, | Tweet this

I just finished the midterm for my Principles of Programming Languages class with Professor Mitch Wand and it was an absolutely exciting experience. So exciting that when I got home I wrote an email to Professor Wand telling him that it was the most exciting exam I've had at Northeastern. It was filled with all these exciting mind-bending puzzles complete with subtle nuances and all kinds of exciting stuff!

So then I told S that I just wrote my professor to tell him that the exam was really awesome. Then it occurred to me that I'm a nerd--the evidence is clear on that note. Then I said, "Gosh--I should just follow it up with an entry on my blog!" At that point, S burst out laughing and said, "You know you're a nerd when you come home from a midterm, write to the professor telling him it was really great, and then write a blog entry about the whole thing complete with introspection of the entire event." Well, she didn't say that whole thing, but she was definitely thinking it.

Greylisting and whitehosts-list

, | Tweet this

Gah... For some reason, I've got two whitehosts-list files on my system. One in /etc/greylist/ and the other in /var/lib/greylist/ .

It's also interesting to note that the greylistd doesn't look at either file, the files are used by rules in the Exim configuration. So when I added the gmail items (64.233) to whitehosts-list and then tried to check it with greylist check --grey ... I was using the wrong checking tool. Whoops! 30 minutes down the drain!

Anyhow, once I discovered that whitehosts-list is in the Exim configuration files (and I should have realized that because I put it there) and not checked by greylistd, I discovered that the Exim configuration files check both copies of whitehosts-list. There's likely a good reason for that. Probably even my fault to begin with. Something to look into when I have some spare cycles and feel like pouring through Exim configuration, Debian policy for directories and configuration files, and all the other pieces in between.

Experiences with the Nokia 770 on vacation

, | Tweet this

Carrying a Nokia 770 through airport hoo-ha is much easier than carrying a laptop, so that was really nice. I packed a series of pdfs onto it (Programming Languages: Application and Interpretation, Free Culture, Open Source Development with CVS, ...) and read through a good portion of only one of them.

Also, the Nokia 770 comes with two stylii (not sure why), which allowed S and I to play Mahjong together. That was a little comical since there were two of us huddled over this little tiny screen. Still, it was really fun.

I also had WIFI and web-browsing capabilities everywhere I was which was really nice.

Batteries held out pretty well. I went two or three days of medium usage with the light set to low and the WIFI off without any problem. I brought the charger which is pleasantly small and charged the battery at the airport before the return flight home.

It's been helpful at school, too, since I can check my gmail account wherever I am on campus.

I read A 770 is ultra-small and mobile, but not a UMPC over at Internet Tablet Users Blog and they mention a series of issues people are having... but I'm not having any of them. My browser has never crapped out, the device has never hung, I'm not having problems loading any web-sites that I look at (though I don't look at Palm Addict), no problems with memory or speed of the device, ...

I have to admit when I first saw the Origami marketing, I wondered for a bit about whether I should have waited and bought a UMPC, but... the Nokie 770 runs on free software and I can write programs that run on it without having to purchase Microsoft software licenses and that's a big plus for me.

Additionally, I think I'll look for a digital camera that takes the same kind of MMC card my Nokia takes when I'm in the market for a new digital camera. That'd be really neat: take a picture, put the card in my Nokia, email it to people I know--all with devices I put in my pocketses.

Anyhow, happy so far. The only minor issue is that the text for books is so small that it's hard to read if I'm in an airplane going through turbulence.

No more Linux Journal for me

, | Tweet this

A couple of issues ago, Don Marti passed editorialship of Linux Journal to a new guy who immediately started tossing in his "rants" at the end of the magazine. Additionally, the magazine got a face-over which seems to me to be more marketing-oriented than content oriented but that might fix itself over the next few issues.

Regardless, I find the "rants" to be obnoxious at best and downright juvenile at worst. I find people who enjoy ranting and enjoy arguing like it's a pleasurable hobby to be far worse for the general state of things than those who research and mull in a quieter fashion.

For example, in the April 2006 issue, he rants with incredible vitriol about people who are working towards building a clean-room open-source implementation of Java. He goes on to say that he'd happily pay Sun if they charged for Java because he uses Jedit and it's the best editor on the planet.

This is such a bizarre misunderstanding of the state of things and he's managed to do all of this in two paragraphs. But there's more! He moves on to ranting about a bunch of other stuff and ends with this:

"Use what's best. What a concept. Linux developers seem to get it. It's about time the open-source zealots got it too."

I find this stunningly naive and ignorant. Worse, it's one-sided and emotionally-charged misleading drivel that other people are going to read. It's definitely NOT what belongs in Linux Journal which up until this new editor was filled with intelligent material, clever humor, and useful information that I was eager to read every month.

Anyhow, bottom line is that my subscription is up next month and I'm not going to renew.

I was tossing around not writing a blog entry about this, but then I noticed Jeff Waugh write his thoughts which interestingly match mine.

greylisting and gmail

, | Tweet this

I have greylistd installed (on Debian with exim) and noticed last monday (March 6th) that Google has something like 26 outgoing SMTP servers for gmail. That doesn't work well with greylistd, though. So I added "64.233" to the whitehosts list. Not sure if that's the right thing to do or not, though. I'm not wildly excited about adding items to the whitehosts list.

Insurance agents

, | Tweet this

I switched from Premier Insurance to Amica Insurance a month ago. As I continue to interact with Amica about various things (renter's insurance, billing issues, ...), I'm increasingly happy I made the move. Premier was like a brick wall--any time I wanted to talk to them, I had to go through an agent and they would hem and haw about my problem and then mull over it and offer four thousand excuses and other useless bits of trivia and then finally get around to calling Premier and talking it over with them.

Most of my interactions with Premier involved classic man-in-the-middle-who-doesn't-understand-the-problem issues. Irritating.

I called up Amica, got a dedicated person to help me through switching over, answering my questions, and making sure everything went through ok. Every time I call them I get an intelligent human who knows what I'm talking about and helps me to fix the problem and my longest wait time has been three minutes. On top of that, they send me correspondence that's not written in insurance-speak and my premium is $150 less than it was with Premier.

Figured I'd write this up in case anyone else in the Massachusetts area had Premier and/or was looking to switch. Amica is good so far. At a bare minimum, it seems that if I were to have problems, they have the ability to help me through them.

Got my Nokia 770

, | Tweet this

I've been reading about them for about 6 months now and I've been tossing around whether to get one or not since they started selling. I have a Sharp Zaurus 5600 which I never use and so I figured I'd pine over but never actually buy a Nokia 770.

Then I had a change of heart. I bought one because it's easy to use, small, has a full-blown Linux distribution that takes .deb packaged files, has a great web-browser, is in constant development as an Open Source project, and someone's gone and ported Python to it.

I ordered it on Sunday and it showed up on Wednesday. I've been getting to know it for a little under a day now and I'm really impressed--it both fits my needs and extends my ability to do things very nicely. I'm planning to bring it travelling next week with a load of PDFs on it of things I want to read. Additionally, I've been able to check email which helped me get to a meeting yesterday night after I had forgotten the location.



, | Tweet this

We have forced-hot-water heat that gets piped through these monster radiators under windows in various rooms of our spacious apartment. In the cold winter months, it's sometimes very pleasant to sip a cup of tea while sitting on a radiator as it's warming up (they're not on all the time) and look out the window at the shabby house next door and count the places that no longer have paint.

However, it is quite a shock when you've made your cup of tea and you're prepared to spend a quiet moment contemplating paint and you sit down on the radiator blissfully forgetting that there is a hole in your pants.


How to make a card game

, | Tweet this

I have an interesting idea for a card game. I want to make all the cards and print them out myself, but I'm not sure what to use for card-stock and/or how to go about doing it. Anyone know of pointers on the Internet that talk about publishing a card game? Think something like Uno in the sense that there are cards, but otherwise entirely unlike Uno.

I'm 30 now

, | Tweet this

I actually turned 30 a few weeks ago, but I've been super busy and haven't had time to get around to posting about it. Now I have.

Turning 30 doesn't seem really different or exciting or ground-breaking. That pretty much sums it up.