:: blog:mx ::

Table of Contents

Moved to new server (2014)

I haven't been taking care of business here on MXnet. I decided that I needed to switch from Fedora to Centos and get a little more capacity from Rackspace than I had. Things just weren't stable any more, and it had been ages since I updated PHP and MySQL.

It's taken me four days to make the transition. Made a lot of mistakes to learn from along the way. Had the same problem I did in 2010–my College DNS updates very slowly. But the switch is complete, and now I'm refining the setup and making sure everything is OK before I trash the old server.

Fixing Dougie's TOC

  • design css – redefine ul for toc
  • inc/html.php – get rid of TOC header and toggle
// MXM
//    $out .= '<h3 class="toggle">';
//    $out .= $lang['toc'];


If you inadvertently enter crontab without any parameters or options on the command line, do not use CTRL-D to get out. That will result in the loss of all of the material in the crontab file. Use CTRL-C instead.

Please do not ask me how I know. m(

Windows 7 Update problem

Problem: Eight x64 security updates failed to install.

Error message found by trying to install them one-by-one.

Error number: 80071A90.


  • msconfig
  • start up without running any startup programs
  • services:
    • Hide MicroSoft services
    • Disable all others
    • reboot
    • run Windows Update
    • reboot
    • back to msconfig
    • select “normal startup”

Shutdown problem

Joomla administrator login problem

I upgraded a site from 1.15.18 to 1.15.23 and then couldn't log in to the administrator area.

Joomla 1.5 JFusion SMF 2.0 problem

Num Lock on by Default for W7

Regedit hack. Looked good, works for a moment on bootup, then fails by the time I log in.

I don't understand why this is so hard.

It's a software setting.

It's the job of software to run the hardware.

I don't care what is in the BIOS.

The operating system should just set things up the way I want them.

[Insert expletives.]

Windows Task scheduler

Start, All Programs, Accessories, System Tools, Task Scheduler

W7 native backup routines

Windows Secrets

  • Shadow copies, also known as previous versions. Win7 maintains snapshots of your data files, taken every night around midnight. I'm amazed that more Win7 users don't realize they already have most of the vaunted Mac “Time Machine” features, built into Win7. To see the previous versions of your data files, click Start and then Documents. In Documents, navigate to the file that you'd like to resurrect. Right-click on the filename and choose Restore Previous versions. You see all of the stored shadow copies of that particular document, and it's easy to restore them.
  • Data backups Setting up data backups is amazingly easy, although there's a little trick. If you're running Windows 7 Professional (or Ultimate) and you have a network, you can put your data backups on a network drive. To do so, click Start, Accessories, Getting Started. Click Back up your files, and follow the instructions. If you're running Win7 Home Premium or you don't have a network, your best bet is to buy an external hard drive for backups. (Two-TB drives cost about a hundred bucks.) Plug the external drive into a USB port, choose the Use the Drive for Backup option, and follow the instructions.
  • “Ghost” system images. Windows 7 also makes it easy to make a copy of your entire hard drive, a so-called image backup or ghost. To ghost your hard drive, click Start, All Programs, Accessories, Getting Started, Back up your files. Then in the upper-left corner, click the link to Create a system image.

TP-Link and Windows 7

Windows and TP-Link don't have exactly the same vocabulary for setting up a secure wireless connection (at least with my 5-year-old model!).

It took about three hours to stumble on the right combination.

TP-Link Windows 7
WEP, hexadecimal, 10-digit stringShared, WEP, 10-digit string

The other problem I had was that I kept disabling my LAN when I disconnected the cable from the wireless router in order to try the wireless connection. It seems to be that the LAN has to be enabled for the Wireless to work. I can disable the Wireless when I want to plug in a cable. What this means is that some of my connection problems may have had nothing to do with the security settings I was playing with (WPA, WPA2, TKIP, etc., etc.).


eventvwr shows some interesting system logs for Windows.

Run from command prompt.

Upgrade Dokuwiki

I have to remember to upload the new VERSION to the Dokuwiki folder.

