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Journal Journal: Nuclear Capable Missile Forces Passenger Jet Diversion

Aero News Network says that
"A Garuda Indonesia Boeing 747 carrying several hundred passengers last week was forced to turn around when controllers told the pilots a nuclear-capable ballistic missile had been launched in their vicinity."

Not something a pilot really wants to hear...
More from the ANN article:
"The 747 was en route from Jakarta to Saudi Arabia with 413 people on board when the Indian control tower informed the pilots the missile had been launched, said Ari Sapari, the national carrier's director. The jet landed back in Jakarta then took off again for Jeddah seven hours later, he said."
""We have to make sure this does not happen in the future," Foreign Ministry spokesman Kristiarto Legowo said." Umm, yeah...
"The missile, called the Agni III, is a short to intermediate range missile and was launched from Wheeler Island off of the Indian state of Orissa and is said to be capable of and is capable of carrying a payload of 2,200 lb or a nuclear warhead."

Journal Journal: French high-speed train sets world record 357.2 mph

Today a French high-speed train known as TGV set a world speed record for conventional trains of 357.2 miles per hour. That is quite impressive. In my view, trains at this kind of speed would be competitive with commuter aircraft for the types of routes that both transportation systems serve. It seems that high speed train systems would work economically in parts of the US, particularly the east coast and upper midwest. Why aren't these trains in use in the US?

Journal Journal: IBM tests prototype system by blasting it with proton beam

In an article at news.com titled IBM's Power6: Bigger iron, lower power, the author notes at the end of the article that "To simulate adverse conditions, IBM runs Power6 systems at the wrong end of a proton beam. The testing showed that a system is able to recover from about 3,400 random software errors before one slips through and causes undetected data corruption..."

The reason for this: "As circuitry grows smaller, it becomes more susceptible to errors because of charged particles caused by cosmic rays or other sources. Power6 is built using a manufacturing process with 65-nanometer elements compared with 90 nanometers for Power5+."

Now, sysadmins have a new fall-back excuse when their systems crash; "It's cosmic rays, dude! We need to put our servers in a room with walls that have a lead lining."


Journal Journal: AsteriskNow: A Software Appliance?

An article at serverwatch.com describes a "software appliance" which is essentially a complete system that you install on a PC.

"The Asterisk open-source iPBX is known for its power and flexibility, but no one would call it fast or easy. Until now, that is. AsteriskNOW is a software appliance that includes a specialized operating system based on rPath Linux, Asterisk 1.4 and an excellent Web-based graphical administration interface. AsteriskNOW is billed as "Asterisk in 30 minutes." Can you really install and setup AsteriskNOW in 30 minutes? Yes, you can -- if you don't count the time it takes to download the 436-megabyte .iso and burn it to a CD.

The Web interface is a nicely organized, sleek Ajax-based interface that is fast and responsive. After installation, you'll be required to change the admin password and log in again. Then it will take you through a setup wizard. You have to go all the way through this wizard, even if you don't make any changes, before you'll be able to randomly explore.

The Web interface should meet the needs of most Asterisk administrators. But if there are some features that require you to tweak configuration files, or if you simply feel like editing text files, live it up -- with AsteriskNOW there is no conflict between the GUI and the underlying text configuration files. You can use both without causing conflicts.

You'll need the command line for Linux system administration. If you click the "System Configuration" link on the upper-right part of the AsteriskNOW control panel, you'll find a limited control panel for rPath Linux. You can schedule system updates, set the time and date, backup and restore, and view logfiles. All other functions, such as user management and package management, have to be done from the command line. rPath Linux has its own custom set of commands, which you can learn about in the Conary help documents. For more information on AsteriskNOW, visit Asterisknow."


Journal Journal: Teen discovers potential therapy for AIDS-associated disease

A 17-year-old Indian-American student at the Mississippi Institute of Mathematics and Science has identified a molecule that can inhibit the growth of a bacteria that causes a disease which can be deadly to people who have AIDS, cancer, or cystic fibrosis, according to a story posted at VOA News. According to the article, the student intends to publish her results to the public rather than seek a patent on her technology. The article quotes the student as follows: "If I were going to patent this, the rights would have to be sold to a pharmaceutical company, and that would greatly increase the cost of the drug once it's developed. So to prevent that from happening, by publishing it, the information becomes readily available and any company that wants to manufacture it, would be able to. So the price would be much lower due to competition and the people who need it most will have access to it."

Journal Journal: IT Revolution Just an Einstein Away

I borrowed the title of this entry from an editorial by Michael Feldman in the December 15, 2006 issue of HPCWire.
    The editorial addresses the "growing structural imbalance between the demand for information technologists and supply." Mr. Feldman's thesis in this editorial is that a major factor in the imbalance is due to "how information technology advancements outpace the ability of the workforce to adapt to them." The editorial is one of the more thoughtful discussions of the subject that I've seen and is well worth a read.


