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Fri, 09 Dec 2011
Ghosts starting to gather - 10:23
Anyway this morning Mark Tearle (LA Treasurer) arrived in Canberra at 6am on the red eye from Perth. AJ (Anthony Towns) will be arriving later today, as will most of the other people attending from outside Canberra (Michael Davies, Anand Kumria, Ryan Verner, Pia Smith, Jeff Waugh, etc, etc). This is going to be a pretty busy weekend.
Obscurity, P=NP etc, Hash Visualisation - 10:23
It is interesting to see some companies such as Kryptonite eventually reacted, others seem intent on denying public information, or trying to shut down people who know about it. In computing it is a well known fact (although still ignored by too many people/companies) that security through obscurity will not work, public design and analysis by experts in the field however does work and should be used for things that need to be secure. Although one aspect that comes to mind here is that in the case of locks you may not want to make them impossible as other attack vectors are then used. As the article mentions crooks seem to prefer using a hammer (or maybe explosives) over opening the locks through lock exploits. There were some discussions about this in the car that were I think linked to by Schneier a few years back.
Next was an interesting wikipedia page linked to by kottke, a list of unsolved problems from a number of different field, those listed in Computing are familiar, however looking through the collected information on those in other fields is pretty fascinating. Mmmmmm wikipedia goodness.
Catching up on some LWN reading and I see the mention of a new OpenSSH version approaching, in the list of new features is "Experimental SSH fingerprint visualisation" with a paper (pdf) linked. So I download and had a read of the paper, largely to see what sort of images they generate. It is good to see some work on what is one of the biggest security weaknesses out there, the humans using secure systems.
Finally faster - 10:23
Back in November I mentioned this to Steve Walsh of Nerdvana, he told me they do colo, and would throw in new hardware (leasing arrangement) all for less per month than we are currently paying and colocated in a rather nice facility in Sydney. Martijn and I thought this sounded tops so signed up.
Finally we shifted all the domains and config and data and everything across for the final time last night and we now are actively using the new server for all domains we host and everything else. The new machine is definitely a nice step up, now a Dual 3 GHz Xeon with Hyperthreading, 1 GB of RAM and 2 250 GB SATA drives configured in RAID 1 for full redundancy. Damn this new machine is fast, operations that used to take a few minutes now happen in 2 or 3 seconds.
Finally I can do a few things I have been holding off from doing on the old machine for a while, either for lack of disk space, lack of memory or incredibly high load caused by trying to do the things I had in mind. Heck I may even add some sort of comments thing to this diary (Jane reckons I need comments here)
One of the other problems with the old machine was I had never gotten it to cleanly boot up into a kernel newer than 2.2.20pre2, which meant ancient firewalling, probably a few vulnerabilities, inability to try some new things that may have been interesting and a few other issues. The machine was also running Woody, so it is nice to have Sarge with a few even newer bits on the new machine.
RIP calyx.svana.org, long live calyx.svana.org (we did not change the name, which was confusing once or twice while moving config over).
[15:46:41] 9 calyx sjh ~> sh -c 'cat /proc/cpuinfo ; free ; df ; uname -a' | egrep 'MHz|Mem|cg0-data|Linux' cpu MHz : 3000.269 cpu MHz : 3000.269 cpu MHz : 3000.269 cpu MHz : 3000.269 Mem: 1036352 1001088 35264 0 68208 713860 /dev/mapper/vg0-data 235694888 8981204 214741076 5% /data Linux calyx 184.108.40.206 #1 SMP Fri Nov 25 23:43:09 EST 2005 i686 GNU/Linux [15:47:27] 10 calyx sjh ~>
British "Whose Line Is It Anyway" - 10:23
Anyway the show is an theatre sports style improvisation show with comedians acting out various provided (often by the audience) situations on the spot. I have to say this is one of the funniest shows I have ever seen, probably helped by the fact it has some of my favourite comedians as regulars, Paul Merton and Stephen Fry.
I have been watching the tape I have of the show a bit last night and tonight and I have been laughing almost constantly. This truly is brilliantly entertaining, highly recommended. For more information there are some sites with more of it and of course something Wikipedia.
We have a team, a support crew, some boats, some bikes, cool lets go hurt ourselves. - 10:23
This race is a fairly large commitment of time, training and money to compete in, simply getting through 48 hours without sleep while navigating and racing in different disciplines is not trivial. Unfortunately none of my team mates from last year were able to compete this year (Knee Injury for one, another in South Africa, and the last not wanting to try the full length race this year).
Fortunately I have been able to convince 3 other friends to come along and race. Bruce, who I compete in Triple Tri with and other events over the past few years. Craig who has been doing some rides with Bilbys recently and has done a 24 hour mtb solo and is a damn tough bugger. Danealle who raced the full Geo last year with the Pink Ladies and thus has experience and proven toughness. Rock on, one hell keen team out there to have fun on the full course.
For support crew I have Jane (sister) returning, Zoe a Bilbys friend who wants to find out what Geo is about with the aim of possibly competing next year, Tom (Zoe's partner, who is likely to be roped in as support next year), James a mountain biking friend with bike mechanic experience to wrench and stuff and Louise (Jane's flatmate) who sounded enchanted with the support thing after Jane described it last year (I hope Louise fails to realise last year Jane had a remarkably easy support job due to the course structure, but hey if you wont tell her I wont...)
Next we had to get a pair of double sea kayaks, preferably fibreglass (lighter and generally thinner and faster) and ensure we had the rest of the gear needed (lights and batteries sufficient to last two nights in a row when we may be separated from our support crew for a long time), and generally commit to doing the race.
I have a new toy I bought which will take care of one of the above requirements, I will probably mention it next week when I get it, other than that we have been out doing some training and sussing out some of the gear and talking in the team about what conditions have been like previously and will be like this year.
Our main goal is to have fun and complete the course, we think we stand a good chance of meeting both goals. Bruce is overseas for work this week, however last night Craig, Danealle and I went out for a hill hike on Mt Ainslie which was fun, this was after a paddle yesterday morning with Danealle. This morning Craig and I both rode with the Bilbys road bunch and then headed to the lake for another paddle. I guess if nothing else this gives me something to get off my lazy arse an do some exercise for <g>.
The team motto for the event is "Because its there and fun will be had" and the bio I put in with the race entry was
4 Canberrans who constantly find there is more fun to be had outdoors than in our loungerooms.
Polaris for Dummies 2006 - 10:23
Anyway I put photos and a report of the 2006 Polaris event online.
Yell for Cadel, Australia's best ever XC mountain biker won the tour! - 10:23
I have been a fan of Cadel for a while, I guess since reading mtb magazines through out the 90s and marshaling at the mtb National Championship races in Majura Pines in Canberra when he won the title here. That he won the MTB World Cup series for two years in a row, has also won the Road World Cup series two years running, won the Road World Champs and now the Tour de France it is fairly obvious to all he is the most complete successful cyclist Australia has ever produced.
I still remember watching him lead through some of the single track at Majura in 1997 from where I was marshaling, seeming to be riding on smooth pavement through sections I rattle and bounce over, sure it was a shame when he left mountain biking, I am after all a mountain biker at heart, but there were as we all know bigger achievements in his future, there is nothing in the mtb world that could possibly excite a nation the way he has the last few years.
For the entire tour this year Cadel and his team seemed to be well organised, know what they were doing and went about everything the right way. Leopard also dealt with the race well, thus as Andy Schleck has said it definitely seems the best rider did indeed win this year. The final time trial was an incredible hour of viewing, seeing Cadel so focused and confidant at the start and then he almost won the stage and blasted away everyone else. Of course seeing him get air on a time trial bike was pretty cool too.
I really hope this helps move Australian's recognition of bikes and cycling forward, the reception for Cadel in Melbourne on Friday was awesome, with St Kilda rd lined 5 deep on each side all the way along and then Federation square packed so full along with all of us watching who did not make it down. The media coverage across the board has been positive and pretty good. Now we can all hope for a repeat performance next year. Rock on Cadel.
What to do in Denver^WCairns when you're dead^Won holiday? - 10:23
Dave and Julie were there recently and went on a Kayak trip, which was probably fun. This is the part of Australia where glass bottom boats are rather common, heck the Kayak/Canoe you really want up there is one of these transparent canoes I saw on BoingBoing the other day. Apart from the fact my arms may drop off 3 hours into any attempt to Kayak somewhere I have no planned something like that. Is a reef trip a good idea I wonder?
I will probably ride up to Port Douglas one day, maybe look for nice swimming rivers/holes/etc on the way up and down to stop off at. I will probably look for a bit more mountain biking while there or maybe a walk or some trail running. But I really have no idea what to do apart from read books on the beach (which could not be all bad I guess).
Anyone have suggestions?
Out of Range at the 2007 Geoquest Adventure Race - 10:23
Anyway for anyone who wants to have a look here is our report from the team Out of Range at the 2007 Geoquest Adventure Race. Enjoy.
What is happening to these magazines - 10:23
Anyway I purchased a copy of the magazine Ausralian Mountain Bike, it appears my subscriptiuon ran out as it did not arrive at work the past few weeks, anyway I was told by a few friends in the past two weeks that this issue was kind of abysmal, I was hoping they would be wrong and all that, however I think this time I have to agree, the only articles I found interesting this issue were the columns by Jim Trail and TTfH (Tony Fathers), and to some extent this may simpy be because they are friends.
I think the thing that turned me off in this issues was simply nothing grabbed my attention, most issues a least one or two stories/articles manage to look good and turn out to be good reading, I suppose I should try to quantify why this time nothing grabbedmy attention and usually something can, I think I will instead simply leave my brain on downtime tonight however.
Hurty Andrew - 10:23
Kind of no longer saturday - 10:23
Oh no I missed another Blorthday - 10:23
Stats this time around are
[18:16:50] 3 oneiros sjh ~/diary/data>find -name '*.text' | wc -l 548 [18:16:54] 4 oneiros sjh ~/diary/data>wc `find -name '*.text'` ... 19384 145996 929924 total
I passed the 500th post without noticing, I will soon have more than 1 MB of my blathering up here (when the third number just next to total says 1048576). 221 posts is down a fair bit from 337 the previous year. One thing I have noticed is I have not been keen to sit around and work on silly category posts much (various/ilmiwac). Not sure why.
On the whole maybe I am just not as worthy of the cool t-shirt Andrew gave me, especially when you consider the fact there are still no photos of my non existent cat on here to provide some blogthenticity.
BOB United Flight - 10:23
Why an online diary? - 10:23
My software works too well, change it back - 10:23
It appears the profiling and lower memory foot print work various gurus in the kde and gnome and similar camps has paid dividends as there appears to be a pretty big drop in usage and memory leaks here and everything feels a bit faster all of which is good news. Not that I have done any real testing but perceived feel is relevant to some extent in a computing environment.
The most amusing thing here I thought was my interpretation of how he asked the question, it sounded almost as if something was wrong. As if James was saying "my computer is not using enough memory, and is running to fast, fix it, make it as slow and hoggy as it used to be". I guess at least he was not about to request a change to a computing system that seems to constantly get slower and more user unfriendly with every major release.
I am obviously slack - 10:23
Pubbage and no business talk - 10:23
Anyway, though I live about 50 metres from All Bar Nun I only really go there about once every three months if that, and dont really go to pubs much. Too busy mtb riding or something I guess.
I said sure lca crew and other ghosts attendees in Canberra by friday night could rock up to All Bar and sit around chatting about all things unrelated to lca and LA.
Artists and analysing their music - 10:23
I have not researched this to check my memory is correct, however Ben Folds has talked about this in interviews in the past. If my memory of these interviews is correct, the song was to some extent based on a harrowing experience he had when he was around 18-20. He and his partner at the time went through the process of having an abortion and all the emotions and the shit that happened around the event weighed heavily on him, this song is an outcome of the experiences surrounding that event.
However Ben Folds is to a large extent not alone among musical artists saying, on the whole, over analysing lyrics in his work is not what he intends or expects, many artists seem astounded by the amount of analysis that goes into lyrics they write, often according to them written simply for the rhyme, or to work with the song and containing no deeper meaning. The fans doing the analysis may of course argue the subconcious has other ideas, who knows.
Trying to be fair to students with a few doing damage. - 10:23
We could block ssh entirely to the student networks however that is not a good thing as students should be able to log on and do work from remote locations.
The solution we are looking at is accounting for all student traffic on both incoming and outgoing such that ssh is blocked to all but one machine. Then on this one machine we have the netfilter patch that lets us account for traffic on the INPUT chain on a per user basis. This will mean we can set student quotas for all data, or maybe even simply subtract the ssh incoming traffic from their web quotas also.
I guess students will simply have to get used to using one machine to access the rest of the student systems, should not be hard for them and will stop the people abusing the system.
Ghosts is over - 10:23
We had a rather large number of people at the ghosts session, I wonder if maybe this was a bad thing. It seemed a times we did not need quite so many people. One thing I noticed is the ghosts session was really for the new lca team to be able to learn from previous organising teams. Thinking about who was present I dont really see that we could have left many out. Maybe if the LA committee were not so strongly reccomended. For future ghosts I wonder if maybe just the LA president and Treasurer would be enough.
I suppose LA was strongly represented at the meeting due to the fact Rusty and Mikal are both on the committee and both lca people also, Michael Davies as the 2004 Lead organiser was necessary and also is on the LA committee. Mark Tearle was there from Perth but mostly there as the LA treasurer, we already have Tony Breeds on our lca crew from Perth. So looking a it this year the LA committee was almost all there by necessity, so bringing AfC and Stewart in for LA to meet afterwards kind of made sense.
The thing that strikes me is we had ~ 20 people in the meeting room all weekend, fortunately it worked well for us, we got through almost the entire agenda and people did not interrupt with out reason. However it just seems busy with that many people there. Also with the LA meeting at the end of the weekend before everyone flew out there was a bit of rushing and possibly some things left off the agenda or not discussed that should be. I think a large part of why the LA thing happened was due to the make up of who would already be there. I would be nice to be able to avoid that in the future for ghosts if possible I think.
I dont mean it as a criticism really as it did not impact heavily on us this weekend, more just something to think about for the future. As for the lca crew, we have a whole lot of new ideas stemming from this weekend, and some action items and the like. One thing that is very important is we need to be more active in getting the word out into the community and the pulic at large abotu this conference and what is happening. Time to send a lot of people email <g>
Woohoo for Radio National - 10:23
I googled the other day and found the Radio National podcast page, they do indeed have a pretty good selection of shows available for download. I rang Crash to ask if he had been doing any of this podcasting radio national thing, he rides to work every day, a rather nice ~ 23 KM commute, listening to an mp3 player or a radio. Crash had indeed been engaging in this podcasting thing, downloading any new casts night at 3am. I asked what application he used to do this, a Gooey application would be kind of silly to use for this so I hoped there was a basic CLI application for the task.
Crash was able to point out this rather cool shell script, Bashpodder, to download all new/updated feeds from a list of feed URL's. Mikal, sfr and Rusty will I am sure be glad to see a very useful application, written in shell still rather than some other language, that it works reliably and the newer release even shrank from 76 lines of shell to 44 lines (now including more comments too).
I added all the RN feeds I wanted into the file one per line, ran the script and a few minutes later I had 800 MB of cool Radio National content in mp3 format ready for listening anywhere and anywhen. Now if only we could convince the government to fund the ABC and Radio National better so they can keep up the fantastic work well on into the future.
Glad to be doing a ride again - 10:23
Through the pearly gates in a 200 mph fireball - 10:23
I remember watching the old series with Clarkson in it when I was living in the UK in 1993, though at the time I paid some small interest in cars (such as watching Ayrton Senna in F1 races) I do not recall Top Gear being so amusing. I suspect they really ramped up the humour of it when they changed the format and started the new series in 2002. My amusement at the pearly gates expression has me trying to think of a few expressions for how various people may want to go, somewhat macabre maybe but I am trying to think of it in a similar manner to my Fairy Tales in the key of Klingon post. Alas nothing comes to mind yet.
False advertising on ride speed - 10:23
Though there was a CORC race on that arguably I should have done as I need the fitness and speed from the race I decided to take the soft option and head out for this road ride.
However upon finding the bunch I see Allan's email had convinced around 30 of the Vets club members into joining in the fun, this included the likes of Nick, Chris, Pete H who like to go fast and a few others who, due to there being no race this weekend decided it would be fun to go a bit faster.
Thus we ended up doing the 100 KM ride with an average speed of 34 KMh, which fortunately was easy if you stayed sitting in the bunch the whole time, however it was entertaining to tease Allan on his ride with far more people and a much higher average speed than sort of advertised.
Caffeine and glycogen storage, maybe the roadies have it right - 10:23
The professor in charge of the study at RMIT is John Hawley, a google search turned up the article in question. It is quite a common practice among cyclists to head to a coffee shop after a ride, though most of us do not consume 6 cups of coffee and a loaf of bread, we do consume some food and coffee at these gatherings fairly often.
Good to see we can even claim the post ride coffee is part of our important training schedule and recovery plan.
Dreaming - 10:23
However there was one thing at the Sydney Olympics that I was glued to whenever I was near a tv, the same thing happened for the Utah/Salt Lake City winter Olympics and then even for the Athens Olympics I did actually watch one thing on tv. So far I have not seen more than a minute or two of Olympics coverage on screen, when I have seen it on at a cafe or similar I have tuned in for a few seconds. So what is missing from the Olympics coverage this time?
Roy and HG with The Dream of course. This show added to the fun and humour of the Sydney Olympics. It increased the value of the Utah winter Olympics (I actually enjoy watching a fair amount of the winter Olympics) and it made the non stop coverage around the country of Athens more bearable. Maybe it is because Channel 7 spent so much money to get the rights for the Olympics they feel they can not make fun of the event. Maybe it is as is suggested in the article about the lack of the Dream, no studio audience due to Chinese security and crowd restrictions and the bad timezone issues make it unworkable for channel 7.
It is interesting to note there is a lot of criticism going around that this is the worst Olympics coverage in recent memory and most articles discussing this seem to note people are calling for the Dream to come back rather than the Yum Cha thing on each morning.
Fortunately though tv rights are taken there is nothing stopping Roy and HG commenting on the Olympics on the radio, which they are doing with aplomb on Triple J every afternoon. At least there is still some Australian piss taking going on, even if it is not live from Beijing. So I guess what I am saying, in my opinion at least, the lack of this show on the Olympics coverage means there is no reason to turn a tv on this month. I spoke to a few people at work and I hear a number of people with little interest in the Olympics have a similar view.