Tag Archives: tech

I hate hardware

My main colocated server has started acting flakey. It can’t seem to keep up with the load.

My other server (the one you’re looking at) has started making very alarming noises that sound rather like fans getting off kilter.

I know I need to replace both of them, but don’t happen to have that kind of money laying about right now. I suppose I could move all my sites to some hosted solution somewhere, and pay a little less, but I really like the convenience of having a coloc’ed box, and having full administrative control of it.

Yes, I know, some of you are going to recommend some kind of VPS thingy, and I probably should do that. It’s just such an enormous hassle migrating from one server to another. I tend to wait for catastrophic failure to do that. Perhaps I’ll get that opportunity again.

NPR and Open Source

Wow. The editor of Radio Open Source responded to my post about his show. That’s very cool.

And his explanation of the name actually makes a lot of sense to me. I’ve often asked the question “what would the Open Source model look like when applied to X”, where X is politics, education, community, architecture, and so on.

That puts a whole new spin on your show, Mr. Greeley, and I’ll listen to it in that light. Thanks for the clarification. And, yeah, I am interested in helping out.


I recently acquired a Rhinoskin case for my Palm TX. While in Austin it dropped and bounced around a bit on the pavement. The SD card popped out, and required the use of Ken’s flashlight to locate it. Other than that, there was no damage done to the Palm device. There is a teensy scratch/ding on the bottom of the aluminum case.

So … if you’re looking for a Palm case, this is one that I’d highly recommend.

Ajaxy goodness

At OLF, I got an Ajax book in the raffle. After spending about 20 minutes in the first chapter, I had a functioning Ajaxified example page. The concepts are simple. The implementation is simple. The results are very handy.

So I’m left wondering about what I’ve heard about Ajax – that it’s very impressive, but difficult to implement. Ajax appears to be yet another tech thing that I avoided for a while because I thought it would be hard, which then turned out to be almost disappointingly easy.

Does this mean that it’s just a fantastic book? (Head Rush Ajax, by the way.) Does it mean that I’m just brilliant? I dunno. What I do know is that it means that Ajax techniques will start appearing more and more often in stuff that I write, because, as far as I can tell, it’s really not that hard. And with all of the modules/libraries/platforms/factories that are cropping up to make it even easier, it seems to me that there’s really no reason *not* to do it.


This weekend several of us from Asbury went up to Ohio LinuxFest. The conference is another post.

On the trip up, there were two cars, and we had an iVAN – that is, an intra-Vehicular Area Network. In one car, we had an inverter, and a wireless access point. I was in the other car, running the IRC server. I also was streaming Old Time Radio podcasts from iTunes, which they were playing on the stereo in the other car.

Oh, yeah, and we had CB radios, too.

We got a pretty strong link between the cars when we were 2 or 3 car lengths away, but beyond that, it broke down pretty fast.

Mostly, though, it was cool just to do it. And very geeky. 🙂

Conference TShirts

The great conference TShirt is one that, if you have to explain what it means to someone who wasn’t there, takes 30 minutes, and leaves both of you feeling like it wasn’t worth the effort.

My canonical example of this is the shirt from the first YAPC I attended. It proclaims:

YAPC 19100
Laziness, Impatience, Hubris
Pick Any Three

This has embedded in it at least 5 inside jokes/references. Or 6, depending on how you count.

Most conferences I go to try to make shirts that live up to this level of cleverness.

A good bar is like good software: Open

Trillions and Trillions Served

But I don’t think folks often live up to the YAPC shirt.

I was thinking about this while doing laundry and I came across the “hAPI hAPI joy joy” shirt from the Yahoo booth at OSCon.


As many of you may have already heard, Rob Levin (lilo), the head admin of the Freenode IRC network, was killed by a hit-and-run driver while he was riding his bike today.

Although I had spoken with him a number of times on the phone, as well as dozens of times online, I had never met him personally.

Rob is survived by his wife Debbie, and son Benjamin. You can read a more complete announcement here, if you wish.

I don’t know what I wanted to write. One never has any words for the passing of someone one knew, however briefly. Debbie, and Benjamin, our prayers and thoughts are with you. May the peace of God be with you. Rob will be remembered as someone who made community and communication possible.

Perl stuff in svn

For many years, I worked on Perl date/time modules. Calendars – non-Gregorian ones, that is – held a great deal of fascination for me, and I wrote Perl modules for many of them. They’re all on CPAN, along with assorted other stuff.

Then, due to a variety of factors, mostly involving Apache, I gradually lost interest in writing Perl calendar modules, and those modules languished. At the same time, the great Perl DateTime module project started (at least in part because of my work, but mostly due to Dave Rolsky) and most of my modules became obsolete, and replaced with the better implementations that came out of that project.

I just rediscovered all my Perl date/time modules in cvs, as I was moving all CVS stuff over to svn. here they are, if anyone cares.

There’s some other stuff in there too, if anyone wants to poke around. If you want to submit patches, please feel free to do so. If you want to fork any of these projects and do something else with them, please feel free to do that, too, although I’d kinda like to know about it if they amount to anything useful.

Everything that you can get to in the public/ directory should be considered to be under ASL2 (Apache Software License version 2.0) unless explicitly stated otherwise.


While I was at ApacheCon, I had an interesting conversation with a newspaper reporter. Presumably, he was interviewing me. He had been assigned this Free Open Source Software thing, and was very new to the concept, and trying to understand what it was about.

We were talking about the fact that FOSS allows countries like Sri Lanka to build software businesses, with very little startup cost, that could legitimately compete with Microsoft, at least for business outside of the USA. It also allows these non-USA countries to be, as much as possible, independent from the USA for their information/computer/software industry.

I talked about how, in particular, I’m very interested in African nations being able to stop sending millions of dollars a year to Redmond, Washington, but be able to keep those dollars in their own country, paying local programmers, investing in local businesses.

It was at this point that the reporter observed that I was being very unpatriotic in promoting FOSS to developing nations.

This was a very interesting notion to me. I wonder if it’s accurate. However, I don’t think so. I think that being monopolistic, as a nation, is unpatriotic. Allowing the rest of the world to suffer, economically, in order to promote our own economy, is unpatriotic. Sure, it may seem patriotic, but that’s a grossly short-term vision. Because at some point, we kill our markets by forcing them into poverty. And, too, pushing other nations into poverty has unintended side effects. Like, for example, we end up exporting all of our jobs, rather than all of our products, because labor is so much cheaper elsewhere.

It turns out that if we make everyone wealthier, we make everyone wealthier. But if we make everyone poorer, we make everyone poorer. The spiral goes both ways, and our foreign policy had more influence on the direction than we like to think about. If we continue to force the spiral to go down, rather than up, at some point, some other nation (like, say, China) is going to decide that enough is enough, and that we’re far too irresponsible to be allowed to have that kind of power anymore.

So, no, I don’t think I’m being unpatriotic. I think I’m thinking globally, and long term, and that folks who try to frame FOSS as being communist and unpatriotic are being myopic.

More than once in the last two weeks, I have heard someone quip as follows:

When we were kids, our mothers said “eat your vegetables, some kid in China would love to have them.” Now we say to our kids “do your homework, some kid in India wants your job.”

I find this us-vs-them mentality to be grossly short-sighted. Until we can learn to cooperate on a global scale, we’re dooming our kids to a future of economic downturns and wars.