Journal Journal: Hubert Mantel: "I'm back at Novell".

Hubert Mantel: "I'm back at Novell".

I had more than 1 year of time to think about my future and came to the conclusion that the thing I'm most interested in still is Linux." During an exclusive interview to Data Manager Online and pc-facile, SuSe co-founder confirms - after he left one year ago - he's back at Novell since the beginning of December.

1. When did you first start working with computers?
My first contact with computers was at school in 1979 on a Tektronix machine with 8 KB of RAM. I started paid working with computers in 1987 at a small company near Erlangen where I studied.

2. We know that computers aren't the only reason of our lives, so what do you do for fun?
Well, I have three little children, so that should answer the question already :)

3. Why did you decide to create a Linux distribution with your friends (Roland, Burchard and Thomas)?
This was more or less by accident. We founded a company to do software development as we all worked in the IT industry while we studied. Only some weeks afterwards we first heard of Linux, tried it and loved it. Back then (it was 1992) almost nobody had internet access, so many interested people asked where to get this new open source operating system. So we started distributing SLS (the first Linux distribution by Peter Mc Donald) and later Slackware (by Patrick Volkerding). Very soon we learned that in order to be able to give support for the system, it would be much better to create an own distribution. We started development of YaST and built our own distribution based on Jurix by Florian La Roche.

4. What sort of help have you received?
We received all sorts of help from many of the well known open source people including kernel developers that we hired later on. We did not get any money from investors or so. This only started some years later when the high tech bubble started.

5. I don't believe in the GNU world, how would you try to convince me to embrace this strange (for me) philosophy?
It's all about freedom. If you had to choose between a car that can only drive certain roads (defined by the manufacturer) and a car that allows you to travel wherever you want, which one would you pick?
When I worked for some big company several years ago, we needed a tiny change in the SunOS kernel the application was based on. It was quite some work to get this done; in Linux the whole issue would have been resolved in just one hour, because you have the source and can modify your system in any way you want.
I also just feel better to connect to the internet with software that has been reviewed by many independent people; I do not like the feeling of using a black box where I don't know what it might be doing behind the scenes.
I'm happy you called the GNU/Linux movement a philosophy, not a religion :)

6. What do you think about the Microsoft/Novell deal?
I think it is a good thing especially for the users. If you think some years back, Linux was not taken seriously. Now even Microsoft acknowledges that it exists and will not go away. I understand that many people don't like it as Novell is collaborating with the "evil empire". But I don't like this way of thinking; we are not working against somebody, but we are working FOR Linux. Fundamentalism always leads to pain. What's important is that Linux is free and will remain to be free. The source code is open to everybody, this is what counts for me. Some people seem to be torn in an interesting way: On one hand they want "world domination", at the same time they don't like the feeling that Linux has grown up and needs to deal with the real business world out there. We have a saying here in Germany that goes along the lines of "wash me, but do not make me wet". If you want Linux to succeed, you cannot live in your own separate universe.

7. We know you left Suse/Novell, Why?
Bascially I just was burned out. After many years that consisted of nothing else than work and some unpleasant experiences with our investors, it didn't took very much to throw in the towel. I simply needed some time off.

8. What are your next engagements? Any plans for the future?
Well, in case you don't know it already: I'm back at Novell/SuSE since beginning of december. I had more than 1 year of time to think about my future and came to the conclusion that the thing I'm most interested in still is Linux. Also I do have many good friends at SuSE and I really like to work with and for Linux. So I just came back :)

9. In your opinion, what will be open-source's future?
Linux and open source have grown up, it has entered mainstream. I think that open source and proprietary software will co-exist. While I prefer open source, I do understand that there also exists software where the source code is not freely available. And this kind of software always will exist. For me it is important to be able to choose. Competition is always good. Noone knows how the world would look like if Linux and open source would not exist. I think it already changed the IT world in a big way.

10. What is your relationship to technology?
In principle, technology is there to solve problems. If you ask from a business perspective, we need to develop and evaluate new technologies that are appropriate to help customers succeed in their businesses. If you ask from a private perspective, I can say that I like technology, but with getting older, the interest in all the newest toys decreases. For example, I still have an ancient cellphone that can do nothing but telephone calls. No camera, no browser, no MP3 player :)

11. The new Microsoft OS is considered expensive, not for the software itself, but for the hardware required. Could this be an incentive to switch to open-source?
Are you referring to Microsoft Vista? Vista needs high performing CPU and graphics to work well; their visual effects seem to be more demanding for the hardware than the 3D graphic acceleration subsystems (Xgl/compiz) included in SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop. Such requirements can drive people from Windows to Linux.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Why bother submitting an article to slashdot editors?

You have better odds of getting something noticed by posting on your own blog. I think that the slashdot mode of building a community is not the best any more. Folks building their own blogs and then linking through trackbacks, comments, and hyperlinks seems like a better way to do it. If that is so, then why am I posting this journal entry? Beats me.....

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