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User Journal

Journal Journal: Pretty In Pink

Just watched it for the first time. Nostalgia city. They should have kept the original ending.

User Journal

Journal Journal: The Other Side of the Table 6

In recent times I've been fortunate enough to be the one conducting interviews instead of the one being interviewed. It's been an eye-opening experience. The first few times I was very nervous in case I asked a wrong/stupid question. I wouldn't want to put someone off or give a bad impression of the company.

Without wanting to sound conceited or pompous, I have been absolutely astounded at the apparent lack of ability of some candidates.

Put it this way: I'm completely self taught. I have spoken to people who are claiming to have developed software for nearly 20 years in some cases and make a big song and dance about all the hardware they've programmed for, and all the fancy IDEs, static analysis tools, industry standards they've followed etc. and about their wonderful C and C++ skills.

But what really beats me is how anyone can have been coding for longer than a fortnight and not know what an array is, or to have been doing C++ for 15 years and not know about parameterised types.

Privacy

Journal Journal: DARK SIDE OF THE MOON 7

NSA Trigger Words for PRISM:

This is an (admittedly huge) list of words that supposedly cause the NSA to flag you as a potential terrorist if you over-use them in an email.

We found this on Reddit, where James Bamford, a veteran reporter with 30 years experience covering the NSA, is answering questions from the community. This list comes from Reddit user GloriousDawn, who found it on Attrition.org, a site that very closely follows the security industry.

