Great Prescience

“No man is above the law and no man is below it; nor do we ask any man's permission when we require him to obey it. Obedience to the law is demanded as a right; not asked as a favor.”
(Theodore Roosevelt - December 3, 1907)


“A republic, if you can keep it.”

“…when you assemble a number of men to have the advantage of their joint wisdom, you inevitably assemble with those men, all their prejudices, their passions, their errors of opinion, their local interests, and their selfish views.”
(Benjamin Franklin, September 17, 1787)


“If ever a time should come, when vain and aspiring men shall possess the highest seats in Government, our country will stand in need of its experienced patriots to prevent its ruin. ...

Power is intoxicating; and Men legally vested with it, too often discover a Disposition to make an ill Use of it & an Unwillingness to part with it. ...

When we formerly had weak and wicked Governors & Magistrates, it was our Misfortune; but for the future, while we enjoy and exercise the inestimable Right of chusing them ourselves, it will be our Disgrace.”

(Samuel Adams letter to James Warren - October 24, 1780 [original spelling])


“The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation, and go to the grave with their song still within.”
(Henry David Thoreau - Walden)


Arch Linux - Wow!

Looking for an truely exciting Linux Distribution? Arch Linux might be just what you are looking for. Arch is a "true" Linux distribution unshackeled by any corporate parent.

I simply cannot say enough about Arch. It's that good, but a cautionary note, it doesn't come with training wheels. It has just what a great linux distribution should have and nothing else. This server is running on it.

Current kernel:

  • linux-6.10.0-arch1-2

TDE 14.0.0 & TDE 3.5.13-SRU

The Trinity Desktop Environment (TDE) is a fork of the last KDE-3 desktop. It is by far the most capable and efficient Linux desktop available.

While the KDE project went off chasing eye-candy with the next release of KDE4, the Trinity project captured the raw efficiency, stability and speed of KDE3 and then improved upon it.


KDE 5 & Plasma, a Bust?

The devs at kde.org ‘released’ a half-baked KDE 4.0.4a May 2008. It replaced the mature 3.5.10 -- arguably the most efficient desktop ever made.

Despite 8 years of development, KDE4 never matured. Plasma and Frameworks 5 are the follow-on to KDE4, and sadly, it is a drab shadow of KDE3. Though getting better, it remains hodge-podge of mismatched dialogs, focus errors, wasted screen space, etc.. It provides no meaningful features or benefit over KDE3.

Simple things don't work, or work correctly, and bugs from KDE4 are still not fixed -- 15 years later. It has some gee-whiz, but 15 years for that?

Unfortunately KDE4/5/Plasma (as well as Gnome) are prime examples of why you can't create a better desktop by "porting to a new toolkit". Truly great desktops are built from the ground up around a single toolkit, not cobbled together over three wildly differing versions of a toolkit.


profile for David C. Rankin at Stack Overflow, Q&A for professional and enthusiast programmers

StackOverflow.com

(Software Dev Help?)

If you develop or would like to try software or web development, then StackOverflow.com is your friend. Like all lists, you are expected to do your homework, but when you are in need of help with anything from AJAX to Zenity, stackoverflow.com is the place.


New to OpenSource?

Scratching your head as to what it is? A look at the openSuSE guiding principles and the Free Software Foundation are a good place to get an understanding.


Standards Compliance

This site was developed in standards compliant HTML/CSS and displays correctly all standards-compliant browsers. If you notice an issue with the display of this site in your browser -- ask Microsoft why it fails to follow standards...


Website Template

(Last Updated 9/21/2014)

Like the site layout? Download a complete copy of the 3-column template for this website and build one of your own. Use the link below.

Latest Additions: dtree dynamic menus, PHP MySQL visitor log.

This website layout was designed based on a 900 pixel width and is optimized for viewing at a 1024 pixel width. There is a 640 pixel width minimum imposed to maintain readability of the 3 columns.

