Midnight ramblings – probly shouldn’t even read this

It’s pretty strange to me that on those rare occasions when I watch TV I see lots of commercials on from Microsoft comparing Bing to Google claiming that Bing is better when really, it’s a matter of personal preference and taste. I mean, people search the Internet for various and different things and sometimes even the same things but that doesn’t mean that they are seeking the same thing, and even if they are seeking the same thing, they may not want the same results. That’s one of the beauties of the ‘net, it’s ALL subjective! Bing is no better than Google, no more than Google is better than Bing. It’s up to the user, not some fake dork looking geek yelling “Bing it ooooooon” through a megaphone. Give me a break.

It’s about like the Internet Explorer commercials saying that they give you the power to do more, or something about family moments or whatever. I mean, Internet Explorer is pre-installed (or included, or built-in, or whatever, take your pick) on EVERY Windows™®© installation everywhere, and it is still a solid third place contender. For a long time it was second place behind Firefox, but then Chrome surfaced from Google, and now IE has slid to third. Currently, and since about March 2012, the list has Chrome in the lead with 53.2%, Firefox holding on to second with 27.8% and Internet Explorer in third with 12.1% – and that’s while still being the default and only browser on new installs of Windows. If someone wants Chrome or Firefox or anything else they have to use Internet Explorer to go get it! I know, I know, you all already know that. I just don’t know how Microsoft can even think that they have the top end product when it STILL won’t render HTML5 properly.

When we shift the subject to operating systems, the subject becomes even more based on the user and their personal preferences. But then, that’s really yes and no, because most users are pretty much held captive by Windows, and that’s nothing bad or nefarious on Microsoft’s part. It’s just that the majority of computer users out there just don’t know enough to use any other operating system. They know enough about Windows to use it, to get along, and so that’s what they choose. In most cases it’s not even a conscious choice, it’s the only choice, most don’t even know there’s an alternative. Although that’s starting to change a bit since Apple and OSX came to town. Apple took a page from Jean-Louis Gassée’s book with OSX. Jean-Louis Gassée is the man who created the best operating system known to mankind, BeOS. He had the idea that it would be easier to make UNIX user friendly rather than make Windows stable, and created a UNIX based operating system with a beautiful and incredible use interface. Ultimately BeOS didn’t make it, but OSX followed in the same foot steps in my opinion, it’s a UNIX based operating system that is beautiful and easy to use and is becoming more and more popular to date. A year or two ago (I don’t know if it’s still true), Apple was the largest seller/distributor of UNIX based computers in the world. Not bad for a company that almost went under a few years prior!

What does all of my useless rambling mean? Not a darn thing! LOL Except that ultimately, despite what big companies might try to tell us, and what we might believe ourselves, it’s the consume that has the power in the end to drive the industry, and we simply have to vote with our dollar bills. Buy the good stuff and ditch the bad, and for free stuff and open source stuff, it’s pretty much the same, support the good and ignore the bad.

It is my opinion that the Internet is the great playground leveler. Whether it is technology, or entertainment, singing or playing an instrument, dancing or whatever on YouTube, if it’s good … people will like it and view it and share it and it will come to the top. Whereas the bad will fall off into obscurity. The Internet gives even the little guy the chance to be a star at whatever it is that he has chose as his arena fight in. Now, go get some sleep!

Is Wi-Fi Sniffing Wiretapping?

wardialingIs Wi-Fi Sniffing Wiretapping? The (not so) Supreme Court thinks so. They seem to be looking at this from a … well, I am not sure what point of view they are seeing this from. Surely not a logical point of view, nor a technical one. How about we let someone with a brain look at this question, shall we? Good.

First of all, before we even go into the technical parts of each one, or should I say the differences, one must look at the intent behind the act. When you “wire tap” someone, or in more general term, “tap their phone”, you are specifically singling out someone and then taking measures to specifically monitor that person and their communications. In most cases you must have some type of legal paper or permission before you can do this, although we have seen that, naturally the “Government” can always find ways around that little detail. No one wants to hinder their fun, ‘eh? The point is, in the case of wire tapping, you are specifically choosing someone for some reason, one person or entity that you want to monitor. You then take action to monitor that person. You take specific action to monitor that person or entity and that one only, no one else. You don’t tap the phone at 405 West Chester Street and in the process say “Oh, hell, let’s just tap the whole damn street while we are here!” No, you focus on that one person.

Now, in the case of Wi-Fi sniffing, it is much different. In fact it couldn’t be more different. With Wi-Fi sniffing, you are simply sitting there, or you might be mobile, wandering around “sniffing” (testing the location to see if a Wi-Fi signal happens to be available) to see if something pops up. If it does, if you happen to catch hold of a signal, you take a look and see what you have found, kind of like fishing. Sometimes you get a good one, and sometimes you throw it back.

