Remembering those less fortunate

It is the time of year in the Northern Hemisphere where many of us give thanks for living another year, the harvests that have come in, and the friends and family that we have. It is also the time of year that we try to do what we can for those who don't have it as easy, safe, or nice as we might. It is also the time of year where I begin to go maudlin because there is so many who need help be it just a Teddy Bear to sleep with at night or an extra pair of socks to keep their feet warm. So when I was reading through the BBC today, the above picture brought forth the usual feelings of helplessness and sadness that have always predominated my Winters.

For what I try to do (buy 2 OLPC laptops for some child to have a better future, test various kid learning games so that K12LTSP is better, etc) how can I help a child who cries himself asleep at night thinking no one loves him, without at least a teddy bear to talk to about what life could have been. Well today all I can think of is that if you end up reading this, please take a moment and try to help someone who needs it. Remember those whose lives are short, filled with pain and loneliness, and try to do something for them. Even if its buying a teddy bear for a kid in Intensive Care at a hospital.

Feature Request for Perl7: UTF-X preprocessor

One of the biggest problems with perl5 is that it isn't enough like line noise at times. Oh people say that a true Perl wizard only outputs line-noise, but it only looks like a limited segment of ASCII-7 bit noise. You really can't write code with Ĕ all the time.. but what if you were able to set up a preprocessor and you were able to just set up a many:1 relationship between various 'line-noise' and text/keywords/etc.


print "HelloWorld!"



in this case " could be replaced by ⅝ and ‡ and who knows what other text.

Once we are able to meet this, we will be one step closer to meeting Perl is line noise!


Response to lamonitor editorial


Richardson's disinterest leaves bad taste behind

What began as an upbeat reception ended in disappointment a week ago Monday in Santa Fe when presidential candidate Bill Richardson ignored two requests to address his position on Los Alamos National Laboratory.

Given the financial uncertainties plaguing LANL and Sandia National Laboratories, we thought the former secretary of energy and our current governor would jump at the chance to clear up the conflicting messages he's recently expressed on the subject.

We were wrong.


Actually I think Richardson had a very good reason to not answer the questions. One, Bill Richardson got royally screwed by Los Alamos National Labs when he was Secretary of Energy. The various security problems and the passive aggressive way the lab shared data with DOE made things worse and made his testimony in front of Congress laughable when LANL management told him everything was 'contained' and after his testimony 'updated' him that the proverbial (and previously non-existant) poop was going to be in the NY Times the next day.

The second reason is that NNSA was not a great solution for the problems at LANL. Adding another layer of bureaucracy, political agendas, and indirection does not bring more sunlight onto a moldy place. Moving the groups now under NNSA over to DOD or finding ways to remove the layers that already existed above it would have done wonders in getting to the heart of the problems at the labs.


Legit Linux Codecs In the U.S.

An interesting article from Computer Security source Cerias about how hard it is to get legal codecs for Linux (and the various BSD's) to play their training and other videos. My hope is that Fluendo will be able to release the rest of the codec's needed to watch h.264 and DVD items soon. I have bought a bunch from them to help support the company, but was disappointed that I couldn't play a DVD yet. Oh well... back to coding my game applets.

Legit Linux Codecs In the U.S.


In Honor of Fedora 8

I saw a werewolf with a Compviz menu in his hand
Walking through the streets of Boston in the rain
He was looking for a place called Fed Ho Ro's
Going to get a big dish of packages Yum mein

Ah-ooooo, werewolves of Fedora
Ah-ooooo, werewolves of Fedora

If you hear him howling around your Server door
You better not let him in
Little old admin got mutilated late last night
Werewolves of Fedora again


They're the hairy-faced gents who ran amok in Swansea,
Lately they've been overheard in Raleigh
You better stay away from them
They'll rip your deb's out, Mark
Ha, I'd like to meet his lawyer


Well, I saw David Jones walking with the DVD
Doing the werewolves of Fedora
I saw Jesse Keating walking with the DVD
Doing the werewolves of Fedora
I saw a werewolf making a Respin at Trader Vic's
His LiveCD was perfect

Ah-ooooo, werewolves of London
Ah-ooooo, werewolves of London

Original Lyrics by LeRoy Marinell, Waddy Wachtel, and Warren Zevon
Mutilated as a Parody by Stephen Smoogen


Meme Train 002

So I found out about the great Stupid Linux rater, and had to try it out.. sadly I am not as cool as Dave Jones, but was more popular than Natalie Portman. I was also more popular than Val Henson who was the creator of the ranking software. Ms Henderson is the coolest Linux (TM) kernel hacker I have ever met, even surpassing Alan Cox (though not as cool as Telsa, Alan's better half).

There that should increase the rankings of myself and Val :).


Obituary: Great Uncle Wilfrid Newland

Been sick this week so I am rather behind on blogging. I found out on Sunday that my great Uncle Wilfrid had died. Wilfrid Newland (my mother's mother's younger brother) was one of my last links to the English side of my family. Every time I met him, he always came across as Britain from long ago. He had been born in 1917, and had served in World War II as a commando... possibly in the same unit as the actor Christopher Lee (having read about some of Mr Lee's exploits during the war.. they were in the same area doing the same kind of work.) After the war, he had been in various 'diplomatic channels' doing 'overseas' work of various sorts.

I would remember my Grandmother reading a letter or two of his from various parts of the world, and I remember how frostily he would treat my Grandfather whenever he came across the pond to check on his sister (Grandmother had married down in class to a chauffer's son ). The big worry came around 1979 or so when he was 'assigned' to Iran and had to be evacuated with the rest of the British embassy during the revolution.

I remember him visiting in 1987 or so, doing his morning regimental walk, doing 1 arm pushups, and showing how to drive a car in case of being chased by bandits (which in some ways seemed to be the way he always drove in America...) He always had his tea in the afternoon, and brought his sister Turkish delight from across the pond (though never too much as he detested the stuff). He is always what I thought of as an English gentleman, and now I wish him a well earned rest.


Stealth Force Beta ... a new generation

So I was walking our new dog during the evening along one of the Albuquerque arroyos. Most of these are concrete lined behemoths that are filled with skaters during the non-rainy season.. and they can be filled with 10 foot of rapidly moving water (and any slow skaters) during the rainy season. Along the path there are multiple holes where various drainage tubes join in from various roads and such. One along the way has been very tempting because it looks like it is about 8 foot in diameter and goes under one of the roads.

As we were walking along the path, two lanky youth came out with mining caps, flashlights and what looked like a piece of paper they were sketching on. They saw me and got the usual "Ah shoot we are busted." look that one gets when you are being looked down by an old guy and a 45 kg German Shephard. I figured the best way to break the ice was to ask them if they found anything interesting, and they ran up and showed me the map. It was basically an outline they had done by timing their walking under the road.. it seems the tube goes quite a distance as they had timed themselves at 15 -20 minutes on the far hand. I told them to be careful because one can get caught in a tunnel with no-one knowing where you are... and alluded to being caught under an Elevator back at New Mexico Tech. They both looked at me and said "You were in Stealth Force Beta?" To which I had to sadly answer "Nah, I was never that cool."

Stealth Force Beta was an underground organization that pulled some cool pranks at New Mexico Tech when I went to school there. It had become a SlashDot article a couple of years ago when the Statue of Limitations ran out on any possible 'crimes' that their stunts might have been construed as. Most of the items were on the orders of "Hey you know the size of the rooms in this building would say that there is a large hidden room behind this wall. Hey cool there is a large hidden room behind here and a set of tunnels.. lets map them." And then some of their stunts did have some administrators pulling their hair about how their office got completely turned 90 degrees overnight (though that may have been the work of another group). Myself, I was more like Stealth Force Gamma Delta Epsilon.. I would hear about things and then go find out myself during some time when I had insomnia and nothing to do at 3am in the morning during the summer. That was how I got stuck under an elevator.

Anyway the two college students I ran into had both heard of Stealth Force Beta and were just doing the same thing.. there was a tube and they needed to map it. Thankfully they got out before the rain hit (and they didnt find any bodies that sometimes show up in rain tubes when someone needs to hide their hit.) Anyway, it was good to see that the spirit of hacking was known outside of NMT.


Getting on the Meme Train

In reading Seth's and other Fedorans blogs I found this. I have thus joined my first meme train. I do not believe any of the below, except where it describes me :).

Your Brain Usage Profile:

Auditory : 52%
Visual : 47%
Left : 45%
Right : 55%

smooge, you are moderately right-hemisphere dominant and have even preferences between auditory and visual processing, traits that might make people perceive you as "slightly off balance."

You are most likely to be slightly disorganized, a "dreamer" and a person who focuses more on the end result than the immediate task at hand. You are creative and spontaneous if somewhat lacking in direction and focus. You are a learner who is generally patient and a person for whom time is an ally, not an enemy.

You are more passionate than most people with regard to life and learning and recognize your own intuitive abilities. You have sufficient goal-direction to satisfy yourself and guarantee success without being or feeling driven. You are willing to be reflective about yourself and others without getting lost in rumination.

The balance of your sensory modes allows for both learning and expressive capabilities achieved by few. You are active and "seeing" while retaining an equally strong propensity for being reflective which slows you down a little but allows for a more comprehensive perception and analysis of situations and problems. You do not spend excessive time analyzing since you mostly trust your perceptions.

In all likelihood, you have a tendency to overcommit and cannot under- stand why others get upset since you operate on a different "time table" than they do. Your organizational abilities are frequently overwhelmed by the stimulation seeking and active nature of your mind as well as by the tendency to create new categories and gloss over details, making categorization and classification almost impossible at times.

To the extent that your career path allows for creativity and abstraction as well as a bit of disorganization, you should find yourself equipped to handle any learning that is required. Your own personal adjustment to your style should come naturally although you are likely to feel frus- trated by your own limited discipline and often wonder "Why?"