Undead Blog
ex·an·i·mate | no longer living, post-life
Blog | Mastodon
Sat, 2019 Sep 14

Multi-timezone digital xclock

Here is how to get an xclock display that would show multiple color coded timezones for each hour, but otherwise was small and out of the way. Timezone has to be set for each xclock element. The individual color coded hour elements are spaced so that they fall in the blank space(s) of the larger UTC clock.

The code below lives in my ~/.xsession file. It is important to put the individual color coded hours first, and the larger UTC time clock last, as the .xsession file is processed "front to back" for displaying the xclocks in a layer.

(export TZ=US/Pacific ; xclock -d -fg purple1 -padding 1 -font "-urw-urw chancery l-medium-i-normal--24-0-0-0-p-0-iso8859-13" -g -36+0 -strftime "%H ") &

(export TZ=UTC ; xclock -d -fg darkgray -padding 1 -font "-urw-urw chancery l-medium-i-normal--24-0-0-0-p-0-iso8859-13" -g -1+0 -strftime "%F [ %H / ]:%M ") &

[/openbsd] permanent link

Taking a screenshot from the CLI on OpenBSD

First, the one you will probably never use because you don't get the output in a easily usable format. xwd -screen -out shot.xwd and xwud -in shot.xwd get and display screenshots. Unfortunately, it doesn't display them in a format other than xwd, the "X Windows Dump" image format.

I'm going to assume you want to get a screenshot with an image that you can actually use later on, in a blog post or the like. This would mean converting the image, which means installing ImageMagick. Chances are, it was already installed as a dependency, but if not using doas pkg_add ImageMagick will fix that. One of the tools is import. Simply import shot.png. The file can be used immediately.

Old xwd files can be converted to any format by the Image Magick convert tool, as simple as requesting the file be renamed from one format extension to another- convert shot.xwd shot.png.

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Sat, 2019 Jul 27

The Unfortunate Experience of a Phone Spammer

This happened in the late '90s, at an unnamed ISP. None of the names are the names of the people involved. But I was asked to give my Phone Spammer story a bit more than a paragraph, so here you go.

The morning was less frantic than normal. We were an early market leader in data center hosting and we had already grown by leaps and bounds across the United States with deals being worked out in Europe and Asia. The building that had all of the network engineers for Santa Clara was remarkably quiet. Back then, with everything still running on mostly analog last mile services, infrastructure went down all of the time. Quiet days were pretty rare, so nobody was pleased when our desk phones started ringing off the hook.

Normally, a desk call was pretty important. Our company had a hot hand off rule for resolving customer issues, which meant that customer hold time could only be long enough to transfer a call. If it was a network issue, it went directly to network engineering if the NOC couldn't solve it in 5 to 15 minutes. This meant that we got to deal with a lot of gripy and grumpy senior admins and startup executives freaking out about how they were losing x amount of thousands of dollars an hour or minute that their problem wasn't immediately resolved. Desk calls were something to be avoided like the plague, and we would either use our private IRC that corporate didn't want to know about, or our cell phones to make calls to each other. When I say that the phones started ringing in serial at every desk, the mood went from relieved to frantic. Nobody was happy hearing it ring.

I can't even really remember what the phone scam was. But it was dumb enough to piss off every single network and systems person who had their peace interrupted. Someone had come up with some clever way of finding out if the person picking up was human, and then transfered them to someone with a clever script to waste their time figuring out if it was a business call or not. After the 5th person slammed their phone on their handset, my manager popped his head up over the cube farm and quietly announced that the next call came to him, straight transfer, and he would pick up.

Sure enough, not only did my manager, lets call him Steve, pick up the call but he picked up every call for about 30 minutes. Not only did he listen to the call, he recorded times it took to auto transfer, what exchange was being used, the sound of the dial tones and clicks, I mean everything. He then got onto his computer, and being curious I asked him what he was up to. He had set up auto calling systems for Luna Trips, and knew the ins and outs of most call routing and management systems at the time. He had figured out from the delays and clicks exactly what type of phone system was in use. He also looked up the phone exchange the calls were coming from, and with a few phone calls to the telcos we had direct communication with at the central office, he was able to pinpoint the building, floor, and office that the lines terminated. From there, he found out everything he could about the business, who owned it, and any other details he needed. He then put his plan together, and called us to the meeting room overlooking the data center floor.

"Okay, here is what we are going to do today. Before any of you ask, anything about this is on me, I asked you to do it, and it wasn't optional. But I'm not going to have some assholes abuse our phone network, especially since they are running through ALL of our exchange numbers, even the ones we give our customers for cage POTS lines for dial in- meaning they are tying up lines meant for customer emergency access. I already told these fuckers to stop, and they shined me on, so fuck them. Hard. I want all of you to call this list of numbers, and use every line on every handset on your desk to do it. Use your cell phones as well. Bounce between the lines and keep everyone on the other end busy as long as possible until they hang up. Then redial them back. Keep it up until I tell you to stop."

He points at me, "I want you to get with Nicky in the call center, and have her coordinate anyone not taking a call, and have them do the same thing. After that, get on IRC and see if you can't get East Coast and LA to do the same thing." I knew Nicky in that we all started with Steve. I was in charge of all of the regional NOCs, as well as being a Network Engineer. She had transfered over to running the new national call center, so we worked together often to manage large outages. Getting her to have several dozen of her staff stall people on phone lines would just be another fun challenge for her. It was more my job to keep her from using too many people on that rather than convincing her to help.

I didn't even need to convince the other data center offices. They all hated spammers, whether it was in mail, newsgroups, or on phones. If anything more useless ate up our time, it was any type of stupid abuse of the systems we managed, so turning that around wasn't fair play, it was delicious revenge. Word spread so fast I had to keep the flood down to a dull roar until folks could finally get on script with the plan. We were only supposed to do this in a certain way- if there were any complaints that the people on the other end of the call could make by the time they realized they were being had, we were to direct their CEO, by name, to call my manager's cell phone number. We were also supposed to stop when he told us to, which generated quite a bit of humourous groaning.

So, the scummy spammer CEO finally had enough in about 40 minutes. When my manager got the call, he put it on speaker so we could hear everything. We all stayed silent as church mice while Steve had a back and forth with the guy. First were the legal threats, which Steve brushed aside. Steve knew this guy was operating outside the law at the time, and wasn't even mildly impressed. This sent the Spam Mogul into fits of apoplexy, I mean you could feel the spit hitting the phone on the other side of the line. He started screaming about how we literally melted his phone system. It would take him days to be back online. He was losing money every second he couldn't have people on the line, and somehow we were going to pay him.

Steve wasn't having any of that. We got threats like that daily, and this guy was not only not a customer, he was abusing our customer resources and otherwise wasting our time. Basically, Steve told Spam Mogul that not only did we not owe him a dime, he is lucky he doesn't owe us line charges for every unsolicited call, plus our time for addressing his issue that he somehow couldn't fucking fix on his own when politely asked to stop. After another whiny tirade from the spam guy receded, Steve continued reaming him out, telling Spam Guy that if he ever tried this shit again on any of his exchanges, we would melt the next system as well, black hole his internet access, and send every nasty fucker we knew who tried to penetrate our systems at him with a promise of free shell access for a month if they succeeded at fucking him over.

Spam Goober had enough, and hung up. Everyone in the office started laughing their asses off, and the secret IRC server was blazing with stories that got more ridiculous with the retelling. Steve told us to lay off, and to have Nicky rein in her bulldogs. No point now that we knew the guy's phone switch was kaput. Later, when we were having a smoke outside, Steve told us he knew how hot those kinds of phone systems could run, and cooling them was always a problem. He figured that some guy putting his phone system in a closet of a poorly air conditioned LA office complex probably would have issues, and if his system didn't, the analog stuff boxes sitting in the hot LA sun would probably have issues that the phone company may have to come out to deal with. It was just a matter of time once we started pounding them.

Right after the break was over, we were walking back in and Steve's cell phone rang. It was our CEO Greg Goodguy. I could hear the whole conversation as we were walking down the hall. Basically, Greg wanted to know why some guy in charge of a large internet marketing firm was threatening damages in the millions of dollars, and could Steve quickly explain how this happened? Well, Steve broke it down that the Big Telemarketer was a small time spammy grifter, his worldwide business was being run out of a tiny office in LA, and the guy was a lying asshole. Steve related that Spam Slob had been given an opportunity to stop, but decided to press his luck after being warned off several times. That was all Greg needed to know. Greg was on a first name basis with folks that are household names now. He could crush a guy like Spam Slob.

Steve had just sat down at his desk when he got another cell call. It was Spam Lord, again on the speaker phone for kicks. It was amazing how a 5 minute call with Greg straightened everything out for Spam Lord. The incredible stress he was under affected his judgement. Obviously, he would work with his staff to make sure they would understand which exchanges they would avoid in the future. Steve made it clear that not only would his people stay off, Steve would hold Spam Lord responsible if any other similar business people decided to try something similarly stupid. We didn't get a single spam call for something like 90 days.

However, we all forgot about the haxor bounty. Someone put all of the Spam Loser's credit info onto several newsgroups. Poor unfortunate spam loser...

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Thu, 2019 Jul 18

More small tasks

Since changing some things around, I'm getting to some small tasks I've been missing out on. Like making sure I get notified when I need to update the patches, firmware or packages. That is now done. yay. Now time to play with neomutt, because I'm not such a fan of alpine today.

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Tue, 2019 Jul 16

Teaching and other fun stuff

Started teaching my daughter about Linux and how to CLI in preparation for her to study for her Linux+. Today was learning the basics of vim, and how to use vimwiki to take notes about system activities. She is having a good time with it, and is learning it pretty quickly.

Fixed some minor issues with my phone by adding the F-droid repository. I'm still migrating to a more open platform though, since I'm not happy about Samsung obfuscating some of my personal data in order to try and strongarm me into using them or Google.

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Mon, 2019 Jul 15

Short posts are short

Because my time after work and on weekends is short, I limit my time to whatever I can fix or do in an hour or so. This means that I won't make a lot of posts, and my posts will be brief and will not have a lot of detail. If I do make time for a longer post, it will be for a reason important enough to block out time on my calendar.

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Sun, 2019 Jul 14

Stupid phone won't export calendars

After confirming I could do most of what I want with Zap, I decided to run some testing in the other direction. My phone manufacturer had decided it was a really great idea to only allow me to send .ics files to other people, and not save off a copy for myself. To add insult to injury, there is no local backup method for my calendar data at all, and the files themselves can't be found on the phone (so far). Worse yet, I am only allowed to sync my calendar with 4 providers of my phone manufacturer's choice, and not simply activate a caldav service.

I mostly got into computers because one of them tried to tell me what to do, when to do it, and told me to give up if something didn't work. My attitude has been- if I spent good money on something like that, I get to tell it what to do and how to do it, not the other way around. In that spirit, I've ordered a new phone that will be compatible with a loadable ROM. By next week, I should be able to do whatever the heck I want with my calendar data, thank you very much ;).

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Sat, 2019 Jul 13

Zap from zotlabs will export calendars

Playing around with my test installation of Zap I found that Zap will import and export calendars in .ics format. It isn't a caldav service (that is a plugin being built), but at least I can privately share calendars with family members.

Testing with my phone shows that my device has enough smarts not to re-import events as separate items, so this should work out.

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Tue, 2019 Jul 09

Starting with a new story

I found writing about myself to be difficult and boring. I'll be posting more technical things here, and keeping my personal stuff on social media.

There may, at my discretion, also be a platform change to make things easier to find, but that isn't for today.

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Wed, 2019 Jun 26

The Comfort of Home, or I Need To Fix My Desk

I have a small desk in my apartment. I'm fine with the size, but nothing seems quite right. My chair isn't exactly right for my posture. My desk height is fine for hand writing, but terrible for typing at a laptop. I could probably use a bigger keyboard. My current laptop doesn't have high def monitor support unless I use a dock, which can be costly. Even then, there are days when I need to adjust the distance of the monitor due to eye strain. The items on my desk are more cluttered than organized.

Ideally, I need to really consider how and why I'm flailing away at my keyboard and how I can do it so I actually want to walk up to my desk and concentrate on whatever needs to get done. First, I need a standing desk, something I can adjust so I can either type, or work on items with my hands; those are different heights, really. I would also need a bar seat, one of the right height; it doesn't need to be too comfy, but the right height is important. I also need a pair of monitors, or one very large monitor, on a swing arm mount; probably one large monitor, as I'm running cwm at home, and I can organize everything on a single desktop. I could probably hang a vertical set of folders off one side, something like an inbox and such for paperwork that needs ignoring. Definitely could use a nice low profile keyboard, preferably something with a backlight. That would also mean I could get a proper Lenovo docking station, so I could use a higher resolution monitor.

Strangely enough, I don't need a mouse or trackball. I'm happiest with the super cheap usb mice. No batteries to replace at inopportune moments, no signal degradation, no weird driver interrupts. Just mouse, doing what I want it to do, when I want it done.

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Sat, 2019 May 11

Behind a glass wall, watching people

Out being in the middle of a crowd. The local monthly art festival in my city is underway. I haven't been to one in about six years, mostly because I went to most of them for about four years prior, and there is only so much art I can absorb watching.

My daughter is out exhibiting today, her first show. She is part of a show based in the local downtown Methodist church. As far as church people go, they are some of the most accepting I've run into in some time. My leather clad cat-eared 15 year old is right at home, selling her furries art between the landscape watercolors and the horse and country paintings. I really couldn't be happier for her, even if she doesn't sell anything. She is taking and owning her own life on her terms. I'm really proud of her.

I've been watching the art watchers stroll by. Everyone has their idea of whether they should be dressed up or casual. Some people have wild hair, and given the crowd, it is hard to tell whether it is for the day or a daily wear thing. Sitting in the corner of this cafe, I'm surrounded by blackout glass on a busy downtown corner. Plenty to watch in every direction, and nobody can see me watching them. Generally, when I look at people I stare at them, intensely. I tend to forget about this, and it makes others uncomfortable. So, the cafe is perfect.

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Sat, 2019 Apr 20

Took a blogging break, break over?

I was considering writing this in mdoc format, but mucking about with mdoc html exporting, and then fixing whatever I needed for bloxsom just wasn't going to fit in my self-imposed time constraints for today.

I also considered making this blog more technical. You know, things I'm doing and things I've figured out. That has been done before. Mostly, this blog is supposed to be about things that are not technical, because I have my own internal wiki of my own prior mistakes, thank you very much ;)

Mastadon has provided me some distraction and social interaction at a distance. I'm still not very interested in spending a lot of time around people. I can be more myself when I'm typing things out than when I'm sitting in a crowd of folks. See my last post as to why.

I'm done with my audio conversion scripting. I learned a lot from the process, first of which was "Don't try this at home if they don't use UTF-8". most of my problems weren't from how cdio does its job. It is from the very inconsistent naming requirements and lack of formatting delimiters for various audio descriptor fields. Unfortunately, one of the biggest kids on the block, MusicBrainz, doesn't do anything UTF for their formatting; instead, they just put in a question mark for every character field they don't recognize. Summing it all up, it just wasn't a yak I wanted to shave.

So, how am I feeling today? Or recently? Better. My current project is finally winding down. I can move on from that, which feels good. I feel marginally satisfied with the few minor fixes I've been making to my computers, blogging tool, etc. I've also been working out, and have lost some weight. It was also nice to take a trip last week, and experience the ocean breeze and see some different countryside. So, overall, I'm feeling pretty good.

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Fri, 2018 Dec 28

Everything Stopped Being Fun

I don't know when everything stopped being fun. Slowly, as life has gone on, fun became replaced with projects, deadlines, goals. When one was done, another was waiting to take its place. And I've grown so accustomed to my life being dominated by projects, deadlines, and goals that I stopped enjoying the right now. So much so, in fact, that when I became aware of my own lack of happiness, somewhere past that wall of numbness, I knew that I needed help to work past my current dilemma.

The man I'm discussing my dilemma with says I should focus on process instead of project. Projects are always future based, and process is focusing on what you are doing now. In my profession, everything is project based. So little of it has any focus on process, and as far as many of my colleagues are concerned, it is minutiae that gets in the way of things getting done. I've been trying to focus on the process of the now, but it is difficult. I had to bribe myself to even write about this topic because I have locked the now far away inside myself. Someone who lives in the now would not put up with the kind of demands made by my bosses. Someone like myself, who lives in the now, wouldn't put up with the sacrifices he makes to be with his family.

Emotionally, I'm also hamstrung by being a largish man. I can't get angry, or cry, or show how frustrated I really am. I have to bury that, or people start freaking out and otherwise are afraid of me. Someone else showing the same emotions might get some concern or help. I just get people quivering and telling each other how they are scared of me. So I need to do everything in measured motions and with a smile on my face. Flip side of that is that I can't really show people when I'm happy, or pleased, or other positive emotions because, well, emotions are emotions, none are really good or bad, and if I can't show what people have a hard time with, I can't share the ones they want to see. In my current profession, a lot of time is spent being frustrated, and having conflicting demands coming in from multiple angles because nobody understands what you are doing- which is tough, because I don't know what I am doing half the time, I just get paid to figure something out that makes everyone else happy with the result. There is a comedy sketch called "The Expert". I recommend it because it resembles most of my meetings and expectations of many others I currently deal with.

So, I am here, right now, just typing. Trying to find a way back or forward to a right now where I am comfortable being, and comfortable with my personal choices. This isn't easy.

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Sun, 2018 Nov 11

Can't think of anything to write

So, I guess I will write this.


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Sun, 2018 Oct 14

Changes in plans aren't really changes

I never expect plans to go as expected. My view on plans is that they are a great way to shake out what isn't going to happen as anticipated. Obviously, I'm not living in the EU. More obviously, I'm probably not going there any time soon. Planning for a big move like that, and anticipating possible outcomes meant everybody in my life had to put their own desires and needs out there. This led to lots of good things happening, but moving isn't one of them. At least, not until June.

As things go, my kid is getting A's and B's in her new school. The grades are a new improvement, and since we all know the kid is only going to this school for this year, we can all safely put our plans on hold. With regard to my spouse, she has found stability with her needs, and that has been a load off my mind. For myself, I've found that "work remote" is a real possibility for me, so the plan is now to take a work remote job, and then move someplace more affordable once the school year is over. The upsides for me with remote work are that I have opportunities for better paying contrats in the future, I am no longer tied to a specific locality for my day to day living, and maybe the next gig will have less involvement in management decisions

However, as things go, we can still make different choices on different days, and still find ourselves wherever life was going to take us, give or take a little pushing and pulling here and there. Life is what happens when you are making plans, and the first casualty when life moves on is usually the plan.

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Sat, 2018 Oct 06

Yeah, I don't feel like writing today

So, ths is me not writing very much. Have a nice day.

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Sat, 2018 Sep 29

Life has a way of changing your plans

I got my resumes together. I planned, and saved my money. In the end, it looks like we will be where we are for a year.

While I could be upset about the sudden change in plans, I figure it is for the best. There are positives to staying on for a few more months, and before the end of the year we should have our passports so someplace like Munich or Amsterdam would now also be a possibility.

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First major batch is out

...and I'm not talking cookies.

I had this epiphany that I really like working in startups. That is where I was happiest, so I'm putting my resume out again specifically looking for that in NYC. Let's see what happens.

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Skill comes from practice

I remember my first Judo competition. I came in after a few weeks on the mat, and after a few faltering steps was repeatedly slammed, thrown, and ground into the competition hall floor. Had I prepared? Yes. A few weeks, with a coach who was good at fitness conditioning. I was hardly winded at the end of the competition, but lost every match. Within the context of my training, I had been guided to becoming fit, but not better at finessing the allowed moves for my level of competition.

So, when I read an article that directly connects the success of Russian hackers to the rise of Putin, I kind of chuckle inside. I've known people who came from Russia to work in the Silicon Valley. They were very good at some things, and quite unorthodox at others. This came from two things they had in their post glaznost economy- absolute freedom to act, and limited resources to act with. I will contrast this with the very sheltered environment that the US Internet has become, where there are plenty of resources, but you can go to prison for longer than someone would for murder if you even consider misusing any one of them.

Russians are better at hacking because they can hack. They can rip, torrent, download, copy, repurpose and whatever else they want to do. They can do it with almost no repercussions. USians, on the other hand, will be convicted of a 2-5 year term, per command, with the conditions of release that they will be an informant to the US government for, well, life. So, if I did the following on someone else's computer:

  • # cd /
  • # rm -rf *
  • # mail -s "owned u" root@some.computer.com

I would go to pound your ass prison for up to 15 years, and have to sign a release making me a snitch if I wanted out for good behavior. Given what could happen to anyone who even remotely appears to be doing something "unsavory", there is absolutely no incentive for anyone to develop really good skills at bypassing controls, probing or penetrating boxes, performing real world stack smashing, or anything else remotely fun. Yeah, people can and do all of this in their homelabs, but that is not the same as trying this out on unfamiliar systems which would have completely different management and monitoring systems.

As a follow on, I would say there is no such thing as "Cyberwarfare". There are people who want to make a lot of money on the idea that Americans need to be "tough" on $insert_bogeyman_here. If they can successfully demonize hacking so that it becomes an act of war, then defense contractors can falsely equivocate theft of data with anything that could be considered an "act of war". This is a dangerous outlook that can lead to severe repercussions down the road, and has already led to some in the short term.

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Non-trivial aspects of location masking

zzzz... Oh, let's not say that again.

What I meant is that Congress decided that everyone's personal browsing history is up for sale and scrutiny.

For people like me, well, I can hide behind a proxy which feeds all of my data through an encrypted tunnel. Except that these days, that doesn't hide as much as it used to. I mean, my direct ISP will not be selling my personal data, but they will sell where my tunnel goes to. THAT ISP can then also sell my data. So much for privacy.

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This is another blog post

I stopped blogging, daily life and politics became too close. There isn't much any one person can do about politics, and multiple people making political decisions always devolves to the lowest common denominator. I just don't need that level of stupid in my life.

Since I now have my new "mobile lab", aka my nifty refurbed OpenBSD laptop, I have only opened the MacBook up to pull data off of it or to sync my iPhone. So, as a desktop for me, OpenBSD works nicely. Next order of business is to set up the "permanent lab", a little black box in a cubby. This is where all the magic gets to happen. Magic, meaning full backups of all the things.

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My Future Life as a Crab Bot

I just tweeted about this, but seriously, if I could have my brain cloned into a big crab bot, I'd be pleased as punch. Actually, several crab bots. In fact, if I had several billion dollars, I would hire a bunch of people to create crab bots and work on brain and memory/personality cloning.

Of course, this would have to be in secret. I would market myself(ves) as a high end industrial robotics service, to manage critical infrastructure in dangerous environments. This way, I could launch myself into space with the rest of humanity, whenever we get around to it. As far as missing that mark, well, nobody would suspect the robot janitor of helping out in the background.

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I like tamales. I even like storebought tamales.

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Brain is not braining, need brains

So I've been sitting here for an hour, with time to burn. I had all of these ideas when I sat down, and I was feeling very motivated. Now I have no idea why I'm sitting here.

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Countdown starts! 5, 4, 3.14, 2, ...

The last item I needed to start my countdown timer has been acquired! I can kick off Project 4501 in a couple of days!

Time to celebrate, with cider and PIe.

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Paperwork, but not origami

I really would like a little origami knight to gut my paperwork for me. Or write things for me, but that would probably look like a resume written by Don Quixote.

After finding out it would take either a) a Kafka-esque effort to speed up my passport apps, or b) six months to get a passport the slow way, I chose c) forget about the passport until after I move. This puts a hard limit in my plans to travel the world via work, but at least I should be in NYC in a few weeks or months depending upon the job market.

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Busy Weekend

My wife ran a 10k, and my kid just finished her first acting workshop.

I slept most of the afternoon. We all have our little successes.

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Hey, you are not in char...

The best thing about switching back to OpenBSD has been having apps that do what they are told, and when they are told to do it. The worst offender in this regard used to be Windows, but I'm now convinced that Apple is now takes that leadership role. Your music app wants your attention, so it interferes with your ongoing writing session to literally pull your focus over to it. Same with updates. Same with just about anything else that seems to possibly pull in a monetary stream for Apple.

I already have my next laptop specced out. Once the next version of OpenBSD is released, I'm going to bootcamp my Macbook pro until I can afford the next one. As of this week, I don't need to use my Apple OS any more

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Keeping the Keel Even

This is a post. This is only a post. If this was more than a post, it would not be a post.

I have this itching feeling. I don't know where in my head it itches, and I'm still trying to figure out what it may be.

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English is the hardest language to learn, & math is a language

Except people keep teaching math procedurally, instead of as an expressive form of communication. If people taught English like they teach math, we would all be functionally illiterate, and having to refer to guidebooks in order to read most of our friends' tweets.

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VIMpires have a weakness

Blood Orange cider. Seriously, I love this stuff.

Still pondering tag closing modules for vim...

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Daleks. They are like really dangerous kobolds made up by the BBC.

While this is going through my head, I am running a full restore of my girl's tablet. And the results are...

disappointing, but expected. Tablet now on palliative care.

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Applied Mathematics with Kobolds

My daughter has been ignoring her math work, and I had the re-realization that nearly all paper and dice games are just applied mathematics in story form. Thankfully, there is Pathfinder and their fan driven wiki. Download all the sheets!

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Obligatory Post

Functional paragraph.

Oh, and my daughter thinks I'm awesome because I can make a printer do a thing.

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How I met your mother

"We met at a party, made kissyface, went home together, and continued our relationship from there."
-- talking with my daughter about relationships, age 12

In other asides, I took a day off to get my paperwork together at home. Paperwork found, collected, and soon to be scanned. Next is looking for a new employer at least 4500km away from where I sit today.

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Purple Goop Smells Purple

Installed vimwiki today. This should help with my note taking and some of my campaign worldbuilding (not related).

The title says it all. My daughter smells like she washed with purple drank, and her hair now sticks up.

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I did nothing, I did a lot

I did nothing. I wanted to find my id paperwork, it is still hidden somewhere in the apartment. I wanted to finish organizing my closet, but only ironed half my clothes. I was going to set up git and some basic html templates for my blog. I wanted to finish a flowchart of the byzantine outage process at work, that didn't get done.

I did a lot. Most of my clothes were ironed. I have what I need for my presentation in the morning. I got a lot of paper sorting done. I purged a lot of old clothes and worn out shoes. I found I didn't need the flowchart because other people were adulting very well, and I finished documenting an SSL CA store. I wrote a thing.

I'm having a hard time accepting that second paragraph. I really should.

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New Blog, New URL

I gave up blogging some time ago. Too much emphasis on visibility and networking with others. I didn't like that, and I didn't like the visibility of it. On the other hand, it is nice to have a place that you can put more than 255 characters, and there are times when posting items publicly is still useful.

This new blog is using blosxom, which isn't a bad microblogging tool. It runs on Perl via cgi-bin. As long as you understand enough html to be dangerous, it is usable. My purpose is to run this blog via git in order to maintain skills.

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Git init, git commit, git clone, git push, git boom

Seriously, did anyone ever really think that someone starting to use git wouldn't put their important files somewhere, add them to the repo, copy them to another location to work on, and then send them back as needed?

I'll get better at this. From an ease of use perspective, I'd rather be using Mercurial or Fossil, but learning git seems important as other tools I use, like ansible, prefer git over anything else.

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Coding for fun and, um, well...

Still practicing my html skills. I considered letting vimwiki handle all of this, but that was too much yak for me to shave in a day. At least I'm sticking with my 1hour/1day/1week rule. That is:

  • 1 hour to evaluate something new
  • 1 day to mess around with the new
  • 1 week to make progress working on something new
  • Mothball anything that doesn't do this, or change how I do it
  • The Survivors

    So far, there have been some survivors in all of this. I'm now working on relearning my PERL5 by making some small support scripts for OpenBSD's cdio. I have a first version of tiny scripts that do the following:

  • atdn- Artist/Title Directory Namer. Outputs a name for a directory or .m3u file.
  • cdtn- CD Title Namer. Renames "track[nn].wav" to "[nn]-title of track.wav".
  • flaca- A Skinny Flac Tagger. Writes minimal tags to a flac/ogg file, and embeds album art.
  • cdnom- Audio CD Attach Script for Hotplugd. Autodetects audio cd files, runs a script if new audio.
  • I would have used native OpenBSD files for .wav and .au, but I haven't been able to find a decent tagger for .wav files, and .au files aren't supported on most of my listening devices. For everything else, I've tried just about every tool out there, and none of them directly meet my requirements, or they require me to add a whole lot of dependencies and still don't do what I want. Most are designed on and only for linux, and only work because of significant porting efforts- I just don't feel like contributing to projects with that focus when I run OpenBSD.

    I'll post preliminary releases on my GitHub account when I feel I've gotten enough done.

    The Stories

    More survivors are my stories. I keep many of my homedir files in a directory with the current year. Every new year, I create a new directory for the year, and migrate all of the files I want to keep working on into it. Everything else that I don't delete goes into an archive directory and, well, gets archived on a schedule. Most of my story directories were at least touched in the last year and this one, so I'm sticking with it and adding more files. Eventually I will also be editing them together, and some novels should be the result. This is more long term than anything else- my day job pays for everything and then some. I still need to find a permanent place to settle down, pay for that, and then decide how to scale back my tech hours in favor of more time writing.

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