Monday, July 31, 2006


Success! Tonight I was able to get onto the MARC Monday night net using my newly-mounted Comet GP-3 antenna and Yaesu FT-7800R. I was transmitting at 20W and hitting the 145.130 MHz repeater located in Paoli, PA. Net control NT3J reported that my signal was clear, though not quite full quieting. Shortening my feed line may help that. I'm not going to bump the transmit power up to high, since they are hearing me clearly.

Earlier, I was able to hear a net being run out of South Jersey, but on 20W they couldn't hear me. They run the net every Monday at 2000 Eastern, so I may try again next week and bump the power up to 50W, the maximum the FT-7800R will transmit on 2M.

Beds, radios, and Japanese food

We had a productive weekend.

Saturday I drove out to Lancaster and picked up the bed we ordered a week previously for Amanda. This was one of those times I was glad to have a full-size SUV. This week I'll take down the crib and changing table in her room and put the bed together. Hopefully we'll get someone to buy them next Saturday when we have a yard sale.

Yesterday my friend who's an electrician came over to replace a couple of dimmer switches with regular pole switches, swap out an old two-prong outlet for one that's properly grounded, and finally get my Comet GP-3 2M/70cm ham antenna mounted on my roof.

I have the antenna attached to a 5 foot mast attached to my chimney using a Radio Shack chimney mount. The chimney is in the middle of my roof while my office, where my radio shack (so to speak) is located is on the ground floor at the left front of the house. After securing the coax to the antenna's SO-239 connector and sealing it against moisture with liquid electrical tape, we ran the cable across the roof, and secured it to a downspout with zip ties. There's a soffet overhang outside my office window so we tucked a few feet of the cable in there for extra support, and left the remainder coiled on the window sill. I plan to make a pass-through bulkhead to secure in the window. I'll cut the excess cable (it's a 100 foot line) and put on a new PL-259 so that it can attach to the bulkhead, then use a SO-239 coupler to attach the inside line to the outside line.

I really didn't want to get involved with poking a hole through the cinder block wall, so the the bulkhead will provide an easier to work with solution.

I only had a few minutes to play with the new setup after we were done. I was able to hear the Holmesburg Amateur Radio Club's rebroadcast of "This Week in Amateur Radio" very clearly. This is transmitted from the HARC WM3PEN 2M repeater located on top of a dorm at the University of Pennsylvania. Previously I was able to hear that repeated but not as clearly as with the new antenna mounted up high. Unfortunately, nobody seemed to be listening or interested in chatting on the MARC WB3JOE repeater when I transmitted.

I am optimistic that with the GP-3 now up on the roof, I'll be able to get some good use out of my Yaesu FT-7800R.

Finally, last night we went with my MIL and Judith's aunt and uncle to Sagami on US-130S in Collingswood, NJ. It's a Japanese restaurant, though it's a sit-down type of place rather than teppanyaki. The food was excellent. It's BYOB, so Judith's aunt brought a bottle of sake. Unfortunately it had gone bad and was now only useful for cooking. What's nice is that Sagami traded us some good sake for the bottle, so we had an appropriate beverage to enjoy with the meal.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

The Rally Point Shoot 8/26/06


Date: Saturday August 26th,, 2006
Place: in Southeastern Pennyslvania (just North of Philadelphia)
Time: 9am-5pm

Rally Point events and socializing will be going on at the:

Pistol range: 15yds-25yd
Pistol/rifle range: 50yd
Big Bore rifle range 100yd-200yds
2 fields for shooting trap

Food and drinks will be available.
For Directions
Admission is $15

Sponsors: Will be announced in a few weeks.

TheRallyPoint event tends to be informal, and there will be plenty of time to socialize, but since the is very big, we decided to join forces with to further our cause. We will be having a Mini-Appleseed clinic

Training: NRA Certified Firearms instructors will be available to instruct new shooters. If you have friends or family members that want to learn how to handle a firearm, please help further our cause and invite them to come out. This is a family friendly event.

Competitions are only a short part of the days events and are separate from the Mini appleseed clinic. The big bore (100y / 200y) will be open from 9am-5pm for open shooting, and the smallbore/pistol range will be open after the appleseed program is done.

Competitions: Rifleman survival competition, shotgun competition

Theme: Rifleman boot camp. Bring out your favorite rifle and practice with others. If you have something unique to add to the Rifleman firearm theme, please let us know what you are bringing.

