Older blog entries for mirwin (starting at number 216)

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9 Mar 2006 (updated 27 Oct 2006 at 04:59 UTC) »

Public Capitulation of Cert War

excerpted from message posted here:

Hi Kelly,

First, I cheerfully acknowledge loss of the Cert War at Advogato. Despite even long stretches of the trust metric being broken or non calculated I have never successfully achieved certification as a master. I go now to post public capitulation at my diary at advogato.org.

I am interested in your java project porting Wikimedia to a Java environment . I have been studying Java sporadically and need a useful focus to my efforts to learn the language. I have little interest in the language for its own sake, I am more interested personally in possibilities implied by peer to peer distribtuted processing with free software components for entrepreneurs with little starting capital.

Wikiversity

We are still stalled with no permanent namespace to advertise effectively. I guess I will update the advogato Wikiversity project sheet with a useful link instead of the current dud ... en.wikiversity.org (de.wikiversity.org works but I have no idea whether the German language project is progressing well) and start adding alternate links to other sites that might be of interest for free educational materials.

Maybe we can just pretend the ineffective tab location at www.en.wikibooks is an interactive insider joke or something (Wikiversity is Not a University or Wikibooks ... WiNUKs ...maybe the Canadians will like it ... Starts with WiN, rhymes with smucks ...hmm ... WiNuWs ... rhymes with Great Gazoo ... ).

this article on some guy's dot.corg theory has an interesting discussion and analysis of incestuous dot.org and dot.com relationships. Late in the lengthy article the author makes several points that the dot.org must be perceived as trustworthy and accomplishing its values based mission before branching out to working with commercial organizations to create revenue streams (which are split somehow between the value oriented dot.org and the profit motivated dot.com) to reinvest in their respective missions.

Maybe it is time for an anonymous email to MIT asking their open courseware initiative managers to consider a parallel free project where the public could use wiki style software to modify and republish their stuff. Maybe tie in some constraints such as MIT CS grad students can spend DOD funding counting sentences and testing theories of semantics webs or inserting Turing Test Bots or something. Developing and testing ways to track and hide information from various agents with access to the internet. It would seem like something useful could be done to justify a few million dollars worth of bandwidth and computers. Of course MIT is a private institution .... maybe better to ask some tax supported institutions what they are doing to justify their tax bases and research money to the public at large.

Maybe point out to Homeland Security that a good multi-lingual Wikiversity would be ideal learning environment for future covert operatives and intelligence analysts regarding foreign languages, cultures, thinking patterns, and typical views or biases. American Free University Online ... other countries could either compete or ally with the effort. Start it off with a big bang announcement of how many effort hours the U.S.G. intended to allocate for its trainees to create free training materials for any or all to modify and use under an FDL. Tie it into President Bush's grand plan (3rd time's the charm) for getting to Mars on a shoe string by allowing NASA specialists to leverage off of available free grunt work to keep those space technology development projects coming in under budget and ontime. Some Pentagon spectacular photo-ops could show military parents collaborating with their kids on their homework the day before a combat patrol or after debriefing. Could not possibly be less cost effective than press announcements regarding Madison Avenue based propaganda ... could it?

Really go all out and ask the American people to make a supreme sacrifice for the war effort. Instead of just encouraging your alleged literate to earn college tuition or a decent retirement in the U.S. military dodging IEDs or raiding neighborhoods in a foreign land .... gun ho civilians could encourage their students still at home to key their graded homework and term papers into a world accessible database and discuss it with their peers worldwide .... have to set up some form of mediation I suppose when the inevitable grading scandals rock the nation.

In other exciting news, I plugged a replacement CDROM into my linux server and redid the incomplete installation of Fedora Core left when I broke the previous CD. (It was jamming and refusing to open, managed to "assist" it twice before breaking it one CD short of installation competion ... argh!) Everything appears to be working fine again except, as usual, internet access. I am not looking forward to setting up Linux to the DSL with Verizon again ... so far I am one for three. Verizon kluuge and poor installation instructions, no tech support at fault ... not Fedora Core) I know it can be done with the equipment I have (unless Verizon has changed their stripes) but I am still not certain what exactly worked previously, why and in what sequence to duplicate it reliably.

I played with Kig a bit. I really liked it when it worked but I seemed to hang it up periodically. I intend to check out the code but I have an ugly feeling it is in C++ whereas I am supposed to be studying Java. Still the potential for using it to plot orbits for space related games/papers/lesson plans/sci fi plots/etc. is tempting ... not to mention its solid possiblities for high school and college level geometry and trig for wikiversity ... I forgot to check the file export capability. No rush. Nothing interesting happening with math at Wikiversity prototype, no need for cool math analysis tools with good interfaces.

