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The Watch Folder

For the programmers and systems administrators among us.  Consider the following, and all too common, programming task. Events from one process need to trigger actions by another.  Now, the impulse may be to try to impliment a direct method of communications between the two process via networking sockets, low level OS signals, etc.  While this may be good to consider or even use at times, there may be a far more simple and less problematic method that is almost always worth considering – the Watch Folder.    If both processes can have access to a common directory, via network share or direct filesystem mount for instance, then all one has to do is have the first process drop a small file to the locaton and have the other process be watching for it, act in response and then clear it out and wait again for the next time the file appears in order to act again.   The second process can watch for it directly or have some other task be the watcher that then calls the final process, perhaps through a periodic call from a task scheduler such a cron.   There are lots of realitively simple ways of implementing such an arrangement without resorting to more complex networking or OS signaling programming schemes.   The Watch Folder methodology works well in any language but is particularly easy to implement in simple scripting languages that are available as part of the command shell of most any OS, such as BASH in Linux, Bourne or Korn Shell in Unix, or DOS Batch or Powershell script in Windows.

A Private Internet

I have taken a great interest in personal privacy on the Internet.
I have found some things to help accomplish that.  Please comment
if you know of additional resources or techniques.

1) Private email via PGP encryption:  Seems to be most easily
accomplished using the Thunderbird email client with the Enigmail PGP
add-on.  Note, you will need to have PGP or GPG also, installed.  This
is usually true by default on Linux systems, but on Windows you need
to install GPG4Win.
To obtain the Thunderbird mail client program:
To obtain the Enigmail add-on:
Another option is the Claws Mail client which incorporates PGP support
A good article introducing the use of the Thunderbird email client with
the Enigmail add-on.

My public key for  wa5pb19 <at> gmail <dot> com  is:

2) Private surfing using the TOR browser, which is a specialized cut of
Firefox which incorporates the use of internet relays to help keep your
own internet surfing presence anonymous.

3) Private internet searching via the DuckDuckGo search engine.  Which
can also be added as a search provider for the Firefox search bar.

4) Encryption of files using GPG.
A good, brief intro to GPG.
The official GPG documentation.

Some people might ask, "Why? Do you have something to hide?".  To
which I respond, "No. But, why not?  Do we not have a right to privacy?".
However, it must be remembered that if we desire a right to privacy,
we much put effort into keeping our own information private.  If we
release information about ourselves, intentionally or not, it is no
longer private and we arguably lose the reasonable expectation of
privacy afforded by the 4th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. The
problem arises when we unwittingly reveal information about ourselves
via the internet and other computing activities.  These resources may
help a person to avoid doing that.


On March 11, 2010, the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit ruled, in Rehberg v. Paulk, 598 F.3d 1268, that a person does not have a reasonable expectation of privacy in an e-mail once any copy of the communication is delivered to a third party.[80]

On December 14, 2010, in United States v. Warshak, the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit ruled that a person has a reasonable expectation of privacy in his emails and that the government violated Warshak’s Fourth Amendment rights by compelling his internet service provider to turn over his emails without first obtaining a warrant based upon probable cause.[81]

Steve Jobs passes away

Steve Jobs, the Thomas Edison of our day, has passed away.  He dreamed of bringing computing to the masses, and he succeeded.  But he did much, much more than that.  He brought to us a revolution.  From the Apple computer, to the Mac, to the IPod, and then the IPhone and IPad all the other the great gadgets he and his company created,  our lives have been more fun and more productive.   He founded the company, Apple, in a garage then stepped aside for a time to pursue other technical interests, such as the NeXT systems and OS.  But then he returned to Apple to rescue and revive a company that has lost its way.  Oh, but he did much more that just revive Apple.  He had the vision to embrace other technologies and put his unique touch to them.  He spearheaded the creation of wonderful personal entertainment and communications devices and then married those to computing technologies, advanced operating systems and Internet content delivery; which turned Apple into a computing, communications and internet Juggernaut.  Steve Jobs was an inventor, businessman and visionary.  Most of all, he was a great man who gave his all, and even the last of his health, in pursuit of his dreams which have enriched all our lives.

Steve Jobs, RIP

February 24, 1955 – October 5, 2011.