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March 2009

The Linux Nuclear Option   by Anthony Lawrence
- Let me just ask a question here. If this really could be equated to a "Nuclear Option", shouldn't there be mutual destruction? If OIN and the Linux Foundation did mount an all-out patent war against Microsoft, I can only see two possible outcomes: Microsoft destroys Linux or OIN destroys software patents.
I hate my job   by Anthony Lawrence
- My UPS driver got here early today. I was surprised because I expected that the big snowstorm would make him late, so I asked him about it. He laughed and said he'd be late enough getting other places. He said a lot of drivers weren't available today and that he was loaded up with other people's routes - he didn't expect to finish before midnight.
Blocking Unwanted Visitors   by Anthony Lawrence
- I don't really get too upset by that. I know that people around the world do that, sometimes to steal content but sometimes just so they can have a local cache. Sometimes it may be a previously unknown search engine collecting information. That's fine.. except..
Goal Seeking   by Anthony Lawrence
- A Twitter re-tweet by BrettLegree led me to Mark Hayward's "How to Achieve Your Goals Through Reverse Engineering". Basically he points out that if you want to get to point A, it's important to list out the steps required for you to get there. In Mark's case, he wanted to have his own Bed and Breakfast business in the Caribbean and got there after over ten years of struggling toward that goal. He suggests that identifying the sub-goals necessary to reach the main goal is critical to ultimate success. I certainly agree with that.
Not enough innovation?   by Anthony Lawrence
- Microsoft, having worked very hard to destroy any and all competition, with a long history of "borrowing", is now whining that there might not be enough innovation in tech? Wow. Let's see: you build a dam and steal almost all the water, and then complain that not enough food is being grown? Pretty close?
Zombie SCO   by Anthony Lawrence
- As much as I hate to say anything in support of SCO, it was a bit surprising that the court had ruled that they didn't. At the time this stuff all happened, it certainly looked like SCO had bought Unix. Certainly they acted like they bought it, and I don't recall anyone, Novell or otherwise, ever contesting that.
Wolfram Alpha - Incredible!   by Anthony Lawrence
- Someday search will understand what you want, what answers it actually has, and the relationship between the two. We're not talking about "find me stuff about fixing a forgotten password". That's easy for Google to find. It's not so easy for Google to answer factual questions, but Stephen Wolfram says his software will be able to do just that.
Laid off - so now what?   by Anthony Lawrence
- You've been laid off. Your company has downsized, smart-sized , right-sized, reorganized, had a workforce reduction, been reengineered, restructured. You've been pink-slipped, let go, eliminated, fired.. whatever, it's Monday morning and you've got no place to go. Now what?
Choosing your perfect Operating System   by Anthony Lawrence
- Are you extremely good looking and almost unbelievably cool? Good, I am also. People like us should use Macs, and I don't mean iMacs or iBooks. A Macbook is the minimum computer anyone of our status should consider, and really we deserve a MacBook Pro or MacBook Air.
Too big to fail? Why do we allow that?   by Anthony Lawrence
- We don't allow monopolies because of the potential for harm. Why should we allow ANY business to get so big that it can harm all of us? If a business needs monopoly status (as we once thought the phone company needed), we control and regulate it. Otherwise, we break it up. We do this to protect consumers and to encourage competition.
Ancient Pick on Ancient SCO   by Anthony Lawrence
- Yesterday I visited a company running a Pick MRP app under a SCO 5.0.2 system, For those of you unfamiliar with SCO, that makes it circa 1995. I almost turned them down flat just for that reason: this stuff is ancient, and it can be difficult and quite scary to work on.
That disgusting, difficult, awful command line!   by Anthony Lawrence
- What is behind all the fear and loathing of the command line? Look at some of the phrases used in this recent "The command-line phrasebook" post at Tuxradar:
Why not just turn it off?   by Anthony Lawrence
- Silly me. I login to my hosted webserver through ssh to edit pages and all that fun stuff. Of course I have that locked down: only one user is listed in AllowUsers and that user has to use public key authentication (see SSH passphrases and keys). That doesn't stop people from trying to login; it just prevents them from being able to login without knowing a lot more than most script-kiddie hackers know.
