July 19, 2000

Advogato Entry 2

e2fsck: Attempt to read block from filesystem resulted
in short read while trying to open /dev/hdb1
Could this be a zero-length partition?


I had a particularly nasty crash this morning. For some reason, my hard drives can't handle extended writes, such as what you'd get from ripping the audio off a CD. I've even reformatted the damn things and they still do this (I had thought it was a slightly corrupted fs, but now I'm thinking it must be slightly broken hardware.. grr..)

On days like this when things aren't going my way, I just end up feeling so tired and alone. It doesn't help that my job seems to not allow any human interaction. I should have got a job with my roommate belaying for rock climbers at the local gym. He got a girlfriend right away.. *grumble* I'm way too old to have been single for so long. Oh well, complaining will probably only make things worse.

I looked at some of the LFP variable-width fonts yesterday. They weren't very variable in the widths, and a lot of them were too small for my display. Perhaps more people need to try out Gote and make some decent scalable fonts..

I decided to pass a `-gamma' flag to XFree 4.0.1, and I think it helps. But somehow, Slashdot's colors managed to get even uglier. Also, I see that many websites are designed for non-gamma-corrected displays. *sigh*

Ralph Nader was here in MN again over the weekend. He drew a big crowd for a rally on campus -- 1500 people in one lecture hall. I'm gonna vote for him this fall unless there's a drastic change in the other candidates. I tried to search for some more news about it on the websites of the nearby newspapers, but their search engines are so braindead that they give you the same link 10 times. Maybe I need to make my own search engine for this stuff..

Rode my bike into work today, as I'm sick and tired of waiting for the bus. That and the fact that it was actually cool enough outside to ride without dumping a gallon of sweat. The foliage around here is beautiful this summer -- we've had too much rain, so everything is a very deep green.


Finally figured out how to print from Linux to Novell. It was actually pretty easy, so this will save me the trouble of managing IP addresses for 50 printers..

I just tried out Evolution 0.2 (you can get it through helix-update, you know..) and I really like it! Not as light on the memory as I was hoping, but not as bad as I was fearing. It seems pretty fast (my box is a P166, though I have 128MB of RAM). Of course, the Lotus Notes POP3 server just decided to stop accepting my password..

Yesterday, I was thinking a lot about the reasons I started using Linux. It wasn't because Windows (3.1) was bad, it was because DOS sucked and because OS/2 Warp 4 decided to ignore my SB16 (literally -- Creative wouldn't be caught dead writing new drivers). Of course, what I had really wanted to do was 32-bit graphics development (try finding a free 32-bit DOS assembler), but that never really happened.

Posted by mike at 12:39 PM Central | Bike , Decision 2000 , Old Advogato Diary , Politics , Ralph Nader , Software , Work , XFree | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

August 11, 2000

Advogato Entry 24


The 12 Coins Problem: It's really easy if you have a balance with 3 platters. You can even do it in two weighings..

Oooh.. here we go -- ``The A&E guide to the late summer big studio movie toilet. Approach with caution.'' Space Cowboys: How bad is it? James Garner seems to be edging his way off the set. The Replacements: Survival Tip: You won't. Take strychnine.

Sometimes, the campus newspaper just rocks ;-)

Anyway, I'm really impressed with the level of political debate in the US these days (and it's amusing to watch the coverage of the Reform Party convention ;-). I think Nader (and the others too) is really getting people talking. Of course, this begs the question -- how many people are going to be in the debates? I remember that there were some debates already, just involving the Democratic and Republican candidates. IIRC, the Republicans had 5 candidates, and the moderator was making a valiant but vain attempt to keep order. That many candidates is very difficult to handle. But I think that if you let in Nader, it's only right to let in others, namely Buchanan (who I hate, just so you know) and Browne (and there are probably others). This is an interesting year, though the primary candidates are very un-interesting (IMHO).

The electricians are apparently going to take quite a while to get the three new 30A plugs in. They managed to do the conduit for one of the plugs yesterday. That's about it. Oh well, we plugged our Sun E425R into some regular jacks for the time being. Still crunching Seti@home packets instead of serving an Oracle DB. We still don't know when that will happen. We don't know what tools will be used in the database project, so the Oracle people won't come and install the db. I have to help research Java development environments. Oh fun.

Finally moved some data over and started using my 60 GB drive. I'm not sure how well ReiserFS is doing it's job, but the drive is extremely quiet. Nice. At work, I'm still torturing myself with an 800x600 display. I think this is part of the reason why I'm having trouble getting work done -- I can't get enough stuff on the screen at once to see what I'm doing.

Enough rambling. Time to do some work.

August 12, 2000

Advogato Entry 26


Well, I actually got out of the apartment today. Went `guy-shopping' with a friend of mine. To the computer shop (my friend needed a replacement 3" fan) and up to Best Buy. I got some music. Would have gotten more, but I'm always scared that I'll get crappy music. I suppose I can exercise the availability of Napster (et al) a little bit more..

This flap over Lieberman as V.P. nominee is confusing to me. I guess it'd be a bigger deal to me if I was Jewish, but I could really care less. The only interesting aspect of it is how it may affect US involvement in any Mid-East peace deals. Besides, Nader has a woman as his Veep nominee. She's a Native American -- Mississippi Band of the White Earth Anishinaabeg. Beat that with a stick.

As for open source stuff, I think I need to take a look at RIMPS and any other decent music playlist software. I need to set up something for my system that makes it easier to find music in my expanding collection (though I can't say I have many many gigabytes of it yet, though I now have the available disk space to start doing so). I did make a simple attempt of my own with PHP and MySQL, though I haven't really played with it for a few months..

September 25, 2000

Advogato Entry 37


Well, I haven't been keeping up with this. Being sick for a month doesn't help things.. Oh well, I'll have to see if I can get back on this horse.

I totally screwed up a CSci assignment today. I was supposed to download a Word(!) document, fill in relevant parts, and hand it in.. Oh well, it's still early in the year, and I still have plenty of time to make up for stupid mistakes. Hopefully, I'm done with stupid mistakes for this semester.

I don't know what it is, but school really seems to take a lot out of me. Even if I don't do anything (or maybe it's because I don't do anything), I get really tired. I should really get into an exercise routine (heh, like that'll happen).

The exciting event over the weekend was that Ralph Nader had a fairly large rally here on Friday. I paid my $7 to get in. Apparently, 12000 people is (or was as of Friday, they're still having rallies) the largest gathering of individuals paying to listen to a Presidential candidate. Not that it means we gave a whole lot of money -- they got about $110k (entry cost plus donations once in the door). Still, it's a much better deal for me than those $25k/plate dinners that some candidates have (*cough* *cough*).

Anyway, I'm having all sorts of fun bashing Sun here at work. We can't figure out how to use the 100Base-T network card in our new server. Fun. My boss had hooked up our tape drive to the system without realizing it only ran at 10Mb. Our backups are running several times slower these days.

As always, I keep hoping that I'll get motivated to help out on some open source projects. Someday it'll happen..

Found out about a semi-new TV channel in town, KSTC 45. There have been all of these strange `Hi, I'm Gregory and I'm 45' posters and ads all over town. It's kind of neat, as it is supposed to be an independent station with a local focus. Unfortunately, they're owned by Hubbard Broadcasting, a company that owns about 10 stations (and they at least used to have a DBS network). It's just hard to call a station like that `independent' (of course, they mean that it will not have a network affiliation

Posted by mike at 12:39 PM Central | Decision 2000 , Old Advogato Diary , Politics , Ralph Nader , School , TV , Work | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

October 04, 2000

Advogato Entry 38


Well, well, well. I was disappointed in the US Presidential debates. Only 2 candidates. Sheesh.

There was a small rally on campus for Nader, which I participated in. We got about 75 people. Not huge, but decent. There were a few reporters (at least one each for newspaper, radio, and TV), but I haven't seen much coverage yet [picture]. There have been polls saying that about 75% of the public thinks that adding a third candidate would have made the debates more interesting. I understand that Dan Rather essentially called last night's debates a snorefest...

Anyway, on to some non-political stuff. For one of my CSci classes, I (along with a group) have to write some simple malloc() and free() routines. It was really funny how we did most of the development -- Borland Turbo C++ version 3.0 for DOS. DOS does not have sbrk(). DOS does not have 32-bit pointers. Anyway, we moved the files over to a Unix box to finish things up. We got them to compile, and a test program appeared to not crash, so maybe it actually works. At any rate, we still have to put in some code for checking for overruns and underruns (we have special buffers that contain a particular pattern. If the pattern fails somehow, we know that there was a problem). Hopefully we'll get it done by the due date and time (midnight on Thursday).

September 24, 2001

Advogato Entry 194

Worked today on a few little administrative things, mounting some filesystems that hadn't come up for some reason, etc.

Attempted to build a 2.4.9 kernel with RAID 0 support from the Debian sources (and later tried to query why the stock kernel packages don't come with raid modules -- not sure if that got through to the mailing list or not..) Compile failed, probably since I was using gcc 3.0, and the sparc64 compiler at that..

Tried installing Gnome on one of our Solaris servers, since I was having difficulty logging in to CDE or OpenWindows. Managed to crash the system 'cause Ximian's installer _still_ doesn't care when disk space gets completely used up. Sendmail apparently had a fit and caused the system to go down because of a full /var. Too bad that's our freaking Oracle server!

Frantically searched for a way to get it started again. Not sure if it worked or not.

Ralph Nader is going to be at Northrop Auditorium tomorrow.

Posted by mike at 08:33 PM Central | Old Advogato Diary , Ralph Nader , September 11th , Work | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

September 25, 2001

Advogato Entry 195

Turns out that other people have had the same troubles I've had using RAID on Linux/[U]Sparc. The disklabels (`partition tables' for you Intel-only folks) would consistently get clobbered on the second and third disks. Best guess is that the Linux RAID code assumes a DOS-style partition table to be there.

Of course, PC partition tables suck anyway. I believe someone should invent or find a better system for Linux to use, with enough room allocated for a good bootloader, and none of that stupid extended partition crap.

Also, it's entirely possible that a very good system already exists. Maybe BSD disklabels? (do they have that annoying `whole disk' thing too? so strange..) I suppose now would be a great time to do it, since LVM is becoming a more common thing. Also, with 64-bit systems becoming more available (sort of), it'd be a good time to get together with the people who build these systems in the first place to define what the BIOS must do to get a system going, what it doesn't have to do, etc.

I better learn a lot more about this before I keep saying what should and shouldn't happen..

Looks like my `atomic clock' finally synced up again last night. In certain weather conditions, it works great. Other times, it's just terrible. I don't think it had gotten synced for the past several weeks. At least my computers all run NTP ;-)

Nader at Northrop tonight.

Posted by mike at 02:03 PM Central | Old Advogato Diary , Ralph Nader , September 11th , Weather , Work | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

September 26, 2001

Advogato Entry 196

Nader can still draw a decent crowd, even on fairly short notice. Near as I can tell, there was less than a week to get the word out on this one. The bottom level of Northrop was nearly full, except for the back corners. The article estimates 2,200 people, though I'm not sure if that estimate was just from a reporter, or based around real numbers from the ticket counter. Of course, it makes things easier when people can just walk there, since the Auditorium is at the center of campus..

Anyway, off to do homework.

Posted by mike at 06:55 AM Central | Old Advogato Diary , Ralph Nader , September 11th | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

December 06, 2001

Advogato Entry 229

I'm a citizen of the United States, I was born here and I'll probably die here, but I'm feeling more and more that I don't belong here. I don't support the military action taking place these days. I didn't vote for the President we currently have, and he's not getting my sympathy for having fallen into the situation we have these days.

I'm still proud of the fact I voted for Nader. Yes, I actually did think about the Middle East before I voted. Yeah, it's crappy that the US's current voting system made the last presidential election a big mess. I hope more people will work to fix it..

I feel I have little voice these days as the rights of me and my friends are slowly being eaten away. Still, I have to try do to a little. I'm going to try to see if I can come up with decent reasons why the Microsoft settlement sucks. After that, I'm planning on working with others to try to put together a summit on Intellectual Property (and some related subjects).

I've felt stressed about these things for a while, but I've avoided thinking about them because it's so hard for one person to change things. It's not impossible, but it really helps to have the support of others.

This leads me back to the feeling of being in the wrong place. I feel like I'm in a tiny minority. And, well, apparently I am (if you watch the polls out there). I'm really suspicious that the pollsters are somehow skewing numbers. I just can't believe the numbers that I'm seeing.

And, well, since I haven't heard anyone say it for a while..

Screw you, President Shrub..

Posted by mike at 02:49 PM Central | Law , Old Advogato Diary , Politics , Ralph Nader , September 11th , War | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

December 21, 2001

Advogato Entry 239

bjf: All I can say is that most Americans are ignorant of the situation. The only coverage I've seen of it is in the print news (well, whatever shows up in Yahoo's most-emailed and most-viewed content). Then again, I've been watching TV news much less (usually only The Daily Show, if anything).. Amazingly, I'm still the most-informed person I know. Then again, college students tend to have plenty of other things to worry about. At the U of MN, a very large number of students work -- I guess the administration believes it's to the point of distraction, as the U has something like a 50% 6-year graduation rate.. I can't speak for any other communitites.

There are people who take an interest in that stuff, though. It's not something I think too much about. IIRC, Nader got somewhere around 20% of the votes on-campus in last year's presidential race. But I suppose that doesn't prove anything.


My brother and I came home yesterday. We brought the car up in early November, expecting to just keep it a week. I thought we'd have too many Snow Emergencies for the car to be easy to keep around, but only one big snow came (and that was just a few days after the car went up). Still bare ground in Minneapolis.

My mom mentioned that one of the instructors I had in confirmation class spoke up at a church service the other day to voice disapproval of bombing Afghanistan since, well, the Bible says faithful people should be peacemakers and shouldn't condone violence. I'm not really a religous person myself, though I agree with that idea.. At any rate, he's been known to voice his opinions pretty loudly in the past. I guess the pastoral staff wrote a long response in the subsequent church newsletter...

There are sane people in this world, just most of them are hiding :-p


What the?!? dammit..

Posted by mike at 09:38 AM Central | Comedy , Daily Show , Old Advogato Diary , Politics , Ralph Nader , School , TV | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

May 15, 2002

Advogato Entry 287

Every so often, I come back to thinking about Microsoft's finances. Their accounting techniques have been widely used, most prominently at Enron (or so I hear). Couple that with the new licensing schemes they're coming out with, and I think they've found a recipe for their own demise.

There's this Bill Parish guy that has said that MS is actually losing money these days. I'm not sure I believe him, though -- his grammar and spelling is too poor to be very credible ;-) He also has some ideas that stretch the imagination, such as a Microsoft pyramid scheme that caused a global downturn in the economy. However, if it's true that MS is losing money, that could be one of the reasons why they're changing licensing methods.

From the reading I've done, it sounds like MS pays people with stock too much. Apparently, the SEC doesn't require a company to deduct payment in stock from their profit numbers. If you take that out, Parish says that the company is in the red.

Microsoft has a lot of money in the bank, but it might be to cover their ass when employees start cashing in. The company has been criticized by people like Ralph Nader for not paying dividends to their stockholders (of course, I guess Nader is mostly just annoyed because MS isn't paying very much in taxes).

Personally, I figure Microsoft will probably stick it out for quite a while. They might go down in five or ten years, probably after Bill Gates has made a graceful exit from the company.

In the wake of Enron, I bet the accountants at MS are busily working to find a way to hide financial issues that doesn't look like they're hiding something..

Or maybe I'm just paranoid..

Posted by mike at 09:31 AM Central | Corporations , Law , Old Advogato Diary , Politics , Ralph Nader | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

February 22, 2004

Beyond Blunderdome

Blech, I'm sleepy. My sleep schedule is somewhat off since I ended up sleeping more with no Internet and restricted TV. Now I'm tired since I was in the next timezone, I guess. Oh well, I'll be back to what passes for normal in no time.

I think that at about 9:00 PM on the Friday before I left, I realized that I should probably try to call Erik and hang out with him more often. In theory, he's helping with teaching at the school right next to my apartment, so it wouldn't be hard to visit with him if he has an open schedule afterward… I suppose my desire to get to know some girls may have led me to distance myself from my male friends. I needed time to recover from being around guys all of the time in my CSci classes, I guess. Still, I'd want to spend time with some girls if the opportunity arose, but that's not going to happen if I never hang out with anybody…

I was guilted into going to church this morning in Rochester. It would have been nice to lounge around after driving all day yesterday, but no… I was worried that one of the pastors would mention Mel Gibson's movie, and one of them did. I was seconds away from getting up from my pew and leaving the sanctuary, but he managed to stop talking about it before that happened. It would have turned into a mess if I had left—my parents were on my left, and my brother and one of the church's pastors was on the right. Neither direction was a good option. Oh well, the guy didn't outright say, “you should go see this movie,” he just said something like “it sounds like this is an accurate portrayal of what [is believed to have] happened.” Still, I wish he'd actually see the movie before promoting it in any way.

But, I'm in Minneapolis now. Brought my brother up with me, since he'd visited home over the weekend. There was a little tension since we might have had to deal with bad weather, but things cleared up by the time we left (still wet on the road in some places, but not too bad).

Now I see that The Daily Show was all repeats this last week, so I didn't miss anything there. I'll have to go through the other shows my computer recorded and see if anything interesting showed up over the week (there appears to be a good Frontline episode).

Oh yeah—I'm glad Ralph Nader decided to run again. I wasn't sure if I wanted him there or not, but the Democratic nomination race is kicking out the candidates I like (er, the main candidate I liked, at least). By the way, the “Nader is a spoiler” argument doesn't carry any weight with me. In Florida in 2000, Gore and Bush were separated by 537 votes. The 10th-place finisher, James Harris of the Socialist Workers Party, had 558 votes, so that theoretically makes about eight people possibly responsible if you want to play the candidate blame game. In truth, the voting in Florida was just fubar in general (with tens of thousands of ballots considered “spoiled”), so you can't blame any of them.

Posted by mike at 10:23 PM Central | Daily Show , Decision 2000 , Decision 2004 , Erik , Family , Movies , Music , Ralph Nader , School , Self , TV | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

March 02, 2004

You Can't Ignore My Techno

Well, I ended up going to the Independence Party caucus. I guess turnout was about what I expected, though more than the facilitator had planned on. I thought there would be 20 people or so, but I think he only expected about six (he did have enough material for almost everyone who attended, though). There will probably be an article in the Daily tomorrow, since a reporter from the paper was there the entire time. Later on, someone came in with a video camera, and a third person was also videotaping from the doorway after a while. One of them was making a film on the 2004 elections. I asked the other one what she was recording for, and I guess I didn't totally parse her response, but I ended up with the impression she was a journalism student. I was interviewed by the Daily reporter, so I might actually see my name in print somewhere other than the Op-Ed pages ;-)


What did we do? Well, we, uh, caucused. The organizers weren't allowed to do the presidential straw poll until 7:30 (half an hour after things officially got going). There were some proposed resolutions that were discussed, and new resolutions were proposed and voted on. A guy in the group volunteered for being the local district chair, and shortly after being officially nominated said something like “Okay, before moving on, can you tell me exactly what I'll be doing?” which made everybody laugh, of course. People slowly percolated out of the room, and the remaining people (including me) sorta got snookered into acting as delegates to the state convention. In theory, the delegate designation can stay with me even if I move. I'm not sure if my presence will really be appreciated, though, since my ballot went something like Nader, Kucinich, Sharpton, Kerry, Edwards…

The guy leading the whole group had unfortunately forgotten to introduce the state House candidate for district 59B until the very end. Anyway, he's Ron Lischeid. His platform at the moment mostly seems to be replacing Phyllis Kahn, who has been representing the area for 32 years (he says she's served so long that she has become an icon—or “iKahn”). However, he's been active in community groups, and is one of the lead guys for making an official University neighborhood in Minneapolis.

I was reminded of the times my dad ran against Steve Sviggum for his House seat back when I was finishing high school and starting at college. My dad didn't accept PAC donations, and even had to fend off radio advertisements made to endorse him by other organizations. My dad ran as a Democrat, so it should be easier for this guy since it's actually party policy to not use such funding.

The party has a fairly libertarian bent, it seems. I think a few people kind of scoffed when I mentioned I liked the party “plank” of supporting high-speed rail. Obviously, some think that it's less economical than highways and whatever. I suppose I'd really be targeting airline traffic, but I'm never good at articulating such things on the spot. People seemed to be fairly open to the whole gay marriage thing (though the median age of the room was probably about 22). One of the proposed resolutions was to advocate the idea of making everyone have civil unions under the law, same-sex or not, and only having the term “marriage” be used in the religious context.

I guess the party was also conducting an Internet vote expected to take two days, so results won't be in until Friday. That's kind of annoying. There was a vote on the presidential candidate, but there was also a vote on the mascot to use for the party (which has been reported as a “news of the weird” item in the press). Some of the candidates were the bison (both normal and white), the loon, a roaring lion, and a moose. I chose the normal bison, but I guess I'd considered the moose as well. Strangely, that poll was conducted in the traditional way. Maybe there's some party rule that says they can't make binding votes with instant-runoff voting…

Posted by mike at 10:18 PM Central | Decision 2004 , Politics , Ralph Nader | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

March 04, 2004

Black Sheep

Okay, I know I've been very political lately, but I'm sure I'll calm down pretty soon. I just figured I should mention that while John Kerry won the Minnesota DFL caucuses, it's very possible that things will be tough for him in this state come November. And no, I don't really mean President Bush. While caucuses generally don't see really great turnouts as compared to regular primaries and elections (probably less than 100,000 people participated in all of the caucuses statewide), they're still fairly important.

Votes stacked up for Kerry on Tuesday night, but I think Dennis Kucinich's strong showing (almost 17%—his best contest so far except for Hawaii) indicates that there's a much more liberal undercurrent flowing through the Democratic party. Heck, Kucinich was the only Democrat to venture outside the Twin Cities, and it showed up in the Iron Range according to this Strib article. I can see why Minnesotans would like him—he's very Wellstone-like in behavior when it comes to how he speaks and what positions he takes. The article I referenced said that some people voted for Edwards or Kerry even though they really wanted Kucinich. That age-old “electability” problem.

Of course, by the time November rolls around, Kucinich himself will probably be just a memory. The Kerry camp will have to do a lot to convince me and others in the state to vote for him. It concerns me that the state might fall to Bush because of this, so we'll see how things go. I'm getting even more excited about the results of the Independence Party's IRV poll, but we might have to wait until the weekend or even Monday for the numbers to come in. There's a reasonable possibility that Kerry will come out on top, but I have a strong feeling that Nader or Kucinich will top out in the end. In my opinion, the poll will be a good indication of where Kerry's competition is coming from, and I intend to hype the shit out of the results as soon as I get them.

Posted by mike at 12:57 PM Central | Decision 2004 , Politics , Ralph Nader | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

March 08, 2004

Menace the Dennis

Heh. So I'm right, dammit! I finally tried out Minnesota Public Radio's Select a Candidate survey and got the results: Nader, Kucinich, Kerry, Edwards, Sharpton, and then Bush landed at 0% favorability ;-)

Wow. I must really hate that guy :-D

The interesting thing about that survey is that current results indicate that 44% of the site's visitors had Kucinich as the top candidate. John Kerry is in second place with 16%.

Of course, this is the Internet, and it's entirely possible that there has been a scripted attack to boost Kucinich's standings.

Posted by mike at 11:02 AM Central | Decision 2004 , Internet , Politics , Ralph Nader | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

March 09, 2004

Voodoo People

The American Family Association is running a new online poll, though perhaps a little less controversial than the gay marriage one that got poll-bombed a few months ago. This one was sent out to people who had voted online previously and has some dramatic numbers. They're simply asking Kerry, Bush, or Nader?

I just took it, and then, well, my browser crashed before I could type anything in. By the time I got back, probably another hundred people had voted, though it didn't change things much. The numbers I've just jotted down say Kerry 90.5% (8578 votes), Nader 6.08% (576), and Bush 3.42% (324).

Funny ;-)

Posted by mike at 07:12 PM Central | Decision 2004 , Internet , Politics , Ralph Nader | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)