Thursday Dec 25, 2008

A Great Gift for January 20, 2009

Today, time to blog about something fun.

Shortly after the recent elections, I came across a new book, Feisty First Ladies (and other unforgettable White House Women) by Autumn Stephens.

I love history, and this little volume puts a fun and somewhat irreverent spin on the wives, mistresses, mothers, and other women who have left their own imprint on our nation's history by virtue of their personalities - or lack thereof.

The book includes essays on:

  • All of the wives of all the presidents who have been married (can you name the one President who was never married?)
  • Women who served as the White House hostesses during periods in which the President was unmarried
  • Other women who influenced presidential politics in some interesting ways

Feisty First Ladies has a lot of fun information to share with your friends. For example:

  • In a letter to her sister, Martha Washington described being first lady as "being more like a state prisoner than anything else."
  • Rachel Jackson was simultaneously married to two men for a short period. Andrew Jackson's opponent, John Quincy Adams, smeared her during the election of 1828 as an adulteress, a bigamist, and an American Jezebel.
  • Mary Lincoln stopped in New York to order 16 fancy frocks - at the height of the Civil War. The unpopular wife of Honest Abe is quoted as saying "I intend to wear what I please."
  • It is rumored that Florence Harding, bent on saving her husband from the humiliation of the Teapot Dome scandal and other cabinet corruption, did Warren in. No autopsy was ever performed, and she torched as many of his presidential papers as she could get her hands on.
  • Nancy Reagan, aka "the iron butterfly" and "the Evita of Santa Barbara," is quoted as saying "I'd never wear a crown. It would mess up my hair."
  • After her $150,000+ post-nomination shopping spree, the Huffington Post described Sarah Palin as a "Neiman Marxist."
  • Michelle Obama was assigned as as advisor to summer associate Barack when he did his internship out of law school. She refused offer after offer of a date with him, finally relenting after a month to go out for dinner and a movie (for the record - Do The Right Thing by Spike Lee).

A great read in advance of the upcoming Obama inauguration. I noticed it's already available at Amazon.

Tuesday Dec 18, 2007

Access Manager Training January, 2008, and Beyond

I send out a monthly e-mail within Sun to let people know about the availability of classes on Access Manager. Michael suggested that I post some of the details to let people who follow this blog know what's out there and available.

Sun currently has one instructor-led training offering for Access Manager: course number AM-3480, Access Manager 7.1 Configuration and Customization. The class is a week long. There's a description of this training course here. The course is offered worldwide. Upcoming teaches in 2008 include:

  • January 14 - Heimstetten, Germany
  • January 14 - San Francisco, CA
  • January 21 - Tokyo (Chofu), Japan
  • January 28 - Seattle, WA
  • February 4 - Oslo, Norway
  • February 4 - Sacramento, CA
  • February 4 - Tampa, FL
  • February 4 - Edison, NJ
  • February 4 - Houston, TX
  • February 18 - Guillemont Park, UK
  • February 18 - Cary, NC
  • February 25 - Burlington, MA
  • March 3 - Brussels, Belgium
  • March 24 - Tokyo (Chofu), Japan
  • March 31 - Ratingen, Germany
  • May 19 - Guillemont Park, UK
  • May 19 - Nieuwegein, Netherlands
  • June 2 - Paris, France

Some things to be aware of with regard to these classes:
  • You can enroll by using the Sun website for the country in which the class in being held, or by calling Sun Training in that country.
  • If there aren't more than a couple or three students who want to attend any given class, the class might be canceled. (So, bring your friends to Access Manager training.)

Sunday Oct 07, 2007

Geekfest in San Francisco

My friends Rick, Brandon and I rode "Paradise Loop" yesterday. This is an outlandishly beautiful bike tour that takes you around the Tiburon Peninsula in Marin County, north of San Francisco. The David-modified version of this loop includes a detour to Larkspur before the final climb of the day up Camino Alto. The reason for the detour is a trip to Caffe Rulli, a place that makes you feel as though you've left California and entered Siena.

So we were enjoying our cappuccinos, cake, and gelato after our nice 27 mile ride, when Rick and Brandon started arguing whether I was really a geek.

Brandon: Well, he actually enjoys talking about virtualization.

Rick: Yeah, but he doesn't play video games.

David: Yeah, and I don't like Star Trek either, but I do like The Simpsons. Especially that episode where Brandine tells Custis, "You're the best husband and son I've ever had."

Brandon: He's too athletic to be a geek. He's this kind of weird combination of bike rider / techie.

David: Athletic? I was always the one picked last at sports.

Brandon and Rick, almost in unison: So was I...

Rick: Well, he's kind of geeky.

I brought that conversation home with me after the ride, because my desk looked like this:

There I was with my geek stuff all spread out, trying to figure out how to get my new laptop hard drive to have the same files on it as the old hard drive.

My favorite new toy is the Vantec SATA / IDE to USB 2.0 Adapter. Our group's lab services guy, Chris, had suggested it and sent me his as a loaner. This thing is pure genius. First you pull the old drive out of the laptop. Then you stick the new drive in and format it. I did this by doing a quick and dirty SuSE 10.2 installation. During installation, I partitioned the drive as I wanted (I wanted bigger /home and /vm partitions) but made sure to keep the size of the root partition the same size as the root partition on the old drive. I instinctively thought it would help - my inner geek was speaking to me loud and clear on that one.

The installation was simple and took about half an hour. Aren't modern Linux distros wonderful? Next, I cut a Fedora 7 rescue CD. If you've never used one of these things, it's worth knowing about. The rescue CD lets you boot from the CD, then mounts the root directory from your hard drive (if it can access it) under /mnt/sysimage so you can fix things like /etc/fstab or /boot/grub/menu.lst. Turns out this rescue CD is smart enough to know how to mount a USB device, too.

So I attached the old drive (which at this point was out of the laptop) to the Vantec adapter, stuck its USB cable in my laptop's USB port, and booted my system from the rescue CD. It worked like a champ - after boot up finished, I could see all the partitions on my new drive (which by this time I had installed in the laptop), and could mount partitions on the old drive.

Then it was time to move the data over to the new drive. I only have 3 partitions on the drive, and I got the data over using the following technique:

  • dd if=/dev/sdb2 of=/dev/sda2 to copy the root partition
  • mkdir /mountpoint to create a mount point
  • mount /dev/sdb6 /mountpoint to mount the /home directory from the old drive
  • cd /mountpoint
  • find . -xdev | cpio -padm /mnt/sysimage/home to copy all the files in /home from the old drive to the new drive
  • umount /mountpoint
  • mount /dev/sdb7 /mountpoint to mount the /vm directory from the old drive
  • find . -xdev | cpio -padm /mnt/sysimage/vm to copy all the files in /vm from the old drive to the new drive
  • Modified the /mnt/sysimage/etc/fstab and /mnt/sysimage/boot/grub/menu.lst files so that system would be able to boot and all the file systems would be mounted correctly
  • grub-install /dev/sda to write the boot loader to the new drive

I rebooted the laptop, this time from the hard drive, and it came up looking exactly like it did with the old drive, except with bigger /home and /vm partitions just as I wanted.

I did go down one wrong path, which was to copy the files in the root partition to the new drive with the find | cpio command instead of dd. After doing this, the system booted but none of the passwords worked so I couldn't log in as any user. I don't know why I had problems, perhaps there was some cruft left over from the quick and dirty SuSE 10.2 install caused problems. But when I switched dd to copy the root partition, the problem went away.

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