Annual Refresh

It seems that every year for the last six years, I refresh the web­site look with a dif­fer­ent theme, and make a renewed attempt to add con­tent. This year is no different.

This year I’m also tak­ing advan­tage of the free Cloud­Flare ser­vice to pro­vide secu­rity pro­tec­tion for the blog, any view­ers, and faster deliv­ery of the site via their CDN net­work. If you’re sus­pected of being infected with mal­ware, cloud­flare will notify you and per­haps require a captcha to access the site. Addi­tion­ally, they pro­vide Web Appli­ca­tion Fire­wall capa­bil­ity that pro­tects from com­mon attacks such as SQLi and XSS.

Some other recent tech­nolo­gies I’m tak­ing a look at include Ama­zon Web Ser­vices EC2 Win­dows 2012 Micro Instance and the cloud offer­ing from Splunk — Splunk Storm

So far the AWS instance seems to be a nice way to try out the lat­est server plat­form with­out hav­ing to obtain a copy of the OS Instal­la­tion mate­r­ial. Pre­vi­ously, this was eas­ily done through a cor­po­rate MSDN account to quickly try it out in a dev envi­ron­ment. My cur­rent posi­tion doesn’t afford me that lux­ury, so it’s nice to see that I can still try it through AWS EC2.

Until next time.

Novel Finished, Reddit & HackerNews Insight

Fin­ished read­ing Bran­don Sanderson’s The Storm­light Archive: The Way of Kings, and I was not dis­ap­pointed. Some very inter­est­ing char­ac­ter devel­op­ment, and the detail he pro­vides of the cul­ture and world really brings it to life. I’m a fan of any author that can write in such a way the book dis­ap­pears and I can instead watch a movie in my head. Dali­nar is an excel­lent char­ac­ter, and his adhere­ance to the Alethi Codes of War is com­mend­able. The 4th code is one our own lead­ers could learn to fol­low: “Lead­er­ship. The offi­cer will require no action of his sol­diers that he would not be will­ing to per­form himself.”

Life before Death. Strength before Weak­ness. Jour­ney before Destination.

After fin­ish­ing up the novel, I ran across some inter­est­ing posts on Hack­erNews and Red­dit. There was a gen­eral tone in sev­eral of the com­ments that res­onated quite well with me as it can be applied to many facets of our lives. In short:

  1. Iden­ti­fy­ing flaws in a plan or approach is easy.
  2. Devel­op­ing func­tion­ing solu­tions to solve the same prob­lem while avoid­ing intro­duc­ing sim­i­lar or worse flaws is difficult.
  3. For every awful deci­sion you see, there was a rea­son that some­one, likely begrudg­ingly, decided that it would have to do.

As with so many things in life, con­text is often key. If some­thing seems to have no good rea­son for being the way it is, refrain from ridicule and have a dis­cus­sion. You just may be sur­prised by what you learn.

Unix Tools — Cool and Useful

From Hack­erNews:

gno­sis 14 hours ago | link

abcde — CD to mp3 rip­per
apg — ran­dom pass­word gen­er­a­tor
base64 — bet­ter than uuen­code
boxes — draw any kind of boxes around your text
bsd­iff — binary dif­fer
bspatch — binary patcher
bvi — binary vi (yet another hex edi­tor)
ccx2 — con­sole xmms2 client
clive — flash video down­loader
dvipdfmx — dvi to pdf con­verter
enfuse — poor man’s HDR
get_flash_videos — yet another flash video down­loader
glark — advanced grep
indent — code beau­ti­fier
lshw — list hard­ware con­fig­u­ra­tion
mcurl — mul­ti­ple part down­loader using curl
mktemp — safely cre­ate tem­po­rary files and direc­to­ries
msort — sort records in com­plex ways
net­brake — band­width lim­iter
od — octal dump
par — para­graph refor­mat­ter
par2 — archive ver­i­fi­ca­tion and repair tool
ped — sed done right with perl
pinfo — color info reader
pipe.vim — make vim part of a unix pipe and allow it to
edit the pipe con­tents
pv — Pipe Viewer: a tool for mon­i­tor­ing
the progress of data through a pipe
pydf — pretty df (disk space viewer)
qmv — use your favorite edi­tor to rename files
(part of renameu­tils)
qodem — modem pro­gram that can do ser­ial, tel­net, ssh,
zmo­dem, ker­mit, etc
rdiff-backup — like rsync, but can do incre­men­tal back­ups
recode — like dos2unix and unix2dos, but with many more encod­ings
record­my­desk­top — make screen­cast videos
remark — great log­file col­orizer (part of regex-markup)
rkhunter — find rootkit infec­tions
rlwrap — add read­line edit­ing sup­port to any com­mand
safe­copy — data recov­ery tool (bet­ter than dd)
sponge — soak up stdin and write to a file
(for things like pipeline edit­ing)
sux — su while trans­fer­ring X cre­den­tials
unbuffer — force flush­ing of std­out
upx — exe­cutable com­pres­sor
utimer — count­down timer and stop­watch
vared — edit shell vari­ables (part of zsh)
watch — run a com­mand mul­ti­ple times and dis­play the out­put
(with dif­fer­ences high­lighted)
xdo­tool — sim­u­late key­board and mouse activ­ity
xxd — hex dump
zargs — a ver­sion of xargs that makes the find com­mand redun­dant
(part of zsh)
zed — very small and fast vi-like edi­tor (part of zsh)
zrun — auto­mat­i­cally uncom­press argu­ments to command

