My nice-but-cumbersome lapdog decided some time ago that being asked to suspend is insulting or something, and now goes catatonic instead: the suspend works fine, but absolutelly nothing, ever, wakes it up again.

"Roses are red and my SO-DIMMs still hot,
you asked me to sleep but I'll let you rot."

A lot of debugging (and swearing) later, I now know that the culprit (at least for kernel is the module lpc_sch, which isn't needed for normal operations anyway. blam! Bye-bye, module.

[ published on Wed 30.05.2012 21:19 | filed in interests/debian | ]

Wikipedia is lovely. Today I learned that Kurt Gödel (a pretty well-known mathematical genius) also was a paranoiac and starved to death while his wife was hospitalized because he refused to eat anything not prepared by her.

[ published on Mon 21.05.2012 22:46 | filed in interests/humour | ]

For some reason I simply love to RTFM, if the M(anual) really is F(ine). This collection of locomotive manuals is an especially lovely trove of interesting (but essentially useless, to me) information.

For example, the service manual for 7FDL diesels lists all kinds of things that you need a pry bar for on this engine, like speeding up the engine (beyond the governor's limits).

Even cooler, though, are two-stroke diesels. Have a look at this clip of an EMD 645 starting up. A cold start and with the exhaust manifold disconnected, to me this thing sounds very much like a cat purring once warmed up. According to the manual that would be a 2300+ hp, 13 ton cat... Plus, an engine where you need a hoist to lift a single piston must be good.

Should reincarnation really be an option, then I'd like to deposit that I want to come back as a diesel engineer next time round :-)

[ published on Wed 16.05.2012 11:39 | filed in brainfarts | ]

Conny completed her pre-learners rider training in Kingscliff this weekend and in a few days she'll be old enough to take her theoretical exam (=16 years and 9 months). After that she can ride the Ninja by herself (in NSW) or with somebody with an open licence accompanying her (in QLD).

 conny rider training conny rider training conny rider training conny rider training

That's the bike she is sharing with her mum (for now, I suppose), a 2011 Kawasaki Ninja 250.

 conny on the ninja
[ published on Tue 15.05.2012 11:09 | filed in brainfarts | ]

I thoroughly detest udev: large, ugly, inflexible, disgusting, recently started to insist on DEVTMPFS and /usr being on / (or having an initramdisk, neither of which I accept) and so on.

For the few situations where there are dynamic changes on my boxes (e.g. usb sticks, radio killswitch and so on) I've made do with hotplug until now, but that set of shell scripts has simply grown too annoying to maintain. But recently I found out about mdev, a small component of busybox, and I took to it instantly.

Mdev was designed to be a micro-udev for all kinds of embedded systems where busybox is playing the vital role of providing most (if not all) classic unix tools. To me mdev is the embodiment of the unix mindset: do one thing, and do it well.

And that's what it does: if given the -s switch, it trawls /sys for things that look like devices and creates them in /dev. When run without args as hotplug helper, it creates the device the kernel tells it about, or loads firmware if that's asked for, or removes a device if the kernel says it is going away. These operations are adjustable via a straightforward, simple configuration file which also lets you tell it to run commands of your choice (and load modules), and that's all there is to it. mdev consists of about 650 lines of C, and it works very well.

What it is/was lacking, is support for kernel uevents with action=change, which some subsystems use (e.g. the rfkill subsystem signals changes to any radio kill switches that way). So I wrote this tiny patch to add that capability (I hope upstream includes it in the next version of busybox), and mdev now runs *-tagged commands on add, remove and change.

The other lacking thing is documentation - in the debian packages, that is. mdev is decently explained in docs/mdev.txt and examples/mdev*.conf in the source tarball, but the debian maintainer chose not to ship any of that. I'd recommend getting and reading those documents first if you ponder playing with mdev.

So, to help others along a bit, here is my own setup as an example:

I do have a few extra bits and pieces (e.g. startup scripts, small rfkill and bluetooth agents), but they're somewhat idiosyncratic and likely not very useful to others (but just ask if you do want them).

[ published on Mon 07.05.2012 21:23 | filed in interests/debian | ]
You have 2 cows. You give one to your neighbour.
You have 2 cows. The state takes both and gives you some milk.
You have 2 cows. The state takes both and sells you some milk.
You have 2 cows. The state takes both and shoots you.
You have 2 cows. The state takes both, shoots one, milks the other and then throws the milk away.
Traditional Capitalism:
You have 2 cows. You sell one and buy a bull. Your herd multiples and the economy grows. You sell them and retire on the income.
American Capitalism:
You have 2 cows. You sell one, and force the other to produce the milk of four cows. Later, you hire a consultant to analyse why the cow has dropped dead.
Enron Venture Capitalism:
You have 2 cows. You sell 3 of them to your publicly listed company using letters of credit opened by your brother-in-law at the bank, then execute a debt/equity swap with an associated general offer so that you get all four cows back, with tax exemption for five cows. The milk rights of the six cows are transferred via an intermediary to a Cayman Island Company secretly owned by the majority shareholder who sells the rights to all seven cows back to your listed company. The annual report says the company owns eight cows, with an option on one more. You sell one cow to buy a new president of the United States, leaving you with nine cows. No balance sheet provided with the release. The public then buys your bull.
Accenture Model Capitalism:
You have 2 cows. You shred them.
French Capitalism:
You have 2 cows. You go on strike, organise a riot and block the roads because you want 3 cows.
Japanese Capitalism:
You have 2 cows. You redesign them so they are 1/10 the size of an ordinary cow and produce twenty times the milk. You then create a clever cow cartoon image called "Cowkimon" and market it worldwide.
German Capitalism:
You have 2 cows. You re-engineer them so they live for 100 years, eat once a month and milk themselves.
Italian Capitalism:
You have 2 cows, but you don't know where they are. You decide to have lunch.
Russian Capitalism:
You have 2 cows. You count them and learn that you have 5 cows. You count again and learn you have 42 cows. You count again and learn you have 2 cows. You open another bottle of vodka.
Swiss Capitalism:
You have 5000 cows. None of them belong to you. You charge the owners for storing them.
Chinese Capitalism:
You have 2 cows. You have 300 people milking them. You claim that you have a full employment and and high bovine productivity. You arrest the journalist who reports otherwise.
Indian Capitalism:
You have 2 cows. You worship them.
British Capitalism:
You have 2 cows. Both are mad.
Iraqi Capitalism:
Everyone thinks you have many cows. You tell them you have none but they don't believe you and bomb the shit out of your farm. You still have no cows, but at least you are part of a democracy.
New Zealand Capitalism:
You have 2 cows. The one on the left is looking pretty sexy...
Australian Capitalism:
You have 2 cows. Business seems good. You close the office and go for a few celebratory beers.
[ published on Wed 02.05.2012 21:48 | filed in interests/humour | ]
[ published on Sat 21.04.2012 20:26 | filed in interests/humour | ]

