July 2007 Archives

Another fake ID

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Rachel has confiscated another fake ID at the bar. Not really much else to write about tonight. I've not been out at all this week since I've been working in the evenings after attending a cooking class offered by the New School in the afternoons, so nothing much interesting happening in my life now.
Epicenter - Wired Blogs

As I mentioned in my previous post about my friend Rachel, the DMCA can be applied in totally insane ways. Here, it's being applied by a company that actually does have rights to the material claimed to be infringed upon, however the "infringement" amounts to fair use of the material.

The lady, who has a toddler son, videotaped him dancing to a Prince song, presumably when it was on the radio. The video is only 29 seconds long, and there is clearly no ill-will or malicious intent on the part of the mother, but UMG has decided that they need to take action to "protect" their property.

Now the EFF is filing suit (full complaint) against UMG, claiming that the invocation is frivoulus. I really hope the EFF prevails.

New BlackBerry

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Grrrr...it seems that I just write about how great things are going with my BlackBerry, and something untoward occurs. However, this time, it was not the fault of RIM, T-Mobile, or anyone else other than myself.

You see, I was going to the NYLUG meeting at Google's NYC office. I had arrived at the location about 2 hours prior to the meeting (I didn't want to go home and come back to the city). Nice day, figured that I would go to the Starbucks that's right next door and try and get some work done. So I went into the Starbucks, ordered coffee, sat down, got some work done. Then I looked out the window and noticed how dark it was - which was odd, since it was 5PM in the middle of the summer. Then it started POURING down rain. The meeting didn't start until 6:30, so I figured that I'd have some time to wait it out. Well the massive downpour did stop, however, it was still raining quite heavily. So I made a dash for the building next door (where the meeting was). I did not realize that there was a step outside the Starbucks, and found myself plastered on the sidewalk in front of it, drenched. Then some onlookers mentioned that my phone was in the street - which it was, in a puddle of water! Needless to say, it didn't work too well after that. Oh well, that means I got the new BlackBerry 8800 that I had been wanting. So far so good. A little different getting used to a new user interface again (they changed alot between the 8700 and 8800 - the track wheel that had been there for so long is now a proper trackball among other major design changes) The 8800 is certaintly alot thinner than the previous 8700.

Back in May, I went to the RedHat Summit in San Diego. Quite an interesting time, really worth my while to fly across the country.

While I was there, the first session that I attended was called "Problem Solving with SystemTap" by Eugene Teo. It seemed like a really interesting toolset, so I just figured that I would learn more about since it's cool and covered in the curriculum for the RH442 class that I'm going to be taking.

SystemTap is a tool for dynamic instrumentation of the Linux kernel. It is comparable to Solaris DTrace. Even without a deep knowledge of kernel internals, one can be doing useful things with SystemTap in relatively short order,

A simple script to tell you what is executing what on the system is below, you can see how simple it really is...

probe syscall.execve {
  printf("%s(pid:%d) called %s and executed %s\n", execname(),pid(), probefunc(), filename)
}

Been a few days

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It's been a few days ince I posted anything. I really don't have much to say, except for the fact that I splurged yesterday and bought myself a Samsung SyncMaster 204B. I'm actually very happy that I did, because it let me rebuild a machine that I had sitting around since I bought my Dell as a new Fedora 7 workstation. The machine is really nothing to write home about (a dual PIII with 769MB RAM), but it does the job of running Fedora acceptably quite well (better than I could say about Vista, it doesn't even meet the minimum hardware specs!)

In other news, I'll probably be taking RH442 soon. It's quite a difficult course, covering all sorts of kernel internals, but I really think that it will provide a useful skillset that I can take back and put to good use.

