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Comments

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Middle-Click Paste? Not For Long

DeadTOm So what? (729 comments)

I guess I don't understand what the problem is here. There are numerous ways to do this yourself, using imwheelrc for example, but there are others. I don't see the big controversy.

about a year ago
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Homeless, Unemployed, and Surviving On Bitcoins

DeadTOm Re: Oh my god (403 comments)

Exactly.

about a year ago
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Homeless, Unemployed, and Surviving On Bitcoins

DeadTOm Re:Oh my god (403 comments)

This all goes back to our ridiculous and broken excuse for a health care system in the US. If we had proper, accessible mental health care, we'd have a lot less homeless people and also a better system of determining who is actually unable to work a steady job due to mental health issues, and who is just milking the system.

I work at a public library and we deal with homeless people every day, lots of them. To say that they are simply lazy is completely inaccurate. Sure, there are a few people that just don't want to work but they are in the very small, infinitesimal minority. Then there are the ones who simply fell on hard times, where I've been myself, and those ones never stay homeless for long (however, without what little social assistance they do receive, they would stay homeless a lot longer). The vast majority of homeless people are incapable of functioning in, and dealing with, normal society. Holding down a job is impossible for these people because they can't deal with any sort of schedule, structure or even the smallest amount of stress/pressure.

With proper mental health care, a great deal of those people could be medicated, counseled and otherwise treated to the point where they could become contributing members of society, and the ones that are too far gone for that, could be off the streets and getting proper care somewhere.

A great many problems in this country could be solved with properly accessible health care. However, due to our dog-eat-dog, every man for himself attitude, combined with the out of control corporate greed that maintains our economy, that will probably never happen.

about a year ago
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Homeless, Unemployed, and Surviving On Bitcoins

DeadTOm Re:Oh my god (403 comments)

...greedy, sociopathic, mendacious, morally hazardous world of perverse incentives that is the free market.

Good lord, I don't think I've ever heard a better description. :)

about a year ago
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City Councilman: Email Tax Could Discourage Spam, Fund Post Office Functions

DeadTOm Re:Haven't needed this in awhile... (439 comments)

There are so many things that make this whole idea impossible to implement, that I don't even know where to start. I guess I'll just go down your list:

1) What? I'm not even sure what you're saying here. Mailing lists are illegal? They're used by thousands of legitimate businesses, for legitimate purposes, all over the world, every day. That's not accounting for non-profits and things like LUGS and hobby groups. The idea that they're useless and/or illegal is completely ignorant, if that is in fact what you're getting at here. Like I said, I'm not really sure what you're saying with this.

2) How are we going to get this code into the email? A the server level? Who is going to write this code and how is it going to be implemented into the myriads of different mail server software for every platform and OS out there? What's to keep it from being spoofed, faked or removed from the header (I'm assuming that's where it would go) by malicious programs? What happens when a mail server gets infected and sends out hundreds of thousands of emails containing this "legal code"? This idea has way too many holes. It would never work.

3) Good for you. You are a user of a product that you clearly know very little about.

4) Power? Like it or not, and I definitely hate it, MS is the wealthiest and most influential software company in existence and this is the USA. That's all the power one needs. As far as MS having the right, again, this is the USA. The people with the money have all the rights. Period.

5) This seems to be more of a meaningless rant and you didn't finish it. I have no idea how to respond.

6) A display of your "email software" ignorance. See response to #2.

7) #6, and by the transitive property, #2, all over again. You clearly have no idea how mail servers or open relays work. If your "code rejection system" doesn't affect or apply to other countries, any business in the US could set up a mail server in another country, route all mail over a VPN to that server to be sent out and there ya go, completely bypassing your system and there would be no way for anyone to know or prove it without going on a legal fishing expedition. We know how much judges love those.

8) Right, including all of those Nigerian asshats that are responsible for a huge portion of spam. We'll just "send them to jail" huh? Good luck with that.

9) People that write virus code for spammers are annoying but not stupid. So totally easy to get around this. See VPN example in #7.

