Wednesday 30th March 2005
State of my blog and referrer Fun
I was just going through my web server logs for http://sajjadzaidi.com and was delighted to see that instead of reducing due to my infrequent blogging, hits to my blog are increasing at roughly 10-15% per month. Average number of hits per day for last month were just over 600.
Some interesting Google searches that I found in the referrer logs
(sorry, had to leave out the really bizarre/interesting ones for obvious
advantages of working late in the office after office timings
Cafe Grind Islamabad
Funny Text messages
japan pakistan blog
my id of yahoo is hacked what should now i do
python generate easy password
python blog software
rat poison window manager
sublime backyard fighting
Saturday 26th March 2005
My trusty Thinkpad and Mrxvt
I've started using my laptop again after letting it rest for a few months. My sitting area was starting to become a marketplace where different departments kept bothering me with trivial stuff and the high noise levels were driving me crazy. I had to seek a quieter place to work where I could retreat to when working on critical stuff (which it is most of the time these days). Good thing there was a WiFi access point lying around that allowed me to find a corner for this.
Now I've had my tiny, yet durable IBM Thinkpad for over four years and Celeron 400MHz with 128MB RAM just doesn't cut it anymore, but it's good enough for most of my work. I usually just need to login to a dozen or so systems (where most of my actual work is done) and maybe keep a browser and instant messenger open.
The machinery in question had a very basic Slackware Linux 10 installation with a minimal desktop (fluxbox) and I was using the lightweight rxvt as my terminal. After upgrading to Slackware 10.1 and changing the window manager to IceWM, I realised that maintaining even a few open rxvts becomes a tedious task and I just had to have tab support.
Since Gnome Terminal requires Gnome libraries and all the extra bloat that's part of the Gnome package, I tried searching for a lighter, simpler solution. Lo and behold, a little gem called Mrxvt popped up:http://materm.sourceforge.net/
It functions in almost the same way as Gnome Terminal (Alt + <number> to quickly change tabs etc.), but didn't require any additional packages on my system. Plus, it seems pretty light. I'm also thinking of using it on my higher-spec desktops.
Another thing. Firefox 1.0.1 seems to have some memory leak issues which causes the system to run out of available RAM after letting it run for a while. They have released version 1.0.2 and I'm getting it now. Let's see if it fixes this.
Friday 25th March 2005
Nascon Gaming Tournament
Last Saturday, FAST University held Nascon again. It was even bigger, better and more poorly organized than the last one. I was at the last one representing iinix while this time around, I was there on behalf of Dancom Online Services, which was the sponsor of the gaming tournament.
Though nothing on the scale of the Linux Worlds, PC Worlds and gaming shows I've seen in England and Japan, I thought overall it went pretty well. They couldn't have done the scheduling in a worse way and in the end, we decided not to make our presentation at all because of all the delays and last minute changes, but the final look and feel was somewhat grand.
The highlight (at least for me) was the gaming tournament, which included Quake III and Warcraft III. I'd been out of touch with gaming for a while due to time constraints and it was only recently that I got some interesting projects where gaming was involved.
Warcraft III is one of my favorite games of all time. Until now, I had been playing against the computer at easy difficulty levels without realising what I had to do to get better at it. Thanks to Nadeem and watching a few professionals play, I have a better idea of what to do and seem to be slowly improving. Quake III will take a little longer to get good at.
Back to Nascon. The tournament was still on when I left at around 10pm, but by then, things seemed much more relaxed. People looked like they were having fun and it was a good chance to do some networking as well as catch up on old friends. Hope it's better organized next year.
Tuesday 15th March 2005
SPF Records for domains
Phew, I've been a really busy bee for the last few weeks and haven't even had time to blog. One of the things I finally managed to study and implement during this time are SPF records (Sender Policy Framework).
SPF records are used to verify if an email was sent from where it claims to originate. Since most spam and viruses try to fake this information, SPF can help fight these menaces. Gmail and Hotmail have already started checking for these, though no action is taken against messages with invalid or non-existent records (at least not for Gmail. I didn't test Hotmail).
More details at these links:http://www.zytrax.com/books/dns/ch9/spf.html http://spf.pobox.com/howworks.html
It looked like something that might require a lot of work, but it turned out that all I needed were a few entries in the domains' zone files. At least it's that simple if you're the sender of an email message and have some level of control over your domain's DNS. I have yet to see how I can use SPF to control incoming spam and viruses. It also might be as simple as adding an ACL in Exim's conf file, but it's a job for another day.