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July 2004

Importance of man pages and info docs 
- I'm always warning people that you need to read the man pages for even the most common commands when you work on more than one Unixish system, but I often forget that on Linux, you definitely need to read the "info" docs too.
 
Unix is now officially dead 
- Microsofts early search engine test didn't know what 'Unix' is and had no results to show. That figures, doesn't it?
 
Annoying Email Harvesters 
- Can sprinkling fake addresses in web pages help stop email spammers? I'm not sure about that.
 
Home Computer Security 
- Security is often more of a user education problem than a lousy coding problem, though combining both is too common.
 
"No programming"  
- Whenever I see 'No programming', I have to smile. Of course it's 'programming' - and it still requires skill!
 
Multi-user Linux 
- Many, many folks ran 30-40 users on 80386 Xenix machines! Ok, yeah, those were dumb terminals. So? Use LTSP and run dozens of users off one box. I have no idea how many you could run, but I doubt even 100 is at all impossible.
 
RSS without a Reader 
- Integrating RSS into browser is becoming commonplace, so why invent yet another RSS reader now?
 
BIOS Passwords 
- When Adrianne hits the lottery and doesn't bother to leave you the passwords, what are you going to do?
 
Remember C2? 
- I happened to Stumble across the reference link above. Looks to me like this is trying to reinvent C2. That set me thinking about what ever happened to all the C2 buzz: a few years back, everyone was talking about C2 security, but now, a Google search turns up only mostly very old links. Why? Well, for one thing C2 security has absolutely nothing to do with the computer security most of us worry about today. Windows NT 3.51 is 'C2 Secure' :
 
POPFile -Multi-Platform Bayesian Pop Mail Scanner in Perl 
- Blog # 971 POPFile - Multi-Platform Bayesian Pop MailScanner in Perl
 
Why is SCO OSR5 Unix so ancient? 
- When you don't move with the times, the times do keep on moving anyway and where does that leave you, SCO Unix?
 
Get some free stuff from Novell.  by Drag Sidious
- Novell is offering a free Linux Technical Resource Kit.

It's basicly a evaluation copy of all their latest and greatest stuff for building a corporate office type Linux-based networking domain. Or at least something like that.

 
Windows vs. Linux/Unix 
- I have my own (highly prejudiced) views of Linux/Unix vs. Windows.
 
Fixing 404 errors 
- A 404 error is what you get when your browser tries to access a page that doesn't exist. Maybe you mistyped something, or the link you followed was mistyped by someone else, or maybe the webmaster moved it or renamed it or just deleted it. It's annoying for you, and sites that care about your visit try to avoid it happening.
 
Unix vs. PC again 
- Though all of us here ARE smarter than PC users, right? And taller. Not to mention better looking, more successful with the opposite sex, and all that. Those loser PC users.. ooops: I'm using a PC to write this! I can feel IQ points dropping with every keystroke..
 
What is Tabbed Browsing ? 
- I admit that I was a little slow to appreciate the attraction of tabbed browsers. At least part of the reason for that is that Mozilla pages don't explain tabs very well - there seems to be an implicit assumption that you'll just immediately understand both how to use tabs and why you'd want to.
 
Patent Busting  by BigDumbDinosaur
- It is most annoying when a company becomes successful because of the lack of patents but then starts suing other people
 
Init scripts, ELF part of SCO lawsuit 
- Apparently SCO has added Sys V style init scripts and the ELF executable format to its list of misused code in the IBM lawsuit. If that were to hold up, it's pretty nasty. Even the most non-techy judge or jury would agree that Linux certainly does use ELF and Sys V init.

But it always did.
 
W3C Validation 
- HTML validation really is important, but it can be hard to get people to understand why.
 
How do you protect yourself against lightning?  by Bruce Garlock
- Although our hit was not that bad, mostly NICS, and some serial interface cards for our dot matrix printers.
 
