(Warning for the geek-averse: the following post will, undoubtedly, bore you to death.) This weekend, in an effort to better handle the ever-increasing tide of spam that’s been flowing into all the inboxes I host on my mailserver, I set up a second Linux box to do all the mail filtering. (SpamAssassin has a pretty snazzy mechanism that lets you offload the spam checking work onto a different machine as the mail server.) After getting the client/server stuff up and running, I figured out that there were a few users that would end up using the spam stuff on both machines (the mail server and the filtering server); this meant that each user would end up with two entirely different SpamAssassin preference files, as well as two different Bayes databases. And this all led to figuring out how to set up NFS shares, working through each machine’s firewall, so that this could be avoided. Fun fun fun. Here are some pages that I found particularly useful in this grand endeavor:
  • The Linux NFS How-To, which (like most of the how-tos) is a simple step-by-step walk through setting up both sides of an NFS connection.
  • Some information about autofs, which has the potential to make life a lot easier.
  • Configuring NFS under Linux for Firewall control, which goes through all the changes that have to be made to various configuration files in order to get NFS to behave in a firewall-friendly way. (It doesn’t speak to how to get RedHat 7.2 to use a version of rpc.lockd that is willing to bind to a predefined port; that’s an exercise for another day.)
  • iptables options, which is one of the best translators of the gobbledygook that’s part and parcel of Linux firewall configuration.
  • FileThingie, a one-script PHP installation that lets users edit text files via the web. I’m using this to let one of my friends make changes to a few of his preferences files (including his SpamAssasin configuration).
It’s a cool setup, and it’s working beautifully.
My brother came to visit this weekend; he’s my only family member who reads this site, and as a result, he’s my only family member who really knows how pathetic my exercise attempts (or lack thereof) have become. This morning, he dragged me out for a trek in and around Boston, him running and me on rollerblades, and we had an awesome time. We hopped into the Emerald Necklace in Brookline, made a beeline for Back Bay, crossed the Harvard Bridge (all 364.4 smoots and an ear of it), cut in along the Charles all the way to the Weeks Footbridge, came back across to Boston, and then backtracked all the way home. It was the perfect day for it, too, with perfect temperatures and a nice breeze to boot. Maybe I should take up exercising again…
How can Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore expect anyone to abide by his judicial decisions when he is so clearly willing to ignore others? My absolute favorite statement by Moore: “Our Constitution very plainly says that the system of justice in Alabama is established invoking the favor and guidance of almighty God.” Is it possible that a state Chief Justice really thinks that his state’s constitution takes precedence over the Constitution of the United States? My second favorite statement: “If the rule of law means to do everything a judge tells you to do, we would still have slavery in this country. If the rule of law means to do everything a judge tells you to do, the Declaration of Independence would be a meaningless document. ” Seriously… what would Moore say if a defendant repeated those words back to him?
salt with a tail breech
What a great day! Shannon and I joined Anil and Alaina on a daytrip to Provincetown, the highlight of which was an awesome trip into the Cape Cod Harbor. Click on the image for the complete photo gallery…
The two best first-person accounts of yesterday’s blackout in New York City: Grant Barrett’s and Amy Langfield’s. Good stuff.

How do you think the millions of New Yorkers who are still without power feel about the fact that, while Mayor Bloomberg and Con Ed are asking everyone who does have power to conserve it until they can get everyone up and running, Times Square appears to be all ablaze with its standard neon lights, video screens, and electronic tickers?

The graph of the day, courtesy of Berkeley (click it to see the whole thing):
blackout graph
(By the way, George W. Bush, President of the United States, just applauded the way that people are handling “this rolling blackout.” Is he really unaware of the difference between blackouts and rolling blackouts, such as the fact that rolling blackouts are put into place specifically to avoid fiascos similar to what happened today?)

Wired has a fantastic article in the upcoming September issue on the exploding field of manufactured diamonds, and the threat they pose to the De Beers stranglehold on the industry. One of the main points of the article revolves around whether or not people (specifically women, if you read the subtext of all the quotes) will accept man-made diamonds as equal to their earthen-born counterparts; I think that the more interesting question is whether or not diamonds will fall from their absurdly elevated prestige once the artificial scarcity holding them there is shattered.

The Boston Globe recently finished a three-part series on traffic ticket patterns in and around Boston, and found that whites are more likely than minorities to get warnings (rather than tickets) when pulled over by police. Of course, this can’t be shocking to anyone; I’d be willing to wager that the same stats hold true for any large metropolitan area in this country, even after all the hoopla about racial profiling. A few other cool stats came out of the Globe data, though, like an explanation of the effects of getting a ticket on your Massachusetts auto insurance rates, and information about how much cops let you speed before they give you a ticket. (Worrisome in that last set of graphs is that cops in Boston let people speed more than state troopers, even though one would imagine that city police officers are watching over streets with lower speed limits than those patrolled by state officers.)
A picture of our new living room, posted here as proof that I am doing something with my life other than working in the hospital:
our brookline living room
One change so far: those little trinkets on the bookshelf to the right are now on pedestal shelves on the wall next to the picture above the chair to the left; in their stead is a cool antique-looking clock.
Cool — a pretty good list of law weblogs. Wonder if I’ll ever have time to read those weblog things again, though…
Tonight was my first trip to Fenway Park as a Boston resident, and it was a great one. The weather threatened rain all day, but the clouds seemed to part in the middle of the first inning, and it turned out to be the perfect night for a game. Shannon’s dad and I sat way up in the bleachers, and in addition to eight and a half innings of good ball, we sat next to a dad teaching his nine year old daughter how to score a game, saw a fight lead to two guys sliding down twenty rows of concrete stairs on their backs, and swam in the midst of more inebriated half-naked women than I’ve ever seen at Yankee Stadium. We also got to see the 10,000th home run hit in Fenway Park and the 100th home run hit by Manny Ramirez in a Red Sox uniform, and a great ninth inning push by the Orioles before Byung-Hyun Kim secured the win. All that being said, though, I’ve never seen a fan base that’s more wrapped up in the hatred of another team than they are in the love of their own. There may have been more “Yankees suck!” jerseys than there were Nomar Garciaparra jerseys, and on top of those, there were shirts recommending the Yankees shove their 26 World Series rings up their asses, yank certain Red Sox body parts, and pretty much every other tired joke you could think of. Pretty pathetic, actually.
On Tuesday, I started as the fellow for the inpatient peds oncology floor, which means that in the onslaught of work, I totally forgot to say congrats to the people at SixApart for the release of TypePad! I’ve been putzing around with it a little bit in beta form, and it’s fantastic, so much more capable than anything else out there, well worth the monthly costs. Go use it!
I was warned, I’ll admit that; probably more than anything else, when I was preparing to move, people told me that it’d be so much worse than I thought. Living in New York at the time, I figured there was no way, chalking it up to people who just didn’t know how bad it could get in the Big Apple. But I’m now ready to acknowledge the one basic fact: Boston drivers suck, way worse than any others I’ve experienced. Every day, I’m stunned by something new on the roads. People turn left across three lanes of busy oncoming traffic without even thinking about waiting for a gap. A “No Turn On Red” sign isn’t a rule, nor is it a suggestion, but rather, it’s a challenge. Shoulders aren’t for unexpected car maintenance, they’re for unexpected chances to floor your car to get past someone. And if a light turns green during the twelve milliseconds it takes for you to blink, don’t worry, because inevitably your ears will still be able to hear the car behind you lay on the horn before light again hits your retina. It’s totally unbelievable. After twelve years in New York, I’m enjoying owning a car, but I have to say that I worry about accident damage every time I venture out of my parking spot.