If you’ve ever seen Stan Friedman talk about UFO’s, you’ve probably seen his shtick about redacted documents.

For example:

Always loved that.

Well, move over Stan. Apparently the U.S. government has even bigger secrets than aliens.

“But how else would we prevent war?”

Some time back I found myself discussing the fate of the Euro and the European Union with folks from academia-land. I was, and remain, rather confident that what is apparently an ill-conceived political shotgun polygamy will not survive another five years in any significant manner, at least not without some kind of military intervention.  Multiple cultures with their own economies and their own sovereign debt…  And Goldman Sachs lending a helping hand to fund it all. What could go wrong?

Anyway, academia argued the following point:  Only by binding the nations of Europe and “controlling” them with a single currency could humanity be spared another World War.

Which at first sounds reasonable… until we look at what multinational central financial planning has wrought.  Austerity, violent unrest, and talk of civil war.  I suppose convincing what remains of each nation state to commit suicide would prevent a “world” war, sure.

In my opinion, war — any war — is best prevented, not via centralized control, but organically through trends that have been evolving naturally:  Increased travel and improved communication.  Increasing freedom and understanding.  It’s difficult to hate your neighbors, murderously, when you understand them, even dine with them.  And since the second World War, technology has enabled a global renaissance in communication, travel, and as I see it, a trend towards a world of disparate yet harmonious cultures.

So how else would we prevent war?  Allow cultures to communicate.  Give them the freedom to self-actualize.  And stop with the centralized meddling.

Ubuntu’s “upstart” versus old school “update-rc.d”

Every distro seems to have their own damn way of managing startup services. One of these days I should really sit down and figure out how runlevels work.

Or maybe I’ll continue to ignore them since Ubuntu’s simplified (and fairly intuitive) upstart seems to be make it easier to not worry about levels.

Anyway, since Ubuntu is a bit schizophrenic these days with some services using upstart and others not, here are some handy commands for adding/removing startup services. Comments welcome since this is the kind of thing I do only very rarely.


$ initctl list shows a quick list of startup services. I’m not really sure what’s happening under the hood here, which is why it’s often useful to…


…see what’s starting at various runlevels. Try this:

$ ls /etc/rc?.d

To see if amavis is starting on boot we can:

$ ls /etc/rc?.d | grep amavis

And since we don’t need it:

$ sudo update-rc.d -f amavis remove
Removing any system startup links for /etc/init.d/amavis ...

What do you mean “Failed saving metadata to metadataCache”?

Seeing this in Zend? It’s probably an issue with your memcached connection. Check settings in application.ini, namely: = ""
resources.cache.core.backend.options.servers.port = 11211

and make sure you can connect to where it’s pointing:

$ telnet localhost 11211
Connected to localhost.
Escape character is '^]'.
STAT pid 9528
STAT uptime 374
STAT time 1344441815
STAT version 1.2.6

Similar to the zend_mm_heap corrupted thing.

Defeating “Maximum function nesting level of ‘100’ reached” problems when running PHPUnit against Symfony2

In a nutshell:  It’s an xdebug config problem.  Try increasing xdebug’s max nesting level in php.ini:


If you’re on a platform that supports separate php.ini files for both Apache and the command line, be sure you update the cli instance.

This little beauty has already stumped me twice. Thank goodness for Cordova’s obscure bit of advice.

TaskTrayApplication Crash

Do you get an annoying “TaskTrayApplication” crashed or some such warning when Windows 7 boots?  I did too.  Finally took a minute to track it down and it turns out to be HP’s Toner Cartridge Authentication program. I’m pretty sure this program does little more than spy on you, so just remove it from Control Panel -> Uninstall a Program and the problem will go away.

BTW, why are huge tech companies like HP unable to maintain extranets with normal-looking URLs for human beings?  Having to surf through pages like is ridiculous.

Connecting to SQL Server via JDBC

Every few years I find myself backed into working with SQL Server for something or other. And I can never remember how to wire it up to the various Java-based tools I have. So this time I’m going to stuff some notes into my trusty old backup brain here such that I will be ready to go two years from now.


As of the time of this post, SQL Server 2012 is out.  And it is completely useless to me since the Java world is blissfully unaware that Microsoft, too, has moved on from 2008. Soooo.. if you want to find a free version of SQL Server that actually works on Windows 7, see here:  Get one with “WT” (for “With Tools” of course) in the title. WT versions include the SQL Server Management Studio via which you will configure SQL Server to not ignore the non-Microsoft world.


Lots of JDBC drivers out there.  Here’s a bunch of themjTBS is an open source pure Java type 4 JDBC 3.0 driver that seems to be the best: It supports both Windows and SQL server authentication; even Microsoft’s own drivers only support SQL Server username password auth.  Note that you may need to perform a DLL rain dance as outlined here to get jTBS to play nicely with Windows’ baked-in security.  Peruse the README.SSO packed away inside the jTBS archive.  If you only need username/pass authentication, then read on guilt-free.

