Posted by Deliverator on 18th November 2012
I’ve been forsaking the WordPress blog here for quite some time. Most of my ruminations seem to be too short for me to be bothered with writing a blog entry, so I’ve largely shifted to using my Twitter account. At the same time, I’m also finding Twitter’s 140 character limit a bit too limiting. I am often writing 3 or 4 back to back tweets on a subject, which I am sure does not endear me to followers uninterested in said subject.
There do exist 3rd party services like TwitLonger that work around Twitter’s forced brevity problem/feature, but I like to keep my data in-house to avoid many of the snafus that are part and parcel of using cloud services. Having lost or lost control of data important to me in the past, I don’t like trusting my content/making myself dependent on companies whose operational procedures are opaque to me and whose terms of service, business model, etc. might change with the blowing of the wind. It is one of the chief reasons I’ve yet to join Facebook, Google+, etc.
I am going to start testing various plugins for WordPress that allow me to automatically cross-post to Twitter as well as archive my tweets here in case Twitter’s business model becomes too onerous (the promoted tweets are already getting obnoxious).
Posted in Blogging, General, Mobile Blogging, Rants and Raves | No Comments »
Posted by Deliverator on 20th October 2009
Ryan pulled a late night and did a final sync of data from Frankenputin (old server) to Minimus. I mainly sat back and let Ryan do the heavy lifting, just acting as cheerleader, head scratcher in chief and occasional googler of error messages. There were some struggles with Mysql and the usual Gallery puking, but eventually the beast was wrestled into submission. A few port forwarding changes and now everything is being served up by Minimus. Frankenputin has been powered down, quite possibly for good. My garage no longer sounds like a jet taking off and I kinda miss it.
If you are a silverfir.net user, please poke your head into infrequently visited dark corners and see if you find anything growing there. I plan to consign Frankenputin to its new role as boat anchor and kick Minimus into a closet as soon as it is verified that the new server is stable and no additional settings/data need importing from Frankenputin.
Posted in Blogging, Emulation and Virtualization, Linux, Tech Stuff | No Comments »
Posted by Deliverator on 24th March 2008
I took some time this evening to reinstall Gallery. A large number of sub-galleries had some level of corruption, and although I could have restored many of them to working order, the degree of time needed to do so was more than I was willing to accommodate. So, I am starting out fresh. I have virtually all the images contained in my original gallery, but naming and organization will change somewhat. Due to Silverfir’s limited bandwidth and my being too lazy to physically visit the server, it will likely take a few weeks to get all the pictures up again. If I am feeling particularly bored some time, I may go back through all my blog entries and re-link to the new image urls. Going forward, Silverfir now has a backup drive, of which I intend to make frequent use.
The first gallery to go up is of pictures from the 2008 Seattle FIRST Robotics Competition.
Posted in Blogging, Rants and Raves, Titan Robotics Club | 1 Comment »
Posted by Deliverator on 29th July 2007
Discerning whether a comment comes from a human being or a spambot is a surprisingly difficult problem and a large number of automated solutions have sprung up to keep bots from filling up the blogoverse with blogorhea (at least the type generated by bots, to say nothing about human inanities). Up until recently, I have used a combination of Akismet and a plugin called Did You Pass Math? to automatically discard the vast majority of comment spam. If a potential comment passed Akismet and demonstrated basic math skills, WordPress throws the comment in a moderation queue for further examination by a meat filter (myself). WordPress emails me and I can discard or approve the comment in short order. Recently, I have started receiving comments in my final stage moderation queue that indicate that robots have learned to add and subtract, or an equally startling possibility, that human beings have done the same! Today addition, tomorrow the world! Surely the apocalypse is nigh!
I decided to swap out Did You Pass Math? for a more robust Captcha based solution. I have not been a big fan of Captcha based solutions, in part due to their almost universally poor implementations. Many Captcha implementations are extremely difficult for the average human being to “solve,” but surprisingly easy for special purpose OCR software. In other cases, spammers looking to circumvent Captcha based solutions will cleverly relay the Captcha images to the login pages of high traffic porn sites and use porn starved human beings to solve the Captcha for them. Additionally, many Captcha based solutions make vital Internet servicesa…like my blog…inaccessible to blind users. Enter reCAPTCHA, a free service from Carnegie Mellon University, the guys who quite literally invented the term CAPTCHA (or at least hold all the trademarks).
reCAPTCHA places a couple twists on the CAPTCHA concept:
-Make it difficult to impossible to redirect the CAPTCHA to another site to be solved by an unwitting human.
-Get your initial source material for generating the CAPTCHA image from books being scanned for the Internet Archive. Use only snippets which are given the Archive’s OCR software problems. This text is by definition difficult for automated OCR software to solve.
-Distort the image in ways that make it even more difficult for OCR software, but which don’t increase the difficulty for human identification.
-Use human beings as “proof readers,” making every solving of a Captcha a meaningful contribution towards the preservation of human knowledge and not simply a task which wastes 15 seconds of you time and has you swearing under your breath.
-Provide an audio CAPTCHA system for blind users
Anyways, I installed the WordPress plugin for reCAPTCHA today. Give it a try and let me know what you think….or at least try. I apologize in advance to any readers of this site who are both deaf and blind. I have a system in the works to address the problem based on Smell-O-Vision.
