Older blog entries for dyork (starting at number 362)

CompUSA buys our products - This article speaks of CompUSA buying our 3300 ICP VoIP platform. Nice article, although it mistakenly says that the product is based on Linux (nope... it uses another embedded o/s).

Skepticism, cynicism and Microsoft - Enjoyed this comment from InfoWorld columnist Jon Udell on Skepticism, cynicism and optimism.

Product exposure - fnegroni: Don't be too upset about not being mentioned by the BBC. The fact that they showed your product is pretty darn good. As people see and use the product, the fact that you all created it will get out.

CALEA and VoIP - This article mentions that in the US the FCC has broad power under the CALEA law passed in 1994 to ensure that telecommunications manufacturers stay compliant with standards that would allow wiretapping and eavesdropping by the FBI. The challenge, of course, is how to bring that into the VoIP world. Especially once you add encryption to the picture... it does indeed create challenges for the FBI... and it will be very interesting to see what legislation the US Congress tries to enact to extend CALEA to VoIP...

--refresh-keys - 1502 new signatures across 204 keys in my keyring. First time I've run it in a month or so.

Strange websites - What kind of social software are you?

Kill Your TV - dcoombs: Yes, I will definitely miss curling on TSN, but, as my wife said, it just means that I'll have to go down to the curling club to watch the events with others.

Hi, mom! - Found out my mother occasionally reads this... hi, mom!

[Written two days ago on Sunday, Nov 16, but then not posted until today for a variety of reasons.]

NOTE: This is a VERY long entry with very little, if anything, of technical substance. If that is all you are interested in, please feel free to move along to the next entry...

Mortality and Moments of Lucidity - Flew to New Hampshire this weekend to attend the funeral of the mother of one of my closest friends. She was 69 when cancer finally claimed her last week. She was a wonderful, energetic, spirited woman who was interested in everything and had a lifelong fascination with learning (about everything!). I fondly remember one day where she and her partner David had invited me to fly kites with them on a Saturday down on Hampton Beach. So there I was, learning about how to fly two-handled kites on a beautiful Saturday morning from two folks who were both quite older than my own parents. The stories at the "Celebration of her life" this weekend from others were very similar. She was an inspiration and will be sorely missed.

And so we gathered... friends from many years ago... now spread to all corners of the continent... there to comfort and console our mutual friend. All very aware that we are now entering into the phase of our life where these gatherings will unfortunately no longer be uncommon. As we have grown older and brought forth our own familys, so, too, have our parents grown older and reached those twilight years when the odds that they will leave us become so much higher.

It is not a time that any of us look forward to.

While we may live apart from our parents, and may have taken our own lives in very different directions from theirs, the fact is that for most all of us (and certainly for me) our parents are still there in our daily thoughts and mind. Even subconsciously they are still with us. There is a certain amount of certainty and "rootedness" that comes with that... and their loss is not something that is easy to contemplate. I would love it if my parents would live another 20 or 30 or more years... to be like my grandmother recently turning 90... I hope against hope that they will, but there is the reality that we have no control over that, and that someday things will just....... end. I do not look forward at all to those days.

Memories of a Distant Past - The trip was quite strange as it was the first time in a very long time that I was in N.H. among friends without Lori and Chloe. Given that it was not really appropriate for Chloe to attend any of the memorial service events of the weekend, it just didn't make any sense for us all to go... so I burned some frequent-flyer miles to fly down. I missed them terribly...

I got in early on Friday and took the time to make a slow drive up the New Hampshire seacoast. I stopped several times to walk over the beach wall and listen to the sound of the pounding waves. Picked up a few interesting rocks... some driftwood. Just tried to gather myself before the inevitable onslaught of emotion.

With time to kill before meeting some friends for dinner, I wandered down roads of nostalgia, touring the campus of my alma mater and pondering the changes there. All the massive new buildings... new road ways... the fact that the students look far too young to be college students (it must be middle school visitation week, right? :-)... and the fact that some things still don't change.

