While checking out this Newsforge/Slashdot article on 2003: the year of Asian Linux, I noticed the nice language support offered by Hancom Office: Chinese (simplified and traditional), Japanese, Arabic, Korean editions and Unicode support. I posted this recently, but it bears mentioning that the Shuttleworth Foundation is working on African-language support. Is there a directory of language support for open source projects? To test out outlining in Radio, I made a small directory on this topic.
Open Source 11:41:56 AM
While reading the slashdot discussion for Govt move on to let in Linux, I came across a link to the problems faced by the Mexican government's Linux experiment. One of the deal-stoppers for them was limited device support, especially for WinModems, which are mostly dependent on Windows drivers. Device support for Linux is much much better now in 2002 (soon to be 2003) than in 1998, when this Mexican project was started. I think this project was possibly hamstrung (crippled) by the fact that the PC's were not purchased for this Linux deployment - the PC's could have been spec'd easily to conform to Linux device driver availability. Lack of Linux-trained techs was also a big problem.
Gov't IT Linux 11:42:05 AM
I was originally turned on to punk rock when I was in high school, seeing a movie about English punk, featuring the Clash and the Sex Pistols, at my hometown's only art cinema (Vanderbilt Univeristy's Saratt Auditorium). I went to see the movie with my best friend Tommy, who played bass in my first band, collaborated with me throughout my twenties, and is still one of my closest friends. We were so blown away by punk rock that we returned to the next showing with a tape recorder so we could capture those amazingly fresh sounds. (Finding fresh music in Nashville, Tennessee in the early eighties was very, very hard...) During the same period, I smoked for the first time with a girl who lent me her copy of Black Market Clash, listened to Combat Rock over and over on the way to a ski trip, and saw the Clash play at Vanderbilt's indoor auditorium. I still have pictures from that concert. At that point, they had become a bit of a caricature - big-time success did not suit them *at all* - but their music was still amazingly powerful, relevant, and melodic. Watching the TV coverage of his passing, I am still touched by the music he created, saddened by the loss of this life, and warmed by the positive effect his music had during my teenage years. - Joe Strummer Is Dead at 50; Political Rebel of Punk Era. Joe Strummer's raw voice and fervent songs for the Clash showed the punk generation that rebellion could be not just personal but also political. By Jon Pareles. [New York Times: NYT HomePage]
Interests My Music 6:33:16 AM
This happened about a week ago, and again this morning. After I start Mozilla, the initial about screen displays, then the program freezes, and my memory is slowly sucked away into the cosmos. Solution found: shot down the Mozilla.exe process, and delete the file"XUL.mfl." It gets corrupted, and needs to go away from time to time...
Open Source Sysadmin 3:52:09 PM
Mozilla in Xhosa, Zulu, Venda, Northern Sotho, Siswati and Tswana; KOffice in Xhosa, Zulu and Venda, partly thanks to the Shuttleworth Foundation.
Perhaps stratospheric balloons could be used in Africa to filll the gaps in fibre coverage?
Artlington Wireless is a "free wireless Internet project for Arlington, Massachusetts, using 802.11 "wifi" technology." The issues page lists problems as we progress down the road to the StupidNet.
An example of how the StupidNet may be built: The WiFi Boom:
"These days, Pioneer Courthouse Square is but one of some 140 public spots across Portland with free Internet access using a high-speed wireless technology known as Wi-Fi. The network of such Wi-Fi "hot spots" throughout the city was developed by Personal Telco, a grass-roots, nonprofit group devoted to blanketing the city with free access points."
I've started a new category dedicated to Open Public Networks.