The point is, that unlike wire tapping, with Wi-Fi sniffing you are not focusing on one specific person or entity. You are not specifically taking measures to monitor any one thing, or any thing for that matter. You are simply catching whatever signals are out there to be caught. If I am sitting at home and I see that there are several Wi-Fi networks around me that I can access, am I wiretapping? Hell no!

It really comes down to the people that are responsible for that Wi-Fi network. If you are responsible you will make that network secure so no one can come along and sniff it, find it, and do anything with it in the first place. Wi-Fi sniffing and wire tapping are two very different things and that the Supreme Court can’t seem to figure that out shows just how out of touch they really are, not just with technology, but with reality as well.

Debian and Ubuntu Sources List Generator

That title sounds pretty cool doesn’t it?  Yes, it sure does!  I found this nifty little tool and saw right away that I just had to share it with everyone.   It’s a really cool web interface to a tool that lets you point and click your release information as well as your resource/branch preferences, and then BLAMMO, a new source list is made, just right for your Debian or Ubuntu box!  In case someone reading this doesn’t know what a source list is, in Debian (and releases based on Debian, like Ubuntu) it is the file that tells the package manager (apt, dpkg, aptitude, etc) where to look for software you want to install, upgrade, and maintain automatically.  The file name is:

/etc/apt/sources.list

Having a good source file can go a long way towards helping with easy and simple system administration.  The URL for the site is:

http://debgen.simplylinux.ch/  for the Debian Generator and
http://repogen.simplylinux.ch/ for the Ubuntu Generator

So, go check it out and see what you think.  I thought it was really cool and I got some good information from it.

HP kills TouchPad, looks to exit PC business

Hp-ceoIt looks like the CEO at HP is smoking the crack and not sharing the recipe with the rest of us.  A month after their TouchPad debuts they kill the product because it’s not selling like they want.  OK, it wasn’t selling well at all from what I read, but come on you launched the thing when Apple was releasing the iPad2, what the hell do you expect!?  You have a new and untested product going up against the most wanted toy on the market.  Let’s not put any thought or … I don’t know, work into making the sales of that product better or maybe realizing that you picked the worst time ever to release it.  Just dump that chump and blow through more cash on something else.

Next they are talking about ditching their PC business, which generates 1/3 or their annual income at HP.  I mean, what crazy idea is that, especially when at the same time you talk about buying a database search software company for $10 billion in cash.  What in the world is CEO Apotheker thinking of??  Just by talking about the stuff after kill the TouchPad HP’s stock dropped 12%!  Can you say OUCH!

Read more here

Information Is King

OK, kiddies, gather round.  Let me pontificate loftily standing upon my bubbly box of soap, in order to loudly proclaim that information is king (or queen if that is your perspective).  Why is information so important?  The reason is simple!  The more information we have (at hand, it doesn’t have to be memorized, it can be in a book or anything readily available), the more we know.  The more we know, the more we can do!  The more we can do, the richer we become.  Not just in dollars and cents but in self-reliance, survival and practical sense.  Take that information that you know, and add it to what your friend knows and now you both know even more.  Take that and share it with what many other people you know and oh my goodness!  We have a revolution on our hands, a real live revelation revolution springing up.  It is natural that folks will still have their areas of expertise, but all of that shared knowledge is only going to help us out.  More people can then do more things, you have more people to help when one thing gets really busy and backlogged, like when everyone has generator problems during an ice storm.  Would you rather have 1 person trying to fix all those 100 or so broken gennies, or 2 or maybe 4 or 5 or even 10.  Do you see where I am going with this?

What I just wrote about above is the sole reason I started this site.  I had lots of information that I wanted to share with folk, anyone who could benefit from it.  I have been working with computers and related “stuff” for over 20 years now, and whether it was trying to pass along some basic info to keep Grandma safe while checking her email, or sharing the intimate technical details of setting up SVM software RAID on Solaris UNIX servers, I felt like I had information that would be worthwhile to others.  So far I’d say it’s been a success, while I don’t share the popularity or traffic that Slashdot gets for example, I get quite a lot of visitors compared to your average website or blog, and I do get some email now and then from people thanking me for the site or telling me that they found help with their problem they were trying to fix, and that makes all of the work and effort that I put into this site worthwhile.

