March 2008 Archives

Bike update

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With my issue with the new bike, I couldn't figure out what to do - so I took it back to the nice folks at the bike shop. Well, they told me that the front fork is defective and requires replacement. It's a warranty repair, so there's no charge, but I'll be without my new bike for about a week. So I'm a little bummed now. Guess I should hit the gym in my building for my exercise in the meantime.
Well, I've got a post on this blog telling how to get the Sierra Wireless Aircard 595U working on Fedora. I opted for the manual method, I'm sure there are others.

The good news, is now with the advent of Fedora 9, all that is obsolete! As mentioned in previous posts, I had an outage on my home Internet connection. With mobile broadband support in NetworkManager being a feature of F9, I figured that I should probably test it. So, I just plugged in my card to my Fedora 9 laptop, and up came "Auto CDMA Network Connection" in the NetwokManager menu, selected it, and just like that, I'm on the Internet at Sprint-speed!

I encountered a bug, whereby there were three CDMA network connections displayed instead of one. It was actually a hal bug, and Dan Williams had it corrected, a package built, and I had tested this package in perhaps a record 29 minutes!

well got a bike

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Well, I finally broke down and bought a bike today. Spent more than I really wanted to, but alas, you don't pay you don't play :). So I'm the proud new owner of a Raleigh Detour 6.5. I've taken it for about 5-6 miles of riding already (I was going to get home entirely by riding my bike and taking the ferry from the bike shop - but I'm not in good enough shape for that!). I came real close though, I'm really proud of myself - let's just hope I can keep it up.

There's a fitness challenge going on at work, whereby if I'm the one that's lost the most body fat over 12 weeks, I win the pot - $300, which pays for about half the bike :). I'm not going to lose - those that know me well know that if I'm going to do something, I'm in all the way :). I really wanted to get in shape, I just needed some motivation, and what's more motivating than $300 in your pocket?

Now the problem. I hit a pothole on the way home (on a street that almost looks like an alley it's so narrow and neglected - coming from Weehawken into Hoboken). My handlebars just go whichever way they'd like, and I'm not sure which bolt to tighten to get it all correct again. Someone help!!!

And now I know that I'm going to be the sorest man alive tomorrow too... :/

UPDATE: I've put some pics of the bike up at

So after trying three different computers, using 3 different opearting systems (F9, Mac OS X, and Windows - eww), and not being able to get to the Internet on any of them, Verizon has finally agreed that the problem must be on their side. There's a cheap Netgear switch in between the Ethernet jacks in my apartment and the Verizon managed switch on the floor. Verizon owns this switch, and since that's really all that the problem could be (since their managed switch is fine, according to them), they'll come out and fix whatever the problem might be. I've seen those cheap switches fail in new and mysterious ways, and this is certaintly one of them.

They'll be out on Monday between 8-12. In the meantime, I still have my Sprint Aircard 595U. Lovely piece of gadgetry.

First, some background. The building that I live in, a luxury high-rise in Jersey City, NJ, has a deal with Verizon Enhanced Communities to provide the residents with Internet service, free of charge. Sounds like a great deal, right? It sorta is. The problem is that the service is only 1.5Mbps, which as you know is quite anemic by today's standards. All of my co-workers have 20-30 meg connections, and I'm stuck back here in the dark ages (I also pay much more than them in rent - something doesn't add up. To be fair, I live in a very nice area and very nice building).

Now, I can't get my Internet from anywhere else (no DSL, no cable modem, no FIOS). This stirkes me as more than slightly unfair and monopolistic, but that's for another time. This Internet service had been very reliable, if slow, so I wasn't complaining that loud.

Up until tonight. Around 5PM, I noticed that I couldn't get to my GMail. Figuring that it was a Google problem, I dismissed it for a few minutes. Then I tried to get to Bugzilla - no go. eBay, no go. Anything else? Nothing. I've got something of a complex setup at home, so I immediately figure that some part of my infrastructure is busted (my crappy Linksys router occasionally just gives up the ghost for no reason). But everything checks out this time. So I plug my Windows machine directly into the wall. It gets an IP, but doesn't get to the Verizon registration page that it should since it's not a recoginized MAC address - same symptoms as my other PC's.

