Red Hat Summit/FudCON final thoughts...

I was going to post a recollection of things.. but its been a weird week back at home (we have been taking the dog to the vet due to some skin sickness.).. so its all gone in my head now. I want to thank Red Hat for sponsoring me and I appreciate all the help people were on making sure I didn't get lost in Boston (I did once on the way to the hotel on Saturday.. some nice Boston University students helped me get to the train which while just outside of the Saturday place.. I somehow went left instead of right and ended up in lala land.)

I do regret not meeting Clint Savage, I have taken several courses from his employer Gurulabs and wanted to go over what they are doing in the future (also I want to get a hold of nice blue sillyputty they give out at the classes in Utah.. ). And I wanted to meet the CIO of Red Hat to go over how they are learning and using ITIL for methods.. but in the long run, I really really enjoyed myself, and will now get back to playing with cfengine/puppet/BfCFG2 for some projects.

Voter Turnout for Fedora

I am very disappointed by the voter turnout for the elections. I will say that every time I vote for it, I am a bit confused by the voting system. I think for the number of possible voters in the system (4096) having something like "pick 3 out of 5" is going to be 'good' enough... or having a simple choose x candidates, or none-of-the-above. However, I read through the docs (once again) and figured out how to vote for people... and did it.

When I found out that only 250 people voted, I asked if we could get a breakdown of who voted.. I wanted to see why some people were more 'motivated' to vote than others, but forgot that such a question is emotionally charged (did Red Hat press people to vote? did dell.com press people not to vote? did a gang of wild gutsy gibbons come in and sway the vote?) Duh.. human emotions are hard, can I go back to hacking?


Odd problems in Fedora 9

  1. Mouse keeps jumping from left handed to right handed on home computer. The system will log in with a left handed mouse, and will continue to be so until the screensaver kicks in. Then it becomes a right handed mouse (and seems to be slower as if its doing a double shift of every mouse click). Nothing in the logs that I can find to say why.. The only way to fix it is with going into the mouse menu and telling it is a left handed mouse again. No idea what to file that under.
  2. Weird problem on laptop with NetworkManager. Either I fill up the logs with wlan0 disconnects when the box is on the wired network in the docking station.. or every now and then I get a bunch of killswitch logs and the rsyslogd gets killed by millions of NetworkManager messages.

    [Bug 448889] NM enters endless loop, floods /var/log/messages

  3. Had problems with my own virtual machines in my home directory versus in default place. Selinux was having some issues, but I worked with the selinux guys on a policy to do something different.. and it worked out fine. [I always go into a release to learn new things about Selinux.. so thats cool]
  4. I need to work on Fedora-Sparc it would seem... I am getting a Sparc box and I am not sure that I want Solaris11 on it :).


FudCon to the Rescue!

So it was one of those "chose a career day" at summer camp, and the kid wanted to be a "code worker". So what should he wear? The questions of do code workers have uniforms and such came up.. so I lucked out as Seth had given me a small FudCON t-shirt last week. So my kid is in a standard code-worker uniform: t-shirt from some random trade-show, shorts, and flip-flops. I only wish I had gotten an OLPC as that would have finished it out for him.


The Andromeda Pain [Spoilers]

On Saturday, I had to leave FudCON early so I could catch an early plane from Providence RI. Taking the T commuter on the weekend seems to be a packed occurrence.. even without a game it was pretty full. [The conductor for our end of the train sat next to me on the last run, and was saying he had been running up and down all day... ] When I got out at Providence, I went to get a cab, but the driver said it would cost me 3.00 to get there and I only needed to walk a couple of blocks.. so I did and got lost :). Not too bad, the big issue was that there was construction and I kept going to the wrong hotel. It was a nice experience, the downtown river is set up for Naples gondoliers (and smells much nicer than Naples)... so I watched that for a bit. When I got to the hotel, I was really beat and laid down and watched whatever looked appealing. It was there that I got caught up in the A&E movie "The Andromeda Strain" where they take Micheal Crichton's book and try to make it into a 6+ hour series.

I had read some painful reviews of the movie, and it surpassed most of them. I switched between channels but I can only watch so much high-stakes Poker... and I didn't want to turn on the computer and I wanted to save my book reading for the next day's flight. In the end, I kept coming back to the "Andromeda Pain" and coming up with a list of where this was really broken. I liked the actors for the most part, and they seemed to be making as much of what was broken, but the editing and the story had so many problems.. it was hard for them to keep a straight face in some scenes.
  1. My number one peeve is.. if you have to use time-travel to save your story.. you should start from ground zero. Time travel is really really hard to do without coming up with general paradoxes, not alone large ones. As in, if the future Earth is being wiped out by some sulphur based lifeform, would they use basic chemistry and come up with a Silver based chemical to break it down (aha what I learned from Fedora 9... silver reacts violently to sulphur)... or create a wormhole device that will send back in time to the time when 'Bacterus Infernus' (some bacteria that is going to be wiped out when the US starts deep-vent mining..) especially when they know that by doing so they probably help set up the events of it wiping out the future Earth.
  2. If you are going to stage an assassignation of your lower end goons at the end of the movie so they won't talk, make sure it will pass general examination that anyone watching 2 CSI episodes would know about now. Don't use a silenced gun and then plant it on the one person especially when the shot angles and burn residue is not going to work.
  3. If you are going to wipe out all the witnesses (e.g. the scientists who were stopping the plague in your super secret CDC location)... don't do it by setting the lab to self-destruct with its internal nuke especially when you learned earlier that the life-form mutates massively with radiation.
  4. Originally, the plague starts in Utah, and becomes a pathogen that interacts via people, air, and water.. in order to keep the tension up, we have it riding a storm.. which must be somehow affected by the wormhole as it is going East to West.. heading towards Las Vegas and eventually California where the President has sent his family for safe-keeping. Fronts head west to east due to lots of factors.. and anyone who watches the evening news is going to see that.
  5. If you are going to put a nuke on a plane make sure it looks like a nuke that every other movie has used. Don't put a single sidewinder on a jet and make it out as a kiloton strength nuke.
  6. If your nuke goes off... make sure you have 2 windstorms pushing and pulling the air to and from the blast. And yes, if you have a storm from going East to West... people to the southwest should be affected by the fallout versus just being all fine.
  7. ASCII is 7 bit and not 8 bit. If your time-travelling geeks from the future are going to send a message back in time... please send it in something a bit clearer than alternating molecules of rhobedium and potassium (or something). A carved record works just as well.
  8. If you are going to store your virus that you stole from your own lab.. don't store it on the International Space station... right next to where the Sozuz capsule connects.. I don't think the Russians or the Japanese are going to not miss your secret lab there.
  9. If the CDC does have these sort of labs all around the country in case of mysterious plague.. make sure you have a physicist, a mathematician, a chemist, and a computer scientist on your team.. having 4 'medical' doctor/scientists try to piece all that together could have destroyed the world.
The story seemed to be a mashup of every left-wing conspiracy theory I have ever heard about the government, the military, the press, etc. It was to the point where the only acceptable theory was that it was written by a room of right-wing writers who were trying to lampoon every "Social Liberal" conspiracy theory they could google up. For a movie really trying to be "The Stand" it was almost too painful to watch (well I did stick it out to the final "gotcha" where we see that the time loop is firmly going to happen.. and the future is forced to be destroyed).


Fudcon Reports in reverse order

I am currently at Boston University after 2+ days and finally have some time to blog. It has been a blast.. and I have lots to cover in a couple of blogs probably Monday (when I get sleep.) I would like to thank Red Hat once again for making sure I could make it here. It was great to see so many people I only knew from IRC or had not seen since 2001 when I left Red Hat.

I will say that the most common comment that came to me when I ever met someone that I did not know "Wow, you don't look like anything I expected"
  1. Max Spevack is not 6 foot 2.
  2. John Puelma does look like Rick Astley
  3. Yingbull is not a Chinese Cowboy from Texas
  4. Seth Vidal is a really nice person :).


Going to FudCon Boston!

Well it looks pretty certain that I will be going to FudCon Boston this year. I want to thank Red Hat (Max Spevack and Paul Frields especially) for making this possible this year. I would also like to thank my employer University of New Mexico, for letting me have the time off to do this.

