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Showing posts from March, 2013

Kowloon Walled City

I'm Mining Bitcoin Now

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The New York Times on Data Convergence and Privacy Concerns

As more of day to day life and communications takes place on IP based networks, and as the regulation  surrounding that convergence removes barriers to owners of those networks providing information gleaned from those communications to third parties (including the State) without fear of tort or criminal  reprisal, it becomes more and more clear that tomorrow's world is one with much less privacy than that envisioned during, say, the writing of the Federalist Papers. The New York Times just published a discussion on the topic that is worth perusing (even if you are not particularly a fan of the Times).


I recently came across this funny and insightful note on the issues admins face selling changes to their users. Originally aimed at online gaming communities, the same relationship management issues pop up when you update a webmail interface, introduce a VPN or really add any features to a long-standing and actively used tech product. A big hat tip goes to Wilhelm of TAGN for this. "If your community was currently being dragged from place to place in a wooden box lined with broken glass, and you told them you were going to replace the box with a hovercar lined with fur, you would have [to] pry half of them out of the box with a crowbar. And some of them will be complaining years from now that riding in the box built character, and fur makes them sneeze." -The Metaverse Mod Squad (Sanya Weathers) on Making Community Changes Without Pain

A New Trend in Games - Sell Broken and Unfinished Games, Lie to Your Customers (Part 1)

I'm a fan of video games. While being a grown up means I don't have a chance to play them as frequently as I used to, I still enjoy decompressing on the weekend with the old XBox and try to do it as much as I can. That said, I would rather jump out of an airplane without a parachute than pay $60 for a newly released console game. No matter how much I take home, its difficult for me to justify that  sort of expense. Every once in a while there are some titles that pique my interest and that at least tent me to break that rule. However, a disturbing trend among game developers has just about ensured that will never happened. I am referring to the trend in which a video game is released to the public without being finished. I could go on for quite some time listing examples, but two particularly egregious examples have been well publicized recently. The first, Aliens: Colonial Marines. Take a look at the brief YouTube video below for an example of standard game play that custo

Richard Garriott - Insult and Injury

The one-time designer of Ultima is currently in the midst of a Kickstarter campaign. He has raised over a million dollars to add to his own personal fortune to finance a new gaming project. Richard lives in a castle and has gone to outer space . The public entertains his tasteless compulsion to refer to himself as "Lord British" and to name his house/castle "Britannia Manor". Most people in his position would have some nice things to say about the industry that has made him rich and that has coddled his adolescent fantasies for decades. But not Richard. During a recent interview with PC Gamer , Richard Garriott was quoted as saying "most game designers really just suck". Specifically, he said: "You know, I go back to the day when I was the programmer, I was the artist, I was the text writer, etcetera. Every artist we've ever hired ever is infinitely better at art than I ever was. I was never a good artist, or audio engineer, or composer. I

Starting a New Barcamp

Barcamp is a DIY series of regional tech conferences. The Barcamp organization as such provides a template for organizing, and tech-interested people all over the world use it to organize events, speakers and guests to get together and talk about computers over the weekend with a few beers. You can read more about Barcamp on their website and their wiki entry . The events are a lot of fun and a way to talk to some really interesting industry people that you wouldn't otherwise have an opportunity to chat with, and I've been involved with speaking at them and helping companies fund them all over the east coast. Recently a good friend and former colleague let me know that he is going to be getting a new Barcamp started in Huntsville, Alabama. If you are in that area, plan on being in that area soon, you are interested in getting to know more people in the Huntsville area, or you represent a company looking to raise your profile with tech people in Alabama, reach out to me so

Apache Startup Failures and Hostname Resolution

Upon restarting Apache, you may receive errors like this: # service httpd restart Stopping httpd: [FAILED] Starting httpd: httpd: apr_sockaddr_info_get() failed for webserver-sb-1 httpd: Could not reliably determine the server's fully qualified domain name, using for ServerName In order to resolve this issue and successfully start Apache, you will need to ensure that there is a resolvable hostname assigned to your server. This hostname does not need to be a fully qualified domain name (FQDN), it just needs to resolve. Here is how to get around it.  #echo yourhostname.extension > /etc/hostname #/bin/hostname -F /etc/hostname Finally, confirm that the assigned domain name is resolvable using the host command #host yourhostname.extension localhost If not, check the following settings: -does /etc/resolv.conf have the correct DNS servers listed to allow for resolution? -If your hostname is not an FQDN, lis

Alex Kozinski

The distinguished judge from the 9th Circuit discusses escaping from communist Romania, the law, and libertarianism  (my favorite quote - "I thought it had to do with libertines!)

Installing nslookup, whois and host on Centos Version 6.*

So you've just run a barebones installation of CentOS 6, and you run a host command to check DNS resolution and you get the following: whois: command not found By default the barebones CentOS installation lacks even the most basic network diagnostic tools. Use yum to install the following packages to get a few basic tools back on your server: yum install bind-utils  (installs nslookup and host) yum install jwhois (installs whois)


Microsoft Azure Free Trial

Microsoft has started giving away 90 day free trials of Azure - SQL reporting and media services are included. Its worth giving it a try since the price is right, if for no other reason than to become a bit more familiar with the platform. Whether or not Microsoft comes out a winner in the Cloud Revenue Wars has yet to be seen, but my suspicion is the platform will be here to stay for some time.* * This website is not involved with any affiliate advertising. I do not receive any commissions for click throughs or signups and I was not paid for this post.. 

No Documentation

I got a kick out of this. Check out more coder/admin comics here .

The Ancient Gaming Noob Discusses Kickstarter

I am a huge fan and regular reader of the blog "The Ancient Gaming Noob" . I've been a gamer since I could use a keyboard, alternating between the qBasic games on my Xerox laptop with double 5 1/2 floppies  (remember Gorillas? I rewrote the script and made the Gorillas different colors! ) to the Apple II's at school (Oregon Trail and Prince of Persia ftw!) Different Colors Recently, The Ancient Gaming Noob has been discussing Richard Garriot's Kickstarter campaign . The discussion is really getting interesting. You have Garriot, a man who lives in a castle and has been to outer space, using a fund raising tool ostensibly designed for those that, well, need money. Garriot's campaign, which as of this writing has nearly completed his goal of raising US$1 million to help fund a new game, may be more of a self-financing marketing tactic than anything. This begs a few questions - does this sort of tactic devalue Kickstarter? What is the ultimate use of Kickst


Mehdi Sadaghdar has some very funny (and very smart) videos on his Youtube channel where he performs and explains a variety of electrical tests and principles. Check it out!

Samba 4 and Linux Domain Controllers

Samba 4 is nothing short of amazing. Until recently I was familiar with earlier versions and had done nothing more than mounted cross-OS volumes (to create simple white-label NFS storage devices, for example). Version 4 has hacked some major portions of the Windows kernel functionality and re-worked them in Python.  For example, did you know that a Linux server can be an Active Directory Domain Controller? Install samba-tool and run the following command (assuming your domain already exists):  # samba-tool join MY.DOMAIN DC -Uadministrator@my.domain --realm=MY.DOMAIN Use the 'samdump' operator for Kerberos data to standard output:  # samba-tool samdump In no way would I recommend this for outside of a testing / development environment - there are some key differences between samba 4 AD and real AD (one issue documented so far is that samba 4 uses some NT 4 notions that Windows simply emulates in recent versions, for example  primary and secondary domain controller r

Weekly Links 3/4/13

Fast Company - The Vatican has selected EMC to source roughly 2.8 Petabytes of storage for a project to digitize the Vatican library, home to over 1 million books. Business Week - Skype service in China is actively monitored for certain key phrases that are offensive to the state. When a user inputs these phrases, the conversation is forwarded to Chinese intelligence. Skype is currently owned by Microsoft, and in China is partnered with TOM Online to provide service in the region (like India, China requires foreign entities to be minority stake holders with a domestic corporation in order to do business). Microsoft has not responded to requests to clarify the surveillance features in Skype beyond saying that they adhere to Chinese law when operating there. No word yet on whether American users are monitored as well (at this point, I would be more shocked if they were not) - the Chinese program bears striking similarity to the NSA program that became public shortly after 9/11, at l