maybe it's the Mother Of All Rants? Well, maybe not - but he's got a very good point there (one that i totally share, not that anybody'd care about me): that unnecessary obscurity is a lousy design choice.

very much related: ESR's The Art of Unix Programming, which I used quite a lot when I was teaching - some of my students may even have gotten the point...

(I also like the nicely captured photo on this report...)

[ published on Sat 28.11.2015 09:32 | filed in interests/comp | ]

it'll complement my nirvana shirt - multi-cultural life and all that :-)

[ published on Sat 14.11.2015 12:50 | filed in interests/humour | ]

When my boss' father, john sinclair, mentioned that he could use some help with building and installing a rain gauge with online data collection on Fraser Island (for I naturally said 'sure'; my experiences with designing and building two remote wind stations for the CHGC were good, and I find things like that interesting projects to tackle. The rest of this article documents the good, the bad and the ugly sides of the exercise - if you want just the goodies skip to the page bottom :-)
click here for the rest of the story...

[ published on Wed 04.11.2015 23:00 | filed in mystuff | ]

(source: somewhere in milano)

every time one of the local(ish) Big Bastards trumpets their advertising slogan 'we live in your world' my immediate response is "i wish you damn parasites STAYED OUT OF MY WORLD!".


[ published on Sat 19.09.2015 11:55 | filed in interests/anti | ]

at work i have to use an outbound mail server that requires smtp auth. that's fine, except postfix expects that you save the password in a file for sasl. my paranoia level disagrees with passwords ending up on disk unencrypted, so i decided to improve matters by convincing postfix to use the kernel keystore for accessing passwords.
click here for the rest of the story...

[ published on Sat 12.09.2015 16:31 | filed in interests/crypto | ]
 conny, hunter valley

today my daughter cornelia turns 20. congrats and well done!

it's been quite a journey and i'm happy conny has grown up to be a pretty good person.

 conny frisch geschluepft
[ published on Sun 23.08.2015 13:51 | filed in still-not-king | ]

I don't know why I'm so reluctant to document or write about trips; do and see and sponge up experiences and enjoy: yes, absolutely. photograph stuff and write up: not really. So it's no surprise that I've been back a full week already before writing this, and haven't got too many photos to show.

Anyway, to the story: this year I booked three weeks of vacation in one go, with the aim to hit the roads and dirt tracks westwards and see what I can see and wander around until I run out of time or energy. One tentative aim or pivot point, so to speak was to be Cameron Corner, where the borders of Queensland, NSW and South Australia meet in one spot.
click here for the rest of the story...

[ published on Fri 07.08.2015 21:57 | filed in interests/au | ]

i'm still here. nothing especially newsworthy to report, except that i'm getting better at making my own bread - now without any machine help (well, except the oven).

 handgemachtes brot handgemachtes brot

oh, and the sunsets around here are pretty nice. pity that i get to see them mostly when i leave the office - i "work to live but live to work" and not much else.

 sunset at work sunset at work sunset at work
[ published on Sun 21.06.2015 14:50 | filed in still-not-king | ] pure hardship, just plain horrible.

 gold coast beach
[ published on Mon 08.06.2015 18:27 | filed in interests/au | ]

...eingekastelter! lt. dem standard ist österreich "führend" beim haftstrafen-verhängen - leider negativ-führend.

"ob gross, ob klein, mir kastln alle ein!"

(klaro, das passiert natürlich nur denen die keinen Politischen Papa haben der's einem richtet. warum die bladen weniger wegen brutalität eingekastelt werden ist nicht ganz so klar.)

[ published on Tue 19.05.2015 22:31 | filed in interests/anti | ]

i've given up paragliding. sold 2/3 of my kit already (my somewhat-but-not-totally old and very little used glider is still for sale - my older-than-remembered but totally unused reserve is not for sale, as i don't know what to do with it).

i miss being in the air. a lot. i don't miss the perpetual worries and the feeling of utter helplessness - not if, but when - the moving masses of air take control out of your hands. i also don't miss not having become yet another data point in the PG accident statistics.

so, for now, that's it. flat earth. blue sky. me dreaming.

i hope to return, but if it happens it'll likely be in something more rigid than a paraglider.

[ published on Wed 13.05.2015 20:14 | filed in interests/flying | ]

hello, i'm az and i'm an old fart: i really like graffiti - i always have, since 1998 when i bought my first palm iii.
click here for the rest of the story...

[ published on Sat 25.04.2015 20:21 | filed in interests/comp | ]

The wind station has gone through its third and hopefully final R&D iteration, and I think now it's alright - but it was a bit of an odyssey to get to this point.
click here for the rest of the story...

[ published on Fri 26.04.2013 16:07 | filed in interests/tinkering | ]

fail2ban is meant as a comprehensive tool for reacting to bad stuff showing up in various logs. things like 'if more than 3 bad passwords in the last 10 minutes, block the user/ip for a while'.

but somehow i don't like it. at all. i think it's an obese beast, with overcomplicated rules and not a lot of flexibility.

but the basic idea is quite sensible. so i wrote a variation of fail2ban for my own purposes: banban. it's tiny, it reacts fast and it does just enough to make it worthwhile.

banban has just hit github, and the single-page documentation is there too.

[ published on Wed 25.03.2015 23:03 | filed in mystuff | ]

Even its original perpetrator agrees.

I don't like my browser running code provided by strangers (who are very unlikely to have my best interests at heart).

On the other hand, having a site that works reasonably well with dinky screens is nice.

Combine those two sentiments with my love of tinkering, and it won't come as a big surprise that I eventually did find a way to have both responsive layout with a popup navigation menu, but without any JS (or server-side magic).
click here for the rest of the story...

[ published on Sun 22.03.2015 12:13 | filed in interests/comp | ]

The Windows 10 announcement: certified hardware can lock out competing OSes means that it would become much easier and more common that the computer you've just bought does not boot anything but MS shiteware.

[ published on Sun 22.03.2015 11:03 | filed in interests/anti | ]

i find it hilarious that Linus named git (version control system) after git (british term of endearment).

being an argumentative bastard myself, i do like git.

being an argumentative bastard who believes in sharing, i've started putting up some of my shareables on github:

[ published on Sat 21.03.2015 19:03 | filed in mystuff | ]

many ages ago i was using mrtg (more or less happily) to collect service and performance data for my personal infrastructure, and created a collector script then called bigstat which worked both locally on the box with mrtg and remotely on clients. naturally that's all ancient non-news: mrtg is dead, all hail rrdtool.
click here for the rest of the story...

[ published on Sat 21.03.2015 18:17 | filed in mystuff | ]

This site was changed over to markdown-based authoring almost two years ago, but the back end always was a bit sluggish. Naturally I cache the converted data, so this wasn't a big issue until now.

Yesterday I reworked everything with a new css base (, quite nice, and a few silly glyphicons from, just because I can). Now the site should almost work properly for mobile kit, and it's still all pure CSS and no Eczemascript whatsoever.

While experimenting and hacking that stuff up I saw that some pages really really took time to prime. As it turns out, good old standard Text::Markdown is horribly slow. A number of my source articles took 5+ seconds to convert, each, and these are mostly very simple files. Can't have that.

So, today I completely reworked the back end with redis as an optional cache across processes /and/ a better markdown renderer.

markdown is not exactly strictly "standardized", and there's only discount as a practical alternative (for me), but that's primarily a C library and a command line tool. There's a perl wrapper for the library, Text::Markdown::Discount, but that thing is utter garbage (no access to the options, internal gotchas in the code etc.).

And discount is weird; it's got all those 'useful extensions' snort to the markdown syntax, most of which suck and many of which are on by default. yay!

So, in the end I resorted to fork+execing a discount process for every conversion, but that still takes only 4 milliseconds on average...not 5+ seconds as before.

Anyway, long story short, now it works properly. Still, I have to say it: ASS. A_NonStandardStandards_S, too - but then most of the Standard Standards are no much better.

(And should you be unfamiliar with the phrase "down, not across" - that's the ASR motto, being the effective way to slit your wrists.)

[ published on Sun 15.03.2015 22:03 | filed in about/site | ]

Beim Herumstöbern bin ich über diesen ÖBB-Unfallbericht gestolpert, und hab den sehr lustig gefunden.

(Den Italienern ist eine unbemannte ÖBB-Lok Richtung Villach "ausgekommen" und dem Bericht nach sind daraufhin alle kurz wie die kopflosen Hendln herumgelaufen.)

Der Bericht selbst ist wunderbar. Die Formulierungen sind eine wilde Mischung aus Altösterreichischem Amtsdeutsch, elendigen Abkz. u.dgl. - und sehr witzigen Nacherzählungen bzw. Übersetzungen der Zeugenaussagen.

Auf Seite 13 lässt sich da der Italienische Chef gscheit aus, und auf Seite 17 wird klargemacht dass zum "Energischen Auffordern" das mit den Armen wacheln ganz klar dazugehört.

Insgesamt sehr Österreichisch, das Ganze.

[ published on Thu 12.03.2015 21:37 | filed in interests/humour | ]

Da sind sogar die Trotteln besonders unbeschreiblich deppert.

[ published on Tue 03.03.2015 17:54 | filed in interests/anti | ]

Two of my unstressed WD20EARX disks have just crapped themselves almost simultaneously after 21846 hours of operation (or 2.493 years), with just 49 power cycles and disk temperatures never above 45 degrees C. Both disks were manufactured in June 2011, but WD's warranty period for consumer gear is only two years.

The culprit? WD's damn idle3 timer which I wasn't quite aware of until a few days ago; hdparm only says 'power management not supported' and I trusted that to mean 'no spindown'.

That timer contraption parks the disk after just 8 seconds of idleness. Guess what: both of mine shipped with the default setting, 8 seconds, and racked up a load cycle count around 2377000. (That WD disk series is rated for a minimum of 300000 load cycles, certainly not 3 million).

Update (Sun 22.02.2015 12:09):

Seagate: see data run! run, data, RUN!

Well, the competition isn't much more reliable. There are four ST2000DM001-9YN164 in my colo'd systems at the other end of the world (climate-controlled datacenter, stable power, no nasties whatsoever).

One of the damn disks is going tilt very, very quickly. After just a measly two years. See az not happy. Run, Seagate, RUN! >:-(

Power_On_Hours 17774
Power_Cycle_Count 24
Power-Off_Retract_Count 17
Load_Cycle_Count 131
Airflow_Temperature_Cel 25 (Min/Max 23/32)
Temperature_Celsius 25

And the damning:

Current_Pending_Sector 88
Offline_Uncorrectable 88

And it's deteriorating pretty quickly, about 16 new duds every day or two. Fortunately it's all RAID-1 and the replacement is already ordered.

[ published on Sun 23.02.2014 18:47 | filed in interests/comp | ]

The British Isles have a reputation for being a culinary wasteland (pickled eggs, offal pie, absolutely dead mashed vegetables combined with meat red enough to hop of your plate, etc. pp.), but I guess this here might be an example of colonial one-upmanship:

 wooster plastic wooster plastic

This Australian wooster sauce boastfully claims that it's made from 50% recycled plastic. I'm not quite sure whether I want to know about its other "premium quality ingredients".

[ published on Mon 16.02.2015 17:59 | filed in interests/au | ]

This week I decided to spend a little money on new Blum cabinet door dampers for my kitchen. (The previous attempt using recessed Airtic dampers wasn't a total success, one died in the meantime and the others weren't quite strong enough for the kitchen cabinets. They're fine in the bathroom, where the cabinet doors are smaller.)

The upgrade also meant replacing the hinges in question: they're all Ikea-branded Blum kit, but the old hinges are of an older design where the damper doesn't clip on right (unless you laboriously file out an oval hole...).

13 doors (one large) = 14 dampers and hinges, and at just AU$5/pack of 2 (same price for damper units and hinges) I decided that for once I don't want to go for the slightly cheaper but hugely more tedious solution.

That's all peachy. The Ikea/Blum hinge setup has come a long way since my first exposure to Ikea kit in the late 70s. The swap was near-zero effort, just the usual bit of readjusting the hinges for perfect closure and line up.

However, my brain is not totally content with the dampers: they're great, doors close slowly and silently - and that throws me off! Not hearing any clunk or bonk at all makes me constantly stop in my tracks to check that I did actually close the door...

So, does inverse Pavlovian behaviour mean Pavlov would be un-proud of me? (At least I don't drool over my cabinet doors.)

[ published on Sat 14.02.2015 11:10 | filed in brainfarts | ] least when the mail has finally brought you a toy like this one:

 udi 839 quadcopter

That's a UDI R/C 839 quadcopter, which cost me a measly AU$35 (shipped). Really tiny, lots of fun to fly, very much worth it.

[ published on Wed 11.02.2015 22:25 | filed in interests | ]

I find it very interesting how Stiegl is increasingly present in the Australian beer market; a few years ago you'd find it only in very very very special beer pubs, but that's changing. In December I had a few here on the Gold Coast, at the Bier Cafe in Broadbeach. (On tap, not bottled.)

And now even Aldi has it - except that for silly hysterical raisins most of Oz still requires totally separate bottle shops, and in QLD Aldi's booze branch is mail-order-only for that reason.

With the also ridiculously high alco taxes factored in, the lovely Stiegl costs about 50% more than the decent local brews; $7.6/litre vs $5/litre. No surprise that lots of Australians do home-brew; even I do it every now and then.

While I intensely dislike the City of Salzburg (it's the anus mundi as far as I'm concerned), I wholeheartedly endorse the products and/or sevices of the Brauerei Stiegl :-)

[ published on Sun 08.02.2015 13:45 | filed in interests/au | ]

Not much to be said about him, except that he's pretty good but very dead, and the book, except that it's slightly weird but very good.

[ published on Mon 02.02.2015 21:21 | filed in interests | ]

my dear mother is always late.

except this once when i'd have liked her to combine two things for me (one of which is half a year overdue), and thought 'right, no rush, i'll ring her tomorrow and let her know'.

naturally this time she rings me first, and tells me that <long overdue thing> has been taken care of...

[ published on Sat 31.01.2015 14:22 | filed in brainfarts | ]

...but the local weather sucked nevertheless: still 86% humidity at 2100.

Today is also the day on which I gave in (to a recommendation by a friend) and spent $249 on a Rowenta DH4120 dehumidifier (on special/clearance at Hardly Normal, RRP $590 or so). It's now been running since 1730 and I just emptied out 4l of water, and the relative humidity inside is now 68%, not qute perfect yet but not as dripping wet as earlier.

We'll see how the thing does over the next few days, especially whether it's big enough to handle the 200m^3 of my place.

[ published on Wed 14.01.2015 21:54 | filed in interests/au | ]

so it's finally 19115.


(source: dunno, but i'm pretty sure it's a cartoon by Gerhard Haderer)

the weather here has been pretty lousy almost continually since 24.12., except (what a surprise!) for this week's work days. none of my vacation plans worked out at all, but christmas itself was very nice - conny and andrew (oh, and we mustn't forget maxi!) visited.

 conny und az xmas conny und az xmas
 conny andrew und der wackeldackel conny andrew und der wackeldackel

that's what we did on the 24th, before starting our late-arvo cooking session:

 xmas 2014 xmas 2014 xmas 2014 xmas 2014 xmas 2014 xmas 2014

the pooch didn't exactly appreciate being left with this here babysitter while conny and andrew went to the gym; maxi was very worried and insisted on sitting on my lap.


note to self: for the next attempt to make gherkins in brine i'll have to find a better method for keeping them dunked below the surface... three ended up poking out this time, rotted and wrecked the whole batch.

 salzgurken experiment salzgurken experiment salzgurken experiment

and that's about it for now. keep calm, move on, nothing to see here.

[ published on Sun 11.01.2015 19:24 | filed in still-not-king | ]

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