Having trouble locating SiEd? Fret no more!
SiEd is my favorite general purpose editor for Palm pilot. It’s great, open-sourced GPLed software, that has a bunch of neat features like writing directly to the SD card, split screens, macros. I also love the fact that it writes plain text files.
One thing I wanted to add to the program, thanks to access to the source code, was support for the full 320x480 screen and rotation. However, locating the program and its source has been difficult.
The developer’s domain, benroe.com, has for some reason been taken over by squatters. There are huge numbers of hits for a google search of sied but they all point to the same domain… ugh.
But no longer! I’ve managed to locate an older version of the source and am making both the 0.9.9 source code and the actual SiEd 0.9.11 PRC palm program here, at least until benroe.com gets back in business.
If anyone has access to a more recent version of the source, I’d appreciate a little message on where I can get it before I starting making modifications. For the moment, please feel free to download and use this great program.
I just performed a little surgery on my guitar and wanted to share the results which might eventually be useful to someone else.
The problem with my electric guitar: it’s old and cheap, the 5 position switch (used to select combinations of the three pickups) was acting up, as were the three potentiometers (volume and two tone knobs). By acting up, I mean they were adding noise, cutting in and out and generally being pains. In addition, I can’t stand where the volume knob sits as I’m touching it half the time when palm muting (causing yet more unwanted noise).
I had purchased a replacement Fender 5-way pickup selector switch (Fender part #099-1367-000), standard fare on most strat type guitars, but was hesitant to actually open the instrument up. However, tonight was more annoying than ever so I opened it up. A peak inside revealed that it was a big mess of wire with gobs of solder everywhere.
Call me barbaric but I decided to cut the crap and hook the pickups directly to the output–volume be damned, I’m always at 10 anyway, and the tone pots needed replacement. So I had a look at this very informative page about the 5-way switch and went to work.
My solution involved simply tying the ground leads from all three pickups together (black wires, in my case), along with the cable out ground and a nice little wire tied to the guitar’s bridge. Then I took other lead from the neck, middle and bridge pickups and tied them to positions N-A, M-A, and B-A as shown on the guitarnuts graphic at the bottom of the page. Finally, the common terminal was tied to the other cable out wire.
Done and done. Testing it was a breeze, just plug the guitar in and scrape a quarter against the pickups as you play with the switch. The guitar works great, without any noise or cutting out and the volume nicely maxed out. Huzzah.
One site I like to visit regularly is LiveScience to which many of our News entries here link to.
A feature that comes up often is their “Top 10″ lists, which are often less informative than they are entertaining, but normally with that geeky science twist. Examples include Top 10 Amazing Facts About Your Heart, Top 10 Mysteries of the Mind and even the likes of the Top 10 Worst Heredity Conditions.
Unfortunately, I didn’t much enjoy going through the Top Ten Unexplained Phenomena which was a disappointment. Such a disappointment, in fact, that I was prompted to write the LiveScience editors. I am making the short letter public here.
I’m a regular livescience.com reader and truly enjoy this informative site. Though not as keen on the various “Top 10″s, I’ve found some quite entertaining.
I was, however, a bit disconcerted by the recent “Top Ten Unexplained Phenomena”. A number of the items in the list would better be described as beliefs than phenomena–to be a phenomenon, you need something to detect and measure (anything that isn’t has, by definition, no impact on the world). Of course, you can say that “belief in [ESP] is so widespread”–true and, to me, THAT is really an unexplained phenomena.
I wouldn’t say I believe in ESP though I am open to the possibility… but before we hypothesize about the nature of an observable phenomenon we really must, well, observe it! The notion, for instance, that “psychic powers cannot be tested, or for some reason diminish in the presence of skeptics or scientists” might be very useful to the hucksters with such powers but it pretty much rules it outside the scope of scientific investigation.
Though I’m certain “ghost investigators hope to one day prove that the dead can contact the living” it’s like saying that my grandfather really hopes to prove there’s a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow: who cares, until he actually shows up with a leprechaun we can’t explain by other means.
Finally, I felt that many of the items had very strong implications of a dualist bent ("souls” distinct from bodies and the like) without questioning such a revolutionary assumption: NDE/Life after death, Deja vu (underscoring the possibility of “unbidden glimpses of previous lives” while brushing aside more interesting, and testable, naturalistic explanations), and Ghosts (!).
Personally, if I’m in the mood for this sort of thing I’ll head to livephilosophy.com but I’d much rather stick to liveSCIENCE
Thanks and kudos for the otherwise excellent site.
Today, as I took my customary walk to the coffee shop, I passed by at least four teams of two green-shirted youths stopping people on the street to solicit funds. I think I like Greenpeace, I just hate how they generate cash. My problem with this approach is the amount of waste: hundreds of man-hours being spent to transfer cash from one pool (the general population’s pockets) to another (the Greenpeace bank account) without any accrued value for anyone.
We can assume these are all volunteers and will neglect the amount of time they take out of the lives of passers-by. My chief objection is that, once all the volunteer time and energy is spent, the organization does have more funds to do its thing with but the world is in essentially the same state as before save for the calories spent while doing the “work”.
What if, instead, those volunteer man-hours were spent actually producing value in a manner that enhances the world. Funds would still be generated but the world would already be a better place: we wouldn’t have to wait expectantly for our contributions to have some eventual impact–goodness would already have been spread.
For example, lets say Greenpeace organized (or, even better, trained) a team of landscapers. These would still be volunteers, at least for the most part. With such a resource in hand, Greenpeace could do things like bid on the construction of parks for the municipality. Their bid, thanks to the volunteers’ contributions of expertise and manpower, would undoubtedly be below that of other companies (seeing as it only includes the cost of material + whatever contribution is appropriate).
Actually winning the city contract would provide:
- funds for Greenpeace operations;
- experience doing actual work for young volunteers;
- added value and quality of life, through the creation of the park;
- lower cost for taxpayers, since the Greenpeace bid was lower than any commercial company could afford;
- the city with awesome spin, since they managed to build a new park for lower cost while simultaneously contributing to a worthy social cause.
After all these wondrous things have rained down on the world, Greenpeace now has the funds to do whatever goodness they’d first set out to do.
Isn’t that better? Such a means of fund-raising could sustain the organism while bringing immediate benefits before the group even began pursuing it’s primary mission.
For a large organization such as Greenpeace, it wouldn’t be such a big deal to manage numerous teams in various fields (landscaping, information technology, recycling, whatever) each of which could be carefully selected to be in sectors that enhance quality of life while providing volunteers with a means of contributing that’s both more interesting than standing on a street corner and much better on their resume.
No. I don’t have any change for you, sorry.
I know a lot about panhandling, and it’s not just because I live in the city core. I think I understand it, and I spend a lot of time talking with folks who spend most of their day doing it. But I never have any cash for any of them.
