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User Journal

Journal Journal: I logged in. 2

I was doing some research for a project and happened back here. Hello slashdot.

Find me on Twitter, or put dot com after my user name.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Hello 2010

This my annual slashdot JE. I am still blogging and such at Multiply. I think just about everyone who was connected to me here has also connected over there, or at Facebook.

I still read slashdot, but I don't comment or moderate much. See you next year.

User Journal

Journal Journal: My annual Slashdot journal entry 11


Wow, it's been two years since I abandoned this platform for Internet publishing.

I notice that I am currently moving from Multiply to Facebook, but I honestly don't know how quickly and/or completely I am going to migrate. Ultimately, I see this will all become one big XML matrix and it won't matter, everything will be possible everywhere, and be visible to everyone else, and you'll be able to drive using Twitter.

See you at the lamp-post.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Ask Slashdot: Open-source Help Desk software 6

I am about to become the manager of the help-desk for a company with about 200 users. I want to implement help-desk management software from day 1, and I want to keep it open-source and free (as in speech). I have a LAMP (Linux/Apache/MySQL/PHP5) server available to me (Debian etch stable). Any recommendations?

User Journal

Journal Journal: Take this job and shove it. 13

I experienced the most hideously reprehensible episode of personal and professional disrespent I have ever been through at work today. I mean since I was 14 years old and working on a camper shell assembly line no employer has ever stooped this low. I received more professional courtesy as a delivery driver at Domino's.

There was a position within the organization that I wanted. I was an obvious candidate, but I was proactive and asked my boss and his boss to put the word in that I wanted an interview. They both supported my decision even though they would lose me (and miss me) in the department as a consequence if I was offered the job. I've done a good job in my current role. They are good people, they want to see me advance, and this position is very much in keeping with my overall career strategy, i.e., it is directly pointed in the direction I want to ultimately take my career (education).

Today, a colleague, whom I trained, came in and told me she accepted the position (this person is a friend and had no way to know I had requested an interview) and she wanted to know if I thought she made a mistake by doing so. I told her I thought the position (newly created, I should add) is an interesting one and I wished her the best. She is a good choice, by the way. That's not the issue. The issue is the chief of operations acted like I don't even exist after I specifically asked to be interviewed and passed that request up through the proper chain of command, and it met with approval every step of the way.

Yes, believe it. I keep rubbing my eyes but it is still there.








by the person, the head of operations, conducting the job search. Not "we don't think you're qualified." Not "we want you to do something else." Not "we really need you in your current position."

Nothing. Nada.

I am so gone.

User Journal

Journal Journal: SSh Zen 1

I was doing some security auditing on a laptop I just DMZ'd on my home router. It has a hardened Debian sarge install and I wanted to check the smtp deamon and the Secure Shell login, which I redirect to a high port.

I was already logged on to the shell of my hosting provider on the west coast somewhere at another laptop on my desk, so I just used ssh from that command line to login to this laptop, right here next to me on my desk.

No root is good.
Terminal pleases.
Traceroute is like falling water.
So, 'shutdown -h now'

I turned off a computer, six inches from my left hand, from a remote connection to another computer that is 3000+ miles away.

Do the birds fly the tree?

User Journal

Journal Journal: Bush 41, Clinton 42 and Viagra

Joke attribtued to Rich Little via the New Yorker, cf.

Bill Clinton and his pal George Bush senior were sitting around, and Clinton says "George, have you ever tried Viagra?'

"I can't say," George H. W. Bush answers. "I don't even know what the hell it is."

"Mr. President," Clinton says, "it gives you great staying power."

"Really?" Bush says. "Can I get it over the counter?"

Clinton answers, "I suppose you can, if you take two or three of them."

User Journal

Journal Journal: The objects of my desires. 19

The objects of my desires will never satisfy my desires.

Having sex will not end the desire to have sex.

Food does not extinguish hunger, it always returns.

Is one ever pretty enough, smart enough, or strong enough to extingush the desire to be pretty, smart and strong?

Yet isn't the extinguishment of desire what compels and attaches us to our objects of desire?

We seek those objects as sacrificial offerings to our desires.

Here, master, this is what you want. Give me some peace.

What is there? What is the essence of desire?

Throw a rock in the pond. Where did the reflection go?

User Journal

Journal Journal: iPod/iTunes/iTMS saga: you won't believe this.... 2

Thanks for the effort. Another uninstall/reinstall didn't help. A reset didn't help.

I have not yet done the erase and re-install but it might still be necessary.

Guess what? If I log into the iBook with a different user name, it just works.

Yes, get your jaw back up off the floor. It is something in my user account that is causing the problem.

Many thanks to an applecare phone support tech for that suggestion.

So, for now, I am going to create a new user account for managing the iPod so I it will be useful to me for now, but if I can't figure out what is up with my user account I am still going to erase and re-install so I can ditch FileVault.

