Content from 2007-06

Seventh Friday Linux Lesson
posted on 2007-06-29 19:06:00
Okay, folks. I have a confession. My Linux Lessons are so under par. Seriously. I was looking at a site just the other day that did a much better job of presenting concepts in a sensible order and getting users familiar with the command prompt. Oh, well. There's still plenty to be done here so on I go. Today we're going to be looking at a few simple things that might go missed at the command prompt but are insanely great. If there is really a concept today it's on shortcuts and things like tab completion.

So, let's start with a few basics. If you're at a command prompt and press the Up Arrow you'll cycle through the commands you entered last. That's history. If you're midway though typing a command or a directory and you hit the Tab key, the system will try to autocomplete it for you. That is, if you're typing "cd /home/user/Desktop" and once you've typed "cd /home/user/D" you hit tab, as long as there is no other directory that starts with a capital d in "/home/user" it will finish typing "esktop" for you. This ends up being useful for all kinds of things. Especially when something is several directories deep but you don't feel like typing or remembering whatever you typed earlier. Additionally, one should always remember that "." is equivalent to the directory you're currently in, as in "cd .", and ".." is equivalent to a directory one above the directory you're in such that "cd .." while in "/home/user/Desktop" would move you to "/home/user". Finally, how about a command? Typing "pwd" will print the present working directory to let you know where you are in the system. This, in conjunction with tools like "ls" and "cd" will help you navigate the filesystem in a sensible manner.

Finally, I'm going to talk about "|" today. That's shift-backslash. The wonderful thing about "|" is that it feeds the output of one command into a second command. For example, "ls /home/user/Desktop | wc -l" would use "wc" the word count program to count the number of lines in "/home/user/Desktop". You end up putting two commands together to get a count of the number of files in that directory. You could also use something like "grep" to find a file like so: "ls /home/user/Desktop | grep *.doc" and list all your documents. This simple combination allows for some fantastically complex things which I'll be exploring in the coming weeks. For now, I hope you enjoyed the friday Linux Lesson and (if I'm lucky) the next Linux Lesson will be found here and also on "redlinernotes.com". Have a good one folks.
Seventh Thursday Literary Lines
posted on 2007-06-28 23:49:00
I was in Borders the other day and strolled through the poetry section. Surprisingly, there was a Milosz volume that my copy of his Collected Poems didn't contain. I also realized how much I'd like to read Bukowski and Neruda. I'm still working my way through the mountains of Milosz' catalog but diversity is a very important thing and when it comes to poetry I've just sort of been sitting in one corner for a while. T.S. Eliot would certainly be a more distant jump than Neruda or Bukowski. Frost would also be a good distance for that matter. Whitman not as much. At any rate, I stumbled upon a Neruda work online today that seems so applicable to events of late that I feel oddly compelled to post it. It's titled Tonight I Can Write The Saddest Lines.

Tonight I can write the saddest lines.

Write, for example,'The night is shattered
and the blue stars shiver in the distance.'

The night wind revolves in the sky and sings.

Tonight I can write the saddest lines.
I loved her, and sometimes she loved me too.

Through nights like this one I held her in my arms
I kissed her again and again under the endless sky.

She loved me sometimes, and I loved her too.
How could one not have loved her great still eyes.

Tonight I can write the saddest lines.
To think that I do not have her. To feel that I have lost her.

To hear the immense night, still more immense without her.
And the verse falls to the soul like dew to the pasture.

What does it matter that my love could not keep her.
The night is shattered and she is not with me.

This is all. In the distance someone is singing. In the distance.
My soul is not satisfied that it has lost her.

My sight searches for her as though to go to her.
My heart looks for her, and she is not with me.

The same night whitening the same trees.
We, of that time, are no longer the same.

I no longer love her, that's certain, but how I loved her.
My voice tried to find the wind to touch her hearing.

Another's. She will be another's. Like my kisses before.
Her void. Her bright body. Her infinite eyes.

I no longer love her, that's certain, but maybe I love her.
Love is so short, forgetting is so long.

Because through nights like this one I held her in my arms
my soul is not satisfied that it has lost her.

Though this be the last pain that she makes me suffer
and these the last verses that I write for her.
Seventh Wednesday Songs of Summer
posted on 2007-06-27 15:46:00
Guster - Amsterdam
John Mayer - New Deep
Coldplay - Swallowed by the Sea
Incubus - Aqueous Transmission
Andrew Bird - Fiery Crash
Server Purchased
posted on 2007-06-26 21:06:00
Ladies and Gentlemen,

A small update for you. I have, as previously announced, registered redlinernotes.com for one year. Previous efforts to get some old hardware together to host/serve the site did not work as planned so I just purchased a server from "pricewatch.com". You can see it here. It's pretty impressive what you can get shipped to your house for $120. Granted there's no monitor, keyboard, or mouse but once the server is up and hosting you don't need them. Anyway, the server is probably overkill for the amount of load/traffic my site will generate but considering the next cheapest thing was half as powerful and only would've saved me $20 I think I made the right call. Expect the site up by next friday...I'll keep you posted.

Thanks,
Editor-In-Chief
Seventh Tuesday Quotables
posted on 2007-06-26 15:31:00
"Alas, we are mired in the modern and mystified by the moth-eaten. The earth is a muddy, muddy place." - Jim

"Even by the most *stringent* reasonable rules, we add a new bug every four days. That's just something that people need to accept. The people who say 'we must never introduce a regression' aren't living on planet earth, they are living in some wonderful world of Blarney, where mistakes don't happen, developers are perfect, hardware is perfect, and maintainers always catch things." - Linus Torvalds (more on that here:http://kerneltrap.org/node/8414)
It’s Over
posted on 2007-06-25 22:39:00
It's really over with Sonya and me. For one reason or another, I thought there was a chance for round 2. There definitely is not. I just got off the phone with her. She won't be giving me that chance. All told, I'm glad I tried. I really needed to try and get her back for myself but that didn't work. So, on to whatever is next. I think I'll be okay but I don't really know. If anyone does want to hang out with me over the next few days or send hugs or kisses or anything though let me know. I've got orientation at SPSU from 7-3 but I'm free after that. Call me or leave a comment.

-Peace
Seventh Monday Update
posted on 2007-06-25 15:10:00
Summer: Week 6: Finished
Potentially Buy Skateboard at Ruin.
Gym
Skate
TVS
Sonya's Birthday? (Powerless? Pretty certainly.) *tear emo tear* (Ended up being aquarium visit. Nice.)

Unexpected: Aquarium visit with Sonya probably qualifies, as do awesome birthday parties. Phone and house calls. Wrote a crazy ass post that predictably didn't get commented on. Maybe I shouldn't write things at 4am...

Summer: Week 7: Schedule
Monday
TVS (an anomaly caused by taking off early on Thursday for the aquarium)
Call Sonya? (after work today or after work tomorrow?)
Southern Polytech State University Orientation (3-7pm); Register for Classes (Discrete Mathematics, C Programming, other)
Gym (after work or after SPSU Orientation?)
Read Lessig
Tuesday
TVS
Program
Read Lessig
See people?
Wednesday
TVS
Gym
Read Lessig
See people?
Thursday
TVS
Ubuntu Gutsy Alpha 2 Release. Install on new partition. Test.
Money hits bank. Do banking. Buy server?
See people.
Read Lessig?
Friday
Chill.
Play in Gutsy Alpha 2.
Work on site\server?
People. Justin\Bria. Others too?

News for 6/25/07:
CompComm has been officially renamed to Compiz Fusion. Packaging and site migration are underway. Expect the first official release this week. And be excited. There's good stuff coming.
Neil J Patel released some software that takes advantage of the clutter API to view Flickr photos, appropriately titled Fluttr.
I also discovered a new media center app that appears promising called Sofa. That's probably not news but what the hell. Is anyone reading this? Hello?
Some good patch work is underway with airlied and pzad hard at work on the ati driver.
Somewhat comically Microsoft offered Ubuntu on it's Windows Live Marketplace this week.
There was also a great article by Steve Yegge on compilers, a good post on why Web 2.0 is silly, and a very surprising post from Lessig on a change in career focus\direction.
A new study was done on reorienting the web's traffic distribution using peer 2 peer techniques. Intriguing, no?
Finally, in one of those seemingly small developments sure to have a big impact, a Cornell University scientist has found a practical way to store light.
Always On
posted on 2007-06-23 11:59:00
Clumsily Jim reached for his cell phone to turn off the alarm. The interest to get out of bed was nonexistent but of course everyone is interested in eating. After work he drove home. Maybe he'd go to the gym later. Later, after eating dinner with his parents, he slept. Of course, there was more to Jim and Jim's life than this but I feel I have described enough. No doubt you are picturing a man you'd think of as boring and to tell the truth Jim thought of himself in much the same way. While most of Jim's friends were interested in partying or young, boisterous things Jim preferred a sort of contemplative reverie that proved anathema to most of his would-be companions. Such seclusion tends to produce odd, misshapen little creatures and he was no exception. His mane was always a bit disheveled and no matter what he wore he always felt that the idea of it being an outfit rather than a smattering of fabrics was some elaborate ruse bound to be seen through any minute.

Gor was Jim's ancestor. It's hard to say how distant an ancestor but it is fair to say that it was distant enough that Gor had no concept of ancestry. Nor a concept of concepts for that matter. I mention Gor here only to note that beyond this there is virtually nothing I can tell you about him. If anyone should know about Gor one would think it should be Jim. But Gor's very name was unknown to him. Prehistory is odd that way. If our protagonist had known of his ancestor it is almost certain that he would want to know all about him but his notion of his ancestor was as vague as Gor's notion of notions. If there is such a thing as Posthistory perhaps it will weave these threads together better.

Jim's antisocial behavior stemmed from something that had grown in the back of his head as a child. He wasn't sure what it was but it would occasionally throb due to some change in...who knows what. Perhaps the air pressure. When it throbbed in this way it induced a discomfort in Jim so profound that he withdrew from whatever environ he was currently inhabiting and when there was nowhere to withdraw to physically, he drew inward. Over the years Jim began to associate the discomfort with things. Naturally, any creature that has a certain level of mental function where language is concerned at some point tries to find a sign for the things that matter in his experience of reality. In the case of his discomfort, Jim was gradually associating the sensation with untruth which is neither truth nor lie nor half-truth. In fact, this idea of untruth itself might be more fairly called discontinuity. Jim like most of his kind was a very simple creature though and there were many discontinuities that were suppressed in his weaker moments or, in his ineptitude, missed altogether.

There are considerable difficulties to being an "intelligent" being with a short lifespan. For one, the preoccupation with death is incredibly wasteful. It wastes time, thought, energy. I'm pretty sure it just wastes except potentially at the moment of it's acceptance but then this is speculation on my part. If I wasn't immortal my speculation might be wasteful too. Once you're immortal and time isn't a limited resource though the capacity to waste time goes out the window with it's scarcity. At any rate, Gor didn't have to worry about a lot of this. Some cosmic mercy bestowed him with an utter lack of time with which to ponder anything so great, abstracted, and ominous as death. He had more immediate concerns. Jim though had all too much time on his hands, not that he wasted great swaths of it pondering some sort of end. Jim did ponder a great deal on the order of things though which after some schooling led him to the door of history. Jim, being a clever sort, regarded history in the right way. Some presumably great creatures had introduced to the notion of history several hundred years prior the notion of progress and the two blended quite naturally in the minds of most. Jim however saw that the notion of progress was a hypothesis designed to fit the data. Things were getting more complex and that complexity was the face of progress. But of course entropy would take care of eroding the past to give it a nice exponential decline all the way back to the x-axis of prehistory. History never learned to be itself in high school but it got straight As on all of it's memetics tests.

One of the difficulties with intelligent mortality is the tendency to miss long term trends, particularly cycles. The preoccupation with the immediate is so great that local distortions and occurrences seem much more than they are. Most parents forget by the time they choose to raise children that diversity and difference is important. At a certain age in the cycle, notions of progress and community give way to the pursuit of easy living in walled gardens. Children oftentimes miss this aim of the parents and see them as callous and evil only to themselves lose interest in the great struggle years later. And so trends ebb and flow in our Always On society but the changes are too slow and enormous to be seen like tidal waves under the ocean rather than obelisks in the desert. The complexity has grown such that we can no longer distinguish right from wrong or progress from decline, obsessed though we be with such undertakings. And now that we are at last acknowledging the idea of healthiness in method we are trying to discover the healthy way to do everything. Healthy living, healthy relationships, healthy innovation and markets, healthy production and consumption (we call that sustainability). But our concept of health is trapped inside the confines of our mortality. A southern belle's ideas about the necessity of a certain etiquette differ hugely from those of a New Yorker and neither is healthier for their biases, nor does either know a healthier living. So, here we are at the beginning of the 21st century and we've begun to understand everything about how little we know.

We're beginning to understand how life works and biology functions. We're beginning to understand what makes materials act the way they do and what fundamental forces hold sway in the universe. And somewhere some scientist realized that the entire universe and all of time, history and prehistory and posthistory alike, were technically equivalent to a computation in which atoms and energy were data sets and changes over time were the results of functions fed into functions. So it was that Jim rose one morning and climbed the ladder of abstraction, stepping above the past, present, and future into a darkness in which he said, "It must be so. It has already been computed who knows how many times. Our iteration is uncounted and uncountable. We will solve for the mystery of existence once again. And if by grace our knowledge grows fast enough we might escape the tangles of our chaos before it crashes down over us. If only we could sharpen the edges of old glyphs or dull the background noise of the present. Alas, we are mired in the modern and mystified by the moth-eaten. The earth is a muddy, muddy place."
Sixth Friday Linux Lesson
posted on 2007-06-23 02:36:00
So, picking up from last week we need to know how to look up more detailed information about various commands and how to change permissions on things.

Today's concept is self-help. I won't be recommending books like The Power Of Now or trying to sell you anything. I will explain the linux man command and why self-help is the most important aspect of linux or even general computer usage in my opinion. Self-help means knowing how to go to google and search for a problem to look for a solution. Self-help means being able to think about the computer as something that does whatever you tell it to, including breaking.

The command of the day is the "man" command. Man stands for manual and when you type "man command" where command is another linux command (e.g. "man sudo") you pull up the "manpages" for that respective command. So, if we look at last week's problem: We typed ls -l to get permissions information on the output of a directory but couldn't decipher what all of the output meant. If we type "man ls" we learn that -l is a long list option but it doesn't tell us much about what that really means. It does note at the bottom that a command "info ls" will generate more information. At this point, you type ":q" to exit the manpage and then run "info ls" at the command prompt. In this case, the info page is identical to the manpage but now you're done. Besides, you didn't care much what all the obscure things meant anyway. And that's how easy self-help is. Note that not all problems really need to be solved. The next logical step with this though would have been what? Google, of course. And next week we'll dive into some general terminal tricks and the "|" operator. Get ready to have fun.
Sixth Thursday Literary Lines
posted on 2007-06-22 06:20:00
Today was awesome but as much as I love Borges I'm going to post some tasty Milosz tonight. More Borges next week...I promise. Or at least a different poet. :-D

Gift
A day so happy.
Fog lifted early, I worked in the garden.
Hummingbirds were stopping over honeysuckle flowers.
There was no thing on earth I wanted to possess.
I knew no one worth my envying him.
Whatever evil I had suffered, I forgot.
To think that once I was the same man did not embarrass me.
In my body I felt no pain.
When straightening up, I saw the blue sea and sails.
Random Midweek Thoughts
posted on 2007-06-20 19:47:00
I wish I had included John Mayer - New Deep and Guster - Amsterdam in the songs of summer. They'll probably be in next week's. I also am really getting back into Amon Tobin but his jazz/samba/drum'n'bass/insanity isn't really any particular season.

Lessig made a big announcement this week. I'll cover it in the monday update. He's smart and awesome.

In response to Justin last night: Linux has as many problems as you want it to. Get your hands dirty.

Speaking of, this week's linux lesson is looking like it should be fantastic. Max, get ready. Expect to learn about <tab> at the command prompt, more permissions, man pages, and the "|" key (that's shift backslash). It'll let you do fun things like "ls -l | wc -l" and "ps -ax | grep "yourmom"" and such.

Currently setting up subversion box and building jetty\terracotta cluster. More on that in t3h future. This week is turning out pretty nice.

Also, I was at the command prompt and ran "locate yourmom" and got nothing? So, where is she?

.
.
.
.
;-)
Sixth Wednesday Songs of Summer
posted on 2007-06-20 16:42:00
Marvin Gaye - What's Going On
White Stripes - Rag and Bone
Silversun Pickups - Lazy Eye
Incubus - Nice to Know You
The Verve - Bittersweet Symphony
Quick Vote Results
posted on 2007-06-20 00:40:00
Ladies and Gentlemen,

I have to say your contributions were wonderful, particularly those made to the "other" category. One of the domain names suggested had such a wonderfully high pun factor and semantic richness to it that I decided to go with it outright. I have registered the domain redlinernotes.com from Network Solutions for one year, effective immediately. Now I just need to get a server up and have the DNS point to it. I was going to use an old system I have lying around the house here but it doesn't like me. I'd rather have a dedicated machine for this than serve off my desktop. That's just not good practice. I'll figure something out. Give me time. If anyone has an old system they are about to toss (Pentium II, 128 mb of ram or better) feel free to give me a call and let me put it to good use.

Thanks again,
Brit
Tip of the Day
posted on 2007-06-19 16:25:00
If you ever need to use IRC at school or work and you're firewalled just google "cgi irc" and use one of those. You might have to try a couple. I've been enjoying http://www.chriscole.info/cgiirc/irc.cgi
I'll post a solution for the more commonly used AIM sometime in the future.
I got yer jetty server right here!
posted on 2007-06-19 15:50:00
Jetty Install Process:
Install JDK 6u1 from Sun:
Grab the bin file and run:
sudo chmod +x *.bin
sudo sh ./jdk*.bin
sudo mv jdk1.6.0_01 Java6u1
sudo mv Java6u1 /usr
sudo update-alternatives --install /usr/bin/java java /usr/Java6u1/bin/java 300
sudo update-alternatives --config java
Select whichever number corresponds to /usr/Java6u1/bin/java

Grab latest jetty from website and run:
sudo mkdir /opt/jetty
sudo chown $USER /opt/jetty
Unzip to /opt/jetty
Throw timekeeper in /opt/jetty/webapps via sudo cp -R timekeeper /opt/jetty/webapps
sudo chown -R jetty /opt/jetty
sudo chmod -R ugo+rw /opt/jetty
sudo cp /opt/jetty/bin/jetty.sh /etc/init.d/jetty
sudo touch /etc/init.d/jetty
set JETTY_HOME=/opt/jetty and JAVA_HOME=/usr/Java6u1 in /opt/jetty/bin/jetty.sh
set Log location in /opt/jetty/etc/jetty.xml to /opt/jetty/logs

Get Jetty to accept connections on port 80:
sudo /sbin/iptables -t nat -I PREROUTING -p tcp --dport 80 -j REDIRECT --to-port 8080

Get Jetty to run on bootup:
sudo ln -s /etc/init.d/jetty /etc/rc2.d/S86jetty

Load Balancing Modifications:
Research ongoing.
Sixth Tuesday Quotables
posted on 2007-06-19 14:18:00
"A time is marked not so much by ideas that are argued about as by ideas that are taken for granted. The character of an era hangs upon what needs no defense. Power runs with ideas that only the crazy would draw into doubt. The "taken for granted" is the test of sanity; "what everyone knows" is the line between us and them. This means that sometimes a society gets stuck. Sometimes these unquestioned ideas interfere, as the cost of questioning becomes too great. In these times, the hardest task for social or political activists is to find a way to get people to wonder again about what we all believe is true. The challenge is to sow doubt." - Lawrence Lessig

