Revolution OS, my new favorite geek documentary

I recently purchased a copy of Revolution OS, the documentary about the history of Linux and the GNU project. It’s available on DVD-ROM from Think Geek, and if you are an open source fan, it’s a neat thing to have.

There’s extensive interview footage with the likes of Richard M. Stallman, Linus Torvalds, Brian Behlendorf, Burce Perens and others. It’s so much fun to see the founders of GNU, Linux, Apache, and the Open Source Definition answering questions that I have had in my mind about the origin and impetus of the open source/free software movements.

I viewed it twice the first day I got it. The second time through I realized that I now have to some stuff to chew on regarding the open source licenses. Certain things Bruce Perens said are making me reevaluate certain stances I have held for a few years about which open source OS in which I prefer to invest myself.

So at this point some of you are curious about what in the world I am trying to say. Not so much an edge-of-the-seat curiosity as a what-is-this curiosity. More to follow.

A good article for setting up a BSD server

Dru Lavigne has another wonderful article in the O’Reilly BSD DevCenter’s FreeBSD Basics section. The aptly-titled article Building a Unix Server can be as helpful to a veteran as it is to a beginner. It’s actually been out since August 26th, but I just found it last week. I am using it as a guideline for taking a better approach to the setup of my FreeBSD servers. The article comes at a good time for me, since my last half-hearted configuration of DNS on my main server created some impressive latency in the internal network. I plan on finally following the recommendation of performing a minimal install and only adding things as needed.

Persevering through technical issues

I just wrapped up a painful 4-hour lesson is self-discipline. While working through James Holmes’ Struts The Complete Reference, I found that my ActionErrors collection did not seem to be getting passed back to the JSP view was supposed to render them. I spent hours debugging in Eclipse, attaching the Struts source code to the project so I could see just what was going on. (Isn’t it funny how after you have been frustrated by a problem for a while you begin to wonder if it’s the framework/language/operating system? Blame-shifting is a funny thing.)

After I could not figure out the problem for a couple of hours, I decided to download the sample code from the website for the book. Sure enough, once I had James’ code in an Eclipse project, it ran fine. I even opened all related source files and did a line-by-line comparison of the code to ensure that I hadn’t mis-coded anything.
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Brad Pitt’s shining role (in my opinion)

Brad Pitt has never been what I would call a favorite actor of mine. I mean, he’s a good actor, it’s just that the roles he has played have never struck a chord with me. Also, none of the roles I have seen him play have made me think, “wow, that really took lots to make that stretch”…

until today.

Brad Pitt as Micky O’Neil the “pikey” in the Guy Ritchie movie Snatch is excellent. Now, before going further, some context is in order. Pikeys, as they are called in the UK, are apparently a cross between the American redneck and gypsies. A questionnaire found on Thrapston On Line Forums shows that pikeys do indeed have much in common with the redneck; the interview dovetails nicely with Jeff Foxworthy’s renowned “might be a redneck if” series. One thread on the Renault Sports Club Forums bears witness to the general regard of the pikey as a base element of society. There’s even a game online, Virtua Pikey, that could give a bit more context.

So anyway, Brad Pitt’s mastery of the pikey dialect was hilarious. It’s a mixture of Irish and English, yet a perversion of both as well. Check it out on DVD if you haven’t seen it. I missed it in theaters for whatever reason back when it came out. I was cracked up by him talking like that every time I heard it.

Chicopee Woods with Amy

Amy at Chicopee Woods
Once again my sister Amy teamed up with me for a mountain bike ride, this time to Chicopee Woods in Hall County, Georgia. It was a beautiful day for a ride, and we managed to cover about 9 miles, although the last 2 miles involved a Amy mostly walking after a couple of accidents. One was running into a tree, but the other was when a root stopped her and I ran up on the back of her. I have found that coaching someone from behind is a challenge.

I have been truly impressed out how quickly she has gotten the hang of serious mountain biking. What’s even funnier is that she is doing so well on bike with no suspension whatsoever.

Amy coming off of Champain Hill at Chicopee Woods

My first jury service experience

Having come off of a 64-hour week, I thought jury duty on Tuesday of this week would be a welcome break.

Wrong.

I have personally put 40 hours into the last four days on a trial that involved 12 felony counts, two of them murder. Two more of them would have been murder if two other folks had not lived.

I was elected jury foreperson (foreman is apparently dated now), which turned out to be one of the most hellish experiences I have had in a while. I had to ask God for strength going in there each day; deliberation was a 16-hour ordeal. Some of the other jurors made the whole thing much more painful than it needed to be.

In the end we found the defendant guilty on all 12 felony counts. I had to read the verdict to him; that was an additional heavy experience.

It was appalling how some people were viewing the situation. Your task as a jury is to apply the law to the facts of the case presented in the evidence. I continually had to contradict people who would talk about sentencing influencing whether they wanted to find the defendant guilty. Some would talk about it like a cafeteria plan, sort of a “how about we let him off of this if we give him guilty for this”. I hope to never be in a situation where I face a jury trial, and if I do, I hope those folks have someone among them willing to do the hard thing and make folks stick to what they are charged to do.