Monday, November 30, 2009

Spent mos of the day working on the [SAS] Dept. of Agriculture map... been in a terrible mood all day. That's just the way things have been rolling here of late :-(.

Sorted out the details at the outside spawn point, adjusted the fire escapes accordingly, but had to remove both the window frames and glass in order to move through it. After shooting out the planes of glass, there's to much stuff left, and it blocks you from climbing through lol.

Got a brain fart, and added extra rooms/doors connecting that spawn poin to the basement garage; just need to sort out the nodes properly before that is finished.

Began work on redoing the central office upstairs, only to find out that I can't look up the same brick wall paper used all over the blasted map, so I've had to substitute a more fierce kind of brick. Gonna sort out that office space and rebuild the bombed out bathrooms below, then the structural changes will mostly be complete.

I have to do the AI related work and tidy up the marketing office area, but otherwise the map is basically done, it'll be ready for a little testing soon, hehe.

Full throttle

So far so good, managed to burst through my weekend todo's hehe. Completed my work for [SAS], got time to play a couple games, did the setup for ticket and documentation management needs on a personal project. Plus I've been aggressively moving ahead with the [SAS] Dept. of Agriculture map for SWAT 4.

All this while upgrading my laptop >_>.

Remaining to do with The DoA, is setting up the access from the outside spawn on level 1, to the window breaching point up on level 3. I've completed the relighting and half the general cleanup of the building, so the only big task: redoing the AI. I plan on setting up an interesting little "Scenario", hehe. If I could, pushable barricades would be a nice touch but I've yet to figure that out in SwatEd.

Most of my time has been spent on the Encapsulated Package Installer (EPI) project. We now have a forum, issue tracker, and wiki system going. Things are not moving as quickly as I would like with EPI, but the past two weeks have advanced rapidly on infrastructural issues. When our new systems are more established, I'll likely make references to it here.

Overall, the highlight of my weekend, has been (at long last) getting my invitation request to Google Wave accepted. So far it seems to be coming along well, but I have almost no one to wave with at the moment lol. The ability to invite 8 others came along with it; most of which I've mentally reserved for a few close friends and a couple for good uses. The main downside of Wave, is simply that e-mail and traditional IM systems have been around a really fraking long time; so it's an uphill battle. One that I expect the world is not quite ready for yet, although it is very much a technology in the direction of our Internet future.

I've even found the time to migrate most of my gaming related pictures on to the WWW! The old home directory is getting thinner ^_^. Another thing I've gotten down, is transferring Live Journal entries from November 2008 to this Blog. I really need to pick up the pace on that. As much bother as it is, one thing I really do like about this migration procedure, is it gives me the ability to organise my old entries using lables; walks me down memory lane, and helps me to find 'useful' posts that were forgotten.

Life is busy, the serious issue is advancing forward quick enough for my tastes... rather then being bogged down and omni-tasked to death. My family is good at doing that.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Haven't been keeping pace with my Journal for the last couple days, let's just say I don't want to talk about the Holidays.

Dixie spent about 2 days solid compiling ports, nearly 240 of mine and well over 800 when dependencies are included. That's finally finished, so my beloved laptop is again ready for getting stuff done :-D.

Here's the list I fed through


Friday, November 27, 2009

FreeBSD 8.0 day 2.0: upgrading ports

Since I have accumulated a lot of stuff since 7.0 was released, I have elected to do a clean slate -- nuke it all and rebuild. The perfect chance to get rid of any stale leaves hehe.

# cd /var/db/pkg && pkg_delete -f *

As Mal.exe reminded me, this is equalivulent to pkg_delete -a; I forgot about that hahahaha!!!

while all the ports are being put under the hbomb, I set to work in an already running session of vim (since it depends on plenty of ports with my builds!) and wrote a list.

Every time I update my laptops ports, I use a customised "" script, which does exactly what I want. The portmaster and portupgrade systems are only used when needed for an expedient coverage of issues marked /usr/ports/UPDATING. It was just smoother to write my own small script around the ports tree, then live with the qirks in portmaster and portupgrade: mine does just what I want and without the hub bub.

My is programmed to parse a file, expecting input lines in the format of category/portname, which tell it what ports need upgrading. In my experience, it works better then portmaster and without that need for constantly asking "Are you still running?" that portupgrade has... is in the middle of fetching ~230 distfiles, and setting any stray build options. So that everything will be ready op for compiling all this junk. At least I can go play SWAT while things compile, but need all the stuff fetched and recursively configured before I can have fun hehe.

Will post the input list later.

The first FreeBSD upgrade to ever piss me off

I built world, two kernels: (my custom) VIPER, and GENERIC. I took about 2 hours using make -j6 on my lowly Sempron.

Fetched updates to the ports tree via portsnap while waiting for the install kernel to finish; I noticed that the boot into single user mode for mergemaster'ing was blazingly fast. Everything went well until the first multi user boot.

The blasted wireless card stopped working. Changing in the ath manual and the release notes info about Atheros support made me expect there might be problems. Plugged in a spare (broken) Ethernet cable and did a search on the FreeBSD forums where a thread mentioned cloning the wireless interface to a generic wlan0.... it worked.

ifconfig wlan0 create wlandev ath0

and volia!

So, just how did this creep up on me, and why wasn't it in the release notes... (that anyone I know seems to have noticed)???

The manual for rc.conf explains this under network_interface:

If a wlans_ variable is set, an wlan(4) interface
will be created for each item in the list with the wlandev
argument set to interface. Further wlan cloning arguments
may be passed to the ifconfig(8) create command by setting
the create_args_ variable. One or more wlan(4)
devices must be created for each wireless devices as of
FreeBSD 8.0. Debugging flags for wlan(4) devices as set by
wlandebug(8) may be specified with an wlandebug_
variable. The contents of this variable will be passed
directly to wlandebug(8).

which makes the fix in rc.conf, adding wlans_interfacename="wlan0" into the mixture:

ifconfig_wlan="self censored :-P"

In order to find some backstory in /usr/src/UPDATING, I had to GREP for it:

The 802.11 wireless support was redone to enable multi-bss
operation on devices that are capable. The underlying device
is no longer used directly but instead wlanX devices are
cloned with ifconfig. This requires changes to rc.conf files.
For example, change:
ifconfig_ath0="WPA DHCP"
ifconfig_wlan0="WPA DHCP"
see rc.conf(5) for more details. In addition, mergemaster of
/etc/rc.d is highly recommended. Simultaneous update of userland
and kernel wouldn't hurt either.

As part of the multi-bss changes the wlan_scan_ap and wlan_scan_sta
modules were merged into the base wlan module. All references
to these modules (e.g. in kernel config files) must be removed.

If changing from FreeBSDs natural to wlan for that makes one damn lick of sense what so ever (eth0 lovers aside), I will leave it to someone who knows to comment.... because I don't know, and I don't really give a fart.

The release notes in provides two helpful sentences: wlan pseudo devices are now used and check out the ifconfig manual.

Other then wasting an two hours of my time over a change that probably isn't even the bloody handbook yet, everything went smoothly.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Wow, either Internet Malware is getting worse then ever or Firefox 3 just sucks worse then ever >_>. Javascript just took over Firefox, tried to convince me to install an Antivirus program -- loaded "Explorer"'s my computer page (in Firefox), obviouly faked scanning files and finding a few thousand bits of malware, before trying to redirect me back to their "Antivirus program" -- and setting a Windows XP like pop up right in the middle of the Explorer-replicating page, that's so obviously not a pop up window but a web hack. The irony of this? I'm running FreeBSD, and the most damage the account being used can do is write data to /dev/null (a black hole file). Are Windows lusers really stupid enough to fall for that trick? Wait, don't answer that question.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Dential update

Things went fairly well, saw the dentist on the 23rd and he proclaimed the problem after a short inspection, proclaimed it an abscessed tooth and infection causing the face to swell. He proscribed a choice of antibiotics, a heating pad, some pain killers, and a referral to a suitable dental surgeon.

