shockme's Journal shockme'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. 2012-01-25T02:24:29+00:00 pudge Technology hourly 1 1970-01-01T00:00+00:00 shockme's Journal The Little Foxes Wow. The last week and a half have been trying times on the computer front. It seems that anything that <i>could</i> go wrong <i>has</i> gone wrong. <p> First, a simple <b>apt-get install ssh</b> left a client's email server completely unusable. It did an upgrade to libc6 (which I had recently done on one of my servers), but something went horribly awry. fork began barfing all over the place<nobr> <wbr></nobr>... and I ended up practically working through the night to get it back into shape. </p><p> I upgraded my kernel version from 2.4.23 to 2.6.1. Then my Synaptics touch pad stopped functioning. I had to google the hell out of this one<nobr> <wbr></nobr>... and then remembered reading something somewhere about moving drivers from kernel space to user space. <i>Doh! They were serious!</i> I finally located <a href="">Peter &#214;sterlund's page</a> which contains the new driver. His page is outdated, but the INSTALL file is accurate. </p><p> There is something funky going on between my laptop and the office DHCP server. Or possibly my laptop and the office network. It just randomly drops me from the network. 5 minutes tops, and I'm offline. <i>No network for you!</i>. Weirdness. I'll have to investigate this when I have more time <b>and</b> when there's someone from Networking around who actually knows what (s)he's doing. </p><p> And this morning my workstation at the office was dead. Power supply. <i>No power for you!</i>. So, I've been working at a makeshift Windows box that is really good for nothing more than checking email and doing some light surfing. Grrr<nobr> <wbr></nobr>... I've got work I need to do, dammit! </p><p> On the upside, I did get SpamCop and SpamHaus integrated into my Postfix set up at the house. And I tightened the configuration file down quite a bit. Then I spent something akin to a leisurely afternoon watching the logs files and feeling good every time Postfix rejected an email. </p><p> Oh, and now my blog sync script isn't working<nobr> <wbr></nobr>... great<nobr> <wbr></nobr>...</p> shockme 2004-01-13T22:53:55+00:00 journal Gentoo <p> Well, after a really weird first attempt, everything seems to be progressing smoothly. </p><p> The first install ended up putting <i>everything</i> in root (<i>i.e.</i>, rather than<nobr> <wbr></nobr>/dev/hda7 for<nobr> <wbr></nobr>/usr, everything went into<nobr> <wbr></nobr>/dev/hda3). The only thing I can figure out is that at some point I <b>umount</b>ed everything other than root. Beats me, but it took forever to find out what was going on. </p><p> Once I got that all straightened out, it began complaining of errors on<nobr> <wbr></nobr>/dev/hda3, and wouldn't boot. When <b>e2fsck</b> couldn't repair it, I immediately suspected a bad hard drive. I did a quick Debian install, and verified that the drive was good. Dunno. Something really weird. </p><p> So, I trashed the entire thing and started over. This morning, I configured the kernel and booted it successfully. Then after a little <a href="">googling</a>, X fired up on the first attempt. I had mis-defined my mouse, but that was all. </p><p> I transfered my<nobr> <wbr></nobr>.enlightenment,<nobr> <wbr></nobr>.fluxbox and<nobr> <wbr></nobr>.emelfm directories over. Enlightenment fired up beautifully. </p><p> So far, so good. Now if I could just win that lottery and get this thing paid off. <br> <br>Posted from <a href=""></a>.</p> shockme 2004-01-02T00:21:02+00:00 journal USPS Apologies <p> Okay, so <i>overnight</i> really means <i>overnight</i><nobr> <wbr></nobr>... </p><p> The drive arrived this afternoon. Gentoo is attempting a Stage 2 install right now. The first attempt failed on the <i>emerge system</i>. I'm attempting <i>emerge -u system</i> right now. If this fails, <b>hello Debian</b> (and hours upon hours configuring X, etc.). </p><p> Tomorrow night is the big New Years Eve Party. It'd sure be nice to have something purty to show off<nobr> <wbr></nobr>... <br> <br>Posted from <a href=""></a>.</p> shockme 2003-12-31T04:44:50+00:00 journal 2003.12.24 (ASAP) = 2003.12.29 <p> If I could get my hands on the guy, I truly believe I would beat him to death with the CD-RW drive <b>that he mailed today</b>. </p><p> Huh? <i>Today</i>? </p><p> Yeah. He told me he'd express mail it on December 24. I followed up with an email explaining why it would be <b>really great</b> if I had the drive on December 29. When I arrived back in town last night, I was more than a little pissed to find that he hadn't emailed me yet. So I emailed a status request to him. </p><p> And he apparently mailed the drive sometime between receiving that email and 15:45 CST. Oh, so apologetic. So supplicating. So expiatory <i>and</i> explanatory. </p><p> <b>As God as my witness I would beat him to death with the drive.</b> </p><p> In the language of the United States Postal System, <i>overnight</i> does not carry the <i>obvious</i> meaning. See, in the context of the English language, we might take it to mean something like "[d]uring or for the length of the night". We might then believe that an <i>overnight delivery</i> would translate to delivering some package from point A to its final destination (<i>a.k.a.</i> point B) <i>during the length of the night</i>. </p><p> But we would be foolish naives to believe such fodder, because we would be overlooking the <i>United States Postal Service</i> definition. Now, I am well aware of the <i>official</i> definition, but I'm talking about the <i>real world</i> definition. You know, the one that reads something along the lines of "We will deliver this package overnight, but we specifically reserve the right to designate a night of our choosing." </p><p> <b>As God as my witness I would beat him to death with the drive.</b> </p><p> And if he required a signature proof of delivery <b>I will tear his heart out with the pen<nobr> <wbr></nobr>...</b> </p><p> Lori says I need to be more optimistic<nobr> <wbr></nobr>... I thought I was<nobr> <wbr></nobr>... <br> <br>Posted from <a href=""></a>.</p> shockme 2003-12-29T23:03:01+00:00 journal Christmas. Laptops and Email Servers <p> Since the kids will be in Odessa tomorrow, Santa came early this year. This morning when we woke, we found his footprints by the fireplace, and a note in Justin's stocking. Apparently a gust of wind blew several presents off his sleigh and into the backyard, so the kids had to go find them. </p><p> Lori's parents came up last night, and mine arrived around 10:00AM. It was a fantastic day. </p><p> My new laptop arrived around 2:30PM. With no CD-ROM drive. Grrr<nobr> <wbr></nobr>... no OS, no floppy, no CD. How the <i>hell</i> am I supposed to play? The guy was very apologetic and is sending one out ASAP. Still, that leaves me until Monday evening - minimum - without my new toy. </p><p> For years, my Postfix server has been running on a dual Pentium Pro 200 with an astounding 32MB RAM (yeah, I know -- <i>astounding</i>). It's also my (and several others') DNS server I've looked into bumping the RAM, but it's going to cost in the neighborhood of $300 to get it to 128MB. Nope. </p><p> Tonight, I've resurrected an old single Pentium Pro 200 that has 256MB RAM. This machine gave up the ghost some time back due to some heat damage. Repairs so far have been minimal. It's going to be the new email server. I'm preparing a Debian install with jigdo. The CD should be ready to go by morning<nobr> <wbr></nobr>... <br> <br>Posted from <a href=""></a>.</p> shockme 2003-12-25T02:40:27+00:00 journal Laptop, et. al. <p> I received an email today stating that my new laptop should be delivered before 4:30PM, 12-24-2003. w00t. </p><p> I've decided not to install Debian just yet. I've been wanting to give <a href="">Gentoo</a> a whirl, and now seems as good a time as any. Also, with the recent troubles that Debian has had (and the lengthy timeline involved in their recovery - has been down for over a week now), it just seems that now is the time<nobr> <wbr></nobr>... </p><p> I've already downloaded and burned the 2 LiveCD set, so once it arrives, I should be ready to install Gentoo on it shortly after unboxing it<nobr> <wbr></nobr>... assuming that it's actually the machine I ordered. </p><p> I spent the day (day 1 of my vacation, no less) cleaning the house. Justin helped quite a bit. LJ bailed on us, and is staying with her grandparents until Tuesday. They'll be bringing her up when they come up for Christmas. And I've saved some very special chores for her. I can hear the whining already. </p><p> Justin and I spent alot of time trying out new characters on Gauntlet<nobr> <wbr></nobr>... I expect more of the same tomorrow. </p><p> Tonight is Lori's office Christmas party. Some French place. I can feel my anus constricting already<nobr> <wbr></nobr>... </p><p> And I've <i>got</i> to get my checkbook lined out before my head hits the pillow tonight. It's a nightmare<nobr> <wbr></nobr>... <br> <br>Posted from <a href=""></a>.</p> shockme 2003-12-22T23:33:21+00:00 journal LDAP Continued <p> I've made some pretty good headway with LDAP. The Debian differences with other distributions concerning<nobr> <wbr></nobr>/etc/pam.d is<nobr> <wbr></nobr>... fairly extreme. </p><p> Apparently most distros have settled on<nobr> <wbr></nobr>/etc/pam.d/system-auth as an overall authorization scheme. Debian has it scattered among several other files. common-account, common-auth, common-password, common-session<nobr> <wbr></nobr>... then each program can have its own<nobr> <wbr></nobr>... ssh, cvs, imap, etc. </p><p> Of course, it's possible to have an LDAP file and @include that file<nobr> <wbr></nobr>... still, it makes for alot of files to edit. </p><p> I never did find any documentation on this point, so I've spent much of my time digging around<nobr> <wbr></nobr>/etc/pam.d. </p><p> But it's working now. And I learned alot. And I had fun doing it. So that's all that really matters. </p><p> Still, a nice Debian-based HowTo would've been mightily helpful<nobr> <wbr></nobr>... <br> <br>Posted from <a href=""></a>.</p> shockme 2003-12-21T03:18:24+00:00 journal LDAP and Fluxbox <p> In my never-ending quest to be completely unpredictable and totally random, I am now entrenched (neck deep) in installing/configuring/using <a href="">OpenLDAP</a>. </p><p> My experience with anything LDAP stands at an astounding 0.001%. I'm mightily impressed and understandably proud. </p><p> I <i>did</i> get it loaded, and <a href="">gq</a> is displaying everything the way I'd expect to see it. But, I'm not seeing/understanding: </p><ul> <li>The relationship between Person and Group;</li> <li> <a href="">Squirrelmail</a> refuses to use LDAP as an addressbook.</li> </ul><p> Such fun<nobr> <wbr></nobr>... </p><p> I set up a www Group, which I hope to eventually use to authenticate certain parts of <a href="">my website</a>. You know, for <b>personal and private</b> reasons. Reasons that have <b>nothing whatsoever</b> to do with pr0n. </p><p> The Debian documentation is painfully limited. The remaining documentation is painfully limited. </p><p> But, the future is bright, and I have alot of beer. And that's what really matters. </p><p> On a completely unrelated note (as if anything in <i>any</i> of my entries is ever releated), given my abject and complete failure to get the e17 CVS to compile, a friend of mine convinced me to give <a href="">FluxBox</a> a whirl. </p><p> It's okay. The inability to middle-click on a title bar and shade a window is endlessly (<i>click<nobr> <wbr></nobr>.... click click<nobr> <wbr></nobr>... click<nobr> <wbr></nobr>... oh, yeah</i>) annoying, but it has several offerings that I've immediately taken to. </p><p> But <a href="">e17</a> promises <i>so much</i><nobr> <wbr></nobr>... I'm not giving up. <b>As God as my witness</b>, as long as there's beer, <i>I will not give up</i>. <br> <br>Posted from <a href=""></a>.</p> shockme 2003-12-18T03:16:21+00:00 journal Alienware Part 2 <p> Okay, so I finally broke down last night and purchased one. Gak. For a guy who prides himself on maintaining zero debt, I've certainly bit off a huge chunk. </p><p> Here are the specs: </p><ul><li>Alienware Area 51m Laptop</li> <li>Intel P4 3.06 Ghz</li> <li>15" UGXA 1600x1200 Wide Viewing Angles Screen</li> <li>24x10x24x DVD/CDRW</li> <li>1024Mb DDR PC2700 333mhz Ram</li> <li>Radeon 9000 DDR ATI Graphics Card</li> <li>60Gb 7200RPM Hard Drive</li> <li>S-Video/Monitor out</li> <li>Digital audio out</li> <li>4 USB 2.0 ports</li> <li>Headphone and mic jacks</li> <li>Keyboard and printer ports.</li> <li>Built-in 56K modem</li> <li>Built-in 10/100Mps Ethernet</li> <li>1 PCMCIA slot</li> <li>One year warranty</li> </ul><p> All this for just under $1,900, including shipping. Not shabby at all. </p><p> It's green<nobr> <wbr></nobr>.... And - of course - it'll be running Debian. </p><p> I <i>want</i> to be really excited, but right now, I'm nervous as hell. I just sent about $1,900 to someone I do not even know for a piece of hardware I've never even seen. </p><p> Good lord<nobr> <wbr></nobr>... what was I thinking? <br> <br>Posted from <a href=""></a>.</p> shockme 2003-12-16T16:17:33+00:00 journal Back to Debian <p> Well, I finally got <i>sick and tired</i> of Windows XP. The connection dialog for my VPN kept popping up at extremely random times, and when I clicked Cancel, it'd would disconnect my ethernet connection. I did everything I could think of to correct this situation. I've dug through every file, talked with the local gurus, run virus scans, etc. Nada. </p><p> So I pulled my Debian hard disk out and packed my XP hard drive away. </p><p> It's so great to be back. Last night I configured the HP DeskJet 5550 and LaserJet 2100TN. Tonight I <i>finally</i> got around to de-uglifying the fonts. Everything is nice and purty. </p><p> Now, if I could just find the energy to tackle my ever-growing ToDo list. LDAP, mod_perl, e17 - can you hear me coming? </p><p> The weather today sucked a nut. Continual wind of about 20 - 30 MPH gusts. The temperature was 35 degrees or so, but the wind chill was around 24. Freezing sand storms. That, I can live without. <br> <br>Posted from <a href=""></a>.</p> shockme 2003-12-16T02:55:18+00:00 journal UserLinux <p> I stumbled across a blurb in the most recent <a href="">Debian Weekly News</a> about Bruce Perens' <a href="">UserLinux</a>. The discussion list is already pretty active. It sounds like an interesting project. I think I'll keep an eye on it and see where it leads<nobr> <wbr></nobr>...</p> shockme 2003-12-11T04:24:45+00:00 journal A Question Regarding a CGI script <p> Consider the following script:</p><blockquote><div><p>#!/usr/local/bin/perl<br> use strict;<br> use CGI qw(param);<br> <br> $user_name = param(UserName);<br> $email_addy = param(EmailAddy);<br> $comments = param(Comments);<br> <br> open(SENDMAIL, "| sendmail -oi -t") or die "Can't fork for sendmail: $!\n";<br> print SENDMAIL &lt;&lt;EOF;<br> From: $email_addy<br> To: joe\<br> Subject: Message from $user_name<br> <br> $user_name ($email_addy) has sent you the following:<br> <br> -----------------------------------------<br> <br> $comments<br> <br> -----------------------------------------<br> <br> EOF<br> save_parameters(*SENDMAIL);<br> close(SENDMAIL);</p></div> </blockquote><p> Other than flooding Joe's inbox, can you think of any way that this script could be abused? More specifically, is it possible to abuse this script to send email to someone other than Joe? <br> <br>Posted from <a href=""></a>, comment <a href="">here</a>.</p> shockme 2003-12-09T23:01:06+00:00 journal Perl Advent / PS2 / Scotch <p> I finally got around to putting the <a href="">Perl Advent Calendar</a> RDF on my <a href="">(e) journal</a>. Very cool<nobr> <wbr></nobr>... and now I don't have to fret about forgetting about it. </p><p> Justin and I finished <b>Medal of Honor Rising Sun</b> (cooperative mode) tonight. It's a very fun game, although the cooperative mode is a little short. I'm psych'd to see cooperative mode finally taking off on the PS2, and I'm really looking forward to the time when cooperative mode is the primary focus, with solo mode eating the short sheet. </p><p> So, having conquered WW2, we moved on to <b>SOCOM 2: US Navy SEALs</b>, which (absent network capability -- coming soon to a Christmas tree near me) doesn't have a cooperative mode. Justin bored quickly, but I played it long enough to satisfy my curiosity. It looks like they've really done a bang-up job on this one. Very deep, and very involved. I'm looking forward to spending some quality time with it. </p><p> Given Justin's quick dismissal of SOCOM 2, we moved on to <b>Time Splitters 2</b>. The graphics leave much to be desired, but it's a fast moving, fun game. Tonight we conquered Siberia, 1990. Tomorrow, we invade Chicago circa 1932. I dig Chi-Town. </p><p> While fragging our way through Siberia, I took about 7 telephone calls/pages from the office. We're having cooling problems on a few of our servers, and one's NIC keeps dying. Disabling and re-enabling it does the trick. I'm betting I get paged during the night and have to drive to the office. Grrr.... </p><p> If you've never tried it, I highly recommend Scotch and Sprite. Aim for a 1 to 4 or 1 to 5 ratio between the Scotch and the Sprite. It's a staple around my house - and when I say "my house", I mean "me" (although Lori does enjoy them, too). Good stuff. You won't regret it. <br> <br>Posted from <a href=""></a>, comment <a href="">here</a>.</p> shockme 2003-12-09T04:21:50+00:00 journal Safety Nets <p> Lubbock, Texas is one of many places that can safely be considered to not be technologically advanced. Job opportunities in a technical field, such as system administrators, programmers, and the like are few and far between. </p><p> So, employers tend to be somewhat<nobr> <wbr></nobr>... hardnosed, I guess. I've heard several of my supervisors make statements along the lines of "I understand his concerns, but what's he going to do? It's not like he's going to quit and find another job around here." </p><p> Pathetic. </p><p> What they seem to forget is that I am not in that boat. I was a programmer, then obtained my law degree and practiced as an attorney for about 5 years, and am now working as a system administrator. By choice. I made the conscious decision to leave the legal field and re-enter the computer field, because I absolutely love working with computers. But I hate rubbing elbows with assholes, bureaucrats and employers who are convinced they have the upper hand in all situations. </p><p> I can just as easily "unmake" my decision. I put a pencil to it the other day, and I figure that I could quit my job, re-open my practice, and completely replace my current income within 3 - 5 months. Within a year, I could almost double my current income. </p><p> I think I'm going to voice this the next time one my leaders spouts off. I really want to see the looks on their faces when they realize what they have apparently forgotten: I have a safety net. I'm here because <i>I chose</i> to be here. Not because I had nowhere else to turn. And when it comes to the terms of <i>my</i> employment, I don't <i>have</i> to eat whatever scraps they choose to throw my way. <br> <br>Posted from <a href=""></a>, comment <a href="">here</a>.</p> shockme 2003-12-07T20:09:43+00:00 journal Confusion ... Moreso Than Usual <p> Well, I've finally done it. I've thought about laptops to the point that I've managed to confuse myself beyond concentration. </p><p> How important do you think technical support for a laptop is? Myself, I know diddle about repairing a laptop. They're damned near impossible. </p><p> But how much would you pay for hardware support? I'm looking at a deal that's $1,850.00 without support, because this particular laptop is used. A whole 3 weeks old, but used nonetheless. And the technical/hardware support contract is non-transferable. </p><p> The comparable new model is $3,600.00 or so, but includes a few things the other doesn't: </p><ul> <li>3 years hardware/technical support (vs. 0 on the used);</li> <li>1Gb of RAM (vs. 512Mb on the used);</li> <li>DVD-RW / CD-RW (vs. DVD/CD-RW on the used);</li> <li>Wireless support and wired networking (vs. wired networking only on the used);</li> <li>16" UXGA (vs. 15" UXGA on the used);</li> <li>An extra battery;</li> <li>An extra AC adapter.</li> </ul><p> So, that's $1,800 for what would cost me about $700 (ballpark) to add to the used, which means technical/hardware support is going to cost me about $1,000.00 - $1,100.00. </p><p> Good Lord. I'm so confused. I mean, $1,000 is ton of dough to me. But if I go the $1,850.00 used model, where do I turn if the thing goes tits up on day 2? <br> <br>Posted from <a href=""></a>, comment <a href="">here</a>.