Archive | January, 2006

Cool HOW-TO:s

Old news for many I suppose, but I just ran across www.howtoforge.com, which among other things had a nice article on Chroot:ing SSH. Wouldn’t it be nice if one could collect “all” how-to:s in one place?! 😉

Later: Colin Turner pointed out that there’s The Linux Documentation Project. It’s been around so long I’ve forgotten about it 🙂 Kudos to Colin for setting me straight. I still maintain that “howtoforge” is a cooler name 🙂

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No more EEE

Yaay; I finally did it! I went ahead and deleted one of my IM-accounts.. whooohoo! 🙂 Oh, sorry – just had to get that off my chest. No more MSN/Hotmail for me. So let’s see.. now it’s down to Skype, Yahoo, and ICQ. I only use my Skype-account, so I’m not sure what I should do with the other two. Perhaps they need to follow the MSN-account?! Gasp! But then I will soon have no identity!??!

Sorry, I’ve been home for almost two weeks with two kids and a wife; all three of which have had high fever, running noses, and generally been in a dreadful mood. And tonight I went to a triple Aikido class, endorphins are flowing and the Yogi tea is hot 🙂

EEE you say? BoC(tm)! Em Ess En.

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Looking for that re-usable Wiki engine code

So I got an idea for a really silly and really simple service; based on the contents of wikipedia.org. I decided to try to re-use someone else’s wiki parsing code (PHP). After an hour and a half, I still haven’t been able to find something that handles the output from WikiPedia.

I found TipiWiki on freshmeat, but it missed a few things. Then I found PWP Wiki Processor, also on freshmeat; it also didn’t quite reach the mark. Now what.. ?! 😉 The last two candidates were WikkaWiki and PhpWiki, but no go there either.

The output I’m trying to parse is the output from, for example, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Special:Export/Guns_N’_Roses. I really don’t want to sit down and do what fifty other people have already done if I don’t have to.

Perhaps someone or something is trying to tell me to move on to the next silly idea? 🙂

It should be noted that all of the above mentioned software is probably very good and very functional; any failure to utilize the code for my needs most likely lies with me. But you already figured that out.

On the next run, this morning, I realized someone would probably have deposited this with PEAR.. and there was a match for my Google query there, at pear.php.net/package/Text_Wiki in fact.

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To NCQ or not to NCQ; manufacturers dropped the disc

So the system drive in my HP XW4100 workstation has started to make those sounds that nobody using computers wants to hear. No big deal, it’s still under warranty. The problem is that I don’t really want a 1:1 replacement, I want a 400GB or 500GB system drive; so I figured I’d just go to my favorite on-line store, Dustin, and buy one.

No big deal, right? Wrong! It turns out, after checking, that almost all or all of the 400GB and 500GB drives use NCQ (“Native Command Queueing”) technology. The chipset on my HP workstation cannot, according to a number of sources, handle disks using this technology.

I recall getting a number of Seagate Barracuda 7200.7 disks; they’re only 200GB, but that’s at least a step up from the system drive in the XW4100. The only “minor” problem is that nobody I ask have them in stock anymore. Say what?!! I have a business workstation that is less than three years old, and I cannot find a reasonable sized harddrive that works with it.

I realize things have to keep moving along at a steady pace, but to add things in common (and portable between systems) hardware, that makes it impossible to migrate systems piece by piece sounds like major braindrain to me. I’m all for development, improvements, and evolution; but not without actual benefits.

Can you say BACKWARDS COMPATIBILITY?!

Now, according to www.sata-io.org which states “Devices that support NCQ are 100% backward compatible with non-NCQ supporting systems”, this should not be a problem. So who’s got it together, and who doesn’t?! You would think HP knows what they’re talking about when it comes to their own systems. But then again, HP keeps refusing to enable firewire by default in their computer systems, so one could perhaps question the reliability of HP as a source 😉

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Gnome needs “menumental” changes

I’ve been playing and working with computers for almost 30 years now (damn, I’m old), and after having installed the Gnome desktop environment 20-25 times, I still have not come to understand the thinking behind the so called “menu system”.

The “drawer” in Gnome is awful.. many many years later, it still cannot handle pure text entries. So if you want to have a drawer full of terminal shells, you need to have different icons for all of them; alternatively, you can create simple text-icons and use them. But come on! This is 2006!!!

Menu editor you say? Sure.. do you mean the one you can access by right-clicking on the menu bar? The “Edit menus”-function is a joke. It allows me to enable and disable entries. Oh, in the help for Nautilus, which says “GNOME 2.8 Desktop User Guide” (I’m using Gnome 2.12 last time I checked), it says you can open an URI like: applications:/// to edit the applications menu; I have tried entering it in a number of ways, and Nautilus keeps coming back to me with “Unknown location”.

Don’t get me wrong; the idea of a simplified but powerful GUI is great; and Gnome has come a long way. But some really simple and obvious functionality is missing, big time. It’s almost always easier to follow somebody else when you do software development. You don’t need to make the same mistakes, and if you want to “impersonate”, you don’t have to design all that much; but with much fewer resources, and much simpler menu handling, XFCE is on to something.

KDE? No, I don’t think so 🙂

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Abandoning the West Wing

So finally, SVT Channel 1 starts sending season six of West Wing, one of my favorite TV series. It was sad to hear the passing of John Spencer in late 2005. It was also sad to hear that West Wing has been cancelled by NBC and that season seven is the last to be shown. Typical; once you find something you really like to watch, and that isn’t a popular sitcom like Friends, they decide to cancel it!

Thanks for the entertainment Leo.

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Bird flu handled by being “cost effective”

Research from BirdLife International now shows that much of the “bird flu” is being passed on by humans bringing contraband across borders; very little of the current spread of the flu follow natural travel paths used by birds. Instead, there’s a “thin red line” along railroads, etc.

At Arlanda, Sweden’s main airport, there’s 1.25 people (!) working as the veterinarian on call; checking contraband and such for possible contamination. Some journalist was investigating claims that the Department of Agriculture was contemplating cutting back on the staff. When they called the department, they got hold of some &!%#)!/#!)# bonehead (Karin Åhl) saying that they were “of course not going to cut back”, they were “merely looking into making things more effective”.

Let’s see.. we’ll get the bird flu into the country, have to slaughter nine zillion birds at a cost of twelve quadrupiljon dollars; or, we can at least try to prevent it for as long as possible and hire two or three more veterinarians to staff the airport customs.

Why are there so many infantile twits in the world holding key positions in society?!?! In the words of Denis Leary, “I can’t believe I have to get angry about this shit!”.

Why can’t they just do their job?!?!?! 🙁

Having just read that the WHO has a stock of about 120 000 shots of anti-viral “stuff”, does not make me sleep any better. Where’s the Bushmill’s.. 😉

More: Swedish research shows many bird flu cases missed [the Local]

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