Investing in commodities

Posted on October 11th, 2009 by David Luhman and tagged , .

I had an earlier article about how diversifying into commodities can give higher total returns with lower volatility.

But now the question is, how should one invest in commodities? Do like my high school physics professor who bought a bunch of copper tubing during the Jimmy Carter memorial inflation of the early 1980s?

Diversification with long-term bonds and commodities

Posted on October 11th, 2009 by David Luhman and tagged , .

Lately, I've been looking to increase the diversification in my retirement portfolio by investing in both commodities AND long-term bonds.

Crazy? Aren't these diametrically opposed views? Commodities love inflation, just like long-term bonds hate inflation.

It's hard to say where inflation is headed, although at least relative to now it seems likely to go up. But how much more inflation can we expect, and more importantly, now much of that is already priced in long-term bond prices.

Building Git on Red Hat-based systems

Posted on October 7th, 2009 by David Luhman and tagged .

I had a case where I had to build Git on an older Red Hat based system. Unfortunately, the system was so old that yum wasn't really supported. So I had to install the needed libraries (RPMs) "by hand" via rpm -i. There was one package that I had to update via rpm -U.

On my rather bare system, I found I had to install the following RPMs to get Git to compile :


Migrating to a 64-bit operating system (OS)

Posted on September 30th, 2009 by David Luhman and tagged .

When upgrading servers, you may encounter this question : Should we stay at at 32-bit OS, or 'upgrade' to a 64-bit OS?

To me, the big advantage of a 64-bit OS is the ability to address (use) more than 4 gigabytes of RAM. I sometimes bump into that limit on my desktop,
so I think it's best to have a 64 bit OS for servers.

Larger memory space isn't the only advantage, however. From Wikipedia :

Spell checking source code

Posted on September 29th, 2009 by David Luhman and tagged .

I'm not sure of the cost/benefit of spell checking of source code, but there seem to be a couple cheap/free utilities that can help with this.

Free Python package :

Commercial shareware - $59.99 (Windows)

Another commercial shareware version - $39.99 (Windows)

Here's one man's experience checking Java source code with a "generic plain English" spell checker :

Git patch tutorial

Posted on September 22nd, 2009 by David Luhman and tagged .

I had some patches in one Git repository that I wanted to apply to a different repository. Here's a useful link I found on this :

Here's what I did.

First, copy the original repository you want to get patch from. This may not be necessary in all cases, but in my case the original repository was on another machine, so this just puts everything on the same machine.

    $ git clone ssh://
    $ cd origRepo

OVF - Open Virtualization Format

Posted on September 1st, 2009 by David Luhman and tagged .

If you're into computer virtualization, you should probably be familiar with OVF.

The "Open Virtualization Format" is a supposed standard for interchanging VMs between vendors (VMware, Microsoft, VirtualBox etc.) Here's a good overview of the format :

Most of my experience with virtualization has been with VMware, Xen, Virtual PC and recently with VirtualBox on the desktop.

I wanted to see how OVF might work, so I found this minimal OVF version of Solaris :

Git difftool and vimdiff

Posted on August 25th, 2009 by David Luhman and tagged .

For the most part, I use TkDiff as the Git difftool when working under X Windows. TortoiseGit also has a nice GUI diff tool for when I do occassional work on Windows.

However, when working in a Linux "terminal" environment, your Git difftool choices seem to be limited to vimdiff. This is OK, but most of the color schemes under vimdiff are terrible.

I recommend using a vimdiff friendly color scheme like "greens" which is described here :

Here's how to set yourself up to use vimdiff as Git's difftool.

Phase 4 of D-Link DNS-323 hacking - Running Optware

Posted on August 6th, 2009 by David Luhman and tagged , .

I'm using the DNS-323 primarily for automated backups, and making Git backups is part of this. The fonz fun plug (ffp) has a lot of stuff on it (rsync, lighttpd), but I didn't see Git. So I was looking to add Git via Optware.

I was able to add Optware, but the Git version couldn't clone across ssh nor rsync. Cloning across the git protocol did, however work. But I'll likely just use the rsync client to get my Git repositories. Git seems to work fine if the repo came via a plain rsync client.

root:/mnt/HD_a2/tmp# git clone ssh://root@

Phase 3 of D-Link DNS-323 hacking - Placing ffp on USB stick

Posted on August 6th, 2009 by David Luhman and tagged .

I wanted to run ffp (fonz fun plug) running from a USB stick to minimize drive spin up. Unfortunately, I couldn't get it to work. It seems like there are many ways to do this, and they vary with the version of ffp (even two methods for the same version of ffp 0.5

It's pretty easy to mount and format the USB, so I can use that if needed. Anyway, I won't be spinning the disks too much, and I need to move on. But here are some rough notes on this.