Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Jonatahn Hassell Posting Again

Fellow Daynoter and author of neat computer books, Jonathan Hassell, is posting. I noticed he has a Blogspot blog when going through my referral links.

Check out his blog here.

Lycos Anti-Spam Screensaver

This is an interesting approach, especially for an established Internet business like Lycos. It seems that Lycos is planning to make available a screen saver which when active, will flood websites linked to in spam emails with data requests, in order to suck up their bandwidth, and hopefully dissuade the site owners' from hiring spammers to promote their wares. In other words, it's a corporate-sponsored DDOS attack against spammers and their backers.

I have to wonder about the wisdom of this. Unintended consequences and all that. But, you wouldn't see this kind of measure if otherwise legit ISPs weren't desperate to stem the flow of spam.

It'll be interesting to see how it pans out.

Monday, November 29, 2004

Citadel BBS

I started playing around with the Citadel BBS package today. One of the mailing lists to which I subscribe is hosted on Yahoo! Groups. Periodically, we get dissatisfied with the way they handle things. In the past, I've created shell accounts on my mail server as a primitive backup to the YG listserv, but hadn't installed anything like a real mailing list manager.

Citadel may be a viable alternative, especilly since the list in question is a continuation of a Fidonet echo. Citadel offers not only an old-school BBS experience, but also provides POP, IMAP and authenticated SMTP service. The SMTP service can be integrated with Spamassassin, too. Even if we decide not to migrate the list over to Citadel running on one of my boxes, I may use it for my mail server software when I build a new box for that purpose.

MS Using Pirated Software In House?

I found this one via Mad Ogre:
Chicago (IL) - Members of a former software cracking group have discovered that audio files created with one of its cracked programs are distributed with each copy of the Windows XP operating system, possibly exposing Microsoft to a large-scale copyright infringement lawsuit.

If true, somebody is in for a world of shit.

Sunday, November 28, 2004

Weekend recap

Yes, I've been lax about posting for the past few days, so I may as well include updates for several things I've written about recently.

I now have a brass deflector on my AR-180B. Instead of the piece of PVC I mentioned in my last post on the topic, I wound up using a rubber stopper as the raw material. Aside from matching the receiver better, it was easier to work and the base shape was closer to what I needed. I'd wanted to get to the range today but the weather was crummy.

Thursday we went down to Aberdeen, MD for Turkey Day. I managed to not stuff myself to the point where I couldn't move. I used to do that on Thanksgiving but I've gotten away from that the past few years.

On Black Friday I made an impulse purchase of a Green Rifle. An Arsenal, Inc. SLR-101SG1, to be precise. (I made the mistake of going over to Surplus City and not leaving my Master Card home.) It's a Bulgarian-made semiauto Kalashnikov with US-made green synthetic furniture, and a milled receiver. Most AKs have receivers made from stamped sheet steel. However, the first mass-produced AKs had receivers milled from solid billets of steel. My new toy is of this type. The SLR-101s were originally imported with thumbhole stocks and could take only single-stack magazines, not regular AK mags. However, Arsenal, Inc. modifies them to a proper configuration by replacing enough of the imported parts with US parts to meet the requirements of 18 USC 922(r). As such, my rifle was also modified to accept standard AK magazines. It came with a single Bulgarian made 5 round plastic "waffle" mag, but I have a bunch of 20 and 30 rounders, plus a 75 round drum.

By all accounts, the Bulgarian rifles are top-notch. The fit and finish on mine is head and shoulders above any Chinese AK or the Century Arms Romanian hack jobs that are most common in the US. The Bulgarian rifles are also supposed to be among the most accurate AKs. Compared with the 4 MOA that you can expect from most Kalashnikov sporters, the Bulgarians can be expected to halve that. (I sure hope so.) A report will follow when I get it out to the range. I have some vacation days to be used by the end of the year so I may blow off a day or two in the near future with the intent of going shooting.

Aside from the SLR-101, I also picked up four OEM Ruger Mini-14 2o round magazines at Surplus City. Ever since the now-defunct Assault Weapons Ban was enacted, civlian-legal factory Mini-14 mags holding more than 5 rounds have been as scarce as hen's teeth. The cheapest I saw Ruger mags for since I got my Mini-14 last year was $75 for one mag. Even with the sunset of the AWB, Ruger is sticking to its policy of selling them only to government agencies. However, as departments sell off older rifles and mags, they make their way onto the market. And so, I was able to get four mags that while not new-in-wrap, look almost unused, for $25 each.

