jbowman is currently certified at Journeyer level.

Name: Joe Bowman
Member since: 2000-08-30 16:20:02
Last Login: N/A

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Homepage: http://www.kiva.net/~jbowman/


A very small fish in a very big pond.

I'm a 22-year-old System Administrator working for Kiva Networking, handling corporate customer-related duties (Co-Located server administration, server design, programming, etc....).

My programming projects so far have been of a mostly internal nature, but include system administration tools and an automated web database for managing cable modem registration/signup/installation scheduling/what-not.


Recent blog entries by jbowman

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Hm. 9 months since last diary entry. Ah well, lets do some updates then:

Birthday: Was fun. Nice, quiet. Just what I wanted. Holidays: Sucked. Hardcore. New Rule for Divorced Parents: Don't get together on Christmas for dinner when you hate each other. It ruins the entire evening, even if you're not yelling at each other.

Ethical dilemma - Solved.

Monitor - Purchased (and very nice, too :). My actual problem turned out to be the port on the video card (which was weird, because I had the problem on my other machine with a different card, but then it magically vanished afterwards...). Oh well. Now I have a nice 17" TFT instead, and my 21" sits and gathers dust. At some point, I'll get dual-monitor support on my video card...

Wacky Hard Drive problems: Bad cable (RedHat's support staff actually thanked me for providing them with more symptom data for this)

SSH: Openssh is so much groovier... The 'official' SSH folks finally got around to releasing Source RPMS though. I'd missed this little feature since I moved to openssh, but they apparently decided to break the ssh1 support by renaming the ssh2/3 packages back to the "ssh" package name. *sigh* Earth to SSH folks! If the packages are named the same, you can't install them alongside each other cleanly! Ah well.

Debian - libranet sucked. Progeny was cool, and I had it running on my old internet gateway box. Sad to hear the news that Progeny closed its doors though. It was the closest to a 'usable' Debian system I've had in a while.

Mud - Ah, my mud. So fun! We're about at the beta-testing stage now, which is only 3 months or so later than I had originally hoped. Real, paid work (y'know, the kind that takes care of rent? :) has been occupying most of the coding team for a while now, so things are a bit sluggish.

The Job - Ah, the job. What can I say about the job? Too much and too little. It's an excellent series starring Denis Leary. :)

Seriously though, I've managed to get a better handle on job stress in the past year, so I ultimately worry less about work. After dealing with clients needing security work these past couple of weeks, it makes me wonder whether the whole "Microsoft Admin Security Mentality" that I've griped about in the past isn't indicative of a more wide-spread "Incompetent Admin Mentality". Quoth the magic eight ball: My Sources Say Yes.

Spinweb: Spinweb started out as such a neat idea, and has since gone off into some rather oddball waters. We had it setup to run at work from the secure webserver via a cgi script, but after we put a new user shell server in place a couple of months ago it broke the web-based spinweb system since it was no longer running on the same system as the shell server.

The solution? Whack spinweb with a mallet until it works with McFeely. It was actually pretty fun to do, as it gave me some insights into distributed network architecture and how to work with it from a programming standpoint.

RedHat: 7.2 came out, and it's so smooth and slick it's amazing. We're finally using it for kickstarts here at work, and so far things have been running quite smoothly.

["I'm really missin' it in so many ways, I anticipate us making out..."]

28 Apr 2001 (updated 28 Apr 2001 at 06:19 UTC) »

I hate ethical dilemmas. They make things so messy. Then again, I suppose that my innate curiosity in sorting out said messes is why I took a very in-depth Critical Thinking skills course back in school. Time to dust off the old notes and get cracking, I guess.

Had some interesting discussions with the other primary coder on the mud I'm quietly working on today concerning some of the prototypes I built for a new system of creating and handling skills and spells. He's a very bright guy, and is quite savvy with the code, so when he came to me scratching his head and asking for an explanation of how all the new stuff worked, I realized that perhaps I've quietly crossed the boundary where what are normally highly advanced topics seem fairly easy to deal with. Sheesh. Instead of being able to bask in my 3l33tness, I'm stuck scratching my head and trying to decide the best way to document all this stuff out in an easier-to-understand manner. Hoo boy.

Well, libranet's a flop. After fighting my way through the god-awful stock debian installer (why, why, _why_ can't they put a useful installer on that thing??) I found myself staring at a LI prompt instead of a nice, shiny, LILO prompt. Progeny is just about finished downloading, so we'll see if that will actually install properly onto my aging K6-233. And hopefully it'll have a decent installer too.

kernel-2.4.4 is out too. Wow, talk about a busy night for my linux boxen. We'll get to see whether the promised VIA fixes for UDMA stuff actually work or not. Ah well. Time to make sure my cd-r/w drive still works under Linux like it should.

[ "Yeah I found god and he was absolutely nothin' like me." ]

27 Apr 2001 (updated 27 Apr 2001 at 05:40 UTC) »

Well, I just finished hacking gzip'd file support into suso's randomsig program. Now I can read my mail inbox live, even though it's in gzip format (for those wondering, I use mutt with the spiffy compressed-folders patch in order to handle my mailboxes). Of course, it's a pretty quick and dirty hack, but hey, if it inspires Suso to actually get off his butt and get moving on refining randomsig, I'm all for it. :)

Another badly broken promise to the staff at work by the higher ups, another straw on this camel's back. One of these days I'll get fed up and find work elsewhere, but it's hard overcoming the inertia of having a) a job with little danger of losing it and b) liking the _work_ I do just fine. Bleh, bleh, and bleh again.

Downloading the latest version of the Libranet distro now. I read some good reviews on it, and it has the packages I want/need, and it's high time I started dabbling in other distros again. Being a RedHat junkie is great because we use it exclusively at work, but it's also limiting to not get out there and see what else is around. Besides, I want to see if the 'real' apt-get is the "All That And A Bag Of Chips" its proponents make it out to be.

For once in my life, I'm actually looking forward to summer. How frightening. The big difference between this summer and all the rest is the fact I'll be getting to share it with a fabulous young lady with whom I'm quite taken. I'm going to take a good week or two off from work and go... someplace. I dunno where yet, but someplace, for certain. Hopefully with her, but since she'll have a full-time job this summer as well, we'll have to see how things go.

Quest for Monitor, that rousing adventure game, seems to be headed for a close. I've actually been mostly talked into getting a 17" LCD flat-panel from Samsung after seeing one up close and personal and getting to play around with a friend's 15" version. The image clarity on those things is truly astounding, and the 17" model will do 1280x1024 which, while not what I'd ideally like, is something I think I can work with in terms of screen space. I'll just have to use more virtual desktops in X I guess. *grumble*

Hmm. New ideas for a rewrite of randomsig popped into my head while writing this. Glad I jotted them down. I'll have to flesh them out more and pester Suso about it tomorrow sometime.Perhaps over lunch. Or poker in the evening. One of the two, I'm sure.

[ Jack the sound barrier. Bring the noise! ]

17 Apr 2001 (updated 18 Apr 2001 at 01:18 UTC) »

Ahhh. New speakers. Yummy. I purchased a new set of Cambridge Soundworks speakers. No, not the really nice sets they offer on the webpage, but the rather cheap variety that Soundblaster markets at the home computer user. I previously had an older set of their 4.1 surround speakers, which I've sold to my roommate since he managed to finish killing the crappy pair of speakers he had previously. Now I have the DTT2200, which at first I thought was just the same speakers I had previously painted black and with a center-channel added. Boy, was I wrong. :) Both the satellites and the subwoofer are substantially nicer (and larger) this time around, and the physical volume control-widget that was permanently a part of the cables connecting sound card to subwoofer before is now a much easier to use independent entity with its own socket on the subwoofer.

Okay, enough on speaker reviews. I'm not an audiophile by any gigantic stretch of the term, so I'm just happy that my system sounds noticeably better and that it was accomplished rather cheaply.

Somebody submitted a bug report on my ithought specfile last night. Gack! Looks like I'd managed to mistakenly use the wrong prefix when compiling the darn thing, so people were having problems getting it to run on some systems (the weird thing being, it's worked fine on all the systems I've tried it on). In any event, the new specfile's in cvs, and new rpms have been shipped off to voltron to get tossed up on the website.

