Category / Comments on other blog entries

Firefox’s Stylish plugin rocks January 7, 2007 at 7:58 pm

[ Watching:

“Titus – Seasons 1 & 2” (Kevin Sullivan, Howard Murray, Michael Lessac, Robert Berlinger) ]

I read a lot of blogs, and I find that a lot of them seem to think it’s cool to use really narrow columns to display their text… I guess they want to appear like a newspaper or something. While it’s not a big deal reading text like that in a newspaper, I find it extremely annoying annoying when reading websites. This wouldn’t be a big deal if the site admins would set widths with percentages so that the text resizes with the window size, but too many of them use hard-coded pixel sizes instead. Here’s an example of a recent site I visited that was just way too damn narrow.


No matter how wide you make your browser, the text stays as it is. Make the fonts bigger and it gets worse… less and less words on each line.

So I found and installed the Stylish add-on and gave it a shot. Does exactly what I want. Only thing that sucks is you need to check the source of the page and set overrides for the css tags the site uses, but it works.

Here’s the same site with the overrides I did:


Much, much easier to read. The overrides I wrote look like:

@-moz-document domain( {
#outer-wrapper { width: 95% ! important; }
#main-wrapper { width: 80% ! important; }

Man I love Firefox and how extensible it is.

BTW, if you happen to recognize this as your site… take the advice, change your lame, narrow columns into something easier to read.

Truths for SysAdmins and Tips for users… December 20, 2005 at 5:55 pm

[ Music: The One I Love from the album “Life In Slow Motion” by David Gray ]

There are 2 good blog entries that were linked via Slashdot recently. Truths for SysAdmins and 8 End-User Troubleshooting Tips that have a lot of truth to them.

From the Sysadmin list…

#1.. yep, they lie. We all have stories, but my favorite is from a friend.. User needed keyboard to Sun workstation replaced. User swears up and down that s/he didn’t do anything, no spills of drinks, etc. Admin replaces keyboard and as he walks away with broken keyboard under arm, coffee runs down his arm. User had gone to the trouble of cleaning up all evidence of the spill, but hadn’t thought of the coffee in the keyboard itself.

Please.. just admit you spilled or broke something. We’re not going to fire you (and couldn’t even if we wanted to).

#8. This one can’t be stressed enough. You might fee superior, and where computers are concerned, you likely are, but don’t let that attitude creep into your voice. These people are likely going to have some sway in your future.. so be nice. Besides, keeping users working and happy is why we exist. As much as users can be a pain, without them, we don’t have a job.

#9… Yes, please take heed. We have a system that grew over time where I work that does all our unix system’s configuration management, and does it pretty damn well. We constantly have new vendors coming in hawking their wares for CM, that regularly leaving me feeling we’re better off with what we have. What’s worse is when a new vendor has some new whizzbang solution for doing installs all the way through CM, and the whole system is tied together. Well, they just hurt themselves as we don’t need to shell out more money for a system that often doesn’t appear to do as much as what our homegrown systems already do.

#10… Bah. Rebooting is NOT fixing a problem. Rebooting simply resets a system back to the original state, if there’s some kind of problem in hardware or in software that has to run, you’re just going to keep ending up right back at that problem state again and again. Now, the author can be somewhat excused since I gather from reading his site that he supports mostly windows hosts. Rebooting is considered a valid “fix” in that world.. but when you admin nothing but unix based OSes, you learn that a reboot is either a cop out for “I don’t know” or it’s just a time saver. The only times I reboot are when the host is non-responsive and I can’t do any troubleshooting… or, something like AFS or automounter on linux gets dorked. At that point , sure I could clear all user jobs and restart the whole subsystem, but it’s usually just quicker to reboot. Plus our auto-patching system can install any needed patches then.

We don’t reboot just because we see a problem though.

From the User tips…

#1… save as above. Especially when we’re talking unix boxes. At our company, we justified buying expensive workstations for engineers by using a job batch system to run jobs on the desktops when they’re idle. So if you rebooted your workstation, there was a good chance you killed someone else’s jobs too.

#3… Man is that true. Lost count of the number of times I’ve had people call in problems that were just loose cables.

#6.. Oh god yes. Not only would I say email if it’s not the end of the world, but if your company has support email lists you’re supposed to use.. use them!! Just because one admin helped you 3 months ago, doesn’t mean you’re now entitled to email that person directly from now on, expecting them to drop whatever it is they’re doing to help you. That goes double for calling… if your company has a help line, use it. I used to be so inundated with calls and emails directly from users that, no matter how many times I asked them nicely to use the help email/line, they kept coming directly to me that I had to start ignoring them. More then once I had people then email my boss, their boss, a VP, etc.. swearing that I was now responsible for their delays in their job. Of course, when my boss and theirs asked if they used the help address/line and if not, why… they suddenly retreated. Man, I love that.

THis ties directly into…
#8… Sending every request with a cc to tons of management is not going to make us work any harder for you. In fact, it’s apt to make us see exactly what you’re implying and cause us all to lose most interest in helping you.

This applied to oncall pages too. Don’t wake up the oncall admin because of something piddly like a printer is out of paper, or your job is running but it just doesn’t seem quite fast enough. We might counter being woken at 3am by insisting that we call (and wake up) your boss to verify that this really is important enough to warrant our time. 🙂

Anyway.. a couple of good articles at a new site I’ve stumbled upon.

You mean they don’t? October 13, 2005 at 4:37 pm

[ Music: Days Go By from the album “Lifehouse” by Lifehouse ]

This “idea” may be one of the most idiotic things I’ve read on the net in the last couple of days. Why? Well, a couple reasons..

1. They already teach physics in high school. Or at least they did when I was in high school (class of 1991). If they don’t anymore, well that’s just stupid. Of course, I went to a private school (thanks mom and dad) and it wouldn’t surprise me if public schools had allowed something as basic as physics to lapse.

2. The person wants to teach people Einstein’s theories without using any math.. WTF is this person smoking? Math is essential to truly understanding the theories. Of course, the idea person says this because so many people are reaching the 11th grade without decent math skills… but rather then fix that problem, s/he wants to just teach a dumbed-down physics lesson. That’s not the right solution.

Wow.. the public education system in the country has become a freaking joke.. and NO just pumping more money into the system is NOT the answer, thank you very much.

Update: BTW, I love that that whole “Since Sliced Bread” site is for ideas to help “working men and their families” (read the about page).. as though any non-blue collar people be damned.

Update 2 (a couple minutes later): Oh.. it’s a union sponsored site (SEIU).. so I guess I shouldn’t be surprised.

Thomas Sowell… required reading. May 24, 2004 at 9:14 pm

I love to read Sowell’s articles each week, as he often writes such gems. A two parter he wrote quite awhile ago is, in my opinion, required reading for anyone that’s going to talk about taxes and fairness of them. Those are Who’s Rich? and Who’s Rich? Pt 2. The crux of these articles is to try to get one to know the difference between wealth, and income. So many people rail on the “wealthy” and/or “rich” for not paying their fair share, but don’t seem to equate these people’s incomes and tax.

Just recently however, good ol’ Tom just wrote another great two parter about the media in the US and how they’re showing the prison abuses in Iraq nearly every second of the day, yet barely mention things like the beheading of an American, and definitely seem to avoid any good news no matter what it takes. These articles The Hyena Press and Pt. 2 make a point that should really put our “atrocities” in the prisons in comparison to the evil that was done in Iraq in the past. This paragraph alone is just beautiful:
The military hasn’t even delayed a court martial. In the civilian world, Scott Peterson was arrested before all this happened in Iraq and his trial still has not yet begun, while the court martial of the Iraqi soldiers will begin this month.

Think about that. Our military was already investigating what had happened, and was moving to punish those responsible. Yet here is a case that’s been all over the news (at least in California… and I went to the same High School as Scott Peterson too) and it’s yet to actually go to trial yet. Last I saw they were still working on choosing the jury.

Looks like our military is making sure that justice is done quickly to me. Funny the media doesn’t seem to point that out very much, other then to use it as a springboard to talk about the so-called “atrocities” again.

Please spend a few minutes each week and read the latest article from Sowell, at

Response on previous entry… January 30, 2004 at 3:15 pm

I started a short reply to a comment on the blog entry at Robert Scoble’s site I referred to in my last entry.. after it grew in length, I decided to cut and paste it here as well.

Re: Post by Adam Lasnik

– Aesthetics… my goodness, why is this so important? Maybe it’s a teen thing and I’m just
feeling like an old fogey now, but I couldn’t care less how my music player looks or how ‘cool’
it seems or how stylish it is. Does it play my music? Does it sound decent? Is it reasonably
easy to use? Great. Then it just comes down to cost, plus a few other issues like reliability
and so on.

You know, I used to think the exact same thing. I just couldn’t understand why Mac lovers were so loyal to Apple…


Yet again, MS doesn’t get it… January 29, 2004 at 2:28 pm

Here’s an interesting blog entry from MS’ own Robert Scoble, their “technical evangelist” for Longhorn (next version of windows). His whole argument seems to boil down to “Pick our proprietary music codec (with DRM lockin) over theirs.” Other then that, he really doesn’t give any decent reason to pick a WMA capable player over an iPod.

Oh, and his mention of the windows media center stuff on your TV… bah! Barely anyone has actually bought those, while Tivo’s ReplayTVs and even the linux free-software MythTV are being used by far more people everyday.

Me? I’m doing my best to ignore both DRM formats (bought 2 albums off iTunes store and already am somewhat disappointed as I can’t play on my home stereo via my audiotrons). I’ll stick to mp3, which is supported by EVERY digital music player, thank you.