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

Postings for October 2019:  (33 posts)
Wed, 16 Oct 2019 17:00:00 UTC

Act locally, connect globally with IoT and edge computing

Posted By Werner Vogels

There are places so remote, so harsh that humans can't safely explore them (for example, hundreds of miles below the earth, areas that experience extreme temperatures, or on other planets). These places might have important data that could help us better understand earth and its history, as well as life on other planets. But they usually have little to no internet connection, making the challenge of exploring environments inhospitable for humans seem even more impossible. How do we push the boundaries of what's possible? The answer to this question is actually on your phone, your smartwatch, and billions of other places on earth?it's the Internet of Things (IoT).

Wed, 16 Oct 2019 02:29:27 UTC

Five years of Ashampoo pain!

Posted By Greg Lehey

Ashampoo is currently celebrating their 20th anniversary. And I'm still having trouble with them. Their latest optimizer, version 7, works, but it seems to impart a greenish cast on many images. And version 6 no longer refuses to run: it now creates output files that are round 40% larger than the original, but otherwise appear unchanged. If I select a single image, it still fails. But that's nothing new. By chance I looked at my diary of 5 years ago. Same problems then. Why do I stick with them?

Mon, 14 Oct 2019 23:50:48 UTC

False Flag

Posted By Cory Doctorow

In my latest podcast (MP3), I read my Green European Journal short story about the terrible European Copyright Directive which passed last March, False Flag. Published in December 2018, the story highlights the ways in which this badly considered law creates unlimited opportunities for abuse, especially censorship by corporations who’ve been embarassed by whistleblowers and... more

Mon, 14 Oct 2019 04:13:49 UTC

Web site calming down

Posted By Greg Lehey

After the extremely high load averages of the last few days, is now returning to what I hope will become normal, with typical load averages below 1, though from time to time it goes up to 20. But barely has that problem gone away that I get another: From: "" <> To: Subject: Bandwidth Warning The following subscriptions have reached high bandwidth utilization levels: Subscription:3243454 - 2048 MB Server - ( 78% used ... Please note: Your bandwidth usage cap will reset on the 1st of every month.

Sun, 13 Oct 2019 04:47:57 UTC

Can't sync photos

Posted By Greg Lehey

After doing yesterday's photos, ran my normal file sync script. Things didn't go exactly according to plan: rsync: mkdir "/home/grog/" failed: No space left on device (28) rsync error: error in file IO (code 11) at main.c(670) [Receiver=3.1.3] rsync /home/grog/public_html/photos/dirlist www:/home/grog/ rsync: write failed on "/home/grog/": No space left on device (28) rsync error: error in file IO (code 11) at receiver.c(381) [receiver=3.1.3] Sat 12 Oct 2019 13:50:00 AEDT It took me a while to realize that the problem was at the remote end. That box has so much more storage than I need!

Sun, 13 Oct 2019 04:15:56 UTC

Redirecting web site names

Posted By Greg Lehey

I've established that one of the reasons that I have so much web traffic is because I have multiple names that respond to HTTP requests, so crawlers load each page several times. Apart from, there's also, and How do I tell the client to redirect to Out searching the web, and came up with myriad way to do similar things, including with mod_rewrite, like this page from the the Apache documentation. But further down it came up with the answer: a simple Redirect directive. Just what I was looking for, but why did it take me so long to find it?

Sat, 12 Oct 2019 02:47:37 UTC

Microsoft update pain

Posted By Greg Lehey

I've recently grumbled about problems updating Apple software. In many ways it seems that Microsoft does it better. But Microsoft is up to the challenge. I started an update yesterday?only a few hundred megabytes, something that I could download in 5 minutes?and today it was still hanging at 48% downloaded. Restart. From 48%? No, from the beginning, of course. I sometimes wonder what the issues are with their downloading process. Anyway, it worked this time.

Fri, 11 Oct 2019 13:35:37 UTC

Part two of my novella ?Martian Chronicles? on Escape Pod: who cleans the toilets in libertopia?

Posted By Cory Doctorow

Last week, the Escape Pod podcast published part one of a reading of my YA novella “Martian Chronicles,” which I wrote for Jonathan Strahan’s Life on Mars anthology: it’s a story about libertarian spacesteaders who move to Mars to escape “whiners” and other undesirables, only to discover that the colonists that preceded them expect them... more

Thu, 10 Oct 2019 23:04:45 UTC

How the other half live

Posted By Greg Lehey

Yvonne has borrowed a number of USB sticks from Julie Lannen which she wanted copied. All Microsoft format, of course, one of which eureka didn't want to know about. It proved to be in NTFS format, not a good idea for interchangeability, and I had to read it in on dischord. What a pain this Microsoft is! And all these file names with spaces in them; three even had leading spaces. What really interested me, though, is the attention people pay to these things.

Thu, 10 Oct 2019 22:36:21 UTC

No programme data!

Posted By Greg Lehey

Into the office this morning, and as usual checked TV programme data from Nothing! The cron job had failed. OK, try it manually: === grog@eureka (/dev/pts/33) ~ 61 -> /usr/bin/fetch -o /var/tmp/Filmliste-akt.xz fetch: Connection reset by peer That was repeatable. What now? The host name was interesting: Is there a verteiler2? Yes. And it works!

Wed, 09 Oct 2019 02:19:08 UTC


Posted By Greg Lehey

Chris Bahlo has finally got round to updating her data on the new web server machine?with SFTP! I wonder how she keeps track of things. And of course it didn't work for her, because I was still running the zone on the old web server. OK, no time like the present, even if it is just before dinner. Copy across the information and run apachectl graceful. Error! The pathnames were a kludge that I needed on the old server, /usr/home/chris/ We don't need to put /home under /usr any more, so /home/chris/ it is. OK, apachectl accepted that. And then I had to wait for the DNS to propagate.

Wed, 09 Oct 2019 01:42:40 UTC

More Apple fun

Posted By Greg Lehey

Yesterday's fun with the MacBook should have been enough, but there were still some loose ends to tie up. What is this machine? Were any of the 5.3 GB of updates yesterday actually installed? After reboot, I found these displays: What does the X in the circle mean? That the update failed? Or that this is Mac OS X? It seems that that ?Mac OS X? is an old, worn-out magic word, and that it's now called macOS.

Tue, 08 Oct 2019 02:38:27 UTC

Why do people believe the Earth is flat?

Posted By Cory Doctorow

In my latest podcast (MP3), I read my Globe and Mail column, Why do people believe the Earth is flat?, which connects the rise of conspiratorial thinking to the rise in actual conspiracies, in which increasingly concentrated industries are able to come up with collective lobbying positions that result in everything from crashing 737s to... more

Tue, 08 Oct 2019 02:17:20 UTC

Beware of Chris bearing gifts

Posted By Greg Lehey

Chris Bahlo along today with a couple of items that she wanted to get rid of: an Apple MacBook Pro and a George Foreman ?LEANĀ·MEAN CONTACT ROASTING MACHINE?. She had offered them to me a while back, so long ago that I had forgotten the details. Deferred the ?CONTACT ROASTING MACHINE? and looked at the laptop, which looks quite good. Problem: there's something wrong with the display, and from time to time it becomes more or less illegible. Repair will apparently exceed the value of the machine. For me that's not a significant disadvantage, since I'd want to access it over the net only.

Mon, 07 Oct 2019 17:53:07 UTC

Revealing the cover of ?Poesy the Monster Slayer,? my first-ever picture book!

Posted By Cory Doctorow

Firstsecond (publishers of In Real Life, the bestselling middle-grades graphic novel Jen Wang and I made) have just revealed the cover for Poesy the Monster Slayer, my first-ever picture book, illustrated by Matt Rockefeller and scheduled for publication in July 2020. Poesy is a book about a little girl who is obsessed with monsters, who... more

Mon, 07 Oct 2019 01:56:36 UTC

Ashampoo optimizer again

Posted By Greg Lehey

Yvonne took a few photos this afternoon, about 430 of them. She zooms with the crop tool, so she was using dischord all afternoon, and I had to use eucla, the laptop. It doesn't have the latest and greatest Ashampoo optimizer, so I tried the old 2016 version that had broken on me last month. It didn't fail! But when comparing the results, though they were marginally bigger, there was no obvious difference in appearance. Optimizer fail. Later I ran the same photos through ?Photo Optimizer 7?, and it did improve them.

Mon, 07 Oct 2019 01:47:10 UTC

TIFF file sizes

Posted By Greg Lehey

While optimizing some images with Ashampoo photo optimizer, took a look at the sizes: -rwxrw-r--  4 grog  wheel   86,571,008  6 Oct 15:08 Carpobrotus.tiff -rwxrw-r--  4 grog  wheel   96,087,978  6 Oct 14:45 Cherry-1.tiff -rwxrw-r--  4 grog  wheel  121,229,452  6 Oct 14:48 Cherry-2.tiff -rwxrw-r--  4 grog  wheel  121,259,462  6 Oct 14:47 Eucalyptus.tiff -rwxrw-r--  4 grog  wheel  121,228,318  6 Oct 10:22 Kitchen-accident-1.tiff -rwxrw-r--  4 grog  wheel  121,276,118  6 Oct 10:22 Kitchen-accident-2.tiff -rwxrw-r--  4 grog  wheel  121,997,899  6 Oct 14:08 Leucadendron-1.tiff -rwxrw-r--  4 grog  wheel  121,625,698  6 Oct 14:08 Leucadendron-2.tiff -rwxrw-r--  4 grog  wheel   96,088,530  6 Oct 14:09 Leucadendron-3.tiff -rwxrw-r--  4 grog  wheel   96,088,608  6 Oct 14:09 Leucadendron-4.tiff -rwxrw-r--  4 grog  wheel   96,026,670  6 Oct 14:47 Oak-1.tiff -rwxrw-r--  4 grog  wheel   96,026,756  6 Oct 14:47 Oak-2.tiff -rwxrw-r--  4 grog  wheel   96,026,546  6 Oct 14:46 Paulownia-kawakamii-1.tiff -rwxrw-r--  4 grog  wheel ...

Mon, 07 Oct 2019 01:44:56 UTC

Removing TIFFs

Posted By Greg Lehey

For a few months now I have been converting my intermediate photos to TIFF rather than JPEG. And of course it's bloating the backups. Today I removed most of the intermediates. The difference is obvious. Here before and after: before:   Filesystem  1048576-blocks      Used     Avail Capacity  Mounted on   /dev/ada1p1      7,629,565 6,125,172 1,428,096    81%    /Photos after:   /dev/ada1p1      7,629,565 5,738,401 1,814,867    76%    /Photos 385 GB!

Sun, 06 Oct 2019 19:00:00 UTC

Records and Lenses

Posted By Tim Bray

Sunday included more fun than the recent average???at my age, chilling is often more attractive than partying. Sunday featured vinyl, vintage lenses, Southern guitar boogie, and a photo-assignment. With pictures! (Which may be a little puzzling, but stay with me.) What happened was, I noticed that there was a Fall 2019 Record Convention and on impulse took the e-bike crosstown to the glamorous (not really) Croation Cultural Centre. I strolled in the door of the big room with all the people and the nice lady said ?You want the record convention or the camera convention? This is the cameras.? Who knew?

Sun, 06 Oct 2019 02:24:13 UTC

More wildflowers

Posted By Greg Lehey

Yvonne in this afternoon to point me at a flower growing in the ?sewage paddock? (the one with the soakage for the septic tank). She thought it might be an orchid: No, it's clearly not an orchid. But what is it? It reminds me of something, not necessarily indigenous. OK, time to look for programs that can identify flowers. I didn't find any! Only ?apps? for mobile phones! What a declaration of bankruptcy! What happened to our ideals of interoperability? And what a horrible thought to have to upload my photos to a phone to be able to identify them?

Sat, 05 Oct 2019 19:00:00 UTC

Discogs Pain

Posted By Tim Bray

As I continue slowly ingesting the 900 classical LPs I inherited, I?ve developed a relationship with Discogs. It?s a good place to track your collection (here?s mine, in-progress). This is the story of my first attempt to use it to buy music, a laughable failure. It?s by way of public service, just leaving a marker, a warning others to be careful about charging into the marketplace. There?s a lot to like about Discogs. The screens are unfussy and fast and their coverage of everything ever recorded is just awesome. The LP collection I?m working my way through has plenty of obscurities by no-hit wonders, but I?ve been through a couple hundred records now and only hit one that it didn?t already have: Music from The Golden Age of Silent Movies played by Gaylord Carter at the Mighty Wurlitzer Theater Organ.

Sat, 05 Oct 2019 05:01:27 UTC

Going home, with help from Google

Posted By Greg Lehey

Finding my way out of the Bunnings car park wasn't easy. No signs apart from a couple of no-entry signs where I didn't need them, various barriers. In the end I decided that the only exit was to the south onto Webb Road, the way I went last time. OK, I wanted to go south on Cherry Flat Road. But other things prevented that: What's going on there? The most obvious thing was the flashing lights from the police car: They were blinding to the eye, almost completely obscuring the ?Road Closed?

Sat, 05 Oct 2019 03:42:38 UTC

Next migration issue

Posted By Greg Lehey

Yvonne in today with a problem: she couldn't upload her photos to the web server. Oh. I had forgotten that. She doesn't use the server for anything else, but she does have her photos there. And for that, the way I have it set up, she has her own account and ssh credentials. Or at least, she had. I had only set up accounts for Chris Bahlo and myself on the new machine.

Fri, 04 Oct 2019 18:45:45 UTC

?Martian Chronicles?: Escape Pod releases a reading of my YA story about rich sociopaths colonizing Mars

Posted By Cory Doctorow

Back in 2011, I wrote a young adult novella called “Martian Chronicles,” which I podcasted as it was in progress; it’s a story about the second wave of wealthy colonists lifting off from climate-wracked, inequality-riven Earth to live in a libertarian utopia on Mars. The story (part of a series of stories that use titles... more

Fri, 04 Oct 2019 02:13:30 UTC

Daily migration problem

Posted By Greg Lehey

Problems again today: my remote Squid proxy refused connections. Why? Took a quick look. Not much activity, since it's just for me, but there was no evidence of any problems. Nor of any connection attempts, even when I tried again. Bingo! It's running on oldwww, but the configuration in my browser points to, now a different machine. Time to add a name

Thu, 03 Oct 2019 21:44:44 UTC

GotW-ish Solution: The ?clonable? patter

Posted By Herb Sutter

Thu, 03 Oct 2019 02:33:14 UTC

Web site migration, day 4

Posted By Greg Lehey

Into the office again this morning to see, from the old web site: last pid: 12571;  load averages:  1.29,  1.25,  1.25   up 416+14:01:08 01:41:34 73 processes:  2 running, 71 sleeping CPU: 50.0% user,  0.0% nice,  0.0% system,  0.0% interrupt, 50.0% idle Mem: 67M Active, 69M Inact, 326M Wired, 7004K Cache, 58M Buf, 3444K Free Swap: 1024M Total, 166M Used, 858M Free, 16% Inuse   PID USERNAME    THR PRI NICE   SIZE    RES STATE   C   TIME    WCPU COMMAND 57141 root          1 103    0 95668K   524K CPU1    1 117.5H 100.00% perl Now that's something different.

Wed, 02 Oct 2019 02:18:56 UTC

Grocery shopping online

Posted By Greg Lehey

Email from eBay today: do my grocery shopping online and get it delivered to my door. That's one of the borderline areas I considered in my 2014 article The future of the Internet, and most recently here. How does it work? It seems that they're doing a deal with Coles, and that the delivery really is free, up to your kitchen bench. There's a URL,, but I doubt that it's very durable. The most important thing is that it's only in selected metropolitan areas, the closest about 130 km away. They have my delivery address, so they could easily have established that I'm not a target customer.

Wed, 02 Oct 2019 02:02:22 UTC

Bad markup

Posted By Greg Lehey

It's the beginning of the month, time to finalize last month's diary. Part of that involves passing the page through two different validators at this one for the HTML version and this for the RSS version. Most of the errors are in copied markup, but this one baffled me: What's wrong with that syntax? That was from the XML validator, but the HTML validator, though different, was no clearer: While scratching my head, looked at the source with Emacs: Finally!

Wed, 02 Oct 2019 01:44:59 UTC

No email!

Posted By Greg Lehey

While waiting for the web traffic to settle, moved on to the question of mail. Moved the existing mail queue manually to eureka, and read: Date: Sun, 29 Sep 2019 13:46:45 GMT From: Mail Delivery Subsystem <MAILER-DAEMON> Subject: Warning: could not send message for past 4 hours    ----- Transcript of session follows ----- <>... Deferred: Operation timed out with Warning: message still undelivered after 4 hours Will keep trying until message is 5 days old And indeed, the message was still there, a couple of days later.

Wed, 02 Oct 2019 01:39:46 UTC

Website migration still not complete

Posted By Greg Lehey

Into the office again this morning to look at web server loads. Yes, gradually the new server was getting some load, up to a load average of 2 on occasion. And the old server was still round 20! What's causing that? Why can't Apache log the web server name?

Tue, 01 Oct 2019 15:42:53 UTC

One way to determine whether your publisher is happy with your work

Posted By Cory Doctorow

Being a Tor author is pretty swell. (Thanks, Patrick!)

Tue, 01 Oct 2019 02:55:49 UTC

Web server progress

Posted By Greg Lehey

In the office this morning, first looked at the web server load. new: last pid: 43838;  load averages:  0.27,  0.39,  0.47    up 34+01:06:03  06:50:37      61 processes:  1 running, 60 sleeping      CPU:  0.0% user,  0.0% nice,  0.8% system,  0.8% interrupt, 98.5% idle      Mem: 53M Active, 1391M Inact, 21M Laundry, 392M Wired, 144M Buf, 126M Free      Swap: old: last pid: 60303;  load averages: 11.16, 14.44, 17.15    up 413+19:10:36 06:51:02      101 processes: 8 running, 93 sleeping      CPU: 94.1% user,  0.0% nice,  5.9% system,  0.0% interrupt,  0.0% idle      Mem: 124M Active, 21M Inact, 322M Wired, 4288K Cache, 58M Buf, 156K Free      Swap: 1024M Total, 201M Used, 823M Free, 19% Inuse, 1864K In, 2588K Out Why is the old server still so loaded?