timetrap

Almost Army Proof.




Diveinto Python

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Well it looks like this blog may be turning into a python blog . . .

I found a great book on learning python online. The book is called Dive into Python. I just downloaded it and I am sure it will make an awesome starting point to learn python.

You can download it from here:

HTML
PDF
M$ WORD (97)
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Last post about python for today (I swear!)

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My final question about python, "Is this a 'Real' programing language, or just a scripting language?" Well, come to find out the bittorrent protocol was written in python.

From: onlamp.com

"'That's the goal: to make it just work,' says Bram Cohen. 'There is a lot of technical magic going on under the hood, but as an end user experience, I'm a firm believer that the interface should be that ,it just works.'

That technical magic is implemented in Python and it's open source."


Also be sure to check out pyro if you want to implement network communications in python.


More python

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Both Battlefield 2 and Civ IV use python . . .

BF2
Civ IV

Both sites contain a brief intro on python, and lots of examples + module definitions for each game.

For a more comprehensive list of org's using python go here.
Great stuff.


Python

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Python, on wiki
Instant python
py2exe(convert your new python app to an .exe)

What the hell is this python thing? Well "Python is an interpreted, interactive, object-oriented programming language." But the greatest thing about python is how easy and fast it is to write code:

Here is an example on how to square a number in python:



That's it . . .
Now compair this to Java:



Hmm . . .


Drunk animatronic Santa

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No seriously . . . from hackaday
"Reader [Josh McCormick] hacked this awesomely drunk animatronic Santa. Here’s a cached video link. He purchased the 5 foot tall singing and dancing Santa Claus at Walmart for $50 with the intention of modifying it for an art show. Once he got it home he began tearing it down. He found the brains of the device in the left foot (just like Santa!). The motion control is all analog and there is a hidden potentiometer that controls the dancing rate (jigginess). Josh used a BS2P40 Parallax BASIC Stamp for the digital control of the device and the sound samples were stored on a Quadravox QV306M4. To get the movements in sync, Josh recorded the performance as the sound clip was being played back. The movements were stored on a 24LC515 EEPROM. With some last minute work he got it to the show on time, but it unfortunately broke during exhibition and he did not win. There should be some consolation in the fact that it is on the internet now and will be seen by thousands of people instead of a handful."

Links:
Santa you are so drunk! (video)
Santa-how-to(not for the weak hearted)


LCD's for everyone!!

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LCD's rock!
LCD Forums
LCD Gallery
Buy the whole LCD Kit

pinouts.ru is an awesome resource for every one who wants to make a cable or connector. They have everything from RJ45 - proprietary cell phone connector diagrams.

Speaking of cell phones and LCDs . . .
Use an old cell phone LCD on your next project! [link]


My new favorite web site

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SparkFun
Wow what a great site, lots and lots of different parts to put together. Bluetooth modules, IR transmiters and recievers, mp3 player boards, 2.4GHz anntennas, GPS modules . . . God, I could blow up the whole world . . . I can't wait to get my cold heat sodder pro!


Top 10 System Administrator Truths

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#1 – Users Lie

Oh yes, they do. Don’t think you’re immune either. Have you ever been on a tech support call, convinced that you know the problem and the guy on the phone says something like “Would you put in the recovery CD, restart, and scan your memory?” “Oh, I’ve tried that,” you say with eyes rolling. Believe it or not, sometimes we crazy admin peeps suggest these fixes because they work. When a user is protesting my assessment, the best is to politely insist them to do what was asked until the doing is done.

#2 – Email is the Lifeblood of Non-Techies [OMG, so true . . .]

I love my non-techie bretheren—I mean, how else would I know what happened on the OC and Gilmore Girls?—but at the end of the day, email is #1 in their book. Now a lot of it is business related, and certainly that shouldn’t be taken lightly, but most likely they were waiting on a warm, fuzzy message from their daughter or sister and really needed their email back up ASAP (“I’m waiting on a proposal!” they screech — see #1)

#3 – Printers Suck [He's reading my mind]

Ever had to clean a laser or, God forbid, an inkjet printer? It’s like stabbing yourself in the eye. It’s not just the grime either—it’s the fallacy that a little chunk of ink could make the machine just stop working. 90% of the time (or better), this isn’t the case (instead, check the fuser/print heads). In terms of network troubles, HPs Jetdirect cards have a pretty solid reputation of failing every few years, so expect to shell out $200+ for those on a semi-regular basis, depending on what kind of printers you run in your office. For those with network cards integrated into the printer mainboard—what were you thinking?

