Blog Redux

The software previously hosting my blog was a bespoke thing that I’d used to experiment with Django. Once it was complete, my appetitite for maintaining it evaporated, and bitrot began to set in. I haven’t blogged in years, and it’s not likely that I’ll resume, but I thought I’d at least preserve what is here (this time using Hugo). Note: I did not preserve the link structure.

OpenNMS User Conference Europe + Cassandra London Meetup

Next week is OUCE in Southampton UK, where I’ll be presenting on my recent work in time-series storage. I’ve never been to an OUCE, or Southampton, and I’m really looking forward to it. Since you get to Southampton via London (from here), and since I haven’t been back there in more than a year, I arranged to have a day or two there, and scored an opportunity to talk to the Cassandra London Meetup on Monday.

OpenNMS Dev Jam 2013

I had tentatively planned on attending OpenNMS Dev Jam this year, but then I got a new job, and it became mandatory. The eighth annual Dev Jam will be held June 23-28 at the University of Minnesota. NP: In Absentia, The Mars Volta

Cassandra Summit 2013

Datastax’s yearly Cassandra Summit has grown into a two day event this year, June 11-12 in San Francisco. If you are a user of Cassandra (or are considering it), then you probably want to attend this conference (use code SFSummit25 for 25% off). I’ll be there to present on virtual nodes; Find me if you want to chat about databases, network management, beer, or the Can’t Hug Every Cat phenomenon.

Worlds Apart

For the first time in several years I find myself working in Java again[1]. It occurs to me though that it probably isn’t anything about Java itself that rubs me so wrong, it’s the community or ecosystem if you will. The conventions, common practice, standards, frameworks, etc. Case in point, embedding third-party libraries. In the sane world, embedding code from another project into your own is considered Bad. The duplication is not only wasteful, but it creates all kinds of problems for developers, admins and users alike.

Second Guessing

I’ve noticed an interesting phenomenon take place with development projects at work, it happens when someone new steps in to take over a legacy system. Most projects generally have humble beginnings. Someone is tasked with a from-scratch implementation, often under the worst of circumstances, but ever thing has to start somewhere. Later, after the original engineer has moved on, someone new steps in to carry on development, and no time is wasted heaping criticism on what was done before.

Bragging Rights

I just upgraded a Cobalt RaQ 2 (1U MIPS machine, circa 1999(?)) from Debian Etch (released 2007) to Lenny (2009), and then from Lenny to Squeeze (2011). While it was in use. Remotely. Blindfolded, and with one arm behind my back.

Berlin Buzzwords 2013

I’m fortunate enough to be speaking at Berlin Buzzwords again this year. As usual, chats over beer or currywurst (or both) are always welcome. Hope to see you there!

Going to Berlin Buzzwords 2012

I’ll be at Berlin Buzzwords again this year, this time talking about Acunu Castle and Cassandra. Buzzwords is definitely one of my favorite conferences; I’m really looking forward to it. As usual, if you think we’ll cross paths and want to meet for beer, coffee, or currywurst, let me know!

Berlin Buzzwords

I’ll be presenting at Berlin Buzzwords again this year, this time on CQL. This is shaping up to be another great conference (schedule here) so I’m really looking forward to it. This year, the organizers are arranging for a number of hackathons and workshops to precede and follow the main conference. One of those will be a Cassandra event hosted by Acunu and Datastax (date to be announced). If you’re in the Berlin area (or can be), and are interested in search, data analysis and NoSQL (and especially if you’re interested in Cassandra), I’d recommend you plan to attend.

Kurt's "Magic" Quadrant

I was recently reminded of a quote from a German General, Kurt von Hammerstein-Equord, in 1933: I divide my officers into four classes; the clever, the lazy, the industrious, and the stupid. Each officer possesses at least two of these qualities. Those who are clever and industrious are fitted for the highest staff appointments. Use can be made of those who are stupid and lazy. The man who is clever and lazy however is for the very highest command; he has the temperament and nerves to deal with all situations.

Christmas Lights (redux)

Last year, if you’ll remember, I did a half-assed job of putting together a musically coordinated christmas light rig, and promised to Do Better this year. Lucky for me I was vague because under-promising made over-delivering a lot easier. :) What I did manage to do was tackle last years technical debut, and get the code cleaned up. I’ve named it Lumen and put it up on Github. Lumen has two modes, record and playback.

Berlin Buzzwords

I’ll be attending Berlin Buzzwords on the 7th and 8th of next month, and presenting on Cassandra. This is shaping up to be a great conference (schedule here), and I’m really looking forward to it. I’ve also managed to work in a couple of days after the conference to poke around Berlin, (this will be my first time in Germany). If you’re in the area and want to meet up for beers and/or keysignings, or if you have suggestions for sights to see, drop me a line.

Upcoming travel

April is shaping up to be a busy month; I have several trips lined up. Texas Linux Fest on Saturday April 10th (tomorrow!) in Austin. POSSCON on April 15 and 16 in Columbia South Carolina. The Cassandra Hackathon at Digg HQ in San Francisco. I’ll be giving talks on Cassandra at Texas Linux Fest and POSSCON, and I’ve organized a Debian booth for Texas Linux Fest (a first for me).

Haters Gonna Hate

If you’ve been around for more than a few years, you’ve probably bore witness to how susceptible the tech industry is to hype. Some new-shiny comes along, people lose their minds, and seemingly overnight The Next Big Thing has spread like wildfire. Like it or not you find yourself bombarded by blog posts, tweets, articles, and water cooler chat from wild-eyed co-workers. Clearly, Ted Dziuba knows what I’m talking about.

FOSDEM 2010 and the NoSQL Devroom

As I mentioned earlier, I was fortunate enough to be able to attend FOSDEM this year. The sheer scale of FOSDEM is amazing, with literally thousands of people in attendance, dozens of projects represented, and hundreds(?) of talks. It’s doubly impressive when you consider that it is entirely volunteer driven and 100% sponsored (it’s no cost to attend). The NoSQL track organized by Steven Noels on Sunday turned out quite well too I thought, and it seemed to generate a lot of interest (the room was continually filled to capacity and the doors barred).

