litch: (Default)
I uploaded the pictures I took at the dogpark saturday to a bunch of different photo sharing sites to get an idea of how well they worked.

Uploading ~ 20 pictures from an ubuntu 8.10 workstation

Scapbook/ is the one I have typically used because of my LJ account. It worked fairly well thought I had to install a perl xml library to run the fotoup script in order to do batch uploads. It's got good integration with LJ but doesn't share with other social media as nicely.

Facebook would only let up load 1 image at a time, they have a javascript advanced upload tool but despite multiple attempts I could never get it to work. It also is not as friendly about sharing as I would like.

flickr had the same upload issues (I am pretty sure it is something wrong in ubuntu) I was particularly disappointed because flickr has the best sharing tools of any of the sites

picasa/google images was by far the best tool. I was able to not only upload the pix automatically but I cloud clean them up and do simple manipulation and then it autosynced them online. I was very pleased with the interface and it integrated nicely with other google stuff (particularly google maps). It doesn't play as nicely with external non-google things but it works so well I may make the effort to try to integrate it.


May. 4th, 2009 09:48 pm
litch: (Default)
[ profile] luxcanon said:
I'm pretty sure we don't have to be scared of Litch until they take his teevee away.

It's time to be scared then. I took my dvr/cable box back to time warner this morning and reduced myself to just internet feed from them. It's mostly about expense control, I really like TV and find is valuable (when I can control it through a dvr) but it's not a necessity. This cuts my cable bill from ~$120/mo to ~$50/mo.

So my next set of bills should look like:
Mortage: $650
Cable: $50
MUD (Water, Sewer, Garbage): $25
Phone: $55
Insurance: $165
Electric: $105 (based on last 4 years average june bill, but possibly lower because of frugality)
Gas: $25
Motorcycle: $220

Comes out to $1300/mo
Throw in gas & food and that's probably 1500.

I usually make between $200-$500 at raak, if I could find a part time minimum wage job I might pull another 500/mo which still leaves me short. I'm probably going to have to give the bike back to the bank (which sucks, since it's the most reliable form of transportation I have and will bump up my truck's gas bill) But I just might be able to make it if I can squish out food.

Crap I forgot the dogs. At least $50/mo for their food. But since I don't have even a part time minimum wage job yet it's all academic).

people have said they want to help Below is a paypal donation button. If you can help, please contribute to sustaining me and my dogs. Should I become gainfully employed again I will pay you back when I can and pay forward an equal amount to others in need.


May. 3rd, 2009 10:25 pm
litch: (Default)
Since our beloved governor with the good hair mentioned secession one of the interesting question for politically active types is texas exercised it's right to split into 5 states, how would that actually effect things.

The inestimable Nate Silver comes to the rescue:
With this map & article:

He predicts that if it happened it would produce a very slightly worse situation for the democrats in the senate and everything else would be a wash. I don't think he takes into account the increased political efficacy that a split would produce in liberals and democrats in "New Texas" and "Gulfland". There are a lot of people in there, particularly in the redder areas, who are just not active because what they do just doesn't matter. Breaking things up would give those people renewed vigor and given demographic trends it would just increase.

Also, doing so would give DC the last oomph it would need to get at least a representative and possibly even a senator.
litch: (Default)
posted this on FB but I like it so much I'll post it here too

(thanks [ profile] athene)
litch: (Default)
Spent the day at the dogpark

The picture

for [ profile] molasses
litch: (Default)
[ profile] contentlove was just bemoaning that she wanted sushi but didn't want to go out. I've often felt that way, so it gave me an idea:

Drive By Sushi

Small van you could stand up in with all the sushi bits and when people want sushi they can just get online and order and the van comes by and makes sushi and hands it over.

You could get all cool web 2.0 and have real time tracking. Maybe bid out specials like "if your neighborhood orders x$ a week we'll pre-position the van one day a week in your neighborhood. Do special events like the kite festival or large soccer matches

Sushi was the original finger food, edo period fast food.
litch: (Default)
poll of austin looking at the mayor's race and some local issues

Essentially a 3 way tie between Lee, Brewster, & Carole. I tend to like Brewster (for almost pure ageist reasons) but it's hard to tell him from Lee. However undecided is polling higher than Carole so it could be anyone's guess though I hope by all that we hold dear they are undecided between the guys, if we let her mack in office we deserve to be flushed down the colorado.

The interesting part are the minutia that the survey yields.
Age seems to be the biggest determinant of who likes who; old people like lee, middle aged like brewster, and young people are stupid enough to support carole.

Race dispersal is wierd. I have no idea why Carole is doing so will with minorities, particularly hispanics. She is doing better than either of the two guys, though brewster seem to be doing better than lee with blacks and reversed with hispanics.

Brewster seem particularly week in the north part of town, I haven't seen many of his signs up here, dunno is that is cause or effect.

Seems like the richer half are going for lee, but why on earth are the poorer going for carole?

They gave people a 4 way choice of what most influences their vote with options of; transportation, business/job growth, sustainable growth, or bridging economic disparity. It could have been a potentially interesting question but the way it looks like it was phrased just sucks. However it does have the best demographics analysis.