According to Doctor Maddux, I should be fine in the short term as long as the swelling doesn't interfere with my breathing (that was actually a comforting thought), but it can get serious enough that I could end up down the road at the hospital. Considering that my mothers bills over routine stuff totalled around $20,000—I have little interest in being admitted to a hospital, ready to keel the flug over! Our orders were to try and get the infection in check with the antibiotics and setup an appointment with the other office; and do so A.S.A.P. if things didn't improve within a day or two.

Since I can sooner die in the middle of the street then see a $100 prescription filled for the heavy duty stuff, we went with the less effective but much more affordable antibiotics, which when subbed for the generics at the supermarket pharmacy, became 500mg tablets of Penicillin VK, of all things Penicillin lol. The last time I can remember hearing of Penicillin since WWII, was a pharmacist my mother once worked for long before I was born, who, or so she had told me years ago, used to give out pills of it to poor coloured in the hopes of curbing syphilis; although I'm not quite sure if that was even legal back then >_>. But hey, when the price difference in what the Dentist is prescribing is like $90~$100+ atomic bomb versus a $0 gamble that it might work... it's worth a shot, isn't it?

Borrowed a heating pad, but didn't put it to much use. Willow trying to climb on top of it, and pushing a heating coil into my face made it clear that it would be a bad idea; reverted back to a wash cloth, and for the first time in my life was glad the kitchen sink can output burning hot water liquidy split. Either way, I found the heat on my left cheek very soothing.

For good measure, the Dentist proscribed a small supply of mild pain killers for use `as needed`, which when filled in for by generics, is a smidge of Hydrocodone and a hefty shot of acetaminophen/paracetamol (better known to most of us in the USA, generically as Tylenol, even though that's actually a brand name not a substance lol). I'm not like the average American, who takes a pill for anything. For me to even take two Tylenol over a headache or toothache, means I'm probably ready to smash my head through a wall because of the pain. Throw the other crap in the mix and yeah, I'm not inclined to take it unless absolutely necessary. Life's given me a nice threshold against pain anyway... so as long as I'm able to sleep, usually not much to worry about.

Spent a about 20-30 minutes walking around the supermarket while the prescriptions were being filled, my tooth was agonising and the left side of my jaw looked like I had cotton balls stuffed between my choppers and cheek. But on the upside, by the time we got to the checkout most of the pain subsided for a couple hours. Took the first dose of antibiotics in the car and noted that the pharmacists directions said that this Penicillin is better absorbed on an empty stomach—perfect for me.

Refused my mothers attempts to push food my way at every opportunity; hopped on the computer to check in with a friend on AIM, then hit the Proving Grounds for a couple. Soon gave up on playing SWAT 4, and laid down with the heating pad. I just crashed on the bed for a few hours, ended up napping with my head at the foot of the bed, cover drapped over me, and the dog near my feet.

Seems that the Penicillins only adverse effects on me have been causing me to feel cold, chilly at times I guess; but that is basically it. Woke up around 1800-something and had a bowl of soup with some cold meatloaf for dunkin' for dinner; the hot broth was just what I needed. Having *officially* declared war on this S.O.B. of a tooth and infection, I inspected the problematic tooth with a tooth pick eariler, and flossed / brushed my teeth after dinner, plus rinsed out with mouthwash before bed.

After finishing my meal and brushing with a militaristic determination (lol, don't ask), I settled down on the couch for a good nap: and focused every fibre in me towards kicking this thing to the curb. Woke up in time for the second dose of antibiotics and another short nap. By the time I got up to go to bed, I no longer had a toothach—much appreciated.

By morning most of the swelling went down, but if I place my hand to my face, I can still feel the buldge on the left. So far, so good, and I've not had any serious pain since before the second Penicillin pill. Managed to get to work this morning feeling pretty normal.

Have the appointment for next Tuesday programmed into my Calendar, and hopefully will be rid of this damaged, deranged, bastard of a tooth as soon as we can figure out how to pay for it... and hopefully any part of this infection will be K.I.A. by then.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Ma finally woke up a little past 0800 local, so I briefed her on the problemo—helps to be well prepared. She had me bite down on a tea-bag, which IMHO increased the swelling :-(. Ma called the CMC which directed her to a pharmacy, at which point I bet the $5 remaining to my name that any pharmacist we could ask, would likely say get a dentist. So she called the nurse we worked for, who agreed with me: this is a job for a professional. Have an appointment at 1900Z with a dentist that came recommended.

Tried to lay down and get some sleep, but it still feels like someones standing on my face with a work boot... Got up  and took a shower, but skipped ditching the whiskers, don't want to put that much pressure on that spot. Headache is a bit better but the teeth/gums are worse.

I'm not sure what to expect, last time I saw a dentist, it ended in a futile sortie and being made to feel worse then the scum of the earth over the shape of my teeth. Today can't go much worse, assuming I actually get to see the DDS

Inspecting an old decrepit mouth

I took "Stock" of my teeth tonight: it's been a long while since I've inspected them closely, because their just simply hopeless lol.

The top two front centre teeth, what I call "Rabbit teeth" for the obvious cartoon reasons; are notes in the history book. The right centre top is long gone years ago, just the empty socket there, and consequentially it never bothers me lol. The left centre top, is broken with the back of the tooth still protruding a wee bit out of the gum line. Other then parts of what looks like tooth-interior visible at the edges of the damage (or tarter from hell), it doesn't look that bad.

To their immediate flanks, the teeth next to them are ones that suck. To the right it's a broken tooth, that protrudes further (about half normal length) then the left top centre. The principal difference being this one looks black while the other is mostly white. On the left, is a spot from the base to about half way down to the top of the tooth, that looks like a poster board for tooth decay :-(.

On the bottom, the front centres are in good shape as ever, although (as have been for many years) I can see part of the teeth quite a distance down, where the other teeth I would see gums, I see the teeth; I'm not quite sure what significance that is. The way my teeth are settled, is probably a good example of what happens if you don't have braces (as my brother did in his youth), but hey, I would probably have to flash back to my 5th birthday or something, if I wanted a nice looking smile lol. The teeth directly adjacent the bottom centre pair, are in much better shape then their mates on the top; the only thing going against them is thick tarter build up.

It would take a closer inspection then I can do without tools, to tell more details but most of the other teeth on the top or bottom look fairly good, just highly unaligned. The hot spots are on the right, third bottom tooth from the back: there's just a wee bit of tooth visible toward the outer edge of the socket, other wise it's a KIA; I can remember spitting out chunks of it a couple years back. On the left, about second from the back, the tooth is missing about a third of its visible mass, on the inner (tongue) side. That's the area where I usually get a toothache every now and then. I would bet an x-ray of that tooth would make a dental person upset. On the upper right, while I don't see anything, there's a hard spot in the gums, that I would guess is probably part of the teeth or something protruding from the gums.

My gums don't bleed often, so I hope that's a good thing; although they did when I first started brushing them on a semi-regularly basis, that was ages ago. The only time they bleed, usually is when eating certain kinds of food, like a sandwich; then there's usually a bit fo blood from where the top front portion of my gums would've met the bread.

The reason for my fresh interest in my teeth, is because last night I noticed a dull throb to my lower left side of the jaw (around that one tooth), and this morning I noted the gums on the lower left are swollen. While I don't think anyone else noticed, I can both  feel the bulge and see it in the mirror. Took a nap for maybe 45 minutes and the swelling seems to have gone a little bit, but it's still feels like an Everlasting Gobstopper is sticking out of my jaw. Before logging on, I flossed and brushed teeth as usual, and tried rinsing my mouth out with saltwater for good measure.

This is what I call the "Folly of youth". Unlike a few other avenues in my life where things are miserable, this one is purely of my own causeing: because out of the 7,800 or so days I've been alive, the number of times I've brushed my teeth in the past 21 years, are probably closer to 1,000 times or less. Some years ago I started brushing my teeth and using mouth wash at a dentists orders, although that was of course a lost cause; it was even on the news last year, that the medial stuff we were on back then, weren't covering anything worth a fart for dental and people were shouting about it. After that fiasco ended, I tossed the brush back to it's corner and gave up, until some months back when I "Restarted" after a killer toothache—reequipping myself with floss, brush, and paste about the time I left doctor Cook with a bandaged toe. Since then, well let's just say I've only started the second tube tonight... lol. My routine is generally a nightly floss & brush, since mornings are just disasters anyway...

I have a bit of aheadache now, and still a throbbing  where the gums are swollen. Then again, I've had a headache most of the damn day, between these gums and a parakeet screeching my ears off all freaking day. Going to skip most of the tasks I have for the computer tonight, and just try and get some sleep, after a wee bit of snack.

These teeth are what I get for being a stupid ass.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

DINNER OUT, best live op I've had in years

Today was the go date for [SAS]_Trp_Walkers Live Op, DINNER OUT. The first one he's made actually, and doubtlessly, one of the best I've gotten to participate in, in quite a while lol. It really was a good LO.

When I saw the floor plans he attached today, I remembered a note I had scribbled down last year from [SAS]_SSM_Medic. He used it for some SNCO duties, and I got to thinkin', what if it supported loading external images into it? Well sure enough, it did :-D. Spent a while playing with our `new'ish` toy, Walker and DUKE helping with the testing. It also fell on my head to lead the live operation, since Walker delegated it to the highest head on the totem poll.

After the call for the LO came up, I got everyone into the briefing software, and conducted a mission briefing. The plan was quite simple, Alpha and Bravo would link up on the top floor, Alpha providing support fire for the entry, and Bravo silently securing the flank—then taking position for a hard entry. After the "CHEESE GO" signal was to be given, we would've launched our raid: Bravo doing a breach bang entry while Alpha supported with tear gas and marksmen fire. That was the plan anyway, and we would've setup a similar assault in the next choke point on "PIZZA GO".

What really happened, in manoeuvring Bravo into position, we came to a rather sticky set of situations. The areas we had to clear were surrounded with grated catwalks overhead; we took care of the first entry like clock work, but it was the second area... our rally point for after cheese. There was two doors leading into the RP, the right one with an X-Ray having his buttocks planted firmly to the doorway, and a buddy standing on the stairs next to him. The right door, had spotty obstacles and another X-Ray within arms reach of the door. I made the call to maintain the stealth, and informed [SAS]_Sgt_Duke comming Alpha, that we may be compromised within the next 15 secs; he was ready. We stacked on the left door, aiming to drop the sentry without much alarm; we did that and took care of the guys on the other side, before moving into the freezer behind our way point: a double door to be wedged before the take down on cheese. When we got there, the door was open and we took a lot of flak, [SAS]_Trp_COT going down almost on the spot... a hostage was shot in the distance before we could get the situation locked down—Alpha went GREEN and took out the shooters. Once I got bravo to our final assaulting position, commu with Duke showed we should have little resistance, so I signalled our entry with just a quick bang clear. While working around a bullet proof cage to kill a remaining shooter, I got quick draw mcgrawed out of the action without a chance to fire lol. In a couple minutes, Bravo was down to [SAS]_Trp_ESCRT while [SAS]_Sgt_Duke and [SAS]_LCpl_DeCapi took charge of the clearing effort. Soon after that, ESCRT went down leaving just Duke & DeCapi, when DC crashed, it left Duke to save the day on his own lol.

In retrospect, I should have changed the plan on the spot, split my Bravo team into RED and BLUE on each door: breach bang entries and push on, having Alpha engage cheese while that was happening. Instead, I aimed to keep things on the hush & hush, rather then take the gamble on hostages getting off'ed.

I chose Duke to lead Alpha team, because I wanted my best man ready in case things blew up in my face... and I knew his level head could cope with the pressure up there in the OP lol. While it would be easier for me to manage the assault team (Bravo) if I was up front where the action was. It was watching Duke and DeCapi clearing the map together, that really impressed me, for the first time in quite a while. Watching them in action was like looking at the epitome of [SAS] teamwork and tactics in action. Two [SAS] members knee deep in trouble with no real shortage of OPFOR to shoot at, and Duke brought order to chaos in the end.

A little bit ago, I sent an exaltational e-mail up the CoC, recommending them both for medals in the new awards matrix. There display of how we work together, and Dukes actions during the LO was that good - I generally don't send recommendations for such things lol. But I think, after all the Live Opeartions I've been in, Duke deserves a citation for his effort, and DeCapi is also worthy of commendation. There virtual battlefield action really was awesome. Since our refined awards matrix is more focused towards live ops and trainers, Duke just made my first two cents for our equivalents of battle field commendations.

In [SAS], the only people I've ever felt worthy of serious recognition for their contribution to the team, are [SAS]_Maj_WIZ and [SAS]_CO_Random, because I know they've given more to [SAS] then most of us combined. WIZ in particular, I've been around to see better then most, how much he's put into this group. Those that know me, I don't do so highly very lightly lol.

Without a doubt, best live op I've had in ages!!!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

A little fun with git: publically exporting your local repositories

One of the great things about git, is it's distributed nature; in my humble opinion, being able to tell your partners to pull your latest code is a useful stop gap for code review (without better tools... for now, lol), then having to e-mail the flubber as a tarball.

In my case, I maintain my working tree on Dixie, usually stored under ~/Projects/ some where. To prevent freak data loss, I also push things out to bare repositories stored on Vectra, under /srv/git. Those repo's on Vectra are my "Centrals", which will usually get pushed out somewhere else (e.g. SourceForge) if the projects public. The fact that my home directory on Dixie is also backed up is also a bonus hehe.

In order to setup a suitable means for people to clone, fetch, and pull from my git repositories, I edited my Routers configuration, and set up a NAT (Network Address Translation) to forward a suitable port to Vectra. In Vectra's pf rulesets, I unblocked said port.

For write access, I use SSH and public key authentication to manage the repositories: and no one is permitted SSH access to any of my machines, unless they manage to break into my home wireless (or penetrate and suitably spoof my workstation), discover my username and hostname mappings, and brute force their way through the key pair before the internal firewalls tell you to F-off for good ;). In which case, good job monsieur or mademoiselle psychic!

Public read-only access may be setup with the humble git-daemon. Read-only access with controls, well is a task for something else ^_^.

The git daemon can be a fairly strict prickly pare about what it does export, so I feel reasonably comfortable with it. I created a simple whitelist file, called /srv/git/exports that describes what repositories may be exported: the file format is a simple line indicating the path to the repository to export publically, blank lines and those starting with a # comment being ignored.

I wrote a simple /etc/rc.git-daemon script that I can call from /etc/rc.local when OpenBSD starts, like so:

Terry@vectra$ cat /etc/rc.git-daemon                                            

if [ "$1" = stop ]; then 
        logger -t GIT stopping git daemon
        kill -9 $(cat /srv/git/ && rm /srv/git/ && logger -t GIT git daemon stopped
        logger -t GIT starting git daemon
        echo "$(cat /srv/git/exports | grep -E -v '^$|^#' /srv/git/exports )" | xargs git daemon --user=nobody --group=git --pid-file=/srv/git/ --verbose --detach --export-all --syslog --base-path=/srv/git  && logger -t GIT git daemon started

        echo -n ' git-daemon'

After this is executed, it's possible to:

$ git clone git://

as an extra bonus, since /srv/git uses my 'git' group for permissions but my umask by default tells everyone to screw off, I have to manually set permissions on repositories I wish to export, before someone can access them through the git-daemon.

Ok, so I'm nuts.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Thoughts about photo/image hosting services

Over the years, the only services that I've used are ImageShack and Photobucket; the former for one shots and the latter for more permanent storage. One of my best friends had opted into using Photobucket instead of IS, and quite naturally, I followed suite, although many years later... lol.

In parsing of Wikipedia, I noticed that the article noted a sequence of resource drops. Photobucket has dropped free accounts drastically, and without a functional digital camera, I simply don't generate enough image files to warrant a "Pro account", even if I had the financial resources for upgrading.

So I expect, in the near future to likely be moving on to something else in the future: and leave Photobucket as a relational memory. The only other services that I'm aware of, being Picasa and Flickr, which now have connections to Google and Yahoo!, respectively.

Flickr seems to offer the best content model in terms of resources, however other stuff indicated in their help/FAQ pages, I find rather discouraging for free accounts. So I seriously doubt that Flickr will replace my usage of Photobucket.

Picasa, integrates with Blogger which is nice, and would work well with purchasing extra data storage from Google. The down side however, is it is 'yet another' Google supported web system :-/. I have enough already, the only reason I've opted into Blogger for my exdous from LiveJournal, is it was LJs 'runner up', and I have little interest in revisiting that research. Blogger also serves my needs well enough, that I'm not amending that either.

When I had originally researched the 'whole blogging thing' back in mid 2006, it had included a study of services, ranging from Blogspot, LiveJournal, TypePad, Xenga, and others. LJ however won out at the time. It is also a known fact, that I would sooner stick me privates in madame guillotine, then use MySpace :-P.

Other sources that I have for storing images, include LiveJournals "Scrapbook" feature and a rather fascinating data model provided by the micro-blogging services I use; some of my friends ought to be able to guess what that is easily. While I maintain my journal (aka a blog) in public, the micro-blogging system I keep under much more private-levels. Any one may read my blog, but only those closer to me have access to the micro-blogging stream.

Since I'm shifting from Live Journal to Blogger, I don't feel it ethically appropriate to rely on LJs scrap book functionality. As to the micro-blogging solution, the main thing that concerns me is the measure of privacy afforded; one thing that always irked me about Photobucket is it's fairly poor privacy controls. Sharing links to images stored on Photobucket is not exactly a secure thing IMHO, and is one reason I rarely use it. My research (using help docs and friends albums) has lead me to conclude that links through the microblogging system do maintain a measure of privacy; abit at the cost of revealing the service used (acceptable enough). Some might find it odd that I prefer noting it as 'microblog' rather then by it's service name, but hey, it keeps every Tom, Dick, and Harry from trying to add me over there, and it's less public them my instant messengering details >_>.

In all probability, I'll probably end up using that system or picasa in place of Photobucket for future affairs; perhaps another service, if I find something of appropriate interest. Of course, if I had my own website, it would be a fairly moot point, but that is not in my financial near-future. SAS does give me a small bit of webspace, which I do use for occasional odds and ends, but my personal code of conduct forbade me from abusing it lol. And actually come to think of it, I should probably host my forum signature off the site: so changing my forum sig on SAS becomes an encrypted file transfer, rather then editing my profile.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Get a life man...

You know it's actually amazing, how many blog posts I made to Live Journal in 2008, it was like being joined at the hip or something lol.

I do generally like to update my journal every day or two, but have no problem with updating it several times a day, especially when I'm suitably active during the day. 2008 was also a very active year...
Wow, I had such a peaceful nap; it was like I wrote a TSR and loaded it into my brain or something lol.

The downside of course, is that I'll probably be awake much of the night. Then again, I have plenty of crap to get done, since H.R.P. had to interrupt me constantly during most of the day....

Rambling the Metal Gears

Been playing more of Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, managed to get 2 of the C3's planted before setting off the alarms in the hanger... So Dragunov SVD time from the top level catwalk vs goon squad below with shotguns :-)

Although I missed the M60 machine gun again on the way to the sniper dual with The End, I did find a new toy. A russian knock off of the Czechoslovakian. Scorpian SMG, I remember using one in Raven Shield and Syphon Filter 3... But in MGS3 you get one fitted with a laser aimpoint, if that sucker had a suppressor it would be the ultimate stealth weapon xD

The Colt M1911A1 is just too weak, I got detected in the hanger because I decided rather then tranquilizing the maintenance tech and then shooting him with the .45 so he wouldn't wake up before I was done (less sound then the knife, oddly). I put a shot in the back of his head and he ran off, emptied the rest of the mag trying to take him down... I'm used to a MK23+SD and double taps using a laser sight from MGS but I don't mind using the pistols iron sights in MGS3, just that the M1911A1 is less then optimal for dispatching enemies.

The prototype M16 ain't so good either, not a lot of attack power and the suppressor can't hold up to a lot of gun fire. The Patriot is just as bad as the M16 IMHO but the unlimited ammo and small size make it more useful for firefights then the Soviet AK47 in the game.

Placed the last C3 charge, nice cut scene of Snake musing over the heart-shaped plastic explosive Eva gave him, molding it into a butterfly and catching it. Just like the one he failed to catch in the Cave after he lost his eye protecting Eva. Of course thing sin MGS are never so easy lol.

The melee with Col. Volgin was actually a lot easier then I remember, first time I played through the game it was hard. This time it was pretty easy though, I can see why I've heard rumors of people posting "speed runs" of the fight online hehe.

Creamed Volgin, survived the bullet riddled chase out of grozny grad on Eva's motorbike -- finally using the Scorpion :-). RPG's, Scorpion, and Patriot fire to deal with the Op4 chasing in motorbikes with side cars. Sniped the C3 on the bridge with Eva as spotter... all the way through to the final show down with a pissed off Volgin driving the shagohod and another escape from the goon squad now on motorcycles and jet-platforms!

Saved after the final crash, I know the running firefight through the jungle is the hardest part. Especially with an injured Eva in tow; armed only with Snakes SAA "Peace Maker". MGS3 does show quite well what happens when you don't WATCH THE ROAD!!! After the crash Snake ends up breaking a few ribs on a tree while Eva is less fortunate and gets impaled.

Snake refuses to leave her behind but oy'vey what an exchange. While he's telling Eva "I need you", I'm thinking... If I know Snake, he's thinking she's the only one that can fly. And sure enough he had to point that out (^_^).

She's only lucky to be alive after all!

The end game can wait for another night, I remember it well... With luck I can use a mixture of SVD and Grenade assistest ambushes, the patriot for suppressive fire and manage to complete it without to much damage. I don't recall Eva being much help but between injuries and a SAA I guess that makes sense.

The final dual to the death with The Boss, eventually earning the protagonist the title "Big Boss" is not cake walk either from what I remember. Hmm, would be nice to survive a close encourter with The Boss without any broken bones or firearms hehe.

Hmm, looks like some one actually made a model of the shagohod out of LEGO bricks.

Not a bad job either if I do say so myself as a former LEGO addict. This persons got some talent at reproducing things for sure.

