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Postings for January 2020:  (38 posts)
Tue, 28 Jan 2020 01:28:09 UTC

Server migration: next step

Posted By Greg Lehey

OK, time to finalize the name server migration. I have a name server running on, but the world doesn't know about it. What do I need to do? First, of course, copy the zone files to the existing master name server, currently And when I activate it, the master name server ceases to be a visible name server at all, though it will still allow zone transfers. What about the other name servers,, and is clearly a slave, but I'm not even sure about the other two.

Mon, 27 Jan 2020 23:18:59 UTC

The case for ? cities that aren?t dystopian surveillance states

Posted By Cory Doctorow

For my latest podcast, I read my Guardian Cities column, “The case for … cities that aren’t dystopian surveillance states,” which was the last piece ever commissioned for the section. The Guardian commissioned the piece after reading my Toronto Life blurb about how a “smart city” could be focused on enabling its residents, rather than... more

Mon, 27 Jan 2020 05:12:46 UTC

RootBSD problem solution

Posted By Greg Lehey

Response to yesterday's ticket from RootBSDNetActuate today: I was able to login to VNC without issue and run service sshd restart. I was unable to replicate your problem unfortunately with VNC. My recommendation is to try logging into VNC in a private or incognito window as something may be cached. And indeed the sshd service was running again. But no, it couldn't be cached information. I had tried this on many different browsers on different systems, on one of which I had reset all cache content, and it's a problem that I had reported two years ago.

Sun, 26 Jan 2020 01:26:13 UTC

Slow migration from old server

Posted By Greg Lehey

I really need to get off the old server by the end of the month. I've been meaning to do it since August last year, but this time I wanted to do it right and without pain. Today I started the name server on the new server ( Worked fine. I thought. But then I saw: Jan 25 05:44:17 lax postfix/smtpd[1576]: connect from unknown[] Jan 25 05:44:18 lax postfix/smtpd[1576]: NOQUEUE: reject: RCPT from unknown[]: 450 4.7.25 Client host rejected: cannot find your hostname, []; from=<> to=<> proto=ESMTP helo=<> Huh?

Sat, 25 Jan 2020 02:01:03 UTC

More phone smart

Posted By Greg Lehey

Why did I miss the phone call from Elysian Energy? I had the phone in my pocket at the time, with the ring tone set to ?loud?. Test it. Nothing, just a vibration. Dammit, what's wrong with the thing now? Fought my way through the menus, in the process discovering a couple of short cuts that could be useful in the future: But it didn't tell me how to allow it to ring again, and I couldn't get it to do so. Lots of fighting the system with increasingly loud cursing, and ultimately came to the conclusion that the upgrade to Android 9 had disabled my custom ring tone, but only when called.

Sat, 25 Jan 2020 01:53:32 UTC

Smart Home meets Delacombe Town Centre

Posted By Greg Lehey

After that dropped into Bunnings in Delacombe Town Centre, partially looking for clips for my camera strap. I had been told that they had them, but not here. And this is, I'm told, Bunnings' biggest shop of all. What they did have was an advertisement: I suppose that's inevitable. Will we really live in a future where a smart phone is central to our lives?

Fri, 24 Jan 2020 01:52:16 UTC

The regular NBN outage

Posted By Greg Lehey

I had already had enough fun with various technical problems today, so of course the National Broadband Network had to chip in to make the day perfect, with a 111 minute outage in the middle of the day. Sadly I'm coming to accept them.

Thu, 23 Jan 2020 02:57:46 UTC

More OI.Share fun

Posted By Greg Lehey

On Monday I established that just about the only use of Olympus' OI.Share app was to set the time on the camera, and even that was painful. But wait: what about video? One issue with the PIXIO ?Robot Cameraman? is that you can't easily start and finish recording from horseback. Can OI.Share do that? Yes! Well, in its normal broken way: So you buy an expensive camera capable of 60p and even 120p, and then you use a broken toy app on a toy phone to castrate it again.

