2002 Radio Userland blog

Saturday, December 28, 2002


A very nice open source calendaring project. Java servlet, iCal support, support for subscriptions planned. The quickstart version even includes its own database. Way to go!

Open Source 4:19:41 PM


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


I've had this tape drive kicking around for a while, but I haven't put it to good use...until now. Some notes I made during the install.

Installing OnStream DI-30 ADR tape backup unit

    • To load your module, you may use the command (as root):

      • modprobe osst

    • You may need to use this command:

      • insmod osst

    • dmesg should show you whether your OnStream tapes have been recognized.

    • Add the following line to /etc/modules.conf:

      • alias char-major-206 osst

    • Create symbolic links:

      • a)backup current /dev/st0 and /dev/nst0 cd /dev mv /dev/st0 /dev/st0.old mv /dev/nst0 /dev/nst0.old b) create symbolic links to osst ln –s /dev/osst0 /dev/st0 ln –s /dev/nosst0 /dev/nst0 c) create symbolic links so that the mt program can access it ln –s /dev/ht0 /dev/tape ln –s /dev/nht0 /dev/ntape

    • Test it with the following command:

      • mt status

    • Useful links:

Sysadmin 2:33:53 PM


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

Tuesday, December 24, 2002


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

Monday, December 23, 2002


Giant, ball-shaped airships called stratellites may soon glide along in the stratosphere carrying transmitters that beam broadband wireless signals to the earthlings on the ground. By Xeni Jardin. [Wired News] - A way to connect the dots in Africa?

Internet Connectivity Open Public Networks Wireless 6:01:31 PM


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

Wednesday, December 18, 2002


Mozilla in Xhosa, Zulu, Venda, Northern Sotho, Siswati and Tswana; KOffice in Xhosa, Zulu and Venda, partly thanks to the Shuttleworth Foundation.

Tuesday, December 17, 2002


Back in Wired magazine's heyday, I especially enjoyed Nicholas Negroponte's back-page articles. I was especially annoyed when they were replaced by an advertorial. I'm sure this changed around the time of the :CueCat debacle. Anyway, David F. brought this article by Negroponte to my attention. The lily pad metaphor perfectly illustrates how open public networks will be built. Thanks David!


Perhaps stratospheric balloons could be used in Africa to filll the gaps in fibre coverage?

Friday, December 13, 2002


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.

Thursday, December 12, 2002


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.

Wednesday, December 11, 2002


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?

Tuesday, December 10, 2002


An update to Largo, Florida's Linux-based network. Although the typical city spends about 3-4% of their budget on IT, Largo spends only 1.3%, thanks to a frugal IT strategy.

Linux 1:43:58 PM


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

2002/10/16: XML::Comma

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

Thursday, December 05, 2002


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:

    • Works on Mozilla as well as IE

    • Rich interface (GUI for simple markup such as bold and italics)

    • Interface to MetaWeblog API/Blogger API

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:

    • Folder view on left pane to display subscribed blogs, with built-in alerts for new messages

    • Nice composer GUI for new posts

    • Can easily copy a blog post to another folder in your mail archive - or to remote IMAP server.

    • Posts can be read off-line (Radio Userland does this also)


    • It would be great to be able to post comments to blog posts in the same way you comment to newsgroups - hit reply. So, does the genecast RSS -> NNTP service have an interface to blogcomments? Those comments should be nested beneath the post.

    • How would categories fit into the NNTP scenario? Could I have a view of my blog posts based upon category? How would I post to several categories? Would that be the equivalent to cross-posting to several newsgroups? Hmmmm - perhaps each category would be the equivalent to a newsgroup:

        • vetula.books

        • vetula.bulgaria.news

        • vetula.linux

        • etc...

    • Interface to MetaWeblog API/Blogger API

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:

    • Forumzilla - a Mozilla XUL-based application that provides a three-paned Usenet newsreader-like interface to web discussion forums. I think it is inactive. What's interesting is that it is similar in concept to the blog browsers everyone is talking about.

    • Colobus, a news (nntp) server written in perl that serves up ezmlm mailing list archives as newsgroups.

Tuesday, December 03, 2002


Wow - Navigating the PostNuke site is quite tough - I just wanted to see how to make an RSS feed from site postings. At last - a solution: "To avoid confusion that some of you are having, this feature is already included in PN .72x ... To enable it, open your backend.php. Near the top of the file, is a variable $show_content = 0. Change it to $show_content=1 to enable the feature."[from Enhanced RSS feed :: pnModules :: PostNuke Modules]

4:47:10 PM


XML-RPC Class Server XCS stands short for XML-RPC Class Server. It can make any existing PHP class available for access via XML-RPC (without any modifications). You only need to put the file "xcs.php" in the same directory with your class files. [from WebKreator - XML-RPC Class Server]

    • ph-pxmlrpc - "A PHP implementation of the XML-RPC web RPC protocol."

    • Zend: XML-RPC client - "This tutorial teaches you, step-by-step, how to build an XML-RPC client in PHP using the XML-RPC library written by Edd Dumbill. It covers each of the PHP classes you will be using, and how they fit together to form the final client."

3:57:37 PM


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.

12:54:53 PM

Saturday, November 30, 2002


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

Thursday, November 28, 2002

I've been trying to blog within Mozilla via mozblog; however, I can't even get the darn thang installed on Moz 1.2. Now that the Mozilla Calendar project has shown me that you can do some pretty nice things by extending Mozilla, I'm turning my attention to blogging via Mozilla. Since mozBlog is not working (yet), I checking out some other paths. Following pearfear's advice, I have installed protozilla and will check out his very cool demo of RSS goodness within a browser. I also need to slightly grok XUL. Here's where I'm heading: since the Calendar project already demonstrates the concept of creating/editing multiple items, sorting them in several views (day/week/month), saving this data locally, and posting them remotely, wouldn't it be possible to hack the Calendar code to create a nice blogging tool? Would a calendar-based user interface work for blogging?

6:33:23 PM

Wednesday, November 27, 2002


Interesting to see what countries in Africa they cover - check out their website. African tech firm sheds senior staff. African Lakes Corporation, which runs internet services across Africa, is trying to move into profit by slimming its executive roster. [BBC News | Technology | UK Edition]

Gov't IT Travels 8:07:54 PM


Fascinating discussion on Slashdot about this network failure at a Boston hospital. Lessons learned: When I think about building redundant systems, I usually don't plan to build a redundant *network*. Something new to consider.

Gov't IT Sysadmin 7:14:18 PM


Just putting together a simpler template. Please bear with the mess while I work this out.

2:09:00 PM

Sunday, November 24, 2002

I installed pHp iCalendar on my webserver - it was remarkably easy. When I post my public calendar file using Mozilla calendar, it is instantly readable from a web browser. Cool! pHp iCalendar even provides an RSS feed. I have created a small primer for using Mozilla calendar.

Alarms do not work very well in Mozilla calendar. Ideally, I should receive alarms for events even when Mozilla is not open, perhaps provided by a cron job that runs whenever my calendar file changes. This job would look for any changes and add/delete items from the crontab. When an event comes due in cron, it would trigger a small system beep or biff-like notifier.

5:39:09 PM

Installing SpamAssassin. - [Russell Beattie Notebook] - This is an example of why I think blogging is so great! By using weblogs and Google, documentation on the web can become self-healing after a while - people issue their own revisions and caveats to how-to's that are already available. One thing I would like to see is a "documentation mode" for Google - making sure that I see the most recent version of a how-to, as well as ranking and comments/edits by users. A "stale" indicator on pages returned by Google showing that there is an updated version of a particular how-to would also be helpful.

1:53:31 PM

Thursday, November 21, 2002

I spent a while trying to get MVC to work alongside fusebox, and I found it to be too complex. I think that learning about MVC has been useful to my approach to web application development, but it is probably just one of many interesting influences during my growths as a developer. The analysis of MVC in Template Tookit Vs HTML::Template sums up a desirable approach for web development:

What the MVC-for-the-web crowd are really trying to achieve is a clear separation of concerns. Put your database code in one place, your application code in another, your presentation code in a third place.

4:58:56 PM

An interesting comparison between India's growing interest in Linux and Microsoft's growing evangelism in India.

4:37:22 PM

From Slashdot: Another Stab At Internet Access By Satellite - I've made a list of user experiences with satelite internet access from those posts.

User experiences with satelite internet access

Another Stab At Internet Access By Satellite - some interesting user experiences with satelite internet access:

    • "Typical upstream speeds is 30-100kbps and downstream is about 1Mbit-1.4Mbit on the two-way (DirecWay) systems my company has installed."

    • "ja.net [ja.net] (The UK organisation for education networking) is currently trialing 2 way satellite and I'd have to say I was impressed at the network access conference I went to recently.

    • The guy was brave enough to do a live demo (The dish having been rigged up only a couple of hours earlier). ping times were a consistant 600ms and bandwidth was a symmetric 2M.

    • It seems like a very good solution for the rural, the only barriers are the latency (which isn't as bad as I thought it would be) and the high cost. dc-sat.net [dc-sat.net] are the company involved in the trial."

    • "2-way service does exist. The latency is approx. 800ms minimum, and the download is around 400kbps (for most connections you don't pay thousands for)"

    • "You wonder why there are so few hits from African countries? Because the only reliable link is over satellite, which usually connects to a European ISP. Yes indeed, this message is brought to you over PanAmSat connect to the Irish Web-Sat ISP from the oil-rich country of Nigeria. My upstream is 64kbytes/sec, downstream is 2Mbits. Unless it rains a tropical storm, in which case the connection ceases to exist. For the interested, check out http://www.directonpc.com."

    • "Down in Antarctica, the only internet access available is by satellite -- and it's so impossibly slow that when that woman down there got breast cancer, they barely could get the doctor's recommendations and instructions for a biopsy over the satellite, since it only worked every few hours at best and the transfer rate was something akin (no exaggeration!) to 300Bps. In fact, it's so bad that some groups are actually considering running a digital fiber line all the way to the south pole."

    • "The latency thing is really bad. Forget about meaningfull VPN or SSH sessions. WWW and Email is all its good for. I have it. I live in suburbia, too far from the local CO for DSL and Adelphia isn't in shape for upgrading the cable plant as they are running out of $$$ really fast. -snip- Starband's downstream reaches almost 1Mb/s (average is around 700K or so). Its a fat pipe, but its a really long one. Latency sucks (~600ms), forget games or video conf. Upstream tops out at 110K (average ~70K). Obvious conclusion: Cable if you can get it, DSL if cable not avail. Dial-up/ISDN for interactive (if no Cable or DSL). Sat. for www or email and large downloads :)."

    • "I live in rural Norway and have looked at the possibility for satellite and found TiscaliSat (should be avaiable in most countries), but the prices are high. Setting up the sat costs $2000+ and the monthly fee is $200+. I don't forsee satellite as a viable artenative for private consumers, maybe for small corporations (with need for fast connection in rural areas?)"

    • "While I'm glad for the guy in the middle of nowhere now that he finally has some way to access the Internet, I do not envy anyone who has to use satellite for their Internet connection. The laws of physics dictate that you will get a minimum of 500 milliseconds ping time to anywhere on the net. Packets must travel 22k miles from the planet to the satellite, then 22k miles back down to your ISP. That's already about 240 milliseconds. Then add the transit time from your ISP to the destination site; for the sake of argument, say it's instantaneous and adds no transit time. Then add in the return trip of 240 milliseconds, for a total of 480 milliseconds. This represents the absolute minimum round-trip time for data sent via satellite. Of course, in the real world, it will be somewhat longer than that, but it depends on your ISP and the rest of the hops between you and the destination."

    • "I work for a company that provides internet access to REALLY rural schools. Bush Alaska. It's hard to get more rural than that. I oversee the maintenance of over 140 servers across the state (at least one per site) and have to both use SSH and a web interface on a regular basis. Not just to monitor the server status, but also to UPDATE the damn things (software packages of over 20 MB on occasion). Unless the weather at the site is crap (or has been, and has knocked the dish off axis a bit) I hardly ever have trouble with keeping a reliable SSH connection. Waiting for the web interface to load takes a bit more time over the satellite link is a noticible delay, but it doesn't render my job impossible. Not even unenjoyable. We used to use NT 4 and PC Anywhere. That was unenjoyable, but not impossible. Yeah, we use a proxy (Squid) at the sites to make browsing a bit more responsive (it is a noticeable difference), but that doesn't affect messengers (MSN, Yahoo, AIM) or video conferencing (distance learning, or one teacher at one site teaching classes at several sites, WITH INTERACTION). Sure, satellite sucks in comparison to terrestrial bandwidth delivery, but it's not the tar pit that so many people here claim it to be."

    • "I only have a three-word reply: "4,000 milisecond latency. Just ask India, because that's all they have."

    • Here is the counterpoint: "4,000 milisecond latency." Just ask India, because that's all they have. While I love to pick on the poor Indians too, this just isn't true. I've run a network to my company's office in India for the last five years. Internet access from VSNL is very good and has a latency of 275 ms round trip to my office in the USA. My private line is 252 ms round trip, so it only cost me 23 ms to come via the Internet instead of my private circuit. Now, providers other than VSNL leave a lot to be desired. Most come via satellite (500ms-750ms) and suffer from terrible congestion and packet loss."

    • "Sheesh. I am *amazed* at the amount of disinformation most of these people are posting. Yes, I know it's slashdot, but WOW. Feel free to e-mail me with any other questions if you want. I am qualified to answer this question because my mom has Starband internet, and I often end up doing things on her computer for her. (She runs RedHat linux and windows dual-boot) For IRC, it'll be fine if you use low-scroll rooms. but if they are fast, it'll probably be a bit hard to follow. For command-line apps and whatnot, it's a tad annoying, since everything you do has a 1/2 delay at least. If you are used to typing without immediate feedback, it's OK. For X apps, or VNC, it's pretty nasty. If you just have a quick change or something to do, it's doable, but you won't be wanting to do much at all over that connection. If you consider remotely administering a server to be connecting with VNC or whatever windows has as it's new remote desktop thing, then you are going to be dissapointed for any task that takes more than about a dozen mouse clicks."

    • " Now try the best. [nebulink.net] No, I don't work for them. No, I don't use their service anymore (I got WiFi based 'net now). Yes, they support Linux (they even developed a custom, in-house applicaiton for it). No, they don't do any of that leaky-bucket BS that infuriates anyone using most of the competing services. Yes, they sell to anyone who can receive their signal in any country. [Canadians note: If you get their service and want to remain within the law, avoid surfing any sites within Canada]."

      • The coolest part is that it's Ku-Band and it uses standard DVB. This means you can get the dish to receive it for next to nothing, and you can use _any_ DVB card you like.

      • Oh, and I wrote a (crappy) mini-HOWTO for Linux that you can check on their forums (sorry, they're locked to the public)."

Here's some alternatives:

    • " You may get DSL before you think (Score:1) by Proc6 on Wednesday November 20, @04:50PM (#4719037) (User #518858 Info) My business partner works from his home in the small town of Dayton, Iowa. We're talking so small they have a caseys, and thats about it. I imagined he'd be on dialup for life. He now has 256k DSL and could go much higher if he wanted to pay for it. Apparently there are some easy-to-implement turn-key solutions for small telephone co-ops. The co-op that runs the phones for his dinky town, another even dinkier town, and one "small" town (maybe 2 caseys!) bought into it. I get the impression what they do is put a DSLAM in each town center, and since no house is outside of a 16,000 wirefoot range, pretty much 1 DSLAM covers the entire town. So the phone co-op buys 3, puts one in each town, and then probably buy into some bigger ISP with a T1 from their main office to the ISP's office or something for the big pipe. "

    • " Ok. Satellite. What $10,000 per pound to orbit? Latency issues? Reparability? Space junk? All issues. So what do you do about it? I think they should run up some Gyromills into the jet stream and hand antennas on em and build a 20,000 foot wireless cloud. - http://www.bbc.co.uk/.../tw/items/ 010328_windmillsinthesky.shtml - Some people are thinking dirigibles or UAV's etc. but a Gigawatt generating kite seems like a better idea. Generate clean power and get high bandwidth low latency wireless connections. I also say you could put em up like a ring around a city to prevent unwanted air space violations. Nothing stops a errant plane like a steel cable."

10:52:36 AM

Wednesday, November 20, 2002

One of my interests has been to construct a low-cost server with some nice failure protection, like RAID 1 mirroring. When we installed our Linux test server using the software RAID 1 support in RedHat 8, we mirrored our main boot disk, assuming that if /dev/hda1 (the boot volume) failed, md0 would continue chugging along with its mirror, /dev/hdc1. Not so. We tested this out by disconnecting hda drive and then rebooting - the system would not boot without the boot floopy. I have documented the process we used to resurrect the mirrored drive. The Grub boot utility does not support mirrored boot drives; however, not all is lost: Lilo does (apparently). More digging to do...

6:44:31 PM

I have been using LEAF Bering Linux distro for my firewall/bridge for a couple of months. Instead of taking the easy road and using a switch, I'm using the bridging capabilities of Linux to enable my workstations/server/cable modem to connect. (Yeah, I could have bought a $25 hub, but where's the fun in that? Plus, it's cheaper to buy the nics than buy a switch.) I just added a new workstation to the fray, so I had to update some of the modules to accomodate the new NIC. While browsing the docs on Bering, I noticed that Bering v1.0-stable has been released. I plan to test it out real soon...

