Tuesday, October 25


Steven Den Beste

I got a note from a mutual friend this morning confirming the sad news - Steven Den Beste has passed away.

Although he mostly retired from political blogging years ago, he continued posting about lighter topics here at mee.nu, and I've been in touch with him almost daily over those years.  I respected and admired him as much as anyone I've known, and I've been proud to call him a friend.

He's been in poor health lately following a stroke in 2012, but while he grumbled sometimes, he never complained.  So this still came as a shock to me, a tragic loss of a friend and a member of my little community here.

He will be sorely missed.

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Friday, September 30


Tap Tap On My Window


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Saturday, August 27


Benzalkonium Chloride Contraindicated For Gregor Samsa's Kitchen

So, there was a cockroach in my kitchen the other day, and I didn't know where I'd left the bug spray, but if I went looking for it the roach would be sure to make its escape while my back was turned.

So I grabbed what was at hand - namely a squirt bottle of Dettol Healthy Clean Kitchen surface spray - and spritzed the filthy insect with it.

Whereupon it promptly gave up the arthropod equivalent of the ghost.


The spray is a 0.1% solution of benzalkonium chloride - the same antiseptic found in Dettol and Bactine - and supposedly more-or-less harmless, safe for use on food preparation surfaces.  The oral LD50 in mammals is given as 240mg/kg, so it would be easier to kill yourself by drinking low-alcohol beer than this stuff.

Unless you're a cockroach.

Also, my floor is very clean now.

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Wednesday, July 13




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Sunday, June 12


Went Shopping Today


Bought two keyboards, two mice, two HDMI cables, two USB cables, a four-port USB charger, a 16GB USB 3 thumb drive, a 16GB micro-SD card, and...  Wait, that's the lot.

Carted it all home and installed Ubuntu 16.04 LTS on Tsumugi.  After close to twenty years of using RedHat releases (original RedHat, Fedora, RHEL, and CentOS), I thought I'd give it a try.  It has a pretty impressive feature list for what I want to do (ZFS, LXD, OpenStack, MAAS) and despite being a stable release (supported for 5 years) the packages are right up to date (Python 3.5, Ruby 2.3, PHP 7, MySQL 5.7).

Slight irks: The server install has no GUI.  Okay, it's a server install, fine.  The desktop install occupies 4GB and includes zero server components.  Not even MySQL, which is usually hard to avoid (and a pain when you're installing your own preferred release like Percona).  Oh, and DO NOT enable full-disk encryption when installing under VirtualBox.  It works, in theory, but it is verrrrrry slow.

Also, there's no real GUI package manager installed by default.  The desktop version seems to be very much the idiot edition, while the server version is the expert edition, leaving something of a gap.

Apart from that, it works, and it's usable and looks fine at 4K.  I was hoping that 4K screens would finally fix Linux's perennial problem with ugly fonts, and they do.  On both my 4K 15" notebook (Azusa) and my 4K 28" desktop screen (plugged into the notebook, hence the need for HDMI cables) it looks great.  4K at 15" is a crazy high resolution and almost everything looks good, but it's nice to have confirmation that the Linux desktop no longer looks like poop due to inadequate font hinting.

The problem with having a 4K 15" notebook is that I want to run it with two windows side-by-side the way I do with my desktop - generally my IDE on the right and terminal/email/web browser/Word on the left, depending on what I'm doing.  But while 4K is more than enough resolution for that, 15" just isn't big enough.  It drives an external 4K monitor with no problems, but that leaves little for its own 4K screen to do.

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Thursday, June 09


Outrage As People Hurt By Things, Film At 11

So, a knife-wielding madman was shot by police at the local shops today.

I live fairly close by so I had news helicopters hovering overhead for an hour - for several minutes, directly overhead.

No-one killed, but three bystanders injured apparently by ricochets or bullet fragments.  Which is causing the usual Twitter fuss on Twitter.  (Of course, the same police force was roundly criticised for not shooting the gunman in the hostage crisis in the Sydney CBD 18 months ago, and that time people did die.)

These are the same local shops where someone was murdered in public three months ago, the same ones that got clobbered by a tornado two and a half years ago.  Must have been built on an AIBG.

A mentally ill man who was shot by police at a busy shopping centre was granted day releasefrom a mental health facility, despite allegedly telling his nurses and doctors he wanted to kill police.

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Sunday, June 05


That'll Keep The Ducks Happy

Some parts of Sydney have copped 20 inches of rain this weekend, and it's still coming down.  Not quite as bad where I live, but still pretty damp.


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Friday, May 20


Can't Leave You Guys Alone For A Minute

So I go away for a few hours days weeks months and when I get back, Donald Trump is pope, Venezuela is so broke they can't afford hyperinflation, three quarters of the pop icons of my youth are dead, and congress is planning on sending a mission to Europa.


Also, Google, stop with all the other shit and bring out a new Nexus 7 already.

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Friday, December 25


It's A Christmas Migrainicle!

Was going to continue on with Return of the Jedi, but since I bascially can't see, that will have to be postponed a little.

Update: Feeling better.  But this version didn't have the Yub Nub song.

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Thursday, December 24


Adventures In Shopping

December 24:

Total Christmas shopping completed to date: Zero.

Doo-de-doo skip out early for a long lunch break.  (Working from home today.)  After tracking down an application failure to a flaky network card on one server in the front-end cluster.
Doo-de-doo buy all the presents.
Doo-de-doo go to bank to do a money transfer.
Doo-de-doo well, crap my phone wipes account details for the money transfer while I'm in line for the teller.
Doo-de-doo hit the supermarket for a few things while I'm there AND THERE'S NO LINE FOR THE CHECKOUT.
Doo-de-doo go home, put the groceries away, get the transfer details again.
Doo-de-doo back to the bank.
Doo-de-doo buy one last present and some wrapping paper.
Doo-de-doo hit the other supermarket for a few other things while I'm there AND AGAIN THERE'S NO LINE FOR THE CHECKOUT.

The mall was busier than an average Thursday, but the stores had enough staff on that everything was flowing more smoothly than average.  Except for the extended family groups with strollers and whatnot that would enter a store and stop dead right inside the doorway as though they'd just suffered a collective aneurysm.

Don't do that.  Don't be that extended family.

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