Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Charles Murray on The Inequality Taboo


Friday, August 26, 2005


I was going to whine about GoogleTalk invites that I got. Three people invited me and when I read the invite it says that the client is windows only.

But on the GoogleTalk site there are indications that the protocol used is Jabber. And in the Help Center link (they really should put this information on the main site) there's a link to How to install GoogleTalk on Gaim. So I'm happy. I don't have the voice chat features of GoogleTalk. I wish I did. I'll probably figure that out at some point. Particularly since I've now got lots of bandwidth, enough for voice chat or video. But I'll do that some months in the future. I don't have a headset and mic setup and I just don't have the time to deal with that right now.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Zotob and why the victims deserved it

I didn't know anything about Zotobuntil days after it had been out. Well, two days after it came out. Or maybe three.

I have the same reaction as every other time something hits the Microsoft side of the world. Everyone who was cracked deserved it. If anyone was injured because a Microsoft controlled warship misbehaved, or maybe some sort of system in space stations, orbiters, space shuttles or hospitals injured or killed someone, well, the people injured weren't to blame. However, the armed forces, space or hospital agencies (and all those financial and banking agencies and power generating and distribution agencies) that chose to deploy and continue to use Microsoft software for anything mission critical are certainly to blame.

They should have patched.

They should have bit the bullet and spent the millions necessary to upgrade to the most current version (XP), and then they should have patched, once, twice, and three times. There would still be holes in there, but they'd not have fallen to Zotob (if they were still at W2K) or any of the various XP remote root attacks.

They could also have switched to Linux. I think that there's a lot of value in Linux for common office workers. They won't get windows viruses, they probably won't get any Linux remote compromises (since they're desktop users and most remote compromises are to commonly run daemons or to web based applications, which regular desktop users just don't run, and even if they got compromised, most compromises on web programs can't promote themselves to root, so they're limited to web page defacements which are embarrassing [to professional linux administrators] but probably unnoticed among regular users, if they even run web servers]).

There's a lot of value in Linux for server applications too, but those need to be locked down more seriously than do desktop systems. Although, generally, they're far less insecure than comparable windows systems. But this isn't an anti-windows rant. It's more a rant against unthinking windows administrators who aren't paranoid about their systems. Any administrator should always be paranoid. But windows administrators should be certified insanely paranoid. They'll get cracked anyway, but at least they'll do their best. And they'll get cracked less often. The amateurs who let Zotob into their systems should be fired and then shot as a favor to the gene pool.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Chikka on gaim needs gaim-devel

There's been a Chikka plugin for Gaim for a while now. I got it to work some time ago, then reinstalled linux and never found the energy or need to get it to work again. It's pretty easy, but I got sidetracked by a desire to make it work with source built gaim rather than using the gaim that already came with my distribution.

I decided to look at it again from the standpoint of just getting it working instead of trying to make it smarter (so that it could detect where gaim was installed if it wasn't in the standard places, etc). When I last did that, I lost interest again since it didn't work.

Today I tried again and I realized that I probably needed to install gaim-devel to get chikka working. and after a:

urpmi gaim-devel

and a simple ./configure;make;make_install in both the chix and chix_gaim directories, i've got chikka functionality in gaim. Now, I don't think it's working yet. I can go online in chikka and i see when other people are online (they just received or sent a chikka message), but messages i send don't seem to be working. I'll need to look at this again some more. I'll probably get it working tonight.

anyway, installing chikka does need gaim-devel. Without it, i couldn't even get gaim to notice that it was possible to connect to the chikka network, or that chikka even existed.

Saturday, August 06, 2005

Incredible Speed with Destiny Cable Internet

I was testing downloads overnight and I was getting speeds in the range of 200+ kBytes per sec, which is around 1.5mbps. I didn't think that was possible since I thought the modems themselves were capped at some level (even if destiny internet doesn't have a network appliance doing bandwidth capping per individual user). But I guess the modems aren't capped. I think I did hear mention of 1.5mbps being the physical limit though. Maybe the modems aren't capable of any more than that. But I'm going to test some more to see what the real limits are :-).

Boy, this is great.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Destiny Cable Internet

I need Internet access at home since, as a consultant, I often work offsite and while the QSR offices are close enough to walk, sometimes I just need to work past midnight or on weekends. I can still get to QSR on weekends, but it's just nice to be able to work from home.

I considered DSL (mainly, PLDT MyDSL), but i decided on Destiny Cable Internet due to price and the fact that PLDT MyDSL is capped at 384kbps while Destiny has no caps. Of course it's cable though, so the bandwidth is shared. Destiny just doesn't do any bandwidth capping at all. The management thinks that the thing to do is just to provide the bandwidth (their bandwidth is greater than they need,that is, they buy more bandwidth than actually distribute). I like that attitude, even though it might be better for me (or for the generic customer) to have a cap so that bandwidth hogs don't slow down everyone connected to the same node.

The service has been pretty good. I'm getting consistent downloads in the 400-600 kbps range. I haven't really been monitoring very much yet, or consistently enough. But I'm waiting to get to 1Mbps. QSR has destiny bandwidth too and once or twice I've seen downloads in the megabit range.

Of course, to people from the U.S. (all my brothers and my sister have been through here lately to be with my stepfather before his heart surgery) that's not much. 1.5mbps at home is pretty common there, if you're close enough to a telco switch. But 400-600kbps is great here. and i'm confident that Destiny will continue working on their line quality and will eventually keep me in the megabit range continuously.

Not that I can do all that much with that bandwidth. But it'd be great to have it when necessary.

Monday, August 01, 2005

at-spi really slows down evolution

I couldn't stand how slow evolution was anymore. I know that I'd fixed that problem long ago (with some sort of gconf-editor, ah, edit). I remember that it was some sort of accessibility thing.

Well, I reinstalled linux a while ago and I got evolution slowness again. I've finally found out what I need to do to remove the slowness.

urpme at-spi

Back when I was still installing mandriva, I thought I'd try out the accessibility stuff to see if mandriva was good enough to use for blind people. I still don't know since, well, I can't get gnopernicus working on this laptop. Maybe I can try it out on a desktop. If it's usable then, I may try to get my brother in law (great programmer, and blind) to try out linux.

For any blind programmer, I think the thing to do is to work in linux since the command line development environment and demand for command line developers is high in linux. In windows, well, he programs in VB, and he's pretty good at it, but he's always going to be hobbled by the
graphical emphasis of VB and the command line weakness of Windows. It's probably a great environment for blind computer *users*, but it's a terrible development environment for a blind programmer.