SSN Lookup Program

Announcing one of my latest utilities – SSN Lookup Program.

This program displays the state (in America) where the SSN was issued. The program will allow you to enter only the first 3 digits of the SSN – for safety reasons – and display the state.

SSN Lookup – Regular Version

SSN Lookup – iPhone/iPod Touch/iPad Version


Teacher confiscates Linux CD and writes angry letter to founder

In latest news, a teacher in Texas saw a student showing off his Linux LiveCD in action. She was so angry that she not only confiscated his CD but wrote an angry letter to the founder of HeliOS, Ken Starks.
Her letter reads as follows:

Upon looking at his computer, I saw he was giving a demonstration of some sort. The student was showing the ability of the laptop and handing out Linux disks. After confiscating the disks I called a confrence with the student and that is how I came to discover you and your organization. Mr. Starks, I am sure you strongly believe in what you are doing but I cannot either support your efforts or allow them to happen in my classroom. At this point, I am not sure what you are doing is legal. No software is free and spreading that misconception is harmful. These children look up to adults for guidance and discipline. I will research this as time allows and I want to assure you, if you are doing anything illegal, I will pursue charges as the law allows. Mr. Starks, I along with many others tried Linux during college and I assure you, the claims you make are grossly over-stated and hinge on falsehoods. I admire your attempts in getting computers in the hands of disadvantaged people but putting linux on these machines is holding our kids back.

Ms. Teacher, first of all, conference is spelt as “conference” and not “confrence”.

Next, how do you assume that no software is free? Are you so uninformed or did just get out of your cave this morning? If you had a problem with Linux during college (which college? I’m dying to know!!) you can’t dump the results of your unsucessful attempts on kids who are eager to learn a new operating system that is far superior to Windows. Kids who want to learn how to use Linux should be allowed to do so and not restricted to the OS shoved down on their throats as the “standard OS”. You are holding the kids back, not poor Ken Starks’ flavour of Linux.

The teacher goes on to say this:

This is a world where Windows runs on virtually every computer and putting on a carnival show for an operating system is not helping these children at all. I am sure if you contacted Microsoft, they would be more than happy to supply you with copies of an older verison of Windows and that way, your computers would actually be of service to those receiving them…”

Karen xxxxxxxxx
xxxxxxxxx Middle School

Very interesting! I’m sure Microsoft is keeping NEA happy. I’ve heard of other teachers who have tried to get Linux installed in their school computers so the kids can learn something other than Windows, and all these teachers have had stiff opposition. Some were told to keep it down or they’d lose their jobs.

Teachers like Karen should be made to attend a lesson in OS tolerance. If they think Microsoft is king because that’s what they were told or because they couldn’t handle Linux, its their problem. I’ve seen 11-year old kids use Linux with ease. Maybe the teacher wasn’t smart enough, maybe she didn’t have the patience, maybe she just couldn’t handle something as hot as Linux. But she’s very wrong to impose her monopolistic beliefs on her students. Its beyond her scope if she doesn’t understand the benefits of something she hasn’t used properly.

Labelling Linux with the wrong tags and forcing kids to grow up on some proprietary software with no scope of imagination or creative thinking is yet another reason for the dumbing down of the school system in America.

Read more here.

Installing Ubuntu Linux on Sony PSP

I installed Ubuntu 7.10 version 1.0 on my Sony PSP an hour ago. It was easy and my PSP runs firmware 3.95 GEN 2. If you have official Sony firmware on your PSP, it won’t be of any use.

Here’s a screenshot of Ubuntu on my PSP. And its not a genuine ported Ubuntu, its just a shell application emulating Ubuntu.
Ubuntu 7.10 on your PSP

psp ubuntu loading

Read my tutorial if you want to install Ubuntu on your PSP.

Philippine Weather Service moves to Debian Clusters

pagasa philippines arul johnIn what I consider a very smart and economical move, the Philippine government’s Weather Service PAGASA has moved to a clustered Debian Linux system from the existing SGI supercomputer.

For beginners, the Philippines is prone to floods, cyclones, landslides and other weather conditions. Every typhoon has left footprints of death. The Philippines needs to be on the lookout all the time in order to avoid major catastrophe.

PAGASA (Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration) is their official weather service and issues cyclone bulletins every 6 to 12 hours for all cyclones within the area.

They were apparently using an SGI supercomputer until now ,when they decided to move to a Debian cluster that is made up of 8 PCs, each having a dual 64-bit Intel Xeon processor. The nodes are connected via a gigabit switch.

debian linux arul johnPAGASA preferred Debian because it is the most stable! According to Alan Pineda who works there,

“We tried several Linux flavours, including Red Hat, Mandrake, Fedora etc,” said Alan Pineda, head of ICT and flood forecasting at PAGASA.

“Our ICT group came out with Debian as the most stable in servers, especially when things are being done pretty much in automatic mode. In our workstations the preference among programmers is Ubuntu, which is basically Debian-based,” he said.

This move also saves the cash strapped Philippine government a LOT of money. For the last decade, PAGASA’s SGI supercomputer cost over 200,000 Philippine pesos a month to run. After moving to Debian, the cost has dropped to 10,000 Philippine pesos a month – a huge saving of 190,000 pesos!!

They also saved a lot of money on the setup. The supercomputer cost them 25 million pesos, and the Debian cluster cost them just 2 million pesos which included migration cost and training.

The cluster calculates 3-day forecasts twice daily and uses a lot of free and open source meteoroloical software. PAGASA uses open source all the way, including the German High Resolution Model (HRM), MM5, ETA and Intel FORTRAN.

Everyone seems to be happy with the move.

“We are quite happy with the results so far, considering we haven’t applied assimilation of our radar and satellite products. We believe that as soon as these things are done, we can become even more confident in our long-term forecasts,” Pineda said.

Go Debian!!!

Read more here ยป

Happy 20th Birthday Perl – Perl 5.10 released

Perl was released 20 years ago by Larry Wall, and as a treat, Perl5Porters have released the latest stable version of Perl 5.10.

Some of the new features in Perl 5.10 are named captures in regular expressions, state variables for subroutines, the defined-or operator, a switch statement and a faster regex engine. As a Perl lover, these new features are a great Christmas gift to me!

You can download the greatest scripting language in the world via Bittorrent.

Read more.

Microsoft CIO Stuart Scott given the boot!

Microsoft terminated its CIO Stuart Scott for violation of company policies after 2 years of working there.

No reason was given for this abrupt firing and Microsoft refuses to give any more information about this, but there are many possibilities. Until MS comes out with an official reason, here are my guesses:

  1. He must have been watching porn at work.
  2. He must have been using his iPhone at work (or home).
  3. He was using his MacBook during presentations.
  4. His second laptop ran Ubuntu Linux.
  5. He just bought a copy of Mac OS X Leopard.
  6. His documents were in the PDF format instead of Microsoft’s DOC format.
  7. He was using slashes instead of backward slashes as a delimiter on the command line, er, DOS prompt.
  8. He was wearing a Ubuntu Linux t-shirt.
  9. They thought he was running some of the Microsoft Sucks websites.
  10. All his seven children were nicknamed after various flavours of Linux.

Add your own possible reason here.