Winterpeg

Sari and I are in Winnipeg, visiting her parents. The trip got off to a nice start, with some typical Manitoba weather: -25°C when we landed, and then much colder the next day! We can handle it though. We’re mighty and have socks.

We’ve spent some of the time setting up a computer with a network connection, so that Sari’s parents now have an e-mail address for the first time ever!
sari showing her Mom how to download music

New toy!

I’m writing this from my living room with no cables attached to the computer! I finally went out and got (well, sat in and ordered) a wireless router, after months of waffling on it. It’s nice to have. After spending far too much time wrestling with a defective ethernet cable (which was also the only one long enough to reach over to the bed comfortably), I decided enough was enough, and $20 really isn’t that much money anyway.

A pox on the computer industry…

I complain about the computer industry all the time. Today is no exception. I just helped Philip fix his internet connection after random websites stopped working the other day. Apparently he spent at least an hour on the phone with Sympatico technical support, and the technician there gave up, basically just saying that windows was messed up.

Turns out Sympatico’s DNS servers are just junk, and switching to other servers fixed the problem right away. But why couldn’t the person working at Sympatico figure that out? Even worse, some web searches show that this problem has been occurring intermittently for years now. It’s appalling how tolerant we are of incompetence in this field…

New domain!

I ust finally got around to registering redowl.ca! So you should now be able to reach this site at http://jono.redowl.ca instead of using the longer dyndns.org address.

I can also receive mail at jono@redowl.ca, though I’m still using jonathan.addleman@mail.mcgill.ca as my main address. Having my main e-mail on a not-all-that-stable ADSL line kinda scares me.

Any of the other e-mail addresses hosted here should work with the new domain too.

If it’s not working for you just yet, give it another day or so – I just registered it last night, and sometimes it takes a while to propagate through the net.

No more ~jono

I finally got rid of the cute but silly splash page that used to be at http://jono.redowl.ca. (a copy now lives here) Now my site (that you’re reading right now) takes center stage, so you don’t need to use the ~jono in the URL anymore – it will still work for a at least a while, probably a long while. Ideally, I’d like to stick in a redirect so that anyone using the old URL will automatically get forwarded to the new one, but I haven’t managed to get it to work yet. If anyone has any suggestions, please let me know!

I’m sad to see that image and text vanish though… I’m considering attempting to redesign this site using at least the image, and some red stuff. It is called redowl after all! But I hate white on black text now, so I’ll have to fiddle around.. it’ll be a big job, in any case! We’ll see if it happens.

Update: redirects are working now! I was confused about a few things: first of all, the RewriteBase refers to the directory on disk, not the location visible to http. Also, for the same reason, the option needs to go in a Location directive, not in a Directory directive, since I only want to do any rewriting when the /home/jono/public_html dir is accessed via /~jono, but not when it’s accessed via /. In the end, setting RewriteBase / and then making the RewriteRule change the whole directory name worked – RewriteRule /home/jono/public_html/(.*) /$1 [R]. All makes sense now that I understand how it works. In related news, the pretty permalinks in wordpress are more trouble than they’re worth, since they wreck any relative links in all blog posts. Messy.

Also, rather than moving DocumentRoot to /home/jono/public_html, I left it at /var/www but moved the contents of it into /home/jono/public_html and then made /var/www into a symlink pointing to the other dir. That way debian packages and other programs that expect /var/www to exist and be the DocumentRoot won’t get too confused – they can just dump their files into my home dir via the symlink instead. Hopefully the permissions won’t cause any trouble.

Switched to WordPress

I finally gave in and abandoned bBlog – the software I had been using to run this blog. I really liked it, but development had kind of stalled, (though a successor, loquacity, has picked up where it stopped) and I was getting fed up with the amount of spam I was getting. WordPress is much more widely-used, and there are a million plugins for various forms of spam-blocking.

My main complaints about wordpress so far are fairly minor – there’s way too much pointless javascript on the admin page, for one. The conversion, while tricky, wasn’t nearly as hard as I expected. I was really not looking forward to redoing the themes again, because it took some time to get bBlog to match the look of the rest of the site, but I was pleasantly surprised to find that it wasn’t too hard. Of course, I could reuse a lot of the same css that I had from bBlog, so it went much more quickly. The other big advantage is that WordPress has quite fantastic documentation, while bBlog’s is pretty nonexistent.

Anyway, it’s probably not perfect – I’m sure there are some layout bugs, etc… Please let me know if you see anything amiss!

comment spam

Well, it took a few weeks, but today I got my first barrage of comment spam. All from the same IP, so it it was easy enough to block, but I’m sure there will be more in a little while. Alas.

Nothing got through the moderation system, so no one else would have seen them, but it’s still sad to know that it happens. I’ve heard horror stories about blogs getting thousands of similar spam messages every day – in some ways, it’d be nice to be so popular, but it sure would be a hassle!

Anyone want some Cialis tabs?

Pentax firmware for linux

If you have a Pentax *istDS camera, like me, you might have tried updating to the latest firmware. Unfortunately, it’s only available in a windows executable or a Mac hqx file, so it’s tricky to extract under linux. I’ve got a tarball including the original readme and the .bin itself, so feel free to use that instead.

I used to have this on the painfully disorganized main page here, so I figure it should be added back in, now that that page has been replaced by a blog. I don’t know if anyone’s ever downloaded the thing, (hasn’t happened since I trashed my machine and tossed all my old apache logs, anyway) – Let me know if you used it! In any case, it was a bit of trouble when I tried updating the firmware, so I thought I’d try saving you the time I spent in improving the packaging.

A blog!

I now have a blog. Please treat it kindly…

I spent quite a lot of time searching for software to use for this. Almost just went with livejournal, and then I was on the verge of writing my own from scratch. Then I found bBlog, which appears to be almost exactly what I would have written myself (other than the fact that it works!) I heartily recommend it.

Forgive the feeble layout – still working on incorporating the blog into the rest of the site. A complete reworking may be in order soon, but that’s a lot of work, and work that I’m really not very good at, so it might be a while yet.