Saturday, September 27, 2003

New HP 318 Camera

I recently picked up through my company's employee purchase program a nice HP 318 camera. It is only 2.31 megapixel, but it works out of the box with debian (thanks gphoto2 and gtkam!), has a CF slot so with a 256M card it can hold almost 300 pictures at its highest resolution. The kids and I have been going crazy taking pictures of pretty much everything.

Self portrait

The Beast

Picture of our living room rug -- suitable for screen background (click t
o download)

Monday, September 15, 2003

Verisign pulls a fast one -- All .COM / .NET domain names now exist

VeriSign added a wildcard A record to the .COM and .NET TLD DNS zones. The IP address returned is, which reverses to

That means when someone mistypes a URL or non-existent domain name it will go to Verisign's advertising/search engine site.

So a clearly bogus site ( will resolve in DNS.

$host has address

Spammers 'hijacking' domain

It looks like some spammer is using my domain name as for the return
address. Starting yesterday I started getting a bunch of bounced email
allegedly from addresses like this:

Here is a selection of the crap that they are sending out:


Subject: Re: fioricet, soma, buspar, prozac, and more prescribed
online and shipped to your door jnk ngc vktv lsgqp uredu jb r
nclh qovnbcdpzdvygvotdzljdt yqlis pvhq diijybv djkxitmhw xksh


Subject: Fwd: get prescription meds to your door - no prior
prescription needed rbthixw juminx wuzeh y m kywdghdyb tt xx
dfzlztjajjzhz lyhnjufi omhb tsntghowomc gjm guuhleytw


Subject: Re: get prescribed viagra, diet pills and much more online!
overnight shipping id pjvunfslev daqrksw qck lrrpqarma tlpkb
ym q tu nk bgl lsc pmppwvlxiageo

Subject: Fwd: ever wanted real soma pills rrvkmqjohenzzvowgseyb


Subject: Re: order status
number%random_number%random_number) fph mbnyhhpbequue zaty
zlhifzh ivb wdgfhbkgoyaw rjoslyduhrh xhrzphcp kbl
aitqveaefytihoir lghshjqs

The last one is interesting because it looks like the jerk messed up
his spamming software.

Friday, September 12, 2003

Adelphia's experiment with Microsoft TV

There is an excellent new show in Merrimack, NH on Adelphia channel 22:

Program D:TRMSDisplayEngine.exe

Program D:TRMSDisplayEngine.exe dialog box

It says:

Microsoft Visual C++ Runtime Library
Runtime Error!
Program D:TRMSDisplayEngine.exe
abnormal program termination


It gets bonus points for the time not changing. Apparently the app crashed 10 1/2 hours ago and hasn't been noticed...

Tuesday, September 9, 2003

John Edwards Town Hall meeting in Merrimack, NH (08 Sep 2003)

Last night John Edwards was in Merrimack, NH holding a town hall
meeting/rally. Since we liked what we heard last July down in Nashua,
we took the kids to hear him again.

One the way down to the gazebo, I saw someone that looked familar,
although I couldn't place where -- it was blogger Dave Winer. To be honest, I think it was his
that caught my attention first. Afterwards we had a nice
talk and introduced him to all the little ones. Emma really won him over ;-)

Christopher Lydon (formerly of the excellent NPR lunchtime radio show, now occasionally on some other public radio show that I forget the name but is still excellent when I catch it) was also there. His impression and a recording of the event is on his blog.

Personally I liked his passion for civil rights/civil liberties.

And Wendy was quoted
in the Nashua Telegraph.
Spencer has a weekly school assignment of writing about a current events topic, but somehow quoting mom wouldn't be the best option.

Wendy Thomas, a 44-year-old mother of six in town, said she had to
come see Edwards again after a similar event in Nashua and tested the
candidate's support for making it easier to get rid of incompetent,
public school teachers. "My biggest concern still is nobody has heard
of this guy. I keep telling my friends, 'You've got to meet this
candidate, John Edwards. They say, John who?' " Thomas recalled.

Here are some of my photos from the event. Griffin is proud of
some pictures he took too.

John Edwards answering Wendy's question wrt education

Pepsi Product placement at townhall meeting ;-)

Griffin (middle) and Spencer (right) waiting to get an autograph

Brush with blog fame: Dave "scripting.

Winer (yellow shirt, partially obscured) and Christopher Lydon (headphones)

Griffin getting an autograph

Spencer getting an autograph

Wednesday, September 3, 2003

netjuke from source on debian

The debian/sarge package for netjuke didn't quite work out of the box and it was a little dated so I decided to install netjuke from source.

Dependancies -- apt-get the debian packages for mysql-client, mysql-server and make sure php4 and php4-mysql are installed.

