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Below are the 20 most recent journal entries recorded in Immortal (so far)'s LiveJournal:

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Friday, March 27th, 2015
1:16 am
Network Solutions is no more! The end of a decade of frustration!
My sorry tail began in 2000 when I registered my domain, ImmortalSoFar.com on the new-fangled internet thingy. Back then, Network Solutions was the only registrar available so I went through them and got my instantly forgettable 8 digit account/user id numbers. It seemed a good idea to give my ISP email address (remember when we had those?) for the admin and my domain address for technical contacts. Back then, they were pretty much the same thing but different fields in the WhoIs record.

Time passed. I left my old ISP because they could only offer dialup, hard drives crashed, emails were lost and the domain registration market opened up. Prices for domain registration started to fall ($10 vs $38-$50) but Network Solutions continued to behave as if they were still a monopoly. They were bought out by Verisign, a similarly over-priced company with an old reputation and then a variety of consortiums, each of which treated it as a cash cow running it into the ground before selling it on to the next bottom-feeder in the chain. Investment in servers and hosting (which I never used, thank goodness) was non-existent, their fees were still high and their business practices were becoming infamous.

Fast forward to 2005 when I decided I had had enough and no longer wished to to business with these creeps. Simple enough, I went to NearlyFreeSpeech and transferred my domain - which was declined. When I registered the domain, there was no such thing as a "lock", they had added it in the meantime and altered their system so that technical contacts could only renew domains and not transfer them. Only the admin contact could do that.

The one with the forgotten user number and password.
Where the password could only be sent to the email address on file.
At the ISP that was no longer in business.
Or sent to the address which I hadn't updated because I couldn't get in.
Or mailed to a new address upon receipt of a fax of an ID and a utility bill.
Which I don't have because I live in an RV.

How to steal your own propertyCollapse )
My domain is now registered through a decent company at last and I have full access and control over it. I had thought that I would be writing off the outstanding time I had already paid for (the receiving registrar already gives a free year on receipt) but it turned out that that time gets transferred, too.

If you're with Network Solutions, don't waste any time. Get out NOW!

Current Mood: accomplished
Friday, January 11th, 2013
7:37 pm
aka Keep it simple, stupid. When does a labor saving feature become one more thing to go wrong? Apparently in the RV designs of the '80s!

The old water heater involved going outside with a lighter, turning on the pilot light, putting a flame to it and then turning it up. When it did fail, replacing the burner was the simple and obvious solution. Having a switch inside is simpler, I'll give it that, but one day nothing is going to happen and then I'm pretty sure it's going to be a hell of a job tracing the fault.

This time, it wasn't the water heater, it was the fridge. A blown fuse in the 12V system made it stop working. Of course, you replace the fuse but what caused the old one to blow is still around and blowing the new one. This is strange because the fridge runs on 120V or propane, not 12V at all. The 12V side is just a "helpful feature" so that when you disconnect from the mains, it automatically switches over to propane thereby saving you 10 seconds of your time. There is a manual override to put it onto propane. Not a physical switch like the old one but a button which still needs the 12V system.

Having blown 2 more fuses and searched for mouse damage in the cables, I think I've narrowed it down to the light fixture on the same circuit. Many of them are quirky and I've a hunch that's where the short is. I'm going to give it a couple of days without using it and then, if the fuse still hasn't blown, replace the light fixture.


Current Mood: aggravated
Monday, January 30th, 2012
9:29 pm
IE9 bugs
Congratulations, Microsoft, on attempting to bring IE9 into W3C compliance. I really wish you hadn't bothered. Once again, they have attempted to fix the paintwork while ignoring the foundations resulting in broken code for little or no return.

All markup documents are based on nodes with children, parents and siblings. IE has always had a problem that instead of basing everything on a generic node, they have one for HTML and one for XML - completely unrelated and never the two shall meet. Every other browser treats HTML as an extension of the underlying DomNode structure.

By attempting to match the standards, checks that used to recognize IE (and do Microsoft-specific stuff) now fail because the functions do exist. They just don't do what everyone else's do.

document.importNode - exists but fails. Just fails. It's not implemented, just says it's there and fails when called.

document.implementation.createDocument - returns an HTML document, rather than an XML document.

window.domParser - exists but returns HTML-type Document, not IXMLDomDocument2.

