Just like two years ago, we were again invited to Smirk's house for Forth of July fireworks. And just like two years ago, Smirk had again obtained a few boxes of the “slightly questionable” mortar-type fireworks.
Unlike two years ago though, there were a bit more pre-show safety lectures about the correct method of loading and lighting the fireworks—as exciting as it was last time, no one really wanted to be within 50′ of a live firework mortar as it explodes.
And this year, there were no ground-based explosions.
Granted, there were two that only made it (at max) 100′ into the air before exploding—-spectacular yes! Picture, no (out of frame). But no ground-based explosions.
And we were all happy that we were able to yet again celebrate our freedom by blowing stuff up!
My grandfather calmly bent down and pulled up the leg of his pants, rolling the hem in a tube toward the knee, while he watched my Mother (who was, honestly, holding her own and not in need of aid.) He then unbuckled his artificial knee and hopped the two steps over to Mr. PinchyFingers and proceeded to beat him down with the damned thing.
I think I found a bug in Apache 2.0.
I wanted to try a new look for the blog and while I have a test blog at home, I can't really reach the webserver since it's behind the firewall web traffic isn't forwarded, I thought it would be easier to get my blog running on my workstation at The Office. I already have Apache 2.0 installed on the machine, and getting the blog up and running only took a few minutes, even including the time to make a few test entries.
Now, one of the things about
mod_blog is that I make use of Apache's
to make the external URLs decent. Also, because I want to handle errors
correctly, I need to actually output the HTTP response header, so
mod_blog uses a
feature of Apache's
that allows the CGI to
output the response code. So, within the Apache configuration I have
RewriteEngine on RewriteBase / RewriteRule ^([0-9][0-9])(.*) nph-blog.cgi/$1$2 [L]
Basically, a URL of
internally to Apache, turned into
which does the actual parsing of the date to bring you the appropriate
nph- part of the name tells Apache not to generate
any headers for this script).
That works fine under Apache 1.3.
Under Apache 2.0, things are slightly different.
The same setup, and I get the page, but at the very bottom I get:
HTTP/1.1 200 OK Date: Sat, 09 Jul 2005 05:44:15 GMT Server: Apache/2.0.54 (Unix) DAV/2 PHP/4.3.11 Content-Length: 0 Connection: close Content-Type: text/plain
At first, I thought it might be a problem with mod_blog, since intially I
had the test blog as
http://www.example.net/~spc/blog/ and that
the problem could be an interaction between Apache's
mod_cgi using a CGI script that generates the headers. Moving the blog
http://www.example.net/ didn't improve things, so now it's
down to an interaction between
mod_cgi and a CGI script that generates the headers.
So, if I go to
http://www.example.net/2005/07/08.1, I get
the spurious output, but if I go to
http://www.example.net/nph-boston.cgi/2005/07/08.1 (go through
the CGI script directly)
the page renders correctly and without the extraneous stuff at the
I am running the latest version of Apache 2.0, and a rather quick query
of Google didn't come
up with any known issues with
mod_cgi using “Non-Header
Parsing” scripts and
mod_rewrite. Guess it's time to dig into
the code …
There was bad news last night after getting home from the weekly D&D game—the A/C wasn't working. And if you live in Lower Sheol, there isn't much worse than not having A/C in the middle of July (I suppose it could be non-working A/C in August but let's not go there).
The outside portion of the A/C has a small fuse-box on the side of the house and when I went to check it after the game, I found what could have been the problem—there was a wasp nest inside the fuse box, behind a plastic plate with holes to the inside.
Today was spent trying to get rid of the unwanted houseguests.
I will admit to being a complete baby when it comes to the flying, stinging insects, namely because I've never been stung so I have no idea if I'm actually allergic to them or not. And I'm not really keen on finding out any time soon either. It was worth it to me to wear a heavy leather jacket, leather gloves and a large hankerchef over my head in 90° weather as I was spraying insecticide; I much prefer to melt into a puddle of water than to get stung.
But alas, even after chemically evicting our Polistes friends, removing the nest and testing the fuses (they were good), the A/C still didn't work. Which means we may have to call in the professionals …
It's always nerveracking when one receives a letter from the IRS, especially since this years tax-bill was a bit on the large side. As I was opening it, I kept expecting to see something like:
Dear Mr. Conner:
You have been randomly selected to recieve a full audit of your taxes for the past five (5) years, starting with the 1997 tax year (and remember, we never make mistakes). Please call the number below to schedule time for your audit at our convenience.
And thank you for using the IRS. Have a nice day.
So I was rather surprising to read:
Dear Mr. Conner:
Re regret to inform you that you have overpaid your taxes for the 2004 tax year and are therefore entitled to receive money back. We calculated that your income as [some amount lower than I calculated] and therefore your tax liability should have been [about 80% of what I actually calculated]. If this is okay, do nothing and you should receive a check from us for the difference. If however, you think we are in error, please feel free to contact us so we can flag you for a full audit.