Welcome to 3111skyline

Notice to Rankin Law Firm Clients

On Sunday, June 11, 2023 the building at 510 Ochiltree St. was destroyed by fire. All contents were destroyed. The fire was apparently set, either accidentally or otherwise by a 17 year old that broke in and stole (at least) a couch, clothing, a dictaphone, a transcribing machine, a briefcase, and bedding. Through good police work, the young man was arrested that same day.

All servers, computers, copiers (all office equipment) was destroyed. The servers hosted client case files, mail and web services for the law office. While the office is being rebuilt, all domains will resolve to this website (which served as an off-site backup for the law office). While we are working to have a virtual domain created to make this change transparent, in the interim you will land at this page if attempting to access the law firm web-site (e.g. through rankinlawfirm.com, rankinfirm.com or rlfpllc.com).

Notice Concerning Client Documents: Electronic backups of the original document creation files (word-processing files, images, etc.) exist for all client documents produced by this office, but all signed originals stored in file cabinets were destroyed. If you need an original document from your file, please contact me by e-mail. I can then make a determination whether that document exists electronically in signed form and if available, provide that to you. For most cases prior to 2015, paper storage was the norm. However, if the original document sought was used as an exhibit to a motion or at trial, then odds are that an electronic copy of that document exists.

The assistance e-mail has been suspended. After being published, it has been used by miscreants in numerous attempts to hack our server - sad reflection of what the internet is today.

The remaining content of this site does not reflect the views or opinions of Rankin Law Firm, PLLC and is solely the responsibility of third-parties and others not involved with or under the control of the law firm.

The site is a miscellaneous collection of information that covers a varieties of interests. The site was developed as a project and was entirely written by hand in a text editor making use of html, php, css and a pinch of javascript. The site is updated as time and motivation permit. So have a look around and have a bit of fun. If you like the layout of the site, the 3-column template is free, open source, licensend under the GPLv2 and is available for download here.

There are a great number of seemingly diverse interests captured here. A few of the seasonal and more notable ones are:

Donald Trump Convicted on All 34 Felony Counts in New Your for Business & Election Fraud

The best the republicans can offer the nation is a convicted felon as a candidate. How far we have fallen... Sad.

Political Commentary
(moved to a separate page)

The Astronomical Cost of College Today in Texas

College Costs - 2019-2020 - Public Universities

Information is based on average costs for dependent students living off campus who enroll in 15 credit hours in both fall and spring.

Institution Tuition and Fees Books and Supplies Room and Board Transportation Other Costs Total
Texas A&M University
Resident $10,562 $1,222 $10,400 $2,498 $3,746 $28,428
Nonresident $37,591 $1,222 $10,400 $2,498 $3,746 $55,457
The University of Texas at Austin
Resident $10,314 $700 $11,812 $1,490 $2,902 $27,218
Nonresident $36,716 $700 $11,812 $1,490 $2,902 $53,620
All Texas Universities - with Averages

Source: This data is taken from College Student Budgets as entered by the Office of Student Financial Aid from each individual institution. Questions regarding this data should be directed to the institution.

You have to be Bleeping Insane to Tweet or Facebook!!! (Thank You El Reg)

Twitter's API still spews enough metadata to reveal exactly where you lived, worked

“Account holders choose to share their location when they Tweet,” a Twitter spokesperson said in an email to The Register on Monday (1/7/19). Independent reporting reveals what people don't relize: “So much data is being collected and shared/sold to third parties without the users being explicitly aware of that (or able to prevent it),” ... “And indeed it is problematic when users have no way to delete that data in third-party databases, even though the first party may offer such an option.”"

Computer science boffins (El Reg's favorite term for science/geek types) Kostas Drakonakis, Panagiotis Ilia, Sotiris Ioannidis, and Jason Polakis affiliated with The Foundation for Research & Technology in Greece and the University of Illinois in the US published their findings in a paper titled “Please Forget Where I Was Last Summer: The Privacy Risks of Public Location (Meta)Data,” -- truly scary stuff.

Facebook admits it does track non-users, “for their own good”.

Not to be outdone in compromising your personal privacy, “Facebook's apology-and-explanation machine grinds on, with The Social Network™ posting detail on one of its most controversial activities – how it tracks people who don't even use Facebook.” God save you if you actually login...

Intel's major “Metldown” & “Spectre”

Intel's CEO sells $24 Million in Stock before Flaw made Public

Intel chip designers were looking for proverbial holes to crawl in as news of a fundamental flaw in all Intel processors sold over the past decade that allows attackers to steal passwords and other secure information directly from Intel processors was released on January 3, 2018. Apparently shortcuts taken by Intel in their chip design regarding speculative code execution for multi-core CPUs leaves sensitive information in the processor cache that can be exploited by side-attack exposing kernel memory containing user passwords, private-keys, and the like.

The lack of the additional instructions and clock-cycles needed to clear this latent memory helped Intel to advertise faster processor "speed" in its never-ending marketing war against its rival chipmakers. (it looks like the dirty-little secret to great performance was to cheat on a full security implementation in its chips).

This is hauntingly similiar to GM's mandate of 42 gallon fuel capacity on its 73-87 C/K pickups -- resulting in fuel tanks located outside the protective frame rails.... (Boehm was right -- ”we need a shield to protect the tank from side-impact“)

The downside to fixing this flaw (or patching software to eliminate the vulnerability) will cause an immediate 5 - 30% slowdown in your computers processing speed. (Don't worry, you've got Intel Inside?) This design flaw in Intel chips has been labeled “Meltdown”. This will have huge implications for IT companies like Google, Amazon, etc. that have sized their physical systems, hardware, and server requirements based on the original (pre-Meltdown) performace of their Intel processors.

Linus Torvalds expressed the frustration and betrayal felt by kernel software developers after this latest gaff by Intel was made public Wednesday.

From	Linus Torvalds <>
Date	Wed, 3 Jan 2018 15:51:35 -0800
Subject	Re: Avoid speculative indirect calls in kernel


On Wed, Jan 3, 2018 at 3:09 PM, Andi Kleen  wrote:
> This is a fix for Variant 2 in
> https://googleprojectzero.blogspot.com/2018/01/reading-privileged-memory-with-side.html
>
> Any speculative indirect calls in the kernel can be tricked
> to execute any kernel code, which may allow side channel
> attacks that can leak arbitrary kernel data.

Why is this all done without any configuration options?

A *competent* CPU engineer would fix this by making sure speculation
doesn't happen across protection domains. Maybe even a L1 I$ that is
keyed by CPL.

I think somebody inside of Intel needs to really take a long hard look
at their CPU's, and actually admit that they have issues instead of
writing PR blurbs that say that everything works as designed.

.. and that really means that all these mitigation patches should be
written with "not all CPU's are crap" in mind.

Or is Intel basically saying "we are committed to selling you shit
forever and ever, and never fixing anything"?

Because if that's the case, maybe we should start looking towards the
ARM64 people more.

Please talk to management. Because I really see exactly two possibibilities:

 - Intel never intends to fix anything

OR

 - these workarounds should have a way to disable them.

Which of the two is it?

                   Linus
  
original post by Linus Torvalds, Jan. 3, 2018

A similar, but much harder to pull-off exploit effects not just Intel, but AMD and ARM chips as well. This companion exploit has been labeled “Spectre”. While it does indeed rise to the level of "need to be fixed (or patched)", it pales in comparison to the Meltdown vulnerability in Intel chips.

The Requirements of Democracy

When the general public no longer possess the intellect necessary for self-governance, our democracy will fail.

The intellect necessary for self-governance requires a majority of those governed possess the ability to collect in their minds, for a single moment in time, a true understanding of the relevant issues and competing policy positions in order to cast an informed and educated vote. Self-governance requires the vote cast be for the candidate who possesses the greater experience and qualification, relevant to the office sought, and who holds demonstrated policy positions to advance the interests of our nation, free from ethical conflict and self-interest.

Faith, hope, protest or misguided sentiment cannot substitute for actual reasoned understanding, and a choice based upon experience, qualification and demonstrated interest in public welfare. Ethical conflict or self-interest will serve only to undermine the public trust in, and legitimacy of, our government.

