Fullmetal Alchemist

Today, I finished watching the last few episodes of Fullmetal Alchemist that were on my TiVo. I’ve been working my way through the 51 episodes of the series on and off through most of this year. It was, apparently, a hugely popular series in Japan. It’s definitely worth watching, if you’ve got the time to sit through all 51 episodes. It’s got a lot of light moments, but also a lot of heavy ones. It’s got complex characters and complex themes. The ending is satisfying, but it doesn’t tie things up in a neat bow; it leaves you with a lot to think about.


I just spent some time going through my Amazon.com wish list, looking for CDs that I’ve had on there for awhile, and that might be available on eMusic or through iTunes. I was surprised to find a couple of oddball items on eMusic. “Fishing With John” by John Lurie, the soundtrack to his odd TV show on IFC, is available on eMusic and iTunes. It’s $17 on Amazon, and the usual $10 on iTunes. Through eMusic, it would cost about $5.75, since there are 23 tracks, and I pay (generally) a quarter a track. So, a pretty good deal.
“Angles Without Edges,” by Yesterday’s New Quintet, is also $17 on Amazon. It’s got 19 tracks, so it’s about $4.75 at eMusic. I have to remember to keep checking eMusic before I buy something at Amazon or iTunes!
Alas, The Brak Album doesn’t seem to be available on either eMusic or iTunes, so that’ll stay on the Amazon wish list for now.

Windows Vista

Newegg has a nice page on Windows Vista. I haven’t decided yet if I’m going to upgrade my home desktop PC to Vista or not. I think it meets the required specs, but I’m not sure how well it’ll work. If I can manage to supress my natural upgrading urge for a few months, that would probably be best. By April, there will probably be some decent new video cards that are definitely Vista compatible, and maybe they’ll even have stable drivers by then. I have a pretty decent AMD processor in my machine, but it’s not dual core, so that might be a problem. I really don’t want to go out and buy a new motherboard and processor any time soon. And I really don’t want to buy a completely new machine either.


For some reason, installing my new keyboard today got me started looking at certain things on my PC and applying some upgrades. First, I upgraded the drivers for my video card, since I discovered that I’d been getting some weird messages in the event log related to my video card. Then, I remembered that I hadn’t gotten around to installing SP1 for Visual Studio 2005, so I went ahead and did that too. Both of those things are pretty big installs, so that killed about four hours, between downloading and installing. Maybe I should consider doing a year-end backup tomorrow, too.


I’m typing this on a new Microsoft Natural Ergonomic Keyboard 4000. I like split keyboards, and this is a pretty good one, though the keys are spaced a little differently from the way they were arranged on my old keyboard. It’s got a bunch of extra keys on it for launching applications, zooming in and out, and going back and forward in your web browser. It also comes with an attachment that gives the keyboard a reverse slope. I tried that out, but couldn’t get used to it, so I took it off. Apparently, the reverse slope is better for you, and I can see the point there, since it would allow you to avoid bending your wrists at all.
This is a USB keyboard; my old one was a PS/2 keyboard. I was actually using all my USB ports, so I had to pull my Zip drive to free up a port. Now, I have to decide if I want to buy another USB hub so I can plug the Zip drive back in, or if I just want to mothball the Zip drive.

Delicious Library

I’ve been entering my audio CDs into Delicious Library. I’ve entered about 200 so far; probably another 200 to go. I just found one good reason why it’s worth my time to do this. I bought a (used) copy of “Are You OK?” by Was (Not Was) from Amazon a couple of weeks ago. I was quite sure that I only had that album on vinyl and not CD. Well, now I have two copies on CD, since I just found my original CD while I was entering stuff into Delicious. As a side note, the main reason I bought the new copy was due to a strange desire to listen to “I Feel Better Than James Brown”. Now, I’m feeling a little conflicted about that.

SELinux, Fedora, and ASSP

I’m setting up a new Linux server at work to run ASSP, a spam-filtering SMTP proxy. This’ll be my third ASSP server. On the first, I used Fedora 1 (or maybe 2). On the second, the one that’s currently live, I’m using Fedora 4. The new server will be running Fedora Core 6. The reason I keep building new servers for ASSP is largely that I don’t have any budget to go out and actually buy a server for this, so I just keep recycling old workstations into servers, and, eventually, they fall apart. Or our mail volume increases to the point where the old server can’t handle it. Either way, it forces me to keep somewhat up-to-date with Linux.

The new wrinkle in Fedora 6 is SELinux. I hit one SELinux-related snag today that got me browsing around a bit for SELinux info. I stumbled upon Dan Walsh’s LiveJournal page, which turns out to be pretty helpful.

I’m wondering if I should keep using Fedora for this. On the one hand, it’s free and I’m pretty familiar with the basics of the distribution, since a lot of stuff in there goes back to the old Red Hat distributions, which I’ve been using on and off since, I think, Red Hat 5.2, in 1998. On the other hand, it’s not terribly stable. It’s on something like a six-month release cycle, and the legacy support for old releases is a bit questionable at this point. See “Why Fedora Matters” for some thoughts on the subject.

Something like CentOS might be better for a production server like this. It’s based off RHEL, and as such, ought to be a lot more stable that Fedora. I did download CentOS 4.4, and tried to get it working in a virtual machine to try it out, but I had some problems, and just gave up for now.

ASSP, by the way, is a wonderful spam-filtering solution that doesn’t seem to get nearly enough recognition. I’ve followed it through a few releases, and watched as it has changed hands from one developer to another. It’s a pretty good example of an open source project that works well. The original developer stopped working on it a while ago, but other folks have picked it up and added stuff to it where it’s been needed. At this point, it’s a fairly stable, and very configurable, spam filter, probably comparable with serious commercial software.

new Peerflix system

Peerflix has pretty much completely relaunched their service, effective today. I haven’t really used Peerflix in the last month or two. I’ve had no DVDs to send out, and I was at zero Peerbux, so nothing was coming in. The new system assigns a dollar value to each DVD instead of using the old Peerbux system. I’m not sure that I like the new site. I think they need to fix some stuff before it’ll be as useful as the old site. I’m also not sure if I like the new dollar-value system. I guess I’ll leave a few oddball DVDs listed in Peerflix and, if they get requested, I’ll send them out. We’ll see how it works.