Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Google for My Domains 2

I signed up for Google Apps for My Domains a second time (for another domain). This time the process was different I think. Instead of waiting for (presumably) human review, it asked me to validate I owned the domain by adding a CNAME.

That was the second option and was easiest for me to do. The first option was to put a particular web page on the domain web site.

I've pointed the domain's MX records there and I'm now waiting for them to update in DNS.

I had immediate access to the domain manager panels at Google and was able to set up the login page, accounts, etc.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Upgrading Ubuntu to Edgy Eft

Approach with caution. Some folks are reporting problems upgrading from previous versions of Ubuntu, e.g., Dapper Drake, to Ubuntu 6.10 Edgy Eft. Others are reporting no problems.

Since Dapper Drake is Ubuntu 6.06 LTS (long term support), I will probably stay with it for a while on systems that I rely on.

I may experiment with Edgy Eft for fresh installs and systems that aren't critical.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Tuesday, October 24, 2006


Right now, the home of Fedora is fedoraproject.org, which is mainly a wiki.

Fedora Max Spevack Interview

I'm reading an interview on Slashdot with the project leader of Fedora, Max Spevack. Here are some interesting excerpts.

Red Hat retains legal liability for the Fedora Project. The Fedora Project is not a separate legal entity or organization. The Fedora Project receives a tremendous amount of resources (people, money, infrastructure, etc.) from Red Hat.

I'm really glad this question was asked, because it gives me a chance to try to bust the NUMBER ONE MYTH about Fedora -- that Fedora is "just a beta for RHEL" or that "Fedora only exists to make Red Hat money" or "Red Hat doesn't care about Fedora, it's just a dumping ground for half-tested code". I hear all of those things from time to time, and *none* of them are true.

Let's back up for a moment -- the Red Hat Linux/Fedora Core split took place in 2003. And while I wasn't at Red Hat during that time, I think it's fair to state that there were some unfortunate choices made internally about how Fedora was positioned, and because those statements were made with a Red Hat voice, it helped to create a very strong perception that Red Hat abandoned the community, and that Fedora wasn't "good" for anything, or was a rejected part of Red Hat. Many mistakes were made by Red Hat with regard to the "birth" of the Fedora Project -- there is absolutely no debating that.

I think there were some people within Red Hat who were afraid that the "admission" that Fedora was production-quality, or that Fedora was anything more than beta-quality, would cause difficulty for the people trying to sell RHEL. Three years later, and that perception is still very strong in certain places -- without fail there are a few comments about that in every Slashdot story that mentions Fedora.

And that's fine. Red Hat had a part in creating that perception, and so Red Hat will have to work particularly hard to undo it. We have been, and we continue to do so.

The real story of Fedora, of course, is entirely opposite from the "beta code only, not production worthy" stance.

Our mission statement is clear, and is one that I think any open-source developer would appreciate.

Fedora is about the rapid progress of Free and Open Source software.

That's it. We strive to produce a quality distribution of free software that is cutting-edge, pushes the envelope of new open source technology, and is also robust enough that it can be relied on for server or desktop use. One of the terms that I really like, and that I think we're doing better and better of making a reality is that of Fedora as an "open development lab". As a user, if your priorities are cutting-edge technology (without the nicks and cuts of a blade) and freedom, Fedora is a great disto to use.

The second half of the story, as it relates to Red Hat's desire to make a profit, is equally simple in my mind. Fedora is upstream of RHEL. Fedora is also upstream of various other derivative distributions.


So when someone says "Fedora is beta for RHEL" they are stating only a very small part of what Fedora is. Fedora is the best of what works today. RHEL is the best of what will work for the next seven years. And the users can decide what is best for their needs.

Saying that Fedora is the beta for RHEL, and that Fedora is *only* a beta for RHEL, is to take a purposefully narrow view on the truth. Fedora's upstream relationship to RHEL is simply one aspect of the Fedora Project, which stands on its own as a distribution.

I feel very strongly about this particular question, and I will state my opinion bluntly:

Anyone (Red Hat or non-Red Hat) who tells you that Fedora isn't suitable for a production server is wrong. If someone tells you that Fedora is "just a beta for RHEL", they too are wrong.

Either the person is insufficiently informed about what Fedora is (and it's our job within Fedora to do that), or the person is purposefully misrepresenting Fedora and neglecting to tell the whole story, in which case it's our job within Fedora to call them out.