Please note:

There are sponsors for this event that are contributing to the event and helping to keep costs down, please do not show up and open up a store front on the firing line and start selling things. If you have something of value to the members of TRP please contact me first. If you are interested in sponsoring future TheRallyPoint, please feel free to contact me.

Secondly, The board at LRGC asked that we not allow the buying and selling of firearms on their property. These shoots look like gun shows, but we do not want to bring in unwanted attention. Feel free to network and build friendships, but please do the transfering of firearms off LRGC's property.

Meet us at TheRallyPoint!!

Friday, July 28, 2006

New Blogger Template

Hope you like the new look. I decided it was time for a facelift. The old template was looking kinda grungy and wasn't compatible with Safari. This one renders a lot better in Safari. Unfortunately, the Blogger posting page still doesn't work 100% with Safari, so I'll likely keep posting from withing Firefox.

Reconfiguring How I Do Email

Last night's fireworks finally provided the impetus for me to change how I get my email. I've been running as an IMAP server on e-Smith SME server for a few years at home, but have been looking to move to a platform that isn't so old. One of the things I was considering was to stop hosting my mail at home entirely, and instead use's server, which is where is hosted.

Being in a real data center, Pair's server is a lot less vulnerable to power outages and surges. They provide webmail access using Squirrelmail, so even if I'm without my laptop I'll be able to access it from any Internet connection. Pair's spam filtering is quite good; I noticed that when they made some upgrades to it last year the amount of spam I received in my account plummetted. Finally, not running a server 24x7 will save on our home electric bill.

So, I setup a mailbox at Pair and reconfigured the DNS records for I'm now using POPS (POP over SSL) to retrieve email for both and My mail client is Apple's

I like's interface and how it integrates well with iCal, the OS X Addressbook, and Spotlight. sucks for IMAP but according to friends who use it for POP, it's good at that.

Tonight or this weekend I'll configure to connect to my old mail server while I'm local, and I'll copy down the messages I have in IMAP folders. Then I'll be able to retire the old box.


We had an electrical storm blow through last night and had one bolt of lightning hit fairly close. This morning when I went downstairs for breakfast I noticed that a couple circuits blew. Aside from the refrigerator, my Vonage router got fried. I tried a hard reboot but only the power light comes on, I get no link light from either the modem or the switch connected to the LAN side.

I'm a bit surprised that the Vonage Linksys box got zapped because I have an APC PNET Ethernet surge protector between it and the modem, and both boxes get their A/C from an APC BackUPS 650. Before leaving for work I took the Vonage box out and threw an old Cayman 2E-H in its place, hoping to at least restore Internet connectivity. No dice, I think the PNET got fried, too.

After I get home tonight I'll see if I can get the Cayman online if I plug directly into the modem. I know the modem itself is online because I was able to poll it from the office using our NMS (it's nice to work for your ISP as an engineer :-)). If the Cayman doesn't work it'll give me an excuse to install the Netscreen 5GT demo unit I have at home.

We'll still receive calls if anyone dials our home number because we have Vonage configured to forward calls to Judith's cell phone if the VOIP line is down.

I called Vonage tech support from the office. I think I was speaking to someone in India. I explained the situation and while the tech sounded sympathetic, he couldn't send me a new router without me in front of it to troubleshoot. I understand having a script to adhere to but when the damn box won't come up, it's time to bend a little. At my insistance, he transferred me to a supervisor, who (a) sounded like he was actually in the US, and (b) agreed that a new router is warranted. So, Vonage is shipping us a new box and we should get it Monday.

ETA: It turns out that not only was my Vonage router fried, so was the uplink port on my Netgear 8 port switch. I did get back online with the Cayman, which just needed some reconfiguration, and determined that my APC PNET Ethernet surge suppressor was not affected. The surge must've come through the power line, not the cable line.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Browsing with Opera 9 and

I've been spending a lot of time this week in Opera 9 on my iBook. I still use Firefox, but it seems to be getting slower lately. I removed several extensions in an effort to strip it down but it remains slower than Opera, or Safari for that matter. Opera allows you a lot of flexibility in configuration, and as you can see below, I have it fairly stripped down to make the most efficient use of my iBook's 1024x768 screen.

Most of the sites I visit are rendered OK in Opera, although Blogger's image upload feature seems a bit borked. After uploading the image from my Photobucket account, instead of the thumbnail, the full image is shown in the Blogger compose window. So, in order to finish this post I had to login using Firefox. Weird.

