1. Distributing Huginn workers across servers.

    05 April 2021

    For quite a few years I've written about strange and sundry things you can do with Huginn, but not a lot about what to do when you run into systemic limitations. The nice thing about Huginn is that you can spin up as many workers (subprocesses that execute agents from the database) as you want, subject to the limitations of what you happen to be running it on. The downside, however, is that it's easy to accidentally upgrade your VPS to the point where it's just really expensive. I just ran into this purely by accident and spent a day …

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  2. Making an oscilloscope kit suck less.

    24 March 2021

    A couple of jobs ago I worked in an electronics lab that had all the toys - from tool cabinets as tall as I am to anti-static gear all over the place (and ruthlessly enforced rules for making use of it) to signal analyzers and oscilloscopes. Unfortunately, my job (and the project) were such that I couldn't just go messing around in there to teach myself to use the diagnostic instruments. If the 'scopes weren't in use at the time then they'd been set up specifically for the hardware we were working on. This means that messing around with the settings …

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  3. Cross-compiling go-sendxmpp.

    01 March 2021

    I used to joke that the day setting up a cross-compilation environment was easy we'd be one short step away from having true artificial general intelligence. For the most part neither has happened yet. However, I must admit that Go has come pretty close to making it easy, but it's also kind of opaque unless you go all-in on Go to the exclusion of all other languages. It's not really a language that you can just toy around with, kind of like FORTH.

    Long-time readers know that I'm all about XMPP as a command and control channel for my exocortex …

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  4. Optimizing Searx with UWSGI.

    25 February 2021

    Long time readers have probably read about some of the stuff I do with Searx and I hope that some of you have given some of them a try on your own. If you have you're probably wondering how I get the performance I do because there are some limitations of Searx that have to be worked around. Most of those limitations have to do with the global interpreter lock that is part of the Python programming language which haven't been completely solved yet. What this basically adds up to is that multithreading in Python doesn't actually make great use …

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  5. Joining the NPSTN.

    15 February 2021

    In a previous post I talked about what I had to do to get a classic touch tone telephone (wow, I didn't know how much they were going for on the collector's market...) onto my home network with some scrounged parts and a Cisco ATA. This is all well and good, but the question then becomes, what do I do with it? How do I make it do something actually useful? Or failing that, something interesting?

    I also mentioned in a previous post that I'd considered putting up a Project MF node at home but it seems like it'd be …

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  6. One year of COVID down.

    15 February 2021

    Here we go again, this time 943 years.

    This time, I got nothin'.

    Many of the horrors of the last four years are over and not a few of us are sleeping much better, mostly because we have to spend less time keeping our eyes and sensor networks open to catch the latest way that we or people we care about might have the worth of our lives decreased even more. That's not to say that things are perfect, just a couple of points better for more people. The covid-19 plague is still on, unfortunately. Vaccinations are still extremely difficult …

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  7. Getting an ancient phone online in 2021.ev

    05 February 2021

    Note: The more I worked on this article, the more I realized that it needed to be split into two separate articles. There was more ground to cover here than I originally thought. This article covers configuring a travel router running OpenWRT as a gateway for an ATA, and a Cisco ATA. The Asterisk configuration stuff will come later.

    As seems to happen during the time of the covid-19 plague, it's really easy to clear one's backlog of "wouldn't it be nice if" and household repair projects in a short period of time. I mean, hell, I recabled my server …

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  8. New decade, new TARDIS.

    25 January 2021

    As I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, the worst year in a long, long while was capped off by discovering that my car had been wrecked and towed without my knowing about it. I finally got the pictures I took at the junkyard up for the horror and edification of all and sundry. Long story short, my car was indeed totalled, undrivable, time for an insurance payout. As usual, Captain Corner Case strikes again and everything was way the hell more difficult than it ever really needed to be. Where should I start?

    I went around to my neighbors …

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