Very effing strange.

The only thing I didn't try was rolling back the iPod updater one step and renaming it to LouRox as ellem suggested (for one thing, I don't know how to roll back the iPod updater). But, even if that works, I still have the File Vault issue. I don't have enough room on the HD to just copy everything to another directory and then copy it back. Hell, that's like re-installing anyway, so I might as well just erase and re-install.

Thanks for the help! I'll let you know how it turns out...

User Journal

Journal Journal: My MacHead Friends - Help! Big problems.... 10

First, I have a recent backup.

This summer, I bought a new iPod for a friend as a birthday present -- the U2 video model. I used my iBook to initalize it for her and transfer her music library to it, using an account I created for this purpose, not my account.

Then, iTunes 7 comes out, I install, and it immediately tells me I need to do the iPod updater. I do this.

Since then, whenever I connect my iPod, the 60GB color display model, iTunes crashes. I have sent multiple reports to apple about this, hoping they would fix in a future update. It has not happened in the last five months. I can't use iTunes with my iPod attached, but in that millisecond that iTunes recognizes the iPod before it crashes iTunes does something to my iPod so that it won't play the DRM'd files I purchased from iTMS.

When I plug the iPod into the iBook without iTunes running, it mounts it, starts iTunes and crashes, losing the drive mount in the process. Jeebus, you'd think Microsoft was writing this software.

I have googled and googled and googled. There's lot's of information about uninstalling iTunes from Windows machines, but aside from just dropping the application and the assorted plists in the trash and killing the iTunes helper in activity monitor (I've done all this) there's nothing about uninstalling iTunes from Mac OSX.

But, there is this ominous document which suggests to me that I may have to do an erase and reinstall in order to really fix this.

I have also been having a problem with filevault, I want to revert to an unencrypted file system (because of incremental backup issues) and that process fails every time with an "unknown error." I know the erase and reinstall will fix this, so I'm inclined to kill all the birds with this stone.

So, okay, fine. I do have a unix file system, so I have my home folder segregated from application data. I do have an external HD where I have dropped the disk images of all of my after-market software packages. I seem to be okay for an erase and re-install (the second one for this machine - grrr), but before I pull the trigger on all this (which I will do while watching football this weekend), I want to make sure I am not missing something, and I would like to preserve my keychain information, so that I don't have to re-enter all that.

Yes, I could call applecare, but what's the fun in that if we can all work on this together? Besides, from my previous experiences with applecare I think I might get better advice here.

So, SamTB, Ellem, BandwidthHog, SquiggleSlash, and anyone else who cares to assist, HELP!

By the way, I have to tip my hat to SquiggleSlash. He said somewhere that he did not think trusting apple with DRM was a good idea and I disagreed with him at the time (though I may not have said so, I don't remember). Well, I now have an iPod (which I legally own) which has music I legally purchased on iTMS, which, because I dutifully followed the instructions I was given, I can not listen to. Hear that? I did everything right. I paid the piper. I can't listen to music I have a license for.

Hey, iTMS, you've seem my last dime. I'm going back to buying music licenses on plastic disks. SquiggleSlash? You were right, I was wrong. I should have listened to you.

So, this is what online communities are for, right? We can make this our little project. I will be available via google talk and skype during the ordeal. I promise I will make a how-to page out of it and post it on teh Intarnets for the benefit of others so afflicted.

I think my particular situation has something to do with the fact that I plugged the later iPod model in once for the upgrade and then reverted back to my 60GB color right before doing the iTunes "upgrade" (yes, that's a funny term for what happened) and then I stupidly accepted the recommended iPod updater update right after the v7 install.

I also need to re-organize my music folder, which I keep on an external HD and is RIFE with duplicates and crap because iTunes kept changing my default music location and copying music where-ever the hell it pleased. I plan to avoid this by *not* checking the "keep my music folder organized" option on the new install. *BUT* I do not want to import a bunch of duplicates into my library. Does anyone know of any tools that will do something as simple as examine a bunch of files for duplicates and then provide a method for deleting them until there is only one unique copy of a file in a particular file tree?

Jeebus on a hockey stick, that seems like that should have already been done.


User Journal

Journal Journal: No comment required 3

Scene: CNN's Situation Room, 12/28/2006 - Transcript.

Players: Ed Henry, CNN Whitehouse Correspondent - Fran Townsend, Homeland Security Advisor

HENRY: You know, going back to September 2001, the president said, dead or alive, we're going to get him. Still don't have him. I know you are saying there's successes on the war on terror, and there have been. That's a failure.

TOWNSEND: Well, I'm not sure -- it's a success that hasn't occurred yet. I don't know that I view that as a failure.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Bistecca alla Fiorentina: Steak Florentine 2

Steak Florentine does not involve spinach.

