g_signal_connect_data instead of g_signal_connect_object, because GHashTable is not a GObject

I just blew two hours figuring out that a GLib GHashTable is not a descendent of GObject. Duh!

ZyXEL - ZyWALL USG 50 First Impressions

We just got one of these. It's a low-cost firewall. Some folks on forums have said that ZyXEL uses a proprietary OS, ZyNOS, and perhaps they do, but not on this device. The latest firmware download includes a spreadsheet with FOSS software listed, and it includes the Linux kernel and a bunch of popular networking software.

I haven't built Linux firewalls in a few years, so I'm out of touch. The firewall feels a little Linuxy, but there's a layer of configuration objects that helps to glue all the different services together.

Long Delay in Receiving Email from Gmail

A party trying to send me an email via gmail got this error:

From: Mail Delivery Subsystem 
Date: Sat, Aug 11, 2012 at 12:50 PM

Templating with DOM

DOMTemplate is a new templating system that doesn't use any markup.

Information Technology Workers: an IT Labor Union?

If you have reached this page through a search engine, and are interested in IT organizations, please check out Bright Future Jobs. Their URL is

This is a short list of links to groups that organize or try to organize programmer labor unions and other computer-based worker unions, as well as lobby organizations. This document is undergoing constant revision.

Page News
I just found out about CyberUnions a podcast and community about FOSS and labor.

PHP DOM to Implement a Form Class with Pure HTML Templates

So, I had this painful gout attack today and was mostly bedridden. It sucked. But I got some reading done, which was nice. My mind wandered and came up with this idea (and a headache).

Managing and Displaying External Links in WordPress

I've been having a helluva time figuring out how to manage and display a list of links in WordPress. The program has a links feature, but it's aimed at managing the list of links in the sidebar.

Roff, Groff, and the Roots of Computer Typesetting

Today we take it for granted that computers can set type, but from the 60s to the 80s, most computers used either teletypes or character-based screens. The Xerox Star and Apple Lisa and Apple Macs, and PostScript changed this, but before them, typesetting was done using weird command languages that would send pages to special typesetters. The most well known setup was troff, which lives on in groff and in Solaris. The troff system used a computer typesetter called a CAT, and it wasn't a bitmap laser printer. It has these fonts that were spools of film that were photographs of letters. The font sizes were created by projecting the image of the letter onto the page at different sizes. I believe the rest of the process was like a photocopier - the toner goes on, and then is transferred to the paper, and fused.

Distributing a Large IMC Website P2P

It's always a concern that an IMC can be taken offline. As the sites get larger, it's more of a challenge to keep it backed up and distributed. There's also the problem of software upgrades.

Does software get old and wear out?

This isn't addressed to anyone in particular, but it's a common question: does software get old and wear out. They ask because their computers have gotten slower, or features have stopped working.

An Idea for More Memorable Identicons

Identicons are those odd graphics you see next to peoples' names in comments.

Comparison Shopping for Toilet Paper, in multiple computer languages.

It's hard to concentrate when you're tired and cranky, so I wasted some time writing a simple calculator in several different languages.

Hauppage WinTV-1600 on Linux

I bought this several months back, and finally installed it on the Linux box. It works, sort of. ATSC (HDTV terrestrial broadcast) works fine. FM Radio does not. More info:

MS Outlook: Mass Email VBA Script

This is an outline I'm going to use to fix up a mass email script for Outlook that I'm working on. It was kinda elegant and explains how to do some cooperative multitasking with Visual Basic for Applications.

As you might imagine, there are a lot of mass email tools for Outlook. See Mass Mail Tools for Outlook, but this first version had some special needs (it was a huge list), and the second one I'd like to give to others, so a simplified, stripped down tool is best.

Heuristics are Nice : (working toward) Facebook-style Previews

I was thinking about how facebook updates parse out the url, then construct a nice looking preview. I think what it takes is scanning the textarea for a url, and then using ajax to tell the server to fetch a summary of the page at the url. get the data back, and insert it into a template, and reveal it.
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