Rare Amiga technical books For Sale

I used to have a small library of Amiga-related books. I sold off most of these earlier in the summer; many unsurprisingly to collectors in Europe. I have two titles left if anyone out there is interested:

Flipping through “Tricks & Tips” now… <Sigh> Brings back the good old really geeky days.  So much more glamorous than my current only marginally geeky existence.

It’s interesting however to see that the Amiga still, somehow, miraculously, survives.

Dread the Fed

In light of recent events, I want to remind myself of an extremely important fact that I have read a number of times, and yet somehow always seem to forget or, more likely, ignore.

From the opening of Murray N. Rothbard’s The Case Against the Fed:

By far the most secret and least accountable operation of the federal government is not, as one might expect, the CIA, the DIA, or some other super-secret intelligence agency. The CIA and other intelligence operations are under control of Congress. They are accountable: A Congressional committee supervises these operations, controls their budgets, and is informed of their covert activities.

The Federal Reserve, however, is accountable to no one; is has now budget; it is subject to no audit; and no Congressional committee knows of, or can truly supervise, its operations. The Federal Reserve, virtually in total control of the nation’s monetary system, is accountable to nobody.

America’s Founding Fathers held a deep distrust of centralized banking. Before long, we may find out why, first-hand, for ourselves.

Elegant PHP error logging in Firefox

Mika Tuupola has come up with an elegant logging mechanism that has already found its way into the official PEAR::Log package.

It’s a snap to use.  Simply instantiate a “Firebug” log as such:

$log = &Log::singleton('firebug', '', 'PHP', array('buffering' => true), PEAR_LOG_DEBUG);

Output will then go to your Firebug console window:

$log->log('Debug lorem ipsum.', PEAR_LOG_DEBUG);
$log->log('Info wisi enim ad minim veniam', PEAR_LOG_INFO);
$log->log('Warning est usus legentis in', PEAR_LOG_WARNING);
$log->log('Error est notare quam', PEAR_LOG_ERR);

To split output to both the default error log as well as the Firebug console, build a “composite” log:

$log = &Log::singleton('composite');
$logFile =& parent::singleton('error_log', PEAR_LOG_TYPE_SYSTEM, 'to error log', array(), PEAR_LOG_DEBUG);
$logFire =& parent::singleton('firebug', '', 'to firebug', array('buffering'=>true), PEAR_LOG_DEBUG);
$log->addChild($logFile);
$log->addChild($logFire);

“ALL YOUR BANK ARE BELONG TO US” says Colonel Klink

I’m still trying to get my head around what the hell is going on, but best I can tell is that Colonel Klink, social climber that he is, has somehow lifted himself from an obscure commandant of Stalag-13 to the very highest levels of the  American military industrial complex.

And he appears to be a mere thirty-two words away from unilateral control over the American banking system.

Where’s Hogan when you need him?

Seriously though, I’ve spent a good chunk of the last two days trying to get a better handle on what’s really happening.  As someone who, until just about a week ago, knew virtually nothing of American or international finance, I’m the first to admit that I have no idea what I’m talking about.  That said, here’s my take on it all; oddly enough much of which can best be summarized via this tiff between Naomi Klein and Andrew Sullivan:

I think they both might just be right.  Certainly an administration that relies on shock doctrine to achieve it’s goals could leverage a generation of Americans raised on the concept of credit as money — after all, “Life takes Visa” doesn’t it? — to engineer a self-imposed financial disaster.

C’mon, let’s put on our tinfoil hats and ask a few “what if” questions.

  • What if the current administration colluded with the likes of Goldman Sachs to setup mortgage packages that were difficult to trace and, more importantly, doomed to fail.
  • What if these mortgages were promoted as part of an ownership society, a get-rich concept sold to an American public that grew up on credit and believing in the words of Gordon Gekko: that somehow greed “will save that malfunctioning corporation called the USA.”
  • In other words, what if the current administration set out with the intent of producing a — this — disastrous event as a means of furthering an agenda?

Of course, some would call this financial terrorism:

And if it’s true, they’re damn right.  But terrorism to achieve what end?  What’s the agenda? More profit for Bush cronies as the dollar collapses?

I wonder if the Bank of Klink will offer a good Dollar to Amero exchange rate..

Mantis State Plugin Updated

I was surprised to receive a support request last week for the Mantis State Plugin.  Given that the thing wouldn’t allow itself to be uninstalled, I figured it was time to release an update.

Version 0.0.4 includes clearer severity output, issue details on mouseover, and an attempt to better visualize date ranges within the state matrix.

Oh, and it can now be uninstalled.

Mantis State

Top 10 things you should have done in your last company after you realized all hope had been lost.

Pourin’ one out for the homies…

10.  Mutter to yourself in a foreign language of your own creation.

9.  Shave/pencil your eyebrows into an angry expression.  Yell and/or cry a lot.

8.  Determine how many cups of coffee is, definitively speaking, “too many.”

7.  Arrive at a meeting late, say you’re sorry, but you didn’t have time for lunch, and you’re going to be nibbling during the meeting.  During the meeting noisily devour 5 entire raw potatoes.

6.  Celebrate Halloween.  Every day.

5.  Spend all your money on Jolt Cola.  Drink it all.  Stack the cans on your desk.  Number them.  Alternatively, name them.

4.  Spend all your money on Transformers.  Play with them instead of working.  If your boss says anything, confront him/her in a mysterious voice saying “They’re more than meets the eye.”

3.  Sit at your desk and stare blankly at the clock/wall.  If your boss should approach, stand, point at him/her bellowing “YOU CALL THAT WORKING?!”  Sit back down as though nothing happened.

2.  No matter what anyone asks you, reply “Okay.”

1.  Smile.  All the time.

rsync and bzip2-compressed data

As it only transfers deltas between source and destination files, rsync is a great backup tool when working with uncompressed data. The structure of compressed data, however, can change drastically between backups, defeating the benefits of rsync. I’d read somewhere recently, however, that bzip2’s “blocking” design might make it a viable compression to use with rsync. Ran an ad hoc experiment this morning to check this out.

Uncompressed Data

Here are the results from rsync’ing an uncompressed MySQL database with a few minor record changes.

total: matches=1634 hash_hits=2136 false_alarms=0 data=21227
sent 6.73K bytes received 9.92K bytes 6.66K bytes/sec
total size is 2.69M speedup is 161.44

Nice. Only about 7K transferred. Roughly the size of the change.

bzip2 Compressed Data

And here are the results from rsync’ing the same MySQL database, compressed in advance with bzip2.

total: matches=596 hash_hits=17533 false_alarms=1 data=876602
sent 876.99K bytes received 7.73K bytes 353.89K bytes/sec
total size is 1.64M speedup is 1.85

Woah! What amounts to about a 7K change is resulting 10x the data transfer.

Which makes sense, as — digging into the details of bzip2 — I see that the bzip2 algorithm chunks data in 100K – 900k blocks.  So I suppose that using bzip2 might make sense if you have an incrementally growing data store that adds about 100K of data between backups; and where the older data rarely, if ever, changes.  Barring that, to achieve the benefits of rsync, uncompressed data is probably the way to go.

That said, there seems to be a version of gzip with an --rsyncable switch for Debian.  The BeezNest has a great article on this here.