In tandem with using Opera I created an account with, so that I can store bookmarks online and not have to worry about whether I have them synced across my various computers. It'll take a little while to populate my account but this looks to be a very handy way of bookmarking sites.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Google Toolbar Phishing Scam

I just got an HTML formatted email which read as follows:

(Google Toolbar logo)

Take the power of Google with you anywhere on the Web
Google Toolbar Gets Personal

Users Can Now Customize their Search Experience with Latest Version of Google Toolbar

The beta versions of Google Toolbar for Internet Explorer and Google Toolbar for Firefox are currently available in more than 16 languages. Both versions of Google Toolbar - Standard and Enterprise - run on Windows XP and support Internet Explorer 6.0 and higher.

More information on the new versions of Google Toolbar is available at

The message was purportedly from "Google Updates" and the subject line is "New Google Toolbar Released."

Naturally, the hyperlink for the URL in the message was not, it was something else.

This is a nasty bit of phishing since so many people have the Google toolbar installed.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Eudora Not Good for IMAP In My Opinion

Well, I gave Eudora another shot as an IMAP client. Actually, two shots.

On my iBook, Eudora 6.0.2 repeatedly crashed when trying to sync with my mail at On Bagend, running XP Pro, Eudora 7 was atrociously slow in syncronizing with, which is on the same 100BaseT LAN.

Back to Thunderbird it is.

I keep toying around with going back to retrieving my email via POP3, using a client on the iBook. I do like Eudora's interface and feature set, and in the past I ran it for awhile on Windows. It worked well as a POP client, good enough that I might be tempted to go for the paid version. It stores email in standard mbox format, so migration to another MUA is pretty straightforward. I once migrated from Eudora to KMail without to many issues.

I need to think about this some more.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

CCNA Training This Week

I'm in a "Introduction to CCNA" all this week, hence the light posting. It's being held in our Mt. Laurel, NJ office. So far so good, and while much of this is review, I've learned some shortcuts for subnetting which make it easier. The follow-on class, "Interconnecting Cisco Network Devices," is going to be mostly new material. The instructor isn't sure if he'll be able to get that in-house, or if he'll have to send us out to one of our training partners. ICND is going to require real equipment to break work with, so if he can't get the necessary gear in we'll go to the partner.

Regular work does go on, however, so I've had to jump on a few conference calls. Monday's and Tuesday's were after the class was done for the day, but I had to cut out for an hour this morning to be on another call. We have a high profile customer for whom it looks like we'll be replacing the LAN the we installed with better equipment, and upgrading them from a cable modem to a fiber Internet connection. My background in optical networking is going to be useful in this project.

Eudora as an IMAP client?

I would appreciate it if any of my readers who have recent experience with Eudora as an IMAP client (not as a POP3 client) would let me know what they think. I've used Eudora as a POP client and it works well. I haven't tried it recently with IMAP and I'm thinking of doing so.

Primary use would be on OS X, but I might use it on XP for those occasions I'm working on Bagend, my Althon box running XP.

I've tried Apple's as an IMAP client and it sucks for that, although it maybe an OK POP client (I don't know). When accessing mailboxes via IMAP, is slow and fails to properly expunge deleted messages.


Saturday, July 08, 2006

Infoweek: Switching to the Mac

Infoweek is running an article, Switching to the Mac: A Guide for Windows Users. It's a pretty comprehensive guide, covering Mac hardware, the OS-X UI, software, and running Windows on Apple hardware.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

More on SLED 10 RC3

I'm doing some more work with SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop 10 RC3 today. I wanted to test a few things in particular:

  • Plug & play recognition of USB flash drives
  • Plug & play recognition of a USB three-button wheelmouse
  • How well it handled audio files, specifically in the Helix Banshee MP3 player
  • Evolution's ability to connect to my employer's WebDAV-enabled Exchange server
The first two items work great. I connected the Logitech wheelmouse I use with my iBook to the Dell and everything just works. Likewise, after I inserted my SanDisk Cruzer Mini 1GB flash drive, it was automatically mounted on the Helix Gnome desktop and a file manager window opened, showing the contents of the drive. One thing I'd like to see changed would be instead of having to right-click on the desktop icon and selecting "unmount" before removing the drive, would be to change the terminology to "eject." This would be more intuitive to the Windows users who Novell is targetting as potential customers. Another good option would be to enable unmounting the flash drive by dragging its icon to the desktop trash can, a la Mac OS.

