Mark Turner : Cuban relations

December 18, 2014 06:09 PM

President Obama caused quite a stir yesterday when he announced the normalization of relations with Cuba. Of course, Republicans quickly went ape-shit at this announcement and are already lining up to oppose it. Being that it’s the President’s constitutional prerogative to conduct foreign affairs, I’m not sure what whiny Congressmembers can do.

As for ditching restrictions on Cuba, I say good riddance! I’ve never understood the continuing economic embargo against Cuba. Yes, Cuba is a communist country but for decades we’ve had no trouble doing business with communist (and nuclear-armed) China. Hell, China actively spies on us, conducts provocative naval maneuvers, and is actively working to diminish the stature of the United States in the Pacific region. I suppose if Cuba had a population of a billion potential consumers like China we be falling all over ourselves to put aside our differences.

The other issue at play here is the hit in stature that Cuban-focused politicians take. For decades, these politicians have drawn their power from the Cuban embargo. They’ve positioned themselves as the gatekeeper to Cuba and if that gate swings wide open their power goes with it. For them, the best interests of Cuba and/or the United States has always taken a back seat to their own interests. Screw ‘em.

I am thrilled that President Obama is taking this step and am thankful that Pope Francis helped shepherd it along. It’s high time we all moved on.

(Cuba and Castro has always been a useful boogey man. Read this stunning transcript in the National Security Archives of Castro’s offer to be a boogey man for LBJ.

Tanner Lovelace : Preparing for a endurance events

December 17, 2014 05:29 PM


For 2015 I’m currently signed up to run my first marathon in April (Raleigh Rock-n-Roll), the Raleigh 70.3 half iron triathlon (May 31) and the Beach2Battleship full iron distance triathlon in October. I will probably also do several smaller races. To make sure I can make it through all these events, I went to see a physical therapist today. I already knew my core muscles were weak but I didn’t realize just how tight they all were. So, I’m going to be working through this for a while until I can get my body back into shape. We’ll see how it goes.

Magnus Hedemark : Patterns for Success – Landing the Job: An Overview

December 16, 2014 04:52 AM

Welcome to my first of what I hope will be many contributions to the Autism community via Autism Daily Newscast. As a high functioning autistic person with a well-established career in the software industry, I expect to research and share with you patterns for success in your career endeavors. While it is frequently a challenge, I’m convinced that success can be yours.

read more

Scott Schulz : Tweet: Blog: Twitterversary – 8 Years…

December 14, 2014 06:21 AM

Blog: Twitterversary – 8 Years

Eric Christensen : How to really screw up TLS

December 12, 2014 04:09 PM

I’ve noticed a few of my favorite websites failing with some odd error from Firefox.

Firefox's Unable to connect securely error messageThe Firefox error message is a bit misleading.  It actually has nothing to do with the website supporting SSL 3.0 but the advanced info is spot on.  The error “ssl_error_no_cypher_overlap” means that the client didn’t offer any ciphers that the server also supports.  Generally when I see this I assume that the server has been setup poorly and only supports unsafe ciphers.  In this case the website only supports the RC4 cipher.  I wondered why I was starting to see a reversal of removing RC4 from so many websites recently (especially since RC4 is very weak and is on the way out).  Apparently these websites all use the F5 load balancer that had a bad implementation of the TLS 1.0 standard causing a POODLE-like vulnerability.

Stepping back for a moment, back in October the POODLE vulnerability hit the streets and a mass exodus from SSL 3.0 happened around the world.  I was happy to see so many people running away from the broken cryptographic protocol and very happy to see the big push to implementing the latest version of TLS, TLS 1.2.  So with SSL 3.0 out of the way and the POODLE vulnerability being squelched why are we seeing problems in TLS 1.0 now?

Well, simply put, F5 load balancers don’t implement TLS 1.0 correctly.  The problem with SSL 3.0 is that the padding format isn’t checked.  Apparently in the F5 devices it’s still a problem in TLS 1.0.  And while the company did offer up patches to fix the issue, some really bad advice has been circulating the Internetz telling people to only support RC4, again.  Sigh.

When RC4 finally dies a fiery death I’ll likely throw a party.  I’m sure I won’t be the only one…

Tarus Balog : OpenNMS 14.0.2 Released

December 11, 2014 10:04 PM

Today we released version 14.0.2 of OpenNMS. It is a recommended upgrade for all OpenNMS 14 users because is addresses a memory leak caused by the version of Vaadin we were using.

Here is a list of all the changes.


  • [NMS-7238] – Citrix Netscaler trap events


  • [NMS-6551] – Syslog Northbounder throws exceptions on certain alarms
  • [NMS-7073] – ICMP availability with custom packet size doesn't work with JNI
  • [NMS-7092] – Node page for a switch or router is unusable with Enhanced Linkd enabled
  • [NMS-7130] – Vaadin applications show Page Not Found error
  • [NMS-7186] – The XML Collector is not storing the proper data for node-level resources
  • [NMS-7187] – The XML Collection Handler is caching the resourceTypes
  • [NMS-7190] – Edit an existing scheduled outage from node's page doesn't work
  • [NMS-7193] – The report "Total Bytes Transferred By Interface" is not working with RRDtool
  • [NMS-7195] – When the DNS name of a discovered node changes, Provisiond doesn't update the node label.
  • [NMS-7218] – Null pointer exception removing services from node
  • [NMS-7227] – Some GWT pages are not working on IE
  • [NMS-7231] – The downtime model never removes the nodes when it is instructed to do it
  • [NMS-7243] – XML collector in JSON mode assumes all element content is String
  • [NMS-7245] – NPE on "manage and unmanage services and interfaces"
  • [NMS-7250] – Clicking On View Node Link Detailed Info Give java.lang.IllegalArgumentException


  • [NMS-7194] – Move the "Add new outage" to the top of the page.
  • [NMS-7230] – The Wallboard app makes OpenNMS unusable after a few days even if it is not used.
  • [NMS-7237] – Mikrotik RouterOS trap definitions

Scott Schulz : Tweet: Four years, and not a day goes by without a memory…

December 11, 2014 12:08 PM

Four years, and not a day goes by without a memory or thought. #tooearly

Tarus Balog : Meeting the J-Team at

December 06, 2014 05:05 PM

This week I was able to visit the Red Hat corporate headquarters in downtown Raleigh for the first time. While I had been on their other campuses in the past, this was my first time in Red Hat Tower, a tall building that they leased from Progress Energy a few years ago to turn into their HQ. While I was using Google Maps to get there (downtown Raleigh has a lot of one way streets that confuse me) it was pretty obvious where I was headed once I turned off the highway and saw the Red Hat logo on the top of a building off in the distance.

I am a huge Red Hat fanboy. First, I love where I live in North Carolina, and this is an NC company. Second, they truly understand open source and are able to help others realize the value it can bring to their business while making money at it. With a market cap greater than US$11.5 billion, this is a real company that is also doing a lot of good (for comparison, note that as I write this CA has a market cap of US$14 billion).

Red Hat gets a lot of disrespect in certain circles because it isn’t headquartered in Silicon Valley. There is a huge “not invented here” complex out west, and I think it is in part because the Valley has been unable to duplicate Red Hat’s success with open source.

When you visit the campus you get a sense of how the idea of open source pervades every aspect of company culture. Open source is about sharing and working together, and that can be applied to many things in addition to software.

Part of that is exemplified in the website I believe it was started in 2010 (prior to that, the URL pointed to Red Hat’s corporate page) as a method for promoting the “open source way“. It is sponsored by Red Hat but does a great job of not being Red Hat centric. This isn’t a marketing platform for Red Hat’s products as much as a platform for marketing the Red Hat philosophy.

Despite being less than an hour away, I don’t get to see the people behind often. I used to write for them pretty regularly in the beginning until time constraints made that harder, but we have a healthy e-mail correspondence. I do run into Jason Hibbets (author of The Foundation for an Open Source City) at conferences, but this was the first time I got to meet almost everyone in person.

The J-Team: Jason Baker, Jeff Mackanic, Jen Wike and Jason Hibbets

I didn’t notice until later that a lot of people I know at Red Hat have names that start with the letter “J” – even the CEO is named Jim.

I ended up spending about two hours there and had a great time talking about technology and open source society. Red Hat looks like a great place to work, and the red fedora is pretty much everywhere.

Thanks to a swag trade with my friend Kevin Sonney many years ago (at least a decade), I have an authentic Red Hat fedora and I learned that it is truly “old skool” due to its having a gold Red Hat logo on the inside. Cool.

I am hoping that my schedule will free up enough in 2015 that I can write for them some more. As I was telling stories, Jason B. or Jen would jump in with “that could be an article”.

In any case, with over 400,000 page views per month at they are obviously doing something right, and it has earned a prominent place in my RSS feed. I look forward to visiting the Red Hat HQ and seeing them again soon.

Scott Schulz : Tweet: Enroute to Bentonville

December 06, 2014 02:16 PM

Enroute to Bentonville

Greg DeKoenigsberg : European friends: speak about Ansible at or FOSDEM!

December 05, 2014 07:30 PM

Are you an Ansible fan and want to talk about the great stuff you’re doing with Ansible, and you’re also planning to be at FOSDEM and/or in Belgium in late January / early February?

Submit a talk! Both have extended their calls for talks until December 10th, 2014 – and both could use more Ansible users, sharing their knowledge and expertise.

It doesn’t have to be a long talk to be useful; some of the most useful talks are when people share what they’ve learned. From novice to expert, all Ansible users have valuable stories to share.

For FOSDEM, you can submit a talk for the configuration management room:

For, you can submit a talk for the Ansible room:

If you submit a talk and it gets accepted, you’ll get a discount to AnsibleFest London, and you’ll get some Ansible swag, and you may also get kinda famous for being an Ansible expert, which never hurts. ;)

If you have any questions, feel free to ask me at

Tarus Balog : Review: The LG G Watch R

December 05, 2014 05:17 PM

This past summer I was lucky enough to be gifted a Samsung Android Wear watch as I don’t always get to play with the new toys. As xkcd pointed out, a lot of people no longer wear watches, but I still do, so I was curious as to what a “smart” watch could do for me.

However, I preferred the look of the round Moto 360 which was going to be released soon versus the Samsung, which was square, so I ended up selling it on eBay. I felt a little bad selling a gift but I rationalized it by earmarking the funds for some sort of Android watch to replace it. I was all set to buy the 360 when LG announced its G Watch R. I loved the way it looked, so that’s what I decided to get. I disagree with the Wired reviewer who prefers the Moto 360 as compared to the G Watch R, as that watch just looks to me like a round slab of glass, but de gustibus non est disputandum.

Having had it for a month now, I find I really like having a watch tied to my phone. I can leave the phone in my pocket and interact with most notices through the watch. Despite my penchant for droning on and on to my three readers, even I would have trouble describing the features of the phone in a post, so I made a little video.

If you view it, the first thing you’ll notice is that I have no future as a hand model. I also did it in one unedited, continuous take, so forgive the pauses. It was really hard to light, since when the watch face switches from dark to light it tended to get washed out, so apologies for the quality.

One of the features I didn’t talk about is the integration with Google Maps. It would be difficult to demo, but when you are using Google Maps, each maneuver is alerted on the watch. It’s pretty cool. It also has a surprisingly good battery life, which seems to be a complaint among smart watch users.

All in all I like having the watch a lot more than I thought I would. It is perfect in social situations where constantly pulling out my phone would be awkward, and I can see the future imagined by Scott Adams where you combine a watch with a smart ring on your other hand to enable gestures and spacial recognition while your phone (or handy or whatever we decide to call it) sits in your pocket.

Greg DeKoenigsberg : Trunk Club. Wow.

December 04, 2014 08:16 PM

I am privileged to be able to visit so many of the Ansible meetups around the world — but rarely am I so privileged as I was last night to attend the Ansible meetup in Chicago.

Dean Strelau and Rick Pollak of Trunk Club invited us to host our inaugural Ansible Chicago meetup at their headquarters in downtown Chicago.  This is often how it happens: a company that uses Ansible volunteers to host a meetup, and gets the benefit of being seen as a technology leader in their community; we get to show the local community how a prominent user puts Ansible to best use. Everybody wins! We’ve done similar meetups in New York, San Francisco, London, and many other cities.  (And maybe yours soon! It’s easy to start your own meetup; take a look.)

Trunk Club, though, was one of the most fascinating yet. For those who aren’t familiar with the business model, check out their site for a detailed description. The short version: they talk to you about what you like, they use business intelligence to help their stylists pick out the best clothes for you, and then they send you a trunk full of clothes they think you’ll like. And then you keep what you like, send back what you don’t, and they charge you appropriately.  Great model, and lots of room in there for IT automation.

Their headquarters, though, was like nothing I’d ever seen. We went up the elevator to the top floor of their building, and it was like an immaculate department store and a swanky bar and a hi-tech startup — all in the same room.  Seriously.  There were racks full of clothes, and customers trying things on with the help of their stylists, and then, literally in the same room, tables full of well-dressed geeks at their workstations, surely working on the software that makes Trunk Club happen.  I should have taken pictures.  Next time I will.

The talk was fun, too. A little bit of intro talk, a little bit of a demo of a pet use case of mine (using Ansible to set up the ELK stack to do Twitter analysis, and hi to our Elasticsearch friends!) and a lot of good pizza and beer and conversation.

Thanks to everyone who came out, and thanks again to Trunk Club for being such great hosts.  Dean says the rooftop will be available for meetups when the weather improves; I can’t wait.

Scott Schulz : Tweet: Monkey poo coffee (Kopi Luwak) and @lucettegrace d…

December 04, 2014 06:47 PM

Monkey poo coffee (Kopi Luwak) and @lucettegrace desserts. Now this is heaven.


Mark Turner : Hallie to appear in HBO documentary

December 04, 2014 01:36 AM

Hallie, Travis, and Nora on the HBO website

Hallie and Travis on the HBO website

Hallie’s climate change work last year with iMatterYouthNC.Org was filmed by HBO as part of a documentary they made about kids and climate change. We found out that documentary is airing Monday, December 15th at 7 PM on HBO. The film, called Saving My Tomorrow, features kids from all over, speaking about their planet. It’s really inspiring!

We don’t know how much of Hallie will appear in the film but the image the producers chose for their HBO webpage is a shot from Hallie’s march through downtown Raleigh, flanked by Travis and Hallie’s friend (and co-organizer), Nora. I’m hopeful we might see Hallie’s speech from the rally but we’re not sure what they used or not.

I’m hoping I can finagle a way to record the film as we don’t have cable. Any assistance out there would be greatly appreciated!

Mark Turner : Questions raised over Queen’s ancestry after DNA test on Richard III’s cousins

December 04, 2014 12:50 AM

Isn’t this interesting.

The bones of the king under the car park have delivered further shocks, 527 years after his death and more than two years after his remains were discovered in Leicester: Richard III was a blue-eyed blond, and the present Queen may not be descended from John of Gaunt and Edward III, the lineage on which the Tudor claim to the throne originated.

Five anonymous living donors, all members of the extended family of the present Duke of Beaufort, who claim descent from both the Plantagenets and Tudors through the children of John of Gaunt, gave DNA samples which should have matched Y chromosomes extracted from Richard’s bones. But none did.

Since Richard’s identity was proved by his mitochondrial DNA, handed down in an unbroken chain through the female line from his sister to two living relatives, the conclusion is stark: there is a break in the claimed line of Beaufort descent, what the scientists described as “a false paternity event”, which may also affect the ancestry of their distant cousins, the Windsors.

via Questions raised over Queen’s ancestry after DNA test on Richard III’s cousins | UK news | The Guardian.

Mark Turner : Putin’s failures leave Russia reeling | MSNBC

December 04, 2014 12:08 AM

Great, quick read on Putin’s failures.

It was poised to be the biggest arms deal ever between a NATO country and Russia. France had a deal worth more than 1 billion euros to deliver a warship to Russia, and given Europe’s economy and the number of jobs involved, French President Francois Hollande really wanted the deal to go forward. But it did not. President Obama urged Hollande to leave Vladimir Putin isolated and the French president agreed, announcing last week that the warship delivery was off “until further notice” in light of Russia’s aggression towards Ukraine. Late yesterday, Putin suffered yet another failure.

“President Vladimir V. Putin said Monday that he would scrap Russia’s South Stream gas pipeline, a grandiose project that was once intended to establish the country’s dominance in southeastern Europe but instead fell victim to Russia’s increasingly toxic relationship with the West.”

The New York Times characterized this as a “rare diplomatic defeat” for Putin, though I’m not sure why. Indeed, diplomatic defeats appear to be the only thing the Russian president has accomplished lately.

via Putin's failures leave Russia reeling | MSNBC.

Mark Turner : Kicking gas

December 03, 2014 05:59 PM

Our Ford Focus Electric

Our Ford Focus Electric

Kelly and I have finally gotten sick of the cars we own. With the Odyssey’s transmission bound to fail again within the next three years, it was time to check out other alternatives. We hate buying cars, though, and can’t stand car payments. Thus, when we buy cars we tend to drive them for a while.

We wanted a car that’s more efficient than the ones we have, so we went to the local Carmax to check out a Prius V (in other words, a Prius wagon). Having taken it around the block, we weren’t impressed with its feel for the road nor its space. As we were deciding whether to leave the lot or not, I noticed that a Ford Focus Electric was parked next to us. I’d only driven an electric vehicle one time before (which ended disastrously), so I thought it might be fun to take the Focus out for a test drive. After a short spin around the neighborhood and I-540, we were hooked. We became the owners of a Focus Electric last week.

Unlike my electric car experience of eight years ago, the Focus has some pickup! We tooled around I-540 with ease, merging into the fast-moving traffic and being able to pass anytime we needed. Plus, it’s super quiet. You get the sound of the tires and wind, with the electric motor making a slight, futuristic whirring sound. It turns out it was much more fun to drive than the Prius.

Coming up to speed with electric cars

Electric cars have come a long way in eight years since I first began looking at them. Back then they were in the realm of hobbyists who were used to being their own mechanic when things went wrong. Owners needed to know quite a bit about the chemistry of batteries and how to properly charge their lead-acid battery packs. Today’s new electric cars have higher-quality, sealed, lithium-ion packs. New electric cars have their chargers built-in whereas old ones did not. Older cars needed induction charging which took quite a while but new cars are connected directly to their power sources. Not to mention that the new “quick charge” technology of the Nissan Leaf and Tesla cars promises to make charging convenient.

So let’s talk about charging. There are many ways to charge your electric car and a lot of buzzwords to decipher. Not to worry, though, because you’ll quickly get the hang of it.

Chargers vs. charging stations

Remember how I said older, home-built electric cars often didn’t have chargers built in? Well, new electric cars have their chargers built in and the car’s charger does all the dirty work of charging and conditioning the battery. The charging station is not a charger, strictly speaking, and this can be confusing newcomers. A charging station is really nothing more than a smart extension cord. What makes it smart is that has safety features built in so that electricity only flows through it when it’s connected to an electric car. It also communicates with the car to monitor the charging process. Commercial charging stations can also bill you for the charge, though many if not most charging stations are happy to give you a free charge. This is especially true at charging stations found at shopping centers.

Not all charging stations are created equal, though, and it’s important to understand the differences.

Level 1 charging
Here in North America, we’ve standardized on using 120 volt AC power in our homes and (most of) businesses. This is usually provided by the familiar wall plug found in every home and office. In electric car parlance, a 120v charger is known as Level 1 charging station. Now, 120v is relatively safe voltage in the home but it’s not enough juice to efficiently charge an electric car. Thus, Level 1 charging is the slowest way to recharge your car, taking 20 hours or more to charge a completely empty battery pack. On the plus side, 120v outlets are ubiquitous: you can almost always find one. They Also, keep in mind that you’ll rarely need to charge a completely empty pack, so you’ll almost never have to wait 20 hours.

Level 2 charging
Because 120v is not an efficient way to move electrons, our power companies combine two channels (called buses) of 120v to provide 240v. Chargers that can provide 240v are known as Level 2 charging stations and are much more efficient at charging. The Nissan Leaf only supports the slower, Level 1 charge, while the Focus Electric can use both Level 1 and Level 2 charging.

The chargers themselves are now built into the vehicles. The Leaf has a 3.3kw charger while the Focus has a 6.6kw charger. Thus, the Focus can charge quite a bit faster than the Leaf when using a Level 2 charging station.

A week of insight

What have we learned after driving it for a week?

It’s fun to drive. I affectionately call the Focus the “spaceship” because of its smooth acceleration and space-age dashboard. Rather than engine noise, one hears a quiet whirring sound from the motor.

It’s economical. I made a quick calculation of the cost of electricity as fuel versus gasoline. In essence, our fuel costs should be one tenth of what they were with gasoline. It should cost less than $.20 a day to drive the Focus Electric. That’s pretty amazing. And no oil changes, ever.

It’s clean. Electric cars don’t leak oil. They don’t produce fumes. Their owners never have to dirty their hands at a gas pump, and if you choose to run one in your garage you won’t keel over from carbon monoxide poisoning because it doesn’t produce any.

It does have a few downsides, however.

The battery packs are big. As an electric car build on a gasoline car frame, the space once available in the gasoline version of the Ford Focus gets taken up by large battery packs. One is under the rear seat and the other takes up most of the trunk.

No spare tire. See above. Ford’s solution is to include a small air pump and patching kit. Fortunately, Ford offers free roadside service. I’ve also sprung for an “aftermarket” product that patches tires. So far we haven’t had to use either solution.

The battery packs are heavy. Ford reinforced the rear shocks on the Focus Electric to compensate, but the car still weighs as much as a minivan. Fortunately, it doesn’t really drive like it.

Air conditioning and heat sap your battery. The HVAC system is powered by the same battery that powers the car’s traction, so when you bump the thermostat you also sap your driving range. This isn’t such a big deal in gas-powered cars. The Focus Electric can “pre-condition” itself while it’s still in the garage and plugged in, though, keeping your battery fresh for the actual driving.

Overall, we’re thrilled with the Focus Electric. Kelly and I fight over who gets to drive it. We’ve not come remotely close to draining it yet, with several trips under our belts. I’ll be sure to post more about it as we progress in our electric car journey, but I can confidently say that it’s time more people caught on to the magic of electric cars!

Tarus Balog : Wow – CA Knows About OpenNMS

December 03, 2014 03:52 PM

While we position OpenNMS to compete with products from giants such as HP, IBM and CA, I had doubts that we were on their radar. But yesterday I saw the following in an article on Network World:

While not quoted, it appears that the CTO of CA dropped the name of our project, so one can only assume he is aware of what we are trying to do.


I do agree with him that network management, especially at scale, is a “freaking hard problem”. Note that we are both using the term “network management” as an umbrella term for managing anything that is connected to the network, which ranges from traditional networking gear such as routers and switches all the way up the stack to applications and mobile devices – Internet of Things style.

It is the main reason we designed OpenNMS as a platform versus an application. It is a requirement that it be flexible enough to meet the unique needs of our users, and that can only be done by writing OpenNMS to be extensible while also automating as much of the work as possible. It is a complex problem.

It made my day that the CTO of a nearly US$14 billion company mentioned our effort. It means we are on the right track. We definitely don’t have the resources of CA but our team is talented and they understand the network management space.

It was also cool to see 451 Research mentioned in the article. I really like those folks, so much so that we just contracted with them. Perhaps we can get more people talking about us.

Kevin Sonney : Bean Soup, the easy way

December 01, 2014 10:36 PM

Winter is upon us, and once more time for some cooking. I discovered I can do an *EASY* pot of bean soup (or just beans and rice) with nearly any kind of dried beans. This is useful with the harvest from Ursula’s garden. I’ll do this three or four times this winter, supplementing with dried beans from the store when ours run out. The fact that I can get really good local chunk bacon is a bonus in this case, because beans and pork, what’s not to love?

Kevin’s Quick Bean Soup

Prep Time : 10-15 mins
Cook Time : 4-6 hours


  • 1-2 cups Dried Beans (can be a single type or a mix)
  • 1/2 to 1 lb chunk bacon
  • 1 medium onion
  • water
  • salt to taste


  • Slow cooker
  • Frying Pan
  • Cutting board
  • Your favorite sharp knife


  1. Place the dried beans in the crock pot
  2. Dice the chunk bacon down to 1/4-1/2 inch cubes.
  3. Roughly chop onion.
  4. Place bacon in hot frying pan
  5. Fry chunks until browned
  6. Add the onions to the pan
  7. Saute bacon and onions until the onions are tender
  8. Pour contents of pan into crock pot (fat and all)
  9. Return pan to heat and deglaze it with about 1 cup water.
  10. Pour the jus from the pan into the beans.
  11. Add a pinch of salt to the crock pot
  12. Add water to the crock pot until about 2-2 1/2 inches above the dry contents and stir
  13. Set on high for 4-6 hours (or 8-10 hours on low), stirring every so often (once an hour, tops).
  14. Serve in a bowl over rice

Warren Myers : assume formlessness – law 48 – #48laws by robert greene

November 27, 2014 01:18 PM

Law 48

By taking a shape, by having a visible plan, you open yourself to attack. Instead of taking a form for your enemy to grasp, keep yourself adaptable and on the move. Accept the fact that nothing is certain and no law is fixed. The best way to protect yourself is to be as fluid and formless as water; never bet on stability or lasting order. Everything changes. –Robert Greene, The 48 Laws of Power (review)

Sun Tzu says the same thing in Chapter 6 of The Art of War:

Provoke him, to know his patterns of movement. Determine his position, to know the ground of death and of life. Probe him, to know where he is strong and where he is weak. The ultimate skill is to take up a position where you are formless.

If you are formless, the most penetrating spies will not be able to discern you, or the wisest counsels will not be able to do calculations against you. With formation, the army achieves victories yet they do not understand how. Everyone knows the formation by which you achieved victory, yet no one knows the formations by which you were able to create victory. Therefore, your strategy for victories in battle is not repetitious, and your formations in response to the enemy are endless.

The army’s formation is like water. The water’s formation avoids the high and rushes to the low. So an army’s formation avoids the strong and rushes to the weak. Water’s formation adapts to the ground when flowing. So then an army’s formation adapts to the enemy to achieve victory. Therefore, an army does not have constant force, or have constant formation.

Those who are able to adapt and change in accord with the enemy and achieve victory are called divine.

Tarus Balog : 2014 Open Source Monitoring Conference

November 26, 2014 10:28 PM

This year I got to return to the Open Source Monitoring Conference hosted by Netways in Nürnberg, Germany.

Netways is one of the sponsors of the Icinga project, and for many years this conference was dedicated to Nagios. It is still pretty Nagios-centric, but now it is focused more on the forks of that project than the project itself. There were presentations on Naemon and Sensu as well as Icinga, and then there are the weirdos (non-check script oriented applications) such as Zabbix and OpenNMS.

I like this conference for a number of reasons. Mainly there really isn’t any other conference dedicated to monitoring, much less one focused on open source. This one brings together pretty much the whole gang. Plus, Netways has a lot of experience in hosting conferences, so it is a nice time: well organized, good food and lots of discussion.

My trip started off with an ominous text from American Airlines telling me that my flight from RDU to DFW was delayed. While flying through DFW is out of the way, it enables me to avoid Heathrow, which is worth the extra time and effort. On the way to the airport I was told my outbound flight was delayed to the point that I wouldn’t be able to make my connection, so I called the airline to ask about options.

With the acquisition by US Airways, I had the option to fly through CLT. That would cut off several hours of the trip and let me ride on an Airbus 330. American flies mainly Boeing equipment, so I was curious to see if the Airbus was any better.

As usual with flights to Europe, you leave late in the evening and arrive early in the morning. Ulf and I settled in for the flight and I was looking forward to meeting up with Ronny when we landed.

The trip was uneventful and we met up with Ronny and took the ICE train from the airport to Nürnberg. The conference is at the Holiday Inn hotel, and with nearly 300 of us there we kind of take over the place. I did think it was funny that on my first trip there the instructions on how to get to the hotel from the train station were not very direct. I found out the reason was that the most direct route takes you by the red light district and I guess they wanted us to avoid that, although I never felt unsafe wandering around the city.

We arrived mid-afternoon and checked in with Daniela to get our badges and other information. She is one of the people who work hard to make sure all attendees have a great time.

I managed to take a short nap and get settled in, and then we met up for dinner. The food at these events is really nice, and I’m always a fan of German beer.

I excused myself after the meal due in part to jet lag and in part due to the fact that I needed to finish my presentation, and I wanted to be ready for the first real day of the conference.

The conference was started by Bernd Erk, who is sort of the master of ceremonies.

He welcomed us and covered some housekeeping issues. The party that night was to be held at a place called Terminal 90, which is actually at the airport. Last time they tried to use buses, but it became pretty hard to organize, so this time they arranged for us to take public transportation via the U-Bahn. After the introduction we then broke into two tracks and I decided to stay to hear Kris Buytaert.

I’ve known Kris through his blog for years now, but this was the first time I got to see him in person. He is probably most famous in my circles for introducing the hashtag #monitoringsucks. Since I use OpenNMS I don’t really agree, but he does raise a number of issues that make monitoring difficult and some of the methods he uses to address them.

The rest of the day saw a number of good presentations. As this conference has a large number of Germans in attendance, a little less than half of the tracks are given in German, but there was also always an English language track at the same time.

One of my favorite talks from the first day was on MQTT, a protocol for monitoring the Internet of Things. It addresses how to deal with devices that might not always be on-line, and was demonstrated via software running on a Raspberry Pi. I especially liked the idea of a “last will and testament” which describes how the device should be treated if it goes offline. I’m certain we’ll be incorporating MQTT into OpenNMS in the future.

Ronny and I missed the subway trip to the restaurant because I discovered a bug in my presentation configuration and it took me a little while to correct it, but I managed to get it done and we just grabbed a taxi. Even though it was in the airport, it was a nice venue and we caught up with Kris and my friend Rihards Olups from Zabbix. I first met Rihards at this conference several years ago and he brought me a couple of presents from Lativa (he lives near Riga). I still have the magnet on my office door.

Ulf, however, wasn’t as pleased to meet them.

We had a lot of fun eating, drinking and talking. The food was good and the staff was attentive. Ulf was much happier with our waitress (so was Ronny):

Since I had to call it an early night because my presentation was the first one on Thursday, a lot of people didn’t. After the restaurant closed they moved to “Checkpoint Jenny” which was right across the street (and under my window) from the hotel. Some were up until 6am.

Needless to say, the crowds were a little lighter for my talk. I think it went well, but next year I might focus more on why you might want to move away from check scripts to something a little more scalable. I did a really cool demo (well, in my mind) about sending events into OpenNMS to monitor the status of scripts running on remote servers, but it probably was hard to understand from a Nagios point of view.

Both Rihards and Kris made it to my talk, and Rihards once again brought gifts. I got a lot of tasty Latvian candy (which is now in the office, my wife ordering me to get it out of the house so it won’t get eaten) as well as a bottle of Black Balsam, a liqueur local to the region.

Rihards spoke after lunch, and most people were mobile by then. I enjoyed his talk and was very impressed to learn that every version of the remote proxy ever written for Zabbix is still supported.

I had to head back to Frankfurt that evening so I could fly home on Friday (my father celebrated his 75th birthday and I didn’t want to miss it) but we did find time to get together for a beer before I left. It was cool to have people from so many different monitoring projects brought together through a love of open source.

Next year the conference is from 16-18 November. I plan to attend and I hope to spend more time in Germany that trip than I had available to me this one.

Tarus Balog : Shameless Promotion

November 26, 2014 08:45 PM

Just a heads up that I have a couple of new websites that aren’t open source or OpenNMS related.

The first is where I plan to put all of the geeky things that really don’t belong here, and because all of the cool kids seem to be getting .io addresses.

The second is which is a blog where I’m trying to make all of the drinks in the seminal Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails book. You might notice a trend in the frequency of posts there versus here (grin).

I figure at least one of my three readers might be interested in such things, but not to worry as I’ll still be providing open source insight and reckless commentary here for your enjoyment.

Scott Schulz : Tweet: Does @NumerousApp silently fail on some pics? Or…

November 26, 2014 08:28 PM

Does @NumerousApp silently fail on some pics? Or does it take awhile for them to show in client? Seems I battled this before…

Scott Schulz : Tweet: Death by chocolate courtesy of @lucettegrace in Ra…

November 26, 2014 07:47 PM

Death by chocolate courtesy of @lucettegrace in Raleigh


Scott Schulz : Tweet: What he wanted to say: “Break the law for five yea…

November 21, 2014 01:09 AM

What he wanted to say: “Break the law for five years without getting caught, and we’ll welcome you.”

Scott Schulz : Tweet: Does the Dumbass in Chief understand the meaning o…

November 21, 2014 01:07 AM

Does the Dumbass in Chief understand the meaning of the word ‘fact’? I think not. Not the word “criminal” either, apparently.

Warren Myers : charge for carry-on luggage

November 20, 2014 02:55 PM

Airlines over the past several years have begun charging for all kinds of things that used to be “free” (they weren’t ever “free”, they just hid the cost in your ticket price).

One of the worst offenders to this list of fees, though, is the inane charge for your first checked bag whereas carry-on baggage is free. Southwest doesn’t charge for your first two checked bags – and other airlines won’t if you have status or book your flight with their branded credit card – which is the model all airlines should use. But they need to add charging for anything for than your FAA-recognized “personal item”.

Why? Because finding overhead bin space for bulky carry-on bags is what slows most boardings to a crawl. And it is what makes most travelers most frustrated when getting on the plane – not in the first or second boarding groups? They’re going to check your bag(s) for you anyway because all the bin space is taken. (Add-in the ridiculous seat pitch, and you can hardly put anything but a small backpack or purse down by your feet anyway.)

My solution: give the first (and maybe second) checked bags away for free. But charge heavily for carry-on baggage that is more than a personal item (ie your laptop case or purse). (I’d allow an exception for items purchased in-airport from the duty-free shops – they can be carried-on free, too.) By “heavily”, I mean at least $50.

And I would eliminate that crazy practice of gate-checking your bag when getting onto a commuter flight: just check the bag and don’t bottleneck the jetway getting on and off for the rest of us who weren’t as narcissistic as to think bringing our roll-aboards onboard was a good idea.

With the TSA  suggesting everyone arrive at least 2 hours before their flight, there is no reason you wouldn’t have time to check your bags. And with the hassle of trying to navigate a crowded terminal dragging your wheelie duffel behind you, everyone should love the idea of just getting it at baggage claim.

“But what about lost bags?” I hear you ask. Lost and misdirected baggage happens. But it’s pretty rare. It’s something that has happened to me the sum total of 3 times in my flying life (the last 18 years, several of which included flying frequently for work). And of those 3 instances, only 1 ended up with the bag going to the wrong airport – each of the other two ended up with the bag arriving before I did.

Frontier Airlines gets it right (almost – on the carry-on aspect they do, but they still charge for checked bags). Mash Southwest’s checked policy with Frontier’s charging for carry-ons, and you would have a worlds-better flight experience.

The other major benefit to this plan: your time going through TSA will be shorter – the fewer bags that have to be scanned, the less time it will take to get through.

Tarus Balog : Can a Service Outage be Fraud?

November 19, 2014 04:11 PM

I’m in Germany for the always excellent Open Source Monitoring Conference (review coming) and I wanted to have data for my mobile phone. At the airport we stopped at a Relay store and bought an Ortel SIM card for 20 euros (well, €19.90). Since Ronny was with me I just let him activate the card (the process was mainly in German) and we got on the train to Nürnberg.

During the two hour trip I must have exhausted the small amount of default data that came with it, and thus began an odyssey that took over 24 hours to get resolved.

First we tried to go to the “Mein Ortel” site, but it was down.

Then, we downloaded the “Mein Ortel” app from Google Play. It loaded but we could never authenticate.

This lasted for hours.

After we had arrived at the hotel, we noticed that the website, at least, had become available. But at any point when we tried to purchase more time we’d get still another error.

They do have a customer service number, but they charge €0.49 per minute to use it. In desperation we called it but they had closed for the day, so there was no resolution to be had on the first night.

The next day we tried, unsuccessfully, to get the web site and the app to work. Finally Ronny called, was put on hold (!) and then told that they were having issues with their payment system. Why a total lack in the ability to accept payments would require so much time to determine that you would have to be put on hold is beyond me, but my guess is that Ortel just wanted to ratchet up a few more euros from me.

At lunch we went in search of another provider. We found a Base store that sold Ortel and Blau SIMs, but we were told that Blau may take up to 24 hours to activate. We then found a Vodafone store but they wanted €45 for a SIM. In the end, we decided to buy an Ortel voucher (the SIM was activated at least) for €15 and with the help of the lady at the Base store managed to get the credit applied, and I should have service for the reminder of my stay.

My question is: isn’t is fraud to take money for a service and then fail to deliver that service? I’m only here for three days and I was without data on my phone for more than a third of the trip, all due to the fact that Ortel can’t be bothered to implement network management.

I’m doubly surprised that this happened in Germany, since they tend to be more strict on these things than most countries.

Yeah, I know “first world problems”, but as someone who is in this country with nearly 300 other professionals to discuss monitoring it seems like Ortel could benefit from sending some people to this conference. As commercial network-services become even more prevalent and important, I do expect to see the implementation of fines for outages.

Anyway, if you are ever offered the option to get mobile service from Ortel, run the other way.

Mark Turner : Bootstraps? What if you don’t even have boots?

November 19, 2014 03:16 AM

A post I made to my Facebook page regarding the minimum wage turned into a pointless discussion about how the poor, lazy SOBs should just get better jobs. Yeah, I know … predictable. I know enough to not fan those flames but I came away from it really wondering what it might take for conservatives who subscribe to that point of view to really grasp what life is like for the working poor. Would spending 24 hours with a struggling single mother help them to see that the poor aren’t lazy? If not that, then what?

There is a force in play in our universe called karma. Those who mock the plight of the poor may one day find themselves in the same predicament. I would hope it wouldn’t come to that but honestly I’m not sure what might open their eyes. How can I help them understand?

Mark Turner : More light rail

November 18, 2014 02:00 PM

NCDOT's Engine 1792, "The City of Raleigh"

NCDOT’s Engine 1792, “The City of Raleigh.” This is heavy rail.

Continuing the spotlight on light rail reporting, today’s editorial in the N&O expressed support for light rail, which is good:

“Transit has been a topic of discussion for so long that advocates of light rail and commuter trains in the Triangle had been on the verge of giving up – on light rail and on the possibility that Wake County residents would be given a chance to vote on a small transit tax, already approved in Orange and Durham counties.

But now light-rail advocates are taking heart with a study of rail lines and crossings in West Raleigh and eastern Cary, with an eye toward the day when there will be light-rail stations and accompanying development.”

I have to make somewhat of a correction myself, as there will indeed be light rail on part of the NCRR corridor between Cary and Raleigh. This is in addition to the “heavy rail” commuter rail service proposed between Cary and Durham on the existing tracks.

The N&O is not alone in throwing the “light rail” terminology around. WRAL had their own story called Wake commissioners lukewarm on light rail:

“Regional transit officials are excited over federal approval on Tuesday to enter project development on a 17-mile light rail system in Durham and Orange counties, but Wake County commissioners remain light on the idea.”

Technically, very few commuter rail systems in America are truly “light rail,” due to the stringent (some say impossibly high) standards the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) imposes on the nation’s rail services. Therefore, with few exceptions (such as a day-night separation passenger and freight traffic) light rail systems require their own tracks. According to the Capital Area Friends of Traffic, we’ll be getting new tracks for our light rail system from Cary to Triangle Town Center mall:

“Phase II: Enhanced Transit Plan

Light Rail Service

Electric trains on new track
Runs 13.9 miles from downtown Cary, through downtown Raleigh, and up to Millbrook Rd.; eventually expanding to NW Cary/Morrisville and up to Triangle Town Center
Trains every 10 min. during peak and 20 min. off-peak
16 stations, with some over-lapping with commuter rail stations
Coordinates with local bus service
Links neighborhoods to provide intra-city travel and new transit-oriented development
Implemented by 2022
Costs $1.1 billion for construction, $14 million for operation
Requires federal and state funding as well as local revenue.”

That, as you’ll note, is Phase II of the transit plan as it’s obviously much easier to get commuter rail going on existing tracks.

So, bottom line: are we readying for light rail? Yes we are, but we’re going to do heavy rail first. That’s really my quibble with this reporting.

Mark Turner : N&O makes “light rail” goof on front page

November 17, 2014 07:54 PM

Light Rail? Umm, no.

Light Rail? Umm, no.

While we’re holding the N&O under a microscope, I tsk tsked over my coffee this morning when I read the headline that accompanied the print edition of this story…

RALEIGH — In West Raleigh and eastern Cary, government planners are laying the groundwork for the development and traffic that may accompany a string of proposed passenger rail stations.

A coalition of local governments and others has put half a million dollars toward a study of the roads between the two municipalities, aiming to improve safety and traffic flow at a half-dozen places where rail lines cross pavement.

I re-read the story again just to be sure and the conclusion is that these hearings have nothing to do with light rail. Heavy rail, yes. Light rail, no.

Heavy rail is the giant locomotive that graced the front page along with this story. Light rail is rail that can go most places that cars can go (existing road overpasses, etc). Light rail is a custom-built, closed system most often powered by electricity. Think Charlotte’s Lynx line.

Raleigh’s (and Wake’s) first dip into commuter rail will begin with heavy rail, using existing freight tracks and pulled along by diesel locomotives. That’s what these hearings are about – how to deal with the road crossings in the existing rail corridors. They have nothing to do with the entirely new corridors that light rail will require.

I’m happy that the online version didn’t commit the same mistake as the print edition but I would expect the N&O to have a better grasp of these concepts (and perhaps print a correction).
via RALEIGH: Raleigh, Cary look to improve rail corridor before transit arrives | Traffic |

Mark Turner : I told the cabbie, “take me to Midtown”

November 17, 2014 07:41 PM

… said no one, ever.

The News and Observer ran this story last week about changes to Enloe High School’s base. As you know, changes to Enloe are of high interest to me, so of course I read it. I didn’t get too far before something really irritated me:

CARY — Enloe High School is among nine overcrowded schools that Wake County school administrators have identified for possible limits on enrollment.

In a briefing for the school board’s facilities committee Wednesday, school planners also suggested keeping enrollment caps in place at 10 other schools, including Combs and Hunter elementary schools in the Midtown area during the 2015-16 school year.

See that? The “Midtown area?” What the hell is the “Midtown area?” Hunter Elementary is firmly in Southeast Raleigh and Combs is out on the southwestern edge of Raleigh. Neither one would be considered “midtown” in anyone’s estimation.

“Midtown” is an invention of the News and Observer to create a new outlet for its advertising. Have you ever in your life ever heard anyone say “I’m from Midtown?” Have you ever heard any other media source refer to Midtown? No? Me neither.

Maybe it’s time to give up on this moniker since no one outside of the newspaper has any idea what it means.

via CARY: Enloe High School near downtown Raleigh could see enrollment limits | Education |

Mark Turner : Don’t blame the voter

November 17, 2014 12:16 AM

It’s been about two weeks since the last election and I’m about as tired now of the Monday morning quarterbacking from my fellow Democrats as I was of the campaign mudslinging. I keep hearing “if only so and so group had voted.” “I don’t understand why this group didn’t vote.”

Can I ask a favor? Can we please stop blaming the voter? If a voter wasn’t moved by our message it’s not the voter that needs fixing, it’s the message. We Democrats have to either sell what people are buying or convince them to buy what we’re selling. If our product isn’t compelling then we need to come up with either a better product (a.k.a., candidates or platform) or better marketing (a.k.a. spin).

This really isn’t rocket science. It starts with knowing the voter, knowing what it takes to get her off the couch and into the polling place. If you don’t understand why a particular voter doesn’t vote that sure ain’t the voter’s fault.

Mark Turner : Peter Eichenberger on 9/11

November 14, 2014 01:57 PM

I was thinking again today about a local writer whom I respected, Peter Eichenberger. It was about this time of year four years ago that Peter wrote this post on the 9/11 event on his blog. He died just three days later from the brain injuries he suffered in a bike crash several years prior. I figured I’d repost it here in case ever got around to deleting his blog.

Vowing to myself not to succumb to a knee-jerk reaction over the passing of the date of the most significant post-WW ll event I kept it buttoned back in September. Were it so until a November 17th piece by Kevin Ryan in Foreign Policy Journal, an expanded look at well reviewed (overseas) evidence of insider trading upstream of 9/11 that added some weighty bit of ballast to the mounting pile of evidence pointing toward a new, actual investigation. Ryan’s piece added to the fuel provided by W’s aka Whistledick’s claim to have ordered the launch of interceptors following the hit on the South Tower, a claim that the prudent analyst must entertain is based in truth. That fancy leaves 2 troubling possibilities; that both the Air Force and Air National Guard failed at their duty, or “someone” else lower in the chain of command chose to countermand a President’s executive orders. Either event in another dimension would have resulted in the military inquiry that never happened here.

Anyone out there who’s kept up with my stuff knows how I feel about the 911 myth, the one claiming that 19 guys with box cutters flummoxed the world’s most advanced defense system (@ a Billion dollars per day) and on the day when it really mattered penetrated the most stringently protected airspace in the world to put a “jetliner” into the side of the Pentagon. To accept this far-fetched story, the first of a tottering sky-high stack of coinkeedinks, leaves unexamined a similar event a scant year before when Golfer Payne Stewart’s Lear 35 lost cabin pressure resulting in unconsciousness of crew and passengers and death by suffocation. Civilian and NORAD radar operators knew of the problem almost immediately, scrambled fighters from Tyndall AND McDill AFBs and within 15 minutes intercepted the Lear Jet with enough time to mull a shoot down if the plane threatened populated areas until it starved for fuel and crashed in South Dakota.
Actual hard evidence aka unreported facts threatening the Official Conspiracy Theory are becoming so numerous and enlarged that they seem poised to coalesce into a WTC sized amoeba come to swallow the far-fetched fairy tale — if only somehow they were to be published ANYWHERE in the US media. Anyone out there read about the prominent Australian Labor leader who has taken a good look at the material available and declared the official myth to be questionable? I didn’t think so. How about the Colorado Democratic Party’s demand for an investigation? No? Figures. . How about the piece on Evidence Based Inquiry and 911?
For those just joining us, a refresher on some old news, primary pesky details that no official body has made an attempt to answer and have never, NEVER appeared in your morning paper.
In stark contrast to the 911 Commission members having rejected their own findings and declared the report to have been based on “lies,” the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) , Federal Emergency Management Agency FEMA and every other official agency and person involved continue to insist on unsupportable, daft “theories” in the absence of evidence, common sense, historic precedent as well as concordance with accepted laws of physics, like:
1. That 3 steel-framed buildings collapsed, one in just 56 minutes, via office fires ignited by jet fuel, an innocuous accelerant chemically identical to charcoal lighter — kerosene, which would have cooked off in minutes. Despite official accounts and supporting data that the fires did not nor could not have risen over 1800 degrees (and then only briefly) no official agency or person (besides Kevin Ryan, a true patriot who lost his job with UL over his work on the steel issue has dared even speculate on source of the 2400 degrees required to have produced the large quantities of MOLTEN steel that persisted for weeks in the pit, attested to by people on the scene (4) including the same NYFD emergency crews pulled off the scene to make way for a creepy list of robotic specialists, some specializing in ordnance removal.
2. No US official has recognized or bothered to comment on the work of Danish scientist Neils Harriet, et al who co-authored a peer-reviewed paper that extensively reviewed the presence in the dust of the collapsed building of microspheres of solidified molten steel and fragments of a highly specialized form of thermite unavailable to anyone outside of a government or intelligence agencies.
3. There have been no ideas forwarded as to why 5 Israeli Mossad agents detained and later released were doing across the river in Jersey jiving and high fiving as they videotaped the buildings’ destruction especially in light of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu initial elation to the news of the WTC destruction, ”It’s very good,” immediately editing himself: ”Well, not very good, but it will generate immediate sympathy.” certainly a true statement considering the US’s role as Israel’s primary patron.
4. No one has even attempted to provide a consistent explanation as to what brought Building 7 down, an event not even mentioned in the official 911 report. “It” certainly wasn’t an aircraft as the building was not struck by an airplane. History’s sole fire-induced failure of a steel framed building in history, in a major metro area no less, becomes even more curious when viewed the lack of any investigation (the 911 commission report did not even mention it) and lately the additional oddity of some, um, edited videotapes which served via the media to construct the dominate consensus reality of that day. One piece finally pried out of NIST by a lawsuit revealed both 2 snips, one that removed the frames showing the penthouse collapse of building 7, the other a piece of soundtrack that revealed a loud, low frequency rumble that synchronized with the penthouse collapse and data captured by seismic research stations up the Hudson River. The data the stations captured were to non-official geophysicists mindful not so much of a hollow object striking another hollow object but something more akin to heavy explosions heard by hundreds at the site, notably a Janitor, Rodriquez just before the airplane strike
These are just identifiable, documented facts and scientific observations that scatter the contents of the “coincidence” bucket. Good detectives look askance at “coincidences” as do authentic scientists, as should curious laymen. Yet, incredibly, here was the C word used by a senior Military official prefaced by the use of “bizarre” when he spoke of the lack of air response being caused by Vigilant Guardian, an air defense drill supposedly training pilots, yet one more in a tottering stack of the unexplained that test the limits of probability. It might be interesting and useful to contrast that detail with the presence of security teams conducting a “drill” in London for a Tube bombing, exactly the event that occurred there that same day.
Analysis of the original “coincidence,” the lack of air defense, must include a curious account rendered by former Transportation Secretary Norman Minetta, in the Situation Room that morning of a young staffer who continued providing warnings of an approaching aircraft on the radar scopes until a Doctor No drew the kid up with a scolding. Bear in mind, Andrews AFB is 10 miles from the capital.
The only question remaining for me in light of the slow collapse of the myth and repeated pressing of the 911 button that seems to have worn the paint off is: what’s next? The US is in a similar position of the Catholic Church following the bloody end of their heresy scare when to keep parishioners on edge and to retain their hegemony the church stoked up a witch craze. Now that the man has about worn the paint of the 911 button (once we finish playing mop boy on Iran for the Israelis) the US Empire of Fear will be forced to conjure up another invisible, implacable foe to foster a greater, even more unbelievable threat. Don’t look for it to be the Chinese. Who else out there is scaled to churn out sufficient tonnage of consumerist crap for mall fatsos? Nope, the US is fresh out of credible earth based enemies. Amid the military/security/industrial empire’s need for a more menacing, implacable threat, the prescient visionary must look to the stars. That’s right, I’m betting on it being flying saucers. You heard it here first.

Mark Turner : Talking trance

November 14, 2014 03:08 AM

Man, I don’t know what happened but it sure was interesting! I returned from my Digital Connectors talk tonight around 6:50 PM. I then settled down to catch up with some of my friends’ activities on Facebook. When I got up from my chair about 20 minutes later it had seemed to me as if two hours had passed. I could not believe the clock was moving as slowly as it was. It was as if I were in some kind of a trance!

I know I get energized when talking with groups (and especially kids) but to have time draw out like that for me was really amazing. Not sure what went on there but I’m glad it did!

Mark Turner : Reconnecting with the Digital Connectors

November 14, 2014 02:44 AM

These young people are going to change the world

These young people are going to change the world

Recently I was invited to give another talk to the Raleigh Digital Connectors and I delivered that talk tonight to a roomful of attentive young people at the St. Monica’s Teen Center. My experiences with blogging was again the topic of conversation, so I spent about 45 minutes going over the highlights (and some of the lowlights) of my twelve years of blogging experience.

It’s hard to boil down so many different posts over so many different years so I mentioned some of the posts that got noticed or those that mean a lot to me. I also had fun comparing blogging to Facebook and trying to show that they’re not the same.

Given a little more time, I would have mentioned a few other things, too. Near the conclusion, I was trying to make a point about how I speak my mind here and if you find what I say to offend you then it’s your fault. If you come into my proverbial home, don’t be shocked when you find me being myself. Many of my friends and family find agreement with things I write and many do not. That doesn’t bother me because I feel obligated to the world to always call ‘em like I see ‘em, regardless of whether my opinions are popular or not. I hope I’ve demonstrated that characteristic throughout my years as a blogger.

That’s what I was trying to convey, anyway. In the excitement of the talk I tend to trip over my words and sometimes mangle my point. :)

The other part of that is that there have been a few cases where one of my friends had been on the opposite side of an issue but after reading my thoughts on the topic they had changed their mind. Those times are especially rewarding as a blogger since they showed that people may assume you think a certain way but if you have a forum in which you can share your views, they might not only realized they misjudged you, they might even decide they agree with you. Pretty cool when it happens.

Bradley Upchurch, who leads the program, asked if there were examples where I’ve used my blog (to paraphrase) “for good,” as in helped rally around a cause. I hadn’t thought of any good examples at the time, but one that popped into my head was the time I wrote about the untimely death of an acquaintance of mine, Leah Kubick. Leah was a geek and a blogger like me and better known by her online handle of Heinous. Anyway, my post was very brief but it somehow caught the eye of Leah’s mother. She posted a very nice comment on the post thanking me for remembering her daughter. It wasn’t a revolution or any big movement but I’m happy if I helped ease someone’s pain.

Blogging is what you make it. Everyone is different and everyone has something to say. There are no real rules here. Just post what you feel like posting, be yourself, and trust that you’ll find your audience.

Warren Myers : do not go past the mark you aimed for; in victory, learn when to stop – law 47 – #48laws by robert greene

November 13, 2014 01:18 PM

Law 47

The moment of victory is often the moment of greatest peril. In the heat of victory, arrogance and overconfidence can push you past the goal you had aimed for, and by going too far, you make more enemies than you defeat. Do not allow success to go to your head. There is no substitute for strategy and careful planning. Set a goal, and when you reach it, stop. –Robert Greene, The 48 Laws of Power (review)

Shipping is a Feature.

Tarus Balog : Net Neutrality and Enron

November 11, 2014 03:08 PM

Yesterday, Senator Ted Cruz from Texas tweeted the following:

It was in response to President Obama making a statement in support of Net Neutrality by wanting to classify broadband Internet as a utility. Despite the fact that it was about six years too late, I had to roll my eyes because I knew that if Obama came out in support of something, the Republicans would feel required to take the opposite stance.

Treating broadband as a utility is a no-brainer. It is basically an extension of the telephone system which has done very well as a utility, and it has become so important to most people and businesses that creating barriers to access would be a huge step backward. The OpenNMS Group would not have been able to survive in a world where we would have to pay to compete for access at levels that HP and IBM can afford, and there are thousands of other small businesses and entrepreneurs in the same boat.

But Senator Cruz and others have received a large amount of money from cable companies, especially Comcast, who stand to benefit the most if they can charge different rates to different content providers. This isn’t an new argument, Jon Stewart discussed it on his show back in 2006:

But now with Obama’s stance and the newly minted Republican-controlled Congress wanting to flex its muscles, expect it to become a hotter topic.

I was made aware of this through The Oatmeal, and while Matt Inman is dead on as usual, his language and analogies are, hmm, shall we say, not often for gentle ears. So while he makes his point he is basically preaching to the choir, and we need to frame the discussion in something that may actually shame the Republicans into doing the right thing.

Then I remembered Enron.

If broadband is not a utility, but seems like one, what could happen if we put control into private hands? That’s exactly what California did in 1996 by partially deregulating its energy market. This let to an energy crisis in 2000 and 2001, that according to Wikipedia was “caused by market manipulations, illegal shutdowns of pipelines by the Texas energy consortium Enron, and capped retail electricity prices”.

It’s eerie that Comcast’s shutdown of Netflix traffic is so similar to “illegal shutdowns of pipelines”. It’s already happening.

So, when faced with irrational statements like those from Senator Cruz, remain calm and just point out “so you think we need an Enron of the Internet?”. Keep saying it, over and over again.

Perhaps they’ll get the message.

Mark Turner : The fall of the Berlin wall, 25 years ago

November 11, 2014 01:42 AM

Yesterday, the fall of the Berlin Wall turned 25. I wrote about the fall of the Wall back on its twentieth anniversary. It remains one of the most astonishing things I have ever seen on television.

As I wrote five years ago, it was quite satisfying to be serving in the military at a time when peace was “breaking out all over.” Somewhere, in a parallel universe, that peace became permanent.

Mark Turner : Bridging the rural gap

November 10, 2014 03:40 AM

Last week’s election overall didn’t look good for North Carolina Democrats. I have been reflecting on the Raleigh Elites post I wrote two years ago. Looking at the map where Tillis won versus where Hagan won, there is still a huge divide between urban versus rural voters.

The upside this time around is that Democrats did exceedingly well in Wake County, which was the source of frustration in my post from two years ago. The difference, I think, is messaging. The combined campaigns of Hutchinson, Burns, Holmes, and Calabria offered a coherent plan. They articulated why they should be elected and I think that helped cross the divide. It looked like they were competent, at least, and I think that is valued more now in political leaders.

Did Kay Hagan offer a compelling reason to vote for her? When I listened to her stump speeches, all I seem to remember is “Koch Brothers this” and “Koch Brothers that.” I cringed when I heard it. Most of the electorate has no clue who the Koch brothers are. If you’re going to run a campaign based on a boogeyman, at least make it one everyone is frightened of.

These are the challenges that face whomever opts to rebuild the state Democratic party. I hope we find someone who can inspire voters because that’s what we seem to be missing.

Mark Turner : Parks bond passes

November 10, 2014 03:24 AM

Election night was sweet for me for one uncommon reason. You see I, along with a few dozen other citizens, served on the citizen’s advocacy committee for Raleigh’s recent $92 million parks bond. As co-chair I was tasked with marketing and PR, including social media. My friend Jeff Tippett was chair of the overall effort and as he has an actual marketing background he was able to fill in for my lack of marketing background. I came up with the fun “I flip for parks” social media campaign and enjoyed posting pictures of notable Raleigh personalities as they “flipped for parks.”

The bond passed with 68% support. I was hoping to beat the 2007 bond’s numbers but considering the political landscape and that it was the largest bond ever floated by the city, I’m pretty happy with 68%.

Starmount does NOT flip for parks

Starmount does NOT flip for parks

Post-election I was reviewing the poll results and noticed there was one precinct that voted decidedly against the bond: the Starmount neighborhood just east of Capital Boulevard. This precinct, 17-10, voted 216 no to 184 yes, or 54% no.

Neither me nor parks staff are entirely sure why Starmount doesn’t flip for parks. The guess is that this is an older population which is averse to taxes but that’s just a guess. It would be interesting to interview a few of these citizens to find out why they voted the way they did.

Mark Turner : Parks board service is complete

November 10, 2014 01:52 AM

I learned last week that my replacement was finally appointed to the Parks board. Thus, the October meeting I attended was indeed my last one. I was humbled by the kind remarks my fellow boardmembers shared with me. It’s been a great ride, that’s for sure.

I do also want to wish my replacement, Shane Malun, all the best!

Mark Turner : Advocating vs. complaining

November 08, 2014 01:03 AM

In September we learned that the Wake County Public School System was considering shifting our neighborhood’s school assignment away from nearby Enloe High School and to Millbrook High School. Millbrook is a great school, don’t get me wrong, it’s just much farther away than Enloe. What’s more, this was the sixth proposed or actual reassignment we’ve had since we’ve been here (six years). Hearing of the plans gave me whiplash.

Kelly and I worked to rally the neighborhood to advocate for our cause. We reached out on the mailing lists, explaining the situation and providing links to the resources so our neighbors could see for themselves. With a good understanding of the guiding principles of the reassignment (proximity, stability, operational efficiency, and student achievement), we suggested our neighbors politely point out how these points were not being supported by the change. A number of neighbors followed our lead, repeating the points we offered on the school system’s feedback site. We also suggested polite emails be sent to the board members. I heard back from some boardmembers that they had received quite a bit of feedback on the issue, which is a good sign.

Bottom line? The school system opted not to shift our neighborhood, we got what we wanted, and everything stayed civil.

I thought of this when I came across a friend’s Facebook post, showing how she was working to change her reassignment:

Can you provide a logical reason to shift all 119 current [Neighborhood] students out of [Preferred] elementary to a school that is farther away and on a different calendar? Remember, [Preferred Elementary School] was one of the schools that was converted to MYR and then converted back. You had so many parents fighting against MYR for so long that you created an administrative nightmare for the district. This will only continue as the majority will apply to traditional calendar schools and you’ll create more work for the district. [Neighborhood] has been the backbone of [Preferred Elementary School] for years and is the closest physical school as long as I have lived in the neighborhood (17 years). Please explain your reasonable justification. Overcrowding doesn’t work, now that other neighborhoods who were going to be shifted to [Preferred School] are no longer being shifted in this draft there are PLENTY OF SEATS.

See that? “Provide a logical reason…” “Administrative nightmare…” “Please explain your reasonable justification…” That sets a confrontational tone. Automatically the school system staff are painted as adversaries. This is the stick approach. Here’s more from other comments to this post:

[Fancy Neighborhoods] and that area have been handed what they asked for on a silver platter. Now their neighborhoods are safe and comfortable in their traditional spots. The “proposed new traditional middle school” will NOT be built and ready before MANY [Neighborhood] children are entering middle school. So, we will find ourselves FIGHTING for those coveted [Preferred Middle School] traditional spots. [Neighborhood] will get shut out of [Preferred Elementary School] and [Preferred Middle School] as they become more crowded.

This is the us-vs-them, it’s-not-fair argument. Again, a non-starter.

And another:


This person chose to move into one of the highest-growth areas of the Triangle and now blames the other people moving in? Bonus points for insulting the people that they need to persuade.

Here’s another:

I have yet to hear a logical reason why [Neighborhood's] kids should be uprooted from [Preferred Elementary School] and shifted to another school farther from their community. Has anyone stopped to think what is best for these kids? We want to keep our kids at the school that they know within our own community. Providing this as an option and not a base is simply a false compromise. It’s clear that not all these kids, if any of them, can grandfather in to [Preferred Elementary School].

“Yet to hear a logical reason…” sounds a lot like talking down to staff. And “has anyone stopped to think what is best for kids” is also insulting to staff.

None of these have addressed the guiding principles mentioned above. They’re based on emotion, not facts. I fully understand these parents’ concern and emotion and I don’t blame them for wanting to advocate for their kids, it’s just that this is not the way to sway anybody.

There is a bright spot in the comments, however. One parent sets the right tone:

[Neighborhood] has a long tradition and largest attendance base for [Preferred Elementary School.] It is within safe walking and bike riding distance on town roads (no crossing under highways). [Neighborhood] parents, including myself, have deep volunteer involvement with the school. My wife and I designed and built the [Preferred Elementary School] website! My four oldest kids have attended there, and I hope my younger kids will go there as well.

Traditional calendar is very important to us as well. We will have kids in high school, middle school, and elementary school at the same time for many years to come (I have six boys!). So aligning [Preferred Elementary School] > [Preferred Middle School] > [Preferred High School] is extremely important for us to be able to manage the schedules in a way that doesn’t negatively affect our family and the boys’ education.

Please do not move [Neighborhood] to [Unwanted Elementary School.] We need to stay traditional, and we love [Preferred Elementary School] and [Preferred Middle School.]

The key to getting what you want is to advocate, not to complain. Certainly not to insult the decision-makers. In this case only this last comment hit the mark.

With my own recent advocacy experience coupled with having sat through many public hearings as a parks board member, I have considered offering a workshop locally to teach people the right way to advocate for their particular causes. It doesn’t matter whether your cause has merit if you shoot yourself in the foot before you even get started.

Jesse Morgan : The Key to Creating Good, Tileable Images (in GIMP)

November 07, 2014 08:13 PM

I’m writing this as a general guide both for future reference, and to get feedback from others.

Often when using an image manipulation program such as GIMP or Photoshop, you’ll need to create large swaths of consistent texture. The easiest way to do this is with a pattern fill tool, however most programs only include a small set of patterns. The good news is that you can make your own with relatively little grief.

A quick note- While you may occasionally want an obvious tile (e.g. tiled floors), this discussion will focus on tiles that try to appear seamless.

Choose a Texture


For our example, I took a photo of the dirt outside. As you can see, it’s not perfectly uniform, but we’ll take care of that in a moment.

The first step is obviously to decide what you’d like to have as a texture- dirt, cement, gravel, treebark, marble, and leaves are all good examples of common textures. Your texture should be relatively consistent. While some variation is needed to give it flavor, it needs to be somewhat symmetric (i.e. a baseball in a tile of grass will make tiling obvious), however you may be able to cover that up.







Crop Inconsistencies


Here you can see I cropped out the large flat top right corner and dark bottom left corner. It’s starting to look a lot more consistent, however there’s still a few pesky details that stick out.

Sometimes your source picture will have an anomaly on one side, such as the edge of a sidewalk on a dirt texture, or stick in a field of grass that wasn’t quite out of frame. The simplest way to deal with this is to crop it out. Save as much as you can of the original image, but make sure to completely remove the inconsistency. Judicious cropping can also help you determine your focus- is your pattern a field of grass or blades of grass?









Remove Anomalies


Here you can see I removed quite a few wood chips, the twig, some tree buds, and a small sprout The consistency is coming along nicely at this point.

Should your texture has some type of anomaly (like the baseball mentioned above) that is too far in to safely crop, you can often use a combination of the rubber stamp tool and healing tool to copy a more generic spot over the anomaly and blend it into place.









Offset and Wrap


We were relatively lucky with the dirt; the seams are barely noticeable.

Now that our tile looks fairly consistent, lets examine the seams. For this we’ll need to offset the entire image by half (Layer->transform->offset or ctrl+shift+o) along the X and Y axis. This should give you a nice cross where the edges will meet in the final product. Quite often you will find color variation between the two sides- sometimes you can get lucky and dodge or burn the image to get them closer shades, sometimes it’s far more tricky (and beyond the scope of this document).


Using the four quadrants as a baseline, you can use the rubber stamp and healing tools to cover the seams- with any luck this process will be fairly simple and painless. Remember, the goal is to make the seams disappear, so be sure to feather it in unevenly, and not with a straight line that will still be visible.





This image should be seamlessly tileable at this point.

Once complete, we need to verify we didn’t accidentally damage leave any artifacts need the ends of the seams. To do this, do another offer, but only offset the Y by half; this may reveal a small horizontal seam near the center. Take care of that and perform a final offset, transition X by half. This should leave a small vertical seam. Once it’s resolved, you should have a nice, seamless texture… but we’re not done yet.









Unfortunately we do see some banding along the top and middle of the image; this could be corrected with some dodging and burning, but we’ll call it good for now.

Quadruple It

The phrase “can’t see the forest for the trees” applies here. We’ve seen what one intersection looks like- how about several? If we increase the image canvas size and duplicate time layer 3 more times, we can set them side-by-side and merge them down to identify redundant features that escaped us previously. Things you might see include:

  • That small twig may have been unnoticeable with one tile, but with many tiles it betrays the redundancy
  • There may have been an ever-so slight variation in color that was previously unnoticed
  • The area surrounding the original seams was not as well blended as previously thought
  • A small area that is simply too unique and sticks out just enough to be noticeable.

You have a choice at this point; you can either undo back to the single image, or choose to keep it quadrupled. If you keep it quadrupled, you can ad ever-so-slight modifications to each quadrant to help disperse the redundancy.


The final step is to export (File->export as… or ctrl+shift+e) and save the pattern as a .pat file.  This should be kept in your GIMP patterns folder (on linux ~/.gimp-2.8/patterns/)

The next time you refresh your patterns box, you should see your new texture.

Holy Cow it’s too Big!

Oh, all that work we just put in? It may be worthless; I shoulda mentioned that up front.

Here’s the problem: If your base texture is 2500×2000 pixels, don’t be surprised that your pattern is gigantic when you try to use it. As of right now, GIMP doesn’t have a built-in way to scale patterns (although there are plugins that claim to do it). Your best bet is to scale the image down before exporting it to a pat file, just be warned that the scaled image may have seams reappear from the scaling interpolation, so you may need to run through the offsets again to verify that it’s acceptable.

Final Note…

  • No, I cannot tell you how to do this in photoshop.
  • I despise capitalizing GIMP. it I understand why it’s supposed to be, but it still feels super lame.
  • If you have feedback, please leave a comment below- I’d love to improve my process.
  • If you liked this tutorial, please consider supporting me via Patreon

Tarus Balog : Test Driven Development

November 07, 2014 05:05 PM

One of the things that bothers me a lot about the software industry is this idea that proprietary software is somehow safer and better written than open source software. Perhaps it is because a lot of people still view software as “magic” and since you can’t see the code, is must be more “magical”. Or perhaps is it because people assume that something you have to pay for must be better than something that is free.

I’ve worked for and with a number of proprietary software companies, so I’ve seen how the sausage is made, and in some cases you don’t want to know. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve seen well managed commercial software companies that produce solid code because in the long run solid code is better and costs less, but I’ve also seen the opposite done simply to get a product to market quickly.

With open source, at least if you expect contribution, you have to produce code that is readable. It also helps if it is well written since good programmers respect and like working with other good programmers. It’s out there for everyone to see, and that puts extra demands on its quality.

In the interest of making great code, many years ago we switched to the Spring framework which had the benefit that we could start writing software tests. This test driven development is one reason OpenNMS is able to stay so stable with lots of code changes and a small test team.

What’s funny is that we’ve talked to at least two other companies who started implementing test driven development but then dropped it because it was too hard. It wasn’t easy for us, either, but as of this writing we run 5496 tests every time something changes in the main OpenNMS application, and that doesn’t include all of the other branches and projects such as Newts. We use the Bamboo product from Atlassian to manage the tests so I want to take this opportunity to thank them for supporting us.

OpenNMS 14 contained some of the biggest code changes in the platform’s history but so far it has been one of the smoothest releases yet. While most of that was due to to the great team of developers we have, part of it was due to the transparency that the open source process encourages.

Commercial software could learn a thing or two from it.

Tarus Balog : OpenNMS 14 Timelines

November 05, 2014 05:31 PM

I often talk about how OpenNMS is a platform and not just an application, and with the release of OpenNMS 14 there is a lovely way to demonstrate the difference.

There is a cool little GUI improvement that I believe was started at last year’s Dev Jam which provides graphical timeline for outages. So now instead of having to look at the outage table on a node’s page, you can just look at the service availability section.

Cool, huh? What you may not realize is that instead of hardcoding the feature the timelines are rendered through ReST. The GUI sends a ReST request to the server which returns the graphic information. Let’s examine the “Update” service above.

The query


results in:

with a format of:


Even the header graphic is done the same way


results in:

with a format of:


Of course, assembling all of that can be tedious, so this query:


with a format of:


will create the whole HTML code needed to render the timeline:

document.write('<img src="/opennms/rest/timeline/image/46/" usemap="#46-">
<map name="46-"><area shape="rect" coords="128,2,412,18" href="/opennms/outage/detail.htm?id=153740" alt="Id 153740"
title="2014-11-04 18:13:24.628"><area shape="rect" coords="-111,2,-26,18" href="/opennms/outage/detail.htm?id=153724" alt="Id 153724" 
title="2014-11-04 06:12:56.322"><area shape="rect" coords="-2051,2,-1925,18" href="/opennms/outage/detail.htm?id=153348" alt="Id 153348" 
title="2014-10-31 06:13:11.421"><area shape="rect" coords="-2291,2,-2291,18" href="/opennms/outage/detail.htm?id=153289" alt="Id 153289" 
title="2014-10-30 18:11:33.006"><area shape="rect" coords="-2691,2,-2397,18" href="/opennms/outage/detail.htm?id=153258" alt="Id 153258" 
title="2014-10-29 22:13:27.086"><area shape="rect" coords="-2871,2,-2871,18" href="/opennms/outage/detail.htm?id=153235" alt="Id 153235" 
title="2014-10-29 13:12:29.747"><area shape="rect" coords="-3071,2,-2884,18" href="/opennms/outage/detail.htm?id=153137" alt="Id 153137" 
title="2014-10-29 03:12:13.887"><area shape="rect" coords="-3232,2,-3231,18" href="/opennms/outage/detail.htm?id=153132" alt="Id 153132" 
title="2014-10-28 19:11:02.873"><area shape="rect" coords="-3690,2,-3670,18" href="/opennms/outage/detail.htm?id=153086" alt="Id 153086" 
title="2014-10-27 20:14:11.949"><area shape="rect" coords="-6431,2,-6431,18" href="/opennms/outage/detail.htm?id=152786" alt="Id 152786" 
title="2014-10-22 03:11:05.149"></map>');

If a service isn’t monitored, such as the StrafePing service in the above example, that empty timeline is also available:


with a format of:


Pretty cool, huh? A lot of OpenNMS is accessible by ReST and the wiki page covers most of the options. Thus you can use the data via the OpenNMS GUI or integrate it with one of your own.

Tarus Balog : Announcing OpenNMS 14 and Newts 1.0

November 04, 2014 05:08 PM

It is with great pleasure that I can announce the release of OpenNMS 14. Yup, you heard right, OpenNMS *fourteen*.

It’s been more than 12 years since OpenNMS 1.0 so we’ve decided to pull a Java and drop the “1.” from the version numbers. Also, we are doing away with stable and development branches. The Master branch has been replaced with the develop branch, which will be much more stable than development releases have been in the past, and we’ll name the next major stable release 15, followed by 16, etc. Do expect bug fix point releases as the in past, but the plan is to release more major releases per year than just one.

A good overview of all the new features in 14 can be found here:

The development team has been working almost non-stop over the last two months to make OpenNMS 14 the best and most tested version yet. A lot of things has been added, such as new topology and geographic maps, and some big things have been made better, such as linkd. Plus, oodles of little bugs have finally been closed making the whole release seem more polished and easier to use.

Today we also released Newts 1.0, the first release in a new time series data storage library. Published under the Apache License, this technology is built on Cassandra and is aimed at meeting Big Data and Internet of Things needs by providing fast, hugely scalable and redundant data storage. You can find out more about this technology here:

While not yet integrated with OpenNMS, the 1.0 release is the first step in the process. Users will have the option to replace the JRobin/RRDtool storage strategies with Newts. Since Newts stores raw data, there will be a number of options for post-processing and graphing that data that I know a number of you will find useful. Whether your data needs are simple or complex, Newts represents a way to meet them.

Feel free to check out both projects. OpenNMS 14 should be in both the yum and apt repos, and as usual I welcome feedback as to what you think about it.

Mark Turner : Ebola and hysteria

November 03, 2014 05:44 PM

Over the past few days debate has popped up about what to do about healthcare workers returning from fighting Ebola in West Africa. Politicians vow to quarantine anyone returning from the affected areas, regardless of whether they show symptoms or not. Asymptomatic healthcare workers who are being “voluntarily” quarantined are rebelling against the restrictions placed on their activity. Nurse Kaci Hickox blasted politicians for falling for hysteria rather than following science.

“I’m not willing to stand here and let my civil rights be violated when it’s not science-based,” she said.

She’s right, of course. The only thing scarier than Ebola is succumbing to mob rule and hysteria.

The most worthless news items, though, are the polls being touted. The latest one says that 80 percent of respondents favor quarantining travelers to West Africa. Well, if polling had taken place during Galileo’s time, the majority would’ve favored the Earth as the center of the universe. What the majority wants, of course, does not make it so.

It does not matter what 80% of those polled think about Ebola if those 80% are not experts. When it comes to Ebola, disregarding science is a good way to get us all killed.

Scott Schulz : Tweet: How does one add a hyperlink to text in the new @E…

November 02, 2014 01:23 PM

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November 01, 2014 03:48 PM

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