Quote of the Day

Seen on Facebook, from the friend of a friend:

"Pacifism is a completely internally consistent philosophy of how to deal with the problem of violence."

"It's not mine."

Everything old is new again

I was actually thinking about this yesterday, and wondering why nobody had gone back to a "the keyboard is the computer" mode.

Now we know that I'm (a) prescient, but (b) not as prescient as the folks at NorhTec, who have announced the Gecko Surfboard, which incorporates a 1 GHz SOC (system on chip) with integrated graphics and audio. Comes standard with 512MB of memory and 10/100 ethernet, with optional 802.11b/g support, and runs Linux or Windows.

Just for fun, here's a picture of a Commodore 64 system (introduced in January of 1982). While the C64 also sported integrated graphics and audio, similarities end there... it had a 1 MHz processor and 64K of RAM, and no persistent storage or networking capabilities.

So, for the two people who will understand this...

World of Warcraft patch 3.3 came out last night, and I finally got into the dungeon from the last major patch... ran Ulduar 10-man with a couple of guildmates and a handful of random PuG folks. Just did Flame Leviathan and Ignus, but man, it was a lot of fun! Especially since my lil' mage, who is still decked out in a mix of tier 7/7.5 gear, managed to do well enough on Ignus that I was in the top end of the damage done for the fight.

Some people...

... just make you think, "Wow - I'd really like to meet them someday."


Yeah, long hiatus here. What with working for a startup, taking classes, preaching, teaching, and the whole family thing, life has been busy.

Geeks in Love

And not just regular geeks, oh no. Solaris geeks. Celebrating their 10th anniversary, and quoting Ecclesiastes, to boot! Oh, and you're reading that link right - it's cuddletech.com, where their motto is, "Use unix or die."

Ben's just made my list of people I'd really like to meet someday.

The Kindness of Strangers

So, earlier today, I tried sending mail to a mailing list I'm on, and got back a bounce message that, among other things, said:

Diagnostic-Code: smtp; 550-RFCI-002 - oneparticularharbor.net is listed in the
550-bogusmx.rfc-ignorant.org list.

Oh, joy. That's just want I want to start my day with, finding out that I'm on someone's blacklist somewhere.

Turns out our DNS records for our mail host were (mildly) screwed up... that was all. Not only that, but the admins at rfc-ignorant.org were extremely responsive and polite, and helped me get things corrected literally in a matter of minutes.

I mean... wow. Here I was expecting to have to slog my way through some extended "No, I'm not a spammer! " handshaking, and it turns out that it was just some technical glitch. Not only that, but someone who doesn't know anything about me was willing to take their time, lend a hand, and help me get things fixed up.

We'll know in a few minutes whether or not the DNS changes worked; they look good, so everything should be fine, but you never know. Whatever happens, hats off to the folks at rfc-ignorant.org for being just, you know, such nice guys.

And here I thought I was being clever

From Scotteriology:

Let me predicate the rest of this by saying I’m OK with little ‘r’ reformed theologians. It’s usually just the big ‘R’ ones that get on my nerves, and if I was to express it technically I would say that they usually mix up first order practice and second order reflection. They confuse the first order practice or embedded theology that you live day to day with the second order reflection or deliberative theology that characterizes teaching – academic and Church.
Google says there are about 1,100 results for a search on "embedded theology".

But!  There are only about 13 results for "embedded theologian".  So my status as a special snowflake is preserved, however tenuously, for the moment :-)

Tiny Core Linux

For your embedded hacking pleasure : Tiny Core Linux

A 10MB basic distribution based on BusyBox, TinyX, Fltk, and Linux 2.6.  Apparently from the same guys who brought us Damn Small Linux, which is a porky 50MB in comparison.

I've seen Linux systems (kernel + root file system) that fit in under 2MB... but of course, they didn't include a functioning UI and X Windows.  Still, it's fun to see how usably Linux is even in very small systems.

How I quit worrying and learned to love...

Arcane Brilliance.

Actually, that's a lie.  I've pretty much loved Arcane Brilliance since my first encounter with it.  Though I don't understand the warlock hate.  I mean... come on.  Let us join together with our fellow players, yea, even the warlocks, so that we might utterly annihilate the true enemies of all that is right and good in the world!

No... not the Lich King!  Sheesh!  He's pretty much going down as soon as he shows up.  Are you kidding me?  No, I mean the one real enemy we can get behind... Blood Elf pallys.  Ugh.  Just saying it makes me want to take a bath.

Anyways... may I quote a passage that managed to inflict an unexpected reverse-nasal coffee experience upon my person?  Of course I can!

Until it is capped, no other stat is as important as hit rating. Though they're becoming more and more rare these days, you'll still run into people who will argue that fact. These people are uninformed, and might also have some sort of cognitive limitation, so be nice to them. They may also believe things like "rainbows are made of skittles," and "Antifreeze tastes great!"
 Hey!  You got you humor in my MMORPG number crunching!  And... wow.  Tastes great!

But first.. THE CAT!

