Saturday, May 26, 2007

Crew cases, part one

One of my summertime projects is to modify two computer cases to bear a likeness to the Columbus Crew soccer team's home and away jerseys. I already had the black case and components so there wasn't much effort involved there. The yellow case, however, needs to be painted; transforming it from beige to yellow.

Safety first, always paint in a well-ventilated area with proper protection.

The beige case has already been wet-sanded with 600 grit sandpaper and had it's primer coat.

Here is the case after the first coat of yellow.

I've already done part of the black case. To the left of it is the guts of the yellow case.

What's left to do? I need to create a mask or stencil so I can spray paint "Columbus Crew" in Copperplate font on one of the removable drive panels. I need to find two Crew logo stickers, about an inch high, to put above that. On the other side of the logo I'd like to do the Lamar Hunt (LH) patch. I'd also like MLS logo stickers for the bottom.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Oracle instant client, Ubuntu, and ORA-12154

I've been pulling my f'ing hair out for a couple hours trying to figure out why I couldn't connect to our Oracle databases from an installation of Oracle's instant client for Linux on Ubuntu 7.04 (although this should apply to other installations). No matter what environment variables I set or where I placed tnsnames.ora I would always get a ORA-12154 could not resolve service name error. Here was the problem (thanks to Rajesh Jayaprakash's Linux tricks and how to's): the tnsnames.ora and the sqlnet.ora files were created on Windows and had the extra carriage returns in them. Removing the carriage returns solved the problem.

How f'ing stupid. For those that want quick installation instructions assuming you have the installation files on the root of a mounted CDROM:

sudo -s
mkdir /opt/oracle
cd /opt/oracle
unzip /media/cdrom/instanclient-basic- (etc.version.blah.blah)
unzip /media/cdrom/instanclient-sdk- (etc.version.blah.blah)
unzip /media/cdrom/instanclient-sqlplus- (etc.version.blah.blah) optional
ln -s instantclient_10_2 client
cd client
ln -s
ln -s
tr -d '\r' < /media/cdrom/tnsnames.ora > /etc/tnsnames.ora
tr -d '\r' < /media/cdrom/sqlnet.ora > /etc/sqlnet.ora

To use SQLplus from a shell you need to add the ORACLE_HOME=/opt/oracle variable and add /opt/oracle/client to variable LD_LIBRARY_PATH to the /etc/bash.bashrc (for example).

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

eBay, spoofs and spam

For the first time in probably over five years I decided to make some purchases off of eBay. I am in the process of building my "Fortress of Nerditude" in the basement and wanted a small wide screen LCD to serve as secondary PC display, TV, DVD screen, etc. A while ago I was looking at Dell LCD displays and since Dell no longer sells them I found some reasonably priced on eBay. So I make a bid for one but I'm outbid. Then came the flood of spoof mail and SPAM. On that single item alone I have received 17 (and counting) bogus mail messages from people claiming to the be the "seller" offering a second chance to buy the item or mail addresses to use to buy the product directly from them. This was the first time I had encountered this phenomenon but it infuriated me. Most were designed to look like authentic messages from eBay and all seem to be generated by the same program (all contain similar spelling errors). Some attempts were pathetic, in broken English. What is sad about all this is this was only one bid from a user ID that has never bid on anything else. What kind of message is eBay sending by allowing people who use the eBay system to send this crap? (I read they were changing the bidding system to hopefully eliminate this). I have a thick skin and a little tolerance for this crap but how could I recommend the eBay experience to family if getting assaulted by spoofs and spam is the result?

It's been a long time

How does that Boston song go? Oh well. It has been a long time since I've used the therapeutic power of writing to help me through life. It's not like my life has been boring and uneventful. Last month my girlfriend of almost four years (close to six if you count online and times I drove up to see her) left me to return home. She filled up a 24 foot moving truck, a couple cars and a van with stuff and headed north with her son and dog. After one weekend of feeling miserable I reversed my attitude and was determined to stay positive through the whole situation. I started looking for people and started contacting friends that I had either lost track of or simply just didn't talk to much. My search found someone who is now moved in with me and renting one of the bedrooms of my house. I have started the sizable cleanup effort inside the house and have a couple of the rooms ready to repaint. I have plans for my deck off to the homeowners association and hope to start real work on that soon.