I'm not going to explain why I haven't posted anything for months because that shit is frankly more boring than a nine year old weblog that never receives new posts. That, at best, is completely tedious.
So far I am not a fan of Gnome 3 . I've worked with it a bit on both Arch and Ubuntu and have found myself regretting either enabling the PPA to install gnome-shell or being stupid enough to allow it to upgrade. I've long since adopted Gnome as my default desktop on pretty much every platform, so having that stripped down, but oh-so-functional work flow completely disassembled has been nothing short of disastrous for me. Only one of the machines is actually a 'real' machine (it was a test beta install of Natty that flipped over to a release while I was messing with something else for a couple of weeks) and I've been able to route around the damage by just installing Xfce4 and pretending that it is a functional Gnome. Close enough for hackery, I guess. I am annoyed at having an old, reliable friend relegated to the dustbin for a gimmicky, phone-like interface. Sorry, but I need virtual desktops that work around applications not more context menus. Maybe next release or maybe I'll just switch permanently to Xfce on all distributions. I don't take useless stabs at usability for thumb typers at the expense of people who've used the environment for years as lightly as I probably should.
Baseball has also been a pretty huge distraction for me, at least since opening day this year. I signed up for the MLB.tv deal instead of the cable package ($100 less for a lot more flexibility) only to discover that the only real time streaming works (and god help you if you're interested in local teams - ie. the Colorado Rockies in my case) is during the week as MLB fucks its users over with blackouts for most weekend game times. I may just do the stupid cable package next year despite the $200 price tag and the additional $15 a month just to watch Rockies games. I am, on the other hand, watching a fuckton of Rangers, Athletics, and Giants games.
In theory, I should hear about a job I really want either tomorrow or the next day. This waiting is more or less the impetus for the spastic need to write something here. I'm really hoping for some good news although the potential commute is going to be terrible (Boulder is not close) and I'll be accepting a informal demotion from a system administrator who spends all of his time working on desktop support issues to a desktop support admin who crosses over into server-side problems whenever times allows and coincidentally is paid more money and has access to better coffee. I'm sure someone would tell me that this is career suicide, but my present job is already doing a fine job of making technology tedious and panic attack inducing so I think it's kind of a wash. Look for utter silence here for a while if I do get the job or bitter whining if I don't.
Lifehacker posted a question about the best domain registrar which reminded me that I have a whole bunch of domains registered with GoDaddy and I fucking hate GoDaddy. This domain was actually registered eons ago with Dotster which was the default registrar for the amazing PureNRG folks (I don't endorse them for the purpose of being paid. They're just awesome but I outgrew them pretty quickly mainly in the bandwidth department) so I've decided to consolidate them all onto a single registrar. I've heard stellar things about 1 and 1 (including a bunch of laudatory stuff in the post mentioned above) so I decided to move everything on over since it was inexpensive and didn't rely on boobs splashed all over the index to market what is essentially a pretty simple service and doesn't (as far as I know) have an outspoken right-wing douche at the helm.
The purpose of this post is to remind myself how to transfer domains away from GoDaddy:
- Unlock the domain.
- Machete your way through one of the worst administrative interfaces on the planet to get your authorization code.
- Sleep better knowing you're a little bit less of lazy bastard and throwing money at businesses who you feel guilty being associated with.
Again, I've been away from this particular channel for an unacceptable number of months. I say unacceptable because although I'm busy being a parent and running an IT department I feel like I've bypassed writing about a number of things I've thought were either important or worth sharing simply because I've gotten rather lazy about doing anything here. I've announced this site either dead or sleeping so many times that doing so again would just make me feel stupid. Eight years after the first post that would be more annoying than anything and I'm much happier being directly annoying than through some sneaky and underhanded measure.
