Lord Yupa

Political Newstainment

Okay, maybe I'm missing something, but why is Sarah Palin such big news? A couple of coworkers were talking about her earlier, and one of them was talking about how impressed she was with Palin. I asked her why, and what it was that she'd done that was impressive, and my coworker gave me a surprised look like she couldn't believe I'd asked her. Two minutes later, she gave up in her attempt to explain what impressed her and admitted that there really wasn't anything specific she could put her finger on.

I can't help but see Sarah Palin as the political equivalent of Paris Hilton. She's suddenly a huge celebrity, but for no real reason. It's not talent, nor accomplishment that has landed her a place as a celebrity. . . What's the appeal that I'm missing?

[Note: For anyone who's wondering if my observation comes from party bias, I'm registered as a Libertarian, so I try to hate both primary political parties evenly. I just don't understand why the news is wasting so much time on someone who's said little, and done less.]
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Lord Yupa

ClassicCloseouts.com Fraudulent Charges: Update

An update to the fraudulent credit card charges I received from classiccloseouts.com. . .

Since I still haven't gotten any response at all from classiccloseouts.com, and they've now passed the deadline I set for them, I submitted a dispute for the charge with my credit card company (Discover Card) as a fraudulent charge.

I'm going to follow-up and file reports with IC3.gov, the FTC, the BBB, etc., now. I've seen postings all over about this going on for at least a couple of months now, and these guys need to be held liable (criminally) for this fraudulent behavior.
Lord Yupa

ClassicCloseouts.com Fraudulent Charges

So, back almost a year ago (October of '07), I purchased a couple of shirts from classiccloseouts.com. The shirts weren't quite as good quality as I'd hoped, but they weren't bad, and they were inexpensive. All in all, I wasn't dissatisfied with the purchase.

Until today. When checking my credit card statement, I discovered that on 6/23/08, classiccloseouts.com fraudulently charged my account for $69.99. No order was placed, nothing was received, no e-mail or receipt was received, I haven't even visited the site since my order last year.

While googling to try to find out what happened, I discovered that this isn't an isolated incident. Google for classic closeouts fraud will get you a ton of hits from people making the same complaint, usually for the exact same amount of money.

I sent their customer service an e-mail with a specific required timeline for them to credit back the charge on my card. If they don't meet it, I'll be disputing the charge with my credit card company (Discover Card), and filing complaints with Better Business Bureau and TRUSTe (TRUSTe has their seal on classiccloseouts.com's website). I may also file a complaint with my state Attorney General and the FTC for Online Shopping Fraud.

So, if you haven't ordered from these thieving bastards, I would strongly recommend that you don't. If you have, check your credit card statements carefully.
Lord Yupa

Product Placement done wrong.

Wow.  Product placement advertising has really gone to a new (bad) level these days.

I was just watching the season finale of My Name is Earl and at two different points in the show did they feature a Klondike Ice Cream bar.  The first time it was the central feature of a series of scenes, while the second time was briefer.  However, in both scenes the Klondike tagline was repeated at least once.  And in both cases, immediately following that show segment, there was an actual Klondike commercial.

Now, to be honest, I don't mind much if there are products or advertisements featured in a show.  It's not that big of a deal. . . provided it's unobtrusive.  Have a character drinking a Pepsi, or eating lunch at a McDonalds, or whatever.  Not a big deal.  But having a scene in the show that is specifically written around a placed product, and then followed with product commercials?  It just feels sleazy and dirty.  Like the whole show is one big commercial.

Note for advertisers and script writers. . . keep it subtle.  When you stuff annoying and blatant advertisements into regular programming, it's annoying.  As it is, this was enough to turn me off of My Name is Earl some.  I'm not saying I'm going to boycott it, but I don't think I'll worry as much about whether I catch it or not in the future.  And if I see something like this again, I probably will stop watching it.
Lord Yupa

LDAP + sudo == sysadmin happiness

Using the latest release of sudo, I was finally able to get sudo working with LDAP enabled on RHEL/CentOS 4. Previously, I had no trouble getting sudo working with LDAP on RHEL3 and RHEL5. However, when I added '--with-ldap' to the compile options on RHEL4, it completely broke sudo, preventing it from authenticating anything.

This is a huge win for us at work, because it makes handling sudo configurations significantly easier. Normally, you have to store the configuration in /etc/sudoers on every single box. With this, you can store your sudo configuration in LDAP, and have all of the sudo rules in a single centralized location. Update it once, and all configured machines will then pull it.

I've become a big fan of LDAP, and with sudo supporting it, I think that anyone using LDAP and not storing sudo information in LDAP is crazy.
Frog Wizard

No, I'm not okay. And screw your damn cat.

A few things that have seriously pissed me off over the past two weeks. . .
"Are you doing okay?"
Okay? Seriously? No, I'm not okay. Less than two weeks ago I went through the single worst day of my life. Last week was basically the worst week of my life. Am I okay? I'm a hell of a long way from being okay. My brother died. That's a rather permanent condition. It's not something I'm going to get over or feel better about quickly.

The fact that you're actually asking me if I'm okay suggests to me that you have no idea what I'm going through, and you're probably an idiot, too. I'm hoping that someday I'll feel okay again, but don't expect it this month. Or next. In fact, the next six months aren't looking real good from my perspective. Maybe sometime next year. I hope. I'm not real optimistic about it, though. Perhaps 2010 will be the year that I start to feel okay.
"I know how you feel, my cat died[1] a few years ago. . ."
[1] (Insert other random dead pet, ended relationship, or bad event you went through)
Everyone who's said this to me is so lucky I didn't tear their arms off and beat them to death with their own arms. I've held my tongue so far, but I don't think I can manage it anymore. I've had pets that I loved, and I've had them die. I loved my cat Snickerdoodle, and I loved my dog Lady. It hit me really hard for each of them when they died, and it still saddens me to think about them.

But you know what? It isn't the same thing. It's not even close. Take what you felt for your dead cat, and multiply it by a thousand, then you'll start approaching the loss of a brother. So don't be offended when you mention your damn cat, and I hit you upside the head and walk away saying "Piss off. . . fuck your damn cat." Unless you've lost a sibling or a child, don't make a comparison with your situation to mine. It's just going to piss me off.
"I don't really know you, we're not really friends, and we don't really talk, but what happened to him? How did he die? You know, they say if you talk about it you'll feel better."
Who's "they"? And what hell do they know about my mental health? The story of what happened to my brother is not something you can tell in a few sentences. You need at least 10-15 minutes to go through it. And you know what? It kicks my ass each and every time I have to do it. Seriously, it sucks. I don't feel better after talking about it, I feel exhausted, sad, angry, and a hundred other things that are a long way from feeling "better". Unless you knew him personally, do not ask me this right now. Ask me sometime next year. Maybe.

And if you're someone that I don't have a friendship or other personal relationship with, why are you talking to me? If the sum of all of our conversations over the past month consisted of "Hey." and "What's up?" while walking past each other in the hall way, then you're not my friend, and I don't want to discuss my brother with you. Hell, under normal circumstances I don't really want to talk to you, so right now I'd rather throw you out of a window than have you stand there awkwardly trying to talk to me about someone you never met, and now never will. If you really feel you have to say something, then just say, "I'm sorry for your loss." And then walk away. Seriously, just walk away. If I want to talk to someone, I know how to find them.

[Note: This isn't directed towards my real friends, or anyone on LiveJournal. It's the result of some casual acquaintances and coworkers over the past two weeks that I'm tired of dealing with.]
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Lord Yupa

IMAP, coming to a GMail near you.

Google has announced that they're adding IMAP support to Gmail. This will include both the standard Gmail, and also mail from Google Apps for Domains.


I wonder if Yahoo mail and Hotmail will follow suit, now? It seems like they're always a little behind on Google on the mail features (such as with AJAXified interfaces and with huge amounts of mail storage).
Frog Wizard

Oracle + PostgreSQL + PHP == huge pain

This just boggles the mind. This should absolutely not be this difficult, complicated, or frustrating.

At work, I need a web server (RHEL4) with PHP installed, along with the support libraries for PostgreSQL and Oracle. With the stock RPMs for PHP, adding PostgreSQL support is a piece of cake, you just install the PostgresSQL client libraries and php-pgsql.

So then I go to add Oracle support. I download the Oracle instantclient libraries (we're not running a database on this box, just connecting to an existing one), and figure there's probably a php-oracle or php-oci8 RPM from Oracle to add the PHP glue, right? Wrong. All of the documentation from Oracle describes how to take your RHEL4 box, download Apache, from source, download PHP, from source, and then recompile both.

What the hell? I'm going to have to duplicate this on a dozen machines, and then maintain them. In this day and age of software management, why in the hell am I supposed to recompile major parts of the system from source? And for one little oci8.so? Is this a joke?

So then I find Zend Core, which advertises it's "Universal Database Support", and built-in Oracle module. Wow! Cool! That'll solve this. . . assuming I don't mind using an alternately supplied install of PHP that will no longer be supported with security fixes from my OS vendor, nor do I have any kind of upgrade roadmap for it. But at least I have Oracle and Postgres support, right? Well, erm, no. Actually, the "Universal Database Support" just means that it supports the big guys with money, like Oracle, IBM DB2, and SQL Server. Oh, and MySQL. Wait, what's the obvious exclusion? Where's PostgreSQL? And Zend Core is a binary install, so I can't recompile it to add PostgreSQL support, even if I wanted to?

I went through some crap like this back when I was trying to get Oracle support compiled for Perl a year or two ago, though I'd forgotten how annoying it is. It honestly makes me wonder how in the hell Oracle ever managed to convince anyone to develop against them. This is just asinine.

At this point, I'm really annoyed at Oracle for not offering a php-oci8 RPM from their freakin' "PHP for Oracle" portal page, and at Zend for making it really hard to add any additional extensions that they don't feel you need.