Category Archives: Old Blog

Stanley

We were in Stanley for several days, it was pretty tough to come back. And now that I’m back it seems I’ve got several large projects that I’m starting. hmm…. Had a great time in Stanley, took a bunch of photos, still haven’t processed most of them but I will in the next few days. I’ve got a lot going on right now with the projects… I’ll have more on all the projects later, but you’ll see the results of some work here, soon… Some changes will be coming to the site, all for the better and changes will be coming to my photograpy…. soon.     I really don’t have a reason to post, as I’m not saying anything about the projects yet, and I’ve been gone so much that I don’t have much to say… but I thought I’d drop by say hi.   just because I can.

New Server Online

I’ve been meaning to bring a new server online for quite some time. Well… it’s almost done. If you’re seeing this post, you’re seeing the new server (don’t you feel special). I don’t have everything migrated over, but I’m working on it. Zebpalmer.com and CynthiaJoy.com are both 99% online. I’ve got a few more modifications to make from the transfer but overall things seem to be running ok. My primary webserver was the last public server I had that was running anything other than CentOS. Hehe, it was running Fedora and was installed before the fedora/red hat reallignment. Any non wordpress sites are still being served from the old server but I’m moving them as well. All the wordpress blogs are now running wordpress MU. That’ll save me a ton of time updating wordpress installs.

My NTP server is now on this box as well. time.hznet.us it’s running stratum 2 right now, but should be back up to Stratum 1 once I get my gps reconfigured.

The Boise Air Traffic Control LIVE! feed will be partially migrating to this server as well. The listen-now and staus pages will both be here at zebpalmer.com.

Actually, I’m migrating several fringe sites into my main domain. I’m tired of updating 10 different sites. So zebthepilot.com will soon be redirecting you to zebpalmer.com/boise-atc/    While I’m talking about the ATC feed. I’ve getting a few reports that the audio isn’t stable. I think the soundcard in the source server is dieing. I’m not sure if I can get to it this weekend, but I will be investigating and fixing that. Probably next weekend.

I’ve also added a small photo gallery to this site. Just a group of a few photos from my flickr photostream.

Pinyon Peak

Pinyon Peak (looking west)I’m cataching up on postprocessing my backlog of photos. Just to show you how far behind I’m just getting around to uploading Labor Day photos to my flickr account.

This photo from pinyon peak is one of those photos from labor day weekend. We were camping up near Cape Horn and drove up to Pinyon peak lookout (if I recall correctly, last time I was in the area I was in a helicopter). We tried to drive up to it a year or two ago but got stopped by a large snow drift before making it to the first lookout on that road (no building left and heck if I can remember the name of it).

More photos from labor day and pinyon peak will hit my flickr tomorrow.

Catching up

Yellow Butterfly on purple flower

I can’t believe how far behind I am in processing images. Several thousand to say the least. I’m current till labor day. I’ve still got to upload some of my photos from Salmon and our bear valley trip, but the’re at least all processed aside from my copyright tag. But that’s where the processing stops. I still have all of my Labor day weekend shots to process and a ton before and after. I am slowly catching up though. I plan to upload a bunch to flickr here in the next day or so. Keep an eye out for them.

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The new quad core – Linux virtualization

Being a linux guy, my system requirements for day to day tasks and even gaming aren’t huge. Plus most of my gaming is on the Xbox360 anyway. As I’ve previously mentioned here the most system intensive thing I do is virtualization. That was what made me finally upgrade. My Virtual machines were seemingly getting slower and slower. At the point I could no longer get everything I wanted done with reasonable speed, it was time to upgrade. My primary pc wasn’t the last one I bought but it was the last one I spent any real time or money on. It’s not much now, just an AMD 64bit athlon a couple gigs of ram, decent HDs and a Nvidia graphics card, nice mobo too. It’s being repurposed and will end up in my server room, doing… something.

I’ve been playing with this new pc for a week or two and finally have everything where I want it (till fedora 10 comes out). I did put on a dual boot of windows vista 64bit but I’ve only booted into it once, it’ll be going away soon.

I must do a bit of bragging though. (sorry, that’s the purpose of this post).

For server virtualization I use the Xen kernel (on headless machines). On desktop installs I use (and love) VirtualBox. VirtualBox is like VMware, Parrells or any other virtual machine server, except it’s free and thus I like it better. Almost all of my virtual work is for testing software, testing networks, testing operating systems, testing and documenting install processes, etc. But, I do have one virtual machine that I use on a near daily basis.

I can do everything I need to do on a regular basis in linux. But, not always the way I want to do it. My guilty pleasure virtual machine is stock windows XP pro install. Though I’m not sure I’d ever call running windows a pleasure. But I do use it. There are currently two programs that I prefer to use windows for. Both have similar software packages in linux, but just aren’t the same.

1) Ham Radio Deluxe – HRD is a ham radio control suite. I’ve successfully installed and used 99% of it on linux using wine. but there is one subset of it that I can’t get to work correctly. Digital Master 780, a digital communication program for ham radio. There are linux programs that’ll do psk31 and other digital modes, but I love DM780 and more specificly it’s psk propagation reporter feature.

2) Digital Photo Professional – this is the real kicker. I shoot all my photos in raw and do the first pass process everything via Canon’s Digital Photo Professional. Once the first pass is done I can use photoshop in linux with no problem or Gimp which is getting better and better by the day. I can install and run DPP on linux using wine but there are a couple of small issues which for a long processing session add up to be large issues. There are also RAW processing alternatives for linux some of which are really nice but I can’t get quite the workflow I get from DPP.

For these two reasons I use a windows XP virtualbox.

So back to my bragging. This new computer I built… with the newest virtualbox… boots my windows XP install in around 10-14 seconds from the moment I press the button. 🙂 Hit full screen and you can’t tell you’re on a virtual system.

Forgive me… for I have installed Ubuntu (and my linux history)

It’s not secret I’m a huge linux geek. At one time or another I’ve installed/tested/used about 80-90 of distrowatch’s 100 linux distrobutions list. We do have one primary install of a microsoft product in this house (vista on my wife’s laptop) every computer in this house has some form of linux installed on it and on all but that one, linux is the primary operating system.

You must realize that I’ve got a ton of computers…. right now in the living room I have this computer (more on that later) and two laptops (one of which no longer functions as a laptop, more a 1U server (removed LCD when it died).

Being a Linux geek from way back I have a different ‘respect’ for some things in the FOSS world. I’m a network/sysadmin guy not a programmer. Not that it has anything to to do with this story… but I like telling people I’m not a programmer every chance I get.

My desktop distro has long been Fedora (formerly Red Hat). I’ve used nearly everything but my day to day primary desktop has always been Red Hat/Fedora. If I recall correctly, I jumped on the Red Hat wagon around RH6 which would have been about ten years ago as I think RH6 was around ’99. (wow…. I’m getting old). Before that I was playing with a wide mix of operating systems. I was in high school and had been working for the working for the Federal Goverment in telecommunications for about a year (most of that year was spent more on the webdev side). So I was seeing Unix and some mainframe stuff at work and playing with a few ‘amost an OS’ packages at home. I can’t remember all the names but most were just DOS Graphical Interfaces. Actually one of the packages I can recall was Seal. I haven’t run that since it first came out. But I remembered it was one of the better ones I played with. Google is a great friend and gave me the above link. I’ll have to throw it on a DOS box and really be nostaglic. Maybe I can find a copy of Carrier Command too.

Where was I? So since I became an official Red Hat Junkie at RH6 I’ve stayed with it. I’ve run every version of Red Hat, Fedora Core, Fedora that’s been released. For the Server side of things when Red Hat started RHEL I started using the community build version of RHEL CentOS. CentOS is my server choice. For special projects/solutions I’ll use other distro’s i.e. gentoo (for it’s speed on low end boxes- gentoo is always a favorite) or just build linux from scratch for crazy minimalist builds.

So… I’ve told you all of this just to give you give you the impression that I really mean it when I say I’m a long time linux geek. (But I’m not a programmer — hehe, snuck another one in).

I don’t hate any particular linux distro. Or rather…. I don’t hate people who like other linux distros. There are some distros out there that should be moved to /dev/null But if you like a linux distro, and it works for you.. More power to ya. There are some linux enthusaists who think Ubuntu is the devils own distro. And there are some obnoixious noob’s out there who don’t know the difference between ubuntu and linux, either not aware that there other very popular distro’s or not inteligent enough to use them so they totally disregard them. Hmm… this seems harsh. I recommend Ubuntu all the time. friends, family, coworkers, strangers. Ubuntu is #1 on my list of best linux distro’s to use if you’ve never used a linux distro and you’re not computer savy. But Ubuntu is further down the list of my “best linux distro” list. Doesn’t mean Ubuntu isn’t a good operating system. Doesn’t mean that a power user or linux idol couldn’t use Ubuntu and make it do everything they want it to do. Just means I don’t prefer it as much as others. But it is the easiest to install and get 100% working and usable.

So I built a new computer… My previous desktop box has been promoted to a secondary server (with centOS) and I went about getting my new computer going. Continue reading »

Google Chrome Doesn’t Play Well With Google Docs

So I find it kinda funny when I was trying to piece together a few notes into a google document… Using Google Chrome, which I love so far… When I copy something then try to right click and paste into the google document I’m presented with a message. “Your browser doesn’t allow access to your clipboard.” You can still use the keyboard shortcuts or the toolbar. But no right clicky. hmmm… 

I like the right clicky.

Google’s Chrome – Needs Polish but great beta

If you’ve been alive for the last few days (and not off camping like I was when it first hit. You’ve heard about Google Chrome

Google chrome is their new browser which is a combination of Firefox, Safari, webkit and from scratch code. I’ve tested it on the one no linux computer I own (actually my wife owns) and on a virtual box and it’s amazingly fast, clean, simple and stable. Unless of course you type in :% into the omnibox. But, why exactly would one repeatadly type that in there. Aside from the giggles that crashing shiny new beta software over and over and over again give you, there really is no point. 

Now, Chome hasn’t made it to the “default” browser status yet on those two installs yet. But with time, probably will. It’s a great beta first release, reading into how they’ve tested it, and what they’ve done in ground up code… they’ve done their homework. But it needs a few plugins (mostly flickr greasemonky scripts) and spell check for it to hit primetime for me. But, lets look at what chrome really is. Beta. 

I’m more than sufficiently annoyed at all the bad media coverage it’s getting namely the “google browser has major security flaw one day into release.” Add to that all the Chrome vs. IE8 beta vs. Firefox articles, which though facinating, don’t really do justice to any of the browsers. 

Chrome is beta. Better yet, it’s a fresh beta. The program has never had a stable release, google has never said that its stable or the most secure software in the world or anything of that nature. By releasing a beta google (and not a release build) they’re saying; ‘Hey we’re working on this project, open source mind you, and we want your testing and input.’   They didn’t say ‘hey here is your new browser, install it on your computer, your friends’ computer your work computer and have your IT guy install it on all the computers at your fortune five hunderd company.’

A beta version is the first version released outside the organization or community that develops the software, for the purpose of evaluation or real-world black/grey-box testing. The process of delivering a beta version to the users is called beta release. Beta level software generally includes all features, but may also include known issues and bugs of a less serious variety.

The users of a beta version are called beta testers. They are usually customers or prospective customers of the organization that develops the software. They receive the software for free or for a reduced price, but act as free testers. – wikipedia

So when I see the first article about the “major security flaw” in Chrome I do a little digging to see exactly what it was. Apparently it stems back to the version of webkit they were using. Apple fixed this “hole” in webkit in a patch earlier this year but Google didn’t update that portion of the code with the fix. When I saw exactly what the flaw was, I was unimpressed. Sure, Google could have / should have easily fixed it, and will. But the flaw requires some good old fasion social engineering to happen. One would hope that your “beta testers” would be smart enough not to fall for it.    hmmm.   one *would* hope. 

If this were a major release, or even first public, stable release. Then sure, it’d be a shame. But if we go back to comparing this browser to others and talk security, there is no comparasion. Google having the advantage of starting with fresh code in many areas, has taken great measures to make it very safe and secure. Once we beta testers get done with it, and all the problems, are noted, they’ll fix them and release it for real. Then, I’m sure it’ll be something to write home about. 

Wishlist for Chrome.

So, when chrome gets the ability to do multiple profiles, spell check and to run my flickr plugins, I’ll switch instantly. Oh, and a portable version too!

What I really like

I love the user interface. Google has always done great things with GUI development and have outdone themselves with Chrome. When everthing gets wrapped into a stable release, I’ll be sending the link to all my family (the ones I don’t manage via remote login). 

Sandbox and multiple processes. At first I didn’t like the idea of multiple processes, one for each tab (or so). But it’s actually done in a way that stays very lightweight. I’m remided of the days when you could set windows to open each folder and such in a new process and get a slight increase in stability. That way if your zip drive locked up it’d kill that folder and everything else stayed up. Well… that’s a multiprocess browser for ya. I’ve tried crashing the browser as a whole and aside from typing in the :% command in the omnibox (address bar) it’s pretty tough. 

Also being able to pull a tab into it’s own window without reloading that tab. That’s cool.  “ok, but not sure why you’d want to do that” my wife was less than impressed. But I commonly have 20-30 tabs open as I’m researching stuff and being able to pull my gmail into it’s own window is a must. Now that I can. 

Speaking of gmail. Yes, the java apps are so amazingly fast. We’ll see how it all pans out in the IE8 vs Firefox 3.1 vs Chrome beta battle but I think you’ll see google at minimum keeping up if not continuing to set the bar as they are now. 

So. Beta test Chrome. Find those errors, report them…. to Google, not CNN. CNN won’t fix the errors, only talk about things for which they know nothing about. Google (or beta test provider) will fix them and we’ll all get a better browser in the long run. 

P.S.  if you do find a bug and decide to report it to CNN or anyone who has done horrible stupid writeups about google chrome. Explain to them what “Beta” means.      if microsoft released a beta game and it had a flaw in it, you wouldn’t see it in the news. (actually it might make the news if microsoft released anything that didn’t have a flaw, beta or stable.)

Soft Rose

Soft

Iowa Sunset

Iowa Sunset Sunset…. from somewhere in Iowa. (more specifically west of cedar rapids north of I-80, east of Ames and south of Waterloo)

Once I upload the GPS track I’ll geotag it and figure out where we were.