And here they are. As it turns out, the delay in getting the results was my own fault, since I mis-typed my e-mail address during the exam. Anyhow, here's the much-awaited results:
SECTION I:    TROUBLESHOOTING AND SYSTEM MAINTENANCE
RHCE requirements:  completion of compulsory items (50 points)
                    overall section score of 80 or higher
RHCT requirements:  completion of compulsory items (50 points)
 
Compulsory Section I score:                        50.0
Non-compulsory Section I score:                    50.0
Overall Section I score:                           100
 
SECTION II:  INSTALLATION AND CONFIGURATION
RHCE requirements: score of 70 or higher on RHCT components (100 points)
                   score of 70 or higher on RHCE components (100 points)
 
RHCT requirement:  score of 70 or higher on RHCT components (100 points)
 
RHCT components score:                             100.0
RHCE components score:                             89.3

RHCE Certification: PASS

So I e-mailed the instructor of the class who proctored the exam. He forwarded my query off to someone at RedHat, who proceeded to tell me to fill out the webform and someone would get back to me. I gave them a different e-mail address this time, just in case it was getting filtered as spam at work. We'll see what the results of that are. Stay tuned......
Bush's Iraq Plan Ever Lonelier in Senate - Forbes.com

Well it seems that Bush is now the lone person left supporting his Iraq strategy. How long until he realizes that it just doesn't work?

VMware sets IPO price, and Intel will invest Tech News on ZDNet

It's long been known that VMWare was going to go public, but now we know the IPO price. The surprise came that Intel is investing as well - why would Intel pour money into VMWare, something well beyond the startup stages? Good to see that VMWare is getting a boost though in their spinoff from EMC.

I'm getting a little ticked off at RedHat now. They advertise that RHCE results should be available in 3 business days, MAX. Well, now it's been 4 (8 calendar days since the exam), and I still don't have them. I got a nice certificate that I attended the class (which should be the easiest thing in the world to get out fast - did you show up or didn't you?), but not the results of the actual exam.

Queries to them have also gone unanswered - I'm wondering who's asleep at the switch there in Raleigh, NC??

Court orders dismissal of U.S. wiretapping lawsuit

Now for a sore spot of mine. The NSA wiretapping program, which is assuredly unconstitutional, cannot be challenged, because the plantiffs cannot prove that they have been or will be personally subjected to this surveilance.

Now, you think, that's simple, simply find someone who has been affected, and have them sue that it's unconstitutional. Whoa, not so fast! The list of who's been affected is classified, and has been ruled a state secret.

So how can you prove that you have standing? The answer is you can't. A nice catch-22 there. You can't prove that you have standing since the list of who might have standing is classifed. You also cannot prove that you do NOT have standing.

A nice comment that I read on Slashdot that I cannot agree with more is below.

Our government was set up on a basis of checks and balances to keep things on the straight and narrow. In a Democracy, however, the governmental checks and balances are tier 2 of the mechanism to keep things in line. The voting populace is tier 1. Without the ability to understand what the government is doing (the information is classified) we are unable to direct the government through elections.We are looking at an example where the checks and balances system is being undermined at the most fundamental level.We seem to be living at the period in American history that future peoples will point to when discussing the unraveling of our Nation.

NPR : Fallout from the Libby Commutation?

OK, so I know that I'm late blogging about this one, but better late than never, eh? This article seems to think that the commutation of Scooter Libby's sentence isn't going to have any effect on the 2008 presidential election. I don't think so.

Here's what I think is going to happen: Bush commuted Libby's sentence without granting a full pardon in order to keep him out of jail (his aides are quick to point out that this is the first time that Bush has commuted someone's sentence without going through the full Justice Department review process - a fact that I wouldn't really bring to light, since it only lends more credence to the fact that this administration acts more on cronyism that anything) . This was done in order to minimize the political damage to the Republican party that would come from a full pardon. Once the election in 2008 is decided (one way or the other), there is going to be a full pardon. Mark my words.

All that you have to do is look into history for this one. Clinton pardoned Marc Rich right before he left office, well after the election. It was an unpopular decision, but it had no real impact for anybody. The same is going to be true here. Bush may not be the brightest bulb in the box, but his aides and strategists certainly are.