I remember back when The Phantom Menace came out I designed and built my own "super" version of the droid hover tanks in Star Wars. Even in my youth I've always liked designing and building things hehe. The droid hover tank I did out of LEGO bricks was armed to the teeth and weighed a freaking ton. I didn't have the kind of parts that they used for the base when LEGO released a droid hover tank model kit of their own a few years later but I created my own hover tank with a distinctive shape with parts from an old Exploriens kit I had and used solid-blue canopies from one of my brothers old kits (~1980s) to make armoured loading bins. My setup was much detailed then the official kit,down to the torpedo and missile tubes, I think the official LEGO kit only painted there's on, cheap bastards hehe. The one I cooked up also was scaled larger, I used the Battle Droid action figures painted with the right markings of course ;-) to crew the battle tank. I created my design in the "spirit" of the one from the films and tried to improve on the combat effectiveness of it, not reproduce it exactly as it was in the films: I wanted to make it better xD

It made a great display in my bed room for a few months until I needed the parts to build something else loool.

I've always enjoyed the Metal Gear games but I never thought about building one out of LEGOs when I was a kid... If I did, I probably would have done the Metal Gear REX from the first Metal Gear Solid game. Hmm, I think I must've been about 10 years old when MGS came out in the USA and maybe 11 around when Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace hit theaters.

It's kind of strange, 10, 20, maybe even 30 years (if I live to see) that you can still remember to stuff you used to do lol.

So much for slumber lol

Eventually drifted off to sleep only to wake up twice, I gave up around 0500R. When you start dreaming of a woman that may as well be an angel, because she is so sweet a person, you know, it is time to wake up and wonder why you are still here, lol...

Monday, November 16, 2009

Most of the day was totally absorbed, and the evening rather wasted. I was up so late last night, that I slept late this morning, but still had time to do some reading before it was time to leave; ma's followup with the doctor was today.

So, much like November 2nd, I ended up sitting around the community medical centre, in the next county lol. This time howeber, I was smart enoguh to bring along my laptop. Unlike last time, it was only about a two hour affair, so there was ~40min of charge left by the time we left. After booting the computer, I chose to enable powerd in the hopes of prolonging the laptops battery life. While I've tried powerd over the years, most times I've had to give it up, either due to to high a level of performance loss or stability issues with my laptops ACPI.

One great perk of my great wealth of experience with computers, other then when I actually need a graphical program, I can function quite adeptly in text mode. Running the computer booted into text mode, rather then a fancy X11 desktop with transparency  and stuff, puts much less strain on the hardware. X pulls plenty of processor power, and should we say a windowing system requires quite a bit more use of the graphics card then drawing an 80x24 vtty !!!

Stability was good, and my CPU spent most of it's time running just below 1Ghz, or approximately half of full speed. Repsonsiveness is much better under the newer hiadaptive power mode, then the regular adaptive mode, which takes care of my only other beef. According to FreeBSDs dmesg, I have a CPU: Mobile AMD Sempron(tm) Processor 3300+ (1994.21-MHz 686-class CPU) which according the dev.cpu.0.freq_levels sysctl, is able to scale itself as low as ~99Mhz, or roughly the clock rate of a sexy Pentium from the time of Jurassic Park :-P.

In text mode, I spent my time with a screen session open: one window for testing software, one with vim for editing software, one for the language tools,, and another window for looking up documentation as needed. During the wait, I was able to get four git commits fired away on the Encapsulated Installer (EPI) project. My parters approved the use of Git for our implementations SCMS/VCS needs, much to my joy :-).

Currently I'm focused on a topic branch that seeks to develop "Extras" for epi-unpack and epi-verify, that can have wider usage throughout the toolset, not to mention make EPI management easier to script for system administrators and developers.

The ideals of maing the EPI system powerful, flexible, and easy, are very much at the heart of it's design: and I have taken the influence of UNIX to heart in my development habbits.
It's been a bit of a busy day, managed to complete importing all the LiveJournal entries from 2007 into Blogger, as well as taking the time to properly study Blogger templates, and spruse up the place ;).

Sadly, the highlight of my day, was getting to watch a few episodes of Stargate SG-1 while doing it lol. Beyond that, it's all been kind of acline to torture...

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Well, so far my family has managed to annihilate any chances of enjoying TV, or getting work done tonight, so I took some time to study blogger themes.

Managed to get most of my Live Journal entries from 2007 transferred here, and I've some what an idea of how I want this blogger page to look. Tomorrow, I'll likely strip out the templates code and design something more to my taste. Two things that I do like about Blogger, is that most trivial things can be changed without touching the code, and you don't have to pay up to modify the code! Live Journals S2 system, has always interested me, but I've never dug into it, due to the feature splits they employ.

Now if I could actually get some sleep before dawn, it might help... *sigh*

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Old razor, still sharp.

Decided to join the action on Proving Grounds EU tonight, for a little Raven Shield ;). It's been about two months or more, since I really bothered playing RvS, but went pretty slick. I breezed through the first few maps with the skill you would expect a WO1 to display, and survived until the clock ran out on staying up late 8=).

Even more comforting, is that I'm not rusty, even though I play without an aiming reticle lol. Then again, if I expect to be shooting beyond ~10 metres fairly often, I generally will equip my weapon with a scope: as opposed to using the CQ style employed throughout RvS.

I just find it more natural and instinctive without the aiming reticle, and usually my reaction times are elevated, since I'm engaging the target in a fluid motion; there's no point of reference from the centre pip.

Friday, November 13, 2009

The Blogger Experiment

I spent much of the afternoon manually importing my posts from Live Journal to Blogger. I have all the posts in LJs XML export format, but efforts to convert that into something workable have proven, shall we say to great a lossage to put forward.

LiveJournal2Blogger was only able to download a portion of my posts, importing about ~63 od them to Blogger :-(. Thus, I deleted all of those and started doing it the Old Fashioned Way. At first I figured I would just do something like this:

$ cat *.xml | vim -

but that quickly proved in efficient, due to the nature of LiveJournals XML export format: it rather wreaks havoc on any HTML entities used in posts. Simply put, I have used a heck of a lot of pre and blockquote tags, between code/command snippits, song lyrics, and quotations. Fairly regular use of strong/em and more anchors then you can shake twenty sticks at, this is not a good thing. I also tend to use angle brackets as part of my asciibody language >_>, so it is rather important to avoid the pain & anguish, if you get my meaning.

All across the web, I've seen shotty looking snippits in blogs, and well, for as much as I hate those, I am not interested in having them in anything I call *mine* so no content mutilation will be tolerated.

LiveJournal has an excellent system for browsing archived posts, at least until you want to actually /search/ for something. So I merely started at my first journal entry and began working forwards through the archive. Whenever you edit a post on LJ, at least when you composed it in raw HTML mode, as I always do ;) you get back just what you put into the editor way back when.

So copy/pasting that into Blogger's snazzy editor, in "Edit HTML" mode, works like a charm :-D.

Most of 2006 is transferred, and the word verification limit wasn't even reached until entries from late November or early December were processed. Later tonight I'll finish up on that. The operation has however been lossy by nature: things encoded into LJ posts have been omitted for speed. So they no longer carry information such as my location, mood, or music. I have tried to keep the date/time accurate with respect to the numbers on LiveJournal, which is the slowest part. One good thing though, it lets me walk through my journal, "Label" entries accordingly for recollection, and it really does help put things in perspective. I'm good with faces and objects, bad with names and times, lol.

In some cases, such as my Vi User How To, I have elected to copy the comments along with the entries, by adding them in a singular comment of my own. But for the most part, I've left the comments behind as part of the lossy translation from LJ to Blogger. To be honest, I rarely get comments on my entries, so it is not to big an issue with me. I think between 2006-09-09 and 2009-11-13, I've only received about 150 comments or so.

Later tonight I'll experiment with the look/feel and informational aspects of this blog. When the experiment is complete, I'll set up a self referential link between the relevant Blogger and LiveJournal entries: it should appear seemless. Well, the comments and misc meta info aside.

Right now, I am off to SWAT 4 for a few good games :-).

