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Postings for April 2017:  (78 posts)
Sat, 29 Apr 2017 01:51:24 UTC

AusPost: invalid tracking number!

Posted By Greg Lehey

So Yvonne had posted the M.Zuiko 12-40 mm f/2.8 Pro lens, so I had to inform the buyer of the tracking number, 601 13322922 096. < !-- 60113322922096 --> Had it been processed correctly? Australia Post told me: What's that nonsense? The normal nonsense: Australia Post issues tracking numbers with spaces in them, but their web site is modern, and it treats spaces as delimiters. In a world where people put spaces in file names to confuse parsers, it's really puzzling that web designers go to the opposite extremes in accepting identifiers and sums of money (try entering $1,234,500 in just about any site asking for sums of money).

Fri, 28 Apr 2017 19:48:04 UTC

Top 50 Corporate Revenue

Posted By James Hamilton

This morning, I was thinking about Apple. When I got started in this industry in the early 80s, it was on an Apple II+ writing first in BASIC and later in UCSD Pascal. I though Apple was simply amazing, so it was tough watching the more than decade of decline before Jobs rejoined. Our industry...

Fri, 28 Apr 2017 18:15:16 UTC

Extreme wealth inequality will always devour the societies that produce it

Posted By Cory Doctorow

My new novel Walkaway (US tour/UK tour) is set in a world that is being torn apart by out-of-control wealth inequality, but not everyone thinks that inequality is what destabilizes the world — there’s a kind of free-market belief that says the problem is really poverty, not inequality, and that the same forces that make... more

Fri, 28 Apr 2017 02:12:46 UTC

Free security book

Posted By Greg Lehey

Now that I'm using Microsoft far more than I really want to, it's probably time to subscribe to some of the more technical forums. I've found a couple of useful tips at HowtoGeek, so I subscribed. Today I received a special offer: Download Computer Security Handbook, 6th Edition ($130 Value) FREE For a Limited Time. OK, what's behind that? Probably not much. So I signed up, which required one of the most complicated forms I've seen in a long while:   Even if I were still working, how could I fill that out?

Thu, 27 Apr 2017 17:00:00 UTC

Why tech conferences should have Tshirts in women's sizes

Posted By Tom Limoncelli

Because it is easy to do. Because you complain that you can't think of anything that would make your conference more appealing to women, and this is a tangible thing that you can do to make your conference more appealing to women. It is usually as easy as clicking some extra buttons on the web form when you order the shirts. Because you should be happy that there is something you can fix without having to learn a new skill, spend a million dollars, or form a committee. Its like when someone complains, "Damn! My partner gets so upset about little things like me not taking out the garbage."

Thu, 27 Apr 2017 01:45:48 UTC

Astrophotography

Posted By Greg Lehey

Saw some impressive images on Facebook today, made with Deepskystacker. Looks like another can of worms to open. ACM only downloads articles once. It's possible that this article has changed since being downloaded, but the only way you can find out is by looking at the original article.

Thu, 27 Apr 2017 00:39:35 UTC

My reference to bell peppers

Posted By Greg Lehey

Mail today with a familiar looking text: I was searching the web for information on bell peppers and saw your great post here: http://narrawin.lemis.com/grog/diary-may2016.php I noticed you mentioned https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bell_pepper in your post, and just wanted to give you a heads up that I recently wrote a blog post you might like. It's a detailed, up-to-date 7,000 word guide on 15 health benefits of bell peppers according to science, and includes 5 delicious bell pepper recipes. Bell peppers?

Thu, 27 Apr 2017 00:14:42 UTC

Lens: bought!

Posted By Greg Lehey

My new Leica DG Vario-Elmar 100-400mm f/4.0-6.3 is on its wayfrom Hong Kong. They don't mention anything about having to pay GST (only that it's not in the prices), but hopefully there will be none. In the meantime, though, I need a lens to replace the M.Zuiko 12-40 mm f/2.8 Pro. Not a difficult choice: I had already pretty much settled on the Leica DG Vario-Elmarit 12-60 mm f/2.8-4. But DxO Optics Pro still doesn't support it, and I had expected to have some time before buying it. No such luck. So off to eGlobaL again, the purchase made a little easier by the fact that they now have most of my details on file.

Wed, 26 Apr 2017 17:19:43 UTC

Announcing the official UK Walkaway Tour!

Posted By Cory Doctorow

My UK publisher, Head of Zeus, has published the official tour schedule for the British tour for Walkaway, with stops in Oxford (with Tim Harford), London (with Laurie Penny), Liverpool (with Chris Pak), Birmingham, and the Hay Literary Festival (with Dr Adam Rutherford). Hope to see you there! A reminder that my US/Canadian tour is... more

Wed, 26 Apr 2017 01:30:19 UTC

Talking Walkaway on the Author Stories podcast

Posted By Cory Doctorow

My novel Walkaway came out today and I sat down yesterday with the Author Stories Podcast to talk about writing, publishing, and, of course, the novel.

Wed, 26 Apr 2017 00:52:04 UTC

What software update?

Posted By Greg Lehey

On the whole I'm positively impressed by euroa, my new Lenovo ThinkPad T430. But it's still a Microsoft space machine, and it shows: What are they? They're not telling. It seems that they're Lenovo updates, not Microsoft updates. Lenovo, you could tell people what you're doing to their computers! ACM only downloads articles once.

