Friday, April 28, 2006


I use Konsole under KDE (KDE 3.5.2 on Debian, to be exact). It is sweet. It is neat. Those developers sure are clever chaps, especially that guy Pete.

But then there's the bit that makes me laugh, and shake my head in wonder - actually, kind of a reverse-wonder - and say "WTF were you guys thinking".

Hey, look, I can click "Settings/Save Sessions Profile". This is great because I generally have quite a few tabs open, all configured differently to suit different purposes (ie administering a VMS box requires a different keymapping to a normal bash session), so being able to save and restore a whole group of sessions (tabs) is really neat..... Hang on a minute... Where's the "Restore Sessions Profile" menu item?

This is the bit where I giggle insanely, because it is really funny when smart people do stupid things.

Yes I know I can run "konsole --profile ben". Shut up.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

On Backups, Ubuntu, and Shoes

Last Thursday night there was a power outage, following which my PC was unbootable. This is not necessarily a good thing.

It turns out the motherboard is cactus, which is a technical term meaning FUBAR, which is a technical term meaning that the item in question has failed. This will require the replacement of motherboard, RAM, CPU, case, and possibly the video card. I am hopeful that it will be covered by insurance.

Now as sysadmin I understand the vital importance of maintaining regular backups, so it should come as no surprise to anyone that I have none whatsoever, in accordance with the Cobbler's Children law.

Somehow the hard drive survived, which is odd, considering my lack of backups. I mean, you know, Murphy's Law, and all that. Something is indeed wrong in the universe.

So, I removed the 80GB drive and placed it in my spare machine as a slave. The perceptive among you may notice at this point that I have backups of my hardware, but not of my data. This is perfectly ok, really. Anyway, this machine is the one I used some time ago for distro testing - see, for example, Henry's Damn Ubuntu Review (part 1, part 2) - and it still has Ubuntu 5.10 installed.

I downloaded firefox 1.5 from, and from some other place that I didn't save the URL for, installed the new firefox, and copied my firefox and thunderbird profiles from the old drive. There were a few more things I needed to get, or rather apt-get - w32codecs, nvidia-legacy, totem-xine, GCC, a feed reader - and I also had to compile the Ralink rt61drivers and move the wireless PCI card from the busted machine. All pretty trivial.

I can tell this is getting boring because my computer keeps hibernating on me. Sorry.

Anyway, it appears that for the moment I am an Ubuntu user. There may soon appear here something comparing the Ubuntu/GNOME experience with my Debian/KDE desktop, if I can be bothered. Don't hold your breath.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Why Porn is Good

It is Blog rental time again. I would like to welcome Mike from The Crikey Files to my little corner of nowhere. Hey Mike, you do realize I have no readers, right?

Mike is Australian, and some would say that's reason enough to have him featured here. However, there is more. For instance, he has "crikey" in the title of his blog. Also he says "crap" a lot, which is most admirable indeed.

He may also have porn. Or it could be a cheap trick on my part to get your attention. But I wouldn't do that. Seriously.

Sunday, April 23, 2006


The Wordpress post editor does not work terribly well for me. It is slow, particularly on backspace. Of course this does not matter in my case, since I never make mistakes.

Unfortunately that is not the only problem. It is also in the habit of randomly replacing </p> <p> with <br />, which screws up my paragraph spacing. Of course you don't see that it has done this until the post has been saved.

So, I thought it was time to give something else a try. Enter BloGTK - or, more accurately - apt-get install blogtk.

BloGTK is a simple Gnome-based client for weblogging systems that support Blogger, MegaWeblog or Movable Type APIs.

It does not support all of the features of Wordpress, or even Blogger (adjusting the time and date of a post, for example). It is also not WYSIWYG, but then neither is the Wordpress one since, well, what I see when I edit a post is defintely not what I'm getting out the other end.

At the same time I'm also experimenting with using the Wordpress editor with visual rich editing turned off. There is also, although Writely currently does not offer support for multiple blogs.

Born Free Mort

I am Mort, hear me roar, in numbers too big to ignore.

Morts of the world unite! Throw off the oppressive influence of those arrogant elitist bastards who think they can look down on us just because they can handle pointer arithmetic. Assert your god-given right to crappy code. Revel in the halls of mediocrity.

Stand proud and tall - or short, if you're not very tall - and cry to the heavens, "I am Mort! Fuck you!"

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Being Root(ed)

I've never been totally comfortable with calling the administrative user "root", not because of prior Windows experience, but because, well, in our slang "root" means "to have sex with".

Thus, in Australia you may hear somebody described as a "wombat" because he "eats, roots and leaves". Our slang is so damn subtle.

User: The book says I need to be root?
Me: **snigger** Yeah, root.

I am so damn juvenile.

Monday, April 10, 2006

No Title Required

apt-cache show bum


I am so damn juvenile.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Microsoft's Open Source Olive Branch

Microsoft's Open Source Olive Branch

There's blood on that there olive branch. I wonder how many companies Microsoft have beat to death with it.

That's just the kind of guy I am.

On Changing to Wordpress

Recently I moved Henry the Adequate from a blogger weblog here, to his own domain (, hosted at and using wordpress as the blogging engine. I think I just used up my hyperlink quota for the next week, but, well, tough - this is important.

I am not going to tell you how to set up Wordpress because, seriously, it is dead easy and described quite well enought at anyway.

I am going to tell you about importing my blogger weblog into Wordpress, because that was really really difficult. Here is how it is done, and I'm assuing here that we already have Wordpress set up and configured on your server, or your hosting provider, or whatever- you know, the easy bit. So, log into your wordpress blog as an administrator (default is "admin").

Click on "Import". Click on "Blogger". Wordpress advises you at this point to back up your blogger template before proceeding. Do so in another tab, or window.(Log in to Blogger. Click "Template". Copy and paste the html code from the template to a text file on your local machine). Log out of Blogger. Now, back to the Wordpress tab, which has a space for you to enter your Blogger username and password. Do so. Select the appropriate Blogger blog from the list. Watch Wordpress import all of your posts and comments.

Damn that was difficult. And tricky. And all brain-draining. Phew. I think I need to go lie down for a while. Maybe I should have gone with my original plan, and retyped all of those posts.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Do Consumers Trust Microsoft

Do Consumers Trust the Microsoft Brand? - Lifestyle News - Designtechnica

Apparently people don't trust Microsoft. Who would have thunk it.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

The Operating System FAQ

How can I protect my Windows computer from Viruses, spyware, adware, malware?
Open the case. Remove the network card, floppy drive, modem, and cd/dvd drives. Fill all USB and Firewire ports with some kind of silicone based sealant.

My computer has an integrated network device and/or modem, which cannot be removed. What now?
Fill them with some kind of silicone based sealant.

How can I protect my Linux computer from Viruses, spyware, adware, malware?
I don't understand the question.

Is Linux ready for the desktop?

Is Windows ready for the desktop?

Can Microsoft be trusted?

What about Trusted Computing?

Which is better, vi or Emacs?

What is the best Linux news site?

What is the best Windows news site?

Should I buy a Mac?
Sure. Why not. It's your money.

Which is the best Linux distribution?

Which is the best version of Windows?
I don't know. PCLinuxOS, Linspire, Mepis. One of those, probably.

Should I say GNU/Linux, or just Linux?
You can write GNU, but don't try to pronounce it, unless you want to look like a bit of an idiot. As to which bit of the idiot you will look like - I leave that to your own imagination.

Which BSD distribution is best?
***insert flame war about the use of "distribution" in relation to BSD here***

Ok, which BSD "flavor" is best?
The next one.

What kind of an answer is that?
It's called a "cop out".

Should I use KDE, or GNOME?

Tell me about The Hurd.
Yes, and when is that new Duke Nukem game coming out?

The /home partition is getting full. How do I free up some space?
cd /home; rm -rf `ls -I ben` does it for me, though you need to run it as root. (Do not execute this command)

Should I try VMS?
Ye I thi yo shou tr VMS.

What happened to those Weapons of Mass Destruction?
Saddam's Windows servers? They were replaced by a single BSD box.

Who is that masked man?
Henry the Adequate

Which is better - vi or Emacs?


That's right folks. All your tech questions answered here, and at no extra charge.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Blog Rental Time Again

It would please me if both readers could pop by my new tenant, Crazy Like a Fox. She is much more interesting than me, and gets waaay more hits.

Don't even bother coming back. Nothing happening here. Move along folks.