12.31.2004 23:12

Mars animation begins

I am just trying to get going on the animations that I need to finish before the SPIE conference on January 16th and 17th. It is mostly a mater of tracking down all the Inventor sources and them pulling them down to my laptop. Only trouble is that the work directory is on sioviz is about 16GB. That would take my wimpy little DSL connection forever. I am now using quite a few of the 16 cpus to compress files while I weed out lots of other junk like shuttle SRTM data.

Nanoblogger has the ability to have images and smileys. I have been looking around for how to do this. One blog that has both of these going is Brian's blog. No idea who Brian is. The picture plugin is by this guy.

Plus people have being doing other things like allowing comments. I think that I would rather not have comments, but it is good to give others the choice for their blogs.

Here is the first little bash scriptlet that I teach people. This uses ImageMagick to translate images from tif to jpg. If you want to play with how it works, change the convert to echo.

  for file in *.tif; do
    convert $file ${file%%.tif}.jpg

The downloading has begun. Only 5.5 GB left to go. I should really look at Carrie's .auxchestrc file.

As to the life outside of the computer, I tried making a variation on Thai food tonight. Not a success, but it has potential. I think I was trying to make up for the boiled green cabbage and mixed veggies (done English style) on the plane last night. I need to come up with a better peanut sauce, especially one which easy creamy without being all oil. Also got my glasses straightened out after my face plant just before Christmas. It is nice to be able to switch to glasses after a lot of hours with contacts.

It is warmer in Chagrin, OH (54° F) than in San Diego, CA (48° F) right now. How strange is that! Okay, so I finally looked up a HTML code page and found this one. Little things like the degree symbol just make writing look much nicer. I am still wishing for a man page to go along with man ascii.

I have suddenly started seeing comparisons between CRUD and REST style of network interactions. I should really read up on what the heck that is at the RestWiki

Posted by Kurt | Permalink

12.31.2004 11:20

Noodling in the south

I lived in New Orleans, we heard stories about crazy sized catfish in the south and how people catch them by trying to get the fish to bit there hand. Well, now I have a picture to go with it. Check out JZW's web log on noodling

For satellite photos of before and after the tsunami, check out the tsunami gallery

Posted by Kurt | Permalink

12.30.2004 18:11

Bailey 1st class 2x

Bailey and I are finally on our last leg back to San Diego and thankfully in 1st class. Only bummer is the mother behind me has given her son about 20 "last chances." Very effective. Bailey looks like he is more comfortable now that we are on the plain. Fewer people moving around and few noises. Roasted chicken and red wine for dinner. I know, breaking the wine rules. But that is what rules are for.

This flight feels like the Russian KGB express with our stewardess. She has a great Russian/Ukrainian (like I would know the difference) accent. That makes the safety announcements much more fun. The guy across the isle from me got tossed back to coach for takeoff to do a load balancing. That's a little freaky. Plus the guy is about 5 feet tall and a hundred pounds. Not much of a load balance!

Scientific Creative Commons

Before unplugging my wireless base station at the in-laws, I made PDF's of the slashdot story about the scientific creative commons. Now why did I not just save the HTML? Funny how we think some times. Now all the links are no longer links. I am now giving my self a good old pat on the back. But back on topic, I am very interested to read what they have to say about this topic. I am an advocate for getting the data out there in both raw and processed/published form. Still, there are many problems left to conquer. One of the biggest is saving data for posterity. If I publish some super data on my web site and that raw data never makes it into some permanent storage, then what are researchers a couple hundred years from now going to think? Maybe the data are great, but my reasoning and processing were totally off kilter? Naw, that would never happen in science! Reprocessing data to new ideas and processes is at the core of scientific progress.

US law mandated that even those federal government works that could be
copyrighted, fell immediately into the public domain - a provision of
great importance given massive governmental involvement in scientific

I really need to find and keep handy the actual rule that boils down to the above if it actually exists. Then how and why did NASA Ames charge $10K for VEVI. NASA Ames seems to think that the above is not true. Plus there seem to be wacky rules if I did the work as a government contractor. Then factor in the State Department. "Son, that XDR parser you wrote could be an armament." Like someone might mix that with a PS2 to create an AUV to deliver powdered milk to Africa where everyone is lactose intolerant.

Okay, I really have to lookup the Mertonian tradition of open science. What the heck is Mertonian? Martian? Merit based?

Ah-ha! The Bayh-Dole statute causes NASA to try to look for commercial use of research. Definitely need to read that text (in my ever present and unlimited free time).

It seems that law is like code. The more complete the law, the more chance there is of problems, bugs, and unintended consequences. I am sure that this has been suggested elsewhere, but is it possible to design a legal programming language? English is just too fuzzy. Maybe we could even have legal compilers and debuggers. Set a break point for the year 2040 and see what happens?

So I read through the front page for the Scientific Creative Commons site and it all sounds very noble, but I do not see the mechanics of getting this done. That is one thing about GNU software. There is a framework that I can jump into right away without a lot of trouble. The GPL and LGPL feel very concrete and are actually pretty easy to read compared to all kinds of legal mumbo jumbo we regularly have to deal with on a daily basis.

Hey, just saw a comment that mplayer --dump-stream will write streams to disk. This I have to try. Uh oh. Crying baby one row back. This is the part of the flight were I feel really bad for Bailey. It's been 12 hours in the cat carrier at this point. But he did just have two ice cubes and the stewardess brought up her cat photos to show me.

This might be a good link on self archiving of journal articles. Hey, I certainly try to do my part (out of self interest) with my papers web page. Some of the time I do not have a way to read the original, so I have typed it back in or scanned it. I should get the Yellowstone proposal on line beyond the explore yellowstone web page that Peter Coppin, Deena Braunstein, and I put together in 1999.

What is arxiv.org?

Posted by Kurt | Permalink

12.30.2004 12:17


Sitting underneath the pay phones is not my favorite place to hang out. Why do the American terminals G or K have so few outlets? It is not like I'm costing them any more than a couple pennies to charge my laptop and iPod. I would much rather be sitting in a nice seat and I am sure that Bailey would prefer that too. They also do not seem to understand the need for convenient departure displays. There really is not much reason to have arrival displays within the terminal, so they could use existing displays for lots more departure info.

Chicago has a pretty low cloud level which is what caused a minor hour delay from Cleveland. The flight started of with the stewardess having to slam the cabin door 3 times to get it to latch. Then the emergency exit one row in front of me made a farting noise as the seals settled on takeoff. I think the guy one seat in front of me had never flown before. He looked to be in his early 20's. He was confused by everything. He was unsure what to do with his cell phone, jacket, and hat. Then he was hot and fanning himself, yet his air vent was on but pointed away from him. I was going to tell him, then I realized that I make take the place of Barbie across the isle from him who was getting bugged at least every five minutes by this guy.

Bailey did fit nicely under the single port side seat of the EMB puddle jumper. I was worried about these small plains and got on something different that has 2x2 seats per aisle instead of the 1x2 of the EMB.

I really like the little 4.5x3.25 inch notebook that I just got. It is perfect for the takeoff and land times when all electronics are supposed to be off. It fits nicely in the pocket. I can jot down ideas and then expand them later.

The iPod that I got has all kinds of little features that were not in my 2nd generation iPod. I have not really tried them all out, but the ones I found so far are the clock (which is great since I do not wear watches most of the time), the on the go playlist generator, the calendar is much better, and the ability to drop text files into a notes directory and read them is huge. I need to start using the contact info too since it can take exported vcards from Apple's Address Book.

