Older blog entries for sethcohn (starting at number 8)

whew, been a while since an entry... Let's see, what's interesting enough to mention here...

Got an i-opener finally. Out of 5 ordered, only 1 1/2 months later, I get one. Manager swore up and down that I couldn't get any, they weren't carrying them at all anymore, and yet when I asked for a copy of my receipt to be printed, the store clerks said "well, we have one in stock, would you like that one?" Duh.

Luckily, all of the bugs are worked out of hacking it, it's a simple qnx flashbios, install linux flashOS, and bingo: xterm for $99 + usb ethernet ($39 - bought for espresso also). Not bad for under $150. Now I just have to actually do that... I just unpacked it.

I'll post a complete review of the Espresso in the next few days. Still working on it. I want to build a battery pack for it.

Satan: I have prior art on the following: death, spam, commercial airlines, puns, red kryptonite, and slaying of the first born. Get in line. Maybe we can cross license.

I also came up with 21 right away, and according to the Sloane's On-Line Encyclopedia of Integer Sequences, that is the only number that works well. There is one similar sequence that differs by a second 1 at the start, and it diverges only later at 110/111 - very interesting. Wonder how many of those there are.

grepmail: David posted a new version, and credited me with some work. Nothing like the feeling of contributing to something. Powerful. I've missed it.

Lubbock: Decided (pretty much unilaterally, though nobody piped up otherwise) that Lubbock will use .deb as it's package format. .debs just have so much to offer compared to rpms. Current cvs burns into a disc, now we rip the whole thing apart and start making massive changes.

Voice over IP:
Went to see some demos at Cisco. Cisco is far and away the choice here, due to embracing open standards. They don't want to sell phones or servers, they want to sell routers and gateways, and the product demos stress that. But they too suffer from vaporware: everything 'next quarter or later' for all of the useful features that we need.

Microsoft's got em snowed:
At the Cisco demo, I asked the engineer what other platforms besides NT they would be running on, and his answer: "well, 2000" as if Windows 2000 isn't NT5 really... but something completely different. M$ marketing success story. (They did say Linux or Unix, based on market demand eventually)

working on something evil but fun: Word Macro based. Encrypt/Decrypt from within a Word document (including uucode if needed) Should be released in a few days...


Well, I'm staring at the remains of my new computer. I bought one of those little Espresso units, as I said in my last diary entry. After a delay in shipping (they refused to ship to my work address, since it's not the credit card billing address), I got it last night. Nice tiny unit. Silver, labeled "EPC pocket pc". Weighs less than a pound, with a carrying case. The docking station has 1 serial, 1 parallel, CDROM and Floppy. The docking station doesn't fit in the case, but I guess you aren't supposed to carry it around. 533 mhz Celeron with 128 megs and 12 gig HD in a package less than 1 pound. It's impressive. Video or VGA out. Built in trackpad. With a battery, this could be an MP3 player for sure.

Installed both Corel 1.0 and Redhat 6.1 onto it, but neither had built in support for i810 video and sound. Looked into what I'd have to do to get video, sound and usb running. Video is a kernel module, sound is a new alsa driver, and USB (for ethernet at least) is a kernel module. Considered my options: I had 6 billion disks around but nothing quite what I wanted to install. Debian 2.1 with 2.0.36 kernel, Turbolinux, Slackware.... but my Mandrake 7.02 was at work (and I'd still have to add Cooker packages to that.) So I started a huge download of 3 Debian 'woody' CDs from ftp.kando.hu and went to bed. Today I get up, the downloads are still going (DSL is fast, but not that fast), so I pack up the unit and bring it to a friend's place to show it off. Plug in the unit and BLUE SPARKS fly, black smoke and frying noises. uH oh!

Damn power supply put 110 volts right to the unit. Cheap power supply failed (at least that is what it looks like).

Called up and they were very nice. I've got a 30 day money back guarantee on the unit, but I just told them to ship me another one, and I'll send this one back with the black scorch marks on it. I should have the new one on Tuesday now.

Not even 24 hours with it. (oh well). So far, I am not impressed by the quality, but the product itself is pretty cool, and I think that with a good power supply, I'll be very happy with it.

Pratchett and Gaiman:

I have avoided reading Pratchett so far, though one of my brothers collects his books. I did read Good Omens which he co-wrote with Neil Gaiman. I'm a huge Gaiman fan. Sandman. You should read it, all 10 volumes. Modern Masterpiece of Myth and More.

Diaree.... no, won't say it.

Long diary entries: I like them. We need some better code to handle the overflow if everyone posts often, but it looks like diarywatcher does a nice job too.

schoen, I always like your entries, and it's really strange how often we have similar interests. Seth Cohn, Seth Schoen.... hmm, good thing I know I'm not a twin separated at birth, cause we even look alike a bit. (I'm behind the guy with DeCSS code shirt, Schoen is the floating head)

Midi + Markov = midikov

Playing with the code that graydon sent me. Quickly decided that converting to abc format wasn't great, and dove into Midi-perl module on CPAN, and started markoving with that. Some interesting results so far, and some duds. Depends on how complex the midi is.


Still waiting for my 5 i-openers. Circuit City passed my name and address onto Netpliance who sent a letter claiming that the original unit was no longer available and the new unit required agreeing to an absurd term of sale. I smell class action lawsuit in the works. The only difference between old and new machines is some epoxy, a bios flash, and a few clipped pins. Calling it a new machine is plain wrong. Some people even get boxes with retaped up units. I'll just keep on insisting to the local CC that if they don't honor the purchases I made in the terms we had, steps will be taken. Especially since Compusa is selling the same units that Netpliance is now claiming are 'not available.'

Purchased one of the cool Espresso units (seen on Slashdot). A maxed out unit with 533 Celeron, 128mb RAM, 12 gig HD and no OS (ie add Linux) was $1100 and change. Should arrive tomorrow. This unit is TINY. The only thing missing is ethernet. USB will do though. Full report when I get it (overnight I hope).


Talked to my brother Dale. He's another techy type. Funny how often I'll talk to him after weeks and we'll have noticed all the same things, and laugh when the other one completes the sentence about "did you see...."


Being coping with some personal stuff lately, and noticed how many advogato users seem to have similar mood issues. Might be topic for an article. Might not. Advogato needs an AC type post for people to say things that they might not want associated with them.


Netscape crashed while composing this entry.

Less Annoying:

went to the .netscape/cache/ and grepped for Pratchett and found the 'preview' page I'd done. Only lost the most recent changes (like where I added all the links afterward)

various bits and pieces

Submitted a patch to grepmail Felt really good to put it out there, work on my perl skills, and fufill my own needs all at once.

Wrote to graydon and told him to not tease the rest of us with his midi markov maker by not including a link to some code. He answered, promising code and sharing his wishlist for it. Another project that I've wanted to make for a long time. Markov, Genetic Algo, any other good ways of hacking music into other music?

Grabbed the graph.dot and tried to get dot (graphviz) to work on it. It's not truly OSI (AT&T has a few limits on it), so it's not packaged by anyone, and it didn't completely build for me. Graph.dot is too big to graph, even overnight, it didn't finish. A smaller section didn't work for me either, segfaults. Someone have a better way/program? Be interesting to see the graph of advogato grow over time. Maybe we can have one process that builds and links to a new graph once a day, so we don't waste everyone's time doing the same graph.

Gonna have to start using Helix Gnome... seems like a nice metapackage. I think metapackages are the way things need to go. Perl's CPAN is a good model too. Debian's new plans for pools might help also.

While I think of it, someone want to sponsor me for Debian? I've wanted to become a packager for a long time. I'd start small, something minor and simple.

Another advogato diary improvement: View by day. Like Recent, but shows all people's entries for the day. So far, at least 3 times, I know it was the day or 2 before, but I can't recall WHO said the item.

Last night was the weekly EUGLUG meeting. As usual, I spent 5:30pm till midnight there. After a full work day. Call it community service. No installs (was a busy night, but nobody new needing one), but lots of questions, hacks, and demos. A little shell scripting, a little Staroffice hacking (the database in SO5.1 sucks...), some mortgage calculations, some xscreensaver, and a failed attempt to get Canvas 7 to work with Mandrake 7

Went home, watched some Tivo (which I have decided is really worth it - I program a week or better to watch at once, and it finds me stuff to fill in the gaps, so there is always something to put on. At lowest rez, it's really decent except for fast action, and I have a 60" tv, so if it's good for me, it's pretty good.) and to bed finally around 2am.

Work was busy, a little of everything from Win95 installs to .procmail fixing. Attempt #2 at Canvas fails with RH6.1. Corel strikes out again.