Wed, 26 Apr 2017 00:47:01 UTC

Come to the Chicago Walkaway event with Max Temkin, get a multitool!

Posted By Cory Doctorow

My publicist just found an extra box of the cool promotional Walkaway multitools, and she’s generously offered to give them to the next 100 people to reserve tickets to the May 7th Walkaway event at Chicago’s Royal George Theater, where I’m presenting with CARDS AGAINST HUMANITY creator Max Temkin (current ticket-holders, don’t worry, you get... more

Wed, 26 Apr 2017 00:46:11 UTC

Selling lenses

Posted By Greg Lehey

Taking photos of my lenses and listing them took up a significant proportion of the day. It's a good thing I'm not charging for my time, or it might not have been worth selling some of them. And in the process I examined the lenses more closely than I have for some time, making a disturbing discovery in the process: That appears to be a separation of the elements inside the lens (the Zuiko Digital ED 70-300mm f/4.0-5.6). Damn.

Tue, 25 Apr 2017 21:55:41 UTC

A Crooked Timber seminar on Walkaway

Posted By Cory Doctorow

My latest novel, Walkaway, was published today, and the Crooked Timber block has honored me with a seminar on the book, where luminaries from Henry Farrell to Julia Powles to John Holbo to Astra Taylor to Bruce Schneier weigh in with a series of critical essays that will run in the weeks to come, closing... more

Mon, 24 Apr 2017 01:27:53 UTC

Buying a lens: the pain

Posted By Greg Lehey

So I've decided to buy a Leica DG Vario-Elmar 100-400mm f/4.0-6.3, called LEICA DG VARIO-ELMAR 100-400mm / F4.0-6.3 ASPH. / POWER O.I.S. in Australia and LUMIX G LEICA DG VARIO-ELMAR Lens, 100-400mm, F4.0-6.3 ASPH. (which also claims Power I.O.S) in the USA. Probably the singularly unevocative name H-RS100400E begins to make sense. While researching, I was asked to fill out a survey about my web site experience on the US web site. In fact, it wasn't too bad, modulo the uncertainty about the image stabilization. But the survey had its own surprise: Australia is so unknown that it's not even an option on the list!

Sun, 23 Apr 2017 19:00:00 UTC

Six-page Typography

Posted By Tim Bray

What happened was, I ran across Bringhursts The Elements of Typographic Style and was instantly captivated, by the books beauty and also the power of its message. So Ive got typography on my mind. Stand by for more on the subject, but it struck me immediately that Im living a typography lesson at work, in the form of the famous Amazon six-pager. Its not a secret; to start with, read Brad Porters excellent The Beauty of Amazons 6-Pager (although in typo-geek mode, I have to point out that Six-pager reads much more nicely than 6-Pager). Like Brad says, we put intense work into writing these things, and then others of us put intense work into reading them.

Sun, 23 Apr 2017 14:25:00 UTC

A hyperlinked bibliography for Homeland

Posted By Cory Doctorow

Jonathan Voß did me the kindness of adding hyperlinks to the afterword/bibliography for my 2013 novel Homeland. Thank you Jonathan! When I was a kid, facts were hard to come by. If you wanted to know how to hack a pay phone, you’d have to find someone else who knew how to do it, and... more

Sun, 23 Apr 2017 12:21:57 UTC

The Haunted Mansion Ghost Post wins a Themed Entertainment Award!

Posted By Cory Doctorow

When I wrote about the Haunted Mansion loot crates (“Ghost Post”) last March, what I couldn’t say was that I was the writer on the project, penning the radio scripts, newspapers, letters, and associated gubbins and scraps that went along with the three boxes of custom-made props and merch, tying them together into a series... more

Sat, 22 Apr 2017 20:43:39 UTC

Tensor Processing Unit

Posted By James Hamilton

For years Ive been saying that, as more and more workloads migrate to the cloud, the mass concentration of similar workloads make hardware acceleration a requirement rather than an interesting option. When twenty servers are working on a given task, it makes absolutely no sense to do specialized hardware acceleration. When one thousand servers are...

Sat, 22 Apr 2017 02:09:16 UTC

Fake URLs

Posted By Greg Lehey

Today I became aware of a new way to fake URLs: use Unicode. For example, https://www.xn--80ak6aa92e.com leads to a site whose URL displays as https://www.0@@Ï5.com/. It takes a lot of looking to realize that the 0 is Cyrillic 0 (0x430), not Latin a (0x61). The worrying thing is that it's really difficult to protect yourself against this stuff. The description at the link describes some of the issues. ACM only downloads articles once.