Posted in Blogging, General, Tech Stuff | 3 Comments »
Posted by Deliverator on 29th March 2007
I added a contact form to the site. If you wish to contact me about a personal matter, site concern, consulting inquiry, etc., you may use the form found to the right under site links. Please do not simply comment in a random post in hopes of getting my attention.
Posted in Blogging | No Comments »
Posted by Deliverator on 18th March 2007
I upgraded my Gallery installation to the latest test release. Gallery 1.x has been in development for many years and even the alpha releases seem very stable to me. I contemplated migrating to the database based 2.2, which was recently released, but I am not yet at the point where performance is suffering from the flat file nature of my gallery and the feature set in 2.2 vs 1.x isn’t enough to make me want to perform the rather involved upgrade procedure. 1.x also offers at least one really compelling advantage over 2.2 due to its flat file nature; It is possible to backup a gallery 1.x install with a single short command line and it is possible to build an offline version of a gallery for distribution on CDs/DVDs. I did some minor tweaks to the gallery after upgrade to keep my thumbnail sizes more consistent. Please note any wonkiness you might encounter.
While I was at it, I did a fresh gallery install for my brother, Scott. He doesn’t have much up yet, but hopefully this will compel him to stop using Flickr and Picasa.
Posted in Blogging, Media, Photography | 1 Comment »
Posted by Deliverator on 5th March 2007
So, I’ve been meaning to check out the Terra Bite Lounge in Kirkland for a while now. Today, thanks to a rare break in my schedule, I finally got the chance. Terra Bite is a cafe which has no set prices and payment is strictly voluntary. They have a drop box near the counter in which you can contribute anything you choose, and can also pay online via paypal. Payment is neither encouraged nor discouraged. Supposedly, Terra Bite started out as a bet as to whether, in the absence of compulsion, people are inherently good or evil and the cafe is the means of testing the proposition. I really like the fact that I can pay whatever I like, pay online, pay weekly, etc. The atmosphere is really nice and low key and the service is better, as the Barristas aren’t spending half their time making change and processing credit cards (although you can pay by card as well). I am really intrigued by this experiment, as it is really similar in philosophy to much that is at the heart of the DRM debate.
The cafe itself seems to have good food and drink, music and nice furniture. I am sitting here relaxing on a big plush leather couch while watching someone play “Gears of War” for the XBOX 360 on a big plasma screen. Needless to say, and as evidenced by this post, Terra Bite has free WiFi as well.
I highly recommend you check it out. It is at the corner of Kirkland and State street.
Posted in Mobile Blogging, Wireless | No Comments »
Posted by Deliverator on 7th February 2007
Since the recent release of the N800, Maemo related development has really taken off. Nokia has really helped foster this development with the sourceforge-like development site Maemo.org, well documented SDK´s and even a preconfigured dev environment released as a VMWare virtual computer image. They have also given away some 500 N800´s to select OSS developers. Whatever the reason, the dev community seems to be growing by leaps and bounds. Here are a few tidbits of dev news:
-Quake 2 has been demonstrated running on the N800 at quite acceptable frame rates. This really demonstrates the drastic improvement the more modern 330mhz Omap chip in the N800 offers over the older OMAP chip in the N770.
-Dual boot from a SD/MMC card is now available for the N800. This really makes it possible for developers to muck about with the OS internals without worring about needing to reflash or possibly brick their device.
-Probably as a direct result of the previous news item, some people are fooling around with full blown windows managers and producing windows manager switching scripts. The Hildon UI is well adapted to the constraints of a mobile tablet, but it also requires existing applications to be tweaked to work properly. Having a full window manager available to run unmodified applications will allow the use of a much wider range of OSS without anything more complicated than a recompile.
-Developers discovered that the N800 contains two previously undocumented chips on the motherboard, hidden under metal RF shielding. The first is an FM radio tuner. A desktop applet to control the FM radio was released by Nokia shortly after the discovery. The radio works quite well, using the headphones as an antenna. The applet has the ability to switch the sound between the internal stereo speakers and headphones when using the headphones as an antenna. With the new alarm framework, this should make it easy for a FM radio alarm clock to be developed.
The other chip discovered in the N800 is a USBOTG power controller. While currently unsupported, many people hope that this will allow for powered hostmode for external devices. Currently, plugging in things like USB keyboards requires the use of a powered USB hub or the construction of a USB power injector.
-Nokia released an updated version of their Mediastreamer application, which supports streaming of various forms of content such as pictures and music from uPnP enabled media servers. The new version adds support for video as well.
-There are now instructions available to get Mono, a OSS implementation of the .NET Framework, running on the N800 and N770. There are still no MAEMO specific bindings in MONO yet, but this is a good step towards having applications that can run on the desktop and on the Nokia Internet Tablets without recompilation.
Posted in Linux, Mobile Blogging, Operating Systems, Portable Computing/Gadgets, Tech Stuff | No Comments »
Posted by Deliverator on 5th January 2007
Upgraded the software which runs this blog, WordPress, to version 2.06
Please let me know if you notice anything out of sorts.
Posted in Blogging, General | No Comments »
Posted by Deliverator on 6th October 2006
Posted in Blogging, General | 2 Comments »