Thursday, March 26, 2009

from knoppix to gentoo

I'm so displeased with the knoppix install (the knoppix 5.3 install left me displeased last week), that I'm going to give Gentoo 2008.0 a run.

I've had problems with getting Gentoo to install in the past on other boxes, but that's half the fun.

Maybe I like my Gnu/Linux harder

Edit: If you found this page searching for knoppix 6 and ssh, please go to this post.

So I was excited when Knoppix released version 6. I was expecting great things.

The one thing I wasn't expecting was a great disappointment. I installed Knoppix6 on the work laptop this week. They said they wanted to go back to the smaller cd architecture over the DVD one. I thought that was a great idea.

However I think a fresh install should include a few simple things.

  • a login screen
  • ssh pre-installed (maybe not turned on but at least installed)
  • su working like a proper su, not an alias for sudo su.
  • a system that doesn't make me feel like I'm using a windows want to be.
  • the ability to create a user account and host name on set up.
  • the ability to use the file system of my choosing.

Knoppix 6, boots and goes straight to a gui. No login, no nothing. Even if this was a home box, I would want someone to have to login to the box, not just drop them in a directory for everyone. Since this is a laptop, I'd want a login for even more reason. I do different thing than other people that use the laptop. It's a shared resource for the team. I don't want them accessing something I'm doing when it's not finished. Something that has always been an issue I've had when working on scripts. It won't be finished, people try to run it, and break things as a result.

SSH is a common tool in the Nix world. At least I, and an developer I talked to today think so. What's the point of a Nix box that doesn't have SSH installed? Sure it doesn't have to be automatically started when the box boots, so you can make config changes the first time. But eventually auto start would be the goal. I use ssh to talk to other boxes. If I hadn't had a external net connection (like where I was Tuesday, when I broke the network) I wouldn't have been able to download ssh and install it. (Luckily this laptop is set for dual boot, and I could do things from Windows with Putty).

I created the user account I wanted. The first of 4 I'm making. It's the generic backdoor account for the department. The people who are going to have access to the laptop will each get their own accounts at some point. However su is aliased as sudo su. Which is great for the default knoppix user, but my account (net-eng) wasn't in the sudoer's file. And wouldn't let me into su. Of course I got around this by using the full path, but still.

net-eng@Microknoppix:~$ which su
net-eng@Microknoppix:~$ type su
su is aliased to `sudo su'

I'll set my own aliases thanks.

The system has limited packages, yes I know they wanted to save size, but half the reason of using a distro is got get packages on the install. If you're not going to include packages then why bother? Then there is the case of the live cd. It gives you cheat codes for boot, kde, gnome etc. But when I tried kde, nothing happened. Seriously it feels like it has the functionality of a Windows install. Other cheats, like kiosk mode wouldn't start for me either.

When I'm doing an install, I'd like to be asked who I want to use the computer, and be able to create an account on the install. Not be given a generic one of the maintainer's choice (the knoppix account in this case). I want to have the setting options. I want to put the name and password I want. As far as I can tell, there is no knowing the knoppix user password. And it doesn't ask for it when you sudo, because it has the no password option set.

Secondly I work in an environment where I have more than one computer. For the last 2 years, because of the previous usefulness of knoppix, I've been pushing to move some of the boxes to that. But when they all install to Microknoppix as the host name, and don't ask for any kind of domain information, it makes setting the systems up slower. Because now I'll have multiple with the same name and lack of domain information, I'll have to touch the boxes multiple times to get them set up.

Lastly, the new simpler 0wn installer forces you to use the reiserfs system. Personally I like EXT3. Just what I prefer. I'm not the only one in that camp either. One of our clients is requesting that all the drives we send to them, with their data on them are the EXT3 format.

But there is more to 0wn being useless than just that. I preconfigured the laptop with an EXT3 and a NTFS partition, since it is dual boot. 0wn couldn't see the EXT3 partition. It has an option to start gparted to modify the table but it would never load, it looks like it's not installed / not on the live-cd. Pre-configuring reiserfs didn't work either, the automatic option couldn't find it, and it wasn't showing a list of drives. Running 0wn from the command line did work, and I was able to get cfdisk to run, instead of gparted even though I used the gparted option. Then it saw the reiserfs partition no problem.