And here we go again: behind closed doors They are negotiating the rules of TPP, the Trans Pacific Partnership=next-generation ACTA.

Then there is, of course, the new CISPA bill (=SOPA/PIPA regurgitated and made worse).

And there is Austri^WAbsurdistan's VDS (= preemptive wholesale surveillance of the whole population).

Repeat ad nauseam.

Looks like humanity needs more Tor relays (and bridges), more services like Tor Mail, DDG (with its Tor hidden service), and ideas like the Telex Project - oh, and would somebody please cook up some gene-engineered plague that takes out politicians? Those pests are really annoying...

[ published on Thu 12.04.2012 01:56 | filed in interests/anti | ]

possibly educated but precisely zero practical relevance.


i'm serious - which of the above would you consider to be practically useful bits of knowledge and which not? ('impact the course of history'?!?....bwuahahaa)

source: pleated-jeans

[ published on Fri 06.04.2012 01:25 | filed in interests/humour | ]

There are people who pull off pretty amazing stunts, like getting lost for three days/four nights in a fairly small national park just inland from the Gold Coast.

Somehow I can see only one explanation: she must have been wearing her bikini over her eyes :-)

[ published on Sun 18.03.2012 17:03 | filed in interests/au | ]
 accidental h+s

that's the way i read this company name: 'your health and safety is unintentional and purely accidental, as you wouldn't need to buy our services if you were safe and healthy.'

[ published on Sun 18.03.2012 15:03 | filed in interests/humour | ]
 protected sansa clickplus

Recently I had to get a replacement music player (primarily for walking and cycling), and I settled on a cheap secondhand Sansa Clip+. When I'm on my bicycle I want to have the player out of the way, under my shirt - it's on random anyway, and I never look at it. But I sweat a lot, and the clip+ has some unprotected openings (a mini-usb socket and a micro-sd slot).

My solution: cut a finger from a rubber glove and, well, roll it on :-)

And now for some Totally Unimportant Facts: The French wikipedia page on condoms has substantially more instructional pictures than the german or english ones. the german page at least prominently links to usage instructions on wikibooks.

[ published on Sun 18.03.2012 15:01 | filed in brainfarts | ]

I've been asked if I could update my growatt inverter status reader to also upload the live data to for graphing and trend analysis.

This being perl it's a simple modification; here is the new version of read-growatt which does the submission if you hand it your pvoutput site id and api key. It also displays the readings in a slightly more human-friendly format.

[ published on Wed 14.03.2012 14:11 | filed in mystuff | ]

(pic snarfed from the demotivator company)

Researchers have found that going to meetings makes people stupid. (The whole paper can be found here - a candidate for an IG Nobel Price?)

If only the apparatchiks in my place of ork knew that - or even better, read this Harvard Business review article...

[ published on Fri 02.03.2012 23:53 | filed in interests/humour | ]

One of the nasty coercive laws of the last few years has just taken a beating:

A Yank federal appeals court has ruled that being forced to decrypt your stuff is unconstitutional. Good for the J. Doe in question, who relied on TrueCrypt which is a pretty nice tool (open-source - but badly licenced, multi-platform, and it does plausible deniability).

The actual text of the ruling is also pretty interesting in its argumentation.

Now if only the powers that be in this place would scrap the Cybercrime Act 2001 No. 161, items 12 and 28...

[ published on Fri 02.03.2012 23:24 | filed in interests/anti | ]

Last week Aldi OZ had an especially odd item on special: blood stain removers, 8 units per pack.

 aldi for serial killers

Just how did I survive for 39 years without such highly crucial, essential stuff that you need every single day?

(Maybe it's because I have a spade. Then, maybe not.)

[ published on Tue 31.01.2012 23:02 | filed in interests/au | ]

Nope - I'm in the wrong movie...or more likely: I work for the wrong gang.

 another brick in the wall

Maybe they 'award' us these things so as to properly weigh us down here in the trenches, to make sure that no dreams or hopes escape and fly away.

Well then, back to work in my usual 'first week of the semester' work clothing...

[ published on Tue 24.01.2012 20:55 | filed in interests/anti | ]

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