Archives for: April 2005


Cable modem, burning bright

posted by marco on 05.04.08 at 12:30, computers, null, Leave a comment Permalink

And I've seen speeds above 600 kB/s at times...


project I'm working on

posted by scott on 05.04.07 at 21:13, null, hacks, 1 comment Permalink

For a class final project, I'm trying to develop something that can help people to understand/compare mortgages.

I did a little volunteer work for a lender last spring and was surprised at the apparent lack of standard terminology and clear references in the world of lending. I see this project as one way to attack that problem, although I go back and forth on whether it is the right approach, or can actually amount to anything.

Anyway, if anyone cares to check it out I'd enjoy hearing their thoughts.

comment by scott on 05.04.07 at 22:14
Also, if anyone (Devin?) knows more than I do about mortgages, I'm sort of groping in the dark.

This shouldn't be loose

posted by marco on 05.04.07 at 20:33, null, bicycles, 4 comments Permalink

I just noticed a loose piece on my bike: the ring in the left-hand image is dangling and swinging around the pedal axle. It looks like it should screw onto the shaft going through the frame, but that's not sticking out enough to catch the threads--as shown in the right-hand image, it's poking out a bit on the other side.

So for all you bike gurus: what should I do about this? The part in the right-hand image looks like it has two flattened edges so I could turn it with the right kind of wrench--should I go to The Missing Link and use their tools to screw that in? Or should I just bang on it to try to whack it back the other way to screw on the ring? Or is it something different that needs to happen?

comment by collin on 05.04.07 at 22:10
No banging! No banging!

Those two pieces are lockrings, and they should not be loose. In fact they're usually very difficult to take off. Assuming nothing is too stripped, you should go to a shop an grab a, uh, lockring wrench. Which looks like this. Now unless I'm wrong, one is normally threaded and one is reverse, and I can never remember which is which. Now it may be possible to tighten them without pulling the crank arms off but I'm not sure. None of this is hard, if you'd done it before it would take 15 minutes.

Ben, Graham, anything to add?
Oh, and grease them before you put them back on.
comment by collin on 05.04.07 at 22:15
Now that I look closely...
Are there only 2 threads outside the bottom bracket shell on the non-drive side? That seems strip prone to me. Ben, you've seen this thing in person...
comment by marco on 05.04.07 at 22:43
I think what you're saying looks strip prone is the part that I think should be out farther. I was guessing that there was one piece that went through the frame with the lockring on the drive side connected to the threads sticking out of the other side. Am I wrong?

The lockring on the non-drive side is loose and swinging around. In this picture, you can see that I'm holding it at a different orientation. But when I try to get it on the threads to tighten it, it doesn't grab the threads.
comment by graham on 05.04.08 at 00:45
Heres what you will need to do to fix the problem for good. You might be able to fix it temporarily without tools and without removing the cranks, but everything would probably work loose again very quickly.

1. Remove the cranks.
2. Loosen the left side bottom bracket cup (the thing screwed into the frame) 4 or 5 turns.
3. Using a wrench, tighten the right side cup into the frame. It should be pretty tight. If i remember correctly, the right side is threaded backwards, and the left side is threaded normally.
4. With a spanner, screw the left side cup back in until you feel it come to a stop against the bearings. Then back it out a quarter turn or so. The spindle should rotate easily, but without much play.
5. Thread on the lockring, and while still holding the left cup in place with the spanners, use the lockring tool to tighten the lockring against the frame. Again, it should be pretty tight.
6. Put the cranks back on.

This should be a 5 minute job for a competent bike mechanic, so depending on how much this place charges for using their tools, it might be worth it to just have a shop do it. I'd ask them specifically beforehand how much it would cost to have them tighten your bottom bracket.


posted by marco on 05.04.07 at 14:37, null, literature, 2 comments Permalink
I met a traveler from an antique land
Who said: Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them, on the sand,
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read,
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them, and the heart that fed,
And on the pedestal these words appear:
"My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings:
Look upon my works, ye Mighty, and despair!"
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.

-Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792-1822)

comment by devin on 05.04.07 at 15:19
This is the epipgraph of the book I'm reading right now, Jared Diamond's _Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed_
comment by scott on 05.04.07 at 22:18
How is that book?

Once again, another song

posted by collin on 05.04.07 at 12:54, music, null, Leave a comment Permalink

Shit Out of Luck, by Greg Brown

They groan as she passes, their time's gone by,
They wasted their lives in anger and sighs.
They groan as she passes, and make a few cracks,
Once it is gone, it don't come back.

They groan as she passes, she don't even see them,
Their sons are not here, but someday they will be them.
And groan as she passes, and whisper "Oh, fuck,"
My best years are gone, and I'm shit out of luck. I'm shit out of luck.

posted by ben on 05.04.07 at 02:22, null, null, Leave a comment Permalink
Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
-Arthur C. Clarke.

Any sufficiently kind act is indistinguishable from love.

my kind

posted by ben on 05.04.07 at 01:01, null, null, 4 comments Permalink

I think love is that feeling you get. The one where you can't breathe or eat... or finish a novel. It's that thing that absorbs every moment until it destroys you.

It might also be something more comfortable. There should be another name for that. Maybe there is. The thing where you settle down and buy fondue sets. It's not love. It's not the kind of love I want to read about. It's not what I want to write about. It's not what I want.

Love is the fetishism of little parts until they become indistinguishable from the whole. Her eyes... her lips... the way she speaks... until everything she does is perfect. And nobody wants to have those expectations imposed... but it's not love if there's something better waiting in the periphery.

I don't want to be realistic.

comment by marco on 05.04.07 at 01:36

The Greeks knew everything
comment by ben on 05.04.07 at 01:54
Huxley talks about this. I want eros and agape as one. There is no choice between vulgaity and platonism. I want both.
comment by Other Graham on 05.04.07 at 18:02
And just who is that pictured on the floor? Am I missing something? -g
comment by scott on 05.04.07 at 20:16
Who's the girl in the picture?


More fun and desecration with babelfish

posted by marco on 05.04.06 at 22:21, funny, null, 1 comment Permalink

This text has taken the path English -> Greek -> French -> Dutch -> English:

We gardons this truths to be clear, which all persons he right is created, qu they are financed by their author thanks to some unalienable rights, which are these life, freedom and the search of the luck enters. That for for they the these rights guarantee, the governments between the persons have been determined, the authorisation controlled by their strengths of exactly that when n sails in which form of government the destroying of it extrêmes becomes, it draw human right for changing are or qu withdraw, and qu the new government establish, who is foundations to such principles lays and which is strengths under their such form organises, if maggots will seem as of now probable for influence the security and their luck.

You'll probably recognize it, mutilated though it be. I think it's great...especially the last phrase. Hooray for babelfish!

comment by collin on 05.04.06 at 23:52

90+% of open dirs are porn

posted by ben on 05.04.06 at 19:31, null, puppies, 1 comment Permalink
comment by collin on 05.04.06 at 23:34
Uh, not that I was looking at it...
But I think the list of open directories they have is only a compilation of what people look at. Therefore it is not a random sample of the content of the interweb, but rather shows that what people look at is 90% porn.


posted by collin on 05.04.06 at 18:03, nonsense, null, 1 comment Permalink

I was looking around at job listings on craigslist, when I came across...


I screamed...
Then I cried.

comment by graham on 05.04.08 at 02:17
What am I missing here? I don't understand...

QED bitch.

posted by ben on 05.04.06 at 18:00, math, math, 1 comment Permalink

The Economist has an article claiming computers will be doing math in 20-50 years.

"Why should the non-mathematician care about things of this nature? The foremost reason is that mathematics is beautiful, even if it is, sadly, more inaccessible than other forms of art."

First: Math isn't art. It's demoralizing rigorous work. It drives men like Godel and Erdos mad (assuming the mad aren't simply drawn to math). If, through the hand of providence, that doesn't happen, then they end up demoralized like Hardy. A life in math is a life of suffering. A life in art involves wine, love and the beautiful people.

