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blosxom
      
16:35  Sat, 05 Feb 2005

A Bit of Shaker in the Phillipines

There are reports that a 6.9 earthquake has hit the Phillipines offshore in the Celebes Sea. I have not heard any reports of damage and it appears the quake was several miles below the surface. When more information becomes available you will find it here.

To read the Seismology Report from the USGS - United States Geological Survey - click [Here]

Anyhow..., that's it for right now. If you really want to keep up to date on recent earthquakes around the world click [Here] and bookmark the page.

Check back regularly, no telling what little nugget of gnarled knowledge or whimsical wisdom you're going to unearth here but I can't guarantee it won't be a 'Tagalog nugget'.

Hasta Luego

Dan W. Armeneau

permanent link




Martin Seeks a Vision

From Canadian Press via Canoe

"OTTAWA (CP) - Paul Martin tossed his hands up in frustration over his government's review of Canadian foreign policy and has asked an Oxford University scholar to inject it with a bold, new vision for the country.

The prime minister concluded after a series of in-house drafts that his government's review failed to provide that vision, The Canadian Press has learned. The task was subcontracted last month to Jennifer Welsh, a Saskatchewan-born Rhodes scholar..."

Read the rest of the story [Here]

We could use some more of that hot air that blows out of Ottawa to do a little snow melting around here!

Check back regularly, no telling what little nugget of gnarled knowledge or whimsical wisdom you're going to unearth here but I can't guarantee it won't be a 'snowman nugget'.

Hasta Luego

Dan W. Armeneau

permanent link




Temperature Going Wrong Direction

Oh Boy..., Looks like the temperature has gone into another nose-dive. I was really starting to like the warm weather even though it made things sloppy with melted snow.

This cool weather map shamelessly plucked from Wunderground.

Check back regularly, no telling what little nugget of gnarled knowledge or whimsical wisdom you're going to unearth here but I can't guarantee it won't be a 'snowman nugget'.

Hasta Luego

Dan W. Armeneau

permanent link



21:49  Fri, 04 Feb 2005

Try This With a Windows Box!

OK..., so a few days ago I told you about getting an OpenBSD box up and running. It still has a few things that require attention but for the most part it works just fine as a desktop workstation. One of those is that I need to redefine the 'login' shell and troubleshoot OpenSSH so that even I can 'login' remotely. At least if I can't then no one else should be able to either, making an already secure machine almost 'too' secure. I haven't put a whole bunch of time into it so I'm pleased with the results. This OS is quite remarkable for other reasons as well.

The other day I was sitting at the OpenBSD box and running "the.machine: /root # make clean" on the 'ports' directory as well as a couple of other tasks running in the background. I was also shelled into the FreeBSD box doing something there. All of a sudden the lights go out, the UPS's start squawking, the lights come back on - briefly before it starts all over again a couple of more times. I was able to gracefully power down everything plugged into the UPS's but the OpenBSD box was not so fortunate. The motherboard was getting pretty 'iffy' to get physically fired up to the point where it would start reading the hard drive. After the 'brownout' it was toast!

I pulled the OpenBSD box off the shelf and hunted around for a Phillips screwdriver. I eventually used the Swiss Army knife to pop the cover off the side and have a look around. First thing I noticed was the bulged tops on a few capacitors. As the story goes, some 'stolen secret formula' that was missing a few key ingredients was responsible for capacitor failure that ultimately rendered afflicted motherboards nothing more than electronic waste. I was looking at another victim square in the face.

I rooted around for the 'spare parts' boxes to see if I had anything I could replace the 'innards' with. I found an Athlon 650 motherboard so I gutted the box and tossed in the 'new' motherboard/CPU combo, added some more RAM and another network card so that I could do some 'router experiments', put it all back together and punched the 'go' button. OpenBSD complained loudly that there were some hard drive irregularities so I forced 'fsck' - the file system consistency check - and managed to get it up and running. In no time I was back running the KDE desktop and everything appears to be just fine. Remember, there were some serious hardware changes here. Just try that with a Windows box!

Anyhow..., I found that reasonably remarkable and probably wouldn't have believed the story if I hadn't have seen it with my own eyes. I'm convinced this is a robust operating system worthy of consideration!

Check back regularly, no telling what little nugget of gnarled knowledge or whimsical wisdom you're going to unearth here but I'll guarantee it won't be a 'blowfish nugget'!

