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August 2006 Archives

August 11, 2006

Fedora Core 5: 8/10 points

I just did an upgrade of my laptop (a Thinkpad T43) from Fedora Core 4 to Fedora Core 5, using the yum package manager. Instructions here.

This has been the most hassle-free upgrade since Debian. Points to consider:

  • Remove the jpackage repositories, if you were using them. The relevant packages seem to have become part of Fedora.
  • You can upgrade Fedora Core (core) and packages from the Livna repositories in one pass.
  • Yes, it does take a bit too much time.

In terms of after-upgrade pain, in typical RedHat fashion, suspend/resume is broken with the latest kernels, so I'm running on the same old Fedora Core 4 kernel that I've been using in a while. Overall, FC5 feels snappier than FC4; it seems like some major memory hogs might have been removed. NetworkManager now supports Wireless Protected Access (and the necessary infrastructure is installed by default); that's a very welcome addition, and I've reconfigured my access point.

My favorite text editor (jed) is included in a version that deals with utf-8, so I've finally switched to a native utf-8 environment for all I do. This particular update required a one-line change to a custom SLang script that I use for editing e-mail, but that's not to blame on the distribution. Overall, the switch from iso-8859-15 to utf-8 was limited to putting a different system default locale into /etc/sysconfig/i18n, and removing some iso-latin specific stuff from my .jedrc and my .Xresources.

Overall rating: 8/10 points; I don't get why Redhat isn't able to consistently support suspend/resume on one of the more common laptop platforms around.

August 19, 2006

On the search for a usable RSS reader

I've been looking for a decent RSS reader for a long time, without success. Most of the time, I'm using Sage, a firefox extension, but I'm not really happy: I'd like to read blogs as quickly as possible, scan through them without much hassle, and I certainly don't want to be bothered by feeds that have no news. Just give me the bare essentials.

I guess what I'm ultimately looking for is an RSS reader that -- finally -- gets me back to the user experience that I would get with the good old nn(1) news reader. Amazingly, Google Reader gets closest so far.

August 20, 2006

Profiling at airports: What the Wall Street Journal doesn't get.

The Wall Street Journal thinks it would be a good idea to focus screening resources at airports based on racial or ethnic profiling.

What this means is that -- for the same level of overall screening resources available -- the out-of-profile group gets less screening. I.e., game the profile, and you'e more likely to get something actually dangerous on board. And no, profiles can't be kept secret -- just as frequent flyers learn the profiles applied at their favorite airports, terrorists learn about them. Nothing of this is new; the Carnival Booth paper nicely describes an algorithm for finding the most likely successful attackers given the presence of a profiling system. Racial and ethnic profiling is likely to increase the chances that attackers successfully bomb planes. It's bad for security.

But of course, rational arguments don't count when hysteria is the order of the day.

About August 2006

This page contains all entries posted to No Such Weblog in August 2006. They are listed from oldest to newest.

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