Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Hallmark doesn't Grok the Web, Part 2: The E-Mail

Just for completeness since I've already ranted about them... At 8:10 AM (CST) get this email from Hallmark...

Subject: The Hallmark Web site is now available

...and the body is just an image that says:

Thanks for your patience.
We invite you to shop our After-Christmas Sale.

Now, nevermind these troublesome facts:

  1. The site was available since sometime on Saturday (Dec 22)
  2. I've gotten Hallmark E-Cards from people.
  3. The After-Christmas sale was already started Saturday.

Come on Hallmark... I expect better.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Hallmark doesn't Grok the Web

So, if you go to hallmark.com right now you'll see:

WE'RE SORRY,

but our site is temporarily unavailable while we mark down merchandise for our big After-Christmas Sale.
If you'd like to be notified by e-mail as soon as we're back online, please enter your e-mail address and click the Submit button.
Thank you.

Um, excuse me? What, you've got store staff running around your server room marking down merchandise?

Quite unlikely.

No site that large needs to do this. Even if they needed to see what the day-after Christmas would look like, they most certainly have internal development sites. Furthermore, I would be surprised if their database couldn't handle what the cost of all items will be each day for the next six months.

Marking down merchandise is not a reason for bringing an enterprise-level website down and to say so is simply dishonest.

Besides, all I wanted to do was to send a silly free e-card anyway. I doubt that a free e-card will be any cheaper after Christmas.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

How to Get a Static IP at Home

Like any self-respecting geek out there I've wanted to get an IP address unconnected with a place of employment and without pesky upstream firewall restrictions.

The problem is that I was looking at around $50/mo for getting a box at some co-lo'd place... and then having to buy a 1U server. To put it simply that kind of outlay for this kind of activity had a very low WAF.

Then I happened upon a solution.

VPSLink offers OpenVZ hosting for as low as $6.62/mo if you purchase a year at a time. That certainly has a higher WAF. At the time I set this up they didn't have XEN hosting, although they do now.

The problem is that its a really crippled box. OpenVZ has no swap, so when they say 64 meg of ram, they mean you can only have 64 meg in ram! This means that aptitude on Debian cannot run (as it uses 69 meg of ram itself on my home box). Now with Xen it could swap this out, but that would be horribly slow.

However, there is a solution. It was to ask for a TUN/TAP device (although new accounts don't need to ask anymore). Then, after installing openvpn, poof! a tunnel was born.

On my home box (which is doing way too much, but that's another story), I am running a VMWare server with another Debian instance to actually be my Internet server. My home backend acts as a client to my VPSLink server, and as my home IP changes, the OpenVPN connection is automatically reestablished.

The basic concept is this:

  1. Request comes in to my OpenVZ instance at VPSLink
  2. iptables either rejects it or uses DNAT to route it to my VMWare instance handling the backend -- via the VPN
  3. The backend deals with it as it would (apache, BOFH excuse server, etc), and responds over the tunnel.
  4. the DNAT on my VPSLink translates the traffic back to the world.

In fact, I now have two backends, with the other one running Asterisk. Its a simple matter of having the iptables DNAT to the correct OpenVPN backend.

Now, there are issues with this:

  1. You are effectively halving your bandwidth (as each packet needs to ALSO travel back to your house or wherever). The $6.62/mo plan gives you 100 GB/month. Granted, my usage is so pathetic that isn't a problem, however, any serious usage is going to suck 50 GB in a short time.
  2. You've got a long winding path now for your service. Each packet needs to wind its way around the Internet over to VPSLink and then back to wherever you're running the backend.


At least for the good folks at VPSLink this shouldn't be an issue -- I'm not exactly using a lot of CPU, disk or network.

So, if nothing else, this is one way to get a static IP out in the world. The cool part is that as far as what your network provider that is preventing you from having an unencumbered static IP at home (Charter, SBC, whomever) will only see OpenVPN traffic... they will have no way of knowing what's crossing it. Furthermore, since the VPN connection is established outbound, you could have all incoming connections denied yet this method would still work.

So, your mileage will vary on this, so do your homework. This isn't something you should try unless you happen to know how IP networking, iptables, and openvpn play nicely together.

