February 2006 Archives

My adoption journey

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I wish it were as simple as Darryl (aka DMC) made it appear on the VH1, hour long show. The pseudo documentary captured his abbreviated search for his birth-mother. While I suspect, that Darryl Lovelace spent many years contemplating and struggling with the many unknowns associated with being an adoptee, the show did very little to capture the 'realness'.. I suppose it would be too obvious to state that a guy with celebrity to the highest degree is more likely to uncover mysteries than Joe Schmuckatella. Well, that's television for you. Sort of like the Antwone Fisher story.

Oracle Shopping Spree

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Well, it appears that Oracle is trying to swallow all OSS databases. It would seem that a strategic advantage could be had by grabbing all the developers it can from the Redmond wooly mammoth.
It is unclear whether Ellison is committed to maintaining the community/open based heritage of the acquired firms.

According to the Sleepycat it will be business as usual. We'll see.

Admittedly, I have only had limited exposure to Berkeley DB. I recall working with DB when compiling the following Gnome packages: GnuCash, Evolution.

It was really a royal PITA to keep up with the ever changing version numbers. Not very clear as to why the Sleepycat folks never cared to freeze development and stick with one version number.

More recently, I discovered a corrupted blog publishing engine database. Not really a very fond memory. I quickly pulled DB out and replaced it with mySQL.

Sleepycat Software blog: The next ten years.

links for 2006-02-23

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Hybrids - Laymans view

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Perhaps the most comprehensive preview of a hybrid vehicle. I've always wondered what customers thought about the fuel efficiency of their shiny new hybrids.

I suppose the same could be said for our traditional gasoline-only vehicles; however, I would assert that the expectations are much greater for hybrids.

Subclock: Honda Accord Hybrid review.

Oprah fallacies

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While I do admire Oprah Winfrey's philanthropy(especially regarding HBCUs), I've never been a huge Oprah show fanatic. Although, most women swear by it, I still lump her show in with the likes of Geraldo and others of similar pedigree.

Recently, it was revealed that she knowingly permitted one of her guests to stir crowd reaction with blatant falsehoods. You ask, "Is this really newsworthy?" No, it probably isn't, but I'm not sure how many have called her out for bending the truth for the sake of ratings...

OpinionJournal - Wonder Land

Steel Globalization

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Well, in the midwest(aka North American wilderness), when you speak of emerging global economies most people quickly utter China. However, I wouldn't sleep on India. Granted both nations of their fair share of political ills, but these days nobody is immune to some sort of dirt that is despicable to their foreign neighbors.

China made as strong power move to acquire a struggling American oil company, an action that was met with strong opposition.

However, as the article below would suggest, a very prominent Indian national is amassing a huge amount of wealth by strategically providing steel to developing nations. In fact, Lakshmi Mittal, is building quite an empire.

OpinionJournal - Featured Article - Heavy Mittal

Do Less Evil

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While I do believe Google is largely benevolent, with one huge exception. I'm not at all sure that it should be setting some sort of moral precedent when it comes to doing business in China. While it is clear, that censorship should be rejected by a company who carries the mantra, "Do no evil", I don't fault them at all.

It is very likely that the Chinese students will find a way to mitigate the restrictions, so the point will moot. Moreover, I do not believe it is possible for a company to be a champion at all levels. Does such a firm even exist? I cannot name any. Everyone has skeletons.

David Farrar: Google doing evil

links for 2006-02-18

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Last Frontier

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I've not seen this vehicle, but have heard a great deal about it. It's going to be very interesting to see if Toyota can make a big splash in Texas, Florida, and some of the other southern states where SuperDuty sales are immense.

I understand that Toyota has an assembly plant in the heart of Texas, somewhere near San Antonio. Strategically, it appears to be death blow. Only time will tell.

Toyota Vies for One of Detroit's Last Strongholds - New York Times

On Target Auto Industry Views

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The summary is very succint and quite concise. The only disagreement I have is that hybrid technology is the panacea for gross market share.

Otherwise he hits the target without question. Unfortunately, the sad truth is that the hemmoraging will only get worse if both companies do not get smaller very quickly. Additionally, it certainly wouldn't hurt to make exciting, quality, fuel efficient products that consumers are compelled to purchase. All of which, would require a definite culture paradigm shift, that I'm not certain is easily attainable at this juncture.

An Enterprise Architects View on Ford/GM

links for 2006-02-16

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Web 2.0

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I am very impressed with the latest push to educate people on the virtues of Web2.0; however, I'm concerned that most people will not understand its importance. Tim O'Reilly did an excellent job in his attempt to offer up an indepth comparison between Web 2.0 and Web 1.0.

Hell, the vast majority weren't aware that there was a Web1.0 and its methodology. Well, I suppose that I'll do my part in the education. The basic premise is the idea of dynamic, open, and collaborative platforms that become hightly extensible over time.

The days of static circa 1992 websites are pretty much done. However, as I scan the blogosphere I still see way too many complicated designs that are simply just too busy. Simplicity has always been my theme and foundation. Typically, people just want the data. If you make it too difficult to read and allow others to share and extend your message(or refute it), it is very likely that they will not spend more than a few minutes at your site.

Now that we have a proliferation of CMS tools, the barrier to entry is almost nill. As a result, one needn't know anything about W3C standards, much less basic HTML. So, there really needs to be a set of ground rules that help make sense of this stuff.

At the end of the day, all we really want is the data... Isn't that the reason you surf the web?

Web 2.0 Architecture - Galbraith

Special needs pupils

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We now of gups again, albeit just one white belt. I have lamented on the demise of our school, as we are so top heavy (ie. lots of black belts). I had the honor of spending time with one of our newest students. I was told that he has a learning disability, but after working with him, I really believe that he's going to be just fine. While I have no experience with teaching special needs students, I do know that I will not treat him any differently. I'll break down the hyungs, so that he can easily learn them. Repetition will be the order of the day. Obviously, I'll inject my singular wit to lighten the mood.

We worked on middle(choong dan mahkee) punches, high(sang dan mahkee) and low(ha dan mahkee) blocks. We will work on some kicking techniques during our next class. The new student came with his father who also happens to be a 1st Dan, so we are getting more students. Definitely, quite encouraging. Our school simply cannot survive with a bunch of black belts and no Gups.

IE 7.0 - Who cares?

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I am always astonished at the build up that begets M$ products. Clearly, you'd have to attribute this to its marketing/propaganda machine.

Let's look at a few facts, shall we? Most of us already know that an epic court case and numerous subpeonas, forced the Redmond woolly mammoth to unlink and remove the IE browser from the core of its OS. It is also pretty clear that there has not been very much development on said browser in probably five years. It wasn't until the Mozilla project put the heat on them that they scrambled to get that aging browser a much needed face lift. Gotta give Netscape respect for having the gumption to open the source code to their browser some 10 yrs ago. Lots of goodness happened in the aftermath of their decision.

The article below talks about 'all' of the wonderful features of this new browser.. Tabbed interface, RSS aware, etc. Gosh, last time I checked, Firefox had all those features since release 1.x.
I'm not even going to call this a browser war, as it's really not even close. If consumers were given a choice, I don't think IE would even stand a chance. The consumers who use IE, do so for a couple of reasons: (1) Corporate environment that enforces M$ edict, (2) Unaware that they actually do have a choice. I'll probably add a Get Firefox chicklet on my site as an expression of defiance and solidarity.

Wow, doesn't it remind you of the Win95 euphoria? We all remember how that ended too. The joke was Win95 = Mac 83.

Browsers take the stage, thanks to the IE 7 beta and a Firefox security update

25th Hour

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Got a chance to watch a film produced by my favorite indie director, Spike Lee. Yeah, I said indie, because Spike has largely gone underground and really isn't considered mainstream anymore. Hell, he's already made his splash and created consciousness in blackfilm genre. I know that nobody is checking for Spike anymore, but I'll always be a fan. He represents BK lovely ;)

The flick snuck in under the radar, but was pretty good, classic 40 Acres and a Mule. Shots of the moving character that reminds you have someone on a conveyor belt. The only aspect that was missing was Spike himself.. He didn't appear in this film as one of the characters. Hmm.. I'm not certain if he's ever done that in previous films.

Basically, the storyline was real simple. How would one who has been sentenced and convicted of a crime spend his last days as a free man? What sort of regrets would you harbor in your soul? Who can you trust? Would your woman be there for you once you did seven flat? Could you do the time?