Then it was the formal wake that night, the "gathering of friends" the next day to celebrate Thanksgiving (a tradition dating back some 15+ years that happened to coincide with the unfortunate event), and then a celebration of my friend's mother's life, with readings of her poetry, showing of her artwork, and stories from friends and family. All very nicely done.

And finally a dinner last night with seven of us who have known each other in most cases for most of 17 or 18 years. We've seen each other through a whole lot of changes and events... and all of us had shared various apartments with one or more (in my case, three) of the others...

So we sat and reminisced, as old friends are wont to do, and laughed at the memories... many things I had forgotten... the "wars" where we showered each other's apartments with old business cards... the time I had mailed (double-wrapped in plastic and sealed well) a "cow pattie" from the farm where I had an apartment to a practical joker friend who had mailed me a box of dryer lint... the hikes in the White Mountains... the stays at various cabins scattered throughout New England... the trips... the people... the stories that enrich our lives....

We told the tales, too, of our recent lives... of the wives and husbands who could unfortunately not be there with us that night... of the new children who grace our lives and bless us with so much joy... of new jobs and/or the challenges of existing jobs... of new places and new experiences and so much more... it was an enjoyable time that was certainly tinged with melancholy.

In the end, we left with better spirits and renewed connections, all looking forward to the next time we could get together and include our spouses and children... and dearly hoping that the next gathering would not be brought about by similar circumstances.

A Grand Hotel Reborn - On a tangent, the celebration of life occurred at the fantastically-renovated Wentworth By The Sea hotel. Once one of the grand hotels that dotted New England, and the place that played a role in the treaty ending the 1905 Russo-Japanese war (a bit of history can be found here), by the early 1990s it was a dilapidated shell with a large fence around it. It seems to have been purchased and is now operated by Mariott. The renovations are simply stunning. If life ever brings you to the Portsmouth, N.H., area (or heck, to Boston or Portland (Maine) which are only an hour away), it's definitely worth checking out. Rooms do include high-speed Internet. (Note, of course, that along with the fabulous hotel does come, um, "fabulous" rates... definitely not for the budget traveller.)

Poetry - and publishing - One comment I took away from the events was that my friend had not known how much poetry his mother had produced, and wished he had known more of it. The family had printed out a few of her poems and made them available for visitors to take with them. They were quite good. It made me think that most all of my friends, and relatives, have no idea of the many poems I have written, a few pieces of which I have the arrogance to think are actually somewhat decent. And so I think I will again resolve to submit a few poems to various contests, etc., something I have resolved to do for probably the last 4 or 5 years... and have never yet done. If for no other reason than to continue the spirit of creativity in which my friend's mother thrived.

Time To Stay Out of the Woods - Travelling through roads in rural New Hampshire, at this time of year you do of course see many pickup trucks and other vehicles parked alongside wooded areas of the road. I wonder what an urban dweller would think of all of these vehicles. What reason would they give to it? What would they say?

The answer, of course, is that it is hunting season for deer... or for some other animals. The annual time when those of us who like to walk in the woods had better avoid certain areas... and the time when you drive down main highways and see four hoofed legs trussed and sticking up out of the back of a truck... life in a rural area...

Turning pens - Turned a couple of pens before I left that came out incredibly well. Found that the "redheart" wood produces a wonderful pen barrel. Quite impressive. While in N.H., I stumbled upon the one Woodcraft store in N.H. (and their farthest-North store, I was told), which is truly a woodworkers paradise. Similar to Lee Valley (who has an Ottawa store), only focused pretty tightly on the woodworking side of things. Wonderful selection of tools... and kits for projects. I think I'll have to stop in again on our next trip to N.H. I did buy some more pen blanks there as they had a great selection.

"It's dead, Jim" - Yes, indeed, they finally came and disconnected our cable TV. Back to the minimal selection of the broadcast stations. We'll see how long we stick with our decision to disconnect from that world.

Makefaq - Received an e-mail that running makefaq on Python 2.3.2 generates a warning about the use of certain characters (I am assuming related to the translated strings). So... I may actually have a reason to roll out a new release! Heck, it's only been a year since the last one! :-(

Wotsap - Realized that there was a link on Matthew Wilcox's list of people who haven't gotten around to signing keys after OLS to a site called the Web of trust statistics and pathfinder (Wotsap). VERY interesting site for a statistics geek like me.

One point of interest is to go down to Key statistics and enter in your keyid. The resulting page is quite interesting, as it can show you whose key you have signed versus who has signed yours. Coming out of OLS it is especially interesting to see who has cross-signed keys (and who hasn't!).

The other point of interest is the Pathfinder at the top of the page that generates a graphical map showing the path of trust between one key and another. There are some sample graphs there... here's another one... this graph of the trust path from me to rasmus (where you can spot hacker among the links).

All very interesting stuff to a statistics and PGP geek....

Changes in WikiLand - Wound up spending a huge amount of time tonight on a fascinating intellectual journal into the current status of Wikis and some of the challenges they are facing. Some of the pages I found interesting:

Many of these pages started many years ago... but many are still being updated as recently as the past few days. I guess having been participating in online communities in various ways for the past 17 years, I'm always intrigued by the issues raised around online community development. Very interesting reading.

Metababy - Those Wiki discussions led to reference of something that happened on metababy. The simple text there now:

   I think we could all probably use a rest.

does speak to the trauma of whatever did occur. Some information is available from Meatball. Interesting.

Wiki on a USB Disk - Interesting discussion about running a Wiki on a USB disk for personal note keeping. That pointed me to EddiesWiki and the ShortestWikiContest.

Office of Critical Intrastructure Protection and Emergency Preparedness - Through various means, I wound up at the web site for this Canadian agency. Interesting to see what the government of Canada is going. They have their own list of alerts and advisories about various network threats. Interesting.

The Matrix Reloaded - I finally got around to watching "The Matrix Reloaded" in the last couple of days. I figured I ought to see #2 before going to see #3. I enjoyed it, but do understand many of the complaints that people leveled against the film. It was not as good as The Matrix, but I did find it interesting and enjoyable. Looking forward to Matrix Revolutions.

Guitar - Chloe's amazing love of all things musical has prompted me to consider picking up the guitar again. Probably about 10 years ago, I learned enough acoustic guitar to play basic chords (i.e. I could play most of Crosby, Stills and Nash since most of their songs use about three chords!)... but then, the neck of my extremely cheap guitar bent to the point where it was untunable... and I stopped playing. I have kept wanting to pick it up again. Lori said she saw a guitar for $100 (CAD) at Costco the other day... I may have to check it out...

Final Thought - A quote seen recently from Stephen Lewis, the United Nations Special Envoy on HIV/AIDS in Africa:

"Why can three trillion dollars be raised in a matter of weeks for the war on terrorism, but not $65 billion over five years to prevent literally millions of deaths from AIDS?"

A good question, indeed...

4 Nov 2003 (updated 4 Nov 2003 at 19:01 UTC) »

The End of an Era - So today Red Hat has finally announced the end of "Red Hat Linux" with an end-of-life of December 31, 2003, for all RHL releases up to 9.0, with 9.0 ending on April 30, 2004. (More details here.) I guess I'm not surprised given the development of Fedora and the basic fact that, at the end of the day, RH has to make money to keep the lights on and pay their people. So their focus now is entirely on their Enterprise Linux line.

It's not too different, really, from what we do with our commercial release and our unsupported developer release. I can understand why they did it. It does make "business-sense" for them.

So, while I say that, I have to pause for a moment and just give thanks to Red Hat for all they did for so long. I know many, many people who started using Linux thanks to "Red Hat Linux".

CISSP - Received the delightful news today that I passed the CISSP exam. Now the final step of getting an existing CISSP-holder to endorse my candidacy. Luckily, I know a couple...

Novell Acquires Suse - It will be interesting to see how/if this changes any of the dynamics of our industry. Novell does have a whole whack of cash... interesting times indeed...

