Convenient Linux Printing

One of the reasons I really like Mandriva Linux is that it sets up a lot of Linux applications very nicely out of the box. One of the stellar examples is the way that it sets up CUPS for printing. For instance, when I roam between, home, work, and space, the moment I attach to the network, I knows which printers are there, and those are the ones it tries to print to. I've got CUPS servers in all 3 places that server up a sane default, so I never have to pick a printer, and lpr does it all for me.

One of my nits with Mandiva, is I often can't figure out exactly how it does these things. I figured out that it was using slp for subnet based broadcast (all cups servers with Broadcast enabled send these multicast packets around periodically to self configure with each other), which works fine at home, and at work if I'm wired, but doesn't solve the whole story. The last bit of the puzzle is the use of BrowsePoll in your /etc/cups/cupsd.conf.

BrowsePoll specifies an IP:PORT that cups should try to poll for printers at the same interval as it is sending these slp packets on the network. Adding a couple of entries there, and I never have to think about printer configuration again. 🙂

More fun with RSS, rpm2rss

I just pushed out version 0.2 of rpm2rss, which I need to announce on FreshMeat still.

This is an idea I came up with last month, as I maintain a number of Mandriva RPMs in a number of locations. Honestly, most of the time I just push them out there, and hope other people figure out what I pushed, but that's a bad solution.

All this program does is take a couple of well known CPAN modules, RPM2, XML::RSS, and AppConfig (for config file parsing), and brings them all together, with a nice interface and man page. However, it means I can now run this under cron control on my systems, and not have to think about it any more. An example output feed can be found here. Given that I already have 65 URL hits, and 4 subscriptions to the project on FreshMeat, it seems like other people are interested in it as well.

I still need to get up the website listed in the man page of the package, and remerge in my tuxplus stuff to that, but that should be done today.

Getting things done... one six month old project at a time

Over the weekend I finally got around to actually finishing the openwrt install on my Linksys wrt54gs that I first modified back in June. This means I finally have both 802.11g in the house, and I have traffic shaping on my outbound connection.

While not all the kinks are worked out yet, but moving the router from the living room to the office, and actually putting it in line with my upstream provider, was a huge step forward. Let's see what my next long overdue project is to accomplish...

Science Blog

I've been continually annoyed by the fact that current culture has seemed to replace science with technology in many aspects of life. If you stroll into an airport magazine, for instance, you'll find lots and lots of computer magazines, and will be hard pressed to get a copy of Scientific American.

Online news falls afoul of the same issues. The NY Times Science section is good, at times, but it's RSS feed is aweful. (And yes, I've become one of those people that measures a website's usefulness on the quality of their RSS.) It is ironic that just before I deleted my Science Times feed, I read an article about Science Blogs in it. I'm not sure how much I'm into Science Blogs of yet, but it seems pretty interesting, especially the combined feed.

The Areas of My Expertise


On the way back from Austin, I strolled into the airport bookstore to get a bottle of water, and do my quick check to see if they actually carried any science magazines (the answer was no, per usual, though there were 12 or so gamer magazines there). However, they did have The Areas of My Expertise sitting out front. After reading the cover, and finding a Dr Who reference early on, I was hooked.

The book reads much like America The Book, though it is structured almost exactly like the Old Farmers Almanac. For instance, every chapter starts with a Lycanthropic Transformation Table, explaining time tables and effectiveness during the different sevenths of the moon cycle, and a brief description, including motos, of all 51 (yes 51) states.

I was enthralled for most of the trip back with the book, and laughing out loud, probably disturbing those around me, for the course of the trip. If you are a fan of dry wit and satire, you should definitely pick up this book.

Aaarrrgh... or was it aaaaargh?

I just saw a link to this analysis of internet spellings of Aaarrgh on jwz's blog. It is one of those fun uses of google, as well as an interesting look at word usage. There is also a fun flash version

When I was working on the Sydney Olympics in 2000, I was responsible for a big part of the "FanMail" delivery to Athletes from the FanMail.olympics.com website (it is long dead, don't bother looking for it). We ended up writing a modified soundex based system, with some other hooks, after doing an analysis of mispellings from the 1998 games.

MHVLUG makes Linux Format!

Last night when my fiance came home, I was quite surprised when she handed me a rather large envelope with the question "Who would have sent you something from Switzerland?". I was equally confused, until I opened it to reveil the latest issue of Linux Format.

The Linux Format folks contacted me and porkchop in November, to get a write up for MHVLUG as their overseas LUG of the month. Originally we thought it was going to be in the December edition, but I'm more than happy with it in the Jan 2006 issue. 🙂 So, go check out your local book store, and pick up MHVLUG in Linux Format. 🙂

A little more progress on TuxPlus

I got a little more progress done on TuxPlus over the weekend, my attempt to build a Linux recording program for the PlusDeck. I stopped being a complete retard, and started using the Device::SerialPort perl module for talking to the serial control port. From that I was able to map out all the RX serial codes from the PlusDeck, all mapped out in TuxPlus::Constants.

I should put together a sample control program, which might actually be enough to release the code. My next major challenge is actually interfacing with sound recording, and ecasound looks like the current best approach there. Though after realizing how bad things sound if the recorder isn't running at realtime priority, I may just have to write a setuid wrapper with a very small communications interface to it.

Exploring and discovering how things are more complicated, with a focus on climate and software