With my acquisitions I was presented with a problem, though. That is, how to pay for it all. I'd resigned myself to putting my Saiga AK up for sale on THR and TFL, but was able to get a better deal. Basically, I swapped it, along with four mags (I have plenty more) and 120 rounds of 7.62x39 for carpentry work at the house by a friend. Since I'd otherwise be paying him money, bartering the rifle for his work in effect paid for my new rifle, and I got some much-needed work done back at the house.

Thursday, November 25, 2004

Happy Thanksgiving...

...to all my American readers, and anyone else who wants to join in.

A brief list of things for which I'm thankful this year:
  • I'm thankful for my second daughter, who was born in July.
  • I'm thankful for the love and support of my family.
  • I'm thankful I live in the greatest country which has ever existed.
  • I'm thankful I was able to transfer into a better job with the same company, also back in July.
  • I'm thankful that the PTB allowed our men and women to finally take off their gloves and kick some butt in Fallujah.
  • I'm thankful that we were able to get the AWB to sunset. (My wallet isn't, though. :-0 )
  • I'm thankful that prospects for a gun industry lawsuit protection law are brighter now after the results of this November's elections.
  • I'm thankful we flushed the Johns.

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Memo to the Left

I got this tonight in email. I wish I had written it:

To Michael Moore: Sit down and shut up... And do something about
your hair. And the ball cap.

To Jimmy Carter: big mistake to sit down and shut up next to
Michael Moore at the convention. Spend more time with drywall and
the glue gun.

To Tom Daschle: If you lean too far to the left, voters will tend to
lean right for a while, but will eventually push you out of the

To Al Gore: Please, sir, before it's too late ... Seek an
experienced mental health professional. You're beginning to make
Christopher Lloyd in "Back To The Future" look downright Rotarian-

To Dan Rather: Enjoy your early retirement. The next memo you get
will be real.

To the DNC: Your platform must not have lurched far enough to the
left. Keep it tilting southpaw. Read more Marx. P.S. Keep
insulting the voters with your moral and intellectual condescension
too. It goes well with that warp speed registering of folks in
plaid wool blankets pushing shopping carts. Lovely constituency.

To Bill Clinton: Thanks for hitting the campaign trail for Kerry.
Some of us needed a reminder of what we were trying to avoid.

To Hillary Clinton: PLEASE run in '08. The Heartland will be hungry
for more hors d'oeuvres by then.

To the MTV Kidz: Vote or die - or not. Like, whatever, dude.

To John "Breck Girl" Edwards: Can you help Michael Moore and Whoopi
Goldberg with a little basic grooming?

To Bruce Springsteen, James Taylor, Bono, etc.: We still like your
music, but if you ever want to sell another record, just sing and
don't go where you don't know. We don't pay to hear Colin Powell or
Condie Rice do air guitar either.

To George Soros: Want to buy an election? Not in *MY* America, you
monomaniacal, socialistic buffoon.

To the Mainstream Media: Congratulations on getting Kerry at least
thirty more electoral votes than he would have gotten without your
covert support. Imagine how badly he would have lost if you were
actually unbiased.

To the United Nations: Your worst nightmare will continue for
another four years. Deal with it.

To Howard "I Have A Scream" Dean: stick with something you
understand; like proctology for instance.

To Richard Holbrooke: learn to tell a joke. Learn to laugh at one.

To John Zogby: monster.com will post your resume.

To Maureen Dowd, Paul Krugman, Robert Scheer, and your minor league
imitators, Greg Plast and Mark Morford: you have no red states

To Teddy Kennedy: sigh, it's still the blonde in the pond that
leads your highlight reel.

To Ron Reagan "Junior:" Do you have talent for anything?
Nexxxxxxxxxxxxxxt ...?

To the Exit Pollsters: As long as you keep skewing the results in an
attempt to influence the election, we'll keep lying to you. If you
quit, so will we. Deal?

To Osama bin Laden: Bring it on, you sonofabitch, What's that? The
only attack you can muster now is on videotape? Hmm... No surprise
there, I guess.