Wed, 22 Jan 2020 14:29:08 UTC

Radicalized is a Canada Reads finalist, will be a graphic novel, and is eligible for the Hugo Award!

Posted By Cory Doctorow

My 2019 book Radicalized has been named one of the five finalists for Canada Reads, the CBC’s annual book prize — Canada’s leading national book award, alongside of the Governor General’s award! My book was nominated by Akil Augustine, a beloved Canadian sportscaster and storyteller, and he’ll be championing the book through the Canada Reads... more

Tue, 21 Jan 2020 01:12:50 UTC

More E-M5 Mark III experience

Posted By Greg Lehey

Gradually Yvonne has been using her Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark III more, but today she asked me to take some photos for her. That was probably worthwhile. Once again I found things to change: this ?Rec View?, a silly term describing the time to display the previous image on the LCD after taking it. The idea is good for people still in the analogue mindset: show the image so that you can evaluate it. When taking multiple shots, it gets in the way of the viewfinder. We've already seen this with Chris Bahlo's camera 2 years ago. Die! But this thing also does ?Wi-Fi?, right?

Sun, 19 Jan 2020 20:00:00 UTC


Posted By Tim Bray

We?re trying to decarbonize our family as much as we can. We?re not kidding ourselves that this will move any global-warming needles. But sharing the story might, a little bit. Those who worry a lot about the climate emergency, and who wonder what they might do about it, are advised to have a look at To fix Climate Change, stop being a techie and start being a human by Paul Johnston (until recently a co-worker). It?s coldly realistic, noting that the Climate Emergency is not your fault and that you can?t fix it. Only radical large-scale global political action will, and his recommendation is that you find an organization promoting such change that meets your fancy (there are lots, Paul provides a helpful list) and join it.

Sun, 19 Jan 2020 00:44:20 UTC

Migrating DNS to new server

Posted By Greg Lehey

There's not very much left on I really should migrate the remainder before the end of the month. The big one is DNS, and in principle that's relatively simple. Or is it? The configuration files have now completed their wandering through the directory hierarchy, it seems, from /etc/namedb/ via /var/named/etc/namedb to /usr/local/etc/namedb, and of course sample configuration files have been installed in /usr/local/etc/namedb. They're probably needed, as I noted when I checked named.conf: ; DNS resource files for ; Greg Lehey, LEMIS, 21 January 1995 ; $Id: diary-jan2020.php,v 1.20 2020/01/19 02:57:24 grog Exp $ Is that date correct?

Sat, 18 Jan 2020 01:28:12 UTC

Understanding Wayland

Posted By Greg Lehey

As planned, took a look at The real story behind Wayland and X , a video presented by Daniel Stone at in Canberra in 2013. It was quite a disappointment. There was no description of functionality differences at all. Does Wayland support multiple screens? My guess is yes, but it's just a guess. Does Wayland support networking? Hard to say. The talk was somewhat rambling, and it pointed at known weaknesses in the X implementation, but it somewhat overstated the case. They were trying to get Wayland to the performance level of VNC. But VNC has terrible graphics performance, way behind X.

Fri, 17 Jan 2020 17:54:14 UTC

Imagining a ?smart city? that treats you as a sensor, not a thing to be sensed

Posted By Cory Doctorow

The editors of Guardian Cities (previously) saw my Toronto Life blurb about how a “smart city” could be focused on enabling its residents, rather than tracking and manipulating them, and asked me to write a longer piece on the theme: The case for … cities where you’re the sensor, not the thing being sensed is... more

Fri, 17 Jan 2020 01:01:30 UTC

Another grid power failure

Posted By Greg Lehey

Another grid power failure today, probably 1 second at 10:27:04.