"The argument [of this book] is that always and everywhere, free resources have been crucial to innovation and creativity; that without them, creativity is crippled. Thus, and especially in the digital age, the central question becomes not whether the government or the market should control a resource, but whether a resource should be controlled at all. Just because control is possible, it doesn't follow that it is justified. Instead, in a free society, the burden of justification should fall on him who would defend systems of control." - Lawrence Lessig
Quick Vote
posted on 2007-06-19 00:39:00
Ladies and Gentleman,

I will now conduct a vote which will end at 5pm this tuesday afternoon. Simply indicate which domain name you think I should purchase. Your Choices:
1. codebetweenthelines.com org or net
2. britblit.com org or net
3. Other: Fill in here. (Bonus points if it incorporates in some way the word redline)

Thank you,
Brit
Marvin Friggin’ Gaye
posted on 2007-06-18 20:38:00
I'd like to give a shout out to some people that have been loving on me. This morning that's gonna be Ember Melcher, Cathryn McCrimmon, Bria Rose, Dallas Greene, Amanda Nichols, Jason Soby, Eric Gulley, and my father (who talked to me for an hour at 2:30 am) John Glenn. I'd also like to take this opportunity to note that Marvin Gaye's What's Going On is fucking magical and can fix almost anything. That's right. I'm dancing and I'm clapping. Thank you folks. I feel like I've really made some progress. I no longer feel like there's something wrong with me or it was something I did or didn't do. Let's see if I can't maintain that.

PS: A huge thanks also goes out to Maziar Vafadari and Eric for dealing with me yesterday and also for everyone who commented on my post on Friday. It really has made a difference. Thank you.

PPS: While I'm not sure if I'm behind the new Spoon album yet (is it out for consumption or do I just have it leaked?), I'm so behind the new Maroon 5 (even though I can't really listen to it much right now), Andrew Bird (in my top 5 for this year easily), and White Stripes. I'll keep you guys posted about the new Aesop Rock, Pinback, and Radiohead as soon as I get my grimy virtual hands on them.
Sixth Monday Update
posted on 2007-06-18 17:39:00
Summer: Week 5: Finished
Take Cody to the Vet for Annual Checkup
Gym.
Bank.
TVS
Started Next Book: Ended up being The Future of Ideas. Haven't gotten that far due to unexpected things.
Sonya?
Unexpected: Heart Wrenching Breakup, Plans to buy Domain, Build Server, Install Wordpress, and Otherwise Go Completely Crazy.

Summer: Week 6: Schedule
Monday
Potentially Buy Skateboard at Ruin.
Gym
Reading
Run at the park at 5?
Tuesday
TVS
Justin and Bria or other people.
Invent something to be excited about here. Server work?
Wednesday
TVS
Gym
More server work and\or people. Early sleep.
Thursday
TVS
Reading
Sonya's Birthday? (Powerless? Pretty certainly.) *tear emo tear*
Something to distract me. Almost definitely people.
Friday
Gym at 2:30? Something like that.
Chill (Keep trying to get around to installing something from source. People. Stuff.)
Reading

News for 6/18/07:
There have been murmurings on the X.org Mailing List (ML) about ATI re-evaluating their Linux support model. By July, we'll know where they stand.
Neil J. Patel appears to be hacking away at Avant Window Navigator because there was a new svn release this week.
Songbird has started pushing out nightlies again for the first time in a long time. Hopefully, 0.3 isn't too far off.
WINE released a new version with some Direct3D fixes, as always. Keep it up guys.
The CompComm mailing lists are crazy. Something has to happen soon. Seriously.
There were also some new breakthroughs in photovoltaics.
There is a group developing software to design nanotube circuits.
There is a startup helping consumers build their own mobile networks(as in cell phones).

That's it for this week. Pray for me and I'll catch you guys later.
Rethinking
posted on 2007-06-18 07:30:00
I think I was dumb today. This being my first significant breakup I didn't realize that we were broken up yet. I'm not sure I have realized that even now. Also, I had convinced myself there was a chance things would still work out. Also, my only two friends that I hang out with outside of school are moving in the fall and I'm transferring. Not far but I'm transferring. So, I've got a pretty fresh start on my hands. Naturally, I don't want it. I mean I'm glad to study computer science and not be at Oglethorpe but I have no idea what to do as far as my relationships with people. That's very intimidating of course. A lot is happening at once and I'm (I think understandably) pretty mixed up and confused. I also think I might be faking being okay so something bad might just set in any day now. I'll try to find a way to focus this energy but aside from reading books, working, and going to the gym I can't think of any good ones. And I feel like I'm so crazy and have been for so long (particularly with regards to Sonya) that nobody really wants to hear any of this and I don't blame them. I don't know what to say half the time. When I face problems that I can't mentally untangle I'm not sure that I do well at all. If I can't think about something clearly I'm kind of screwed. Anyway, I'm very tired so I'm going to go to bed and hope I can get it together before work Tuesday. But today was hard.
Web Site Names
posted on 2007-06-17 19:42:00
Okay, so britlit.com is taken by some stupid squatters who want $2,000 for it and I think that's bullshit. Of course, I don't have two grand but even if I did I wouldn't fork it over for a lousy domain name. .org and .net are taken as well. So, I need something else. I should note that if I do start a new site I won't stop writing here. I'll probably find a way to dual-post or something. I just need to think of a good domain that isn't taken yet and that's pretty tricky. To check and see if domains are available you can use this link if you want to:http://www.networksolutions.com/home.jsp?layoutIdIndex=1
Or just tell me your ideas and I'll check. HELP!
Sunday Morning
posted on 2007-06-17 18:00:00
I'm at church right now. I'm not in church but I'm at church writing this from a computer not far from the service area. I've been thinking about some things. Mostly I'm just trying to avoid having to deal with much until lunchtime. I'm trying to keep my mind among occupied. I haven't been to church in a while and it was interesting to listen to Michael speak again. I was reminded of some of the supremely good issues that Christianity forces one to address. Chiefly imperfection and pride and introspection. I was also reminded of the nonsensical approach (perhaps the word I'm looking for is presentation) that is given in the average church. I can actually watch the service from another monitor here in this control room. Anyway, I've been thinking about perspective and how difficult it is to ever be objective outside of your perspective. You can always be as objective as possible within your perspective but managing to actually go far enough out to get beyond your perspective (note: here perspective includes your understanding of the views of others) is really, really difficult. In fact, I'm having a real hard time finding a good way to define perspective. I'll try to come back to this later today. But I'm thinking about G.K. Chesterton's writings and how wonderfully prosaic his thinking was as well as his Christianity. I'm also thinking of Paul Graham and his essays on Education. And I'm remembering some of the issues I had to think about in youth groups or what have you in middle and high school. I think some of the things we had to confront were good even if the presentation or structure wasn't ideal. And it's making me wonder what a Hacker School would look like. What would a Hacker Church or Youth Group look like? What would make church or school more purposive, more elegant? They certainly aren't designed ideally now. I'm wondering how you captivate a generation of people and convince them that grappling with problems is a supremely more rewarding and better thing than having fun. Moreover, that grappling with problems can be fun (not that you shouldn't at times have regular fun too of course but more that it should be the exception rather than the rule). Christianity has a terrible tendency to make one believe that all things can be made Black and White as does much staunchly moralist thinking. Unfortunately, the real world strays much much closer to Mathematics or Literature. There is one concrete meaning or answer generally speaking. At the very least, there are answers that are definitely wrong. But there is a world of grey and interpretation and middle ground and the problem is several orders of magnitude more complex than I feel Church or Christianity prepares you to deal with and this is in part because I think it conditions you to think about things a certain way and to hold distaste for certain thoughts. Chesterton treated Christianity as a filter. He evaluated ideas particularly in terms of what their effect would be on him to some extent. He believed in the teachings of the church but he was also mindful of the fact that he should consider ideas which flew in the face of the church or solutions to problems that seemed unorthodox. However, he also considered many ideas on the basis of what spiritual effect they had on him. He thought of evolution as being a well and good idea in so much as it meant God took more time to make the world but a worthless idea in terms of equating man with the chimpanzee. Not because it necessarily wasn't correct so much as because for him the idea that he was equivalent to a chimpanzee was a degrading fact from which he could draw no implications about how to live or behave. It wasn't instructional. It was defeatist. I'm not saying that we should reject the idea that we're descended from Chimpanzees. We very well may be and provided we're not bothered by that then fine. But one must have ideas for pragmatic and practical reasons. They are meant to drive and further progress which is it's own challenge. A lot of our problem nowadays is that we're firm believers in universal solutions. Buckhead (30327) is the second wealthiest congressional district in the country (behind 90210) and we're sending our kids to cookie cutter programs with cookie cutter lives. And you know what? They will be cookie cutter adults that do not live up (on average) to the success of their parents. This is me predicting dangerously. The problem is that we need people to innovate but the parents aren't thinking that. They're not thinking we need to make sure our kids have the same crazy and ridiculous diversity of experience and adversity we had to be successful. They're thinking lets go to a safe, non-threatening, homogeneous place to raise a family that's as conforming to our idea of the good as possible. And that's largely what Buckhead is. It's kind of disgusting actually. The whole notion is that of group-think and not in the collaborative, open source, everyone can contribute everything kind of way. Buckhead is not a wiki. The problem with this is that kids aren't being taught to think for themselves, they're not being taught to find their own solutions to their own questions. They're not necessarily taught that the question (or to question) is important. And universal solutions don't work. We're slowly learning this. The trick is local solutions to local problems. Domain-specific versus Domain-inspecific. Anyway, I've got to run but more on this later. And everyone pray or wish luck on me between Noon and 2 o'clock.
Fifth Linux Lesson; First Saturday, hopefully only
posted on 2007-06-16 20:39:00
Good afternoon netizens. Fear not, in spite of great adversity and personal difficulty I am here to bring you this week's Linux Lesson. It occurred to me that I was so foolish in our inaugural Linux Lesson that I taught you only the cd command and not the ls command. This is incredibly silly. These two should almost always be known in tandem. So with that in mind here we go.

