VSarkiss's Journal http://use.perl.org/~VSarkiss/journal/ VSarkiss's use Perl Journal en-us use Perl; is Copyright 1998-2006, Chris Nandor. Stories, comments, journals, and other submissions posted on use Perl; are Copyright their respective owners. 2012-01-25T02:07:45+00:00 pudge pudge@perl.org Technology hourly 1 1970-01-01T00:00+00:00 VSarkiss's Journal http://use.perl.org/images/topics/useperl.gif http://use.perl.org/~VSarkiss/journal/ Wii mostly available? http://use.perl.org/~VSarkiss/journal/31852?from=rss <p>Yesterday as I was glancing thru <a href="http://www.latimes.com/">the local newspaper</a>, I looked at <a href="http://www.calendarlive.com/printedition/calendar/calwknd/cl-wk-cover7dec07,0,5975625.htmlstory?coll=cl-home-more-channels">the gift guide</a>. The games reviewer (scroll down to "Pete Metzger") recommends the Wii, and adds:</p><blockquote><div><p> <i>Nintendo Wii, $249.99, available at most games and electronics stores.</i></p></div> </blockquote><p>I keep looking for a store named "Most games and electronics" but I can't find a local outlet. I figure that's what he means, because the Wii sure isn't available in any other store around here.</p> VSarkiss 2006-12-08T16:04:27+00:00 journal "US bans vegemite" http://use.perl.org/~VSarkiss/journal/31392?from=rss <p>Whoo. I know there are lots of Strines reading use.perl that travel back and forth, and they <a href="http://www.news.com.au/couriermail/story/0,23739,20620744-953,00.html"> may want to re-think visiting or moving here</a>.</p><p>I have to admit I've never tasted Vegemite, but a label saying it's "Concentrated Yeast Extract" doesn't make me go, "Yum, I'll try that."</p> VSarkiss 2006-10-23T14:30:33+00:00 journal Why you should learn PHP and not COBOL http://use.perl.org/~VSarkiss/journal/31012?from=rss <p>Glancing thru <a href="http://news.yahoo.com/">Yahoo News</a>, I came across the eWeek article <a href="http://www.eweek.com/article2/0,1895,2016415,00.asp"> 10 Programming Languages You Should Learn Right Now</a>. (Shame TorgoX doesn't write here anymore: ALL MUST LEARN! LEARN NOW!<nobr> <wbr></nobr>:)</p><p>My favorite piece of lameness in the article is the reason you should learn the number one language, PHP:</p><blockquote><div><p>Building Web apps from scratch using C or COBOL is going the way of the dinosaur</p></div> </blockquote><p>T. Rex called to say he's insulted.</p> VSarkiss 2006-09-15T18:47:36+00:00 journal LinkedIn for more than work http://use.perl.org/~VSarkiss/journal/30963?from=rss <p>I recently created a LinkedIn account and proceeded to add people from various parts of my profession: past and present co-workers, and people I've "met" on the web (in quotes because I haven't met most of them in person).</p><p>On a lark, I looked up <a href="http://www.cs.indiana.edu/">my alma mater</a> and thought I recognized some of the names. Indeed, one person turned out to be an old crony, who also happens to be living in Souther California. After a couple of "are you who I think you are" emails, we got together for lunch this last Saturday.</p><p>I had a grand time. We ate lunch and spent the next three hours over coffee catching up. It turns out that we had many shared experiences (not all of which were happy ones). It was positively therapeutic: a few times as I was telling him about what I had done, I had to really stop and think, "Why <em>did</em> I do that? What was going thru my mind?" Unfortunately, we live at opposite ends of Southern California, so we won't be able to get together very often, but I'm looking forward to the next time we do.</p><p>So I guess I'm not as negative about social networking sites as I used to be. They can work, and lead to happy results.</p> VSarkiss 2006-09-12T02:10:19+00:00 journal LA.pm talk on Ruby http://use.perl.org/~VSarkiss/journal/30893?from=rss <p>The next <a href="http://la.pm.org/">Los Angeles Perl Mongers</a> meeting promises to be interesting. The topic is "Why you should use Ruby".</p><p>It'll be only the second time I'm able to attend an LA.pm meeting. I'm looking forward to it.</p> VSarkiss 2006-09-05T13:42:16+00:00 journal Life is about to get complicated again http://use.perl.org/~VSarkiss/journal/30783?from=rss <p>Well, summer's almost ending. I had a terrific vacation with the family at a nice <a href="http://rrgetaways.com/">rental in the Russian River</a>. The place is dog-friendly, so we introduced our pooch to kayaking -- he was a little unsure at first, but ended up loving it. I've been "between projects" the last couple of weeks, so I've been having fun tracking down old friends (and making new ones) on LinkedIn. Meeting people for lunch has been my main activity.</p><p>Things will probably change a lot next week. After Labor Day, my daughters start school, and my wife begins to teach full-time at <a href="http://southhillshigh.com/">South Hills High School</a> (be gentle, that's a student- and teacher-maintained site). Our closest friends, with whom we often traded pick-up and drop-off duties, are moving out of the area. We'll miss them as well as having fewer logistical options. And I'll probably start a project somewhere, hopefully either close to home, or with decent public transportation.</p><p>I'll enjoy the calm now, even while I watch the dark storm clouds gathering in the distance.</p> VSarkiss 2006-08-28T21:05:02+00:00 journal I have a feeling I'm missing something very clever http://use.perl.org/~VSarkiss/journal/30209?from=rss <p>Hm. I like reading the "This week on p5p" summaries, and I usually understand the conversation. <a href="http://xrl.us/ot7j">This one</a> looked like something really clever was going on, but I didn't get it all. (I know C, but not XS.) The MMD in the name makes me think of multi-method dispatch, but I don't see how it fits. Clarification, anyone?</p> VSarkiss 2006-07-07T16:43:06+00:00 journal GCal and weather goodness http://use.perl.org/~VSarkiss/journal/29782?from=rss <p>I admit it, I'm a weather addict. I've had the Forecastfox extension forever, and I used to use the Konfabulator weather widget too. I also glance at the forecast in the newspaper. My latest fun gadget, though, has been playing with <a href="http://calendar.google.com/">Google calendar</a> to see how much use I can put it to.</p><p>So today when I saw <a href="http://www.lifehacker.com/software/google-calendar/add-weather-to-gcal-177700.php"> Add weather to Gcal</a> on <a href="http://lifehacker.com/">Lifehacker</a>, I just had to try it. It uses the iCal feed from <a href="http://wunderground.com/">Weather Underground</a> to show the next week's forecast on your calendar, and it works great. Give it a whirl if you're another weather fanatic.</p> VSarkiss 2006-06-01T19:27:14+00:00 journal Turning a corner http://use.perl.org/~VSarkiss/journal/29755?from=rss <p>I don't often write about deeply personal things in this journal. Sometimes my entries are Perl or FOSS related, sometimes not. But I think I need to write down some things for my own future reference.</p><p>Some may know I've fought depression off and on for many years, and for the last two or three years, I've gone thru a hard battle. In September I tracked down a psychotherapist that I'd worked with successfully many years ago, and began seeing her regularly, sometimes as much as three times a week. It's expensive and difficult, but it's starting to pay off. A couple of weeks ago, I broke thru some tough issues, and my mood has lifted significantly.</p><p>I'm not out of the woods yet. My current client assignment is very frustrating and un-rewarding, so it's compounding the problem. When I have time to myself, I'm still tempted to hide in my cave rather than face the world.</p><p>I'd like this whole episode to be over. I just want to celebrate and declare victory, but I can't -- not yet. I've had success, but I still need to keep working at it. Though my attitude's changed, I still need to get all my life's supports back together.</p><p>The most joyful thing in my life is still my family. I'm hoping things will slow down in a few weeks when school lets out for summer. My wife will be teaching summer session, which is not as time-consuming -- we hope -- so we'll have a little less pressure and more free time.</p><p>So as I turn the corner and continue trudging the road to happiness, I'll mark some mileposts here, to remind myself of my journey and progress.</p> VSarkiss 2006-05-30T14:16:30+00:00 journal Things have changed and stayed more the same http://use.perl.org/~VSarkiss/journal/29681?from=rss <p>After about six months at <code>$client[1]</code>, we got a panicked phone call from <code>$client[0]</code> last week, saying I had to be there the next day. After we talked them down, I came out here yesterday.</p><p>Plus &#231;a change, plus c'est la m&#234;me chose.</p><p>Same old (non-technical) problem. Here's the gist of the introductory conversation.</p><p>"We need a new data mart."<br> "Um, what about the new data warehouse architecture I was helping to roll out last year?"<br> "It's not ready yet."<br> "We were loading two or three subject areas into it when I left. Can't we extend it?"<br> "No. The application programmers don't know how to access it."<br> "Well, the main problem the new architecture faced was all these disparate silo databases. We're compounding the problem, aren't we?"<br> "There's no time to do it right."</p><p>Aaargh!</p> VSarkiss 2006-05-23T13:58:25+00:00 journal XFS makes me nervous http://use.perl.org/~VSarkiss/journal/29492?from=rss <p>I decided to play around with my new box <a href="http://use.perl.org/~VSarkiss/journal/29423">after I installed Fedora Core 5 on it</a>. Since it was brand new, I re-installed everything using <a href="http://oss.sgi.com/projects/xfs/">XFS</a> instead of the default ext2. (Aside: seems it should at least default to ext3....) I used XFS many moons ago when I was working with big honkin' SGI machines at animation houses -- back when SGI's logo still looked cool.</p><p>When FC5 booted, I thought it had bypassed running <tt>fsck</tt> -- which is a program near and dear to an old system admin's heart. I started reading the docs and remembered that fsck is a no-op on XFS: it checks the journal at mount time. So everything's working OK, it appears.</p><p>It makes me nervous, though. I <em>like</em> seeing a line like</p><blockquote><div><p><nobr> <wbr></nobr><tt>/boot: clean, xxx files<nobr> <wbr></nobr>...</tt></p></div> </blockquote><p>when the machine's coming up. Just call me an old dog.</p> VSarkiss 2006-05-02T14:49:04+00:00 journal What fresh hell is this? http://use.perl.org/~VSarkiss/journal/29423?from=rss <p>I got a new computer after <a href="http://use.perl.org/~VSarkiss/journal/29071">my hard disk died</a> -- actually, it's my father's old computer. He wanted a new one, so in exchange for the footwork of getting him one, I got his old box.</p><p>I had to decide what to put on here -- I've used Fedora in the past, so FC5 was an obvious choice. I also dowloaded and burned a DVD of <a href="http://kubuntu.org/">Kubuntu</a>. The latter is supposed to be both installer and a live-CD system.</p><p>Kubuntu looked nice in live mode, but somehow it didn't want to install -- it would just hang. So I figgered I'd bring up FC5. And then a series of bad memories came back, like Gnome is the default instead of my preferred KDE, NTFS support isn't loaded, the samba setup is weird. But the biggest insult: typing <code>gvim</code> said it's not compiled with graphics enabled. Argh! Who made the brilliant choice to put gvim in a different package than "vim"? Sigh.</p><p>So I spent most of today updating stuff with yum, which started out saying:</p><blockquote><div><p> <tt>Install&nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; 3 Package(s)<br>Update&nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;169 Package(s)<br>Remove&nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;0 Package(s)<br>Total download size: 481 M</tt></p></div> </blockquote><p>And yes, I did steal the entry title from <a href="http://isbn.nu/0140116168">Dorothy Parker's biography by Marion Meade</a>.</p> VSarkiss 2006-04-23T23:03:13+00:00 journal Cingular-ly stupid http://use.perl.org/~VSarkiss/journal/29244?from=rss <p>This is partly (OK, mostly) a rant, but it may also prove helpful to someone.</p><p>A while ago we called Cingular (where I ended up after they bought AT&amp;T Wireless) to change our service plan. My wife and I have phones, and we gave a pair to my parents who are both in their 80s. We were informed we could upgrade all of them to <a href="http://www.nokiausa.com/phones/6102/">Nokia 6102</a> phones for free, so we agreed.</p><p>We got four identical boxes that already had SIM cards installed. We called last night to activate mine and my wife's, and we told the agent the SIM numbers we wanted turned on. Beep-beep, activated, all happy.</p><p>The trouble began when I started scrolling thru the menus and found the "My number" entry in the address book: it was my Mom's number, and it's only viewable, not editable. The phone answered to the correct number, but it's annoying to have the wrong number appear in the display, so we called Cingular back. <em>That</em> was the real disaster. Eventually the manager came on the line and got worked up into such a froth that I had to tell her to stop talking so I could get a word in. Eventually I told her I'd take it to a store.</p><p>This morning I used the <a href="http://google.com/">all-seeing eye</a> to search for an answer, and lo and behold, it turns out all you have to do is find a compatible phone (either same network or unlocked) that has an "edit my number" function for the address book. My officemate's Motorola has the function (which he hadn't even seen up to that time), so we put my SIM card in his phone, edited the address book, and returned it to mine. Presto! Reality and picture coincide again.</p><p>Why my phone doesn't have an "Edit my number" function -- I don't know. Maybe it's hidden in the guts of some menu somewhere. But calling Cingular support was a <em>complete</em> waste of time. They had no idea what I was even talking about, and just managed to muddy the issue.</p><p>So here's some google bait in case anybody's searching for this problem:</p><ul> <li>Nokia 6102</li><li>address book</li><li>my number</li><li>how to edit</li></ul> VSarkiss 2006-04-06T19:38:37+00:00 journal Dead disk, end of an era? http://use.perl.org/~VSarkiss/journal/29071?from=rss <p>My Linux box started acting up last night, and this morning the main hard disk won't even spin up. So I dug up the most recent backup, which was over a year old, and inspected it on the WinXP box.</p><p>Much to my surprise, there isn't a whole lot out of date on the backup. I realized I haven't really been doing much of anything on the Linux box lately. Since I left self-employment, all I was doing there is picking up email from my forwarding address (mostly tossing spam, to be honest), some browsing, and some simple doc prep. I've repointed forwarding to Gmail, got most of my bookmarks from del.icio.us, and I'm really wondering what I should do with the box.</p><p>I built it about five years ago, and it's had two hard disks that have both been problematic. With the price of hardware these days, I wonder what's worth salvaging. If I don't bring it up, it'll be the first time in about ten years that I haven't had a Linux machine at home.</p> VSarkiss 2006-03-22T17:03:49+00:00 journal Busy, busy, busy http://use.perl.org/~VSarkiss/journal/28320?from=rss <p>Just so it doesn't feel like I've abandoned this journal, here's a quick update.</p><p> <strong>The money pit</strong> <br> When my guest bathroom sink started leaking the day before, I started installing a new one on New Year's eve, only to get stuck after I'd turned the water off. (Remember, kids, it's a very bad idea to start plumbing projects on a holiday.) I had to call out a plumber and pay a bundle for him to cut out the old fixture with an acetylene torch and install the new one, so we could have water when our guests arrived.