UPS monitoring for Linux via Python: ups_control

hacks, open source, education

If you, like me, run a Linux box on a UPS and have to use the largely featureless genericups driver that ships with NUT, have no fear... Python is here.

Guillaume Savary has written a pretty sophisticated python application, ups_control, that monitors your UPS and then emails you when it has an on-battery or low-battery event. In the latter case or when it's been on battery for too long, it also shuts your system down after sending you a friendly email.

Note: on our FC4 system, we had to change gprintf in the ups_control file to printf before it would work. I guess I should write a patch that handles that, right? Sure thing... (this is a patch to the ups_control Makefile):

http://www.josephhall.org/patches/ups_control-gprintf.1.7.1.patch.txt

A quick

patch < ups_control-gprintf.1.7.1.patch.txt

in the unpacked ups_control directory should do it (do this before you run make install).

Seriously... WTF... Seriously

wtf?

(Warning... this is maximally artsy... Like "Bjork and other artists on a whaling ship with a large vaseline sculpture" artsy)

http://www.apple.com/trailers/independent/drawingrestraint9/

RSI is back... but I'm prepared

berkeley, friends, exercise

So, my RSI is back in full effect. I took Judd's advice and purchased some wrist braces that I can wear at night and during the day when it gets really bad.

I've heard from Karl that David Wagner (friend and ACCURATE PI) had a screensaver that locks him out of his computer ever hour or so for a number of minutes. This forces him to get up and walk around and stretch (check out some of these nifty stretches from the RSI page). Well, I found such a thing for the Mac: AntiRSI. It forces you to take micro-breaks and then longer breaks (all configurable and postpone-able, of course). I'm sure Wagner uses a Windows PC version of the same... send me email if you happen to know of Linux/BSD/etc. or Windows PC versions of this class of programs.

Check out this desk stretch poster.

Chris Anderson: "The Elephant in the Long Tail"

copyright, chilling effects, berkeley, policy, legal, podcasts

Link: http://groups.ischool.berkeley.edu/podcast/audio/Chris_Anderson_Boalt_16Mar2006.mp3

<img src="http://josephhall.org/nqb2/media/chris_anderson1.jpg" alt="image of Chris Anderson at Boalt Hall" image" align="left" border="0" hspace="5"/> Chris Anderson, Editor-in-Chief of Wired magazine, gave the first-ever Boalt.org/BCLT breakfast lecture entitled, "The Elephant in the Long Tail". Chris allowed me to record the audio; you can listen to the mp3.

What is the elephant in the long tail room? Well, it's rights and clearing rights. That is, you can graph many markets where you see the power law characteristic of Chris' long tail argument and many have truncated tails. For example, if you graph the box office return of the last three year's of movies in ranked order, you see a dramatic drop off. Why is that? Because you quickly run out of screens (the US market is saturated at about 300 movies per year; there are roughly 13,000 movies made each year). It the movie case, this is due to running out of screens to show movies on. If you distribute movies via the internet, you have many many more screens at your disposal. This is evidenced by graphing iTunes tracks by number of downloads vs. rank; even the 800,000th track on iTunes gets downloaded once per month.

Chris argued that a lot of the long tail is now being produced by individuals or artists that don't but into the strong proprietary rights model that makes the "hits" so successful. Unfortunately, for small-budget music and movies, it often costs orders of magnitude more money to clear the rights for ancillary artwork used in their works. Television, Anderson claims, is ground zero of this dilemma. The show WKRP in Cincinnati is a classic example because it was a sitcom about a music radio station; there is no way that you'll ever see WKRP on DVD because of the logistical and financial nightmare associated with clearing the rights for the music that is in the background.

As for solutions, it's clear that legislation is very unlikely to happen given the power of the content lobby. Practically, 12 people could solve this problem (the heads of BMI/ASCAP and major labels to start) if they got together and created their own policy. Anderson hoped that there would be some smart student that comes up with a solution that will solve this. So do I.

image of Chris Anderson at Boalt Hall
image of boalt.org folks

Bye Bye Comments and Trackbacks...

blogging

Alas, poor Comments and Trackbacks, I knew thee well.

UPDATE [2006-03-21T19:53:48]: Well, I surprised by how many people have said they would like to comment on my blog (even if they never have). So, I'll selectively enable comments on some posts (but I will close comments on posts after a certain amount of time).

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