David Isenberg on the stupidnet - This is a great article. Please read it. Who will build the networks of the future? If I understand correctly, stupidnets may be woven by do-it-yourself (DYI) networks, be it by innovative local governments, businesses, or tech citizens. These home-grown networks are going up like gangbusters here in Sofia, Bulgaria. I live in the center of the city - the "downtown," if you can call it that. It is typical for ethernet to be strung from the cybercafe a couple of blocks away to your apartment. (WiFi networks have not caught on yet; however, local entrepreneurs are beaming WiFi from the TV tower. Cool. But IMHO the service is a tad pricey...) What happens when the whole neighborhood interconnects their networks? Will a small company offer telephone connectivity to the network? Will the cable company offer network members a special deal on entertainment?
I'm having my own Adventures in content management thanks to Jon Udell: My Linux Story List:
2002/12/27: Issues relating to Linux deployments
2002/12/10: Largo Loving Linux
2002/12/10: Linux Stories List
2002/11/24: Calendaring Integration
2002/11/24: Self-healing documentation: Installing SpamAssassin
2002/11/21: Industry Briefs: Tux Fights Bux for the Soul of India
2002/11/20: LEAF Bering 1.0 Released!
2002/10/31: Open IT - Govt to rewrite source code in Linux
2002/10/31: €250,000 European Commission Linux migration study
2002/10/30: A nice tool to aid Linux Migration
2002/10/24: Building a Tivo clone
2002/10/21: Secure Linux desktop begins shipping to UK police force
2002/10/15: Radio E-mail in West Africa: The Complete Version
2002/10/04: Reaching Content Management System Nirvana
2002/10/02: Sun is shining again!
2002/09/27: LEAF Bering firewall distro
Russ [Russell Beattie Notebook] has a great post on reading blogs with a newsreader using Genecast. I like this blog -> NNTP idea, but why not go the other way round: NNTP -> blog? I'm still pretty dissatisfied with most blog authoring interfaces - I'm looking for the following:
Mozblog working with Radio Userland is coming close, but couldn't we go one step further in the GUI department and use the NNTP reader that is built-in to Mozilla? The NNTP user interface is compelling:
If Genecast can do these things, I would certainly be interested in subscribing to their service. Is it worth $36/year? Could they offer a blogger rate?
Some interesting NNTP links:
I have noticed alot of activity on my network card; therefore, I downloaded Ethereal to check out the packets. Every second there is data sent to "Spanning-tree-(for-bridges)" from eth1 MAC address. I am using LEAF Bering firewall - I wonder if there is a problem with my bridge configuration? Or is this normal STP (Spanning Tree Protocol) behavior? Anyway, I found a nice primer from Bay Networks on Spanning Tree Algorithm.
I'm posting from MozBlog - I finally got it working on Moz. 1.2. If you want to try it out, be sure to go to Radio Prefs and enable the Blogger API. It's pretty nice - I think the text formatting bits come from Mozilla's built-in Composer.
Connecting people, software, data and content faster than ever before -- that was my experience. And we've come so far so fast. Everything is more fluid and transparent --- software creation and distribution; collaboration and communication; data and content exchange and publishing. It's good to step back and pat our industry (and in particular the hero developers and cottage companies that are the real innovators) on the back now and then. [from Jeremy Allaire's Radio]
Content Management Systems 8:04:34 PM
Calendaring in Mozilla
Mozilla has a Calendar project that is beginning to show promise. It is a nice example of open source software development. The calendar does your basic local calendar operations - recurring events, alarms, day/week/month views, but it is buggy and a tad slow. But it's free and is being actively developed. And most importantly, I am able (fairly easily) to post a calendar file to my website to which other Mozilla calendar users may subscribe. I have published a help file for publishing calendar events (via FTP) to a website (information follows). Right now this process publishes only an XML-formatted file; next I will research transforming this data to html. (horde's kronolith seems to be ready to do such a thing in pHp.) If you are using Mozilla calendar, you may subscribe to my public calendar.