But it works for me :)

Moebius Transformations Revealed


If your head didn't already hurt. Mike: did they cover this at U of P? ;)

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Beer Bottle Orchestra



Of course, the amazing part is how they did it:


Those crazy Aussies....

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Grow Damnit!

It took the better part of my lunch hour to solve this:
GROW CUBE

And no searching on the internet for the answer. That's just cheating.

Friday, December 07, 2007

How America Lost the War on Drugs : Rolling Stone

How America Lost the War on Drugs : Rolling Stone: "After Thirty-Five Years and $500 Billion, Drugs Are as Cheap and Plentiful as Ever: An Anatomy of a Failure."

To quote Slate's Jack Shafer

If I were maximum dictator, I would force every newspaper editor, every magazine editor, and every television producer in the land to read Ben Wallace-Wells' 15,000-word article in the new (Dec. 13) issue of Rolling Stone

I don't think I could say it any better. Clearly the war on drugs is not being fought to win. If it was being fought to win, then perhaps a look into why people want the drugs, and perhaps helping them get off them, would be more predominant. Nah, that's to soft... we have to use guns and the military, because that will accomplish the mission.


*sigh*

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Herding Cats at the Garden

Wow! These people are trying to show what it takes to be a sysadmin! Silly NY Times doesn't let us embed, blah.

Here's the best commercial, ever:

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Did the Great Masters "Cheat" using Optics?

Yesterday I saw a very interesting computer science/art history lecture given by David G. Stork, chief Scientist at Ricoh Innovations.

His lecture was, in large part, a response to the Hockney-Falco thesis, which basically said that around the rise of Realism in painters around 1420 is attributed to the use of optical aids.

Stork has an abstract of the talk up: Hockney Technical Abstract

Basically, the answer was: they most probably didn't cheat. The two biggest reasons (of a lengthy list):

  1. Oil paint saw a dramatic rise in the 15th century for artistic purposes. Oil paint is much better for creating the tones needed for realism.
  2. Eyeglasses came into larger use during this time.


It was certainly a very interesting talk! Stork has a FAQ online as well.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Tipping Point

Video Friday continues: I love Rube Goldberg machines.



Mmm... and now I'm all thirsty.

Lev and Thumpbot play Crazy



Thats just... Crazy.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Oh noes! You've got Pac Man in my Zork!

In a mash up of all things very geeky and very old:
Pac-Txt: Pac-Man meets Zork

To see two worlds of my younger years collide like this. Wow.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Monday, October 15, 2007

Dancing Brid



Benny bird has left us, and so now we are now without a dancing bird. Although Benny wasn't this good though.

via... Bird Lovers Only Rescue: May I have this dance?

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Compiz Makes your Desktop Shiny

Now that I've got DRI and such working (and actually have GL working too), I decided to give Compiz a whirl.

Now, again I use Debian and I got the following (after following the directions from Compiz):
> compiz --replace
[other warnings]
/usr/bin/compiz.real (core) - Error: Another window manager is already running on screen: 0
/usr/bin/compiz.real (core) - Fatal: No manageable screens found on display :0.0

The problem? I was using sawfish. I switched to Metacity, and compiz started working normally. There are some indications out there that perhaps sawfish would have worked, but it seems metacity has better support right now in testing, so I'm going with that.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Poverty at UW-Madison

ZIPskinny demographic information for 53706 - MADISON WI

Mmm.... statistics are awesome. 100% of people who reside in 53706 (read: UW Dorms and other housing) have incomes below the poverty line. So, Madison WI (53706) and 12 other zip codes rank at 100% when sorted by poverty level... :)

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Debain: Upgrading from xserver-xorg-video-i810 to xserver-xorg-video-intel

I have a Dell Latitude D620 laptop, and I run Debian testing on it. I've been running it this way for many years now. Every so often something changes and *poof* I've got to figure everything out again.

One of the things that changed over from Debian Etch to Debian Lenny (the current testing) was a new driver for the Intel 945GM card. The biggest bummer was that with my old config file the new driver would crash.

