Blog Fiasco

November 26, 2010

Beonard’s Losers — 2010, Week 13

Filed under: Sports — Tags: , , — bcotton @ 2:10 pm

Howdy, football fans!  The end of the season is almost upon us.  Many teams play their final games this weekend.  For some teams, the final game is for pride, but many teams are playing for bowl positioning or even a chance at the the BCS Championship.  So let’s take a look at this week’s game.

Auburn at Alabama

One of the best SEC West games this season has no bearing on the division.  Gene Chizik’s cats have clinched a seat in the SEC championship game, so now they’re playing to keep their likely spot in the BCS Championship game.  To do that, they’ll have to hold off the Tide in Bryant-Denny Stadium.  The Tigers have relied on their offense to outscore the opponent, but this game will depend on the defense.  Beonard’s loser?  In a close one, Alabama.

Arizona at Oregon

Mike Stoops brings his kittens into Autzen Stadium on Friday afternoon with one goal in mind:  to pluck the Ducks and ruin their bid for the BCS Championship.  Chip Kelly’s flock had only 15 points two weeks ago against, Cal, but they’re still averaging over 50 points per game.  This may be the most explosive offense ever, and the Sun Devil defense just won’t be able to contain it.  Beonard’s loser? Arizona

Northwestern at Wisconsin

Bret Bielma’s Badger boys have their eyes on the Rose Bowl, but to get there, they’ll need the three-way tie at the top of the Big Ten to continue.  Their mission is to dispatch the purple kittens heading north from Evanston.  Pat Fitzgerald’s squad is missing their starting quarterback, so they puts them in a tough spot.  The cheeseheads have been nearly untouchable in Camp Randall Stadium this year, and it’s unlikely they’ll get cat scratch fever.  Beonard’s loser?  Northwestern

Michigan State at Penn State

Mark Dantonio’s spear-toters nearly saw their Rose Bowl chances slip away last week against a lousy Purdue squad, and they’ll have to be a little more careful in State College if they want to stay in the race.  JoePa has announced that he has at least one more season in Happy Valley, and he’ll need it to end the season on a high note.  The Nittany kitties are winless against ranked teams this year, and Sparty will make sure that trend continues.  Beonard’s loser? Penn State

Iowa at Minnesota

The gilded rodents stunned the football world with a surprise victory over Illinois two weeks ago.  They’ll close the season by hosting the Hawkeyes in TCF Bank Stadium.  Iowa needs to snap a two-game slide to get a better bowl berth, and they’ve got an easy opponent to face.  But at the Illini learned, the rodents may be down, but they’re still capable of a nasty bite.  Beonard’s loser?  Minnesota

Michigan at Ohio State

RichRod may have gotten the Wolverines back into the postseason, but there’s still an important goal he has not met.  The Columbus sweatervests own a 6-game streak in The Game, and it’s become a sore issue in Ann Arbor.  The visitors have the offense to keep up with the nuts, but the defenses couldn’t be further apart.  A win today could keep the Bucs in a BCS Bowl, so don’t expect to see an upset in the Horseshoe.  Beonard’s loser? Michigan

Notre Dame at USC

Brian Kelly ends his troubled first season on the road Saturday in Troy.  The Papal pigskinners will go to a bowl this year, even if they lose this and end up 6-6, but they’d much rather get the win.  Both teams have unimpressive resumes, minus a pair of upsets on November 13.  In this case, I have to go with the home team. Beonard’s loser?  Notre Dame

Indiana at Purdue

Both teams nearly pulled off an upset last week.  Instead, they’ll both stay home for Christmas and settle for battling for the Old Oaken Bucket.  The boys from Basketballtown have won this trophy twice in the past decade, and not in the West Lafayette switchin’ station since 1996.  Strength will be set against strength and weakness against weakness, but the train always has plenty fo steam for this game.  Danny Hope’s squad will clear the tracks, and perhaps rid Bill Lynch of the burdens of employment.  Beonard’s loser?  Indiana

Well, friends, that’s all I have for you this week, come back again next week when we’ll have more losers.

November 23, 2010

Managing to-do lists with TuDu

Filed under: Linux — Tags: , , , , — bcotton @ 2:13 pm

I have no problem admitting that I’m not very organized.  I often find myself letting tasks drop, especially if they’re not part of my normal routine.  It’s not that I’m lazy (sometimes!), it’s just that I forget what I need to do — or I remember everything at once and get overwhelmed by it all.  I tried using project trackers like Planner and KPlato, but they seemed way too heavy for what I needed.  Fortunately, I recently came upon a small project called TuDu.

TuDu is terminal-based, as are several of my other favorite applications, which means it is unobtrusive and can be left running in a screen session for quick attachment from anywhere.  It supports nested tasks, making it easy to break down larger tasks into manageable sections.  Schedule dates, due dates, and priorities can be used to keep the more important items at the top of the pile, and categories can be used to filter items for the chronically over-burdened.

Since I’ve started using TuDu, I’ve found that my productivity has (or at least has seemingly) increased.  There’s a great sense of accomplishment to be able to mark an item as done.  Just remember to hit ‘s’ frequently, as TuDu does not auto-save the XML file.

November 19, 2010

Beonard’s Losers — 2010, Week 12

Filed under: Sports — Tags: , , — bcotton @ 2:26 pm

Howdy, football fans!  I apologize for missing last week, but it worked out well for me.  Who would have expected Minnesota to win a game?  Or for Utah to lose to Notre Dame?  For that matter, does anyone expect that Bret Bielma will be voted ‘Most Popular’ by the other Big Ten coaches after running up the score against Indiana?  Wisconsin may still actually be scoring points from last week’s game.  But we’ve got football on the baseball field and coaches trying to keep the paycheck coming, so let’s take a look at this week’s games.

Wisconsin at Michigan

Bret Bielma’s Badger Boys look to keep their Rose Bowl hopes alive in their last road game of the season.  With two straight wins, RichRod moves to .500 in the Big Ten this season and, mo re importantly, keeps himself from getting thrown to the curb.  The hometown animals will need to use every bit of their offensive prowess to stay in this game, as the cheeseheads have made it clear what they do to lousy defenses.  Beonard’s loser? Michigan

Purdue at Michigan State

Danny Hope’s bartenders have the distinction of being the only team that failed to score an offensive touchdown against one of the country’s worst defenses.  They’ll have to do better than that if they want to pull off an upset in East Lansing on Saturday.  Mark Dantonio’s spear-toters  need this win to remain the front-runners for a trip to Pasadena.  I don’t see a scenario where they don’t decimate the visitors.  Beonard’s loser? Purdue

Penn State vs Indiana

Bill Lynch will try to salvage the season, and potentially his job, this weekend.  He can thank the IU athletic department for this game being played in Landover, Maryland instead of Bloomington, and that probably won’t do his team any favors.  Joe Pa’s kittens have had a rough time getting to the end zone this year, but against a team that gave up 83 points last week, they should do fine.  Beonard’s loser? Indiana

Ohio State at Iowa

The birds would like nothing more than to help determine the Big Ten champion by knocking off Jim Tressel’s nuts in Kinnick Stadium.  Two of the top 10 scoring defenses in country will make this game one for the ages, but Kirk Ferentz will need more reliable offensive production than he’s seen if he hopes to keep from breaking his beak.  Beonard’s loser?  Iowa

Illinois at Northwestern

This may be the most embarrassing game of football played all season, and it has nothing to do with the players.  Due to safety concerns at Wrigley Field, both teams will try for the same end zone for the entire game.  With Northwestern’s quarterback out for the season, I can only guess that the Illini signal caller will be under center for both teams.  Maybe we’ll just have a game of two-hand touch.  Beonard’s loser? Northwestern, the Big Ten, and football fans everywhere

Army vs Notre Dame

In another football-game-played-in-a-baseball-stadium moment of brilliance, Army takes on the Fighting Irish in Yankee Stadium.  At least there’s enough room there for two end zones.  Army is in the unusual position of being able to prevent Notre Dame from becoming bowl eligible while having already qualified themselves.  Unfortunately for the Black Knights, the task may not prove as easy as some of their other wins have been.  Still, Brian Kelly’s squad has shown the ability to lose badly to service academies, so all is not lost for the West Pointers.  Beonard’s loser?  In a close one, Army.

Well, friends, that’s all I can muster this week.  Come back again next week when we’ll have some Thanksgiving losers.

to the Beonard’s Losers main page

November 15, 2010

Upgrading to Fedora 14 with yum

Filed under: Linux — Tags: , , , , , , — bcotton @ 6:35 pm

Fedora 14 was released two weeks ago.  I normally wait a day or two to install to let the mirrors cool down, but that put the target date right before I left for the LISA conference.  Like any good sysadmin, I’m sufficiently paranoid to not upgrade systems right before I leave, even if said system is only my own desktop.  So now that I’m back, I decided today was a good day to upgrade my home desktop.

As in the past, the recommended method was not for me — I opted to go with the Yum-based upgrade.  For Fedora 14, there’s a new feature that significantly reduces the amount of effort involved in live upgrades.  Using the –releasever argument and distro-sync command, it’s now possible to upgrade without having to manually install the updated version RPMs.  As Chris Siebenmann wrote, it can also be used to downgrade components.

I started the process doing what the instructions said, but as always it didn’t go quite perfectly.  After a little while, I noticed that yum was in an infinite loop of upgrades.

--> Running transaction check
--> Processing Dependency: texlive = 2007-51.fc13 for package: texlive-utils-2007-51.fc13.x86_64
--> Processing Dependency: texlive-dvips = 2007-51.fc13 for package: texlive-utils-2007-51.fc13.x86_6
---> Package xorg-x11-drv-nvidia.x86_64 1:260.19.12-1.fc13 set to be erased
---> Package xorg-x11-drv-nvidia-libs.x86_64 1:260.19.12-1.fc13 set to be erased
--> Processing Dependency: /usr/bin/dvips for package: openoffice.org-ooolatex-4.0.0-0.7.beta2.fc12.1.noarch
--> Processing Dependency: /usr/bin/texconfig-sys for package: linuxdoc-tools-0.9.66-5.fc13.x86_64
--> Finished Dependency Resolution

I noticed that it seemed to be related to either the nvidia drivers or the LaTeX package, so I opted to remove the drivers first:

yum remove xorg-x11-drv-nvidia

That made the loop a bit shorter, but it didn’t quite fix it, so I removed the LaTeX package:

yum remove `rpm -q --whatprovides /usr/bin/latex`

Then yum reported there were a few broken packages it couldn’t fix, so I removed them, too:

yum remove VirtualBox-3.1 perl-MythTV system-config-display python-MythTV

Finally, the upgrade was on its way.  When it finished and grub was installed, I rebooted into a nice, shiny Fedora 14 install.  (Note: to re-install VirtualBox, you’ll need to install the VirtualBox-3.2 package.)

November 9, 2010

Where’s Ben this week?

Filed under: Funnel Fiasco,Linux — Tags: , , , — bcotton @ 2:50 pm

If you miss reading this blog this week, be sure to check out the Usenix blog: http://blogs.usenix.org/.  I’m writing two posts a day during the conference, along with my outstanding Blog Team colleague Marius Ducea and our fearless leader Matt Simmons.

November 5, 2010

Beonard’s Losers — 2010, Week 10

Filed under: Funnel Fiasco,Sports — Tags: , , , — bcotton @ 7:51 pm

Listen here!

Howdy, football fans!  I must apologize for last week’s embarrassing performance.  In my defense, who would have expected Michigan State and Missouri to lay an egg on the same weekend?  And who could have foreseen Tulsa defeating Notre Dame — an outcome that will no doubt put a bit more pressure on Brian Kelly.  Undoubtedly, the tragic death of Declan Sullivan weighed on the minds of those in the Indiana Vatican last weekend, and we here at Beonard’s Losers offer our condolences.  Still, in the wake of tragedy, the show goes on, so let’s take a look at this week’s games.

Wisconsin at Purdue

Danny Hope’s battered squad lost another player to a season-ending injury last weekend.  The Badgers, meanwhile, are well-rested and in a four-way race for the Big Ten title.  Is there a word for when a derailed train goes further off the tracks?  Because that’s what we’ll see in Ross-Ade Stadium.  Beonard’s loser? Purdue

Minnesota at Michigan State

Mark Dantonio’s squad decided to take their bye week a few Saturdays early.  That’s the only explanation for their terrible performance in Iowa City.  Fortunately, they’re still tied for the lead in the Big Ten with a easy schedule to finish the season.  They’ll probably take out their frustration on a pack of rodents that seems to have given up all hope, having lost eight straight and their coach.  This won’t be pretty, but hopefully the spear-toters will skewer the groundhogs quickly.  Beonard’s loser? Minnesota

Iowa at Indiana

Fans of both teams will recall the near-victory by the Hoosiers in Iowa City last year.  Kirk Ferentz will look to avoid the need for any more miracles when he swoops into Bloomington on Saturday.  If the birds can use their rigid defense to stop the potent passing attack of the basketballers, their offense will peck the home team to death.  Beonard’s loser?  Indiana

Illinois at Michigan

Ron Zook’s tribe may have three losses this year, but they’re all to teams in the top 15 of the BCS standings as of this week.  Two of Michigan’s three losses have come against top-tier teams, too, but they’re on a bit of a slide lately.  A win on Saturday keeps the folks in Ann Arbor from grabbing their pitchforks, but RichRod won’t escape that easily.  Even if the Wolverines can put their offense in gear, the defense will do them in.  Beonard’s loser? Michigan

Baylor at Oklahoma State

Baylor leads the Big XII South.  Let that sink in for a moment.  Baylor leads the Big XII South, but the Cowboys are gunning for that spot.  To do that, they’ll use their 45 points-per-game offense.  But the Bears aren’t so easy to take down:  their offense can rack up the points too, and their defense is about what you’d expect from an angry ursine.  The balls will be flying in Boone Pickens Stadium, and the ranch hands will eventually tame the wild beast.  Beonard’s loser? Baylor

TCU at Utah

Two undefeated teams battle for the right to be completely ignored by the BCS on Saturday.  Both sides have been prone to obliterating opponents, which isn’t too surprising given the kind of competition they’ve faced.  Kyle Whittingham would love to win one last Mountain West championship before moving to the Pac 10, but he’ll find the Frogs too Horny on Saturday.  Beonard’s loser? In a close one, Utah

Northwestern at Penn State

JoePa is looking for his 400th win this weekend, and it would be great to see that happen in Happy Valley.  Perhaps it might even be enough to quiet the rumbles coming out of State College all season.  The Evanston kittens are capable of ruining those plans, though, so the hometown cats had better stay on their toes.  The fur will fly, but in the end the visitors will need to find their own litter box.  Beonard’s loser?  In a close one, Northwestern

Alabama at LSU

It’s a race to stay relevant in the SEC West on Saturday when the tide roll into Tiger Stadium to take on the bayoux bengals.  A win keeps Nick Saban and company in control of their own destiny, since a date with Auburn still awaits.  For Les Miles, a win just means he still has the chance to get lucky.  This will be a very interesting game and it should come down to which team’s offense will be able to move the ball, but by the end of the game, the Gumps will have caught a Tiger by the toe.  Beonard’s loser? LSU

Okay, friends, that’s all the Smart Pill Machine gave me this week.  Come back again next week for more losers.

To Beonard’s Losers main page

November 2, 2010

Social steganography?

Filed under: The Internet — Tags: , , — bcotton @ 11:19 am

Steganography was in the news this summer when the FBI revealed that Russian intelligence agents were using steganography to pass secret messages.  Unlike encryption, which mathematically changes a message so that it can’t be read by a third party, steganography hides the message in plain sight — in this case in image files.  With the buzz in the news, there was some discussion on blogs as well.  I’m not sure how I came across it, but Danah Boyd penned an article about steganography in social media.  Boyd talks about a girl named “Carmen”, who quoted lines from a Monty Python movie to communicate distress to her friends while hiding it from her mother.

I took serious issue with the article as an example of steganography.  While it may technically meet the definition since Carmen’s mother apparently does not realize a secret message is being sent, that’s more a matter of serendipity than message obfuscation.  Frankly, it’s a better example of “Carmen’s mom has no taste in movies” than “teens can hide secret messages in Facebook”.  If Carmen’s mom had seen “Life of Brian”, which is undoubtedly older than Carmen, then the steganography fails.

Steganography only works if the recipient knows not to respond in the clear, too. If Carmen’s friend “Jane” had said “aw, what’s wrong”, the whole thing is blown. It’s possible that Carmen and her friends have worked out a protocol ahead of time, but that’s more of a code than a method.  While it would be very trivial to share secret messages on Facebook, but song lyrics from a beloved movie is a pretty bad way to do that.  To me, this article reads like another “OMG YOU WON’T BELIEVE WHAT KIDS ARE DOING ONLINE” piece designed to scare gullible parents.

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