The Liberal Media at Work… NOT!

This page just showed up on MSNBC. The poll question just boggles the mind. I bet some news site will happily use these results, no matter what the outcome. “62% of those polled said that Guiliani’s speech reassured them in the upcoming election!”

Nifty little tool – X2X

I’m working at my desk int he office for the first time in a while, mostly because I need the open desk space, and need to build pu the new server for CONGO. Since I’ve been doing most of my work on my laptop, using a desktop machine again has been a little tricky, mostly because I have everything tuned ‘just so’ on the laptop.
What I wanted was a way to attach my laptop and my desktop screen together. I knew it was possible using X2VNC, but that required VNC on the target machine- something not yet possible with X (or actually, I think it may be working now, but reqiures some fiddling).
Enter X2X a little tool that simply forwards keyboard and mouse motions to a second X server. Now, with the mere command of ‘x2x -to -west’, I can slide my mouse off my primary desktop onto my laptop screen, just to the left of me. X-Selections work, mouse motions are working, yay!
For those who want to try this, there’s a hidden trick. If you’re running GDM (which most folks do), it is configured to, by default, not allow remote TCP connections to the X server. Edit the file /etc/gdm/gdm.conf, and look for the line ‘DisallowTCP=true’. Change that to ‘DisallowTCP=false’ and restart gdm (cd /etc/init.d; ./gdm restart). After logging in, make sure you have external connections enabled (I used ‘xhost +’ but that’s fairly insecure. man xhost for details on allowing individual remote hosts)
Now all I need is a way to slide a full window from one screen to another. Ahhahahah!

Neato weather station thingy

At the MIT Swapfest a couple weeks ago, I chanced upon a GE Weather Station. This little toy has a wireless sensor you mount outside, and a display to sit on the shelf inside that displays inside/outside temperature, humidity, time, high/low temps since last reset, etc etc.
The best part of tihs is that I picked it up at the flea for a mere $9, rather than the $44 I see it online for. It’s sort of neat to note that this technology has gotten so common that it shows up in flea markets (new in packaging!) for basically pocket change.

Canadian Legislator tells it like it is.

Canadian Member of Parliament Carolyn Parrish had said she hated “damned Americans” and called them bastards in the run-up to the Iraq war. She found a new moniker, idiots, on Wednesday in discussing the planned U.S. missile defense system.
“We are not joining the coalition of the idiots. We are joining the coalition of the wise,” the Liberal legislator told a small group of demonstrators.
Full story on Yahoo news

XGameStation: Opensource gaming platform

As reported on Slashdot, the XGameStation is “the world’s first video game system development kit designed for education. The kit comes with an assembled XGameStation console, a controller, all necessary cables, a CD containing all system software and tools necessary to develop for the system, and of course, an extensive eBook that explains how the system was designed and how it works from the ground up.”
Dude. A gaming platform that doesn’t require a $20k investment in software and development tools just to write Breakout for it.

An interesting evening.

This evening Cat, Zach and I went to friday night services at a temple in Sudbury. This is the first time I’ve done shabbat in probably 25 years. We’re looking at this temple for Zach to go to Hebrew school, and this was sort of their ‘welcoming’ evening.
For those who don’t know, one of the parts of shabbat services is when the rabbi asks if anyone is sitting shiva or would like to say kaddish. There’s a pause where members can call out names of those they are mourning for. I paused a moment, and called out “Robert Shevett”. My father, who died over 2 years ago, but for whom i never got around to saying kaddish.
I made my way through the prayer, but it was hard. I had forgotten most of it, but I managed the bows in the right places though I was basically crying the whole time. I think I’ll take the time to learn the prayer again by heart, and then do shabbat at least once more for him.

A quick bit of relaxation. Best space-military portrayal?

Finally got a few minutes to sit down and watch a little tv… and what should be on, but Aliens… and it got me thinking. This is an 18 year old movie (1986! Can you believe it?) and to me it’s still one of the best portrayals of a future military. Equipment, personnel, and everything, it’s something I can actually watch and go “Yeah, I could see that.” This is as opposed to garbage like Starship Troopers which had me rolling my eyes every 5 minutes with “Oh PLEASE!”. (Planetary drop operation – why is every carrier within a few hundred feet of the other? Where, oh, if one drifts off line just a bit, it’ll smash into the next ship over… sheesh.)
So, what do you think? Movies that even come close to being believable about a future military. Marines in space, if you will.

Aieeee! Life! Work! Aiee!

