Archive for the ‘IRC’ Category

Indonesian Questions Obama’s Carrot & Stick tactics

December 26, 2009

I have met a very interesting young man in Indonesia through my on line presence in Ubuntu IRC chat at the server (using the irc client Konversation.)

He has asked me to comment, as an American, regarding how I perceive Obama’s foreign policy. I am starting this thread here, so I may email to him the link. I shall be adding to this thread my thoughts over the next day or so. I clearly have in mind certain opinions, but the mind thinks at lightening speed, in a gestalt fashion (many things at once), and it takes time to project the multidimensional nature of thought into a linear expository expression. So I shall post this for now, and make various social networks such as Facebook and Plurk aware of its presence, and then begin to add my thoughts and impressions in a fashion which I hope will be fair to the European and most especially the far East point of view, and yet accurate with regard to America past and present, and the circumstances which Barack Obama reluctantly has inherited.

It is ironic that I should be approached today by an Indonesian when last night I watched a long documentary, hosted by Daljit Dhaliwal, on the huge health problem caused in Indonesia by the American controlled cigarette industry.

I have always admired Indonesia for being the largest Islamic democracy in the world (if I am not mistaken) and for having a fairly open-minded secular view. I am told that honor killings, so common in Pakistan and even in India among certain Hindus, are unknown in Indonesia. A year ago I read that the mullahs in Indonesia were composing a fatwah against smoking as being haram (forbidden). By the way, I also admire Tunesia (another Islamic nation) which has a zero tolerance policy towards honor killings. Furthermore, I want to mention that Morocco was the very first nation to sign a treaty of friendship with America after the war of independence (a treaty which is still in effect today). Morocco instituted a religious training program for women who work with the mullahs around the country to guard against overly extremist teachings which might lean towards terrorism. I also greatly admire Kemal Attaturk for his efforts to modernize Turkey and wean it from the ways of the Ottoman empire (that sick man of Europe). I am saying all these things to express the many ways in which Islamic societies have succeeded in achieving a secular moderate form which is tolerant of minority diversity. I do realize that Indonesia is not without its problems of friction with its Christian minorities. I think it is very important for non-Muslims to constantly remind themselves of all the moderate and congenial forms which Islam has assumed over the centuries. And conversely, I shall attempt to summarize some of America’s short-comings in order to be fair and honest. And it is important for Europe, the Middle East and the Far East to remind themselves of all the many good points about America. Both sides have made the grave mistake of demonizing each other at points, and stereotyping and profiling, but we must not continue in this path or it will only lead to more violence.

If both sides are to achieve balance and harmony, and the world is very much divided right now into two “camps”, then each side must do its utmost to praise it’s opponent for all the good points and to confess its own shortcomings.

“Carrot and Stick” are the exact words which my Indonesia friend used. My Filipina wife asked me exactly what is mean by “Carrot and Stick.” I explained that there are old jokes and cartoons about people who want to motivate a simple-minded mule or donkey harnessed to a cart, and so they tie a carrot to a stick, and hold it just beyond the animal’s reach, and so the gullible creature struggles forward, hoping to approach the carrot, but of course never makes any progress and most likely never even gets to eat the carrot. Over the years, a different notion of stick has crept in; the notion of “speak softly and carry a big stick.” So, a carrot and stick policy means that if you do what we want we shall reward you, but if you dont cooperate, then we shall hurt you.

Our very next task is to avail ourselves of google search and find out just what the rest of the world is saying about America’s carrot and stick policy, since we are so wrapped up in what our media considers important that we are often unaware of what the rest of the world thinks or feels.

We find references to a carrot and stick policy with regard to many nations:



American Hedge Funds


North Korea

US Health Care



Child Support


Employee Motivation


WELL, I could perhaps go on and on. Google yields a total of 800 results on a search of OBAMA CARROT AND STICK.

I really had no idea what I would find out from this search but it seems that I have stumbled across a veritable forest of carrots and sticks! Poor Barack is beginning to resemble Bugs Bunny, and I suppose all the groups who have a gripe with Obama are beginning to resemble Elmer Fudd.

Now if I make some joke about “slap stick comedy” (carrot stick slap) you will rightly accuse me of being too corny (carrot, corn).

I am not trying to make light of my Indonesian friend’s important question, but there is an amusing side to all this which is quite unexpected.

We all realize that at the heart of all discord lies two sides with conflicting interests. Peaceful solutions always involve negotiations which we hope will ultimately resolve into what is regarded by both sides as a “win-win” situation where each side maximizes its gains and minimizes loss. Of course, the non-peaceful approach is war, where both sides suffer death and destruction, and the winner takes all. So, at the heart of any negotiation is what may be viewed as “carrots and sticks.”

The entire world is driven by media spin and rhetoric of buzz-words
and buzz terms. “Carrots and Sticks” is but one buzz-term. If you will pardon another pun, whenever our knee-jerk reaction leads us to trot out buzz terms, then we are starting out with a tremendous CHIP (get it, stick, wood, chip) on our shoulders.