To Teresa HEINZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ Kerry: teaching is a real job.
The Teachers Union, who supported your husband, can clarify any
continuing confusion. Oh, and it's not a "real job" to sleep with a
third generation ketchup heir and then cash the plane crash check.

To the European Union: See message for Michael Moore.

To Terry McAuliffe: See message for Dan Rather. And pay a little
attention to what Zell Miller reminds us of: 20 Democratic senators
from the south in 1960 and only six from the GOP. Today, 22
Republicans and four Dems.

To MoveOn.org: See message for George Soros

To James Carville: you're the only guy who seems to get it; and
you're very smart. Good luck finding an audience that's neither
medicated nor mendacious.

And finally, to John Kerry: Thank you for reporting for duty. You
are hereby dismissed.


Let it snow

The snowblower I ordered a week and a half ago came today. That's pretty fast service from Troy-Bilt. Now I hope we get a ton of snow this year, but of course Murphy's Law dictates that we'll get zip.

I should go do a snow dance.

Monday, November 22, 2004

Roll over, Amanda. And other stuff.

The big news in the Markowitz household is that Amanda is now able to roll over onto her back from her stomach. She'll be five months old on December 6th (Alexandra's second birthday).

It's interesting to see how each kid is developing differently. Alexandra had to be delivered 3 weeks early, and it shows. Developmentally, she's a bit behind most other kids her age. In contrast, I won't be surprised if Amanda is walking by the time she's one year old.

Otherwise, not much else is exciting. Alexandra, Amanda, and I all had colds over the weekend but they seem to be going away now. And my back was acting up again on Saturday, which prevented me from doing much.

I did finally find something to make a brass deflector for my AR-180B, though. I was at Lowe's yesterday picking up a few things and noticed an end plug for PVC pipes in the plumbing aisle. It's basically a threaded cylinder with a square nub on the end. There's sufficient material in it to allow me to machine a hump like on an M16-A2 receiver out of it. I'll then epoxy it to the AR-180B's receiver behind the ejection port. After it's on and tested I'll paint it black or grey to match the metal. This should keep hot brass out of my face.

Oh, I think I forgot to mention about ordering and receiving a scope mount for the AR-180B. One of my friends has an AR-180B and has a red dot sight mounted on it using a B-Square mount. It's a slick setup and something I've been thinking about for some time. MSRP on the B-Square mount is ~$150, which has been the major reason I hadn't bought one. Well, I found it on sale at MidwayUSA for $99 after I saw my friend's rifle, so I ordered one.

As with previous Midway orders, it came fast. I got a set of 30mm medium height scope rings, which place the centerline of the optics a little bit higher than the iron sights. I put my PK-01V, previously resident on my AK, on the ArmaLite. It is a nice setup which hopefully I'll get to try out soon.

Aside from the B-Square mount, I also picked up two sets of high rings for 1" scope, to be used to mount optics on my two Savage rimfire rifles. (Also made by B-Square, and also on sale.) With low mounts, the objective bell of a scope is fouled by the rear sight on these rifles, and the scope winds up being mounted too far forward. The high mounts should allow me to set them up with correct eye relief.

Friday, November 19, 2004

Linux Printing, Again

I've ranted in the past about the sorry state of Linux printing. Sure, if I plug an HP DeskJet into a parallel port, setting up printing is going to be pretty easy. But USB printers seem to give difficulties. I finally got my Samsung ML-1710 working on Bagend but had to resort to the same hack I used last time. Namely, using a the ppd file (driver) for the older ML-1210.

This is especially annoying since YaST auto-detected the printer as an ML-1710 and set it up using the ML-1710 ppd file. When testing the connection to the printer, everything came up ok. But trying to actually get any output was an exercise in frustration. Doing a tail -f /var/log/cups/error_log wasn't illuminating, either.

I tried using the setup program downloaded from Samsung's website and struck out with that as well. Finally, I decided to try setting it up in YaST and manually selecting the ML-1210 ppd, and it worked.


Ammo Day Purchase

I just did my part for Ammo Day and placed an order with Natchez Shooters Supply for the following:
  • 200 rounds of CCI .22 WMR Mini Mags
  • 200 rounds of CCI .22 LR Subsonic HPs
  • 50 rounds of S&B .357 158 grain JSPs
  • 1 Butler Creek Hotlips 25 round mag for my Ruger 10/22
Fun times ahead!

