Archive for September, 2012

He’s trying to buy the election, so give me money!

Tuesday, September 25th, 2012

I love the complete lack of self-awareness out of some politicians. Or a cynical awareness of political reality. Which I don’t love. Really, it’s depressing all around, just sort of amusing as well.

Sad, old, news

Monday, September 24th, 2012

The other day, the P.M. Dawn song, Hale-Bopp Reguritations, came up on random, and worked its way into my short-term repeat playlist. With lines like,

Should have known not to throw away my records,
Should have known not to buy compact discs,

Should have known not to sex Amy Fisher

It keeps coming back into my mind, and I have to listen to it again. It’s the kind of thing that will probably drive people crazy in our new open office plan.

Today, I wondered where they are at these days. The last time I remember hearing about them in entertainment news, someone had attacked Prince Be, and the person reporting the news expressed incredulity that anyone could have a problem with such a kindly fellow. If only that was the worst turn in his life. Turns out he had a stroke, managing to win a charity performance contest despite being half-paralyzed, then had another stroke and gangrene that cost him half a leg. Never let it be said that diabetes can’t still be a dangerous disease, even with modern medicine.

There’s nothing more recent that 2006 on their wikipedia page.


Thursday, September 20th, 2012

I’ve been pulled back into World of Warcraft, by the promise of fighting pandas. I hope blizzard is paying Jack Black something for the whole Kung Fu Panda tie-in-in-fanmind-if-not-reality. Was getting ready to update the wow client on my desktop gaming machine, a few years old sure, but should still be enough for wow, only to find that the video card seems to have gone haywire on it, since I last logged in locally. d’ohwell.

If I were a real gamer, I’d replace the whole 4+ year old machine. My co-worker offered a video card to try and replace just that. Which shall I choose….

Accidental solution

Wednesday, September 19th, 2012

I’m trying to debug a problematic interaction, between our software, and SELinux on RHEL6. Under default SELinux=enforcing configurations, our server fails with

Error while loading shared libraries : /usr/lib/xxxx : cannot enable executable stack as shared object requires

This is a known issue with how one of our modules is built, that isn’t scheduled to be addressed in the near future (the part that requires changing has a lengthy government certification processes, we want all changes to this area done at the same time to limit the number of times we have to certify). It’s been fixable in RHEL5 with a simple chcon -t textrel_shlib_t /usr/lib/xxxx.

But for some reason, while the same command gives no errors back, it also doesn’t prevent the problem that keeps us from running, under RHEL6.

One of the many suggestions for fixing or debugging the issue was to build a custom policy using audit2allow, and deal with it that way. Basically, you set your SELinux machine to permissive, do the offending operation, and them take the errors that it generated-but-ignored, build a policy with them, and then you can set your box back to enforcing, add the policy, and bobsuruncle. So I bring up /etc/selinux/config in my handy editor, but because I’m distracted by other things at work, I don’t notice there are two configurable values in the file, and instead of changing SELINUX, I changed SELINUXTYPE. Which is where things get odd.

According to the docs, the only valid values for SELINUXTYPE are targeted and mls, but I set it to permissive. I didn’t notice this, do my product install, and everything works, as expected. I go to set the config file back to default values, at which point I notice my error. Hrm, I think to myself. Looking in /var/log/audit/audit.log, there aren’t any errors for audit2allow to work off of. I put the config back to default, reboot the box, and miraculously, things are still working.

It’s hard to feel like I’ve really fixed the problem, but it sure doesn’t seem to still be occurring, so….

Cards Against Humanity

Tuesday, September 18th, 2012

From email announcing re-availability at amazon, to order placed, in under 5 minutes. Now to find someone to play with…and to play the game =p.

PAM hate

Monday, September 17th, 2012

One of my least favorite parts of the current job is PAM (Pluggable Authentication Module). I can never find sufficient documentation to explain why things work, or more often don’t work, the way they do, versus what I expect. Every flavor on UNIX implements their PAM with quirks.

Today, one of my cow-orkers asked for some help trying to determine if the unexpected PAM results he was seeing was a problem with our product, or a problem with the configuration of the environment. In the end, we were able to determine that our product was correctly calling the pam module, but couldn’t explain why the module wasn’t returning expected values for our test accounts.

As he was leaving my office, the other guy expressed his understanding why so many of the help pages we found started out with some variation of, “I hate PAM, but have to…”

Java update quality control

Monday, September 17th, 2012

It’s a small thing, as bugs go, but I couldn’t help but notice that, when you uninstall Java 6_35, the uninstall window says “6_33”. little d’oh on Oracle’s part.

Almost cruel irony

Monday, September 17th, 2012

One of my bigger concerns with the upcoming move from offices to cubes, at work, is my art. I have over 100 square feet of artwork in my current office, and low-walled cubes would give me near zero space to hang it, much less have it above knee level. Our department’s rep on the planning committee has assured me that “if art hanging space is important to us as a team, we’ll make sure we have it”…which doesn’t sound very promising to me, but whatever.

This morning, someone put together a sample of our new cubes, out of cardboard. Based on the snark-level displayed ‘on-screen‘, I suspect a guerrilla operation.

UPDATE: d’oh, hit return with focus in the wrong place…so anyhoo. After seeing this sample cube, I’m back in my office, doing my work stuff, when I notice that one of my largest/heaviest pieces, is coming away from the wall. Taking it down, it looks like the artist built the frame with wood glue, instead of screws, at it is coming apart. A few hours more, and it would have peeled all the way off and smashed up all my equipment below it. Or my head, if I’d been working there.

And there would have been the cruel irony, to be killed by the art I sought to save.

Strange Outlook background

Wednesday, September 12th, 2012

I’m glancing over at the machine with Outlook up, and notice something odd about the current message displayed, a gridlike pattern of boxes, barely visible, that seems to have a fading gradient as you approach the edge of the preview-pane.

At first, I thought it was just that particular manager using a stationery-effect of some sort, but looking at other messages by the same guy, they don’t show this pattern.


Surrounded by hippies

Wednesday, September 12th, 2012

Oy vey, enough of the hyper cheerful hippy-dippy attitudes today, please. I get that you don’t care about losing your office, so please get that I do, and that it’s a make or break issue for me. Hooray for you, you embrace change and can work in any environment. I spent the last 20 years finding a place and way for me to be most effective. There’s a reason I’ve lasted at this place longer than any other job I’ve ever had, because they let me work the way that works best for me.