RE: Atom discussion minutes

The minutes from the Atom/W3C discussion in New York have been posted online. Unfortunately the default formatting is pretty difficult to follow. I found it a lot easier to figure out who was saying what after applying the following CSS (using the test styles bookmarklet):

abbr {
  display: block;
  margin-top: 1em;
  margin-bottom: 0.5em;
  font-weight: bold;
abbr:after {
  content: " - " attr(title);

[Via Simon Willison’s Weblog]

Seven open source business strategies for competitive advantage

Open source presents a large potential competitive advantage for hardware and software vendors, and vendors of complementary or substitute services. Linux has contributed greatly to the adoption and success of OSS. Companies such as IBM, HP, Red Hat, Oracle, and recently, Novell, have invested in, and legitimized the use of Linux for enterprise applications — including datacenter operations.

Open source presents a large potential competitive advantage for hardware and software vendors, and vendors of complementary or substitute services. Linux has contributed greatly to the adoption and success of OSS. Companies such as IBM, HP, Red Hat, Oracle, and recently, Novell, have invested in, and legitimized the use of Linux for enterprise applications — including datacenter operations.

Linux-related services deliver more than $1 billion in annual revenue to both IBM and HP. Oracle strongly promotes and likewise derives revenue from the Linux platform, with the so-called “unbreakable Linux” guarantee. In an attempt to catch the Linux wave, companies such as Computer Associates and Peoplesoft are porting their applications to Linux on ambitious timeframes.

In this article, we examine seven open source strategies that can give your company a competitive advantage. (Editor’s note: Each of the following links will take you directly to a particular section of the story.)

The Optimization Strategy
The Dual License Strategy
The Consulting Strategy
The Subscription Strategy
The Patronage Strategy
The Hosted Strategy
The Embedded Strategy

I use “free” software most of the time

I have always been a fan of “almost free” software. Most of the news focuses on the inroads made by the server software, Linux, Apache, Mysql, and Perl/PHP/Python. Recently I have been surprised to find out that I am using primarily “free” software throughout the day and it is client software rather than server software. Up until two years ago I would always read Anchordesk for the reviews on some of latest “free” software. At this moment I am using WordPress via the Firefox browser. I use Firefox and Internet Explorer and consider both of them “almost free”. I occasionally use Tortoisecvs to update the WordPress files and Jedit to edit the files. WordPress on the other hand uses the opensource software, Mysql and PHP to do most of the heavy lifting. Rssbandit, my favorite news aggregator, also is sourceforge software. I use Pdfcreator to create Pdf files, Eraser to permanently erase files, bloggar to post to my weblogs, Filezilla as my ftp client, etc.

Don’t get me wrong, I still use commercial software but I do not live in Microsoft Office like some people. I use Outlook daily but the other programs I use occasionally. I have Dreamweaver but I find myself using Jedit more often for the quick edits since it does a nice job displaying PHP, CSS, and HTML code. I use Quicken and QuickBooks daily but I am in and out pretty quickly. Norton Anti-Virus runs all the time but I do not interact with it. What I have found is that I have stretched my upgrade cycle for all of the commercial programs I do not use daily. The more features you can find and use in opensource software the less you upgrade. Commercial software providers have had this problem for a long time. I think if my usage is a good indicator of the public then it has become a major problem. : CSS layout techniques : CSS layout techniques
I am starting a process of updating the main site and the Legacy Farm website. I would like to use phpwebsite is the basis of both sites and create custom templates to achieve an almost table-less design. I don’t know how I missed this site,, but it is a great starting point. I don’t mind standing on the shoulders of others or telling everyone who did most of the work.

Validating html using Checky

I was doing a quick review of a new design for a website so I went back to the Fedora box to check it with Mozilla. The colors were a bit unusual and I started to wonder how the site would look to a color blind person. Then I remembered the great Mozilla plug-in called Checky. So I installed Checky and ran the color blind test. It was okay but I really liked the convience of Checky. So when I went back to the XP box I installed Firefox and the Checky extension. Nice browser!

Spam filter, Exchange 2003 SP1 to launch at TechEd

Spam filter, Exchange 2003 SP1 to launch at TechEd
Look to late May for a bounty of new messaging tools from Microsoft, including the release of the IMF and the first service and feature pack for Exchange Server 2003. Looks like it will be shipped in two parts, bug fixes and new enhancements. The big enhancement is the Intelligent Messaging Filter.

Importing RSS into WordPress

Today I imported 25 postings from my old blog. I used the import-rss script but the import screwed up the html elements by replacing the < tag with &lt; and the > tag with &gt;. So I searched the beta support and found a recommendation by someone to add a html_entity_decode function call on the content and description. I also added it to the title. Then I renamed the file from import-rss.php to import-rss1.php and changed the link in the file to point to the new name when it gets invoked as step 1. This time the posts looked good.

First post to the new blog

I am still in awe of the ease with which I installed phpwebsite and wordpress. Today I decided to upgrade the wordpress to the 1.2 beta. I checked out a copy of the beta from the cvs using tortoisecvs a couple of days ago. Today I updated my copy and then used the synchronize option of UnlimitedFTP to synchronize my updated directory with the website. I then ran the upgrade procedure in the wp-admin directory and I was done. Pretty slick. I wanted the lastest version installed since I was planning on migrating selected categories of my other blog over here. One of the changes in the beta has to do with storing the dates and times. It would be nice to get this done right the first time!

RE: The soul

Another view point on the soul of a man though I do not think it so easy to find.

I think each of us has a kernel, under all the layers of experience and pain, that’s ageless and perfect. Some people call this a heart, the organ that pumps blood thru our bodies. Others call it a spirit, the essence of the person. Whatever you call it, it’s there, and you can easily find it.

[Via Roughly seven years ago in Scripting News]

Searching for a new host provider

I bit the bullet last week and set up a host with godaddy. The price and features looked good and I had been pleased with godaddy’s service. Then I tried to install phpwebsite. I could not get it to install and naturally they were of no help. I searched the web and did not find any help so I started to debug the php code. It took me awhile but I finally narrowed the problem down to the set_ini statement that godaddy had disabled for security reasons. The set_ini function is used by phpwebsite to modify the include path so that PHP can find the Pear library. After a few more emails to see if they would either modify the settings for my host to allow me to use set_ini or install the Pear library as a system library, I gave up and started searching for a new host provider. There were several “independent” reviews available out on the web so I scanned the lists and several of the top rated sites. I sent off a few emails to the sales departments inquiring about their PHP settings but ended up narrowing my list down to those top-rated sites that supplied the Fantastico application installer. Fantastico is an amazing CPanel/PHP based Web application that integrates with CPanel and allows clients like me the ability to automagically install a variety of Open Source Applications including phpwebsite and wordpress. So I called and they encouraged me to try it out since there was a money back guarantee. Within about ten minutes I had created a website, installed both phpwebsite and wordpress, and completed my initial testing. Now that is slick! On top of that the CPanel application provides a slew of nice features such as ssh/script access and secure browser based file transfers. They did not skimp on hosting features either. You get 1GB of diskspace, 10 databases, perl/php, and slew of other features. This all comes at a very competitive price of $6.95 a month. Wow! I am impressed. I knew deep down that setting up a web site is not that hard. The hard part is selecting the right host provider. Click here to checkout or signup for

RE: Battelle on Google’s S-1

John Battelle’s analysis of Google’s S-1 filing — and particularily, the charming-but-stilted founders’ letter — is fascinating and insightful:

The letter states, among other things, that

  1. We don’t need to do this for the money
  2. We have no plans to run our business to satisfy Wall Street’s need for smooth earnings predictability
  3. We plan to give no earnings guidance, not at least as it’s understood on Wall St.
  4. Don’t ask us to do so, we’ll simply decline the request
  5. We’ll do odd things that you won’ t understand
  6. We will make big bets on things that may not work out
  7. We run the company as a triumvirate, so there will not be clear leadership from one person like most other companies
  8. We bridge the media and tech industries (interesting), which are in flux, so we’ve chosen a two-class stock structure similar to the NYT, WashPost, and NYT that helps us avoid being taken over by those forces
  9. We plan using an auction model, as it feels fairer and we understand auctions from AdWords
  10. Don’t invest in us if this scares you at all, or the price feels too high
  11. Don’t even think about asking us to cut expenses with regard to our employees
  12. We believe in the idea of Don’t Be Evil
  13. It’s evil to pay for placement or inclusion (a swipe at Yahoo)
  14. We hope to bridge the digital divide through Gmail type free services and a foundation with at least 1% of profits and equity to help make the world a better place
  15. Betting on Google is a bet on Sergey and Larry (this was said multiple times, making me wonder if there wasn’t some odd future blame being assigned here by the VCs or bankers)
  16. This letter is our way of answering the questions we can’t answer in the coming months due to the IPO quiet period.

John Batelle’s Link
[Via Boing Boing]

Bloggar Test

I finally got Bloggar to work with Radio. The hard part was figuring out the page to use since all my searches came up empty. So here is what I configured to make it work:

  1. Host:
  2. Page: /RPC2
  3. Port: 5335
  4. Posts: metaWeblog API
  5. Categories: metaWeblog API – Multi

Earlier I had set up phpAdmin and WordPress on my local Fedora box and bloggar on my XP box. I then configured Bloggar to post to WordPress. Bloggar is now configured to post to two different weblogs. As you can probably surmise I plan on migrating away from Radio Userland to probably WordPress. I am now going to look into updating phpwebsite using bloggar.


During a long lunch break from repairing the driveway I did a little catching up with my Rss reader and found a reference to another sourceforge project, WordPress. It looks real interesting so I downloaded a copy. I have looked at Movable Type several times but have backed off for minor reasons. Radio works for me most of the time and is cost effective. However, customizing the css or pages is a pain and there are some MT features I would like to see.

Awstats and changing web host providers

I installed awstats on the fedora box to test it out. I am planning to move a couple websites over to and I have been trying to figure out web site statistics. I have a love-hate relationship with webtrends. Its fine when it works. Last year I am missing about a months worth of data on one of my websites. I asked the web host provider to generate the month again but I still got nothing. After a couple more tries a gave up. I am not sure whether the data is missing but I would like better control.

My plan on changing my web host provider is to add features and lower cost. I think I can get away with $3.95 a month for a low volume LAMP site. At the worst I may need to spend $7.95. My present provider, Interland, provides me LA service for $19.95. Time to move on!

The good news is I got it to work. The bad news is the statistics for phpwebsite does not tell me much about which pages people are visiting. I guess I need to read the FAQ and manual.

Gftp is fixed!

I forgot another tibbit I fixed yesterday and the day before. I have been using ssh to communicate with my W2K3 server and the fedora box while I am still working out my problems with Samba. The command line utilities, scp and sftp, worked fine but the gui ftp program, gftp, did not. A couple of days ago I figured out that I needed to check the sftp subsystem box in the gftp’s SSH configuration to get it to work. Then I saw that a few directories were displayed incorrectly and inaccessible. The screwed up& directory just happened to be the one I wanted to transfer. Now that is a real bummer. Then yesterday I noticed that Fedora had a new updated version of gftp available. I checked the release notes and noticed they had changed the default setting to on for the sftp subsystem. Better yet the new version fixed the directory problem.

More hacking with htmlarea

Some of the things I have learned already is that htmlarea and the Yahoo popup blocker do not get along. The popup blocker gets in the way of inserting images, colors, links, etc.

My hack screws up the Urls to ping textarea since I cannot be selective. If Radio had used an id for their textarea I could be selective. Oh well! I have never used the urls to ping feature anyway.

Hacking with htmlarea

Today I got a lot of stuff done. I have been chasing down problems with using htmlarea on phpwebsite. It didn’t work as expected but I have it working now. The instructions just didn’t work for me. Along the way I ended up retrieving the latest version using Tortoisecvs. To accomplish that task I had to figure out how to open up port 2401 through the firewall. Finally I hacked up my Radio installation to take advantage of htmlarea. This post is being composed in htmlarea. That is pretty cool.


On Monday Nancy told me they were going to get her cousin to fix our local Habitat affiliate’s website. There are a variety of problems with the site but old data is the most prominent. It is basically useless. My guess is that about half the board sees no value in having a website. That got me thinking. Yesterday I created a mockup of the website using my favorite no-cost cms, phpwebsite. Phpwebsite is one of the most popular low cost content management systems. It is a sourceforge project that is primarily maintained by Applachian State University. Since I think I will use it elsewhere I viewed this as a training exercise. I had previously installed it on my fedora box so it was ready for customization. I spent a couple of hours grafting the best ideas I saw from local Habitat affiliate sites onto the menu for the new site. Then I customized the “clean” theme to add a new logo and copyright. I was finished. Although the site is workable as I have designed it, I consider it a prototype which demonstrates the major content and function requirements I consider to be important for the new website. It should be interesting if her cousin sees what I have done. It would be nice if we could have several people add content to the site but I think that he will create a static site. Ultimately the lack of consensus on the priority of the site by the board will doom it to being stale again.

GIAC: Global Information Assurance Certification -  GCWN (Windows Security Administrator )

To be listed as a GIAC Certified Windows Security Administrator, a candidate must complete a written research paper (practical assignment) to demonstrate their knowledge of the subject matter.

Wow! I found this web page by accident but it contains a treasure trove of configuration hints in the research papers. I ended up downloading and printing Jorge Ortiz-Fuentes’s paper on “Does Windows 2000 security model get along with my Linux?” so I could learn more about ldap troubleshooting and how I could possibly fulfill my universal login quest between my Fedora box and my W2K3 server. One of the first things I noticed was that my ldap.conf on the Fedora box indicates that there have been some recent changes since he wrote the article and I probably will not have to recompile nss_ldap.