Computers: February 2005 Archives


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I just uploaded pudgebackup, a simple-minded script I use to do nightly backups of my various computers. You just list the directories to back up, their target paths, and add optional volume information so you can mount a network volume. Then stick it in your cron (root's cron if you'll be copying system files etc.).

Death of the Blogs

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Everywhere I turn, people are talking about blogs. It's pretty retarded. Time has a blog of the year, whatever that means. CNN has a segment where they have two young women reporting on what the blogs are saying. If I wanted to know, I would read them. I could not possibly care less what LGF or Power Line or Wonkette or Daily Kos are saying today. (Sorry.)

That whole story about the CNN news executive ... I didn't find out about that until it was already a dead story. I didn't care. And I am glad I didn't care. I am glad I didn't find out about it until NewsHour reported it was all over and he had resigned, when I could actually get a complete picture from knowledgable people. Why should I care? Some silly person said something silly and other silly people took exception to it. So what?

The Gannon thing is even worse. It's not even a story. You see, a story has a beginning, a middle, and an end. The Gannon story is all middle, and a little bit of end. The beginning and the bulk of the end are missing. We don't have any clue who did what or why, or what will become of any of it (except that Gannon himself resigned).

And that's what the blogs are good at: the middle. Getting into a story halfway over and giving us a rundown of part of what's happened. Even with some of the exceptional work some of them did on the Dan Rather/CBS/memo story, it was only part of the skeleton of the story that was offered. It was an important piece, but only a piece. It was not a story.

These blogs are like that guy at work who listened to Bill O'Reilly all day and says "hey, did you hear? Bill Clinton killed a baby seal with his bare hands!" If you care to look it up, you find out that a single seal died as the result of a bill he signed, which saved hundreds of other seals. It's only a small part of the story, and often slanted so that you can't even tell what the real story is.

This isn't about journalism vs. blogging. This is about blogging vs. itself. It sucks. It's boring and dull and doesn't lead us to truth. Oh sure, there's the occasional story where, *eventually*, we find out something resembling truth. But that's the exception, not the rule. Rather, we found something sorta resembling truth in the end. Gannon and Jordan? Not so much.

And don't even get me started on the overwhelming ignorance involved in the many blog analyses of different federal policies.

Gannon, Rather, Jordan, it all follows the same pattern. Latch on to some interesting bit of information that is only part of a much larger story, slant it to suit your political bent, and then make as much out of it as you can. Hey, look at me, look what story I can blow out of proportion! Link back to me KTHX! What is this, 1996?

Wake me when it's over.

(I don't normally use the term "blog" except in quotes; that I use it here without quotes means I am speaking about a specific subset of "blogs", and I am using the term derisively.)

Mac-AppleEvents-Simple-1.16 Released

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Mac-AppleEvents-Simple-1.16 has been released. Download it from the CPAN or

(Note: it may take time for the release to propagate to the various download mirrors.)

* v1.16, Saturday, February 19, 2005
   Switch during launch if we are launching anyway.  More efficient.

Posted using release by brian d foy.

Mac-Glue-1.23 Released

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Mac-Glue-1.23 has been released. Download it from the CPAN or

(Note: it may take time for the release to propagate to the various download mirrors.)

* v1.23, Saturday, February 19, 2005
   Make default MODE kAECanSwitchLayer instead of kAECanInteract | kAECanSwitchLayer,
   as this appears to be the default that AppleScript uses.
   Give proper warnings for when files to be glue'd do not exist.  (Kim Helliwell, Ken Williams)
   Make a test fail if scripting additions or dialect were not created.  (Chris Devers)

Posted using release by brian d foy.

Mac-Carbon-0.71 Released

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Mac-Carbon-0.71 has been released. Download it from the CPAN or

(Note: it may take time for the release to propagate to the various download mirrors.)

* v0.71, 19 February 2005
   Fix some more memory leaks, in the ported GUSI routines.  Well, technically,
   the memory leaks are still there: the return values of GUSIFSp2FullPath,
   GUSIFS2FullPath, and GUSIFSp2Encoding need to be freed, and some frontend
   functions were added to return SVs instead, freeing the values as

Posted using release by brian d foy.

Giving Up

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Sometimes I give up on TV shows I've liked, or tried to like.

I gave up on 24 a couple of seasons ago. I came back for this season, and I like it more than I did when I gave up on it.

I nearly gave up on Battlestar Galactica. It was trying way too hard early on, the performances were forced. It just didn't work. But it got better quickly, I think. I stuck with it in large part because of Roland Moore, the guy behind the BG story, who was also one of the people behind the Star Trek: DS9 story, and that had a similar problem: weak beginning, but turned into a great epic.

Star Trek: Enterprise, on the other hand, I gave up on after the first season, and every time I went back to look again, I was sorry I did.

MySQL Packet Size

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Problem: in MySQL, you can only send data that is less than max_allowed_packet.
Solution: increase max_allowed_packet.

That's all well and good, and works, but for safety's sake we want to keep its size down, but occasionally we might need to save some data that is far larger than what we keep it at.

I thought, no problem: just set max_allowed_packet session variable in the current session, then send the data, then set it back (or just allow it to reset when the session finishes).

Problem: it seems the client library sets that value on initialization, and changing it in the server via a SET $var = $value doesn't change anything in the client, so you still hit the limit.
Solution: break the data down into chunks, and add it one chunk at a time, with UPDATE table SET data=CONCAT(data, $chunk).

That's all well and good, but ...

Problem: max_allowed_packet doesn't merely prevent you from sending data of a certain size: it also governs the size of an "expanded" query. So if data is 1MB and $chunk is 512K, you still hit a 1MB max_allowed_packet limit with the CONCAT(...).
Solution: increase max_allowed_packet.

Aha! I can't increase max_allowed_packet on the client side, but I can increase it on the server side. This doesn't help me send the data, but it helps me save it on the server side. So to get past the client limitation I do it in chunks, and to get past the server limitation I still need to set the session variable.

It all worked fine for a file that was 1.3MB where the limit was 1MB. But on a file that was over 30MB, it saved the file fine, but it wouldn't fetch it. update This is because of a problem saving the data to an InnoDB table, where the log group capacity is not large enough. Whatever that means.
TorgoX writes that what Bush is trying to do in Iraq will do poorly even if the Iraqis are lucky.

That's really really dumb.

No one knows what will happen, and as noted many times before, no one had any other solutions beyond "let's let the situation continue to fester with Hussein in power." We tried something, and by all indications it is going very well. Sure, you can point out some of the tragedies -- there are many -- that have occurred along the way, but these will not prevent the long-term goal from occurring. It's like saying a football team had a bad game because the QB threw a few interceptions: what matters is whether they win in the end.*

Oh, but because I believe this, I am probably not "persuaded by the facts." Yes, people who disagree with you are closed-minded. That's so original. And insipid.

The facts are these: Iraq is progressing about as well as anyone could have hoped. There have been problems, including too many civilian deaths, too many insurgents, and a rebuilding effort that has not been strong enough in some areas. There have been many good things too, such as Iraq doing quite well governing itself for more than six months and just recently having extraordinarily successful national elections (which were secured primarily by Iraqi police).

By all indications, the nation is well on its way to having its own entirely independent country, with new executives to be chosen soon, and a Constitution to be written by the new representatives, to be ratified later this year. Whether that will happen remains to be seen, of course, and there are a large number of obstacles along the way. But the naysayers are the same people who said a handover of power last summer could not work, and that elections in January could not work. Why should we believe them now?

Ah, but Iraqis are incapable of governing themselves. So this is doomed to failure. Is there a word for this that does not imply racial, ethnic, or religious bigotry? I am trying to think of one.

* And by the way, I couldn't care less about complaints about sports analogies in war. Our sports are simplified versions of war, in essence. And so when trying to simplify war for the sake of discussion, we naturally use something else we already have that is a simplification of war.

Re: Capalart!

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TorgoX noted a silly review on capalert (redundant?) which notes that acting stupid in traffic is an example of wanton violence and crime.

I like that idea. Acting stupid should be an example of crimes against society. So, like, most reality shows, and stuff.
<pudge/*> (pronounced "PudgeGlob") is thousands of posts over many years by Pudge.

"It is the common fate of the indolent to see their rights become a prey to the active. The condition upon which God hath given liberty to man is eternal vigilance; which condition if he break, servitude is at once the consequence of his crime and the punishment of his guilt."

About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Computers category from February 2005.

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