Tutoring at a gigabit per second
The last two days have been both interesting and very exciting. So much has happened. Where do I even start? I've wrangled a "notoriously underspecified" network configuration with a friend, helped ComSSA with acquiring around sixty new members on orientation day, netted myself a 1000BASE-T switch with 240 ports, and somehow managed to become a tutor of two classes for the coming semester.
Practical driving assessment
I'm pleased to say that I've passed my driving test with only a mere three points lost, leaving me with at least 30 months remaining in the meandering process known to Western Australians as the "Graduated Driver Training and Licensing" system. In just under six months' time, I'll be able to undertake a largely irrelevant and unrealistic computerised reaction timing test, after which I'll be allowed to drive unaccompanied, sort of.
Setting up an IBM xSeries 346
I recently acquired an IBM eServer from a friend, type 8840. I've repurposed it to be a dedicated Debian box at the moment, but there were some issues. At infrequent intervals, maybe once a day, the server would reboot for no reason, and no OS or firmware logs showed a trace. Perhaps it's something raising a non-maskable interrupt. In an effort to fix that I've updated all of the firmware I could find.
Writing an IRC sedbot
The ComSSA IRC has an official utility bot, KhlavKalash, which currently does
some trivia like URL title fetching and server uptime. It uses Twisted for IRC
and has a good plugin system with Yapsy. Feeling a bit bored, I decided to try
my hand at implementing what I call a "sedbot", which interprets messages that
sed replacement expressions, executing the replacement on the
last normal message.
More IRCd-Hybrid shenanigans
I thought I had fixed the IPv6 connectivity issues on ComSSA's IRC server, as I was
happily connected from a local shell on the server. Yesterday, when trying to
connect from a Linux box at home, I realised that connections from external
addresses were timing out — even though
netstat showed Hybrid was
listening properly on both addresses! I suppose it was time to dig a little
deeper. What could go wrong?
Sidestepping NXDOMAIN hijacking
Until May last year, I was a customer of name.com for a domain name and DNS services. Having just grown out of a comfortable walled garden of all-in-one shared hosting and DNS perhaps about a year prior, I knew little other than that I should avoid GoDaddy. I since discovered that name.com was pulling a scummy trick that an increasing number of name service providers engaged in.
Network installing Windows XP
This was originally going to be a quick guide to Windows Deployment Services with Windows Server 2012. Using it to install Windows Vista and newer is trivial though, with the introduction of the WIM format. However, upon finding a laptop that needed Windows XP and could only externally boot via PXE, things changed a little.
Using IPv6 with IRCd-Hybrid
It's great to see that Hybrid has IPv6 support, but it's not quite perfect.
Out of the box, while an attempt is made to listen on all interfaces over both
protocols, "address already in use" errors for the listening sockets may appear
/var/log/ircd/ircd-hybrid.log — with a bit of configuration,
this can be fixed though.
Patriotic journalism is a farce
If you were under the impression that Tony Abbott's political rhetoric couldn't possibly get any more ridiculous, then take heed; you may just be sorely mistaken. What appears to hit a nerve with our current prime minister today is his realisation that our national public broadcaster won't simply prostrate and assume the position of a partisan and corporate mouthpiece like Murdoch's properties.
Glacier and snapshot.debian.org
Debian's snapshot archive is a priceless resource containing every version of every Debian package ever released. With over 11 million files clocking into well over 16 TB, it's also presumably quite expensive to maintain, especially given that most files are accessed infrequently. Perhaps that can be improved though.
Rest in peace, 4:3
Perhaps the only channel I bother watching television for anymore is ABC News 24. I could probably eschew using an actual television for that, too, as a live stream is provided online. The channel has finally dropped backwards compatibility with 4:3 displays, taking another step in the constant march of deprecation.
Forwarding Curtin email
In an effort to avoid using any email UI other than the familiar embrace of Gmail via Google Apps, one of the first things I did when I became a Curtin student was to forward my email. I couldn't quite filter all of the incoming emails properly though, until last night I had a sudden realisation.
Adventures of comssa.org.au, part 3
At last, the new website is alive, the internal wiki has been painstakingly migrated by hand and the imageboard is ready for posting. Hang on, there were some other services on the old host too? Not to worry, I've got it all covered.
Jekyll 1.4.3 is broken on Windows
Just a heads up: Jekyll released version 1.4.3 a few days ago, and it is completely broken on Windows — not even standard site builds will work. Make sure you force gem to install version 1.4.2 until the bug is fixed.
Adventures of comssa.org.au, part 2
In another daily episode of configuring ComSSA's new website and Internet services, here's what I've been up to. The DigitalOcean server has been set up, users are logged in smoothly, the wiki and imageboard are installed and the website is ready to run. I should get some sleep now before I become fully nocturnal.
Adventures of comssa.org.au, part 1
ComSSA's public website has been left untouched for years, and lacked vital information for potential and current members. Nothing fancy, all we need is location, contact, membership and event information. I've been delegated the task of setting up a new website for the club, and I've discovered a fair bit on the first night.
Renaming Active Directory domains
Last night I tried to implement DNSSEC on
any prior knowledge. That went badly, and I lost mail for at least a few hours.
I've separated my experimental Active Directory domain off onto
azabani.org, where I can safely try DNSSEC again without losing mail,
but the migration process wasn't straightforward.
Better MIDI playback on Windows
The default software synthesiser on Windows can show its limits when playing too many notes at once. Take this piece for instance, which heavily glitches at 2:07 on the large descending sweep of notes. Let's fix that, shall we?
linux.conf.au 2014, day 5: sockets, satellites and scaling
I suppose that's it. As I've mentioned, linux.conf.au, my first technical conference, can only be described as a rollercoaster that was over too soon looking back. I've learned more from experts in open source communities in these last five days than I probably have in months of my own accord. Let's take a look at the last day.
Network protocol checking tools
I've seen several quick, web-based configuration testing tools for clients and servers of various protocols, so it could potentially be helpful to someone if I compiled a list of them here. These tools test not only that your servers are working, but that they are configured in accordance with best practices, and I use them all heavily. Let's start with TLS, DNS and SMTP, though I'll try to find more in future and append them here.
linux.conf.au 2014, day 4: Trent and the batteryists
LCA 2014 is really coming into its own now, and although it'd be great to finally get a chance to sleep, it's more regrettable that there's only one day left. Today's mandatory surprise was finding out that Rusty Russell was not simply a volunteer that held the newcomers' introduction.
linux.conf.au 2014, day 3: fruit flies and firmware
I can honestly say without a doubt, that for all three days in a row of LCA 2014 so far, each was better than the last. At least one session every day set the record for what I'd consider to be the best talk. At this rate, I have no idea where the remaining two days will head.
After PGP key signing parties
Yesterday I attended a PGP key signing BoF session at linux.conf.au. Being a novice at PGP, and never having done this before, it took me a couple of tries to get the actual signing process right after the party. Here's what I learned, and how you should do it. Probably.
make error 253 when installing any Ruby gems on Windows
Recently I've been unable to install any gems that require native extensions.
This included both rdiscount and wdm, the latter of which I need to run
jekyll serve -w and automatically rebuild sites as needed on Windows.
The cause of the problem turned out to make no sense.
linux.conf.au 2014, day 2: a kernel fit for a colonel
An excellent start to the second day of LCA 2014 was unexpectedly seeing the one and only Linus Torvalds seated on the opposite side of the Octagon Theatre during the keynote. To counter this, while I'm wearing the official shirt today, I've forgotten my lanyard pass, so I really hope I'm not rejected from any talks.
linux.conf.au 2014, day 1: a torrent of knowledge
The first day of my first technical conference has been one of the most truly humbling and illuminating experiences I've had. It's rather late and I'll need sleep very soon, but I can't simply buffer these thoughts for later. Every speaker and attendee I met had something to share, in a true display of community wisdom.
linux.conf.au 2014, day 0: University Computer Club
After avoiding a long queue tomorrow by registering early, I decided to use a bit of spare time taking a peek at how our sibling rivals at the University Computer Club are going. Everywhere I looked there was an impressive piece of history, and this is but a small selection.
Matasano Crypto Challenges
Matasano Security, founded by leading Hacker News user Thomas Ptacek, is running an email-based cryptography exercise suite. Perhaps it's a hiring tool, or a survey of programmer competency, but either way it's definitely very educational.
Forcing a single timezone in Jekyll
Alternatively, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love UTC. It was a little more subtle than I had expected to ensure that Jekyll uses an arbitrary timezone for dates in posts and their generated URLs, but is that even a Good Thing™ to do?
Hacking the Casio fx-82MS
The fx-82MS is a cheap two-line scientific calculator that I fondly remember using for countless hours since the beginning of high school. It's so reliable that after using the same one for over six years, the worst that's happened is a bit of corrosion on the rear screws. Here are a couple of useful tricks I've found after digging through forums and videos.
Web workers in a single script file
Renaming GitHub branches
Now that I have a website hosted with GitHub Pages, I've been looking to rename
master for some of my repositories so that the root URL
namespace isn't automatically polluted.
linux.conf.au is in Perth this year, and it's perfect timing for me as I won't have to travel out of the city for my first attendance. As the conference jumps between universities across Australia and New Zealand each year, the last time it was held here was eleven years ago.