Second: Sure, I can see computers filling in Flickr like meta data. They're good at that sort of mundane stuff, even if the algorithms aren't quite there. But proving things? No. The four colours proof wasn't done by computers. Computers only crunched some finite cases. They didn't come up with those cases. When we have a computer that can structure a proof, then I'll believe.

On the other hand, this proof automating software is cool. I want to use it for something. The manual for HOL:

comment by collin on 05.04.07 at 13:15
I, of course agree with Ben, as I am allready mad or will be soon. And as usual the article is somewhat sensationalist. Of course all their examples are simple a computer checking some large finite number of cases. Wait, I thought I had something interesting to say...

I found this to be quite interesting:
Although the Annals will publish Dr Hales's paper, Peter Sarnak, an editor of the Annals, whose own work does not involve the use of computers, says that the paper will be accompanied by an unusual disclaimer, stating that the computer programs accompanying the paper have not undergone peer review. There is a simple reason for that, Dr Sarnak says—it is impossible to find peers who are willing to review the computer code. However, there is a flip-side to the disclaimer as well—Dr Sarnak says that the editors of the Annals expect to receive, and publish, more papers of this type—for things, he believes, will change over the next 20-50 years. Dr Sarnak points out that maths may become “a bit like experimental physics” where certain results are taken on trust, and independent duplication of experiments replaces examination of a colleague's paper.

I find it suprising, to the point of doubiousness, that no "peer" was willing to look at his code. I understand that corectness proof of code/languages is difficult, but really no one would look at it? Then you have the question, what if a bit flipped somewhere on one of the cases? C'est la vie...
You can find the paper here.

NLP is stupid, I ate the babel fish...

posted by collin on 05.04.06 at 17:44, nonsense, null, 1 comment Permalink

all language is stupid...

Can you recognize this before it was translated from english to french, to german, to english, to spanish, to french, to english, to chinese, to english, to chinese, TO ENGLISH?

Is perhaps the question order: If ethyl alcohol zuegel and is unworthy the fortune arrow completes suffers adopts surplus them or the arm were opposed the request excessive duty and by opposes tis nobly: Does not color in the order or, sleeps; And by the dream, first states you to complete sorrowful and the friend 1,000 vibrates normals, the meat and is inherits? Tis it respectfully wishes the consumption. Perhaps the color, the sleep has the dream sleep; I, is brings frotante there to stop dying, that this dream dream is possibly comes, if our slatterns balance in death except this for above, they must oppose the detonation elasticity.

comment by marco on 05.04.06 at 22:05

To be, or not to be: that is the question:
Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them? To die: to sleep;
No more; and by a sleep to say we end
The heart-ache and the thousand natural shocks
That flesh is heir to, 'tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wish'd. To die, to sleep;
To sleep: perchance to dream: ay, there's the rub;
For in that sleep of death what dreams may come
When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,
Must give us pause

Hilarious. Thank you, babelfish.

Ghost in the Shell

posted by graham on 05.04.06 at 17:31, Misc, null, Leave a comment Permalink

This is perhaps the most bizarre response to a job inquiry I've ever received.
I guess I'll have to be wary of haunted websites from now on.

There is no position available. The klein website has had some
technical difficulties and has been posting jobs that are not

Todd V-------
HR Generalist
(800) 313-8735
x 12---

posted by ben on 05.04.06 at 16:08, null, null, Leave a comment Permalink

I saw Clint Eastwood earlier today... panhandling for coffee money.
He had like 85 cents.


From "Art as Technique"

posted by graham on 05.04.05 at 12:21, Misc, null, Leave a comment Permalink

And so life is reckoned as nothing. Habitualization devours works, clothes, furniture, one's wife, and the fear of war. "If the whole complex lives of many people go on unconsciously, then such lives are as if they had never been." And art exists that one may recover the sensation of life; it exists to make one feel things, to make the stone stony. The purpose of art is to impart the sensation of things as they are perceived and not as they are known. The technique of art is to make objects 'unfamiliar,' to make forms difficult, to increase the difficulty and length of perception because the process of perception is an aesthetic end in itself and must be prolonged. Art is a way of experiencing the artfulness of an object: the object is not important.