This was among the most impressive of dishes I discovered in Tuscany last fall. Everything and nothing about this dish is about the region itself. Classically it involves a special cut of beef, analogous to the American porterhouse, dry-aged, from a special breed of cattle, the Chianina, prepared as one should prepare a $25-$50 piece of meat, skillfully and carefully.

This is really less of a recipe and more of an Emeril-type methodology. I was uncertain if I would be able to reproduce the dish here in the US. For my New Year's Eve party, I did, so I feel comfortable with telling you how to do it here:

So, BAM! Let's kick it up a notch.

  1. You need a dry-aged porterhouse of about 2 pounds.
  2. At least four hours before it hits the grill, rub it down with some garlic cloves, including, most importantly, the fatty areas on the perimeter of the cut.
  3. At least an hour before it hits the grill, take it out of the fridge and let it warm to room temperature.
  4. You need a hot fire. A very hot fire. Take your normal amount of charcoal and double it. Put your grill on the lowest level (at *least* four inches above the coals). Let it heat up.
  5. About 15 minutes before it hits the grill, coat the meat on all sides with kosher salt and fresh-ground pepper. This is going to draw some fluid out of the surface of the meat, that's intentional, it will cause it to sear faster, which is essential to this dish. The coat of salt and pepper needs to be heavy. Don't worry, it won't make your meat taste salty. This is a thick cut.
  6. When the coals are so damn hot you can't stand near them, place the meat and leave it in place for 5-6 minutes. Don't move it, don't touch it. Cover your grill with all the vents wide open while it is cooking, this is also important.
  7. Flip it. 4-6 minutes more grilling for rare, which is how the dish should be done. Some people don't eat rare beef, that's okay, you're on your way to making a pretty good classic steak, just cook it longer on this side. It won't be Steak Florentine, but it will be tasty.

    Now, all fires are not the same heat, no steaks are exactly the same thickness, so these times are only rough guides. If you want to know how to judge the doneness of meat like professional grill-cooks do, you have the tools at the end of your arms.

    • The fleshy part of your hand, palm up, between the thumb and forefinger, feels like rare meat when you poke it with a finger of the opposite hand.
    • The base of your forefinger, that mound below the first fold of your finger on the palm side, feels like medium-rare.
    • The side of your forefinger, between the second and third knuckle, feels like medium-well.
    • If you want your meat well-done, do your wallet a favor and don't buy Porterhouses. All cuts taste the same. Poke the bottom of your leather-soled shoe, that's what well-done feels like. It is also what well-done tastes like.
  8. Now, here is the most important step. When you take the meat off, it needs to rest, i.e., remain undisturbed on a plate, for ten minutes. You can place a foil tent over it to keep the edges warm. Because your fire was so hot, the meat will continue to cook during the resting phase. Don't skip or change this step, your meat is still cooking. This part of the cooking is essential to the dish coming out the way it is supposed to. Do not carve before resting or you will turn a beautiful dish into a stringy and wet mess which you will be inclined to throw back on the grill so it tastes like that ribeye from Outback.
  9. Separate the meat from the bone. Turn the bone up, that is, have it stick up on the plate like a bony erection. This demonstrates the meat was cooked properly. Arrange your 1/3 inch thick against-the-grain slices in a circular patern around the bone.
  10. Finish with beurre rouge (red-wine butter) if you must. The meat needs nothing else.

Mangia! A DOCG Chianti Classico is the natural pairing.

User Journal

Journal Journal: SAY IT LOUD! 5


Well, I'm not actually black and pride presents something of a religious problem for me personally, but I was a witness today to the event that was James Brown's final appearance at the Apollo theater on 125th street in Harlem, which is a very short walk from my residence. An impromptu crowd led and followed the Godfather's horse-drawn carriage down 7th Avenue to the Apollo theater today shouting these well-known lyrics.

It was quite the scene when I got there. There were lines stretched both ways down the block and snaking uptown on 7th and 8th avenues. I was going to stand in line myself, but it was clear that I was too late, I wouldn't get in to see his body. I don't believe his body is anything other than a piece of meat at this point anyway, any communion with whatever persists after death is possible anywhere, so I wandered around getting a feel for who was there in the line and the tenor of the gathering (no pun intended).

I last saw James Brown in person in Austin at the now-defunct Austin Opry House. The show was awesome. Every beat was highly orchestrated from the opening announcement to the second encore. He earned the title of the hardest working man in show business both by touring constantly and by refining his show to the ultimate polish. It was slick, it was in tune and on time.

It was also very black. James Brown didn't pander, he didn't try to make his music palatable to the mainstream, he was simply who he was, truly authenic. His show, even to a white-as-snow Austin college crowd, was as black as it was in the chitlin circuit. He did not compromise.

