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Postings for April 2018:  (39 posts)
Thu, 19 Apr 2018 19:00:00 UTC

SotD: Hoochie Koo

Posted By Tim Bray

Yesterday I veered gleefully off the road of High Culture into the musical gutter. So, lets hang out down here one more day. For your pleasure I offer Rock & Roll, Hoochie Koo. It was written in 1970 by Rick Derringer, who is OK by me, originally for Johnny Winter. Ricks laid down some ace recordings both on his own and with one or more Winters. Rick Derringers list of collaborators includes the Winters, Steely Dan, Weird Al, and the World Wrestling Federation. I guess that makes him a Great American. Fortunately for you, I know the definitive version of Hoochie Koo, which is on a live album called Roadwork by Edgar Winters White Trash.

Thu, 19 Apr 2018 03:38:47 UTC

Deciphering Exif lens details

Posted By Greg Lehey

Looking through my photos, I discovered this in the Exif popup: What's wrong there? The lens is wrong. The lens is an M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-100 mm f/4.0 IS PRO, which is identified in the Exif data like this: === [email protected] (/dev/pts/23) ~/Photos/20180417 81 -> exiftool Rose-4.jpeg |grep Lens Lens Type                       : Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-100mm F4.0 IS Pro Lens Firmware Version           : 1.303 Lens Properties                 : 0xc140 Lens Info                       : 12-100mm f/4 Lens Model         ...

Thu, 19 Apr 2018 01:48:35 UTC

ANZ: We lost your money, but we don't care

Posted By Greg Lehey

Last month I had a lot of pain with ANZ Bank because of a transfer that hadn't arrived. They weren't encouraging, but I still wasn't prepared for the letter I got: To summarize: You asked us to transfer money. We did it. It's gone, and we can't say where it is. Bad luck. Bad luck? I gave them instructions to perform a transfer. They removed the money from my account, but it didn't arrive at the destination: they lost the money.

Wed, 18 Apr 2018 19:00:00 UTC

SotD: Sharp Dressed Man

Posted By Tim Bray

This series has been getting kind of refined and intellectual in recent days, so were going to fix that right now. I dont think Ive ever heard a ZZ Top song I didnt like, and Billy Gibbons guitar sound is unequaled in its grit and its steel-spined groove. You also have to love the performances; the guys clearly dont take themselves too seriously (I once described their moves as a back-beat pavane). Sharp Dressed Man is pure fun. Now, lets get past one big issue. Bill Gibbons has a really dirty mind, and enjoys sharing it. I mean, songs like Lagrange and Tube-snake Boogie arent exactly subtle, and you might try to spin a story about how theyre a metaphor or something, then he comes down to the front of the stage, growls Know what Im talkin about? and flashes a leer half the size of Texas.

Tue, 17 Apr 2018 19:00:00 UTC

SotD: Mishima

Posted By Tim Bray

This isnt a song, its a movie soundtrack, I hope thats OK. Its by Philip Glass, and the movie is Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters from 1985. The name refers to Yukio Mishima, a Japanese novelist who went crazy and tried to lead a restore-the-sacred-Empire putsch against the Japanese government in 1970 and, when it predictably failed, committed seppuku. Mishima was a loathsome person and my single attempt to read one of his books ran afoul of stinking heaps of metaphysical bushwah inside of a hundred pages, so I have no interest in seeing the movie. But its a damn fine set of songs.

Mon, 16 Apr 2018 19:00:00 UTC

SotD: Misa Criolla

Posted By Tim Bray

Written in 1964 by Argentinian Ariel Ramírez, Misa Criolla is the Mass in Spanish set to music with a sound and structure that combines several indigenous styles. You know those buskers that set up in public markets everywhere in colorful South-American outfits with giant Pan-pipes and guitars both huge and tiny? That style of music. Misa Criolla is great stuff, sold a zillion copies back there, and I cant imagine anyone not liking it. Its is a little over twenty minutes long, but every minute is worth hearing. To bring it into Song of the Day territory, Im recommending the second movement, Gloria, which is the center of the piece and is well under ten minutes.

Mon, 16 Apr 2018 02:15:27 UTC

Moving data in the modern age

Posted By Greg Lehey

I'm coming ever closer to an all-out rant about the lack of interoperability of modern computing devices. If there's one function that is absolutely basic, it's moving data from one place to another (copy, to use an old, worn-out magic word). Today I read an article the best ways to automatically back up the photos on your smartphone. Isn't that simple? Copy them to your computer? That's what I do, even with a phone. Why should I need a different method because it's a phone? Ah, but I don't understand: this is modern: use Google Drive, Amazon Prime Photos, Dropbox or iCloud (if you want to lock yourself into Apple for the rest of your life).

Mon, 16 Apr 2018 02:03:51 UTC

House photos under difficult circumstances

Posted By Greg Lehey

The weather this weekend has been particularly bad. Yesterday it was far too windy for my house photos, and it really was today as well. But there's no sign of it letting up, so I took them anyway. Surprise, surprise! Photomatix PRO managed to merge the HDR sequences really well. Here an example where La Tigre was moving as I took the sequence: The poor image quality is because two of the images were exposed 3 EV from the correct exposure, and I corrected it to make the comparison more uniform.

Mon, 16 Apr 2018 01:45:38 UTC

Targeted spam

Posted By Greg Lehey

It seems forever since I signed up with LinkedIn, and I continually get link requests from people I've never heard of, this despite my request on my profile page to establish contact before just blindly asking for a link. That's not surprising, though: it seems that they have modified their web site and either removed the about me section or made it so difficult to find that I can't find it even when I know it was there. My policy with such requests is: if they're linked to somebody I know personally, I usually accept it. Otherwise I ignore it (I can no longer say that I don't know the person).

Sun, 15 Apr 2018 19:00:00 UTC

SotD: La Isla Bonita

Posted By Tim Bray

This is a beautiful and simple little Spanish-inflected melody, written by Madonna, Patrick Leonard, and Bruce Gaitsch. It sold a lot of records for her and is a staple of her live shows. Last night I dreamt of San Pedro& Wikipedia says the song was written as an instrumental, then Madonna added words and melody. But it sounds like a single voice and vision. Im an admirer of Madonna but not really a big fan of most of her music. The actual songs only rarely rise to greatness, as La Isla Bonita does. But by pure force of will she became, for a number of years, the sexiest, most attention-worthy woman in the world.

Sun, 15 Apr 2018 01:40:39 UTC

Power fail!

Posted By Greg Lehey

Up this morning to be told by Yvonne that the server is offline, apparently something that her software had told her. Sure enough, eureka was down after a prolonged power failure. And why not the others? Some time ago I put eureka on its own UPS because of issues I had had with the house wiring. Originally it was in series with the house UPS, but issues with power distribution caused it to complain all the time, so I connected it to a non-UPS power point. And clearly the dedicated UPS didn't maintain the power as long as the house UPS.

Sat, 14 Apr 2018 19:00:00 UTC

SotD: Hurt

Posted By Tim Bray

No, not Trent Reznor singing the moany overwrought Nine Inch Nails version; I mean Johnny Cashs take on American IV: The Man Comes Around, his last studio album. Its grainy and sad and generally awesome. To his credit, Trent Reznor said that song isnt mine anymore. That whole American IV collection is pretty great. Its got an triumphant Bridge Over Troubled Water, sharing the vocals with Fiona Apple, a straight-ahead only-slightly-hilarious run through Depeche Modes Personal Jesus, a duet with Nick Cave on Im So Lonesome I Could Cry, and a deeply beautiful performance of Danny Boy. But Hurt is something special.

Sat, 14 Apr 2018 01:53:33 UTC

NBN insights

Posted By Greg Lehey

As promised, discovered that we had had a further 5 National Broadband Network outages overnight, still only a total of a little less than 15 minutes in total. But that's now 15 planned outages in just over 4 weeks, now a total of 60,304 seconds (16¾ hours). And they're promising even more. Called up Aussie Broadband today, mainly for a billing inquiry, but also took the opportunity to talk to support about the NBN fiasco. Spoke to Rob, who did, indeed, have a few interesting comments. It seems that they're upgrading the towers to dual frequencies. So far they operate in the 2,300 MHz range, but they're adding support for 3,500 MHz.

Fri, 13 Apr 2018 19:00:00 UTC

SotD: Roads to Moscow

Posted By Tim Bray

Even on the oldies stations, you never hear Al Stewart any more. In my youth he was a pretty big deal though, and had mega-hits with Year of the Cat and Time Passages. Roads to Moscow wasnt a big hit but it was always my fave among his songs. I listened to it again the other night for the first time in years, and I was moved again by its story, and by its melodic grace. Als always been a bit (to use a British word) naff; goofy-looking, yucking it up, not much of a voice, not rehearsing much. But boy, some of those songs can get their hooks into you.

Fri, 13 Apr 2018 03:15:58 UTC

Computing: extreme masochism

Posted By Greg Lehey

Going through my email list, I saw this partial subject line: If You Want to Use A Phone as Your Main PC, You Shou... How do you complete that? My best guess was If You Want to Use A Phone as Your Main PC, You Should Get Your Head Read, but no, it recommended Android. Based on my experience, that's a real condemnation of Apple.

Fri, 13 Apr 2018 02:35:28 UTC

Still more outages!

Posted By Greg Lehey

Aussie Broadband have announced still more NBN outages! We have received the following advice from nbn: This notification is to let you know that we will be performing network maintenance work. Due to this activity the services listed below will experience a loss of connectivity for up to 1 hrs 0 mins during the change window. nbn estimates the above interruption will occur between: Start: 12/04/2018  11:00:00 PM End:   13/04/2018  01:00:00 AM START DATE:         Thu 12th April 2018 23:00 AEST END DATE:           Fri 13th April 2018 06:00 AEST CHANGE WINDOW:      7 hours START DATE:         Tue 1st May 2018 08:00 AEST END DATE:           Thu 3rd ...

Thu, 12 Apr 2018 19:00:00 UTC

SotD: Doin Summertime

Posted By Tim Bray

Ive always liked Doin Time by Sublime which is (gasp!) approaching twenty years old. But I have a secret reason, because the breathy backing track is off a record approaching sixty years old by Herbie Mann that my Dad bought when I was still in short pants, and I still have the original, and love it. Well, and also because its based on Summertime; Ive been in a musically-literate room where someone called it the greatest song ever written and while somebody else said What about Good Vibrations? a few heads were nodding. Lets take a trip through the times. Above, the needle drops at the start of the Doin Time official video.

Wed, 11 Apr 2018 21:00:00 UTC

Accelerate NYC Launch Party, Saturday, April 21

Posted By Tom Limoncelli

The NYC launch event for Accelerate: The Science of Lean Software and DevOps: Building and Scaling High Performing Technology Organizations by Nicole Forsgren, PhD, Jez Humble, and Gene Kim will be held this Saturday from 11am-2pm. All are invited. Space is limited. Please RSVP at EventBrite. I'm super excited by this book for two reasons: (1) It explains the business case for devops in a way that speaks to executives. (2) It is based on real data with statistical correlation that show real cause and effect. I'll be at this event. I hope to see you there too!

Wed, 11 Apr 2018 19:00:00 UTC

SotD: White Room

Posted By Tim Bray

Let me tell you a story. In 1968 when I was 13, my then-43-year-old Dad, a Professor of Agriculture, had a business trip to London, which was a white-hot center of the whole Sixties thing. He walked into a record store and asked them to sell him a couple of records for his son, whatever was hot. He came home with two Cream singles: White Room backed with Those Were the Days, and Badge b/w What a Bringdown. Was your Dad ever that cool? Anyhow, that means Ive loved White Room for fifty years. I ran off to my room to stick in the little plastic doohickey so I could fit it on my record player turned up to 45RPM; I only had one speaker, but it was big.

Wed, 11 Apr 2018 15:00:00 UTC

Changing the calculus of containers in the cloud

Posted By Werner Vogels

I wrote to you over two years ago about what happens under the hood of Amazon ECS. Last year at re:Invent, we launched AWS Fargate, and today, I want to explore how Fargate fundamentally changes the landscape of container technology. I spend a lot of time talking to our customers and leaders at Amazon about innovation. One of the things I've noticed is that ideas and technologies which dramatically change the way we do things are rarely new. They're often the combination of an existing concept with an approach, technology, or capability in a particular way that's never been successfully tried before.

Wed, 11 Apr 2018 04:36:10 UTC

FreeBSD: why no desktop market share?

Posted By Greg Lehey

A week or two ago there was a question on Quora: Why does FreeBSD have virtually no (0%) desktop market share?. Good question, one worthy of clarification. What's a desktop? What's a market? I wrote an answer making assumptions in both case, and (somewhat to my surprise) it was relatively well received. Later, Terry Lambert also wrote a response. I can't call it an answer, because it went off on a tangent about the uselessness of X. Terry's not stupid, and some of the things that he wrote made sense. Only they didn't have anything to do with FreeBSD. The only mention of FreeBSD was to note that Linux and FreeBSD both have the same issues with X.

Tue, 10 Apr 2018 19:00:00 UTC

SotD: Allegris Miserere

Posted By Tim Bray

The works title is really just Miserere (have mercy on us), but since so many composers have asked for mercy, and since Gregorio Allegri was sort of a one-hit wonder, everybody says it like in the title above. I think that we can each use all the divine mercy we can get, but maybe your need is less than mine. The (Latin, of course) text is Psalm 51. Its a little over twelve minutes of simple soaring melody, built of a short choral fragment repeated five times, with a variation last time around. Its got a colorful history. This Miserere was apparently written in 1638 for the Catholic church and became regarded as what today wed call Intellectual Property of the Vatican; a Pope forbade that it be performed anywhere but in the Sistine Chapel, and also that any copy should leave the Chapel.

Tue, 10 Apr 2018 01:48:39 UTC

NBN: Still more outages

Posted By Greg Lehey

The National Broadband Network promised three outages over the last month. Or were they 9? Or maybe only one? Who can tell based on the information I have received? All I can say is that we had three outages, and the last scheduled date was two days ago. But then we had an outage today! And an outage! And an outage! In total, there were six of them.

Mon, 09 Apr 2018 19:00:00 UTC

SotD: Middle of the Road

Posted By Tim Bray

In case nobody noticed, I have a thing for loud-voiced women singing in front of heavy electric-guitar noise. Any list of those has to have Chrissie Hynde near the top. She wrote and sings this, provides some of the guitar noise herself, and throws in a triumphant harmonica break. Her voice is unique. Shes from Akron, Ohio and her intonation is pure Middle American White Girl, none of the traditional Southern or Black or British rock-vocal angles. Theres considerable songwriting and arranging skill in setting things up so her not-terribly-high not-terribly-sharp not-terribly-scratchy voice cuts through all the guitar chording. Anyhow, I love the way she sounds Learning to Crawl is probably the Pretenders best album, and you could have a long argument about the best tune on it, because its got Chain Gang and My City Was Gone.

Mon, 09 Apr 2018 15:54:50 UTC

ZFS Users Conference, April 19-20, Norwalk, CT

Posted By Tom Limoncelli

Datto will be hosting the 2nd annual ZFS User Conference featuring ZFS co-creator, Matt Ahrens! The date is April 19-20 at Datto HQ in Norwalk, CT. This conference will focus on the deployment, administration, features, and tuning of the ZFS filesystem. Learn about OpenZFS and network with folks running businesses and interesting projects on ZFS. For more information and registration see (I won't be attending as I'm not longer using ZFS, but I'm still a ZFS fanboy so I felt like promoting this.)

Sun, 08 Apr 2018 19:00:00 UTC

SotD: The Boys of Summer

Posted By Tim Bray

This was released by Don Henley of the Eagles in 1984, his words to music by Mike Campbell. Its only a minor member of the California-rock canon but its special to me, and I still love to hear it. Don Henley At some point in time not too long after 1984, I took a winter trip from Vancouver to Regina to visit my mother, by Greyhound bus since I was kind of broke at the time. Thats two days in a seat more or less, not an experience Id ever hope to repeat. I had some way to listen to radio through headphones; The Boys of Summer was hot that winter, and I cant ever hear it without remembering the bus ride.

Sun, 08 Apr 2018 03:01:34 UTC

Progress is coming. Get used to it.

Posted By Greg Lehey

I still read the daily email from How-to Geek, though much of it seems poorly prepared. Today I was told why smart fridges are the future. It seems that the clever thing about them is that they contain a camera, enabling you to see what's in there without opening the door, and also while you're shopping. Somehow I can't relate to that. I often enough have difficulty finding things in the fridge with the door open. How many cameras do I need to be able to show all the shelves? Two per shelf (the second to show what's in the door)?

Sun, 08 Apr 2018 02:30:17 UTC

Time for a new programming language?

Posted By Greg Lehey

House photo day again today, and I'm still having my fun with my processing software. Things like generating the contact prints still don't work correctly, and I'm having difficulty debugging the (very crufty) script that almost does the work. Somehow I really don't like the Bourne shell programming language. 12 years ago I learnt PHP for a web project, and that proves to be easier for many things, even if many of my right-wing BSD friends laugh at me because of it. But it's not really designed for this kind of work, and some of the language details show it. Perl?

Sat, 07 Apr 2018 19:00:00 UTC

SotD: Feel It Still

Posted By Tim Bray

Another contemporary  well, a year old  Song of the Day. What happened was, I liked Feel It Still on the radio, and liked that it quoted from Please Mr. Postman, and when I went looking for video to see what Portugal. The Man were like live, the first I found featured a stage surrounded by projected words reading NO COMPUTERS UP HERE, JUST LIVE INSTRUMENTS. So I was hooked. I dunno, theyre from Alaska, the singers got a crystalline countertenor, theyre not that dynamic live, the vocal arrangements are sharper than any razor. Its got a beat, you could dance to it. My eleven-year-old daughter can sing along, thinks theyre almost as good as Taylor Swift.

Sat, 07 Apr 2018 04:29:10 UTC

More online video sources

Posted By Greg Lehey

One of the online sources that I'm subscribed to is SBS On Demand, from the Australian broadcaster SBS. Before I stopped using broadcast TV, SBS was my channel of choice, and they have a reasonable number of foreign-language programmes. But SBS On Demand is so painful to use that I don't bother. Today, though, I took another look. Paris Etc (their capitalization) looked like a possibility. Please log in. OK. And I ended up with an empty screen that stayed empty for longer than made sense. But I have the URL. Can youtube-dl make any sense of it? It seems unlikely, but yes, it could!

Fri, 06 Apr 2018 19:00:00 UTC

SotD: Plutonian Nights

Posted By Tim Bray

The Nubians of Plutonia was recorded by Sun Ra and his Arkestra before 1960 and released in 1966, but its not really music of either period, its of the distant future. Or at least thats what Sun Ra claimed; mind you, he also claimed he was born on Saturn and that aliens were going to be arriving any minute. Having said that, Plutonian Nights is one of the coolest jazz tracks ever recorded in any galaxy; Im glad it was this one. Sun Ra combined ludicrous costumery and good-humored erudite craziness with strong songwriting, the exceptional talents of saxophonist James Gilmore, and pretty deft keyboard playing when he felt like it.

Fri, 06 Apr 2018 02:27:24 UTC

Free online storage!

Posted By Greg Lehey

Somebody on IRC pointed at this page today. Use other people's DNS cache to store your data. Amusing. 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, 05 Apr 2018 19:00:00 UTC

SotD: Crazy on You

Posted By Tim Bray

Back in the Seventies when dinosaurs walked the earth, Heart was a pretty big one, and unique among hard (occasionally) rock bands in being woman-fronted, by sisters Anne and Nancy Wilson. Crazy on You was their debut single and for my money their best song ever, and one of the better arguments why Rock & Roll at its peak reaches above all other forms of music. While their line-up changed around over the ears it was always Anne on ear-splitting vocals, Nancy on hot acoustic guitar and harmony, and Some Guy on electric. On Dreamboat Annie, the wonderful album containing Crazy on You, That Guy was Roger Fisher, a founding member who sounded fabulous when he was playing behind Anne and Nancy but never really amounted to much thereafter.

Thu, 05 Apr 2018 01:57:55 UTC

Back to gmail?

Posted By Greg Lehey

Since moving away from Gmail two weeks ago I have had lots of spam, not surprisingly. Is it worth it? My issues with Gmail were related to SPF, and that is only set for some sites, like FreeBSD. For FreeBSD I set my email address to send directly to Gmail, so that problem no longer exists. What about the rest? Can I do it with them too? It's worth a try. ACM only downloads articles once.

Thu, 05 Apr 2018 01:45:21 UTC

More NBN pain?

Posted By Greg Lehey

The DEREEL OUTPOST Facebook group came to life again today: NBN outages again. And somebody pointed to something I had said that today was the third day of outages. But all I saw was some pretty flaky connectivity round 10:10. When we got home from town, though, it was another matter: we had had an outage of between 20 and 30 minutes (my current reporting is not very accurate). Was this an NBN-related outage? If so, hopefully we're finally done with them. ACM only downloads articles once.

Wed, 04 Apr 2018 19:00:00 UTC

SotD: Up On Cripple Creek

Posted By Tim Bray

This is a chestnut from The Band, written by Robbie Robertson and sung by Levon Helm. Its from 1969 but sounds like its hundreds of years old, part of the underlying fabric of everything. I suppose nearly everyones heard it, but its worth another listen. Theres nothing ground-breaking or innovative here, just a straightforward verse/chorus thing like you might have heard around a campfire or in a tavern in my grandparents grandparents grandparents time. Well, there is the funky wah-wah on Garth Hudsons Hammond, and the swirling instrumental polyphony, but really its a just a good old-fashioned singalong tune. And Levon Helm sounds like the guy at the next table over, assuming that guy was always flawlessly in tune.

Tue, 03 Apr 2018 19:00:00 UTC

SotD: Nocturne No. 1 Op. 9

Posted By Tim Bray

This is the first of Chopins Nocturnes, written when he was only about 20. My love is not specifically for this piece but for all twenty-one Nocturnes, but thats hours of music and you have to start somewhere. No more beautiful music for piano has ever been written. Eleven years ago I wrote a big long blog piece on the Nocturnes, with pictures and lots of exposition; if you want to find out more, its a good place to start and Im not going to reiterate. However, I did learn a couple of things when I popped up the Wikipedia article on this piece.

Mon, 02 Apr 2018 19:00:00 UTC

SotD: Lets Go Downtown

Posted By Tim Bray

The Song of the Day needs a rocker every so often to keep up the energy level, and its never had any Neil Young ever, so lets solve both problems with Come On Baby Lets Go Downtown, co-written with the late Danny Whitten. A triumphant rock holler carried on arching guitar lines, its a centerpiece of Tonights the Night, which is a triumph and a tragedy. Danny Whitten Tonights the Night was recorded and released in 1975, but Downtown was recorded live, with Whitten on guitar, in 1970. Whitten fell into the narcotics tarpit and died the same night Neil fired him from the band, as did longtime roadie Bruce Berry, in the months before the records release.

Sun, 01 Apr 2018 19:00:00 UTC

SotD: Desafinado

Posted By Tim Bray

This is a 1959 bossa nova by Antonio Carlos Jobim and Newton Mendonça; the title means something like Out of Tune and is exquisitely incorrect. It has been recorded a staggering number of times. Im here to talk about my favorite version, with Jobim guesting on a recording by Stan Getz and João Gilberto. Its on a 1964 album called Getz/Gilberto, which is fabulous end-to-end. It also includes Girl from Ipanema which remains so beautiful all those decades later, although its gender politics probably havent aged well. Heres a story about this record: Down Beat, the jazz magazine, used to have this feature called the blindfold test where theyd play some tracks for a musician without telling him or her who they were, and ask for one- to five-star ratings.