ping -f

For those who don’t use *NIX on a regular basis the above command implies this site has been flooded with posts today. This is because I’ve emerged from 2 days of solid coding. I’ve got quite a bit to talk about, but not a lot of time.

I’ll be gone starting tomorrow and not coming back until Sunday. Lauren and I are heading to visit her sister in Washington, DC. I plan on doing a lot of tourist type stuff; museums, monuments, resturants, bars, etc.

Once I’m back I have a full plate. I have a *ton* of applications to write for Jerum, a consulting gig to finish up, a scheduled rewrite of PHPTalk, and *lots* of Disc Golf. I plan on taking maybe another week off from work when I get back. I might head in and put in some half days just to make some money. Who knows. Also, be sure to check out Lauren’s new design. I’m super impressed! She did it herself using bash, vi, and scp – way to go Lo!

Recovering files in Linux

I’m an idiot. I was programming on the aforementioned PT3K when I deleted 2 solid days of coding. Needless to say I was about to cry, but not all was lost!

I found a little program calld recover, which is available in the main debian apt tree. I installed it, crossed my fingers, read the man pages, and, for the first time in years, said a little prayer.

Basically, recover looks for recently deleted inodes, which, until they are written with new data, still contain your lost data. Once it has found those inodes it dumps the data to a specified directory. After that you just need to start grep’ing around for your files. Needless to say it was a lifesave and the *very* first thing I did was back up a tarball to trusty zebulon (up almost 300 days!).

Introducing PublishTron3000

When I worked at we had a really cool web frontend to RCS that the developers and designers used instead of FTP for file management. It was cool for a number of reasons.

  • RCS – It used RCS for version control of all files uploaded through the interface. A must have when you fsck up a file and need to revert to an older version.
  • File locking – PublishTron300 (PT3K) allows users to lock files while they are aditing them. Only the user who owns the lock can work on that file while it is locked.
  • Publishing – PT3K allows users to publish their files to a “live” site after they have verified the file is working on the developmental site.

Those are the main features of PT3K. It has quite a few others that makes managing websites with multiple developers a lot easier. The site isn’t up yet, but you will be able to download the source and learn more about it at

A little history. PT3K was originally developed in house at, where I worked from May of 2000 until September of 2002. released the source GPL sometime in the summer of 2001. It was at this time I started using PT3K privately and at places I consulted. Now that I started Jerum it seemed like a good idea to use PT3K for file management, thus version 2.0.0 was born.

Mac Music Store Review

Apple released iTunes v4 yesterday along with a totally redesigned iPod and the much anticipated Mac Music Store. Today I’ve spent about an hour playing with the new service and all I have to say is “Damn”.

To fully appreciate the MMS one should purchase a .Mac account, which I don’t have. Having the .Mac account enables you to share your purchased music on up to three computers without having to carry your iPod or any CDR’s. iTunes v4 introduces Rendevous enabled playlists, meaning you can stream your playlists to other macs on your network (more on this after the girlfriend brings over her iBook).

Apple has really hit the nail on the head with the store. The albums are, on the average, $3 to $5 cheapter than they are in the store (I’ve only found 2 priced over 9.99). The tracks are priced decently at $0.99. I think a better price would have been more in the $.50 to $.70 range, but I can’t complain too much since a single with one good song and two crappy songs costs about the same as I can get three good songs at MMS.

I’m sure more than one of you is thinking: Why not just use limewire and “download” the music for free of the net? Well, I have a few arguments against that.

  • It’s stealing. Say all you want, but you’re stealing the hard work of others. Sure I could put the candy bar in my pocket, but why? It’s only $.99 (and at least you can enjoy the MP3 more than once, unlike the candy bar)
  • Outstanding sound quality. MMS rips tracks using the AAC format, which reportedly sports both smaller file size and better sound quality of MP3 . If you plan on enjoying your music on CD this is important.
  • Faster and more reliable downloads. Tired of downloading from little Tommy at 3kb/sec? Tired of getting half a song only to have the person logoff? Needless to say, I’d pay $.99 a song rather than battle with crappy and unreliable downloads. My time is worth more than that.

Overall my impression of the Mac Music Store is good. I have only one small complaint: it doesn’t have sub categories in genres. I’m sure once I purchase an iPod and finally get a .Mac subscription I’ll be singing more praise.

three years and going

I found a few blog entries on the net today talking about why people blog, specificlly why the individuals making the entires wrote in their blog everyday. This reminded me that this stupid site has been around for over 3 years.

In reality I’ve been blogging for quite some time. “Joe’s Diner” was set up on a free website when I was a Junior in high school (circa 1997). I actually posted every day using FrontPage and FTP. Yup! Back in my day we had to do it the hard way! We didn’t have fancy CSS or Blogger.

I’ve been looking over my blog postings and since I started storing my stuff in a database I’ve come a long way in my writing. I also like to think I write about a wide range of interesting topics, but the reality is it’s pretty worthless drivel for the most part. Maybe someday I’ll get around to posting stuff people can actually use. Naw …

Email Migration

Ask any geek what he fears most and the answer will most likely have to do with losing their email in one form or another. I’ve had a few scares regarding email servers going up/down as well as email servers migrating IP’s, but today is a new one for me.

You see I’m migrating not only IP’s, but I’m migrating to a totally new server as well as a totally new server setup. My post yesterday went over the new email setup. I got so excited this morning I had to switch. Wish me luck and until everything settles down email me at jstump at aa dot acinc dot com.

Loss of hair

We have been switching Jerum’s colocation facility over the last few days and I took the opportunity to install a new mail system. The new system, to put it mildly, totally rocks. It uses qmail for SMTP and POP3, vpopmail for virtual hosting and quotas, qmailadmin for domain administration, MySQL as the everyone’s favorite backend, EZMLM for mailing lists, SquirrelMail for web based email, SpamAssassin to stop SPAM in its tracks, and BlackHole+ClamAV for virus protection (which I hacked to make work with STDOUT).

Needless to say this took a lot of caressing to get it working. A few notes for those wishing to go down this path.

  • qmailadmin has a bug in it that messes up the quotas used by vdelivermail.
  • I was able to install everything but courier-imap, vpopmail, and qmailadmin as Debian packages.
  • Despite popular belief you don’t need the maildir++ qmail patch or vqmaillocal to get this setup working.

This is a huge upgrade over my last setup which was lacking in a few ways. It didn’t have qmailadmin (something no qmail administrator should be without). The old version also didn’t support POP3 nor did it support roaming SMTP-AUTH. To boot the new version uses MySQL for everything (including EZMLM lists).

One more reason not to run Windows

A recent study posted on Slashdot compares the EULA for Windows XP and the GPL, which is common in Open Source projects such as Linux.

I was looking over the study, which included many of the normal comparisons: GPL is free, EULA is restrtictive, GPL requires software based on GPL’d software to be GPL as well. What I found shocking where three little bullet points buried at the bottom of the article concerning the EULA that covers Windows XP.

  • gives Microsoft rights to collect information about the system and its use
  • gives Microsoft the right to supply this information to other organisations
  • gives Microsoft the right to make changes to the computer without having to ask.

WHAT?!? Your #$#@*&’ing kidding me right?!? Worry about the government, the Church of Scientology, or the CIA all you want, but a software company with 90% of the desktop market actively collecting information about your system and “its use” and, subsequently, supplying that information to whomever they want is a VERY scary proposition!

I run Windows 2000 Professional at work, but considering this recent development I plan on installing Debian GNU/Linux this weekend. I knew I should have read that damn thing.

College worth the time?

Today I took my last college exam. I graduate at 2:00pm on Sunday April 27th with a Bachelors in Business Administration concentration on Computer Information Systems.

I have quite a few regrets with regards to college. The first was chosing to pursue a CIS degree. If you are at all inclined to go this route be warned! If I could go back I’d probably take the 150 credit Accounting masters program (masters + bachelors in 150 credit hours). My second choice would be straight up Computer Science. While the biz school at Eastern Michigan University is one of only a handful of accredited b-schools in the region I consider the CIS program greatly lacking.

If I could do it all over again I probably would have lived in the dorms all 5 years. Something about being on campus that was more fun than being isolated off campus. I’d also go back and meet Lauren a lot sooner than I did. I think I’d also make a bigger effort to hang out with my little brother. If I could do it again I’d get more involved in campus activities earlier than I did. Despite my term as IFC President being a depressing one, I feel great pride in my accomplishments involving the various campus committees I sat on.

There are a few things I don’t regret. I don’t regret staying five years. I don’t regret moving to California in the middle of my college career. I don’t regret joining a fraternity. I’ve take advantage of college unlike most others and I plan to cherish those memories.

The truth, in the end, though, is that college, educationally speaking, was a meaningless venture for the most part. It’s sad when a person like me can skip most, in some cases all, of his classes and still graduate Cum Laude with a 3.5 GPA. One thing I will say, though, is that college isn’t anywhere near the uselessness that they call high school. The best years of your life are in high school they say. Bullshit! Anyone who said that never went to college, did a keg stand, or crammed for three exams the night before.