Month: April 2014

One of the reasons I loved the 80’s

Synth based music! Here’s Newcleus with Automan:

And me – back in the 80’s not only was I dj’ing a radio show I was also playing with synthesizers, my favorite of course the Roland TR-808. A friend of mine had an Alesis keyboard. That was great fun too. 



Reading: Forcing the Spring: Inside the Fight for Marriage Equality

Well – reading means currently doing so but I’ve finished the book. All in all a nice view inside the goings on of both the Prop 8 and DOMA cases. 

Now I’ve seen numerous complaints around the web from those who say the book overlooked all the people who’ve fought for full equality. That may be so but the book only focused on the two cases, not the general movement.

In fact the book is highly relevant to me – as I had been about to embark on a case of my own against the State of Rhode Island before the legislature deigned to grant equality here. An attorney from GLAD in Boston had a conference call with me and my cousin Tom who was then training to become an attorney himself.

Some of the things she said remind me of the attitudes of the HRC and others – that the slow steady trod is what will pay off. For example, the woman said that the Rhode Island Judiciary was HOSTILE to the cause of marriage equality. This struck me as odd since in the Ormiston v. Chambers case the judge actually advised the women that they should have filed as an Article 1 Section 2 offense and she would have had to grant the divorce they sought.

I had actually warned legislators that their failure to act would result in embarrassment for the state. The reason I did that is because the only real obstacle to marriage equality in Rhode Island was the Family Law Act of 1967. I was ready to directly challenge the law. That would have put the kibosh on the act resulting in all sorts of grief but would have gained equality at long last. I think that’s what scared GLAD to the point they had to convince me not to file the suit. 

But the book – it shows what happens when a disruptive change takes place, but more to the point that organizations such as the HRC and others had to adapt to this new paradigm. In fact in the U.S. right now there are several suits in a whole bunch of southern states bubbling through the justice system. And the U.S. Supreme Court will once again have to revisit this case and employ a 50 state solution. 


Gubernatorial Forum to Discuss Climate Change Today

So this morning I attended the Gubernatorial Forum to Discuss Climate Change. I went with candidate for Governor Todd Giroux. 

Here are my off the cuff comments on the candidates:

I’ll start with Gina Raimondo – don’t see her as Governor. She’s a finance wiz, not a leader. Plus she has the union liability that will tank her in the primary. And she tries to be too emphatic when she speaks. Uses her hands a lot. 

Then there’s Providence Mayor Angel Taveras. He also has a serious union liability. Plus he was a bit soft spoken at the event and I don’t agree with the way he’s managed the City of Providence. Plus there’s the liability that Providence mayors generally don’t get to be Governor. 

And lastly there’s Herbert ‘Clay’ Pell. Obviously trading on the family name and money. I strongly dislike dynastic politics. And he also strikes me as a space shot extraordinaire. A lot of pie in the sky from him. 

And the candidate who I do data and I.T. work – Todd Giroux – mostly on message but we need to smooth that out. I think he’s done enough of who he is, and now he needs to move into what he’ll do as Governor. I took video of his speech and we’ll do a post mortem on it tomorrow. 

And just think – to capture the Democratic nod – it only take 26% of the vote. In a non-Presidential election year. It is completely do-able. 

Two more things to do on

1) Setup a postmaster account. Always pretty good practice though I do have port 25 inbound blocked to the server. I’ll set it up on Bluehost instead as everything is associated with the TLD there.

2) Setup SSH keys from my machine to the server. That way no passwords get used on the system just keys. If anyone gets in they don’t get the keys to the kingdom. I also need to remember to put myself in group wheel and to grant wheel the right to sudo without password.

And I really do want to make an image of the server – just in case it suffers catastrophic failure then all we have to do is build a base image and roll the image on external back to it.


The Giroux for Governor Campaign has it’s own email server now

With it’s own dedicated net connection  and the blessing of the ISP to send as much email as we can through it. At this point I’ve managed to get the real bitching people off the mailing list so that’s good. 

But today – actually plugged in and activated the old IBM eServer x306 8836 that I’d given to the campaign. It does sound a bit like a loud fan. But that noise is well worth what it will allow us to do. The server itself is setup as a RAID 1  or mirroring array. It’s only an 80GB array but replacement drives in the half a terabyte range – a pair can be had for < $100. I’m planning on doing that with my other x306. 

So I had tried getting Postfix to send email outside the network to no success. It kept getting bounced by external SMTP servers with 550 errors. A 550 error is basically a server rejecting a message as spam. To get around it you have to make sure the FQDN for your server matches the IP addresses you’re sending from. In other words say has an ip of The host registration for mail01 has to belong to that IP address. 

So I logged onto Bluehost and created the subdomain I show above. Then I went into the Domain Zones and pointed mail01 to what is our publicly appearing IP address for outbound mail only. And it works, of course I knew it would. You see the entirety of the anti-spam effort rests upon RDNS or Reverse DNS. The remote mail server or MTA sees the connection coming from but it then does a lookup on the IP address to see if the domain matches that of the sending party in the email headers. If it doesn’t, 550 error and blocked. If it does – the email flows. 

Another issue I had 

#mynetworks = [::ffff:]/104 [::1]/128

That pound sign means comment the line out. As soon as I turned that off I was able to send email out from inside the new network. Yippee! 



Education and Net Access – stamp out conservatism

I just saw this during the weekend.

So the thought occurred to me – all these militias in the U.S. They’re almost  all against the government, Jews and Black people. Why is it that they cannot connect the dots and see the corporate oligarchy/plutocracy. If they had more than two brain cells among them they’d see who the real targets were, the rich! 

I also note a lot of the militia types – they tend to side Republican even Tea Bagger. 

But I want to share something I learned about the voters in Rhode Island. Yesterday I decided to do the following query, show me all users that supplied email addresses and break it down by party affiliation, Republican or Democrat. 

Here’s the results:

Democrats with Email Addresses: 9496 43%

Republicans with Email Addresses: 2283 10%

Unaffiliated with Email Addresses: 10159 46%

Total with Email Address: 21,938

Extrapolation using percentages against unaffiliated voters

Democrat:  9496+4368 = 13864 63%

Republican: 2283+1016 = 3299 15%

Subtotal: = 17,163 with a difference of 4,775 (22%) true independent extrapolated. 

It’s the extrapolated numbers that are interesting – of the entirety of the database only 3,299 Republicans in RHode Island supplied email addresses. I really should have scraped dates of birth in that mix too. I’ve done similar analyses before and found that those over 65 tend to trend Republican and don’t have net access. 

I think net access makes a huge difference. I can’t quantify it but the fact that you have an email says you have some savvy about things. 

Now wouldn’t it be interesting if we could push net access to EVERYONE in the United States. Everyone. The young, the old and everything in between. Echo chambers like Fox News would have a pretty tough time surviving. And so too the neo-conservatives, tea baggers, Randians and other ilk of the conservative movement. 

Linux and Old Gear

The server I just built – it date to 2006. Which makes it at this writing eight years old. It’s had some upgrades etc. probably as late as 2009. So it’s of mixed age. But still perfectly functional. 

That’s the thing – try installing Windows Server 2008 on this and it’ll puke. But put Ubutu Server 12.04-4 on it and miraculously it works. All that’s needed from this box is one year. I fully expect it will work because the until has sat for near three years un-powered. So this brings it down to only five years of actual operational time. 

You get new life out of old hardware. This is sort of why I proposed recycling state I.T. gear – machines still usable wipe the disks and put Ubuntu on them. Older machines strip down and send for metal extraction as there’s quite a lot of gold in them. State would get residual value out of all of it and then not have to pay to warehouse it. Win-win. 

Networking an IBM x306 3386

So I had plugged in my Alpha 802.11 external to the IBM x306 8836. But I realized I needed to have wpasupplicant on it. So I brought it near the router and plugged it in via patch cable. But no IP. Now reading all the IBM documentation it showed that Ethernet 1 was toward top center while Ethernet 2 was below and to the right of it. But this system had a dual Ethernet card in the riser too.

So I plugged into the Ethernet 1 port figuring Linux identified this as eth0. Nothing. No link, dhclient couldn’t connect. So on a whim I took it out of that jack and plugged it into the right most on the riser. There we go. It goes backward. That’s eth0. Grrr.

Finally managed to connect and did upgrades etc. and of course what did I forget to do before I powered the server off? Forgot to install wpasupplicant. Next time.



The end of frustration

So for the past two days I’ve been trying my damnedest to build a server to handle email and web services. Tried Debian – that failed. Tried CentOS – major fail. Couldn’t find the disks on the system. Read a whole bunch of documentation on an IBM eServer x306 Model 8836. It’s basically a PC underneath it all. 

So I decided to try an experiment. I have two of the x306’s. I snapped the drives out of the one that wasn’t powered and put them into the powered chassis. Voila – disks show up now. Debian install not so much – kept getting corruption issues trying to install grep, and a few other packages. And then I remember, Ubuntu does a Server version – so I downloaded and burned it and installed it. Doing first boot sans CD now. 

Two days and foiled by one or more bad disk drives. They’re 3.5″ SATA drives so easy and cheap enough to replace them. So for $100 I can get two 500GB SATA drives. That’s way cheap enough.