1. Neologism: Software installation roulette

    08 May 2020

    software installation roulette - The practice of piping the output of a web browser or other HTTP tool directly through a system shell, usually as root to install something important.  The danger is that you don't know if the shell script has anything nefarious in it (such as rm -rf / or the installation of a rootkit) and by the time you find out it's far too late.

    For example: sudo bash -c "$(wget -q -O- https://totally.legit.example.com/install.sh)"

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  2. Tunneling across networks with Nebula.

    30 April 2020

    Longtime readers have no doubt observed that I plug a lot weird shit into my exocortex - from bookmark managers to card catalogues to just about anything that has an API.  Sometimes this is fairly straightforward; if it's on the public Net I can get to it (processing that data is a separate issue, of course).  But what about the stuff I have around the lab?  I'm always messing with new toys that are network connected and occasionally useful.  The question is, how do I get it out of the lab and out to my exocortex?  Sometimes I write bots to …

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  3. A little preparation is not a bad thing: Getting Narcan.

    21 April 2020

    Obligatory disclaimer: I AM NOT A MEDICAL DOCTOR.  SEEK PROFESSIONAL ADVICE AND TRAINING.

    There's really no good way to start an article about the epidemic of opiate overdoses and deaths in the United States.  It's a terrible thing.  Unlike a lot of articles out there and stereotyping that happens, a nontrivial number of opioid deaths are due to accidental overdoses of painkillers taken by folks who are trying to manage chronic pain.  I say this as someone whose dental health history reads like Hellraiser fanfic.  If you're in so much pain that you can't even think straight most of the …

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  4. Migrating to Restic for offsite backups.

    15 April 2020

    20221229: UPDATE: Added what to do when you change your Backblaze application key.

    20201023: UPDATE: Added command to clean the local backup cache.

    20200426: UPDATE: Fixed the "pruned oldest snapshots" command.

    A couple of years back I did a how-to about using a data backup utility called Duplicity to make offsite backups of Leandra to Backblaze B2. (referer link) It worked just fine; it was stable, it was easy to script, you knew what it was doing.  But over time it started to show its warts, as everything does.  For starters, it was unusually slow when compared to the implementation …

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  5. Still on lockdown.

    06 April 2020

    All of March and most of February were spent in lockdown in the Bay Area.  I've no idea what's still open or not because the last time I was able to go anywhere outside of the house was two weeks ago.  The walk I'd planned for last weekend was cancelled on account of rain, and all things considered I'd rather not risk lowering my immune system a couple of points with cold and damp if I can help it.  Plans for the next 12 to 18 months have been unilaterally cancelled.  I've already sold my Thotcon 0x0b badge even though …

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  6. Quarantine life.

    23 March 2020

    We're rapidly nearing the end of our first month of quarantine due to the covid-19 pandemic.  I've been working from home since the last week of February, which isn't anything particularly new to me because we have mandatory work-from-home days at least once a week at my day job.  Coincidentally, a few days in was when our landlord's scheuled demolition and renovation of the kitchen began.  This meant that we were down three rooms in the house - no kitchen, no dining room, and no living room - due to having to relocate everything.  Lyssa and I also had some amount of …

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  7. Nifty things to do with Searx.

    10 March 2020

    Not too long ago I was noodling over a problem: I wanted to break up the scheduling queues in Huginn to make my fleets of agents a little more efficient when the execute.  The best way I could think of was to make some of the schedules stochastic - periodically have an agent roll some dice and depending on what comes up decide whether or not to trigger the agents downstream.  So, of course I started looking for a random number generator that would basically roll 1d10.  However, the Liquid templating language that Huginn uses internally doesn't have any function to …

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