When a sufficient majority abdicate and ignore their civic-responsibility to our democracy, and cast a vote based not upon reasoned understanding, experience and policy, and place in office those without necessary qualification, with known ethical conflict or whose self-interest outweighs any demonstrated interest in public welfare, the endings seeds of our democracy are sewn.

Democracy dies one uneducated vote at a time.[1]

The Resounding Stupidity of 62,984,825 Americans,
Our Founding Fathers' Thoughts...

Samual Adams to James Warren (original spelling)

Philadelphia, October 24, 1780
My Dear Sir

I have not yet laid aside your Letter of the 17th of Septr which is the last I have been favord with from you. It ill becomes you, my Friend, to think of retiring into private Life, who can lay your hand on your heart, and say that in your publick Conduct your have in no Instance deviated from virtuous Principles. If ever the Time should come, when vain & aspiring Men shall possess the highest Seats in Government, our Country will stand in Need of its experiencd Patriots to prevent its Ruin. There may be more Danger of this, than some, even of our well disposd Citizens may imagine. If the People should grant their Suffrages to Men, only because they conceive them to have been Friends to the Country, without Regard to the necessary Qualifications for the Places they are to fill, the Administration of Government will become a mere Farce, and our publick Affairs will never be put on the Footing of solid Security. We should inquire into the Tempers of Men, in order to form a Judgment in what Manner the publick Trusts to be reposed in them will be executed. You remember the Character of Pisistratus. He was a Citizen of Athens, supposd to have many excellent Qualities, but he had an insatiable Lust of Preeminence. Solon could discover his Vanity, but the People were blinded by a false Glare of Virtues and he was their Idol. Under Pretence of his having escaped imminent Danger from a violent Faction, and the further Insecurity of his Person he artfully obtaind a Guard of Soldiers, by which Means he possessd himself of the Citadel & usurpd the Government. But though he made himself Sovereign, & thus far overthrew the popular Election, the Historian tells us, "that he made no Change in the Magistracy or the Laws. He was content that others should hold their Places according to the establishd Rules of the Constitution, so that he might continue Archon, independent of the Suffrages of the People. This he effected; for though several Attempts were made, to deprive him of the Sovereignty which he had so violently obtaind, he held it till his Death & left it to his Children." Such was the Ambition of this Man, who indeed assumd the Government, and such were the Effects of it. Power is intoxicating; and Men legally vested with it, too often discover a Disposition to make an ill Use of it & an Unwillingness to part with it. HOW different was Pisistratus from that Roman Hero and Patriot Lucius Quinctius Cincinatus who, tho vested with the Authority of Dictator, was so moderate in his Desires of a Continuance of Power, that, having in six Weeks fulfilld the Purposes of his Appointment, he resignd the dangerous office, which he might have held till the Expiration of six Months. When we formerly had weak and wicked Governors & Magistrates, it was our Misfortune; but for the future, while we enjoy and exercise the inestimable Right of chusing them ourselves, it will be our Disgrace. I hope our Countrymen will always keep a watchful Eye over the publick Conduct of those whom they exalt to Power, making at the same time every just Allowance for the Imperfections of human Nature; and I pray God we may never see Men filling the sacred Seats of Government, who are either wanting in adequate Abilities, or influencd by any Views Motives or Feelings seperate from the publick Welfare.

Adieu.[2]

The 45th President of the United States

  • elected without Regard to the necessary Qualifications
  • wanting in adequate Abilities; and
  • influencd by Views Motives and Feelings seperate from the publick Welfare

18 U.S. Code § 2381 - Treason

Whoever, owing allegiance to the United States, levies war against them or adheres to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort within the United States or elsewhere, is guilty of treason and shall suffer death, or shall be imprisoned not less than five years and fined under this title but not less than $10,000; and shall be incapable of holding any office under the United States.

4.8 E a r t h Q u a k e ! -- Felt in Nacogdoches

Fracking -> Wastewater Injection Disposal to Blame...

What is going on in East Texas? How many more earthquakes will fracking cause? At approximately 3:08 am. on May 17, 2012 a 4.8 magnitude quake struck East Texas centered around Timpson, Texas and was firmly felt as far away as Nacogdoches.[3] The low-frequency lateral movement produced by the quake startled many from sleep leaving them wondering how many more will be caused by the fracking operations by gas companies in the area -- and how large will the earthquakes get?

Did you feel this earthquake? If so, please tell the United States Geological Survey (USGS) about it. They have prepared a short form for you to fill out. You can access it here: USGS May 17, 2012 Earthquake Survey.

There have only been two small quakes recorded historicaly for central East Texas, March 19, 1957 and April 23-28, 1964. These two earlier quakes were between 3.7-4.4 in magnitude. East Texas has now experienced two significant quakes in the past seven days (3.9 magnitude on May 10 at 10:15 am CDT and 4.3 magnitude on May 17 at 3:08 am CDT). Moreover, looking at the USGS seismicity records from 1900 to the present shows no recorded activity in the East Texas area depicted on the USGS Seismicity Map. Only a single west Texas quake is officially recorded for the state according to the United States Geological Survery's Historic United States Earthquakes with records dating back to the 1727 quake in Massachusetts.

Update - 11 Quakes in North/East Texas Since May 2012

A University of Texas Study Finds Correlation Between Injection Wells and Small Earthquakes The University of Texas Study released August 6, 2012 reveals that most earthquake epicenters in North and East Texas are located within two miles of Natural Gas/Fracking wastewater injection disposal sites. (duh...) Texas Railroad Commission Officials continue to deny any link between quakes and oilfield activities. (really? --> really) Playing Texans for fools one more time again, the oil industry backed 'commission' continues its denial. (brings back memories of Tobacco company executive providing testimony before congress that cigarettes were 'safe' and posed 'no risk' to human health) Who do you think is right? The University Scientists?, or the oil industry insiders who make up the Texas Railroad Commission? Who do you trust? Who should you trust?

Note: the wastewater disposal wells are often drilled to a depth of 13,000 feet or greater. Is it any wonder that quakes are popping up less than that distance (two miles = 10,480 feet) from the wastewater well locations. Scientific American Article

The Main Contributors to the Site

  • The Rankin family Gallery, a collaborative effort, with a growing number of photos of this unruly family of engineers, lawyers, pharmacists, and biologists and their unruly bunches of someday to be -- well, whatever they turn out to be… The package used for publishing the photos to the web is Gallery2 which is a fantastic php and mysql based photo application. As with the rest of the software driving this server it is free software released under the GPL.[4]
  • Team Photo With MedalsSports and activities keep the calendar continually full with swimming, gymnastics, football and ballet. The last gymnastics event, a Texas UGA event in Humble Texas was held August 29, 2009 for District 5 gymnasts. See: Sydney's Gymnastics. This was Sydney's first Texas UGA meet. Not only did Sydney qualify for State, she medaled in 3 out of 4 events and all-around (vault, bars and beam). It was truely amazing to watch that young lady perform and see the benefit of the hard work and long hours she had put into training all come shining through. She has a good "game-face" too. Her team, The East Texas Twisters, won the age-group as well out of the several other teams that competed. Go BearBear!
  • Zman Ready for ActionGymnastics is only one of the sports that are currenly being pursued by the kiddos. Z has done a fantastic job with his swimming and is now playing football at the same as well. We will see how he likes the rough and tumble of football compared to a soft comfortable swimming pool. Z's first football game will be September 19th, 2009. Jordan is brining up the rear with dance and gymnastics. She's a big girl now and it shows. It will be a race between all three to see who can bring home the most medals (although I don't think anyone will ever top the seven foot tall trophy Z won in a karate meet in Houston.
  • Linux System, Server and Desktop topics, including howtos for many of the common, and not so common, questions promoting dedication to open-source freedoms. If you are unfamiliar with open-source software, you are missing out on the most exciting developments in the history of computing. Learn more and you will do more, in less time, while spending less money, to get software of much higher quality and with much greater security free from proprietary license.
  • Law and politics are other topics found lurking here showing some of the more notable current and past endeavors that hopefully help bring understanding to some of the truly anti-democratic changes that have occurred in Texas and in the U.S. from the time George Bush won the governorship in Texas. There were no tears shed at the inauguration when Obama took over the reins. January 20, 2009, signaled a breath of fresh air, a change. Six years into the fray the man has done well with what he inherited, the market is up nearly 200%, but lingering unemployment and a dearth of discretionary income reminds us that the skies have not completely cleared.
  • However, the economic problems we are dealing with as a nation were not created overnight, nor can we expect them to be solved in that manner. Offshoring and loss of comparative advantage it occasions may mark a fundamental shift in our nation's long-term economic stature. There have been triumphs and there have been failures along the way. Special interests continuer their stranglehold on progress, perversion of democratic process, and the party of the rich holding all legislation hostage until the tax breaks for billionaires were extended marked a new low in our nations history. Until the American people take seriously their responsibility to be informed, be involved, and to cast educated votes for those that provide tangible legislative policies for the benefit of the majority, instead of for those who engage in caustic rederic, and divisive social-issues politics that pit one group of American's against another, things are unlikely to change.
  • There are many more interesting tidbits found here, or soon to be found here. Explore and have fun. Excepting the family photos, and providing for any inadvertent disclosure of personal or privileged information, everything else found here is licensed under GPL2, including the structure of the web site itself. Feel free to copy, distribute or use anything you find here unless, of course, it looks like a legal document or something that shouldn't be in the public domain. In that event, just email me and let me know content you have questions about and I'll be happy to confirm the its propriety and advise on the proper course of action.

Currently Perpetually Under Construction -- Reality has shown that the amount of free-time available to dedicate to content creation is inversely proportional to the “Parental Factor”. (calculated as the number of children within the household, multiplied by their ages, respectively). But progress has been made none the less.

The old site for 3111skyline.com had served it purpose and had reached the end of life. So the site is getting a face-lift to provide a platform to make useful information available in some form other than my notes stuck in a directory somewhere. The site is served by two machines running the Apache2 webserver on Arch Linux. As the site template is still undergoing tweaks and the content is still being moved over, if you are unable to find something -- don't panic, just let me know and I'll get the content up as quickly as I can.

Linux & Law Content - Now Delivered Compressed

Note:  mod_deflate has been activated for all Linux and law related content. If you experience problem browsing the site, please use a modern browser...

Site License Governing Copyright & Content -- GPL2

Under the "Site Information" menu and at the bottom of the page, you will find the license that governs site content usage. In summary, all publicly accessible content and the web site layout itself is all released under the GPL2, subject to the Addendum included in the copyright. If you have visited this site before, you may notice that this site has been re-licensed under GPL2 instead of GPL3. GPL3, unfortunately, strays from the true commitment to open-source by condoning and potentially injecting protection of DRM and other 3rd party software that may be comingled with or included in true open-source projects. In our commitment to true open-source software, we could no longer support that prospect and accordingly re-licensed our site under GPL2 and made this cautionary statement available for others to consider.

Feedback Wanted

Our plan is to make steady progress in getting both new and reformatted old content back up in the near future. If you see content here you like, let us know. If you see content here you don't like, also let us know. That's the only way we have of making our good better and our bad, good. Thanks.


  1. The Official Election Results from the Federal Election Commission -  2016presgeresults.pdf
  2. May we strive to obtain the command of history held by our founding fathers in order to preserve the democracy they created for our children and our children's children.
  3. upgraded from 4.3 -> 4.8 magnitude by the United States Geological Survey:  (Magnitude 4.8 - EASTERN TEXAS)
  4. Gallery2 has both windows and Linux versions available. If you are in need of a package to publish photographs on your server, Gallery2 is the way to go. (Note: gallery3 is still in beta and does not provide the same level of control as gallery2) You can find Gallery2 here:  http://gallery.menalto.com

Developed in KDE3:

Quanta+ from KDE3 KDE3 now developed as Trinity Desktop