rm -rf /var/www/* ... wait, which server am I logged into?

September 30, 2007 | programming, technology
Unix needs an undo command. This morning, my roommate and I hauled out some of our “big iron” (a languishing Pentium 4 box) to use as a photo server. Because we had initially planned to use that box to host bitquabit.com and its sister sites—a plan since scrapped—it had a full clone of all the data on my Linode hub. Before my roommate got going, then, I thought I’d quickly clean the box and return it to a neutral state. First stop, hose the duplicates of the websites I host. Fire up SSH, sidle...

Blast Your Friends

September 26, 2007 | personal, technology
One of my friends adamantly refuses to carry a cell phone on him. Although I don’t have a lot of sympathy for that these days, I’ll be changing my opinion very quickly if blasting your friends starts to become common.

Half-Baked Features

September 19, 2007 | technology
One of the Big New Features in WordPress 2.2 was a dynamic sidebar. The idea was that developers would write reusable Widgets that users could add to their sidebar through drag-and-drop—a huge improvement over the old method of modifying a bunch of PHP by hand. The good news is that building a sidebar from widgets works great. Unfortunately, the bundled widgets don’t. The archive widget has an invalid capitalization of its onchange event that keeps this site from validating, while the links...

Lotus Symphony Now Free

September 18, 2007 | technology
Lotus Symphony is IBM’s rebranded version of OpenOffice, and ships with Lotus Notes. As of today, Symphony is free. Even if you have OpenOffice, Symphony may be worth checking out, as it sports what in my opinion is a superior interface.

Over-Securing WordPress

September 18, 2007 | programming, technology
I’m generally quite paranoid when it comes to server security—doubly so because I’m no guru at it—so I tend to take a shotgun approach. The virtual server running bit qua bit has a restrictive firewall setup, has root disabled, only allows secure IMAP/POP/SMTP, disallows password login through SSH, and mails me daily security audits, among other things. I also monitor Debian’s security-announce list like a hawk. (If you’re the sysadmin for a Debian server and you’re not on that list, sign up....

LiveJournal is Bizarre

September 15, 2007 | technology
After reading about Michael’s attempt to turn his homepage into an aggregator for all his computer activities, I got inspired to try LiveJournal again. I last used LiveJournal when it was cool because it was running on Linux, and Linux was really cool because it had the singular ability to wipe out huge chunks of nominally backed-up data if you didn’t understand how UMSDOS worked. Since (as you “old-timers” have already figured out) I was thirteen at the time, I had of course forgotten my...

Citadel: Easy Groupware

September 5, 2007 | technology
For the last several months, I’ve been powering bit qua bit’s mail system with Citadel. In the yonder years, Citadel was a very powerful BBS for Unix systems. As the bulletin board days drew to a close, and its developers began searching for a way to keep Citadel relevant, they hit upon the idea of turning it into a groupware system. The current version of Citadel runs on most Unix platforms, supports secure IMAP, SMTP, and POP3 out of the box, provides the GroupDAV protocol for synchronizing...

Copilot for College

September 2, 2007 | personal, programming, technology
My day job is working on Fog Creek Copilot, a powerful, cross-platform remote assistance solution. This week, Tyler and I were talking about how it’s too bad that Copilot didn’t really exist when we were in college, because we always ended up doing tech support for our families over the phone, which always went something like: Me: What do you see now? Family Member: A dialog box. Me: What’s it say? Family Member: It’s got a stop sign with an exclamation mark and says that the server can’t be...

The more you know...

August 31, 2007 | technology
It turns out that you can have WordPress automatically show a post after a specific time. To do so, simply set the post’s time stamp in the future. Presto! The post won’t appear either in RSS or on the main page until after the time you’ve set, and in the management interface, shows up as a “scheduled post.” I’ve actually been using this feature for awhile now: I wrote most of this week’s posts on Sunday afternoon, but set their post times so that they’d appear steadily throughout the week. This...

The Open XML Debate, Revisited

August 30, 2007 | politics, programming, technology
From Slashdot, which is slowly redeeming itself, comes a link to Microsoft admitting that it bribed members of the Swedish ISO committee to vote for OOXML. Unsurprisingly, the Swedish ISO committee just voided its own vote. Due to time crunch, they will not be casting a vote at all in the Open XML ratification process. I find it depressing but predictable that I’m unsurprised.