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User Journal

Journal Journal: **No Title**

I use smilies a lot when writing on the Internet; let me explain why. I often encounter what I consider to be dumb arguments (for example) when reading mailing lists or slashdot and feel the need to reply. I'm not one to beat around the bush; I say what I mean. So, after I say something like "That's a very bad idea." I add a smiley. Why? Because I want a way of saying, "although I think your idea is really fucking dumb, I still like you as a person and would like to continue this discussion". That's a lot to type, though, so I write :) instead.

I really like talking with people, so I don't want to offend them when I disagree. It generally works. I like to be able to disagree with people and still be able to chat with them :)

User Journal

Journal Journal: JONATHAN, Did you get a check this month? 2

I love SPAM. Not really, I actually hate it. But I do enjoy crafting messages like this: (it's funnier if you read the real one first, it's a parody :P)


If you had stopped spamming me when I first contacted you, you probably would not have been named as a complete loser.


THOUSANDS of people each month get spammed by you. FUCK YOU.

I know you get tons of there presentations and offers, but I implore you to take a minute and pull your head out of your ass. IT'S FREE! IT'S REAL! IT WORKS!


My upline almost blew this off and now he earns a Monthly Check. Oh wait, he didn't get a monthly check. HE HAS TO GIVE ME ONE AS A SETTLEMENT!


Check this out: http://www.tubgirl.com/

Have a terrible day. I hope a rock falls on you.

You are receiving this message because you are constantly
spamming me.
To be cleared from our records, STOP FUCKING SPAMMING ME.

Jonathan Rockway

On Tue, 2004-06-01 at 23:21, Alvin Buss wrote:
> If you had joined the New Century System when I first contacted you, you probably would have Monthly Checks coming
> > in each and every month and probably HUNDREDS or even THOUSANDS of people in your group.

> THOUSANDS of people each month are qualified for COMMISSION CHECKS from our System!
> I know you get tons of these presentations and offers, but I implore you to take a minute and check out this site.

> My upline almost blew this off and now he earns a Monthly Check that is MORE than most people earn in a year! So what, right? Hey, the good news is that you have the EXACT same opportunity. We call it New Century Life. We tell you exactly what to do to cash in on this Incredible Internet Business and, if you follow the steps, you can not fail!
> Plus, IT'S FREE to check it out! We prove to you that the System works before you pay a dime!
> Check this out: http://alvinbuss.newcenturybuilder.com
> Have an awesome day!
> Alvin Buss
> 402-223-5627
> alvinbuss@newcenturybuilder.com
> ---------------------------------------------------------
> You are receiving this message because you have either
> signed up to receive information from us or a third-party.
> To be cleared from our records, follow the link below
> or contact us at:
> NewCenturyBuilder
> 650 S Edmonds Ln, Suite 232
> Lewisville, TX 75067

Okay maybe it's not that funny. It's funnier to try and get their credit card numbers X_X

User Journal

Journal Journal: School-sanctioned Bribery 1

Wow. Apparently my (residential high) school is auctioning off a pass to miss class. I'm glad that I can now buy things to excuse me from class.

In addition, I may buy a pass to have a car on campus. This is not normally allowed because an 18-year-old with a car is "unsafe". It's unsafe if I have one but safe if someone buys a pass? I can't wait for this to blow up in IMSA's face...

User Journal

Journal Journal: My Home Network 1

I'm rather proud of the network I've set up at home, so I think I'll tell you all about it :)

Before organizing my network, I had a Windows XP box (ugh, not mine), two iMacs (one with Linux that nobody used, one with MacOS 9 that nobody used). Obviously, there were lots of fights over the Windows box since that was the only one that was useful to anyone. I finally managed to get an old P3 system, so I decided I would make my computer infrastructure useful.

Firstly, I installed Debian/testing on the P3 (it had smoothwall on it before, I was shocked to turn the thing on for the first time and see a LILO prompt :). I setup dhcpserver and NFS first, since I knew I'd need those (and ssh, obviously).

I then re-installed Linux on an iMac. I configured it so that it would be very easy to use for everyone in my family. This entailed installing XFCE4 and GDM on the machine. Then I made a skeleton configuration. Essentially, I picked a nice theme and customized the panel to include all the usuable apps on the system. This is, BTW, Firefox, XMMS, Gaim, XFFM, AbiWord, GNUmeric, "Change Password", volume control, speaker toggle (I wrote a script to toggle the iMac's internal speakers using XFCE's toggle-launcher), GIMP, and a util to get pictures from a digital camera. So now when anyone logs in they have a clear interface to access whatever they need. Nobody has any trouble using it.