Today's concept is finding files and getting file information via the terminal. Obviously, we've discussed things like permissions and file management on here before. However, rather than guessing where a file is or what permissions it has wouldn't you like to know? That's what we hope to cover today.

So, command number one. "ls" which stands for list. Clever, right? Maybe not but this handy little devil will solve most of your file searching and permission checking problems. For example, say you're looking for the "xorg.conf" file we mentioned a few weeks ago. If you think it's in /etc/X11 then you can do "cd /etc/X11" and then type "ls" or you could type "ls /etc/X11". Additionally, if you want to be shown hidden files you can append -a like so "ls -a /etc/X11" and to be shown permissions for files you can append -l like so "ls -l /etc/X11" or both in any order "ls -la /etc/X11" there are other options you can use but those are the two I find useful. When you check permissions with -l the output might look a little crazy to you. Probably something like this:
-rw-r--r-- 1 redline redline 1751 2007-02-04 15:21 aptrepository.asc
drwxr-xr-x 8 redline redline 4096 2007-06-14 19:01 Desktop
drwxr-xr-x 5 redline redline 4096 2007-04-17 22:48 doom3
lrwxrwxrwx 1 redline redline 36 2007-04-17 22:48 doom3-dedicated -> /home/redline/doom3//doom3-dedicated
-rw-r--r-- 1 redline redline 21145838 2007-04-17 22:41 doom3-linux-1.3.1.1304.x86.run
lrwxrwxrwx 1 redline redline 26 2007-02-04 11:38 Examples -> /usr/share/example-content
-rw-r--r-- 1 redline redline 1300 2007-03-17 02:04 file.txt
-rw-r--r-- 1 redline redline 1209 2007-03-17 02:03 file.txt~
-rw-r--r-- 1 redline redline 20017 2007-02-22 20:17 hs_err_pid5956.log
-rw-r--r-- 1 redline redline 0 2007-05-16 17:31 logfile.txt
-rw-r--r-- 1 redline redline 151552 2007-06-03 22:58 nautilus-debug-log.txt
drwxr-xr-x 3 redline redline 4096 2007-02-21 19:18 Photos
-rw-r--r-- 1 redline redline 44628 2007-02-27 08:48 python-gtkglext1_1.1.0-2feisty_i386.deb
drwxr-xr-x 2 redline redline 4096 2007-04-04 19:35 scripts
lrwxrwxrwx 1 redline redline 36 2007-04-12 09:11 TransGaming_Drive -> /home/redline/.cedega/Doom 3/c_drive
-rw-r--r-- 1 root root 684455936 2007-06-13 00:27 ubuntu-custom-live.iso
-rw-r--r-- 1 redline redline 3004403712 2007-05-31 20:21 windows.img
drwxr-xr-x 3 redline redline 4096 2007-04-22 00:57 workspace
-rw-r--r-- 1 redline redline 5368709120 2007-06-08 17:53 xubuntu-test.img
The permissions are found on the far left followed by the owner and group access file size, date last modified, and file name. Some of the files you'll notice have a -> and then another file listed. This is because they are something called a symlink which is effectively the same thing as a Windows shortcut. As for the permissions on the far left, I admit they look a little weird. Let me explain it this way, permissions are doled out separately on Unix-based systems to users, groups, and owners. Someone owns the file and generally speaking the owner has the right to choose who has access to it and whether they have read-only or read-write access as well as whether or not the file is executable. Groups are collections of users which share a given set of rights. Generally, you don't have to worry about groups. On your own computer you'll either own something or not. If you don't own it that means root (the superuser account) probably owns it in which case sudo comes in handy. Users are a more generic entity that probably only matters if people are remotely accessing a directory to upload files over the web but here I'm getting into things I don't know so I'll shut up. For our purposes and most beginning users purposes the only thing that matters is that you own the file and have read or write access to it. That can be seen in the permissions on the far left. The r stands for read, w for write, and x for executable. I believe that the first three are for the owner, the second three are for the group, and the third three are for users but don't quote me. We'll pick up here next week with some more permissions commands and a command to resolve the questions I've opened about permissions towards the end of this lesson. See you then.
Quick Poll
posted on 2007-06-16 18:50:00
Dear Lazyweb,

If I had to get a domain name (www.something.com) what should that it\something be? I was thinking britlit.com but I'd love to hear others peoples opinions, ideas, suggestions. Let me know in the comments.

-B
Fifth Friday Linux Lesson
posted on 2007-06-16 04:31:00
Dear Readers,

Due to unforeseen events that have slightly scrambled my brain there will not be a Linux Lesson today. In the interest of maintaining quality and not just banging something out I will wait to write and post this entry. The odds are great that it will arrive tomorrow. I apologize for the delay and thank you in advance for your understanding.

Editor-in-Chief,
Brit Butler
Single
posted on 2007-06-15 18:55:00
I remember when my hand was cut and I snuck over to your house on the first day we were together and you bandaged it.
I remember when I cooked you salmon and we made love, in my bedroom.
And so this is life. Rich, more than we are able to absorb in all it's facets, too rich for us.
Rich, beyond comprehension. Full, beyond belief. My cup overfloweth. And I know not what to do.
Albums_to_Pirate
posted on 2007-06-14 20:17:00
Aesop Rock - None Shall Pass
Pinback - Autumn of the Seraphs
Radiohead - As yet untitled 7th album

Anything you guys think I'm missing?
Take 5
posted on 2007-06-14 18:35:00
I thought I'd take a quick break to make a work post. Things have been crazy lately and work's been hard but it's also been rewarding and I think I'm learning how to manage the stress. I went to the gym for the first time in a few weeks last night and also started reading my next book, The Future of Ideas by Lawrence Lessig. For the record, I adore Lessig. I think he's a bit brilliant and I'm sure he'll end up in my next tuesday quotables. Note: With Lessig, it is not necessary but helps if you have a bent for intellectual property notions\law. Also, I really need to make some mixtapes before I go to the beach (July 14-21). What would you put on a beach trip mixtape? Note: This is not a Cancun-crazy-party-beach-trip, this is a grayton-beach-outside-seaside (which_has_unfortunately_gotten_kind_of_huge) cozy-villa-beach-trip. Think me on a screen porch playing some blues on acoustic guitar while mom and dad sear tuna and rain falls on a tin roof.
Fifth Thursday Literary Lines
posted on 2007-06-14 15:39:00
I finally got around to reading some Borges last night and he's lovely. Today's excerpt comes from his story The Ethnographer in his collected fictions:

"He must have forseen the difficulties that lay ahead for him; he would have to convince the red men to accept him as one of their own. He set out upon the long adventure. He lived for more than two years on the prairie, sometimes sheltered by adobe walls and sometimes in the open. He rose before dawn, went to bed at sundown, and came to dream in a language that was not that of his fathers. He conditioned his palate to harsh flavors, he covered himself with strange clothing, he forgot his friends and the city, he came to think in a fashion that the logic of his mind rejected. During the first few months of his new education he secretly took notes; later, he tore the notes up - perhaps to avoid drawing suspicion upon himself, perhaps because he no longer needed them."
Fifth Wednesday Songs of Summer
posted on 2007-06-14 01:30:00
Blue Merle - Burning in the Sun
Maroon 5 - Infatuation
Spoon - Vittorio E.
Sufjan Stevens - The Dress Looks Nice on You
Jamie Lidell - Music Will Not Last
Fifth Tuesday Quotables
posted on 2007-06-13 05:40:00
Dear Friends:
Sorry if I've been bad about responding to comments or e-mails for the past 24 hours or so. Today's been very busy. In fact, after this quick break to keep up my summer blog series I'm going to get back to working on something so that our servers at work will finally go up tomorrow. I'd also like to thank everyone for the tremendous response and support I got on my "Real World" post. It really did mean a lot.

"As a thirteen-year-old kid, I didn't have much more experience of the world than what I saw immediately around me. The warped little world we lived in was, I thought, the world. The world seemed cruel and boring, and I'm not sure which was worse." - Paul Graham

"As far as I can tell, the concept of the hormone-crazed teenager is coeval with suburbia. I don't think this is a coincidence. I think teenagers are driven crazy by the life they're made to lead. Teenage apprentices in the Renaissance were working dogs. Teenagers now are neurotic lapdogs. Their craziness is the craziness of the idle everywhere." - Paul Graham

"To the popular press, "hacker" means someone who breaks into computers. Among programmers it means a good programmer. But the two meanings are connected. To programmers, "hacker" connotes mastery in the most literal sense: someone who can make a computer do what he wants—whether the computer wants to or not. To add to the confusion, the noun "hack" also has two senses. It can be either a compliment or an insult. It's called a hack when you do something in an ugly way. But when you do something so clever that you somehow beat the system, that's also called a hack. The word is used more often in the former than the latter sense, probably because ugly solutions are more common than brilliant ones. Believe it or not, the two senses of "hack" are also connected. Ugly and imaginative solutions have something in common: they both break the rules. And there is a gradual continuum between rule breaking that's merely ugly (using duct tape to attach something to your bike) and rule breaking that is brilliantly imaginative (discarding Euclidean space)." - Paul Graham

"It says a great deal about our work that we use the same word for a brilliant or a horribly cheesy solution. When we cook one up we're not always 100% sure which kind it is. But as long as it has the right sort of wrongness, that's a promising sign. It's odd that people think of programming as precise and methodical. Computers are precise and methodical. Hacking is something you do with a gleeful laugh." - Paul Graham
Fifth Monday Update
posted on 2007-06-11 22:50:00
Summer: Week 4: Finished
TVS
Sonya
Finish Cradle to Cradle.
Start next book.
Met with Dr. Guzman at SPSU. Talked Functional Programming.
Worked on VMs. Figured out server problems.
Gym

Still Didn't: Programming Chapter 2! To be rectified today.
Unexpected: Arch Linux Hack Guide (90% complete), Good technical writing (Software's Top 10 post). Finished Hackers & Painters by Paul Graham.