IBM and SCO - I have to admit that the news that IBM subpeonaed SCO funders was somewhat enjoyable to see. We'll see if anything comes out of it.

Computer Names - bgeiger: At home I use the names for different raptors (i.e. birds-of-prey). At work we use names of food...

Offspring - badger: Congrats! Enjoy this time even though you are no doubt sleep-deprived! It truly is amazing to have a wee one around.

Harbingers of the Coming Darkness - As I drove in to work along Carling Avenue yesterday morning, the sky was filled the high-vees of Canadian Geese heading south. At first I thought it was just the typical start of the annual migration, but then the radio announcer said that we were supposed to get snow flurries last night and today was supposed to be an icy, freezing-rain mess. [We had snow and freezing rain, but it wasn't all that bad.]

The geese know. The nice weather we have had is now over and it's time for them to hit the road to places where it's warm and sunny.

It's always amazing at this time of year to watch the amazing numbers of geese flying south. It's typical that each morning I might see literally hundreds in their vee formation heading south. My ride in is alongside the Ottawa River where they will typically rest for the night. So, come the morning, they are off.

What's interesting, too, is to watch as a group takes off from the ground. At first they are just this big mass of geese heading up into the air, but then, just a bit up in the air, the vee starts to form up... and then soon, the V-shape is complete and the birds are moving fast, squawking all the way. Amazing to watch.

NetFuture - Technology and Human Responsibility - After reading some of the recent discussion here on Advogato and as I was reading the latest NetFuture issue today, it occurred to me that some here at Advogato may enjoy reading Stephen Talbott's NetFuture if you do not already do so. The intro for his newsletter is this:

Can we take responsibility for technology, or must we sleepwalk in submission to its inevitabilities? NetFuture is a voice for responsibility.

and on his web page he states:

NetFuture is an electronic newsletter with postings every two-to-four weeks or so. It looks beyond the generally recognized "risks" of computer use such as privacy violations, unequal access, censorship, and dangerous computer glitches. It seeks especially to address those deep levels at which we half-consciously shape technology and are shaped by it. What is half-conscious can, after all, be made fully conscious, and we can take responsibility for it.

Stephen has been writing his newsletter since 1995 and has thus followed a great amount of change in our own sphere of things. Sometimes his postings are more theoretical than I personally care for.... sometimes they cover topics that don't interest me. But they do often stimulate thought, and that, in the end, makes it worthwhile to read.

makefaq - Web server logs show me that I'm still averaging around 100 new unique visitors to makefaq.org over the past few weeks. Received a nice note from someone who used it for their web site recently. I'm glad it's helping people out. I did realize today, though, that I'm coming up on a year from the last release I did. makefaq 2.4 last November 11 added in the ability to export to DocBook XML. Since that time, I have: 1) been a wee bit busy; and 2) not had any real feature requests. I'm also no longer using it on a regular basis to maintain any FAQs, so I haven't run into anything that I personally want to add.

It's funny... I can see the downloads in the server logs, and so the lack of feedback/feature requests could be seen to mean one of: 1) it does what people want and doesn't need new features; 2) people might download it, try it out, and then decide it doesn't do what they want and not use it; or 3) it more or less does what people want and people don't want to ask for more. Ah, well, it's not like I'll have time anytime soon to work on it, even if people asked for something more. :-(

Curling - Another game tomorrow night... couldn't go last week because of a last-minute one-day trip to Chicago. Looking forward to playing tomorrow night.

CISSP- now the waiting begins - Exam is over... now we wait for the results... within 4-6 weeks, they say...

CISSP - 12 hours and counting - Almost there... in a wee bit over 12 hours the journey begins....

Security articles - Two I found of interest... why Joe Average User is in trouble when it comes to security and then of course for at least the entertainment value... Steve Ballmer on why Windows is more secure than Linux. Good for a laugh, anyway (of course, he is serious!).

Novell and LPI - Very nice to see this FAQ about Novell's new Certified Linux Engineer certification... which relies on LPI for the base Linux certification. Very cool to see - and great work on LPI's part!

