Thursday, April 20, 2006

Proof of Life

When I saw the MTV news bulletin a week ago saying that Proof had been shot and killed the night before, I was struck dumb. I was just coming to learn how various friends from home were professionally, creatively, or socially connected to him. My first thought was on them and the loss of their friend, the loss of a cool person whom I might have had the opportunity to meet on my coming trip home. Juxtaposed to the cold passionless details of a news update, the sense of loss echoed. Then I thought of another news update I had heard not too long before.

When Jay Dee's passing due to kidney failure was announced, I was sad and hurt by life's seeming injustice. That a man my age would be taken down by an old man's disease. And the additional tragedy of a struggling community trying desperately to rebuild itself, losing such a talented member. But then I was oddly heartened. I dared to think that maybe a page has turned, and that Hip Hop's age of untimely deaths due to violence may have finally passed. That we would embrace the sadness and tragedy of Jay Dee's untimely passing and those who were otherwise inclined would come to value their lives and to value and respect the lives of others more. Maybe in the person of Jay Dee, God had sent Hip Hop a rainbow signifying the end of the violent flood.

Khary Kimani Turner, also a Detroit emcee-poet and a contributor to the Detroit Metro Times, tells of a Proof in the midst of personal transformation. He had begun to restore control over his affairs, mending fences with well-known rivals, solidifying his business endeavors, and reconciling with his estranged wife and mother of his children. In effect, he, like so many of us in our generation, had tired of an over-extended adolescence, and was truly crossing the threshold to adulthood. A line in The Desiderata reads "Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth." It's the folly of youth, with envy, acrimony, and guns formed the brutal mixture that halted Proof's transition before it could truly begin.

The Hip Hop catalog is dotted with paeans to our better natures, to peace, respect, and community. But alongside the bevy of more visible, and more popular songs, nearly pornographic in their portrayal of sex violence and consumption, these embattled songs and artists of substance ring hollow, even disingenuous. Pleading "Stop the Violence" on one hand, many laugh their way to the bank on the tired worn out backs of "fuck that bitch" and "blast that nigga!" Ironic that a once guerrilla industry fueled by bravado, defiance, creativity, independence, originality and authenticity, now rests contentedly cowed and neutered under the wing of a corporate-controlled music industry that had written it off as a fad thirty years ago.

So before "Self-Destruction II, The Payback" gets underway, I hope folks will take a minute to think about Proof's life interrupted. A bright guy, funny and sharp-witted. Straddling two worlds, and trying to reconcile them within himself: what to leave behind and what to take from either. A guy who's own choices and the choices of those he was with, on a night of relaxation and leisure, left him with no further choices and took him from our world all too soon.

Thinking about this, maybe folks will finally figure out that it will take more than eulogizing songs, newspaper clippings, mural pieces, and blogs like this to honor him. That showing their love and respect requires a deeper and more personal commitment. Like accepting and undertaking the transition to adulthood that Proof didn't get to finish. Tending to family, working hard, making peace with estranged friends and rivals alike, developing and sharing talent, growing up, and being a man. Then, if you wonder whether you've honored him properly, and the many others so carelessly lost before him, look to the lives of those who follow us, and there's your Proof.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

error code -8075

Have you been getting this or a similar message when you try to visit secured (HTTPS) websites? I was having this problem with Mozilla Firefox. Here's how I fixed it:

  1. Select Preferences in the Edit menu.
  2. Select Advanced from the Preferences window navigation bar.
  3. Under the Security preferences group, select all the security protocols (SSL 2, SSL 3, and TLS 1).
  4. Under Certificates/Client Certificate Selection, choose Select Automatically.
  5. Under the Validation/OCSP section, select the Use OCSP to validate only certificates that specify an OCSP service option.
  6. Click OK to close and save your changes to the Preferences window.
  7. Close all of your browser instances (and quickstarter) and open a new instance.

I believe line item 5 above is what most directly affected the error message in question. The other settings that I think, but am not sure are associated to this problem. If you try this fix, leave a comment and let me know whether it works for you.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Recovered Some Much Needed Space

Last night, fed up with seeing the root partition of my laptop (OpenSUSE on HP Pavillion dv4150us) nearly full at 93%, I decided to take some drastic action. I had ~18 GB on a couple left over partitions I'd created for installing secondary and test operating systems. I never got around to installing said systems (was gonna have another OpenSUSE install for testing upgrades, and an OpenSolaris install just for laughs), so killing those partitions (/secos and /testos respectively) was no big deal. Now the question was: what could I move off of the root partition, and more importantly, how could I do it safely.

Who Gets the Axe?

Well, technically, no one was getting the axe. But I did want to move the directory that was the biggest memory hog on the root partition OFF the root partition. Here's my partition setup after freeing the 18 GB mentioned above:

Device              Mount Point           FS Type
/dev/hda2           /                      ext3
/dev/hda3           /data                   reiserfs
devpts           /dev/pts              devpts
/dev/cdrecorder   /media/cdrw         subfs
/dev/dvdrecorder /media/dvdrecorder subfs
proc             /proc                   proc
usbfs            /proc/bus/usb        usbfs
/dev/hda5           /rescue                ext3 (unused)
/dev/hda1           swap                   swap
/dev/hda6        /tmp                   reiserfs
/dev/hda7        /var                    reiserfs

Now I needed to create a new partition, /dev/hda8, but before doing that, I needed the target directory so that I could determine the size. So being lazy, I went to the GNOME File Browser and simply displayed the properties of the main directories residing on the root partition. I also did a df from the bash command line, but this only gave me info for the partitions and not the directories themselves. Anyhow, here were the directories I had to choose from:


It was no contest. /usr blew the others away by a mile at ~5 GB in size. Knowing this, I decided to create a new reiser partition at 8 GB and mount it to a new directory called /usr2.

The Old Bait and Switch

So now that I had the new partition mounted:

/dev/hda8        /usr2                   reiserfs

I needed to transfer the data from executing the following as root from the bash prompt:
/usr to /usr2.  cp -ax /usr/* /usr2

took care of that. Needless to say, 5.0G took a bit to copy, so I watched the progress in another terminal using:
watch df

Just a nifty way to refresh the view of the partitions about every 2 seconds to track the change in the new partition's size. Probably slowed the progress of the copy itself, but I'm an impatient masochist who insists upon watching pots boil. When the copy from /usr to /usr2 finished I did a diff -qr between the two:
diff -qr /usr /usr2

Any vet will tell you (as I quickly found out) a diff on two huge directories takes a buttload of time. In hindsight, I would instead select a few key subdirectories to compare unless I've really got a buncha time to waste.

A few minor differences between the directories (a handful of missing files and differing attributes), but otherwise, a-okay. Okay enough for me to risk the next step.

DDRR: Delete, Dismount, Remount, Reboot

Here's where I really got scared. Could I now unmount the new partition, copy /usr to yet another backup (like the now empty /usr2 directory), delete the contents of /usr, and mount the new partition to /usr? I wasn't sure, but I gritted my teeth and went for it, and...

...well? Here's the deal. All of the above worked fine. It was the rebooting that was the catch. I restarted my system and almost immediately got a fatal error. X couldn't start. Files missing. However, fear not! A login prompt requesting my root password was provided so that I could try to fix the problem and reboot. Beat that, Windo$e!!! Anywho, I logged in, checked out my /etc/fstab file and immediately saw the prob:

/dev/hda8         /usr2                   reiserfs ...

So the new partition was still mounting to /usr2, hence empty useless /usr directory hosing up the works. Simple fix in vi changed /usr2 to /usr. Reboot, and what the hell!?!? It actually worked!!!


Archimedes couldn't have been happier than I am. I'm now sittin' pretty with an extra 5 fat Gigs on my root partition, and /usr sitting in it's own 8 Gig partition. If I feel like it, I can even expand /usr to 10 Gig or more should the mood grab me. Yea!! I can start installing all kinds of Beta-ware again!!! The villagers rejoice, the kingdom is happy, and all is right with the world once more :-)

Upon Further Reflection...

Was this in fact the best way to go about this change? I really dunno. As you can tell from the story, I more or less winged it, and ultimately got lucky. If you are in a similar bind and see this as your only way out, I accept no responsibility for what may or may not happen. This would truly be an instance of the blind leading the blind. If there was a better way to have gone about the changes above, or at least some refinements you could recommend for the process I described, please leave them in the comments section. I thank you, and the hapless souls stumbling upon this site seeking guidence from my fumbling-stumbling-SysAdministrations thank you! Thanks and best of luck to all.