#4 – Cleanliness is Godliness

Ever open up a PC and see the Ghost Of Dust Bunny’s Past in there? It’s scary stuff, I tell you. I’ve seen some PCs begin to lock up “for absolutely no reason” while the innards tell you different. Sure Peggy in Accounting wasn’t stuffing her machine full of cloth, but that blanket she keeps at her feet will slowly shed and the PC fans suck that stuff right up. When you’re completely stumped, make sure there isn’t something inside gunking up the works.

#5 – Backups are Crucial

This needs to be said. I’ve been caught with my pants down on this one a few times myself. Backup, Backup, Backup! Nothing (and I mean nothing) will bite you in the ass like a piss-poor backup schema. If your server dies right now as you read this post, what are you going to do about it? Do you know where the install discs are, do you have a configuration backup, do you know who to contact regarding tech support on that box? If not, you need to get your act together before you have a disaster and a lot of excuses and apologies following it. I use Retrospect at my job and consider it better than Backup Exec. It has amazing Macintosh support and is cheaper too.

#6 – Switches and Hubs (Usually) Die One Port At A Time

You can spend hours tracking down a bad network card or cable just to figure out that a port in a switch has died. You’re pinging and pinging and looking, the lights are on but there’s nobody home. The trick here is to know that a single port doesn’t spell the end of the hardware, quite the contrary. Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater. If a port does go out, that hub or switch may work for years without another outage, but do be sure to stuff an RJ45 connector in that bad port so you don’t forget (and chase down phantom problems) in the future.

#7 – No One Ever Got Fired For Buying Microsoft

So sad but so true. This old saying used to reference IBM, but oh how times have changed. Linux may be powerful, but the command prompt and configuration files and filesystem obscurity will just as soon get you a pink slip if something goes wrong and no one knows how to fix it but yourself. Even so, with as much stupid crap as we admins have to put up with on a daily basis, configuring some of the ‘high end’ Microsoft software is enough to drive you insane. Ever tried installing Exchange Server or, worse, installing Exchange Server and migrating a 5.5 install to Exchange 2000? I feel your pain, oh how I feel your pain.

#8 – Politeness > Brevity

You can come up with all sorts of analogies for this one. You’ll get more bees with honey, a spoonful of sugar, etc. But generally, you probably have very little day-to-day contact with end users. This means that when you do finally get to speak to one of those souls fortunate enough to login to your domain (both figuratively and literally), you should be sure to be as polite as possible about it. Even if the network is down. Even if the server is having weird, irrational problems. Use please, thank you, I’m sorry, and don’t be too proud to apologize or ‘make nice’ with those who may ultimately influence your career path down the line. The peon you insult today with a “I sent an email about this, do you not check your own email?” could very well climb the corporate ladder and let your rude ass go in a few years. Mind your manners, peeps.

# 9 – Know Your Needs

This one could also be called “Learn Linux.” Many admins get wooed into the idea that “managed solutions” are always the correct ones. A web interface on a switch is cute, but rarely useful. A huge Cisco router may not always be necessary, sometimes a ‘lo-fi’ approach is best. When you want a spam solution, before looking at $5,000 servers and huge licensing fees for Windows Server software take a look at one of those old ‘junk’ PCs you have in the closet, download your favorite distro of Linux, and install procmail and spamassassin. You (and your budget) will thank me later.

#10 – The Holy Grail of Tech Support

…is the reboot. Rebooting can cure ailments of all sorts, can stop network troubles, crashing computers, find missing documents, and rescue cats in trees. System admins all over the world have, by and large, trained their users to reboot before even calling support. I mean, when’s the last time you didn’t reboot to see if it cured a problem? If you’re not, then you’re either stubborn or you’re an admin who knows better. Rebooting doesn’t cure all ailments, but it cures so many of them it’s hard to not throw out a “Can you reboot for me?” to the end user when they call with some off-the-wall issue. Use and abuse as necessary.


Dumb math joke for the year

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"A mathematician is a device for turning coffee into theorems"
-- P. Erdos



"The Bible is an invaluable collection of sacred ancient texts, written and assembled over several hundreds of years by numerous authors. These texts were written to particular people living at a definite time and place who shared common experiences and knowledge.

By studying similar literature that precedes and follows the biblical writings chronologically, students of the Bible are better prepared to discover the intended meaning. "


Read yourself some of the Noncanonical Literature here.


Passwords of the world unite!

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While lurking on the slashdot comment boards I found a great password auditing scheme . . .

"This is always a fun game. I won't say what site it's for, but it is adult. This is the top 20 from 600,000 expired accounts. Checking the top 1000 common passwords, I don't see a single strong one. I know, it shouldn't, since I'm grouping by count. I suspect this list will apply almost everywhere in very similar ratio's.

SELECT COUNT(pass) AS count, pass
FROM `users`
WHERE expired = 1
GROUP BY pass
ORDER BY count DESC

| count | PASSWORD |
| 1322 | password |
| 994 | 123456 |
| 824 | 12345 |
| 569 | harley |
| 536 | 696969 |
| 434 | mustang |
| 385 | qwerty |
| 355 | baseball |
| 307 | football |
| 305 | hunter |
| 305 | letmein |
| 296 | shadow |
| 294 | pussy |
| 279 | maggie |
| 276 | monkey |
| 265 | golfer |
| 260 | buster |
| 260 | 12345678 |
| 255 | bandit |
| 241 | nascar |

When a site password is compromised, the system automagically sets a strong password, and notifies the user. They get rather upset about that. I tell them, "You should have used a good password to start with." We will let them change it back to something else, but we won't let them use anything easy."



Also if you check out cirt.net, specifically this page you can find out the default passwords for over 314 vendors . . . And here is a list of defaults for applications.

Done and done.


Bell South Stirkes Again

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One more reason to set up your own wifi hotspot . . .

from: slashdot

"Shortly after learning of the New Orleans plan for free city-wide wireless internet, Bellsouth Corp. withdrew an offer to donate a damaged building to be used for police headquarters. According to the Washington Post, 'Bill Oliver, angrily rescinded the offer of the building in a conversation with New Orleans homeland security director Terry Ebbert.'"[link]



from:alt+ctrl+del


Wireless LAN Frequency Chart

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Wireless Community Networks

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Slashdot has recently started posting a lot on news concerning the telecom carriers, and their plot to lock down the internet so they can make as much money as possible.
first they want to charge by port number [Link]
Now they want to charge individual companies for the "privilege" of faster load times.[Link]
Right now the load time is handled by the amount of bandwidth that they pay for. But under this new plan Bell South wants to charge extra for "priority". This is what the internet as a business is going to, toll charges for everything.

A packet is a packet. Get off my back.

These companies are really starting to push their luck . . .

It makes me glad when I see projects like;

wetnet
WCN(Wireless Community Networks)
Metrix Comm
NoCat
Personal Telco
Wireless Commons Manifesto

A lot of these projects begin to remind me of the first 20 - 30 years of HAM operators . . . People using technology to support the community (instead of taking from the community).


"The SLUg that Could" or "The NSLU2 and You"

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I have been doing some research on making a cheap NAS(network attached storage) box capable of sharing up to 1TB(1,000 gigabytes) of storage. After a little research and some googling I decided on the NSLU2:

It has a low power consumption (1.5W) and is able to share over a network connection(through two USB ports) two hard drives (500GB each).
But the fun doesn't stop there. The NSLU2 (affectionately know as the "SLUg") runs linux, and runs it well.

These sites are dedicated to hacking the SLUg:
info on the NTFS update(this is a must for people who do not want to reformat)
nslu2-linux.org
batbox.org
Tom's Networking
Adding an iTunes server

All these great opportunities and still only $80.

And for all of you wannabe linksys hackers check out linksysinfo.org

Or if you have an older computer and just want to make it into a NAS go and check out Server Elements it has free NAS OS solutions ranging from a bootable floppy to a NASLite installable OS.


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