Connection Problems?

I found this email from my ISP, aka cable company, slightly amusing…

If you ever have trouble connecting to the Internet you might be able to fix it quickly.

  1. Turn off the cable modem, if it has an on/off switch.
  2. Unplug the modem from its power source
  3. Turn off your computer completely. Do not immediately restart the computer. Keep everything off for at least one minute.
  4. Plug the modem back into the power source. (If it has an on/off switch, turn it on)
  5. Restart your computer and try to connect to the Internet.

I know, I’m enough of a techie to know what to do, but what if you have one of those little firewall/router boxes? Or use wifi? Or have some setup that does not involved a single computer plugged directly into a cable modem? I would think that situation is more common than ever before, with most households that have broadband having more than one computer using the connection…

(Of course the real fix is for my ISP to provide more reliable service…)


Discovering Webmin (Again!)

Years ago I tried out Webmin, and it seemed like a neat idea, a web-based app to configure a *nix server. I never got too far past the “neat idea” stage of using it though, until now…

Webmin really impresses! It’s got a lot of great modules, as well as third party modules, and things like Virtualmin for managing virtual hosting, and Usermin which is aimed towards system users. (There’s even a wishlist for future modules.)

Looks like I’ve got a lot of research to do. Luckily there are books available, as well as documentation.


Gmail and FastMail

I got a Gmail account last night, and while I’ve only played with it a for a few minutes so far, it looks like a decent enough webmail app, but it does not impress me like FastMail does. Ok, Gmail is still beta, and I’m sure they will add to it, and refine it, but from a feature standpoint, I think FastMail blows it away…

GMail’s strength is probably in it’s searching capabilities, and the fact that you get 1 gig of space. I’m tempted to backup important files, encrypt them with GUI and then email them to my Gmail account… Of course I’m sure with the processing power of the Google cluster, they could decrypt them before 2038. ;)

Anyway, if you want to see an extremely well done webmail application, take a look at FastMail, because it really is that good.

(Oh, I’m assuming Gmail will be free, or the sponsors/ads will pay for things and the users will get it for free. FastMail does have a free offering, but they also have a $14.95 one-time membership which seems like a great deal, and there are no ads…)


Quoteblog ala Atom

Recently there was much hullabaloo about “quoteblogs” which seem to be defined as a blog that just takes a whole post from another blog and reprints it. (See Quoteblogs vs. Linkblogs and Quoteblogs follow up for background…)

So in a comment to this post by Scoble about the quoteblog, I started to think about how I’d do it, using the data found in Atom feeds… I said:

Well, in Atom feeds, you can create a summary for each post (it’s an optional element.) This summary, which is typically a brief one or two line description of the full post, would be ideal to use in Robert’s situation. Actually, in my own RSS 2.0 feed I use the description element in this way, with the full post in a content:encoded element. I think Atom has an advantage here, because you could easily use the summary if it exists, and if not, create a summary from the content element if that exists… Of course if none of those exist, you can always use the title, which is required in Atom. In RSS I don’t think it’s quite as clear what the description will contain…

(Yes, I just quoted my comment, in full, from Robert’s blog… how’s that for adding to the confusion!)

Anyway, I’m tossing this out there… A mockup of an Experimental Atom Quote Blog.

I’ve grabbed a few Atom feeds I subscribe to, and pretty much did what I outlined above. the data for each post comes from the associated Atom feed. You can pretty easily map the element of each item to it’s corresponding piece in the feed. Granted, this is a small sampling, as I didn’t create working code (yet) I just did some copy/paste work here…

I did attempt to use blockquote and cite properly, and display the copyright if one existed… I think Atom lends itself well to such use. I honestly don’t know about RSS. I’m sure it could be done, but I didn’t feel like it was a worthwhile exercise for me, YMMV


Kill Mork

When last you joined us you learned about Mozilla’s history file, jwz and mork. Well, jwz was not content to just sit by and do nothing, not when Bugzilla is around… So jwz is launching some fireworks

Bugzilla Bug 241438 – please make history.dat be machine-parsable (i.e., not Mork)

Obviously this bug needs more votes… so go vote! I mean, if you care about applications having a simple way to get data out of them instead of locking them behind some insane, difficult to parse format, then go vote…