Inner-city Wildlife

Sunday, September 26, 2010 

A very loud cat came in to eat cat fud. It turned out to be a big raccoon.
After scampering to the cat door (in the floor) and trying to pass itself off as basement raccoon watching us, it ran out.


I went out to take a picture of it and as I was turning to go in, I noticed the Great Sky Possum was perched on the roof keeping a wary eye on Basement Raccoon.



Time to get an automated feeder.

Posted at 13:13:07 GMT-0700

Category: Oddphoto

How to Disable CTL-Return in Thunderbird

Thursday, September 23, 2010 

One of the stupidest keyboard shortcuts I’ve run into is Thunderbirds CTRL-Return automatic send function. Maybe I type sloppy, but I frequently CTRL-V to paste a link into a message and hit return just a little too fast to continue typing and, damn it, the embarrassing, incomplete message is gone.

It turns out I’m not the only one. I found this great link

which has, itself, a link to a pretty cool plugin that lets you remap the keyboard shortcuts.

But it does not (at least with Thunderbird 3.1.4 on window) list the dreaded ctrl-enter stupidkey. Now windows 7 search is astonishingly stupid (how come windows, 20 years on, still can’t give a marginal search function when back in 1990 OnLocation could return every file on my Mac, including searching by content, in a few milliseconds? Progress my ass) but I found the right “prefs.js” (eventually) at C:\Users\dgessel\AppData\Roaming\Thunderbird\Profiles\mwwkrsno.default.

As I’d modified a few keyboard commands with keyconfig already, prefs.js had a nice friendly indicator of where I should insert my own guerrilla modification (about the middle of the file) and there I pasted in
user_pref(“keyconfig.main.key_send”, “!][][“);
and when I launched Thunderbird, ctrl-enter was disabled. YAY!

(The following message was a “note to self” – I typed ctrl-enter and…)

Yep. Message still here… doesn’t work.

(…noted that the message was not sent thus ctrl-enter no longer works.  The fix, therefore, does work.)

If you want to customize your experience, there’s a nice command reference here

I added CTL-ALT-RETURN as “send later” which I don’t think I’ll hit accidentally.

Posted at 23:33:40 GMT-0700

Category: LinuxTechnology

Fight the Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act

Tuesday, September 21, 2010 

I wrote my representatives:

The “Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act” introduced by Senators Leahy and Hatch to shut down internet sites accused of violating copyright is fundamentally unacceptable and must be blocked. It is predicated on three failed precepts.

The law would provide for expedited prior restraint of free speech based on a claim of infringement. This extends the already over-broad powers granted by the DMCA, which has been used to silence political opposition (e.g. John McCain’s DMCA takedown of a critical video on YouTube) and shut down legitimate criticism of corporate and financial interests. This bill will further erode free speech in America and thus further delegitimize democracy itself.

The bill provides for in rem actions against a web site. In rem actions have become one of the most popular mechanisms which police forces have used to enrich themselves by taking legal action against private property (e.g. USA v. $124,700 (2006)). This has lead to massive corruption and even the murder of innocent people (e.g. Donald P. Scott 1992). In rem cases should be limited to acceptable legal situations where the owner cannot be identified, not as a method of prior restraint or as an extrajudicial shortcut that effectively extorts compliance from the target by creating an excessive cost barrier to seeking real justice.

The bill promotes the fiction that copyright law is a property law. It is not. Limited monopolies on the fruits of inventions are offered to inventors to promote the progress of science and the useful arts. These monopolies are in the form of copyrights and patents. There is no constitutional basis for creating laws to protect the privilege of copyright beyond what can be proven to promote the progress of science and the useful arts. It is an offense to democracy to privilege profits over basic civil rights. American society would not suffer meaningfully without the copyright industry, but American democracy is meaningless without free speech. Unfortunately, the copyright industry leverages profits into campaign contributions and lobbyists while free speech is, by its nature, free and thus profitless. Free speech can only be defended from profiteers by patriots.

This bill must be blocked. Please stand up for democracy.

Posted at 22:20:30 GMT-0700

Category: Politics

IBM BoMC on the Fritz

Sunday, September 19, 2010 

I was updating the firmware of our servers with IBM’s Bootable Media Creator – it is usually a great tool: it builds a bootable linux disk with all the latest firmware patches for your system – or all IBM systems if you want with a small utility that fetches all the latest updates for you and assembles them into an .iso.

