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Western Digital is unSMART

Western Digital HDD Inadequately Writes or Interprets SMART Data

Just a specific case in point to further validate the [2007 Google study that SMART data is unreliable]( At work we have a Western Digital Caviar Blue SATA drive that had obviously, at some point, gone bad. If you tried to write or read significant data to the drive you would get I/O errors so it was clear that there are many bad blocks.

Interesting Outcomes of Assumption-Laden Perception: 2001 A Save Theodicy

Some people are accused of wearing rose-colored glasses, but you won't be surprised when I say that it's actually a much grander problem than that. I have endless amusement (and sometimes consternation) that an objective event can be interpreted radically differently depending on someone's background. For example, imagine a man telling a woman "Nice ass!". My first reaction to this scenario is that the guy is a douchebag (What does it say about me that that was my first interpretation? And why did I create such a colored scenario to begin with?).

A Review of Dwolla

What is Dwolla

Dwolla is a new payment network. From the user perspective it's kind of like Paypal except they intentionally don't support credit cards - only direct bank to bank transfers like ACH. But ACH is slow and sometimes ineffective (ACH accounts can be overdrawn). According to some people, banks slow down ACH transfers on purpose to make money off the "float" (I don't have an authoritative source on this). Dwolla invented their own method to instantly transfer money with fund verification they call FiSync. They are trying to get banks to support FiSync so that their customers can utilize instant transfers. So far, the list of FiSync-capable institutions is relatively small. If you're interested in FiSync, I recommend you ask your bank to adopt it; and if they won't, see if you can switch to a bank or credit union that does.

What First (or Any) Time Home Buyers Need to Know About Drywood Termites

Congratulations on buying a home. It's an exciting time with thousands of details that need to be worked out. It's easy, even required, to gloss over some details simply because there isn't enough time to manually check everything. I'm here to tell you that termites are not a detail to gloss over.

Simple Fix for Bootcamp Partition Error: "Files cannot be moved"

This method may not work for everyone. If it doesn't I would try Apple's recommended solution of a backup, reinstall (this step may not be necessary, a reformat might be good enough), and restore.

The easy method:

Paypal charged my credit card, without my permission, and didn't tell me about it

Adding to the growing number of stories concluding that Paypal is evil [1] [2], I finally felt their cold callus fingers myself. But admittedly, I had it way easier than the poor violin seller.

2010 iMac Target Display Mode (Mini Display Port) with 2011 Macbook Pro (Thunderbolt)

I just wanted to share my experience because I could not find this online and had to learn the hard way. The local Apple Geniuses also did not know this until I brought them this problem.

approx 502 Bad Gateway, Connection failed errors

Have you recently upgraded approx (say from Debian Lenny to Squeeze) and had these errors whenever you apt-get update from multiple systems to an approx server?

The problem is a result of approx switching from an independent daemon to using inetd, which does not support many connections out of the box. The fix is this:

Edit /etc/inetd.conf and change: 9999 stream tcp nowait approx /usr/sbin/approx /usr/sbin/approx
9999 stream tcp nowait.9999 approx /usr/sbin/approx /usr/sbin/approx

A More Equitable Way to Trade Stocks? An Arbitrage-Free Exchange

The SEC and CFTC finally released the results of their investigation that the 2010 May 6th "Flash Crash" where the Dow lost 1,000 points in 30 minutes. The report lays blame on one errant firm coupled with the effects of Hyper Trading. This is dissappointingly slow since smart people from Nanex figured that out back in June.

Religious Leaders Feel Threatened, Enjoy Attention

This kind of he-said she-said psuedo-journalist drivel annoys me. How about some objective context for once? In an article from CNN about religious response to Stephen Hawking's latest book:

Adobe Finally Releases Linux Reader 9.3.3

14 days after Adobe released a security upgrade for Windows and OS X Adobe Reader 9.3.2 and 39 days after Adobe announced a vulnerability was being actively exploited, Adobe has released the same security upgrade for 2nd class citizen Linux.

Although this amount of time seems atrociously long to me, to be fair other companies have notoriously taken much, much longer to patch security updates on a single platform (*cough* Microsoft, Apple). Still, this kind of lag is unacceptable when there are known exploits circulating.

Just Curious


Why is it that Obama's latest "black eye", the SEC Inspector General's cleanup of employees surfing porn (aka "redtube gate") has gotten so much more press coverage than when Bush Administration Department of Interior employees were caught having sex with, doing cocaine with, and accepting money from oil industry lobbyists

Hidden Files: Apache Best Practices

apache logo

Most apache (and probably all web server administrators in general) know that they should not allow access to .htaccess or .htpasswd files. Access to these is typically denied by default with: <Files ~ "\.ht"> Order allow,deny Deny from all </Files>

Apache and TLS with SNI (Server Name Indication)

apache logo

Until recently, you needed a dedicated IP address for each SSL website because TLS did not support named-based virtual hosting. This made hosting SSL websites relatively expensive, and maybe even impossible if you ran out of IP addresses. Although this standard, now elucidated in RFC 4366, has been around since at least 2003, it has been very slow to catch on.

Ubuntu Live CD PXE Boot with Serial Console Redirection


I was pretty stoked when I found this howto for pxe booting a Ubuntu live CD. PXE booting is really handy because it makes diagnosis and installation faster. The Ubuntu Live CD (or any linux boot CD really) is really handy for troubleshooting systems or doing maintenance work.

Nagios hostgroup servicedependency Check Behavior


I could not find anywhere where the nagios documentation specified whether or not service dependencies using hostgroups use hostgroups in an any-host, same-host, or all-host configuration. Specifically, what about when the dependent hostgroup is the same as the hostgroup that is depended on (and services vary)?

Busting ACORN's Nuts

James O'Keefe,

Plankton in a Sea of History: The Obama Inauguration

The day after the election I emailed Dianne Feinstein requesting an inuguration ticket, and believe it or not, I actually got one. I don't know if my constantly emailing her criticizing her support of anti-progressive policies helped at all, but at least it didn't hurt. No, I still don't like Dianne Feinstein any better. As far as I'm concerned she should resign in shame, or barring that the Democratic party should censure her. Of course, politicians being what they are, neither will happen.

Next Time You're In Mexico

El Yucateco.jpgFor lovers of spice, I highly recommend picking up some El Yucateco. I wouldn't call myself a spice master, but I like a high dosage of spice in a lot of my food. Like most spice lovers, sauces and dishes which are typically advertised as "spicy" are usually nowhere close. So I made fajitas for lunch today and put a generous helping of El Yucateco on my portion because since when was anything actually spicy as advertised? My normal stoic self was reaching for the fire-dousing milk after the first fajita. It's been about 20 minutes now, and the front of my face feels like there was recently a small fire on it.

Promises Promises

Bush McCain 2004During this round of empty campaign promises, does anyone else remember George W. Bush's 2004 campaign promise to reduce the federal budget deficit by half in 2009[1]?

The Farkenized News

I've commented earlier about how mainstream news has not only been biased, but one of the core problems of mainstream news is that it's been a race to fark. Cable news no longer exists on the national level anymore - there is only infotainment. For some reason, I read the front page of CNN often. You can consistently find absolutely retarded stories on the top portion of the front page - more often than not involving sensational stories. I decided to start logging what CNN counts as front page news. Check back for updates.

Dropping Off Used Motor Oil

Today I decided to drop off all the used motor oil I've been collecting over the years, but have been too lazy to do anything about. I discovered online that our society's way of handling citizen's used motor oil isn't collection centers, but autoparts stores and oil-changing shops. Typically, places have a 5 gallon limit, and I had 7 gallons.

Feinstein Takes a Courageous Stand Against Fair Elections

Feinstein-Bush.jpgDianne Feinstein is voting against her constituents' interests again. You have to wonder what she's getting out of this.

CNN Punked John Edwards

Extramarital affair aside, this is the most popular image of Rielle Hunter on the web, according to google images:
Rielle Hunter

Now the image that CNN chose:
Edwards Gets Punked

Rielle gets punked here too, of course. But most people are going to think Edwards likes to bang witches after they see this picture.

They AIM to Anger

AOHellI haven't hated AOL since I stopped using it in the 90s. But I have continued to use an AIM screen name. I've been surprisingly amazed that they have left their popular AIM protocol open to 3rd party clients, unmolested. Since the AOL-created AIM is an annoying, feature-poor adfest, using 3rd party clients is the only option: I recommend pidgin, adium, or iChat (OS X only). But I digress.

Is Obama Just Another Scummy Politician?

obama_flag.jpgObama is likely going to vote for the new FISA bill, eventhough it grants sweeping powers to the government AND grants retroactive immunity to telecomm corporations. Say it ain't so, Barack!

Make A Call For Your Country

It's a critical time to stand up for government and corporate accountability. The latest bit of responsibility the Bush Administration is trying to dodge is enforcing rule of law regarding citizen privacy. If the Bush Administration is able to cover their corporate sponsor's backsides by granting telecom corporations immunity, people will never be able to find out if they are being illegally wiretapped.

Lawsuits against telecomm corporations have a few very important purposes:

    George Carlin (May 12 1937 - June 22 2008)

    You will be missed, you dirty son of a bitch.

    Nancy Pelosi is Taking Bribes

    Pelosi & BushAnd so are half of the Democratic politicians. Or can you think of a better explanation why she and many Democrats voted for HR 6304?

    Somebody Tell Obama to Wear Mormon Underwear

    BRANDON, South Dakota (CNN) -- Sen. Hillary Clinton said Friday that she regretted comments that evoked the June 1968 assassination of Robert Kennedy as part of her explanation for why she was staying in the presidential race late into the primary season.

    I don't like to partake in conspiracy theories, but this just scares me.



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