Summer: Week 5: Schedule
Monday
Take Cody (my wonderful 13 year old Shetland Sheepdog) to the vet for annual checkup.
Programming Chapter 2.
Gym.
Bank.
Tuesday
TVS
Running at the park with Dad?
Start next book: Infotopia, Wealth of Networks, or Emergence. Probably Emergence.
Wednesday
TVS
Reading
Gym
Thursday
TVS
Running at the park with Dad?
Reading
Friday
Chill (Programming Chapter 3. Install empathy (from source if necessary.))
Gym
Sonya?
Finish the Arch Guide.

News for 6/11/07:
First, like clockwork another version of Empathy has been released: 0.7. This is unbelievable. Xavier Claessens is making point releases faster than my car's running out of gas. God bless him.
The Compcomm developers are finally getting embroiled in discussion about releasing 0.1. Keep an eye on that mailing list. We're getting there.
In a rather shocking development, Alex Ionescu has left the ReactOS project after rewriting over half of the kernel and effectively serving as project lead for several years. Alex left on amicable terms and there is someone to replace him so things should move along on schedule however the team will be skipping this month's 0.32 release to drop 0.33 on us in July.
SymphonyOS has finally dropped a release after about a year's silence with 2007-06. I've got to say though unless the project picks up significant momentum I feel like they should just focus on the Mezzo desktop and drop the rest of the OS development.
This has also been a good week for the ATI driver based on various postings to the effective newsletter, so I'm pretty pleased.
It's been a surprisingly large week for more general scientific developments as well:
Researchers at MIT have invented the first wirelessly powered lightbulb. That's right. They've unplugged us. I leave to your imagination where this goes next.
Some crazy folks built a device that can simulate the effects of a hurricane. I just don't know.
Advances have been made in convincing stem cells to morph into various kinds of tissue.
A startup called LS9 is building hydrocarbon-based biofuels using synthetic biology. Expect synthetic biology to play a big part in saving the planet.
Candidate genes for 7 diseases including cardiovascular disease and diabetes have been found thanks to a gene testing chip roughly the size of an iPod or Blackberry.
Finally, a new record has been set in Quantum Cryptography by European researchers. More generally this is an advance for Quantum Computing which offers numerous promises over computing as it is today. Any advance in how we handle qubits is a good advance.
Some Thing
posted on 2007-06-11 22:13:00
Fireflies flicker in skies like morning dew on leaves,
And drift about the evening air like mist upon the breeze,
I don't remember time or place where I've been more at ease,
The world usually seems clearer the closer man is to his knees.
I find it hard to try to tell what path did lead me here,
Though always seek companion who might like to lend their ear,
And through dark fears in younger years persevered to present day,
But perhaps should have left more warnings for others along the way.

If foreign lands with beckoning sands have grounded in my mind,
Then perhaps discoveries lie in wait more forward than behind,
But putting the past aside is difficult for what might be derived
is a succulent fruit, of knowledge to boot, waiting to be tried.
Temptation though to puzzle out what meanings there may lay
is better left for when I rise upon an older and wiser day.
And until then my unseen friend I raise my glass and say,
Godspeed to all of us. Into the tunnel. Light the way.
The Real World
posted on 2007-06-11 07:22:00
I feel like my parents and a lot of my friends' parents are obsessed with mentioning the "real world" where they have been to their children. It's sort of held over our heads isn't it? The whole thing has just gotten built up to the point where it's ridiculous. Naturally, I relate it to things I've observed in computing, particularly hacker pissing contests over things like who has made good contributions to the field and what the technically best solutions are. That has also gotten built up to the point where it's ridiculous. I don't know whether I feel like I'm living in a different world than my parents grew up in or not. There is clear evidence that in many respects things are different but just how different and what it's effects on my life will be seem impossible to predict. But if I'm bothered by anything tonight it's how ridiculous the notion of success is and how I have no idea what to do with the thought that I'm at a supposed "make it or break it" point in my life.

Earlier tonight my mom said something to the effect of thinking I was on a path and that her and dad had faith in me so they support me. I have no idea how to react to this. I don't think I'm on "a path". I don't know what the hell I'm on most the time. I certainly don't think that I have any more of a shot at not failing at this whole "life" thing than anybody else. A lot of our debate earlier centered around the fact that I'm leaving Oglethorpe to go to a school to study Computer Science and that if I don't like that or am not good at it I'll pretty much be directly entering the workforce. Moreover, I'm going there to learn about Computer Science. If I get a degree, it will be coincidental. Frankly, that's what I want. And it scares the shit out of me. Of course, my parents are concerned about the number of doors that close when you don't have a college degree. I understand that. It concerns me too. I also am aware of the number of people working in computers that lack one. It's somewhat higher than that of other fields and I think that relates to the fact that Computer Science and Hacking have historically been fairly rebellious and were born out of a lot of countercultural elements in the 60s and 70s. The computer industry tends to be more open minded about your education than a lot of other industries. Your portfolio is a significant metric.

Anyone who knows me knows I'm obsessed with computers, perhaps to my own detriment, and I can fix them or wax nerdosophical about them to my heart's content but I have never programmed them. If it turns out that I'm not good at programming I don't know what I'll do besides tech support. Basically, I just want to do something that I can make a reasonable amount of money at (I don't know what this is for me but I suspect under 40k a year,) am good at and enjoy doing. I don't know if I'll end up being that lucky. Worse still, I don't know which one (or ones) of those criteria might be the ones that fall through. I feel like things are changing. I think a lot of old power structures are showing their age and new systems are slowly working their way in. I do feel like technology has a lot to do with that and I try to keep up pretty well with technology. I don't know what it takes to "make it" when you're trying to make it outside the established system of get a degree, get a job, get a house with a white picket fence. I know that I feel like I'm part of a subset of my generation that is vastly more interested in genuinely learning and doing new things than the majority of the group and that the educational system isn't great at supporting that. Most people I know are interested in going to school, making money when and how they can, and partying or having fun the rest of the time. I do this for fun. I try to figure things out or educate myself about something (often technical). I feel like that has to be worth something. I have no idea how I get from here to the hypothetical there of "success" and yeah, I'm scared. But I don't know how to do anything else. So I'm hoping that this path actually leads somewhere and that I'm not just some stupid naive little kid who hasn't met up with the real world yet.
Almost Perfect Arch Install Guide
posted on 2007-06-10 10:28:00
I'll fill in the blanks for the curious and also just to have this in a bit more well-documented format later. I still need to get the vncserver up and get pypanel working. Besides that this config is 95% there. Maybe I'll throw the other LAMP pieces on there later and run Ampache or something (Apache, MySQL, PHP). Then again maybe I should do it with cherokee, jetty, or lighttpd. We'll see. Oh, and it needs an IM client. I'm sort of holding out for empathy. Additionally, I may update all this to get it to run Compiz standalone rather than Openbox at some point. Screw DEs (Desktop Environments) though. This is purely an exercise to get away from them and see what I think of a DE-less universe.

Install ArchLinux
Edit rc.conf: change hostname to "redlinux" or whatever you prefer, change eth0="dhcp", set timezone.
Set password. Fix fstab how you like it. Install grub or not.
Reboot. Login as root. adduser redline. pacman -S sudo. add redline to /etc/sudoers. logout. login as redline.
sudo pacman -S xorg openbox pypanel obconf lynx xf86-video-ati libgl-dri rxvt-unicode vsftpd feh thunar firefox slim xterm flashplugin j2re openssh vnc xinetd gtk-theme-switch2 gtk-engines alsa-lib alsa-utils gmrun quodlibet totem ttf-ms-fonts ttf-dejavu ttf-bitstream-vera gnomebaker abiword codecs conky xchat
run xorgconfig. make sure the mouse is set to /dev/mouse. run "cd /etc/xdg/openbox", "mkdir -p ~/.config/openbox", and "sudo mv *.xml ~/.config/openbox". add "slim, sshd, alsa" to the daemons field in rc.conf. run "sudo nano /etc/hosts.allow" and add "sshd:all" to the file. run "nano ~/.xinitrc" or if necessary for write privileges "sudo nano ~/.xinitrc". comment out wmaker and add at the bottom:
"pypanel &
conky &
urxvt &
feh --bg-scale "/path/to/yourimage.jpg"
exec openbox"
run "sudo nano ~/.conkyrc" and make it look like this:
"background no
update_interval 1.0
double_buffer yes use_xft yes
xftfont Purisa:size=07.5
xftalpha 1.0

own_window no
own_window_transparent yes
own_window_type override
own_window_hints undecorated,below,sticky,skip_taskbar,sk

ip_pager
#on_bottom yes
#on_top yes

minimum_size 300 50
draw_shades no
draw_outline no
draw_borders yes
draw_graph_borders no
stippled_borders 0
border_margin 3
border_width 0

default_color white
default_shade_color black
default_outline_color black

alignment top_right
gap_x 57
#gap_y 34
gap_y 10

no_buffers yes

TEXT
${color black}$nodename - $sysname $kernel on $machine Uptime:${color blue} $uptime ${color black}- CPU Usage:${color red} $cpu% ${color black}RAM Usage:${color blue}$mem/$memmax - $memperc% ${color black}Down:${color blue}${downspeed eth0} k ${color black}Up:${color blue} ${upspeed eth0} k ${color black}Swap Usage:${color blue} $swap/$swapmax - $swapperc% ${color black} Disk Usage: ${color blue} ${fs_used /bin/bash}/${fs_size /bin/bash} - ${fs_free_perc /bin/bash}% Free"

then run "sudo nano ~/.pypanelrc" and add:

"