Christmas Lights

We put up lights each year for the holidays, and while I don’t mind having the house decorated, I do not like having to put them up. Despite this, I feel mounting pressure each year to Do Better, which by default means more lights and decorations, which in turn mean even more work. The year before last I had the idea that if I worked smarter I might avoid working harder, and that one of those musically synchronized setups would be pretty sweet.

Going to FOSDEM

Due to a scheduling conflict, Jonathan won’t able to present on Cassandra in the NoSQL devroom at this years FOSDEM, so I’ll be going in his stead. I’ve always wanted to go to a FOSDEM, and getting to see Brussels will be a real treat as well. I can’t wait! NP: Black & White, In Flames

Lowest Common Denominator

From the git-svn manpage: For the sake of simplicity and interoperating with a less-capable system (SVN), it is recommended that all git svn users clone, fetch and dcommit directly from the SVN server, and avoid all git clone/pull/merge/push operations between git repositories and branches. The recommended method of exchanging code between git branches and users is git format-patch and git am, or just ‘dcommit’ing to the SVN repository. Running git merge or git pull is NOT recommended on a branch you plan to dcommit from.

NoSQL: What's in a name?

Depending on the circles you travel in, you might be aware of the whole NoSQL “movement”. If not, I’m not going try and explain it at this time (explaining it is sort of the problem), but you can get the general idea from wikipedia. I’ve spent the last couple of days at nosqleast and one of the hot topics here is the name “nosql”. Understandably, there are a lot of people who worry that the name is Bad, that it sends an inappropriate or inaccurate message.

Upcoming travel

I have several trips lined up for the next few weeks: NoSQL East from the 28th to the 30th in Atlanta ApacheCon US 2009 from November 2-6 in Oakland OpenSQL Camp 2009 in Portland, November 14-15 There is also a NoSQL meetup on November 2 as a part of ApacheCon; I’ve offered to present on Cassandra there. I’m also thinking of giving a session at BarcampApache, and I’m scheduled to sit on a “SQL vs.

Ooops, I did it again

I rewrote my blog software again (actually, it was done months ago but I just now got around to deploying it). The last one used Turbogears, but the 1.x branch is getting long in teeth, and 2.0 came a little too late. Besides, Django is the new hotness these days. Somehow the rewrite resulted in about half as much code, which is always cool, and I finally got to make use of mod_wsgi, (it is everything that I had ever dreamed it would be, and more :)).

Git repo for Cassandra packaging

I put the repository for my Cassandra package up on Github. The repo browser can be found here, and the wiki has a brief writeup of the build process for those unfamiliar with git-buildpackage. Patches welcome! NP: Take It Out On Me, Bullet For My Valentine

Day Trip Redux

For my last day in Spain I took Hector’s advice and hopped on a high-speed train from Madrid to Toledo. Toledo is another UNESCO World Heritage Site, a city dating back to the Bronze Age with Christian, Jewish, and Moorish influences. It’s a beautiful place and the six or so hours I spent there was woefully inadequate. There are a few pictures up on flickr, but I took quite a few more that will have to wait until after I’m home.

On the road again

Debconf is over. Boo. :( Like those I’ve attended in the past, Debconf9 was well organized with plenty of interesting talks, in a great venue. I had loads of fun, learned a ton, and even managed to get a bit done. Many thanks to the organization team, the local team, the speakers, and the sponsors. This year I managed to sneak an extra couple of days post-conference which will be spent in the general vicinity of Madrid.

Cassandra 0.3.0 for Debian

As announced here, I put a Debian package together for Cassandra 0.3.0. I don’t have any (immediate )plans to upload a Cassandra package to the Debian archive, (this package isn’t even policy compliant), so consider this unofficial and report any packaging bugs directly to me. deb cassandra/ deb-src cassandra/ Enjoy.

Debconf9: Day trip

Yesterday was the Day Trip at Debconf, an opportunity for folks to step away from their computers (usually), and leave the venue (always) for some sort of group activity or tourism. When the organizers first started talking about this years Day Trip there were two candidates, Valle del Jerte and Teatro romano de Merida, or “Roman theater of Merida”. I’m kind of a history junkie and generally get pretty excited at the idea of touring ruins so I was heartbroken when Merida lost out.

Cassandra 0.3.0

The Apache Cassandra team has managed the release of 0.3.0, its very first. It took a lot longer than I had hoped to get a release in the can, (almost a month from the approval of the last release candidate). Part of this was a lack of familiarity with ASF’s processes, but part of it was poor or incomplete documentation, or lack of consensus about what is required. In the end, it boiled down to a combination of carefully studying what other poddlings had done, and a few iterations of trial-and-error.


A week from today and I’ll be headed to Spain for Debconf9. Can’t wait! NP: Worlds Collide, Apocalyptica

Transitioning My GPG Key

A few months ago a group of researchers announced a fairly serious attack that shattered everyone’s faith in SHA-1. It has frightening implications for anyone who relies on cryptographic signatures, and while consensus is that there is little danger in the near-term, most people agree that now is the time to start a move to something stronger. So, I’ve begun my transition, (document here), and submitted my new key for the Debconf9 signing party later this month.

NOSQL 2009

Johan Oskarsson has organized a meetup for folks interested in distributed structured data storage and is calling it NOSQL. The event, being held June 11th in San Fransisco, will have subject matter experts presenting on Hypertable, HBase, Voldemort, Dynomite, and Cassandra. There were 100 slots available slots to attend and they all went in a matter of hours, so if this is the first you’ve heard of it, it’s probably too late.

Howto: Epson Perfection 3940 on Debian

Getting the Epson Perfection 3940 scanner setup on Linux requires jumping through just enough hoops that even if you have managed it before, it’s easy to forget when it comes time to do it again. I put this here in the hopes that it will make things easier for someone, (and it’s entirely likely that someone will be me one day :). Make sure your user is a member of the scanner group, (adduser youruser scanner).

