Saturday 26 August 2006

Chasing Ubuntu

I've been hearing a lot of good things about Ubuntu Linux for a while now.

I'm a debian boy and have been for years (I can't remember whether it was bo, rexx or buzz that I first installed… whichever was earliest). I am plenty happy with my etch box, and have no problem keeping up with the various packages, etc directly using apt-cache and apt-get; however I share the PCs at home with my wife and son and have recently started wondering whether the Debian based Ubuntu distro was worth a shot.

Friday 25 August 2006

Two Friends Walk Into a Bar

A couple of heads turned at the exclamation but soon returned to their own conversations when they realised who was responsible.
"Hear me out, I'm just trying to give you something to take your mind off her. Your face isn't exactly much to look at even when you're smiling; the constant mope you're in at the moment is putting me right off my beer."

The brief flash of anger on his companion's face was quickly smothered by his depression.
"What did she ever do to you?"
"Ripping my best friend's heart out isn't enough?"
"No. That doesn't explain it. You've never liked her."
"She's human. What's to like? Anyway, back to the quest."
"Fucking immortals, always living in the past. There haven't been any decent quests for centuries. And in case you hadn't noticed I'm a fucking ork. We eat questing heroes."
"Now who's living in the past? There hasn't been a case of an ork eating a human for nine hundred years. Your clan pledged to vegetarianism generations before you were even born. I was His witness. You haven't even eaten a hamburger, let alone a questing hero."
"I eat McDonalds!"
"Styrofoam and pencil shavings don't count. I defy you to find enough meat to feed an ant in an entire 'restaurant'. Ronaldus may have the magic to fool the humans but the elder races are immune to his illusions."
"I know your exile still stings but its not humankind's fault that you pissed Him off. You could try treating them with a little respect considering that they are the predominant race these days."
"Their ability to breed quickly doesn't make them intelligent. My job for the past six millenia has been to shepherd them and what is there to show for it? Starbucks and fucking Google.
"They almost had it a few centuries back, a few of them were starting to show due respect and in return were granted limited access to the healing magics. A bit of practise and they could have joined the rest of us in civilization. So what do they do?
"They hang them. They drown them. They burn their own kind alive! The best of them wiped out overnight and their scientists are left free to bind the universe up in rules leaving us trapped here in the shadows.
"All I did was ask to be allowed to take up the flaming sword one more time, to chastise them like we did in the old days. Humanity used to be a spoilt child in need of a slap, I had sympathy for them back then.
"Not now. We've been reduced to a reality TV show: Today we meet the Parent afraid of his youngest child; leaving his older children to suffer."
The angel looked across at his friend. The alcohol had proved too much and the ork was laying face down across the table snoring gently. He sighed.
"Fare thee well, friend. We shall not meet again. While He allows me freedom in exile, the others of the Host feel I should be silenced. I cannot accept the sanctuary the Morningstar has offered me. My father may be misguided in hit love of the humans but I do not question his right to sovereignty. I cannot lend my brother's cause validity by joining him. I would rather accept my death.
"I pray that you will take up the quest. If the magic is not rekindled soon the elder races will expire. I do not wish my father the pain of seeing his favorite children guilty of fratricide."

Two friends walk into a bar


A couple of heads turned at the exclamation but soon returned to their own conversations when they realised who was responsible.

"Hear me out, I'm just trying to give you something to take your mind off her. Your face isn't exactly much to look at even when you're smiling; the constant mope you're in at the moment is putting me right off my beer."

Thursday 24 August 2006

Private AS Peerings

Cisco and Juniper both provide an option to easily strip private autonomous system numbers from outbound advertisements.

This article was started because I thought this aproach was flat out wrong; however during the research I managed to convince myself that it is the almost the right thing to do; just needs a couple of knobs to tweak to make it flexible enough to always do the right thing.

Trains in Chaos — no-one surprised …

Typical. Need to be in the office for 9 to conduct an interview and the trains are screwed. At least its still calling at West Hampstead, the people needing King's Cross are screwed.

Was working on an article about BGP as path modification last night. Wanted to quote from RFC4271 but needed to chop bits out for clarity so I decided to look on the net for some info on the correct way of marking that up. Found a page that mentioned this very briefly, but doesn't seem to be a whole lot of info on this particular editing task. So I'll make this the main topic of this post.

Wednesday 23 August 2006

Hello sailor

Trying the letter recognition input method this time instead of Graphitti. Not going to stick it out for the whole article as my handwriting is too bad, I have to idea how to punctuate, and I keep using Graffiti motions.

Much better. Wish they hadn't put the menu under the input area though - keep opening the edit menu while I'm scribbling.

Tunes: help you squeeze more easily

I miss my palm. This WinCE (finally M$ choose a name that fits the product) is a pain in the arse. Has insert date, but not time. If I hit new by accident I lose work with no warning. Only a poor craftsman blames his tools, but I don't recall PalmOS having any of these problems. And it recognized my graffiti first time (unless I was drunk, which is excusable).

Tuesday 22 August 2006

Another day in the bag

Just missed the train again. I think I see a pattern. I've managed to get the time to get down the hill to the station down to under 15 mins, not bad considering it takes about 40 to walk. Just good enough tonight for me to see my train departing as I walked onto the platform.

Feed tagging in MT3.3

For some reason the default method of setting tags in outbound atom feeds stores the numeric tagid in the term attribute. Certainly caused me some confusion to see that the Technorati profile for this blog said that my top tag was "10"

Modified the MTIfTagged section of the atom.xml template to match the following:

label="<$MTTagName encode_xml="1"$>"
scheme="" />

Implementing a ranked cloud list

So I installed MT, I used StyleCatcher to pick a theme. Nice one.

Hang on... All my tag clouds are actually bulleted list without any weighting. Surely there must be a way to fix that?

The Travelling BPDU Problem

In the aftermath of a spanning tree failure I found myself revisiting the IEEE ethernet standards documents. Specifically 802.1d and 802.1q. As I write this both are available as part of the Get IEEE 802 program, ymmv.

While reading the standards, and some related websites about tuning spanning tree parameters, I realised that there were a number of references to network diameter; however there was no precise definition of this term.

Dead Dog in the Gutter

No matter how many entries I write I still think of Rorschach's journal every time. Today hasn't started well, which bodes. Late leaving due to starting a new batch of bread dough, just missed the train and now I have to wait for the slow one. In addition: I am without tunes. Thought I had left the mp3 player at home, then when I opened my bag at the station: there it was. Headphones in. Battery is dead. Bugger.

Monday 21 August 2006

The journey home

Ah, the joy of the train again. Coupled with trying to remember how to write on a palmtop using graffiti. This morning's effort was done the old fashioned way (pen & paper), but it was probably quicker than this.

Is cricket-95 still needed?

A few years back I wrote a collection script for Cricket that calculated the 95th percentile data rate on an interface. I called it Since then a PERCENTILE function has been added in the core rrdtool code. This article is my investigation on whether this function meets my needs.

Are you 2.0?

I've spent too long focusing on the back-end of the Internet, how the routers and switches connect together, MPLS, SDH, WDM; and all the other alphabet soup acronyms. Recently I've been spending more time as an Internet user and have come across a number of tools which are apparently Web 2.0. Some of these I love, and I'll mention a couple of them below, others I've tried and to be honest they do nothing for me. Seems I'm not alone in this regard, found this post by my old mate Dan over on vox. Am I Web 2.0? Maybe. Or maybe I'm just too old...

Image of me


Commuter Blogging: The Return

Well it's been quite a few years since I blogged on the train. Of course, back then it wasn't called blogging; it was an online journal or diary. Things have come on leaps and bounds since then, and left me way behind. Back then venting to the Internet was a good way of helping me deal with my depression, maybe it still will be, hence the return.

Sunday 20 August 2006

Cool Web Games

Been playing a couple of cool online RPGs, both flash based. Adventure Quest and Dragon Fable.

Well worth a play in their free versions. Will wait until I've been playing a bit longer before committing any money though.

Saturday 19 August 2006

UTF Hell

Well the posts are now imported. The following perl one-liner was a lifesaver:
perl -C -pe 's/([^\x00-\x7f])/sprintf("&#%d;", ord($1))/ge;'
Converts non-ascii to XML numeric entity references. The MT XMLRPC daemon wasn't to keen on accepting files with UTF-8 chars (although that was probably the fault of the commandline poster I'm using...) Oneliner was found at:

All change

I'm currently moving the blog into Movable Type (free for personal use now...) Entries may look a bit screwy for a while due to the import.