The Copiale Cipher used by an 18th century secret society has been deciphered.

Decrypting secret codes has to appeal to the kid in all of us.

Posted Sat Nov 12 09:24:00 2011 Tags:

After the discusison on picking up a Maemo device, it just did not work out that way.

First, the successor to the N810, the N900 was never released in Canada. So I'll have to wait for a Maemo device I could use I thought. Second, Nokia partnered with Intel to merge Maemo and Moblin into Meego. Ok, I can wait a bit longer unit a Meego device is available in Canada.

But then the final event just killed it. Nokia decided that another mobile OS would be better for its future devices. As they say, "I don't do Windows."

So that leaves me with Android. And, as soon as it was available in Canada, I got myself a Nexus S.

Posted Sat May 14 18:37:00 2011 Tags:

The ProGit blog has a nice post on using the new git notes feature.

Posted Thu Sep 16 21:54:00 2010 Tags:

Just now catching up with using Emacs in daemon mode. On that blog post, an anonymous commentor shows the best way to use emacsclient to start the Emacs server if it is not already started.

One last note is that the -c option will result in the same behaviour as the -t option if the DISPLAY environment variable is not set.

Posted Tue Apr 6 21:48:00 2010 Tags:

I am starting to feel the slowness of Firefox so I wanted to see if Chromium could fulfill my web browser needs. So far so good.

The first big issue was getting Flash working with my x86_64 version of Chromium. I found a tidy set of instructions to get and install the 64-bit Flash plugin. Just make sure you get the latest version of the plugin.

Update: The 64-bit version of flash is too old and has many security vulnerabilities. You should really get the latest 32-bit version and use the 32-bit plugin wrapper for your browser if you run a 64-bit version of Linux.

Posted Mon Mar 29 20:52:00 2010 Tags:

Recently I have been getting "Received unexpected response from..." errors. I found a TechSpot blog with a fix that worked for me.

Posted Thu Feb 18 21:36:00 2010 Tags:

I am not the only person pondering what mobile platform to get.

Though as I blogged already, I'll be going with Maemo.

Posted Sun Nov 15 15:38:00 2009 Tags:

Just listened to the IT Conversations podcast Great Public Communications Skills which covers Carmine Gallo's new book, The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs: How to be Insanely Great in Front of Any Audience.

Two clips Carmine mentions specifically to watch are:

What I found interesting is that these 2 presentations, approximately 10 years appart, use the same presentation techniques.

Posted Sun Nov 15 14:09:00 2009 Tags:

I have devices that run both Android (OpenMoko Freerunner) and Maemo (N810). With new devices now available that run newer versions of Android and Maemo, I was trying to decide which one I would get (the WAF will not allow both).

The Google Maps Navigation announcement really made me want the new Motorola Milestone phone. That is a sweet app.

However, after reading Harald Welte's summary of Android Mythbusters and Comparing Freedom on Maemo and Android Android does not seem like the platform I want. If reviews of the just now shipping N900 are positive, that will be my choice.

Posted Wed Nov 11 22:16:00 2009 Tags:

My wife has been organizing all our family photos using F-Spot for several years. After a long bout of inactivity, she started to work through the mass of photos that we have just been collecting and not sorting through. After she imported the pictured, she noticed that the date of the photos that F-Spot was reporting was off from when she remembered taking the pictures.

Well it turns out that F-Spot is indeed getting the dates wrong and is changing the EXIF header dates to be incorrect as well! A good summary of the problem is F-Spot Considered Harmful.

I think I'll take a look at digikam.

Posted Wed Oct 28 22:05:00 2009 Tags:

Watch the video of a nine year old's shootout goal and be amazed.

I actually think he had some sticky stuff on the heel of his stick, but the timing involved to hit the net while spinning is still impressive.

Posted Wed Oct 28 21:53:00 2009 Tags:

If you ever wondered where NHL hockey team names originated, then read The Origins of All 30 NHL Team Names.

Posted Wed Oct 28 21:49:00 2009 Tags:

I don't know of other funny flags from the past, but this Benin Empire flag is hilarious. I love how the guy apparently attempting to shake hands is greeted. I guess it wasn't that friendly a place to visit.

Posted Wed Oct 28 21:42:00 2009 Tags:

One area that the Linux desktop has been missing is proper color management. Well, Richard Hughes has started developement of a GNOME Color Manager.

Posted Wed Oct 28 21:34:00 2009 Tags:

If you typically send patches to mail lists then Felipe Contreras' git send-email tricks blog post is definitely worth reading.

Posted Wed Oct 28 21:29:00 2009 Tags:

The new ikiwiki world order is now in place. Well, at least on my site. Gone is the old order run by make files and m4 scripts.

I also finally took the time to remove some old cruft and to validate many links that may pages have. There is still much todo, but that will happen gradually.