Thrift Packaging

My latest project at work is Cassandra, a distributed, eventually consistent, column oriented data store. It’s somewhere between Dynamo (Cassandra’s original author worked on Dynamo), and Google’s BigTable. It was developed as an internal application at Facebook, later open sourced, and is now an Apache incubator project. The external interface to Cassandra is thrift-based. Thrift is a framework for creating network services, services that communicate using a compact binary data format.

Swine Flu

I don’t have it. Do you?

Brain Rewiring

A co-worker of mine uses one of the stranger keyboards I’ve seen, a Kinesis Advantage. He picked it up his after a bout with tendinitis and was sold on it. He was kind enough to let me borrow his spare for about a week so I could try it out. It’s been an interesting week. :) The Advantage differs from conventional keyboards in a number of ways, the ones I think most relevant are:

Lenny Released On Time

Lenny released yesterday. This is great news, and congratulations all around to everyone that worked their asses off making it happen. By my calculations this comes 677 days after the initial release of Etch, (or 22 months and change). I’ve said before, Debian releases When Ready and that (to the best of my observations), consensus seems to be that somewhere between 18 and 24 months is the sweet spot. Not only does this make for the second “on-time” release in a row, but there was an Etch-And-A-Half sporting new kernels and video drivers in the mean time.

Cat-a-log FAQ

I received a surprising number of questions related to the cat-a-log series. I’ve attempted to collect them all, and answer them here. Q: Does your wife think all cats are sweet? What about dogs? A: Any member of felis catus is by definition unconditionally sweet. She also views many dogs as sweet, though they tend to be held to a much higher standard, (for example, “humping” is unacceptable and any dog known to have committed such an act is Not Sweet).

That's all (the cats) folks

Apparently there is in fact a 15th cat (or a 14th for you purists out there). If cataloged, it would have been Unknown #3, an as-of-yet unnamed cat that comes to my porch to eat the food my wife puts out. I wasn’t able to get a picture, and I’m not sure I recall ever seeing it (they all look the same to me anyway). A shame really, rumor has it that it’s missing a paw, I could have had some fun with that.

Cat-a-log Day 14: Pepe

Last but not least, Pepe. Alright, granted this one might be borderline, but to be fair, many people refer to these guys as Polecats. It comes onto my porch to eat from a dish of food, and my wife and daughter have named it, I think that counts for something. Other interesting facts: Smells awful.

Cat-a-log Day 13: Unknown 2

Unknown #2… or is it Zorro? Yet another cat that I suspect has applied for citizenship under the terms of If it eats, we must greets. I refer to it here as Unknown #2, but someone let slip the name “Zorro” when the subject came up. Other interesting facts: None.

Cat-a-log Day 12: Unknown 1

This one has been cropping up more and more. When I first brought up Unknown #1, my wife explained that it was not her cat, she didn’t know why it was hanging around, and that more than likely it belonged to someone and was just wandering a bit. This would be comforting if I hadn’t heard it before (see day 6 and day 11 for current examples). And yes, it eats the food that is placed outside.

Cat-a-log Day 11: Garfield

Moving on… This is Garfield, another cat who obtained amnesty through If it eats, we must greets. The look on his face in the picture above it pretty typical for him. I think he’s bummed because he showed up 10 cats too late and has to sleep outside. Other interesting facts: My wife thinks he’s sweet.

Cat-a-log Day 10: Baby

This, is Baby. I have three words for you. Pure, Unadulterated, Evil. You have never met Baby (and if you are lucky, you never will), but rest assured, she hates you with a passion. When you look into her eyes, you can almost see the gears turning, the plot being hatched. I have little doubt that given the means and opportunity, she’d kill us all. Other interesting facts: The most ironically named of all our cats.

Cat-a-log Day 9: Zoe

Got cat? Believe it or not, there are some that don’t like living in an infestation a house full of cats. Take Zoe here for instance, she hates it. Zoe is Chloe’s sister, one of two that represent the first of our cats. She used to be happy and well adjusted, but runaway immigration has taken a toll on her sanity, (at this point there isn’t much left). She experiences violent mood swings that result in physical confrontations with other cats one minute, and pulling her own hair out the next.

Cat-a-log Day 8: Thumper

Damn, this is starting to feel like work. Meet Thumper. Thumper’s most distinctive feature is the absence of a tail. It was recently explained to me that this is the way he was born, but I’m having a hard time accepting that. You see, Thumper is fearless, and I don’t mean fearless in a heroic kind of way, I mean fearless in a lack of common sense, isn’t afraid even when he really really should be, kind of way.

Cat-a-log Day 7: Chloe

It’s been a week now; there are still more cats. Once upon a time we had no cats. None, zip, zero. It was a glorious time. Then one day my wife came to me wanting a kitten. I was initially opposed to this idea but it was clear how important it was to her, so I agreed. She brought home two. Two. One of them was Chloe. Chloe is a thin and frail cat, which I theorize is the result of some genetic condition which has also left her with an inability to maintain proper core body temperature.

Cat-a-log Day 6: Stevie

Day 6, Stevie. To the best of my recollection, Stevie was the first cat integrated under the If it eats, we must greets line of reasoning. As you may know, during the Salem witch trials the accused were thrown into a pool of water, if they floated they were deemed witches. If it eats, we must greets is a similar false dichotomy that states that if you place food out for a stray cat, and it eats it, then it must be your cat.

Cat-a-log Day 5: Fat Boy

With all of these cats, you didn’t really think there’d be one named Skinny Girl without a corresponding “Fat Boy”, did you? Fat Boy is in fact Skinny Girl’s brother, and has the distinction of being the very first cat in our house with a penis. Others would follow, but he was the first. Respect. Fat Boy is the exact opposite of his sister, the yang to her yin. He struts around the house like he owns the place, and is not easily startled or intimidated.

