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jjohn (22)

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Perl hack/Linux buff/OSS junkie.

Journal of jjohn (22)

Friday June 17, 2005
07:40 PM

The couch

Internet polls are vital to our democracy, even if this one isn't about politics and it's from a British organization. Still, I complement the pollsters on both their content and accomodating polling options.

Ms. Jolie's desire for that man who can fulfill her sadomastistic fetishes will, I predict, ultimately be sated by an Alabama trucker named Skeeter. Or perhaps, Chuckles Manson.

Thursday June 02, 2005
02:20 PM

Adventures in static linking

What's wrong with this screen dump?

[jjohn@localhost hello]$ gcc -Wall -static hello.c
[jjohn@localhost hello]$ file a.out
a.out: ELF 32-bit LSB executable, Intel 80386, version 1 (SYSV), for GNU/Linux 2.2.5, statically linked, not stripped
[jjohn@localhost hello]$ ls -l
total 424
-rwxrwxr-x    1 jjohn    jjohn      424535 Jun  1 17:50 a.out
-rw-rw-r--    1 jjohn    jjohn          90 Jun  1 17:50 hello.c
[jjohn@localhost hello]$ ./a.out

Good gravy, that's one fine statically compiled binary that's more than 4000 times the size of the source code. It doesn't just print "Hello", it prints the hell of out it!

Thursday May 26, 2005
09:29 PM

Attack of the bad comic costumes

Whoopie Goldberg: Mexican Samurai: with pic

I wish I had thought of that line...

Monday May 23, 2005
05:37 AM

A definition of free software I can live with

Oddly enough, it's in ASCII.
Thursday May 19, 2005
05:52 PM

Sith delivers

I just returned from an afternoon showing of Revenge of the Sith and I while I can't rave about it, I can't rightly complain. Lucas finally nailed a prequel and I couldn't be happier. The dark path to Vader is plausible and well articulated. Ian McDiarmid is a utter delight to watch, as is Ian McGregor. Even Christian Hayden isn't replusive. Go figure!

If only Lucas had taken as much care with the setup of the first two films as he obviously took with this one, the world would have been a much more entertained place. No spoilers, but it does appear that Lucas preps the story to dovetail nicely with Episode IV (including that pesky android problem). Without question, this was film had Jar Jar's best performance. And yes, I think it would take about 20 years to build a Death Star. I live in city that's been building a couple of highways for just about that time, so I'm used to big budget government projects that drag on for years.

George Lucas, I salute you!

Wednesday May 18, 2005
02:42 PM

automating openssh/openssl installation

Warning: technical content ahoy!

Here's a handy shell hack I use to update openssh/openssl on various machine under my care. Further hacks could be made to determine the latest version numbers of the ssl/ssh to fetch. Become one with the primative shell hacking vestiges in your modern Perl brain, oh Perlescent Brethren!



  ssl_version=`basename $ssl_url ".tar.gz"`
  ssh_version=`basename $ssh_url ".tar.gz"`

  cd $build;

  echo "Finding $ssl_version and $ssh_version...";
  if [ -e $wget ];
    for url in $ssl_url $ssh_url;
      file=`basename $url`
      if [ -e $file ] ;
        echo "Using existing $file";
        echo `$wget $url`

    if [ -e $lynx ];

      for url in $ssl_url $ssh_url;
        file=`basename $url`
        if [ -e $file ] ;
          echo "Using existing $file";
          echo `$lynx -source $url > $file`

      echo "Oops.  No URL fetchers!";
    exit 1;

  # unpacking
  echo "Unpacking archives";
  tar xzvf `basename $ssl_url`;
  tar xzvf `basename $ssh_url`;

  echo "Cleaning";
  cd $ssl_dir && make clean;
  cd $ssh_dir && make clean;

  echo "Building SSL";
  # build ssl first; sshd depends on it
  cd $ssl_dir && ./config --prefix=$dest && make install

  echo "Building SSH";
  cd $ssh_dir && ./configure --prefix=$dest --with-ssl=$dest \
     --with-sysconfig=/usr/local/etc && make install

  # adjust ?
  if [ -e "/etc/rc.d/init.d/sshd" ];
    echo "You may need to adjust your sshd"

Tuesday May 17, 2005
04:03 PM

smooth and smarthy, it's The Onion radio news

Monday May 09, 2005
08:42 AM

Tatam Spewtum

I have weird dreams.

Last night, I was asked by Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie to comment on their new baby whom they had named "Tatam Spewtum." I said that the name was perfectly abhorrant and that they had sentenced their newborn to years of torment. They didn't seem to understand how the majesty of the name escaped me. I suggested that "spewtum" was not only an ugly word, but that it carried sexual connotations. Angelina seemed confused and angry. So I then illustrated my point with a sampling of childhood taunts that pivoted on synonyms for ejaculation. Both parents stared blankly back at me, seeming to get neither the taunts nor the connection to their new daughter's name. Mr. Pitt said "Well, plenty of people have suggestive names. What about Ben Dover and Phil McCrackin?" When I said that those names were merely jokes and that the odds of gay couple have those names were the same as a manish-sized white rabbit with a pocket watch hopping out of his ass fretting about being late, Brad looked dejected. Just as I started to get angry and sputtering at exceeding density of the celebrity couple's gray matter, I woke up.

Like I said, I have weird dreams.

Monday May 02, 2005
12:50 PM

an unintelligent discussion of Intelligent Design

[ #24492 ]

When catching wind of an article about pseudoscience, my eyes perk up for obvious reasons. In this case, ye olde slashdot is running a story from kuro5hun about the argument for Intelligent Design, the idea that terristrial organisms (and indeed the entire comso) evince too much complexity for them to have arisen through chance alone. Therefore, some guiding intelligence must of been at work pushing life into increasingly complex forms. Fans of Clarke's 2001 will note the Monolith-like qualities of this argument. While God is specifically not mentioned in the Intelligent Design hypothesis (theory is an inappropriate word here), He is clearly implied by the proponents of this view. Intelligent Design is an attempt by some Christians with a science background to take advantage of some unanswered questions in the scientific dogma of Natural Selection-driven Evolution.

Obviously, today is a slow news day.

To understand what the hoo-haw is about, one need only dig out your high school English books and look for Lawrence and Lee's gripping courtroom drama Inherit the Wind. In it, a teacher is prosecuted for explaining evolution to hicks, I mean, the children of salt-of-the-earth Americans. Of course, you'll remember that not so long ago, some states banned the teaching of evolution in public schools (and are doing so again). At stake is the validity of science and its methods versus the comfort and security of faith. Or more pointedly, it is yet another front in the war of modernists versus fundamentalists (which can be incautiously reduced to those who embrace change and those who fear it).

Intelligent Design, which sometimes ropes in Physics via the second law of Thermodynamics, isn't really attempt to pursuade scientists to reject Evolution. ID isn't a scientific theory; it predicts nothing, nor does it offer testable evidence. Rather, ID makes rhetorical appeals to the deficiency in the fossil record and the still-unobserved genesis of a new species from an existing one to wedge in a specious argument against Evolution. Note that the argument, while wearing the vestments of Science, isn't scientific at all. It offers no conditions under which it can be proven wrong. This is preciously the characteristics of religious dogma or garden-variety piffle.

So if ID isn't aimed at Scientists, for whom is this argument intended? The only group that jumps to mind are defensive, educated Christians who know enough biology to be uncomfortable with strict-constructionist religion and yet insistent on believing that faith anyway. This irony always strikes me the same way Jews for Jesus does. ID is a notional life vest for these individuals who are trapped in the rough waters between science and faith. ID is neither a product of devoted faith (if you know there's a God, you simply don't need ID in the first place), nor good science (see preceeding paragraphs). ID is a small, fevered argument of badly sutured science that attempts to scare its adherents away from looking into the swirling chaos that is the reality science proffers us.

So to those proponents of Intelligent Design, I implore you to pick a side: faith or science. By choosing faith, you abdicate your voice in scientific debates and inquiry for the certainty of Knowing the Truth and basking in unctuous Righeousnes. By choosing science, you must adopt its methods and put your hypothesis up for independent verification. Let me close with a little sumthin-sumthin from the Bible:

So because thou art lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold,
I will spew thee out of my mouth.

--Revelation 3:16

Thursday April 28, 2005
02:52 PM

why are the letters blurry?

In a continuing effort to remind me of my own mortality, nature has begun to screw with my eyesight. Staring at a computer screen or reading for long periods of time has become a positive irritation. Because I'm cheap and in denial, I picked up a pair of $10 reading glasses at the local pharmacy. While ill-fitting and ugly, these glasses do seem to help somewhat. So at some point, I'm just going to have to suck it up and get fitted for a pair of Real Glasses ().

Damn you, second law of thermodynamics!