Protecting from Lightning  by BigDumbDinosaur
- Grounding is everything, especially if building B gets its power from building A. Also, a high quality UPS (not the door stops made by APC!) is essential to protect hardware from power line hits. In areas frequented by lightning strikes, equipment should be powered by a ferroresonant UPS, which has far greater capacity to withstand strikes than a line interactive or double conversion unit
 
Comments on Uninterruptible Power Supplies  by BigDumbDinosaur
- My recommendations are based on a lot of real-world experience with manufacturing environments, which tend to pose the greatest difficulties in providing computer-grade electrical power.
 
Unixware 7.1.4 Review 
- It is rather maddening that a company who apparently is trying to kill you will use your products to its advantage.
 
Why I have to use Unix: scanning name tag badges 
- Use Unix to scan name tag badges with a quick and dirty Perl script. You could add more features, like storing the full date and time instead of just a "1" and so on.
 
SCO gets beaten in Daimler case? 
- SCO gets beaten in Daimler case? I suppose it can't be bad news (well, unless you are Darl McBride - I don't think he reads this site), but I'm never sure it deserves the loud cheering that Groklaw seems to be giving it.
 
Consultants - update your listing 
- Consultants - update your listing. For now, updating your listing kicks you closer to the top of the list - which isn't a bad thing either, though it won't help you to update every month; the sort is based on the year only.
 
"Alternative" Browsers  by BigDumbDinosaur
- Actually, IE is a frequent target because it is easily attacked. Yet the press just can't seem to understand that aspect of IE -- or Windows, for that matter.
 
So weary of Microsoft junk 
- I am so sick of Microsoft products. Another call this morning from someone with a non-functional Outlook. Went through all the typical stuff - "can you browse the internet?" "is anyone else having trouble with mail?" "have you tried disabling your virus software?" "Have you rebooted?" "How big is the Inbox?" but no joy. Looks like an on-site visit, as he doesn't WANT to use Mozilla, but I am very close to saying "Tough - use it or go call someone who cares that you want to run a fragile piece of insecure junk". Really - I'm very close to snarling.
 
I do not like spammers 
- Recently, someone made the effort to harvest email addresses from the consultants list for the purpose of spamming consultants.
 
When Do I Need To Hire A Business Plan Consultant  by Howard Schwartz
- When Do I Need To Hire A Business Plan Consultant for my startup or expansion?
 
Sales The Old Fashioned Way  by BigDumbDinosaur
- Recently, a salesman for a certain software company whose target market is Linux administration contacted me to pitch his wonderful product.
 
I_WANT_A_BROKEN_PS 
- It's fun to play with the various settings. I notice that "sco" is one of the options, though I'm not sure what effects that has. Perhaps it causes "ps" to spawn a lawsuit?
 
FAT Patent Threat to Linux? 
- FAT Patent Threat to Linux? I certainly agree that PubPat and EFF need to keep on challenging Microsoft and everyone else who is trying to lock up the world with patents. They need to keep doing that just on principle, if for nothing else.
 
Opinions vs. Hopes 
- Opinions vs. Hopes: What those who get so angry about this fail to understand is the difference between hope and opinion. I HOPE SCO loses. I'm not qualified to have an opinion on whether or not they will.
 
Unknown email user notification 
- Don't help spammers by replying to misaddressed email or rejections for other reasons.
 
Setting up MOXAMP  by Bruce Garlock
- Time to do some work on my powerbook, instead of playing all the time: I came across this link, which details some instructions on how to setup a "LAMP" environment (without the L) in MAC OS X, or "MOXAMP"
 
The Tangled Mess That Is UNIX's Family Tree  by BigDumbDinosaur
- UNIX's origins can be traced back to at least 1969. I've known that UNIX's geneology is a complex one, but I never appreciated how complex it was until this SCO lawsuit mess started.
 
United Linux 
- To refresh your memory, SCO, Suse, Conectiva and Turbolinux were supposed to produce a standardized Linux. I never did understand how the little guys were supposed to distinguish themselves with that, but it all seemingly fell apart when SCO stopped selling Linux as a result of that pesky lawsuit.
 
