Fedora 12 Upgrade Success

All went well with the upgrade to Fedora 12. I have a few tweaks to make for my end, but everything should be as normal for the website again.

Another upgrade - possible INDY outages

Here's the usual upgrade blather:
I will be upgrading the web server over the course of the next couple days. You may notice some downtime, though it is more likely that the upgrade will only cause a single outage of up to an hour tonight. (As always, any outages will not effect email or the blog, as they are hosted externally.)

Now, I'm going to add something more....
With the way things have gone historically with these upgrades, I'm planned and ready for the worst. If the server's out for a few days, don't worry or be surprised. Just wish me luck.

Alright, Fedora 12. Here we go!


Unanticipated Outage!

The cats chewed through some cables. We're trying to get things replaced quickly. Sorry for the unannounced outage.

UPDATE (2009-10-16 20:41:00 MDT): Thanks to the efforts of a close friend, we managed to obtain a 50ft replacement cable and have now rerouted the cable away from curious fangs.


Metric Day 2009

Happy Metric Day, everyone!

Today is October 10th (10/10).

For the next 10 days, I challenge you to acknowledge, observe, and use the International System of Units (aka SI or Metric). I suggest starting small, recognizing fun personal uses for SI which don't disrupt your interaction with others. For example try switching your thermostat to Celsius, observing the km/hr on your vehicle's speedometer, or converting your height to meters and/or your weight to kilograms.

I started like this a few years ago and I've enjoyed using SI ever since. These small steps can be both fun and educational; and, who knows, maybe one of those fun personal uses will make more sense to you than SI and will stick.


Lab Testing Hyper-drive Propulsion

This bit of news [Technology Review] is quite exciting. It's being reported that it may be possible to test and confirm a form "hyper-propulsion" (or "hyper-drive" as it's known in Science Fiction).

This is a big deal. The article summarizes a paper presented by a physicist named Franklin Felber [arXiv.org] suggesting that this technology could be used for space propulsion. I suspect that this same design could be used as the basis for the generation of power as well.

It'll be interesting to see how this develops and if Felber has the chance to give this theory a go in a particle accelerator.


INDY site is back online

That was not fun at all.

I definitely don't feel like reviewing the details of my anguish, so instead I'll candidly encapsulate the experience by saying: "It's a good thing that I run backups as diligently as I do."

Anyway, at this point, everything should be exactly as it was the moment before I took things offline to perform the "simple" upgrade.

Ugh... I'm so glad that's over with.


Possible INDY outages

I will be upgrading the web server over the course of the next couple days. You may notice some downtime, though it is more likely that the upgrade will only cause a single outage of up to an hour tonight. (As always, any outages will not effect email or the blog, as they are hosted externally.)

Here we go!


Everyone deserves clean water

Please take 5 minutes to watch this amazing video about an effort to bring clean drinking water to everyone on the planet.

URL: http://vimeo.com/6202666


Google Reader's "Send to" Feature

Google Reader has added a "Send to" feature which makes it easier to share items with outside services/systems (e.g. Blogger, Facebook, Twitter, etc.).

If you're a Google Reader user and want to try this feature, simply go to the Settings menu, click on Send To, and select the services you want to add beneath each item.

If you're not a Google Reader user, don't worry because - thanks to this feature - you should expect to see alot more people sharing the benefits of their Reader feed with the outside world. In fact, this INDY Blog entry was started with me clicking Send To -> Blogger under the item cited at the end of this post.

via Google Operating System Blog: Google Reader's "Send to" Feature



Within the past week, I have moved much of the underlying code of INDY.CC from XHTML 1.1 [wikipedia] to HTML 5 [wikipedia].

What does this mean to you? Well, if things are done right, you shouldn't really notice any differences, rather features will "just work" and without you needing to download/install random proprietary plug-ins (e.g. Flash or Silverlight).

You will need to take one step though: you need to get yourself a better browser, one which can interpret HTML 5.
Here are the browsers whose current versions can interpret (the most valuable parts of) HTML 5: Firefox, Opera, and Safari. I expect more browsers will step up in the future, though it's no surprise that Microsoft's Internet Explorer isn't on this list.

As an aside, if you use a browser that cannot interpret HTML 5, websites which use it will still load decently in your browser. (You just might have to fight with your computer in order to get what HTML 5 gives naturally.)

So, go find the most recent version of your favorite browser (or pick a real favorite [browse happy] if you claim that IE is your current favorite). I'll be adding more tweaks to INDY which will use HTML 5 as time goes on, for now I recommend that members check out the videos in the Gallery which are using the new HTML 5 video tag.


Earth Day 2009

Please consider carefully how the actions you take today (and everyday) affect the world around you and of future generations. I'm not asking you to live like a dread locked ancient human surveying the savanna, but do ask yourself some questions when you move through your day.

Here are some suggestions:
"Must I really have that item?" "Do I really need to use the car to get there?" "Should I really drive like this?" "Do I really need bottled water when I have fresh water on tap?" "Is it really necessary to print that?" "Can this be used again?" "Can this be fixed?" "Can I open a window to make it more comfortable in here?"

The point is... think of the NEEDS, not the WANTS. Think of your needs, think of the needs of your children, think of the needs of a sustainable future.

Happy Earth Day! And finally, remember to say, "I love the World!"


What does it mean to be free?

The Linux Foundation recently put together a competition to design an ad for the Linux operating system. The winner has now been announced. I think it is wonderful, even beyond the implications of the operating systems' market, the ad asks a very deep question: What does it mean to be free?

URL: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qWEIQIv8zvY


Load times much improved

I made some changes to the INDY server last night and also some very minor alterations to the main INDY website itself. You should see some much faster load times now, compared to yesterday. In fact, it seems to be responding even better than when it was run under the previous ISP.

I should have made these sorts of changes long ago! Enjoy!


ISPs, Upload Speeds, and Web Design

In the interest of saving money, I recently changed Internet Service Providers. I won't name names, but I will say that making the switch cut the cost of internet access in half while only lowering the download speed by 1 Mibps. (Well worth the change!)

Unfortunately, the switch brought with it a very slow upload speed (that which takes what's on my server and gives it to you), dropping from 1.5 Mibps (1500 Kibps) - not that great in the first place - down to 768 Kibps. Ouch!

I formerly rented a rack-mounted server with unbelievable connection speeds (both up and down), at a much higher price. I opted to cut that and "bring the server home" a couple months back. That change didn't really affect my site's performance, as I had already tweaked INDY to be pretty efficient.

I begged and pleaded with the new ISP today to try raise the upload speed, but they have said that they have no way of doing that in my area right now. So, it looks like I may have to take another look at that efficiency, now that I've switched to a different service altogether.

The gist of all of this follows: the site is going to be very VERY slow for a time, while I work out the kinks. Wish me luck!


Temporary Outage

INDY.CC web services will be temporarily offline while I switch Internet Service Providers.

INDY email and blogs will remain on-line, as they are run on the Google Apps platforms. (Thank you, Google!!!)


Google Earth 5 + Flight Sim Easter Egg = Out-of-this-world Flying

Google released version 5 of its world exploring product Google Earth [Google] yesterday. In this newest version, among other things [Google], they released new imagery of the Earth's oceans and an interface allowing you to survey Mars.

In an earlier version of Google Earth, the developers hid a special Flight Simulator feature. I've found it thrilling to be able to fly above the satellite imagery of Google Earth, it adds a certain flare of reality which is sometimes lacking in other simulators.

With the release of Google Earth 5, and its new features, I suddenly had an itch I needed to scratch... How would the Flight Sim interact with these new features?

First, I decided to hop on over to LAX and see how my plane would interact with the newly added water. After flying over to deeper waters in the Pacific, I made a nose dive with the plane. The blue of the ocean was getting closer and closer. Would I crash (as can happen on land)? The moment of truth! No crash. I was underwater. I pulled up and turned about. I could no longer see the sky above me, just the surface of the ocean.

Next, I selected the "Mars" view in Google Earth.... The screen changed, bringing the red planet into view. Zooming in on to its surface, I again started up the Flight Sim. There I was cruising above the Martian landscape. Awesome.

Google Earth 5 + Flight Sim Easter Egg = Plane + Submarine + Spaceship

Thank you, Google Earth Dev Team!

If you'd like to have your own Flight Sim fun in Google Earth, here's the secret: Press Crtl+Alt+A repeatedly until the Flight Sim selection window pops up. Once it does, you'll have the Flight Sim option in your Tools menu from then on. Enjoy!


Groundhog Day 2009

As another Groundhog Day draws to a close, I urge you to take a deep breath as you reflect on the experiences of Life. In these difficult times, it is easy to feel that Winter is never-ending and Spring will always be one more day further away. Remember, though, that it is the warmth from within which helps us to withstand the cold; and if you bundle yourself tightly against the howling winds, sharing your warmth with those around you, you will survive the seemingly endless Winter night.

And when that Spring morning finally comes, you will see that the day has been made brighter by its contrast to the harsh darkness of Winter; and the glow of the sun will feel even warmer as you share in it with those who you hold most dear.

Happy Groundhog Day!