Older blog entries for dyork (starting at number 393)

26 Apr 2004 (updated 27 Apr 2004 at 02:26 UTC) »

PGP/GnuPG Keysigning at Networld+Interop in Las Vegas? - I created an event entry at biglumber to see if there is any interest from others in having a PGP/GnuPG keysigning during Networld+Interop in Las Vegas from May 11-13. If there is interest, I would certainly be open to helping set one up... I think I'll reach out to some of the LUGs there to see if there is any interest.

If any of you are going to N+I and would like to participate, please e-mail me or add your key to the keyring.

Geek Test - 38.06706% - Major Geek

Journey Through The Land of Abandoned Dreams - As we travelled along Route 11 in rural upstate New York... parallel to the Canadian border... I couldn't help but think of all the dreams lying in tatters on the side of that road. There on the left is a huge barn tilting to the side with boards missing and hay still visible in the opening where the doors used to be. There on the right a dilapidated house that looks to have been vacant for many years. Over there what looks to be the remains of what must have been a fairly big farm operation. There a barn mostly falling down and farm machinery lying all around in varying states of decay, while someone lives in a aging trailer in front with multiple junk cars around it. And all along the rock walls now falling down and in some places long overgrown.

You can see these sights all along route 11 from about Malone over to near Lake Champlain and the Vermont border. I just wonder... what are the stories here? What made people abandon their dreams?

Did the farms die because of the usual reasons... inability to compete with mega-corporate farms of today? Lack of interest by a younger generation in continuing the farm? Death or disease of the principals? Inability to find buyers?

Or were there other reasons? There are so many sites along this stretch of Route 11, it just does cause one to wonder. What stories those old beams could tell....

Security Fun - Having fun with this NISCC advisory this week... answering people's questions and continuing investigation on our end.

Wikipedia and Mitel - Found through a strange series of links that a colleague at work had created a Wikipedia page on Mitel. Interesting to see it.

Eldred Act - A brief wander through cyberspace brought me to eldred.cc, dedicated to expanding the amount of information available in the public domain. Very interesting site.

New German LPI Book - Learned that a new book will be released in Germany this week that will cover the LPI Level 1 exams. Good to see.

Gew├╝rztraminer Riesling - Spent the weekend with some friends in the Niagra region and visited some wonderful vineyards. Found a wonderful 2002 Gew├╝rztraminer Riesling from the Pillitteri Estates Winery. It is truly an amazing tasting wine. (If you enjoy pleasant white wines, their sales agents are here.) It was a great day just touring around the Niagra-on-the-Lake region and sampling wines from some of the many vineyards.

16 Apr 2004 (updated 16 Apr 2004 at 11:57 UTC) »

RWL - My Preso - My talk at Real World Linux went quite well yesterday. About 25 people or so, which for this conference, was a very well-attended session. Of course, I wasn't sure what to think when I had 3 friends walk right in sit in the very front row. When you are talking about "Linux for Windows administrators" and you have John "maddog" Hall and John Terpstra (of Samba fame) sitting right there in front of you, it could give one pause. I actually enjoyed it because I could play off of them and they had some good items to add to the discussion. Quite fun!

It was entertaining, too, to be asked to sign copies of the Linux book I co-authored with Mark Minasi. The publisher, Sybex, had very nicely provided copies that I could give away to the first 35 people who attended... which meant that everyone received a copy!

As always, I enjoyed watching people's eyes light up... I enjoyed answering their questions and seeing the comprehension dawn. The silent expression of "oh, so that is how I can do it" or "you mean I could do that?" or "is it really that simple?"

It's funny, but no matter what else I do, I come back to being most alive when I am standing in front of people de-mystifying technologies and making it come alive for them. At my heart, I will always be an educator.

RWL - You Can Understand Why Microsoft Is Scared - I don't usually attend conference keynotes, because often I have found them somewhat, um, "content-free". But for whatever reason, I found myself sitting down in the morning keynote by Ed Kilroy, president of IBM Canada.

And as I sat there listening, I found myself thinking "You can understand why Microsoft is scared of Linux." Here is a president of IBM addressing a crowd of several hundred people and explaining their commitment to Linux. IBM's own usage of Linux is very impressive, with literally thousands of internal production servers running mission-critical applications on Linux. And their $1 billion commitment to Linux... and the 7,000+ employees they have focused on Linux...

But go back again to the fact that this was the president of a major IBM division, whose keynote was following those given the previous day by senior executives of Novell and HP. Pretty darn impressive for a little operating system that has emerged as such a major player. And pretty darn scary for a company such as Microsoft.

