File System Organization

October 8, 2008

For some reason, I have a habit of placing all kinds of random files throughout my home directory on my laptop.  Sometimes things end up in ~/Documents, other times ~/Desktop, and still others just in ~.  This is bad.

My desktop, on the other hand, I keep squeaky clean.  On the other hand, I sometimes have related files on my laptop and desktop… so even more filesystem mayhem.

So I think I need a good way to manage my laptop files.  First off, more self discipline.  🙂  Secondly, I’m thinking of a small utility to merge files between two systems.  Perhaps some sort of bi-directional rsync based on modified dates?  Maybe also a method for mapping particular files/directories on one system to the other.  From the days of Windows 9x, I remember something like Windows Briefcase (if that’s what it was called) and it now seems like a decent idea.  Anyone know of this?  If not, maybe it’s time to learn some Glade and pyGTK.


September 15, 2008

This weekend I’m going to be presenting a demo on ssh/gpg (e.g., cryptography and secure communications on Linux) at the Atlanta Linux Festival.  Some of the things I intend to cover include:

  • Basic SSH usage.
  • Public Key Authentication
  • SSH Tunneling
  • SSH Socks Emulation
  • GPG key generation
  • GPG signing and encryption (command-line)
  • Thunderbird integration (enigmail)

If anyone has any input on additional points to be covered or anything of that nature, please drop me a comment here or send me an email at david -at- webgroup -dot- org.

Cross-Platform Photo Tagger

September 11, 2008

I’m apparently looking for the impossible.  I want a cross-platform photo manager/tagger that can support concurrent access to a network share.

Here’s the backstory:
My girlfriend and I occasionally travel and we take a LOT of pictures.  (Hey, digital cameras make it so easy, right?)  In the 4 years we’ve been together, I would say we have ca. 10,000 images.  And they’re all sitting on a shared drive off my desktop.  They’re in directories on a per-trip basis, but not really organized beyond that, so finding a photo involves scrolling through thumbnails: sometimes as many as 1000.  What I’d like to be able to do is access this share and tag the photos and be able to search through the tags.  Seems relatively straightforward, but since my girlfriend uses Windows, it needs to be cross-platform.  And I’d like it if it was (semi) stable if both of us access it at the same time.  I don’t need photo editing, though I’d like to be able to directly open a local photo editor for cropping/other work.

Anyone know of something that meets these requirements?  If nothing can be found, I may end up implementing something in, say, Python, but I don’t like to reinvent the wheel.

A Case of the Mondays

February 4, 2008

It seems like I have been hit with a case of the mondays.  My job (end user tech support at my school) sucks.  I don’t mind helping people — I love it in fact — but I feel like a trained monkey sometimes.  90% of my time is spent resetting passwords.

In any case,  I am usually able to combat this with some of my entertainment sites (see below for the curious), but lately I’ve been looking more for a project to work on.  My learning process is heavily tied to getting something done — I can read a book on Python (or whatever), but for me to understand it, I need a real-world project using it to work on.  No “hello world” application can grab my interest enough.  Perhaps it’s some form of ADD.

So what does this all mean?  I’m becoming restless.  I need a project.  I’ve tried looking into becoming a MOTU, but I’m not sure I fully understand the process (and it’s hard to fix bugs in apps I don’t even use).  Something practical and useful, but not so large as to stretch into months or years.  (At least, I’d like something I can make progress on before months or years.)

Any ideas on ways to combat this crappy boredom?

Read the rest of this entry »

Mythbusters: Yes to Ubuntu, No to Vista

January 29, 2008

Jamie Hyneman of Discovery Channel’s Mythbusters (an awesome show) occasionally writes a bit for Popular Mechanics.  This time he’s talking about Technology Headaches.  One of those headaches, as most of the IT world has seen, is Windows Vista.  His solution? Ubuntu Linux.  Pretty awesome that one of the guys that can build ANYTHING chooses Ubuntu.  Now if only we could get a Ubuntu-powered robot out of him.  🙂

Gutsy is HERE!

October 18, 2007

Ubuntu Linux 7.10, the “Gutsy Gibbon”, has arrived!  The mirrors are being hammered, so please use the torrents if possible.  Downloads are at:  This version of Ubuntu Linux comes with several nice features in addition to the stability that Ubuntu is known for.

  • 3D Desktop Effects
  • Tracker Desktop Search
  • Fast User Switching
  • Dynamic X Configuration (Multi-monitor support, rotation, etc.)
  • True Printer Autoconfiguration
  • NTFS Write Support
  • Encrypted Hard Disk Support
  • Major Ubuntu Server Changes

iPhone Lawsuit: What are they thinking?

October 6, 2007

For anyone who knows me, they know I’m all for Open platforms and open source. So it probably comes as a surprise to hear me supporting Apple when they’re being sued over bricked iPhones. But I am.

When a customer buys an iPhone, they AGREE not to attempt to modify it. The warranty SPECIFICALLY excludes modifications, as does the software EULA. They also agree to a 2-year contract with AT&T.

Apple does not have a monopoly on the smart phone market, so this hardly amounts to an anti-competitive practice. You can buy a Treo, or any number of Windows Mobile devices, or even the upcoming Neo 1973.

These people make a mockery of the American civil courts system. Essentially, they agree to a contract, knowing the terms of the contract, and then they run to the courts asking them to invalidate the contract.  Perhaps some people are just too stupid to own an iPhone.  I hope they get kicked out of the courtroom with nothing but a bill for Apple’s attorneys.