Sunday, September 28, 2008

The End of the BSD?

Bracing myself for another ill conceived, passionate argument for the exaggerated, premature death of the BSD family of Operating Systems, I clicked the following link. The End of BSD

Instead I stumbled across a new definition of what I thought was a familiar acronym.

The term entered the lingua franca via Michael Lewis' Liar's Poker. (Relevant quote: "If he could make millions of dollars come out of those phones, he became that most revered of all species: a Big Swinging Dick.") BSDs are the perennial winners of the game of conspicuous earnings (giant bonuses), conspicuous consumption (giant co-ops and summer homes), and conspicuous philanthropy (giant plaques on public edifices).
Despite the all too appropriate vulgarity, the article does a fine job of trying to explain one small piece of the financial crisis. Making sure we know at least some of the guys responsible have lost a pretty chunk of change. I know I feel better.

Meanwhile, never fear, our government is on the case, even on the Sabbath. Announcing an agreement on details of the proposed plans.

While some lawmakers argued against Congress setting an artificial timetable, Sen. Robert F. Bennett (R-Utah) warned Saturday that delay would be deadly.

"What will they say come Monday if another major bank fails?" he said. "What will they say Monday if the international markets refuse to buy any American paper? One of the reasons you cry wolf is because there is a wolf actually at the sheepfold."

Yep sounds all wrapped up to me.

Details of the plan are:

  • The $700 billion would be disbursed in stages, with $250 billion made available immediately for the Treasury's use.
  • Curbs will be placed on the compensation of executives at companies that sell mortgage assets to Treasury. Among them, companies that participate will not be able to deduct the salary they pay to executives above $500,000.
  • An oversight board will be created. The board will include the Federal Reserve chairman, the Securities and Exchange Commission chairman, the Federal Home Finance Agency director and the Housing and Urban Development secretary.
  • Treasury is allowed the option to take ownership stakes in participating companies under certain circumstances.
  • Treasury may establish an insurance program - with risk-based premiums paid by the industry - to guarantee companies' troubled assets, including mortgage-backed securities, purchased before March 14, 2008.

    Source: CNN Money

See we'll all be fine. Continue shopping normally.


Friday, September 26, 2008

McCain Obama Debate #1


Debate 1 Foriegn Policy

Get out of Iraq, Get more into Afghanistan, and maybe a little into Pakistan (Couple of Predators don't really count, do they?) Reserves the right to talk to any one at the time and place of his choosing in order to keep America Safe.

Keep "winning" in Iraq, Keep losing in Afghanistan, Wouldn't threaten Pakistan,
Won't even look at Iranian President (he actually couldn't bring himself to say President) but will possibly invade his country with a Legion of Doom, sorry League of Democracies. Reserves the right to kick the crap out of Iran, Syria, and North Korea.

There were also some economic discussions about a financial crisis, but really, yawn, who cares about that.

What amazed me was how many times Henry Kissinger was mentioned. Giving his thoughts and opinions weight on both sides. I wasn't the only one.

Mcain has experience, he has been a Senator during every military action since he belatedly got out of one. He has some wins and some losses. He has met leaders from around the globe. His only problem is his feverish desire to ensure the Iraq Veterans come home not like the Vietnam Vets. It is entirely possible in his mind that sets the bar for withdrawal so high we probably will be there for 100 years.

Obama did well, McCain, surprisingly (after the last 2 weeks) did the best he could. Almost a draw. Despite the pre-debate premonitions,I'm calling it for Obama, mostly for answers like these.


Friday, September 19, 2008

How Shiny is Chrome? Part 2, The Chromium Edition

Last week, I mentioned my disappointment concerning Google's Chrome beta for Windows. Mainly that it was an open source browser for Windows only.

Knowing the source is available, It was only a matter of time before we had a Linux and Mac version. Enter Crossover Chromium from Codeweavers 7 days later.

Codeweavers is a company that specializes in Wine development. Knowing Google itself admits Chromium (Chromium is the open source base for Chrome) only builds and works under windows, Codeweavers went to work on getting that build running under wine on Linux and Mac, releasing their modifications.

Kudos all around. It runs, It browses. It is free, and by free I mean free as in free.


It is not really a fair representative of the browser, taking one of Chrome's features and making it a huge drawback. Unlike Chrome, Codeweaver's Chromium takes an eternity to load a page.

Gmail is all but unusable.

FlashPlayer installs and just barely runs, crashing out more often than not.
Even they describes this release as a proof of concept.

  • Should I run CrossOver Chromium as my main browser?
  • Absolutely not! This is just a proof of concept, for fun, and to showcase what Wine can do. Chromium itself is just beginning. As the Chromium project progresses, they will be providing more compelling support for Mac OS and Linux, particularly with process security and memory management. Those future versions from Chromium will be better suited for daily use than this version

Yes it can be done, but should it?

This is an all too common occurrence.

I want to run the new open-source, cross-platform, next-generation browser from Google.

I do not want to run Chromium for Windows on my Linux machine. Thanks for trying.

Richard Stallman has shared a few thoughts on Chrome.

The license for those binaries is unacceptable for several reasons.
For instance, it says you give Google the right to change your software and requires you to accept whatever changes they decide to impose. It purports to forbid reverse engineering. It also uses the confusing and biased propaganda term “intellectual property”. (See for why this term should never be used.)
You should not agree to those terms.
Google is following the footsteps of Firefox. Firefox has done this since it first appeared: the source code is free, but the binaries released by the Mozilla Foundation carry an unacceptable

...I hope someone will distribute free binaries made from the Chrome sources. People have done that for Firefox for years. It doesn’t need to be the GNU Project.
GuiDoc Blog

Crossover Chromium technically fits that description, and yet, I would personally prefer to see GNU pickup the development and stewardship of the GNU/Linux* port of Chromium.
*See Richard, I do care.

So here is my verdict. For now, if you need to run Chrome on your Linux box, you are probably better off running it in a Virtual Machine. I run Chrome in VirtualBox seamless mode, the performance is faster, and the browser is fully featured. All right, it is not as free, but it does actually work.

If you are technically adept (I'm lookin at you Crossover) please dig back in to it's source and contribute to get Chromium running natively.


Monday, September 15, 2008

So who do ya think's gonna win?

So he says to me, he says, "So who do ya think's gonna win?", never having met the gentleman. Seen him around work a few times. As he put down his lunch at the table one up in front of mine, I was only slightly amazed that without any reference or implicit signals, I immediately understood the subject to which he was referring.

Not wanting to politically identify myself, I responded, "I think Obama will probably win", but not in an overly enthusiastic way. He said ,"I liked what I was hearing from Obama but, lately I'm not sure where he's coming from." I had finished my lunch and I left with "I haven't heard anything I didn't like from him, meanwhile I've heard almost nothing I like from the other side." All true and noncommital.

I found myself wondering all through the rest of the day, the purpose of the original question, as well as questioning my wariness to answer.

First, at some point in the American experience, we have switched from being interested in who you were supporting and why, to "Who you thinks gonna win?". It's fair I guess, we all want to pick a winner, and no one wants to be identified as a loser. Which leads to my second point.

Second. The question may have been asked for pure speculation, of no consequence whatsoever.


The Question could have been asked as an attempt to categorize/label/assess, which led to my general uneasiness to even answer. OK, so I'm a little paranoid. But it happens right. Like one of those questions, Like, "Don't ya just love Madonna* ? Right. Later.", But what the hell, What do I care if some Republican looks down or feels incompatible with me merely because I am sickened by what I see from what I believed was an Honorable man.
*or insert musician you personally can't stand, if you do happen to enjoy Madonna

Remember way back during the 2000 primary season? I do, at that time I declared, If John McCain were the nominee, I would vote for him over Kerry, maybe even Gore. People who knew me were shocked.

I realize now, just how much he really wants to be president. He wants it bad enough to find a anti-Hilary running mate. He wants it bad enough to change life long fundamental beliefs. He wants it bad enough to blatantly lie, and thats the one that gets me. McCain sold himself as the ultimate truth teller. The polar opposite of Bush.

If I remember correctly way back in 2000, lemme see, McCain lost. Beaten by a liar, someone who blatantly made stuff up, slapped it on the TV and generally ruined reputations. In the intervening 8 years, you can watch a little more of what made John McCain "the right guy for the job" fall away. With each visit to the White House, with each hug photo op with his new best friend his ideals were eroded a little more.

I suppose we should all understand why he feels he has no choice. We the people, taught him this lesson. This is the road that leads to the White House. He watched another guy go right by him at the exit of the Straight Talk Express.

So now he has free reign, can say whatever he wants. Given this new freedom of not being bound by truth, the un-truths carefully chosen to be broadcast to the masses in the name of Senator John McCain, further erode any confidence you may have held on to in the honorable gentleman representing Arizona. He makes it very difficult to make a thinking person believe John McCain shares my views, will uphold my values.

Of particular annoyance, his choice of running mate. Make no mistake, I want a woman to be president. I wanted it to be Hillary. I voted for her. Mostly because I think Bill should be the First Man. But, She lost, no dice.

Grabbing the nearest conservative female in an attempt to appeal to the Hillary Vote was a stroke of political genius ... executed by morons. There must be 3 to 4 thousand female conservative lawmakers, leaders, judges, etc that would have been a perfect vice presidential candidate. Instead he chose Miss Alaska.

Everyone keeps asking what her experience is. I think John McCain had a very clear understanding of the qualifications he was seeking. I'm pretty sure they weren't policy related. I'm pretty sure they had nothing to do with foreign relations, economics, or ideology of any kind. She Wins. She has won Beauty Contests, Mayoral and Gubernatorial Races. The fact that she is a she, practically wraps up the vetting process. She's a winner.

Man, ain't she though.

MrsCopilot asked me if everyone can see the total transparency in the attempts of deception. I'm not sure everyone can. But I'm sure a lot of intelligent, good hearted Republicans can, and I feel for them. They deserve a better representative after the last 8 years.

But I digress, the point of this post is the question.

To the nameless co-worker and anyone else who is interested:

I think Barrack gonna win.

What y'all think?

Sunday, September 14, 2008

ScareFest 2008 Lexington

This tiny news advert caught my eye last week.

MrsCopilot is quite the Horror buff, with bookshelves stuffed and straining under the weight and bulk of the almighty Steven King and a DVD collection of blood, murder, mayhem and pychotics. ScareFest 2008, Seemed like just to thing to spring on her as a surprise. Stars of Rob Zombie's "The Devil's Rejects" (one of her favorite feel good flicks.) Sid Haig and Bill Mosely are scheduled to appear.

Off we go for a spooktacular Saturday afternoon. Lexington Convention center. Check.
Yep that's a Good sign,
this appears to be the place.

Inside was as advertised.
Creepy Artists and Collectible merchants crammed side by side with psychics and mystical crystal salesman,
With back area lined with genre celebrities available for autographs and pictures.

What better way to spend an afternoon than celebrity gawking and rampant discretionary spending. Admission, Tarot Reading, T Shirt, Autographed Photo, a few nick nacks, etc. There were also Panel Discussions and film Screenings in two other halls we did not attend.

Haunting the floor were the assorted monsters and ghouls only too happy to mug for the camera.

The weekend events included a costume contest and a Friday the 13th cast reunion and Screening.

Upon entry, a small reminder is posted informing you that entering the premises gives Paramount permission to use your likeness in an upcoming Anniversary DVD re-release of the classic.

The event was sponsored by Ghost Chasers International, but they were kind enough to invite the competition, Ghost Hunters International investigator an TV star Shannon Slyvia. Nice lady, sold me a shirt.

The guy who drew the longest line though was definitely Sid Haig. Small Children (under 6 admitted free) were in line to have their picture taken with him. Just down the Aisle his cast mate from Devils Rejects and House of 1000 corpses were also popular. CandyMan, One of the guys who wore the Jason mask, Tom Savini and Pluto from The Hills Have Eyes (Micheal Berryman) were talking with fans and signing autographs, showing little wear from the VIP party at the hotel the night before.

What frightened me more than the Zombies, Spirit Photographers or Mystical Crystal Vendors (I just love saying Mystical Crystals) was the line that did not exist in front of David Naugton. This guy transforms "in camera" into the baddest werewolf captured on film, while at the same time manging to make us laugh all through the movie. Here, see for yourself.

That deserves at least a 2 person deep que. All of the emo, goth and teens of the damned seemed more interested in mindless serial killers than one of the greatest wolfman thespians of all time. I would have asked him too, how he feels sitting across the room from the line formed in front of Captain Spaulding,
but I was too busy standing in that line to get Sid Haig's autograph.

I've been to my fair share of conventions, Comics, Star Trek, Sci-Fi, Electronics, Embedded, Microsoft, AMD, Linux etc.. but somehow I had never made one of these. I had no idea what to expect, but was eerily unsurprised by what I saw.

We skipped on a lot of what ScareFest had to offer, I hear there was even a UFO panel. Next time it comes around, maybe we'll attend the whole weekend, and catch a few panels.

All in all, a fun day, and it certainly surprised MrsCopilot, and in a good way.


Monday, September 8, 2008

How Shiny is Chrome?

Like everybody else, I was intrigued by Google's latest venture.

A new browser, promising to redesign the browsing experience. Introduced by the company who redesigned all of our browsing habits.

In their introductory press release, (already a plus to the Comic nerd in us all), the big G hit all the right notes.Read the Rest

New Javascript VM, Tab Centric, Open Source, sandboxed pages, process manager. Where do I sign up? Oh, here (and no sign up required.)

If you've been here before you know MrCopilot runs on Linux. Sure, occasionally a VM safely encompasses a Windows OS for testing. Imagine my surprise at discovering that in such an environment was the only place I could try Chrome.

Which brings me to the first dulling of the shine. Chrome's download page is a little different for us Linux Users, you'll notice right off that the download link is nowhere to be found. Instead you will see links to Chromium.
Chromium is the open source project Chrome is built from. Containing parts WebKit, V8 -the new JavaScript VM Engine and some other nifty bits.

If you are having trouble reading the fine print in the Red Box let me clarify it.

Note: There is no working Chromium-based browser on Linux. Although many Chromium submodules build under Linux and a few unit tests pass, all that runs is a command-line "all tests pass" executable.

This may be the reason that Google has decided to call it Chrome for Windows "Beta" but considering every other Google product spends a lifetime (for software) in Beta it may not be as likely as first thought.

Undettered, having a Windows user send along the executable for Linux emulation testing, my attempts in Wine, and Cedega were unsuccessful.

This is a HUGE disappointment for us Linux users, and perhaps a missed opportunity for Google. A Linux port would give them a leg up in the mobile and netbook arena. Here's hoping that Google does the obvious and fixes this omission before Android's 1.0 release.

Now if you happen to be still in the clutches of Windows, Chrome is a breath of fresh air. Speedy and out of your way. Features, like the ability to get more of the user interface out of your way by creating an application shortcut for your favorite web sites, and the default new tab (no longer a blank page ala FireFox but an Opera like thumbnail collection of most visited pages), are welcome newcomers.

Also handy are the inclusions of the process manager, Most Visited button and the pop-up capture feature.

Only once in my testing did I have a tab crash, and that was using a shortcut provided by Google to do so. It had a strange effect on my system taking down TortoiseSVN with it, for reasons unknown, requiring a reboot to get it back.

More on Shortcuts

The usual problems did rear their ugly head in a few places, the "just released" security vulnerabilities, Sites refusing to run due to the unknown Browser ID. Virgin Radio UK's online player, for instance. Which brings up another point.

One of the many Firefox features that drew so many users to the fold, was its customization, through extensions, themes and add-ons. None of which is offered in Chrome (although a few careful inspectors did find an OS specific themes folder. untested Howto to create your own themes)

On the Whole, I give Google a thumbs up on their new browser for Windows, with a huge wag of the finger on it's lack of Linux support.


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