At any rate, lets go over this for anyone else who has to go through this:

The old package:
http://packages.debian.org/stable/x11/xserver-xorg-video-i810

The new package:
http://packages.debian.org/testing/x11/xserver-xorg-video-intel

From lspci:

00:02.1 Display controller: Intel Corporation Mobile 945GM/GMS/940GML Express Integrated Graphics Controller (rev 03)

So, in the mix of the things that have changed is a completely different xorg.conf format.

The biggest shocker for me was the complete lack of Xinerama support. Turn it on and it crashes the driver cold. Since I use a monitor along with my laptop monitor, this was a problem.

Now its important to note that the old driver had two seperate xorg.conf devices, one for each "display pipe"... thus one per monitor. Xinerama was used to connect the devices back together into one display.

The new method stacks three concepts. To oversimplify: a screen can have one or many CRTCs (CRT Controllers) which can be hooked up to one or many outputs (monitors).

I have a DELL E228WFP monitor hooked to the DVI port on my port replicator, and I have the laptop monitor. The external monitor is 1680x1050 and the laptop is 1440x900.

So, to make one large display, you make a virtual screen that is 3120x1050 (the monitors sitting next to each other). You then configure a CRTC to be at offset +0+0 and another to be at +1680+0. It is a little strange that you can actually configure the CRTCs to overlap and you'll see the same image on both screens.

Now, theres a problem with having a 3120x1050 screen. "There is a known issue that DRI doesn't work on pre-965 if maximum is larger than 2048x2048." So, have it set up that way and no DRI (meaning crappy 2D and really crappy 3D support).

My hack around that was to logically stack my screens (i.e. up-down)... I tell X that my display is actually 1650x1950 even though the screens are left-right. The drawback is that I have to move off the bottom of my screen to go to my laptop (instead of to the right).

At any rate, here's my old config file. Do note there are issues with it even with the old driver (like, for instance, having to hit Fn-F8 on boot so the primary monitor will be the big one -- and not the laptop monitor).

# Jeff's old /etc/X11/xorg.conf

Section "Files"
FontPath "/usr/share/fonts/X11/misc"
FontPath "/usr/X11R6/lib/X11/fonts/misc"
FontPath "/usr/share/fonts/X11/cyrillic"
FontPath "/usr/X11R6/lib/X11/fonts/cyrillic"
FontPath "/usr/share/fonts/X11/100dpi/:unscaled"
FontPath "/usr/X11R6/lib/X11/fonts/100dpi/:unscaled"
FontPath "/usr/share/fonts/X11/75dpi/:unscaled"
FontPath "/usr/X11R6/lib/X11/fonts/75dpi/:unscaled"
FontPath "/usr/share/fonts/X11/Type1"
FontPath "/usr/X11R6/lib/X11/fonts/Type1"
FontPath "/usr/share/fonts/X11/100dpi"
FontPath "/usr/X11R6/lib/X11/fonts/100dpi"
FontPath "/usr/share/fonts/X11/75dpi"
FontPath "/usr/X11R6/lib/X11/fonts/75dpi"
# path to defoma fonts
FontPath "/var/lib/defoma/x-ttcidfont-conf.d/dirs/TrueType"
EndSection

Section "Module"
Load "i2c"
Load "bitmap"
Load "ddc"
#Load "dri"
Load "extmod"
Load "freetype"
Load "glx"
Load "int10"
Load "type1"
Load "vbe"
EndSection

Section "InputDevice"
Identifier "Generic Keyboard"
Driver "kbd"
Option "CoreKeyboard"
Option "XkbRules" "xorg"
Option "XkbModel" "pc104"
Option "XkbLayout" "us"
EndSection

Section "InputDevice"
Identifier "Configured Mouse"
Driver "mouse"
Option "CorePointer"
Option "Device" "/dev/input/mice"
Option "Protocol" "ExplorerPS/2"
Option "Emulate3Buttons" "true"
EndSection