The interesting thing is the exact symptoms. I had a connection to IRC, and that was fine (until a few minutes ago). So long-lived TCP connections appeared to be OK. I simply couldn't establish new ones. I'd get a 3-way handshake sometimes, and then the session would be disconnected. There might have even been some data transmitted (I tried telnetting to 6667 for IRC and get some stuff back before being disconnected). Absolute weirdness.

So I call up the neat folks over at Verizon. They tell me that since I have an IP address, the problem is "assuredly" on my side. Now, if I didn't have the simplest setup in the world at that point (a Windows box plugged directly into their Ethernet with a public IP - ewww), I might have been inclined to believe that.

They tell me that my computer must be broken, and that I have no clue what I'm talking about, essentially - there must be some firewall or anti-virus on my computer that's blocking me from getting out.

I guess it doesn't matter that I have a Sprint EVDO card and can use that on the same computer just fine (in fact, that's how I'm posting this).

I'm resigned to the fact that I'll never have functional Internet again. Sigh.

Some folks get it

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There are some folks in NYC that get it. There are also a lot that don't, that make the sign below that I saw on the subway this morning necessary. Fortunately, one of the folks that got it scribbled "Darwin" on the sign. I really don't think that the MTA should bother putting up these things - it's a waste of money, and as the sign mention, if this gentleman were actually to ride on the side of the subway car, it would be Darwin at work. Does the MTA really want these people as customers?

A few new domains

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So I registered a few new domains in the last 24hrs...both for very different purposes :)

If anyone wants email at either of these two domains (it's Google's hosted apps), drop me a line. Or not, that's fine too :)

Took the plunge

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Well, I figured if Paul could do it, I could too. :) I've only found one issue so far, my display flickers for no reason - I can't even really describe what it is doing - it's more of an annoyance than actually getting in the way of doing useful things.

Well I am an assistant organizer of the NYC Linux meetup, bringing the goodness of Fedora to the group. Well, after our meeting on Tuesday, we all decided to go out for drinks. We went to a place called "The Peculiar Pub", where the experience was, well peculiar. Not because of anything about the pub, it was in fact quite ordinary. Instead, the patrons were peculiar. There was this lady behind us who was irate at the waitress because they apparently did not have a particular beer. But that's not the best of it.

The best comes when two guys in suits that are obviously drunk out of their gord sit at the table previously occupied by the irate lady's party. We heard them talking about Bear Stearns, and we we generally talking about selling things on eBay anyway. So we suggested to sell Bear Stearn's stock on eBay amongst us at our table, since that's about all it's worth at this point. One guy laughed behind us, and a few seconds later, we hear a loud thud. The other guy had FALLEN OFF HIS SEAT. The waitress obviously asked them to leave at that point.

Later, the waitress came over and told us that the gentlemen had attempted to pay for the beer with his cell phone - holding it out like it was cash or something!

Other insightful things that we learned is that Craigslist is good for exactly two things in NYC (well, maybe more) - finding an apartment or receiving stolen property.

That qualifies as the highlight of my week.

NJ Transit == fail

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Well, awhile back I was looking to purchase my monthly pass for the light rail here. Found that I couldn't do it because the vending machine was displaying this: .

To paraphrase someone from #rhel (I forget who):

Windows == fail
Windows NT == epic fail

Given this rating system, I'm really not sure what I'd call Vista - biblical fail maybe?

screen ftw

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Well I'm mildly annoyed at this point. Needed a new rawhide ISO since there's a new anaconda that would make nfsiso work. I set pungi to do what it does. It takes awhile (about 90 minutes or so), so I figured that it was a great time to go grab some lunch - another activity that takes about 90 minutes. BTW - the boil of the best IPA in the country is also 90 minutes, being hopped every minute, but I digress.....

