Lazy Reading for 2012/09/02

I hope you like your links eclectic this week.

  • DragonFly is a popular project name, but this is unrelated to DragonFly BSD.
  • Russian Tea HOWTO.  I know there’s at least a few vigorous tea-drinkers in DragonFly other than me.  The tl;dr version is “make a syrup and dilute”, but it’s more enjoyable to get into the paperphanalia of it all.
  • I don’t know what Xombrero is, but someone submitted patches for it to build on DragonFly.  What a nice thing to do!
  • A Generation Lost in the Bazaar, by Poul-Henning Kamp.  Even if you don’t agree with his cathedral vs. bazaar generalizations, this description sums up a problem well: “Sam Leffler’s graphics/libtiff is one of the 122 packages on the road to www/firefox, yet the resulting Firefox browser does not render TIFF images.”  (via)
  •, the site of John Walker, co-author of AutoCAD.  The site looks like something from the late 90s but is surprisingly modern.  The Unix Utilities section has some interesting programs.  I’d link to it directly, but it’s a framed page on the site.  (See what I meant about “90s”?)
  • Beyond lies the wub: a history of dubstep.  You may or may not be interested in the music, but I like these long-form articles coming from the Verge.
  • 150 Troma films for free on YouTube.  (via)  The most famous one isn’t free, but it’s there.
  • Oh my goodness, the “thagomizer” is a real thing.
  • Racing modified electric kid vehicles.  I had a coworker who put a wheelchair battery into his daughter’s Barbie car.  He said it doubled the speed and made it able to drive on two wheels.  (via)

Your unrelated link of the week:  Flux Machine.  Be patient; the images are animated to good effect.

Lazy Reading for 2012/08/19

I think I’ve made it through my backlog of things to post.  For no apparent reason, I ended up with a whole bunch of ‘this vs. that’ links this week.

Your unrelated link of the week: Taipan!  I played this on the Apple ][ and loved it.  The buy-low-sell-high game is an old genre that hasn’t been used in newer games in the same fashion as roguelikes or sidescrollers.  The only recent equivalents I can think of are Drug Wars and maaaaybe Eve Online.

Lazy Reading for 2012/08/05

I seem to include a vi/vim tip every week.  It’s not on purpose, or at least it wasn’t until now.

Your unrelated link of the week: a thorough investigation of the history of the ‘long s’ character, via.  If that’s too cerebral for you, try this video of a man making turkeys gobble, which made me laugh and laugh.

Lazy Reading for 2011/11/20

Hey, the date’s sorta palindromic!  Sorta.

  • “Bundled, Buried and Behind Closed Doors” – a video description of the physical parts of the Internet.  Remember when MAE-East or MAE-West would have a bad day and half the Internet felt it?  Really, half.  I don’t think I’m exaggerating. (via)
  • Google has a verbatim search mode now, for those of you who regret the loss of ‘+’ as a required search term designator.  (via and also sort of via)  There’s always alternatives.
  • The expr program is a real piece of crap.”  Laser-focused complaining about a small program that’s had 4 decades to improve, and hasn’t.
  • Mechanics for Pure Aesthetics”  The videos are interesting, and I’m linking to this because so much of what I post here and deal with is focused computer work.  Everything is a tool, with a purpose, and a result that you expect.  This idea of machinery or even software having a purpose other than result generation is underexplored.  There’s lots of tools to create art, but there’s little that is art itself.  Even with that general lack, we still get excited when the edge of some sort of aesthetic appeal nudges its way into the materials we use.  You could argue that Apple’s success (for instance) comes from being the one company that consistently thinks about what a product is, instead of what it does.
  • If you use fastcgi, you may need the patch that this blog post talks about.  Also, apache-mpm-prefork is the better choice for Apache on DragonFly.
  • DragonFly mug shot

Your random comic link of the day: Calamity of Challenge.  Also here.  And here.  If this artist’s way of drawing grabs you like it grabs me, he has pages and commissions for sale.

Potential job available

A position opened up for a junior systems administrator at my workplace.  You have to be willing to live near Rochester, NY, administrate a mix of Windows and unixy machines, do desktop support, and network management.  (e.g. everything possible)  The work environment is neat, informal, and somewhat adverse.  I’ll have a job description soon, I hope.

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: 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.
2010 Home-made Holiday Geek Gift Guide

I did this last year and the year before, so why not make a habit of it?  I get no commissions; these are mostly places I’ve shopped or plan to shop.   It’s based on “This would be SO COOL to have”, and nothing else.


Nerditry: Newegg, ThinkGeek, Leatherman Wave, (see 9-layer OSI model shirt).

Science: American Science and Surplus, Ward’s Scientific, Carolina, and United Nuclear

Creepy: Bone RoomSkulls Unlimited, or Skullduggery.


There are FreeBSD, NetBSD, and OpenBSD stores, where money goes back to the project.

Bookwise, Jeremy C. Reed publishes a number of BSDrelated books.  Buy his stuff through Amazon.  There’s also No Starch Press, which has a number of BSD publications.  (and LEGO, too?)  And of course O’Reilly, for a bunch of things.

Nice things to do:

The FreeBSD Foundation is having an end-of-year appeal for funds, so you can donate in someone’s name.    The NetBSD Foundation probably accepts donations, though I don’t have a specific page to link to for that.

Donations to the Itojun Service Award fund are also a good thing.

Everything else I could think of:

Further suggestions welcome, especially for European shoppers.  I’ve been slowly growing this list year-to-year, and I can always use more interesting and unique places.

Update: George Rosamond pointed at  There are some crazy cheap prices there.

Also, and I can’t believe I didn’t link to this before: Brando.  If you’re looking for something with a USB port, Brando has it.  Even if it’s a jeweled scorpion necklace… USB drive.

Lazy reading: toeplitz, forking, curating, Nethack

I totally meant to post this yesterday.  Oops!

What of OpenSolaris?

You have probably seen reports declaring the demise of OpenSolaris by now, many taking a less than conservative approach in reporting the news one way or the other. So what do you make of the news? By all accounts, the source code (including future changes) for things such as ZFS will continue to be published under the CDDL. Will Oracle closing up development make it impossible for operating systems like FreeBSD to maintain ZFS without forking it? What do you think the ramifications will be for DragonFly’s HAMMER and DragonFly in general?

Messylaneous: Reviews, packaging, installers, etc

Link catchup!

Lemme get the iPad rant out

I suspect most people who are interested in BSD or open source in general have the same reaction to the iPad: it’s pretty, it looks neat, and hey Apple wait what do you mean I can’t use it the way I want to?  I’ve managed to hold out for a few days on commenting about it, and the benefit is a bit less incoherence.

It’s relevant because it’s a BSD-based device without the normal freedoms you’d associate with it.  I’m going to just point at these three articles that do a good job of describing what rubs me the wrong way.

Old games to spare?

(This is off-topic) The National Center for the History of Electronic Games has opened at a museum in my town.  They are looking for donations, so if you have old game equipment around that you want to see get a second life, contact them.

The collection there is already huge (15K games), and visitors get to play whatever games they have on display.   In my last visit, I played the arcade versions of Gauntlet, the standing and sitting versions of Star Wars, and Battlezone.  It was awesome in a way that may only be apparent to people born before 1985 or so.