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Date: Saturday, 25 Oct 2008 18:12

After perusing the web, who knew there would be comic books with an informative message? Here's some I found interesting:

Why's (Poignant) Guide to Ruby

This comic is written by an active developer of ruby who goes by the name "why the lucky stiff." It's a primer in Ruby accompanied by comics that venture into weirdom.

Visit Comic


Google's Chrome

This a great comic about the internals of what essential is the Google OS. Chrome is Google's new browser to push innovation into the web browsing experience.

Visit Comic


Bound by Law

This comic takes a complex subject, copyright law, and breaks it down into simpler relevant subjects with the heroin Akiko. What could be more crazy awesome?

Visit Comic

bound by law

Author: "Ross" Tags: "Internet"
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Date: Monday, 13 Oct 2008 13:49

A friend of mine, Daniel McNicoll, just finished directing a film with Galatia Films. In this film, they interview legendary Sword Master Bob Anderson preformed and choreographed all the Lightsaber duels for the original Star Wars trilogy. Both he and skilled martial artists along with the highly accomplished Viggo Mortensen are in this film. It looks great, as you can see by the trailer.

If you like this film (how can you not?!), help us get the word out.

Reclaiming the Blade on Digg

Ignore the Digg button below this.

Author: "Ross" Tags: "Uncategorized"
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Date: Tuesday, 23 Sep 2008 17:03

I'm currently working on a Digg app for Android for school. Once I get a real beta ready, I'll post more, but until then you can check out my progress at http://people.clemson.edu/~squire2/418/.


Author: "Ross" Tags: "Android, Internet"
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Date: Wednesday, 02 Jul 2008 14:39

Over the past week since Automatous' initial release, many bugs have been squashed and features have been tweaked. Here's a current update for things that are new to Automatous.

New Additions

"Invite Friends" Page

Added a fews days ago, the ubiquitous "Invite Friends" option found in many Facebook applications has been added to Automatous. This page only list friends that do not already have the application. Be sure to invite as many people as possible to help test Automatous before it's official open release.

Bug Reports

Added recently was a system for reporting bugs. If you come across any bugs, interface glitches, or else anything strange, please report it.

"Suggestions" Page

If you'd like to suggest new features or improvements for Automatous, be sure to submit those via the "Suggestions" page.

Hacking Detection and Prevention

User privacy and hacking prevention are the highest priorities for Automatous. Recently added a back-end feature, a new system for hack reporting has been implemented to quickly identify and resolve any problems that arise. After review, the abusive user can be banned from the application. If you have any questions or concerns reguarding your privacy as an Automatous user, please reply to this message.

An (Almost) Stable Status Update Server

If you've been missing some status updates over the past week, it's probably because the server software used to do the actual status updating has been constantly tweaked. This is make it as stable as possible when bugs arise. As time progresses, update outages may occur, but a system has been implemented to watch the activity of the server. This makes bug identification and crash recovery as quick as possible.

Features to be Added

Date Timing for Updates

At the moment, only adding weekly status updates are available. But, plans to implement status updates on (and between) specific dates are in the works.

Status Resets

Currently, once a status update completes it's cycle, your status is cleared. An option to return your status to it's previous text (before the automatic update) will be added soon.

Internet Explorer Fixes

If you are experiencing problems viewing Automatous in Internet Explorer, these problems will be fixed in the future. Currently, support for IE 7 is planned. If you are using IE 6, please update to the latest version of Internet Explorer to see the changes once they are implemented. But for now, using Mozilla Firefox is a solution for viewing Automatous as it was intended. Also, Firefox is a awesome browser to keep!

There is no specific time frame for future updates, but be assured they are being worked upon.

Author: "Ross" Tags: "Facebook, Internet"
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Date: Wednesday, 25 Jun 2008 15:48

After several weeks of development, I have finally opened up the Facebook application I've been working on. It's called the Automatous Facebook Status Updater. It's an application that allows you to schedule how and when your Facebook status changes. Here's a few screenshots of Automatous in action.

Adding a New Update


New Update Confirmed


Automatous is currently open to the public for testing. To add Automatous to your Facebook account and to find out more about joining the test, visit http://apps.facebook.com/automatous/.

Author: "Ross" Tags: "Facebook, Internet"
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Date: Tuesday, 20 May 2008 06:14

While browsing the net, I started reading the "Code of Conduct" pages for several Linux distributions. It's interesting to see exactly why a distribution was created and what drives developers to contribute to them. Here's a short list, and feel free to post comments with links to other distros to be added.

Gentoo - http://www.gentoo.org/main/en/philosophy.xml
Ubuntu - http://www.ubuntu.com/community/conduct
Fedora - http://docs.fedoraproject.org/release-notes/f9/en_US/index.html#sn-Welcome
Exherbo - http://exherbo.org/
OpenSUSE - http://en.opensuse.org/Guiding_Principles
Slackware - http://www.slackbook.org/html/introduction-slackware.html
Debian - http://www.debian.org/social_contract
Freespire - http://wiki.freespire.org/index.php/Freespire_Project_Vision_Statement
Arch - http://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/The_Arch_Way

[EDIT 5/20/08 - 11:36 PM] Added Slackware and Debian
[EDIT 5/20/08 - 12:25 PM] Added Freespire<
[EDIT 5/20/08 - 12:32 PM] Fedora changed overnight, need new mission statement...
[EDIT 5/20/08 - 2:00 PM] Added Arch
Author: "Ross" Tags: "Uncategorized"
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Date: Tuesday, 20 Nov 2007 21:02

So, if you've been trying to visit Nerdica.com (ahhh, old posts) for the past couple hours, you'll notice that it's been down. I've currently just switched to Dreamhost, and I'm liking it so far. The main reason I switched is because my previous host, 1&1, was slow. Some of my friends never had problems with 1&1, but my site would take almost 10 seconds to appear most of the time. Sometimes even 2-3 minutes, and that was just ridiculous. Immediately after I switched, Nerdica loaded in 2-3 seconds. And after a little Wordpress tweaking, the site loads almost instantaneously.

So, after a little searching, I settled with Dreamhost for several reasons. For all the services they provide, they are dead cheap. I've got 500 gigs of space to host as many sites as I would like for whatever I want. I'm really liking the new web panel from Dreamhost. There may be a very small learning curve for some. For example, when creating MySQL databases at 1&1, everything would be created for me on the spot, but I would be given obscure usernames, database names, and domains for all of my configuration. Organization went out the window. But, Dreamhost sets up databases with information I give them. I can configure multiple users for different database, and keep my databases organized at the domains I own. The extra 10 seconds it takes to enter in this information is definitely worth it. Everything, in my opinion is much more organized. Also, Dreamhost has a ton of extras I can use, such as Flash video transcoding, a UNIX shell, Jabber IM servers, and announcements lists. Basically, I can do anything for hosting a web site, as long as it stays under 500 gigs.

So, if you browsed the site recently, and notice anything different, let me know by posting in these comments, or discussing it in the forums.

Author: "Ross" Tags: "Internet, Administrative"
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Date: Saturday, 17 Nov 2007 22:13

After browsing the web to find other people looking in random places for help, I've decided to add a forums feature to the site. If you ever have trouble, or would like to discuss Nerdica.com, feel free to do so on the brand new forums at http://nerdica.com/forums.

Author: "Ross" Tags: "Administrative"
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Date: Thursday, 15 Nov 2007 19:56


Wanna know what really goes into just adding that simple extra line in "sources.list" for your favorite Ubuntu repositories? Well, in this article, I'll be detailing some of the work I do while maintaining the CLUG Ubuntu software repository. Listed here will be the basics of how to set up a repository to share your Ubuntu software packages, and a few notes on how to update the repository and troubleshooting a few things you may run into.

Ubuntu (or Debian) software repositories are usually simply hosted on HTTP web servers. There a several directories used for storing the software (the ".deb" files), and then several extra directories are created to provide the information about the packages available.

What You'll Need

To begin, you'll need to install two packages. First, you'll need the "apt-utils" package for creating and updating the repository, and secondly you'll need to install the HTTP server. We'll be using Apache for this example. You can use any web server you like, the repository runs independently of it, and only needs it to host the files. The two software packages can be installed by simply typing the following command into a terminal:

sudo apt-get install apt-utils apache2

Creating the Initial Repository

Once everything is installed, you'll want to then create the initial directories. For this example, we're going to build everything inside a folder called "packages" in the default hosted root directory for Apache. It is simplest to switch into a root terminal to create these directories by doing the following:

sudo -s
mkdir /var/www/packages
cd /var/www/packages

Next, we'll create three main directories needed for the repository. The first is the "pool" directory. Here all of your packages will be placed and organized for downloading in the "main" subdirectory. Several directories can exist, but they must be configured later on. Secondly, the "dists" directory will be created and tailored towards what particular release (in this case, Ubuntu Gutsy 7.10 for i386 architectures) your Ubuntu packages are built for. And last will be the hidden ".cache" directory to be used by the software in the "apt-utils" package for building and updating. Type the following into your root terminal:

mkdir -p pool/main
mkdir -p dists/gutsy/main/binary-i386
mkdir .cache

Configuration Assimilation

Next, you'll need to create the initial configuration files for the "apt-utils" software (mainly the "apt-ftparchive" command) to find and summarize your software. Two configuration files are needed, the "apt-ftparchive.conf" and the "apt-release.conf" files. To create the first configuration file, enter the following command:

sudo gedit apt-release.conf

...and paste this into the text editor:

APT::FTPArchive::Release::Codename "gutsy";
APT::FTPArchive::Release::Origin "Nerdica.com";
APT::FTPArchive::Release::Components "main";
APT::FTPArchive::Release::Label "Nerdica Ubuntu Repository";
APT::FTPArchive::Release::Architectures "i386";
APT::FTPArchive::Release::Suite "gutsy";

The options in this configuration are pretty self explanatory. What architecture, label, and codenames are used can all be changed to your liking.

Much like before, let's create the second configuration file. Enter the following into the terminal:

sudo gedit apt-ftparchive.conf

...and paste this into the text editor:

Dir {
 ArchiveDir ".";
 CacheDir "./.cache";

Default {
 Packages::Compress ". gzip bzip2";
 Contents::Compress ". gzip bzip2";

TreeDefault {
 BinCacheDB "packages-$(SECTION)-$(ARCH).db";
 Directory "pool/$(SECTION)";
 Packages "$(DIST)/$(SECTION)/binary-$(ARCH)/Packages";
 Contents "$(DIST)/Contents-$(ARCH)";

Tree "dists/gutsy" {
 Sections "main";
 Architectures "i386";

Or, you can download this configuration file directly from Nerdica if you are having formatting issues by entering this into a terminal:

wget \

After looking through this file, there's not much you'll want to tinker with. It's tailored towards the specific directory tree structure used in this tutorial. But as you can tell, the file is broken into several different parts. The "Dir" section obviously shows what directories we will begin working with. The "Default" section gives options for how out software summaries should be compressed. The "TreeDefault" sections defines where our packages are located, and where the summaries and details should be saved. And finally, the "Tree" section defines what kind of packages they are, and where they are located it the pool.

Ready, Set, Go

Now everything is in place for you to copy your packages and build the repository for the first time. You can use packages you've built yourself, or you can mirror other packages you may need. For this particular example, we'll mirror one of my favorite applications, Wine-Doors*. Wine-Doors is an excellent program to helps get your favorite Windows applications running in Linux. Enter the following commands to download the Ubuntu package into the correct directory:

cd /var/www/packages/pool/main
wget http://www.wine-doors.org/releases/wine-doors_0.1.1-1_all.deb

Now that you have at least one package in your repository, you'll want finally build the repository based on the packages you have. Do so by typing the following commands into your terminal:

cd /var/www/packages
apt-ftparchive generate apt-ftparchive.conf
apt-ftparchive -c apt-release.conf release dists/gutsy > \

The initial repository has been built. If you ever need to rebuild the repository if you add new packages, or later version of existing packages, just simple type the previous commands into a root terminal.

My Friend Can Has Software?

Now that you have a repository hosted, you can give the address to anyone would like to use it. You can add the repository to anyone existing Ubuntu installation by entering the following command:

sudo gedit /etc/apt/sources.list

..and pasting the following at the end of the file:

deb http://my-server-address.com/packages gutsy main

Remember to replace the server address with your actually domain. Once this line has been added to the "sources.list", the use can then update the repositories and install the new software by entering the following commands:

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install wine-doors


If you ever run into any particular problems with adding new software releases or extra software, sometimes the problem can be alleviated by removing what's it the ".cache" directory. You can do so by enterting the following command:

sudo rm - /var/www/packages/.cache/*

Final Notes

Now you've got a repository up to host your own packages, or to help developers by mirroring cool software you enjoy using. Questions? Comments? Let me know by commenting on the article.

Discuss this the forums.

*Nerdica is not in any way officially affiliated with Wine-Doors.

Author: "Ross" Tags: "Linux"
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Date: Thursday, 05 Jul 2007 19:50

When one of my friends came up to Clemson this summer, he brought a belated birthday gift. At first, I thought it was some sort of notebook. When I realized what it was, I nearly died laughing. He said his dad found it in storage, and gave it to him. The friend knew that I would be the only one to appreciate something like this, and what would be a better gift for me two weeks late?

That's huge!

It was an eight inch "High Capacity Flexible Disk Cartridge". The disk holds a monstrous 10 megabytes. After a little research, I've come to the conclusion that the predecessor to the Iomega Zip Disks. It was part of the Bernoulli line of removable media produced by Iomega.

The contents of the disk are as follows:

  • Profitshare
  • Lotus
  • Norton Utilities

Unfortunately, I can't find any equipment on campus to read the data. Go figure.

Author: "Ross" Tags: "Uncategorized"
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