Came up with another nice feature that would be great to have in nanoblogger: a table of contents mode that does per month titles. I was just looking at the nanoblogger preview page on my laptop and noticed the articles section. I am not sure what the intent of this is. I should really look around at others who are using nanoblogger to see how they organize their writings. The categories concept keeps pestering me as a good idea, but I do not want to make a big mess of things until I come up with a good strategy for how to organize things. Well, not that I look, nanoblogger does have the Archive Index which is pretty close to what I was thinking. Would be good if it had the summary line too. I should try messing with that to see if I can make something nice maybe even using tables.

I should try to model a script off of this file:


I was also thinking about making it generate a little sqlite database and then use that to build up the generated pages. That might make it go super fast. I wonder what will happen when I get to the next month? With the updates build the web page much quicker until I get back up to a large number of entries?

I often feel like I can not see the forest through the theory.

Posted by Kurt | Permalink

12.30.2004 07:49

Flying west

I am currently in Cleveland Hopkins airport. My first flight west is delayed. Grrr. My luck with America is so bad. Why? Bailey did much better with the security check this time. There were fewer people around and the guy who did the cat pat down said he has a Siamese himself. Boy did he want back in the cat carrier. It is pretty crazy that they give him a pat down.

Another feature that would be great to have with nanoblogger would be the ability to add an entry and skip the web page update. It is just a waste of battery power when it goes through the whole web regeneration process. Also, I discovered a bug in my info package of nb. I tried nb --manual and it didn't find it. That would be good to fix!

  > nb --manual
  open[747] No such file: /sw/share/nanoblogger/docs/nanoblogger.html

> locate nanoblogger.html /sw/share/doc/nanoblogger/nanoblogger.html

I just tried to get xxdiff into fink and just after I checked int the info file to CVS, dmalloc chimed in. xxdiff 3.1 depends on qt 3.3 which does not have a binary build of a debian on the servers yet. It takes like 45 minutes on my laptop to build qt, so I figured I'd let the package slide with his request for sticking with 3.0.4. Then dmalloc argued against the older version. I have to agree that starting off with an old version is a bad idea. That is one thing I like about the fink team. They push for the best. That makes certain packages trouble to get good enough to get submitted, but it is so worth the trouble to keep things in order for the whole fink tree. I wonder how hard it will be to get everything up to speed with OSX 10.4. It always helps to have a couple machines around that are ok to mess with. That was great at JPL when I had 3 G5's to mess with that did not have to work right away. That reminds me that the proj package is out of date. I should email the folks who depend on proj to see if they are ok with going to the latest. mbsystem is still in a state of limbo. I have not upgraded fink to 5.0.5 and am waiting for 5.0.6 so that I don't have a rapidly changing patch file that I just turn around and undo with 5.0.6.

Day before yesterday, I got some good work in on my Owens Lake chapter of my thesis. I currently have three different branches of the text. I definitely need to get the seismic data from Sierra Geophysics and also I should see if he will give me permission to use the location map that shows his guess of the fault locations. He has a fault system running right through the OL92 site. That is very scary for the OL92 data with the limits on dateable material. I need to go back and read the pollen paper to see how much age control they were able to add to the project. I have not read much on the issues of dating with pollen. What is the error like? What can things like wind patterns do to the data?

I need to talk to need about the Pb210 data from UofW. I did not see Chuck at AGU, so I did not get a chance to talk to him and show him my little presentation. I need to add his Eel River Pb210 core data from his papers to the presentation with a comparison of location and of the curves with respect to depth. Another job for g3data, the data thief program in fink. That worked great for the Glen and Coe data.

Another nanoblogger idea that is the opposite to turning off all the web page generation scripts. It would be great to be able to build an index of key words as if I am writing a book. With the ability for me to select what words to index off of, my web log would be an even better tool for me. That really is the whole point of this weblog. It is not really for other people. It is for me to be able to go back through the processes of research so that I can recreate what I have done the next time and have time to continually improve the process. Then I could even use google to search through my web logs. I should look up how to craft a search from the command line. That would be handy.

   open http://www.google.com
   site:schwehr.org/blog fink

Posted by Kurt | Permalink

12.29.2004 08:39

Sumatra 9.0

Here is the usgs web site for the 9.0 quake: http://earthquake.usgs.gov/eqinthenews/2004/usslav/

One Minute Tip 17 - How to modify the options for a finder window. View->Customize Toolbar. Then add the path tool.

I tried to use MathML a few months ago. Maybe AsciiMathML will help?

Posted by Kurt | Permalink

12.27.2004 09:29

End Note

I started putting together a bibliographic jump start for my papers. Hey, it is worth my while to make it easier for people to read AND cite my papers. The draft is Mac only right now. Hopefully, I can get it finished soon and have it exported to as many different formats as possible. The compressed dmg is here. It would be great if people could each put there own files on the web. Then if I see a paper by someone, I could easily find all their papers. The databases are never complete! Stay tuned for new versions of my personal bibliographic database.

Arg. So I got the Mac OSX Mail App to send outgoing email a couple times via smtp.ucsd.edu. However, it stopped working during the day. Bugger, bugger, bugger! Nor did it ever allow secure sending.

Perhaps I can get mail sent through another server that I can setup that uses qmail? Maybe I can figure it out from this qmail relaying document. Looks like that really is not feasible. I should really just implement and ssh tunnel into ucsd. For now, I'll just use mail.alltel.net

I am looking for more geology web logs so that I am not so heavily biased towards software related stuff. Tried looking at blogger.com. They do not have a way to search. I created a blog called goatbar.blogger.com, but it seems pointless. I'd rather have complete control and know that they can't just up and grab my writings. I looked up a couple peoples blogs, but all I found was bad grammar and posts that have "..." between each sentence. Talk about hard to read.

I did find the Mars Rover Blog. We will see what I think of it. I need to go back and review the latest mars rover engineering notes.

Posted by Kurt | Permalink

12.26.2004 18:56

Day after Christmas

Another snowy evening. Had dinner at Bahamas Breeze. More food than we could ever hope to finish. I need to try out jerked tofu and see if it can come out as good as their jerked chicken.

The Microsoft settlement is on slashdot. For me, this settlement is ridiculous. Why would I want a coupon for more Microsoft products? That would be more sales for Microsoft and rewarding them. I would have gone for my share if they would write me a check for the amount.

What can I do of interest with the variables listed with sysctl -a? I bet I could squeeze a bit more performance out of my laptop, but I'm not sure exactly how.

onyX was listed by the iCreater (or?) magazine as a good tool for tweaking a Mac OSX box. What can it do? For starters, I now have little quarter circles in the corners of my desktop where I have Expose active.

Apples has a Safari applescript collection on the web. There is also an applescript iTunes collection. Saw an article in the bookstore that showed lots of things that can be done. Is this actually useful?

Is there a good vegetarian sushi cookbook?

Say the rock poster book at Borders. This is a very cool book. Could be a good source for design ideas. The book is Art Of Modern Rock: The Poster Explosion. What is the proper way to link into amazon.com? I don't know what info is encoded in the URL.

Is there an FBI investigation manual? If so, I've got to get a copy. This has to be a useful thing for lab work. What is possible with hairs, forams, etc?

Will gsasl help me setup Apple's mail app to read my email from outside of UCSD? Is there a document that explains the right way to setup secure email reading?

I can not skip mentioning the monster earthquake today. 9.0 with 11K+ dead. Ouch. Were there any multibeam surveys of the area before the quake? Now all we need is a resurvey of the area to see what moved and was there a monster slide in the area that caused the tsunami.