Hasta Luego

Dan W. Armeneau

permanent link



16:00  Thu, 03 Feb 2005

VoIP - Voice Over Internet Protocol

Woohoo..., I'm finally free of the Telus tyranny. Last night I hooked up my little grey Linksys PAP2 box and signed on with Vonage Canada. For CAN$37.44, GST included, I get all the voice-mail, caller-ID, call waiting, call forwarding and pretty much everything you can imagine in the way of features. On top of that I have unlimited toll free calls to the two area codes available in Alberta as well as 500 minutes per month anywhere in North America. It's a sweet deal!

The quality is very good although I did hear the odd bit of noise and every once in a while a bit of 'clipping' during a conversation but it could just be the cordless phone I'm using. Hookup was dead simple and I had a dialtone in no time at all. I'm still playing with all the features and learning how everything works when I'm not wearing down the batteries on the cordless phone phoning everyone I know to rave about this 'revolutionary' new way of using the phone. The online 'Dash Board' for Vonage allows me to listen to voice-mail, tweak my connection and check phone logs among others. I really like it. The best part is that I know exactly what I'm paying per month without the usual Telus surprises. That's comforting.

Anyhow..., stay tuned as I will keep everyone up-to-date on the latest developments with the convergence of telephony and the internet.

Check back regularly, no telling what little nugget of gnarled knowledge or whimsical wisdom you're going to unearth here but I can't guarantee it won't be a 'telephone repairman's nugget'.

Hasta Luego

Dan W. Armeneau

permanent link



17:31  Wed, 26 Jan 2005

Some Thoughts on Using OpenBSD as a 'Desktop' Operating System

I had a dust collector kicking around and doing what dust collectors do best, collect dust. Why not, I thought, try an install of OpenBSD using ftp? Fair enough, I have a broadband connection and the Sunsite hosting OpenBSD is right here in Alberta so it shouldn't take too long. I made a few attempts at hitting the main ftp site but just couldn't seem to get connected. I finally gave up on that approach and decided to try the '(h)' option for using port 80. That worked just fine and in a little over an hour I was booted into a fresh install of OpenBSD 3.6.

What I wanted was to see was if OpenBSD would be suitable for a 'general purpose' workstation. Over the last few years I've worked with various flavours of BSD and Linux and I always seem to end up using the KDE, my words, 'desktop interface'. Getting KDE, and for that matter, "X", running on any of my 'alternate OS' boxes always seems to be a struggle for me. Same story this time. As a result of this struggle I've become reasonably proficient at the command line. Certainly no harm in that. As with most things OpenBSD the version of KDE that ships with 3.6 is 3.2.3, not the latest but not that old either. Once I had it up and running though it runs just fine and seems to be a lot quicker than KDE 3.3 I have on a FreeBSD 5.3 machine. One thing that I haven't been able to get to work is "KPackage", the KDE Package Manager. That's OK as I really don't require it anyhow.

KDE can be installed in one of two ways under OpenBSD, one being a pre-compiled 'package' and the other involving compiling with the assistance of the 'port' feature. I opted to install by way of the ports tree and there's one thing I want to say about that. You will end up with a more solid installation but it's going to take some time time to compile. Several hours later it was still doing it's thing and that's on a PIII 733 with 512M of ram. Lucky for me I have other computers I can kill time on so that's exactly what I did. I eventually hit the rack and in the morning it was installed and ready to go. If I could only remember how to get it to go. Tenacity eventually ruled the day and I was able to log into the KDE 'desktop interface'.

KDE comes with a pretty decent selection of utilities and useful applications but for doing any kind of 'web work', including this post, I like to use Bluefish or Screem. I couldn't find Screem in the list of pre-compiled packages so I went with Bluefish. They're pretty much equal in terms of features so it really didn't make much difference as far as I was concerned. In any event, I was well on my way to setting up an OpenBSD/KDE workstation. OpenBSD may not be the most 'user friendly' OS out there but if I can get it up and running on an old dust collector then I would say that just about anyone else should be able to do so as well.

Anyhow..., just thought you may be interested in that. I know lots of so called network and system administrators that don't know a thing about OpenBSD and that's a real shame as it is by far one of the most robust and, most definitely the most secure operating system available. I just happen to like it because it's an Alberta product as I am.

Check back regularly, no telling what little nugget of gnarled knowledge or whimsical wisdom you're going to unearth here but I'll guarantee it won't be a 'blowfish nugget'!

Hasta la Bye Bye

Dan W. Armeneau

permanent link



13:58  Sat, 22 Jan 2005

The Firefox Web Browser

I've been using this browser for quite some time now. I can't remember what it was originally called but it was something like Phoenix I think. Then for a while it was named Firebird but I guess there's some database product called Firebird so they renamed it Firefox to satisfy the trademark and product identity gestapo. I'm pretty sure it was Opera that was first to hit the streets with 'tabbed browsing'. In any case it's probably the single biggest reason to use Firefox. Another reason I like the Firefox browser is the extensive collection of 'Extensions' available. These are add-ons for all sorts of things like RSS aggregators to the IRC client ChatZilla. As more people discover the advantages of using Firefox more folks will contribute 'extensions'. I wouldn't mind banging something together myself but time is always an issue when it comes to me and computers.

So you've decided to try out Firefox and you've decided you like it. What's there to do now? How about some tweaking to see if you can foul it up in spectacular fashion. There are all sorts of places on the Internet that tell you exactly how to go about doing this. Just type "firefox tweaks" into the Google text entry box and see what happens. I managed to get about 275,000 hits when I tried it. I'm sure you'll find a tweak that will do just what you want it to and you will sit there with a smug grin on your face knowing that you have dug deeper into the inner workings of Firefox than most.

OK..., you now have a lean, mean, browsing machine and reasonably decent IRC client so what about e-mail? Why not try out the Thunderbird e-mail client also from the Mozilla Development Labs. I've been using this for at least a couple of years now. Back since version 0.4 I think it was. Even when it was in 'beta' I found it quite stable. I've moved my mail folders through the various versions and have even successfully moved the mail folder to a new machine running a completely different operating system. Try that little act of mental contortion with the e-mail clients offered by Microsoft. I would venture a guess that there's not too many success stories there.

Anyhow..., check back regularly. No telling what little nugget of gnarled knowledge or whimsical wisdom you're going to unearth here but I will guarantee you it won't be "the Incredible Hulk's nugget". He crapped his drawers a couple of days ago and I suspect he's now nugget free. That's just way too funny but unfortunately I can't tell you why - at least not yet!

Hasta Luego

Dan W. Armeneau

permanent link



15:48  Tue, 18 Jan 2005

Some Minor Adjustments

OK..., so I decided to make some minor adjustments to the site. Up top you'll see three links, two of which are waiting to be populated. The "Links" link now goes to a condensed version of the old home page. Within the next few days I'll be making some more changes but that's going to be it for a couple of days because I'm going to be out of town. I should be able to tell all about that within the next few weeks. That's going to be HUGE news - guaranteed!

Anyhow..., guess that's it for now. I'm not really looking forward to the long drive but a guys gotta do what a guys gotta do. Overall it's a neccessary intrusion on my meagre existence. One I hope will eventually bring a big smile to my face.

Check back regularly, no telling what little nugget of gnarled knowledge or whimsical wisdom you're going to unearth here but I'll guarantee it won't be a 'dog nugget'!

Hasta la Bye Bye

Dan W. Armeneau

permanent link



22:56  Sat, 15 Jan 2005

Follow-Up - Sounds Like Volpe was Gunning for Sgro's Ministry

"The man who has accused former immigration minister Judy Sgro of improprieties has been fighting to stay in Canada since 1988...," Read More [Here]

Politics is such an ugly blood sport wouldn't you say? I, for one, would not have the stomach for it.

Anyhow..., I would say that Joe Volpe has his work cut out for him. Why anyone would actually want that horrible broken mess that is the Ministry of Immigration is totally beyond me. You go Joe!

Check back regularly, no telling what little nugget of gnarled knowledge or whimsical wisdom you're going to unearth here but I can't guarantee it won't be a 'politico nugget'!

Hasta Luego

Dan W. Armeneau

permanent link



23:31  Fri, 14 Jan 2005

Breaking News - It's 'Go' 'Bye' 'See Ya' for Sgro

Good riddence to bad politicians is all I can say.

"OTTAWA (CP) - Beleaguered Immigration Minister Judy Sgro resigned from cabinet Friday amid a fresh controversy, but promised to fight to clear her name." Get the whole story [Here]

Anyhow..., there's usually a lot of hot air blowing out of Ottawa but we sure don't seem to be getting much of it here. It's still a buzzillion below zero!

Hasta la Bye Bye Ms. Sgro

Dan W. Armeneau

permanent link


   
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