Legal Disclaimer

The opinions stated here in this ‘blog or elsewhere on my web site are my own. Any or all facts (real or imagined) are typically presented from my personal point of view. Furthermore these facts and opinions do not necessarily represent or even agree with those of my family, my employer, the US Government, any other organization, or entity (real or imagined). Any similarity (real or imagined) to other individuals, animals, places, items or concepts is purely coincidental.


NASA Employees Fight Invasive Background Check 

I don't find this too surprising, as I suspect that NASA is much more involved in the "Technical Measures" our country uses in international intelligence then most people realize.
Scientists sue NASA, Caltech over deep new background checks - International Herald Tribune:
It sounds like there was a blanket decision to basically require security clearances for all NASA employees and contractors.

The computer monitor I bought surplus from NASA Goddard Space Flight Center back in about 1998, has a little red plaque that states "CLASSIFIED USE AUTHORIZED". Given the proximity of GSFC and the NSA facilities at Fort Mead and the interruption of NASA TV coverage of shuttle missions during certain strategic international events, I suspect that there are some fiber optic cables linking the two carrying highly classified data. If NASA and NSA are sharing various communication and maybe even computing resources, I can see how such a blanket security decision might get made.

I predict that the government lawyers in the lawsuit will push to have the case dismissed on the grounds that defending against the complaint would require the disclosure of national security information.


Supporting TOR 

Looks like Chris Prillo, the guy behind Lockergnome, is thinking about using TOR.

TOR or VPN? ~ Chris Pirillo:

IMHO, I think that supporting and using TOR is very worthwhile way to promote freedom not only on the Internet, but also in the off line world. In many parts of the world TOR allows users to access information that their government or ISP choose to censor. Take a few minutes and set up your own TOR server.

"information wants to be free" -- Stewart Brand


Re: old laptop & linux 

Barry --

    There are a couple of flavors of Linux that will load and boot off a floppy and PCMCIA Ethernet cards are actually better supported then wireless cards.  So you should be able to boot of the floppy connect to the Internet via the Ethernet, then download and install just about any "distro" [distribution] you want to try.

    There might also be one or more "appliance" distros that could do something useful with your old computers. I'd start by looking at some of the rPath distros.  Perhaps you could mod the laptop case and turn it into a web connected picture frame?

    Linux actually does a decent job with more legacy hardware then you might think, especially if the HW was popular for small servers and/or with the geek crowd. For example Linux grew up on SCSI drives and have very good support for most SCSI devices built in.   Also if you're into tweeking drivers, with Linux you can always write or modify your own drivers. 

    I've got an old 486 file server in a beefy steel case sitting beside my desk waiting to have the new motherboard, processor , power supply, etc. installed. It's so old that it won't boot off the CD without a BIOS upgrade, otherwise it would already be running as my disk back-up server. 

    But like with an old jeep, even with Linux there is a point that the best thing to do with a system is take it to the recycler or post it on Craig's list.


Barry Briggs wrote:
Did I mention this laptop does not have CD, ethernet or USB.  It has an PCMCIA (not cardbus)  I have an ethernet card that goes in the PCMCIA slot.  Normally I load things over the floppy or the ethernet port.  It does not have backup since the battery pack died a long time ago.
This is sounding more and more like a futile, time consuming job.  I have another big computer, but it is even older (P100) and has lots of strange hardware in it - SCSI CD, NEC 4 CD changer, backup tape drive (floppy) 720k 5 1/4 floppy, etc.  It was my web server running tiny until I ran out of disk space and bought a Fry's $300 wonder and moved to Apache.

On 8/22/07, Tom Sayles  wrote:
Barry --

   Laptops in particular tend to have more proprietary hardware and
software, so some of the custom designed devices might not work or be
fully supported.  If you have (or get) a wireless card with good open
source drivers for it, you should be able to set it up for lightweight
web browsing [don't expect to surf youtube] or maybe even as an

   I've also heard of people having success using old laptops as web
server / internet gateway / firewall because they have a small footprint
and built-in back-up power.

   Assuming that the bios supports booting off a CD and that by modern
standards it's memory challenged, my first suggestion would be to try a
Puppy Linux or Damn Small Linux live CD on it.

   Another fun item might be to try the OLPC os on it.

   Tom Sayles

Barry Briggs wrote:
> Tom,
> I have an old (12 years) Sharp laptop that currently has windows 95
> installed.  It would make a good candidate for linux.
> Questions:>
> Do you think there is any chance the old hardware would work with linux.
> If so, which version is my best bet?
> Any luck selling the old Jeep???
> Jon was just here and we took lots of pictures of the places we went:
> Thanks,
> Barry


Fixing Deepest Sender 

I was running into a problem with Deepest Sender not being able to post to my Blogger Blog. After much searching I found a post on that might help. (This post will be a test.)

deepestsender: Can't post to because of a date/time format error:The steps I followed were:
  1. I downloaded a fresh copy of the modified the "deepest sender-0.8.0-firefox+sm.xpi" file from
  2. Dug though the archives and made the replace "var iso8601 =;" with "var iso8601 =;" change to the "atom.js" per the posting.
  3. Saved the file to my desktop and replaced the one in the archives. This also involved saving a copy of the deepestsender.jar file to my desktop to update the "deepest sender-0.8.0-firefox+sm.xpi" file.
  4. I also updated the version number in both the install.rdf and install.js files to append my initials, aka 0.8.0-TJS.
  5. I uninstalled deepest sender 0.8.0 and restarted firefox.
  6. I dragged the updated deepest sender-0.8.0-firefox+sm.xpi file from my desktop to the firefox address bar, reinstalled and restarted firefox.
  7. I deleted my blogger account from deepest sender and readded it with my blog's url as the posting url.
And it now seems to be working again!!!
My fixed xpi file is here.
Also it looks like the fix was made in the CVS source at, so it should be in the next official release.


Fixing F-Spot exporting to Flickr 

I was having trouble after some Ubuntu update/upgrade earlier this year when I tried to export photos from F-Spot to my Flickr account. When the problem first cropped up my Google searches didn't turn up a solution. But now that I'm back from Nationals, I again looked into fixing the problem and found the following.

Re: Error while trying to auth flickr,:
It took a little more searching to figure out that the "/desktop/gnome/url-handlers/http/" was a gnome key and that I needed to use the gconf-editor to up date the keys. But I was able to fix the problem.

Geek Jeep For Sale! 

It's time to get rid of my white 1992 Jeep Cherokee.
it's posted on Craig's List.

I'd like to sell it really cheep [<$100] to someone local who wants various parts off it and has the space to store it and will let me come and pull a few parts off it now and then.

If you're only interested in specific parts please leave a comment here, and your include contact information.


Vaulting in Denver 

The trip from Washington was uneventful. All are well following practices in Ft. Lupton on Sunday. We will move the horses, starting this afternoon with Storm and Joey, over to the National Western complex. Tuesday and Wednesday morning are practice and setup days. The "Para-Nationals" in on Wednesday with competition starting on Thursday and running through Sunday.