Fear, Panic and Fake News Spreading on Facebook Like a Virus

How news is degenerating into gossip.

Have you heard the one about ...?Actual partial screenshot of Empire News page taken 23 October 2014

Have you heard the one about …?
Actual partial screenshot of Empire News page taken 23 October 2014

When I was young, I was at a checkout line in a grocery store one day, and I glanced over at the magazine rack to see The Sun newspaper with the headlines along the line of an alien, as in UFO, baby being born by a human mother.  I couldn’t help thinking, “Do people actually buy these types of publications?”  Well, several years later, and I believe they not only buy them but believe them!

Linux Wars and Systemd

Even if you have a point, when does it simply become bickering for bickering’s sake?

Lennart Poettering in 2012, the face of controversy?Photo by Kushal Das, used under CCA-SA

Lennart Poettering in 2012, the face of controversy?
Photo by Kushal Das, used under CCA-SA

systemd is a system and service manager for Linux, compatible with SysV and LSB init scripts. systemd provides aggressive parallelization capabilities, uses socket and D-Bus activation for starting services, offers on-demand starting of daemons, keeps track of processes using Linux control groups, supports snapshotting and restoring of the system state, maintains mount and automount points and implements an elaborate transactional dependency-based service control logic. It can work as a drop-in replacement for sysvinit.

~ systemd, freedesktop.org

I’ve been around *nix systems enough to have gotten a taste of init scripts and silly and arbitrary “system levels” that make little sense, and I’m thankful I don’t have to deal with it all the time.  So, I can relate to the perceived need that System V needs a revamp.  So, it is interesting to me that some of the most vocal dissenters of the replacement systemd claims to be sys admins.  In fact, I have heard the argument that systemd is fine for desktops but not for system administrators so often that it makes my head hurt.

Meditative Monday: Does Facebook Skew the News?

Recent editorial states that Facebook is derailing political news.


I’ve not kept up much with Facebook after leaving it.  However, yesterday The Kernel posted a through provoking post, “How Facebook is wrecking political news“.  To be honest, I believe the author, Aaron Sankin, makes a very good point.

Updates Coming Out of Your Ears!

Several important updates for various pieces of software are being pushed out today.


Yesterday was Microsoft Patch/Update Tuesday, which occurs normally the second Tuesday in the month.  However, I noticed Ubuntu had some updates as well, and there are various Java and Adobe updates that are thrown into the mix.

HP Splits Into … Two HPs?

Is HP divorcing Compaq, or is it really divorcing itself?


Admin Note: I won’t be posting very much over the next couple of weeks, if at all.  Specifically, there will be no Geek Friday articles this or next Friday.

Well, I suppose you’ve heard the news by now, even though for many it isn’t a shocker.  HP is splitting up into two separate companies.  One will be HP Inc., and the other HP Enterprise.  Basically, they are dividing up their enterprise and consumer products.  Their PCs and printers will belong to the latter, whereas their rack and various other services will belong to the former.

Nelnet Is Stupid

Some companies would have made Ernestine proud.

What Nelnet's logo should look like

What Nelnet’s logo should look like

We’re the phone company. We don’t care; we don’t have to.

~ Lilly Tomlin as Ernestine, the telephone operator

You know, some companies really have to try really hard to be so screwed up to piss everyone off and still survive.  It has become clear that the best way to see how messed up a company is is to see how entangled they are with the federal government.  If they are in education, healthcare or finances, they get extra screw-up points.  Nelnet is entangled in both education and finance.

Meditative Monday: Is the Media Overhyping Security Flaws?

News Update: The world has still not come to an end.

The Nothing in the Never Ending Story meant the end of the world

The Nothing in the Never Ending Story meant the end of the world

Apple OS X has a patch out now for the Bash Shellshock bug, in case you weren’t aware.

I don’t want to understate the seriousness of several flaws and problems that have recently occurred in the realm of IT lately, but maybe it is time to step back and take a deep breath of fresh air.  I am not a big fan of people who love to run around with their hair on fire, and part of the problem lies with the media fanning small flames into large infernos.

Geek Friday: Adding Forums to WordPress With bbPress

Should be easy, right?

bbPress logo

bbPress logo

If I were designing a website from scratch and part of the requirements would be to have forums, I’m not so sure I would choose WordPress over Joomla or Drupal.  These alternatives may take more effort to get to how you want the site to look, but both are geared towards that sort of thing.  All three of these are CMS systems, but WordPress still is primarily a blogging platform.  If faced with a forum only model, then phpBB sounds like a good choice.  However, what if you already have an established WordPress site?  That’s where it gets interesting.

The popular go-to software seems to be BuddyPress + bbPress to add forums.  They all used to be under one umbrella, but, for reasons I don’t quite get, they split up the functionality of the forums and the social media aspect.  You can install just bbPress, but you lose the power of group management if you do so.

Are You Affected by the Bash “Shellshock” Bug?

Maybe that isn’t the right question.

An example of a patched bash session

As is too often the case, there is a lot of confusion and such over the latest vulnerability discovered by security experts.  I saw one poor guy try to explain why most Mac OS X users probably were not at high risk, and it quickly became quite a disaster.  Hopefully, this attempt will fare a little better.

NOTE: OS X is another Unix-like operating system, so that is why the other blogger was trying to explain it.

Geek Friday: Installing MediaWiki on CentOS

MediaWiki-logo.png right arrow CentOS logo

I finally got MediaWiki installed in my CentOS virtual machine.  The problem is not that it is difficult to install, it turns out, but rather the problem is that 75% of the installation instructions out there are totally incomplete and misleading!  The installation procedure itself is a bit inflexible, at least compared to something like WordPress, but it is not completely difficult either, which is something you would not know following most installation guides out there.