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Showing posts from April, 2006

Suse 10.1 RC-3 automatic wireless networking

I just discovered that wireless networking now connects automatically, at least under the Gnome desktop. It happened when I rebooted the notebook. When I logged back into my notebook account Network Manager automatically reconnected to my home wireless network without any intervention, just like Windows XP does. As a test, I plugged in a network wire to the port on the back. The Network Manager disconnected the wireless connection and then reconnected to the network using the wired connection. When I disconnected the wire it went back to using the wireless connection. All automatically. It Just Works.

This is finally what networking should be under Linux, and what it should have been for some time now. Thank you Suse.

Colin Powell finally speaks out

I've kept my thoughts to myself while the retired generals were taking swipes at the Bush administration over the handling of the Iraq war. Frankly, I didn't know enough about the military or the culture to know how to interpret the back-and-forth except as internal fighting. But now comes word that Colin Powell has gone public with criticism of planning before the war, specifically that there were not enough troops sent to Iraq to oust Hussein and then keep the peace.

Powell is a huge critic to have on your hands. It was Powell who stood before the U.N. with what he said was evidence of Iraq's WMD capabilities. As we all know since then, very little, if any, WMDs were ever found in Iraq. Powell, ever the loyal soldier, always backed Bush while Secretary of State, and kept quiet long after he left. But now he's opened up a bit, and it's going to get very interesting as this latest criticism reverberates around Washington and around the world. I'm just wondering …

Spam statistics

I just checked my Yahoo email account. Over the last 48 hours I've picked up 230 spam emails. I don't know why, but the amount of spam I pick up on all my email accounts spikes up over the weekend, especially Yahoo. I'll still continue to get spam during the week, but nothing like the weekend. And the Yahoo account contains more spam than all my other accounts combined by a wide margin. And the amount of incoming spam is increasing. Since early March, when I'd get just a few dozen at most over the same period, my Yahoo accounts weekend spam has been increasing each succeeding weekend. If they're supposed to be cracking down on spammers, then where is all this other spam coming from, and why is it going up instead of down? I'm glad Yahoo has a spam filter. Else I'd never see anything important arrive.

Sad spam stories

I'm beginning to get Nigerian-style scam letters in my junk folder again. Some of them are getting to be quite creative. Here's a list of the latest, starting with the most recent.
Ayisha Haja from Brunei - A 23-year-old young Mongolian woman who was "married out" to a prince of Brunei 30 years her senior. As revenge she managed to "divert $ (Sixteen million five hundrend thousand dollars) as bonds into a private finance house without his knowledgement." She wants your help getting it out of the country, and will pay you "$ (One million five hundred thousand dollars) of the total fund" for your help.CAPTAIN WILSON EZE from the Congo - A former captain in the Congolese army, of unknown age. A procurement officer, he managed to get away with $15 million in funds he was supposed to use to purchase arms from a company in Johannesburg, South Africa. Currently living in asylum in South Africa, he seeks your assistance to inve…

More Suse 10.1 RC-3 observations

A few more observations as I work longer with Suse 10.1.
Since Beta 9 the gcc version has been 4.1. I bootstrapped 4.1 on Suse 10.0 and used it to build everything on that platform.The latest kernel version is This is the same as is currently available (at this point in time) on This is the first time I've seen a distribution track this closely to a kernel release. It was 2.6.16 that provided the necessary drivers for the Gateway's SATA drive.glibc 2.4 is the latest and greatest release on It was release March 6th. I've been building glibc lately for some embedded work, and I was using version 2.3.6, the last release in the 2.3 series. The 2.3 series is still being maintained. The 2.4 series is for kernels in the 2.6 series and later, specifically greater than 2.6.16, the version shipping with Suse 10.1. Additionally glibc 2.4 now only supports NPTL pthreads.
Gnome on 10.1 is still at 2.12 (2.12.2). Gnome 2.14 was released March 15th, whic…

Suse 10.1 RC-3 wireless is now working

I finally got wireless up and running, and brother, is it great. I had to find the answer via Google on a forum, though. These are the steps I used to get wirless working on my Gateway M685.
Get the last full Suse 10.1 Addon ISO. The last full ISO is for RC-1, so you'll have to apply the ISO delta to create the Addon ISO for RC-3.Burn a CD from the Addon ISO for RC-3 and mount it. It's a good idea to keep the CD for other commercial packages it contains, such as Sun's Java 5.
Install i586/ipw3945d-1.7.18-6.i586.rpm from the CD.
Install noarch/ipw-firmware-7-10.noarch.rpm from the CD.
Reboot the notebook.Logging back in after the installation and reboot, I was finally greeted with wireless entries from the Network Manager applet. Because my wireless connection does not broadcast the SSID, I had to take the extra step of creating an entry using my SSID. Once that single, simple step was complete, a wireless connection was established and everything Just Worked.

I haven't had …

Updating Suse 10.1 to RC-3

In the prior post I write about upgrading my RC-1 ISOs to RC-3. That succeeded, and I burned new CDs from them and installed RC-3 over RC-1. The installation went smoothly and without any incidents. Here are some of the new features that now seem to work (for me) on RC-3.
I can now easily suspend the computer under Suse. There is a new radio button on the logout dialog. When I suspended the computer I watched the notebook go into text mode and then watched status messages flash across the screen as Suse 10.1 saved everything to disk, then it shut down. Windows, by contrast, flashes a low-res graphic on the screen while a progress bar slowly moves across the screen. I don't care one way or the other for the eye candy. What mattered was the time it took to suspend, and in either case (Suse or Windows) it was essentially identical (no, I will hold a stop watch and time it). And Linux came right back up after the suspend as successfully as Windows does.I can now save my current sessio…

Stupid Suse tricks

I've been running around with Suse 10.1 RC1 on my Gateway since it was released. It's quite nice, actually. Key features such as video, USB, and the SATA drive work, but sound and wireless don't. When RC2 was announced last week I was happy. Perhaps sound and wireless were fixed. Then I read the updates were posted only as deltas to be applied to the existing ISOs. OK. No problem. They have a tool (applydeltaiso) and directions for creating the new ISOs. I can follow directions. Oh, wait. I don't have the ISOs on my Linux system, they're on my Windows system. Ah. The directions say I can just access the CD/DVD device as the input to the tool in place of the original ISO. OK. Now I'm good to go. Except when I attempt to execute the directions using /dev/hda (my CD/DVD device) as the input to applydeltaiso, nothing works. Oh, there's lots of CD spinning and whirring, the disk drive lights up like there's lots of drive activity, but when I look in the work…

Update on the Big Microsoft Drop

There's a blog out there called Infectious Greed. It's written by Paul Kedrosky, a venture capitalist living out in San Diego, California. I ran across a link to his blog on while reading the great English prose on The Inquirer. One post he wrote yesterday (the 27th) titled "Microsoft's Pig in a Poke Problem" covers a very important issue with regards to Microsoft and explains in part what happened today with Microsoft's share price drop. It's short enough that I'll quote the entire post.
I've been a Microsoft stock booster this year, arguing that the company was heading into the strongest product cycle in recent memory, driven by Windows, Office, and SQL Server upgrades, plus, plus.

But this latest news kills the story. By, in effect, diverting all the windfall profits from these new product releases into much more questionable businesses -- Xbox, Windows Live, etc. -- Microsoft is asking shareholders to buy a pig in a poke. It wants people to igno…

A run on the bank of Microsoft

NOTE: I don't own any Microsoft stock. Nada. Zip. None.

I just checked the news wires and stumbled on something quite remarkable. It's a little after 10 am, and Microsoft stock has already traded close to 140 million shares. Let me repeat that. The NASDAQ opened at 9am, and in a little more than an hour it's traded more than twice its daily average of 58 million shares. To top that off, it's down almost 11%, or $3. What happened?

Microsoft reported earnings that missed Wall Street expectations and lowered its earnings expectations. Microsoft reported revenue of 10 billion for the last quarter. The greedy bastards on Wall Street were expecting 11. Right now their stock is trading at around $24/share as everybody cashes out and "takes profit".

For those in the Linux community who take solace in Microsoft's problems, such as today's stock market fiasco, let me warn you that what goes around comes back around, usually with interest. The carcasses of defunct …

I Can Drive 55 Now, part 2

I've discovered I can drive 55, and save reasonable cash in the process. By learning all over again to lighten the foot and to travel at 55 vs. 65 or 70, I managed to add 4 mpg to my last fillup, or average 21 mpg. My average before this past week of driving was 17 mpg street/highway. I know I said here that it was 22. But that was straight highway driving from Orlando to Tallahassee and back at speeds of 65 to 70 mph. Around Orlando I commute 50 miles round trip, driving down I-4 to the 408 and taking surface streets such as Conroy and Alafaya Trail. That's lots of stop-and-go driving mixed with highway speeding.

Although I still paid $49 at the pump for a fillup, I saved $11 compared to the last fillup. I'm hoping that these savings continue and that I won't forget yet again to drive easy rather than like a lead-footed bat out of hell. The only way to save further now is to work one day a week at home. If I were to do that I would save about $9/week. This extra saved …

Time to move on

I've been hit twice already by Microsoft's new anti-piracy tool. Both incidents occurred yesterday evening at home. The first incident occurred on my big home system. I've had that license for nearly three years. I've never had a problem with it. And I've been tested twice already for license compliance. This third time I let it roll on through just to see what would happen. Nothing really happened to the machine, but something happened to me.

I finally got tired of having someone (virtual or otherwise) come into my house (again, virtual or otherwise) and essentially challenging my honesty to run software (the operating system in this case) I had paid for and which they already knew twice before (three times if you count the installation activation) was legal. That put me in a fine frame of mind so that when it happened the second time with my brand new shiney Gateway Core Duo M685 notebook, I only picked up the fixes I needed and disabled the 'piracy' fix.…

The chickens come home to roost at Microsoft

John Dvorak writes in his article "The Great Microsoft Blunder":
I think it can now be safely said, in hindsight, that Microsoft's entry into the browser business and its subsequent linking of the browser into the Windows operating system looks to be the worst decision — and perhaps the biggest, most costly gaffe — the company ever made.You got that right. Microsoft likes to spin that Bill Gates is some all-seeing IT visionary who can guide the company around the shoals of adversity to ever greater heights of success. Bullshit. Bill is highly reactionary, and when he heard Andreessen say that Netscape would become the next great platform and reduce Windows to a collection of poorly debugged drivers, Bill went ballistic. He actually believed it. Nobody, but nobody can replace the operating system. All that capability to render multimedia from text to video requires a lot more than the odd collection of poorly debugged drivers. You need the OS for the client machine, and mo…

Pointless political posturing

W (Duhbya) made some moves today designed to help us little folks buy cheaper gas. Unfortunately, what he tried was way too little, and way too late.
W gave the Environmental Protection Agency the authority to relax regional clean-fuel standards to attract more imports of gasoline to the United States and to make it easier for supplies to be moved from one state to another.W halted deposits of oil to the nation's strategic petroleum reserve until the fall.Number 1 means we get to breath even dirtier air for slightly cheaper gas. Wow. What a choice. Number 2 doesn't mean squat. What are some of the real reasons for higher gas? Let's count them.
The global economy is expanding, and that means the thirst for oil is only going to grow.Daily global demand is roughly 85 million barrels per day. There is less than 2 million barrels per day of spare production capacity.Oil traders are nervous about geopolitical tensions in Nigeria, Iran, and Venezuela.Speculative investors are pili…

Gas prices too high? Try buying gas in England.

I like to cry about how gas is approaching $3/gallon here in Orlando. I thank my luck stars I don't live in England. There, gas (petrol) is approaching £1/litre. Sounds like it's a lot less than here, doesn't it? Well, let's do some conversion between metric and English units of volume and a currency conversion for the money.
One U.S. gallon equals 3.785 litres.One English £ equals $1.79 U.S. dollars (at today's exchange rate).Now, multiple $1.79 by 3.785 litres (for a gallon of gas) and we come out to $6.94 for an equivalent gallon of gas. Wow. Nearly $7 for a gallon of gas. I can tell you the English aren't too happy about the situation.

I see stupid people flying...

Standing-room only on aircraft. In flight. I guess if you need to travel somewhere bad enough you'll do anything. Whatever happened to passenger safety, especially during an emergency landing? And how about basic customer service? And how long are you supposed to stand?
Airbus denies standing room 'seats'
Airbus disputes report it is in discussion with Asian airlines to offer padded backboards to have flyers stand in effort to increase capacity.

Airlines and aircraft makers are always looking to get the most passengers possible onto planes, but Airbus is denying a report that it is in discussions with carriers about having a standing room "seat" to fit even more passengers on its jets.

The New York Times reports that Airbus has quietly pitched the standing-room-only option to Asian carriers, though none have agreed to it yet. But a spokeswoman for Airbus flatly denied the report Tuesday.

"Our passengers and customers want more and more comfort," said Barbara…

I see stupid people...

And I thought folks would be so shocked by the ever-rising high price of gas they'd do something, like drive more fuel efficient cars. Silly me!

Big engines stay popular despite gas spike

U.S. consumers bought vehicles with big, gas-guzzling engines at an unchanged rate in the first three months of the year despite rising gas prices, according to a survey released on Monday.

In the first quarter, about 25 percent of all new vehicles sold in the United States were equipped with eight- cylinder engines, according to sales trends analyzed by the Power Information Network, a data tracking service of consulting firm J.D. Power and Associates.

That market share level for V8s -- typically the most powerful engines used in trucks and large sport utility vehicles -- was unchanged from the average of 25 percent in the fourth quarter, according to the Power Information Network.

The market share of six- and four-cylinder engine-vehicles have also not budged in the face of higher gasoline prices, n…

I sue dead people...

It had to happen. The RIAA, driven by greedy stupid bastards, finally decided to sue the deceased for pirating music. From an article by the same name on arstechnica:
The RIAA's ongoing campaign to stamp out file trading by suing consumers is old news. But when details of one of their latest lawsuits became public, it was too good to pass up. A suit filed recently in US District Court named 83-year-old Gertrude Walton as a defendant, accusing her of serving up over 700 songs onto peer-to-peer networks. Now, the RIAA has gone after grandmothers before. In 2003, they mistakenly targeted a 66-year-old woman for allegedly sharing gangsta rap. But this case goes a bit further, as Mrs. Walton actually passed away in December 2004.I just hope that arstechnica doesn't sue me for nicking their title for my posting.

Updating the Nokia 770's system software

Nokia released a new update to the core software of their 770 this past April 18th. I didn't find out about it until I read about it on Planet Maemo. That news item was posted there on the 20th.

I updated my 770 under Windows XP SP2. Updating is supposed to occur in three steps:
Download the Nokia 770 Software Update image (Nokia_770_SE2005_5_2006_13_7.bin) and save it.
Download and install the Nokia 770 Software Update Wizard for Windows (Nokia_770_software_update_wizard.exe).Update the Nokia 770 using the Wizard with the binary image.Installing the Windows software is very straightforward. It comes in two parts, the Windows installation wizard that's run the first time, and the update wizard that is used to update the 770. Follow the directions and accept all the defaults for the Windows installation. There's no reason to change anything. When the Windows installation is finished it immediately starts the updater. This is where the update of the 770 became more difficult fo…

Effects of high priced gas hits close to home

My youngest daughter and I went to the movies to see "Thank You For Smoking" (favorite line: "Michael Jordan plays ball. Charlie Manson kills people. I talk.") at 12:30. The route took us past Universal Studios to the theater at Festival Bay. We got there in record time without traffic tie-ups or speeding to get there. When we walked in there were no lines to purchase tickets. When we went in there was hardly anybody in line to buy snack food, and there was hardly anybody watching the movie. I even went over to catch a part of "Silent Hill" and it was just as empty. When the movie ended about two hours later we walked out into empty echoing spaces. I got us home, again in record time, without traffic and without speeding.

Rights? What rights?

In a direct assault on our need to know if our government is acting incorrectly and out of control, the Bush administration made good on its threats to find and fire the leaker of information at the CIA that led to the revelations of our use of "clandestine detention centers" overseas in our war on terror. The New York Times reports that although the CIA won't come out and say it, several other sources in Washington have identified Mary O. McCarthy, a veteran intelligence analyst, as the source of the information. The last four paragraphs of the Times story are interesting:
Several former intelligence officials who were granted anonymity after requesting it for what they said were obvious reasons under the circumstances were divided over the likely effect of the dismissal on morale. One veteran said the firing would not be well-received coming so soon after the disclosure of grand jury testimony by Vice President Dick Cheney's former chief of staff that President Bush…

China owns us

Let's list just a few of the reasons, starting with the most recent.
Hu heckler on harassment charge (BBC)
A woman has appeared in court in Washington after heckling visiting Chinese President Hu Jintao at the White House.

Wang Wenyi, 47, was charged with harassing, intimidating and threatening a foreign official.

Ms Wang, who had a press pass for the event, had shouted at Mr Hu not to oppress the outlawed Chinese spiritual movement, the Falun Gong.

An embarrassed President George W Bush apologised to Mr Hu for the outburst.

Report Alleges Semel's Yahoo Helped China Again (Forbes)
Yahoo!, like several other giants of the Web, has seen its share of criticism about the way it juggles both its Chinese business and requests from Beijing. Now the group led by Chief Executive Terry Semel is in the thick of it again, and this for the third time. A free press advocacy group has published a verdict from Chinese authorities that may implicate Yahoo! as having provided evidence for the Communis…

I Can Drive 55, Now

One foot on the brake and one on the gas, hey!
Well, there's too much traffic, I can't pass, no!
So I tried my best illegal move
Well, baby, black and white come and touched my groove again!
Gonna write me up a 125
Post my face wanted dead or alive
Take my license, all that jive
I can't drive 55! Oh No!

Sammy Hagar, 1984
I Can't Drive 55Oil Reaches New High of $75 a BarrelCrude-oil prices reached a new record of $75 a barrel Friday amid concern about Iran's nuclear ambitions and declining U.S. gasoline stocks.

U.S. pump prices also kept rising, with the average price of a gallon of unleaded regular gasoline at $2.855, up 3 cents from a day earlier and more than 60 cents higher than a year ago, according to AAA's daily fuel gauge report.

Analysts say oil prices are likely to climb higher in the weeks ahead as worries grow about how international pressure on Iran, OPEC's No. 2 oil producer, will affect its crude output. Rebel disruptions of oil production in Nigeria …

Booting Ubuntu 6.06 Beta 1

As soon as Ubuntu 6.06 beta 1 hit the servers I downloaded and burned my own copy, then booted my Gateway with it. There's definitely been a change and for the most part the change has been for the better.

Good things that happened:
It found all the SATA partitions. I was able to mount everything on the SATA drive.Sound started working. I was treated to the latest audio bootup sequence. It sounded pretty nice.Screen came up in 1680 x 1050 resolution automatically, without tweaking. That happened with alpha 6 as well.The new icons look really good. They're the best Gnome icons I've ever seen.Ubuntu uses kernel 2.6.15 built with gcc 4.0.3. I don't know if this is good or bad, but contrast it with Suse 10.1 RC-1's 2.6.16 kernel built with gcc 4.1.0. The kernel and compiler are more advanced on Suse, but more hardware works out-of-the-box on Ubuntu.Wired networking works. Wireless does not on either Suse or Ubuntu. That's an issue with the Intel drivers, not the dist…

An Inconvenient Truth

There's a movie by the same name coming out May 24th. Narrated by Al Gore (you know, the one who, for a short time, was our duly elected president in 2000), it gives a blunt and truthful assessment of our current ecological situation and the global warming that is causing us greater and greater distress. I have not seen this movie, only the trailer. Why see a fake horror film when reality is so much more terrifying? I have a feeling I'll be seeing this one, and more than once.

It's not easy being Mean

I feel sorry for Microsoft. I really do. Here they are, a convicted monopolist here in the US. No matter where they go and try a fresh start, their bad luck just seems to follow them. And those mean old Europeans want to fine them 2 million euros per day (per day!) just because Microsoft is trying to earn money the old fashioned way - through absolute market control.

I mean, even the judges over here in America are ganging up with those mean old Europeans to punish poor little Mickeysoft. Look at what mean old District Court Judge Mark Wolf in Boston had to say to the poor pitiful Softies:"Enforcing Microsoft's ... subpoena to Novell would circumvent and undermine the law of the European Community concerning how a litigant may obtain third-party documents...," the judge said in a harshly-worded 12-page decision issued on Monday.See? Harshly worded! There was no need for that! I tell you, there is no justice in this world. No justice at all!

Alternate fonts make Gnome easier on the eyes

I have poor eyesight. It's so poor that at times I prop my glasses up on my forehead and stick my face right into the monitor to read. This, of course, leads to great hilarity as my office mates come by and laugh at the blind geek. It's one of the real drivers behind my move to notebooks and LCD screens. With today's sub-pixel aliasing technology in Windows (ClearType) and Linux, reading text off of LCDs is a lot easier for me than reading text off of an older CRT.

Having sub-pixel aliasing and LCD screens isn't enough. You have to pick the right font as well. For Windows XP that isn't an issue. From the moment it's turned on the fonts on the desktop and in all the applications are correct and easy to read. The same is true, it appears, for Mac OS X. The same is not true for Suse 10 or 10.1 (the fonts selected by Ubuntu's live distribution (at least Dapper Drake) are, however).

I've discovered that the best fonts for this combination of notebook display a…

I'm not the only one disappointed with the Nokia 770

I feel vindicated. Rob Pegoraro of the Washington Post wrote "It Does Little, and Not Very Well" in which he described his experiences with a demo unit. Everything thatI'vecomplained about, from crashing the OS to crashing the web browser to WiFi non-connectivity issues to poor performance to how it compares poorly to other solutions are covered (again) in detail. The one exception I have is to his complaint about the RS-MMC card. I did manage to find a 512MB RS-MMC card at Newegg for $25. And it's a good thing I bought it when I did because just checking back shows they don't even have that in stock any more.

The end of the article pretty much sums up the current state of the Nokia 770:
It's not as if the Nokia 770 will be the first portable gadget somebody buys. It's going to have to earn its way into pockets, purses, bags and backpacks already occupied by phones, Palm or Pocket PC handhelds, iPods, Sony PSP or Nintendo DS game machines or laptops -- ofte…

We have met the enemy (and he is us)

An article written by George Ou and titled "Linux zombies show platforms don't matter" underscores the peril you take when you decide to point out problems with F/OSS software in general, and Linux distributions in particular. George documented the trials and tribulations of one Richard Stiennon and the trouble he got into when he pointed out how Linux systems running Apache and PHP were compromised and turned into zombies. The ability to hunt down and compromise these types of systems were documented by Richard this way:The hacker used a common mis-configuration in PHP scripts to take over Linux machines and use them for his army of zombies. What is scary about this is that these machines are typically web servers on broadband connections, unlike the usual collection of PCs on college campuses that are part of a bot-herd. So they are much more deadly, especially when combined into a single force. The PHP script is easily searchable on Google so the hacker automated hi…

Getting to know Gnome

I made the comment that Nautilus under Suse 10.1 was missing the ability to view files as a detailed list. I was wrong. The functionality is still there, it's just buried in the 'View' menu, right at the very bottom. This functionality was visible as a control on Nautilus as released with Suse 10, along with two additional controls that increased and decreased the size of the icons in icon view. Why was this taken off? Who were the Gnome architects trying to save from themselves this time? Nautilus was great in the last release. It was more than great. Why can't Gnome folks leave well enough alone?

Nautilus as it appeared in Suse 10. Nice, clean, and key functions conveniently available.

Nautilus as it appears in Ubuntu Dapper Drake, Alpha 6, to be released later this year.

Nautilus as it appears in Suse 10.1 RC-1. Note the missing controls on the upper right.

Konqeror as it appears in Suse 10.1 RC-1 under Gnome. It's a lot nicer to work with.

A mini-review of Java 6 beta 2

After installing the latest test release of Suse 10.1, I installed the latest build (B80) of Java 6 beta 2. I've been using Java 6 since the latter part of 2005 because it's fast and because on Linux, under Gnome, it enables sub-pixel aliasing on text. What follows are some quick and dirty screen shots of applications running under this latest Java 6 release.

The previous screenshots show a side-by-side comparison between SwingSet2 using the Java native look and feel on the left and the Gnome look and feel on the right. First the good news. This is the first build where switching to the Gnome LAF did not throw an exception. The bad news is the look after selecting Gnome. Frankly I prefer the native Java look. Not only does native Java look better, but the Gnome LAF does not follow the clean lean look that the current Gnome releases provide. This is a far cry from the Windows LAF of Java 6 under Windows. The quality of the Windows LAF under Java 6 is superb.

Ignoring the eye-cand…

Installing Suse 10.1 RC-1 on the M685

I managed to pick up the latest release of Suse 10.1 late Thursday via Bit Torrent, and installed it early Saturday morning on the Gateway M685. As always, the first thing that anyone should do after downloading and burning ISOs is to verify the integrity of the CDs created from them. This time I burned two coasters using a bad image for CD 4 (delivered via Bit Torrent). I had to hit the Open Suse website and explicitly download a new image for CD 4. That one burned a proper CD.

The installation over Beta 9 went without any incidents. I did not perform an upgrade. As with Beta 9 the SATA drive was properly recognized. What's more RC-1 defaulted to using the root and /home partitions I'd created under Beta 9 as the installation targets. The only thing I had to do was to select no formating for /home and the use of ext3 instead of Reiser for the root filesystem format.

Installation took about 45 minutes for the entire system. It detected all the hardware, and as before, it allowed…

Another round trip to Tallahassee

I picked up Lauran from FSU Friday so she could be home with us this Easter. I traveled up to Tallahassee with her young sister, Megan, going along to keep the old man awake so I wouldn't have an accident by falling asleep and running off the road. Megan started the trip off by reading from "Unusually Stupid Americans". I enjoyed the section on stupid cars, especially the Pacer, the Hornet, and the Pinto. Problem is I was in my late teens to mid 20s when those cars were out (the 70's essentially). And my family owned a Pinto. My dad purchased one of the earliest models with an Opel engine in it. It eventually wound up being my younger brother's car.

We picked up Lauran and grabbed a bite to eat at the local Wendy's right across the street from FSU on Tennessee, right between Mike's Beer Barn (with drive-through service) and the local porn establishment known as Rick's Toy Box. It's the perfect stop for the harried FSU student. Cheap beer, cheap foo…

SuSE 10.1 RC 1 released

The next release is available. Looking at the most annoying bugs, the biggest problem seems to be the update of existing systems. I'm going to do with SuSE 10.1 what I did with SuSE 10. I'm going to do a complete re-installation of the OS. My drive is subdivided such that /home is separate from the root. I can re-install with reasonable care, knowing that what is important to save is on /home and will be picked up after the installation (such as my home directory and all my projects). Easter is this weekend so my update probably won't occur until early next week.


I started downloading this afternoon, right before I took Max for his walk. Azureus (BitTorrent) is a wonderful tool. I can snag all five ISOs at once.

Friday 4/14 3:50 am - After waking up I rambled into the home office to check on the downloads. The ISOs are complete and Azureus is now seeding back out to the network. According to Azureus downloading all five ISOs took five hours 33 minutes. I think I'l…

New ATI driver for Linux

ATI has just released their latest set of drivers for various operating system. The one for Linux is version 8.24.8 and was released April 12th. What's been added for this release is support for Mobility Radeon X1300 to X1800, as well as desktop versions of Radeon X1300 to X1900. This support has been a long time in coming, especially on the desktop side. Support for X1n00 hardware for Windows has been available since last year when the series was first introduced. The lack of support for Mobility Radeon chips greater than X700 was the reason I got an nVidia Go 7800 video card for my current notebook. Support for that chip was out-of-the-box for SuSE 10.1 Beta 9 as well as Ubuntu Dapper Drake Alpha 6. That's a far cry from having to boot into crippled mode and then installing a kernel driver to get both 2D and 3D hardware support.

Gross humor for Thursday

This came from my sweet sainted little sister in Atlanta.

A tour bus driver is driving with a bus load of seniors down a highway when he is tapped on his shoulder by a little old lady. She offers him a handful of peanuts, which he gratefully munches up.

After about 15 minutes, she taps him on his shoulder again and she hands him another handful of peanuts. She repeats this gesture about five more times.

When she is about to hand him another batch again he asks the little old lady, " Why don't you eat the peanuts yourself?"

"We can't chew them because we've no teeth", she replied.

The puzzled driver asks, "Why do you buy them then?"

The old lady replied, "We just love the chocolate around them."

Windows security and its impact in real life

I found this story Wired News story (Border Security System Left Open) via slashdot. It describes how, in August 2005, the US-VISIT system was crippled by the Zotob worm. As I read the story the hairs on the back of my neck stood up. I couldn't believe what I read.

First of all, how is it that a highly sensitive system such as US-VISIT is even tied to the internet? The ideal, most paranoid solution is to use a separate network to tie everything together. Considering all the dark fiber that still exists after the dot-com crash, the feds should have pulled together a government network on which they could have placed US-VISIT and any other critical system. If they needed access to the rest of the next, they could have either provided gateways between the government net and the rest of the world, or else put a second dirty system next to the clean ones for email and surfing the web. I've worked enough time on government contracts to know that if the computer information is sensiti…

Gas prices just keep on rising

I fill up once a week here in Orlando. Today I hit $50 for a tank of gas. I haven't paid that much since Katrina back in 2005. I paid $2.69/gallon at a local Walmart (the morning rush hour picture to the right is another gas station on the way to work). That was with their 3 cent discount because I purchased it with a Walmart credit card. Add in my daughter and wife, and my family will easily pay $400/month (or more) in gas prices. That's a stiff driving penalty.

What's worse is that the price is 20 cents higher than what I paid last week at the same station. With the tension over Iran's nuclear program and problems in Iraq and Nigeria, speculation in the futures markets are driving the cost of oil and gas right through the roof. A talking head on NPR stated he wouldn't be surprised it if kept right on going through the $3 mark and added another dollar to the price.

Four dollar gas. I wonder how long the Republicans can hang onto power at that price level. And I wond…

Redhat buys JBoss

Infoworld is reporting that Redhat has agreed to buy JBoss for USD$350 million, with another USD$70 million to be paid later if JBoss meets "meets certain performance goals." JBoss started life as a Java application server competing with similar offerings from Sun, BEA (WebLogic), and IBM. The big difference was that you JBoss started out as open source. My question is this: JBoss requires Java. What version of Java will Redhat ship to support JBoss? And will it ship Sun's, IBM's, or will it go the politically correct route and use gcj and Classpath to provide Java functionality? There is no easy answer, especially when you consider Sun's economic weakness.

And I wonder what performance goals JBoss is supposed to meet? Scalability? TPM? Under what environmental constraints? I've often wondered (but never had the time or resources) how JBoss stacks up against the commercial application servers. And I've often wondered how Linux compares to other operating …

Linus 'Liability' Torvalds

Bruce Perens (pictured right) gave a press conference at this years Linux World Expo in Boston. Bruce, as usual, provided a lot of thought-provoking commentary on the state of open source landscape and some of the folks who inhabit it. He had this interesting comment to make of Linus with regards to GPL 3:
Linus Torvalds has publicly spoken of problem[s] with the DRM provisions, in my opinion jumping the gun, since there were ample opportunities for the text to be handled on the four existing discussion committees. But Linus doesn't like politics and policy, and thus he sort of tried to short-circuit the process through the press without first discussing the problem with any of the committees. That wasn't productive. Since Linus doesn't like to work on this, I wish that instead of trying to throw thunderbolts he'd let someone else on his team who has the right aptitude handle it.In other words Linus isn't a team player with regards to hammering out GPL 3. Bruce woul…