Awhile back I posted about a program to bring telescopes to schools. Specifically the Galileoscope. Well this was on my stoop today:

Galileoscope Box

I unpacked it on my dining table and this is what I ended up with:

Galileoscope Unpacked

I tried to follow the paper instructions, which are decent. But I highly recommend the PDF on the Galileoscope site. You can download it here: PDF Download Page

When all was done, this is what I ended up:

Galileoscope Assembled

It is still light out, so I cannot check out any stars yet- but it is pretty clear in Austin today so I am hopefully I can check out some stars or the moon.

The Gmail gadget does not support the “Always use https” preference.  Does this annoy you?

iGoogle Error

I started getting that awhile back when on my iGoogle personalized home page and it looks like Google is not going to fix it.  Boo.

So what is a person to do?  I want the conveince of iGoogle, but I want the security of HTTPS when sending and reading email.  Enter Greasemonkey on Firefox!

If you install the Greasemonkey Firefox Extension.  You have lots of neat scripts available to you.  Here is a list of 25 Useful Ones.

The one that is big for me is: Google Secure Pro.  This script forces Gmail, Google Docs, and other Google services to use Secure HTTP rather than the normal un-secure.

Once you get those two items in place you are golden!  You iGoogle will now display you top five messages and when you head to Gmail it will switch you to the secure mode.  Don’t forget to switch off “Always use https” as a Gmail setting.

The only drawback to this approach is that you have to install both of these items on every machine you check Gmail for and this is a Firefox only solution.

If you think that is a pretty good setup for Gmail, take a look at Better Gmail 2 as well.  Lots of neat stuff in that extension as well.

This is specifically for RHEL5, but it should work similarly on older RHEL and CentOS.

First install the repo:
wget -q -O - | bash

Then you may get an error from yum about “–disableplugin”. If so, clean the repos manually:
yum clean all

Then install compat-libstdc++. I found it in on the ISO in the Server directory:
rpm -i compat-libstdc++-33-3.2.3-61.i386.rpm

Now install the Open Manage software:
yum install srvadmin-all

Then start up the services: start

Now test the services:
omreport chassis


I just read an entry on the Bad Astronomy Blog and it reminded me about the Galileoscope which is a really cool project to build an distribute a smallish telescope in recognition of Galileo’s first views of the heavens.

My order for two just went in. One for me and one as a random gift to a parent, child, or teacher.

It isn’t that expensive ($37 total for me) and it will be a nice thing to have.

Oh, and Happy Friday!

Newest Toy

I picked up this beauty yesterday down in San Antonio.

2010 Mercury Milan Hybrid

2010 Mercury Milan Hybrid

It is a 2010 Mercury Milan Hybrid. Not fully loaded (no navigation) but lots of fun toys. 😎

Why San Antonio? They had it in stock, I got it below sticker and the dealers around here wanted $1500 over sticker.

Recently I found the need to clone and configure some Windows 2008 Server machines. The version of VMware Infrastructure that was previously installed does not support that particular OS. In fact it still called it “Longhorn”. Time for an upgrade!

I downloaded the newest build (Update 4 as of the time of this post) and did the following steps to ensure a successful upgrade:

  • Unpacked the ZIP file downloaded from VMware.
  • Backed up my MS SQL database. Our database is housed on a separate machine, but the GUI has a simple backup option. I did a full backup which only took a couple of minutes.
  • I did not run the full installer. This looked like it was going to do an install and not an upgrade. I don’t want to have to redo any configuration.
  • Ran the VMware-vcserver.exe installer from the vpx directory.
  • When this is mostly complete, it will ask to run the database upgrade installer. This update requires some schema changes so I stepped though that as well.
  • When it was complete, I ran the Vmware-viclient.exe installer. This will update the actual client software.

When I finished running those couple of installers I was able to fire of VMware Infrastructure Client, login and see that I can now create a new VM from a Win2K8 template.

Of course this is not without a problem, I cannot use that configuration to join the domain- and I don’t have the domain password to do it myself.

I am going to give Ruby on Rails a whirl over the next couple of months, so I built a CentOS 5.3 virtual machine to try it out on. This post deals with the installation and getting a simple application to work.

I am going to install ruby from source- which may not be optimal from a maintenance standpoint.

First install the pre-requisite packages:
> sudo yum install gcc zlib zlib-devel openssl-devel -y

Then download, compile, and install ruby (1.8.7 is the latest as of this post). I am installing it into my $HOME/ruby directory and will add that to my path:
> mkdir ruby; cd ruby
> wget
> tar xzvf ruby-1.8.7.tar.gz
> cd ruby-1.8.7
> ./configure –prefix=$HOME/ruby –enable-pthreads
> make
> make install
> cd ext/openssl
> ruby extconf.rb
> make
> make install

Now we need RubyGems. 1.3.3 is the latest as of post time
> cd ruby
> wget
> tar xzvf rubygems-1.3.3.tgz
> cd rubygems-1.3.3
> ruby setup.rb
> gem install rails –include-dependencies
> gem install termios –include-dependencies
> gem install mongrel –include-dependencies
> gem install mongrel-cluster –include-dependencies *no mongrel-cluster?*
> gem install capistrano –include-dependencies
> gem install mysql *holding on mysql install*

Test your rails installation:
> cd $HOME
> mkdir projects
> rails myrailsapp
> cd myrailsapp
> ruby script/server

The simple application should now be running on localhost port 3000. Fire up your web browser and browse away.

My first Rails application is running and it didn’t take that long. Then again- it does very little.

Got my 40 back!

You may recall from this post that I complained about the inaccuracy of my Smith and Wesson pistol. Well, being lazy it took me a long time to send it in for repairs. As it turns out, the process was painless. I FedEx-ed it overnight to a guy here in Texas (which S&W paid for) and it was repaired and sent back to me. Total turn around was under two weeks and cost me nothing but a little time. He adjusted the trigger and replaced a part before test firing it 25 times.

I have not brought it to the range yet so I don’t know how it went- but it looks promising. I still have yet to fire the Hi-Point with the new ATI stock either, so a range trip is on the agenda in short order.

My friend Marcos emailed me early last week and wondered if I wanted to head the Express game on Thursday. I am always game for baseball so off we went.

We sat directly behind home plate and watched the Express lose. At least it was a pleasant night to watch a game.

I sent my Smith and Wesson off to the service center last week. I’m hoping they can figure out the problem and repair it in a pretty timely manner. We shall see.

We are pretty lucky hear in Austin to have a AAA baseball team. The Round Rock Express are in the Houston Astros farm system.

I am pretty lucky to have some contacts in the bar industry here in town and get invited a couple of times a year to Express games. Yesterday I got invited to hang out in the Capital Beverage suite.

RR Express

Plenty of hitting and lots of sloppy field play last night. The Express won 6-5 over the visiting Omaha Royals.

Dell Diamond is a great park. I recomend it to anyone who likes baseball. Tickets are cheep ($6 for the berm, $13 for box tickets) and the play is usually pretty solid.

Rain and hail in Austin again today. Hope it rains hard, but hails light. We need the rain but not the damage.