If you have managed to read this far, you are probably now asking yourself what in the world I am going on about.  Well, keeping what I have previously said in mind, I have decided to expand the site a bit.  You see, when I started this site, it was only natural that I focus on IT related topics.  However, I have experience with and work on much more than just IT stuff.  In the past years I have been an electronics technician, why at one point I could repair the copper runs on a circuit board complete with new green (or amber or whatever) over coating so that one could hardly tell it had ever been broken in the first place.  At one point I spent years as a mechanic, working on everything from air and electric tools to outdoor power equipment to diesel trucks and buses and damn near anything in between.  In both of these cases I was lucky enough to work for business owners who were also masters in their field, I mean pure freakin’ geniuses at the technical work that they did.  This allowed me to not only learn a great deal, but also develop some of the habits that I have now that make some people call me a perfectionist.  I just say that if it’s got my name on it, I want to make damn sure I do it right.  I am not saying that I am perfect or anything, I make mistakes just like anyone else, I just try really really hard to avoid them!

I could go on about other stuff I have done, some good learning experiences and some not so much.  The point is that I have decided to start adding more information to this site as I get the oppotunity to do so.  Because after all, information is king (or queen if that is your perspective), and if I can share something that helps someone, who cares if it’s about a computer or about a truck or maybe a CD player or who knows what.  I don’t know everything but I know a little bit about a lot of things, and I love to learn.  Maybe I feel it’s my duty or maybe my mission to give back and share that information.  Worst case is that I waste some time and take up some extra binary real estate on my server and no one notices, or they notice and shake their head and mumble something about that crazy guy and his weird website that sounds like something out of Harry Potter.  On the other hand, what we might call the best case, someone and maybe many someones come along from Google or however they get here and find something useful to them and helpful in solving a problem they were dealing with.

How is that, eh?  How is that for a long winded rant about information! LOL  I hope you enjoy this site and find something useful here, I have put a lot of time, energy and money into it because I believe in sharing information.  If you have something you want to share, to add to the data archive, please by all means let me know about it via the contact page.  I am unable to pay you for any information that you share, but I will make sure that you get full credit for it, in whatever format you like (i.e. your name, pen name, alias, whatever).  That could be a good way for aspiring writers to easily get content published for reference later on when needing to provide examples of your work.

Many thanks to all of my readers and visitors that have stopped by and even taken the time to come back!  (Cue the mysterious pipe organ)  Enjoy!

Good Stuff, What Is It?

Let me talk to you for a moment about a new box of stuff on the right side of this site.  Yep, just like the title says, it’s Good Stuff!  First though, I want to share some information and history if you don’t already know.  I started this site because I wanted to share information.  I felt like (and still feel like) if we all share the knowledge that we have with one another, our collective knowledge base grows by leaps and bounds.  Seems obvious I know, but some folk I have seen and have even worked with want to horde information as if it were gold.  So, hoping that sharing some of my knowledge and information might help others, I started this site.  If someone is having a problem, and I have already run into the same thing and can post an adequate solution, then they get to solve that problem without re-inventing the wheel (so to speak).

I do this because it’s just something I do, a way that I can try to give back and help others.  I don’t charge people for access to anything, I don’t have banner ads or popups (or unders ;]) or anything like that.  At one point I played with Google Ads, but that was more to learn than really try and make any money.  Which is good because I didn’t make any, a few pennies here and there, but nothing really.  This though, is my point and has a direct impact on the Good Stuff I am getting ready to explain.  That point is that I run this site using my time, paying for the server and bandwidth out of my own pocket, and I like it that way.  I don’t want to be beholden to a vendor.  I do have a donation link, so if a reader wants to show some love they can, but that’s different.  I don’t get any kind of payment, kickbacks, reimbursement, dump truck loads of yen, or anything from companies that sell products, especially the ones I talk about or recommend.

What does this mean?  This means that if I post a review about something, I am not blowing smoke just to say there is a fire.  I am telling you, my reader, my own experience with whatever it might be and what my honest opinion is about it as well.  Mainly I do this when I find something really cool that I think more people need to know about.  Some piece of software that other geeks like me might find useful, or a game or whatever that seems to be well worth the duckets.  I want to share that information with anyone who wants to read about it, that might benefit from it, and I want them to know that the information is coming from an unbiased source.

So, back to the Good Stuff box.  This is where I am putting stuff to showcase things that go above and beyond or are extra good or really special, etc.  Kind of like banner ads except I decide what is put there and no one is paying me to do so.  It’s a showcase of things that I use and that I very highly recommend and therefore proclaim to be “Good Stuff”.  This site had over a million hits last year, and the traffic trend is still rising, so my goal is to share Good Stuff with my readers, and hopefully help encourage those people that care about the customer and care about providing good valuable service to keep up the good work.  If any of you have something you want to recommend, or some information you want to share with the world, hit the contact page and share it with me.  If I end up doing something with your submission, I’ll make sure you get credit for it.  Thanks.