Monday, October 23, 2006

Quote of the Day

I saw this in someone's signature on Slashdot:

There are 10 types of people in the world. Those who understand binary and those who do not.

Earthquake Shakes Telescopes

Astronomy magazine reports that the earthquakes in Hawaii shook the telescopes on Mauna Kea. I didn't even think of that!

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Fixing a RealOne Player Database

My RealOne player database is corrupt. Here is one site I found with instructions on blowing it away and rebuilding it.

Error Message:

RealOne has detected a corruption in the RealOne database and needs to restart.


The RealOne player maintains its own database regarding the songs on your PC. This database may, in some instances, become corrupt and require some repair.


According to Real, you can normally click the Fix It button to solve this problem. If, however, you receive this error message regularly, you may want to create a new database from scratch. To create a new database, close RealOne and open My Computer and navigate to the proper folder below:

Windows XP: C:\Documents And Settings\username\ApplicationData\Real\RealOne Player.
Windows NT: C:\Winnt\Profiles\username\Application Data\Real\RealOne Player
Windows 98/ME: C:\Program Files\Real\RealOne Player.

Replace username with your Windows username. You should see a folder labeled RealPlayerDB or DB. Rename this file RealPlayerDB1. Start RealOne and select Scan Disk For Media from the file menu to repopulate a new database.

To salvage your playlists, copy Playlist.cdx, Playlist.dbf, Playlist.fpt, Playtrax.cdx, and Playtrax.dbf from the RealOneDB1 folder to the newly created database folder.

For more information, see answer 3179 in the customer support FAQ area on real.com.

Monday, October 16, 2006


This article in Slashdot points to an interview with Chris Crawford about his new computer game/computer story telling development environment.
Chris now has a company (Storytron), a business model and a business plan, a creative team, and three key pieces of software in varying stages of development. There is also, of course, a web site (www.storytron.com) where anyone interested in interactive storytelling can join the forum, read the tutorials, and download the current version of the Storyworld Authoring Tool.
As I neared the end of this article, it started looking like it could be more than a way to write new computer games. The business about errors not crashing the program but being handled in an interesting way, and the statistical approach to testing that's built in both caught my eye. This looks interesting on the surface. Similar things have probably been done elsewhere, but this may have some potential.


LWN has a nice article on OpenID.

Here's the main OpenID site.

Technology Epiphany!

Sometime in the past 24 hours (maybe last night or yesterday some time) I had an epiphany about one of the next big things in technology and maybe computers. Of course I can't remember what it was now. Maybe it will come back to me…

World On-line Web

Wow! Since I'm overusing that word in this blog (I just realized) it also occurred to me that it would have been nicer had the web been called the World On-line Web. Then URL's would all have looked like wow.google.com which is easier to read, write and say!

Animating Facial Expression

Wow! Mike sends along this interesting story about capturing facial expressions in computer animation.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Royal Society Journals from 1665 Online

Wow!! The Royal Society Journals, dating from 1665, are online and free though November 2006!
The Royal Society Digital Archive is easily the most comprehensive archive in science and contains some of the most significant scientific papers ever published. The development of the digital archive means that the Society's online collection now contains every paper ever published in the Royal Society's journals - from the very first peer-reviewed paper in Philosophical Transactions - to the most recent interdisciplinary article in Interface.

Seminal research papers include accounts of Michael Faraday's groundbreaking series of electrical experiments, Isaac Newton's invention of the reflecting telescope and the first research paper published by Stephen Hawking.

The Archive provides a record of some key scientific discoveries from the last 340 years including: Halley's description of 'his comet' in 1705; details of the double Helix of DNA by James Watson and Francis Crick in 1954; and Edmond Stone's breakthrough in 1763 that willow bark cured fevers, leading to the discovery of salicylic acid and later the development of asprin.

It also contains papers documenting the discovery of new planets, the first descriptions of organisms through a microscope, and the first account of photography. Early papers contain fascinating descriptions of how Captain James Cook preserved the health of his crew aboard the HMS Endeavour and the astonishment of 18th century Society at the performance of an eight year-old Mozart.

Lunch Box Linux Cluster

A lunch box Linux cluster.


I can't remember when I've enjoyed something as much as this.


Saturday, October 14, 2006

Nintendo In Your Browser

Fascinating. You can play Nintendo games in your browser at http://vnes.thatsanderskid.com/.