I've never caught a case, but I can tell you that I couldn't do a bid. I'd probably last only a few hours. Someone would probably send a soldier after me or I'd end up extended my stay for poor behaviour. I used to visit my brother on Riker's Isle, prison ain't nothing nice.

The film has a decent compliment of notable actors and actresses. Where does it rank amongst other epic Spike Lee films? I'd probably say that it's middle of the pack.

However, its a pretty decent way to spend a Friday nite. You could do much worse..
Grab the torrent or peep the storyline before the Netflix rental.

Open Source Financial Software

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Continuing the the 'Linux on the Desktop' discussion, I often heard people ask about a heavy duty, industry standard financial software. Frankly, I use GnuCash. Granted it's not really designed for a large business (ie accounting firm), but it suits me just fine. In fact, the package has made reliance upon Quicken a distant memory.

*Aside* - GnuCash has finally released a beta product based on Gtk2 libs, now that's newsworthy ;)

Now there is talk about another commercial product, TurboCash opening their source code. While I think it's great, I'm not sure if it's exactly newsworthy.

There are always firms who secretly desire to get access to more open source developers, so announcements like these garners the attention that they need.

Eventually, someone will probably reverse engineer their product anyway.

freshmeat.net: Category Reviews - Financial Software for Linux

links for 2006-02-11

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Human experiments

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Recently there has been a huge effort to expose some of the dirty dealings of the multi-billion dollar pharmaceutical industry. I have discussed some of this in an earlier post.

It would make sense that these clandestine efforts are especially designed to curb the population boom in India and Africa. However, what is particularly despicable, are the numerous attempts of supressing the news. These companies would have you believe that people are willing participants in this sort of laboratory exercise.

Wired News: Testing Drugs on India's Poor

Rude Linuxheads - Say it ain't so

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Continuing with the community theme. Interesting article that has some truth to it.
Moreover, I can sympathize with those who have been turned off from seeking help from Linux newsgroups or IRC.

Although, I have used Linux for awhile, I too have experienced atypical behavior from a couple developers. I seem to recall an instance where I sought help compiling Evolution from source, and quickly plunged into dependency hell. Obviously, I requested help from the Evo-hackers NG. There was bit of arrogance and a basic disdain for the less informed user. I will add that this was not generally the attitude of the majority of the GNOME/Evolution developers.

I suppose the beautiful aspect of Open Source is that for every idiot, there will be at least three benevolent people. So, it was that I discovered FRG project, whose scripts made installing GNOME apps on a Slackware box mere child's play.

In truth, the whole idea of asking the smart question is really essential to getting useful help. If you take the time to document and understand what help is truly required, you're more likely to get the help you need.

Regarding the Self-Congratulatory Posture of the Cluetrain Manifesto ... :: AO

World Dominance

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Could this be the year of the Linux Desktop? I've heard this question repeatedly over last couple of years. At this point, it is clear that the process of overtaking M$ will be a lengthy one. However, I'm not so sure that the effort is actually necessary. Linux has already displaced UNIX and NT in the server room. It is the largest and arguably the most successful Open Source project. Apache webserver being the other. Despite all of the hoopla over the GPLv3, I really don't think it will slow Linux adoption or discourage commercial vendors from attempting to make a mint off Open Source software.

Dirtiest cities??

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Statistics can certainly be quite entertaining to analyze.
Where does your city rank?

50 Cleanest (Dirtiest) Cities in America

DRM - destructive FUD

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Now that I've had my monthly massage, I can unwind and actually objectively compose this rant of epic proportions.
Recently, I have embarked on a quest to digitize my analog mix-tapes. The idea here is to archive them for posterity and obviously share them with my friends. Those of you who know me well, understand that my mix-tape stacks are quite immense, and they are authentic circa 1980, hip-hop and house cuts. Unfortunately, due to large file size and bandwidth considerations, it simply wouldn't be practical to hosts the archives on my server. So, I sought out perhaps the most readily known media archiving site, the internet archive. I chose the archive because I have always admired the work of Brewster Kahle, and the whole idea of the wayward machine. Moreover, the archive has one of the most aggressive bots, Alexa's ia_archiver bot, so I was sure to have my content indexed.

*Aside* BTW: If you haven't checked out NerdTV, make sure that you peep the shows they really are quite good. Very informative.

links for 2006-02-06

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links for 2006-02-05

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links for 2006-02-01

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