BG_COLOR        = "0xfaebd7"    # Panel background and tint (Antique White)TASK_COLOR      = "0xffffff"    # Normal task name colorDESKTOP_COLOR   = "0xffffff"    # Desktop name colorCLOCK_COLOR     = "0xffffff"    # Clock text color

TASK_SHADOW_COLOR = "0x000000"FOCUSED_SHADOW_COLOR = "0x000000"SHADED_SHADOW_COLOR = "0x000000"MINIMIZED_SHADOW_COLOR = "0x000000" DESKTOP_SHADOW_COLOR = "0x000000"CLOCK_SHADOW_COLOR = "0x000000"

SHADE = 64

ABOVE = 1 # Panel is always above other appsAPPICONS = 1 # Show application iconsAUTOHIDE = 0 # Autohide uses the CLOCK_DELAY timer aboveSHADOWS = 1 # Show text shadowsSHOWLINES = 0 # Show object separation lines"

SHOWBORDER = 1 # Show a border around the panel"

run "sudo gpasswd -a redline audio", then "amixer set PCM 85% unmute", and "sudo alsactl store".finally, run "nano ~/.config/openbox/rc.xml" and add a keybinding for gmrun like this:"<keybind key="A-F2"><action name="execute"><execute>gmrun</execute></action></keybind>"

That's about it.
Software’s Top 10
posted on 2007-06-09 18:55:00
This is a list of ten types of software in particular that I'm fired up about in no particular order. Software is kind of tough. I'm probably more interested in trends than software (and it feels kind of horrible typing that). Maybe a better way of saying that is if this were a top 10 list of things happening in computing I'd find it much easier to populate though of course I'd be drawing on a larger set of source material as well. That said, most of these will be open source because of my own biases but a few other things will poke out as well.

1. User Interface overhauls
I've always been interested in this kind of work. Think about it. Here you have an established paradigm of a file browser, desktop, icons, etc. It's been fundamentally unaltered since it emerged from Xerox PARC in the 70s. It is definitely not the most intuitive possible way to use a computer. It just isn't. It's the establishment so everyone finds it easy due to familiarity but they don't realize it. The very idea that it could be different is sort of invisible. There are two fundamentally different approaches to this problem. People who are extending the limits of the traditional UI through making it 3D or composited. That's mainly compiz and compcomm. Then there are people who are just rethinking the whole interface on a much deeper level, making it a representation of real world objects or trying to eliminate the distinction between local data and web data. I'm speaking of bumptop, lowfat, Jeff Han's work as being representative of real world environments and SymphonyOS's Mezzo Desktop as being representative of eliminating the Web\Local distinction.

2. File System overhauls
This is another thing that is pretty immediately apparent as an entrenched paradigm waiting to be rethought. A lot of work in this sense is underway with projects like tracker, beagle, and spotlight working on "desktop search" (such a terrible name), and projects like the Gnome-VFS
rewrite
trying to make filesystems user-centric. Then you've got people that are working on new filesystems altogether which is also crucial. ZFS seems like a stand out to me (maybe this is because Apple is using it to power Time Machine) but you never know how things like ChunkFS, Reiser4, Ext4, and others might turn out.

3. Generative\Procedural Content-driven Apps
Here I'm thinking primarily of demoscene, .kkrieger, and Spore. I don't think procedurally generated content is ready to storm the industry necessarily but it does seem so ripe for experimentation in many software markets that you wonder why the demoscene guys are still just hacking away on virtual laser shows. It's pretty powerful stuff if you can just think of a good way to apply it.

4. Driver Improvements
This is basically both open source specific and more or less specific to the graphics and wireless subsets of drivers. I think it's important that Linux (or any OS for that matter) have an excellent underlying system for graphics. Part of that is drivers and part of that is the server and the OpenGL implementation. Drivers for most hardware 3D accelerators (from ATI and Nvidia) are A) proprietary, not open source and B) not that great anyway. So, it seems imperative that we get Graphics vendors to open source their drivers or just make open source drivers ourselves. As an ATI R300-based product owner I'm pretty interested in that driver. Advancements in the server and OpenGL implementation are crucial too though, so I'm excited by work on X.org and mesa and if the work on all those projects stays on track with the roadmap it should be competitive with if not superior to anything Mac or Windows has to offer by Christmas.

5. Impressive Virtualization
This is one of those technologies that isn't a panacea to very deep-seated problems but certainly is a painkiller and just sort of inherently useful. The main contenders are VMware, Qemu, and Virtualbox in the PC space with only VMware Fusion looking really ground breaking at this point. Fusion is only for Mac but expect the next version of Workstation to absolutely rock. PCSX2 on the other hand shows that even Console virtualization (yes, most call it emulation) is all too possible even with complex next generation platforms.

6. Impressive Emulation
Wine and ReactOS are exciting projects to keep an eye on. Wine seeks to create an open source implementation of the Windows API so that users can run Windows binaries on Linux with full compatibility. ReactOS seeks to actually create an Open Source Operating System that is fully binary and device driver compatible with Windows. It is hard to say who has taken on the bolder task but it is apparent that Wine has a larger developer base and that can make progress appear more rapid. Both show promise for eventually getting high enough API compatibility that Windows becomes unnecessary in all but the most extreme cases.

7. Good Frameworks\Libraries\whatever_you_want_to_call_them
When I say good frameworks I'm talking about things like Telepathy, Gstreamer, Clutter, Pigment, GTK+, QT, Hal and D-Bus. Telepathy is a framework for both presence information (Is this person online?Do they have their phone? How can you best contact them?) and IM and Chat networks and it can be used to create any number of clients, such as Empathy. Gstreamer is a media framework and can allow for tongs of applications to draw on it for media playback, recording, etc. D-Bus and Hal both offer numerous possibilities of their own at a slightly lower system level, GTK and QT are windowing toolkits and clutter and pigment are both rich user interface toolkits that take advantage of OpenGL but the overall win with all of these technologies is that a central library exists to reduce duplication of code. The more time developers spend not recreating the wheel , the better.

7. Web Integration
Clearly more and more of our data and applications are moving online. Hypothetically, the operating system that helps us most transparently leverage the increasingly hybrid nature of our online/offline workflows will have a leg up on the competition in working with these trends instead of against them. Two projects which are particularly promising on this front are Big Board and Gimmie. Telepathy is to some extent valid here too. Big Board seeks to integrate online services into the desktop as a connected panel through the online mugshot service. Gimmie is similarly a panel which seeks to integrate online functionality chiefly through utilizing the telepathy libraries to provide presence information about your contacts.

8. Content Creation Apps
This is an area where Linux has been considered by many to be lagging behind due to the major proprietary software in the field (Final Cut Pro, Adobe Products especially Photoshop, Some CAD software, Audio production software, etc.) being unavailable though 3D rendering and modeling seems to be an exception. Open Source alternatives are emerging however to Digital Audio Production in software like Jokosher and Ardour and of course software like GIMP and GIMPshop continues to compete with photoshop. Inkscape is available for vector graphics, Blender for 3D work, OpenOffice and Scribus as replacement Office Suite and Publishing Software. Kino, Jahshaka, Pitivi, and Cinelerra exist now for video editing.

9. Consumer Media Apps
A lack of high-quality media playback and management apps has been a conspicuous lacking on Linux in the past. Now, we are seeing applications like F-Spot emerge for Photo Management, Songbird as a replacement Music Library, Store, and Player, and programs like Elisa, MythTV, and njpatel's forthcoming Arena emerge as replacements for HTPC applications like Apple's Front Row. Finally, ripping and burning applications like GnomeBaker, Thoggen, and Sound Juicer have also emerged to fill remaining gaps.

10. Web Apps
These are outright online applications or services that show promise for making good use of our data and uniquely taking advantage of peer production or the "social web". This includes applications like photosynth, lastfm, twitter, flickr, google apps, and Zoho apps.
Fourth Friday Linux Lesson
posted on 2007-06-08 22:38:00
So, I've been thinking about how I could improve these lessons and if anyone has ideas they should let me know (max, that's you :-). Anyway, I was reading full circle magazine early (it's an online rag all about Ubuntu) and they had a section on the directory structure in Linux which would definitely be useful for someone who isn't used to Linux. Thinking about this I realized that my requiring one application or command to go with one concept is an artificial and possibly bad constraint to place on these articles. I mean, file management involves (at least at the command line level) a minimum of two or three utilities and as many as you like really. One, cd to navigate the file system and two, rm to delete stuff. Potentially there are also commands like locate\find for searching, nano\vim for editing, apt-get\yum for installing\removing software, mkdir and rmdir to create and delete directories, and more still. Now, even though that list may appear intimidating it's really not and it's far from comprehensive as well. It is however really nice to just use whatever makes your life easier and ignore the rest. Anyway, let me know what you would be interested in hearing about next week cause I'd really like to know.

The concept for this week is file management and\or the Linux directory structure. The base of the Linux directory structure, the mother ship from which all other things spring, is "/". Under that you have an assortment of "/bin", "/boot", "/dev", "/etc", "/home", "/mnt", "/media", "/opt", "/root", "/tmp", "/usr", and "/var". "/bin" is where a lot of your basic command line utilities go so when you type a command in the terminal it starts by looking here. It's sort of like Program Files but it basically just holds executables or "binaries" hence bin. "/boot" holds the information the bootloader needs to get the system up and the configuration files for said bootloader. "/dev" holds all your devices. Literally. Your cdrom drives, hard drives, usb drives, audio and video cards, everything, has a "/dev" entry. So the operating system talks to your stuff through this directory and it sort of just maps out where everything is for your system. "/etc" holds a ton of configuration files which is nice though not everyone stores all their config data there. I guess that's a good thing. There are a few central documents of importance there you may find yourself playing with. More on that later. "/home" is just what it sounds like. That's where your user directories, desktop, and most of your other stuff is found. "/mnt" is a place where drives get "mounted" so you can read and\or write to them. Some distributions use "/media" instead of "/mnt" but they're essentially interchangeable. They are where you (not the operating system) go to check out CDs and USB drives and iPods and such. They do something called symlink (which is sort of like a precursor to hyperlinks on webpages) to the "/dev" entries for whatever you want to play with. "/opt" contains optional stuff you might install but not everything you do install. It's a grab bag. Mine's pretty much empty. It kind of has what you put in it. "/root" is the root user's version of "/home" it's normally pretty sparse and remember root is god so you don't want to play around in there. Root might get pissed at you. "/tmp" is just what it sounds like, temporary files and stuff. "/usr" is the real Program Files. This is where a ton of your shit ends up going and you'll notice it has subdirectories like "bin" "docs" etc. Finally, there's "/var" which I mainly find myself going in to peek around the "log" subdirectory. That's a pretty decent overview of the Linux filesystem.

