Posts filed under ‘Uncategorized’

Why if it Works Don’t Fix it Isn’t Good for Computing

If it works don’t fix it.  How often have we heard that in our lives.  From the time we were kids our Mom and Dad would tell us this when as you geeks we would take something apart to figure out how it worked.  They’d say it worked before you took it apart!  Ahh yes it did but we learned!  We learned how to do it to a point and then we messed it up and learned not to do that again.  If it works don’t fix it.  Yet this is something that cleanly does not always apply to computers.  Why?  Well let me tell you a story first:

Went down to my parents house for the holidays and had a grand time, but on the first day I learned just how much my parents don’t really know.  I asked my Dad for the password for his wifi router so I could connect to it, but he did not know.  Now this is because Cisco/Linksys implemented Wifi Protected Setup.  My laptop and my wifes both had trouble connecting until I assigned a WPA password.  WPS attempted to make setup easy, but it actually made it harder than it should be.  Anyway, in resolving the solution, I discovered that my parents still had the default password for the router and one of their machines as being logged into only with the Administrator sign on and they had NO PASSWORD on the account!  When I attempted to explain to them how bad that is, they didn’t care.  They said: if it works don’t fix it and it works boy!  Leave it alone!

Now, you Linux people know why these things are bad.  Now I am going to attempt to explain why this is bad in layman terms.  If it works, don’t fix it doesn’t apply here.  Why?  Well not doing anything is just like not doing regular maintenance on your car.  If you don’t change the oil, your car might blow up.  If you don’t patch your router, some mischievous individual may make your computer a slave to his wishes, not yours.  They don’t even have to be in your house or even on your street.  they can be in your neighbors house or on the other side of the world.  This is why you must always do your maintenance.

What maintenance should home users do?  Well here’s what I suggest to do and when:

Monthly

1. Windows, Mac or Linux System Updates.

2. Antiviral or Spyware Updates.

3. Browser updates if you use something other than Internet Explorer or Safari on Mac OS X.

4. Other program updates.

Bi-Monthly

1. Visit your router’s website to see if a firmware update has been released.  If it has, update it.

Every 90 Days

1. Change Passwords.

Now I know what some will say, but these are my suggestions on how to stay safe.  Some of these might be scary for you, but after you’ve done it once, you whoudl feel more comfortable.  The most onerous one is probably the password changes since everything requires a password.  My suggestion isn’t to use an algorithm, but it helps.  If you just can’t seem to remember your password, I highly suggest writing them down if you are a home user.  In a corporate space, this is a nono, but at home you don’t have a choice unless you want to reset your router again.  Besides, if a stranger is in your home, you have a bigger problem than having your password discovered!  If you are afraid to write it down on paper, I suggest using Keepass which is a multi platform password storage program.

This is just an overview of what a every day Joe should do and it not meant to be a comprehensive guide.  If you or your parents aren’t capable of this, then I highly suggest getting them a iPad since it’s very easy to use and hard to mess up.

January 3, 2011 at 10:08 pm

Radical Read Along Chapter 6 and 7: Depressed, but ended in Hope

This post is a part of my Radical Read Along series.  Linux people, be aware that there will probably only be two more posts at most in this series then it’s back to my normal weird schedule of not posting much! 😉

As I read through these, I had many thoughts.  The first one was how much is enough??  I liked that Platt pointed to the story of the rich man in Matthew 10.  Jesus told this rich guy to sell everything he had and give to the poor and you will have treasure in heaven and then told him to follow him.  Jesus exposed that this man was every attached to his riches and that he must be willing to give them all up to follow him.  Would we be willing to give up our creature comforts??  Would we be willing to go this far?

I don’t consider myself a rich man.  In fact, life is a constant struggle.  Even with the struggles I have, I have more than most people in the world will ever have.  Would I be willing to give up my house, my car, my cellphone, my family….my life?  I struggle with this.  It’s one area of my life that needs to improve.  I need to be more willing to go and lay it all on the line for Christ. (more…)

November 3, 2010 at 8:07 am 1 comment

A word, then a post: My Top Ten Essential Admin Tools for Linux

This post comes from a post that Linc had shared via Facebook on someone’s top ten essential admin tools for Linux.  Linc and I as well do NOT totally agree with this writer.  Some of the things he suggest like Dropbox aren’t even for running on servers.  Sure you CAN run it on a server, but drop box is NOT a backup solution.  Also he ignores MANY of the tools that are really essential.  So, here is MY top ten essential admin tools for Linux: (more…)

October 5, 2010 at 10:10 am

Radical Read Along – Chapter 2 – Giving Your ALL for Him.

I think, for me, Chapter 2 of David Platt’s Radical is really about separating yourself from the world and concentrating on God. I loved the stories about the house Church and the Secret Church.  I love the idea of holding a “secret church” service.  Removing all of the creature comforts of the modern day Church and go into a room without electric or air conditioning and just have your Bible and your fellow Christians and studying about God.  Seriously studying him and concentrating on him and only him.  Makes me just go wow. Then I think of the story of the gospel and how wrong a lot of us get this.  Jesus wasn’t scared of the nails being driven into his palms.  He was scared of having God’s wrath poured out on him for our sins.  Wow….even the son of God was concerned about this to the point of being on his knees praying to God and sweating blood.  What amazes me most is why he even had to go through with this.  It;’s my fault.  It’s all of our faults.  We’re not worthy to enter the kingdom of heaven.  Without him, we can’t get through this life. To cap this weeks reading off, I have to look to my friend and pastor, Rob Faught and his wife Leah.  They told their story of their trip to Belize.  Leah told the story of a mother who traveled 3 hours in the morning on a bus with 3 kids just so they can hear his word.  Now in Belize, it is hot and humid just like Marla’s Cambodia.  They were always drinking bottled water because the water in Belize was not safe for us Americans to drink.  One of the kids asked her for a drink of water and because she was afraid she wouldn’t know when they would get more water, she said no.  They got ready to leave and got in the van to ride back to camp and as they got in the van, the leader of the group asked if anyone needed to get water at the store.  Leah just realized she should have gave this child her water.  Leah and her husband Rob sacrificed so much so they could go and serve God in Belize.  Even as radical as that sounds, you can always go further. (more…)

September 21, 2010 at 12:00 am 3 comments

A New Approach

Hey All!   Long time no post!  I usually post over on Gear Diary more than I do here but I decided this would be the place I talk about this.  What am I talking about??  Well, I was reading through some of Joe “Zonker” Brockmeier’s blog and came across a post that directed to a post on Linux Mag about the Party of Gno.  In this article, he specifically points out negative campaigns like the Defective by Design campaign against DRM and the Windows 7 Sins campaign that are both done by the Free Software Foundation.

First, before I share my opinion, I want to state that I support Free Software 100 percent.  Now that I have that clear, I will say this: He’s right.

At SELF, I got into a conversation about my Kindle.  I love my Kindle and I have and do buy books on Amazon for my Kindle.  Yes they have DRM on them.  I see this as acceptable.  Yeah it sucks, but the simple fact is publishers will NOT publish a book with no DRM on it at the current prices.  The publishers and the authors both deserve a piece of the pie.  They both deserve to be paid.  There’s probably nothing I can do to change the publishers to my way of thinking.  What I can do is promote places I can get DRM free content for the Kindle which it indeed supports.  You are not limited in any way to only read and use DRM’d files.   With that said, there are enough dishonest people that would think nothing of putting a DRM free copy of the latest books out there on the web.  I wouldn’t, but they aren’t protecting themselves from me, they are protecting themselves from the pirates who are not affected by the DRM whatsoever.  They are hurting the honest people like me.  The only way to fix this, in my opinion, is to quite whining about things we can’t control and make it easy and possible to manage the device on Linux and support those who do choose to use a Kindle or similar device.  At the same time, we can point users to where they can get DRM free content.  You are not going to get DRM bestsellers so the gnashing and screaming Gno at them is useless.

So, don’t feel guilty about using Ubuntu One, Dropbox, the Amazon Kindle or even older iPods.  They ALL work on Linux.  Promote free software, but don’t deride the people who choose to use a closed program or device.  Support them by saying why yes you CAN sync a iPhone with Linux now.,  You CAN move books on and off your Kindle with Linux.  You CAN put music on your Sansa Fuze with Linux.  Start telling people what Linux CAN do and not what it SHOULDN’T do.

June 17, 2010 at 9:24 am 4 comments

Happy Thanksgiving

Today is going to be a hard day for my family and myself.  My mother in law, Charlotte, passed away on November 24th after a long battle with Breast Cancer.  I lead off my Thanksgiving Day post with this as it is a reason I am thankful to God.  Why?  Because he took her in his arms and relieved her of the pain.  Relieved her of the needles.  Relieved her of the visits to the hospital and healed her.  She is in heaven with God and is very happy.  While I miss her and I always liked spending time with her on holidays such as Thanksgiving, it would be very selfish of me to want to keep her in this world.   Thank you God for taking Charlotte to be one of your Angels.

Next, I am thankful for my wonderful family.  My wife and my son are the two most important individuals to me after God.  I love them both.  While we may have struggles and Luke may decide he’s going to be a pain in the neck, I still love him and thankful God has let me be his Dad.

I am thankful to all of the members of Grace Ministries man council.  Rob, Brian, Mike Fleming, Mike Musser, Justin, Josh and Pete.  These are all men of God who aren’t perfect but definitely try to be.  They are all guys I enjoy hanging out with.

I am thankful for all of my friends I work with on the web.  Judie Lipsett, Dan Cohen, Amy Zunk, Carly Z, Jessica Fritsche, Travis Ehrlich, Jeff Frants, Larry Greenburg, Douglas Moran, Jason Reese, Michael Anderson and all of the writers and contributers of Gear Diary are all awesome.  Past writers like Doug Goldring  and others are also some of the best people I have ever worked with.

I can’t forget, Pat Davila, Linc Fessenden, Allan Metzler, Dann Washko and Dave Yates and all of the co hosts and guests of the Linux Link Tech Show.  Since joining the Tech Show, I have been able to be a part of something that has been a great gift to the Linux community.  These guys will do almost anything for you and for Open Source software.  I am thankful I am friends with them.

I am thankful for all of the Open Source Developers out there that make the software I use.  I am thankful for these guys and gals who work so tirelessly to make things better for Open Source Software end users.  I wish I had half the energy of just ONE of these developers.

Lastly, I need to make a special thank you to all of those who read this little blog.  I know there’s probably not many of you, but thank you anyway.

November 26, 2009 at 7:45 am

Google Free the CyanogenMod

Ever since I activated my G1, I was in love.  I loved the Android operating system and the Google syncing and everything.  However, I quickly had to do all sorts of memory management because Google/HTC in their infinite wisdom decided you could not write and run applications on the SD card.  So I searched and then came across the CyanogenMod.

Cyanogen and the previous hacker JesusFreke came up with some awesome work.  They conquered installing apps to the SD card and made using my G1 infinitely more usable since now I can put apps on the SD card where there is more room.  Plus they also figured out ways to make the OS more usable and faster.  Life is good and now I should be able to make it until the end of my contract.  Well that ends now.

Cyanogen received a C&D letter from Google.  The CyanogenMod website was pulled down and now you can’t download any of the images.  The reason they say is that Cyanogen was redistributing Google’s apps.  This is true, however he was not altering their apps in his image nor was he building images for phones that did not already include the Google experience apps.  IE, we’d still run these apps if we stuck with the stock firmware and we technically own a license.

Message to Google: HIRE cyanogen.  Have him help you figure out how to make Android better like he has been doing.  Also, don’t squish the the reason most of us went for the Android platform: it’s openness.  We liked Android and our G1’s because we weren’t locked down like we would be if we bought the iPhone.  We could install more apps make our phones do what we wanted.  You were more open than Apple and Microsoft.  Let the community make Android shine!  There are already huge proponents of the G1 that are saying it will be their first….and last Android phone if you keep this is not resolved.

September 26, 2009 at 12:14 am

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