gnutizen is currently certified at Journeyer level.

Name: James Connolly
Member since: 2002-08-20 10:09:03
Last Login: 2008-01-28 04:57:55

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I am the chief developer for Gnutizen, which is a GPL'd Gnutella P2P servent (server/client) written in C. I have many plans for the program, but it is still inchoate while in development, and getting it up to the Gnutella 0.4 specification (and then 0.6 specification) is the main priority. One goal is wide cross-compatibility so that it automagically compiles on Windows, Linux, BSD, Solaris and so forth. I also plan to fully implement Hash/URN Gnutella Extensions (HUGE) and also partial file sharing once it is up to spec.

While Gnutella is the P2P network I'm most interested in currently, I am interested in all things P2P, I like seeing what ideas and innovations different people, programs and networks come up with, and am especially interested in P2P networks with an open protocol, GPL'd clients and servers, decentralization, and privacy. Gnutella has many of these things, and is popular, and a fairly simple protocol, which is why I use it.

I also am interested in optical character recognition. I like a lot of the stuff that's out there now though.

My e-mail address is gnutizen at yahoo dot com.


Recent blog entries by gnutizen

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I am installing the software for my new HP Photosmart C5180 on my Windows XP. What the hell is it doing? It's been installing junk for 15 minutes and is still going. All I want to do is print out a simple page of ASCII text.

"Installing Microsoft .NET Framework" Overall Progress - Installing (Step 3/4) 40%


Slashdot mentioned that Google had release a free (depending on it's dependence on the included aspirin package, and the status of that) OCR program. I tried it out on an image that clara and gocr had done, it bailed on me. I just ran one of the gocr test images with it and it did OK (although it had real problems with numbers, and seemed to split one letter into multiple letters, e.g. W -> VV). It is written to C++. I'm glad they released it, although I don't think it is the complete free OCR magic bullet yet, more work needs to be done on it, or it needs to borrow (or be borrowed) concepts and code from other OCR programs etc. I want to contribute to free OCR but I don't have the time so much.

Right now I am dealing with using things such as web browsers via Windows Remote Desktop and UNIX's X-Windows and it occurs to me that Remote Desktop is much faster than X-Windows for this sort of remote stuff. I wonder if any speed comparisons for this sort of thing have been done.

I have been looking over the web sites which show what kind of hardware is compatible with Debian (or Linux in general, or free software even more generally). I'm looking not only at the standard motherboard and hard drives, but things such as scanners and so forth as well. I have never done any kernel hacking before, but I might do so on the machine I will buy. I am not looking to go cheap-o either, I want a kick-ass Debian desktop which I will use for my entree into kernel hacking as well as just being my general desktop. I have caught the Debian bug and will not install non-free Java and the like on it - if it's not free I won't use it. I've seen some of the larger Debian/Linux hardware compatibility sites and FAQs, if anyone has any comments about all of this I'd be happy to hear about it.

Wage slavery

After a blissful year of working for myself and being poor, I am becoming a wage slave again. When I was in my 20's, my thoughts were on making a lot of money and getting stock options that would make me rich. Nowadays my thoughts tend to be on working for myself. I know if I worked for myself and made $70k a year, I would be very happy, I'm not sure how much less than that I could make and still live without having to worry about money.

Anyhow, me and my partners business is off and running - we are selling on e-Bay, our osCommerce site is up with its modules, we are in Froogle, we have all the corporation papers and have accounts with suppliers. Hopefully, with all the time I will be spending on my new job, all of the groundwork is done, and I can run the business on the weekend, along with my partner and others peripherally involved. An influx of capital will be helpful in some respects.

As I said before, my perspective has changed since my early 20's. Time is more valuable to me than money nowadays, although it is not easy to find a 40 hour a week IT job, everyone is hellbent in expropriating more and more surplus labor time from me and everyone else. I would gladly take a large pay cut to work a 40 hour job, but that is quite difficult to find nowadays. I am quite unhappy selling myself back into wage slavery, but hopefully the capital influx etc. can get me going on working for myself. It's unfortunate the workers of the United States have to spend so much of their lives working to achieve their own freedom from the bonds of wage slavery, with few even being able to even achieve this. Of course, in terms of individual struggle this will just get worse, only a long campaign of organized struggle will put an end to this.

Mucking with Linux modules

It took me so long to get my CD-ROM burner, DVD player, and USB wireless ethernet adapter (which uses an external kernel module) to work for Linux 2.4, that I haven't gone to 2.6 yet. I'm too busy and don't want to go through all of that again. But anyhow, I want to receive faxes on my box and started mucking with that stuff. I compiled the related kernel modules. Now I'm reading that my modem has no free as in speech, or even free as in beer Linux drivers. I hope I don't muck with this for hours more only to find out there's no Linux support and I can't receive faxes. In other news, my roommate's Windows Internet connection keeps conking out for no reason, so I guess it could be worse - I could be using Windows.

So anyhow, my journey into the world of e-commerce continues.

This weekend I signed up with Dreamhost. I was going back and forth of whether to do the expense for a while, but it is only $120 for the next year and I get a lot of stuff (web hosting, mail, ssh etc.) so I just jumped in and did it. Then LA has a blackout the next day! But they recovered nice and did a quick fix for an NTP problem I had complained about, so I'm happy.

I set up osCommerce there. They have a pushbutton way of doing it, and it was pretty easy. Hopefully I will be able to delay the need for SSL and a unique IP. The Post Code thing bothered me so I changed it to Zip Code and made some other changes. So now I have to figure out what I'll do for the credit card backend (we'll probably use Paypal to begin with), and perhaps I'll sign up for an account with USPS. With that done we'll do a test purchase or two, then start looking for real customers. No big rush though - I haven't even set up any mail yet, all of my e-mail is still going over Yahoo Mail for this.

Most of my sales have been over eBay thus far. Later on we'll try to drive sales to the web site through various methods. I've been analyzing sales on eBay for my little niche. I didn't like their watchlist system so I designed my own. My system uses a MySQL backend. I grab information on auctions with a PERL script. I display the results via PHP on my private Apache web server. I'm just trying to get an idea of what sells, and for how much. If something sells consistently, at a price I can make a profit on - I buy.

Which brings me to suppliers. Finding and dealing with them is a bit of a pain. We are low budget, because that seems like the smartest thing to be, we want to put off spending as much as we can - these people sometimes want to do a credit check on you before they even tell you what products they sell. They expect me to have a fax number as well as a regular number. Also, eBay is cut-throat - in my little niche, I can't offer a competitive price on most of the stuff that sells on eBay. We have found a handful of items we can make money on though. As we find more suppliers, buy in more quantity and so forth we'll probably do better.

I noticed eBay has an API interface which allows several thousand free queries of their database per whatever. I signed up for it but have been too busy with other things to look into it much.

Doing sysadmin work for the dot-bombs and later Fortune 100 financial companies, I made over $80k a year. I have been working full-time on this for the past few months, and am looking forward to getting up to the point where I'm making $20k a year. Yes, it is less money, but I do not have to answer a pager, I do not have to worry about being laid off, I do not have to listen to a boss and all of that junk. I do expect to eventually get back up to my former salary though, and do it working for myself, which, now that I'm in my early thirties, is more important to me than working for someone else and making more money. I think over the long run, you only make more money when you're working for yourself anyway.

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