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Cryptonomicon - Kindle edition by Neal Stephenson. Literature & Fiction Kindle eBooks @ Amazon.com.
Cryptonomicon - Kindle edition by Neal Stephenson. Literature & Fiction Kindle eBooks @ Amazon.com.

Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs, Second Edition: Harold Abelson, Gerald Jay Sussman, Julie Sussman
Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs, Second Edition: Harold Abelson, Gerald Jay Sussman, Julie Sussman

Waterford: History and Society - Interdisciplinary Essays on the History of an Irish County (The Irish County History & Society Series) (9780906602201): William Nolan, Thomas P. Power
Waterford: History and Society - Interdisciplinary Essays on the History of an Irish County (The Irish County History & Society Series) (9780906602201): William Nolan, Thomas P. Power

Spectre (2015)
Spectre (2015)


Web Here
Being The Geekly Diary of Waider
(may contain traces of drinking, movies, and sport)
November 21
Went to see Spectre this afternoon. It was a nice piece of brain candy, but at the same time I came away from it feeling it was all just a bit flat - like it was going through the motions of a Bond movie without any real enthusiasm.

November 15
I've started re-reading Cryptonomicon, having discovered that Amazon was willing to sell the Kindle version to me cheaply because I'd previously bought the doorstop dead tree version. It's better than I remember, but it's also dated pretty badly in places (floppy disk to hold your private crypto key? not a secure USB key?), and the mathematical exposition (using Turing's damaged bike to illustrate how Enigma rotors work, for example) is overcooked to the point of tedium because if you're not interested, it's not advancing the plot, and if you are interested, it's written at such an elementary level that you just want to skip past it to the good bits. Still, enjoying the retread through half-remembered passages of the book.

November 11
Survived running 5k. First run in about 6 years, no prep (other than that I cycle to and from work daily), and I managed to clock in at about 31 and a half minutes. More to the point, I raised about €375 for the charity, part of over €5,000 raised by the office team. Go us, etc.

November 09
For those of you waiting for the DSPsrv to fall over again, turning off the Completely Fair Scheduler (a thing wot controls how data gets written to the disks) appears to have dramatically cut back on the hardware errors I was seeing. Go figure.

This Wednesday, I'm doing a run - well, probably more of a fast walk - for the first time since December 20089. I will be participating in the Dublin Run in the Dark, and I am fundraising as part of a company team over at JustGiving.com. Feel free to chip in a few quid, if you are so inclined.

November 01
All FatWatch data now uploaded to FitBit. Thanks, FatWatch, you've been great, but I don't need more than one place to keep my weight data (it'd be nice if both FitBit and FatWatch integrated with HealthKit so they could share the weight data, but there you go). I've also put some comments in the upload script explaining how to get it to work. It's still not exactly a user app, though.

DSPsrv is back online again, and thanks to various handwavy things I'm no wiser as to why it actually died. I've made some minor tweaks - such as having it automatically reboot 30 seconds after a kernel panic - which I hope will make it less likely to get into an intervention-requiring state again, but I have some other things I want to do in terms of monitoring its health and maybe getting a better understanding of same. It doesn't help that Dell's official diagnostic / management software has moved on from this particular platform.

October 29
Webserver certificate update time again, and once again I've forgotten how NSS works. Here's what I eventually stumbled on:
      You need the files in a PKCS#12 container. So either save/export them that way from MacOS' Keychain Access (if that's where they are), or use openssl pkcs12 -export -inkey private.nopasswd.key -in certificate.crt -name some-symbolic-name-that-does-not-matter -out secrets.p12. In either case you'll be prompted for a password - try not to forget it!
      Use pk12util to import the p12 file to your NSS database: pk12util -i secrets.p12 -d /location/of/nss/files
      pk12util will tell you what it imported the certs as. In my case, it ignored a -n parameter and the symbolic name in the p12 file and used some data from the certificate instead, which meant I had to update my Apache config to look for the new nickname.
Last time I did this I left a note to myself that certutil is not the tool you want (because it can't import private keys), but unhelpfully I'd not left any notes on what the correct tools were. So maybe next year I'll find this page again and not spend a half hour reading manual pages and googling for help.

October 27
After some mucking about I managed to pull together a script to upload my FatWatch data to FitBit. The only real complication was that the app lies about where you can connect to it to retrieve the data (giving me a 10.x IP address despite its presence on my very much not 10.x network) so once I'd found where it was hiding the rest was just a bit of quick hackery. If you want to use this yourself (it's actually just generic Date, Weight CSV upload to FitBit) there's a few moving parts that you'll need to hack around with which I might get around to documenting. Script: upload-weight-data-to-fitbit.py.

October 25
We were just talking about how useful the Scooba 385 has been in the house when it started making an unpleasant whining noise. It would seem the main brush motor has decided that it's had enough. Time to see if I can repair it, or if we need an upgrade to the latest model.

October 23
I'm hacking on my RSS Toy and turning it into a Javascript-based horror. I am sorely tempted to replace various "waiting for network response" things with the Javascript Matrix stuff I did several years ago.

October 22
Ah, it's tech failure day again. DSPsrv.com appears to have fallen off the air (responding to ping but nothing else), and my Macbook tells me there's an update available, but refuses to download or install it. I will try the magical Repair Permissions fix.

I should note here that I hate voodoo fixes.

A voodoo fix is where you say, "my computer is on fire" and somebody says, "you should reset the PRAM and then run Repair Permissions". They may as well suggest that you orient the computer towards True North (not Magnetic North), chant a bit, and wave a sprig of dried rosemary. A voodoo fix is an activity that has no logical connection to the problem, and I hate them because of that.

Making matters worse is that the people I often see promulgating voodoo fixes are software developers. You know, people who spend their day working on logical reasoning (or, well, you'd hope, anyway). People who'll laugh at homeopathy and explain the placebo effect to you. People who'll tell you how they've optimised their morning routine by only eating the exact calories required to get them as far as the office. And then they'll tell you to do something completely illogical to fix your computer - not because they know a secret about why it works, but because once they had a problem with their computer, and somewhere in the 300 things they tried simultaneously was this voodoo fix, and they chose that to be the one thing that actually made a difference (not disimilar to homeopathy and placebo in this respect). So this really bugs me.

But the thing that tops it all is when a creator of software makes it so that the voodoo fix actually works. When it's the only thing you did, and the problem has now gone away, and you can't account for this change in any other way.

BRB. I'm off to set up a stall on Grafton Street that'll fix your computer by sprinkling it with some finely-ground herbs. I bet at least 90% of my customers will have their problem solved.

(No, Repair Permissions didn't fix the problem, but I Had Some Theories involving a caching server and a full disk, and that bit of voodoo appears to be on the way to solving my problem).