How hard is your Linux?

An interesting article about basic Linux security, “hardening a linux server in 10 minutes”, which basically takes the same approach many articles about Windows performance tuning takes; disable services and connections you don’t need. Keep open ports, running services, etc. down to what is required, and you will end up with a much more secure installation.

Installing SuSE Linux (for example) for an end-user pretty much takes this approach with the SuSE Firewall (which is SuSE’s variant of an IPTABLES script), but it’d be nice to see a more fine grained control of this for all types of installations. With desktop and server environments both becoming more complex, it’s easy to get into a “layered frenzy” and have four thousand processes running, only to lose track of who is serving whom.

Back to the 1980:s using the olympic computer

Regardless of the outcome of today’s finals in the Olympic Ice Hockey competition between Finland and Sweden, this has to be considered one of the most successful Olympic Games seen with Swedish eyes; if the number of medals is a measurement for such success.

Something that struck me as very odd, however, was the inability to show competitors’ names using proper national characters. Anja Pärson is displayed as “Anja Paerson”, Björn Lind as “Bjoern Lind”, and so on. Considering this is an event that is hosted by a european country, using some variant of the Latin1 character set, displaying characters like ÅÄÖ cannot possibly present a problem. So what am I missing here? This is like being sent back to the 1980:s where europeans had to consider themselves lucky if a non-european software developer had even considered characters outside the A-Za-z0-9 range.

Or is there another reason.. ? Is this done to actually help non-europeans from reading results of the scoreboards and pronouncing the names of the athletes?

The mind wonders.. who would have thought there’d be problems displaying ÅÄÖ on the TV when we’ve been talking about things like UTF for years.. ?!?!

What is up with Axl this time?

An “interesting” article on VH1 concludes that “something” is up with Axl. Well, those of us who wonder already know something is up with Axl. The question is, what is it this time?

I want to see the “new album” released as much as anyone looking forward to it, but what is of bigger interest to me is to understand how something this small on the scale of things, can attract attention so many years after the fact? Axl Rose must have left a vacuum on the rock scene the size of a continent; despite the vast amount of rock bands and acts that have emerged since GNR completed their stage exit.

The article on VH1.COM:

New record, new shows, new appearances, public sightings, and what not.. yes, indeed; but what I’d like to see the most is the return of GNR. One way or the other. Perhaps it’ll be a disappointment, perhaps it’ll be pathetic, but it will hopefully once and for all put an end to the rumour circus. During the past decade, one might think the articles and “news” on Axl and GNR were authored by something like the Bizarre Rumour Generator.

Changing date format in Thunderbird under Linux

Being located in Sweden, I want all dates in all applications to be displayed according to the Swedish date format, which is YYYY-MM-DD (e.g. 2006-02-26 for 26-Feb-2006). This is typically not a problem, if you’re willing to switch everything else over to Swedish also, and/or if you don’t mind having things like names of months and weekdays in Swedish. What I want to accomplish is a locale setting of en_SE, which turns out to be invalid by most standards and libraries 🙁

My main point of concern is the date format used by Mozilla Thunderbird; listing several hundred messags in a folder with the wrong date format screws up my “background reading ability” 🙂 Well, not really.

Anyway, to the point (finally you say).. since I could not possibly get this to function exactly as I wanted, I ended up writing a really small and really simple shell script that looks like this:

export LC_TIME=sv_SE

Another, more versatile, method is to write a small shell script like this (I call the script ‘mylocale’):

export LC_TIME=sv_SE

And then use it as this:

/home/joho/mylocale /usr/local/bin/thunderbird/thunderbird

You can then use the ‘mylocale’-script for running any locale-aware application.

I did find en_DK, which for some reason turns out to be a valid locale setting for LC_TIME and others.

Winter Olympics delayed by snow

Having watched the Swedish Ice Hockey ladies advance to the finals after a 4-2 victory against the US, I was thinking about the irony of some of the other events of today’s competitions.

The women’s combination downhill race was cancelled due to severe weather (that means “wind” and “snow” for downhill skiiers). I suppose I should say “postponed”, since they intend to have a go at it tomorrow.

The boardercross event(s) were having problems due to too much fresh snow; there was no speed whatsoever. Watching the skiiers (or is it “boarders”) almost have to break out a paddle to go uphill makes one think that perhaps they should have been able to construct a track covered or protected from snow? How many millions did these games cost?

Speaking of “boardercross” or “snowboard cross”, by far the coolest addition to the Winter Olympics (and one that makes sense, compared to things like “halfpipe”). One wonders what kind of mind it takes to invent a competition that looks to be the mix of velodrome bike racing and snow board racing. Regardless, it’s quite fun to watch.


6th Birthday

It’s hard to believe I held you in my arms six years ago as a newborn, looking at your tiny hands and thinking that this is the greatest thing ever.. only to realize that watching you grow up is an even greater gift. I love you, little man!

JoomlaFCK and non-ASCII characters (HTML entities)

I’ve been using the JoomlaFCK-mambot (or is it “jombot”?) for a while now and am mostly pleased with it. At least when comparing it to the alternatives. There are, however, some problems with the default configuration of JoomlaFCK. One default behavior in particular causes the Joomla search engine to fail miserably when you attempt to search for “htmlentities”, in other words, characters like Å Ä Ö Ü.

To change the behavior of the editor, you can change the contents of the file “fckconfig.js” located in the “fckeditor”-directory under “editors” (mambots). It would be really nice if the JoomlaFCK-mambot would allow one more useful configuration option to be changed from within the administrative interface in Joomla, the “CustomConfigurationsPath”; so that physical editing of FCKEditor-files isn’t required.

Anyway, to allow FCK to process entities but to leave latin entities alone, I changed the configuration setting “FCKConfig.IncludeLatinEntities” to FALSE. I’ve been searching all kinds of resources in an attempt to find a good reference of what all these options do, but it seems like one needs to check the source a bit closer to get a better idea of how it works.

Previous post by joho on this subject: JoomlaFCK – FCKeditor for Joomla.

Do what you’re told, by Sebastian

It’s not often that I consider so-called “hot new artists” to be anything remotely related to “hot” (in the musical sense). But the fact of the matter is that I am a little bit curious about Swedish Idol 2005 runner-up Sebastian Karlsson’s debut album, “Do what you’re told”, which is said to be released on February 22.

On stage, the guy moves like a mix of Axl Rose and Mick Jagger; to the appropriate music. His voice is somewhere between Mick Jagger and David Bowie, what I’ve heard of it anyway. I realize he wants to do his own thing, but I would personally like to also have a record of his best Idol 2005 performances (covers), including “You’re beautiful” (James Blunt) and “It’s only Rock ‘n’ Roll” (Rolling Stones); he also did a splendid version of “Life on Mars” (David Bowie).

Get busy Sebastian! We really need more male vocalists who can bring it on, and still make it audible, from the floor.. rock ‘n’ roll!!