Monday, March 26, 2007


Now, usually when I come across a good piece of GNU software, I praise it. However, this is an exception. Graveman has not been a good piece of software to me, in fact, it has caused me a bunch of trouble. In order to make a multisession DVD, use K3b instead, even if you use GNOME. Graveman has caused me to lose use of my DVD drive (details). This is going to be a very involved problem and with Costa Rica looming ahead, it ain't going to be pretty. I'm going to start a blacklisted programs category that haven't been working on my computer, I guess. And until the bugs are identified (a necessity for a program to be blacklisted is that I must report a bug) they will remain on the blacklisted category. Now, any other programs that I don't know to cause trouble, they're wonderful. So Graveman, until you fix my bug, your program will remain on my bad side.

Now, I know some people will say, "It's open source, fix it yourself". Well, my reply to that is that I am not familiar with the programming language and the code base, and studying the program, and I don't have the time to be. In fact, I'm doing a favor by reporting this bug so that other people who use this program don't feel the same way. I'm sorry, Graveman, for making this screed, but I've gotten frustrated from this problem, and I feel it's the best I can do for other people.

[EDIT] I think I was wayyyy too harsh. Graveman is still considered beta. So, I'll remove it from the blacklist and hope the problem gets solved. I found a quick, band-aid solution, so that's good. And I guess it can always wait. I KNOW I overreacted to this, and to any Graveman developers, I apologize. I guess I just needed a rant.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Costa Rica

I would like to announce that I will be going on a trip to Costa Rica on Wenesday, March 28. I will most likely not be able to blog while I am there, but I'll have a story when we get back. However, just as a safety precaution, I will be taking a Puppy Live CD just in case I find a computer there. If I do, I might post updates, but don't hold your breath. This is supposed to be a very busy trip.

The trip will be with several students interested in the tropical ecosystem. Hopefully, it will be a totally awesome trip and I'll have lots of things to talk about.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Linux-Pro #76

I got myself a copy of the Linux Pro March issue.
In my opinion, it is extremely interesting. First, as you can see, the DVD is the Best of Small Distros. Now, in addition to the mere idea of fitting 11 different distros on one DVD-ROM being cool, the actual distros are extremely useful. By far, my favorite is Puppy Linux. It's extremely easy to use and can even function as a hard drive if used in the right way. If you burn Puppy Linux as a multi-session disc, you can keep writing to it and keep your data. Since it's so portable, you can carry it around and use any computer lying around. In my opinion, that's really cool. Of course, the next best thing is Damn Small Linux (DSL). It's not as "cute" as Puppy Linux, or as comprehensive, but it's 50 MB. That's amazing. There are also others, but they're "meh".

The main topic of this issue is spam, and there are some pretty cool articles about it. One of my favorites is about tarpits. One way to combat spiders, which scour the internet for loose e-mail addresses is with the use of tarpits. Tarpits are basically links which link to more links, which in turn link to more links. This would make a spider extremely confused and disoriented. However, computers have gotten so powerful that the connection caught in the tarpit is negligible. However, some spiders now have time-out restrictions so they wouldn't get caught in a tarpit. Luckily, if they leave the tarpit before they get your e-mail, that's less spam for you.

The last cool tool I'm going to talk about is about spamd in OpenBSD. This is, in my opinion, the coolest of the cool. At first, spamd comes with a whitelist of trusted domains. However, other domains are greylisted, in that it is not known whether they are good or bad. There are several strategies spamd uses for greylisted messages. One thing is that it sends a "Temporarily Unavailable" error to the sending server. If the sending server does not retry, it probably belongs to a spammer, and the domain is blacklisted. The way spamd deals with blacklisted (and sometimes greylisted) domains is that it artificially slows down the connection. If the sending server was a spammer, it would think it was caught in a tarpit and terminate the connection. This means no spam for you.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Pale Blue Dot

I feel extremely compelled to post this video on this blog. I found it from Albino Blacksheep. I think many of you would appreciate it (hopefully).

I can still remember reading those words from that book. How every war ever fought, every drop of blood ever spilled, every act of triumph and act of defeat took place on this pale blue dot. Generals led armies on wars and fought for a small piece of land, on a small clump of rock, around an ordinary star, in an average galaxy in a vast universe larger than anything we could comprehend. Yet, this does not make me depressed. In fact, it makes feel amazed at what we can explore.

Ok, I noticed I'm talking a lot like Neil deGrasse Tyson now. I'll stop.

Q & BA #7

Ok, I know it's been a long time since I've commented. I don't know why, but it has been. I'll be happy to make it up to you. As a few of you might know, the Phil Plait (aka The Bad Astronomer) makes a segment known as Q and BA, where you ask questions and he answers them. Well, I think this weeks episode is so informative that I'm linking to it.

This week, he explains the reason why the same nebula could have several different names. Reminds me of a joke the physics teacher at my school said, "Astronomers will be the worst zoologists" because their naming system is so out of whack, confusion will most definitely ensue.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Summer camp shopping again

Ok, it's time for me to go looking for summer camps to go to (oh joy). So far, I've applied to YESS, and am awaiting a reply. My parents are bugging me about getting a backup plan for the summer since YESS is so competitive. So, I've been looking at the Stanford Educational Program for Gifted Youth (which, unlike the program they sent me before, doesn't cost a house). Then there's good ol' CTY ,which I attended last year. There's also the more enjoyable and at-home activity of volunteering at the Griffith Observatory. Unfortunately, I'm not sure if Griffith is accepting volunteers. If all else fails, I could always volunteer at Childrens Hospital.

But none (except YESS) are what I really want. What I really want is to go to Oakland for a month and help out the National Center for Science Education. Unfortunately, because of parental issues, there's a fat chance that'll happen.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Chinese Music now officially part of my collection

After being seeing a performance in school about Korean music, I was suddenly inspired to rip the music off of my Academic Decathlon Music CD (and not distribute it). I guess it started at the very beginning, with the Kkwaenggwari:
I don't think there's a word to describe this instrument. The sound it makes is very loud, if you hear it, you think about getting a headache from it, but you don't, mysteriously. Well anyways, at the very beginning, the (troupe?) marched in, with the Kkwaenggwari as the loudest instrument of all of them. I think most people were kinda surprised at this sound, but I was like, "I'm strangely used to this music". So, after hearing Korean music, I decided to add Chinese music to my collection. Yeah, that's about it.

Tandem off in public, yay!

Good news for most people, especially those who have seen me in the last 5 month. That mouth hardware, you won't see any more of it. For those of you that don't know, it looks kinda like this:
Well, I saw my orthodontist today, and I'll only have to wear that at night. So no protruding metal from my mouth. Everyone say hooray. HOORAY!

Sunday, March 04, 2007

HA! The rest of the world is still behind.

I know I've been using a lot of stuff from Pharyngula lately, but there's a lot of funny stuff coming out of there. One of which is this. I'll try and find my own stuff, eventually.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Well, it's the best way, isn't it?

Apparently, I'm going to die a mysterious death. Well, I couldn't say that I didn't expect that, heh heh heh.

You'll die Mysteriously...

You are a different sort of person and your death will be unexplainable.

'How will you die?' at


I'm thinking of making a series of posts each Friday about what I'm going to do over the weekend. I'll start today....ummmmm....oh snap. I have nothing. Well, homework-wise, I have a presentation to memorize and type. A second draft, to also type. A TI-89 to test out (since my 85 was stolen). And, uhhh.... a test to study for (yeah right).