I felt like I was loosing my mind earlier while I was trying to spell check a word in emacs. This is something I have been doing since probably around 1992. This evening, I just could not get it to work. Did I hit my head and loose some brain cells? M-$ right? Hold down the Apple key, the shift key and then hit 4/$. But that just kept getting me into the Aqua screen capture mode. And no, I do not want to document my bad spelling anymore than I already do. Turns out that, yes, it is M-$, but I have been using ESC $ to get ispell-word. Sigh. Came back a few minutes later and discovered that I still new how to spell check a word. I can only remember stuff like this if I don't think about it. Just have to hit the keys.

Just downloaded the Apple Motion demo. What exactly is this program for? What is the difference between Final Cut Pro, Motion, etc? I have a copy of Adobe Premier, but I really have not used it. Brian used it to edit a movie while on NBP0209, but I didn't even save the results.

I talked to the Harvard ADS people at AGU. Here is a followup to them in email of how I would like to see an RSS feed. This is basically an RSS version of myads

I was thinking that you could create an rss feed for each registered
user or by url with an embedded query.  For example I would like to
get a feed update once a day with any of the keywords:

mars anisotropy of magnetic susceptibility eel river gaviota sediment waves

or with the authors

driscoll johnson, c. l. mayer, l. schwehr tauxe

Of course, maybe you would want to limit this to say once a week for server load or come up with some other strategy for keeping things easy on your database and web servers. Also, you could limit the returns to N-a-day.

This way, when I'm reading my daily feeds in NewsFire, I would see the latest paper abstracts along with slashdot, and others. Some journals seem to be doing this kind of thing, but ADS could be the equivalent of an aggregation service.

Posted by Kurt | Permalink

12.25.2004 21:16

Loaded Question

We just played a game of Loaded Question. Fun game. Not overly taxing on the brain like some games, but there were a few questions that were nearly impossible to answer. How am I supposed to guess someones two biggest heroes? Wow. Good game if you have at least 4 players. The rules make playing with just three people rather pointless.

Working on the xxdiff.info file. It now works for me. One more SGI tool that I can have without the SGI.

Posted by Kurt | Permalink

12.25.2004 18:34

Weather data

I did not find anything about the Ambient Weather protocol, but I did install wmweather from fink. From that I discovered that the weather data is really easy to get. I looked up the location code from the NOAA Location Code Page. The station that came up as close to Chagrin Falls, OH is KCGF, Cayahoga. Then add the code into the URL:
  curl http://weather.noaa.gov/pub/data/observations/metar/decoded/KCGF.TXT

That web site is returning this right now:
  Cleveland / Cuyahoga, OH, United States (KCGF) 41-34N 081-29W
  Dec 25, 2004 - 08:45 PM EST / 2004.12.26 0145 UTC
  Wind: from the SSE (150 degrees) at 6 MPH (5 KT):0
  Visibility: 7 mile(s):0
  Sky conditions: overcast
  Temperature: 17 F (-8 C)
  Windchill: 8 F (-13 C):1
  Dew Point: 10 F (-12 C)
  Relative Humidity: 72%
  Pressure (altimeter): 30.21 in. Hg (1023 hPa)
  ob: KCGF 260145Z 15005KT 7SM BKN080 OVC120 M08/M12 A3021
  cycle: 2
To get the location, I could probably scrape the lat/lon from here:

Which returns:

  CAO Location Indicator: KCGF
  Station Name: Cleveland / Cuyahoga
  State: OH
  Country: United States
  WMO Region: 4
  Station Position: 41-34N    081-29W (dms)
  Station Elevation (Ha): 268 Meters

To get bouy data, the only way I have found is to scrape the results on these pages:


Posted by Kurt | Permalink

Sat Dec 25 10:42:52 PST 2004

Testing fink nanoblogger 3.1

Now have a fink package for nanoblogger-3.1. It seems to work, but I am not seeing links, recent entries, nor a calendar. Whoops. Missed the plugin directory in the info file. It all seems to work now.

To upgrade my blog directory, I created a new one and copied my old entries into the new data directory. What is the correct way to do this?

Woohoo! That you to my family for the new iPod and iTalk. Just looked in /Volumes/ipodname/Recordings to find that the iTalk records as a wav file. I guess that makes sense. Encoding requires much more compute power than does decoding. I have not yet tried to see how long it can record for.

Just committed nanoblogger.info into the fink unstable tree.

I got pointed to a couple interesting web sites this evening. The first is a RSS news aggregator (spelling?) called bloglines. I've been looking for some good geology news sites. This site seems to have some good links.

Some day when I have a house, I'd like to get a home weather station that I can hook up to a home server. Ambient Weather has a great system for looking at devices. I wonder if their protocol for the weather exchange is open.

Posted by schwehr | Permalink

12.25.2004 05:50

Christmas morning

It is Time to play a bit with nannoblogger. I noticed that I am now using an out of date version. I really should get the new version and try making a fink package. So far I have just been using nb -a and nb -e 1 to add and edit the latest entry. nb -p nicely pops up Safari for me with my blog since I edited my $BLOG_DIR/blog.conf file to have:

  BLOG_PREVIEW_CMD="open $BLOG_DIR/index.html"

Now I am going to attempt to do a nb --body using cat of a file. I hope it works!

I do not see a way to specify a file. nb only seems to take text from the command line and I have used both double and single quotes in my writing, so that would be a disaster.

planetGenesis in freshmeat reminds me that I would really like to play more with POV-RAY, Maya, and RenderMan clones to make nice raytraced movies. I can't wait for Zareh's next crea2tion with LightWave.

Read a little bit about the Mac OSX /usr/bin/sips which is a command line program for image manipulation. However, since it has no man page and it is Darwin only, I am going to stick with fink based stuff. Will OSX eventually end up like IRIX where I learn all kinds of cool tricks only to have them end up like the dodo and carrier pigeon? I know all these IRIX only commands and tricks that I really can not use anymore. Waste of energy. I know how to use buttonfly and the toolchest and still use those some on sioviz for presentations, but the rest is already gone.

3 degrees F outside on the house right now.

Maybe I can get tidy to run on my weblog entries to make sure that I balance my tags.

Just checking out all the programs that my family uses to protect their MS Windows boxes... they include XoftSpy, PestPatrol, SpyWare Search and Destroy, NetCaptor, ZoneAlarm, and Norton. Yikes.

Downloaded nanoblogger 3.1, but have yet to get it installed. 5 more minutes to get Knoppix 3.7 2004-12-08 down to my laptop.

People are starting to wake up.

Posted by Kurt | Permalink

12.24.2004 14:43


Strange, I upgraded emacs and now gud is not tracking the lines in the source file. What gives? I'm now using Ok, so the trick is to not remove the --anotate=3. Then all is well.

So today I slipped on some ice and not wearing gloves sliced my pointer finger. I feel clever!

Bailey spent a while today stairing at Adam. The cat who likes tall guys.

The other night, I was talking to my mother-in-law. My in-laws are getting totally fed up with Windows. They have a decent computer, but MS Windows, IE and Office have turned it into a dog. I was talking to her about alternatives. She had never heard of OpenOffice or Linux. I really need to give them a knoppix cd. At least they are realizing that Mac OSX is an alternative. But they really should not have to give up their investment of a three year old PC. That should be plenty fast and has 256MB of RAM. For email and word processing, that should enough, right? Not with Microsoft. I have got to invest the download time for Knoppix. Maybe it is time to see if I can get the light version. I have not been able to find it and where did I see an annoucement? knoppix and the mirror image

It is now almost 10 PM, and the tempurature is dropping pretty good. The outside thermometer says 7.9 F. The car (on the way back from seeing Lemony Snicket) said 2 deg F.

To find out the convertion, you can use the units program, but I thought the formula has an offset of 32. But then I looked at the man page and discovered that it can not handle Celsius to Fahrenheit. And it does not give any warning. This seems a pretty big draw back.

  > units degF degC
        * 0.55555556
        / 1.8

Oh, I've also got to mention that wireless works two floows down when you've got no metal in the floors and do not have a zillion neighbors all with competing wireless access points.

Posted by Kurt | Permalink

12.22.2004 19:35


Just added xtermcontrol to fink's x11 unstable tree. Nice to not have to lookup the special xterm escape codes. Now it is easy to do something like iconify a script running in a window and then de-iconify and raise it when an error occurs. Plus the title and color are generally very handy.

  xtermcontrol --title='Doh\!'
  xtermcontrol --lower
  xtermcontrol --raise
  xtermcontrol --iconify
  xtermcontrol --de-iconify
  xtermcontrol --file=FILE    # Use a config file

Writing more on the thesis. The poster went pretty well at AGU. That basically is what I would like to write for this current paper. I think all of the figures are there now.

Tried to debug offscreen rendering some more today. Does not work on Lisa's G5 (also Darwin 7.7.0 - 10.3.7). No joy. Same problem. I can see it in the png file sizes so there is no need to pull over the images and look at them. Was using render 1.9 with

  otool -L render_bin 
        /sw/lib/libsimage.20.dylib    (compat ver 27.0.0, cur ver 27.0.0)
        /sw/lib/libCoin.40.dylib      (compat ver 44.0.0, cur ver 44.0.0)
        /sw/lib/libSimVoleon.40.dylib (compat ver 41.0.0, cur ver 41.0.0)
        /usr/lib/libSystem.B.dylib    (compat ver  1.0.0, cur ver 71.1.1)

I love that must run as root to remotely run the offscreen only render. I need to figure out how to avoid this. I really hope that is possible! Here is the error I get:

  kCGErrorRangeCheck : Window Server communications from outside of
  session allowed for root and console user only

Coin error in aglglue_create_offscreen_context(): Couldn't create AGL Pixelformat: invalid pixel format attribute

Coin warning in aglglue_context_create_offscreen(): Couldn't get RGBA AGL pixelformat.

Hmmm... I thought that I was able to run render remotely as root earlier today and now I get this:

  Coin error in aglglue_context_make_current(): aglSetPBbuffer failed:
  invalid drawable

Using my laptop, I am going to try using SIMVoleon-2.0.1 which is just out. I have a fink package for it, but I am holding off until I get the documentation situation figured out. The doxygen files did not make it into the release tar ball. I do like that the tar now expands with the version number in the directory which is pretty standard for GNU-ish software. WOO HOO! It works again. I should really commit the 2.0.1 SIMVoleon and deal with the doc troubles later.

Now I need to finish my gnuplot spinning program, do a lot of lab work, write 3 or 4 papers and graduate. No problemo.

Made Bailey a natural snowcone today from fresh snow on the outside banister. He made the funniest face when I gave it to him. He got a whole fluffy chunk in his mouth which surprised him.

Posted by Kurt | Permalink

12.22.2004 08:26

Snowy backdrop

I'm working up in the loft with Bailey passed out on the couch next to me. There is a perfect scene of snow falling on tree branches out the windows. What a place to have to work! Shoveled snow yesterday. Much fun.

I have been strugling a bit with figuring out my render engine troubles. Not what I wanted to be working on which should be my papers! I think the problem is with SIM Voleon somehow, but I really am not sure. I am able to render scenes with Inventor geometry (a simple sphere) and that works fine. I can see the volume data on screen, but it doesn't render to disk for simpleview and render only gets the very first frame right. Following frames are black. Need to test this on Lisa's G5. I need this working so I can make movies for the SPIE/VDA talks in mid January.

Ran into an article covering RSS on the IBM Developer Works page this morning in my morning news reader bing. It uses the Universal Feed Parser. Maybe this is the ticket to easily generating feeds without learning RSS/XML. I'm sure RSS is simple enough that I could write the code in a few minutes, but I just do not feel like it. Reading through the documentation, it does not appear to write out entries. Sigh.

Aha! Just found PyRSS2Gen in fink. That looks like the ticket for simple RSS generation.

I should also read this... IBM DevWorks RSS.py and this RSS Tools. There is also RSS.py

Posted by Kurt | Permalink

12.21.2004 06:14

NASA Hacked

Just saw this on space.com where a 17 year old kid broke into a Goddard system.

Herns told federal agents he was looking for computer space to store
movies he'd downloaded. It took hours for technicians to find the
problem, fix it and patch the system's security holes, officials said.

But Nyhus said Herns' activities were much more than a teenager playing around on the computer.

"When you knock a system off line, you have to start it back up again," Nyhus said. "It's not like firing up your Macintosh or your Apple where you push a button and wait six minutes for the thing to boot."

I have some opinions on this thing after being on the other side cleaning up after a number of hackers. First off, how did he do $200K worth of damage if he was just trying save movies somewhere and it took "hours" to fix? I want the to get the same rate their techs get! Second, as a NASA admin it is your job to keep a system patched up all the time or keep it off the net!! Thirdly, whoever proofed that article is, shall we say, clueless. Does Apple make a system other than the Mac and these days many servers are macs. What system take that long to boot. What did this guy get into that it is such a pain? I doubt that it was anything other than a standard unixy system. We are past the days of HPUX, IRIX, and Solaris taking hours to boot. The $200K might include cost of forensics and prosecution to NASA, but damages? Perhaps they are charging this kid for disk storage, network bandwidth, and CPU usage?

On the flip side, kudos to the team that actually got a conviction on this guy. Either this kid is really dumb or there was some serious hard work on the NASA side. I personally gave up when I was faced with getting a search warrant from Belgium to go any farther with one hacker incident that I worked.

Posted by Kurt | Permalink

12.19.2004 14:55

Wave like terrain

It's getting towards sunset down below. We are currently over a region with a very wavy/dune like structure at a range of wave lengths. Superimposed on those is a standard dendritic drainage pattern. As we move easy, many of the lows are elongate lakes all with roughly the same max direction. What state am I over? Looks mostly uninhabited and not many trees.

I am debugging makemovie.bash at the moment. It is rendering the first frame fine and then nothing. What is the deal? What test case do I need to add?

It would be great if there were word sets for computer science, geology, biology, and so forth that could be added to the apell dictionary.

Posted by Kurt | Permalink

12.19.2004 14:01

Bailey goes first class

Bailey and I are over New Mexico at the moment flying first class. They really hop to it with service. Makes taking an pet much easier. The geology out the window so far has been spectacular. Missed the Grand Canyon, but just after that got the stunning red rocks capped by a white sand stone. Why in the world do I not have a US geologic map on my laptop for flights? Idiot! Got great views coming out of San Diego as we circled South around Point Loma and then east. Going up over the mountains before the Salton Sea, the geology has excellent exposure. I hope someone has done a lot of air photos of the geology while the vegetation is still minimal. Southwestern geology is just spectacular from the air. Tilted formations, folds, range front faults, snow capped ridges. It just does on and on. Saw an airstrip on the top of a mesa with the strip ending about 50 feet from the cliff. Canyons that are so deep and twisty that they probably only get direct sunlight in hight of summer.

Neal made a comment a while back: Erosion makes terrain sharper with more high frequency. I've been pondering that for a while and I see it as true in some places and false in others. If you have rapid uplift, then that statement is true. However it seems that over time when uplift stops, things begin to relax to a lowest potential energy. Only then can you model erosion as a diffusion process.

Saw a really unusual feature that does not match anything in my head. I think this was around 20 minutes after the Grand Canyon. There was an area with deep canyons, but on the west was a wide canyon with a saw toothed floor. The head of the canyon was different. I really need a digital camera. They should really start to build these things into planes now. Wouldn't it be great if you could grab frames from a couple different camaras in the nose from a laptop sitting on the plane?

At airport security, the staff was pretty nice to Bailey and me, but we had a new thing. Bailey got a pat down. Like he would be smuggling something! His harness setup off the metal detector and he wanted away from the security folks. When I first came up the the metal detectors, I got in the "puffer" line. Once I discovered that, I was out of there. Bailey would have killed me over that right there on the spot.

Are there any great mineral deposits left untapped in the US? How long before industrial pressures deplete the easy stuff and start a new wave of geotechnical exploration for mineral wealth? It already looks to be hitting the oil industry. They are going farther off the coast into deeper water. New techniques such as EM methods are getting funding.

Still need to get the seismic lines from both the Eel and Owens Lake. AGU just completely took away my other trains of thought. It would also be nice to get the LARSE (Los Angeles Regional Seismic Experiment) lines. I hate it when I am told to just google for it. "It's easy." I know I do it too. Tracking down software uage, data and journal articles is a monsterous job. Take for example LA3D. It is a very exciting project by a group of undergraduate students. Looks fantastic. Has a drop in a folder java plugin architecture for new features. They say that it is Open Source, but where is the source or a good contact email? Did not see either on their web page.

I am still thinking about what should be involved in building an Open Source seismic file library. Definitely needs to have configuration files for each tweak of SEGY. First start off with one that does strict SEGY rev 1 and rev 2, SEGD, etc. Then add files for things like crazy XSTAR stuff that comes off of Neal's fish. This business of using lsd, sutil, dutil, and hex editors is crazy. We need a system that can detect what style SEGY a file is and then use the right config file. It also needs to embed documentation aas to what each field is used for in English that goes beyond MCS speak. We have got to lower the entry barrier for this kind of stuff.

Posted by Kurt | Permalink

12.18.2004 15:53

buildbot continues

I have majorly altered the info files for twisted, pyopenssl, pycrypto, buildbot, and cvstoys. They now use type_{raw,pkg} and Type constructs to allow building for python 2.3 or python 2.4. I am not going to even try python 2.2. Progress is good, no? I'm sure they are not perfect, but much better. Still needs DescDetail fields.

I am still figuring out how to get build bot to work. This is complicated stuff. The basic idea is easy to understand, but the configuration file has a lot to it. Very flexible, but wow. Maybe I need to setup a CVSToys server. That might make it easier. So many options. I am reading through the PyCon 2003 docs.

What the heck is a manhole? twisted terminology I presume. No manhole for me! It's not clear how to generate an RSS feed.

Still need to see about putting igmt into fink. A GUI for GMT that is in fink would be nice.

The new search functionality in yahoo mail is sweet! About time.

Posted by Kurt | Permalink

12.18.2004 12:35


This week, I found some old essays in a box from storage. I figured I should give gocr another try since a friend said it has worked for him. Well, it kind works for me but isn't great. However, it would probably do better if I didn't throw such crummy documents at it. Two of them were printed on an HP 500 ink jet printer and a dot matrix printer. Set your way back machine to the late 80's. It does give the general gist of a document.

One feature that I would like to add to nanoblogger is a timed release function. Often I'm under various non-disclosures for data and ideas that I work with. I'd like to write up stuff as I go and have nanoblogger incorporate the end of restriction date has passed. There are also lots of other very good reasons for timed release! (Use your imagination...)

Yesterday was a strange day in San Diego. The news reported that drivers should watch out for a port-a-potty in the center lane of one of the freeways. That would be a scary item to run into! It was windy and pretty warm too. Blowing branches and such off the trees. I took a closer look at the paint job the apartment is getting. I haven't seen anything this bad in a long time. They didn't do any sanding first and the paint was cracking and pealing before. Plus I can see the old blue paint through the brown. It's going to need a repaint again from day one.

I really need to make nb force me to run ispell/aspell!

Just looked at the scientific python info file by Jeffrey Whitacker. I really need to totally redo the python info files that i just made this week. Whoops. there is a whole bunch of type_pkg[python] set of macros that I need to use!

Posted by Kurt | Permalink

12.17.2004 09:10

Post AGU

For me, AGU is done for this year. I'm back in San Diego. It was a very productive. I still have lots of things to write about. Hopefully, I will get to them soon.

I've but together fink info files for buildbot and the required backup programs. I have yet to try them all, but I am getting more used to installing python programs. It seems so much easier now than with python 1.5, which was when I was doing a lot of python work. Back then, you really had to edit some config files deep in python. There was not a set strategy for external modules and often it took a really long time to get them in correctly. Now, with setup.py, it is a much speedier process. The files that I am working on are here:
  • buildbot.info
  • cvstoys.info - would be great to have an RSS feed of cvs changes
  • pycrypto.info
  • pyopenssl.info
  • twisted.info - this looks pretty slick! Lots of protocols are supported

Found an interesting programming article this morning: gcc internals. It's worth a read for a high level sumarry of the new Tree SSA architecture inside of the gnu compiler collection.

Posted by Kurt | Permalink

12.15.2004 22:00

End of Wednesday

Had dinner this evening in North Beach. Very nice as always. Had a drink at the bar just next to City Lights. Neat place.

Haven't really started into BuildBot yet. Requires that I install Twisted, the python network package. Twisted looks like it might be very cool. However, I don't have much battery power for the train ride. See how far I get.

Updated to 10.3.7 on my laptop this evening.

Posted by Kurt | Permalink

12.15.2004 17:55

AGU Weds Summary

Got a demo from ADS. This is like ISI's Web of Science but has some cool features beyond: You can add your abstracts if they are missing. It's free. You can add comments to your paper. Overall, very nice demo (they used my AGU abstract for the demo.) I talked to them about custom RSS feeds and it sounds like they may be able to add that to the webserver. Would be awesome to have the latest abstracts in a news feed each morning. I would then do a much better job of keeping up with the literature.

LARSE - Seismic Lines in the Los Angles area. How do we get the segy data?

Got a demo of LA3D. Very cool open source application written in Java 3D. Would be good to get this into fink. Has a lot of functionality of Viz, XCore, Fledermaus, etc. I can find installers, but I can't seem to locate the sources.

Posted by Kurt | Permalink

12.15.2004 12:27

NSF Visualization and Essential Mac

Posted by Kurt | Permalink

12.15.2004 10:53

More AGU

AGU has been the typical AGU: wild and crazy with too much going on! Yesterday night was the section receptions over at the Mariot. The GP convener brought up the "problem of open publications." Turns out that they make $10M each year on our pubs and they are worried about loosing money because of "those people at the NIH." Arg. I really believe that scholarly work needs to be open. We just need to figure out how to keep the necessary infrastructure for the pier review process and permanent archiving. I personally think there needs to be a radical shift in the publication process. I very much want people to be able to access my papers to the point I do not want them to pay for them. If I go and write a book, then I'd like to make money off that, but papers are what help to define what I do (but by no means completely!) I have had to pay to submit journal articles. Maybe we need to have tiers and pay for what tier our paper gets to or some organization like NSF needs to step up and fun on open organization to support scholarly works.

I also stopped by the Ice Breaker and Paleoclimate/Paleoceanography sections, but didn't see a single person that I know.

The coolest thing that I saw yesterday has to be the 3 posters on using multi-channel seismics (MCS) to image the water column. One author was Holbrook and then there was a British guy with 2 posters doing Falkland Islands seismics. That's just amazing to see the water mass boundaries. Now we need a cruise with two ships with one doing MCS and the other doing as many CTD dips as possible. Plus I don't know what the lower limit on XBT devices are. Double the research from the same device. It sucks that we don't record that data with the chirp. We keep a pretty tight window and have an delay field in the XSTAR SEGY header. We need to pull out some chirp data and see if we can see the thermocline or any such features. Becca dragged me to those posters and I immediately just through "WOW!"

Posted by Kurt | Permalink

12.13.2004 16:56

AGU Monday Afternoon

Twas great to see Alex and family last night. All I can say is he is one smart/clever guy.

It's getting to be near to the end of the first day of AGU. Overwhelming as usual. Just got the keys to Alex's car to Sarah G. Meeting Phil for dinner in a bit.

Haven't seen any articles yet on geology.about.com for AGU. I myself got a little lost in the paleomag session. There looked to be quite a few good student papers exploring different field sites. Since that is not my game and it was early AM on Monday, I was glazed over. Becca saved me by dragging me to a number of very interesting talks.

The first was in the recent climate change talks. Lots of wiggles about the 8ka climate spike. A 5 Sv dump of water into the Northern Altantic. That's a lot of fresh water! They showed core data that the even really didn't propigate to the southern hemisphere and lasted strongly for a decade and was fading out by three decades afterwards. He was advocating this event as a good benchmark for other as it is in a time without glacial coverage or other major swings (do I have that right?).

Then we jump rooms (I'm not really a climate person, but it is good to know) over to the turbidite talks. Definitely a great session! Goldfinger gave a very interesting talk about matching turbidite events across the whole Cascadia area. Wow! The correlation looks pretty darn good and the movie was a neat combination. Lots of questions about timing and one quake version strings of them, but very cool! I hope he posts the movie on line.

Then an article about a seismic instrument I've never heard of before. This guy used mini coral atols (2-4 meter things) with U-Th dating to tell subsidence and uplift from subduction events, both seismic and aseismic, off of Jakarta. And he called a 7.5 quake moderate. Don't think I want to be around for his monster quakes.

In the afternoon, after talking to Bruce Murray of CalTech, I started off with the Mars Exploration Rovers talks. Squires was, well, as he always is: Enthusiastic. His focus was water, water, everywhere. He focused on Spirit/Gusev Crater. Some highlights from his talk:

  • Soil is 15% salts by volume
  • Tetle site has fine layering that grades into massive upwards
  • Cocomama - differnt rock that in the plains. By miniTES, it fits best with basaltic glass
  • Clovis - very soft. Showed ratios with Humphrey. Elevated in K, P, S, Cl, and Br. Same is true for a number of rocks up on the hill. No olivine of pyroxene.
  • Can't rule out basal surge - woo hoo

Then on to Opportunity... lots of interesting stuff said and it's late in the day. He did talk about alternating environments wet to dry.

Posted by Kurt | Permalink

12.13.2004 07:06


AGU Sessions. Got the link from About Geology

There are two MER sessions today:


Was Mars really wet at these sites? We have got to look at the evidence objectively!

Posted by Kurt | Permalink

12.13.2004 06:53

First day of AGU

It's the first day of AGU and I have yet to really wake up. Time to turn on the geology brain! The morning news feeds brings this gem that I must try out: The BuildBot. When you make CVS checkins, it rebuilds your app and gives you a web page of status.

Posted by Kurt | Permalink

12.12.2004 14:03

Coding spin_gnuplot

So, I'd really like to have blogging from inside of emacs. Be able to cache up writing in a file and then submit it from emacs. What's a good way to do this?

Common Predefined Macros for GCC. Going to start using __FUNCTION__. Think it's GNU specific. Oh well.

I have been having occasional trouble with CVS operations from emacs. I think I just figured it out. When starting emacs from either .xinitrc, I think the .bashrc is not getting executed. So CVS_RSH is not getting set to ssh

Posted by Kurt | Permalink

12.12.2004 13:16

The cutting ring

Yes, I'm a geek and am impressed by geeky stuff. Today, when we were looking at Christmas trees, the guy was zipping through the strings on a wrapped up tree. Damn! Then I saw he was moving his right hand in a funny way. He had a ring on that had a cutter on it. Now that is tricky! Worked great for him.

So another problem from the computer. NewsFire is not seeing new items with Shift-Apple-R. I know that there are new items (I added one). It did update earlier this morning. What's the deal?

Posted by Kurt | Permalink

12.12.2004 11:35

Minor frustration

Eek! Just typed C-x C-c at the nb description entry field. BAD! That nuked my entry and I'm unable to find it. Was talking about getting a Christmas tree at the Webb Range (summary: it was very nice) and working on a new program for density: spin_gnuplot. This program will help generate gnuplot files to render the frames of movies.

Now my ipod does not see to want to mount to itunes with the firewire cable I have. It's the one that came with the ipod, but I don't think I've used it with the new laptop before. Maybe the voltage drop is too much in this thin cable to provide more than just charging. I've been using an obnoxiously thick cable mostly rather than the little white floppy apple one. The ipod seems ok. Still has music on it.

Also, when I connected to my parents LAN, my laptop decided to do a name change, so the X server didn't believe that applications that I started were indeed on the same machine. export DISPLAY=:0.0 was no longer working. I posted to USENET about this like two years ago. Maybe I need to write the host command again for this laptop. But I haven't had problems when doing pure wireless DCHP hoping. Maybe this is because the wired LAN is the primary network port?

Whoops. It's caltrain, not caltran for the train schedules along the peninsula.

Posted by Kurt | Permalink

12.11.2004 16:45


First entry from a plane. On the way to AGU. Catalina is off port side. Jasper saw me in the airport while I was waiting for my flight. He and Bridget are off through Oakland. I hope they made it out. Our pilot suggested they may be soon closing the airport with the fog coming in. I've never taken off to the east from SAN. That was definitely different feeling.

I've printed up 8.5x11 inch versions of my paper. My apologies if you don't get one. I didn't print that many and it is basically the same as my AGU Fall 2004 web page.

If you are magnetic fabric researcher or interested in sediment deformation, please check out my session at Spring AGU 2005 in New Orleans:

  There has been an intense amount of work done recently in an
  attempt to understand how material deformation changes the
  Anisotropy of Magnetic Susceptibility for sedimentary and
  igneous rocks.  Such work includes finite element modeling,
  processes in dikes and magma chambers, folding and faulting
  of sediments, and soft sediment deformation.  Continued
  development of analysis and interpretation techniques along
  with the theory of fabric creation and alteration will
  continue to create valuable tools for the geoscience

Still need to see if I can improve some of the movies that I have for AGU.

I really like having the offline capability with nanoblogger on my laptop. I have two aliases now that do the work. I need to look at adding two way rsyncing so that if I make an entry from some other machine or especially from the server itself, my laptop has it all. Works double as a backup. I should really start tar'ing the latest stuff on my box to somewhere else. May find with a size restriction? Here is what I ended up with for aliases in my shell:

  alias nb-rebuild='ssh ${BLOG_SERVER} nb -u all'

alias nb-rsync='rsync -vaz --update -b \ --backup-dir=backups ${BLOG_DIR}/data \ ${BLOG_SERVER}:www/blog'

To make these nice boxes, I have been using the pre tag with text inside with two blank spaces in front of each line. I set the fill wrap to be 60 columns like this in emacs:

  C-u 60 C-x f

What other html tags can I use safely?

This is my first try at editing an existing log entry using nb -e 1. I need to explore more of the nb functionality, especially things like categories. I would also like to try out Google's AdSense, just to watch the ads change as I write about different topics. However, it would not be right to do that unless I moved the traffic to someplace else.

Lots of gregarious girls behind me on this plane. Had to put on the headphones so I can get their conversations out of my head. I need a good online file for html character tags so I could use the cent symbol.

5:02 Sunset - The fog is just off the coastline. We are over land about 10 minutes north of Santa Barbara.

The other day, Gordon was baffled that I still use emacs. He wondered why I still do. That's a worthy topic, since I didn't program in emacs until way into my programming history. I really started programming (beyond basic on an HP terminal) in 1986 with turbo pascal on an IBM PCjr. I started using emacs really seriously in 1991 with coaching from Frank Busilachi who was in a dorm room down the hall and around the corner in Kimball hall. Mr. Amiga and Mr. Emacs.

The landing lights are coming on, so that's it for the inflight service. Moss Landing and the Monterey Bay looks stunning tonight.

Posted by Kurt | Permalink

12.10.2004 21:56

AGU poster ready

My AGU poster is ready. Added more text, Flinn diagrams, parametric grids for the splot F12-F23 figures.

Our apartment is "done being painted." Sigh. They have done a truly nasty job painting. Very sloppy 2nd pass with the sprayer, so they had to touch up that, but they did that so bad, they had to go back a step with paint and touch up that, but that is so sloppy they have to touch up the touch up to the touch up (are we stuck in infinite recursion?)

Just recommended mailman to Anne for botball, but I've never used it. Seems to work fine on sf.net with fink. And it's python powered. Woo hoo!

If you have to program Fortran (ugh), don't miss out on Peter Shearer's computer class notes. Also has an excellent TeX reference. Still need to work on my computer class notes that are based off of C++ and a beginning scripting with bash and python: Introduction to Scientific Programming. Still a lot to work on! I would like to turn density into a good example program to see how it all works and to copy code from. Code by example/design by contract.

Gotta find funding to rewrite xcore for version 1.0 so that it is usable by people beyond me AND stays GPL'ed. Any takers? :)

Aspell is doing pretty well. Gives many more options (too many?) when it sees something it doesn't know. ispell often gave me no options. Too many is better than too few!

Haven't had any more disappearing nb blogs since the first day. Knock on wood.

Posted by Kurt | Permalink

12.10.2004 08:01

Alternative to GNU autoconf?

Has anyone tried the Pre Make Kit? I've got to start using something soon if I intend for my code to be cross platform, but autoconf is a beast (a very benevolent beast, but still huge and m4...).

Last day to work on the poster. I've got to get the glossy printed today.

Posted by Kurt | Permalink

12.09.2004 21:00


Here is a simple gnuplot example of a plane and some points:
  set parametric
  splot [0:10000] [0:10000] '80.dat', u,v,60

Posted by Kurt | Permalink

12.09.2004 13:01

AGU poster online

I just put a small image of my AGU poster online here. Check it out and come by and talk to me. This will be the first year that I am officially in the paleomagnetic section. If you are not a paleomagnetist, please do still come by and talk to me about what ever you want! Slumps, slides, deformation, visualization, and planets are all fair game. When are we going to send a rover to Mars with a rock drill and onboard pmag lab? Here is my poster time and location:

  Tuesday 0800
  MCC level 1

Posted by Kurt | Permalink

12.09.2004 09:49


code2HTML works great. Take a look my density files web page to see the results. If you look in the makefile at line 270-300, you will see where I call code2html. However, this link is not stable, so if you are reading this as an older blog, the makefile may be very different.

I may try injecting anchors into comments for each section when I have more time. I'm guessing that will work.

Posted by Kurt | Permalink

12.09.2004 07:46

AGU looms

Getting seriously in the AGU crunch. Lots of little details yet to fix on my poster. We had a great lab session where people laid out their posters on the tables and we talked through them. Got some really good comments (beyond not having any text on my poster yet :). So much to do! To help with spelling for blogs and other text, I have just switched from ispell to Aspell in emacs. Add this to your .emacs to switch:

  (setq-default ispell-program-name "aspell")

I'm looking to add a little more info to my density web page before AGU so that I can really show it off. I'm looking at using code2html to put the Makefile on the web in a nice way.

Bailey pasted his blood test with flying colors. We are going to try to switch him to the protein diet after the holidays at the vet's recommendation. Maybe that will turn the tides on the 2 pounds he has gained in the last year.

Posted by Kurt | Permalink

12.08.2004 06:57

Testing remote blogging

I realized that it is truely easy to do blogs remotely on my laptop and then upload them to my webserver. All it takes is setting up the blog both on the laptop and the webserver. Then sync'ing becomes a two step process from the laptop:

   rsync ${BLOG_DIR}/data webserver:www/blog/data
   ssh webserver nb -u all

This is different than the publish entry for nanoblogger. Why do that? Well, what if I'm on a plane or someothere place without connectivity? The publish command is going to barf. If you see this entry on the web, then my new strategy worked.

Posted by Kurt | Permalink

12.08.2004 05:38

Stopping cron emails

In the quest of setting up webalizer correctly, I had forgotten that cron will send you an email for each time that it runs. That's great if the email actually gets sent to you, but on my machine, I have not setup email to actually get beyond /var/mail/schwehr. The edge router blocks smtp and I couldn't convince the powers that be to lift the block. So the mail was just building up for no good reason. The trick to stopping vixie cron from sending email is pretty simple. Do crontab -e and add this line to the beginning of the file:

Posted by Kurt | Permalink

12.08.2004 05:27

A bug fixed

Finally figured out what the bug was with nanoblogger that gave me the command not found errors. Turns out that it was all because I used a back quote (). When I switched that to a ‘ and run nb -u all all was well again.

Got to hang out with Gordon down in La Jolla last night. We had dinner at Jose's in La Jolla which is always nice and then went to the Paradise Point Resort in Mission Bay to check out where he is staying this time. This place has the best Christmas lights display that we have seen so far in San Diego. You've got to check this out at night!

Posted by Kurt | Permalink

12.07.2004 11:00

Emacs tip - Transposing

I've been meaning to look this up for ages and I finally took the 30 seconds to do it. How do you transpose stuff in emacs (ti to it)?

  C-t     transpose 2 chars
  M-t     transpose 2 words
  C-M-t   transpose 2 expressions
  C-x C-t transpose 2 lines

Posted by Kurt | Permalink

12.07.2004 10:31


Alright! Last night, cron ran webalizer just fine. I forgot that user cron entries will send an email to that account. I need to send the output to /dev/null.

Would like to check out Mozilla Thunderbird to see how it works. I also like the active links in firefox, but haven't seen enough motivation to move from safari. I now live by NewsFire. Reading morning articles through RSS now takes about 1/5 the time it did before.

I wonder how much I'd make by placing google AdSense ads on my blog. Probably get my 2 cents back. This is a pretty low traffic site. Does anyone have a good story about using the google ads with their personal blog and especially with nanoblogger?

Posted by Kurt | Permalink

12.07.2004 10:22

Slow start

Looks like I'm implementing my own TCP slow start algorithm for today. Well, it's rainy and cold. San Diego seems to have never heard of insulation for apartments. So it's any excuse to cook with the stove or toaster oven today. A big cup of Pete's Genmai Cha, my draft AGU poster taped over the living room book shelves, and my laptop.

The construction workers outside my door have been taking their sweet time of it. They started the Monday after Thanks Giving by taping plastic over our windows and paper on the walkways. After painting the building from off white to slight brown off white, they thankfully opened our windows again. But it's been raining and the paper they put down is getting nasty and stays soggy. Couple more days and our part of the complex will loose the nice blue trim to become just like the rest of UTC... boring desert brown. I really liked that we had some interesting trims on the buildings. Everything brown is depressing.

This afternoon is Bailey's vet appointment. This will be our first try at using his pet insurance. Or course, just before he goes to get his annual blood check, his water fountain broke, so he is suddenly drinking much less water. Yes, he is a spoided cat (who is now sitting directly on top of my arm as I type this).

So last night, I got to watch a script kiddy style attack on one of my machines. Brute for ssh to root style attack. Just as I was trying to debug troubles with cron. Thanks buster. I nmaped the server back from elsewhere and the attacking box had it's ports lit up like a christmas tree. I haven't seen anything that open in a while. Was it owned or just a naive user? Turns out that a lot of other machines were being scanned, so a block is on the router was in order. Come on folks. There are lots of other cool things you can do with computers other than be a cracker. I've seen all sorts of different attacks in the last 15 years. It's just not very exciting. Better if crackers switched to being hackers and go write some cool open source software.

Rob sent me a great link to how to setup mac osx firewalls. I need to practice this. It's not essential, but it is nice to shutdown a DoS type attack where they try to fill up my log files. Mac OSX firewall rules. I've done this on Solaris where the life of the box depends on how good you are with firewall rules (I really do not like sunscreen). But I haven't gone beyond the mac GUI before.

Posted by Kurt | Permalink

12.06.2004 20:51

Troubles with cron

Hmmm... my webalizer cron entry didn't run last night. Tried a new entry and watched it work. Maybe now it will be happier.

I need to clean up the mac osx install notes and then I'll make another entry. But again, I've got the poster over my head. Joe sent me some fantastic core photos today, so I've got to get those integrated. Also need to make a title banner. I'm thinking 36x10 inches. I also want to make a small fink poster for on the side of the table.

Posted by Kurt | Permalink

12.06.2004 06:24

Anne and Randy get nannoblogger

Wow. So I mentioned nanoblogger to Anne and I wake up in the morning to find that Anne and Randy really gone for it with notes on how to better setup nannoblogger. Their blog

I am wondering how nb will do where then get to be hundreds of entries. What will it's performance be? Will it be O(n), O(n^2), or? And what will the constants be?

Today is AGU poster day. I'm hoping to have the poster done before the end of the day. Gotta dig out my poster tube!

Posted by Kurt | Permalink

12.05.2004 19:48

MB System troubles with GMT 4.0

For those of you using mbsytem in fink. Please do not upgrade to GMT 4.0 just yet. There were some last minute changes in GMT that cause mbsystem to not link correctly. As soon as there is a new mbsystem that can link with GMT 4.0, I will get it in fink. I want to avoid adding more stuff to the fink patch to mbsystem that will have to be removed right away.

Posted by Kurt | Permalink

12.05.2004 19:42

Mac OSX setup notes

I just went through setting up two new Mac OSX laptops. In my quest to make the Mac be a complete scientific workstation, I have put together a bunch of notes on how I setup these two laptops. There isn't much explanation, but you can google for more info on these things. The notes are here.

Getting these strange errors from the calendar build in nb. Anyone know what is up?

bin/nanoblogger/nb: line 1: to: command not found
~/bin/nanoblogger/nb: line 2: XWorks: command not found
~/bin/nanoblogger/nb: line 10: XArrow,: command not found
~/bin/nanoblogger/nb: line 11: Xemacs.: command not found
~/bin/nanoblogger/nb: command substitution: line 12:
syntax error near unexpected token newline
~/bin/nanoblogger/nb: command substitution: line 12:

Posted by Kurt | Permalink

12.05.2004 19:21


Thanks to Randy and Anne for pointing me to the Argo website (err... it's at ucsd!) This data set would make an excellent example to work through in a visualization class. Has all of the major components. www.argo.ucsd.edu and www.argo.net

Posted by Kurt | Permalink

12.05.2004 11:58

Der Tunnel

I went to go see Der Tunnel last week that was put on by the San Diego Cinema Society. I highly recommend seeing this movie. It is very well done and it's based on a true story. It was fun using a little of my german skills from high school when they talk slowly.

Posted by Kurt | Permalink

12.05.2004 08:20


Just installed webalizer for my site. Very nice tool. Thanks Myche! The options I used are:

   /sw/bin/webalizer -p -N 2 -D /path/to/dnscache -n schwehr.org \
      -o /path/to/webalizer/output /var/log/httpd/access_log

Then I did a contab -e and put an entry like this

  45 0 * * * /sw/bin/webalizer all my args

Takes a while the first time to run do to all the dns lookups, but then once it has a cache, it is much quicker.

Also, try Apple-‘ to switch between windows within one application. Works great for X11! Combined with Apple-Tab and Shift-Apple-Right Arrow, I'm getting pretty fast at moving around.

A nice stormy day in San Diego today.

I am still a little bit paranoid about nanoblogger loosing my entry, so I'm pasting them into a separate text file before saving and ending emacs.

Posted by Kurt | Permalink

12.05.2004 07:13

Balboa Park

Yesterday, Kiley, Jeff, and I went to the Christmas Nights in Balboa Park. Fun, but not everything that we had hoped. Could use more performers and fewer Santas (we saw 3 with lines of kids). Never did find the petting zoo. The Natural History museum was very nice with a brass quartet of lower register instruments.

Posted by Kurt | Permalink

12.05.2004 07:08

New blog alias

Trying out a new alias for .bashrc to add a blog entry:
   alias blog='cd ~/www/blog && nb -a'

This leaves out the --blogdir I had before and adds a cd to the blog directory.

Posted by Kurt | Permalink

12.05.2004 07:04

Trying to figure out nanoblogger

Several entries that I spent a while on have disappeared. Will this one work with just nb -a in the blog directory?

Posted by Kurt | Permalink

12.05.2004 07:01


Adding is not working?

Posted by Kurt | Permalink

12.04.2004 09:55

Back to work

Ok. Ok. I've played with nanoblogger long enough now. I still want to learn more about nana and sqlite but that will have to be for another day. Would also be good to import all my older blogs somehow. Yeah, I know. I'm the only one subscribed to my blog so far. Now I need to setup an automated backup system so that I don't loose all this stuff I've been doing.

Do I need to have paragraph tags?

I am working on my poster for AGU right now. This year's will be low on color and high on the number of graphs. Still trying to get the core photos and seismics for Owens Lake. I have a web page for this fall AGU here.

I will try to keep this weblog current about my research and projects, but don't expect a lot here. And pardon spelling and grammar mistakes!

Posted by Kurt | Permalink

12.04.2004 09:19

Weblog by Kurt

Just discovered nano blog which is written just in bash. I would like to learn how to create RSS feeds. Thanks to Jimmy O'Regan for pointing me to nanoblogger.

Posted by Kurt | Permalink