Point one: I'm entertaining job offers again. It dawned on me (mainly due to unrelenting harassment from a seemingly endless number of recruiters) that my current job is another case study in underpayment for services rendered and unbelievable scope creep (this in the sense that I spend more time dealing with budget concerns and phone bills than anything else) and that I should probably move on. That said, I'm waiting to hear about a position that is one of the best that I've ever been considered for and it is making me impatient as all hell. Part of that is wanting to leave my current job as soon as possible now that the option seems feasible but another entirely is how much more fun the new place would be and how much less bullshit it sounds like. The key thing that makes it exciting: No Windows servers at all. Zero. It's either Linux or OS X or a hosted solution (Hosted Exchange which doesn't sound terrible at this point) or doesn't exist. I've administered what amount to exclusively MSFT networks for a long time now and I'm pretty fed up with it. Granted, they're easy as fuck to make small changes to (AD isn't the worst thing in the world these days) but when something does go catastrophically wrong, between featuring some of the worst error logging I've ever seen and reacting differently to similar environs for no logical reason, shit gets painful quickly and I spend hours reading through horror stories reminiscent of my own on Expert Sexchange until I find some miraculously opaque solution or just burn things down and start over. I'm a little tired of that and the duct tape and baling wire feeling of my network. When working on things that are time and sanity consuming (this is, of course, the nature of the job) I'm haunted by the feeling that I'm going to reboot the machine only to have an NTLDR error come wailing out of its crypt like a malevolent Egyptian curse to tell me that all my crops are going to fail and my weekend has been banished. Do not like. There was a hysterically funny blog post I remember reading years ago (but cannot find thus no link action) that compared administering Windows boxes to being a member of a cargo cult, sitting in a palm tree tree with half a coconut held to each ear and pointlessly muttering "Roger Wilco" endlessly until you die and/or lose your mind and that sums it up succinctly I think.
The funny part is that a goodly number of potential employers completely fail to see multi-platform experience as a good thing. I interviewed a couple weeks ago with a ginormous company and completely aced all levels of the technical interviews (there were 4 before I ever talked a person face to face and each individual interviewer noted that I had a very easy time with their questions) then showed up at their corporate HQ for a three hour interview festival (hate these by the way, nothing keeps me snappy like sitting in a random conference room for a third of the day) which went swimmingly while talking to the developer and QA folks I would potentially be working with. Then I hit the stage of interviews that are typically easiest -- the direct interview with the person who would be my boss. Simple, right? No, the entire 30 minutes was dedicated to voicing his concern about my experience with both Apple and Linux platforms and how their business was dedicated to Microsoft and only Microsoft and how there was no future in anything else. He also turned a little red when I said that I manage my network from a Linux machine with a VirtualBox installation of XP for applications that are Windows-dependent and told me that 'That wouldn't work here at all because we use images.' Um, okay, so let's get back to the actual interview, dude. As far as I can tell I entertained all of his real questions as best as I could (including the weird DOS one. Wha?) and left fairly confident that I would have an offer that I would likely decline. I got a call from the company's head recruiter guy (who was swell and actually sounded more technically competent than your average corporate recruiter) who told me that although my interview results ranged from excellent to stellar someone else was chosen because their background was more in line with the company's chosen IT future. The recruiter actually seemed kind of embarrassed to have to tell me this and to be told that I would not have accepted the position because of the verging on platform-racist attitude their technical director had towards pretty much anything that wasn't Windows.
It was odd to say the very least. The more unsettling part about this entire round of interviewing is that weird 'This is my platform. There are many others like it but this one is mine' has been a near constant at least with the huge companies. In the other cases, it has been more like 'This position is not concerned with x platform at all and won't ever expand to touch that so we need to be sure you're not in love with that or actually like it or would know how to fix it if it were broken' which is equally weird. The company I actually want to work for, on the other hand, was really receptive to my breadth of experience and admitted that my Windows experience was worth having around as they're not committed to any one thing specifically and that if something on that platform turns out to be the thing they need then they'll adopt it. See, grown ups make me want to work for your company and bringing out weird insecurities in the actual interview don't Luckily, crazy seems to rule the process so I haven't even needed to decline any of the other positions and have moved merrily on my way away from companies who can't even deal with the fact that one of their sysadmins might have had a fling with another operating system. I feel kind of embarrassed while the interview is going on and wildly relieved when it over. It's been a learning experience of sorts but the Google-style infinite repetition quiz show and uncomfortably long and mostly irrelevant (you say anything attempting to link the above with my posting style and I will interview style that is becoming the default for even the piddliest of companies I'm about out of patience for it. The folks who were honest enough to admit it are as wearied by the process as I am. So, wish me luck with this one that I really want because I'm pretty goddamned tired of everything else.
I didn't get that job. The new head of the IT department decided to bring in one of his friends instead. Typical.