</p><p>On January 2nd, in a cold downpour, we smelled gas outside. The gas company came out, found the leak, and shut off our gas because the leak was right under our electric meter.... We had to have someone come out and do a temporary repair the same day so we could have heat and hot water. Ka-ching!</p><p>That same day, the rain started leaking through a window into the living room. Not expensive, since I could just weatherproof it myself, but it confirmed my superstition that bad news comes in threes.</p><p> <strong>Here a job, there a job</strong> <br> At the end of the year, when <code>$client[0]</code> couldn't get their budget worked out, I rolled off and started with <code>$client[1]</code>. Within a week, my first client ran into problems they couldn't fix, but managed to scrape up enough money to get me back for a week. It only took me four days to fix, so Friday I'll be back at <code>$client[1]</code> because they were happy with some of the quick optimizations I suggested on their application.</p><p>Be sure to tune in next week for another episode of "As the consultant turns".</p><p> <strong>Open your eyes</strong> <br> <a href="http://use.perl.org/~VSarkiss/journal/19473">Even after more than a year</a>, I never got used to my bifocals. They still can't fix <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Presbyopia">presbyopia </a> completely with surgery, but at least now they can make soft contact lenses for my myopia and astigmatism. (I tried gas-permeable contacts many years ago and couldn't wear them. The soft lenses are nothing like those -- they're very comfortable.)</p><p>I've been trying a <a href="http://www.google.com/search?q=monovision">monovision</a> pair of soft contacts for a couple of weeks, but my eyes get too tired looking at a monitor all day. Next I'm going to try contacts to fully compensate for distance in both eyes, and add reading glasses if I need them.</p><p>Of course, the best solution would be to just stop aging, but I don't think they'll figure out that one anytime soon.</p> VSarkiss 2006-01-12T03:10:10+00:00 journal Popular news http://use.perl.org/~VSarkiss/journal/28029?from=rss <p>I was scanning <a href="http://news.yahoo.com/">Yahoo News</a> a few minutes ago. If you haven't seen it, it's grouped into areas like "Top Stories", "World", "US National", and a zeitgeist thing, "Most Popular".</p><p>Today's big news items include the US Senate's rejection of extending the Patriot Act, the vote in Iraq, an impending transit strike in New York, reports on whether the Bush administration broke the law in spying after 9/11, and Google's purchase of a big stake in AOL.</p><p>The most viewed news item? <a href="http://www.eonline.com/News/Items/0,1,17984,00.html?fdnews">"Ashlee Simpson Hospitalized"</a>.</p><p>Pathetic.</p> VSarkiss 2005-12-16T19:44:01+00:00 journal Puppy in fall colors http://use.perl.org/~VSarkiss/journal/27710?from=rss <p>When we <a href="http://use.perl.org/~VSarkiss/journal/26326/">first got our puppy</a>, I thought he was an Australian Shepherd. But after a couple of people at the dog park said things like "He looks like a Queensland Heeler", I did a little research, and I'm convinced that in fact he's an <a href="http://www.cattledog.com/">Australian Cattle Dog</a>, right down to the <a href="http://www.cattledog.com/misc/faq.html#bentley">Bentley mark</a>.</p><p>The guide points out that ACD's are very intelligent and so easily bored. We keep trying to find treats he'll like and toys he'll play with, but he has, um, strange tastes. He won't chew rawhide, or munch on pigs' ears, or eat Greenies. But he does like to chew plastic toys, which in his mind include balls, shoes, and pens.</p><p>A couple of days ago I came home to find orange marks on the carpet, and his white forepaws a lovely shade of fall color. He'd gotten into the office and chewed up an orange magic marker. Fortunately it wasn't permanent marker, so I managed to clean his paws (and the carpet) with just a wet rag. But last night he was "skooching" his butt on the ground after I let him out, so I'm wondering if little plastic bits have made their way thru his digestive tract.</p><p>It's a little funny, but I saw an episode of <a href="http://animal.discovery.com/fansites/e-vets/e-vets.html">Emergency Vets</a> just recently where a dog had swallowed a pen and had to undergo surgery because it was blocking his intestine. I'm keeping a close eye on the little stinker.</p> VSarkiss 2005-11-23T15:40:10+00:00 journal Numbing the mind http://use.perl.org/~VSarkiss/journal/27615?from=rss <p>I haven't written here in a while, but I've been busy with <code> @life = qw(kids family work health); </code>Lazy lists would be really handy here...</p><p>At the moment, <code>$work</code> is a huge pain. The customer's reporting environment is a mess, mainly due to a group of consultants they got here a couple of years ago from <code>$huge_report_vendor</code>. We've been trying to clean it up but have been getting frustrated at every turn by the client's internal politics. Now we've been sidelined in favor of -- you guessed it -- consultants from the original vendor that created the mess. I'm relegated to administrative tasks of filling in metadata. Spare brain cells, anyone?</p><p>Another pain I'm currently fighting is that the <a href="http://www.ftb.ca.gov/">Franchise Tax Board</a> has lost one of my tax payments from last year. Yesterday they sent me a letter threatening collection, even after I've sent them copies of the cancelled checks. Argh!</p><p>What's going right is that our new puppy has been lots of fun. We've been taking him to an off-leash dog park in our city, and he's been playing really nicely. It's a lot of fun to watch. Pictures soon.</p><p>But the best thing I've got going now is starting karate again. Fitting two nights a week in my schedule was hard, but it's been worth it. I've been going for a couple of months now, and I can finish warmups without getting out of breath -- sweaty and breathing hard, but not feeling like I'm going to keel over. And of course, punching, kicking, and grappling are a terrific way to let off steam (in addition to ranting in a journal<nobr> <wbr></nobr>:-)</p> VSarkiss 2005-11-17T15:48:05+00:00 journal Gah! del.ico.us spam http://use.perl.org/~VSarkiss/journal/27118?from=rss <p>Contrary to its name, <a href="http://del.icio.us/cool_links">link spam is not delicious</a>.</p><p>I figured it was just a matter of time before somebody started abusing del.icio.us for this kind of thing, but it's still annoying when it shows up.</p><p>In case I'm rushing to judgement -- does anybody know that this is legitimate?</p> VSarkiss 2005-10-11T19:42:46+00:00 journal Too loud... http://use.perl.org/~VSarkiss/journal/26858?from=rss <p>Lately I've been taking <a href="http://www.foothilltransit.org/">the bus</a> rather than <a href="http://www.metrolinktrains.com/">the train</a> to work. At my current client location, it's more convenient, and cheaper to boot.</p><p>This morning a young man across the aisle from me had a Treo and was plugged in listening to music. It was loud enough to be annoying where I was sitting -- yes, even over the noise of the bus engine. I can only imagine what it was doing to his own eardrums.</p><p>No wonder iPod users are <a href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/4162028.stm"> going deaf</a>.</p> VSarkiss 2005-09-23T13:52:25+00:00 journal New summaries and perl.com http://use.perl.org/~VSarkiss/journal/26802?from=rss <p>Hm, <a href="http://www.perl.com/">Perl.com</a> hasn't had a new article posted since September 8, almost two weeks ago. Being September, I suppose everyone's busy with <code>@real_life</code>.</p><p>It's nice to have the "This week in Perl5-porters" summaries here. Sometimes I tend to forget the ongoing P5 development.</p> VSarkiss 2005-09-20T13:56:44+00:00 journal Creepy crawlies http://use.perl.org/~VSarkiss/journal/26542?from=rss <p>Boy, <a href="http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20050831/ap_on_fe_st/creepy_centipede">this story about a giant centipede</a> just gives me the willies.</p><p>And if that doesn't do it for you, take a look at <a href="http://www.insectaculture.com/sgigantea.htm">some pictures</a> of the centipede species in question.</p> VSarkiss 2005-08-31T19:06:18+00:00 journal New puppy http://use.perl.org/~VSarkiss/journal/26326?from=rss <p>Yesterday we brought home our new adopted puppy from <a href="http://ivhsspca.org/">the local animal shelter</a>. The vet's guessing he's about six months old, and he looks to be mostly <a href="http://www.google.com/search?q=australian+shepherd">Australian Shepherd</a>. He has a very sweet disposition, and seems to learn quickly.</p><p>We don't have a name for him yet -- we're waiting to see more of his personality before we decide. I'm trying to come up with something based on his tricolor fur, or his Aussie background. Suggestions are welcome.</p> VSarkiss 2005-08-17T14:38:10+00:00 journal P6 duck typing and can syntax http://use.perl.org/~VSarkiss/journal/26257?from=rss <p>As I was following links from the <a href="http://www.perl.com/pub/a/2005/08/p6pdigest/20050811.html">latest Perl 6 summary</a>, I found <a href="http://groups-beta.google.com/group/perl.perl6.compiler/browse_frm/thread/114ffdd27a9cb125/e4a4dc51ec90239f#e4a4dc51ec90239f">some notes from Autrijus</a> that mention the "duck typing" principle, and a proposed syntax for the "can" declaration, like this:</p><blockquote><div><p> <tt>&nbsp; &nbsp; my subtype Duck<br>&nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; has $.half_life<br>&nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; can doom:()<br>&nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; can quake:(() returns Wolfenstein);</tt></p></div> </blockquote><p>Then I realized the connection is that<nobr> <wbr></nobr><tt>:(()</tt> looks like a duck bill.</p> VSarkiss 2005-08-12T14:14:35+00:00 journal FC4 upgrade, semi-involuntarily http://use.perl.org/~VSarkiss/journal/26180?from=rss <p>I <a href="http://use.perl.org/~VSarkiss/journal/25906">mentioned last week</a> that I was thinking of upgrading to Fedora Core 4. The good news is that the upgrade went well. The bad news is how I ended up doing it.</p><p>I knew I was in for trouble when I booted my machine and <tt>fsck</tt> said "The system appears not to have shut down cleanly" or words to that effect -- in fact, it had shut down clean as a whistle. To make a long story short, it cleared so many inodes in<nobr> <wbr></nobr>/usr and / that I could only boot to single-user and only a few programs would run.</p><p>I booted from an Ubuntu live CD and downloaded ISO's for FC4. Then I had to boot FC3 again to use <tt>cdrecord</tt> to burn the CDs -- fortunately that still worked. I did an upgrade, and after a few runs of <tt>fsck</tt> and <tt>badblock</tt>, I had a working system again. Surprisingly, <tt>yum</tt> found about 250 packages to update.</p><p>I'm still not sure how the disk got fratzed. We've had a couple of power outages in our area lately, so I'm assuming there was a power spike or some such.</p> VSarkiss 2005-08-08T14:41:17+00:00 journal Time for FC4? http://use.perl.org/~VSarkiss/journal/25906?from=rss <p>It looks like it may be time to upgrade by box to Fedora Core 4. I'm taking my cue from the fact that the <a href="http://fedorafaq.org/">Fedora FAQ site</a> is now defaulting to FC4.</p><p>Has anybody around here upgraded from FC3 to FC4? Any caveats or hints to pass along?</p> VSarkiss 2005-07-27T16:32:04+00:00 journal Serendipity http://use.perl.org/~VSarkiss/journal/25644?from=rss <p> <a href="http://www.webster.com/cgi-bin/dictionary?va=serendipity">Serendipity</a> is downloading and burning an <a href="http://www.ubuntulinux.org/">Ubuntu Linux</a> live CD "just to see what it's like", and then getting a bad block on your root partition, requiring you to boot from it. It was pure luck to have burned a live CD just the day before I would really need it. My hard disk is fine now.</p><p>Ubuntu does look nice, but I prefer KDE, so I may download and try <a href="http://www.kubuntu.org/">Kubuntu</a> next.</p> VSarkiss 2005-07-11T23:06:45+00:00 journal 2001 in 2005 http://use.perl.org/~VSarkiss/journal/25312?from=rss <p>Last night I caught the beginning part of <a href="http://imdb.com/title/tt0062622/">2001: A Space Odyssey</a> on television -- I've lost count of the number of times I've seen the movie. I recently saw Star Wars Episode 3 in the theaters, and I was struck by how well 2001 has stood the test of time. The special effects may seem crude by today's standards, but the movie is visually beautiful. And certainly more intriguing.</p><p>As I was watching, I thought again about the soundtrack, and what a key role it played in the movie. For example, in the scene where the moon probe is landing at Clavius, you hear nothing but the Blue Danube waltz. The same scene in a movie today would have the pilots speaking technobabble, and something going "eep-oop-eep-oop" in the background on top of some overwrought Hollywood music. But the steady waltz paces the scene, making you feel connected and yet distant. A perfect example of the "less is more" principle.</p><p>I remember when the movie first came out, it didn't seem that far-fetched to think we would have a Moon base in 30-40 years. How time has flown....</p> VSarkiss 2005-06-22T14:04:26+00:00 journal Better than web http://use.perl.org/~VSarkiss/journal/25065?from=rss <p>So I have <a href="http://greasemonkey.mozdev.org/">GreaseMonkey</a> installed on Firefox, and I use <a href="http://platypus.mozdev.org/">Platypus</a> in a minimal way to make some web pages look the way I want. Of course, the thing I wanted most was to get rid of ads, which Firefox's popup blocker and <a href="http://adblock.mozdev.org/">AdBlock</a> take care of adequately.</p><p> (BTW, if you didn't know about the adblock list maintained at <a href="http://www.geocities.com/pierceive/adblock">http://www.geocities.com/pierceive/adblock</a>, you do now. Get it and it'll make your adblocking simpler and more complete. (Wow, do I sound like the Emperor. "And your journey to the dark side will be complete." (Evil grin)))</p><p>But no, I want one more thing. I want to have control over redirects. When I log out of hotmail (I have a spam magnet account there), I <em>don't</em> want to be re-directed to msn.com. And when I finish using my webmail account for $WORK, I don't want the next refresh to go to the ISP's advertising page.</p><p>Greasemonkey gives me control over the page via Javascript. Can anyone think of a way (call it "Greasegorilla") to give me more control over HTTP?</p><p>I'm not bitching, I'm <em>planting ideas</em>.</p><p>BTW, in case you're wondering about the subject, it's a variation on <a href="http://isbn.nu/0451452313">a book title</a> from one of my <a href="http://www.reddwarf.co.uk/">all-time favorite TV shows</a>. (I got my season I &amp; II DVDs this weekend. Yay!)</p> VSarkiss 2005-06-07T00:52:16+00:00 journal New books http://use.perl.org/~VSarkiss/journal/25011?from=rss <p>I got my copies of HOP and <a href="http://isbn.nu/0521644089/">a Haskell book</a> yesterday. I haven't had a chance to dive into them yet. I was hoping to get them during or before the long weekend so I would have some entertainment, but it was not to be.</p><p>The Haskell book was pretty expensive, but I haven't found any of the online materials very satisfactory. I learned functional programming way back when, so I don't need all the introductory stuff, which is what the online tutorials concentrate on. I picked this book from scanning online -- I thought it looked the most useful for my purposes. I'll see if I was right.</p><p>As for HOP, I didn't expect it to be so thick! From a brief scan, I can only tell it's nicely typeset. I hope to have a chance to do some in-depth reading today.</p><p>In the meantime, work beckons....</p> VSarkiss 2005-06-02T15:11:48+00:00 journal