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Going Google Free

On June 25, 2004 I received the following email: To: Aaron Toponce From: Gmail Team Subject: Gmail is different. Here's what you need to know. Content-Type: text/html; charset=ISO-8859-1 Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit First off, welcome. And thanksfor agreeing to help us test Gmail. By now you probably know the key ways in which Gmail differs from traditional […]

Gunnar Glasses Review

I've owned a pair of GUNNAR Optiks for a couple of months now, and figured it would probably be a good time for a review. For those unaware, GUNNAR Optiks are specially designed eyewear for long exposure computer use. The claims on the main site are: Eyes are more moist. Headaches are reduced. Blurry vision […]

Announcing d-note: A Self Destructing Notes Application

I'm pleased to announce something I've been working on, on and off, for over a year. Introducing d-note, a self hosted web application with self destructing notes. d-note is written in Python using the Flask web framework. d-note comes from the idea that sending private information across the Internet can be very insecure. Ask yourself- […]

Hello Morse Code

As many of you may know, I am a licensed Amateur Radio operator in the United States. Recently, I've taken up a desire to learn Morse Code at a full 25 WPM using the Koch method. I only started last week, and tonight I copied my first beginners code "A NOTE TO TENNESSEE", and other […]

Real Life NTP

I've been spending a good amount of my spare time recently configuring NTP, reading the documentation, setting up both a stratum 1 and stratum 2 NTP server, and in general, just playing around with NTP. This post is meant to be a set of notes of what I've learned in the process, and hopefully, it […]

NTP Drift File

Many things about NTP are elusive. At the casual user, there are a lot of things to understand: broacast, unicast, multicast, tally codes, servers, peers, stratum, delay, offset, jitter and so much more. Unless you setup your own NTP server, with the intent of providing accurate time keeping for clients, many of those terms can […]

New Public NTP Server

I just assembled a public access NTP stratum 2 server. Feel free to use it, if you wish. It is considered "Open Access". It has a public webpage at This stratum 2 server has a few advantages over some others online: It connects to three stratum 1 GPS time-sourced servers. Each stratum 1 server […]

RIP Microsoft Tag

So yesterday, Microsoft announced that it is ending support for Tag, (on Facebook?) it's proprietary barcode format. To me, this doesn't come as a major surprise. Here's why: Tag arrived very late in the game, after QR Codes were pretty much establishing themselves as "the norm". Tag is a proprietary barcode. No way around it. […]

Tiny Tiny RSS - The Google Reader Replacement

With all the weeping, wailing and gnashing of teeth about Google killing Reader, I figured I'd blog something productive. Rather than piss and moan, here is a valid solution you can build for at most two bucks, using entirely Free Software, running on your own server, under your control. The solution is to install Tiny […]

Changing RSS Source

Due to the recent news about Google shutting down a number of services, including Reader an the CalDAV API, I came to the realization that my RSS source for this blog should probably go back to the main feed. So, as of July 1, 2013, the same day Reader shuts down, the old feed at […]

How Much Swap?

I've been in the UNIX and GNU/Linux world since 1999. Back then, hard drives were barely passing double digits in GB, and RAM was PC100 speed at roughly 128 MB max. In fact, it wasn't uncommon for most systems to have 32 MB of RAM with an 8 GB hard drive. And we ran GNOME, […]

Obsure Email Addresses In HTML

I recently put up a web page with my email address. I'm confident in email provider's ability to filter spam, so I don't worry about it too much, to be honest. However, I started thinking about different ways I could obscure the email address in the source. Of course, this isn't offering any sort of […]

Appropriate Use Of "kill -9 "

There are times when "kill -9" is the only time you can kill a PID that is behaving badly. However, it's usually not needed if you know your signals. When I encounter a badly behaving program, here is the procedure I usually take. First, I'll send a SIGTERM (kill -15) to the PID. Sometimes this […]

High Capacity Color Barcode

I've been reading up on how to actually create physical QR Codes, complete with error correction. It's been very enlightening, and has grown a deeper fascination on the symbology of barcodes in general for me. While I'm not in 100% agreement with how they are currently being used (marketing, mailing lists, coupons, etc.), I do […]

Ramadan, Take Two

Two years ago, I participated in the Islamic holy month of Ramadan. I blogged about my experiences, and you can read them here: Looking forward to Ramadan, Ramadan - Week One, Ramadan - Week Two, Ramadan - Week Three, An Open Letter to Pastor Terry Jones, and Ramadan - Week Four. Well, I intend to […]