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Religion and Politics 18 October, 2012

Posted by aronzak in Uncategorized.
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Great post. Another, by Peter Enns: Dear Christian: If the Thought of Either Romney or Obama Getting Elected Makes You Fearful, Angry, or Depressed, You Have What we Call a Theological Problem

“If you are watching political ads, speeches, debates, and you find yourself growing fearful, angry, or depressed (the latter two are often rooted in deep fear), remember that your true trust is elsewhere.”

Originally posted on Hopeful:

Rev. Ben Gosden is associate pastor at Mulberry Street United Methodist Church in Macon. He wrote this column of 10 great suggestions for this election season for the Macon Telegraph this past Sunday:

I particularly liked Numbers 1 and 8, but it is best read as a whole:

1. People in both political parties go to church. God is neither a Democrat nor a Republican. No political party has a monopoly on the will of God and there are good, Christian people who affiliate with both parties.

8. Don’t spread those toxic political e-mails. Be the one to stop the circulation of propaganda-driven materials. Lovingly ask friends to stop sending them to you and be a witness for civility

Read more here: http://www.macon.com/2012/09/22/2185949/ten-things-christians-need-to.html

What would you add to his list of 10?

We pray for our country and leaders too.

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Yahoo embarressment 23 October, 2009

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Yahoo has gone and made a fool of themselves. They are now “sorry” for offering lap dancers at their open hack day event in Taiwan. This comes after they are facing bad publicity and falling income.



But how sorry? Sorry enough to provide a related search:

hackdayWell done Yahoo. Oh, and if you don’t know what a lap dance is, consult the experts at Yahoo answers. The best answers provided are “you should ask you parents” and “One of the great joys in life!”.

Windows 7 Launch Parties 5 September, 2009

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The stupidest idea Microsoft’s had for a while.


Fedora 11 11 June, 2009

Posted by aronzak in Uncategorized.

I’ll confess, i used to like installing new versions of Linux. I used to find it exciting, starting up into a new system, with a new look. Unfortunately, the excitement tends to wear off when you realise that there is no perfect system. In reality, The biggest difference between many versions of Linux is the desktop background. Oh, except and sometimes you strike a jackpot with an OS that has things that don’t work.

SJVN says that the best 5 features of Fedora 11 are :

- Fast boot

- Ext4

- New Xorg

- Synaptics drivers


Interestingly, he misses out the new virtualisation feature, which is also interesting. It is nice that the boot time has been worked on, and there are some pretty features like smooth wallpaper switching. But then there are heaps of annoyances. The graphics are mostly nice, but the default gnome layout with two whopping great white bars that trap your desktop in some kind of cage is terrible.

It’s nice that Ext4 is used, which can give some performance speedups, but this means that there must be a boot partition with an ext3 filesystem. This is where the pain really sets in. Fedora insists on marking the partition as bootable and placing it as a primary partition. It’s annoying when the partitioner in the installer, already very hard to use, disregards what you tell it to do and does something else. This really doesn’t make me feel confident about potentially destructive changes.

Next, the installer wants to install a bootloader, but only recognises Wondows 7 and itself. This is unacceptable for a 2009 Linux release. It’s easy for me to go and guess the grub setup needed, but having to do it is a pain for me. And yes, these days it is possible that someone might want to multiboot more than just Fedora. If anyone is stuck, here’s the part from the grub loader:

title        Fedora 11 Guess
root        (hd0,3)
kernel        /vmlinuz- ro root=/dev/sda11
initrd        /initrd-

This is a support disaster waiting to happen.

After that major issue, there’s a string of minor problems to contend with. Firstly, opening the file manager shows nautilus’s basic display. Great. This is really ugly and should never be used. The browser view is much better, letting you use bookmarks and tabs.

I’m amazed that nobody thought of this. In a distribution shipping the latest version of gnome, very basic usability considerations have been left out.

The next annoying thing is that a root password is needed to mount other hard drive partitions. Really, this should be done automatically. SO fstab will need to be edited. What next, needing to manually mount your own CDs?

Next annoyance is that unlike in Ubuntu, there isn’t an easy way to set up samba sharing.

The next annoyance is that for some reason firefox runs slowly. It’s scrolling is terrible until you turn off smooth scrolling. Another poorly chosen setting.

There’s a range of others, like something called ‘makewhatis’ and ‘updatedb’ running in the background and chewing up resources.

Fedora 11 has some nice ideas, but a major issue in installation and other major annoyances keep me from using it. Hopefully the good ideas will feed into Ubuntu 9.10′s development.

Microcore and Qemu 10 June, 2009

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Microcore is a version of Tinycore that has no graphical environment. It is even smaller than Tinycore, with the CD image being only 7 MB. It looks like a reasonably useful text based minimal operating system that you could use to build your own version on. You could add in utilities like antivirus, etc… to suit your needs.

