Sometimes, it’s simple things. We’re surrounded by wonders like smart phones and miracle drugs, but sometimes innovation can come entirely from just thinking about a problem differently. If you took an iPhone X 30 years into the past, it wouldn’t do much. Oh, it might be a shiny curiosity, but its function would be limited. Nor would someone in 1988 be able to disassemble it, discover its “secret” and make more of them: the main secret is layer upon layer upon layer of incremental improvements in processor design, chip fabrication, wireless technologies, display mechansims, battery capacities, operating system architecuture… the list goes on and on.
I have written before about the horror that is
systemd. I was just bitten again.
A year or so ago, I was looking for a new phone. I had been using a Google Nexus 6 for two years, ever since I became a beta tester for Project Fi. I loved Project Fi (Google is eversomuch cooler than any other cellular carrier/MVNO in the US), but getting timely updates—even security updates—for the Nexus was like pulling teeth, and they dropped support for what had been their flagship phone barely a year after I bought it. Add to that the fact that there’s no effective private backup solution for Android devices, and I didn’t have any real choice. I had an old iPhone 5 that I had owned for maybe four years, and it was still running the latest version of iOS with all the security updates delivered instantly, while my three-years-newer Android was a security breach waiting to happen.
Josh asked me the other day about how we backed up early hard disks when we didn’t have small portable drives, the internet, NAS, or writable DVDs. I started telling him about my teak box with the tambour top that held 50 (or was it 100?) 1.4MB 3½” floppy disks. I remember a routine of running a backup program while feeding disk after disk into the machine for an hour or two every day.
I remember the shoe store my mother used to take my brother and me to when we were little. I remember men handling my ticklish feet and squeezing them with cold metal implements. I remember being asked, over and over, “Do those feel okay? This is really important. Don’t step off the carpet!” No, they hurt like hell. All of them. Every time. But I quickly got the message that the right answer was to say they feel okay. I remember how, every day, the best part of the day was taking my shoes off at night. When I got to high school, I stopped wearing shoes in favor of tatami sandals. Continue reading
I dressed this morning for my usual bike ride to work. It was a beautiful spring morning. As I was seeing Joshua and Matthew off to school, I heard thunder crash and saw dark clouds rolling in from the south. “It will pass,” I thought, but by the time I got home from dropping off Matthew it was raining. I changed into more wintery work clothes and had to drive to the office. The temperature peaked at 69°.
Carrot Weather, in her inimitable profane style, tells me that it’s going to be back in the 80’s tomorrow. Back on the bike!
Back in the 1970’s, I was a student at the California Institute of Technology. Many, many things about that institution were extraordinary, but the dorm food service was not.
One of the lunch options was always “pizza.” At least, there were these round food units consisting of a crusty light-brown base, a red paste smeared over it, and a weave of yellow strips on top.
Yes, I am one of those Linux jockeys who loathe systemd. Why? In a nutshell, I have had more unscheduled downtime directly attributable to systemd than all other downtime combined over the past fifteen years.
I have one whitebox router I built that loses its iptables settings on reboot, leaving this web site and a few others unreachable until I sign on and manually reset the iptables rules. Naturally, I blamed some systemd weirdness. As it turns out, it was due to a small init script I had written to work around a bug systemd had when it was first released. So, though the mistake was actually mine, it wouldn’t have happened if there hadn’t been an opaque bug in systemd.
I just hope the Devuan gets the ongoing love it deserves.