yon Leveron blog

John's musings on the Interknot cowpath

Archive for August 14th, 2009

linux commands dejure

Posted by John on 14th August 2009

Tech crap warning . . . Danger! heh.

command line fu

command line fu

via http://www.commandlinefu.com/commands/browse/sort-by-votes you can find gems like

wget -c http://www.somewhere.com/file-I-want-to-download.zip

among others.  Currently searching for a reasonable command line (linux) way to push files up to SkyDrive.  If you got this tamed, don’t hesitate to send it along and of course I’ll credit you ;)

Unless of course you want to remain an ‘anonymous coward’ <grin>

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Windows 7 RTM – best MS OS in a long time

Posted by John on 14th August 2009

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not going to start cheering solely for one team.  But having been in the closed beta, then open, then RC, and now with RTM in hand, I can honestly say that Microsoft got this one a lot more right.

We won’t go back and talk about Vista, aka “Win7 alpha”. 64 bit computing, is good.


Have a look see, and if you (technically savvy dog that you be) are going to be buying more than one copy for self / family, etc.  you really might check out MS / Microsoft Technet Plus; the online-only option is relatively affordable, if you work out the cost there.

SkyDrive Folder

SkyDrive Folder

Nowadays, it’s easy enough to keep a copy of your OS handy.


microsoft technet plus banner

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google voice with your iphone

Posted by John on 14th August 2009

Apple thwarted. It’s really, really hard to stop technology. Like any tool, it can be used indifferently, or for good, or for “not so good®”



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more web stuffs

Posted by John on 14th August 2009

This is likely of little interest unless you are hosting your own bits, and are looking for “Tech”.  Fair warning, and all that tommy-rot.

https://www.google.com/analytics/siteopt/ for web site optimization.

http://www.validome.org/google/validate validate your sitemap.xml or sitemap.xml.gz etc.

http://blog.bit.ly/post/93170671/a-big-week-for-little-urls URL shortening, with custom logging. I like their transparency, and checks for “bad” sites.  http://bit.ly/ create an account, get [anonymous] stats of clicks. Just how popular was that YouTube video link you sent out?

Double Thumbs

Double Thumbs

Various header checks for compression : http://www.whatsmyip.org/mod_gzip_test/ http://nontroppo.org/tools/gziptest/ http://www.seositecheckup.com/html_compression_status.php

The W3C is really the de facto standard : here’s some great tests and info from them :

The Basics – what you should run on all your web pages

  • The MarkUp Validator. – Also known as the HTML validator, it helps check Web documents in formats like HTML and XHTML, SVG or MathML.
  • The CSS Validator – validates CSS stylesheets or documents using CSS stylesheets.

The above three can be used all-in-one by running the Log Validator. Unlike the others, this tool helps improve the quality of a whole site, step by step, by finding the most popular documents that need to be fixed in priority. Learn more about this method in the Web Standards Switch document.

Developing mobile-friendly content? The MobileOK checker is a one-stop service to check your Web site and improve its mobile-friendliness.

Also in the works is the Unicorn, our project to build a Universal Conformance Checker for the Web.

Specific Tools – for Specific Needs

  • Semantic Extractor – Sees a Web page from a semantic point of view. Extracts such information as outline, description, languages used, etc.
  • RDF Validator – Checks and Visualize RDF documents
  • Feed Validator. – Checks newsfeeds in formats like ATOM and RSS.
  • P3P Validator – Checks whether a site is P3P enabled and controls protocol and syntax of Policy-Reference-File and Policy
  • XML Schema Validator
  • We also have developer several human-centered test tools: the Mobile Test Harness (code) is Web-based harness for browsers test suites, that offers users the possibility to record results on whether the browser they’re using passes or not a set of test suites; and MUTAT – an (older) human-centered testing framework developed in perl (code)

Open Source

All software developed at W3C is Open Source / Free software. Which means that you can download and use them for free, if you like. It also means that you are welcome to participate in making them better, cooler, more useful for you and everyone.

  • Check each project for instructions on how to download their source code, and install them on your system
  • All the QA tools are maintained by the volunteer developers of the QA-dev group. Why don’t you join?

http://validator.aborla.net/ more validation, alternate folks

Validate your feed at feedvalidator.org

[space reserved for expansions, as I hit more links / receive comments about this with good quality links <hint!>]

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reacquainting with friends

Posted by John on 14th August 2009

I’ve got to give all those social networking things their due. Not only are they amazing time-wasters (hey, someone has to pay the bills) but they do allow a lot of folks to reconnect, and keep everyone appraised of some of the things going on in their life. Twitter, Facebook, Friendfeed, Myspace, etc.  I’ve noticed even families using this quite a bit, I think it’s pretty nifty since many of us are spread out over at least one country.

Among tons of other friends I found in the last 6 weeks, one friend has been deployed multiple times overseas. It is indeed a changing world, as she noted.

I can’t personally thank all of the folks who’ve tried to make a difference overseas.  Unfortunately, a lot of the great work they’ve done has been overshadowed by politics (from all sides).  Trying to get a consensus built is no easy task in that area, not that it is here either.  But I have to believe that a lot of these folks have really helped out a lot of folks “over there” and made the world a better place, overall.  Thanks!

friend in iraq

friend in iraq

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URL shortening

Posted by John on 14th August 2009

http://bit.ly/ sure is popular, and has some tracking built in to see roughly how many folks have clicked on what you thought was nifty.  Not as heavily into the Twitter thing, but brevity is important there, too.

While I’ve made no secret that I enjoy the Desiderata, I have to say that even Les Crane was right – his popular early 70′s song version is hard to listen to.  There’s only so much sunshine there, sunshine ;)

sunshine, maximus

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quotes enjoyed by friends

Posted by John on 14th August 2009

Today, featuring “Tracy” :

“Today was good. Today was fun. Tomorrow is another one.” ~ Dr. Seuss

“Our kids learn because they can’t help it! It’s like breathing! Life is Learning … Learning is Life … “and Life Rocks!” ~ Dayna Martin

inspiration, yep

inspiration, yep

“Life is too short to be living somebody else’s dream.” ~ Hugh Hefner

“The children desire freedom! And every particle of their being from their Source says, ‘You are free. You are so free, that every thought you offer, the entire Universe jumps to respond to it.’ And so, to take that kind of knowledge and try to confine it in any way, defies the Laws of the Universe. You must allow your children to be free, because the entire Universe is set up to accommodate that. And anything you do to the contrary will only bring you regret. You cannot contain those that cannot be contained. It defies Law. ” ~ Abraham

“The butterfly flitting from flower to flower ever remains mine, I lose the one that is netted by me.” ~ Rabindranath Tagore, philosopher, author, songwriter, painter, educator, composer, Nobel laureate (1861-1941)

“It’s not that I feel that school is a good idea gone wrong, but a wrong idea from the word go. It’s a nutty notion that we can have a place where nothing but learning happens, cut off from the rest of life.” ~ John Holt

“Not all those who wander are lost.” ~ J.R.R. Tolkein

“The learners shall inherit the earth while the learned will be beautifully equipped to live in a world that no longer exists.” ~ Eric Hoffer

“Children are born with the ability to learn whatever they need to know and will do so, as long as they are not hindered by well-meaning people trying to teach them.” ~ John Holt

“Life is as dear to a mute creature as it is to man. Just as one wants happiness and fears pain, just as one wants to live and not die, so do other creatures.” ~ The Dalai Lama

“The opposite of courage is not so much fear as it is conformity.” ~ Wayne Dyer

“On with the dance; let joy be unconfined is my motto, whether there’s any dance to dance or any joy to unconfine.” ~ Mark Twain

Hey, I only have so many personal favorites to go around, so it’s always nice to see what others value too.

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how to fill up a skydrive

Posted by John on 14th August 2009

Or at least, how to try.  One of the home machine’s primary partitions, when backed up with Acronis and no compression or encryption, was 24.4 gig in size.  Using 7zip, and making a nice solid archive, I ended up at 8.58 gig, spread out in (177, yep) 49.9 meg chunks to meet the 50 meg upload file size limit.


More experimentation, you actually can use a client such as Gladinet to push a backup over to Skydrive. You can use the “conserve bandwidth” option while actually using your computer, and crank it up before you leave :)

(edit – there’s been an upgrade to Gladinet, it’s actually even improved a bit more – was a good investment it seems)

windows live skydrive 25 gig free

windows live skydrive 25 gig free

I’m pretty confident in leaving things out there in public, as long as I got to choose the passphrase.  I’ve verified that 7 zip really does care if one character is off in a 200 char password, and it does use AES-256.  Luckily, my data doesn’t consist of anything important enough to expend that sort of resources in attempting to decode.

Reasonably good passwords / phrases can be generated by things such as https://www.grc.com/passwords.htm – as well, 7zip does have the option to encrypt the file headers as well. I remember a business case where someone thought that an old Winzip file was encrypted with their super-secret password (likely their dog’s name) and didn’t realize that anyone, without any password at all could read the name, size, etc. of each file within the archive.  Oops, that caused him some issues with their employees.

More pith – 7zip can use the “63 random printable ASCII characters” portion of Steve Gibson’s GRC password page, which is significant, bits-of-entropy wise, because

1;s[&Exv3[-?=c*zX;sgdkHn.J’Y;CWC$.y9ScB*xl’+e9′(G$^Uk\A@loZdiPM is a little harder to try to brute-force than

82FCB457CDB17D9E08F7A1A62BB798046373F9D89EF4DDDAC47224385F7D489 – while both may be 63 characters long in this case, the second string is not quite as “strong”.

Since you put up with the tech, ending with a nice random song lyric for you : Bloodhound Gang, “I’m the root of all that’s evil, yeah, but you can call me Cookie . . .”

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installing and hardening your very own WordPress

Posted by John on 14th August 2009

This is not some sort of challenge for crackers with too much time on their hands.  But in installing all of this good WordPress stuff, I’ve been trying to make it not only quick and functional, but relatively secure.

I’ll detail some of the steps, and come back and update this as I go.

PhpMyAdmin. Pretty essential.

WordPress latest code, to begin your install.  Of course!



http://codex.wordpress.org/Hardening_WordPress before you actually install anything?  Please.

WordPress › Free WordPress Themes to make it look purty, and whatnot.

There are tons and tons (literally, if each pages was only an “ounce”) of things about WP out there. http://www.marketing.fm/2009/08/02/great-wordpress-plugins-i-use/ etc.

It’s amazing enough that there are things like Camps for this http://central.wordcamp.org/

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online backup for your computer

Posted by John on 14th August 2009

This is something I am certainly checking out.  I have terabytes on the home NAS (I know, geek) so it’s not really feasible to back up all of my data this way (quick bunny trail : high speed @ home is generally not so high speed, on the upload side; 15 mbps DSL is only that under optimal conditions; good, but not that good – beats 110 baud though!)

I’m learning there’s more out there than “tech methods” like rsync over ssh, or using 7zip to split files up to store in email, or using GPG to encrypt and chunk things over to a 25 gig free Skydrive account. http://www.gnupg.org/ etc. to encrypt files and store them off-site at https://skydrive.live.com/

I’ve been trial (15 day) testing Carbonite a bit ; c.f. http://www.tomkirkham.com/node/109 as well as beta testing Acronis True Image home 2010, which has online backup as an option within the program.  Both of these programs seem to run just fine under Windows 7, the 64 bit variety.

One comparison is out there at http://www.techsupportalert.com/content/best-free-online-backup-sites.htm for free sites.  More to come on this topic, as I think storing things on the Cloud, encrypted by you before it heads that way, is going to be the next “wave of the future”.

It sure is a good idea to have your wordpress backed up fully. http://www.databasesandlife.com/regular-automated-backup-of-wordpress-blog/ I can tell you what happens when it breaks, and isn’t backed up properly in all areas (files and DB).

P.S. Plug for 7zip. Not only is it open source, it has been both quicker than winrar in my recent use, as well as compressing significantly better.

Boring background bits, unless you’re ready to nerd on. Pics at the bottom.

My buddy Mike told me about 7zip years ago; Open source, freeware.

Here’s an efficiency test I ran on an .iso file; want to get the smallest files for storing remotely, as it doesn’t take much time to compress things with 8 cores compared to uploading over DSL to Skydrive, etc. This below is the .iso for the beta version of Acronis I’m using (Win7 64 bit compatible, and it has a 50g online backup option of it’s own).

I used the “max compression / solid” options, turned up in both Winrar and 7zip, just as high as they’d go (as if it makes a diff, when either program is done in 10 seconds or less). The results were QUITE different.

D:\>dir AcronisTI-home-2010-beta-restoreMediaW*
Directory of D:\
54,486,602 AcronisTI-home-2010-beta-restoreMediaW.7z
100,663,296 AcronisTI-home-2010-beta-restoreMediaW.iso
91,355,044 AcronisTI-home-2010-beta-restoreMediaW.rar
3 File(s)    246,504,942 bytes
Now, 7z is not quite as "geeky feature broad" as Winrar is, but there's little that I can't do with it I've found.  Just FYI, as the differences are pretty startling.  This becomes a lot more obvious in the charts, since it is chunking up my entire C: partition, and the 100 meg pre-partition from Windows 7, in preparation for a "skydrive fly-by" upload.

BTW, while it doesn’t take nearly as much memory to decompress (which is very good, since most desktops for the moment aren’t carrying 12g of ram) as the gallery pictures  below show, if 7zip says it’s gonna take a lot of memory to compress, I’d listen to it :)

Yessir, so there you go! Charts below, you’ll need to click on each picture twice to get the full sized / potentially readable version.

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