Posted Wed Oct 28 20:25:00 2009 Tags:

This is the first ikiwiki blog post.

Posted Tue Oct 6 21:12:00 2009 Tags:

Another neat story about an encrypted message sent to the President of the USA in 1801. I find this kind of story fascinating.

Posted Mon Jul 6 10:27:00 2009 Tags:

Dave Jones is a genius. Using mutt and your editor to highlight your coding errors -- he should have patented that one!

Posted Wed Aug 27 22:47:00 2008 Tags:

While poking around on the Single UNIX Specification web site, I noticed a link to a Firefox Search Plugin.

With this plugin installed, you can search for keywords in the SUS directly from Firefox. Very cool.

Update 2009-10-12: Newer SUS link

Posted Fri Mar 7 11:25:00 2008 Tags:

As an emacs user, I knew the butterfly command. I just don't find it that useful.

Posted Sun Feb 3 14:31:00 2008 Tags:

In a discussion on creating a git repo for the gcc code base, Linus describes how git uses delta chains and how they relate to packing.

In the same discussion Linus has additional low level explanation.

Posted Thu Dec 6 12:45:00 2007 Tags:

With help from Andrew Cowie's blog post Getting Blosxom to work... my blog now has a functional RSS 2.0 feed.

Update 2009-10-12: Removed link to old RSS feed

Posted Thu Oct 25 22:21:00 2007 Tags:

If you have a feed for your blog, make sure it is valid by using FEED Validator.

Check the validity of my RSS 0.91 and RSS 2.0 feeds.

Update 2009-10-12: Remove links to old RSS feeds

Posted Thu Oct 25 20:39:00 2007 Tags:

Zach Rusin has created a very easy on the eyes git cheat sheet. This is very useful if you use some git commands only once in a blue moon.

Posted Tue Oct 23 12:23:00 2007 Tags:

In the C/C++ programming language, data can be given the volatile qualifier. Typically, people think this is sufficient to prevent code ordering problems. Well, volatile does not do that.

Linus provided a great explanation of the problem on the lkml today. Definitely worth reading. Also, you should read Linux Kernel Memory Barriers from the kernel documentation.

Update 2007-10-14: Also check out the LWN article The Trouble with Volatile.

Posted Fri Aug 17 11:47:00 2007 Tags:

Dave Jones got some spare time and merged in my first 3 x86info fix up patches:

There are a couple more patches I need to send Dave now that the first set have been merged.

Posted Wed Aug 1 00:00:00 2007 Tags:

At OLS2007 I went to Rob Landley's Cross Compiling Linux tutorial where Rob introduced his Firmware Linux project. Unfortunately we ran out of time and didn't actually get to using the cross-compiler.

Rob's approach to cross-compiling packages is to build a native environment (using qemu) so that you don't actually have to cross-compile packages. Cool idea!

Anyway, to build the root file system that qemu will use, Rob used UML (User Mode Linux) to step around the root privileges required for mounting the loop device. I had trouble getting UML going on my laptop so I wrote a patch that evening to use genext2fs to create the root file system. Just to show how slow I am at following through, I finally sent the patch to the mail list. We'll have to wait and see if Rob likes it.

Update 2009-10-12: Rob eventually started using my patch.

Posted Sun Jul 22 00:00:00 2007 Tags:

Even though this is not really a security issue, be aware that if you leech WiFi access from somebody, the access point owner can control the data stream you get (and send!).

Upside-Down-Ternet is a funny example of what one guy did to his leeching neighbours.

Posted Tue Feb 6 00:00:00 2007 Tags:

There have been some netfilter changes that have caused a lot of confusion when it comes to configuring the kernel. The new netfilter implementation accompanied a bunch of netfilter kernel configuration name changes.

Linus was not amused and then pointed out how the netfilter Kconfig could have been implementation to avoid any issues.

Posted Mon Jan 22 23:02:00 2007 Tags:

If you've heard of pointer aliasing but have not fully understood what it means, read this great explanation by Krister.

Posted Tue Nov 21 14:52:00 2006 Tags:

A nice HOWTO on compiling a kernel for a Fedora system.

Posted Tue Nov 21 14:46:00 2006 Tags:

We have all used coffee or a Coke to keep our eye's open when we should be sleeping. What if you could take a pill to change when your brain says it needs a rest? Read about modafinil and newer drugs that are coming that will radically change what "a good night's sleep" means.

Posted Mon Nov 20 18:10:00 2006 Tags:

Update 2009-10-12: Updated Intel document link

Posted Wed Nov 1 00:00:00 2006 Tags:

Software developers tend to gravitate to the GTD methodology. Why is that? Robert Peake (CTO of DavidCo) has written an article, Getting Software Done, that demonstrates the parallels between the GTD methodology and software development.

