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Archive for February, 2003

snow regulation

Friday, February 28th, 2003

It snowed last night. About four inches. And when I went out to my truck this morning guess what? No truck. They towed it. Now this made me mad. They declared a snow emergency last night sometime and towed me because I was parked on Florida Ave. and Florida is designated as a ‘snow emergency route.’ I was really pissed when I called the police (but, of course I was polite with the lady on the phone.) they told me that I had been towed to the 1800 block of 18th street. I felt much better when I got off the phone thinking that they had just towed me out of the way — ok, inconvenient and such but understandable. Then I got to my truck and started cleaning it off and you know what I found? A $250 ticket for ‘SNOW REGULATION.’ What really pisses me off about this is that two weeks ago it snowed 18 inches and they did not tow anyone off Florida Ave. and the other day they did not tow when it snowed, nor did they tow when it snowed twice in January. I really don’t want to pay $250 — that’s outrageous. A regular towing fee would be acceptable, since they did tow me, but $250 is just ridiculous.

more computer issues

Thursday, February 27th, 2003

Ok, so I’ve installed, uninstalled and reinstalled so many things in the past week (on top of all my past upgrades, which come in burst – not the best way to do it,) that my computer now has so many issues it thinks it is a weekly news magazine first published in 1843 to take part in “a severe contest between intelligence, which presses forward, and an unworthy, timid ignorance obstructing our progress.” And it seams to be leaning towards the ‘obstructing out progress’ side of the contest. At least it’s obstructing my progress.

Last we left out protagonist it was compiling gcc. That worked, took like 6 hours but it worked. So, % make World >& world.log then % tail -f world.log. An hour later: Structure has not member named ‘fds_bits’… 8000 times! To make a long story short: I gave up on compiling X but I did find a distribution of XFree86 that would install. Of course when I rebooted, the interface kept crashing, but in all our X Windows misadventures we have learned what? To make backup copies of all the init files! So it only took a few minutes to find the correct setting for XF86Config to get everything to start correctly. (Though I could not just copy the old init file in place of the new one, they changed the format, so I had to manually edit the new one but that did not take too long.)

So on to the next adventure: installing Gnome2! First off, Gnome says they have binaries for many distributions of *nix, but I only found two or three on their ftp, and of course, none for my distro. But I did find this thing called Garnome which claims to download and install all the Gnome2 components with a minimal amount of user interaction. But there are prerequisites! I down loaded all the things they listed links to and installed them, fairly easy. The last thing on the list or prereqs did not have a link though — it said I would need docbook-xml (Docbook DTD 4.1.2) + docbook-xsl (Docbook XSL Stylesheets) and Gnome’s website said that any ‘modern’ install would have that. Well an hours into running Garnome and most of the way through the compilation process I got, you guessed it, an error telling me I did not have Docbook installed.

So out to the web to find Docbook. Google knows all! So I download a bunch of tars of various components of Docbooks and untar them. Ok, these are not things that need to be compiled they are just XML and XSL files. But the tar’s did not contain any notes on where to install the files. After several failed tries to get Garnome to find the file by placing them in random places I went back to the web to find some rpms of Docbook. I found an rpm, well call him A.rpm. A.rpm requires b.so|prog, off to rpmfind.net to get B.rpm. B.rpm requres c.so|prog. rpmfind.net -> C.rpm. C.rpm req d.so|prog. rpmfind-D.rpm-Oh look no more .so|prog to find! Yea! So: rpm -U D.rpm: OK. rpm -U C.rpm: error /x/y/z confilcts with /x/y/z from install of D.rpm, exiting. If I unistall D.rpm I and rpm -U C.rpm I get: error C.rpm requires d.so|prog! Ahhh!

Stephen says the solution to all this is to download apt-rpm and use it to figure out everything. So I did. And after having to uninstall several things to get it to run, I started a system upgrade — 660 packages to be upgraded, 15 to be installed and 4 to be removed. That was still working this morning when I left the house. We’ll see if I can install Gnome2 tonight. I doubt it. But — “We love this stuff!”

hum…

Sunday, February 23rd, 2003

Been almost a week since I posted anything and… no body noticed! I would say I am feeling unloved but I got an email from Cristina today, played d&d with friends and went to Fado’s on Fridays for a few pints with friends… so I’m really not feeling unloved.

:: n.b. the following is only really going to make sense to you if you are a computer geek, so save yourself the headache and confusion if you not a geek…::

I decided I was board with my current setup on my laptop. I guess it started because I am running RedHat 8.0 at work and while some if the stuff it does pisses me off, the graphics are soooooooo much better. This is of course because the version of X that is included in RH8 is much newer than mine, and the Gnome and associated libraries are also newer and render better — they even have anti-aliased fonts… ooh pretty!

So I decide to try to upgrade some of the stuff on my laptop. I stated with a new kernel. That was easy, in fact RH’s update system, which I had never used on the three years I have had RH on this laptop, downloaded, configured and installed the latest and greatest without so much as a warning. Yea!

Then I decided to start on X…. now X only comes in one flavor — large amounts of raw code to be configured and compiled by you. Ok, configuration was not a problem, the Imake system is fairly easy to understand, and even the severe lack of documentation (which is the biggest issue I have with the X consortium — the take take a very snobby, ‘well it works for us’ point of view to their code. Not as bad as the guy who codes gaim but still, snobby.) So configuration complete: % make World >& world.log

An hour later, looking at the out put of: % tail -f world.log what to my wondering eyes should appear, but 8000 errors! (god that was cheesy!) All the errors where the same ‘structure has no member named ‘fds_bits” I spent quite a while trying to figure that one out. No luck, seams only one person on the Internet has the same problem, and no on replied to his request for help. However today, just before d&d Stephen, Jason and I where talking about it and we think it might be an issue with my version of gcc… so for the past three hours! gcc has been building on my laptop. Maybe this will fix it. But I won’t know till tomorrow night… I need to go to bed, and it’s still building!

And to think I could solve all this by copying my important stuff to a separate partition and installing Gentoo from scratch! Oh, why do I have to be difficult?

:: n.b. non-geeks will under stand the rest :) ::

Koodos to all the peeps from Lockheed that have cleared since I left. Most of the people I knew are cleared now. Ha Ha! Anyway, off to bed now. Bouna notte!

snow!

Monday, February 17th, 2003

Lots of snow, I went home on Friday and the snow started to sleet on Saturday about two pm. It did not stop sleeting until Monday at about ten am. In the end the ground was covered with a sold sheet of ice 14 inches thick! You had to jump up and down on it to break it. I with it could have been snow rather than sleet, but it was beautiful outside regardless. I had today off because of Presidents day, but going to work tomorrow will be fun. The main roads are ok, but getting into my neighborhood was a challenge, there is 16 inches of heavy wet snow on all the streets — everyone is walking around (and they are using the streets not the sidewalks!)

IMHO

Friday, February 14th, 2003

People rush out to the stores to buy plastic and duct tape, water and batteries. The streets of DC now have military vehicles, armed with stinger missiles and solders armed with M16’s. The terrorist have already achieved their first goal; most people are terrified that something is going to happen.. Sorry but I don’t think that plastic and duct tape are going to keep the VX nerve gas out any more then they will keep the air in.

‘m not scared. I’m disgusted with the whole situation. I live 10 blocks from the White House, and I’m not going to change my routine. I’m not running down to the hardware store in a futile effort to prevent chemical weapons from getting into my house. I’m going to go out to the coffee shop, drive to work everyday, visit my friends and live my American life, without looking nervously at every truck that drives down the road, every plane in the air or every person on the street.

I don’t know what the number are, but many people are opposed to the push towards war. Unfortunately seeing armed guards on every street corner will, even as it scares, anger many people and they will push harder for war. Rather than begin the long hard task of looking the causes, the grievances against the US, that drive the terrorist, and the institutions which bread new recruits, it is easier to send our military now to kill those who hate us.

Anyone with half a brain, if they use it can see that war may solve the problem for the next few years, at least at that location, but unless we want to continue to police that place forever — becoming another Israel in Palestine — it will not solve the long term problem and will, there and elsewhere breed more hate, that will sting us later.

George Bush challenged the UN to stand up and decide if they want to be relevant or fad away to become an unimportant debating society. Whatever forces, Powell or otherwise within the Bush administration that are pushing for the a UN resolution are correct. The UN is caught up too much in politics, those nations who have permanent seats on the Security Council, including the US, have too much power and use this power as a bargaining tool against the other permanent nations. Nations, like France, who have little more international clout than any other country have distinct importance because they can single handedly veto any security action in the UN. France in particular seams determined to play a dangerous game of ‘oppose the US, because it is too powerful’ (which I don’t believe is wrong) combined with a ‘appease Iraq because of our economic interests.’ The appeasement bares too much similarity to the European policies which allowed Hitler and the Nazi to rebuild the German war machine in the years leading up to WWII.

Saddam may not be another Hitler, but the power of todays weapons means that he does not need a zealous following to rain horrors on the world. Missiles that can reach far off countries armed with chemicals, diseases or radiation are threat enough. For 14 years the UN, the body charged with keeping the international peace has played cat-and-mouse with Saddam. Hopelessly caught up in it’s own red tape and inflated sense of importance they have allowed Saddam to violate resolutions and ignore the UN’s will. Like a child who knows that his parents will bark but never bite Saddam has learned to give just enough to keep the dogs at bay and do what he wants. The UN needs to stand up, and deal with the situation — if that means sending in a few hundred thousand troops under command of the UN/weapons inspectors to seek out and destroy weapons rather than try to verify Iraq’s lies or to send in troops from ALL the UN member states to deal with Iraq. The decision needs to be made. Debate away, but come to an action. Non-action will lead the UN to irrelevance in the world.

The UN needs to also deal, swiftly and in one voice, with North Korea. The UN has an opportunity to set a prescient in dealing with countries who violate their treaties and agreements. To deal with countries who threaten other countries. The UN should call together Russia, China, Japan, and South Korea — at a minimum should be told involved in any talks. North Korea wants to talk with just the US. I agree with Colin Powell who yesterday said that this was unacceptable. Clinton played into North Korea’s weapons blackmail because he did not have the support of North Korea’s neighbors. Now they seam to agree that North Korea with Nukes is a bad idea. Now is the time for those countries to stand up and take a position in the international world. To say to North Korea that they will not sit ideally buy and wait while North Korea makes and test nuclear weapons. We need to isolate North Korea with such local international pressure, but with the offer of friendship should they give up their desire for weapons, so as to make it in their best interest to back down and negotiate economically with other countries and to ask the UN to watch as they dismantle any weapons programs they have.

Iran too should ask the UN to come and watch as it works with it’s nuclear plants, to allow the international community to relax, knowing that it is not seeking to make weapons. I know that this is something no sovereign country would like to do, but if they really have not desire to make weapons then ANY country should swallow it’s pride and ask that the UN observe then so as to develop a record of cooperation and non-aggression. Once the world trusts them, then they will be able to benefit from that trust, but they must regain the worlds trust,

Of course all this will lead to more hatred of ‘the west,’ and the US in particular. But that is a problem that only a long term commitment to pulling the rest of the world up to equal footing with us can possible hope to defeat. Those countries in a position of power or wealth in the world, (read industrialzed not just the USA) must deal with threats, be they in Africa, the Middle East, Asia or anywhere, that threaten any part of the worlds security today. This may include short term solutions like military action, but it must also include long term commitmant %G–%@ in money, time, and any other nessisary things to fixing the root of the problems. It will not be a short struggle and it will not be easy — much of what causes the problems steems from hate, hate rooted in different ideologies what will never see eye to eye. Bur either we live in a world full of threats forever or we lay the foundation now for a possible future will less threats and maybe even a peaceful world.