Tag Archives: tech


As usual, the week was suddenly over almost before I had a chance to catch my breath. It was quite the whirlwind, and I didn’t really get out of the hotel much, except for a few times to grab something to eat.

I got interviews with several interesting people, for FeatherCast, but so far have only had a chance to edit and post one of them. Ok, really, David did most of the work. I still have the raw audio for several of the others.

I talked with Sanjiva about ApacheCon Asia. I talked with Bill Rowe about Apache on Windows. Justin about being treasurer. Ken about ApacheCon in general. Greg about being chairman, and what this whole ASF thing is about.

And I got to talk at great length with Brian, which I’m writing another post about. So be patient.

All these, and more, will appear on FeatherCast over the next few months, as I have time to edit.

Meanwhile, I’ve spent entirely too much time trying to get my mail client working. Apparently there’s just something in 10.4.7 that breaks Thunderbird, and I’ll have to use something else while I wait for somebody to fix that.

Or maybe it’s just me.

10.4.7 and Thunderbird

Some time during the conference, the 10.4.7 update got installed on my Powerbook, and Thunderbird hasn’t worked correctly since then. It’s a little hard to describe what happens. Some menus render as plain text instead of formatted menus. Some things don’t highlight when selected. But, most importantly, it refuses to make a connection to my mail server to retrieve my mail, which is the bit I actually care most about.

So, if you’ve emailed me in the last few days, and I haven’t responded, well, it’s because my mail client isn’t really working, and I’ve been trying to make do with elm and pine.

Easy to exit?

A lot of interesting ideas were brought up in the closing keynote at the CCCU conference, which was given by Wes Baker, from Cedarville.

One of the ideas that he discussed was the notion of self-selection of content, and how this affects our opinions, ideas, etc.

Technologies are encouraging group polarization, because it’s so easy to disconnect from people that you disagree with and reconnect with people who think exactly like you do. That is, because we self-select what information we are exposed to, it is very easy to ensure that we are never exposed to information that we don’t like.

Online communities, as Wes put it, are very easy to exit. This is certainly true – you simply stop going to that forum, IRC channel, whatever, and those people, many of whom only know you by a handle, have no way to contact you.

However, this probably assumes that online communites are necessarily less binding (emotionally, socially, etc) than f2f communities. I think that, for the most part, for most people, that’s probably true. However, I have some folks that I consider good friends, who I met online, and with whom I carry out the majority of our relationship online. Most of them, I have eventually met in person, but not all of them. And in that regard, I’m quite the exception, simply because I travel so much.

Wes also brought up the cellphone issue that we’ve been talking about since college. When we were in college, we had the pay phone on the hall, and everybody knew what was going on in everybody else’s life, based on who’s calling them, and what they yelled on the phone. These days, not only does everybody have a cell phone, but the fire warden decided that all the room doors must be closed at all times, so nobody is connecting to each others’ lives via simple osmosis. It’s now harder work to make these connections. Are they doing that hard work? Yeah, probably. I wouldn’t know. I’m not in the dorm anymore.

Whenever the “older generation” attempts to understand the “younger generation”, they are forced to make generalizations. These generalizations, while they tend to be false in the case of many/most individuals, are nevertheless very useful to analyze the group as a whole. I don’t feel that most of the generalizations about “generation X” apply to me, but I see that they are fairly useful when dealing with us as a whole. It’s going to be interesting to see how these analyses play out in the long run. It’ll also be interesting to see what the generation after the next gets called, if folks can’t come up with anything smarter than “generation Y” and “generation Z” to call the next two.


Someone at the conference showed me his ATR-97. I’m very impressed with how well it works, and it seems especially good for interview type situations, where you can place it on the table between the two people. I might have to get one of these before ApacheCon, so that I can do more interviews for FeatherCast.

Power outages

I’m getting frequent power outages – at least once a day. I just had another one about 5 minutes ago. This has been going on for about a month now. They last just a few seconds, which is enough to make my clocks blink and my servers angry. I’ve now got everything on UPS (the servers, that is) so they didn’t go out this time.

Of course, my sister gets several hours of electricity on a good day, so I suppose I shouldn’t be complaining.


This evening I settled on my deck to do some work, and couldn’t “see” the wireless network at all. I know that it has worked out here in the past, and the only thing that changed is that now all my networking stuff is in a steel rack, which, I suppose, is acting like a Faraday cage. So, I went over to CompUSA and acquired a 7DBi antenna to hang off of my AP, in the hopes that it would greatly enhance my signal.

Well, it’s better, certainly, in the sense that I can connect now, and I couldn’t before. But I still am only getting only a signal of 30 out here, whereas inside the back door I get 40. So it’s rather disappointing. I don’t know what is blocking the signal, and I can’t bring the antenna much farther out without spending a LOT of money on cables. And I don’t know how much signal loss there is if I just hack something together with coax. Perhaps I should give it a try and see what happens.

Buzzword Bingo

Reminded by someone on #apache, I dug up my Buzzword Bingo script which, amazingly, still works. File timestamps indicate that I last touched it in July 1998, and that the stuff was written in 1996.

Yes, I know, the “add a word” feature is disabled, due to spammers flooding it with stuff, way back then. Perhaps I should re-enable it and gather buzz-words for the new century.


Rob, aka lilo, is trying to get spinhome off of the ground, so that he can take Freenode on the road to raise awareness, and raise some bucks. For those of you who use Freenode, you probably know just how vital a resource it is to all of us. Those of you who don’t use Freenode, but use free software of some kind, go read what he’s doing anyways. Freenode is how many of us communicate, and it’s “free”, but that doesn’t mean it’s cheap.