And thank you for using the IRS. Have a nice day.
I certainly wasn't expecting that!
The second letter from them was the actual refund check.
My GOD is it hot!
And I've never seen cats pant before.
The reason the updates have been delayed is due to heat. In order to save some money, we decided to wait until today (Monday) to call in the professionals.
They're busy with work, so the next available slot is tomorrow (Tuesday).
The A/C guys turned out earlier than expected, which is good. They found the problem with the A/C, which is even better. The condenser unit shorted out and needs replacing, which is bad (sigh—there goes my refund). And they might not get the part until tomorrow, which is horrible!
But the good news is, they got the new condenser unit installed!
We have coolage!
I XXXXXXX hate these XXXXXXX Cobalt RaQ4s.
How long now? A two weeks? Three?
They are XXXXXXX impossible to upgrade or install.
Let's see …
Trying to seek past end of device—maybe run.
Spends three days running
Symbolic links that aren't—nothing runs.
Need to run
Love Your Job!
“Sean, take a breath. It's just a stupid computer. It's nothing more than plastic, circuits and a few chips. It's dumb—it's a dumb device.”
“Yeah, and I'm still its bitch … ”
Oddly enough, installing Linux on a Cobalt RaQ 1 or 2 is easier than installing Linux on a Cobalt RaQ 3 or 4, dispite the 1/2 not being an Intel based machine.
But yesterday, as I was lying face down on my bloodied keyboard, I suddenly realized that Smirk was telling me something. “Sean,” he said. “you don't have to get Apache running on the firewall.”
I had gotten close yesterday—with Wlofie's help the night before, we
were able to recover one of the RaQ4s with it's initial distribution, and I
had gotten a Linux 2.4 kernel and
iptables installed and
running. It was only getting Apache running that I did a horrible mistake:
I mounted the working drive in my workstation! That right there was
a monumental mistake.
You see, the Cobalt RaQ firmware (which is responsible for loading Linux
off the disk) only supports an ext2 revision 0 file system
and the fact of my just mounting said drive (for write access no
less) “fixed” it so that it was no longer a revision 0 file
system. In fact, I'm not sure what exactly happened, but the upshot of
mounting a filesystem formatted under Linux 2.2 onto a Linux 2.6 system
munged every symbolic link on the file system. Move the drive back to the
Cobalt RaQ, and attempt to load Apache, I kept getting stuff like:
Apache: libfoo.so not found. I then check to see what's up:
-rw-r--r-- 1 root root 120184 Mar 28 2000 libfoo.a lrwxrwxrwx 1 root root 11 Jul 14 14:44 libfoo.so -rw-r--r-- 1 root root 120528 Mar 28 2000 libfoo.so.1
libfoo.so is there, but it should
-rw-r--r-- 1 root root 120184 Mar 28 2000 libfoo.a lrwxrwxrwx 1 root root 11 Jul 14 14:44 libfoo.so -> libfoo.so.1 -rw-r--r-- 1 root root 120528 Mar 28 2000 libfoo.so.1
And it wasn't just one or two symbolic links, but (at least in
/usr/lib) every symbolic link was borked in this
What I did next only made things worse (resulted in the “kernel panic: counldn't find init” error) so I won't bother going into detail about that.
No, what eventually worked was the following:
- One Cobalt RaQ 3 or 4 that can still boot of its drive
- One Cobalt RaQ 3 or 4 Rescue CD
- One PC (A) with
- One (1) CD-ROM drive
- One (1) Harddrive
- One (1) 3Com-509B network card (there are three or four others that work, but I don't have that list handy right now)
- One PC (B) with
- Serial port capable of 115,200bps and 8n1
- Software capable of running said serial port at said settings
- NULL serial cable
- Network switch
- At least two network cables
- Hook NULL serial cable between Cobalt RaQ and PC B
- Start serial software on PC B and configure serial port to 115,200bps 8n1
- Hook Cobalt RaQ up to switch using network cable.
- Turn on Cobalt RaQ, and make sure it will use the serial console (you may have to shove a paper clip into the small hole next to the LCD screen as you power up to enable the serial console).
- Log into the Cobalt RaQ as root.
- Configure the network to something usable (
- Download the latest version of the firmware (2.10 works fine in both RaQ3s and RaQ4s).
- Install new firmware.
- Shutdown Cobalt RaQ.
- Hook up PC A to network.
- Install rescue CD into CD-ROM.
- Reboot PC A from rescue CD.
- Accept license agreement.
- Turn on Cobalt RaQ holding down the “S” button, select “boot net” option.
- Play Solitare, Tetris, or eat lunch for the next half hour or so.
- Power cycle Cobalt RaQ.
- Power cycle Cobalt RaQ when it asks.
- Log into Cobalt RaQ as root.
passwdand install a root password.
- Download special Linux 2.4 kernel for Cobalt RaQ.