There is a surprising significant gender gap when it comes to those who selected transportation, it's much more important to men than women. It was the second highest issue for men but by far last for women, and all of the others had higher female responses than male ones, This response is probably the single most surprising thing for me in this study.

On the other hand if you break down the answer according to age, transportation is MUCH more important to the younger (under 40) voters than the other groups who are most concerned about job creation. Geographically there is not much difference though people in the north were a more concerned with job growth and less concerned with economic disparity than the rest of town.

There is strong support for expanding commuter rail. Unsurprisingly carole supports are more likely to be against it than for it, though by less than I would have expected. More women then men support it (though it seems kind of weird that it isn't as important when it comes to influencing votes). There is a definite age bias when it comes to rail, the older someone is the less they are to support it.

Tax incentives to attract new buisnesses is pretty unpopular all the way around the community.
litch: (Default)
I took the dogs out yesterday to get some more kibble, and then took them by the park because they've been twitchy from being cooped up by the rain and my misery. On the way there I saw a blond in a red porche carrera convertable in the lane next to and just ahead of me at the light.

I had a surge of rage at her. I just scrabbled through my change to buy my dog food and there is this woman with a sculpted tan driving a car way too expensive for any reasonable utitlitarian need. I wanted to get out of the truck, snatch her out the car and pound her face into ground until no rich man would ever look at her again.

I've still got reasons not to, but they're getting smaller and less effective. There's nothing quite so dangerous as the formerly privileged and affluent who have become desperate and angry. When you feel like you have nothing left to lose but you still have a few resources you become very dangerous. When you are used to the power and prerogatives of the rich it's much easier to step out side the bounds of acceptable behavior. When you look and act like someone who's normally "safe" you can get close enough to get someone.

Summer is coming and there is a lot of anger and desperation out there.
litch: (Default)
I've been broke a lot of times in my life. Last week of the month and more bills than money, can't afford something so you put it off, stretching to make things go an extra couple days. But what I am going through now feels different. Like running out of gas in the middle of the desert at night when you haven't seen another car for hours.

I've got 15$ in the bank and a couple hundred in cash. I'm planning on using most of the last of my cash to pay my may mortgage note. I've got a little cash coming in from Raak and a 1 day temp job for election day. I keep looking for work but things are just not happening. Every job I apply for is completely swamped with applicants and I am really applying for everything. Anything remotely related on craigslist, all the temp agencies, target, HEB, every lead I can find. Most places aren't even bothering to respond anymore.

I ransacked my coin jar and managed to come up with enough to buy the dogs another bag of the high end kibble. I thought about buying the cheap stuff but the price difference really big enough to make all that much of a difference. Thought about making them food from scratch but figured out it's cheaper to buy the pre-made kibble and at least it's nutritionally balanced.

I can squeeze out a couple hundred here or there for a while longer, enough to probably keep the lights on & water flowing for the rest of the month but I've been hearing the sound of my engine sputtering for the last month or two. Once I completely run out, when the utilities are shut off and I'm out of things I can sell, which looks to be around mid june at the latest. I'll empty out the house and put it on the market. Once it sells, even in the delapidated condition and as bad as the housing market is (and will be by then) it should give me enough to pay off the people I will have borrowed from and little extra cash.

Then I am just going to float. I might see if my truck can make it up to somewhere cool.
litch: (Default)
There was a lovely little intra-republican tiff over redistricting in the TexLege last week. State Sen. Jeff Wentworth (R) tried to bring a bill calling for a bipartisan redistricting commission to set up legislative districts but the hard right republicans had a hissy squealing fit and blocked it.

Partisan districts are the heart of much of the worst in american politics. They are incredibly undemocratic and poorly serve even pre-selected winning constituency. It allows for complete nutbags who can get away with anything by cutting out sinecures that only death or failing upwards can get them out of. One of the best things to happen to california is that they were forced to accept a commission this year as the price of passing their budget.

The failure of this bill vibrantly shows just who in government are the biggest problem (if it wasn't stunningly obvious). Failing to establish a non or at least bi partisan redistricting commission is going to hurt the republicans more than it will the dems in the next apportionment. The simple math of demographics means that texas is going to become a swing state and the only hope of keeping that swing from becoming a hard jerk would be a move to a commission.
litch: (Default)
Woke up at 4 am and couldn't get back to sleep so I of course did the obvious thing and spent several hours reading about canadian politics. I've been trying to figure out how the economy and the shift in american politics is effecting them. Canada is an odd reflection of american culture, it echos so much of our society but on a different structure and with it's own quirks (i.e. quebec).

The conservative revolution in america had a canadian counterpart, though slightly less nasty and willfully stupid. But as the american conservatives have collapsed the canadians seem to be hanging on by their fingernails. They probably would not have ever gotten into power if it weren't for a political scandal and I kind of doubt they'll survive the economic turmoil.

litch: (Default)
The silence from the bedroom is terrifying.

