Herman I. May

Herman I. May


30 June 2004

Satisfaction on the horizon

By way of an update for those who are interested — and there seem to be quite a few of you if the hit logs are any indication, I have just received confirmation that the T616 replacement for my aging and less than satisfying T68i should be arriving today or tomorrow.

Those following this thread may recall that SonyEricsson agreed to substitute a T616 for the T226 under the terms of their T226 "upgrade" program. At the time of the conversation regarding this exchange, "Louise" had indicated that I could expect to wait between six and eight weeks for the arrival of a replacement device. Having been warned of this potential timetable ahead of time, I held hope that comments suggesting that this period might actually be significantly less would hold to be the case. Alas, that was not to be.

Last Wednesday, 23 June, marked the commencement of the sixth week. Having seen hide nor hair of a box from SonyEricsson during the last month and a half, I called the rebate center to inquire about the status. Speaking to "Tyler", I was informed that my request was still in the queue and that it should be shipped within the next one to three weeks. That was a little disappointing to learn, but I resolved to make a pest of myself until I heard that it actually had shipped.

It would appear that my resolution paid off — and much quicker than I expected. Calling again today on my quest to increasingly escalate my contact, I was informed by "Darcy"(?) that my replacement T616 had shipped on 24 June and that UPS has scheduled it for delivery today or tomorrow. The fact that it shipped the very day after I called to determine the status could be construed as either coincidence or cause-and-effect. Regardless, I am hopeful that it will arrive today!

Comments on my impressions and experience with the phone will follow soon.

28 June 2004

Non-hominid guardianship

As a recent adopter of a "retired" greyhound, I have realized the need to gather as much knowledge of the breed,their wants and needs as is possible. One aspect of that perception has been joining the Geryhound-L mailing list. These lists are always a crapshoot. One never knows what to expect when joining. However, this list appears to be populated by many knowledgeable and helpful individuals. Of course, it also harbors its fair share of zealots and flakes.

A recent thread has prompted a great deal of thought on my part. The original commentary resulted from a post regarding a tragic event earlier this year where a female hound, rounding the first, sharp turn in a race, careened into another grey resulting in both flying off the track and into the prey mechanism. The female lost both of her starboard limbs and was euthanized on the spot. The other dog, a male I think, broke a limb or two and was taken to surgery, then adoption.

The thread that spawned from this discussion related to the philosophical and ethical differences betweeen track owners and "pet" owners. Many messages have passed back and forth. Some have been lucid and well thought out; most have been illogical and reactionary. The specifics are not important to this commentry. However, the fruit of my consideration is.

First, I take exception to the whole "pet" paradigm. Webster defines a pet as a "domesticated animal kept for pleasure rather than utility". To me this description is somewhat lacking. Both the words pleasure and utility could be construed as rather subjective. I prefer to look upon the decision to accept a non-hominid creature into one's home akin to the adoption of another human.

Are canine (or feline, etc.) wards any less privileged or less loved than an adoptee of the same species? I say no. Further, I propose that, unless one is willing to dedicate not only emotional and psychological investment, but also financial resources, one has no business taking on the responsibility of xenospecies adoption. They should be accepted and treated as members of the family; not simply looked upon as objects of stress relief (stroking targets) an playthings. Rather, they should rightly be considered for the same dedication and protection as one's own brood.

On the other hand, to project this opinion upon the racing community is not a legitimate argument toward the insistence of similar accountability. It is not too far off the mark to compare greyhound racing with either cattle operations or automobile racing. The track owners and the dog breeders are in the business to provide a service and make a profit. In their world view, one does not distinguish between the breeder cow, the race car or the dog. They are all a means to an end — profit. That two of them happen to be organic beings, which many would argue have rights and feelings, is moot in their worldview. However, laws against cruelty withstanding, many have no qualms killing (let us not mince words with politically correct monikers such as euthanitization) those animals that have outlived their usefulness.

It is to the credit of both a healthy proportion of the greyhound racing community and dedicated racing groups that efforts are made to "retire" dogs that are no longer profitable to their owners or the tracks on which they compete. Where applicable — and, unfortunately, it is in a large proportion of the population — medical issues are dealt with and willing, private-sector adopters are located. Lives are saved, of course. The fact remains that there are far more dogs bred for racing and, in some cases, subsequent breeding than there are prospective, post-career guardians.

Like the lack of logic and critical thinking exhibited by groups such as right-to-lifers (both anti-abortion proponents and those against capital punishment), individuals and groups who insist a 100% rehabilitation/relocation rate are irrational. The fiscal, spacial and placement resources simply do not exist to support a rate anywhere near that needed to satisfy the desired goal.

25 June 2004

in absentia

A little over six weeks have passed since my last post. This neglect has not been for lack of fodder. Rather, things have been rather hectic around the May household. Between adding a member to our family, the purchase of a new vehicle, and baseball, there has been little free time available for composition. Add to this the reproduction and migration of the interactive node(s) of #kempiWeb and spare time has been a rare commodity.

Nevertheless, things have now settled down to a significant degree. As a result, I will likely be playing a bit of catch-up by posting several entries about subjects that have crossed my mind and experiences transpired over the last month and a half.

Here are a couple to begin the process.

HomeLink programming

An interesting and highly useful feature of many new vehicles produced at present is the inclusion of the HomeLink wireless control system. Produced by Johnson Controls, this technology basically incorporates an RF transceiver into the console of a passenger vehicle. Usually configured with three programmable buttons, one is given the ability to "teach" each position the code for controlling up to three automatic portal controls (e.g. garage doors, electrics gates, and the like).

My first exposure to this technology was two years ago, when Elizabeth, the kids and I went to Florida for Spring Break to visit Fred and Carmen. He had recently purchased a Honda Accord which contained a HomeLink system. We spent a few moments programming it to open their garage door. I was intrigued by the technology. However, after doing a bit of research, discovered that it is only available as an OEM option or through an authorized installer.

Elizabeth and I were pleasantly surprised to discover that our new Toyota Sienna ships with a HomeLink transceiver installed. Having previously assisted Fred with the programming of his device, I thought that doing the same with ours would be a simple feat. On balance, it was. There was just a tiny, undocumented hitch extended the moment of success by a couple of days.

Shortly after taking delivery of the Sienna, it was necessary to take the Jetta in for servicing. We left the primary garage door transmitter clipped to the visor — as we always do. I thought nothing of this at the time, since we had a mini-transmitter as well. Following two days and multiple attempts to program the HomeLink using the mini-transmitter, I was becomeing quite perturbed at my inability to successfully configure the device. There was some indication that the HomeLink was able to sense the radiation from the mini-transmitter, but attempts to configure it for "learning" the rolling codes of the motor unit kept failing.

A few days later, it dawned on me that, perhaps the reason for the failure was an issue of power. We already knew that the mini-transmitter had a significantly less radius of activation than the primary transmitter. (One can be three houses away from the house and open the garage with the primary transmitter, while it is necessary to be at the end of the driveway to use the mini version.) So, I repeated the programming procedure using the primary transmittter and the "learning" process occurred as expected, on the first try.

sshd anomaly

During an attempt to upgrade the OpenSSL and SSH components of the security sub-system on one of my servers, a serious issue arose whereby the system would not even boot following thee build and installation. Rectification of the issue required booting into single-user mode and replacing the sub-system components with an archived tarball of the earlier version(s). All seemed to go well until a recent OS upgrade.

Apple released MacOS 10.3.4 in mid to late May. Within a few days of applying this upgrade, I noticed that I was not able to connect to the machine via ssh from an external system. On the other hand, my ability to create a secure outbound socket from that machine transpired without issue.

At first, I thought that the idiots with the University's IR department had closed the holes in the firewall that allowed port 22 access to this machine. I logged a call for them to check and, two days later, received notice that the exceptions for that MAC were still applied. Thus began additional research on my part.

Suffice it to say that, after several days and many hours of research during my free time, I discovered that I had made a slight mistake when restoring the security sub-system components back in February. For the most part, I had replaced the components of the damaged installation with exact copies of the originals. By exact I mean that I used the attribute preservation switch when copying the files back to their original locations. There was one exception to the latter.

Following the original restore, I discovered that, while the system would boot, the secure shell daemon would return versioning errors when loaded into RAM. A little more digging revealed that in addition to the copy of the ssh daemon located in the /usr/sbin directory, there was also a copy in /etc/pam.d . At the time, I had simply copied the file from sbin to pam.d — without the added step of preserving the attributes and, thus, changing the creation date from the original September 2003 to February 2004.

This discrepancy appeared to make no difference, initially. For during February, March, April and most of May I had no problem with secure shell connections to that system from external machines. The upgrade to 10.3.4 obviously implemented a stricter evaluation of attributes of the various components. Once I discovered the error, I replaced the copy of the daemon bearing the incorrect creation date with a copy preserving the September 2003 date and the expecteed functionality was restored.


continue to the May 2004 archive

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last BBEdited: 2004.06.30