Be sure to follow the post-installation steps of php4 in /usr/share/doc/php4/README.Debian.gz.
In particular, un-comment the line:

LoadModule php4_module /usr/lib/apache/1.3/


AddType application/x-httpd-php .php .phtml .php3
AddType application/x-httpd-php-source .phps

and add index.php to the line like this:

DirectoryIndex index.php index.phtml index.php3 index.html

Remember to restart apache (/etc/init.d/apache restart)

Now you need to create a database to hold the netjuke tables. If you
have an existing database and user, you can use that. I have fresh
MySQL install with no table nor any non-root database users, so I did

  • By default debian's MySQL server doesn't listen on the network
    port but netjuke wanted to connect that say, so edit /etc/mysql/my.cnf
    to enable it by commenting out the skip-networking line and
    restart MySQL (/etc/init.d/mysql restart)

  • Check to see that it worked:

    $ mysqladmin -u root password 'sekert'
    $ mysqladmin -u root -p create netjuke
    Enter password:
    $ mysql -u root -p mysql
    Enter password:

    Welcome to the MySQL monitor. Commands end with ; or g.
    Your MySQL connection id is 6 to server version: 4.0.13-log

    Type 'help;' or 'h' for help. Type 'c' to clear the buffer.
    mysql> grant all privileges on netjuke.* to netjuke@localhost
    identified by 'othersekret;
    Query OK, 0 rows affected (0.01 sec)

  • Now you are ready to install netjuke.

    Go to the top of the web space, by default on debian it is /var/www
    and unpack netjuke (tar zxvf ~/ netjuke-1.0-rc2.tar.gz).

    Now as the netjuke docs say, go to

    and click through the GPL license to the installation page. My
    answers were:

    DB Type: MySQL
    DB Host: localhost
    DB User: netjuke
    DB Password: othersekret
    Sys. Admin. email:
    Admin Password: moresekret

    After a submit (be sure javascript is enabled, netjuke uses it
    heavily) it will offer to save inc-prefs.php. Copy that to
    /var/www/netjuke/etc/ and you may need to set the privileges to the
    web server can read the file
    chmod 444 /var/www/netjuke/etc/inc-prefs.php

    You are almost done, so take a look at http://localhost/netjuke and
    log in and poke around some. Don't worry that there aren't any music
    files there, that is next.

    I keep my music files in /DATA/Music/ and didn't want to copy them to
    where netjuke wanted them (/var/www/netjuke/var/music), so I used
    ln to make them available like this:

    cp /var/www/netjuke/var/music/* /DATA/Music
    rm -rf /var/www/netjuke/var/music
    ln -s /DATA/Music /var/www/netjuke/var/music

    Now back to netjuke's web
    to import the files. Follow the links Admin->Recursive
    Audio File Finder->Start Scanning and then watch as the mp3/ogg/etc
    files are found and added to the netjuke database. If you have a lot
    (I have around 11G) you may need to import them a few at a time using
    the Admin->Music Directory Browser route and bring in a few
    directories at at time.

Tuesday, September 2, 2003

John Edwards will be campaigning in Merrimack, NH on September 8th

We just got a call (two actually) from the NH John Edwards' presidential campaign about a rally in town next Monday at 7pm at Abby Griffin park.

I first asked if the info was on the John Edwards website ("not yet, the venue was just confirmed his morning") and if they were considering adding a weblog to the site. The NH staffer said he didn't know if the ational campaign would, but they are thinking about having someone from the NH organization to start one.

Just tonight I found a picture of Addy on the North Carolina News Observer newspaper website
from the last time John Edwards was in Nashua.

Monday, September 1, 2003

Using MTRG to monitor kid's bandwidth

We just added a WinXP system for the kids to use. We were tired of saying: "Stop playing neopets on Mom's computer" and "Enough of the Strong Bad email, get off of my computer". In order to keep an eye on how much bandwidth they were using, especially if they inadvertently get install some spyware, I'm using MRTG to watch for spikes in traffic.

  • On the windows systems, install SNMP (in the control panel->Add Software->Add/Remove Windows Components).

  • On the home linux server install mrtg
    and then do this:

  • Create a mrtg configuration file:
    cfgmonitor public@kidspc public@wendypc > /etc/mrtg.cfg 

  • Create a index for the top of the web area:
    indexmaker /etc/mrtg.cfg > /var/www/mrtg/index.html 

The debian package already took care of creating the directory and a
script in /etc/cron.d/mrtg to run every 5 minutes.

Using X10 to control the kid's lava lamp

Installed bottlerocket (comma nd is br) and setup cron to turn on/off the boy's lava lamp so it is on when the wake up and go to bed.

My root crontab looks like this now:


# Turn on Spencer's lava lamp at 6:00am and off at 7:30pm
0 6 * * * /usr/bin/br A3 ON
0 7 * * * /usr/bin/br A3 OFF

# Turn on Spencer's lava lamp at 7:30pm and off at 8:30pm
30 19 * * * /usr/bin/br A3 ON
30 20 * * * /usr/bin/br A3 OFF