I have updated the code in Deadwood and MaraDNS that determines the version number to be able to use YYYY-MM-DD datestamps in snapshot releases:
Posted Jan 08 2014
BuyVM has $15/year stock again: http://doesbuyvmhavestock.com/
Posted Jan 08 2014
I have updated the changelog for MaraDNS:
Posted Jan 07 2014
Pimsleur’s Spanish lessons will not teach you this: The way to say “pussywhipped” in Spanish is “mandelon”
Posted Jan 05 2014
Since this is getting advertised everywhere on the Internet, here’s my link to the Pimsleur approach:
For people who are serious about learning Spanish, the best way to learn it is to go to a school in a Spanish speaking country. I learned Spanish at the Spanish Institute of Puebla with very good results:
(Full disclosure: The school’s owner was the best man at my wedding)
Posted Jan 04 2014
I have updated both MaraDNS and Deadwood to use YYYY-MM-DD instead of YYYYMMDD timestamps for snapshot tarballs. I have also fixed the compile warning discussed at https://
Adam Cadre, a few years ago, had this to say about people who post comments on articles:
Posted Jan 02 2014
Teenagers don’t like Facebook for no particular reason except that their parents are using it:
http://I do not see this as the death of Facebook; the apps teens are using instead (Twitter, Instagram, etc.) have only a subset of Facebook’s functionality. They’ll probably be happily using Facebook as soon as they get over their “teen rebellion” stage sometime in college. If teens were using Google+, Livejournal, or one of the open source alternatives (Diaspora, etc.), Zuckerberg should start worrying, but not until then.
www. telegraph. co. uk/ technology/ facebook/ 10539274/ Young- users- see- Facebook- as- dead- and- buried. html
Posted Dec 29 2013
Reading Luke chapter 2 -- the Christmas story with Jesus in the manger as well as the shepherds -- I observe one detail missed by those who only know the retail-induced Christmas of buying things is this: the point of the story is that God listens to the poor as much as if not more than those who own too many materialistic things.
Look at what Jesus was in -- a manger. A manger is a place where animal food is stored. By putting Jesus in a manger, Luke is emphasizing the poverty God was born in, and how being poor is, if anything, better in God’s eyes than being rich.
As I am reading CERN’s webpage explaining the Higgs Boson, I realize the reason the entire web was invented (at CERN, to boot) was to share information about theoretical physics.
I have been having a debate about the value of unions in decreasing income inequality. After giving me the classic conservative “the only reason the us did so well in the mid-20-century was because we won the war” chestnut, my debater claimed that Japan beat us in the 1970s and 1980s because we had unions and they did not.
Well, it’s a little more complicated than that. Comparing Japan and US when talking about the importance of unions here is like comparing apples to oranges. Japan doesn’t really have unions, true, but, then again, they come from a culture where workers really don’t need unions either.
In traditional Japanese culture, employees are treated well, expected to work for a single company for their entire lifetime; traditionally companies even hooked workers up with women so they could get married.
Compare that to the US, where, unless the workers and their unions fight tooth and nail for worker’s rights, company owners get richer while workers get poorer.
There are a number of reasons Japan beat the US in the late 20th century, but it was not an issue of whether or not workers were treated well.
Posted Dec 23 2013
You know, I think my favorite Spanish is the order of Holy Mass. It sounds very nice, a lot better than mass in English (since Spanish is a lot closer to Latin). I can see why the Holy Mother Church did mass only in Latin for so many years.
Posted Dec 22 2013
From a comment I made in Facebook:
Technological development is not the sole reason for the increasing inequality. The technology of the late 1800s was a lot more primitive, yet the monopolists and CEOs of that era were able to become obscenely wealthy while the workers who made their products lived in squalor. The inequality is, front and center, a societal and a social problem, and the ways to solve it have been known throughout the 20th century (stronger unions, stronger government).
We know exactly how to solve these problems; it’s just a matter of getting the political will to do so.
Posted Dec 22 2013
Some charts showing America’s increasing inequality:
While it won’t come out in 2013, CentOS 7 should be out by mid-2014:
I didn’t think AWK would be able to support JSON (no non-associative array type, no multidimensional associative arrays) but someone has pulled it off:
Posted Dec 16 2013
CEO vs. worker pay, in one graph:
Posted Dec 12 2013
Firefox and IE users only: 𝑌𝑜𝑢𝑟 𝑏𝑟𝑜𝑤𝑠𝑒𝑟 𝑟𝑜𝑐𝑘𝑠
Posted Dec 11 2013
Supposedly, Microsoft is scared of Google’s Chromebook:
Star Wars vs. Star Trek:
In early 2012, the TV series ¡Rob! ran for only eight weeks as a mid-season replacement. It was the story of a Caucasian man married to a Mexican woman -- and all her family. While the show got good ratings, it was canceled very quickly (CBS felt Rob's ratings were not good enough for something that came immediately after their smash comedy The Big Bang Theory).
The series is available on Netflix and my wife and I finally finished watching the final episode.
It was a very enjoyable comedy with a very enjoyable premise. Then again, I am married to a Mexican, so my opinion is biased.
Here is my favorite episode of this short-lived comedy:
Cariño means "darling"
"How is it possible that Rob doesn't understand any Spanish at all?"
"The problem is that Rob can speak at all" (literally, "in any language")
"The worst thing about Rob is that he buys his clothing at the Baby Gap"
"Well, for me I find that .... " and then the conversation becomes a bunch of quacks, followed by "I want more coffee, please".
I think the actress who plays "Juana" (one Jennifer Delaeo) at 12:56 is very pretty...too bad they didn't do more with her (but, then again, too bad this comedy didn't last more than eight episodes).
Posted Nov 24 2013
The disadvantage of running Linux on the desktop is that I am using an operating system that only 1% of desktop users use. That 1% is fragmented across dozens of different distributions, each of which has its own application binary interface (ABI).
There is no practical way for Google to have their Chrome browser support all of the different flavors of Linux out there. To wit, they no longer support CentOS 6/RHEL 6. Fortunately, for now, there is a workaround to get Chrome to run with all the relevant Fedora system libraries in a separate directory:
had a story on this lack of support and I think Google made the wrong decision cutting off Chrome CentOS/RHEL/Scientific/Oracle 6 support, but it's their browser and their decision .
Google, after all, already did give me a 100% refund. They have paid back all of the money I paid for Chrome ($0.00) as then some (they pay me a modest amount of money every month since I use their network to run ads).
P.S. Another solution is to use the open-source Chromium with Chrome's Flash player:
Posted Nov 23 2013
I just posted how to generate a white noise .wav file in Linux. Here's how to take a file with random bytes and make a interesting ocean-like sound from it:
sox --channels=2 --encoding=ms-adpcm -b 16 -r 44100 -s whitenoise.raw oceannoise.wav gain -12 band -n 1200 200 phaser 0.7 0.7 .1 0.5 0.1 -s reverb
Or for something more windlike:
sox --channels=2 --encoding=ms-adpcm -b 16 -r 44100 -s whitenoise.raw windnoise.wav gain -12 band -n 800 200 phaser 0.5 0.5 .1 0.5 0.1 -s echos 0.3 0.3 187 0.2 83 0.2 131 0.2 1024 0.3 reverb
(My wife says this second incantation sounds like street traffic)
These incantations is based on the command line posted here:
It’s also possible to download white noise files for free here:
Any web site that posts a video without summarizing said video is a waste of time (I never bother watching videos at a site like that). Upworthy is the biggest offender of this. To quote this guy: “Their headlines are the purest, crack-cocaine of clickbait. And when you do click, the content they've dredged up from YouTube never, ever pays off.”
To generate white noise is a two-step process.
The first step is to generate a random file. This can be done, in Linux, with
cat /dev/urandom > whitenoise.raw
Or, using the rg32-bin tool available at http://samiam.org/rg32
rg32-bin '' > whitenoise.raw
In both cases, terminate the process after a few seconds with Ctrl-C (hit the "Ctrl" and the "C" keys at the same time)
Sox, which is included with CentOS 6, can then make this file an audio file:
sox --channels=2 --encoding=ms-adpcm -b 16 -r 44100 -s whitenoise.raw whitenoise.wav gain -6
We add the “gain -6” so that the file does not distort.
Posted Nov 21 2013
I remember wanting to look at and drool over beautiful Stevie Nicks sitting in a luxury chair inexplicably in the middle of a desert and watching MTV nonstop for two or three days until they finally showed this video (Let me tell you, I got really familiar with Duran Duran’s music). And then, since we didn’t have a VCR, I had to content myself with memorizing every curve on her face to play over and over in my mind.
These days, since Stevie has kindly uploaded said video to YouTube, all I have to do is click on this link and pause at 1:51 to marvel at her beauty:
Posted Nov 18 2013
A good article on the destruction of America’s working class:
To help my daughter be fully bilingual, I like to use my Netbook to tune in to this Mexican radio station:
(Sorry about the delay posting a new microblog; the CPU fan in my main computer died and I have been madly setting things up to work on my older computers)
Posted Nov 17 2013
It looks like the previous speed record for a cannonball run has been broken:
http://The current Manhattan - Los Angeles record: 28 hours 50 minutes
jalopnik. com/ meet- the- guy- who- drove- across- the- u- s- in- a- record- 28- h- 1454092837
Posted Oct 31 2013
In support of open source software, I have made an account on a Diaspora node: https://
Posted Oct 28 2013
This place, demolished 20 years ago, was once the world’s most densly populated neighborhood:
http://Posted Oct 28 2013
www. dailymail. co. uk/ news/ article- 2139914/ A- rare- insight- Kowloon- Walled- City. html
Trust me, software developers get the exact same treatment on the Internet:
www. nytimes. com/ 2013/ 10/ 27/ opinion/ sunday/ slaves- of- the- internet- unite. html? pagewanted= all& amp;_ r= 1& amp;
Posted Oct 28 2013
The Psychology of [anonymous] Online Comments
http://There’s a reason I do not allow anonymous entities on my forum at https://forum.samiam.org (self-signed cert)
www. newyorker. com/ online/ blogs/ elements/ 2013/ 10/ the- psychology- of- online- comments. html
Posted Oct 26 2013
A modest proposal to neutralize gerrymandering:
Then again, if everyone with left-of-center tendencies actually bothered to go to the polls and vote every two years, the Republicans would never be able to shut down the government again after the 2014 midterms.
Posted Oct 22 2013
Unfiltered comments on the mostly anonymous Internet just do not work. They killed Usenet and can cause problems when not carefully managed. Spammers, trolls, and sock puppets will infest boards and comment sections like maggots unless carefully monitored.
As just one example:
http://Posted Oct 22 2013
www. slate. com/ blogs/ the_ slatest/ 2013/ 10/ 21/ muroch_ s_ world_ npr_ reporter_ s_ book_ claims_ fox_ news_ waged_ pr_ war_ with_ anonymous. html
Even though this song was called the worst song ever by now-defunct Blender magazine (the male lead singer replied by saying “Blender's folded, and we're still here”) as well as the #1 worst song of the 1980s in a 2011 Rolling Stone poll, I have no shame saying I enjoy this song.
I would rather listen to this song 10 times in a row than anything by The Smiths (then again, “How Soon is Now” is pretty good)
It’s 1980s super-slick electronica from a once-classic rock band. It probably gets a lot more heat than other electronica-pop from that era since it gets more airplay on classic rock stations than, say, The Art of Noise or Stacey Q (who actually likes classic rock more than the 80s electronica that made her famous)
After nearly two decades, this song gave finally gave this classic rock band a #1 hit (after countless changes to their line up and two name changes), but as the Rolling Stone pointed out, “To the Woodstock generation, [this band’s] success in the 1980s just seemed like the final nail in the coffin of their youth”
Without further ado...“We Built This City” by Starship.
My initial impression: I prefer the Pi because the Galileo uses the messy Pentium instruction set instead of the elegant ARM instruction set.
Posted Oct 19 2013
David Brin, on October 5, accurately guessed how the shutdown/debt ceiling crisis would end:
I feel a little hope for the Republican party. 87, count then 87 Republicans stood up to the Tea Party extremists in their party and voted to keep our government running. The debt ceiling has been lifted and the shutdown is no more.
For the Republican party to survive, they must eschew their Tea Party extremists and move closer to the center.
Here’s a map of congressional districts.
Posted Oct 16 2013
Open software is not free:
sometimes are badly out of date.
Posted Oct 16 2013
“There is perhaps no phenomenon which contains so much destructive feeling as ‘moral indignation,’ which permits envy or hate to be acted out under the guise of virtue.” -Erich Fromm, in the book Man for Himself: An Inquiry Into the Psychology of Ethics
Posted Oct 15 2013
That classic trope of 1970s movies — “does anyone on board know how to fly an airplane” — has never happened on a big jumbo jet, but, every now and then, it happens with a small plane. http://
Posted Oct 10 2013
Lots of free 20th century science fiction:
Which missing episodes of Doctor Who may have been recovered for its 50th anniversary? http://
Posted Oct 08 2013
Ever since last year’s presidential election, I have not much posted my political opinion here, but since the political state of affairs has resulted in most of the US Federal Government put to a screeching halt, I am going to make precisely one political comment.
This shutdown is only going to speed up the destruction of the Republican party as it exists today. Here in California, I can already see the future of what the political climate will be like across all of the USA within a couple of decades: The Republican party has no political power to speak of in state-level politics; it may as well be a one-party state here.
There is a lot I don’t agree with Bill Maher on, but his recent comments about California politics are spot-on:
http://There are a lot of disadvantages to having a one-party system of politics. There is a lot I don’t like about conservative politics, but there also is a lot I do not like about liberal politics either. It is unfortunate the Republican party is not updating their message so we have a real choice in elections again.
maddowblog. msnbc. com/_ news/ 2013/ 10/ 01/ 20773488- gop- invites- a- public- backlash? lite
Edit Since is already a meme blaming the Democrats for the shutdown, here’s a counter-meme: http://www.quickmeme.com/p/3vnbq5 Original photo: https://
Posted Oct 01 2013
A story of Apple’s map application directing people to drive on to an airport runway has gone viral:
http://This is a new case of “Death by GPS”, which was covered a few years ago:
www. alaskadispatch. com/ article/ 20130924/ iphone- map- app- directs- fairbanks- drivers- airport- taxiway
Posted Sep 26 2013
The most interesting legacy of the Righthaven lawsuits is probably Righthaven LLC v. Center For Intercultural Organizing, the lawsuit where judge James Mahan stated that it was fair use to copy an entire newspaper article.
Righthaven tried to appeal the case; EFF filed an amicus curiae supporting that this usage was fair use.
The docket ends in January of 2012, right around the time Righthaven was dissolved and its domain name was sold. Since Righthaven no longer existed at that point, the case ended and Mahan’s decision is precedent that can be used in future cases (not binding precedent, since this notion of quoting an entire article being fair use never went before an appellate court)
Edit Some more information about what happened with the fair use decision: http://
Posted Sep 24 2013
The Alexa top four sites (Google, Facebook, YouTube, and Yahoo) all have IPv6 addresses. Number five (Baidu, mainly popular in China) doesn’t (but, then again, large numbers of web surfers still use Internet Explorer 6 there), number six (Wikipedia) does use IPv6. QQ, another popular Chinese site, doesn’t, and LinkedIn has the dubious honor of being the most popular English-language website without IPv6. Microsoft’s live.com website also doesn’t have IPv6, nor does Twitter or Amazon. Blogspot.com, Google’s blogging platform, on the other hand, does have IPv6.
So, seven of the top twelve sites use IPv6. IPv6 is slowly replacing IPv4; it’s like the battle for standard compliant web browsers in the oughts (first 2000s decade); we need to have an IPv6 version of the Acid2 test to get ISPs and major websites off their butt and make IPv6 more universal.
Posted Sep 18 2013
As someone in an interracial marriage, an as someone who was born and has lived in the South, I am both offended and unsurprised by the offensive and possibly racist tweets made in the wake of an Indian-American winning the Miss America pageant.
These tweets are a natural consequence of the fact that everyone has a soapbox on the Internet. What was once merely whispered between two rednecks in a backwater bar in the deep South is now being proclaimed from the rooftops thanks to the miracle of the Internet.
Making a big deal about a handful of otherwise unknown people on Twitter saying inappropriate things because they do not like the race of the Miss America winner seems to be the ultimate tempest in a teapot. It offends me a lot more when someone with real power, such as the congressman Steve King (not to be confused with the author Steven King) says things that appear to be racist.
The important thing is to make sure people with real political power do not pander to racists; recent elections show that is exactly what is happening.
Right now, the Republican party has no power to speak of in California. One of the big reasons for this is because, two decades ago, they made a metaphorical pact with the Devil and got an upswing in popularity pandering to racists (namely, Proposition 187). This was, however, only a brief surge; the damage is long-term and the Republican party is still perceived as the party of bigots by many in the expanding base of Latino and young voters in California.
Posted Sep 17 2013
Why people think Friday the 13th is unlucky
Digital sharecropping indeed:
(Digital sharecropping is when your business model is at the mercy of another company who takes a cut of your profits and can cut you off anytime)
Posted Sep 12 2013
I was in Mexico on this day in 2001: http://
Here is how my web page looked in response the attack: http://
Posted Sep 11 2013
It’s brilliant marketing on the part of Apple and the cell phone carriers that the cheapest iPhone 5c is a $550 phone masquerading as a $100 phone.
I’ll stick to my Nokia X2-00 phone. Mobile web sucks (especially for posting), the old-school Nokias can survive more drops than any smartphone, and it’s only a $100 replacement (unlocked) if anything happens to the phone.
Posted Sep 10 2013
One of the nice things about the back-end forum software I am using is that it is possible to post here using Dillo. Indeed, I have decided to turn off reCAPTCHA because:
If I start seeing a lot more successful spam registrations, I will turn it on again, but, until then, I think the common sense questions are just as effective at slowing down dumb robots.
Posted Sep 08 2013
I think there is something really cool about a classically really “liberal” group, ACLU, joining forces with a classically really “conservative” group, the NRA:
Miley Cyrus twerking? Meh. Now, what would be epic is Miley Cyrus singing “Closer” by Nine Inch Nails.
Posted Aug 29 2013
Here’s one way to stop telemarketers: Charge them by the minute to call me.
The reason I like to post here on my microblog instead of some big corporate website (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) or online community is became I’m the one who gets the ad revenue should something here go viral:
I also don’t mind using Facebook to share a photo with old acquaintances or using Twitter to have some level of contact with actors in the Mexican telenovelas that I watch. But anything substantial is here on my own webpage.
The reason I no longer get too involved with online communities is because it’s just too much work for what amounts to nothing more than a virtual pat on the back, and because web-1.0 style online communities get really angry really quickly at any attempt to make money from one’s hard work.
“Digital sharecropping” can also refer to programmers whose revenue stream is tightly controlled by another company, such as the companies making games for Facebook or people whose income comes from selling iPhone apps.
Posted Aug 29 2013
11 words without English equivalents:
http://I can think of a couple more in Spanish: Tocayo, someone you share a name with, and paquetería, where you store your bags when entering a store.
www. huffingtonpost. com/ ella- frances- sanders/ 11- untranslatable- words- f_ b_ 3817711. html
Posted Aug 29 2013
To quote this article, “Craigslist is a Web 1.0 dinosaur that has stubbornly resisted the shift to a less anonymous, more social web”.
People are more respectful and flame less when their name is on it. I’m glad to see the troll-filled anonymous web going away.
Posted Aug 29 2013
Back in 2005, Melbourne IT allowed one of its clients to hijack the panix.com domain, and did nothing all weekend to restore the domain before finally restoring it on Monday morning. Now I am hearing that Melbourne IT allowed nytimes.com and some of Twitter’s domains to be hijacked.
Here, at least, unlike the Panix attack, nytimes.com and the relevant Twitter domains appear to have already been using Melbourne IT as their upstream registrar, and unlike last time, Melbourne IT immediately fixed the hijack.
Posted Aug 28 2013
Thousands upon thousands of Chess variants have been proposed. Most have never been played. Of the relatively few played, only a small handful have had real-world face-to-face tournaments. Namely:
The national variants almost certainly have had tournaments:
So, of all of the possible Chess variants out there, only 16 have been notable enough to have a real tournament, or be an integral part of a culture.
This is what usually happens with a Chess variant: Someone comes up with some interesting rule changes to Chess. The game is usually not playable (greatly favors White, drawish, etc.) Even if the game is playable, it’s nay to impossible to drum up interest in the variant. It only takes a minute to come up with new rules for Chess, but it takes months, if not years to get familiar with the new rules to see if the game is balanced and not drawish.
For example, I once had a Chess variant invention called Schoolbook Chess. It looked pretty good (I did some computer testing with it and what not before making it public in 2006), and it took three years and extensive computer testing to show that White has a very strong, possibly winning game by playing 1. c4.
Drumming up support to get a face-to-face tournament going? Good luck! There are thousands of proposed Chess Variants over at my Zillions Museum. There have only been, at most, a couple of dozen Chess Variants with real face-to-face tournament play, even counting things like Tori Shogi, which was a sideshow with only four participants at an already small Shogi tournament in England. (To be fair, there probably have been Tori Shogi tournaments in Japan, but my Japanese is not strong enough to look them up online).
Posted Aug 27 2013
Some beautiful optical illusions:
http://Posted Aug 23 2013
blogs. smithsonianmag. com/ artscience/ 2013/ 08/ each- of- these- patterns- move- but- its- all- an- illusion/
Now that social media sites encourage people to use their real names, people are becoming more nice and positive:
Posted Aug 22 2013
Arianna Huffington concedes that anonymous comments bring out the ugliest in people. I have known this for a while:
I have archived the microblogs posted between July 30 and August 18, 2013: