October 29, 2004
And so it begins
This article by the AP scares the holy crap out of me. Evidently the Department of Homeland Security (DoHS) feels the part of its job mandate is to enforce patent and trademark rules on US citizens. Can anyone say “night watch?” Can someone please tell the DoHS that the US economy can take care of itself just fine. If a company is worried about a trademark infringement, they can do the same thing the rest of us would do; go to the courts to have it resolved. Unfortunately the focus of the article is on the fact that the patent had expired (making the DoHS look stupid) but the real focus of the article should be; exactly what business does the DoHS have pursuing trademark enforcement?
October 27, 2004
SMTM is a perl/Tk stock ticker and chart display application for tracking stocks. The stock information is downloaded via Yahoo Finance.
Found an amazing document published by Connectiva on their revision control infrastructure an how they manage it. Open Source projects have very few developers for the number of applications and the size of code-base they use. Reuse and efficiency is required if a project of any size is to be managed. CVS and Subversion (SVN) are two of the tools use to manage these projects; and their scriptability, flexability, functionality, and manageability are paramount to making this work.
Also, here is a list of KDE CVS keywords for bugzilla management. They allow you to open bug reports, close bug reports, add features, mark GUI changes, and cc bug reports based on keywords in you CVS commit comments. These entries also effect changelog entires for packages when they are released.
Installs and Organisms
Couple quick tutorials that I have been looking at:
- Genetic Algorithms – A tutorial in Perl on how to create a simulated multi-celled organism using Genetic algorithms.
- Installing Debian – A modified way of installing Debian Linux using a live CD based distribution like Knoppix and then manually bootstrapping Debian. Good way to get Linux installed (and easily managed) on old hardware systems.
The software industry is in a state of rapid change. The global connectivity provided by the Internet has put a damper on the ever archaic distribution and licensing methods of commercial software vendors. This article by David Adams give a spectacular overview of the history of the software industry and the direction it is going.
October 26, 2004
Security by Design
A common rant of my concerns the mind numbing understanding the most tech writers (actually this applies to most periodical writers in general) have about the concept of system security. This “everything I ever needed to know about computer security I learned from watching Hackers” is frustrating when so much good information is available about computer security.
The problem is only exacerbated by the fact that some organizations actively work to change the definition of security to their suite own benefit. That is why I point out this article from the Register. It is one of the best “general understanding” security papers on Linux I have read in a while. The concepts it covers can generally be applied to all Unix-type OS’s, but the article talks about Linux (as well as Apache) in particular. Read it and you will know more about software security for Linux than many in the computer business.
Physics Web reports the results of their questionnaire for greatest equations ever. My picks would predictively have been Euler’s equation (eiπ + 1 = 0) or Einstein’s (E = mc2 ). Also popular was the first equation almost everyone learns, 1 + 1 = 2.
Found a great article on the Cassini missions to Titan and how a single ESA engineer probably saved the entire mission. With the impact that the Titan missions may have on our understanding of the universe we all owe Boris Smeds a debt of gratitude.
October 25, 2004
Where is this Candidate
Most of you have probably already been emailed the “Bill of non-Rights” (BNR) before; but it makes for some good reading on Monday morning. The BNR is commonly attributed to Mitchell Kaye, a Georgia state representative. In reality the original author is one Lewis Napper a 2000 Libertarian Senate candidate. In my years with an email account I have seen several different versions (the one below is the original) including such issues and English as the national language and Christianity as a core American belief. Overall, its something more Americans probably need to read.
- ARTICLE I:
You do not have the right to a new car, big screen TV or any other form of wealth. More power to you if you can legally acquire them, but no one is guaranteeing anything.
- ARTICLE II:
You do not have the right to never be offended. This country is based on freedom, and that means freedom for everyone” not just you! You may leave the room, change the channel, or express a different opinion, but the world is full of idiots, and probably always will be.
- ARTICLE III:
You do not have the right to be free from harm. If you stick a screwdriver in your eye, learn to be more careful, do not expect the tool manufacturer to make you and all your relatives independently wealthy.
- ARTICLE IV:
You do not have the right to free food and housing. Americans are the most charitable people to be found, and will gladly help anyone in need, but we are quickly growing weary of subsidizing generation after generation of professional couch potatoes who achieve nothing more than the creation of another generation of professional couch potatoes.
- ARTICLE V:
You do not have the right to free health care That would be nice, but from the looks of public housing, we’re just not interested in public health care.
- ARTICLE VI:
You do not have the right to physically harm other people. If you kidnap, rape, intentionally maim, or kill someone, don’t be surprised if the rest of us want to see you fry in the electric chair.
- ARTICLE VII:
You do not have the right to the possessions of others. If you rob, cheat or coerce away the goods or services of other citizens, don’t be surprised if the rest of us get together and lock you away in a place where you still won’t have the right to a big screen color TV or a life of leisure.
- ARTICLE VIII:
You don’t have the right to demand that our children risk their lives in foreign wars to soothe your aching conscience. We hate oppressive governments and won’t lift a finger to stop you from going to fight if you’d like. However, we do not enjoy parenting the entire world and do not want to spend so much of our time battling each and every little tyrant with a military uniform and a funny hat.