Fri, 21 Apr 2017 13:50:28 UTC

Walkaway Q&A: great debut novels, collections, and favorites

Posted By Cory Doctorow

With less than a week to go until the debut of Walkaway, my next novel for adults, Portland’s Powell’s Bookstore has run a long Q&A with me about the book, my writing habits, my favorite reads, and many other subjects. I’ll be at Powell’s on May 14 with Andy “Waxy” Baio as interlocutor — it’s... more

Fri, 21 Apr 2017 13:50:28 UTC

Walkaway Q&A: great debut novels, collections, and favorites

Posted By Cory Doctorow

With less than a week to go until the debut of Walkaway, my next novel for adults, Portland’s Powell’s Bookstore has run a long Q&A with me about the book, my writing habits, my favorite reads, and many other subjects. I’ll be at Powell’s on May 14 with Andy “Waxy” Baio as interlocutor — it’s... more

Fri, 21 Apr 2017 04:24:59 UTC

Android tablet recovered

Posted By Greg Lehey

Several months ago my Android tablet died. The battery wasn't charging, and it seems that that caused some failure requiring a complete tablet reset. And after that it was a brick. But then some months later, with the next Android pain, I found a way to restart the tablet without entering Android. It required use of the Start button, something that the tablet doesn't have, and also the volume controls. Messed around with the power and volume buttons, not helped by the glacial response times, and finally got into something that, without further ado, reformatted the flash memory and brought back a virgin Android system.

Thu, 20 Apr 2017 00:43:42 UTC

Internet's next victim

Posted By Greg Lehey

Two identical paper mail letters today, from ANZ bank: they're closing their Sebastopol branch due to lack of interest (Internet banking being the stated culprit). Another sign of the times. Time to write a signs of the times page. I suppose we'll get by relatively well as long as there's an ATM nearby. ACM only downloads articles once. It's possible that this article has changed since being downloaded, but the only way you can find out is by looking at the original article.

Wed, 19 Apr 2017 06:44:10 UTC

Tying up pain phones

Posted By Greg Lehey

Modern computer technology continues to amuse me. I suppose I shouldn't be so critical; in the Good Old Days, the idea of referring to the tangible parts of computers as hardware was mildly amusing (we also referred to musical instruments like that), and software even more so. But what's funny about smart (painful) phones? And why tie them up? From the OED: tether v. 3. To fasten or bind by conditions or circumstances; to bind so as to detain. In any case, Daniel Nebdal read yesterday's article on the subject, and offered: Just to save you some of the pain I've had with this: Bluetooth tethering is, like all things bluetooth, a neverending source of frustrations.

Tue, 18 Apr 2017 15:56:32 UTC

How Many Data Centers Needed World-Wide

Posted By James Hamilton

Last week Fortune asked Mark Hurd, Oracle co-CEO, how Oracle was going to compete in cloud computing when their capital spending came in at $1.7B whereas the aggregate spending of the three cloud players was $31B. Essentially the question was, if you assume the big three are spending roughly equally, how can $1.7B compete with...

Tue, 18 Apr 2017 02:28:20 UTC

Tethering?

Posted By Greg Lehey

One problem with my new laptop is that it doesn't have phone functionality, including networking over mobile telephone services. But then there's this new buzzword, tethering, which seems to imply connecting mobile phones to laptops, a sort of special-case network. Off to Google for android tether bluetooth and came up with many hits, all for much more recent versions. Finally I found this one related (relatively closely) to my phone. Followed through, and sure enough, it worked exactly as described, ending with the following, carefully programmed to go away before you can read it: No comment, but as far as I can tell the phone automatically turns off Bluetooth access after a short timeout.

Tue, 18 Apr 2017 00:12:11 UTC

More Microsoft space pain

Posted By Greg Lehey

More attempts today to integrate euroa, my Microsoft-based ThinkPad, into my network. After my failure to get anything useful out of Bitvise (a name which, I have decided, implies a vice rather than a Germanified wisdom), tried another one, freesshd. Like so many of these things, it doesn't come with adequate documentation. But together they just didn't work. There seems to be only the program FreeSSHd.exe, which on first start creates new keys (without asking), and allows a selection of the kind of authentication that it will accept. And then it started, spawning dozens of processes that wouldn't go away even when, in frustration, I removed it from the system.

Mon, 17 Apr 2017 19:00:06 UTC

Read: Chapter 3 of Walkaway, in which a university rises from the ashes

Posted By Cory Doctorow

There’s only 8 days until the publication of Walkaway (stil time to pre-order signed hardcovers: US, UK), and Tor.com has just published a sneak peek at chapter 3: “Takeoff.” I’m getting ready to hit the road and tour with the book: 20+ cities in the US and Canada are announced, with more to come in... more

Mon, 17 Apr 2017 19:00:06 UTC

Read: Chapter 3 of Walkaway, in which a university rises from the ashes

Posted By Cory Doctorow

There’s only 8 days until the publication of Walkaway (stil time to pre-order signed hardcovers: US, UK), and Tor.com has just published a sneak peek at chapter 3: “Takeoff.” I’m getting ready to hit the road and tour with the book: 20+ cities in the US and Canada are announced, with more to come in... more

Sun, 16 Apr 2017 23:10:55 UTC

ssh for Microsoft

Posted By Greg Lehey

In principle I want to be able to remap the keys on euroa, my physical laptop. But there's a warning that it may brick the machine if I accidentally remap keys that I need to use the machine. That can't happen on FreeBSD, because the key map isn't loaded until multiuser mode. But presumably there's an alternative: remote access to the machine. Can rdesktop do it? Hard to say: it does seem to apply some keyboard mapping. Can ssh do it? Probably, since it doesn't simulate the keyboard. PuTTY is the canonical implementation of ssh for Microsoft, and I've worked around its strangenesses in the past.