My code, until now, has been designed to gracefully upgrade. When a standard W3C function is available, it's used meaning that when MS do catch up, it should automatically bring it inline. This is now no longer the case. I have replaced the checks with a browser detection that dismisses Internet Explorer as irredeemably broken. Whatever they do in the future will be ignored in favor of their little hard-coded workarounds and that's sad.

Current Mood: frustrated
Friday, January 27th, 2012
11:13 pm
Low-power hardware.
For those interested in the hardware I demonstrated at Rustycon:

The Intel options.

Intel desktop CPUs are the 1970s muscle cars of the computer hardware world. Under-engineered, inefficient but make them big enough and stick enough juice in them and they go fast. Unfortunately, on top of the consumption, they burn out themselves and their motherboards with depressing regularity these days. The same goes for graphics cards. You can get a 650W card with multiple GPUs which is great for real-time rendering but a massive waste for checking your email or browsing the web.
Intel Atom chips are lower power than their desktop equivalents, usually run at a lower clock speed (running cooler) while still being fast enough to run most applications. They also run Intel binaries so closed-source applications are widely available under Windows and Linux.
Asus EEECollapse )
Mini Itx boxCollapse )

After Intel

Two producers I've always hated are Microsoft and Intel. I won't go into details here but both offend my sense of engineering. Sure they're both successful but if there is a relationship between success and quality, it's moderately inverse. And so for 30 years while the industry calcified under the Wintel duopoly, I've waited for an alternative and it's finally beginning to emerge in the form of the ARM chip, Ubuntu and the quickly maturing open source movement.
The ARM chip uses a tenth of the power of Intel's atom and is the first choice for phones, media players and embedded computing. Finally, a programmable version has emerged:
The Efika MX smartbook by GenesiCollapse )
And finally, this just out. The $25, Raspbery Pi!
Raspbery PiCollapse )

Current Mood: geeky
Thursday, March 17th, 2011
4:40 pm
Writer's Block: Have a drink on me
If you were going to make a signature drink that was named after you, what would you put in it?

Sarah and I went to an English pub, got talking to the barmaid and between us we invented a new drink. But we named it after the barmaid - Mandy's Bahama Girl.

I can't remember the exact details but we were talking about that coconut and banana sunblock and wishing that there was something that tasted like that smelt. Wasn't quite there but it was delicious!
Wednesday, January 5th, 2011
1:51 am
Apropos nothing...
Finding how to do things for myself has sent me to some very, shall we say, interesting sites across the internet. Often, the consensus is to have a stash of preserved goods and weapons with a few blowhards claiming that with a gun and ammunition they can get whatever they want.

Everything they list as "essential" is a finite resource; it's going to run out leaving them where? That's why this article was a breath of fresh air and stands conventional wisdom on its head:

Charles Hugh Smith
The Art of Survival, Taoism and the Warring States

This week's theme: Survival + (June 27, 2008)

I'm not trying to be difficult, but I can't help cutting against the grain on topics like surviving the coming bad times when my experience runs counter to the standard received wisdom.

A common thread within most discussions of surviving bad times--especially really bad times--runs more or less like this: stockpile a bunch of canned/dried food and other valuable accoutrements of civilized life (generators, tools, canned goods, firearms, etc.) in a remote area far from urban centers, and then wait out the bad times, all the while protecting your stash with an array of weaponry and technology (night vision binocs, etc.)

Now while I respect and admire the goal, I must respectfully disagree with just about every assumption behind this strategy. Once again, this isn't because I enjoy being ornery (please don't check on that with my wife) but because everything in this strategy runs counter to my own experience in rural, remote settings.

You see, when I was a young teen my family lived in the mountains. To the urban sophisticates who came up as tourists, we were "hicks" (or worse), and to us they were "flatlanders" (derisive snort).

Now the first thing you have to realize is that we know the flatlanders, but they don't know us. They come up to their cabin, and since we live here year round, we soon recognize their vehicles and know about how often they come up, what they look like, if they own a boat, how many in their family, and just about everything else which can be learned by simple observation.