It took a little bit of futzing around to get Helix Banshee to play MP3s. I copied a few MP3s from my iBook to the SanDisk flash drive, connected it to the Dell, then tried to import the files into HB directly from the flash drive. No go. It seemed to import the files but they wouldn't play until I first manually copied them to the Dell's hard disk, then import them. This needs to be made a bit more seamless.

I couldn't get Evolution to work with my Exchange server. When I tried to authenticate after entering in my account info, I got the error referenced here. The solution recommended is fine and dandy, but the odds of our Exchange admins adding BPROPFIND to the server's URL scan config is basically nil. Since the way that Evolution is going to make its way into many enterprises (if at all) is via a back door, the Evolution developers need to add the SEARCH method of WebDAV connectivity to Evo's capabilities.

It'll be interesting to see how SLED develops and how well it's received in the enterprise.

The Dangerous Book for Boys

I like this:

The Dangerous Book for Boys by the British brothers Conn and Hal Iggulden is a practical manual that returns boys to the wonder and almost lost world of tree houses and pirate flags. It celebrates the art of teaching an old mutt new tricks and accepts skinned knees as an acceptable risk for running through fields with the same dog yapping along.

I have two girls. I don't want them to grow up and have to marry some PC, metrosexual pussy. I'm going to do my best to ensure that they can handle themselves but I want them to be able to have a man who can take care of them if TSHTF. I hope we see more like this.

Monday, July 03, 2006

SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop 10 RC3

I installed SLED 10 RC3 on my lab laptop this morning in a dual boot configuration with XP Pro. The box previously dual booted XP and SUSE Professional 9.3. The installation went smoothly.

By default, SLED uses GNOME as the desktop environment. I did a custom install and added KDE, though I'm playing around in GNOME for now. It seems to have installed a sensible config, and one thing I like is that the Windows key is automatically setup to open the "Computer" menu (equivalent to the Start menu in Windows).

The default browser is Firefox with Java and Flash already installed and running. The default mail client is Evolution, which I haven't putzed with yet. Helix Banshee is the media player. It appears to be an open source work-alike to iTunes, but since there's no music on the box I haven't tested it out. Sound is working fine, however. OpenOffice 2.0.2 is installed for word processing, spreadsheets, presentations, etc.

Unfortunately, my ATI video adapter is not supported by XGL, so I won't be testing that nifty bit of eye candy out on this machine.

My initial impression is favorable. I'll post more after I've had the chance to really take SLED 10 RC3 for a spin.

Every American Should Read This At Least Once A Year

The Declaration of Independence of the Thirteen Colonies
In CONGRESS, July 4, 1776

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. --That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new
Guards for their future security. --Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain [George III] is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and
formidable to tyrants only.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with
his measures.

He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and
raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.

He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.

He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people, and eat out their substance.

He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the consent of our legislatures.

He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:

For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:

For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:

For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:

For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:

For depriving us, in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:

For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences:

For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit
instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:

For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:

For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty and perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.

He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.

He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished
destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by the Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all
Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have
full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

The signers of the Declaration represented the new states as follows:

New Hampshire:
Josiah Bartlett, William Whipple, Matthew Thornton

John Hancock, Samuel Adams, John Adams, Robert Treat Paine, Elbridge Gerry

Rhode Island:
Stephen Hopkins, William Ellery

Roger Sherman, Samuel Huntington, William Williams, Oliver Wolcott

New York:
William Floyd, Philip Livingston, Francis Lewis, Lewis Morris

New Jersey:
Richard Stockton, John Witherspoon, Francis Hopkinson, John Hart, Abraham Clark

Robert Morris, Benjamin Rush, Benjamin Franklin, John Morton, George
Clymer, James Smith, George Taylor, James Wilson, George Ross

Caesar Rodney, George Read, Thomas McKean

Samuel Chase, William Paca, Thomas Stone, Charles Carroll of Carrollton

George Wythe, Richard Henry Lee, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Harrison,
Thomas Nelson, Jr., Francis Lightfoot Lee, Carter Braxton

North Carolina:
William Hooper, Joseph Hewes, John Penn

South Carolina:
Edward Rutledge, Thomas Heyward, Jr., Thomas Lynch, Jr., Arthur Middleton

Button Gwinnett, Lyman Hall, George Walton