Joined the grepmail developers mailing list, and proposed an 'uniq' addition to the feature list, which I've wanted for years, to help me clean up old duplicate mailboxes. (I'm a mail packrat). Gonna try to find time to hack it out this weekend. Another EUGLUG meeting Saturday, with someone giving a presentation on kernel compiling.

jamesh: you have a knack for finding bugs in the diaries, your current diary has an open " in the html, and it indents everyone below it.

starshine: I agree we need some more points in the curve for the certifications, whether it remains one curve or goes multi-dimensional (parallel dimensional?)

I like the color scheme someone proposed earlier in the day. advogato still needs a search.

Curious about the Stampede thing... the letter hints but doesn't say what was going on directly. Can't say I blame them, but some AC on /. might let the cat out of the bag for the rest of us, ok?

Anyone have any comments about the new Trove categories on Sourceforge? Seems interesting. Also seems like a good way to see what projects are active. If nobody create a trove listing for it, it's inactive. Now if only someone will cull freshmeat a bit...

Anyone find onlinephotolab useful? I mean it's a great hack, and proves that gimp is king, but it's too slow and limited compared to just running local photo adjusting (try cropping) I think the photo storage and sharing is cool though.

Maybe I'll try to find some time to clean my place up this weekend, mow the grass, code some code, watch some tv, do some LUG, and stay happy and alert. Probably not all of the above, but I'll try.

Quicky responses
katzj - No, I knew you weren't Jon Katz from your bio/notes. I was referring more to the nausea that bubbles up when you see jonkatz's commentaries on slashdot.

dalke - Yes, it was you. Actually, I recalled it was something biobased, but not the name of the project either. But I had (when I first read your diary entry) gone and looked at the project. I didn't grab the code (no time right now), but I suspect that is the beauty of advogato: people will go take a look. Not everyone, but some. And of that some, some will download code. So 'someone is listening', many someones. As for knowing the domain, that is what the local group is for, your peers. You might get certified as Journeyer, but if 3 or 4 of your peers arrive and certify you as Master, the metric will reflect that too. You are right, with a very small group of peers, no community participation, and 'unpopular' code, the metric system might not work too well. Anyone got any ideas to fix that? (beside joining some more community activity. I predict now that will end up being metric #2, with code being #1)

Took the GPL/UCITA discussion with kelly to email because I'm really not interested in public flamewars. Summary: IANAL, Kelly is a law student. I agree with RMS, Kelly agrees with other lawyers. End of story. Time will tell.

Code aka work
If you ever get a chance to work with Motorola routers, just say no! They suck to configure, and the world is all Cisco these days. It's been pulling teeth to get budget approvals to switch, but we finally almost have it, after a near miss this morning where it looked like living with Motorola for another year. And just to prove how important it was, in the afternoon, had (the regular) trouble with setting up a connection to a vendor due to them using Cisco and us not. "Well, we'll help you set up the connection. You use Cisco routers right?" and the pause when I say no, and the "well, sorry, don't know anything about Motorola" answer - It's happened too many times now.

So instead, I've got a duct tape and string linux box that 'fixes' a lot of the problems the Motorola just doesn't do well. Funny how often a little linux box will solve all those odd problems, often even the same box, just add a few more bits of string and duct tape.

Code aka play
Haven't had much time to work much on fixing the CVS code, but have contacted a few other related projects to share code and tips and at least get on each other's mailing lists.

If you add a new diary entry (not an edit), while your old entry is still in the recent, it disappears the older one off the recent, no matter how recent is it. Not major, just annoying. Choose Edit first.

What is the difference between Contributor and Helper for a project? Bugfix submitting? I can think of a few projects I regularly use and submit reports/fixes for, but I don't know which to pick. If you get mentioned in the Changelog, which would that be?

How about a User option? (for tracking only, just display a count of this on the project page, not the individual names) I use many of the projects listed.

schoen wrote:

... or you may be in a similar situation, and if you're in a situation like that, there's only one thing you can do, is walk into the Microsoft regional office wherever you are, just walk in, and say, "If you do not agree to the terms of this EULA, Manufacturer and Microsoft Licensing, Inc. ("MS") are unwilling to license the SOFTWARE PRODUCT to you. In such event, you may not use or copy the SOFTWARE PRODUCT, and you should promptly contact Manufacturer for instructions on return of the unused product(s) for a refund." And walk out.

You know, if one person, just one person does it they may think he's really sick and ignore it. And if two people, two people do it, in harmony, they may think they're both open source 'freaks' and they'll ignore them. And three people do it, three, can you imagine, three people walking in, reciting the EULA, and walking out. Then they'll know they are all open source 'freaks'. And can you, can you imagine fifty people a day, I said fifty people a day walking in reciting the EULA and walking out. And friends, they will lock the doors and demand you see the place where you bought your computer instead of them.

