Dave Bullock / eecue

photographer, programmer, husband,
photojournalist, caver, blogger, search and rescuer,
angeleno, foodie, hacker, nerd, geek, human

Blog

Downtown Art Ride - Ride Your Bike and See Some Art

Jump on your bike every second Thursday and join us on our art gallery tour through the skewed streets of Downtown LA. We begin our ride at 5:00pm at the Downtown Art Gallery on 1611 S.Hope St. There is a free parking lot next to the gallery if you are unable to ride or take public transit from your location. We will leave the Downtown Art Gallery between 5:30 and 5:45 and make our way to all the galleries that take part in the Downtown Art Walk (except MOCA Grand and the Library.) Here is a google pedometer map of the route we will be taking and here is a map of the actual art walk[pdf]. Don't forget to bring a lock and of course your bike.

UPDATE!! I registered a domain and built a quick website for the Downtown Art Ride. I will be adding more info soon along with a great map that Eric Richardson created at his new job.

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<del>NO RideArc This Friday</del> Current RideArc Info

UPDATE RideArc Still happens, you can read more about it here: RideARc

Although I don't have any details as to the theme of the ride, as far as I know, the ride is still on and will be meeting at 9pm this Friday at the SCI-Arc parking lot. I'll see you there (and don't forget, next week is the Downtown Art Ride on Thursday and Midnight Ridazz on Friday)! This just in [thanks to Will Campbell for pointing this out to me]:

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Google Referrals

Google is now paying $1 for ever person that an Adsense user refers to sign up for Firefox with a google toolbar. Explorer Destroyer has some code (which isn't totally XHTML strict, but you can fix that by adding a couple <p> tags as well as adding a blank src="" and alt="" to the image tags) that will allow you to alert IE users that their browser is muy malo and they should switch. Just say no to IE!

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Old School! Rave at the Alexandria

Hey celia I hope you have earplugs! There is a rave tonight at the Alex! I'm so totally there... replete with a drum'n'bass room!

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Secure Cacti with Net-SNMP and SSH Tunnels

So I finally got around to setting up cacti/snmp on my servers. Here is what I did:

  1. Installed cacti on the main monitoring server which we'll call slappy. I used the FreeBSD port of cacti. Slappy already had php/mysql/apache installed.
  2. Added a user snmp to slappy and then I generated keys using ssh-keygen for each of the servers that slappy would be monitoring.
  3. On each of the servers that slappy would be monitoring I installed net-snmp from the ports tree and configured it to run over tcp on 127.0.0.1 and then I added a user snmp with a nologin shell and without password authentication as I will just be using snmp to create a tunnel to the snmpd process that will be running on localhost.
  4. Back on slappy I su'ed to the snmp user and created a shell script that would set up the tunnels to each of the servers using a command like this: ssh -i ~/.ssh/keys/hostname -f -N -L 16101:127.0.0.1:161 hostname and then added the script as a cronjob.
  5. Finally I added all the servers to cacti using the basic built-in net-snmp support as well as a couple of qmail and mysql scripts.

So I now have a nice collection of graphs for traffic / disk space / processor, memory and mysql load.

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Quake Prediction?

On Thanksgiving I was listening to As It Happens on the CBC via KPCC and I heard a report about the nasty benzene spill in China. The reporter who was an English teacher living in China said that there was some panic about the water supply being turned off due to the spill and also that there was an earthquake predicted [real audio stream @ 11:25 and 12:14] "The government gave a warning that an earthquake would occur" and "People were sleeping in tents outside". The I just read today that there was a big quake in China. I found it very interesting that the Chinese government predicts earthquakes and tells the people about it, and that is turns out to be true. Very interesting.

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Racquetball

Yesterday Penelope and I went to the gym and instead of using one of the various machines to get our cardio workout, we decided to try Racquetball. We borrowed some racquets and a couple of balls and hit the court. When we were locked into the court we realized that we had no idea how to play the game we had decided to play, so we just hit the ball against the walls and tried to rally as much as we could. It turned out to be great fun and we decided to get ourselves some racquets and figure out the rules. When I got home I found a page with the basic rules of the game which made sense once I read them a few times. The next step was to look on craigslist for some racquets, of which I found 2 for $20 and I just got back from picking them up. They are in great condition, are nice racquets and I am looking forward to playing a game with Penelope tomorrow.

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Frying Fish Bloken Conveyler

Penelope and I went to Frying Fish today to have some rotating mechanized sushi, but the conveyor was broken, oh my! No big deal though, the sushi was still great although we did have to order it all from the chef instead of just picking various items off of the conveyor.

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PC-BSD on my Sharp Mebius

A few years back I visited japan, where I picked up a ultra light and thin sharp mebius laptop with a 30gb hd, 512mb ram and a 750mhz piii. It has been sitting in a bag since then as I am mostly a mac / unix user and I have only used it a couple of times to do some random PC stuff. The other day I noticed that PC-BSD had reached its 1.0 mark and today I decided to download it and check it out. The first run through of the install didn't work, but I tweaked some BIOS settings and it booted right up. PCBSD is really easy to install and has a nice GUI installer that anybody can use. Everything works great and I now have FreeBSD running on my Mebius laptop! I threw in a wireless card and everything worked as it should and I now have a nice little portable computer for tasks around the house when I don't want to sit in front of my desk. I set up OpenVPN and got that working in the simple mode after a little bit of toying around. Cool deal.

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Speakeasy DSL

So I finally got myself some DSL... it has been a few years. Recently I have used a "borrowed" wireless connection, Verizon EVDO, and a cable modem and now I am back on with the nice low-latency DSL. I have a 6mb/768k connection from Speakeasy and so far it rocks, although due to some line noise I don't get the full 6, more like 4.8 or so. Last night I set up the server that is supposed to be my mythTV system as a firewall because for some reason the other 2 systems I had wouldn't POST, I think it has something to do with the power outages we had a few months ago, but they were old systems anyhow, and I have bid on a couple old cheap systems on ebay that will work just fine for the job. I set up the firewall using pf on FreeBSD, with a separate interface for the wireless bridge (which is a bridge to nowhere if you don't connect to the VPN). Everything is working great and I finally have my Vonage box active again, yay.

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<del>Backpack</del>Lounging in Catalina

Penelope and I had planned on going backpacking this weekend on Catalina Island this weekend, but when we got there the town of Avalon was so beautiful we just decided to get a hotel room and hang out. The other problem was that the route I had planned ended up being on a paved road and our campground was a bit further then we wanted to hike in one day with heavy packs, plus I was midway through a cold, which I have just now kicked.

We checked in to the Hotel Villa Portofino, a hotel right across the main drag from the water, dropped off out bags and hit the bar. We had a few drinks and then we decided to rent a golf cart and take it around Avalon, which despite sounding cheesy was actually quite fun. After the golf cart ride we bought some tickets to see Harry Potter in the Casino which isn't actually a gambling hall, the italian word casino actually meant a place of entertainment, back when the building was built by Mr Wrigley.

The Casino is amazingly beautiful and before the movie we were treated to 45 minutes of organ music on a really grand organ, a type of which only 3 exist in the world today. The bass and acoustics of the theatre are really amazing and we really enjoyed both the organ show and the movie.

The next day we hiked over to the botanical gardens and the Wrigley monument and then we headed back in to town to take part in tour of the casino which was really interesting. I took a whole bunch of photos of the whole trip and I will be uploading them soon once I am a bit less busy.

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A Laptop For Every Child

MIT has unveiled their super cool hand cranked $100 laptop at the World Summit on the Information Society in Tunisia. I know they are supposed to be for developing nations, but I want one, or two... actually can I buy 1 for me and 3 for underprivileged children? That would be cool.

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Many Gigabytes of Photos

Over the past couple of months I have posted only a very small handful of photos on my website. There are a couple of reason for this. First of all I had some disk problems with my server and lost a whole bunch of photos from the site... I didn't really lose the actual photos, I will just have to upload them again. The next problem is that I have had somewhat spotty connectivity at my loft, but this will be remedied on the 16th when Speakeasy installs my 6M/786k DSL, Yay! And finally I have been completely rewriting the code the runs my site, to make it better, faster and easier to use. I am very close to being done with the rewrite and once I am I will start the transition from the current slacker based system to the new dynamony system. Once I upgrade I have something like 10 gigs of photos to sort through and upload.

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Downtown ArtRide

A couple of days ago I decided that I really wanted to actually make it to all the galleries on the Downtown Art Walk, but since I only had a limited amount of time that I can spend traipsing about I decided to make the rounds by bike. I posted up about this on blogging.la and Eric Richardson showed interest in the whole idea and decided to come with me. During the day Thursday I was very busy, but luckily Eric had time to plan a route and print out some maps. Using his route I was able to hit every single gallery on the Art Walk and take pictures in those that allowed it (which was almost everywhere). The only 2 spots I didn't hit were MOCA on Grand and the LAPL. I have set up a mailing list for the ArtRide, which I will be doing every month with the Art Walk. If you are interested you can sign up to the list here.

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Things looking bad for Repbulicans

CNN is reporting that both NJ and VA have elected Democrats to be their next governors. Let's see what happens with the mayoral elections in NYC and Boston. I don't see things getting any better for the wingnuts any time soon.

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Let the RFID Hacking Begin

Now that money is involved it will only be a short amount of time before RFIDs are blown wide open as the next huge security problem. All you have to do is excite the card with the right radio freqs and pick up the response and you're in. Record it, replay it and you have pwn3d the money.

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SCI-Arc RideArc

I had a blast at the monthly SCI-Arc ride and I wrote about it here on b.la.

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New Meade Truss-Tube Dobsonian Telecopes

The new relatively-low-priced-for-a-10"-truss-dobsonian Meade LightBridge makes me really want to upgrade my sad little 3" refractor. The truss breaks down so you can fit it in your car trunk. And you can pre-order it for around $649 for the standard edition or $750 for the deluxe one and for another $99 your can get a collection of Super Plossl lenses and a 2x Barlow lens.

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Must not forget the Art Walk

Next Thursday the 10th of November is the Downtown LA Art Walk. I will not miss it again (hopefully).

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Spinning

I did some research about how to best train for fixed gear riding and I found this great page giving some exercises that you can do to strengthen you legs for the rigors of coaster-less travel. I also researched spinning and found out that spinning bikes are fixed gear stationary cycles so they are perfect for fixie training. So today at gym, Penelope and I spun for 20 minutes doing the Arc Drills, it was a good workout and afterwards I did my resistance training which is always fun. Working out really makes my days better.

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Nanowrimo

So I just spent about 15 minutes writing the first few paragraphs of my first ever novel. You can read what I have so far here on my nanowrimo page. I will be writing every day and posting up what I have, be warned the copy has not been edited yet. Thanks to Robert Daeley for inspiring me to do this!

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Mo-e!

I finished watching the entire Densha Otoko series in the last couple of days and I really enjoyed it, although at some times it was definitely cheesy and overly dramatic. The show was based on a real story of an anime obsessed nerd (otaku) who's chivalry, albeit with shaking knees, saves a woman on a train from a drunken old pervert. She thanks him and asks for his address which he gives her and then he turns to a highly popular japanese message board for advice on what to do. The ensuing 10 episodes follow the young nerd as he is transformed from a geek rife with Ota reek, into a dashing and bumbling hero who wins the heart and hand of a "normal" woman.

About half way through the series he decides to part with his Otaku ways and become a "normal" person, which I thought didn't quite give a healthy message to people (you must have no personal identity!), but towards the end he realizes that he will always be an Otaku and hopes that his love will accept him for who he is, which she does.

I especially like the parts when he is conversing on the BBS in which he interacts with hundreds of people throughout japan and abroad including one of my favorite jp tv personalities Nasubi.

The show gives an interesting look into how the japanese public feel about nerdy people and how they are really shunned by society. It is interesting how nerds are treated differently in the US and how nerds have become somewhat cool in the last 10 years here. Here is a link to the bittorrent of the series (complete with english subtitles) if you are interested in checking it out. I guess there is also a movie out there somewhere which I'll have to check out as well.

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