http://attrition.org/misc/keywords.html

Waihopai, INFOSEC, Information Security, Information Warfare, IW, IS, Privacy, Information Terrorism, Terrorism Defensive Information, defence Information Warfare, Offensive Information, Offensive Information Warfare, National Information Infrastructure, InfoSec, Reno, Compsec, Computer Terrorism, Firewalls, Secure Internet Connections, ISS, Passwords, DefCon V, Hackers, Encryption, Espionage, USDOJ, NSA, CIA, S/Key, SSL, FBI, Secert Service, USSS, Defcon, Military, White House, Undercover, NCCS, Mayfly, PGP, PEM, RSA, Perl-RSA, MSNBC, bet, AOL, AOL TOS, CIS, CBOT, AIMSX, STARLAN, 3B2, BITNET, COSMOS, DATTA, E911, FCIC, HTCIA, IACIS, UT/RUS, JANET, JICC, ReMOB, LEETAC, UTU, VNET, BRLO, BZ, CANSLO, CBNRC, CIDA, JAVA, Active X, Compsec 97, LLC, DERA, Mavricks, Meta-hackers, ^?, Steve Case, Tools, Telex, Military Intelligence, Scully, Flame, Infowar, Bubba, Freeh, Archives, Sundevil, jack, Investigation, ISACA, NCSA, spook words, Verisign, Secure, ASIO, Lebed, ICE, NRO, Lexis-Nexis, NSCT, SCIF, FLiR, Lacrosse, Flashbangs, HRT, DIA, USCOI, CID, BOP, FINCEN, FLETC, NIJ, ACC, AFSPC, BMDO, NAVWAN, NRL, RL, NAVWCWPNS, NSWC, USAFA, AHPCRC, ARPA, LABLINK, USACIL, USCG, NRC, ~, CDC, DOE, FMS, HPCC, NTIS, SEL, USCODE, CISE, SIRC, CIM, ISN, DJC, SGC, UNCPCJ, CFC, DREO, CDA, DRA, SHAPE, SACLANT, BECCA, DCJFTF, HALO, HAHO, FKS, 868, GCHQ, DITSA, SORT, AMEMB, NSG, HIC, EDI, SAS, SBS, UDT, GOE, DOE, GEO, Masuda, Forte, AT, GIGN, Exon Shell, CQB, CONUS, CTU, RCMP, GRU, SASR, GSG-9, 22nd SAS, GEOS, EADA, BBE, STEP, Echelon, Dictionary, MD2, MD4, MDA, MYK, 747,777, 767, MI5, 737, MI6, 757, Kh-11, Shayet-13, SADMS, Spetznaz, Recce, 707, CIO, NOCS, Halcon, Duress, RAID, Psyops, grom, D-11, SERT, VIP, ARC, S.E.T. Team, MP5k, DREC, DEVGRP, DF, DSD, FDM, GRU, LRTS, SIGDEV, NACSI, PSAC, PTT, RFI, SIGDASYS, TDM. SUKLO, SUSLO, TELINT, TEXTA. ELF, LF, MF, VHF, UHF, SHF, SASP, WANK, Colonel, domestic disruption, smuggle, 15kg, nitrate, Pretoria, M-14, enigma, Bletchley Park, Clandestine, nkvd, argus, afsatcom, CQB, NVD, Counter Terrorism Security, Rapid Reaction, Corporate Security, Police, sniper, PPS, ASIS, ASLET, TSCM, Security Consulting, High Security, Security Evaluation, Electronic Surveillance, MI-17, Counterterrorism, spies, eavesdropping, debugging, interception, COCOT, rhost, rhosts, SETA, Amherst, Broadside, Capricorn, Gamma, Gorizont, Guppy, Ionosphere, Mole, Keyhole, Kilderkin, Artichoke, Badger, Cornflower, Daisy, Egret, Iris, Hollyhock, Jasmine, Juile, Vinnell, B.D.M.,Sphinx, Stephanie, Reflection, Spoke, Talent, Trump, FX, FXR, IMF, POCSAG, Covert Video, Intiso, r00t, lock picking, Beyond Hope, csystems, passwd, 2600 Magazine, Competitor, EO, Chan, Alouette,executive, Event Security, Mace, Cap-Stun, stakeout, ninja, ASIS, ISA, EOD, Oscor, Merlin, NTT, SL-1, Rolm, TIE, Tie-fighter, PBX, SLI, NTT, MSCJ, MIT, 69, RIT, Time, MSEE, Cable & Wireless, CSE, Embassy, ETA, Porno, Fax, finks, Fax encryption, white noise, pink noise, CRA, M.P.R.I., top secret, Mossberg, 50BMG, Macintosh Security, Macintosh Internet Security, Macintosh Firewalls, Unix Security, VIP Protection, SIG, sweep, Medco, TRD, TDR, sweeping, TELINT, Audiotel, Harvard, 1080H, SWS, Asset, Satellite imagery, force, Cypherpunks, Coderpunks, TRW, remailers, replay, redheads, RX-7, explicit, FLAME, Pornstars, AVN, Playboy, Anonymous, Sex, chaining, codes, Nuclear, 20, subversives, SLIP, toad, fish, data havens, unix, c, a, b, d, the, Elvis, quiche, DES, 1*, NATIA, NATOA, sneakers, counterintelligence, industrial espionage, PI, TSCI, industrial intelligence, H.N.P., Juiliett Class Submarine, Locks, loch, Ingram Mac-10, sigvoice, ssa, E.O.D., SEMTEX, penrep, racal, OTP, OSS, Blowpipe, CCS, GSA, Kilo Class, squib, primacord, RSP, Becker, Nerd, fangs, Austin, Comirex, GPMG, Speakeasy, humint, GEODSS, SORO, M5, ANC, zone, SBI, DSS, S.A.I.C., Minox, Keyhole, SAR, Rand Corporation, Wackenhutt, EO, Wackendude, mol, Hillal, GGL, CTU, botux, Virii, CCC, Blacklisted 411, Internet Underground, XS4ALL, Retinal Fetish, Fetish, Yobie, CTP, CATO, Phon-e, Chicago Posse, l0ck, spook keywords, PLA, TDYC, W3, CUD, CdC, Weekly World News, Zen, World Domination, Dead, GRU, M72750, Salsa, 7, Blowfish, Gorelick, Glock, Ft. Meade, press-release, Indigo, wire transfer, e-cash, Bubba the Love Sponge, Digicash, zip, SWAT, Ortega, PPP, crypto-anarchy, AT&T, SGI, SUN, MCI, Blacknet, Middleman, KLM, Blackbird, plutonium, Texas, jihad, SDI, Uzi, Fort Meade, supercomputer, bullion, 3, Blackmednet, Propaganda, ABC, Satellite phones, Planet-1, cryptanalysis, nuclear, FBI, Panama, fissionable, Sears Tower, NORAD, Delta Force, SEAL, virtual, Dolch, secure shell, screws, Black-Ops, Area51, SABC, basement, data-haven, black-bag, TEMPSET, Goodwin, rebels, ID, MD5, IDEA, garbage, market, beef, Stego, unclassified, utopia, orthodox, Alica, SHA, Global, gorilla, Bob, Pseudonyms, MITM, grey Data, VLSI, mega, Leitrim, Yakima, Sugar Grove, Cowboy, Gist, 8182, Gatt, Platform, 1911, Geraldton, UKUSA, veggie, 3848, Morwenstow, Consul, Oratory, Pine Gap, Menwith, Mantis, DSD, BVD, 1984, Flintlock, cybercash, government, hate, speedbump, illuminati, president, freedom, cocaine, $, Roswell, ESN, COS, E.T., credit card, b9, fraud, assasinate, virus, anarchy, rogue, mailbomb, 888, Chelsea, 1997, Whitewater, MOD, York, plutonium, William Gates, clone, BATF, SGDN, Nike, Atlas, Delta, TWA, Kiwi, PGP 2.6.2., PGP 5.0i, PGP 5.1, siliconpimp, Lynch, 414, Face, Pixar, IRIDF, eternity server, Skytel, Yukon, Templeton, LUK, Cohiba, Soros, Standford, niche, 51, H&K, USP, ^, sardine, bank, EUB, USP, PCS, NRO, Red Cell, Glock 26, snuffle, Patel, package, ISI, INR, INS, IRS, GRU, RUOP, GSS, NSP, SRI, Ronco, Armani, BOSS, Chobetsu, FBIS, BND, SISDE, FSB, BfV, IB, froglegs, JITEM, SADF, advise, TUSA, HoHoCon, SISMI, FIS, MSW, Spyderco, UOP, SSCI, NIMA, MOIS, SVR, SIN, advisors, SAP, OAU, PFS, Aladdin, chameleon man, Hutsul, CESID, Bess, rail gun, Peering, 17, 312, NB, CBM, CTP, Sardine, SBIRS, SGDN, ADIU, DEADBEEF, IDP, IDF, Halibut, SONANGOL, Flu, &, Loin, PGP 5.53, EG&G, AIEWS, AMW, WORM, MP5K-SD, 1071, WINGS, cdi, DynCorp, UXO, Ti, THAAD, package, chosen, PRIME, SURVIAC