I was inspecting the pile of links over yonder on the right looking for mildly entertaining content to read while trying to eat lunch. Seeing my old pal Planet Sun there made me think I might find some drama/insight into what those who were consumed by Oracle are up to these days. I've never been a huge fan of anything Sun in general but most of the planet postings were longer and more in depth that what you'd expect to be aggregated into a planet. Instead, we get a notice of closure and a redirect. How unfortunate.
It's that magical, magical time again when I've grown completely frustrated with my feed reader and am looking for recommendations for a Linux feed reader that isn't a machine killing hog.
Liferea (1.6.1-1) used to be my default choice but its performance over the past couple of months has caused me a ton of frustrating downtime where my desktop is completely unusable while Liferea updates 130 feeds or so. It might be Arch's package or not but it isn't really an option. I thought about building it from and then decided against it.
I also tried Akregator for a while and it was a lot less antagonistic towards my CPU(s). It also has some pretty buggy behavior, though, and instances like the below finally convinced me that it was a stopgap rather than a good replacement for Liferea. It's also a KDE which makes it look pretty strange in Gtk-land.
I even fired up Flock with the intent of using is just for feed reading. It doesn't work so swell these days -- a bit too monolithic and tuned for its own purposes rather than mine. I toyed with it for awhile and then shuffled it off to /dev/null.
So, anyone have any good suggestions for me? I like lightweight, GUI (preferably Gtk+ but I can deal with whatever for the sake of working), and capable of importing OPML. Thanks
Wherein The Whiny Consider the (In)Human Elements In Employment And Ponder Building a Rocket Ship And Leaving Earth Permanently
I've been looking for a new job for the past couple of months and I've reached an epiphany of sorts about it. I'm starting not to care at all about potential environments and thinking more about the potential money. This is probably a pretty solid indicator that I need to move on to something else. I've grown pretty weary of the dichotomy between HR-heavy interviews where I'm asked too many questions about teamwork and the developer-esque interviews where people try to stump me according to their favorite hangups and and amounts to a dick measuring contest. Although I really do want another job that doesn't require me to jump through so many ridiculous hoops crafted from years of laziness and incompetence, I'm also less willing than I've ever been to keep cranking on the dimmer switch for my actual personality predictively for each and every loathesome interview. Perhaps the more correct methodology would be to wear a tiara and just answer: a best effort to fix all of your broken shit because I hate things that don't work the way they're supposed to. Also, I'm tired of simultaneously nodding and rolling my eyes when asked about Vista experience without screaming "You deployed that bullshit!?!?" at people interviewing me.
School? Shit, maybe.
I finally got sound working on the laptop (Lenovo Y530 for those of you who ride the cruel and unusual labyrinths of search engines and have no idea what this is about minus your search terms) which ended up being a rather painful exploration of the world of Pulse Audio and its connections to ALSA and gstreamer while running under the Gnome. I learned a little bit about how sound is routed in Gnome and that there are ten dozen different tactics you can take when you sound card is recognized by the kernel and ALSA but is apparently invisible to Pulse Audio and gstreamer. Another thing I learned is that I don't give enough of a shit about audio on mobile device to waste hours trying to get a pocketful of frameworks to not prison rape one another when the possibility of audio coming from more than one application at a time. I also dislike 28% CPU usage of one of my cores for something that isn't really doing much of anything at all.
I went the deprecated OSS route instead and now everything works. Sigh.
No matter what personal opinion you may hold about Miguel de Icaza (and it seems like most opinions actually spoken on are the product of laziness and ignorance), you have to admit that the man gets an extraordinary amount of shit done. MSFT relinquished possible patent control on the ECMA specifications that Mono builds on top of which have caused more than a few to soil undergarments about and made others who probably haven't used any other Linux distribution swear they were going to switch away from Ubuntu in response to the community attitude towards the hallucinatory demons of patent enforcement that were circling around their hands, brandishing pitchforks emblazoned with the grim visage of Microsoft Bob. This isn't the end of either side of the discussion or controversy but it does mean that most people can stop worrying about Tomboy rearing up on its hind legs, slapping the hockey mask, and terrorizing the fuck out of Crystal Lake. By the way, this is good news for all parties involved especially those who move across platforms continually and like to have the same application on all of them for specialized jobs.
