Older blog entries for sethcohn (starting at number 14)

malcolm wrote:
So, they gave me a USB Compact Flash reader instead. Now the chances of this working under Linux are ...? That's right: zero!

Wrong. There is excellent USB flash reader support in Linux.

In fact, you can do things with it (fdisk flashcards with partitions and more, it's a full scsi-ish emulation) that you cannot do with Windows software. I used it to make a 3 partition flashdisk to install PocketLinux for a Casio Cassiopeia PDA (normally running WinCE). Per the instructions, I created a FAT16 and 2 ext2 partitions, and it worked great, bootstrapping from WinCE into Linux. I could NOT repartition the card under Windows.

SanDisk makes a reader I tried installing on a dozen machines, worked fine on some, blue screened on others, tech support was clueless (It's a really buggy driver). That same reader works like a champ with Linux using usb-storage.o

29 Jun 2001 (updated 29 Jun 2001 at 14:19 UTC) »

Long time, no diary. I think I'm gonna try and change that. I feel like so much of my life lately has been postponed. So many projects desired, so little done.

Last day at work. I gave notice a month ago, and spent the last month working harder and longer than ever, trying to finish/documemt/adjust things to life without me in a professional manner. Gonna take a week off and then start my consulting/networking biz. More on that later. First job: go right back to the same company, this time working for an outside vendor to finish off a project. Gee, isn't life ironic... I can't escape from this company even by quitting. No wonder I felt dilbertesquely trapped here.

My brother flys in from NY today. Should be fun to see him, been a long time, 3 years. Going camping over the 4th. Will spend time hacking Tivo, swapping 'deal' stories, and amazing friends with stories of former exploits.

xvl: Still working on getting it working. even the CVS version wasn't working right for me... oh well, I'll have free time to mess with it soon enough. Trying to decide on a 'pure' advogatoish site, or something like PHPnuke combined with xvl...

Ugh. I resolve to start this diary up again, and to pick up all sorts of projects that I've dropped the ball on. Too much stress, not enough fun, and next thing I know it's 6 months later and I'm just a mess.

More in the new year...

My god, it's been over a month since my last entry. Depression is not a fun thing. I'll try to get back in the habit. Talk is good for the soul.

I'm putting together a vendor contact list for Linux User Groups, quasi-officially for linux.com, so would all of you wonderful people who work for companies that can, do, or should support Linux User Groups with freebies and more, please contact me (seth@euglug.net) with some info, or even just a quick note saying who I could contact for more info. Mostly, I'm doing for my own LUG, because we are holding a large event at the Oregon Country Fair, and we need stuff, but also cause all of the existing lists are very dated. Volunteerism is good for the soul.

Applied to be a Debian maintainer. Free software is good for the soul.

Work: spent the last few days wresting with routers of all sorts. Routing is bad voodoo and bad for the complexion, and the soul. Exhausted and ready for a change. Anyone with some neat job openings?

It's Spenser, with an s, like the poet (as he's said more than a few times). Robert Parker's created two other detectives since, I'm not greatly impressed with either so far, and when I found out the female one was written for Helen Hunt to play... bleh... If you like that style of writing, do check out Elvis Cole by Robert Crais. Very similar but just different enough to not feel 100% clonish (I like these better than Parker's own others.)

something new every day: I tend to write an entry then go back afterward and put urls in by doing a quick google search, and picking something. Often, I discover a new site that way. After looking over the Crais website, I learned that he's got ties to the sci-fi community, and written for many tv shows, probably stuff I've liked and never noticed was by him. Advogato diary writing can be self-educating.

Hamfest: I have a amateur radio tech class license I never use, but once in a while, I go to the ham radio shows to find goodies. Bought a tiny little Yaesu VX-1R that fits in the palm of my hand, runs for 14 hours on a lithium cell and can receive a huge spectrum of things besides just the ham frequencies. Of course, the major software to tweak the unit is commercial windows stuff, but I did find some linux code for it right away. Now I have to either buy or make a cable for it. Combined with the Espresso pc (review coming one of these days), I could have a completely mobile packet radio station, which these days is internet capable.... of course, I wanted to do this years ago, when nobody was doing it, now it's pretty common. Any old Palm 7 can do it.

Iluvyou-youloveme: The night before this hit, I was thinking of improving the mail scanner setup I had. Of course, I decided against it at the time. Next morning, drive to work, turn on radio and hear that 'a new virus' is out. Bang head against steering wheel over missing chance to look really psychic. Luckily, only person who got it that morning (8 times) was one of the very few who uses netscape for mail, not outlook (in some form). Turned off sendmail, installed procmail filter and turned sendmail back on. Caught every variant (and a few prettypark.exes) with just that one fix. Good thing to come out of it: boss is willing to look at other email packages. Eudora seems to be in the lead. Must be free, windows, easy as outlook, and full featured. Any others anyone can think of?

I added some stuff to the Universe, and you removed it. I'll have to let people know: Jesus saves, but God deletes.

Linuxcare layoffs: Not that it's any of my bizness, but it'd be interesting if someone did a tally of where the people all end up. Here's hoping you all land feet up someplace else soon.

Physical labor: mowed lawn. (most of it)

i-opener: It's a version3 which means Netpliance removed the shadow passwd and disabled the root login windows that worked before. Someone will have to hack this puppy and gain root so we can reflash the bios. They will. Netpliance will learn that if they'd been nice, we'd be on their side, spending time doing cool stuff with them, but no... they had to goop and clip and piss people off, and now the effort is spent fighting what they did to stop us from doing things we'll do anyway. When life gives you lemons, make lemonade, don't put epoxy all over them.

Television: I own a 60 inch Sony tv with a Tivo and DirecTV. TV on demand - only shows I want to watch, and I currently don't get the major networks. I mostly watch movies or scifi channel. The tv was a present to myself, it's too big sometimes (it's almost a full wall in my tiny place), but it's fun watching movies on it.

Implemented the antisymmetric tridimensional cross operator, spatial cross operator and spatial transpose operator and used them to compute the spatial inertia and articulated-body inertia of a two-link manipulator.

Now hand me a sonic screwdriver and we'll watch those Daleks scurry around! Then back to the Tardis...

Seth puts on his long scarf and offers you a jellybaby.

whew, been a while since an entry... Let's see, what's interesting enough to mention here...

Got an i-opener finally. Out of 5 ordered, only 1 1/2 months later, I get one. Manager swore up and down that I couldn't get any, they weren't carrying them at all anymore, and yet when I asked for a copy of my receipt to be printed, the store clerks said "well, we have one in stock, would you like that one?" Duh.

Luckily, all of the bugs are worked out of hacking it, it's a simple qnx flashbios, install linux flashOS, and bingo: xterm for $99 + usb ethernet ($39 - bought for espresso also). Not bad for under $150. Now I just have to actually do that... I just unpacked it.

I'll post a complete review of the Espresso in the next few days. Still working on it. I want to build a battery pack for it.

Satan: I have prior art on the following: death, spam, commercial airlines, puns, red kryptonite, and slaying of the first born. Get in line. Maybe we can cross license.

I also came up with 21 right away, and according to the Sloane's On-Line Encyclopedia of Integer Sequences, that is the only number that works well. There is one similar sequence that differs by a second 1 at the start, and it diverges only later at 110/111 - very interesting. Wonder how many of those there are.

grepmail: David posted a new version, and credited me with some work. Nothing like the feeling of contributing to something. Powerful. I've missed it.

Lubbock: Decided (pretty much unilaterally, though nobody piped up otherwise) that Lubbock will use .deb as it's package format. .debs just have so much to offer compared to rpms. Current cvs burns into a disc, now we rip the whole thing apart and start making massive changes.

Voice over IP:
Went to see some demos at Cisco. Cisco is far and away the choice here, due to embracing open standards. They don't want to sell phones or servers, they want to sell routers and gateways, and the product demos stress that. But they too suffer from vaporware: everything 'next quarter or later' for all of the useful features that we need.

Microsoft's got em snowed:
At the Cisco demo, I asked the engineer what other platforms besides NT they would be running on, and his answer: "well, 2000" as if Windows 2000 isn't NT5 really... but something completely different. M$ marketing success story. (They did say Linux or Unix, based on market demand eventually)

working on something evil but fun: Word Macro based. Encrypt/Decrypt from within a Word document (including uucode if needed) Should be released in a few days...


Well, I'm staring at the remains of my new computer. I bought one of those little Espresso units, as I said in my last diary entry. After a delay in shipping (they refused to ship to my work address, since it's not the credit card billing address), I got it last night. Nice tiny unit. Silver, labeled "EPC pocket pc". Weighs less than a pound, with a carrying case. The docking station has 1 serial, 1 parallel, CDROM and Floppy. The docking station doesn't fit in the case, but I guess you aren't supposed to carry it around. 533 mhz Celeron with 128 megs and 12 gig HD in a package less than 1 pound. It's impressive. Video or VGA out. Built in trackpad. With a battery, this could be an MP3 player for sure.

Installed both Corel 1.0 and Redhat 6.1 onto it, but neither had built in support for i810 video and sound. Looked into what I'd have to do to get video, sound and usb running. Video is a kernel module, sound is a new alsa driver, and USB (for ethernet at least) is a kernel module. Considered my options: I had 6 billion disks around but nothing quite what I wanted to install. Debian 2.1 with 2.0.36 kernel, Turbolinux, Slackware.... but my Mandrake 7.02 was at work (and I'd still have to add Cooker packages to that.) So I started a huge download of 3 Debian 'woody' CDs from ftp.kando.hu and went to bed. Today I get up, the downloads are still going (DSL is fast, but not that fast), so I pack up the unit and bring it to a friend's place to show it off. Plug in the unit and BLUE SPARKS fly, black smoke and frying noises. uH oh!

Damn power supply put 110 volts right to the unit. Cheap power supply failed (at least that is what it looks like).

Called up and they were very nice. I've got a 30 day money back guarantee on the unit, but I just told them to ship me another one, and I'll send this one back with the black scorch marks on it. I should have the new one on Tuesday now.

Not even 24 hours with it. (oh well). So far, I am not impressed by the quality, but the product itself is pretty cool, and I think that with a good power supply, I'll be very happy with it.

Pratchett and Gaiman:

I have avoided reading Pratchett so far, though one of my brothers collects his books. I did read Good Omens which he co-wrote with Neil Gaiman. I'm a huge Gaiman fan. Sandman. You should read it, all 10 volumes. Modern Masterpiece of Myth and More.

Diaree.... no, won't say it.

Long diary entries: I like them. We need some better code to handle the overflow if everyone posts often, but it looks like diarywatcher does a nice job too.

schoen, I always like your entries, and it's really strange how often we have similar interests. Seth Cohn, Seth Schoen.... hmm, good thing I know I'm not a twin separated at birth, cause we even look alike a bit. (I'm behind the guy with DeCSS code shirt, Schoen is the floating head)

Midi + Markov = midikov

Playing with the code that graydon sent me. Quickly decided that converting to abc format wasn't great, and dove into Midi-perl module on CPAN, and started markoving with that. Some interesting results so far, and some duds. Depends on how complex the midi is.


Still waiting for my 5 i-openers. Circuit City passed my name and address onto Netpliance who sent a letter claiming that the original unit was no longer available and the new unit required agreeing to an absurd term of sale. I smell class action lawsuit in the works. The only difference between old and new machines is some epoxy, a bios flash, and a few clipped pins. Calling it a new machine is plain wrong. Some people even get boxes with retaped up units. I'll just keep on insisting to the local CC that if they don't honor the purchases I made in the terms we had, steps will be taken. Especially since Compusa is selling the same units that Netpliance is now claiming are 'not available.'

Purchased one of the cool Espresso units (seen on Slashdot). A maxed out unit with 533 Celeron, 128mb RAM, 12 gig HD and no OS (ie add Linux) was $1100 and change. Should arrive tomorrow. This unit is TINY. The only thing missing is ethernet. USB will do though. Full report when I get it (overnight I hope).


Talked to my brother Dale. He's another techy type. Funny how often I'll talk to him after weeks and we'll have noticed all the same things, and laugh when the other one completes the sentence about "did you see...."


Being coping with some personal stuff lately, and noticed how many advogato users seem to have similar mood issues. Might be topic for an article. Might not. Advogato needs an AC type post for people to say things that they might not want associated with them.


Netscape crashed while composing this entry.

Less Annoying:

went to the .netscape/cache/ and grepped for Pratchett and found the 'preview' page I'd done. Only lost the most recent changes (like where I added all the links afterward)

various bits and pieces

Submitted a patch to grepmail Felt really good to put it out there, work on my perl skills, and fufill my own needs all at once.

Wrote to graydon and told him to not tease the rest of us with his midi markov maker by not including a link to some code. He answered, promising code and sharing his wishlist for it. Another project that I've wanted to make for a long time. Markov, Genetic Algo, any other good ways of hacking music into other music?

Grabbed the graph.dot and tried to get dot (graphviz) to work on it. It's not truly OSI (AT&T has a few limits on it), so it's not packaged by anyone, and it didn't completely build for me. Graph.dot is too big to graph, even overnight, it didn't finish. A smaller section didn't work for me either, segfaults. Someone have a better way/program? Be interesting to see the graph of advogato grow over time. Maybe we can have one process that builds and links to a new graph once a day, so we don't waste everyone's time doing the same graph.

Gonna have to start using Helix Gnome... seems like a nice metapackage. I think metapackages are the way things need to go. Perl's CPAN is a good model too. Debian's new plans for pools might help also.

While I think of it, someone want to sponsor me for Debian? I've wanted to become a packager for a long time. I'd start small, something minor and simple.

Another advogato diary improvement: View by day. Like Recent, but shows all people's entries for the day. So far, at least 3 times, I know it was the day or 2 before, but I can't recall WHO said the item.

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