Snazzy random

Another post of random thoughts and ramblings.

I’m on my winter vacation this week, which has been of.. varying quality. I’ve had days where i’ve been able to rest. And i’ve had days where i’ve been totally swamped, or unable to calm down. I’m a bit of an ADD case, really. I have trouble sitting down just doing nothing, even if that would be the best course of action for any given moment. I need to be doing something.

I sold some old stuff this week, just to clear the inventory a bit, and to make a few extra bucks. In fact, i’ve made about 70 this week selling old crap that i had no use for. I sold a WAP54G access point, an old Acer laptop which was lacking most parts, but worked pretty well considering. And I sold my broken 30GB iPod Video. Someone got a cheap 1.8″ drive out of that deal. I had no use for it, and it had been sitting in storage for at least a year, maybe more. I still have some stuff that i’m trying to unload, but i all in good time.

I have a Leatherman Surge. A nice big hunking block of metal which does most things that you would ever need to do in life. It, however, broke down a while back. Just a part of it actually. A spring that holds the screwdriver in place got.. lost. Somehow, somewhere, it sprung lose and now the tool won’t stay in place anymore. So, i found the original receipt, and found out the place that imports and services in Finland is in Rovaniemi of all places. That’s around a thousand clicks north of Helsinki. I emailed them about my problem and they said “Sure, that’s covered by the 25 year warranty, send it in!”


So, i find a suitable box, wrap it in some bubble-wrap, and ship it over to Rovaniemi. I hope to get it back next week, better than ever. I love that tool.

I’m on page four hundred and something of REAMDE, and it still manages to be an interesting book. It has taken some weird turns from the somewhat curious  start. The premise is wild. Chinese gold miners for an online RPG turn rogue and screw with the wrong people. Reading about this plot made me order the book instantly out of sheer curiosity. I think i saw it on  Boing Boing or something.

While sorting through my old stuff, i found a box of old processors. Well not “old” old. But still. Pentium 1 and onwards. I’m putting them back in a box. Where are all my older bits and bobs? 486’s? 286’s? 8088’s? Lost! Lost i say.

A bobble-head Storm Trooper is looking at me. Bobbing away. Oblivious fucker.

I’m going to order some tickets to New York for July. Hope 9. It will cost an arm and a leg. Luckily, the Euro is getting stronger vs. the dollar, which makes the trip cheaper. I’m kind of scared to travel there again. Reading about the recent incident where someone was sent back from the states because he wrote some Tweets which were interpreted as threats. Just.. surreal? I guess. Anyway, i calculate the trip will cost me a cool 2500 euros at least. Not accounting for food, travel in NY and so on. Oh boy.

Next week i’m going to be at a Cisco course. Imagine that.

The weather today was the shittest it’s been in years. We had a huge dump of snow, combined with cold weather which played havoc with traffic. We had huge pile ups, traffic stuck up the wazoo. I picked up my son from daycare, which is a 10km trip, it took me well over an hour. And i tried to be clever, and took the long way around. So did a few thousand other people apparently.

The largest accident saw some 30-50 cars get wrecked. Some people even had to be cut out of their vehicles. Just insane. There’s a video of one of the crashes here. You can see people are driving way too fast, considering they can’t fucking see in front of them. Oh shit! 30 cars are wrecked and there’s no way around! Screeeech! *Bang*. One would think that since we’ve had winter in these parts for a few hundred thousand years at least, or like.. ever, we’d get the hang of it already. But no. We still manage to fuck it all up.

Trains are not running, buses are stuck and crashing into cars. Since, after all, we’re living in this cold and arid part of the world; surely we can’t buy trains that run during WINTER. And we have a state run railway, which means, we’re paying out of our asses for a service that isn’t even designed for this country. “Oh boy! We didn’t anticipate ice and snow…”. Great going. And who would we complain to? Our representatives at parliament? Oh that’s a good one. I mean, this is a problem that can be solved after we throw enough money at it. Design rails and junctions that work in cold weather. Heat them. Spray anti-freeze. Whatever. Get trains that have sturdier undercarriages and brake systems that don’t freeze. And if  you think they don’t exist, talk to the Russians, or the Norwegians, or something. Or put some people on the problem. Get a research team and pay them enough money to solve the issue. Then order new trains and rails with these specs. But no. Instead, we just keep on doing a bad job, and raising prices while we’re at it. We should be sitting on sold gold thrones with the way ticket prices are going. Maybe a foot massage on the way to work? Yes please.

Ok tomorrow is a new day. I intend to start it with hot coffee, bacon and eggs. Looking forward to it. And for once, i’m actually feeling tired! I’ve been having some issues sleeping lately. I have two types of sleeping pills. Ones that work always, but leave me too groggy to operate the next morning; and ones that kinda-sorta work, and take about 2 hours to kick in. But now i think i might go to bed, au naturelle, and perhaps, if i am extremely lucky, i’ll be able to sleep a solid.. 8 hours, and wake up without a head ache.

Good night, and good luck.

We’ve come a long way, baby

I was considering Linux compatibility. Back when is started, at the end of the 90’s, compatibility was not much to talk about. Most cards and peripherals were not supported, or the support was iffy. I remember having an ISDN card, which i had no support for. And since there was no support, there was also no internets for me. So using Linux full time was not an option back then. Over the years, support has gotten increasingly better. Nowadays i would be greatly surprised if a device i had was *not* supported.

I remember having a Canon MP500 which was a nice multifunction printer back in the day. Well, this was in 2006 maybe? So not *that* long ago. But still Before that i had a Canon.. something or other, A3-size printer. Neither of these had any support. They were both initially listed as “Paperweights” on the Linux Foundation OpenPrinting list. I think it was that. Whatever equivalent we had back then.

Canon was absolutely unrelenting. They would not support Linux, even if the foundation offered to make drivers for them, if they would only send some hardware to them. Kind of hard to make drivers without specs or hardware. Eventually we got some generic drivers, and the MP500 started working, somewhat. Resolution was limited to about a third of what it was supposed to be, but it worked. A great day. Many times i considered just throwing the Canon out, and getting an HP, which have always had impeccable hardware support under Linux. But, that didn’t seem right. I was having a first world problem.

Reading the OpenPrinting page today i see that Canon is still somewhat of a troubled vendor when it comes to Linux support. Oh well. The MP500 broke down, and printers are usually not worth fixing out of warranty (hell, they are usually not even worth using after the initial bundled ink runs out…). I decided to get an HP, and settled on a cheap multifunctional called F4580, probably no longer for sale. Works great. There are several driver to choose from, and they all seem to work great. Now though, the scanner seems to have broken down 😀 Oh well. The printer still works…

So we’ve come a long way in a little over 10 years. Devices we hadn’t even heard of are now supported under Linux, and you really don’t have to think about what you are buying, unless you need specific fringe devices that are not say.. consumer grade. Most of the stuff you can get out of Verkkokauppa will most probably work when you plug it in. Some vendors even have Linux-sections on their support sites, but mostly it’s all built in to the OS, if you’re using one of the mainstream distros (some .deb or .rpm based one).

To follow my distro-hopping, I’m currently running CrunchBang on my desktop, and Debian 6.0.4 on my work laptop. I have a windows 7 virtual machine if i need to use something that absolutely need windows. Debian was a bit of a hassle to set up so that i’m pleased with it, but it’s mostly done now. I started with a net-install which had pretty much nothing built in.

I’ve also been working on preseeding an Ubuntu installation. Basically an automated install of ubuntu that configures the system in a certain way based on a .seed file (well you can call it whatever you want, really), which contains answers to questions that the installer makes, and other settings. It was about one work day or so to have everything running smoothly. I now have a 11.10 .iso which can be booted, and it’s completely hands-off. When it’s done (within 20 minutes or so), you’re at the login. Might come in handy at some point. The most difficult part, for some reason, was the keyboard layout and locale-settings. They just wouldn’t stick, or it’d interrupt the otherwise automated installation by asking me some question. Eventually, i started from scratch, using the 11.10 preseed example, and got everything working. So it was probably a brain-fart on my part at some point.

The next step will be testing various distribution methods, the first being a PXE-boot type installation, where a TFTP-server dumps the image onto the installing computer and runs it. Should be interesting.

Still waiting for ICS for my Desire Z. CM9 is rumored to be supported on that phone too, but there isn’t so much as an alpha out yet. I’ve seen some videos of this particular phone running CM9, but they are probably self-built firmwares or some CM developer trying things out. So i’ll have to wait a little while longer on this one. I’d even appreciate a nightly for the 2.3.5 series android that i’m running now. They halted all nightlies for the CM7 series while CM9 was being developed. I’ve been looking at the changelog for the next nightly, and it’s already like 2 pages long. So they could just release something in the meanwhile for us tinkerers to play around with. Pretty please?

What Topic?

Oh blow me. I couldn’t make up a snazzy topic for this post. I’ll just start the ranting.

First of all SOPA, PIPA and the less known global fuckbuddy, ACTA. So there isn’t going to be a vote on SOPA. Great. PIPA is still moving ahead and it, or some re-titled successor will probably end up passing and becoming law. The protest were great and all, but how about ACTA? Where’s the blackouts and protests against ACTA? It’s a more widespread evil uncle of SOPA. It doesn’t just apply to copyrighted software or media, but would basically make ISP’s liable for stuff that their customers do, and by doing that, force them to enact draconian logging and archiving policies. Imagine being a small ISP, and having to build a whole new infrastructure to log what all your clients are doing. Either you do that, or you get sued to hell when one customer does something funny. And is someone paying for all this new logging-infra? Probably not. So it’s either goodbye for the company, or then we’re going to have raised prices everywhere for all kinds of on-line services. The other alternative is that we’re either going to end up with state-run communications companies, or a few big monopolies that control prices and services throughout the industry.

Not to mention what it’ll do to personal privacy (what little there is left). ISPs can already monitor what you do if they want (for technical reasons, mainly), but they may *have* to start doing that, just to protect their business.

Why wasn’t there more noise on ACTA? Perhaps because of SOPA and PIPA, and the noise behind that. Perhaps because ACTA was basically drafted and signed behind closed doors. No public discussion, no expert witnesses or commentators. Just good old politics. The agreement was signed on the 22nd, in Tokyo, in case you missed it. It now has to be ratified by each member state, but the pressure is on. You didn’t sign ACTA? Oh well, then I guess we’ll take our business elsewhere! Sounds like the way to go.

Poland is among the only countries that have had any large scale protests (correct me if I’m wrong here). Where’s the Internets when you need them? I hope we’ll have more protests as the member states start to try and ratify the law locally. I know where I’ll be. (The first one against the wall when the revolution starts?). I also hope that Finland will have the decency to put it up for a public vote, or at least a parliamentary vote. Not that I have much faith in those fuckers. It’s going to be “I’m 12 and what is this?” *signs paper*. Some Wikileaks stuff on ACTA here.

Some highlights:

  • In its article 27.3 the ACTA agreement calls for “cooperation” between rights-holders and the Internet service providers. The very same mechanisms are called by the European Commission as “extra-judicial measures” and “alternative to courts”. It means that police (surveillance and collection of evidences) and justice missions (penalties) could be handed out to private actors, bypassing judicial authority and the right to a fair trial.
  • In article 27.4, ACTA will allow rights-holders to obtain private data regarding the users of Internet service providers, without a decision of a judge. This is a dangerous breach to privacy. The article is non-binding (using the “may” verb), but this could be changed further, by way of amendment (see below). This would generalize a much criticized procedure included in the 2004 IPR enforcement directive.

Civil sanctions could also weight on technical intermediates and be used to pressure them to accept “cooperation”. The “damages” section of the civil chapter validates the “lost-sale myth” whereby the industry claims enormous profit losses using biased methodologies. The text requires “pre-established” damages, as well as “additional damages,” which means damages not based on any actual proof of harm and akin to a criminal sanction.

  • Article 23.4: Criminal sanctions for “aiding and abetting” infringement (it sounds just like IPRED2, which is not part of the EU acquis). These could also be used against Internet technical intermediaries and technology providers as a way to force them into accepting “cooperation” with rightsholders.
  • Article 27.2: This reference to the enforcement of “means of widespread distribution for infringing purposes” is very worrying. It could be interpreted as justifying the implementation of provisions indirectly criminalizing blogging platforms, P2P networks, free software, and other technologies that contribute to dissemination of culture and knowledge on the Internet.

My friend Macandron is leaving for a round-the-world trip with his girlfriend. Good luck, and have lots of fun. And remember to see all the places!

I’m now starting a week of winter vacation. I think I’ll try to read my book, and rest a whole lot. Not.. doing..much. Then it’s back to work. Lots of good stuff going on there, also lots of tough stuff going on.

It’s dead of winter now. Not terribly cold, yet, but we do have some snow here. Not as much as last winter, but some. January-February tend to be the coldest months in Finland. On average.

My grandfather is still in the hospital, and not doing well. My father is getting rather tired, because he’s kind of keeping it all together. It’s been a long few months. I saw my grandfather at the hospital in December, but he was kind of a shell at that point already. Partly there, partly not. Hope he’s not in pain.

OK, from these cheery subjects onwards! My son just fell asleep after a grueling 1½ hour battle.. He’ll turn five soon. He’s a great sport, but after a long week at work, you kind of wish he’d just..sleep? You know? Sometimes? Because I know that come 0800 tomorrow, he’ll be dragging me out of bed to turn on the TV and make breakfast. No problem. Nooo..problem..

I’m now going to stop typing, get a cup of coffee and watch Inception with H.





The Last Few Weeks

So an update for the last few weeks. Lessee here:

We had a major storm before Christmas, which hit our country home pretty badly. We had 15 trees fall, most of them huge. They managed to mostly miss the different houses and buildings, but the cleanup is going to take months. It ripped up 100+ year trees with roots and all. Along with that, we had some collateral damage to the water-pipes that were underground (now not underground), and some TV-coax-antenna cables. I have some pics in my Google+ account. If you wanna check some of them out, check,

My grandfather is in bad shape. He has been in the hospital for like two months. He’s 91. I think he’s getting close to the end here, but i don’t really like thinking about that. He is afraid at the hospital, because he is cut off from everything. He hasn’t lost his mental functions, but he’s on a lot of medication, so he gets confused. He doesn’t know what time it is, or what’s going on. It was kind of sad to visit him there. But he’s had a good life. He’s a veteran of the Winter and Continuation Wars (he doesn’t talk about his experiences, perhaps because he lost all his brothers to the wars). He was a pharmacist, as was his father. Born in Viborg, which is no longer a part of Finland (lost to Russia). Anyway. Good guy. Lots of respect.

Planning for Hope Number 9 has begun, and as it looks now: I am going. With H. So it’s New York come July! Again. I got a mail from the volunteer-organizers asking if i would be helping out this year again (as i did last time), and i think i will. Such a cool experience. I calculate that the trip will cost around 2500 euros. Which is not a little sum of money. It’s about what i make a month after taxes and stuff.

Work is still good, though a bit rough. I’m going to get VMware certified this month. Also some new interesting internal and external projects.

I’m also planning to get my ham radio license with B. It will happen this year. Planning to get some hand held Yaesu radio to start off with.

The distro i’m using as of today is Debian 6 with openbox (built from the ground up by me), and on my home machine, Crunchbang. Which is.. the same thing, only pre-configured. I went through trying Ubuntu, Kubuntu, Xubuntu. I was on Arch for many months, also Archbang. It’s just not for me anymore, Ubuntu and it’s children that is. Arch is kick ass, nothing to complain, but it’s a bit more high maintenance (since it’s a rolling distro) than the .deb-based ones.

Let’s see what else. I’m reading REAMDE by Neal Stephenson. It’s going to take a few more months to get done, since it’s 1100 pages. Also, i bought my first E-book! The book is called: “SSH Mastery: OpenSSH, Putty, Tunnels and Keys”, and i bought it from a site called Smashwords. Based on the experience, i can recommend it to anyone interested in getting an e-book or two. They offer a variety of formats, the price is right, and the site is easy to use. They also support Paypal (who, despite their shitty behavior in regards to Wikileaks and others) is an easy way to handle online payments. Unfortunately. I wish they were worse. I wish they killed baby seals more often. The book cost 10 dollars. So less in euros. 130 pages of solid SSH knowledge. I’m gonna devour that fucker.

Oh, and the presidential elections. We, luckily, had a sane result for the first round. In Finland, the presidential elections work so that if no candidate gets over 50% of the votes (rare), there is a second round between the two candidates that gathered the most votes. This time around, we will have Sauli Niinistö, and Pekka Haavisto on the second round. Niinistö is from the Coalition party, and Haavisto is from the Green (!) party. Neither one will piss me off too much. Pleased with the results, mainly because we ran the risk of getting a nationalist, Timo Soini, as a president. Luckily, the people who would have voted for him were either drunk, or temporarliy sane, and he only got 9.x % of the votes. He had wanted a two digit number, but he didn’t even get that. The people have spoken, now shut the fuck up.

A thing of note, to all the conservatives reading this blog: Haavisto, the Green candidate, is a vegan and openly homosexual (and in a registered partnership with a man). I love this country <—> this much more than yesterday. Thank you to everyone who showed that we are not all redneck yahoos with 20th century values. If a gay candidate can get nearly 20% of the vote, we still have some hope. So put that in your pipe and smoke it.

One more thing! My good friend Macandron, is embarking on his round the world trip. Good luck to him, have fun, and learn a lot!

That’s all. For now.


Dying old people and the irrelevance of TV-news

I was driving a few days ago when i started thinking about the following: When all of the old people have died out, say people born before.. the 70’s or 60’s, will we need TV-news anymore? Who under the age of 40 seriously spends time looking at actual television news? By the time they come out, they are mostly old news, with tired old big-media coverage of events. On the web, we get multiple angles, multiple viewpoints and minute-by-minute coverage. Why bother with TV-news?

Another thing that will be interesting to see is: will the next generation of pensioners be as grouchy as the current ones? So opposed to technology? I mean, pick a random old lady or geezer off the street, and look into their wallet. I’ll bet that they have more cash on them than you do. It’s because they don’t really use cards, and if they do, it’s to get money out of the ATM. It’s like they don’t trust cards at all. Just take a look at the store. The majority of old people will roll with cash only. Most old people are not on the internet. They do watch TV-news however. Perhaps, because TV is an older invention than the internet. By like. 60 years.

But what about the middle-aged and older people now who do use the internet and credit cards? Will they become increasingly scared of it later on in life? Will they become bitter peeping-toms who spend the entire day watching their neighbors take out their trash? Listening through the walls and marking down what TV-shows their neighbors watch? Or will they stay pretty much the same? I hope they stay the same, so we can finally move on as a society, and not be burdened by people who are unwilling (unable is simply not an argument anymore) to use technology?

How much do we as a society spend to accommodate for these people? Keeping legacy systems around and such?

TV-news are probably dead in the water, as are daily newspapers. They will be around for maybe 20 years, but i don’t see an everlasting future for them. People will keep on wanting to get their content current, even if they themselves are getting older. TV as such will remain, because people want to sit down and numb their brains every day for a few hours. They need that. Constant exposure to the harsh realities of the world we live in would drive most people insane.  I should know! (Ha haa, he hee)


Here techy techy techy…

This week in tech:

Went to an Oracle event for Solaris 11. Tech content was good. Some of the highlights include improvements for Zones and ZFS, and best of all, an actual package manager that talks to actual repositories and packages that can be upgraded with one command, while keeping dependencies in check. This alone is worth the upgrade for all Solaris toting maniacs. There’s also an option to install a very bare bones system, that you can then build up using the package manager. The image was like 300 megs (compared to the full install of 8GB for Solaris 10). Patching has also gotten revamped, and now can contain metadata that creates a cloned environment as a part of the upgrade. Or at least suggests the creation of one. This way you can test how the patch behaves in a cloned environment, and if things go pear-shaped, go back to your original system.You can also create a local mirror for packages if you don’t want to use the Sun.. Oracle provided ones, or if you are on some limited bandwidth (which shouldn’t be an issue in most countries that want to use Solaris for something). While it’s fringe, it still has it’s uses, and does some things pretty well.

They are also toting this as the “First Cloud OS”. I have no idea what they mean with this, honestly. Sure, it can serve as a host OS in a cloud based service, but uh.. First?

I’m still running Arch, with a 3.1.2 kernel. I’ve also done some testing on the 3.2 branch (up to RC3 as of this post). Linus has taken to announcing new kernel builds on Google+ which is cool. These threads also get loads of (mostly useless or off-topic stuff from ignorant techno-dweebs and Linus fanboys) comments. I’ve reported a few bugs so far; among them a few kernel panics (while returning from suspend), and the lack (apparently) of an iwlwifi kernel module, for Intel wifi-cards, which is need for my Thinkpad T410s. Also there was some crash when plugging in a powercord, but that might be related to entirely different stuff like pm-utils or some powersave feature gone awry.  The reason i wanted to try the 3.2 builds is that on at least the Thinkpad T410s, the VGA output on either the computer itself or the dock does – not – work. It gives you are wavering picture that will give you instant brain cancer and severe blindness if watched for very long. Now all this has something to do with the intel drivers, and a specific signal that is sent. This is fixed in the 3.2 rc2 and rc3 at least. Which is a great little bonus, especially if i want to hook up a projector (usually VGA) or something when you want to show some schematics to a client or your boss….

As i described in the previous post, i rooted and upgraded my Desire Z to Cyanogen Mod 7.1 (nightly 263). There hasn’t been a nightly since 263, but that’s apparently because there are too many damn devices, and simply the build time for each nightly takes over 24 hours in worst cases. Also i think Ice Cream Sandwich, which had it’s source code released recently (along with the previously unreleased Honeycomb source in there somewhere). So far, things have been running great. Only a few problems so far, the most serious being that the launcher disappeared once, and wouldn’t come back without a reboot. Phone worked fine otherwise.

What I’ve been watching:

We’ve been watching some select Anime series lately. Right now we’re watching a show called ‘Samurai Champloo’ which is a bit more on the light comedy side. It’s refreshing compared to the serious, violent anime we’ve previously watched.

Some movies also, but nothing worth mentioning. Well actually, there was a rather good crime-serialkiller thing starring Scott Speedman and Willem Dafoe. It was called Anamorph. Don’t buy it for 10 bucks, but consider it for 5-7 bucks.

What I’ve been listening to:

Podcasts mostly, Caffination, The Ardent Atheist, TechSnap and the Linux Outlaws to name a few.

The Ardent Atheist is a new one, to me, which had a really funny bit that was featured on the linux outlaws. Basically a short demo on how.. uh..well Siri works. Check that episode out here.


This week in news

A few bits and bobs for my odd readers. Not odd as in weird but.. ah, you get the point.

I’m growing increasingly pissed at tabloid “news”. I might go as far as calling their bullshit-spinning an art form. Over a million people read tabloid news every day. That’s over a fifth of the population. Now does that fall on the age old adage of keeping the stupid unwashed hordes pleased? Maybe. And sometimes looking outside, i’m inclined to believe just that. There’s even a thread on MuroBBS dealing with the stupidity that the tabloids churn out each day. I mean, most of this is either purposefully crafted lies, or sheer malice, because i can’t believe they are this stupid…

I ordered “Market Forces” by Richard Morgan, which was the only book of his i did not already own. It’s starting out pretty well, but of course i’ll read it through before passing final judgement. It’s this whole future (though this time near-future), corporations run shit deal. I picked up the book used, since i was feeling like getting a hardcover. This was shipped over from the UK, from the “East Riding of Yorkshire Library”, and used to actually be a library copy. It’s wrapped in tough plastic film, but you do see signs of wear and tear. Perfectly readable though, but the seller posted it as “very good condition”, which is a bit iffy. But for the 3.50 euro  (including postage) that i paid, i’m as happy as a pigeon with a french fry. Bought if off, through their playtrade-thingy.

On the Android-side of life, i switched from GingerReal, to the Cyanogen Mod, while also upgrading to the 2.3.5 kernel. I’m running on the nightly version of the 7.0 for Samsung Galaxy S. It’s a version obviously built each night, but the codebase seems to be fairly stable, so so far i’ve had no large issues with it. Some things change wildly over night, such as the lockscreen, or the camera, but it’s mostly for the better. The customizability is unparalleled, and though the synthetic benchmark scores are lower (1600 vs. 2100 for GingerReal), but the system still seems responsive (enough), and above all else, more stable. GingerReal does have more tweaks for the kernel, the processor and the filesystem so that explains most of the weirdness, and the crazy-high performance.

At work, i’ve spent the last few weeks setting up a Sun M4000 box with Solaris 10 U10, and then installing some new UPS’s. The M4000 was otherwise rather uneventful, but a notable detail was that the XSCF console port still only handshakes with fucking 100mbit. Which means, that some of our more high-end Cisco-gear don’t really want to talk to it. Which means, just for this purpose, we have to hook it up to a switch that also talks 100mbit. I wonder how much more it could honestly cost, considering it’s a several-ten-thousand-euro machine. Twenty cents? Bring it Oracle, our budget can take it!

Did i mention the price of coffee is rising something crazy here in Finland? Well if not, then i’ll say it now. The price of coffee is rising something crazy here in Finland. Honestly. The brand of espresso i buy, from Paulig, has gone up nearly a euro. For a five euro bag to now cost six-ish euros, is pretty steep. For 250 grams of pre-ground coffee, that is. And since i have my DeLonghi espresso-machine, i can’t really not use it, being the caffeine-addict that i am. I still mostly drink instant coffee, which will probably be frowned upon by most people. But seriously, try it out. Forget the preconceptions. The coffee i drink mostly is Nescafés’ Classic (used to be Red Cup). The price of that has also gone up, but.. It’s kind of like gasoline. We said “we refuse to drive if gasoline costs over 1.50 euros” (which it now does), but yet, the traffic jams each morning are as bad as they ever were. I wonder if 2 euros will be the limit? Probably not. So keep on raising those prices Oil and Gasoline-guys, we can still take it further up the ass!

On the OpenBSD-front, i did some upgrading of my 4.9 box, to bring it up to -current. It was a fun and educational experience. Waiting for 5.0, even though it won’t be anything revolutionary, as the OpenBSD schedule advances .1 every 6 months. Round numbers mean nothing. Except maybe symbolically. I did not manage to get the kernel to build, and Google wasn’t being too helpful. I’ll have to look at that some other time.

My pet peeve privacy is probably going to take a big hit thanks to our glorious Minister of the Interior, Päivi Räsänen (of the beloved Christian Democratic party). She’s now come out and said that she would support releasing fingerprint data collected for new biometric passports since 2009 for use in criminal investigations of “serious crime”. Now take a seat and close your eyes. The other one too. And go way back to 2009. We were told that this new biometric data being added to the passports was due to international pressure, and would not be used for anything else except travel related identification. You can open your eyes now, and fast forward to 2011. What are they saying? They want to give the data to cops who are investigating “serious crimes”? Gee-whiz! I never saw this coming! Slide something in, convince people it’s not what they think, and then fuck them over once they’ve forgotten about what you said. Also, who the hell decides what a serious crime is? But yeah, i guess that was the previous administration who made all those promises, so in our grand democratic system, those things are all forgotten and buried. But rest assured, i have not forgotten. And lucky me! I’m up for a passport renewal (since they cut the maximum validity of a passport from 10 to 5 years…), so i’ll have to get a passport with the fingerprint if i want to go to the US next year for Hope number..9? Is it really number nine already? I guess.

Enough ranting for this post.

Vacation-man posts again

So i’m on week two of my four-week summer vacation. Still reading Broken Angels. I’m at the part with the scary nano tech. Thing.

I tried kernel 3.0 from the kernel ppa for ubuntu, but that didn’t work out too well. I guess fglrx is to blame, because i received errors about it during kernel installation. It booted fine, but graphics were.. well there were no graphics. I decided to wait for a while with 3.0. I’ve been practicing a bit of perl during my off hours; just basic scripts and stuff. It’s funny that i actually started out with perl during elementary school. We had this computer club that was i think once a week, and we had a guy from TKK come and teach us. He taught us perl at the tender age of.. what eight? Anyway. I remember it fairly well and it’s fun to do perl again. Back then it was simple stuff, but a good foundation, now that i look back at it.

Google+ is.. well it’s there. It’s not like i’m using it or anything. It’s just there. Many of my friends have moved a lot of their stuff (or so i surmise) to Google+ but for me it’s just another platform to voice thoughts and place comments. I do like the integration of media, and how easy it is to upload photos or other stuff. I haven’t tried the Hangout-thing yet, i don’t have a webcam, except in my work-Thinkpad. I spend maybe 30 minutes a week on Google+ i’d say. I’m not sure i’ll stay.

It’s still unbearably hot in here. It’s Finland for fucks sake. I didn’t sign up for this. All my hardware has been running admirably, though, which is a bonus. I haven’t spent as much time at the summerhouse as i’d like to, but that’s due to other circumstances that i will not go into here. There’s still a lot to do there, and i hope i can go next week.

Been playing a lot of (for me anyway) Battlefield: Bad Company 2. I have clocked a total of.. 88.5 hours of BC2. And it’s still one of the best multiplayer FPS’s if you ask me!

My little mini-garden on the balcony is bearing “fruit”. I’ve got a bunch of salad, and the basil is coming along nicely. As it is still very hot and nice, i’m considering other stuff as well. Here’s a pic!

Isn’t it fucking great?

I found out that the apartment does have a 10/10mbit connection that is part of the rent. Provided by Elisa. Latencies were fuck-all, so it’s probably very close to fiber. I do also have fiber up to the apartment, but no card with an SC connector to try it out with. Care to sponsor one for me? Heh, thought so. Not sure it’s even hooked up. It probably needs to be ordered separately. Anyway.

Have a nice day.

Marvelous miscellania

Amazon delivered my copy of “Just for Fun” by Linus Torvalds and David Diamond. It’s going to be a good read, i can feel it! In parallel i am still reading “Broken Angels” by Richard Morgan. Still recommend the latter.

I am also still on Ubuntu 11.04, but without Unity. I can’t do it. I can’t deal with unity, i can’t seem to configure it so that i can use it sensibly. I can’t deal with the side-menu thing popping in and out. I can’t deal with not seeing the toolbars at all times, i can’t deal with having the max,min and close buttons be on the left side if i maximize the window, when I’ve specified in gconf that i want them on the right side. I realize that i can configure these things somewhere. What i don’t realize is why make things like this by default? Unless you’ve never used Ubuntu before, you’re going to shit a brick. Me. No. Understandy.

Something i also realized was that something that changed in the propietary ATI driver, or Compiz, or some other relating concept messed up h.264 playback in Ubuntu. VLC would act as if something was wrong with the overlay.. The video was either entirely black, but with audio playing perfectly. Or, i’d get the video, but it was the top most level of everything. Try to open a menu like File in VLC, and the video would overlap that menu, so you wouldn’t see it. Very annoying, and made watching video nearly impossible. The fix, or workaround for now, was to disable compiz entirely. Another annoying feature of Ubuntu 11.04 – The System – >  Preferences – > Appearance tab that controlled compiz is gone. No way to disable it that way. You even have to download the compiz configuration manager separately if you want to configure it! So i did the metacity –replace trick to kill compiz and replace it with metacity, that does away with the overlay-problem.

A big sigh. But at least it works now.

It’s also time to head out of the city and into the untamed wilderness known as our summer cottage. I started my four-week vacation, and i intend to spend a lot of the time out there. If i can. My allergies are acting up, and if they get bad enough, i can’t stay there. Which blows.There’s lots to do there. Some trees to cut down and chainsaw into pieces, a new balcony-thing to build. Some electrical work at the Sauna.

There’s a shortage of podcasts to listen to in Summertime. Somehow. Or then there is too much time vs. the amount of podcasts, which is static.

I should try the 3.0 RC kernel. I have a colleague who’s tried it under VMware Workstation, and says that it works well. There was some issue with it, but it was patched by someone ™. I also read an interesting article that B pasted to me on the end of the AltQ in OpenBSD. You can read that here. PF has been serving me well since version 3.7 or 3.8, in a modest box sitting beneath my desk here, diligently filtering through all of my Internet traffic. It rarely breaks. And when it does, it’s due to some syntax error in my configuration, or failing hardware. In any case, it’s a great product.

A few minutes before writing this post, the Space Shuttle Atlantis separated from the International Space Station for the last time in Space Shuttle history. A sad moment. The end of an era. In all, the space shuttles spent over 300 days docked to the ISS. Sad to see it just floating away, the thrusters firing somberly to adjust slightly. I get a slight scifi kick from it all. Seeing the planet drift by below at blistering speeds. To see an orbital sunrise live from my own PC. A final victory lap around the station, and she is gone. Starting de-orbiting procedures. After this, the US has no way to get people into orbit, without help from the Russians. Next up, perhaps a commercial alternative. The Atlas V? Some rocket-based system in any case. Waiting for the Chinese to do their thing. Seeing the Russians put people up like they have for 50 years.No more space planes for a while. Not in the governmental sector anyway. Private spaceflight is the way to go for the next decades, mark my word.

Ok time to end this blabber and prepare for a departure of my own, to the summer house.

Weekend Activities

This week i have been mostly reading…NOTHING

Poor reference to some British comedy of the not-so-recent past. Anyway, what i want to say is I am currently re-reading the sequel (Broken Angels) to the excellent book by Richard Morgan, “Altered Carbon”. If you like high-flying Sci-Fi, you’ll like Richard Morgan’s books. The paperbacks cost next to nothing on for instance, so order up. Meanwhile, back at the point, i’m looking for something to read. The last “new” book i read was “Burning Chrome”, by William Gibson, which was brilliant. The one before that was Zero Day, by Mark Russinovich which was a load of bollocks. The one before that was Kingpin by Kevin Poulsen, which was again a winner.

Any recommendations are welcome. And nothing that will bore me or insult me.

This weekend I’ve spent with my son. Later today, H will come back from a road trip to the untamed wilds of north-eastern Finland. Or somewhere. Before that i intend to clean the place, and do some re-wiring because the current wiring looks like un-diluted ass. A great inspiration to this was that Stefan Didak, workstation-GOD, has been posting a few things about his… 7th iteration of his famous home office. Check out his new posts here. If i had a billion googolplex of money, i’d do the same thing, but i’m stuck with my same old, same old. My next buy’s will probably be an SSD drive for the operating system, as I’ve grown very fond of the Thinkpad T410s i have at work. Boot times are fast, well, it’s a Thinkpad on top of that. Godlike. I willingly gave up my 17″ pimped out Macbook Pro to get that Thinkpad. Many will say i am crazy, but I’ve found I’m much more a Thinkpad-guy than an Apple-guy. Other areas are really not an issue at the moment. RAM is enough at 4GB, and the graphics card, though old, (a Radeon 4850), is more than enough for the games i play. The past year i’ve played mostly Bad Company 2, and Civilization 5. Both of which run brilliantly on this card. Sure it’s not 9001 FPS, but enough for me. CPU is quad-core and more than enough also. I would like a second screen, and that Ergotron arm that i originally set my sights on from a Stefan Didak post on his v. 6.0 home office.

I could also pick up on a new TV show. True Blood has continued, but no in Finland of course, so officially one cannot get any episodes yet. Same with Game of Thrones which was recently recommended to me by some younger geeks.

That was an adventure all on it’s own, let me tell you. I was at this birthday party of a friend of H’s. People.. 5-7 years younger than me, and apologizing in advance for being so geeky. I laughed and said i bet i’m more geeky than any of them. But i found that the term geek has now changed. I fiddled around with computers before these people were born! And they are seriously trying to over-geek me. But the thing is, geekdom is different. I was considered odd for not watching Anime. Or not having seen Game of Thrones (no time to watch that…yet), and so on. I did know nyan cat, but that’s just because i hang around 4chan way too much. But basically i got comments like “How can you call yourself a geek!”. I was stumped. I can install Gentoo! I can compile a kernel, while remotely installing a Solaris 10 server on the other side of the world. But.. i guess being a geek isn’t just what it used to be. I really didn’t fit into that crowd.  “Have you watched Naruto?” -“Uh..what’s a Naruto?”. And then I’m faced with some apparently funny “music video” from some anime called Naruto. And inside, i was crying.