Attached Message Part

The current version is ibm_utl_bomc_2.10_windows_i386.exe, but when you run it, it fails when it gets to uncompressing (probably too, if you need that for your system instead). I finally noticed v130 was only 4mb and my old V110 was 65MB.

The util only downloads about 500k of each binary patch each time it is run. Fortunately, the efforts are cumulative. Unfortunately any driver bigger than about 1MB is effected and will not download completely the first time. Or the first 2x(size in mb) times. If you run ibm_utl_bomc_2.10_windows_i386.exe -m 8863 -l C:\temp from the command line (as an example, assuming your machine type is 8863) TWICE and the second time you don’t see something like:
(1 of 8) Acquiring ibm_fw_diag_zuyt38a_linux_i386...
Already downloaded.

for any driver, then it isn’t fully downloaded. Keep repeating. I wrote a script to automate the process and put about 100 repetitions of the command in the batch and went out to dinner. When I got back, all the drivers were reporting “already downloaded.”

@echo off
ibm_utl_bomc_2.10_windows_i386.exe -m 8863 -l C:\temp
[copy and paste this or use a do loop to repeat 100x]

Posted at 21:23:22 GMT-0700

Category: LinuxTechnology

You Want It

Friday, September 17, 2010 

Usually the scam/hack fake networks in public places have confusing names like “Free Public WiFi” which you find at every airport (and which never connects) but having “You Want It” as an SSID is extra special.

Posted at 18:04:55 GMT-0700

Category: Technology

AT&T guy visits our house to check our T1

Thursday, September 16, 2010 

AT&T hates poor neighborhoods. They come up with some wacky excuses not to go if they can. We were waiting for a few months on the install of a T1 line and while the Covad guys were totally cool, the AT&T guys did everything they could not to service the deal.

Running out of excuses for missing calls, they decided to claim there was “toxic waste at the site.” We ended up in a big pissing match between Covad and AT&T with Covad finally offering to chaperon the AT&T guys through the process. They couldn’t really refuse that, so they came in their toxic waste suits. We missed them the first time through, but we had some line errors and they had to come back. Having foolishly called it toxic waste, they had to come in the suit. I wish we had a picture of the Covad guy and maybe Isabella with the AT&T guy all bundled up, but no such luck.

This is basically the technology world’s version of “redlining” where certain neighborhoods are denied access to technology. Pretty funny though, in this case the excuses, once made, ended up being a nice extra measure of discomfort.



Posted at 17:53:15 GMT-0700

Category: FunnyOddphotoTechnology

Finding fun TLDs

Wednesday, September 15, 2010 

URL shortening services have discovered international TLDs because they aren’t as jammed as .com where every combination of 5 or fewer characters and every word in the English language is registered at a parking site.  Some new ones ( have found pretty good short domains.

I found that (was) a great resource for registering domains around the globe – not only do they let you register all the easy ones in the table below, but they also have a way to register more complicated ones that require in-country support (for a fee).

Then all you need is a wildcard dictionary search and some patience to find a cute short domain.  Check out the list below:

Read more…

Posted at 19:26:50 GMT-0700

Category: Self-publishingTechnology

Films at TFF 37

Wednesday, September 15, 2010 

I saw the following films at the Telluride Film Festival.  I’ll try to get around to adding a few notes on each:

The film festival was excellent, as always.  The films selected are rarely anything less than excellent, so reviews tend to range from good to superlative.  It is probably the best film festival to attend for people who really love films.  While the environment is low-key and friendly, the festival is attended by luminaries of the film industry and most films are introduced by the directors.  Technically the festival is flawless and some of the venues are fitted with top of the line projection and sound equipment.

Posted at 00:13:49 GMT-0700

Category: Films

March 1997?

Monday, September 13, 2010 

What happened in March of 1997?

Posted at 11:42:43 GMT-0700

Category: FunnyOdd

Nom Nom Leg

Sunday, September 12, 2010 

I came home to find that Tortuga, one of the stray cats that’s adopted  us, had developed a nice open wound on her forelimb. When I left two  weeks ago it was a bit swollen, presumably abscessed, and then drained.  I’m sure it was really gross. Anyway, the cat just couldn’t get  enough licking that yummy puss and had turned the wound into a nice open  sore.


The vet gave me some antibiotics and antiseptic cleaning solution and  this lovely and stylish Elizabethan collar that Tortuga clearly just  loves to wear. Her thought bubble probably reads something like “once  this collar comes off and I can get my teeth around your neck, you  better sleep lightly.”

Posted at 20:14:26 GMT-0700

Category: photoUncategorized