The second thing you have to consider is that after school and chores (remember there are lots of kids who are too young to have a legal job, and many older teens with no jobs, which are scarce), boys and girls have a lot of time on their hands. We're not taking piano lessons and all that urban busywork. And while there are plenty of pudgy kids spending all afternoon or summer in front of the TV or videogame console, not every kid is like that.

So we're out riding around. On a scooter or motorcycle if we have one, (and if there's gasoline, of course), but if not then on bicycles, or we're hoofing it. Since we have time, and we're wandering all over this valley or mountain or plain, one way or another, then somebody will spot that trail of dust rising behind your pickup when you go to your remote hideaway. Or we'll run across the new road or driveway you cut, and wander up to see what's going on. Not when you're around, of course, but after you've gone back down to wherever you live. There's plenty of time; since you picked a remote spot, nobody's around.

Your hideaway isn't remote to us; this is our valley, mountain, desert, etc., all 20 miles of it, or what have you. We've hiked around all the peaks, because there's no reason not to and we have a lot of energy. Fences and gates are no big deal, (if you triple-padlock your gate, then we'll just climb over it) and any dirt road, no matter how rough, is just an open invitation to see what's up there. Remember, if you can drive to your hideaway, so can we. Even a small pickup truck can easily drive right through most gates (don't ask how, but I can assure you this is true). If nobody's around, we have all the time in the world to lift up or snip your barbed wire and sneak into your haven. Its remoteness makes it easy for us to poke around and explore without fear of being seen.

What flatlanders think of as remote, we think of as home. If you packed in everything on your back, and there was no road, then you'd have a very small hideaway--more a tent than a cabin. You'd think it was safely hidden, but we'd eventually find it anyway, because we wander all over this area, maybe hunting rabbits, or climbing rocks, or doing a little fishing if there are any creeks or lakes in the area. Or we'd spot the wisp of smoke rising from your fire one crisp morning, or hear your generator, and wonder who's up there. We don't need much of a reason to walk miles over rough country, or ride miles on our bikes.

When we were 13, my buddy J.E. and I tied sleeping bags and a few provisions on our bikes--mine was a crappy old 3-speed, his a Schwinn 10-speed--and rode off into the next valley over bone-jarring dirt roads. We didn't have fancy bikes with shocks, and we certainly didn't have camp chairs, radios, big ice chests and all the other stuff people think is necessary to go camping; we had some matches, cans of beans and apple sauce and some smashed bread. (It didn't start out smashed, but the roads were rough. Note: if you ever suffer from constipation, I recommend beans and apple sauce.)

We camped where others had camped before us, not in a campground but just off the road in a pretty little meadow with a ring of fire-blackened rocks and a flat spot among the pine needles. We didn't have a tent, or air mattress, or any of those luxuries; but we had the smashed bread and the beans, and we made a little fire and ate and then went to sleep under the stars glittering in the dark sky.

There were a few bears in the area, but we weren't afraid; we didn't need a gun to feel safe. We weren't dumb enough to sleep with our food; if some bear wandered by and wanted the smashed bread, he could take it without bothering us. The only animal which could bother us was the human kind, and since few people walk 10 or more miles over rough ground in the heat and dust, then we'd hear their truck or motorbike approaching long before they ever spotted us.

We explored old mines and anything else we spotted, and then we rode home, a long loop over rutted, dusty roads. In summer, we took countless hikes over the mountainous wilderness behind his family cabin.

All of which is to say that the locals will know where your hideaway is because they have lots of time to poke around. Any road, no matter how rough, might as well be lit with neon lights which read, "Come on up and check this out!" If a teen doesn't spot your road, then somebody will: a county or utility employee out doing his/her job, a hunter, somebody. As I said, the only slim chance you have of being undetected is if you hump every item in your stash on your pack through trailess, roadless wilderness. But if you ever start a fire, or make much noise, then you're sending a beacon somebody will eventually notice.

The Taoists developed their philosophy during an extended era of turmoil known as the Warring States period of Chinese history. One of their main principles runs something like this: if you're tall and stout and strong, then you'll call attention to yourself. And because you're rigid--that is, what looks like strength at first glance--then when the wind rises, it snaps you right in half.

If you're thin and ordinary and flexible, like a willow reed, then you'll bend in the wind, and nobody will notice you. You'll survive while the "strong" will be broken, either by unwanted attention or by being brittle.

Another thing to ponder is that the human animal is a much better predator than it is an elusive prey. Goats and wild turkeys and other animals have very keen senses of smell and hearing, and it's tough to get close without them smelling you or hearing you. They're well camoulflaged, and since human sight is selected to detect movement and color, if they stay quite still we have a hard time spotting them.

In comparison, the human is a clumsy prey. It can't smell or hear very well, and it's large and not well camouflaged. Plus it's usually distracted and unaware of its surroundings. It doesn't take much to kill a human, either; a single-shot rifle and a single round of .22-long is plenty enough.

If the chips are down, and push comes to shove, then what we're discussing is a sort of war, isn't it? And if we're talking about war, then we should think about the principles laid down in The Art Of War by Sun Tzu quite some time ago.

The flatlander protecting his valuable depot is on the defensive, and anyone seeking to take it away (by negotiation, threat or force) is on the offensive. The defense can select the site for proximity to water, clear fields of fire, or what have you, but one or two defenders have numerous disadvantages. Perhaps most importantly, they need to sleep. Secondly, just about anyone who's plinked cans with a rifle and who's done a little hunting can sneak up and put away an unwary human. Unless you remain in an underground bunker 24/7, at some point you'll be vulnerable. And that's really not much of a life--especially when your food supplies finally run out, which they eventually will. Or you run out of water, or your sewage system overflows, or some other situation requires you to emerge.

So let's line it all up. Isn't a flatlander who piles up a high-value stash in a remote area with no neighbors within earshort or line of sight kind of like a big, tall brittle tree? All those chains and locks and barbed-wire fencing and bolted doors just shout out that the flatlander has something valuable inside that cabin/bunker/RV etc.

Now if he doesn't know any better, then the flatlander reckons his stash is safe. But what he's not realizing if that we know about his stash and his vehicle and whatever else can be observed. If some locals want that stash, then they'll wait for the flatlander to leave and then they'll tow the RV off or break into the cabin, or if it's small enough, disassemble it and haul it clean off. There's plenty of time, and nobody's around. That's pretty much the ideal setting for leisurely thieving: a high-value stash of goodies in a remote area accessible by road is just about perfect.

Let's say things have gotten bad, and the flatlander is burrowed into his cabin. Eventually some locals will come up to visit; in a truck if there's gas, on foot if there isn't. We won't be armed; we're not interested in taking the flatlander's life or goodies. We just want to know what kind of person he is. So maybe we'll ask to borrow his generator for a town dance, or tell him about the church food drive, or maybe ask if he's seen so-and-so around.

Now what's the flatlander going to do when several unarmed men approach? Gun them down? Once he's faced with regular unarmed guys, he can't very well conclude they're a threat and warn them off. But if he does, then we'll know he's just another selfish flatlander. He won't get any help later when he needs it; or it will be minimal and grudging. He just counted himself out.

Suppose some bad guys hear about the flatlander's hideway and stash. All it takes to stalk any prey is patience and observation; and no matter how heavily armed the flatlander is, he'll become vulnerable at some point to a long-range shot. (Even body armor can't stop a headshot or a hit to the femoral artery in the thigh.) Maybe he stays indoors for 6 days, or even 60. But at some point the windmill breaks or the dog needs walking or what have you, and he emerges--and then he's vulnerable. The more visible and stringent the security, the more he's advertising the high value of his depot.

And of course guarding a high-value stash alone is problematic for the simple reason that humans need to sleep.

So creating a high-value horde in a remote setting is looking like just about the worst possible strategy in the sense that the flatlander has provided a huge incentive to theft/robbery and also provided a setting advantageous to the thief or hunter.

If someone were to ask this "hick" for a less risky survival strategy, I would suggest moving into town and start showing a little generosity rather than a lot of hoarding. If not in town, then on the edge of town, where you can be seen and heard.

I'd suggest attending church, if you've a mind to, even if your faith isn't as strong as others. Or join the Lions Club, Kiwanis or Rotary International, if you can get an invitation. I'd volunteer to help with the pancake breakfast fundraiser, and buy a couple tickets to other fundraisers in town. I'd mow the old lady's lawn next door for free, and pony up a dollar if the elderly gentleman in line ahead of me at the grocery store finds himself a dollar light on his purchase.

If I had a parcel outside town that was suitable for an orchard or other crop, I'd plant it, and spend plenty of time in the local hardware store and farm supply, asking questions and spreading a little money around the local merchants. I'd invite my neighbors into my little plain house so they could see I don't own diddly-squat except some second-hand furniture and a crappy old TV. And I'd leave my door open so anyone could see for themselves I've got very little worth taking.

I'd have my tools, of course; but they're scattered around and old and battered by use; they're not shiny and new and expensive-looking, and they're not stored all nice and clean in a box some thief could lift. They're hung on old nails, or in the closet, and in the shed; a thief would have to spend a lot of time searching the entire place, and with my neighbors looking out for me, the thief is short of the most important advantage he has, which is time.

If somebody's desperate enough or dumb enough to steal my old handsaw, I'll buy another old one at a local swap meet. (Since I own three anyway, it's unlikely anyone would steal all three because they're not kept together.)

My valuable things, like the water filter, are kept hidden amidst all the low-value junk I keep around to send the message there's nothing worth looking at. The safest things to own are those which are visibly low-value, surrounded by lots of other mostly worthless stuff.

I'd claim a spot in the community garden, or hire a neighbor to till up my back yard, and I'd plant chard and beans and whatever else my neighbors suggested grew well locally. I'd give away most of what I grew, or barter it, or maybe sell some at the farmer's market. It wouldn't matter how little I had to sell, or how much I sold; what mattered was meeting other like-minded souls and swapping tips and edibles.

If I didn't have a practical skill, I'd devote myself to learning one. If anyone asked me, I'd suggest saw sharpening and beer-making. You're legally entitled to make quite a bit of beer for yourself, and a decent homebrew is always welcome by those who drink beer. It's tricky, and your first batches may blow up or go flat, but when you finally get a good batch you'll be very popular and well-appreciated if you're of the mind to share.

Saw-sharpening just takes patience and a simple jig; you don't need to learn a lot, like a craftsman, but you'll have a skill you can swap with craftsmen/women. As a carpenter, I need sharp saws, and while I can do it myself, I find it tedious and would rather rebuild your front porch handrail or a chicken coop in exchange for the saw-sharpening.

Pickles are always welcome in winter, or when rations get boring; the Germans and Japanese of old lived on black bread or brown rice and pickled vegetables, with an occasional piece of dried meat or fish. Learning how to pickle is a useful and easy-to-learn craft. There are many others. If you're a techie, then volunteer to keep the network up at the local school; do it for free, and do a good job. Show you care.

Because the best protection isn't owning 30 guns; it's having 30 people who care about you. Since those 30 have other people who care about them, you actually have 300 people who are looking out for each other, including you. The second best protection isn't a big stash of stuff others want to steal; it's sharing what you have and owning little of value. That's being flexible, and common, the very opposite of creating a big fat highly visible, high-value target and trying to defend it yourself in a remote setting.

I know this runs counter to just about everything that's being recommended by others, but if you're a "hick" like me, then you know it rings true. The flatlanders are scared because they're alone and isolated; we're not scared. We've endured bad times before, and we don't need much to get by. We're not saints, but we will reciprocate to those who extend their good spirit and generosity to the community in which they live and in which they produce something of value.

Current Mood: pensive
Wednesday, September 22nd, 2010
1:13 pm
Writer's Block: Let me entertain you
Who is your personal choice for greatest singer of all time, and why?

It's got to be Steven Hawking. I mean - if you had to come up with the least likely person to ever jam with Pink Floyd, he'd have to come way out there and yet...

Current Mood: mischievous
Sunday, August 29th, 2010
5:46 pm
Writer's Block: What's my motivation?
If you could replace any actor/actress in a film with someone else, who would you replace, and why?

I would replace Sylvester Stalone with Sebastian Shaw (Darth Vader) in "Judge Dredd". Someone who can keep their helmet on for the 20 years of the comic-book character vs 10 minutes in the movie.

Current Mood: annoyed
Tuesday, June 15th, 2010
3:33 am
If your xsl:param arrives empty in Firefox...
(This is an xml/xsl geek post for any lost souls who, like me, spent days trying to figure out the problem. If that's not you then move along.)
Geek stuffCollapse )

Current Mood: accomplished
Wednesday, May 19th, 2010
11:53 pm
Exactly what I was hoping to hear
"One: we will repeal all of the intrusive and unnecessary laws that inhibit your freedom.

Two: we will reform our politics so it is open, transparent, decent.

Three: we will radically redistribute power away from the centre, into your communities, your homes, your hands.

Big, sweeping change.

Not incremental, not bit by bit.

Our democracy has suffered at the hands of encroaching centralisation and secrecy for decades.

Take citizens' rights: eroded by the quiet proliferation of laws that increase surveillance, quash dissent, limit freedom."

Nick Clegg, Deputy PM, today.

I was hoping Obama would come up with something similar when he got elected but the pathetic behavior of the Democrats when they got control of the House and Senate made that unlikely.

There are going to be things I absolutely despise about the Conservatives, dress it in whatever terms you like - it boils down to conformity. However, so long as we have freedom then anything else can be fixed and we are finally regaining the ground that has been lost since 2001. I'll take the dangers of freedom over the illusion of security any day.

Current Mood: impressed
Monday, May 17th, 2010
1:14 am
Re-route power through the secondary systems!
With the death of my desktop motherboard (an Asus P5K3) and a site launch imminent, I was left in a bit of a quandary. I had 3 days to turn my Asus EEE into a working development system.
Tech stuffCollapse )

So now I have a 1.6GHz machine with 1Gb ram and 20Gb disk space and it's not as bad as I thought it would be. It's not like typing in code or browsing the web is particularly CPU-intensive. It's the kind of spec we had a few years ago and I got work done then. Speed-wise, it's about on a par with the bloated XP you get on a pre-install disk on a much higher spec machine before it's been running a few months and slows right down. It can even play video (so long as nothing else is running) and plug in a monitor, speakers, full-size mouse and keyboard and 120Gb external hard drive (not at the same time without a usb extension bus).

What I can't do is play 3d-rendered games which I never did anyway so that's got me thinking - why am I throwing lots of expensive power through expensive hardware so that it overheats and burns out faster? The latest NVidia graphics cards have 2048 graphic processors on them and consume 650W. Great if you are doing real-time 3d modeling or producing a CGI movie but most of the time, it's being burned up so you can surf the net or check your email.

The Asus, while usable and and an interesting experience, is a little too small but I definitely think that the next time I change my motherboard it will be, for the first time, a downgrade. One that can keep cool by convection without the need for a CPU fan.

Current Mood: geeky
Monday, May 10th, 2010
2:32 pm
Facebook - designed for identity theft.
Assuming that you (and your family) use Facebook as intended, you are probably giving away more than enough information to severely compromise 13/15 of security questions asked by institutions and, by default, it's all public!

Using Good Security Questions as an example:

Table behind cut...Collapse )
This stuff is so easy and Facebook's attitude to security so cavalier (why do they even ask for this stuff?) that it's only a matter of time before it kickstarts a massive identity theft.

Current Mood: irritated
Thursday, May 6th, 2010
7:44 pm
Most exciting election I've ever tracked
I don't like single-issue politics but the British Labour party is the only one still hell-bent on introducing ID cards. From what I've seen of the feature-creep in the Social Security Number in the US (a single number that links all of your data from any source), any price is worth paying to avoid that. Once it's here, it's here to stay so 5 years of bad government pales into insignificance.

However, I don't really like the Conservatives. Horrible mixture of "we know best", "f**k you if you're poor" and "kick out the bloody foreigners".

So this time, I'm rooting for a hung parliament which means I want gains for the other parties but not too many. It's a real nerve-wracking roller coaster but it's looking like it might come through. Conservative with the support of Liberal Democrats would suit me down to the ground.

Current Mood: nervous
Tuesday, May 4th, 2010
11:32 pm
Writer's Block: Nirvana

Vorey, France. Damned-near paradise, laid back, beautiful food and people.
Wednesday, April 28th, 2010
11:12 pm
Thanks, Obama!
The Brits are a cynical bunch when it comes to politicians. The biggest trans-Atlantic difference is that the politicians have learned this. If they want to be in front, the first thing they need to do is figure out where people are going. Try to push and they move out of the way, squeeze too hard and they run through your fingers.

That last increase in tobacco taxes, to $8/pack, have finally goaded me into action. Now maybe with a universal healthcare system the UK might have the right to an opinion but over here? Hell, no! It doesn't save the government a dime if I quit and merely raises their revenue and that has been bothering me. I don't like my personal vices paying to kill people (either locals or impoverished Americans prepared to sign a blank check to the government on their lives) in Iraq and Afghanistan.

So now the price has reached the point where more drastic action is feasible. The early spring crops are planted, the next lot of beds are being prepared and the tobacco seeds are on order!

I don't know how old this clip is but they talk about a 10-fold increase in seed sales "now that the price has reached $4/pack" so it's probably not that recent. According to Seedman.com, they sold 10 times more seeds last year than the year before. That's what I mean by squeezing through their fingers.

Current Mood: quixotic
Sunday, March 28th, 2010
1:22 am
Open Source vs Proprietary Software
As more and more people look into open source alternatives to software and operating systems, the first impression can be confusing. Here's an explanation about what to expect and why.
A little post to clarify the situation on the ground with open source software.Collapse )

Current Mood: geeky
Thursday, March 25th, 2010
11:58 am
Another one taps into the limitless power of communiteeee!
Poor Sarah. A friend of hers needed an OS for his girlfriend that didn't get infected with virii (?) and trojans. I recommended Ubuntu. One effortless install later, he's wishing he switched years ago and now she's got two converts gushing about it. Resistance is futile! You will be freed!

Current Mood: cheerful
Sunday, February 28th, 2010
12:57 pm
Fuzzy britches didn't make it.
I kept him warm on my chest all night but he was dead this morning. For an awful moment, I thought I had rolled on him but I know I didn't. That's the last of the runts from the batch of chickens. The rest seem to be doing fine.

Current Mood: disappointed
Saturday, February 27th, 2010
9:59 pm
Hunt and peck.
We have Fuzzy Britches in a box on the desk. In retrospect, tapping to show her where to look for food does have a downside:

It's really hard to make an entry when the little bugger keeps worming her way under my hands to look where the food is.

With returning health, she's turned into a hyperactive ball of feathers who does a passable (and persistent) impression of a car alarm. Still, now that I've let her crawl down my collar, she seems to have calmed down a little. Just have to clear out any little "presents" she leaves down there.

Things I never knew about chickens:
1. They do dump-hunch. That observation saved my keyboard from an impromptu cleaning.
2. Contrary to popular opinion, they do fart.
3. They are as attention-seeking as any other child.

Current Mood: tired
10:40 am
Sharing the dream.
Bobby got the chickens, which is a good thing. We all have a dream of a more self-sufficient lifestyle but, individually, none of us have the time. However, by sharing the dream we should be able to pull it off.

Unfortunately, she got a mixed variety which meant that despite them being the same age, some are a quarter of the size of the others. The first two of the smallest both died and the last one, Fuzzy Britches, we brought inside away from the others.

Apparently, it's important to keep them warm and the heat lamp is outside for the others so he's been tucked inside my collar (risky when they do not house-train) and I've been using the hot water bottle wrapped in a towel to give him a "mother" he can climb under without getting squished.

Urgh! The constant crying! The sleepless nights! The early morning feeds (and changing the water in the bottle)! So this is what I've been avoiding! And then, when she's warm enough, she jumps out and goes exploring all over my keyboard.

I really hope it's a "she". I'd hate to go through all this and not get any eggs out of the deal!

Current Mood: tired
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