Books

Wow, it’s been over two years since I posted anything in this category. No, I didn’t forget how to read or stop, I just got lazy and stopped updating my blog. Here’s where I stand right now:

Currently reading the collection of 56 short stories of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, The Doctrine and Covenants (in Section 84 right now – see my previous posts about LDS scripture), and I am about to start Dan Brown’s “The Lost Symbol” today.

The Sherlock Holmes stories are an interesting read – they are 56 stories combined into one collection. Some stories reference previous stories, but each story can stand on its own. I’ve been reading these stories for quite a while. I can’t tell you how far into the “book” I am, because I’m reading the stories on a Kindle, which I really enjoy. I am also reading the Doctrine and Covenants on the Kindle. The Dan Brown is a real, traditional paper and binding book. That may feel weird. 🙂

One interesting and cool feature of the Kindle is that it has a built-in dictionary. If I don’t know a word, I just move the cursor to the word and the definition shows up at the bottom of the page. Sherlock Holmes uses a lot of 19th century words and describes modes of transportation that are no longer in use, so I can just move my cursor and get an idea of what he’s talking about.

Oh, yeah, it’s worth noting that I am in the process of building an online bookstore. It’s open for business, but only has about 40-some books listed for sale. If you wanna check it out, it’s at www.booksbygeorge.com – I’m hoping to be adding books to the inventory on a weekly basis. If you check it out, let me know what you think.

Another Solaris item learned

After spending many hours, literally, in trying to figure out why a cron job wasn’t running, I finally stumbled upon the answer. Since this blog is more often than not used as my memory stick (the ram in my brain is beginning to fail), I thought I’d explain the issue and the solution I found.

We recently upgraded a server from Solaris 8 to Solaris 10 using LiveUpgrade. Not a bad way to do things, if you ask me. Once the server was brought up in Solaris 10, one of my users’ crontabs stopped working. In this case, it wasn’t critical, but it was a real pain to catch up what the cron missed (after being gone from the office for 2 weeks.) I tried all kinds of things (except the ones that put me on the path to recovery) including adding test entries to the crontab and seeing if they’d run. They didn’t.

Off to Google I ran. I discovered that our servers are logging cron runs (the log files reside at /var/cron/log), and I hadn’t thought of looking at them until about 15 minutes before the epiphany. I went to set up the servers to log cron runs, because most servers are installed without cron logging. I discovered it was turned on. So, I checked the logs, and found that I was getting the error

! bad user (username) Wed Jul 21 13:38:00 2010

The user is valid, so back to Google. The first answer I found said that you probably have a problem with the user in /etc/passwd or /etc/shadow. The user was in both files, but had been locked using “passwd -l username” – This did not cause any issues in Solaris 8, but once we turned up Solaris 10, the cron jobs ceased running.

The bottom line that I found with this problem is that in Solaris 10, the new security will not allow a user with a locked account to run cron jobs. I assigned a regular password to the user and life is grand once again.

Check it out…

I have just opened an online bookstore, selling primarily used books at cheap prices.  Typical paperbacks in very good condition are selling for about $5 which includes shipping, and hardcovers are selling for about $14, including shipping.  I’m still entering my inventory into the system, so the store catalog will be steadily increasing.  Stop by and browse the store if you’re interested in seeing what’s in my catalog.  The website is http://www.usedbooksbygeorge.com

Something that really annoys the crap out of me!

I have a lot of domain names.  One of them was created for e-mail purposes only.  I also have a couple of domain names for businesses and a podcast.  So here’s what annoys the crap out of me.

Today, I went to a web page of a company that I was investigating.  Their website was www.xyz.com (that’s not really the website, obviously), and xyz was the same name as their company.  On the front page of their website, there’s a graphic that says “Have a question?  Send us an e-mail.  xyz@msn.com.”  Seriously????? If a company is real, they buy a domain name, and build a website, why in the world would they send their business communications through something like msn?  Wouldn’t they have more credibility if their page said “Have a question?  Send us an e-mail.  info@xyz.com”

My skin crawls when I get business cards from “professionals” (business owners, realtors, lenders, etc) with their own website and an e-mail like “ilikecats@aol.com”  (I just made that up.  Don’t send an e-mail to that address.)  Personally, I avoid doing business with someone like that.  They haven’t taken the time or paid the money to figure out how to send e-mail through their domain name.  They could forward their e-mail from “me@mycompany.com” to “ilikecats@aol.com” if they really wanted to.  But, would you look at a house if the realtor e-mailed you from an aol address like that?  I’d find a new realtor!  If someone doesn’t know how to do that, how in the world did they get their web page set up?  They should hire a good webmaster.  If their webmaster doesn’t know how to do that, they need a new webmaster.