I stay up way too late in order to avoid going to sleep. It's not the dreams (though they are bad enough), it is the brutal process of letting go enough to get to sleep. Going to sleep is like unclenching a muscle, relaxing into the universe and letting my mind wander. But when the wolves of discontent are encamped all around they don't hesitate to come and drag me off to places I don't want to go.

So the sooner I can go from laying down to asleep, the less anguish I endure. Dreams are soon forgotten, sore shoulders and crusted eyes their only evidence. Life is pain highness, and sleep always ends. Unless it is death.


Apr. 21st, 2009 04:45 pm
litch: (Default)
Most of my job in doing smart card support is about understanding PKI (public key infrastructure) and trying to explain it to admins who have broken it or are trying to set up a new one.

PKI is about assuring identity, proving that "someone" is who they claim to be. It's incredibly important in our modern web powered world and for the most part it works smoothly and seamlessly and nobody really realizes what is going on. Until it breaks. It's how you know I'm the one writing this, that it is really your bank you are logging onto, and that it is really Powell's books you are giving your credit card information to.

The heart of PKI are identity certificates. They are little files that give the entity's name & other identification information (i.e. email address, phone #, home city, organization it's associated with, physical location), validity dates, & their "public key". A public key is just a number, but it's a special kind of number that has a complicated relationship with another number (the private key). With one number you can encrypt something and only that other number (not even the original number) can decrypt it. Either one can do the encrypting, but only that other number can do the decrypting.

Let me pause a minute to give a simple explanation of the kind of encrypting I am talking about. If you take a text message, convert each letter to a number (a=1, b=2. ...) and send just the numbers it's pretty simple for someone to work backwards and figure out the original message. If you add some constant (like 13) to each number and you write your message using those numbers it will be harder to figure out what your original message is unless they know which constant you used (you could probably do it but it is harder). That's what's known as a symmetric cipher, you use the same number to encrypt the message as you use to decrypt it. With public/private key pairs you can do asymmetric ciphers, use one number to encrypt the message, and the other to decrypt it. They aren't actually doing addition, they are doing modular exponentiation (with most common encryption schemes), but it is the same idea.

So using this nifty math trick you can make a message using that special number in the identity certificate (the public key) that only someone with that other secret number (private key) can read and they can make a message that will only be able to be translated if you use their public key. So if I want to make you prove you are who you say you are in your identity certificate I can guess a random number, encrypt it with your public key, send it to you, have you decrypt it using your private key, figure out what I sent you, recrypt it using your private key, send it back to me and have me decrypt it using your public key. If we have our computer do it we can do it really fast

The next problem is how do I know the identity certificate I have is really yours and not one someone else made up? To do that you have your identity certificate (hereafter called a "cert") signed by a trusted third party using their private key. So your cert has someone's encrypted name on the bottom and if I can decrypt it using their public key then I know it is a valid cert and you are who you say you are. The trusted third party, commonly called a Certificate Authority (or CA) proves they are who they say they are the same way. And we all agree that there will be a few "root" certs we just have to accept as valid because everyone else accepts them as valid. This is how Verisign, Thawte and a couple other companies make money, they have widely trusted root certs that they use to sign other people's identity certificates.

It's actually a lot more complicated than that, each cert is only valid for a certain period of time and after that period you have to replace it. There are also revoked certificates where someone has gotten ahold of someone else's private key and they have to get a new one but post the old one as publically bad (until it expires) so people aren't fooled. Every organization that uses a Public Key Infrastructure has some sort of (usually web based) certificate server that keeps all their certs on file so people can can pull public keys when they need to assure identity or send something only they should read.

Fox sucks

Apr. 20th, 2009 02:02 am
litch: (Default)
Fell asleep around 7:30 this evening, slept till midnight, got up and got something to eat and watched some of the foxanimation I recorded.

Simpsons was mediocre as usual these days. They've jumped the shark but they've got a long way to fall. I usually don't bother with family guy but the 420 episode intrigued me, it was "eh" too. A good example of why I rarely bother with the show.

I was somewhat interested in the new show "Sit Down, Shut Up" but it sucked like a large hadron collider experiment gone very wrong. It was just painful crap, maybe even worse than american dad. Stupid, ugly, and abjectly unfunny.

In short, I shoulda stood in bed.
litch: (Default)
ooh, this is nifty, I would love to have one of these
litch: (Default)
After both men had drunk beer and Adolf Stegbauer added vodka and brandy, he “went from a happy drunk to a mean drunk,” according to a probable cause affidavit filed by the prosecutor. Stegbauer grabbed a samurai-type sword, knocked Franziska Stegbauer down and stabbed Rondeau, investigators said in the affidavit. Rondeau said he then got a Japanese saber-style infantry sword from another room, “parried a few times and hit Adolf at least two times.” One of the blows to Adolf Stegbauer’s head was so hard that it fractured his skill[sp].
litch: (Default)
Whee fun, I owe $8437. I have enough to pay my next mortgage bill and a couple of my bills (under $1000). This is going to be fun.
I can't request a payment plan until I file my taxes and they get it in the system.


litch: (Default)

May 2009

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