An aggregation of our Blog Roll, made up of acmqueue authors.   more

Postings for July 2014:  (58 posts)
Wed, 30 Jul 2014 19:00:00 UTC

OSCON Rear-view

Posted By Tim Bray

I spent three days last week at OSCON 2014 and enjoyed it. Im not actually sure what OSCON means any more, but I hope it finds a way to stay vital. There are a lot of good software conferences these days; many of the best are dedicated to a particular technology. Python/Ruby/Go folks, and the various database tribes, have a selection of annuals and regionals, while if youre a JavaScript weenie (browser or Node flavor) there are events most weeks. But somehow none of those feel important; if you want your tech meetup to have actual cultural impact you need a broader focus, a theme, something that captures imaginations.

Wed, 30 Jul 2014 10:34:42 UTC

Service Orchestration with Rundeck

Posted By Diomidis D. Spinellis

Increasingly, software is provided as a service. Managing and controlling the services provision is tricky, but tools for service orchestration, such as Rundeck , can make our lives easier. Take software deployment as an example. A well-run IT shop will have automated both the building of its software using tools like make, Ant, and Maven and the configuration of the hosts the software runs on with CFEngine, Chef, or Puppet (see the post Dont Install Software by Hand” ). Furthermore, version control tools and continuous integration will manage the software and the configuration recipes, handling developer contributions, reviews, traceability, branches, logging, and sophisticated workflows.

Wed, 30 Jul 2014 05:18:09 UTC


Posted By Greg Lehey

This morning at 9:38 we went off the net again! I was having breakfast and didn't find out until about 10:15. Called up Aussie Broadband support and was just describing the problem when the connection came back again. Only 40 minutes outage. But that was premature. It failed again after 8 minutes, and stayed down. Called Aussie again and got confirmation that others had had the same problem. But they still needed to treat it as an isolated fault, because the National Broadband Network hadn't reported any failure. Why not? The NTD was showing normal status, so it makes sense to guess that the problem was in the link between Dereel and Ballarat.

Wed, 30 Jul 2014 04:55:37 UTC

Where's my new VoIP account?

Posted By Greg Lehey

One of the advantages of my new MyNetFone VoIP account is that I can call in on the numbers as well. I can either transfer an existing number or be allocated a suitable one. Just go to the web site and start searching... And searching. And searching. All I found was my existing account. Finally called up MyNetFone technical support and spoke to somebody who mumbled her name as Nutella. She didn't seem to understand the issue, and I had to explain things to her several times. Then she decided to reset my login password, occasioning further delay, and in the end decided that she couldn't fix it, so she opened a ticket and told me I'd hear back from them.

Tue, 29 Jul 2014 16:02:38 UTC

Honest Life Hacks

Posted By Tom Limoncelli

I usually don't blog about "funny web pages" I found but this is relevant to the blog. People often forward me these "amazing life hacks that will blow your mind" articles because of the Time Management Book. First of all, I shouldn't have to tell you that these are linkbait (warning: autoplay). Secondly, here's a great response to all of these: Honest Life Hacks.

Tue, 29 Jul 2014 01:09:44 UTC

New VoIP connections

Posted By Greg Lehey

Gradually we're making more phone calls, and from time to time we both need to call at once, or we get an incoming call on the landline while we're making an outgoing call on VoIP. In addition, the cost of the calls is increasing. It's still almost nothing by comparison with landline calls, but particularly the $0.24 per minute for calls to mobile phones adds up. I'm with MyNetFone, and they have other tariffs: in fact, the tariff I'm on (no rental, pay only per call) is no longer being offered. But the calls are more expensive, and they have a tariff for $9.95 a month (or $99 a year) that includes 200 landline calls, more than I'd ever use.

Mon, 28 Jul 2014 19:00:00 UTC

Privacy Economics

Posted By Tim Bray

Privacy is good. Perfect privacy is really hard, probably unachievable. Its not a binary thing, but a big dial we can turn up or down. So obviously, we should be turning it up. The economics Its like this. If theres data flowing over the Net that the intelligence community can scoop up for free, they will, and theyll store it forever. Criminals and stalkers will scoop too, looking for credit-card numbers and home addresses and so on. But the Internet volume is so high that if it processing a conversation takes any non-zero investment of effort or money, then spooks and crooks wont bother (unless youre a real target); nobody can afford X multiplied by billions/day, no matter how small X is.

Sun, 27 Jul 2014 19:00:00 UTC

Festival Firetruck

Posted By Tim Bray

There was a party in the local park; food-stands, music, a movie. We picnicked there with family and friends. And a firetruck came! Did I say music? I mean Vancouvers Carnival Band, ubiquitous at any sort of public event; theyre fun to listen to and look at, too. It was a fine event, kids charged everywhere while grownups relaxed on lawn-chairs, and we felt OK about bailing at sunset and skipping The Lego Movie. There are a lot of things to like about Vancouver. At many public events, the Fire Department rolls up, mostly to entertain the kids. Well, and me, I just love taking pictures of the trucks.

Fri, 25 Jul 2014 16:30:00 UTC

System Administrator Appreciation Day Spotlight:

Posted By Tom Limoncelli

This being System Administrator Appreciation Day, I'd like to give a shout out to all the people of the community. If you aren't a system administrator, but have technical questions that you want to bring to your system administrator, this is the place for you. Do you feel bad that you keep interrupting your office IT person with questions? Maybe you should try SuperUser first. You might get your answers faster. Whether it is a question about your home cable modem, or the mysteries of having to reboot after uninstalling software (this discussion will surprise you); this community will probably reduce the number of times each week that you interrupt your IT person.

Fri, 25 Jul 2014 15:30:00 UTC

System Administrator Appreciation Day Spotlight:

Posted By Tom Limoncelli

This being System Administrator Appreciation Day, I'd like to give a shout out to all the people on who help system administrators find the answers to their questions. If you are patient, understanding, and looking to help fellow system administrators, this is a worthy community to join. I like to click on the "Unanswered" button and see what questions are most in need of a little love. Sometimes I click on the "hot this week" tab and see what has been answered recently. I always learn a lot. Today I learned: that GRUB has the ability to have a "one time boot" option, that fails to a different boot option; how to diagnose a Windows server that doesn't show all RAM that is installed; the pros and cons of using your ActiveDirectory DCs as your internal DNS servers (there were some suprises); ways to recover from accidentally revoking ...

Fri, 25 Jul 2014 14:00:00 UTC

I'm a system administrator one day a year.

Posted By Tom Limoncelli

Many years ago I was working at a company and our department's administrative assistant was very strict about not letting people call her a "secretary". She made one exception, however, on "Secretary Appreciation Day". I'm an SRE at That's a Site Reliability Engineer. We try to hold to the ideals of what a SRE as set forth by Ben Treynor's keynote at SRECon. My job title is "SRE". Except one day each year. Since today is System Administrator Appreciation Day, I'm definitely a system administrator... today. Sysadmins go by many job titles. The company I work for provides Question and Answer communities on over 120 topics.

Fri, 25 Jul 2014 13:39:00 UTC

50% off Time Management for System Administrators

Posted By Tom Limoncelli

O'Reilly is running a special deal for Celebrate SysAdmin Day. For one day only, SAVE 50% on a wide range of system administration ebooks and training videos from If you scroll down to page 18, you'll find Time Management for System Administrators is included. 50% off is pretty astounding. Considering that the book is cheaper than most ($19.99 for the eBook) there's practically no excuse to not have a copy. Finding the time to read it... that may be another situation entirely.

Fri, 25 Jul 2014 06:00:00 UTC

Special deal for Sysadmin Appreciation Day

Posted By Tom Limoncelli

Today is Sysadmin Appreciation Day! We appreciate all of you! The Practice of System and Network Administration is today's InformIT eBook Deal of the Day. Click on the link to get a special discount.