Still. Nothing ventured nothing gained. I will add a link to Kig in appropriate engineering, math, and space related department files and possibly a few courses. There is some activity in some of the computer language and programming courses ... maybe they would be interested in debugging tools useful to getting the engineering or other departments of passing interest to themselves going?

Good grief! K edutainment It looks like a motherlode! I guess I have enough to keep me out of trouble for a few weeks looking this stuff over and liberally sprinkling links around the wikiversity prototype/test/stall site to provide a little apparent progress for other participants waiting breathlessly for stacked Board approval to proceed.

10 Feb 2006 (updated 10 Feb 2006 at 23:06 UTC) »
Interesting

openprivacy.org has a white paper that states they are using going to build test demos of their system showing how advogato and slash/dot's reputation systems can be duplicated and then correlated or computationally transferred between the two. They seem to think that establishing and managing a bunch of pseudonyms is the key to restoring personal control over private information while allowing society enough access for effective data mining.

I will have to look the site over a bit more but my initial opinion or bias is that they are in a dead end. To be truly useful and precise the data miners must pierce the obfuscation. It seems to me that, if it is effective, pseudonyms is more a method of dropping out of the information age rather than regaining privacy or control of personal reputation tracking. Consider a pharmaceutical product that creates specific side effects. In the U.S. nobody outside the medical industry that stands to get sued when a problem is detected has access to the "personal" or "private" information that patients are experiencing side effects. Ultimately anonymous data is subject to charges of fraud or incorrect data collection techniques and ignored by courts. Whereas, a few tens or hundreds of people banding together to come forward with specific information regarding specific side effects can launch class action lawsuits for hundreds of millions or billions in damages.

Yet a few hundred commoners probably do not have the resources to pierce the veil of pseudonyms proposed while I suspect any government agency or corporate behometh willing to spend a few million could probably gather the resources necessary to easily circumvent it ... i.e. some of the same developers creating the pseudo privacy.

Still it extremely interesting to me if it leads to any useful advances in reputation management systems. It seems to me that such mechanisms might be usefully combined with access mechanisms to manage detailed information over public grids. The mechanisms need not be incredibly robust. After all, a lock or front door in the physical world only keeps honest people honest and provides evidence of forced or illegal entry sufficient for prosecution purposes.

Perhaps an electronic keep out sign or mechanisms could be developed in browsers placing the onus of cookie and spyware management back where it belongs ... on the electronic or computer wizards wishing to collect information entered or stored on peoples desktops or portables. Unfortunately a development such as this would probably require some aggregate common sense from Congress. Exceedingly rare these days.</a>

bizarre

I installed Fedora Core 4 and got it working with our dsl verizon internet access. The strange thing is I had to connect the system ethernet card to the wireless hub which is then connected to the dsl modem. On the Windows XP desktop where it was previously, the modem would not work with the wireless hub.

Apparently the default setup on the wireless just works with the card/fedora combination of protocols and drivers or else I accidentally set it up properly for Fedora last time I tried the installation cd and simplified instructions on my XP desktop with miserable nonresults. Anyway, I can now access the internet from Fedora Core 4.

Big deal! .... It gets stranger. In a burst of optimism, I connected up a bunch of old hubs and cables to my various Windows desktops and portables. After some tinkering and head scratching I finally let my desktop "dial" and walla! it works!.

So I have a kludged network made up of old components working through a modern wireless Cisco hub and a DSL modem to provide internet access to multiple systems simultaneously. I do not think I even want to understand how and why the various protocol layers and drivers play together to let this kludge work but I am going to have to sort it out if I want to charge some consulting fees for installing some home networks locally.

Next step is to pull out the Cisco wireless router installation disk and the password and configuration data and see if I can access the control menus ... also I have a wireless Netgear card for my Sony portable ... I should see if I can get that to communicate with the kludge.

Anyway, based upon past experience now is the time for me to hit the books. I seem to be able to do one or two of the following three: theory, hardware, or software .... but never all three together.

Tomorrow I will see if I can get wikimedia, php, mysql, apache all working together on an intraweb. Also, I will see if the default installation of Samba on the new Fedora system simply works with some of the windows systems. Fun Stuff!

Reaction Notes

Future mogul? Atta boy Nymia!

