evening train -
the only dialogue
between the pages.

[oz/06. sigh, my conversational skills apparently no match for da vinci code.]

mr head, meet mr wall...

console output of my freshly booted thumper...
SunOS Release 5.10 Version Generic_118855-19 64-bit
Copyright 1983-2006 Sun Microsystems, Inc. All rights reserved.
Use is subject to license terms.
Hostname: unknown
NOTICE: /: unexpected free inode 140193, run fsck(1M)
NOTICE: /: unexpected free inode 134712, run fsck(1M)
The / file system (/dev/md/rdsk/d10) is being checked.

WARNING - Unable to repair the / filesystem. Run fsck
manually (fsck -F ufs /dev/md/rdsk/d10).

Dec 20 18:44:50 svc.startd[7]: svc:/system/filesystem/usr:default: Method "/lib/svc/method/fs-usr" failed with exit status 95.
[ system/filesystem/usr:default failed fatally (see 'svcs -x' for details) ]
Requesting System Maintenance Mode
(See /lib/svc/share/README for more information.)
Console login service(s) cannot run

Root password for system maintenance (control-d to bypass):
single-user privilege assigned to /dev/console.
Entering System Maintenance Mode

Dec 20 18:47:16 su: 'su root' succeeded for root on /dev/console
Sourcing //.profile-EIS.....
root@unknown # fsck -F ufs /dev/md/rdsk/d10
** /dev/md/rdsk/d10
** Last Mounted on /
** Phase 1 - Check Blocks and Sizes
** Phase 2 - Check Pathnames
UNALLOCATED I=134708 OWNER=root MODE=100644
SIZE=55460 MTIME=Nov 29 05:31 2006


SIZE=0 MTIME=Nov 29 05:31 2006


** Phase 3a - Check Connectivity
** Phase 3b - Verify Shadows/ACLs
** Phase 4 - Check Reference Counts
SIZE=0 MTIME=Nov 29 05:30 2006 COUNT 0 SHOULD BE -1

SIZE=0 MTIME=Dec 20 10:03 2006 COUNT 0 SHOULD BE -1

** Phase 5 - Check Cylinder Groups


FIX? y


Log was discarded, updating cyl groups
239603 files, 5443874 used, 5654583 free (80551 frags, 696754 blocks, 0.7% fragmentation)


mere words fail me. prehistoric guttural utterences and primeval screams are called for.


recently noted quotes

splunk: all batbelt. no tights. -- splunk page

i can deal with all your girl stuff taking over my bathroom sink. i can deal with not farting for another week, but i will not tolerate microsoft in this house. -- brent [player vs player, 14/01/04]

skull: what is the difference between a normal sorcerer and a supreme sorcerer?
brent: well, a supreme sorcerer comes fries and a shake. [player vs player, 22/08/04]

we live our lives in America, now, in fits that involve many snarks, possible boojums. -- adam gopnik [from the introduction to the annotated hunting of the snark, the definitive edition]

The reviews I've gotten in the science fiction universe were some of the longest and most thoughtful critiques, closer to something you might find in The New York Review of Books. I would like to show those reviews to mainstream critics and academic literary scholars and say, 'Look at the kind of discourse that's going on around this book in a community that you think cares only about Buffy.' -- james morrow [on the reviews of the last witchfinder]

shaw, like many witty men, considered wit an adequate substitute for wisdom. he could defend any idea, however silly, so cleverly as to make those who did not accept it look like fools. -- bertrand russell

popper is not a philosopher, he is a pedant. -- paul feyerabend [three dialogues on knowledge]

to establish and to sustain an advanced culture, we need to avoid being debilitated either by error or by ignorance. -- harry g frankfurt [on truth]


flying machine...

amusement for the day: google patent search discovers that the flying machine patent belongs to one oltville wright...


hottest/coolest box ever: x4500...

blogging live: i have just unpacked a thumper with 48x500GB disks. oh, how far i have come since my first sun3/160 at york u dept of computer science...


empty resources, everywhere.

if you were bored enough to google for (say) "python networking tools" you would end up with numerous impoverished ad-pusher "programmer" resource sites as top hits. for additional humor, you may want to follow into that top hit "bigwebmaster" and take a look at Python/Scripts_and_Programs section. [i'll spare you the link, and deny the additional hits to this hole] corner indicator: 0 resources and growing! [note the exclamation!] a whole page of pedestrian classifications, all empty: Contests (0), Countdowns (0), Counters (0), Customer Support (0), Database Tools (0), Development Tools (0), Discussion Boards (0), E-Commerce (0), Education (0) ... ad nauseam

increasingly, casual googling resembles smashing one's head to a nearby wall to improve one's vision...


shuffle, part deux

a worthwhile shuffle II review in macintouch. i agree with most of it; i do belong to that portion of the male population who cannot tell green and amber colors apart. having used the new shuffle for a couple of weeks, i agree that the clip is done just right. this one definitely belongs in moma: it shows how to be a minimalist without being inhuman or stupid.

[amusing contrast: ikea's coffee mug design ad, which shows how a little gap at the bottom of the cup stops the water from pooling during washing. a little drop gently rolling down. whow. wonderful bottom design. alas, this mug happens to have a handle that some people can barely put an index finger through, and obviously there is no room for any other fingers. so one finger to carry eight ounces of hot liquid... very, very bright: good bottom, but nearly useless handle for actual use.]


while everyone is switching to firefox 2.0, i have switched to omniweb. so far a great browsing experience, well worth $14 for a family pack license. now all my macs have ow instead of ff. [i know geoff will chide me for even bothering to think about the underlying browser, but i cannot help it. twelve years after mozilla, most browsers are still tedious portals with bad makeup, spotty skins and amateur plugin facelifts. sure would be good to have it free and open source, but i would rather have imagination...]



added some 700 books to the librarything. [alas pssst keeps giving me the same set of hits from other libraries. sigh. found a large overlap with, amongst others, erik naggum's library. his is not bad at around 2000 books.]

note to self: mini reviews of recent good books.


ipod transfers between libraries

several macs, several itunes libraries, some ipods. once in a while, it is simpler to copy a tune off of my ipod than to rsync from my main music repository. here is what i do.
  • get at the ipod filesystem one way or another. eg:
    $ df
    /dev/disk1s1 2028600 2021400 7200 100% /Volumes/MAXI
  • copy content to someplace else:
    $ cp -rp /Volumes/MAXI/iPod_Control/Music ~/ipod
  • fix content cleverly marked with the "invisible" attribute
    $ cd ~/ipod
    $ ls
    F00 F01 F02
    $ /Developer/Tools/GetFileInfo -a F00
    # V for invisible on
    $ /Developer/Tools/SetFile
    Usage: SetFile [option...] file...
    -a attributes # attributes (lowercase = 0, uppercase = 1)*
    -c creator # file creator
    -d date # creation date (mm/dd/[yy]yy [hh:mm[:ss] [AM | PM]])*
    -m date # modification date (mm/dd/[yy]yy [hh:mm[:ss] [AM | PM]])*
    -P # perform action on symlink instead of following it
    -t type # file type

    Note: The following attributes may be used with the -a option:
    A Alias file
    B Bundle
    C Custom icon*
    D Desktop*
    E Hidden extension*
    I Inited*
    M Shared (can run multiple times)
    N No INIT resources
    L Locked
    S System (name locked)
    T Stationery
    V Invisible*
    Z Busy*

    $ /Developer/Tools/SetFile -a v F00
    $ /Developer/Tools/GetFileInfo -a F00
    $ cd F00
    $ /Developer/Tools/SetFile -a v *
  • incorporate now visible music into laptop itunes library.
[it may be simpler use a bit of python to read the mp3 tags, construct the artist/album/track.mp3 hierarchy and copy..]


intelligent design, science education and public reason

a disqueting white paper: intelligent design, science education and public reason by robert a crouch, richard b. miller and lisa h. sideris, poynter center for the study of ethics and american institutions, indiana university. [sep 06]

we believe that the recent attempts to discredit evolutionary theory and to insinuate intelligent design into public school science curricula is no less than an assault on the dictates of public reason and dispassionate inquiry and their valued and well-earned place, not only in educational institutions but in political culture and public policy more generally. While intelligent design may soon vanish from debates within state legislatures and local school boards across the country, the pernicious effects of the more general attack on the value of reason in public will, we believe, linger.


two haikus

autumn light
flickering with leaves -
train dreaming.

red traffic light -
a flock of sparrows
twirl and pass.



getting it down and done...

i have now been back in the IT space for nearly two months. with an enormous number of projects and issues on the go, i find that i really, really need a good tool that is a cross between an outliner, database, notebook/blog and a task list manager. several useful to good ones are mac-only, look really pretty and come with a sheepish "export" function [eg. devonthink, mori, omnioutliner, notetaker, lifebalance, et al]. alas, not good enough: i spend a large part of my time on linux and bsd desktops, and part of the time all i have on me is a palm.

wishful thinking: run everywhere, sync across, suck less.

[sure i know about the hipster pda. i do use moleskine notebooks on matters that have no immediate impact on my professional productivity...]


underbrained reader

sony's new portable reader system can (for now) only support (unsecured) BBeB Book, adobe® pdf, txt, and of course, as a survival necessity: rtf and microsoft® word.

no mention of odf.

sigh. books with chains or basic txt. i guess i can wait until someone less toady to drm gets this right.


aperture 1.1 vs lightroom b4

finally i have the hardware to run aperture and lightroom side-by-side. my current preliminary view is that aperture really is a better thought-out working photographer's tool, with lightroom running hard to overcome a panic "beta" release [help me develop this now; you can pay me later!] with a surprisingly clunky and unimaginative interface/flow. [must be nice to have so many photo(shop)graphers on the side who are now writing and bubbling about lightroom. several books with boring images already in preparation...]

i would like to do a real review later, though not until i put several thousand images through both of these and bibble. [alas my usage of lightroom will only continue until the end of beta...]

[after i wrote this note, i discovered that apple upped the ante with the release of aperture 1.5... and i just thought of a way adobe can still win the day: just open-source lightroom...]


feature hole theory of design

interesting if not entirely edifying discussion of closures in java, from jag's blog entry titled black hole theory of design. i suppose closures in java would be useful in providing less clumsy functional dispatch mechanisms, but as in ruby and perl et al. the mechanism is just another mechanism, a plangbling, a fan-feature. it will not play a fundamental role, [as suggested by the theory] influencing the other core elements of the language, or its implementation. it is simply too late for that. is it worth its complexity budget? hmm, how else can java possibly compete with gruby?

big shrug...

the lambda papers. i thought these would be coming out in a book form, but i have no idea what happened. rpg did not respond...]


r6rs, almost...

latest draft of r6rs released. [as a scheme implementor, i wish this fine language mattered more. instead, its imitators with clunky syntaxes and bad libraries get all the fanfare...]

charlie nails it.

found in charlie's diary entry spinning the hamster wheel:

One of the dirty little secrets of the computing industry is that staffing ratios are supported by Microsoft. It takes roughly one support person per forty desktops in Windows environments (one person-hour per working week wasted on coaxing balky software into doing its job, is a more accurate way of describing this), while large-scale UNIX desktop installations have staffing ratios between 1:200 and 1:1000. But bureaucratic politics is such that in any organization, an inefficient department with forty employees has far more clout, prestige, and (ultimately) money assigned to it than an efficient department of four ... because most managers are woefully inequipped to judge the relative merit of computing proposals and interpret human activity as productivity, rather than as evidence of inefficiency. We have therefore fallen into a situation where less efficient solutions competing in the marketplace are preferentially selected.

[charlie, not having had a career in system adminstration, somewhat over simplifies. endless updating/patching/upgrading of N different favorite variants of a common unix derivative does not exactly support the nice 1/10 efficiency ratio he suggests. solaris shops, on the other hand, may support the argument better.]


a big checkmark...

second episode of house, cane & able, ends with a moving ballad:
is working against me
and gravity
wants to bring me down

next morning, i see a new album in my neighbourhood starbucks:
continuum, by john mayer.

flipped it around. the fourth song is gravity.

ah. good stuff, i thought i may order it online. visited chapters-indigo, and found it under new and hot music.

i feel like a big demographic checkmark in someone's spreadsheet.


recently noted quotes

So, when the intelligent design folks announce with great fanfare that the bacterial flagellum is too complex to be explained by natural selection...well, it's hard for evolutionary biologists to suppress yawns. -- joan roughgarden

the truth is, most people like clicking - they just hate waiting. -- marty neumeier [the brand gap]

growing up means creating a civilization that does the best for the most. -- david brin [ad astra, 2004]

to install adium, drag the duck to your applications folder. -- adium installer

there are a few experiences that those of us who are filthy rich with it just don't repeat, and bathing a cat while drinking peppermint schnapps comes to mind for reasons i'd rather not discuss right now. -- daniel gilbert [stumbling on happiness]

although often a useful writing technique, passive verbs also advance effects without cause, an immaculate conception. to speak of ends without means, agency without agents, actions without actors is contrary to clear thinking. -- edward tufte [beautiful evidence]

if a person is poorly, receives treatment to make him better, and then gets better, then no power of reasoning known to medical science can convince him that it may not have been the treatment that restored his health. -- peter medawar


real sysadmins ...

have a way with their passwd files...

# cat >> /etc/passwd

[found it somewhere on softpanaroma. reminiscent of the
way real programmers write C programs...]


one, one two, check, check...

blog check check, one two three... testing, testing...
[sun community blogs not picking up mine...]

[update: it picked up the test. will it pick the next one?]


nonsense, endless, endless...

panda's thumb shreds and discards The Politically Incorrect Guide to Darwinism and Intelligent Design

[political incorrectness is not nearly as big a mistake as deceit and stupidity]


not the right aperture for this image...

new macbook.
new aperture 1.1.
installs and runs just fine.

upgrade 1.1.1 and 1.1.2...
all of a sudden, my macbook at 1280x800 is not good enough for aperture. i am short of about 60 pixels.

reminds me of larry wall's quip:
where is some sand when your head needs it?

[or some concrete, as the case may be.]

installed lightroom. works fast, smooth. no complaints about anything. now i have the new book on aperture, but already greater expertise on lightroom.

thanks apple.
how do you lose dedicated customers?

like this.


ubuntu atheist edition?

i am very amused to see a christian edition of ubuntu. all this special catering makes me wonder when the atheist edition (one that automatically generates intelligent design challenges, and perhaps finds codes in bible that predicts darwin and his masterpiece theory of evolution) is coming out. could a muslim edition with the complete text of kuran and a complete blockade of infidel sites be far behind?

mind boggles and melts into puddles. - anon


recently noted quotes

the best designers in the world all squint when they look at something. they squint to see forest from the trees -- to find the right balance. squint at the world. you will see more by seeing less. -- john maeda [laws of simplicity]

in life, as in breakfast cereal, it is always best to read the instructions on the box -- lu tzu [thief of time]

We have a serious problem. Whenever I try to pitch Linux to anyone under 30, the question I get is: 'Will it work with my iPod?" -- esr

The GNU folks, in general, abhor man pages [strunk and white be damned] and create mostly space-filled and badly typeset "info" documents instead. This is a longstanding bug that can be fixed with some hard showeling and editing. -- anon

I have to admit, I was very skeptical that Apple could whip together professional-quality RAW conversion for numerous camera models in a few months. Their competitors have been honing their technology for years and reverse-engineering your way into the subtle differences in manufacturer's RAW formats is not a matter of ticking the "unsuck" radio button. -- dave girard [aperture 1.1 review]

When I approached the FreeBSD booth, my first question was, "So, what's FreeBSD doing here at LinuxWorld?" Without losing a beat, the FreeBSD guy responded, "Actually, in an alternate universe, I'm attending BSDWorld and there's one Linux booth. However, my transporter malfunctioned 'cause it was running Linux, and so here I am." Best nerd one-liner I've heard at the show. -- scott granneman [linuxworld, virtually speaking]


linux needs dtrace

we used to put nails through our heads, and it hurt, and we liked it!
[dana carvey as the grumpy old man remembering the good old days, saturday night live]

well? now that mac os x has dtrace, do we really have to wait for hpux and aix to adopt it before it is finally good enough for linux too? when does this become really embarrassing?

bryan's blog entry


thump, thump.

sam harris reviews francis collins's the language of god [sorry no links to junk, even if reviewed]


random 10 [meme]

ten random selections from my itunes library...

Something About You
Flash And The Pan [Collection]

Eno - Moebius - Roedelius - Plank [Begegnungen II]

I'm A Fool To Care
Art Neville [Creole Kings Of New Orleans]

Strunz & Farah [Americas]

Eight Ball
Gus Jenkins [Chess Blues 1952-1954]

Cumbia India
Andres Landero [Cumbia Cumbia 2]

Ubiquitous Mr Lovegrove
Dead Can Dance [Into The Labyrinth]

Fela Kuti [The Best of The Black President]

The Natacha Atlas & Marc Eagleton Project [Foretold in the Language of Dreams]

Boom Boom
John Lee Hooker [The Ultimate Collection 1948-1990]


next bit

days of sun passed: brainstorms

received my must have solaris internals second edition by mcdougall and mauro. hah, since i no longer work for sun, i expect i will actually have some use for this great book.