extract from an essay by George Bush Sr. and Brent Scowcroft, in which they explain why they didn’t have the military push into Iraq and topple Saddam during Gulf War 1. Although there are differences between the Iraq situations in 1991 and 2002-3, Bush’s key points apply to both.
But a funny thing happened. Fairly recently, Time pulled the essay off of their site. It used to be at this link, which now gives a 404 error. If you go to the table of contents for the issue in which the essay appeared (2 March 1998), “Why We Didn’t Remove Saddam” is conspicuously absent.
Because of this erasure, we’re posting the entire essay below the portion we originally excerpted. Below that, you’ll find a copy of the actual page from the magazine, courtesy of Bruce Koball and Boing Boing.
Ah, choices, choices: redhat.com | Which Linux is Right For You?
Huzzah! With a lot of help from the TCSH man pages, I have achieved a small victory. I have written a shell script to download selected files on my web server to my local computer.
I knew it was possible to automate the process, but working in Windows I had no idea how to do it. Writing batch files is an arcane science, and I could never get them to work, let alone work with a scheduler. I admit this may be due to my own ignorance, ineptitude, or simply not knowing how to ssh into a linux machine and pass arguments to find files a certain date or older on a Win32 machine. If you know, why the hell didn’t you tell me before?
However, this task was something I always knew I should be able to automate, even if I couldn’t (and that knowledge really stuck in my craw.) Instead, I stuck with what I knew; every week I’d boot up a graphical FTP client, find the files I wanted to back up, FTP them down to a selected directory, and then maybe clean them up - or maybe not.
But no more!
I've been dying to set this up - backing things up is so fucking tedious, and so fucking unnecessary for a human to do. The next step will be to automate the ssh login, so I can put this as part of my login script or schedule it with crontab - but that's research for another night.
I will now cross off one very small line item on my network todo list and go to bed a happy man.
12 November 2003
I keep my life in a CVS repository. For the past two years, every file I’ve created and worked on, every e-mail I’ve sent or received and every config file I’ve tweaked have all been checked into my CVS archive. When I tell people about this, they invariably respond, “You’re crazy!”
After all, CVS is meant for managing discrete bodies of code, such as free software programs that are worked on and available to a lot of people or in-house projects that are collaboratively developed by several employees. CVS has a reputation of being a pain to deal with, and it has a lot of crufty bits that regularly drive users up the wall, like its mistreatment of directories. Why inflict the pain of CVS on yourself if you don’t have to? Why do it on such a scale that it affects nearly everything you do with your computer?
It only took a few more weeks before the advantage of having a history of everything I’d done began to show up. It wasn’t a real surprise because having a history of past versions of a project is one of the reasons to use CVS in the first place, but it’s very cool to have it suddenly apply to every file you own. When I broke my .zshrc or .procmailrc, I could roll back to the previous day’s or look back and see when I made the change and why. It’s very handy to be able to run cvs diff on your kernel config file and see how make xconfig changed it. It’s great to be able to recover files you deleted or delete files because they’re not relevant and still know you’ve not really lost them. For those amateur historians among us, it’s very cool to be able to check out one’s system as it looked one full year ago and poke around and discover how everything has evolved over time.
The final major benefit took some time to become clear. Linus Torvalds once said, “Only wimps use tape backup: real men just upload their important stuff on FTP and let the rest of the world mirror it.” I’m not a real enough man to upload my confidential documents to ftp.kernel.org though, so I’ve been wimping along with backups to tape and CD and so on. But then it hit me: take, for example, one crucial file, like my .zshrc or sent-mail archive: I had a copy of that file on my work machine, and on my home machine, and on my laptop and several other copies on other accounts. There was another copy encoded in my CVS repository too.
I’m told that the best backups are done without effort--so you actually do them--and are widely scattered among many machines and a lot of area so that a local disaster doesn’t knock them out. They are tested on a regular basis to make sure the backup works. I was doing all of these things as a mere side effect of keeping it all in CVS. Then I sobered up and remembered that a dead CVS repository would be a really, really bad thing and kept those wimpy backups to CD going. But the automatic distributed backups are what keep me sleeping quietly at night. Later, when I left that job, the last thing I did on my work desktop machine was: cvs commit ; sudo rm -rf /. And I didn’t worry a bit; my life was still there, secure in CVS.
“I think everyone agrees in most scientific circles that change is occurring. What that change is, is still up in the air,” he said. “We’ll have to sort of adapt on the fly. If it really is catastrophic and not just a blip, vintners will definitely change how they plan and where they plant.”
The extreme heat wave in Europe this summer, which some experts blamed on global warming, offers an example, Jones said.
“In some areas, it could have been very detrimental. Southern Italy, Greece are hard-pressed to produce any good wine this year,” Jones said. “But southern England? It may be their best vintage since prior to the little Ice Age.”
13 November 2003
The following instant message (AIM) was waiting for me when I came in this morning:
[19:47] Bretteford13: hello? [19:47] *** Auto-response sent to Bretteford13: I am currently away from the computer. [19:48] Bretteford13: well i saw you site "brett peters.org" [19:48] Bretteford13: your a computer nerd and a disgrace to all brett peters in the world [19:48] Bretteford13: my name is brett peters [19:48] Bretteford13: thats all i have to say [19:48] Bretteford13: homo
Like, did he think I wouldn’t post this and give out his IM address? I really hope he realizes the irony of using a computer to call me a computer nerd. It gave me a good laugh.
cmuSKY: A Wireless Andrew System: All Connected WiFi Users on the Carnegie Mellon Campus
14 November 2003
17 November 2003
18 November 2003
The world’s oldest puzzle has been solved. 2200 years ago, Archimedes invented a puzzle variously called the Loculus, the Stomachion, the Ostomachion, the Syntemachion, or Archimedes’ Box. In November of 2003, Bill Cutler used a computer program to enumerate all solutions. Barring rotations and reflections, there are 536 distinct solutions.
20 November 2003
Wow, this has been one fucking stress-filled day.
And to think, it’s only going to get better!
23 November 2003
25 November 2003
26 November 2003
In the season of portability, donate your old phone:
The DONATE A PHONE program recycles used wireless phones to help the environment and raise funds for a variety of charities. Most phones are resold as economical alternatives to new phones. The rest are safely recycled in accordance with all applicable U.S. environmental regulations.
28 November 2003
Among the unexpected findings, said Guy Bailey, a linguistics professor at the University of Texas at San Antonio and a leading scholar in the studies with his wife, Jan Tillery, is that in Texas more than elsewhere, how you talk says a lot about how you feel about your home state.
“Those who think Texas is a good place to live adopt the flat `I’ it’s like the badge of Texas,” said Dr. Bailey, 53, provost and executive vice president of the university and a transplanted Alabamian married to a Lubbock native, also 53.
So if you love Texas, they say, be fixin’ to say “naht” for “night,” “rahd” for “ride” and “raht” for “right.”
And by all means say “all” for “oil.”