The first, purely selfish, reason is that when money leaves my wallet I am buying something. Unless there’s a hole in your pocket, this is your case too. Everyone who gives a squeegee a dime is buying something. It can be pride, it can be a sense of contribution, it can be easing a guilty conscience, it can be to feel the warm glow of human compassion… It can probably be very many things but it’s always something and I haven’t felt the need to purchase any of these things in a long time.
Though I respect, and will defend, the panhandler’s right to ask for cash, I don’t think this hidden tax is beneficial to the society. Notwithstanding the direct costs (cash value transfered and not spent elsewhere), the amount of human time and energy spent doing this could be used to actually generate wealth (by performing useful acts of creation) instead of just shuffling money around. If you assume just one calorie spent per participant, per exchange, and set the average number of queries in a day to 500 and multiply that by 2000 panhandlers, you get a total of 2,000,000 calories spent on basically nothing. That’s enough to feed 1000 people (based on a 2k calorie diet). Sure, you might say “but that’s what the panhandling was for–to feed people”. Irrespective of whether the money is actually used for food, the point is that those same calories, spent doing productive work would result in a salary (i.e. cash for food) AND productive work (i.e. more resulting goodness in the world).
There’s also the question of where the cash is really going. It might be for food, it might be for booze and cigarettes. Other than the potential health or public disturbance costs, these aren’t really a big deal. But what if it’s junk or crack? There is the possible moral dilemma in helping to sustain these bad habits but to me the most important question is where the money winds up. Whether it’s the hell’s angels, the gang of Jamaicans or the CIA, until these drugs are legalized the cash is supporting a system which inflicts pain and terror on many levels. No thanks.
Then there is the panhandling set point or critical mass. A city of a given size can support a certain number of panhandlers. This number is determined by things like number of people, cost of living and average donation. Though the former are relatively stable, average donation is a function of ‘generosity’ and demand (number of panhandlers). Obviously, people can only give so much so if there’s more demand the supply will be spread more thinly. But more importantly, there’s people’s mood and if you’re getting asked for some cash every three steps you’ll eventually get so annoyed that your donations will quickly drop to zero. You could say, that by making panhandling less attractive and keeping the numbers down I’m actually helping those that are already doing it… But that might just be sophistry
Also in relation to the demand density is the fact that as numbers increase, the amount of discomfort experienced by people also increases, probably not linearly. This is, in my experience, especially true for those unaccustomed to the experience such as tourists. And when tourism suffers, the influx of cash into a city goes down and everyone, including those panhandlers, suffers.
Finally, there’s the fact that I like adults. Adults are people who are free to make their own choices and responsible for the consequences of those choices. Yes, I might enjoy it if mom and dad or some surrogate would pay my rent and habits, but in the end I think we’re all better off when people fly with their own wings. I actually support a left-leaning government with social systems in place to aid those in need. At this time, it isn’t a great life but it’s enough to live on while you find your bearings. You need only ask, and you get a place to live and food in the fridge–so be my guest and just do it. However, I’d much rather have every able-bodied individual contributing something–anything, whatever they love or want to do–rather than sustaining themselves parasitically.
That’s why, I’m sorry man, but no: I got no change.
Finally… After a few months with my new Palm OS 5 device, I’ve been itching to get some real work done on the road. Graffiti is great and all, but I need keyboard input. However, my insistence in using the Dvorak layout has been causing issues, especially since neither Palm nor MobilityDevices (apparently the new name for ThinkOutside) feel like supporting it anymore.
A rough solution might have been Ken Mankoff’s Q2D hack. Unfortunately, it seems Palm OS5 doesn’t like these hacks so much and as a result the X-Master hack manager just barfs and dies.
TealMaster to the rescue! Seems the Tealpoint folks have figured out a way to sidestep the issue, huzzah. Installing TealMaster worked and it recognized Q2D, so now I’m happily typing away in Dvorak on my Tungsten device.
Since the q2d hack basically converts any input (even from the stylus) to dvorak, this combination should work with any keyboard recognized by your Palm.
Having decided to give the local "Environment Meetup Group" (at meetup.com) a spin, I came upon the message board which included a post: "You Call Yourself a Progressive, But You Still Eat Meat?".
I’m always a bit irked at the recurring link between environmentalism (which I’m into) and vegetarianism (which I ain’t) and I cringed a bit a the title (since I would consider myself "progressive") but an open mind required I give the linked article a look.
As I was reading it, a number of thoughts, questions and objections popped up and I decided that my first contribution to the group would be to take the time to actually formulate them in a sensible manner. Turns out the post was to verbose for the message board, so I’m sticking it here. It is addressed to anyone but is specifically targeted towards the vegetarians out there.
I won’t repeat large parts of the article, but will simply point out what I’m talking about, so it’s best to have read it beforehand (though not required).
The first part, problems related to eating too much fat and being overweight, is true but simply do not apply to me and anyone can have the same results by choosing wisely and eating sanely. I am living proof that it’s possible to chow down on animals and be healthy and there are many others that are in better shape than I. It’s easy: don’t eat too much fat (or too much of anything, duh). So I’ll just skip all that…
The point about AA and other inflammatory stuff in meat… True, but it turns out that omega-6 fatty acids (e.g. from corn and other vegetable fat), Dihommogamma-Linoleic Acid (DGLA) in particular, can be converted to either the anti-inflammatory PG1 or into arachidonic acid (AA). They can even promote the growth of prostate tumor cells. It’s important to be wary of chronic inflammation and the foods that cause it but the argument against meat is weak and is either ignorant or dishonest.
The arguments against concerns about "having strength and energy on a vegetarian diet"… I can’t contradict that it’s possible to function–the question is are you really functioning at maximum capacity?
Creatine (which you get from vertebrates and can synthesize yourself), administration was shown to significantly improve performance in cognitive and memory tests in vegetarian individuals involved in double-blind, placebo-controlled cross-over trials. Vegetarian supplementation with creatine seems to be especially beneficial as they appear to have lower average body stores. (”Oral creatine monohydrate supplementation improves brain performance: a double-blind, placebo-controlled, cross-over trial” or ”Sport supplement gives vegetarians brain boost” at ). The fact you’d need this supplementation to be at your best on a vegetarian diet is certainly a concern to me, and just perhaps an indication that we’ve evolved to count on outside sources.
A deficiency in vitamin B12, which is naturally found in foods that harbor B12 bacteria including meat (especially liver and shellfish), eggs, and milk products, can lead to anemia (with accompanying feelings of fatigue, weakness and lethargy). Low intake of B12 and folate are also linked to Alzheimer’s disease ("Diet and dementia" ).
These are two examples of vitality/energy problems with vegetarian diets I know off the top of my head, there are probably more. Of course, vegans aren’t dropping like flies so it’s possible to survive and probably get around these things, if you have the knowledge and the means. But there is no denying we evolved as omnivores (about 2.5 million years ago) and, to me, it’s a lot more natural and easy to live fully as such.
Now we get to the part that’s actually relevant to the environment and, presumably, why this was posted on the Environmental Meetup group. The rain forest is being chopped down for animals and to grow soy for animals so that we can eat animals. From the article "it takes many pounds of soy or other plant foods to produce just one pound of animal flesh". I agree with this fully. Thing is: I, like most of us here, am animal flesh. Ergo, it takes many pounds of plant foods to produce (and then maintain) one pound of me.
Thermodynamically speaking, there must be waste from doing it with an extra step like:
plants -> chickens -> me
rather than just
plants -> me
What bugs me is that they’re always acting as if a person who replaced eating 10 chickens with eating soy would only eat the amount of soy a single chicken gulps down, rather than that for many or all the chickens they’ve replaced. This is patently false.
So if you’re going to make this argument, give me some numbers please… How much soy would we really save if I ate it directly? The argument isn’t worth much discussion without these figures.
As a side note, would everybody be happy if we made the process 99% efficient, say by making less wasteful chickens (i.e. chickens that don’t waste any soy for growing useless stuff like beaks, and intestinal tracks and feathers or for moving around) or would that be objected to as GMO-grossness?
In any case, we obviously need as much vegetable foodstuff per pound as other animals, most certainly more owing to our high-energy-consuming brains. On top of this, eating meat actually reduces appetite ("Why high-protein meat may curb appetite") compared to veggies, so you can eat less calories (i.e. less foodstuff) to reach the same level of satiation (meaning less resources to feed you and a healthier you because you’re eating less calories).
The article goes on to state that "no reputable scientific or medical body believes that eating animals is good for us". Uhm, what?
The Food Standards Agency (FSA) states that red meat is the richest source of iron and research has also suggested that the elderly would benefit from eating red meat, as the iron could prevent the onset of Alzheimer’s disease. The FSA goes on to say that "the iron in animal sources is absorbed easily by the body. There is also iron in pulses, dried fruit, green leafy vegetables, nuts and seeds. The iron in these foods is not so easily absorbed by the body."
Lindsay Allen, of UC Davis, brewed a storm with the vegetarians when her study on Kenyan children found that "adding as little as two spoonfuls of meat a day to their starch-based diets dramatically improved muscle development and mental skills". The shit hit the fan when she commented "there’s absolutely no question that it’s unethical for parents to bring up their children as strict vegans" because of the dire consequences of such a choice on their health (born small, grow very slowly and are developmentally retarded, possibly permanently). Yes, the study was on poor children–i.e. probably those with the smallest ecological footprint and no means of importing exotic plants to meet their nutritional demands–but it showed dramatic changes in the children given the meat, and to a lesser extent the milk or oil. This guardian article goes over both sides of the question rather well.
A number of studies have shown that Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA, found in found primarily in the meat and dairy products of ruminants) increases lean tissue and is an anti-carcinogen.
The author of the AlterNet article seems happy to ignore these and all the studies that have found eating meat to be more efficient (e.g 3 ounce serving of beef contains as much iron as 3 cups of spinach and it is more easily absorbed) and potentially healthful if done right (e.g. the Japanese diet, which includes lots of fish and meat, somehow leads to the highest life expectancy in the world).
In the end, we could go on all day finding studies which show great properties of meat-including diets and others showing the dangers of the same. The difference between these is a question of what and how much… there are distinct benefits related to eating certain meats and this almost faith-based approach that states "all meat is bad" or the lesser "nothing good comes out of eating meat", which you simply can’t question without being a treated like a right-wing, redneck dimwit is really narrow minded and annoying.
The only remaining point is that of animal cruelty. First off, the whole political incorrectness of eating meat embodied by the "meat is murder" catch phrase really gets to me. Murder is normally defined somewhere along the lines of "unlawful killing of a human being by a human being". The restriction to intra-human killing is evident to any fluent english speaker, as no one would say "Jeff was murdered" if he were eaten by a tiger.
If you take "human" out of the definition, eating cows still isn’t murder because it isn’t unlawful. If you then take "unlawful" out of the definition, you’re left with the "killing of a being by a being" as the definition of murder–in which case, you’re guilty when you eat a potato. So it’s a catchy phrase but doesn’t make sense and is, in my opinion, disingenuous.
The short version is that life feeds on life and that ain’t murder. That doesn’t mean we have to be cruel. So what is the difference between plants and animals in this context? It is the capacity to feel and appreciate pain. Animals have a greater capacity for this than plants, obviously. But the thing is, some animals have more than others. Single cell organisms… uhm,not so much. Bugs, hardly. Bigger, more complex, brains: more capacity for pain. And we, as humans, top the list in my opinion. Thus, I’m a lot more interested in ending human suffering–for this reason and, yes, just because they are my closest kin–first. Then maybe we can talk about chimps, and cows, and the rest.
I actually do have a solution to the whole cruelty aspect and some of the health concerns… we just need to stop using animals as our source of meat. I can envision a turkey plantation, where turkey breasts are grown in vats (powered by hydro-electricity/solar energy) and nourished by recycled waste. Many people think the idea of tissue farms are disgusting but we could make the meat as healthy as we like (lean, omega-3 packed etc.), have a smaller footprint (ecological and geographical) than traditional farms (both animal and plant) and avoid inflicting any pain (since we won’t waste any time/energy growing brains). If it turned out to be more ecologically friendly than growing plants and artificial hormone/saturated fat free would you be willing to switch to test-tube-turkey and vat-veal?
I’ve never had a profound love of taxis, whose drivers seem to think their special permit comes with a host of privileges not accorded to the mundane little people the rest of us are. Optional use of flashers, reckless driving, using horns as a form of speech, urinating on the buildings adjacent to taxi stands–these rights and many more are magically granted once you get that cab driver permit.
But what motivated me to write this was an advert I saw proclaiming that using a taxi is environmentally friendly. The gall.
True, using taxis may reduce the number of cars in circulation. But the environment doesn’t much care about how many cars there are, it’s all about how much they get used (i.e. burn fuel).
I have a propensity for living next to taxi queues, and I can attest that–at least here–these vehicles are always on. The taxi stand next to this place has a capacity for 8 cabs (so there are usually about 12 hanging around) and their engines run and run and run. For the radio, the air conditioning, the heating… for the pure joy of hearing the engine purr. I don’t know why, exactly, but these things run 24 hours a day. We passed a law requiring them to shut the cars down. Seems it doesn’t apply if you’ve got that permit.
If those 12 cabs were replaced by 100 cars, those 100 would still be parked most of the day and hence not be filling the air with hyrdrocarbon residues. Yes, it would make the parking situation worse. But that is a good thing, from the environmental perspective–the more terrible parking gets, the more people will give up their cars and using public transit. We have an awesome subway system, and you never need to fill the meter.
So, thanks to their insolent and false advertising, I’ve decided cabs are off my list of possibilities–even if I’m running late. The earth will thank me later.
Here is my confession: newly single, I decided to give online dating a try. Oh my!
To be clear, I’ll admit I haven’t given it a fair chance (haven’t tried much and since I refuse to actually give pimps any cash, I only went to various free sites) but I don’t think I’ll be doing any more "research"–ugh!
My main rant is the astounding number of impersonal personals you come upon. E.g.
- "I never know what to write in these things." Why not start with "This is the first sentence" Useless verbiage.
- "I’m good looking." Uh, is that ISO-2006 good looking or are you sticking with the ANSI standard? This is so relative that a bit more detail might just be helpful…
- "I like music." Arg, can’t you at least specify a type if not a few bands?! Same goes for movies, books or whatever.
- "I like to have fun." My personal all-time favorite, a rare and unique trait–highly distinctive: you’re my type of gal, fer sure. Gaah!
The real kicker is the sheer amount of misrepresentation. If the goal is to actually meet someone in person, how does one expect to pull off all that BS? It just makes me wonder if these people really believe all that crap about themselves. I sure hope not…
The moral of the story is that if you:
- were born after 1981;
- don’t deviate from the norm by more that 2% in any manner;
- enjoy pop culture, pop music and pop everything;
- are ready to say whatever it takes to make another person like you.
Then you’ll probably have resounding success as an online dater. Otherwise, enter at your own peril.
Yes, I know I just sound bitter. I guess I might be… I thought it would be an easy way to hookup with that feeble percentage of people I really get along with but, alas, they are elsewhere.
In any case, there are so many variables involved in this type of interpersonal relationship that I’ve always trusted my senses and brain to pick up the subtle cues, ranging from body language and pheromones to verbal skills and philosophy, and perform the integration for me. This simply isn’t possible online, where your mind has a tendency to make up the missing pieces of the puzzle, often with idealized fantasies and the associated dire consequences.
I’ll be sticking with real life, going outside and doing stuff I like and will just see what happens. For those who are still game to give it a shot, you can check out these free sites:
- OKCupid. A nice system, with profiles and a pretty awesome matching algorithm (provided you take the time to honestly answer a number of questions). Young and superficial crowd.
- Plenty of Fish. An ugly site, which seems to attract the downtroden.
- Craig’s List. Mainly brief descriptions, no profiles and often no pics… lots of scams and spammers
Enjoy and good luck.
A friend recently introduced me to Couch Surfing and it is an amazing concept. The idea is to reunite people interested in learning about other cultures, meeting diverse and interesting folks and travelling dirt cheap.
Though some people can’t resist the urge to try and use the site to find cute potential mates, the couchsurfing FAQ is clear that it is not meant as a dating site and its users will quickly snap you back into proper behavior if you try this… so don’t bother. However, if you’d like to have some awesome conversations with open minded and adventurous people, there’s no better way.
As a couch surfer, you have access to thousands of places to crash in pretty much every country on the planet. More importantly, when you’re surfing your host will be there to give you the inside scoop on his or her hometown: you’ll find out where to shop, drink and hang out, what to visit and what to avoid and generally get a crash course on living as a local.
As a host, adventure comes to you. You get to meet travelers, learn of different cultures, hear lots of interesting tales and, often, rediscover your own city by seeing through the eyes of a newcomer.
Finally, as a CS member, you can join any of the many discussion forums and participate in all sorts of activities, from random parties, hiking expeditions, community kitchens and more–all in your own city.
The Couch Surfing site is open to all and is free… well, it’s member supported so you’re encouraged to donate (specifically through the verification process). But you don’t have to and can get started right now by creating an account and setting up a profile.
Give it a spin and you’ll be hooked.
The news that’s making me happie is a brand new install of Opie on my iPAQ PDA. This software is solid, polished and performs well. To learn more about it, see my latest addition: the Getting Opie Ready to Rumble review/article. Get happie with Opie today
I am appalled and disgusted by the recent attacks by Israel on Lebanon. For the first time I am leaning towards the position that Israel has no place in the middle-east, other than that of a general shit-disturber and destabilizer, and should just go away (or at least, cease getting such boundless support from the civilized world).
I am also extremely disappointed with the Harper government, putting Canadians a the position which supports this unwarranted attack (more than 300 civilian deaths to date–supposedly in retaliation for *two* professional soldiers: insanity!) against a sovereign nation, thanks to its unending U.S./Bush ass kissing.
I invite all Canadians to write the Prime Minister’s office (pm AT pm dot gc dot ca) and to speak out publicly so the world will know we’re not as stupid as the (minority) government that supposedly represents us.
Here is a letter, written by Helene, that might be useful to all the frenchophones out there.
Vous avez la responsabilité, en tant que le chef d’un état *souverain* et civilisé, de condamner les bombardements au Liban.
Le Québec et le Canada ont exprimé leur opposition à la politique américaine en Irak et au Moyen-Orient. En tant que représentant d’une société démocratique, vous avez le devoir de parler pour la majorité des canadiens.
En tant qu’être humain responsable, vous avez l’obligation de défendre les droits et les valeurs fondamentaux de tous contre les intérêts de quelques individus.
Les actes présentement commis sont terribles et scandaleux. Ne devenez pas un criminel dont les méfaits resteront inscrits à jamais dans notre mémoire collective, comme le président Bush le sera sans doute.
Monsieur Harper, rendez-nous notre fierté: condamnez fermement les bombardements au Liban.
Agissez en canadien.
One month ago today I was in the middle of one of the most difficult weeks I’ve ever experienced, watching my father waste away at a palliative care unit in Longueuil, Qc.
Frank Deegan passed away January 18th 2006, at the age of 75. Dad gave us a final gift for which I will always be grateful: time. Time for his entire family to get to know each other better than ever before and grow together. Time for all of us to show him all our love and say goodbye.
In honor of my father, and for all who missed the memorial and others who requested them, I’m adding the text of my November letter to dad which I read as well as a transcription of Shannon’s thoughtful and touching words.
Letter to my father, Patrick Deegan
Who is Frank Deegan? I’m not certain…
He was a boxer, a salesman, a people person, a professional scout, at times a conman, he was "the machine". Frank Deegan is the father of five, he is my father, and many other things. But what are his passions, his unfulfilled dreams, what worries wake him in the night? In the more than three decades that I’ve known him, there’s much I regret I’ve never learned. What I do know best of my father are the things he’s given me: what he taught me and, more importantly, the man he made me.
I am a very different person than he. I’m not an athlete or even a sports fan. I’m not a parent. I can hardly put a name to a face. And yet, I am very much my father’s son. The lessons he taught me, through his stories and his actions, are a part of me every single day.
Frank could be stone cold with others but at the same time his heart would melt at the sight of our dog pleading for a snack. For the lucky few in his inner circle, his family, he would make any sacrifice. He showed me that, no matter where you go or what you do, family comes first.
Since my earliest memories Frank has been the definition of worry, always thinking of his next move or anxious about his children’s well being. And yet, in the toughest of times he’d lay down his last dollar—literally—with no regard for the future so we could have some measure of fun. Smiling, he’d say "Between having $10 and nothing… what’s the difference?" and we’d go and spend it on something frivolous and enjoyable. In this, he taught me to cherish the now and live each day to the fullest.
With a wink, he’d profess "What your eyes see, your heart must believe" and then proceed to show me how the world was in fact a subtle, multi-layered place where most things actually aren’t what they appear.
He taught me a formula to ground me when things are going well and to bring joy in hard times: "This, too, shall come to pass." It was a reflection of his unending tenacity and it taught me to never surrender.
More than all else, Frank was always a boundless reserve of absolute, unconditional love and confidence. Though I’ve done my share of admittedly stupid things, in his eyes I could do no wrong. Ever. What some might believe a recipe for spoiled brats turned instead into a cornerstone of my personality: a limitless inner store of strength and self assurance. It unlocked the greatest secret of life that I know, embodied by the constant echo of his voice saying "You can do ANYTHING." It is the foundation on which all my past and future successes lie. For that, more than anything, I thank him.
Frank Deegan is my father and you will always be able to see him here, standing behind the best parts of me.
I love you dad.
Reflections on Uncle Frankie, Shannon Deegan
I would like to first offer my sincerest condolences to Dallas and all of Uncle Frankie’s children. And to his brother and sisters. I had so hoped to be there to celebrate Uncle Frankie’s life and am disappointed I had to be in Vancouver today.
Fortunately, like many of us, I feel I had an opportunity to celebrate Frankie’s life on boxing day, where Uncle Frankie became the only person I know who had the opportunity to attend his own wake. What a wonderful evening that was. To be successful in anything, I think a person needs encouragement and the confidence of a strong network of supporters who offer advice, encouragement, and the knowledge, that should things go wrong, or should someone have a bad game, there’s always another day, another game. In life, we are lucky if we have a friend who offers that unconditional support, and while I have had the tremendous fortune of having parents who offered me that, I was doubly blessed to reap special love and support from Uncle Frankie.
Everyone no doubt has an anecdote about Uncle Frankie, and no doubt we’ll be telling them for the rest of our lives. But more than a story or two, I have a lifetime of memories of the man who had a tremendous impact on my childhood and, because it was such a major part of my childhood, on my hockey career, and my life. Anyone who spent time with Uncle Frankie quickly realized that he had an amazing ability to be completely blind when it came to the people he loved. They could do no wrong, and they could do anything. After my first exhibition game with the LA Kings skating alongside Wayne Gretzky, I rushed to the hotel to phone my folks, then Uncle Frankie. I relayed the awe of the several shifts I played on arguably the greatest player in history’s line. Cutting me off, in all sincerity and with deeply held conviction, Uncle Frankie gave me the following most amazingly ridiculous advice ever. Advice that makes me laugh to this day: Don’t be in awe of Gretzky, he barked, you’re as good as he is!
From the age of probably seven or eight until I went off to Vermont at age 17, Uncle Frankie was at my every game. Every time I stepped on the ice I would look up into the stands to find my mom and dad, and Uncle Frankie. While my parents were usually sitting quietly, I would usually spot Uncle Frankie up in the corner behind the last row off seats. He would be pacing up and down, talking in his famous "bop-bop-bop" style to the rink rats that owned that section of every rink. As I got older, those rink rats were more often than not, scouts. Eventually, Uncle Frankie joined their ranks, becoming a junior scout and then, to his and my great delight, an NHL scout working for the Buffalo Sabres’ Scotty Bowman.
A couple of years ago in New York, I attended a dinner for former pro-hockey players living in the city. I was delighted to see Scotty Bowman sit opposite me at the round table for ten. When we each introduced ourselves around the table, upon hearing my name, Scotty said: "Shannon Deegan from Verdun who played at Vermont?" "Yes," I replied, shocked that he remembered. After a few nice comments about seeing me play, Bowman turned to the rest of the table and declared: "This young man’s grandfather was the greatest left-handed pitcher I ever saw. I grew up watching Lefty Deegan play at Atwater Park in Montreal." Continuing, Scotty said, "And this young man’s uncle, Frankie, was one of the best scouts I ever hired. The guy would watch a hockey game, giving a running commentary on every player in the league while studiously watching the game. He sent me some of the best unsung players I ever had. He had a hand in building some of my Stanley Cup teams."
I relayed that story to Uncle Frankie when I last spent time with him at the hospital. He too beamed proudly and reached over and squeezed my hand. Suddenly, I found myself choking back tears. "Thank you for everything Uncle Frank. You have had a tremendous impact on my life. Thank you so much," I repeated, squeezing his hand.
And I repeat today: "Thank you so much, Uncle Frankie".
Francis James Deegan, 1930 - 2006
Notice published in the Montreal Gazette on 1/24/2006
Peacefully after a courageous battle with cancer on Wednesday, January 18, 2006 at the age of seventy-five. Beloved partner of Dallas Cuco. Devoted father of Julie (Dr. Gordon Miller), Brendan, Patrick (Helene), Marie-Pascale and Jonathan. Loving grandfather of Mathew, Erin, Christopher, Gabriel and Charlie. Will be sadly missed by his step children and step grandchildren. Survived by his brother Brendan (Katie) and his sisters Madeline and Kathy (Dan) and many nieces and nephews. Predeceased by his parents Sarah and Frank (Lefty), brothers Fred (Helen), David (Rita), Kevin (Roberta) and sisters Margaret (Ed) and Joan (Lu). The family will receive condolences at a Memorial Get-Together on Friday, January 27 from 2 p.m. until 7 p.m. at the Verdun Lawn Bowling Club, 6000 LaSalle Blvd. Verdun, Quebec.
I’ve got a certain domain that for various reason (well, ok, mainly laziness) has a catch-all address setup. This means that any email you write to some firstname.lastname@example.org will wind up in my inbox.
Of late, this has meant an increase in spam that is hovering just below the level at which I’ll actually get typing and do something about it. In the meantime, I’ve been getting a number of phishing scam emails, pretending to be from ebay, paypal and other places that might be likely repositories of my considerable wealth.