I still haven;t gotten the results fo my RHCE exam that I am so anxiously waiting for. Oh well, patience is a virtue I guess. The official timing is 3 US business days after the test, and with the holiday, that would be on Thursday.
Bloomberg.com: Worldwide

Scooter Libby, who as I'm sure you know was the top aide to Vice President Dick Cheney prior to being indicted for perjury, obstruction, and a multitude of other things, must go to prison while waiting for the appeal process to play out.

This is an excellent thing, because if I perjured myself, obstructed justice, and the other things with which he is charged, I would certaintly be in jail at this point.

This just serves to remind us that politicians are not above the law, no matter how much the current ruling party would like us to believe that they are. If Bush pardons Libby, the backlash on the Republican party is certain to cost them the 2008 election. However, Bush is so dumb that he will probably not realize that, pardon him, and the Democrats (no matter whom they put forth) will win in 2008. It already happened in 2006 mid-terms, let's make it happen again next year.

BlackBerry update

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So if you've read my ranting posts from last year about the hell desk experience that I had with RIM and T-Mobile, I'm afraid it was all for naught (well kinda). I was in New York one day last summer (while I was commuting between STL and NYC), and had to jump in a cab to go someplace. I got in the cab, and realized that my BlackBerry was not with me. Immediate panic ensued.

Those of you that own a BlackBerry would probably agree with me when I say that withdraw from the CrackBerry is fast and brutal. Since I was nearly certain that I had lost it on the street somewhere, I waited for lunchtime, and promptly headed out to the T-Mobile store, and bought a new BlackBerry (the 8700g this time).

Imagine my disappointment/anger/whatever when I realized that I had just spent $350 or so on a new phone when I get back to my hotel room, and find the old BlackBerry sitting there on my desk. I had already gotten used to the new BlackBerry (it has some really nice features that the other one did not have), so I decided I would just keep both of them - in case my new one broke in the same way as the previous 7290 that I had.

Well I've had the new 8700 for a little under a year now, and haven't had so much as a single problem with it really, even though I abuse that thing like nobody's business. It's had to have been dropped like 100 times by now, some of them rather serious where the battery cover snaps off, and the phone, battery, and cover wind up in three different places. This thing is indestructible!!

RHCE thoughts

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Well, I took the RHCE exam on Friday, still waiting for the official results, though I think that I aced it. RedHat makes you sign a NDA prior to taking the exam, so I really can't say much about it other than what is already publicly known. The exam is broken into two sections, one on troubleshooting, and the other on installation and configuration. You get 2.5 hours for the first section, and 3 hours for the second section.

There's a good article from someone who attempted it that I think explains it here. The lesson? Simply taking RH300 without already knowing what you are doing is not recommended. I strongly advise any prospective student in RH300 to take the pre-assessment tests, and take the results of those tests seriously. They're very good indicators of success in the class.

There were a number of students in my class that did not take this advice, and their frustration when it came to be exam day showed their lack of preparation for this grueling exam (while grueling, it's actually fairly easy if you know what you are doing).

I'll post the official results when I get them.

I can't believe it

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It's been over a year since I've posted anything here. So what have I been up to in the past year? A surprising amount, really. I've moved from St. Louis to the New York City metro area, which was a bit of an ordeal in and of itself. I'm paying entirely too much for a tiny apartment (welcome to New York, it really doesn't get any better than what I've got), even more for the storage unit since my apartment is tiny and I can't have all of my stuff in it.

However, I really like the apartment, since it has a washer/dryer in it (which I understand is a huge luxury for the NYC area), comes with DirecTV service (the basic service, I pay more to get sports packages, etc), Internet access is included (though I really wish I had a choice there, since it's an anemic 1.5Mbps down/384k up - however, it's the most reliable thing in the world, I've never had it not work for me, unlike Internet service that I've had in the past), and rear speakers are mounted into the wall. It's a good thing that I don't drive, however, since parking would be an additional $175/month.