Sunday, June 22, 2008
Found this great little commentary while researching the write() method in REXML:
ie_hack: Internet Explorer is the worst piece of crap to have ever been written, with the possible exception of Windows itself. Since IE is unable to parse proper XML, we have to provide a hack to generate XML that IE‘s limited abilities can handle. This hack inserts a space before the /> on empty tags. Defaults to false
Saturday, May 10, 2008
ERROR: Your architecture, \’ppc\’, is not supported by the
Adobe Flash Player installer.
Wednesday, April 30, 2008
I use a professional VPN software on my Powerbook called VPN Tracker from equinux. I bought this software because I wanted a streamlined and pushbutton system for dealing with the ISAKMP VPN at work. Normally this software works quite well but because of the aging hardware in my Powerbook I’m suddenly without any access to my internal network.
Several bits of my laptop are broken and I had to bring my powerbook to the repair center. Before I turned in my laptop I created a mirror of the drive using rsync. OS X lets a user boot from a firewire drive and so with a “loaner” powerbook from work I have a complete, albeit slow, clone of my original laptop. thunderbird, firefox, etc all work the same and are configured exactly as they were. VPN Tracker unfortunately is not. the configuration is still intact however the software doesn’t think it is licensed anymore. I imagine that this is due to some check made on my CPU, drive volume, etc to verify that I’m not installing this on multiple computers or something similar. More interestingly I can’t get to my email server anymore because our work place is very paranoid and requires vpn authentication for access.
I understand the need for software protection in this marketplace but at this time I can say that it has utterly failed me as an end user. Despite supporting the company with a purchase all I can do now is sit and wait for an answer to my email. I only hope they respond to the alternate address I provided them.
Saturday, April 19, 2008
after hours of struggling with some code that writes to a mysql database I finally discovered that I was using old and buggy drivers. If you are on ubuntu and find yourself staring at this error it would be a good idea to install libdbd-mysql-ruby
sudo apt-get install libdbd-mysql-ruby
Saturday, February 9, 2008
I’m still fascinated by the academic journal economy. The recent Berkman Buzz had this interesting excerpt by Fellow Danah Boyd
“The economy around academic journals is crumbling. Libraries are running out of space to put the physical copies and money to subscribe to journals that are read by few. No academic can afford to buy the journal articles, either in print or as single copies. The underground economy of articles is making another dent into the picture as scholars swap articles on the black market. “I’ll give you Jenkins if you give me Ito.”
I hadn’t even thought about the physical space issue but I suppose when you pay $20,000 for a set of magazines you can’t really throw it out at the end of the year like that $1 copy of Wired. And despite working on this issue a bit last year it didn’t really hit me how bound academics were until I recently asked one for a copy of her article. It had an interesting title, which I still haven’t read due to course load, and the striking part is the hushed tones of the reply with a time stamp and conspicious watermark along the side of the paper. She felt guilt and fear over sending an interested reader a copy of her own work. And rightfully so. She isn’t entitled to distribute a copy of her own work because of the contractual obligations to her publisher. The copy I was sent is meant for her eyes only.
There is something inherently wrong with this. For every one academic who can afford $30 for a single print of an article are 3,999 more who would like to read the work but can’t afford to. Another 3,999 who would read the work but not find it interesting enough to include in their citations. While these numbers have absolutely no backing I can’t help but feel there are significant amounts of readers who would like to read but can’t afford to. So that one affluent researcher is in fact helping to deprive thousands of others of knowledge or simply a good night of reading.
If the economy around these journals is indeed crumbling I’d like to help. Some may point to the music industry argument that without these over priced publications quality peer reviewed articles would disappear from the world. I find both arguments equally flawed. Copying is so effortless that publication does not require a publisher. And unlike the music industry aggregation is not a problem within the academic community. Peer review will happen without intervention by large scale publication firms. The cream of human knowledge will rise to the top based on the merits of the articles. None of these things neccessitate publishers.
Like many reformists before me I realize the abrasiveness of my words. There is nothing more biting then to hear that you are simply unneeded, unwanted, and that everyone would be better off with out you. But simply put, academics do not need publishers who use artificial scaracity to inhibit the flow of knowledge they have worked so hard to produce. Academics do want their works to be read by as many people as would take the time to appreciate it. And academia would be better off without the publishers who dominate the journal industry.
Tuesday, January 29, 2008
While doing some research for the SOURCEboston pub crawl I wandered over to the Tommy Doyle web page. Clearly not a page visited often or cared for much by the owners since it has a anti-war page up stating:
Security :0 My test: 1
Who is ‘the real murder’ Bush? You or this baby?
[ - _ +]
Hacked BY Scientist/AYT
A haunting but beautiful arabic song plays in the background. the source of the mp3 is http://dosyalar.semazen.net/muzic/Esma1…. but I can not in good conscience hotlink to the song. If anyone knows the folks at TD’s they might need to be notified to fix their server security. The really odd part is the Kendall page and the main page are unchanged. It is only the Harvard location page which contains this message.
Wednesday, January 2, 2008
Applying this framework, the Article explores ways — some of them bound to be unpopular among advocates of an open Internet represented by uncompromising end-to-end neutrality — in which the Internet can be made to satisfy genuine and pressing security concerns while retaining the most important generative aspects of today’s networked technology.
Zittrain, Jonathan, “The Generative Internet” . Harvard Law Review, Vol. 119, 2006 Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=847124
Professor of Internet Governance and Regulation
Oxford Internet Institute
1 St Giles
Oxford OX1 3JS,
Filed in Non Sequiter, Rights Online, spyware
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Thursday, December 13, 2007
The FSF is conducting a end of year campaign to increase membership. If you read this blog you are likely a person who appreciates the work that FSF does. Show some support and donate ($120 annual) and become a member. You get some rad gear + stickers.
Friday, October 12, 2007
I do a lot of web scraping. Sometimes I need to send the data to other people and the fun non-ASCII characters I scrap will really freak other applications out. I needed a quick and dirty way to just screen out non-ASCII code. Enter Regular Expressions.
I’ve had a fondness for regexp since I first learned Perl. And my current language of choice implements all the goodness of Perl regexp.
The pattern is this simple
/\x20-\x7E/ #ascii range
to filter out all the characters outside this range simply put this pattern inside brackets and denote “not”
my filter function simply states
text = text.gsub(/[^\x20-\x7E]/,’?') # I like ruby
This trick was found on another Rails blog post which talked about using regex to enforce good passwords.