User Journal

Journal Journal: windows vista broken on dad's laptop 3

well isn't this fun, http://imgbin.org/index.php?page=image&id=14139 first we have windows take 45 minutes to start, though i cheated and used taskman to start things cause i wasn't gonna wait for windows... http://imgbin.org/index.php?page=image&id=14140 then we have windows load but norton complains because i attempted to run norton while windows was booting. http://imgbin.org/index.php?page=image&id=14141 finally we have nav refusing to scan while hijackthis fails to work. i have tried in the past to get my parents onto linux but they didn't like it.
internet explorer fails firefox runs, but ugh it is not pretty, also i can't get my dad to use anything for browser script stopping, and my mom won't run popup blockers. sigh. i want to format and reinstall and of course use linux to backup and restore important files but that also involves finding the install dvds.

User Journal

Journal Journal: CiviCRM Lesson of the Day

I have a little project this summer that I am building on top of CiviCRM running on Drupal. Our organization uses CAS for single sign on. And it's nice on the account of there is an easy to install and configure Drupal CAS module that just drops in oh so pretty.
 
I set up the site I'll be using to work on the project and I installed Drupal, installed CiviCRM and then I installed CAS. Then I logged in via CAS and that created a second user. I made that second user an administrator and started to mess about. The problem was I couldn't get to a lot of things, the menus (or the lack thereof) didn't make a whole lot of sense. I've never really dug into CiviCRM before so I wasn't sure what was up.
 
  Then today I took another stab at it and decided to turn CAS off and log in with my initial account. And it was all sunshine and happiness. Stuff worked, whole new menus appeared. Stayed logged in there, turned CAS back on and logged in with the other account in another browser and it's borked. I was a tad stumped. I dug around, looked at records in the database, and in general pondered. On a lark I pulled up the CAS user's profile in Drupal and filled in the fields that the module didn't fill in when it created the user. That did it. I'm not sure exactly why. Not sure if I will bother finding out. Just need to make sure going forward profiles are completed. Now you know too.

The Matrix

Journal Journal: Liquidating Todashev

"APB: At Least Two Missing "Law Enforcement Personnel," Last Seen at Ibragim Todashev Homicide Scene". The 'law enforcement personnel' written out of the story are, of course, the assassination team.

To summarize, the FBI was disturbed by the first interview, as Todashev indicated he knew the brothers were set up. It was thus imperative to:

1. reinterview Todashev to find out what he knew, and more importantly, identify whoever else knew; and
2. liquidate Todashev.

Why didn't they just arrange for a drive-by shooting, or a home invasion/murder? They needed to interview him to find out who else they had to murder, and then immediately liquidate Todashev before he could talk to anyone else. The incompetence of the liquidation was probably caused by Todashev realizing what was going to happen, fighting for his life rather effectively (as he was a trained fighter), resulting in the panicked murder, and a most ludicrous attempt at a cover-up.

http://xymphora.blogspot.com/2013/06/assassination.html

Security

Journal Journal: LuxTrust on Ubuntu 12.04 LTS 3

Intro: I was complaining on social networks that the LuxTrust hardware tokens are forced upon all teachers in my country. That's a huge problem because I got my mother in law on Linux and this thing is very very badly supported. Officially the website say "Ubuntu 10.04" supported. Funnily enough, their website also doesn't mention Windows 8 as supported. Anyway, they're a useless company in my eyes... I wish them the most ill possible.

Here is my little test run:

So, I decided to test the LuxTrust support under Ubuntu GNU/Linux 12.04 LTS i686[1]. I installed a virtual machine from the ISO, and from that blank slate, I wanted to try how "easy" this is. Well, there you go, I downloaded their "middleware".

The good news: Ubuntu Software center presented it as installable and it installed it without apparently problems after clicking the Install. Good! If this were enough, I'd say "it's supported"[2]. Let's test it. So, I go to CCP-Connect, one of the few banks known to work well with LuxTrust under Linux. The thing needs Java[3], and I as expected, and I don't have it installed. I get redirected, at once to http://www.oracle.com/java. The sheer number of options is intimidating. If I weren't very familiar with Java, I wouldn't have a clue what to select. Now, this might be P&T Luxembourg doing it wrong, but the site you should send end-users to is http://www.java.com/. Never send an end-user to a developer site, it's a horrible mistake.

Anyway, I do what is needed and surprise[4], there is no Oracle Java for Ubuntu. A RPM and a tar.gz. Now, if I weren't who I am, I would be blocked again. So, I download the tar.gz and I'll be honest to you, dropped right to the command line, tar zxvf later to /opt, and doing an update-alternatives --install of the new java, oh, and while we're at it, make a symlink for the plugin [5]. Now, of course, I understand it's Oracle whom I have a problem with, but I bet that you won't get this documentation at LuxTrust and they sure as hell can't walk you though this. Of course, the way I did this, I'm now responsible for updating my Java. Of course, there is a PPA, but can I trust that? (I'll have to, if I want automatic updates, but you get the point, no?)

Now, going back to the banking site, it seems to run. I get to the point where I have to select their product and then a screen saying there is no signing stick. (Obviously, I don't have one.)

For kicks 'n giggles, I tried OpenJDK/JRE with the icedtea plugin. No surprise, but that doesn't work: gray pane instead of the applet, but other java applets works fine. So, Oracle Java mandatory. Heck, even Minecraft runs op OpenJDK for crying out loud!

At least their middleware didn't install some kind of daemon, which I what I would have expected with something called "Middleware".
Funny also: The Oracle Java VM warns you from running applets all the time, even the test applet on the java.com site. Scary. Well, not to me, but to a normal end user.

[1] i686 for a good reason, from what I read getting it to run is significantly harder on amd64.
[2] I knew that it wasn't going to work
[3] Wait, isn't that what dependencies are for... Naaaah, dependencies. Who uses that?
[4] Not really, I've been here before
[5] Probably better use update-alternatives for that one too!