Cat-a-log Day 4: Kiwi

Pictured below is Kiwi. Believe it or not, I actually like this cat. The reason for this should be obvious, I mean look at her, she’s adorable! Kiwi is one of the many cats that were brought home from the Human Society to be “fostered”. At the time she was covered in mange and way too young to be away from her mother. My wife and daughter spent countless hours treating the mange and bottle feeding her while I tried to pretend she didn’t exist.

Cat-a-log Day 3: Skinny Girl

Next up is Skinny Girl. Let’s talk about that name for a second, “Skinny Girl”. That’s only a short step up from names like Cat, Dude, and Hey You. It would stand to reason that if you find yourself struggling to come up with unique names for your pets, then it is entirely possible that you have too many. Again, I don’t really have much to say about this one, it’s a relatively recent arrival.

Cat-a-log Day 2: Alfie

I give you, Alfie. I really don’t know much about this cat, it hasn’t been here very long. It is one of many that were/are being (temporarily )fostered here. What I do know is that you do not want him around when playing darts. Soft-tipped darts inevitably fail to stick from time to time. From the moment a dart hits the floor you have scant seconds to retrieve it before Alfie snatches it up and runs like hell.

Cat-a-log Day 1: Star

Meet Star. Best described as Not Quite Right, Star’s mother was a feral stray who rejected her as a kitten, (those wacky animals and their maternal instincts, go figure). A firm believer that no kitten should be left behind, my wife assumed custody. We’ve had her for years now. For the most part she keeps to herself. One notable exception to this is bedtime where she demands a prominent position either on or next to my wife.

Cats, cats, and more cats

There are a lot of cats living in and around my house. A lot. When I mention this to people, they invariably want a number, but the truth of the matter is I really don’t know, (if that isn’t the surest indicator of Way Too Many, I don’t know what is). So, I’ve decided to conduct a little experiment. Each day, starting tomorrow, I will profile one cat found living here.

R.I.P. Ruta Maya

What the hell? I leave for a couple of weeks and return to find my coffee shop all boarded up! Ruta Maya served fair trade coffee, obscure (and often excellent) microbrewed beers, and a tasty (although arguably overpriced) lunch. Add free wifi and the fact that they were basically right across the street from work and you had an excellent “home away from home”. My co-workers and I spent many an afternoon working from what became referred to as the “Martin Street Office”…and now it’s gone.

Back Home

After 5+ hours on a bus, several hours at Ezeiza airport, and 12 hours on two different planes, I’m back home from Debconf8, (technically speaking I’ve been back since 8am yesterday, but was in no condition to post). Debconf8 was definately the best organized of the 4 Debconfs I’ve attended, and Argentina was an awesome setting, but it is good to be home. Pictures are here or here. Update: I’ve updated the Debconf8 set on Flickr with a panorama of the beach and skyline in front of the conference venue.

Publishing divergence from upstream

On Monday I attended Martin Krafft’s talk, Packaging with version control systems. Martin has started a project, coordinated via, to explore work patterns for packaging and cross-distro collaboration using distributed version control systems. This is a topic that I’ve spent a fair amount of time on so it was interesting to see Martin’s packaging work flow, and hear him discuss its evolution. Today I attended a Bof organized by Luciano Bello.

It tickles

Look, a bidet! And I used it!


It’s that time of year again! I’m at the airport soaking up a little free bandwidth (yes, it would seem that San Antonio International finally has free wifi), before boarding a flight to Houston, and then on to Buenos Aires. With the layover in Houston, the four wait before catching the bus to Mar del Plata, and the six hour bus ride itself, I’m looking at a full 24 hours of travel.

Can't Drive 55

I don’t know when this started, but I like it. Taken on I-10 East about 30 miles west of Junction Texas

TXOSS 2008

The Texas Open Source Symposium in San Angelo is a wrap. This was a small one day event in San Angelo organized by Jeremy Fluhmann (who did an excellent job by the way). I rather enjoyed it, and providing that it becomes an annual event (which I understand is the idea), I will certainly try and make it back next year. I gave a talk on Mercurial during the 11:00am slot.

Accomodations in San Angelo

I’m giving a talk on Saturday at the Texas Open Source Symposium entitled An Introduction to Mercurial. I’ll be driving there but hadn’t considered making a room reservation until today. How hard could it be to book a hotel room in San Angelo Texas, right? Sheesh. I started out with a Google maps search that included the zip code of the venue, and began working through the options ordered by proximity and user submitted reviews.

Oh Joy

Radeon R5xx 3D programming guide released NP: Running Out Of Pain, 12 Stones

Album Cover

Just when I convinced myself that I was done with memes. Oh well, here is my CD cover: To make yours: Use Wikipedia’s random article page to find your band name. Go to the Random Quotations Page. The last four words of the very last quote is your album name. Visit Flickr’s interesting photos page, the third image, no matter what, is your cover art. NP: Hear Me, Soil

Hell Hath No Fury Like ...

Earlier this year Lisa Nowak, a US Naval officer and former astronaut became infamous after she allegedly tried to kidnap her cheating boyfriend’s love interest. I pretty much ignored all of this back when it was considered news-worthy, but I just came across her Wikipedia page where it details the events of February 4-5: She had packed latex gloves, a black wig, a BB pistol and ammunition, pepper spray, a hooded tan trench coat, a 2-pound drilling hammer, black gloves, rubber tubing, plastic garbage bags, about US$585 in cash, her computer, an eight-inch Gerber folding knife and several other items before driving the 900 miles (1,450 km) to Florida.

Die Disk, Die

There’s been a lot of “Ubuntu kills laptop hard drives” buzz going around lately. The implication is that over aggressive power management is causing excessive load/unload cycles, exceeding a reasonable duty cycle, and drastically shortening the life of your drive. I run Debian unstable on my laptop but I looked into it anyway and sure enough it’s something which is effecting me as well. As Matthew Garrett points out, it doesn’t have anything to do with Ubuntu, Debian, or Linux in general, the culprit is aggressive power management settings in the drive firmware, or settings applied by the BIOS.