That was evident today. This was a black event, even though there was a smattering of caucasians in the crowd, myself included. It had the feel of a big church service, a homegoing, that mess-o-greens authentic blackness that escapes written description.

In short, he would have approved.

Get up! Get on down!

User Journal

Journal Journal: Sam made me do this Meme 4

  1. What is your occupation?
    Clinical Technology Educator for a large metropolitan Hospice.
  2. What color are your socks right now?
    Sandy-tan-ish color to match my pants
  3. What are you listening to right now?
    Traffic on West 57th street in Manhattan
  4. What was the last thing that you ate?
    a banana
  5. Can you drive a stick shift?
    If you mean by that sentence fragment to inquire whether I can drive a car with a manual transmission, the answer is yes.
  6. If you were a crayon, what color would you be?
    burnt orange
  7. Last person you spoke to on the phone?
    my friend Chuck
  8. How old are you today?
    46 5/12
  9. Favorite drinks?
    Zinfandel, Pinot Noir, Spicy Iced Tea
  10. What is your favorite sport to watch?
    NCAA Men's Basketball. Go Heels!
  11. Have you ever dyed your hair?
  12. Pets?
    Maggie, a cat
  13. Favorite food?
    Steak Florentine, prepared at Ristoro di Lamole, Localitia Lamole, Greve-in-Chianti, Tuscany, Italy
  14. What was the last movie you watched?
    Stuart Saves His Family
  15. Favorite holiday?
  16. What do you do to vent anger?
    Address the underlying conflict, if possible. If not, I take a long walk in Central Park.
  17. What was(were) your favorite toy(s) as a kid?
  18. What is your favorite: fall or spring?
    Spring (for wildflowers)
  19. Hugs or kisses?
  20. Cherry or blueberry?
  21. Living arrangements?
    Ground-floor floor-through in a Harlem Brownstone
  22. When was the last time you cried?
    last Thursday
  23. What is on the floor of your closet?
    Maggies favorite hiding place.
  24. What did you do last night?
    Repartitioned a hard disk on a windows machine, installed Debain sarge and put it on teh Intarnets
User Journal

Journal Journal: NCAA Men's BB: The Tar Heels in New York City

For the sake of transparency, let me declare that I am a University of North Carolina Tar Heels Basketball fan. I became one because of Dean Smith, but Roy Williams walks with beauty with his legacy.

I attended the Final Four of the Pre-Season National Invitational Tournament at Madison Square Garden. The Tar Heels won their bracket and along with Gonzaga, Butler and Tennessee, attended the double elimination two by two. I had court-side seats. Not great ones for the semi-finals, but really good seats for the third-place and Championship games.

The Tar Heels played Gonzaga in the semi-finals. Roy made a dizzying number of substitutions. When the Heels got up 8 in the second half, Roy benched his talented forwards Frazor and Lawson and played Quentin "we love this kid's potential" Thomas. Normally dead-eye three-point shooter Wes Miller couldn't hit the broad side of a City bus.

Oustanding play from true freshmen Brandon Wright and Wayne Ellington wasn't enough to win the game. Tyler Hansbrough, who is probably the most exciting sophomore to play at UNC since Jordan, played hard but he also made some serious mistakes. It didn't help that Gonzaga had a center Godzilla named Heytvelt who essentially gave Tyler a beating here and there over 2 and a half hours. Tyler was at the line for 15 free throws.

Gonzaga was embarrassed by Butler two nights later in the championship game. They were never seriously in the game with Butler.

In the consolation game, the two ranked teams, UNC and Tennessee, were mismatched. UNC didn't play all that well, particularly in the second half, and Tyler received an intentional, flagrant, automatic ejection from the game foul while going for a transition layup/dunk. It was right in front of me. I saw the whole thing, it was vicious. Whomever the idiot from Tennessee was, he punched Tyler above the eye with the heel of one hand and took him to the floor with a half-nelson with his other hand.

He was thrown out, Tyler got two shots alone on the half-court and UNC got the ball back. I worried for a moment that this might invigorate Tennessee, who actually has a top 10 team, but it never materialized.

What did materialize was some pretty lousy play while UNC ran away with the score. That's right, UNC scored a lot of points while playing badly. Their pre-season #2 ranking is too high. This UNC team, *my* team (as a fan), isn't there yet. They are not the second best team in the country.

But, there's plenty of basketball to be played between now and March.

Butler earned that Championship. They are a mid-major, but they were hot, and they are well coached. Watch them. They'll get a number of upsets this season, if your team plays them, watch out.

Gonazaga is where Gonzaga usually is. That is, they are a mid-major school, but they have an elite basketball program. They've got game. They'll be in it again this year.

UNC plays Ohio State next Wednesday. That will be an important test. No rest for the weary.

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