Sun, 16 Apr 2017 14:47:00 UTC

Forging the Finnish Spearhead from Rovaniemi, Marikkovaara: Part 3

Posted By Niels Provos

Sun, 16 Apr 2017 00:20:53 UTC

X on Microsoft

Posted By Greg Lehey

One of the really nice things about X is that it's a networked system. One solution for my X display on euboea might be to not run an X server on it at all, but on euroa, the host system, running Microsoft. Went looking and found xming and (maybe) VcXsrv, for which I found looping links and very little documentation. Downloaded xming and installed it. The setup menu offered me an empty server or an xterm, so I chose the latter. Fired up X, error message: xterm doesn't exist. OK, I can download it, but somehow I'm losing interest. One thing that did work was swapping the Fn and Ctrl keys on the laptop.

Sat, 15 Apr 2017 19:00:00 UTC

2017 Camera News

Posted By Tim Bray

Herewith some reportage on the most interesting cameras in the world, with opinions to provoke er entertain people who are up on this stuff, and a basic survey of the landscape for people who like pictures and wonder about cameras. Im an enthusiast photog (not remotely pro) and Ive noticed, over the years, when I write generally about whats up with cameras, I get notes from people saying thanks, that was interesting. I think I may have sold a few cameras over the years, even. Conclusions first Lets see if we can start some arguments. The most interesting cameras in the world right now are the new digital medium formats: Fujifilm GFX 50S, Pentax 645Z, and Hasselblad X1D.

Sat, 15 Apr 2017 00:22:49 UTC

Revisiting OzForex

Posted By Greg Lehey

I've been thinking of reducing my international currency fees for over two years now, but today I got mail about the matter: Date: Fri, 14 Apr 2017 02:59:31 +0000 From: Brandon Garcia <Brandon.Garcia@ofx.com> To: "groggyhimeself@lemis.com" <groggyhimdelf@lemis.com> Subject: Greg's diary & OFX AU I'm getting in touch because we recently re-branded from OzForex to OFX and we want to ensure the information on your website is updated so that it does not negatively affect user experience. We have found that some pages on your website Greg's diary is linking to our outdated website, so we kindly ask that the links are updated on this page: http://lemis.com/grog/diary-aug2014.php "He recommends Oz Forex," http://www.ozforex.com.au/ Change to: https://www.ofx.com/en-au/ "This page claims in a rather obfuscatory way that they give the best rates:" http://www.ozforex.com.au/personal/transfer-money Change to: https://www.ofx.com/en-au/send-money/ "But yes, this page describes exactly my scenario."

Fri, 14 Apr 2017 23:37:51 UTC

X on euboea

Posted By Greg Lehey

I really hadn't intended to do much more with my laptop euroa and euboea, but somehow it didn't turn out that way. In principle things are working, though I don't dare try to switch from wired to wireless networking, but I couldn't get X to display larger than 1024×768. Went looking and discovered, as expected, that it uses the vesa driver, which has always appeared to be limited to this resolution. But looking at the Xorg.log, it seems that the limitation was the (implicit) horizontal sync setting. In a VM that's meaningless anyway, so I set horizontal sync max to 200 kHz and added a 1600×900 mode to the xorg.conf.

Fri, 14 Apr 2017 19:00:00 UTC

JSONPath

Posted By Tim Bray

Or should be that be JsonPath? Whatever, its a tool Ive been using lately and generally like. But it could use a little work. The last project I worked on, Step Functions, has a JSON DSL for State Machines, which makes use of JSONPath (see Paths and Input and Output Procesing) to solve a tricky problem in a way that people seem to find easy to understand and use. Early on in that project we adopted the Jayway JsonPath library and it seems to mostly Just Work. But, weve had a few questions from customer along the lines of Your service rejected my InputPath, but it looks OK to me. Which raises the question: What is a legal JsonPath, anyhow?

Fri, 14 Apr 2017 02:08:04 UTC

eu*a: enough

Posted By Greg Lehey

As planned, changed the DNS entries for euboea and eureso today. That worked, though there are indications that the problem isn't as simple. But it's just too much pain. One day I may try again and see if I can get any further. On the other hand, revisiting X on euboea Just Worked, though I was limited to a resolution of 1024x768. The LCD screen on euroa is 1600x900, and it would be nice to be able to fill that. But I've had enough for the while. ACM only downloads articles once.

Thu, 13 Apr 2017 14:49:19 UTC

Airline Overbooking isnt Evil

Posted By James Hamilton

Airline overbooking isnt evil. In fact, if done properly, its good for airlines, good for customers, and good for the environment. Sold seats are clearly good for airlines and their shareholders. High utilization is good for customers because it reduces seat costs for airlines which normally operate at single digit profit margins. In the consumer...

Thu, 13 Apr 2017 02:44:09 UTC

Finding system names

Posted By Greg Lehey

Mail from Marco Pérez today: There may be an easy way to find Australian place names matching eu.*a. Try http://overpass-turbo.eu/, which is a front-end to the OpenStreetmap database. Pasting the following code in the editor and clicking "Run" (top left) should do the trick. [out:csv(place,name,::lat,::lon,"is_in:state")]; area["name:en"="Australia"]; node(area)[place~".*"][name~"^Eu.*a$"]; out; If you omit the first line you can even show the places on a map. Two buttons (top right) allow you to switch between the "Map" and the "Data" view.

Thu, 13 Apr 2017 00:49:15 UTC

euroa, day 3

Posted By Greg Lehey

By yesterday evening I had most things working on euroa, my new laptop. The only things remaining were automatic switching of network interfaces and running X on the VM. The X issues appear to be an additional port, emulators/virtualbox-ose-additions, which should be easy enough to handle, but it wasn't as important as the network connectivity, so I looked at that first. The real issue was that the ThinkVantage Tools, in this case Access Connections, wouldn't let me set static IP addresses with interface fallback, so I needed to update dhcpd to serve the same address. Does that even work? Looked at the man page, not the clearest document I've seen, and it took me a while to work out how to set it.

Wed, 12 Apr 2017 08:00:00 UTC

Coming to STATION F: The first Mentor's Office powered by AWS!

Posted By Werner Vogels

I am excited to announce that AWS is opening its first Mentor's Office at STATION F in Paris! The Mentor's Office is a workplace exclusively dedicated to meetings between AWS experts and the startups. STATION F is the world's biggest startup campus. With this special offer starting at the end of June, at the campus opening, AWS increases the support already available to startup customers in France. All year long, AWS experts will deliver technical and business assistance to startups based on campus. AWS Solutions Architects will meet startup members for face-to-face sessions, to share guidance on how cloud services can be used for their specific use cases, workloads, or applications.

Wed, 12 Apr 2017 02:24:02 UTC

Network fallback

Posted By Greg Lehey

euroa has three network interfaces: Ethernet, good for normal desktop use, 802.11 wireless, good for most of the rest of the time, and Bluetooth, which so far appears to be of no use at all. Is it maybe useful for tethering to a mobile phone? That would be useful, since the machine doesn't have any mobile phone connectivity. Normally the machine is on my desk in the office, but I want to be able to wander round the house and use it elsewhere. And that should be transparent: except for the network link (to the same network), everything should remain the same.

Wed, 12 Apr 2017 01:42:32 UTC

FreeBSD on VBox on Microsoft

Posted By Greg Lehey

First VBox. Why does it only offer 32 bit clients? Off to Google and found this page, which looked very relevant: a ThinkPad with recently installed SSD, just like euroa. Went through that and discovered that he was running Microsoft Windows 8.1, and that the corresponding settings don't exist on my Windows 7 Professional. But after finally managing to enter the BIOS (in the end, I think it's F2), I discovered that virtualization had been disabled. Enabled that, and all was well. But why? Don't you need virtualization for 32 bit clients? And why didn't VBox tell me? Next, copy the virtual disk for eureso and enable it.

Wed, 12 Apr 2017 01:36:02 UTC

More laptop fun

Posted By Greg Lehey

Yesterday's installation of euroa went surprisingly smoothly, but of course it's not done yet. In particular I have two items that I have never done before: a FreeBSD guest on a VirtualBox host on Microsoft Windows, and a way of keeping the same IP address for the Microsoft machine when moving between wired Ethernet and wireless 802.11. ACM only downloads articles once.

Tue, 11 Apr 2017 19:56:00 UTC

DNS as Code

Posted By Tom Limoncelli

StackOverflow has open sourced the DNS management system we've been using for years. I was the original author, and Craig Peterson has been writing most of the code lately. A blog post went live about the system here: Blog post: Introducing DnsControl - "DNS as Code" has Arrived My favorite part of DNSControl? We can switch between DNS providers faster than cyberthreads can take them down. Check it out if you manage DNS zones, use CloudFlare or Fast.ly CDNs, or just like to read Go (golang) code. Tom

Tue, 11 Apr 2017 02:11:49 UTC

Welcome euroa

Posted By Greg Lehey

Australia Post updated its tracking again today. Now it's in Wendouree (they got the sequence the wrong way round): Or is it? That's only part of the picture: It did ultimately update the tracking, showing that I picked it up at Napoleon after another miraculous transportation: Into town to pick up the laptop and the dog bath that I left at the Ballarat Pump Shop last week.

Mon, 10 Apr 2017 15:00:00 UTC

Review: Tivo BOLT+

Posted By Tom Limoncelli

The newest TiVo model is called the BOLT. I've been using TiVo since the first generation, back when it used a dial-up modem to download the tv guide listings and software updates. My how far we've come! If you have a TiVo already, the BOLT user interface looks and acts the same but everything is faster and better. There is a new feature that automatically skips commercials (if the TV show permits it), an a feature that plays shows at 30% faster speed, with pitch-correction. Everything is faster. This unit has more RAM and a faster CPU than any previous TiVo model, which really shows in the UI.

Mon, 10 Apr 2017 02:23:10 UTC

System names revisited

Posted By Greg Lehey

I have more or less decided on the system names euroa (Microsoft) and euboea (FreeBSD) for my new laptop, but it would be nice to find an Australian place name matching eu.*a instead of euboea. Discussing the matter after dinner, we didn't come to much in the way of results (I've already had eucla), but I did mention the existence of /usr/share/dict/web2 on FreeBSD. Checked on Chris' Apple. Yes, it's there too, and a partial output showed: $ grep ^eu.*a$ /usr/share/dict/web2 euphoria euthanasia Now wouldn't that be a good choice for FreeBSD and Microsoft respectively?

Mon, 10 Apr 2017 02:12:37 UTC

Unmounting disks, Microsoft style

Posted By Greg Lehey

Chris Bahlo gave me a Microsoft-formatted disk to copy some data for her, so plugged it into dischord and copied the data. OK, how do I umount it? Must be some right-button menu. But I couldn't find it. As expected, umount is spelt eject in Microsoft, but of course there's no program called EJECT. Off to Google, which showed that this is a problem, but that there should, indeed, be an eject item in the right mouse menu. Why wasn't it there? I didn't have time to look. We had lost power, and it seemed like a good idea to shut down the machine anyway, so that's what I did.

Sun, 09 Apr 2017 03:23:33 UTC

Where's my laptop?, part 4

Posted By Greg Lehey

Checking the tracking for my laptop, I find the interesting information from Australia Post: Current Status: In transit Processed through Australia Post facility 8:30pm Fri 7 Apr Sunshine West, VIC And that's the only tracking entry! Somehow on Monday it disappeared from Fastway's tracking system and materialized four days later in Australia Post's system and 800 km away without any indication how, where or when.

Sat, 08 Apr 2017 02:26:43 UTC

Your Microsoft box threatened!

Posted By Greg Lehey

While doing some photo processing on dischord, my Microsoft box, found this unsolicited popup: I didn't ask for that. Where did it come from? It seems to have correctly identified itself as a threat. But should I allow it to try to remove itself? ACM only downloads articles once.

Sat, 08 Apr 2017 02:26:01 UTC

Your Apple disabled!

Posted By Greg Lehey

After resetting my iPhone prior to shipment, received a typically stupid email: Date: Thu, 6 Apr 2017 03:16:39 +0000 (GMT) From: Find My iPhone To: groggyhimself@lemis.com Subject: Find My iPhone has been disabled on Greg 's iPhone Find My iPhone has been disabled on Greg 's iPhone With Find My iPhone disabled, this device can no longer be located, placed in lost mode, or remotely erased using icloud.com/find or the Find My iPhone iOS app.

Sat, 08 Apr 2017 02:25:50 UTC

eBay labels: the truth

Posted By Greg Lehey

To the post office to post the iPhone. No, Australia post does not provide a satchel. The label states 500g satchel, but I have to provide it myself: further proof that the eBay documentation is inadequate. Fortunately I had put the items in a small box to take them to the post office, so I was able to stick the label on that and send it with no further problems. But yet another POLA violation. ACM only downloads articles once.

Sat, 08 Apr 2017 02:25:39 UTC

You have funds!

Posted By Greg Lehey

Another mail message from PayPal today: From service@paypal.com.au Fri Apr 7 00:40:05 2017 Date: Thu, 06 Apr 2017 07:38:14 -0700 To: Greg Lehey <groggyhimself@lemis.com> From: "service@paypal.com.au" <service@paypal.com.au> The funds from this eBay payment are now available. Check your Transaction Details ( https://www.paypal.com/myaccount/transaction/details/mumble ) for more information. And yes, the spaces round the parentheses are original, presumably to indicated that this message really came from PayPal. So: we have three different statements from PayPal.

Fri, 07 Apr 2017 18:59:31 UTC

Hollywood doesn't understand software

Posted By Tom Limoncelli

Hollywood doesn't understand software. Not, at least, as well as high-tech companies do. This is very frustrating. Bad software keeps wrecking my entertainment experience. I'm currently writing an article and I need to come up with a term that means software that was written by old-school (historically non-technology) companies just so they can say "Look! we made an app! Will you shut up, now?!" as opposed to software that has great fit and finish, gets updated regularly, and stays current. My favorite example of this is the CBS streaming software. It seems like it was written just to shut up people that have been asking to stream NCIS, not because CBS actually wants to be in the streaming business.

Fri, 07 Apr 2017 16:00:00 UTC

Back-to-Basics Weekend Reading: Twenty years of functional MRI: The science and the stories.

Posted By Werner Vogels

I will be returning this weekend to the US from a very successful AWS Summit in Sydney, so I have ample time to read during travels. This weekend however I would like to take a break from reading historical computer science material, to catch up on another technology I find fascinating, that of functional Magnetic Resonace Imaging, aka fMRI. fMRI is a functional imagine technology, meaning that it just records the state of the brain at one particular point in time, but the changing state over a period of time. The basic technology records brain activity by measuring changes in blood flow through the brain.

Fri, 07 Apr 2017 04:52:27 UTC

Living in the Internet age

Posted By Greg Lehey

Interesting article in the Washington Post today: another US retailer bites the dust. But it's not unknown, and it's not the first. Companies like Macy's and J. C. Penney are also affected. The reason is clear: online shopping. Three years ago I wrote an essay on the subject, in which I wrote: Most purchases will occur on-line, and the few remaining shops will mainly exist to order and supply goods available on the Internet. The exceptions will be fresh goods such as food and some services where a view of the items in advance is desired, such as some clothes.

Fri, 07 Apr 2017 04:18:44 UTC

eBay fraud attempt

Posted By Greg Lehey

I suspect that one thing that helped me sell my iPhone was the buyer in Ipoh, who didn't seem quite kosher. Today he confirmed my opinion. At 11:40 I got the message: I will need your paypal email to make the payment. Wrong! Firstly, it's not correct procedure. And secondly the item was sold 17 hours previously. Time to report to eBay. But how? Their web people haven't thought of that. In the end I had yet another phone call, where they were certainly interested, and did something about it. But that sort of thing happens all the time.

Fri, 07 Apr 2017 03:42:39 UTC

Where's my laptop?

Posted By Greg Lehey

So my laptop was sent by Fastway on Monday. It should be here by now. What does the tracking show? Three days and no update? Time to call them up. Submit online enquiry? I suppose I could try that, but it wanted me to fill out no less than 25 fields, including stuff like mobile phone numbers and address of sender. Far too much trouble. So let's call them up. There's a Courier locator on their web site: No list, of course, and if there had been, it would have had only one entry.

Fri, 07 Apr 2017 03:26:04 UTC

Events, eBay style

Posted By Greg Lehey

How do I send the iPhone? eBay have a number of shipping options, as usual not very well documented. It seems that the obvious one is the pre-paid satchel. Does that really cover all costs? There's nothing that gives me that warm, fuzzy feeling. But it does say that the costs are covered, so I selected 500 g satchel. OK, $7.35, about the same price as an Australia Post satchel, and it did say that the postage cost was covered. So I printed one out, and got a message confirming the fact. Looked at the item status. Shipped! Nonsense! How can they think that printing the label equates to shipping?

Fri, 07 Apr 2017 03:26:00 UTC

PayPal communication

Posted By Greg Lehey

While messing around on the PayPal web site, found a reply to the message I sent six weeks ago, pointing out that they hadn't deducted any money from my account. Did they call me? Of course not. Did they send email? No. Instead what I got was a message accessible only from their web site: From: stkana4-ANZ Questions regarding bank reversals 26/02/2017 at 4:05 pm Thanks for contacting us. Based on your selection, the following FAQs may assist you faster than we can: A. Why did my bank return the random deposits?

Fri, 07 Apr 2017 02:52:05 UTC

PayPal pain again?

Posted By Greg Lehey

It really annoyed me that PayPal wants to keep my money for 21 days. The reasons didn't make sense: This could be that you are [sic] still yet to meet eBay's selling and PayPal's risk standards. What does could mean? If they don't know for sure, they shouldn't withhold funds. And yet? I've been an eBay customer since 3 July 1999 and a PayPal customer since 13 December 2001. And I've sold things before without this nonsense. Fought my way through the PayPal web site to https://www.paypal.com/au/selfhelp/contact/call to get a contact code, and spoke to Eson (if I got the spelling right), another non-native English speaker who appears to have learnt American English from an audio course with 1940s quality audio, and thus grated to a point that I could barely understand her.

Thu, 06 Apr 2017 02:47:19 UTC

Selling iPhones

Posted By Greg Lehey

Question about the iPhone I have on sale today: I'm interested in your item, so I will offer you AU $320.00, including shipping cost, make payment via paypal and then send it to Malaysia within 4 to 6 days. Thanks and best regards. What sounds fishy about that? I don't know, but something does. Maybe: why does he want this particular iPhone when he can get it cheaper in Malaysia? But the price offered was $35 more than my Buy it Now price, and it would cost me about $28 to send it, so the answer is a clear: Yes, I can do this.

Wed, 05 Apr 2017 18:33:19 UTC

New season of Archer starts tonight!

Posted By Tom Limoncelli

The new season of Archer starts tonight. You're welcome.

Wed, 05 Apr 2017 10:37:44 UTC

How optimistic disaster stories can save us from dystopia

Posted By Cory Doctorow

I’ve got an editorial in this month’s Wired magazine about the relationship between the science fiction stories we read and our real-world responses to disasters: Disasters Dont Have to End in Dystopias; it’s occasioned by the upcoming publication of my “optimistic disaster novel” Walkaway (pre-order signed copies: US/UK; read excerpts: Chapter 1, Chapter 2; US/Canada... more

Wed, 05 Apr 2017 10:37:44 UTC

How optimistic disaster stories can save us from dystopia

Posted By Cory Doctorow

I’ve got an editorial in this month’s Wired magazine about the relationship between the science fiction stories we read and our real-world responses to disasters: Disasters Dont Have to End in Dystopias; it’s occasioned by the upcoming publication of my “optimistic disaster novel” Walkaway (pre-order signed copies: US/UK; read excerpts: Chapter 1, Chapter 2; US/Canada... more

Tue, 04 Apr 2017 23:58:25 UTC

eureso will find

Posted By Greg Lehey

A number of system installations are looming: now that I have given up on MythTV, the machine is going begging, and the obvious thing to do is to use it to replace tiwi, since it has more much-needed CPU power. But the system on tiwi is over a year old, and there are some ports conflicts. So I should first install a newer version on the new machine. Then eureka (25 November 2015) and lagoon (8 July 2016) are also in need of updating. And then there's my new laptop, which claims to have been sent last Friday but in fact was sent yesterday evening, and about which Fastway knows no more.

Tue, 04 Apr 2017 21:48:28 UTC

At Scale, Rare Events arent Rare

Posted By James Hamilton

I’m a connoisseur of failure. I love reading about engineering failures of all forms and, unsurprisingly, I’m particularly interested in data center faults. It’s not that I delight in engineering failures. My interest is driven by believing that the more faults we all understand, the more likely we can engineer systems that don’t suffer from...

Tue, 04 Apr 2017 07:00:00 UTC

Välkommen till Stockholm  An AWS Region is coming to the Nordics

Posted By Werner Vogels

Today, I am very excited to announce our plans to open a new AWS Region in the Nordics! The new region will give Nordic-based businesses, government organisations, non-profits, and global companies with customers in the Nordics, the ability to leverage the AWS technology infrastructure from data centers in Sweden. The new AWS EU (Stockholm) Region will have three Availability Zones and will be ready for customers to use in 2018. Over the past decade, we have seen tremendous growth at AWS. As a result, we have opened 42 Availability Zones across 16 AWS Regions worldwide. Last year, we opened new regions in Canada, India, Korea, the UK, and the US.

Tue, 04 Apr 2017 00:31:16 UTC

Android: New POLA

Posted By Greg Lehey

Now that the iPhone is on its way out, I'm left with the old Samsung GT-I9100T (Galaxy S2?) . And as I rantcommented last week, the interface is really strange. Why does the camera go away when I swipe the screen? Ah, I don't know what swipe means. Well, somebody doesn't. I've already commented on the OEDs descriptions. But of course all this stuff comes from US English. What's their dictionary? Webster. According to Google, No other dictionary matches M-W's accuracy and scholarship in defining word meanings. Our pronunciation help, synonyms, usage and grammar tips set the ..., though their site doesn't make this claim, possibly hidden by broken rendering.

Sun, 02 Apr 2017 23:14:02 UTC

Selling on eBay: the pain

Posted By Greg Lehey

After a lot of consideration, I've ordered a second-hand ThinkPad T430, which cost me $295. Time to sell my iPhone. Took a few photos and off to eBay to sell it. In the past I've had much pain fighting their postage specifications, which invariably put in the incorrect sums, requiring me to go to the equally emetic Australia Post website, so this time decided that it was just plain simpler to offer free postage within Australia. On the positive side, they now have estimates of what the item should bring, at least in the case of the iPhone: $285. That's nearly what the laptop cost.

Sat, 01 Apr 2017 23:17:33 UTC

Goodbye TV

Posted By Greg Lehey

No German news on TV today! Whose fault is that? It comes from SBS, with a charter for multiculturalism, broadcasts news programmes in many languages, as long as there's nothing more important, like football at the other end of the (English-speaking) world. So I've come to accept that I don't get any news on Sundays. But today was Saturday, and they should have broadcast at least the first half of the Der Tag programme (they don't seem to have noticed that the programme was recently extended from 30 to 60 minutes). So I checked; they did. But my MythTV box with the stupid name greg-GA-MA785GT-UD3H didn't record it.

Sat, 01 Apr 2017 02:46:04 UTC

100 best things to do in Germany

Posted By Greg Lehey

Mail from Jen Miller today: Dear Editor, I was searching the web for information on Germany and saw your great post here: http://www.lemis.com/grog/diary-feb2017.php. I noticed you mentioned https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Germany in your post, and just wanted to give you a heads up that I recently wrote a blog post you might like. Itâ¬"s a detailed, up-to-date 7,000 word guide on the 100 best things to do in Germany and is packed with detailed tips and advice.

Sat, 01 Apr 2017 02:12:47 UTC

DxO cannot start

Posted By Greg Lehey

After restarting dischord, I wanted to run DxO Optics Pro: that's about the only thing I use it for. And I got an error message, one that I've seen before, something like DxO Optics Pro is unable to start: this is usually becase DirectX 9 is not installed. Did I have disk corruption after all? No, it's just fake news. The real issue was that the system was very busy after startup, and something timed out. And instead of checking, the error routine just jumped to conclusions. Sloppy programming. ACM only downloads articles once.

Sat, 01 Apr 2017 02:04:46 UTC

Recovering despair

Posted By Greg Lehey

despair, my Microsoft box, is usually hibernated, and it recovers completely from power failures while hibernated (one advantage of Microsoft). But it seems that I had forgotten to hibernate it last night, and it failed badly on recovery: it wanted Startup Repair. What's that? It claimed to be able to do it by itself, so I let it go. Something like 5 minutes, apparently without disk access. And then it rebooted, and all was well. I suppose that's good news, but I'd feel more comfortable understanding what it did and what the risks are. ACM only downloads articles once.

Sat, 01 Apr 2017 01:43:23 UTC

Power out!

Posted By Greg Lehey

Into the office this morning, pressed on the keyboard to wake the computer, and ... nothing. On further examination, everything was dead. Another power failure? No, I had already washed, requiring water from the pump, and that ran fine. But the office UPS was dead. Component failure? Turned it on again and things came backfor a while. Then it died again. OK, connect the computer to the power point for the UPS in the shed. Also dead. But the lights were working, and they ran off the same UPS. Into the garage. Two circuit breakers had tripped: one for normal power (the one that fed the office UPS), and the fourth of the four from the in-shed UPS.