Friday, June 30, 2006

Itunes and DRM

I recently recieved a marketing email from apple touting the wonders of itunes 6, trying to entice me as an itunes5 user to make the upgrade. Untill I can use the media I purchase on the devices I use every day I have no desire to upgrade. My response.


“Along with all those wonderful features I get completely unusable music and videos. I can’t play it on my linux only laptop (cant use a mac laptop because it only has one mouse button, and windows is just flat out unusable for both stability and ui).

“What if I want to play my music on something other than an IPod in 10 years? Woops, can’t do that either. Integrate my playlists with a mythTV box, nada. I know you like your vendor lock in that the encryption provides, but I like choice and as soon as that goes away so does my business, which i believe currently is $500 to $600 in song downloads alone. I have spent most of my life listening to the radio and being happy with the price/performance, I imagine I can go back if I have to.

“I really do like the ITunes store, being able to download music legally has opened a new world to me, but I won’t purchase media that I can’t exercise my fair use rights with. Thank you for your work in producing some wonderful products and I hope to see the day when I can use those products in ways that may not have been envisioned by the creators.

“The mark of a great and lasting product is to have it used in many unique and exciting ways that the inventor never conceived.”


Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Grandma Joan Married

My grandma just got married to Hans. It was a simple service held at my aunts house. Hans was born in Switzerland, just moved from Canada, and is a retired pilot. I have a few Pics up here.

Monday, June 19, 2006

ATV crash

Two Saturdays ago (June 10th) Em decided to drive a 4wheeler off the side of the mountain. She was going up a slippery hill and the ATV hit a stump which threw her off into the bushes and the ATV then followed her, rolling over her and eventually ending up in a tree. Thankfully she walked away with only a cracked rib a crack in her thumb. The ATV didn’t seem to be phased, though it did take 6 hours to pull it back on to the trail (thanks Travis and Jamie!). Some Pics of the wreck. I’ll let her tell you the full story.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Deb vs RPM

I’ve been using Debian for years on all my work and personal machines and building RPMs for work for years. I finally put together my first major Debian packages (open-mpi). Having build RPMs for years they are almost second nature to me, but I was pleased to find out how easy it is to build a ’simple’ debian package using dh_make (debhelper). I had my first package (modules) up on no time. It was as easy as building a simple RPM package.

Next came openmpi, where I wanted to provide profle and debug packages as well as the standard libraries. I was cast head long into a huge pile of scripts and dh_* binaries that I had no idea how to use! It took quite a while but I got though it (mostly) unscathed.

Now that I know how enough of the Debian packaging system I am can say that it is probably too complex for the common case. Multiple ways to start packages out, different standards revisions, etc. Though I am quite pleased with how easy it can be to produce a simple package yet how flexible the build system can be when needed.

Compared to RPM: Pros, Don’t have to learn yet another scripting language (rpm macros) to use the build system, just standard shell and make scripts do it; Data is stored in multiple files instead of one huge file; overall the Debian build system seems more powerful. Cons: Too many files that don’t exist in the default setup are useful, Too many different standards versions (if using this standard program foo behaves this way, else it behaves a different way). Overall building complex debs is about as hard as building complex RPMS, and to someone who knows what they are doing building a simple deb may be even easier than a simple rpm.

Friday, June 9, 2006

Xoftspy - nothing more than a scam?

Last night I tried to clean a computer overrun by spyware using Xoftspy from paretologic based on a recommendation from what I though was a blog, though I suspect it was a planted marketing site. After installing the tool it scanned (too quickly? 20ish times faster than adaware) and reported a number of hits but would not clean the computer without first paying the registration fee ($60!?!?!). Others have come to similar conclusions, though the company has supposedly turned clean I’m not sure I believe it. If you want to check the validity of a spyware removal product might I suggest checking this list of false anti-spyware utilities.

Thursday, June 8, 2006

Women and shoes

“Why does she have so many shoes?”, “She already has a closet full of shoes, why does she need more?” Have you ever asked yourself these questions before? I have.
My sister-in-law recently enlightened me with the logic behind the love of shoes. It all stems from the feet having some unique qualities: they don’t change much over time and a foot is a foot is a foot.

Unlike other clothing articles a cute shoe warn today will still be cute in the future, the foot doesn’t change enough to make the shoe become uncute. Next, I suspect that to most people one foot isn’t that much different from another foot (who spends much time looking at feet anyway?), thus a cute shoe warn by person A will also be cute when warn by person B.

Mystery solved ;)

Thursday, June 1, 2006

Training classes

I just taught a fairly successful system training class at LANL. The interesting thing about this class is lacked preparation of other classes I have taught in the past, just a course outline posted to a wiki page (I couldn’t bring any computers in with me) and a single system diagram. Other than that I was able to get discussions going about interesting system topics and let the class go, watching this is a lot of fun. Other classes I have taught have had a few weeks to a few days worth of preparation (slides) and seem to be generally boring. Though I can’t rule out that this group of ’students’ were just exceptionally interested. What makes a training class good, students? content? method that content is presented? presenter?