10) Even if #9 didn't apply to this as well and some how, spammers were paying taxes on the spam that their illegally obtained botnets we're spewing out, at 1 cent per hundred emails, the reduction in profit would be barely noticeable to them.

11) Um... what? A technically illiterate person, TRYING to coming up with a solution to a highly technical problem, is smarter than, just for example, me, who has been managing networks and email servers for more than a decade? Um... OK. If you say so.

12) Yes, and where do you think ISPs get money to pay for that? They charge us for it. WE'RE ALREADY PAYING FOR IT.

13) It is a feel good measure, because that's all it would do. It would not at all solve the problem because it is impossible to implement.

14) Again, rather than come up with a thought out, rational response, you resort to personal insults. How very mature and intelligent of you.

Reasons why this hasn't actually been tried yet:

1) Us idiots, that know exactly how email servers work, know that there is no way to implement this.

2) Again, how are mailing lists close to criminal? The library I work for uses them all the time and, get this, you'll love it, the recipients ASKED TO BE ON THE LIST and they can opt out at any time.

Ya, nuff said.

about a year and a half ago
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Stay Home When You're Sick!

DeadTOm By not providing us with sick pay or paid time off (670 comments)

Also not providing us with insurance. We also can get fired or otherwise disciplined for taking too many days off when we're sick. Like say, three solid days of vomiting and diarrhea that they feel would have been much better spent at work. This is the norm in the US, not the exception.

about a year and a half ago
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Why Bad Jobs (or No Jobs) Happen To Good Workers

DeadTOm You get what you pay for. (1201 comments)

...and you don't get, what you don't pay for.

That's really what it boils down to.

more than 2 years ago
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Taliban Offer Question-and-Answer Service Online

DeadTOm Yeah... no... (284 comments)

While I'm quite interested, in a morbid curiosity kind of way, I won't go anywhere near this website out of fear of my own, ridiculously paranoid government.

God Bless America.

more than 2 years ago
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Obama's Privacy Bill of Rights: Just a Beginning

DeadTOm Re:aren't required to respect the rules? (222 comments)

Dubya never signed a bill that allowed for indefinite detention of American citizens by the military without any sort of due process.

I'm so sick of hearing this one, it's right up there with that birth certificate bullshit. Check your facts. Obama refused to sign until an exemption was made for American citizens. That exemption is there only because of the threat of Obama's veto.

more than 2 years ago
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UK Government To Demand Data On Every Call, Email, and Tweet

DeadTOm It's everywhere now (199 comments)

It's really frightening how many "free" countries are proposing similar legislation now. The US has been doing similar things since the Bush administration and is still trying to legalize it. The Canadian government has something similar in the works and now the UK. What is the deal with this trend?

more than 2 years ago
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Hotmail's Spam Filter: The Best In the Business?

DeadTOm Laughable (182 comments)

My last little experiment with hotmail was about 7 years ago. Perhaps things have improved since then but I opened an account, then didn't log into it again for a month. I never sent mail from it, never used it to sign up for anything and never gave it to anyone. When I logged in a month later it was full of spam. That pretty much killed hotmail for me.

more than 2 years ago
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IT Managers Are Aloof Says Psychologist and Your Co-Workers

DeadTOm We all start off trying to explain ourselves (378 comments)

After twelve years in the IT industry, working for four different companies, three large and now one small business, the most important thing I've learned is this:

Users don't listen and they don't want to learn.

Sure, the idea of educating users and management about what we do sounds great and we all start off trying to do just that but after a year or so it becomes clear that 99% of your users don't listen to you. They find it boring, they don't think they should have to learn because it's not their job to know that crap, it's my job to know that crap. It's not their job to learn to fix their computer, it's mine. Trying to explain to them that there are very simple things they can do to prevent their computers from needing to be fixed is a waste of time, they don't want to hear it. They say they do, they might even mean it when they say it, but when it comes down to actually doing it, they won't. They never do.

The company I work for now does only IT and we do it for more than one hundred businesses. All of them are the same as I've described above. ALL OF THEM. So it's best for us to explain as little as possible, just enough to placate them, do what we can behind the scenes, restrict as much as we can get away with so they have less ways to hurt themselves and present everything in the form of dollar signs.

"Here is how much money you spent with us this year. Here are the disasters we averted/fixed. Here is how much money it would have cost you if we hadn't done our job or will cost you if we don't do it."

That's something they do understand.

more than 2 years ago
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Congressman Wants YouTube Video Covered Up

DeadTOm Re:Ah, the Republican Party ... (884 comments)

You're right. In the last decade the Dems have become cornered but still, they allowed themselves to get in to that position. I will add though that the democratic party has not just been this way in last few years. They've been like this for decades, ever since the Reagan administration. I'll probably get flamed for daring to impune the honor of "The Ray-gun", but it's true. We've been on a steady decline since he took office, with the republican party cracking the whip behind us, like cattle drivers herding us all out of the middle class with the democratic party standing on the sidelines, shouting about how wrong it all is and not doing a damn thing to stop it. But I'm not so foolish as to think that it's just the government's fault, we the people allowed this to happen. We did this to ourselves.

more than 3 years ago
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Congressman Wants YouTube Video Covered Up

DeadTOm Re:Ah, the Republican Party ... (884 comments)

Ya, I hate the republican party but the Dems are no better. They refuse to hold their ground on anything, completely spineless. The system IS completely broken and like it or not, the USA is a corporate state now. The will of the people is totally irrelevant, the only will that matters is that of large corporations.

more than 3 years ago
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Ubuntu: Where Did the Love Go?

DeadTOm I concur (778 comments)

Been using kubuntu since 6.x and I'm still very happy with it. I don't get involved in the distro politics at all but the forums that I do follow have had no such discussion.

more than 3 years ago
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Firefox 4, A Huge Pile of Bugs

DeadTOm I'm just about ready to dump firefox (481 comments)

It used to be great, now it's running horribly slow on every computer I have it installed on, windows and linux. Chrome is starting to look pretty good.

more than 3 years ago
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Split Screen Co-op Is Dying

DeadTOm Re:Damned shame (362 comments)

In the PC gaming arena, LAN parties are all but dead. A few still linger on around the country but they are dwindling. It's part of a growing trend in the US, we're slowly isolating ourselves. Not just from the rest of the world but also from each other. The gaming industry is just one example of that. It's very, very sad.

more than 3 years ago
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UK Games Retailers Threaten Boycott of Steam Games

DeadTOm Re:Structural Unemployment for Middle Men (443 comments)

Re-read what I said. I've done it, me and about 10 other guys, several times. Get on the steam forums.

more than 3 years ago
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UK Games Retailers Threaten Boycott of Steam Games

DeadTOm Re:Structural Unemployment for Middle Men (443 comments)

I've played steam games over a LAN with no internet connection, it can be done very easily.

more than 3 years ago

Submissions

DeadTOm hasn't submitted any stories.

Journals

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Updated to Kubuntu 8.10 last night

DeadTOm DeadTOm writes  |  more than 5 years ago Aside from all of my previous kde4 configs being completely deleted and having to go back and reconfigure plasma, my desktop and a few other things it seems to be running pretty good.
I'm unimpressed with the new knetworkmanager. It doesn't seem to want to enable interfaces, requiring opening konsole and manually enabling them in order to connect to anything wired or wireless. I also noticed that pidgin and firefox have trouble connecting and seem to think they're offline. After five minutes of googling I discovered it was a common problem and networkmanager seems to be the culprit. I uninstalled it and it's kde ui and suddenly everything works fine.
I wrote some small bash scripts for connecting to the Internet a while back and they were still sitting in my bin folder so I made a few modifications and things are working beautifully now. I've been kicking around the idea of writing a bash script to handle my wireless connections because I've been through several gui managers over the last year and been pretty unimpressed with them all. I like the command line better anyway. No crap clogging up my taskbar that way.

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Can't hear sound on quicktime or 3gp/3g2 files

DeadTOm DeadTOm writes  |  more than 5 years ago So my LG phone records movies in 3g2 format. I've been trying to convert them to mpegs and vice versa using mencoder but kept getting this error:
==========================================================================
Opening audio decoder: [qtaudio] QuickTime Audio Decoder
Win32 LoadLibrary failed to load: QuickTime.qts, /usr/lib/win32/QuickTime.qts, /usr/local/lib/win32/QuickTime.qts
failed loading QuickTime.qts
ADecoder preinit failed :(
ADecoder init failed :(
Cannot find codec for audio format 0x706C6351.
Read DOCS/HTML/en/codecs.html!
==========================================================================


I knew that I needed the w32codec package for mplayer but couldn't seem to find ubuntu packages for it and I just didn't feel like compiling the whole thing. So after much frustrated googling put together the following solution.

Run these commands:
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
sudo wget http://www.medibuntu.org/sources.list.d/hardy.list -O /etc/apt/sources.list.d/medibuntu.list

sudo wget -q http://packages.medibuntu.org/medibuntu-key.gpg -O-¦ sudo apt-key add -

sudo apt-get update

sudo apt-get install w32codecs
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I attempted the conversion on a movie file from my phone and it worked flawlessly, sound and all. :)

I wrote the following script, and named it phoneconvert:

mencoder $1 -oac mp3lame -ovc lavc -lavcopts vcodec=mpeg4 -o $2

So now when I want to convert a movie from my phone to mpeg format with mp3 audio I just run this command:

phoneconvert inputmovie.3g2 outputmovie.mpg

Working beautifully.

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Laptop Brightness

DeadTOm DeadTOm writes  |  more than 6 years ago My laptop is a Gateway NX560X that I bought in November of 2006. Naturally it came bundled with WinXP installed but I refused to allow it to be tainted by anything M$ and before even turning it on for the first time I popped in the Kubuntu Edgy live CD and installed Linux. With the exception of the modem, a winmodem which I've never needed to use anyway, it's always run beautifully. The only hitch I've run into was after upgrading from Gutsy to Hardy I could no longer adjust the display brightness using the function keys on the keyboard. A quick search of the Ubuntu.org forums turned up this post - http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=767374. The poster advised to remove /etc/acpi/video_brightnessup.sh and replace it with a new file of the same name containing the following code:
----------------------------------------
#!/bin/bash
CURRENT=$(grep "current:" /proc/acpi/video/VGA/LCD/brightness |awk '{print $2}')
case "$CURRENT" in
100)
echo -n 100 > /proc/acpi/video/VGA/LCD/brightness;
;;
87)
echo -n 100 > /proc/acpi/video/VGA/LCD/brightness;
;;
75)
echo -n 87 > /proc/acpi/video/VGA/LCD/brightness;
;;
62)
echo -n 75 > /proc/acpi/video/VGA/LCD/brightness;
;;
50)
echo -n 62 > /proc/acpi/video/VGA/LCD/brightness;
;;
37)
echo -n 50 > /proc/acpi/video/VGA/LCD/brightness;
;;
25)
echo -n 37 > /proc/acpi/video/VGA/LCD/brightness;
;;
12)
echo -n 25 > /proc/acpi/video/VGA/LCD/brightness;
;;
*)
echo -n 100 > /proc/acpi/video/VGA/LCD/brightness ;
;;
esac
----------------------------------------

Then do the same for /etc/acpi/video_brightnessdown.sh and replace it with this code:
----------------------------------------
#!/bin/bash
CURRENT=$(grep "current:" /proc/acpi/video/VGA/LCD/brightness |awk '{print $2}')
case "$CURRENT" in
12)
echo -n 12 > /proc/acpi/video/VGA/LCD/brightness;
;;
25)
echo -n 12 > /proc/acpi/video/VGA/LCD/brightness;
;;
37)
echo -n 25 > /proc/acpi/video/VGA/LCD/brightness;
;;
50)
echo -n 37 > /proc/acpi/video/VGA/LCD/brightness;
;;
62)
echo -n 50 > /proc/acpi/video/VGA/LCD/brightness;
;;
75)
echo -n 62 > /proc/acpi/video/VGA/LCD/brightness;
;;
87)
echo -n 75 > /proc/acpi/video/VGA/LCD/brightness;
;;
100)
echo -n 87 > /proc/acpi/video/VGA/LCD/brightness;
;;
*)
echo -n 50 > /proc/acpi/video/VGA/LCD/brightness ;
;;
esac
----------------------------------------

Then be sure to make both of these files executable and you're back in business. No logout or reboot required, it works immediately.

Thanks AaronMT!

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Elitism and you

DeadTOm DeadTOm writes  |  more than 6 years ago The American Heritage Dictionary definition of elitism:
1.The belief that certain persons or members of certain classes or groups deserve favored treatment by virtue of their perceived superiority, as in intellect, social status, or financial resources.
2. a. The sense of entitlement enjoyed by such a group or class.
b. Control, rule, or domination by such a group or class.
I have to admit that in a way I have a very elitist attitude towards computers. Basically, I think that if you don't have the drive or the intellect to learn to use one responsibly and competently then you shouldn't have one at all.
Let's start with responsibility:
Yes, there is some responsibility that goes along with owning a computer and connecting to the internet. You, as an internet user, have a responsibility to every other internet user to keep your computer free of viruses, worms, trojans and the like. If you get one, you're going to pass it on and chances are that the longer you have it, the more computers you will pass it on to. Buy some anti-virus software. Learn to use it and keep it up to date and then actually use it. Also get a book on protecting yourself online. Learn what to do and more importantly what NOT to do to keep from getting infected. It sounds like a tall order but it's really not. Again, if you're not willing to do these things you have no business owning a computer.
Secondly let's discuss competency:
Now that's not to say that I think every computer user should be able to build a box from the ground up or be able to make sense of a memory dump from a BSOD but I do think that they need to be able to sit down and do whatever it is that they intend to use that computer for without the need of someone holding their hand through the entire process. I've got no problem with walking you through something once or twice but the best thing you can do is go down to the book store and pick up a book pertaining to whatever purpose you have in mind for your computer. If you're not willing to take it upon yourself to learn about your computer I'm most certainly not interested in helping you along with it. During my brief time doing tech support for Qwest *shudder* I helped a great deal of users get their dial-up or DSL set up and then the next question the user had was "Now what?".
These people literally had no clue what it was they intended to use that computer and internet access for. NONE. They just bought a computer because they figured they ought to have one. C'mon folks. I don't wander through the hardware store buying $1400 tools that I have no idea how to use and no particular need driving me to buy it in the first place. Have a clear picture of what it is you want to do and then learn about those things.
Like any savvy computer user wanting to share this technology with others, I used to be readily available to friends and family to call me up and walk them through programs or help solve problems or even drop the box by my house and I'll fix it for you... not any more. I found these people becoming increasingly dependent on me and calling me nearly every day. Pretty soon their friends started calling me "Hey I got your number from so-and-so and was wondering if you could have a look at my computer...". I now rarely help any one with anything computer related. I still get these calls but not as frequently and my response is usually to politely direct them to the shop that sold them their computer, the 800 number on the back of the box that their software came in or failing those two things, Barnes and Noble. If they persist I say "Fine, I'll have a look at it but it's going to cost you $65 an hour with a half hour minimum and chances are that if it's serious, it'll take me three or four ours to get it fixed.". That's slightly less than what my employer charges for computer work so it sounds like a fair price to me.
Now this is where my elitism comes in. I read lots of articles about how Linux, as a desktop OS, is not ready for the average user. This makes it sound like there is something wrong with Linux. Not true. I believe it's the other way around. I believe that the average computer user is not ready for Linux. I think that the more time we spend trying to dumb it down so that "average computer users" can use it, the less time we are spending actually developing the OS itself and producing more applications for it. If the "average computer user" wants to have access to the powerful tools and security afforded by Linux, they need to take the initiative to learn how to use it. They need to rise above "average" because let's face it, average is nothing more than a floor. Average is where you and everyone else starts from. Average is the jumping off point. If you're content to stay average, fine. I've got no problem with that but don't complain that you can't seem to keep your computer free from spam and viruses or that it's constantly crashing and freezing on you. If you want us above-average people to help you, you'd better be willing to pay us for it and not expect us to upset our daily lives to do it.
Do I look down on these "average computer users"? Not at all. The mechanic that I have taken my car to for the last decade is an "average computer user", as is my chiropractor, my optometrist and my good friend whom I payed to help me frame walls in my basement. But do I continually bug these people for free advice on what they do or constantly ask them to make it all easier for me to understand? No I do not. I took auto-shop in high school so I can change my own oil, replace my muffler and even do a break job unassisted. I read up on chiropractics and I do in-fact know what a subluxation is and what causes them. I took it upon myself to learn about different types of contact lenses and I do understand that I should take them off in the evenings and put on my glasses to give my eyes a break. I spent nearly $90 on books about home improvement so that after my friend explained a few basics to me I was able to insulate and sheetrock those walls without calling him for help.
Initiative. That's all it takes and I fail to see why any OSS developer, most of which are not making a profit from what they do, should spend their time dumbing down a program so that someone lacking a little bit of initiative can use it.
Linux is not difficult to use, it is merely different. For those not willing to learn something new, you've got Microsoft. You are their target demographic. That's what they do and they are paid ungodly amounts of money to do it.


That is all.

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Revisiting IRC

DeadTOm DeadTOm writes  |  more than 6 years ago I recently discovered that we have a few LUGs here in Montana. They have an IRC channel called #ubuntu-montana on freenode. In college, getting on 11 years ago, I was an IRC nut and my nights were split pretty evenly between Quake and mIRC. I had hoped that it would be fairly simple to get back on that bicycle and jump right back into IRC but of course with my memory no such luck.
I have a lot of free time at work. A great deal of it is spent coding on my PC at home via SSH and since the firewall here pretty much doesn't let anything out but port 80, I rely on text based programs pretty heavily to make the most of SSH. So my IRC client of choice is BitchX. The first thing I noticed was that it automatically grabbed my username from the linux box I'm connecting from and tried to use that as my nick on freenode. We can't have that. So the first line in my .bitchxrc file is this:

on connect * { orignick DeadTOm }

Do a /quit and restart BitchX, problem solved. Lucky for me nickserv still operates in much the same fashion it did a decade ago so registering my nick on freenode was painless except for BitchX flood protection kicking in and ignoring nickserv. I could see this becoming an issue with memoserv as well so back to the .bitchxrc file:

on connect "*freenode*" {
msg nickserv identify <my passwd> //save me the identify command while we're at it
addnoflood memoserv
addnoflood nickserv
}


My next concern was anonymity, or as near to it as one can get these days so I started looking into how to change what shows up if someone does a /whois on my nick. I quickly discovered that BitchX has virutally NO documentation so this all took a lot of google, trial and error to figure out.
So a /whois on my nick responds with this:

| DeadTOm (n=<my linux login name>@mtlaners.org) (Organization)
: ircname : <again, the login I use via ssh>
| server : heinlein.freenode.net (Missoula, MT, US)



It's resolving the domain name (mtlaners.org) all on it's own but it's pulling most of the rest from environment variables set on the linux box I'm connnecting from, in particular my login name. Since this is my first initial and last name I'd like to change that. Some googling turned up some environment variables that it looks for and I added these lines to my .bashrc to change those.

export IRCNICK="DeadTOm"
export IRCUSER="deadtom"
export IRCNAME="DeadTOm"


Log out of my SSH session, log back in. Log back in to freenode with BitchX and do a /whois deadtom and I now get this:

| DeadTOm (n=deadtom@mtlaners.org) (Organization)
: ircname : DeadTOm
| server : heinlein.freenode.net (Missoula, MT, US)


At the moment that's all I needed changed and now I'm just trying to refresh my memory on IRC slash commands. It doesn't help that most of the IRC related sites that google turns up for me here are blocked by the firewall. I'm sure I'll manage though.

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Wow, it's been a while.

DeadTOm DeadTOm writes  |  more than 6 years ago

I've been out of the slashdot scene for about four years now, only checking in periodically but not really paying attention. I've had a lot of spare time on my hands the last few months and I've been reading more lately.
I've been considering writing an online journal (for some reason the term "blog" annoys me to no end) detailing my experiences with Linux for a long time. This seems like a good place to do it.

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