Of course, these messages usually get marked as junk by Thunderbird and always end up reported to SpamCop but before I trash them I try to take the time and be a real phisherman’s phriend.
Thanks to the magic of automation and cheap bandwidth, these scammers send out millions of these messages in the hopes of catching those remaining gullible folks that still click on spam, actually buy stuff from informercials, fall for Nigerian scams and generally make the world a sadder place. However, this can work to our advantage: there are millions of us and only a handful of scammers… Ergo, we can perform a distributed denial of service of our own.
In the time it takes to fill a form or two, you can bask in the warmth of the knowledge that you’ve wasted a scammers time and/or resources. How? Just click on that link! By apparently giving the phisher what he’s after and filling that form with bogus information, you can guarantee that his hand wringing and evil laughter will soon turn to anguish–at the very least annoyance.
Part of the art of being a true phisherman’s phriend is knowing what to enter. Don’t just put in random values… sometimes the form will repeat itself to validate your data, so you need to remember what you put in. More importantly, you can use this as an opportunity to make a statement by choosing to enter information based on someone you’d like to see, let’s say, more motivated to effect change in this area. Government officials/congress men and women/senators can all be good choices. So are high ranking police officers, for instance someone from the US Attorney’s office CyberCrime Task Force or the RCMP.
In addition to some fake paypal, ebay or whatever login info, you’ll usually be asked for some credit card data. Make sure you:
- Don’t enter any real information (doh!),
- Enter fake info that actually passes muster.
Credit cards have in-built checksums, so only certain numbers are in fact valid. If you’ve got a computer that can run Perl, such as pretty much any Linux machine, then you can download this small credit card generator script and create your own or just do a quick search.
The only things you need to be wary of are:
- Browser autocomplete: you probably want to avoid saving this junk in your browser,
- Malicious code: avoid using inherently unsafe browsers, such as Internet Explorer (IE),
when accessing a phishing site (you don’t want a free gift to linger after your done, now).
Go with Firefox instead, for example, and you might
- Tell your friends to do the same but maybe keep your mom or other non-savvy users from playing
with this. We want to avoid any confusion…
Share this page and turn your friends into phriends! We may yet get rid of this type of annoyance
Psychogenic is pretty much a Linux shop. The technologies we use–such as MySQL, PHP, Perl and Apache–all work under multiple operating systems but development, testing and, most of the time, deployment all happen on Linux boxen. That is, with one exception: design and integration.
To date, everyone on the design and integration sides of the enterprise have been Mac or Windows based. In most cases, the will was always there to switch but the problem has been the tools they rely on: specifically, PhotoShop and DreamWeaver.
Although there’s a definite learning curve involved in switching from PhotoShop to the powerful Gimp, we’ve found that the Gimp is more than enough for our requirements. The major thorn remaining was DreamWeaver.
DreamWeaver, in our opinion MacroMedia’s finest offering, has been at the core of all our integration work. Unfortunately, DW is still unavailable under Linux. The truth is that 95% or more of our HTML integrators’ work could be done with any plain text editor. But the remaining 5%, such as using the built-inWYSIWYG to visually inspect a page and quickly jump to a particular table cell, offers such great gains in efficiency that its been impossible to drop DreamWeaver.
We have often discussed using CodeWeaver’s CrossOver Office to remedy this situation. CrossOver
allows you to install your favorite Windows productivity applications and plugins in Linux, without needing a Microsoft Operating System.
However we’ve resisted this approach for a number of reasons, not the least of which include the extra layer of complexity (and possible problems) as well as the purely philosophical objection to encouraging a product that doesn’t support our OS of choice.
The Solution: Quanta Plus
A recent discovery has changed all that: Quanta Plus!
Quanta Plus (or Q+ to friends) is a feature rich web development environment. Its list of features and interface are so compelling that Helene, our lead integrator, jumped on the chance to use it after a short trial run and she is now our latest 100%-Linux convert.
For a complete description of Q+, you’re better off perusing the documentation and tutorials or, better yet, the program’s own help system. To give you an idea, here are the aspects that have impressed us most, so far:
Quanta Plus allows multiple views of your document including:
- "VPL" (Visual Page Layout), a WYSIWYG view;
- Source editor;
- DOM tree (structure view).
The most useful view to date has definitely been the split VPL/source editor, with the WYSIWYG view on top and text editor below (as depicted above).
Text Highlighting and Auto-completion
Quanta Plus also provides for a lot of handy autocompletion, including for HTML tags (e.g. <p>), the tag’s available attributes (e.g. align) as well as possible values for the current attributes (e.g. center). You can see an example of the autocompletion popup in action, in the image above. <Opened> tags are also </closed> automatically.
Autocompletion is available for other languages, such as PHP–and this can automatically include custom values, for instance for the methods available in an included class. Wow!
Full PHP Support
This includes not only advanced PHP autocompletion (which works for externally included PHP classes as well), but also a complete indexing of functions in the DOM view and tie-ins for a real-time PHP debugger (using Gubed).
Full support for a host of management features, like project creation, updating from and committing to CVS, accessing local or remote files (through multiple protocols including FTP and "fish" for secure connections) is available.
In addition to the Q+ help itself, the program provides quick access to full documentation for:
- HTML 4.01;
- Cascading Style Sheets (CSS);
- PHP; and
We are still testing this addition to the Psychogenic toolkit but are quite impressed so far. Quanta Plus fills an aching need on the Linux desktop and we believe we’ll be using it, and hopefully contributing to its growth, for a good while. Try it out!
There are two kinds of end-users who regularly interact with Microsoft products. There are the muggles who can sometimes or usually get by but will call upon a knowledgeable niece, neighbor or friend to get them out of the occasional problem they can’t seem to solve. And then there are the nieces and nephews, neighbors, friends and coworkers that devote a portion of their time fixing up the muggle PCs: installing drivers, installing anti-viruses, getting rid of spyware, setting up networks and printers and the like.
Towering above the IT world, Microsoft’s dominance is assured by an army of volunteer workers: people who devote their knowledge, time and energy to the mega-corp without a thought towards compensation. Here I’d like to address the members of that army.
On the surface, going over to Dad’s place to help setup his email or get rid of the latest W32BlastMyWhatever worm is the decent thing to do. After all, it would take him forever to figure out, while you already know the ins and outs of the system and should be able to fix it in 20 minutes (this usually turns into one hour but, hey, whatever). The problem is that by doing so, the support-volunteer that you’ve become is upholding an entire system, one that’s become a foundation of the MS empire.
By devoting your Sunday afternoons to MS-related tech support, you are perpetuating this system and lending credence to a number of insidious myths. The most important of which are:
- Myth 1: Microsoft’s operating system and applications are intuitive and easy to use.
If this is true, why are you always getting these desperate cries for help from everyone and their uncle?
- Myth 2: Microsoft products are backed by a solid company and well supported.
How many people do you know that have actually called MS tech support (no, calling their ISP doesn’t count unless it was an actual network problem)? Of those in the limited number that have, how many actually resolved their problems? How many of those got it done for free, as part of the support included with their product?
You aren’t alone in this: there are likely millions in the same position, devoting countless man-hours to upholding the status quo and keeping Microsoft coffers full. The influence of this monopoly is so great that even hardware vendors (creating drivers and configuration programs) and ISPs (fielding tons of unrelated "my ‘puter don’t work" calls), are effectively working for Microsoft for free in order to satisfy their user base. These corporations don’t have much choice, considering that doing anything else will alienate their dependent users–sending them elsewhere. You, on the other hand, do.
My own father, at 75 years, isn’t about to learn much about a system’s internals or configuring a wireless network. No matter what, I’ll still need to occasionally help out. The question becomes: how can my technical savvy benefit my entourage the most. My experience has shown that opting for a better solution both reduces the number of support calls I need to field and shrinks the time it takes for me to actually get any snags resolved.
To date, this better solution has been setting up Linux systems. This has worked for my father, for the furnished apartments my mother provides for short-term leasing and many others.
With Linux desktop systems, down-time is next to nothing, viruses pretty much non-existent. All the applications these people need are available in free packages with familiar interfaces, the main ones being:
- Firefox, for browsing;
- Thunderbird, for email;
- OpenOffice, for word processing and spreadsheet work;
- Gaim, for instant messaging through AOL, MSN and jabber
- Gimp, for image manipulation
Another advantage is that, so long as the network is still functional, I can do any work through an SSH connection and this includes running graphical applications, such as Thunderbird to mess around with email settings, etc.
If you are one of us–the real front-line workers–those that everyone calls when they can’t figure out what to do next, then I encourage you to consider installing Linux. Start with the most clueless of your unofficial clientele: I’ve found they are most open as any operating system is as wondrous a mystery as the next to them and the learning curves are identical. You can have them try out one of the commitment-free Live CD distributions, such as Knoppix, to avoid any "where’s my windows??" freak-outs.
The advantages of converting your entourage to Linux are many, and include:
- Reducing support requirements (number of calls);
- Reducing support time (quicker resolution, remote management);
- Freeing your users from headaches (virii, spyware, etc.) and illegality (warez,
unregistered or cracked commercial apps);
- Avoiding doing volunteer work for a huge corporation and instead investing those hours into making the world a bit more free;
- Hearing yourself say: "Microsoft Windows? Sorry, we don’t support that."
If you haven’t tried Linux out yourself, head over to Knoppix or Ubuntu and download one of the ISO files–just burn it to a CD, reboot into Linux and see for yourself!
A new article section has been inaugurated for our favorite Linux-based handheld: the Linux iPAQ!
Within, you’ll find care and feeding tips for your Linux-converted PDA. The section currently contains tutorials on setting up a wireless connection and on accessing all your iPAQ applications from the desktop.
More tutorials will follow as time permits, while quick tips and personal experiences will continue to be related in this blog.
Having recently moved to a very high-traffic area, we became interested in augmenting the quality of our indoor air through the use of plants. Presented here are our motivation and the preliminary results of our search.
To start, we found that:
- It isn’t uncommon for indoor air to be many times more polluted than outdoor air (up to 70 times!);
- Traffic isn’t the problem: most of this indoor pollution is due to chemicals we use within home and office and to out-gassing;
- Much of it is carcinogenic and causes short term discomfort and disease. Indoor air pollution is considered the main culprit for a 60% increase in asthma over the last decade.
We can reduce the toxic baddies by making informed choices when purchasing, thanks to helpful sites such as Environmental Health Association of Nova Scotia’s Guide to Less Toxic Products.
Out-gassing, on the other hand, is more problematic. There are tons of materials in use that release toxic gas for months or years after fabrication. These include carpeting, polish, glues, vinyl and all sorts of plastics… basically anything that gives off something resembling "new car smell". These gasses contain things like:
Found in plywood, grocery bags, waxed paper, fire retardants, etc.
Found in inks, oils, plastics, paints, detergents, synthetic fibers, etc.
Found in inks, varnishes, adhesives
These and other chemicals commonly released into indoor air can cause joint pain, depression, headaches, chest pains, asthma, ear infections, chronic fatigue, dizziness, recurrent sinus infections, mood swings, loss of sleep, cancer and other goodies.
The chemicals may also act as "sensitizers", causing people to begin reacting to exposures to other substances that had never been bothersome before (for instance perfumes, paint, felt tip marking pens, cigarette smoke, etc.). This chemical sensitivity is caused by an inability to metabolize or detoxify the extra burden of chemicals.
Making informed choices will help reduce the sources of out-gassing in your environment (for instance, you can replace vinyl or PVC blinds with bamboo or curtains) but getting rid of all toxic sources is next to impossible. One easy and potentially enjoyable way of removing these substances from the air is the house plant.
A NASA study, aiming to find plants for air purification on a future off-world base, identified a number of plants that are quite efficient in removing formaldehyde, benzene and other nasties. Another NASA study (1989) showed that houseplants were able to remove up to 87 percent of toxic indoor air within one day and later work showed that one spider plant could detoxify a 100 cubic foot room polluted with formaldehyde, within six hours.
To be truly effective, you need numerous plants: a potted plant per 100 square feet is recommended (though some sources suggest more than seven per room!). You also need a complete ecosystem… It was found that the plants don’t perform the detoxification work wholly on their own: the combination of soil, plant and helpful bacteria was much more effective at removing toxins than an isolated plant (for instance, in a hydroponic system). The plant must therefore be potted, ideally in a way that maximizes the plant root-soil area’s exposure to air.
The following is a list of plants that are known to function as efficient air detoxifiers (as well as producing yummy oxygen, of course). There are other house plants that have similar impact on air quality. We chose these because of their high efficiency and low maintenance, although points were also awarded to plants with low light requirements or were esthetically pleasing.
|Name – Sci.
||Look & Feel
– Aglaonema sp.
|Tolerate full shade.
||Removes Formaldehyde. Large leaves, happy in the shade. Avoid cold water when watering.
– Hedera helix
||Removes Benzene. Enjoys indirect sunlight but will be happy in lower lighting conditions. Non-variegated varieties tolerate more shade. Has a lower temperature range than most (down to 7 degrees C, doesn’t enjoy temps greater than 18C), avoid placing near heat source. Water moderately and regularly.
|Golden Pothos, Devil’s Ivy
– Epipremnum aureum
||Removes formaldehyde (one of the top three removers).
Water regularly. Leaf drop == over watering.
|Sansevieria / Snake plant / Mother-in-law’s tongue
– Sansevieria trifasciata
|Wide range, full sun to partial shade.
||Removes formaldehyde. Tough plant, handles extremes. Growth will slow but is ok in partial shade. Comfortable at room temp (18-21C) but can deal with 12-30C. Prefers a dry spell to being overly watered: water sparingly.
– Chlorophytum comosum
|Partial shade, bright but indirect.
||Removes formaldehyde (in the top three plants for this purpose).
|Schefflera / Australian umbrella tree
– Schefflera actinophylla
|Bright, indirect light.
||Grows quickly in light. Ok with slightly lower temperatures (though never below 13C).
– Dracaena deremensis
|Bright, indirect light.
||Removes Benzene and Trichloroethylene. Keep between 18 - 24 degrees C. Well-drained soil, let dry between wartering.
– Ficus sp.
||Removes formaldehyde. Tough plant but doesn’t like change – select a location and avoid moving. Likes well-drained soil, water moderately. Avoid cold drafts.
– Aloe barbadensis
||Very efficient formaldehyde absorber at lower concentrations. Well-drained soil, let dry between watering.
Happy breathing to you all.
Copyright © 2005 P. Deegan, All Rights Reserved.
I did a little dance of joy when the used iPAQ I purchased, from a company in Texas via a popular auction site, arrived at our door. Unfortunately, though it was accompanied by its USB cradle, it was lacking the power adapter required to actually recharge the PDA.
The battery had no charge and the iPAQ had been shipped with the “on/off switch” (hidden behind a small sliding door beneath the computer, next to the external power supply input) in the On position – a definite faux-pas as it seems the battery may be damaged by periods completely discharged in this manner (in as little as two weeks!).
Repeated attempts to get the seller to ship the power supply weren’t getting anywhere and I was itching to get started with my new PDA. Though there are some who have modified the USB cradle to suck power from the USB port in order to recharge their iPAQs, I wanted to avoid this method because:
- I didn’t want to carry the cradle around on every little excursion
- I wasn’t certain how much juice the recharge required and,
if I remember correctly, the USB specs say you need to advise
the port how much current you require, something the cradle surely doesn’t do, and
I think the port has the option of shutting your device down if it surpasses these limits
- I didn’t want to have to take my (only) cradle apart, just yet.
It turns out the standard iPAQ power supply, for the 3600 series and my 3765 at least, is a regular wall-wart providing 5 volts DC and rated for up to 2 amps. That’s more current than I expected, but it turns out the lithium-ion batteries used have high current charging characteristics (sucking in about 1A during the first hour of charging). In order to minimize risks, I went about searching for a replacement adaptor with the same voltage and current ratings that would fit into the iPAQ’s jack as well a provide the correct polarity.
Though more expensive than necessary, I did find a perfect match at Radio Shack (now the horribly named "The Source by Circuit City" in Canada because of a trademark dispute). I made the purchase despite the CAD 19.99 price tag, as it was just what I needed and I couldn’t wait to start playing with the PDA. The item in question is a "Sector 7 PSP Power adapter" (RadShack/TheSource part number 581-4207). This particular device provides just the right combination of voltage, current, jack and polarity–the neat thing is that this may also be true for any Sony PSP adapter (your mileage may vary – be careful).
Plugging the iPAQ to the PSP adapter provided instant gratification, as the noisy WinCE bootup began and I got the chance to calibrate the device by aiming for the cross hairs with the stylus. Huzzah!
The sad part was that no matter how long I left the iPAQ recharging, it would die the instant the power supply was removed. On a few occasions reinserting the power adapter simply turned the PDA on but most of the time the disruption caused a hard reset and the iPAQ rebooted, starting from the calibration screen again. What was wrong, why wouldn’t the iPAQ hold its charge? Was the battery dead because of its long inactivation, was it because of the power supply substitute used?
The iPAQ battery is a complex device: a high energy density lithium-ion polymer battery, bundled with electronics that (I believe) handle the charging and provide interfaces to query the battery’s state through a 20-pin connector. My Compaq 3765 had a danionics DLP 305590 installed, a 1000 mAh battery. In the hopes that the battery was the issue, I ordered an inexpensive (CAD 12.00) Chinese replacement, from an ebayer in Vancouver, Canada, with a good reputation (terry66mart). The great thing with this battery is that it has a 1600 mAh capacity, is suitable for 3100/3600/3700 iPAQs and even comes with a Torx screwdriver, suitable for opening up your device.
As soon as I inserted the new battery, the iPAQ began chirping its happy bootup noises: it worked, and even showed a %50 charge. I immediately plugged it into the PSP adapter and waited for the yellow light to stop blinking for the first time. After a while, I unplugged it momentarily to have a look at the battery state which displayed a message to the effect the charge was unknown. This had me worried but only until the battery level indicator reset itself to 65% or so… it seems the battery state is polled periodically in WinCE™–phew! Back to charging for around an hour and, finally, the yellow light ceased its tiresome blinking. Success.
With the battery fully charged and a power supply adapter that is now know to work, I can finally proceed with my plan of replacing the bootloader and then getting rid of the OS for an upgrade to Linux.
For anyone familiar with Unix, the shell (command line prompt) is an addiction worth maintaining. Once you get over the initial learning curve, it is usually the quickest and easiest way to gain intel and solve problems on a web server. But, when it comes to shell access, many web hosting companies suffer from split personalities: on one hand they’ll refuse to grant SSH access while on the other they will let any of their clients upload executable code (CGI programs and PHP scripts) without a second thought.
This foolish behavior is rooted in the myth that shell access is used by “hackers” (by this, they actually mean “crackers”, i.e. a hacker with malicious intent) whereas CGI/PHP is seen as a tolerable threat. This is nonsense:
- There are more positive uses of the shell than negative, on a well maintained host;
- As an unprivileged user, you only have access to your own home directory and files;
- The webserver process, by definition, runs as a particular users – one that must be
able to access directories for all the users with websites on the system;
- A script run by the webserver has the privileges of the webserver user, and has potentially
greater access than anything you could run as another user.
There are exceptions to the above, such as ways to restrict webserver or script permissions (e.g. Mandatory Access Control, or PHP “safe mode"), but in general today the hosting company will bar ssh access and provide full webserver privileges to any random script. This quickly becomes annoying.
To get around this hindrance and actually manage to get things done, we’ve created and released PHPsh – web based shell access for webservers. From the PHPsh homepage:
- A simplified version of sh or the bash shell, that allows you to execute arbitrary commands, remotely, through PHP
- A handy way to run simple commands and maintain a history of executed commands
- A helpful environment that allows you to browse the filesystem and fetch or upload files
- PHPsh is freely available for personal or professional use
If you would like shell access to a webserver but are stuck with FTP, then try it out. There are a few conditions on its use but PHPsh is free!
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