Two important hints.
  • Click “English Language Games” to get the menu of games.
  • After selecting a game, double-click the screen to make the keys work.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Great Programmers Answer

Great programmers answer a young programmers questions. He basically emailed a set of questions to some fo the most famous programmers of our time and collected their answers. It's an interesting read.

Hm, I don't do surveys' much but I thought I'd answer these myself.

- How did you learn programming? Were any schools of any use? Or maybe you didn’t even bother with ending any schools :) ?

I first learned to program by reading a brochure on an HP-25 calculator which had a program for something, maybe parametrically plotting a circle. Later, as a college student I owned an HP-25 and later HP-25C, calculators and learned to program them. I also took FORTRAN and a number of other programming classes in undergraduate school.

- What do you think is the most important skill every programmer should posses?

I think it's the ability to figure out an algorithm for solving a problem, then converting that algorithm into a program. Over time, one builds up a collection of learned algorithms which can be applied over and over.

I also think being able to break a problem into manageable chunks is important.

- Do you think mathematics and/or physics are an important skill for a programmer? Why?

I personally think both are since almost all of my education is in physics with the accompanying math. I use them both on a regular basis in my work. Solving systems problems is very often a matter of collecting and analyzing data. Knowing how to manipulate data, and plot it, and how to do things like integrate over particular variables, etc., are important in getting to a picture of what's going on.

- What do you think will be the next big thing in computer programming? X-oriented programming, y language, quantum computers, what?

I think computers may change in a very fundamental way, in the way the personal computer somewhat changed our world. I'm not sure what the next thing will be, but I suspect it will have to do with being small, portable and ubiquitous. Cell phones, MP3 players, PDAs and UMPCs all seem to be sort of moving toward something. I think what they are moving toward may be the next big thing.

In actual programming itself, I'm not sure. OO programming was a major shift in how to think about things for me. Something along that line would be big but I'm not sure what it would be. Some new paradigm.

- If you had three months to learn one relativly new technology, which one would You choose?

I might learn more about the world of Java and the endless variety of tools that surround it.

- What do you think makes some programmers 10 or 100 times more productive than others?

I'm not sure about this, really. Probably things like having a good set of patterns in their head that they can draw on, familiarity with a number of tools, knowing their environment and tools well—being skillful at using them. Having good collections (libraries) of reusable code!

Once you have all of these things in place, you can assemble new programs by just putting the pieces together and you can do it reliably and quickly.

- What are your favourite tools (operating system, programming/scripting language, text editor, version control system, shell, database engine, other tools you can’t live without) and why do you like them more than others?

  • OS: UNIX, Linux, currently Ubuntu
  • Programming lang: Perl
  • Scripting lang: Perl
  • Text editor: GNU Emacs
  • Shell: Bash
  • dB: MySQL
Ubuntu gets the desktop right and it's built on Linux which is a form of UNIX. I've never enjoyed a programming language as much as object-oriented Perl. GNU Emacs is the most wonderful editor.

- What is your favourite book related to computer programming?

The book that probably had the greatest impact on me was Niklaus Wirth's original book on Pascal, User Manual and Report. I fell in love with Pascal reading that book, and with structured programming in general. Years later, Turbo Pascal on an early PC was a wonderful programming environment.

Another book that had a great effect on me and my career was Kernighan and Ritchie's C book. I actually read it twice before ever writing a C program, because I didn't have access to a UNIX system or C compiler.

- What is Your favourite book NOT related to computer programming?

There are many. I always liked 2001: A Space Odyssey.

- What are your favourite music bands/performers/compositors?

I like all kinds of music ranging from classical to jazz to progressive and popular rock and pop music. My favorite band of all time is Emerson, Lake and Palmer. I also like Pink Floyd and Yes, the great progressive rock bands of the 70s. In the classical genre, my favorite is Baroque music, e.g., J.S. Bach as composer. Also Aaron Copeland. Many, many others.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Free Technical Books Online

I found the below Java Intro book via a web site that has Free technical books online!!


Introduction to Computers, Programming and Java

Here's a free intro to programming and Java online:


What I read was pretty well done. This is written as an introduction for an undergraduate class for non CS majors (I believe). I have some doubts about starting right into object-oriented programing and about using Java as a first language. However, I'm sure that Java is a better choice than C or C++!

Friday, October 06, 2006

Emergency in Apex, NC

Okay, there was a very serious fire and cloud containing chlorine in Apex, NC forcing evacuations earlier this morning. However, is it just me or is there something terrribly wrong going on here…

“Authorities had to move their command post three times to get downwind of the explosions and gas plume.”