Unbiased Corona Virus (COVID-19) Resources

Some of my observations have compelled me to make this post. The bottom line is that the American media is failing us on COVID-19 coverage because it can’t get past partisanship.

The right-wing media is trying to tell you that it’s all been blown out of proportion and there is nothing to worry. The left-wing media is fixated on how severely Trump has failed/is failing at his handling of this pandemic. Neither is helpful.

The solution is to arm yourself with as much information as you can and form your own opinions.

I created a bookmark folder called COVID-19 and stuck these links in it. Now I just right-click -> open all in new tabs and read all of the sources.

These are some of the better links.

Real Resources:
https://www.arcgis.com/apps/opsdashboard/index.html… (Johns Hopkins Multi-Source map)
https://www.who.int/…/novel-coronavirus-…/situation-reports/ (W.H.O SITREPs)

National Mainstream Media:
These are biased, but if you remember that when consuming their news you should be okay. Don’t just read the sources with views that politically align with yours. It’s important to know how others are thinking about this to better understand their behavior and prepare yourself.


Be sure to bookmark your state’s web site as well as local government and local channels news.

New layout

My friend, Andrew, will be assisting me with the new design and layout.  He was my partner in crime in the creation of metaguard, membrane and metazoa.

He said that he will begin work on during the Thanksgiving break.  Although it just occurred to me that he lives in Canada.  I didn’t realize that people from Canadia [sic] celebrated Thanksgiving. 🙂


Last night Gryphn and I spent a long time setting up an OS on her new server.  We attempted a bunch of different ones failing to get the Perc3 to work with a few of the distros.  I finaly downloaded the Suse FTP Boot Iso from linuxuso.org and installed it.  Its a very well developed, solid, easy and stable OS.  It reminded me alot of a less buggy redhat.  I sware I saw some SELinux bits as well as chroot stuff.  I guess (according to the suse site) that they have a pretty good firewalling system.  I have yet to play with it. 

I 'll let everyone know how it goes.


Man, It’s a beautiful night, I have both windows in my office open with a nice cool cross breeze. Drinking an awesome white ale, listening to loud tiesto and other misc chill and trance music and coding my brains out.
This update mechanism has been hurting my head for a while now but I think I have a concept that should work. I have never had to write an auto update mechanism for any of my web apps so this was a learning experience. I ‘m taking a bit of a linux/cvs approach and allowing for multiple “builds”. Edge, stable and current.
Its going to be soooo nice once its all done. We already have about 8 sites running metazoa even though its still under constant pre-beta development… So updates are a bitch. This will be awesome once its done! 🙂

American Made Cars

The other day I swore I would never purchase another new car because of how quickly they drop in value.  Last night wile playing at The Kelley Blue Book site I made an intereresting discovery… Only american cars values drop like boulders in a lake. 🙂

My hatred for american cars has grown over the years and this only feeds it.

Case in point…

BMW 325i
2004 Retail: 28,495
2000 Retail: 20,735
4 year depreciation : 7,760

2004 Retail: 27,570
2000 Retail: 11,635
4 year depreciation : 15,935

2004 Retail: 26,510
2000 Retail: 14,920
4 year depreciation : 11,590

I will let the numbers speak for themselves.

Linux Intro

A long time friend and colege (and MCSE and long time MS Advocate) recently asked me via email what the best choice of Linux/Unix distros are for someone interested in learning.

With the proliferation of distributions available I would imagine this is a pretty intimidating decision for someone starting out so I took a little bit of time to craft my answer.  Here it is for all who are intersted…

Hi, it was good to see you guys too.  We should do that more often. 🙂


Congrats on the choice to investigate the *nix world. Its not really hard at all, just a completely different way of thinking about things.  Once people get over the initial shock of it being so different the learning curve gets tiny. 🙂


As to a specific distro, it all depends on what you are looking for.  FreeBSD Unix is pretty popular right now.  In a recent article on slashdot (http://slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=04/02/21/142239&mode=thread) it is said to be (statistically) one of the most secure OS ' around.  OpenBSD is also bunched in with this figure I believe.  OpenBSD is built for security.  It makes an awesome firewall/router and because of the way PF (its firewall implementation, packet filter) is set up it will act as a router for a large network on a P1 with very little RAM.  OpenBSD has AMAZING online documentation and help, but is a very different install than any other unix or linux flavors.  By default Bind, Apache and Logd are chrooted.  This can cause problems to someone who is new to unix as its very hard to work with in some cases.  Especially any sort of virtual hosting on a chrooted apache box.  Ick.


The linuxes are in a strange place right now. Before RedHat anouced the retirement of the free basic RedHat OS they where the best choice for any business related linux implementations.  They had the biggest hardware and software support.  Most of the large computer manufacturers (Dell, HP and so forth) where all making servers with RedHat on them by default.  Then they announced they where switching to the Enterprise (pay) model and have a developer ver (fedora) available.  Now everyone who was using it is scrambling to find a new distro. 


For the raw configurability of it I like Gentoo.  Gentoo-Hardended specifically.  It uses the NSA 's SELinux permissions system, Pro Police Stack Smashing protection (if an overflow existed in code this should stop it from being exploitable) and a ton more.  Its a good solid OS.

Debian has wide speedy support is becoming one of the most popular free distros.  Its Apt-Get package system is great and allows you to set up OS and software updates via a scheduled command (Cron Job).


