How not to do business.

30 06 2005

I just got spammed by someone using LinkedIn. I’m really getting tired of these things. I don’t like LinkedIn or any of the other ‘contact management’ sites. I have no idea who this guy is, or what his business is, so I visited his site (which I sussed out of his email address – the automated spam from LinkedIn had no contextual information, like, oh, who this idjit was).
His site was one big flash animation with music. That was the last straw. So I wrote him back. Thought I’d share this with the general populace. If you use LinkedIn or other websites that force me to log in to it to give you my contact information – don’t spam me with requests for me to update it for you.

First of all, who -are- you?
And while I’m replying, a few comments…
Your webpage is incredibly annoying. Flash animation and music on a
home page is a mark of someone fairly out of touch with technology and
actual implementation. By making Flash your default page view, you’ve
immediately alienated many users who may go to your site curious about
who are are and what you do. It certainly dissuaded me from doing any
further navigation on your site. When that music started blaring in on
my desktop speakers, I simply closed the window.
If you’d like to show off your prowess in website technologies, design a
site that is portable, well laid out, and useful. Do not play music. I
didn’t come to your site to dance a jig to your catchy little tune. I
came for information, not entertainment.
Furthermore, Linkedin is simply a mechanism for collecting email
addresses in someone elses database. If you have interest in doing
business with me, then ask me. Don’t ask some automated service to spam
me with a request to log into their site and give -them- my information
so you can update your address book.

I don’t expect this guy to Get It, but heck, at least I tried.
Update, an hour later
I got a reply back, arguing that LinkedIn is not a spammer (I don’t know how how else to define a service that sends me commercial email asking me to log into it and give it personal information, even though I did not ask for said services. The fact that someone else asked for it to do this makes it even worse). But the tone was pleasant, and they did include a vCard… which was linked to Plaxo. Another personal-information-archiving website.

Sysadmin tidbit for the day

30 06 2005

While setting up the new host for Homeport, I’m doing a completely new installation of Debian Linux. My preferred mail system is Postfix, which uses the standard pile of configuration files and the like.
One of my beefs with Postfix is it requires all files to be owned by root. I also like having my config files all controlled via RCS so I can revert changes and see who changed what. The problem has been that RCS does not preserve file ownership, so a change to a file changes the ownership of that file to the person who made the change.
Easy, right? Just use ‘sudo’ to make the change. Ah, but this also changes the log message generated when checking the file back into RCS – they always say ‘root’. Hard to keep track of what users are doing when that happens.
Ah, but there’s a little known codicil in the Fabe… I mean sudoers(5) man page. Putting:
Defaults: !set_logname
in the sudoers file means that LOGNAME gets set to the person doing the sudo command, and in thigns like RCS, the log entry shows the actual user, not ‘root’ in the history.


29 06 2005
I am:

“You’re a tax-and-spend liberal democrat. People like you are the reason everyone else votes for guys like Reagan or George W.”

Are You A Republican?

Geeky stuff I didn’t know.

28 06 2005

I’m in the process of deploying a new host for all of Homeport’s services (all the shell accounts, mail, etc etc), since we’re moving in a month. This means setting up a brand new machine in a colo location from scratch.
I’ve chosen the Debian ‘Sarge’ release for my platform, seeing as I run it on my laptop and a few other machines hereabout.
One challenge with this is learning a new directory structure. Under FreeBSD (the OS I’ve been using for most of Homeport’s services), configuration files tend to reside in /usr/local/etc/{service}/{various config files}. /etc/ is only for baseline system configuration files, not add-on apps, etc etc. Debian does things differently, and I found out recently there’s a reason.
Debian adheres to the FHS – the Filesystem Hierarchy Structure, a standards document that defines what directories go where on a specific Unix (or in this case Unix-Like) installation.
I had no idea this document existed, but I’m pleased as punch to see it applied to what many consider the more chaotic of the Linux distributions – Debian. I wonder who else has taken up this standard?

The weekend in review.

26 06 2005

“Believe me, my young friend (said the water rat, solemnly), there is nothing -absolutely nothing-half as much worth doing as simply messing about in boats. Simply messing about. Nothing seems really to matter, that’s the charm of it. Whether you get away or whether you don’t, whether you arrive at your destination or whether you reach somewhere else, or whether you get anywhere at all, you’re always busy, and you never do anything in particular.” (The Wind in the Willows)

Boy ain’t that the truth.

No greater damnation…

24 06 2005

… than a man’s own words.
These are the words of Karl Rove, at a New York Conservative Party get-together. There’s nothing that makes me more nauseous, or underlines the horror that the conservative party represents in our government, than this man’s characterization of Liberalism vs Conservatism.

Conservatives believe in lower taxes; liberals believe in higher taxes. We want few regulations; they want more. Conservatives measure the effectiveness of government programs by results; liberals measure the effectiveness of government programs by inputs. We believe in curbing the size of government; they believe in expanding the size of government. Conservatives believe in making America a less litigious society; liberals believe in making America a more litigious society. We believe in accountability and parental choice in education; they don’t. Conservatives believe in advancing what Pope John Paul II called a “culture of life”; liberals believe there is an absolute unlimited right to abortion.
But perhaps the most important difference between conservatives and liberals can be found in the area of national security. Conservatives saw the savagery of 9/11 and the attacks and prepared for war; liberals saw the savagery of the 9/11 attacks and wanted to prepare indictments and offer therapy and understanding for our attackers. In the wake of 9/11, conservatives believed it was time to unleash the might and power of the United States military against the Taliban; in the wake of 9/11, liberals believed it was time to… submit a petition. I am not joking. Submitting a petition is precisely what did. It was a petition imploring the powers that be” to “use moderation and restraint in responding to the… terrorist attacks against the United States.”
I don’t know about you, but moderation and restraint is not what I felt as I watched the Twin Towers crumble to the earth; a side of the Pentagon destroyed; and almost 3,000 of our fellow citizens perish in flames and rubble.
Moderation and restraint is not what I felt – and moderation and restraint is not what was called for. It was a moment to summon our national will – and to brandish steel.
MoveOn.Org, Michael Moore and Howard Dean may not have agreed with this, but the American people did. Conservatives saw what happened to us on 9/11 and said: we will defeat our enemies. Liberals saw what happened to us and said: we must understand our enemies. Conservatives see the United States as a great nation engaged in a noble cause; liberals see the United States and they see … Nazi concentration camps, Soviet gulags, and the killing fields of Cambodia.
Has there been a more revealing moment this year than when Democratic Senator Richard Durbin, speaking on the Senate floor, compared what Americans had done to prisoners in our control at Guantanamo Bay with what was done by Hitler, Stalin and Pol Pot – three of the most brutal and malevolent figures in the 20th century?
Let me put this in fairly simple terms: Al Jazeera now broadcasts to the region the words of Senator Durbin, certainly putting America’s men and women in uniform in greater danger. No more needs to be said about the motives of liberals.

MIT Weblog Survey. Do it!

24 06 2005

Take the MIT Weblog Survey