East of the Sun, West of the Moon


Eighties rejects rejoice!

Filed under: General — Erwin @ 9:59 pm

An ocean of video clips as found on YouTube and Google Video. Almost too many. 😉



Filed under: Humo(u)r — Erwin @ 5:38 pm

I don’t laugh out loud very often when reading something amusing at my computer or so, but this was funny enough (or I’m too easily amused) that it got to me: I just finished listening to episode 197 of Coverville, 50 minutes of Queen covers, when iTunes cross-faded into the next (random) track… Queen with Princes of the Universe from the A kind of magic album.

I’m very happy I wasn’t drinking anything at that time, it would literally have been spit on my monitor and keyboard, I fear. 🙂

Small world

Filed under: News — Erwin @ 3:11 pm

The idiot teenagers that saw their plans thwarted because someone relayed rumours about them to a friend via MySpace were a lot closer than was made clear from the initial reporting. You see, Cherokee county is the one south of where I live. Hrm. Or to put it differently, M‘s mother has a colleague whose son is the same class/grade as some (if not all) of those kids.

Hardware sucks

Filed under: Technology — Erwin @ 12:08 am

If it isn’t harddisks failing left and right and even RAID-5 setups with spare HDs failing without chance of recovering, then it’s a network cable (that brings the T1 to work’s collection of servers) that goes bad or whatever PacBell/SBC/AT&T chose to call it.

Aaaaargh!! I’m so glad that week is over.


Filed under: Family — Erwin @ 12:04 am

This afternoon I dropped M off at the airport to go to Chicago for a week for some company training, so it’s just the boys and me right now. That’s probably the longest stretch of single-parenthood since I married her, but as I’ve taken charge in a lot of things around the house in the past 8 months or so I don’t expect it to be a problem, days will mostly be business as usual until around 6-7pm, where it’ll be more obvious she won’t be there in the evening. 😉

I suspect I’ll get a bit more geek-time in than usual!


Linkage (41)

Filed under: Linkage,News,Software,Technology — Erwin @ 11:57 pm

The biggest cruise ship ever in Hamburg (Germany). Just don’t make that same mistake as the Titanic, alright?

A lot of unix (Linux, Debian and others) manual pages placed online in a convenient browse-able format and allowing for added commentary.


Linkage (40)

Filed under: Humo(u)r,Linkage,News — Erwin @ 3:11 pm

Did you read about the giant Mario Question Blocks that showed up on April 1 in an Ohio town and got some girls threatened with fellony charges? Here’s a follow-up on that, quite fun to read. 🙂

I’ve always wondered how reliable those (snail) mail address change requests are, now I know, not at all!

Since January, Fred Hill had used the Postal Service’s Web site to file 170 change-of-address forms since January, authorities alleged in court records. The same credit card had been used to pay the $1 charge for filing change-of-address forms online, they said.

Shannon made me aware of this Amar Plan, which sounds like the best solution for the Electoral College madness so far, as long a complete overhaul is unlikely to happen.

They get 270 electoral votes worth of states to sign a compact, wherein the states all agree to place their electoral votes as a block … to whoever wins the popular votes.

Only about half the states (by population) have to sign on, and there’s no prisoner’s dilemma thanks to the clever managing of the compact to not go into effect until there are enough states for it to work.

When the guy you contacted asks if you really meant to contact him… it might be worth to listen:

Now the buzz around town is a little different: the school had accidentally booked Jon A Stewart, a 39-year-old part-time wrestler and former motivational speaker from Illinois.

“Very often I get emails intended for Jon Stewart from Comedy Central that are mailed to me,” the wrong Jon Stewart said in a TV appearance after the gaffe was revealed. “And the first reaction, and the first response that I or my assistant make is: ‘Do you have the right Jon Stewart?'” But the staff at the DaVinci Academy in Ogden, Utah, assured him that they did.

Oops! 🙂


That sucked (2)

Filed under: Humo(u)r,Projects,Technology — Erwin @ 6:13 pm

Is something going screwy with companies using FedEx this week? I’d been checking the Maxtor website to see if the replacement for my to-be-RMA’d HD was on its way yet and on last check (somewhere yesterday) it was still being prepared for shipping or something along those lines. You can imagine my surprise when I found a little package on the front porch this morning with that same replacement HD in it! A pleasant additional surprise was that it was a 250GB version to replace my faulty 200GB disk. No complaints here about that, though. 🙂

Another thing going lopsided was a wireless card I’d ordered this weekend, which (also unexpectedly) showed up yesterday morning but for which the website at that point still claimed the item had been sent to the warehouse and no tracking number was available. This afternoon I received a kind automated email saying that the item had been shipped and would be on its way now. Yay! Does that mean I get another one? Nope, upon checking the website the FedEx tracking number turns out to be that one that arrived yesterday. Oh well…

You can now go back to your regularly scheduled time-traveling, folks.


Curiousity killed the cat

Filed under: Site,Software — Erwin @ 2:36 pm

Looking at the daily analysis of the HTTP logfiles, as I try to do on a regular basis to see if there is anything that looks broken or just unusual. The summary of the agent (browser version) field includes a few entries for the sites that fetch the RSS and/or Atom feeds and then present it to their users:

  • LiveJournal.com (webmaster@livejournal.com; for http://www.livejournal.com/users/ninoblog/; xx readers)
  • NewsGatorOnline/2.0 (http://www.newsgator.com; xx subscribers)
  • AttensaOnline/1.0 (http://www.attensa.com; xx subscribers)
  • Feedfetcher-Google; (+http://www.google.com/feedfetcher.html)

It would be nice (and not at all evil, I think, as it wouldn’t reveal any personal data) if Google would begin including an indication of how many subscribers there are on their side. Hey, I might even see if I can submit that suggestion somewhere!



Filed under: Software — Erwin @ 6:18 pm

The situation is as follows:

I have several PCs (two of which of the OS X persuasion) from which application browse the interweb. While originally this was mostly browsers and some automated scripts, these days a significant chunk involves aggregators fetching RSS/Atom feeds. To slightly reduce unnecessary re-fetching of content and to stop the most simpleminded phoning-home-applications (that try a direct connection instead of looking around for a proxy setting) I run a proxy application. Squid, to be precise.

Aside from allowing a few unusual https/SSL ports so that the IM protocols can be tunneled through the proxy, I (think I) run with a fairly standard configuration, which roughly means that:

  • If a URL contains /cgi-bin/ or ? to indicate that the target will return dynamically generated content, it won’t cache it.
  • In all other cases when no explicit expire-information is provided it will cache the content up to 3 days, or 20% of the age of the content when it was fetched, whichever is less.

The side-effect is that for a relatively quiet newsfeed (that uses feed URLs like http://some.host/feed/) where new entries can be weeks if not months apart, 20% of the age can easily be more than 3 days, so when new content actually appears, it will take that long for the (polite) aggregator to see the fresh newsfeed content!

This was starting to annoy me quite a bit, so now I’ve added these lines to the Squid configuration file, which hopefully solve that issue:

# Don't cache RSS/Atom feeds.
acl XML_url urlpath_regex \.xml$
acl XML_type rep_mime_type -i ^(application|text)/((atom|rss)\ )?xml$
no_cache deny XML_url
no_cache deny XML_type

Time will tell and if someone reading this has a better (Squid oriented) solution (or can tell me in advance I’m on the wrong track!), I’d appreciate hearing about it. 🙂

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