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More Linux Woes (Or "Why Am I Not MORE of a Geek?") and other stuff
Author: Steven Shelton (7:46 am)
Long time, no blog. That whole pesky "life" thing, you know? Annoying.
Okay, so here's what's going on, with added bits of randomness thrown in just to spice it up:
SAMBA Proves It: I Have No Rhythm
Remember a while back I talked about having problems with my linux box? As a refresher, I have an old P3 machine onto which I threw Slackware to use as a file server. Had trouble installing the packages, but eventually got it working, and then I threw on the latest version of KDE and it killed my box. I basically started over--reinstalled Slackware--and got it working fabulously. Worked flawlessly as a file server for several weeks.
Well, my other computers (over the years I've accumlated several, a couple of which are still useful enough to use regularly) were starting to run low on hard drive space, so I got a new hard drive, swapped out hard drives to have more space on all of my boxes, and put a new 40 GB hard drive into my linux box so my file server would have enough hard drive space to actually serve a decent number of files.
Guess what? That broke Slackware, too. Couldn't get it to work AT ALL.
That ended up being kind of the final straw for me. I had a copy of Mandriva, so I threw it on. Once I figured out that Mandriva doesn't like to use any disk partition that it didn't create, the installation went flawlessly. I could even install packages from within KDE and Gnome. Unfortunately, though, I've run into two problems:
1. I can't get the sound to work. ALSACONF doesn't seem to be installed by default, and I can't seem to find a legit download of it anywhere. Not a big deal, but I'd like to have the sound work just, well, because I would.
2. I can't get SAMBA to work. This is kind of a problem, because the point of this is to make the box be a file server, after all. SAMBA worked just fine almost immediately under Slackware, so I'm not sure where I'm running into issues here. My best guess is that it's something to do with the way Mandriva handles security. SAMBA launches just fine, sees other computers on the network, is able to access those computers and copy files from them, and is able to be seen on the network. Unfortunately, it asks for a username/password every time a Windows box tries to connect to it, and no matter what username/password combo I use, I can't get in. I've tried creating users for each Windows box and using their usernames and passwords. I've tried forcing users into an account/group with full access to everything. Nothing works.
One person has now recommended that I start over (yet again) with SUSE, and another has recommended that I do it all over with Ubuntu. I'd really just like to have my box work as it is without reinstalling one more time and having to go through that whole mess yet again. UUUUUUUUUUUUUUGH!
Meanwhile, I'm looking at making one of my laptops a linux box. It's a fairly recent HP lappie with a Windows install that seems to be rather corrupted, and HP shipped the wrong recovery disks with it, so I can't just reinstall. (They also want to charge me $300 to replace the disks; I could fight them on that and win, but I really don't want to go to the trouble.) I just need to verify that the hardware is compatible, and I think I'm going to do it. (This particular lappie runs very slow on Windows, but when I boot it with Knoppix it seems to run fabulously, so I think that's a pretty good indicator that it will run great under linux.)
Power of Attorney
The law practice has been keeping busy. Wrapped up several criminal cases just in time to pick up about ten more. At least three of them are likely to go all the way to a trial, I think. And I'm probably going to win. They've all got some pretty good facts. And when it comes right down to it, a trial is really about the facts. I don't care how good of a lawyer you are; if you don't have good facts, you're not going to win.
Had an interesting experience yesterday. I was scheduled for a trial on a junk fax case, and it ended up being more like a two-hour pretrial. The judge, who I'd never met before, really impressed me. Seems very smart, very engaged in the case, open-minded on the issues, and interested in what the attorneys have to say. I wish most judges were like that, but so far I've learned that that's not always the case. He hadn't anticipated some of the thornier issues surrounding this case (TCPA cases look very simple on the surface, but they present a lot of unique legal issues), so we spent most of the time arguing over administrative law, statutory construction, and agency theory issues. I now have to get a brief in for my motion to preclude the defendant's defense (that there's a "common carrier" exclusion to the ban on junk faxes, which is not that case . . . or at least, wasn't the case when the fax in question was sent), and I'm really looking forward to drafting it. This is the kind of law I live for: complex legal theory that I can argue all day long. I love this stuff!
I've been having quite a bit of success on these cases lately. Still haven't lost one, which really isn't surprising when you think about it: like I said, good facts make the case. That's why I always go in with good facts, or I don't go in. And for some reason, that seems to surprise defendants; they seem to think I'm bluffing on these cases or that I won't take the time to really pursue or prep for them because it's not worth the trouble for me to collect $500 or $1,500 or whatever the amount is (which usually isn't a whole lot). That's a stupid approach to take, anyway, because I take what I do seriously and I prepare for every case, no matter how small, as if it were capital case. It's a responsibility thing.
Besides that, look, here's the thing: I take these junk fax cases because I've had enough. I'm tired of these thieves--because, let's call junk faxing what it is: theft--taking other people's property and reaping huge profits as a result. I'm tired of being awakened at 2 a.m. by someone trying to send me a junk fax. I'm tired of replacing my toner and paper because they've used it all up. I'm tired of missing faxes I actually WANT because the machine was clogged with this unwanted crap that I had to pay to receive. I've had enough. And I want it to stop. So if you send me a junk fax, or you send one of my clients a junk fax, I will sue you. And you will lose. And you will fork over a chunk of your ill-gained money to me so that I can sue other junk faxers until eventually people get the idea that this is illegal and wrong and a nuisance and maybe, just maybe, they'll stop doing it.
What's funny is that I've had three defendants now try to play the "it's all about the money" card: "you're just pursuing these cases for the money." Two have even attempted (or pretended to attempt) to settle by donating money to charity, and one offered to settle by putting a consent agreement on the record that simply listed his consideration as promising not to junk fax anymore (which, if he did, would make him liable for contempt of court). When I refused those offers (which were, of course, not even serious offers), these defendants tried to assert my rejection as proof that this is "about the money." Two responses to that:
1. Even if was about the money . . . so what? You steal other people's property to make money. Just like you, I have to make a living. You make yours stealing from people. I make mine enforcing the law. There's nothing wrong with that at all. If there were, cops and prosecutors would work for free.
2. If this was "all about the money", I wouldn't be pursuing these cases. I make far, far more as both a website designer and an attorney than most of these cases pay. I charge $50/hour as a web designer, and $125/hour as a lawyer. Business has been good for both of my occupations lately. I typically spend twenty or more hours on each one of these junk fax cases and end up getting paid somewhere between $250 and $1,500 for that work. In other words, I usually lose money by pursuing these cases; the money I do recover just cushions the blow.
But they still try it. Well, you know, cry me a river if you want, but until this crap stops, I'm not going away.
The World Cup, Baby!
I'm not much of a sports fan, but I gotta say I am all about soccer. And the World Cup? So much better than the lame old Super Bowl! (I'm gonna get in trouble for saying that, I know, but there ya be.) Now, if only we could get a famous pop singer to bare her breasts, it would be perfect.
More Theatre Stuff
The Fenton Village Players recently held more auditions; this time the play is Once Upon a Mattress. I decided not to audition for that one (the last play was a lot of work and I needed a break), but I am going to be auditioning for the play they're presenting this fall: Social Security. Eventually, I'm hoping to finish the play I'm writing (Midlife Crisis, a comedy about the end of the world) and convince them to put that one on.
No indictment against Rove? You gotta be kidding me! He really is a sith, isn't he? "These are not the White House aides you're looking for . . . " (Okay, true fans of Star Wars will get that. For the rest of you: I did mention I'm a geek, right?)
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