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Don't be a Monkey! 

Another Chimp, Chump?

I do get SO tired of the monkey-shine. (No, this time I will not treat you to yet-another politically-incorrect pseudorant on neo-politico-religious values. Un-uha.)

What has gotten my goat during lunch today is yet another clueless company. This one, a computer consulting firm: They are using a 'webco that is trying to fool us into giving them our personal information.

And what could be more personal with our email address, than our very-own computer's IP address? -All just sitting ripe and ready in the html server-logs; Combined with any seemingly anonymous data we might foolishly provide to them, poised for yet another denial of service attack, mindless email marketing campaign, or perhaps even a web-mail-cookie email invasion?

Yawn, yawn, yawn ... !

Since the time of 9600 BPS modems, most of us geeky-folk have know that, whenever we create an HTML link (aka: "anchor"), that we have to supply both a "link", and the "human-viewable" part.


<a href="">You only see this part</a>

What is so annoying about the abuse of this seemingly innocent convention today is that whenever you click on 'You only see this part', the computer gets the 'my_code_to_id_you' 'stuff sent to it.

What is the point?

For decades we have all know that if anyone chooses to click-on such a emailed link, that by using a unique my_code_to_id_you value, that we can instantly know that YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS has done so. All I need do is generate a unique number, and use it as the URL suffix, as shown above.


What gets me whenever I see things like the following so often today - is just how stupid do they think we are?

I mean, it is bad enough that they are so DECEITFULLY trying to pull the wool over our eyes. --But by pretending that the HUMAN readable part is just any plain-old URL - and that (who, me?) it is going to make NO attempt to associate your personal information with their innocent fact-finding attempt... just plain 'old makes me sick.

Ho well. On a scale of 1 to 10 on the annoyance meter, this is probably a clear five... but, by way of the final insult, guess what the name of the offending webco is calling itself?


Yup - Unreal, no?

So do yourself a favor: Always check your URLs' before clicking them. --Don't let the link banana-chasers make yet-another monkey, out of you!


-R.A. Nagy

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Cosmos Screen Saver 


Ah, for the days of Carl Sagan - when the threat of national socialism, global warming, and removing funding from the arts and sciences seemed to be a problem for a republic far, far, away...

While this note has absolutely nothing to do with the late, great cosmic scientist (you know - the one who made billions & billions, only to become affectionately know to Mac developers as "BHA"?), the household conversion from Microsoft Windows to Linux brought such thoughts to mind when passers-by began to comment on this marvelously-named, free screensaver.


The pictures included with the Cosmos screen-saver are wonderful. So too are the pictures circulated by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. While bringing both together seems like a natural thing to do, there is simply no documentation on how to do this.

So here it is:

Enjoying Billions & Billions of Pictures

First, consider signing-up to the NASA News Services (last seen at the NASA Web Site, note that we can also browse & download stellar pictures from there directly, too.)

Save your favorites to a common location. Any folder / directory will do.

Next, set the permissions of the Cosmos folder to something like

sudo chmod 777 /usr/share/backgrounds/cosmos

(did I ever mention that we switched from Centos to Ubuntu? ...If you are not on a similar, then feel free to drop the sudo.)

Then locate & open the Cosmos configuration file (you might even want to put a link to /usr/share/backgrounds/cosmos on your desktop)


(aka /usr/share/backgrounds/cosmos/background-1.xml)

Finally, edit the XML to include the picture(s) you would like to display.

Cosmos XML

While adding too many files will certainly be a painstaking process, here is what a new entry for background-1.xml might look like (apparently Cosmos scripts can be timed - feel free to experiment with creating additional xml file names):


Also, when adding a new picture to Cosmos, note that we are editing a chain of pictures. To insert the latest cosmic work-of-art, merely (1) locate where in the chain you want your new picture to appear, then (2) add an entry in-between (or at the beginning or end) of the Cosmos picture chain.

Once you have given yourself access to the cosmos directory, you can store your pictures there, too. Just dropping your 'pix there will allow them to be randomly displayed.


Of course, in addition to snaps of the galaxy's breathtaking beauty, we can add other types of pictures to Cosmos, too. --Just be sure that the pix from your last family reunion are out-of-this-world.


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