Well, I come back from lunch, find my session disconnected. (I'm ssh'ed from my work machine to my home machine). Reconnected to the machine see if by some miracle pungi had continued to run, but it had closed up shop along with my session. So now I have it restarted in screen, the best invention on the face of the planet (perhaps better than sliced bread even).

OK, I'm done ranting now :)

Well, the Fedora 9 beta is about to be released. With that in mind, we're doing some pretty heavy duty install testing, using all of the methods that are supported by anaconda. Some of these methods require ISO images of the distribution - but we haven't shipped the distro yet, so we don't have ISO images of the latest bits. Kind of a chicken and egg problem, eh? You need to test with ISO's yet they don't exist. What to do about this?

One of the things that sets Fedora apart from other commercially backed Linux distributions is a commitment to openness and transparency that goes to the core of the operating system and the processes used to produce it. Anyone can get the tools that they need to build Fedora releases in the comfort of their own home. In this case, that tool is called pungi.

Pungi is a fairly simple tool to use. You give it the location of a kickstart file that defines what packages to include, repo definition, etc. Conveniently, such a file comes with the pungi distribution that reflects the default Fedora media. So it's really simple to just go to a terminal and do:

pungi -c /usr/share/pungi/rawhide-fedora.ks --destdir=/data --nosplitmedia --nosource

It will download the packages from a mirror, build the anaconda install image, and produce the ISO.

A little while later, you come back and have the ISO of a DVD sitting there for you, ready for your install testing!

Now, the usefulness of this tool is not just limited to building media from a pre-release tree. Say that you had an updates tree that you wanted to include. Just specify that as a repo in the kickstart file, and the updated packages will be automatically included on your install image. Or you have a specific set of packages you want to include on installable media (note that this tool is not for producing live CD's - there's another tool for that), then you can modify the ks file. Since I wanted default media for this purpose, I did not modify the ks file. However, if I were looking for media to actually install from (I do all network installs anyways), I would exclude packages that are on the media that I never use, and include packages that are not on the media that I think should be.

This went out on fedora-announce-list this morning:

Building on the recent success of the recent "gcc43 rebuild triage effort", we are pleased to announce the official re-launch of the Fedora Bug Triage Process!

Are you frustrated, because you would like to help to Fedora community, but you couldn't write a line of code if your life depended on it? You don't feel qualified to help with the Art project, and you can't translate documentation?

Do not despair. Anyone can be a bug triager. No special education or background is required in order to triage bugs. You do not even have to know anything about programming!

Bug triagers are the first line of defense for Fedora developers. We strive to make it easy for developers to focus on bugs that are worth their precious time (so that hopefully they will have more time for resolving your bugs :-)). We do this by performing simple tasks like requesting additional information to clarify reported problems and verify that the bug is filed correctly, and verifying the bug is not a duplicate of one already filed.

Have you ever reported a bug, but been frustrated because no one responded to it? Have you ever been annoyed by having your bug closed without ever receiving a single reply?

Are you looking for a meaningful way to contribute to Fedora that does not require you to be a developer or package maintainer? Do you have a genuine desire to help people? Do you want to learn more about a particular component within Fedora?

If so, then the triage team is for you!

There are two ways to get started. If you already feel comfortable triaging bugs you can start today by following the instructions at:

If you'd prefer a little training first, we are in the process of arranging some online training sessions and are waiting for people to specify the time that works best for them. We are planning to conduct sessions at various times that work for people. If you are already a Fedora contributor with wiki edit access, add your name to

If you are do not yet have wiki edit access, here are four different ways to make contact with us:

1) Create a wiki account by following the instructions here: and add your name to the wiki.
2) Subscribe to at and mention on the list that you are interested in attending a triage training session along with a preferred day and time.
3) Stop by #fedora-qa IRC channel on the Freenode server ( Someone is usually around that will be glad to help you get set up.
4) Come to our weekly IRC meeting on #fedora-meeting. Our current meeting schedule is here:

To show an example of what Fedora bug triagers do consider a recent project when we made a noticeable impact by triaging bugs for the mass-rebuild of packages using GCC 4.3. Not sure what GCC is? No problem. Suffice it to say that the entire collection of packages compiled with GCC (the C compiler used in Fedora) had to be rebuilt for a new version coming out in Fedora 9. Five hundred forty two individual source packages failed to rebuild automatically for one reason or another. The triage team reduced this to approximately 160 source packages that were true "failure to compile" errors. The other packages had different problems that were unrelated to the compiler. This first sweep by the triage team helped save release engineering and the package maintainers time, by seeing that the bugs got put in the right place.

There are lots of opportunities to make a noticeable difference as a bug triager. Come join us!

Here's the mail that I just sent out to fedora-devel-list and fedora-test-list. Now that this is out for (more) public consumption, love to see what the feedback is.

Hear ye, hear ye! There will be a special meeting of the Fedora BugZappers in our usual meeting slot, Wednesday 2008-03-12 17:00UTC in #fedora-meeting on freenode.

The purpose of this meeting is to solicit input on proposals for dealing with the current unmanageable backlog of bugs. In the long term, this backlog will cause Fedora irreparable harm, if it has not already. Our most valuable asset, the bug reporter, is feeling left out in the cold. Community triagers feel discouraged by what they see as a insurmountable task, thereby making the problem feed on itself. We have to act, and the time to do it is now.

To that end, I am proud to present two proposals, One has to do with dealing with the backlog that we have now, and the other has to do with making sure we never get into this situation again -- ever. We believe that these proposals are the right thing to do, and now is the right time to do them, right before a release.

I'd also like to give credit where it's due for these proposals. The primary author of both of them is John Poelstra, without whom many of the things that have been accomplished to date would not have been. In just a few short months, we've gone from having almost nothing formalized to having a formal bug workflow, and having formal plans of dealing with the backlog, both now and in the future.

It's important to note that these are PROPOSALS at the current time, and have not been approved in any way. I am expecting, and welcome, impassioned debate on these proposals. In the course of these debates, however, lets be civil with one another - we're allresponsible adults here. If you have comments or concerns about either of the proposals, there's a comments section at the bottom of both of them on the wiki, which I encourage you to use. Also, please come to the meeting and/or reply to this e-mail if you have comments. Please try to back up changes to the proposals with a specific example of where the proposed action is wrong/bad/whatever.

Also note that the framework of the proposals is there. The exact text to be found in bugs is still yet to be written, however that will be written in the next week or so. The text of both of the proposals follows. I realize that both this introduction and the proposals themselves are extremely long, but please read them! The wiki versions of these proposals can be found at:

Dogfish Head 120 Minute IPA

I'm sitting here at Standings, one of my favorite bars in NYC. Today, they had a special tapping of the DFH 120 Minute IPA, which I am drinking as I write this. This is a big IPA, 23% alcohol, 120 IBU's. I've had it in bottles before, but never on draft. The experience of having it on draft is quite different than bottles. In bottles, it tastes really sweet - on tap, none of that sweetness is there - it"s all bitterness and hops, which goes down WAY too easy. I just finished it, the pour was about half a wine glass. I could assuredly have another, I'm not feeling it. I will likely have another later, for now I'm having a Rockies Hazed & Infused :)

RSS feeds of bugs!

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Just figured that I'd point out here that to assist in bug triage, I've made some Feedburner feeds of new Bugzilla bugs - a shout out to Bill Nottingham for giving me the idea!

I hope that these ease your coming into triage nirvana :)

On FF on Linux, the web call button that I put on a few days ago looked fine. Then went to look at it in FF on Windows - it was so busted that you couldn't use it since it extended past the right of the sidebar of the blog, which FireFox on Fedora doesn't care about, but apparently on Windows it's a big deal.

Anyhow, it's fixed now, so that it does not extend beyond the side - I changed the style on the Grandcentral site. Still Flash, though.