Trying a different style for this post…
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We held our “Rock Band Night” event tonight. The turnout wasn’t that great, but it’s a long weekend and gorgeous, so we were happy with the people we got. I brought my Xbox VGA cable, so we ran the Xbox into a projector at 1280×1024. We also pulled out an awesome sound system and hooked into that. What made things even more awesome, though, was that we realized that the projector not only has a Computer In, but a Computer Out, which just mirrors the input. So we hooked up a big monitor, and ended up with the band in front of the screen, facing the crowd, as if they were a normal band. That is how you play Rock Band. It was essentially like having a live band performing, minus the actual musical talent. The crowd was also just right, happily listening, periodically singing along, cheering good people and (good-naturedly) heckling those who missed strings of notes.
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While listening, I spoke with a student who works in the admissions office, and she mentioned that she gets asked surprisingly often about video games at Bentley. We talked a bit about what we do, and then she asked if we had a website. We do, but the URL was long. So on a whim, I picked up bsgo.org.
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The process of registering a new domain was interesting. It’s been a while since I went ahead with it. Initially, I inadvertently went to register.com, and merrily proceeded through the registration until it presented me with the total and asked for my credit card information. $79?! It was for a few years, but I forgot that they inexplicably charged a lot. I went to GoDaddy, which charges a more sane rate, but was constantly having to uncheck offers I didn’t want. I wanted to register the domain for one year, not several. I wanted to register bsgo.org, not bsgo.biz and bsgo.info and bsgo.tv. Every time I progressed to the next step, there were more offers for me to turn down.
On the flip side, a couple minutes later, it was live.
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In the process of adding DNS records, I discovered that some of my existing ones seem corrupt / absent. www.ttwagner.com doesn’t resolve to an IP. If you notice any other assorted weirdness, let me know.
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We’d talked before about making the webpage more than a barebones site with a couple of pages. Of course, then we get into all sorts of problems with preserving look and feel, and all that happens if we want to update navigation, etc. So I figured this was a great chance to try out SilverStripe, a spiffy-looking CMS. It looks very promising, although it uses some newer features in PHP that require me to update it, which has given me roundabout cause to do a lot of side-projects. (Like working on moving over to the VPS…)
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I run a mailing list for the club on my machine, using Mailman. It works great, but as I graduate, I want to make sure that they’re not reliant on my server. I intend to keep hosting the list, but I’d hate for critical data to be in the hands of the aging server of someone that doesn’t even go to their school anymore. I wanted to back up the list, but Mailman lacks an “Export list…” feature. (Which annoys me almost enough to want to pick up Python just to add one in?) It turns out that it’s easy, but it took me some poking around.
Mailman, at least on Gentoo, keeps its stuff in /usr/local/mailman. There’s a lists/ folder, with a config.pck that seems to list all the members, as well as all the configuration. This might be good for backing up the list itself, but it’s pretty useless if you just want a list of members to pass on. I figured I could write a script to parse the file and extract the addresses, but I started to Google to see if it was done.
And then I found this page talking about it. And it turns out that there’s a tool to do it included with Mailman, in the bin/ folder. For me, then, /usr/local/mailman/bin/list_lists will list all of the mailing lists on the server. In addition to list_lists, there’s list_members [listname], which will do exactly what I wanted: provide a plain-text list of each member. I then redirected the output to my e-mail address….
./list_members BSGO | mail firstname.lastname@example.org
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I’m back in Ubuntu for the first time in a while, and I’ve got it upgrading in the background to Hardy Heron, the latest build of Ubuntu. I’m hoping that Xen will work in Hardy for me, allowing me to stay in Ubuntu permanently: I have too much Windows stuff I need to access. It’s hardly credible without data, but my dad has told me that he did some benchmarking and found that Windows running as a virtual guest on Linux actually outperforms native Windows in cases where you have a VT-capable chip. So I’m not concerned with performance, as much as whether it’ll work.
I’ve found that, for whatever reason, I’m just more comfortable in Linux than in Windows. As I was upgrading to the latest distribution, the process seemed to be slowing down. So I pulled up a command line and ran iftop, which showed me a list of my active network connections with a visualization of bandwidth on each connection. And little things like my ability to pipe the output of a command to an e-mail. This isn’t to say that one platform is “better” than the other, just that I feel more ‘at home’ when I’m on a Linux machine these days.