</p> shockme 2003-12-05T03:56:29+00:00 journal Alienware and eBay <p> <a href="">Alienware</a> apparently has some sort of hard-on for sellers on <a href="">eBay</a>. Today, I've witnessed probably 20 or so different auctions canceled, and many of the active auctions contain pleas to not cancel the auction. Most of the non-canceled auctions contain disclaimers that the seller isn't associated with Alienware and the purchase of said item <b>will not</b> include technical support. </p><p> Which is a problem for me. I mean, I understand Alienware's position, and they're perfectly within their right to <b>not</b> allow the technical support to be transferable. However, when you're spending $1,500 - $2,000 on hardware, that warm, fuzzy feeling that you have a safety net in the event the system goes tits-up on Day 2 is pretty nice to have<nobr> <wbr></nobr>... </p><p> Laptops<nobr> <wbr></nobr>... Man, that's a mixed bag. On one hand, I'd <i>love</i> to have one. On the other hand, I'd never get a moment's rest because I'd always have the thing with me<nobr> <wbr></nobr>... </p><p> Here's what I'd really like to have: </p><ul> <li>15" - 16" Active matrix, preferably 1600 x 1200 resolution</li> <li>1 Gb RAM</li> <li>NVidia or ATI Mobility Radeon 9000 with a minimum of 64mb RAM</li> <li>Somewhere close to a 3GHz processor</li> <li>DVD/CD-RW (preferably DVD-RW)</li> <li>40 - 60 Gb hard drive, ATA100, with 8Mb cache</li> <li>USB and Firewire port(s)</li> <li>10/100 ethernet</li> <li>An open bay for an extra battery, optical drive, etc.</li> <li>100% Soundblaster compatible soundcard</li> </ul><p> Oh, and it absolutely must be Linux-friendly. Debian all the way, baby. </p><p> And Alienware seems to fit the bill. </p><p> Anyone have any experience with used Alienware laptops, eBay purchases of Alienware laptops, or advice concerning that I'm way off base along with other suggestions? </p><p> I'm really chomping at the bit<nobr> <wbr></nobr>... such a bad sign<nobr> <wbr></nobr>... and yet so right<nobr> <wbr></nobr>... </p><p>Posted from <a href=""></a>, comment <a href="">here</a>.</p> shockme 2003-12-03T04:39:42+00:00 journal When $friend != $friend <p> What do you say to a guy who goes on and on and on<nobr> <wbr></nobr>... <i>ad nauseum</i><nobr> <wbr></nobr>... about the fact that we (he and I) <i>never</i> spend time together anymore. How we <i>really</i> need to get together more often, etc., etc., etc. And then, when he knows you'll be in town for 4 days, and knows how to get in touch with you, when it's been made clear that all he has to do is pick up the phone and he <i>absolutely</i> agrees to call<nobr> <wbr></nobr>... and doesn't. </p><p> I say you don't say a thing. Just move on and count yourself fortunate to have so easily identified someone who is, at best, an acquaintance. </p><p> If only I'd let it go years ago<nobr> <wbr></nobr>... I've lost so much time over this guy. </p><p> Every time he has a problem, I'm the first to hear about it. And I spend hours on the phone - or face-to-face - talking with him, listening, etc. Every time he needs a shoulder, I'm the one he calls. Every time he needs <i>anything</i>, it's me. </p><p> And I have unconditionally been there for him. To the extent of opening my home to him, offering him room and board, feeding him, whatever the situation called for. I have always been there, regardless of the circumstances. I have actually lost favor with other people and countless opportunities, simply because I insisted on devotion to a friend. </p><p> But when it comes to just hanging out, being together, doing "friend" stuff, well<nobr> <wbr></nobr>... he's got "family commitments", or "emergencies", or [insert convenient excuse here]. Oh sure, he can hang for an hour, if I'm willing to come pick him up. Nevermind that it'll take me 20 minutes to drive to his place<nobr> <wbr></nobr>... </p><p> It took me until this weekend to really see it, but I'm nothing more than a convenience. And that kind of hurts. I always considered him a brother, but I guess it's my own damned fault. </p><p> I'll live. <br> <br>Posted from <a href=""></a>, comment <a href="">here</a>.</p> shockme 2003-12-02T00:27:23+00:00 journal So Long, Danny <p> Danny Cepero. </p><p> I've known him almost as long as I've known anyone. A tall guy, on the heavy side, with a firm handshake, and a round face and a smile that screams "gentle, friendly guy inside". </p><p> Faithful and loving. Gentle and caring. Devoted. As a pediatrician, he quietly reassured nervous and upset parents. And they knew, on some level within themselves, that he cared as deeply for their children as he did his own. </p><p> When he wasn't at work, he was with his family -- although he could occasionally be tempted to go see a movie with a friend. His family rested comfortably in the knowledge of his dedication and commitment to them. </p><p> One wife. Two young children. </p><p> His friends knew they could count on him. His word was his bond. Dependable. Reliable. He was always there, through thick and thin, ready to listen and forever refusing to judge harshly. </p><p> Quick to laugh. Slow to anger. He was one of the good guys. </p><p> 43 years old. </p><p> Last night, November 25, 2003, at approximately 11:00PM CST, Danny died. </p><p> No one had a clue. No one saw it coming. No one<nobr> <wbr></nobr>... knew. He was supposed to be well. The doctors said he would be okay<nobr> <wbr></nobr>... And just like that - <i>blink</i> - he was gone. </p><p> So long, Danny. Old friend<nobr> <wbr></nobr>... I'll miss you forever. <br> <br>Posted from <a href=""></a>, comment <a href="">here</a>.</p> shockme 2003-11-26T21:54:11+00:00 journal Simplicity Made Difficult <p> It's the old "Oh hell, you've done what I said and not what I meant" scenario. </p><p> It started off simple enough. Boss Man sends me several documents and says he wants them "automated". By this, he means that he wants me to create HTML forms where people can enter the information rather than filling out a paper form. I talk to him about it for a bit, and we arrive at an understanding. Basically, I just need to present the form, do a little data validation, and when finished, present the form in a printable format. </p><p> So off I go. I grab the first form, convert it to a template, and write up a simple script to present the form, do some basic validation, etc. Basically, just what he said he wanted. </p><p> (Surely you can see this one coming<nobr> <wbr></nobr>...) </p><p> No, no, no. This needs to validate against the Systems database and cross reference against any affected systems. If the user says the form relates to an Exchange server, it needs to be smart enough to create a cross reference entry for <b>every fucking Exchange server we have</b>. Same for Sendmail, Linux, Windows NT, 2000, 2003, etc. And, any time we bring up a system on the Systems database, we should be able to see and access all of the forms related to it. </p><p> Basically, it needs to be tightly integrated <b>into a system that doesn't even exist yet</b>. Huh? </p><p> I'm sure, at some level, this is all my fault<nobr> <wbr></nobr>... like when I accepted employment at this institution<nobr> <wbr></nobr>... <br> <br>Posted from <a href=""></a>, comment <a href="">here</a>.</p> shockme 2003-11-25T23:59:44+00:00 journal As T-Day Approaches, So Does Burn-out <p> I can feel burn-out creeping up on me like cold death. And just as unwelcome, too. It's a good thing this is a short week with a long weekend. I need it. </p><p> I've been toying with the idea of getting a laptop rather than a second workstation at the house. I think I'll stick with the workstation. If I had a laptop, I'd be too tempted to take it with me on vacations/holidays, and I'd never get a break. I know myself too well in this regard. </p><p> What I really need is my PS2 replaced/repaired. I could really go for some good ol' fashioned fraggin' tonight<nobr> <wbr></nobr>... <br> <br>Posted from <a href=""></a>, comment <a href="">here</a>.</p> shockme 2003-11-24T22:44:03+00:00 journal I Are Smart <p> Well<nobr> <wbr></nobr>... this is embarrassing. But I've ranted and raged about it so loudly and often<nobr> <wbr></nobr>... and so many of you have willingly given your time and effort<nobr> <wbr></nobr>... the least I can do is suck it up. </p><p> That whole Apache thing<nobr> <wbr></nobr>... I have this firewall blocking my private traffic from the world. The server which houses Apache has only private addressing. And the firewall passes traffic destined for a certain IP to that server. For example, any traffic destined for is routed to the server's private IP address. </p><p> In my httpd.conf, I had the following: </p><p> <code> &lt;VirtualHost;<br> ServerName<br> ServerAlias *<br><nobr> <wbr></nobr>...<br> &lt;/VirtualHost&gt;<br> <br> &lt;VirtualHost;<br> ServerName<br> ServerAlias *<br><nobr> <wbr></nobr>...<br> &lt;/VirtualHost&gt;<br> </code> </p><p> Obviously, I have Apache configured to serveral virtual hosts with only one IP. The purpose of the dual entries was to serve requests from the Internet and also for requests originating from the private network. </p><p> What I overlooked was the firewall/router issue. The firewall receives the request for the external and translates it/routes it to the internal. The Apache server doesn't know anything about the external IP address. </p><p> All of the changes I have been making over the past several days have been only to the externally-addressed VirtualHost entry. Yeah. The entry that will <i>never be used</i>. </p><p> Thanks again to everyone who pitched in. </p><p> Man<nobr> <wbr></nobr>... what a dumbass<nobr> <wbr></nobr>... <br> <br>Posted from <a href=""></a>, comment <a href="">here</a>.</p> shockme 2003-11-20T18:12:27+00:00 journal More Pain Than The Law Allows After hours of beating my head against the wall, I decided to take a break from the Apache fiasco and play with <a href="">Spine</a>. I installed it last night, and with Beatnik's assistance, got the front page up and running this afternoon. <p> So, I go to login and<nobr> <wbr></nobr>... and guess what? YEP, YOU GUESSED IT. </p><p> I'm now at an impasse. Until I get this friggin' Apache thing fixed, I'm stuck. </p><p> #apache on was dead silent. I asked, but I guess everyone is too focused on ApacheCon right now. </p><p> I've googled the living shit out of this thing. Unbelievably, I've actually arrived at the point where no matter what search phrases I enter, I've already visited almost every link that's returned. </p><p> I'm 100% convinced that it's a configuration snafu on my end. I dug through all of the bugs for <tt>apache</tt> and <tt>apache-common</tt> on Debian's bug site, and no one has reported this type of situation. If it was a bug, someone would've found it by now (before me, anyway). </p><p> For those kind souls who have been pitching in with me, I've placed my <a href="">httpd.conf online.</a> Most of the pertinent stuff will be in the VirtualHost sections. </p><p> <b>Any and all suggestions are welcome.</b> I'm gonna go have a drink and try to relax. Getting a little pent up over here<nobr> <wbr></nobr>... <br> <br>Posted from <a href=""></a>, comment <a href="">here</a>.</p> shockme 2003-11-20T03:11:21+00:00 journal Perplexed Ad Naseum I'm dying over here. God, this is so frustrating. <p> Yes, I'm still trying to figure out what I've hosed on my Apache config. <a href=""></a> works, but <a href=""></a> fails horribly. </p><p> I've followed <a href="">the Apache documentation</a> to the letter, and still NO JOY FOR ME. </p><p> Here's the pertinent parts from my httpd.conf: </p><p> <code> AddHandler cgi-script<nobr> <wbr></nobr>.pl<nobr> <wbr></nobr>.cgi<br><nobr> <wbr></nobr>...<br> ScriptAlias<nobr> <wbr></nobr>/music/<nobr> <wbr></nobr>/var/www/htdocs/exitwound/music/<br> &amp;ltDirectory<nobr> <wbr></nobr>/var/www/htdocs/exitwound/music&amp;gt<br> AllowOverride All<br> DirectoryIndex index.php index.html index.htm index.shtml index.cgi<br> Options Indexes Includes FollowSymLinks MultiViews +ExecCGI<br> Order allow,deny<br> Allow from all<br> &amp;lt/Directory&amp;gt </code> </p><p> I've had conflicting advise regarding the ending '/' on the ScriptAlias line. The Apache docs say it's supposed to be there, but the result is always the same whether it's there or not. </p><p> The log file says: <code> attempt to invoke directory as script:<nobr> <wbr></nobr>/var/www/htdocs/exitwound/music </code> </p><p> Dear God<nobr> <wbr></nobr>... this <i>should not be this difficult</i>. I'm astounded<nobr> <wbr></nobr>... it's never happened like this before<nobr> <wbr></nobr>... <br> <br>Posted from <a href=""></a>, comment <a href="">here</a>.</p> shockme 2003-11-20T00:24:17+00:00 journal apt-cacher Debian just keeps rocking. In this week's <a href="">Debian Weekly News</a>, there was a short blurb about <a href="">apt-cacher</a>. It allows one machine to serve a local cache of "needed" updates/upgrades, and all of the client machines can pull from it. If a package is requested that the cache machine doesn't have, then the new file is transfered to both the cache and the client. <p> The entire set-up process, from <tt>apt-get install apt-cacher</tt> on the cache machine to <tt>apt-get upgrade</tt> on the client machines, took me approximately 5 minutes. </p><p> Sweet. <br> <br>Posted from <a href=""></a>, comment <a href="">here</a>.</p> shockme 2003-11-19T15:40:30+00:00 journal Mandrake 1, Trend Micro 0 Somewhere along the line, I made the "strategic" decision (although at the time, it didn't <i>feel</i> strategic) to install Mandrake rather than RedHat on 4 of our servers. No big deal, right? I mean, when you strip away all of the bells and whistles, Mandrake is pretty much RedHat is pretty much Mandrake. <p> 4 servers. DNS servers. 2 internal, 2 external. Mandrake. </p><p> Fastforward about 6 months, and suddenly one of the external DNS servers is now also our failover Sendmail server. I had a few weenie-type issues getting the commercial version of Sendmail to run on it. Sendmail's technical support, while making sure that I understood that they didn't support Mandrake, were more than helpful, and in a very short period of time, it was working. </p><p> As part of the Sendmail installation, I also installed Trend Micro's Interscan VirusWall. It's got all sorts of scanning shit, but all we use is the SMTP stuff. I spend more time disabling what we don't use than getting the rest of the set-up configured. </p><p> And merrily we rocked along. </p><p> After a while, the Security Team contacts me. Interscan is supposed to automatically download and update the virus files on a nightly basis. It's working perfectly on the primary MTA, but on the secondary (Mandrake, external DNS), it's not. And they can't figure out the error message. I tell them that I'm well aware that it's not automatically updating, because I've been manually updating it for the past 6 months or so. I tell them to contact Trend Micro and get it resolved because I'm tired of manually updating the thing. </p><p> Once Trend Micro heard "Mandrake", that was the end of the discussion. They only support RedHat, and absolutely refused to discuss the matter any further. </p><p> Now, I understand the <i>asshole concept</i> better than most. Hell, I wrote a few chapters myself. And I also understand the magnitude of providing technical support across several different platforms. But refusing to even discuss the matter with us? Refusing to even walk through a configuration file or two and to at least let us know that we had set up the machine properly? That's inexcusable. </p><p> Trend Micro lost themselves a customer today. We were evaluating alternatives within an hour of their refusal. </p><p> And I'm 50% finished with a Perl script that'll autmatically download the updates from their site and apply them. </p><p> Interscan may not be willing to discuss the matter, but I'll be damned if I can't fix what they <i>won't</i>. </p><p> And they can have my Perl script, too. Right after they smooch my lilly-white ass. <br> <br>Posted from <a href=""></a>, comment <a href="">here</a>.</p> shockme 2003-11-19T00:05:04+00:00 journal Early Morning CSS Promptly at 4:00AM, I am wide awake. After fighting it for about 45 minutes, I resign myself to the obvious: <i>I am awake</i>. <p> So, figuring my body knows better than I do about how much rest I need, I roll out of bed, start the coffee, go through my email, and perform all of my morning tasks that normally require the bulk of the morning. </p><p> Now it's 5:30AM. Wow. It's amazing how much you can get done when there are no interruptions. </p><p> So, I read up on CSS style sheets -- something I've been nagging myself to do for quite some time. I have a very general knowledge of them, but I <b>know</b> that I <b>should know more</b>. For example, table-less webpages. I know it's possible, but I've really been wanting to learn how, but it's always getting bumped in priority. </p><p> Google quickly led me to <a href="">CSS Layout Techniques</a> at, which is exactly what I was needing. </p><p> It's amazing how quickly everything falls together -- once you have the proper foundation. <br> <br>Posted from <a href=""></a>, comment <a href="">here</a>.</p> shockme 2003-11-18T12:26:20+00:00 journal CMS, Wikis and Perl At the office, we use <a href="">PostNuke</a> for our Systems Group's documentation portal and announcements. We also use <a href="">PHP Wiki</a> for various purposes, but mainly for daily journals and general "how to" documents. <p> Many moons ago, we used <a href="">PHPNuke</a>. At that time, I wrote a small module that was basically a checklist. However, I didn't port it when we migrated to PostNuke, and haven't really thought that much about it. Especially since no one had bitched about its absence. </p><p> Until today. Now it's a <i>must have</i>. </p><p> PHP Wiki plugs into PostNuke very nicely. But getting it operational under PHPNuke isn't that easy. And it's not well documented either. I had it working where I could access it directly (http://document_root/modules/phpWiki/index.php), but accessing as a module wasn't happening. All I ever got was a blank page. </p><p> I was going through PostNuke's documentation on creating modules<nobr> <wbr></nobr>... good lord, man. It quickly became apparent that I didn't have time to "do it the right way". </p><p> So, I hacked up a Perl script that will access the PostNuke cookies to determine permissions, etc., and present the checklist. It's a hack, no doubt. But it's working quite well. Once I have a little more time, I'll revisit the PostNuke documentation and do it correctly. </p><p> Justin barfed at school today. No fever. No weirdness. Just puke. Lori picked him up at lunch and took her back to work with her. He's all kinds of pissed that he couldn't go out and play tonight<nobr> <wbr></nobr>... <br> <br>Posted from <a href=""></a>, comment <a href="">here</a>.</p> shockme 2003-11-18T02:17:11+00:00 journal Snatched From The Hands of Victory Grrr.... <p> My script works fine as a standard <tt>CGI</tt> script. Running under <tt>mod_perl</tt>, it's sporadic and unpredictable. Sometimes it works, sometimes it craps with an error (but hitting Reload will lead to the proper results), sometimes it will only display the left column. Searching is out of the question. I've yet to get that to work. Hell, the log files don't even show the search request hitting the system. </p><p> I've stopped and started Apache so many times that my history file has been rendered useless. </p><p> Different browsers give the exact same result, so I know it's not a browser issue. </p><p> Other than installing <tt>mod_perl</tt> and changing <tt>httpd.conf</tt>, I've changed nothing. </p><p> You can compare and contrast as follows: </p><p> <tt>mod_perl</tt>: <a href=""></a> <br> <tt>CGI</tt>: <a href=""></a> </p><p> Note the continued necessity of <tt></tt> on the <tt>CGI</tt> version. God this is fun<nobr> <wbr></nobr>... <br> <br>Posted from <a href=""></a>, comment <a href="">here</a>.</p> shockme 2003-11-14T20:58:03+00:00 journal Apache, The Wall, and My Head It's driving me insane<nobr> <wbr></nobr>... INSANE I TELL YOU<nobr> <wbr></nobr>... <p> Notice: </p><p> <a href=""></a> works. </p><p> <a href=""></a> does not work. </p><p> The 403 Forbidden error is reflected in the logs as attempt to invoke directory as script:<nobr> <wbr></nobr>/correct/path/to/script/dir </p><p> DirectoryIndex is specified correctly: DirectoryIndex index.php index.html index.htm index.shtml index.cgi </p><p> The handler is there: AddHandler cgi-script<nobr> <wbr></nobr>.pl </p><p> I have a ScriptAlias of: ScriptAlias<nobr> <wbr></nobr>/music/<nobr> <wbr></nobr>/correct/path/to/script/dir/ AllowOverride None Options ExecCGI Order allow,deny Allow from all </p><p> (Note: the funky spacing the Directory tags is intentional - for some reason my PRE tags didn't prevent them from getting eaten. The spacing is correct in httpd.conf.) </p><p> No joy. Sore head. <br> <br>Posted from <a href=""></a>, comment <a href="">here</a>.</p> shockme 2003-11-14T03:18:08+00:00 journal The Tired and The Tedious Once again, I find myself home with the sicklies. <p> Fortunately, Justin is much better. Too much. He's a ball of energy and has all but torn the walls down today. </p><p> LJ is better too, although she lost her voice. She's been squeeking and hooting all day. </p><p> They'll both be back at school tomorrow, and <i>I can finally get back to the office.</i> </p><p> Staying at home -- working from home -- is not a lifestyle I think I could handle over a prolonged period of time. I'm ready to get the hell out of here. </p><p> Not that the weather would cooperate. It's been overcast and rainy all day. I figure it'll ice over during the night, so I should have some real excitement driving to work tomorrow. </p><p> On the Perlish-side, my music database conversion is progressing quite nicely. I've gotten all of the basic functionality in place. Now it's time to brush up on CSS and make it purty. <br> <br>Posted from <a href=""></a>, comment <a href="">here</a>.</p> shockme 2003-11-13T23:47:39+00:00 journal