The utilities to keep in mind with file management for me have been "mkdir", "rmdir", and "rm", "cp" and "mv". That's really all I use. mkdir and rmdir are two sides of the same coin. mkdir makes directories and rmdir removes them but, interestingly enough, only if they're empty. The syntax looks like this "mkdir mp3s" and "rmdir mp3s". Since you'll want to put your mp3s there you can use cp to copy them over. It'd be easier to use mv but run with me on this. Say all your mp3s are in "/home/your_username/downloads/music" you could use "cp /home/your_username/downloads/music/*.mp3 mp3s" and it would copy all your files with the .mp3 extension (*.mp3) to the mp3s directory. Then you could do "cd /home/your_username/downloads/music" and "rm *.mp3". That's not very efficient though, is it? It'd be easier to just blow away the directory. Well, you can. With rm -R. "rm -R /home/your_username/downloads/music" will remove files recursively starting at /home/your_username/downloads/music. That is, it deletes everything in the directory as well as the directory itself. Interestingly you can rename things with the mv command and that might be the easiest way to do this. For example, "mv /home/your_username/downloads/music /home/your_username/downloads/mp3s" then "mv /home/your_username/downloads/mp3s /wherever/you/want/mp3s". Generally I do file management from the file browser. I still like a GUI for it but if you're running into permissions errors it helps to come down and "sudo rm -R" or cp or mv something. Of course, if you don't know what file is giving you permissions errors you might not want to do that. Anyway, this hasn't been explained beautifully so let me know if this makes sense and\if you have questions.
Languages
posted on 2007-06-08 21:06:00
On Tuesday I was quite relieved to be off work. It had been a stressful day at the office but I had exciting dinner plans with friends (trivia night at Benchwarmers with Justin and Bria, for the curious). I had finished Cradle to Cradle by McDonough and Braungart the day before and needed to start on my next summer reading book. Nothing on my list really suited though. Most of the books are rather academic and while I find social production fascinating academic writing wasn't really something I was ready for. With that in mind I stopped in two bookstores while I was running afternoon errands and walked away with a copy of Paul Graham's Hackers and Painters. I'm about 50 pages in at the moment and have really enjoyed reading it for the past few days. I'm sure some bits will make it into my next quotables. However, it has raised a number of questions\issues\thoughts in my mind for which I consulted the collective intelligence of "teh interwebs\tubes" this morning and stumbled upon someone who had made both a parody of Paul Graham and what is (in my mind) a more serious\grounded critique. Perhaps the most nerd-controversial thing Graham talks about is programming languages. There are few things more hotly contested in the programming world. In the critique of Graham though, what I found most interesting were the analogies drawn to other internet authors like Eric Raymond. I finally stumbled on this quote on a different site: "Every 5 minutes you spend writing code in a new language is more useful than 5 hours reading blog posts about how great the language is."

And it was at about that moment that I realized that (formal and\or programming) languages are completely incidental. Graham notes early in the book that Computer Science has a real mix of participants. The computer science building at a university might contain honest-to-goodness mathematicians who get their work filed as computer science for funding purposes, a middle ground of those studying computers without making things with them, and programmers trying to make software. For the programmer, language is incidental. The language is only a tool towards creating software...and arguing about programming languages is in some way similar to the creation-evolution debate in suburban America. If you're a scientist it's possible that such a debate matters. It can affect how you approach your work and\or your starting assumptions. Similarly, if you're a computer scientist at a university it affects your research. If you're a programmer though, or a suburban American, than any group can be right. It's effectively incidental to your daily life. If you live in suburban America and are neither a pastor nor a scientist than it matters not whether God created the universe or whether it began out of nothingness one day and it matters not whether it took ages or attoseconds. You will still get out of bed, dress, tend to whatever dependents you have (dogs, children, spouses, etc) and go to work. That is what you will do three hundred and fifty days a year, regardless. Similarly, the programmer can be using the world's best language or it's worst but they will still roll out of bed and try to produce software with it. The only point at which language can conceivably matter to the programmer is if it can ease software development and this is a very personal, very individual thing. The same might be said of SCMs (souce control management systems).

The extent to which people fanatically advocate languages, architectures, etc. beautifully exhibits how intrinsically subject to network effects technology and specifically information technology (that is, computers) are. It's not an issue of simple memetics. Why do mac users advocate mac? Why do linux users advocate linux? Why do python users advocate python or perl users perl? Why do nvidia owners advocate nvidia or amd users amd? Why do PS3 owners advocate PS3 or Wii owners Wii? Simply because the ability to manipulate all that information that you use computers to manipulate in your life (and there is lots of it) whenever you want and wherever you want is good. The information becomes more useful as its accessibility increases. You would never bother typing journal entries into a computer if they couldn't be posted to the internet. There would just be no damn point. You'd keep a journal. At some point Graham tries to draw a distinction between the popularity contest of high school which he argues as being pretty arbitrary and the popularity contest of the real world which supposedly is less so. Here's a thought: Neither of them are arbitrary and both of them are examples of human beings making decisions based on incentives, not that economics has any concrete idea how to explain any of this human behavior beyond such a simple premise. Clearly though the implications are profound. If there is a less mainstream technology which has become an integral part of life for an individual they will fervently advocate the technology so that others adopt it in an effort to keep the engineers hired to maintain and\or improve the technology around as long as necessary. The support industry itself advocates the technology in an effort to maintain their jobs.

Everybody hopes to know or be involved in the next big thing because it's tied to their employability. If you're looking for work, you'll try to learn Java before Algol. This may be dumb because Algol would certainly distinguish you more from the mobbish competition. Moreover, whatever companies do need Algol coders would have little in the way of alternatives and probably have to pay decently. You'd have a bit more bargaining power potentially. Of course, so would they. Take the job or be unemployed. Really though, the whole thing is just ridiculous. The fact that all we want computers for is to do useful and interesting things complicates the issue as does the fact that the differences in languages cause differences in the ease of solving certain programming problems and also perform differently where speed is concerned. And I'm convinced that just ordaining a standard language, platform, architecture, etc would result in a net productivity\innovation loss. Besides, the majority of programmers get employed in spite of all this and many innovations make it to prominence. I still don't buy the quote from Almost Famous about pop music being good because so many people like it but there's something much more complex at work here that I just feel like is slipping off the tip of my tongue and hiding in the back of my head. I guess it sort of reminds me of what McDonough said about nature having good waste (which in some sense means no waste). The extra blossoms produced by a cherry tree litter the ground but in a good sense. It's all so that one new cherry tree will emerge but it manages to fertilize the "littered" area anyway. Almost like it's all about making goods with positive network effects. And certainly languages like ripping off each others features. As do markets. So maybe this good waste is what we're really after. Markets definitely don't make good waste when they produce things. It's clear that our way of making stuff is pretty borked. But there's definitely something to be said for letting all our ideas fly around and crash into each other. But...what does it mean if there are no experts left? Were we wrong about the concept of the expert to begin with?
Fourth Thursday Literary Lines
posted on 2007-06-08 05:30:00
Okay. I'm kind of going to cheat today. I was planning on moving on from Milosz after posting what are probably my three favorite poems of his and post an excerpt from Borges today. The problem is I haven't gotten around to reading the Borges. So, for now, Borges will have to wait until next week and then hopefully I'll have read it. For now, here is another Milosz poem i'm intensely fond of.

At Dawn
How enduring. How we need durability.
The sky before sunrise is soaked with light.
Rosy color tints buildings, bridges, and the Seine.
I was here when she, with whom I walk, wasn't born yet
And the cities on a distant plain stood intact
Before they rose in the air with the dust of sepulchral brick
And the people who lived there didn't know.
Only this moment at dawn is real to me.
The bygone lives are like my own past life, uncertain.
I cast a spell on the city asking it to last.
Jetty, Upstart, and Hell
posted on 2007-06-07 20:15:00


Hi lazyweb, I've been trying to get an install of jetty on ubuntu that will load during boot up and I've run update-rc.d jetty defaults but it's not working. What am I doing wrong?
Jetty Install Process:
Install JDK 6u1 from Sun:
Grab the bin file and run:
sudo chmod +x *.bin
sudo sh ./jdk*.bin
sudo mv jdk1.6.0_01 Java6u1
sudo mv Java6u1 /usr/lib
sudo update-alternatives --install /usr/bin/java java /usr/lib/Java6u1/bin/java 300
sudo update-alternatives --config java
Select whichever number corresponds to /usr/lib/Java6u1/bin/java

Grab latest jetty from website and run:
sudo mkdir /opt/jetty
sudo chown $USER /opt/jetty
Unzip to /opt/jetty
Throw timekeeper in /opt/jetty/webapps via sudo cp -R timekeeper /opt/jetty/webapps
sudo chown -R jetty /opt/jetty
sudo chmod -R ugo+rw /opt/jetty
sudo cp /opt/jetty/bin/jetty.sh /etc/init.d/jetty
sudo touch /etc/init.d/jetty
set JETTY_HOME=/opt/jetty and JAVA_HOME=/usr/lib/Java6u1 in /opt/jetty/bin/jetty.sh
set Log location in /opt/jetty/etc/jetty.xml to /opt/jetty/logs
sudo ln -s /opt/jetty/bin/jetty.sh /etc/init.d/jetty
sudo update-rc.d jetty defaults

HALP?