Thanks again, Miguel for being determined and apparently infinitely patient.
I'm guessing that I'm one of the few who finds the news that WordPress themes are also included in the GPL license that covers its original release. I originally switched (in a matter of hours) from Movable Type to WordPress because of the MP licensing flap. I don't like using tools that can be yanked out from underneath me. I'm sure someone is going to bring up my generalized ambivalence towards Mono here as a point of argument but they're two different animals: ambiguous threats to act on unnamed patents on a project that generally uses the more permissive FOSS licenses for its work and something that seemed an awful lot like a bait and switch at the time.
Again, all the folks who do the actual smashing of thumbs work on WP are to be thanked and congratulated for sticking with the license and checking with SFLC to clarify how the GPL impacts third party themes. Theme developers who are all pissed about WP.org 'fucking you over' should consider that staying true to the spirit of the GPL in the organization of promoted plug-ins and themes has less to do with you than 'us'.
Too busy to spend much time playing on the web today which is typical for the start of the work week but disheartening nonetheless. I've barely spent more than a few minutes in front of a (functioning) computer today but here are some things I noticed:
1. As much as I've tired of the ridiculous fear mongering over Mono being included in package sets (it's not a default install, okay?) and the resulting forum vomiting that has taken place since (this has also spread to identi.ca and the like as well with a million different posts TinyURLing the rms opinion on the subject), I do enjoy it when people come up instructions on how to exorcise all of the imaginary bogeymen from your install rather than just spastically spamming the hell out of every Linux news site with unrelated comments on any given post. On the other side of the coin, you've got stuff like Mononono which just breaks the dependency tree in dpkg to make sure no demons get in. To be fair, it's a good implementation of a terrible idea. Good/bad work.
2. I had no idea that up until recently it was illegal to collect rainwater in Colorado. It becomes sort of comical when cast in terms of water rights and property ownership but I'm happy that it's been removed from law. The fact that 97% of precipitation was getting no where near streams and rivers is a study that should've been done long before people were concealing their water collection barrels but this is still a happier outcome for all parties involved.
3. Box-Look is a theme site for all of your favorite minimalist window managers of the *box variety and some pekwm stuff as well. I'm not living in Fluxbox nearly as often as I did in the past but it's still exciting to have all kinds of eye candy that doesn't weigh heavily on your processor to organized into a single place.
The weird pissing fight that this current Mono controversy has become had a reality check in the form of rms posting a cautionary note about dependence on Mono applications in case some sort of magic bullet patent is fished out of cold storage to fuck with Mono. This is a measured and sane warning from a person I respect tremendously but the response to it has been largely to read the first three lines and proclaim righteous victory over the oppressive forces of whoever is supposed to be a tool of the evil empire this month.
So, here are some things you should consider before shooting off your stupid mouth:
1. C#'s specification (the HIV to Mono's AIDS if you're batshit crazy) is recognized as an ECMA standard specification is is not in fact some kind of nutty language library neutron bomb created to rid the world of Linux.
2. The GNU project actually has their own version of this functionality called Portable.NET. Chances are given that C# is a specification and not a curse muttered by an Egyptian king before his death should some legal action be taken against Mono implementation that existing applications could be adapted to use the GNU runtime.
3. I have absolutely nothing to say about the Ubuntu forum controversies because I avoid both that distribution and its acolytes like the plague on common sense that they are.
I still haven't had the spare brain cells to look too closely at the actual client level implementation of Opera Unite (as I'm seldom on either a Windows machine or my MBP with the exception of using it to play World of Warcraft long enough to really monkey with a technology that isn't crucial to either my work or my play) but I do intend to mess with it sometime after the next major project is close to buttoned up.
One of the places where I've found a huge amount of useful information is Opera Unite HowTo's which is assembled by someone interested in the technology and isn't tied directly to Opera so it's a pretty interesting take on what Unite is capable of.Despite being all but peed on by most FOSS advocates (and I include myself in this vast and shadowy generalization) Opera has managed to assemble an awesome community of users who come up with all sorts of cool ways to take advantage of the Opera toolbox. It's very heartening.
Since crying foul on the use of Mono in basic distribution installs is apparently the new cool thing to do: I encourage you to read the Mono project's licensing page wherein they explain that they've actually thought about software patents, possibly before you even personally invented Ubuntu to be cooler than all your friends, and have a pretty thorough explanation of what their exit strategy might be if the bloody shirt of software patents ever gets waved around.