Much as I love Arlo, I think that they really don't care. I went to a M$ <cough>brainwash<cough> I mean, event recently, where they did the licensing song and dance, and they actually tried to claim that the W95/98 license was tied to the machine, so that if you scrapped a machine. you had to scrap the license also. I asked if I upgraded the CPU, or motherboard, or the hard drive, or the case, or any other part of that machine, was that ok instead? Yes. But if I just retired the old one and replaced the entire machine, that I needed a new license. Bill must believe in the soul of the machine beause that is the only answer I could find to explain how a new machine was different from a 100% upgraded one.

Wisdom Teeth
Long time ago, my dentist said my x-rays showed I had no buds for them. No wisdom teeth in my future. Course I might never get wise, but hey, pain isn't my thing.

Am I the only one who saw katzj and thought "oh $%!@, Jon Katz is here, look out for a /. story on Advogato, and the hordes to arrive to check it out."?

Is there any point in certifying people like alan if they are core people? Seems the systems trusts them implictly, at least for now, and that baring any abuse, or removing the artificial trust, it's a waste of time to connect back that way. Am I wrong here?

I rather enjoy the metatalk. So do Achilles and the Tortoise, though Egbert isn't crazy about it.

Saw a diary entry earlier, it's off the recent list, and I can't recall who wrote it. Advogato needs some sort of search engine...

Someone [let me know you are, please, so I can credit you]
In their diary, they wondered if the lack of knowledge others had in their field would stop/limit/effect certification of that group. I don't think so, for this reason: Code speaks for itself. If you put your code up on the net, it will get looked it and someone will acknowledge that. It should (from the way I read the metric system) mean that only 2 or 3 people would need to cert 2 or 3 of your small group and all of you would have fairly stable certifications if you certed each other.

[Correction - what I meant by 'stable' was not trusted. Assuming that your group wasn't trolling etc, that would be enough to not worry about flucuating ratings. You'd still 'stoppable' in the trust sense, if the system decided to 'cut the cords' to that set of nodes because of problems, which is how it should be. You'd have to be very close to the center of the community in order to be immune (i.e. supertrusted) from getting cut off.]

So even if you and five (or 25) friends hacked something very obscure, something none of the rest of us used or was very familiar with, it shouldn't be hard for 1 or more of you to get noticed by someone, especially if you are active here in your diary here (and if you aren't active, then who cares?), and someone to say "Yeah, looks like nice code to me, I'll vouch for them."

I think that is one of the major benefits of advogato: it's really focused on the community aspect, not on news, not on of the moment stuff (regardless of the microserf feel to the diaries), but the bigger picture. I can see a time when a mention in a diary will be really useful to find that obscure piece of code that you know exists out there, but you can't find it and you don't want to have to recode it.

As for non-code things, like documentation, or community leadership, both of those generate 'internal' certification. Documentation writers will (if nowhere else) get noticed by the coders who should be certified based on the code itself. Community leadership should generate it's own 'reward', both by the 'locals' and by the greater name recognition.

Speaking of which...

is that really Bruce? Time will tell.

advogato has an annoying feature that if you create a new diary entry, the old is replaced before people might actually get a chance to read it as recent. Good to remember.

removed from notes

History: Computers and me go way way back. It's a love/hate thing.

In high school, I ended up running the computer systems, teaching others, and getting burned by the administration for it. Basic was the language and I was good at it, and won a few citywide competitions (and this was a largish city)

College wasn't for me, so I ended up working in a used book store, and eventually back to computers.

I started in repair, getting a Apple cert for Macs, and eventually running the repair dept in a store. Moving into my own repair biz after that, I gave it up when I realized how much I hated waiting for the phone to ring with a broken computer at the other end.

While waiting for the phone to ring, I was usually on another line on the Internet, or my own BBS.

Gave it all up for a few years, and then came back again. Ah the drug of choice was Usenet. This was right before the birth of the 'Web' and I ended up spending too many hours in too many pointless discussions online. Eventually someone even created an alt.fan.sethcohn (as a joke) but that was the crowd I was hanging with...

I was trying to make a living 'selling' shareware disks, at the wrong time (CDs were just breaking out as drives dropped in cost) and I tried to move into it, planning an all-freeware disk. But I was ahead of the curve by too much and things got in the way.

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