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Screws, miracles, and Turkies.

It's been quite a day, lol. When I was at work, I was looking at the bottoms of my shoes for a moment, and I'm sitting here like, "Since when did they start making sandles with screws in the bottom?". I had to look at my other shoe to be sure, lol. Sure enough, there was a screw stuck into the bottom of my shoe, less then a centimetre away from the bottom of my foot.

On top of that, when I was loading the car, who should greet me in the front yard, but the bosses dog that had just gone out in the back yard—the bloody gate was open! I said thank you LORD, and whoever's watching, and thank YOU for small miracles!

The misserable part of the day however, ma decided to buy a 22 lbs Turkey (that's nearly 10kg). I hate turkey, when you're eating it until the cows come home from their seventh voyage :-(

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Hopin' and jumpin' night.

Despite a lot of interrupts, I've managed to complete a doc that's been on my list for months; and happily checked it off my

Monday, November 9, 2009

XSLT, where have you been all my blankin' life!

I spent a couple hours to play around with a few style sheets, after inhaling all the XSL/XSLT and XPath related data I could get my mits on.

I wrote one for converting DocBook XML into a portable subset of Bulletin Board Code, and one for HTML-aware blogs. The textproc/docbook-xsl port offers html/xhtml outputs, but it is better suited to generating stand alone web pages; mine targets it for posting to my Live Journal ;-).

For quite a while, I've generally skipped dealing with eXtensible Stylesheet Language (XSL) and her friends, but now I'm happy as a clam! XPath expressions provide a relatively simple form of addressing XML elements and attributes, kind of like basic regular expressions and CSS selectors rolled into a hierarchal package. XSLT processing has it's ups and downs but for generating output for creatures like web browsers, where formatting is different from matter, is quite trivial.

Most non-trivial HOWTO's, guides, and reviews that I post, are actually taken from files kept in my ~/Documents/ folder. I'll likely be adjusting them to DocBook and integrating them into their own private git repositories, mauhauha!

Before I was interrupted...

Hmm, as I was saying before I was interrupted, I've been learning more about DocBook, and as should be obvious to anyone following this blog or my microbloging outlet, I have also been learning XSLT.

DocBook is a good format, it seems to have all the attributes from LaTeX and troff that I desire, it's as easy as HTML (in which I am generally fluent), and just like it, is available in XML-based variants ;). Personally, I consider RST the easiest method of preparing documents. The principal problem with RST, being the available formatters: it works good for generating HTML output for the web, but not quite ready for manual pages just yet.

Some people might have issues with writing in XML/SGML like markup languages, but I do not; in fact, I feel more comfortable with DocBook, because there is *no* real presentational crap bloated into it, not to the level that HTML has been mutilated beyond permanent scaring... so yeah, I like it. Even better is being able to use DocBook with XSL/CSS related data to control the outputs. I'm a freak, I like to have central sources for documents, that I can keep under version control, unlike Word docs; and preferably a document that I can read, either in my text editor, a document viewer (ala PDF & PostScript), or copy/paste into a web page. DocBook is a very highly structured way of describing the contents of a document, which further mates well with my insane mind.

Likely I'll be writing new HOWTO, guides, manuals, reviews, and so on in DocBook; any pertinent documents in existence now, will likely be converted over to DocBook. I will probably write suitable stylesheets for creating posts on my Live Journal here, and forum posts in BB Code.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Today has been a fairly nice day, managed to get some stuff sorted on the net; helped a friend with her blog; finished reading an article on DocBook. Along the way, I also found a cool page on creating rounded corners in CSS, and remembered to add A List Apart to my feed reader, after stumbled across it again.

Ahh, foooooood time!!!!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Just how safe is SHA-1?

Q: How hard would it be to find collisions in SHA-1?
A: The reported attacks require an estimated work factor of 2^69 (approximately 590 billion billion) hash computations. While this is well beyond what is currently feasible using a normal computer, this is potentially feasible for attackers who have specialized hardware. For example, with 10,000 custom ASICs that can each perform 2 billion hash operations per second, the attack would take about one year. Computing improvements predicted by Moore 's Law will make the attack more practical over time, e.g. making it possible for a wide-spread Internet virus to use compromised computers to mount such attacks as well. Once a collision has been found, additional collisions can be found trivially by concatenating data to the matching messages.
-- source

I dunno about everyone else on planet earth, but I feel safe enough with that probability, at least until Independence Day arrives.

Writer's Block: My Favorite Apps

What are your favorite web or mobile apps? Which ones do you use everyday?
Live Journals Writer's Block

Web applications are things that can either be awesome or truly disappointing, most fall some where in between for one reason or another. In particular, there support for sane web browsing ;).

From the apps I use every day, I would have to say that my favourite is Google Web Search, if that actually counts :-P. The reason being, Google uses a nice AJAX system for suggesting search terms—which can be helpful when you're not sure exactly what you're gonna type next. On top of that, the search results are often excellent (in proportion to your query terms). unlike some sites hosting web search engines, Google doesn't try to be an all in one portal --- it's just a search engine! With lovely tabs to other resources ;). Microsoft/Bing has even gone this wrote as well. For those that want a more portal like page, you can build your own with iGoogle personalised pages instead of relying on a generalised one (Ala MSN classic).

In terms of web apps, in the more modern rich user experience sense, I'm not sure if I really do have a favourite. Every day, I use Googles Mail, Groups, and Talk (XMMP) systems; several flavour of phpBB and vBulletin forum; not to mention extensive utilisation of Wikimedia and (from services. Perhaps, Google Mail, Docs, and Reader are the modern web apps that I favour the most. I like them, because Google takes a more minimalist yet distinctive approach to developing their apps, yet they are often fully featured. Google Reader for example, the only areas for improvement I can see, is support for themes and even more optimization for speed; nether of which are required to enjoy the experience.

Lately, I've been using rtm, which is arguably the best designed web app created to date! It combines all the attractiveness of a good web app, into an easy to use — self documenting package. Complete with keyboard shortcuts! The ability to integrate both GTalk and RTM into GMail with ease, is a massive perk.

To few web apps these days realise that the old school design rules still ring on home. Revised, I would say these are what most people forget:

  1. Users have more to do in their lives, then just run your stupid app
  2. It's shouldn't (strictly) be necessary to visit the website to use it
  3. If it looks like an app, it should act like an app not something alien
  4. It shouldn't matter what browser is, as long as it follows the standard

Point 1 is something the folks at RealPlayer and PlayXpert should really take to heart, seriously now!

While point 2, is best exemplified by software such as RTM and GMail—both integrate quite well into other websites, and in Googles case, to most desktop software.

The third point being, if it looks like a program, it should act like one: the fact that it's running inside a web browser that is using a desktop widget toolkit, instead of running stand alone in a desktop widget toolkit, shouldn't matter very much—learn about the principle of least astonishment, and take it to heart!

Fourth, brings to mind a time that I stopped by a Yahoo! video page when responding through a thread in The result was humorous: Yahoo told me that my Operating System (FreeBSD) and Web browser (Firefox) were upsupported, suggested that I download a supported browser like IE or Firefox, then went on to proclaim that I was missing Windows Media Player and Adobe Flash plugins, never mind the fact that my web browser is configured to use the MPlayer plugin to handle Windows Media 8=). I assume their website has changed for the better in the years following: but it shows an important lesson. Don't blacklist usability, smartlist accessibility. If it's unsupported, downgrade intelligently and warn the user unobtrusively that their setup is missing XYZ functionality, don't just send them to /dev/null because they don't meet your expectations of Joe & Jane user.

If people did that in a desktop program, like Microsoft Office, a company might go out of business or lose market share to wiser competitors ^_^. Sheesh, I wonder how many ignorant webmonkies have used user agent detection or faulty CSS files when wiser work arounds were (and are) available.

