Friday, March 31, 2006

Fedora Core 5: Full Installation?

Well, trying to upgrade from the DVD didn't work, either. It says I don't have enough disk space, which is ridiculous. But possibly my failed yum upgrade installation did something weird.

OK, so try a full install, but do a custom disk reformat, keeping untouched the /home partition that has all of my data on it. (All backed up, of course, so it's not a total disaster if I lose it.)

That seems to work, but then comes a screen asking me what kind of packages I want to use on this computer. I chose "Office and Productivity" and "Software Development," and then clicked the radio button that says "Customize Now," meaning that I want to go through the list of packages to be installed, add things I think I'll need, and subtract things I know I'll never use.

About 15 minutes ago I hit the Next button. The DVD spun for a few minutes. Since then nothing has happened.

I'll give it until after dinner or Doctor Who, whichever comes first. If I still don't have any response I'll try a full install, reformatting the whole fraking disk.

If that doesn't work I'll try something like Ubuntu.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Fedora Core 5: Well, That Didn't Work

yum downloaded all of the files, then actually installed only one. Unfortunately I don't have the output for the job, I should have kept it somewhere. Anyway, to go most anything graphical we now require the GLIBC_2.4 version of /lib/, and that's not available, either because it hasn't been loaded or because the new version has. Also, we're still running an FC4 kernel.

This, of course, is why we downloaded the DVD. Stay tuned, kiddies, as we try booting that up.

Fedora Core 5: Installing

Well, using yum upgrade seems to be working. As pointed out by Hutchinson, I had to uninstall a bunch of old kernels. I also had to get rid of the Intel Fortran compiler, msmtp, and some screensavers because of dependency issues. I'll download the new Intel compiler to fix the first one, and recompile the other two packages when the upgrade is finished.

1306 packages are being upgraded or added. We're currently at about 500. Stay tuned.

Fedora Core 5: The Upgrade Begins

So while I'm waiting for the plumber to fix up our water softening system (it leaks), it looks like this is a good time to upgrade to Fedora Core 5.

Actually, I've been planning this for a few days, it's just that now I have time on my hands. The preparation involved downloading the Fedora Core 5 DVD, which I hope I don't need, and backing up data.

Downloading the DVD image from the Fedora site was trivial, and K3b burned the thing perfectly. It even passed the RedHat installer media integrity check, something that doesn't always work even though the media actually worked.

Backups were a problem, though. k3b would detect a file named al<weird character>n.lyx~ and refuse to burn the disk. I tried GnomeBaker, which gave me a similar error. In neither case could I actually find the offending file, even using

$ find /

to look through the entire directory.

On the way to finding a "solution" to this problem, I found that I like K3b much better than GnomeBaker for the simple reason that K3b lets me dump my entire directory into the burn list and, when it finds that I've got about 10 GB of files trying to go onto a 4.7 GB DVD, lets me delete files and directories I don't want. GnomeBaker, on the other hand, doesn't let me select more than 4.7 GB of files at one time. This means that to load up the disk in GnomeBaker I have to select individual directories. This would be fine, except that I miss the hidden directories off of my home directory, e.g. .evolution, which holds all of my mail files. I really would like my email backed up. K3b lets me keep the hidden directories. However, I also tarballed the hidden directories I wanted to keep and dragged them onto the GnomeBaker disk.

Eventually I "solved" my problem by not saving some of the weirder files in my hidden directories. At least, I got both GnomeBaker and K3b to make backup copies of my home directory. I tested the disk on a Mac as well as my Linux box, so I think I've got clean backups.

And now we're ready to go. I have the FC5 installation disk, but the simplest way to upgrade would be to do

$ sudo yum update

with yum looking in the Fedora Core 5 repositories rather than in FC4. Brandon Hutchinson tells how to do it. Basically, you download

Load up the RPM, and do a yum update.

I'll let you know how that turns out in a few minutes.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Fedora Core 5 Released

Fedora Core 5 was released today. I'm going to let it settle down for a few days, then do the upgrade. As always, we'll give you a play-by-play description of the upgrade process.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Quote of the Day

Found by one of the Eldar Children:

"Bother", said Pooh. "Eeyore, ready two photon torpedoes and lock phasers on the Heffalump. Piglet, meet me in transporter room three."

Saturday, March 18, 2006

At Least Bill Self Makes It Quick

Well, that didn't last long, did it? I know, I haven't talked about KU basketball this year, except for Kentucky game. The team was very young, and didn't get off to a good start. However, they did end up as Big 12 Tournament Champions and regular season co-champions (loosing the tie-breaker to Texas), so I'd say that it was a very good year, except, of course, for the last game. (By the way, Bucknell is going through all teams named after the People of the South Wind. Apparently this means that next year Kansas State will go to the big dance, where they, too, will be vanquished by the Bison — appropriate mascot, as it turns out. After that, who knows? Arkansas State, Wichita, University of Missouri Kansas City, ...)

Actually, Kansas fans have it easy, at least in my lifetime. We know that the season is going to end in a loss. North Carolina, Kentucky, Duke, UCLA, ..., they have to keep hoping every game. At KU, it's just wondering when the ax will fall. When KU did win, it immediately went on probation.

But that's not the main point of this post. The main point is to note that Jim Nanzt and Billy Packer are idiots. Let's see, Northwestern State (I still have no idea which state) beat Iowa, Bucknell over Arkansas, Bradley over Kansas, Wichita State over Seton Hall, George Mason beats Michigan State, Ohio State had trouble with Davidson, North Carolina with Murray State, and Connecticut with Albany. Let's face it: talent is pretty well distributed around the country.

In fact, I propose that we put a limit on the number of teams that can go to the NCAA from a conference. Just off the top of my head, I'd say four (4) is enough. If you can't finish better than fourth in the ACC, Big 10+, Big 12, SEC (basketball?), Pac 10, or Big East (of the Rockies), just how much chance do you have to win the Big Dance. You've lost to at least four other teams in your league at least once, and theoretically you could lose to the conference champion three times — and we're supposed to believe that you have a legitimate shot? Come on, that would take a miracle, and I'd rather see the miracle be performed by Iona than by Miami (FL).

Next year's selections will be interesting. Does the committee interpret Nantz and Packer's comments as orders from the CBS Boardroom, and so awards ten spots to the Big East, 8 to the ACC, and seeds all the Carolina teams number one? I'm guessing that the money at CBS wants the NCAA to diversify, because it's more fun to watch David beat Goliath than Goliath pound on his little brother. But maybe not, maybe Jim and Billy were spouting the company line. In that case, was the NCAA listening?

Monday, March 13, 2006

Back in Colden Days

Now that it's 80 degrees outside, I want to post some pictures from the snow we had on Feb 11-12 just so that it can be remembered. About 12 inches total accumulation, but the water content, texture, and weight of the snow, along with the rather mild (just above freezing) temperature and lack of wind, allowed the snow to stick to every tree.

We lost power for over 24 hours, and still have trees that need to be cleaned up. Anyone want firewood?

Friday, March 10, 2006

Securing Your Wireless Network

Last fall, I mentioned that the Washington Post's SecurityFix Blog had a tutorial on securing a Windows machine. That's good. But suppose you use a wireless network, as well? How to secure that?

Well, today there's a link to a video guide for wireless security, which tells you how to set up a variety of wireless routers. The most important option, of course, is to change the default login and password to the router. Then change the default network settings, and enable Wireless Application Protocol (WAP). But watch the videos.

All the Scores You Need

If you have satellite or digital cable, you undoubtedly get ESPNEWS, all sports news, all the time. Just in case the scores don't come at you fast enough, at the bottom of the screen is the ESPN BottomLine, which scrolls through all sorts of events, giving scores, playing times, and, for those of us who don't gamble, a few highlight bullets.

Just in time for the Final Four, I found that you can get ESPN BottomLine on your computer. True, you can get it from ESPN. However, for Firefox and Mozilla users, there's the ESPN BottomLine Extension, which puts the Bottom Line on, well, the bottom of your browser. Not only do you get the scores, but you can scroll through the previous bullets, and when you click on a title you get more of the story from ESPN's web site. It's updated constantly, so you can follow next week's NCAA tournament from your desk without having a big banner that your boss might see.

The only problem I've had so far is that sometimes the thing wants to take over my whole browser, then you have to restart, basically, since it wipes out all of the navigation bars. But it's definitely a nice extension to have when sports events are taking place while you're at work, e.g. the tournament and, starting next month, baseball.

Oh, you can enable/disable this by looking in Firefox's View menu and clicking on "ESPN BottomLine."

Monday, March 06, 2006

Woot the Heck

If you know of it at all, you know that Woot! is a website that sells one type of item per day. Spousal Unit used to buy things from them, until we discovered that we didn't use what we could afford and couldn't afford the Really Neat Stuff.

However, sometimes Woot! has contests. This one's a beaut: movie versions of old TV shows that you are very likely to see in the near future. I particularly like Will Smith and Angelina Jolie in Prisoner: The Motion Picture, but that's just my personal preference.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Trying Out SiteAdvisor

The Washington Post's Security Fix blog has an article about SiteAdvisor, a supposed security enhancing plugin for Firefox and other browsers. CNet gives it a five-star rating, and it works with Linux, Macs, and Windows. After reading the various articles, I had to try it out.

So what is it? SiteAdvisor maintains a database of ratings for web pages. For example, if you search for "Digital Cameras," Google will give you links to places like Circuit City, Best Buy, WalMart, K-Mart, etc. Beside most sites will be a green checkmark. Hovering the mouse over the checkmark gives you a pop-up window which says that SiteAdvisor finds the site is safe, and that if you sign up with that site you might get 1-2 emails per week, or whatever the frequency is.

If, however, you search for "free digital cameras," Google gives you a whole different set of sites. SiteAdvisor puts a red X beside some of these sites, and tells you that you might get "100 spammy emails/week" if you sign up with them.

For any webpage you visit, SiteAdvisor puts a clickable link at the bottom of your browser. This has the same kind of information, and details such as "the things you can download from this page are free of spyware, adware, and other unwanted programs," if the site is safe.

In other words, SiteAdvisor tells you if a given web page can be considered, even remotely, as safe.

The Security Fix article tells you how they do it. Essentially, they put a Windows computer with an unprotected copy of IE online, go clicking around, and find out what kinds of trash gets picked up.

So I had to try it out. I've been using it for, oh, 10 minutes or so, and it's ... we'll, it hasn't done much for me yet. It's only been 10 minutes for Teal'c's sake. But it definitely has potential.

So I'm going to try it out for a few days, and if it changes my life for better or for worse I'll let you know. In the meantime, I'll leave you with a few observations, in no particular order:

  • You have to click on an EULA before they'll let you view the thing. Turns out this is proprietary software, and you're not to reverse-engineer it or look at it funny. I don't have a big problem with this, but if you're a purist you won't load this thing.
  • The Firefox plugin is available from SiteAdvisor, not Mozilla, so you'll have to explicitly allow Firefox to download the file. After downloading the extension, I called up Firefox's Edit => Preferences => Content page, clicked on Exceptions to "Warn me when web sites try to install extensions or themes," and deleted the SiteAdvisor site from the allowed download list. No sense allowing a commercial company to put Extensions on my computer at will, not that they probably would.
  • "The trial version of our software is free of charge. In the future, we will offer paid versions with additional premium features." In other words, they want to hook you, then make you pay. Well, I can always delete it.
  • Not all sites are rated. This blog, for example, has no rating.
  • Hmm. I guess that's all I've gotten out of the first ten minutes of use.

Anyway, you may want to try SiteAdvisor out, or you may want to wait to see if it somehow ruins the web for me. If it does, I'll let you know.