Section "InputDevice"
Driver "synaptics"
Identifier "Synaptics Touchpad"
Option "SendCoreEvents" "true"
Option "Device" "/dev/psaux"
Option "Protocol" "auto-dev"
Option "LeftEdge" "120"
Option "RightEdge" "830"
Option "TopEdge" "120"
Option "BottomEdge" "650"
Option "FingerLow" "14"
Option "FingerHigh" "15"
Option "MaxTapTime" "180"
Option "MaxTapMove" "110"
Option "EmulateMidButtonTime" "75"
Option "VertScrollDelta" "20"
Option "HorizScrollDelta" "20"
Option "MinSpeed" "0.6"
Option "MaxSpeed" "0.6"
Option "AccelFactor" "0.015"
Option "EdgeMotionMinSpeed" "200"
Option "EdgeMotionMaxSpeed" "200"
Option "UpDownScrolling" "1"
Option "CircularScrolling" "1"
Option "CircScrollDelta" "0.1"
Option "CircScrollTrigger" "2"
EndSection

Section "Device"
Identifier "Internal Video Card"
Driver "i810"
VideoRam 262144
BusID "PCI:0:2:0"
Option "FlipPrimary" "on"
Option "MonitorLayout" "DFP,LFP"
Screen 0
EndSection

Section "Device"
Identifier "External Video Card"
Driver "i810"
VideoRam 262144
BusID "PCI:0:2:0"
Option "FlipPrimary" "on"
Screen 1

EndSection

Section "Device"
Identifier "External Video Card FP"
Driver "i810"
VideoRam 262144
BusID "PCI:0:2:0"
#Option "MonitorLayout" "LFP,DFP"
#Option "MonitorLayout" "DFP,LFP"
#Option "FlipPrimary" "on"
Screen 1

EndSection

Section "Monitor"
Identifier "Internal FP"
Option "DPMS"
HorizSync 30-83
VertRefresh 56-60
ModeLine "1680x1050" 119.0 1680 1728 1760 1840 1050 1053 1059 1080 -hsync +vsync
EndSection

Section "Monitor"
Identifier "DELL 2007FP"
ModelName "DELL 2007FP"
ModeLine "1680x1050" 119.0 1680 1728 1760 1840 1050 1053 1059 1080 -hsync +vsync
Option "DPMS"
HorizSync 30-83
VertRefresh 56-60
EndSection

Section "Monitor"
Identifier "Tube"
ModeLine "1680x1050" 119.0 1680 1728 1760 1840 1050 1053 1059 1080 -hsync +vsync

Option "DPMS"
#HorizSync 30-183
HorizSync 30-183
VertRefresh 75-90
EndSection

Section "Screen"
Identifier "Internal LCD"
Device "Internal Video Card"
Monitor "Internal FP"
DefaultDepth 24
SubSection "Display"
Depth 24
Modes "1680x1050" "1440x900" "1280x1024" "1280x768" "1024x768" "800x600" "640x480"
EndSubSection
EndSection

Section "Screen"
Identifier "External FP"
Device "External Video Card FP"
Monitor "DELL 2007FP"
DefaultDepth 24
SubSection "Display"
Depth 24
Modes "1440x900" "1280x1024" "1280x768" "1024x768" "800x600" "640x480"
Virtual 1440 900
EndSubSection
EndSection


Section "Screen"
Identifier "External Monitor"
Device "External Video Card"
Monitor "Tube"
DefaultDepth 24
SubSection "Display"
Depth 24
Modes "1680x1050" "1280x1024" "1280x768" "1024x768" "800x600" "640x480"
Virtual 1680 1050
EndSubSection
EndSection


Section "ServerLayout"
Identifier "external"
Screen 0 "Internal LCD" 0 0
Screen 1 "External FP" Rightof "Internal LCD"
InputDevice "Generic Keyboard"
InputDevice "Configured Mouse"
InputDevice "Synaptics Touchpad"
Option "Xinerama" "true"
EndSection

Section "ServerLayout"
Identifier "internal"
Screen "Internal LCD"
InputDevice "Generic Keyboard"
InputDevice "Configured Mouse"
InputDevice "Synaptics Touchpad"
EndSection

Section "ServerLayout"
Identifier "Default Layout"
Screen 0 "Internal LCD" 0 0
Screen 1 "External Monitor" Leftof "Internal LCD"
InputDevice "Generic Keyboard"
InputDevice "Configured Mouse"
InputDevice "Synaptics Touchpad"
Option "Xinerama" "true"
EndSection

Section "ServerLayout"
Identifier "Default Layout bak"
Screen "Internal LCD"
InputDevice "Generic Keyboard"
InputDevice "Configured Mouse"
InputDevice "Synaptics Touchpad"
EndSection

Section "DRI"
Mode 0666
EndSection




And now here's the new config file. I haven't yet applied my Synaptics tweeks to make the trackpad work better.

# The *NEW* xorg.conf dual monitor file
Section "Files"
EndSection

Section "InputDevice"
Identifier "Generic Keyboard"
Driver "kbd"
Option "CoreKeyboard"
Option "XkbRules" "xorg"
Option "XkbModel" "pc104"
Option "XkbLayout" "us"
EndSection

Section "InputDevice"
Identifier "Configured Mouse"
Driver "mouse"
Option "CorePointer"
Option "Device" "/dev/input/mice"
Option "Protocol" "ImPS/2"
Option "Emulate3Buttons" "true"
EndSection

Section "InputDevice"
Identifier "Synaptics Touchpad"
Driver "synaptics"
Option "SendCoreEvents" "true"
Option "Device" "/dev/psaux"
Option "Protocol" "auto-dev"
Option "HorizScrollDelta" "0"
EndSection

Section "Device"
Identifier "Intel 945GM"
Driver "intel"
Option "Monitor-TMDS-1" "TMDS Monitor"
Option "Monitor-LVDS" "LVDS Monitor"
#Option "ModeDebug" "true"

EndSection

Section "Monitor"
Identifier "LVDS Monitor"
Option "DPMS"
Option "Below" "TMDS Monitor"
Option "PreferredMode" "1440x900"
Option "Position" "0 1050"
EndSection

Section "Monitor"
Identifier "TMDS Monitor"
Option "DPMS"
#HorizSync 65-70
#VertRefresh 59-60
HorizSync 64-83
VertRefresh 56-75

Option "PreferredMode" "1680x1050"
EndSection

Section "Screen"
Identifier "The Screen"
Device "Intel 945GM"
SubSection "Display"
Virtual 1680 1950
EndSubsection
EndSection

Section "ServerLayout"
Identifier "Default Layout"
Screen "The Screen"
InputDevice "Generic Keyboard"
InputDevice "Configured Mouse"
InputDevice "Synaptics Touchpad"
EndSection


Now there is one oddity which I wasn't able to find a way around other than the old school hack of specifying an overly-restrictive horizontal refresh rate: xorg wants to put the Flat Panel into 1280x1024x75hz mode and not 1680x1050x60hz mode. I ended up putting the slightly more restrictive HorizSync to make it so that it won't go into 1280x1024 mode.

For more information about setting up dual head under the Intel driver is available from their site.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Vehicles. Are. Not. Ads.

Madison Metro has recently begun selling ads that wrap the entire bus. Yay, nothing like seeing a Miller beer bus or a Dejope bingo bus. I find it disgusting that now pretty much anything is for sale. Just because someone will pay you a buck to put an ad somewhere doesn't mean you should.

Only worse are the Mobile Billboards. They do nothing but clog our streets, pollute our air and flash whatever ad is on them. TQ Diamonds: you listening? Your mobile billboard is now the sole reason I will not shop at your store. Just for that, let me share my favorite jeweler: BR Diamond Suite. Yeah, they don't advertise... because they don't need to. Folks, there's a reason TQ has to advertise so much.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Jeff:1 Charter:0

Recently I switched to Charter Internet. I'd have preferred TDS DSL but alas, due to a certain three-letter telephony company they cannot provide DSL service in my area. *sigh*

At any rate, I call up Charter and, since I needed to split the bill for my Internet Access off from the Cable, I end up having a long conversation with a representative.

All was good until she told me that she'd need to charge me $29.99 to have a technician come out. I reminded her that I'll be doing a self install so I won't need one.

It's to remove the cable modem filter, she replied.

When I asked for clarification, she relayed the story to me (approximately): Since you live in a technologically savvy area, when cable modems first came out we didn't have a way to block them, so we installed filters everywhere. Now, however, we have technology that doesn't require the filters... however, the filter needs to be removed otherwise your cable modem won't work.