User Notes on Graphics Monitors

Braden has the right of it. I will give up my NEC MultiSync 6FGP graphics monitors for LCD only when the resolution, crispness and color is superior or the NEC's give up the ghost .... I no longer worry about when they will fail as I have a couple of spares and I can see personal affluence at the end of the tunnel. Still, no monitor can last forever ... can it? Maybe if I stop moving them around in the front seat of my RX-7SE they will last longer?

Interesting, Ikcl provides link to Blue Angel

Superficial review of the specifications indicate that these have more power than the workstation I am installing Fedora Core 4, or reverting to 2 if necessary, to run a web server for an entrepreneurial startup. Ok for my own business but I need to get a little careful since I am starting to do some low end and charitable consulting and services work. Be embaressing for a customer to notice his phone had more processing power than the rebuilt computer I was proposing they use as a base load electric space heater, wikiversity study portal, and background scientifc processor. A goof like that and they might never go for a cogen plant to save wear and tear on the redundant natural gas burners they just installed. Of course, it probably has only limited hard drive or RAID array expansion capability. 8)

mchirico provides a suggested exercise that looks useful to the wikiversity software engineering crowd, maybe informatics and grid departments as well. Maybe I will drop a link there to his diary entry.

Rippit allegedly provides links to MichaelCrawford's album ???. I am definitely going to check this out ... soon .... maybe as a new year's resolution. Maybe I will get my niece to check it out for me. She is musically inclined (and in training and self study with multiple instruments) and I just sent her a simulated legal notice that I have suddenly remembered that she has never delivered my aquarium art specifications (for which I already paid her a couple of bucks and provided books and other reference material). Now Dad has taken over my unused aquarium for random evolutionary activities instead of the intelligent design I had intended, so she clearly owes me some serious damages.

avriettea I hope the sinus infection leaves fast. Use the overhead while it lasts man. Get some expensive antibiotics! 8)

Regarding the reading. is easy on the budget for generic background and links to further online reading and you get to add your quarter's worth. Much more satisfying to enter a paragraph commentary or several questions in the text or the discussion page than to be stuck with drawing pictures of handwaving in the margins when you find the author has conveniently skipped to the proof and simply written down an alleged answer in an advanced physics book. (If you cannot do the math, it is not physics; ---> possibly belongs in a monastory with other beliefs.)

salmoni Might check out tailored mil-stds The Software Engineering Institute used to do a lot of work with the military, they might have something. Basically when developing for the military one starts with detailed outlines (mil-stds; military standards) as specificed by contract and then tailors them appropriately for the task, project, specification, DID (data item description), CRDL (contract deliverable), etc. than one is working on. A tool like the wikimedia software which provides maximum freedom and tailorability to technical development teams along with a full audit trail is ideal for a Total Quality Managment driven technical development process utilizing modern concurrent engineering practices. Of course, most of their best practices might still be classified or unpublished but one might find some papers in applicable AIAA or other technical society journals. I would be interested in links to any online material you find or any research results or essays you publish online and would appreciate it if you publish the links here in your advogato diary. You might also wish to checkout xwiki.org. The developer/entrepreneur there has put substantial administrative tools in place that look like they would allow effective access management ... I am not sure it provides the detailed level of audit trails available from wikimedia. Personally I would go with wikimedia and internal team understandings and procedures for the configuration management, but I always managed small highly trusted teams. A larger more hiearchical engineering organization might feel they needed the stricter access control immediately available from xwiki code.

Analog Life

Friend of mine gave me a disassembled computer that had everything except the memory boards. I am already using the keyboard and monitor to get two systems back up. My old windows network is working for the first time in years and I am getting ready for another run a samba via Fedora Core 4 (assuming the sha1sum's checkout if I can figure out how to do so and that the hard drives are large enough).

I built a model prototype CEV atop a solid booster ... if it sells for ten bucks at flea market I will make table money. Otherwise I will give it and its payload (pre prototype odds and ends conceptually useful for extended stay elsewhere or beyond). Meanwhile I have started giving out free computer advice and receiving in turn computer scrap for salvage and disposal. My dental hygienist tells me there is a guy in a nearby town who will take broken monitors which he fixes, recycles or disposes of so I will keep the working units and pass on the duds.

Got a couple of hundred dollars worth of college grade textbooks at the flea market for mere dollars and quarters last week. That is a lot of reading and paraphrasing so I guess I will simply do some of the fun stuff for wikiversity as I get to it.

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