Spinwebd (at least, the daemon portion) went live yesterday afternoon to, well, very little fanfare. Which is good, I think, since it's not anything major compared to the other stuff going on atm. Just a few little changes here and there around the website, and presto! we're live. I need to wrap up writing the command-line client and then release the next version of the darn thing since the version that's up on systhug is woefully, woefully both out-of-date and rather inadequate. After I get this version of it wrapped up I can go about adding in config-file support to make using somewhere other than here at work much easier. :)

Monitor shopping is turning out to be harder than I thought. Nobody seems to want to carry the really high-end CRT monitors I've been looking at. It's a bit weird that the 1920x1440 resolution I enjoy under my current 21" monitor is considered "high-end". I had no idea I was so far up the max. resolution totem pole until I started looking around and discovered that only about half the monitor manufacturers out there even make monitors that support it. Of course, they all have super-high-end wall panel displays and what-not that support it, but no actual, honest-to-goodness monitors designed to actuallys it on someone's desktop. Ah well. It just means that replacing my dying monitor is going to be more expensive than initially planned *grumble*.

Back in more linux-oriented news, I upgraded to the full version of Rhat 7.1 last night (I'd be running the Wolverine beta for the longest time). I'm damn disappointed in our friends with the spiffy little fedoras. Inside the graphical installer, where there was once a nice, friendly (albeit it hard to read) description of the packages that were being installed flashing by as the system installed them, there's now a bunch of big, shiny, RedHat-logoized ads for various Rhat services such as their certification courses. Bleh! The marketing machine claims another vicitm. I honestly can't say that it wasn't entirely a surprise, but that doesn't really lessen the disappointment any. I need to poke around more to be sure nothing else has changed from the beta, but I don't think there are going to be too many differences.

Oof. Diary entry getting long-ish. More soon, hopefully.

[ "If you want to destroy my sweater..." ]

*yawn* A nice, lazy weekend is truly something that is underappreciated, I think. Lots of progress on getting spinwebd up and running at work this week. I need to spend some time holed up with the documentation for Perl modules and Exporter at some point so I can do things a bit more 'properly'. Otherwise, we're looking at putting spinwebd into official production here this week (hopefully) or at the latest next week. Once that happens, I'll go over my code a few more times to make sure the darn thing is easy to configure and isn't using the insane settings we need to use at work due to the arrangement of our web architecture. suso did a nice job putting it together, but trying to span multiple servers of users with a single utility has all sorts of nifty little implications... :)

voltron's been busily hacking away at ithought, which seems a bit cleaner now. Unfortunately, it requires libxml2, which is surprisingly difficult to come by RPM-wise. RedHat's still floating around at 1.8.10, the "official" RPMs linked to off the libxml homepage don't exist, and the only reference ot them on rpmfind is to the Caldera Technology Preview from a year ago, and the source RPMs are b0rked. Looks like I may have to whip out those l33t rpm-building skillz I've been working on... *laugh*

Speaking of RPM, ahosey and I were discussing some problems he was having with a broken source RPM this week, and he asked how in the world getting a completely thrashed source RPM was possible (in this case, the Makefile was broken so that files were being installed in horribly incorrect locations and not in the temporary directory RPM uses for building the RPM). I pointed out the "-bs" flag, which is used to build _only_ the source RPM and does none of the actual processing the man page for RPM says it does. All -bs does is take a specfile, a tarball, and whatever patches you've specified and throws them together into a source RPM without bothering to do any processing or checking first. So, you could theoretically build a source RPM of the kernel with a 0-byte kernel source tarball in place of what's supposed to be there. Some interesting discussion ensued therein, with many cries of "That's _wrong_!" to be heard, with the general conclusion being that the "-bs" flag is, well, exactly it's namesake. :)

Caugh Denis Leary's new series (on ABC I think...) called "The Job". As a big Denis Leary fan, I was _really_ looking forward to seeing this, as it appeared to be tailor-made for him from the commercials. I was definitely not disappointed, as I spent almost the entire show laughing my ass off. Now I'm left hoping that it'll be a hit with more, hmm..., "normal" people than I so that it'll stay on TV for a nice long time.

[ "They've got a pitch and a proposal
The run-around might be a better term for it."

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