It was a bad day. A lot of bad stuff happened. And I'd love to forget it all. But I don't. Not ever. Because this is what I do. Every time, every day, every second, this: On five, we're bringing down the government.

Sunday, September 28

Geek

Who Broke the Internet?

Okay, who was it this time?

No Instapundit. No Spleenville. No Eye on the Left.

And Blogger says

Microsoft VBScript runtime error '800a0005'

Invalid procedure call or argument: 'mid'

//functions/doAutoLogin.inc, line 15

but that's no surprise.

No A Small Victory, either.

Update: Never mind, it's all better now.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at 11:17 PM | Comments (2) | Add Comment | Trackbacks (Suck)
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Geek

Grrr!

That Bastard Lileks™ has a dual-G5 Macintosh.

And I don't. Sniffle.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at 07:33 AM | Comments (7) | Add Comment | Trackbacks (Suck)
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Tuesday, September 23

Geek

A Terabyte Here...

A terabyte here, a terabyte there, soon you're talking real storage.

I recently bought myself a DVD writer so that I can do backups of my 3.5 million (or whatever the number is) files. I also ordered 100 DVD-Rs (Shintaro 4x disks, in case anyone is interested), so that I'd have something to backup to.

Meanwhile, my disks are filling up. Fill fill fill. Also, I still have six IBM Deathstar drives in use. These are the notorious GXP-75 series, which have a half-life of about 12 months. Suckiest disk drives since the days of Miniscribe.*

So I bought 6 Maxtor 120GB drives to replace the 6 45GB Deathstars. Got them cheap too, although the bargain price I got will look pretty ordinary in a month and hideously expensive in six. Only problem is, the Deathstars are in use and have stuff on them - more stuff than I have space to copy elsewhere. After all, if I still had 180GB free I wouldn't be buying more disks.**

So I need the DVDs to back up the Deathstars so I can take them out of use before they do that for themselves. Only... Only the DVDs are coming by Australia Post, who did what they are best at and lost them.

It's not the first expensive shipment that Australia Post have lost for me. The only comfort I have is that this time it's C.O.D., which means that I haven't paid for it. I still don't have the DVDs, which is a nuisance, but at least I'm not out of pocket.

The supplier managed to get confirmation from Australia Post today that yes, they (Australia Post) had lost my DVDs, and they (the supplier) are sending me another shipment. Maybe I should have suggested they put a GPS tracker on this lot.

* Not one of the computer biz's better moments:

In mid-December 1987, Miniscribe's management, with Wiles' approval and Schleibaum's assistance, engaged in an extensive cover-up which included recording the shipment of bricks as in-transit inventory. To implement the plan, Miniscribe employees first rented an empty warehouse in Boulder, Colorado, and procured ten, forty-eight foot exclusive-use trailers. They then purchased 26,000 bricks from the Colorado Brick Company.

On Saturday, December 18, 1987, Schleibaum, Taranta, Huff, Lorea and others gathered at the warehouse. Wiles did not attend. From early morning to late afternoon, those present loaded the bricks onto pallets, shrink wrapped the pallets, and boxed them.

The weight of each brick pallet approximated the weight of a pallet of disk drives. The brick pallets then were loaded onto the trailers and taken to a farm in Larimer County, Colorado.

Miniscribe's books, however, showed the bricks as in-transit inventory worth approximately $4,000,000. Employees at two of Miniscribe's buyers, CompuAdd and CalAbco, had agreed to refuse fictitious inventory shipments from Miniscribe totalling $4,000,000. Miniscribe then reversed the purported sales and added the fictitious inventory shipments into the company's inventory records.

See here for more.

** I can't back up the Deathstars onto the Maxtors because I want to build the Maxtors into a RAID-5 array, and I have neither the drive bays nor the IDE controllers to run another six drives off my Linux box.*** I doubt the power supply would be particularly happy either.

*** Huh. Come to think of it, I do have enough IDE channels to put another six drives on that box. The cabling would be... problematic at best, so I think I'll take a pass on that.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at 11:42 AM | Comments (14) | Add Comment | Trackbacks (Suck)
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Geek

Spammeriffic!

Just received three of the fake "Microsoft Update" virus spams - at an email address I didn't know I had. (Which probably explains why it wasn't properly spam-filtered.)

And 132 other assorted pieces of crap. Ranging from "Hi!" to "God Bless Pixymisa and the USA!" to the usual offers of sex and money (I'm fine for both at the moment, thanks).

Look, can't we kill just a few of them? Y'know, set an example?

Posted by: Pixy Misa at 09:54 AM | No Comments | Add Comment | Trackbacks (Suck)
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Friday, September 19

Geek

Ahoy There!

That scurvy bilge-rat of a server I mentioned yesterday, me hearties, is now booting more-or-less happily. I guess that threatening to make it walk the plank did the trick.

Arrr!

Only thing is, it insists on doing a full file-system check first. Shiver me disk drives! With 1.6 terabytes of disk, that takes a while.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at 10:46 PM | Comments (4) | Add Comment | Trackbacks (Suck)
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Geek

Uh-Oh

My PC, it will not boot.
I rm'd * while su root.

Well, actually, I didn't. I've always wanted to try that, but I've never had a box I didn't care about at a time when I had the time to play around.

I think it just overheated. Spring has well and truly sprung here in Sydney, but the office air conditioning is still set to Winter. So it's really not surprising that the computers are finding it a bit on the warm side.

And it's not really my PC, it's one of the servers. The one with a terabyte of data on it, to be precise.

Poot.

I've left it turned off overnight, and tomorrow I will return armed with a 30cm fan, an extension lead so we can position it somewhere a little cooler... And my Linux install CDs, because I'm not that much of an optimist.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at 04:46 AM | Comments (12) | Add Comment | Trackbacks (Suck)
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Wednesday, September 10

Geek

Feces-Flinging DRM

Feces Flinging Monkey (no, not Ethel, a different one) has a rather depressing look at digital rights management (DRM) and how it will destroy civilisation.

What he fails to consider is that all DRM is ultimately doomed for the simple reason that DRM is digital and humans are analogue. Can't rip an MP3 of that song? Play it back and record it again. So you lose a little quality. Can't cut-and-paste that article from the New York Times? Well, you can read it, yes? You can type, yes?

And so on. Which doesn't mean that the DRM-types aren't evil - they are evil, no question - just that DRM isn't going to bring about the heat death of the universe.

That's my job.

I would have left a comment at the Monkey's blog, but his comments don't work right now. Funny how that happens to the not-Munuvians.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at 02:27 PM | Comments (8) | Add Comment | Trackbacks (Suck)
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Geek

When You Care Enough

Darl McBride, Chief Shitferret at SCO (member of the Axis of Bloody Nuisances), has posted an open letter to the Open Source Community. Not surprisingly, the letter is filled with mistruths and untruths and has generated appropriate levels of flamage at sites like Slashdot.

There's also a feedback feature at LinuxWorld's site, where the letter is posted. This is what came up when I stopped by:

127 feedback items so far - last one posted 9 September 2003 12:08 PM

* Aaron Graves commented ...
Open Letter from Aaron Graves to SCO:

Dear Mr. McBride;

Go fuck yourself.

Sincerely,

Aaron Graves

That sums up the mood of the Open Source Community nicely.

Meanwhile, fellow Axis of Bloody Nuisances member the RIAA has taken to filing lawsuits against twelve-year-old girls. Nice move, public-relations-wise.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at 12:46 PM | Comments (2) | Add Comment | Trackbacks (Suck)
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Saturday, September 06

Geek

Oops

Note to self: If you are setting up a mail server, and using it to receive twice-daily backups of your website, and then you decide not to retrieve those backups from the mail server so that they just lie around, your spool partition will fill up and you will stop receiving mail!

So if anyone had anything important to say to me in the last few hours, please say it again, 'cause it might have got losted.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at 10:35 PM | Comments (2) | Add Comment | Trackbacks (Suck)
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Tuesday, September 02

Geek

CSS Clueless

Steven Den Beste has lately been wrestling with both CSS (Cascading Stylesheets) and a new version of City Desk (his blogging software) that helpfully rewrites your HTML for you - and indeed, can't be prevented from doing so.

Being an engineer, he discusses City Desk in the context of intrusive tools. An intrusive tool is one that you are constantly aware of using. Notepad, for example, is not an intrusive tool; it sits there and you type stuff into it. Word is very much an intrusive tool, with its pop-up advice and its real-time spelling-error-generator and its fourth-grade reading-level grammarbot. I hate Word; I use Lotus WordPro for any serious writing (my book, for example) because it's not intrusive; despite having just as many bells and whistles as Word, it does exactly what you tell it to and shuts up otherwise.

I find CSS to be an intrusive tool too, not because it beeps and squawks at you (it can't), but because as soon as you try to do anything complicated, it stops working the way it should. Setting up the three-column layout was a huge pain with Internet Explorer; I tried three different ways of doing it - all of which worked fine in Mozilla - before stumbling across something that IE accepted. I don't know if the fault is with the specification or Mozilla or IE, but CSS is clearly not ready for use when it takes trial and error, and in the end, arcane trickery, to make something that really is fairly simple, work. And I ended up with two different stylesheets anyway, and JavaScript code to select the (hopefully) right one based on what browser you are using. (Try looking at the site in both Mozilla and IE - the IE stylesheet is different because I can't be bothered keeping both versions up to date.)

For the new layout I'm considering using tables instead. HTML purists will tell you that using tables for layout is a heinous crime, but I say to the purists: Go piss up a rope.* Tables do what you tell them to, where CSS does whatever the hell it feels like. I get enough of that from people; I don't feel like dealing with it in software as well.

* Where does this expression come from, anyway?**
** Never mind, I googled.***
*** Okay, okay: GO PISS UP A ROPE by 1940s: Go away and do something characteristically stupid; ="get lost", "go fly a kite". "He asked for another contribution and I told him to go piss up a rope." (Chapmanā€™s Dictionary of American Slang)****
**** I also found an ad for "Urine Porn". Some days you're torn between "To each his own" and "Ewwww".*****
***** I'm finished now, Tiger, you can have them back.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at 10:28 AM | Comments (10) | Add Comment | Trackbacks (Suck)
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