Friday, October 21, 2011

Global Warming 'Confirmed' By Independent (conservitive funded) Study

Global Warming 'Confirmed' By Independent Study

Okay Koch brothers - prepare to be lumped in with the "liberal media". Snort, guffaw...

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Thursday, October 20, 2011

My new favorite Android app.

This is the least flashy - maybe even dull app I've ever stumped - but it does something so useful and does it so well.  It's SMS Backup+.  What it does is automatically (or on demand) backup all of your SMS messages to a label in your Gmail account. Simple. Awesome. 

Within that label the messages are stored as standard Gmail "conversations" with each person and even include any photos.  You can set the timing of the backups and limit the backups to only occur when wifi connected if you are on a limited bandwidth plan.

I primarily use txt messages for things like phone, model, and serial numbers or addresses.  Discrete bits of information.  Or for photos - mostly to and from my sons.  I very often want to go back and look up a specific message.  The problem is that phones have finite storage space.  Especially my OG Droid.  I need to clear the txt message space fairly often.  Sometimes just for security sake.

Until June I was relying on and very happy with WaveSecure from Symantec.  Something changed at the end of June and my backups stopped working.  When I contacted them about the problem the support engineer asked me for my EIN. Very suspicious (to say the least) and just not going to happen.  I have since changed my recovery software to Prey (which I am very happy with on my Laptops) and just recently started to use SMS Backup+. 

It works.  Does not seem to eat memory, and I love having the messages right there.  I love that I don't have to log into another site.  Highest recommendation!

Install it here.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Quantum Levitation

Again. The coolest thing you will see today.

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Friday, October 14, 2011

Motorcyles, home automation and Linix

Ok so here is a weird crossover between things I regularly spout off about.  A friend of mine has recently become a motorcycle owner and as such is facing some of the unique problems associated therein.   Like, how do you get the garage door open / closed from the bike.  (I personally have an opener permanently stationed in a saddle bag)

After a conversation with my friend and a little thought here is the start of a simple solution I came up with while waiting for computers to do their job this afternoon. 

Assume the following - you have x10 or similar home automation system.  You own a smart phone.  You have a home wifi network. 

The solution looks like this:

  • Add an x10 switch for the garage door.
  • On your network - assign a fixed IP to your phone. 
  • On your linux server - use cron to run a script that pings for the address.  When you get home and your phone connects to your network the script gets a ping response from your phone - it does an http put or get to your web based home control server to open the door (or just sends the appropriate heyu command if your linux box is also the automation server).
The simple beginings:

Cron entries - the first runs the script every minute for an hour starting at 5pm.  At 6pm the second deletes the semaphore file created when the script opens the door (so it only opens the door once) to reset for the next day.

* 17 * * 1-5 /home/mydir/ 2>&1 1>/dev/null
0 18 * * 1-5 rm -f /home/mydir/garagedoor.txt 2>&1 1>/dev/null

The script - checks for the existence of the semaphore file.  If it exists it exits, otherwise it sends a single ping and opens the door if there is a response.  If it opens the door it creates the semaphore.

if [ ! -f /home/mydir/garagedoor.txt ]
     if ping -c1 -q
          then wget #or heyu command...

That's it.  Of course you could take this as far as you want but this would at least wait for you to get home from work and open the door as a start.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

This could be BAD!

Prevent the forcible closure of Occupy Wall Street

Tell Bloomberg: Don't Foreclose the Occupation.


This is an emergency situation. Please take a minute to read this, and please take action and spread the word far and wide.
Occupy Wall Street is gaining momentum, with occupation actions now happening in cities across the world.
But last night Mayor Bloomberg and the NYPD notified Occupy Wall Street participants about plans to “clean the park”—the site of the Wall Street protests—tomorrow starting at 7am. "Cleaning" was used as a pretext to shut down “Bloombergville” a few months back, and to shut down peaceful occupations elsewhere.
Bloomberg says that the park will be open for public usage following the cleaning, but with a notable caveat: Occupy Wall Street participants must follow the “rules”.

NYPD Police Commissioner Ray Kelly has said that they will move in to clear us and we will not be allowed to take sleeping bags, tarps, personal items or gear back into the park.

This is it—this is their attempt to shut down #OWS for good.


1) Call 311 (or +1 (212) NEW-YORK if you're out of town) and tell Bloomberg to support our right to assemble and to not interfere with #OWS.

2) Come to #OWS TONIGHT AT MIDNIGHT to defend the occupation from eviction.
For those of you who plan to help us hold our ground—which we hope will be all of you—make sure you understand the possible consequences. Be prepared to not get much sleep. Be prepared for possible arrest. Make sure your items are together and ready to go (or already out of the park.) We are pursuing all possible strategies; this is a message of solidarity.
Click here to learn nonviolent tactics for holding ground.
Occupy Wall Street is committed to keeping the park clean and safe—we even have a Sanitation Working Group whose purpose this is. We are organizing major cleaning operations today and will do so regularly.
If Bloomberg truly cares about sanitation here he should support the installation of portopans and dumpsters. #OWS allies have been working to secure these things to support our efforts.
We know where the real dirt is: on Wall Street. Billionaire Bloomberg is beholden to bankers.
We won't allow Bloomberg and the NYPD to foreclose our occupation. This is an occupation, not a permitted picnic.
Worried that this could become really bloody. My hopes are that cooler heads prevail on all sides.

Update:  So glad that cooler heads did prevail after all.   I'm glad both sides were smart on this one.

Another Giant Passes...

Network World - Dennis Ritchie, the software developer who brought the world the C programming language and Unix operating system, has died at the age of 70.

Ritchie (known by the username "dmr") was part of a dynamic software development duo with Ken Thompson at Bell Labs, which they joined in 1967 and 1966, respectively. Ritchie created the C programming language, which replaced the B programming language Thompson invented.

The two later went on to create Unix, initially for minicomputers and written in assembly language, in 1969, and written in C in 1973. Unix went on to become key software for critical computing infrastructure around the world, though wasn't for everyone.

Ritchie once said: "UNIX is very simple, it just needs a genius to understand its simplicity." Unix , of course, became the inspiration for newer operating systems including Linux and Apple's iOS.

UNIX AT 40: The past, present and future of a revolutionary OS

BACKGROUND: Whirlwind tour of computing and telecom's major awards, prizes and honors

In fact, Unix supporters are out in force on social media networks this week, making sure that Ritchie's accomplishments are recognized.

Jon "Maddog" Hall, executive director of Linux International, tweeted: "all programmers owe him a moment of silence."

Rob Pike, who worked with Ritchie at Bell Labs, including on Unix descendent Plan 9, wrote on Google+: "He was a quiet and mostly private man, but he was also my friend, colleague, and collaborator, and the world has lost a truly great mind."

Many others made mention of The C Programming Language book that Ritchie and Brian Kernighan co-authored and first published in 1978, noting it's still sitting on their bookshelves for easy reference. The book is commonly referred to as K&R in honor of the authors last names.

Ritchie during his lifetime was recognized for his accomplishments many times over. Most recently, he and Thompson won the $600,000 Japan Prize for their work on Unix.

Ritchie and Thompson previously won the Turing Award from the Association for Computing Machinery in 1983, and the U.S. National Medal of Technology and Innovation in 1998, presented to them by President Bill Clinton. The two also were named Computer History Museum fellows in 1997.

Ritchie retired from Lucent Technologies in 2007. Bell Labs is now Alcatel-Lucent's R&D arm. Ritchie's passing marks the third death of a technology industry giants in the past week. Steve Jobs died last week at the age of 56 and former Motorola CEO and cell phone industry leader Robert W. Galvin died earlier this week at the age of 89.

Read more about software in Network World's Software section.

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Wednesday, October 05, 2011

A giant has passed.


Thank you for the magic, wonder and spectacle. Rest in peace.

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