Convince SQL Server to Listen

  1. Turn on TCP/IP.  Do this form the “SQL Server Configuration Manager” app.  Select “Network Configuration”, click on your instance, change TCP/IP option to “Enabled”.  Restart SQL Server from Services.
  2. But wait, there’s more.  Now allow username/password authentication in addition to Windows SSO authentication.  (Many Java apps don’t seem to like Windows authentication even if your driver is set up to support it.)  Launch the “SQL Server Management Studio”, right click the root node, select “Properties” and then the “Security” tab.  Under “Server authentication” select “SQL Server and Windows Authentication mode”:

  3. Finally, make sure that at least one user is granted access to the server.  For the “sa” (sys admin) user, fire up SQL Server Configuration Manager again and unfold your way to Security -> Logins -> sa.  Right click, “Properties”, “Status”.  Permission to connect to the database engine:  Grant.  Login:  Enabled.  Okay.Don’t forget to re-restart SQL Server after all of this.

Whew!  Should you have followed the above steps and thrown a pinch of salt over your shoulder then please prepare for a jig-induced euphoric hangover of joy because you, my friend, have successfully connected to SQL Server via JDBC.

If not, find some more salt.

One Dystopia to Another

Letters of Note recently posted an enlightening letter that Aldus Huxley penned to George Orwell some time after Nineteen Eight-Four had been published. I’d always wondered about these two authors. Based on snippets of speeches I’ve heard given by Huxley, I had suspected that Huxley was somehow in favor of his own Brave New World, and that Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four was a response, a wake-up call of sorts.

As it turns out, both authors view their dystopian nightmares as just that — nightmares. Huxley, however, argues that his version of the future is more likely because it is simply more efficient, and clarifies his position that governments of the world are likely to adopt mass pharmaceutical mind control over outright oppression:

Wrightwood. Cal.
21 October, 1949

Dear Mr. Orwell,

It was very kind of you to tell your publishers to send me a copy of your book. It arrived as I was in the midst of a piece of work that required much reading and consulting of references; and since poor sight makes it necessary for me to ration my reading, I had to wait a long time before being able to embark on Nineteen Eighty-Four.


Agreeing with all that the critics have written of it, I need not tell you, yet once more, how fine and how profoundly important the book is. May I speak instead of the thing with which the book deals — the ultimate revolution? The first hints of a philosophy of the ultimate revolution — the revolution which lies beyond politics and economics, and which aims at total subversion of the individual’s psychology and physiology — are to be found in the Marquis de Sade, who regarded himself as the continuator, the consummator, of Robespierre and Babeuf. The philosophy of the ruling minority in Nineteen Eighty-Four is a sadism which has been carried to its logical conclusion by going beyond sex and denying it. Whether in actual fact the policy of the boot-on-the-face can go on indefinitely seems doubtful. My own belief is that the ruling oligarchy will find less arduous and wasteful ways of governing and of satisfying its lust for power, and these ways will resemble those which I described in Brave New World. I have had occasion recently to look into the history of animal magnetism and hypnotism, and have been greatly struck by the way in which, for a hundred and fifty years, the world has refused to take serious cognizance of the discoveries of Mesmer, Braid, Esdaile, and the rest.

Partly because of the prevailing materialism and partly because of prevailing respectability, nineteenth-century philosophers and men of science were not willing to investigate the odder facts of psychology for practical men, such as politicians, soldiers and policemen, to apply in the field of government. Thanks to the voluntary ignorance of our fathers, the advent of the ultimate revolution was delayed for five or six generations. Another lucky accident was Freud’s inability to hypnotize successfully and his consequent disparagement of hypnotism. This delayed the general application of hypnotism to psychiatry for at least forty years. But now psycho-analysis is being combined with hypnosis; and hypnosis has been made easy and indefinitely extensible through the use of barbiturates, which induce a hypnoid and suggestible state in even the most recalcitrant subjects.

Within the next generation I believe that the world’s rulers will discover that infant conditioning and narco-hypnosis are more efficient, as instruments of government, than clubs and prisons, and that the lust for power can be just as completely satisfied by suggesting people into loving their servitude as by flogging and kicking them into obedience. In other words, I feel that the nightmare of Nineteen Eighty-Four is destined to modulate into the nightmare of a world having more resemblance to that which I imagined in Brave New World. The change will be brought about as a result of a felt need for increased efficiency. Meanwhile, of course, there may be a large scale biological and atomic war — in which case we shall have nightmares of other and scarcely imaginable kinds.

Thank you once again for the book.

Yours sincerely,

Aldous Huxley