-Victor Shklovsky

Espresso Ganja Matte

posted by ben on 05.04.05 at 03:23, coffee, coffee, Leave a comment Permalink

There are plenty of things other than espresso that can be put in an espresso machine. The most obvious is matte. Tea, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, dried berries... all these things could be mixed with espresso to give it a novel taste. I think a cinnamon and nutmeg infused mocha sounds quite tasty. I could even build custom espresso machines capable of extracting espresso from granite at ten billion PSI.

Is there a reason this is a bad idea?

The Ideal Coffee Shop: The Menu

posted by ben on 05.04.05 at 02:54, coffee, 10 comments Permalink

Prices should not involve any currency smaller than a quarter. Drinks should be cheap, and the staff should depend on tips. This fosters a personal relationship between customers and staff as well as the minor fraud that leads to coffee shop loyalty.

Only serve torani syrup. The other stuff tastes wrong, indescribably wrong. Only serve chocolate syrup, either Hershey's or Ghirardelli. People notice the cheap stuff. A mocha made with powder is fine for five minutes, but after ten, the powder comes out and starts to settle leaving you with the distinct impression you are drinking sand. Whipped cream should be freshly made. The aerosol stuff is an insult to the concept of whipped cream and it destroys the top of a drink. It's so easy to make whipped cream right. Mix cream, sugar and vanilla in the canister. Close. Shake. Add nitrogen and you're good.

Pastries should be made fresh daily. If they don't sell, give them to the homeless people. Don't sell them for $1. If you do that, people will spend $1 buying shitty pastries they are dissatisfied with instead of $2-3 on pastries they enjoy. Both the customer and coffee shop suffer.

Do not even consider selling Starbucks coffee. This is a death sentence to an independent coffee shop. The hippies will not touch you because you are tainted and the Starbucks crowd won't patronize you because you aren't tainted enough. Sell only free trade organic locally roasted in the co-op by hippies brand coffee.

The menu itself:

Coffee - coffee cup.

The Classics:
Espresso - espresso cup, 1 shot.
Cappuccino - coffee cup, 1 shot, foam.
Cafe Latte - large coffee cup, 2 shots, milk, a bit of foam.
Cafe Mocha - large coffee cup, 2 shots, milk, chocolate syrup, a bit of foam, whipped cream optional.

Florentine - pint glass, half milk, half drip coffee, chocolate syrup.
Americano - coffee cup, 1 shot espresso, water.

Not Coffee:
Hot Chocolate - pint glass, milk, chocolate syrup, whipped cream optional.
Chai - pint glass
Selection of loose tea - pot, coffee cup.
Mate - pot, coffee cup.
Italian Soda - pint glass, sparkling water, 1.5 shots torani.
Steamed Milk - pint glass, steamed milk, 1.5 shots torani (usually almond or hazelnut).

Coffee - pint glass
Black Tea - pint glass
Herbal Tea - pint glass

Almond Biscotti
Chocolate Biscotti
Pan au Chocolat

Inspired by Blue:
Vanilla Ice Cream and Espresso

Under the Counter:
Bailey's and Coffee - coffee cup, Bailey's, coffee
Irish Coffee - coffee cup, whiskey, coffee

comment by marco on 05.04.05 at 09:06
Steamed milk doesn't necessarily need torani. It can be very soothing with just a little sugar or honey, and a tiny sprinkle of nutmeg or cinnamon on top...also danishes are a good addition to the pastry menu. Cheese especially, but also raspberry or strawberry. And I wouldn't say no to apple fritters.

(By the way, I am given the option of editing this posting...was it posted to nonplatonic primarily and your own blog as a cross-post?)
comment by Shenandoah on 05.04.05 at 09:52
The Starbucks-knockoff coffee shop in Greeley charges you more for a larger size of tea. I was very confused by this, and tried, on my second visit, to order a small tea served to me in a large cup. This created whispering and furrowed eyebrows, until I was told that I was not allowed to do this - either I could order a large cup of tea or buy an individal tea bag and a Styrofoam cup and fill it with hot water from the sink in the unisex restroom.

Where would this experience rank on the 'ideal coffee shop' set of standards?
comment by graham on 05.04.05 at 11:45
I changed the lattes to a coffee cup. You can't make a rosette in a pint glass, and rosettes are important for espresso drinks. They let you know the crema is there, and they look nice.

Hippie co-op free-range patchouli roast tastes like crap, by the way. I'd use a good italian-style roast. If you think I'm wrong, try looking for good espresso in Boulder. Good luck.

The people in the Greeley Starbucks must be confused/high. Here in Seattle (where they most likely know what they're doing) they charge based on the number of teabags. A tall tea is assumed to use 1 bag, while a grande takes 2 and is therefore more expensive. If you ask for 1 teabag in a grande cup, it will cost the same as a normal tall tea.
comment by ben on 05.04.05 at 13:35
Marco: That's exactly what I did. This is the sort of post where it would make sense if we could change/add to it.

Since the troll I came how with went away, I changed it back to showing all comments.
comment by ben on 05.04.05 at 14:35
Graham: What's the difference between a latte in a cup and a cappuccinno? Point taken with the hippie pot roast, but you've at least got to have free trade so you can put a picture of the smiling latin american who grew your coffee while smiling while burning down the rain forest.

Shenandoah: In an ideal coffee shop there would be no tea bags and the issue would be moot. Though I do like that they chased you off to the bathroom.
comment by graham on 05.04.05 at 16:36
A cappucino is supposed to be foam with espresso poured through it. Some places cheat and put lots of milk in, because making lots of foam is a bother. A "wet" cappucino is one with lots of milk, and one with little or no milk and just foam (mmm... tasty) is a "dry cap."
comment by ben on 05.04.05 at 17:55
What's a latte then?
comment by Shenandoah on 05.04.06 at 07:21
In my coffee shop days, a cappuccino was supposed to be equal parts espresso, milk, and foam (with adjustments for 'wet' or 'dry') while a latte has a lot more milk and may or may not have any foam at all.
comment by mmm..... on 05.04.06 at 16:28
Looks good...
comment by graham on 05.04.06 at 17:16
This is why lattes belong in cups.

Starbucks Delocator

posted by ben on 05.04.05 at 00:36, coffee, coffee, 1 comment Permalink

Stolen from boingboing. Nate thinks I should start a coffee shop site ranking on the basis of coffee, quality of people, ability to sit there for 3 hours... I'm lazy, but thinking about it. The Starbucks Delocator is almost that. It's missing the reviews though. I added the Trident, but misspelled wireless. How you ask? Wirless. It appears to be written in stone.

I want to write a collaborative essay on the ideal coffee shop. Floor color, menu, lighting, all of it. That way when I break down and give up, I'll know exactly what sort of coffee shop I will never have the capital to start.

Coffee in Boulder (really crappy reviews)

I can build it... stronger, faster...

comment by graham on 05.04.05 at 01:27
"Patrons are crazy." Classic!


I want to believe.

posted by ben on 05.04.04 at 17:48, null, puppies, 6 comments Permalink

I've been trying to use Firefox. You know... IE is so outdated and outmoded and out. But Firefox keeps doing stuff like this (which does look kind of cool):

Sure, I hit refresh and it went away... but it shouldn't have happened in the first place. I like the tabs. I like the opening and simultaneous refreshment of all my reading material from a single click.

So I'm in limbo. I have Firefox windows for the sites I know it will work on (most of the time and after refreshing), and IE for going new places. This is not right.

comment by marco on 05.04.04 at 18:26
Wow, that's strange. I just went to Graham's site and saw the exact same thing in Mozilla, and it went away when I refreshed. But I'm sure it didn't do that last time I looked at it. Weird...

Since I run only linux, I don't have IE to test against, but in general I have almost zero complaints about sites rendering. What sites do you go to that you have problems with? This is actually the first quirk I can remember seeing in months. But maybe I just don't know how most sites are "supposed" to look when viewed with IE.
comment by ben on 05.04.04 at 18:33
I had issues with the checkout at yesterday and both the IBM and Microsoft jobs sites a while ago... not that any of this is terribly profound.
comment by graham on 05.04.04 at 23:42
What's irritating is that my page seems to load incorrectly at random.
And I can't log into my router with Mozilla/Firefox. How lame is that?
comment by anwar on 05.04.05 at 09:31
This seems related to the well known "slashdot render" bug in Mozilla/Firefox

As far as I can tell, the bug comes from a race condition somewhere... which causes the seemingly random behaviour. As a time-wasting monkey, who visits slashdot far too often, I have noticed this bug at seemingly random times (but it happens less at work where I'm behind a proxy, than at home).

As far as Firefox/IE ... This bug is a small price to pay vs. the pop-ups, and security holes which allow people to exploit my windows box. Also, my credit union and router are perfectly happy with firefox clients.

comment by ben on 05.04.05 at 14:47
Once again... IE blocks popups. It just doesn't have tabs.

So, the question is: Is it worth it to have crap browser performance in order to have tabs and that happy feeling you get from using free as in french toast software?
comment by graham on 05.04.06 at 17:44
Yes, tabs are worth it. Not to mention built-in RSS capability, the bookmarks toolbar, the multi-engine search box, the download manager (which is handy but could still use a little modification) and way less crashing.

IE is free as far as I'm concerned.

The Terrible Stench of Coffeeshop Death

posted by graham on 05.04.04 at 16:15, Rants, coffee, Leave a comment Permalink

My local coffee establishment has died, and I didn't even see it coming. Maybe it's not dead yet. It could have been just a stroke, like Prufrocks used to have periodically. But the end is in sight.
The usual signs - new partners, shorter hours, menu modifications - are all there.
Even as I'm typing this I can hear one of the new partners conducting an analysis. She's comparing the coffee prices to Starfucks. I want to warn her, to say to her "I'm sorry, Miss, but your community college economics aren't enough to save your investment."
I want to tell her it is more complicated. I want to tell her about the art displays, the furniture, the music they choose, the lighting and the temperature they keep the room at. I want to tell her how much the pastries suck, how the desserts are awful, and how the flavorings they choose for the drink specials make it taste more like medicine than coffee. But I know they won't listen, because they think that lowering prices ten cents will make demand skyrocket, and that closing two hours earlier every day will dramatically reduce their expenses.

Fare thee well sweet Flipside. I'll stay with you to the end. Even when you've forgotten my name and close at 5 PM, I'll be there.

Unless you start playing Dido again.


posted by collin on 05.04.04 at 11:17, nonsense, null, Leave a comment Permalink

Ah! well-a-day! what evil looks
Had I from old and young!
Instead of the cross, the Albatross
About my neck was hung.

What's your albatross?


building on open source

posted by scott on 05.04.03 at 21:04, Catch-all, null, 1 comment Permalink

This Reuters article (from Slashdot) talks about how the availability of open source
software is making it possible to hack together cool new things quickly and cheaply.

To me this is an example of the orders-of-magnitude-higher value that is offered by open source software.

comment by ben on 05.04.04 at 18:10
The open source argument I remember from the olde days (when RedHat 5.0 was bright and new) went something like:

In the open source era your os will be free, the applications you use will be free, it will all be free.

Only big companies will pay for software. That's because they have special needs and can hire developers for those needs. These companies will then release that software as free because it costs them nothing to do so.

As a result commercially developed software will mingle with freely developed software in a utopian software regime making everyone happy and personable.

Am I getting this right? Has the open source model changed? Are we still expecting the demise of Microsoft, Adobe, Autodesk and Macromedia? Is there any provision for game development in this brave new world?

For the Mechanically Inclined

posted by ben on 05.04.03 at 18:54, null, kittens, 1 comment Permalink

See the little black piece of plastic? Which way should it go to give me the most travel?

It seems like it's (2), but my explanation would involve much hand waving.

comment by graham on 05.04.04 at 01:44
Ooh ooh! I know this one! It's 2!

no nirvana

posted by ben on 05.04.03 at 14:32, null, puppies, Leave a comment Permalink

"Not to be rich, not to be famous, not to be mighty, not even to be happy, but to be civilized -- that was the dream of his life."

