new scriptures modules available

I just uploaded fortune-mod-scriptures v1.1.0 to SourceForge. Unlike fortune-mod-mormon, the mod-scriptures package contains only modules from the King James Version of the Bible. The idea behind having two separate releases is two-fold: one, to have a good set of scriptures modules that anyone can use, and two to get it into the hands of more people who aren’t interested in the LDS canon. Hopefully this will fulfill both roles.

Anyway, there’s only so much I can say about this package, so go ahead and download it from SourceForge here.

I also finally made some Gentoo ebuilds, which I’ll release and post to b.g.o once I’m positive they are working well.  Plus, if anyone knows how to make some RPMs for Suse, Fedora, Red Hat, Mandriva, etc, I would really appreciate the help!

legend of the green dragon

The whole reason I was yammering on about my virtual hosts in my last post, was because I had to cleanup a mess I made with my PHP installation. Turns out if you add support for multiple languages and Unicode, and then take it off and access your MySQL databases that are set to UTF-8, it really foobs stuff up. So, I got that all cleaned up, and installed Legend of the Green Dragon on my server. :D

If you have no idea what I’m talking about, have you ever heard of Legend of the Red Dragon? It’s the original old-school awesome, amazing, hilarious, really fun BBS game from back in the day, when young punks like myself would dial up on my 80286 and my 2400 baud modem just to get my daily RPG fix.

The old BBS program is still around, and you can buy it if you want from Gameport. In fact, I actually bought a license about eight years ago or so, which I’m sure I still have somewhere. I could always fire up a telnet server and run that online too. That’d be fun.

Some tenacious coders though, have reproduced the experience in great detail, in an online web-version (written in PHP, uses MySQL as the backend) that’s just as much fun, and is very extensive with the modules it can add.

So, if you’d like to check it out, come create a new account on my server here, or just play online at the official website where there is always lot of people playing.  The only difference on mine is that I’ve enabled just about every module there is, I’m a little more giving in gold and fights, and you can play 4 times a day.  That and you probably won’t get killed by sleeping in the fields every night.
Either way, check it out! :)

gentoo, php, and vhosts

Well, I just finished migrating all my webapps on my server to using the ‘vhosts’ flag. Which, really isn’t that many — just my blog, trac, and internal stuff. For the longest time I put off using vhosts for a couple of reasons. The main one was I believe it’s almost always simpler to install web applications by just downloading them, unpacking them in your public_html, writing the config file and go from there instead of having the system install it to /var/foo/la-la/web/apps/ and then not being able to find anything. Plus, I was never too fond of vhosts either, because to install stuff you have to do something like this: webapp-config -I -h -d phppgadmin phppgadmin 3.5.4.

In all fairness though, there was nothing wrong with the ebuilds, its just that I’m really picky about my apache + php + webapps installs. I used to install apache and php manually for a LONG time by myself. Then one day I finally started using the apache ebuilds, but would still install PHP5 manually. It wasn’t actually until maybe two months ago that I finally switched over to using the php ebuilds. Part of the reason there was I didn’t like the old way of installing (the whole dev-php/php and dev-php/mod_php being separate packages, mostly), and partly because I always wanted or needed the very latest version. I’ve already got a number of scripts at home and at work that depend on PHP 5.1. The new dev-lang/php script is much better though, and I’m using it on all my servers except one, I think, which I just haven’t bothered to swtich over yet. And now, vhosts was the last tool of the pack that I wasn’t using.
I have to admit, I’m starting to get used to it and actually like it. Today it’s to the point where it’s making things easier to install that way, and not nearly as hard to remember as before where all the files are being put.

So, if you’re looking for a LAMP stack that’s highly configurable, you might want to give Gentoo another look. It’s just getting better all the time. :)

Of course, I should go on record as always recommending Postgres over MySQL, so I guses that would be LAPP. GLAPP if you add Gentoo to the mix. Ok, I’ll stop.

mini updates

I got both my new Linksys router this week and my new Mini-ITX system, and have them both working pretty well. Nothing really too exciting to report about them yet, and I’ll post some better specs and benchmarks once I get everything setup.

I installed OpenWRT on the router, and earlier I had two posts on here about my experiences with them, but ultimately deleted them because I was in quite a haze when I wrote about it. The sum of it was this though: Installing the firmware was a cinch. All I had to do was upload the White Russian binary straight from the Administration page in the original firmware’s website. That was cool.

It took me a very long time to get the firewall working, but only because it took me a good while to realize that it was resolving all my external requests to my box internally. Basically I would go to and it would load the website from The second I got outside of the WAN and looked at it, I realized what I was doing wrong. I was equally torqued because there wasn’t any default documentation for the firewall on the OpenWRT wiki, so I threw up some basic instructions online that helped me to get it working. Wasn’t really their fault — it was just that the three snippets of notes in the firewall config file weren’t really sinking in.

Like I said, I still haven’t decided what to do with the thing. I’m quite happy that it’s routing packets snappily. I really do like the fact that I can run SSHD on there, though, and not have to use the web interface. It makes it easier to admin the network remotely.

In other news, I got my Mini-ITX system yesterday from the Damn Small Linux store. It came as a real shock when I went home for lunch and the FedEx guy had come, since I assumed it would take a little longer for them to test the box and send it to me. About a week of turn around time after ordering it, and it was already here. No complaints from me! :)

This thing is tiny. It’s about as wide as my desktop’s CPU case, and twice as tall as my router. I haven’t been able to get it to successfully boot off of my USB stick yet. I’ve tried both Gentoo and DSL-N, and it’s either erroring out or just not seeing it at all. From what I can tell, it will only boot off one of the USB ports. Plus, there’s a lot of variables to play with still, and I really haven’t tried that hard just yet, so I’ll probably get it sooner or later. One thing that confuses me is that the BIOS settings has two options to boot from: USB-ZIP and USB-HDD. I have no idea what the difference is.

Either way, it’s not really a big deal because I’ve already got it booting off the network. I setup LTSP 4.1.1 last night on my mythbox / server, which only took about a few hours to do. Most of it was just remembering all the tweaks I had to do to get it setup at work, too (mostly TFTP and DHCP). Interestingly, this box couldn’t load the kernel straight from Etherboot, so I had to send it a PXE loader first. Not really a big deal, but I always find it curious to see which ones can handle the larger boot images.

Then this morning I tried it again, and it was having issues with devfs, so I upgraded to LTSP 4.2 which adds udev support and removes devfsd. That helped a lot, and it boots much faster and seems snappier. I setup esound as well, and got video and sound to play over the network locally. I’m not sure if its esound or the network, but both XMMS and Audacious would pop badly at the start of playing anything. Considering how crappy I’ve heard esound is, I’d be quick to blame it on that. I was just glad it was working at all. I’m going to give arts a whirl, too.

Unfortunately, there’s no way this thing is going to work as a mythfrontend over the network. Watching a movie over the LAN, the A/V is way out of sync by at least five seconds. Not a huge deal in the least, though, since I plan on putting a notebook harddrive in there, and just running Gentoo off of the box.

The Mini system is absolutely amazing. One of the first things I noticed when I got it yesterday was that it has SPDIF optical out and an S-Video out too. I knew about the optical, but not the s-video, so I was really excited. Once everything’s working, it’ll be a perfect drop-in for myth. I won’t need to mess with the cables, either.I also got one of the larger cases, so if I wanted to expand on it a bit, I can. There’s room in there for a notebook harddrive, a DVD/CD drive and a PCI card!

As far as ports on the back goes, this thing gives the smack-down to anything else I’ve seen so far. Four USB 2.0 ports (two on the back, two on the front), COM port, parallel port (for my Dot Matrix printer, sweet!), 10/100 Ethernet port, PS/2 keyboard and mouse ports, S-Video, VGA, SPDIF, Line In, Line Out and Microphone. Plus there are breakout ports on the case for Firewire and a serial port. The only thing the Mac Mini has on this box is the DVI out instead of the old-school VGA, and a Gigabit network card.

The other great thing is this computer is *completely* silent. And I don’t mean quiet as in don’t make noise cuz grandma’s asleep, I mean quiet as in completely fanless, and the only way you can tell if its on is by the LED power display on the front.

So far I’m really impressed with both the new router and system. Now I just gotta figure out what I want to do with them. :)

possibly the coolest cartoon show ever

Justice League is really starting to grow on me. Each story is better than the last. First of all, I absolutely love their animation style.  There are very few Warner Bros cartoons series that let me down at all. I loved their stuff as a kid, and I’m still lapping it up.

I saw one of the coolest cartoon episodes I’ve ever seen. It was “Legends”, a two-parter on disc 3 of season one. A few of the Justice League characters go to an alternate dimension, and find themselves in the world of comic book heroes of the 40s. It was hilarious, great writing, and good action. A whole lot of fun. I hope season two is just as good. :)

putting my life in order with trac

I was just chatting with my good friend, Corndog, and we were both lamenting how we have a similar issue when it comes to coding projects. We get these great ideas, but once the interest starts to wane off, we stop working on it for a while. What eventually happens is you have a lot of projects that aren’t getting updated regularly.

It’s not that I don’t enjoy coding, it’s that my organizational skills really need some work. One thing I’ve discovered recently that helps me a lot, personally, is to use lists. Instead of having tiny chores that need to be tended to that I randomly recall about when I’m doing something boring, I can write them down and then when I get some time to tackle stuff like that, I’ve already got a good list of things to tend to.

I’m hoping the same thing will help me with all my projects. One large problem with working on them is that they are all fairly large in nature. And when you go months on end without working on them, by the time you do come around to starting up again, you look at your code and wonder what the crap you were smoking, and want to start over from scratch to optimize it. But once you get halfway through that you either lose focus of where you were going with that or just satiate the bug enough, and move onto something else. Basically what is happening is you get lots of pockets of interest where you want to work on something, but because you aren’t organized, you tend to just idle furiously, never accomplishing anything.

So, here’s to hoping this will help. Im installing trac on my home server. It’s one of those things that I’ve been meaning to install for an embarrassingly long time, now. In fact, I actually use it at work, and while we were chatting, I remembered how much it helps. The thing I like about it is when I hit some downtime or just want to work on something different for a while, I can go to the Active Tickets page and remember those small little tweaks that I wanted to fix, and get them finally taken care of.

My belief is that if I can do the same here, but on a bit of a larger scale. The major hurdle with starting and re-starting on these large projects is their size. You get the bug to work on something, but if you run down a mental tally of what you want to work on it’s usually summed up in a week of four-hour sessions of majorly reworking an old site that’s been down for two years. I figure that I can use trac to break down the project into smaller chunks so I’m not biting off more than I can chew. So, for example, instead of thinking “I need to finish importing the Bible Dictionary into the database, and setup scripts to query it,” just add some tickets to trac for smaller parts like, “import data”, “setup fulltext indexes”, “write views” and “write stored procedures.” That’s a lot easier to handle.

Now I’m sure to most people who read this, that would be common sense. Well, to some people, common sense comes naturally. Me? Regular expressions. Talk about a trade-off.

yet another must-have toy

I downloaded a copy of DSL-N last night, per Aaron’s suggestion, and played around with it.  I got it successfully installed on my USB stick, but my computer wouldn’t boot off of it.  It just said ‘boot failed’ even though I know I had the BIOS setup to access it. Maybe you need a special USB bootable stick.  I’m not sure.

Anyway, the really cool thing is that DSL has a tiny store where they sell Mini-ITX systems.  I’ve never heard of these until now, and I’m way stoked.  I gotta have one. :D

One of the coolest things about these little guys is that they are fanless!  I would love to have a totally quiet mythfrontend system.  I have no idea how in the world I’d set it up, boot off the network probably, but it would be loads of fun to try.  I picked out this little model as the one I want to get, and at under $300, I’m tempted to up and buy one right now.