National Ammo Day

Thursday, November 18, 2004

Neat feature in Konsole

I just discovered the feature "Send input to all sessions" in Konsole, the KDE terminal app. Konsole is a tabbed terminal app -- a replacement for xterm -- that's part of KDE. It allows you to open more than one terminal session in the same window, much like Firefox allows you to open multiple tabs in your browser.

Well, if you open more than one terminal session withing Konsole and then go to View > Send Input to All Sessions, you can type a command in one terminal and have it entered in all the terminals you have open within that Konsole window.

A scenario where this could be useful is if you are using Konsole to ssh into multiple servers to check out log files. E.g., supposed you're maintaining three different mail servers. You could ssh into each one of them, each in it's own tab, activate the Send Input to All Sessions feature, then in one tab enter the command "tail -f /var/log/mail". This would allow you to easily switch back and forth between tabs and see what's going on. Likewise, if you needed to apply a patch to multiple boxes, you could login to them and issue a command to fetch the patch from a repository and install it.

Neat stuff!

New version of AVG Antivirus

I mentioned the free AVG Antivirus program the other day but didn't make it clear that version 7 of the free, personal edition of AVG Antivirus is out now. Updates for version 6 are going to be discontinued by the end of the year. Version 7 can be downloaded at:


If you are running AVG6, I suggest uninstalling it then installing v7, then running the update to ensure that the signature files are up to date.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

This just in!


Dr. Calvin Rickson, a scientist from Texas A&M University has invented a bra that keeps women's breasts from jiggling and prevents the nipples from pushing through the fabric when cold weather sets in.

At a news conference announcing the invention, a large group of men took Dr. Rickson outside and beat the shit out of him.

An Easy Way to Disable/Enable Windows Scripting Host

Windows Scripting Host is a component of MS Windows 9x, 2K and XP that allows Visual Basic Script programs to run. VBS files can be used to automate tasks in Windows, but they most commonly encountered by home users as viruses. So, by disabling WSH when it's unneed you can help secure your PC.

Symantec now has a free program called "noscript.exe" which you can download to your PC and which allows you to disable or reenable WSH with a couple of mouse clicks. Grab it here (and read Symantec's article for some background).

Note that Windows Update won't work with WSH disabled, so you'll need to turn it back on when you patch your PC.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

I'm So Glad

A number of classic rock and roll groups have announced reunion tours in recent years, but none is more surprising or potentially more exciting to fans than the news that legendary power rock trio Cream is getting back together for a series of concerts.

British newspapers are reporting the trio will reunite for a string of shows next year at London's Royal Albert Hall, the first time they have played together since the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame induction ceremony in 1993.

Original story here.
Wow. This is HUGE. I've been a huge Clapton fan since the mid-80s and naturally got into Cream. If their reuniting for a series of dates in London, is it too much to ask that they'll see how well they're received and actually do a tour? I've seen Clapton live twice and wore out Live Cream Volume 2 on tape. To actually be able to see them live ... DAMN!

Don't be shy...

...post a comment! I appreciate comments to my posts and feel that input from my readers can help make this site better. If you have something pertinent to say, sound off!

Learning Bash scripting

One area of knowledge that I am deficient in is programming. I had a year of BASIC in high school and a term of COBOL in college, but haven't done any real programming since then. There have been times when the ability to create a script to automate a task would've come in handy, e.g., when I've had to reconfigure a large number of routers in advance of a deadline.

I therefore have been working my way through the Bash Guide for Beginners, one of the longer "guides" published by the Linux Documentation Project. So far, I'm quite impressed with it. It's well-written and generally pretty clear. I downloaded the Bash Guide in PDF format and found it put together very professionally -- with bookmarks, links, etc.

Check it out.

