Monday, December 31, 2012

Raid on Entebbe

In 'Raid on Entebbe' the soldiers, en-route to Entebbe, are studying the faces of the terrorists in a folder (the better to shoot them all dead, my dear):

Lt. Col. Yonatan 'Yoni' Netanyahu: What if he came through that door?

Capt. Sammy Berg: I'd shoot him.

Netanyahu: What if he was surrounded by fifty women and children?

Berg: (thoughtful pause) I wouldn't miss.

A great film, but like a lot of films made in ye olde days, the pacing is slower than we're used to with newer films.   But once you get used to that, you're watching a great film, showing the terrorists, hostages, politicians, soldiers, all doing their thing.  Plus Yaphet Kotto as Idi Amin.

I have no idea how faithful the movie is to the actual events.  Wiki claims the soldiers destroyed the Ugandan fighter planes on the ground.  Knowing that, I was expecting some guys to run around with C4, some hammers.  The movie soldiers used a jeep-mounted recoilless rifle and there were lots of kabooms and explosions which delighted my inner-child. 

Me, I'd use explosives and the hammers to wreck the fighters - planes are fragile.   Save the recoilless ammunition to repel any soldiers that show up.  You can always shoot it off as you're leaving.  But .. explosions!  The heck with historical accuracy, am-I-rite?

Also: Charles Bronson as the ground commander spent all of his time on the ground yammering into the radio.  Which made my the war movie critic in my head happy; that's how it's really done.

The ending is .. I shed a manly tear.  They did that sucker right.

Joe Bob says check it out.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Home Repair

It is pleasing that I can utilize a modest amount of God-granted smarts, gumption, and the repair manual, to fix my washing machine.

Smart membrane button no clicky - well take that sucker apart and glue it back together.  Look, I fixed it!  Golly.

It is annoying that this is the second time around that track, and that I neglected to remember that I cannot treat my washing machine as if it were a machine. 


I must caress 'START' with care, kindness, and a feather touch.

This is the way of home machinery in the 21st century and I must adapt.

Hollywood Firearms Inc

The Rev Jesse Jackson talked assault weapons ban on the WGN Morning News .

“These military style weapons can bring down airplanes, they can bring down buildings, they can shoot people in mass with the pull of a trigger,” he said. “We must get these weapons off the street and out of our houses.”

Do what?

Where can one obtain one of these rifles-of-awesome-destruction that bring down buildings and why do I not have one?

Thursday, December 27, 2012

There lies the port; the vessel puffs her sail

Come, my friends.
'T is not too late to seek a newer world.
Push off, and sitting well in order smite
The sounding furrows; for my purpose holds
To sail beyond the sunset, and the baths
Of all the western stars, until I die.
It may be that the gulfs will wash us down;
It may be we shall touch the Happy Isles,
And see the great Achilles, whom we knew.
Tho' much is taken, much abides; and tho'
We are not now that strength which in old days
Moved earth and heaven, that which we are, we are,--
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.

Alfred,Lord Tennyson : Ulysses

Friday, December 21, 2012

They seemed to float above the glittering moonlit surface of the Pacific

Gwendolyn read Fiona stories in bed for an hour while John perused the evening edition of the Times, then spread out some papers on the room's tiny desk. Later, they both changed into their evening clothes, primping quietly in twilight so as not to wake Fiona. At nine o'clock they stepped into the passageway, locked the door, and followed the sound of the big band to Æther's grand ballroom, where the dancing was just getting underway. The floor of the ballroom was a slab of translucent diamond. The lights were low. They seemed to float above the glittering moonlit surface of the Pacific as they did the waltz, minuet, Lindy, and electric slide into the night.

Reading this passage from 'The Diamond Age' always cheers me right up. 

May you find yourself with your own beloved, dancing the night away above the Pacific.

Speaking of which, headlights are dancing across the snow, my own beloved is home.  Good night.

That would create serious 2nd Amendment, 8th Amendment and logistical problems

Happens without fail.

Every time I start to think 'Well, yes, the Republicans might now be the party of small government, fiscal restraint, and respect for the constitution' like it says on the wrapper a conservative, Republican 'not a fan of the regulatory state' guys pops out of the woodwork to remind me 'don't be fooled again'

Bring back the assault weapons ban, and bring it back with some teeth this time. Ban the manufacture, importation, sale, transfer and possession of both assault weapons and high-capacity magazines. Don't let people who already have them keep them. Don't let ones that have already been manufactured stay on the market. I don't care whether it's called gun control or a gun ban. I'm for it.

'logistical problems'  Cheese and crackers: It's not the banality of evil, it's the banality of a wee little mind wrapping the Bill of Rights in a week-old newspaper and throwing it out the door for convenience sake.


Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Re: 6 Harsh Truths That Will Make You a Better Person

Everyone is linking to this.

Not to be cool and hip but because it's the Truth shining forth like the Word from a Pentecostal come to Jesus meeting in August.

Also: Glengarry Glen Ross.  How have I not seen this before?

#6. The World Only Cares About What It Can Get from You

#5. The Hippies Were Wrong

#4. What You Produce Does Not Have to Make Money, But It Does Have to Benefit People

#3. You Hate Yourself Because You Don't Do Anything

#2. What You Are Inside Only Matters Because of What It Makes You Do

#1. Everything Inside You Will Fight Improvement

If you'll excuse me; there is a computer in the next room with Squid installed.  Got an idea for a URL forwarding doo-hickey I want to fool around with.

Monday, December 17, 2012

The Importance of Story by: John M. Del Vecchio

The Importance of Story
Individual and Cultural Effects of Skewing the Realities of American Involvement in Southeast Asia for Social, Political and/or Economic Ends.
by: John M. Del Vecchio

In this paper, (pdf) I would like to establish a framework for the Importance of Story; then briefly examine how, and in what forms, Viet Nam has entered the American consciousness; where that story is skewed from verifiable reality; and why; and finally look at the ramifications of the distortions, gaps and omissions in ambient cultural story.

Worth the read.  I wonder what Story is at work on the American consciousness now?

Friday, December 14, 2012

Orwell wrote in vain or vein or whatever do not judge me maaaan

Chandra, a "recovering grammar snob" who works as an English teacher, has a smashing trio of essays on Literacy Privilege -- the invisible privilege that accrues to people who have the facility to write well and clearly, and who have absorbed the "correct" conventions of English. I know I've been guilty of dismissing people because of their grammar/spelling errors

Back that truck right the f*ck on up there, Cry Dctrw. Being able to run spell check is a privilege?  Writing in a clear and concise manner is so hard you can't expect just anyone to pick it up?

This privilege shit has gone too far: bullshit, bullshit, bullshit.

Spelling counts.  Concise expression beats a stew of muddled krep any day.

Favor baffling bullshit over clarity?  The hell I will.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

You can't kill me - I'm having a dinner party

The Perfect Host with David Hyde Pierce: a little slice of awesome movie.  Joe Bob sez 'Check it out'.

Joe Bob also sez 'don't watch the trailer' and 'don't look up spoilers'.  The trailer sucks.  You only need to know this;

It is part dark comedy, part thriller, part head drama.  There is a bad guy.  There is a fussy little man giving a dinner party.

There are twists, turns, 'what the' moments.  They caught my wife by surprise, which these kinds of things do not usually do.  Judging by that, these were executed very deftly.