Not Ready To Be A Grandparent

One of my daughter’s electives this semester is Child Development. That’s the course where you’re issued an infant and graded on the condition of the child at the completion of the assignment. Return anything other than a healthy well-adjusted baby and your grade suffers. When I was in high school your “baby” was a raw egg. You were encouraged to personalize your egg/baby and many people did (drawn-on faces, clothing, facial hair, tattoos, etc).

Duplicity backport for Etch

I’ve been backing up all of my important machines to Amazon S3 using Duplicity for sometime now. It’s worked out really well but required just enough hackery to prevent me from providing straight forward instructions for others. I’m all about sharing the love so I submitted a new S3 backend to upstream using the excellent boto library from Mitch Garnaat, and I packaged boto for Debian. The new backend made it into the 0.

Free Software Driver for Radeon R5xx/R6xx

Wow. Less than two weeks ago AMD announced that they would be opening the specs for their graphics cards, a few days later they followed through, and yesterday a driver for R5xx/R6xx cards was released. How’s that for fast?

Why I Don't Do Comments

From time to time I get asked why my blog isn’t comment enabled. There are several reasons for this: It’s my blog. It’s here as way for me to share information, make comments, and express opinions. Incidentally, one of those opinions is that all of these objectives can be met by a site that doesn’t support comments. Comment sections make for a horrible discussion medium, I’d really rather get an email.

The Mad

Horror movies are always a stretch. Even the best horror movie requires that its viewers go out of their way to suspend disbelief. I think this is why there are so many bad horror movies, because the line between, “creepy”, and “oh for crying out loud …” is pretty damn thin. If you are making a horror movie and there is any chance that it’s going to fall into the latter category, you’d be well advised not to take yourself too seriously.

AMD to open up graphics specs

This is excellent news. I look forward to the day when I can be oblivious of my graphics adapter.

New Blog

I’ve been using pyblosxom for years. I chose it because it was dead simple and I wasn’t interested in a long-term commitment with a bloated PHP app, (or any PHP app for that matter). Unfortunately it has always been just a bit too simple. I went shopping for new blog software, but sadly things aren’t much better these days than they were when I originally set up my blog. There are a few more choices than there used to be, but the list of options is still pretty short if you aren’t willing to use PHP (again, I’m not).

New Puppy

My wife brought home a new puppy a couple of days ago, a German Shepard, her name is Bela. I should mention that this time, the act of “arriving home with an animal in tow” was not entirely unsanctioned, (although if it had been I’m pretty sure that things wouldn’t have turned out any differently). We had discussed for sometime getting another large breed dog that could hold its own against Ash and keep him company when we weren’t home.

When Technology and Stupidity Meet

Recently I sent an, (on-topic), email to a public mailing list that exists for the discussion of network management. Shortly after I received the following, (edited to protect the stupid). We have enabled a Spam (Unsolicited e-mails) filtering software package in an attempt to reduce unsolicited e-mails. The following e-mail was blocked because our filter detected an improper word or phrase. See the Rule section below for the word or phrase that stopped the transmission of the message.

Too Good To Be True

Today I received an SMS from a number that I did not recognize. babe... Do you think they watched us? I haven't woke up any place strange with hours or days unaccounted for recently so I was pretty sure this was a wrong number. It also occurred to me that this might be someone I know, collaborating with someone I didn't to have a little fun at my expense.

Etch Released On Time

Etch released yesterday. Awesome news. Now I rant. There is no one-size-fits-all release cycle. Some people wait on pins and needles for the next release of their favorite distro, and six months is almost more than they can bear. Others milk their vendor's support for a full six years and are upset when it is EOL'd and they are forced to upgrade. Releasing every six months and supporting each release for six years is a costly endeavor because it means floating up to twelve releases at once.

Being Prepared

Working on a DR plan? Make sure you read this.

Bad Form

After the draft version of GPLv3 came out, I intently followed all of the various discussions for about a month. It got pretty boring, pretty fast. Boring because it seems obvious to me that it isn't going to be earth shattering. Interpretations of the text range from "riddled with unacceptable restrictions" and "<< 3 incompatible", to "not significantly different from past versions". Whatever. I'm confident that when v3 goes gold and the dust settles, we'll all still be here.

No. Way.

Police hunt farting dissident. NP: Get Stoned, Hinder

Debconf6: Pictures

I'm back home now, but before settling into my normal routine I thought I'd take the time to get some pictures put up.

Debconf6: Day 6

Yesterday was a little disappointing. As the day wore on my upset stomach persisted despite the fact that I ate nothing but a handful of crackers. I seriously considered attending the formal dinner anyway, (and just passing on the food), but in the end decided against this based on the need for frequent and immediate access to a bathroom. I really should have went. As reported on a number of blogs, it turned out to be quite an evening.

Debconf6: Day 5

Yesterday was the day-trip to Xochicalco, the remains of a pre-hispanic city. Afterward, we had lunch at a restaurant nearby, and then it was on to Cuernavaca where we had about an hour to walk around the market and do some shopping. Of note is that yesterday was the first day since I've been here that I did not eat at least one meal at the open market in the village.

Debconf6: Day 2

I went to the marcado for breakfast this morning, quesedillas de papas y chorizo, and polo con queso. Damn fine. I was also able to score some melon agua, something I haven't had since I left El Paso. Deciphering the menu, placing my order, and paying was made awkward by the language barrier though. On that note, I've alway been irritated watching folks attempt to communicate with a non-English speaking person by talking very slowly, and very loudly.

Next Stop: Oaxtepec

Just soaking up a little of the free WiFi here at the airport and then I'm on my way to Mexico City. With any luck I'll meet up with peterS at the airport there, and then it's on to Oaxtepec for Debconf 6. It should be a lot of fun, I'm pumped.

Not safe for work

This link is not safe for work, (or anywhere for that matter). NP: Bleak, Opeth

My Two Cents

I’ve had people offer me their two cents before, but this is ridiculous.

Coming soon: ucarp 1.2-1

Coming soon to an archive near you, a shiny new version of ucarp, the first in more than a year. I've also put the packaging source up on my darcs repository.

Congrats Anthony Towns

Couldn't be happier with the outcome of this years DPL election, and I'm looking forward to some increased momentum!

Gee, I'm convinced.

"The theory of evolution does not and cannot explain so much about the universe that we know. For instance, when and how did water evolve? How does it happen that gravity can hold us to the Earth, and at the same time allow us to step up without any trouble? How did it happen that the Earth is spinning at the exact rate that keeps us from feeling that movement?"

Truth In Advertising

Domino's has been running television advertisements for what they call the "555 Deal ", 3 medium one topping pizzas for $5 each. They also claim that this provides you with an unlimited number of combinations. I'm not sure where these folks learned math, but according to their website they only have 10 different toppings. That 10^3, or 1,000 possible combinations, a long way from "unlimited". Tsk, tsk, tsk Domino's.

I'm Pathetic

I tried running this morning. Words cannot express the shame. I am thankful however that I chose to run early enough that most of my neighbors were sound asleep and did not witness the tragic event, and that I was able to resume normal breathing after about an hour. NP: Pain Redefined, Disturbed

My Repositories

Darcs: I am now keeping my darcs repositories online. You can access the viewer here, or get/pull using<repo name>. As always, patches are very welcome. Debian Packages: My package repositories have been up for years and it is high time I said something. DON'T USE THEM. Seriously. I use these repositories for development versions of packages I am working on, or backports for personal use, and they are quite often poorly maintained.

General Resolution: GFDL Position Statement

[ 1 ] Choice 1: GFDL-licensed works are unsuitable for main in all cases [ 3 ] Choice 2: GFDL-licensed works without unmodifiable sections are free [ ] Choice 3: GFDL-licensed works are compatible with the DFSG [needs 3:1] [ 4 ] Choice 4: Further discussion Despite the creative interpretations of the GFDL and the DFSG that some have offered, I still do not believe that the GFDL meets the requirements for inclusion in Debian main.

Progress Report: A Reduction in Mass

Myself and five co-workers setup an 8 week weight loss contest with a $50 buy-in, winner takes all, (the final weigh-in was today). Who won this little contest is unimportant, what is important is that caring people came together and supported each other in developing a healthier lifestyle ... oh who the hell am I kidding, I WON!! HAHA SUCKERS!! PAY UP!! NP: Albatross, Corrosion of Conformity

New OpenNMS packages

I've uploaded Sarge packages for 1.2.7 to the usual place. If you are waiting on packages for 1.3.x, you'll need to be patient for a bit longer. Packaging for the unstable release is being completely refactored, and as always, my free time is subject to the vagaries of a full-time job, a family, other projects, etc.

Health Advisory

We interrupt your regularly scheduled broadcast for this important health and safety advisory. NP: Unreal, Soil

Victims of Java

While skimming through my feeds this morning my attention was drawn to one article title in particular ... The actual article which can be found here, has since had the title changed. Probably a good idea, I can't be the only one that found the title funny, and the article is anything but. NP: Paradise, Tesla

A Reduction in Mass

As previously stated, I have resolved to reduce the effect of Earth's gravity on my person, and in the interest of full disclosure I have decided to post my progress on the blog. A bar graph is now visable directly below my hackergotchi, the scale of which is an arbitrary value representing the Effect as of the first of this year. For each arbitrary decrease in Effect the bar will shrink by an arbitrary amount.

AOL Safety and Security Center

There is an AOL commercial that has been running pretty regularly on cable TV here. A man stands on stage and speaks to an auditorium full of people. He tells them that with broadband, the attackers come at you faster, 200 new viruses are created each day, spyware slows computers by up to 500 percent, and phishing can lead to identity theft. As he runs through this dreaded list, you can hear the sounds of anguish and despair from the audience, and when the camera pans there are those in attendance that look physically ill.

Obligatory New Year's Post

It seems like The Thing To Do, create a new post on the first day of the year to reflect on the past year and make resolutions for the coming year. The problem is, I suck at this sort of thing. My mind always goes blank when trying to come up with events of significance to me, and I loathe the idea of going public with resolutions because I have a dismal track record for keeping them.

All data points to Bush 'failure'

Open up a browser and go to Enter the word 'failure', or the words 'miserable failure' into the search box, then hit the "I'm Feeling Lucky" button. More at BBC's website. NP: Swamp Song, Tool

My Middle Earth Race

To which race of Middle Earth do you belong? NP: My Wings, Lacuna Coil

Recipes From Hell

First up, I offer you a link to a story about an unusual way to make beer, using yeast harvested from the brewer's own vagina. You down wit OPB, (Original Pussy Beer)? Next up, From a friend that just had to google for more on the subject, we have a link about a well-intentioned but misguided gentleman and his process for making yogurt. Things that make you go ewwww. NP: Heart of Dawn, Reflections of Nature

Riddle Me This

My wife's/daughter's dog, Bella, is a real pain in the ass at night. She has a habit of barking at nothing in particular for hours at a time which never fails to keep me awake, (and as I often imagine, half the neighborhood). I consider myself an "Animal Person" but don't mind telling you that I have laid awake at night dreaming up all sorts of ways of doing this dog in, most involving the use of my bare hands.

Two memes in a row

I’m thinking about starting up a separate blog just for posting memes to.


A few observations/thoughts on California, (and San Francisco). At any given time California as a whole seems best described as either: On fire. Sliding down a muddy hill. Shaking hard. Any combination of 1 through 3. I’d be curious to know how much coal is being burned to generate the electricity needed to power the “zero emissions” electric street cars and passenger vehicles that seem to be so popular here.

Linux World Expo

Today was the last day of LinuxWorld. I'm tired. The plan is to lay low for the rest of the night, drink a few beers in the hotel room, take in some free HBO and turn in a little earlier than I have the rest of week. All in all I'd say that LinuxWorld lived up to the most cynical of my expectations, more cheap gimmicks, booth bimbos, and swag swapping than substance.

On my way to LWE

So this year I managed two geeky trips, the first of course to Debconf in July, and now LinuxWorld, (props to Paul for hooking me up on both :). I've never been to a LinuxWorld before so I am not entirely sure what to expect but it should be fun. Presently, (15:14 CDT), I am at the Airport waiting for my flight. Any other airport in the western world and I'd have connectivity, this being San Antonio however, I am working offline.

Debconf5: I made it

After countless grueling hours and three different planes/airports, I am finally here. Barely coherent from lack of sleep, but here nonetheless. A few initial observations: Helsinki is beautiful, (or at least what I have seen of it thus far). Very green, very clean, and very orderly. Thus far, at a quarter after 11 local time, (UTC+2), the Sun has refused to set, (well, it is dusk, but it is dusk at eleven o’clock for crying out loud).

Parental Sanctuary

The wife and I and our two kids have lived in our present house for several years now. At the very front of the house, first room you pass when you walk in, there is a sprawling space that I assume was intended as a formal living/dining area. We've failed to do anything useful with this room in the entire time we've been here ... until now. I was walking through the house one day, and as is often the case, I found myself mildly irked by the presence of a dependent at every turn.

Logcheck rules shipped outside of Logcheck

A recent thread on logcheck-devel suggests that rules distributed outside of logcheck are more trouble than they are worth, and that it would be in the best of interest of our users to start an initiative to hijack them for maintenance by the logcheck development team. Among the problems listed are sub-standard quality, user confusion about where to submit bug reports, and a lack of complete rule sets for people that run logcheck on centralized logging configurations

Sarge Released!

Sarge has been released! Short live Sarge! ;)

opennms 1.2.3-1 for Woody and Sid/Sarge

Debian packages for OpenNMS 1.2.3 have been uploaded to the projects repository. Upgrades from previous versions of 1.2 should be a snap, but as usual, please make sure you check out the release notes before you get started

It's official!

My GPG key was added to the key-ring today, it's official, I am now a Debian Developer!

Blade Runner

It had been years since the last time I watched Blade Runner, so given the opportunity, I was eager to check it out again. I always get a kick out of watching older sci-fi movies because the more time passes, the more apparent the inaccuracies become in the depiction of life in the future. Since Blade Runner was released in 1982 and is set in 2019, it's really starting to become apparent just how far off they were.

Blog Rework

Suffering from something of an obsessive personality, I am never quite happy and can't help but second-guess, rearrange and refactor things over and over again. This can be a little frustrating because often when I go back to look at the life-cycle of a work, I find that despite all my attempts at perfection, substantial improvements are rarely made. You'd think that having identified this personality flaw, (years ago in fact), that I'd be well on my way to fixing it.

What Kind of American English Do You Speak?

Your Linguistic Profile: 75% General American English 10% Dixie 10% Upper Midwestern 5% Yankee 0% Midwestern What Kind of American English Do You Speak?

opennms 1.2.2-1 for woody and sid/sarge

OpenNMS 1.2.2 was tagged late last week, packages for woody and sid/sarge are now available. Enjoy. deb debian/opennms (unstable|stable) deb-src debian/opennms (unstable|stable)

New Debian Packages: opennms 1.2.1-1woody

Tarus tagged the latest release of the stable branch yesterday and new Debian packages for Woody can be found on Packages for Sid/Sarge should be available in the next couple of days.

opennms 1.2.0-1 packages available

Hot on the heals of 1.1.5 Tarus has tagged 1.2.0, the new stable/production release of OpenNMS. Packages for Debian Sid have been uploaded to the repository on If you are waiting for Woody packages, they should be along shortly, (no later than tomorrow afternoon). Update: Woody packages have been uploaded. deb debian/opennms (unstable|stable) deb-src debian/opennms (unstable|stable)

opennms 1.1.5-1 packages available

Debian packages of OpenNMS 1.1.5 for sid and woody have been uploaded to deb debian/opennms (unstable|stable) deb-src debian/opennms (unstable|stable)

New Debian Packages: ucarp 1.1-2 and asmon 0.70-1

A new ucarp package has been created to address #284891, (parameter order of upscript/downscript breaks ucarp). I hope to get an upload sponsored soon, but in the meantime they can be snagged from my repository by anyone interested. Brad Hall pushed out a new upstream release of asmon and I have updated my package. For the most part this release just includes patches already applied to 0.60 in Sarge. Until a sponsored upload happens, 0.

opennms 1.1.4-1woody for Debian stable

Woody back-ports have been uploaded, enjoy. deb debian/opennms stable deb-src debian/opennms stable

opennms 1.1.4-1 for Debian unstable

Fresh off of my surgery induced sabbatical and typing at, (if I am lucky), about 30 WPM, I’ve put together a set of packages for OpenNMS 1.1.4. If you’ve been waiting for Woody back-ports, stay tuned, they should be along shortly. deb debian/opennms unstable deb-src debian/opennms unstable

First, the good news ...

I was nicely surprised with an early birthday present from my wife today, a 20GB iPod, (and there is an iTrip on the way). In the event that you've never laid hands on an iPod, let me tell you that one of the coolest things about them is the innovative interface that permits simple, one-handed operation, even more convenient considering that I go in for hand surgery first thing tomorrow.

New xsupplicant package uploaded, 1.0.1-1

A package for the new upstream release of xsupplicant, 1.0.1, has been uploaded to Sid. Many thanks to Robert Joerdens for his kind sponsorship.

6 Hacking Days Left ...

On Thursday the 28th I go in for outpatient surgery on my left wrist, a procedure called "Carpal Release", payment for the negative Karma that has accumulated from years of bad ergonomics. Now that it is getting a little closer, the inevitability of the whole thing is starting to sink in a little more, (up to this point it hasn't really registered mentally as much more than an impending tooth cleaning, or an appointment to get my hair cut).

Firefox rocks

I recently upgraded to the new Firefox 1.0 Preview and was both jazzed about the new find dialog/toobar, and a little bummed out that Type Ahead Find had apparently gone missing, (the keyword being "apparently"). As it turns out, Type Ahead Find has been replaced with what is now called Find As You Type. The good news is that the functionality is a significant improvement, even if the name is not.

Iran child killer to be executed

Working through my RSS feed of BBC News this morning I came across this interesting article about the sentencing of a serial killer in Iran. For his crimes he will receive the following sentences: Death for two cases of rape. 15 years in prison for kidnaping. 3 years in prison for seven counts of premeditated murder. 100 lashes for "crimes against the dead", (which I can only assume means necrophilia).

Fired For Running SETI

I think everyone has seen the signature screensaver, the tell-tale sign of a machine crunching packets for SETI. I've even seen a few running on workstations in a corporate environment. However, running it on a production server is pretty dumb, and not surprisingly, it could cost you your job. Of particular note is this choice quote from the BOFH, "I understand his desire to search for intelligent life in outer space, because obviously he doesn't find it in the mirror in the morning.

Rental Cars

I finally got around to taking my truck to the body shop this afternoon, (a not-my-fault-fender-bender), so I am now stuck in a rental for the next few days. I realize it is pathetic to whine about, but it really does suck to be without the vehicle I actually choose to drive, and instead be stuck with a drab silver roller skate that smells like someone has smoked 172 cartons of cigarettes inside with the windows rolled up.

New asmon in unstable

A shiny new asmon package that supports Linux kernel 2.6 is now in unstable. Many thanks to Todd Troxell for his kind sponsorship!


ITA: asmon

I’ve been running WindowMaker on at least one of my workstations for years, and for most of that time I’ve used a little dockapp called asmon that monitors systems resources and displays things like CPU usage, load average, and memory utilization. This weekend I noticed that on my amd64 box, (runs kernel 2.6), that most of it was blank. The culprit, changes to /proc/stat and /proc/meminfo, (pretty much the same deal as net-snmp).

ucarp 1.1-1 test package created

Frank Denis announced the release of ucarp 1.1 a few days ago so I've updated my Debian package. I plan to test it a little more, but barring any issues I will probably seek sponsorship later this week. For anyone that wants it before then ... deb unstable ucarp

ucarp 1.1-1 test packages created

Frank Denis announced the release of ucarp 1.1 a few days ago so I've updated my Debian package. I plan to test it a little more, but barring any issues I will probably seek sponsorship sometime later this week. For anyone that wants it before then ... deb unstable ucarp

xsupplicant 1.0-1 in Sarge

Sweet, I just noticed that xsupplicant has propagated to Sarge. Barring any unforeseeable, (read: release critical), issues, it should be a part of the next stable release of Debian!

Changes in Kernel 2.6 break net-snmp

Ran across some nasty breakage today whereby the version of net-snmp in Woody, (4.2.3), would segfault when walking a certain table. As it turns out, changes in the kernel were to blame, page in/out, and swap in/out having been moved from /proc/stat to /proc/vmstat in recent kernel versions. I came up with a quick fix, (fixes net-snmp for kernel 2.6, but breaks it on kernel 2.4 :), which should be enough to hold me over until my production machines are upgraded to Sarge and net-snmp 5.

xsupplicant 1.0-1 in Sid

I got a few days behind in my email and failed to notice that my xsupplicant package was accepted and is now unstable. With a little luck, it might still make it in time for Sarge. w00t! Many thanks to Robert Jordens who was kind enough to sponsor it!

Insensitive Bastards!

An article on talks about the millions of dollars Microsoft has had to pay out for cultural, religious, and gender related insensitivity. Among some of the gems, "A Spanish-language version of Windows XP, destined for Latin American markets, asked users to select their gender between "not specified," "male" or "bitch," because of an unfortunate error in translation." Bahahahaha ...

What's Your Song?

Yet another stupid test … Take the What’s Your Song? quiz and visit Castle Diqueria.

New OpenNMS Debian Packages: 1.1.3-3woody

New packages have been uploaded to the Debian repository on Same deal as the last post, only this time for Woody. deb debian/opennms stable deb-src debian/opennms stable

New OpenNMS Debian Packages: 1.1.3-3 (sid)

New packages for Sid have been uploaded to the Debian repository on No real changes to speak of, basically a couple of quirky bugs were discovered shortly after 1.1.3 was tagged and a second revision was rushed out soon after. Woody packages are forthcoming. deb debian/opennms unstable deb-src debian/opennms unstable

cdrecord contains invariant code

From cdrecord/cdrecord.c of cdrtools 2.01a36: /* * You are not allowed to modify or remove the call to “linuxcheck()”. * I am sorry that I am forced to do things like this, but defective * versions of cdrecord cause a lot of work load to me and it seems * to be impossible to otherwise convince SuSE to cooperate. * As people contact me and bother me with the related problems, * it is obvious that SuSE is violating subsection 6 in the preamble of * the GPL.

Nifty Dell DRAC Feature

At my place of employment, I work almost exclusively with Dell PowerEdge servers. One of the more interesting features, (at least on the ones we have), is the DRAC, (stands for Dell Remote Access Card), basically a little embedded appliance that runs a web-server which, (among other things), gives you access to the console via VNC. Needless to say, these things are a real life-saver if for some reason you find yourself lacking connectivity to a machine and need out-of-band access to troubleshoot.

The Day After Tomorrow

Tomorrow, what a piece of shit. Basically, global warming has resulted in the melting of polar ice caps, which in turn disrupts the northern Atlantic current and triggers massive climate change. The whole Northern Hemisphere is screwed, everyone is really cold. WTF? Weren’t the melting ice caps supposed to turn the world into one big ocean sailed by Road Warrior style bands of pirates until an unlikely hero in the form of a gill-sporting loner rises up to protect a child messiah and lead the people to dry land?