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User Journal

Journal Journal: The Horse, Hunter, and Stag

The Horse, Hunter, and Stag
An Aesop's Fable

A quarrel had arisen between the Horse and the Stag, so the Horse came to a Hunter to ask his help to take revenge on the Stag. The Hunter agreed, but said: "If you desire to conquer the Stag, you must permit me to place this piece of iron between your jaws, so that I may guide you with these reins, and allow this saddle to be placed upon your back so that I may keep steady upon you as we follow after the enemy." The Horse agreed to the conditions, and the Hunter soon saddled and bridled him. Then with the aid of the Hunter the Horse soon overcame the Stag, and said to the Hunter: "Now, get off, and remove those things from my mouth and back."

"Not so fast, friend," said the Hunter. "I have now got you under bit and spur, and prefer to keep you as you are at present."

User Journal

Journal Journal: A scathing pun that Microsoft wouldn't like 4

I unintentionally used this pun over the weekend discussing Microsoft with my wife.

Given Microsoft's success rate with Surface, Windows Phone, Zune, and the negative publicity the next Xbox has received, it seems the best way to hurt Microsoft is to leave them to their own devices.

User Journal

Journal Journal: A Future Without Email 2

As perhaps the least secure system in common use today, I've been wondering for about a decade what would replace email. I don't like it, I use it only for automated forms, and I generally think it needs to be superseded. All the efforts to extend or somehow "fix" the system end up optional and thus mostly useless, between the insecure infrastructure making spam extremely easy to send and the lack of compulsory encryption (which would have the advantage of ensuring its support by default in clients/interfaces). It seems like the only way to fix it is a fully incompatible replacement, with the unfortunate likelihood that some form of bridging would end up existing even then, opening up any new system to the problems of the old.

User Journal

Journal Journal: New job 8

Coming up on a month into a new job. One of the worst things about it? My predecessor's documentation consisted of a few outdated spreadsheets hidden in a directory on one of the servers, a list of passwords, a couple folders with license keys, and a file cabinet filled with printouts of howto documents from the Internet with no clue what he used them for (including countless ones for functions and features I have discovered we do not use, as well as software we do not use.)

One recent fun discovery? He assigned an unknown number of undocumented and unreserved IPs within our DHCP block to desktops, with no clues as to specifically why. I discovered this when I installed a virtual machine to test with and clobbered my boss's (the owner's) static IP. He was gone for almost a month before I came on. So far, the static IPs seem related to our copier's scan function, but I can't guarantee that is the only reason, and I see no reason to meddle with the systems that are working. DHCP reservations, here we come!

Now to see if I can get the desktop hubs replaced with switches...


Journal Journal: Reasonable rates for rural computer work? 15

I'm trying to figure out what a reasonable rate to charge for general tech work in a rural area is. People out here don't have a lot of money, though they don't have much bad computer trouble either. It's mostly fried motherboards or modems from electrical storms, and home networking, and virus removal, though I am doing some web design as well. Basically I'm looking for ideas of what to charge for the following, since there are a lot of local computer illiterates interested in such services:

Virus removal
hardware work
network installation or troubleshooting
website work

Any ideas would be appreciated. This is in Grayson County, which is in North Texas, if anyone knows the area.


Journal Journal: INTERNAL USE ONLY 4

upon purchasing a lot of 10 Thinkpad 600/600E chassis on ebay as a gamble on upgrading my wife's laptop beyond its Thinkpad 600/300mhz status (plus its bad motherboard), I discovered on its delivery that the person who posted the auction had much understated the specs of the chassis in question. Not a single Thinkpad 600, all were 600E. Not a single processor below 300 mhz (two 300mhz), and many of them worked fine.

Interesting part hasn't come yet. The processor list, all MMC-2 interface:

2 300mhz Mobile Pentium II
4 366mhz Mobile Pentium II
2 400mhz Mobile Pentium II
1 433mhz Mobile Pentium II

This may not seem significant until you consider there is no such thing as a 433 MHz Mobile Pentium II. It's marked "INTERNAL USE ONLY" and "SAMPLE". After discussing it with the population of #gentoo, I decided it would be my new laptop processor in my Thinkpad 600E (up from 400mhz). Anyone else have experience with engineering sample processors? there's no obvious tinkering like soldered wires or anything like that, and it seems stable enough on use. Isn't running any hotter than my 400mhz did.

Oddly, it has the same stepping, model, and family as a 400mhz, so it may just be a factory-overclocked one with a different setup in some way, but i'm no processor engineer.

In other hardware issues, anyone have any recommendations as far as BIOS supervisor password recovery? 2 or 3 of the boards that were working well were also protected. There's a guy online who claims he can get the output from a homemade device and then for a fee decode it, but i'd prefer to do it on my own since I don't really need the boards and just want to sell them off. CMOS battery removal won't do the trick on thinkpads, thanks to IBM's security-minded engineering. In fact, none of the boards came with CMOS batteries, though I had two spares already.

If anyone's interested in buying any mobile pentium II spares I have lying around though, let me know. I've also got spare boards, modems, casings, and fan assemblies for TP600/E/X series. If there were a local market for the things i'd refurb and sell them locally, but without that I've just got a fair stock of backup parts for the two I have, which is also nice. Hopefully I'll find work soon, since everything I do is turning into a way to turn a few bucks that nobody has the money around here to pay for. it's a pretty frustrating mindset.


Journal Journal: Pushbumper pics 15

Showed up around 1:10, and rolled out around 2:10 with a new black grille, a new Go Rhino pushbumper, and a repaired (for free) license plate bracket freshly re-bolted onto the front. Here's the pics:

  Before: front shot
  Before: side shot
  Before: angle shot
  After: with headlights on
  After: with headlights off

Next project: emergency lights, stealth-style with hide-a-strobes and flashing red lights.

Note: mind the line on the hood in the after shots, it was parked partially under the overhang of the roof where the rain was dripping on it.

1998 Ford Police Interceptor
nearly 127,000 miles
ex-San Antonio Police Department marked patrol car


Journal Journal: Cop Stuff 3

Upon cashing in that insurance check for the accident in july, I went today and registered my car, and headed south from Sherman to Howe. On my way to find the shop the fire chief had told me about, the same one that DS's new pickup got its stealth lights installed at, I ran across it without even trying to find it.

Cop Stuff.

that's the name of the shop. They equip most of the region's police cars as well as other civil volunteers (i.e. volunteer firemen). Upon pulling up to their establishment, a metal building with about five bays and a back shed all full of brand new Police Interceptors in the process of being equipped/marked, as well as the whole of the business' parking and surrounding areas being so jammed with police cars of various departments and paint jobs, I had a feeling I'd come to the right place.

Immediately, one of the guys came out and asked if he could help me, and I asked about the Go Rhino frame-mounted pushbumpers, and he instantly quoted me a more than reasonable price including installation. Next, I asked if he had any lines on the black honeycomb grilles that come stock on the current issue interceptors, and he had a black one but not a honeycomb. Offered it to me (Brand new) for $25 installed, which I immediately accepted (I loathe chrome in the country...such a pain to clean), and I asked him about license plate brackets for the front of a current-style Crown Victoria. Less than half what the Ford dealer wants for it.

We went in and talked to the mechanic who handles scheduling, and the salesman wasn't sure if he could get me in before Christmas. With the number of cars in the surrounding lot, I believe it. The mechanic, upon finding out that I wanted work done on a 1998 model, was practically ready to hump my car upon finding out he was going to get to work on an old model, and rearranged things to get me in tomorrow just after lunch, and will be installing it while I wait. Naturally, they have pushbumpers for current-style Crown Victorias in stock all the time, so that's a non-issue.

Tomorrow, I should have before and after pics.

User Journal

Journal Journal: back, mostly 2

now that I've finally gotten everything reinstalled more or less (minus my data and a few network security tools, which are compiling right now), I'm more or less back up and running. compare and contrast:

Previous setup:
2.4.20-gentoo-r6 kernel
30GB IBM TravelStar hard drive
Lots of software

Current setup:
2.4.20-gentoo-r7 kernel
10GB IBM TravelStar hard drive (my spare)
small BeOS Developer Edition 1.1 partition for compatibility testing
software still compiling
GAIM being a bitch

well, at least Galeon worked this time. I'm still not clear what was wrong with it, but the untimely death of the old hard drive sort of made that point not really matter. It stopped once I updated my gnome libraries to 2.4 vintage, and it was clearly gconf related, but I'm still not really sure what it boiled down to being the problem or how to fix it.

let's hear it for something other than magnetic storage!


Journal Journal: Death of data 10

In what marks a first for me (yes, I know this will sound like a lie) I had a hard drive die on me. Yes, I've had hard drives go bad before, but never have I had one suddenly quit in its entirety, especially with loud nasty sounding noises. I think one of the read arms just decided to fall off or something. being my laptop drive, naturally its a pain in the arse. I'm running on my spare 4 GB (as opposed to the 30 that died), with my spare 10 coming back on the weekend from my father in law. Running mandrake 9.0 as a stopgap, and plan to reinstall Gentoo, with a potential dual distro boot if mandrake seems to be worth keeping around. Any mandrake users out there want to share some tips? I'm just now finishing adding urpmi sources, but i don't know the ins and outs of the system. I'm no fan of RPM based distros in general, but I figure as long as i'm playing with it for the week I may as well learn a thing or two.

First Person Shooters (Games)

Journal Journal: How to make 105 degree heat feel good 8

Fight a grassfire in it, and then take off your turnout coat. You'll feel a lot cooler then than you did while you were using a pike to pull bales of hay further away from a propane tank.

Fought my first grassfire on thursday afternoon. Heard sirens, went down to the station, and we spent the next 5 minutes getting the notorious B73 to start with a jury-rigged setup of a battery charger and a set of jumper cables attatched to my wife's old honda. Then we were off and running to the fire. After maybe 15 minutes of actual firefighting, we stalled. Let me say for the record that 73 does this a lot. So me and Kevin sat on the back of the truck for a good hour while our friendly mutual-aid grassfire trucks took care of most of the fire.

We later learned that our radio wasn't transmitting, hence the lack of responses to our calls for a tow. Upon returning, we went to said propane tank and bales of hay, before coming back to the main setup area and cooling off and getting some rest. While sitting and drinking water, one of the officers told me, "So you want to be a volunteer firefighter."

I immediately responded "Yes, sir." in a sure voice.

After that, they told me that the first grassfire usually causes people to quit. I found it way too satisfying to have done what we did to think that way about it. It just convinced me even more that it was what I wanted to do.

After blowing apart some more smoldering haybales with a 2 inch hose, we headed to a call at an old folks' home, to check out a hot flourescent fixture, where the ballast was heating up to high temperatures, so we disconnected it and upon finding no fire, we left a few guys behind to complete the check once it was assured no power was still running through it. It wasn't exactly a 15-man, 4-truck job (we had all come straight from the grassfire).

There's my first day of firefighter duty. After that I got my fire pager, which I haven't been called out with yet.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Poll/rant/debate/opinions? United States, or States United 9

Ok, now, to set down a few statements first, I am not advocating a military overthrow of the current regime in the United States. I am advocating redress, but I'm not clear in what fashion it would best be done yet. I do know the transition would not be simple or easy, but I think in the big picture, it's needed to be done for years now.

Basically, the United States as it stand today, are not reflective of the people it represents. Therefore I have some malformed and badly thought out ideas regarding this.

Note: I started roughing this out before I decided to stop and present it with all its flaws hoping people would rip it apart and thus i'd learn something. As a result, it hasn't been proofread, is full of holes, and is not very broad in its spectrum of thoughts expressed.

Idea one: lose the federal government. Break back up into independent states.

Pros: lacks the overhead of a federal government, allows more locally minded lawmaking as well as better focus on the state itself's economy and needs. Also prevents federal decisions made for the "greater good" that have negative effects in the population from taking control in a state that does not benefit from it (like the 55 speed limit in Montana, for example). No federal income tax. cannot be sued from another state. Large companies in other states will have difficulty screwing the little guy in other states as a result. Reassessment of all (ex-)federal laws at state level to determine the state's stance on it (also a con, see below). Much easier for candidates not representative of a major party to realistically run for office.

Cons: lack of unified military strength, uneven distribution of nuclear weapons, lack of federal standards such as those used by the USDOT for large trucks, likely less pleasant state border crossings, seperate currencies, some states would naturally end up poorer than others, interstate business becomes a pain, and various infastructures such as electricity and air transport would need to work out new ways of working out standards amongst the states. Potential breakdown during the ensuing redivision of responsibility and a lot of reassessment of laws that may or may not make sense to individual states (i.e. Iowa would not likely find the same value in the DMCA as California, and Michigan is unlikely to have the same laws for its great lakes ships that Florida would for its cruise ships)

Idea two: federal trade government over independent states

Pros: same as above with simplified transportation and interstate commerce. Potential military collaboration in times of need.

Cons: same as above plus federal taxes, federal courts, interstate lawsuits likely to continue. less likely to have complete review of law since it's simpler to continue a current (Albeit crufty) system than it is to start over

Option 3: as is now

Pros: status quo is easy to stay with, since governments naturally resist change and loss of power. avoids messy and potentially devastating problems during states' attempts to hold up on their own, since most don't even have balanced budgets as it is. Unified military, unified currency, free-flowing interstate borders

Cons: lack of local control over the more important laws governing them, federal intervention overriding the will of the local people (i.e. medical marijuana in California), easy to sue from one state to another, bogged down legal system, diluted local representation at high levels of government, extremely difficult for candidates who are not of one of two parties to get elected


Journal Journal: Poll: Laptop Uses 21

If you have one, what are your primary uses for your laptop, or what would you use it for most if you had one?

A) Typing human-read documents

B) Coding or web development/design

C) Internet usage

D) Simple gaming (nethack, solitaire, etc.)

E) Serious gaming (Quake3, UT2003, BF192, etc)

F) Databases/work records

G) Music/Video

H) I'd forget I had it and keep leaving it at home

I) Beat people with it on public transportation to get through the crowds

J) Intermodal sucks

K) Laptops suck


Journal Journal: Jake takes it in the rear 7

Got rear ended on sunday in my Police Interceptor (named jake). Tried a few times to write a clever entry on it but failed. Not much cosmetic damage...I hope the non-cosmetic damage is of similar insignificance. Nothing like an F-150 into your rear pushing you into a '97 Contour to brighten your day.


Journal Journal: Freaks List: an investigative report. Sort of. 18

After reading the recent journal entry of Xerithane concerning almost having been foe'd by someone, I decided to march through my freaks list, and take a look at who hates me.

At the top of the list, we have 75th Trombone. He's a follower of Twirlip of Mists, with whom I had quite a number of arguements about on the constitutionality of current copyright legislation. I have to suspect he is on the pro-corporation end of copyright, the type of people who consider the only important value of information to be monetary. He's been silent since May 26, though, so I have to sort of discount his opinion of me by that. In fact, his second to last post is him being angry at me for daring to disagree with Twirlip of Mists. I feel rather accomplished by making him angry, since he was too obsessed with defending Twirlip's fascist rantings to think about what was really being said. Mr. Trombone also lacks a journal entry of his own to his name, so I can't really say he had much to declare of his own. Not worthy of my own foes list, but certainly someone i'm proud to have on my freaks list.

Next up is anthony_dipierro. Mr. diPierro and myself have had numerous arguements about personal versus corporate rights (noticing a trend yet?), including an arguement about the fundamental technologies of DRM and copy protection wherein he was in support of them and any laws protecting them, whereas I found stifling innovation in the hands of citizens to be apalling. The notable beginning was a fight months ago wherein I asserted my support of those who intercept satellite TV who do not profit monetarily, likening it to a newspaper company casting a paper daily upon my doorstep without intent to retrieve it, since they were willfully beaming it to my home regardless of whether I had the equipment to use it. Naturally, he disagreed. It was sort of silly to bother arguing on the topic since I don't even watch TV anymore, but I found it amusing just the same to watch him get angry. Mr. diPierro is one of my few mutual foes.

After that, we have ashar. I don't even know who this is. No posts, no Journal Entries. Judging from his website, he seems to be a big fan of Debian and GNU itself, and looks like he doesn't have a sense of humor. I probably said something disparaging about RMS's GNU/Linux arguement or #debian help chat in a post and he got his panties in a bunch. It's really a shame...I generally like the Finns.

Then we have aussersterne. He's hated me for a while. He just seems to like hating people, as shown by his mile-long foes list, which includes such notably good characters as GMontag and Xerithane. And juding from his most recent five or so posts, he is an arrogant, anal, and an unwavering, obtuse mac zealot. Mac zealotry in and of itself isn't a punishable offense, but combined with the other two plus the mile-long foes list, he's sort of got himself into a less than good social rating anyhow. Nothing to be proud of by getting on a foes list that long.

Following that, the next into the circus tent is Clockwurk. No journal entries out of this one, and his most recent five posts weren't revealing as to why we're mutually foed. I had to dig deeper into his last 25 comments to find out why. That particular anti-Gentoo troll is one of the stupidest oft-posted rants there is, in that not only does it use FUD to make blanket statements that are flagrantly untrue (this shows that more Gentoo boxes are intel-based than AMD based) but look believable to the casual observer, as well as believe that every Gentoo Linux wants to feel l33t as if he were using Linux From Scratch but is too lazy. Ignorance is one thing, but spreading it is another.

After Clockwurk, we have derF024. Looking at his posts, I don't know why he hates me...he doesn't seem to be too stupid. Judging from his website, it's probably another example of someone who didn't like one of my "#debian chat sucks if you actually want help" posts. Who cares.

gregorio is next. This Brazilian seems to hate me. I don't know why. He has a massive foes list, so I really don't think he even counts.

Hewligan also appears to not like me. No journal here, either. Missing since May 19th, Hewligan doesn't really seem to have a reason.

Then there's incom. Another mutual foe, I don't remember why.

Following that, there's LeninZhiv. Absent since May 6, I suspect his absence is due to his most recent post having been deleted by Slashdot staff. So I can't really say I'm impressed.

Next, there's morgajel. Going through the list, this name didn't even look familiar. No Journal. My best guess is he disagreed with my disagreeing with those who disagreed with the military action in Iraq. Boo hoo.

Here we have sethadam1. No journal here either, and as technology goes doesn't even seem too stupid. Probably another anti-war bleeding heart. Whee.

OK, here's one Tingler. No journals. Not much of note on his recent posts. Uneventful, no real reason.

Then there's unterderbrucke, whose name sounds familiar and we're mutually foe'd. I'm sure we've argued together. Nothing but a bunch of goatse links as of late.

vandan is next, and I don't really know why.

Then there's zachlipton. He also does not like me.

Well, that was boring. I don't really think I accomplished anything save for discovering that freaks lists are usually either arbitrary, or a result of direct effort towards getting there.

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