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Microblogs April 2013 week 1


April 7 2013

This is an archive of my microblog postings for the first week of April, 2013.

See also: March Microblogs

==DNS security comparison update==

I have updated the DNS security comparison document in light of the patch finally made for PowerDNS’ CVE-2012-1193 security report, as well as clarifying in two parts of the document that only DJB’s recursive component has CVE security vulnerability issues:
Posted Apr 07 2013

==Another reason why I really like Source Sans Pro==

Another reason I really like Source Sans Pro is that it comes in six different weights. Instead of being just “regular” and “bold” like most conventional fonts, Source Sans Pro comes in “extra-light”, “light”, “normal”, “semi-bold”, “bold”, and “black”.

With my inexpensive HP Desktop 1000 J110, fonts tend to be printed a little darker than they really are. By using one level lighter in Source Sans (“light” instead of “normal”), the fonts, when printed, look somewhat normal again.

It’s a free (OFL) download:
Source Sans has a monospaced sister, Source Code Pro:
Posted Apr 05 2013

==Now I can auto-update when I last edited the wiki==

This link purges the cache for my user page and allows it to have an updated “time since my last Wiki edit” value:
Posted Apr 05 2013

==“Alternate DNS Servers” is now a free PDF==

A book which devotes an entire chapter to MaraDNS, “Alternative DNS Servers”, is available as a free PDF:
I would like to thank Jan-Piet Mens for this book and making it free (and mentioning my big open-source project I did in the first 2000s decade in it), and thank Mark Viking for the link (and for the keep vote for MaraDNS)

Posted Apr 05 2013

==Are Xbox players really better in bed?==

This article says Xbox players are better in bed than other console gamers, as well as PC gamers:
The article does not link to the original survey, so it’s hard to determine what level of statistical confidence these results really have. But, then again, I’m a PC gamer, who are considered the worst in bed according to the article.

Posted Apr 05 2013

==The “Linux” name is toxic to end-users==

You know, with the kind of hostility Linux advocates can have, it’s no surprise the “Linux” name is toxic to end-users:
Of course, Linux can be a friendly end-user environment: Observe Android and the Chromebooks, as well as countless consumer gateway routers which use a Linux kernel.

Posted Apr 05 2013

==Smaller Paddles==

There is an episode of That 70’s show where Michael Kelso (Ashton Kutcher) and Red Forman (Kurtwood Smith) attempt to modify a pong machine so it has smaller on-screen paddles. Somebody recently modified a recreation of the original arcade version (which uses discrete digital logic) of Pong thusly:
Yes, Red and Kelso could have made this modification to even a chip-based pong machine; with home pong consoles using the GI AY-3-8500 chip, it was possible to specify the size of the paddles (“bat”s in the documentation) by sending a signal to pin 13 of the original AY-3-8500. They would have needed the documentation for the AY-3-3500 to pull it off, so maybe the episode omitted the scene where Red called up General Instrument to figure out how the chip worked...or maybe their neighbor Bob Pinciotti (Donna’s father) had a copy of the relevant schematics at his appliance store (not entirely implausible, since they may have sold pong machines)

Another possibility is that Red soldiered his own pong game:

Posted Apr 05 2013

==Markdown text==

After inventing my own form of “it looks like an old-school Usenet posting but becomes HTML”, I discover it has already been done with a language called Markdown:
Of course, I prefer my own take on “let’s make plain text HTML”, and it only took me a couple of days to implement.

Posted Apr 05 2013

==PR companies influencing Wikipedia articles==

This article about using PR to influence Wikipedia articles talks about the correct ethical way involved parties are supposed to influence articles:

I’m very mixed about this. The reason for WP:COI is to keep articles more neutral, but, then again, it’s very frustrating for me to be unable to edit the Wiki article about my main free software contribution to the world: (The article is pretty badly outdated right now; editors have ignored my plea on the talk page to update the article).

As it turns out, I did update the MaraDNS Wikipedia article this year to fix an objective factual error in the infobox (after being out of date for over a year, I finally updated MaraDNS’ version number); no editors have contested the edit.

I think there are PR firms out there who hide their affiliations. The fact that Mitt Romney’s incident bullying a kid and cutting his hair never made the Wikipedia article except as a footnote at to me stinks of a very biased paid hack job.

As a final note, Wikipedia’s strict policies on conflict of interest editing are fairly recent; as recently as six or seven years ago, people were allowed to edit about themselves or their own projects as long as their edits were objective and neutral.

Posted Apr 04 2013

==I found an IE6 workaround for the word-break problem==

I found a way to put zero-length word breaks in the middle of long links and retain full cross-browser compatibility, including Internet Explorer 6 (IE6):

<![if gt IE 6]>&#8203;<![endif]><wbr>

In more detail: Newer versions of Internet Explorer do not honor the <wbr> tag—but they, post-IE6, do honor &#8203;. Chrome doesn’t honor &#8203; in the middle of a conditional statement like this, but it does honor the invisible-to-IE <wbr> tag. Even IE6 sees the above code as an invisible line-break, probably because it treats unknown HTML tags that way.

It’s ugly but works. Also: It looks like about 3% of my visitors still are using IE6 (then again, a lot of those may be bots and what not; one visitor with IE6 in their user-agent string was obviously a bot probing for security holes in the website to exploit).

Posted Apr 04 2013

==Mark Zuckerberg’s first webpage==

As confirmed by the web archive, this is Mark Zuckerberg’s first web page: (Observe “Mark Zuckerberg” in the headers [after the Web Archive prologue] when viewing the source code for this page)

Posted Apr 03 2013

==TinyVZ update==

I have updated the TinyVZ template for OpenVZ to act as a DNS toaster, as well as fixing a couple of long standing bugs in TinyVZ:

Posted Apr 03 2013

==I should not be so cynical==

Two years ago, I posted a blog criticizing Bitcoin: If I had, instead of being so cynical, spent $1,000 on bitcoins instead, I would be $140,000 richer today.

Note to self: Don’t be so cynical in life.

Posted Apr 03 2013

==Humanity is sinful==

When I look at how selfish and dishonest people can be, it can make me upset. Christianity teaches me that our inherit nature is sinful: Selfish, dishonest, resentful, fearful, self-pitying.

It is only through God that I can move beyond these selfish instincts and be a whole person.

Posted Apr 03 2013

==Wikispaces is ending IE7 support==

Wikispace is ending Internet Explorer 7 (IE7) support: As that article points out, Google and Facebook have already ended IE7 support two years ago.

My rule of thumb is “ten years after a given browser is released”; I plan on supporting IE7 until at least October 18, 2016. But, then again, I only have to worry about HTML and CSS; this site is Javascript-free.

Posted Apr 03 2013

==Fontsquirrel now restricts conversion of Adobe’s fonts==

For legal and ethical reasons, Fontsquirrel’s webfont generator no longer allows Adobe webfonts to be uploaded unless they happen to be called “Source Sans Pro” or “Source Code Pro”.

Because of the OFL license “Source Sans/Code” is under, and because I have modified the fonts, I can not call these fonts “Source Sans Pro” any more. Because of this, and because I can not legally or ethically remove the “Adobe” name from the fonts, I used the tools at and to convert the fonts.

Unfortunately, the tool screws up the kerning in the web font in Firefox, which means I will be unable to update the fonts here unless I were to remove Adobe’s name from the font.

I think it’s best to keep the web fonts here as-is. I have already made a version of the fonts without pre-ClearType hinting that looks better in modern systems which I may upgrade to once XP passes its end-of-life next year.

Posted Apr 02 2013

==The college hookup culture redux==

A number of points of views about this “hook-up” culture that is supposedly happening at college:

Posted Apr 02 2013

==End-of-2013 MaraDNS goal==

My goal is to, by the end of 2013, only update MaraDNS once every two months instead of once a month.

Posted Apr 02 2013

==Web browser compatibility chart==

In light of the lastest development (slightly) breaking things in Internet Explorer 6 (IE6), here is my updated web browser compatibility chart.

Fully supported:

  • Firefox 17
  • Opera 12
  • Safari 5
  • Internet Explorer 10 (IE9 also supported using IE10’s “IE9” render mode)
  • The current Chrome release (Right now Chrome 26)

Partially supported. With these browsers, while the look of the web page may be different, the web page will still render and be perfectly readable:

  • Internet Explorer 7 and 8 (Again, tested using IE10 and its “IE7” and “IE8” render modes)
  • Dillo Win32 3.0p9 (available at I support this because it is the best browser for pre-XP versions of Windows.
  • Whatever version of Lynx comes with RHEL/CentOS 6 (right now 2.8.6rel.5, from 2007) I support this because it works well with screen readers for visually disabled people.

Obsolete. While the web site has workarounds for these browsers, I will not update the web page design to work around bugs these browsers have unless the workaround is trivial to implement:

  • Internet Explorer 6
  • Netscape Navigator 4 (Yes, I still occassionally test my page on this antique, even though the modern web is not at all usable with it; it has an issue with Unicode zero-width spaces)

(Right now, the web design works in IE6 but has ugly squares in the links in Netscape 4)

Posted Apr 02 2013


I have created a mirror of the final Dillo-win32 release which is available here: For any version of Windows earlier than XP, this is actually the best browser out there.

Web sites no longer cater to IE6 (Internet Explorer 6); Dillo renders non-IE6-compatible websites better. The only reason why the web looked good in IE6 for so long is because web designers spent millions of man-hours adding IE6 workarounds to their sites throughout the first 2000s decade.

Intalling newer browsers is a hit-and-miss affair in pre-XP Windows. Even if the browsers install, the underlying OS can have issues which cause instability and security problems.

For example, there is a bug in Firefox 10.0.12 where, in Windows 2000, it will crash and reboot Windows when loading some webfonts. A bug like this can undoubtedly be exploited to install “hit and run” malware; with the underlying OS so outdated, the only safe browser is a really simple one.

Posted Apr 02 2013

==Love means never having to say you’re sorry==

People Who Never Apologize Are Probably Happier Than You

“When you refuse to apologize, it actually makes you feel more empowered,” he said. “That power and control seems to translate into greater feelings of self-worth.”
Posted Apr 02 2013

==Moving away from IE6==

With worldwide Internet Explorer 6 (IE6) usage under 10%, and with usage at a fraction of a percent in the US, Mexico, and a lot of other western countries, I am finally phasing out IE6 compatibility.

I’m not going out of my way to break things in IE6, but I am not going to spend hours coming up with IE6 workarounds either.

To wit, I just discovered an issue with long URLs in microblog entries screwing up the layout in Chrome and all recent Internet Explorer releases. The only way to fix this is to add the & #8203;​ (zero-width space) character to long URLs, which will cause them to optionally break at that point. While this works with IE7 and above, and doesn’t cause any issues in Lynx, Opera, or Dillo, it does cause long URLs to have ugly squares in them in IE6.

I couldn’t find a simple workaround (putting the & #8203;​ thingys in <span> causes them to not break lines in Chrome), so, guess what: Welcome to 2013, IE6 users. I have made the layout of my site gracefully degenerate for IE6 users, but, unfortunately, I have two choices: Have the site look weird in IE6 or look weird in modern browsers. IE6 support is going away; if you have an old computer that can’t run IE7 or other modern browsers, the site is perfectly readable in Dillo and Lynx. It’s also still perfectly readable in IE6, except for those squares.

Posted Apr 02 2013

==Conspiracy theories==

In America, who believes in what conspiracy theory:

In my experience the “9/11 was faked” conspiracy theory is more popular in Latin America than stateside, and the “USA faked the moon landing” conspiracy theory is more popular in Russia than here.

People will believe what fits their worldview.

Posted Apr 02 2013

==Life without Google==

Tips on how to use the Internet without Google: (Because of Adsense, people who want to completely avoid Google will need to block their adsense servers)

Posted Apr 02 2013

==Announcing a MaraDNS discussion board==

Hello, everyone,

I am in the process of shutting down the mailing list and replacing it with a PhpBB discussion board. This new discussion board will have three sub-forums:

1) The contributer's forum

The only members of the mailing list will be members who have made financial contributions to MaraDNS or who have done other work such as reporting security bugs (which get assigned CVE numbers), making patches for MaraDNS available, or contributing to the MaraDNS-ng project (which will soon have a Git tree). Indeed, this forum will have a sub-forum which will only contain MaraDNS patches.

2) The guest's forum

This forum will be open to anyone and everyone. Clueful posts in this forum (read: Patches, useful "this host does not resolve" bug reports, etc.) will be moved to the contributer's forum, with the clueful poster marked as a "clueful poster".

Other posts, such as requests for MaraDNS 0.5 support, will remain on this forum.

3) The leecher's forum

This forum will be for the kinds of wannabe leachers posts which pass off as "hacking" these days. Postings talking about how piracy should be legal, conspiracy theories about some shadowy "copyright cartel", postings bragging about using adblock, even postings discussing using MaraDNS to block ads will be placed here.

For example, this MaraDNS 2.0 recursive configuration snippet would be placed in the leecher's forum:

The reason being because it has the following lines in it:

# Those "mouse over text" ads (the ones where keywords are double-
# underlined) are really annoying, since I like to move the mouse cursor
# around while reading something; having part of what I read replaced by an
# annoying mouseover ad annoys me to the point I don't want to read the
# article any more.
# (I also use a combination of click-to-flash and disabled animated GIFs
# to block annoying animated ads. I don't block and sometimes even click
# static ads; I understand that web sites need money to stay online.)
root_servers[""]="" # Annoying mouseover ads
root_servers[""]="" # Annoying mouseover ads
root_servers[""]="" # Annoying mouseover ads

Since I only work on MaraDNS once a month, it will take me a while to implement this. Hopefully, this will be ready by next year this time, on April 1, 2014.

- Sam

Posted Apr 01 2013

==Current MaraDNS plans==

I’m going to still fix bugs and update MaraDNS so she will continue to work on the internet. I will also continue to update her to work with newer versions of CentOS/RHEL Linux. For example, I will probably eventually finish up MaraDNS' IPv6 support and will update her for systemd.

What is changing is that I am no longer going to discuss MaraDNS anywhere except on my personal blog and the mailing list.

People who whine about MaraDNS not having DNSSEC are the same people who whined (and probably still whine) about djbdns not having Notify/AXFR a decade ago. Again, TANSTAAFL: I can make, in my spare time, a basic DNS server, but complicated features like DNSSEC require financial backing to become real.

For the people whining that MaraDNS should not get financial support until she has features like DNSSEC:

  • DNS monoculture—remember, when I started MaraDNS, there was only one open-source DNS server—is a bad thing
  • No, I’m still not developing DNSSEC for free. Nice try.

Posted Apr 01 2013

==Should we have more state-owned banks?==

An article about North Dakota’s state owned bank: http://truth- dakota Should we have more state owned banks?

Posted Mar 31 2013

==Happy Easter everyone!==

Have a good Easter everyone!

Posted Mar 31 2013

==The ultimate problem with Internet communities==

The ultimate problem with the Internet is that it is much easier to express and incite negative feelings (in particular, fear and anger) on the Internet than it is to create and share positive feelings and experiences.

Posted Mar 31 2013

==The Bible==

I am enjoying “The Bible” miniseries that the History channel is showing right now. One thing that our society is losing is the basis of The Bible as a common story that everyone in our society knows, a story that, whether Christian, of another faith, or atheist, everyone knows and can share.

I hope this miniseries helps reduce the amount of Biblical illiteracy today’s society has.

Posted Mar 30 2013

==March microblogs archived==

I have archived all of the microblogs for March 2013

To post a comment about an entry, send me an email and I may or may not post your comment (with or without editing)

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