Building a locksport box.

Longtime readers have probably noticed that I have an interest in locksport, or picking locks for the fun of it. As you might imagine, this requires a good deal of buying locks to practice on. From basic practice locks to padlocks, we tend to grab.. well... everything we can find, because there are so many different locks and we try to practice on all of them. While stuck at home waiting for some very long running jobs (multiple hours each) to finish at my dayjob, I decided to keep my hands busy by building myself a lockbox, or a box …

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Installing Searx by hand.

In monitoring the Searx Github repository because I'm a pretty heavy user of this software, I've noticed a common trend. Folks seem to have a hard time getting the automatic installation script to work right. I realize that it would probably make sense to figure out what's going on in there and file a pull request, but given how work's been riding me like a wet pony lately I can't reliably budget time to debug the script under a couple of different distros of Linux and figure out what's wrong. That means that I can't actually help any of the …

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Distributing Huginn workers across servers.

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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Cross-compiling go-sendxmpp.

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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Optimizing Searx with UWSGI.

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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Getting an ancient phone online in 2021.ev

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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Timed posts with Pelican.

Late last year I posted that I'd migrated my website to a new blogging package called Pelican, which is a static site generator. If you noticed that my site's been screamingly fast lately, that's why. My site doesn't have to be rendered one page at a time with PHP on the server, and it also doesn't use one of Dreamhost's likely overloaded database servers as its back end. However, this brings a couple of drawbacks. Logically, a site made out of static HTML5 pages doesn't have a control panel to log into, so there isn't any way of controlling how …

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Clearing stuck jobs in Huginn

From time to time the job workers in Huginn will lock up. This usually happens if they are subjected to an external resource which can be contacted but never seems to respond. A stuck webapp on the other end is usually the problem. If the connection never dies, or takes a long time to time out it can wreak havoc. However, there's a relatively easy way to fix this. First, you have to shut down your job workers. Depending on how many you have this can take a while... once they're down, though, it's a relatively simple matter to use …

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LOCKSS and Git.

The archival community has a saying: LOCKSS. Lots Of Copies Keep Stuff Safe.

Ultimately, if you trust someone else to hold your data for you there is always a chance that the service can disappear, taking your stuff with it. A notorious case in point is Google - the Big G has terminated so many useful services that there is an online graveyard dedicated to them. Some years ago a company called Code Spaces, which was in pretty much the same business as Github was utterly destroyed in an attack. Whoever cracked them got into their Amazon EC2 control panel left …

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Interfacing Fess with Searx.

I promise I'll explain what Fess is in a later post. I want to get this information out there in preparation.

If you haven't used Searx before, it's a self-hosted meta-search engine which queries a wide array of search engines (some of which are also self-hosted), collates the search results, and returns them as a regular search result page, an RSS feed, or a JSON API.

One of the lesser known features is that you can add your own search engines. You can either write your own (using an existing one as a template) or you can leverage one of …

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