Thanks.

Fourth Wednesday Songs of Summer
posted on 2007-06-07 05:29:00
Andrew Bird - Simple X
Jason Mraz - Unfold
White Stripes - Ball and Biscuit
Eels - Fresh Feeling
Primitive Radio Gods - Standing Outside a Broken Phone Booth with Money in my Hand
Fourth Tuesday Quotables
posted on 2007-06-05 19:18:00
"But ultimately a regulation is a signal of design failure. - William McDonough

"The stone age didn't end because we ran out of stones." - William McDonough

"You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete." - R. Buckminster Fuller
Guides to Hacks
posted on 2007-06-05 16:15:00
Setting up VNC with GDM Login with steps to edit gdm.conf from here
Installing up Tomcat 6 on Feisty
Configuring Tomcat 6 on Feisty
background no
update_interval 1.0
double_buffer yes


use_xft yes
xftfont Purisa:size=07.5
xftalpha 1.0

own_window no
own_window_transparent yes
own_window_type override
own_window_hints undecorated,below,sticky,skip_taskbar,skip_pager
#on_bottom yes
#on_top yes

minimum_size 300 50
draw_shades no
draw_outline no
draw_borders yes
draw_graph_borders no
stippled_borders 0
border_margin 3
border_width 0

default_color white
default_shade_color black
default_outline_color black

alignment top_right
gap_x 57
#gap_y 34
gap_y 10

no_buffers yes

TEXT
${color black}$nodename - $sysname $kernel on $machine Uptime:${color blue} $uptime ${color black}- CPU Usage:${color red} $cpu% ${color black}RAM Usage:${color blue}$mem/$memmax - $memperc% ${color black}Down:${color blue}${downspeed eth0} k ${color black}Up:${color blue} ${upspeed eth0} k ${color black}Swap Usage:${color blue} $swap/$swapmax - $swapperc% ${color black} Disk Usage: ${color blue} ${fs_used /bin/bash}/${fs_size /bin/bash} - ${fs_free_perc /bin/bash}% Free
Fourth Monday Update
posted on 2007-06-04 20:52:00
Summer: Week 3: Finished
TVS
Sonya
Filled out forms for SPSU apartment.
Got in contact with SPSU Computer Science professor. Arranged meeting.
Saw Knocked Up.
Accidentally helped out scads of strangers on LJ!

Still didn't: Programming Chaper 2, GYM! Double Shame on me. This must get rectified this week.
Unexpected: Read bunches, figured out fall living situation, saw a good movie, and helped people.

I'm gonna be honest. Somehow I just realized that it was summer this weekend. I think it occurred to me that traditionally summer just meant I played video games all day but what struck me was that if I wanted to I could do that! Can you believe it? Guys, SUMMER IS HERE!?

Summer: Week 4: Schedule
Monday
Work out Budget based on past expenses, expected income.
Work on VMs a little.
GYM!
Finish Cradle to Cradle.
Tuesday
TVS
Meet Juan Guzman (CS Professor) at SPSU at 4:15.
Start Infotopia or The Future of Ideas or The Wealth of Networks or something.
Wednesdsay
TVS
GYM!
Reading.
Music Library Work.
Thursday
TVS
Friday
Chill. (Reading, Music Library Work, potentially build Empathy from source and install CompComm if it's out.)

News for 6/4/07:
First, Empathy 0.6 was released. Talk about release early, release often. These guys are on fire.
Fedora 7 was also released to the world. While this release isn't particularly noteworthy for it's technical achievements it is noteworthy for it's infrastructural or community achievements which may facilitate greater innovation and work in the future. Here's looking forward to F8.
The team over at PCSX2 released a progress update. Good to hear from them.
Good progress is being made on the battle against the NSA's Illegal Spying Program.
Apparently there are fungi that make energy from radiation. They eat it the way plants eat sunlight in photosynthesis. Interesting.
Microsoft talks about surface computing but I'm more interested in Perceptive Pixel with Jeff Han. This does make it look like Microsoft wants to move out of the desktop war though which is intriguing.
James Watson has a copy of his own, personal genome. That's just cool. Personal genomics is around the corner and who more fitting to be a first customer than Watson? Personal medicine is around the corner too.
People are looking into using superconducting cables in Manhattan's power grid. Damn.
Livejournal Problems
posted on 2007-06-02 07:24:00
Some of you may be experiencing problems posting. Apparently, various livejournals\livejournalers are unable to post entries beyond a certain length. I'm unclear on what that length is but I've found a way around the problem. Use this link to post your entries from a web proxy: "http://anonymouse.org/cgi-bin/anon-www.cgi/http://www.livejournal.com/update.bml" and it will go through. Just enter the link, fill out your username and password but don't login and then type out your entry and hit submit. Done and done. Personally I think the problem is linked to your IP address but if it works who cares.
Third Friday Linux Lesson
posted on 2007-06-02 07:23:00
Happy Friday my fellow netizens! I've been meaning to write a piece about Linux on the Desktop and perhaps it just may surface this weekend. If anything though it has become more of a Linux and Mac perspective piece for me. I don't want to say anything just yet but I will say that it is more about what each has to offer than who's going to win on some higher level. That said, we've got some Linux Learning to do.

This time I'll be focusing on the concept of configuration files. Configuration files are more useful than you might think. Indeed, it may seem that any configuration that can be done should be done through nice pretty graphical toolkits but text file configuration can be incredibly helpful. Especially when for some reason the system won't boot and there's one little edit you could make in a configuration file to fix it if only Windows or Mac tried to let you boot to a command prompt to fix things. Not that you can't, it's just a bit of a pain in the ass compared to Linux. Then again maybe it happens more in Linux. Ok, I promise to save the rest for the Mac\Linux article. So, now that we've covered how to move around the filesystem with cd and how to act as the superuser with sudo we need a practical task to use those commands with. I've got just the thing. Say you install some nice new graphics drivers...but then your system won't boot into the GUI after the command prompt. Odds are good that those new drivers aren't working right. Wouldn't it be nice if you could just use the old ones? Well, you can. That's why text configuration files are useful. So, let's see how to solve this state of affairs with this week's application: nano.

The configuration file that tells the computer what graphics driver to use is stored on your system at "/etc/X11/xorg.conf". Open a terminal (as covered in our first lesson) and cd to the directory that holds the configuration file "cd /etc/X11/xorg.conf". Now, to edit it with our text editor (nano) type "nano xorg.conf". It will probably spit back some error about you not having adequate permissions to touch that file and go to hell. That's why we have sudo. Type "sudo nano xorg.conf" to tell the machine to open xorg.conf, with nano, as the superuser. It'll ask for the password and if you enter it correctly nano will start right up. Now, alternatively you could've skipped the whole cd step and just given the full path to the file at the start "sudo nano /etc/X11/xorg.conf" but I figured I'd employ as much that we've covered as possible. Now, you'll see the file in the editor, which won't remind you much of Microsoft Word by the way. Look on the bottom of the screen to where it says "^W where is". This is a shortcut. The ^ represents the control key. Hit Ctrl-W and nano will ask what you're looking for. Type (Section "device") (without parentheses) and hit enter. Notice how the list of shortcuts at the bottom changed. Under that there should be a line that looks something like (driver "some_driver"). Erase the some_driver part from quotations and type vesa to load a basic graphics driver and get your system running again. It should look like this (Driver "vesa") again, without the parentheses. Look at the shortcuts again. The one for saving (here referred to as "writing out") is ^O or Ctrl-O. Type Ctrl-O and hit enter when it asks for the filename to save it as the same name. Now reboot and you're all done but...ah wait...you don't know how to reboot do you? Ah well, I guess it'll have to wait til next week won't it?
Third Thursday Literary Lines
posted on 2007-06-01 23:29:00
Livejournal hasn't let me post from my computer since late yesterday so I had to log on to a friend's computer to make a post to fix the problem. Today I'd like to share the third of (what are probably) my three favorite Milosz poems.

Winter

The pungent smells of a California winter,
Grayness and rosiness, an almost transparent full moon.
I add logs to the fire, I drink and I ponder.

"In Ilawa," the news item said, "at age 70
Died Aleksander Rymkiewicz, poet."

He was the youngest in our group. I patronized him slightly,
Just as I patronized others for their inferior minds
Though they had many virtues I couldn't touch.

And so I am here, approaching the end
Of the century and of my life. Proud of my strength
Yet embarrassed by the clearness of the view.

Avant-gardes mixed with blood.
The ashes of inconceivable arts.
An omnium-gatherum of chaos.

I passed judgment on that. Though marked myself.
This hasn't been the age for the righteous and the decent.
I know what it means to beget monsters
And to recognize in them myself.

You, moon, You, Aleksander, fire of cedar logs.
Waters close over us, a name lasts but an instant.
Not important whether the generations hold us in memory.
Great was that chase with the hounds for the unattainable meaning of
the world.

And now I am ready to keep running
When the sun rises beyond the borderlands of death.

I already see mountain ridges in the heavenly forest
Where, beyond every essence, a new essence waits.

You, music of my late years, I am called
By a sound and a color which are more and more perfect.

Do not die out, fire. Enter my dreams, love.
Be young forever, seasons of the earth.
Breaking Livejournal
posted on 2007-06-01 23:06:00
You may have noticed that I didn't make a Third Thursday Literary Lines post yesterday. That's because I broke Livejournal. I wrote a post, hit the post button and then went to change the status of the post from private to public as it was posting. The post didn't go through successfully and I haven't been able to post any number of things to my livejournal from my computer since. I am posting this from a friend's computer and suspect it will go through after which blogging will resume as normal with the (belated) Third Thursday post and today's Third Friday post.

Don't ask me how I knew this would fix it.

Stupid Web apps.

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