hirez: (Trouble with my worms (ii))
"Leader Vectron!"

"Yes, lad?"

"There's a universe. I mean, you wanted to know when beings in a universe discovered the Great Dimensional Truth, and..."

"I did. I said that. Out loud, with my voice and everything. Go on, lad. What about this universe then?"

"It's a strange one. It's filled with gamma-ray bursters, so there's only one planet with life on it. Here, see?"

"The blue-green one on the western spiral arm of that galaxy?"

"That's the one. There's just one thing, though..."

"What? They must be a lonely bunch. No other beings to share their great discovery. They'll fall upon themselves if we don't make contact."


"What is it lad? Spit it out."

"... They use it to manage files."

"They do what with what?"

"The Great Dimensional Truth. They use it. On computers. For text. They don't know what it is."



"The horrible, horrible bastards. They can sit on their blue-green planet and bloody whistle then. Fuck the lot of them. Actually, can you spin up a few more bursters? That'll learn 'em."
hirez: Humppa! (Humppa!)
A few months ago, I bought a phone number off the internet because that's the sort of thing you can do these days.

A day or so later, I bought a different number off some other people. That one came with all sorts of Ruby-hackable bells and whistles attached, so I hacked up the thing I wanted (a web app that allowed you to forward $number to a selection of mobiles that were made available via a drop-down list. The code's trivial and probably still on Bitbucket where I left it.) and forgot about the first number because it turns out that internet-based telephone numbers are like 9 bob a year.

Then I started getting wrong numbers. People who were quite surprised that they'd managed to call a mobile, and in one case really jolly aggrieved about it.

Of course I'd redirected the first number to my mobile, and on inspection I discover that it's quite close to the online banking number for $BANK.

It turns out that the bells and whistles attached to the second number make building an annoying phone robot (or IVR as they call them in the trade) rather simpler than falling off a wet log while blind pissed.

Were I a Bad Sort, I'd have rung up $BANK and attempted to make a facsimile of their IVR with a view to phishing the sausage fingered.

Since I'm not a Bad Sort, I did something else.

0844 3760094
hirez: (Information Hazard)
At about quarter-to-mumble this AM, the internet connection expired, which caused the usual amount of grousing.

It still strikes me as really quite something that I have a permanent (mostly...) IP connection into my house and it has never involved any of the traditional pissing about with BT screwing a half-dozen different boxes to the side of the cupboard under the stairs and demanding a sequence of forms, the least impenetrable of which being the RIPE-141.

I think I was one of the first set of people in the UK to have an ADSL line installed. One of the chaps at, er, Orchestream came steaming over and made it plain that I should sign up to this (free!) BT experimental service, even though it did require me to lie through my teeth about having Windows kit directly connected to a dialup.

When the engineers came, it soon transpired that most people turned out to be lying through their teeth about the state of their computers. They rolled their eyes a bit, surveyed the mess that was the telecoms provision at 465 Archway Road and left me with three boxes of varying sizes and a Permanent! Internet! Connection!

Then-work had a fantastically expensive 128k leased-line shared between a floor of coders and a floor of coke-hoovering hoorays not-coders.

I had, um, probably about the same sort of bandwidth, but all to myself. Truly I was living in the future. It was 1998.

* * *

I poked at the kit for a bit, realised that it was probably a decade since I bought any new network hardware, and it was likely high time I did something about the length of scruffy wire that I threw down the stairwell as a temporary measure in, er 2001.

So we went to out-of-town queueing and shouting facility at Longwell Green and bought an incinerator.

Then I backtracked, put a bag over my head so no-one would recognise me, and stole quietly into PeeCeeWorld for some powerline networking kit and the cheapest wireless router I could find. All a bit declassé, really. Working, though.

I think I shall be quite sad if my ancient (V2.0) WRT54G really has blown up, since I never did get around to having it OpenWRT with the thing. I'll give it a prod tomorrow once its had a rest and see if it responds.
hirez: Humppa! (Humppa!)
While I was far away from sense and civilisation, or indeed close to same than I am usually, depending on viewpoint, the local (jolly nice) boxshifters at Novatech sent me a circular. In this, they were pleased to announce that for what may or may not have been the bargain price of £70, I could have an mini-ITX Atom board in a box. Since I've been meaning to replace the somewhat Hooverphonic HP Kayak under the bench with something smaller, quieter and faster, this seemed like a Good Thing.

I ordered one on the cheapo delivery option, expecting it to arrive after the weekend we were in That London. It turned up the next day.
The memory + second NIC I ordered arrived ditto.

The thing I don't have is a SATA DVD drive, but I do have a spare 1/2Tb drive laying about and the USB drive that recently held the backup version of talk + slides.

When mucking about with tranferring ISO images to USB objects, the handy thing to have is a spare Unix box.

Beardian-7 didn't work. Sod's law. While the processor is nominally 64-bit, the board (and now we discover why they were cheap...) isn't.

Generate i386 USB image. Boots. Moans about NIC firmware. Generic Realtek firmware mostly doesn't work.

Some poking on the internets reveals that anything less than version (mumble) is horrid and smells of wee.

I can already see which way this is going and I have already bagged a copy of Wandering Womble, which boots, spots both NICs and generally behaves.

Shame about the screen, but it's going to run headless anyway.

Things to do
- Persuade it not to do anything clever and just give me a text console.
- Buy another 1/2Tb drive and mirror the things up like an adult.
- Work out how to do all the useful things that are easy in BSD, but using IPTables.
- Remember not to do this again.
hirez: (irradiated)
I think I have a thing-which-I-shall-call-a-cold. Thursday was just odd, in that I was halfway to work when I was seized by the idea that I should crawl into the back seat of the car and go to sleep right now. Luckily for eveyone else on the Bristol ring-road I had enough working brain left to realise that this was probably a bad idea.

(The other thing that happens is that I have a bright idea for a thing, and then about twenty seconds later think that it's stupid or forget what it was in the first place. I mean, that first set of sentences was going...)

Friday was mostly about not knowing what time it was, in that things were either taking forevs. or see parenthetical statement above.
Saturday involved wanting to claw my face off.

Today, I dunno. Everything is rubbish and my face still won't unscrew. Bastard.

On the other hand the Japanese gardener's knife seems to be a fine thing.
hirez: Humppa! (Humppa!)
https://www.emfcamp.org/talks (close to the bottom)

I am at once mildly terrified (Speaking! In public! About hackery! To other hacker-types!) and rather pleased (Been going to these things for long enough! Time to give something back! Patches welcome!).


Aug. 3rd, 2012 08:58 pm
hirez: (dissent)
You know, as J. Random Hacker, one gets used to the self-congratulatory wank that spurts out of Hackernews, anything brogrammer-related and the gak-fuelled 'rockstar' 'coders' who go off to work in banks.

Because I am at heart a gleefully malicious sort of bastard, this made me point and laugh. $440 million spunked away by some shit code gone over-centre and into some nightmare destructive feedback loop.

You know all that malarkey about being all hard and Klingon and testing being for the weak-spirited?

It's a joke, son.

[/Foghorn Leghorn]

On the other hand, one must congratulate the comrade-coder who was a deep cover operative for so long within the capitalist machine! This is how we shall destroy the forces of capital!
hirez: (Object)
Everyone knows about foo and bar. (or my $foo, int foo...) Probably because if you've the sort of mind described in the back of 'The new hacker's dictionary', you'll already have absorbed part of that culture without really knowing why. I had a similar-but-different experience while reading a weblog the other day. Salutory stuff.

Anyway. There are others - fred, bill, wibble, x, n.

If you come across integers or random indexes/counters that always seem to be i, j and k, you can tell that there's a dollop of ancestral FORTRAN somewhere in that code's gene pool.

I tend to use $thing and $otherthing. Actually, tended now that Perl has become an Orwellian un-language.

And of late I have been using 'blah' a lot. I had thought it had arrived randomly because it's quick to type like 'fred', but actually I now remember it was the favoured meta-variable of one of the hackers at Orchestream.

So there you go.
hirez: (Default)
This is Eben Upton explaining why he/they created the Raspberry Pi.

What I'd not realised is that the number of people in the spod trades who're actually, y'know, any bloody use at all has dropped like a rock.

I guess this is quite handy in re. my continued employment because there aren't any hungry young graduates who can do it better and cheaper.

Weird. Maybe I'm about to be a lamp-lighter or buggy-whip maker?
hirez: (dissent)
It seems to be some largely unexamined function of 'social networking' that no matter how well or poorly designed the 'contact management' functionality may be, there will be a set of people who will immediately exploit it to create maximal drama.

I mean, we bugger along with LJ's unfortunate overloading of the word 'friend' and have to generate elaborate interpersonal structures in order to avoid the sort of howling fuckups who agonize about net imbalances in 'friend' vs 'friend of'. However, the longer one uses tools like 'default view' , a default custom-post list and the oh-get-over-yourself that is lj-toys, the more the likelihood of cock-up or coat-tailing tends toward 1.

Meanwhile, FaceAche has a flat friend-space, which is Geek Social Fallacy no.4 enshrined in pre-compiled PHP and a complete joy to behold when it inevitably goes wrong. You can either keep it totally 'hullo trees, hullo sky', which means the place is ankle deep in lifeless bullshit and anyone with the gross bad taste to be having a bit of a shite time is perceived as lame and driven out of the herd by those who're convinced that it might be catching. Or you can generate a bogus identity so you can be happy-smiley for work and/or the people who you wish had stayed inside FriendsReunited.

Obviously there are degrees of false identity, which range from 'sadly required to stay safe on the internets' via 'you are a trouble-magnet and please stay the fuck away from me' to 'genuinely disturbing stalker ditto'.

You know how proper hacker types muck around with computing kit in order to get it to work the way they want, and it's all about privilege escalation and exploits and man-in-the-middle attacks? The broken design of the existing crop of 'social networks' enable exactly the same behaviour, but this time root == optimal gossip-source.

[ Reference material: http://www.slideshare.net/padday/the-real-life-social-network-v2 ]
hirez: (Armalite rifle)
The military drives our notion of 'the future' in much the same way that pr0n drives progress in media distribution and consumption.

Things done for profit have to be boring.

(There's another piece about system administration still being stuck in the 18th century and people being bizarrely proud of that. Do I want to be a lamp-lighter? I think not.)
hirez: Humppa! (Humppa!)
I think it needs someone with more brain than I to usefully explain how security research, Hakim Bey, hacking and chaos magic are all linked. Although when I say 'linked' I probably mean 'are all sticky-out bits of the same iceberg'.

Perhaps it is a reality-hacking toolset, in which case a good writing workshop will work, too.

I need to read the Flow book properly.
hirez: (psyche-out (i))
Meatiocre - the contents of that hot-dog were not all that they could have been.

(Stop whining you daft microcontroller. I've hacked in wedges of serial code that work more-or-less fine and I'm holding the 1-wire sensor in front of you. Of course you can see it. I mean, you can spot that it's gone short when I turn the connector round...

Oh. Wait. I bet the timing's a bit flink and the parasite power's not all that clever since it's running off battery.)

And the garden's more better tidy, things planted in pots and at least one bed given a good bucket of well-festered compost.

I'm just so multitalented.
hirez: (posing)
It's been quite comfortably warm in direct sunlight today. Excellent. I was also woken by an exploding website early enough to get out an enjoy it properly.

Thus violent pruning is over for another year and I've saved myself something like 90 quid by prising open the headlight relay from the 9000 and soldering up all the dry joints instead of going to the shop for a new one.

Now back to an old Festive Fifty and an idiot's guide to programming AVR demo boards.
hirez: (Challenger)
Just as pets and owners come to resemble each other, the malign force of Bogogenic fields mean that people who write hateful software, or the people paid to make excuses for it on the end of a telephone become twisted and hateful themselves.

This is also why Unix admins are usually a bit strange.

I've forgotten the other thing.

Oh. Yeah. This is way cool.


Aug. 9th, 2009 03:49 pm
hirez: (Laser goggles and raybans)
hirez: (Cooper-Clarke)
Via [livejournal.com profile] andrewducker:


... So let's give a profit-motivated mob root and see what happens...
hirez: (Bunny Eye)
On Sunday, Jason (WISOLJ) handed me a lump of IR filter.

Today I cut off the sticky-out bit and gaffered it to the back of my Nokia.

The results are about what you'd expect: )

The rest are here.

Sugga MCs

Dec. 28th, 2008 02:41 pm
hirez: (Challenger)
Spotted while pottering about the local aerial. I suspect a 90 chassis, PT Cruiser body and some fettling with a big hammer.

The titles just write themselves... )


hirez: (Default)

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