Older blog entries for decklin (starting at number 51)

I apologize for not having the time to make this shorter; it's stolen from an email (hi craigbro). I always plan to do far too much... Skip to the end, if you don't like hearing people whine about their personal lives.

How To Dissapear Completely

Well, I have my computer back. Here's the whole story...

Apparently last week some senior was working on a project and needed a DHCP server. So he started it up, but didn't configure it properly. Suddenly, the whole network grinds to a halt as people plugging their Win98 laptops in get DHCPOFFERS back from him with already-assigned IPs and non-existing DNS servers.

Here's where the bogons suddenly align themselves and impact into some administrator's skull. "Oh no, what do we do? Quick, scan the network for anything odd and cut it off!" Well, I had rather stupidly decided to expiriment with Samba that week, because the "domain controller"[1] wouldn't recognize me and set up an entry in DNS like it would for everyone else's Win98 setup. (I was trying to get this because (a) it was a pain changing my IP with NickServ and eggdrops all the time on various IRC networks, and (b) master(.debian.org) wouldn't let me log in unless I connected indirectly through some less-strictly-configured machine.)

So there the clueless-administrator-monkeys are, sweeping through our whole subnet. They hit on my machine and notice that the "windows version" is being reported as 4.2. "Oh my God! That's not possible!" (from what I was told, apparently no one knows about Samba.) Obviously whoever set this thing up is Evil and Must Be Stopped. Fortunately for them, I made a rather stupid mistake setting samba up, and put "Decklin" in the comment field. Phone calls ensue. "Do you have a student, named, uh, *squint* Decklin?" "Yes..." A few hours later I find security guards at my door.

Now, you would think that *someone* involved might have had the intelligence to contact me, ask me if I knew anything, ask me to disconnect until they figured it out, something. Fat chance. As far as they were concerned, it was perfectly acceptable to barge in and forcibly seize my equipment. I was at least handed a "warrant", which turned out to be completely full of false information. I am still trying to track down the legality of that with some other college people.

In Limbo

Naturally, the first thing I ask is when I can even find out what the hell I'm being subjected to this confiscation of property for. I'm told that I will have to wait until Monday to even make an appointment, and that the dean is out until Tuesday. Keep in mind this is Friday evening. So I run up to Res Life and find the assistant dean, who is still there but packing up to go home. "Ah *yessss*, the computer. You'll have to call me on Monday. Here's my card."

Two days pass... I get homework done far into the future and make my way through an entire Sunday Times for the first time in the semester.


So I make my appointment, finally see Assistant-Dean-guy, and get sent back to Network-Wonk-guy ("this is technical stuff, I don't understand it."). It takes quite a bit of waiting to actually *find* him. Now things get interesting. I should point out that this guy is not simply an underpaid MCSE but a senior CS professor. I hear the whole story about what happened just before I was raided. He goes on to ask me why I'm running Linux, as that's a "server" operating system, and running "servers" is specifically[2] prohibited.

I give him the 60-second version of why I will not allow any closed-source software to touch my desktop, ever. I list every open port on my box from memory and explain what they do (and don't do, without my password). This is pretty much like talking to a wall. Yeah, that's all well and nice, but it's a *server*! It could do *bad things*! I at least get him to admit it was wrong to take my property without even figuring out if I was behind the disruption or not. It's not like it takes a genius to read an IP off of DHCP packets.

Perhaps the worst part was telling him that the computer science department should be *encouraging* students to run a free operating system. He said, roughly, "well, that's probably true, but it should be disconnected from the network or behind a firewall or something." I let him know that I was very offended. Open source is not some toy or something I occasionally dabble in; it's what runs my network-life 24/7.

At this point I am offered a "deal". If I, or anyone else, wants to run Linux or *BSD or whatever, we will have to sign up, get a static IP, list exactly what daemons will be running, and leave our phone number and physical location. Of course, I thought this was completely absurd. So I said, "Fine. Just give me my property back" -- I wasn't really in a position to argue with them keeping my hardware. "Oh no, I think we'll keep your computer locked up until we have this policy written." Here I just blew up and told him in no uncertain terms that there was no fscking way that they could keep my property when I wasn't responsible for the offense on my "warrant". He gave in pretty easily. I still can't connect to the network, though.

