DAT Stuff

Random thoughts and observations from DAT

The Fedora Experiment

I noticed recently that Fedora Core 5 includes Xen (or at least makes it easier to install). I hadn’t used my Debian installation for a while, so I decided to wipe it and install Fedora. After I found the network install (boot.iso) and struggled a little to figure out the full URL I needed to enter for it to find packages, the installation was off and running.

Similar to Debian, it installed some packages I didn’t want, but the installation was fairly painless. It ran a long time, but I’m sure a large part of that was downloading packages. I actually started the installation twice, but the first time I entered a location in Norway (mostly because I had a better idea what path I needed to enter) and the downloads were taking forever. On the second attempt I found a server at NC State, and the installation went much quicker. It would be nice if the installer provided some assistance in identifying a fast mirror and the necessary path.

I did encounter two small problems:

  1. When it installed the grub bootloader, it incorrectly identified the windows partition, so windows would not boot. After digging around on the internet, I figured out how to modify the grub commands to make it work.
  2. After booting to Fedora and logging in to the Gnome UI, I ran the software update tool. Surprisingly, there were tens if not hundreds of packages that needed to be updated. I kicked off the process and it ran for at least an hour before I left for work. When I got home I was able to reboot and everything ran fine, so at least the update ran smoothly

More observations to come…

Verizon *228

I learned a new trick yesterday. Apparently if you dial *228, you can update the software on your phone (option 1?). I’ve seen people advocate doing this update every month to keep up with the latest changes. I don’t know if this is unique to Verizon, but this is the first I’ve heard of it. I’ve had a LG VX4500 since 3/2005 and have been very unhappy with the network coverage. Maybe if I had known about this I could have updated the software and maybe it would have helped. But now it’s too late to tell. I dropped the phone in the lake a couple weeks ago and it hasn’t worked since. It fell off my belt (clip and all) into 2 inches of water. It was only there a few seconds, and I pulled it out in time to see it’s dying words before the screen faded. I tried to resuscitate it, but to no avail. I took it apart, without undoing any screws, and let it dry out for a few days; I even tried charging the battery after that but it never came back to life. I’m currently researching to find out how to replace it. The most likely candidates at this point are the Samsung i730 and Verizon XV6700 (made by HTC).

Here is a story about another feature of *228 that might help as well — updating the roaming information on the handset that should be done regularly.

On their FAQ, Verizon suggests doing the “Preferred Roaming List” update every three months or whenever you change pricing plans

Less del.icio.us, more wiki

I love del.icio.us, and I’ve used it extensively as a way to quickly bookmark things that I want to be able to find on both my home and work computers. Alas, the network gods at Wachovia have blocked access to the site from the corporate network, so it looks like it’s time to find something else. I’ve started working on a rails project that I can use, but until that’s finished I guess I’ll have to use my wiki.

Ruby Virus?

Looking back at previous posts, I can’t believe I haven’t mentioned Ruby or Rails yet. I guess I did post a few things on my wiki back in December and January, but nothing here.

I recently discovered radrails, and when I tried to create a rails project with it, my antivirus program barked:

Of cource, when I try to view the virus information, there’s nothing there. I Googled for “spy.ruby.ka” and found only one page, which indicated that the virus signature was just added yesterday.

Let the Flexing Begin

In my last post about Flex, I mentioned that there was a non-commercial license available. Well, I took the time to apply, and after several weeks (after I had given up hope, really) I got an email that I had been granted a license. The email contained a one-time link to the adobe store where I could buy Flex 1.5 and Flex Builder for the cost of shipping & handling. The online store didn’t handle the transaction correctly, but after contacting customer service a totally free copy was on its way to my house.

The CDs arrived this week, and I installed Flex Builder last night. When I find time to experiment with it I’m excited to see what I can produce…

MoneyTrail

I got an idea for a web site — MoneyTrail.com. The domain is taken but not active.

My idea is to write something in the margin of a bill to drive people to the website. The web site would have a way for the person to identify a bill and see where it’s been. Then they could add their own information:

  • name
  • location
  • how they got the currency, or other comments

I had this idea last week, but didn’t bother to check Google. Today I discovered that the idea has its own Wikipedia topic and the news page on Where’s George shows that it’s had major media coverage since 1999 (USA Today, Money, CNN).

Cubicle Art

I’m not sure it really qualifies as art, but over the course of a year at work, my coworkers and I had a constantly changing display of action figures on top of our cubicles. Some days were more creative than others, with the scene changing several times. Other days were fairly static, with the figures hardly moving at all. Mike Martindale got some pictures to give you an idea, as did James Collins. I know several of the scenes were my creation, but I’m not sure I can take credit for all of them.

The eyes in the background are those of my daughter Serena. They were enlarged using The Rasterbator (originally here).

Many thanks to James and Mike for capturing the images and adding the narrative.

Wacky Wiki

I have a much longer post in the works (mentally) on a related topic, but I had to get this thought out…

One of the main things I look for in the software that will run my web sites is something that (once installed) I can completely manage through the browser. I’ll accept that software upgrades may require working at the command line, but if I want to change content or layout, don’t make me edit files or muck around in the code.

For that reason, I think my use of MediaWiki may come to an end. I need to check out the new version (I’m using 1.4.x, and 1.5.4 is available), but from what I’ve seen in the few configuration changes I’ve made, I can’t imagine it being satisfactorily improved in the new version. The latest frustration point (changing the contents of the navigation sidebar) has been fixed in 1.5, so we’ll see…

Sysinternals Freeware

I’ve been looking for a replacement for the built-in task manager, and I just found a good (free) one called Process Explorer. The Sysinternals Freeware site looks like it has a number of other good utilities as well.

My candy is trying to tell me something

Just now I ate a few Dove dark chocolates (very tasty)…

On the inside of the wrapper, they have quotes. The first one said “Find your passion.” I didn’t think much of it until I opened the next one, which said “Live your dreams.” Does my candy know something I don’t?

I better not read too much into it; the next one said “Be mischievous. It feels good.”

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