The last couple of days I’ve been working intently on some C code. This is a nice change from meetings and the other stuff I’ve been doing lately. It’s also an interesting change from Perl which I’ve been doing so much of in the last few months. After writing so much Perl code, C is almost like returning to assembly language.
I vaguely remember reading on Advogato recently that someone had a mod_virgule patch that renders <proj> tags. If anyone remembers who did it or has a copy of the patch, maybe they could email it to me? (thanks, I’ve received both the <proj> and <project> patches now!)
Verio tech support… how can any group of people be so amazingly, mind-numingly, unbelievably incapable of providing support for technical things at Verio or elsewhere. :-(
I’m afraid my mind is still reeling from trying comprehend the massive stupidity and mismanagement involved so I can’t bring myself to write out the full details yet. Perhaps when it’s finally over – we’re only 7 days into it right now and it’s a fairly simple problem that any sysadmin with some BIND experience could fix in half an hour, so I’m betting we’re got at least another 7 days to go before someone at Verio blunders into a solution. In the meantime, you can entertain yourself reading the past exploits of Verio tech support from their simplest DNS blunder, and their wonderful work with Worldcom, to the famous focus group event and, my favorite, the story of the first of several times they mis-allocated part of our IP addresses to a DSL customer.
I’d offer the also very interesting story of our 3 month installation saga on our first T1 and the related double billing and mysterious shifting account number problems but by the time I fully regained my sanity from those I’d blocked most of the details from my memory. Suffice to say of the current mess, if Verio ever offers to do your secondary DNS for you, just say NO!
I just finished installing mozilla 0.8. Looks like we’re one version closer to a finished product. The 0.8 files just went up on mozilla.org today. They only had binaries for Linux, Windows, and Mac platforms when I was there but I’m sure the other platforms are on the way. Slashdot hasn’t even mentioned it yet so go download the new version before the rush.
It’s been a slow week so far. I got an nice form letter from the EFF, thanking me for a contribution and they sent along a shiny black bumper sticker with their logo on it. The sticker is printed on some sort of plastic and smells just like those inflatible toys that kids play with at the beach. Another Tai Chi class monday. I’m finally getting the hang of the first three or four moves.
I picked up an out-of-print book on eBay that I’ve been searching for. The Floating Island (aka Propeller Island) by Jules Verne. Like most really cool ideas, Verne seems to have thought of constructing a floating city on the ocean long before most. Buckminster Fuller came up with the same idea back in the 50′s and there must be dozen groups promoting the idea today as if they’d thought of it, such as Oceania, Freedomship, Celestopea, and Aquarius. One of these days I’m going to put together a web page of info on the whole Sea City idea. The other claim to fame for The Floating Island is that it is supposed to be the first novel in a European language to be written in the present tense and third person. The copy I bought is just under 100 years old but is well-preserved and includes all those cool illustrations that you don’t get in modern reprints of Verne books.
Second Tai Chi class last night.
Opening of Tai Chi
Grasp Sparrow’s Tail (left)
Grasp Sparrow’s Tail (right)
Step Up and Raise Hands
White Crane Spreads its Wings
Brush Knee, Twist Left
Strum the Pei Pa
And once I get those first eight down, there’s only 100 more moves to learn.
On Sunday, Susan and I went to the Renoir to Picasso exhibit at the Kimbell in Ft. Worth. The 81 paintings are on a worldwide tour while their home, the Musée de l’Orangerie in Paris, undergoes major renovations. The Kimbell is the only US stop on the tour. The collection includes works by Renoir, Cézanne, Derain, Matisse, Picasso, Rousseau, Modigliani, and a few others. All were by French artists of the late 19th/early 20th century.
Monday, after work, we went to our first day of Tai Chi class. Neither of us have ever taken any martial arts classes before so it will be interesting to see how this works out. We’re learning (er, well, we hope to learn – no promises!) the 108 movement Yang Long form of Tai Chi at the Martial Arts Center of Plano which also teaches the Soo Hwa Kung Fu system.
Saturday was the big day. The Paragon Cable/ATT installers showed up around 10:30am and a few hours later we had a working cable modem. The cable modem is one of the newer RCA types (it’s the one at the bottom of the page next the 3Com Sharkfin). I also picked up a Linksys BEFSR81 Cable/DSL router to act as firewall, router, and 10/100 8-port hub. The Linksys router is pretty cool, allowing a one machine DMZ as well as port-forwarding, DHCP, NAT and several other features you wouldn’t normally expect on such an inexpensive little box.
The install went relatively smoothly. After reading some of the att@home horror stories (or here or here) from other Linux users, I’d moved our real boxes to another room and brought an old clunker from the office and put Windows 98 on it – in case they insisted they only supported Windows or had to install their mutant version of IE. As it turned out though, the installer was reasonably knowledgable about things. He knew what Linux was and had even used it himself. He said I could sign a waiver saying I declined installation support and could then use any OS I wanted. We went ahead and used the W98 box for testing but he provided all the info needed so we could configure the Linux boxes. Third-party routers like the Linksys are another thing att@home theoretically doesn’t support but the installer thought it was a cool box and had never used one before so he wanted to see how to set it up to work with the cable modem too.
I spent a while at a list of bandwidth testing sites trying to get some idea of how fast the new setup was. The slowest download speed I got was around 700Kbps but most tests showed 1.5 – 2.0 Mbps. Not bad for $39/month. Unfortunately, att@home throttles the upload speed to 128kbps to discourage users from running any type of servers but it’s still a lot better than dial-up. :-)
The only strange part of the whole thing is that our home dial-up connection was the last analog modem that I used and heard on a regular basis. I think I’ve listened to modem connect-tones nearly every day of my life for at least 20 years. It’s going to be strange getting used to not hearing them. Made me start thinking again that someone should try to preserve some of those wonderful sounds. Perhaps an archive with WAV/MP3 files of all the classic connect tones – those strange tones the high-end US Robotics models used to make only when they connected with another USR; the old 300 and 1200 Baud connect sounds; the first DSI V.32 and V.32bis connect sounds. Hmmmm… better stop before I get all nostalgic for the good ol’ days.