Dec 16, 2004

rootburn: Too much of a good thing?

rootburn: Too much of a good thing? It is an interesting thought that has crossed my mind as well, and not only in as far as music is concerned. I am fiddling with an idea to replace my Palm IIIx with something newer. I have a feeling I never will -- I get frustrated that while it is very much affordable, the pace of change is such that any purchase us worhtless soon after being decided...

Oct 5, 2004

More on Namazu

I've gotten around to playing with Namazu today. Unfortunately, after running mknmz(1) any querying with namazu query I got no results for known-good strings. I've then decided to rebuild the whole thing and realized that I've slightly oversimplified (and overcomplicated) the patching I applied. This time I have done a bit better job at tracking how I got it to complile under Cygwin:
  1. Make sure you know where your perl(1) is: if you have both Cygwin and ActiveState installed, make sure that you run configure as:
    ./configure --with-perl5=/usr/bin/perl
  2. After you've run configure, fix libtool script by sed -i.bak 's/^M$//g' libtool.
  3. You'd also have to manually fix libtool script to "lengthen" the wrapped lines in the extract_expsyms_cmds variable definition: remove soft line terminators (\\\\) -- you should end up with only 3 lines that define this var.
  4. Lastly, manually create src/.libs/impgen.c as:
    head -n 491 libtool | tail -n 134 | sed 's/^#[ ]*//' > src/.libs/impgen.c
After this you can run make(1) and all should be fine... BUT: No UNICODE support, hence my UNICODEd text files won't work... :(

Russia vs. Chechnya

I found this commentary on the Russia vs. Chechnya on Metafliter quite interesting, and very close to what I feel about the situation. Notice that as a Russian I can hardly be objective -- it is hard to be objective when a car bomb explodes a few blocks from where one lives. Rage can easily consume even the stronger ones when they see children taken hostage, dying, shot in their backs. Yet I cannot justify whatever has been happening in Chechnya in the past 10 years: betrayals, greed, incompetence -- all combined to produce atrocities of Chechen war. There was a very good (I think) documentary shown on RENTV (one of Russian independent TV stations) last week. For those reading in Russian -- a link above should be useful. I am guessing that the film should be available somewhere on P2P, though I have not been looking for it specifically. Again, it may not be perfectly objective, especially the last 2 installments of it, but it does give a terrible historical perspective of what has happened and why...
Yet another liar, though, I guess, everyone who cared knew that already...
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said on Monday he knew of no "strong, hard evidence" linking Saddam Hussein's Iraq and al Qaeda, despite describing extensive contacts between the two before the Iraq invasion. [Reuters: Top News]

Oct 4, 2004

This is

A word about It is a great bookmarker/web inbox in GTD sense. It also is a very interesting social tool, do check out -- a list of most popular links of the last 24 hours. With enough social mass behind it this would comprise a very interesting list to watch. Also available in RSS.

Sep 30, 2004

David S. Bennahum: Abolishing the Electoral College

David S. Bennahum: Abolishing the Electoral College David Bennahum explains the black magic behind electoral college in US. The "most democratic" country of all does not really have direct and fair presidential elections, but does like to rub other countries' noses whenever they like... BTW, on top of what he points out as a very interesting mixture of odds (a vote in Wyoming is worth 2.3 votes in New York), there's always a chance that a governor can cast electoral votes not in accordance with how votes were set out by voters...

Sep 3, 2004

Namazu: a Full-Text Search Engine

Namazu: a Full-Text Search Engine Found this one by way of an article on Slashdot. Tried to compile it under Cygwin, but failed. After digging a little bit around, force converting ^M's to proper UNIX line endings with sed -i 's/^M$//g' (that's Ctrl-V, Ctrl-M to get an ^M) in a few files, and finally manually creating src/.libs/impgen.c out of libtool shell script, I got it to compile. Will give it a few days of testing and see if it really is so good :) There is, by the way, a Windows binary for the same, but I am almost 100% sure that I'd run onto some silly issues trying to run it under Cygwin cron. By the way, I still cannot understand why is there MinGW and Cygwin, and why some things can compile under the former, but not latter? After all, they both seem to be GPL-licensed...

