1. An interesting discovery about Dreamhost.

    11 December 2017

    As you may or may not be aware, I've been a customer of Dreamhost for many years now (if you want to give them a try, here's my referral link).  Both professionally and personally, I've been hosting stuff with them without many complaints (their grousing about my websites being too large is entirely reasonable given that I'm on their shared hosting plan).  Something always got me about their SSL support, though, was that you had to buy a unique IP address from them if you wanted to use it.  That cost a pretty penny, almost as much as I pay …

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  2. Administering servers over Tor using Ansible.

    08 December 2017

    Difficulty rating: 8.  Highly specific use case, highly specific setup, assumes that you know what these tools are already.

    Let's assume that you have a couple of servers that you can SSH into over Tor as hidden services.

    Let's assume that your management workstation has SSH, the Tor Browser Bundle and Ansible installed.  Ansible does all over its work over an SSH connection, so there's no agent to install on any of your servers.

    Let's assume that you only use SSH public key authentication to log into those servers.  Password authentication is disabled with the directive PasswordAuthentication no in the …

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  3. Another Bolt upgrade, another gotcha.

    05 December 2017

    Regular readers of my site no doubt noticed that my site was offline for a little while a few days ago (today, by the timestamp, because Bolt doesn't let me postdate articles, only postdate when they go live) because I was upgrading the software to the latest stable version.  It went remarkably smoothly this time, modulo the fact that I had to manually erase the disk cache so the upgrade process could finish and not error out.  Deleting the cache alone took nearly an hour, and in the process I discovered something I wish I'd known about when I first …

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  4. Keybase and Git.

    29 November 2017

    A couple of weeks ago a new release of the Keybase software package came out, and this one included as one of its new features support for natively hosting Git repositories.  This doesn't seem like it's very useful for most people, and it might really only be useful to coders, but it's a handy enough service that I think it's worth a quick tutorial.  Prior to that feature release something in the structure of the Keybase filesystem made it unsuitable for storing anything but static copies of Git repositories (I don't know exactly waht), but they've now made Git a …

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  5. Casting a data point into the origins of the Polybius myth.

    22 November 2017

    A couple of days ago (a couple of minutes ago, as I happen to write this) I watched a documentary on Youtube about a modern urban legend, the video game called Polybius.  I don't want to give away the entire story if you've not heard it before, but a capsule version is that in 1981.ev a strange video game called Polybius was installed in a number of video arcades in the Pacific Northwest.  The game supposedly had a strange effect on some of the people playing it, ranging from long periods of hypnosis to night terrors, epileptic convulsions and …

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  6. Back online in time for the holiday season, I guess.

    20 November 2017

    I guess I should wish everybody out there a happy Thanksgiving that celebrates it.

    I haven't been around much lately, certainly not as much as I would like to be.  Things have been difficult lately, to say the least.

    Around this time of year things go completely berserk at my dayjob.  For a while I was pulling 14 hour days, capped off with feverishly working three days straight on one of the biggest projects of my career, which not only wound up going off without more than the expected number of hitches but has garnered quite a few kudos from …

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  7. Technomancer Tools: YaCy

    07 November 2017

    UPDATED: Added an Nginx configuration block to proxy YaCy.

    If you've been squirreling away information for any length of time, chances are you tried to keep it all organized for a certain period of time and then gave up the effort when the volume reached a certain point.  Everybody has therir limit to how hard they'll struggle to keep things organized, and past that point there are really only two options: Give up, or bring in help.  And by 'help' I mean a search engine of some kind that indexes all of your stuff and makes it searchable so you …

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  8. Exocortices: A definition of a technology.

    02 November 2017

    Originally published at Mondo 2000, 10 October 2017.

    A common theme of science fiction in the transhumanist vein, and less commonly in applied (read: practical) transhumanist circles is the concept of having an exocortex either installed within oneself, or interfaced in some way with one's brain to augment one's intelligence.  To paint a picture with a fairly broad brush, an exocortex was a system postulated by JCR Licklider in the research paper Man-Computer Symbiosis which would implement a new lobe of the human brain which was situated outside of the organism (though some components of it might be internal).  An …

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  9. Pictures from a cruise on San Francisco Bay.

    18 October 2017

    A couple of weeks ago I had an invitation to take a lunch cruise on San Francisco Bay aboard the Hornblower.  It was a work sort of thing, a quarterly fun-thing to do after putting in longer hours than usual organized by one of my cow-orkers.  As luck would have it, that was one of the rare days that it rained in the Bay Area.  You might think that it would put a damper on things but it doesn't rain much out here these days so any change of weather is not only noteworthy, it's a pleasant change of pace …

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  10. Art installation: Visualization of city-wide Internet traffic.

    10 October 2017

    "Program a map to display frequency of data exchange, every thousand megabytes a single pixel on a very large screen.  Manhattan and Atlanta burn solid white.  Then they start to pulse, the rate of traffic threatening to overload your simulation.  Your map is about to go nova.  Cool it down.  Up your scale.  Each pixel a million megabytes.  At a hundred million megabytes per second, you begin to make out certain blocks in midtown Manhattan, outlines of hundred-year-old industrial parks ringing the old core of Atlanta..."

        --From Neuromancer by William Gibson

    While wandering around downtown San Francisco a couple of …

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