Sunday, July 22, 2007

OpenSolaris Journal II: BeleniX hdinstaller

Continuing to play with BeleniX, I used the hdinstaller tool to install it for reals so I could boot OpenSolaris from my hard drive.

The install itself came off without a hitch. I:
  1. Booted off the LiveCD
  2. Ran hdinstaller
  3. Selected my hard drive
  4. Deleted all my partitions
  5. Created one Solaris partition
  6. Chose auto-layout with swap, /usr, and /opt as slices
  7. Installed GRUB to the MBR
  8. Set the root password

After the install finished, I booted up off the hard drive, logged in as root, created a user account, logged in as that user, and ran startgui kde to start X:
bad interpreter: Permission denied
To read the rest of my tale of woe, click through my " Open Solaris Journal - BelleniX hdinstaller" Flickr set.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

OpenSolaris Journal I: BeleniX LiveCD

I booted a Dell Latitude D620 up with an OpenSolaris Starter Kit that I picked up from Saturday's TLUG meeting for Erin (yeah, I know; I'm a short-stopping bastard). Selected the BeleniX 32 bit LiveCD, and after selecting a keyboard layout (jp106, which was not honoured by KDE) and saying OK to the autodetected screen resolution / colour depth / etc., I found myself in KDE 3.5, and snapped a screenshot with import -window root belenix.png (import is from the ImageMagick).

BeleniX LiveCD, KDE desktop
Let me just say that the fact that the LiveCD Just Worked was very impressive to me, given the fact that Solaris is known for supporting less end user hardware than Linux (whether this is fair to Solaris is a topic that I will be exploring in future OpenSolaris journal entries).

Having said that, I quickly ran into problems (stop reading here unless you want to see my criticisms).

I just wanted to send my screenshot over to another box so that I could upload it to Flickr and stick it in this blog entry (I like "blentry", are you guys cool with that?). So, I plugged in the network and ran /etc/init.d/dhcp start, which returned success right away. So I then ran ifconfig -a to see what IP address I got.

No network?
To my surprise, I saw that I had only lo0, which is the loopback interface for localhost ( sweet "That won't play!" quoth I, and double-clicked on the "BeleniX Info" icon on the desktop. To my delight, it was a guide / FAQ (this doc, I think). I searched for "net", but all of the hits assumed that the NIC was detected and claimed by a driver, which mine was clearly not.

So I Googled more, then tried some stuff which you can see in my Flickr set, before being defeated by my bad memory (I could not recall how to load Solaris kernel modules; or more precisely, where to find which kernel modules one can load with modload or whatever it is).

So, having spent 10 minutes trying to get the network working, I turned my attention to USB mass storage, for I have a AU WIN W41H (Flash, sorry) phone that acts like a USB hard drive. First, I just plugged it in in hopes that vold and KDE would cooperate and give me a little icon on the desktop to which to drag my screenshot image. No such luck. So I tried mounting manually, but could not figure out which entry in the /dev filesystem was appropriate. So I Googled more:
This stuff "worked", but then I tried to mount the correct device and the mount command just hung for 60+ seconds until I unplugged the USB cable.

So all of my screenshots were taken the old-fashioned way, with my keitai's camera. :)

The bottom line is that I spent 20 minutes trying unsuccessfully to get my screenshots off the BeleniX box, and I consider myself well above average competency when it comes to Unix. But this is really a documentation problem, and one that I'll be happy to help solve once I get my Solaris admin legs back. :)

Good work, OpenSolaris and BeleniX crews! The product looks nice and Just Works; at least 95% of the way.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Earthquake and Fire II

We're fine, people in Niigata are less so.

Earthquake Information Issued at 10:19 JST 16 Jul 2007

There were a series of earthquakes starting at 10:13 JST yesterday (2007/07/16). The epicentre was in Niigata Prefecture (新潟県), where the larger quakes reached 6-upper on the Japan Meteorological Agency seismic intensity scale (if that sounds just like the Wikipedia article, don't worry, I am only plagiarising myself).

Earthquake Information Issued at 10:19 JST 16 Jul 2007 (Kanto)

Down here in Tokyo, it was only a shindo 3, so our experience was summed up by the JMA as follows:
Felt by most people in the building. Some people are frightened. Dishes in a cupboard rattle occasionally. Electric wires swing slightly.

As I said, people in Niigata were not exactly OK; 7 dead / 790 injured, according to the Daily Yomiyuri. Also, there was a fire at a nuclear power plant; from the same article:
The Nos. 2, 3, 4 and 7 reactors at the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear power station in the prefecture automatically shut down after the earthquake, according to Tokyo Electric Power Co. A small fire broke out in an electricity transformer of the No. 3 reactor, but no damage was reported to the reactor. The fire was extinguished at about noon.

Google News info:

Niigata quake damage

Sunday, July 15, 2007

News Hounds: We watch FOX so you don't have to

Note: this post was originally made to Politics Schmolitics, another blog to which I contribute.

Pretty cool news aggregator blog: They also have a nice YouTube videos page.

I found it through YouTube while watching the two Wolf Blitzer interviews with Michael Moore:

Oh shit, there's more:

Sanjay Gupta says a lot of good stuff here, but the thing I like the most is his point about how we need to spend more on preventative care so we will not have to spend so much on care after people get sick, which is harder and thus, more expensive.

On to Larry King Live (which I just misspelled as "Larry Kink Live", much to my amusement):

Gupta points out that "free health care" is not "free", says France is "drowning in taxes" and running a 15 billion dollar deficit. From a US Department of the Treasury press release, entitled "U.S. Fiscal Outlook Improves Significantly in December Fiscal Year to Date Deficit Down; Monthly Surplus Up More than 300 Percent":
The Fiscal Year to Date deficit ($80 billion) is down 33 percent ($39 billion) compared to the same period last year. The President's tax relief has stimulated strong economic growth. This strong growth has contributed to record-level receipts and the creation of more than 7.2 million jobs since August 2003. October to December receipts for FY 07 are at $574 billion, running 8 percent ($43 billion) higher compared to the same period for FY 06.

So even though we are not "drowning in taxes", we are running an 80 billion dollar deficit (five times that of France, which is pretty much the same per capita; France's population of 63,713,926[1] is 21.16% of our own population of 301,139,947[2]), and that is a "significant improvement". Hrm... what would be one way to pay for universal healthcare without raising taxes to the "drowning" point? Maybe reducing the 4.06%[3] of GDP we spend on the military (and that was in 2005, estimated, let's see what the GAO thinks about this year... this just in: the GAO's search functionality fucking sucks! To wit: my search for keywords "military spending" for this year returns a bunch of hits, all of which are to PDFs with almost worthless abstracts. Let's see if Google can do better: my search for keyword "military spending" on turns up this (Warning: PDF; click here for Google's HTML version) as the ninth result. Ugh. In the 21st century, transparency means findability, and while PDFs are great for reading and printing, they are not ideal for searching, quoting, and sourcing. Note to the GAO: please provide HTML versions of all of your documents!)...

Where was I? Oh yes, military spending. The CIA World Factbook says that we spent 4.06%[3] of GDP--or 536.33 billion dollars (based on a GDP (official exchange rate) of $13.21 trillion[6]), or $1786.40 per person per year (based on a GDP - per capita (PPP) of $44,000[6]). The 2007 military budget (Warning: PDF; click here for Google's HTML version) says $439.3 billion, but that is just what is budgeted, not what is being spent. I had hoped that the GAO would give me a good number on what is being spent, but I could not find it in finite time. :(

Anyway, even if we take the DoD's numbers at face value, that would still be 3.3%[6] of GDP, or $1463.22 per capita. I don't know about you, but that is a sizeable chunk of my total tax bill. Assuming the mean US tax rate of 17.5%[7] and the mean household income of $58,208[8] (as of the 2001 census), the average household pays $10,186.40 in taxes per annum. Assuming the average household contains 2.0 people (I could only find census data for Hispanic households, which was 2.58[9], so I'm fudging the number, but in a way that actually weakens my case), that is $5093.20 per capita, making our military spending an astounding 35% of each person in America's tax dollars!

As an aside, if you want to read something amusing, try the rosy picture painted by the CIA World Factbook of the US economy on for size.

And now, the exciting conclusion of the Michael Moore vs. Sanjay Gupta fight, refereed by the disgusting hack excellent journalist, Harry Thing Larry King.

[1] SOURCE: CIA World Factbook
[2] SOURCE: CIA World Factbook
[3] SOURCE: CIA World Factbook
[4] DIRECT SOURCE: Wikipedia
[5] INDIRECT SOURCE: FY 2007 Department of Defense Budget, page 19. I verified that Wikipedia was, as of 2007/07/15 01:20 GMT, correctly representing this data
[6] SOURCE: CIA World Factbook
[7] SOURCE: WWW.WORLDWIDE-TAX.COM (please do not view me using this source as claiming it is reputable; I used it only because I could not find hard numbers from the US government--I tried both the IRS and the CIA World Factbook--and it came up quickly in a Google search)
[8] SOURCE: U.S. Census Bureau
[9] SOURCE: U.S. Census Bureau (not a very good source, but the best I could find; see the above points about the relationship between transparency and findability)

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

A Blunt Instrument

This is a shite post, but I am way too busy with Life, Work, and Fatherhood.

My love for Penny Arcade has been chronicled here before, of that I feel certain, though I am too lazy and/or short of time to poke and prod at the daemons that lurk in the dusty corners of my archives, for to force them to relinquish said juicy tidbit of blog wherein I proclaim Yea! Unto the very Floor of Hea'vn! dost my love for the Arcade of the Penny soar!

Tycho BraheLeaving aside the excellent art and the irreverent humour, the thing that really keeps me coming back like a literary junkie is the excellent writing of Monsignor Tycho Brahe, pictured at left.

To wit, this is one of the most amazing bits of prose I have encountered in recent history:
I have faith that, in a fundamentally just universe, things will be set right. And, in those cases where the universe is slow to act, let my rage be the instrument.