Fun with Host Naming Schemes

There’s a great Slashdot article on host naming schemes today. It talks about the struggle of smart people who want to give their machines useful and fun names based on consistant naming schemes such as Soviet leaders (Leonid, Yuri, etc.) or French Wines (Pauillac, Pomerol, etc.) versus stupid managment types who want to give them meaningless and confusing names like xyzibm34211, xyzspc25502. It’s loads of fun to read about all the crazy naming systems people have come up with. And I’d never realized there were any RFC’s on creating host naming systems but there are two. RFC1178 gives a lot of useful and interesting guidelines for creating a naming system and RFC2100 is, well, worth reading anyway.

The host names at NCC are all creatures from Science Fiction. Triffid, Horta, Nimon, Rodan, Mothra, Vorta, Ferengi, Krynoid, Vorlon, Zanti, and Wirrin so far with more to come. Eventually we hope to give each host a web page of it’s own explaining the origin of the name. We only have a couple of them up so far as you can see from the links above but more will go up as time allows.

The one problem at NCC is that Randy still names all of his machines wrr[something] – in violation of multiple provisions of RFC1178 it seems. Maybe he’ll read the article and become enlightened.

CPiA Webcam Driver Update

The 2.3.24 Linux kernel was released yesterday and we definitely have a CPiA breakthrough. No kernel Oops!, no crashes, vidcat will grab multiple frames, we’ve got 320×240 images in color. There are still some bugs but overall it works!. For those who want to see the proof, here’s one of the good images I captured with it:
[[image:good.jpg:Good CPiA image:center:0]]
The biggest remaining bug is if you start capturing images continuously, the images start losing information.
[[image:bad.jpg:Bad CPiA image:center:0]]

It almost looks like the camera is trying to do some sort of motion compression where it’s only delivering pixel data that has changed since the last image. That would explain why most of the background went away but, on the other hand, notice the perl book on the table? It didn’t move at all and it still shows up. Hmmm… maybe it’s just a weird bug in the CPiA driver? If I get time I’ll try to take a look at the code and see what I can figure out.

ISP Finger Pointing

We’ve been having continued troubles with our new T1. Verio blames Worldcom, Worldcom blames Southwestern Bell. And Southwestern Bell blames Verio. So far none of them have been able to find the actual cause of our problems. SWB switched out our Adtrans smartjack yesterday and Verio swapped out our Cisco 1700 router. So far no downtime but it’s gone for two to three days without problems before so we’ll just have to see. Meanwhile, I’m about to pay a visit to the Dentist so today is off to a wonderful start.

Venus Needs Hackers

Hackers in need of advice on women should definitely see the article by Roblimo that appeared on Slashdot today. The advice is good, I just wish somebody had told me this stuff when I was in high school. He does leave out one important thing – the odds are getting better for the geeks every day.

Women seem to have a biological imperative to seek males who will maximize chances of survival for themselves and their offspring. The human race is in the middle of a slow sociological shift in the nature of survival skills. For most of history these skills consisted of whacking things with rocks or throwing pointed sticks. For most of our recent history, survival skills consisted of being able wield bureaucratic power and accumulate wealth. Today, and more so in the future, survival means being able to understand technology (specifically computers) – there is almost no job or activity today that doesn’t involve computer technology. In a world of banging rocks and throwing sticks, women choose jocks. In a world of power and money, women choose suits and politicians. In a world of technology and computers women choose… you guessed it, hackers like us.

From my memory of high school days, girls seem to go through these historical stages as they choose progressive potential mates. At first, apparently relying on race memory or the collective unconcious, they choose brainless jocks. Later, as they begin to see the true nature of the modern world, they go for the men with money and power. And finally, (at least, lately) they’re begining to move on to geeks. Or at least that’s my theory.

It seems only fair at this point to provide some hints on how to become a hacker.

I Need a 21st Century Car

My 1992 Acura seems to be on its last legs (or would that be wheels?). The monthly repair costs are begining to get high enough that buying a new car would be less expensive. The current inventory of problems includes a leaking radiator and a timing belt that has to be replaced soon. I’m really hoping to get one more year out of it so I can wait for the 2001 model cars to come out. That way I won’t have to spend the next few years driving around in last millenium’s model. Besides, a 21st century vehicle has got to be a lot cooler than a 20th century model, don’t you think?