Whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy -- meditate on these things.
The boys (and Heather has enjoyed it too - I haven't gotten to it yet) have really been enjoying Khan Academy this last week. It is an educational tool, with lots of questions to test you on different skills. Jonathan is especially motivated by the reward badges it gives you when you do certain activities. It does a good job of remembering how well you have done on previous problems to decide whether you need more practice or not. It also has helpful videos to teach you new concepts.
Noah was working on some fraction problems (identifying the numerator and denominator). He had gotten three problems right and couldn't figure out why the fourth was wrong, and so I asked him if he had watched the video. He hadn't, but had just guessed, and the first three has asked him what the numerator was, and so he had picked the first number. He didn't notice the question changed on the fourth problem. I suggested that perhaps he should watch the video, although I think he didn't, but did see that the question was slightly different, and so then did the bottom number instead.... I guess we will see as time goes on whether this form of experimenting/learning is useful, or if it teaches you interesting things that end up not really working out. (More)
I came across yet another version of a distributed social network, this one with hardware. FreedomBox Foundation is working on figuring out how to make tons of tiny little web servers that take out the centralized model. The New York Times has a decent article on explaining why Mark Zuckerburg having all of your information is a bad thing.
The introduction video on FreedomBox's site was a good non-technical description, and with graphics, for all of you who don't like to read that much... :)
It mentions diaspora, friendica and buddycloud. I'd heard of diaspora, and I have an account, but it doesn't interact with me very well. I glanced through buddycloud this morning, and didn't see anything particularly interesting. friendica emphasizes being able to interact with other current social networks, which is a good thing, since it is a hard thing to get people to switch.
I guess I should spend some time in figuring out how to install one of them and see if it is worth using. I've not been clear on how much you can customize the installations, and how hard it is to add features, etc. And how open the development really is, in terms of them wanting features from outside people, etc.
Mostly, I think the problem is that I want it just to work, and so I don't want to spend lots of my own time developing a system. Maybe I could work on figuring out if I could add plugins into LifeType to make it do some interesting things with the new social networks. LifeType 2.0 (if it ever comes out) started a couple years ago adding some social networking features, and so it might fit in well; I don' t know.
But, as facebook and google are increasingly unfriendly (Facebook announced they would no longer import notes, such as this one, starting in a couple weeks) I suppose their theory is that people will manually double post, or move to facebook only, or something like that. But, that is a pain, so I'll probably just stop posting to facebook.
We are in the process of moving to a new filename format for our pictures, simpy using the timestamp from the camera, rather than manually typing in ordering numbers, etc. And that postponed the publishing of our pictures for a couple months, but I finally spent the time today to get it all setup. The RSS feed for our pictures was a little strange, so if you normally see our pictures that way, you may or may not have seen all of them appropriately.
And I see that most of our Maggie P pictures are not in the RSS feed - not sure why that is - probably due to too many pictures. Probably the best way to not miss any pictures at this point is to check out the "all chronologically" folder.
Some people have been talking about whether they think in blogging, as in: "this is so much fun, I should blog about it", or, "look how cute the kids are being, I should grab a camera so I can post it on flickr", etc.
I didn't particularly relate to that, but this morning I re-discovered a cipher book I liked as a kid, and thought it would be fun to go through some of it. And then thought, I could write a script to do this for me, and then, maybe I should blog about that. hrm.... (More)
The IRS hasn't published their calculator yet, and I have been reading about lots of people trying to figure out what to do with line 70 on their 1040 (ie. the famous RRC that is causing probably more time wasted than was worth the money that was sent out last year.
So, I wrote a calculator this morning. I went through a bunch of cases, so I think I got all of them, but of course, who knows, with all of the tax tricks, etc. if my understanding of the credit is how it actually works.
And if the IRS ever gets around to actually publishing their calculator, it will presumably be better than mine. Have fun.
As I wrote earlier, I use worklog to keep track of my time. I use some other scripts to help manage worklog's output, and now that I made one of the scripts work even nicer today, I figured I should post them. (More)
I have been quite behind in my magazine reading, and this morning I caught up to August (2008 - at some points, it has been necessary to specify the year when saying how far behind I am).
There is an interesting article in Dr. Dobbs, by Scott Ambler, regarding methods of estimating costs of software development, and whether the typical, fixed price model is even ethical. (More)
I think I have written before about DenyHosts, but this evening, it prevented somewhere around twenty thousand individual hosts trying to login to one of my servers. The hackers have gotten smarter - that they used to just try from one host, which was trivially blockable, even manually. But, thanks to denyhosts (and the fairly easily trackable behavior by the hackers), they think they get a couple chances to guess a password before being blocked. Note, that I say "think", because they actually don't get any, due to the way they are doing it. (More)
After a slightly hectic day yesterday, when I noticed some strange behavior on one of my servers, we released a new version of LifeType. While I am not impressed that the bug existed in the first place, I think it is pretty neat that a development fixed was released within 4 hours of the bug being discovered, and an official release within 36 hours. The last time we had a security issue, we released the fix in less than 24 hours, but it is harder on a Sunday.
The security issue itself wasn't all that interesting - we were checking a blacklist in a case-sensitive manner, and so filename.PHP was incorrectly allowed to be uploaded, and filename.php was correctly blocked. (More)
I am sure this will excite many of our normal readers, but I have finally (after four years) switched my laptop to Linux. Now that I am using it everyday, it is much nicer to be in this environment, instead of having putty windows all over the place. Perhaps if I had a better window manager for windows, I would have been alright, but anyway...
I have a Sony PCG-V505DC2 for those search engines to help other folks trying to figure out any issues with installing Linux, and Debian specifically.(More)
When a customer says that he has a smaller project than the one I just did, don't pay attention, and think about the quote, rather than simply estimating the time as less than the previous project.
Yesterday, I did a project for a friend (one who let me have better access than average to the real estate listings) and it took an hour and a half and was 107 lines of code. He wanted to pay for that one, but I thought it was a fair exchange for getting the real estate listing access.
Today, I did a "smaller" project, that was 367 lines of code, and it took 3.5 hours. Hrm.(More)
I don't know if it is only relevant to Allegheny County or if it is more universal, but a friend asked me to write a parcel id (parcel/block/lot) parser to help him out in his real estate searches. It was kind of a fun project (3 hours) and it was neat to see how well it worked out in the end.
It takes stuff on the right, and turns it into the stuff on the left:0318-C-00080-0000-00 <= 318 C 080
0387-S-00002-0000-00 <= 387-S-2 387-M-148
0160-K-00013-0000-00 <= 0160-K-00013-0000-00
0124-P-00095-000A-00 <= 0124-p-00095-000a-00
1213-F-00377-0000-00 <= 1213F00377
0180-B-00041-0000-00 <= 0180-B-00041-0000-00
0495-F-00201-0000-00 <= Lot & Block 495-F-201
0009-S-00305-0000-00 <= 9-S-305
0309-D-00100-0000-00 <= 0309D00100000000
Code follows below: (More)
I found what I would call a bug in resolvconf today, though probably most people don't run a VPN server like I wanted to, so no one ever noticed before. (More)