Mon 20 December 2021
Sat 18 December 2021
When you believe in things that you don’t understand, Then you suffer, Superstition ain’t the way
– Stevie Wonder
Every time I write about the mechanical processes behind this blog, I stop adding entries to it. Recognizing a pattern is the first part of building a superstition. It’s also the first part of building a hypothesis, because the two processes are one and the same. Humans love to recognize patterns. We have special names for some of them – pareidolia, recognizing faces where they don’t exist. Paranoia, seeing enemies where they don’t exist. If you think of these as distortions of helpful evolved processes, then superstition is just a general phenomenon of seizing on the wrong explanation for an interesting pattern.
Wed 27 October 2021
This blog is created by Pelican, a static site generator that combines some text files that I write with a layout and some CSS styles to produce the HTML that is rsync’d over to the nginx webserver which answers your requests.
I just upgraded from 4.6 to 4.71, and also from an older python3 release to Debian’s current 3.9 release. Nothing appears to need to be changed, which is nice and relaxing compared to the last few upgrades.
Wed 29 September 2021
It’s hard to break the habits of a lifetime – or at least, those rooted decades deep.
Ever since I can remember, I always wanted to be a goodfeather. Sorry, wrong reference. As far back as I can recall, I have been wary of making changes to vi (later vim) settings out of a fear that I would become reliant on them, and thence unproductive when I had to work on a freshly installed machine.
There are several good arguments against this position.
Sat 11 September 2021
I just realized that I internalized the O’Reilly house style decades ago, and so I think it’s the proper way to write documentation.
Primary elements: the document, even at book length, takes the form of a precise, pedantic, but informal letter to the audience. The author might reference themself as “I” and tell brief anecdotes to contextualize the material, and frequently encourages the reader in the second person:
You can also reticulate the frobnitz with the ‘–frob-harder’ switch if that feels more natural to you.
As a side effect, this style of technical writing minimizes the number of gendered pronouns, which I always prefer because I don’t know who is reading the work.
Mon 16 August 2021
When you stop looking for ways to improve your sound reproduction experience and instead look for new music to listen to, you have begun to recover from audiophilia.
Or at least, I have.
Places in the house with acceptable sound systems:
- my bedroom
- the living room
- the den/theater
- the office
- the other end of the office
- the third system in the office
- two portable systems
Places in the house with marginal sound systems:
- the kitchen
- the dining room
Tue 06 July 2021
Sat 19 June 2021
Twenty-five years ago, approximately, my housemates and I bought office chairs – rolling five-star bases, adjustable arms, comes in a box with an L-shaped hex driver like IKEA stuff – and put them in our dining room around the table. They were cheap and comfortable.
I can’t tell you how many people looked at that arrangement and needed to talk about their sudden feelings.
Mon 14 June 2021
Sun 25 April 2021
The Cloud – where did we get that metaphor?
The answer is pretty simple. Imagine you are a techie working on an Internet project in the late 1990s. You are explaining to a less-technical audience how your application is going to be built. You have a whiteboard, and you draw some simple things as you talk:
Wed 21 April 2021
Wed 14 April 2021
Wed 10 March 2021
However, this only works as long as the other party actually internalizes the risk and liability. Since there are no consequences for mishandling data, operating IT services you’re not structurally competent to operate, and eventually having your crown jewels stolen - the contractor doesn’t really internalize risk, has no incentive to mitigate it.
Thu 18 February 2021
I will assume you have a working DNS server listening on the default port, 53, and that you have certbot or some other means of acquiring SSL certs.
Create a config file in
pid = /var/run/stunnel4/stunnel.pid [dns] accept = 853 accept = :::853 connect = 127.0.0.1:53 cert = /etc/letsencrypt/live/randomstring.org/fullchain.pem key = /etc/letsencrypt/live/randomstring.org/privkey.pem
Substitute the locations of an appropriate SSL cert and key.
- Start stunnel4.
Wed 17 February 2021
My work-issued MacBook Pro (Retina, late 2013) began to break down: the speakers fried, it was running out of memory (8GB), and then it started rebooting spontaneously. I mentioned this and work bought a replacement. Since I’m capable of working around exciting new bugs, they sent me the newest M1 MacBookPro, with an Apple-designed and -produced M1 8 core CPU.
Herewith, a micro-review.