It would also be useful as a minimal rescue system, allowing you to do some basic editing of system files and whatnot if something goes wrong. It also has a secure shell client, dropbear ssh, which can let you do more advanced things if you can connect to other Linux or Mac computers.

I don’t know what the default password is, but you can set the passwords by doing a “sudo su”, and setting the passwords for users “root” and “tc”.

One other thing to add: if you use Qemu to virtualise microcore, you’ll need to use the “-no-acpi” option when starting qemu, otherwise you’ll get an error about a bug in a timer not connected to IO-APIC. Whatever that means.

Android: Linus in every phone 14 May, 2009

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There’s an article from IBM about Android development. It has the following graph:

There’s a small piece of Linus in every phone. ” Hi, I’m Linux. I mean Linus. Damn, I always get that mixed up.”

Live@Edu and Thunderbird 12 May, 2009

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Having a VM install of Windows 7, I thought it would be a good idea to install “Windows Live Essentials” mail, which is essentially a new name for Outlook. Dumb idea, as setting this up to use “Windows Live Mail” (which, in fact is different to”Windows Live Essentials Mail”) is more difficult in thunderbird (and I’d need to use a VM all the time, because the installer fails miserable in wine).

The naming issue is only slightly confusing. Searching for “Windows Live imap setup” and whatnot will give you a list of irrelevant results talking about how to set up what is actually outlook to use a boring email server. The link you probably want is this one. 50MiB download wasted, I came across this:http://help.outlook.com/en-us/140/cc188672.aspx

Building Bibletime 2 from source 11 May, 2009

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Update: This was written for version 1.7, but the same process works with version 2.

Version 2 of Bibletime has been changed to run on Qt4, giving it a KDE 4 feel.it has a variety of nice features. Some of the new features are:

  • Bookshelf Manager installer has been redesigned. It’s much easier to use and it doesn’t block the rest of the user interface.
  • The main Bookshelf panel has been rewritten. It’s possible to group the works by Category and/or Language. Rarely used works can be hidden.
  • Bookmarks have been moved to another tab. It’s possible to move and copy folders.
  • Bible and Commentary windows have dropdown lists for book, chapter and verse.
  • Search dialog has an option for AND and OR searches.

The features that I like the most are things like being able to drag bible references from one panel into another.

If you want to compile from source, you need a lot of dependencies. I was joking to myself, perhaps the devil is trying to keep you in dep hell? Here’s most of what you need (Ubuntu 9.04):

sudo apt-get install libboost-dev qmake libclucene0ldbllibclucene-dev qt4-qmake cmake kdelibs5-dev libsword-dev

That will save you a lot of grief and googling bizarre error messages.

And I think you need to change build/CMakeCache.txt if you get an error saying that the compiler is not found.

//CXX compiler.

There seems to be an issue with panels in the latest version locking up sometimes. I’ll look into this some more.

Shiretoko 2 May, 2009

Posted by aronzak in Mozilla Firefox, Uncategorized, web.
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For some reason, the search box in Mozilla Firefox 3.0.8 decided not to work. So I installed the new version of firefox, codenamed “Shiretoko”, which looks good.  Named after a peninsula on the tip of the North Japanese island Hokkaido, Shiretokowas formerly called version 3.1, and is now version 3.5. The browser uses version 1.9.1 of the rendering engine Gecko, which is faster and supports HTML5. With the improvements in Gecko, Shiretoko gets an impressive score of 93% on the Acid3 test (especially when compared to the paltry 20 that IE 8 gets).

The inclusion of “private browsing”, irreverently dubbed “porn mode” is touted as a significant feature, but  is essentially useless as existing builtin tools and extensions like cookiesafe do a better job at protecting privacy.

The tab bar now has a plus at the end, allowing users to click to bring up a new tab. While this may be helpful to some users, and makes Firefox look more like the interface of other notable browsers, it is similarly useless for advanced users, who are fine with middle clicking links and using control-T. Having the tab bar display with just one tab can be disabled in Edit>Preferences (Tools>Options in Windows) and unchecking “Always show the tab bar” under the “tabs” tab.screenshot-1

Richard J. Petnel 7 April, 2009

Posted by aronzak in Uncategorized.
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A story on slashdot today links to the orbituary of Richard J. Petnel. One of the major ways in which he was known is for his involvement in maintaining an Ad Block Plus filter. I’m writing this because I’m extremely disapointed. The obituary states

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be sent to Community Hospice of Albany, 445 New Karner Rd., Albany, NY 12205.

And in the right hand side of the page is an ad.screenshot

This is shameful. I didn’t know Richard Petnel, but I feel still feel this is wrong.


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