You remember David Hyde Pierce from 'Frasier' as Niles Crane, where for a decade he played a dandy in a sitcom.  A fop.  You can't get away from Pierce as a fussy little man - he looks like a fussy little man.  But he is not Niles in the movie.  And it is very, very, good.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

He kept us out of war

(AP) President Barack Obama says the U.S. now recognizes Syria's main opposition group as the "legitimate representative" of the country's people. The move paves the way for greater U.S. support as the group seeks the ouster of Syrian President Bashar Assad.

Well keep your powder dry and break out the F-18s! We gonna have us a war!

Been awhile since we had one of those.  It's like what, a year, since we blew up Libya with our air force? 

Well parder: that is too long.

Tab Clearing

I am a soldier. I am dirt.  Read the whole thing.

Rachel Was Wrong: Agrochemicals' Benefit to Human Health and the Environment

Lest Darkness Triumph by L. Neil Smith

Abuse of Power in the Executive Branch

NixOS. A linux for system administrators and other people who just want to get things done.

The Privatization of Roads and Highways (PDF)

UC Berkeley Librarian To Daily Cal Sex Columnist: 'Please Don't F*ck In The Library'  Sow what you reap, lady.

Licking The Envelope (An easy guide on how to use PGP ENCRYPTED E-MAIL)

The ends of humanity: Socialism is dead, and the transhuman future looms. Is there any way to recover a sense of global purpose?

There is an Ender's Game movie in the works. I cannot imagine how it could be faithful, or even good when scenes as described below are integral to the plot.  A pre-teen brutally maiming his opponent, without heat, and with a great deal of careful consideration, should be too raw for the cinema, nu?.

Despite his desperate circumstances, Ender coolly reads Bonzo’s character and manipulates him into fighting one-on-one. Once the fight begins, Ender easily beats Bonzo to a pulp, without himself even getting scratched: when it comes to the test, Bonzo the formidable adversary is stupid and incompetent, or his rage makes him stupid and incompetent. Up until now Ender has shown himself to be vastly superior to Bonzo in mental combat; now he shows himself to be equally superior in physical combat. Yet even when it is clear that Ender has already won the fight, Ender persists in maiming Bonzo in order to insure there are no future attacks.

Thursday, December 06, 2012


My grandson, at nearly two-years old ... the subtle relationship dance of Foghorn Leghorn and the Dog are beyond him.

But not the antic slapstick of Coyote's eternal search for dinner.

"Dog! Meep-meep!"

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

And then, we make dumplings

I have mentioned here before that my wife is free-spirited. A poet. A talented musician. A lady who disdains directions and measurements.

She was sick yesterday. This is her recipe for chicken and dumplings, as transcribed from the sick bed.

The chicken I defrosted
A bay leaf
That thing you said

Put everything in water. When the meat is falling off de-bone the bird.

And then, we make dumplings.

Tasted pretty good, even with the guessing at measurements, and so forth and so on.

Monday, December 03, 2012

Thanks for ...

Stopping to be thankful even when it's not Thanksgiving;

AWS has a free tier.  Here, Amazon is saying, the bits are so cheap and stupid easy to setup we can afford to give you some of them.

We're having unseasonably warm weather.

I thought I knew Linux.  I did!  But it was a casual, superficial kind of thing - run a workstation, setup a server: big deal.  I'm laying the groundwork for deploying hundreds of the things.  Today I got into (duh duh duh) software repositories: reposync, createrepo, those mysterious .repo files.

I live two miles from work.  I get to come home for lunch every day.


Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Living in a small town

Living in a small town means . . . you cannot use the Yellow Pages for a booster seat.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Tab Clearing

 When Will our Email Betray Us? An Email Privacy Primer in Light of the Petraeus Saga   Good crypto can't hurt, and it might help.

JEP writes: I suspect that “Mankind” will not show the crucial scene in the education of Alexander of Macedon (not yet The Great) who as a teenager was sent with one of Phillip’s marshals with a small force to deal with insurgents and raids on the frontier. On the way they encountered a stream of refugees, young people, women well raped, carrying everything they had as the fled toward the order represented by King Phillip. The old marshal pointed to the stream of misery and said “That is defeat. Avoid it.” Alexander remembered that all his life. It is a lesson every free person should learn.

What to do about dysfunctional universities that deliver no value for money spent?  Forget 'em, writes William Briggs. The idea is sound. Ignore the old system, which hasn’t any hope of being repaired, and start again. Let those who wish pile up debt, collect “womyn’s studies” “degrees”, and be taught by adjuncts at Behemoth U. But for those students who actually want to learn, we have to do something different. Nothing radical. Just return to the roots of what a classical liberal education was
meant to be.

Elon Musk: Triumph of His Will

The Other Economic Cliff: Why Business Investment Is Really Nose-Diving

NeoVictorian Computing. We software creators woke up one day to find ourselves living in the software factory. The floor is hard, from time to time it gets very cold at night, and they say the factory is going to close and move somewhere else. We are unhappy with our modern computing and alienated from our work, we experience constant, inexorable guilt.

WordPress Accepts BitCoin

Six guys fought in the American Revolution, lived long enough to have their pictures taken, their words written down.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Blue Falcon Part II

By coincidence I have a new home project: Replacing a run of pipe that feeds my new dishwasher.

See, it has a cunning weak spot that looks like it was, at one time, bent over at a sharp angle . . .

Blue Falcon

Dear Whomever Used to Live Here and Installed the Dishwasher.

You had a new dishwasher.
You had a 3/8 brass pipe running up from the basement.

The correct solution to connect the two is not not not, at the point this pipe pops out of the kitchen floor, to bend the pipe over at 90 degree angle and ram it into the inlet valve on the dishwasher.

No.  They sell actual hardware to solve this problem.


The Current Occupant.

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Fake it till you make it - adopt that pose

Body language affects how others see us, but it may also change how we see ourselves. Social psychologist Amy Cuddy shows how “power posing” -- standing in a posture of confidence, even when we don’t feel confident -- can affect testosterone and cortisol levels in the brain, and might even have an impact on our chances for success.

Video: Amy Cuddy: Your body language shapes who you are

We are such apes: acting like one is large and in charge fakes your brain into being large and in charge.  Like a boss.

Which is why the folk-saying 'fake it 'till you make it' exists, one supposes.   Like most folk-sayings it just works.

Sunday, November 04, 2012

Acceptable only to the doctrinaire and academic thinkers

Jeff Riggenbach writes . . .

Quigley's book also explains why the federal government of the United States of Europe & America in Philip K. Dick's novel The Simulacra is a one-party state — and why those who still believe at this late date that there is any significant difference between Republicans and Democrats is indulging him- or herself in childish fantasy. As Quigley put it,

The argument that the two parties should represent opposed ideals and policies, one, perhaps, of the Right and the other of the Left, is a foolish idea acceptable only to the doctrinaire and academic thinkers. Instead, the two parties should be almost identical, so that the American people can 'throw the rascals out' at any election without leading to any profound or extreme shifts in policy. … Either party in office becomes in time corrupt, tired, unenterprising, and vigorless. Then it should be possible to replace it, every four years if necessary, by the other party, which will be none of these things but will still pursue, with new vigor, approximately the same basic policies.


When the truck don’t run, the bread don’t come, have a hard time finding petrol

There aint no heat and the powers gone out, It's kerosene lamps and candles.
The roads are blocked its all grid locked, you got a short wave handle?
Can you track the deer, can you dig the well, couldn’t quite hear your answer.
I think I see a rip in the social fabric, brother can you spare some ammo.

Corb Lund - Gettin' Down On The Mountain

Saturday, November 03, 2012

Celebrities, email, IM: How Do They Do That

Listening to 'Penn's Sunday School' and he had George Takei on as a guest.

