Author Archives: froztbyte - Page 2

And another one

Seriously loving my cellphone company right now.

vodacom billing engine excellence

PRERATE ALL THE THINGS

So, to whichever unfortunate person ends up with my support ticket for this, I wish you luck.

P.S. I was told there’s more context needed, so: look at the bundle type in the top bar, and then at the used/avaiable counts. What happened (my guess, but I’m pretty sure) is that when I bought it, their rating system preburned all the data I’ve already done this month (under previous rollover bundle).

Yet another bit of Vodacom portal fun

On my normal account. That used to work perfectly fine.

stupidity

stupidity

Rocket-solid .za DSL setup

After a couple of SOHO router iterations (not all my own, sometimes seen via other people), recurring problems:

  • overheating devices due to bad design
  • crappy stock firmware
  • bugs (that often never get fixed, or updates are never applied)
  • other assorted silly issues, like a 1000-connection session table, or small arp tables, or or or …

Much like the rest of the local linux community, I’d long just done DSL bridging and let a Linux box do the work of Real Internet Connection(tm), but that’s not the easiest pitch for Joe Average Home User. So I found an alternative set of things that works fairly well, and is solid enough for you to fire rockets at it. The recipe is as follows

  • 1x DSL bridge of some kind. Some Broadcom chipsets are excellent
    • I’ve had a hell of a lot of lifetime out of the DSL-2500U
    • if you want cheaper, this Tenda unit
  • 1x Non-shit router
    • A RB750 is pretty good for this. Gets your packets going without too much fancy. Has other benefits too
  • 1x Extra switch, because cheap gigabit is good
    • again, a Tenda unit
    • there are some cheap tp-links and HPs around too that I’ve had before

Cheap, effective, and just slightly annoying on amount of power sockets used. The power used is fairly low, too (we’ve had to test it on another project before, and it’s something like R20/month).

I’ll update the post a bit later with the basic tik config to apply.

Indulgence

This is not a technical post. Nor anything of any consequential substance. I just felt like telling a story.

As mentioned before, I run a little project called Earnoms, which was started to find a place for people to share music, but (if I had to blurb it) in ways that are more social than the “social” music sites. Tonight was a mellow music night. Ended up with over 100 new URLs in the LinkDB just between a couple of people. Not bad, all things considered.

There’s an Afrikaans song called Lisa Se Klavier. I’m not sure if it was Koos Kombuis or Laurika Rauch who wrote it, and I’m sure a quick trip over via Google could answer the question, but I don’t actually care all that much right now. The best online version that I know of is this one. I should note that the statement is somewhat subjective, since I don’t like it when people go full-on drumkit with songs. Almost always it spoils the feeling. If that’s your thing, there’s another version on grooveshark that’ll suit you. There were a couple of other ones mentioned too, such as this track by aKING, and the version of Hallelujah by Karen Zoid which I discovered tonight.

But my story is more of history. Of a couple of years ago when I used to be in choir, at a time when choir was one of the few things of my life that I don’t want to rewrite (or at least, don’t consider wasted, unlike much else of the time then). Of a time when I knew three girls, all whose names started with L. All who could play piano (to varying extents), all who were in choir with me. All who were friends with each other, and loved to song. And I mean loved to sing. I don’t think I ever saw any of them sing without a smile on their faces. It was them who introduced me to some of my first tastes of slightly-specific musical appreciation, even way back then, entirely unintentionally. Unintentionally, because they were just singing to sing. But all things considered, it’s their version of Lisa Se Klavier that is my all-time favourite. Because between the three of them they covered soprano, alto, and contralto. Their version had them picking up the rises and falls from each other, toying with the sound, making it all the more playful (which, if you look at the lyrics, are oddly fitting in some ways). All the while still following on perfectly with each other, all the while smiling. That’s probably one of the memories I’ll carry with me for a very long time. Because it stands out brightly, lightly, and oh so very pleasantly.

All that waffled, I’ll leave you with this: Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong singing Summertime.

My IRC setup

Potentially a somewhat bland topic, but I find myself referring to this often enough that I wanted to write it up; saves me the effort of explaining it in future.

First off, a couple of requirements:

  • low latency on the user input side
  • deal with my somewhat ridiculous volume of IRC usage
  • accessible from any reasonable platform (which I roughly classify as “anything with a keyboard for input, and has internet”)

So when I say “somewhat ridiculous”, that means:

  • 12 IRC networks
  • 65 channels (of varying volume)
  • varying numbers of query windows, usually about 30+ open

I flatten my jabber/gtalk to IRC as well, by using bitlbee. It counts among the 12.

Historically, I had this set up as irssi with irssi-proxy in the USA, then another irssi+irssi-proxy at my home (to join a network only accessible via the WUG at that point), and then I would connect my machine-local client to that server (which was on dyndns). A couple of pain points with this included the fact that dyndns sucks donkey balls, and syncing of logs (which I did with rsync at the time) was crappy. At the time I also had less IRC volume than I do now.

Aside from those pain points, and the occasional power outage at home (which just made me link up to my parent client), this worked well. Quassel’s backlog fetching is shiny, though. Very shiny. I wanted it. So I redid my IRC setup. Now there’s only one master server (currently in Germany), with a quassel core connecting to it. The irssi proxy config looks like so:

20:08:39 -!- Irssi: Module proxy/proxy already loaded
20:08:44 [irssiproxy]
20:08:44 irssiproxy_bind = 127.0.0.1
20:08:44 irssiproxy_password = passwordhere
20:08:44 irssiproxy_ports = freenode=6001 shadowfire=6002 oftc=6003 bitlbee=6004 ...

So basically:

  • /load proxy
  • /set irssiproxy_bind ip
  • /set irssiproxy_password ircpassword
  • /set irssiproxy_ports network=port network2=port2

Connect the quassel core up to the proxy, and that’s it. Infinite scrollback for any of my devices with quassel, and I can just ssh from some random server and connect up to screen as well (which has saved my bacon in DCs a few times).

And yes, I know this is (a bit) crazy.

Vodacom supply chain management adventure

Or “two week’s later and I still don’t know when I’m getting my new phone”.

On the 8th of this month (May 2013), Vodacom announced they had the HTC One up for order, which I’ve been awaiting fairly eagerly. So I go through the order one, have the upgrade process initiated, and ….. well, I’d like to tell you what’s happening next, but apparently I’m in customer support limbo:

Time to wait some more, I guess.

USB port orientation usability idea

I’m not a designer by trade, so this is purely a quick image mockup. But imagine how much quantum turning could’ve been spared if this was in the standard from the getgo:

So what I’m thinking is that on the machine it could get indicated which side is which. And yeah, I finally got to post this thing, after meaning to do so (and continually forgetting) for a couple of months now.

Update: source for image original is Wikipedia

Something I really need to add to my system-prov script

root@likho:~# echo “blacklist pcspkr” > /etc/modprobe.d/diaf.conf
root@likho:~#

Poking at xkcd 1190

I’m probably not the only one doing this, but… let’s poke around at the innards of xkcd 1190. I’ll update this as I find things. I’m not particularly clued at JS yet (browsers are not my main playground), so I’m hitting this as it comes ;)

So far, useful things found:

  • there’s a minified script for making all of this happen, run it through a beautifier of your choice to be able to read it
  • append #verbose to the end of the URL for JS console logging messages
  • there appears to be an event listener thing going on, with what appear to be UUIDs attached to the events. I suspect they’re only format-similar though, because they must be time-dependent. Update: looks like it’s just kept in memory
  • the json passed to the xkcd servers looks like so:
s {type: "comic/time", data: "{"spread":5,"image":"a901246fd70dcd0054429bf55ced123ecead832300d73dedd78857d91eaff2df.png"}", lastEventId: "c0ddcdf0-9547-11e2-8001-1c6f659cb250"}

More as I find it

P.S.: Randall Munroe you are a hell of a nerdsniper.

A Lament

This post will not mention anything new. It will not say anything someone else hasn’t before. It serves only as a landmark, a waypoint, a memory.

This post is about weev. In recent months he’s been found guilty on a bunch of bullshit charges, and today he’s been sentenced. I won’t go into the details. Other people already have (here’s the transcript, here’s the Wired search results for his name. Check around on twitter for #freeweev. Here’s another site about it. Have fun.)

I came to know him online/on IRC very briefly, but from the first supported his side of things. weev has often been described as unpleasant (to put it very mildly). I don’t much care for that. weev’s cool, and anyone who’s spent even a bit of time talking to him will tell you that. He’s also effectively the fallguy in this whole story. He went ahead and pissed on the shoes of AT&T, and now he’s being put away for 41 months (along with restitution). For making it known that people’s information (to whatever extent) was available on a public webserver, and all you needed to do was be able to look at/modify a URL, and do math (add 1 to the identifier at the end of it). There’s a number of things that work this way. Hell, twitter status updates are posted in numerical order. A few years ago they used to have the global firehose of all content available. Viewing that without permission could’ve been equated to breaking the law (under this ruling).

This probably sets quite a fucked precedent. There’s a lot to be said about it. But I say only this: it fucking sucks. Tons. And I hope that this situation can change. :(

P.S. for anyone who wants an idea of weev’s character, this is it: “No matter what the outcome, I will not be broken. I am antifragile.” — @rabite