- Install Linux 2.4 kernel and kernel modules.
- Reconfigure as required.
That last step, “reconfigure as required” may take a while. It may include stuff like downloading the source for such packages as ssh, Apache, MySQL, extracting the files, and doing the magical incantation:
./configure make make install
a few times over the next few days (since I had already done this step before a few months ago, I could just copy the existing binaries).
Sorry for the lack of posts this past week, but I've been out in Las Vegas, all 115°F of heat, hanging out with Hoade as he did research for his new novel. We were lead to believe that the Hôtel San Rémo had free wireless, but as we found out, nothing in Las Vagas is free, and the Hôtel San Rémo was no exception; it also didn't have wireless but ethernet so I was out of luck in using my laptop (which only has wireless).
It'll be a few days before I work through the 350 plus photos and get the write-up written. It's got chills (“Man, this hotel room is cold!”) and spills (“Ouch! Oof! Umph! Ow! Yikes!”). It's got action (“Come on—baby needs a new pair of shoes!” “This is a slot machine, not craps, and you don't even have a baby!”) and romance (“So … how much you got? For five hundred I can give you an excellent time.”). Intrigue (“What are you taking pictures of?”) and conspriacy (“Bob Lazar was forced to move to Mexico because of his exposé of Area 51.”). And the unexpected (“Dude, the power just went out!” “Watch out for the slot zombies!”).
But first, I have to finish reading Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.
Land that could be bought for $800,000 could, within a year, be resold for 4 million before crashing back down to pre-boom levels. The prices were so inflated that to buy a condo-style property in XXXX, you would've had to pay the same as you would now have to pay for a luxury home in the guard-gated communities in Miami ($4,500,000)—without adjusting for inflation!
This is not a speculative article “written” from the perspective of say, 2011, but is instead about a real estate bubble that actually happened in the state of Florida a while ago.
How long ago?
The $4,500,000 price, adjusted for inflation, would be $494,500,000—nearly half a billion dollars today.
Too bad for the gentleman that actually spent $4,500,000 dollars back in 1926 for the property.
Speaking of inflation, when Mom and I moved here to South Florida, no longer could my Grandma (Dad's mom) drive drive and pick me up for a summer spent in the suburbs of Detroit. So starting in 1980, I would fly north for the summer. This was before Reagan fired all the air traffic controllers and the airline industry was still heavily regulated; because the prices were fixed, the various airlines had to compete with the only weapon they had left: service.
I remember flights as a kid being not that all unpleasant. Granted, I was much smaller then so I could easily fit in the seats. And they still fed us meals. And I remember that between my Mom and grandparents, they paid around $300 for a round trip ticket.
Adjusted for inflation, $300 1980 dollars equals $708 2005 dollars.
And yes, for $700 dollars you could probably get wonderful service from the airline industry, unlike the cattle car mentality you get now (“be grateful you even get water you ingrates!”).
Hmm … I could have sworn I wrote about this before, but since I can't find an entry about it, I guess not. Anyway … a few months ago I was playing around with zip codes, and I found out that the zip+4 code for Casa New Jersey only has one address—ours! Sure, it's meant for houses within a certain address range on our side of the street, but as far as I can tell, we're the only house within that range on our side of the street.
I made a comment about this to a few people (Hoade among them) and wanted to do an experiement where I addressed I postcard to:
And see if it gets to us.
Well, when I was in Las Vegas last week, I did just that.
I sent four postcards, addressed as:
To the Happy Family That Lives There
Lake Worth, Florida 33461-XXXX
Spring Dew Conner Stenbock Schmidt
[street address] 33461-XXXX
Lake Worth, Florida 33461-XXXX
So far, two have arrived, #3 and #4.
Sadly, the one mailed from Rachel came with a Las Vegas postmark (Rachel doesn't have a postoffice, unless you count a blue US Postal Service mailbox a “postoffice”). And the one mailed from Las Vegas came with two postmarks—one from Las Vegas on the 18th, and one from West Palm Beach on the 23rd.
We are still expecting two more.
Mayer and Sinai's study also identified the real culprit: the deliberate overscheduling of flights at peak periods by major airlines trying to increase the amount of connecting traffic at their hub airports. Major airlines like United, Delta, and American use a hub-and-spoke model as a way to offer consumers more flight choices and to save money by centralizing operations. Most of the traffic they send through a hub is on the way to somewhere else. (Low-cost carriers, on the other hand, typically carry passengers from one point to another without offering many connections.)
Hoade and I flew Northwest Airlines to Las Vegas, with a conection in Detroit—Detroit being a major (if not the major) hub for Northwestern, and the terminal is huge—so huge that it has light rail running from one end of the terminal to the other.
THOUGHT: Airlines will always fly you through a connection flight.
notes taken during the trip
I'm convinced that had I decided to fly Northwestern to Detroit, I would have a connecting flight through Atlanta. Airlines seem incapable of flying one directly to a destination.