I used to think that knoppix was one of the most useful distros out there. It lived up to it's claim to be the swiss army knife of linux distros. I can also understand the developer's desire to shrink the growth down some. However, they've gone too far and the distro is no longer a swiss army knife in my book.

I loved the kiosk mode, I've used older versions as emergency web servers, nfs servers, and to make disk images when I had to do forensics work (which I'm not an expert on). I got a few co-workers to start using it too. One even went out and bought the Knoppix Hacks book (second edition). The problem is, Knoppix 6 just doesn't live up to what it's previous versions were, at least in my book.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Don't know what to think

this is going to be long. Sorry for your RSS feeds.

If you remember, when I started getting the Self Defense class together, I didn't really think I was the right person to teach it. Part of me still feels that way. While I have 20+ years experience in martial arts, I don't have a black belt. I'm close, but meh. I've worked as a bouncer, and a contract body guard / crowd control / security (granted it was 2 weekends a year, for the most part, and I only did it for a couple of years).

Recently I decided to axe the women only class. Because no one shows up for it. I wasn't told I had to yet, no body had hinted that I needed to start thinking about it, etc. I'm going to slide the co-ed class down to that slot, and maybe expand it, maybe not.

Tonight, a lady showed up for the women's class. I'm carrying a box, I juggled it and the blocker to get in the door, she stood at the top of the stairs, and didn't move even when I said excuse me. Granted she had no idea what was in the box, and it wasn't heavy, but I think it's common curiosity to at the very least move. She just looked, and then turned back and waited for the person at the sign in desk who wasn't there.

So I walked around her, hard to do, considering I'm a decent size guy, and I had a box in my hand. (The kind offices get paper in), with a foam blocker on top of it. I went into the room we train in, put the equipment down, and walked back out.

Snooty like, she asked if I was one of the self defense instructors, I said yes. She asked me if I knew who was working the sign in desk. I said no, but I was going to find out. I came back with the desk worker. The lady told me that she was there to watch the class. I said you have to play. My rules are you come to the class, you train. I don't like people sitting watching. (I can adjust the class for new people). I started cleaning the room, because the group in it before us, left mud all over the floor. At 7:33 she comes over and asks, don't you think you should get the class started? I said I would, if she was ready, other wise I have to wait for someone to show up. Her response was "Maybe the problem is the instructor". The two co-ed students how had just arrived heard her say it, the security guard / desk person heard her stay it. The security guard wanted to ask her to leave at that point but isn't allowed to (apartment complex clubhouse, can't kick out residents unless they're being destructive).

She asked what made me qualified to teach, I said I've been doing martial arts for 24 years (this is my 24th year), I've worked as a bouncer and a body guard. She didn't like my reason for not allowing shoes or jewlery (safety for yourself and others, even shown how a kick could be bad, and told her my brother broke his leg kicking recently). She didn't like that I had a guy and girl training together. Told her, it had the same safety rules as the martial arts school I go to. She kept insisting that women and men fight differently, I disagree (and have years of MA to teach me that). She asked me the type of people I body guarded for, I told her, tv and movie stars. She asked me about and your way protected them, then got up, said she came for a self defense class not a dance class.

Needless to say, it left me in a bad place. I've never felt like I should be teaching the class to begin with, my masters said I could, and my students (the 2 that keep coming back) think I do a great job. I wonder if I'm teaching them the right things and the right ways (there is no wrong on either), and if I should be teaching them other things than what I am (I do need to cover ground more, but want to wait for mats, which I don't want the complex to order if I only have 2 students).

So half the class the T and E were trying to get me to blow off the lady's criticism. But I guess they liked the later stuff. I showed a little ground stuff tonight. How to get an attacker off you. E didn't think it would work against a big guy. I'm 240 (she was talking bigger). Had her try it, and I went flying, and it was all her.

The security guard told me I'm a good teacher from what she's seen (she wants to take the class, but ends up having to work). She also said the lady was in the day before causing problems too. But it's still enough to bother me. I know I should let it go, but when you already wonder if you're doing the right thing, and get comments like she left tonight, it doesn't make you happy.

Monday, March 23, 2009


the scale at home, before my shower said 237.0. The one at work (an old Toledo shipping scale), after showering, dressing, and having breakfast (without my shoes) says 238. I have a feeling I'm wearing more than 1lbs of clothing.

part of the problem at home, is the weight changes based on where I put the scale. I know the floor isn't the most even at home.

Oh well.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

workouts today

small steps. really.

When I got up

2 sets of 20 kettlebell swings @ 24kg
1 set of 20 swinging a kettlebell @ 32kg
(form was off on that one)
set of 5 pull-ups (with band)

set of 5 pull-ups, and then off to work.

10/10 to 1/1 set of snatches @ 16kg. Now I'm watching the calluses reform.

And I had deja vu hit, and if I recall correctly, I've said before what happens when I get deja vu. So I'm sitting here feeling good about the limited workout (btw my cross trainers helped to support the ankle so it's not bothering me right now), while feeling sick to my stomach because of the deja-vu.

Injuries update

So as I said before, I hyper extended my ankle in January, by having about 420 lbs on it, with it bent at a funny angle. I've broken (hair line fracture with a hyper extension) the same ankle my senior year in high school (1995). Which is really part of the main reason I didn't apply to the NAVY after high school (I didn't think I'd really amount to much in my adult life. Wow was I wrong).

Being it was winter and the apartment complex I live at not really keeping the parking lot in great shape, lots of black ice, I kept aggravating it by slipping on the ice. I'd never fall, but my legs would go out from under me, and either stop on pavement, or stop when my legs to the extent of my stretch. But each time, I'd feel the a sharp pain in my ankle.

In February, I finally got the time to go get a brace for it. It took about 3 weeks of trying. Between getting off work late, rushing to class, and trying to stay off my feet as much as possible, it just didn't work out to well trying to get it.

The first martial arts class I wore it to, the second time I wore it and I only wear it for training, I didn't get my toes pulled back far enough for a kick, and jammed (most likely broke) my big toe. There is also a problem across the top of my foot from the brace, where the brace ends. not sure if it's stress or what, from the limited movement of my foot while in the brace.

Between the two injuries, I've found it hard to work out. Even body weight drills hurt those spots. Burpees were like being smashed on that toe every time I kicked back, push ups, had to be done on one leg (been there before too), doing squats bothered the ankle (which I talked about here before). Even KB swings bothered it. Yoga and MA haven't been much fun either. SD hasn't been too bad, because I can stand around most of the time and not do the workout with the students.

Thursday I tried to do MA without the brace, and ended up having to put the brace on 20 minutes into the class. One of the 5th gups (green belts) said he could tell my ankle was bothering me, because he was taking longer steps than I was (he's shorter than me).

Last week I did a set of burpees, and man did it hurt bother the toe, it probably would have been worse if I hadn't been wearing my shoes at the time.

I've done KB swings the last 2 days. For the first time in over a month. They still bother the ankle, and burpees still bother the toe. I've lost a bit of ground, but hope to make it back up quickly.

What brought this up, was an RKC friend of mine (Sandy Sommer) asking if I was going to do the Dragon Door cert, and asked if I've been doing any of the workouts he's sent me.

Sadly I haven't, and I feel bad about that. that reminds me, Anthony C asked me to take part in his burpee challenge but I can't do that either. At least not yet.

I do have a couple of drills that Sandy sent me saved, and I make it a point to read them when he sends them out. I just can't wait to be able to do things again, injury free. I'll have ground to make up, but once I do, this will be a great year.

Although, I have been able to keep my morning weight in weight below 240 all weekend. Sometimes it's the small winds that keep you going.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

What ever happened to standards?

Last week I had to go down to our plant in Ohio to run cable. While there, I found out that we didn't have an plugs for the face plates. These are the female ends that sit inside the wall for network cabling.

So we ran over to a couple of stores to find some. The first two stores didn't have any. The third one did. When we got back to the plant, I found that the receptacle that I got didn't fit the face plate.

Now this caused 2 problems. 1, it looked half-assed. Which I feel is a direct reflection on my work ethic (even though that is how I was told to leave it). 2, it left the cable too short for the need. I ended up putting a male end on the cable, expecting the equipment to be moved over closer to the wall, which it wasn't. I had only ran enough cable for the run to reach the wall.

What the problem really shows though is a problem with patents. They've destroyed standards. When I was younger, I could go into a store, and get a face plate, or a plug, or anything else, and know that even though they were from different manufacturers, they'd fit together no problem. As long as they were not meant to be decorative.

Even now looking at power strips, they all do the same thing. They all have roughly the same amount of outlets, but they're all shaped different and have their own patent numbers.

I thought the point of the patent was to make people create new things, not use it as a way to get rich, and lock the end users into one company's equipment.

Basically now if I want to replace a cable or outlet; I have to go and buy the part, the "proper" face plate, and maybe even a new outlet box for mounting the cable into the wall.

And if I'm adding cable to the existing box, but can't get the female adapter, that means I'll have to buy more, replace the ones ran previously (which could be a problem depending on how many times they've been cut back to replace the adapters, and how much extra cable length was ran), and then buy the proper parts to make it fit and be presentable.

Maybe it's just me but I think there is something wrong with this picture.

Thursday, March 19, 2009


On the way home from work today, I was thinking what I would do in the current economic "crisis". If a company is too big to fail... That just means it's a monopoly, and it's time to whittle it down to size.

But Keith Olbermann said it best tonight with a special comment on Countdown.

Thanks to Crooks and Liars since I was at martial arts

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Said something today, so unlike me.

"Doing documentation SUCKS!".

Saying that is so unlike me. I'm usually one of the first people that not only calls for the documentation, but also one of the first do it. When I write code, my comments in the code usually take up more lines than the code itself. I usually volunteer to write the documents for programs and projects because I enjoy it.

However for some reason, while doing the documentation for the network changes I did yesterday in our plant in Wooster Oh, I turned to the person I share my office with and said the above statement. I think part of it is because I'm tired. 2 road trips to Wooster in under a week, and not sleeping well is starting to wear on me.

After the documentation was finished I was happy and happy with it, but doing it I couldn't stand it.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

brick and mortar vs online shopping

So Friday was payday. And after paying my bills, I actually had more money left over than I thought I would. So I thought I'd look in to buying a new hard drive for my laptop.

The goal is to get the laptop setup so it can do virtual images of computers on it. Meaning running more than one computer on it at a time. The goal is to have a Linux workstation, and a windows desktop running together at one time so I can do things that requires windows, build my virtualization skills, and not have to mess around with dual booting the laptop.

Now I've been slowly building up to doing this. I bought a new processor, so I could run Linux and Windows based OS at the same time (got a Virtualization processor from Intel). Upgraded the memory from 1 gig to 4 gig. Now all I have left to do is get larger than a 60gig hard drive. I could probably do it with the 60gig drive, but I'd like bigger for personal reasons.

Anyhow, as I was saying, I looked around for a hard drive I wanted. I found one. 320gig WD 7200rpm with SATA 3.0. And for $80.00 that's not bad.

Then I went and looked at Best Buy, to see what it would cost there. They want $50.00 more. I could see paying $10 to $20 more, and wouldn't have minded since I could have it right then and right now. I consider it a convince charge, but not $50 was just a little too much. $50.00 also took it out my price range. I understand they have to pay the overhead of the employees, the space, the power and etc, but $50.00 seemed a little unreasonable.

So one of the people came over asked if I needed help. I said it depended, can we haggle over this price. She said not really, the best they could do was match a competitor's price; however it had to be local (within 10 miles), in stock, not on sale, and not the online price. I stood up (crouched down looking at the tag on the shelf) and said I saw it for $80 on newegg with free shipping. She said they couldn't match it, I said then I don't need any help thanks.

However since I had time to kill waiting for a friend for dinner, I walked around the store more. I saw some other items I had thought about buying, but each time I looked, I noticed that they were way more than I could get them for from other places (like Amazon). Perfect example, The Dark Crystal, it's on my wish list at amazon, but best buy wanted $10.00 more for it. So I ended up leaving empty handed.

Then I walked down the strip mall to Borders. I looked for some books there, and the same thing. More than I would have paid on Amazon. One book was a $30.00 difference, one was $10.00 and the last one was $7.00.

The big box brick and mortar stores drove out the small mom and pop shops because they had 1) better selections (larger) 2) Could do cheaper prices sometimes. Now they're facing the same things from the online world, and I don't see how they're going to stay in business unless they start playing ball. With the way the economy is right now, people are going to pay the better price. Like I said, to a point I'm willing to pay a little more for the have it now option compared the wait option, and the more expensive the item is, more I'm willing to pay, but within reason. But not when the difference is almost 50% of the price I could get it for online.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

small steps

Got the power strips on the rack (the old strips, I'll get a couple of smart strips later).

Need to get a new network cable, to put the box on that rack on the network. I'll have to buy one later. My 15 footer is too short, by a foot. My long one, I think around 100 ft, is boxed away and way over kill for what I need.

Next, I'm going to test Knoppix 6 on it.

I have to remember

I have to remember, I don't have to do it all at once, just do a little of something at a time. I've all ways had the I must do it all right now mentality. Partly because of the type of jobs I have had. When you have to fix a problem, to restore service to a customer, you don't get time to spread the work out.

Even now I still do the same thing, even though I have more time, and less customer interaction.

Anyway, I've been wanting to power up my cisco rack for the last 3 weeks. *this is the third weekend*. I finally went over and plugged the power strips in. I've had them for a while. Old strips, and eventually I'll replace them, I'd like a network power strip so I can log into it and power each power port on individually, but I'll probably go with smart strips.

Now space in my rack is tight. I was going to use the left over screws to put them on the back, but they won't fit there. So it looks like I'm going to zip tie them to base of the rack instead.

On blogging, writing and time usuage over all

I read sites like Pharyngula, Bad Astronomy, and Schneier on Security. And I wonder how they manage to write so many blog posts. BA and PZ more than Schneier, but even he manages to get a couple posts a week. Lately I'm lucky to post 1 time every 8 days.

Then today, I think I realized what they do, they write set a time apart daily to write, and write on several things at once, saving drafts to be polished later. Maybe I'm wrong, maybe I'm right. I'd like to get Essential Blogging by Cory Doctorow and company (yes I know he's not the primary) to see how they say to do it.

Anyway I started thinking of this last night. I was looking for my copy of The Watchmen graphic novel after seeing the movie. Instead I found my old Journal. The paper kind. large books, about 8.5 by 11.5 (roughly). I got it cheap back in 2002. I wrote in it some last night, and I read what was in there before. Even then, I wrote several times that I never seem to have enough time to do the things I want.

Time has been on my mind a lot lately. Mainly since I live alone. I've picked up a new hobby (Monday nights Yoga), do Martial Arts about 3 days a week (Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday), teach Self Defense on Wednesdays. Usually, I come home, spend about an hour here, and then run out the door to go somewhere. Sometimes it's not even an hour. And I feel bad about leaving my parrot locked up in a cage all day. He's never been much of a cage bird. The store loved him, and would let him out and he'd follow the employees around, while they were cleaning up. The person I lived with would leave him out of the cage most of the day. Trying to get him in the cage when I leave is next to impossible.

Then when I get home, he usually hangs out for about 30 minutes or so, then gets really bitey because he want's to go to sleep. Since I still have only the one small cage, and the spare bed room isn't set up for him, I get chased away from the TV, my desk, and my cisco lab. Which adds to my problem of doing things at night, when I'm finally home.

I can take the laptop with me, but then it's all wireless (slower than wired) and I'm stuck doing things from bed.

Lastly, there have been several things I've wanted to blog about but just have not had the time.

Monday, March 9, 2009


Last Monday was yoga. It was hard. I couldn't keep up. My feet hurt. It was my first day back after 2 weeks off. I don't do Yoga on Mondays. I use some stances for stretching later, but not focused on the breathing or caring when I do the stretch.

Tuesday Martial Arts. It was good. However, during free fighting, I caught a back fist in the jaw. He throws them all the time, and almost never connects. It wasn't even hard, but he hit the sweet spot. Right between the bottom of the jaw and the ear. Where the jaw bends up to connect to the skull. When he hit, I saw stars, and both ears started to ring. Then I got really really dizy. Ended up sitting out the rest of the class. The jaw is still a little tender to the touch but not much.

Wednesday's Self Defense class went much better. The ladies class had yet another new member. I taught her how to do the basics. Hopefully she'll come back. The second class was back to full strength. They learned one step fighting. The first 3. We'll do more of that this week.

Thursday was martial arts test night. 2 people tested. I was not in that group. The third Dan said to make them hurt when I was told to do the warm up my the master. We did lots of body weight drills. Then we did lots of kicks. Lots and lots of kicks. 2 minute drill on the B.O.B. Then we practiced some other kicks.

Friday I did some pull ups.

Saturday, lots of basic motions, then the rest of the class was all about the Bo Staff. I was told I'll probably be expected to train around July. Which is a problem. I need to get in better shape first. I said I won't take my next test until I can fit in a size 5 uniform. That means at least 20 lbs, in 16 weeks. And I'm hoping my numbers are right. I don't want test in a uniform without patches, and I don't want to cut the patches off my size 5s.

Sunday, more pull ups and some extra body weight drills.

Tonight, Yoga mixed with Palaties. I feel more worked out tonight than I did last week, even though last week was harder. That was on top of going up and down the 12 flights of stairs when I took my brother to the hospital today. I noticed it when I tried to go up to the "Adult" section at the library. I started climbing the second set of stairs, after the first landing (only 2 floors) and my legs started screaming and I was wondering why I was on the steps.

I also tried to do some burpees today at work. Saw a better way to do them, but when I kicked back, that toe I was talking about above... it hurt when it hit the ground.

More on the suck of the Library

The online card catalog is useless. I've searched several times for the book, "YOUR MONEY OR YOUR LIFE". Each time it failed. I even tried searching by the author, cut and pasted from Amazon's website. All searches came back negative.

So I ran up there after work looking for The Money Makeover. I found the section, the book wasn't there. But I started looking at other books in the section to see if there was a different finance book I thought might be a good priemer until I could buy YMOYL or TMM came back in. Scanning the shelf, what did I find?

Your Money or Your Life. Oo? Went over the card catalog, still not listed, but this time the author was. As well as the first edition... But when I searched the title, nothing came back.

Needless to say I grabbed it and ran.

One thing I did try to do, since the author order was different than I remembered it (newer edition), was try to get online with my nokia N800, it kept asking for my library card number, but wouldn't take it. So it looks like it doesn't work with all browsers. I'll take the laptop some other time and try that.

Note, this is the first place I've ever had a problem trying to use my nokia online at. Other places that require a customer login never failed.

What is it with libraries?

So where, I used to live, the two libraries in the city got a grant to update. The city got rid of most of the books, designed the libraries so they didn't hold the stacks very well, and made it more of a Starbucks with more books and computers.

The one that was closest to my house was designated a "home work station" meaning somewhere kids could go after school to do homework. If you could get them to walk there. From my home, it was 2 miles one way. Kids would get dropped off at the High school, junior high and elementary schools by their parents which would be even closer than the library.

So after I moved to Ypsi, I figured the Library would be better. I got a chance to go check it out this weekend. I've driven past it several times on the way to a friend's house. It doesn't look like a library, or at least what I think one should look like. It looked more like a new age church. Strike one against it.

I went in, again lots of open space, the stacks are crammed together, and more I want to be a coffee house with books feel. The stacks are so close together that you can't walk down the aisle if someone is already in that row. They did have more books, than Dearborn Heights. If you could find them. I looked up several books, they said they were on the shelf but nothing was found in that area. And I mean area, since whoever stacks the books, only tries to get the system half right. As long as the first 3 and the first dot number (005.8) line up, the book is put away. Sometimes they didn't even get that right. Some books would be 2 units away from the .8 book, because they saw a .8 book there already.

A lot of the books I was looking for, Little Brother, Your Money or Your Life, Head First Algebra, or a few others whose names escape me right now. The online catalog says that they have The Total Money Makeover: A Proven Plan for Financial Fitness, which I wasn't looking for at the time, but will go back and check tonight on the way home.

The customer service was less than stellar. The first person I dealt with, behind the counter, was semi-nice. However you could tell she was getting irritated because she kept doing the same thing. Signing people up for library cards, you could tell she would rather be doing something else.

The lady at the information desk was just flat out rude. I was waiting patiently for someone to help me. Not making a nuisance of myself, just standing there. One lady was helping someone else. The rude one was on the phone. She put the person on hold, turned to me and snarled "What do you want?". I asked my question and when on my way. The person behind me got a snarled "what do you need?".

It was rather sad.

However when I got the card. Your initial limit is 3 items. Audio and Video have a 2 week loan, books a 3 week loan. After you bring back your first 3 items, you can get 100 items at a time. Now only if they had the books I'm interested in.

This morning

I went to bed last night around 12:30am. I sat up reading from 10:30 til then. Just Sci-fi.

Anyway I got up at 6:30 to take my brother back to the Hospital downtown Detroit, so he could see the specialist again. We got there at 8am. He went up the elevator with our mom, and after parking I took the stairs.

12 flights.

I hadn't eaten yet, and by the time I got to the top, my legs were burning, and I was tired, and breathing heavy. 238lbs up 12 flights of stairs. Now the funny thing is, 2 weeks ago my legs didn't burn like that.

After his appointment it was 12 flights down, still with not eating.

I ate around 9:45 or so. Bagel, egg, and bacon. Then rushed off to work. I forgot my backpack but that's besides the point. I'm tired and fogged out.

Watch for a couple of posts later.

Friday, March 6, 2009

AT&T U-Verse Did something right.

*Edit: If you found this page on a search engine while looking for info on AT&T blocking port 25 go to this post

I know the title surprises me too. Even more since this was going to start off as a huge rant about them.

As it says on the side bar, I work as a Network Engineer. I won't say where, but I'm the senior technical resource in the department. Security, design, repair, etc all fall under my position. That includes fixing misconfigured servers and trouble shooing problems (so we can know what needs to be fixed).

Yesterday we (the system administrators) got an email from someone not able to send us email. From what we could tell it looks like their problem, is on their stuff. Not ours. While looking into that problem, I saw another one. The company's email servers were listed on some Real Time Black Lists (RTBL). Which are used to block emails from spammers.

Looking into why we were on the list, one of our mail servers were listed as an open relay which means that spammers could send mail through our mail servers. The easiest and fastest way to check, is to login to the servers via telnet and see if they will send the mail. So, I bounce to my box at home (from work via ssh), and try to telnet to port 25 on the mail server. Not working. Can't telnet to port 25 anywhere else either. Luckily a friend was able to let me use his linux box to trouble shoot the problem, and it wasn't blocked from there. We fixed the configuration on our mail server this morning.

But I still couldn't get to the server on port 25 to re-test remotely. So I took note, and after confirming stuff was fixed, I started to look into why I couldn't telnet from home. My budy doesn't have a problem leaving my account on his box, but that doesn't mean I want to have to rely on his box being up.

After hunting around, it turns out to try and cut down on spam, ISPs are blocking port 25 outbound. It is, what it is. And I think it's a bad idea, to a point. People like me, who need to test are the smaller subset of people that need to use the port, while the spammers are the bigger group. Blocking it from everyone does prevent zombies and spammers from using the port to send spam. But it also prevents us from being able to fix our systems. The better idea would be to start blocking the mail servers that are found to be open relays. Although blocking port 25 prevents finding open relays that haven't been blocked yet. It also cuts down on some traffic (the hunting of open ports).

So I started looking into AT&T and the blocking of the port. The article I found, on their help site, said that they're blocking port 25 for Dial up and Dynamic High Speed internet customers, and doesn't affect people with static ip address, or dedicated connections (Frame Relay, T1, T3).

But wait, I pay 15.00 a month for 8 static ip addresses. So I called ready to raise hell. I fought my way through the automated system, it took several tries and they had to remotely "test" my connection, before transferring me to a live person. I told her the deal, I'm a network engineer, I need to test my mail servers at work remotely, and port 25 is being blocked. She couldn't unblock it. So off to tier 2 I go. The guy there was a lot of help. Re-explained the situation, he looked up my account, confirmed I do have a static ip address (although he read the read column the first time), and unblocked the port for me. he noted the account that I requested it unblocked and why.

Seriously I was expecting to jump through a bunch more hoops before getting things resolved. I wasn't happy at the start of the call, but was by the end. And now I can get to my servers at work the way I need to so I can make sure they're not open relays the next time I find us on a black list.

Is there a better way to block the spammers? Yes. Will it happen? no. I can think of several ways. The biggest is to take the profit out of it, like they did when they ended prohibition. Re-writing the standards so relaying is changed, and being and open relay can't happen. (There has been some work in this). will it be easy to fix the problem... not in today's world.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

I'm starting to think that AT&T hates hockey

I have to double check when I get home, but it looks like I couldn't watch hockey this year if I wanted too.

I don't remember ordering the sports package, which is the only way I can get FSD (fox sports detroit, the local station that shows the red wings). I also don't get CBC (the other channel for hockey in this area).

If this is the case, why have I not canceled ATT tv yet.

Like I said, I have to double check when I get home. but since my pay has been cut, and the money sites say cancel cable when you're in debt... Well. I think I found what I can cancel.


Checked when I got home, I do have FS-D. Think I might watch some Hockey this weekend. I miss it. Haven't watched any games this year because the Red Wings Organization refused to sell more than 2 tickets to people on opening day.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

well now, that hurt

So while positive thinking can get your through a lot... it can't get you through pain.

My ankle has been messed up since January 15th... When I hyper extended it at martial arts. Not as bad as my brother's knee (which he dislocated and broke)... but still.

This morning, because I didn't want a heavy work out before eating, and wanted to do mostly grind stuff, I grabbed my 2 16kg kettlebells, and did thrusters. My plan was 3 sets of 10.

My ankle did not like, even after putting the brace on it still did not like.

But then again, it didn't care for the 10 prisoner squats I just did either.

Also added a new tag. Injuries (went back and tagged the ankle post with it. I'll tag new ones with those so I can go back in time and look at them.

Monday, March 2, 2009

positive thinking

So the end of a book I was reading, was about positive thinking and the sub-concious. The book was "The Fighter's Body". It's a nutrition book for fighters. It was pretty good over all, reminding me things I forgot, agreeing with things I learned in the past, etc. The last chapter was talking about Doing positive mantras before bed, and first thing in the morning. Things like, I will lose more weight, I will do this, I will do that, etc. The point is to help you stay on course through it all.

2 posts ago, I was whining about not getting the workout I wanted done. I typed "We'll have to see", and something inside me clicked. It was literally like being hit. I heard my voice in my head sternly tell me "YOU WILL DO THE PUSH UPS TONIGHT". Which is what lead to the rest of the line.

Not bad for one night of thinking positively as I was going to sleep. I didn't even do it this morning.

Even typing this up, I feel better about myself, and what I have to do. I'm looking around the room, and seeing books I have to read, and the thoughts are "oh yes, they will be read", and things are falling in on how they will be read.

My head feels like it's going to explode with all the positive thoughts going through it right now. Some of the things going through my head are starting to scare me, and I'm smiling....

That's probably going to hurt.

Just one more thing on me that will.

I trimmed my nails a little while ago. My toe nails. On my left foot, the smallest toe... about half of the nail is gone now. I didn't realize it was cutting it... I just lined the clippers up like normal, and clipped. But when I looked down (something I can't do when trimming), I noted that too much went with it.

I lack the flexibility to see and trim at the same time on that foot. It's improving, but slowly.

Did my push ups...
Week 1, day 1, column 3 of the 100 push up challenge. I hate starting over, YET AGAIN, but such is life. I did them slow today. Usually I pump through them quickly. I decided I want to try and do a slower pace this attempt.

Push-ups, with 1 minute rest between each set.

By the way, I hurt. Neck, shoulder, left arm at the elbow and wrist. slept on it wrong late last week.

my plan

Here is what I want my work outs to look like. I actually have it writen down, and now putting it here. But so far I'm made of fail. All I got done today, was the yoga, and I even had problems with that.

M: ETK, 100 Pushups, Yoga
Tu: ETK & Martial Arts
W: Pushups, Fit Deck, and Teaching Self Defense classes
Th: ETK & Martial Arts
F: ETK & Pushups, some grease the grove pullups.
Sa: Martial Arts, some grease the grove pullups.
Su: Kettlebell DVD, some grease the grove pullups or rest depending on how I feel.

I could do some modding this week and see if I Can salvage it by starting a day late.

We'll have to see. Screw it, I'm doing the push ups tonight, and I'll do the ETK one day off this week. Its not fail, unless I sit and suffer in my self pitty and do nothing.