Canada's CSEC tracked travellers at Canadian airports who used the free WiFi. Not only that, tracked 'em afterward and backward as they showed up at other public hotspots across Canada. Oh, lovely.
ESR writes about dragging Emacs forward -- switching to git, and away from Texinfo, all to keep Emacs relevant. There are about eleven thousand comments. Quote:
And if the idea of RMS and ESR cooperating to subvert Emacs's decades-old culture from within strikes you as both entertaining and bizarrely funny...yeah, it is. Ours has always been a more complex relationship than most people understand.
My wife takes out our younger son's stuffed dogs for the day, and gets all the space she needs at Costco. WIN.
Have I mentioned Adlibre backup before? 'Cos it's really quite awesome. Written in shell, uses rsync and ZFS to back up hosts. Simple and good.
Maclean's sent a sketch artist to cover Justin Bieber getting booked. I'd like to sketch that well.
"The Mirage" by Matt Ruff. WOW. An excellent, gripping backwords-world novel with the premise that, in November 2001, Christian fundamentalist terrorists crashed hijacked planes into twin towers in Baghdad. I need to track down "Fatherland" by Robert Harris now.
"Bad Monkeys" by Matt Ruff. Meh. I finished it, but more out of determined curiosity than anything else. It twisted, it turned, but I just couldn't get into it.
"Planetary Astronomy: From Ancient Times to the Third Millenium", by Ronald A. Schorn. Absolutely fascinating overview of the growth of our knowledge of planets, from someone who was involved in planetary astronomy's rebirth in the 60s. Published in 1998; I'd pay good money to see an update that would go over the Mars rovers, Cassini, and the explosion of exoplanet research.
Taxonomy of Data Science. "Pointing and clicking does not scale."
A case study in the need for open data and code: Forensic bioinformatics (audio and slides for the talk here). Here's the abstract:
High-throughput biological assays let us ask very detailed questions about how diseases operate, and promise to let us personalize therapy. Data processing, however, is often not described well enough to allow for reproduction, leading to exercises forensic where raw data and reported results are used to infer what the methods must have been. Unfortunately, poor documentation can shift from an inconvenience to an active danger when it obscures not just methods but errors.
In this talk, we examine several related papers using array-based signatures of drug sensitivity derived from cell lines to predict patient response. Patients in clinical trials were allocated to treatment arms based on these results. However, we show in several case studies that the reported results incorporate several simple errors that could put patients at risk. One theme that emerges is that the most common errors are simple (e.g., row or column offsets); conversely, it is our experience that the most simple errors are common. We briefly discuss steps we are taking to avoid such errors in our own investigations.
How to publish a scientific comment in 1 2 3 easy steps. Comment: "It describes deep problems in our scientific discourse today."
Science and Video: A roadmap. Quote:
So, I make an open call for these two tasks: a simple tool to pin together slides and audio (and sides and video), and an effort to collate video from scientific conference talks and film them if it t exist, all onto a common distribution platform. S-SPAN could start as raw and underproduced as C-SPAN, but I am sure it would develop from there.
I'm looking at you, YouTube.
DTrace book website, though not as much as I should and I should just buy the damn book and run an OS that includes DTrace. Every time I think of the possibility of meeting Bryan Cantrill and explaining that I don't do any of that, I cringe in shame.
Woohoo! My first entry for the Sysadvent Calendar, on Development for Sysadmins, has been posted! Thanks to Jordan for tidying it up and adding integration testing, which I'd missed when writing the article. There will be another article from me coming up soon-ish on OCSNG and GLPI.
label barcodejust failed miserably. (Neat command that.) And I had thought that DTE meant the arm, but no: upon reflection, it's a subtle/obtuse (not the right word, but oh well) way of referring to the tape drive itself.
This sounds like when I was at my previous employer and they asked if I could develop a web-based system to take surveys. I nearly said, "yes" because, well, I know perl, I know CGI, and I could do it. However, I was smart enough to say "no, but surveymonkey.com will do it for cheap." Best of all it was self-service and the HR person was able to do it entirely without me. If I had said I could write such a program, it would have been days of back-and-forth changes which would have driven me crazy. Instead, she was happy to be empowered to do it herself. In fact, doing it herself without any help became a feather in her cap.
The lesson I learned is that "can I do it?" includes "do I want to do it?". If I can do something but don't want to, the answer is, "No, I don't know how" not "I know how but don't want to". The first makes you look like you know your limits. The latter sounds like you are just being difficult.
...that TCP Offload Engines (TOE) were so detested by Linux kernel folks. The arguments here make interesting reading and seem convincing to me.
(From Andy Grover's blog.)
I just noticed that the Free Software Foundation is putting together what they call a "book sprint" — kind of like the 3-day novel writing contest — to write an intro to the command line for newbies. They're hoping to get it done by next Monday (!).
I like the idea of this project a lot; if I can get some spare time this weekend, I'll definitely be dropping by.
Attended a talk today about the upgrade of UBC's network from supporting VLANs to supporting VRFs. Complicated but neat. I'm hoping that the presentation slides and video will make it to the IT Services website; I'll post a link if it does.
Also interesting is this external review of the IT department at UBC. It touches on some things I've been peripherally involved or interested in (funding models, culture and management); I've only skimmed it so far, but it's fascinating to read something so straightforward.
Now that I've officially started my new job, I"m trying to develop/reinforce a couple of good habits.
One of them is sitting down and planning out my day. I started doing this after I got a copy of Time Management for System Administrators (the link throws Tom a few shekels), which saved my sanity. (If you haven't bought that book yet, do it now. It's that good.) However, I haven't been as diligent in going through the motions every day like I should. Today was a good chance to get back into the swing of things…especially since there were about 50 emails waiting for me when I got here! It was reassuring to see the list of completed tasks grow; it's very satisfying to cross something out in my planner.
The second is Daily Doc ("Cute names a specialty" — Aardvark Consultants). There has been a ton of stuff in the last little while that I've been wanting to document, but The One True Source (a wiki) has been in a state of flux until, well, today. I'm going to try my best to take 15 minutes at the end of every day and just write something down, or improve something that's already there.
There are other things I want to accomplish to, but that'll do for today. Gotta give you some reason to come back tomorrow…
I've been hlding off mentioning this 'til all my ducks were in a row, but at last it's settled. The job I've been working at part-time for the last six months will be my full-time job starting next Wednesday. w00t!
I've been spending my time at $job_1 making sure the documentation is complete, getting a spare workstation set up and ready to go, and dumping my brain into the sysadmin who will be helping fill in 'til a new person is hired (which might take a while).
I'm really excited about this. First off, I'll get my lunch hours back; I've been walking between the two offices (mornings at one, afternoons at the other, back to the first for the last half hour), and it'll be nice to have an hour to myself again. But the new job is exciting for me: nice big servers used for scientific computation, the chance to build an infrastructure from scratch, and some big projects. The people are friendly. The boss is nice. The place has funding for the next five years or so. It's all good. About the only thing missing is a rocket pack so I can cut down on this 90-minute commute.
And on top of all that, they're open to the idea of sending me to LISA this year. Now that would be nice…have to see if it works with the family, but I'm keeping my fingers crossed.
In other news:
Come to that, if you haven't picked up a membership yet to USENIX and SAGE, you really need to. A dead-tree copy of ;login: magazine is the most interesting single publication I've found about computing in general, and system administration in particular. You owe it to yourself.
Someone builds a Perl shell using Moose which led to a response to this article which cited this article and this response, which just made me laugh ("Mental Disorders (Can you say @_ = shift $1->Whuahahahahaha();)"), but not as much as the concept of yak shaving, which just made me laugh and cringe in recognition.
No, I don't usually just list what I've been reading lately…it's a quarterly thing.
cat /dev/input/mouse1. Don't know why (yet!) but that seemed to reset everything.
Still to come: Why upgrading is the most important thing EVAR.