Sound good? Gooood. Now you can go back to ranting about how KDE4 is causing people to turn into werewolves. Awesome.
That was sort of easy. Lenovo webcam is now working. V4L2 was the culprit.
For whatever it's worth, I've decided to start writing here again and not worry so much about whether what my spleen decides to excrete and I pass along to you is consistent with thematic concerns. Apparently sometime around last October I had some kind of existential crisis and decided that Team Murder was some kind of thematically pure endeavor. The other name for this is temporary brain damage. I'm sort of back with less a little less time (fatherhood) and less patience (duh) so I'm leaving things just like that.
I set up Invest In Kevlar last night so I'm officially ceasing to post here for at least a little while (ah, specificity) because I don't pay much attention to technology these days. I do spend a lot of time thinking about books and politics, though. I'm not sure exactly what that makes me.
There is a frightening article at Reuters about the expansion of payday loan operations as the housing/mortgage crisis expands. No one has labored under the illusion that those paycheck loan places were there to help any one but given their rate of expansion in Ohio:
Bill Faith, executive director of COHHIO, an umbrella group representing some 600 nonprofit agencies in Ohio, said the state is home to some 1,650 pay day loan lenders -- more than all of Ohio's McDonald's, Burger Kings and Wendy's fast food franchises put together.
With outrageous interest rates they're a sure way to go from being broke to completely fucked forever in just a few short steps. I wonder how long it will take for companies like this to partner up with private prison companies to build debtor's prison equivalents and play both sides of the court. Chances are that the savings won't be passed on to you.
I have no resolutions to make. I have some secrets that I'm not ready to disclose. I have also observed that if you haven't watched the Dick Clark NYE show in many, many years then hearing Dick Clark speak in his new slurred post-stroke voice will scare the living shit out of you. In the future I will have to endeavor to research these things more carefully lest Yoon and I spend yet more time staring at each other in horror while things that always maintained the illusion of permanence fly apart into gravelly and tortured syllables. Okay, onward...
The Netscape browser is officially over. I’m not as surprised and appalled as many of the folks commenting on the bit of news are but I’m not terribly optimistic about the future of Netscape sans browser to steer people towards their
crap, um, portal. Any guesses as to how long it will take before the whole whatever the hell Netscape is these days collapses and disappears completely?
I've mentioned that I'm diabetic here before but it isn't something that typically crosses over between the realms of being parked in front of a keyboard for most of my functional hours and the dreaded need for paying close attention to things that most people just plain fail to notice that creeps into all areas of life that don't focus on machines. Anyway, I started using SugarStats recently and thought it was worth mentioning here.
SugarStats is one of the few tracking solutions that I'll stick with for any extended period of time. I've tried other methods of keeping track of things from dead trees to desktop applications but they are all kind of a pain in the ass or require a certain thing to be in my possession all the time. Web accessible tracking takes a lot of the tedium out of the process and yields a lot of bonus effects as an aside. One of the super handy functions is that you can submit data via email or (if you're insane) via Twitter. The other compelling function is the public availability of your stats (obviously optional if only to stay HIPAA compliant and out of legal difficulties) which makes presenting data to a doctor much simpler and doesn't entail dragging a paper source in for office visits.
There is also a paid version of SS that banishes the advertising and allows submission via glucose meter and other niftiness. I'll probably pass on that but I'm actually excited to try a tracking method that fits my geeky lifestyle. Cool part is that I haven't messed with a number of the available stats yet and I'm sure I'm still missing some cool functionality that I won't know about until I actually need it.
StupidFilter is magical on myriad levels. The aim of the project is the creation of:
an open-source filter software that can detect rampant stupidity in written English. This will be accomplished with weighted Bayesian or similar analysis and some rules-based processing, similar to spam detection engines.
This is the sort of thing I can support unconditionally because, if you've squandered any of the precious moments of your life wading through the crap-cano of text lingo attached to nearly anything these days, we need some help thinning the sick and annoying herd.
The startling part is that they're actually trying to release something and using a subjective pointed system to suck in some of the raw sewage of user content and deduce aggravating behavior from its persistent usage. Will it happen? It should already be in wide use. This December is the projected drop date for an alpha release of something. Even if it is entirely a practical joke it's clever and I'll keep looking for an end result even if that result is a joke I'm the butt of.
