Lazy Reading for 2011/05/29

Whee!

  • Do you like the Opera browser?  Apparently all it takes is a little misspelling to confuse it with a U.S. daytime talk show host.  The “Best of Oprah emails to Opera“.   (via)  Mistaken identity on the Internet is always fun.
  • Popular free software licenses, described.  (via)  One of the better, non-polemic descriptions I’ve seen.
  • For the opposite effect, the Free Software Foundation’s license recommendations.  Somehow, the BSD license isn’t even mentioned.  (via)  A commenter at the source link notes that the GNU Free Documentation License isn’t even considered ‘free’ by Debian.  Along those lines, I’ve always thought that GPL licensing creates a perverse incentive to keep your software undocumented.
  • The FreeBSD and NetBSD Foundations have acquired a license for libcxxrt from PathScale, which I assume is for C++ support in conjunction with clang.  (or pcc?)  This isn’t as much of an issue for DragonFly right now since we’re continuing down the GCC route.
  • Temple of the Roguelike, a searchable database of roguelike games.  It’s an idea that you would totally expect for this genre.  (via trevorjk on EFNet #dragonflybsd)  Also: a roguelikedev subreddit.

Lazy Reading for 2011/05/15

This week: lots more reading!

  • Michael Lucas describes an extra layer of protection for when you can’t force public key usage on every SSH user.
  • Cool, but obscure Unix tools (via)  The screenshots are all from a Mac… How many of the 24 tools listed are in pkgsrc/pkgsrc-wip?   Almost all of them.  (tpp sounds entertaining.)
  • NYCBUG, in addition to having a really fun convention, has been regularly posting audio of the presentations they host.  The most recent is “William Baxter’s NYCBUG presentation on The Unix Method of Development Management”.   See the BSD Events tweet for the download.
  • What Ubuntu means.  (via)
  • Here’s a nice explanation of Intel’s new Tri-Gate design and with it, an incidental explanation of the processor market.
  • This ycombinator post about Hammer2 work has an in-depth comment from Venkatesh Srinivas about DragonFly’s network setup, memory allocator, and token use.  (Ignore the trolling in other comments.)
  • Michael Lucas’s next No Starch Press book is Absolute OpenBSD, second edition.
  • Pictures and video are starting to show up from the just-passed BSDCan 2011. (via this and also thesjg on EFNet #dragonflybsd)
  • My first experience of The Internet was very similar to this.  It should be bizarrely unfamiliar to anyone under 20 or so.  (via)  Get this: I typed ‘exit’ instead of just closing the browser window when I was done messing with it, because some habits cannot be broken.

Lazy Reading for 2011/05/08

Let’s see, what do I have now…

  • Did you know we just released DragonFly 2.1?  Neither did I.
  • The AppleCrate II (][?), a set of parallel Apple //e systems.  It makes me so happy.  I love to see how simple uncomplex the old Apple systems were, almost at the level of programmable logic controllers today.  I was struck by the fact that the Apple //e requires less than 5 volts, which means it could run off a USB port.  (via lots of places)
  • Removing the internet’s relics: a call to kill FTP now that it’s 40 years old.  There’s no easy alternative, though…
  • 20 years of Adobe Photoshop.  (via)  Obviously that’s not found on any BSD platform, but almost every raster-based image editor out there tries to emulate Photoshop in some way, on every platform.  It casts a long shadow.  Plus, I remember the Photoshop 2.0 loading screen, so now I feel old.
  • Is tech blogging becoming worse? i.e not really tech any more?  I’ve mumbled about this before, since this site is arguably a tech blog.  Sites tend to diversify and lose focus to grow their audience.  You can see the same pattern in the magazine market, back when there was a magazine market.  You don’t have to worry about the Digest – I’m targeting BSD users, so I’m totally not growing my audience!  (Joking, joking.  Readership is staying even to slightly up, over the last while.)

On a separate note that has nothing to do with DragonFly: if you live outside the United States and have a postcard handy, can you send it to “St. John Neumann School, 31 Empire Blvd.,  Rochester, NY 14609 USA”?  My daughters’ school is collecting international postcards this month as part of their geography lesson.  It doesn’t have to have anything specific, other than be interesting to 8-year-olds.

 

Lazy Reading for 2011/05/01

There hasn’t been much to nab for Lazy Reading, lately.  Oh well.  The last few weeks were good so it has to even out sometime.

  • Did you know GBC stands for Great Ball Contraption, a Lego device designed to move little plastic balls?  Here’s 20 of them chained together.  (via b3ta)
  • The original University POSTGRES.   (thanks, Jan)  This is a source for PostgreSQL, as far as I can tell, which makes it in some ways contemporary to BSD’s origins.  I am not surprised.  PostgreSQL seems to be the thinking person’s alternative to MySQL like BSD is the thinking person’s alternative to Linux.
  • Do you have a pf.conf?  The people behind fwbuilder can use it for examples, so they can support pf in their config builder.  (via)

Lazy Reading for 2011/04/17

I hope I can get this together.

  • This article asks “Does anyone in Silicon Valley care about Windows anymore?”   It’s an inflammatory title, to get you to read it, and it’s based on anecdotal ideas, but I think there’s some truth to it.
  • Something similar, in hardware: I see people who care about what they run either getting a Macbook or a Thinkpad these days.  (I’ve owned both, and they are nice laptops…)  Let’s run with that idea, in fact: Macbook is to Thinkpad running BSD as is… iPhone is to Android phone running custom ROM?  This is turning into a “levels of nerditry” sort of comparison.
  • Community is your best feature, a talk about how to encourage the growth of an open source group.  I link to it because it’s useful and well done, but also because it lets me feel a bit self-congratulatory; we already use many of the listed concepts in DragonFly.
  • Zero knowledge user identification is interesting, though it’s not something you could apply to a lot of users.  (via)
  • Things found via Google: A DragonFly 2.8.2 x86_64 VMWare image on Sourceforge.  Don’t know who put it there.
  • This article about passwords says multiple common words make more secure passwords than adding upper/lower case and numbers to passwords.  An interesting contention, though I don’t think it works as well as it’s described.  (Adding ” ” into the list of possible characters isn’t as effective as having to double the list for case, for instance.)
  • It’s been a while since I posted a roguelike link.  Well, how about “How Rogue Ended Up On The Sofa“?  (via)  It very nicely draws a line connecting rogue and a whole lot of modern games.

Lazy Reading for 2011/04/13

Get out your wallet!  I encourage purchasing here.

  • You should buy a SSD.  Not necessarily news to you, but that article does a good job of summarizing why.
  • On the other hand, SSD prices are already on their way up/availability is way down.  Japan’s disasters are having a ripple effect through the high-tech supply chain.  Either buy immediately or get ready to wait for a while…
  • Introduction to Architecting Systems for Scale – you either don’t care, or find scaling questions immediately engaging.  I am one of the latter, so here’s the link.
  • I’ve been watching pkgsrc-changes@netbsd.org for a little while.  One thing I’ve discovered: there’s a lot of updates going on!  Another thing that’s nice to see: DragonFlyupdates, including ones that help with our move to gcc 4.4.
  • Aw, no more Kermit.  (via)  Not that I have a use for it at this point, but still: aww.  I bet in about 10 years I’ll say the same thing about… gopher?  Remember that?  It’s not even supported in Firefox 4 now, which kinda makes me feel sad.  And old.
  • Server plans: Facebook vs. Google.  (warning: Facebook article is somewhat giddy.)
  • The infinite hard drive.  (via I lost it, sorry)

Here’s an extra little thing: next time you’re dealing with dusty computer equipment, remember this picture:

That is what happens to an exposed RJ45 port after a few years in a salt mine (my employer).  This was inside an enclosed, mostly-sealed  structure, too.

Lazy Reading for 2011/04/03

Getting into the swing of this link collection thing…

Lazy Reading

This all came together at the last second.

Lazy Reading

  • The Cognitive Style of Unix (via) – I find this argument absolutely correct based on all my computer experience.
  • Hacker News is apparently getting more of a general news bent, rather than the actual hacker news it started with.  (via)  That seems to be an easy trend for many tech sites that start out focused on a topic (Let’s cover this area of interest!) and eventually diffuse (Let’s cover all our reader’s areas of interest!).  It may be because that seems to bring greater subscriber numbers?  Slashdot would be a good example of this generalization.
  • Note to self: Try to not do that with the Digest.
  • This page has a lot more good places to visit, but I’ll just link directly cause I don’t have any more commentary to associate with it.
  • Did you know there’s open source software for managing conferences?  Not conference calls, but full-on have-speakers-with-papers-and-attendees-with-a-schedule conferences?  It’s called Pentabarf, and it’s used for BSDCan, among other things.  I find the name funny, and it has funny origins.
  • Well, if I’m going to have a Discordian link, I should have a BSD-related Subgenius link.  By the way: I can perform weddings.  You know, just in case that comes up.
  • You know you’re important when the IETF needs to come up with a plan to deal with your retirement.  (viaThis is why it’s neat.  Go, look, because this is one of those parts of the Internet that will not exist this way again, ever.
  • This article at The Register about how open source isn’t making it very far in app stores is more aggressive than exploratory, as Register articles usually are, but there are some good points: phone app stores are able to charge money because of the ease of the delivery system, which apparently trumps ‘free’.   It’s also more purpose-built; pkgsrc I bet would work on an Android phone, but there’s not many applications you could interact with, easily.

Lazy Reading

You can probably infer the new (to me) blog I found this week from some of the links…

  • Adding IPv6 to a FreeBSD Mail/Web Server – from Michael Lucas, repeat BSD author.  I link to this because we’re all going to have to do something similar in the next year or so, I bet..
  • A visual guide to TMUX, part 1 and part 2.  tmux has usually been introduced to me as “It’s BSD-licensed and not screen”, which is good, but not compelling on its own.  The first of the articles linked here goes over the comparative differences in some detail.  (via)
  • Speaking of screen-ish things, do you leave an irssi session running in screen so that you can rejoin IRC conversations at any time?  I sure do.  Sometimes I even reconnect through ConnectBot on my Android phone.  There’s now a Connectbot variation for irssi, just for people who do such a thing.  Don’t forget: #dragonflybsd on EFNet.
  • Also still on the topic: forgetting to use screen and then being stuck with a long-running process is lousy.  There’s ways to deal with it, though.  (via, from a blogroll link)
  • Hey, it’s neat to see a new business built on BSD – OpenBSD, in this case: Tunnelr.  (via)
  • We’re still doing great in terms of pkgsrc packages building successfully on DragonFly.
  • An hour+ recording of the recent NYCBUG meeting about BSD networking is online.  (Link is to a MP3 – via)
  • How not to comment code.
  • AT&T -> BSD -> AT&T.

Lazy Reading

I’m going to just title these “Lazy Reading” – I end up with too much diverse information/links to fit within the title.

Lazy Reading: code repos, events, open source stuff

Stuff!

  • I find this erasure of the separation between remote code repository and local code editor very interesting.   It may upset more traditional people.
  • If you haven’t been watching the BSD Events Twitter stream, Dru Lavigne’s written a nice summary of the next few months, including BSD Exam dates/locations.
  • The XFCE 4.8 release announcement hinted at some problems with BSD.  It’s apparently because udev, a Linux-only product, is the only consistent way to access various items, so XFCE’s power and volume controls use it.  There’s no udev on BSD, so we get left out.  I’d normally end this with a call for a compatibility layer, but udev is the latest in a series of jumps from framework to framework in Linux, so I don’t know if it would actually do any good.  (Thanks, sjg on #dragonflybsd for the link)
  • The Economist has an article on open-source that does a hype-free job of describing the state of open source today.  It points out two trends that I don’t think are covered enough: the large amount of open-source work funded by companies, and the hidden costs of training and integration.  One downside of the “software is free, training costs money” model for open source is that it creates an economic incentive for byzantine configurations and difficult setups.  That idea could use some exploration, but I don’t think many people want to, precisely because it’s negative.  The article doesn’t go that far, but they should.

Lazy Reading: cheatsheet, disks, pkgsrc, more

Normally I hold this for Sunday, but I’ve got a good batch of links already.  Something here for everyone, this week.

  • A git cheatsheet, and another git cheatsheet.  I may have linked to the latter one before, as it looks vaguely familiar.  Anyway, bookmark.  (Thanks, luxh on EFNet #dragonflybsd)
  • What should you do about bad blocks on a disk?  Get a new disk.
  • If you ever wanted to port software, there’s a pkgsrc developer’s guide (thanks Francois Tigeot) that shows you how.
  • It’s NOT LINUX, for the billionth time.  It’s BSD UNIX (certified, even) under there!
  • Children of the Cron“.  An entertaining pun.  (via)
  • Nothing to do with BSD, or even computers, really: Gary Gorton, interviewed about the recent financial crisis, at a Fed bank website (!?).  Interesting because I like economic matters, and because it’s the first web page where I’ve ever seen pop-up links added usefully, as a sort of footnote that you don’t have to scroll.  (via)
  • Michael Lucas recently had a machine broken into.  Since everything on the machine is suspect, he’s using Netflow data to figure out when it happened, and how, which is not surprising given his most recent book.  He has two posts describing how he backtracks his way to the probable source.

Lazy Reading: Clouds, disks, browsers, games

The end of year holidays intruded, so I haven’t had one of these for more than a week.  Sorry!  Merry Christmas, happy new year, etc.

  • Whenever I am tempted to throw family pictures or something similar online in a ‘cloud’ service, I will reread this Jason Scott essay on the ‘Yahoo!locaust’ and come to my senses. (via)
  • There’s a trade-off between size and price for SSDs.  Past a certain point, any drive is generally ‘big enough’, and under a certain price, the cost doesn’t matter.  We’re reaching the magic point where those two trends cross, as with this OCX Vertex 2 SSD drive, 60G in size and only $120 at Newegg.  There’s lots of post-Christmas sales going on.
  • How soon will SSD drives become normal and platter drives the anachronism, like single-core processors are today?  It took less than 5 years for CPUs, I think…  No link for this idea; this is just me theorizing.
  • Tomas Bodzar pointed out this article about 1,000 core CPUs, which I dub ‘kilocore’.  He also linked to these logical domain/logical partition articles on Wikipedia.
  • In this day and age, a website that supports a limited number of browsers and platforms seems anachronistic.  Still happens, though.  (via)
  • This is neat: an online, persistent space game with exploration and combat.  Not EVE, but Lacuna Expanse, playable via web browser.  There’s lots of browser games out there, but here’s the interesting part: the game even has a fully exposed API.

Lazy reading: numbers, servers, things

So, informal poll time: do people like these Lazy Reading roundups?

  • Numbers everyone should know.  (via)  I link to this cause it’s interesting, and because it shows something else.  If you understand what these numbers mean, congratulations.  You speak a language that a limited number of people on this planet can understand.  Think about that for a bit.
  • The end of a faithful server.  (via)  I can sympathize.  Run any computer for some number of years without any issues, and you’ll miss it when it’s gone.
  • A simple explanation for ‘git reset –hard’.  Some chunks of git are magical, in that I know they work but the internal behavior is still opaque to me.  It may be best to keep it that way.
  • I do gain a perverse sense of pride that DragonFly is an all-volunteer organization.  Linux, on the other hand, is mostly a corporate product.  (via)  I realize this is not a legitimate thing, and I’d love having enough of a market that someone could be paid to work on DragonFly.
  • Hey, the Economist Magazine’s Babbage blog is pretty good.  I like this recent article about the Eye-Fi, a device I tell people about whenever I can.  It essentially erases the need for storage on your camera.  The last paragraph in the Babbage entry is also a little bit important.

Lazy Reading: Clouds, cookies, bugs, more

A catch-up week.

  • Ivan Voras askes for the ‘anti-cloud‘, a true decentralization of resources instead of the cloud-as-a-central-service-from-one-company, which is what it’s becoming now.
  • How not to design a protocol, about HTTP cookies.   (via)  I’ve heard from far more people worried about cookies and the need to clear or block them, than, say, people who realize the risks that programs like Firesheep expose.  Such is life.
  • Will be needed: a SSH VPN.  (via)  Did I link this already?
  • ‘radek’ sends along news of Giant DragonFlies.  Not the most scientific of articles, but a fun thought.
  • sshd, given actual form.
  • Dru Lavigne’s got a nice summary of MeetBSD, complete with pictures, audio, and video.  More conferences should be covered this completely, and quickly.

Lazy Reading: Cute films, app stores, boom boxes

Whoops!  This should have gone up last night.  I’m almost waxing nostalgic for this one.

  • Two words you never thought you’d see together: “heartwarming” and “single system image computing”.  I think this is how we should document everything for DragonFly.  (via)
  • Apple’s bringing the App Store to the Mac platform, which shouldn’t surprise anyone.  Ani Dash has a writeup of the various “app store” platforms out there.  pkgsrc (and FreeBSD/OpenBSD ports) would certainly count.  Surprisingly, the application count for pkgsrc exceeds most of the other stores he lists.
  • Aw, no more cassette Walkmans. (via)  Nowadays, it’s difficult to not take music with you wherever you go.   In the 1980s, there was no other way to bring your music with you, except maybe a lot of batteries and this.  I loved my crappy JVC dual tape deck.

Not quite the same model, but still crap

I am totally stealing the horizonal evocative image idea from things magazine.

Lazy Reading: puzzles, git, old things

Something for everyone this week.

Lazy Reading:books, talks, games, games

    This Lazy Reading post actually has some good lengthy reading in it.

    • Modern Perl: The Book: (actually a pre-print draft)  Even if you don’t know Perl, I’ve always liked the way the author, chromatic, writes.  Many articles about a language or other technical subject tend to either wander about loosely or become a ‘shopping list’ of actions, but chromatic’s work retains focus.
    • Robert Watson presents Capsicum; a recent USENIX talk on Youtube. (via a number of places)
    • 12 Forgotten Games – the slideshow is of most interest.  (via)  Online games that predate the vast swarm of today’s titles.  MUDs, MUSHs, roguelikes, etc.  The nice thing about the slideshow is the link on each slide to a still-running, still-accessible online version of that game.
    • Kieron Gillen‘s moving away from Rock, Paper, Shotgun, a gaming review site that has some honest to goodness decent writing.  (My Lazy Reading posts are similar to their Sunday Papers for a reason.)  One of his articles was all about ZangbandTK.  I was all set to link to that in pkgsrc, but it’s not there – just games/angband-tty and games/angband-x11.  Darnit.  Anyway, read his article and then go play something roguelike.