User Journal

Journal Journal: Weird Youtube Chrome Thing 2

I have the oddest thing going on. Youtube videos that I play in Chrome on my Fedora box give the people high pitched voices. If I switch to Firefox on the same machine it is fine. So strange. I don't know if things are slightly sped up or what. Right now I just watch youtube videos in Firefox. I think vimeo or other sites work fine.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Netflix 4

There are 3 Netflix generated series that I know of - Lilyhammer, House of Cards and the 4th season of Arrested Development.

Lillyhammer looked a little interesting to me but I never got around to watching it. From what I saw it looked like it would get violent and that meant I'd be watching alone and I had other stuff I wanted to see with that time. Breaking Bad being the main thing. I only have so much free time for shows and even less for stuff on my own.

My wife was interested in House of Cards so we've checked it out. I don't know if we'll keep watching. It has some good acting and I really enjoy a lot of it. But there are portions that just push too far into my 'icky' zone. I think a lot of crummy stuff goes on in Washington but I'd like to hope that so much of it isn't concentrated into one couple. And if so, I probably just don't want to know. When episodes finish I just feel sad and I don't see that getting better. At first I liked it because no one was getting killed so that made it kind of relaxing. But it's gotten a little too gross for me. And I'm having a hard time with how he rubs what he does in the face of so many. I think the guy would go down eventually if that were the case. Anyway - I may just watch it occasionally to see if it gets better or if I get completely turned off to it. (so I just reread this in the preview and I'm cracking up - don't want to spoil anything for anyone who hasn't watched but a lot of unintentional double entendre there.)

I never watched Arrested Development before beyond a couple episodes. A while back I started from the beginning and it just cracks me up. I find myself laughing so hard that sometimes I have to go back a bit because I miss stuff. I am in the third season now and we'll see how the new fourth season holds up. It is one of the funniest shows I've seen in a while. Right up there with the earlier parts of the American version of The Office.

The part that is interesting in a way is that on the one hand, this platform lets shows get made that I would never have seen on regular broadcast television. But it also lets the creators take it in directions that are more than I can handle from entertainment with some of the content. Not held back they can pretty easily exceed my rather conservative take on violence, sex, and morality in general. I can handle all that pretty easily in comedy because it is satire or farcical but when it is more serious I have a hard time. So I am at once hopeful for a Netflix original sci-fi series while at the same time nervous about the prospect. Not that it in some way harms me if someone makes a show I don't watch.

User Journal

Journal Journal: GameChanger.io

This is about baseball and feel free to read or ignore accordingly.
 
My son plays on a little league team. This year we started using the software associated with GameChanger.io And I have to say that it is really slick.
 
I should start with an admission that I never learned to score baseball games. I don't know what little things to write in the little boxes and other than K for strike I don't know what it all means. Of course beyond knowing how to fill in a score sheet there is all the knowledge required of knowing what the heck just happened and what you call it. A lot of it is subjective but not all of it - lots of rules and such come into play.
 
GameChanger doesn't make it so that anyone can sit down and score a game but it makes it a heck of a lot easier. First off - you don't need to know the little symbols and such any more. The app for scoring is very visible and walks you through what is happening. Now I'll be the first to say that a person who knows what they are doing with a scoring sheet has got to be faster on paper than a person using the app. I'll give that - and learning can't be that hard. But after the game is over, this thing is awesome.
 
Once the game is over I go home and sync the data. (If I run the app on my phone with data connectivity then it's constantly updating and people could even "watch" the game on-line.) Then I instantly have access to a wide array of stats for the game. It also generates a summary of the game that reads like a newspaper report - highlighting players who had a big influence and key plays. I have to think this thing is popular in the U.S. The headline to our last recap was "The DiÃsd Dodgers (Majors) can't capture shootout, lose 14-12 to the Ãrd Indians" It has a lot of highlights naming specific kids.
 
Another cool feature is that it's possible to have 3 coaches/admins for free. So we don't have to pay to use this. If parents want full access to all data they need to subscribe. I think it's a great business model and I know we sure appreciate being able to use it. Getting new equipment and even new balls is so expensive for us here that we appreciate anywhere we can save. And when I have any extra we try to invest that in outfitting the Hungarian kids with better equipment.
 
