Two good deeds

Well, I did the right thing today -- twice. Damn right I'm bragging.

First off, it turns out that the FreeBSD Foundation has run into a (good!) problem: its donations have been too big. In order to keep its US charitable status, it needs to have two-thirds of its donations be relatively small. Due to a couple of big donations, this ratio is a little out of whack at the moment, and they need a bunch of small donations.

Welp, I've been administering FreeBSD systems for a living for...well, I was gonna say four years, but it's more like two and a half or three. I've been working on them for four, though; my rent and food has been paid in large part because of the generosity of the people who put together FreeBSD. A donation went off in short order.

Then I remembered that I've been meaning to join the Free Software Foundation for a while now. The motivation is the same: I've been paying my bills for a long time now (and enjoying myself immensely in the process) because of the generosity of Free-as-in-Freedom software people: Stallman, Torvalds, Wall, and a zillion others. I have a hard time imagining what I'd be doing now without Free software; I suspect that, if I was lucky, I'd be working as a grocery store manager right now. So: off to the FSF website to sign up for an associate membership.

And what did I find but two, count 'em TWO cool things:

  1. If you refer three people to the FSF for associate memberships, RMS or Eben Moglen will record a message for you, suitable for voicemail, Hallowe'en or impressing the ladies. I did a quick search on Google, but couldn't find anyone with the link...damn shame. Better than a free iPod, cooler than a CmdrTaco TiVo -- join the FSF and get RMS to say "All Hail Liddy!"

  2. The FSF is looking for a senior sysadmin. God, that'd be cool. Decent enough pay (no, it's not the sort of job you take because of the money, but it's nice to think about), all the Free software you can handle, and an IBM Thinkpad to run it on. Of course, I think I'd have some 'plainin' to do about the laptop I'm writing this on...and, of course, it would mean living in the US. Frankly, that scares the crap out of me these days. Goddamned PATRIOT Act...

In other news, work continues apace. We're losing two coop students and gaining one, gaining another full-time person, and I'm still trying to get my RAID array -- credit app is with the boss, and after that's done the order'll finally go in.

Rough guess (wild hope) at this point is that it'll be in my hands in mid-January, which won't be a moment too soon. There's a new Linux server I'm setting up that I'm desperately hoping won't have problems due to proprietary kernel modules in the software I'm installing. (I'm just writing myself further and further out of that job, aren't I?)

And I'm wondering if the simplest way to get Nagios to make sure the right machines are exporting the right filesystems is to check if amd is mounting them correctly. (No matter whether the machine or amd fails, something needs to be fixed.) Or maybe I just need to figure out the right wrapper for showmount -e.)

On the spam front: good god, what a smoking hole Movable Type is turning out to be. First there were the license changes, then the comment spammers (who seem to be posting a lot more aggressive to MT than to WordPress)...Of course, comment spam affects all blogs, not just MT. Still, this whole idea of rebuilding static pages every time the stars move seems to be causing them a lot of trouble. (Yep, that last sentence was pure FUD. Or bullshit.) And okay, no, I don't use MT, so what precisely is my beef?

As I'm not going to put up, I should shut up. I still have to upgrade WP -- though according to this posting, there are still lots of XSS issues left unfixed. I'm also upgrading PHP, and I should probably use ApacheToolbox to do that automagically, rather than periodically editing my own Makefile.

The release party for Where Are They Coming From? came off JUST FINE, thank you. EVERYONE was there. Top Stars include Topo, Phil Knight and Mos Def, fresh from the set of HHGTTG. Uh huh.

Further thoughts on the MySQL + GPhoto2 thing: gphoto2 does have the ability to pipe to STDOUT, which I don't think I knew...maybe it won't be as much work to insert directly into a database as I thought. Might even be able to do it as a Perl script.

Finally: what a gorgeous day. It's downtown Vancouver on the back steps of the Art Gallery, it's sunny (in December, too) and just cold enough to make you go "brr". The skater kids are practicing their synchronised jumping -- just in time for the Olympics, I'm sure. A far-too-generous co-worker has handed out chocolate, another has handed out home-made rum and brandy balls, and I'm taking off early to go drinking with a third. Feeling pretty damned good right now.

Update: Too bad Topo's not so great -- fever of 102.8F, as of a couple minutes ago. (Still haven't figured out what that is in Celsius; bad Canuckistanian!) It's down a bit from earlier this afternoon, though, so I'm thinking good things. And these pages say to not worry if it's less than a couple days, so I'm not worrying. Nope.