Moving to sunny California

April 22, 2008 @20:34

So I've landed a job with Rearden Commerce in Foster City, California.  All of our belongings [including our car] are currently in a trailer on it's way to Redwood City.  We sold our house, purchased plane tickets, and pretty much finished up all the stuff required for a move across the entire country.

Why wouldn't it be perfect timing to get summoned for jury duty in Cincinnati  :/ 


Starting to learn Hadoop and Lucene

February 24, 2008 @21:18

I've been reading about Hadoop and Lucene for a while now.  Today I finally started working with the demos to get a better feel for how things work.



I'm excited to learn more!


Script kiddies

February 01, 2008 @06:46

I must admit it's sorta cute watching a script kiddie try to hack your site using sql injection or whatever.  But it's even cuter when they try to get your [python] code to execute a get variable in the hopes of causing your [python] code to execute php code. 

Maybe one should return a link to Netcraft?


It's official: stripping wallpaper sucks.



Amazon EC2 - changing the game

January 21, 2008 @02:20

Over the past two weeks I've spent some time with friends who are investigating Amazon's EC2 service.  I must say that I'm very impressed.  Essentially the service allows you to run a virtual computer.  You can then add and remove hosepower via web service calls, and all you pay for is the uptime per hour, and bandwidth.

I believe the service is either running Xen, or is based off of it. Either way, what they have done with it is truely amayzing.


www.rockfloat.com redesign

December 14, 2007 @05:40

I've been working long and hard now for the past three months writing a brand new version of this website.  It's written from scratch, and uses all sorts of neat technologies.  There were a few different reasons why I took the time to rewrite everything.  The most important reason probably was that my codebase was getting really crazy and difficult to maintain.  It's much cleaner now, and far easier to extend and maintain.  Another reason was that I needed a proof of concept for Chula, the framework that has replaced what I was using Apple for.  Apple was my first Python project, and was pretty crappy.  Chula is much better I think, and might actually be something people might find useful  :)

I'll be watching for bugs over the next few days, but wee it's finished!

In my career so far I've managed to meet lots of companies who have absolutely horrible business practices when it comes to security.  Usually the problem is either a lack of technical staff skilled enough to secure things properly, a lack of support from management, or both.  Either way the result is more open doors than are best for business.  The other thing I've noticed is that companies who don't take security seriously also tend to have crappy products.  I guess those who are more concerned with the sale of their product than the quality of their product are not likely to care about security either.

It's things like this that continue to push me further and further away from commercial software.  The open source community takes the quality of their product very seriously, and they also take security seriously.  I think often times it's the open source community that sets the bar on how best handle security related issues.  Take the recent security issue with a portion of Gentoo's infrastructure.  I've read a bit of bad press regarding the issue, but from my perspective the Gentoo infra team set yet another example of how things should be handled.  I think businesses large and small would benefit greatly from following the example of Gentoo and other open source organizations that take security seriously.

Well done Gentoo.

This week has been full of all sorts of interesting things.  I added the Urchin javascript to my blog and howto pages last week.  The results have been pretty interesting.  I was hoping that my howto documents were providing value to someone, and the stats seem to indicate this is true.

I have also been reading my shiney new Postgresql book.  It's really good and I can't wait till the other two become available.  I'm learning all sorts of little things I never knew before about Postgresql.

Probably the most interesting thing this week was the start of Kirby's new treatment.  She has a very bad mouth infection, but the vet is unable to properly treat it because her renal (kidney) values are not good.  It seems the recommended treatment is to give her fluids under the skin.  So today we gave her the first 100cc dose of normal saline via IV tubing and a needle inserted under the skin between her shoulders.  The fact that I'm a nurse has come in handy as I feel pretty comfortable working with needles.  The part that's odd is to intentionally let fluid go under the skin - this is something you completely avoid with humans (infiltration).  I'll have to post some pictures of the process as it's pretty interesting.

John M.


General update

June 25, 2007 @05:03
I've been slacking lately, as there's been a lot to do around the house and things.  I've only managed to update a few things:
  1. Added stats tracking to this blog (forgot I had turned on this one flag in Feb)
  2. Added stats tracking to the howto documents, curious how that will look
  3. Initial import of a Git howto (since I'm starting to love it)
  4. Added drop down style navigation to the howto index
  5. Cleaned up the keychain howto just a bit
I also ordered a good regex book as I'm still not near good enough at them.  Sometimes it takes a book, a comfortable chair, and some coffee before I really learn something.  I think I'm also going to order the recently released PostgreSQL Reference Manual Volume 1.

I've also been slacking on the 4 HP DL145's I bought for a much needed upgrade.  The first one is build and imaged, just need to deploy it to the other three and begin migrating services.  Being able to start from a hardened stage3 was really nice.  Way to go Gentoo devs!

Man it seems like there just aren't enough hours in the day  :)

It's very ironic that just seventeen days after blogging about what I consider to be the state of Microsoft, they start making headlines.  People have always wondered if Microsoft would one day somehow attack the open source community based on some sort of patent dispute.  Today Microsoft went public with their intent to take on the free world.  The timing of this move is really quite perfect.  It's been known for some time that Microsoft considers Linux to be a significant threat.  Today's events do nothing but further illustrate just how strong their fear is.

Just look at the big picture.  Microsoft is loosing business internationally.  Linux is quickly becoming competitive on the desktop.  Linux is already a powerhouse on the server front, and Microsoft spent the last seven years building a shiny new operating system which is now being considered a failure.  What does this mean?  Answer: Microsoft is in trouble.

I really think it's pathetic and sad that Microsoft is now going to attack the open source community legally.  It would make more sense for Microsoft to use it's financial strength to simply build a better product.  Unfortunately they seem unable to compete in the long term, so the only option is to play dirty.

Here's what I predict will happen.  Microsoft's hold on the market will continue to loosen as it's products become less and less competitive.  The legal action(s) taken by Microsoft will do nothing but make the world dislike Microsoft more than they do already.  More and more OEM's will start offering Linux on their computers.  In five years I think Microsoft will find themselves [for the first time] being forced into doing certain things because the international community demands it.  For example I think Microsoft will be forced into fully supporting the majority of open source file formats because international business will demand it.  When U.S. companies find themselves unable to pass documents to a growing number of countries moving to open source Microsoft will be forced to listen to the demands of it's customers.

Honestly I'm glad Microsoft is doing this now.  We all knew they would, so let's get this crap out of the way so we can move on to more useful things.  Poor Ballmer, he's going to wind up looking just as stupid as Darl does  :/

UPDATE: See here, here, here, and here.

There, I said it.

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