GPG Keys

So, I completely forgot to print out my gpg fingerprint for the signing party here, so didn’t go get any new sigs. But I did see a tool I hadn’t seen before: “View my GPG Stats”:



your key id :


And folks, don’t forget to bring a GPG fingerprint to the UTOS conference and get some good signatures, and join the Utah “Web of Trust”:

As one person mentioned in irc, “GPG is the Linkedin of the real geek world”

Connectivity in an Open Source Conference

OSCON always pushes the limits in terms of connectivity.  Let’s face it, this many geeks, fighting for the available resources.  This year has set new records in my frustration to get online.

  1. The Doubletree (where I am) hotel does not have wireless in the rooms
  2. They do have wired ethernet, but it’s not free this year
  1. I can’t connect in my room
  2. I had to spend several phone calls and lots of time with support
  3. No rebooting my computer will NOT help in this situation
  4. FINE, send the tech up to check the wire to the wall
  5. at least now they are switching rooms to one that has a cable or switch port that will work 🙂
  • The ‘Free Wireless’ that they do have is just in the lobby.  Last night it wasn’t working
    1. spr and I wound up playing Apples to Apples with sirhc and some other folks in the lobby while trying to get online.
  • The Red Lion (not the conference hotel, but closer to the conference) has free wireless in the room
    1. They have 179 rooms
    2. They can have 100 concurrent users 🙂
  • The OSCON open network is better today than it was yesterday morning.
    1. But tomorrow there will be twice as many people, in a smaller amount of rooms for the keynote
  • AT&T’s Edge network has been swamped, haven’t been able to use it after Sunday
  • A guy trying to use the verizon wireless mentioned the same results (guess it’s not just the iphone users)
  • Don’t even bother trying to use the local points for the MetroFi free wireless, overwhelmed doesn’t begin describe
  • Basically, if you’re lucky enough to connect to anything but the oscon connection (and it will be this way during the keynotes) you won’t get an IP. 

    Pro Postgres

    Yesterday afternoon was the Pro Postgres class as taught by Robert Treat.  On entering the class I was a little afraid at first that the class wouldn’t cover what I needed.  He started off spending a large amount of time covering packaging, then upgrading between versioning, and what version numbers meant.  Not exactly what I expected out of the class.

    However, slightly before the break period, the magic happened.  One of the main reasons I wanted this class was because of problems I’ve had in getting postgres tuned for the performance we wanted.  Personally this has been a major beef of mine for a long time with postgres, the documentation for performance tuning is extremely lacking.  To many times you find the details for tuning are simply ‘try changing, and see what happens’.  Not very helpful with live systems that you can’t take down just to twiddle a bit.

    However this time there was actually some magical help in finding several of the key things we can tune, especially on the solaris based system in question.  Of special note, while shared_buffers is something we had been focusing on modifying, some of the warnings we had read about modifying it we found aren’t such a big deal.  default_statistics_target is something that was harped on in our case.  Apparently the default value is ’10’, and the presenter said the first thing he did on a system was raise it to ‘100’, then run analyze.  Great, glad that’s a default.  According to him, there is no reason to want it lower than 100, glad that’s a default guys :).  sort_mem, checkpoint_segments, checkpoint_timeout, and effective_cache_size were also given heavier focus on why they should be targets of configuration optimization for performance.  These are major areas of our previous focus, and you can find some some information about them online, but this was much better.  Some other items of interest included using maintenance_work_mem in a per-session basis when altering tables or indexes.  update_prcess_title is an option that can apparently run very slowly on a solaris system, wish that was well known.   max_fsm_pages is one that as soon as he discussed it, I knew would be an issue.  Apparently if the page setting is too low, and you have a highly updated database, this will cause major performance issues.  The best way to test on this was to run a vacuum, and look at the pages information.  If it needed more than it said was available, you need to raise this :).  Once again, would have been nice in the docs, and I know we are now raising ours more than we had, by quite a bit.

    After the break we went on to cover various forms of data recovery, from the basic pgdumps (remember the -Fc option), pitr (point in time recovery), availability, slow query analysis, a review of important /contrib entries, and finally some interesting pg query tricks.

    I did learn a bit of very useful information.  I was afraid at first, not to mention when he stated, “Trush /contrib more than your own code.”  But I wound up liking the content quite a bit.  I have several pacakges that I hope to write more about after I try them out some.

    Vim Tutorial

    This talk had ‘oialline’ speaking in replacement for Damian.  He’s a little bit drier of a talk of course (hey, everybody is compared to Damian), but definitely knows his stuff.  Heck, he wrote a book on it 🙂

    Definitely a lot more syntax/function oriented at first, compared to damian’s class which was more focused on shortcut usability.  let’s see how it continues.  Most of the notes are available at the url below (he promised to have his slightly updated version posted soon).

    “I’ve just spent an hour and a half lecturing on various ways to autotype #include around filenames, and the strange thing is I don’t use any of them.  I just do an abbreviation.”

    It was nice seeing at the final point of the lecture was reminding people about the “charity” portion of the software.

    This was definitely a different class than damians, which was designed from ticks to making it quick.  This was really a tool for understanding the vim core.  Very interesting, totally different.

    Internet Archeology – Going through old code trying to figure out what it did.

    Continue reading »

    Arrived at OSCON 07

    Checked into the hotel, registered, and will be ready to feed the brain starting tomorrow.  Spent the last two days touring the old grounds in WA before the conference.  That’s the nice thing about this being in Portland is I can visit my hometown.  This time I spent the weekend hitting the old Pike Place Market, Visiting my Sister, and old friends.  One of those suckers even went camping with me up to Lake Angeles .

    I had packed very light for a nice summer trip, and was greeted with a heavy downpour :/  go figure.  But I can live with that, and hiked up anyways.  I hope to get some pictures up soon, but I didnt’ get very many because my camera broke.  The lens extended as normal, and then no longer retracts.  Because of that, when the camera turns on it starts to try to extend, and since ti can’t, it crashes.  grrr..

    Ahorn Wildland Fire

    Well, I received a sad call this morning from my grandmother this morning, a little bit of a call to the reality of the fire season.  See, we have a family cabin that my dad and grandfather built when he was a teenager.  I’ve blogged about going up there before, it’s serious backcountry solace to my heart.  Well, a recent lightening strike started a fire just up the canyon from our cabin.  The benchmark road/canyon is filled with an old forest that is well past it’s prime for a heavy fire, and due to years of mismanagement, the whole forest is a large tinderbox (lots of ladder-fuel, etc.).

    Well, the fire is currently mostly headed a different direction, but it won’t take much, especially with the current coverage to head down the canyon and include our cabin.

    The one interesting note about this though, is that my grandmother is one of those people we all know that never got into computers.  After retiring from working for the state of Montana, she retired to living her summers at this primitive cabin, when she called she had some very useful information for me.

    “I have an internet number about the fire for you to call..  it’s ‘H’ as in home, ‘T’ as in toy, ‘T’ as in toy, ‘P’ as in…”

    I think you can see where that is going.  Out of it though, I found a really interesting site called inciweb, that is a good mashup of several sources of information, if you want to track any fires.  Good maps.  As for the fire I’m concerned about:  Ahorn Wildland Fire

    And links to some of our cabin pictures:
    Hall Family Cabin Benchmark 1
    Hall Family Cabin 2


    I’ll admit, I’ve become a nintendo DS and Wii nut recently.  It’s a convincing package, and I’m supporting it.  The newly announced WiiFit stuff looks really interesting (strangely).  But I just had to laugh when I was passed this video from (If I did this right, I hope, the video wont’ show on aggregators/rss, so you folks can click to see if you want)

    Embedding Videos

    Recently I was passed this interesting article describing the ways you can embed videos from The LDS Church’s in your blog/website/about me page.

    The basic rundown solves the issue that I was looking for.  Which is the desire to “Web 2.0” embed video content from another source (yes, hotlinking is now in with permission).  In this case from, which is not by nature a fully user managed site.  The basic concept of it doesn’t allow for complete outside control, for reasons I can accept for now.  But the new videos are an excellent tool that  I would like to use.

    The article also suggests some enhancements that normal geeks recognize from other shared media sites that are lacking, such as automated redirecting to  This of course is something that would be likely included if that was the design of the product, and hopefully I can help bubble the idea upstream to listening ears.

    Continue reading »


    I’m more than happy to admit that I really don’t watch all that many TV shows.  I actually avoid the tv most of the time, and when I do watch, it falls in a very narrow spectrum of TV.  However last spring I was drawn into a new TV show on Fox, called Drive. I quickly began to enjoy the show, and knew that was a bad sign.  As fox normally does with actually interesting shows, they canceled it right away.

    There were, however, two more episodes finished, that they never aired.  While we still miss out on what could have been, at least you can now watch those two.  The last two ‘Drive’ episodes are now available online.