Welcome to the Land of Micromania!

(A tall gringo sticking out like a sore thumb in Machu Picchu, Peru)
Other pictures from the Great Peruvian Excursion of 2007
Wow--doesn't seem like so long ago...that was a really fun trip, and I recommend that if you can, you visit Peru.

This is the corner of cyberspace inhabited by Terrell Prude' Jr., Steve Walker, and our friends.  We use it to host email and Web service for certain people that we think are cool.  While this is primarily Terrell's site, Steve makes very frequent use of it.  We met while working at the Microsoft Corporation several years back and have been friends since.

A message from your host

Well, dudes and dudettes, I'm from San Francisco, California, in the United States.  I'm very much a social liberal.  I'm a geek.  I've traveled to quite a few countries.  I am a proud card-carrying member of both the Free Software Foundation (FSF) and the Virginia Citizens Defense League (VCDL), a pro-Second Amendment organization.  I'll bet you don't see that combination everyday.  :-)

Waitasec...how could a San Francisco liberal like me agree with a pro-Second Amendment group?  The FSF, sure, but a GUN RIGHTS group??  Well, I am a member of both organizations precisely because I am a liberal.  Both organizations fight for our freedom, including my freedom to be the liberal that I am.   I encourage you to read this paper, written by me.  It is because very brave people were willing to fight for freedom--and black people especially should remember this!--that there could be a "President Obama" at all.  Think about it...the first Black President of the United States--first elected in 2008 and re-elected in 2012--was made possible because some exceedingly brave people stood up to tyranny, over a lot of years.  That freedom--precious freedom--is maintained only by a citizenry that can fight back if necessary.  Just ask any survivor of Auschwitz (yes, there are still some alive today).  Just ask this guy's family.  And then, ask this guy's family. 

There's a very good reason that many Jewish people have the motto, "Never again!"

For exactly the same reasons, I'm a Free Software advocate and have been "Microsoft Free Since 2003", as my email signature sometimes says.  Free Software is not just technically excellent--though it surely is that--but it is also a form of exercising and demanding your right to basic civil freedoms.  It's much more than just "open source."

For quite a few years, I was a fan of LTSP, especially in education.  I am also a minor warrior in the fight against email spam and have written an article or two on the subject. 

Inexpensive Computers That Are Actually Good

The Raspberry Pi
Given the existence of the Raspberry Pi, which I think is terrific, it is now true that anyone can afford a computer.  There are now even versions of the Raspberry Pi with enough CPU and DRAM to act as a full-fledged, small desktop computer.  The whole intent was to be just that, especially for education, and kudos to the Raspberry Pi team for such a smashing success.

Yes, I do have a Raspberry Pi.  Yes, it does run Free Software, in this case, GNU/Linux.  :-)

ZaReason Computer Systems
If you're looking for something with a little more power, then you should check out ZaReason.   They provide high-quality computers, for a price that won't break your bank, that are also virtually immune to viruses, worms, etc.

Personally, I build all my own desktop PC's, so I know what hardware goes in there, and to avoid the "Microsoft tax", since I don't use that company's OS's at home.

That said, while I personally have way too many computers already (what true geek doesn't?), if I needed, say, a laptop, I'd certainly buy a computer from them.  Yes, they run GNU/Linux...and yes, they're rock-solid.

Articles by me

Technical Articles:

Reducing Spam with OpenBSD and spamd (Part 1 of a 2-part series)
Installing and Configuring OpenBSD spamd (Part 2 of a 2-part series)
Watching DVDs on any GNU/Linux Distribution-HOWTO
GNU/Linux on the desktop--one MCSE's experiences
The OLPC "Controversy" regarding wireless chipset documentation

RHEL/CentOS 6 STIG Script:

I wrote this because I got sick and tired of spending three and a half hours per box to lock it down. At the time, not only had NSA/DISA not devised a STIG script, but there wasn't even a NIST document for RHEL 6 yet!

Therefore, I decided to write one. :-)

In so doing, I used NIST's public SNAC guide for RHEL 5 to tell me which CVE's to address, and I adapted that information for RHEL/CentOS 6. My development machine was CentOS 6, since that's where I prototype, but--as you might expect-- it also has been tested and, by design, works just as well on RHEL 6.

The design is as follows. First, you use the KickStart script to do the initial partitioning and OS installation. Then, after installation, you run the lockdown script to finish the securing of the OS. This is a standard BASH script.

By the way, both components of this STIG script are hereby licensed under the GNU GPL, version 3 or, at your option, any later version as published by the Free Software Foundation.

The KickStart Script; this does the initial installation
The Post-Reboot Lockdown Script; run this immediately after installation via the KickStart script

And here's a page describing it in a bit more detail.

STIG Script for RHEL/CentOS 6

Other, socially-oriented, stuff:

The Supposed Acute Black Male Shortage
How to Get and Keep a Good Man
Will White Women Vote for a Black Man for President?
The Continuing Hatred of Successful Black Men By Feminist White Women
The True Meaning of the Second Amendment
Why We Need to Welcome Liberals to the Cause of the Second Amendment

Strongly Recommended Reading

This is Thomas Jefferson's early draft of that great foundation document of the United States, the Declaration of Independence. This early draft better reflects the heated emotion and bitter disappointment of the Founding Fathers in the behaviour of the British government toward them. It gives context to the final version, which is what most people have read.

The Declaration of Independence - Jefferson's Early Draft

This is a piece written by Kaili Joy Gray for the Daily Kos, intended for social liberals, explaing her reasons why we should care about our Second Amendment rights just as much as we care about the rest of the Bill of Rights. It is similar in spirit to a piece that I wrote about a year and a half before (see above), and it is definitely recommended reading.