Fri, 17 Jan 2020 00:37:03 UTC

Old fogey works around mouse problems

Posted By Greg Lehey

Yesterday I switched mice because of issues when changing screens. Things changed, but they're not fixed. The Jenkins mouse doesn't divulge passwords, but it does frequently select large parts of a window when deiconfiying it. Does this relate to multiple screens? I don't know. At some point I suspect the mouse driver; potentially the mice are noisy (part of being wireless?) , and the driver should only accept a ?key press? if it stays for more than a minimum period of time (milliseconds?) . Maybe I should have another look at that mouse driver. The feedback on IRC was interesting: I must be the last person using such old-fashioned software, X with multiple screens, let alone networking (something that I use a lot).

Thu, 16 Jan 2020 00:48:35 UTC

Mouse issues

Posted By Greg Lehey

I've had difficulties with computer mice literally for decades. As described a couple of years ago, there are issues with spurious key press events when changing X screens. In the case of the Logitech M705 MARATHON mouse, these frequently result in texts being pasted in unrelated windows. The most embarrassing cases are when I publish sensitive information, like in April 2001, when I accidentally published the password to the FreeBSD-announce mailing list. But it hasn't stopped. I suspect that it's the mouse driver, but I failed completely to make sense of the code?maybe a reason that the bug has lived so long.

Tue, 14 Jan 2020 20:00:00 UTC

Orange Badge

Posted By Tim Bray

Late last year one of our admin people walked into my office, saying ?Five-year anniversary, new badge, gimme your old one?. Which means I?ve been here five orbits of the sun, my longest job tenure since my seven-year stay last century at a company I co-founded. Best and worst Best things? The work is fun and the people are nice. Of those working here in Vancouver when I showed on up December 1st, 2014, more than 70% remain, which is impressive in high tech???pretty well any of them can walk down the street to Microsoft or a game company and get a job that week, maybe for more money.

Tue, 14 Jan 2020 00:20:46 UTC

Inaction is a form of action

Posted By Cory Doctorow

In my latest podcast (MP3), I read my latest Locus column, Inaction is a Form of Action,, where I I discuss how the US government’s unwillingness to enforce its own anti-monopoly laws has resulted in the dominance of a handful of giant tech companies who get to decide what kind of speech is and isn’t... more

Sun, 12 Jan 2020 20:00:00 UTC

Jag Diary 11: A Year In

Posted By Tim Bray

The I-Pace insurance renewal showed up so I knew a year must have (so quickly!) gone by. I?d thought I should write something to draw a line under this diary, and then just now the car saved my life, so now?s the time. Not much new information here but maybe a couple of smiles. The insurance???two drivers, good records, no commuting???cost around two and a half thousand Canadian dollars. That year?s other car expenses put together (electricity, replacing a vandalized window) are a tiny fraction of the insurance. Electric cars, even with sports-car performance like the Jag?s, are stupidly cheap to run.

Sun, 12 Jan 2020 10:43:30 UTC

AWS Graviton2

Posted By James Hamilton

In November of last year, AWS announced the first ARM-based AWS instance type (AWS Designed Processor: Graviton). For me this was a very big deal because I?ve been talking about ARM based servers for more than a decade, believing that massive client volumes fund the R&D stream that feeds most server-side innovation. In our industry,...

Sun, 12 Jan 2020 01:10:46 UTC

Fixing email bounces

Posted By Greg Lehey

So far I've established that accepts mail from, but not from Why? Looking at the headers, messages from eureka or teevee have: From: And messages from lagoon have: From: Why? And should that make a difference? It's ugly, so let's get rid of it. Looking through no longer looked as easy, so back to the source of all wisdom, ?The Complete FreeBSD? (in this case, third edition, since after that I switched to postfix).

Sat, 11 Jan 2020 02:58:33 UTC

The daily email problem

Posted By Greg Lehey

Mail from Yvonne in the course of the day:    ----- The following addresses had permanent fatal errors ----- <>     (reason: 550-Sender verification is required but failed. (ID:550:0:5) Huh? What does that mean? How I wish that MUAs would report problems correctly. Further investigation showed that lagoon is still running sendmail, and that it's delivering directly. Given prior experience, I'm surprised that she hasn't run into trouble earlier. OK, what to do? I don't want to go through the whole postfix setup again. How do you set a relay host in sendmail?

Sat, 11 Jan 2020 02:50:17 UTC

DxO: Sting in the tail

Posted By Greg Lehey

So Yvonne took a couple of really forgettable photos with her new Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark III: Put them into DxO PhotoLab, and what do we see? This image cannot be processed since its EXIF data cannot be read or is corrupted. Huh? What went wrong there? Checked the Exif data: nothing wrong, as expected. More DxO Exif processing breakage? I've seen plenty in the past. Does it do that with JPEG images as well?

Wed, 08 Jan 2020 17:22:38 UTC

Radicalized makes the CBC?s annual Canada Reads longlist

Posted By Cory Doctorow

The Canadian Broadcasting Coporation’s annual Canada Reads prize is one of Canada’s top literary prizes, ranking with the Governor General’s prize for prestige and reach; it begins early in January with the announcement of a longlist of 15 recommended books, and then these are whittled down to a shortlist of five books later in the... more

Wed, 08 Jan 2020 02:32:36 UTC

More Android insights

Posted By Greg Lehey

One of the possibilities of fixing my Android phone problems was: (Maybe) the display can be found in the ?notifications?, apparently that part of the display revealed by ?swiping? down from the top. Tried that today. First called myself with the phone switched off: OK, that's normal enough. But when the phone is switched on, I get: That's what I got with Helen's call yesterday.

Wed, 08 Jan 2020 02:11:40 UTC

Still more mail pain

Posted By Greg Lehey

Mail seems to be running smoothly now. But there's always an exception. Yvonne asked me today to check if something was wrong with an email she was expecting. Yes: Jan  7 00:20:55 lax postfix/smtpd[69637]: warning: hostname does not resolve to address hostname nor servname provided, or not known Jan  7 00:20:55 lax postfix/smtpd[69637]: connect from unknown[] Jan  7 00:20:55 lax postfix/smtpd[69637]: NOQUEUE: reject: RCPT from unknown[]: 450 4.7.25 Client host rejected: cannot find your hostname, []; from=<> to=<> proto=ESMTP helo=<> Jan  7 00:20:55 lax postfix/smtpd[69637]: disconnect from unknown[] ehlo=1 mail=1 rcpt=0/1 data=0/1 rset=1 quit=1 commands=4/6 A clear case of incorrect MUA or DNS configuration, and something that I should reject.

Tue, 07 Jan 2020 00:57:28 UTC

Daily Android pain

Posted By Greg Lehey

Helen called back on my mobile phone, since that's the network she uses. Normally the call indication looks like this: But this one was different: This one's simulated, of course, so the caller (?Home?) is incorrect. OK, ACCEPT. Display changes, phone keeps ringing. I couldn't find any way to get back to answer the call, and in the end she hung up. Dammit, what use is a phone if you can't answer it?

Mon, 06 Jan 2020 23:40:16 UTC

Science fiction and the unforeseeable future: In the 2020s, let?s imagine better things

Posted By Cory Doctorow

In my latest podcast (MP3), I read my Globe and Mail editorial, Science fiction and the unforeseeable future: In the 2020s, let?s imagine better things, where I reflect on what science fiction can tell us about the 2020s for the Globe‘s end-of-the-decade package; I wrote about how science fiction can’t predict the future, but might... more

Mon, 06 Jan 2020 20:52:05 UTC

Permitting the growth of monopolies is a form of government censorship

Posted By Cory Doctorow

In my latest Locus column, Inaction is a Form of Action, I discuss how the US government’s unwillingness to enforce its own anti-monopoly laws has resulted in the dominance of a handful of giant tech companies who get to decide what kind of speech is and isn’t allowed — that is, how the USG’s complicity... more

Mon, 06 Jan 2020 17:36:09 UTC

Machine learning is innately conservative and wants you to either act like everyone else, or never change

Posted By Cory Doctorow

Next month, I’m giving a keynote talk at The Future of the Future: The Ethics and Implications of AI, an event at UC Irvine that features Bruce Sterling, Rose Eveleth, David Kaye, and many others! Preparatory to that event, I wrote an op-ed for the LA Review of Books on AI and its intrinsic conservativism,... more

Sun, 05 Jan 2020 01:32:47 UTC

Keep all photos?

Posted By Greg Lehey

I've gradually developed a basic rule with my photos: keep all photos, even those that don't appear to have any use. That fits in with my career in high availability computing, where any data loss is disaster. It also goes with a deep-set impression that I got watching Blow-up over 50 years ago. An important part of the story was an image that the photographer was going to discard, when he discovered that it contained a clue of a murder. But sometimes I have to accept that not all data is holy. To get the photo of the spark on the insulator I used the E-M1 Mark II's stupidly named ?Pro Capture?

Sat, 04 Jan 2020 04:21:19 UTC

Daily email problem

Posted By Greg Lehey

And now I thought I had really fixed the email issues on the external server. But today Yvonne came to me and told me that somebody was getting email rejected: Of course the Facebook world drops important information like date and time. But it was easy enough to find in the server logs: Jan  2 20:35:42 lax postfix/smtpd[10520]: NOQUEUE: reject: RCPT from[]: 550 5.7.1 <[]>: Client host rejected: 310 Please use your ISP's mail server.; from=<> to=<> proto=ESMTP helo=<> Yes, that's a bug, not a feature.

Fri, 03 Jan 2020 02:33:40 UTC

Android update

Posted By Greg Lehey

By coincidence, discovered that there was an Android update available for my mobile phone, to release 9.0 (with some silly epithet). OK, download and install. Somehow it went well, but when I tried to scroll the task list (or whatever it's called), it no longer worked. Ah, this is an undocumented user interface change: in release 8 you scrolled up and down, in release 9 it's left and right. That could be an improvement, but why don't you get told about these things? The other difference I've noticed so far is definitely an improvement: the ?Beep-BEEP Beep-BEEP?

Fri, 03 Jan 2020 02:07:58 UTC

Fixing spam blockages

Posted By Greg Lehey

Yesterday's ticket response from Vultr didn't help much, but it did mention one thing: For this specific list you will be required to do so as they require rDNS entries to be setup for the IP and will require your input as the mail server administrator. That's nonsensical for two reasons: firstly, the rDNS entries are there, and secondly they're Vultr's responsibility. But it was worth going to to see what they say. Yes, no rDNS. Did they check? I did, and it was OK.

Thu, 02 Jan 2020 01:11:54 UTC

Email server: worth the trouble?

Posted By Greg Lehey

A while back I got all the wrinkles sorted out in the email configuration on, my external server that also answers to the name It took hardly more than 3 months. Why so long? I've been running an email server since March 1990, not quite 30 years. I've written a book including information on how to configure sendmail and (later edition) postfix. But somehow things are much more complicated now. Still, it's working. Then I came into the office this morning and read: 66BFC285F3      747 Tue Dec 31 05:46:30 (host[] refused to talk to me: 554 IP= - A problem occurred.

Wed, 01 Jan 2020 02:03:49 UTC

Happy New Year!

Posted By Greg Lehey

For the past 7 years we've been sending out a Christmas letter instead of Christmas cards. And I started again this year, until it occurred to me: why Christmas? It's a letter telling people what we have done in the past (calendar) year, so the very end of the year seems more appropriate. So from this year on it's a New Year's letter, and today I got it out, just on time: here. 45 minutes later Warren Toomey wrote: Hmm, for me it's empty under both Firefox and Chromium.

Wed, 01 Jan 2020 01:04:24 UTC

Bushfires and Android

Posted By Greg Lehey

Somehow, try as I might, I can't make friends with Android. Things are so bad that I can't understand how anybody can live with them, so maybe part of it is my specific phone. What I see is: Every Android phone seems to be implemented differently. This is possibly the biggest issue in my case. I just can't work out what it's trying to do, and I can't find documentation.