Thursday, July 24, 2008

I almost died today

Ok, that may be a bit of an overstatement, but it was close!

Some background information. I don't have air conditioning in my car, so I leave my windows down pretty much all the time, unless it is going to rain. Because of this, I have found some really interesting (and living) thing in my car when I get to it in the morning. Among these being raccoons, cats, and birds. It doesn't happen enough to warrant a change of habit though.

This morning, I was driving to work. About halfway there, I got stopped at a rather long red light. At about the time I I came to a full stop, I started hearing this really low buzzing sound behind me. All of my windows are rolled down except one, the one behind the passenger seat. It only works about half the time, so I generally leave it rolled up. As I look behind me, I see what I think is a small humming bird flying around in the back of my car. That is, until it landed on the one window that I couldn't roll down. It was a huge wasp. Like 2-3 inches long. The thorax was oval-shaped (this comes up later on) and very round and shiny. The wasp itself was black, brown, and yellow. Right now, I am pretty much paralyzed.

What I think happened is I have some bottles and stuff in my back seat. The wasp had crawled up under my seat last night. As I was stopping, a bottle hit the wasp or disturbed it or something and it starting flying around.

Anyway, I am at a red light. I have to figure out a way to get the wasp out of the car before the light turns green. Since all the windows are down but one, once I start moving, all this wind change will probably freak the wasp out and it will kill me. I a slowly move my hand over to the window button and start pressing down on it. It doesn't work, I press and depress about 5-6 times. As soon as the light turns green, the window starts to move down. By this time, the wasp is literally headbutting the window. It is loud, too. I can see the lady in the car behind pointing at it with a "WTF" expression on her face (it was that big, you could see it from the car behind me). Once the window is down about halfway, the wasp flies away.

Seriously, I don't know if I have been that scared in my life. As soon as I got to work, I started looking up giant wasps. There are some here in Texas, but they don't match the description of what I saw (the Cicada Killer wasp has an elongated and pointed stinger, the one I saw was round). The closest I found to what I saw was this.

Has anyone ever seen a wasp like this in Texas or have a better idea of what was in my car this morning?

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

I will be getting an iMac

Within the next month (at least the beginning of next month, after QuakeCon), I will be getting an iMac. I will be getting the 24" model with 2.8 ghz processor. With Parallels, I will keep OS X, but my other OS is a toss up between openSUSE 11 and Ubuntu 8.04 (I am leaning towards openSUSE). It is quite an expensive toy, but I think it will be worth it. I hope it will be worth it :-).

I also need a computer around the house that I am not afraid will freeze up or something on friends or relatives considering I keep everything pretty bleeding edge (SVN, git, etc...) and bugs tend to pop up :-). That is the main reason for keeping OS X on there.

I am sure there are a few more kinks I have to work out, which is why I am posting this on the Planet. If anyone out there has SUSE or Ubuntu on an iMac, any tips would be appreciated. I will be getting the wireless mouse and keyboard upgrades, if that makes any difference.

Other news, the Ubuntu Texas Logo contest has ended and it looks like jegHegy won :-). Congrats! A big thanks to the other entries. It was a great contest.

Just a few more hours

There is just a few more hours left the Ubuntu Texas Logo Contest, so if you haven't voted yet and want to, better hurry up!

EDIT: We have a winner for the Logo Contest. jeghegy has taken the most votes. Check out the poll for more details.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Mr. Stedfast, I feel your pain

J Stedfast has been having a lot of problems with Pulse Audio. People have been saying it is just him, his configurations, etc...

Well, I am having the same problems he is, as is my dad and sister (they use the same computer). I can handle going and fixing it every time I want to listen to something, or watch a flash video. My dad is starting to become very annoyed with having to switch between ALSA and Pulse Audio so that he can use Skype, then listen to his music, then watch a video on MSN. I am pretty sure all the sound problems have turned my sister completely off on Ubuntu, to the point to where she may never come back.

My dad used to even brag to people about how he doesn't have to deal with all the crap on Windows, but is still just as productive. Now, when he talks about it, there is obvious agitation and reluctance in his voice. All because of this Pulse Audio crap. My sister will call me up asking to fix the sound. My dad will call me up asking to fix the sound. Before Hardy, they _never_ had a problem with anything sound related. They hardly had any problems at all.

Now, don't get me wrong, I think the ideas behind Pulse Audio are great. But I also think that they currently are not implemented well enough, especially for an LTS release. In my book, that just isn't acceptable. It could have waited 6 more months. It should have waited 6 more months (at least).

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Bricks would be shat -- Trent DeGray

Supposedly, many years ago, Mars was "awash with water". The article says that there is a pretty good chance that it could have supported life as well (while now there is a fairly slim chance).

My question of the day: What if in the (hopefully near) future, we excavate and find dinosaur-like (or even humanoid-like...think mermaids :-)) remains? What kind of impact would it have on a religious level? Would we want to keep excavating?

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

New office building

Our lease is up for our office at the end of September. This couldn't come at a better time seeing as how we have no more room to hire people. We are moving to a more central location in downtown Fort Worth. It is right next to Trinity river and across the river is Trinity Park.

The building we are moving into has 6 stories, and we will be on the 5th. Apparently, there is a bakery in the building with us, as well as many healthcare company things above and below us (well, one above us :-)).

Also, there a bunch of nice restaurants (so lunch is about start being more expensive), but we won't have to drive, so it might even out.

The Google Map is wrong, if you go north along the river, our new building is the triangular one.

Ubuntu Texas Logo Poll Open

The Logo Poll for the Ubuntu Texas team is now open. Register and vote for your favorite (if you live in Texas)!

Monday, July 14, 2008

Dropping the ball

I haven't updated the ClamAV LiveCD yet. Usually, I just compiled it from the source tarball, but to be able to support it a bit better, I am waiting for the 0.93.3 package to be built. Hopefully, it will be sometime this week. If not, then I will go ahead and compile it.

On a lighter note, the Ubuntu Texas Logo contest ends tomorrow! We will have a week of voting for the best one, so for any late bloomers out there, get those logos in today! I will probably close the topic tomorrow after work and open a poll with the submitted logos. You will have to register at in order to vote.

I will be writing a post on the OpenDiagnostic blog about SSH proxies and how you can use to get around any pesky filters that are in your way tonight, so if you are interested in that, take a look!

Monday, July 7, 2008

Any compression experts out there?

I had this idea today. Can anyone tell me how possible this is? I don't know anything about compression algorithms.

You create a mutating virus. The virus in itself includes a mutating compression algorithm that uses the MD5 sum of the mutating virus as the basis of the mutations of the compression algorithm. Given the compression will change each time the virus mutates, the virus definitions must be very generic* which would lend itself to many false-positives, unless you have an excellent heuristics engine (Avira has one of the best out there).

*This is speculation. I have only written small virus definitions, nothing to the extent of a mutating virus.

ClamAV Team Rocking (to and fro)

Today ClamAV 0.93.2 was released. Apparently there was a bug with freshclam and using previous definitions (or something of that manner), so within the next two hours, 0.93.3 was released to fix the bug.

So, if anyone is looking for 0.93.2, you won't find it.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

My first package - endeavour2

I packaged endeavour2 today, my first package for Ubuntu. Rock. The current AVScan doesn't work without the latest libendeavour2, so it needed to be packaged.

I won't be updating the ClamAV LiveCD today. ClamAV 0.93.2 is due to be released tomorrow, so I will update the CD to the latest engine and grab the freshest definitions tomorrow (saves me bandwidth rather than uploading it twice in two days).

Saturday, July 5, 2008

The future of computer software and piracy

Over the years, I have seen software companies (nearly) cripple their software with DRM and other similar technologies. The companies spend just as much money on the anti-piracy technologies as they do on the software using it. After they release their software, 0-day exploits and work-arounds are found, over and over again, causing the software company to constantly spend more and more money, time, and resources on a piece of technology that was originally meant to do the exact opposite. Yet software companies continue to think that this kind of business model is working (while it does to some extent, I can't imagine it will become easier to use this model, even in the near future).

IMO, within the next 10-20 years, the creation and selling of software won't be worth the time and trouble of coming up with "newer and better" anti-piracy technologies. Creating the software will cost a tenth of implementing any anti-piracy technology. Even now, my personal belief is that (even if your software isn't open source, but freeware), you will make just as much money from contracts and support (through companies and home alike). It may require a pretty hefty EULA (I don't speak legalese, so I am not sure what kind of things you would include in something like that compared to current EULA's), but many anti-malware companies such as Lavasoft, Grisoft, and Avira are already seeing this as a very marketable stance on software, giving away free personal licenses for their software, but charging for support.

I think watching the software industry for the next decade will be very interesting, to see the new ways they face piracy, whether it is crippling their software even more, or freeing it up (it isn't stealing if it is free!).

Any thoughts on this? Is there something I am missing or I should look at more closely? I am more than open to ideas and thoughts on this.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Microsoft 'Equipt'

So, Microsoft will be releasing this pack of software called "Equipt" (for a yearly subscription of 69.99 US) which contains Office (Home and Student 2007), Windows Live Mail, Windows Live One Care, Live Messenger and Live Photo.

Let's see, spend 69.99 US a year for basic computing programs or run Ubuntu.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Only 15 days left in the Ubuntu Texas LoCo Team Logo contest (say that 5 times fast). Still time enough to get together a really kickin' logo for the Texas team. Sign up at to participate! Don't forget, winner will receive one prize of their choosing from the Canonical store.

Other news, I have started another blog ( about diagnosing and repairing computers using FOSS tools (hopefully, it will go along with a new CD I am creating to go along with the ClamAV LiveCD). Only one post so far, I will try to post at least once a week.

I haven't had a lot of time to work on Project Euler problems, which makes me a little sad. I really enjoy working on them. Maybe sooner, rather than later, I will be able to get some more time.

Software Freedom Day is Sept 20.

The next DFW LoCo team meeting will be July 13th at Java and Cha in Plano, Texas. I was not able to make it to the last meeting due to a sudden bout of sickness, I guarantee I will be at this one.