Tuesday, May 30, 2006

How to waste a holiday

This Memorial Day my daughter was with her mom, my acquaintances were with their families (or chose not to invite me to group picnics, which is equally likely), and I of course had the day off from work. So with all my chores done, and no interest in going out, I tossed a ball around with my dog for a while, and settled down in front of the computer. Predictably.

I decided that I was ready to yet again reinstall my auterytech server so that I could get webdav working, and to upgrade to a modern Postfix to take advantage of better security features. I copied off all the content and config files, and set about installing a vanilla Debian 3.1 distro. Damn Small Linux wasn't doing it for me anymore, causing severe headaches whenever I attempted to apt-get anything, and all application logging was dumped by default into the same file: /var/log/messages, making administrative troubleshooting a very messy affair.

So about 2 hours and a pair of tutorials on webdav and php, and I had a working server. After messing around with phpicalendar as a web viewer and Korganizer as a publisher, I was able to get my .mac calendar ported to my home server, and to boot I can update it from work with Sunbird. The phpicalendar app needs some tweaking, and I haven't added RBL blocking or my list of spammer/hacker IP addresses with iptables, so I can still have fun configuring for the next evening or two.

Between that and watching guys wipe out on their motorcycles on Google Video, I successfully wasted an entire day. Yeah me!

In other news, Stacey's grandparents should be coming down sometime soon to celebrate Stacey being out of school, or someone's birthday, or just for the hell of it. All perfectly good reasons to see Stacey. I believe I may have lost the email that had dates and times on it, so if you're out there Don, could you send that again?

Also, it's Habitat For Humanities time again. AEP is sponsoring another house frame building session at one of our lineman training facilities this Saturday. I plan on taking my mentee and two other teenage boys that are brothers of one of Stacey's friends. This will cost me a little for equipment (it's BYOH, so I need to get another hammer or two) and a lot in pain and suffering, one way or another. I could either injure myself digitally due to negligence, or I could last the whole day and pay for it later when I next try to get out of bed.

Lastly, Stacey's glasses seemed to have helped. She is no longer struggling to stay above water with schoolwork, particularly reading assignments. Her improved performance has, I believed, also improved her confidence and level of self worth. That's the way it should be, of course -- an accomplishment, then an increase in self-esteem.

Link of the day: Feed me better manifesto

Jamie Oliver is a pretty inspiring guy. His story has quickened me in my pursuit of opening a child care center, and healthy from-scratch meals will be on the list of improvements to standard child care that Mittens Daycare will provide. (And yes, that's an official, registered name of the LLC I just formed with the help of my lawyer, good friend, and next door neighbor, Eric. Look for more announcements regarding that in the next week or two.)

Monday, May 15, 2006

Compare and Contrast

Streaming video will "choke the Internet"

Dark Fiber

The funny part here is that Bell's chief architect has the last name "Kafka", leading to such phrases in the article as "according to Kafka". "Your Internet bill will go up to $112 per month if you want to watch streaming video, according to Kafka." Oh yeah? Back in my day, you could be executed by the state without having the charges against you stated, according to Kafka. You could be transformed into a giant bug in the middle of the night, only to have your manager arrive at your house and demand that you go to work, according to Kafka.

The statements of Bell South's Kafka are no different than the statements by Franz Kafka. The world's controlling entities can enforce arbitrary punishment on the innocent, in this case lining their wallets with money they've stolen from their customers for upgrades that have already been performed.

In other news, last night I watched the first horror movie to severely freak me out since 28 Days Later. The movie was The Descent, which achieved its freak-out factor by the slow paced build-up and incremental escalation of problems. The main sequence of the movie takes place in the Appalachian area in North Carolina. Having lived in NC for a good part of my life, I can accurately say that there really are freaky albino cannibals living in the caves.

Contrast that to a recent popular horror/suspense flick, Hostel, where a premise with promise is completely ruined with bad dialog and weak caricatures who you are unsympathetic with. Go ahead, cut his Achilles tendon, what do I care?

I would recommend against seeing either movie unless you, like myself, learned to read by flipping through Fangoria.