This is one of those weeks where everything gets covered. Settle in, there’s lots to click.
- For Better or For Worse. About Go, but also about language design in general. (via)
- The Birth of ZFS. See comments in the source link about Oracle’s version vs. the BSD version.
- The Docker Monitoring Problem. Good for an explanation of containers. (via)
- Cmder. Slowly, the UNIX workflow style is taking over everything – even Windows. (via)
- The Early History of the more Command. “I named the program more. This was a daring move at the time, since it was such a long name for a UNIX command, and was also a real English word.” (via)
- Early Phishing. Click the PDF link on the upper right for the content. (also via)
- Where SCCS came from. (also also via)
- Alta Vista, 5 servers, 1996. (via)
- Dragonfly Key Exchange, RFC 7664. Nothing to do with DragonFly. (via swildner on EFNet #dragonflybsd)
- ex reference manual, from Bill Joy. (PDF, via)
- xv6, “a modern reimplementation of Sixth Edition Unix” (via)
- Something to think about for “supported” older versions of software, especially in those long-term support versions of various Linux distributions.
- ADOM is now available on Steam. Runs on BSD, sorta.
- The AS7007 Incident. I knew of things like the Morris Worm, but not this event. (via)
- Does the Internet route around damage? I also did not realize the size of the RIPE ATLAS network.
- System Shock, a font reappears! (via)
- JF Ptak Science Books. A historical bookseller blogs – a lot! (via, via)
Your eighties video link for the week: The 80s.mp4. (via)
Your unrelated browser toy of the week: A browser-based optics sandbox. (via)
Reminder: Stephen Bourne, known for the Bourne Shell, among many other things, will be talking at NYCBUG this Thursday. Plan to get there early, cause it’ll be busy.
Accidental topic this week: very, very old computers.
- Computer Show. Modern show, looks like it’s exactly from the mid 1980s. (via multiple places)
- Computing Britain. From the BBC, freely downloadable computing history audiofiles, quite worth it. (via)
- Phones for the People. I don’t think it’s as egalitarian as it is described, but it is interesting to see the variety. (via)
- RTC Quickstart. RTC is an alternative to the not-private-and-not-open Skype. Why don’t more people use it?
- More secure Wi-Fi routers. This would be the best Internet of Things approach. (via)
- You Wouldn’t Base64 a Password. (via)
- Blue screens of death, some of which you’ve surely seen before. (via)
- The first Apple ][ viruses. (via)
- Dark Castle and Macintosh System 6 Emulator. (via)
- Vim and Composability (via)
- A Simpler Vim Statusline. (via)
- Vim: Convenient Code Navigation for Your Projects. (via)
- Unix commands: The joy of curl
- Ohmu. I like the visualization.
- Wander (1974) — a lost mainframe game is found! (via)
- Lost mainframe games (also via)
- The lack of historic knowledge is so frustrating. AKA “learn from past mistakes”.
- The SCELBI, rebuilt. (via)
- CSIRAC, the oldest computer that’s still physically assembled – from 1949! (via)
- Cardboard computers. (via)
- Long long long term data storage. (via)
- Google Code-In starts on my birthday, and Google Summer of Code 2016 has been announced.
- INOC-DBA: dial an ASN, get the network operations center responsible for it. One of the ways people make the complex creature called the Internet continue to function. (via)
- sandstorm.io, self-hosting which I’ve linked to before, and known, which I haven’t. More tools that people will eventually regret not using. (via)
Your comics link of the week: Cartozia Tales #1, with more added. I subscribed to this series long ago, and it’s a lot of fun.
Completely unrelated: I rebuilt a baking (Hoosier) cabinet over the past few months, and I’m quite happy with how it turned out.
For some reason, I had this complete days ago, and I’ve already started on next week’s links.
- The Apple II by Stephen Wozniak, a PDF. The initial color range makes me nostalgic. (via)
- Why Commodore disk drives were so slow. (via previous link)
- Know where you stand: the `pwd` program. A code reading, September 28th, in New York City. (via)
- In the same vein as Endless Sky from a few weeks ago, here’s mention of Dune Legacy, a remake of Dune II, the earliest RTS – or at least the base model. Following links there brought me to Dune Dynasty, Dune 2: The Golden Path, and OpenRA, all of which are cross platform and also may run on a BSD – F/DF ports exist for OpenRA and F/DF/O for Legacy. (You understand my shorthand there, don’t you?)
- The sad state of web app deployment. (via)
- Facebook has decided it is time I had a baby. Have you ever avoided a search term because you knew that the advertising you’d see for the next few days/weeks would echo it back to you? (also via)
- DigiPal, which sounds like a strangely named PDA, is a digital palaeography site focusing on medieval handwriting in England just before the Norman invasion. I find this interesting because I’ve been listening to this History of England podcast. (via)
- The US Long-haul Fiber Map. Also seen as “How many people can go offline at once, because of a misdirected backhoe?” (via)
- Similar: Undersea cable maps, or “How many people can go offline at once, because of a dragged anchor?” (via)
- Software Defined Networks – Four Years Later. YouTube recording, from RIPE 70. (via)
- Just some quick points about DHCP.
- New Forum – Version 7 UNIX. (via)
- Hacker News and Subreddit simulators. Startlingly accurate for being fancy Markov generators… which says something about the real content. (via)
- rough idling.
Your unrelated video link of the week: The Wizard of Speed and Time – Mike Jittlov (1988).
This took some catching up.
It’s a in-depth reading week, so make time!
Your unrelated link of the week: Announcing the 2016 APPLE CABIN CALENDAR! “Turts”. For real purchase, though this might only be funny to someone who is familiar with the food and advertising it parodies.
This week just sorta blew up with the links.
- as2914.net, visualization of the Internet, seen “from the as_path of 2914”. (via)
- The IPv4-pocolypse has started. (via)
- Make things astronautty. (via)
- Related: NASA Ames: This used to be the future. (via)
- Slack, the Ultimate Workday Distractor. Repent! Oh, wait, this is a different Slack.
- Endless Sky, a space exploration game similar to Escape Velocity. Cross-platform, so it miiiight work on BSD.
- Naev, a similar concept.
- “IT began with Ada – Women in Computer History 2 September 2015 – 10 July 2016“. You probably have to be in Europe (Paderborn) to catch this, but there’s lots of old computer hardware you can get close to. (via)
- Speaking of old (and expensive)… (via)
- Anderson.vim: Dark vim colorscheme based on colors from Wes Anderson films. That’s… specific. (via)
- A hardware flaw in a new Cisco switch. See first comment on the source page.
- When the Unix load average was added to Unix. (via)
- The history of Clarus the Dogcow. (via) I have a “bootleg”? Clarus shirt I picked up at… Macworld years and years ago. I’m sorta hipster-proud of it.
- Ted Unangst rants about compiler-inserted backdoors. Follow the links he helpfully supplied in an article update to show responses to his views. (Something more articles should have.)
- One Weird Old Productivity Tip.
- Cynical interpretations of various project milestones.
- How do you get network connectivity from the worst PC in the world? Ugh. I used one of those, once.
- Time Cube is gone, Thyme Cube is still alive. I’m… vaguely sad? that Time Cube doesn’t exist any longer. (verbatim via)
- Computer Science Courses that Don’t Exist, But Should. Some of these ideas are actually pretty good, not just humor. (via)
Your unrelated comics link of the week: Wonderella, a consistently funny superhero parody. As an added bonus, the author apparently can’t stop making (non-comic) one-liner jokes, so he stuffs them all in his Twitter feed instead of the usual case of Twitter as promotional tool.
Somehow I managed to find mostly articles with long headlines this week.
Did you know that AT&T maintains a
regex library and test suite? I did not, but now DragonFly has both, in part for better multibyte character support.
(corrected to note that the regex library is not from AT&T – thanks, anonymous commenter)
The vi in any BSD is not the original Berkeley vi – instead it’s usually nvi. However, thanks to John Marino, DragonFly has the up-to-date, multibyte-supporting nvi2. (I know I’ve made reference to the nv/nvi difference before.)
There’s some meaty reading this week, so get settled in and start clicking.
- Haunted Machines An Origin Story. I love this sort of intersection of ideas. (via)
- Our Friends, the Bots. (via previous)
- Futures of Text. Why wasn’t this ever done at the command line, too? (via previous)
- Cybernetic Serendipity.
- The Verge’s Web Sucks. A followup to “The Mobile Web Sucks” that I linked to previously.
- How Does Level Generation Work In Brogue? The animated gifs work very well here.
- Surfing the Internet from My TRS-80 Model 100. (via)
- The Itanium processor, parts 2, 3, 3b, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10. Here’s part 1 if you missed it last week. Windows-centric, but probably still interesting for the hardware.
- Ever wonder why they used “that key”? (via EFNet #dragonflybsd)
- Pronunciation guide for UNIX. (via)
- Forgotten Quests from the golden age of adventure games.
Your unrelated comics link of the week: Cartozia Tales. It’s a comics series where different comics artists start a story, then hands the story off to a different writer and artist for each issue after that. I’ve been getting individual issues as they make them, and I want more people to subscribe, so they can get enough cash to print the last few issues. (Independent comics is a hard business.) Order the complete series, for yourself or as a unique present for a smaller person.
Be ready for the latent craziness in some of the links for this Lazy Reading episode.
Your off-topic movie link of the week: The Fabulous World of Jules Verne. (via an internet cult.) Originally titled Invention For Destruction and released by a Czech director, then subtitled to English. Looks like a strange mix of steampunk content and Monty Python-style animation. That may seem only mildly interesting until you notice it was filmed in 1958.
This is Thoughtful Consideration week.
I don’t know why I’ve been finding so many roguelike links lately, but it’s to our benefit.
I came up with a whole bunch of links at the last minute despite traveling and being sick. I’m dedicated to your idle reading!
Your off-topic link of the week: you have about a week to pay $35 to not die when the Earth is destroyed on July 5th. It’s the 18th time the world has almost ended, so it has to work out one of these times.
I had to do this early, too, so the link count is a bit low this week. Sorry!
‘Historic information week’ is this week’s accidental theme.
- Why traceroute uses UDP and not ICMP.
- W. Richard Stevens, a list of works. The previous traceroute link came from there, and there’s a lot more gems in those links.
- I agree with this description of web apps.
- grepcidr2, for finding networks within a given CIDR range.
- The Architecture of Open Source Applications, a book. The Sendmail chapter may be interesting, given that Sendmail is wrapped up in the history of Unix and the Internet. Also, it notes that ‘syslog’ exists as a sendmail side project that kept going. (via EFNet #dragonflybsd)
- What is Code? From Paul Ford. Long, but excellent. (via several places)
- Why “Agile” and especially Scrum are terrible. (via)
- The Manuscripts of E.W. Dijkstra. This is just one of the excellent links hidden in the previous story.
- It’s the Future. The web page creation process has become complicated.(via)
- Yes, A video game contributed to Unix Development. (via)
- Finding Your Groups.
- Unix is not an acceptable Unix. The “one thing well” part of Unix tools is frequently misunderstood, perhaps on purpose. This is one of those. (via)
- Age, Pleasing Apple, and Trying To Climb Out of the Hole. Getting old, running your own business, and programming, is all together a daunting prospect.
- The Apple Collector. (via)
Your unrelated comics link of the week: Fully Computerized.
I guess the accidental theme this week is Unix.
- The truth about Unix: The user interface is horrid. From 1981, which says something. (via)
- Terminal: Beyond Ctrl + A and Ctrl + E. Linked because I needed to know what the nondestructive version of Ctrl-U was. (Ctrl-A)
- Tools don’t solve the web’s problems, they ARE the problem. I’ve been considering a static generator for this site, for similar reasons. (via)
- How to name things: the hardest problem in programming. A dry topic talked about in a very human way. (via)
- Floppy Drive Organ.
- Cold Weather, Gogol And The Rise Of The Russian Samovar. I don’t need one, but I’ve always thought samovars are interesting.
- Unix Shells: Bash, Fish, Ksh, Tcsh, Zsh. (via)
- When Poll is Better than Interrupt. (PDF, via EFNet #dragonflybsd)
- A Repository with 44 Years of Unix Evolution (via)
- Backblaze hard drive stats for 2015Q1. (via)
- Crystals and computer viruses. (via)
- Inadvertent collection.
- Bash history format.
- Vim Tips For Intermediate Users. (via)
- Why isn’t our fax working? (Hint: a power issue.) (via)
- The Problem with the Roguelike Metagame. (via)
Your unrelated link of the week: svblm. Found via a link to Infinideer and Forest Ambassador.
Happy Easter! It means chocolate for me.
- Everything is Made up and the Points Don’t Matter. Substitute “open source work” for “design” in this story. (via)
- The GNU Manifesto Turns Thirty. Quoted from the article: They would roll their eyes a bit, then hasten to add, as more than one did, “But he’s right about most things.” (via)
- COMPUTERS IN OUR LIVES.
- Where we went wrong, or, The one thing Philip Greenspun got right (in 1997).
- A Round Pie in a Square Box. I admit I read it at first just because it mentioned pie, but it is an interesting history. (via)
- istruecryptauditedyet.com. (via)
- How I doubled my Internet speed with OpenWRT. I shall now be annoying: Should have used pfSense, and it’s not a doubling of speed, it’s a doubling of capacity. Any connection on either link is still limited to the speed of that link. (via)
- Oblique Strategies, the website. The Wikipedia entry on Oblique Strategies will tell you what that is, though I could have sworn I talked about it before. (via)
- How a bad RJ45 termination can ruin a cable. First time I’ve seen a check other than “It lights up the tester; must be fine.” (via)
- Some slick awk built-ins.
- Origins of the tilde.
- My Quantified Email Self Experiment: A failure. (via)
- free-for-dev, a list of ‘as-a-service’ items offered free, for development or whatever. (via)
- /dev/notrandom, an April Fools item I actually liked. (via)
- MISTAKES WERE MADE: COMPUTER HISTORY, DECOMPILED. April 17th in NYC.
- Vintage Computer Festival East, happening same day in New Jersey.
- The Interface Experience: Forty Years of Personal Computing. At Bard College now.
- (Last 3 links all via SIGCIS, an excellent resource.)
- Creating a BBS in 2015. (via)
- Dueling Unixes and the Unix Wars [pdf]. (via)
- Is BSD UNIX?
Your unrelated comics link of the week: Jason Shiga’s comics. It’s an article about the comics, not the comics themselves, so go to his site next. (via)
Also unrelated: tea is one of the topics I link here, and alert reader Jeff Ramnani pointed out Strand Tea as a good source. I also saw Deep Mills referenced in the UK. Anyone else have a favorite online vendor?
Pre-assembled over the week, since I have an odd weekend schedule this week. On the plus side, there’s lots to click here.
- How to Be a Good Open Source Community Member. (via)
- Reliable Cron across the Planet. (via)
- How to irritate people away from your website, example 1 and example 2. I hate being repeatedly asked to sign up for a newsletter I’m already on. Also, this.
- “If you build your business on top of someone else’s system, eventually they’re going to notice.“
- Explorable Explanations. I’ve seen at least one of them before and it really stuck with me. (via)
- “Gee, this is a lot of microfiche material. Better build my own high-volume scanner!” (via)
- Also at that last link: DECbox, BlinkenBone, and other projects.
- How I introduced a 27-year-old computer to the web. The author says “It’s very slow”, but so was everything back then. (via)
- The HP-01, found indirectly through the last link. Think of that when next reading about wearables.
- The Days They Changed The Gauge. Heck of an outage window. (via)
- What’s the oldest/weirdest thing you’ve found on your network? An ancient Catalyst switch, running inside an enclosure 1400 ft underground, crammed between a wooden structure and a rock wall. I have a picture of the space.
- Slack is quietly, unintentionally killing IRC. Not scientifically studied, and anything dependent on a single company and not a standard can have longevity problems. (via I lost track, sorry)
- sslh, two services on one port, for when most everything gets blocked. (via NANOG)
- UNIX: Making Computers Easier To Use — 1982, Bell Laboratories. (via)
- The Shut-In Economy, or how to dedicate your life to a workplace. Also, how to ignore the temping nature of all these new jobs. (via)
- O’Reilly’s running a Top 25 sale.
- Andrew W.K. is the Kibo (see site) of Instagram: his name + nosebleed is all it takes. (via)
Unrelated link of the week: Tea. Contains strong language.
Happy (almost) St. Patrick’s Day! An excuse in the U.S. to wear green things and drink beer.
All over the spectrum this week.
Your unrelated link of the week: Skymall, 2007.
Minimal link text this week. It just happened that way.
I’m going with links to some old-school crazy-hard projects this week. No simple hacks, these.
Snow snow snow!
Unrelated link of the week: Lenny Kravitz – Fly Away (lyrics) Watch to the end. “just like a dragonfly” (via)
For some reason, more historical links this week than usual.
Unrelated link of the week: Cartozia Tales. It’s a print comic in a limited series. Many stories, many artists. I’ve been getting the issues and it’s a lot of fun. Here’s an interview with the person coordinating the whole thing.
I have an excellent mix of links this week, I think. I like to have multiple links on multiple topics.
I finished almost this entire thing just on September 1st. I blame school season restarting. Speaking of which, O’Reilly’s running a 50% off ebooks sale.
Your unrelated link of the week: the final answer on how to say GIF . (video source – watch the outtakes, too.)
A relatively trim list for the holiday weekend.
Your unrelated comics link of the week: “Horse.” One of my favorite single panels of all time.
I was out sick for a few days this week (Norwalk virus ain’t fun), and so there’s a whole lot of links to follow.
- The History of the Pocket Knife. I link to it because the pictures are pretty, and because a multitool is one of the more useful physical tools you can have. (via)
- Ooh, a new James Mickens video! This is a sort of antidote to the overoptimistic Scott Hanselman video. Computers are a Sadness, I am the Cure. (via)
- Book review: The Art of Unix Programming.
- Computing Across America.
- Again, not DragonFlyBSD.
- Some interesting thoughts and actions on copyright. I bought the bumper sticker the author’s talking about, directly from him.
- Uh oh.
- Multi-process architectures suck. Yet that’s everything we work on these days. (via)
- The March Towards Go. I keep meaning to sit down and actually try a project in Go. (via)
- UNIX Tricks. Some Linuxisms in there, but oh well. (via)
- Vim as Language. Not a bad description. Related by association: I get tired of seeing the little-avatar-plus-name-plus-job-title that gets stuck on so many blog posts. (via)
- An interview with Damien Conway. He’s a very smart and direct person, so the interview is worthwhile. (via)
- Patching the Newton. Some interesting early history. I remember holding a Newton and saying “This should work like a phone.”
- BOOTSTRA.386 – A Bootstrap theme that will entertain you, or maybe give you painful flashbacks. (via multiple places)
Your unrelated link of the week: The 1987 Crystal Light National Aerobic Championship. Imagine there was no Internet access other than what you can telnet to, and nothing on TV other than this. That’s 1987.
I bring the audio and the visual today.
- The History of Mana. (via)
- Where “Von Neumann architecture” comes from. (via)
- Futuristic User Interface 16. (video)
- Floppy table. The storage space is clever.
- As I’ve said before, every software project grows until it has its own package manager for installing other software. This time, it’s Rust. (via)
- Also, sooner or later someone says, “Hey, I could build an operating system in $myfavoritelanguage!” It’s like building a house because you’ve got a favorite hammer rather than a need to live somewhere. (via)
- Best of Vim Tips. (via) Some interesting tips in the source link comments, too.
- vimawesome.com. Pretty! (via)
- The Internet of Newsletters. A reaction (and a good one) to social media. (via)
- Charlie Stross’s keynote YAPC speech.
- “I no longer see the matrix anymore, all I see is dwarf, sad dwarf, crazy dwarf“
- Awww, it’s cute.
- Raising Lazarus – The 20 Year Old Bug that Went to Mars. And a counter-argument. (both via)
- Modern tech in 1977 Atari style. (via) Did I link this before? I feel like I did, but maybe that’s because of the subject matter.
- Sorta related: Betamaxx. (via)
- “Undefined behavior can result in time travel“.
- Lisp implementation in sed. (via)
- Unix: having fun with diff.
- Visualizing Algorithms. Presented with explanation and methodology, as it should be, as opposed to a random gallery of pseudo-mathy crap. (via)
You unrelated comics link of the week: The Imitation Game, the story of Alan Turing, written by Jim Ottaviani and illustrated by Leland Purvis. I have other work by both authors – they are excellent – and Alan Turning should be a name already familiar to you.
Again, a backlog from last week means this week is fat.
- Non-classical processor behavior: How doing something can be faster than not doing it. Confusing but interesting.
- Rudd Canaday’s blog. One of the people behind UNIX, though not as well known. His stories have some very interesting glimpses into early computing. (via)
- Ergonomics of the Symbolics Lisp Machine. Lisp machines get talked about as if they were the last remnants of a superior, extinct precursor race. Maybe they are? I’ve never touched one. (via)
- Mapping the decentralization movement. I can get behind this idea. (via)
- KnightOS, an operating system for z80 calculators. (via)
- The SSD Endurance Experiment. (via)
- The first Photoshopped image. (via)
- Does your capacitive load purr?
- The very worst subject lines.
- Facebook has built its own switch – and it looks a lot like a server. Not a surprise to anyone familiar with the Open Compute idea, but the source article for the link has some useful references to equipment that you can actually get, unlike the Facebook doodad.
- UNIX: $42,000. (this and other links via this thread.) (update: that link was to a FTP server at Bell Labs, which appears to be down… darnit.)
- The end of Freshmeat, and a surprise link to the origins. (via)
- Aggregate hardware and software use patterns from The Setup. A sort of crowdsourced ‘effective tools’ report. Not necessarily perfect – Aeron chairs are popular, for instance, but I’d pick something else.. In an odd coincidence, a former teacher/coworker of mine is #3 on The Setup right now. (via)
- Happy World Productivity Day.
- A three-sided die, which I didn’t think was possible.
- 8088 Domination, part 1 and part 2. Full-motion video on a 4.77 Mhz 8088 chip from 1981.
- The Early History of Smalltalk. It’s a long read, but a good one. (via)
Your unrelated links of the week: My side hobby I never mention here is baking. I looked up a word I didn’t know, found out about an ice cream type I’ve never seen, started reading about odd things to do with eggs and pressure cookers, and now I’m confused by the possibilities. No narrative point here; I just need to get in the kitchen.
I’ve been short on this week (worked 19 hour day Tues/Wed, ug), so the list is short.
Your unrelated link of the week: Another Cyriak music video, this time for Bonobo. (via)
Less links than last week, but still lots. Alliteration!
Your unrelated link of the week: Carpets for Airports. Requires Flash, unfortunately.
I have possibly two weeks worth of Lazy Reading built up here, so sit down and get with the clicking:
- The Internet with a Human Face. Maciej Ceglowski’s recent talk. This is the you-should-read-it link of the week. (via)
- I Broke My Phone’s Screen, and It Was Awesome. Bunnie Huang finds the best place in the world to smash your cell phone.
- The Art of UNIX Programming. Prompted by this.
- Alert Design. The design of network monitor warnings, not designing alertly. (via)
- UNIX History Repository. On GitHub. So much is on GitHub these days… (via)
- A Trip Down UNIX Memory Lane. A lot of UNIX links this week; I don’t know why.
- “Are you a native full-stack visiongineer who lives to marketech platishforms?” Funny but sorta realistic.
- Presenting Data and Information, taught by Edward Tufte. Might be both interesting and local to some reader. (via)
- Python 3 is killing Python. This sort of thing has happened before, called “Perl 6”. (via)
- The Design of SQLite 4. The more I use SQLite, the more I like it. (via)
- Relics of Technology. How many of these things have you actually used? (via)
- tetris-bsd: the most basic version of tetris I’ve ever seen. (via saved Google search)
- That previous link led me to taipan, which is a game I loved on my Apple ][. Wait, I can still play it now?
- Apple phone and tablet models from the 80s. I remember shaping and painting models out of that sort of foam, years ago, before CAD ate it all.
- Notepad: more dangerous than you thought.
- Not necessarily the wrong way to look at tech blogs.
- 2000 or so Unicode characters. What common fonts actually implement everything in Unicode? Cause that would be a heck of a lot of designs. (via a Kickstarter newsletter)
- Beyond the stack. This way of setting up systems has taken over computing firms that are producing software for the Internet… but I don’t think people realize that isn’t all companies.
- The current Humble Book Bundle includes some Top Shelf comics publications, including semi-fictional-early-hacking-history Wizzywig which I’ve mentioned before, and the colossal not-related-to-computers work From Hell. Hopefully will still be up when you read this…
- If I can run an arbitrary program, I can do arbitrary things.
- Sun stories. Remember, it used to be BSD, back when Sun did was growing. One thing everyone seems to agree on: the workstations were great. (via)
- What’s going on with TrueCrypt. Since DragonFly has a truecrypt-compatible implementation, I’d certainly like to see it continue. (via)
Your unrelated comics link of the week: The End of Garfield. I don’t know if this is the original source for the image.
Lots to read this week – enjoy!
- Stories from net.rumors. War stories about old, big hardware – the file is from USENET in 1989, so many of the stories are about UNIX or pre-UNIX. It’s a long read, but worth it. (via)
- Via the previous link: olduse.net. “Usenet, updated in real time as it was thirty years ago.” Also available via NNTP. The web page simulates a terminal news reader, down to the key commands. I’ve mentioned it before.
- SSH Tunnel – Local and Remote Port Forwarding Explained With Examples. Partially for my own benefit, since I’ve always intended to set up forwarding but never had enough of a dire need to do so. (via)
- Windows in video games. A neat description of how video games simulate building interiors, and a near-perfect usage case for animated GIFs. (via)
- Go for sysadmins. Go seems to approach problems in a different way than Python/Ruby, but I don’t have enough experience to quantify that yet. Also, we need to document PFI better to show how you can already do exactly what the presenter does, with DragonFly. (via a mailinglist)
- The 12-Factor App, noticed in the video in the previous link.
- Building a homebrew USB device. (via) related: I wish lobste.rs would let you link directly to a story even if there weren’t comments yet.
- UNIX: Database connection testing.
- The future that everyone forgot. I always liked what Danger did. (via)
- Arcade Story. I used to be that good with Black Tiger, though it wasn’t as flashy a game. (via)
- RFC7258. “Pervasive monitoring is an attack”. (via many places)
- Problem of the Week at the Harvard Physics Department. (via)
- Notation, notation, notation: a brief history of mathematical symbols. (via)
- An Open Letter on Feminism In Tech. Related: I am still trying to hire a system admin at my workplace. (via several places)
- Microservices and the migrating Unix philosophy. As the first comment in the source link says, “They’ve not read Brooks enough.”
- A curated list of open source sysadmin resources. Interesting set of links, though it seems silly to have this list as a Github project. (via)
- Everything is Broken. (via many places)
Your unrelated link of the week: Well, not really unrelated, but this thought occurred to me.
Another week, another linkpile. I’d probably have more links if it wasn’t for Lost Alpha coming out.
Your unrelated link of the week: Dragonfly (the bug) closeups.
I’ve linked to Wizzywig (free complete book PDF at that link before, as a sort of early semi-fictional history of personal computing. I met the author at TCAF this weekend; his Brain Rot comics about the start of hip-hop are enjoyable too. There’s about a zillion more books I wanted to buy at TCAF, too…
Your unrelated link of the week: Memorex. As a friend from years ago said, “Eiiiiiiiiighteeeeeees”. (via)
Busy week, but lots to read.
Your unrelated link of the week: Doc Brown on My Proper Tea. Language warning.
This is another week where I find neat stuff at the start of the week, start the post, and by the time the post date rolls around, those links have been seen everywhere. Yes, I’m complaining I don’t get “First Post!” the way I want.
Your unrelated comics link of the week: Heads or Tails. Chris Ware’s comics are all about using the comic as a way of expressing the movement of time, in so many ways. (via)
I am all over the map this week.
Your unrelated animated image of the week: a seal with hiccups.
This is the first Lazy Reading in a while that I hadn’t already started before the previous week’s Lazy Reading was displayed.
- Wrong and Right Reasons to be Upset about Oculus. Gets at something that’s been bothering me: too many new companies have acquisition as an exit strategy. Over time, that becomes the only strategy. (via many places)
- How one college went from 10% female computer-science majors to 40%. I can confirm this works, via the small sample of the class I taught recently. (via I lost track, sorry)
- Toward a better programming. Makes some good points about programming, though it unfortunately ends not with solutions but with a ‘buy my stuff’ push. (via)
- Michael W. Lucas reviews “Applied Network Security Monitoring”, the book.
- 7 Habits of Highly Successful UNIX Admins.
- thread patterns, about surviving mailing list overload. You will recognize exactly what’s being described if you’ve read any mailing list for more than a year of your life. (via #dragonflybsd)
- How pinball and boardwalk amusements gave rise to video games.
- RPN calculation, a description and history.
- I don’t know if this conspiracy theory with Red Hat, systemd, and the military-industrial complex is even realistic, but it’s kinda fun to see, in a “look at that mess over there in that other operating system” kind of way. (via)
Your unrelated comics link of the day: The Very Hungry Rust Monster.
Pardon me as I wander through a lot of topics.
- Where to keep your pubic hair. I worry about this (syntax, not hair storage) when I’m writing titles here. (via)
- Top 100 most searched for out-of-print books in 2013. This is a UK site, so it’s UK-specific, I assume. I am thinking of it because I saw copies of the entertainingly illustrated “UNIX System Administrator’s Handbook” at NYCBSDCon. I have copies of the 3rd edition; the 4th edition in print now is the “UNIX and Linux…” version, and I don’t know if the illustrations survived. (via)
- Also found while looking at the previous links: UNIX Systems Advanced Administration and Management Handbook. No idea of the contents, since it’s nearly 20 years old, but the cover hints that it might be interesting more for the style of how it was assembled and what it covers, rather than the technical aspects. I am entertained by ‘first edition’ AD&D manuals the same way.
- It’s about time. DDOS attacks and NTP. A summary of the recent trend.
- Ten Things We Forgot to Monitor. The authors very kindly include the scripts they use to monitor these things now. (via)
- Less Commonly Used UNIX Commands. From a variety of places, so only a subset of this list is available on any given system. (via)
- The Death of Xenix. That was Microsoft UNIX, for those who don’t remember. (via)
- Unix: Using pushd and popd for faster navigation. One of those habits I’ve never been able to establish.
- Introducing BPasswd2. By Alex Hornung, one of the DragonFly developers. I’ve been meaning to post this for some time.
- Typeset In The Future, examining typefaces all through a sci-fi movie, down to the buttons. (via)
- World War G. (via)
Your unrelated comics link of the week: Top Shelf is now selling their excellent comics without DRM, so they can be stored/read however you like.
The Internet overfloweth with good links, lately. Nothing this week that requires a lot of reading, but plenty of things to click. Enjoy!
- The “Basket of Remotes” problem. An area where standards are never applied.
- Dice portraits. I like the images. (via)
- Who made that dial tone? (via a mailing list)
- Simple Git workflow is simple. (via)
- Bunnie Huang talks about his open laptop project, Novena. (mentioned here before.) They sound really neat, but I can imagine you need to be ready for a certain amount of manual work.
- Speaking of machines, Michael W. Lucas got a beefy new desktop system from iXsystems, which is is not a product they advertise… but it makes sense if you want to run a BSD.
- How I built a Raspberry Pi Tablet. Here’s how the author did it. It wasn’t cheap or easy. (via)
- A History of Programming Games, 1961-1989. Not games programming, but games where you program robots as part of the game. I remember being horribly confused by Robotwar on the Apple ][. (via)
- You use SSH keys, don’t you? If not, read this primer.
- On compiling 34 year old C code. Getting Unix V7 ed/sed working. As the article points out, “ed is already using a legacy interface in 1979.” (via)
- Most pedantic bug ever. (via somewhere on Twitter, of all places)
- Also on Twitter: I am devloper.
- Facebook is launching a newsfeed reader. I agree with the person who originally posted this link – it’ll probably be a one-way street where Facebook scarfs up content from the rest of the web via RSS, but everything on Facebook will stay locked away.
- I am looking forward to replacing my Windows desktop with a non-Windows tablet – it’s getting closer.
- Remember: if it’s not on a drive that is in your physical possession, it’s not really yours.
- The curse of the leading zero.
- The Hidden Backdoors to the City of Cron. (re)Infection via cron. (via)
- The Internet is better referred to as “the Stacks”. It’s 5 companies, and everything revolves around what they do. That end-of-2012 article is talking about Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon and Microsoft… though Microsoft seems to be on the way out. Anyway, startups plan for buyout these days, which should tell you that it’s easier to take cash from one of a few large companies than try to compete with them, however indirectly.
Your unrelated link of the week: Fail Forward, a collection of writing about pen and paper RPGs. (via)
There’s some in-depth items to look at this week; pull up a chair and get something warm to drink. You will be rewarded.
- James Mickens, who you may remember from The Slow Winter a few weeks back, has written again with The Night Watch. Gonzo tech writing is the best. Note to self: a ;login: subscription might not be a bad idea, as apparently there’s more like that.
- Another note to self: watch the USENIX blog. There’s some interesting things on there.
- Citation Needed. There’s a plausible claim in this that the reason we have 0-based indexing in most languages is because of yacht-racing. Seriously, read the article, and follow some of the links in it. (via)
- Engelbart’s Violin. Because “a computer system should maximally reward learning.” Found in that previous essay; good enough I had to break it out.
- Found in the comments from that previous link: SiWriter. One-handed phone typing, simulating a chorded keyboard.
- History of T. I was wondering if it was something about tea, but no, it’s a discussion about a Lisp implementation. Lisp all seems to originate from a magical time, when computers were faster, dragons were common, and elves hadn’t retreated across the sea yet, or at least all the stories have that mythical vibe. See the ycominator link for additional discussion about system languages like Rust, of which I have only heard in passing so far.
- The video and audio from LISA 2013 has been posted. There’s lots there; I’m sure you’ll find an interesting topic.
- I wasn’t kidding about this being a dense week for links, was I?
- This should have been in yesterday, but I only read about it this morning: Darwin/BSD on ARM. More ARM work everywhere, please; there’s a tidal wave of these processors washing about. (thanks, J.C. Roberts)
- Why I use a 20-year-old Model M keyboard. See the ycombinator discussion for alternatives. They all may seem expensive, but it’s equipment you’re going to smash your fingers against for many years; it should be good.
- That discussion link in the previous item led me to this image. An old-style Thinkpad keyboard? Now that would be pleasant to use. Apparently these existed, though the Lenovo keyboards section doesn’t have anything exactly by that name; the keyboards there look generic. There’s some on eBay. Anyone ever used one?
- The Homebrew Computer Club reconvenes. A computer club nowadays is “we downloaded some of the same software”, while back then it was “I built a computer.” A bit more hardcore.
- chibitronics. It’s ‘circuit stickers’, and a good idea.
- mattext, a matrix-style pager. Does it work on DragonFly? Haven’t had a chance to find out. It needs a video demo. (via)
- More UNIX script debugging. Still Bash-specific, but still useful.
- Puppet vs. Chef vs. Ansible vs. Salt. A useful comparison for those not familiar with these types of tool. (via)
- UNIX Proves Staying Power as Enterprise Computing Platform. Gives a short history of commercial UNIX platforms.
- I find stories about closing cloud companies compelling. I’d probably feel different if it was my problems to sort out.
Your unrelated link of the week: Mr. T PSA. It’s a parody of the real thing. I explicitly mention it because you, the reader, might not be just the right age to remember this.
If that’s not confusing enough, watch this.
It’s been snowing this week in the northeast US, which makes me happy.
- Unix: sending signals to processes. Signals have always struck me as a somewhat byzantine messaging system that everyone uses for the equivalent of Ctrl-C.
- Unix: Debugging your scripts. This will be useful if it’s not already familiar to you.
- Compatibility is Hard. Contrary to popular belief, Microsoft Word documents are not backward or forward compatible, from release to release.
- From that previous link: Why Microsoft Word Must Die. The worst problems to troubleshoot are when someone says “Word/Excel is acting funny”. There’s so many intermediate layers of software in those programs that it’s difficult to find the actual data and the actions being performed on it, much less troubleshoot any process.
- SparkFun.com moved from MySQL/MariaDB to Postgres. I agree with the sentiments in the article, but I want to know the technical reasons that made Postgres the choice for scaling. (via)
- Apple ][ DOS source code. I don’t have anything I can actually do with the source, but there’s a 1977 price list pictured in the the article that shows some interesting numbers: A 4Kb RAM system costs about $1300, and the prices just go up from there.
Your unrelated comics link of the week: the first four pages of Necropolis. This comic looks to be fun.
This was a loooooong week, with me working 24 of the last 48 hours. It didn’t get in the way of the link-gathering, though!
Your unrelated animated image of the day: (via via)
Your unrelated link of the week: Deep into Youtube, the top-rated films. You may want to turn your volume down, and make sure nobody is around. Not for NSFW content, but because some of those films are so confusing that it’s impossible to explain to someone else why you are watching them. (via) There’s some Nico Nico Douga-sourced stuff in there, which I thought I’ve mentioned before, but I can’t find it now. Why do I even know these things?
- The Shady Characters blog talks about alternate phone dial layouts. I’ve mentioned those here before, but Shady Characters links to this video describing the testing that went on for the keypads. Check at about 2:40 for the story on how AT&T figured out the ‘correct’ length for the phone handset cable.
- The Youtube channel for Numberphile, the source of that previous video link, has some pretty entertaining math videos…
- The UNIX as a Second Language blog has an article up about using strace.
- The Roland SP-808. I didn’t know these had a built-in Zip drive. (via)
- The ICT 1301 runs again. This is what big computers are supposed to look like, with large cabinets, and spinning tapes, and oversized operator consoles. (via)
- Cryptogeddon, a sort of augmented reality game where I think you sneak your way across real systems. ‘Real’ as in not someone else’s computers, but real systems set up for this game. (via)
Your unrelated link of the week: Here’s a weird coincidence. I was looking at this list of pixelated iconic album covers. The #3 item is “Trout Mask Replica”, from Captain Beefheart and the Magic Band. I scanned that specific image back in 1994, on a Mac IIsi in my college lab. For whatever reason, I’ve seen copies of my scan (color corrected much better than I did) many times since. I know I’m not hallucinating because I still have the record, with the same wear pattern on the album cover. It’s odd to see a 20-year-old copy of a 40-year-old album scan you did just pop up out of nowhere.
The Large Installation System Administration 2013 conference
has been announced for is coming up on November 3-8, in Washington, D.C. There’s training and speakers and all sorts of stuff, and maybe even a working government in that town by that point.
This week just built up and built up.
- UNIXStickers.com. Not really UNIXish. More vaguely free software cause-ish. (via tuxillo on EFNet #dragonflybsd)
- The Hail Mary Cloud and the Lessons Learned. Peter Hansteen’s talk from BSDCan 2013. I linked to some of his earlier comments on this botnet before, but this is the comprehensive summary.
- Dwarf Fortress NYC. A good exploration of how the symbolic representations in Dwarf Fortress and roguelikes in general are not that far from ‘accepted’ artwork and design. (via)
- Killscreen on Salty Bet. Describing Salty Bet out loud sounds like a cyberpunk novel idea from 1998. (via)
- The top 100 inventions of the past 100 years. I’d argue that some of them are not that important, but the photographs are neat. (via)
- Resurrecting APL/360. People go to extremes to recreate not-very-pleasant historical computing environments. (via)
- Facebook and Open Networking Plan. Facebook doesn’t exactly do good, but I do like the idea of separating hardware from software in networking equipment, a la pfSense. (via)
- Polemic: how readers will discover books in future. Sounds awful, and unfortunately a bit feasible. (via, with a great illustration)
- Age-ism, Transhumanism, and Silicon Valley’s Cognitive Dissonance. A lot of the stupid mistakes tech companies make happen because they are uniformly run by inexperienced people. Worse, this is the sort of perspective you only gain with age. (via)
- How was Hangul Invented? I don’t know any Korean, spoken or written, but I find the planned creation of a language interesting. (via)
- History of the Telegraph. I like the physical design of the old models. Also, Western Union was once the largest telecom company in the world.
- A list of free programming books. (via)
- Connecting a payphone to Asterisk. I did a similar thing with a Model 500. Hmm… and this guy has the same initials as me. (via)
Your unrelated comic link of the week: Nimona.
By the time you read this, I’ll have already been sitting on an island for a few days. There’s so much stuff to post lately I’m scheduling material a week out.
Your unrelated comic link of the week: The Scout, by Malachi Ward. A self-contained sci-fi story.
So many links came up recently that I had already finished this week’s entry when last week’s Lazy Reading was posted.
Your unrelated link of the week: Release the Kraken!
Last week was relatively light, but somehow this week I read a zillion interesting things. It’s been too dang hot to do much else, other than flop in a chair and point a fan at my head.
- Chopping up CSV files. Tabular format will never die, and for good reason.
- Reanimated: The story of Vampire: The Masquerade Bloodlines. I like this idea that someone can just keep working on a project long after the originating company disappeared, just to improve it for their own benefit – no mention of open source or even a plan for it. See also Oblivion Lost or Complete for some of my personal game fix/improvement modification favorites. (via)
- I don’t think this systemd/Debian news is accurate in its reasoning, and they don’t say what’s going to happen with non-Linux Debian. However, it’s still crappy, any way you slice it. (via)
- The paranoid #! Security Guide. Lots of details that won’t necessarily apply to your BSD system, but the descriptions of various attacks are neat. (via)
- Another reminder of how easy it is to deal with a lot of text data at a Unix-ish command line. (via)
- Those ssh password attempts are still going, and have been for a decade. (via)
- Don’t care about the story, but I like the dragonfly illustration.
- Linus Torvalds swears a lot. The problem is not ‘office politics’ as he sees it, but that if you swear all the time as the leader of a project, it becomes commonplace. Linus really has to really freak out for people to notice something new. There’s other issues, like how other people emulate the behavior, but I’m pointing out the ‘verbal base sweariness’ of a project affects the entire tone.
- Quine Relay, where programming languages write each other. The Ouroboros illustration is appropriate. (via many places)
- History of emacs and vi keys. I like how this shows that the command styles in both editors was shaped by the available hardware. (via)
- Fear and Loathing in Debian^H^H^H^H^H^H/Ubuntu (or: who needs /etc/motd). A wonderful rant about the creeping complication of operating systems. Let’s place bets on when people start complaining about Linux bloat. (via luxh on EFNet #dragonflybsd)
Your unrelated link of the week: Bones Don’t Lie. An anthropologist who blogs about various discoveries of human remains. I really enjoy blogs where someone is talking about a subject they care about – not to sell a product, not to be paid (directly), but just because they like the topic and they want to share it with others. Of course I would think that, wouldn’t I?
Some of the links this week go pretty in-depth. Enjoy!
- This short story from 1954 might serve as a reason to avoid single system image computing… (via Sascha Wildner)
- Vim and Ctags tips and tricks. (via)
- Psygnosis game box designs. Nostalgia for some, neat art for anyone else. (via)
- 50 years of ASCII, and here’s the table it comes from. Some other neat links there, too. (via)
- Richard Feynman and The Connection Machine. If you like stories about Feynman, who was a very interesting person, you may want to read Feynman, the comic book. I met the writer, Jim Ottaviani, years ago, and he was very energetic about both science and comics. Look up his other work if that sounds interesting – which it should. Here’s a sample from the Feynman book. (via)
Back to the Future: Preserving the History of Video Games. This is right around the corner from me. The game museum is as neat as it sounds (yes, they have games out to play), but the article doesn’t mention that it’s attached to a fantastic and huge kid’s museum.
- Building a Cray at home. Similar to this previously-linked idea. (via)
Your unrelated link(s) of the week: Candy Box and A Dark Room. Both are text-only games, but they use HTML5 for animation. They start minimal, and build up – be patient; there’s a lot of gameplay in there. These minimal games fascinate me. It’s like reading a book, where it goes from just static text to an entire world being built. (somewhat via)
Your bonus unrelated comics link of the week: Jack Kirby double-page spreads. It’s not an exaggeration to say this artwork crackles. (via I forget)
Switching terminals in X with ctrl-alt-Fx requires a not-on-by-default option. This could catch anyone used to the old behavior, so I might be doing you a favor by mentioning it.
This is a text-heavy weekend, given yesterday’s post. Enjoy!
- SELinux’s toxic mistake. If people aren’t using something you built because it frustrates those same people, it’s not their fault. (via)
- Contrary to popular belief, QWERTY was not designed to slow the typist down. (via)
- VMS will finally reach end of life in 2020. VMS was a contemporary operating system to UNIX, and started on nearly the same hardware. (the PDP-11) Aw, I feel bad. Not so bad that I’d actually use it again, but still: Aww. (via luxh on EFNet #dragonflybsd)
- “At the point all my hardware undeniably works on BSD, I will probably move there.” This article is in no way scientific, but it makes me a little happy. (via a Google search)
- The Deepest Uncertainty. A surprisingly enjoyable description of set theory and other math bits. (via)
- 8 months in Microsoft, I learned these. None of these are a surprise, really, but point 5, “not giving back to the public domain is the norm” is really sad. The example given isn’t even code – it’s just describing a solution on a web page, publicly. (via)
- Trillian is publishing the specs for their IMPP communication service. A quote from the announcement: “…our commitment to run a business whose primary focus is its communication products, not advertising”
Your unrelated link of the week: ScummVM in a browser. Comes with some LucasArts game demos, too. (via many places)
Last week was a lot of very brief links. I’ll go for verbosity this week…
- Regular expressions and regular grammar. I hope you like detailed explanations. I’ve said it before: you should understand regular expressions. The difference between knowing and not knowing is sometimes the difference between knowing how to finish a project, and being hopelessly swamped. (via)
- A plea for less (XML) configuration files. From the same place. I don’t advocate rejecting XML files out of hand like some people, but I think you need to have a certain existing level of complexity already in your program before you use XML. For example, so complex that nobody will notice some XML sprinkled in there too.
- Where Looks Don’t Matter and Only the Best Writers Get Laid, a talk about the Internet from roughly the late 90s to the 2000s. Some parts of this get farther into political notes than I usually care to read, but I like the point made with “Many women and men alike are using, not building, the web.” I am frustrated by how the Internet is effectively one-way transmission for so many, like TV. (via I forget, sorry)
- Bringing Unix commands to a Windows world. It’s about Cygwin. I’ve installed Cygwin a number of times, but it’s such a strange hybrid I eventually stop after using it for whatever specific reason caused the first install. These days, it’s almost easier to set up a virtual machine on a Windows system and just switch over as needed.
- The Weird Stuff Warehouse. How much does this look like your basement? I like looking in stores like there cause there’s always some hardware item that seems to be worth resurrecting. (via)
- Open Source Game Clones. I feel iffy about these things. This tends to be viewed as “I want a free game”, not “I want the right to modify a game”. Also, you could argue it takes revenue away from the original artists who work on a product when it copies the original game methodology, reducing the incentive to produce. That could be debated, but I am certain of this: I wish people tried original rather than rehashed ideas in open source, because it has a much lower threshold for success. You don’t need a studio to tell you when you can be published… which is sort of the idea behind “indie gaming“, I suppose. (first link via)
- Remember those old not-a-desktop-not-a-laptop computers? They looked like this image I saw recently. I actually learned to use vi in a mild panic on a Sparcstation Voyager, which would be another device in that land between categories.
- SSH Tricks, found by accident while I was searching for how to do per-host configs in ssh, so that I only had to type a short name and leave off the long suffix (like dragonflybsd.org) when connecting to a server. Someday I might even get remote port forwarding over ssh correct.
- USSR’s old domain name attracts criminals. Somehow I doubt you can identify a criminal site by domain suffix that easily. (via)
Your unrelated link of the week: Massive Chalice, a Kickstarter for a new strategy and tactics game. It’s by Double Fine, who has made some fantastic stuff, and it has permadeath, turn-based combat, randomly generated maps… it’s a roguelike! It’s cross-platform, apparently, though I don’t know if it will work on any BSDs.
A really packed week, this week.
Your unrelated link of the week: Superman’s Ultimate Crotch Kick.
I think spring has arrived; everything’s turning green, and a young man’s thoughts turn to computer hardware upgrades. Time to move to 64-bit! Anyway, lots of links this week. These are getting more and more content-filled over time, but I don’t think anyone minds…
- For the Bitcoin enthusasts: ‘…when my wife refuses to bring him cake on our sofa, he calls it a “denial-of-service attack”’ (via)
- Make It So, coverage of computer interfaces from movies. I always thought that was what Enlightenment was trying to achieve: the Interface From The Future. (via several places)
- Same computer interface topic, but from anime movies. It would be nice if this became something people actively worked on, instead of Bitcoin selling and Facebook monetizing. (via)
- Flat icons/monochromatic icons seem to be another microtrend. This is probably because few people do small dimensional icons well. My favorite was always the BeOS set.
- On benchmarks. It says what you should already know, but I like the Phoronix/MD5 benchmarking joke. (via EFNet #dragonflybsd)
- This article titled “The Meme Hustler” draws a finer line than I’ve seen before between “open source” and “free software”. The author, Evgeny Morozov, seems to also have a hate-on for Tim O’Reilly. See some reviews of a recent Morozov book for a counterpoint, of sorts.
- Spacewar championship, 1972, in Rolling Stone. Exactly two years before I was born! At this point, finding things older than me makes me a bit happy. There’s a picture of a Dynabook in there, photographed by Annie Liebowitz. It’s entertaining to read this 40-year-old story and see how well it predicts the future. I’m also sort of amazed it exists, in Rolling Stone. More Spacewar links here.
- Meet the Web’s Operating System: HTTP. “Because HTTP is ultimately the one social contract on the web that, amidst a million other debates over standards, rules, policies, and behavior, we have collectively agreed to trust.” (via)
- Ancient computers in use today. I’ve linked to a story about that IBM 402 before, but the following pages about VAX and Apple ][e systems are new. Well, new to read, certainly not new hardware. (via)
- Yahoo Chat! A Eulogy. The spray of forbidden words is an entertaining acknowledgement message. (via)
- The $12 Gongkai Phone. Bunnie Huang breakdowns are always fun, and he’s describing a strange sort of open source that isn’t through license. (via)
- The FreeBSD Foundation is looking to hit a million dollars donated this year, which seems quite possible given last year’s performance. Donate if you can; their activities help the whole BSD community.
- A Complete History of Breakout. It’s not actually complete, but that’s OK. It includes Steve Jobs being a jerk and Steve Wozniak being very clever, which is their traditional roles. (via)
- Ack 2.0 is out. It’s a very useful utility; I’d like to see more standalone utilities created this way.
- Space Claw, Flickr via BBS. You’ll need telnet. (via)
Your unrelated link of the week: Shady Characters, a typography/history blog I’ve linked to before, has a book out. If you liked those links, you know what to do next.
We are very close to the next release. As always, it comes down to building third-party software. Lots of material here to read, until then.
- E-TeX: Guidelines for Future TeX Extensions – revisited. It’s interesting to look at a software project that has had 20 years to run, with a very specific problem domain, and see that there’s always something more that could be done. (via)
- You SHOULD CONSIDER RFC6919. (via)
- The largest computer ever built. Why are there no SAGE emulators? (also via)
- The newlisp.org logo is a dragonfly, similar to ours. I don’t know why. Oh, wait: I bet it’s parentheses for the wings, which makes sense for Lisp. (thanks, Charles Rapenne)
- UNIX V5, OpenBSD, Plan 9, FreeBSD, and GNU coreutils implementations of echo.c. Not necessarily a fair comparison, but interesting; there’s some useful links in the comments, such as this similar exercise for cat.c. (via)
- Top 10 reasons I Like Postgres Over SQL Server. SQL Server is not that bad a product, but I do wish Postgres was run more often.
- Our Regressive Web. A story on how we’re losing the tools that let us focus on content on the web. The author doesn’t say, but should, that this is partially because we’re using platforms owned by other companies (Facebook, Twitter) instead of talking on our own. (email, blogs) (via)
- The earliest known version of D&D, the “Dalluhn Manuscript“, is on display at a museum right around the corner from me. (via)
- Workflow in Tmux. (via)
Your unrelated link of the week: A bunch of monster models, all taken at a convention called Monsterpalooza. A bit grody, but still some very good construction work. (via)
Peter Avalos has committed another batch of updates to sh(1), from FreeBSD. I was going to comment on how strange it was to see software getting updated so many years later; you’d think everything there was to update for /bin/sh had been done at this point. Digging casually, the oldest bit on sh that I can find is from 1991 – 22 years old. The man page mentions a rewrite in 1989 based on System V Release 4 UNIX, and there were versions of sh all the way back to version 1.
Here’s a trivia question – what’s the oldest Unix utility, and what’s the oldest code still in use? I don’t know the answer.
You know what stinks? I find a really cool thing online somewhere, early in the week, or even in a previous week, like today’s unrelated link. Between me finding it and this always-on-Sunday post, other people encounter it, the link gets reposted everywhere, and it’s old hat by the time you see it here. Yeah, I’m complaining like it’s hipster linking!
- Has anyone noticed how there’s been an explosion in nontraditional peripherals lately? Seriously, follow those links. I know there’s more.
- A Roguelike Primer. An excellent overview of a lot of different roguelikes. I didn’t know NetHack had an isometric view. (via)
- There’s a programming language called Quylthulg. That makes me happy, in a D&D/roguelike kind of way.
- Abandoned Apples. I feel bad about the Apple ][ units, and the fatmacs. (via I forget)
- yes `yes no`. The comments on the linking page note how the linking description is all wrong (and here’s corrections), but one comment is fun: shell Russian Roulette: [ $[ $RANDOM % 6 ] == 0 ] && rm -rf / || echo *Click* (via)
- A note about Google Reader’s demise from an interview with one of the creators. It strikes me that there aren’t more people mad that RSS feeds are hard to find. There’s lots of conversations on Twitter and Facebook and Google Plus and other places, and I can’t see them without getting an account for each, and logging in. The overall effect of this separation is that it’s hard to follow any one source.
- The Thing, an art BBS.
- Here’s a chart of possible Google Reader replacements, plus my query earlier this week let to a number of comment suggestions. tt-rss looks like a good candidate, because I don’t have to worry about someone deciding not to run it anymore. There’s also newsbeuter, though maybe that’s too minimal.
Your unrelated link of the week: I almost can’t tell this is a parody. Actually, it’s more like a double level of parody. Seen on this inexplicable, wonderful Tumblog; found via arts inscrutable.
Bonus link: Dog Snack Episode 3.
A calm week, for once.
- Via Michael W. Lucas: Absolut OpenBSD.
- Another ‘How I customize Vim’ style post. These things always sound great, but I worry that it’s not something that can be duplicated. If you had to rebuild or duplicate your Vim environment elsewhere, you’d have to write out your own instructions. Not impossible, but I don’t have to do that for anything else. (via)
- Twine, a game creation tool that really requires only writing. (via)
- The Oxford Comma, or how it doesn’t matter. (via)
- The Story of the PING Program. I could have sworn I linked to this before. I remember having someone explain ping to me when I was young and had little experience of IP networking; it seemed like magic where the computers would actually talk. (via vsrinivas on EFNet #dragonflybsd)
- ARPANet, 1971, as a tattoo. (via)
Your unrelated comics link of the week: Reid Fleming, World’s Toughest Milkman. All the early issues, available in electronic form, for pay-what-you-want. (And I advise paying; it’s a fun comic) Look at a sample page if you are curious.
For once, I didn’t accidentally post this too early. I hope you have some spare time; there’s a lot of meaty links this week.
- “Keep the workload off the pinkies.” is a good recommendation for any keyboard layout. (via)
- Dan Langille started doing some price comparisons for various hard drives; see the comments on his article for some specialty sites that do the same.
- “It was open source because we didn’t have any choice.” Spacewar, the first computer game. Or at least the first computer game like we’d expect it to be.
- If you read the details, Ethernet and Microsoft Word came from almost the same place. (via)
- YouCompleteMe, a Fast, As-You-Type, Fuzzy-Search Code Completion Engine for Vim. (via) Haven’t tried it.
- This article about the correct pronounciation of “GIF” is mostly a historical rehash, but I really like the last two sentences.
- This Wired article does a good job of describing what’s special about Flickr compared to all the other big photo services, and also has an excellent metaphor for Facebook buried in there. (via)
- This is perhaps one of the better descriptions of being a “nerd” and how it has changed recently.
- Well, that’s a bizarre translation. (via tuxillo on EFNet #dragonflybsd)
- My favorite part of this excellent Economist article about Voyager 1 and 2 is this note: “Most ingeniously of all, Dr Stone’s team equipped the probes with an advanced bit of hardware called a Reed-Solomon encoder. […] The rub was that in 1977 a way to decrypt Reed-Solomon corrected data had yet to be worked out. Luckily, by the time Voyager 2 reached Uranus in 1986, it had been.“
- An HTML5-based roguelike. I’m sure there’s others. I like that HTML5 is starting to make things Just Work. (via)
Your unrelated comics link of the week: Anthony Clark of Nedroid.com is selling his sketchbook; 101 pages as a digital download, for $1. Look at his strip or his Tumblr doodles if you want to know more before, but that’s quite a deal. Nedroid is the source of one of my favorite character names: Beartato. Also makes a good shirt.
Your unrelated comics link of the week: Kyle Baker comics, available as PDFs for free. Go, read.
The last of the year.
Your unrelated comics link of the week: Marlo Meekins’ Tumblr. Her lettering is refreshingly expressive. That may sounds strange to single out, but so many people place words as an set block of text rather than as part of a graphic layout.
I started this Lazy Reading early, since I had so many links it overflowed into the next week. Merry almost Christmas!
- Here’s an in-depth review of Guilded Youth, an interactive fiction game that hearkens back to the old days of BBS usage. (Do I need an interactive fiction tag to complement the roguelike one?)
- Dear Open Source Project Leader: Quit Being A Jerk. I really think part of DragonFly’s success, despite being such a small, esoteric project, has come from being generally tolerant.
- Vmail, a Vim interface to Gmail. This seems pretty slick. Looking further, the author has a number of other Vi/Vim-related projects, like a Vim wiki, Vim newsreader, Vim iTunes controls, and more. Also something really clever: the equivalent of ‘tail -f twitter.com‘ (via)
- How I got four errors into a one-line program. All via git.
- Go for C programmers. (via)
- Mars Code. I like the statistic that the lines-per-hour of code was <10; it points out that not all metrics apply, all the time. (also via)
- I never thought I’d actually see e17 come out.
- XKCD has a good summary of the recent Instagram licensing mess, and perhaps a good summary of social media in general. I’m always surprised when I see a business using Facebook or something similar as their primary customer contact method.
- Why is grep always fast? Here’s a very technical explanation of why. There’s more.
- Bunnie Huang is building a laptop. All the extra headers and analog bits remind me of the dearly departed BeBox. (Bunnie mentioned previously here) (via)
Your unrelated link of the week: I work at a salt mine. One of the highlights of my job is when I’m in the mine and need to get somewhere quickly; I use a 4-wheeler to drive. (I’m licensed to operate it.) There’s no stop signs, no stoplights, and generally a whole lot of straight roads with no obstacles or traffic. It can be a fun drive. However, it’s not as cool as driving on the moon. (via)
I hope you like links, and lots of history. It’s been a bumper crop this week.
- The Radio Shack catalog from 1983. Including such gems as 156,672 characters of storage per $600 disk. For perspective, that’s about $4 per kilobyte. A randomly-picked SSD is about 0.000001 cent per kilobyte. Previously linked here: Radio Shack 2002. (via)
- Hey, O’Reilly has a comprehensive list of all their open-licensed book titles, for download. Found from a link to Unix Text Editing. I bet much of that book still applies, despite being from 1987. (indirectly via)
- The MOS 6502 and the Best Layout Guy in the World.
- Shady Characters Miscellany #20: On Typewriters. The ancestor of the TTY. It’s still just barely possible to buy a new typewriter. I worked for a printer cartridge remanufacturer for a few years; the highest-profit items were typewriter ribbons, because nobody else made them.
- The UNIX philosophy and a fear of pixels. I think the author’s conflating philosophy and style. (via)
- Bell Labs CSR Selected Technical Reports. (via) Warning: they’re all in Postscript. Includes Brian Kernighan’s “Why Pascal is Not My Favorite Programming Language“, and I’m linking there to a non-Postscript version to make your life a little easier.
- If the idea of non-standard hexadecimal breaks your brain a little bit, go a little bit farther and read The Story of Mel. I had to read the solution twice to get it.
- Nostalgia for the more open web of 10 years ago. It’s true, and also makes me feel sad. (via)
- Google60, Google via punchcard and printer. It’s more stylistic than literal, but still fun. (via)
- If you’re near San Francisco, a hackerspace there called Noisebridge wants more open source people – including BSD users – showing up.
Your unrelated link(s) of the week: Said the Gramophone and The New Shelton Wet/Dry. The first one’s a music blog, and the second’s more general. Both have a somewhat random feel with the images used – completely random in the New Shelton’s case. It’s interesting that there’s such a flood of text and images on the Internet that you can reassemble content out of all of it. You can’t push over a bookshelf and call it a library, but you can build a whole new narrative from random assembly of Internet data.
This is a mini-theme Lazy Reading, where I find small groups of related things.
- Exploratory data analysis with Unix tools. The command line is a far better place to mangle data than you’d expect. Well, maybe not your expectations, given that you’re reading this site.
- “The UNIX System: Making Computers More Productive” Brian Kernighan, Dennis Ritchie, and Ken Thompson in 1982. I found that after reading “Open Source Guilt & Passion“, which is a quite accurate description of working on open source, or perhaps any volunteer work. (via).
- While talking about people of that generation: Here’s Rob Pike’s Go slideshow (linked previously) in a single-page text format. (via)
- And we can get even older with this article about the Computer History Museum in California. There’s a lot of pictures of hardware ‘firsts’, like a light tracking, self driving robot from the 1940s, or the first mass-produced transistor radio. Look for the hardware that shows where ‘core dumps’ came from. (via)
- Found on the previous link: Rebuilding the IBM 1401. I like looking at the old “fill-up-a-room” computers, since they look like supercomputers. I wouldn’t want to actually possess a mainframe; they aren’t powerful, eat electricity, and so on. Well… I can think of one that would be OK.
- The Enduring Object. I find it oddly reassuring when hardware doesn’t change because it works so well. It’s sort of like an inherited tool from an older relative; something worn from use but distinctly better than buying new.
- The 2012 Good Gift Games Guide. There’s some really neat board games in there.
- Along the same lines, Designing Board Games with Perl.
- The First Few Milliseconds of an HTTPS Connection. An in-depth dive with Wireshark and an explanation of RSA. My cup of nerditry runneth over! (via)
- It wouldn’t be a Lazy Reading post without some Git thingie. This time, it’s “Git: Twelve Curated Tips And Workflows From The Trenches“. (via)
- The DuckDuckGo command line. (via)
- Exploring Emacs. Posted mostly in the interests of equal time to vi-ish stuff. (via)
- “What a Wonder is a Terrible Monitor“. A Jason Scott article about emulating old monitors in software, with videos showing the difference. I’ve seen the hardware difference he’s talking about. I’m distressed just knowing my children probably don’t recognize analog static. (via)
Your unrelated link of the week: The Museum of Ridiculously Interesting Things. Also known as ‘old weird crap’, but that’s OK – still interesting.
It’s been a quiet week, but that’s OK. I have sick kids, sick coworkers, and a certification test this Monday…
Your unrelated link of the week: GET LAMP. I thought I had linked to it before, but I’m probably thinking of It Is Pitch Dark. It’s a documentary by Jason Scott of textfiles fame about text adventures.
Life is busy, busy, busy. But there’s always time for Lazy Reading!
- Sometimes Google searches turn up DragonFly BSD in odd places.
- Wayland reached 1.0. That’s great, except it isn’t ready for use yet, it’s just feature-stable. I’d argue that means it’s ‘beta’, not 1.0, but there’s no hard and fast rules about that. In any case, does it run on any BSD? I don’t think so.
- OpenSSH server best practices. Nothing too groundbreaking, but they include “BSD” (i.e. pf) examples. I always like articles that don’t assume Linux is the only platform. (via)
- The little SSH that (sometimes) couldn’t. A heck of a network debugging exercise. (via mat in #dragonflybsd)
- The AN/FSQ7, a computer I’m sure I’ve seen in movies a number of times. (via)
- Here’s the OpenBSD slides from EuroBSDCon 2012.
- Oh look, Apple’s got “Fusion Drive“. The cool people call it swapcache and have been using it for years, so there.
- Here’s an essay that starts out talking about Quantum Computing and moves into the ambivalence that quantum computing seems to entail instead of just noting the general scientific description and leaving it there. It’s really quite enjoyable.
- Hey, maybe this is why Facebook reported earnings are up: they’re holding your own data hostage. (via)
- Rob Pike on The Setup. He makes a very good point about how we should access computers. Also, here’s a recent, long slide show he put together about Go. It describes solving some language problems that have been around a long time. (via)
- I was halfway through reading that last slide show link and realized there’s no way I can explain how it was an worthwhile read to someone who hadn’t done some programming. No link or conclusion, just an observation of how esoteric this is. I hope you enjoy it.
- Essential Vim and Vi Skills has hit a 3rd edition. I have this as a Kindle edition, and I’m not sure how that happened.
- Zork in Duplicity, or a bizarre finding of old UNIX history in a completely unrelated place. (via)
- These OpenBSD thin clients are a neat idea.
Your unrelated link of the week: Delilah Dirk. It’s a comic, and the story available to read online is about a tea merchant, which makes it exactly right.
I had some interesting home network troubleshooting over the past week…
- What’s the “scroll lock” key on my computer for? The article almost identifies it: it’s to allow scrolling up in the hardware terminal, if you’re on BSD. Or for changing how navigation via arrow keys works in Excel, on Windows, as I’ve had to show to people a few times. (via)
- “systemd requires HTTP server and serves QR codes” – not really, but it’s a long discussion of just what balance to strike between minimal and excessive for an operating system. Also, it’s Linux, so it’s messy. (via ftigeot on #dragonflybsd)
- Why I Two-Space. I thought this would be about two-space tabs, but it’s about something I care about more: space after the period at the end of the sentence. (via)
- Simplify Your Life with a ssh config file. I keep meaning to do some of these things. (via)
- 9 Enhancements to Shell and Vim Productivity. The last one, about keeping your config files in a git repo, is a good one. Read the comments for some exceptional ideas. (via)
- Huh. 42 really is the answer. (via)
- CSRG‘s SCCS history brought to svn. I like that old code can be revivified, so to speak. (via)
- Commanding Your Text Editor. Text editor tips in a ecumenical style. More specifically, Textmate, Vim, and Emacs tips side by side. (via)
- An Introduction to Graphviz via R. Kelly’s “Trapped in the Closet” Hip Hopera. That… is one of the odder tutorials I’ve ever read. (via)
Your unrelated link of the week: Terrorism as Art. An extended profile of Survival Research Laboratories at The Verge. Even if you don’t like the content, the focus of the artist is remarkable.
12 18 hours of my life fighting with an Exchange 2010 upgrade this week. To compensate, I will never complain about Sendmail wonkiness ever.
- Homebrew Cray-1A. Duplicating the internals is interesting in a “that’s crazy/difficult” way, but the case is the best part. (via dfcat on #dragonflybsd)
- If you understand the structure of haiku, you can contribute to Absolute OpenBSD, 2nd Ed.
- Here’s a browser-based roguelike called Second Wind, and another called Epilogue. No particular reason to link to them other than I haven’t had much roguelikes linked recently.
- “The role of the troll in social media is to ruin that product.” There’s a line that can be drawn to connect the idea of being esoteric enough that social networks (i.e. Facebook) don’t intrude on your interests, and the idea of being interested in BSD operating system creation. What I’m saying is that BSD is less hyped, and thank goodness.
- Another social media caution: it’s their space, not yours, and they can boot you at any time. (via)
- Yeah, I’m getting curmudgeonly. I’ll stop now.
- Go By Example.
- git-ftp, when the files you are working on are in a location only accessible by FTP – no git or ssh access. This appears to copy them in and out as part of the commit/change process. I can imagine a very specific workflow where this would be useful. (via)
- Bash One-Liners, part 4.
- OS Upgrades powered by Git. That’s a neat idea. I don’t think you actually have to follow the link; that’s the whole concept right there.
- The Ultimate Vim Distribution. (via) I like how slick the single-line install methods are on these things… but I want the number of packaging/install methods on every computer I administer to equal exactly 1, not (1 x number of installed programs).
- Why is Linux more popular than BSD? Some of the answers are just plain wrong, or don’t understand causality… but that’s no surprise. (via)
- Oh, hopefully this will solve the UEFI secureboot issue for DragonFly too. (via)
Your unrelated link of the week: A CD that comes with its own turntable and record. Kid Koala scrapes over culture to find mentions of vinyl and DJing the same way I scrounge the Internet for mention of BSD. His “Nerdball” from Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is an astonishing display of turntable skill.
DragonFly 3.2 branches tomorrow if all goes to plan. Until then, I have a lot of reading here for you.
- Winners of the International Obfuscated C Code Contest for 2012. (via) The winning entries don’t appear to be listed yet, but you can look at previous years.
- “At often, the goat-time install a error is vomit.” (via)
- This makes the D&D player in me take notice: A set of 12 sided dice that never tie. You can buy them, along with a bunch of other custom dice, right from the maker. (also via)
- “To understand the command line…” There’s some good UNIX history notes in there. Don’t hold the ‘User Friendly’ cartoon image against the author. (via)
- Dan Langille does it right when figuring out where his disk space went.
- Monthly Catonmat geek T-shirts. I know, I know, the last thing the world needs is more nerdshirts, but I like the first one on offer.
- Images to make perfectionists suffer. At first I laughed, and then I started to get irritated. (via)
- This networking change in Linux just makes me feel icky. (via ftigeot on #dragonflybsd)
- An Interview with Brian Kernighan on C and the C Programming Language. (via)
- Statistics from 777 .vimrc files. (via) Hover your mouse over the ‘sparkline’ graphs for more information. That’s a very slick way to get more information into a small space. It also led me to this wonderful Solarized colorscheme.
- OCaml 4 will show up in pkgsrc soon.
- Bob Bagwill got DragonFly added on AlternativeTo.net.
- I link to this step by step sed explanation because I found it useful, and because it has this “perverse” example:
- The “dragonfly issue“. (thanks, Dean.)
- The Hall of Unwanted Dotcoms. Some of these are just fun to say. (via)
- 20 Years of Thinkpad. I have a Thinkpad x220 for work and I like the way it’s built far more than any other laptop I’ve dealt with.
Your unrelated link of the week: Dog Shaming. I have a parrot, rabbit, and lizard. They seem like easy, normal pets compared to some of these stories.
A discussion of why root automatically lists dotfiles with ls and all other users do not led to a long thread that includes some UNIX history. There’s some useful and some not-so-useful parts in the thread, but it did indirectly produce a way to reverse the listing effect itself.
Your unrelated link of the week: Top Shelf is having their annual $3+ comics sale. There’s some really good books for cheap, there. Of special note: From Hell, about Jack the Ripper, drawn by my favorite artist. Wizzywig, mentioned here before as a fictional mishmash of real stories and rumors about hackers and BBSes and other things people need to be a certain age to remember. The Ticking, drawn by Renée French, whose art should be familiar to fans of Plan 9 or Go.
- deadweight, “Find unused CSS selectors by scraping your HTML”. I’ve needed something like this for years. (via)
- The same sort of thing for pkgsrc: pkg_leaves. Worth running at least yearly, or at least before any significant pkgsrc upgrade. There’s no point in updating a package you don’t use or need.
- GNU Coreutils cheat sheet, plus the instructions to make it. There’s other cheatsheets linked in the article that may be useful.
- Compiler benchmarks, comparing gcc and clang versions. For a complete benchmark, I’d want to compare what number of programs build with each, too. (via ftigeot on #dragonflybsd)
- When ‘your mom’ and Unix jokes collide.
- Distraction-free writing with Vim. (via)
- Also, there’s a “Modern Vim” book on the way. Will it be good? I have no idea; I don’t know of any prior books by the author or who the publisher is. Those facts might help.
- For a known author and publisher, here’s a status report on Absolute OpenBSD, 2nd Edition. If you don’t know what a BOFH is from his last sentence, read the original stories.
- Quadrilateral Cowboy, a cyberpunk hacking game that actually involves non-boring programming and not just a pipe-matching game under the guise of hacking.
- While I’m linking to games, GUTS, sorta like Diablo but more… roguey? It’s turn-based. Also, an excuse to use the roguelike tag.
- 4 UNIX commands I abuse every day. Having done a fair amount of Perl programming, I am entertained by having side effects being the intended goal. Also, the author pays attention to what runs on BSD. (via)
- “Disks lie. And the controllers that run them are partners in crime.” Marshall Kirk McKusick describes just how hard it is to know when your data has really made it from memory to disk. (via)
Your unrelated link of the week. Dubgif. Random animated gifs and dubstep clips. Sometimes it doesn’t work, and sometimes it’s perfect. (via) If that’s too random, there’s also this .
LOPSA East is happening next May in New Jersey. I haven’t seen mention of this on any BSD list, but there’s definitely Unixy things happening there. The call for papers is out.