Older blog entries for logic (starting at number 60)

"For those of you only motivated by money, we have a special incentive..." Yes, folks, that's right: the company I currently work for has put everyone in engineering and IT on hourly pay until the product launch date (June 30), with time-and-a-half for anything over 60 hours in a given week. Translation: I'm now getting paid for the 12-hour days I'm putting in. They're obviously desperate to make their release date (since it's pretty obvious to even the casual observer that the product will not exactly get the kind of acceptance they're shooting for if they ship it looking anything like what it does now). I have a feeling that something will hit the fan after the product launch, however. Call it a hunch.

deekayen: Those toe-cages should be removable; I picked up a Trek 4500 last year, and it came standard with the toe cages, but three screws later, they were off. They're handy if you're doing a long run (lets you get a little power out of the pedal upswing), but they just seem to get in my way for regular riding.

How to feel better
Spend five minutes helping a coworker with clue solve an interesting problem, and then hear a thank you five minutes later because your solution helped fix the problem. I don't care how bad you might feel at the time this happens: you still end up with a smile on your face because of it.
Blowing a Gasket
Livid. That's the only word for my state of mind rightnow: livid. My hands are shaking over this. Why do I get worked up over a company I "only work for"? Easy: it's an enormous investment of my time, and there's no way that the pathetic paycheck I receive for it covers the cost to me. When I'm asked to do something that takes two or three days of work, then get told "do it again, because we told you to do it the wrong way", I tend to get a little upset. When it happens consistantly every day for a week or two, I become livid.
That's it. If I keep writing today, I'll say something I'll regret when an employer down the road gives this a read.
You know you're a geek when you actually take the time to verify that yes, in fact, Wed Apr 18 23:25:21 2001 CDT is actually 987654321 in UNIX "seconds-since-epoch" format.
And don't forget, kids: the billionth second is only a few months away! (Sat Sep 8 20:46:40 2001 CDT, to be exact.)
Ye ghods, I gotta get out more.
Penguin Computing
I love these guys. ;-) Every time I place an order, I get free t-shirts, cute little penguin toys, etc. Mind you, I've ordered 20-something machines from them in the last 6-8 months, so I'm never too surprised when our sales rep gives me a call every time I quote something out. ;-) Question for the crowd: who do you use (if you're in such a position) for 1U x86 machines? I've been happy with these guys mainly because I've never received a dud machine, and their prices are head-and-shoulders better than my second choice. With the volume of these things that I have to deal with, building them myself just isn't an option, unfortunately. Too bad, too; I just found my dream 1U case. Mmmm, a quiet server room...
mod_virgule and Advogato
barryp: The RAS complainer was me. ;-) I agree, it would be nice to be able to go back farther than just a day or so through the "Recent Diary Entries" page, but if memory serves about how mod_virgule stores it's data, I don't think it's a trivial extension.
Grabbed the name of that other book from my recent buying binge:
  • The Eternal E-Customer, by Bryan P. Bergeron, Ray Kurzweil
    This book pushes the mantra of "Emotionally Intelligent Interfaces", and looks to be an good detailed design guide for that approach. I haven't read it myself yet, although the Amazon reviews appear promising.
Finally got around to putting together a secure framework for automated account management here (not a trivial thing to do when you're dealing with a wide variety of platforms), which should hopefully save a fair bit of time later for distribution of software and configurations. Next job is the internal audit of how Engineering is using our IP address space, since our ISP isn't doing so hot these days. Seems to be the trend these days, doesn't it?
Windows ranting...
I find it hard to believe some of the things I learn from time to time about Windows. A "did you know?" moment: Windows 2000 RAS will request DHCP assignments in blocks of 10, regardless of whether or not it uses all 10. Wonder what it does when only two or three are left for assignment? It will also automagically assign addresses from a "magic" internal pool if it can't reach the DHCP server. And it's not RFC 1918-dictated space. Nice. Wonder if ARIN approved that use (I know they've been insistant about not approving requests for space used in books or literature...)?
Ed's Book Club
Let's hear it for Chapter 11; SuperCrown (they're a fairly common bookstore down here, but without the cappucino and fuzzy feel of Borders or Barnes & Noble) is going out of business, which meant it was time for me to stock up on books (60% off the jacket price is hard to pass up, even if the book is a waste of paper). The few decent books I managed to find (the only books really left in volume were in the business section and the rows upon rows of cheap romance paperbacks) were:
  • The Hacker Ethic, Pekka Himanen
    Slashdot did a review of this book a while back, and it caught my attention. It looks to be a good read, but I have't tackled it just yet.
  • Rebel Code,Glyn Moody
    Another book reviewed by /., this is a good summation of recent years, starting from Linus' first stabs with Linux, and working forward to today where open source is viewed as a reasonable basis for software development models in business. I have to wonder if the book would have read differently had it been written during or after the recent layoff frenzy (yes, I believe the worst is over, sans a few more upcoming announcements) in the tech industry? I haven't finished this one yet.
  • Why Should Extroverts Make All the Money?, Frederica J. Balzano and Marsha Boone Kelley
    Another impulse buy; being an introvert myself, and having a strong interest in MBTI typing (I'm an INTJ), I was interested in what she had to say; I've just about finished this one, and I'm actually fairly impressed, I expected a feel-good book of self-affirmation, and I what I found was a book filled with example case studies (which didn't always work out well) and reasonable approaches to the problems many introverts have with "networking". It's geared toward the job-hunter, so maybe some of the recently-downsized here can find some use in it.
The fifth book's name eludes me for the moment, and since they're all sitting on my nightstand at home, it's a little hard to go look it up. ;-) It was what appeared to be a fairly complete book regarding user interface design for e-commerce applications. I'll make sure I post the title here later.
Spent the last two days attending a surprisingly up-beat all-company meeting, which unveiled our new "image" and (more importantly) gave everyone in the company a solid understanding of the product produced by the company we just acquired, and how it will integrate with ours. I'm surpised to find myself very impressed with what this tiny group of folks have managed to create in under a year with a shoestring budget; it put our own efforts, which were presented as well, to shame (they have a working product, we have some lovely PowerPoint slides). (For the curious: their product is an amazingly complete "coming together" of responsible online marketing services; opt-in email, banner ad campaigns, etc, most with the ability to actually track both the hits you're getting from various impressions, and the amount of actual revenue you brought in from them, along with a whole gambit of other handy toys you'll probably want if you're trying to run a real business with Internet sales.)
Good things arising from the sessions: we're committing fairly publically to reducing our current platform support (how many proprietary software products do you know that ship on 19 separate platforms? betcha you can count 'em on one hand), and that we're really pushing to phase out the old product as quickly as possible after the new product launch, meaning a much simpler infrastructure to try and maintain here. The bad things: international sales are attempting to completely backdoor the entire process, and artificially prolong the life of our dead product by foisting it on the European audience, with partners over there doing all the translations and further development (with our name stamped on it, of course). Sales seems to think that we'll manage the infrastructure for all this development here in the U.S. The CTO has a slightly different opinion. It'd be fun watching the fireworks, if it wasn't my infrastructure caught in the middle.
Erica's Jeep died yesterday, on her way to lunch from class. Luckily, we haven't missed a beat; she's driving me to work and picking me up afterwards, with classes during the day, so all is good. Hopefully she'll have it fixed by Monday (let's hear it for 1500-miles-left-on-the-warranty!).
Red Hat 7.1
Almost here. Sounds like the release name is "Seawolf" from some chatter on a few Red Hat mailing lists. I'm betting on either a late Friday/Saturday release, or they'll hold off until Monday to better handle the flood of support requests. ;-)
Very cool; I now have a working "make solarispkg" target for automatically generating a Solaris package. I've been dragging my feet on the Debian packaging; I'll probably get to that tonight or tomorrow, at which point I'll need to document the new packaged build features ("rpm -ta", "make solarispkg", etc). One cool thing that came up recently; rblcheck is in the current FreeBSD ports tree, albeit with some patches.
In case noone has seen the latest NetSaint news, Ethan Galstad (the author of the fairly popular open source network and service monitoring tool) has been cease-and-desisted by World Wide Digital Security, Inc. (makers of the SAINT network vulnerability scanner), with claims that he is infringing on their trademark and creating marketplace confusion, and have insisted both that he desist in the use of the name NetSaint to refer to his program, and the domain name NETSAINT.ORG. Ye ghods. Good thing I don't use SAINT; I'd be going to the trouble of finding another security vulnerability testing tool right now because of this. Unhappy about their actions? Maybe you could contact WWDI...
I now have a decent RPM spec in place, and it actually builds and installs correctly from a "make dist"-ified tarball. I'm having a bit of trouble making the RPM relocatable, but that might just be a problem with the Wolverine version of RPM; I'll try it later on my stock Red Hat 7.0 machine later to be sure that it works. Now I just need to finish adding in Debian support and a "make solarispkg" target.
What a week. First, NorthPoint drops dead after selling off it's assets to AT&T, and then amidst rumors of getting delisted on the NASDAQ if they keep up the poor performance, Rhythms Netconnections' CEO resigns. If you have DSL through one of the typical bargain-basement providers, this is your wake-up call. The one that I and others have been trying to give people since the first ad appeared for cheaper-than-beer DSL. Not to say I told you so, but...
As a point of comparison, the other names in that space like Telocity (last traded at 2 1/8) and Covad (last traded at 1 1/32) aren't doing so hot either. I can't imagine how the other CLECs who based their entire business model on reciprocal compensation are doing. Not well, would be my guess.
Welcome to 2001, guys. The investment free ride is over.
Inching ever-closer to a working release, I now have some spiffy make rules for the docbook-ified documentation, thanks to some inspiration from the GNOME folks (make dist now does a conversion of rblcheck.sgml into assorted formats; I just need a clean text conversion now). The only things left now are a .spec and a debian directory, and possibly a set of rules for building a Solaris package. If anyone has pointers to info on building packages for their OS distribution of choice, I'd love to see it.
You know, it occurs to me that I'm really going overboard with the packaging of what amounts to a couple of hundred lines of code. Mind you, I now have a fairly nice framework for building larger projects within, so I suppose that it's just icing on the cake that rblcheck has taken advantage of it.
Did a final tally of systems, and you can definitely tell we're a software house. I'm up to 33 UNIX boxes, all running radically different varieties and versions of UNIX-like OSen, with a proposal on the table for adding 9 more in the short term, and at least twice that in the longer term, with no deprecation of existing platforms. Yeesh. The next time you hear someone chanting one of the various mantras of portability, listen to them. You'll make people in my shoes a lot happier with you.
I still can't believe I'm keeping FreeBSD 2.2.8 and Slackware Linux 3.6 boxes alive for nightly builds...
Finished Cuckoo's Egg; the Epilogue covers the author's involvement with the Morris Worm (the young'uns in the crowd might need a reminder about this one), and there's a little wrap-up at the end to cover what direction his career went afterward.
Overall, an excellent dramatized retelling of a series of real incidents. I'd recommend this as required reading for those who just don't understand why people didn't think about security when designing things like Sendmail and BIND originally; it was a completely different culture, one that we've mostly forgotten in the firewall-everything, yet-another-DDOS-attack environment of today. I don't claim to relate to Stoll's 60's/70's political ideology, but it's a shame we don't all play as well together anymore.
We finally got Erica moved in this weekend, and she started her MCSE training today. I'm expecting her to come home tonight with the same wide eyes she had after her last administration training session (a one-day high-level overview of 2000 and some migration considerations); it's fun to watch. Reminds me of when I first started doing UNIX administration for a living.

Hmmm. What's with the length of my diary entries lately? A new-found sense of self-importance? ;-)

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