I'm not trying to jump on the Ron Paul web traffic wave... No really, I promise.
Ron Paul caught my attention after the last Republican debate. I started reading up on him and watching videos of some of his speeches. Basically, he believes in the things that make this a great country, specifically the Constitution. To be honest, there are things that the government has been doing that I didn't know went against the Constitution: the Federal Reserve, income tax, going to war without it passing both houses of Congress, etc. Why didn't the media alert me to these things?!
But really, if we don't have and uphold the Constitution, what do we have? Not much. I urge you to watch the debate tonight (8 pm Central on Fox News, I think) and pay attention to Dr. Paul. Until then, go to his campaign site, and search Google Video, Blog Search and Technorati for more info.
For the two next hours and a little bit (until 5 PM Eastern, 5/8/07), the Department of Homeland Security is accepting comments from the public about REAL ID. The Privacy Coalition has a page detailing how you can contact them and let your voice be heard. So please go and submit your comment to crush this silliness once and for all (What are the chances?).
Edit: Bruce Schneier is smarter than me.
Ever since my wife and I started using USAA for banking and auto insurance, we've been nothing but pleased. Their website is very user-friendly and feature-packed, and their customer service is literally the best I've ever dealt with. The one drawback was that, since they didn't have any branches in my area, we had to mail in all our checks to be deposited. They did provide postage-paid envelopes with deposit slips to make the process easy, but it took about a week for the money to show up in our account after we sent it off.... until recently.
Around the beginning of this year, USAA released a feature they call "Deposit@Home" (admittedly not the most original name). This service allows you to deposit checks by scanning them using an applet on their website. You sign your check and scan in the front and back and the money is instantly available in your account.... Amazing.
If you're eligible for USAA membership, I highly recommend them for any service they offer. What other banks have a service like this (I'm sure there are others)?
If you haven't, you really should go listen to Simon Willison's talk on OpenID. He does a very good job of explaining what it does and how it can be used. With the slew of big names announcing support for openid, it's clear to see that it is ready to take off. So go watch the presentation, especially if you're confused or skeptical :)
Today's Linux tip (technically, a bash tip) deals with one of the most-used commands: cd.
Here's the scenario: There's a directory deep in the filesystem that you go to a lot, so you put a symlink to it in your home directory. For some reason, you really need to be in that directory's parent, but 'cd ..' takes you back to your home directory and typing in the whole path is just too hard (aka, you're too lazy).
The solution is the '-P' flag on the cd command: "The -P option says to use the physical directory structure instead of following symbolic links". So if you cd -P into that directory, you can then cd .. to its parent. But what if you're already in that directory and you didn't get there with '-P'? Easy: 'cd -P .' changes you to the same directory you are in, but in the "real" location, getting rid of any symlinks in your working directory. Also, 'cd -P ..' will take you to the "real" parent of your current directory. Such a simple thing, but something that would have saved me some keystrokes in the past.