If you are looking for the epic motorcycle journey blog that I've written, please see the Miles By Motorcycle site I put together. 
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  • Last of NTP patents tentatively thrown out
    02/02/2006 11:44AM
    As reported by slashdot:

    Reuters reports that the fifth NTP patent has been rejected. What does it say about the US Patent office and software patents that these patents have made it through trials, appeals, etc and only now has the Patent Office decided they weren't any good in the first place?" From the article: "The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has sided with BlackBerry portable e-mail device maker Research in Motion Ltd. by issuing a non-final rejection of a fifth patent at the center of its legal battle with patent holding company NTP Inc. The decision means the patent agency has now issued non-final rejections of all five patents at issue in a BlackBerry patent-infringement case before a federal judge."

    The full article can be read here.
  • It's not that I'm a pessimist, really - global warming more serious than thought
    01/30/2006 12:42PM
    From slashdot:

    A UK govt report says that greenhouse gases may have more serious impacts that previously thought. Greenhouse gases it says, is causing global warming at a rate that is unsustainable. From BBC: The European Union has adopted a target of preventing a rise in global average temperature of more than two Celsius. That, according to the report, might be too high, with two degrees being enough to trigger melting of the Greenland ice sheet.... A rise of two Celsius, researchers conclude, will be enough to cause: * Decreasing crop yields in the developing and developed world * Tripling of poor harvests in Europe and Russia * Large-scale displacement of people in north Africa from desertification * Up to 2.8bn people at risk of water shortage * 97% loss of coral reefs * Total loss of summer Arctic sea ice causing extinction of the polar bear and the walrus * Spread of malaria in Africa and north America"

    You can read the full article at slashdot.
  • Patently Absurd
    01/29/2006 4:45PM
    As reported by Slashdot:

    "The Globe and Mail has published an article titled Patently Absurd, detailing the whole history of the RIM vs. NTP wireless war. It is a blow by blow account of how a dispute that could have been settled for a few million dollars is now 'a billion-dollar dagger hanging over RIM.' The article reads like a fairy-tale of egos, legal blunders, and patent stupidity."

    It's an interesting article but misses the point entirely that the patents in question should never have been granted nor does it really clarify how the entire patent system in the USA is fundamentally broken. 

    You can read the full article here.

  • South River and Catfish skin cancer
    01/25/2006 9:57PM
    A very disturbing article from the Washington Post:

    "Catfish from Maryland's South River have a skin cancer rate as high as any found in the nation and the second-highest liver cancer rate in the Chesapeake Bay watershed, and both are probably caused by polluted runoff, a study released yesterday says."

    You can read the full article here.
  • When you need to move IP addresses - rinetd.
    01/19/2006 11:51PM
    If you ever have the situation where you are transitioning from one block of IP addresses to another because you are changing ISP's and you want to keep all of your services up and running while your domain name changes propagate check out:

    rinetd - http://www.boutell.com/rinetd/

    I tried for hours to see if I could get iptables to work but in the end the learning curve proved prohibitive for an single evening's investigation.

    However, rinetd does exactly what's needed. You set up a box and bind your old IP addresses to it. You move your servers to the new IP addresses. Then you set up /etc/rinetd.conf to list out addresses and port mappings. It's the only port forwarder that I've been able to find that handles forwarding of separate IP addresses to different hosts from a single machine.  If I hadn't found this I was going to break down and write it.

    The config file looks like

    a.a.a.a XX b.b.b.b YY

    where a.a.a.a. is the old IP address bound to your forwarding box, XX is the port, b.b.b.b is the destination server and YY is the port you want it forwarded to. It took seconds to set up and seems to work like a champ in light testing.

    We'll find out how well it works in production as this server (and many others) are going to have all their existing traffic moved through it.