I will smack you like a bad bad donkey, ok?


Posted by pete on November 15th, 2009

Haven’t posted much here lately, but I have a few updates.

Gracie and I have moved up to Leesburg. Contact me if you need the new address.

I have the same 703.942 phone number as before, but if you want another simple way to call me, try that “Call Me” widget on the left. Click on it and enter your name and phone number. Google Voice will call you and me and connect us. FWIW, Google Voice is a good service. If you want an invite, let me know. I have a few invites left.

Finally, speaking of “things on the left,” please notice the “Support” section. There’s a Google link there. If you use this one (it’s tied to my Google Associates account) to make a purchase, I’ll get a small cut of the sale. Using this link would be much appreciated.


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X11 Broken When Connecting with SSH?

Posted by pete on April 14th, 2009

Check the loopback device and see if it’s configured. I had a hell of a problem with one box that wouldn’t display X back to my machine, while its nearly-identically configured partner box would. I eventually discovered that the loopback device on the troublesome box was not configured. I have no idea why it wasn’t — it’s config file was there and all correct, but nonetheless, when I /sbin/ifup-ed the lo device and reconnected with ssh, it worked.

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Posted by pete on March 9th, 2009

Today, Brig, Owen, Gracie, and I became dog owners. Meet Jenny. She’s a very sweet, calm shepherd / hound mix and about a year old.Hello, Jenny! Rub Here She's FierceThere are more pictures here, on Brigid’s Flickr page.   


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Fractured Prune Donuts

Posted by pete on January 11th, 2009

Fractured Prune Logo I’ve been hearing about Fractured Prune Donuts for the past couple months. Everyone who’s talked of them has spoken glowingly. Now that Gracie and I have tried them today, I will join that group.

Holy crap, these are good donuts! Seriously good donuts. They are served hot, much like Crispy Creme, but — to me at least — the cake is much better. Plus, the offer a wide variety of toppings and all kinds of pre-set combinations. Of course, if you want to try a different combination not offered, you’re welcome to do that too.

I can’t stress enough how tasty these donuts are. If there’s one not too far away and you like donuts, you really owe it to yourself to try them.

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A New Collective Noun?

Posted by pete on January 9th, 2009

A troop of gorillas, a murder of crows…. a terror of small children?

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Gracie’s First Steps

Posted by pete on January 4th, 2009

Here’s my dad’s first YouTube upload: a video of Gracie’s first steps.

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WordPress MySQL Character Set Encoding Conversion

Posted by pete on December 21st, 2008

I recently upgraded my WordPress install to the newest, version 2.7. In the process, I started looking at some plugins. One that caught my eye was Joe Tan’s, Flickr Photo Album for WordPress. Off I went to install it. A couple minutes later, I head off to configure it, only to discover that it’s complaining about about the character set encoding the back-end MySQL database uses.

I’m a long-time WordPress user. I’ve been using it since, I believe, pre-1.0 days. Over time, the database schema and database have grown and changed. The cruft has grown. In version 2.2 of WordPress, it became possible to set the character set encoding that WordPress uses. The default is UTF-8. Unfortunately, the default for the database was Latin-1. This could lead to some problems and the Flicker Photo Album for WordPress almost requires that this get fixed up.

Luckily for me — since I know next-to-nothing about character set encoding — Joe also included a link to this page, talking about the database character set. That page, in turn, led to this page, explaining ways to convert. All gung-ho to convert, I follow the SQL and after obtaining the OK of my fellow WordPress users on this system, I planned a little outage for the conversion.

Sadly, the conversion on that page didn’t work. Luckily, I did have a backup and I did find this page. I copied that backup file, fired up vim, did a little “:%s/latin1/utf8/g”, saved, and dropped/created the new database, and inserted the edited backup. After editing the wp-config.php files to include “define(‘DB_CHARSET’, ‘utf8′);”, things are back up and they look happy.

Now, to try out that Flicker Photo Album for WordPress plugin. Good thing I’m on vacation these next couple weeks.

Oh, by the way, the Subversion upgrade option for WordPress rocks.

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Posted by pete on December 3rd, 2008

I saw this ad the other day while watching some live TV (Oh, how the TiVo was missed…). The music in the background sounded familiar, so I looked through my collection and finally found the track. It’s called, “Such Great Heights,” by The Postal Service.
Well, I got a chuckle.

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Two Reasons Why This American Life is so Good

Posted by pete on October 7th, 2008

These two episodes are so very good at explaining some of the complexities of the current economic problems.

The Giant Pool of Money

Another Frightening Show About the Economy

I love This American Life.

The two reporters who did these episodes are doing a new podcast called Planet Money. Give it a listen.

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I (Will) Have Power!

Posted by pete on August 5th, 2008

I’ve been having issues getting a car charger for my 3G iPhone. Turns out, once I did some research, this is a known issue. Score one for the “careful, planned purchasing” approach. Anyway, in my research, I found this blog post. My main problem was not getting enough juice to the device, it was stopping the buzzing. Apparently, the iPhone isn’t shielded correctly and when the car charger and the headphone out / auxiliary input to my stereo are both plugged in, terrible noises abound. According to Carl’s post and other reviews I’ve found online, the Griffin Autopilot should fix that problem. As an added benefit, there’ll be fewer cable to connect to the iPhone and I’ll have external controls, which should make life a bit easier.

Now, to find one in the area that’s not too freaking expensive.

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One Week With An iPhone 3G

Posted by pete on July 21st, 2008

Last Tuesday, I got an iPhone 3G through work to replace my Motorola Q9h. Overall, I’m very happy with it. My biggest complaint would be the battery life. I could do a few more things to squeeze out some more minutes, but because I can usually tether it to my laptop somewhere, it’s not _that_ big of a deal. There are a couple other minor issues: some of the third party apps are a bit crashier than I would like and nobody seems to have a good SSH or network utility app, but I’m sure both of these will work out in a bit.

Even better is the fact that Gracie can use it too. She’ll ask if she can watch a movie or play a game on it and off she’ll go with it. This _never_ could have happened with the Q.


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My Blog, My Memory

Posted by pete on May 8th, 2008

When you need to hot-add a SCSI disk to a Linux server, the following command will get the OS to re-scan the SCSI bus:

echo - - - >/sys/class/scsi_host/host$NUMBER/scan

$NUMBer is usually 0, but if you have more SCSI busses, you need to verify.

For more information on this, check here.

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Well, Look at That

Posted by pete on April 13th, 2008

On Stage

Looks like the DCist likes a picture of mine. I’m pleased that they liked it, but it would have been cool if they added a note to the picture on Flickr, which is how they got it. Still, it’s nice to be surprised by seeing my own picture pop up. Thanks, DCist.

Posted in Photography, Photos | No Comments »

Never Forget

Posted by pete on January 5th, 2008

I’m posting this in the hope that I’ll never waste another few hours trying to fix this problem again. This is probably only of interest to me.When installing Jira and other application that use (pooled?) JDBC connections in Tomcat 5.5 (others?) on the Redhat-based distros (Fedora, RHEL, CentOS…), if you see an error message looking like this…

2008-01-04 23:22:59,963 main WARN [core.entity.transaction.JNDIFactory] [ConnectionFactory.getConnection] Failed to find DataSource named java:comp/env/jdbc/JiraDS in JNDI server with name default. Trying normal database. javax.naming.NamingException: Could not create resource factory instance [Root exception is java.lang.ClassNotFoundException: org.apache.tomcat.dbcp.dbcp.BasicDataSourceFactory]

…the problem is with the distro’s use of the Jakarta Commons version of DBCP and Tomcat’s expectation that the BasicDataSourceFactory class being in Tomcat’s naming-factory-dbcp.jar file. For whatever reason, the distro preferred the Jakarta version.This can be simply solved by adding the following to your JAVA_OPTS environmental variable:


…which is most likely in /etc/sysconfig/tomcat5.To give credit where credit is due, I found most of my info about this problem and the solution here.

May I never waste more time on this problem.

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Posted in Geekery | 2 Comments »


Posted by pete on August 10th, 2007

On a happier note, I just noticed (a month late) that Wired has used one of my pictures in a blog post of theirs. Woot! This is the first time I’ve ever seen one of my pictures used for anything other than display on my Flickr page.

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The End and The Beginning

Posted by pete on August 10th, 2007

Over the past few days, my marriage has quickly unraveled. Honestly, though, it’s been unraveling for a few months, but Sunday was the tipping point. I don’t want to get into the details here, beyond the fact that is was Lisa who decided to end it, but neither of us is completely innocent. If you ask either of us, the amount and location of blame will differ some, but we mostly agree that, in the end, the love — the type of love that should be felt between husband and wife — isn’t there anymore. I firmly believe, that if Lisa were to reconsider her decision, we could get back to what we had with some work. Realistically, though, I don’t think that’ll happen. I need to look forward to this new future and cherish, but not mourn or worship the good stuff that we had. Most importantly, we still love and respect each other as friends and, really, that’s pretty great, since we still need to work together in dealing with Grace. She has been our biggest concern; how can we work through this with minimal damage to her?

I’ve got a lot of anger about the situation, what happened, and how things ended, but this is destructive energy that won’t help anything. I’m trying to find ways to deal with it, while still being constructive. To this end, I have an appointment with a counselor this afternoon. Hopefully, he’ll give me some suggestions on how this can be done. I’ve been keeping most of it in when talking with Lis. This has mostly worked, but every-so-often, something snarky and hurtful slips out. Lis is pretty good at taking it, but it does build up and it does hurt her.

Last night, after an especially nasty spat, we were able to collect ourselves and talk about where we go from here. Neither of us — right now, at least — feels especially pressed to leave. We’re still comfortable around each other, though we need to work out comfortable levels of modesty, touchiness, and personal space. We think that, for the time being, Lis will continue to live with us. She’ll take care of Grace through the summer, continuing to be a stay-at-home-mom. Next month, when G starts her final year of pre-school, Lis will look for a full-time job. Luckily, it looks like my job might allow for a certain level of work-at-home time. I need to talk this over with my boss, but I might be able to take her to school, pick her up, and bring her to daycare while Lis is at work. From daycare, I’ll continue into the office. Lis will pick G up when she’s done with work and bring her home. The money Lis earns will go towards daycare and savings. Unless her new job has outstanding healthcare, she’ll remain on mine for the meantime and I’ll continue to share my finances.

Eventually, Lis will have to move out, as the state of Virginia requires that couples with children must live apart for 12 months before a divorce can be issued. Hopefully, Lis will have enough time to save up enough money for a nice place with plenty of room for both her and Grace. The good news — to me — is that as of at least right now, this room for Grace will be for visits. I’ll have physical custody. We’ll share legal custody. We want to try to arrange things where Lis can have an active role in G’s everyday life, but still have her live primarily with me. For the time being, G and I will continue to live in our house, but I think we’ll eventually want to sell it. (Too many memories of dreams of a now-different future, yadda yadda…)

We’ve discussed the possibility of Grace and me moving out of state, probably to be closer to my family in Arizona. This will probably require a lot of planning as neither of us want to be part-time parents. If we do move, we’ll need to find a way for Lis to regularly — at least twice a month, hopefully — be with Gracie. Either Lis comes to us or, as G gets older, she goes to Lis. I can also see G going out to be with Lis for a month or so around the time her family has their annual trip to North Carolina. We’re also a bit concerned about the Arizona school system compared to the Virginia one. While the disparity isn’t as large as we thought, Arizona’s is still the lesser of the two. Regardless, all of this needs to be researched more as it could have a profound impact on G if done wrong.

Well, OK, most of this could have a profound impact on G if done wrong. Sadly, I’m told it has to be done, but if we can work together, we can try to minimize the chances of that happening.

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Sun Blotted Out?

Posted by pete on July 21st, 2007

If you noticed the sun get blotted out, a frost fall over the land, or darkness everywhere, even during the day, don’t worry. It was only Cheney taking over the presidency while Bush had a colonoscopy.

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Stupendously Ugly

Posted by pete on July 15th, 2007

Sitting here watching the Yankees play the Tampa Bay Devil Rays at Tropicana Field. Wow! With all the beautiful, new stadiums in baseball today, this place stands out and blows a raspberry at them all. It’s stupendously ugly, from the bouncy bouncy outfield to the blotchy, poorly laid artificial grass. I can’t think of a more ugly baseball stadium, can you?

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Resume 2007, V1.0

Posted by pete on June 30th, 2007

Here’s my first attempt at the new resume. It needs some tweaking though. If anyone sees anything they think would be interesting to me, please pass it on. Also, if you see something you think should be changed, please let me know.

Thanks. Hopefully, by this time next week, I’ll be gainfully employed again.

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Here We Go Again

Posted by pete on June 30th, 2007

Alright. This has got to stop. This is the second job in a row where Andy’s been laid off and taken me down with him. About a quarter of the company was let go yesterday with only a paycheck for time worked and a possibility of a week of severance. Not that things are much better for the other 3/4 — the CEO said there’s only a 30% chance of the company making through July. Guess I should deposit that paycheck now, before it bounces and get to finding my resume.

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