For at least five years now I’ve been telling myself that, as nifty as it would be to play with the hardware, I really shouldn’t spend money on a small-form-factor PC. This was not an easy temptation to resist, because I found little systems like the Intel NUC fascinating. I’d look over the specs for… Continue reading Sometimes I should give in to my impulses
The following is a comment I just filed on FCC Docket 15-170, “Amendment of Parts 0, 1, 2, 15, and 18 of the Commission’s Rules et al.” Thirty years ago I had a small hand in the design of the Internet. Since then I’ve become a senior member of the informal collegium that maintains key… Continue reading The FCC must not lock down device firmware!
All my readers should be aware of the Rowhammer attack by now. It gives me great pleasure to report that thanks to our foresight in specifying ECC memory for the design, the Great Beast of Malvern has armor of proof against this attack. The proof being over a thousand runs of the Rowhammer test. Thank… Continue reading The Great Beast is armored!
There have been a flood of big, cheap monitors (2560×1440 and up) becoming available on TigerDirect and other similar sites recently. But I’m here to tell you that these should come with warning labels, and explain why. I’ve had some dolorous experiences with the no-name pair of big flatscreens I bought back in 2013 –… Continue reading Beware cut-price Korean monitors!
Today, for the first time ever in my life, I used a soldering iron. Remarkably, I neither conflagrated my house nor inflicted horrible burns on sensitive portions of my anatomy. Cat and wife are looking visibly relieved at this. As well they might.
Wendell Wilson over at TekSyndicate had a good idea – run the NetBSD repo conversion on a machine roughly comparable to the Great Beast design. The objective was (a) to find out if it freakin’ worked, and (b) to get a handle on expected conversion time and maximum working set for a really large conversion.… Continue reading Proving the Great Beast concept
I’ve attempted to summarize the discussion of build options for the repository-surgery machine. You should see a link at the top of the page: if not, it’s here I invite all the commenters who have shown an interest to critique these build proposals. Naturally, I’d like to make sure we have a solid parts list… Continue reading Building the perfect beast
Something of significance to the design discussion for the Great Beast occurred today. I have finally – finally! – achieved significant insight into the core merge code, the “black magic” section of cvs-fast-export. If you look in merge.c in the repo head version you’ll see a bunch of detailed comments that weren’t there before. I… Continue reading Black magic and the Great Beast
I just shipped cvs-fast-export 1.21 much improved and immensely faster than it was two weeks ago. Thus ends one of the most intense sieges of down-and-dirty frenzied hacking that I’ve enjoyed in years. Now it comes time to think about what to do with the Help Stamp Out CVS In Your Lifetime fund, which started… Continue reading Spending the “Help Stamp Out CVS In Your Lifetime” fund
The patent-troll industry is in full panic over the consequences of the Alice vs. CLS Bank decision. While reading up on the matter, I ran across the following claim by a software patent attorney: “As Sun Microsystems proved, the quickest way to turn a $5 billion company into a $600 million company is to go… Continue reading Commoditization, not open source, killed Sun Microsystems
I’ve been working on GPSD a lot recently – we’re heading towards a 3.10 release with a lot of new features. As part of this release I’ve decided to ship a HOWTO on setting up a high-quality NTP time server using GPSD. In the course of working on that, I’ve had an idea. The idea… Continue reading Stratum 1 time server on a tiny SBC?
It’s been quite a while since I wrote a Smartphone Wars post; I let the series lapse when I concluded that the source I was using for U.S. market share figures had likely disconnected from reality (and more recent surveys from other sources suggest I was right). But the developments of the last couple of… Continue reading The Smartphone Wars: Nokia gives it up for Microsoft
The last couple of weeks have been my vacation, and full of incident.This explains the absence of blogging. First, World Boardgaming Championships. I did respectably, making quarter- and semi-finals in a couple of events, but failed in my goal to make the Power Grid finals again this year and place higher than fifth. I did… Continue reading Summer vacation 2013
I’ve been thinking a lot about keyboards lately. Last Sunday I founded the Tactile Keyboards community on Google+ and watched it explode in popularity almost immediately. Spent most of the next couple of days boning up on keyboard lore so I could write a proper FAQ for the group. On my journey of discovery I… Continue reading Keyboards are not a detail!
I’ve founded a G+ community for fans of the Model M and other buckling-spring keyboards. Here it is: Keyboards with crunch Buckling-spring keyboards are wonderful devices for the discriminating hacker, vastly superior to the mushy dome-switch devices more common these days. But for various reasons (including the mere fact that they contain a lot of… Continue reading Announcing: Keyboards with crunch
Congratulations, Adobe, on your impending move from selling Photoshop and other boring old standalone applications that people only had to pay for once to a ‘Creative Cloud’ subscription service that will charge users by the month and hold their critical data hostage against those bills. This bold move to extract more revenue from customers in… Continue reading Adobe in cloud-cuckoo land
I am composing this blog entry on the right-hand screen of a brand shiny new dual-monitor rig. That took me the best part of a week to get working. I am going to describe what I went through to get here because I think it contains some useful tips and cautions for the unwary.
A friend of mine recently posted this image of a hideous network-cable tangle: I have invented an algorithm for fixing this kind of mess. Probably other people have developed the same technique before, but it wasn’t taught to me and I’ve never seen it written down. Here it is…
It’s beginning to look like Apple’s legal offensive against Android might backfire on it big-time. Comes the news that Judge Koh has declined to suppress evidence that Apple may have copied crucial elements of the iPad design from prototypes developed by Knight-Ridder and the University of Missouri in the mid-1990s.
In “Who’s Afraid of Huawei?” you point out the need for the telecoms industry to adopt transparency guidelines to head off risks from kill switches, spyware, and back doors covertly installed in their equipment. One minimum necessary condition of such transparency is that all software and firmware in these devices must be open source, with… Continue reading An open letter to The Economist