That's what Dokuwiki uses to identify its current version (DOH).

To make the update nag go away, delete the data/cache/messages.txt cache file.

Copy an entire directory

"Copy an entire directory in linux"

cp -R dirtocopy/ newdir/
cp -a dirtocopy/ newdir/

cp -R dokuwiki/* test/

Bye, bye, Turbo Pascal

My first programs were written in BASIC in 1983-1984. I created a ledger for the house that was used to track all of our finances (following Tom Clifford's instructions for what he wanted it to do). After a year of toiling in the spaghetti code I had created, I bought a copy of Turbo Pascal. I felt as though I had been released from prison. What a joy–what a great price–and what a wonderful development environment!

It truly was love at first byte.

I purchased all of the new versions of Turbo Pascal as they came along. I eventually bought a copy of Delphi in 2005 and then gladly gave that up for Turbo Delphi in 2006.

Turbo Delphi was supposed to be “free forever.” It did everything I needed and wanted it to do for the little utilities I've written for myself. Unfortunately, the new owners of Delphi have revoked the licenses for the Turbo version and I apparently neglected to uninstall Delphi 2005 and can't re-register my copy.

This threw me into an absolute funk this last week. I needed to touch up and run a Dokuwiki-to-MediaWiki parser that I wrote for myself and I was locked out of both versions of Delphi.

I poked around and found Lazarus, a truly amazing open source pascal compiler that can translate Delphi projects. It took a couple of tries, but I got my parser project converted to Lazarus and running in very short order on Monday 5 July 2010.

25 years with Turbo Pascal have come to an end. I feel sad about that–we've been friends and companions for so long. But it's over. “Know when to hold 'em, know when to fold 'em, know when to walk away, know when to run.”

Long live Lazarus!

WSOP winners since Moneymaker

2010 7,319 Duhamel
2009 6,494 Cada
2008 6,844 Eastgate
2007 6,358 Yang
2006 8,773 Gold
2005 5,619 Hachem
2004 2,576 Raymer
2003 839 Moneymaker

Buffalo Drupal Users Group

From: Brian Fending, Lead Ninja, Fending Group, LLC

Hi, Martin - It was nice meeting you last night - it's always always fun to talk PHP, in particular for CMS frameworks! I'm sure you'll see a lot of me in the months to come.

Like I mentioned, I'm trying to start a Drupal user group, likely meeting at the Buffalo Hacker Space. There are also interested people from Rochester, but it's unknown at this point whether that'll mean a “floating meeting” between Buffalo+Rochester, or being based in just one of those cities.

Anyway - I'm recruiting Drupal users, including:

  • Developers
  • Themers/Designers
  • “Business Users” / Admins
  • Converts or people in need of conversion (jk :)

If you could point me in the direction of anybody who has an interest in Drupal, or forward this “shotgun” open call, that would be grand.

Here are the many ways to express interest, all of which will get response:

Message-ID Tutorial

Moved to new server (2010)

For various and sundry reasons that don't need airing in public, I became dissatisfied with my old host. I've moved the site to a new virtual server where I have root privileges and can make a whole new kind of mistake to learn from.

It took a while for the DNS change to propagate. I'm using a replacement pair of DNS servers right now to reach the site; my College's DNS servers haven't caught up yet.

Hmm. Strange things are happening with Dokuwiki. I've upgraded to the latest stable version. Both Firefox and Chrome are behaving poorly–but in different ways.

Firefox was lagging badly in the editor. I switched to Chrome and then had trouble logging in and editing this page–probably because I hadn't logged out of Firefox.

Maybe this version of Dokuwiki is watching more closely for editing conflicts?

Heaven only knows. I sure don't!

2010/03/11 13:07

  • First e-mail from the site. — 2010/03/15 19:08


pcscd has been filling the message log with this error message:

  • pcscd: winscard.c:304:SCardConnect() Reader E-Gate 0 0 Not Found

Who needs it?

# service pcscd status

# service pcscd stop

# chkconfig pcscd off

Windows 7 Disk Thrash

Dreamweaver CS4

“Rather reminds me of that old debugging joke in which a variable wasn't supposed to equal four, so rather than fix the code the programmer redefined four” (John Hattan).

