Tuesday, July 7, 2009

So, Kingdon...

What kind of crap have you got on that machine? You sure spend a lot of time on it!

Today is the day, I'm cleaning out my computer so I can give it up, I'm really not sharing it very well... that is, whenever anyone comes to use it, I am in the way! That's almost worse than paying money to use the machine.

I used to say I'm a programmer who avoids programming at all costs. What does that mean? Most of these toolkits have lots of bells and whistles, and it's very hard to sell to a non-programmer. People use this computer, and I write software, but my audience is sometimes very small. At the same time, I'm part of a much larger audience of users, and a member of many highly fragmented communities. Some are millions, most have never met.

I wanted to write this post without a web browser. Google tells me there are two options; I'm sure that there are more, but reallistically there are two paths: Windows Live Writer and Blog.gears, both of them use Web components, and one must actually run in a web browser (though supporting offline operation.) I was planning to document all of the software that I've installed, so that I can find it again after I've lost it. I'm deleting it... the computer is nearly full, and I want to make sure that people can use it without running out of space.

Plus, I have too many development environments and backup schemes. There's something to be said for redundancy, but when it impacts your productivity, you need to take a hard look and make some decisions about what needs to go. On Jupiter alone (10GB) I have DriveImageXML, BitTorrent, CoLinux with ArchLinux, the FactorCode VM, a Ruby environment with some gems required by Substruct and whatever else I've been testing on this machine (Python has already been deleted), SSH clients for Git and for personal use, as well as Subversion, with finally Groovy, Griffon, and Apache Ant.

I also forgot to mention WatiR, the Web Application Testing in Ruby framework... and this fabulous collection of software known only as VENUS-736, for the size of the archive at the time the release was fixed, 736MB. I'll be totally honest, it was only 208 until I added a movie. You like movies, right? I think you ought to watch more movies, that's why I included it.

10GB is about half of the largest quota I've allocated in my new schema for system backups, so I'll stop the listing there, and post again once I've got it all copied somewhere safe. Somewhere safe is the RAID5 array at the office. It's especially safe today, since the bootloader failed, and nobody else in the office is trained to bring it back up. (Nobody that I would trust, anyway.) So, I'll go turn the crank a few times and say Hi to my friends at Venture Creations, and my 11 readers at SixthLayer (you must know who you are?) will hear from me again pretty soon.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

The Mall Store Promotion

You've got $80 in your pocket, and you don't need a telephone-phone? I want to offer you my promotion. Meet me in the stairwell in half an hour. Take your phone with you and I'll take your money, you can get another one for a hundred bucks if you pay the contract. Keep paying the contract, after they raised the price. It's my insurance policy. You've got deep pockets, right?

Do you wanna call me, if I'm only gonna take your money? No, you're expecting me to call you, and you think I'm gonna need a phone for that. So, give me your phone and I'll pay the bill. Tell them I already paid it, and they'll go away. Tell them to take your name off the list. Then, ask for more help, and see if you get.

They already got your social security, and you can't ever have it back. Go ahead and throw my phone in the river when you're done with it. It's prepaid.


Monday, February 9, 2009

File Sharing Distro Round-up

I'm overextended, I've got computers in too many places, none of them are secure server cages, and I need to protect my data. This computer under my desk is protected, but my desk is in a partially secure area; someone can walk by and shut off my machine, and I'm dead in the water until I get back to the office and turn it on. Worse, they could steal it!

They probably won't steal it.

My next computer is this laptop. This laptop is falling apart; I used to take it with me everywhere, now I just don't go anywhere. I've got this desk, nobody else wants it, I just leave the laptop here and work out of a single desk. It's not a reliable server. I used to run Subversion off of this machine by VisualSVN, but I shifted some data around, and now it doesn't work. The ports aren't listening, they'll have to take the disk home to get access to that.

Finally, there's my house machine; it's running Debian, it's got several chroot'ed environments, there are a handful of system services that don't come up unless I determine to use them, some of them run on conflicting ports, and most of them have issues stemming from the fact that the machine runs behind two firewalls. Not a big deal; we can forward ports left and right, but it should really connect with a VPN so there's a single point of contact in case the node vanishes from the network. If I go, it probably comes with me.

Or who knows, they might even buy it?

Great, I have lots of computers, but we need to tag assets, so they don't get lost, or accidentally misplaced. My buddy Pete has got a machine that he wants to put in a cage upstairs, the server cage, exactly the perfect place to put a safe backup data store. He's pretty sure we're going to have to run Windows. I'm still jockeying for Xen, so we can save on licensing and keep our hardware maximally utilized, but VMware has this concept of infrastructure machines that are not workstations, and I'm planning to run with it.

We're going to have to prove a list of assets and an automated collection process for the backup server, or Pete's not going to be interested. He's definitely not interested in buying a car that's got a little hole in the gas tank, and he's probably not thrilled about the idea of sharing such that his resources could become unavailable on-demand by someone else's request.

Who would want to have that? Today's business is built on downloadable, freely available systems with promotional, marketing, and educational materials supplied by Accellion, T-mobile, UserScape, VMware, rBuilder Online, cryptographers at large, and the many generous donors that are part of the Open Source community!