So on monday evening I finally have my computer back. I floppy whatever's important back and forth. The ridiculous part is that my school-issue laptop has been online all weekend. No one could possible tell the difference from outside, except perhaps that port 7101 is open (and useless) on the laptop since I haven't installed XF4 yet. However, I'm not about to assume the Gestapo won't barge in at random.

Now that they couldn't twist my arm with the locked-up computer, I wrote a very strongly-worded email to Network-guy (CCing my professor, who seems to be the only one on my side, but doesn't have final word in the department). The gist of it was that I am being unfairly discriminated against, and there is no such thing as a "server" operating system -- I know exactly what I'm running and I could easily download a Win32 proxy/DHCP server/whatever and wreak just as much havoc as any Linux user.

Wednesday (the next day after), I was able to catch up with my professor, and explain myself further. He calls the other professor and I finally

get permission to connect to the network. I spent a really long time going over why I feel that having to do *anything* special just because I'm running a different OS is unfair. I'm told that the line from those who want to set up this new policy is that a "large" proportion of students and admins have screwed the network over using non-Windows operatings systems, but relatively no Windows users have done so. (Well, no shit, 90% of the people with Win98 laptops don't install software themselves).

Oh, and I forgot to mention, the kid who installed the DHCP server has had network access the whole time. And didn't have his computer stolen.


So now I'm just waiting for the policy so I can formally complain and/or threaten to sue. I'm composing a message to go out on the school spam-list in the hopes of organizing some of the people running other servers. And regardless of what happens, I will not be paying this school tuition any longer. (Yes, looking for a school the first time sucked, and I wasn't even happy with my results at the time. Looking for a place to transfer to still sucks, and I have my horrid first-semester grades hanging over me.)

[1] See, I know this is the real MS phrase, but it helps a lot if you do it like Dr. Evil says "la-ser"... ;-)

[2] Read: vaguely. In a section of policy with the heading "Web Servers".

Everything In Its Right Place

In software news, I have become extremely frustrated with the amount of important Moz chrome stuff that lives inside packages (which I don't want to rewrite or try to work on in the tree, until I dust off the minimal-browser project again) and skins (which I can muck around with). Just reorganizing files is driving me up the wall. Also started a few more aewm fixes including (finally) forking properly. The amount of bad WM_SIZE hints out there is staggering. I have actually considered adding something like -DSTUPID_TOOLKIT_KLUDGE that ignores any PSize of 200x200.

Trying to think up of a clever and/or bizarre way to implement wc for class.

The National Anthem

I still think it's incredibly amusing that I had 4 people sent into my dorm for computer-related "offenses" and not one of them recognized the DeCSS source code printed out on my door.

Just Like Rage

Well, there's not much to say really. The administration has seized my computer. This is apparently how they are now dealing with any suspicious network activity -- forget about being contacted or even merely losing network access. Never mind that I am here to learn and not be terrorized. Talk to someone about it? Sorry, we arranged to take your computer on Friday afternoon and the dean will be gone until Tuesday. I wish I was at a state school so that due process and the 4th amendment actually meant something. I will not continue to pay these people (and fund this sort of fascism) any longer than I need to. Hopefully I will not need another semester before transferring.

Of course, I know that everyone has heard this story a zillion times and doesn't particularly give a fsck about some kid getting his MP3s, so what can you do? I never paid much attention when it happened to someone else. I say "I am sick with this" to myself all the time, but it usually doesn't concern concrete events. And so I'm left with just sucking it up.

'Round Your Skull...

Started "Lost in the Funhouse" by Barth. Very good.

Kid A is still in the mail. Someone took the promo already so I haven't heard it. Stereolab and Photek are good though. Did some calculations and figured I have spent $100 on music in the past 3 weeks. $12 for Love is Not a Game alone... sending vinyl overseas is not something I can pay for frequently.

Sometimes I wonder if I come off the wrong way. Certain exchanges are so mired in the the usual "relationship" cliche that they seem to obliterate whatever used to be there. No, I'm not making any sense.

Spot the connection between my headlines and I'll give you a cookie. Make that a cookie and a deleted MyPlay locker, because the sample won't be getting cleared...

16 Sep 2000 (updated 16 Sep 2000 at 03:47 UTC) »

Oh. My. God. I'm exhausted. My life has just been school, school, school lately. I wonder how other people have actual social lives and all that.

I can't even remember what coding I managed to do, but there is one thing I wanted to ask for feedback on here - some patches for the GTK+ Thinice engine. Most of these things have been bothering me for over a year. I need to email these people and ask if they're really still maintaining it.

Patched some actual C++ from Mozilla today; previously I'd just been tweaking XUL or JS here and there. It's on npm.gtk if anyone's intrested (yup, more Thinice-related issues). I don't predict it getting in very soon, since the CSS names need some editing and everyone's busy gearing down for M18/beta3.

I still have a ton of mail to answer... yeesh. Remind me not to go 10 days between entries again.

I feel particularly incoherent. I went back to my non-public diary and it's been showing up a lot more there. I bumped into someone on IRC who said I was their 'favorite Advogatan' so now I'm particularly self-conscious and gawky.

I wonder if what I really dislike is:

  • C++
  • the way I'm being taught it
  • object orientation in general.

Everyone raise your hand if you get annoyed when people say "you should be teaching this class." Ok, thanks.

I really wish I was at this Renegade Hardware party and not listening to the netcast. I want to get out. (Not to be confused with "I need to get out.") Rock the house, rock the house, rock the house...

I think I'm more scared of people who get upset if evolution is called a 'theory' than I am of most creationists.

Moving is tiring. I did it yesterday and I'm still exhausted. Today was my birthday and I got to celebrate by starting classes... :-/ Actually, I don't think I can complain -- class was at 2:30 and we only spent half an hour there. Just 6 people too.

Various trivial software updates:

  • I had a silly typo in the aewm .deb.
  • patched gaim to fix some font-color problems.
  • hyatt keeps moving XBL under from our feet... ;-) fixed the bindings in my skin to reflect the new syntax.

Time to do some non-computer stuff...

Packing up for school. Physically this involves moving around boxes and getting sweaty. Mentally (virtually?) I released aewm 0.9.16 and made sure all my debs had Build-Depends. Emotionally, it was time to salvage notebooks for next year's courses. I tried to start a journal several times last year. Here is something from 10/23-24 that I felt the need to type before ripping out used pages.

I think the essential conflict is between the peice of paper or what-have-you as a loose network of scribbles, and as a clear and orderly representation of the idea itself. Whether narrative and symbolism are placed above or below ourselves, in a way. Are we supposed to lay out meaning, or just a few short incomplete notes in the hopes of letting someone else find their own? Where does language reside in all of this, and can we ever really figure it out...

There's something about words themselves, about capitalizing sentences and using "whom" appropriately and all that. A sort of romanticized notion of longing and reverence for the filter that linguistics places between us and the person we are speaking to. A world in which the immediacy of speech and lucid typing are not there yet, where we still have time to live and think. Telecommunications is shrinking the world, and pushing us all to far into eachother's personal space.

macricht: you are not alone on the life thing.

Procrastinated by making a gqmpeg skin that I actually find pleasing to look at. I've been using my old one for at least a year and I never liked it much. Need to get it on red-bean as response time from the maintainer is slow. Bleh. I am evil. I'm a skin person now. I'm using -DMWM_HINTS on my aewm binary. The mind reels.

Oh yes, now playing: Gescom's minidisc. This is just amazing... more Panasonic-ish than Autechre-ish really. Sort of like giving the part of your brain that hears a good scrubbing.

Skud: azz sent me these:

  ; grep lava .Xresources
lavaps.shaped:                          False
lavaps.geometry:                        200x200

Suffice it to say lavaps was a big pain in the butt while I was hacking on shaped window support, and I thank azz for pestering me about it, as I don't use it myself. :-) (P.S. other window manager people will note that there's something fishy here, but I'm too tired for that rant tonight.)

Maybe it's just me, but I seem to be getting a lot more emails lately which consist of "I'm on vacation, I'll reply later" auto-responses sent back to mailing lists lately. A sign of the impending apocalypse? For example, last weekend every bounce from xchat-discuss got diverted to me instead of the list admin. And then there was the mail loop at forwardbound...

rcassin: Yeah, I haven't seen you in #mozillazine all day. Hope you're not deluged with homework.

4 days of freedom left, whee. Need to start packing. Today was very stressful. Saw the shrink and almost broke my hard disk again.

I'm not going to say anything about... er. Forget it. I'll just wink at craigbro. (p.s. sorry I didn't get back to you... your answer was NIL ;-))

It's a small world.

16:10:37 emotionography: hullo

16:11:00 KrisTrex99: This is an email I got from a friend in England. "Incidentally, I'm on a list of people who receive bug reports about certain incidents that occur with a new browser (called Mozilla). And today everyone got one from a certain D. Foster, from Hartwick. I have never spoken to him (thank god!) but - small world and all that - I'd be obliged if you stick his head down a toilet. And kick him. He is the biggest wassack I have never met, and deserves it for being anal! I don't care about him and his stupid errors!"

For the past few days I have inexplicably turned into a hi-fi nutter, attempting in vain to get some sort of good reproduction of my old vinyl before a go off to school. For some reason it's made me very tired. I guess I'll have to wait... (note to self, find drivers which actually record for the Thinkpad 390 sound chip so I can take the computer to the turntable and not vice versa. Harumph.)

Pulled two packages of muddleftpd from Incoming in two days due to denial-of-service problems. I'm getting a bit annoyed at the author. Have resolved to conduct better (and longer) testing, and not believe anyone when they say "it's fixed". After patching it a bit things seem to be OK. Unfortunately this has distracted from my other goal, which was to get upstream to reorganize the tree.

Mozilla completely fell over today. Will probably post from Nav for a while. <fx type="grumble" direction="sheriff(today)" />

Today I learned (by way of my grandfather, for whom we purchased one) that I-openers don't deal with 'pre-formatted' text very well. Or tabs. Or something. It's more complicated than monospace/proportional fonts, at any rate. Incidentally I just went on a rampage and removed tabification from most of my files (and my editor).

Have a SCSI card for this machine finally. Whee!

azz: no worries! I still need to work on some stuff before I can use your input, and I'm kinda busy. I better stop goofing off and work on that so that I can put this out before school starts, if you get back to me before the week is out.

decklin: work on godawful sentence structure. See several examples above.

Ryan: you are the greatest. keep posting here, please.

I highly anticipate tomorrow's Jerkcity. <fx type="duck&run" where="very very far" />

All Mozilla, All the Time...

Been slacking off on diary entries... well, I was debating whether I should make an account on themes.org just for the purpose of uploading my skin, but then I realized i had one already hanging around registered to a year-old email address. I am really bad at keeping track of that stuff. In a perfect world, I would be able to just sign authentication tickets with my PGP key and forget about making throwaway logins. Ah well. Anyway, I posted it and have gotten severely addicted, making 7 updates in 2 or 3 days. Lots of positive comments which is nice.

A major pet-peeve bug of mine regressed today, but it looks like I was able to get the fix tested out quick enough so that nightlies won't be affected. I guess X really is broken here. I will have to see what I can do to support mutibyte titles in aewm one of these days. Sigh. Speaking of which, azz, respond to my email darnit...

Now Would Be a Good Time to Skip to the Next Entry

I'm like a freakin' drug addict with these headphones. Worse things could certainly happen than one's material possesions being damaged though. Ordering new ones tomorrow. Yum, swivel. It's been far too long since I pulled my decks out and mixed something.

I'm planning on going somewhere ``fun'' tomorrow. Except I'm not really going to have fun, I'm going to so I can have backup material to talk about in case talking to ${sort-of-ex-friend who just emailed me} tomorrow doesn't go smoothly. I can feel myself detatching from my physical situation already. Ok, ETOOMUCHINFO. I need to go to sleep.

Aieeeee! My headphones are dead! This is not good.

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