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Friday, February 27, 2009

StartUp Weeked LA2

I am at Blank Spaces, for StartUP Weekend and the excitement is starting to build, although the event starts at 6PM.

Saturday, February 21, 2009


I am at SCALE today and so far been a great conference, especially for the price, which is very affordable. Picked up a few distros, some t-shirts and Google sprang for lunch, met lots of people, filled the LiLAX queue with speakers and met Randal Schwartz.

Always a great place to go for new things in Linux and just a community spirit.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

SOUTH AFRICA VILLAGE TELCO regulator takes down equipment

Charles forwarded this alarming email to me that shows how a government regulator is more interested in taxing people then serving them.

Date: Tue, 17 Feb 2009 16:57:25
Subject: Challenges SOUTH AFRICA VILLAGE TELCO regulator takes down equipment

Hi All

On Friday and yesterday the South African Regulator (ICASA), confiscated
our equipment. Our equipment consists of some Ubiquity Nanos and some
flashed Linksys WRT's. These were confiscated from a low cost area
where we were doing our tests on the village telco.

The reason seems to be that the 2.4 ISM unlicensed band is not in fact
unlicensed, I do not have this in writing but the regulator told me
that Telkom (our landline operator) complained about
interference and hence the action.
Hopefully Steve can clarify some of the issues around 2.4 in South Africa.

It seems that the powers that be are maybe not so keen on the concept of
a village telco, or low cost telephony and data for the poor.

What is also quite disturbing is that we were not given any time to
discuss this or put our case forward.

This was also our pre-potato implementation. However the potatoes would
have also been confiscated as they are 2.4 equip.

It is an irony that the real challenges we will face are not technical,
economic or social, but from the very governments who are trying to
"help" develop nations through ICT.

I will keep you posted and hopefully your support can help us get the
situation rectified.

Rael Lissoos

In the DR people don't believe in government, they have been mostly burned so much that they will try to solve their own problems and every so often a candidate comes trough making lots of promises to get elected, only to burn them after they get elected. I guess SA also that way. So perhaps government is like any other company, self interested in its own survival more then serving the people.

Sometimes they only get in the way.

Sunday, February 15, 2009


Had a LiLAX pitch session today for future talks where only Dallas gave 2 lightning talks, about bash. Only 9 peope showed up so no server was raffled as we need 10 for that. Lucky we got one speaker, because my bright idea of getting some speakers from the SCALE list didn't work, not one showed up. Next month LiLAX has a talk about 0 day vulnarabilities. The day before I had herd that the Dell Inspiron Mini can run OS X, and I got to play with a white one with 8 Gigs of disk, and Ubuntu preloaded, they are very cool, tiny fingers would work well, 8.2" screen isn't huge, but they are very cool. This one he got for 211-15% discount, very cheap as well.

Spent the afternoon trying to reprogram a Polycom 320, what a waste of time, it always reverted back to VoxLineSystems programming as that was in the auto provision server, not sure what menu the IP address of it was in though as the phone showed as the IP address, but it did keep coming back working with them, like a locked phone. I have one more of the same sealed in the box and a BT200 that I know works and got to get back.

Flowers were for sale everywhere, which made me think at first hey the economy is good, people are buying valentines, but then I thought, no this is bad, it mearly means people are trying to sell flowers to others, they have no income and invested in flowers to sell on street corners and everywhere, wow, they have to try to get money. I really don't know, didn't talk to them, but lets see if the market is still floaded on Sunday.

Got up around 1:40 am to do some outstanding things like blogging, but not before seeing some after market lane and car proximity sensor in an infomercial. I had just been to the colo on Tuesday and Thursday in a Lexus that had a really annoying 'mother in law in back seat driver' like device that would just bitch about anything you did. Aftermarket install that was put in the car after an accident broke the original part. The infomercial makes some points about distracted driving and makes it seem like you buy this device you can text and drive, because it is watching the road for you. So I discover that it is a link to a blog that I posted above which has a cool 'Your doing it wrong' picture collection.

I am on 5:40 and he is saying "this is Uri's seat", then I see Uri come online while I watched this tour of the space station.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Morning train

Today I took the bus to work, except for I didn't remember the time it
left, missed it to discover the next one was 60 min later, geez... I
am so late, but hope my counterpart may be late too. Besides it is a
rather lame trash run that I am on today :( Have to get rid of 300
power cables and 200 ethernet cords. If I had time I would list them
on eBay, but sigh that is too slow. Craigs list is working though.
But I guess the nice thing is I can look out the window and type
this. trains are pretty smooth. Last night I missed the bus and had
to walk 30 min home.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Family, enteretanment

I think I need to spend way more time with the family, so I canceled the NetFlix account, now don't have cable or internet either. It was hard to fill out that parting breakup survey, but in short its not you its me, and maybe the bandwidth as I couldn't watch movies at prime time, but then again even the analog TV had content at that time, so I shouldn't have been watching NetFlix on Sunday night anyhow, except that maybe I wanted to watch the last of the NetFlix that night, and I did have the time as I was shunned from the family for having a cold which now should be over with. Anyhow NetFlix is pretty cheap and cool. I have to add that there is lots of other free stuff out there that is very neat as well:,,, of course the new digital TV with an antenna. I have so far resisted bying that converter box, but I just applied for 2 coupons:
We have determined that your household is eligible to participate in this program. However, at this time program funding is not currently available to fulfill your request. Your application has been placed on a waiting list. You do not need to apply again. When and if funds become available, coupon requests will be fulfilled on a first-come, first-served basis.
No surprise, I had heard this was the case before, but now that I canceled cable I do end up looking at that crappy analog TV. What I would really want is for someone to ship me plans and the bits to get a Sharp 20" TV retrofitted by replacing some of the bits inside or adding a board inside that uses the old remote, rather then adding yet another box and power supply to the mix. I wonder if I am alone in this desire to upgrade the old TV, I figure it saves materials and might be cheaper then the $40 coupon, and I don't mind opening the case and installing it. I wonder if it might be so cheap as to be worth doing in a large scale, retrofitting many old TVs to the new chipset. Wouldn't it be cool if all it needed was something like a firmware upgrade, but that is probably wishfull thinking, since this old TV probably needs some sort of CPU and memory to do the new decoding, the RF component may already be there. But it does seem like soon you would be able to collect TVs as ewaste retrofit them and resell them cheap, seems nicer then the damn box on the TV and it could be much cheaper too, if we do it in big numbers. And yet I can't find a single posting on google of someone who may have done a DTV upgrade to the old TV :( Only brings up plenty of articles to say what to do, but are there no hobbyists out there willing to crack open the case of a TV and actually play with chips and components? But alas, if I get that coupon, I may just by the subsidized box. Seems like all it costs is shipping and taxes, since I guess we all paid for it and the burocracy around it with our taxes? Or will we pay for it with future services offered on the freed frequencies, since the auction I guess funded this.

I found a great MP3 about sysadmins, really neat.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

3rd Gen MacBook Pro on Ubuntutu 8.10 CD

I just booted a 3rd Gen MacBook Pro on an Ubuntutu 8.10 CD and other then some annoying keybindings it all seems to work great on the live CD. All I did was get the CD in there and lean on the c key to boot, choose my language and I am running just fine with out installing yet. Although for it to be useful it does need to be tweeked. The tourch pad will paste every time you touch it and there are just some Apple tweeks that don't quite work on the keyboard like the Ctrl key is used to cut and paste and ^L for the URL line in FireFox, but all pretty minor considering what a different machine this is, I am running Ubuntu on the bare metal, no bootcamp, no virtualization, really cool. I don't have a reinstall disk for this thing, so if it goes wrong I now have a backup plan, would be nice to have a spare HD to try this with, like blow the system and reinstall. Even WiFi works. It is cool when something just works, now if I could stop getting out of place by triping over the touch pad, didn't seem to happen under OS X.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Denny's Geek meetup

Didn't get lots of geeks to show, guess they are all working, but one did, and we had a good time, then went grocery shopping and now to do taxes, ahhh, this sucks. There was about a 1 hour wait time, not for those who showed late, but I got to sit inside to wait and use the WiFi there, so it was cool. It is funny that Denny's has a commercial where someone pays with fake dollars, because we left this as a tip:

Grand Slam

This breakfast deal seems like a deal to make a geek meeting for, too bad I started this so late, I knew this was coming a few days ago, anyhow still trying to get a group together in El Segundo at 10am.

Monday, February 2, 2009

The Poop

Man what a week, nothing to do at work, so I will take a day off and hope that it isn't the end of a job, I don't have another lined up, geez, maybe it will be a depression for me. The Poop is a cool name for this.