Fri, 25 Jul 2014 03:03:27 UTC

Trello, Inc.

Posted By Joel Spolsky

Hello? is this thing on? Im not sure if I even know how to operate this blog device any more. Its been a year since my last post. Im retired from blogging, remember? Want to hear something funny? The only way I can post blog posts is by remote-desktopping into a carefully preserved Windows 7 machine which we keep in a server closet running a bizarrely messed-up old copy of CityDesk which I somehow hacked together and which only runs on that particular machine. The shame! I do need to fill you in on some exciting Trello News, though. As you no doubt know, Trello is the amazing visual project management system we developed at Fog Creek.

Thu, 24 Jul 2014 12:22:15 UTC

Disrupting elections with Kickstarter-like campaigning apps

Posted By Cory Doctorow

The UK parliamentary farce over #DRIP showed us that, more than any other industry, the political machine is in dire need of disruption. In my latest Guardian column, How the Kickstarter model could transform UK elections, I suggest that the way that minority politicians could overcome the collective action deadlock of voters being unwilling to … [Read more]

Thu, 24 Jul 2014 01:07:15 UTC

Intuition and documentation

Posted By Greg Lehey

It's been nearly 25 years since I got my first mobile phone, a Motorola Brick. I was one of the first people I knew to use mobiles. But times have changed: the cost differential between mobile and fixed lines has increased, VoIP has lowered the costs of fixed telephony, and now that I'm not as mobile any more myself, there seems to be no need. Well, almost. We do move around a little, and it's good to have a phone with you. But now it has to be a smart phone. Yvonne has one from Chris Bahlo, and last week I got a call on it.

Wed, 23 Jul 2014 04:47:21 UTC

Computer problems: hat trick

Posted By Greg Lehey

I've found a course on animal welfare on Coursera. That's something close to Yvonne's heart, so I suggested she go to the Coursera web site and take a look. The connection hung. Why? I still don't know. What I've established so far is that it only happens from lagoon, her machine, and only when accessing Coursera. It all goes via an instance of squid running on eureka, so you'd expect there to be no difference between individual machines. It's also not the browser: I tried both firefox and Chrome, and the results were the same. The squid logs aren't very helpful: 1405999219.104  68641 TCP_MISS/200 11922 CONNECT - DIRECT/ - is lagoon.

Wed, 23 Jul 2014 04:26:50 UTC

Linux error reporting

Posted By Greg Lehey

For some reason my MPEG recodings on cvr2, my Ubuntu Linux computer video recorder, ground to a halt today. No obvious reason, but mythtranscode ran at a snail's pace. No error messages, just very slow. Anything in /var/log/messages? No, there never is, just: Jul 22 13:16:10 cvr2 -- MARK -- Jul 22 13:36:10 cvr2 -- MARK -- Jul 22 13:56:10 cvr2 -- MARK -- I don't know why it bothers. cvr2 is Linux, not Microsoft, but since there was nothing obvious, I tried rebooting. And mythbackend didn't come back for a long time.

Wed, 23 Jul 2014 04:18:33 UTC

Swap space needs

Posted By Greg Lehey

Yvonne came to me this morning to tell me that the photo processing software had hung itself up again. That's normal enough for the Microsoft-based products, but this was FreeBSD, and she was just running make. ps(1) showed that the X server was no longer running. And /var/log/messages? ... Jul 22 11:29:03 lagoon kernel: swap_pager_getswapspace(8): failed Jul 22 11:29:03 lagoon kernel: swap_pager_getswapspace(9): failed Jul 22 11:29:03 lagoon kernel: swap_pager_getswapspace(16): failed Jul 22 11:29:04 lagoon kernel: pid 67064 (Xorg), uid 0, was killed: out of swap space Decades ago I ran computers with 8 and 16 MB of memory.

Tue, 22 Jul 2014 19:40:04 UTC

Tom will be the October speaker at Philly Linux Users Group (central)

Posted By Tom Limoncelli

I've just been booked to speak at PLUG/Central in October. I'll be speaking about our newest book, The Practice of Cloud System Administration. For a list of all upcoming speaking engagements, visit our appearances page:

Tue, 22 Jul 2014 03:39:39 UTC

ATA internals

Posted By Greg Lehey

I'm storing more quick dial numbers in my NetComm V210P ATA, not something that is normally of very much interest. I'm putting different categories on different pages (really just web pages), and I've chosen page 3 for numbers related to house construction. So: entry 20, code 020# was JG King. 21 was Tom Tyler. But I entered the number as 021 just to see what would happen. Nothing appeared. OK, bug. Then I went back to page 2. There was an entry for Tom, entry 17. How did that get there? It took me about 15 seconds to realize how. And as Peter Jeremy suggested, 0xe also created an entry 14.

Mon, 21 Jul 2014 19:00:00 UTC


Posted By Tim Bray

Pictures of people are better than pictures of plants, but the plants hold still and dont worry about how theyre going to come across. Actually Im trying to figure out how to use depth-of-field, but these are a decent side-effect of that study. The thing is, the X-T1 has the greatest viewfinder ever and it makes me brave about stupid things like pointing a wide-open F1.4 lens at a complex 3-D tangle of stems. Granted, it almost never works; clearly, more practice needed.

Mon, 21 Jul 2014 01:04:59 UTC

New FreeBSD books?

Posted By Greg Lehey

Mail from Mohsen Mostafa Jokar today. He wants to translate a FreeBSD book into Farsi. Problem: which book? The Complete FreeBSD is now over 10 years out of date. Michael Lucas has written Absolute FreeBSD, but that, too, is nearly 7 years out of date. Is there nothing newer? I'm half inclined to bring The Complete FreeBSD up to date, but I don't know if I have the energy any more. Maybe we should get a group of people to pitch in. ACM only downloads articles once.

Sun, 20 Jul 2014 22:39:18 UTC

Configuring Android storage

Posted By Greg Lehey

I've had my Android tablet now for nearly a year. In that time I haven't exactly made friends with it, but there are some things that aren't too painful. It has a 16 GB SD card, but it kept telling me that storage was full. When I look at the output of df(1), I saw: Filesysterm           Size    Used    Free    Blksize /storage/sdcard0     1952M    1952M     0M    4096 /storage/sdcard1    14983M      710M  14272M  4096 Why are there two partitions on the SD card?

Sun, 20 Jul 2014 01:35:20 UTC

Tom @ Austin Cloud Meetup

Posted By Tom Limoncelli

Do you live near Austin? I'll be speaking at the Austin Cloud Meetup in September. They're moving their meeting to coincide with my trip there to speak at the SpiceWorld conference. More info here:

Sun, 20 Jul 2014 01:10:08 UTC

Colour printers: 10 years of progress

Posted By Greg Lehey

Ten years ago I bought my first colour laser printer, a Brother HL-2700CN. It didn't last very long: on 6 December 2005, while I was flying back from Europe, a power surge killed it, though I didn't discover that for nearly a week. I replaced it with the same model because I had the consumables and also the duplex unit. That printer is now 8½ years old and showing its age. It prints unevenly and makes particularly worrying grinding noises while doing so.

Sat, 19 Jul 2014 19:00:00 UTC

Joyful Screams

Posted By Tim Bray

Heres a photo of children screaming. Care to take a guess what its about, and is about to happen? Try a look at the full-size version. Its a self-defense lesson. The kids are being taught that when theyre scared of someone, they face them, they back up, they keep one leg back so they cant be knocked over easily, they keep their hands up, and they scream like hell. First Stop! then Youre frightening me! and finally, if everyones ignoring another loud kid: FIRE! You cant imagine how much the kids love this drill. Im not 100% sure why, but being praised for howling (louder is better) is one bit, and playing a threatening-adult game seems to go deep.

Fri, 18 Jul 2014 13:23:37 UTC

Documentary on the making of the Homeland audiobook with Wil Wheaton

Posted By Cory Doctorow

Skyboat Media produced this great little documentary about Wil Wheaton's recording sessions for the audiobook of my novel Homeland, in which he had to read out Pi for four minutes straight, read out dialog in which the narrator had a fanboy moment about meeting Wil Wheaton, and many other fun moments.

Thu, 17 Jul 2014 19:00:00 UTC

Discouraged Developer

Posted By Tim Bray

Im a software guy; I like writing code. Over the last decade, my niche has been a modest amount of coding and a lot of writing about it. The size of my audience suggests that this is a reasonably useful combination. But Im kind of discouraged and stuck at the moment. Ill get over it, but the storys worth sharing. I have some sympathy with Ed Finklers The Developer's Dystopian Future (read the commentary from Marco Arment) and I hope to avoid going where Matt Gemmell has gone; see Confessions of an ex-developer. Matt has decided to become a novelist; I scratch my writing itch in smaller pieces, but I have to say hes eloquent.

Thu, 17 Jul 2014 19:00:00 UTC

Hangouts to Slack

Posted By Tim Bray

I chat with people on all sorts of different online channels; I guess Im sort of a connoisseur. Since I dont have a work team these days, the only big group chat that consumes any time at all is my local Ingress faction community. Its been on Google+ Hangouts for over a year, but they just moved over to Slack. G+ Hangouts are great Because they keep track, globally, of what Ive seen on all my screens and devices, and are very good at only showing me whats new. No real-time channel Id ever used got that quite right before. G+ runs everything over HTTPS and your communication is pretty private.

Thu, 17 Jul 2014 00:15:00 UTC

IPv6 is real... and mentioned on The Cobert Report

Posted By Tom Limoncelli

Did you catch Vint Cerf on The Colbert Report last night? Part 1: Part 2:ÿ He talks about Al Gore's involvement in funding the NSFNET, and the need for IPv6 deployments. Vint handles handles Cobert brilliantly. He literally blows Cobert out of the water in a few places.

Wed, 16 Jul 2014 21:20:23 UTC

Tom @ PuppetNYC Meetup: Tue, July 22

Posted By Tom Limoncelli I'll be the speaker at the July PuppetNYC MeetUp. See you there!

Wed, 16 Jul 2014 00:49:56 UTC

Programming VoIP adapters

Posted By Greg Lehey

One of the minor irritations I have with VoIP via my NetComm V210P ATA is that I still have to use the phone keypad to make calls. Wouldn't it be so much easier to click on a number on the screen and have the ATA dial it? Of course it would. And as far as I know, nobody has ever implemented such an obviously good idea. But then, the ATA can store frequently called numbers and call them up via an abbreviation. Can't I store the number in one of those registers via a web application? It turns out that the answer is yes, sort of.

Tue, 15 Jul 2014 15:00:00 UTC

Change-Able Operations or "Could DevOps Save Spiderman?"

Posted By Tom Limoncelli

[This article first appeared in the SAGE-AU newsletter.] Have you heard about the New York City broadway show Spider-Man Turn Off the Dark? It should have been a big success. The music was written by Bono and the Edge from U2. It was directed by Julie Taymor, who had previously created many successful shows including The Lion King. Sadly, before it opened, the show was already making headlines due to six actors getting seriously injured and other issues. The show opened late, but it did finally open. It ran from June 2011 to January 2014. When the show closed Taymor said that one of the biggest problems with bringing the show to production was that they were using new technology that was difficult to work with.

Mon, 14 Jul 2014 15:15:00 UTC

ANNOUNCEMENT: Our newest website:

Posted By Tom Limoncelli is up and online! This is our new website dedicated to promoting The Practice of Cloud System Administration. It has a few incomplete pages, but we've decided to start spreading the word now. Check it out!

Sun, 13 Jul 2014 22:37:07 UTC

Homeland wins the Prometheus award!

Posted By Cory Doctorow

I am delighted and honored to announce that my novel Homeland has won the Prometheus Award for best novel, tying with Ramez Naam's excellent novel Nexus. I am triply honored because this is the third Prometheus I've won -- the other two being for Little Brother and Pirate Cinema. My sincere thanks to the Libertarian … [Read more]

Sun, 13 Jul 2014 19:00:00 UTC

Ingress Tips for iOS-folk

Posted By Tim Bray

Well, it looks like the client has dropped. Welcome iDevicers to our private party! OK, not so private, there are a million or so of us around the planet. Im a regular-but-not-obsessive player, and have been since 2012; if youre playing in the Vancouver area, Ill probably meet you in-game, which quite likely means F2F. The first time this happens I want a demo of the app. I expect a huge influx of people learning the ropes, so here are some intensely-experience-based tips. Im not gonna say a word about how to play the game; there are loads of places to go for tips.

Fri, 11 Jul 2014 19:00:00 UTC

2014 World Cup  The Last Lap

Posted By Tim Bray

I caught one semifinal in a pub and were having friends over for The Big Game. Which feels like the right way to do it. Thats the good news; then there were the semifinals. Brazil 1 Germany 7 Astonishing, but everyones already said so. The what is pretty easy: Brazils defense just wasnt there. On that very first goal, a well-taken corner: Müller ditches his mark and is standing free in front of a third of the goalmouth, right where the balls coming down. Well-run defenses dont let that happen. The Germans mightve been just a touch lucky on one or two of the next two or three, but its the kind of luck that happens when the backs arent where theyre supposed to be.

Fri, 11 Jul 2014 16:19:40 UTC

Tom speaking at Puppet NYC Meetup

Posted By Tom Limoncelli

I'll be speaking at the July NYC Puppet Meetup meeting about the Puppet BlackBox project. If you missed this talk at PuppetCamp NYC, don't miss it here! Tuesday, July 22, 2014 6:30 PM to 8:00 PM The Ladders, 137 Varick St. 3rd Floor, New York, NY Full details are available at meetup. See you there!

Thu, 10 Jul 2014 17:53:48 UTC

How to save the CBC, making it a global online participatory leader

Posted By Cory Doctorow

In my latest Guardian column, What Canada's national public broadcaster could learn from the BBC, I look at the punishing cuts to the CBC, and how a shelved (but visionary) BBC plan to field a "creative archive" of shareable and remixable content could help the network lead the country into a networked, participatory future. The … [Read more]

Wed, 09 Jul 2014 19:00:00 UTC

Blow up the Cert Business

Posted By Tim Bray

Check out Maintaining digital certificate security by Adam Langley over on the Google Online Security blog. Bad certs in the wild, many Windows users (but not on Firefox) vulnerable. This is very, very bad. Let me elaborate a bit and explain how Google could solve this problem. Digital certificates (everyone says certs) are a key ingredient in making the Web secure enough that you can use it for banking and buying things. You need one if you want to operate a web address starting with https:. You buy them from a certificate authority (everyone says CA). Fortunately, theyre cheap and reliable and pretty easy to use.

Tue, 08 Jul 2014 23:00:06 UTC

OECD predicts collapse of capitalism

Posted By Cory Doctorow

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development -- a pro-establishment, rock-ribbed bastion of pro-market thinking -- has released a report predicting a collapse in global economic growth rates, a rise in feudal wealth disparity, collapsing tax revenue and huge, migrating bands of migrant laborers roaming from country to country, seeking crumbs of work. They proscribe … [Read more]

Tue, 08 Jul 2014 20:30:00 UTC

Tom @ Puppet Camp NYC, July 8, 2014

Posted By Tom Limoncelli

Tom will be giving a talk called "Safely storing secrets and credentials in Git for use by Puppet: The BlackBox project" at Puppet Camp NYC. Hope to see you there!

Tue, 08 Jul 2014 19:00:00 UTC

Color Victim

Posted By Tim Bray

Im almost ashamed to admit it, but Ive been enjoying a Twitter stream called Every Hex Color; every ten minutes or so it posts a 24-bit random number which expresses a red/green/blue color value. Ive long been fascinated by the mapping between the numeric RGB space and what our eye/mind system constructs on consciousness stage. Longtime readers may remember a small exploration I did called RGB Planes. Of course, the math and science behind color are horribly, sickeningly complex, and I dont pretend to deep understanding. For those who do, properly appreciating this feed probably requires a conscious effort to ignore all that stuff.

Mon, 07 Jul 2014 19:00:00 UTC

Marketing Gone Bad

Posted By Tim Bray

In this months Harvard Business Review, The Content Marketing Revolution smells like concentrated essence of evil; an unironic paean to the take-over of journalism, and public conversation, by marketeers. I recommend reading it, if only for shock value; here are a couple of out-takes for flavor. Brands are no longer merely peddling products; theyre producing, unearthing, and distributing information. And because they do, the corporation becomes not just economically important to society, but intellectually essential as well. Just a sec, be right back. Sorry, had to make an unexpected run for the loo there; hate it when that happens. Lets try again.

Sun, 06 Jul 2014 19:00:00 UTC

2014 World Cup  The Quarters

Posted By Tim Bray

All the favorites won. [Sobs.] Also, the tournament has never got back to the high-scoring fast-running energy of the Group Stage. Lets hope it ends with a bang. Me blogging the World Cup for a mostly-tech mostly-norteamericano audience has felt a bit like bringing dispatches from a foreign country. But at this point chances are that many of you actually watched the games Im writing about. Does that change anything? France 0 Germany 1 A fair result, I suppose. One thing nobody else seems to have pointed out is that this was a triumph of conditioning; in the last 20 minutes or so the French play became ragged and choppy; there were no real slashing attacks or Neuer game-savers.

Fri, 04 Jul 2014 12:52:50 UTC

Test post. Please ignore.

Posted By Tom Limoncelli

Testing a new feed mechanism. No need to reply.

Fri, 04 Jul 2014 03:05:09 UTC

Trip report: Summer ISO C++ meeting

Posted By Herb Sutter

I just posted my trip report from the recently concluded ISO C++ meeting in Switzerland. We sent three documents out for ballot. This is the first time in ISO C++ history that we have sent three documents out for ballot out of a single meeting. Wow. See the full trip report for more details…Filed […]

Fri, 04 Jul 2014 01:32:24 UTC

BigPond support from the outside

Posted By Greg Lehey

Sent a message to Ron Frolley today. It didn't get delivered: <>: host[] said: 552 5.2.0     Mexs1o00h1sUVRc01extSj Suspected spam message rejected. IB703 (in reply to     end of DATA command) Suspected spam? What's that? Against my better judgement, called up BigPond support on 13 39 33, fought their stupid voice non-recognition system, and was connected relatively quickly with a Matteo who sounded distinctly Indian. He was out of his depth from the outset. He asked for my account number, and when I told him I didn't have an account with Telstra, he asked for my birth date.

Thu, 03 Jul 2014 15:00:00 UTC

Moving the StackExchange/Serverfault NYC Datacenter

Posted By Tom Limoncelli

We moved our NYC datacenter to a new colo facility last month. We hired a moving company that specializes in moving racks of equipment. They did a great job. Here's a timelapse recording of them packing everything up. These are the computers that run Q&A websites like (system administration questions) as well as 125 others! Check 'em out!

Thu, 03 Jul 2014 00:04:52 UTC

Challenges in Designing at Scale: Formal Methods in Building Robust Distributed Systems

Posted By James Hamilton

We all know that when designing and operating applications at scale, it is persistent state management that brings the most difficult challenges. Delivering state-free applications has always been (fairly) easy. But most interesting commercial and consumer applications need to manage persistent state. Advertising needs to be delivered, customer activity needs to be tracked, and products need to be purchased. Interesting applications that run at scale all have difficult persistent state problems. Thats why, other AWS customers, and even other AWS services make use of the various AWS database platform services. Delegating the challenge of managing high-performance, transactional, and distributed data management to underlying services makes applications more robust while reducing operational overhead and design complexity.

Wed, 02 Jul 2014 23:50:54 UTC

My CppCon talks

Posted By Herb Sutter

A few weeks ago, here and here, I posted the five talks I submitted for CppCon. Good news (really): The CppCon program (posted today) is so strong that some of my talks legitimately fell below the cut line. Instead of giving five talks, I’ll be giving two  one as I proposed it, one a […]

Wed, 02 Jul 2014 19:00:00 UTC

Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds

Posted By Tim Bray

Mr Cave is touring at the moment; the current Bad Seeds incarnation is a six-piece notably including Warren Ellis; (No, not that Warren). I dont go to a lot of concerts; a few each year. I caught this tour Tuesday and it was the most involving, intense music Ive experienced in years. If theyre coming near, you should go see them. Assuming you dont mind really loud really dark music about serious things: fear and love and murder and sex and God. An establishing shot, taken on the concert halls balcony. Its dark, just like the music. At a Bad Seeds show, you hear wonderful songs; the set list featured two from my fave Cave, 1994s Let Love In; Red Right Hand made my blood run cold.

Wed, 02 Jul 2014 15:00:00 UTC

All chapters available as "rough cuts" on SBO

Posted By Tom Limoncelli

Safari Books Online now has all chapters of The Practice of Cloud Administration. " Rough Cuts" are pre-editing drafts. You get to see the book with all the typos and misspelled words... but 2-3 months before the real book is available: If you want to get some fan-only details about the book and other inside information.

Tue, 01 Jul 2014 19:00:00 UTC

2014 World Cup  Down to 8

Posted By Tim Bray

All the teams that were supposed to advance have, and mostly without any surprises. The round of 16 hasnt been as much fun as the first phase, but things are looking up. Europe vs Africa Frances defeat of Nigeria was fair, although it didnt win them many friends. Theyre totally the kind of team that could win the World Cup without actually exciting anyone. I loved the Nigerians pace and courage, but they just didnt have the finishing quality to score against one of those deadening ironclad Eurodefenses. I suppose Germanys advance was fair-ish, too, and theyre obviously a contender to take it all.

Tue, 01 Jul 2014 03:38:40 UTC

Android networking: there can only be one

Posted By Greg Lehey

One thing that really puzzles me about Microsoft networking is that every network interface has a default gateway associated with it. What does that mean? I just can't see how it can work, nor what the implementers were thinking when they did it that way. But the poison is spreading: today I rebooted flachmann, my Android tablet, and for some reason a program started itself: Android's based on Linux!

Tue, 01 Jul 2014 03:25:46 UTC

Fixing the TV reception issues

Posted By Greg Lehey

It's been over two weeks since I tried to improve my TV reception.

Tue, 01 Jul 2014 03:04:05 UTC

Microsoft Windows: 30 years and no window management

Posted By Greg Lehey

In December 1983, while in hospital recovering from an appendicectomy, Yvonne brought me a copy of Byte magazine describing Microsoft's new Windows display manager. I was excited: we had seen this before with Apple's Lisa computer, but this would run on commodity hardware. By the time it actually appeared, it was less attractive, and gradually I wandered away from the Microsoft world. When I finally got a graphical desktop environment, it was X, not Microsoft, and I managed to stay out of the Microsoft space almost completely until I had to use it for my photographic software a couple of years ago.