FreeBSD, Technical

Props to FreeBSD and its USB Support

Link: https://dannyman.toldme.com/2004/05/05/props-to-freebsd-and-its-usb-support/

I spied a pretty Microsoft mouse laying near my desk. It has laser beams. Cool. I swapped it in to my workstation. I was apprehensive at first, because the existing mouse is PS/2, and this new mouse is USB … oh man, this could be a pain in the ass. I even avoided unplugging the PS/2 mouse. Back in 1997 when PS/2 mice were new, I recall a coworker at NCSA being reluctant to reboot FreeBSD so that it would see the PS/2 mouse, which was in those days only probed at boot.

Well, wouldn’t you know, but the new mouse worked right out of the box, so to speak. The USB architecture detects the mouse, then runs the appropriate daemon and hooks it up to /dev/sysmouse, which X is looking at. Everything was great, except the wheel didn’t take. I dropped by the awesome and handy Mouse Wheel Support for X in FreeBSD, edited my usbd.conf, restarted the moused, and everything was groovy.

Yeah, Windows handles mice better, but I’m impressed that FreeBSD did well enough in one of its weak spots – I didn’t have to restart X or nuffin’!


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Limbaugh: Torturing Prisoners is an Acceptable “Good Time” to

Link: https://dannyman.toldme.com/2004/05/07/limbaugh-torturing-prisoners-is-an-acceptable-good-time-torelieve-stress/

Apparently, if you are a political conservative, being a dumb-ass who undermines your nation’s war effort by torturing other human beings is all in a day’s work, or so Rush Limbaugh would have you believe:

“This is no different than what happens at the Skull and Bones initiation and we’re going to ruin people’s lives over it and we’re going to hamper our military effort, and then we are going to really hammer them because they had a good time. You know, these people are being fired at every day. I’m talking about people having a good time, these people, you ever heard of emotional release? You [ever] heard of need to blow some steam off?”

To prove that he just doesn’t get it, he goes on to state:

“This is a pure, media-generated story. I’m not saying it didn’t happen or that the pictures aren’t there, but this is being given more life than the Waco investigation got. It’s almost become an Oklahoma City-type thing.”

Uhm, hello? The bigger point is that it is a big media thing! Not only is fucking with prisoners wrong, not only is it a big deal for us, but it is an even bigger deal on Al Jazeera. The whole point is that we have to win “hearts and minds” and you do it by not being a complete bonehead who takes pictures of your colleagues acting like inhumane jackasses, humiliating subjects of the population you are trying to dissuade from rising up and trying to kill you.

A fraternity prank? Torturing and sexually humiliating Arab men is not the same as cow-tipping! If we refuse to see Arabs as the human beings that they are, then why should they see us as something other than sexually depraved monsters with no moral decency who might as well be destroyed?

There’s a lot of fucking retards in this country.


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Obligatory Abu Ghraib Rant

Link: https://dannyman.toldme.com/2004/05/12/obligatory-abu-ghraib-rant/

I was looking at those pictures yesterday from Abu Ghraib … they are terrible. And while I believe that we have to root out whatever elements of the chain of command are responsible for what happened, I have a hard time accepting the excuses of those little guys … you weren’t schooled in the Geneva Convention? You were forced to smile while doing depraved things to naked men? I like a bit I read somewhere about one guy in the prisons wasn’t willing to do anything the least bit shady unless the party ordering it filed appropriate paperwork.

Ginmar, who is stationed in Iraq, and whose blog is totally worth reading, put it well:

Maybe it’s the idea that these soldiers just weren’t the scary-looking weirdos in the alley we’d like to believe they are. It’s so easy to look at the mob and hang their savagery on their religion, their country, whatever. But when the mob is one of our own, I think it’s important to claim them and confront whatever it was that made them do it.

I’ve heard that Iraqis are sickened by the video of that guy beheading an American. You know, I don’t want people to die, but if the guy is killed for a particular nefarious purpose, and it backfires … I think that guy who lost his head, if it reminds the Iraqis that their partisans are at least as sick and depraved as our confused kids from West Virginia … there is plenty of evil to go around, hopefully a lot of folks can keep it in mind that America is less evil.

We are, aren’t we? I’ve heard as much from Americans and from Arabs.

What is really disgusting … I saw some Republican Congressman saying that the controversy is worse than the act itself, because, after all, these were a bunch of bad guys who may have had blood on their hands. This at the same time that I hear about 80% of Iraqis who are picked up are picked up by accident. Pandering. It is dishonest, it is cheap, it is without honor. The honor lies with Senator John McCain, who said something along the lines of “and I have some personal experience with this, but torturing prisoners never works, they’ll just tell you whatever you want to hear.”

The ruthlessness of our enemies can never excuse our reciprocal depravity, since the reason we are fighting is because we hold ourselves to a higher level of moral expectations than our enemy. Right? I wouldn’t have us win by becoming indistinguishable from that which we sought to replace. Torturing Iraqi’s in Saddam Hussein’s prison … that should have ceased when the statue got pulled down.


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Letters to The Man

Budget.com – Contact Us

Link: https://dannyman.toldme.com/2004/05/19/budgetcom-contact-us/


I made a reservation for a one-day rental, to pick up at Palo Alto at 2pm, and return to SFO at 4pm. I was told that this would cost $30. At the facility, I agreed to another $20 for insurance. “You don’t already have liability insurance?” He prattled something about “piece of mind.” As I don’t want to drive without the state-required liability insurance, and I don’t want to be liable for your vehicle, I agreed to about $20 in insurance.

I received a free upgrade, drove around, filled up the tank, and dropped the car off promptly.

Total charges $78.54. I was figuring I’d be out around $50. What happened?

I note you nailed me for “1 HR and 1 DY” though technically I guess I had the car for “2 HR and 1 DY” .. okay, yeah, whatever. $10.

Then, $3.19 sales tax. Okay …

LDW? $18? What’s that? And PAE/ESP/SLI CHG? $23.90? Which of those are insurance and what insurance am I obligated to get when I rent a car?

As it stands, I can not say that I would use Budget again. I feel as if I have been taken advantage of.


hey say. If anyone wishes to impart some car-renting advice or wisdom, I’m happy to hear. I could publish your message here.




Whatever Became of 1998’s Christmas Bonus?

Link: https://dannyman.toldme.com/2004/05/28/whatever-became-of-1998s-christmas-bonus/

Back in 1998 I took a semester off of school to work at a company called EnterAct. It was the most awesome ISP in Chicago, and I had previously worked there as a technical support intern during the summer of 1996. For Christmas that year, they handed out stock as bonuses. It was kind of a cheat on me and Juan, though, as we were both leaving the company in January – I was returning to finish school, so we’d never see the one year cliff to vest our Christmas bonuses. What fame and fortune was not to be mine!

Well, EnterAct soon after got acquired by 21st Century Cable, which was subsequently acquired by RCN Cable, which my Mom still uses for her cable, telephone, and broadband Internet provider. I read in the Tribune just now that RCN yesterday declared bankruptcy. “Common shareholders are expected to have their equity stakes wiped out, though once RCN emerges from bankruptcy, it said it plans to issue equity warrants to its previous shareholders equal to 2 percent of the newly structured company.”

The closing paragraph of the story hints at what a wild ride it has been, “RCN’s stock price, which climbed to $72 a share on Feb. 8, 2000, closed on Thursday at 15 cents a share.”

As for me, I graduated in May, 1999, with an offer from EnterAct and another from Tellme Networks, which was then a close-lipped startup in California. Tellme’s offer was $3,000 higher, so I went there. When I visited California two weekends ago I quietly inquired and learned that my half-vested shares in that company are worth a decent amount of money, and the people there remain confident that some day they will all find themselves respectably wealthy. More power to ‘m.

By the way, I never heard from Budget. I should work up a list of my corporate endorsements and blacklists sometime. You know, for fun.


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Microsoft’s Priority Update: Laptop De-Nazification

Link: https://dannyman.toldme.com/2004/05/28/microsofts-priority-update-laptop-de-nazification/

Cleaning out the inbox, I find this image to recall:
Windows Automatic Update Dialog Box

Yes, apparently there was a swastika or two found in the reserved areas of a font set that had been converted over from some overseas workers who didn’t know any better. The de-Nazification of my laptop was regarded as a Critical Update for Windows that may have required a system reboot.




The Seattle Library: A View from Two Cities

Link: https://dannyman.toldme.com/2004/05/29/the-seattle-library-a-view-from-two-cities/

Since returning to the middle class at the beginning of this year, I have really started to enjoy reading The New Yorker. Alas, I have to skip over a lot of stuff at the beginning of the magazine about what’s happening in New York, but there’s a lot of good articles and really excellent writing. I really appreciate The New Yorker, even if it makes me a feel a tiny bit provincial in The Second City.

I have read that Chicago has had a long-standing inferiority complex, because despite its own inherent greatness, and its own motto to “make no small plans” it will never be the Great Metropolis that New York City is. On the one hand, a lot of folks dig that its not New York City. We are, after all, midwesterners, who would be lost in such an insanely huge city. Chicago is so large and chaotic as it is … why would we want to make it moreso? But our Civic Leaders – the rich folk, the intelligentsia … the people who could have anything they want, and could live anywhere they want, have to justify settling for America’s Second-Greatest city. So, they have historically taken corrective measures to secure Chicago’s superiority – the World’s Fair and the Columbian Exposition. Our great Museums, most notably the Art Institute … and the ferris wheel at Navy Pier. Tallest Building in the World. Busiest Airport in the World. The title “Windy City” was earned not because of our weather, but from New York City newpapers, reflecting on how much we bragged about our World’s Fair, so long ago.

I was reading The New Yorker today, which had a good article on Seattle’s new library … designed for useability. A bold statement at the beginning of the new century, that could be compared with and contrasted against New York’s own great library, built at the beginning of the last century. The praise was even-handed. There was no jealousy. After all, The New Yorker already lives at the Center of the Universe, it is interesting that one of America’s modest cities should construct something new and innovative.


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Arrr! . . . Avast!
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