Wednesday, January 30, 2008

And then there was 3.

Word is out that John Edwards is pulling his hat out of the ring.

That leaves Gravel, Clinton and Obama.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Read this and remember

You can not have security without privacy. It just can not happen.

Bruce Schneier on the government's view of security.

There is really nothing more I can add to this. Mr. Schneier hit all the relevant points.

The scariest part is when he points out, that the government wants you to entrust your privacy to the government and their hand picked companies. The very people who do not have your privacy in their best interest.

I take it back, the Protect America Act is going to die this week (most likely). It's part of the FISA bill. Call your Senators, call your Congress people. Tell them to not be afraid and give us back our privacy.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Current Standings

So Gravel says he's still in, but I haven't been following and from what I 'm told he hasn't been campaigning much. Hillery, I don't see her being any different than the republicans. Obama, starting to worry me. And Edwards.

The infighting between the Clintons and Obama show that they don't have the required maturity to run a nation. They want to be the one so bad they will act like children to get it.

Which leaves me with my third choice this year. Edwards. I don't like everything about him, but of the 4 left, I think he's the best choice.

Of course that means the corporate masters in the media don't like him, and he hasn't got a snowball's chance in the tropics.

I like Chris Dodd

I think he's got what it takes to be a leader. He was my second choice behind Kucinich for President, and my first choice as the person who should replace Harry Reid as the Majority Leader in the Senate. He's also my first choice for VP.

A great example of what I mean, besides the fight against the FISA bill last month, is the video link below.

In a nutshell the Republicans wanted to ignore the amendments to the Intelligce commite's FISA bill, and vote on it just as it was presented. Why? Because Bush WILL sign that version of the bill. It protects the corrupt corporations that broke the law.

This is part of what Dodd had to say on the topic.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

The reading so far

So far, I'm 16 pages in, and have installed Xen on Fedora core 8. It's up and running dom0, but that's the extent of it. Next I'll learn how to install xen from source.

So far, I found one part that took me a second to realize what happened. They referred to system emulation on one page, and then referred to it again as hardware emulation after turning the page. Maybe a nitpick but I did file an errata on it.

Another thing, they're using FC6 in the book, I'm using FC8. When I did my yum install, yum install kernel-xen xen I got about 3 more packages than they said I would. I'm not complaining though. I figure it's a difference in the systems. The ifconfig screen capture left me scratching my head, I'm missing one of the interfaces they said I would see, and 2 of them are called something else. One command didn't work as advertised either. But again, that is probably a difference in the software vs when the book was written.

Corporate Media

They did it again. CNN this time. The corporate media disallowed one of the candidates. Two actually, but I haven't heard much from the Gravel camp, lately. The media is telling you who to vote for.

Now an interesting thing about Gravel. I just hit his website, he has a video up chastising Kucinich. Why, because K made a comment on Democracy Now about Obama being the only one to point out the exclusion of Kucinich from the Nevada debate. However when Gravel was blocked from a debate, Pennsylvania, Kucinich didn't make a comment. That's the point of the video Gravel's people put up.

I wonder Mr. Gravel, when you were locked out, what did you do? He had a little pep-rally, as evident from the video. He called it an alternate debate. But from what I can see, the difference between Gravel and Kucinich being blocked from the debates, is Gravel isn't trying to fight each one in Court. Dennis is. Now, would you mention someone being locked out of a debate, if that person himself isn't actively fighting to be put back in? I think most of the people take that as a sign that you're pulling out. But hey that's just my view point.

Why are the American people putting up with his... Oh yeah, I forgot, most get their data streams from Mainstream / Corporate Media. Which means they don't know whats going on.

Monday, January 21, 2008

It's not fair to tear apart a book before you read it, is it?

Ok, I'll be fair. I've only made it 5 pages in to the book so far. Basically the TOC and the Preface. The last page of the TOC fell out already... It's a brand new book, just arrived today. I know sometimes the binding doesn't take well.

The other thing I saw that bothers me, after just thumbing through it at random, is the Typesetting. There are large sections of pages where they didn't put anything. You think you're at the end of the chapter, only to turn the page and get a paragraph that was too large for the previous page. Instead of carrying over, they mid paragraph, they move the whole paragraph to the next page. Which of course used up more space. Otherwise the book would probably only be 100 pages. (Well maybe not).

Lots of screen shots, and they drag text from the paragraph with them too.

Minor annoyance, they mention customer support in the preface, but then leave out all ways of contacting said group. Unless of course they mean the Errata and question sections on the next page, after the large gap at the bottom of the Customer Support page. Probably about 1/5 of the page. (The section between the boarders). They are also trying to get more writers in the preface too.

An O'Reilly book, it's not. I'll do a more proper update later, after reading more of it.

This weeks rant?

It's only Monday and I have stuff to rant about? See this is what happens when the company gives me a day off.

1) Jobs. I recently updated my profiles on Dice and Monster. I'm not happy at work, but that doesn't mean I'm going to up and quit my job. I am interested at seeing how the job market is though. That being said, if my profiles say I'm open to limited relocation (other parts of the same state) then why are they sending me job offers for positions in Minnesota, Arkansas, Arizona, Massachusetts, Ohio, Pennsylvania, or other.

2) Books. So I bought a book last week. It's a newer book. Its on the topic of Xen Virtualization. It's by Packt Publishing. I wasn't too sure about getting it. We're looking into using Xen Virtualization at work. I've played a little with VM ware back in 2000, a little with QEMU, and Vitualbox more recently. I've used the built in Windows Virtual Server on our 2003 boxes at work (even made a virtual linux box on top of 2003), but I figured I'd get it to learn a little more about Xen. There is no /. review on this book. That goes back to the worrisome aspect. There were no reviews on Amazon when I bought it either. It arrived today, and I must say, I have even less faith in the book, since it weights in at 130 pages. The one review I saw of it (and I'll admit I didn't read all of it) didn't sound to promising either. I think I'll toss up a review of it this week, or so, after I get it read. I'll read it mostly at work.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

I voted today.

For what little good it will do, I went and voted in my primary today.

Why do I say for what little good it will do. Why do I not take pride in my right to vote?

1) I'm in Michigan. Because our state is ran by the Republicans, and they pushed for an early primary, the Democratic Party will not be seating deligates.

2) Because of 1, the choices were limited on the ballot.

3) It was not an open primary, meaning I couldn't vote unless I declared myself a democrat or republican. They actually would not let you vote unless you checked one. You couldn't check more than one either. (don't think I didn't bitch about that to the helpless poll person. And I felt good about it, because she is abiding by the stupid rules they put in place. STUPID LAWS SHOULD BE BROKEKN AND FOUGHT).

4) Depending on what you checked in 3, told them what ballot to give you.

5) Their "secret ballot" is a scan-tron that gets read by the machine (and as we were told in 2004) shredded (I do question that last part), meaning you can't do a recount if you want one.

So if I had a list of reasons why my vote was worthless and why not to vote, why did I bother?

Because I actually got to vote my choice. I got to vote my conscious, something I have not been able to do since 2000. I didn't have to take the lesser evil route, I actually voted WHO I WANTED. Luckily Dennis Kucinich was on on the ballot.

I wish we could do away with secret ballots, but as my uncle pointed out today, if they did that the bosses and others would coerce people to vote the way the wanted. Vote so and so or no job, and your kids will go hungry.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Ok, he is listed

So instead of going on the graphs that I was seeing in the blog world (Crooks and Liars, Daily Kos), I went and turned the tv on. Not that it stayed on for long. CNN and MSNBC both had Kucinich with 1% on the screen. So he's not completely missing.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Paging Mr Ultra K. Paging Mr Ultra K.

I must say, I'm surprised. I really am.

Iowa, and now New Hampshire, and they still won't admit that there is a man named DENNIS KUCINICH running. All the "exit polls" and "counts" they've shown for the Democrats, K is missing. How sad.

However that's not surprising...

What is, is that Hillery had a come back. I really thought the media had done a good job of burying her. The way they were pumping up Obama's win in Iowa, I thought for sure people would just get behind the "sure thing".

Every time I think I have the media control over humans figured out, I get shown to be wrong.

I do know I'm going to make a point to go vote Kucinich in the Michigan Primary. Even if the delegates from my state don't count. Funny thing about that, until this year, we were a caucus state. I am voting my conscious. Something I rarely get to do when voting for president.

Monday, January 7, 2008

It's January

It is January. Winter. In Michigan... You would think blizzard warnings, snow warnings....


From the Weather Underground

Statement as of 10:03 PM EST on January 07, 2008

Tornado Watch 6 remains in effect until 200 am EST for the
following locations

. Michigan counties included are

Bay Genesee Hillsdale
Huron Lapeer Lenawee
Livingston Macomb Midland
Monroe Oakland Saginaw
St. Clair Sanilac Shiawassee
Tuscola Washtenaw Wayne

To the Global Warning Deniers... You're wrong, the world says your wrong. TORNADO WATCHES IN JANUARY!!!! IT'S 63.5 degrees FAHRENHEIT

Sunday, January 6, 2008


So while reading LXer last week, and I came across a blog post about "Blockhead Users" and New Years resolutions. At one point she said:

"A sizable number of humans have devoted their lives to erecting barriers to learning anything new. You can see it when you talk to them- when something as simple as "click this button" produces a glazed expression and drool, you know you've lost them forever. Of course they'll waste hours of your time complaining about how stupid computers are."

She is wrong. Yes she maybe an author (she has at least 2 books published by O'Reilly, that I know of), and can get her point across, but that doesn't mean she's qualified to teach non-technical users new concepts.

I've have done user training. I've even been paid for it. From the beginning creating documentation, to the end, standing in front of a group of users showing the slides and telling them what to do. I've also insulted users behind their back, and openly to their face. Heck I did it in this blog. (Most users can't even use email consistently). However when you are training users, you have to leave your prejudice behind. And it's not just a case of you're prejudice you have to over come. You have to be better than the other IT people that have been condescending to the user, and the user's view that all IT people are condescending pricks (not that we're not).

Technical users are the easiest to teach. They have a grasp on the general concepts already and you can usually move through the training quite quickly. The are also the ones that IT people aren't condescending towards. Because they know the techies have a back ground and don't automatically go into condescending mode.

Non-technical users are a different breed. One thing I've noticed, is that there are 2 types of non-technical users. The ones that are willing to learn, and the ones who think why should I learn if I can get someone to do this for me. The ones whose eyes glass over and drool, surprisingly enough are not the later group. However most IT people, even without realizing, turn on the condescending factor to 11.

A few years ago, I had a chance to really see this in practice. I was working part time at a local college in the research department. Believe it or not, it was a computer based job. The job was to write customized database reports based on user requirements. They had been trying to teach the users how to run those reports for a few years, instead of slowing the department down by running the reports for the users. I offered to re-write the training documentation, and since the director of the department was a professor on the side he did most of the classes.

One of the reports I worked on collected gpa data and classes, for scholarships for students taking history classes. The person that needed to work the report has a PhD in History, and studied a few languages besides her native tongue of English.

So I called her to let her know the report was done and ready for review. She asked us if we could run it off because she didn't know how. I said I would this time, and I'd show her how to for future use. I printed off a copy of the user training manual, and walked across campus to her office.

The first thing she said was, why should I learn to do this, I have other things to do. I replied so did my department. A department of 5 people, 2 full time, 3 part time. If we had to run all 300+ reports in the system for the users, we wouldn't have time to write new reports. We wouldn't have time to do anything but run reports and run around campus to deliver them. Then she went into how important she was. She had a PhD. Spoke multiple languages, and the like. She was tired of condescending technical people who think the users are stupid because they spend their time learning things other than computers.

That brought me up short. I never said she was stupid, I knew who she was from friends and actually had respect for her. I didn't think I was coming off that in a you are wasting my time manor. So the next words out of my mouth were "what languages have you studied?" I don't remember the list now, but one of the languages she said was Spanish. I do know that none of the ones she said were any of the languages I had studied at that point. I said I've studied 4 langs, trying to impress her I was more than just some pc head. Her immediate response was computer languages don't count. Of course I had to laugh at that point, and told her I studied French in high school, Korean, Japanese and Czech on my own, and was going to be taking Spanish the following term at U of M. If I counted the computer languages I'd be up around 15 or so.

We ended up stopping and talking for a bit. I didn't have the time to, but training a user meant I would have the time to do other things later. So I made the time. She went through the documentation quickly said it wasn't condescending like the ones she was used to getting were. I said I had hopped not since I wrote it for educated people in a college environment.

She did apologize for the rudeness at the beginning. One of the part time IT people came over to help her with a computer problem earlier in the term, and she was still miffed at the way the guy treated her. It started off as ok do this, oh you don't know how to do this, then you have to start by going to the bottom of your screen and clicking the start button. Ok you've done that good, next, etc etc etc.

Users eyes glass over and they drool, because they're people and have better things to do than listen to people who assume they have an IQ of 2. If you see the glass over look starting, then maybe you should stop and re-think the way you're coming across to the user. Are you talking like an adult to a child, or are you talking like a learned professional to another one in a different field.

Of course that doesn't mean that there are not users out there that don't want to learn. However their problems go beyond not wanting to learn computers. My mom is a good example. My mom will go as far as taking notes when showing her how to do something. She will do it step by step as you show her, while putting down what buttons and in what order to push. However wait a week, and she'll call to do it again, because she doesn't feel like reading her notes. They're not important enough, and the person she's calling can do it faster. She does it with cooking and other things too.

The point is, if you do want to make users better, treat them like humans. Expect them to know somethings, or have at least the ability to put clues together to move on. I've found that if you do expect them to know something they don't, and your treating them like humans (not nice, but non-condescending) you'll find they learn a lot better. Rick Cook showed this in Wizardry Compiled.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Tiger Team

So I finally got to see Tiger Team, only a week after its broadcast. I really would like to see it picked up as a regular series.

The show was pretty good. Its one of those things you can tell they've edited; the typical "we are not giving you all the information so you can not try this at home" type of editing. If you've seen the Mythbusters' episode where they are testing security tools, you've got a good idea of how this show works. Only in this one, they don't try to figure out whether or not the devices work, but how well they were put in place. They also do a great job of how much you can learn, if you're paying attention to what's around you.

I wonder if we will see a rash of do it yourselfers because of the show.

Tip of the hat to Bruce Schneier
for pointing this out.