Older blog entries for baruch (starting at number 38)

Moving to Ireland

I'll be landing in Ireland on the 2nd of August, a place to sleep and transport is already arranged, We're now preparing all our belongings to the move.

The hard part is sorting and throwing away, since we are not just moving all our stuff to Ireland, but rather storing most of it we need to weed the needed from the chaffe and throw away all the amassed junk from the last six or so years.

We are now on the last day of packing and it's the hardest part, we are now in a race against time and against all the small things that still need to be done.

Tomorrow we will have the movers coming early in the morning to do the move. The day after that we meet the landlord and return him the keys and close all our utilities bills.

Life is changing

The last few weeks saw me get married, quit from my well earning job to switch to low stipend academia and preparing the move to Ireland. Life is changing, and change is good.

Ireland

Moving a country is strange, from knowing all about the environment you are in, you go to knowing nothing at all. Finances, Rent, Language nuances and slang, and anything else you took for granted is non-obvious now.

I'm learning hard and fast everything I need to know about setting up financially in Ireland, how banking works there, trying to look ahead of time at a bank to open my account in, deciding how much cash I need to have for the start until I get a bank account opened (It's expected to take a month to get everything setup with the bank!).

I also need to understand the rent terms in Ireland, it's a bit different, and we will probably only figure out most when we try to actually search for a place.

We would like to rent a house, but houses are 100 euro more per month compared to an apartment, we'll probably settle for an apartment, we'd rather have some extra cash for travelling on weekends.

We are also debating how best would be to be setup with a computer, should we bring our current desktop computer and buy a monitor there, or buy a laptop and be done with that?

Lots of questions, very few answers. I've been asking the peoples at the University so much, that I feel uncomfortable to keep asking them, I get answers and it helps a lot to build the security feeling that we partially know towards what we are going, but there are always more questions.

A good source of information is Move To Ireland website, I've paid for the full site to get some more answers, it's been useful, but it's not targetted at students, so information on residency permits for students and student-dependents (my wife) is non-existent.

We've called the Police in Ireland to ask about the status of my wife, it took quite a bit of effort to do the conversation, but it paid off, she will get a residency permit, so we can stay there together.

Timeline

Three last days to work, Then a week and a half of prepartions to pack our belongings, move everything to a storage place in my wifes parents house, return the rented apartment to its owner, than a bit less than a week to leave with the parents of each side, say goodbyes, and on the 2nd of August we will be on the plane to Ireland for a fun adventure!

AutoFW

Released version 0.3 of AutoFW today, since I got no user feedback on it I've asked a couple of friends of mine to provide some.

So far the feedback includes an error in documentation and that the code doesn't work for Python 2.2, it does work on Python 2.3. I'll need to see how I can solve the problem for Python 2.2

The following code:

int('FFAABBCC', 16)
Emits an error for Python 2.2 but not for Python 2.3, if you know how to solve this, send me the solution to baruch@ev-en.org. Thanks!

Amongst the correct solvers an incorrect solver will be awarded. (It sounds better in Hebrew: בין הפותרים נכונה יוגרל פותר שלא ענה נכונה)

AutoFW

Another release (0.2) made yesterday, I've noticed that it was added in the tools section of SecurityFocus, it's nice to know what someone else thought it's worth adding to some tool list.

There are also a few web site accesses that came from peoples webmails, I wish the referrer would show me the message content too ;-) but I guess the privacy is more important than my curiosity.

I've prepared a roadmap for AutoFW, at least until the 1.0 stage, though it gets updated with various bits that I find that need to be done to make it a correctly functioning daemon.

By now it acts ok, can daemonize, log to syslog, kill another daemon by the -q option and generally tries to be a good daemonetizen.

I'm still missing removing the pid file on exit and some bug where I don't exit immediately when getting SIGTERM, some issue with a signal not stopping a system call probably.

I've got myself a small script to summarize what issues need to be handled for the current version so I can easily see what I've got to do before release. It's a good motivational. The script needs to be expanded to show the various TODOs sprinkled in the code, these are not bugs, just things I didn't have the time to implement.

Speaking about bugs, My current Bug Tracking System (BTS), is a Known Bugs section in the README file, for now it works fine, there is no external feedback anyhow and by committing the removal of a bug from the README, I also mark when in the repository life I thought I solved the bug.

New project

I've been hacking in the last few days on a new project called AutoFW, a script to automatically configure the firewall for the home broadband user who wants to be firewalled and still access BitTorrent to serve the Debian ISO images (They really want to serve Debian ISOs, movies and mp3s just don't interest them!).

So far I've published it on FreshMeat and WhatsUp.co.il (a local Israel Linux board), and there were over 250 visits to the site and 100 downloads. The thing I forgot was to provide an easy to find contact point to send me praises, curses and anything in between.

Wedding

It's getting closer, my SO started counting weeks.

Food

My SO put me on a diet, luckily to me we had Independence Day and it's mandatory to eat a barbeque during that day, so I got to eat plenty of dead cows.

We also entertained (or made him suffer :-) a professor from the institute I'm going to do my MSc at, and we got to eat well, but it was seafood and it should have far less fat than in dead, grilled cows.

Life, Universe and Everything

It's good out there, the problem is that I'm in here.

Future MSc

I've started to look at the TCP handling code of the Linux kernel, it's a huge body of code and I need to get a little familiar with it for my upcoming MSc studies.

The professor with whom I'm going to work published his code patches to the kernel and some updated articles so I've got a lot to read about, I intend to organize all my data on a Wiki for which I got a domain HighPerf.net. I'm also looking into keeping the articles that I find, I just know I'll forget where I found them a few months from now, just when I'll need them.

Hacktivities

I've gotten some prods from Debian fellows and gotten back on track to fix my packages, I've done most of them, now I've got syscalltrack left, which is up for adoption but no-one wants to handle it.

Kernel modules and patches are the most annoying types of packages, they require quite a bit of work to get them done properly.

During the initial stages of my packaging work I looked around at the code, found some things to improve, and some bugs waiting to happen in sctrace, fixed them, sent them upstream and they were accepted (or so I'm told, didn't check the CVS repository).

I still need to fix some bugs in ChkTeX, a program I maintain, some bugs on it were filed in the Debian BTS, but the code is so annoying there with lots of weird defines, that everytime I touch it I feel the urge to clean this mess, which then goes to waste the time I needed to fix the actual bugs. Hopefully, I'll get it all cleaned up soon enough and fix the bugs themselves.

Life

The MSc interview worked out fine, I've received a research position to do my MSc in which includes a stipend which hopefully keep me and my girl above the water financially.

Another large change is that I'm getting to this friend of mine. Arranging a wedding sucks! We've signed the place, which settles the date to be 2004-06-29, now we need a Photographer and a DJ. Local good recommendations would be welcome, it's our first attempt at this wedding bussiness (hopefully the last too :-)

My then-to-be-wife will try to find a job in Ireland, hopefully she'll find something so she won't be bored to death listening to me rambling on an MSc thesis that she has no interest in.

Hacktivities

I'm usually without energy to work on anything, I've played a bit with GnuCash hacks to easily import data from my bank account to GnuCash.

I then offered to do a lecture on GnuCash for Israelis, it is dubbed "Introduction to GnuCash" and will be done in Haifux.

I've actually been invited for an interview for the MSc studies I fancied, apparently I was able to get a recommendation, though I still need to contact others to get a few more to get a critical mass.

I now need to prepare a short lecture on some research topic of sorts and then to be able to discuss it with the Prof., I've got to be thinking hard, I'm due to go there in three weeks.

Hopefully, not having to work in a full time job will give me a bit more time to dabble in Free Software, my task there will likely be related to the Linux Kernel and since it's a University and not a scared company, I might actually be able to release the source and contribute as part of my work there.

Job

I've switched jobs some time ago, from a Linux-centric company to a Windows-centric one, there I was a good Linux developer among many, and here I'm the only Linux-savvy developer. If it's better, worse or the same is anyone judgement.

I've improved working conditions in the new place by adding kgdb to the kernel, introducing new time-saving tools (cvsps, vim plugins and more), and hoping to improve the build process.p>

There is always a lot to do to improve stuff, but I am also supposed to get some productive work too. There is little acknowledgement here to the development environment. Oh well!

Studies

An interesting oppurtunity for studying for an MSc has came up, now I need to go dig decaying memories of former professors to get recommendations. I'm not really a peoples person so I doubt I left a lasting impression on many professors to give me a good recomendation. *sigh* I'll need to do what I fear most, and actually ask for a meeting to discuss it with some of them.

It sure would be great to return to studies and doing an MSc in Computer Science. It's also an opportunity to be in another country and live someplace else. Change is good.

Free Software

Not much in this front, minor fixes to my Debian packages, a snapshot release of websec, and an attempt to write a tool to get stock exchange data from TASE. I've decided I needed to start investing some of my money in bonds and stocks, since the interest I get from the bank is very low.

Work

I've switched a job to something less stressful and with a higher pay. I've been spoiled in my former place with a very high technical excellency and the current place has a lot to improve until it gets to the same level, but they do seem willing to learn and improve.

I also negotiated better terms to allow me to release my code as Free Software. Not that before I was severly limited, but now I do not need permission for each specific project.

Free Software

I've got a bit more time at home this days (see above), but I still don't get to do much. There is a lot pending for websec, but I didn't yet get around to doing anything with it.

At work I started working on network device drivers and needed to decipher various constants (what does 0x1f310000 mean for CSR11 in the Tulip 21143?), so I coded up BitDecoder.

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