You can sample some of the spill over from howling wasteland of IntarWeb and how the rating system works by hitting the random sample link. This also serves as powerful propaganda to remind us that typing a hundred abbreviated versions of something followed by two dozen exclamation points takes valuable energy that could be used for other things like digging a mass grave for the culturally adapted lingo of your generation. Support this project in any way you can and help kick off the grave digging personally.
Looks like my favorite 'list of popular stuff' sites, BlogsNow, has to take a nap (he says "put to sleep" but most of us get all teary eyed with memories of our childhood pets when that term is used) until November 20th due to some hardware difficulties. I'm glad to hear that it isn't more spam related outage although I'm sure Andreas would rather hack some code than buy more hardware. Looking forward to it coming back up.
So, I discovered yesterday that an old friend had passed away. Lance Hahn, known more for his punk rock bands than the fact that he was one of the nicest and funniest humans to ever waste hundreds of hours obsessing about punk rock records, died on Sunday of complications resulting from kidney failure. Lance had suffered from health problems for the past few years of various severity and this came after finding out that he would likely need a kidney transplant and dialysis until that transplant became available. I have never met a person who was so universally liked and so easy to get to know. It's crushing to know that he no longer exists.
What makes all of this a thousand times worse is that Lance was uninsured for all of this and will likely leave Liberty with a stack of unpaid medical bills in addition to the grief of losing someone you love who shared a house and a life with you. A friend of Lance's in Austin has setup a website, lancehahn.org to connect folks who knew him, compile pictures and memories, and eventually to set up a place where folks can help out with those remaining medical expenses. I'm shit for eulogies as the past couple of years have taken away too many people but if nothing else I'd like for people to know about the website to reconnect people in his memory and to provide an outlet for financial support. Trying to string together anything else would just be too much right now.
I'm working on a redesign of this site and since I don't strap the word designer on the end of my name I'll be rolling bits and pieces out live. Anyway, things will appear broken because they are broken but I won't cry if you don't. The main reason I'm putting this up is that I tend to get strange and alarm-ed/ing email when I'm fucking around with things. Don't. Thanks.
A Fine Example Of Why Not To Announce Shit Unless You Are Actually In The Middle Of It
So, this never really happened. I could pretend that I was laboring hammer and tongs on something that never actually happened but that isn't how I really work so the grey, grey tedium is sticking around for a while or two.
I'm not the best traveller in the world. I'm even worse at packing to go elsewhere (meaning anywhere but the U.S. and by that I really mean further away than a bus could take me in a single day; I'm a little phobic about leaving my comfort zone which really means leaving my dining room table where all of my stuff is) much less for more than a handful of days. I'm not exactly having a nervous breakdown but I don't really want to sleep either.
This is some really superior planning. The logic is relatively sound: stay up, keep moving, have bonus time to forget and then remember things that must be done, and so on including haircuts and doing some laundry. Then I forget that I have a really difficult time sleeping on airplanes so I'm likely to stay awake for more than twenty four hours. This is a kickass strategy because it not only assures that I will adapt to the time change rapidly but also that I will show up in another country babbling like a sleep deprived idiot in an American accent. What more could you really ask for?
I had this horrible fear that the entry below this one would get lost in the bowels of Team Murder and never be seen again. It has been a day since we lost Pig and I couldn't stand the idea of him ever becoming an obscure entry in this mess. So, I made Pig The Cat as a more permanent home for our photos and memories of him as a thing apart from all of this babble. He deserves a lot more. The site is just a placeholder with a photo gallery right now as I just registered the domain a few hours ago but more is coming. There is a lot to remember and so much to miss.
Pig was euthanized at around 2 o'clock this afternoon. He'd been sick for a couple of weeks and over the past couple of days deteriorated really quickly and really badly. While it broke my fucking heart into a million sharp little pieces it was also the only real choice that we had. It was very likely that he had Feline Infectious Peritonitis and would never really get better. He sat on our laps being touched and loved while the euthanasia kicked in. I miss him already and it feels now like that will never stop.
Not sure who to blame for the breadcrumbs at the top of this image over at the Denver Post but it ain't pretty: