Friday, January 28, 2011

federal spending freeze

i hate the fact that the current administration is turning me into one of "those people", who are always angry.

the gov't has created a spending freeze for 5 years, via the recommendation of our President.  this was done all in the name of getting spending under control.

that is one of the stupidest things i've ever heard.

we can spend tons of money on people for social services, and get absolutely nothing for return.  or we can spend on our current infrastructure, where each agency and department has an actual product or service to deliver.  the gov't wants to chose the first.

our agency ran on the same annual budget for around 5 years, finally getting a lift a few years ago.  now, we are having to cut.  the room i am sitting in right now had 4 more engineers in it a year ago than it does right now (really, it is like 6 or 7, as a few people have accepted gov't jobs, and the contractors could not backfill).  people are leaving, and there is no money left to replace them.  management seems almost relieved when someone goes, as they are clearing up some cap space.

legacy systems must be kept running.  we are performing a massive overhaul to our hardware, and the subsequent software to be used is running through huge upgrades as well.  we will have to deploy people to test on site, and will inevitably have problems.  but our budget is being cut.  the gov't wants us to provide more service (not the same service, but more) for less money.

instead, we are spending money on keeping old, retired, useless people alive longer.  we are spending money on people who don't want to work.  i have family members that never graduated high school, much less college, and they are doing just fine.  why?  because they aren't lazy, and they want to work.  you can find work if you really want it.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

user admin in linux

where i work, we currently ship our linux software to independent sites around the US.

the sites need a way to configure their users for these systems.  they need to be able to add and delete users, as well as reset and change passwords.

there are two ways of doing this: add user management into your software itself, and run everything within the OS as one main user, or use OS users, and let the OS do the work.

i prefer the second option, which is what i am going to discuss here.

now, you have 3 options of letting the OS do the work.  you can:
  • simply let the root account do all of the admin (via logging into root)
  • let the users themselves perform the user admin via sudo.  this would require a cleverly constructed sudoers list, where you give passwd, useradd, and userdel access to a specific group of users or groups.
  • use the sticky bit in linux, perform a setuid, and still let the normal users perform the admin.  this isn't much different than the second option, other than it would require the end users to know the root password if they want to do any user admin.  then, in your code, once you have the root password from the user, you change your userid, execute the command, and change the uid back.
i prefer the second way of doing it.  it requires less people to have access to the root account/password, and we can restrict things very nicely in the sudoers file.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

health care

there are a lot of proponents for free health care.

i am not one of them.

it's not from a republican or democrat standpoint or loyalty (i can't stand either party).  it is from the fact that the entire concept is stupid.  if public health care were a stock, no one would buy it.  and obama's current plan is a worse idea that free health care for everyone.

looking at what i pay in medicare and medicaid now (and projected earnings), i will pay around $75k-$100k over the course of my career to public health care.  my wife, who has worked for 5 or so years now (making under $50k a year) will be coming home soon to be a stay at home mom, meaning she will have paid hardly anything ($5k tops).  when i turn 65, i am a simple surgery, some medication, and a few doctors visits away from eating up the entire amount that i paid in.  add in my wife, and boom, the system is definitely going negative (assuming we live that long).

i have a grandmother who had a $100k quadruple bypass surgery when she was around 70 years old (she was always thin and healthy.  just one of those things).  she never worked a day in her life, and is a housewife and [was] a stay at home mom, and has been since she graduated from college.  she's a great example of why this system is broke.  her decision to stay home has done nothing more than cost the american taxpayer a crapload of money.

the problem with obama's plan is that it is a huge tax on the middle class, and is being used to pay for the lower class.  supposedly 30 million americans are without insurance (number thrown around before he passed it).  that still means 270 million have insurance.  even if you bump the number up to 50 and 250, most people are covered.  considering we have an illegal immigrant population of around 20 million, we are talking about 5-10%, which is about right.

to pay for these uninsured people, obama is digging deep into the deficit, and then forcing the middle class to pony up.  the thing that immediately hit me was the gutting of the "cafeteria plan" option that most companies provide.  this was a way for people to pay for medications, ointments, and general aid, and to do so in a pretaxed way.  you could buy your asperin, contact solution, diapers...almost anything found in a pharmacy..., and do so pretaxed.  not any more.  now, it only pays for medications, and it doesn't even cover most over the counter meds, even if they are prescribed (i had an over the counter ointment prescribed to me, and only 1 pharmacy in 20 miles had it, and it still wasn't covered).  it wasn't too bad for me.  but my friend who has 4 kids took a massive hit.  with the amount of prescriptions he had for his kids, his and his wife's prescriptions, braces for his kids, and everything else in between, he took a massive pay cut due to the gutting of the cafeteria plan.

most people have a basic threshold of living.  by that, i mean that a family's food, gas, utilities, basic clothing, basic mortgage, and car payments will never dip below a certain point.  granted, the sky is the limit on spending, but there is a basic number that each family lives by; an amount of money required to live before the extras get paid for.  for most in the lower and middle class, this means that the ability to obtain wealth is not an option, as most of a family's income goes towards paying for daily living.  the rich can easily meet their quota for their bills, and then use the extra money to generate more wealth, or to improve their style of living.  even a slight hit in taxes can be a huge thing for the middle class.

the only reasonable way to pay for everyone's health care is to raise taxes.  a tax raise doesn't hurt the lower class, because they get exempted from taxes.  it doesn't hurt the upper class, because they can afford it (if you make $250k+ a year, a 5% tax doesn't hurt).  but to the middle class, these taxes hurt.  the middle class still has a struggle to meet the needs of their lifestyles, and now they are expected to pony up for those who don't want to work or do well in school.

the problem is, when a tax increase takes place, the middle class feels it the hardest.

i have a friend who grew up very poor (food stamps, donations...).  his siblings floated through high school, dropped out of college, had kids, and are now living on government assistance.  they are/were lazy, and didn't value a better life.  my friend worked hard through school, was valedictorian, graduated from college, and got a good job.  he gets no help from anyone.  yet, with the government assistance, his sisters don't make much less than he does.  he worked hard, and they still get to live a cushioned life because they are lazy.  it's a joke.

we need to quit being so protective in this country.  we have become a nation of sissies.  some people are going to be poor, and it is because of the decisions they made in life.  to pay for health care, and do so responsibly, we need to raise taxes by a lot, and it isn't right.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

new record

i hit a new record today.

this is tricky to write. i have never had more of someone else's vomit on me than what happened today.

3 cans of baby food plus 4 oz of juice, all of which came up as i was holding the baby against me (standing).

it was insane.

in my lifetime, this amount of vomit that was on my person can only be bested on one occasion, and it was my own vomit. i had a very bad reaction from the anesthesia after a major operation, and my first meal after the operation came back up. because i was still very weak and disabled from the surgery, and i was alone in the room, the vomit had nowhere to go but all over the front of my body.

i can now distinctly know the top 2 times i have been vomited on.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

slept through the night

our baby has a lot of trouble sleeping. 

as a newborn, he never liked to take long naps, preferring to sleep in 30 minute increments.  at night, he would wake up every 2-3 hours to eat. 

as an infant, he is still having problems.  he takes 4-5 naps a day, all between 15-30 minutes long (rarely, he will sleep for an hour to 90 minutes).  we put him to bed around 9 oclock, and he has been waking up between 2-4 because he's hungry (we have a fairly skinny baby, who must have a high metabolism.  he still eats every 2-3 hours during the day too!). 

lately, he has been waking up on his own around 5-5:30am.  it has been killing my wife and i.  we can't get any continuous sleep.

but last night, he slept from 9 until 6 oclock this morning.  9 hours straight without waking up.  this means that she got around 7.5 hours of sleep, and i got almost 6 hours of uninterrupted sleep (stayed up later to work).

i feel awesome.  hope he keeps it up!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

my biggest fear

i had the perfect baby boy 5 months ago.

my biggest fear in life is now that something will happen to me before he's old enough to have experienced (and remember) the love i have for him.  i want him to remember me, and have countless memories of me letting him know that he is the success of my life.

my heart is so full of love that life would be a failure for me if he didn't know how much he means to me.

i pray that nothing ever happens.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

my friend was convicted of child porn possession

recently, a friend of mine fell off of the radar for a few weeks. so i texted him and asked him if he was alright, to which he replied that he was not, that some things had happened, and that we should meet to talk about things. he told me that he had spent some time in the psyche ward, and that he was now ok, and that he would fill me in.

we were to have dinner in a few days. needless to say, that whole time, i was constantly wondering what happened. did he cheat on his wife? did he somehow hook up with his step-daughter in a drunken mistake? did he get caught stealing something at a store? did he catch his wife with another man? did he get caught looking at something bad on his computer by his wife?

little did i know it was much worse than all of that. i met him at the table at the restaurant where we made small talk and each ordered a few beers. eventually, he said that the reason he was in the psyche ward was because he attempted to kill himself. when i asked why, he said (after a few moments) that he was going to prison for a while. when i asked why he is going to prison, he (after a few moments and attempts) told me he has an addiction to child porn and had gotten caught by the FBI. a minimum of 5 years in prison.

ulgh. what the hell?

initially, my reaction was for his well being. was he over his suicidal thoughts? how is his wife taking this? what is she going to do? are they going to keep their house? how are his step daughters taking it? what did his family say? what is the court system going to do?....

but after our dinner, the realization of what he had done set in. he was deeply involved in the underground child porn industry. the FBI doesn't put someone away for a minimum of 5 years for something small and stupid. 5 years means you were doing a lot of stuff (he actually plea-bargained his distribution charges down to possession, knocking down the minimum sentence from 20 to 5 years). he was guilty. he was doing a lot of bad stuff. he was actively contributing to the abuse and destruction of children.

it weighed heavily on me for a few days, and i went through a few of the 5 stages of grief. at first, i kind of denied his actions. then the gravity of it hit me. the extreme consequences hit me. this guy is losing at least 5 years, will lose his job (and his access to our industry, as he is also a computer guy), will lose his house (wife can't afford it), and will lose most of his friends. he won't be able to get a job, and everyone will hate him. the idea of that happening to a friend's life was a lot to overcome. he will have to wear the modern day scarlet letter.

but then i began to realize the gravity of the charges. they are so bad. there are really only 3 worse things: physically harming a child, rape, and murder. what he did was up there with those things. child porn. child porn? that is so utterly disgusting that i dont want to think about it. i specifically didn't ask him exactly what he was downloading because i dont want to know. i don't want to know what people are capable of doing to small children.

i told my friend that i would support him. but what does that mean? what does it mean when your friend tells you he is a [soon-to-be] convicted child pornographer, and that you will help to support him through his journey. what does that mean? will i constantly remind him of the importance of therapy? will he want me to keep him away from computers? i want to provide support, but i have no idea to the extent of that support.

and he asked me if i would write him a letter for the court, and i said i would. what will it say? i have no idea. i somewhat want to abandon him as a friend and turn my back on him. but i also want to give him a chance to redeem himself, and give him the chance to write some wrongs. i don't want to condone his actions, but also, he is my friend, and i have the urge to want to stop bad things from happening to him (regardless of what he has done to deserve them).

its a matter of not wanting to illustrate condonement, but not wanting to demand maximum punishment. it's a weird gray area, and i'm not sure how i am going to tread those waters. i don't, in any way, want to be associated with any approval of his actions, but i also am not sure that he deserves to spend the rest of his life in prison. i haven't been asked to write the letter yet, but i'm nervous for when the time comes. what will i say?

it's hard to handle this situation. i feel so bad for this guy's family, but i feel awful for the children who were abused as the source of his entertainment.

what to do...