Spoiled Brat Printers   by Anthony Lawrence
- There are over 240 posts here about printing. When I think back over more than a quarter century of computer support, a lot of what I remember is printer problems. My wife's most common computer complaint from her XP machine? Her printer isn't working or is printing too small, too big..
I'm seeing red and spitting blood   by Anthony Lawrence
- I'm angry. REALLY angry. I saw the news this morning about AIG getting ready to pay out $100 million in bonuses and I am seeing red. Yes, I understand they have contracts that require this. That doesn't make me any less angry.
Phone revolution   by Anthony Lawrence
- The feature that attracts me the most is the "one number for all phones". That one number can ring my home phone and my cell phone. If I happen to be temporarily somewhere ese, I'll be able to add that phone to the list also. Not only that, but I can say that only certain callers will cause certain phones to ring.
I hate Windows   by Anthony Lawrence
- Yesterday I got called to a neighbor's house because his Vista machine had been infected with Antivirus 360. This is a nasty piece of malware that infects your browser and then informs you that every web page you visit is infected with a virus. When you hit Google, it rewrites the page to make it seem that Google itself has detected a problem on your system and that Google recommends you buy Antivirus 360 to fix the problem.
Tax those S.O.B. executives   by Anthony Lawrence
- I don't want to turn this into a political blog, but honestly right now this is most of what I'm thinking about. I saw this morning that a bill is planned to take back those bonuses through taxes and I think that's great - in fact, we ought to have a special "You Made This Mess Tax" that slams everyone involved - yeah, some people who are relatively innocent would get hurt, but when you swim with sharks, sometimes you get bitten.
Switching to a Mac - not yet   by Anthony Lawrence
- Last night Quickbooks balked at emailing invoices. That's something that we do a lot more often than we used to. I still send copies by postal mail to be sure the invoices get there, but the email function is great. Unfortunately, Quickbooks now wants me to spend a few hundred dollars to upgrade if I want to keep that feature.
Time to pony up   by Anthony Lawrence
- In 1970, I was 22 years old. The top tax bracket in the U.S. was 71.5% for net income over $200,000. That had been 77% in the previous year. Unions were still strong, and there were still many single wage earner households. Almost no one had medical insurance, but medical care wasn't horribly expensive. I had health insurance through my work - it was an insignificant expense.
Electronic Representation   by Anthony Lawrence
- Right now, a lot of Americans are very angry with our elected representatives. The AIG scandal, the appointments of tax delinquents - it really doesn't matter if you are a life long Democrat or a life long Republican, it doesn't matter if you like Obama's Presidency or not: there's a lot to be angry about and we feel powerless.
Dying newspapers - so bleeping what?   by Anthony Lawrence
- The idea that newspapers and news magazines don't matter is sacrilege to some. "You'll be sorry when we're gone", they say. They warn us that without them, "real news" won't be available. Scary, isn't it? Maybe we all better re-up our subscriptions..
Building Google Traffic   by Anthony Lawrence
- Honestly there's nothing to say here that I didn't already say in the book, but I went over it anyway. Google doesn't love her because she has a paltry 40 pages that haven't changed in four years and to top it off, some of those pages are inaccessible from broken links. It's old, stale and broken: Google isn't going to give that any love or respect.
These are a few of my favorite things   by Anthony Lawrence
- I have to admit, I didn't warm to Linux right away. Early releases were fairly sad and exhibited a lot of problems. They were also missing important things like "sar".
Breaking out of a script   by Anthony Lawrence
- Sometimes you just want to bail out of a script when something happens. Let's say we're testing the output of some "chk" command and want to exit if it says "No". That's easy: we just add "chk | grep -q "No" && exit 0" to our script. If that "chk" spits out "No", our script is done right then and there - no more of it will be executed.