RWL - Dinners With Friends... and... How Far LPI Has Come - It was wonderful to have dinner twice with Wilma Silbermann from LPI, as well as to be joined in one of those dinners by maddog and John Terpstra. Wonderful people sharing fun stories and friendship. I remember well when we first hired Wilma all those many years ago at LinuxWorld in New York in, I think, 2001. What a long, long way LPI has come since then! Amazing to see...

OLS Preso - Received the good news that my proposal was accepted for a tutorial at the Ottawa Linux Symposium focused on using GnuPG and the Web of Trust. It should be fun as I have some great ideas about how to help people get started quickly.

Open Source Vulnerability Database - Was referred to this site today and was surprised to learn of it. Didn't know about it.... interested to learn more.

The Chloe Journals - The wee one turned two on Wednesday... what an amazing two years this has been

LinTraining - Received an interesting submission to LinTraining today in the form of a book in German. We don't actually receive that many book entries and so that list is rather small. It was therefore a bit surprising to get a book submission, since it had been so long since I had seen one.

Port Knocking - Found this article and this site to be interesting to learn more about the whole concept of "port knocking". Interesting stuff.

FBI Petition to the FCC - This Register article is an interesting summary of the issues around the FBI petition to the FCC with regard to being able to wiretap Voice-over-IP communications. It will be interesting to see what impact this has on our (telecommunications) industry, as all of us are going to VoIP.

Forrester Report - mjcox: Thank you for the link to your joint response to the Forrester report. I agree that Forrester unfairly tainted OSS software.

Canadiana - Zee or Zed - So we bought Chloe a little Leapfrog "Alphabet Pal" toy, forgetting, of course, that we are in Canada..... so as you go through the alphabet, it ends "eks, why, zed". Not "zee", but "zed". Ah, the fun of the Queen's English versus that with which we have grown up.

The Chloe Journals - Moments of Beauty - Last night after dinner we went for a walk down along the Ottawa River Parkway bike path. Chloe, of course, being an independent two-year-old, will no longer hold your hand or finger but instead walks separately along carrying her little purse and laughing in glee. And then Lori was walking ahead and hiding behind a tree... and Chloe would run up and "find" her. As the sequence was repeated, the world receded around me. For a moment in time, there was perfect clarity and joy. All the problems of the day, all the challenges of work, all the other stresses in life.... all of that slipped away in a beautiful evening walk... as the wee one ran from tree to tree... for just that moment, everything stopped... and the world coalesced into one perfect moment of beauty.

Small Caps - Making The World Less Ugly - markonen: I don't think that haruspex was necessarily saying this was my problem, but I agree with you that it isn't. The issue is with the browser manufacturers who have not correctly implemented the CSS attribute:

  style="font-variant: small-caps"

when that attribute is added to a tag such as, in my case, the <b> tag.

Now, having said that, I as an author/designer have to decide whether or not I want to continue to use this CSS attribute knowing that it does indeed look ugly in some browsers (well, so far mostly Safari on MacOS 10.3). Which is more important to me? The look of small caps in my headings? Or having pages that are not ugly?

I think for the moment I will actually choose to make the world less ugly and just shift back to how I used to do my headings without small caps. And... I'm going to try to file a bug with Apple about Safari's rendering of small caps. Even though the percentage of people seeing my page with Safari on MacOS 10.3 is probably comparatively small, it *is* ugly in Safari.... there's no other way to describe it.

haruspex: Thanks for the interesting pointer to the Yale typefaces. I always like seeing when people have put some real thought into the design of their typefaces.

Thanks, too, for this whole conversation around small caps... I very much enjoyed it.

Winter's Last Gasp - So I wake up this morning, April 4th, to see heavy snow falling down! Now, it will not last. It will melt in the next day or two, but still.... just as the yard was finally clear of it all and just as you could see the lillies starting to break out of the ground... just when Spring seems to be all around... we get one last snowfall...

The Correct Way to Set the Table - In case any of you happen to be wondering, here it is.

The Death of the DocBook Wiki, continued - Turns out nwalsh posted an explanation on March 30. My timing was such that I saw that the wiki was down before the list archives had Norm's post in them. The key part:

The vandals have a script that destroys the wiki on a daily basis (adding porn spam, which would be bad enough, but also reformatting all the pages so that they mostly vanish). That script can do damage a lot faster than fingers can fix it.

Will scripts such as this kill all wikis? At least, the openness of all wikis? I suppose trusting everyone and letting anyone make changes was bound to sooner or later attract the attention of these type of lowlifes, who would then kill it for everyone. I mean, it's one thing if people make changes to a page that can then be restored to a previous version. Simple, one-offs can be dealt with. But a scripted reproducible attack? That type of thing is simply no good.

