Saturday, January 26, 2008

The Death of Windows? Not by the hands of Cheap PCs

Sears Says, "Let the Games Begin!"
LinuxHow2 - Saturday, 26 January 2008

Some people seem to think that Windows -- specifically, the larger hardware, and by proxy greater cost, exacerbated by the needs of Windows -- is getting hurt greatly by the cheap PCs.

I have to severely question that premise for some obvious reasons. One is the growth of Apple computer sales. In this case, Apple is enjoying growth in spite of (IMO) selling computers that are up to 5 times more expensive than a Dell or Systemax. Hey, It's ok. One can always get a Mac Mini...

The second reason to question the premise is the people who are putting Windows XP on all these low cost PCs. I don't care where one gets the license to do such things, but I'm certain it's still not hurting the pocketbook of those same people.

No, the market will still buy whatever the heck it wants, and those people who want only web, email, chat .... well, consider these cheap PCs to be the stepping stone to the next mid grade PC. Eventually, even the poor ailing college students will want more. Sub $200 PCs won't take over and squash Microsoft. It's just alternatives.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Something about Mac OS bothers me...

Update: I just learned about Quicksilver. (and Spotlight) Still, it's something I learned about after I wrote this.

Let's begin at the beginning... The keys are wrong, ok? So wrong that the standard keystrokes that I can use in Windows and Linux for browsing the Internet are ... well, let's just say misplaced. They aren't intuitive and they don't work.

I'm trying to work on MacBook Pro with the keyboard. Maybe I miss something, but at least in Windows, many of the normal keystrokes are given to you because the appropriate letters are underlined. Such as Alt-F for File. I am so keyboard centric because it's easier for me to blaze through what I need; and yes, I mean it's easier and faster for me to Alt-F, N or Alt-V or whatever than it is to change my thinking patterns around how to work the touchpad and oh, it's two fingers and that single button for a right-click ... Where is the Alt-D to get to address bar in firefox? Why can't I simply Flag-R, Firefox, ok and run the app I want? Or even Flag-Q

I think the point is that Mac is OK for people who must have a mouse to do everything. For the rest of us who really really can type faster than they can mouse, amnesia or no, I find the interface for MacOS disconcerting.

Yes, I tried RocketDock and tossed it aside because it occupied too much screen space. Yes, I know you can auto-hide it, but then what's the point? I don't care to look at a bunch of pictures that have no mnemonic value to me. If I wanted it, I could have oh, I don't know, a QuickLaunch bar. Or *gasp* icons on my desktop! Except I don't. Want icons on my desktop. Except what I am using. If the dock auto-hides, then why, why should I need it? By the way, autohide inhales forcefully in the case of RocketDock. Because it's either always popping up when I don't want it (top or right autohide) or it's on a side that doesn't matter to me.

I just tend to expect when I hit the key to the left of the space bar, and the F key, I get to see what the File menu says. I feel confident, between Windows and Linux, that certain things work the way they feel they should. Maybe that *is* why I like the default Ubuntu so well.

Hrm. It looks like I might need to check GnomeDo out as a SlickRun alternative.

Anyway, that's my rant for the moment. Otherwise, MacOS is a fine, fine OS if clicky is your thing.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Will a Vegan eat organic Animal Crackers?

Heh :) Just kidding. Rhetorical question. Unless you care to opine.

Getting nothing for nothing

I feel reasonably happy. I don't have to tweak Wine to run my Windows apps. I have Windows running my Windows apps. On Linux. Virtually.

I have *one* outstanding issue at the moment. The Gateway box has a video capture card that only has Vista drivers. And Virtualization doesn't deal with the card. In this case, I'll likely have to get a Hauppauge card to run natively in Linux. *fake sniff*.

If I need to run it, I'll start my VirtualBox up. Otherwise, it sits...patiently.. in save-state mode ... as an icon on my desktop. In 10 seconds, I have a working Windows XP "box".

Sometimes, a different look at free versus what you've already paid for is enough.

Watching MediaPlayer 11 on Linux

VirtualBox + XP + WMP11 + Seamless + full screen = movies.

In my case, though, my 1650x1050 full screen seamless tended to drop a frame or two, but the audio was quite good, and didn't skip a beat.

Windowed Virtual seemed to be smooth and right on target.

If you want to watch Netflix Watch Instantly on Linux, why not give virtualization a try? It's not that hard.

Oh, and for the naysayers: Who cares? Chances are you bought a box with XP/Vista on it before you installed Ubuntu. Also, what do you think Parallels is?

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

PXE, DHCP, and no DHCP

I just read about Installing Linux with no CD and a comment asks about PXE without DHCP.

From other comments I've read, and my own personal experience, there just isn't a way to do PXE without DHCP. PXE is built into the network card's interface. It's pretty much as hard coded as the MAC Address (at least, until you boot your OS). At the risk of oversimplification... OK, I'm risking it... the basic operation of PXE goes like this:

  1. Boot
  2. Boot order...Network
  3. PXE ... seek out BOOTP/DHCP broadcast offers
  4. get an IP address
  5. find out who handles tftp (perhaps from the DHCP server itself)
  6. boot from the tftp server

No, seriously, read the link above.

In any case, one might cringe and say, "I can't have another DHCP server on my network!" Well, if you're actually attempting what is described in the above link, the thought in my head is simply that you probably don't need to worry about that.

In essence, there are only a few barriers, most can be summed up by creating a DHCP server in your zone.

The barriers (as I understand them):

  • You have a router that doesn't pass DHCP
  • You have an administrator who doesn't want another DHCP server on his LAN
  • You feel that DHCP has its own administrative nightmare

It's ok. If you're already trying to install LINUX, chances are you probably are game enough to run your own DHCP server. But you don't have to do a big range. Just set it up with some settings like this:

host apxecomputer {
hardware ethernet 00:15:FF:FF:FF:FF;

The point *is* PXE install of Linux, isn't it?

OK, if not, an alternate bet in this day and age is to boot locally with a Live USB Distro. What? You can't afford $10 for a 2GB USB flash drive?

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

I am blogging ... from my Wii.

I have purchased for my Christmas presents, among other things, an Adesso wireless Keyboard. WKB-3000UB. It connects to my Wii with a USB dongle and seems to be quite capable of interpretting my keypresses as I sit 10-12 feet away from my television, above which sets my Wii.
I decided to take a chance and see what happens. I am, obviously, pleasantly surprised.

I should mention that the mouse functionality of the keyboard that I'm using doesn't work. However, I think that I have a reasonably competent way of blogging if I want to do so from my couch, when I'm not on my laptop.

One of the downsides of this, though, is that I lose the Blogger save-as-I-type, as well as the convenience of the WYSIWYG editor for bold, etc. As well, I don't have the freedom of looking up a link as I'm typing, so I can include it in what I write. Home, End, Page Up/Page Down do not work, either. However, the arrow keys do function properly. It's funny watching the letters on the on-screen keyboard flash as I type.
Well, thanks for reading. This is proof of concept. I can't recommend you try this on your own Wii, or at least, don't blame me if you try it and it breaks your Wii, or simply doesn't work. And don't go buying this keyboard, first. You probably have a wireless USB keyboard. It might work. I can't vouch for what you, gentle reader, have in your possession.
Have a great day!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

No sound in Realplayer 10
sudo apt-get install alsa-oss
edit realplay file (around line 71)



aoss $REALPLAYBIN "$@"

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Sugar is cheaper than corn

Corn Ethanol? Why convert corn to sugar to ethanol? Why not, oh, I don't know, start with sugar?

Also, stop removing our food to make fuel.

Playing games with Google Notebook

Google Notebook is an interesting product. I don't *do* notes, mostly, but I just found an interesting effect for Google Notebook: It stays on top of Firefox web window. It's perfect for keeping notes on games, especially games that give you level passwords.

Sometimes, you need to remember a hint or something from one level to the next, like the Idiot Test or keeping track of the clicks in Grow Games. Anyway, it helps because you don't have to alt-tab between the game and the notepad window.

BTW, I have this other thing... Side By Side - Google. Basically, if you want to do research while you're working on something in a browser, this SideBy Google thing frame-splits your current page and a Google search.

Unison, rsync, Versioning

unison is a cross-platform file/folder synchronizer on the order of rsync, with the ability merge text files.

I was thinking about versioning, and someone kindly pointed out that if one wanted distinct copies of a folder, one would simply replicate to a separate folder. So simple. The question then comes: synchronize to where?

I can certainly utilize 600GB at $84 per year. How about you? (S3 costs up to $90 each month for 600 GB STORED, not including transferring the data.)

Add in the ssh, maybe some support for PuTTY/PLink here, schedule it as a batch file, and you have a way to send a backup to an offsite server after it's locally made at your office.

ETA 1/22/07:
I see the traffic coming here from searches for unison vs rsync If you really want to know, they're practically the same. Unless you *know* what your goal is, rsync=unison the same way as wget = fetch = curl. For most users, the same arguments obtain the same results. One might find a need for a feature here or there, but it all comes down to whether or not you need x feature. For me, Unison is cross-platform enough.

Eternity, Infinity, and division by zero

So I read about anti-theists saying how it's improbable that a Christian can believe in Eternity yet also believe in a 6000 year old earth (100s of millions of years is "too long").

I ponder things. I realize then, that the after-life eternity doesn't advance in the manner of the calendar of humanity. Eternity is kind of like division by zero. It's undefined. Sure, according to the calendar that we use, eternity is simply another page, another second click, etc. In after-life, eternity is probably more like the clock stops forever.

I'm tired right now. If I figure out more, I might post.

Friday, January 11, 2008

ASSP - forwarding spam adds to whitelist

I have a specific issue where split off with and in the process,'s users still wanted to forever be reached by their old email address. Inside Exchange, I added quite a few Contact efwd emails which worked quite nicely. I have another post ... somewhere about using the exchange-to-csv export and import to help automate this process.

In any case, I noticed a LOT of spam that was resulting from whitelisted email addresses from spammers. It appears that my spam filter, ASSP, figured that all email coming from my Exchange Server is whitelisted mail, no matter how I tried to redlist the domains or users or anything. Why did my Exchange Server whitelist spam?

It turns out that the Exchange Server Contacts forwarded out through my spam filter to The question comes: how to avoid using my spam filter for bounces? (of course, the other question is why the spam filter isn't kicking these out in the first place, but that's likely because of the whitelist=valid email issue. OK, it's circular reasoning, but let's stop the whitelisting)

This site Configuring and Using an SMTP Connector shows how to add an SMTP connector for problem domains. Ah! a solution! I set one up for the new SMTP server (actually the new SMTP server's spam front end) and now's forwardings to's email addresses never touch (read: don't add to the whitelist of) my spam filter. This may cost my Bayesian filter to stop understanding valid emails between and, but then again, whitelisting between the two companies should already have occurred and the further whitelisting is trivial.

Edited to add: Well, maybe not trivial, per se. After realizing what will happen (whitelist expiration of after 90 days),'s inbound emails will possibly need to be vetted each inbound time. Well... at least I can noprocess inbound from the spam filter, so that seems to fix that.

ASSP and grep Part 2

I just used this monstrosity because I needed to get the email addresses of things that I knew whitelisted but I wanted to remove and populate the redlist.

grep "whitelist addition" maillog.txt | grep "my expression" | cut -d \> -f 1 | cut 33- > rlist

What does it do?

  1. It finds all the "whitelist additions" in maillog.txt
  2. For all of those, it searches for "my expression" to further limit what I'm searching
  3. It then cuts the resulting line off at the > delimiter.
  4. Then, it grabs the email address after position 33
  5. and dumps it into rlist

I probably *should* have used awk to do this, but I didn't have it, and this is the ugly way to get the email list that I wanted. Arguably, I could have used cut -d \< -f 2 instead of the cut 33- but there you have it.

Edited to add: actually, the latter option is better/more flexible. I'd suggest that in the future.

Further edited to add:
grep "whitelist addition" maillog.txt | grep -v ""
This shows me all whitelists that my server made that were based upon bounces (contact-forwards, usually), not from true outbound from local users.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Ubuntu - VirtualBox

On my new computer, I decided I wanted to work on not so much of the default OS, but rather Linux, so I installed Ubuntu as dual boot. Fine. But then I needed to access Roboform. Meh. Wine isn't all there, and ... well, I decided I was going to try this virtualization thing.

VirtualBox was it. I installed the "other" OS in a virtual window and now I can do what I need to on one without needing to dual-boot.

Actually, it wasn't just the new OS that I installed, but also XP FLIES on the new hardware, even virtually. I can do the things I need to do and then go back and forth.

I haven't really done all I could do, but now I can play some games, run that software I need, including Roboform.

I know you won't believe or want to believe this: opens almost instantaneously on my XP VirtualBox, while it still takes a bit to open on Ubuntu. (OK, the third time I open on Ubuntu, it's instant...)

ETA: BTW, Before you scoff at this, this is EXACTLY what Parallels does on MacOS. Parallels has a market. Wonder why? Yeah.It's the same market that Wine is trying to assuage. Come on. VirtualBox allows XP in a Window on Linux. Or it can be in full screen "seamless mode" (I don't recommend/need it for my widescreen monitor. It's too sluggish.)

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