More at:

Installing the Android SDK on Ubuntu 9.10

Quick notes for myself.….

- Ver­i­fied I already had the JDK installed
- Installed Eclipse
- Down­loaded the lat­est SDK
- Installed it and added it’s loca­tion to my $PATH via export in ~/.bashrc
— Go to: Win­dow -> Pref­er­ences -> Install/Update -> Avail­able Soft­ware and add the fol­low­ing install loca­tions: and

— Go to: Help -> Install New Soft­ware and select to “Work with:” the google URL.
- Select and install the Devel­oper Tools

Next up.  Installing a cus­tom devel­oped “Hello, World” onto the Motorola Back­flip which “doesn’t allow appli­ca­tions from untrusted sources due to car­rier restric­tions”.…. right ;)

Posted via email from rarmknecht

Android is on ATT.… and it rocks!

I’ve been an iPhone user since Novem­ber 2008, and tonight I bought my first Android device.  It’s the Motorola Back­flip.  Even though the phone is only run­ning 1.5 (sup­pos­edly to be upgraded to 2.1 in the next cou­ple months), it has a ton of fea­tures that I found myself desir­ing on the iPhone.

First and fore­most, it dis­plays noti­fi­ca­tion icons while locked to let me know if there is a new email from work or not.  Really Apple? Is that so hard?  But Android/MOTO­Blur doesn’t stop there; oh no, they actu­ally dis­play dif­fer­ent noti­fi­ca­tion icons for each email account.  Sweet­ness. Gtalk? Inte­grated and run­ning in the back­ground. AIM? Inte­grated and run­ning in the back­ground. Pho­tos for con­tacts? Face­book. Awesome.

I was even able to cre­ate a new ring­tone with­out hardly any effort. I con­nected via USB, cre­ated a folder called “music” and drop a cou­ple of mp3 files in there. Unmounted it, and bam I can play the music from the media wid­get on my home­screen.  I then down­loaded ring­droid from the Mar­ket­place and selected about 30s worth of a song, sav­ing it as a ring­tone.  I con­nected the USB again, and what do you know: /media/audio/ringtones has been cre­ated and has a new mp3 in it. I copied that up to my linux box, con­nected my fiancé’s phone, copied the folder struc­ture down to her device (also a Motorola Back­flip), and then assigned the ring­tone to my contact.

Done. Less than 5 min­utes and I’ve got­ten a cus­tom ring­tone from my per­sonal music col­lec­tion.  Fan­tas­tic. Well played Motorola and Google!

One down­side: Yahoo! search on the home screen.…. Solu­tion: delete it, and set browser home­page to Fixed. :)

Posted via email from rarmknecht

Started Reading: Denialism–1

Got through the rather lengthy intro­duc­tion and the first two chap­ters.  So far, I’m intrigued! It’s kept my atten­tion and pro­vided a ton of facts in a clear con­cise manner.

Posted via email from rarmknecht


So tonight I tried to import my Word­Press based blog,, into pos­ter­ous and real­ized that the import func­tion is.… well, quite frankly, worthless.

All for­mat­ting is lost. Para­graphs, bold, ital­ics.… all of it gone.  I’m at a lost for words.

If that weren’t enough, the dif­fer­ence between ” and ’ when used to define a lan­guage in the code tag is the dif­fer­ence between func­tional and broken.

Per­haps I’ll work on an import script.…. :)

Posted via web from rarmknecht