POP access to Gmail

Google is rolling out pop access to Gmail. I just noticed that I have it. If you have a Gmail account, once you're given POP access you'll see a "New Features" link at the top of the page. First, you'll need to enable POP access in your Gmail account settings. Then you'll need to configure your POP client appropriately -- Google is using non-standard ports and is requiring SSL connections. The server settings you'll need are:

Incoming Mail (POP3) Server – requires SSL: pop.gmail.com
Use SSL: Yes
Port: 995
Outgoing Mail (SMTP) Server – requires TLS: smtp.gmail.com (use authentication)
Use Authentication: Yes
Use STARTTLS: Yes (some clients call this SSL)
Port: 465 or 587
Account Name: your Gmail username (including '@gmail.com')
Email Address: your full Gmail email address (username@gmail.com)
Password: your Gmail password

Combat video from Fallujah

The source of this video is "The Mac Allan," a member at AR15.com. It's a Windows Media file and about 4 megs. It's loud, so turn down your speakers if you're at work. (Lot's of shooting and cussing, but no visible gore.)

Monday, November 15, 2004

Saving my back this winter

My long-time readers (all 3 of you) will know that I have a bad back, which was exacerbated when I injured it on the job back in April. So, with winter coming up and the prospect of shoveling snow, I felt it was high time that I got a snow blower, even though putting another $600 on my Master Card wasn't something I really wanted to do. I therefore ordered a Troy-Bilt Storm 524 today. I chose a Troy-Bilt based on the experience of a friend's parents. They had a couple different pieces of equipment made by T-B (tillers, etc.) and never had any problems. Hopefully, it'll get here before our first snowfall.

I vacillated between getting a single stage unit, which would've been cheaper, and a two stage unit. I went with the latter because we sometimes do get dumped on and I wanted something which would handle deeper snow. A couple nice features of the Storm 524 are electric start and the four-cycle engine, which means I don't have to worry about a fuel/oil mixture.

Sunday, November 14, 2004

Another Wireless Network Install

I installed a wireless network at the home of one of my clients this morning. I had her order the equipment -- Netgear's 802.11g wireless router/PC card NIC combo -- then after it came in scheduled the install.

It went smoothly. As expected her Compaq desktop had no problems getting online through the router. I then installed the NIC in her IBM Thinkpad 600 which runs Win98. That took a bit of fiddling but it worked fine after a little tinkering and the connection speed was fast.

I also got the chance to employ for the first time my Sandisk Cruzer Mini USB flash drive for its intended use, as a replacement for my "PC Toolkit" CD. Her Compaq desktop was exhibiting some flakiness, so I plugged the Sandisk into a front USB port on the box and installed Spybot Search & Destroy from the "antispy" folder on it. Read speed was quite fast, definitely faster than reading from a CD. Very handy.

Free Antivirus Program

If you're running Windows, you better be using an antivirus program. The one I've been using for a couple of years now with good results is the free version of Grisoft's AVG, licensed for noncommercial use. The download page is at


In my experience, AVG causes less of a performance hit than Norton Antivirus or McAfee Antivirus. In combination with using something other than Outlook or Outlook Express, you'll be pretty well protected.

Friday, November 12, 2004

Configuring Outlook 2002 to display all messages as plain text

If like me, you're stuck using Microsoft Outlook XP (AKA Outlook 2002 or Outlook 10) at work, you can reduce your vulnerability to HTML-borne malware by setting it up to display all messages as plain ASCII text.

Unfortunately, doing so requires either a third-party utility or manually adding a value to the Registry. First close Outlook and make a backu of your registry. Then do (this works for Outlook XP SR1 or later):

1. Open regedit.
2. Go to the key HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\10.0\Outlook\Options\Mail
3. Create a new Value Name of DWORD type called ReadAsPlain.
4. Setting the DWORD value to 1 will force all messages to be read as plain ASCII, while setting the value to 0 will allow HTML to be rendered.

Thursday, November 11, 2004

G-ddamn French do it again

Foxnews is running a story here about Yasser Arafat's death, which includes a picture of his coffin being borne by a French military honor guard. By doing so, the French are literally honoring the man who has been reasonably described as the father of modern terrorism.

I think we can tell where France's sympathies lie. {spit}

Veteran's Day

To all US veterans, past and present, thank you for your service. It's appreciated.

Gmail POP access

Gmail is phasing in POP3 access. Some accounts already have it but I'm still waiting. As users are added, the "New Features" blurb will appear at the top of their browser screen.

I still have two Gmail invites left. First-come first-serve. If you want one, send me a request via email to davemarkowitz at gmail.com.

SUSE 9.2 Professional on Low End Hardware

As an experiment, I'm redoing Slacktop with SUSE 9.2 Professional. It'll be interesting to see how it runs on low end hardware (P2/366, 128 MB RAM).