F3A Project

Empty Recycle Bin from command prompt

Using an elevated cmd prompt:

rd /s /q c:\$Recycle.bin

Source: http://www.sevenforums.com/general-discussion/1992-recycle-bin-corrupt.html

It seemed to work–but the Recycle Bin is still full. All it did was put the Recycle Bin into the Recycle bin. All 17,960 were still in the @#$%*&! Recycle Bin. :-(

8:43 AM: Started normal “Empty Recycle Bin” procedure. Letting it run as long as it wants.

“Help me! I'm trapped in Windows World and can't get out!”

OK, modifying the properties of the Recycle Bin stopped the madness:

Then I was able to use Explorer to delete the Recycle Bin inside the Recycle Bin.

Beware Dokuwiki "Lemming"!

I shot myself in the foot last night by installing the latest version of Dokuwiki (“Lemming”). It requires PHP 5.1.2, but my ISP only provides 4.x.

Then–for reasons I haven't and won't fathom–I had trouble restoring the old version from my backup.

It's been a long, anxious day! — 2010/01/13 17:33

"Jing has stopped working"

Dreamweaver and Flash CS4 headaches

Zombies and Orphans

Network 4?

RC stuff


Great glue

EPAC 2009

qmail--notes to self

Joomla/HTML conundrum

My websites


First Law of computing: Garbage in, garbage out.

Typos are a form of garbage.

Corollary of the First Law: Typos in, garbage out.

Typos happen.

Don't ask me how I know.

Usenet Moderators' Handbook

MicroSoft Natural wireless keyboard and linux

Dokuwiki breadcrumbs/trace not working (not broken)

Something has gone wrong with Dokuwiki's breadcrumbs. They only show the current page. Pasta faggiole! Things tried to no avail:

  • Checked that breadcrumbs are on. They are (tried level 8 and 10).
  • Tried hierarchical breadcrumbs. No change.
  • Tried setting useHeading to Navigation only. Didn't help.
  • Switched to default template. No joy.
  • Replicable in Firefox, IE, and Chrome. Also tested Firefox on a Fedora 10 sandbox. Same result.
  • Installing Feb 14 version didn't help.

Current theory: This wiki is running under some flavor of PHP 4 over which I have no control. I installed Dokuwiki on a linux sandbox with PHP 5 and Apache 2, and all was well. The bug is not a bug. It is evidence that I need to get a virtual server for myself. :-O

2009/02/15 23:40

Installing milter-greylist on Fedora 9

Fedora 9, sendmail, milter-greylist configuration problem

root problem: wrong folder for milter-greylist sock

The correct folder for Fedora 9 is /var/run/milter-greylist.

The documentation gives /var/milter-greylist.

Error message in /var/log/maillog: /var/milter-greylist/milter-greylist.sock unsafe.

sendmail.mc should read something like this. It's the first line that must point to the correct folder for the sock.

INPUT_MAIL_FILTER(`greylist', `S=local:/var/run/milter-greylist/milter-greylist.sock')

define(`confMILTER_MACROS_CONNECT', `j, {if_addr}')dnl

define(`confMILTER_MACROS_CONNECT', `j, {if_addr}')dnl

define(`confMILTER_MACROS_HELO', `{verify}, {cert_subject}')dnl

define(`confMILTER_MACROS_ENVFROM', `i, {auth_authen}')dnl

define(`confMILTER_MACROS_ENVRCPT', `{greylist}')dnl

I love linux / Ameliapedia

I've become a root administrator on a remote server for TIGHAR.. In the last week I've installed:

  • Apache
  • PHP
  • MySQL
  • WikiMedia

The result is that TIGHAR now has an Ameliapedia.

2009/01/27 21:50

Google / Wikipedia Tutorial

Missing e-mail

Google Chrome Review

Delphi IO Functions

Dokuwiki vs Mediawiki

Google Chrome Editing Oddity

Love the browser. It's going to be great when they get the bugs worked out of it. Right now, it doesn't handle the edit boxes correctly in Dokuwiki. Ah, well. The blazing speed makes up for a few oddities while editing small bits and pieces of text.