Rotten Apples?   by Anthony Lawrence
- It's almost enough to make me a Luddite. Apple, having apparently learned nothing from last years embarrassment, gets hacked in seconds at Pwn2Own. There's a new drive-by Firefox exploit that won't be fixed until next week. We can't even trust our routers anymore because people are hacking them.
Reinvest in your business   by Anthony Lawrence
- Whether it is advertising, tools, equipment or further education, there are always things your business needs. You constantly need to advance, to improve: your competition isn't letting its business go neglected, is it?
The importance of good grammar   by Anthony Lawrence
- I'm definitely a broken record when it comes to my giving advice about improving website traffic. What I keep saying over and over is "Write, write, write". That's because if you aren't writing regularly, both Google and your readers will forget about you.
Billion dollar opportunity? Phooey!   by Anthony Lawrence
- Selling expertise is an honest living. You aren't enriching yourself by abusing others. With the incredible communications the Internet has brought us, small groups and even individuals can compete with giant corporations - this is a very different world.
Don't trust Web Designers   by Anthony Lawrence
- Web designers - I'd like to take some of these people and whack 'em one upside the head.. I can't tell you how many times one of these firms has screwed up one of my customers by not having any technical understanding of what the heck they are doing.
Always try a cold boot   by Anthony Lawrence
- His switch had "gone nuts" - he had replaced it but the server still couldn't be reached. I asked him if there were lights at the port where the server was plugged in; there were not. He moved the wire directly to the router; still no response. The server was coming back up by now but was hanging trying to reach his NTP server - it wasn't looking good.
Why I love Unix   by Anthony Lawrence
- I was first exposed to Unix on a Radio Shack Model 16. It was running Tandy Xenix and up to that minute I hadn't even read anything about Unix. That may sound odd, but this was almost thirty years ago: Internet access was rare and just starting to be available to people not in government or academia and computer books and magazines were equally scant. The computer revolution was just starting and so was my Unix education.
WHY I hate Windows   by Anthony Lawrence
- I'm writing this as a follow up to my recent "I hate Windows" post. That post attracted some attention from The Linux Hater's Blog and brought a few of their readers here. Of course lovers of that blog wouldn't find much to like here.. nevertheless I'm going to explain exactly why I hate Windows.
Cheap LED Bulbs   by Anthony Lawrence
- We found 1.5 watt LED bulbs at Walmart for $5.78. These state that they "replace 40 watt" , are "warm white light" and claim a 30,000 hour lifetime (though they are only warrantied for two years). I was looking to use these inside. I put them in a lamp near my wife's computer. This wasn't done without some convincing: my wife is very fussy about her lighting. However, like me she's cheap, so the prospect of replacing 40 watt bulbs with 1.5 watts attracted her enough to at least give it a trial run.
Multiple IP addresses on one interface   by Anthony Lawrence
- Honestly, I feel sorry for it. There it is, the lone Windows machine on the network, surrounded by Linux and Mac boxes. It must get lonely. Oh, once in a great while I'll fire up Windows in a VM on the Mac, but that's rare and usually only lasts a few minutes at best. How would you feel if you were a little XP box, already burdened by a crappy OS and bloated anti-virus software and you were surrounded by happy, carefree Linux and Mac machines that get to do all the fun stuff? Maybe you'd "accidentally" forget a few IP addresses now and then, wouldn't you? Maybe sometimes you'd just feel so sorry for yourself that you'd dive down into your anti-virus software and just stay there, refusing to do anything else.
Xen vs. Citrix Xenserver?   by Anthony Lawrence
- Citrix Xenserver requires a 64 bit machine AND a Windows box to manage it. You can download the free open source Xen from The University of Cambridge and run it on 32 bit hardware and without a Windows client to manage it. So why should you care about Citrix Xeniserver?