Welcome to Frank's very decorative blog.



2016-09-02
I finally got around to putting an SPF record on my domain so spammers can't use fake addresses with my domain name. (Well, they can still use them, but everyone will know that they are fake.) If you use Aplus.net to host your email, you can use the following TXT entry in your DNS settings for your domain: "v=spf1 mx a ptr ptr:carrierzone.com -all". Aplus.net uses carrierzone.com for receiving/sending email.

2013-04-04
Like this guy, http://www.thinkwiki.org/wiki/Overheating, my Thinkpad X200 had been overheating. On CPU intensive jobs the temperature would rapidly ramp up to 100C (see /proc/acpi/ibm/thermal) and the machine would shut down. So I took his advice. My son and I tore apart my X200, stripped off the crap that Lenovo had put on the processing units, slapped on some Artic Silver, and put it back together. This activity is not recommended for the faint of heart or those without organizational skills. My son and I did pretty well. We only had one left-over screw. I fired the machine up and now with both cores at full throttle the CPU temperature does not exceed 60C. I am not sure what Lenovo had decided to put on those processing units. One of them looked like a piece of foam, which is definitely not what one wants to conduct heat.

2012-08-11

People who make browsers like Firefox and Chrome have a mental gap with respect to security. When your web browser connects to a web site there are 3 levels of securing the data going to and coming from the web site, none of them perfect.

  1. No Security. In this case your web browser
  2. Unverified Certificate. In this case your web browser
  3. "Verified" Certificate. In this case your web browser
None of these methods are perfect. The 1st method is, by far, the easiest to intercept. The 3rd method is the most difficult to crack, though it has been done via the theft of certificates.

Therefore some web browsers, like Firefox and Chrome put up scary warning messages and force you to make extra clicks when you use one of the above levels of security. Which level of security you ask? The middle one. Why? you ask. Because either

  1. the browser makers morons, or
  2. they are in bed with the certificate authorities.
The people who make the browsers claim that they put up the scary warnings on the 2nd level of security to keep people from thinking they are getting the 3rd level of security. But if this were really the case, why would they not just display web pages that use the 2nd level of security in the same fashion that they display web pages that use the 1st level (no security)?

Browser makers are purposely trying to force people to either

  1. use no security
  2. use security for which they must pay certificate "authorities".
In fact recently I was using the 2nd level of security on a web site that I manage, but because I was going to have a large number of new users using it, and I didn't want them scared off by nasty warning messages in their browsers, I downgraded the security on my web site to the 1st level (no security).

The fact is that browser makers want to decrease the amount of security that their users have.



2012-02-04
I upgraded a couple of my Fedora machines from 14 to 16. In both cases the new shiny Gnome 3 interface did not work. It would drop me into "Gnome Classic" which is a gnome2 kind of interface with many fewer features. To get it to work I had to install gnome-shell myself. (yum install gnome-shell).

2011-11-06
My mail service provider must have changed email authentication schemes on me recently. Alpine would repeatedly ask me for my password and print, "Retrying CRAM-MD5 authentication after AUTHENTICATE failed." It was somewhat unhelpful because apparently Alpine was trying different authentication schemes, but it kept printing the same error message. After some fiddling around I figured out that by putting the following line in my .pinerc file: "disable-these-authenticators=CRAM-MD5" things would work.

2011-11-06
Obviously I don't update my blog very often.
A couple of years ago I toyed with making my own DVR. Too much work, so I bought a Captiveworks HD4000 DVR. It runs Linux of course. Captiveworks had a great forum with a wealth of information about the machine which helped me much with using and customizing it. But then a few months ago they took the forum offline and replaced it with an ad for their new DVR "VeuBox". Assholes. Don't buy the VeuBox unless you want to get shorted too.

2011-04-20
Flew to Key West on Monday. Today the family spent most of the day snorkeling and kayaking around the keys with Danger Charters, which I would recommend. The ship had a classic snarly old bearded alcoholic sea captain and a crew that consisted of a crazy lady in a bikini with a shark and a cheery knowledgeable girl with a permanently affixed smile.
We saw quite a bit of wild life among the keys and mangroves including some jellyfish, a sting ray, a large lobster, some barracuda, a cow fish, and a plush shark. It was a very good time, particularly after a long winter.
2011-04-17
How to get an mp3 that you bought from Amazon onto your Linux computer:
Amazon does have an "Amazon MP3 downloader" for Linux, but the packages are now woefully out of date, so out of date that I can't get it to run on my computer without recompiling and installing a dozen old out-of-date libraries.
So here is the easier method:
1. These steps require that you have "Flash" player and "DownloadHelper" for Firefox installed.
2. Using Firefox, buy your mp3 file from Amazon, then save the mp3 files that you download to your "Cloud Drive," which Amazon provides for you.
3. Fire up the "Cloud Player" by clicking on the giant button that you can't miss. Up comes a web-based Flash player. In the upper right there is a "Download" button. Ignore it. That button just gives you an ".amz" file as well.
4. Start playing the tune you just purchased with the "Cloud Player". Then the DownloadHelper installed in Firefox will see the mp3 file that you are playing and allow you to save it to a file on your machine.
One of these days I hope Amazon wises up and just lets people download mp3s or tar balls or zip files like Rhapsody. Not wasting too much time hoping, however.
2011-04-12
Yeah! I discovered Calcforge today. It is a repository for TI calculator software for Fedora. This saves me from having to compile a bunch of packages. Thanks, Kevin and Tyler.


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