Ballot problem

Link extracted from Thunderbird e-mail two different ways.

Neither link works in either browser.



This is the link as processed by the ASP script:


Firefox fails to log in

IE 7.0.5730.13 fails to log in

I've tried both from Thunderbird and from Griffmail.

Source of e-mail (as seen by Thunderbird):

Return-Path: <huard@canisius.edu>

Received: from mx0.canisius.edu (mx0.canisius.edu [])

	by griffmail.canisius.edu (MOS 3.8.5-GA)

	with ESMTP id AEM41191;

	Tue, 15 Apr 2008 08:17:37 -0400 (EDT)

Received: from surveys (surveys.canisius.edu [])

	by mx0.canisius.edu (MOS 3.8.6-GA)

	with ESMTP id CDA94204;

	Tue, 15 Apr 2008 08:18:34 -0400 (EDT)

Message-Id: <200804151218.CDA94204@canisius.edu>

mime-version: 1.0

from: "Kevin Hardwick and James Huard, Tellers of the Faculty Senate"


to: moleski@canisius.edu

date: 15 Apr 2008 08:21:48 -0400

subject: Spring 2008 Faculty Elections -- Ballot 

content-type: text/plain; charset=us-ascii

content-transfer-encoding: quoted-printable

X-Junkmail-Whitelist: YES (by domain whitelist at mx0.canisius.edu)

The Spring 2008 Faculty Elections are being held from now until 2 pm on=

 Thursday, April 17.  Please vote in the elections by clicking on the link=


The screen I get after clicking on the link:


  • Click on “send new password” link.
  • Insert e-mail.
  • Follow link that is e-mailed and change password.
  • Go back to original ballot e-mail and click on link.
  • In the login screen, insert username (sent in e-mail from the “send new password” link) and the password selected.

Remove Skype HTML markup

Internet Explorer → Tools → Manage Add-Ons → Enable or Disable Add-ons

Find all of the Skype add-ons. Click on each one once, then find the radio button underneath the list box that says “Disable.”

After disabling all of the Skype add-ons, click OK to close the screen.

PHP javascript string filter

I hit a snag integrating PHP and javascript: strings picked up from the MySQL database may look OK to PHP but cause javascript to gag. I couldn't find exactly what I wanted on the web, so I wrote a PHP function to make sure that what I pass to javascript is javascript safe.

Making Wrong Code Look Wrong

Great article that I hope to understand better some day.

mosPerForms bug

Performs is a plug-in for Joomla that allows polling questions and results to be embedded in regular articles.

It needed a little tweaking to play nice with Joomla! 1.5.

Community Builder & FireBoard bugs

After fixing the problems with RSGallery2, I spent the rest of the week working on troubles with page navigation.

mosMenuBar JToolBarHelper problem

I spent all day today (February 19, 2008) happily chasing down a way to patch RSGallery2. Here's the whole story with pictures.

First edit from new office computer

I've spent the last three days up to my elbows in hardware (February 9-11, 2008).

The new linux box is in my office and working beautifully (February 12)!

It's an Athlon motherboard with a gig of RAM and a couple of hard disks. Much better than the little “profile” unit that I used last year.

Fedora 8 looks and runs great on the new baby.

In praise of Windows XP, Apache, Dreamweaver

I've been developing a new site for the NSRCA for the last 14 months or so.

I'm in awe of what the Apache Software Foundation has done for us web users. Their Apache server is freely distributed to anyone who wants to use it. (Server software “serves up” pages requested by a browser–that's the most common function that makes the internet tick.)

I've had Apache installed as a service under Windows since December 21, 2006. It just runs somewhere in the background waiting for calls to <http://moleskin.ipowermysql.com>.

I've been using it a lot this week trying to solve some problems with the .css for the new site. Just this morning I reconfigured it to make the organization of my files a little more useful to me. Apache took the reconfiguration in stride and gave me exactly what I wanted.

I'm bowled over. It's an outrageously excellent program.

And I have to give kudos to Windows XP, much as I hate to do it. My system only has 256 MB at present, but I've had six or eight programs called up and available while playing MP3s in the background. Windows bends a bit, but it hasn't broken (knock on wood!).

While I'm in the mood to hand out awards for excellence, I've got to include DreamweaverMX (2004), too. It's probably time to see what a new version will cost me, but I'm immensely grateful for what I've learned from Dreamweaver and for the way it handles my websites. In my reorganization, Dreamweaver counted around 50,000 files in my html folders, about half of them HTML. Dreamweaver didn't scold me. It just went through them all, one at a time, and made some monster cache for future reference.

Meanwhile, the MP3s kept me company (a country mix).

Yes, Garrison, it is nice when things just work.

A Muslim's Case for Monotheism

Interesting negative

Leaving the Angel listserv

Angel Wiki Problem

I've started familiarizing myself with a new classroom content management system being used by Canisius. I've found a bug of some kind in our setup. I've quit playing with this myself. I don't think Angel is on top of this situation.

2007/08/30 06:30

Fedora FC7 Black Screen of Death


  • Installed Fedora on old PC using live CD for i386. Everything worked fine.
  • Updated everything.
  • Result: 7.89 Rawhide 2.6.21-1.3228.FC8 on an i686 but no joy.

Problem: After logging in as root or as a user, the screen would go black. I could see and control the mouse pointer, but nothing else came up.


  • Downloaded an FC7 rescue disk:
  • Played with startx a lot, using CTRL-ALT-Backspace to terminate X windows, come back to the command prompt, and read the error messages.
  • Modifying the /etc/X11/xorg.conf file didn't give me any happiness. I could affect the state of the display, but I didn't find the core problem.
  • After hours of hitting dead ends, I tried yum update. Something there got me in touch with Xwindows–at the wrong resolution, but I then could set the monitor so that after exiting (CTRL-ALT-Backspace) and restarting Xwindows (startx), I got the display working properly.

I don't know what was wrong and I don't know exactly what part of the update fixed my problem. Sometimes it's better to be lucky than good. :-/

If Airlines Were Run Like Computer Operating Systems...

UNIX Airways

Everyone brings one piece of the plane along when they come to the airport. They all go out on the runway and put the plane together piece by piece, arguing non-stop about what kind of plane they are supposed to be building.


Everybody pushes the airplane until it glides, then they jump on and

let the plane coast until it hits the ground again. Then they push

again, jump on again, and so on…

Wednesday, February 28, 2007


From http://lcamtuf.coredump.cx/evilfinder/

M  A  R  T  I  N  X  M  O  L  E  S  K  I  S  J

13 1  18 20 9  14 24 13 15 12 5  19 11 9  19 10     - as numbers

 4 1   9  2 9   5  6  4  6  3 5   1  2 9   1  1     - digits added

\___________/ \___________/ \__________/ \_____/

 7             6             6            4         - digits added

Thus, “Martin X. Moleski SJ” is 7664.

Multiply the number by 002 - this is the symbol of greed, from right to left. It gives 15328.

Add 1986, the year of the Chernobyl “incident” - the result is 17314.

Turn the number backwards, divide by 11 - the symbol of judgment and disorder. The number is now 3761.

Turn the number backwards, subtract 911 - the date of WTC attacks. The number is now 762.

Subtract 96 from the number - this is the symbol of perversion and pleasue in sin, written backwards. It gives 666.

The number 666 is the number of the Beast.

This clearly proves how evil the subject is. QED.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Matt D's quick linux tutorial

A former student of mine is a linux guru. I'm dropping his e-mail in here so I can play with it next week during office hours:

1. Check out the following sites at your leisure, They have TONS of

great opensource software, freshmeat even has a religious category

1.1 www.freshmeat.net (Trust me its new Linux software, nothing that

will later require a confession :))

1.2 www.sourceforge.net

1.3 www.slashdot.org (This one is just informational)

2. If you are looking for packages for redhat check out

2.1. rpm.pbone.net

2.2 www.rpmfind.net

3. In the event you haven't played with RPMS, here's a crash course.

3.1 rpm -i <rpm1.rpm> <rpm2.rpm> <rpm3.rpm> will install RPMS

3.1.1 Sometimes RPMS have lots of dependencies so you need to get all

the depend ones and install them with the initial one you wanted to


3.2 rpm -e <package name> removes the RPM

3.3 rpm -qa gets all the RPMS installed

3.4 rpm -qa | grep -i <rpm name> lets you know if the rpm <rpn name> is installed

3.5 rpm -ql <rpm name> tells you all the files in the RPM

4. If you're lucky you can skirt the entire RPM deal with yum, its a

network front end to RPM

4.1 Find out what the actual package name is

4.1.1 For example “yum install Apache” might not work but “yum install

httpd” might

4.1.2 You can get the package name by searching rpmfind.net or


4.1.3 yum install <package name> will get the package and automatically load any dependencies

5. If you come across any Apache/Mysql/PHP programs that you want to try but would take you a long time to configure

5.1 Feel free to pass them to me.

5.2 I have Internet servers all configured for them

5.3 I can pretty much get any Apache/Mysql/PHP setup running in under 10 minutes assuming they are compatible with PHP5

6. If you are trying to get a program to work from source (Only do this if you can't find an RPM or yum it

6.1 There should be a configure executable file. In the source

directory type ./configure

6.2 Type “make”

6.3 Check the file “Makefile” in that directory and ensure there is a

“Install” directive AND AND AND and “Unistall” directive

6.4 If you type make install it will install the compiled code IF THERE IS NO UNINSTALL IN THE MAKEFILE YOU WON'T BE ABLE TO REMOVE IT

6.5 if there is no “configure” file, I wouldn't bother with it. Code is probably not mature enough to be any good. Everyone who's anyone uses this “configure” process

Friday, February 02, 2007

Matt, linux, & Catholicism

Thanks for giving me a little more information for my search. I now
better understand that I need a little Faith to go with the philosophy
because the philosophy alone isn't going to get me where I need to go.

“Good” philosophers should be willing to keep an open mind, just in case

the uncaused being might want to reveal something that philosophy can't

reach by itself.

I think I may stop and reflect a little on the everyday miracles to
increase the Faith to better complement the Philosophy and critical
thinking part. I don't want my Nan's (or my) God to be infinitely
ambivalent and I may need to step back from the philosophy for a little
while and re-visit it later (this is gonna be difficult because its like
giving me software with no source)

You need the right disassemblers to peek inside some of the compiled

libraries. If you try to open them in a text editor, you're not going

to get a whole lot of information out of them. (It depends on how

good you are at translating text representations of machine code.)

Finally as I was writing the little Linux stuff for you, I couldn't help
but ponder some analogies between Linux/GPL and religion. Some of your
computer geek student may actually find some humor (and substance) in

Yes, indeed!

1A. Anyone using Linux would find it silly to write everything from
scratch because of the abundance of packages out there, you just have to
learn to pick the right ones (see the sites I gave you in my quick Linux
crash course)

Got that.

1B. For me, it makes sense to draw from the best of breed religions (I
view the value that the Jesuit Catholics put on education and the fusing
of theology, logic, and philosophy to be “best of breed”)

Jesuits nowadays disagree among themselves about what it means to

be Jesuit, Catholic, educated, theological, logical, and philosophical.

You need to read the label carefully and check the ingredients in

the package (sort of a checksum thingy, except it has to be

done by wetware).

2A. A lot of times, best of breed Linux software doesn't address the
particular business needs. If its GPL'ed, it can be adjusted to address
the business needs under the condition that the modified source is
passed back to the author.
2B. Although The Pope would not consider the Catholic Faith GPL (Gnu
Public Licensed), personally I am trying to adapt the parts that I
understand into my life.