In recognition of the truth inherent in John Sclazi's latest post... here's a picture of my cat.  Well, one of them, at least.  I say that counts.

Wheh!  Glad that's done.  Since this blog is now officially done with, I can actually start to enjoy it, since all the pressure's off now :-)

"Shell Here" utility for Mac OS X

Developers on Windows tend to find the "Command Prompt Here" utility from the Power Toys collection pretty quickly.  This is a small utility that adds an entry to the normal Explorer context menu that lets you open up a command prompt that's already changed directory to the selected Explorer window.  Very nice if your daily routine includes a mix of navigating via the GUI to get to a point where you want to dig into a bunch of files using command line utilities.

Cygwin users have a similar utility, "Shell Here", which lets a user open a bash (or other) shell supported by Cygwin, again via a context menu.  Again, very nice - even more so, in that you get a full-featured unix shell (bash, csh, ksh, or what have you) instead of a plain Jane windows command prompt.

So... what about Mac users?  I found myself missing this functionality today, went looking... and found the following script:

This lets you add a button to the Finder menu bar that will open a Terminal window in the selected directory.  As an added bonus, it understands Terminal tabs - so an holding down the Apple key when you click on the button opens up a new Terminal tab instead of a new Terminal window.


Debian is switching to EGLIBC

This is one of those things that, if you know what they're talking about, makes you go, "Wow!" and have deep conversations with other like-minded individuals who are blown away by the implications of not having to deal with glibc cruft.

If you don't know and don't care about what glibc is... then "Meh. Geeks."

For you, instead, have a dancing cat:

More embedded news

Seems like this is the day for this sort of thing.  April showers bring may flowers... and updated releases of embedded build systems.

Debian is starting down the path of supporting FreeBSD kernels.  They've added i386 and amd64 support to the unstable line.  This means that you should be able to build Debian based embedded systems that use a FreeBSD kernel.  Neat stuff.

Oh, and it reminds me that in my last post, I didn't mention emdebian, which is the embedded Debian system.


Yet another embedded Linux build system

This one is e2factory from emlix. It joins the ranks of other embedded Linux build systems like buildroot, ptxdist, OpenEmbedded, Embedded Gentoo, and a whole host of similar projects.

We're approaching symmetry, I think - where we have a 1:1 correspondence between embedded Linux build systems and open source mp3 players.  I'm really not sure if that's a good thing or not.

A Picture Is Worth a Thousand Words

Even online.  No - especially online.

I'll be honest; I stink with names.  I have trouble remembering them, and have to make a special effort to use them 3-4 times when I first meet someone, just to have a chance of someone's name sticking with me.  I mean, I really have to work at it.

So, what are the chances that I'll remember your name if, say, I met you once 5 years ago at a conference, or worked in the same building as you for a couple of months 10 years ago.

Ah-yep.  The odds aren't good.  Unless you really made an impression (either good or bad) on me for some reason, or your name was unusually memorable, chances are, I'm going to be saying "John who?  Ms. Smith what?" if you get in touch with me years later.

However... almost every social networking site lets you put up some sort of picture.  And, you know, I have a much better memory for faces than names.  Enough so that even a few years down the road, I'm easily able to recognize and place people I otherwise wouldn't remember.

So if you want people that you may not know too well - say, business contacts - to recognize and identify you, then please, please, please make it easy to do so.  Put up a picture of yourself.  It doesn't have to be funny, or artistic, or whatever - a simple passport photo, or a picture of you with a smile on your face, is more than enough to make the connection, and make the difference between "John who?  Never heard of him.." and "Oh, yeah - John from the last TiE meeting!  I remember him..."

Funding Your Startup

Came across this via the "On Startups" group on LinkedIn:

Now, I've never had to fund a startup... but I've worked for a number of 'em, and I've considered (off and on) starting my own company; enough so that I did some research on funding, including reading Guy Kawasaki's The Art of the Start, Kenneth Hess' Bootstrap, and a couple of other books on startups.  Oh, and of course, all the various web-based resources.  All of them seem to make the same points, some in more entertaining (Kawasaki) and some in more narrative (Hess) formats.  If you're looking for a quick and dirty, "Hmm... do I have what it takes, financially, to start my own company?" question, then this is a nice quick rundown - kind of a financing options checklist- of the various possibilities you may want to explore.

Why Johnny Shouldn't "git push"

Slowly getting back into the habit of blogging...

Ted Tso has a nice little article up titled "Reflections on a complaint from a frustrated git user", where he comments on another series of blog posts about problems using git to publish changes.  We're using git where I work now, and while it's a wonderful source control system, the change from centralized to distributed SCM does require wrapping your head around some new concepts, and this article is a nice starting point in understanding the differences between the two models.

Best. Function. Name. EVAR.

Digging around in the FreeBSD source code for the shutdown utility, I came across what is probably the best function name I've ever seen:

void die_you_gravy_sucking_pig_dog() {
As I've been dealing with process lifecycle management code for the past few days, this name really, really, really resonated with me.