So I reply, well the last guy had a cable modem and since I watched the installer hook my cable back up when I finally ordered cable, I'm pretty sure I don't have one.

Her reply: its company policy that I have to offer it.

Me: Do I have to take it?

Her: No. If it turns out you need it, call us back and we'll schedule it.


Then, I had to pick up the 'self-service installation kit' from the Charter storefront. The woman at the storefront gave me the kit and then said: but I don't see you on our schedule to have your filter removed.

I replied that I didn't need that.

She asserted that I did need that, and I would be back because my Internet access wouldn't work.

I declined again, saying that I know I don't need it. She was shaking her head as I left.

*sigh*

At any rate, no, I didn't need it. The cable modem linked right up. The self service install didn't work, however, that resolved easily by reading the MAC address of my cable modem to Tech Support and all now works fine. I actually got a Tech support guy who was remarkably cool with the fact that I knew what I was doing (as opposed to if you use the word Linux you get treated at as if you have a horrible communicable disease)


So, lets review:

  1. Charter installed filters in the past to prevent theft of service.
  2. Charter no longer needs such filters.
  3. Charter is now charging every new customer to have the filter removed, whether or not it needs to be. (either if it wasn't installed, or was removed in the past).

Well, that's lovely, isn't it.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Can you say Tohuvabohu?

KMFDM has a new album out: Tohuvabohu. Of course, if you want to know what that means, you could just ask Wikipedia.

Someone remind me... what was life before the Internet like again?

The BOFH Excuse Server rides again

Some time ago (in a fit of boredom in about 1994) I wrote a Bastard Operator from Hell Excuse Server. And life was good.

Alas, the world moved on and firewalls were added. I moved on and had way too much to do for a long time. As a result the telnet port of the BOFH Excuse server lapsed.

However, a new dawn has come. I'm finally getting things going on a server of my own

Regulators, mount up.

telnet bofh.jeffballard.us 666

Yeee...

Friday, September 07, 2007

A Guinness a day is good for you

I want to know why I wasn't involved with this study.

Monkey Island

Monkey Island

The wonderful thing about the Internets is that they allow pretty much anyone to make a movie. This one, for instance, is for those of you who've had too much espresso.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Switch to Linux

Yeah, its like from 4 and a half years ago, but its worth another play! :)


I'm all about open source...

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

The Guns... They've stopped.

If you're interested, you're welcome to attend:

Please join the Madison chapter of LOPSA, The League of Professional
System Administrators for our September talk and discussion:

When: Thursday, September 6, 2007
7:00 PM

Where: TDS Telecom, City Center West
RM 2510
525 Junction Road
Madison, WI 53717
[Park in the ramp in visitor stalls on the first level or on the
top floor. Enter the building near the front fountain in the
North Tower, which is opposite the Quizno's and not facing
Junction Rd.]

Topic: The guns... they've stopped: Extreme Spam Reduction

Jeff Ballard, University of Wisconsin Computer Aided Engineering
David Parter,University of Wisconsin Computer Sciences Department

"The guns... they've stopped." That is what one of our users
said after we improved our anti-spam configuration.

The UW College of Engineering and Computer Sciences Departments
have drastically reduced the amount of spam. This not only
pleases users, but has significantly reduced the load on mail
servers, mail gateways, and spam assassin servers. We have done
this through a method of demerits and aggressive greylisting,
implemented using the mailfromd package.

We will describe our configuration, lessons learned, and some
"gotchas". We expect everyone else to chime in for questions,
answers, and discussion.

Directions to TDS are on the web

Note: Our regular meeting time will be the second Thursday of each month
(but we had to move it to the first Thursday this time).

MR-T1




Ah, fond memories of 80s T.V. shows. All I need now is another program to chomp on a cigar and say "I love it when a plan comes together"...