Aug 24, 2004

GnuCash & Mac OS X

While I am still working on a "feature story" of MacOS X accounting packages, this is a resource for those desiring to setup GnuCash on a Mac. This approach uses Fink. I personally prefer DarwinPorts, but so far there's no GnuCash port there. It should, however, be possible (albeit not as trivial) to compile GnuCash without installing Fink. Just make sure that you've got all of the required dependencies (most, if not all, of them are available through ports).

Olimpic games

I can't call myself a very big fan of any particular sport. I am not going crazy over football (soccer) WorldCup or hockey World Champinoships, although I do enjoy to watch a good game or two. Naturally, when Russia is playing, and game promises to be an interesting one -- I'm all for watching it and supporting my team. But I never get crazy about it. Like flags-around-my-bosy crazy. Or get-all-my-friends-in-the-living-room crazy. Or let's-bit-the-shit-out-of-all-others crazy. None of that. These days Olympic Games are still in progress in Greece, and I did get to watch it a few times, did get my small share of cheers and disapointments. But I also got a huge feeling of disgust with what The Games have become. This disgust has been adding up, I suppose -- from numerous scandals surrounding the IOC, to numerous scoring errors, score resets, rumors of further irregularities, to news of completed deal on broadcast rights for 2012 Olympic Games (for which the country is not even known yet!). And today, more than ever I believe that Olympic movement is gone and done and dead. This sort of goes together with my general disgust with many types of modern sports that do little in proving what human beings can do, but mostly what farmacologists can do to a human being. There is not a single professional sportsman (or sportswoman) that is a normal let alone healthy human being -- it is justa jumble of muscles, bones and anabolics. And so are Olympic Games -- a money-making machine, that explores greed and nationalism among other things to make rich richer.

Aug 12, 2004

Ten things that Microsoft and TiVo must each do to win the living room - Features -

Ten things that Microsoft and TiVo must each do to win the living room - Features - I own neither a TiVo nor an MCE -- I live in the wrong set of countries to be able to really enjoy all the power of scheduled program recording. I could, I suppose, use either of them as an NG VCR, but since I hardly watch any TV, do not have cable nor sattelite for the past 4 years -- there is hardly any point in doing even that. I am, however, moderately interested in seeing in where this whole thing with a home-media-server is going, considering that back in 1997 or 1998 that was exactly what I was proposing to two buddies of mine we should be looking into. Too bad we have not filed for a patent back then -- we'd be the evil ones now! Now, reading the above-referenced article made me thinking: how much more (or rather more difficult stuff) is listed in front TiVo as opposed to MCE! Get it networked, get HDTV unit, some weird request for a Windows-based unit (what for? does Linux-based TiVo not work?), WiFi enabled devices (TiVo Extreme?), external hard drives, etc. Compare that to "make it more stable" and "add My Radio" thingie for MCE! Granted, getting MCE more stable is a tantamount task, considering years of Windows "stability." I'd agree with a few commenters that (a) there is no point in fixing wha is not broken -- like TiVo platform; (b) these "then things" are more like subjective editorial wish list, not real action points. And of course, just like with XBox, Microsoft can afford making lots of mistakes and loosing money like crazy on MCE, while TiVo can't...

Aug 9, 2004

Konfabulator, Samurize, Dashboard and Active Desktop

Now that the heated debates about Konfabulator vs. Dashboard has become history, I've asked myself a very basic question: considering that ActiveDesktop on my Windows machine is rendered by MSIE (security risks notwithstanding), should it not be possible to create a webpage full of widgets without any help from Samurize? I am not looking for anything fancy: a plain calendar, a calculator, a clock, maybe a weather report. Here's a shot of what I was able to put together relatively easily -- most of the stuf is just a copy/paste from various sites JavaScript. It is not too pretty -- but that's largely CSS issue that I have not spent much time refining.

Aug 4, 2004

Mitch Kapor's Weblog: Chandler's Network Architecture: Priorities Change

Mitch Kapor's Weblog: Chandler's Network Architecture: Priorities Change An interesting take on peer-to-peer vs. central server-based architecture for Chandler. I would be more than delighted to see Chandler mature into if not an Outlook-killer, then at least a worthy replacement (or maybe continuation) of ECCO. Whatever milestones are available for public review right now are not even early-adopter stuff, though. On an unrelated (albeit still free note), if you're looking for something to replace MS Project with -- give Open Workbench a try. It is well worth it.

Jul 26, 2004

Project GoneME Fixes Perceived Gnome UI Errors

Project GoneME Fixes Perceived Gnome UI Errors To continue '"fat linux" theme -- a very nice take at what and why. While the US Political System parallel may be questionable, overall the post does stir-up some thoughts...

Jul 25, 2004

X.Org vs. XFree86

The moment I saw a mention on Slashdot that FreeBSD has oficially moved to X.Org X11 server I was running cvsup(1) on my port collection. A few hours later I was firing up xinit(1) to see if all was in order... and I was welcomed by a grey background and an X in the middle of the screen -- all was fine, not a single glitch in the upgrade process. Great job, guys! Kudos to Eric!

Jun 11, 2004

Is Linux getting fat?

The Fast-Food Syndrome: The Linux Platform is Getting Fat - I tend to agree with much of what was mentioned in OSNews post, even though it is not a good sign :) I still remember my old P100 with, ugh, 16(?) Mb and a puny 2Mb video -- that thing could run much of the same (functionally) stuff a new P4 3G does, except with soooo much less eyecandy. True, I the day I saw Enlightenment screenshot I wanted it. And I ended up spending half a week getting all the prerequisites, compiling it all myself. All ended up with me doing a mega-upgrade of my installation (Slackware at that time) *and* hardware... But it was cool. And I could make my Linux box look almost like a Mac :) Now that I own a Mac (typing this one on Safari right now, sir) -- I would love to see more simplicity, lighter and more functional things. Instead -- half of KDE themes you're likely to see on KDE Look are Windows XP rip-offs. GNOME is trying to creatively copy-cat Mac (OS 9, more like). And one needs to install 30 other things to get GnuCash to balance your checkbook...

Jun 8, 2004

PostgreSQL on MacOS X

There are quite a few resources available on the ’Net about compilation and setup of PostgreSQL on a Mac OS X. This O’Reily article, and this one from Apple just to name a few. For me, where both these articles are falling short is in describing how to set Postgres to start automatically when I boot my Mac. Interestingly, I had to read an article about Oracle on a Mac to see how this can be done for Postgres. Naturally, it is very simple. As long as you followed all the instructions in either of above 2 articles (I opted for installing Postgres and dependencies out of Darwinports, as I am a bit repelled by Fink), all you need to do is:
  1. Create a directory /Library/StartupItems/Postgres
  2. Create 2 files in that directory: Postgres and StartupParameters.plist. Note that a startup script must be called the same as a directory!
  3. chmod(1) above files sensibly (700 is a good option) and chown(1) them to be owned by root:wheel.
  4. Put the following into the Postgres startup script:
    # For postmaster startup options, edit $PGDATA/postgresql.conf
    # Note that PGDATA is set in ~${PGUSER}/.profile, don't try to manipulate it here!
    . /etc/rc.common
    StartService ()
        if [ -x ${PGBIN}/pg_ctl ]; then
            ConsoleMessage "Starting PostgreSQL"
            su -l ${PGUSER} -c "[ -d \${PGDATA} ] && exec ${PREFIX}/bin/pg_ctl start -s -w"
    StopService ()
        if [ -x ${PGBIN}/pg_ctl ]; then
            ConsoleMessage "Stopping PostgreSQL"
            su -l ${PGUSER} -c "exec ${PREFIX}/bin/pg_ctl stop -m fast"
    RestartService ()
        if [ -x ${PGBIN}/pg_ctl ]; then
            ConsoleMessage "Restarting PostgreSQL"
            su -l ${PGUSER} -c "exec ${PREFIX}/bin/pg_ctl restart -s -m fast"
    RunService "$1"
  5. Puth the following into StartupParameters.plist:
    <?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
    <!DOCTYPE plist PUBLIC "-//Apple Computer//DTD PLIST 1.0//EN" "">
    <plist version="1.0">
    <string>PostgreSQL 7.4.1 Database Server</string>
    <string>PostgreSQL 7.4.1 Database</string>
You can now try and run sudo /Library/StartupItems/Postgres/Postgres start to check if it all works.

