Neologism: Rotten egg dependency

rotten egg dependency - noun phrase -  A service that a mission-critical application relies upon that nobody knows about but brings everything to a screaming halt when something happens to it.  In a sane world, said dependency should have nothing at all to do with the thing that just crashed.  Called this because it's as pleasant a surprise as a rotten easter egg at breakfast.  Best explicated by the following haiku:

It's not DNS
There's no way it's DNS
It was DNS

Linking the Signal CLI with Signal on your mobile.

20170107: It's not "group name" it's "Group ID."  I don't know how to find that yet.

The communications program Signal by Open Whisper Systems is unique in several respects.  Firstly, its barrier to entry is minimal.  You can search for it in the Google Play online store or Apple iOS appstore and it's waiting there for you at no cost.  Second, it's designed for security by default, i.e., you don't have to mess around with it to make it work, and it does does the right thing automatically and enforces strong encryption by default (unlike a lot of personal …

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Semi-autonomous agents: What are they, exactly?

This post is intended to be the first in a series of long form articles (how many, I don't yet know) on the topic of semi-autonomous software agents, a technology that I've been using fairly heavily for just shy of twenty years in my everyday life. My goals are to explain what they are, go over the history of agents as a technology, discuss how I started working with them between 1996e.v. and 2000e.v., and explain a little of what I do with them in my everyday life. I will also, near the end of the series, discuss …

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ISC milestone achieved - Mac port unlocked!

Now I can come up for air for a couple of days...

As mentioned over at the Project Byzantium blog, we released v0.3.2a of Byzantium Linux last night. This release is noteworthy because we figured out how to successfully port it to the Mac, which involved a certain amount of kernel hackery.

We also released two .iso images, one a regular .iso image that you can burn to disk and boot from, and another that you can write to a flash drive and boot from as well as burn to a disk. We recommend that Mac users try …

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August 2012 Byzantium development sprint this weekend!

To work around some scheduling conflicts, this month's Project Byzantium development sprint will be held this weekend, 24 and 25 August 2012 at HacDC. If you've been following the project for a while and would like to get involved, or if you're a new developer and would like to get up to speed this will be a perfect time. In addition to talking over lessons learned since the release of v0.2a we'll be teaching new developers everything you'll need to know to get up to speed.

If you can't attend physically we'll be livestreaming the sprint so you can …

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Sailing To Byzantium v0.2a.

Last weekend the Project Byzantium development team assembled once again at HacDC, this time to close out tickets because we're getting ready for the second alpha release of Byzantium Linux as well as the launch of the official website. I think we're making pretty good progress - about half of the tickets in the bug tracker are closed (i.e., have been fixed) and we're lining up the next set of features. Some weeks back a group of hackers associated with the Zero State took over a pub in the UK and put Byzantium Linux through its most difficult test yet …

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First sprint of the year!

I know, I know, I should get around to writing a proper New Year's post. I won't have time to do that for a day or so. I would like to make a brief announcement, however - there will be a development sprint for Project Byzantium at HacDC on 6 and 7 January 2012 starting in the early evening. It'll probably be cold at the 'space so dress warmly. We're going to be working on the final roadblock before we publish v0.1a, which is the captive portal, or the website that mesh clients will see when they first associate with …

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Down to the wire: Byzantium Development Sprint (September Edition)

Friday evening the Byzantium development team met once again at HacDC to determine where all of us are in the engineering and development process and figure out what we have to do before we can put the alpha release online and announce open testing. Ben the Pyrate has been hard at work setting up the infrastructure and is constructing an automated build environment for the Porteus project (whose distro we're basing Byzantium on), and which we can leverage to make it easier to compile Byzantium Linux into a bootable .iso image. Right now the installation process is entirely manual, which …

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Project Byzantium: Development Sprint #2.

During the last weekend of March in 2011, a few dedicated hackers met at HacDC for the second development sprint of Project Byzantium. Our goal this time was to improvise devices by which gateway nodes of two mesh networks could relay traffic beyond the range of wi-fi to solve the mesh density problem (not enough nodes covering enough ground for complete connectivity). We had a couple of ideas for making a serial link between two mesh nodes that would act as network gateways on each mesh to forward traffic. Traditionally, the easiest way of linking two different systems was over …

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Arduino cross-development kit on Gentoo.

While I’m sitting here hacking around, here’s the exact command that I needed to run to get the Arduino development kit to install properly on Windbringer:

It should be noted that I’m using Layman to manage my overlays, which is why I had to specify the environment variable on the command line.

I discovered that GCC v4.1.2 didn't support the Atmega328, which is what my Arduino Duemilanove is based upon, so I had to upgrade GCC to the latest stable release for Gentoo.  To generate code for the Atmega328, you need v4.2.2 or …

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