It's some really well done software and if you are involved in any kind of youth or recreational baseball program I really recommend checking it out.
 
It's funny having baseball here. On the one hand I'm stoked my son gets to play at all. We didn't expect that. The down side is that the level of play is really low. We lost last night because we finally played a team that wasn't horrible. Until now we've been undefeated but not because we are all that good. It was good for the kids to see that. I think they knew it intellectually but not in their gut. We play some other better teams next week-end.
 
My son had a great game except for the fact that he pitched for the second time ever (in a game) and struggled. I liked that too though. It gives him a chance to learn how to deal with struggling and adversity. I was curious if after the game he would say something about not wanting to pitch any more. He didn't. He said he wants to keep going. I try hard to make sure he always knows he only has to do that stuff as much as he wants to. I don't want to push him at all. But I prefer to see him not give up when he runs into some bumps. I want to see that carry over to things that are more important than sports.
 
He hit very well, except for his last at bat which came after his tough time pitching. He was still upset and struck out. He'd already had a walk and two hits so it wasn't a big deal but I hope it helps him see that emotions can put you in a downward spiral. That's another life lesson I want him to pick up on. I love that he's a big hearted kid and he really cares about things. But in life there are times when performance is crucial and performing your best means shutting down the anger/sadness/fear. A lot of that comes from repetition and getting used to the environment but on the other side is just learning to maintain calm and keep moving.
 
It's a lot of fun coaching and being out there. It's always amazing to me. I'll stand there and think, "I'm at a baseball game in the middle of Hungary. This is crazy." Pretty cool.

United States

Journal Journal: The Sexual Revolution Jumps the Shark 18

Three stories caught my eye this week, and a fourth hidden story was found because of the other three.

Apparently, homosexuals with the help of religious zealots have gained a new level of equality this week, with Lesbians in Florida now able to be charged with statutory rape under a rather odd rape law that that calls statutory rape "lewd or lascivious battery on child". I think that means seduction is now rape. And speaking of seduction being rape, while discussing this case, I had cause to look up The age of consent in Massachusetts, where I leanred that there too, seduction = statutory rape, but ONLY if the person under the age of 18 is "chaste". Elsewhere in Massachusetts law, apparently, is a stricter version which is about sexual penetration and only applies to girls younger than 16. So if you are a slut, you can't cry rape in Massachusetts.
 
This all jives in with the story from Elizabeth Smart on how overzealous Christian sex ed led her into a polygamous marriage with her kidnapper. I think the same people who wrote that Mormon sex ed curriculum wrote the Massachusetts law on age of consent.
 
And finally, just to bring it back around to homosexuality the Department of Justice now requires employees to have some pro-gay paraphanilia in their workspace- J. Edgar Hoover and his closet full of dresses would be so proud!

User Journal

Journal Journal: Distros and Packaging 1

I've been using Linux for a while now. I had a few false starts but once I was using it for work that was pretty much it and I don't think there's been any time since then that I haven't had at least one machine I use on a daily basis with some Linux distro on it. Almost exclusively RedHat/Fedora stuff but sometimes others for short periods of time.
 
For a long time I didn't really have a mental concept of the distro and all the software that it packaged as separate things. I just saw it all as one whole. And it's a really nice way to manage things. I've grown to really love the fact that when I pull updates for my system, I'm updating almost everything - not just the OS. I don't have too many programs installed that I didn't get via my package manager.
 
As I've continued to learn and I've become more cognizant of the projects that provide that software I've been able to see one of the down sides. I tend to not be as aware of software that isn't available that route. Or things are not as up to date many times. Another issue can be stuff that just isn't available at all. It's not really the end of the world, just something I've been thinking about a bit lately.
 
A good example is the python plugin for KDevelop. It's ready and it's out there, just not through the Fedora repos. This is open, community built stuff so I saw it as a chance to chip in. I found the people who package the other KDevelop stuff for Fedora and asked about getting involved, maybe in packaging this plugin. They got back to me quickly and were very kind. They gave me links to the appropriate documentation and suggested that I might want to start with something already in the system. As I read through all that I realized that getting involved and learning all the processes and what not wouldn't be a trivial task. I can totally understand how and why it would be this way. It's just that I don't have the time to navigate it all. So I just check periodically to see if what I want shows up as available. It hasn't yet but I think it's just a matter of time.
 
