Well, yes


yes I do. That draft was created just after I joined twitter, and in the details I had written that I had just passed 400 tweets. I’m now closing in on 13,000. I am, however, in the process of scaling back my twitter and Facebook usage – I identified last week that as I reduce my tweeting I might return to blogging for my creative output.

So. 15,500 hits and counting for my first real post in 3 years. That’s a pretty high bar to live up to 😉

An idea in time

There’s been a lot of talk about the iWatch, but I’ve never been convinced that a simple watch would be different enough for Apple to produce one. It would need to do more than the usual bluetooth features everyone is expecting.

Then an idea hit me on the way home today.

How could Apple make a watch that isn’t just a watch? How about if it’s also the control system for the TV that Steve Jobs claimed to have finally figured out before he died?

It could be a touch screen watch that replaces the tiny iPods. The iOS 7 icons do look good on a small device. But let’s really go out on a limb.

I’m picturing a watch face that detaches from the strap and slots into the remote control somehow. The remote doesn’t connect to the TV itself, it uses a bluetooth connection via the watch.

Now you’re charging the watch, using a familiar yet advanced TV control that leverages the added connectivity and identifying to the TV who you are for personalised functions.

That sounds like the future.

IPv6 is alive!

Having bought one of the few modems on sale in Australia that support IPv6, and being on an awesome ISP that is running an IPv6 trial, I sat down tonight and upgraded to the v6 firmware. I nearly killed the poor thing by attempting to upgrade via wifi, but it worked in the end:

spyder@rei:~$ traceroute -6 www.google.com
traceroute to www.google.com (2404:6800:8004::68), 30 hops max, 80 byte packets
1 <snip> (<snip again>) 4.472 ms 4.460 ms 4.464 ms
2 loop0.lns6.syd7.internode.on.net (2001:44b8:b070::4) 43.598 ms 43.771 ms 44.941 ms
3 gi1-1.cor2.syd7.internode.on.net (2001:44b8:b070:5::1) 45.161 ms 46.352 ms 46.818 ms
4 gi6-0-0-144.bdr1.syd6.internode.on.net (2001:44b8:b060:144::1) 47.995 ms * *
5 te0-0-0.bdr1.syd4.internode.on.net (2001:44b8:b070:1::12) 49.397 ms * *
6 2001:4860:1:1:0:1283:0:8 (2001:4860:1:1:0:1283:0:8) 51.511 ms 42.576 ms 43.136 ms
7 2001:4860::1:0:9f7 (2001:4860::1:0:9f7) 49.014 ms 49.399 ms 49.635 ms
8 2001:4860:0:1::d7 (2001:4860:0:1::d7) 46.702 ms 46.886 ms 47.692 ms
9 2404:6800:8004::68 (2404:6800:8004::68) 47.922 ms 48.542 ms 48.984 ms

It has added a small amount of latency as I’m in Brisbane and the v6 trial runs everything via Sydney, but this is very cool.

(p.s. for the technically minded – no, I’m not silly enough to put my modem’s IPv6 address in this post. It’s probably globally routable, even if it is only temporary it’s static for the duration of the Internode trial 🙂 )

And now for something completely different

It’s a post! omg!

I don’t have a reason for suddenly stopping, I was just keeping myself busy tinkering with computers and it never occurred to me that I should be keeping the blog alive. I even forgot about my “minimum once a month” rule that was designed to stop this from happening 🙂

I’ve had lots to keep me occupied – once I confirmed the new mac mini was able to play the occasional game, I had to turn my old desktop machine into the new incarnation of rei and then migrate my MythTV backend to it, the old Mac Mini into a media centre front end and various other fun things along the way. The backend has been working for a while but the frontend still needs a bit of tweaking (don’t they always).

Hasn’t helped that both of my flatmates are vocal about how the old simple interface was better. Problem is, I don’t want a computer that plays video hooked up to the TV. I want a media centre, and now I have it but the remote control is a bit tricky to get right. Remote Buddy will probably help me with that but doing everything I want looks like a lot of pain to set up. Good thing it has a 30 day trial I guess 😉

I’ll probably dredge up some of my MythTV migration experiences and post about that. We’ll see.

The death of my first server

Six years ago, I built my first Linux server. It was my third year at uni and I had just bought a new computer; being a poor student I would usually have upgraded but a mate of mine gave me his old case for some reason I don’t remember.

At the time I was living on campus with plenty of geeks on the local irc channel to encourage me and get me started – my debian stable server was born. I named it rei, after the evangellion character (it was the first anime I ever watched, which happened around the same time).

The campus environment at uni was the ideal place to learn server administration. I had lots of people in the same building to get advice from, but each room was networked so if I messed up it only affected me (well, most of the time anyway 😉 ).

And so it was that I learned how to set up a basic firewall, file server and eventually an IMAP server + fetchmail which I have been using ever since. In the years since it has run – in addition to the normal tasks – stuff like an irc server and a local network game server (can’t remember which game though). When I finished uni it became the house firewall (requiring a far more advanced ruleset).

After upgrading to debian testing almost immediately post-setup that little box has survived two motherboard failures, three case transplants, a lucky recovery from a storage drive failure and the incredibly lucky recovery from an accidental “rm -rf *” in the root directory (yay for reiserfsck!).

I did eventually wipe the machine last year, after getting sick of kernel compiles and various other things caused by the age of the install that meant the server took more administration time than I wanted it to. By then I had a mythtv server as well (running fedora core 3), to make life easier I put ubuntu on both. And life was good.

Then with the recent possibility of using a small low powered mythtv frontend instead of the combined front/backend I have now, it got me thinking about why I need two servers. And as much as I hate to admit it, I don’t. Rei’s firewall has been replaced by a decent modem/router that doesn’t need any maintenance; the file server has been mostly replaced by my flatmate who is such a hoarder that he decided to build his own server. The files it serves now can easily be moved to the mythtv box.

The only thing I have needed that server for recently is mail, and I’ve been less than happy with that since I had to punch a hole in the firewall to my imap server in order to check mail on my phone. Even though we have adsl2 at home it isn’t as fast as I’d like. Not to mention that the fans in the case are so old and noisy that they’ve been unplugged so the drives are running hot. I had been holding off switching to gmail, but really the only excuse left was because I didn’t want to lose my first server. With the migration now done, it’s time to pull the plug.

The server name will live on; I already have plans to replace the mythtv backend with my dual core desktop machine when I either buy a new gaming PC or the still-rumored mac mini upgrade (if it has a decent graphics card that can replace the PC). That will be quite an upgrade from the 8-year old CPU (Athlon 1200c) it has been using since the first mobo failure.

But rei is dead, long live rei 🙂 (that’s a bit of a strange way to put it if you’ve seen the anime!)

The bailout in plain english

Found a couple of links today that I just had to share.

This old cartoon seems to fairly nicely sum up why we are in this situation:

And this may have been linked all over the place by now, but if you haven’t seen it the millions of monkeys analogy makes this whole bailout thing much easier to understand.

Once upon a time a man appeared in a village and announced to the villagers that he would buy monkeys for $10 each.

The villagers, seeing that there were many monkeys around, went out to the forest and started catching them. The man bought thousands at $10 and, as supply started to diminish, the villagers stopped their effort. He next announced that he would now buy monkeys at $20 each.

This renewed the efforts of the villagers and they started catching monkeys again. Soon the supply diminished even further and people started going back to their farms. The offer increased to $25 each and the supply of monkeys became so scarce it was an effort to even find a monkey, let alone catch it! The man now announced that he would buy monkeys at $50 each! However, since he had to go to the city on some business, his assistant would buy on his behalf.

In the absence of the man, the assistant told the villagers: ‘Look at all these monkeys in the big cage that the man has already collected. I will sell them to you at $35 and when the man returns from the city, you can sell them to him for $50 each.’

The villagers rounded up all their savings and bought all the monkeys for 700 billion dollars.

They never saw the man or his assistant again, only lots and lots of monkeys.

Now you have a better understanding of how the Wall Street Bailout Plan works.

And then it was three

Wow. Three years of blogging huh. I’m not up at 1am this year, I just remembered before the fact this time so I’m pre-posting it 😉

I don’t have a huge insightful post talking about the things I’ve achieved… just wanted to say I’m proud of this blog, and proud of myself for sticking with it.

Vanity search fail

Like most bloggers, I have feeds set up to keep track of when people link to me. I logged into WP this evening to fix some formatting in my last post, and on the dashboard I noticed my stats graph had a spike in traffic last week (I don’t usually pay much attention to my stats). I couldn’t see any recent links on the vanity search, I had to use referrer logs to track it down – turns out someone created a TinyURL link to my time machine post:

Obviously it would be a lot harder for Google and Technorati to index those links, and given the rise of TinyURL on twitter they may not even want to. I just thought it was interesting, and possibly something to keep in mind for anyone doing vanity searches.

Incidentally the link was posted to a couple of comment threads, you can see the list on google (skip the artisopensource link, it’s some kind of spam or hack site). I guess I should finish writing that follow up article, the time machine post has overtaken my Firefox iFrame popup post to become the second most popular post on my blog 😉