Older blog entries for pate (starting at number 9)


Okay, so I've put together a ciphersaber based system for having an encrypted password in gotmail. Alas, gotmail is developed in .au and i'm in .us ... does anyone have any clue as to how exportable a ciphersaber is?
other stuff

it looks like i'm going to be teaching a intro/intermediate perl course here at work (14 people, 2 classes). scary. I'm just glad netizen put skud's nice perl classes up under the OPL ...

lilo, the thinkpad 240 is a pretty nice box if you're looking to run linux on it. RedHat and Debian both installed flawlessly on it, and X is crisp and clear (albeit a bit small). It's hard to beat the price too. The only knock I've heard is that they're approaching End of Life.

I did in fact get some stuff done.

  • A contract is signed with New Riders, including publishing a portion of the book (networking and Linux) under the OPL.
  • No progess has been made on freeing HAstat, and the opposite is true. It seems that the 2nd level manager who was starting to make positive noises has now resigned from the company to take a position elsewhere.
  • I wrote a ciphersaber. Given the amount of help that is available, it was pretty easy.
  • I found a new hotmail mail sucking script. Since I'm stuck using hotmail from my current workplace, this is good. I've start bundling up patches to make the script better.

in other news, my 10 year old daughter has decided that Disney is evil. She's been reading my copy of 'Bullfinch's Mythology'. When she compared that to 'Hercules', she started wondering how badly Disney did at telling other stories ...

mdorman I've taken to calling my useless factoids esoterica ... I don't know if anyone else would ever deign to use the term, but I like it.

Wow, it's a new month ... maybe today I'll get something done.


more progress being made on freeing HAstat (the Veritas First Watch watcher (qui custodiet ipsos custodes) i mentioned before). My 2nd level manager is talking to his peer in the development organization who promised to ask esr about potential liability (esr was speaking here yesterday). i shall keep my fingers crossed.


i neglected to put in an entry yesterday ... i did recieve my new laptop. In the expected show of bad timing, i did not recieve the redhat 6.2 copy (cheapbytes) i'd ordered. today this morning will be spent fetching and burning the iso image.

Found that i'd whacked some links from my homepage during a re-org ... i hate it when that happens.


After ranting about my travails in freeing some of the stuff i'm working on here, I stumbled across a notice that esr is coming here to speak tomorrow (and i won't be able to attend, grrr).

In any case, I decided that this presented another opportunity to badger my manager about the issue, and this time there was actually some action. Who knows, maybe I'll get this kicked out the door after all.


In the past i've been successful in evangalizing free software because i've been in small companies where a voice could be heard and reasoned argument pondered. Alas, i'm now in a big company and keep running into brick walls.

i've put together a set of scripts for watching HA systems (Veritas First Watch) for anomolies and reporting it's findings. Every time i bring up freeing it (to let other groups help improve/port it, to expose it to wider use (stress testing), or just to improve the ability to recruit people ('hey, look at us, we work on free software')) i run into blank stares and replies like 'Well, I really don't know who we'd even talk to about doing that.' . . . There has to be a way, I just can't find it.

i'm also working on a ticketing/to-do system. It's in production use here, but could really stand having other groups pick it up and tweak, abuse, and play with it.

If anyone has ideas about how to break through the organizational stasis field, I'd love to hear them.

All of the above are done with MySQL and Perl and provide an HTML interface for the user, just in case anyone cares.

today was consumed by taxes, errands, and general running arround. in fact, i am only making this entry while i should be printing additional tax forms ...

  • Took my wife to her physical therapy appointment (dislocated knee) ... good news is that she is mostly walking without crutches, bad news is PT will continue for a while.
  • spent some time sorting food for the local food assistance pantry ... quality time with my daughter and her girl scout troop.
  • spent some time looking at laptops ... any one have experience with the thinkpad 240 as a linux platform? let me know.
  • printed way too many forms and pubs ... taxes suck
  • topped the day off by attending the baptism of a girl in my wife's Sunday School class.

just a quick note about evil user interfaces ... i'm spending the day 'learning' how to support a hardware encryption box. The vendor has an interesting interface for displaying error codes -- they use a single LED that flashes morse code.

being here:

Hmm, mjs certified me as an apprentice, thanks. In attempt to prove that he's over-rated me, i thought i'd put some musings here. i don't think these are worthy of an article, but hopefully they're not too foolish ...

what i do:

well, i'm pretty pathetic as a coder. although i'm starting to do things that approach real work in perl. mostly, i'm a unix/network admin. i've been preaching the Free Software gospel for a while, and even seen it pay off a time or two.

my thoughts for today:

1) why does everyone who writes an intro to using sh derived shells (esp bash) avoid talking about functions? i got hit with another intro article yesterday, and in a fit of insanity put this together.

2) Within a community, it should be possible to build not just a trust metric , but an interest metric as well. I'm not talking about a content filter, rather a method for bringing people, articles, and perhaps external links regarding areas of personal interest to a higher level of visibility to the individual user. I'm not sure of the exact method, but would like to think aloud for a bit and see if I spark any ideas with the rest of you.

At the root, my thought is that several (perhaps 20) key terms could be identified, each having potentially several synonyms. Then every page a user visits, creates, or links to would be scored according to their use of those terms. A page being visited would be worth a low value to the reader for any terms it contains, a page that the user wrote would be worth more, and a page the user linked to would be worth still more (perhaps values of .01, .25, and .35 respectively). This attempts to reflect the increased interest in a field represented by the effort to write about it, or create a link to it.

Some mechanism for aging probably makes sense, maybe totaling a persons 'interest matrix' on a daily basis and determining their current interest with a moving average. Again, I'm not sure.

The net result of this is that each person would have an interest matrix, which could be used to weight objects for presentation to them when they've logged into the site. As a person sees more contributions in areas s/he is most interested in, they are likely to identify the people involved in creating them and responding to them ... hopefully encouraging more communication within the sub-group.

Good places to look for implementation ideas would probably include the news weighting system in Emacs (GNUS?), and the scoring mechanism used by ht:\dig or other search engines.

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