Wednesday, March 31, 2004

the real capital city of ireland

capital city of ireland
ok , so it isn't really the capital of Ireland in purely factual terms , but it's my home town, and we Corkonians like to think that it is. If you're ever thinking of visiting Ireland, drop by on the board of this site, and you'll get lots of help on where to stay, where to have a pint of Murphy's (the local equivalent to Guiness), and where the best gigs/clubs/nightlife/restaurants are.

it's the best guide to a city in Ireland that i've come across - and the board is a live , breathing, active , tumult of stuff , so there's always somebody who will answer your questions. well worth visiting.

update: found some really nice pictures of Cork here , here , and here

switching to a mac

Jeremy Zawodny is moving to a Mac Powerbook
He's "sick of doing things the hard way" - i suppose he does have a point. As one's career progresses, you have less time for general hackery. A Mac just works. It's a no brainer.

Me? i'm too-ing and fro-ing between getting a Powerbook - maybe i'll kill two birds and get a thinkpad AND a powerbook. Debian on the thinkpad, powerbook running OS X.

Of course, some Gentoo advocate will pop up and say to Jeremy "emerge mplayer" , but i dont think that's what Jeremy wants - he doesnt want to go through the install of Gentoo on a laptop for starters. He can go to his local Fry's , buy a Powerbook, power it up, and it just works. There's a different attitude to wanting something to work versus something that's hackable. Both are equally OK , as long as it doesnt involve the sign of the beast.

"rudest pub" googlebomb

The Register has this article on recent googlebombs including one for rudest pub promoted and initiated on Matt Armstrong's "Paste" blog.

Tuesday, March 30, 2004

Mars Express confirms methane in the Martian atmosphere
Mars Express - Worlds biggest postcard
"It measures 24 metres by 1.35 metres and shows a 3700-kilometre long, 166-kilometre wide strip of Martian landscape in south-north direction"
Mars Express - Colour picture of Gusev crater

Fun with the CLI

This article describes the little known sound-related rec and play commands, sox, and a brief mention of using "nice" to make runaway processes more, errr, nice to your cpu.

Johnson space center dumps Windows for Linux
"We cannot have second thoughts about using Linux, as I had the great pleasure of converting our last Windows server to Linux a couple years ago," said Dan Smith, an administrator with the Intelligent Systems Lab at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston.
"There is just not enough budget to use Windows," said the Johnson Space Center's Smith. "It cost an arm and a leg to equip a Windows machine with what is standard load on most major Linux distros."
"In short, converting to Linux has allowed our lab to go from saying, 'Sorry, we do not have funding to provide that' to saying, 'We can do that.'"

Monday, March 29, 2004

Grabbing RSS feeds with shell scripts

Sunday, March 28, 2004

Terraforming Mars
Interesting article on an upcoming scientific conference about the feasibility of terraforming Mars.

Methane detected in Martian atmosphere
The leader of the ground based astronomy team, Michael Mumma of the Goddard Space Flight Center, when asked if the methane was biological in origin, said 'I think it is, myself personally.'"

IBM - "Windows to Linux roadmap"

Saturday, March 27, 2004

Chernobyl revisited

A bike ride through Chernobyl
Some people bungee jump. Other people do base jump parachuting.
This girl rides a motorbike through the scene of the biggest nuclear accident of all time.

Lots of fascinating pictures showing the ghost town, permanently frozen in time.

update: Big discussion about this on Slashdot Links to bit torrents and mirrors mentioned in the chat.

I want one!

Asus preps wi-fi hard drive
Slashdot mention this here

Nasa to test scramjet

Nasa will test a Mach 7 scramjet today. It is hoped this technology could one day dramatically reduce the length of long-haul passenger flights and make it much cheaper to launch space payloads.

Friday, March 26, 2004

Blurring the boundaries

What do you get when you mix Jay Zee's hiphop "Black Album" with the Beatles "White Album"? You get DJ Dangermouse's "Grey Album", which was mentioned on the UK's Channel 4 news and subject to numerous "cease and desist" letters from record company lawyers.

You can download it from Illegal

update: you can also get the album from Banned

Friday Linkdump

Slashdot -What Would The World Be Like Without Microsoft?
Linux Mag - interview with Andrew Tridgell
The Spread of the Witty Worm
Microsoft Concedes Misstep in Search
HP Linux Desktop move could change Microsoft strategy
Microsoft PDF - OpenOffice versus Ms Office
Slashdot mention it here

Tuesday, March 23, 2004

NASA - Salty seas were on Mars

In a dramatic press conference today, NASA announced evidence of a former salty sea shoreline on Mars. Suddenly, the possibility of discovering fossils on Mars isn't so far fetched. As usual, Slashdot have a big discussion on this ground-breaking announcement over here.

Passport to Nowhere

Slashdot on Microsoft Passport, and how it's failed to really take off
The competing "Liberty Alliance" has only produced " a large amount of PDF files".

SpamAssassin custom rule emporium
People Behind KDE - Fabrice Mous
Interview with the author of Konsole, Lars Doelle
Linux Memory Forensics
Can a Red Hat Guru Survive on a Lindows Laptop?

Saturday, March 20, 2004

Andy Kessler - "Hack This Please"
"There is a new breed of users out there, computer-literate consumers who don’t think twice about altering the look, feel and functionality of a product. Those billions of embedded computers have turned business on its head. The Henry Ford school of “one size fits all” or the Colgate school of 40 choices of toothpaste are now both obsolete. Give us one size that we can alter how we wish.

You see, the software in all those billions of little computers in our stereos and cars and cell phones and appliances are just itching to be updated. Not by companies, but by customers. That’s how they’ll get what they want. Mods, hacks, whatever you want to call them are the ultimate customization. "

Learning Irish
Practice lessons, and a PDF document on "How the language works"

Kevin's Mars 3D page has a gallery of 3D red-blue anaglyph images, created from the stereo pair images posted up by NASA.

Water At the Martian South Pole
Mars Express observes water permafrost at the martian south pole.
"The results showed that hundreds of square kilometres of ‘permafrost’ surround the south pole. Permafrost is water ice, mixed into the soil of Mars, and frozen to the hardness of solid rock by the low Martian temperatures. "

6800 fonts

Sean Parsons provides a perl script that allows you to download 6800 fonts (yes , that's 6,800) from here. After downloading them, use kcontrol or drakconf to install them.

Thursday, March 18, 2004

How Google Grows...and Grows...and Grows
Top Five Open Source Packages for System Administrators
CfEngine review

Wednesday, March 17, 2004

Grep & date substitution output

I wanted to grep for log entries in /var/log/messages that are timestamped with today's date. After much looking around, i finally stumbled upon the correct syntax:

grep "$(date +"%b %d")" /var/log/messages

Tuesday, March 16, 2004

Worlds smallest hard drive

Toshiba get the Guiness World Record for the worlds smallest hard drive

The electronics conglomerate's 0.85-inch HDDs, unveiled in January, have storage capacity of up to four gigabytes and will be used in products such as cell phones and digital camcorders.

Toshiba, whose 1.8-inch HDDs are used in Apple Computer Inc's hot-selling iPod digital music players, for example, aims to start producing the 0.85-inch HDDs by the end of 2004.

"Toshiba's innovation means that I could soon hold more information in my watch than I could on my desktop computer just a few years ago," said David Hawksett, science and technology editor at Guinness World Records.

Slashdot are talking about this here

Monday, March 15, 2004

Introducing the Planet Sedna

New world discovered beyond Pluto - "Sedna"
Images taken of Sedna

Sunday, March 14, 2004

Cassini finds clumps in Saturn's F-ring
Cassini is due to go into orbit around Saturn on July 1st , 2004.

Saturday, March 13, 2004

Watching TV on your Linux box

Friday, March 12, 2004

Retro Funk

Chromeo ,a retro funk band from Canada, have their entire album available in high-quality streaming format. Interesting concept.

You are here

This image is the first ever picture of Earth taken from the surface of another planet. It was snapped by the Mars Rover "Spirit" on March 11th.

Off to Menorca this May

I'm off on holidays to Menorca this May. Found this photo album on Google with some lovely landscape shots of the island. Menorca is one of the Balearic islands , just north of Majorca and Ibiza.

Wednesday, March 10, 2004

Moving to Linux - Kiss the blue screen of death goodbye review of the "Moving to Linux" book by Marcel Gagne.
101 Cool Scripts - book review
Slashdot review of a bash shell cookbook by Dave Taylor.

Newsforge - A Peek At Script Kiddie Culture
Interview with security expert Andrew Kirch , who infilitrated several script kiddie IRC groups.

"Roblimo: Doesn't this give the lie to a recent Microsoft statement that most exploits are done by reverse-engineering their security patches?

Andy: Absolutely. I quoted you May as when I found out about DCOM. Do you remember when they patched it?

Roblimo: No.

Andy: July. Consider I don't have access to these 0day exploits. That puts it around February or March that it was discovered. "

Grandma runs Linux
How a 67 year old grandmother converted to Linux, and is still using it.

Tuesday, March 09, 2004

Sarcastic posting of the week (spotted on Slashdot):

"By the time I moved out I had my mother using pine over ssh to read her email.
Most of the trouble of Linux is the inertia related to not wanting to learn new things and not being technically difficult."

Yeah I know what you mean. When I was in high school I used to visit my grandmother in a nursing home all the time. She didn't know how to use Windows or E-Mail so I just gave her an old linux box. Like 2 months later she had root at NASA.

The Command Line - The Best Newbie Interface?
"This essay describes the surprising results of a brief trial with a group of new computer users about the relative ease of the command line interface versus the GUIs now omnipresent in computer interfaces. It comes from practical experience I have of teaching computing to complete beginners or newbies as computer power-users often term them."

Hubble's deepest pictures yet
11 day exposure reveals the furthest galaxies ever imaged.
"The image required 800 exposures taken over the course of 400 Hubble orbits around Earth. The total amount of exposure time was 11.3 days, taken between Sept. 24, 2003 and Jan. 16, 2004."

Thursday, March 04, 2004

Connect KDE applications using DCOP
IBM Developerworks article on a little known but powerful feature in KDE.

Wednesday, March 03, 2004

The Next Step In Spam Control - Greylisting
Highly interesting paper - the basic concept is that you configure your mail server to drop all incoming mail. Genuine MTAs will attempt to retry after the initial drop. Spamming operations don't bother retrying. A simple idea, but highly effective in the tests that have been carried out.
Two Legged robot to go on sale in Japan soon

Announcing the KDE Quality team
"A community of contributors who will serve as a gateway between developers and users in the KDE Project, and as a new way for people to begin contributing."
The core aim of the team is to give non-technical KDE users a way of contributing something back to KDE (e.g. screenshots for documentation projects) without having to wade through a lot of technical documentation, which is currently highly oriented towards KDE developers. This can only be a good thing , and should encourage a lot more people to assist int he ongoing development of KDE.

Tuesday, March 02, 2004

Google news parody - nothing but good news.

NASA announces that Meridiani Planum Was Wet
"Scientists have concluded the part of Mars that NASA's Opportunity rover is exploring was soaking wet in the past."
Slashdot are discussing this important announcement.

MySQL performance boosting links
MySQL performance tuning by Jeremy Zawodny
How to write efficient MySQL apps
Implementing High Availability