Archive for August, 2007



August 30, 2007

So I’ve been at school leading a few events so I’ve finally returned to my desk. I should be around a lot more next week. I wanted to post a solution to a simple problem people have:

Many people have partitions mounted in their fstab as such:

/dev/hda1 /mnt/BSDPartition ext3 auto 0 0

However, the use of hd*, sd*, is not the proper way to mount partitions, but rather byUUID. I had always used /dev/hda1 to mount a partition because I didn’t know how to make a UUID. Turns out its rather easy in the command line. If I list the partitions, I get something like this:

freddy@sepa:~$ sudo fdisk -l

Device Boot Start End Blocks Id System
/dev/sda1 1 22568 181277428+ 83 Linux
/dev/sda2 22569 30349 62500882+ 83 Linux
/dev/sda3 30350 30401 417690 82 Linux swap / Solaris

My music, video, document partition is /dev/sda1 so I do the following:

freddy@sepa:~$ sudo vol_id /dev/sda1

I can then take the line and add something like this in /etc/fstab:

UUID=1ced8e6e-7ee4-450e-b572-012386e1dfc8 /mnt/BSDPartition ext3 auto 0 0


Warning: Use at your own risk, I am no expert at anything so I’m not liable for you messing up your system.

Also, you might notice the host name, there was talk about this on Aaron’s blog. All my computers are named after medical diseases. 🙂



August 17, 2007

I recently came back to school today and I was unhappy to see the RFID-disabled cards being issued to students. While this may seem like a smooth move on the part of the school, it disturbs me as I am unsure the level of vulnerability this system leaves me. There are several issues I have with this new “convenience” but I will only write about two.

  • The RFID chip is potentially damaging to other cards I have. This included my debit cards which could possibly get demagnetized (i.e. stop working) because of the RFID chip. I like my money, therefore I dislike something tampering with it.
  • There is a lack of transparency in the process. I can see why the administration could find RFID to be easier to use, but students do not know if their entering buildings is being logged, if their personal information is stored on the chip, how much information is being transmitted, if the data is encrypted etc.

You can read more about problems and concerns with RFID here. So in the interest of freedom and security, I went out and bought an RFID blocking wallet to protect myself and my personal security. Most people will probably think this is a bit extreme but seeing as I actually do care about privacy and freedom, I think that they are mistaken. Anyone with half a brain can get something like an RFID experiemental kit and find the frequency and read the data.

So I’ll keep my wallet and my freedom, how about you?



August 11, 2007

It seems that I generally like platforms that are open for developers. One example is Firefox which has become a great platform for developing new technologies. Most people use Firefox for web browsing but there is so much more that Firefox can do like RSS feeds, P2P sharing, and IRC. What is great is that there is a way for people to make dead useful applications on top of the Fx application as well as less critical applications like games for Fx. By being able to pull in weather, Ad Blocking, or wasting hours and hours of time stumbling the user is able to do more with their browser. How cool is it that people can be online and get a storm warning or the latest baseball headlines. I know several people who say they love Firefox simply for Stumble Upon without knowing more reasons why Firefox is better than other browsers. Its great to see people using free software because people have developed tools to run on top of it. Further, I was reading about AllPeers one time and read a statistic that ~10% of AllPeers users download Firefox specifically to use AllPeers. By building a platform for development, the Mozilla team is helping their own cause without too much effort. Now that doesn’t mean extensions and themes are perfect as they do conflict at times and make things crash but users are allowed the flexibility to browse as they wish.  I think that makes the headaches we get because of odd and untrackable crash reports worthwhile. I think its valuable that people don’t do *all* the work themselves and allow people to fill in their own vision for the project or make something they want to see in the application. This isn’t limited to Firefox, for example Facebook opened their platform to developers and got some great applications like “I can has Cheezburger” and “A Bunny Picture” while there where some useless applications like the million “Horoscope” applications or “Zombie Attack”.

Now I’m off to eat breakfast and attend the Ubuntu Chicago LoCo meeting followed by Chicago GNU/Linux. 😀


Rebranding? Not for me.

August 6, 2007

Just my response to recent post on the Ubuntu Planet:

At Tristan’s post about unifying the Ubuntu name, I would have to disagree. First, rebranding a release feels a lot like reinventing the wheel. I have seen phone companies and banks merge and spend a lot of time and resources saying “A is now the new B” or something foolish. There seems to be much more use for our time. Second, I don’t think of Ubuntu and the Desktop Environment of anything like that. Ubuntu to me is the Ubuntu project, it includes the art, the community, the teams, the packages etc. To a lesser extent it includes the DE. When I first started with Ubuntu, I hated the look and feel of it (before I found the KDE packages 🙂 ) and wanted to switch to something different but I got some great help online and people helped me through my problems. That to me is what Ubuntu is all about, not the naming. Third, the idea of Ubuntu with KDE or Ubuntu with Xfce doesn’t make sense to me; after all there is no Ubuntu GNOME (one could make the argument that since its the default there is no need to specify.) Fourthly, Kubuntu has a meaning, just like Ubuntu. Kubuntu means “toward humanity” if I recall correctly, which I think a lot of people like in the same way we talk about “I am who I am because of who we all are.” Lastly, I think there is enough work to do when advocating Ubuntu to someone. People ask what is Linux, what KDE, what is Ubuntu, why is this better, and having Ubuntu with Xfce seems to be counter productive (and longwinded) when we could just say Xubuntu.

Now back to work. Lunch break is over and one of the guys who works in the next room reads the Planet so I can’t be slacking. 🙂


In need of help

August 5, 2007

Dear Internet,

I’ve been trying to get this mail server running using postfix + MySQL + spamassassin and all the other fun crap removal that goes into mail servers. Here is the issue: I’m trying to get it to grab the MySQL database that on another machine. I map it using virtual addresses and it fails to connect. Since the mail server’s job is just to process the mail, sort out the crud, inject the mail with “checked for viruses” and pass it along, by not doing so I have a large problem. So if anyone on the web can help me out, I would be forever grateful. Just leave me a comment or any of my listed methods (I’ve followed enough howtos to make myself cry, so I’d prefer a human to talk to.) Like I said, any help would be greatly appreciated.

On a side note, I’ve been using Kopete for communication and I really like it so far. I have found one real annoyance, when I am away (or ignore a message) I find the messages are recorded until I start a new conversation. For example, I was away today and got messaged around 10 am and just got the original mail because I marked myself as available and got asked the same questions. Is there a cleaner / smarted way to get messages while away?

Thanks for any answers. 🙂