Older blog entries for Rasputin (starting at number 20)

Well, it's been quite a while since I wrote anything here. It's not that I don't enjoy the site, I certainly do ;), but rather I'm still ambivalent about the whole online diary concept.

Anyhow, on the hacking front, been busy in too many areas. You ever notice I don't talk to much about what I'm actually hacking on? That would mostly be a result of the fact that I don't intend to release most of what I hack on. Some is for work (internal only), some is just for play and a lot is just to scary to contemplate putting out in the world.

Work is interesting these days, but for all the wrong reasons. Apparently someone noticed that managing a group in Ottawa from California probably needed adjustment so we're promoting someone from within the group to be the new 'local' manager. Might even find out who it is today. Four of us are at least marginally interested in the position, although I suspect any of us could do the job. The only real drawback is the hit to technical skills. If you don't use it, you lose it. As a manager, the time spent hacking drops dramatically.

I have no idea if this means I'm going to be writing here regularly again for a while or not. We'll just have to wait and see what happens ;)

It's been a little difficult to get motivated to do a diary entry. Migraines will do that.

Nothing noteworthy in the hacking dept. A little work on Intraverse and CS, cleaning up the machines at home and work, that kind of mindless silliness.

Spring spring such a beautiful spring

all the lambs are bleating

gamboling across the fields

--LOOK --

that one's cheating...

The client source for Interverse is finally cvs'able, so I can start for real on the hud. Other than that, the world is getting stranger...or maybe I'm finally paying attention.

If you plan to talk to a physicist, Guinness is a bad choice. The conversation will always extend over more than 2 pints, but there's probably something weird going on in your system if you can drink more than 2 Guinness. Kilkenny seems to be a good alternative.

Apparently, this once a week entry concept is rapidly becoming my default behaviour. It wouldn't have been so long if I wasn't the senior on-call engineer for the last week. I don't mind being on-call but it irritates me no end when I get called for (or by)stupid people. I really don't enjoy being called after midnight because somebody in California (3 hours time diff) thinks 9:30 is a good time to try to resolve annoying but not critical network problems.

Mother in Law leaves for home today...

I've started doing some work on the Interverse project, but since I haven't contributed more than suggestions and pseudo-code, I don't think I'm a developer on the project yet. That will change over the next week or two as I get to work building a couple of the components.

Lost - Motivation. If found, please dispose of carefully in an environmentally friendly manner. Please use extreme caution in handling, as it may cause an uncontrollable desire to do lots of things for no apparent reason.

I used to believe I was warped, then I saw Vigor.

I can pretty much count on not getting a lot done for the next while, Mother in Law visiting from Winnipeg.

I've been thinking about system security and the people who try to break it.

Scenario: I pretense my way into some corporate offices and when nobody is watching photocopy a random selection of documents from an unlocked filing cabinet. There is no intent to sell or otherwise profit from this information. After the fact, when I'm talking to the police about my "break-in", I justify it as intended to highlight the horrible physical security in most corporate offices. The company whose information I acquired asserts the value of the stolen material at several thousand dollars, so I get tried for very serious crimes with a real potential for a long jail term.

I honestly see no significant difference between what I described and the all too common cracking that shows up in the news every now and again. The difference is in the perception. Crackers are (commonly) considered harmless experimenters, doing it for the joy of learning and to show the security flaws in most computer networks. A person doing the more physical version (as described) is clearly recognized as a criminal and few people would believe there was no intent to profit.

I realize I'm barely scratching the surface of a very serious set of questions. I believe, however, that the Advogato group is more likely to have considered some of these things than a similar random sampling of North American society in general. As well, as (future) computer professionals, we're much more likely to have had our lives impacted by these types of activity.

Comments welcome ;)

Traded a bunch of hack time for sleep time over the last couple of days. There's got to be a way to get both but I can't figure it out.

M$ apparently has a division whose only purpose is to screw up industry standards. Apparently (just found out this morning) w2k creates these things called SRV records which it wants to associate with A records for the referenced services that it puts into the zone files and it wants the first character to be an underscore (and we don't know why). If these guys ever actually discover rfc's... The result is zones that a BIND server won't load without the check-names master ignore directive which is annoying at best.

Other than that, work is entertaining ;)

Welcome to the World, Max

We have some visitors at the office this week. Quite new to the job, so they were sent over to us to have their minds twisted in an appropriate manner. I think they'll do okay.

Only a small amount of coding on "the project yet to be named". Still mostly in the design phase. It's a fairly complex architecture (3 levels, no waiting ;) It's growing in odd ways. The client is fairly straight forward as it really only has to draw pretty pictures based on information it receives from the server. The other side of the server, getting stuff from the underlying database, is only moderately more complex as most of these problems have been solved innumerable times in the past and by better minds than mine. The tricky part is the black box in the middle. Of course, the client will eventually become hugely complex as time goes on to allow the pictures to be made useable instead of just pretty ;)

Lunch time ;)

I guess it's been a few days since I added to the diary. Hit a brick wall with the QIC/TRAVAN driver for BSD, seems this would go a lot better if the hardware I was using actually worked. Tough to test this way. I guess I'll have to postpone the "go fast" parts for my car (a VW that still doesn't go fast enough ;) and get a real tape drive.

Started work on an open source data modelling tool. Still needs a name. I worked for a time with a tool called Oorianne (made ERWin look like an etch-a-sketch) and I would really like to reproduce the best parts. Especially the ability to intelligently handle Niam models. I'm getting together with Baba (this guy is an absolute data modelling genius) in a few days (I hope) to go over some of the stuff. The user interface is pretty straight forward, but the underlying data handling is starting to look a little hairy. I definately will need some help with the back end data model (which makes this a recursive project ;) which is where Baba comes in.

I watched a community (not the online variety) begin the painful process of exploding. The Executive Director of a non-profit org I do some work with was fired a couple of months ago. He was making colour copies of some original artwork and selling them in an effort to make money for the centre. This would have worked a lot better if he'd gotten the artist's permission first. I won't comment on the morality of this situation (he was trying to help) but he broke the law and left the centre open for a lawsuit, which is definately not acceptable. His replacement was not well received by the staff and they want the old E.D. back. There was a huge fight with the community being split, restraining orders, the board of directors being fired, etc. I think this community is very close to dying and it makes me absolutely sick that I can't do anything except watch.

At least I can look forward to a quiet day at work today. I might even get some coding done ;)

I can't decide if this should be a diary of my misadventures with code or just a general commentary on my life (then again, the most meaningful commentary on my life frequently includes misadventures with code). I finally unloaded responsibility for the last bits of WinCode I wrote, so I can now get on with recreating these beasties as open source. Although, some of the work I did doesn't really translate out of that world in a meaningful way.

I need more coffee.

Apparently I not only need some coffe, I need to find my certification...;) I've been promoted to observer

11 older entries...

New Advogato Features

New HTML Parser: The long-awaited libxml2 based HTML parser code is live. It needs further work but already handles most markup better than the original parser.

Keep up with the latest Advogato features by reading the Advogato status blog.

If you're a C programmer with some spare time, take a look at the mod_virgule project page and help us with one of the tasks on the ToDo list!