One reason that I often favour Googles web applications, they tend to work well and stay the hell out of my way. I've yet to see any of them do anything truly stupid or grandiosely insulting.

Interesting tidbit: A Stick Figure Guide to the Advanced Encryption Standard (AES)

Shared from Google Reader

A Stick Figure Guide to the Advanced Encryption Standard (AES)—hubertf's NetBSD blog

The was strangely enjoyable!

Codes, Designs, and EPI

Today has been a fairly productive day, despite a heck of a lot of interruptions; to the point in fact, that at least 2 hours of work time was lost to it... Thanks ma!

Most of my mental energy was devoted to refining the interface between epi-add and $EPI_WIZARD, and figuring out how best to document it. My original vision for it was using bidirectional communication between finite state machines running in separate processes (the installer and the wizard). Amid the 21,000 interrupts of the day, I've managed to balance out the problem, and have come up with a more interesting solution; one which vastly simplifies the wizard programming interface and grants more freedom to anyone who wants to write an $EPI_WIZARD, which should be easy as pie.

By contrast, most of my code time was spent working on epi-unpack and prototyping ideas for the previous problem. Other then a few changes that I would like to make, epi-unpack is basically done; I'll probably work on epi-verify next, while the others are reviewing the code for epi-unpack. One thing that distinguishes our Encapsulated Package Installer (EPI) system from PC-BSDs PushButton Installers (PBI; formally PcBsdInstallers), is that PBI is a static monolith from the undocumented garage; ours is knit atop a framework of UNIX programs, with standards and manuals to be shipped along with them ;).

I can not lie, UNIX has effected my philosophies on software design—for the better.

Generally, I don't discuses business or classified projects on my Live Journal as a matter of ethics, but since EPI is now public knowledge, I'm free to blog about it's development. The same can't be said of all things SAS or work related lol. Most likely more things will filter through about EPI, so I've created a `tag` for it. Over 3 years and 1500+ entries, and I have never really gotten into Live Journals tagging feature, but have been contemplating it for the last few weeks.

The only way I can ever find my old entries is through Google or sequential search, nether of which are reliable; so utilizing memories and tags would be a darn good idea by now. The problem of categorizing my thoughts, as always remains a problem :=(+).

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Outsmarted again!

I sneezed and Willow took off, as usual lol. After a while I looked and she wasn't back on the bed, our the couch, so I started looking all over for her.

Checked under the step stool, in ma's bedroom, under the dining room table, in the kitchen, the bathroom, next to the couch, on ma's couch, heck even under the Parakeet! Guess what!!! Willow was under the covers on my bed, and that was the first place I had looked.... even moved the covers! Yet, sure enough when I walked back into the room it was her head looking quizzically at me, as if to say what the heck are you looking for idiot!

Oy vey!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

gdesk? Hehe

Well, as something that's been on my eventually to get around deciding; I've setup Google Desktop Enterprise Edition on SAL1600.

Earlier during the last reformat, I had opted into trying a newer Windows Desktop Search, yet found it to be just as useless as the old style search technology that had shipped with Windows XP back in 2001 :-(. In point of fact, I would much rather use GNU Find and skip the useless window dressings >_>.

Googles Desktop search, is not what interests me. In fact, nether does Strigi or Beagle - the only search program that would interest me, is a sexy wrapper around GNU Find (or equivalent) that mates it to a easily scriptable plugin system (think customized grepping) that would enable it to be come aware of any program you choose (think searching chats for pidgin, docs in google, news feeds in pan, blah blah) without having to rely upon someone to code it for you—just write a little shell script ;).

So obviously, I'm a power user who learned how to organise file systems very tightly, although I think that will become a mark of the dinosaurs before Windows 11 >_>.

What did attract me to Google Desktop, is the Gadgets system. Right now I have the sidebar up with time and temperature—never turn the TV to the weather channel lol. Since the only use I really have for Windows main panel, is the integrated system tray and clock, I've now set the panel to minimal height. I run much to many programs to be able to use a "Taskbar" without feeling like I'm dancing with a cement kimono!

The sidebar from Google Docks is also displaying Calendar & Mail gadgets making my life easier, plus Talk is docked for extra value. Since my desktop is never free of having a command prompt and web browser open, the Win+G shortcut for the search bar doesn't matter any 8=). Ok, so I'm a whore for tools that speed up my work time instead of increasing it ;).

Intently interesting me, is whether or not the deskutils/google-gadgets port on FreeBSD works reasonably. While Google Talk lacks a version that'll run on BSD, I don't need it—since I rely upon Pidgon, and wish I did not need Xfire on the windows machine.... since integration would make life easier. It's so funny how I actually have a more integrated system under FreeBSD, then Windows <_<.

OSX, KDE, and Vista have made greater emphasis on the desktop widget/gadget concept in recent years, but to me, it is just very much the modern incarnation of the old as gold dockapp.

It's so funny how new innovation is often an upgrade to the last generations revolution.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Operation Triage: Day 1.1 at the RTM

Last night I setup an account on rtm for evaluating it's usefulness to my todo list problemo. It provides all the features that the gmail/gcal/ig integrated tasks buddy from Google is lacking, and integrates perfectly into their workflows—awesome job RTM!

Remember The Milk (rtm) is a web based application and supporting service, for managing tasks; you could probably keep your grocery list on this thing too, if you had a decent phone. It supports the obvious stuff, due dates, time estimates, repeaters (oy), and combines it with attributes more often found in social systems, like tagging and sharing. The amount of ways to work with rtm alone make it easier to mate with ones workflow on a level, that most web apps on the net could only dream about reaching. Without a doubt, Remember The Milk has been designed to be the supreme queen in web usability, and provides such a nifty set of keyboard shortcuts that give Geeks like me an extra edge on top of it. I almost think my mother could use this website... it's that easy lol. The power-user features also make it well worth learning how to utilise every ounce out of the system. So far the only negative thing I can say about rtm, is that adding a due date on the rtm website doesn't magically add it as an event in my gcal, but alas no one is flawless :-P.

I've imported all my todo list, after filtering the 5 month out of date file through my brain log along the way, plus put in everything everything on the immediate plate; took me about an hour. Everything of major importance has been marked accordingly with reminders scheduled to be sent to one of my Instant Messengering accounts. Three things that attracted me to rtm: the ability for using tags (as fellow delicious & gnolia fans will enjoy) in addition to regular task lists; reminders by most forms of contact like email, sms, and virtually every IM method short of an automated phone call; not to mention integration with Google Mail & Calendar.

Currently I've created Cleaning, Contact, Projects, Reading, SAS, and Writing lists to go along side the standard issue Inbox, Personal, Study, Work, and Sent lists. Tags are being used so I can quickly study what's on the list according to subject matter; this way when any of the various hats needs a quick servicing within a group of tasks, I can dip into those open loops and screen out the others. Smart lists also make it possible to quickly study tasks by meta-criteria; my first smart list is one to show me all open tasks, that have a priority marker set.

As I told a friend earlier, I essentially don't have to do nothin' but stay white and die, the huge ass list of todo's is mostly projects I'm involved with, and usually get clobbered by the fact that I get interrupted 200+++ times a day by the surviving parental unit, until they fade off the days agenda. Fortunately most of my tasks are in the format of, to do before hell freezes over—but most I would like to get done within the much shorter term! That's where Operation Triage comes into play.

Everything is being trimmed back in accordance with what I have time and energy to deal with at this point in life, and to get as much of the stuff that I want gotten done organised so it doesn't "Fall off" the water fall. Continently the only urgent loops being to get my learners permit, tend to SAS business, and my most important projects. Other tasks are growing closer to completion, and RTM will help me keep them in line with reality.

For the most part, these tasks in the rtm system amount to crap I need to read (lower priorities :'() and things that I need to write: which is easily sorted by priority. The hard part is Just Getting It Done without having to threaten anyone along the way with bodily harm :-/. Actually that would be a productivity boost I'm sure, but it is most strongly against my gentle nature 8=). I need to do further study on how best to collate the development tasks, since they don't quite fit into a box, so much as a creative juice meets free time equation.

To do list, I shall conquer you!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Interesting tidbit: IT Snake Oil, Six Tech Cure-Alls That Went Bunk

Shared from Google Reader

IT Snake Oil, Six Tech Cure-Alls That Went Bunk—Slashdot

As fascinating as it can be, I'm sorry to say that calling AI IT snake oil might be a very fair statement to make.... lol.

The referenced articles on /. are well worth the parse in this case.

Interesting tidbit: Microsoft Links Malware Rates To Pirated Windows

Shared from Google Reader

Microsoft Links Malware Rates To Pirated Windows—Slashdot

I'll believe this when Microsoft releases all versions of Windows as Open Source under the GPL, and only makes a profit by selling support contracts—fat chance of that happenin' and you can bank on it.

In the past near-decade of using Windows based computers, the machines in my care probably have one of the lowest infections, compared toanyone I know, who is an "Average, gullable, luser". Do stupid things and your box is trashed, it won't make a difference whether or not you paid for it.

Hmm, if people are going to start blaming outdated pirated copies of windows for the spread of malicious software: how about Microsoft try ditching the pseudo-worthless WGA garbage and making the Windows and Native APIs more restrictive in what they can tamper with?

Oh yeah, just blame other people, real s.m.r.t. idea.

Interesting tidbit: Man accidentally ejects himself from plane

Shared from Google Reader

Man accidentally ejects himself from plane—The Guardian World News

Oh man, this guy is never going to live that down! Sheesh, how stupid do you have to be not to know what's going to happen if you yank the ejection rip-cord seated between your legs? Haha, that just sounds so wrong in of it self!

Here's to narrowly evading the receipt of a Darwin Award, one lucky son of a bitch at a time !!

Interesting tidbit: Adobe engages Apple in passive aggressive warfare with iPhone's Flash message

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Adobe engages Apple in passive aggressive warfare with iPhone's Flash message—Engadget

Flash player, eat your heart out and die!

Well that's another day blown

Slept in, since there was no need to get up before noon, I got out of bed around 1100—having originally woken up around 0800. I've yet to solve the sleep problem, but at least I am getting up earlier with much greater consistency, the down side is I don't think I can sleep much longer then four or five hours at a time without waking up... beats the alternatives I guess.

I toyed around with my to do list program for the morning, as a way of passing time until it was time to leave; ma had to see a doctor to sort out some of the post-hospital stuff. So I spent most of my day sitting in a health clinics lobby, in the next county lol. After three or so hours of that was hiking around the supermarket while her perscriptions were being filled—so much for coding today.

Experiments in an SQLite3 based tasks manager are postponed, in favour of using Googles `Tasks` system that is mated to gmail and gcal. Until further notice, it looks like `gtasks` is m new todo management system; I'll also take a look at RTM later tonight, and try to evaluate if it's worth while.

While I don't particularly care for it, I think it's time to re-evaluate iGoogle as a way of integrating a few more things into my work flow.

Personally, I don't care much for  being reliant on any company for my resource needs, I do however like good web applications, and Google Mail is exceptional! Docs, Cal, Groups, and Chat also makes things much easier. In point of fact, my preferred contact method is XMPP—which is the backend provider for Google Talk. Life would be so much cooler if the various major instant messenger systems (AIM, MSN, Yahoo!, ICQ) could integrate half as nicely as XMPP based solutions do.

I don't need to use an Live mail account to email my friends, why should I need a Live ID to chat with them? Maybe Wave might change that someday.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Playful time passing, computer geek style

database store {
  table tags {          /*
                         * Enumerates all tags in usage
    id        name;
  table tasks {         /*
                         * Stores data for each todo with
                         * tags being a splitable string.
                         * Three date fields are used, marking
                         * when the item was set, completed, and
                         * a special 'mark' field, for things such
                         * as the do by then or piss off dilemma.
    id        tags       task       date_set    date_mark    date_done

Just a simple structured annotation to the SQLite3 schemas that are in my brain at the moment.

Perhaps it would be more effective to encode the tags as a bitmask created from rows, mmm. The real question I suppose is can I actually insert the atribtrary data I want into an SQLite database and be able to query it without hitting any hard limits. Not that I'm likely to hit any there might be, lol.

What I would desire in a todo/task management system

Obviously it would need to offer a CRUD interface to some form of persistent storage, namely one that I can easily access anywhere; that makes the most idea solution a file in my home directory, or something accessible over the network.

It would have to support some notion of "Tagging", every entry should be able to be tagged under multiple names and queried accordingly.

A list view comparable to the collapsible "Groups" in most instant messengering softwares buddy list, would be a perfect way to view tags, particular when combined with the ability to search todo's by tag and other criteria: like date, title, and all other data.

While software oriented towards managing the software life cycle might be useful, I need something of a more general nature. The only real short coming of Google Tasks is that while it integrates into Mail and Calendar quite nicely, it unfortunately has no real concept of tagging. It's more of a gimmick then a useful feature.

In all probability I could munge together some AWK scripts and an SQLite database to get exactly what I want, hahahahahahah! And maybe someday write a graphical front end. Hmm...

I've been very busy of late.

I've been very busy of late.  By my own calculation, ma is now sucking an additional 2 1/2 hours or more out of every day of my life, just through lunch/dinner prep! Today she also decided it was time for redoing the kitchen and has managed to rattle my nerves accordingly to get what she wants. While I generally like an excuse to work with my hands, I don't really care much for moving shelves around, along with all the junk on them, let along the priority interrupts that have to be fired later when I am "Done" but there's still more odds and ends.

A distinguishing feature between me and the rest of my family, I do things myself, they can't be arsed to do more then coerce someone into doing stuff for them.

The Encapsulated Package Installer (EPI) project was let out of the bag not to long ago, but in a good way; since it's picked up steam again. In the past couple days I've started work on the build system, and filed off several memorandums while refining the standard.

Our build system is being designed with distributed functionality in mind, making it play nicely with jails and machines on a private subnet. The overview I sent in an earlier memo, described a build system so knock out dead dead sexy, it ought to be illegal!

One of the ideas I've been mulling over for a while, is ways we can improve the security model used in EPI; after much thought on the various methods, I've cooked up a scenario that would allow running the optional scripts without root privileges, while still expressing obtrusive functionality through the EPIL script API in ways that is "To eat your heart out, PBI". I need to do a bit more study, but I like the idea.

Joy, dinner is ready and I'm not done writing this post yet, courtesy of her royal highnesses interruptions! Sigh, there's just no way to win.

I managed to spend a portion of the day playing SWAT, maybe 5 or 6 missions worth. At this point in life, it's one of the few pleasures I get beyond engineering software systems. Oy, there's no peace to be found here :'(. In just about every action or endeavor, my mother manages to make me feel utterly miserable. It's like a universal constant... for more years then I care to recall right now.

As far as efforts to consolidate my explosive todo list, I've been thinking about setting up some web software on Vectra, for triaging todo's: the next best thing is Google integration with "Tasks" but I could use something a bit more dedicated. The best software that's interested me, is one of the hosted apps on SourceForge, but sadly is not yet compatible with the database backend I've got to work with atm. Maybe later I'll find some time to take a look at some webware. I can't afford to take time to whip up one of my own, to busy cleaning todo's off .... sigh