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Postings for February 2018:  (57 posts)
Sat, 24 Feb 2018 20:00:00 UTC

SotD: Cream

Posted By Tim Bray

This my fave Prince song, by a mile. I suspect that makes me a heretic, and is also wildly inconsistent because its got none of his guitar shredding on it, which almost makes me grin ear-to-era. But its a pure pop gem, a thing no song should ever apologize for in any company no matter how august. I am in no way a Prince-ologist. I never managed to catch a live show, but wouldnt have missed the chance. What else can I say? His Super Bowl half-time show was maybe the most intense ten minutes of music by anybody ever. To quote myself on the day: I get the feeling that Prince decided some heavy rain would help his visuals and he had so much mojo going into this particular Sunday that God took his call and set it up. I hated most of his slow-jam moaners, and the extra-stupid ...

Sat, 24 Feb 2018 01:47:36 UTC

Server down!

Posted By Greg Lehey

Mail from Callum Gibson this evening, telling me that I (my proxy) had disappeared off the IRC channel. Strange. The proxy bip, runs on the external web server www.lemis.com. It occasionally hangs (I think there's a file descriptor leak somewhere), but I had just restarted it. Off to take a look: === [email protected] (/dev/pts/1) ~ 1 -> uptime 11:13AM  up  6:22, 2 users, load averages: 0.58, 0.59, 0.52 The server had gone down again! That's the second time this year. Somehow RootBSD is not what it used to be.

Sat, 24 Feb 2018 00:24:39 UTC

Offensive code of conduct

Posted By Greg Lehey

It's no secret that I'm opposed to codes of conduct, specific interpretations of what the codifiers see as good behaviour. Apart from the fact that there are too many of them, all with loopholes and inconsistencies, they shouldn't be necessary in the first place. Six years ago I decided against attending linux.conf.au (seasonal URL) because of their insistence on a code. Two years ago I noted a perceived issue with the FreeBSD Code of Conduct, requiring (in their view) an overhaul of the code. Now it's there, and we had a long discussion (as it happened, started by myself, though I didn't stay in the thread for long).

Fri, 23 Feb 2018 20:00:00 UTC

SotD: Spinning Centers

Posted By Tim Bray

This is from Unknown Rooms, a very beautiful collection by Chelsea Wolfe. Its a little unusual for this series in that its hardly a song all, just a floating, ethereal musical moment three minutes and nine seconds long. But you wont regret listening to it. The cover of Hiss Spun, her latest as of this writing. Im at risk of misrepresenting Ms Wolfe here; this may be floaty acoustic loveliness, but shes mostly a hard-edged electro-goth drone doomster. If you go to a show (which I recommend), expect a lot of dim lights and guitar roor. Having said that, the roaring dimness will have tons of musical integrity, just as the glowing light of Spinning Centers does.

Fri, 23 Feb 2018 02:16:59 UTC

FreeBSD: how stable

Posted By Greg Lehey

Discussion of my recent panic on IRC this morning, and John Marshall expressed surprise that I was running FreeBSD-STABLE on my machines. Why? That's the most stable version. But not according to John: jrm: huh. grog uses -STABLE. groggyhimself: Is that good, bad or ugly? callum: I would consider it sensible groggyhimself: My thoughts too.  I was wondering what jrm was thinking. jrm: it was an observation jrm: my understanding was never to use -STABLE unless it was absoutely necessary jrm: as it is anything but 'stable' - and is not even guaranteed to compile - despite its name.

Fri, 23 Feb 2018 01:20:40 UTC

HDR Express: still no luck

Posted By Greg Lehey

My previous attempts with HDR Express 3 were less than successful. But OK, since I can't comfortably access their manual (it can only be displayed from the running program!) , I was going by what seemed to make sense, not necessarily what you should do with Microsoft-based programs. And then it occurred to me: I had come to this program because of a book, The HDRI Handbook 2.0, by Christian Bloch. The obvious thing (apart from the discrepancy in version numbers) would be to follow the instructions there. Went to some trouble (connecting a DVI cable from dischord to my right-hand monitor) to be able to start the program on dischord, something that I hadn't been able to do before because of the rdesktop bug.

Thu, 22 Feb 2018 20:00:00 UTC

SotD: Submission

Posted By Tim Bray

Submission was a late addition to (most versions of) Never Mind the Bollocks, Heres the Sex Pistols, which anyone will tell you is Culturally Important. But mostly its just a really great rock song, which reveals that in among being Culturally Important, the Pistols were a highly competent and heavily rehearsed hard-rock band. Note: The picture above is inaccurate because Sid Vicious bass parts werent usable on Never Mind the Bollocks; the (pretty decent) bass youre hearing is by guitarist Steve Jones. Most people reading this are probably way too young to remember what a big deal the Sex Pistols were.

Thu, 22 Feb 2018 00:31:27 UTC

nVidia pain, next step

Posted By Greg Lehey

I've had a lot of pain with the nvidia driver for FreeBSD lately: first the performance bug I experienced last month, and then yesterday's panic. The two are not completely unrelated: as the result of the performance issue, I'm using an old version of the driver. Could it be that only this driver causes problems? In any case, I had a rather strange request from the person handling the driver bug: Can we get video showing performance drop when only single display is connected to the gpu?

Wed, 21 Feb 2018 20:00:00 UTC

SotD: Walk Like an Egyptian

Posted By Tim Bray

By The Bangles; OK, one of the most cheerful songs ever recorded, with a hilarious video. But its got a good beat, you could dance to it. And at 50° North Latitude where I live, well take any February smiles we can get. Seriously, listen to the song, watch the video, youll smile, how could that not be a good thing? Even better, stand up and do the dance around the office. What can I say? The band is tight, the vocals and harmonies are razor-sharp, the guitar sound is good. Playing this kind of music at this tempo is tough; they knew what they were doing.

Wed, 21 Feb 2018 05:36:46 UTC

Panic!

Posted By Greg Lehey

Updated the system on teevee today, as I do about once a month. The last time was: FreeBSD teevee.lemis.com 11.1-STABLE FreeBSD 11.1-STABLE #2 r327971: Mon Jan 15 10:55:53 AEDT 2018     [email protected]:/home/obj/eureka/home/src/FreeBSD/svn/stable/11/sys/GENERIC  amd64 Nothing very interesting there, which is why I almost never mention it. Today it finished, I rebooted, went away briefly, and came back in time to see the system displaying: reboot after panic: page fault writing core to /var/crash/vmcore.1 Huh?

Tue, 20 Feb 2018 20:00:00 UTC

SotD: Take Me To The River

Posted By Tim Bray

You can call this one of the great songs in just about any musical conversation and youll get no argument. A great big swirl of the sacred and the sensual, with a razor rhythm and lots of chances to show off. It was written in 1974 by Al Green and guitarist Teenie Hodges for Al Green Explores Your Mind; it wasnt a hit, particularly, although a cover by Syl Johnson did OK. Then, four year later, the Talking Heads covered it on More Songs About Buildings and Food,, and that was a really big deal. The Heads had a following who liked their light-punk Manhattan sound, and this was a surprise.

Tue, 20 Feb 2018 01:25:01 UTC

More playing with HDR Express

Posted By Greg Lehey

My previous experience with HDR Express 3 was not the most positive, but then, it is a Microsoft space program. Maybe I'm trying to do too much at once. Let's take one step at a time. Fired it up again, this time remotely from euroa, and confirmed once again that I got a black screen. Started it locally and migrated to rdesktop, again with no problems. This time I took the normal interface. And once again it insisted on looking in C:\Users\grog\Pictures. But this time the Preferences screen looked completely different, and in particular didn't allow me to set a default folder.

Mon, 19 Feb 2018 20:00:00 UTC

SotD: Into the Dark

Posted By Tim Bray

In full, I Will Follow You Into the Dark, by Death Cab for Cutie off their album Plans. This is a solo acoustic thing, stripped down to nothing but a lovely tune and a haunting message; both will stick to you, even if you heard them a million times on the radio a decade back. No personal connection here; I dont know anything about Death Cab, think its a dumb name for a band, dont know any of their other songs, wouldnt recognize any of them if I met them on the street. I just heard it on the radio driving a kid to school, and was hooked: If heaven and hell decide that both are satisfied/Illuminate the Nos on their Vacancy signs. Ive never been in a close-up-with-death situation, but it feels like the singers captured that feeling.

Mon, 19 Feb 2018 01:33:55 UTC

Trying HDR Express

Posted By Greg Lehey

My last attempts with commercial HDR software were with Franzis HDR Projects 4. Not an unqualified success: in fact, an unqualified waste of money. On the other hand, the method I'm using now, using enfuse, doesn't handle ghosting at all well, so it's probably time to look further. The next one I found was HDR Express 3 from Pinnacle Imaging Systems. I downloaded a trial copy a few days ago, but have only just got round to trying it out. The view on startup was unexpected: That's certainly minimal.

Mon, 19 Feb 2018 01:15:11 UTC

E-M1 USB problems

Posted By Greg Lehey

I read photos from my cameras to the computer using a script called syp. It uses a feature of the Olympus file naming scheme. The names are of the form PMDDNNNN.JPG, where P is an (apparently) arbitrary letter, M is a one-character abbreviation for the month (1 to C), DD a two character representation of the day of the month, and NNNN a number that is incremented for each photo. The P can be changed to just about any character you want, so I have changed it on all my cameras to identify the camera (1 for the E-M1, 2 for the E-PM2, 3 for the E-PM1, and 4 for the E-M1 Mark II).

Sun, 18 Feb 2018 20:00:00 UTC

SotD: Do You Love Me?

Posted By Tim Bray

Normally I write Song of the Day a few days ahead, and today I woke up on Valentines day and realized that days song was symphonic stuff by Brahms, which is great but not perhaps the Language Of Love. To make up for that, Ill send you all along a Happy Valentines for a few days back with a song thats about nothing but love, by Nick Cave. Nicks released a lot of good music over the years; this is off (sticking with the V-Day theme) Let Love In. It might be the album highlight but there are other gems too.

Sun, 18 Feb 2018 00:41:00 UTC

GPS pain

Posted By Greg Lehey

What time did we pick up the prescription at Health First yesterday? It was somewhere between 15:30 and 16:00, but I didn't note the exact time. Never mind, I have a GPS navigatortwo, in factso I can use something like GPS Visualizer to show where I was. But that shows two serious issues. First, the track is extremely inaccurate. In Ballarat, we parked between Eyre St and Dana St, a block south of Health First, and walked north along the west side of Doveton St. When we left (by car), we turned left into Dana St and left again into Dawson St.

Sat, 17 Feb 2018 20:00:00 UTC

SotD: Fine and Mellow

Posted By Tim Bray

This is a song not only performed but written by Billie Holiday; it was a hit in 1939, the flip side of the beautiful but gruesome Strange Fruit (the fruit was a lynching victim). Fine and Mellow is sad too, but a fairly standard man-treats-me-bad blues. Its a treat for the ears and the heart. You cant write about Billie without dipping into cliché: Victimized as a black and as a woman, drank herself to death, endless sadness in that story. Im actually not a devotee, quite a bit of her music goes bye me. But others, like this one, grab hard and dont let go.

Fri, 16 Feb 2018 20:00:00 UTC

SotD: Death Dont Have No Mercy

Posted By Tim Bray

Death Dont Have No Mercy is a very old, very dark blues by Rev. Gary Davis which has been covered lots, by Dylan and the Dead among others. But today Im plugging a live version recorded by Hot Tuna in 1992. Hot Tuna are a very rootsy outfit. For those who dont know, they were the Jeffersan Airplane faction that didnt go Starshipping; guitarist/singer Jorma Kaukonen and bassist Jack Casady. They play blues and country and swing stuff, with a lot of extended guitar/bass breaks, always sitting down. This is on a live album called Live At Sweetwater Two, and I saw them play more or less this set a few months before they recorded it.

Thu, 15 Feb 2018 21:35:27 UTC

Do We Need a New Internet?

Posted By Cory Doctorow

I was one of the interview subjects on an episode of BBC’s Tomorrow’s World called Do We Need a New Internet? (MP3); it’s a fascinating documentary, including some very thoughtful commentary from Edward Snowden.

Thu, 15 Feb 2018 20:00:00 UTC

SotD: Ashes the Rain and I

Posted By Tim Bray

The James Gang was a stripped-down band that mostly played primitive rock and roll (which I love) very well, and Rides Again is an example of that, but Ashes the Rain and I isnt primitive at all; five minutes of contemplative beauty. Disclosure: Joe Walsh has been, and remains, one of my musical heroes; a guy with a reputation for dumb stuff who really doesnt seem to be dumb at all. Plus, his guitar tone is second to, well none might be taking it a bit high, but it sure sounds great. If I keep doing this, hell get a rocker into Song of the Day.

Thu, 15 Feb 2018 19:08:09 UTC

The 2018 Locus Poll is open: choose your favorite science fiction of 2017!

Posted By Cory Doctorow

Following the publication of its editorial board’s long-list of the best science fiction of 2017, science fiction publishing trade-journal Locus now invites its readers to vote for their favorites in the annual Locus Award. I’m honored to have won this award in the past, and doubly honored to see my novel Walkaway on the short... more

Wed, 14 Feb 2018 20:00:00 UTC

SotD: Brahms Variations

Posted By Tim Bray

Today, lets do classical music, as in a great big splodge of orchestral goo by a dead German. Brahms op. 56a and 56b is a set of variations on a theme; he thought the theme was Haydns, thus called it Variations on a Theme by Joseph Haydn. But now they think the Haydn attribution on the theme is sketchy, so now youll see em labeled sometimes as the Saint Anthony Variations. Anyhow, this is a super tasty splodge of goo, the kind of thing orchestras exist to play. Brahms, the year before the Variations were published. Brahms early career was up and down; he was in his late thirties before he got much traction.

Tue, 13 Feb 2018 20:00:00 UTC

SotD: Jah Glory

Posted By Tim Bray

Third World have always had had a different sound, leaning quite a bit on sweet harmonies and instrumental flavors. Its reggae all right, but impure like most great music, and sounds as tasty as anything you can imagine. Jah Glory is such a sweet welcoming thing, a soaring song of worship. (You dont have to believe in Jah.) I saw Third World once in Toronto, I think part of the big Caribana festival, in a soccer stadium. The concert promoter had really screwed the pooch; the stage was one side of the field and when we filed in we found ourselves bottled up in the stands on the other side of the field, with the grass fenced off and a handful of cops lined up between the stands and the field.

Tue, 13 Feb 2018 05:03:21 UTC

The Man Who Sold the Moon, Part 04 [FIXED]

Posted By Cory Doctorow

Here’s part four of my reading (MP3) (part three, part two, part one) of The Man Who Sold the Moon, my award-winning novella first published in 2015’s Hieroglyph: Stories and Visions for a Better Future, edited by Ed Finn and Kathryn Cramer. It’s my Burning Man/maker/first days of a better nation story and was a... more

Tue, 13 Feb 2018 03:43:33 UTC

Podcast: The Man Who Sold the Moon, Part 04

Posted By Cory Doctorow

Here’s part four of my reading (MP3) (part three, part two, part one) of The Man Who Sold the Moon, my award-winning novella first published in 2015’s Hieroglyph: Stories and Visions for a Better Future, edited by Ed Finn and Kathryn Cramer. It’s my Burning Man/maker/first days of a better nation story and was a... more

Tue, 13 Feb 2018 03:13:47 UTC

The demise of the file

Posted By Greg Lehey

More and more my objection to modern digital devices is pointing in one direction: inability to manipulate files. Thirteen years ago I grumbled that this new firefox browser had lost editing functionality. More recently I've been grumbling about inability to move data from one place to another without going via a server, more than likely at the other end of the world. Today I had another example, also involving another rant favourite, Android. I received an SMS message from somebody, something that I don't see in a timely manner. And I wanted to answer it. With an SMS? Heaven forbid! That's what email is for.

Tue, 13 Feb 2018 01:34:44 UTC

Backups and image integrity

Posted By Greg Lehey

Over to Chris Bahlo's house today to get my backup disk number 6, which I used for my photos from November 2013 until March last year, when it became too small (only 4 TB). Since then it's been sitting on a shelf at Chris' place. That's just what I need for the video backup I've been working on for the last week or so. OK, newfs and start backing up. But what about the content? It contained are all my photos up to a year ago. Yes, I have three other copies, but what if they're all corrupt? How can I even tell if they're corrupt at all?

Mon, 12 Feb 2018 20:00:00 UTC

SotD: Dear Darling

Posted By Tim Bray

Mary Margaret OHara, a daughter of Toronto, hasnt recorded much and hasnt had hits and these are terribly sad things because shes a gem, a wonderful unconventional songwriter and singer. Her stuff gets pretty far out over the edge sometimes, but Dear Darling is a lovely straight-up country tune, hardly weird at all, or only in places. Ms OHaras performances were legendary in Toronto of the Eighties, and when she finally went into the studio and came out with Miss America, people thought she was on a rocket to the Top of the Pops. Despite, one hears, a parade of record-company executives throwing themselves at her feet, shes only ever recorded once since then, on the soundtrack to the 2001 move Apartment Hunting.

Mon, 12 Feb 2018 00:05:49 UTC

Hey, Australia and New Zealand, Im coming to visit you!

Posted By Cory Doctorow

I’m about to embark on a tour of Australia and New Zealand to support my novel Walkaway, with stops in Perth, Melbourne, Sydney, Adelaide, and Wellington! I really hope you’ll come out and say hello! Perth: Feb 24-25, Perth Festival Melbourne: Feb 27: An expansive conversation about the imperfect present and foreseeable future with CS... more

Sun, 11 Feb 2018 20:00:00 UTC

SotD: Mercy Street

Posted By Tim Bray

Nobody could call this obscure; Peter Gabriels So sold a kazillion copies and was right in the center of the zeitgeist for months back in the late Eighties. The songs were good, the sound was good, and (especially) the videos were good, which really mattered in 1986. Mercy Street was not one of its big hits, which always astonished me; I thought it by far and away the albums highlight. So isnt innovative or groundbreaking or anything; the song structures are conventional and the melodies are unfussy. The production quite properly focuses on Gabriels vocals, which on this record are outstanding in their artistry and just the sound of his voice, a pleasantly-rough English tenor, mostly singing in the comfortable center of his range.

Sun, 11 Feb 2018 20:00:00 UTC

Photo Antiphony

Posted By Tim Bray

Mobile-phone cameras are better this year than last, and next year theyll be better again. The notion of carrying around a heavy chunk of metal and glass called a camera is becoming difficult to defend and this makes me sad, because I like cameras. Using the big fat Samyang 135mm F2 is giving me strong opinions about what a camera has to be to become the anti-phone, the one youll take along even though theres a good camera on your phone. This piece contains 7½ pictures, 1½ of which could have been captured with a mobile camera, and one of which was.

Sun, 11 Feb 2018 01:58:10 UTC

Disk power supplies: the solution

Posted By Greg Lehey

I've spent several days looking for power adapters for my external disks. I've found a couple on eBay, but they all have connectors with 2.5 mm internal diameter (guaranteed to fit both 2.1 mm and 2.5 mm sockets). I know better. But then it occurred to me: ask Chris Bahlo. And sure enough, she had exactly the power adapter I was looking for, on indefinite loan if not to keep. Finally I had enough power adapters for all my disks. And then I discovered: Feb 11 09:25:04 teevee kernel: (da0:umass-sim0:0:0:0): READ(10). CDB: 28 00 00 d6 d9 36 00 00 08 00 Feb 11 09:25:04 teevee kernel: (da0:umass-sim0:0:0:0): CAM status: SCSI Status Error Feb 11 09:25:04 teevee kernel: (da0:umass-sim0:0:0:0): SCSI status: Check Condition Feb 11 09:25:04 teevee kernel: (da0:umass-sim0:0:0:0): SCSI sense: MEDIUM ERROR asc:11,0 (Unrecovered read error) Feb 11 09:25:04 teevee ...

Sat, 10 Feb 2018 20:00:00 UTC

SotD: Fantaisie Impromptu

Posted By Tim Bray

After the hot guitar a couple days back, I thought some more flashy soloing would be fun, and the world currently has nobody flashier, on any instrument, than pianist Yundi Li, who seems to have rebranded himself as YUNDI. But I ended up at this Frédéric Chopin Fantaisie which has, yes, flash, but lots of music among and between it, and Mr Li really seems to understand Mr Chopin. If hes coming to your town, I recommend grabbing tickets; hes obviously a really good pianist but also a showman. One of his gimmicks, which I really like, is that when its time for him to play, he strides onto the stage, plunks down on the piano bench, and his fingers hit the keyboard about 0.5 seconds later.

Sat, 10 Feb 2018 03:03:06 UTC

X-rays for Leonid and Zhivago

Posted By Greg Lehey

While I was in Bannockburn, I asked Greg Coates for copies of the X-ray files, something that they had done in the past. He seemed confused, and suggested taking photos of the screen of his laptop with a mobile phone! I explained that this had been done in the past and suggested that he send me the files as email attachments. He said that he would see what could be done. Later I received a mail message from Charyn, surname unstated, giving links for the images, starting with http://itxviewer.com:8080/itxviewer/index.html. No response from the server. nmap showed: rDNS record for 104.155.198.195: 195.198.155.104.bc.googleusercontent.com Not shown: 997 filtered ports PORT     STATE  SERVICE 22/tcp   open   ssh 1022/tcp closed exp2 5432/tcp closed postgresql Nmap done: 1 IP address (1 host up) scanned in 16.88 seconds So ...

Sat, 10 Feb 2018 02:07:44 UTC

VicEmergency app

Posted By Greg Lehey

Petra Gietz told me that there was a fire in Napoleons yesterday. Did I hear about it? Of course not. I don't have the mobile phone app necessary to get the reports. But why not? I have a mobile phone, and (presumably) the app is free. So why not install it? Now I know: First, try to install: Why does it need access to my photos?

Fri, 09 Feb 2018 20:00:00 UTC

SotD: Broken English

Posted By Tim Bray

This the title track from Broken English, an album by Marianne Faithfull, on which every song is good and some are terrifying (not this one). I was sufficiently impressed by the album that I wrote a whole blog piece on it a few years back. Like I said there, Ms Faithfull has a lot of history and a lot of baggage; all worth reading about, and there are lots of places to do that that arent this blog. In 2009. No longer a goddess nor a burnout, just a grown-up. Whats interesting about Broken English is that its from well into her career, with a lot of glory and wreckage in the rear-view.

Fri, 09 Feb 2018 01:03:14 UTC

The power connector conundrum

Posted By Greg Lehey

External disk drives now almost invariably come with a 5 V power adapter that plugs directly into the mains and delivers power to the disk via a 2.1 mm IEC 60130-10 type A connector (and not the 2.5 mm variety). And clearly I get one with every disk I buy. But where are they? Disks die much faster than power adapters, but I have many more disks than adapters, and it's becoming a nuisance. OK, off to eBay to buy a few. What do you call them? Wall wart? None found. Power supply? No, that has too many false positives. Finally eBay told me: Power adaptor.

Fri, 09 Feb 2018 00:42:37 UTC

Stuck sprinkler

Posted By Greg Lehey

Looking out the window this morning when I got up, the garden bed looked particularly wet. Time to reduce the sprinkler time? Not quite: the sprinkler was still going, and had been for at least 3 hours. Dammit, has my sprinkler program hung or crashed? A known bug issue is that if the program stops abnormally, it won't turn the sprinkler off. But no, the program wasn't running, and the sprinkler relay was off. No crash. Power cycled the relay board. Nothing. The sprinkler solenoid itself had stuck on. That's not the first time I've had that problem. In fact, this particular solenoid was a replacement for one that failed, purchased conveniently just over 12 months ago, so that the warranty had expired.

Thu, 08 Feb 2018 20:00:00 UTC

SotD: Pride and Joy

Posted By Tim Bray

Its been mostly gentle and sophisticated around here recently. Lets turn to Texas and fix that; Pride and Joy, by Stevie Ray Vaughan, is about the simplest blues holler you can imagine, with a happy message and some smokin hot guitar. Wow, Stevie Ray has been dead for 28 years. The last time I saw him feels like yesterday; it was just weeks before his death. Stevie Ray had managed to achieve sobriety after a lot of years of hard partying; like many sober addicts, hed gotten to the point where the alternative was a coffin. Anyhow, that night when I saw him, he made a touching little speech about being sober, and how you had to take of yourself to be there for the people you love.

Thu, 08 Feb 2018 01:35:52 UTC

More network congestion

Posted By Greg Lehey

My network performance is still not good, though it's not as regular as I thought. But how do I report it? I'm not happy with the packet drop measurements I have been making, and so far I haven't got round to hacking netstat to produce the kind of information I want. But there's a standard test that every [IR]SP seems to use: Speedtest.

Wed, 07 Feb 2018 20:00:00 UTC

SotD: Sodade

Posted By Tim Bray

Cesária Évora is probably the only person youve ever heard of (now that youve heard of her) from Cabo Verde, which is an island group 570km west of Africas westernmost point. She was a really great singer and recorded lots of fine collections of music. Its hard to pick from among them, but Sodade is a fine example. I dont know much about Ms Évora or about Cabo Verde either. Miss Perfumado, from which Sodade comes, is probably her best-known work. All of the songs on it are good, and in fact everything Ive hear from her is pleasing to the ear.

Wed, 07 Feb 2018 00:49:35 UTC

More network problems

Posted By Greg Lehey

Into the office this morning to find that my packet loss rates had gone through the roof round midnight. Looking at the raw data, I found packet drop rates of up to 75%, and several TCP sessions had timed out. This doesn't match the regular pattern I had been seeing so far. But why don't Aussie Broadband and the National Broadband Network know about this stuff? It seems that neither of them have monitoring in place. Time to complain? No, I don't like those packet drop rates for a different reason: they're implausibly high. Even 2% or 3% causes severe performance issues, but I'm not seeing anything that severe.

Tue, 06 Feb 2018 20:00:00 UTC

SotD: Both Sides Now

Posted By Tim Bray

Anyones list of top songwriters would include Joni Mitchell, and any list of her top songs would include Both Sides, Now. Theres little I can say that will add value here, just give it a listen and itll improve your day, any day. Notes It was recorded by Judy Collins first, not Ms Mitchell. Speaking of recorded-by, check the list of cover versions, helpfully organized by decade; oh my goodness gracious. I can remember once when I was stage manager for a concert, during the endless hours of take-down, load-out, and clean-up, someone put a tape on the auditorium PA that had a cover by a warm-voiced male singer, and since it was only a half-hour tape I heard it like six times, and to this day it remains the voice I hear when I think of the song.

Tue, 06 Feb 2018 04:36:27 UTC

More network investigations

Posted By Greg Lehey

It's been a few days since I've updated my network statistics page, and it's now showing a very clear pattern of congestion from 18:00 to 24:00. There are still a number of loose ends, in particular the question of whether ICMP packet loss has any particular relationship to TCP packet loss. Well, netstat can show TCP packet loss: === [email protected] (/dev/pts/5) /usr/src/usr.bin/netstat 161 -> netstat -p tcp -T Proto Rexmit OOORcv 0-win  Local Address          Foreign Address ... tcp4       0    460      0 aussie-gw.50060        streamerapi1.fin.https tcp4       5      0      0 aussie-gw.60748        110.141.224.69.61829 tcp4      44      0      0 aussie-gw.20026        S0106004063d9302.6905 tcp4     145     62      0 aussie-gw.27601       ...

Mon, 05 Feb 2018 20:00:00 UTC

SotD: Joan of Arc

Posted By Tim Bray

This is a song by Leonard Cohen, but Im talking about it as performed by Jennifer Warnes. It may not even be Warnes best cover of a Cohen tune, but its good enough to be any days song, and the recording is special. Many years ago, Jennifer Warnes released Famous Blue Raincoat, a collection of Cohen songs, and did very well by it. Its a fantastic record; Warnes inhabits Cohens tunes completely. Which is a neat trick, since shes got a big, creamy voice as wide as a river and smooth as satin, while Cohens voice is exactly none of those things.

Mon, 05 Feb 2018 15:51:46 UTC

Nominations for the Hugo Awards are now open

Posted By Cory Doctorow

If you were a voting member of the World Science Fiction Convention in 2017, or are registered as a voting member for the upcoming conventions in 2018 or 2019, you are eligible to nominate for the Hugo Awards; the Locus List is a great way to jog your memory about your favorite works from last... more

Mon, 05 Feb 2018 01:10:22 UTC

Ports maintenance

Posted By Greg Lehey

For some weeks now I've been getting automated reports of build failures of enblend on the FreeBSD test boxes: Subject: [package - head-i386-default][graphics/enblend] Failed for enblend-4.1.4_15 in build ... !!! Jail is newer than host. (Jail: 1200056, Host: 1200054) !!! !!! This is not supported. !!! !!! Host kernel must be same or newer than jail. !!! !!! Expect build failures. !!! ... c++ -DHAVE_CONFIG_H -I. -I..   -isystem /usr/local/include   -I/usr/local/include -D_THREAD_SAFE -pthread -D_GNU_SOURCE -D_FILE_OFFSET_BITS=64 -I../include -I../src/layer_selection -O2 -pipe -fstack-protector -isystem /usr/local/include -fno-strict-aliasing  -Wno-c++11-extensions -isystem /usr/local/include --param inline-unit-growth=60 -O2 -DNDEBUG -Wall -MT enblend-enblend.o -MD -MP -MF .deps/enblend-enblend.Tpo -c -o enblend-enblend.o `test -f 'enblend.cc' || echo './'`enblend.cc c++: warning: argument unused during compilation: '--param inline-unit-growth=60' [-Wunused-command-line-argument] In file included from enblend.cc:181: In file included from ./enblend.h:43: In file included from ./assemble.h:43: ./include/vigra_ext/impexalpha.hxx:197:43: error: no matching constructor for initialization of 'std::auto_ptr<vigra::Decoder>'    ...

Sun, 04 Feb 2018 20:00:00 UTC

SotD: Diaraby

Posted By Tim Bray

Todays song comes from Africa (first in the series); Diaraby is a slow dreamy electric African blues with exquisite singing and guitar, by Ali Farka Touré; seven minutes of pure musical joy. Lets start our trip to Africa in Mali, famous among other things for being the location of Timbuktu; and for its music. In 1994 Ry Cooder and Malian musical godfather Farka Touré collaborated on Talking Timbuktu, which includes Diaraby and is one of my very favorite recordings. Its a cant-miss record, cheerful yet deep, bluesy and African, especially appropriate for sitting outside on a warm day. I read the back story once of how Mr Farka Touré got into playing music that sounded simultaneously like John Lee Hooker and African campfire music, but I cant remember it.

Sat, 03 Feb 2018 20:00:00 UTC

SotD: Happy

Posted By Tim Bray

The song-of-the-day recently has been trending a little bit to the eclectic and the obscure. Enough of that, lets dish up a hearty serving of meat-and-potatoes rock-n-roll. Happy is a simple stripped-down hard Stones rocker, vocals by Keef, with a nice tune, tasty chord changes, and you know what? I need a love to keep me happy too. You have to be a little nervous plugging the Stones in the era of #MeToo; their work includes dark splashes of shocking misogyny. But Exile on Main Street has less (cant actually pull any to the front of my mind), so well cut them some slack.

Sat, 03 Feb 2018 20:00:00 UTC

First Purples

Posted By Tim Bray

Its a tradition that I blog a photo of our crocuses the first time each year that Im home and theyre open and theres some light. In the Pacific Northwests late winter, we use some light in a forgiving kind of way. The big-ass new 135mm F2 lens was quivering in the camera bag for a chance at these little guys, how could I say no? The lens works well, but when I say works I mean the photographer does a whole lot of work to get the focus happening. It took really a lot of shots to come away with three that were usefully sharp.

Sat, 03 Feb 2018 01:33:11 UTC

More eBay pain

Posted By Greg Lehey

Various mail from eBay today. First, one that was completely unintelligible. The Subject: line was Subject: eBay will begin intermediating payments on its Marketplace platform. What does that mean? Looking up in the OED didn't help. The verb intermediate (with long last vowel: /jntYÈmiÐdjejt/) has four meanings, only one of which is in common use: To act between others; to mediate. So we need a direct and an indirect object. But here I only get one: eBay is happy to announce plans to further improve the customer experience by intermediating payments on our Marketplace platform.

Fri, 02 Feb 2018 20:00:00 UTC

SotD: Ne Nehledej

Posted By Tim Bray

Im pretty sure Ne Nehledej, which is said to mean Stop Searching, is in the Czech language, because Iva Bittová is Czech. I dont know that much about her and frankly this Song of the Day mostly exists to highlight remarkable video, but Ne Nehledej is a nice song and Bittová is a great entertainer while also being out there on the edge. She sings and plays violin, and is as much performance art as music. But (unlike some performance artists) this performance is all about music. Its a bit confusing, because this song appears on Bittovás eponymous first album from 1986, but then theres another 1994 album with that title, which in that listing is translated as No, Do Not Seek.

Thu, 01 Feb 2018 20:00:00 UTC

SotD: More White Flags

Posted By Tim Bray

Yesterdays White Flag isnt the only song of that name. I want to share one in particular, a minor hit by a minor band (one-hit wonder would be charitable) called the Leggatt Brothers, because I think its brilliant, a forgotten gem. But theres no live video and its not for sale digitally, so I loaded up the entry with a few extra White Flags. First, we have Joseph, a band featuring three sisters whose surnames are Schepman and Closner (I can see why they didnt use either), singing burn the white flag; not bad! Second, some guy named Dave Barnes; didnt get far into this one, but hey, you might love it.

Thu, 01 Feb 2018 19:07:05 UTC

The 2017 Locus List: a must-read list of the best science fiction and fantasy of the past year

Posted By Cory Doctorow

Every year, Locus Magazine’s panel of editors reviews the entire field of science fiction and fantasy and produces its Recommended Reading List; the 2017 list is now out, and I’m proud to say that it features my novel Walkaway, in excellent company with dozens of other works I enjoyed in the past year. The Rift,... more

Thu, 01 Feb 2018 01:44:51 UTC

SBS on demand

Posted By Greg Lehey

Yesterday I had lots of pain trying to register Garry Marriott for SBS on demand, and noted the slow responses and the poor image quality. The image quality is probably SBS' fault, but what about the rest? Decided to sign up with a Real Computer. Result: yes, much of the pain is thanks to SBS. It turned out that I already had an account, but I couldn't access it because they wouldn't accept my password, which was most certainly correct last time I used it. Send password reminder? It didn't like the email address (also once correct). OK, sign up again.

Thu, 01 Feb 2018 01:12:49 UTC

The daily net monitoring

Posted By Greg Lehey

One of the interesting things that I saw in my network logs yesterday was that the latency (more accurately, ping time to the next IP address, affectionately called radiation-tower.ausssiebb.net) had dropped. Two weeks ago I had stated that it ranged from 15 to 50 ms, but yesterday it looked like it had dropped to generally under 20 ms. OK, we can track that (blue trace): Yes, indeed, it's looking a lot better, barely ever over 25 ms. But later it became clear that things deteriorate in the evening, with packet loss rates exceeding 20%: What else can I add to these graphs?