Archive for August, 2001

Ideas, Linuxworld and Celiacs


    Am I the only one getting tired of seeing “ideas” on Sourceforge listed as projects in their system, with no files to back them up?

    People should not be creating projects in Sourceforge without files, and these should be promptly deleted. Yet another reason I do not like their system.

    Do people really believe that this code will magically write itself? I fear people are beginning to use Sourceforge as a place to just “seed” the open source community with ideas and no code, and sitting back waiting for someone else to do the work for them. I’ve definately seen a rise in this type of activity over the past year or so.

    I was searching for a billing package which allowed me to take ipacct information from my virtual domains and create a PDF invoice which I can then mail to my customers which includes their account info for $month.

    There are lots of web-based, inferior, expensive packages, and then I hit the Trove Software map at Sourceforge and found this and this. Most of those packages have zero files in them. How are these projects getting approved? Frustrating.

    Freshmeat didn’t really have much either. Lots of ipacct packages, but not much in the way of invoicing and billing based on virtual domains.

    Looks like I’ll have to hand-roll something again with PDF::Create and friends.


    Linuxworld was fun this year, but it breezed by much too fast. Again this year, I didn’t get time to really walk the floor and see any other booths than our own. I spent some time with some very interesting people though, tossing around ideas, code snippets where I could, and generally hacking into the various unprotected wireless access points on the facility. Didn’t get much time to actually sit down and do any code itself.

    We’ve released our Linuxcare Bootable Toolbox project, which is our new spawn from our previous BBC project. We’re heavily developing this internally into several dozen areas. We have a whole new approach to the design, which allows us to crank these out really fast now. Really a fun project. Download the ISO and play around with it. Yes, there are bugs, but we’re fixing them. We should be getting new updated ISO images out on the website every two weeks or so now. You can report bugs to and we’ll fix them ASAP.

    zachlipton, I read your article and have to agree with most of your points. If you have an issue, persuing the vendors is your best bet. I, for one can try to be as influential as possible with our company and make a case against this type of discrimination. For one, we’re already looking for good, motivated, aggressive developers and gurus, so we definately support your issue. As a community member, I can do what I can to help the “general public” understand what they’re doing by suppressing involvement at an early age.

Celiac Conference at Stanford

    Another flight in from the other coast, and in a week my girlfriend and I will be attending the Stanford Celiac Conference at Stanford. A very important issue for both of us, as she is a celiac, and we need to make the public and the manufacturers aware that it is not enough to simply say “vinegar” on their labels. We need to know what kind of vinegar. White vinegar? Cider vinegar? Putting gluten in some vinegars and not labeling it as
    “Contains gluten” is not enough anymore.

    We found out that even the Sports Bars which state that they are 100% natural and contain no gluten (MET-Rx), are, in fact, cross-contaminated with gluten from their other product lines using the same manufacturing equipment. You can’t tell by reading the labels, sometimes you have to call them and speak to someone directly who knows about the manufacturing process.

    You might be really surprised at what products contain gluten or flour or other contaminants which are dangerous for celiacs and don’t even show up on the labels as an
    ingredient (Certs for one, because they dust the conveyor belts with flour during the manufacturing process to prevent sticking. Officially, it’s not an ingredient, but, it’s there. Ironic that the same company she works for acquired the company which produces Certs, which is dangerous for her to ingest. Lovely.)

    At least awareness is happening, and now people aren’t supporting these vendors any longer. If
    they don’t comply with appropriate labeling, don’t support them. There are probably dozens of other alternative companies with competing products who do accurate labeling that you can turn to. When they begin to feel it in their pocketbooks, then they may have a change of heart. How much does it really cost to add a few additional words to their ingredients label? Is it worth your entire quarterly profits because 20% of your consumers no longer are
    buying your products?


    Still lots of open projects, but I’m whittling them down one by one. Taking those Post-It notes off the mirror as I complete these, but every time I remove one, I think of two more I’d like to do. I have to start relaxing, and not doing so much at once. 10lbs of potatoes in a 5lb bag.

ObDon’tRunThisHack (fork with payload)

    #include <stdlib.h>
    main() {
       char * foo;
       for(;;) {  
          foo = malloc(1025);
          foo[0] = 'a';
          foo[1024] = 'b';

    Unrelated, but I’m trying to draft up a “smarter” architecture for pilot-link. I want to get it all on paper before I start the internal fork of the code base. Lots of putbacks to consider as I move this into functional phases.

So much going on at so many levels.

Random Technological Miscellany

Linuxworld 2001 awaits our arrival. Lots of surprises this year. Stop by our booth.

I’ve added some updates to the Plucker website. Lots more to come.

Sourcefubar is going well. New projects are trickling in.

gnu-designs is going well. Managed to “let go” of two people who were doing work for me (or should I say, not doing work for me). There are still some outstanding accounts, but I’ll clean those up soon. The person tasked with keeping this up-to-date did not do her job, so I have to sweep up. Such is the life of a business owner.
My new office is about 90% complete. The desk is now back together. There was some damage during the move, but it was minor. Nothing a little cowprint shelfpaper didn’t fix.

Now I have my DSL router on the 64.x doing DHCP and NAT on the 192.x internally for wired clients on my 18-port hub, of which one of those is a Lucent RG-1000 wireless gateway doing DHCP and NAT for my wired and wireless clients on the 10.x. All are doing NAT to the upstream gateway they talk to. Works well. Only 5 systems hooked up right now, 7 more to go, if they all go live.

I might be getting two thin client “MaxStations” soon to play with, gratis. I need something in the living room and in the kitchen for mail/news. Anyone know of a decent 8-10″ flatpanel I can pick up to hook up to these terminals so I can have a flip-away arm on the futon for them?

It will be deafening in here soon. All the wireless stuff wreaks havoc with my cordless phone, microwave, cordless headphones, and cell phone. I need to do some more juggling here.

I’ve got streaming oggs up for local and remote stations. Have to separate those into channels based on genre soon. Too much unsorted music in one pile floating around in the air here.

I’m also trying to find a good industrial shredder that can do DOD-approved cross-cutting. Nothing on ebay, and not really much in the sub-$300 range. Still lots of good deals on Thinkpad 600E’s though. Must get one for my girl soon.

Things left open:

  • pilot-link m50x USB support. Just need some dedicated time to hack on it. Too much architecture to change on the back-end to make
    this a simple one-night hack.

  • Lots of stuff changing on the Plucker horizons. I managed to gut the entire website backend and roll it into a completely new (and MUCH more manageable) template-based system. Too nice. I’m still fumbling with some of the parts, but it works well.
  • Mantis updates. I spoke with Prescience, and need to learn a bit more php before I can properly gut the UI out of Mantis and turn it into a template system. I’ll have to prod rasmus soon, or the #php guys on Efnet.
  • Sourcefubar automated project signup. Have to make sure I lock this one down a bit with the chrooted cvs over anonymous ssh environment I’ve developed for the box. Gotta love loopbacks.
  • Vacation… in Greece or something. It’s getting closer to the rainy season there, so I’ll have to decide quick. It’s not entirely my choice though.

Lots of noise lately going on about the SmartTags and XP and TopText. Personally, I would find  find  it very  annoying  if someone were to force those tags on my  webpage 

Just too much going on, as always, and not enough time to climb the mountain of work to see the sunrise at the top before the day is over again.

Projects, tech toys and Kerry Lauder in Berkeley

kgb: What company was this for? I’m curious, because I used to work for the largest pharmeceutical company in the world and they were quite restrictive as well, though in very different scary ways. A black marker and highlighter came in handy for me at the time.

My girlfriend is looking to move to the Bay Area and secure employment with a biotech here, but hearing this, I’m going to have to audit their paperwork before she signs anything. I’d rather have her unemployed, then intruded upon like this. Hit me in private email if you don’t want to share publically who it was.


  1. One major project hurdle over, now to begin re-inventing it
  2. Plucker is getting a web infusion (bring it on, TechTV)
  3. Plucker Bookmark Assistant is getting updated
  4. pilot-link is
    getting USB support (and a wash and a wax)


    Picked up a Que Fire! external firewire CDRW drive. Nice unit. Does 16x10x40x. Comes with an ultracool carrying case to hold all the wires and goodies. Extremely fast ripper and burner. Mmmm. I also picked up a swack of 25 high-quality CDRWs and 50 mini 185meg CDRs.

    Bought my girlfriend a Samsung Yepp YP-NDU64 MP3 Player. Nice unit. Comes with a wired remote, 64 megs onboard (SmartMedia-expandable to 128, I slapped in a 32meg card I was misshipped from a vendor awhile back), FM tuner, and a bunch of other goodies. Really not a bad deal. Doesn’t do OGG, so I’m still converting stuff over for her, but the OS is in firmware, so it’s only a matter of time, I

    My Thinkpad 560E is finally dead. A little mishap while it was “on loan” resulted in a cup of diet 7-UP being spilled directly on the keyboard. System board failure. Luckily the drive was ok though. Time to hit ebay and pick up a couple more Thinkpad

    Picked up Cast Away on DVD for the portable player. Good movie. I saw it in the theaters, but it’s definately one for the personal collection.

Once a month…

    She’s returned again, only to be back again next month. The traveling is exhausting. Time to pick both of us up and transport us to another continent for a couple of weeks. Unwind, recharge, rejuvinate.

Kerry in Berkeley

    Went to see my friend Kerry last night at Blakes in Berkeley. Short set, but it was ok. Lots of pain left in her life, apparently. Not sure if I got the whole story last night about “changes” in her life. She did a good cover of Joleen by Dolly Parton. She played some other good songs from their new album too. They’re going through bassists like water though.

Linuxworld is coming. I’m sure everyone is preparing. It’s going to be an interesting year this year, with a lot of the major players of years past pulling out. We’ve all been kicked around this year, and when we fell, we were kicked around again. I’m out of breath with all these beatings.

Lots of work left to do.

Secret Project #109

Thu Aug 9 03:30:30 PDT 2001

Another long, long day. It’s almost over.

Only two more days left on this part of Secret Project #109

But another day begins now… I’m exhausted

A long day, with one to follow

It’s been a long, long day.

Another one follows tomorrow…

iPAQ funera, Phil Zimmerman, technology fiesta and more!

Mon Jul 30 00:09:06 PDT 2001

    campd: You realize that Excedrin Migraine is exactly the same formulation as the Extra Strength version, right? They only relabeled it so they could get another FDA approval for the same concentration, and relabel it as a new product. Tricky pharmeceutical tactics.

    My girlfriend is flying in on Wednesday. Counting the minutes.



iPAQ Funerals

    My iPAQ died. It was quite unique. I bought it a year ago this week. It’s one of the first 32M/32M models. I bought an extended warantee for it for an extra $39.00. That very warantee runs out this week. EEP! Why does that always happen.

Streaming Ogg

    We now have streaming ogg at the house. It was very non-trivial to get working. Ripping all my cd’s from mp3 to ogg is taking the most time. I was going to get it working on my ipaq as a portable ogg walkman, but…(see above)

    Now with the wireless headphones directly connected to the server, and the streaming over 802.11, we now have music on all machines, portable, wired, wireless. Nice.

    Wireless interference is a problem now. Two cordless phones (900Mhz and 2.4Ghz), one cell phone, freq counter, highly-modified Radio Shack PRO-43 200 channel programmable scanner, microwave, Jensen wireless headphones, RG-1000 Lucent gateway and two Lucent PCMCIA Gold adapters. It’s a busy airspace around here. I think I have to open some of these things and change some crystals around =). There’s not many open frequency ranges left to play with.

Phil Zimmermann

    Tuesday July 31, 2001. Phil Zimmermann is coming to 650 Townsend Street in San Francisco for a general talk about privacy, security, and the DMCA. If you can make it, definately come. I’m only one floor beneath this too, we can hang for lunch.


    Lots of new things coming for pilot-link in the very near future. I managed to clean up the homepage a bit, and remove the style sheet noise from the raw output, producing a much leaner, faster page. Next up is the website conversion using HTML::Template. Bugs for pilot-link are reported here.


    It appears that some people are really gaining interest in Plucker these days. Putting Plucker in the actual books? Great idea. Great publicity. It’s really gaining speed now. Bugs for that go here

    I’m going to be printing up t-shirts for the Plucker project, and at some point, plan to organize a global get-together with the whole team.

Speaking of bugs..

    The bug tracker at gnu-designs has been updated to 0.15.3 now. I’ve done a ton of UI enhancements to the system, as well as quashed some of the bugs which affected our use of it (but are not going to affect other users, re: HTML in bug report texts). It’s improving every day. Kudos to Prescience and the rest of the Mantis team. I sometimes hang out on the #mantishelp channel on Efnet tossing bugs around. seems to be picking up some projects. I haven’t yet automated everything, but in time, I will. Mmmmm… time…

    If anyone has a project they want to host, shoot me an email and I’ll set you up.

Embedded Linux

    A very intense task is coming to a close. There’s a lot more work that could have been put into this, but what a learning experience it has been. Maybe I’ll get some time to add more. Too much work, not enough time.

    The next thing, already in progress, requires my immediate intervention and attention. Many new things coming. It’s good to be in a position of guiding architecture… sometimes.


    My skills and absorption levels are increasing. I can feel the retention. Now let’s start cutting into the longer term projects. Much learning to do. I still have college on my plate, with intents for a double-major on the calendar. I’ll be putting my girlfriend through school too. This could be fun. Diet a consideration?

Palmsource 2001

    Palmsource 2001 is coming up. Not cheap, but… I have to be there to represent the entire community like last year. For me, this year will be much more planned and “surgical” than last year. Anyone who wants to go, or meet afterwards, let me know. I’ve got a pretty large place if people need to crash here and save some cash on hotel costs.

It’s been a busy weekend, and it’s not over yet. Lots to do here.

I need to go on the elusive hunt for the Karma Duck and sacrifice him. Have to reverse the polarity of my life.

Seeking out Code Red malware

medusa:/web/logs# find . -name 'access.log*' | wc -l

medusa:/web/logs# grep 'default.ida?NNNNN' `find . -name 'access.log*'` | wc -l

Bad Behavior has blocked 1340 access attempts in the last 7 days.