XPDF Author refuses to support SCO customers 
- XPDF Author refuses to support SCO customers. That's wrong, but understandable. I'm not sure I wouldn't do the same
 
Mounting Xenix Filesystem with Linux 
- Well, mounting SCO filesystems under Linux isn't easy. The first impediment is that Linux (other than LVM) thinks filesystems and disk partitions belong together and SCO usually divides one disk partition into multiple filesystems. If the target box is still running, and you can still put hardware in it, you can transfer a SCO filesystem to a whole disk easily. Otherwise, it's not so easy. The Linux kernel support was apparently intended for floppy disks anyway.
 
Windows Isn't Ready For The Desktop  by BigDumbDinosaur
- Windows Isn't Ready For The Desktop - no one who really *uses* a computer could possibly enjoy using Windows
 
Is this a SCO site or a Linux site? 
- No. Not a SCO site, not a Linux site, not a Mac site. We definitely have a Unixy slant, but nothing specific.
 
Haskell 
- Another programming language: The Haskell Programming Language. As with every other programming language, the proponents explain that other programming languages are difficult and hard to use, but but this one, yes, this one is different! And of course it really isn't.
 
Bastille 
- Bastille is a security hardening script - it asks questions like 'Would you like to disable SUID status for at?' and you answer.
 
diction 
- Did sixth grade teach you anything? Style and diction analyze your writing, and style includes an estimate of a matching grade level in its output. While that is often used to poke fun at the semi-literate, careful authors sometimes use it the other way:
 
NoteEdit 
- NoteEdit for Linux. I don't grok music. Never have understood it, in spite of being fascinated by it from an early age. I've tried to learn to play piano more than once, and failed miserably every time.
 
geekword 
- In earlier days of the internet, you'd sometimes see a signature that looked like this: -----BEGIN GEEK CODE BLOCK----- Version: 3.1 GIT' followed by more gibberish. Not very many people do this anymore.
 
autolog 
- Idleout inactive users. Commonly this is for security and for getting people the heck off before backups. It's actually a much more complicated task than you might think: truly determing inactivity is pretty tricky.
 
Dtrace 
- Sun's (Solaris) Dynamic Tracing Tool. If you just look at this quickly, you'll think 'Oh, like lsof'. Well, yeah, 'like' lsof, but much more.
 
spool 
- Simultaneous Peripheral Operation On-Line. Though it probably originated in the thought that you have a 'spool' of magnetic tape. Nowadays we don't use the term much except in the context of printing: we 'spool' a print job to disk and it goes to the printer
 
Autoconf 
- Gnu autoconf (http://www.gnu.org/software/autoconf/) attempts to create a makefile that makes sense for the OS you are compiling a software package on. If the code you downloaded has a "configure" script, "autoconf" probably created it.
 
How "ps" works and why 
- The simple "ps" command has generated a fair amount of confusion. Almost every Unix variant does it slightly differently; flags have different meanings and column headers or position also differ. This wreaks havoc with cross-platform scripts and has also caused bitter comments now and then. As I explained at I_WANT_A_BROKEN_PS , I had the same misunderstandings. Albert Cahalan (author of the Linux procps package, which includes "ps") noticed a newsgroup thread where I had made such a comment, and took the time to reply to me.
 
Parallel printer cable length  by BigDumbDinosaur
- The docs for OS/2 stated that 6 feet was the maximum length the printer cable could be for a parallel port connection. So, I guess the OS has something to do with this spec? Limits to Parallel printer cable length. Given that reliable parallel port operation limits one to a cable length of no more than 15 feet, network print servers make a lot more sense.
 
How can i mount a ISO Image CD ? 
- You have an image of a CD or perhaps of a floppy disk. You may have downloaded it, or created it by reading a real device with "dd". Now you want to mount that image. You could write it back out to media and mount that, but that may not be convenient or even possible at the moment.
 
"label for" checkboxes and radio buttons 
- you can click on either the text or the checkbox itself
 
Basic DNS: PTR records and why you care 
- A PTR record is what lets someone do a "reverse" DNS lookup - that is, they have your IP address and want to know what your host/domain is. At any Unix/Linux command line, you can use "dig -x" to do a reverse lookup: