Where’s your towel?

Ing and I were at the book store a week or two ago and they had the complete Hitchhikers Guide Series on the markdown table. So I am re-reading that. I remember the first time I read it. I was in junior high and I would have to stop reading every so often because I was laughing too hard to keep going. Supposedly there is a movie coming out next year. Douglas Adams worked on it quite a bit before he died. Hopefully it wont suck.

For a while I had a subscription to Dr. Dobb’s but for various reasons I had to let it drop. Since then I was invited to get a couple magazines for free. Well turns out this same company published DDJ- and now I get that for free too. Very sweet. And to top it off, Jerry Pournelle writes a column for them now. I think his whole thing about life being seeded by aliens or whatever is a bit odd (doesn’t match up with Genesis too well) but he’s smart. What I like best though is he writes from a ‘regular’ user perspective. It’s nice to see someone with his experience struggle with certain things and give an honest appraisal.

Well, I ordered my Programming for the Palm OS book from Amazon on September 29th and the latest is I might get it by December 1st. Argh. By the time I get it it will probably be out of date. Well- who am I kidding? It is already out of date because they are moving the development to Eclipse. Which is very, very cool– but I’m still working with the older tools. At some point I’m going to have to ramp up to the new stuff, but that will have to wait until I have more time. (should be any day now…..)

Posted in Books, Geeks In Action, Programming, Sci-Fi


I wrote a haiku for a Redhat contest. It’s kind of lame– but here you are.


access to the source
capricious whims no danger
free to code and solve

Posted in Geeks In Action

Why you should dump Internet Explorer

I have had comments that this portion of the site is not all that non-geek friendly. I’m not gonna get rid of geeky stuff, but I will try to throw some stuff out there that I would expect any self-respecting geek to already know. Like this: Using Internet Explorer to browse the web is just not smart. You are just asking to be used and abused by the bad people on the web. The security problems are well documented. And pros know a good solution. Just get rid of it. There are plenty of alternate browsers out there. I am going to recommend two of them. Both are made by the mozilla folks and available for free.

Mozilla is built from the code of a browser you may have heard of called Netscape. It has all the bells and whistles. An email client, news client and lots of other stuff. In fact the mozilla folks now refer to it as a suite. If you don’t want all that you can get just a browser from them in Firefox Firefox is a great browser that I use at home and work.

Both of these alternatives are more secure than internet explorer, include pop-up blocking and very good privacy settings. The only time I can’t use Firefox at home is when I do my on-line banking. For that I use Mozilla. Both browsers run on windows and linux. (Moving to Linux would really make your computer more secure– but we’ll take this one step at a time.)

Team either of these up with a firewall and you’ll have eliminated a large part of your exposure to worms and other types of attacks. It still wont help you if you open that attachment from somebody you never heard of– but it will protect you from the stuff that doesn’t depend on your help.

Posted in Geeks In Action, Security

Circle Slide

I cannot believe how long it has been since I’ve put anything up here. I don’t know how people who keep up really active blogs do it. This is my first time on this side of things and it has really been an eye opener. Today I’m gonna just try and dump out a few things that have been bouncin’ about in the ol’ brain pan.

The source code for the Open-Xchange Server is available for download now. I have read mixed reviews. The source just went up this week- I have not seen any binary packages out yet. It is written in Java and you need Java, Ant and some other stuff to compile it. I got the source but may try out Kolab a bit back (with Aethera as a client) but I never could get it to work the way I wanted. I could not get the global address book to show up everywhere, emails to go where they should, calendar stuff to show up everywhere, etc. This was due to my not being able to figure stuff out I’m sure– but that’s one of my requirements, I’ve got to be able to get it working myself without too much hassle. While I’m mentioning it though, Aethera is a nice client, with a win32 port- and I have used it at home for my dial-up and it works well. A nice option if you don’t have outlook and do not hot-sync to a palm type device.

I got really excited about trying wxPython as a gui toolkit for my messing around with Python after I found out about BoaConstructor. But the more I dug, the less excited I was. BoaConstructor does not work with the latest release of wxPython- and from what I could tell digging around sourceforge- work hasn’t even started on the next version that will support it. I don’t want to roll back to an older version of the toolkit. So it looks like glade will be the tool of choice until I find something better. And this leads to the subject of my first public rant- “Why VB is still unmatched in OSS.” (going up soon) If anyone who knows better can show me that I’m wrong- no one would be happier about it than me.

I went to a one-day seminar on data warehousing with Ralph Kimball as the speaker. It was pretty great. He’s one of those people who is very smart- but also a very good communicator. He took some really well thought out concepts and wrapped them up in presentation that even I could follow. Quite a few people were there. I’m not too good at estimating- but if the chair count I made was close on the part of the room I could see well I’d say it was 250-300 people. He explained the whole set up of dimensional data modeling and why it was valuable in a warehouse situation- with key concepts for taking data from a number of sources and formats and putting it into a schema that was fast and scalable. How often do you get both in one package? Everything I’ve ever done has been focused on production dbs- I can’t normalize way out- due to performance and business rule constraints- yet at the same time, I really need to avoid the problems that normalization helps you avoid– and I can’t focus completely on reporting– my apps have to work too. (Being in a small shop is nice in that I have controle of both sides. I am the DBA and the developer.) But anyway- I’m not really up to speed on all that data warehousing brings to the table, so the seminar was really worthwhile.

That’s enough of a catch up for today. Gotta get back to writing some triggers- and my plpgsql is super rusty, so it could take a little bit:)

Posted in Database, Geeks In Action, Linux, Programming


It has been crazy busy at work the last few weeks. I did get to go up north this last week-end and relax. And I did get to put in a little time last week on my Python program. It wont take too much more to get that done- then I’ll put the source up on the site.

There have been some new developments in the Open Source world in regards to propietary apps moving to an open license. I’ll get some links up later this week or next week. Well that’s it. Not much, but something.

Posted in General

Political Activism

I am working (on a mental notepad at this point- nothing to paper yet) on a piece dealing with Christianity and Political Activism. I believe that political activism is not something for the Christian to pursue as a primary activity. But that’s for what I write. As I’ve been looking about to read up on this I came across this open letter by John MacAurthur. It sums up much of how I feel about this. I’m sure I’ll find more stuff but I thought I’d throw this out there for your perusal.

I don’t agree with John on everything – but the guy is sharp.

Posted in Christianity

Glade & Python

Today I did my first GUI app using glade to design the GUI and python for the back end code. It was pretty cool- though it took way too long. But that is the magazine’s fault.

I got a free copy of Wide Open – the Red Hat magazine. They have a tutorial that takes you step by step through the process. This is just the kind of thing I had been looking for. I had messed with glade and python a bit here and there– but never taken the time to get anywhere. Well this was cool but for one thing. In Python, as you may know– indentation and white space are significant. They impact how code works (or as in this case doesn’t work.) And the code example in the mag, I utimately figured out, is all jacked up. Well I guess I learned something but I’d have rather not learned it that way. But now I do have a form that comes up and when you hit the button, whatever you have typed up in the text box- appears on a label. Wow.

Maybe you want to play with Glade and Python too. If you are running linux – your distro should come with everything you need. Just check to be sure everything you need is installed and google for some glade python tutorials- there are a few good ones out there. One you might use is right here. (and the method they use to integrate the two carries over to mono– how ’bout that?) If you are on windows only — never fear. Python and Glade run on both.

Get Glade here
Get Python here

Posted in Programming