Older blog entries for abg (starting at number 39)

Put a public release of rend - the RENice Daemon out there for a few hours before realizing that I forgot to include an RC file for people to work with. D'oh. Oh well.

Bought a Goldtouch keyboard off of Ebay that arrived DOA. Seller will stiff me, I guarantee it.

Sucky sucky suck suck suck

We set up a Clustering talk for the NORLUG meeting next month. Should be interesting. Put together a van of people for a computer show last weekend. Show was not so hot, but I bought a Make book for $5.

Found out that my ten year class reunion is being held on the Fourth of July. What a bunch of fscking idiots. Way to wreck something that I had been looking forward too. (Much harsher things that I said couldn't be typed.)

And yet, life is good.

Hey, can someone point me towards personal pages with clean, simple looking CSS? The time has come to move my domain forward, since I'm feeling a little stifled by it now. For examples of what my pages look like: 1 and 2. Anyone with any pointers, please let me know. It's all currently hand-coded HTML, fwiw...

Even though it's not there yet, I've bumped the IP Mnemonics page to 1.0. Unique machine names for all!

The NORLUG meeting tonight rocked. Best meeting yet. We talked wireless networks, community networking and the physics of it all. Tres kewl.

Got 256M RAM for the Sparc 5 in the mail. Put it in machine, booted it. Everything checked out. Got to play with SunOS 5.6 and, whew, a whiff of the Bad Old Days.

My *BSD experience allowed me to get the network configured quickly. Worked first time. To the net!...

Uh... Hmm... No, this machine wouldn't have SSH. [Pokes around CDE] "Web Browser"? [click] JavaOne. [cogs grind in brain, distant memories twinkle] My homepage looks good, sans .png. The alt tag fills in. Let's go to Advogato and post using JO! [Curses mouse. Worst. Mouse. Ever. These ones have never worked properly for me, clean mousepad or no...] Advogato. Logs in. Bzzt. Tried again. Bzzt. Must mean no cookie support. Try mozilla.org. Page render takes upwards of five minutes. Try dillo. Page loads well, download source, switch to term and... damn. .gz. [Gears creak] Sun.com had something about GPL software being offered through there. [Sun.com page takes even longer to render - look terrible.] Much link clicking later, still didn't find it. Gives up.

God almighty that was miserable. The FD comes in a few days. Goodbye Solaris, hello OpenBSD.

Analogy: It's the Cheese Shop sketch all over again...

[doorbell tinkle]
Palin: Ah, hello, welcome to the UNIX(TM) box!
Me: I was sitting in the basement, reading man pages when I had a peckish for a nice bit of bit bobbling.
P: Come again?
M: I'd like to do something useful.
P: Ah, well, you've come to the right place, sire. Finest UNIX of 1997!
M: I think I'll start with a little Python.
P: python: not found
M: Ah, well then perhaps a bit of Perl then...
P: perl: not found
M: Not my lucky day, is it? Perhaps some lynx then?
P: Not on Tuesday, no.
M: ssh?
P: No.
M: Tk?... Mwm?... Bash?...
P: No... No... No...
M: Ctwm?
P: Yes!
M: Oh, really? Excellent, I switch to Ctwm then.
P: Oh, sorry, I thought you were talking to me. That's my name - Mr. Ctwm.
M: xv?... ssh?... Athena?... Any web browser?...
P: We do have JavaOne, sir.
M: Ah, you do?! Excellent. Bring forth the fromage de la McNeely.
P: It's a bit slow
M: That's okay, I'll take it anyways
P: It's probably slower than you like it
M: I don't care how fscking slow it is, fetch it with all due speed...
P: Ooooooh. The cat's eaten it.
M: Has he.
P: She, sir.
M: She.
M: You do have something useful, do you not?
P: Oh, Yes Sir! Stablest UNIX around!
M: Well, it's certainly free of apps to crash it.
[ad nauseum...]
bgeiger: Re: IPv6 - Urg. Uh... Umm... Hmm... 8^) Work in progress?

As for the drawl, we-e-e-ell y'all cain't be havin' that as an excuse, ya hear? 'Taint no way we can account for all that, mmm-hmm?

Back to the mnemonic encoding:

So, I got some very good feedback on the IP Mnemonics that I was kicking around earlier. I worked with a colleague in person for a some time today and we whittled the list down to the required 256 entries - so, here's version 0.5 of some proposed IP mnemonics. (For those of you not following along, they're used in place of standard set of four octal IP addresses: for example)

Sorry, jbucata, I decided to stick with three letter ones for a few reasons, mostly because I'm lazy. 8^), but I did track down and eliminate last few two-syllable words.

mbrubeck - thanks for the references. We managed to get a few things right, trying to eliminate homonyms and near-homonyms/soundalikes, acronyms, obscure or difficult to pronounce words, proper names, etc. I think that we have done a fair job of doing so.

This system has a few advantages over other systems and an equal (if not greater) number of disadvantages:

  1. All mnemonics will be 12 characters, which is hypothetically backwards compatible with the four x three digits maximum available before. (== easy way to assign guaranteed unique machine names, which was my original intention way back when...)
  2. The mnemonics (mnes from now on) are in alphabetical order(*), which offers some visual clues to the IP behind it. (This can also be viewed as a disadvantage as well)
    • We special cased 0 and 255 as 'zip' and 'all', respectively.
  3. The one-to-one ratio makes translation easy to do by hand.

The disadvantages are:

  1. There's a limit to the phonetic distance one can have in only three letters. This is not optimised for speaking
  2. The words were strained by hand, which leads to vagaries in the choices, as we all know.
  3. Lots more

So, using the 0.5 version...

  1. PGPFone
    • advogato.org: kiwi cannonball goldfish warranty
    • lowly.limpet.net: beaming escapade spigot apollo
    • norlug.org: beaming supportive upshot applicant
  2. Mnemonic
    • advogato.org: heavy-blitz-tictac
    • lowly.limpet.net: except-energy-banjo </li>
    • norlug.org: frank-flood-axiom
  3. IP Mnemonic - the new kid
    • advogato.org: lag-bus-irk-who;
    • lowly.limpet.net: bin-gap-rut-ape
    • norlug.org: bin-sky-was-ant

God knows I'll have more to say about this later. Gotta sleep.

Up for another dumb idea?

So I was heading home, thinking about writing a Quiz Bowl master/client Python app, when I started thinking about IP numbers and displaying them and what not. What if there was a better way of showing them? What about generating names from the IP numbers?

I plunked this around in my head until I decided to go with one-syllable, three character words. I would have to remove homonyms (did you say 'eye' or 'aye'?) and the three charcter number words (one, two, six, ten) to eliminate some confusion.

The result? This list - IP mnemonics, which is my first pass at weeding out unpronounceable acronyms ('ibn'), number words (including 'won' and 'too'), and most homonyms. This is just one pass through grep -i "^[a-z][a-z][a-z]$" /usr/share/dict/words, so I probably left quite a few bad words in. Currently, there are 481 and I only need 256.

I think that it would be beneficial to seed some of the more popular ones (192.168.x.x) with something that makes sense, rather than straight nonsense.


  • Advogato: FAQ awe eel led
  • NORLUG.org: ark jam lap age

Something to think about, at least.

Hey! I wrote a new Mozilla sidebar panel - it's just a scratch window, suitable for dumping stuff to.. You can install it from my homepage (right at the bottom, under the test Mozilla link near the end) or from the page itself. Please, please, please give me some feedback, positive or negative if you do.

Other than that, not much. 8^)

So tired.

I've made a bunch of tech books (Free as in Freedom, Cathedral, Noosphere) available for download in the rocketbook format. Share and enjoy.

More later including a kewl Moz app.

Side flip you see.

US Elections: I hope that you made an informed decision at the polls. I did, but I still lost the popularity contest. 8^)

You want to know what's more effective than voting? Running for office. I did. (While it wasn't an election, it was an appointed city position.) I currently serve on the local library board. I've got 1 year left on my current term, then I'm going to go in again for another three. After that, I think that I'm going to try for a City Council position. You [points finger towards the screen] can do the same. You [points again] can have an actual, measurable impact on local policy.

Don't get me wrong, it's not all running around, ripping out Windows boxes, planting flags and declaring this box the sovereign territory of Richard/Linus/Theo. There's Real Work to be done, from budgets to personnel to long range planning. But in the age of COPA/CIPA/Patriot/etc., I feel that I am helping do my part.

That's it. Back to life.

Req for help:

If anyone has driver for an Atari Portfolio PC Card Reader (HPC-301) from the early nineties, please let me know. I've started to chronicle my attempts to migrate back to a Portfolio from my Handspring Visor.


If all goes well, I'll be able to release my data conversion apps for Palm => Pofo to the world. I've already worked a CSV2ADR Python file up...

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