Now, if it could tell me why its coming out at 550 kbps and not the 5 mbps that I should be getting, that'd be another story. But, I ain't messing with Mr. T1.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Beer Machine


In the future, homes will come complete with a beer machine.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Icedove versus Google Desktop Linux

In my continued battle with Google Desktop Linux vs Icedove (unbranded Debian Thunderbird) I noticed the following on the Icedove error console when GDL causes Icedove to go for a 100% cpu binge:

Error: [Exception... "'Failure' when calling method: [gIMsgFolder::GetMessageHeader]" nsresult: "0x80004005 (NS_ERROR_FAILURE)" location: "" data: no]

*sigh* This can't be good...

pear install MDB2_Driver_oci8

Note if you see the following error:

Warning: MDB2::include_once() [function.include]: Failed opening
'MDB2/Driver/oci8.php' for inclusion


The answer is:

pear install MDB2_Driver_oci8

The six bit wooden adder


Wow... made by Matthias Wandel at woodgears.ca.

Chain Mail is the new Black



Who needs asbestos underwear when you've got chain mail? Now, can this be a tax-deductible business expense? Hmm...

Where's my Horse?

Letsee here, no posts since May. Summer's been like that this year. Combine a month off (June) and preparing for that (May) and recovering from that (hasn't finished yet). Ahhh... no wonder its felt like I've been extra busy lately.

In other news, I've found that Google Desktop for Linux (GDL) came out while I was busy with the above. Its a mix of absolutely awesome and frustrating at the same time.

The best part is that they have a real Debian repository for GDL. Wow I wish more projects would do this.

The currently frustrating part is that using Icedove 2.0 (Debian's unbranded Thunderbird), the GDL Extension is included, however, it only indexes a fraction of my massive mail store (it thinks it has indexed 15,209 messages). Missing mail isn't the frustrating part: its the fact it pegs one core at 100% while it does this, and makes Icedove really slow.

So close... ;)

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Backyard Panorama



I made a quick panorama of what it looks like from our backyard. I really like Hugin. It's a really cool program.

Now, back to the things I should have been doing....

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

My 1337 Parking Pass

I think the world's trying to tell me something. I'm just not sure what it is. For instance, here's the day parking pass I paid for today:


(click for an even bigger version)

And no, I didn't Photoshop it.

What, you don't know what the number means? Maybe you should Ask Google...

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Flickervision

Todays diversion brought to you by Flickrvision. Good God, how is anyone supposed to get any work done?

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Whats on my Drivers License Bar Code?

I had wondered what was on the back of the 2D barcode on my Drivers License:

------ Begin Card
Address=[my street in all caps]
City=[my city in all caps]
State=WI
Zipcode=[my zip code]
Driver License Number=[my drivers license number]
License Expiration Date=YY/YY/MMDD
License Issued Date=MM/DD/YYYY
Date of Birth=MM/DD/YYYY
Sex=MALE
Address2=
Height=0'##"
Eye Color=XXX
Address Line 2=
------ End Card

I find it interesting that they've got the expiration date wrong (YMD and not MDY as the slashes would indicate), and that they just went with Inches, rather than Feet + Inches.

A program is available to decode yours, too (works for most States' Drivers Licenses).

Monday, April 16, 2007

Indiana State Police ERT Breach


Mental note: Don't provoke the Indiana State Police.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Spring brings out strange things



Northern Flicker (Colaptes auratus)


Now, how much seed do you think they got out of the Finch feeder?

Friday, March 09, 2007

Flying Hamsters


Nothing says fun like flying rodents.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

A better spam trap


I should build a better spam trap. Wait. Someone's already built one. With video goodness.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Winter Fun

It's that time of the Winter that I ask myself why do I live in Wisconsin?


So, We're on our way home tonight, at about 11 PM, we're driving through the 3+ inches of snow.




Now, its been some time since I've driven through this much snow. Or should I say floated:




...nothing better than the force of the snow slowing the car down. Its like driving through jello. 'cept different. I even convinced the tire pressure sensors (which measure the rotation of the tires to see if one's lower than the others) that I have a flat tire.


Although what we got was not bad for the 1 inch of snow they were predicting for tonight. :)

Pulp Fiction Typography



Bravo!

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Attractors






Friday, January 05, 2007

Weihenstephaner Korbinian



Weihenstephaner Korbinian


Wow. Just. Wow. Its good. Really, really good.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Can I use the Stapler?

Q: Can I use the Staper?


A:
...or click to find out


Thanks to Dave for the idea and to Jo for pointing out how I should really put this on my blog. Which I did.