Advogato – 12 April 2000

(This is a re-post from Advogato, which I no longer use.)

12 Apr 2000 »

My bill paying life is being security architect, which is a fancy term for a prostitute(security+++). I hate it occasionally on days like today. Visited a nice startup located in the deepest darkest recesses of Sydney town (Bligh St) and went through them like a bowl of ripe prunes followed by a calming laxative. But the worst part is that they’re nice people, the product is way cool, but they can’t do security to save themselves. Tips of the week:

  • Program defensively; users will submit crap data to you from cookies, form and URL data, and anything else they can send your way. If you do not want the data from your app to appear on the front page of your morning paper, do not install the database on the web server, and do not have the dbms available to public facing networks
  • Even if you have packet filtering, ipchains or a firewall, you need to look after the remote services you offer in case the countermeasures fail, or the filter/firewall lets something through that kills you another way.
  • If you don’t have IDS tools (like tripwire/AIDE, etc) installed, your customers will tell you when you’ve been successfully attacked.
  • If you have static data, host it on a CD-ROM. It’s impossible to change this. It is possible to point the DNS entry, the web directory, and the web server somewhere else, so it’s not a panacea, but it can help. It’s all cached once read in the first time.

Dan and myself (mostly Dan) reorganised the home machine room to make the server stack much more cable friendly and moved my dual PPro back into the machine room. It’s going to get toasty in here. Three PPro’s, three Alphas, and my PII laptop should all contribute to the heat death of the universe.

Advogato – 10 April 2000

(This is a re-post from Advogato, which I no longer use).

10 Apr 2000 »

Beer and Babes. Enough said.

Not a lot on the work front – crappy day. Managed to SQL stuff with the best of them. Commercial developers of the world – please take this free Clue(tm) *THWOK* and damn well get with the program! Not doing argument validation because the SQL view user is non-privileged is crap. Not doing form validation with SQL update users is criminal.

Not a lot on the OSS front – downloaded and installed Redhat 6.2 and it just worked. Rebuilt the SRPM for alpha, and have been too slack to upload it to SourceForge.

E-mailed Raph about DHTML for diary, but realistically, I’m going to be busy, and it’s likely someone will beat me to a much better solution. That’s the good bit about OSS – you don’t have to wait for me. 🙂

Advogato – 5 April 2000

(This is a re-post from Advogato, which I no longer use.)

5 Apr 2000 »

Sick as a doooooooog. There’s something floating around. Had an abortive attempt to go to work. Got there and nearly hurled on one of the managers. Got myself some anti-vomiting syrup from the chemist, and gagged some down. I’ll spare you the gory details, but let’s just say – it didn’t help. Went home, rode the porcelain bus for some time before retiring to bed for the rest of the day. The nice cleaners I have came today, so the place is nice and tidy again.
rant du jour: weather

It rained again. Sydney is so wet. Sydney-siders smirk when they talk about Melbourne’s weather, but it’s due to rain in Sydney for the rest of the week, and then Monday and Tuesday next week. In Melbourne, it may be cold, warm, hot, wet, freezing, sunny, overcast, a little hard precipitation (hail 🙂 all in one day, but it does it in small doses. It never really gets mean. The rain is currently pummelling my poor Echo out there. If the sunroof seals ever get loose, I’m going to have to actually put it away in the garage that this house has. I’m usually too slack to do that.

rant du jour deux: open fireplaces

To top it all off, the neighbors next door have started buring wood in their open fireplace. I hate people who burn stuff to make a room “cosy” (or to appeal to their own upper middle class pretensions) when an open fire adds little or no heat value and pollutes my air. In Victoria, my parents do the same thing – they burn some logs a few times a year (which requires them to get the chimney swept) and it smokes out the front of their house and for what? The central heating does a far better job and uses far less gas than the equivalent mass of wood being burnt in the lounge room. Call me unromantic, but I think it’s stupid. If you’re going to burn wood, get a proper wood stove that does the job properly, uses a lot less wood, puts out fewer particulates, and most of all does not let cold air in. Most winter smog is due to polluting open fire places.


I’ve been distracted by reiserfs, work, SAGE-Au duties, and a small amount of social life (and today obviously was a write off).

Duncan’s a busy lad. He’s making a run for pnm2ppa 1.0 all by himself, and that’s cool! He’s fixed all the known bugs, made bi-directional printing the default, added pgm[raw]/pbm [raw], and ppm support in, plugged in some good figures for all the printers. We just have to test them, and see how they fly. It’s good to see a project finally getting close to being finished. The next stage after this is to chop all the support functions out and plonk it inside gs itself. That’ll boost performance again, but not everyone will have that latest version of gs for a while.

Advogato – April 4, 2000

(This post is from Advogato, which I no longer use.)

4 Apr 2000 »

Woa! The diaries are getting out of control. Decided that coding the solution was the correct course of action. Defeated by the far too obvious solution that the GNOME anon cvs details are in the general FAQ and not in the developer area. Maybe tomorrow night – no dang, that’s SAGE- Au National Exec IRC meeting.

Ordinary day at work. Started way too early at 8.15 am. Finished with Burger King. Damn Ian (he of newly minted schoolsnet fame) for getting me hooked on the better burgers there. It is all his fault. See pfb’s diary for more Ian related news.

Loved the caffiene quote (see well below in the diary list), from a fellow 24×7 poisoner.

Signed up a friend for Friend Finder because she’s not ready to make that sort of committment to do it herself.

If you are

  • In Melbourne Australia
  • Can deal with A-grade Catholic Guilt(tm)
  • Don’t mind window shopping in Chapel St on the weekends (but not the two weekends the various Grand Prix’s are on)
  • Can handle interacting serially with her (she’s can be a bit monopolistic on your time), then you too can have a weird girlfriend.

Mail me today if you’re still interested. She’s not as bad (most of the time) as I’ve described, but hey, if you’re taller than her, older than her, and have bizarre extreme sports fetishes (the more dangerous the better), you have a very good chance of landing a long term partner.

Meebles has tried killing my screensaver for like 20 minutes now. The Alpha is really churning out the lissajous figures, and they don’t act like anything Meebles has seen before, and boy is he pissed! Don’t let anyone tell you that a cat’s attention span is about this >< long. 🙂

Advogato – 3 April 2000

(This is a re-post from Advogato, which I no longer use.)

Well, I got my new HFC cable modem installed today by fibbing extensively. I had to lie about the following things: I owned the place, that I was going to use NT 4.0 (as if 🙂 on Intel*, with their crappy SMC ethernet card, and I wasn’t going to run any servers and it was a stand alone installation.

The guy came at 7.45 am, and started work. As soon as he saw all the computers, he knew I was going to be running Linux on it straight after he left, and so he rather nicely gave me a few tips on finding the resources I needed to get Linux working.

So here I am at 11.33 pm, running RedHat 6.1 on my Alpha after having to download and compile Mozilla using the cable modem (which took like 2 mins, god I lurrrve the speed) because Netscape is not available on the glibc/Alpha platform. It’s hooked through Dan’s NetBSD alpha hackbox at the moment, but that’s only temporary. I want a dedicated gateway as he has this nasty habit of a) running simultaneous CVS pulls b) running multiple NetBSD kernel builds on rather busy disks c) doesn’t think a loadavg of 4 is a bad thing. I want a gw that sits at about 0.00 and maybe now and again thinks about a named query. The only bit that I didn’t have to lie about is that we wouldn’t run any servers. Since we have extensive ipfilters in place, it’s unlikely that they will find any. We’re more off the air than the poor WinNT people who leave their NetBT ports open to abuse. I feel for them, I really do.

We also got WAVELan wireless peer to peer running on our laptops. We are officially the geekiest house on the block. I’m like a pig in shit right now. Honest. I lurrrve cable.

I only saw one fashion victim today. Shared with Dan and Ange an excellent bottle of St Hallett’s 1996 Shiraz over dinner at the ever reliably unreliable Pino’s. Fantastic – the bottle not the meal, in which the service was at really bad French restaurant bad levels. Not snooty just incompetent.

The most recently nightly snapshot of Mozilla M15 (pre I think) is rather dodgy on the Alpha. I’ll have to fix some bugs by the look of things. Bugger. I have plenty on my plate already. But I need a good browser. Also, green is a real sucky selection color.

* if the worst came to the worst, I have an actual Win2K license. The installer had seen this work, too. But luckily, all it takes is one extra argument to dhclient, and we’re off!

Advogato – 1 April 2000

(This is a re-post from Advogato, which I no longer use.)

1 Apr 2000 »

Went to breakfast this afternoon, and saw a Very Weird Thing. The table next to me was occupied by what I thought was a guy and his teenage daughter. Nothing remarkable about that until they started holding hands about 10 minutes before they left. She couldn’t have been a day older than 16, he in his forties. If I were jwz, I’d have something profound to say, but I’m not, so I don’t.

Working on porting the reiserfs/utils to my Alpha. Getting sentimentally attached the uptime figure. 28 days and growing. Soon I’ll have to disable it booting into runtime level 5, and start testing reiserfs as I’ll have no excuse not to reboot.

Have to agree with schoen’s assertion that if you don’t know what you’re doing (or in my case) your parents are pressuring you to go to uni directly from high school – don’t do it. Take a year off and evaluate what you want to do. I still don’t have my degree 11 years after starting, and four years after giving up. I should never have bothered with my CS degree, and spent a year really thinking about what I want to do and how to get there from here. Now, I need a degree (eventually), and it basically has to be management focused (an MBA would be good, but need to get past the lack of undergraduate qualifications) as I’m being paid extremely well – at the top of the CS profession tree without being management. The only way for me to progress is up the slimely management ladder, and I do not have the necessary bits of paper that would help there.

1 Apr 2000 »

Bad flame war going on between BSD and GPL bigots/trolls on the reiserfs mail list. Get over it guys.

The Queen of England left Australia today, and our disgusting government leaks a report that claims there was no stolen generation. This is like a right wing party in Germany declaring that there was no holocaust. The Liberal Party must get serious about reconcilliation. This was a day after they started in on the UN about “interfering with the internal affairs of a nation”. Australia is not China, Burma, Iraq – the Libs are losing it. I hope the Queen enjoyed her stay and that by the next time she comes by, we’ll be a republic. She’s even obliquely said that she doesn’t care what we do, so basically that’ll take the wind out of the wings out of the misguided monarchists.

I read about Jason Haas’s bad car accident at Get well soon, Dude, and Cassie is an example of strength to us all.

Advogato – 30 March 2000

(This is re-post from Advogato, which I no longer use.)

30 Mar 2000 »

I managed to get reiserfs 3.6.3 to compile out of the box last night on Mr Alpha. Good work, fellas 🙂 There’s a small number of problems, and I’m expecting some oops’s once I load the sucker, but it’s compiled, and that’s good. Some changes to the CVS today by Chris Mason from Suse should allow me to recompile and not fret.
Meebles spent the night outside, and his tail is getting better. The rats he has killed in the last week are putrifying in the rubbish bin in a plastic bag. It’s really smelly. Bad cat.

Greebo has decided that inside my bed is warmer than outside it – something she hasn’t done since spring last year. I hope that I’m not squishing her in the middle of the night. It’s also probably quieter than on top of the doona due to my snoring being muffled.

On the work front, it’s my last day at my current client. That’s sad, as they have mucho bandwidth, which I will miss. They’re also a great bunch of people. It’s not everyday that you get a good client.

Advogato – 29 March 2000

(This is from Advogato, which I no longer use.)

29 Mar 2000 »

Went home about 21.00 last night and downloaded and compiled 2.3.99pre3 on my Alpha. Eventually, I managed to find a set of config options that compiles with minimal warnings, and better yet links. If I cared enough about kernel development, I’d do something more. Submitting patches to lk seems so haphazard as well.

Now the trick is to see if the latest CVS sources of reiserfs is willing to patch cleanly against pre3. I am going to hack that sucker until it works on the Alpha. The guys are busy cleaning up Intel-isms in the code, but there’s still a lot of work to do. Once it works on two architectures, I think Linus will accept the code as an experimental filesystem for 2.5. Once the Alpha is done, we need a sparc or PPC port to fill out the trifecta.

We’ve had our first report of pnm2ppa causing a box to hang whilst printing. This is a first. I think it might be a hardware issue, but I don’t have the first clue right now.

The cats spent the night outside since they didn’t come when called. Meebles’ tail is getting better – this morning he was able to swish it and react when I tried tickling the tip. So no tail amputation for Meebles! YAY! (I hate my Cat Slave’s Big Book of Cat Hypochrondria for suggesting that a tail amputation might be necessary. That really freaked me out).

Off home now to go hack 2.3.99pre3 with the latest reiserfs CVS patches and see if I can bring up a reiserfs module under the Alpha. Should be a fun night. I’ve downloaded Alan Cox’s latest bunch of patches, but I couldn’t find the pre4-1 patch. I need to pay more attention to the secret places they stash stuff. Why can’t l.k. use a CVS tree like everyone else? But from the mail list for the last day or so, pre4-1 is looking decidedly dodgy, and I already have pre3 compiled and ready to test.

Advogato – 28 March 2000

(This post is a re-post from Advogato, which I no longer use.)

28 Mar 2000 »

Worked until 23.30 last night. Too buggered to even look at the Alpha. Trying to figure out which of my PC’s will have the Wavelan card fitted. Solution: the quietest one so it stay in my bedroom.
Adding mucho paper sizes is harder than first thought. I tried doing auto-detection, but gs provides ppm images only as big as they need to be, so autodetection is off the agenda.

Duncan gave me some good ideas on robust paper handling (that wont result in das blinking lights (a HP PPA owner in-joke)), and it looks as 0.9.0 is going to become a reality soon.

Reading through the responses to my post about enums on, I have the C system programmer weenie brigade ignoring the real problems with #define vs typedef enum. They believe (and in the kernel, I can grant them) that enums don’t work in an assembly environment. But in programs, I totally disagree with these maintainance nightmares. #define is Evil(tm), and that’s the end of the discussion.

Advogato – 27 March 2000

(This is re-posted from Advogato, which I no longer use.)

27 Mar 2000 »

Working on adding all sorts of nifty paper sizes into pnm2ppa in auto-detect papersize and DPI stuff. Should be cool and allow us to silently drop support for paper size switches. Once that’s in, maybe I’ll convince the other guys that we need to move closer to 0.92 or similar.

The stuff that pays the bills is getting long too. Documentation, documentation, documentation.

The weekend is getting busy. I’ll have to learn how to program Mr Video Recorder again. Organised cat care for Easter.

Did I mention that everyone’s at IETF in Adelaide, and I’m bored because there’s no one home to play CivCTP or Alpha Centauri with? At least Dan’s getting me a 11 mb/s wireless LAN card so we can geek without cables. It’s bad when a single house and its inhabitants (Population 2 Cats 2 People 7 computers) needs more than a 8 port hub. I’m thinking the next piece of comms gear after the Wavelan stuff is a 10/100 Mb/s Netgear 16 port switch. Either that or I’ll end up getting myself a 80 cm TV as the 34 cm TV is a joke.