November 29th, 2005

Semiformalishmaybe

Another Tired BLOG entry..

Tonight is another all-nighter at work, this time setting up the three new machines I got in for our new server room. All three are low-end replacements for machines that are presently much lower-end. All three are from Penguin Computing, the Linux hardware vendor I've been going with for all our other Linux servers. They're Altus 1300 systems (amd64-based 1U rack units) configured fairly minimally -- a gig of RAM, dual AMD-244s. They are, not unusually for rack systems, incredibly loud, especially when booting up. I could probably trust the Fedora4 they came installed with, but I prefer to always do the install myself so I know that if I need to reinstall the OS, there will be no surprises.

Interestingly, the install fails, telling me it can't mount the root on the DVD. Googling gives this very odd advice that, surprisingly, works. I have no idea why this would work, but it does. It would be interesting to get an explanation from people in the know.

I also, as seems to happen often, got into yet another discussion on Israel-Palestine with friends earlier tonight. Oy. The most frustrating thing is that they listened to and responded to arguments I wasn't even making that only held a passing resemblance to what I was saying.

Ugggghh... sooo tired.

Semiformalishmaybe

The Mouse that stood up to the Turnip

All three servers are very loosely configured now -- I'll be doing the rest at the same time that I retire the old systems. It's awesome that I don't think I'll have any non-rack computers in the new racks -- tower systems waste a lot of rack space and partly defeat the point of having a rack in the first place.

While doing the install, I installed onto my laptop a new music player I've been hearing good things about from some linuxy friends online -- amaroK (which my fingers keep wanting to spell anorak). The prominent K means, of course, that it's a KDE application. It took me awhile to hunt down the requisite RPMs to install it, and it's not the most stable of applications, but it is very cool provided one avoids the functionality that crashes or hangs it. The interface is very cool (and configurable), it can use Postgres/mySQL/sqLite as its database backend, and it has a lot of the playlist functionality that iTunes has. When fully mature, I'm sure it'll be one of those almost-killer-app things.

I also have discovered that for some reason I have a large amount of music on my computer that I have never heard before. I don't remember downloading or ripping it, and it fits into my tastes in ways that I doubt I got it from friends. Sometimes the ordinary is puzzling..

A friend of mine recently was hired on extremely short notice, and will be flying to Tokyo at the end of the week. I haven't had the time or the money to visit him in California, and now he's going yet further away, but to an interesting opportunity doing neat techie stuff. I hope that I can manage a trip at some point -- I do want to make a pacific tour at some point, but it'd be very expensive, I suspect.

And now, the news that's worth reading...

  • Thailand has an interesting way to promote religion. I suppose I would advise people to stay away from both commercialism and religion, rather than replace one with the other.
  • Google pisses off business people. Good.
  • Samsung is in hot water over special deal with Apple. I think this is also a good thing -- exclusive deals distort a marketplace in ways that rarely benefit the consumer -- capitalism is, in itself, a bad system, but when the system is itself mutable by application of funds, it has the potential to be far worse. Note that this differs from economies of scale, which are a complex topic even in socialist economics.
  • You've probably read about it elsewhere by now, but BushJr has burned more international bridges with what may be jokes and may be actual plans to bomb Al Jazeera offices for news reporting that he wasn't able to control on the topic of Iraq.
  • Ariel Sharon, like many other great national leaders (Ataturk, Tsar Peter, Putin) showed his status by ripping apart the political party he came from to form a new one based around his vision for his country. It's amazing when people can pull this off -- that one person can rewrite the politics of an entire nation.
  • Perhaps Galloway is too close to muslim politics in the U.K. This is where I think a lot of liberals go astray and support regressive regimes -- having compassion for the trampled doesn't necessarily mean that one should support the trampled getting whatever they want, especially when said folk are themselves regressive. I think that it is not at all inconsistent that we can, for example, have great rage at the racist slavery that colonialism has brought the world while at the same time not advocating the return of tribal or less civilised times for the abused. We can distinguish fighting for fairness and fighting to help the abused get whatever they want, be it illiberal or not. I think I always understood this implicitly, but with explicit understanding, I broke completely with the Palestinian nationalist cause -- Israel, although there is room for improvement in many of its institutions (read: secularise it, force integration, and have an eventual plan to remove the racial preference embodied in the system, replacing it if necessary by managing emergence of post-englightenment thinking), is the best hope for civilisation in that area of the world. Similarly (but much more extreme), Saddam Hussein represented a more acceptable existence than an Islamic republic like Iran, and so, even considering the illiberal nature of his regime, he produced what may have been the best option for the time for that area. Without a certain level of advancement of culture, one can't hope for better leaders. Of course, I recognise that from other value systems, these ideals do not make sense and may be jarring, but that's always the nature of discussions involving value judgements like this.
  • This may amuse the politically minded
  • Attention parents: Your kid was stupid. While I think there may be a purpose in having the government help parents with minor aspects of their task (unless they decide not to take that help), in the end the onus falls onto the kid (and perhaps very lightly the parents) not to be a complete idiot.