At first, I did not know which country my IRC friend was from, but I guessed India, because he was very formal and polite. He begged my pardon for sending me a private message, and then he addressed me as “Sir”. Only young people from India, or Malaysia or Indonesia will be this polite to their elders. And everyone in IRC knows my full name, knows that I am age 60, which astounds then, for they do not encounter anyone as ancient as 60 in IRC. My friend was very timid and hesitant to ask me his question, for he feared I might be defensive of America and my President. He does not realize that being a white American, I have a great deal of contempt for the bad things I see in American history, and the evil I see from centuries of white European Christian colonial aggression, slavery, exploitation and genocide.

One college student in India once mentioned Che Guevara to me, and assumed that as an American I must hate Che Guevara. I explained to him that actually Americans admire bandit revolutionary types like Che Guevara. We wear Che Guevara tee-shirts, and see such a persona as similar to our John Wayne types. We also very much admire India’s Pulan Devi (the woman bandito who could never be captured by India’s government). The student in India was shocked that I knew about Pulan Devi, and was not so pleased that I admire her and rubbed his nose in his own nation’s dark side.

When I learned that my new friend is from Indonesia, I mentioned that his language is Bahasa Indonesia, and that Bahasa shares the same root as Bhasa Braj which is the language of Vrindavan in which the Asta Chapp poets of the 13th century composed. He was somewhat surprised and perhaps embarrassed that I knew some things about his culture of which he is unaware.

I did not mention to him Bhoomi Putra (son’s of the soil), also spelled Bhumi. If you google on this term you will mostly find
links about Indonesia’s highest award. But, Bhumi Putra has a different meaning. I met a Chinese minority from Indonesia, and I mentioned Bhumi Putra, and he spat and said “no good.” If someone is born in Indonesia but is not Muslim, their rights are somewhat limited. But, if they CONVERT to Islam, THEN they become Bhumi Putra, and have special rights and perhaps even receive some land. Perhaps I am confusing Bhumi Putra with Malaysia

As I search, I find that only Malaysia is in the news for Bhumi Putra discrimination in their constitution, but certainly such sentiments must be active in Indonesia as well.

Now, I am not trying to make light of the “carrot and stick” question. I am not trying to make Indonesians and Malaysians feel bad. And I am not trying to make Americans look good.

Let us look at Barack Obama for a moment. His mother was Caucasian. His father was African. Genetically, Barack COULD have come out looking white as wonder bread, white as me. If Barack had been born with white skin, Americans would have seen him in a very different light, because Americans are basically stupid. Most of humanity is basically stupid. A white looking Barack would be just as Negro (half Negro to be precise) as a dark skinned Obama. But the American public would have had a harder time seeing his election as a first for Negroes. I only mention this to underscore the low common denominator of mentality which makes this political world of our go ’round.

Sunday afternoon, day 2 of this blog, Dec 27, 2009

I was pleased to find that my new friend, Giri Alam, has added me to Facebook, so now we may get to know one another better and peer through the blog portal into the world of America and the world of Indonesia, through an old man’s eyes, and a young man’s eyes.

And thank you so much for contacting me in Ubuntu IRC and asking me this very interesting question. I am just having my Sunday late morning coffee, and thinking about what I want to add to that post.

Part of my efforts in that post will be to paint a picture of how I imagine Europe, South America and Asia view America and also now America sees itself, its self-interest, and the rest of the world.

When I first searched on “carrot and stick” I did not realize how WIDE SPREAD that phrase is, both abroad and at home. I think this demonstrates a world-wide reluctance to admit that there MUST be compromise on each side of each issue, whether political, economic or religious. We must not resent the very process itself of peaceful negotiation because none of us can have our cake and eat it too (as the old saying goes.) Whenever diplomacy and arbitration fails, the next step is violence whether in a formal declared act of war, or guerrilla tactics, or individual acts of terrorism.

I shall now paste this very post at the bottom of my blog and try to add thoughts throughout the day.

Marshall McLuhan coined the term “global village” sometime in the 1960s long before anyone ever dreamed of things like IRC (the first chat program, developed in Oulu, Finland, or the Internet.

Now we see how easy it is for two people of vastly separated geographically and in age and culture to become friends.

OK…. HERE IS THE BIG QUESTION! IS THERE SOME WAY, ANY WAY FOR ALL THE OPPOSING SIDES, Muslim, Jew, Christian, Hindu, Buddhist, Communist, Capitalist, Industrialist, Farmer, etc to find compromises which allows us all a measure of freedom to live as we see fit without threatening one another?

I am going to introduce a term which some of you may have seen and for others it will be a new concept. The term is MEME.

Not only do we live in an electronic village where people living at opposite sides of the globe may be friends, but we share a body of knowledge which we may search and link to at will, which some years ago I began to call META-MIND, when I said “Internet is metamind”. All I need to do is throw a handful of links at you like so much pixie dust from Tinkerbell in a fairy tale, and suddenly, your mind has wrapped or grokked around something totally new and different.

Now, why should it be necessary for me to throw the pixie dust of all these links at you (all of you) and hope that you GROK them? What could any of this possibly have to do with the simpler question of what I as an American think of Barack Obama’s “carrot and stick” policies?

Well, it has something to do with a term called “illation” which was coined by Cardinal Newman, who left the Anglican Church of England and became a high ranking Bishop in the Roman Catholic Church.

Let us look at a brief excerpt from Cardinal Newman’s writings:

WE are in a world of facts, and we use them; for there is nothing else to use. We do not quarrel with them, but we take them as they are, and avail ourselves of what they can do for us. It would be out of place to demand of fire, water, earth, and air their credentials, so to say, for acting upon us, or ministering to us. We call them elements, and turn them to account, and make the most of them. We speculate on them at our leisure. But what we are still less able to doubt about or annul, at our leisure or not, is that which is at once their counterpart and their witness, I mean, ourselves. We are conscious of the objects of external nature, and we reflect and act upon them, and this consciousness, reflection, and action we call our rationality. And as we use the (so called) elements without first criticizing what we have no command over, so is it much more unmeaning in us to criticize or find fault with our own nature, which is nothing else than we ourselves, instead of using it according to the use of which it ordinarily admits. Our being, with its faculties, mind and body, is a fact not admitting of question, all things being of necessity referred to it, not it to other things.

As I now write about “illation” and “groking” to answer my Indonesian friend’s question about “carrot and stick” policy, and now quote from Newman’s “Grammar of Assent” (with the intention of dragging into all this the Jain concept of Anekantavada), why is it that thoughts of Bonhoeffer’s “Cost of Discipleship” (seemingly so unrelated) suddenly enter my mind?

Sorry for being away from this complex issue for so long, but I had to post many things in a Facebook thread discussion on Aquinas, Iranaeus and Christianity vs. modern humanism, with special reference to Hans Kung’s “On Being Christian”.

If you were to ask me the worst thing that America has done to Indonesia, and the nicest thing they have done FOR Indonesia, I would have to say, off the top of my head, that the worst thing is the Philip Morris Tobacco company using Indonesia to promote smoking especially among teenagers, and the best thing is that America and the WHO (World Health Organization) REALIZES what a terrible thing it has done, and has tried to get Indonesia to sign an agreement that would make life for tobacco companies more difficult.

If you were to ask me regarding the worst things that America has done in its history, I would have to answer the enslavement genocide of native Americans, the enslavement of Africans, and colonial aggression against Hawaii, the Philippines, and various Caribbean Central and South American nations under various guises and euphemisms of liberation and economic aid.

If you were to ask me the best things that America has given to the world, I would have to say the notion of a Constitution and constitutional law (and slowly but surely, International Law) and some genuine concern for human rights even in places that do not contain oil (although the mercy and justice of liberation is far swifter in oil bearing nations).

In order for you to understand MY view of things, you must in some sense BECOME me, and see what I have seen, and know what I know after the fashion that I know it. This is why I mention Cardinal Newman’s Illation in his Grammar of Conviction which is simply to say that we arrive at our convictions and certainties after years and years of very small experiences and observations which add up to the person that we are.

If you happen to be, say Ibn Khaldun of 14th century Tunisia then that constellation of experiences causes you to see the truth of reality in one way.

Anekantavada is an ancient Jain philosophical concept which fits right in with Cardinal Newman’s illation.

It refers to the principles of pluralism and multiplicity of viewpoints, the notion that truth and reality are perceived differently from diverse points of view, and that no single point of view is the complete truth.

So, you see, I am quite un-American to the degree that I see McCain’s brand of patriotism as monstrous. And I am quite Socratic to the degree that I see myself as a “citizen of the world” (and how large was the known world when Socrates allegedly said that, since the total human population in 400 b.c.e. is estimated to be only 6 million, and not todays 6.7 billion.)

One young, enthusiastic, rather ill-educated Republican boasted to me on Facebook that America is the BEST because Canada could not beat up Vermont, and Canada realizes this, and Vermont realizes this. How tragic that one should view the greatness of one’s nation and culture in terms of coercive destructive force!
Yet Putin of Russia glories in the fact that as a former KGB operative he can still beat people up in a martial arts competition.
I understand that Obama’s big sports accomplishment is in basketball, so he might out DUNK you but he would not dream of KERPLUKING you.

You see, the pen is mightier than the sword (and this we all agree) but shall the spoken and written word prove mightier than a marving nuclear warhead? This remains to be seen!


Ubuntu blows me away

December 21, 2009

Ubuntu 9.10 simply blows me away with its speed and elegance (and so reasonably priced). It took me a total of 50 or 60 hours experimenting, first with Wubi installs on top of Windows, and then with a pure Ubuntu install on a 280 gig
Gateway. I took detailed notes at my WordPress blog. Anyone with those notes should be able to install it in 5 hours or less. Firefox is amazing on Ubuntu. There is a multi platform Instant Message program (Yahoo, AIM, ICQ, MSN, etc), an email client, an IRC client (Konverse) which lands you in a Kubuntu channel with dozens of specialty rooms and hundreds of people on line around the world. The only think it cant do yet, which I like, is Paltalk. Ubuntu updates are far smoother, more automated, less in your face, less annoying than Windows updates. I tried out Ubuntu because I finally had a spare machine I could afford to ruin. I felt if I did succeed in installing Ubuntu, that it would be very primitive and user unfriendly. It is very user friendly with lots of GUI interfaces.
You do not have to be some C++ wizard or know shell and bash commands. You CAN do all that if you know how, but you don’t NEED to to use it. And you get Open Office for spreadsheet, word processor and presentation manager. If more apps become CLOUD based, then you will do everything in your browser, and all apps and data will be on some remote server.

Seeking new friends in social networks

December 5, 2009

I personally feel that the more friends we add, the more we have to gain, since we are eavesdropping so to speak on the thoughts and opinions of many diverse people around the nation, around the world, with gifts differing (as Paul said). How dreary to feel xenophobic, and think oneself “a very private person” and limit oneself to family and friends of childhood’s acquaintance. It seems to me that you know them well enough, and you should be interacting with them face to face, or via telephone, and not in this particular medium of social networking. Occasionally I meditate upon the several curious times in Plato’s dialogues where Socrates asserts that misanthropy (the contempt for our fellow beings) is closely connected with misology (a contempt for discourse). And this makes a great deal of sense, since if you detest the bulk of your fellow beings, the with whom, pray tell, will you converse. And if you do not regularly engage in the exercise of extemporaneous dialog, then however shall you exercise your mental faculties and be stimulated with new and perhaps innovative ideas (or at the very least, ideas new to thee, Miranda dear.)


When I was a senior in high school, I needed to collect an enormous number of baby food jars for our biology class, where we did a LOT of dissection and handed in the organs for grading. A young mother of three children would generously supply me with the jars twice a week. I was very conscious of the fact that she was STARVED for adult intellectual stimulation. She was glad that I stayed with her and chatted for an hour or two about high school topics. I was alway a rather unusual child and adolescent. I would discourse much in the same manner as you see me post day to day. I preferred the company of adults, and especially teachers over children. My graduating high school class, unbeknownst to me, decided that I should be Class Philosopher, and informed me that I should come to have my photo taken. At the time I thought it was something of a lark on their point. Only later in life did it dawn upon me that I really was quite different and quite obsessed with philosophy. I still occasionally call my biology teacher, now long retired, and I mentioned this to him, and he said “Oh yes, you were the most philosophical of any class.” And it was that teacher, Edward Karoll who went out of his way to make me aware of SJC. Without his encouragement I would never have attended.


We so often hear “use it or lose it” and though that is not always in reference to the intellect, it is certainly true that our minds need exercise. I know one fellow in his 80s who retired, and made it a point to do crossword puzzles each day, in the belief that such exercise wards off cognitive deterioration. I have had the Internet each day since 1998 as a medium for expression, and I dare say my writing style benefited from this constant exercise. I keep meaning to track down and read an essay that Sartre wrote on “why we write.”

2nd Attempt Ubuntu Multiple Local Sites Apache2

December 2, 2009

Note, my user name is always bryan, because he gave me his old machine, with a password on it, so I just keep everything the same, for convenience.

Step 1:
sudo chown bryan /var/www

Step 2: having given myself rights with that above chown command
I should be able to create folders withing /var/www
e.g. /var/www/proj1

and then invoke the 1st pg of the application by typing into the browser


I shall test this, and place the exercises from Head First PHP MySQL into a folder /var/www/proj1 and see if the exercise works

The only question that remains in my mind is whether the exercise pages will work unchanges, honoring /var/www/proj1 as the root, or whether I need to issue some other command to MAKE proj1 the default directory, or whether I have to hard code paths into all the exercise pages, which, if I do, would kind of defeat the purpose of developing a project in a folder, and then transparently moving it to some other location.

What follows is the raw text from the IRC channel where I asked my questions. I sorted through it to come up with the above, step-by-step procedure to achieve my goals.

+++ the steps WORK AND here is my email feedback to the person that gave me the valuable guidance:

You saved me HOURS of grief, and made it possible for me to now make rapid progress with my HEAD FIRST book. And Yes, I want to pay $60 for the paperback, because I want to be able to take it in the bathroom or on the subway. I want to really let all this PHP MySQL stuff sink in, and become second nature, for the simple reason that I am sick and tired of years of bondage to Micr0$oft and products like Access (or worse VISUAL FOXPRO which they finally dropped as a supported product). I figure that php mysql apache is the best choice for me, because I can kind of understand whats going on, and there is tons of documentation to make it work, but forum and IRC support (like YOUR excellent patient help).

You are CORRECT, THAT YOU did tell me what I need to know, but you did not realize that as a beginner, I cannot recognize the right answer UNTIL certain concepts sink in. Once I did the CHOWN trick you showed me, then I could navigate with the GUI, to /var/www and create a folder, proj1. Then I could navigate to my Desktop to a folder where I put two of the Head First exercises, but with the word TEST inserted in each field, so I would KNOW that it was these executing, and that I was not somehow executing the same original pages in /var/www . Now, I could NOT get Desktop/testwww/report.html to run and then correctly post with report.php and see the added record in the MySQL database with phpmyadmin.

BUT, as soon as it dawned upon me the simple steps you were saying, I copied to cloned files to /var/www/proj1 went to my folder and entered localhost/report.html, actually SAW the cloned version come up with TEST prefixed to each field, I entered data prefixed by TEST so I would see it in the mysql table,… pressed submit, and BINGO, when I did localhost/phpmyadmin and signed in, there was the new record in the sql table.

SO, you see, for a beginner, the Head First book leaves out a VERY IMPORTANT CONCEPT, about creating folders for projects in /var/www and doing the CHOWN trick once, up front, to allow access.

THANKS! And, as you will notice from my blog, when I asked the same question in IRC last week, someone thought that I wanted to do that complex business (which was CORRECT, if I wanted to access separate projects from some remote client, BUT unnecessary for my simple desktop purposes).

And here is the RAW irc chat to illustrate what a beginner may have to do to sort out the proper answers from a technically savvy person trying to help.

I am trying to set up several websites on my desktop ubuntu under Apache 2, and I have a detailed tutorial, but it says I need my IP address, but

sudo ipconfig gives me an internal, and gives me an external, any clues as to which is required, thanks

[04:08] WilliamBuell: what IP address? where do you want to reach them from?

(the answer, as it turns out, which I did not make clear to the IRC channel, is that I only want to make this stuff work from my DESKTOP, not from some remote client on the internet, which might require some ip address)

[04:08] thanks I am following this excellent tutorial on apache2 multiple sites

[04:09] I have Ubuntu desktop with LAMP installed, but can only get php pages to work in /var/www

[04:09] I want to be able to have several projects i.e /home/proj1

[04:09] WilliamBuell: that’s where they should go

[04:09] why not put them in /var/www?

(this turns out to be an EXCELLENT QUESTION!)

[04:10] the tutorial mentions IP address but does not indicate whether it is EXTERNAL from or local from

sudo ifconfig

[04:10] BECAUSE I would need a different name for each html and php page

[04:10] WilliamBuell: where are you trying to access them from? you shouldn’t need an ip address at all most likely

[04:11] suppose I am following several tutorials, with several pages with same name, they cannot BOTH be in /var/www

[04:11] why not /var/www/proj1, /var/www/proj2?

[04:11] and i dont know how to access some search path that would support /var/www/proj1

[04:12] or does apache2 lamp automatically honor any folder within www

[04:12] yes, automatically http://localhost/folder

(above is the KEY CONCEPT that I needed)

[04:12] and, if so (i am total beginner) ….

aha…. localhost/folder seems to make sense to me

[04:13] next question in TERMINAL does it matter HOW i create those folders, i mean do i have to be sudo or root

[04:13] do permissions matter?

[04:13] what would the proper command be to create the folder in /var/www would it be mkdir /home/www/
[04:14] with sudo mkdir /home/www/

[04:14] except it would be sudo mkdir /var/www/

[04:14] if i follow along with this one tutorial

[04:15] but that tutorial is talking about MULTIPLENAMEHOST

[04:15] WilliamBuell: you can cheat and do sudo chown USER /var/www

( the above is the OTHER KEY CONCEPT that I require.. and if it works, then I can navigate in a GUI file folder system and create project folders at will, without fussing with sudo permissions)

[04:15] it sounds like you are saying if I simply create a folder in /var/www/proj1 that it will work from localhost/proj1

[04:15] WilliamBuell: only on a desktop though
[04:16] WilliamBuell: correct

[04:16] i am a 60 year old total beginner, so i dont need hints like “you can cheat” I am truly lost

[04:17] so i should say from TERMINAL sudo chown bryan /var/www but… HOW DO I MAKE THE FOLDER PROJ1
[04:17] i mean the chown command is changing rights or something

[04:17] chown changes the ownership of the file
[04:17] nothing else

[04:17] WilliamBuell: oh, one you own the folder, you can go into /var/www and make whatever you want 🙂

[04:18] in other words, from terminal, what is the command to correctly creat /var/www/proj1 with all the proper user rights for apache2 to work

[04:18] BUT, whenever i go into /var/www it doesnt let me do stuff i dont think unless i am root admin

[04:18] WilliamBuell: the support here is not too great… might want to try a support channel

[04:18] WilliamBuell: yeah, that’s why I suggested owning the folder

[04:18] yeah, but you guys know this like the back of your hand

[04:19] once you do that, you can mkdir in /var/www all you wnat

[04:19] and you just cant give a beginner the command to create the folder

[04:19] WilliamBuell: if we did we would have told you straight away

[04:19] so, you say , create the folder, and then use chown to change ownership?
[04:19] and then everything will be honkey dory ok

[04:19] WilliamBuell: no, chown /var/www, then you can create all the folders you want without sudo

[04:21] ok so sudo chown bryan /var/www gives me the rights, then i should be able to navigate with the gui and create proj1

[04:21] WilliamBuell: yep 🙂

[04:21] aha… now that is making sense to this beginner brain
[04:22] and i WONT need to mess with that other tutorial
[04:22] since i only want stuff to work locally…

[04:22] WilliamBuell: right no apache configs 🙂

[04:23] BUT, second question,…. if i make a bunch of php html pages in /var/www/proj1 do I need explicit paths to the other pages, or will they default to that local directory

[04:23] and is there some command i need to issue to make /var/www/proj1 a local directory for that session

[04:23] WilliamBuell: not sure I’m following

[04:23] WilliamBuell: not sure you’re sure what you’re asking
[04:24] http://localhost basically loads what’s in /var/www

[04:24] ok… you are telling me if i do all this then from browser .. i type localhost/proj1/report.html and it comes up

[04:24] yep

[04:24] but INSIDE report.html it is going to POST to report.php

[04:24] if you have /var/www/proj1/report.html

[04:24] yeah, default is current folder

[04:24] but, it will know enough to look in var/www/proj1 without
[04:25] well, it looks in http://localhost/proj1/report.php
[04:25] or rather posts to

[04:25] aha, and the very act of launching the project as localhost/proj1 is sufficient to make that the local directory for the entier project session

[04:25] which should correspond to /var/www/proj1/report.php
[04:25] if so, that makes sense

[04:25] WilliamBuell: not sure you quite get URL vs local path
[04:25] it’s not for the session

[04:25] in other words, i dont have to HARD CODE specific addresses in each html and php…

[04:26] that’s just how it it

[04:26] WilliamBuell: that you have to do
[04:26] i want to develop something in /var/www/proj1 test it , but have it work if i move it somewhere else

[04:26] WilliamBuell: why not just have a .php file?
[04:26] why have anything .html?

[04:26] well, i dont know enough to understand your hint

[04:26] WilliamBuell: a PHP file can have HTML and PHP in it

[04:27] because, the tutorial book i am following starts with report.html posting with report.php… but now i see what you are saying

[04:27] WilliamBuell: what book?

[04:27] but, php or html, is not germain to my path question at hand

[04:27] it is a great book called HEAD FIRST php mysql, which leads you step by step, including cookie sessions

[04:28] i have in my blog links to the book

[04:28] i am buying the book for $60 tomorrow, and i already downloaded a zip file of all the source code exercises from the publisher

[04:29] WilliamBuell: do you have any programming background and are you interested in mysql>??

[04:29] i started programming in 1979, through the 1980s, with stuff like cobol, rpg, then basic, then pick

[04:29] WilliamBuell: BTW, you know you can get it as an ebook for $36

[04:29] i am not a moron

[04:30] i just have some simple questions which in reality have very simple answers, but getting straight answers from techie types is like pulling teeth
[04:31] WilliamBuell: do you like head first series?

Ubuntu IRC- Please review/correct this script

November 25, 2009

If you are curious to visit the IRC channel, visit here first

Thanks for visiting from IRC #ubuntu-offtopic

I am a beginner with Linux Ubuntu, and I want a simple means
to back up my system occasionally.

I found a tar command at the following link:

I tried it once and it seemed to work, except I had some trouble getting rights to access the file in / root. I THINK that the following commands will work for me without hurting my install.

I DID do some things with sudo Nautilus and a /var/Backup folder which I believe crashed my whole Ubuntu system, and I had to spend 7 hours re-installing it, which you may read about at this blog.

So, I really need someone who is experienced in Linux and script/bash commands to look at this and tell me if there is any danger.

I DID get the tar command which you see below to work once, and I managed to copy it to a DVD. I put the dvd in my second computer which is a Wubi Ubuntu install on top of windows, and it was able to open the tar, browse the folders, and extract some files from /Desktop.


Thanks for looking and commenting!


sudo su

tar cvpzf backup.tgz –exclude=/proc –exclude=/lost+found –exclude=/backup.tgz –exclude=/mnt –exclude=/sys –exclude=/media /

sudo cd /

sudo chmod 777 backup.tgz

sudo cp -p backup.tgz /home/bryan/Desktop/mytestfolder/


>>> sudo rm /backup.tgz

Thanks for looking and commenting!


### sudo su
### This is silly for two reasons. First, ‘sudo -i’ is preferable to ‘sudo su’. Second, rather than putting sudo on every line of the script, just run the script itself with sudo.

# This will work, but using v (verbose) doesn’t really add value with this huge of a data set, and significantly impairs performance (the terminal can’t keep up), so I’d probably drop it.
tar cvpzf backup.tgz –exclude=/proc –exclude=/lost+found –exclude=/backup.tgz –exclude=/mnt –exclude=/sys –exclude=/media /
# Note that you are not specifying a target directory for backup.tgz to end up in here. As you’ve noticed, it’s helpful to have it somewhere that you’re not backing up, to avoid recursion.

sudo cd /

sudo chmod 777 backup.tgz

sudo cp -p backup.tgz /home/bryan/Desktop/mytestfolder/


THUS, my recommendations:
tar cpzf /backup.tgz –exclude=/proc –exclude=/lost+found –exclude=/backup.tgz –exclude=/mnt –exclude=/sys –exclude=/media /
chmod 755 /backup.tgz
ln -s /backup.tgz /home/bryan/Desktop/mytestfolder/
Save as
chmod +x
Run with:
sudo ./


tonyyarusso: one quick question, what does this last line do — ln -s /backup.tgz /home/bryan/Desktop/mytestfolder/
[02:07] what is ln -s
[02:07] WilliamBuell: Create a symbolic link
[02:07] WilliamBuell: it creates a symbolic link
[02:07] symlink
[02:08] WilliamBuell: It makes a “pointer” of sorts in your home directory to the real file, rather than copying it all over.
[02:08] and, ok ln symbolic link, how is that useful
[02:08] can reach data 2 ways but only have it exist on disk once
[02:08] so, you are saying that when I mount a dvd, and go to file manager, i will SEE the tar in that folder (but it is really the symbolic link) and i may freely copy it to the dvd
[02:08] so if you dont want to type a really really long path, you can have a shortcut
[02:08] WilliamBuell: Half the disk space usage, and less time.
[02:08] WilliamBuell: yup
[02:09] wow, thanks, now it all makes sense
[02:09] there are also hardlinks (ln without the -s)
[02:09] what is difference between hard and soft link
[02:09] symlinks point to a path to the data so they can point to things on other disks/partitions/media

hardlink vs symlink

[02:19] WilliamBuell: I thought you wanted it in that folder for some kind of convenience – it’s certainly not necessary.
[02:19] oh, ok…. i am just scared to death of root, since my crash
[02:19] the script can go wherever you like. Many people like to create /home/bryan/bin/ for such things, but it doesn’t matter.
[02:20] so sudo ./ WILL SEARCH until it finds that file, wherever it is, even on /Desktop ?
[02:20] No.
[02:20] It will be the current working directory, whatever that is.
[02:21] oh, ok, so as long as i am in current directory where that .sh is, and i sudo ./ it will find the .sh
[02:21] but, i should not save the script to root, i take it
[02:22] and if i did create /home/bryan/bin i would cd to that, and then sudo ./
[02:23] right
[02:23] but, if i went into gedit and saved some file as in root,… it would not harm root
[02:23] except it is a bad practice to store things in root