Posted Wed Oct 18 12:07:00 2006 Tags:

Getting into a regular backup routine is starting to become a priority for me. So finding an article covering backup issues is timely.

The article's author recommends dar as the backup software.

Posted Wed Oct 18 09:43:00 2006 Tags:

I finally ran into a firewall issue in that I could not gain access to a git repository that was only available using the git protocol.

I knew how to setup OpenSSH to be a SOCKS proxy, so I needed a way to get git to use a SOCKS proxy.

Works great!

Posted Thu Sep 7 15:16:00 2006 Tags:

While I was at OLS this year, I attended the Writing a Linux Filesystem tutorial presented by Steve French.

During the tutorial Steve provided an excellent reference to the Writing a Simple File System paper. The paper has 2 extremely useful diagrams that depict the relationships of the VFS objects and the system call mapping to data structures.

Posted Thu Aug 31 16:13:00 2006 Tags:

When you are programming it is often convenient to have 32-bit values that, when displayed in hex (base-16), spell words (e.g, 0xdeadbeef). These values are useful for signifying specific conditions either within a program's resident memory or in persistent storage.

I found a cool list of words that were pragmatically generated and expanded to include l337 spellings.

Posted Wed Aug 30 00:00:00 2006 Tags:

I came across an easy-to-understand explanation why linux does not need defragmenting.

Posted Fri Aug 18 15:23:00 2006 Tags:

Linux Magazine has an excellent article, Embracing the Git Index, that demonstrates how git's index is used.

Posted Fri Jun 30 12:49:00 2006 Tags:

If you still are under the illusion that WEP is a safe way to secure your wireless access point, think again. Read how the FBI demonstrated cracking WEP in 3 minutes.

Posted Wed Jun 28 10:34:00 2006 Tags:

Ulrich Drepper has a blog entry about using the environment variable MALLOC_PERTURB_ to aid in the detection of typical memory usage bugs in programs.

Using this debugging feature is as simple as setting the environment variable and running the program you want to test. No recompiling required. Sweet!

Posted Wed Jun 21 00:00:00 2006 Tags:

Mark Wieczorek documents his discovery of a Google Proxy. If you are accessing the web from a slow connection this could be an invaluable tool. Check it out.

Posted Tue Jun 20 11:05:00 2006 Tags:

Don't want to burn ISOs for the new Fedora Core 5? And then to wait for several hundred megabytes of updates for each machine you install to?

Check out Updated FC5 Network Install which will show you how to setup a Yum repo so that all your installs use an updated image of all the OS RPMs.

Posted Tue May 16 00:00:00 2006 Tags:

Every kid goes through a stage where secret codes and invisible ink are exciting. Eventually though, you find that what you need to say to your buddies is not really top secret and the effort to encode your "Let's go play hockey" message is impractical.

I still find cryptography interesting and the article How I Broke The Confederate Code (137 Years Too Late) is very cool.

Posted Mon May 15 00:00:00 2006 Tags:

Icon Manager is an excellent app for creating and editing icons on your Palm. With this application you can also create your own customized icon file that only has the icons you use.

Maceyr has an excellent Icon Manager blog post with links to many free icon sets near the bottom.

Update 2009-10-11: Fixed links

Posted Thu May 11 21:56:00 2006 Tags:

Just came across an excellent thread about GTD's weekly review on the Getting Things Done Public Forums. Many people have trouble doing the weekly review and the discussion in this thread is great. In particular, read Bernard's reply.

Posted Wed May 10 15:16:00 2006 Tags:

When a computer is compromised one of the first things the intruder does is install a root-kit. The article How to scan your Linux-Distro for Root Kits is an excellent step-by-step HOWTO to detect if your systems have been kitted.

Posted Wed May 10 00:00:00 2006 Tags:

The article Nine things you should know about Nautilus has some excellent tips for setting up Nautilus so that it is less annoying.

Posted Wed May 10 00:00:00 2006 Tags:

I've been using a Microsoft IntelliMouse Explorer 3.0 USB mouse for several years, but have had trouble getting the 2 side buttons working with my browser. Until last night! A late night Google session and some tinkering brought the 2 side buttons to life.

Many people seem to have set the Buttons options (to a value of 7), but I have found that it is not needed. Below is the relevant section of my xorg.conf file (I am running Xorg X11 version 1.0.1 on Fedora Core 5 at the time of this writing):

Section "InputDevice"
    Identifier  "Mouse0"
    Driver      "mouse"
    Option      "Protocol" "ExplorerPS/2"
    Option      "Device" "/dev/input/mice"
    Option      "ZAxisMapping" "4 5"
    Option      "Emulate3Buttons" "no"

With these settings, you can use the xev utility to verify the button number for all buttons and wheels on a mouse. For my mouse the rear side button is 8 and the side front button is 9. I thought this was strange since I can only count 7 distinct buttons on my mouse (I believe this is why everybody sets the Button option to 7). Anyway, xev never lies.