I will be manning the Fedora booth for a good portion, and talking up EPEL with people. I am going through the old storage bins for classic Red Hat t-shirts. I hope they will be acceptable wear (I won't be wearing the Red Hat Mirrors shirt.. I am not sure anyone wants to know the size of my internet pipe whatever that means).

Hope to see lots of people who I only know via IRC and email.. plus see if I can finally get a finished version of my treatise on Red Hat naming history.. I got 2/3 of the way through last time and threw it away because it was getting rather repetitive and rather tall in the telling (in Jun 1998, the memo-list had another flame war about naming conventions... causuality listings were 1 developer and 8 marketing people. The smell of burnt pompadours filled the complex for weeks.)

Ketchup: Back From Carolina

Well, the kid and I survived the trip to Carolina even though the heat wave and other events seemed to conspire against us. I had hoped to go on some nature hikes but with heat index's over 110 it was pretty much a stay indoors and spend time with the grand-parents. Thankfully we didn't kill each other though I believe we were coming close at the end :).

Good Things We Did
  1. Showed how to make a camp-fire from natural items. Granddad showed how to get cedar bark, twigs, how to make a fire circle, and what order to put materials on the embers. However, he had to cheat because his flint and steel were at the other grand-kids... and his other spark making stuff was too much of a fire threat.
  2. Went on a short boat trip and saw snapper fish, some fish, and got chased by mud-swallows for going near their nests. Didn't get to play pirate though and hide treasure.. the heat was getting too much.
  3. Got to camp out with the kid for one night. Well it was a camper versus a tent.. but it was nice to pretend we were on safari.
  4. The area has changed a lot. My old high school is now an intermediate school, and the 'new' high school is at least 100% larger. I took the kid to my elementary school and saw that most of the places we were sure had ghosts had been torn down.
  5. Marshmellows! The campfire ended with spooky stories and got to roast a bag of marshmellows. We tried to cook over the fire, but the amount of time it took was longer than attention spans :).

Things To Avoid
  1. Walnut Grove Plantation. When I was young, we would go there and see various exhibits about making fabrics and life in the 1700's. While not as lively as HopeWell Furnace, it was fun to learn how to make dies and such. It would seem that most of the things I remembered were only available once a year now. We got there at opening time, and were told to wait while they got ready. Then when we got in, we were told we had missed the opening tour and the next one would be in 50 minutes.. I was less than impressed with the Southern hospitality. The tour was short and only talked about a limited list of items per room. The "Do you have any questions" kept stumping the guide. The old ghost stories were no longer told since the 'blood stain' had been disproven, and the guides seemed more interested in getting back to the air-conditioning than explaining how things were done. The kids words summed it up: "Blech".
  2. Humidity and heat make for a broken Smooge. I have had a bad eye problem since 1997 which leads to little 'blow-out' patches in the layer above the retina. Almost on queue, 24 hours after I got to the Carolinas.. I got a bad headache, and pop there goes my left eye again. Thankfully this one is not in the central area so didn't affect driving too much.
  3. Television.. We don't have commercial TV or cable at the house.. and I got to remember why. While there was some good tv out there (We liked Ben-10).. the amount of crap being foisted for "Kung-Fu Panda", "Hulk", etc was amazing. The nice thing was that Grandma's video collection is extensive and I could take a break with my favorite Autistic hero: Sherlock Holmes.
That's about it. I really wanted to see my sister in Tennessee, but schedules just didn't line up this year. Hopefully next year. It is nice to be back in New Mexico, even if my allergies fired up as soon as the plane went below 10,000 feet :).


Zombies in the Playground

Day X in South Carolina... temperatures over 100, humidity over 100... Fedora 9 not installing on old desktops.... sleep needed..

But we have a new meme to try!

You are in a mall when zombies attack. You have:

  1. One weapon
  2. One song blasting on the speakers
  3. One famous person to fight along side you.


  1. Sawed off semi-auto shotgun
  2. Blue Oyster Cult: Fire of Unknown Origin
  3. HellBoy (Ron Perlman)

1. Sawed off semi-auto shotgun.