How to create a public calendar (updated 9/28/2004):
Thanks to Olle Jonsson for providing the text to update this how-to.Sharing the same calendar from two locations
Spam scam: www.ebaybillingservice.com
a little sleuth work on a piece of spam I received this afternoon. I didn't fall for this scam, but since I was using their recently acquired Paypal service yesterday, they certainly had my attention. The message begins "Dear Ebay User, We regret to inform you, but due to a recent system flush, the billing information for your account was lost ,and can not be found." and then asks you to visit their "100% Secure using SSL Technology with 128-Bit Encryption" website (which turns out not to be true) and enter tons of personal info. Yikes. Caveat Emptor
An Ebay scam
I just sent the following message to mfn.net. I hope it achieves the desired result.
Today I received the following email from a user of your network. Not only is it spam, it is also a dangerous hoax attempting to make users think that they are using ebay to enter credit card, bank, anbd other personal info. A traceroute to www.ebaybillingservice.com terminates on your network -
19 * 741 ms 742 ms pos1-0.mpr5.sjc2.us.mfnx.net [184.108.40.206]
Can you block their IP address? The sooner the better - no telling how many people might fall for this scam.
A search of their DNS record reveals the following:
WHOIS Record for
Administrative Contact: William Flowers William Flowers 881 S. Gum Street North Vernon, IN 47265 US Phone: 812-346-1838 Email: email@example.com
Domain servers in listed order:
-------- Original Message --------
Subject: Customer Department Date: Sun, 17 Nov 2002 15:28:56 From: Ebay To:
Dear Ebay User,
We regret to inform you, but due to a recent system flush, the billing information for your account was lost ,and can not be found. In order to enjoy your Ebay experience and keep your account active, you must enter your FULL information within 24 hours of recieving this e-mail.
To re-enter your account information and keep your account active,
This page is 100% Secure using SSL Technology with 128-Bit Encryption.
I have moved my blog to my domain www.vetula.com. The web version is my blog is at http://www.vetula.com/blog-radio/. Please resubscribe to the RSS feed at this new location, which is at:
Here's the coffeecup for Radio Userland users:
Chris Kelley12:08:48 PM G!.
My colleague Gordon e-mailed me this post, which is from the IndiaTimes. the title of the article is misleading - it's really about the Indian goverment's interest in promoting the use of Linux.
"The Department of Information Technology has already devised a strategy to introduce Linux and open source software as a de-facto standard in academic institutions, especially in engineering colleges through course work that encourages use of such systems."
During my last trip to Belgaum (central India), I visited the local tech
college and checked out a nice Linux-based computer lab that used
inexpensive black boxes that gave the user GUI sessions that were hosted
on a Linux server. The campus had a t-1 connection to the internet.
Gov't IT Linux Travels 39 11:49:39 AM G!.
In this report on the EC Linux migration study from the Register, "Countries represented included: Finland, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Germany, Italy, Spain and a representative from the European Commission." Why are they looking at Linux? "Microsoft's recently introduced licensing changes have added weight to this concern but Bleasdale said an even bigger issue was the rate of change that Microsoft is imposing on customers, and many are struggling to deal with it." - Brussels to spend €250k on Linux migration study. Major architectural rethink [The Register]
Gov't IT Linux 38 11:38:24 AM G!.
The Codeweavers product mentioned in this article enables you to run most MS Office products (except for Access) on Linux and is pretty good price: $54.95 for the download version. A WinXP pro license is $150. Hmmmm. - SuSE Linux makes its pitch for the Windows desktop. Enterprise version on the way [The Register]
Linux 37 12:09:01 PM G!.
A FlashMX-based WYSIWYG text editor. I played with one of the demos - web-based e-mail client - they need to have a view source function in the demo 'cause I am curious what kind of html it generates. I wish their GUI was a bit more *fun* - I mean, this is flash!
Content Management Systems 36 8:21:01 PM G!.
I'm interested in reading the book pointed to in Jon Udells' blog entry. Fighting corruption - and discrimination - by keeping everything open. Transparency. Tools are evolving - like Radio Userland - that make it easier to enforce and observe this kind of openness. A good thing, IMHO.
Gov't IT 35 7:05:48 PM G!.
Avalon Project - "The Avalon project is an effort to create, design, develop and maintain a common framework and set of components for applications written using the Java language." The Component Lifecycle bit is very interesting - links to OOP best practices, patterns, and other good stuff. Disciplined programming!
Content Management Systems Open Source 34 8:02:53 PM G!.
WYSIWYG Blogediting. "I'm almost done integrating Xopus in CocoBlog" [...] [Be Blogging] "CocoBlog is a free weblogging software tool based on Apache Cocoon and Apache Xindice." Xopus is simply amazing.
Content Management Systems 33 10:53:10 AM G!.
Found amidst the Register's coverage of Dangerous Server Rooms.
Computer History 32 10:48:11 AM G!.
Article on Slashdot, Could CDRW Disks Replace Videotapes? kindled interest in building my own PVR. After scannning the Slashdot articles, here are some useful links:
Linux Open Source 31 8:29:57 PM G!.
Nice cost savings on this project - "The user-facing part of the system consists of an ultra low cost machine being supplied by the Telford office of Taiwanese company GCI, price £299, including a smart card reader." They are using OpenOffice for desktop applications and VNC for access to legacy Windows applications.
Gov't IT Linux 30 11:45:46 AM G!.
Great list of WYSIWYG ("what you see is what you get" ) editors that can be applied to Content Management Systems.
Content Management Systems 29 4:38:47 PM G!.
"Ekit is a program & applet that uses the Java 2 libraries to create an HTML editor. The Ekit standalone also allows for HTML to be loaded and saved, as well as serialized and saved as an RTF. It is approaching its first production release version."
I wonder how Ekit is being used with content management systems? If it could hook it *easily* within my current CMS, I would use it. It does all the basic stuff pretty well - text styling, cut/paste, tables, etc.
Content Management Systems 28 1:00:50 PM G!.
This article, which I found on MacInsider, inspired me to create a new blog category called Gov't I.T. to place items that relate to the difficulties governments face when placing information online. This article reminds me of some of the issues we faces when I was webmaster for the City of Austin, Texas. I think governments need to be really careful what information gets out in the public, especially personal ID's such as Social Security numbers. If I were the webmaster of the Hamilton County court's Web site, I'd feel pretty bad if someone used my website to steal someone's identity and to open up seven credit cards and rack up $11,000 debt. Something to follow: "This month, a coalition that includes the National Center for State Courts in Williamsburg, Va., is to recommend guidelines for states drafting online policies."
Gov't IT 27 10:15:32 AM G!.
I've been suffering from flu-like symptoms ever since I got back from India five weeks ago. This past weekend's fever has convinced me to get on the stick and see a doctor. My colleague Hal recommends:
"Biocheck, 31 Ekzarh Yosef St. It's the street that comes off Maria Louisa right after the Mosque, to the right (opposite from Hallite), first block, on the left. They do have a pharmacy there and pretty competent medical attention by most accounts. We have purchased a family subsrciption which costs $200/year with free service. A good deal. Generally they are not too busy so you can just walk in. Not much English though (but some French)."Thanks Hal!
Ex-pat Tips 26 11:51:47 AM G!.
While checking out Allafrica.com's website, I noticed that it is powered by a perl-based open source content management system called XML::Comma. Content is created and stored as XML files, and then indexed by a relational database such as mysql. Nice approach that is quick and easy to maintain. And it's perl!
Content Management Systems Linux Open Source 25 11:46:39 AM G!.
This is a wonderful service - RSS modules of news feeds from AllAfrica.com. This is a pretty good news service - About AllAfrica.com: "posting over 700 stories daily in English and French and offering a diversity of multi-lingual streaming programming as well as a 400,000-article searchable archive (which includes the archive of Africa News Service dating from 1997)." They offer over 80 different feeds, also in French. Be sure to follow their RDF/RSS Headline Modules instructions to get the correct URL. For example, if you are interested in an RSS feed for news about Mali, the URL would be: link from NewsIsFree, which massages the URL into several useful forms.
Content Management Systems Open Source 24 11:32:58 AM G!.
I love solutions like this: using 2-way radio to build a network in Guinea, West Africa, for offices over 375 miles (600 kilometers) apart!
Linux Travels Wireless 23 1:47:09 PM G!.
I am looking at refactoring a Content Management System I developed two years ago, and guess what? There's alot I want to change. So, I am learning alot about recent changes in Cold Fusion, our application server and Fusebox, which is the methodology we used on this project. I am very interested in MVC patterns and am trying to learn how they work with Fusebox. Here are some links to very useful sites:
Content Management Systems 22 4:27:47 PM G!.
During my travels in India, I have been amazed at the dominance of Microsoft. Nice to read that the government is putting some support behind Linux in India. And it makes sense to deploy this software in their local languages - Most of my Indian colleagues peak a minumum of three Indian languages, in addition to English. Now where's my Simputer?
Open Source 21 12:37:49 PM G!.
I am using the daily builds of Mozilla 1.2b - currently the 20020930 build. They have made tabbed browsing even better - you can easily close individual tabs and create new ones with a nifty icon. Because tabbed browsing is now baked (better) into Mozilla builds, I have not felt compelled to re-install MultiZilla, which deserves major props for creating the tabbed interface for Mozilla. I am now using Mozilla for 90% of my web browsing - I only use IE for compatability checks on web development projects and for one website - a financial website - that refuses to play with anything non IE. I'm pretty amazed at how easy it has been to get used to using Mozilla. The only thing I really miss now is Cntl+return in the location bar to add www. and .com to a website name, which IE does quite nicely.
Open Source 20 10:20:33 PM G!.
Since I do alot of work in Africa and India, the issue of technology access for the poor is close to my heart. This BBC article is nice - preaching to the choir here; however, I still would like to read a more comprehensive - and convincing - analysis of why the poor need technology. Clean water and decent medicine are pretty high priorities... of course these needs are not mutually exclusive - there is no reason why technology access can't facilitate some of these more important (in my view) issues. Noted in the article is how there is an incorrect perception that the digital divide is "yesterday's issue;" my experience during a recent trip to India confirms this point. there isn't even a decent backbone connection to Europe from India - that connection is completely saturated in the afternoon, rendering web access completely useless to Europe.
Today I spent some time at the Ukrainian Embassy getting my visa for an upcoming trip. The folks at the Embassy were very cordial; they even processed my visa in three hours. During the drive back in the taxi, I decided I should add a category in my blog for ex-pats living in Bulgaria. And now for my first story relating to this topic: Visiting the Ukrainian Embassy in Sofia Bulgaria.
Just caught this article this morning: PHP and PostgreSQL Open Sesame I really dig what they are doing with php and postgresql. But approaching the topic of content management from a sustainable coding perspective, I am looking harder at the approach taken by the apache coccon folks. The problem I see with markup language approaches such as pHp and Cold Fusion is that the logic easily gets mixed-up with the presentation layer. To their credit, projects like fusebox are attacking that problem. Still, I am looking fascinated by Xopus, a "browser based in-place wysiwyg XML editor", and how it could tie into the Coccon framework. The demo crashes and burns in my Mozilla build (Mozilla/5.0 (Windows; U; Windows NT 5.0; en-US; rv:1.2b) Gecko/20020930) but works brilliantly in IE6. If this really works, a few of my must-have bullet points will be there:
I am also following the mozdev.org Composite project, which "is a chrome overlay which enables a streamlined Mozilla Editor for html composition in textareas." It does not work in-place - yet - and is a tad buggy in my build of Mozilla, but it certainly shows promise.
Content Management Systems Linux 17 11:00:22 AM G!.
Not an entry about some cheesy soap opera; instead, an admission that life is too short to ignore one's passions. I was a musician many years ago, but for the past ten years I have made only token offerings to the muse. A decade! Lately she (or is it he?) has been haunting my dreams regularly, my head filling during the daytime hours with melodies and sentiments that simply must be expressed. So, on that note, I am releasing some songs that I am working on. The goal is to have a completed CD by the end of this year - perhaps a CD release party New Year's Eve???
Rain - egads! We're pretty waterlogged here in Sofia. The nice cablemodem connection I just got could not handle it - service has been slow - unuseable for days. But the sun is out this morning, and after Lachko argued with the CableBG tech, I finally got a DHCP lease. Yippee!
My Bering distro firewall is working pretty good. Neat feature: bridge. Instead of buying a $30 switch, I bought a $7 Realtek-clone NIC, and have my music workstation on my network along with my laptop. Alot to learn about bridging in Linux, but so far so good.
Linux 15 1:41:09 PM G!.
I am testing out the GoogleBox - My plan is to change is depending on my latest interests/travel destinations. Since I am heading soon to Kiev, Ukraine, I am starting it out with that.
14 6:26:36 PM G!.
I am currently using the Bering Linux distribution from the LEAF Embedded Network Appliance project for my firewall, which I have build using Lachko's old 233 MHz AMD K-2 box (32 MB RAM). It is pretty neat because it works on one diskette/no hard drive, uses 2.4.x Linux kernel (currently 2.4.18), and supports netfilter/iptables. I was planning to use Astaro firewall, which I have deployed in one site; however, they are now charging for the recent version and I think it's time I got my hands a tad dirtier with Linux firewalling. BTW - Astaro is a pretty nice product - their VPN support is pretty spiffy, and their user forum is great.
Linux 13 4:34:05 PM G!.
Iraqi opposition leader to Albawaba.com: U.S. forces not desired in Iraq, Saddam might strike other Arab countries
After seeing the report on BBC news about the UK's dossier of evidence against Iraq (Blair outlines Iraq evidence), I decided to try out the Google News page for more info. I like it, because it is exposing me to news sources I normally do not encounter.
Iraq 12 4:29:26 PM G!.
Wow - broadband again! Well, not exactly a speed demon - it's a 64 kbps unlimited bandwidth always-on cable modem connection, but the operative word is "always on." Knowing that I was getting charged per minute for the telepohne modem connection limited my availability to projects which I am keenly interested in, especially scripting.com-related interest areas.
Interests 11 1:21:21 PM G!.
It is sad to see piece after piece of Bulgaria sold off to foreign companies. Is privatization such a great idea? Is there a better way to do this?
Bulgaria News 10 12:29:28 PM G!.
i hope i can find the book The Towers of Trebizond by Rose MacAulay here in Bulgaria - or online in Europe - it sounds wonderful! heard a bit of it on bbc radio this morning...
well, it sure has been a while.... i now am hosting www.ultramagnetic.com on a new server (thanks to www.ukshells.co.uk), www.fastmail.fm for imap e-mail hosting, and www.easydns.ca for my dns. distributed? yes please!
i'll post some pix of my travels real soon...
i normally do not celebrate easter. but in my family we usually go to Church, and then to the cemetary where we place flowers in remembrance of our loved ones. this afternoon, after having a nice walk in boris garden, i went to nevsky cathedral to light some candles for my dad and grandmother. unfortunately it was closed, so i tried to look at it through my father's eyes, enjoy the things that he might have enjoyed, and then i returned home.
I'm getting settled in here in Sofia Bulgaria. My apartment is in the central part of the city. Yesterday I joined the gym near my place - it is small but the staff is nice and the equipment is pretty good.
Sunday night I had a couple of beers with Veso and Irene, my next-door neighbors. I rent my apartment from Veso’s parents. We met at the Rafelsson Bank, and then we walked to the Bar Ecstasy, which is their favorite watering hole. It has been around for about 2 years; before that, it was owned by an Afgani and was a seedy drug haven. I met the guy who runs the Internet Café (or Game Room, as Veso calls it) and discussed setting up a point-to-point network between our apartment building and his café. He will charge us only for the bandwidth – 7 cents/megabyte.