There are lots of optional components and modules that can be

integrated into the Catholic Content Management System. We call

them “spiritualities.” When Protestants disagree with each other,

they found new churches. When Catholics disagree with each other,

they create new spiritualities: Benedictine, Trappist, Cistercian,

Dominican, Franciscan, Carthusian, Camaldolese (sp?), Ignatian,

Redemptorist, Trinitarian, Passionist, etc.

In other words, there is a huge amount of variety within the

Catholic system.

The Nicene Creed sets some boundaries and provides a foundation, but

it doesn't answer all questions nor decide all issues about how to

live a Catholic life in today's circumstances. That's where spiritualities

come in as plugins to help us figure out where we are and where we're


3A. Before any piece of GPL'ed software can be adapted, time must be
taken to understand its inner-workings. The programmer performing the
adaptation might not like the way the software is written, that is
really not relevant, if it works, it works, you don't have to like it.
If the programmer doesn't understand how the software works, the change
adapts a perfectly good piece of software into something broken that no
longer solves the original problem it was designed for but also, the
need it was being adapted for.

BTDT. My greatest hack in the 80s was finding and patching one

byte in a hard disk device driver when MSDOS changed from

1.25 to 2.0. Other hacks have been less successful. :o(

3B. Personally, I believe that once something is understood to be true,
whether someone “likes it or not” it is not relevant. I also believe
that to try NOT to understand something because I might not like the
outcome is not logical and a character weakness.


A Jesuit challenged me to sum up my philosophy training.

I thought of two words: “Love necessity.” I'm not sure

that really says it all, but I do think it's a good maxim.

Unfortunately I think GPL'ing Catholicism would create a parfait, pick
and choose religion. This would definitely destroy the continuity that
seems so essential to all religions, but it would be interesting.

That is the spirit of Protestantism: take the parts that you like from the

whole and throw away the rest. So, for example, most Protestants take

the Catholic canon of the Scriptures (completed circa 380 AD to 420 AD,

not at Nicea in 325 AD) which was fashioned by popes and bishops, but

jettison other teachings of the popes and bishops that are as old or

older than the canon.

Canon = measuring rod =⇒ list of things that measure up

Canon of the Scriptures = list of books that the Church decided

were to be taken as “the word of the Lord.”

Think like a geek

I've just finished reading Think unix by Jon Lasser.

I have no idea how the book came into my hands. I was scrounging around for something a few weeks ago–who knows what now?–and the title caught my eye.

The book ends with this reflection:

Each word in a sentence is, while not definite, limited
in some sense, but the conceptual space of possible
sentences is unlimited, and we can read whole books in
a constant state of wonder at the use of language.

Lasser did a great job helping me to understand the spirit of unix. I'm not quite ready to write any regular expressions yet, but perhaps soon I will take that leap into the (for me) nearly unknown.

Monday, January 29, 2007

From my office

I've got my old printer moved to my office and my new printer chugging away at home. I'm slowly understanding the way linux thinks about things and I'm guardedly optimistic that I will eventually get it running right.

Office hours are over. I think it's nap time!

2007/01/22 10:38

Troubleshooting 101

When the printer troubleshooter asks, “Is the cable plugged in?”, check both ends of the cable.

Don't ask me how I know that plugging in just one end of the cable doesn't do a #$%&*+! bit of good. :-(

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Linux ncpfs nightmare

I turned an old computer in my office (Windows98) into a linux box. I experimented with four or five varieties and have “settled”, for the time being, on Fedora Core.

I'm learning linux as I go along, so sometimes I shoot myself in the foot when I'm aiming at a bug. Java Runtime Environment and Novelclient are the two current sorgenkind.

I desperately need to keep track of some stuff when I'm debugging, so I'm taking my hand-me-down HP LaserJet 4 to my office to help me sort things out. It's being replaced here at home by an HP LaserJet 1020. Big improvements all around!

Another old friend (now given away)

I bought this bike the day I did my first fourth step.

I put several thousand miles on it.

Someday I'll finish typing up the story of my ride from John o' Groats to Land's end (1998).

