East of the Sun, West of the Moon


Restricting ssh

Filed under: Software — Erwin @ 9:31 pm

I’m looking into using rssh, primarily for use at but also as a useful wrapper for ssh at home, allowing me to create ssh-enabled accounts for friends that I can then send into a chroot jail.

Trying this with Debian/sarge I ran into one minor catch: The newer OpenSSH package uses /usr/lib/openssh/sftp-server while rssh assumes the path is /usr/lib/sftp-server, and it’s hard-coded in the binary.

The work-around is fairly straightforward:

  • Create a symlink from the actual path to the expected path:
    ln -s /usr/lib/openssh/sftp-server /usr/lib/sftp-server
  • Edit /etc/ssh/sshd_config and adjust the path for Subsystem sftp so it points to the path rssh expects.

Not difficult once you see it, but initially I didn’t realize that the path for sftp-server wasn’t hardcoded in OpenSSH and wondered if I’d have to recompile it myself so I spent some time digging around for precompiled fixed packages.

Now to set up a nice chroot jail to play with…


Let it snow

Filed under: General — Erwin @ 3:45 pm

Josh’s rant reminds me of how it amazes me every time again when after one night of snow they cancel schools for a snow day. You would think they would be better prepared, that they check the weather channel or some other vaguely sane forecast like other people.

Actually, so far we haven’t had one yet while the previous couple of years it’s happened after the first snow of the season and after that only if there is a lot of snow. It’s as if they needed that first snow to remind themselves “Oh, this is what it’s like, whoa” and then after that they can handle it again. You would almost think I live in Georgia or something. 🙂

My bad habit

Filed under: Humo(u)r — Erwin @ 2:42 pm

Every day I glance over my spam (email) folder, and occasionally one catches my eye:

… said the absorption nagasaki resignedly that of course he gave up altogether
when has he can look at me out of his two eyes
Is he indeed said Mr Petillion
rest them for a moment with a thoughtful frown upon the caramel or his wife or both

Almost Zen, wouldn’t you say?

Yes, I know these are just their feeble attempts to get around people’s (Bayesian) filters, and it clearly doesn’t work because the filters just adapt. Thank $deity for that technology and thank Paul Graham for pointing it out to the masses. It seems like ages ago but it’s only been 3 years, sheesh.


Thunderbird wishlist

Filed under: Software — Erwin @ 11:47 pm

I would like to see an extension or other type of hack that would kindly show me the sum of the unread messages in a folder with sub-folders, especially when I have it collapsed so I can keep a sane overview of what is or isn’t there.

You could say that the fact that I have too many folders may be symptomatic of some other problem, but I don’t think here and now is the right place or time to start from scratch. I did that once already this year and that’s enough for a while!

I did slightly rearrange my incoming folders. For my personal email I now have folders in these categories:

  • Personal – Email sent to me directly or not Cc’d to anything that would cause it to end up in the other folders.
  • Automated – Cron jobs, blog-reply notifications, CVS commit notifications, TWiki changes notifications, and a few others.
  • Lists – Mailinglists to which I’ve subscribed.
  • Groups – Family members, friends, etc.
  • Other crap
  • Archived email.

For work I have something similar:

  • Direct – Email that hasn’t been dropped into any other folders.
  • Automated – Cron jobs, TWiki notifications, etc.
  • Company Lists – Internal mailing lists.
  • Game Lists – Mailing lists for the various games.
  • Games – Email discussions about the games outside the already mentioned mailing lists.

I think this somewhat reflects the order in which I typically catch up on my email in the morning, and with that in mind I vaguely hope it’ll improve the time I spend on that (which will forever be more than I like, no matter how much I manage to cut down on it).

But anyway, if someone knows an answer for my wish, let me know!


Hype and then some

Filed under: Family — Erwin @ 5:12 pm

Sudoku Easy Presented by Will Shortz Volume 1 : 100 Wordless Crossword PuzzlesYou know how I know that Sudoku is the latest and greatest in puzzling?


  • My parents sent us a Sudoku gameboard (with individual numbers, no need for a pencil) containing 100 puzzles.
  • N (9 years old) got a Sudoku booklet from his teacher (as a Christmas gift) with 200 puzzles.
  • My in-laws gave me Will Shortz‘ Sudoku puzzle book with 100 puzzles..

So if I didn’t already know that it was the biggest thing in puzzles recently, I do now. What amuses me the most is that my parents beat the crowd, though. 😉


Merry Christmas

Filed under: General — Erwin @ 3:04 pm

On the one hand I don’t care one way or another what it’s called, it’s a money-wasting fest and very few people stand still to pay attention to the (more recent) Christian origins of today, they just want to open their presents, watch the game, etc.

On the other hand I don’t care one way or another what it’s called, I’ve long since stopped believing in any god, Christian or otherwise, so whatever it’s called, I’m not all that interested.

On the… third hand I don’t care one way or another what it’s called, it’s my birthday but after moving to the U.S. I’ve given up on celebrating it on the actual day and am opening gifts together with my father-in-law now on the 28th to avoid being overwhelmed by the aforementioned gift-fest. Sure, it coincided with Christmas just as much when I was still in the Netherlands but as the whole gift-giving there was at that point still mostly concentrated around December 5 (Sinterklaas or Sint Nicolaas, look it up) that didn’t get in the way nearly so much.

All that side… Merry Christmas, happy holidays, etc. Hope you enjoy visiting your friends or relatives if you do and if not, hope you get some well-deserved peace and quiet. 😉


Ghost Town

Filed under: Humo(u)r,Technology — Erwin @ 4:52 pm

I’ve got a package heading my way by means of UPS and of course I’m tracking it via their web-interface.

This morning I noticed that it had gone from Hodgkins, IN to Hodgkins, IL, taking about an hour to go from one to the other, and that caught my attention. I looked for both towns on Google Local and MapQuest, but no dice, it would only find the one in Illinois.

I also verified this by searching Dict.org‘s U.S. Gazetteer Places (2000) database, which turned up only one Hodgkins in the entire U.S…

This of course begs the question: Where the hell was the package during that half hour stay in Hodgkins, IN??



Filed under: Software — Erwin @ 10:02 pm

Testing the Performancing plugin for Firefox (1.5 only) at the moment. Looks promising but I have no idea yet what, specifically, I can do with it.


Linkage (34)

Filed under: Linkage,News,Software,Technology — Erwin @ 4:35 pm

Hi, how are you. I’m fine, been busy but am alive and well. Here are some articles that caught my eye in the past few days:


  • The things for which they make software… Tinnitus cured by your computer? Hrm.
  • Similarly, if you know all your sounds of ocean types by heart, perhaps this computer generated version will help you.
  • Big fish buys other big fish: Storage manufactorer Seagate buys Maxtor. I guess that will end my long-running streak of almost exclusively buying Maxtor hard disks, then.
  • More big fish: Google buys 5% of AOL for the lovely price (macworld.com) of $1 billion. How is that going to affect the search-results, or will there simply be more AOL oriented entries in the ad-related column?


  • Many reports that the Pennsylvanian judge bars intelligent design (Wired, Ars Technica and Dan Gillmor, respectively). A fragment from AP:

    Judge Bars ‘Intelligent Design’ From Pa. Classes. Dover Area School Board members violated the Constitution when they ordered that its biology curriculum must include the notion that life on Earth was produced by an unidentified intelligent cause, U.S. District Judge John E. Jones III said. Several members repeatedly lied to cover their motives even while professing religious beliefs, he said.

    Thank goodness!


When will people learn…

Blurty.com user Blake Ranking told prosecutors that he didn’t remember what happened on a fateful night when he, as a passenger, was involved in a drunken car crash that claimed the life of a friend and left another seriously injured. <…> Ranking’s misfortunes didn’t end there. Despite his claims to having no recollection of the precise events, Ranking blogged about the whole ordeal, and essentially admitted what he had done. <…> Assistant State Attorney Julie Greenberg said that she planned to use the blog postings against Ranking, but it turned out to be unnecessary since a plea agreement could be reached (manslaughter DUI, with 5 years in prison).

Writing in a blog is effectively no different from an article in a global newspaper, anyone might buy it and read it and in this case they may not even need to pay for it, either! This anyone could be a future employer, your spouse or other family, or in this case the attorney at the other side of the table. Sure, it’s fun to have a public diary, but be careful what you say and share, ok?

Update: Damnit, it looks like I messed up this entry somehow. Trying to remember what else I put in here, hrmpf.


iTunes Signature (3)

Filed under: OS X,Software — Erwin @ 5:44 pm

Oops. Ok, so on the one hand I like using relative URLs, with in the back of my mind the idea that it means you can just take the entire site and dump it somewhere else, and the links will still work. On the other hand that means that RSS/Atom feeds contain links that make no sense out of context.

So for those of you that read it that way, here’s the link to the iTunes Signature one more time, this time with an absolute URL.

Now that that’s taken care of, I think it would be nice if WordPress took care of fixing the links for me, but I can’t be bothered to see if there’s a nice plugin or hack I can apply. 🙂

Older Posts »

Powered by WordPress