(That bit about George's family being swept up into FDR's concentration camps? Some powerful stuff. It Can Happen Here.  Again.)

George and Penn were gassing along like friends.  George has a new play.  Penn can't make it to opening night but he really wants to see it the next night.  George is delighted.   I had a thought: how do guys like this keep in touch?

Okay yes, they have people. Email. Instant Messaging. Sure.

But how do they keep the noise down?

Email. Brad Famous has an email: He gets thousands of emails to it a day: fans, well-wishers, spammers, the sportos, the motorheads, geeks, sluts, bloods, wastoids, dweebies, d*ckheads.

And Brad has people he actually wants to email: his wife, his kids, his buddy Penn, because he can't remember the punch line to the bear joke.

Everyone who is famous or rich or in the public spot-light has the same problem: how do you talk to people to get things done?

This kind of thing - a technical and social problem all wrapped up in a meaty package - is super-fascinating to me.  Dogs have squirrels, I have thoughts like these.

I can imagine a close-held white listing service: out-of-band updates to your network, crypto. They'd shred their trash as a matter of course. It's could be a guy and his wife in Montana or Wisconsin, someplace out of the way. Like that.

I might be over-complicating things, there.

Friday, November 02, 2012

The messiness cannot go into the program; it piles up around the programmer

Soon the programmer has no choice but to retreat into some private interior space, closer to the machine, where things can be accomplished. The machine begins to seem friendlier than the analysts, the users, the managers. The real-world reflection of the program — who cares anymore? Guide an X-ray machine or target a missile; print a budget or a dossier; run a city subway or a disk-drive read/write arm: it all begins to blur. The system has crossed the membrane — the great filter of logic, instruction by instruction — where it has been cleansed of its linkages to actual human life.

The goal now is not whatever all the analysts first set out to do; the goal becomes the creation of the system itself. Any ethics or morals or second thoughts, any questions or muddles or exceptions, all dissolve into a junky Nike-mind: Just do it. If I just sit here and code, you think, I can make something run. When the humans come back to talk changes, I can just run the program. Show them: Here. Look at this. See? This is not just talk. This runs. Whatever you might say, whatever the consequences, all you have are words and what I have is this, this thing I’ve built, this operational system. Talk all you want, but this thing here: it works.

Ellen Ullman - Close to the Machine

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

It does not become less evil because it seems necessary

We are born into a political status. We have no choice about the matter. We are … born under the dominion of politicians.… We can change our political status by emigrating from the subjection under which we are born to some other which we may think more desirable, but we cannot free ourselves from subjection to government altogether. In this respect we have somewhat less freedom today than even with regard to religion. We can avoid tithes, in many states, but none of us can avoid taxes. Public opinion has progressed to the point where it recognizes that abandonment of the church is not in itself an evil however sinful it may be from the standpoint of the clergy. But it has not yet arrived at a point where it recognizes that the abandonment of the state is equally free from evil.… But while we may have to consent to a political status and to contribute to the support of the government, we do not need to over-estimate the extent to which politicians and the political state contribute to our comfort. For government is, at best, a necessary evil. It does not become less evil because it seems necessary.

Ralph Borsodi 'This Ugly Civilization'

From Libertarian Tradition podcast episode "Robert Anton Wilson (1932–2007)"

Tuesday, October 30, 2012


The CIA is denying. The Pentagon is denying. And now the White House is denying that anyone refused to send help to our embattled CIA and State Department personnel engaged in a seven hour running firefight with more than 150 jihadists.

There is a ray of sunshine in this gloomy cloud of suck.

A company-sized team, with heavy weapons, surprise, initiative, and tons of time for proper planning (which prevents piss-poor performance) took seven hours to kill a handful of Americans, armed with, at best, small arms.

These are grown men, toting guns around their entire lives.  This is the best they could do?  That is embarrassing.

Any PFC out of SOI, who never saw a rifle before he hit MCRD, given 150 men, 12.5 machine guns, mortars, RPGs and 'artillery mounted on gun trucks' (whatever the f*ck that actually means) could flatten the place in an hour and home for a late dinner.

"Are these the Nazis, Walter?"

"No, Donny, these men are jihadists, there's nothing to be afraid of."

These are not people to be afraid of.


Monday, October 29, 2012

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Election 2012

I may have something more intelligent and mature to write about this later.  I may not: I've got lots more better things to do with my life.  So;

To My Dear Friends Who Are Democrats,

If you vote for Obama again you are voting for more of everything you profess to dislike, throwing away your birthright of liberty for shiny pennies.

To My Dear Friends Who Are Republicans,

If you vote for Romney you are voting for more of everything you profess to dislike, throwing away your birthright of liberty for shiny pennies.

Respectfully Submitted,


Which do you prefer, assured disaster or a sporting chance?

You may say, “But Fred, how can you be so bloody arrogant as to think you can run the country?” To which I reply, “We know that the incumbents cannot. I may be able to. In any event, I couldn’t be worse: I have not that talent. Which do you prefer, assured disaster or a sporting chance?”

Fred Throws Sombrero in Ring: The Only Thing We Have to be A-Fred of is Fred Hisself

Monday, October 22, 2012


There was something on the news tonight about 'horses and bayonets'.  Something-something presidential something debate.

Apropos, I have just recalled that I did use my bayonet in the field, all the time. I used it to open up MRE boxes. And slit the tops of MRE meals.

And when they served us so-called breakfast in field kitchens? Bayonets are super-useful for opening up mini-cereal boxes.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

The value of a configuration engine done right

I love my job.  Love, love, love, it.

We've been talking about the value of a configuration engine replacing our rickety install process for years.  Years.  Hasn't been worth the short-term pain.

Looked at another way, have not been able to carve the time out to make it happen.

Looked at yet another way 'If you don't have time to do it right, when will you have time to do it over'?

So this go-around we have a perfect storm of a project.  I've managed to build in time to set up the infrastructure to setup the servers.  An actual project plan that says 'build the configuration engine first, then build the servers using that'.  It's important that this be done right, for a lot of tedious reaons.

It helps to be the guy who wrote the project plan.

Here is the deal: spend figuring out how to build a Puppet module to manage something on a server.  An application.  A service.  User, file ... if it's something you can touch on a host there is a way to make Puppet do it.  The more complicated the module, the more time it takes.

Edit crontab?  Took about an hour.  X Windows?  Two hours.  X is complicated.

The genius comes because forever after managing that resource on a server is a matter only of putting the host's name in the right file.

Want XWindows on a host?  Edit the right file, save.  Want it gone?  REMOVE the entry from that file, wait an hour.

If one is feeling impetuous one can shell to the host and manually force the issue.

It's even making Linux look loveable.

Love.  My.  Job.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Utilize existing UAV assets and personnel to increase the greater good

I made a petition.  And I think I liked it.

Go.  Sign.

Before they take that sucker down.

Complete text below in case of deletion

Charge the United States Air Force or such agencies of the Defense Department as you see fit to

Utilize existing unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) assets and personal to

Find the 30,244 [1] dipsticks who signed the petition to 'outlaw offending prophets of major religions' and

Bitch-slap them into next Sunday.

[1] As of 2012-10-16 9:30 p.m. central

OS X is a supeior shell for running Linux

So I've got this Thinkpad, fred, running Slackware 14, but the keyboard is way over there, and it's not plugged into my monitors, getting those three monitors to work with the USB adapter and linux is going to be a pain and anyway it utterly lacks iTerm2, which is the cat's pajamas of terminal emulation.

Ah ...

$ xhost +fred
$ ssh -X brian@fred
# tmux
# firefox &
# emacs &

How 'bout that: X11 applications running on my Mac all nice and handy.

Theory: OS X is a superior platform for running 'linux' applications.

I am so lucky that I'm in a profession where I get to spend part of my workday dinking around with stuff like this.

Sunday, October 07, 2012

Oh That Wacky Free Press

"The American people would rightly not tolerate this kind of concentration of power in government. Is it not fair and relevant to question its concentration in the hands of a tiny and closeted fraternity of privileged men, elected by no one and enjoying a monopoly sanctioned by government?"

Spiro Agnew

Thursday, October 04, 2012

Postliterate Red Queen's Race

A postliterate society is a hypothetical society in which multimedia technology has advanced to the point where literacy, the ability to read or write, is no longer necessary or common.

If one finds oneself in an actual postliterate society one is in big, big, trouble.

We are working our way into it one well-intentioned step at a time. 

A push at work is for work instruction software that produces lego-like diagrams for getting stuff done.  You've seen them - pictures take you step-by-step through an assembly process.  This is a great idea for a place like ours: our assembly guys can speak any of seven languages [1].  Lego instructions make a lot of sense.  That kind of thing is getting everywhere, into everything.

Lego instructions for assembling complicated electronics, glyph-button cash registers at BurgerMcDonaldsKing, wizards for installing software .. what can you do?  If you don't do this stuff you'll get run over by your competitors who do.  Then you're out of business and working a cash register and forgetting how to make change because the machine tells you what to hand back to the customer  ...

In your post-literate society there must be a corps of people who are literate.  Someone writes the lego software, the install wizards, knows how to program the cash registers.  Morlocks. 

Morlocks get stuff done.  They know how to fix things.  They're happy people, busy and productive and well-compensated. 

It's good to be a Morlock.

Except for having to live in an society that is in a Red Queen's Race to cater to Eloi.  Ever had to wait in line while the kid behind the counter drives his register into a ditch, gets a puzzled look, has to have a manager come over and un-f*ck things?

Like that times a thousand.

 Six if you count Scot as English.  Which, listening to them, is real hard.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Once it gets started there's no stopping it until it has corrupted the whole body politic

"I have come to think, especially since my trip to Spain, that civil liberties must be protected at every stage. In Spain I am sure that the introduction of GPU methods by the Communists did as much harm as their tank men, pilots and experienced military men did good. The trouble with an all powerful secret police in the hands of fanatics, or of anybody, is that once it gets started there's no stopping it until it has corrupted the whole body politic. I am afraid that's what's happening in Russia."

John Dos Passos

Friday, September 21, 2012

But when we get together It just all works out

I asked my wife 'how' she makes her meatloaf.  She finally - finally - wrote it down for me.

Mix meat and other ingredients in large bowl until well blended. Put in as much seasoning as you think is good. I usually cook with the, "Yep, that looks about right," method. So, make sure to season it to your taste.

She is such an argument in favor of  the 'opposites attract' theory of boy meet girl.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Spy Vs Spy

"You go into these small towns in Pennsylvania and, like a lot of small towns in the Midwest, the jobs have been gone now for 25 years and nothing’s replaced them," Obama said. "And they fell through the Clinton Administration, and the Bush Administration, and each successive administration has said that somehow these communities are gonna regenerate and they have not. And it’s not surprising then they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations."


"There are 47% of the people who will vote for the president no matter what. All right, there are 47% who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it. That that’s an entitlement. And the government should give it to them. And they will vote for this president no matter what…These are people who pay no income tax…[M]y job is is not to worry about those people. I’ll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives."

The scouts around each fire nod their heads wisely and say 'mm hmm' and 'right on' and 'preach it brother-man'.

Instead of talking about who loves the common man more, or who is more right about such useless trivia, wouldn't it be a truly nifty thing if we'd take a break and focus on actually important matters like trampling the Constitution into dust, kill lists, illegal wars on countries far away and citizens at home, insane levels of spending?

Just a thought.

Monday, September 17, 2012


Most joint U.S.-Afghan military operations have been suspended following what authorities believe was an insider attack Sunday that left four American solders dead, officials told NBC News.

“We’re to the point now where we can’t trust these people,” a senior military official said.


F*ck that sh*t sideways and twice on Sunday.  You can't do nation-building if you can't operate with the native troops and - it seems - we can't operate with the native troops without them getting all upset [1] because we do sh*t they don't like and they get all shooty at us.

Time to declare the job done and get the fuck out.

[1] On the other hand if horde of Afghanis invaded Wisconsin, installed Jim Doyle as Boss of Madison and insisted he was in charge of the rest of the state, and then had the gall to violate my cultural norms [2] to boot, I'd be tempted to take a potshot at them, too.

[2] Dissing the Packers, say.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

emacs org-mode export to html - awesome like a possum

I've got a TODO list in emacs org-mode [1].  I want that puppy dog on the intranet at work.  Because compulsive sharing is what I do.


emacs --batch --visit "$orgfile" --funcall org-export-as-html
scp $htmlfile $host:$wikipath/$htmlfileonwki

Just wanted to not for posterity how nifty it is, now.  That one can do this kind of thing with a text processor makes me unreasonably happy.

Because tomorrow it is going to be part of my workflow and two minutes after that it is going to be just a thing and not worthy of mention.  Oh, yeah, I'll say, that old thing [2].

Also: I'm just realizing the implication here: one can call a function in emacs externally.  Sure, I read about it but seeing it ... this can be all kinds of cool.

[1] For the record, keeping my TODO in org-mode is the longest I've ever stuck with any given software or system for that purpose.  We may have a winner.
[2] Next up: exporting org-mode as html straight to the web server.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Tabs ... so many tabs

Space Elevator Science - Climb to the Sky - A Tethered Tower  A kickstarter for space elevator research.  Kicking butt on their goals, too.  And a few days ago mlaine messaged me saying in effect 'want to help'?  Well ... yeah.  Maybe.  Gotta think about it.  Pretty tempting.

We found these two startling photos of Lujiazui District in Shanghai, one taken in 1990 and the other in 2010.

The idea that the government
should provide everything suggests a great dimness of mind and poor grasp of the origin of specie. The belief apparently is that money comes from the government, as food comes from Safeway and cell phones from Radio Shack.

Command-line utility-belt for hacking JSON and Javascript.

Password management should be simple and follow Unix philosophy.
With pass, each password lives inside of a gpg encrypted file whose filename is the title of the website or resource that requires the password.

Are we going to see a shift in manufacturing
towards the west? Are we going to see innovation in robotics and manufacturing? The landscape of automation is going to change. We are going to rely on software and cheaper hardware to get things done.

Programmable logic controller (wikipedia)

Foreman. The app switching app that will blow your freaking mind

Thursday, September 06, 2012

Welcome To Linux Part 2

TJIC wrote

I'd be curious as to how much of your distaste is just "I like Pepsi, but this is Coke" and how much is "feature X is just objectively bad".

About 90% the former, 10% the latter, 15% a dislike having to learn something new, 20% an intense dislike of ripping a perfectly fine, working, system up to replace it with something else.

Thinking it over it is (was) not so much 'Solaris' that I like but the combination of Solaris + hardware + support.   One of their SEs once, in a completely above-and-beyond action, stayed on the phone with me during a tricky 3:00 a.m. call when I was a total zombie and needed such basic instructions like 'no, don't retype that entire line, yy-p and edit.'  Sun support was the thing, man.

Linux Plus: things [1] just work without having to mentally translate 'linux-ism to 'solaris-ism'.

Linux Plus: the cool toys do work the way docs expect them to.

Linux Minus: the temptation to go wild and just install stuff is .. tempting.  This might be a personal problem.

Startling: a how-to written 18 months ago is referred to without irony as ancient.  In Solaris-land this same document would be venerable.


[1] Things.  Nagios, Puppet.  gcc.  Stuff like that.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

And the endian on the left is now endian on the right

I am not-not-not going to get all vi vs emacs [1] here. 

Opinions were solicited, recommendations provided, choices made.   Like the good marine employee I am, I will ask questions, provide my opinion, [2] until the order is given and then it's 'Aye-aye Sir' about-face and carry out the plan of the day.

Good bye Solaris, hello Linux.  Meet the new boss.  Same as the old boss. [3]
But great furry cats, Linux is such  ... such ... well it's not Solaris that's for sure.

But it's okay.

The only thing certain is change and useless whining.

[1] Because, duh, the clear winner is emacs.
[2] Code for 'be a pain in the ass'.
[3] We won't get fooled again .. YEEEAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHH.  Gawd damn The Who rocked, didn't they?

Thursday, August 23, 2012

War, Devastation, and Whimsy

At the end of 1940, the Wehrmacht started to install guns at Pas-de-Calais.  Mission: blow up ships in the English Channel.  And as much of England as they could reach.  These batteries were named

Friedrich August
Grosser Kurfürst
Prinz Heinrich

Monarchs and Nazis. Genuine bad-ass strike-terror-in-the-heart-of-our-enemy names.

The British had a gun named 'Pooh'.  Later they added 'Clem' and 'Jane'.


Saturday, August 18, 2012

The Battle of Athens

1946.  Athens, Tennessee.  Surrounded by a paid company of thugs in the jail, Paul Cantrell, Pat Mansfield were counting ballots, stealing another election.  Business as usual.  Outside was Bill White with the militia ...

“Would you damn bastards bring those damn ballot boxes out here or we are going to set siege against the jail and blow it down!” Moments later the night exploded in automatic weapons fire punctuated by shotgun blasts.

When it was over, Cantrell and Mansfield had fled, the militia kept order for a few days.  The state came down, an honest ballot count happened, the reform candidates assumed office.  Time passed.

There are no signs or monuments to commemorate the event; people have forgotten or do not wish to remember. But the graying manager of a local store, a friendly sort and so gentle with his grandchildren, squeezed off round after round at the  jail that night. And the driver snoozing behind the wheel of his cab,  not really caring whether he catches a fare or not, helped wrap and toss the deadly bundles of dynamite that sailed through the night air. You can bet they remember.

And so should we.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Joe Biden is stoopid not so much

The 'Joe Biden is dumb as a box of hammers' meme is funny, but if you think he is actually that dumb you have another think coming.

He did get a BA, got a law degree, was alert enough to avoid the draft (five deferments), has been a US Senator since 1972.  He's not walked into the side of a bus, has never shown up dripping wet with a dodgy story and a dead girl in a submerged car.

I'm not arguing he's got a big ol' brain on board, but what he has done argues that at the very least, under that  goofball persona, is a guy with a certain low cunning.

I sure wouldn't turn my back on him.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

This place is a madhouse, feels like being cloned

This morning I had a functional development host for $application.

Then a trap door opened, I was dropped into a Twilight Zone of kernel panics, broken dreams, shattered servers.

How was your day?

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Amateur Hour Or Why 'Scream and Leap' is a bad idea

So this guy, Floyd Lee Corkins II, [1] ambles up to his ideological enemies, starts hollering, pulls a gun, wings a security guard.  Who promptly disarms his dumb ass.

... the suspect said, "Don't shoot me, it was not about you, it was what this place stands for."

Amateur.  Kids, if you're going to take a scary evil gun and slay people, observe the proper form: get foamy and ideological after the slaying. 

Carrying on before the festivities betrays a lack of seriousness.

Bonus: this happened in D.C. which has more cops running around than you could shake a stick at.  Super strict gun control laws.  Floyd [2], he just walked right through them laws like they was printed on paper.

[1] Middle name of 'Lee'.  Now there is a warning sign if ever was one.  Quite and unassuming, too.  Another spot to cover on mass-murder buzz-word bingo.

[2] Snicker.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Weekend at the Lunar Dells

Weekend at The Dells with family.

Love the water parks.  I like people in the abstract.  In great bunches ... ew.  Try real hard not to think about what is _in_ the water on the floor of the restroom and changing rooms.  With thousands of monkeys trooping in and out it gets kind of gross in there.

Moms - stop yelling 'Don't run, you'll fall!' You really take a few hits in the ol' credibility department.  If your spawn really thought they could fall they would not run.  Try this: 'Don't run'.   You are a parent - you don't need to justify yourself.

Since we live up north a lot of these water parks are inside.  People from here take this for granted.  Entering, I'm always taken aback for a minute, think about a John Varley Disney.

See, Varley is an SF writer, wrote a series of shorts and novels that take place in ... never mind.  Upshot is that, in the future, people in the moon have carved caves, hundreds of kilometers in diameters, kilometers high, painted the ceiling blue, stocked them with flora and fauna.  One refers to this kind of cave as a 'Disney'.[1]

So I stand there, take it in, think about how keen it would be to splash around in a wave pool in lunar gravity.

Hope they find a way to keep the restrooms clean.

[1] There is no problem with lawyers for Disney showing up and suing these folk into oblivion.  Long before these stories are set aliens showed up and eradicated humanity on earth to save the whales.

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

A rose by any other name is the title of a post

Instead of Industrial Giants, Brooklyn Has Niche Factories

Rather, this building, at 1205 Manhattan Avenue, has been sliced and
diced into several dozen small factories, each with a niche clientele.

No it gosh-darn has not been, Mr. Joseph Berger of the New York Times. There is not one single factory in that article.

But that's okay.  He is just a reporter.  Can't be expected to understand the meaning of words.  Heck, he got impressed by a band saw and a guy with a welding rig and thought 'factory'.

Like if he met a guy with a few potted tomato plant on his balcony in Williamsburg.  That's farming, man.  He's ready to go plow a field.  Write with authority on grain farming in the Dakotas.

Manufacturing is making lots of stuff, in a repeatable process.  Computers. Cars.  Tractors, routers, hammers.  It is a really complicated process, getting the gozintas to assemble just right to make the gozouttas.  It is surprisingly hard to do well.

Everything you see on the shelves at Wal-Mart is produced by an organization that has figured out how to be the best in their niche. 

If they didn't figure it out, they're out of business. [1]

Marty Markowitz, the Brooklyn borough president, said Brooklyn “is going back to the future.”

“What is emerging is the artisanal approach rather than the mass
production for millions of items of something,” he said.

What you got there in Brooklyn, with the band saw and the drill press and guys that make one-off photography models is craft.  You're employing craftsmen to make really cool stuff, one at a time.

Nothing wrong with it. It's rewarding as hell, I'm sure, financially and personally.

But you don't make crafts in a factory, and it is not manufacturing.

Names matter.

[1] I could be crabby from gettin up before the rooster to fix a problem
that was costing my company a few thousand dollars per minute in
downtime.  Then again just after the rooster crowed to fix another problem.


Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Carl Sagan’s message to future explorers of Mars

Carl Sagan’s message to future explorers of Mars.

Science and science fiction have done a kind of dance over the last century, particularly with respect to Mars. The scientists make a finding. It inspires science fiction writers to write about it, and a host of young people read the science fiction and are excited, and inspired to become scientists to find out more about Mars, which they do, which then feeds again into another generation of science fiction and science; and that sequence has played major role in our present ability to get to Mars. It certainly was an important factor in the life of Robert Goddard, the American rocketry pioneer who, I think more than anyone else, paved the way for our actual ability to go to Mars. And it certainly played a role in my scientific development.

I don’t know why you’re on Mars. Maybe you’re there because we’ve recognized we have to carefully move small asteroids around to avert the possibility of one impacting the Earth with catastrophic consequences, and, while we’re up in near-Earth space, it’s only a hop, skip and a jump to Mars. Or, maybe we’re on Mars because we recognize that if there are human communities on many worlds, the chances of us being rendered extinct by some catastrophe on one world is much less. Or maybe we’re on Mars because of the magnificent science that can be done there - the gates of the wonder world are opening in our time. Maybe we’re on Mars because we have to be, because there’s a deep nomadic impulse built into us by the evolutionary process, we come after all, from hunter gatherers, and for 99.9% of our tenure on Earth we’ve been wanderers. And, the next place to wander to, is Mars. But whatever the reason you’re on Mars is, I’m glad you’re there. And I wish I was with you.


Wednesday, August 01, 2012

R.I.P. Eric Hammar

The 3d U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard) paid tribute to Staff Sgt. Carl E. Hammar during an Active Duty Funeral in Arlington National Cemetery, Va., July 30, 2012. Staff Sgt. Hammar died
July 14, 2012 while serving in Operation Enduring Freedom.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Tab Clearing

Five years after his honorable discharge, arrested for desertion.  And spent a month under confinement at Pendelton.  And didn't get paid.  Because he wasn't actually a deserter.  The Big Green Weenie found him, big time.

State Rep. Elizabeth Coggs, the Milwaukee Democrat running in the August primary for state senator, urged a gathering of ... voters Saturday to “vote for someone that looks like you.”

Race Hucksters - God Save Us from Federal Help, by Fred Reed

Cryptocat Development Blog

Is it time for password-less login?

You'll poke your eye out kid

Often heard argument against carrying guns in public;

"But if you have a spree-killer and you have guys shooting back they'll just make things worse."

Has this ever happened?

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Words to Live by -If You Are a Super Hero

From here.

Words to live by.

"Words to live by," Diaz claims.

Bullshit twice over.

Bullshit the first, just two pages after this graphic, elderly retired cop James Gordon uses his firearm ("Of course I still carry it") to break up a riot, enforce order, organize a bucket brigade to save a burning building.  Without Batman or his army of testosterone-ripped thugs.

Gordon as a character has always stood for doing the right thing, even if it wasn't popular, or legal.  Fundamentally, he's just a guy, counterpoint to the looney-tune Bruce Wayne, an everyman, with a sense of duty.

 As Gordon monologues, drawing his gun: "They start listening."

 Bullshit the second, we don't live in a comic book.  Batman is fantasy, not an instruction manual.

Self-defense is the first human right.  Firearms enable the weak, the helpless, the everyman to exercise that fundamental right.

Where firearms are, there is civilization. [1]

[1] Apologies to Mr. Twain

Friday, July 27, 2012

Life is pretty darn good

Today Connor has made some important decisions.  There should be no cushions on the couch.  It is more fun to shut doors with his head.  Backwards is the only way to walk.

From my daughter, on my grandson.

Yes, he is an awesome toddler.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

On being unarmed while being shot at

Reading this and that on the internet today about the Aurora Massacre I realized with mild shock that I've been there.  In that situation.  I don't think about it much - it's just something that happened once.

Which is to say that I was once under arms without ammunition [1], a dozen feet from a guy who was trying real hard to kill people.  He didn't [2] which is down to darkness and a whole lot of luck. [3]

But I gotta think than anyone who has actually been there, experienced it first hand, has thought about it, doesn't have a lot of truck with people who want victims to cower under a desk, for them to wait for the cops to show up, who feel that an armed citizen facing down a killer just makes it worse.

[1] Which is the stupid-silly kind of thing that happens in the military.  That time it was poor communication, happenstance, and fum-duckery, not SOP.
[2] F*cking boot.
[3] The good guys trying to kill him back didn't succeed either.  Lots of luck running around that night.

Obama and the AK-47

"But I also believe that a lot of gun owners would agree that AK-47s belong in the hands of soldiers, not in the hands of criminals -- that they belong on the battlefield of war, not on the streets of our cities."
Barack Obama

This citizen believes an AK-47 belongs in the trunk of my car.  One over the fireplace.  Upstairs in my closet.  F**k a lot of soldiers, why should they get to have all of the fun?

But never mind.

Some will call our Commander-in-Chief clueless about the very basics of the armed forces he has been elected to lead.  Not I.  Some will say he's a dimwit, a tool to his teleprompter, victim of a speechwriter without clue.  A man who lacks curiosity about anything not in his cozy, narrow, cone of light. 

Not me. [1]

I say that it proves is that he's never, ever, seen that classic Clint Eastwood movie 'Heartbreak Ridge'. 

For if he had this line would be seared into his memory:

This is the AK-47 assault rifle, the preferred weapon of your enemy; and it makes a distinctive sound when fired at you, so remember it.

[1] Not today, at least.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012


The internet continues to delight and amaze.


Put this in .bashrc (or aliases.zsh if you swing that way)

cmdfu(){ wget -qO - "$@/$(echo -n "$@" | openssl base64)/plaintext"; }

And ...

$ cmdfu awk
# by David Winterbottom

# Get the IP address
ip -f inet a | awk '/inet / { print $2 }'

# Get the IP address
ip a s eth0 | grep "inet " | head -n 1 | awk '{print $2}' | cut -f1 -d'/'



Friday, July 20, 2012

Nutty Things I Found Out Today

Muhammad's name is written on Mars.
Muhammad split the moon apart.  Then put it back together.

Which ... fine. It's nutty, but no nuttier than believing bread and wine turn into Christ's body and blood.

It gets better: guys are going around using state of the art technology to prove that medieval miracles really did happen.

'NASA footage shows ..' 'Pictures from satellites are proof ..'

I'd be more impressed if that crowd could build satellites, or the computers, or moon rockets, or even a 1969 Torino GT convertible.  Instead of depending on other people to do it for them.

All these guys can do is smash things apart that they can't build.  Kinda sad.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012


Springsteen begins to mumble in what the music critic Jody Rosen calls his “flat Dust Bowl Okie accent,” and I can’t make out a word he’s saying. I ask Christie if he understands him.

“You want to know what he’s saying?,” Christie asks. “He’s telling us that rich people like him are fucking over poor people like us in the audience, except that us in the audience aren’t poor, because we can afford to pay 98 bucks to him to see his show. That’s what he’s saying.”

Wait a second, this is Bruce Springsteen we’re talking about, the guy you adore?

“I compartmentalize,” Christie says.

Jersey Boys - The Atlantic

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Sex and Starship Troopers

Starship Troopers, Chapter 11, the protagonist is on leave from the war.  He describes a strip of bars, pawn shops, dives, strip joints, tattoo parlors, and book stores outside the base.

Then Our Hero, Rico, narrates ..

If you are able to get past these traps, through having already been bled of all valuta, there are still other places in the city almost as satisfactory.  I mean there are girls there, too. Which are provided free by a grateful populace.  Much like the social center in Vancouver, these are, but even more welcome.

A brothel, by golly, run by the city.  Take a number, soldier, the wait time is 20 minutes.

My mind is in the gutter.  It's the USO that is free.  Sure.

Heinlein was careful, he had a way with prose. 

That ain't no accidental clunker of an ambiguous sentence.

Vote for Gary Johnson because he'll abolish the IRS

Gary Johnson will END the IRS (YouTube)

Gary Johnson 2012 - The Economy and Taxes #2: Cut Taxes

THE U.S. TAX SYSTEM IMPOSES AN ENORMOUS toll on productivity through high marginal rates, absurd complexity, loopholes for the well-connected, and incentives for wasteful decisions. A better, fairer system will be:

  • Abolish the Internal Revenue Service.
  • Enact the Fair Tax to tax expenditures, rather than income, with a 'prebate' to make spending on basic necessities tax free.
  • With the Fair Tax, eliminate business taxes, withholding and other levies that penalize productivity, while creating millions of jobs.
  • Suggested Reading:

No more IRS?  An entire thugocracy turned out to honest labor?  Getting rid of a friggin' wind anchor on the ship of state?  Sign me up.

Also - Gary Johnson wont have a (*&(^*&^^ kill list.

Thursday, July 05, 2012

It's not the heat ...

Hot.  Sultry.  Sweaty.  Humid.  So hot the rabbits ain't gonna run and the dog ain't gonna hunt.  How humid is it?  Don't ask.  August in Texas finally found me up here in Wisconsin in July.

Only good thing about riding a bike to work is that I don't have to climb into a car sealed up and baked in the sun.

Did I mention it's hot outside ...

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Master Funnery Sergeant

Who is this? Who the f*** is it?

Not just a phoney-fake Marine but a phoney-fake Marine who got to jump out of airplanes.  And not just a phoney-fake Marine who can parachute but one who got himself a Special Warfare insignia.  And an EOD badge.

And not just a phoney-fake parachuting Marine/SEAL/EOD man but a phoney-fake parachuting Marine/SEAL/EOD man who can't arrange his shooting badges correctly or assemble his cover correctly.

Jesus Christ and Saint Peter in a sidecar.

You know - you just know - this guy is sitting at home after work.  He has no friends.  None, zero, zilch, nada.

I feel sorry for the guy.

Via Terminal Lance

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Cloud Go Boom

A storm knocked out amazon's cloud service last night (2012-06-29) [1].  A whole lot of stuff on the internet got whacked.  Especially annoying was Netflix - I wanted to watch a movie, and couldn't, for about five minutes.

It used to be that, for an organization, to experience this kind of disruption you needed your own data center.  You had to pay out big bucks for servers, disk drives, electricity, staff.

Now all you gotta do is pay a lot of money to someone else.  Progress!

Which isn't to say that I'm against the notion of 'cloud'.  For some applications, it makes sense.  For some organizations it's ideal. 

But if you're gonna do it, you gotta recognize that you're outsourcing something real important, that the cloud provider is not nearly as interested in your data as you are.

And sometimes they're going to pull a fumducker and leave you hanging.

[1] I'm sure we're going to find out, in time, that it wasn't something simple like 'ran out of fuel for the generators' but a really-truly cascading error that jumped out of the fourth dimension to whack them hard.  We've all been there.

Ideal Workspace

Where I work - optimal

Ideal: browser - Terminal - emacs [1] [2]

In virtual desktop 2 is email, virtual desktop 3 is for other stuff.

It does not stay this tidy, but this is the ideal.[3]

Your mileage will vary.

[1] Really, aquamacs.
[2] Yes, emacs has a shell.  Several of them.  They're just not as good as iTerm2.
[3] As-of right now.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

BizManager from GXS is an okay tool for EDI.

But it lacks any but the most rudimentary reporting on how much traffic one is sending.

What I need is a breakdown by date/hour of what kind of traffic I'm sending. 

I asked the vendor.  Reply: Have-not-got.  We'll-get-back-to-you. 


Bash to rescue - here.

Run that sucker for a few days, then do this on the output ...

cat *traff*txt | grep as2o | sort -k3 -k4 | uniq | nawk '!x[$3 $4]++'
cat *traff*txt | grep as2i | sort -k3 -k4 | uniq | nawk '!x[$3 $4]++'
cat *traff*txt | grep ftps | sort -k3 -k4 | uniq | nawk '!x[$3 $4]++'
cat *traff*txt | grep ftpu | sort -k3 -k4 | uniq | nawk '!x[$3 $4]++'
cat *traff*txt | grep ftpd | sort -k3 -k4 | uniq | nawk '!x[$3 $4]++'

And presto: data you can hand to your project manager and say 'this is how much krep the EDI tool handles.'

Friday, June 22, 2012

Things I would like to do with my operating system

... that I should be able to do, [1] but can't.  Maybe I just don't know how.

What: Focus on an application window in Space1 [2].  Input a keystroke,  send it to Space2.

Why: I have a window -  an email, a pdf - it's in the wrong space.  I need to refer to it while I doodle around in another virtual window.  I don't want it here, I want it there.  I want it there now, I don't want to wait while it makes a long trek left or right across three monitors to the next space.

Okay I could restack spaces so they are on top of each other, not side to side.  Still: keystroke, bamspiceweasel, done.

What: From terminal [3], send input to browser.  'Enter' 'Next' or 'Page Down' 'Page Up'.  Slap text into an input box [Enter].

Why: Terminal is where I work. Stuff happens in term.  Twitter.  The company phone book from a shell script.  I edit text there. [4]  The web browser, when I'm working, is a reference.  It contains how-to guides.  Tutorials.  Knowledge base stuff from vendors.

The browser is a television.  I want a remote control.

[1] Linux or OS X need only apply.
[2] Wiki: Spaces (Software)
[3] Do I really need to footnote this?
[4]  I play iTunes from terminal.  It rocks.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

S4C Novel of the Month

Zoe's Tale is the best book John Scalzi has written.  Ever.

Wraps up all the loose ends from the Old Man's War series.  And brother, there were a bunch o' them.

It is supposedly a YA novel but ... naw.   It's just good.

Joe Bob sez check it out.

P.S.  I still want a Brain Pal.

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

A treat for your soul

Just Because ...

Darth Vader Wearing a Kilt on a Unicycle Playing Bagpipes (YouTube)

Now back to your regularly scheduled programming.

Sunday, June 03, 2012

Vote for Gary Johnson because he won't have a f*cking kill list

Gary Johnson: I Will End the War in Afghanistan and Bring Our Troops Home Now. Unlike President Pepsi and his challenger Governor Coke, Johnson means it.

And he won't have a f*cking kill list, neither.  Go, sign.  Doesn't mean a damn thing, but it's fun, costs you nothing, and it's a way to protest.

And they've solved the 'innocent bystander' problem
that has dogged earlier drone strikes.  If they get blown up, they were bad guys.  Automatically!

There is a bit from Full Metal Jacket where a door gunner is murdering women, children, who were out in a paddy, working.  He yells to Joker "If they run, they're VC.  If they stand still, they're well disciplined VC.  Ha!"

This is now national policy.

If this pleases you, if having a shadowy cabal do evil in your name makes you happy, then by all mean, please: vote this krep-head in for another four years in office.

On the other hand, if this kind of thing makes you sick to your stomach, if it bothers you in the slightest, then you have choices.

Doing nothing about evil is to condone it.

"Hey, hey, BHO, how many kids have you killed today?"

None, they were all bad guys, because, bystanding.


Tab Clearing

How to Stop Sucking and Be Awesome.

Uncle Sam pays the bills for companies to privatize space.  As it should be.

The Privatization of Outer Space

Space Exploration: A Closing Window?

The Hardware Startup Movement.  Hardware startups are hard because - capital.  Now .. not so much.  Maybe.

Speaking of Iraq .. Belmont: Friday Follies.  The one sense in which these two videos are alike is that they depict a policy failure. Both record how immense organizations became sidetracked into pursuing in goals which had nothing to do with any rational objective.

Peter Thiel's Rise to Wealth and Libertarian Futurism.

Walking a directory tree with PERL.

NET::FTP : Recursively search FTP directories (was: Net::FTP Problem)

Why, yes, I took a dive into the PERL pond this week.  How did you guess?

Why I use Perl: Reliability.

Modern Perl.

Compiling and running scripts in Emacs.

Free Bach Recordings.

China: The United States prioritizes the right to keep and bear arms over the protection of citizens ... causing rampant gun ownership.   I am failing to see the problem here.

Of Boobs and Glasses

Welcome to the Future Nauseous

pv - Pipe Viewer

Friday, May 25, 2012

Tab Clearing

Our new Drug Czar, Gil Kerlikowske: "Regardless of how you try to explain to people it's a 'war on drugs' or a 'war on a product,' people see a war as a war on them."  Well golly however did we get that idea into our silly heads.

The US Code on GitHub.  320 mb of text.  Maybe we've got a few too many laws.

pv - Pipe Viewer - is a terminal-based tool for monitoring the progress of data through a pipeline.

Predictably, Catholics were not amused, and Muslims threatened to kill lots of people.

Hardware Startup Movement

Tally-ho on Dragon

Audio from Mission Control;

"We copy. Tally-ho on Dragon!"

Tally-friggin-ho.  Welcome to the actual space age.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

No Coke - Pepsi

Mihm's Charcaol Grill - pretty good food.  They've got this on their menu board


Because, the nice lady behind the counter said, when the original owner opened, he choose RC.  The Coke rep told him if he didn't choose Coke he'd go out of business.  That would have been 1958.

A half-century of institutional grudge.  I respect that.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Right-tighty lefty-loosey

When one is lefty-loosing a lug nut one ought to really be darn sure he's lefty-loosing and not righty-tighting.

Because after you sweat those things down with a lot of muscle and some foot action in the bargain it's a bear to lefty-loosey 'em again.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

The regulatory grip that is squeezing the life out of civilization itself

It started in California.  Then it just growed.

An ominous regulatory announcement from the EPA came in 2007: “Starting with containers manufactured in 2009… it is expected that the new cans will be built with a simple and inexpensive permeation barrier and new spouts that close automatically.”

The government never said “no vents.” It abolished them de facto with new standards that every state had to adopt by 2009. So for the last three years, you have not been able to buy gas cans that work properly. They are not permitted to have a separate vent. The top has to close automatically. There are other silly things now, too, but the biggest problem is that they do not do well what cans are supposed to do.

The can on the left was bought last year.  Had the other one for a few years.  The new can has a complicated capspout with controls - a switch to lock back when you want to pour, a button to mash make the gas come out.  Release the button and the (for lack of a better word) safety resets.  It is annoying.  It does not feel cheaply made, exactly, but I wonder how long it will last.

Some boating forums have suggested drilling a hole and putting a tire stem in there and using the screw top as the way to close the hole.  Great idea. Just what I wanted to do with my Saturday afternoon, hacking the gas can to make it work exactly as well as it did three years ago, before government wrecked it.

Sunday, May 06, 2012

Taco Seasoning

Taco Seasoning. 

You know what that is - it's a packet of stuff you buy at the store, toss in the ground beef, and you've got taco meat.

Still buying it at the store?  Cut it out.  Just stop - it takes so little time to make, it's so easy, that I am now embarrassed that I ever bought it from the store.


1 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp paprika
1 1/2 tsp cumin
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp black pepper

Mix.  Dump into your ground beef.  Store if needed.   Do I need to tell you 'in an air-tight container'?  Didn't think so.

Taco-friggin-seasoning.   Have a nice day and happy Cinco de Mayo.

Saturday, May 05, 2012

Bulk Food - Peter Watts and Laurie Channer

It's a few years after we learn to understand Orcan . . .

Well, no one expected the whales to be such assholes.

Awesome short story.

Bulk Food - Peter Watts and Laurie Channer

To protect and serve

Cops arrive to help a guy in distress, won't take 'I'm fine, go away' for an answer, shoot his ass dead.  That'll learn him some manners: open the damned door next time, like a good subject.

Later a Grand Jury says 'no problem, dude, free to go'.

"If I knew that there was a man coming to my house with the fixed intention of doing me good, I would run for my life."  ~Thoreau

Friday, May 04, 2012

America's just the hardest-to-ignore instantiation of a cultural and philosophical system that can be seen in a few other places

Here Randy's got another hangup, something that's been slowly dawning on him as he stands on the beach beneath Tom Howard's concrete house: the perfect freedom that Tom's found in Kinakuta is a cut flower in a crystal vase. It's lovely, but it's dead, and the reason it's dead is that it has been alienated from its germinal soil. And what is that soil exactly? To a first approximation you could just say "America," but it's a little more complicated than that; America's just the hardest-to-ignore instantiation of a cultural and philosophical system that can be seen in a few other places. Not many. Certainly not in Kinakuta. The closest outpost is really not that far away: the Filipinos, for all of their shortcomings in the human rights department, have imbibed the whole Western freedom thing deeply, in a way that has arguably made them economic laggards compared to Asian countries where no one gives a shit about human rights.

Neal Stephenson 'Cryptonomicon'

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Shocked, shocked I am . . .

The Administration's top man for Terrorism: We're thought about the drone strike thing and the shit-can-the-due-process-thing.  Much to our surprise, everything we've been doing is cool.

Paul Krugman: Shoveling money onto the fire hasn't worked yet.  We need to shovel more in.  Also, I have a new book out.

Elizabeth Warren furiously paints herself as a prole, is actually the 1%.  Also she's indian Native American.  Oh wait, she's a prole in her heart, where it counts.  She feels your pain.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Validate executable exists in shell

Like this!

#! /bin/bash
command_validate() {
command -v ${1} >/dev/null 2>&1 || { echo " WARNING: I require ${1} but it's not installed. Aborting." >&2; exit 1; }
command_validate passwd
exit 0

Is that cool, or what?

Via the always helpful stackoverflow.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Door knob

A thing I knew before today but never really thought about:

At a cost of $3.00 each, it is cheaper to buy a used door knob from the Habitat for Humanity ReStore than to pay a guy to re-key a lock for which you have lost the key.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Any other form of existence doesn’t interest me.

I'm doing up thing at work that features a little shell scripting, a lot of Kermit: glue to do a thing with free tools that the big expensive EDI application can't do for itself.

After hours of gazing at complete but scattered kermit docs, examples, source code, I was able to very carefully type the meat of my script.

rename /replace:{{}{\%6-\%7}{^}} \m(filename) \%4

This is the watershed.  It's all downhill from here.

Now the shell script can iterate over a text file, pass variables to the kermit script which contains that painfully wrought line above. user password destination store prefix date-time

And all kinds of crazy Turing-stuff will happen. 

A three-line function will call a 20-line Kermit script, process hundreds of customer names, thousands of files.  Data flies into EDI which sends it to JDE which turns into orders, requests.  Things get built, shipped.  We make money.

Stuff happens.

"Meaningful Work or Death. Any other form of existence doesn’t interest me."