-Philip Roth, When She Was Good, pg 1

"...she could not understand the most basic fact of human life, the fact that I am me and you are you."

-Philip Roth, When She Was Good, pg 11

I get the feeling Portnoy's Complaint was the height of him.

How to p0wn your own boxen...

posted by collin on 05.04.03 at 13:49, nonsense, null, 1 comment Permalink

Let's say you've forgotten the root password to your box, or cluster master node. The box uses shadow passwords so you can't boot off a knoppix CD and edit them. You lilo.conf file has "prompt" commented out so you can't boot into single user mode without changing it. You try to edit the file and run "lilo -C ./lilo.conf" but since you booted off the CD lilo keeps trying to look at "/boot/something" which is on the ramdisk, which makes no sense, and you can't figure out the right flags from the lilo man page.

What do you do?

Get really pissed off and reboot, repeatedly. Do not shutdown, unplug or physically switch off the box. Eventually when booting your box will realise the the hard drive wasn't cleanly unmounted. It will run fsck. If you're lucky fsck will fail. This is what you want. It will now give you a prompt, logged in as root (I do not know it this is single user mode or not). Remount your drive read/write and change the password. It doesn't ask for the old password! Be nice and run fsck. Reboot.


comment by scott on 05.04.04 at 11:21
I can't remember exactly how, since it's been a while since I've needed to do it, but I think it's possible just to interrupt the normal boot process and get a root shell.

Or maybe I'm just thinking of booting to single-user mode...

There are lines in the sky.

posted by ben on 05.04.03 at 03:04, null, kittens, Leave a comment Permalink

Cool night air on my back.
Pinhead’s still crazy. She stabbed a man tonight. Twice. He bit her.
Escape. Get me out of here. Duff is reading “How to be an adult.”
I know: get a job you lazy slob.
He thinks he’s strong. Flexes his arms… they might snap like twigs. He’s arguing against the American dream tonight. It seems none of us can be rich… well 0.1% apparently. The odds are not good.
The good news: happiness is attainable. I saw it just the other day.
(What Duff doesn’t know is his life is destined to be misery and pain.) Fortunately when this happens Duff won’t notice. His friend is a reactionary in a Hawaiian shirt. They are both too tall. Perhaps one will tip over, his head on the wood floor like a melon...
In case you were wondering: metaphor is alive and well. Pretense is dead. No, really.


I am so cool.

posted by collin on 05.04.02 at 18:06, pictures, null, Leave a comment Permalink

Yet another reason I'm mad at the government.

posted by collin on 05.04.02 at 11:00, null, science, Leave a comment Permalink

Why is it so difficult to find good information on government research? The first time this happened to me I was looking for papers on scanning confocal electron microscopy which was developed at Argonne National Labs by Nestor Zaluzec. The most detailed information I could find was in his patent application, which as we all know are most often absolutely useless. Yesterday I saw an article at everyone's favorite futurist/transhumanist rag. So wondering if this has any bearing on "research" I have no business doing, I went in search of actual technical papers. All I was able to find were useless press releases and an equally (in that it's the same content as the press release) useless attempt at a research page. But there's a patent pending on the technology, so I could allways to and try to look at TIFFs of his patent application. My tax dollars should NOT be paying for broken links and fucking TIFFs. I'm glad that there is a push for publicly viewable peer-reviewed journals for fedarally funded research, at least in the biosciences. I have only a basic understanding of intellectual property law, but it bothers me severly when government funded research is at best hard to find and at worst not publicly viewable.

Sin City

posted by devin on 05.04.02 at 01:36, Absurdities, null, 2 comments Permalink

You should see it. That is all.

comment by graham on 05.04.02 at 02:13
Wow, I'm sold!
Edit: I haven't seen the movie yet, but I'm in the middle of reading the comics. Miller's drawings are pretty impressive.
comment by marco on 05.04.03 at 18:15
Saw it. It was a very interesting movie, and very well done. I loved the use of black and white contrasted with the splashes of color. I liked the cars flying over hills. It was very well done.