Anyway, after that machine worked properly I imaged the second iMac with the image of the first iMac (I changed the hostname from "cato" to "nibbler" on the second machine). I have those two machines sitting next to each other. They're used at least every day now, so I feel an improvement has been made.

Now back to the server. I installed syslog-ng to take log messages from the two iMacs. Then I installed postfix and began accepting mail for my gotdns.org domainname (I had to open up a port in my NAT box obviously). Next I added FTP, and opened that up to the outside. After that I installed an extra 40G drive in the server for homedirs. I shared these to the macs with NFS. I synced the authentication information with NIS (insecure, I suppose, but good enough for my purposes).

So at this point we have an always-on server that does email, ftp, and ssh; and two iMacs that serve as word processors, spreadsheets, web, AIM, digi-cam access, etc. machines. Very nice, but what about the Windows box?

I created an admin account (called root ;) and added a Limited user account for everyone that would use that system. Then I configured each to get a folder off the main server via samba (the user's homedir). So now anything saved in I: is available on any computer in the house. Nice, and no more fights over computers!!

Interestingly, I've taught my brothers to use Bittorrent on the main server*. They download the torrent to their homedir (the only thing they can write to), ssh in (putty in Windows, ssh in Linux) to the main server, run screen, run btdownloadcurses FILENAME and C-a d to detach their screen. Then in a few hours, the come back, ssh into the server, screen -R -D and check their download. If it's done, they quit (and leave screen around so they can just screen -R -D again next time), and the file's right in their home directory. It's very nice to start a download, leave for a while (with the computer off) and come back to a different computer to check/use the file they want. I'm impressed with myself ;)

* I do this because it's the only machine for which the upload ports are open.

So to summarize:

router (NetworkEverywhere, only does NAT and wireless)
"snookums" (main server; debian/testing) (always on)
|-> DHCP for all machines (and WiFi machines)
|-> NFS homedirs to iMacs ("nibbler", debian/unstable; "cato", debian/unstable)
|-> Syslog for iMacs
|-> NIS for passwd/group sharing on iMacs and snookums
|-> SAMBA homedirs to windows xp computer ("dell", XP Pro)
|-> DNS for internal names (snookums =, nibbler =, etc.) and cache
| ssh (from external and internal machines)
| ftp (from external and internal machines)
| email (from external machines, no relaying allowed for non-local machines

Anyway I'm very happy how everything's worked out. It's really made things easier for everyone, too. If you have questions, etc, please email me.

Thinking about the future, I hope to replace the router with another Linux box running NAT and doing QoS so I can get Vonage. (I don't want the file server to be a NAT box for security reasons. It's better to not expose that whole box to the internet IMO. Right now I don't like the fact that wireless is inside the firewall, I want it to be outside). I also would like to get a gigabit ethernet switch and run gigabit between upstairs and downstairs (I have a switch on both floors but they're cascaded by only 100Base-T), and add gigabit to the server and windows machine (since they both support it). Hopefully that will make performance even better :)

User Journal

Journal Journal: Let's take out the RIAA 1

Let's refuse to license them software. If they're using OSS, let's take it away.

Maybe Micro$oft will want to sell their music. RIAA sues M$, and then M$ de-licenses Windows and Office. Fuck you RIAA. You need our software more than we need your music. Eat shit and die :)

User Journal

Journal Journal: Odor Memory: Die, transistor, die.

It's often said that people associate smells with some sort of feeling, and the other day I found out that they're right :)

I've been working with electronics for some time. When I was in about third grade, I got my first "transistor electronics kit". That was fun. I remember building FM transmitters and other fun stuff. Anyway, one day I decided to "design" my own circuit that included a transistor. I didn't really know what they did, but I noticed that all radio circuits had one in there, so I put one in. I powered up my creation, and noticed a strand of white smoke rising from the transistor module. "This can't be good", I thought. That was the end of that transistor. There was only one in the kit (the kit was components in plastic blocks that you snapped into a grid, something a bit like this).

Anyway, I remember the smell of that transistor dying. It was sad, and the memory stuck. Now, throughout my years, I've smelled that smell many times. Electronics labs gone awry (not mine, but rather my classmates' *), mostly.

So I got back to my computer room the other day and noticed a faint transistor-fire like smell floating around. And my computer was off. Uh-oh! This, interestingly, was just after I posted a reply in some forum telling someone not to worry about shorting out his mobo by plugging in a fan. I had two plugged into one header with no problems, I said.

Well now that header doesn't work. Nor do 4/5ths of my PCI slots :) So don't do that.
( I had two plugged into one header because only two headers on my mobo offered speed control, and I had three fans that I wanted to control. So I had CPU in one and two case fans in the other. Worked for quite a while under 2.4 when I was actually controlling the speed. As soon as I upgraded to 2.6, I lost the driver [note to self: post to mailing list], so the fans were at full-speed... this was too much for something on the mobo ).

Not wanting to live with a crippled motherboard (it had a bad BIOS too), I sprung for a Lanparty NFII-Ultra B motherboard. Nice motherboard, and a good step up from my Lanparty KT400A. I was tired of it's poor AGP support, also. Anyway, that arrived last Thursday. I hooked up everything outside the case to test it out.

Turn it on (with the nice on-board power switch). Fan spins up, lights turn on, awesome! Then I notice that TERRIBLE smell and become almost paralyzed (odor memory). I tell myself, it's fine, it's burning in.

Nope, just burning.

A voltage regulator (Q18) decided it wanted to die. It was glowing. Smoke was coming out. Shit.

So now I had killed two motherboards in two days. Damn. Oh well, I RMA'd it the next day and should get my new one at school on Monday. I'm going to make extra sure that this one doesn't die. (Normally I'm *really* careful, but this time I'll have to be *really* careful ;)

I'm using my crippled board to write this, so at least my CPU/RAM/GPU/Live! are OK. I think I'm going to buy myself a new heatsink with a quieter fan next week...

Anyway, the point of this post (which I don't really think I conveyed, oh well :) was to tell you that smells can really trigger stong feelings. So the next time you overdose on prozak, wire up a transistor in reverse. Should fix things right up :)

* These would be the "let's hook up 24VDC@5A to the precision CMOS*"-type people.
* Actually, nobody ever did that. We did lose power to the building when an enterprising fool decided that the electrical outlet was a great paperclip holder. Yup, it was great. I told her to use a 10 ohm resisitor next time (so she'd burn herself badly, hehehe).

User Journal

Journal Journal: Doesn't everybody?

Don't you just hate it when people consider something that you know how to do as "really cool", except with a different person?

For example, my roommate said something like "It was really cool... he even used LaTeX! ", implying that LaTeX was some sort of hard, pain-in-the-ass-to-learn programming language. Well, I know LaTeX. So I said to him, "Doesn't everyone?".

This serves two purposes. Usually when someone makes a stupid comment like that, you want to say "Yeah! Well I know LaTeX too! I use it for all my papers!", but then you sound arrogant. But not saying something makes you (well, me anyway) mad. So the perfect target for an insult is the speaker. My roommate doesn't know LaTeX, so by saying that everyone knows LaTeX, you imply that he is stupid. Rather than raising yourself above the speaker, you lower him. So in the end, you win :)

So my point is this: to come out on top (whatever that means) in a conversation where someone is impressed by another party's skills that you also posess, the perfect response is "Can't everyone do that?". You don't sound arrogant by elevating yourself above the speaker. Rather, you lower him to a level below everyone else. So you end up "winning".

It's really pretty interesting if you think about it. Try it out. But no comments that claims that everyone knows this. If they did they would have posted it in their journal because it's so cool :-D

User Journal

Journal Journal: College Apping

I just realized what a market college-related companies have. Apparently everyone wants to take the SAT about 5 times, the ACT 3, and buy lots of cramming books. Why learn real chemistry from a textbook when you can buy the Kaplan "Cram for the SATII" books? "Hey I memorized all the SAT words but can't use them in real writing! That's not defeating the purpose of the test!"

What bothers me more is that people think that if they get a good test score that their learning is over. They want to pay $40,000 a year to a "good" college so they can get "easy A's". Doesn't anyone want to learn? I personally want to go to college so that I can learn about things that don't come from books easily (number theory, linear algebra, and so on... books relating to these topics are, uh, dry), and use them to solve problems. I want to spend the rest of my life solving problems, not "getting rich".

Anyway, most of this discussion stems from my roommate. He is a fairly intellegent individual. He certainly works hard. Unfortunately, he thinks college is the end all. He gets into a good college and the rest of his life is great. He'll be a spine surgeon making $900,000 a year starting (he's investigated this already; apparently that's the highest-paying field). He wants to go to Harvard so "people will think [he's] smart automatically" (and because of "grade inflation" -- "that way i won't have to work").

So I guess I'll end this rant* with a question: Is it naive of me to think that I should get an education and use it? Or should I just try to get rich?

I guess that's a loaded question, but tell me what _your_ plans are. I hope I'm not alone.

* I can't write too well "tonite". Maybe I should buy a SATII Writing guide. That "shud" help me :)


Journal Journal: Linux Passes the Transparency Test 2

Today I was rather impressed by Linux. As a long time user (over 6 years without MacOS/Windows!), I didn't need convincing that Linux is a great operating system, but today I think I convinced someone else.

Someone came over this morning to ask my roommate to mount his keychain memory device and print something for him. Windows XP couldn't detect the device (and my roommate didn't have a printer!), so I asked the visitor to plug his keychain into my computer. I ran modprobe usb-storage, mounted the device, opened his Word document in OpenOffice, and printed it off on my USB laser printer. It worked perfectly. The person only noticed it was Linux while I was typing commands -- "Oh you use Linux?". I think he was impressed, because I sure was.

Linux _is_ ready for the Desktop... today more so than WinXP :-D


Journal Journal: Hard Drive Failures, New Computer

I think I finally learned something on slashdot.

Apparently bad power supplies cause a lot of PC hardware failure. Which, to me, explains a problem that many of my PC-using friends have had -- they get a new hard drive, and it dies. Then they get another one, and it dies. They keep dying. I had always wondered why their hard drives died, and mine never did. Well, I think it's because of power supplies. I've always used Macs (which use "better" hardware), but my friends build their machines themselves. They, trying to save money, get bad power supplies I think this is the root of their problems.

Also, I'm planning to build a computer soon (like this week), and am ylooking for advice on hardware.

Right now I've selected the following components at TigerDirect (anyone know of a better dealer? I have no idea):

CP2-XP25003BC AMD Athlon XP2500+ / 512KB Cache / 333MHz FSB / Socket A / Barton Core / Processor
S450-2026 Soyo - SY-KT400 DRAGON Ultra Socket-A ATX Motherboard Supporting DDR 333/400 and 8x AGP Pro
P450-7233 XFX GeForce4 MX440 128MB DDR 8X AGP with TV & DVI Video Card
A901-2006 Apex ATX12V 450W Power Supply

I also have a 20G hard drive and 2 40G hard drives that I'll put in. I hope I can put the 40Gs together on RAID and have an 80G /home partition (probably with a symlink from /usr too).

Any advice?

User Journal

Journal Journal: Red-Light Cameras 1

Well, I've just heard of a plan that should be a good use of taxpayer money. Local governments want to install cameras on stoplights that take a picture of people who are stuck in the middle of the intersection (in hopes of turning left), so that the "offending" party may be ticketed. Rather than funding schools, our wonderful government wants to buy cameras to ticket non-criminals.

Now, to be fair, it is illegal for people to go out into the middle of the intersection. But it's really a non-problem. The light turns red; the people going the other way wait for the 'offender' to get out of the way. Things work themselves out.

This annoys me for two reasons:

1) Throwing money at a non-problem.
    As I said, when a situation arises that the "traffic control device" did not anticipate [someone inside the intersection when the light changes], the drivers around it will work it out. It may not be the most efficent thing in the world, but certainly 3 seconds isn't going to make a difference in anyone's commute/day.

2) The government preying on it's own citizens.
    I don't like it when the governemnt uses my money to get my money. If they need money to build something, they can ask for it rather than just take it when they see I'm doing something slightly illegal. And when was I asked whether I thought the red-light-left-turn-thing was illegal or not? Never. It was some law passed for no apparent reason (other than to be a source of income).

So if you get a ticket in the mail for this program, claim it got lost. What ticket?

User Journal

Journal Journal: First Post!

Well it's Saturday morning and I'm writing a journal entry. Finals are a week away, so there are papers to be written, but nothing is too pressing. There's Notes but that can wait until break. Hmm. I probably won't have time during break either. I'm teaching a Linux Programming "Intersession", which is a 3 hour a day, week long course. We're going to be writing an mp3 player (well, I have to write that part, the students just have to feed it files/streams, and extend it :-), which should prove to be instructional. Everything important gets in there -- memory, files, libraries, interface (although we probably won't have time for that since I have to teach the kids UNIX. They apparently can't read prerequisites). Anyway, it should be fun. So what else? Well, I've applied for a scholarship to visit Japan for a year. I was interviewed on Wednesday and am apparently a Semi-finalist. Almost there :)

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