5:52:19 PM

Tuesday, November 19, 2002


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):

    • On the menubar, go to "Edit/Preferences/Publishing" and enter the requested information.

    • In the "Publishing settings" box, where it says "Default Remote Filename", enter the FTP address of your web server, as well as the path, and don't forget username and password, all in the format "ftp://yourusername:yoursecretpassword@ftp.server.com/yourWWWroot/calPublic.ics"

    • You can call the file anything that ends with ".ics"; I use calPublic.ics.

    • Press OK.

    • From the menubar select "Tools/Subscribe to remote Calendar." (or you can click on the Calendars tab, right click in the empty area, and select "Add New Calendar") I entered the name "public" and then entered the URL of my public calendar - http://www.vetula.com/calPublic.ics.

    • Click "Publish changes automatically." A very nice feature!

    • Add new events. At the bottom of the "New Event" page is a selection for the Calendar File - choose your public file.

    • Browse to confirm the upload worked. Mine is at http://www.vetula.com/calPublic.ics.

    • For more Moz. Calandar help, check out:

    • Some additional links are in my blog entry for this story.

    • Good luck!

Thanks to Olle Jonsson for providing the text to update this how-to.

Sharing the same calendar from two locations

    • Let's say you wish to have your office calendar available from the office as well as from home. Create a new calendar called "Office Calendar." While you are at the office, create your office events, and post it to your server.

    • When you are at home, subscribe to this file. If you add/modify/delete any events, post it to the server.

    • When you return to the office, right-click on the Office Calendar in the Calendars sidebar and select "Refresh remote calendar" to make sure you are sync'd up with any changes that might have been made to your calendar.

    • This is certainly not as easy as using MS Outlook calendar, but it is pretty amazing what the Mozilla calendar guys have done so far using open standards (ftp/http/javascript/XML). And it's free! So far Mozilla calendar offers many basic calendar functions, and is beginning to offer some nice collarborative features. Good job guys.

Details, details...

    • Q: what if you post the same events *twice*? does the remote file then have those events double?

    • A: If you post the same event twice to your public calendar, yes - it will show up twice. But this does not have to happen - don't forget that there is a dropdown at the bottom of the "Add Event" dialogue (Calendar File) where you may select which calendar to which to add an event. When I add an event that I want to publish to my public calendar, I select the public calendar.

    • For example, I just added an event called "Holiday in Plovdiv." But I forgot to select which calendar to add it to, so it was added to my default calendar (My Calendar) which is not my public calendar. Unfortunately you cannot change which calendar file an event is saved in from the Calendar (I imagine this might show up in future versions.)

    • But it's easy enough to re-create an event anyway: I created another new event called "Holiday in Plovdiv" and added it to my public calendar by selecting the name of the file that corresponds to my public calendar (in my case, CK Public.)

Making your remote calendar display on your website

  • If your site host has pHp support, check out PHP iCalendar. I am using it - here's how I got it working:

    • Download the file, and open the file config.inc.php. Since my calendar is (currently) in the root of my website, I made the following change:

      • $calendar_path = '../'; // Path to directory with calendars

    • I also changed the default view to month:

      • $default_view = 'month'; // Default view for calendars = 'day', 'week', 'month', 'year'

    • I created a "phpicalendar" directory on my ftp site, and uploaded the files. Presto: My Public Calendar

    • To make the rss feed work properly, I had to edit line 17 in rss/index.php:

    • include(BASE.'header.inc.php');

12:47:39 PM Content Management Systems Open Source

Monday, November 18, 2002

I attended a conference in Dar Es Salaam this summer, where we set up an Internet cafe in one of the conference rooms for the attendees. Internet access was pretty bad - the line that was pullled from the internet connection to our conference room was in bad shape - decayed from the humidity, I guess. We strung a new line and were able to surf OK.

7:28:53 PM

Sunday, November 17, 2002


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 []

20 741 ms 741 ms 741 ms pos4-1.er8a.sjc2.us.mfnx.net []

21 * * * Request timed out.

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: iker_pastillas@hotmail.com

Domain servers in listed order:




Chris Kelley

-------- 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.


Sean Wright

Ebay Customer Department

6:02:05 PM

Tuesday, November 12, 2002

I've always been a fan of Jakob Nielsen's Alertbox site because he focuses on an area that often suffers in web design: usability. This article on Intranet usability resonates for me because I recently hooked up a client's remote office to their network (via VPN), enabling them to access their intranet.

12:09:36 PM

The small conference in Bamako was very stimulating, and I am still trying to wrap my head around how we can use IT to fascilitate the growth of the African judiciaries as well as make communications between African governments easier. Since I live in Bulgaia, I have a keen interest in the development of the EU. I wonder if an EU-style union - with guarantees for citizens rights and economic and monetary union will someday take place in Africa? The African Union's NEPAD program seems to be heading in this direction with its peer review mechanism and focus on sustainable development. Would it be possible for the AU to leapfrog the EU and use some truly modern methods of conducting their affairs to avoid building a very large and possibly unweildy governing apparatus?

11:38:13 AM

Friday, November 01, 2002

The Register: Simputer Linux Handheld for Developing World Finds Builder. "India-based PicoPeta Simputer Private Ltd has struck a manufacturing deal for its Simputer mass market computing device, and expects to have the 1,000 first batch to come off the production line next month..."... [Meerkat: An Open Wire Service]

Gov't IT Linux 11:52:48 AM


This morning's Register article, fortified by Slashdot - Namibia Says "No Thanks" To Microsoft Donation With Strings. The Register posted an update about Namibia's SchoolNet, Microsoft "donations", and what looks like Namibia final decision. Apparently, MS's "donated" ... [Slashdot] - reminds me of the Bulgarian gov't deal with Microsoft:

Microsoft Bulgaria will provide about $1 million to build a national network for the training of 30,000 civil servants in computer skills, managing director Teodor Milev told journalists on Tuesday.

On May 17, State Administration Minister Dimitar Kalchev and the director of Microsoft Bulgaria signed an agreement by which the state administration would receive 30,000 packages of MS Windows XP and MS Office XP software in Bulgarian. The cost of the programme products is $13,650,000 or $455 per package. According to the agreement, Microsoft Bulgaria will cover the training costs.

The Bulgarian government is getting the software for half-price - very nice - but still, there goes $13.6 million dollars out of their economy. And I imagine that the 30,000 seats needed is grossly over-estimated. Many governments in Europe are looking towards Linux - why did Bulgaria, with many good programmers - buck the trend?

Bulgaria News Gov't IT 10:37:56 AM

Thursday, October 31, 2002


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:

Thanks alot!

Chris Kelley

12:08:48 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!.

Wednesday, October 30, 2002


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]


37 12:09:01 PM G!.

Tuesday, October 29, 2002


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!.

Friday, October 25, 2002


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!.

Thursday, October 24, 2002


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:

    • MythTV.org - "Yes, I could have just bought a TiVo, but I wanted to have more than just a PVR -- I want a webbrowser built in, a mail client, maybe some games. Basically, I want the mythical convergence box that's been talked about for a few years now."

    • dvd::rip - "a full featured DVD copy program written in Perl."

Linux Open Source

31 8:29:57 PM G!.

Monday, October 21, 2002


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!.

Saturday, October 19, 2002


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!.

Thursday, October 17, 2002


"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!.

Wednesday, October 16, 2002


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:


or you could find the link from NewsIsFree, which massages the URL into several useful forms.

Content Management Systems Open Source

24 11:32:58 AM G!.

Tuesday, October 15, 2002


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!.

Monday, October 14, 2002


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!.

Wednesday, October 09, 2002


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!.

Tuesday, October 08, 2002


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!.

Monday, October 07, 2002


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.


19 8:47:44 PM G!.


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.

Ex-pat Tips

18 5:34:56 PM .

Friday, October 04, 2002


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:

    • Separation of logic and style (Apache Coccon)

    • Nice user-friendly in-place editing (Xopus)

    • Open source goodness

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!.

Thursday, October 03, 2002


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???

My Music

16 10:32:24 AM G!.

Wednesday, October 02, 2002


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.


15 1:41:09 PM G!.

Friday, September 27, 2002


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.


13 4:34:05 PM G!.

Tuesday, September 24, 2002


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.


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.


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!.

Thursday, July 18, 2002

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...


911:49:21 AM .

Sunday, June 16, 2002

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...

8 6:35:56 PM .

Sunday, March 31, 2002

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.

7 8:52:04 PM .

Tuesday, February 12, 2002

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.

6 12:40:23 PM .