Why Liberals Should Love The Second Amendment

This is an article by Dave Gutteridge describing why so many people continue to use MS Windows, Dreamweaver, and other proprietary software. It's because it's still so easy to pirate it. Despite some press releases to the contrary, Microsoft doesn't really want to stop piracy. Highly recommended reading; Mr. Gutteridge clearly gets it. I have seen exactly the same thing here in the United States that he aparently is seeing in Japan.

Why So Many People Continue with Proprietary Software--One Major Factor

This is a piece by R. Scott Belford, Founder and Director of the Hawaii Open Source Education Foundation (HOSEF).  As one who deals with schools a lot, he has noticed an interesting phenomenon that he calls "OPM Addiction," especially in public schools.  I had heard this term many times from my Dad growing up.  It dovetails very nicely with Dave Gutteridge's article.

This is something that we, as taxpayers, need to hold our school boards accountable for.

"OPM Addiction" in Public Schools

This article by Richard Stallman describes the dangers in succumbing to the above.  The issue is "social inertia," as Stallman describes it, and he nails human nature spot-on.  He describes perfectly why so many people casually pirate software.  Microsoft counts on this "social inertia" to keep its monopoly.  We must fight this.  Using GNU/Linux or a BSD operating system (e. g. OpenBSD) is one very effective way to do so.

Overcoming Social Inertia

Michael Robertson, of Linspire (nee Lindows) and MP3.com fame, did a great piece on why OEM's continue to blare "we recommend Microsoft Whatever" on their Web sites.  It's not because Microsoft software is better (it's not).  Rather, it's because of annual kickbacks and "co-marketing dollars" that Microsoft gives to these big OEM's like HP, Dell, Gateway, etc.  It's much like how big-money lobbyists in the United States donate to both the Democratic and Republican parties.  The implied threat is, "if you don't tow our line, we'll cut off our money supply--but only to you, not your competitors--and you'll thus lose in the election/marketplace."  Hmm...sounds a lot like OPM Addiction....

The real reason OEM's keep saying "we recommend Microsoft"

Other stuff that I find interesting

The Linux Terminal Server Project (LTSP).  This is how most businesses should be setting up their LAN's.   Security, control, and productivity go way up, all while maintaining user-friendliness and considerably reducing costs.

The K12 Linux Terminal Server Project (originally K12LTSP, now called K12Linux).  

The goal of this project was to turn one relatively powerful server computer into essentially a new-and-improved X-terminal server, using older computers as the X-terminals.  It was the educational version of the Linux Terminal Server Project (LTSP).  This was a great way for schools to set up their computer labs.  It was a turnkey LTSP setup, using first Red Hat Linux, then Fedora, and finally CentOS.  The CentOS version, with its Long-Term Support, is what I generally implemented, and it was quite successful.

Later developments such as desktop computers getting less expensive, and especially the Raspberry Pi, essentially made K12LTSP no longer necessary, and further development on the project has been discontinued.  It remains, though, a testament to the benefits of Free Software. 

The OpenBSD Project.  This is my primary tool against email spammers. With OpenBSD, I have achieved a 99.5% spam rejection rate. This is just with OpenBSD's spamd program; it's so effective that I do not currently use SpamAssassin or any other server-side tools.  Despite the project leader's well-known acidity, the OpenBSD team's commitment to Free Software, security, and open specifications cannot be denied.  Through their amazing work, they have helped the online community immensely.

The LibreOffice Suite.  Formerly known as OpenOffice.org, this is Free Software's answer to Microsoft Office.  Available for GNU/Linux, MS Windows, Mac OS X, and the BSD's,, LibreOffice is a true drop-in replacement for Microsoft Office.  For years, I used it at work all the time with all my MS Office-using colleagues, and they had no idea that I'm using "something different."  It's that seamless.  At work, the job provides MS Office, so I have a direct comparison every day.  I haven't used MS Office at home in years...I haven't had to.

Why Dell, Apple, and others don't include LibreOffice as an option for preinstallation, even on their Microsoft Windows preinstalls, is really beyond me.

The Mozilla Firefox Web Browser.  This is the browser that everybody should be using, especially Microsoft Windows users.  Internet Exploder, and its follow-on, Microsoft Edge (Internet Exploder by another name), is just too insecure and is a vector for far too many malware attacks.  Google's Chrome isn't bad.  But Firefox is fast, more secure, and has NoScript available for it.  Firefox + NoScript is about as good as it gets, generally.

The Mozilla Thunderbird Email Client.  This is my favorite email client, not only because it works exceedingly well, but also because its junk mail filter is the best client-side junk filter I've seen yet.  In my case, it doesn't get very much exercise anymore, thanks to the OpenBSD spamtrap mentioned previously.  But it remains top-notch.

The GNU Project.  Without the GNU Project, started by Richard M. Stallman, the Free Software Movement as we know it would not exist.  I thank him and the FSF every day that I use a computer.  In January 2007, I finally joined the FSF as a card-carrying member, and I am firmly behind the new GNU General Public License, Version 3.  If we don't fight for and defend our basic civil freedoms, including those involving computers and technology, then we deserve what we get.

The Bill of Rights.   It seems that every time a new administration gets into office, our Constitutional rights come under fire.  With the George W. Bush Administration, it was our First and Fourth Amendment rights.  With the Bill Clinton Administration before that, it was our Second and Ninth Amendment rights.  And both the Democrats and Republicans always seem to want to ignore the Tenth Amendment.  Do these "lawmakers" even bother to read the Constitution that they swore to defend and uphold?

Contact Information: Please feel free to email me at microman at (the domain name for this Web site).

Use LibreOffice    GNU GPL v3    Powered by Apache OpenBSD--Free, Functional, and Secure    Raspberry Pi    Virginia Citizens Defense League

We don't like spammers. This is a spamtrap for any spammers and bots.