Jul 28, 2010 GMTOne of my Brazilian brothers, Dennis Jensen, sent me email reminding me that the last Friday of every July is System Administrator Appreciation Day, where we should show our appreciation to those hard-working system administrators that keep our systems going. In my early years of working with computers my connection with these people was limited to handing in a stack of punched cards through a window and praying that I did not hear them being dropped on the other side of the wall. Sometimes I even got my card file back along with my printout. Other times I was not so lucky. When I graduated from the university and went to work at Aetna Life and Casualty in Hartford,...
Paw Prints: Writings of the maddog
Jul 28, 2010 GMTBy now you probably have heard about the “pad” computer designed in India that is being touted as costing thirty-five U.S. Dollars to manufacture. While there is very little in the way of technical details about it, some information has been published that says it consists of: An ARM9 Architecture Processor from Freescale (I.MX233): 5 USD Memory: 3 USD WiFi b/g: 4 USD Other “discrete” components: 3 USD Battery: 5 USD 7” 800x480 resistive touch screen: 15 USD for a total bill of materials: 35 USD, and rumors that in the future this will drop to 20 USD and even 10 USD. The system is “Linux based”, but does not say if it is...
Jul 20, 2010 GMTI was visiting a friend of mine, Dennis Jensen, while I was in Florianopolis, Brazil. During my visit I started telling Dennis about the period of 1975 to 1978 when some people were building computers from kits by soldering integrated circuits with hand soldering irons to the printed circuit boards. Many of my computer friends built these types of kits, including me.I remember one kit in particular, purchased by my supervisor at Aetna Life and Casualty, where the directions on how to assemble the system often did not match the circuit diagram, and neither matched the holes in the printed circuit board. This led to some late-night head-banging, trying to figure out which of the three...
Jul 12, 2010 GMTLast month I briefly blogged about my love affair with old automated musical instruments such as the player piano, player reed organ, nickelodeon, wind-up phonographs and my long association with the Automatic Musical Instrument Collector's Association (AMICA). June, 2008 was the first time that I was able to physically attend a local chapter of the AMICA, and I enjoyed meeting other people who collected and played these ancient instruments. One of the downsides of collecting the older paper-driven instruments is that in a lot of cases the paper, sometimes made with an acid-based wash, is deteriorating and some of the members are trying desperately to preserve this old music by...
Jul 01, 2010 GMTJuly has two conferences where I will be presenting, but first I will remind people that the Ohio Linux Fest has extended their call for papers another week to July 7th. Since I have already submitted the abstracts for my Ohio Linux talks, on July 6th I will be leaving for the FOSSED conference in Bethel, Maine on July 7th to 9th. My good friend David Trask has been putting on this conference for eight years now, and has helped hundreds of school teachers learn the benefits of FOSS for teaching. Lately some of these same teachers have come back and are sharing what they know. Very practical courses in networking, use of Moodle, LTSP systems and more. I will be teaching two...
Jun 30, 2010 GMTSometimes you run across something so discouraging you want to just hang your head. That happened today as I received a letter from the folks at Creative Commons stating that The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP), one of the groups that supposedly represents artists by licensing their music and paying the artists royalties, had sent out letters to their 380,000 members asking for donations to fight against the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), Public Knowledge and Creative Commons (CC). These groups were portrayed as being “against the interests of music creators”.This letter, signed by their President and Chairman of the Board, Paul Williams, asked...
Jun 29, 2010 GMTThis past weekend I visited my family who now lives in Pennsylvania. My mother and father are long retired and living in a retirement community. This weekend was their 68th wedding anniversary. My brother retired from the telephone company a long time ago, having been an electronic technician and lives with his wife. Once a year my brother and sister-in-law attend a big family reunion that mostly centers on her family, since my side of the family is very small (and destined to get a lot smaller). I participated in this reunion and mostly stayed with my aged parents while my brother and sister-in-law orchestrated the reunion that drew about 60 people from around the...
Kernel king admits his tone has alienated volunteers, but says the demands of the process require directness.
New flaw in an old encryption scheme leaves the experts scrambling to disable SSL 3
Lennart Poettering wants to change the way Linux developers talk to each other.
Enterprise giant frees itself from ink and home PCs (and visa versa).
Mozilla’s product think tank sinks silently into history.
TODO group will focus on open source tools in large-scale environments.
New tool will look like GParted but support a wider range of storage technologies.
New public key pinning feature will help prevent man-in-the-middle attacks.
Carnegie Mellon researchers say 3 million pages could fall down the phishing hole in the next year.
The US government rolls new best-practice rules for protecting SSH.