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Technology

Broadly defined "technology" e.g. software, water pumps

Colorado Wind Power

Ecology by Choice

I'm a big "choice" person. I want people to have the choice to do a lot of different things. I don't like monopolies, or overly restrictive regulation and I think those are fairly commonly held beliefs.

A few years ago I bought a house and started to pay more attention to the bills from our utility company, Xcel energy. One thing in the newsletter they send out got me curious: wind power for your homes. Xcel offers a program where you can buy wind electricity credits to cover your home usage. The details of the program aren't important aside from the fact that I pay a few extra dollars each month (and it really is just a few) so that my house and everything inside it "runs on wind power".

I like this solution because it lets Xcel know that I prefer a renewable energy source to a non-renewable one. Wind has its own problems, but I think they are outweighed by its benefits. This is great and I tell everyone I can to sign up for the program. It's amazing to me how many "environmentalist" friends that I know do not use this service.

Ecology by Force

A year and a half ago Colorado voted to force Xcel to make more of its energy from renewable sources with a specific amount from wind and a specific amount from solar. I'm opposed to this kind of regulation because our prescriptions for the amounts of wind/solar in the mix may not be the best decision 5 years from now, but we're basically stuck with them. I would much prefer that Xcel and residents work together in the way demonstrated by the wind credit program and through net-metering of home solar panels to help bring renewable energy into the mix based upon market demand. My belief was that if the people who voted for that renewable energy signed up for some wind credits then Xcel would see that the renewable energy sources stand on their own and that Xcel should provide more of them.

At the time of the legislation, there was excess capacity in the wind farm even though it's only 2% of the state electricity generation. How can a program that provides only 2% be under-subscribed when a ballot measure gets a popular vote by approximately 20% of the state? Basically it's because people are hypocrites or lazy or both. note: I got to 20% based upon ~60% of people in favor and ~30% voter turnout.

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Advice for small ISVs and Scumbucket Investment Bankers

I stumbled upon this article yesterday and it's a good read. Basically, Eric Sink, who founded a small ISV (Independent Software Vendor) writes about life as a small ISV and why you should make lots of mistakes, just not any fatal mistakes. ISV's are small to medium businesses - maybe somewhere between 2 and 200 people and they create applications to sell to other people.

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How to uninstall/re-install new pedals on your bike

We got new pedals for our bikes (road and mountain) and installing them was a real pain in the ass.

Attempt one - regular 15mm wrench

I didn't have a good 15mm wrench, so we went to the bike shop and they had pedal wrenches and regular wrenches - the regular wrench set was on sale so we got that. I think at that point I just got lucky because I got the pedals off of my road bike - great. Then I started working on Nikki's road bike and had no success.

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Drupal Fun at the Shell

So, if you have Drupal installed and maybe even configured and now you're saying hey, what database do all of my installations use? Are my settings files secure?

Well, you already know that I love DreamHost because of the shell access and why?

Well, fun stuff like this!

Drupal's Scripts

There's a few fun examples in the base directory of your drupal install in the scripts folder. code-clean.sh will get rid of backup files and clean up the code. There are also examples of scripts to use to call the site's cron script (you are doing that, aren't you? here's why you should) Lots of fun examples in that scripts directory.

A little database security

Let's say you have a bucket of domains hosted on the same account so they are all in the same home directory and you just realized that your settings.php files are readable by other people with shell access (permissions of 644) which is necessary on many shared hosting accounts because of the way they run PHP, but not necessary on DreamHost using php running as your user. If someone has the information in your settings.php file, they could get into your mysql database with some decent privileges. Yikes! So, just use this one liner to find those files, and chmod them down to something more reasonable like 600.

Find the files and list the permissions:

find ./ -name 'settings.php' -exec ls -l {} \;

And then to tighten down those permissions:


find ./ -name 'settings.php' -exec chmod 600 {} \;

Great! Security, and only one line of commands.

To break down what's happening in that line, I use the find command to find files. ./ is expanded by the shell to look for anything in the form {stuff}.{stuff} such as "knaddison.com" so that it looks in all the directories that correspond to domains. I have lots of other directories in my home folder, but I know I don't need to search those so I don't want to waste my computer's time. Next, I use the -name flag to only look for the file called "settings.php". Fair enough. Then, I use the "exec" command to call chmod.

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