Monthly Archives: May 2005

How about a 5 day waiting period

Libertarians, Conservatives, and Constitutionalists have long expected it to happen. College studients have been publically ridiculed for suggesting it was possible. It has been the argument primaire of every gun totin, redneck, card carrying NRA member. Yes, doctors in the UK are pushing for a ban on “long pointed knives“. Here is a quote:

The researchers said there was no reason for long pointed knives to be publicly available at all.

They consulted 10 top chefs from around the UK, and found such knives have little practical value in the kitchen.

My question is; if the pen is really mightier than the sword, is it not more important (for the safety of the general public) to limit free speech than it is to limit the use of “long pointed knives?” Living in a free society was never meant to be a shield against danger, in many ways it is just the opposite. Living in a free society means we entrust those around us with the freedom to live their lives, and as such merit ourselves that same freedom. When someone, anyone, abuses that freedom it is our duty as a society to punish the person who did so. But if we, instead, take away the liberties of those who acted responsibly with their freedom; then the guilty have succeeded denying freedom to everyone and not just those they acted against. To somehow believe that guns, television, knives, and video games are the source of our problems does nothing more than to shift focus from that which is truly responsible.

IPTables Tools

I am constantly trying to get a better handle on my iptables configuration. Particularly when setting up NAT and IP forwarding. This article lists three tools for configuring and maintaining iptables firewalls. I had previously heard of GuardDog; but FireHOL and “Easy Firewall Generator for iptables” were both new to me.

Parochial Schools Score

A very interesting article in “This is London” point to the success of Parochial and Anglican schools in affecting the moral direction of young men concerning sex, abortion, and pornography. The article gives rise to the debate of the place of schools in molding the nature of children and imparts the importance of the quality of education available to students. While the age of consent in England probably has a significant effect on the applicability of the study in the US; it should still act as a reminder of the awesome responsibility that parents have with regards to education.

As a parent of a young girl (and a another child on the way) I am exceedingly conscience of the effect the environment has on my child. As long as children need to attend school (not simply as a matter of law but also as a vehicle for self improvement), it will be a major factor in their moral development. The choice of a child’s school is, therefore, one of the most important decisions I, as a parent, can make.

Mt Dew isn’t Healthy?

Quick link, I needed a place to lookup calorie, protein, fat, and carb information. A quick Google search turned up a couple. The best one I found was Calorie King. Contains information on restaurants, pre-packaged food, and (what was actually the most difficult to find good information on) fresh foods like vegetables and fruit.

Suse RPM

Got a couple links on building RPMs for Suse.

  • Maximum RPM – A 2000 article on making RPMs, kind of dated but still accurate.
  • Suse Package Conventions – Suse specific RPM information.
  • Migrating Red Hat applications to SUSE – A Novell “Cool Solutions” article on moving getting Redhat packages working on Suse. Contains only general information and most of that is concerning platform independent development; not strictly Redhat to Suse migration. The article is interesting because it talks about using Perl and the Yast API to make Yast configuration modules for ANYTHING on Suse. hmmm… I can think of a couple uses for that!

Quick Reference: CVS Automation

CVS Auto-updating is a blog post on how to get CVS to manage auto updating when working with a web server or a local repository. Nothing fancy, but it works. Here is another option (releated to KDE management) for auto updating:

Simply subscribe the user owning the cvs/svn checkout to the mailing-list where
commit mails are sent, and in that user, set up .procmailrc like:0:kdecvs.lck
| $HOME/bin/kdecvslogwhere kdecvslog is a script like:========================
#!/usr/bin/perl -wmy $subj;

umask 022;

$ENV{“CVS_RSH”} = “ssh”;

# read the message to make procmail happy
while()
{
chop;
$subj = $1 if(/^Subject: (.*)/i and !defined($subj));
}

exit 0 if (!defined($subj));
exit 0 if ($subj =~ /\/\.\.\//);

$subj = $1 if ($subj =~ /^\S+: (.*)$/); # remove branches
$subj = $1 if ($subj =~ /^(\S+).*$/);

# Choose here which subjects to filter upon. Another solution is to filter
# in .procmailrc of course
if ( $subj =~ m#www/areas/koffice# || $subj =~ m#www/media# )
{
my $home = $ENV{“HOME”};
my $cvsroot = “$home/koffice.org”;

open LOG, “>>$home/cvslog”;
my $date = `date`; chop($date);

my $path = “$subj”;
if ( $subj =~ m#www/media# ) {
$path = “$cvsroot”;
} else {
$path = $subj;
$path =~ s#www/areas/koffice##;
$path = “$cvsroot/$path”;
}
print LOG “$date: subj is $subj\n”;
print LOG “$date: testing path $path\n”;
#print LOG “$date: mod is $mod\n”;
$path = “$cvsroot” if (! -d $path);

if (-d $path) {
print LOG “$date: updating $path\n”;
$SIG{ALRM} = sub { $SIG{TERM} = sub{}; kill TERM, 0; exit 0; };
alarm 600;
my $out = `cd $path; svn up 2>&1`;  ## use cvs up here instead of svn up if you use CVS
print LOG “$date: output–\n” . $out . “\n”;
}
close(LOG);
}

Thanks to David Faure for the script.

Speedy Linux

Here is a quick (and light) article on getting more speed out of your linux distrobution. The information is useful but here are a couple more tips that can help:

  • Although its generally not necessary to have multiple virtual terminals running in init 5; they are VERY useful on other (i.e. non-GUI) run levels. So instead of commenting them out we can simply disabled them for a given run level like this:

    1:2345:respawn:/sbin/mingetty tty1
    2:2345:respawn:/sbin/mingetty tty2
    3:23:respawn:/sbin/mingetty tty3
    4:23:respawn:/sbin/mingetty tty4
    5:23:respawn:/sbin/mingetty tty5
    6:23:respawn:/sbin/mingetty tty6

    This would give you 2 virtual terminals on run levels 4 & 5 but still retain all 6 when on 2 & 3.

  • Use Open Office a bunch? You can add this command to your .bashrc to keep an instance of Open Office in memory: “ooffice -quickstart &”.
  • Many people will see a noticeable speed improvement by building a kernel targeted to their particular processor. This may sound hard but its really just a simple as getting the src rpm of your current kernel and typing: “rpm –rebuild –target athlon kernel-verison.src.rpm”. You will then need to install the new kernel. The nice part about this is that it is registered as the same kernel and uses the same sources as the default distribution kernel.

The Eight

The Eight by Katherine Neville, is a alternative-history style thriller novel in the same basic genre as “Da Vinci Code.” The book is a pretty fun read, even if the character development is lacking and its dialog unrealistic.

What really characterizes this book is the over-the-top nature of the plot. Take every historical figure that you can think of, combine them as pieces of a complex chess match, add in lots of technology and math references, and finally add a dash of romance novel; and you might get an idea of how this book works. While the plot is never too much to handle, some readers might be turned off by the simplicity of the authors writing style.

The Eight was an enjoyable “weekend” book and one that I am glad I read. I suppose the best comparison I can give of the book is this; I come away from “The Eight” in much the same way I came away from “Die Hard.” Its was an enjoyable experience whose short-comings helped “make” it, instead of taking away from it.