Konversation IRC client trouble with AWAY msg

November 23, 2009

I experimented with resetting my AWAY message in Konversation client, and then fell asleep after an all night 7 hour reinstall of my crashed Ubuntu.

In the morning when I checked my still running IRC session, I saw that one of their BOTS had issued me the following warning:

[14:38] wants you to know: You should avoid noisy away messages in a busy channel like #ubuntu, or other Ubuntu channels; it causes excessive scrolling which is unfair to new users. Use the command “/away ” to set your client away silently. See also «/msg ubottu Guidelines»
[14:38] [Away] You are no longer marked as being away.

I am posting this to save and document the incident and information.

chatted with me and found it strange that my unattended machine should issue the away message 3 times.
I also wonder why that should be.

IRC log archives

November 22, 2009

/msg nickserv register password (your email address goes here)

7:00] [Notice] -NickServ- ***** NickServ Help *****
[17:00] [Notice] -NickServ- NickServ allows users to ‘register’ a nickname, and stop
[17:00] [Notice] -NickServ- others from using that nick. NickServ allows the owner of a
[17:00] [Notice] -NickServ- nickname to disconnect a user from the network that is using
[17:00] [Notice] -NickServ- their nickname.
[17:00] [Notice] -NickServ-
[17:00] [Notice] -NickServ- For more information on a command, type:
[17:00] [Notice] -NickServ- /msg NickServ help
[17:00] [Notice] -NickServ- For a verbose listing of all commands, type:
[17:00] [Notice] -NickServ- /msg NickServ help commands
[17:00] [Notice] -NickServ-
[17:00] [Notice] -NickServ- The following commands are available:
[17:00] [Notice] -NickServ- GHOST Reclaims use of a nickname.
[17:00] [Notice] -NickServ- GROUP Adds a nickname to your account.
[17:00] [Notice] -NickServ- UNGROUP Removes a nickname from your account.
[17:00] [Notice] -NickServ- IDENTIFY Identifies to services for a nickname.
[17:00] [Notice] -NickServ- INFO Displays information on registrations.
[17:00] [Notice] -NickServ- LISTCHANS Lists channels that you have access to.
[17:00] [Notice] -NickServ- REGISTER Registers a nickname.
[17:00] [Notice] -NickServ- SET Sets various control flags.
[17:00] [Notice] -NickServ- RELEASE Releases a services enforcer.
[17:00] [Notice] -NickServ-
[17:00] [Notice] -NickServ- Other commands: ACCESS, DROP, HELP, ID, LISTOWNMAIL, LOGOUT,
[17:00] [Notice] -NickServ- VACATION, VERIFY
[17:00] [Notice] -NickServ- ***** End of Help *****

here is how to set a new password:
/query NickServ set password hello_world …

Ubuntu Backup/Restore Plans

November 22, 2009

Konversation IRC chat client, every day I am in Kubuntu chat with 300 members active at any time (well logged in but not necessarily all talking)

I need to study/experiment with complete backup restore techniques

someone gave me this advice

for the mem stick, just mount it (i.e. on /mnt/bckstick) then tar f /mnt/bckstick/.tar

I must google and expand upon it

Today I do sweeping and mopping, but I shall add to this post, and

I also used synaptic manager to install a simply gui backup restore and i shall test that also, but a huge tar command is attractive to me.

In Kubuntu IRC (Konversation is my client) one may query bot with !
and !info

!info backup gave several links

The most useful looking link is

Brute Force Solution Using repeated SED commands

November 22, 2009

Note: there are many on line guides and tutorials on the SED filter command in Linux.

Here is just one such guide:

The above link has a tutorial section and one very useful
tutorial is at this line:

Yesterday, I decided to find an IRC channel which discusses Ubuntu.

I looked in the synaptic manager and found an install called Kubuntu

It was a simple, quick install, and gave me a wonderful GUI IRC control panel, and automatically directed me to a forum discussing Ubuntu with 300 members present in the channel from around the world.

I made friends with a fellow in Brazil who was trying to get his ethernet card to work.

Konversation has an option to continuously LOG all conversation to disk.

I leave Konversation on all day long and collect the log. But the log is filled with extraneous lines about people Joining the channel, Parting the channel, changing their Nick, etc.

I wanted to find a way, using Linux commands, to filter out everything extraneous and leave only what people actually posted, so that I may more easily study it and learn some new thing.

I looked through my Linux Pocket Guide from O’Reilly. I also googed a bit, and decided to use the SED command.

I think the important thing to remember for any beginner is that there is more than one way to skin a cat. A very experienced programmer would know how to perform this task in one line, and that one line would probably look like an equation from quantum physics, and be difficult to understand. BUT you can also accomplish your desired task using many simple steps; many simple commands each of which is easy to understand and visualize.

The following code will work and do what I want when I paste it into the TERMINAL.

sed ‘3d’ /home/bryan/logs/logtest/test.log > output1.log
sed ‘/Join/d’ /home/bryan/output1.log > output2.log
sed ‘/Mode/d’ /home/bryan/output2.log > output1.log
sed ‘/Part/d’ /home/bryan/output1.log > output2.log
sed ‘/Quit/d’ /home/bryan/output2.log > output1.log
sed ‘/Nick/d’ /home/bryan/output1.log > output2.log
sed -e ‘s/\[[^]]*\]//g’ /home/bryan/output2.log > output1.log

IN AN INSTANT AND PRODUCE output1.log as the desired result.

For ease of discussion, I shall number each line (but do not include the numbers in what you paste into TERMINAL for execution)

1. sed ‘3d’ /home/bryan/logs/logtest/test.log > output1.log
2. sed ‘/Join/d’ /home/bryan/output1.log > output2.log
3. sed ‘/Mode/d’ /home/bryan/output2.log > output1.log
4. sed ‘/Part/d’ /home/bryan/output1.log > output2.log
5. sed ‘/Quit/d’ /home/bryan/output2.log > output1.log
6. sed ‘/Nick/d’ /home/bryan/output1.log > output2.log
7. sed -e ‘s/\[[^]]*\]//g’ /home/bryan/output2.log > output1.log

The first line was my initial test of SED.
First, I copied the main IRC log to test.log
Next I issue line 1, a sed command which OMITS the first three
lines of test.log and outputs the rest to a file called
output1.log in my home directory.

Next, line 2 omits every line which has the string /Join/ and outputs the results to output2.

Line 3, omits every line which has the string /Mode/ and outputs the results to output1.

Line 4, omits every line which has the string /Quit/ and outputs the results to output1.

Line 5, omits every line which has the string /Part/ and outputs the results to output2.

Line 6, omits every line which has the string /Nick/ and outputs the results to output1.

Line 7 was the most difficult command to find in GOOGLE.
Line 7 DELETED all information occuring between left bracket [ and right bracket ] which in essence deletes all the time and date stamps.

For example, the raw log file looks something like this example excerpt:

#kubuntu (
[Friday 20 November 2009] [17:54:37] Topic The channel topic is “Official Kubuntu support | Kubuntu 9.10 Karmic Koala released! | Download your free Kubuntu 9.10 CD iso: | For pressed CDs, please ask your LoCo Team | KDE 4.3.3 for Karmic in the backports: | FAQ: | Pastes: | Chat in #kubuntu-offtopic | Please respect the Ubuntu IRC guidelines:”.
[Friday 20 November 2009] [17:54:37] Topic The topic was set by Mamarok on 2009-11-04 14:33.
[Friday 20 November 2009] [17:54:37] Channel [freenode-info] please register your nickname…don’t forget to auto-identify!
[Friday 20 November 2009] [17:54:38] Join giuseppe__ has joined this channel (
[Friday 20 November 2009] [17:54:39] there must be a server which is listening to that port. If not: what will happen to connections to the port?: nothing
[Friday 20 November 2009] [17:54:43] Mode Channel modes: topic protection, no messages from outside, no colors allowed, L, f, J
[Friday 20 November 2009] [17:54:43] Created This channel was created on 2006-11-26 01:42.
[Friday 20 November 2009] [17:55:01] so i think about to start kubuntu on sdb in virtualbox and copy file for file to kubuntu and try it out
[Friday 20 November 2009] [17:55:11] Join taki_ has joined this channel (n=quassel@


Sorry, I don’t know anything about hyperterminal
!hyper terminal
goes_de: no, not the same kde-folder. Thats wrong… suse have some individual configs
Sorry, I don’t know anything about hyper terminal
I did one Wubi install of Ubuntu on a Windows XP, and then a full Ubuntu on a Gateway tower, and now I am trying to connect via Ethernet DSL
goes_de: copy and paste will break kubuntus kde
DTsan: what exacly are ya looking for?
I tried installing iirc with synaptic manager, but no obvious way to launch it, so Konversation is much better, right on the Internet menu
does everyone here use Ubuntu? (is this a dumb question?)
WilliamBuell: I’m forced to use ubuntu at school
avihay: i need a program that acts like Hyper Terminal, perferable one that does rtv995 emulation
I am blogging step by step with each thing do in Ubuntu, so I will have documentation, and can remember later
WilliamBuell: i have found that not everyone but most do i still can’t stop laughing ubuntu kubuntu not much differnce just window manager
DTsan: something that will talk with the serial port?
ohhhh i see, kubuntu is a seperate flavor of, what, debian
does anyone here blog about ubuntu, you are welcome to look at my blog, .. it might help some beginners out
no, work over lan
to an ip address
like telnet?
avihay: where is your school located, what state, what country, I read that some countries like Switzerland are making Linux manditory
well ubuntu used to be based off of debian but now 99% on there own WilliamBuell


One more knowledgeable programmer in IRC suggested the following to me:

sed -r ‘/(Join)|(Mode)|(Part)|(Quit)|(Nick)/d’ logfile
will delete out lines with Join, Mode, Part, Quit or Nick in them