Wow, okay, this is going to be a quick snapshot of what’s going on right now, just to keep folks in the loop. Sorry for nothing particularly deep and poignant lately, but as you’ll see, things are busy…
On the Business front, I have 4 events locked in for the next 3 months, with the first one in Tampa in mid-September. Then off to Reno, NV for Gnomedex, a coolio blogger convention I’ll be doing reg services for (“If you blog, please try Gnomedex”).
Back to the east coast for a quick break, then off to New Jersey for Ubercon IV – a truly wonderful convention – I heartily recommend folks to put it in their list of regularly attended events. Great gaming, great folks, lotta fun.
After that, to Boston for only a week, then off to Baltimore for a big private event there. Yikes! After that, all I have to do is prep for Arisia, which is in January in Boston. (BTW, I’m actually -running- Arisia’s registration this year, not just being a vendor. It’s an order of magnitude more work, and I’m psyched, but if anyone wants to help out, I’m not going to refuse 🙂
Then it’s in to next year, and more events, but I’m too pooped to go on about them now.
In the middle of all this, I have a 1 week contracting gig in town this week, which’ll be nice for the wallet, but pretty wearing on me.
AND ON TOP OF THAT, we’re probably listing the house for sale this week (so Cat and I have been going -nuts- getting the house ready. It’s sort of weird – the house is slowly ‘not being our house’ anymore as we clean and move things out and the like. I guess this is a good thing, but it’s sad as well.
And of course, somewhere along there as well, we’ll hopefully be moving into a new place.
Not to mention that Cat and others are planning Something [tm] for my birthday, and I dont’ have an inkling what. So in the midst of all this chaos, there should be a lot of fun.

Olympics, and why they make me grumpy

I saw this posted over at BKO, and hadn’t seen it in my little corner of the web, so thought I’d pass it on…
“In a far cry from the high-minded ideals of humanity and tolerance embodied by the Olympics, the organizers of the Athens games have warned spectators that they could be barred for taking a surreptitious sip of Pepsi or an illicit bite from a Burger King Whopper.
Strict regulations published by Athens 2004 last week dictate that spectators may be refused admission to events if they are carrying food or drinks made by companies that did not see fit to sponsor the games. ”
One of the interesting bits of this is the -security guards- have been told to polics this situation.
Full article from the Halifax Herald is here.

A very good coding night.

Wow, what a great coding session.
I’ve been continuously frustrated with the look and feel of the web client that goes with CONGO. The client is called “Coconut” (special thanks to Mister Privacy for coming up with that one), and has been slowly expanding into a system that lets you do all the functions that CONGO can do.
The problem? It was UGLY. I mean really ugly. I couldn’t use it for advertising, and even though it ran beautifully in text mode for use at events, it just wasn’t nice to look at.
I even got a poke in the side from a friend who said “Nice product, nice web site, but what’s it look like? There’s nothing for folks to see!”
Well gawrshdurnit she was right. So today and this evening I sat down and learned something that I’ve been avoiding, namely how to set up nice looking webpages using cascading stylesheets. My blog uses them extensively (course, I didn’t -write- my blog), and I’ve edited other folks’ code, so I had an idea what it was like, but it was still a challenge.
All you old HTML geeks. Remember learning all the tricks and tweaks to get a table element to line up right? That is -SO- 90’s now. Go CSS. This stuff rocks.
I worked out a design, built my new stylesheet, and converted all of the Coconut pages over to use them.
Check them out here, here, here, and here.
I actually feel like I can take these and put them on the business site, and NOT die of embarrassment at how ugly they are.
Go me 🙂

Gosh that was easy.

My mom usually has a list of things for me to do everytime I come over with Zach on Wednesday evenings. Normal honey-do sort of things, all par for the course.
She had told me that she needed to make an appointment with the dealer to get the headlights fixed on her ’91 Subaru Legacy wagon. I did the standard Guy thing and said “HEY! Wait! Just a headlight out? No problem! Just get the new bulbs, and I’ll put them in.”
Now, I can already hear folks going “Noooo! Doom!” – but sure enough, mom had the bulbs (and an earful of lectures from the do-gooders at the parts store… “Don’t let him touch the bulbs! They’ll explode!” – they apparentloy went on at length about this. I know they’re halogen bulbs, guys. Thanks.)
I came over tonight, opened up the hood on the car, undid a little wire clip and the bulb popped out into my hand. Slipped in the new bulb, reattached the wire and clip, and bing! Done! One more on the other side, and voila. All of 7 minutes for the entire process, including time to walk out to the car and unwrap the bulbs.
Last time I did a replacement was on my ’88 Bronco II, and it involved disassembling the whole light assembly and putting a whole new fixture in.
Aint’ technology grand? 🙂

“This is for your own good.”

Saw this tale of lost freedom referenced all over the place in Livejournal, I’m passing it on. This, my friends, is where we’re headed. Not only are you being searched illegally, the ‘arbitrary’ nature of the searches puts you under the whim of the searcher. If they don’t like something you have, not for any ‘safety’ reason – they just don’t like it, they can remove it from you. These laws (at least in boston) can allow that person to have you removed from the premeses or arrested if you disagree.
This person didn’t allow it to happen. How many others did?
[edit – btw, as this person did, I’ve added the ACLU direct number into my phone . I don’t want to be caught without some someone to call if I ever get into this situation]