...making Linux just a little more fun!

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The Linux Launderette


(?)Microsoft buzz of the day
(?)For the Back Page
(?)Spam, spam, spam, spam...
(?)Hacker high school
(?)startx problem ?
(?)For Ben, courtesy of the Spammers
(?)[Sussex] A little bash help...
(?)Industry News
(?)Amusing note on security...
(?)Strange 419 spam
(?)Hitchhiker's guide trailers
(?)419 spam
(?)Re: Pouding
(?)Investment Relationship /waiting to hear from you.
(?)Software patents
(?)Register news
(?)Dave Allen (was Re: [TAG] UPS Problems..)
(?)Cron Jobs not being run
(?)Question about file mtime on linux
(?)PAM auth failure - can't login in.
(?)My PC is slower than yours...
(?)need information about sylpheed-claws
(?)Spam jokes
(?)Re: CD/RW's on Fedora Core 3
(?)India currency question (/Flash sucks)
(?)Hydrogen power
Greetings, greetings, greetings. After two months with sporadic internet access, I managed to grab the gems of wit and general non-linux-related chat that make up this section of LG. Enjoy.
Just before I was disconnected I had been having a conversation with a reader about music related things, and was unable to reply. I tried to sneak it through to last month's issue, but Ben rejected it due to the lack of Linux related content. I would have liked to have attached it to one of my "Songs in the Key of Tux" articles, but since I think the reply is long overdue, I've put it here.
As I've mentioned, I'm not currently connected to the 'net, so some of this month's launderette may have appeared in the last, or in TAG. If so, er, sorry.
Also, after several months of drinking way too often and way too much I managed to start writing some new articles that I haven't been able to complete by deadline time, but have been able to provide hints for. Next month!

-- Jimmy O'Regan

(?) Microsoft buzz of the day

From Sluggo

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2005/02/04/reboot_tablet_xp Microsoft urges Tablet users to reboot daily due to a memory-leaking program.

(?) For the Back Page

From Sluggo

% lost svn.wk4py.org
zsh: command not found: lost

(?) Spam, spam, spam, spam...

From Ben

I've just fished this one out of my spambox. The thing that's got me tremendously amused is that they tell you it's a load of baloney... just look at the sender's name!
----- Forwarded message from Tunde Salami <tnd_salami@eresmas.com> -----

From: Tunde Salami <tnd_salami@eresmas.com>
To: tnd_salami@eresmas.com
Reply-To: tnd_salami@box.az
Date: Tue, 12 Apr 2005 19:09:20 GMT
Subject: *****SPAM***** ATTENTION



[ snip ]

----- End forwarded message -----

(?) Hacker high school

From Sluggo

Hacker high school

Now we have a place to send all those losers who write in wanting to know how to hack, especially those who say, "Please tell me how to hack my school's computer."

(Trying not to say, "for those about to hack... we salute you." Argh, Jimmy, how do I get heavy metal out of my brain?

(!) [Jimmy] Heh. I get to the thread too late...
I've been trying to get more metal into my head, so I'm the wrong person to ask. I had a two day hangover after Easter Sunday (woke up in the home of my Polish friends, joined them for a traditional Polish Easter breakfast (which happened to include a bottle of vodka and a bottle of tequila), slept through the rest of the day, woke up thinking it was still Saturday. Y'know, the usual) where all I could do was play guitar. Out of the 16 or 17 more or less completed songs I came up with, only 4 or 5 passed the quality control process before being presented to my band (my next "Songs..." article will have some of the details), but the thing that's really irking me is that every time I try to finish off one of these metal songs, I end up getting delicate acoustic music that'll never be played.
(!) [Ben] Extracting those iron spikes from your head would be a good start...

(?) I gave it a heavy dose of Jean-Michel Jarre over the weekend but it didn't help.)

(!) [Ben] Jean-Michel Jarre??? Oh, well. There was some small chance of recovery up until you did that, but now... it's not even worth attempting. Heavy metal locked in by J-MJ is a self-replicating meme that results in an instantly-fatal case of acne for its host if anyone tries to remove it; you're permanently stuck. Don't worry, though; we'll keep AC/DC, some '70s hair bands, etc., piped into your room at the asylum, and you'll be able to lead some approximation of a normal life.

(?) Ben, please, not the hair metal!!! Anything but that!!! I'm sorry I called you a dirty communist spy. You're the kindest secret agent I've ever met, and those dark sunglasses look really good on you. Your capitalist credentials are impeccable, and your houseboat is the spiffiest in the harbor.

(!) [Ben] Heh, heh, heh. It's just a matter of knowing which threat to use.
Now we know your weak spot, comrade...
(!) [Jimmy] Wow Ben. I'd have never thought of using 70s hair metal. I'd have gone for the much more cruel option of 80s hair metal. Y'know, the hair spray, the wind machines...
Am I Evil? Yes I am.
(But Diamond Head are NWOBHM :)

(?) startx problem ?

From Sluggo

[Not cc'ing querent.]

Thomas Adam wrote:
> Oh, and *please* *fix* your damn .signature file -- be it an
> automatically-generated one, or just plain idiocy on your part -- I'm
> still getting Tux *twice* and you still *haven't* reduced your
> .signature file to <=5 lines.  If you think I'm being harsh -- wait
> until you post elsewhere on some other list;  they'll lynch you more so
> than I.

Watch out. Thomas has been training under Ben Okopnik. You really don't want to see his harsh side.

(!) [Breen] Ah, but has he earned his sunglasses yet?
(!) [Thomas] Ha! You should see the sunglasses I wear... :P
(!) [Jason] Oakley makes some sunglasses with an MP3 player built-in. 128 megs internal flash memory. And it's expandable.
So I'm thinking it's only a matter of time before Moore's Law makes it possible to run Linux on sunglasses, maybe video out via a HUD. How cool would that be?
Officer:	You ran a red light.
You:		Sorry, I was recompiling my kernel.

(?) As cool as my Java doorknob.

(!) [Ben] [ blink ] Say what? Is all that Python coding making you hallucinate *again*?

(?) Back when Sun first publicized Java and I was learning it, there was a common belief that Java would become ubiquidous in embedded systems. That led to the joke about the Java doorknob.

(!) [Ben] But the proto-ancestor of that was...


I went to my first computer conference at the New York Hilton about 20 years ago. When somebody there predicted the market for microprocessors would eventually be in the millions, someone else said, "Where are they all going to go? It's not like you need a computer in every doorknob!" Years later, I went back to the same hotel. I noticed the room keys had been replaced by electronic cards you slide into slots in the doors. There was a computer in every doorknob. -- Danny Hillis


(!) [Ben] Sure, sure, "Java doorknob", "millenium hand and shrimp", the Cabal (There Is No Cabal)... next thing you know, you'll be talking about "we're bringing democracy to Iraq".
Nah, maybe not. Nobody could be crazy enough to believe that.
(!) [John] Gosh, if only that were true ....
(!) [John (again)] I should have included this link!
(!) [Ben] Wow, 20MB worth of video. I tried to download it while I was teaching class, but the bandwidth in that part of the world is better described as "bandnarrowth"...
I'll give it another shot, now that I'm back at my hotel.
(!) [Ben] [sigh] Yeah.
I often wonder if even its proponents believe it. They use it, yeah, but believe it? Brain damage isn't that common.
Not that the first part of that makes any sense to me either, but then I can't fit the words "morality" and "murder for profit" into the same head space...
(!) [Jay] Yep.
Java Doorknob:
http://www.maxim-ic.com/products/ibutton/ibuttons http://www.maxim-ic.com/products/ibutton/ibuttons/java.cfm
Ok. Admittedly, I had to link two web pages to pull it off, but...
(!) [Ben] [laugh] There's always a smart guy in a Linux crowd. I just knew that somebody here would do a "yeah, but if we epoxied a rabid weasel at the tip of each helicopter blade, and applied 14,000.06v to three slices of French toast..."
(!) [Jay] Naw; I think 14KV would blow those things up...
(!) [Ben] (Nice to see you still here, Jay. It's been a month for Voices From The Past.)
(!) [Jay] Good to be back. I think I was actually in one of your necks of the woods last week, actually; I had to make a run to Ormond Beach, over north of Daytona.
(!) [Ben] Damn. You were within 40 minutes or so of me - and I was actually there for once (I've had a metric assload of travel lately, more travel than during the entire last year. QED: I'm writing this from a hotel room in New Mexico.)
(!) [Jay] Missed all the bikini's though.
(!) [Ben] Yes, well... those are maybe a week or two away. There's a bar/marina/restaurant in Salt Run (a part of St. Augustine) that is unbelievably packed with babes in the summer; be sure your heart is in good working order before checking it out.
(!) [Thomas] I have often quipped about this to my lecturer, who is very pro Java. Suffice it to say, he's not keen. :) What really annoys him is when I (seemingly) submit the Ruby equivalent of an answer into my work... :)
(!) [Ben] Well, if I'd known that you wanted to annoy him, all you had to do was tell me...


Learning Java has been a slow and tortuous process for me. Every few minutes, I start screaming 'No, you fools!' and have to go read something from Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs to de-stress. -- The Cube, www.forum3000.org


(!) [Thomas] Hmm, in other news, it's my birthday. :/
(!) [Thomas] Ah, yes - old age creeping up on you. They say that the first thing to go is memory, and the second is... uh, wait... give me a minute, willya?... I'll get back to you on that one.
(!) [Thomas] I feel old (not as old as Ben -- I don't think that's possible, is it? :P).
(!) [Breen] Oh, yes. It's possible. It's very possible. . .
(!) [Ben] It is, as George Burns said, better than the alternative. :p
(!) [Thomas] But I have finally got a copy of Vol 1 of "The Nuggets" collection. Four CDs of timeless and classic 1960s American psychedelia music. Yay. :) I can finally update my TAG/author bio to reflect this.
(!) [Ben] Hey, cool! That proves you've joined the ranks of the old farts; you even listen to the right kind of music!
(A very happy birthday to you, my friend. May your wishes come true in the way you'd best like them to, and may your life be long and full of love and friendship.)
(!) [Sluggo] Congratulations. How many whacks on the behind do you get?
(!) [Ben] Interesting birthday rituals you have, Mike. Most people just light some candles and have a bit of cake, but to each his own, I guess. BTW, when is your birthday? I've got a pair of perfectly good wooden oars, about 4 feet long and 10 lbs. apiece, that are just going to waste for lack of use... :)
(!) [Sluggo] For your birthday we have... a new version of FVWM! Just kidding, sorry. But check out the spy games Ben installed on the computer in the TAG lounge. Very realistic. There's even one set in Ireland where he's running away from a crime scene near Jimmy's house, and Jimmy puts his hand through the door....
(!) [Ben] SPOILER: Mike did it. In the pantry, at 7:30pm, with a wooden paddle.
(!) [Jimmy] Just for the record, I never put my hand through that door, I only cracked the glass (lucky for me it was reinforced glass, so I still have my hand).
Note, however, that I said that door...

(?) For Ben, courtesy of the Spammers

From DesperateHusbands

Marriage is not a word. It is a sentence - a life sentence.
Marriage is very much like a violin; after the sweet music is over, the strings are attached.
Marriage is love. Love is blind. Therefore, marriage is an institution for the blind.
Marriage is an institution in which a man loses his Bachelor's Degree and the woman gets her Masters.
Marriage is a thing which puts a ring on a woman's finger and two under the man's eyes.
Marriage certificate is just another word for a work permit.
Marriage is not just a having a wife, but also worries inherited forever.
Marriage requires a man to prepare 4 types of "rings": The Engagement Ring, The Wedding Ring, The Suffe-Ring, The Endu-Ring.
Married life is full of excitement and frustration: In the first year of marriage, the man speaks and the woman listens; In the second year, the woman speaks and the man listens; In the third year, they both speak and the neighbors listen.
It is true that love is blind but marriage is definitely an eye-opener.
Getting married is very much like going to the restaurant with friends. You order what you want, and when you see what the other fellow has, you wish you had ordered that.

(?) [Sussex] A little bash help...

From Geoffrey Teale

See attached GNUecho.1.txt

(?) Industry News

From Jimmy O'Regan

>From MillardbrachydomalL7gGv at mailshack.com  Sat Feb  5 16:39:57 2005
X-Mozilla-Status: 0001
X-Mozilla-Status2: 00000000
From: MillardbrachydomalL7gGv at mailshack.com (Vincent M. Bartlett)
Date: Sat Feb  5 16:45:04 2005
Subject: [TAG] Industry News
Message-ID: <RMNN$rw7O6.nXRubWG$tIJ7@applausive3.gawab.com>


13. Ninety six bottles of beer, three a's, three b's, one c, two d's, thirty two e's,
six f's, two g's, six h's, twelve i's, one j, one k, five l's, one m, eighteen n's,
fourteen o's, one p, six r's, twenty seven s's, twenty t's, two u's, seven v's, nine
w's, five x's, and five y's on the wall.
What! No z? No q?

(?) Amusing note on security...

From Ben Okopnik

>From http://securitygeeks.shmoo.com/ :

No vulnerabilities in ...

6 days 18 hours

20 days 59 minutes

170 days 1 hour

292 days 23 hours

(?) Strange 419 spam

From Mike Orr

Comments below.
-------- Original Message --------
Date: 	Thu, 10 Mar 2005 08:45:52 -0800
From: 	presidency1@zipmail.com.br

Committee on Foreign Contract Payment (RESOLUTION

                                            Date: 10h MARCH 2005

ATTN: Sir/Madam

We, the entire members of the Federal House of Senate, on behalf of the
Federal Republic of Nigerian Government under the auspices of the civilian
Head of State, President Olusegun Obasanjo have unanimously decided and
plead for your forgiveness and for you to revert your distrust upon the
entire arms of the government and Nigeria as a body. All efforts are being
put into practice to chastise all our corrupt officials, presenting the
country as scam Nation before the world.

This is a bid to uphold and maintain our international reputation and premise
to the United Nation, OPEC, ECOWAS and the rest of the International Organization
and the World as a whole. There was an inflow in our Nigerian Oil Well Reserve
Trust Account, as a result of the involvement of International Financial
institutions such as UN,IMF,WORLD BANK and PARIS CLUB in the development
of regional economy,sufficient funds have been approved for the settlement
of every foreign firm who executed contract in Nigeria and who are still
yet unpaid. On the receipt of your full outstanding foreign contract amount,we
request that you contact the office of the IMF/World Bank informing them
that you have been paid,for this will help to change our image before the
world/international community.

We strictly instruct and advise that you contact only The Director,FIDELITY
BANK PLC Dr. FRANK JOHN on his 24hour Direct Telephone 234-8034113481,FAX:234-1-7592983

Because of time deference and arrange on the mode of transferring of your
accrued interest payment approved by the Senate House and Federal Government.We
are paying you interest of US $ 3.5 million dollars.

We advise you to desist from having other contacts until your payment is
confirmed for your own interest reconfirm to him your banking information's.And
send your telephone and fax number to him Thank you for your anticipated
cooperation and remain bless.

Thanks for working with Federal Republic of Nigeria

President, Federal Republic of Nigeria


                               SENATOR JIM NWOBODO

----- End forwarded message -----
The fact that Nigeria has a House and Senate like the US sounded suspicious, since few other countries do, so I checked the president's name and government structure against the CIA World Factbook http://www.cia.gov/cia/publications/factbook/geos/ni.html
They seem to be correct, surprise, although of course maybe the spammer himself read the Factbook entry and based his letter on it.
Now, why is the President of Nigeria sending an official e-mail from a Brazilian address and asking people to contact an agent in Italy. Does Nigeria not have a working e-mail system? Oh, of course it does, that's where the previous 419 scams came from.
(!) [Jimmy] Pity I couldn't reply to this at the time. Oh well.
Basically, Ireland has a House of Representatives and a Senate, except they are know by their Irish names (Oireachteas and Seanad respectively) -- several countries have modeled their system of government on America's (in Ireland's case it's not surprising as DeV, who framed the constitution, was American. Pity he decided to "improve" on the rights granted by the American Contitution though -- rather than free speech and freedom of the press, we're only free as long as the powers that be think we're being "decent" (porn was illegal here when I was a pre-teen -- even things like Playboy were against the law), and it took the pregnancy of a (IIRC) 13 year old rape victim for the constitution to be changed to even grant women the right to travel abroad for an abortion.
But at least we have the right to potable water and to defecate.
Oh... I think I've ranted about this before. Whoops.

(?) Hitchhiker's guide trailers

From Jason

The "Internet trailer" is hilarious. Avoid "lo-res" option if you can, the quality is horrible. Go with med-res or higher.
(!) [Brian] Note to self - enjoy high bandwidth while the living is good, you'll only be able to afford dialup when you're on what's left of Social Security.

(?) Well, that depends on a couple things. There's nothing left of Social Security right now. It takes money from young people, and gives it to old people. There's no money in the system. Oh, sure, there's a "trust fund", but as I understand it, nearly all of it is "loaned" to other government programs. That is, we've spend the money, and we've promised ourselves we're going to make up for it later. Given the spending habits of the government, how much you wanna bet we ever get around to it?

I don't think the Social Security program as we know it can continue for long. It's a bugger to deal with. On the one hand, I don't think the government should really be moving money around in that way. It's the responsibility of the individual.

But on the other hand, we've said "No worries, we'll always be there for you with this bit of money every month." We were, of course, lying for political expediency. It's obvious the whole thing is going under and was flawed from the start. But that doesn't matter now. We've got the program, whether we like it or not.

So, the question is, how do you faze it out while still being fair to everyone? The answer is: You can't. You can rip off seniors by cutting off "benefits" or you can rip off young people by having them pay in and receive nothing back. There's no nice way out now. The thing was a pyramid scheme from the start: Somebody's got to lose.

(!) [Jimmy] Heh. Let me say here that I love the PRSI system in Ireland (Pay Related Social Insurance) -- a tax that goes towards things like pensions, the dole, etc.
The thing I found to my advantage was that once you've paid into it for a certain amount of time, the government subsidises your medical & dental care -- I had to get a tooth pulled last month because I had an abcess (took nearly a whole month to drain completely too, dammit, but at least after Good Friday I could forget about it) and had to pay full price. When I went back to get some fillings done (yeah, it had been years since my last visit to the dentist) the dentist owed me money :)
(I love my dentist -- one of the funniest people I've ever met. My brother Joe had to get a tooth pulled: "Now Joseph -- I hope you don't mind my calling you Joseph instead of Joe, since I will be putting pliers and needles in your mouth -- you may feel a slight twinge of pain as I ram my knee into your chest and rip the tooth from your head.")
(!) [Brian] That said, I pulled down both trailers, about a minute and a half each to get the ~52G files down.

(?) That would probably be megabytes, not gigs.

(!) [Brian] Indeed. That was a fingerfault induced by giggling. So sorry.

(?) Either way, I envy your connection.

(!) [Jimmy] I envy any connection right now :)
(!) [Brian] OB Linux: Xine is a great goodness. I watched the trailers.
I laughed, I cried, I realized that no one was going to get an Oscar out of this and that indeed I might enjoy it very, very much. Mos Def appears to make a better Ford than I had suspected, and possible perfect casting has been executed to get Martin Freeman as A. Dent, and Alan Rickman as the voice of Marvin.
As with everything that DNA did, there appear bits here that aren't in any of the previous versions of the same work (aka Radio vs. Books vs. TV), so I'm not surprised that I see things that I don't recognize.
Yes, I think this is going to be an opening day event for me.
(!) [Jimmy] Well, H2G2 has been released, and all in all I think it was excellent (though the Arthur/Trillian thing did get hit over the head with a Hollywood hammer a but too hard).

(?) 419 spam

From Sluggo


That should be easy enough to verify.


"The" UK e-mail database. Is that like the phone directory? But it includes non-UK addresses too? Did you steal it from MI5? What "solid information" did the directory contain that led you to choose me as a partner?

(!) [Thomas] I'd imagine that it would be MI6 in this case -- I never did see the need for two separate groups, they all do much of a muchness anyway [1].



The Deputy Manager of Chevron's British division doesn't know how to spell "until"? And his keyboard doesn't have lowercase letters? Did they give you a cheap keyboard? Or did your son wire up an Apple ][ or TRS-80 keyboard to your computer? Or did you just spill coffee on your Caps Lock key?


And you will do the same?


Now you're the Managing Director for all of Chevron? Pleased to meet you, I'm a shareholder. I'll see if you're listed in the annual report....

Did you forget the Texaco part of the name? Chevron is now ChevronTexaco. Yes, I know your secretary would have corrected it, but you didn't want them to see this SECRET AND CONFIDENTIAL document.


Just a hint. Since you used capital letters throughout, I almost didn't realize we're talking about FIVE MILLION FIVE HUNDRED THOUSAND GREAT BRITIAN POUNDS (L5.500.000). I'm glad I read this e-mail carefully before deleting it. Sorry, my keyboard doesn't have a pound symbol, but yours doesn't either.


And what are the Englsih people going to do without petrol? You're so selfish. Is Englsih pronounced "Ingle-zee"? Where is that located? Is it one of the islands off Australia?


No, you're an Ingle-zee I guess.


Yes, London is so much more segregated than Los Angeles.


Take that, Queen Elizabeth II!

< Heh heh, he said 'cover up'! >
/\/(       /(__)
   | W----|| |~|
   ||     || |~|  ~~
             |~|  ~
             |_| o

[That's "cowsay -f bong", a cow with a bong.]


You know, I'm the great grandson Lloyd Tevis, the guy who founded Pacific Coast Oil that eventually became ChevronTexaco. I don't like the way you're embezzling from grandpaw's company. I just slapped you with a triple-damage lawsuit for $30,000,000.15 (THIRTY MILLION UNITED STATES DOLLARS AND FIFTEEN CENTS).

> francisinchevron@myway.com
> or FAX +44 870 130 79747).

Actually, time did run out. I got an international warrant to prevent you from leaving Britian until this is resolved. Scotland Yard was especially interested in your misuse of the UK E-mail database. So you're going to be staying in England for a long time, sucker. Here's a hint: try the curry and kebabs, they're really good. Skip the Yorkshire pudding, it's overrated.

(!) [Thomas] Pah! Whatdaya mean the Yorkshire pudding is overrated? :)

(?) When you're used to "pudding" as a smooth silky sweet dessert, and then you're all excited coz there's pudding on the menu, and then you get it and it's this bread thing, it's a real disappointment. That happened when I was seven and I've been traumatized ever since.

(!) [Thomas] Hahahahaha. Sorry, I shouldn't laugh. Hehehehehehehe. Ordinarily, a "pudding" is a sweet-dish, yes. There's also "steak and kidney pudding" -- the "pudding" part made from suet [1]. But that's savoury. You should try and look at a Yorkshire pudding in a new light -- cumberland sausages [2] in a huge yorkshire pudding with onion gravy, is divine. Mmmmmmm. It's a typical English dish, for sure.
(!) [Brian] Just be glad it wasn't black pudding, or you'd still be "7" in your head, and in a rubber room someplace...
(!) [Thomas] It's very nice cold with lots of strawberry jam. Hehehe, if you think England can be summed up just from Yorkshire puddings, kebabs and curry, you need to come back here, Mike... :)

(?) Yeah, I still need to take the Thomas Adam south coast tour.

(!) [Thomas] Hehehe, any time, Mike, any time. "Look, there's a rock in the sea, there's another one." You'd probably like Lulworth Cove and Durdle Door... (google for them, and you'll see. From a geological aspect they're world famous, and as small as the two places are, they attract a lot of people each year om holidays. I should know, I used to work right on the coast of Lulworth... :))
[1] For those of you who don't know, suet is just rolls of beef fat,
essentially that cook out to form some delicious dishes -- often it goes to make dumplings (with stew), or jam rolly-polly, yay! (That's a sweet dish), a pudding, if you will... :)
[2] Cumberland used to be a county bordering the Scottish border, along
with Northumberlandshire. The two merged to form "Cumbria" as we know it today.

(?) The white cliffs of Dover were pretty cool. Didier and I saw them during my last trip. Speaking of Didier, ou^ est cet garc,on? A-t-il quitte' la Bande de Re'pondants?

(!) [Didier] Mea culpa: it's true I haven't been answer-ganging for quite a while now...
(!) [Ben] Hey, Didier! It's good to see you here again! I've thought of pinging you once in a while just to see how you're doing.
(!) [Didier] Ah, thanks! It's very kind of you, Ben. As you can see, everything's fine here.
(!) [Didier] As excuses, many changes in my situation, the most crucial one being that this old friend of mine turned out to be the woman of my life (BTW: congratulations, Ben!);
(!) [Thomas] Yay! Congratulations. It's odd people are mentioning general awakenings and marriages... quite a few of the people I went to school with are now engaged! They're only the same age as me -- 21, I think it far too young yet, but...
(!) [Didier] Yeah, that's the way things go most of the time. I've seen this quite a lot... over the years. But hey, I'm somewhat older now. :)
(!) [Thomas] Congratulations, Didier. :)
(!) [Didier] Thanks, Thomas!
(!) [Ben] [grin] Yeah, I know what you mean. That's all right; my honey is quite geeky as well, and we both have our "must spend time with my digital spouse" moments.
(!) [Jimmy] Did I send my congratulations? If not, erm... congratulations.
(!) [Ben] Thanks, Jimmy! We're looking at your email here side by side, both of us grinning and grateful for your congrats.
(!) [Jimmy] Glad to hear it. (Or read it... YKWIM)
(!) [Didier] :) Not that I'm completely offline, but let's just say I now make a much more reasonable use of my time. Before I met her, I often used to forget what is usually considered as prime necessity -- you know, those things which prevent one from starving to death or suddenly falling asleep while crossing a street at peak hours... :)
What's extremely cool is that I convinced her of how fun, for instance, using the Gimp can be (and not the win32 version). There's still some work to do with her brother, though, but he already plans to try a French version of Knoppix, Kaella, as soon as he finds the time.
(!) [Didier] so I spend much less time these days in front of my Linux boxen -- although I found the time quite recently to get a decent mail server setup on my Debian box (some nicely tweaked MimeDefang milter, with hooks to clamav and SpamAssassin, which made my TAG account usable again).
(!) [Thomas] That's how it should be, of couse. :)
(!) [Didier] Indeed, and it (almost) works like a charm now.
(!) [Ben] Excellent!
(!) [Didier] Oh, not quite (yet :). There's still the need for some minor tweaks... There's so much broken mailing-list software out there. Even when their mail bodies are not HTML cr*p, you can be sure to find non-rfc2047-compliant headers, containing a bunch of raw outl00k-friendly, everything-else-fiendly 8-bit characters. :(
(!) [Didier] Also had the opportunity to become a Linux teacher for newbies -- though unfortunately, not full-time yet.
(!) [Thomas] Ah, well done. :) That must feel rewarding to do that.
(!) [Didier] Very much. I still have some experience to acquire, however, to make it even more fun.
(!) [Didier] But I'm still here, alive and well!
Hey Thomas, next time I cross the Channel... Hopefully you'll be there!
(!) [Thomas] Mais oui, bien sur! I hope that to be the case, also. I realy ought to look at visiting France again.
(!) [Didier] Then make sure you make a stop in Belgium and tell me!
(!) [Thomas] The last time I was there (which was also my first time) was ten years ago now. Mmmm, I can almost taste the food. I hope the onion soup is still as nice. :)
(!) [Didier] You really liked onion soup at 11? :) It took me many more years to come to appreciate it. But rest assured: it is.
(!) [Didier] Oh, and speaking of culinary oddities, my gf and I have just tried this "receipt of kitchen" (sorry, I couldn't help myself :)
(!) [Thomas] :D I want more of this -- a TAG Recipe column. Sod 2cent-tips. It's food recipes the readers want (this is something even procmail would like :P).
(!) [Didier] How about this? ;)
* ^Subject:\/.*(recette|cuisine|gastronomie)
        TWO_CENT_TIP=`echo "$MATCH" | translate --from=fr --to=en`
        :0 hfw
        | formail -I "Subject:$TWO_CENT_TIP"

	:0 bfw
	| translate --from=fr --to=en

	! tag@lists.linuxgazette.net
=================== Example 'translate' script =======================


OPTS=`getopt -o "f:t:" --long "from:,to:" -n "translate" -- "$@"`
test $? -eq 0 || exit 1

eval set -- "$OPTS"

while true; do
   case $1 in
   -f|--from) FROM=$2; shift 2;;
   -t|--to)   TO=$2;   shift 2;;
   --)        shift; break;;
   *)         exit 1;;

RECIPE=`while read line; do echo -n "$line " | sed -e 's/\&//g'; done`

wget -q -O- --user-agent 'Dummy HTTP client' --post-data='text='"$RECIPE"'&langpair='"$FROM"'|'"$TO"'&hl=en&ie=UTF8&oe=UTF8' http://translate.google.com/translate_t | perl -wne 'if (/<textarea/) {
        s!.*?<textarea.*?>(.*?)</textarea>.*!$1!; print "$_\n";
=================== Example 'translate' script =======================
(!) [Didier]


 Pouding de pain (mind the spelling)

 /Do not believe this word is from an English origin, it's actually
  French. The British adopted it one day and gave it its current
  spelling, 'pudding'.
  This bread pouding, similar to some other European recipes, was once a
  tasteful way not to lose remains of stale bread; it often used to feed
  little hungers at tea-time.
  At the time when the bread pouding was a family habit, the stale bread
  remains that were used were from good, old-fashioned bread; pouding
  made of modern bread is very likely to give disappointing results,
  unless one chooses so-called artisanal "country" bread./

   Raisins: 100g                            Fresh eggs: 4
   Amber rhum: 100cc                        Salt (optional): 1 pinch
   Stale country bread: 500g                Butter: 25g (for the mold)
   Cinnamon: according to taste             Ice sugar: plenty
   Sugar: 100g                              Milk: 250cc

 - Rinse the raisins quickly, remove the possibly remaining little
   tails; put the raisins in a bowl, add the rhum and let soak.
 - Break the stale bread into pieces. Put these in a salad bowl,
   sprinkle them with the milk until they fully absorb it; let soak.
 - Preheat the oven (180°C).
 - Dry the bread with one's fingers to remove the excess of milk; crush
   it with a fork. One should obtain evenly sized chunks, not too big
   but not a pulp either. Add the desired quantity of cinnamon, the
   sugar, the beaten eggs. Taste and correct with the salt if
   needed. Add the soaked raisins, as well as their excess juice.
 - Pour into a buttered mold, flatten the surface. Put in the oven.
   Cook for 30 minutes (use this time to re-read a few chapters from
   http://www.openldap.org/doc/admin22/guide.html, for example). Check
   with a knife: the blade must remain dry when the cooking is over.


Quick, easy, economical... and excellent.
(!) [Thomas] I've bought the ingrediants, and am intending to make this later. I shall let you know how it goes. :)
(!) [Didier] Bon appétit!
(!) [Ben]
Didier wrote:
>   /Do not believe this word is from an English origin, it's actually
>   French. The British adopted it one day and gave it its current
>   spelling, 'pudding'.
Hmm. My fiance?, who is quite food-geeky as well, will have quite a bit to say about that... but she wants to subscribe to TAG and explain it herself. Look out for a longish pudding-relevant post. :)
(!) [Didier] /me is waiting impatiently while his stomach growls. :)
(!) [Thomas] Good to have you back, Didier. Don't be a stranger to TAG anymore... :)
(!) [Didier] Thanks a lot, Thomas. I'll stay tuned.
(!) [Thomas] Oh, I was so proud of my purchase of what I had for dinner last night, I photographed it [2]. :D
[1] No, that's not based on any Shakespeare... [2] http://edulinux.homeunix.org/~n6tadam/sea_bream.jpg


> TEL/FAX: 44 870 130 79756.
> PRIVATE EMAIL:francisinchevron@myway.com

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/chronicle/archive/2004/10/20/BUGPQ9CAGD22.DTL&type=business History of ChevronTexaco

(!) [John] Ha!
Aw, come on, Mike. The guy is just asking for help... and is offering to make the un^H^Hlucky sucker^H^H^H benefactor rich for the trouble. Just try to overlook his poor English grammer and spelling. Maybe he's one of those self-made executive types who made it in spite of being a 6th grade drop-out.
Whee! Now I can realize my (American) dream of retirement in a NY 5th Ave penthouse next door to Mr BG himself!

(?) Re: Pouding

From Ben Okopnik

Forwarding Kat's reply to Didier's "pudding" post. Hopefully, he hasn't starved to death waiting for it...
----- Forwarded message -----

pudding Look up pudding at Dictionary.com


pudding Look up pudding at Dictionary.com

c.1305, "a kind of sausage: the stomach or one of the entrails of a pig,

sheep, etc., stuffed with minced meat, suet, seasoning, boiled and kept till needed," perhaps from a W.Gmc. stem *pud- "to swell" (cf. O.E. puduc "a wen," Westphalian dial. puddek "lump, pudding," Low Ger. pudde-wurst "black pudding," Eng. dial. pod "belly," also cf. pudgy). Other possibility is that it is from O.Fr. boudin "sausage," from V.L. *botellinus, from L. botellus "sausage" (change of Fr. b- to Eng. p- presents difficulties, but cf. purse). The modern sense had emerged by 1670, from extension to other foods boiled or steamed in a bag or sack. Ger. pudding, Fr. pouding, Swed. pudding, Ir. putog are from Eng. Puddinghead "amiable stupid person" is attested from 1851.


Note the last bit: "Ger. pudding, Fr. pouding, Swed. pudding, Ir. putog are from Eng."
I don't believe that the etymology of "pouding" can be traced back in French further than the English, although I'm willing to be caught out on this, as medieval French is not my bailiwick.
One can trace a possible "boudin --> pouding" explanation, but "boudin" definitely means sausage in French, while "pouding" is a rice pudding/bread pudding concoction. In English "pudding" applies across the board from "black pudding" (clearly boudin noir) to the generic (non-American) "pudding == dessert in general unless otherwise modified" usage.
The English usage of "pudding" to mean dessert makes sense in that the original versions were all boiled puddings, whether savory or sweet.
Are the French not using "pain perdu" as a term anymore? This is the term used in English language cookbooks for what's known in the U.S. as "bread pudding", and previously as "poor knights". There is a version known as "bread and butter pudding" as well, which is similar.

----- End forwarded message -----

(?) Investment Relationship /waiting to hear from you.

From Eward Jr

Investment Relationship
Dear Respectful One,
This is not a spam email bellow are the following proposals with its full details with a sincere hope to develop some feasible business for our mutual benefits through your keen cooperation. Partnerships comprise two or more business partners pooling their resources in a business with a view to profit,therefore I would like to apply through this medium for your co-operation to secure an opportunity to invest and do joint business with you in your country. I have Inherited a substantial capital I honourably intend to invest in your country into a very lucrative business venture of which you are to advise and execute the said venture over there for the mutual benefits of both of us. Your able co-operation is to become my business partner in your country and create ideas on how money will be invested,properly managed and the type of investment after the money is transferred to your custody with your help and assistance. Mean while,on indication of your willingness to handle this transaction sincerely by protecting me and my family interests and upon your acceptance of this proposal,I would furnish you with the full detailed information,procedure,amount involve and mutually agree on your percentage interest or share holding for helping me to secure the release of the deposit and investing the money in your country under your proper management and care. I shall be glad to reserve this respect and opportunity for you,if you so desire,but do urge you to give the matter your immediate attention it deserves.If this proposal is acceptable by you,please do not make undue advantage of the trust i bestow on you,and your urgent call and reply is highly needed,for more detailed informations and oral talks. Looking forward to your candid and urgent call and positive reply today and a mutual healthy business relationship with you.
My Very Best Regards, Edward Jr. Email:ed1956r@yahoo.fr
(!) [Sluggo] A spam bellow or spam bellows?
/ If only I were an artist I could draw \
\ something besides cows.               /
       \    ____
        \  /    \
          | ^__^ |
          | (oo) |______
          | (__) |      )\/\
           \____/|----w |
                ||     ||


(?) Software patents

From Sluggo

For Jimmy and Mick:
http://www.nosoftwarepatents.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=407 Ireland in the doghouse over role in software patents (from Slashdot)
(!) [Barry] And me! Not that I want to be waving my "I am Irish" flag on this issue.
But, FYI, there is a source of local information and inititives
(!) [John] Well, brace yourselves. They've finally succeeded in ramming through the software patents directive in the EU, despite wide opposition in the European Parliment. Democracy is alive and well in the world (not!).
Get ready for ensuing battle.
(!) [Pete] It's still not fully passed yet. The commission have approved it, but it still needs to go back to the European Parliament for a second reading. However, this time it will take a 2/3 majority to /prevent/ it being implemented.
(!) [John] I expect that it will breeze through. If it didn't get killed today, it won't be killed. The attack on FOSS is about to begin in earnest.
(!) [Pete] No, I'm not yet convinced that this will pass - perhaps I'm being a little too optimistic, but there are a few governments with back bone in the EU who are still opposed to this (mine not being one of them unfortunately).
(!) [John] Indeed, if it were not for those few, namely Poland, Denmark, with support from Hungary, Latvia, the Netherlands, and Cyprus, it would have been rammed through at least 3 or 4 months ago.

(?) Sounds like the sports stadium syndrome. The team owners (billionaires) want the public to pay for a new stadium. The public votes it down -- twice -- but the city or state rams it through anyway citing "emergency economic necessity". This happened twice in my state, and now a third team is saying, "Hey, you did it for the other two, now it's my turn."

(!) [Pete] It would appear that today's events were as a result of 'process'. From what I've read the Danish minister could have lodged a request that the item be removed from the A list, instead of asking for it to be converted to the B list. Had he done the former the Luxembourg Council Presidency would have had to agree, but because he chose the latter they could decline the request (and it has also been suggested that this was his intent, having been forced by a Danish Parliamentary Committee to try and have it removed).
Anyone who lives in a European country and cares about the software patents issue should now be writing to their MEP explaining why they should be voting NO for this when it comes before the EU Parliament (which is likely to be sooner rather than later).
(!) [John] I only hope that you're right and I'm wrong. I know that there is considerable discontent among the MEP for the way that their votes have been trampled, but I'm not sure that's enough. Maybe they'll get thoroughly disgusted and react effectively.
Some say that the existance of the EP serves more to provide the illusion of a democratic process and that their vote is not really meant to be deterministic. Again, I hope it proves not be the case, but the whole matter has made a mockery of the concept of democratic process.

(?) Could somebody explain to us yanks what this means? Is the European Parliament similar to the British and Canadian parliaments? If they don't have ultimate power ("deterministic votes"), who does? Or is it just a case of corporations buying certain key representatives?

(!) [Thomas] EU law. Whole books have been written on the subject, and yet no one really understands it. My own idea of it, is that because we are a member of the EU, we have MEPs (which represent us in the EU). EU law rules over any specific laws each respective country might have. So in that way, it can be fairly dangerous... :)
(!) [Pete] As I understand it, there are two main institutions, the European Commission, which is made up of unelected officials from the various member nations, and the European Parliament, which is made up of representatives voted for by 27% percent or so of EU citizens, those who could be bothered to express a preference.
However, the Commission seems to have more power than the Parliament, a problem that the European Constitution is supposed to go some way in rectifying.
But as you say, whole books have, and will continue to be, written on the subject. :)
(!) [John] For a pretty good explanation, see
(!) [Barry] All is not lost yet:
From the office of Proinsias de Rossa (an Irish MEP):


Thanks for your message. Following yesterday's decision in the Competitiveness Council, the EP has requested that the Commission make a statement to the EP Plenary tomorrow in Strasbourg at 6.00pm. MEPs are awaiting with considerable interest to see what the Commission has to say but it's important to remember that the EP has the right to retable any of its first reading amendments not taken up in the Council's common position, which the EP has yet to see, or to reject the common position in its entirity. If Council still refuses to accept them, a 'conciliation committee' of MEPs and national civil servants will meet to reach a compromise. If none is found, the proposal falls. The important point is that the Ministers do not take the final decision on this issue - they must work with the EP.
We'll keep you posted.


Tomorrow is now today - by the by.

(?) Register news

From Sluggo

The Register confirms that cows can bear grudges and be lesbians, and "even chickens might have to be treated as individuals with needs and problems".
(!) [Pete] Shouldn't that be ...
< cows can bear grudges and be lesbians >
        \   ^__^
         \  (@@)\_______
            (__)\       )\/\
                ||----w |
                ||     ||

(?) Dave Allen (was Re: [TAG] UPS Problems..)

From Neil Youngman

On Friday 02 May 2003 19:03,
(!) [Ben] Thomas has a sense of humor; why do you think he was defending Lucas?
:) It's a very subtle brand of humor.
(!) [Thomas] LOL, indeed my humour is subtle. I have a very dry sense of humour perhaps bordering on sarcasm on extreme occassions..... :)
(!) [Ben] <grin> I've always appreciated that sort. There was some English comedian... damn, can't remember his name, but he would sit in a spotlighted chair on the stage, in front of the curtain, and deliver these devastating lines with just a slight smile. Dry as a good martini (not that I think there is such a thing as a good martini...) - I was green with envy.
(!) [Neil] Sitting in front of a curtain in a spotlighted chair makes me think of Dave Allen, but he's Irish not English. If he had a glass of whiskey as well and his sketches were as lame as his standup (sitdown) comedy was sublime, then you're thinking of the same guy.
(!) [Ben] I'm thinking... that sounds right. The name certainly rings a bell. I can believe that I've made a mistake at this long remove - it's been years.
(!) [Neil] Sadly Dave Allen died this week aged 68.
(!) [Ben] Awww. He'll definitely be missed; that classic sense of humor he had was rare in today's world. Requiescat in pace, Dave.

(?) Cron Jobs not being run

From Suramya

15 * * * * root /etc/awstats/stats_update
(!) [Thomas] This is a bad idea. As I have pointed out in the past to people, having the time exactly on the hour (or intervals such that it is run on the hour) can cause clock skews, if one controls their time via ntpd, say. The result is such that the cron job may not run at all.
(!) [Brian] I see a cron entry set to run at 15 minutes after each hour. What do you see, Thomas?
(!) [Sluggo] I suspect it's a case of British clocks running in the opposite direction (do they go leftwards like cars do?), or maybe the spelling is different. Try "been" instead of "bin" in the script.
<Running, ducking>

(?) Question about file mtime on linux

From Sluggo

I smell an LG article coming....

(!) [Thomas] Not more bullshit, surely...? :P

(?) And what's this about article rubbish, Thomas? Do I have to slap you upside the head?

(!) [Thomas] Heh. That's just my warped sense of "\"humour\"". :)
(!) [Ben]
perl -we'
use ThomasAdam;
$ref=ThomasAdam -> new();
print $ref -> can( "ThomasAdam::humor" )
Use of uninitialized value in print at -e line 1.
Hmm. Let's try again -
print $ref -> can( "ThomasAdam::humour" )
Ah! The "ThomasAdam" object only has the British method...
(I'm teaching Perl this week. Can anyone tell? :)


From Ben

On Wed, Apr 13, 2005 at 09:55:02PM -0400, Jay R. Ashworth wrote:

> IANAKH, but I *believe* the pertinent code is in kernel/fs/$FILESYS/file.c

Sounds like a Hebrew title to me. Not quite as good as rabbi, but almost equivalent to a doctor...

(!) [Jay] Hey! Get away from me with that... what that thing a mohel uses?

(?) I dunno, a peepeechappa? :)

(!) [Jay] Do I have that right, Ben? :-)

(?) An Ianakh like yourself would know better than humble little me. :) You lost me right after "The specific answer"; I got through the next five words via simple inertia, but then my brain seized up and had to be resupplied with copious amounts of good food. Unfortunately, I'm still waiting for the delivery boy (yum, /bulgogi/ with /gochujang/ and an armada of little side dishes, kimchi on the side. Woohoo!)

(!) [Jay] My turn for "silly me".
Actually, I think you may just be wimping out because you don't wanna delay dinner... :-)

(?) You're right that I didn't want to delay dinner (just as yummy as I'd expected. Mmmm...), but I also honestly had no idea. My little bits of spelunking in the kernel source have been aimed elsewhere.

(?) PAM auth failure - can't login in.

From Ben

Good luck! Oh, and check out the "Asking Questions of The Answer Gang" FAQ, at (http://linuxgazette.net/tag/ask-the-gang.html); there's a lot of helpful info there, including [cough] a request to avoid top-posting.

:) We're always glad to help people with their Linux problems, but the

emphasis is on "people" - these conversations are published in LG so they may help more than just the person asking the question - and it gets to be rather painful for the people doing the formatting if standard email etiquette isn't followed.

(!) [Sluggo] What's happening around here? "Gentle" Thomas has been chewing people out for top-posting, and now "007" Ben is ultra-polite. I guess your birthday present is a pair of dark sunglasses, Thomas.

(?) You've mistaken "sweet-talking while reloading the BFG10K" for politeness. Tisk, tisk, tisk.

*** CHH-CLACK ***

Ahhh. Much better now. Bring on the Stroggs!

(?) My PC is slower than yours...

From Ben

A Linux kernel compile is considered to be one of the best memory tests in the world; I've had it find bad memory on machines that ran Wind0ws for years without any problems.

In fact, I find Linux to be generally more hardware-intensive than Wind0ws.

(!) [John] Perhaps one could say that Linux makes better use of the potential of the hardware!?

(?) Yeah, that's probably an even better way to phrase it. This is one of the reasons that you an still accomplish useful tasks - hell, pretty much everything you'd expect out of a computer - on a 386 with 8MB RAM and a 20MB HD. Try doing that with Wind0ws...

It's true that most of us prefer newer, faster machines. That's not the point; it's that people who don't have the latest and greatest can still have access to computing resources. That is awesome.

(!) [Sluggo] In other words, Linux is scalable.
I'm not sure 386/8/20 is still sustainable though. The kernel size has been creeping up, although how much of that is essential and how much is just people needing more features nowadays, I'm not sure. I did run Linux on some 386 routers in the mid 90s, using Slackware.

(?) Just read a "report from the field" yesterday that reports it still to be so. Heck, considering that a lot of floppy-based Linux routers run just fine without a hard drive at all...

(!) [Jay] Not to mention our SnapGear monolithic routers, which run out of 4MB of execute-in-place flash and 4MB of RAM quite happily.

(?) Sounds similar to "the world's smallest server" that they had for a while at http://wearables.stanford.edu (sadly defunct now, it seems.) They were running RH Linux on a 5MB flash chip, IIRC.

(!) [Jay] Ok, that's a special case; the Coldfire is a nice chip.
But has anyone here seen the Linux-box-on-an-RJ45-*socket*?

(?) Wow. Where's this gadget?

(!) [John] There was mention of it on /. a coupla weeks ago ...
(!) [Jay] PicoTux:

(?) Oh, yeah. Total geek fun. Thanks!

(!) [Thomas] I still run Linux on my 386. I change distros on it quite often. Currently it is running SuSE 6.4. It's my Rsync server. :) [1]
[1] That's right -- nothing important to backup.
(!) [John] It's a stretch even with W2k on a 1.2Ghz P-III! It's (almost!) incredible just how miserable the "multi-tasking" is on any M$ os. Can't really say too much about XP, as I do all I can to avoid it, but I suspect it's really no better.

(?) off-topic

From Heather

spam all month has been telling us that geeks are the best stock picks. ;P

/me avoids the flying brickbats

ok ok back to drawing the cover art :) Konqi will be celebrating the wearin' o' the green...

(!) [Sluggo] I like the ones about TAG's eBay and PayPal accounts.

(?) need information about sylpheed-claws

From Karl-Heinz

The default setup also has a size limit above which the mail is not checked to avoid spamassassin beeing bogged down by huge mails.

(!) [Ben] Heh, that's a non-solution to a real problem. What are you supposed to do if you do get huge mails? Say, your boss decides to send you a two-line memo in MS Word - that's got to be a couple of gig, right? :)
The anti-virus people have been jockeying with this kind of thing for a while. The problem is, of course, that compressed files could contain a virus, so you'd have to decompress them to check for one...
ben@Fenrir:/tmp$ dd if=/dev/zero bs=1GB count=1|bzip2 > foo.bz2
ben@Fenrir:/tmp$ ls foo*
-rw-r--r--  1 ben ben 722 2005-07-07 21:05 foo.bz2
ben@Fenrir:/tmp$ mutt -s 'Hi, Karl-Heinz!' -a foo.bz2 kh@somewhere.com < /dev/null
(!) [Jason] Perhaps apropos of the swap space discussion elsewhere, I tried your command, and...
~$ dd if=/dev/zero bs=1GB count=1|bzip2 > foo.bz2
dd: memory exhausted
~$ dd --version
dd (coreutils) 5.2.1
Written by Paul Rubin, David MacKenzie, and Stuart Kemp.

Copyright (C) 2004 Free Software Foundation, Inc.
This is free software; see the source for copying conditions.  There is NO
I have 128 megs of RAM, plus 150 or so of swap. Looks like dd tried to grab the whole thing at once. You either have a different version of dd or a much nicer setup than me. So for people without that much VM kicking around, you could use:
~$ dd if=/dev/zero bs=1M count=1024 | bzip2 > foo.bz2
1024+0 records in
1024+0 records out
(!) [Ben] Heh. Not necessarily nicer, but I tend to do some large-scale stuff once in a while, so I tend to prefer to configure it by using a Mack truck's front bumper as a model.
ben@Fenrir:~$ free -tk
             total       used       free     shared    buffers     cached
Mem:        515464     320600     194864          0      23032     117328
-/+ buffers/cache:     180240     335224
Swap:      1951888          0    1951888
Total:     2467352     320600    2146752
In other words, 512MB of RAM and a couple of GB of swap (none of which is being used at the moment, but I've just rebooted after configuring a shiny new kernel.)
(!) [Jason] You'd have to use "bs=1MB count=1000" to make the size match Ben's command.
(!) [Ben] Right on both counts. I wasn't expecting people to actually do this, just to become aware of it. It is an interesting sort of thing to play with, though - 1GB shrunk to 700-some _bytes?_ Wow.
(!) [Jay] Depends on what you're compressing.
We use Microlite's BackupEdge on our Linux/filePro systems, and it's not uncommon for us to see 70-80% compression on the key (data) segment files, and I've seen over 90% on some.
(!) [Ben] This was %99.99993 compression, Jay. Don't know about anyone else, but it impressed me.
(!) [Sluggo] There was a book I read when I was little about a boy who met a Martian who had a spaceship disguised as a car. It was the intersection of two technologies: (1) the spaceship walls couldn't be seen except with special glasses, and (2) you could fold the car up and put it in your pocket. Now that's compressibilty. I've often thought about how that would solve the problem of parking spaces....
"Special glasses", heh heh. Now we know Ben's a Martian. In addition to being a secret agent, computer consultant, and ship captian. "Yoga instructor", right, likely story.
(!) [Ben] Actually, in my mid-teen years, I "invented" an inflatable car that would go a long way toward that scenario. Seriously. Did the research, found out what it would take... looking back at it today, it's still quite a reasonable proposition. It was an ACV, of course; tapped the engine output to inflate and deflate (via a tiny two-chamber extraction pump) the passenger compartment. You could stack these things, deflated, on top of each other, in your garage or whatever. Steered via a joystick, way safer than a regular case in case of an accident... very simple design, but - alas, I've never had the cred in that world or the money/desire to do it myself. Oh well.
(!) [Jay] And it acts like bubble-wrap if you get in a crash. Neat.
(!) [Ben] Hopefully without the popping sound :) - but yes, that was the idea. I actually foresaw teenagers hotwiring the family car and playing bumper-cars/wreck rally... us humans mis-use everything to its highest capacity, but that one didn't seem to be nearly as bad as doing the same with the metal boxes we've got now. Given that the energy of impact (i.e., kinetic energy, KE=1/2mV2) is very strongly dependent on deceleration time - which, /ceteris paribus/, is strongly dependent on the amount of 'give' in the colliding bodies - these cars would be much safer than pretty much any other car on the road today.
(!) [Ben] Now, yeah, you could have a compressor/decompressor that works like this:
("Compressed file" viewed with 'bvi'; last position is the value of the repeated byte.)
00000000  33 62 39 61 63 61 30 30 00                      3b9aca00.
# "Decompressor"
perl -wpe's/(.*)(.)$/$2x$1/e' file>file.out
Then you'd get %99.9999991 compression with a 1GB file, and %99.9999999991 with a 1TB file. Would that impress you? :)
(!) [Jay] There's a lot of air in the average database file.
(!) [Ben] Oh yeah. I recall getting the kind of compression ratios you're talking about when I was DBAing in St. Thomas; made me wonder, until I actually looked at those files (with Norton's DiskEdit, if I recall correctly.) Lots of air.
(!) [Ben] If you project that kind of compression ratio to, say, 1TB or so, you can see how it might fry an AV utility's little brain... and if Mr. Cracker is lucky, it might totally fill up the partition as well.
(!) [Jason] That's just evil, Ben. I wish I'd thought of it.
(!) [Ben] [grin] Me too. I was just riffing off something that a poster on Bugtraq said a while back; he didn't approach the problem exactly this way, but it was implicit in his idea. A clever fellow, that one.
(!) [Jason] I played around with this a bit more, using multiple passes with both gzip and bzip2. Here's what they produced with a gig (230 bytes) of zeros:
~/prog/compression$ ls -l
total 1044
-rw-r--r--  1 jason users     785 Apr 14 15:12 zero.bz2
-rw-r--r--  1 jason users     107 Apr 14 15:13 zero.bz2.bz2
-rw-r--r--  1 jason users     143 Apr 14 15:13 zero.bz2.bz2.bz2
-rw-r--r--  1 jason users 1042069 Apr 14 15:04 zero.gz
-rw-r--r--  1 jason users    2780 Apr 14 15:06 zero.gz.gz
-rw-r--r--  1 jason users     324 Apr 14 15:06 zero.gz.gz.gz
-rw-r--r--  1 jason users     361 Apr 14 15:06 zero.gz.gz.gz.gz
(!) [Ben] Oh, cool!
(!) [Jason] No special options were passed to either compressor, so this is the defaults. I'm currently compressing a terabyte of nothing with bzip2. This will probably take a couple days, so I'll report back my findings. As if anybody cares. :-)
(!) [Ben] Oh, I do! I'd really appreciate it if you'd send me a copy. Something about the idea of this very tightly-coiled 500-mile-long spring (ready to explode into a tangled mess of metal spaghetti if you poke it) quietly living on my system really appeals to me. :)
(!) [Jay] It's sort of deviantly hackish. Name it something that a nosy hacker will want to uncompress, and just plop it there.
(!) [Breen] Unless, of course, you manage to tempt him to uncompress it in situ.
(!) [Jason] Here's the sizes for terabyte (230 bytes, not a trillion bytes) bzip2'd:
~/prog/compression$ ls -l terabyte.*
-rw-r--r--  1 jason users 766574 Apr 17 23:10 terabyte.bz2
-rw-r--r--  1 jason users    238 Apr 18 09:12 terabyte.bz2.bz2
-rw-r--r--  1 jason users    324 Apr 18 09:12 terabyte.bz2.bz2.bz2
Again, it looks like two passes is the optimal for bzip2 when dealing with weird data like this. I didn't try gziping because the resulting file would be about a gig, but it occurs to me I could do two-pass compression on the fly:
~/prog/compression$ dd if=/dev/zero bs=1M count=1048576 | gzip | gzip > terabyte.gz.gz
...so I'll have some figures on gziped data soon. <grin>
(!) [Ben] [laugh] I'd be curious.
(!) [Jason] Anyway, since you request it, I'll send you a copy of it. terabyte.bz2.bz2 is so small I'm tempted to attach it to this email, but I'm afraid that someone on this list might have some sort of AV setup that would die on something like this.
(!) [Ben] Got it - thanks! It will live quite comfortably in my "zoo" (a directory full of stuff that I use to teach SC-300, Sun's security course.)

(?) I hope spamassassin doesn't choke on this. But I would like a copy too :-) I could rename it in "~/allmypasswords.bz2" or something like that.

(!) [Breen] Evil. Pure evil. May I have a copy too?
(!) [Jason] Ah, you guys are so lazy. All it takes is a couple days of CPU time. :-)
Anyway, I'm still afraid to attach it in the clear in case anybody has a badly configured spam/AV setup. Do you guys feel as if this fear is justified? Anyway, uuencode isn't cooperating, so we'll do it this way:
#include <stdio.h>
static char message[] =
int main(void) { size_t i; for(i = 0; i < sizeof(message) - 1; ++i) { putchar(message[i]); } return 0;}
Compile, and redirect output to "terabyte.bz2.bz2". Or whatever you want to name it. Just be aware it's compressed twice.

(?) That would indeed be a nasty mail bomb. On the other hand I felt rather save from viruses on a Dec alpha/64 bit running OSF Unix which was even hidden behind a firewall and did not receive mails directly.

(!) [Ben] ...which is, of course, The Right Thing in many cases.
                __ Mail server __
--> Router/FW <                   > Router/FW --> LAN
                -- Web server ---
Both of the servers, of course, have a minimal tool set (just enough to accomplish the job they need to do) so that Mr. Cracker has nothing to work with if he should get that far... so cracking the outside router AND root on the servers that have a public "face" leaves him essentially where he was before he started - or worse. Better yet, use Kapil's "transparent FS" idea: the reads go through to the FS, but the writes to everything except, e.g., the mail spool and the logs go off to /dev/null... let'em figure that one out. :)
(!) [Jay] Oh, that is absolutely devious.
I like it. :-)
(!) [Ben] [bows] Thannnk you; Kapil's got the wheels spinning in my head on this topic, although I have no time to fiddle with it for now. Sure, it's security through obscurity... but face it, how many crackers would even have the slightest clue? And what could they do about it if they did, given that the tools are either missing or are sitting on the far side of the chroot jail? It's kinda like using 'chattr' on certain key files and then taking 'chattr' with you when you go away - only with more hair, teeth, and muscles. :)

(?) Still for the querent I think the best is to to decouple the gui-mailer and the filtering to avoid long waits and hangs. Then spamd/spamc should do nicely even on a rather meager system. I did not get the impression that fetchmail was exceptionally memory hungry, just CPU spikes.

(!) [Ben] [Nod] That's my experience as well. It seems to me that anytime you can use an "older", console-based Unix utility or an older, time-tested daemon, you're better off in terms of resiliency and broader capabilities; certainly in regard to the range of things that can be handled without bogging the system.
I use GUIs the way some people make sushi: the stuff on top is just flavoring, not the actual food (the /gohan/ is what holds that distinction (http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e2043.html)). And I agree with Brian: a mouse is indeed a device for selecting which xterm you type in. Except I usually use the Alt-Tab key. :)
(!) [Jay] Naw; the mouse is for copying text between xterms.
(!) [Ben] Oh. Well, yeah. I wasn't saying that mice aren't useful; they're just not the linchpin without which the world of computers will grind to a screeching halt. Nice, but not critical, despite what many people think.

(?) Spam jokes

From Jimmy

The engineer's terms
Top 25 Engineer's Terms and Expressions (What they say versus what they mean)
A number of different approaches are being tried. (We are still guessing at this point.)
Close project coordination. (We sat down and had coffee together.)
An extensive report is being prepared on a fresh approach. (We just hired three punk kids out of school.)
Major technological breakthrough! (It works OK; but looks very hi-tech!)
Customer satisfaction is believed assured. (We are so far behind schedule, that the customer will take anything.)
Preliminary operational tests were inconclusive. (The darn thing blew up when we threw the switch.)
Test results were extremely gratifying! (Unbelievable, it actually worked!)
Casual day
Week 1 - Memo Number 1: Effective this week, the company is adopting Fridays as Casual Day. Employees are free to dress in the casual attire of their choice. Week 3 - Memo Number 2: Spandex and leather micro-miniskirts are not appropriate attire for Casual Day. Neither are string ties, rodeo belt buckles or moccasins. Week 6 - Memo Number 3: Casual Day refers to dress only, not attitude. When planning Friday's wardrobe, remember image is a key to our success. Week 8 - Memo Number 4: A seminar on how to dress for Casual Day will be held at 4 p.m. Friday in the cafeteria. A fashion show will follow. Attendance is mandatory. Week 9 - Memo Number 5: As an outgrowth of Friday's seminar, a 14-member Casual Day Task Force has been appointed to prepare guidelines for proper casual-day dress.
Job Interview Quotations
Vice Presidents and personnel directors of the one hundred largest corporations were asked to describe their most unusual experience interviewing prospective employees.
A job applicant challenged the interviewer to an arm wrestle.
Interviewee wore a Walkman, explaining that she could listen to the interviewer and the music at the same time.
Candidate fell and broke arm during interview.
Candidate announced she hadn't had lunch and proceeded to eat a hamburger and french fies in the interviewers office.
Candidate explained that her long-term goals was to replace the interviewer.
Candidate said he never finished high school because he was kidnapped and kept in a closet in Mexico.
Balding Candidate excused himself and returned to the office a few minutes later wearing a hairpiece.
Applicant said if he was hired he would demonstrate his loyalty by having the corporate logo tattooed on his forearm.
Applicant interrupted interview to phone her therapist for advice on how to answer specific interview questions.
Candidate brought large dog to interview.
Applicant refused to sit down and insisted on being interviewed standing up.
Candidate dozed off during interview.
First class
A blonde was headed to Detroit. She got on the plane and sat down in first class. A few minutes later, a flight attendent came up to her and told her that her ticket was for coach and she had to move from the seat. She refused. The flight attendent was persistant, but the blonde replied, "No, I want to sit here, I've always wanted to see what it is like in first class." The flight attendent was getting frustrated. Finally, after quite some time, she convinced her to move. Another passenger who had witnessed the exchange asked the attendent, "How did you get her to move?" The flight attendent replied, "I told her first class doesn't stop in Detroit."
John and Marsha decided that the only way to pull off a Sunday afternoon quickie with their ten-year-old son in the apartment was to send him out on the balcony and tell him to report on all the neighborhood activities. He began his commentary as his parents put their plan into operation. "There's a car being towed from the parking lot," he said. A few moments passed. "An ambulance just drove by." A few more moments passed. "Looks like the Andersons have company," he called out. "Matt's riding a new bike." "The Coopers are having sex." Mom and Dad shot up in bed. "How do you know they're having sex?" "Their kid is standing out on the balcony too."
A popular bar had a new robotic bartender installed. A fellow came in for a drink and the robot asked him, 'What's your IQ?' The man replied, '150.' So the robot proceeded to make conversation about Quantum physics, string theory, atomic chemistry, and so on. The man listened intently and thought, 'This is really cool.' The man decided to test the robot. He walked out the bar, turned around, and came back in for another drink. Again, the robot asked him, 'What's your IQ?' The man responded, '100.' So the robot started talking about football, baseball, and so on. The man thought to himself, 'Wow, this is amazing.' The man went out and came back in a third time. As before, the robot asked him, 'What's your IQ?' The man replied, '50.' The robot then said, 'So, you gonna vote for Bush again?'
Stud Tires Out
Panda Mating Fails; Veterinarian Takes Over
Soviet Virgin Lands Short of Goal Again
British Left Waffles on Falkland islands
Lung Cancer in Women Mushrooms
Eye Drops off Shelf
Teacher Strikes Idle Kids
Reagan Wins on Budget, But More Lies Ahead
Include your Children when Baking Cookies
Something Went Wrong in Jet Crash, Expert Says
Police Begin Campaign to Run Down Jaywalkers
Safety Experts Say School Bus Passengers Should Be Belted
Drunk Gets Nine Months in Violin Case
Survivor of Siamese Twins Joins Parents
Farmer Bill Dies in House
Iraqi Head Seeks Arms
Seeing the light
A 70-year-old man went to the doctor's for a physical. The doctor ran some tests and said to the man, "Well, everything seems to be in top condition physically, but what about mentally? How is your connection with God?" And the man answered, "Oh me and God? We have a really tight bond, he's so good to me. Every night when I have to get up to go to the bathroom, he turns on the light for me, and then, when I leave, he turns it back off." The Doctor was astonished. He called the man's wife and said, "I'd like to speak to you about your husband's connection with God. He claims that every night when he needs to use the restroom, God turns on the light for him and turns it off for him again when he leaves. Is this true?" And she said, "That idiot, he's been peeing in the refrigerator!"
All generalizations are false, including this one.
All generalizations are useless, including this one.
All good things must come to an end, I just want to know when they start!
All great discoveries are made by mistake.
All I ask is the chance to prove that money cannot make me happy.
All inanimate objects can move just enough to get in your way.
All our dreams can come true if we have the courage to pursue them. - Walt Disney
All probabilities are really 50%. Either a thing will happen or it won't.
All syllogisms have three parts; therefore this is not a syllogism.
All the world is a stage and most of us are desperately unrehearsed.
If Oracle made toasters... They'd claim their toaster was compatible with all brands and styles of bread, but when you got it home you'd discover the Bagel Engine was still in development, the Croissant Extension was three years away and that, indeed, the whole appliance was just blowing smoke.
If Hewlett-Packard made toasters... They would market the Reverse Toaster, which takes in toast and gives you regular bread.
If IBM made toasters... They would want one big toaster where people bring bread to be submitted for overnight toasting. IBM would claim a worldwide market for five, maybe six toasters.
If Xerox made toasters... You could toast one-sided or double-sided. Successive slices would get lighter and lighter. The toaster would jam your bread for you.
If Radio Shack made toasters... The staff would sell you a toaster, but not know anything about it. Or you could buy all the parts to build your own toaster.
If Thinking Machines made toasters... You would be able to toast 64,000 pieces of bread at the same time.

(?) Re: CD/RW's on Fedora Core 3

From Brian

The area of interest is in a technology called Mount Rainier.

(!) [Sluggo] Mount Rainier???

(?) Mount Rainier.





That last is my favorite, for the page title: "We put the F in packet writing."

The correction? Anyplace I wrote DVD-R or DVD-RW, I mean +R or +RW.... the Plus formats have error correction and much better data reliability than the Minuw formats. I don't use anything else, ever, so I neglected to think about it. Sigh.

(!) [Pete] That's a great article Brian - enjoyable to read, easy to follow, and made me want to try it out for myself after reading :)
    ___      __           __               ____
   / _ \___ / /____   __ / /__ _    _____ / / /
  / ___/ -_) __/ -_) / // / -_) |/|/ / -_) / /
 /_/   \__/\__/\__/  \___/\__/|__,__/\__/_/_/
(!) [Thomas] Yes, it was food, wasn;t it? Is ther anyew reasin, Pete, why you;'re .sig file is using figket? Only it is ridiculouslt huge.
(!) [Pete] Lol - it is isn't it, ridiculous and huge :) (not to mention that it breaks the convention of the 4 line limit to .sigs)
(!) [Thomas] It's a 5 libe limnit.
(!) [Pete] I've always wanted to implement a witty .sig generator, but don't have the patience to build the data file. You're lucky I didn't use cowsay instead (and I was tempted) :D
(!) [Thomas]
< moo >
       \   ,__,
        \  (oo)____
           (__)    )\
	      ||--|| *


/ So of course, then, the only answer is  |
| to use cowsay in the *body* of the      |
| message, which doesn't violate any .sig |
| etiquette at all, while still being     |
\ annoying and capricious.                /
        \   ^__^
         \  (oo)\_______
            (__)\       )\/\
	        ||----w |
                ||     ||

(!) [Sluggo]
< Yeah, annoying, heh heh! >
   \         __------~~-,
    \      ,'            ,
          /               \
	 /                :
        |                  '
        |                  |
        |                  |
         |   _--           |
         _| =-.     .-.   ||
         o|/o/       _.   |
         /  ~          \ |
       (____@)  ___~    |
          |_===~~~.`    |
       _______.--~     |
       \________       |
                \      |
              __/-___-- -__
             /            _\

(?) India currency question (/Flash sucks)

From Sluggo

I was curious about this quote in a Slashdot article: "~$350,000 (Rs. 1.5 crores)". Is a crore a multiple of rupees? Or is this a typo?


(!) [Suramya] One Crore = 10,000,000 It goes something like
1            Ones
10           Ten
100          Hundred
1,000        Thousand
10,000       Ten Thousand
100,000      Lakh
1,000,000    10 Lakhs
10,000,000   Crores
100,000,000  10 Crores
(!) [Kapil] Crore = 100 Lakhs = 100 00 thousand.
For some reason, the Indian system of counting goes in 100's after 1000. (Check it out on wikipedia).

(?) Warning: the India Times URL in the article crashes my Firefox. Must be the Shockwave ads.

(!) [John] I suppose, since the FF 1.0Pre I use handles it - probably because the installed flashblock extension is preventing it.
(!) [Ben] No problem on my end -
ben@Fenrir:~$ mozilla -v
Mozilla 1.7, Copyright (c) 2003-2004 mozilla.org, build 2004061606
(!) [Jimmy]
Dammit, I love Firefox. There's an extension called GreaseMonkey that allows you to install user defined javascripts to modify individual websites, such as this one that not only replaces Flickr's flash interface, but improves on it!

See attached lickr.user.js.txt

(?) Hydrogen power

From Ben

Funny "small world" coincidence: we had a discussion on hydrogen powered cars, etc. here a while ago - and I just got an article submission from a fellow who works at Risø, as the webmaster for their Hydrogen Storage Group.


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Published in Issue 114 of Linux Gazette, May 2005