You could almost see, too, the script kiddies who now have their script that will deface wikis based on MoinMoin. It's a simple google search to find "moin.cgi" which for me just pulled up close to 248,000 results. Now, many of those will be duplicates, but I would expect you would still wind up with several thousand wiki servers at which you could point your script... and destroy the countless hours of work that people have put into them. (Not all would be affected, of course, as some would have access control.)

The result of all of this is that the DocBook wiki and most others will have to move to having access control to prevent random people from destroying pages. Not a terribly big deal, but it does require that now the extra step of registering for an account must be added. It removes some of the spontaneity of response. No longer can you just click the "Edit this page" link. Instead, you must login, then go and edit the page. Sad, in a way, but probably inevitable.

Licensing Yum Cha Carts - This article was passed along by an Aussie friend. Way too funny that they feel the need to license yum cha cart drivers. (I am told that yum cha is similar to the North American "dim sum".)

Small Caps - fxn: Thanks for the screenshot. It is good to see what the issue is.

haruspex: I do see what you mean about the difference between the first letter, which is so big and bold, and the subsequent letters. What is interesting, too, is the large size difference between the first and subsequent letters. From a quick scan, it looks like the subsequent letters are 5/8th or 2/3rd the size of the first letter. However, in MSIE 6.0 in Win XP, the subsequent letters are closer to 7/8th the size of the first. With the delta not being as large, it is not as disorienting as it is there in Safari.

The net of all this, though, is that I think I'll probably drop small caps with my next entry. Why make ugly web pages if browsers won't display them correctly?

Tachyon Transmission Mode - Enjoyed a newsletter which pointed to this article and these links. Nice to see people still doing good things on April 1!

Sickness - Entering Two Weeks - Tomorrow marks two weeks that I will have been sick and, for the most part, out of work. The longest time I have ever been out of the office because of sickness. Went back to the doctor today and was given a very strong anti-biotic... hopefully this will help within the next couple of days. Also had a chest x-ray to see there is something more going on there. I'm very tired of this.

Small Caps - haruspex: Ah, thanks for the pointer to your older message. No, I hadn't seen it. Ah, gotta love browser issues. The small caps actually look quite nice (to me) in MSIE on Windows XP and I don't see them in Safari on MacOS 10.2 (which is Safari version 1.0.2). With that version of Safari, it does the proper HTML thing of ignoring tags or attributes that it doesn't understand and simply shows it as mixed upper and lower case.

That was the behavior I was hoping for - show small caps on systems that support it and "fail gracefully" to mixed upper/lower on systems that don't. It sounds like a new version of Safari must now attempt to support small caps... and from your comments obviously doesn't do a very good job of it.

In any event, thanks, haruspex, for the comments. It's nice to think about typography again, given that it (typography) was such a huge part of my life for the 5 years or so in the early 1990s when I was teaching people all about using FrameMaker and it continues to be something that intrigues me, even if I don't work with it much these days.

MoonV6 - Interesting to see that my alma mater is very involved with moonv6. Good to see... and it is an interesting group of participants. It sounds like they all are doing good work to move IPv6 along.

The Death of the DocBook Wiki - I was surprised to see that the DocBook Wiki has died. As Norm eloquently stated:

Repeated, automated vandalism has killed this wiki. Scripts can destroy this faster than hands can fix it.

Don't know exactly what happened, but it's very sad to see.

CSO Magazine and CERT Security Capability Assessment Tool - Saw this interesting survey/tool sponsored by CSO Magazine and CERT. Nicely done survey. It should be helpful to many people.

Book Review - Was pleased to learn that a book review I wrote will be picked up by the Linux Journal. Not sure of when, or whether it will be in the print or online edition, but it was nice to get that news.

A Special Place In Hell Is Reserved For DVD Designers - If I believed there was such a place as Hell, I would also believe that there would be special places reserved there in Hell for certain classes of individuals. One such class would be all of those people responsible for the overly long intros to DVDs before you can actually play the DVD movie.

They obviously don't have toddlers. When you are a parent, you don't care if the butterflies flit through the fields on the way to showing you the menu... or how beautiful the coral reef may look... all you care about is STARTING THE MOVIE! We want to stick in the DVD, press "Play" and have the movie appear. That's it. We don't care if you want to show off your animation skills... we just want the dang movie to start!

Sickness - Emerging From The Darkness - After 11 days, the good news is that I seem to be emerging from the worst of the sickness. The bad news, of course, is that Lori now seems to have the extreme fever/chills/sweats that I had last week, along with the severe coughing fits and difficulty breathing. Fun, fun, fun. Chloe, for her part, has a cough and has had a bit of a fever. Tomorrow will no doubt be spent in part at doctor and pediatrician offices. Hopefully I am over it... I still cough a good bit... but hopefully that will pass.

Small Caps = Typographic Gravel Rash? - haruspex: You are welcome, I guess. I'm not sure if your comment is a compliment or veiled jab. :-)

I actually can't take credit/blame for starting the use of small caps in headings here at Advogato. There was someone else here who started doing it, and I liked it enough to go in and see what they were using (a 'style' attribute to the 'b' tag).

LinTraining - Approved two more submissions to LinTraining: one for a training center in Virginia and the other as an updated courseware listing for my old friends at Bradford Learning.

It was fun to see that one come through. A little bit of history... prior to moving to Ottawa to work at e-smith, inc., which was then acquired by Mitel, I worked for this little company in San Francisco known as Linuxcare. :-)dsifry and davidm hired me for Linuxcare primarily to work full time on making LPI become a reality. But I was also to help with developing courseware and training classes for Linuxcare. Over time, we had the wonderful opportunity to bring over a gentleman named Jim Lacey from CompUSA to head up the education group.

Fast forward to 2001... I was already up at e-smith... and Linuxcare had shrank back to down around where it was (staffing-wise) when I had first joined it in early 1999... it was searching for what it should be doing... and one of the things they decided NOT to do was offer training/courseware/etc.

So Jim was able to work with the Linuxcare execs to amicably spin off the work that had been done as "Linuxcare University" to develop courseware and a training channel into a new company called Bradford Learning, bringing over a number of the staff. It was quite a risk, but they took it and today they are doing extremely well as one of the leading providers of Linux training materials in the world.

They are excellent folks, and if any of you are looking for sources for Linux training materials (on a number of Linux-related subjects) I would definitely suggest you consider the Bradford Learning team.

Canadiana - With all the warm weather (i.e. around 10 degrees Celsius), we are actually seeing all the snow finally start to melt. The front lawn only has a trace of ice left while the back yard still has a good bit of cover. It will be nice to see the grass again.

Sickness - 10 days and counting - I haven't written here much lately in large part because today is now the tenth day that I have been struck down with the nastiest cold/flu/virus that I have ever suffered. For the first time in my life, I have now been out of the office for seven days! Coughing extensively, headache, fever, fatigue, unable to talk, unable to sleep. Adding to all the fun has been an eye infection that has turned one eye quite red. It has been quite horrid.

Of course, being stuck inside the 4 walls of our house, I passed the germs along to Lori and Chloe, both of whom have caught the bug to different ideas. Thankfully, Chloe hasn't been too badly affected, but Lori has, like me, been pretty much wiped out. I just want it to end!

Babylon 5 DVDs - As part of being wiped out, I spent a good bit of time lying on the couch and watching the Babylon 5 DVDs. Finished watching Season 3 and then watched all of Season 4. What a tremendous season #4 was! So much power. So much emotion. Television has simply not been the same since B5 left the air.

Babylon 5 Gag Reels - Finally decided to do a web search to find out how to access the season 4 gag reel and season 3 gag reel. Pretty fun stuff... albeit rather short. They do make you work for it to get to it, though!

West Wing DVDs - With Lori getting sick, and with us having cancelled cable, and with both of us only wanting to lie on the couch and try to breathe, we wound up renting out DVDs of season one of The West Wing. Since we have been long-time fans of the show, it was great to see the first season as: 1) we didn't see much of it before; and 2) the characters have changed and grown so much since this first season. It was a reminder again of how great this show is!

CISSP - Funny how the little things affect you. As part of receiving the CISSP credential, I had a note that I could receive a free lapel pin from the ISC2's online store. I did so, and a couple of days later, an envelope arrived with the lapel pin. Silly on one level, but it was something that I enjoyed receiving.

CISSP - Received a nice present at the end of last week with an envelope from ISC containing my official status as a CISSP! Very cool. Definitely a nice credential to have.

makefaq - Finally got a chance to merge the CVS branch for makefaq into the HEAD so that the CVS repository is more easily browsable via ViewCVS. Been wanting to do that for most of two years now... I just never made the time to do it. Nice to be back in sync.

Network World article on Jabber - Actually the article is really about XMPP, the protocol Jabber uses... but it's good to see it being covered by Network World!

SPF Now Equals "Sender Policy Framework" - I read an InfoWorld article about SPF that said the name was "Sender Policy Framework". I was all set to write them a letter saying they had the name wrong. But when I checked the main SPF web site, I found the name changed there! (And a news item from Feb 11 noting the change.) It seems they wanted a better name than "Sender Permitted From" when they created the official RFC draft.

Understanding OO - ncm: Thanks for the link... entertaining read!

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