I wouldn't want to move away from this model. I do think there are opportunities to lower the barriers to entry. Maybe this is because I just don't understand the issues involved. I certainly want to be able to trust the Fedora repos. I don't want my machine compromised because any idiot can throw stuff in there. I wonder if there are ways to mitigate risks but make it easier to contribute.
 
I do think this is one huge plus for Linux over Windows. I really like my update/install mechanism on Linux much better than what I've got on my win machines. And I mean the way it can be used for everything. The repos I have enabled right now are from Fedora, RPMFusion, Google and Adobe. So it's not just the stuff from the distro itself.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Couple Reviews Coming Up

I've submitted a review for "The Human Division" by John Scalzi. I usually have pretty good luck with those getting accepted but if it doesn't I'll post it here in the journal. It's the latest (fifth I think) book in the Old Man's War series and it's pretty stinking good I think.

As soon as I finished it I started reading "Portal" by Eric Flint and Ryk Spoor. It's the third in the Boundary series. I read the first two over the last couple of weeks (with a break in the middle to read The Human Division) and I'm really liking the series. It's under the hard sci-fi category and I have had a ton of fun with it. It's also much more in the style of what I think of as more positive, adventure oriented sci-fi. It feels a lot like a bunch of my favorite stuff from the 50s. I'll review Portal as well once I get it done.

May cover some tech books this summer if I have time. I haven't written many reviews in a while and it's something I really enjoy. I just haven't had the time for a while. Anyway - I recommend both books mentioned above. The Boundary series really needs to be read in order. The Human Division does not require reading the other OMW books first. It wouldn't hurt but this doesn't rest too heavily on the previous books. In fact - if you wanted - you could read this latest and then go back and read the others and really enjoy it I think. Though the first 3 do need to be read in order. And the 4th is pretty optional. That's Zoe's Tale which is a retelling of The Last Colony from a different perspective. I enjoyed it but I think some people thought it was just the third book over.

I have really enjoyed everything by Scalzi that I've read except for Redshirts. Didn't care for that at all. But I will say this - he is efficient. I would say that Zoe's Tale and Fuzzy Nation are both smart ways to capitalize on his current position. And I don't say that as a bad thing - because I really enjoyed them both and frankly anything that keeps the guy writing more sci-fi is fine with me. So some may criticize the guy but I think he's smart. Now if either of those sucked I'd be less positive about it - but the guy is just solid.

Not sure what I'll be reading for fun next after Portal. I've been casting about for some good fantasy after all this sci-fi but haven't bumped into anything that really grabbed me yet. Feel free to throw me some suggestions below.

User Journal

Journal Journal: The New Google Maps

I requested and got access to the new google maps. I would imagine they are rolling it out pretty quickly.

It's pretty nice. I think the search interface is much better. It's easier to look at the results as they are shown on the map. It's pretty spotty for where I live. I did a search for tire places and some showed up but lots of them around me did not. I'm not sure how they get on there - if it is something the businesses need to do themselves or there is a missing link in the chain somewhere else. I still saw more than I expected to find. I needed to search in Hungarian but that makes sense.

A search for restaurants by where I live was really lacking. This makes me wonder how useful maps will be for travel.

The cards that come up for search results are really nice. I like that interface quite a bit. I like how it fits in with the way that Google Now presents information. The only issue I've had with Google Now so far is that it tries to anticipate what you want and can give you information you don't want. To be specific, when the Penguins were playing the Islanders in the first round - I googled the Islanders following one of the games to look at the team roster. A day or two later, google now gave me a card showing the results of the previous nights game - that I hadn't watched yet. I removed the card and the alerts stopped. I'm glad I hadn't googled the Penguins or maybe I'd have kept getting updates.

This is also a reminder that everything I search or do logged in with my google account is being recorded and acted upon in one way or another. I know this wont sit well at all with some people.

Finally - I can't see all the features of the new google maps. It tells me I'm running in "Lite Mode" because I'm on Linux. You only get the full experience on Mac, Windows or Chrome.

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