August 2023

  • Fedora Linux on Lenovo T16 gen2 Intel

    My 14” Lenovo T490 laptop broke, so I bought a 16” T16 Intel gen2 to replace it. I chose Intel instead of AMD at least because it was required for the highest resolution screen, and I think it mattered for memory configuration as well.

  • November 2022

  • Deploying Mastodon on CentOS 9 and derivatives with podman

    Warning: May 2023 I have given up on using podman due to multiple permissions failures with SELinux that I never resolved. I have moved to only runnning Mastodon on docker.

  • June 2022

  • Deploying Mastodon on CentOS 9 and derivatives

    I recently found myself setting up a Mastodon server. Elon Musk threatening to buy Twitter reminded me how fragile it is to live in walled gardens controlled by others. I know something of what it takes to run large-scale applications in the cloud. It’s my job. (Senior Director of Engineering, Platform, at Pendo.) I have some clue what it costs, and I’m not upset at being presented advertisements in Twitter. I even like being recommended content that I didn’t know that I wanted to find!

  • December 2020

  • Delicata

    About a year ago, my father introduced me to delicata squash. So tasty, and so easy to prepare! There are lots of recipes, but just to show how easy this is, here’s mine:

  • November 2020

  • Dangerous Pumpkin Chiffon Pie

    Part of my family heritage appears to be to risk illness on some special holidays. Chiffon is made with never-cooked egg whites, so there’s a real risk of salmonella from this pumpkin chiffon pie. But my grandmother made it, and I make it almost every year in her memory. My version uses less sugar, more pumpkin, and a bit more spice than hers, but it’s still the tradition.

  • August 2020

  • Mail Loop

    My package is “running late” and has been “out for delivery” quite a few times now. It wandered of to New Jersey for a while before returning to North Carolina.

  • February 2020

  • An unexpected acquaintance

    The linuxcnc docs say

    For (perhaps) more information than you ever wanted to know about stepper motors, search the web for “Jones on stepping motors”. A generous soul has given a great tutorial on all aspects of stepping motor operation.

  • January 2020

  • Why I Quit Advocating Python

    The Python 3 transition changed my perception of Python. My early experience of Python was good. Learning how to write good tests in Python made my Python code better. But the transition to Python 3 lost me as a Python advocate.

  • New Decade, New Treadmill

    In January 2011, I started using a treadmill desk. Early on, I stopped using it for a year or so (I wasn’t keeping track exactly) but about eight years ago I started a habit of walking at about 3.5 miles per hour for about an hour every weekday morning. This past thursday morning, the 9th, the breaker tripped while I was walking. I reset it and tried again, and the instant I started the treadmill, it tripped again.

  • October 2019

  • Cheap people go to the state fair

    Two of the kids and I went to the state fair this morning. We got there before some things opened, and we visited mostly crafts and greenhouses, and ate some food. We skipped the midway. We left around noon and beat the worst of the rush to leave.

  • August 2019

  • Microsoft and exFAT

    Over the last several years, more or less every time someone mentioned the “Microsoft loves Linux” marketing message, I would say, “If Microsoft actually loved Linux, they wouldn’t have kept trying to enforce exFAT patents against Linux.”

  • July 2019

  • Home sonicating experiments

    A month or so ago, my youngest was making italian ice by freezing juice in stages, and pulling it from the freezer frequently to laboriously scrape it. That got me thinking…

  • June 2019

  • Return of the accidental digital archivist

    One of my children asked a couple days ago about doing cryptic crosswords again, which led me to discover that Ron Sweet (Kegler)’s excellent crosswords were no longer available online. He had a site (though not at the URL I remembered) that said they were coming back soon. So I sent him an email asking how soon.

  • Is jekyll really this slow?

    Yesterday, I imported a site with 445 HTML files into a new minima-themed site. I excluded most of the pages from header inclusion. It takes 40 minutes to build the site. This is crazy.

  • Making thermal isolating blocks for a kinematic mount

    The Digital Dentist (Mark Rehorst)’s UMMD posts convinced me that I want a kinematic mount on my corexy printer I’m rebuilding from the skeleton of the piece of junk tronxy x5s I bought early last year. He recently blogged about some of the changes he as made, which included more stable thermal isolating mounting blocks.

  • May 2019

  • Incomplete information

    When I was young, my family had a subscription to Consumer Reports, and I grew up expecting it to be trustworthy. But I became an expert in a few things and discovered that on those topics, they were often uninformed and frequently misleading. A few years after I was married, my wife and I dropped our subscription because I no longer trusted them. Also, we had subscribed with a unique name, and as a result we got the impression that that they sold their subscriber list to anyone with a wooden nickel. The vast majority of our junk mail for the next fifteen years or more was addressed to the name that we had provided only to CR. This further eroded remaining trust in their intentions.

  • Putting the magic smoke back in

    Last weekend, I was preparing my electric tractor for a new season of mowing, when I inadvertently touched the charging leads to the wrong battery tabs. The batteries for my tractor are from a totalled Chevy Volt, and they can source a lot of current. It’s what makes them so great for running an electric lawn mower!

  • April 2019

  • How I Import into Discourse

    Apparently more people than I had previously realized are interested in using my Friends+Me Google+ Exporter Discourse script and some of them haven’t started doing imports. So I’m writing up the process I used for importing content from Google+ into MakerForums

  • March 2019

  • Meta: blog update

    I went back over this blog and changed almost all the titles to be something other than a snippet of the body text generated during the Google+ import. The downside is that it changed the URLs for most of the existing posts.

  • The accidental digital archivist

    I had other things I planned to do at the beginning of this year. Google had gone out of their way to push Google+ as a place for communities to come together, and communities in fact coalesced. I thought I had until summer to help save information that Google was about to delete. Then Google pulled the rug out from under us and moved the date from August to April.

  • February 2019

  • expecting keyword_end

    I’ve been working on a tool to import communities from Google+ into Discourse on behalf of several Google+ community owners. This means learning Ruby, a bit of Rails, some ActiveRecord, etc.

  • Supreme Court Strikes a Blow to Civil Asset Forfeiture

    I consider civil asset forfeiture, whether under the federal “equitable sharing” program¹ or under state or municipal law, to be a violation of due process and a disgrace to a free state.

  • Replacing treadmill motor bearings

    My treadmill drive belt was wearing out, so I found out what kind of belt it was and replaced it.

  • Saving more information from the Gpluscalypse

    At the request of the group owners, I have archived the K40 G+ community content so that it’s not lost in the great bit bucket in the sky on April Fools’ Fools’ day. This community is continuing at and it would be nice to move from static files into importing all ~6GB into Discourse. Any Ruby devs out there willing to take some time to help me figure that out? I spent all of ten minutes reading the tutorial which doesn’t yet qualify me as an expert. ;)

  • When googling the error message fails

    As I attempt to archive some G+ communities for posterity into some static Jekyll sites, I ran into: Liquid Exception: Invalid scheme format: external links for which there were no search results. I’m not used to error messages with no search results. it made me feel special.

  • Teaching Tessellation

    Polygon Tiles (parametric)

  • Volume comparison

    Last week’s 3D printing math teaching aid was a volume comparison set that I designed to be able to fill with water, sand, or something similar and pour between containers to compare volume.

  • Conic sections

    I’m part of a mathy family — the kids were happy that I was using the 3D printer to print out a conic sections model that I just whipped together for my wife to use for teaching math.

  • January 2019

  • Changing times

    I just received a box of childhood artifacts left behind when I left home, from high school and earlier. One was one of the hundreds of different books titled Electricity and Electronics which I had entirely forgotten, but as soon as I opened it the memories flooded back. Two things really fell into place for me from looking at one project, Making a Powerful Electromagnet.

  • December 2018

  • Amazon has a suggestion

    I looked at the amazon page for my own book, and got the following email:

  • Actively Discouraging use

    Google actually intending for the takeout archive to be useless would certainly explain the data quality I experienced while trawling through it in order to re-publish my content.

  • Interpreting a G+ JSON “takeout”

    I think I want¹ to convert my Google+ posts into a static (probably Jekyll) site. I’m looking at a JSON takeout of my G+ profile, and the resources in Posts don’t seem to connect, which is going to make this hard.

  • November 2018

  • FT-5 R2

    I learned just this morning about the FT-5 R2 — it fixes almost all my complaints that caused me not to order an FT-5 when I bought my (piece of junk) tronxy x5s.

  • ImplicitCAD vs. OpenSCAD

    Alan Cox pointed me long ago to implicitcad, because it implements fillets and chamfers by rounding intersections and unions. I kept meaning to play with it…

  • Homeopathy explained...

    I explained the “thinking” behind homeopathy to my daughter, who exclaimed, “That sounds like someone fell asleep during the lecture on vaccines and remembered their dream for the test!”

  • October 2018

  • Worthwhile risks sometimes don't pay off...

    …that’s why they are called risks. Similarly, I’ve found that giving my kids space to make their own decisions doesn’t always result in good decisions, but gives them practice making decisions and that in the long run is good for them. It’s part of growing up.

  • BanksyGoogle+!


  • I’ve been doing some work on my home basement workshop...

    I’ve been doing some work on my home basement workshop, and I bought a real¹ hammer drill for poured concrete. (Cheaper than renting!) For this project, I also have to drive some nails into wood at very inconvenient angles. (Retrofit can be harder than new construction.) I finally realized that I could put an impact socket in the hammer drill, set the drill to hammer-only mode (intended for chisels), and drive nails into wood.

  • Google-

    Good bye Google+ — if you haven’t learned about Google takeout yet, maybe now is the time…

  • What happens when all the phones beep

    This afternoon at work, we noticed an alarming momentary drop in our incoming event stream across our customers generally. Was it an infrastructure problem? Maybe a transient front end routing outage? Fortunately we noticed the exact time of the outage before going down a rabbit hole. :) #presidentialalert

  • September 2018

  • Google promotes Firefox to vigilant users

    Thanks, Google, for confirming my preference for Firefox by silently making Chrome sign in for sync without asking first. :/

  • The Commons Clause doesn't help the commons

    The “commons clause” is based on false premises and specious reasoning. You could take my word for it, but better to read what Matthew says, so just go read his blog post while I wait here:

  • Sony Xperia XZ2 Compact deal

    My Xperia XZ2 compact is a good phone. Small enough to reach across, just barely enough bezel that holding the phone doesn’t inadvertently register as a touch at the edges, way more battery life than I need, Sony actually provides updates. Given the opportunity to do-over, I would buy it again.

  • Customary illiteracy


  • August 2018

  • Perlan Virtual Cockpit

    Watching a world record being set in real time! Until a few minutes ago, the world record for altitude in a sailplane/glider was 52,172 feet. Now 53,486 feet and climbing! Watch real-time telemetry and see how high they get this time!

  • Molten salt reactor progress

    I’m so happy to see newer, safer nuclear power happening. I live near a nuclear power plant and am glad that I have a nuclear-powered car, but molten salt reactors are designed to be safe (no so-called “china syndrome”) and although this article doesn’t mention it, at least some of the designs use thorium salts, which do not generate weapons-grade materials as waste byproducts.

  • Fractional packs

    I’m holding out for the π-Pack, because I’m irrational!

  • July 2018

  • Fitting in flying around a busy life

    “I entered the pattern and then was in key positon and instead of applying carb heat in the little Cessna 150, I pulled the throttle and cut the power! Whoops!”

  • Parametric Towers of Hanoi

    I’ve been working on a parametric towers of hanoi set, and it’s working well. It can print the posts, or be built to use separate posts (metal, wood, plastic; cut or turned) with screws through from the underside to hold the posts in place. It can be printed with extra-high posts in order to be able to play two-color towers of hanoi.

  • Global search-and-replace

    Someone on the Lowes website team seems to have done a global search-and-replace for “led” with “LED” and it shows up everywhere…

  • 3D printed bearing blocks

  • June 2018

  • TLBleed leaks keys; careful with hyperthreads!

    I followed’s link to this morning, and clicked on the first link I saw, with a fairly innocuous title. It seemed a slightly odd post for LKML, because disabling hyperthreading isn’t a new question; there have long been recognized workloads for which that’s a good idea. But that’s not really what it’s about.

  • Decade-long drug operation busted

    “Myles was sentenced to life in prison, followed by five years of supervised release… Webb was sentenced to life in prison, followed by 10 years of supervised release.”

  • Tronxy X5S becomes a frankenprinter

    I’m slowly building a rather different printer on top of the skeleton of my Tronxy X5S. Previously I replaced the Z mechanism with a single motor and continuous belt driving synchronized single-start 2mm lead threaded rod, and milled alignment jigs to mount linear rail to the top of the Y axis and front of the X axis extrusion. Today I finished milling a set of gantry mounting plates out of 1/4” (6.35mm) aluminum plate to attach the X gantry extrusion to the Y linear trucks.

  • GPS Interference Concerns Revived

    Oh, great. Doubt it’s a coincidence that this terrible idea has resurfaced under our current culpably reckless administration.

  • LED voltage/luminance investigation

    Some power / light data for LEDs — slightly lower voltages can sharply reduce heat and extend LED life. If you are using a dedicated adjustable power supply, you might not need to use PWM to dim LEDs. Less flicker, less noise.

  • Honeypot gift cards

    I wish vendors with gift cards had sites where you could download honeypot images of “backs of gift cards” with unique numbers, so that when would-be scammers try to use them, the police are alerted…☺

  • Crypto-Christians In Tech

    I have very rarely been “dissed” to my face for being openly Christian. I’ve certainly been present to listen to others complain about various classes or factions of Christians (“those fundamentalists…”) but in my admittedly limited experience, honestly, the rudely anti-religious or anti-christian are not more prevalent than the occasional thoughtless or selfish Christian. I have not yet visited anywhere that really experiences religious persecution!

  • NC legislators show their customary intelligence

    North Carolina makes sure that its legislative priorities are clear… Our Republican legislators explain that they are confused and think that cow squeezin’s are in soy and almond milk. Good to know they are filling out their online intelligence forms!

  • May 2018

  • Falcon 9 launch airs Windows shutdown notice

    It was quite odd to be watching the official Falcon 9 launch video from today on Linux and get a Windows shutdown notice on my screen. Yay Microsoft, well played‽ Quite an advertisement!

  • Can I use bare linear rail for extruder?

    As I collect parts to upgrade my printer, I am struck that the 450mm long MR12 linear rail I bought seems stiff. It’s not clear that I should bolt it to a length of 2020 extrusion, if all it is holding up is a few hundred grams of extruder and an MGN H carriage. Does anyone have experience building a corexy printer using linear rail itself for X, without the added inertia of bolting it to something else like 2020 extrusion?

  • Liberty steak with a side of freedom fries

    My daughter’s world history teacher decided to haze his students by assigning them to film themselves ordering “liberty steak” and “freedom fries” at a fast food restaurant.

  • April 2018

  • New use for old hard drives

    I was just wondering whether I really wanted to source a CPAP blower from china, and my wife was wondering why I kept all those old hard drives. Looks like Digital Dentist Mark Rehorst is coming up with an answer to both! Maybe I should buy a few cheap ESCs off ebay and play with this.

  • IRS is filing a legal lawsuit

    Google voice mail transcript: “IRS is filing a legal lawsuit under your name and your tax ID for the tax fraud. We have tried to notify you regarding this issue and previous six months, but we never got any response from your end. So it has being considered as an intentional fraud and lawsuit has been filed under your name by United States government. You may call our department number 404-537-9418. I repeat 404-537-9418. Thank you.”

  • Humans perceive flicker artifacts at 500 Hz

    “A separate line of research has reported that fast eye movements known as saccades allow simple modulated LEDs to be observed at very high rates. Here we show that humans perceive visual flicker artifacts at rates over 500 Hz when a display includes high frequency spatial edges. This rate is many times higher than previously reported.”

  • Howard Precision off cuts

    A lot of the off cuts in their random bin are bigger than pieces in eBay stock assortments I’ve seen. $1.75/pound plus shipping is a pretty good price for hobbyist stock! They are clearly oriented towards professionals, so they don’t even take credit cards or quote shipping online, but it looks from my quote that they round up the weights on the web inventory so that there won’t be a nasty surprise in the quote.

  • March 2018

  • Manual MESH_BED_LEVELING with Marlin 1.1.8

    [Edit: solved] Manual MESH_BED_LEVELING with Marlin 1.1.8 does not appear to work at all for me. I have tried with both M420 S1 and M420 S1 Z5 in start code. I’ve tried printing from SD and from pronterface. In pronterface, I definitely see the printer reporting the rather non-flat bed configuration I have stored in EEPROM as well as that bed leveling is on and (for Z5) the fade height of 5, and I don’t see any errors printed, but I see no adjustments actually happening when I try to print, and I’m still grinding filament instead of printing at the high points of the bed…

  • Visualize bed flatness with gnuplot

    Visualize bed flatness with gnuplot

  • Experience with cast plate?

    I’m tired of trying to tram a warped bed.

  • Repurposing 3D printer

    Turns out that when the printer isn’t spitting out plastic, there are other uses for a heated bed. If you can dry filament on a heated bed, you can dry colored sugar too! (After I took the picture, I put the box that I taped together for filament drying over the sugar cups.) #hacks

  • TI calculators in education

    I hate the TI calculator virtual monopoly in education. We got a Casio graphing calculator for our daughter. During a test, it started throwing errors. Confirmed not user error not only by the teacher but also by my wife, a math PhD. Even a hard reset didn’t clear it. The only thing that made it go away was clearing all device memory. Google search auto-completed the error, so it’s relatively common. No firmware updates appear to be available from Casio.

  • EU validating brexit?

    So it turns out the EU bureaucratic machine is trying as hard as it can to validate brexit? Or is this an overreaction? Without knowing the facts, it’s easy for me to believe either…

  • Replicase is ready to use

    Replicase is ready to print. House your Beaglebone + Replicape in style!

  • Another snow non-emergency

    I just drove my kids to an evening community center activity. Through the snow. On March 12. In North Carolina. It wasn’t cancelled. Huh.

  • FreeCAD as an OpenSCAD measuring tool

    FreeCAD people would be ashamed of me. I’m designing a part in OpenSCAD, saving and writing STL, importing the STL into FreeCAD and selecting it, selecting the Part workbench, Part→Create shape from mesh, and using the measuring tool on the resulting shape to check my work from OpenSCAD…

  • Replicase: Click-together Replicape case

    Replicase — OpenSCAD model of click-together Replicape case

  • Replicape case for Tronxy X5S

    Replicape case for Tronxy X5S

  • February 2018

  • Beautifying things on github?

    It looks like githubiverse and thing-tracker, which started when people were upset about thingiverse licensing, are dead.

  • Replicape: Run cooling fan only when necessary?

    Is it possible to configure one of the four replicape fan drivers to run whenever steppers are turned on? I have an 80mm 12V 2W fan I’d like to use to cool the replicape when the steppers are on (because I want to exceed 0.5A), but it would be nice to turn the fan off when the steppers aren’t being driven. (If that’s in the configuration docs, my apologies for missing it.)

  • Replicape fan voltage

    I am pleased to see that Replicape sends 12V to fans and sensors. My 24V nozzle heater cartridges haven’t arrived yet. I see that (M303 PID tuning) has a P1 parameter for pre-calibration for high power heaters. I’m hoping that protects me from burning out the 12V 40W heater cartridge while I wait for the 24V cartridge to arrive. (Trying to avoid having to use two power supplies when I install the replicape on the Tronxy X5S.)

  • Replicape on Beaglebone Green?

    +Elias Bakken do you know if anyone has Replicape working on a Beaglebone Green?

  • Spectre/Meltdown Pits Transparency Against Liability

    “If you Want Messages, Stop Shooting the Messengers”

  • January 2018

  • Low > High?

    Low 32°F, High 46°F, current temperature 19°F.

  • FoxTrot: Printer Wonderland

    For all my friends and family who say “that’s nice” about this particular hobby…

  • Mozilla "does a google" with Android Firefox Search Widget

    I’ve been using this widget for a long time. They removed it in Firefox 58, promising something better later, though providing no details.

  • My Tronxy X5S

    Anyone here have a Tronxy X5S? The initial reviews were pretty much unanimous that the corexy kinematics suffered a lot from non-parallel arrangement, but a few folks designed replacement parts to solve that problem, so I bought one.

  • Trying FreeCAD again

    I tried FreeCAD last night, following up to a thread from the OP. It’s clearly very powerful and if I spent lots of time learning what to expect I could work very quickly in it. I’m moderately experienced in OpenSCAD, and of course FreeCAD is very different; that’s basically the point. Since I’m new to FreeCAD, my early impressions might be completely wrong. But I thought I’d share them.

  • Meltdown/Spectre Needs Better Disclosure

    The author of rr might be expected to have meaningful commentary on Meltdown and Spectre, and indeed he does. Robert O’Callahan’s blog is worth following generally.

  • Daytime hackathon at Pendo

    Want to hack in Go? (Or JavaScript!) We’re doing our next hackathon in February, and like the previous ones we’re not locking employees up with pizza all night. Instead, taking a few normal work hour days to try out new ideas, and then celebrating the results! We have open positions for back end developers (Go) and front end developers (JavaScript) and you could start in time to join us if you act quick! ☺

  • December 2017

  • Is this retrocomputing?

    I bought a Korg DS-8 synthesizer in 1987. Today, my son is using Rosegarden on Linux to sequence and notate music—interfaced with my classic synthesizer using a USB/MIDI converter.

  • More faucet Moen-ing

    Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me.

  • Welcome to Method of Action

    There’s more than just the Kerning Game. (Sadly Firefox on Linux in Cinnamon (at least) doesn’t work for the Bezier Game because it can’t get an alt keypress.) You may be a nerd family if you show these games to your kids and they all Can’t. Stop. Playing. ☺

  • Hands-on with the PocketBeagle

    Ken Shirriff did a nice intro to PocketBeagle. Looks nice.

  • Linux Journal Ceases Publication

    It’s been a long run since I wrote a couple of “Kernel Korner” articles for Linux Journal issues 1 and 2, leading to Phil asking me to be editor for about the first two years (March 1994 - June 1996). Over 23 years of Linux Journal history now…

  • November 2017

  • Android volume scheduler?

    Looking for an Android volume scheduler so I can automatically set my alarm volume to 30% during the day (so I don’t startle people) and 100% at night (so I actually wake up!). I’m seeing a lot of very full-featured volume schedulers that want permissions to everything but Play Store doesn’t give me the option to search by number of permissions required, ascending, so that I can optimize my search. So #lazyweb it is!

  • Folder Player Pro

    My music is arranged by file name, not track name (since before people commonly carried music players around…), so most music players play tracks in the wrong order for me. Annoying for multi-movement classical works, crazy for audio books where sorting alphabetically by chapter title leads to really strange story arcs.

  • NoScript is not optional

    I am unlikely to update to Firefox 57 without Quantum support in NoScript. Not quite there yet.

  • LinkedIn promoted headline

    A promoted headline. With a description. Awesome, LinkedIn!

  • October 2017

  • Partway to the mirror universe

    I made it partway to the mirror universe.

  • What happens when Microsoft buys linkedin...

    What happens when Microsoft buys linkedin…

  • September 2017

  • There's a picture missing from the internet

    My children and I decided that we wanted to see a picture of the Underminer scene from The Incredibles, with Elon Musk riding a TBM pasted in to replace the Underminer and his drill.

  • Volunteer president

    Huh. The new Amtrak president is a volunteer — unpaid. I love airplanes and don’t despise commercial air travel but I would totally travel by train sometimes if they could fix the scheduling nightmare where freight trains taking a month to go coast to coast still have priority over passenger traffic, and would sell connected tickets. Right now if you want to buy travel through a hub it’s two separate tickets and if they are late and cause you to miss the next train on your itinerary, so sad for you buy a new ticket. Getting stuck in DC because the train was its typical 10 hours late from NC to DC isn’t workable. Basically you have to schedule at least an overnight with a liberal cancellation policy in DC to make that work.

  • A man wrestled a rattlesnake to show off

    “In my career, and I’ve been doing this for about 35 years or so, I’ve only seen one illegitimate snake bite in a woman,” he said, meaning a bite in which the victim saw the snake and didn’t try to escape.

  • Saved Password Editor doomed?

    I have really depended on Saved Password Editor for a while. Looks like I’m in trouble. Ultimately, WebExtensions are supposed to be the future, but the API is not nearly complete enough for my needs right now.

  • Mozilla compatibility fail

    Firefox 57 will disable “legacy” plugin API. NoScript is one of the top Firefox extensions.

  • July 2017

  • Jeff Sessions and civil forfeiture

    There is little disagreement among lawmakers, authorities and criminal justice reformers that “no criminal should be allowed to keep the proceeds of their crime.” But in many cases, neither a criminal conviction nor even a criminal charge is necessary — under forfeiture laws in most states and at the federal level, mere suspicion of wrongdoing is enough to allow police to seize items permanently.

  • Pendo $25M series C

    My bit part: I’m the bald developer in the background, lurking behind Todd as he talks about Pendo’s $25M series C investment round and our plans. I’m busy working on one of the features he mentions coming soon. ☺

  • June 2017

  • Bias to Hack at Pendo

    At a lot of businesses, there is a mission statement that’s dusted off once a year and otherwise ignored. At Pendo, our core values are printed large on our walls and shape our culture daily. Two of them are “bias to act” and “promote life outside work”, and our hackathon earlier this year was shaped by the latter (no all-night pizza burn) and named for the former. We’re doing another hackathon like it in August. We’re hiring!

  • Alexa disclosed private conversation

    “I think that Alexa was listening to something and sent me a message that, um, you probably didn’t want me to hear.”

  • Quark Tool

    CrowdSupply has interesting projects. This one looks convenient!

  • April 2017

  • EZSBC ESP32 development boards

    I wish I had seen the EZSBC ESP32 development board before I bought a few copies of the adafruit version. “Unlike most other boards this one fits on a breadboard and has one row of pins accessible on each side of the board.” I get annoyed trying to breadboard with the more normal adafruit version with the pins .1” too far apart. Also the EZSBC version can run straight off 12V which AFAICT is not true of the adafruit version.

  • EEZ H24005 production ended

    Envox aren’t keeping this in ongoing production, so if you didn’t buy one, you lost your best chance. Sign up if you want to be notified if they make another batch.

  • BeagleBone Blue: Where to start

    I wish the BeagleBone Blue (BBBL) page would point prominently to!manual-install as the first place to find information on using the BBBL. It isn’t listed at — it’s in the middle of a list of the sources of the “legacy” of the BBBL in the in their github page. But as far as I’ve seen so far, there’s no other place to find information on actually getting started with the BBBL. The lede is buried pretty deep here!

  • Chrysler quietly delays Pacifica production

    I remember around the turn of the year there were dire reports of how Chrysler was temporarily halting the Pacifica production line because of poor sales, especially around the plug-in hybrid version, and that this was indicative of a lack of demand.

  • Lots of useful stepper motor and driver info

    The comments in this post have a wealth of useful information on stepper motors and drivers.

  • Justice Thomas's Doubts About Civil Forfeiture

    “Improperly used,” Thomas observed, “forfeiture could become more like a roulette wheel employed to raise revenue from innocent but hapless owners whose property is unforeseeably misused, or a tool wielded to punish those who associate with criminals, than a component of a system of justice.”

  • March 2017

  • The quintessential programming technique

    In today’s Arduino exploration, I introduced my son to an essential programming technique.

  • ESP-12 ESP8266 Arduino failure

    Zero for two trying to talk to an ESP-12 with an “empty sketch” arduino uno.

  • Engineering learning

    My son got an Arduino as a present from a friend. We built “blinky” but then I was a little stuck on where to go next, because his grandiose imagination went well beyond obvious next steps. But today, I got something right. I broke things up into steps where each step engaged his interest and introduced just a few new ideas to talk about.

  • Another op-amp bites the smoke

    Ah, the refreshing smell of magic smoke. At least it didn’t fail subtly, so my mistake was nice and obvious: a puff of smoke and a tiny hole in the chip. Accidentally letting 15V above Vdd into an MCP6002 exceeds the absolute max of 1V above Vdd. (This hobby doesn’t reward carelessness; I can’t just drop into the debugger.)

  • February 2017

  • Trolls under the bridge?

    I’m not into bridge, and I think that internet trolls are lowlife scum, so no, google, not really.

  • Garrison Keillor: Blessed are the winners. Bigly.

    Garrison Keillor channels a Donald Trump homily on the 23rd Psalm…

  • EEZ H24005 last chance

    Last few hours for the $399 price for this open source, open hardware programmable power supply: The pre-order price after the campaign will jump from $399 to $450. The final retail price will be at least $499, possibly higher.

  • H24005 power supply will be made!

    The H24005 passed its initial funding goal. When it hit its first stretch goal and got an encoder knob it resolved one of my biggest usability concerns. When it hit its second stretch goal the isolated USB and ethernet ports addressed my other major concern. It’s only -42- 41 full kits away from the third stretch goal of adding a low power, high resolution, low noise mode.

  • Fridge temperature data: Handling heat

    Last night, at about a quarter past ten, we took home-made stock out of the pot, barely less than boiling, and put it in the fridge. This morning, I was curious what putting about 4 quarts of very hot liquid in the fridge did to temperatures in the fridge, so I graphed the last 12 hours of temperature sensor data.

  • January 2017

  • EEZ H24005: Open Source Bench Power Supply

    I have heard that CrowdSupply has a better track record than some crowdsourcing sites. This project looks interesting.

  • Race, Space, and the Conflict Inside Us

    A few months ago, I and probably millions of others shared a video of Randall Stephenson speaking. He clearly stated why “all lives matter” is a hurtful response to “black lives matter”: it misuses a trivially true statement to dismiss real experience. He encouraged meaningful personal conversation with examples.

  • Mathematics for Human Flourishing

    Totally worth reading, all the way through.

  • December 2016

  • The Actual War on Christians

    Religious persecution is abhorrent whether it is persecution of the religious or by the religious—and especially when it is both.

  • Pendo $20M B round

    Spark Capital leads a new investment round in Pendo, and Megan Quinn joins the Pendo board of directors.

  • Hot startup to watch

  • Looking for low VGS MOSFETs

    Hey lazyweb, I’m looking for N-MOSFETs that will switch 20V or more (VDS) with a VGS 3.3V or lower, so that I can use Real Computers for my intranet of things. I found a reference to PMV16XNR with RDSon under 0.04 ohms at 1.8V VGS and $0.16/unit in 100s. It’s available only in SOT23 though.

  • November 2016

  • Why does Android think I have a new device?

    Hey LazyPlus! Today, my Android phone has a new unexpected notification “Set up new Android device / Open in Settings app” which then says “Getting started / To set up your other device, your phone’s Bluetooth and your Wi-Fi data will be used.” But I don’t have a new Android device to set up. Does anyone know what’s going on here?

  • Voting today

    Longest line I’ve ever seen at my polling place. A brisk and beautiful morning to cast one of many important votes. Join me if you haven’t already!

  • October 2016

  • Come and go!

    Come work with me, coding in go.

  • Come work with me!

    Come work with me!

  • Value of comprehensive test coverage

    My first experiment with achieving 100% line coverage caught two bugs in the last three lines covered. They were both trivial bugs in error handling. They happened because I had roughed out some ideas early in development about error handling, but did not have anything driving me to recognize when development had invalidated early assumptions—until I thought about how to test those error cases.

  • September 2016

  • Kitchen power tools

    It was taking too long to make a quadruple recipe for a large group. Fortunately, my drill has a wide-enough chuck to solve the problem.

  • The Final Frontier

    My children decided that key needed a label…

  • Using Wi-Fi Signals to Identify People by Body Shape

    Using Wi-Fi Signals to Identify People by Body Shape

  • Gassing up the Volt

    I just put gas in my electric car. I last put gas in my Chevy Volt in early June; my wife put gas in it in mid July.

  • August 2016

  • The Practical Dev

    My life in a nutshell cephalopod.

  • THANKYOU Citi...

    Do you have a Citi credit card? (Will you still carry one after you read this?)

  • Invoked a storm!

    I irritated irrigated some new sod that needed a little drink, and sent kids out to water other new plants that were looking thirsty. No wonder a storm hit! ;-)

  • LWN: The One Python Library Everyone Needs

    I like python, but I’ve wasted too much time writing boilerplate code for objects. I like the look of attr. I need to take it for a spin!

  • Amazon math

    Amazon has a special deal on 2-packs…

  • Subscribe to Linux Weekly News! is totally worth your subscription dollars. How many other 18-year-old technical web sites are not merely relevant but influential?

  • July 2016

  • Generator battery explosion

    Arrived home this afternoon to a garage door opener that didn’t work. Further investigation revealed the power was out. I heard the generator exercise last week, wondered why it didn’t start this week. Looked at the exploded remains of the battery, and quickly realized why it wasn’t running.

  • The last clap of thunder?

    “Do not go outside until you hear the last clap of thunder,” said WRAL meteorologist Mike Maze. “That’s when it likely will be safe to venture outdoors.

  • Garrison Keillor raising funds for rural Uganda

    Garrison Keillor performed his last Prairie Home Companion tonight. September 23rd, in Eau Claire Wisconsin, he will lead a fundraising concert, supporting work my late brother Alec started before his unexpected death.

  • PHC: The end of an era

    My wife Kim and I grew up listening to PHC, and our first real date included going to see a broadcast (during its brief sojourn under a different name). Our children love to listen; it’s one of our family things.

  • June 2016

  • Microbiz Kickstarter

    I first played this game almost twenty years ago, on a hand-drawn board. It is finally, after decades of play among the wide group of friends of the designer, going into production. If the kickstarter succeeds.

  • 3D printing: improvised supports

  • Blacklist Comodo

    Sounds like time to add Comodo to the blacklist…

  • Reel mower

    I first mowed the lawn with a reel mower when I was about five years old. Today my nine year old son and I mowed lawn together with a reel mower. It did a better job than the reviews I read suggested it might.

  • May 2016

  • Roasted beet salad

    (de unconstructed) roasted beet salad

  • Nathan Myhrvold shuns peer review

    Nice to see that Washington Post calls out Myhrvold’s pattern of anti-social behavior in the software realm as their intro to reporting on his non-peer-reviewed asteroid paper. (Maybe Myhrvold was afraid that journals would have trouble finding a panel of ex-academic patent trolls to review his paper?)

  • Big Brother is watching you not watching big brother

    Big Brother is watching you not watching big brother.

  • NC Quick Pass bad service terms

    A few times per year, one or the other of our family vehicles travels on our local toll road, and I get a ~$5 bill in the mail. Each time, I think about spending the money on transponders for the cars, and each time I read the Terms and Conditions of a transponder account and am reminded how inequitable they are. Among the absurdities presented is that as a transponder owner, I would be responsible to monitor my account on the web site to see whether my balance has fallen to a level that requires replenishment, with no responsibility on the toll operator to inform me, though they can charge me for failing to notice independently and replenish. That’s crazy stupid.

  • April 2016

  • Theft is theft

    North Carolina was one of the earlier states to outlaw civil forfeiture. (Too bad our politicians aren’t consistently this wise.)

  • Trump's Bible Fail

    Trump isn’t the first to abuse scripture, and he won’t be the last. The Atlantic called him out in their usual thoughtful style.

  • Legislating weak encryption never goes away

    North Carolina politicians seem to be going out of their way recently to make bad decisions. I don’t expect anything better from Dianne Feinstein, either. But I sure hope that enough of our elected representatives demonstrate better sense.

  • Marshmallow, still without raw photo support

    Marshmallow finally arrived on my S6. Still no raw photo support. Why, Samsung?

  • March 2016

  • Thank You For Not Placing Pets On Eating Surfaces


  • Speed limit enforcement done wrong

    I am regularly passed by cars clearly going 20 to 30 miles per hour over the limit (often while driving dangerously aggressively). Lax enforcement regarding truly excessive speeding is the problem here.

  • PC World reviews the Chevy Volt

    I would never have expected to link to a PC World review of a car, but I guess PC World can review a computer with engines and wheels.

  • FCC makes the internet of insecure things even less secure

    Dan Gillmor

    Your home router is probably one of the least secure devices you own, because manufacturers ship them with vulnerabilities and then refuse to update them, or make it difficult to do so.

    What’s the FCC’s response? The worst possible one: Pushing manufacturers to LOCK DOWN the firmware so that even people who care about security are screwed. What a fiasco.

    Way to Go, FCC. Now Manufacturers Are Locking Down Routers

  • Donald Trump admits terrorists support him

    ABC News headline: Donald Trump Argues Many in US Share ‘Same Feeling of Hate’ as Terrorists Behind Brussels Attack

  • Some Clever Title: A FoxTrot Collection Blah Blah Blah

    Bill Amend keeps it classy promoting his new Foxtrot collection, Some Clever Title: A FoxTrot Collection Blah Blah Blah

  • Why Utah hates Donald Trump

    No group had a more negative view of Donald Trump than “practicing” Christians.

  • VoltShop provides Volt's missing rear shelf

    The Volt, especially the second generation, seems generally well done, but the missing shelf in the back is a real head-scratcher. Especially since they repeated the mistake in the gen2 (starting with 2016 model year) Volt… Fortunately, there’s a third-party solution, available for both gen1 and gen2.

  • The Chevy Volt is a fun hybrid...

    Finally a review, however shallow, that doesn’t end up apologizing on the Volt’s behalf for being a range-extended EV. Yay!

  • February 2016

  • 3D printer: Simple repair

  • Digital infrastructure security boondoggle

    Obama wants to secure our digital infrastructure to the tune of $19B? How about we start by not trying to force back doors into software and infrastructure, for a grand total of $0 budget requirement, and continue by discontinuing the archaic, ridiculous, and utterly meaningless registration system for “exporting” encryption that encourages companies to avoid encryption to reduce product cost, for an additional savings over our current spend. Maybe that would both help make funds available to improve the digital security of our physical infrastructure, and make it more likely that the software used to manage our physical infrastructure is strong “out of the gate”.

  • USPS fraudulently reporting packages delivered

    USPS reported as delivered around 2PM on Saturday a package that they didn’t get around until delivering this afternoon. If this weren’t a government-sponsored corporation, that would be considered fraud, but I guess some animals are more equal than others.

  • January 2016

  • FoxTrot: The Asocial Network

    Ah the irony of posting this on a social network… Reshare for double irony points!

  • Amazon, Redshift, and licenses

    Weird that Amazon recommends the strangely-licensed SQL Workbench/J for connecting to Redshift. Especially without warning all their potentially affected government-affiliated users about the strange license restrictions…

  • Marlin temperature setting bug

    Weird nozzle temperature setting issue on my #reprap running Marlin 1.1.0 RC3… I have PLA preheat set to 210⁰ and ABS preheat set to 240⁰. If I try to Control→Temperature→Nozzle and set to a value between 210⁰ and 240⁰ inclusive, it automatically changes it to 210⁰

  • 3D printing success!

  • Starting a larger 3D print

    Hoping the power doesn’t fail during the next three hours or so… :-)

  • See, the 3D printer is useful!

    New whiteboard pen clip to replace the one that broke this evening. Note the substantial bands—those are not part of the design but rather a printer problem (known as “Z-ribbing”) I am still trying to diagnose.

  • OpenSCAD CheatSheet enables 3D printing success

    Today, the kitchen whiteboard penholder clip broke. What a timely opportunity to try the 3D printer! I just needed to model a replacement, using a micrometer to measure the existing part and make something similar.

  • 3D printer display translated to gibberish

  • 3D printer source of Z-ripple?

  • Baby's first reprapping

    One of the 3d-printed parts on my new 3d printer cracked. The printer still works, but who knows for how long, so I’m trying to print a replacement. May finish printing by tomorrow at lunch, if all goes well. (I’m new to this, so that’s relatively unlikely.)

  • Arriving today by 8pm


  • Learn you Func Prog on five minute quick!

    Brightened my morning!

  • Federal Law Now Says Kids Can Walk To School Alone

    Finally, someone actually did think of the children—not as eggs to be coddled, but as actual human beings developing autonomy.

  • December 2015

  • Moto X alternative camera app?

    Hey, Lazyweb… I now have a Moto X Pure with Marshmallow, and I strongly dislike the default camera app. I’m seeing an odd behavior with some replacement camera apps. I have a microSD card mounted as external storage (not adopted) and am writing pictures to it (in DCIM/Camera/). For only some apps, the pictures I take are not visible, either in Gallery or on my computer via MTP, until I reboot.

  • Celebrate Christmas by appreciating others

    For Christmas, tell someone something specific you appreciate about them.

  • Moto Pure X camera fail

    Moto Pure X is a tremendous disappointment on the camera front. Not just a lack of raw support, but also a complete lack of manual controls. One of the best available sensors, intentionally crippled. I use manual controls regularly. Poorly done, Motorola!

  • How to update DSA to RSA SSH keys

    PSA: If you upgrade to openssh 7 client and realize that you were depending on dsa keys that you hadn’t yet updated to rsa keys in ~/.ssh/authorized_keys on remote hosts, and now you are getting a lot of “Permission denied (publickey,gssapi-keyex,gssapi-with-mic)” messages when trying to ssh to remote systems, it might help to copy your id_rsa to the other systems with a command like:

  • Living room newspaper geodesic dome

    I arrived home from work today to a four foot tall, eight foot wide geodesic dome made from rolled-up newspaper in the family room. My son wants to sleep in it tonight… :-)

  • Information overreach

    Samsung claims to need to store my “device’s unique identification number, model name, carrier code, security policy records, … current software version, MCC (Mobile Country Code), [and] MNC (Mobile Network Code)” merely to provide SELinux policy updates to my phone.

  • Files are hard

    We’ve accumulated a lot of evidence that humans are very bad at reasoning at these kinds of problems…

  • November 2015

  • Android: GPE S4 dying

    My Google Play Experience Galaxy S4 is dying; that is, it occasionally powers down during use and then won’t boot for hours afterwards. This makes it harder to trust it for alarms. So I’m looking for a new phone again. sigh I’ve narrowed down my options a lot, but nothing satisfies all my requirements.

  • Total Absence of Privacy

    Installing browser extensions is installing software on your computer. Be careful whom you trust.

  • The New York Time's

    Apparently even the Gray Lady has to misuse apostrophes on social media. Or, given the context, ought I to say, “misuse apostrophe’s”?

  • More stagefright attacks

    Even with all the published stagefright vulnerabilities fixed on my phone, I don’t think I’ll be downloading this MMS from— there, found the delete button. #spam  

  • Amazon's idea of a "book"

    Amazon: “this book” is “…The Complete Radio Series” CD set.

  • Benson Leung's USB Type-C testing

    Don’t get burned (literally…) by a dodgy USB Type-C cable or adapter. Good work here protecting the ecosystem.

  • Google Play Experience S4 Google Play Services failure

    Funny message from +Google+​ on my Google Play Experience Galaxy S4. Hey, Google, are you considered the manufacturer here? How should I contact you about this lack of support for Google Play services?

  • Amazon's waffle fork suggestions

    After finding one nylon waffle fork, I wanted to search to see whether there were any better choices I would prefer to buy. I think someone hacked the Amazon deep learning algorithm… ;-)

  • WCPE Secure Pledge Page

    My eight-year-old son insisted on making his own pledge to become a WCPE member in his own right, because he loves classical music. He knows something worth saving up for.

  • October 2015

  • I'm the git guy

    Almost guilty as hovertext-charged. (Go read the hovertext. I’ll wait here.)

  • Android: GPE S4 stagefright update

    Google got the latest stagefright update out for my (personal) GPE S4 today, while Verizon still has only half fixed the initial stagefright vulnerabilities on my (work) S6. And this update didn’t kill my alarms like the last one did.

  • More Secure, Reliable Wi-Fi Routers

    Jim Gettys

    I like Vint’s quote best: “We can’t afford to let any part of the Internet’s infrastructure rot in place.” For the sake of a secure end to end Internet without bufferbloat, it is essential that systems be maintained and upgraded over the life of a device. They cannot be allowed to “rot in place”, or innovation will die.

    Global Internet Experts Reveal Plan for More Secure, Reliable Wi-Fi Routers - and Internet | Business Wire

  • September 2015

  • Eclipse not quite eclipsed

    Clouds thin enough to see the eclipse underway…

  • Happy Birthday to XKCD

    A ruling worth celebrating!

  • Waking up is hard to do

    I took the Clock update from Google this morning and it deleted all my alarms. Just like the Lollipop update. Really, Google?

  • Microsoft forcing large Windows 10 downloads

    I seem to have misplaced my surprised face…

  • TSA helps unlock your luggage

    Lost the keys for your TSA-approved luggage locks? #TSA has got your back(door)! Download new keys today!

  • Android: GPE S4 Lollipop update

    Yay, Google provided Lollipop update for my GPE S4 after all. (Not quite dead yet…)

  • Juxtaposition

    Really, Google? The Algorithm lacks nuance. Or is this A/B testing?

  • Unknown promotional storage

    Google just emailed me to tell me that I have 10GB of unknown promotional storage expiring in a month. Interesting that they don’t know what promotion that was associated with. I was unaware that any of the storage increases they added to the account were temporary promotions. Also, waiting until today to tell me that they were expiring the promotion (whatever it was) today is interesting. Won’t hurt me since I wasn’t actually using that storage yet. Just a reminder that I’m the product not the customer. ☺

  • August 2015

  • New Fridge: Data

    The new fridge has shorter, smaller temperature cycles than the old dead GE fridge. Measured temperatures in the fridge are still substantially higher than the setpoint of 36⁰F (2⁰C); measured temperatures in the freezer substantially higher than the setpoint of 0⁰F (-18⁰C). And the manual contains no instructions on changing the setpoints. It says where the buttons are (duh, those are obvious) but not how to use them, and the installers said that once set, the setting could not be changed for 24 hours (nothing in the manual about that).

  • Jordan Lake Sunset

    Sunset at Jordan Lake. What a beautiful evening for camping!

  • Fortunate camping trip

    My younger daughter and I are going hammock camping tonight. Fortune may come true… Hopefully not the same kind of thrilling as last time I went hammock camping, when I met a bear. :-)

  • New Fridge: Perfect Timing!

    Yesterday morning, our fridge reported freezing temperatures, but my data logging showed normal temperatures and cycles. The temperature display was wrong, and the ice dispenser no longer tried to dispense, indicating a probable motherboard fault, so I bought a new fridge to be delivered today, intending that we would be able to transfer from one working fridge into another.

  • T-Mobile Insecurity questions

    T-Mobile insists that I set up three insecurity questions. They say:

  • Lucky recipient of stagefright attack!

    Just got an MMS from someone I don’t know, sent from a public library email address. Glad I turned off MMS auto-fetch! #stagefright

  • Amazed by Chihuly

    I wasn’t aware of Dave Chihuly’s work until I went to this permanent exhibition in Seattle today. I was unprepared both for minute detail and tremendous scale of his work. Well worth viewing.

  • Seattle: Gas Works Park

    Visited Seattle’s Gas Works Park today; saw the gas works and lots of float planes taking off from and landing on Lake Union

  • Verizon disabling raw support in 5.1.1?

    Blah. Verizon finally allowed me to get the (first, sigh) stagefright update with Android 5.1.1. But it appears that they disabled the .dng raw camera support that was expected to roll out with 5.1.1 on the S6. Going out of their way to annoy users. T-Mobile is reported to have left it enabled in their 5.1.1 update on their S6, so it’s just pure cussedness on Verizon’s part. I know, film at 11…

  • OverType - The Over-The-Top Typewriter Simulator

    This brings back memories. Including why I was so glad that the typewriters in typing class had a correction ribbon (yes we were spoiled). I recommend the “Special Elite” font.

  • USPS Time Travel

    A package is mailed from Wisconsin to North Carolina. Five days after it is mailed from Wisconsin, it departs Des Moines Iowa. Meanwhile, the postal service web site predicts that it will be delivered yesterday. This seems optimistic at best.

  • Oligarchy With Unlimited Political Bribery

    I’ve been re-reading The Great Bridge, in which the vastly money-infused politics of the Tammany Hall era figures largely. Money corrupting politics isn’t a new thing, it’s perennial—which is why we need to keep fighting it.

  • July 2015

  • Microsoft pushing the limits

    Microsoft to EU: “So sue us. Again.”

  • Fixing grub after MBR to GPT migration

    Hey lazyplus! I am helping out upgrading a system with a couple of 2TB drives in it, CentOS 7 installed, with three partitions on each drive, with three RAID1s across those three RAID1 partitions. /, swap, and /home.

  • Half a brontosaurus

    “Dad, what’s this?”

  • Kitten coincidence

    At work, we have a “bulletin board” for buying, selling, borrowing, recommending, etc. Saw these two listings next to each other this morning… Aww!

  • Irresponsible or unavoidable borrowing?

    Monetary union without political union seemed to me from the initial proposal of the Euro to be a farce. Without significant social union (the other countries are “us” not “them”) there won’t be a political solution for monetary imbalance. Great Britain was wise to keep the pound.

  • Outsized s'mores

    What happens to s’mores when Dad finds outsized marshmallows before a cookout.

  • Conjunction watching

    The clouds parted just before the conjunction slipped below the apparent horizon.

  • June 2015

  • The horrible lurking bug

    I tried to be conservative and thus gave a generous 40GB to my root filesystem. On the other hand, I used btrfs. I recently updated to F22 and this morning tried to yum update (yes, dnf, I know…). You probably already know what’s coming:

  • Microsoft network incentive to block Windows 10

    Peter da Silva

    Is Microsoft saying what I think they’re saying? That if someone is visiting and they’re using Windows 10, I have to either change my SSID or tell them “no, you can’t connect to my network using Windows 10”?

    This can’t be right. Something must have gotten lost in the translation.

    Via +rone 


  • EFF pursuing patent troll

    Andrew Cathrow

    EFF doing what they do best - pursuing trolls like +Garfum Social Media Video Competition 

    EFF Asks Court to Order Patent Bully to Pay Attorneys’ Fees

  • Incompetence in bureaucracy‽

    Raise your hand if you are surprised to learn of incompetence in government bureaucracy.

  • Fedora 22 and data integrity

    Just upgraded my main command-line system to Fedora 22. I hadn’t gotten around to moving that particular system from Fedora 20 to 21 (unlike my Fedora desktop systems), and I was nonplussed when my .bash_history .bash_profile was zeroed out. It appears that this data integrity issue has been known since it was added to Fedora 21 and not considered important. And it turns out it is a symptom of a larger data integrity issue; it’s not limited to .bash_history.

  • CPS unchecked

    Georg Greve

    All of Switzerland would so go to jail.

    We even let 5 year olds walk to the Kindergarten on their own.

    11-Year-Old Boy Played in His Yard. CPS Took Him, Felony Charge for Parents.

  • When Solid State Drives are not that solid

    The problem with depending on backups of SSDs is: what if it’s data, not metadata, being corrupted, and you are silently backing up corrupted data? When will you notice?

  • Second-rate cell phone glass repair experience

    Last night, while I was building a hutch for my workbench, my cell phone jumped off my belt (apparently of its own volition) and landed corner-first on the cement floor of the shop. So today I had the opportunity to sample a local phone glass repair shop.

  • Data can lead to uncomfortable truth

    The coil on my fridge is not designed to be cleaned. I vacuumed the accessible half. Need to buy a special brush to clean the inaccessible half. Curious whether the cleaning will show up in the temperature data I am collecting… :-)

  • Fun with (fridge) data

    Here’s a picture of data from my fridge project from today, annotated with events. Some of the events I caused, like opening doors and touching sensors to make sure that I had mapped the sensor IDs to data sites correctly. Some I didn’t, like the defrosting cycle. Some I don’t know about, like the fridge middle sensor going to zero a few times, and the first two spikes of the freezer high sensor.

  • Not particularly impressed with our (GE) fridge

    Not particularly impressed with our (GE) fridge. Seems to be “running all the time”, and often not to be cold enough. To quantify this, I wired some 18B20 digital thermocouples to a beaglebone and let it go overnight. You can tell from the graph which is in the fridge compartment and which is in the freezer.

  • Alternatives to Google maps for GPX overlay

    I would have been asking this question if I had bothered to create GPS tracks from my photos recently…

  • May 2015

  • 115V pickle

  • Deflategate

    “What is this?” My son replies, “a deflated football”. (Off by one year, though he correctly decoded “48”.) “What is football?” He answers, “A game where you deflate the other team’s ball without getting caught.”

  • LWN: An introduction to Clear Containers

    Arjan van de Ven contributes An introduction to Clear Containers to

  • Translations from Canadian

    G+ offers to translate +Behan Webster’s post from Canadian. Subtle!

  • Take Five!

    Happiness is listening to your eight-year-old son trying to pick out Take Five on the piano.

  • MIG Home Repair

    A MIG welder was not the right tool for the job, and I’ve never tried welds quite like this before. It’s not perfectly straight; the attached pulley wobbles about 2mm or so at the outside. I thought I had to grind down the bead on the outside to fit, and it turns out I needn’t have done so and may have weakened it a bit doing so. But it’s probably stronger than when we bought it, and it works, even though the weld is ugly.

  • Short Warranty Rationale

    The broken crank from my +ProForm elliptical trainer. Terrible welding. Only a tiny bit of the welding was actually a through weld. Mostly cold welds rusted through. This is definitely a manufacturing defect. No wonder ProForm (ICON) offers only a 90 day warranty. Paying over $110 for a replacement for this piece of junk part is clearly not a winning idea.

  • ProForm service fail

    After less than 5 months in service, our ProForm elliptical trainer died. The crank was clearly flawed, and it broke while my wife was exercising. The 90-day warranty was two months out of date. ProForm wants over $110 for a replacement crank (probably costs them about $2). Not that I can get the crank off the crank arm to replace it, since the screw heads are stripped. So even if I wanted to throw good money after bad, it would be a challenge.

  • Collected noise

    Hey, +Google+, I’m drowning in collected noise. I don’t want to follow every collection followed by anyone I follow. Bad default.

  • What If This Book Had a Plot?

    “Plot” isn’t the first word that comes to mind to describe this (very enjoyable) book.

  • Writing for Busy People

    Lots of good advice on writing short technical papers. I preach many of the points specific to the writing per se but I’m terrible about effectively using graphics to complement the writing and make it enticing to read.

  • Samsung, your move...

    Samsung, your move…

  • April 2015

  • Smarter Every Day: Reversed-steering bicycle

    A rocket scientist shows that riding a reversed-steering bicycle is brain surgery… ;-)

  • WCPE enabled RDS

    As I turned on my car today I noticed out the corner of my eye that +WCPE TheClassicalStation​​​ enabled RDS recently. Apparently +Kevin Otte​ ​​noticed this last week.

  • CentOS 7.1 update disabled NFS

    The “yum update” that put CentOS 7.1 on my CentOS 7.0 home server wasn’t entirely a good experience. The update magically disabled NFS, which I didn’t discover until I figured out that the new NetworkMangler wasn’t installing a route to the local network, and reverting to NM_CONTROLLED=no was the only way I could convince it to add the route. I’m guessing NetworkMangler isn’t very well tested for BOOTPROTO=static but I am a little surprised that it would make this basic a mistake. (And here I was actively trying not to be a Luddite.) Now that I’ve fixed or worked around those two issues, I’m curious to find out what else is broken.

  • Android: Automating captive portal click-through

    Someone (I forget who…) was recently asking me about automating the process of connecting android devices through captive portals, and I had a vague recollection of having heard of an app. This open source app is, I think, what I remembered. I have no experience using it, but since it is open source, if it doesn’t work for your particular portal now, maybe that can change. ☺

  • Bug or feature?

    SELinux is preventing chrome-sandbox from write access on the file oom_score_adj.

  • Anti-vax herd compromising immunity

    The “anti-vax” crowd is acting like a herd and is thus compromising our herd immunity. Is the problem that people have become worse at evaluating risk in the past 60 years, or that the general media has lost pretty much all sense of responsibility?

  • Openstack welcoming an outside developer

    I wrote an enhancement to git-review to make branchy development more robust. It took the form of a new feature that changed the workflow. The #openstack-devel folks gave some really useful code review (of a code review tool, how appropriate) and today it was merged for the next release.

  • The profound truth of Easter

    Returning from Belgium… My brother Alec, who died in a tragic accident just before Christmas, lived and worked in Leuven, Belgium. We chose Easter to visit his coworkers, housemates, friends, and church families; and to retrieve his effects. Alec rarely talked about himself, and almost never of his successes, so we had much to learn. From all of these friends, such an outpouring of kindness and sharing tears and joys—we now have dozens more good friends than we started the trip with!

  • March 2015

  • Socks protected in shipping

    Good thing Amazon packed my socks in lots of air packs, otherwise they might have been jostled in shipment!

  • Do Not Climb Or Walk On This Structure

    These instructions were clearly meant for other people

  • Beautiful thunderstorm

    Cleaning out old pictures, found these. I remember I couldn’t capture the beauty of this storm. The fact that I was shooting from a full parking lot didn’t help.

  • Whose point?

    Playing table tennis with my older daughter, she set up a soft short lob with such vicious backspin that I couldn’t reach it as it bounced back across the net and landed on her side. She then didn’t return it. Whose point was it?

  • Disposable cameras

    Should I approach all cameras as disposable? Is my idea that component systems are things to invest in and learn deeply old-fashioned? I thought of P&S cameras as essentially disposable, but system cameras as investments. Maybe I’m behind the times.

  • Freudian slip

    “Dad, what’s a Freudian slip?”

  • Bad Schlage latch design

    The outside latch on my front door doesn’t work to open the door. It’s not a security issue since the problem is that it doesn’t open. This may be a feature since it teaches the kids to ring and to answer the doorbell. However, it annoys my wife.

  • For super Pi day!

    For super Pi day!

  • Trust, but verify

    I have an old recycled server (about six years old) that I pressed into emergency service due to a hardware failure a few weeks ago. But it’s loud. So I got some replacement quiet fans for it. Much cheaper (and, I hope, more environmentally friendly) than buying a new system. But there’s no standard for wiring for fans, and the datasheets don’t all agree.

  • NASA to Launch Satellites into Powerful Magnetic Explosions

    Headline looks over the top, but really it isn’t. What we don’t know about magnetic reconnection may kill us; at least in much of the developed world where we depend on the power grid functioning for our basic food infrastructure. This is essential research that may save civilization from catastrophe some day in the not too distant future. It also might help clear the way for successfully using nuclear fusion to generate clean power, which might end up an essential part of protecting our planet for future generations. Unlike populating Mars, this is truly important work NASA is doing.

  • Real-life spit-take

    Saw a real-life spit-take this evening, for the first time I can remember. Was playing a word-association game with my older daughter at dinner. She gave me “squirrel”. I yelled “Squirrel!” while looking away (a lá Up).

  • February 2015

  • firewalld can be opaque

    Just wasted two hours of my life discovering that firewalld has no facility for allowing routing between subnets on different interfaces.

  • Another beautiful snowy day in NC

    What I saw when I got to the office today… Meanwhile, my relatives in the upper midwest tell me that it is dry and brown.

  • FCC and Title II

    If Big Telco hadn’t sued the FCC over softer neutrality regulation, maybe they wouldn’t have backed the FCC into the Title II corner. Duh?

  • IoT insecurity

    Dirk Hohndel

    Can’t wait for IoT to take hold. Billions of devices with no update strategy. All tracking me and connected to the internet. What could possibly go wrong.

  • Superfish adware and DMCA?

    Aren’t SSL certificates (especially system-wide certificates) used as a “technological measure that effectively controls access” to rights-protected works? I’m curious why #Superfish wouldn’t be violating #DMCA   Section 1201(a)(3)(A) by decrypting encrypted works “without the authority of the copyright owner” since I don’t see that there’s anything preventing it from doing so for works covered under the DMCA. Does one or more of the exemptions apply here? The DMCA is such a twisty maze…

  • NC legislative priorities

    Here in North Carolina, our legislators are preparing to cut the gas tax right now, while gas is cheap, with a scheduled increase in gas taxes later, when the current “game of chicken” plays out and gas prices have returned to more reasonable levels.

  • Joule Thief

    Made a “Joule Thief” with my son this morning. Able (barely) to light a 3V white LED from a very depleted AA cell with 0.66V remaining. He insisted on using a relatively fresh D cell. Since that is pulling about 50mA now and will pull less as the battery wears out, and Duracell’s datasheet indicates 50 hour life at 250mA constant current, I figure he has at least 250 hours of illumination available. Since it has only a momentary pushbutton switch, I have my doubts that he’ll have the patience to use up even the one battery—at least unless he replaces the switch.

  • January 2015

  • Super Bowl


  • Equitable sharing

    “Equitable sharing” — I guess no one who reads Tolkien would be likely to be involved in naming these programs.

  • Needle ice

    I have seen ice formations like this a few times. After cold rain saturates the clay, followed by a clear cold night sufficiently below freezing, whiskers of ice may grow out of the ground, sometimes pushing up light detritus above them. I’ve seen them two inches long, though the one I saw this morning were about an inch long.

  • Art Of Electronics 3rd Edition

    April 30th. Much better than “imminent”. Can’t wait.

  • In Memoriam: Alec Johnson

    One month ago today, I lost my brother in a tragic accident. He was standing on rocks on the shore of Lake Superior and a large wave caught him and pulled him in. The tragedy was compounded when a bystander attempted to rescue him and was also pulled in by the waves. They both drowned.

  • Auto-translating Lorem Ipsum to English

    Google knows something I don’t: Lorem Ipsum can be translated into English. English-ish? ☺

  • December 2014

  • Technology design, in two comics

    David Megginson

    Everything you need to know about designing computer systems, in two comics

    I refer to these two comics constantly when I’m doing technology architecture and design work. Affordance Don’t make it easy to do the wrong thing and count on training or documentation to save you — everyone is tired or in a hurry sometimes. (From The…

    Technology design, in two comics

  • Wasavi working well

    I’ve been using wasavi for a couple months. It doesn’t have everything I use in vim, but that’s what “It’s All Text” is for… If you use any flavor of vi and keep reflexively using vi commands in text areas in web browsers, you might appreciate wasavi too!

  • Dual palindromes

    My almost fifteen-year-old car today simultaneously turned over 150051 miles on the odometer and 299.2 miles on the trip odometer. Palindromes come so rarely in the hundred thousands that I had not expected to see any more dual palindromes (ignoring the decimal point in the trip odometer) in this car. I remember noticing several before hitting 100000 miles though.

  • Git for Computer Scientists

    This is something like what I describe when giving my ad-hoc short-form introduction to Git, where I point out to developers that they already know the core concepts of Git from managing objects in process memory: DAGs, trees, pointers (mutable and immutable)…

  • Abandoning Adoramapix

    Blah! +Adoramapix won’t let me order photos without enabling javascript for ad networks. Looking for alternative print shops. Suggestions?

  • Rationalizing discounts

    Discounts are effective sales tools. Today, +SeeedStudio has a sale for 20% off custom PCBs. I decided to save about $4 by ordering two 5cmx5cm designs today, then noticed all the other stuff on sale… Bus Pirate, Bus Blaster, Open Bench Logic Sniffer, ATX breakout, BBB rev C; suddenly my credit card payment is an order of magnitude larger than I intended when I showed up. Yay? Eeek? ☺

  • Smart TVs are not a smart choice

    Brennan Center for Justice

    I’m Terrified of My New TV: Why I’m Scared to Turn This Thing On - And You’d Be, Too:

    I’m Terrified of My New TV: Why I’m Scared to Turn This Thing On — And You’d Be, Too | Brennan Center for Justice

  • Adoramapix requiring excessive Google auth permissions

    +Adoramapix has Google account authentication instead of requiring setting up yet another account. I like not having to manage another account. But by default it wants access to all my circles and permission to spam my contacts. Ugh.

  • When websites get pathetic

    Filip Joelsson

    Web design best practises, except - not really. A good list of everything I hate about the web today. :-)

    The Joy of Tech comic, When websites get pathetic.

  • November 2014

  • Generating an ICC file for my monitor

    +Richard Hughes — I run MATE rather than GNOME3 (I am not the target audience, it’s been made clear to me) but I’d like to use my colorhug to generate an .icc file for my monitor. All the instructions say just plug it in and it will magically start. Not so under MATE. Not obvious to me how to kick it off manually under MATE. I would hope there’s a program I can invoke, but it’s clearly not any of the programs in colorhug-client since I tried those. Any enlightenment? Thanks!

  • Where are the truly dangerous toys?

    Killjoys Against Fun Toys For Children (KAFTFC) has provided a new list of toys that might actually be fun. Sadly, the list has several ho-hum entries, but a few are candidates.

  • NewsBlur Android app data integrity bug

    I use +Samuel Clay​’s NewsBlur as my RSS reader. I’m quite satisfied with it on the web, and I bought a premium account even though I fit in the free tier. But the Android app is not quite good enough, which really gets in the way of catching up with things in odd moments. There have been improvements in UI responsiveness by adding a separate network thread. But it has a serious bug that makes me think that no one else really uses it “in anger”…

  • Usability reduction

    It sure looks like the visual designers won their poker game with the usability experts. ☺

  • Never enough ice cream

    Sale on our favorite ice cream: five cartons for the price of two. We’ll have company for thanksgiving, so I bought ten. Came home–and found four cartons already in the freezer.

  • XKCD provides best Rosetta landing coverage

    You could follow ESA’s blog. Or you could just read today’s XKCD.

  • Groupon has no corporate integrity

    I wish I could say I was surprised, but it’s not like +Groupon has shown integrity in the past. Random examples from a quick web search:

  • Chicago theory of driving: Coexist!

    I used to think that the “coexist” bumper stickers were about religious toleration. Apparently they also can be an affirmation of the Chicago theory of driving: Given sufficient momentum, two objects can and will occupy the same space simultaneously.

  • Blinky POV Kit

    Just spent a few quality hours helping one of my daughters solder a Blinky POV kit.

  • Choose Independent: Firefox on Android

    Hmm, they don’t have an option for G+ for this campaign. But Firefox has been my “daily driver” on android for over a year as it has been on the desktop for years before that.

  • License implications of machine-learned coding?

    What are the licensing implications of using a tool like this, if they succeed? What if I use it to write Apache-licensed code but GPL and AGPL code was referenced building its model?

  • SCOTUS Amici curiae brief against API copyright

    Jeff Dean

  • PWM controller test success

    Working PWM controller attached to LED strip fixture. Next goal is to test install in a kitchen cabinet with glass doors. If it looks good, I’ll do two more strips for the other shelves and then wire them all into the controller, attached to the extra 12V power supply I installed in the under-cabinet fixture I converted from halogen to LED. The reason for the dimmer is that I just want to add a pleasant glow in the cabinets, not make them very bright.

  • Voltage deregulator

    Was surprised how hot the L7805 was getting supplying only a few mA of current. Was less surprised when I discovered that I had it installed backwards. Don’t think it’s intended to be installed with 12V supplied to the output pin. ☺

  • October 2014

  • Atypical halloween costume

    This may not look like a Halloween costume yet…

  • Terms of Service; Didn't Read this week covered a talk by Kolab Systems CEO Georg Greve that reminded me to review #tanstaafl I guess

  • SAS or SAP?

    Friends at LinuxCon and Linux Plumbers were confused when they saw that my badge said “SAS Institute” and I was wearing a t-shirt that said “SAP”. On SAS’s behalf, I visited SAP to talk Open Source with the OpenUI5 team as they were preparing this release—hopefully not distracting them too much from their work in the process. Belated congratulations to the OpenUI5 team on this milestone release of buildable source, and thanks for the t-shirt! ☺

  • More USPS time travel!

    I’m looking backward to receiving this package yesterday! ☺

  • Auf Wiedersehen Düsseldorf!

    Auf Wiedersehen Düsseldorf!

  • I am not the GNOME 3 target audience

    I rather liked GNOME 2. GNOME 3 limitations (for my use) have been so significant that I can’t even comfortably use Cinnamon (it inherits some limitations from GNOME 3) so I’m still using Mate. The main discomfort this causes me in F20 is lack of bluetooth support.

  • Comcast is an aggressive bully

    I remain unconvinced that it is in my best interest for Comcast to gobble up TWC, my current internet provider.

  • Neil Brown on building community

    Neil Brown

  • iPhone Encryption and the Return of the Crypto Wars

    If you are looking for better commentary than the Washington Post editorial, no surprise that you don’t have to look further than Bruce Schneier… It looks like for the most part, both real journalism and thoughtful editorials have moved away from print.

  • OSH Park: great experience

    Saturday, I placed my first PCB order at OSH Park. Sunday morning, I was assigned to the Monday (today) panel. Sunday afternoon, I realized just one more tweak I wanted to make.

  • Political experience

    I just had a political experience. I dished out my supper and the US appeared! Perhaps part of California has slid into the ocean though… :-)

  • Marriott fined for blocking wi-fi

    When I read “Marriot said it believed that the Gaylord Opryland’s actions were lawful” as Marriot’s response to being fined $600K, it makes me think the fine was too low. The convention racket is a racket, ya think?


    Deluxe Continental Breakfast: FAILED TO READ TEXT FILE: 15.95.txt

  • Android building T-Mobile coverage

    T-Mobile has decent coverage outside the Android building at the googleplex. AT&T and Verizon not so much.

  • September 2014

  • Appliance repair technicians sometimes aren't

    Diagnosis? What’s that? That’s two non-functional appliances in a row that the repair techs have told us can’t or shouldn’t be repaired and need replacement. Both of them merely needed to be cleaned. People keep telling me to quit trying to fix things myself and hire experts. Specialization is the lifeblood of the economy!

  • Paypal user agreement

    Does anyone actually read the paypal user agreement before creating an account?

  • iPhone 6 copies the Nexus 4

    Nice to see the “welcome to 2012” meme entering the mainstream press:

  • "Help, I'm trapped in a fortune cookie factory..."

  • Hamster Wheel Standing Desk


  • Learning KiCad

    Learning KiCad has been interesting. Some things have been easy to learn after running through the tutorial. Others have taken some searching. Finding the right component is hard (like finding vertical electrolytic capacitors); the libraries are inconsistent and hard to browse. Figuring out how to place mechanical holes (NPTH—non-plated through hole) for “panelized” boards that snap apart took several google searches, and that was after I found a python script to run to panelize a design. The graphics handling is so 1980s, in that it draws garbage and expects you to regularly manually refresh to get rid of visual garbage on the display.

  • Helping out an old friend

    The idea of taking out a loan against a house to keep an event going scares the living daylights out of me, but Andrew was trying to keep building community when he did it. Andrew did a lot to build the Linux community, before it was so corporately popular. Please give him a hand.

  • Intel Edison pricing fail

    I’m confused by Intel Edison. The cheapest way to get started doing anything involving interfacing it with the real world, as far as I can tell, is a $65 SOM plus a $24 breakout. About $90 for a single unit. The benefit over BeagleBone Black ($55) is wifi and bluetooth included in the Edison SOM. The BBB has more I/Os and two “bare” 200MHz PRUs; the Edison has one 100MHz PRU running an unspecified RTOS. BBB has been (despite its process speed and I/O advantages) a distant second-place in the market to the mostly-inferior (except in video performance) Raspberry Pi which is slightly less expensive. (I know, limited availability hasn’t helped BBB…)

  • Wasavi Firefox extension

    I’ve used the “It’s all text” Firefox extension to integrate with external vim. This is even better for many uses and works in both Firefox and Chrome. Yay!

  • Fotokite: Aerial photography without drones

    A clever solution for many situations where commercial drone use seems desirable… Very interested to see where this one goes. (No more than a few hundred meters from the operator, I guess…)

  • Why I distrust appliance repair businesses

    More nuance on the #kitchenaidfail when I asked about other brands: It is true that on our three-year-old KitchenAid dishwasher the master circuit board, control panel, top rack adjusters including three of four of the wheels, and entire top rack water delivery system all failed in the past year and had to be replaced (at exorbitant cost approaching the price of a new dishwasher). However, the repairman was wrong about the pump having failed as well.

  • Dear iPhone 6 users: Welcome to 2012!

    I hear that Apple also revealed today their radically new technology called a “watch”. (Apparently I’ve been wearing bracelets all these years?) #realitydistortionfield remains strong, I guess.

  • Dishwasher recommendations?

    Hey, lazyweb! Help me buy a functional dishwasher please! We’re tired of handwashing dishes while standing next to an overpriced piece of malfunctioning junk.

  • USPS admits failure to time travel

    Earlier today, USPS still confidently expected to deliver a package to me yesterday. Now, they have a big orange ALERT to tell me that it is on time and that they expect it to be delivered today. I guess they gave up on time travel!

  • On time, expected delivery yesterday

    Optimism from the USPS with regard to expected delivery day. I think if they invented time travel today, I would have known about it yesterday. ☺

  • August 2014

  • Code reviews that don't waste time

    This article isn’t about Java even though it is posted on a Java site…

  • T-Mobile DNS hijack

    This morning, my +Time Warner Cable connection wasn’t working. Yay for tethering over LTE! Boo for +T-Mobile requiring cookies on individual browsers to “opt out” of turning all DNS failures into hijacked browser sessions going to a hosted google search for the URL (duh). Given that doesn’t even resolve on multiple machines around the internet on which I have shell access, I’m going to guess significant TWC outage, more than just my neighborhood…

  • Insecurity by obscurity: security plan fail

    Obama administration embraces “security” by obscurity. If releasing your security plan makes it more likely to be broken into, you don’t actually have a security plan, you just think you do.

  • Gerrit automatic fast-forward commits?

    Hey, lazyweb! My google-foo may be weak today.

  • I have read and agree

    There’s lots of hand-wringing about “license proliferation in open source” but not enough about “terms of service proliferation in services” — time to fix that without requiring that everyone send terms of service to their lawyers to know what they are actually signing up for. Good work!

  • CPSC over-reach: magnets

    I hadn’t really been considering buying magnet spheres… Until I learned how the CPSC has thrown perspective to the wind. Buy now or forever hold… …not magnets. I guess.

  • Security experts hack home alarms, smart cars and more

    Again, if you don’t have control of the software running on your Internet of Things devices, at home or on the road, you are a sitting duck. This article mentions using unencrypted communications, but misses some important points.

  • Comcast Confessions

    Reporting that makes the Comcast memo look very much like a whitewash. Also, mentions that the rep was placed on leave, so maybe they’ll make him take the fall for company culture after all.

  • Some animals are more equal than others

    Whether or not The Hague is the appropriate venue, no consequences for those who inflict torture is no more acceptable for the soi disant leader of the free world than for despotic or authoritarian governments.

  • LICHEN PUB lite

    My PUB is the “lite” variant about a third the size of the official LICHEN standard. Keep fragmentation alive!

  • July 2014

  • Making a battery charger

    This evening, I wondered, “What do I have sitting around the house that I could turn into a 12V lead-acid battery charger?” A power supply from a dead laptop, a buck converter, some wires pulled from a dying coffee maker, and a multimeter to make sure I don’t overdo it, and the battery is charging! Fortunately, the batteries have their charging profile printed on them.

  • The Internet of Things Is the Hackers' New Playground

    If you aren’t in control of the firmware running on your #IoT devices, you’ve pretty much left the front door not merely unlocked but wide open and swinging in the wind. (Perhaps rather less figuratively if one of your IoT devices is the lock on your front door.) And, unfortunately, you generally aren’t in control of the firmware.

  • Congress votes for opaque airfare pricing

    The best legislation money can buy!

  • Fully-integrated MOSFET h-bridge ICs?

    I’m having trouble finding fully-integrated MOSFET h-bridge ICs. I have found the L9110 integrated h-bridge that looks from its VHout of about 7.6V from a Vcc of 9V to be a BJT h-bridge (though the sparse datasheet doesn’t even call it an h-bridge and is low on details). However, the MOSFET h-bridge chips I’ve found are all like DMHC3025LSD which is just a convenient packaging of 4 MOSFETs. Very flexible and widely useful but not what I had in mind.

  • Android GPE S4 hotspot firewall?

    Hey lazyweb,

  • Comcast retention call update

    I’m still not excited by the idea of Comcast taking over my cable service, but it looks like they aren’t making the agent take the fall for the corporate culture. The agent on this call did a lot of what we trained him and paid him — and thousands of other Retention agents — to do. Only time will tell whether they are serious about improving the culture.

  • BeagleLogic

    From GSoC, a project to use the PRUs on BeagleBone to implement a logic analyzer.

  • Fritzing usability

    Fritzing is kind of weird, at least for a newbie. I think this was easier than drawing by hand, but I’m not sure. Lots of “try the same thing 10 times until the last time it magically works” and “that doesn’t work; google how to do it; oh look I was trying to do it right; huh now it works?” And then the lines look straight until I export it to PNG. And it says “9 of 10 nets routed - 1 connection still to be routed” and then when I click on it “There are no unrouted connections in this view” but there is no other view.

  • Google+ does not allow SVG

    Interesting that G+ likes to scale images up and down for display, somewhat randomly, but won’t let me post an SVG. What’s up with that?

  • Math is language

    Summarizing: Math is primarily language. Computation and symbolic manipulation are tools used in math.

  • Faults in Linux 2.6

    Updated static analysis research on the Linux kernel.

  • Search for Lois Lerner's lost emails leads to NSA

    Heh, it’s not just geeks making jokes about NSA being a cloud backup service; the House is joining the fun!

  • Comcast customer disservice

    Why should I be excited about the idea of Comcast buying Time Warner?

  • Orientation matters

    I let the magic smoke out of an attiny85 tonight. About a week ago, too late at night, I had put it into the programmer and then left it by my computer. Tonight, I put the programmer into the computer and tried to program the attiny85, but avrdude complained. When I removed the programmer, it was hot. On closer inspection, I discovered that I had inserted the attiny85 into the programmer backwards. Letting it cool and putting it in correctly didn’t fix things, either.

  • If You Search, They Will Find You

    If You Search, They Will Find You (Comic)

  • Sometimes warranties work!

    I should pay more attention to warranties. A few weeks ago my whole-house surge suppressor’s “pilot light” turned off (I check it every time I mow) so I ordered a new one. While installing the new unit today, I realized that I have a five-year warranty on the less-than-three-year-old unit…

  • NSA Targets Privacy Conscious for Surveillance

    Since I was editor of Linux Journal for about the first two years (starting with issue 3), am I under NSA scrutiny for association with an “extremist forum”?

  • Good pre-sales from Crucial

    Props to +Crucial — I ordered a t440p to replace my aging t61, but the memory prices from Lenovo were eye-watering. To instead buy it with 4GB and then purchase an upgrade from Crucial more than paid for extending the warranty to 4 years (which makes sense to me since my current system is over six years old).

  • June 2014

  • Always carry earplugs

    I never remember to bring earplugs to the server room. This is my own fault.

  • Lightning map: USA and Canada

    New supplemental preflight tool. ☺

  • Fuzzy thinking

    I seem to take on hobbies that do not reward fuzzy thinking. Twenty years of flying, and especially 10 years of instrument flying are one example. Now I’m trying to return to my childhood and learn a little bit about electronics.

  • Found a use for zero-ohm resistors

    I decided I wanted a 14-pin ATtiny{2,4,8}4 adapter for my 8-pin ATtiny{2,4,8}5 Tiny AVR programmer. Was annoyed by the “zero-ohm resistors” I got in a resistor pack off eBay (less than half of which were the advertised values…) but found a use for a few of them. This board is mounted on a bit of header strip that I can remove to program the 85s and replace to program the 84s.

  • In-camera shuttle panoramic

    At Udvar-Hazy yesterday, I took a quick in-camera panaramic of the shuttle because my 18mm lens wasn’t nearly wide enough to capture it. It’s a little wider than the standard kit lens, and there are some stitching artifacts, particularly near the edges (see the railing at the lower left especially). Could be worse. Only one three-legged person that I’ve found so far. ☺

  • MLK on $20 bill

    I would support an MLK $20…

  • Forget Calories

    This is relatively consonant with my own experience of weight management when it comes to exercise and diet (not dieting)

  • Surge suppression, maybe it helped?

    In November 2011, I bought a whole-house surge protection device. I made a habit of reviewing that the green light was on while mowing the lawn (since I mow the lawn through most of thunderstorm season). Last week the light was on. Today, after a few days of thunderstorms in the area, I saw that the light had gone out. Looks like it took one for the team.

  • Graph coloring, Chromatic numbers, Eulerian paths and circuits

    Joel David Hamkins

  • Techniques for recovering almost-destroyed systems

    Daniel Berrange

  • Five things that make Go fast

    This is a particularly accessible description of the impact of specific design features of Go. Well worth reading.

  • US Government password requirements fail

    Passwords must begin with a letter, contain between 8 and 12 characters and include at least three of the following four character groups: English upper case characters (A through Z); English lower case characters (a through z); Numerals (0 through 9); Non-alphabetic characters (such as !, $, #, %). Passwords are case sensitive.

  • Honda Takes Down "Infringing" Jet From FlightGear

    I currently own a +Honda and have owned their cars before, but now I can’t see them providing my next car.

  • May 2014

  • Debugging software with an oscilloscope

    Today, for the first time, I debugged software with an oscilloscope. Takes a bit more thinking through than printf()…

  • Trademarked Pi? How about some Tau!

    The US PTO seems determined to meet claims that it evaluates software patent applications incompetently by being equally incompetent on the trademark side.

  • Treadmill desk experience

    +H. Peter Anvin was asking about exercise, and I started writing a post-length comment about my treaddesking experience. Then I decided I should share more widely.

  • Stupid advertiser tricks

    My daughter likes to read the jokes in Reader’s Digest. I thought she was quoting from one of their stupid-things-people-say feature when she laughed and said, “zero calories, 2/3 fewer calories than sugar”. Apparently Reader’s Digest advertisers want to get into the saying-stupid-things business?

  • Vi Hart on the last mile

    Noah Friedman

  • Amazon Photography Against A White Background Patent

    glyn moody

  • System latency at human scale

    I beat the latency drum a lot. This human-perceptible time scaling might help communicate why computers don’t always feel like they are getting faster… ☺

  • It's Time To Reasonably Decrease Copyright Term

    glyn moody

  • Moen-ing about expensive junk

    Discovered why the sprayer hose for our kitchen faucet was spraying under the sink when it was extended… What was more impressive was that it did not leak substantially unless it was extended!

  • Keith Alexander interview

    h/t Bruce Schneier

  • April 2014

  • Robin hood with a squint?

    The downside of gaining accuracy in archery is having fewer arrows available to shoot; the upside is a trophy to hang on the wall. I have a very pleased daughter. :-)

  • Python 3 migration might get easier

    Finally, some hope from the top for removing the artificial barriers to Python 3 migration.

  • Units matter

    CNN confuses units. “KHz/sec” is a measurement of rate of change of frequency, not a measurement of frequency. As my daughter complained, that’s like people who talk about “knots per hour.” If a child can figure that out, couldn’t a major news network?

  • March 2014

  • Beware geeks bearing gifts

    Source-available is not open source. Watch out for trojan horse licenses.

  • Public-Private Surveillance Partnership Still Strong

    Bruce Schneier in The Atlantic. Read and ponder how often both have been right.

  • Raleigh accepts snow

    It’s snowing in Raleigh in March, and not only have they not called off school, they haven’t even called us to tell us they aren’t calling off school. I guess they are jaded by now… ☺

  • Competition does not always drive down prices

    Time Warner Cable is celebrating either their pending Comcast merger or the possibility of competition from Google Fiber by raising rates for internet service by $3/month.

  • Building a hobbyist oscilloscope

    I’ve generalized this advice slightly:

  • Fedora 20 btrfs install woes

    I have been installing Fedora 20 on my new SSD with btrfs (I want checksums). I did the install in kvm with the SSD attached directly to the VM. It’s my favorite way to install new systems now; I can keep working while installing, updating, and configuring the new install until I am ready to switch over with hardly more downtime than a reboot.

  • Today is Hardware Freedom Day

    My BeagleBone Black hasn’t arrived yet, but I’ll be helping some seven-year-old kids design and build their own coin cell powered LED cards today. :-)

  • Softening the market

    By signalling that Amazon Prime might rise to $119, Amazon softened the market to more widely accept actually raising it to $99.

  • Finding the Right Pace on a Treadmill Desk

    I bought a treadmill about three years ago for a desk. I’ve used it almost every weekday morning for a year and a half. I wouldn’t want to give it up.

  • Dianne Feinstein wants to be special

    Dianne “Hypocrite” Feinstein likes and defends deep surveillance of Americans, as long as it is applied only to other Americans. Welcome to the 99.999%, Ms. Feinstein. Funny how the outrage starts only after you are targeted.

  • Snap Circuits don't teach

    I’m not satisfied with Snap Circuits. The 100/200/300-in-one kits I had as a kid actually said something about the circuits. The Snap Circuit approach of “Goal of the blah circuit: to use the blah” is dumbed down and thereby not helpful.

  • Low Voltage Labs return policy

    One per child interested in learning to solder. :-)

  • Bluffing in Ukraine?

    The Atlantic

  • VideoCore progress?

    Great open source news for raspberry pi.

  • Grant Rowe Memorial Frankentractor

    This winter, I converted my lawn tractor from gas to electric. Fortunately, saving money was not the point, or I would be disappointed. I still have a few small tasks to do but today I mowed up some leaves to test it. Learned a lot and had fun, and the best thing about starting with a piece of junk built by MTD is that I can deal with the idea that it isn’t going to last and I can transplant parts onto something higher quality later.

  • February 2014

  • Choosing laptop SSD

    People keep telling me that I should have an SSD in my laptop… I’ve seen some hints from people I trust that one might prefer to buy Intel SSD. Now I wonder whether they were referring to any Intel SSD, or only to the enterprise drives with Intel controllers.

  • As Sorry as possible

    Played “Sorry!” with my daughter. This is about as close as it gets… :-)

  • Let Your Kids Fail

    The idea that any grade other than “A” is unacceptable is mind-boggling.

  • Welcome to Algorithmic Prison

    Additional consumer and personal protections are overdue

  • Mitigating monopoly

    Concerned about the monopolistic potential of the TWC-Comcast proposed merger? I’m making a wild guess that checking your address and signing up for updates for Google fiber is a practical step you can take towards mitigating its effect on you, and maybe towards pushing towards more widespread rollout of internet connectivity with reasonable throughput…

  • Google Fiber: Competition for TWC?

    With the proposed Time Warner Cable / Comcast merger, news of potential competition is welcome.

  • Who Should Store NSA Surveillance Data

    I’ve been asking why it would be better to add to the commercial third parties with access to telephony records than to have the NSA hold those records. But, as usual, Schneier says it better.

  • Test-drove my electric lawn tractor

    Drove my newly-converted-to-electric lawn tractor up and down the street today to limber the new belts and test how much power it drew running without the mower deck installed. As little as 35A downhill, as much as 85A uphill. The belts are apparently a little tight and so it doesn’t want to come to a complete stop, which is disconcerting. I hope that gets better with time. Neighborhood teens with a high school assignment to build something using renewable power this coming semester enjoyed looking at it. ☺

  • Adderall Doesn't Help Kids Get Better Grades

    Study: Adderall Doesn’t Help Kids Get Better Grades

  • No-fly coverup uncovered

    Jan Wildeboer

  • Automatic bystanding generator

    My power went out and my automatic standby generator won’t start. Will be very offline to preserve power for emergencies…

  • NSA Edward Snowden Talking Points

    “The NSA sat around composing drafts of language explicitly meant for public consumption, and sharing any of it with the public would gravely threaten our security? It just doesn’t seem credible.”

  • January 2014

  • School ditches rules and loses bullies

    `…there are too many rules in modern playgrounds. “The great paradox of cotton-woolling children is it’s more dangerous in the long-run.” Society’s obsession with protecting children ignores the benefits of risk-taking, he said.’

  • Creat-ive spelling

    You know you are a unix programmer when…

  • Contributor agreements, assignment, and Open Source

    Open Source license with copyright assignment is Open Source if and only if the copyright assignment is to guaranteed neutral entity like a foundation, and even with a foundation assignment is an impediment. “Contributor agreement” does not imply “copyright assignment” even though they are often conflated.

  • Welding again!

    I just demonstrated that not using a welder for almost 30 years is a good way to lose your touch… Fortunately, these welds will be mostly out of sight, and I’ve had a bit of practice so maybe the next welds will look nicer.

  • Namecheap difficulties

    Clearly, I need to review domain registrars.

  • A Defense of Chris Christie, Courtesy of the NSA

    A Defense of Chris Christie, Courtesy of the NSA

  • Ed Snowden's 1971 precursors discuss burglarizing the FBI

    I can’t remember the last time that I shared a link to a video, but this one is worth watching.

  • NSA Exploit of the Day: IRONCHEF

    The plan is to post one of these a day for the next couple of months.

  • Two languages, separated by a common heritage

    The Python development community made it unnecessarily difficult to migrate from Python 2 to Python 3 by creating incompatibilities without an ecosystem-aware migration strategy. So we have two languages, separated by a common heritage.

  • December 2013

  • About Python 3

    Python 3 should escape all historical precedent for adoption of new language major versions that do not maintain compatibility precisely why?

  • A Rebuke to the NSA

    If it walks like a whistleblower and quacks like a whistleblower, is it a whistleblower?

  • Accessibility fail in KitKat

    Until my update to #KitKat , the voice directions in Google maps honored the voice speed accessibility setting. I want my phone to talk fast. Now when it speaks navigation directions at me it is excruciatingly slow.

  • More bookshelves!

    My young son decided that we didn’t have enough bookshelves, so he used tape, poster board, cardboard, and wrapping paper to make another shelf. Anyone who knows me well will realize that the apple didn’t fall far from the tree.

  • Ask before displaying external images

    If you don’t think senders should be able to snoop on when you open their emails, take a look at gmail settings and choose “Ask before displaying external images”.

  • Losing App Ops

    Not eager to apply the latest update on my GPE S4 since I expect it to kill App Ops.

  • NSA phone surveillance program likely unconstitutional

    “Suffice it to say, requesting further time to comply with this order months from now will not be well received and could result in collateral sanctions.”

  • Gmail loading remote images by default

    I never signed up for facebook; in the end, it was mostly because they kept making you dance to preserve your intended privacy. Google used to be better, which was why I signed on to Google+. More evidence that we’re headed downhill.

  • Google: Be explicit about new permissions

    Google should lead by explaining when apps ask for new permissions. Directly turning on Wi-Fi without any explanation in the update notes is not setting a good example for other app developers…

  • Google Removes Vital Privacy Feature From Android

    We apologize again for releasing a feature that enhanced your privacy. Those responsible for sacking the people who have just been sacked have been sacked.

  • Why Won’t Obama Rein in the NSA?

    If the tea party is looking for constructive things to do, how about singlemindedly joining the fight to rein in the #NSA ? (Oh, did I say that?)

  • How Americans Were Deceived About Cell Phone Location Data

    Recapping #NSA deception. This story hasn’t lost importance over the months. We keep hearing about how untrustworthy the NSA and our current administration have been, and reviews like this help keep long-term perspective on how important it is that we insist on real change.

  • "To torture you, we tore up your poetry"

  • KitKat ART runtime works

    Last night I finally got around to trying the #ART runtime on my GPE S4 running #kitkat . So far, I have found only one application that breaks. The impression that new activities launch a little quicker could easily be just wishful thinking on my part, but at the very least it doesn’t feel slower yet.

  • KitKat update on GPE S4

    After the upgrade to #KitKat on my GPE S4, PowerAmp can still play the music on my microSD card (/storage/extSdCard/Music) and the magnetometer in the phone works more or less correctly for the first time since I bought the phone, so Google Sky Map is usable without switching to manual mode, and compass apps work. (Yes, I “recalibrated” previously, over and over, to no avail.)

  • Google failing another Android update

    Look what I see just as my GPE S4 gets the KitKat update. GNOME3 disease (“we know what you want better than you do”) is spreading. “WorkingAsIntended”‽ How about being honest, and using “BrokenAsIntended” or “GiveUpAndUseApple”? sigh

  • November 2013

  • 48V short

  • Android External storage update

    The microSD card in my GPE S4 might become useful again once this update rolls out… I’m wondering whether I’ll have to move files around on the card for poweramp to be able to access the music, though…

  • Magic SATA bridge?

    I’m wondering why this shows up as a single drive and not two drives. I wonder if it’s actually done sanely as a SATA bridge and two separate SATA devices, with a crazy Windows driver to make it into multiple partitions on a single logical device? Done right, this would be a great device for a Linux system. Done wrong, it would be a stupid device for any system. The mention of having to unlock the device with a special “USB key” makes me fear that it’s done wrong. Anyone know?

  • No more fake premium text message charges?

    Classy move on T-Mobile’s part.

  • LG sorry they were caught stealing data

    Why I don’t want a “smart” TV. Well, one reason…

  • Why You Should Never Use MongoDB

    Don’t let me giving away the punchline keep you from reading the whole thing:

  • Public Domain infringement

    The Harry Fox agency claims administration of Bach’s Prelude #1 in C Major (incredible!),

  • Homemade spot welder

    Good news of the day: my homemade spot welder (based on a modified microwave oven transformer) worked. Even better news: I was not wearing my best clothes when I tested it.

  • Google Redacted Report


  • Atlantic: Online renewals would be easier

    Hey, +The Atlantic, I’m going to renew. If I was forced to keep only one periodical coming into my mailbox, I think you’d win. Why can’t I renew online, though? Wouldn’t that be easier for both of us? A voucher code for the three free issues offer on the 2-year renewal? ☺

  • Great Password Examples

    Used a new site this morning that required me to set a password. I base64-encoded some /dev/random and got the rather satisfyingly random string “AXpDlvgBLvUYpPDm”. But the site wouldn’t take it because it is “too simple”.

  • App ops Launcher killed by Google

    This app was the only thing that made some other apps usable. For example, an update to out of milk started raising notifications all the time and making my phone vibrate and chime as I drove; very distracting. Turning off its permission to raise notifications was the only reason I was able to keep using it.

  • Pointedly anti-punctuation

    The new Google Keyboard for Android removed lots of the punctuation from the “.” key, including punctuation I use regularly. Should I take this as a sign that I use semicolons too much in my writing?

  • An Odyssey odyssey

    I don’t know what our next vehicle will be, but in light of our recent experience it won’t be a +Honda Odyssey…

  • October 2013

  • Pumpkin Pi

    Pumpkin pi happens more or less every year at our house.

  • Grammar in the family

    You know you are doing something right when your eight-year-old corrects your use of “lie” vs. “lay”. Correctly.

  • Norwegian shorelines

    So much picturesque shoreline. So much fun with the camera.

  • Baneheia, Kristiansand Album

    Baneheia is a large park on an outcropping of rock over Kristiansand. Kim suggested we visit, and I’m glad I listened. In the late 1800s, General Joseph Frantz Oscar Wergeland sent his garrison soldiers out to beautify “that disgusting heath” by planting (eventually) over 150,000 trees and otherwise turning it into a park with reservoirs for Kristiansand. There were walking paths, but we also wandered off the paths through the ever-present blueberry scrub.

  • Kristiansand: Vest-Adger museums

    Vest-Adger is a set of museums; this one is an open-air museum roughly 2km east-northeast of Kristiansand. They have one city section and two rural town sections (one more rural than the other). Some of the houses (when we were there, mostly in the city section) are open. Inside, there were lots of themed historical displays, including early telegraphy and telephony with old equipment and examples of undersea cable from different eras, history of shipbuilding and the shipping business (in a house previously occupied by a ship captain), and a typical general store which had cobalt blue paint that naturally contained arsenic and functioned as an insecticide—useful in stores and kitchens generally before the advent of widespread refrigeration.

  • Kristiansand Album

    Our last port of call on the cruise was Kristiansand. The cruise line substituted Kristiansand for Olden after we booked the tickets, and I initially felt disappointed. Now I wouldn’t have wanted to miss Kristiansand, though I’d also like to see Olden some day…

  • Sunsets at sea

    Some days we didn’t see a sunset since we were north of the arctic circle, but several of the sunsets we did see were spectacular. I wish I could have done them justice, but these pictures will have to do…

  • Bergen

    Our second-to-last stop was Bergen. We visited Troldhaugen (Grieg’s summer home) in the morning, then after lunch near the fishmarket  took the funicular up to Mt. Floyen, then back down to visit the Hanseatic Museum and walk through Bryggen generally.

  • Cruise towel animals

    Sometimes, when we returned to our cabin, we found a whimsical animal made from towels. We were amused.

  • Discouraging the mice

    The stilts had mushroom cap tops to further discourage the mice

  • Norwegian picnic table

    We saw lots of picnic tables of this design in Norway

  • Norwegian playground structure

    My children love to play on a similar structure in a local park. This picture’s for them.

  • Bergen: Hanseatic Museum

    We left Floyen without spending hours wandering through the extensive parklands in order to visit the Hanseatic Museum. These were beds for apprentices. Each small box held two apprenctices and was hard to open from the inside, to keep the apprentices under control.

  • Bergen: Helpful sign

    A helpful sign greeting travelers reaching the bottom of the footpath from Mt. Floyen

  • Bergen: Mt Floyen footpath

    Halfway up the hill

  • Bergen: Mt. Floyen viewpoint

    After lunch, we took the funicular to the Mt. Floyen viewpoint. This is the view to the west from the viewpoint.

  • Bergen: Troldhaugen

    Troldhaugen, Grieg’s summer home.

  • Bergen Harbor: scale

    In the Bergen harbor. The difference in scale between the house down by the water and the piers of the bridge was overwhelming.

  • Geiranger: Westerås farm to Løsta viewpoint

    In Geiranger, Kim and I hiked up a trail to Westerås farm, then up to Løsta viewpoint 550 meters above the fjord. OsmAnd with Norway maps loaded was useful finding the trails since google maps couldn’t be bothered to help with that part.

  • Geiranger Fjord

    I got up at 3:30 AM to take pictures in Geiranger Fjord after sleeping poorly, and my only two regrets are not waking up at 2:30 or 3:00, and not wearing warmer clothing, as the chill wind was howling through the windows I opened on the pool deck. (The upper deck was closed due to the high winds.) The winds were so strong that most of the multi–shot panoramas I attempted failed because the camera was being buffeted by the wind.

  • Geiranger: Westerås farm goat shelter

    Goat shelter at Westerås farm

  • Geiranger: Westerås farm lunch

    Lunch at Westerås farm: 400 NOK ($80). The porridge was rommegrot; Kim had entirely forgotten eating it as a child, but memories flooded back as she ate it, so it was worth the price. Also, after hiking 550 meters up and 350 meters back down, we were hungry for lunch.

  • Geiranger Fjord: Sun through the clouds

    The sun shining through thick clouds was much more dramatic than I captured in any pictures

  • Tromsø Botanical Gardens

    The Tromsø Botanical Gardens are just across the street from the cruise terminal, perhaps a few hundred meters to the southwest of the cruise terminal bus stop. There’s even a tunnel under the road so that you can get there without crossing against traffic.

  • Tromsø's cathedral and not-Tromsø's not-cathedral

    Tromsø’s “Arctic Cathedral” (not a cathedral, and across the bridge in Tromsdalen) and Tromsø Cathedral. Both beautiful places that I can’t effectively convey in photographs and where I wish we could have spent more time.

  • Tromsø album

    On the cruise, our next stop was Tromsø. We walked around the city center, took the cable car up to Fjellstua, visited the “Arctic Cathedral” and Tromsø Cathedral, bought some gifts back in the city center, then walked through Tromsø University (the northernmost university in the world) and down to the Tromsø Botanical Gardens.

  • Maybe Magpie

    Magpie? I’m not too good at bird identification…

  • Lunch at Fjellstua

    Before departing Fjellstua, we had lunch. I had Moose and smoked salmon (rokt laks) wrap. Tasted like smoked salmon. Kim had waffles with sour cream, lingonberry, and gjetost.

  • Please don't build the cairn

    Kim and I were surprised by signs asking us not to build cairns. We would never have thought of building them. But apparently you have to explain to some people that moving stones around in a fragile landscape can do damage to the thin soil and cause erosion.

  • Honningsvåg and Nordkapp album

    After a day at sea, Kim and I arrived at Honningsvåg. We took a too-short bus excursion to Nordkapp (northernmost point of Europe) and back, then walked around Honningsvåg.

  • Whimsy


  • Snow fence protecting houses in Honningsvåg

    Houses below protected by snow fence

  • Ålesund Sunnmøre museum album

    While Kim and I were in Ålesund, we visited Sunnmøre, an open-air museum with buildings and boats. A downside of being on a cruise is of course the schedule; we could easily have spent hours longer exploring this excellent museum.

  • Ålesund album

    Our first Norwegian port on our cruise was Ålesund. We didn’t get to see everything we wanted to (for example, we didn’t get to Ålesunds Museum) but we did climb Aksla to Fjellstua viewpoint, buy a prepaid SIM for my phone, and go see Sunnmøre Museum (I’ll post another album with those pictures).

  • Sea sunset album

    Well, sunsetrise. Things get weird around the arctic circle at certain times of the year…

  • Twentieth anniversary cruise: Copenhagen Album

    In June, Kim and I celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary by taking a cruise from Copenhagen up the coast of Norway all the way to Honningsvåg and Nordkapp at the northernmost tip of Norway. We spent a day wandering around Copenhagen with a Danish friend.

  • No third factor

    Daniel Berrange

  • Fingerprints are Usernames, not Passwords

    This articulates nicely why I have never set up a fingerprint reader for authentication.

  • September 2013

  • NC GOP timing

    I feel that the NC GOP choose a particularly inauspicious (for them, I mean) day to hang an advertising pack on my mailbox flag… Do they not follow the news? #shutdown

  • Home dentistry

    My son had a loose tooth, and wanted to tie it to an arrow and shoot the arrow to remove it. Then he thought maybe it would be more fun to tie it to a toy helicopter and pull it out that way.

  • Firefox on Android feedback request

    Firefox on Android wanted feedback. Options were “I love it” and “I ran into some problems”. Both are true…

  • Contracts: Less is More

    I remember at Red Hat, +Mark Webbink more or less saying that in legal documents, less is more. Just as interesting to me in this article as the idea of easy legal documents on your phone is the point that a one page partner agreement meant “We did a lot more deals.”

  • GPE S4 microSD support not fixed

    My Play Edition S4 got an update. Silly me, I hoped that it would fix the broken write access to my microSD card. No such luck. Bad job, Google…

  • More Americans exercise while they work

    Reading this while walking on my home-built treadmill desk…

  • subscription renewal

    I just renewed my subscription for another year.

  • A "red line" isn't

    One more demonstration why the “red line” is a lie:

  • A war the Pentagon doesn't want

    Robert H. Scales, a retired Army major general, writes: Perhaps the United States has become too used to fighting third-rate armies. As the Israelis learned in 1973, the Syrians are tough and mean-spirited killers with nothing to lose… Dwight Eisenhower … resisted liberal democrats who wanted to aid the newly formed nation of South Vietnam. We all know what happened after his successor ignored Eisenhower’s advice.

  • John Kerry's Lie

    If any country on earth struck American bunkers, airfields, or artillery batteries, virtually every last American would understand that as an act of war… I guess Neville Chamberlain’s Britain needn’t have declared classical war against the Nazis, just “degraded their capacities,” like the Japanese did to us at Pearl Harbor, where they didn’t put “boots on the ground.”

  • Syria Reader Part 3: Robert Pastor

    The prevailing discussion about Syria assumes that there are two options, both bad: further U.S. military involvement, or no involvement at all. Pastor argues that given the bleakness of the alternatives, a diplomatic initiative involving Russia and Iran deserves much more attention than it has received.

  • Teju Cole's 9 questions about Britain

    David Megginson

  • Dubious Theory of International Relations

    The United States must not intervene in Syria, because the U.N. has not approved a strike, and the United States must signal that it respects international law so that we have credibility in the future.

  • When 'Smart Homes' Get Hacked

    David Megginson

  • Your Labor Day Syria Reader, Part 2: William Polk

    The often uncomfortable details that should give us further pause as we consider military action against the Assad regime, laid out clearly. As Fallows says, It wouldn’t hurt if Senators and Representatives read it too.

  • Raspberry Pizza Bianca with Spinach

    On a whim, I put raspberries on a Pizza Bianca, then tented them under spinach leaves. The spinach of course wilted over the raspberries, but I didn’t realize it would look like broccoli!

  • August 2013

  • How Many Leakers Came Before Snowden?

    Snowden … might be the first to release documents to the public, but it’s a reasonable assumption that the previous leakers were working for [Russia], or China, or elsewhere.

  • How 'This Town' Justifies War and Peace

    James Madison once wrote, “The constitution supposes, what the History of all Governments demonstrates, that the Executive is the branch of power most interested in war, and most prone to it. It has accordingly with studied care vested the question of war to the Legislature.”

  • Is Punishing Assad a Legitimate Reason to Attack Syria?

    Another article intelligently questioning the justification for military action against Syria.

  • The Wise Men of Iraq Give Us Counsel About Syria

    James Fallows remembers history, with ironic inflection.

  • War may not fix wrongs...

    Conor Friedersdorf reminds us that going to war against evil doesn’t always mitigate evil. We shouldn’t need this reminder. But we do. We always do.

  • T-Mobile throttled connection speed

    T-Mobile does not publish a target speed for throttled connections. Since my phone downloaded an OTA update and bumped me past my (intentionally small) data cap, I found out. The attached screen shot is of two speed tests at the exact same location, with line of sight to a T-Mobile tower and 5 bars of LTE. The first is unrestricted, the second is throttled.

  • Chromebook auto-update downside

    The dark side of auto update… I have a 500MB date plan because I typically use between 100MB and 200MB of data per month. About a month ago, I tethered my chromebook for a few minutes to check a few web pages, and it quietly downloaded a 150MB update. Coupled with a little extra data usage from posting pictures on a short trip to NYC, I ran out of data for the first time ever. Then this month, while visiting family away from WiFi, my Google phone downloaded it’s own (you guessed it) ~150MB update to Android 4.3. Combined with (again) posting a few pictures, the same thing happened again. Next month is LinuxCon/Plumbers. Do I need to give in and increase my data plan?

  • A Theory of Mountain Flying

    I don’t like mountain flying because it’s objectively dangerous, and it’s subjectively frightening.

  • Exposing illegal government activity is illegal

    Laura Czajkowski

  • Windows 7 update experience

    I installed Windows 7 in order to try out DxO Optics Pro. I’m impressed by DxO Optics Pro so far. Windows 7, on the other hand, has so far: trashed a USB hard drive so thoroughly that even testdisk couldn’t find any contents, required reboots to install essential updates about three times per day (most of the time I’m using Optics Pro, Windows is complaining that I’m behind already, minutes after installing the previous batch of “important” updates), required at least two reboots (maybe three?) in a row for one set of updates, and is generally reminding me why I don’t use Windows by preference. What a mess.

  • Google+ translate implemented

    I repeatedly filed feature requests asking for this, but I doubt I had anything to do with it being implemented… :-)

  • Recommendations for art photo printing?

    Any other recommendations for art photo printing, either national or local to the Raleigh area? I like that Mpix will do standout mounts (but I want a shallower standout), that Snapfish will do 1/2” floating mounts (but only up to 16x20” prints), that Shutterfly will do floating mounts up to 24x36 including 20x30 (but they don’t say anything about mount thickness or paper type), and Adorama’s choices of paper (I have an image that I imagine printed on metallic finish paper) and mounts (they allow several types). I don’t see that any of them offer UV barrier film on foam mounted prints, but I haven’t researched far enough yet to be sure.

  • Fahrenheit 451: Now at room temperature

    There are people who wonder about my preference for books printed on (gasp) real paper.

  • Obama Has Already Broken His Pledge on Surveillance Reform

    Well, that was quick.

  • July 2013

  • Google Maps is not Google Earth

    Spent about twenty minutes staring at my KML trying to understand why Google Maps wasn’t honoring my gx:outerColor and gx:outerWidth elements. Finally tried an example from Google. Discovered that this must be one of those elements supported only by Google Earth. Oh, well.

  • The Hole in Our Collective Memory

    Quantifying the social cost of mickey mouse copyright law

  • Welcome to LTE

    Yesterday I got my galaxy S4. Today I got LTE. Love that timing!

  • A House of Representatives Divided

    Who voted to continue funding indiscriminate phone record collection? Here is the list.

  • Missing alarm tones on GPE S4

    Having trouble getting my favorite alarm tones on my play experience S4 to show up in the alarm app. I’ve put them in sdcard/Alarms sdcard/Ringtones and sdcard/audio but I can’t assign them to my alarm. My google foo is clearly weak tonight. Anyone with a play experience S4 had better luck?

  • annumadversion - definition and meaning

    My coinage for the late, lamented In a Word column from +The Atlantic for “the aversion of many persons (young or old) to revealing their true age” showed up in wordnik.

  • NSA says it can't search emails

    Becky Bruce

  • Patent reform: Not just for software

    Criticism of our patent-obsessive system is not limited to the software community. Judge Richard Posner restates his public stance in favor of patent reform. (See previously published just over a year ago.)

  • The Vitamin Myth: Why We Think We Need Supplements

    Eat your fruits and vegetables, not vitamin supplements.

  • The H is closing down

    Sad news for Linux and Open Source

  • Mission Creep: When Everything Is Terrorism

    Bruce Schneier keeps getting it right.

  • Choosing an OSS license doesn't need to be scary

    I know I reshared the Infoworld article yesterday, but I wanted to specifically point out the good job that Github did on their ChooseALicense web site to make it easy. Their “more licenses are available” summary of common licenses is also great. Really well done, and kudos to Github for both integrating this into the workflow and making it useful as an independent resource.

  • Don't mock me!

    Two of my favorite python projects collide. I like using plumbum for using python as a replacement for bash for things that aren’t small shell scripts, especially if I want more complex logic. Of course, “more complex logic” means I want to write unit tests. To test one thing at a time, I like to use mock sometimes.

  • The War On Words

    Tessie L’Amour

  • GitHub finally takes open source licenses seriously

    Luke Macken

    GitHub finally takes open source licenses seriously | Open Source Software - InfoWorld

  • A Modest Proposal: Don't Worry About Government Surveillance at All, Ever

    I keep trying to find a best pull quote from this article, but I’m spoiled for choice. So just read it.

  • Using Haversine to calculate distance and bearing

    A Google search to find a formula to calculate the distance between two (lat, lon) points turned up this excellent writeup. May be useful for guessing which GPS position records from my camera are worth using to create GPS tracks…

  • In-camera GPS

    I have a +Sony SLT-A55V camera. The “V” means that it has a built-in GPS, which I am finding surprisingly helpful. I like lots of things about it, from the versatile 18-250mm lens from the alternate kit I got, though the great dynamic range, the small camera body, the 10FPS mode, the in-camera JPEG development, the usable in-camera panorama stitching, the sensor-shift anti-shake; the list goes on and on. Given the option to go back in time and “do it over”, I’d make the same choice. A few minor gripes, though…

  • Sometimes Sunscreen Catches Fire

    “For the human body to be reduced to ashes, according to the History Channel, it needs to reach around 3,000 degrees Fahrenheit. Dignity can be reduced at a much lower temperature”

  • Bufferbloat progress

    Jim Gettys shares good news in the fight against bufferbloat.

  • Google maps offline easter egg

    Google is taking a significant step backward regarding offline maps, by turning it from a (rather limited) feature into an easter egg that is not discoverable and cannot (as far as I know) be interrogated. That is, after using the easter egg to make some area available offline, it appears that you won’t be able to verify that it is available. (I can’t tell, since the maps update hasn’t rolled out to me yet.)

  • What it really means to fight terrorism

    The terrorists have won. Let’s fight back.

  • Google protecting me from myself, fecklessly

    I had some posts that were originally private that I wanted to make public. I was sad to discover this the hard way:

  • Rocket body integrity failure

    This is what happens when your ignition system weakens your rocket body and it cannot contain the burning fuel. What you can’t see in this picture is the burning piece of rocket that ended up in my mouth. Eye protection recommended. Mouth guard optional.

  • PRISM policy

    Andy Oram

  • June 2013

  • Two kinds of people

    h/t +Nascif Abousalh-Neto

  • Insecurity questions

    Yet another website requires that I fill in answers to “security questions”. Terrible security practice. Most of them are public information about me, and that ignores the point that giving true answers to every site that wants to set up the same “security question” is basically the same as using the same password on every site. “Trust us…”

  • EGit in Eclipse Kepler still missing .gitattributes handling

    Sadly, EGit in Eclipse Kepler still doesn’t support .gitattributes so all those “* text eol=lf” lines will continue to fail to keep line endings consistent between command-line Git users and EGit users.

  • Surprised by git fetch

    +Git keeps surprising me. Sometimes this is good. Sometimes I’m less convinced. For example, I have some bare repositories that I want to keep up to date with upstream versions, against which I’m running some reporting scripts. Of course, since they are bare repositories, I can’t “git pull”; I have to “git fetch”. But it is much less obvious that “git fetch”, while it will fetch changes to existing refs, by default will not also pull in new upstream refs unless I “git fetch origin +refs/heads/:refs/heads/” because when you clone into a bare repository, it doesn’t set up the “fetch” configuration for the remote. Could someone tell me why it is obvious that cloning into a bare repository should set up the origin remote including its URL but leave off the default fetch specification that you would otherwise get?

  • CBP is above the law

    Customs and Border Protection asserts that is is above the rule of law:

  • The Atlantic Weekly Walled Garden

    Sadly, The Atlantic Weekly is limited to the Apple Walled Garden. I pay for +The Atlantic and have for years (it is absolutely my favorite periodical), but I don’t even have that opportunity for the Weekly.

  • Brainteasers are for fun

    I’ve really wondered whether the brainteasers actually helped hire a good team. Nice of Google to give us the benefit of their analysis. Also, they probably are now interested in hiring people who previously weren’t even interested in interviewing because they had heard about the interview process, so it’s in their interest to pass this information around. ☺

  • Screwtape Embraces The Internet

    Theodore Ts’o

  • Patent trolls in Obama's sights

    Hope for Change? I’m not holding my breath, but it would be nice… ☺

  • Annals of the Security State: Hypotheses

    One more from James Fallows, mostly quoting comments from readers, including interesting speculation. One interesting speculation is intentional manipulation of law enforcement to damage public trust in the rule of law. (I doubt it.)

  • Out-of-control law enforcement agencies

    James Fallows brings to light another episode of out-of-control law enforcement agencies. (As before, this isn’t just about pilots, as this is merely what has been done to many others now happening to pilots as well.) When officers charged with law enforcement act in bad faith, they create disrespect for the law, destroying the rule of law worse than most criminals.

  • May 2013

  • The Feed Reader Reviews: Newsblur

    I’ve mentioned before that I replaced #reader with NewsBlur. Here’s a NewsBlur review so deep that I learned several useful things from it, without being too long. Well done. It’s mac-centric, but I can ignore the parts about the iOS and Mac apps.

  • The FBI's New Wiretapping Plan Is Great News for Criminals

    Jeff Garzik

    The FBI’s New Wiretapping Plan Is Great News for Criminals - By Bruce Schneier

  • Trying the ARM chromebook

    I decided to try out the arm chromebook. It’s inexpensive and light and has reasonable battery life. With Crouton, I can have a reasonably complete Linux install running on it without too much trouble. Keyboard isn’t great but is usable so far. I’ll see how I feel in a month or so.

  • Annals of the Security State: the Airplane Stories Continue

    James Fallows has been posting stories recently about how the DHS has been intimidating law-abiding private pilots. He has also said: `To be clear, I am not saying that the pilot population is being singled out for stop-and-frisk treatment. I am saying that this is another window into what the open-ended War on Terror and War on Drugs have wrought.´

  • Mahi-Mahi Reuben

    Mahi-Mahi Reuben. I never would have come up with this idea but quite tasty.

  • How Exercising at Work Saves Money

    I’m an active treaddesker at home but not for now at work. One of my problems with purpose-built treaddesks is that 2MPH feels distractingly slow because it’s significantly slower than my normal walking pace.

  • Normalizing entomophagy

    Normalizing entomophagy for the developed world? Paleo-dieters, take note!

  • Newegg nukes "corporate troll" Alcatel

    Looking for reasons to buy from Newegg? Here’s one more!

  • Click to expand "read more"

    +Theodore Ts’o, did you carefully craft this for ironic purposes? ☺

  • Newsblur usability update

    Update on #newsblur after using it for a while: The UI still isn’t as polished as #reader but it has improved, and the Android app went from essentially unusable to definitely usable. In both the web UI and Android app, the main problem is that it doesn’t prefetch in the background, so each time you come to the end of a batch of fetched stories, it’s a long (often 3-5 second) wait for the next batch. That’s getting in the way of it really supporting my need for spinning through lots of news fast; I can’t average a couple stories per second when I have to wait 3-5 seconds every ten stories.

  • Hangouts dropping XMPP

    `With Hangouts, Singhal says Google had to make the difficult decision to drop the very “open” XMPP standard that it helped pioneer.´

  • Google Photos automatic enhancement

    I’m sure that the automatic “enhancement” will give pictures that the majority of people like because they have more “pop”, but I find it unnatural and noisy and every before/after I compared in the demo looked worse to me “enhanced”.  Glad turning it off is an option!

  • G+ keyboard navigation fail

    My gripe about the new G+ layout is that the “Home” key doesn’t go back to the top. Since I still have my j and k keys to go through the stream in the same order that the vertical layout had, so far I’m finding the new layout a workable solution for the #whitespace problem.

  • Transparency and Accountability

    How we respond to crimes matters.

  • PostgreSQL 9.3 beta: Federated databases

    More on the PostgreSQL 9.3 beta, straight from the horse’s mouth, so to speak. Yes, it’s subscriber content. No, don’t ask me for a subscriber link. Subscribe already! LWN is worth it.

  • Microsoft abusing Skype

    Everyone who is surprised by this, please raise your hands…

  • PostgreSQL 9.3 Beta 1 released

    Forgot to share this yesterday, but this PostgreSQL beta is really cool. If you missed reading the announcement yesterday, you really want to read it today…

  • New Zealand bans software patents

    Not clear how much of a difference this will make directly but still glad to see more public discussion of the problem.

  • Evacuation Alerts at the Airport

    Desensitizing people to emergency notification systems, one false alarm at a time…

  • Unicode Skytyping?

    I wonder whether will get a lot of questions today about unicode support…

  • Patent abuse is not a new problem

    Alan Cox

    “That it is the opinion of this House that the time has arrived when the interests of trade and commerce, and the progress of the arts and sciences in this country, would be promoted by the abolition of patents on inventions”

    From the debate in the UK parliament in 1869, where they were worried about the inexorable rise of patents - there being 250 in 1825 but now 2292 in 1867….

    Its a fascinating read. The same problems we have today (on a vast scale) were present then and beng complained about - including the fact it had been meant to help manufacturers but was now hindering trade

    And boy does this still sound familiar

    “There was an army of mechanics and chemists on one side, and the other, and they were examined before a jury who knew nothing of chemistry and mechanics and before a judge who might be even in a worse position, because he might think he understood it when he did not”

    “The bias of the courts being from the beginning in favour of patentees”

  • How Not to Die

    How Not to Die

  • The Hulk-Bob Ross

    Stephen John Smoogen

  • April 2013

  • OpenWRT and Codel on TP-LINK TL-WDR4300

    Nicely written up notes on running OpenWRT and using Codel on TP-LINK TL-WDR4300.

  • File and storage system uconf at Plumbers

    Ric Wheeler

  • Cable modem rental fee led to service improvement...

    The new(ish) TWC cable modem rental fee finally prodded me to buy a DOCSIS 3.0 cable modem (I waited until the prices dropped back down to normal, reasonable levels), disconnect my (nearly unused) TWC second phone line, turn off my (ditto) cable TV service, and upgrade to a faster tier of internet service.

  • Blue-collar workers do more math

    Here’s How Little Math Americans Actually Use at Work

  • Repackaged press release?

    Would be interesting to see this packaged up automatically into social media and feed readers, but those with the bandwidth to do it probably have internal disincentives, and those with the interest probably don’t have the bandwidth…

  • ACLU calls for FTC investigation into carrier Android

    I would not have expected this to have come from the ACLU but maybe it will be more seriously considered than if it came from a more technically-focused advocacy group like the EFF.

  • Hallway art

    Pausing to look at the art as I walk to my next meeting… :-)

  • Hacking Secret Ciphers with Python

    Looks like a more interesting introductory topic for a programming text than one more implementation of “hello world”.

  • High-quality USB flash drives?

    Hey lazyweb, what are your favorite high-quality USB flash drives? I’m looking for longevity first, speed second. Thanks!

  • Hackable airliners

    The FAA and EASA are “…working on fixing the issue”? Hard to think that there is only a singular “issue” here.

  • March 2013

  • NYPD Ethnic Profiling Impacts

    Because McCarthyism was such a good idea…

  • The Gender Gap in Math

    I have two daughters who were never fastest in the class at reciting arithmetic facts, but who both like math puzzles and have good math insight. This article never mentions the word “arithmetic” but does hint in the direction of the difference between arithmetic speed and mathematical thinking.

  • If Life Was Run Like The Tech Industry

    Keith Barrett

  • Trying out T-Mobile

    I decided to give the new T-Mobile plans a try, since my wife and I each use less than 200MB/month of data, and so we will easily fit in the 500MB/month base plan, even if we use the included hotspot data feature a bit. The T-Mobile folks are clearly still getting used to the new world order. I dropped by the local store yesterday to ask some questions (since the web site was giving many 404’s last weekend) and figured that today it would be a quick trip to pick up a pair of SIMs and test things out. Ended up taking over an hour, none of which was waiting for other customers.

  • NASCAR Congresscritters

    Not particularly more realistic than the “build a death star” petition, but wouldn’t it be nice?

  • Things Physicians and Patients Should Question

    Last week, I attended the National Quality Forum annual conference. This is the group that defines how we measure the quality of health care in the US, and I met many people who work on that passionately. Encouraging!

  • Dreams, discernment, and Google Reader

    Chris Weatherall posted nearly five years ago about what a feed reader needs. Worth reading today.

  • Thorium salt reactors

    I’ve been hoping for thorium salt reactors for a while; being able to use either thorium or “spent” uranium would be even better. Here’s hoping!

  • Google Reader was already dead

    Being interpreted: Google killed #reader two years ago. They just waited a few years before telling the world officially.

  • Goodbye Google Reader

    The rumors ( were true. Google Reader is going away.

  • Five generations of frogs

    Children’s menu came with jumping frog origami instructions. The whole family started to fold successively smaller frogs, down to the fifth generation, before our food arrived. I don’t think the sixth generation would have worked…

  • Snow non-emergency

    It is March in North Carolina and I am driving kids to school in the snow.

  • Wonder Mill

    Great Harvest Bakery became a sort of gateway drug for us…

  • Steve Mann: My “Augmediated” Life

    Raises several questions I’ve had about Google glass and far more new ones I had not considered.

  • February 2013

  • Three course dinner

    Tonight it was my job to feed the kids supper and put them to bed solo (mom’s night out) and I was a bit discombobulated, so the broccoli was done about twenty minutes before the meat. This meant that we had plenty of time to eat our fruits and vegetables before the meat was out, and there was no drama about what food you needed to eat to get dessert.

  • I have in my pocket...

    I have in my pocket a powerful computer with an integrated display that has far more pixels than my desktop monitor had when I started using X. Just show me your website!

  • Bridge support in git for mercurial and bazaar

    The more I use Git, the more I appreciate it. I’m looking forward to trying this out!

  • Treadmill desk improvements

    Last weekend, I added a monitor/laptop shelf to my treaddesk. It’s moved the monitors up and my neck feels much better. Unfortunately (or, I guess, fortunately) hdapsd now senses too much acceleration and parks the hard drive almost all the time if I walk much more than 1.5MPH.. This is inhibiting real exercise.

  • Costco site order fail

    Hey, +Costco, I’m trying to order from your website. This requires entering an address for shipping. On Firefox, it doesn’t let me enter a country or state, and so it doesn’t accept the address. On Chrome, not only does it not let me enter a country or state, but it also tells me The following command exception has occurred during processing: “java.lang.NullPointerException”.  It’s been a while since a website actually exposed that to me instead of giving me a 500 HTTP error!

  • January 2013

  • Going to Plumbers and LinuxCon again!

    Looking forward to seeing many of you again in September!

  • Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

    Bruce Schneier passes up a perfect opportunity to use latin: “Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?” ☺

  • Use Lego To Keep Your Lens Cap Safe

    Given how many lego pieces my children leave on the floor on a daily basis, they shouldn’t notice if I take a few for my own use!

  • Your fortune escapes

    “Be on the alert for new opportunity.” Like, for example, finding a fortune outside the cookie…

  • Translate this post

    I just submitted feedback suggesting that G+ add a feature to add a “translate this post” option to the post options menu. I love that I follow several multi-lingual people who write sometimes in languages I don’t know, and it would be fun to get a sense of what they are talking about from time to time. Google clearly have the technology to accomplish this.  ☺

  • Emma Chizett?

    I’m a bit flummoxed by Amazon Web Services support. They are telling us that EC2 reserved instance pricing might apply only to instances cloned from certain base instances, and that if we upload our own AMIs, we might or might not be able to apply reserved instance pricing. We’ve been trying for weeks, without success, to get a straight answer to a simple question.

  • December 2012

  • Christmas Pretzels

    Yesterday’s pretzels were such a hit (we ate them all while they were still hot) that we decided to make more to bring to the Christmas party at our neighbors’ house. I know pretzels aren’t traditional Christmas fare, but we are a bit iconoclastic as a family.

  • Homemade pretzels

    Homemade pretzels, fresh out of the oven. A child-requested and child-driven experiment.

  • python-pam and pypi

    Sad that this significant improvement didn’t make it to pypi. Looks nice at first read.

  • iDrac6 UI fail

    Learning the hard way that Dell iDRAC 6 Enterprise won’t allow me to remotely change the hostname displayed on the LCD without resetting the network information for the DRAC.

  • GitHub needs to take open source seriously

    +Simon Phipps says: Until then, tread carefully and avoid projects with no license terms.  Taken out of context, that’s good advice regardless of the temporal constraint. ☺

  • November 2012

  • Monitoring almost-non-fail

    I almost got it right. When I installed my home server, I was sure to set up mdadm monitoring so it would email me if a drive in my RAID array failed.

  • Time Warner cable phone non-service

    Just spent almost half an hour on the phone with Time Warner cable, trying to change service, after which we find that I have to go in person to the local TWC office for this. How odd.

  • John Wesley on voting

    Right now seems like a good time to reshare this. Especially point 3.

  • October 2012

  • Random Penguin House

    Penguin and Random House to merge; inexplicably miss the opportunity to call the combined operation “Random Penguin House”

  • Waiting for Jelly Bean

    My verizon galaxy SIII has an OTA available for it. Alas, it seems not to be Jelly Bean. Verizon says that in IMM76D.I535VRALHE “Enhanced Zooming Feature has been added to user interface for Web browsing, reading emails and more.” Is that an obfuscated way of saying “worked around yet another stupid Apple patent”?

  • Content rental

    After Apple’s well-publicized pathetic handling of Mat Honan’s “Epic Hack” (as he called it), after dealing with practically ubiquitous apathetic and useless customer “support”, people still seem surprised that it took a media storm to get Amazon to respond meaningfully after it unilaterally revoked someone’s access to rented content in their cloud.

  • Watched an ISS transit

    Just watched an ISS transit with the whole family. Clear skies and a bright space station that got almost halfway up from the horizon, then quickly disappeared as it entered the earth’s shadow. ISS detector on my android phone made it easy to enter a calendar event and then easy to find.

  • English now good writing we are

    English now good writing we are.

  • Ubuntu data exfiltration by default

    It doesn’t seem to me that Canonical is very serious about trying to get Ubuntu accepted for business use generally. If I were in charge of corporate IT anywhere, I’d make a policy that Ubuntu users must entirely remove, not merely disable, unity-lens-shopping with “sudo apt-get purge unity-lens-shopping”, and I would also black-hole DNS and routing for the names and IP addresses associated with unity-lens-shopping.

  • September 2012

  • Git users survey 2012


  • Liquid nitrogen + ping-pong balls = pure awesome

    It’s probably a good thing that I don’t have trivially easy access to large quantities of liquid nitrogen! ☺

  • Political slack

    If you’re going to engage in political debate, cut others the same slack that you would like others to cut you.

  • Matias quiet pro

    Anyone tried one of these? Maybe I’d get to quit soldering replacement keyswitches into my old Northgate Omnikey keyboards, which don’t work quite as well with the AT→PS/2→USB adapter chain as I’d like…

  • Memorializing insecurity

    At least we’re being honest in how we as a nation memorialize the 9/11 attacks. We are admitting that as a nation, we have responded by abandoning freedoms and embracing a new identity as willing participants in security theater.

  • How copyright enforcement robots killed the Hugo Awards

    Hilary Mason

  • August 2012

  • Understanding specifications and requirements

    David Megginson

  • A fine line between being guarded and being a prisoner

    Jan Wildeboer

  • July 2012

  • Family model rocket launching party

    We had our first family model rocket launching party this afternoon.

  • Android Jelly Bean on Galaxy Nexus

    Got the #JellyBean update on the Galaxy Nexus. Liking it so far…

  • Furniture: The New Terrorists

    Bruce Schneier linked to this article as one example of a shockingly-scarce genre: common sense in terrorism reporting.

  • Judge who shelved Apple trial: patent system out of sync

    Share the sanity!

  • Michael Kerrisk joining LWN

    I don’t know why Linux Weekly News would make this announcement be subscriber-only content. +Jonathan Corbet just announced that Michael Kerrisk will be joining the LWN editorial staff. If you haven’t subscribed to Linux Weekly News yet, you have one more reason to do so now.

  • SAS is an international place to work

    SAS is an international place to work. This is the control pad on the new microwave in our break room.

  • ShopBot

    The ShopBot cutting a project for a classmate.

  • Learning CNC woodworking

    At TechShop to take the 8-hour ShopBot course, to learn how to do CNC woodworking. Should be interesting!

  • June 2012

  • Another NC Near Space launch album

    The children wanted to see another near-space balloon launch, so I have another album to share.  Thanks to +NC Near Space for another launch, and I hope that the spot tracker enabled a successful recovery!

  • NC Near Space NSL-8 launch prep

    Preparing for +NC Near Space NSL-8 launch.

  • Rocket dentistry

    If I show this to my children, will they insist on replicating it?

  • NC Near Space NSL-8

    The kids and I had fun watching the launch the weekend before last at Maker Faire NC. I don’t know whether we’ll go to this launch but if you missed the last one and thought it might be interesting, here’s your chance!

  • Grammar, a Victim in the Office

    My compositional bête noire is not, generally speaking, the grammatical gaffe (although there are a few to which I occasionally fall prey), but rather a tendency to prolix, convoluted prose, full of indefensibly subordinate clauses. I am overly fond of using semicolons to separate independent but logically-connected sentences; although this construction is generally grammatically defensible, it requires excessive work from my readers (if, indeed, after the first few sentences, I have any left).

  • Med Student Rescues Body Part From Airport Security

    Indefensible security theater is indefensible…

  • Spoilt by choice


  • Flurry report called into question

    Liars may “figure”, but “figures” lie only if you let them… Good work, Ed.

  • NC Near Space launch album

    +Tanner Lovelace posted yesterday that planned a high altitude balloon launch around noon today from Maker Faire NC. I brought the kids, and we had fun first watching the launch, then wandering around the Faire for hours, and meeting a few friends like +Scott Leslie and +Kevin Otte.

  • Plumbum: Shell Combinators and More

    Interesting use of operator overloading to reproduce bits of shell syntax in python.  I haven’t tried playing with it yet. Occasionally I want to solve a problem for which invoking lots of commands in pipelines is the obvious solution and yet has program logic that would be easier to implement, read, and maintain in python; plumbum might provide the middle ground between shell scripts and Python’s subprocess module.

  • x squared now ya'll

    Curtis Olson

  • Drowning Doesn't Look Like Drowning

    Drowning does not look like drowning–unless you are taught what it looks like. Read this article: the life you save may be your child’s (or friend’s; adults drown too).

  • Time to Get Even Lazier

    Sad! How will my children learn about how cars work now? sniff

  • SAS Android file browser

    Good work by Ed and his team! Besides the fact that this browser is fast and smooth, I like that it remembers your current location, so you can swipe back to see directories, then swipe forward to where you were without having to pick your way back through the directory structure.

  • May 2012

  • Don't let learning impede education?

    STEM education is a major priority for Wake County schools.

  • Understanding Python decorators

    I like this approach to explaining Python decorators. One step at a time.

  • Maurice Sendak Dies

    Sad news today

  • Bufferbloat progress

    Great news from Jim Gettys on progress dealing with bufferbloat!

  • Photography in Space

    The challenges of photography in space…

  • April 2012

  • Legal advice is not busines advice

    Key quote: “They asked for legal advice, and as always happens when you ask your lawyer for business advice (instead of making business decisions and asking your lawyer to help you achieve them legally) they were told to play it safe…”

  • AppliedMicro launches 64-bit ARM server chip

    Jon Masters

  • Tor/Forge to Go DRM-Free

    Theodore Ts’o

  • TSA abuses

    It seems that #tsa isn’t listening very well…

  • You don't have a capacity problem

    1.00 FTE - You don’t have a capacity problem.

  • Pointless roadblock?

    I thought the point of ec2-upload-bundle was to get bundles created by ec2-bundle-image outside Amazon into S3 so you can boot images in EC2. ☺

  • Squishy Circuits

    Electricity. Motors. LEDs. Play-dough. What’s not to like? I think this goes on the list.

  • Why Airport Security Is Broken

    Liz Fong-Jones

  • Toward more reliable logging

    “Toward more reliable logging [LWN subscriber-only content]”

  • on G+?

    +Jonathan Corbet — you should create a G+ page so that we can plus-mention when posting about great articles.

  • Whitespace Remover

    Not just for Chrome.

  • Contrast matters

    I’m not as freaked out about #whitespace as some; at least with my browser size,the amount of whitespace didn’t actually change much with the redesign, and there are some elements of the redesign that I like.

  • JetBlue Captain Clayton Osbon and Resilient Security

    Bruce Schneier blogged about a good article about the mental breakdown of the JetBlue captain in-flight. Worth reading.

  • March 2012

  • Amazon lost in big data?

    A few days after I bought my new camera from Amazon, they sent me email suggesting that I would want to buy that camera. I figured that their analytics were getting a bit behind due to the size of the data they were analyzing. But a few days ago, about a month and a half later, they emailed me another suggestion that I’d like to buy the exact kit I already bought.

  • Death by security theater

    For those who don’t believe that our loss of liberties is a sufficient reason to scale back the TSA, note the estimate that of people who choose to drive instead of fly since 9/11-motivated “security” measures were added, 500 people die in automobile accidents every year. I mean, I know we’re all going to die eventually, but it doesn’t seem to me that’s necessarily the best way to go.

  • Cadbury Eggs

    Mindhacking yourself to better health, thanks to Cadbury Eggs!

  • Congressional Testimony on the TSA

    As if we needed another reason not to trust the TSA. Sounds like a few congresscritters need their constituents to graft backbones onto them. Sad, though unfortunately unsurprising, to see the TSA is pulling political tricks like this.

  • District of Columbia electronic voting pen-test

    The District of Columbia did us all a favor by encouraging a pen-test of their electronic voting system, and Scott Wolchok, Eric Wustrow, Dawn Isabel, and J. Alex Halderman from the University of Michigan are to be highly commended for their paper describing how they successfully and thoroughly subverted the system.

  • Employees and Social Media

    1.0 FTE is often funny. This one is worth reading…

  • Sonygpsassest update

    I updated the sonygpsassist script to only download a new .dat file if the md5sum has changed.

  • GitHub PSA

    If Github just sent you mail asking you to review your ssh key(s) due to their recent security breach, you will see a page that asks you to review your ssh keys by their fingerprint.

  • February 2012

  • EFF Wins Protection for Time Zone Database

    Our timezones are safe! Good job EFF and friends!

  • Spirited but collegial debate

    I never thought to ask whether there were formal research results supporting the practice of spirited but collegial debate for developing creative results. I’ve seen it work so much that it has become second nature, and I had really lost track of the fact that many people aren’t aware of it. It’s nice to see that a wide variety of research supports this practice!

  • Sony camera GPS assisstance data download shell script

    It was enough of a pain to boot into windows to update firmware. I was pleased to see that there was an open-source program — — to get GPS almanac data, but not so interested in buying a mac to run it on. Turns out it’s trivial, so I wrote a tiny shell script. Now my camera reports that it has valid GPS almanac data. Yay!

  • 13 Lessons to Teach Your Child About Digital Photography

  • No need to panic over factorable keys

    The best article I’ve read yet on the RSA factorable key problem, IMO. It starts with a great title, and gets better from there.

  • Jury Strikes Down Troll's Claim to Interactive Web

    Texas Jury Strikes Down Patent Troll’s Claim to Own the Interactive Web

  • Fast Enough VMs in Fast Enough Time

    If you are interested in programming language research, this is a (long!) must-read.

  • Gilligan's Island

    Somehow the topic of “Gilligan’s Island” came up during supper. Not entirely sure how, but the children were intrigued.

  • Mythbusters Banned From Discussing RFID

    Dirk Hohndel

  • Bufferbloat demonstration videos

    Jim Gettys

  • January 2012

  • Richar Burr PIPA opposition

    Got a response from Senator Richard Burr responding to my request that he oppose PIPA. His response was a succinct statement of intelligent opposition to PIPA, recognizing the dual threats to free speech and innovation contained in PIPA.

  • SOPA and PIPA analogy

    Oskar Austegard

    “Assume there’s a corner store in your neighborhood that rents movies. But the movie industry believes that some or even all of the videos in that store are unauthorized copies, so that they’re not being paid when people watch their movies. What should be done?

    “SOPA/PIPA don’t aim at the people trying to get to the store. SOPA/ PIPA don’t penalize or regulate the store itself. SOPA and PIPA penalize us if we don’t block the people trying to get to the store.

    “The solution under the proposed bills is to make it as difficult as possible to find or interact with the store. Maps showing the location of the store must be changed to hide it(1). The road to the store must be blocked off so that it’s difficult to physically get to there(2). Directory services must unlist the store’s phone number and address(3). Credit card companies(4) would have to cease providing services to the store. Local newspapers would no longer be allowed to place ads for the video store(5). And to make sure it all happens, any person or organization who doesn’t do this is subject to penalties(6). Even publishing a newsletter that tells people where the store is would be prohibited by this legislation(7).

    “This is what SOPA and PIPA would impose in the online world. It’s very different than targeting the owner of the video store directly. The obligations to made websites hard to find apply to all citizens and businesses. Each one of us is subject to punishment and fines if we don’t fulfill these prohibitions. And, because SOPA/PIPA create a new regulatory structure, we become subject to punishment without the due process protections citizens normally enjoy.”

    PIPA/SOPA and Why You Should Care | Mitchell’s Blog

  • SOPA bystander effect

    James Cordeiro

  • Authors and Creators opposing SOPA and PIPA

    An open letter to Washington from Artists and Creators

  • SOPA PIPA web load?

    #SOPA #PIPA “Sorry, the web page you have requested is experiencing technical difficulties. The Webmaster has been alerted. You will be automatically redirected to the home page after 10 seconds. If this problem persists, please contact the Office of the Secretary Webmaster at”

  • Congressman Who Wrote SOPA Violated Copyright Law

    Irony Alert: Congressman Who Wrote SOPA Violated Copyright Law | Techland |

  • Help wanted at LWN

    Good news in more ways than one! ☺

  • Ringtone halts NY Philharmonic performance

    Ringtone halts NY Philharmonic performance - Yahoo! News

  • Microsoft locks down ARM devices

    “As far as you can throw them.”

  • In the 13th month of 2011...

    Gingerbread was promised for my phone in 2011. It’s rather late 2011 by now, but I can finally update!

  • The TSA Proves its Own Irrelevance

    The TSA Proves its Own Irrelevance

  • Gordon Hirabayashi dies at 93


  • Celebrating Actual IMC

    Looking at my pilot logbook, I just realized that on my last cross-country trip, I finally achieved more hours flying in actual IMC (Instrument Meteorological Conditions—clouds) than simulated (wearing a view-restricting hood). That took more than seven years of having an instrument rating and doing most of my flying on an instrument flight plan.

  • December 2011

  • Brother MFC 9970cdw reboots instead of printing

    Printing from Firefox to my new Brother MFC 9970cdw color laser all-in-one is making the printer reboot instead of print. This is not a good sign. Am I going to have to find out how well Amazon returns work for large items?

  • Open-source self-publishing

    Spent the morning self-publishing a 16-page booklet of my 9-year-old daughter’s NaNoWriMo YWP 2000-word novella. Text typed and styled with LibreOffice in Gentium, graphics scanned from hand drawings and edited in the Gimp, composed in scribus, imposed with bookbinder, printed from evince on a duplexing color laserjet, cut with a rotary cutter, stapled without a ride stapler by stapling into the end grain of a small piece of 2x4 lumber and then laboriously folding the staples by hand. She inscribed several finished copies as gifts for family members, so next we need to find appropriate envelopes and take a trip to the post office.

  • Hitler reacts to SOPA

    Hunter Walk

  • Epson Artisan 810 fail

    My Epson Artisan 810 printer died after only two years, right after I put some new ink in it. It hasn’t been used heavily or abused in any way. The ADF broke recently, and now today it is convinced that it has a paper jam even though no paper is caught in it.

  • Mail your congresscritter to stop SOPA

    Hey, folks, this is important!

  • Senator Chris Dodd of the MPAA lobbying for PRC-style censorship

    Jeff Garzik

  • James Thurber Meets Neil Gaiman: The Thirteen Clocks

    I watched this video when it came out in October, and it reminded me that I needed to read The Thirteen Clocks to my children. But—only when I had enough time to read the whole book in one sitting.

  • Cross-network recruiting

    Social networking and recruiting mix oddly.

  • Could closed core prove a more robust model than open core?

    Andy Oram

  • November 2011

  • Sound in Windows 7 guest under libvirt KVM

    I just figured out how to get sound working on a 64-bit windows 7 guest running under KVM within libvirt (whee!) and thought I’d share the solution. (“Hey, lazyweb, here’s an answer!”)

  • Getting a product concept right

    My nine-year-old came up to say goodnight, and saw my screen:

  • GE microwave consumer-unfriendly

    My General Electric built-in microwave has an incandescent lightbulb that cannot be replaced by the consumer. The unit is only seven years old and otherwise functional, but the lightbulb burned out several months ago. Not being able to see what’s cooking is a real limitation. Calling a service technician to change a lightbulb is idiotic and would cost a significant portion of replacing the entire unit.

  • New profile picture

    +Armistead Sapp I knew I could find the high-resolution original, it just took me a few months!

  • The terrorists have won

    The terrorists have won. sigh

  • Finally signed up with LibraryThing

    Finally signed up with a few days ago. My USB barcode scanner arrived today, which sped up the cataloging process a bit. I’ve seen complaints from folks that their scanners “don’t work”; I have to wonder if they are scanning the UPC code on books where the UPC doesn’t encode the ISBN; for years, the ISBN barcode printed on the inside front cover.

  • Stopping SOPA

    Help Mozilla stop Internet Censorship Legislation

  • "The Lord Of The Rings (1944)"

  • Microsoft's "Trivial" Patents and Strategy

    Groklaw - Barnes & Noble Exposes Microsoft’s “Trivial” Patents and Strategy Against Android ~pj

  • FAA removing individual access to digital charts


  • Open source colorimeter

    Open source colorimeter - I have little doubt he’ll be able to sell 50, at least if international shipping isn’t a problem…

  • Carded!

    Carded today for an alcohol purchase for the second time of my life. I am not growing any younger, so clearly the checkout clerks are pitying my advancing age by pretending they can’t tell. Or maybe I just need a haircut.

  • Openconnect web site blacklisted?

    David Woodhouse

  • Phone SD card corruption

    My phone (Captivate) ran out of battery. When I recharged it, it cheerfully told me that my external sd card was damaged and offered to reformat it for me.

  • More excitement than I was looking for

    From the More Excitement Than I Was Looking For files:

  • Getting something right

    From the Doing It Right files:

  • Superheated Water

    It isn’t often that I find myself checking snopes before posting about something that happened to me. As in never. Until now.

  • The New York Times on Google+

    The New York Times

  • Neil Gaiman on The Thirteen Clocks

    Neil Gaiman calls James Thurber’s book The Thirteen Clocks, “one of my favourite books”

  • Vim

    Jeff Garzik

    Two decades of productivity: Vim’s 20th anniversary

  • Trick or Treat

    An hour and a half to cover one block trick-or-treating with three kids. We walked on road and driveways instead of lawns which made it a much longer walk than many of our fellow trick-or-treaters. And then I let the kids eat only one piece of candy each before bed! So it actually counted as exercise…

  • October 2011

  • FAA To Ban Plane Crashes

    The Onion on plane crashes…

  • Lying is wrong

    As usual, read the hover text to find out what this comic is really about.

  • "No capes!"

  • inexpensive 40W-equivalent LED

    Eric Sandeen just posted about an inexpensive 40W-equivalent LED lightbulb — $10 at Home Depot. After writing a long comment on his blog, I decided I should post the comment here, too!

  • The Tangled Web

    “The Tangled Web: A Guide to Securing Modern Web Applications”

  • "747's are big flying Unix hosts"

  • vlock still in use

    A blast from the past. I remember when I first wrote vlock; I didn’t realize that anyone still cared! Cool!

  • If Linux was a car

    I enjoyed this take on anti-Linux rants. ☺

  • Bellovin on quietly delegated authority

    Bellovin on quietly delegated authority

  • Microwaving Ivory soap

    Microwaving Ivory soap never gets old.

  • Careless recruiters

    I’m always amazed that many recruiters don’t seem to proofread their emails. I’m looking at one now that’s missing critical words and phrases, and has sentences that just don’t parse. I don’t notice any spelling errors, unless you count not including words at all as the ultimate spelling error, but it doesn’t leave a great impression.

  • An Ode to Dennis Ritchie

    This article gets a few trivial points wrong (for example, missing C# being a close derivative of Java) but I think it does a good job of explaining for a more general audience why many of us cared so deeply when we heard of Dennis Ritchie’s passing.

  • Copyright abuse

    It’s not just the patent system that’s abused.

  • Innovatio's Infringement Suit Rampage Expands

    “Innovatio” is patently double-dipping…

  • Periodic table of the HTML5 elements

    Periodic table of the HTML5 elements

  • September 2011

  • Working minimum wage

    XKCD gets it right again. Count your costs!

  • August 2011

  • Certificate fraud PSA

    How to protect yourself from the fraudulent * certificate before your Firefox browser is updated. Relatively simple instructions…

  • Just (k)vetching

    Just spent 20 minutes pulling crown vetch out of the lawn. Ugh.

  • Premium mistake

    The danger of having cars that take different grades of gas: I just filled my wife’s van with premium gas by accident; a $4.50 mistake.

  • LinkedIn competes with facebook

    I complained (in appropriate feedback) when LinkedIn put a news banner on the top of the page for logged-in users. I said that it got in the way of what I used the site for and asked for it to go away.

  • Car-roof signs

    Question: why do driving school cars and pizza delivery cars both have signs on the roof?

  • July 2011

  • "Space camp" irony

  • New anaconda archive backend

    My new archive installation backend for anaconda is working well now, installing multiple archives in different formats with different types of permissions, over NFS, HTTP, and FTP. Code sent to anaconda-devel-list for feedback. ☺

  • Motorola indecision

    I just discovered that I can’t use the microsd slot in my wifi Xoom, even though the kernel supports it and it was advertised to me as containing a microsd slot that would support up to 32GB microsd cards, because Motorola can’t decide where in the filesystem to mount it. Words fail me. (Well, no, actually, they don’t; “false advertising claims” and “bait and switch” come to mind.)

  • Wondering if android market has been inaccessible for several hours due to people trying to get the google+ client...

    Wondering if android market has been inaccessible for several hours due to people trying to get the google+ client… ;-)

  • Breathless, clueless reporters

    Breathless, clueless reporters are surprised that pilots are in control of airplanes. sigh

  • Fireworks in the sky!

    Looks like fireworks will be more exciting than usual tonight! (The national weather service had issued a severe thunderstorm warning…)

  • The danger in not pulling up weeds

    The danger in not pulling up weeds because they are too big to pull up is that they only get even bigger. Finally pulled out that stubborn clump of weed grass next to a mum – and the entire mum plant came along for the ride.

  • Can't wait for suppertime

    Can’t wait for suppertime. Just made sweet fresh vinegar “pickles” from cucumbers harvested in the backyard garden just an hour or so ago!

  • Interesting that I can't edit a post from mobile

    Interesting that I can’t edit a post from the mobile app - only delete it or moderate comments. Since I can edit the contents before I post it and can edit the same post in the web view, I’m hoping that the inability to edit posts in the mobile app is a temporary shortcoming…

  • If Google+ gives users control...

    If Google+ does a good job of giving users control over what they want to share, then I think that at least the people I’m most likely to want to share with will end up here rather than in the cacophonous pit of facebook…

  • May 2011

  • A New Addiction: Cryptic Crosswords


  • April 2011

  • Why Layout Matters

    I have found myself reading Adobe’s AMF3 specification, and trying to read their ABNF grammar for AMF3. Unfortunately, Adobe have seen fit to format their nesting in arbitrary ways that make it hard to read. Here are two examples from the specification (which has not been touched since 2008, to the best of my knowledge):

  • February 2011

  • Livestrong (Johnson Health) Customer Service

    tl;dr: good job!

  • The Saga Of the Microwave Turntable

    Months ago, my eldest daughter accidentally broke the glass turntable tray in our microwave oven. I quickly googled the part and determined that it was almost $80, plus shipping and handling; I showed her the price, and inverted a dinner plate in the microwave to hold food up at the right level, though the food no longer rotated. I meant to order a new one quickly, but somehow there was always too much else to do.

  • January 2011

  • New Treaddesker

    In December, Steelcase loaned rPath a “Walkstation” for a week. This is a basic treadmill with a desk attached that has motorized height adjustment. Unfortunately, it is very expensive ($4200 is the lowest I’ve seen), maxes out at 2 miles per hour, has a small tread area, has no incline capability, and the retractable console for controlling the treadmill has sharp edges. It beeps loudly whenever you press a button, and the treadmill isn’t the quietest I’ve heard.

  • December 2010

  • E-Publishing

    My father, an internist, has been self-publishing a short collection of stories on death and dying called Kind Farewells; each tells a story from his medical practice about a death that touched him, and others, deeply. So far, he has listed the book on in hardcover, softcover, and PDF download formats. Recently, he decided that he wanted to offer it in various e-book formats as well.

  • October 2010

  • Froyo: Or, Samsung Wins Again

    Yesterday, I blogged about why I was happy I bought Samsung cell phones. Today, I got confirmation that Samsung seems serious about open source on an ongoing basis, and I’m even more encouraged.

  • Why I Bought Samsung Galaxy Phones


  • September 2010

  • The Linux Programming Interface: Preview

    Erik Troan and I co-authored two editions of Linux Application Development, so I have some idea of what it takes to write a Linux programming book. It’s a lot of work to do well, doing proper research, trying to keep up to date, trying to meet the needs of a wide variety of readers.

  • August 2010

  • Math, Amtrak Style

    I had a page open to check the progress of an Amtrak train, so that I could know when to pick up a passenger. Not a lot of info was available. As of 8:30PM, it just said “on time” for 9:00PM (though the timetable said 9:13PM instead of 9:00PM, just to keep things interesting).

  • Archos 7 Home Tablet: First Impressions

    In part because my children are perhaps not quite so careful with CDs as I am, I ripped all my CDs (at least, all that will still read!) to flac, ogg, and mp3 files. The second half of the project was to get a media player that could play all those files – preferably over the network from my main server so that I don’t have to copy files onto an SD card every time I get a new CD and rip it.

  • July 2010

  • Responsible Disclosure is Responsible

    The Google Security Team just posted a blog entry attempting to restore meaning to “responsible disclosure.” It is absolutely worth reading.

  • Pleasant Surprises, Part 2

    I not so recently mentioned that I was pleased with work that Jet City Devices did to my wife’s smartphone. What I didn’t know at the time was that while the screen was no longer cracked, the touch sensor was not working correctly; it was only occasionally registering touch on some parts of the screen, at best.

  • June 2010

  • Using OpenDNS

    As my kids are starting to want to “look for things on the internet”, I started caring about what they might accidentally stumble onto, even in an appropriately supervised context.

  • February 2010

  • Pleasant Surprises

    My wife found her smartphone screen cracked recently. AT&T told her to suck it up and buy a new phone, and the local independent shop couldn’t fix her phone. I had a great deal of trepidation about sending the phone off to some random place I googled, but in the end sent it off to Jet City Devices in Seattle.

  • June 2009

  • Nice "work" if you can get it...

    At the post office, I found myself writing a bit of a pastiche of an old classic:

  • October 2008

  • Eschew Obfuscation

    My favorite part of The Atlantic is generally the Word Fugitives section of Barbara Wallraff’s In a Word. There are always several well-considered, generally balanced, and certainly thought-provoking articles in The Atlantic, but for sheer linguistic fun I have to read the last page first.

  • September 2008

  • Review: The Graveyard Book

    A Christmas gift some years ago of The Dream Hunters introduced me to Neil Gaiman’s work. As an amateur of folk tales, I was entranced and delighted by the beauty and craft of The Dream Hunters, and then started reading earlier works in the Sandman series; my introduction to the graphic novel. Neverwhere and Stardust next captured my attention, followed quickly by most of the rest of Gaiman’s books.

  • July 2008

  • Living with tabs: Tree Style Tab

    I used to use the galeon web browser. I got used to having tabs on the right side of my browser; I can have lots of tabs and read what is in them. This works in part because I devote one workspace entirely to a full-screen browser.

  • April 2008

  • The Blue Screen Of Zombie

    I have a dual-boot system that, on rare occasions, finds itself running windows. It used to be limited to taxes and GPS database programming, but now it is limited to taxes, GPS database programming, and logitech harmony programming.

  • March 2008

  • Mercurial hits long-awaited 1.0

    In my first-ever entry in this blog, on the 9th of November 2005, I wrote that Conary was moving to Mercurial for source code control. This conversion was a big success.

  • November 2007

  • Michael's Crock Pot Candied Yams

    In order to resolve contention for oven space, I made up a new recipe this year for one of my favorite thanksgiving dishes, utilizing the slow cooker (“Crock Pot”). Since it came out far better than any other candied yam recipe I have tried, I thought I’d share the recipe.

  • Scary Halloween: A Public Service Announcement

    My wife and I had everything planned for Halloween; I would take the girls trick-or-treating and she would hold down the fort. My first hint that the evening might take an unexpected turn was when she called to mention that she smelled something funny, and she thought that this time it probably was natural gas, not a stale dishrag like last time. I was skeptical, until she called me a few hours later to say that the smell was a lot stronger in the (gas) furnace room, that the kids were buckled into the car, and that I was going to be coming home to deal with this while she and the kids went to supper.

  • September 2007

  • MUGged!

    Ken VanDine and I flew up to the Detroit area yesterday to give a talk last night at the Michigan!/usr/group. As you can probably tell from the UUCP-inspired name of the group, it has been around for a while – at 21 years old, it’s old enough to drink!

  • October 2006

  • Adventures in LVM2

    I’ve been an old-school die-hard gimme-those-old-time-primary-partitions kind of geek for a long time now. Even extended partitions bother me, especially when partial drive failure makes otherwise unaffected partitions disappear. So while the flexibility that LVM provides was enticing, I was frankly a little uncomfortable putting LVM on my system, especially after a hard drive crash.

  • November 2005

  • Moving to Mercurial

    Before we ever announced Conary, we tried converting from CVS to Subversion. We were not happy; the conversion wasn’t great, but much worse was the corruption in the db back end (I know there’s a filesystem back end now); we decided that we could live with CVS at that point, and that it just wasn’t worth the trouble to change. I understand that Subversion has improved since then, but one of the things we decided was that if we were going to change, we really wanted to move to something that allowed disconnected operation (for those cross-continental plane flights…).

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