November 27, 2002


We had snow this morning. Expected, true, but it's always cool to see it. We got to see the first inch or so last night before going to bed, but when we got up this morning we found that the forecasters had low-balled the accumulation just a little bit. Eight inches of the good stuff--you know, the kind that makes nice snowballs and snowmen, and compacts up well for sledding.

The kids should have quite the fun time, especially if it holds until tomorrow, as there's a good sledding hill near my mom's place, where we'll be for Thanksgiving.

Posted by Dan at 03:29 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

November 26, 2002


Like pretty much everyone else on the planet, I get spam. A fairly large amount, too--20 or 25 pieces a day. Yeah, I know other people get a lot more, but it's enough to be damned annoying. And, like other folks, I have spam filters in. (The very nice SpamAssassin)

The amount of spam I've been getting's been going up recently. Now, this isn't that surprising, as my main e-mail address is nearly a decade old, and I've used it on Usenet for nearly that long. It's there for anyone and everyone to harvest if they really want. (That it's a .org seems to keep the rates down some, at least) It's got me wondering, though--has SpamAssassin, and the other anti-spam filtering tools, actually increased the amount of spam being sent?

That sounds strange, but I don't think so. It used to be that, when I got spam in, I went and black-holed the sending IP address, or forcibly blocked it in sendmail's configs. I've got about fifty or so hosts in that file, and it still catches send attempts. Now, though, I don't do that any more. Spam's filtered and generally deleted, but the sender doesn't know. It used to--I'd give back a 5xx "go get bent" response, and I don't think I was alone in that. It was pretty obvious that my e-mail address, and anyone else's on the server, was bad. Those lists aren't often updated, but there's at least a little pruning that goes on with them. With SpamAssassin, though, it's only me, and there's no indication to anyone that the mail's getting dropped, so my address looks just fine.

I have to wonder how many other people do, or used to do, that? It's a pain, keeping up with the black list, but it seems to work. If AOL, or HotMail, or AT&T broadband, puts in an IP block that stops a lot of inbound spam, while spam filters don't stop anything at all, which provides less of a disincentive.

Posted by Dan at 04:05 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

November 25, 2002

Aqua goodness

VersionTracker brought me another nice toy notice. Seems that Microtek has released beta versions of OS X software to run my scanner. (A ScanMaker 4800) Nice, now I don't have much excuse for not scanning some stuff that I've had laying about here.

Posted by Dan at 03:22 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Blast from the past

I was browsing over at VersionTracker last night to see if anything important had been updated, and I saw a freeware Atari 800 emulator on the front page. (Man, that brings back memories) Well, having been reminded, I was just obligated to go google around until I found a copy of a disk image for M.U.L.E. (as the old 5.25" floppies don't seem to work in this machine. "SuperDrive" indeed!), perhaps the finest game ever released for 8-bit machines.

Ah, an evening of memories. Alas, not an evening of skills as the computer kicked my butt.

I'll have to try this full-screen on a plane some time. That ought to get a good double-take from whoever's sitting next to me...

Posted by Dan at 12:03 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

November 18, 2002


Well, the replacement power supply for this iBook showed up this morning, which is good. I had a nervous time this weekend working on the book, hoping I didn't run out of power. It didn't help that we had a good ice storm sweep through, and we lost power a few times. (I really need to get a journalling filesystem installed on the Linux server. The time it takes to boot from a crash is just too damn long, and this weekend it was racing the next power outage. Crashing during a fsck isn't a good thing.

I also got a new coffee maker. I managed to drop the carafe for the old one. Of course, nobody carries replacement carafes for these things. (Every store has exactly one in stock, and it's always for the coffee maker that nobody actually owns) Getting a new coffee maker only cost twice as much as a replacement carafe anyway, so we just broke down and did it. The old one's scheduled to be cleaned up and sent off to Goodwill. Hopefully they'll have an abundance of carafes and a shortage of coffee makers, and can hook the two up.

Finally, the neverending stream of BIND 8 bugs finally nudged me into upgrading to BIND 9. I'm tired of wondering if some skript kiddie is going to break in and do Evil Things. Hopefully this'll be the last upgrade for a while, though I expect I won't be that lucky.

Posted by Dan at 01:54 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

November 17, 2002

Parrot, phase one, nearly complete

It's odd to think about it, but Parrot's nearly to a state of completion. Oh, it's not 100% done--we still have to build in the compiler modules, make sure that the engine's up to regexes, and get the object system complete--but most of the functionality of the interpreter's actually there. Scary. Here's a list of what I think we need to get to version 0.50:

  1. Dynaloading of bytecode
  2. Dynamic bytecode generation
  3. Exceptions
  4. Extension API definition
  5. Embedding API definition
  6. Dynamic C function calling (via dlsym and friends)
  7. Revamped I/O

Really, that's it. It's scary when you think of it, how far we've come.

Posted by Dan at 03:48 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

November 13, 2002

Upgrades suck sometimes

So, I upgraded to Jagwyre 10.2.2. No problem, went smoothly, with a single casualty--my home-built emacs. Well, no problem, I figure I'll just go rebuild, right?


That probably would've worked if I hadn't been stupid and CVS updated the damn tree first. That's not by itself a problem, except the CVS version of emacs is broken. Unfortunately I had so much trouble with getting emacs to build it took the better part of two days here to figure that out, and now I'm trying to build (again) with a two-week old CVS copy. Bleah.

If I wasn't on a deadline, I'd just bite the bullet and dump it for BBEdit, but BBEdit's different enough that the transition's not clean, and I have some chapters that I must get done by friday.

Posted by Dan at 06:17 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

November 12, 2002

Joys of upgrades

So, OS X 10.2.2 got released yesterday, so I upgraded. Why not, right?

Well, on the whole it seems snappier. I went and enabled journalling, so disk writes will be a bit slower, but that's fine, as I did ask for it. The system doesn't hang or crash much, but it is a laptop and I've had the battery go flat on me occasionally. (I've one that likes to drop from 20% to nothing in a few minutes. Time to replace a battery or two, methinks) Never hurts to be cautious and, while I've not lost anything yet, filesystems do dislike having their power popped with no warning.

Alas, the sole casualty of this upgrade is the build of Emacs I use. It's built from the latest emacs CVS sources and the darned thing just doesn't work. Icon bounces, then stops, and no window. Darn. Luckily I kept the source tree around, so a quickish sync up to the repository's got me in a position to at least rebuild. (A full checkout from the repository takes ages. Emacs is huge)

Posted by Dan at 04:36 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

November 08, 2002

Another book!

It's always cool to walk up the front steps and see packages you didn't expect (or have to pay for :). The comp copies of Computer Science & Perl Programming, the first volume of The Perl Journal collected works (the Jon Orwant-edited issues, at least) showed up today. Cool!

My royalties, along with the royalties for a number of other authors, are going to The Perl Foundation, so go buy a copy or three for the office.

Posted by Dan at 10:21 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

November 06, 2002

Taunted by ignorance

The fine folks at Sasuga Books have come through, despite the vagaries of the US Postal Service and overseas book distributors, and I now have in my hands volumes 8 and 9 of Biobooster Armor Guyver. (No, I'm not sure how to convince this US iBook to insert the proper characters) As if I didn't already have too much stuff to do. :)

Posted by Dan at 01:53 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack