Category: observations (Page 2 of 2)

parallel productivity

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.

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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

freak storm

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!

Caltech pizza

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.

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systemd woes

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.


I put down a deposit on a Tesla Model 3 today. Matthew will be wanting wheels soon, and my fabulous Honda Civic Hybrid is about to turn ten years old, so it seemed like a thing to do. It could be a couple of years before I actually get one, as they’re a bit behind on their production schedule.

Folks I know who already drive Teslas assure me it’s worth the wait.

good old day

The weather has warmed up and I’ve been particularly mellow today. Most of the day, I felt as though I could go to bed any time and sleep like the dead. I had to be productive, which is probably a good thing, but even doing the daily chores felt natural and slow and happy.

It’s hard to imagine how things could be much better.

biking to work

For years, I regularly rode my bicycle to work. For some reason, when we moved the office (about 2½ years ago) I stopped biking. Last week, I started riding again. It’s a nice change. I can take a route that has no automobile traffic for much of it. It’s relaxing and invigorating at the same time.

I wish I hadn’t waited so long.

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