- ARTICLE IX:
You don’t have the right to a job. Sure, all of us want all of you to have one, and will gladly help you along in hard times, but we expect you to take advantage of the opportunities of education and vocational training laid before you to make yourself useful.
- ARTICLE X:
You do not have the right to happiness. Being an American means that you have the right to pursue happiness ” which, by the way, is a lot easier if you are unencumbered by an overabundance of idiotic laws created by those of you who were confused by the Bill of Rights.
October 22, 2004
Whip it, into shape
KDE Automated Test Report is a series of scripts that can be run against C++/QT/KDE applications to test for known problems before package release. Not only are things like memory allocation bugs found but many tests find optimization bugs through the use of less-then-idea function calls for known object types. The kind of bug testing and optimization scripts (along with uber powerful tools like KCachegrind and Kdexecutor) make for more secure, faster, more consistent, and more dependable applications. The vast majority of application “shortcomings” can be found simply by using some or all of the above listed tools.
October 20, 2004
Yes it builds itself
kconfigure is a KDE build tool for the autoconfig build environment. It allows you to perform build configurations, compile, and install capabilities from inside of a GUI. I have been working on it as a side project for the last 3 months or so and have finally completed work on Version 2.0 . If you get a chance, come and check it out. It’s my first “hard core” contribution to KDE; and it even got me a free iPod mini. Who says that Open Source doesn’t pay.
October 18, 2004
Heather needed to post some pictures for school, so I present to you Kessler’s Farm
October 14, 2004
You clicked here already
kdexecutor is a record and playback tool for Qt and KDE applications. It allows for “pre-scripted” automation of GUI applications by remembering the events that are executed within your application. Its a wonderfully useful tool for developing and testing Qt and KDE programs. There is even a free version for GPL’ed KDE development; and it works on all platforms Qt works on.
and half the songs are crap
It looks like Wal-Mart and the top 3 record labels are in a battle over the price of CD’s. All I can say is GOOD! Its about time that someone point out that CD’s (which are much cheaper to produce than cassette tapes, but cost more) are way overpriced for what you get. I can buy a new DVD for less than the cost of the latest 50 cent album. Think of it this way: DVD’s cost more to make, the content costs more to make, the amount of content is significantly more… so which “product” costs more on the store shelves? CD’s. It will be nice to see one monopoly take care of another monopoly.
October 11, 2004
Substitute President and Vice President with Commissioner and Assistant Commissioner; and you have my life.
And then came the Assumptions.
And the Assumptions were without form.
And the Plan was without substance.
And darkness was upon the face of the Workers.
And they spoke among themselves, saying,
“It is a crock of shit, and it stinketh.”
And the Workers went unto their Supervisors and said,
“It is a pail of dung, and none may abide the odor thereof.”
And the Supervisors went unto their Managers, saying,
“It is a container of excrement, and it is very strong,
such that none may abide by it.”
And the Managers went unto their Directors, saying,
“It is a vessel of fertilizer, and none may abide its strength.”
And the Directors spoke amongst themselves, saying one to another,
“It contains that which aids plant growth, and it is very strong.”
And the Directors then went unto the Vice-Presidents, saying unto them,
“It promotes growth, and it is very powerful.”
And the Vice-Presidents went unto the President, saying unto him,
“This new plan will actively promote the growth and vigor
of the company, with powerful effects.”
And the President Looked upon the Plan, and saw that it was good.
And the Plan became Policy.
October 5, 2004
Its not the size that counts
I have been looking for a fairly full featured, modern, OS that I could put on an old 386 router/gateway/firewall. The solution I am currently trying is Damn Small Linux. Its a Knoppix based Linux OS with apt support. The install disk can fit on a credit card sized CD ROM and can be run either from the CD or install locally to disk. Its only about 50 meg is size, so it cannot have a huge software library; but who give a shit as long as it has apt support.
October 4, 2004
A Breif Review of a Book
A Short History of the Future is book designed to give form to the utopia ideal of every liberal college professor I have ever had. I bought the book on the dollar table at my college almost four years ago on a recommendation of one of my friends. You would think I would know better. Some of the more interesting (ok, maybe not) concepts covered in the book are “Democratic Communism” (yes, the author was attempting to be serious) and “Absolute Relativism.”
The book covers in earnest a 210 year period starting in 1990 or so. The version I read was actually the second edition. The first addition was written, went to press, and was so ridiculously wrong in its predictions that they had to come out with a new addition (who’d a guessed the USSR would loose the cold war.) Basic plot goes like this. Take Marxist revolutionary theory, give it a 200 year time line, remove everything professors always ignore about communism (darn it, why is it that censorship, oppression, and removal of individual liberties always gets in the way of a good communist government.) That’s is the entire book. It lacked originality, vision, and was overall just a bad book.
I am writing this review as nothing more than a warning. It is not the worst collegiate literature I have ever read, but it can definitely claim its place with some of them.