I don't think I have any photos of the bike. I'll have to scrounge around and see. My last ride was in the spring of 2000. I realized I couldn't do both the Rideau Lakes Ride and finish indexing and proofreading Personal Catholicism. I got the book done.

Meanwhile, trying to get this scanned I ran into some problems with my scanner.

Goodbye to some old friends

I am about to throw away three books from the 80s that have sat on my shelf for lo! these many years:

  • 8086 8088 Assembly Language Programming
  • Assembly Language Programming for the IBM Personal Computer
  • Bluebook of Assembly Routines for the IBM PC & XT

Many happy memories–but I'm not gonna be doing any more ASM.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Another 11.5“ of shelf space reclaimed today:

  • The 8086 Book
  • Advanced MSDOS
  • IBM DOS reference manuals.
  • All the references for the old DOS-based Turbo Pascal. I'm done with them. It took several years, but I have finally made the transition to Delphi.

Adventures with Printer Sharing

A day at Field's.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

I've created a monster!

Bought a 300+ GB ATA drive this morning for ~$100–roughly

fifteen times the space I really need. My old secondary drive

was noisy and my main drive seemed to be getting full.

That was an illusion caused by my not emptying my personal

tmp folder for three years or so. When I got rid of that

12 GB of stuff, things looked much nicer. But D: was still

noisy, as was an old fan that came with the computer.

Getting the case apart and swapping the old drive for the

new drive went quickly, even with several bouts of cleaning

the dust bunnies out of the cooling vents.

My first attempt at using Ghost was a success, too.

Then I shot myself in the foot.

I booted up to check that the new disk was really there,

chock full of all of my favorite programs in their proper

places. Then I made the big drive the master and the small

drive the slave so that I can go another few years without

having to clean the drive regularly. FATAL ERROR! The

mapping of the drives is now written to them rather than

derived from their position on the cable.

I tried several things that only made matters worse in the

late afternoon. I went to the Wing and Rotor meeting with Dan, where Don Kmack gave me good advice. It's working. I came home, isolated the small drive, booted from it to make sure it's OK, and now am re-copying the image to the big drive. I'll isolate that drive, make sure that it's a good copy, then scrub the little drive and copy back the material to it that I'd like to have backed up.

Worst case scenario: I just scrub both disks and start all over.

I've got the most important data on the smallest of the three disks. But if Ghost works this time, I'll be miles ahead because I won't have to re-install and reconfigure all of my favorite programs.

2007/01/05 19:55

Dokuwiki & Joomla

I just connected Dokuwiki to the NSRCA demo version of Joomla. It probably took less than two minutes to configure the combination after I got the files uploaded.

Open source rocks!

My shoulders ache and I've got a stiff neck and a sore wrist from several days of climbing the learning curve, but it sure is great stuff when it works.

Next: some editable calendar to go with the package.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

The Wicked WordPress is Dead

I've decided to redirect from WordPress to the wiki.

  • There is a steady series of attacks by spambots on the WordPress blog.
  • I'm accustomed to the look and feel of Dokuwiki's syntax.
  • The look of the page seems cleaner and neater to me.

I've gained some control over the .css that drives Dokuwiki. I now have ragged-right margins, a style for the table of contents that works OK, a hack that lets me put a header on this page alone, and a little tweak of the PHP footer file that includes an e-mail address on every page of the wiki. There are still some peculiarities that I don't understand, but I can live with them for now.

“We claim progress, not perfection” (AA Big Book).

Well, that was a short-lived New Year's Resolution. I learned about Mozilla's DOM inspector and fixed a slight color difference between the main text and lists. If I want to go back and have slightly different colors, I now know how to do it.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Joomla: "MySQL service unavailable"

Thank Heaven for MacroExpress

I've been playing with a WordPress blog on and off since April, 2006, but I've come to prefer the look and feel of Dokuwiki. I think I'm going to shut down my WordPress blog and use this namespace instead.

I've written a macro with MacroExpress to give me the date in a top-level heading. That solves one of the problems with using a generic package. And it leaves me with four other headings that I can use within an entry. Good stuff.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

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