One more key to the puzzle: what button numbers does Firefox use for the Forward and Back functions? Turns out to be button 6 for Back and button 7 for Forward. Thanks Gentoo HOWTO.

Now for the final setting, we need to map mouse buttons 8 and 9 to buttons 6 and 7 respectively. This is where the xmodmap utility helps us out. Just add the following line to ~/.Xmodmap:

pointer = 1 2 3 4 5 8 9 6 7

This expression places buttons 8 and 9 in the location for buttons 6 and 7. The mystery buttons 6 and 7 are then mapped to buttons 8 and 9, though I don't know how these button codes are generated from the mouse.

A restart of X (i.e., init 3 followed up with init 5) and xev now reports the side buttons as button 6 and button 7. A final test in Firefox shows that I now have side button control of Forward and Back.

Hope this helps somebody get their side buttons working.

Posted Sun May 7 00:00:00 2006 Tags:

Leslie Franke's blog has an entry listing what he considers to be the best free Palm software. I agree with many of his choices and was grateful to learn about Icon Manager.

Posted Fri Apr 28 21:42:00 2006 Tags:

Check out the Canadian Taxpayers Federation article Fill'er Down. Just another example of Harper Hypocrisy.

Posted Wed Apr 26 21:15:00 2006 Tags:

Rick Mercer, as usual, nails Prime Minister Steven Harper's decision to not fly the Canadian Flag on the Peace Tower at half-mast.

It's sickening really.

Posted Wed Apr 26 21:04:00 2006 Tags: hosts gitweb that is an excellent interface for browsing kernel code changes changes.

You can even track the stable kernel queue.

Posted Mon Apr 24 21:40:00 2006 Tags:

Took me a while to getting around to reading Easy Automated Snapshot-Style Backups with Linux and Rsync (I had plucked it but left it for a long time). Wow! I wish I had read this one long ago.

I had no idea rsync could pull off this kind of rolling backup. I really need to take the time to set up this kind of backup system (or any backup system for that matter ;)

Posted Mon Apr 24 00:00:00 2006 Tags:

Just came across, Five-Minutes to a More Secure SSH. Covers the steps to setup SSH to use key-based authentication instead of using traditional passwords.

Posted Fri Apr 21 16:12:00 2006 Tags:

Just learned of MSMount5 from Notes on Going Retro with a Clié N610C.

I've only spent a little amount of time playing with it, but it appears to allow you to access applications and databases that exist on the SD card. I have confirmed that an application copied to the /Palm/Programs/MSMount directory on my SD card shows up in the default launcher without needing to select the card first. Cool!

Posted Sun Apr 16 12:00:00 2006 Tags:

If you have git and plucker installed, then you can easily create a Plucker version of the git documentation for you Palm.

    plucker-build --title="git" --doc-name="git" --doc-file="git" --stayonhost="" --maxdepth=10 file:///usr/share/doc/git-core-x.y.z/git.html

For the lazy among us, here is git.pdb.

Update 2009-10-11: Removed git.pdb because git documentation has been updated significantly since I created this plucker document. Also, I no longer use a Palm device so plucker is not an application I use anymore.

Posted Tue Apr 11 21:34:00 2006 Tags:

Thought I'd mention the plugins I am using with blosxom for this blog.

These are well documented on their respective sites and/or in the plugin file itself.

Posted Tue Apr 11 21:12:00 2006 Tags:

git supports applying tags to the HEAD, but is not so easy to check out a specific tag. See the LinuxMips wiki for a description of how to check out a tagged release.

Posted Mon Apr 10 00:00:00 2006 Tags:

Fedora Extras is keeping up to date with new releases of git so now I can take a stab at figuring out how git works.

On a Fedora system, start with /usr/share/doc/git-core-x.y.z/core-tutorial.html.

Posted Mon Mar 6 00:00:00 2006 Tags:

I am thinking about using graph wallpaper for my blog entries to make them look more notebook like.

Posted Fri Sep 30 21:37:00 2005 Tags:

Came accros Start Your Own Workblog With Blosxom - 10 Minutes Or Less. A nice easy to follow set of instructions on getting blosxom up and running on your web server.

Posted Thu Sep 1 00:00:00 2005 Tags:

The offical docs describing how to create a customized flavour.

Posted Fri Mar 11 21:48:00 2005 Tags:

While looking for blosxom flavours I came across the above mentioned group's Blosxom Flavour and Theme Registry. I'll give it a perusal.

Posted Fri Mar 11 00:09:00 2005 Tags:

All those who cannot read this speak up now.

Posted Thu Mar 10 23:19:00 2005 Tags: