Sunday, November 28, 2004

Apparently All You Need to Do is Restart

When I opened a new xterm window the hello.f file compiled perfectly. I guess just doing a "rehash" didn't initialize everything.

Intel Fortran Compiler (8.1)

The current version of Intel's Fortran Compiler for Linux is 8.1, up from 8.0 when we installed it in FC1. Let's try again:

  1. Go to the compiler ad page.
  2. Click on Free Non-Commercial Download.
  3. Click on Download Intel® Fortran Compiler for Linux. Answer the survey questions.
  4. Click the "register" button and fill out the form. Use an email address which works.
  5. They remembered I have an active registration, but will send me the information I need to download again. They sent me the same license file again.
  6. Download the software (82.2 MB).
  7. Untar the file and visit directory
    $ tar xvzf l_fc_p_8.1.018.tar.gz
    $ cd l_fc_p_8.1.018
  8. su to root, run the install script, answer the questions. Install Fortran Compiler. Accept license agreement, default placement, RPM flags.
  9. Install debugger.
  10. Exit installation program. Put /opt/intel_fc_80/bin in $path. Compile test program:
    $ cat hello.f 
          program hello
          write(*,*) 'hello world'
    $ ifort  -ccdefault list -tpp7 -W0 hello.f -o hello
    /opt/intel_fc_80/lib/for_main.o(.text+0x1c): In function `main':
    : undefined reference to `MAIN__'
  11. .

Hmm. The requirements for this version include the use of the gcc 2.3.2 or below, and we're running 3.4.2. I'll have to look into this.

Working With Fedora Core

As this Blog gets bigger and starts having more "Things" in it, it's sometimes hard for me to find the "Linux" part. To cure this, I've pulled out all the Linux posts into a new web page called Working With Fedora Core Linux. It's divided into two parts, Fedora Core 1 and Fedora Core 3. I'll put a link to the pages in the box on the right as well. Linux posts will still appear in the blog, they'll just be duplicated on the web page. Comments should go here.

Saturday, November 27, 2004

Getting Started With Fedora for Windows Users

Found in the Drafts section of Blogspot from way back when. It's still relevant, though: has an article called Fedora Core Getting Started. It's aimed at Windows users who want to set up a Fedora system. Not too bad and article. Way to many screen shots, though. Now if he explained what the user was supposed to do when confronted with said screen shot ...

Once Upon A Time In The Midwest

Back in the day, there used to be a college athletic conference known as "The Big 8". It was mainly known for football, although it had some success in basketball. The high-point in football was possibly the 1995 season, when the AP Poll had:

1 Nebraska 12-0-0
5 Colorado 10-2-0
7 Kansas State 10-2-0
9 Kansas 10-2-0

Arguably, they should have been ranked 1-2-3-4, since Colorado lost to Kansas which lost to K-State which lost to Colorado, and they all lost to Nebraska.

The Big 8 is, alas, no more. When the current mania for 12 team Division I conferences began, it was incorporated into the Big 12. The Northern Tier (KU, K-State, Nebraska, Colorado, Missouri, and Iowa State) became the Big-12 North. And how are they doing this year? You had to ask:

Colorado4-4 7-4
Iowa State 4-4 6-5
Missouri 3-5 5-6
Nebraska 3-5 5-6
Kansas 2-6 4-7
Kansas State 2-6 4-7

The Big 12 North "Champion" is Colorado, by virtue of beating Iowa State, and by the fact that ISU couldn't beat Mizzou this week. So Colorado will play Oklahoma, and Dr. Pepper should ask for its money back.

How did this happen? Well, KU lost coach Glen Mason to Minnesota. He'd been the only decent coach they'd had in years. Many years. K-State is happered by the fact that Bill Snyder will only play the Little Sisters of the Poor outside of those Big-12 teams he's forced to meet, and that doesn't help recruiting or preparation. Colorado has been hampered by various football related scandels. And Nebraska? Well, 9-3 wasn't enough, the coach got fired, and the Huskers are learning a new offense that involves throwing the football. This may take some time.

Will the trend reverse? Maybe, but probably not too soon. Remember, only Nebraska has a real football tradition over the last 40 years. CU, KSU, and KU have been occasionally good, the first two very good, but they always return to the median, if not below it. In the B12-South, we've got Oklahoma, Texas, Texas A&M, and Texas Tech, all of whom expect to be football powers, even if they aren't. I don't see that changing any time soon, so I don't see a return to greatness in the B12N, except possibly for Nebraska.

The rest of us above 37o North will have to make do with basketball season, and that's only if you root for KU.

Which I do.

Somewhere Over the Big Circular Symbol

We've noted that one can deconstruct anything, but until my daughter took AP English I didn't know that The Wonderful Wizard of Oz was a Parable on Populism in the Guilded Age.

It's ... a ... children's ... story. Trust me on this.

Pictures From a Small Town

As mentioned, we spent Thanksgiving in Holyrood, Kansas, pop. approx. 450. I grew up there, so watch it. I thought a few pictures might be in order:

  • This is Main Street on Thanksgiving Day. Not very busy, true. On other days, there is activity around the bank and H&B, the local phone/cable/internet company. (DJ says they'll have a home page real soon now.) Otherwise, it looks pretty much like this all the time. The consoldated elementary school is at the end of the street, over the hill.:

  • All Kansas towns feature a high-rise grain elevator. This one's operated by the Holyrood Coop:

  • And, of course, you always need water:

  • Oil used to be the main industry around here, but now it's mostly gone. However, the recent increase in oil prices (thanks, Dub) has made it profitable to pump out what's there. At least, pumpers are working all over the place:

  • When not working the fields, it's nice to have a hobby. Centuries from now, after enough of these have escaped, people will probably figure that these are native birds, just like pheasant:

  • This was taken about 5 pm on Nov. 24, a few miles west of town. The city is to the right, you can just see the elevator near one of the telephone poles:

Host Issues

We're back. I'll put a trip report (with pictures) up a little later. For now, I want to put fix up a few things involving the /etc/host* files:

Saturday, November 20, 2004

Help!! I Can't Stop Myself!!!

This is getting serious, folks. Fortunately I'll have a week to recover. I need the Gtk-perl package to pop up text windows -- such as the weather forcast. Fortunately, it's available from freshrpms, so a simple
sudo yum install Gtk-Perl
takes care of the dependencies.

One More -- fortune

Same tune, different verse. Install fortune. Get the version fortune-mod-1.2.1-1 from RPMfind. Repeat the process in the preceeding post.

Just One More -- installing Electric Eyes (ee)

I couldn't resist. To install "Electric Eyes", aka ee from a src.rpm:

  • First, go to and follow the directions to build local RPM directories and the ~/.rpmmacros file.
  • Next, find an src.rpm for ee via Google. this one ( looks good. Download the file (ee-0.3.12-5.src.rpm) to your ~/rpmbuild/SRPMS.
  • The command you want to run is
    $ sudo rpmbuild --rebuild ee-0.3.12-5.src.rpm
    This may not work at first. Satisfy all the dependencies. In my case, this involved
    $ sudo yum install imlib-devel gnome-libs-devel
    which installed everything I needed. YMMV.
  • Now run
    $ sudo rpmbuild --rebuild ee-0.3.12-5.src.rpm
    This should complete successfully.
  • Go to ~/rpmbuild/RPMS/i386, where there should be a file ee-0.3.12-5.i386.rpm. Also a debug file, which we can ignore.
  • $ sudo rpm -ivh ee-0.3.12-5.i386.rpm
  • The program is installed.

Good night. I really mean it.

Well Wasn't That Fun?

The FC3 blitz is over. There are still a few things to install, like putting back the Intel Fortran compiler and finding out where I can get an RPM for ee (Electric Eyes). In a couple of weeks I plan to put all these posts together in one logically ordered file, along with a list of other RPMs and other files that used to augment FC3.

Tomorrow we're flying to Kansas for Thanksgiving. Be back next weekend. Yes, I know what was on TBS tonight. I've seen it, it's a good movie, but I heard the next line at least 5,000 times, so don't say it. No, I don't care which line it is, I've heard it 5,000 times.


It used to take some work to set up a hotplug, that is, to mount an external device such as a memory key or digital camera. No more. Just plug the device in, and do

$ ls -l /media/
total 24
drwxr-xr-x  2 root root 4096 Nov 20 09:58 cdrecorder
drwxr-xr-x  2 root root 4096 Nov 20 09:58 floppy
drwxr-xr-x  2 root root 4096 Nov 20 19:00 usbdisk

usbdisk is what's in the USB port, so do

$ mount /media/usbdisk/

Move files around as usual, and then

$ umount /media/usbdisk

before unpluging.


As predicted, Helix Player did not play some of the files I wanted it to play, so I went ahead and reloaded RealPlayer from the Helix Community download site. Note that this version is a bit larger in size than the one I added in July so I'd guess that it's an upgrade.


Web pages occasionally call for plugins, programs that perform specific functions that the browser can't handle on it's own. Many applications, e.g., Helix Player come with plugins. For those that don't, we need to add a plugin wrapper, a program that takes another program (e.g. mplayer) and presents it to the browser as a plugin. For Linux the usual program to to this is Plugger, as I did in FC1. However, there's also Mozplugger, a "branch" of Plugger. Most importantly, this is available with FC3, you don't have to go out and find copies.

Mozplugger does pretty well on the Plugger Testing Ground, so we'll use it for now.

Mplayer and Xine Re-install

Just installing mplayer from RPMS leaves a number of dependency issues. However, now that we've added freshrpms to our yum table (see last post), the command

sudo yum install mplayer mplayer-fonts mplayer-skins

takes care of most of that. I suspect that I could now do the full update if needed, all the libraries are present.

And, in fact, to get a proper working copy of mplayer I had to repeat all of the steps I'd done before.

A proper installation of xine requires:

sudo yum install xine xine-lib xine-lib-devel xine-skins

So far they both seem to work.

Adding freshrpms to yum

yum is one of the package management systems included with FC3. Adding sources to yum other than from RedHat involves editing the /etc/yum.conf or adding a file to /etc/yum.repos.d, and adding GPG keys in the proper place.

FreshRPMs makes it easy. Just download the freshrpms-release RPM file and install it.


When that didn't work, I searched and found that you must then run

sudo yum -y check-update

to get things started properly. Anyway, that works.

Allowing Sudo Priviledges

I've mentioned it before in passing, put it's possible to set up any Unix-like system so that selected root users can run root-level commands, e.g.,

sudo yum update

This will ask you to for your password to verify that you are allowed access.

To set permission, one must edit the /etc/sudoers file. Of course, you have to be root to do this, but even then you must use a special command,

visudo -f sudoers

this ensures that no one else is trying to edit the file simultaneously, checks syntax, etc. If you want to allow user dubya to run sudo, then edit the file to look like this:

# User privilege specification
root    ALL=(ALL) ALL
dubya   ALL=(ALL) ALL

where those multiple spaces are actually a tab. Now dubya can do root's work. Interestingly, if now flipflop tries to run a sudo job, he gets a message that the attempt will be reported. To whom? root gets an email message.

Mounting CDs

I wanted to look at the Fedora Core 3 Disc 4, which didn't come up in the installation process. In KDE it was auto-mounted, with an icon appearing on the desktop. FVWM doesn't do that as far as I know. It certainly didn't automount the disk. However, it is set up to mount with the command

mount /media/cdrecorder/

and of course the corresponding umount command works as well.

Not that much on the disk. Extras, such as alternate dictionaries for aspell, the full mozilla browser, etc.

Fedora Core 3 Resources

I should point out that the parent link to the previous post, Personal Fedora Core 3 Installation Guide, by Mauriat Miranda, has a wide range of information on installing FC3. Kind of like this, but thorough, thoughtful, and better. I'll even forgive the mjm use.

Font Fixing

Alas, many sites on the web still think that Microsoft's Web Fonts, which used to be available free from Microsoft, are the best fonts for displaying web content. There are ways around this, but the easiest (not the best, not what's acceptable to RMS, but the easiest) way to get the fonts is, as before, to go to and follow the directions.

P.S. The fonts are still freely distributable, it's just that Microsoft doesn't distribute them anymore.

Friday, November 19, 2004

Reinstall Java

Keeping with our theme of fixing up Firefox, reinstall our previous version of Java and connect it to the appropriate firefox directory:

# cd /usr/lib/firefox-1.0/plugins/
# ln -s /home/local/share/j2sdk1.4.2/jre/plugin/i386/mozilla/ .
# ls -l
total 36
lrwxrwxrwx  1 root root    37 Nov 19 20:17 flashplayer.xpt -> /usr/lib/flash-plugin/flashplayer.xpt
lrwxrwxrwx  1 root root    39 Nov 19 20:17 -> /usr/lib/flash-plugin/
lrwxrwxrwx  1 root root    73 Nov 19 20:29 -> /home/local/share/j2sdk1.4.2/jre/plugin/i386/mozilla/
-rwxr-xr-x  1 root root 16304 Nov 11 01:18

Need Flash

Comcast's Home Page reminds me that I need to install Macromedia Flash here. To get a new copy, a Fedora Core 3 RPM, go to Then

# rpm -iv flash-plugin-7.0.25-1.i386.rpm 
warning: flash-plugin-7.0.25-1.i386.rpm: V3 DSA signature: NOKEY, key ID 8df56d05
Preparing packages for installation...

Registering flashplayer as a XPCOM component in

Registering flashplayer as a XPCOM component in
Setup is complete.

# ls -l /usr/lib/firefox-1.0/plugins/
total 28
lrwxrwxrwx  1 root root    37 Nov 19 20:17 flashplayer.xpt -> /usr/lib/flash-plugin/flashplayer.xpt
lrwxrwxrwx  1 root root    39 Nov 19 20:17 -> /usr/lib/flash-plugin/
-rwxr-xr-x  1 root root 16304 Nov 11 01:18

Restart Firefox

It works

An Old-Time Window Manager

FVWM ("FVWM" Virtual Window Manager) is still my favorite. I downloaded new versions of

  • fvwm (2.4.19-1)
  • fvwm-themes (0.7.0-2)

and used my old version of

  • libstroke

all available from the FVWM home page. Using my old .fvwm/.fvwm2rc file makes everything work just fine.

My files copied

Well, enough of them so that I can run Firefox properly, and have my tcsh shell preferences set correctly.

After I get the local files set up, I'll start looking for things that haven't been installed with Fedora Core. First off, we need mplayer and xine, not to mention plugger, ee. Most importantly, fvwm so I can use the window manager I want rather than KDE or Gnome.

There are probably a few other things, as well. I'll document the installation of each one of them as I go along. Many are in past posts to this blog, so I'll try to reference those posts as well.

Restore Files

At least under KDE the CDs mount and unmount automatically at /media/cdrecorder.

I also created my local user, for programs I don't want in my own user directory but which don't need to run as root.

Monitor Settings, Upgrades

You go to System Settings => Display, click on Hardware, then Monitor Type => Configure, then click on the arrow to the left of Generic CRT Display. I set this to Monitor 1024x768, now must restart X.

That works, though of course I have to resize the screen again from the monitor control panel. No flicker, fortunately.

For some reason I'm running KDE, it seems. Up on the top is a big red "!". When I click on it, it wants to run up2date to fix a bunch of stuff. Then it wants to install a GPG key to verify packages. I did that, I think. Click some stuff and off it goes.

I Agree

  • First off is that I agree to the License, namely the GPL
  • Then enable Network Time Protocal, so I'm always on time. Three servers are listed, we can add more.
  • Configure display
    • Monitor is "Unknown". Actually, it's branded Envision, whatever that is. Choose Generic CRT. Actually, I don't seem to get a choice.
    • It's only giving me 800x600 resolution at the moment
    • I do get millions of colors
    • Presumably we can fix all this later
  • Create a "non-administrative" account name. I used to get to create several, I may have to do this later. For now, create my personal account
  • I could not hear the sound test. Again, I hope I can fix this later. For now, no sound. Yuck.
  • Finish. Hmm.

Fixing Sound

As noted on, for some reason the sound is turned off by default. To fix this, click on the speaker icon, then "Open Volume Control". Turn everything up as far as possible, and unclick all "Mute" buttons. Now the sound works.

Sound fixed, screen resolution fixed, maybe we can make this thing work.

Performing Post Install Configuration

I guess that means it got everything it needed off of disks 2 and 3.

Now I am invited to reboot

Well, it booted.

Got a "First Time Boot" Welcome screen

Disk 2 worked

Maybe something's wrong with the checker program?

On to disk 3

Installing from Disc 2

The first Suspect Disk. Cross Fingers and push the OK button.

Installing Kernel

Kernel is 2.6.9-1.667.i686

Now It's

Preparing to Install

The blue bar shifts, and having shifted, moves on

It's gone. Now installing packages off the first disk

Starting Installation Process

This may take several minutes

That would be a definition of optimism.

Asking for disks

It says I need disks 1, 2, and 3. Joy. No option for network install, yet. Probably at start of installation, so if this fails I'll reboot and try again.

Away We Go

Click the button, everything old goes away...

Package Selection

The default packages for this workstation include:

  • Web Browser (which?)
  • Evolution email
  • IM
  • "Sound and Video Applications
  • Games

Add a few more with the custom option:

  • X Windows (a default selection, hereafter DS)
  • GNOME (DS)
  • KDE
  • Editors -- emacs and vim-enhanced (DS)
  • Engineering and Scientific: blas, gnuplot, lapack, octave, units
  • Graphical Internet -- the default is Firefox for a browser. Add gftp, pan (usenet) and thunderbird. GAIM is the IM client
  • Text Internet -- add lynx. Get rid of slrn (newsreader). Wonder how elinks works as a browser? Fetchmail is included here for some reason
  • Productivity: Add abiword, gnumeric, tetex-xdvi, and xpdf. OpenOffice and gnome PS and PDF viewers included in DS
  • Sound and Video -- HelixPlayer (DS), I'll probably go with RealPlayer later. Add k3b and kdemultimedia
  • Authoring and publishing -- Add this, in contains the entire tetex distribution
  • Graphics -- includes gimp, add kdegraphics. No xpaint, I'll have to add that later
  • Games -- add the KDE packages
  • Development tools -- gcc, g77, perl, python, expect, etc. -- Need all these
  • X Software Development -- I hope this includes all the header files we need to compile aplications
  • Ditto for GNOME and KDE
  • Admin Tools (DS)
  • System Tools -- nmap, screen, ethereal, zsh
  • Printing support -- keep only a2ps and enscript until we get a printer attached

Installation Selection

For now I'm picking the "Personal Desktop" option. What it leaves out I'll install at a later date.

First try "automatic" disk partioning, see what we get.

Hmm. The obvious option here is to "Remove All Partitions on the system."

Remove All Data. Yikes

Installing Grub Boot Loader

Make the Ethernet card available at boot-time, using DHCP

Enable Firewall. Not allowing SSH, web service (HTTP(S)), FTP, or mail (SMTP)

The default is to enable SELinux. I may regret this later, but for now let's go with it.

Default to US English, Eastern US Time zone, and put the system clock on UTC

It Begins

It did recognize my old installation, but I want to retreive the disk space I've had for Windows, so let's install a new installation and hope I can repartition the disk properly.

That Didn't Work Either

I'm made three copies of disc 2, none of them pass the test. I've downloaded the image from two different mirrors, they agree using the cmp command as well as with the MD5SUM from RedHat.

So what? I'm going to try a "net install" first. If that doesn't work, I'll use the disks that I have, and if that fails I'll order new disks from CheapBytes. Hopefully none of this will be a problem. If it is, we go back reinstall FC1, and think about what to do next.

Thursday, November 18, 2004


A new burn of disc 2 failed as well. I'm going to download another copy of the disk image, and see if that works. If not, we'll try something else, maybe even ordering from CheapBytes. In that case we won't do the install until after Thanksgiving.

Redo Discs

Oh, dear. Discs 1 and 4 passed the checks imposed on them. Discs 2, 3, and the rescue disk, however, failed miserably. Will have to reburn them. Back in a bit.

While Waiting

It's good to have something to read. I'm reading Patrick O'Brian's Desolation Island.

Press Enter to Begin

It asks if I should check the CD media before continuing. This is a Good Idea.

Step One

Reboot Linux box. Get into the BIOS (F2 key) and set it to boot from the CD-RW drive.

Put Fedora Core 3 Disc 1 into CD drive and begin

Something's Happening Here

And what it is ain't exactly clear.

What I am going to try to do is install Fedora Core 3 onto my Linux box, replacing Fedora Core 1. If all works well, you'll see it all in real time. If it doesn't work, then you'll get to see me melt down.

So what we have is

  • Dell Dimension 2350
  • 2.2 GHz Celeron Processor
  • 512MB DDR SDRAM upgraded from 256MB
  • CD-RW drive
  • Intel "Integrated" Graphics and Audio
  • 60GB disk

Not to mention various bits of software that we'll mention as we go along, or when I find that I've forgotten to install them.

So sit back and relax, and enjoy the show. If, for some strange reason, you're not interested in watching dancing red hats, come back in a few days. There's nothing else to see here for now.

I'm planning on collecting these posts and putting them in sequential order (meaning this post first) on a web page. When I get that set up it will appear on the links bar on the right.

And away we go!

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Door's Finished

Actually, they got done about 8pm. Did a good job, too. Well, not quite done, something's wrong with the lock so "we'll have to come back."

In other news, Fedora Core 3 is downloaded and burned. I backed everything up as well. And, for added insurance, I downloaded and burned a Knoppix CD as well. I booted it from the CD drive, and it works.

And I backed up my home directory, as well as all the junk I keep in /home/local. We're ready to do the upgrade, which will be tomorrow, if I get enough sleep tonight.

SG-1, Atlantis: Back Once More

According to Gateworld, Stargate SG-1 and Stargate Atlantis will both be renewed for a ninth and second season, respectively. I'm OK with that. I suspect SG-1 is about ready to jump the shark, but they may be able to hold out for another season. Atlantis hasn't really caught my fancy yet, but there's still the possibility, and if it follows SG-1 we'll watch it.

Apparently Amanda Tapping is pregnant, with the baby due about when filming starts next March. So will Carter and Joe get married? And what about Fifth and Repli-Carter? Do they have a blessed event as well?

Hey, Maybourne's coming back.

They Got Here About 5:15

Work commences.

As We Wait

for installation people to install a new sliding door to the back porch. They were supposed to be here between 1 and 4 pm. It is now 4:48. I'll keep you posted.

I did manage to download the Fedora Core 3 installation CDs from a mirror. So I'll spend the next few hours burning the iso images to disk and backing up my data to CDs. Tomorrow, with luck, I'll start installing FC3.

Sunday, November 14, 2004

FC3 delay

Fedora Core 3 upgrade is delayed. I couldn't get it all through FTP last night, in fact I couldn't get the first CD downloaded, even from a mirror. I'll try this week, but I may have to set up BitTorrent. We're going to Kansas for Thanksgiving, so I may not get the upgrade until December. Maybe I should wait for FC4?

At Least I Didn't Pay $59 For The Ticket

I comped a pair of tickets to the Redskins-Bengals game, so I just got back from FedEx field. It was, how should I say this, the worst game I've ever seen a team I was rooting for play. The Redskin offense was abismal in the first half. Mark Brunell, rest his NFL soul, was 1-8, 6 yards, 1 INT, before Joe Gibbs finally took pity and yanked him in the second quarter. Patrick Ramsey played somewhat better, especially in the second half. Part of his problem was that the receivers were not used to his passing style (he tended to throw in the general area of the receiver) and his passes come in hard. If Ramsey had practiced his other sport, javelin, in ancient times he'd be the one they stood up on the top of the hill and used to rain spears down on the enemy below.

The offensiveness of the offense has finally affected the defense. In the first half they managed to make Carson Palmer look like Brett Farve and Rudi Johnson look like Walter Payton. Many times, it seemed, the defense would make a good stop during a set of downs, and leave the Bengels with third and long. Then Palmer would throw something for 10-15 yards, and we'd start over again. Other times, Johnson would just take off and not get tackled. No one looked good on the defense. Smoot missed two tackles on pass plays that went for long yards. Now, I'm not saying that he has to stop everyone, he's not that big. But he should be able to hold on and slow them down until help comes.

At half time I was considering doing something I'd never done before -- leave immediately. I was wrong, I should have left at the end of the first quarter. In any case, we stayed. Ramsey got better as the game went on, but he wasn't good enough to get 17 points on the board during the second half. Time management was a problem. The first Skins scoring drive, the field goal, started with 9 minutes left in the fourth and ended with less than 5 minutes on the clock. At that point we left. Washington did score one touchdown, but the game ended with Ramsey throwing an interception on the last drive.

Well, that season's over. At 3-6, with Pittsburgh, Dallas, Philly, New York, and Philly all left, there's no way they can get a wildcard. We can go on to basketball and wondering how much Beltran is going to get from Steinbrenner.

FedEx was its usual charming self. We were told to get there early, since they were allowing (gasp) pedestrians to access the stadium, and this was sure to slow things down. Of course, since most of the parking lots are about two light-years from the field everyone spends most of the time walking. Anyway, we arrived at 2pm for the 4pm start, and had no problem parking. Actually, I think we could have gotten there at 3:30 and had no trouble, because the place didn't fill up until into the first quarter. It never filled up completely, in fact. Even though the game was officially sold out, at least 10% of the seats were never filled. I spent most of the game with my feet stretch onto the seat in front of me. But, for our pains, we were rewarded with two hours of ear-damaging hip-hop. Note to Danny: the speakers are only 20 feet above row 25 in the 4xx sections. Don't you know, that makes things rather loud up there? Actually, if I wanted to hear that much rap, I would have hired my own DJ and spent the afternoon someplace warm. Funny, I thought the "NFL Experience" was WATCHING A GAME, not having my nerves jangled by incomprehensible music at a volume that must be measured in kilo-decibels. If I'd actually paid for tickets, given the performance of this team, I wouldn't.

I never went to a game at RFK, but this crowd certainly didn't match what I've heard about those years. Since the defense had few big plays, and the offense none in the first half, we were reduced to waiting for a chance to boo Mark Brunell. Fortunately, we had many chances. No one booed Ramsey, but that will come if the offense doesn't improve. Sorry Patrick, but that's how it is.

Prospects for next year: it depends on how Ramsey develops. He's never really gotten a fair shot, and Gibbs does wonders with even mediocre QBs, so I have some hope. But it's going to be next year at the earliest, and only if Gibbs can persuade the Danny that he doesn't need to sign a big free agent, just a lot of good utility players.

It seems like I have a lot more to say, but I can't remember it now, so I'll sign off.

Saturday, November 13, 2004


According to the current (13 Nov 2004) count, President Bush received 59,459,765 votes on Tuesday. This is, as anyone can tell, the largest number of votes a Presidential candidate has ever received. Of course, since there are approximately 295,000,000 Americans, it's only about 1/5th of the population, but many of the rest can't vote, and those that didn't care, don't count.

What's interesting is that John Kerry received 55,949,407 votes. That puts him at second in the Presidential sweepstakes, just ahead of Ronald Reagan in 1984 (54,455,075), and somewhat further ahead of Al Gore (50,999,897) and Bush-2000 (50,456,002).

Even if we don't add in the Nader and other votes, it's apparent that more people voted against the winner of this election than have ever voted against a President before.

Given that little nugget, any claim to a mandate would be highly exaggerated.

Things Done Today

  • Helped clean out pantry. That is, when told, "Honey, when you've got a chance, can you move this?" immediately got up and moved article in question, be it microwave, cutting board, knife block, etc. I know what "when you've got a chance" means.
  • Updated the Favorite News Feeds on the web bar at right. For those who don't know, this is an OPML file which you should be able to import into your newsreader.
  • Started the installation of Fedora Core 3 by downloading the ISO images. In CD form, there are four discs plus a rescue CD. So far I've downloaded about ¼ of the first CD in the last half hour. Over a Cable modem. This could take some time.

Our Word For the Day

Comes from TK, who forwards

spheniscussionist (sfĕ·nĭs·kŭsh'·ə·nĭst)

n. A rabid Linux enthusiast; "penguin-thumper".

[spheniscidae penguin, deriv. percussion]

spheniscussion n.

Wear it proudly. A search of the web finds it defined by Pyrojection, who doesn't seem to like us, does he, precious.

One Reason I Don't Have Digital Cable

I'd have watched the Texas-Kansas game and gotten all excited. As it is, I was ready to call my mom but I thought I'd look up the score first.+ Damn. Another "missed it by this much". One day, KU will beat Nebraska, Texas, and Oklahoma in the same year.*

*OK, that will happen this year. But I meant in football.

+Of course I'll call my mom. But it's better to know the tone of the conversation beforehand. Resigned depression, rather than reserved optimism.

New Firefox Extensions

They aren't really new, but they're new to me. I found them while strolling through the Mozilla Update Extensions for Firefox:

  • User Agent Switcher changes Firefox's identification string to match Internet Explorer, Opera, Netscape, or anything else you can imagine. This is useful when you are trying to access a site which insists that you use Internet Explorer. Dan's Web Tips has a list of such sites, explains why this trick works, and why you might not want to use it too often.
  • Translate does what it says: it takes a page from French, German, Spanish, Italian, Japanese, Chinese, etc., runs it through either Alta Vista's Babel Fish or Google's Translation Tool and puts it back up in your browser. Just click on Tools => Translate, pick your language, and go.

Friday, November 12, 2004

We're Going to Run Out of Numbers

This just in, the University of Kansas is going to retire five (count 'em, 5) numbers in the KU basketball program this year. The players involved are Bill Bridges (32), Walter Wesley (13, same as Wilt), Dave Robisch (40), Bud Stallworth (15) and Darnell Valentine (14).

OK, probably not really retired. For one thing, there are only 60 possible numbers in college basketball, and if you keep retiring them, you're going to need a whole lot of new numbers. For another thing, Stallworth's number has already been retired twice, as Ray Evans and Jo Jo White. The criteria for retiring a jersey is

consensus first-team All-Americans, two-time first-team All-Americas and Academic All-American of the Year selections
or, in the case of Evans,
All-American in both football and basketball.

It's a bit much, people. I enjoyed watching Robisch and Stallworth play when I was in school, and I loved the way Valentine could handle the ball. But retire their jerseys? Uh, in a word, no. The only people who should have their jerseys retired are those who were the stars of National Championship teams. Which means Clyde Lovellette and Danny Manning. Add James Naismith, not that he wore a uniform, because he invented the game, and Phog Allen, because he invented coaching. I'll make an exception for Wilt, but nobody else.

And definitely not Roy. Maybe, some day, Bill Self. Maybe this year.

Firefox: Some Day, We'll Be Just Like Emacs

Thanks to PC_Freak, who pointed out FireFTP, an FTP client which loads as an extension in Mozilla Firefox.

Long time hackers will remember that you can do just about everything from emacs, including web surfing, gopher hunting, news reading, email, and, um, editing files. It looks like Firefox is going the same way. Well, except that when you want to read mail you use Thunderbird.

Thursday, November 11, 2004

We're Number 1

College Basketball Season opens tonight, just in time for you to forget the election and the fact that the Redskins ain't goin' nowhere this year. (Yes, they are only one game out of a wildcard, but so are half a dozen other teams. There are only two wildcards in the NFC.) Otherwise, there is no possible justification for opening the season before Thanksgiving week.

Many, including the USA Today/ESPN/College Coaches and the Associated Press polls both pick KU number one.

This frightens me. My teams never, ever go from pre- to post-season as number one, and certainly never win the championship if they started the season ranked first. In KU's last NCAA championship year, 1988, they weren't even first in the Big 8, much less the NCAA. During the Roy years KU went into the NCAA with a number one seed, and never won, of course. (Roy, we love ya', hope you have exactly as much success at North Carolina.)

KU's ranking is supposedly explained by the large number of returning seniors. Unfortunately, the returning seniors are Simien, Langford, and Miles, who, though good, are not going to make anyone forget Kirk Heinrich and Nick Collison, or Raef LaFrentz and Paul Pierce (OK, he never made senior). Well, let's hope that experience pays off. I remember a few years ago when KU took a senior NCAA team to the regional finals and got waxed by Arizona, including a very young Luke Walton.

The Washington Post, of course, bows to its statues of John Feinstein and Billy Packer and ranks Georgia Tech 1, North Carolina (phit) two.

Well, it's better than football season, anyway. I'll try to keep up to date.

The New Template

The old orange-on-orange template was boring, so I downloaded this one from It was designed by Martijn ten Napel. This one is called Autumn Hues, and it's available under a Creative Commons License. I've played with the margins a bit and added my own links, but otherwise it's unchanged.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Official Firefox Release

Mozilla Firefox has "gone gold" with the release of version 1.0. I installed it on Linux and Mac boxes with no problem. The installation picked up all of my old preferences without problem. Well, one problem: is very slow, so it's hard to get updates for extensions. This will probably solve itself in a few days as the number of downloads goes down. And some extensions, notably CookieCuller, don't have updates available.

Oh, one annoyance: when doing a "find", Firefox puts the search box at the bottom of the page. There used to be a big "X" so you could delete that box. Now the delete button is there, but it's not visible: you have to search for it with the mouse. This may be a problem with the theme I'm using, and not with Firefox.

Later: Yes, it's a theme issue. I'm using pinball. When I switch to the default theme I get the "X".

Even later: Using the update function under Tools => Themes updates Pinball to show the X. It's black, not white on red, but that's OK.

Saturday, November 06, 2004

Pocketbook Voting

It's often been said that the GOP has convinced people to vote against their economic interest. (See, e.g., the article on Thomas Frank and What's the Matter with Kansas below.)

CNN has a set of Exit Polls as part of its extensive 2004 Election coverage. (Blog used for book-marking, 5 yard penalty, repeat 2nd down.) One of the more interesting ones shows voting patterns versus income. I've taken the liberty of putting it in graphical form:

Income/Voting Patterns

Each bar represents the fraction of all voters who are in a given category and voted for a particular candidate, e.g. about 13% of voters earn $50-$75K and voted for Bush. The green line is the ratio of Bush's share of the vote to Kerry's share.

So the richer you are, the more likely you were to vote for Bush. That doesn't seem to show anyone voting against their economic interest. You could argue that, possibly, Bush's handling of the economy is going drive people in the center of the graph to the left, leaving us a bimodal distribution, but it's pretty clear that those very people don't believe that's going to happen.