But I didn't like the level of graphic and glorified violence in the movie. The rest of the people in the theater obviously loved it (or at least enough to make it sound like everyone), but it's just more than I wanted. I'll admit that it wasn't gratuitous in that it was integral to the story that was being told, but in that case I would have preferred a slightly different story. Pulp Fiction had about as much cold-blooded violence as I want to see in a movie, and this was just too much.

But it was stark and a bit stunning and definitely interesting.


When people with too much education try to be funny.

posted by collin on 05.04.01 at 18:42, nonsense, null, Leave a comment Permalink

From here.


Jack Napier (1), Seto Kaiba (2) and Yuffie Kisaragi (2)

1 James T. Smith Library, Brooklyn College, Brooklyn, New York
2 Kyuzo Institute, Osaka University, Osaka, Japan

Available online 1 April 2005.


We proffer an epistemological, ontological, and ecumenical analysis of the informatics zeitgeist surrounding librarians and so-called information scientists. A fuzzy systems tautomerism and transformative hermeneutic lexiae with stemming metadata shows that behind an axiometric normalization of mutually reinforcing moieties, institutionalized metaphors, and naïve liturgical dogmas lies nothing more than gormandized aphorisms and pseudoscientific quanta. This endemic helix permeates the koans of nacirema determinates and quidditative paradigms alike. The operationalized gestalt is collapsed, as with its photonic counterpart, via an interaction among the cromulent a priori of epiphenomenal knowledge management and the parsimonious lorem ipsum of atomistic artificial intelligence and its ilk. Neither the nascent yet positivist hyperliteracy movement nor the transactive pedagogical convergence of jingoistic multiliteracies possess the constituent wherewithal for explicating the existence of information per se or affirming the verstehende of contemporary librarianship; you can't eat your cake and have it too. Ramifications for string theory and consciousness studies are also addressed.

how it went down

posted by ben on 05.04.01 at 17:55, null, null, Leave a comment Permalink
Sk8ter: What're you studying?
Collin: Topology.
Sk8ter: Is that, like, really technicated?

The thing about books...

posted by ben on 05.04.01 at 16:57, null, null, Leave a comment Permalink

"I believe that Ghandi's views were the most enlightened of all the political minds of our time. We should strive to do things in his spirit. Not to use violence in fighting for our cause, but by not participating in anything you believe is evil."

-Books Sample from there is no there

The trouble with writing...

posted by ben on 05.04.01 at 15:48, null, null, Leave a comment Permalink

It used to be if you were wealthy you wrote. Maybe you wrote strange and antiquated memoirs like Count Hermann Keyserling's Travel Diary of a Philosopher, or maybe you wrote like Spinoza... but you wrote. It's what rich people did. For the most part rich people wrote crap.

Mass literacy came along and suddenly the poor decided to write... and they wrote novels... and published them, some even made a living as writers (most starved to death in fetid basements).

Now everyone with an iBook can write. And they do... they submit manuscripts created in their spare time. First you get a job, secure financial well being, then you write. I don't want my artists starving, but I don't want them cynical and calculating either... maybe I do want them to starve: gives them character.

These new authors write in their spare time. They publish books if they can, and when they do the money is a consolation, not the stuff of subsistence... because they already have a day job. I hear it's even more fun if you happen to be a poet.

The result is a market flush with people willing to work for nothing... a market where it's impossible to make a living as a writer.

April fools.

posted by collin on 05.04.01 at 00:22, nonsense, null, 2 comments Permalink

Those cheeky google people...

comment by anwar on 05.04.01 at 06:55
Going back to our discussion about UI - this is another step forward in the race to make computing "just work"...

G is for growth
Storage is an important part of email, but that doesn't mean you should have to worry about it.
comment by collin on 05.04.02 at 10:25
Wait, they were serious? Well, not about the infinity+1 thing, but I now have a "quota" of 2.05 GB which matches up with the running counter on the gmail homepage. I don't think "quota" is the right word for this any more...