More details to follow.

That blast of heat you felt ...

...was the gates of Hell opening up to give Yasser Arafat a nice, warm welcome.

May he spend all of eternity boiling in a bit vat of pig fat.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

SUSE 9.2 Professional

My order of SUSE 9.2 Professional Update edition from Amazon arrived yesterday. Damn that was fast.

The box included the OS on both CDs and DVD, a nice thick system administration manual, and a SUSE sticker. The discs came in a nice plastic storage case, an improvement over the cardboard sleeve thing prior versions of SUSE came in.

After reading the fine manual's section on system upgrades, I popped in DVD1 (DVD2 contains source code and wasn't needed for the upgrade) and rebooted Bagend. On reboot it loaded from the DVD, and I selected to do an install, then a system upgrade based on the already-installed packages.

A few mouse clicks later the YaST installer started the upgrade, first by deleting the installed software and then installing the new version. Because it first had to delete all the old stuff the whole process took significantly longer than a clean install, over an hour AAMOF.

The final step of the install was to verify Internet connectivity and download any patches released since 9.2 went gold. The default mirror that SUSE YOU chose was a server located in Los Angeles. I switched this to one in Georgia, which is closer to me. This was a mistake, as YOU couldn't retrieve the list of patches from the server. After hitting the Abort button about a hundred times, it finally gave up and let me try an FTP server in Chicago, which worked fine.

Upon booting into SUSE 9.2 for the first time I noticed that it had a somewhat updated version of the Liquid theme. It's flat-out gorgeous and makes the box very Mac-like in appearance. The mechanics of the UI remain standard KDE, however. (Which is fine by me.)

SUSE detected my Samsung ML-1710 USB printer and loaded the correct PPD file. I'd tried to get it running under 9.0 after I installed it on Bagend, but couldn't get the printer to work. Now, it's installed and shows up as accepting jobs, but I'm still not getting any output. Getting the thing to work under 9.0 on Gondor was a real mofo so I'm not surprised, although I'd hoped the damn thing would work easily under 9.2 with the right PPD file. I'll get it working eventually although I may resort to using a driver and setup package I downloaded from Samsung on Monday.

Just once, I'd like to see a Linux box setup printing as easily as a Windows machine.

After the printer episode, one of the first things I noticed was that instead of separate icons on the desktop for each drive, SUSE now configures KDE with an icon labeled "My Computer." (No doubt this is intended for newbies coming over from Windows.) Clicking on My Computer opens Konqueror in file manager mode, with icons for the various drives.

As I use the system some more I'll post reports.

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Firefox via BitTorrent

I was able to grab Firefox 1.0 by using BitTorrent, the peer-to-peer file distribution system. The official torrents are here.

If you don't have a BitTorrent client installed (as I didn't until this morning) you can grap the official clients here, or the Java client Azureus here.

I'm going to play some more with BitTorrent for sure. The ~5 meg Firefox download took under 10 seconds using BT. Slackware and some other Linux distros are using it to distribute ISO images install CDs. Very, very neat.

Mozilla Firefox 1.0 Released

The guys over at Mozilla met their release date. Firefox 1.0 is finally out!

You can get it here although the site is currently being slammed. I plan to wait until later today or maybe tomorrow before downloading it.

Wheel mouse in Slackware Current

This morning I brought in my old Logitech FirstMouse+ from home and connected it to Slacktop. As expected, Slack recognized the PS/2 mouse and I was able to use its basic functions upon logging into X. However, the mouse wheel didn't work; Slackware still requires you to manually tweak the system's config to get the wheel running.

Doing so is quite simple, though. Become root and open in /etc/X11/xorg.conf in your preferred editor. Then find the section labeled "Core Pointer" and make it look like this:

Section "InputDevice"

# Identifier and driver

Identifier "Mouse1"
Driver "mouse"
Option "Buttons" "5"
Option "ZAxisMapping" "4 5"
Option "Protocol" "IMPS/2"
Option "Device" "/dev/mouse"
I had to had the last four lines above. The reason the option for "Buttons" is 5 is that the wheel is seen as 3 buttons -- one for each way it rotates and one for when you press it as a button.

If you have X already running you'll need to exit and restart the X server for the change to take effect.

Monday, November 08, 2004

Monday update

Yesterday morning we took the girls to the playground in Miles Park, over in Whitemarsh. Small as she is, Amanda likes being outside, and Alexandra loves running around and playing on the slides and going fast in a swing. Afterwards, she's so tired out that she takes a four-hour nap.

After getting back from the park and putting the girls down for their naps, I spent some time outside with the leaf blower and rake. We have a few trees that dump a ton of leaves on the property so it takes awhile to tidy up. Even though my leaf blower is also a vac that mulches the leaves, I put them all out for collection, rather than saving them for compost. There were a lot of pine needles mixed in and I'm concerned that using the resulting mix for mulch would kill more than just weeds.

I still haven't found my wedding band. What a PITA.

Friday, November 05, 2004

Home today

Alexandra got a cold the other day and I had to pick her up from the daycare at noon yesterday. We took her to the pediatrician later and she confirmed it seems to be a bad cold, but nothing worse. So, she needed to stay home today, something she was not at all happy about. She really enjoys going to daycare, which is run like a pre-nursery school (we refer to it as "school").

In other annoying news, my wedding band has gone AWOL. This is more than a little strange, since I generally never take it off. I noticed this morning it was gone. I'm hoping that it somehow came off in my sleep and I find it soon.

What a wonderful day.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

New cable modem

We will soon be rolling out a new option for our commercial cable modem customer -- static IPs. As a member of the new product deployment group, I get to be one of the guinea pigs to beta test the product. So, tonight I brought home one of our SMC 8013s, a cable modem & router.

I was given config file to upload to the box. After doing so and connecting it in place of my Motorola SB4101, I was online with my new static IP. I have a /30 subnet, which gives me 1 IP for the WAN side, 1 for the LAN's gateway, and 2 for hosts. Not wanting to putz with my LAN's config just yet, I'm still using NAT.

Sometime next week my boss and I are going to swap modems to simulate a node move. Basically, we want to make sure that what's currently my modem will come online at his house with the same IP I'm getting here, and vice-versa for the modem he now has.

As an aside, I want to note that dyndns.org continues to give great DNS service. With a new public IP, I needed to update the "A" record for mail.building-tux.com. After logging into dyndns.org and changing the IP, the record propagated very quickly. I was able to send test emails to myself from my Gmail and Yahoo! Mail accounts within about 15 minutes.

All Your White House Are Belong To Us!

In A.D. 2004 Re-election was beginning:

John Kerry: What happen?

Theresa Heinz-Kerry: Somebody set up us the re-election.

John Edwards: We get signal.

John Kerry: What!

John Edwards: CNN turn on.

John Kerry: It's You!!

Bush: How are you gentlemen!!


Bush: You are on the way to unemployment.

John Kerry: What you say!!

Bush: You have no chance to survive make your time.

Bush: Ha Ha Ha Ha ....

---Courtesy of Skunkabilly at THR.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Fifty Reasons Why...

Just go see them.

Election Day -- Finally

Finally Election Day is here and we can put this campaign behind us. Except for the inevitable legal wranglings. (frump)

I voted before work, after Judith and I dropped of the girls at daycare. I got to my polling place at about 0710 and there was already a line. My MIL works the polls at another polling site nearby and she told me that turnout was heavy.

Now there's nothing to do but wait and see how it turns out.

Monday, November 01, 2004

Computer time

If you run any kind of a server having the correct time set on the box is helpful for ensuring that items like log entries and emails are dated correctly. Even on a workstation, it's preferable to have the correct time. Often, a computer's clock will gain or lose time and you need to keep resetting it, which is a pain in the neck.

Thankfully, it's easy to automate this. Network Time Protocol provides a way to have your computer automatically keep its clock in sync with an authoritative clock, by polling an NTP server. Here in the US there are a number of publicly-accessible NTP servers. I have my machines set to access a server run by NIST, the National Institute for Standards and Technology. The page for the NIST Internet Time Service is here. On that page, NIST gives you info about NTP and links to NTP clients for Windows machines. It also provides info about how to use NTP from a Mac.

Pretty much all Unix and Unix-like OSes include an NTP client. For example, SUSE Linux includes xntp, which can be configured through YaST to start at bootup and poll an NTP server.