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

Postings for December 2017:  (25 posts)
Thu, 14 Dec 2017 20:23:11 UTC

An 8th graders brilliant trailer for Walkaway

Posted By Cory Doctorow

Thu, 14 Dec 2017 20:00:00 UTC

The Last JSON Spec

Posted By Tim Bray

The IETF just published RFC 8259 (also known as STD 90). Editor, yr humble servant. The legacy-ASCII full text is here and Ill link a nice-looking HTML version from here sometime in the next day or two. I think this is the last specification of JSON that anyone will ever publish. The story of how we got to RFC 7159, this RFCs predecessor, is told in JSON Redux AKA RFC7159 and I wont re-tell it. The reason 8259 exists is that the ECMAScript gang went and wrote their own extremely minimal spec, Standard ECMA-404: The JSON Data Interchange Syntax, and there was reason for concern over dueling standards.

Thu, 14 Dec 2017 05:16:31 UTC

Bloody connectors!, part 4

Posted By Greg Lehey

Connecting the TV to the network involved adding a switch in the lounge room: That went easily enough, but later I discovered that copying image files from eureka went at a snail's pace. A quick examination with netstat -biIem0 1 confirmed. Here first with the switch connected, then disconnected and teevee connected directly to the wall socket:     The fourth column is the number of bytes input per second.

Thu, 14 Dec 2017 05:01:19 UTC

Vultures available!

Posted By Greg Lehey

Two weeks ago I tried to set up a server with Vultr, only to be told that there were none available at my chosen location (Frankfurt/Main). So I put myself on a please notify list. But the following day I discovered that they were available after all, and set up a machine quite rapidly. But vultrs don't forget, it seems. Today I received an email: Date: Tue, 12 Dec 2017 17:35:23 -0500 (EST) From: [email protected] To: [email protected] Subject: - Deploy in Frankfurt! has added additional capacity in our Frankfurt location!

Thu, 14 Dec 2017 02:20:00 UTC

Configuring new TV

Posted By Greg Lehey

OK, let's configure the new TV. Where's the configuration menu? There seem to be four different ways to access parts of the configuration.

Thu, 14 Dec 2017 01:46:34 UTC

Bloody connectors!, part 1

Posted By Greg Lehey

Took advantage of the power outage to finally install the new 4 TB disk drive in eureka. The good news is that the reboot worked with no trouble. Services that still require manual start are: mailtunnel, set up an ssh tunnel to the external server, since Aussie Broadband block outgoing port 25. linkcheck, a script which checks network connectivity. wh1080, which runs the weather station software. Yes, there are probably ways to get them started automatically, but that would require thinking, and there are some non-obvious issues involved, like loading ssh keys.

Wed, 13 Dec 2017 21:59:11 UTC

Net Neutrality is only complicated because monopolists are paying to introduce doubt

Posted By Cory Doctorow

My op-ed in New Internationalist, Dont break the 21st century nervous system, seeks to cut through the needless complexity in the Net Neutrality debate, which is as clear-cut as climate change or the link between smoking and cancer — and, like those subjects, the complexity is only there because someone paid to introduce it. When... more

Tue, 12 Dec 2017 23:24:06 UTC

A new TV

Posted By Greg Lehey

My TV has been giving me problems: from time to time, when I turn it on, it runs for a minute or so and then hangs hard, requiring a physical power off to continue. But today, even that didn't help, and to watch the news in the afternoon I put a normal computer monitor in its place. What do I do now? I bought this TV 4½ years ago, my first ever digital TV. And like the three projectors before it, I really only need it as a monitor: the interface to real TVs was just too fiddly. It has a 58" 1920x1080 (Full HD) display, and I was estimating that it would last 4 years, by which time 3840x2160 (UHD) would be the norm.

Tue, 12 Dec 2017 22:47:56 UTC

New Hugin

Posted By Greg Lehey

A new beta version of Hugin is out. Built it today, and it just worked, once I rebuilt the pkg-plist file (a good thing we have make makelist). 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.

Tue, 12 Dec 2017 22:40:54 UTC

Zerene stacker on FreeBSD

Posted By Greg Lehey

I have already established that Zerene will install on FreeBSD. But will it run? In principle if a program that runs on Linux installs on FreeBSD, it will run too. So I tried it out, in the process tripping over a few nits. Yes, it runs, loads files, displays them. But then I got an unexpected surprise while trying to stack them: That's more than just an adaptation issue. Something to do with locking? It could be complicated. A good thing I don't have to rely on the functionality.

Tue, 12 Dec 2017 19:49:34 UTC

DevOpsDays New York City 2018 Speakers Announced!

Posted By Tom Limoncelli

Exciting news from the D-O-D-NYC committee! Speakers announced. Wow! I've never seen such an amazing lineup of speakers! The best of the best. The committee this year was flooded with so many amazing proposals but sadly it is a 2-day conference so they had to be very selective. Who benefits? You! Early bird discount ends on Friday. Register soon and save! DevOpsDays-NYC 2018 is Thu/Fri January 18-19, 2018 in midtown Manhattan. Easy to get to via all forms of public transportation. For more information:

Tue, 12 Dec 2017 04:00:00 UTC

Expanding the AWS Cloud: Introducing the AWS China (Ningxia) Region

Posted By Werner Vogels

Today, I am happy to announce the general availability of AWS China (Ningxia) Region, operated by Ningxia Western Cloud Data Technology Co. Ltd. (NWCD). This is our 17th Region globally, and the second in China. To comply with China's legal and regulatory requirements, AWS has formed a strategic technology collaboration with NWCD to operate and provide services from the AWS China (Ningxia) Region. Founded in 2015, NWCD is a licensed data center and cloud services provider, based in Ningxia, China. Coupled with the AWS China (Beijing) Region operated by Sinnet, the AWS China (Ningxia) Region, operated by NWCD, serves as the foundation for new cloud initiatives in China, especially in Western China.

Mon, 11 Dec 2017 01:52:50 UTC

Buying Zerene

Posted By Greg Lehey

My experiments with focus stacking software last month made it clear that I should buy Zerene and not Helicon Focus. And today I needed to do so: my 30 days free trial were up. So off to the Zerene web site, where they asked me for $89, as advertisedand $8.90 GST! Why that? Imported stuff under $1,000 is (still) free of tax. Sent an email asking why, and half an hour later got an answer from the author, Rik Littlefield, explaining the situation, after having checked the ATO web site. He didn't find the $1,000 limit (that's here), but did note that it didn't apply to companies with a turnover less than $75,000 per annum, so he issued an invoice without tax, and with a 10% Christmas rebate that hadn't made it to the web site.

Fri, 08 Dec 2017 01:46:56 UTC

More Exif investigations

Posted By Greg Lehey

I've been pondering on how to analyse the Exif data from my camera for nearly two weeks now. It's not easy. Today I went back to my investigations of March 2016, which were incompletely noted. It seems that the hacks I described there were against /usr/local/lib/perl5/site_perl/Image/ExifTool/ I still don't understand the format, and clearly some of it is wrong, but even so, they had one advantage: they show which tags exist, along with some representation of them. OK, how about a shotgun? For all potential tags between 0x300 and 0x3ff, just add a line like:     0x333 => { Name => 'Focus333',   Writeable => 'int16u' }, That completely ignores data types, but it will at least find the tags and give some representation.

Thu, 07 Dec 2017 02:06:37 UTC

MediathekView bugs

Posted By Greg Lehey

As I said a few days ago, I've been using MediathekView for some months now, and parts of it are excellent. But in the last day or two it stopped listing Abo (short for Abonnement, subscription) programmes. I've been wondering why, and today I spent quite a bit of time reinstalling and comparing configuration files. It's interesting to look at what the ~/.mediathekview3 directory looks like after it has been running for a while: === [email protected] (/dev/pts/47) ~/.mediathek3 5 -> l -rw-r--r--  1 grog  lemis       80,929  4 Dec 11:07 downloadAbos.txt -rw-r--r--  1 grog  lemis  133,820,824  5 Dec 18:19 filme.json -rw-r--r--  1 grog  lemis      112,747  4 Dec 13:01 history.txt ...

Tue, 05 Dec 2017 23:23:47 UTC

Powerline Ethernet revisited

Posted By Greg Lehey

Jamie Fraser has bought some second-hand powerline Ethernet adapters. I've been there before and had very poor results. But was that maybe due to the power wiring in Kleins Road? I still have a couple (why did I keep them?) , so I tried it out today, moving a file from eureka to teevee. The result? 935,505,198 bytes transfered in 9 minutes, 11 seconds. That's 1.7 MB/s, or 13.6 Mb/s, marginally more than half the capacity of my external Internet link, and about 2.7% of the claimed speed of 500 Mb/s. At least I have confirmed my opinion that they're useless unless connectivity is the most important factor.

Tue, 05 Dec 2017 23:19:26 UTC

Fastest camera wireless connection

Posted By Greg Lehey

I've noted my disappointment with the wireless performance of the Olympus OM-D E-M1 four years ago today, as it happens. Is this just Olympus' fault? It seems not. This article presents the fastest ever (blazing fast) wireless controller for a camera: 10 Mb/s! At that speed, it would take nearly 20 seconds per image to transfer photos across the network. Clearly more development is needed. ACM only downloads articles once.

Tue, 05 Dec 2017 22:53:04 UTC

Field monitor, take 2

Posted By Greg Lehey

Why doesn't my new Field monitor display the viewfinder image? Last week I was only able to display images that I had already taken, though I noticed discrepancies in the instructions. So I've been planning to research further, and today I finally got around to it. And how about that, I found this video showing almost exactly what I was looking for, using an Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II. It's a marginally different monitor, and the first quarter of the 13 minute clip is spent raving over the packaging. But finally he shows the camera doing exactly what I want it to do.

Sun, 03 Dec 2017 23:37:43 UTC

More video download alternatives

Posted By Greg Lehey

I've been using MediathekView for some months now, and parts of it are excellent. But there are a number of issues: It only shows the programmes for the past month. That's the maximum; it defaults to two weeks. And there's no good reason: it has older programme data, but you can't access it directly. There's a different view for series, where the time limit doesn't apply, and it shows that (currently) the programme data goes back decades: the oldest date is March 1978, and from about 2005 on there are multiple programmes.

Sun, 03 Dec 2017 00:54:08 UTC

Hugin: classic aliasing

Posted By Greg Lehey

While doing my house photos today, I ran into a particularly bad mismatch in a control point. On closer examination, I discovered that it's a bug, not a feature: I wonder how to fix that. ACM only downloads articles once.

Sun, 03 Dec 2017 00:39:15 UTC

More work in Frankfurt/Main

Posted By Greg Lehey

Yesterday's installation of, my virtual machine in Frankfurt am Main went very smoothly. It does what I want it to, but I'm sure it could do more. The obvious first thing to do is to bring the system up to date. Checking out the source tree was nice and fast, but the build itself took forever. There's only one CPU, which claims of itself: CPU: Virtual CPU 714389bda930 (2400.11-MHz K8-class CPU)   Origin="GenuineIntel"  Id=0x306c1  Family=0x6  Model=0x3c  Stepping=1   Features=0x783fbff<FPU,VME,DE,PSE,TSC,MSR,PAE,MCE,CX8,APIC,SEP,MTRR,PGE,MCA,CMOV,PAT,PSE36,MMX,FXSR,SSE,SSE2>   Features2=0xfffa3203<SSE3,PCLMULQDQ,SSSE3,FMA,CX16,PCID,SSE4.1,SSE4.2,x2APIC,MOVBE,POPCNT,TSCDLT,AESNI,XSAVE,OSXSAVE,AVX,F16C,RDRAND,HV>   AMD Features=0x28100800<SYSCALL,NX,RDTSCP,LM>   AMD Features2=0x21<LAHF,ABM>   Structured Extended Features=0x728<BMI1,AVX2,BMI2,ERMS,INVPCID>   XSAVE Features=0x1<XSAVEOPT> Hypervisor: Origin = "KVMKVMKVM" real memory  = 1073741824 (1024 MB) That's significantly different from www, which claims: XEN: Hypervisor version 4.4 detected.

Sat, 02 Dec 2017 03:03:57 UTC

The vultrs are coming

Posted By Greg Lehey

While writing yesterday's diary entries, checked the Vultr web site, not made easier by the fact that they give me a different view of the world if I log in: my current machines (none, of course). But somewhere down the bottom of the page I found a Deploy link. OK, give me a machine in Frankfurt am Main. Can do! And indeed I set up a machine running FreeBSD 11 with surprisingly little difficulty or documentation. How do you set up a completely new remote machine? I was given ssh access Something like: Get root password from the web site.

Sat, 02 Dec 2017 03:00:52 UTC

We have radiation!

Posted By Greg Lehey

The Dereel Facebook community lit up today: the second radiation tower (Telstra mobile phones) is active. We now have coverage, though some people have reported that things aren't significantly better. I don't see us using our mobile phones significantly moreit's much more expensive than VoIPbut it would certainly be useful if the National Broadband Network fails Yet Again ACM only downloads articles once.

Fri, 01 Dec 2017 20:00:00 UTC

Dark Vegas

Posted By Tim Bray

I spent four nights in Las Vegas while at re:Invent. The citys daytime aspect is kind of flat and low-contrast because who cares what it looks like then? Photographers there come out like vampires after dark. I took along the ludicrous Achromat lens for the sparklies, so got em if ya want em. Also hotel, music, and venue recommendations you wont want to miss. Lets start with the sparklies. That lens sure is fun. Not to mention the effect when you tell your table-mates you brought along your Las Vegas Lens and pull a whole lot of tubular gleaming brass out of your bag.

Fri, 01 Dec 2017 00:48:08 UTC

Vultures in Frankfurt?

Posted By Greg Lehey

For various reasons I need a web presence in Germany. A proxy would do it, if I could find everything I need like that. But then Jamie Fraser came up with Vultr, a provider of really cheap virtual machines. I already use one with RootBSD, and I'm happy with them. But they're not in Germany, and I pay $35 a month. Vultr offers VMs (with FreeBSD) for as little as $2.50 per month, though they would charge more than RootBSD for the configuration that I have there. OK, take a look. Before anything happens, they want my credit card number. After recent experiences, I preferred PayPal, where I had to pay $10 up front.