The Long Twilight Struggle - I remembered again why I so enjoy watching Babylon 5... was watching an episode in which one of characters says to the lead:

In the long, twilight struggle that lies before you, there exists the possiblity of hope.

Yes, it is a paraphrase of a quote from JFK, as noted on the guide page, but that phrase, along with so much else of the writing (as noted a bit on the synopsis page), is just so darn good. I have yet to find anything else on television that was so well done.

CISSP - 3 days and counting - The studying continues, need I say more...

LinTraining - Approved a bunch of new submissions to LinTraining:

  • Estonia (Training Center)
  • Brazil (Training Center)
  • Brazil (Courseware in Portuguese)
  • Malaysia (Training Center)

Interesting that all the submissions recently have NOT been from North America or (western) Europe.

GnuPG and Lotus Notes - I noticed today that Dobysoft has come out with a newer version of their PGPNotes product that is now based on GnuPG 1.2.1 and WinPT 1.0RC2. We'll let it slide that GnuPG is now up to 1.2.3... the key is that PGPNotes is now at least in the 1.2.x series. I've downloaded it to try it out since we are entirely Notes-based at work... and if it would make it easier than it is today...

PGP(GnuPG)-encrypted Jabber IM - Chatted with LenZ today for a minute or two via Jabber. Actually, we started on MSN and then migrated to Jabber (prompted by a comment from him that he was using Psi). So I clicked on the little lock in the Psi conversation window and... ta da... our entire IM conversation was encrypted using GnuPG... very cool stuff!

SCO License Follies - So SCO finally admits they won't sell licenses to small players and are only offering licenses now to the Fortune 1000... Kudos to Drew Streib for continuing to beat the drum....

CISSP - 4 days and counting - The studying continues...

libxslt - DV: Congrats! While I don't use XML and XSLT daily anymore, I still recommend libxslt to everyone who asks me about what to use for DocBook programming.

RFC 3330 - I was not aware that RFC 3330 was issued back in September 2002. (Too many RFCs, too little time! :-) Interesting to see what IP address ranges beyond those of RFC 1918 have been reserved in different ways. Interesting to learn that cable modem providers all have IP addresses in 24.x.x.x. Ah, the stuff one learns from random browsing.

Information Week's Open Letter to Microsoft about Linux - This editorial from such a mainstream IT magazine as Information Week is a pretty amazing step in the continuing evolution of Linux. It would have been hard to imagine a few years ago.

Interior Design - Lori got the call from a local paint store that a "designer kit" was in. This particular paint brand, Benjamin Moore, does a great deal to promote their paints to designers... which is logical, of course. She's been waiting for about 8 months for this particular kit to become available. It will be very useful for her to use with her clients.

CISSP - 6 days and counting - Amazing how time flies... October 25th is right around the corner. Spent a good chunk of time on cccure.org last night and wound up being a bit concerned that I have been underestimating the exam. I think the practice exams that come with the books I have have to a degree lulled me into a false sense of safety. So today, on an absolutely gorgeous autumn day, I'm inside with my laptop paging through presentations and PDF files. My concern is mostly about some of the detail. Much of it I think I'll hit without a problem... but there are some areas where I am weaker. We'll see.

Interesting to see that my 10+ years of volunteer firefighting experience actually has some relevance... there is a whole section devoted to physical security issues including issues around fire prevention and suppression.

Diff with Vim? - As soon as I had to reformat my laptop and install Windows XP (related in another entry long ago), one of the first things I did was go out and install Vim so that I could have a "real" editor on my system. Today I discovered a hidden treat that I didn't know it had.

There have been numerous times when I have wanted to compare two files on XP and wished there was the good old UNIX/Linux 'diff' command. Well, today I had several files selected in Windows Explorer and instead of dragging them to the trash can to delete them I right-clicked and chose Delete. But... in the process, I noticed that one of the choices offered was "Diff with Vim". So of course I had to try it out... what a fantastic capability to include! It works wonderfully... splitting the window in two so that you can scroll through and see what was deleted/inserted/changed/etc. Very cool!

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