Gryphn and I just installed Suse a day or two ago on one of her mighty dell servers.  So far I -REALLY- like it.  Its very similar to redhat and even uses the RedHat Package Management system.  Its very easy and is available both free and commercially.  Although we haven 't had much time to give it a thorough evaluation I rather like it.  You can get the remote install cd for free here http://www.linuxiso.org/download.php/499/boot.iso or you can get the “Live eval cd”.  This boots right from the cd and lets you play with it… http://www.linuxiso.org/download.php/491/SuSE-9.0-LiveEval-i386-Int-RC1.iso


LinuxIso.org is a unix geeks best friend.  Download all the distros you want and try em out.  The only cost is that of blank cds and the time it takes to run through the install. 🙂


I hope this helpful, I don 't know your current level with *nix so I may have either spoke down to you or up to you.  Sorry. 🙂


I think the best choices to learn on would be either Debian or Suse (suses install was cake) and if you like what you see try OpenBSD or FreeBSD.  They all have different things going for them so its not always cut and dry which one to get/use.  It all depends on how you want to implement it.


Let me know if you have any other questions.  I love talking unix. 🙂

ColdFusion7 BlackStone

Tonight I went to Mid-Michigan ColdFusion Users Group meeting to see Ben Forta speak on ColdFusion 7 CodeName: BlackStone.

First off, an update to MX6.1 is due out (circa) this fall. It will include the 60+ bug fixes that have been released as individual patches as well as a rewritten database engine. The new engine slated for release in BlackStone but was deemed too cool to wait on.

Now onto BlackStone… this is an upgrade that everyone is going to want to budget for. 🙂 The added functionality and enhancements cover so much of ColdFusion that it will have something that everyone can appreciate at some level.

Here are my notes from the presentation.

It will contain some “data entry enhancements”. CFFORM will have a format=”” attribute. When you set it to xform it will become a “sinkable form”. All you code are a bunch of form fields and it does the rest. The skins will be .XSL files (XML Style Sheets). I can 't wait to see what people do with this and download them from the Macromedia Developer Exchange.

CFSELECTGROUP will be added. This will allow grouping of datasets for use in trees, drop downs and whatever else you use grouping for.


Now this is cool stuff! CFGRID and CFTREE will have new format=”” parameters that will allow you use flash. The flashed tree and grid are far more usable than the current java ones and a lot prettier. With CFFORM you can code all of your fields and leave all the display crap out (again). Using format=”flash” on CFFORM will now return a flashed form complete with some awesome real time input validation and awesome possibilities for forms morphing and changing based on earlier user input. A great example of this used by Ben Forta was having a first and last name text box side by side with an email text box with a value of “@macromedia.com” sitting underneath it. As he typed in his first name it was dynamically showing up in the email textbox as ben@macromedia.com. Doing something in similar in java script would be messy at best.

I saw at least one new cfform field type that is going to be introduced called dateChooser. It.s a nice little pop up calendar that will allow a user to click ran than having to type a date in (in whatever format the coder wants).


This is a family of tags that will allow you to dynamically output content into a PDF or FlashPaper. It contains a cfdocument item tag that will allow you to do things like a page break or headers and footers. It also introduces the new cfdocument. Scope. It has neat things such as currentPageNumber and so forth.



This is a neat one. 🙂 It will allow you generate reports of many different kind. It has a (currently) external program called “Coldfusion Report Builder” that has an interface very similar to that of MS Access ' report maker. When you use CFREPORT you simply point to the file generated in report builder and BLAMO.. Instant report. Did I just say “Blamo”?

You will be able to package your applications in an EAR, JAR or WAR file for distribution and deployment. It will contain a complete runtime version of CF as well as your application and all datasources, mappings, registered tags and so forth. You can then move that file to any Java compliant web server (aren 't they all these days?) and your app will run. It will ask for a cf license key of course… But it will run, without having to install cf.

Dreamweaver is being tweaked and will have a lot more useful CF wizards including a login mechanism and a next – previous generator.

Details on this are sketchy and we had to push Ben to get the info… But…. HomeSite may be phased out at some point to be replaced with something else. A new product. Not dreamweaver. 🙂 I 'm not sure what to expect with this and I think Ben (or Macromedia) wanted it that way. 🙂

Xmas, New Years and the sickness

I had a good xmas!  It involved a lot of traveling around to relatives houses, but it wasnt half bad.  Tonight I going to Gryphn 's parents house for a Bowl party.

Gryphn graduated from Nebraska and her Dad got his masters from MSU so it should be interesting to see the two battle it out in the Alamo Bowl.  Even though I worked at MSU I 'm going to remain nuteraul.

I decided to get off my rump and start studying for security certifications.  I may start easy and go hard or the other way around.  I 'm not sure but I 'm sure I will share my expereince with everyone.

I 'm getting sick.  Stuffy and runny nose.  Cough, watery eyes and some times I feel all dizzy.  It sucks, but its not too bad yet.  Im going to keep my self dosed on cold medicine and vitimins and hope for the best.

Best anti-crap software

If anyone has any suggestions on software that I should check out or review please post a comment.  Here is the stuff that I currently use and will review.

SpyWare and MalWare: adAware
PopUps: Alexa ToolBar
Spam: SpamAssassin (server side)
AntiVirus: None

If an all in one solution exists I would love to hear it.  Also let me know if you would like reviews of client side firewall software (like Black Ice).