Jun 6, 2004 Interesting New Ports [Mar. 25, 2004]

Dru Lavigne has posted a new column at O'Reily's BSD Devcenter on hte subject of FreeBSD ports: Interesting New Ports [Mar. 25, 2004]. This port in particular is interesting, since it seems to live up to the promise to help tightening a few bolts of FreeBSD security.

Jun 4, 2004

Wireless today

I have joined the happy crowd of WRT54G owners just a day after a major security hole was reported in the little box that could. Needless to say, admin password was changed immediately after the router has been powered up.

May 15, 2004

Encryption support for Adium X

Encryption support request in Adium X. I have just posted the following bit to Adium X support forum:
There seems to have been a lot of discussion on this in the past threads, yet it would seem that for the sake of providing something "superior" nothing is available so far. While I would agree that false sense of security is worse than no security at all, it would also seem that awaiting for all major IM protocols/services to come up with *some* sort of a unified scheme is waiting in vain. I'd frankly doubt that MSN or AIM/ICQ by themselves would *ever* provide secure comm (Passport, anyone?). Besides, relying on a.m. service providers almost automatically means that expectation is that some form of server-based security would have to be implemented, which I think is a bit flawed. I think it was on gaim-e list that a statement was made that (paraphrase) it does not make sense to use client-based encryption (e.g. GnuPG/PGP), because (a) you can't use it in multi-way chat and (b) some mediums (e.g. IRC) don't support it at all. I think it is not a correct assumption. I may be wrong, but it seems to me that major part of communication is done on a one-to-one basis, hence encryption scheme using GnuPG/PGP would work perfectly. Besides, aside from a case when a single user in a multi-way chat/conference does not have a key (and hence whole conference cannot be conducted securely), there's nothing holding from sending a separate chat message encrypted for a particular party. Lastly, as mentioned elsewhere on this forum, GnuPG/PGP round-tripping would, probably, be the easiest type of secure comm implementation -- and it will be as secure as one can get at this point -- sure if you trust it encrypting your email traffic, it should be sufficient for chat messages?


I've just decided to give Adium X a try -- had no idea about it, till I saw it in Darwin Ports listing in aqua category. It feels very solid -- I'd say more so than Fire, albeit it is obviously very subjective statement. There sure seems to have been more thought put into the UI, etc. Both of them beat Psi tops down as far as UI goes -- but that's to be expected, considering that Psi is a QT application that is taking advantage of QT being available on Mac as well as on most UNIX flavors and Windows. The look is sort of ok -- from a distance it may pass for a Cocoa app, but not once you get close, let alone personal. What is regretful in Adium, is lack of GnuPG support. I'd switch over to it today, had it had GnuPG at core or via a plugin. It also seems like this whole topic is bo-bo with developers... Strange.

DME: (linux & !debian = bad news), Sun, Solaris

(linux & !debian = bad news), Sun, Solaris is a very nice take at Windows/Linux?Solaris and how Sun should play that game. I wholeheartedly agree with his point about RH and derivatives RPM hell -- I remember trying (or facing? or suffering?) it once in the past -- that was one of the reason I dumped RH for the second time. Debian has always been my favorite distro -- even though I have left active Linux life a few year ago. Yet if I were to go back -- it would nearly certainly be Debian (or a Debian based commercial or otherwise distro). There also seemed to be some rumors in the past that HP might back Debian up (probably when Progeny was more alive thna it is now) -- but it never turned true (yet?).

May 14, 2004

Popular Science | Is This What War Will Come To?

Ther e is an article at PopSci's site Is This What War Will Come To?, and a related thread on Slashdot. One thing that bothered me while I was reading this article is that while (theoretically) trying to make me (or an abstract reader) feel more secure (sure, with weapons like these, who'd ever consider a war?) it made me feel much less so. It has been pointed out many times before that thinking of super weapons as means of safeguarding peace is wrong. The world has been on a verge of a few drastic conflicts exactly because of arms race (a competition to come up with a weapon superior to a super weapon of your opponent). Will people ever learn? I guess not...

May 13, 2004

Darwinports have passed 1500 ports mark! I only wish port command could get a bit more sophisticated — more like FreeBSD's portupgrade(1)...