Linux is going all schizo on us!

This post is way out of date, but what the hell, I think it is still valid.

ZDNet has provided some wonderful troll fodder in the form of the article “Linux and its identity crisis“.

So, it seems that Don Reisinger ran off and read some pissing and moaning between the various scheduler viewpoints, and tried to make a mountain out of a molehill.

Here is my review of the article:
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Packaging ideas gone wrong

Well, the other day I got a package in from ExaGrid Systems, for their disk-based backup solution. Normally, you can get crap-loads of this stuff every day. Usually, you get the standard window envelope addressed to the systems or network administrator. This will include a short white paper talking about how great their product is, and then a little ad letter or reply card with a URL to go to for more information. Just the standard stuff.

Now, the package I got from ExaGrid promised so much more. How? Not because the packaging actually promised anything, but the package it came it screamed schwag!

Note: I have come to use the term schwag to refer to promotional items given away by companies, usually at conferences or other gatherings, where Wiki defines schwag as referring to low-grade marijuana while promotional items are swag. I have linked to their swag definition, but I will still call it schwag.

Now, this box said a flash-based thumb-drive, cool pens, or at least a lanyard, something… anything with the company’s name and logo. Here, look at the box and tell me that it doesn’t screen iPod Nano!

Back of the box

So, I grab this thing, run back to the office, close the door, and prepare to receive my ill-gotten goods. But there was one small problem, the thing felt too lightweight. Maybe it wasn’t and iPod, but just a 1GB flash drive, thats still good. So, I flip the box over, and make sure it was addressed to me ( I don’t want someone tracking down some software or hardware they ordered ) and yes, it was for me. There was an interesting thing about this box, here look at it…

Front of the box

Did you see it? Yes, they are environmentally “thoughtful” that they included a little notice that the packing was recyclable. That was nice, at least they didn’t ship whatever it is in a plastic box or something not as recyclable as cardboard.

Special Note

So, I break the seal, open the box and find…

What was in the box

Yeah, that was it. Just a product info card. Hell, not even that. It’s a one-sided card that mentions their software, the online presentation and white paper. Beneath that, was an Amazon logo on a business card that said to register for the web demo at the URL on the “enclosed insert card.” Oh, the insert card did say you could register to win a $100 gift certificate from

So, I am just wondering, but couldn’t ExaGrid done a better job for the environment by just sending a post-card, or an envelope with the info card inside?

Thanks ExaGrid, but I think you missed the point.

Trailer park in space?

There is a nice little article at IEE Spectrum about the failure of the ISS on-board computers. Here is a quick summary, with my own analysis of information from the article.
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Online black holes

Friday, September 15th, 2007, almost saw the creation of an online black hole. Before going any further, we must first look at the types of online black holes.

Micro Black hole
AKA: black hole of self-reference. This is where an article makes a direct reference back to itself, usually as support for, or an example of, what it is arguing about.

Example: A Something Awful article complaining about logical fallacies and poor argumentation practices used on Something Awful, with a link to itself as an example of such crappy argumentation.

Effect: Usually minor, such as the server hosting the page goes down or looses the page due to drive failure.

Mini Black hole
AKA: black hole of cross-reference.
An article written on a site, which supports articles, which references a news-headline site in its argument, which that headline site then links to the article.

Example: A Something Awful article criticizing all of the dick-heads and losers participating in flame-wars on the Fark site, following by a link and comment section on the Fark site about the article in question.

Effect: Loss of a server, most likely disappeared into the ether, sometimes takes a few user with it.

Major Black hole
AKA: black hole of circular reference.
This is when an article makes reference to one or more headline site, then one links to the article, which the other links to the other headlines’ site link to the article.

Example: Article on Something Awful criticizing Fark’s online comment threads and the flame-wars that can erupt. Slashdot then posts a link to the article. Finally, Fark posts a link to the Slashdot article and comments thread about the SA article.

Effect: Major loss. Can include servers, users, and small towns.

Now, Fridays near black hole was caused by this article about online criticism posted on Something Awful. This article was then referenced by the online news and comment site, Fark. Now, the only thing which stopped the formation of the black hole was the fact that the article itself did not directly reference, or link to, Fark.

Had this happened, most likely a server, and maybe a few registered users, would have disappeared. Has this happened before? One can not fully prove either way, but I doubt that the mysterious “Drew Curtis” has spilled as many beers on the servers as has been joked about. Maybe if the only beer around was Pabst Blue Ribbon, but since MC Router has started drinking, there is no way to find enough PBR to spill into a beer glass, much less a server.

I’z in ur phone, txtng your bff

Yesterday evening, I received the following message on my phone from my best friend:

Dood. I has a
toy. Look up
tmobile mda
bwah hah hah

Yes, he now had the MDA, which you can read about here:

Oh gods!

Friggin mixed case passwords!

So. I had to add a user to the SAMBA share here today. Since this is something I only do once every 6 months or so (we do have that many new people), it is always a little adventure.

Step 1: Add user to Unix

Step 2: Add user via smbpasswd -a {username}

Step 3: Add newly created user to list of valid users in /etc/samba/smb.conf file

Step 4: Restart Samba

Step 5: Curse myself for not stopping a service running on a machine I was setting up, because that service was running from the share and hung up

Step 6: Try to restart service

Step 7: Curse service and restart machine to get service running

Step 8: Test user on SAMBA

Step 9: Stare at the screen while it doesn’t work

Step 10: Change password to same as username to test again, still doesn’t work

Step 11: Startup webmin on server

Step 12: Go through settings of known good account and new one

Step 13: Add user to special group for access

Step 14: Delete user from Unix and Samba, re-add, this time with correct group settings

Step 15: Curse because it doesn’t work, still

Step 16: Begin single step “fixes” to try and get it to work

Step 17: Grow increasingly frustrated at entire ordeal

Step 18: Reset password to username and give it one last try, because I am started to see double

Step 19: Rejoice! It worked! What the hell? It worked?

Step 20: Remember that SMB messaging converts all passwords to LC, then sends them, curse myself for using mixed case password for user account

Step 21: Go on blog, rant about situation to calm down!

Well, have fun!

How to save the Zune

Well, it seems that everybody is jumping on the “Zune is dead” bandwagon. Roughly Drafted has an article looking at Zune’s real market share, and now ComputerWorld is getting in the act, but they have the five things Microsoft must do to make Zune a success.

Well, I have my own idea about how they can save the Zune, and it a lot like what ComputerWorld is encouraging.

That’s it, have fun.