At the last couple of places I’ve worked I’ve ended up being the only real sysadmin in the company. While this gives you a fair amount of control over what you’re doing from hour to hour, it also means you don’t have any one with the same professional interests to bounce ideas off or sanity check you; caveat: most Perl developers I’ve worked with have a pretty comprehensive knowledge of UNIX. Read on →

I’ve been waiting for this one for a while and it’s almost on us. The weird thing is it’s starting to become difficult to not found out what happens in the film. When it was only the occasional geek seeing an early screener or preview I could spot the posts and ignore them. now it’s on general release in the US the sheer quantity of reviews, spoilers and discussions on the film is becoming ridiculous. Read on →

Over at ZDNet Paul Murphy has a rather annoying post about whether the GPL impedes Linux more than it helps. The short answer is: No. The slightly longer version is “who cares?” Linux has become an incredible phenomenon, it’s used in some of the biggest companies on the planet (Google, Oracle, Novell), it runs large chunks of the net and has an amazing community of very smart people moving it forward. Read on →

In any friendship, hell any relationship, the most important thing is equality. Each party has certain expectations, if they don’t match those of the other person then things will eventually come to a head. In a relationship the same principles apply, but what they each offer may be very different and appear unbalanced on first glance. This is often the deal with “old rich guy” with “young attractive women” relationships. As long as they both understand what they’re going to put in (no pun intended) and get out then they can work. Read on →

I’ve never been able to get to a Toorcon but from reading the Toorcon 2005 slides it seems they have a number of quality speakers. The three highlights from this years sessions seem to be Introducing the Bastille Hardening Assessment Tool by Jay Beale, How Big is that Foot in the Door by Foofus and Simple Nomads How Hackers Get Caught. The intro to Bastille does both a good job of explaining why you should care about hardening, which includes some great quotes: The NSA’s Information Assurance Directorate evaluated a system locked-down following CIS’s Windows 2000 guide. Read on →

I’ve spent a couple of minutes (yep, very in-depth :)) playing with Rollyo, a way to run searches over multiple sites. The site’s pretty slick (and looks quite Basecamp/37signals inspired) but I can’t help but think I’ve been here before… Mozilla, and FireFox with a plugin, have something called the search sidebar. This little piece of magic allows you to run a search over multiple sites at the same time and integrates the results; each site search is implemented using a mycroft search plugin. Read on →

In what is just another in a long line of things that have been sent to test me over the last couple of weeks, today one of my sites got hit by a group of machines trying to do not nice things. The result? A load of 56 and a very slow machine. I stopped apache for a while, put some “measures” in place and we’re back up running. I’ve never bothered to make blosxom cache or anything to keep the load low, not having that much traffic always achieved the same goal, but I’ll try and pencil some time in to take a look. Read on →

One of the little bits of trivia I learned while setting up PlanetGLLUG was how the planet software deals with RSS 0.9 feeds. The original “specification” for this version didn’t require each entry/post to have a date associated with it; although a lot of feeds work around this by either using the later revisions or including the Dublin Core name-space and dates. This causes the planet software to add every item in the RSS feed to the planet with the same date, the one on which it first pulls in the entries. Read on →

A busy Thursday night began with the UKUUG AGM. With just over twenty people present Ray Miller, council chairman, went through the details for the last year. While the full information will be available in the minutes (which should be in the next UKUUG news letter) there are a couple of points that I feel warrant a mention. Firstly was some great news. Alasdair Kergon, who pretty much singlehandedly organises the Linux conference each year, was made an honourary UKUUG member. Read on →

One of the great things about sites like PledgeBank is that they provide a single service and they they do it well enough that it can be bent slightly to serve another purpose. I organise the occasional meeting for techies and one of the few major worries is “what happens if no one turns up?”. It’s not a complex fear but it can result in some sleepless nights. It’s not even just a case of “will I look like an idiot if this goes wrong?“. Read on →