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  •        

       
    Eponymous
    Eponymous
       



    About
    My Infrequently Updated Blog. The web-based journal of M. Forde, computer nerd, endurance athlete, and DeLorean owner


    contact

    Subscribe
    Subscribe to a syndicated feed of my weblog, brought to you by the wonders of RSS.

    Flavors
    There's more than one way to view this weblog; try these flavors on for size.

  • index
  • circa 1993
  • Sections

  • main
  • musings
  • running
  • DeLorean
  • code
  • unix
  • album
  • TBM
  • Archives

  • 2022
  • 2021
  • 2020
  • 2019
  • 2018
  • 2017
  • 2016
  • 2015
  • 2014
  • 2013
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  • 2010
  • 2009
  • 2008
  • 2007
  • Disclaimers, Copyrights, Privacy, Etc.

  • ToS
  • Copyrights
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  • olix0r.net
  • netmeister.org
  • Giraffes
  • Eat. Run. Sleep.

  •        
    24 Dec 2012

    Christmas Eve
    On Christmas Eve, I headed out around 7:00PM to take a look at the Christmas lights and decorations around town. There was a snow storm predicted for around 9:00PM, so I decided to take the DeLorean out for one last drive before the Wonderful Winter Weather(TM).

    The snow started much earlier than expected. The snow was light and slow, and despite the car not handling well in slick conditions, I kept going for a while.

    As I was driving I had the realization that I was having an experience no one else in the world has ever had. I was driving a DeLorean through my town on Christmas Eve, admiring Christmas lights and listening to Christmas music as snow fell.

    I looked over at the empty passenger seat and wished there had been someone, anyone there to share this with. So for now, until circumstances like this arise again, I will continue to be the only person to have experienced this.

    When I got home, I took this photograph.
    Snow Covered DeLorean

    [/dmc] [permanent link]

    02 Dec 2012

    Happy Birthday

    I'm starting to get used to celebrating my birthday at TBM concerts. This year it was about a week prior to my birthday at a show on December 1 held at New York's Gramercy Theatre.

    Along with the tickets, I had also purchased the "VIP package." This package included an autographed poster signed by all members of the band, a "VIP" laminate on a lanyard, and... the opportunity to meet the band prior to the show!

    You may be thinking, "But they stick around after shows and mingle with their fans anyway," and "You've already met them a few times!" Both are true. And even with this "VIP" package meet-and-greet, they still make time for all their fans after the show. What this provided was a somewhat quieter meeting in a more intimate setting.

    In fact the meeting was in a small lounge beneath the concert hall. Dim mood lighting, mirrors, and couches set the atmosphere. I spoke with Rainbow, Michael, and Nate first. Rainbow informed me his name was Michael also and made a joke about the "power of the three Mikes lighting the room." After a bit, they started moving me to Chibi who was sitting on a couch after injuring her knee during a show two nights prior. She tried to walk to me, but I told her not to. She said, "I'll meet you half way then."

    I gave her a get well card, knowing she had had surgery on her vocal chords about 8 weeks prior and recently injured her knee. Someone decided we needed a photo of that and she gave me the card back so I could give it back to her. I believe it was Owen who said, "Act natural and hold it for 30 seconds!"

    I asked Rainbow about writing "Unfamiliar" because both he and OE were given credit in the liner notes. He said it was mostly OE; OE started it and Rainbow had finished it. I said I wanted to thank them because it was a song that had taken on some greater meaning to me and I relayed a brief version of the story of the moment I recognized that. It turns out "Unfamiliar" is one of Chibi's favorite songs too.

    Every one of the bands that night were amazing. All, remarkably, were performing as duos. Creature Feature was a real fun band to see. Their music is heavily influenced by old horror movies which gives them a dark yet fun sound.

    Aesthetic Perfection put on a good performance. Their drummer is amazing and fun to watch. They heavily synth-based and while there was a dark tone to most of their songs, they still had fun and lightened things up with a Fine Young Cannibals cover.

    William Control was the only other act I had heard before the show (Thanks Last.fm!). He was great live and I'd love to see him again. He reminded me a little of Dommin in that Dean Martin meets Glen Danzig sort of way.

    The Birthday Massacre was great. They played a good mix including songs from every album. For most of the set Chibi was sitting on a speaker placed near center at the front of the stage, wearing a knee brace. She stood up and moved around occasionally, but not much. At one point Rainbow sat down on another speaker and stuck out one leg in a similar fashion to how Chibi was seated and laughed a little. It was easy to tell by their interaction here that Chibi and Rainbow are close.

    If you care (or even if you don't), their set list follows:
    • Night Shift
    • Down
    • Control
    • Always
    • Red Stars
    • Video kid
    • Lover's End
    • Forever
    • Pins and Needles
    • Happy Birthday
    • Alibis
    • Calling
    • In the Dark
    • Sleep Walking
    • Midnight
    • -- Encore --
    • Leaving Tonight
    • The Long Way Home
    • Blue


    The band did not leave the stage prior to the encore as they normally would. Chibi said, "This is the part of the show where we say thank you and leave and you clap and we come back out and play some more. But I'm not going to walk down those stairs anymore than I have to, so do you want to hear three more songs?"

    [/musings] [permanent link]

    Happy Birthday

    I'm starting to get used to celebrating my birthday at TBM concerts. This year it was about a week prior to my birthday at a show on December 1 held at New York's Gramercy Theatre.

    Along with the tickets, I had also purchased the "VIP package." This package included an autographed poster signed by all members of the band, a "VIP" laminate on a lanyard, and... the opportunity to meet the band prior to the show!

    You may be thinking, "But they stick around after shows and mingle with their fans anyway," and "You've already met them a few times!" Both are true. And even with this "VIP" package meet-and-greet, they still make time for all their fans after the show. What this provided was a somewhat quieter meeting in a more intimate setting.

    In fact the meeting was in a small lounge beneath the concert hall. Dim mood lighting, mirrors, and couches set the atmosphere. I spoke with Rainbow, Michael, and Nate first. Rainbow informed me his name was Michael also and made a joke about the "power of the three Mikes lighting the room." After a bit, they started moving me to Chibi who was sitting on a couch after injuring her knee during a show two nights prior. She tried to walk to me, but I told her not to. She said, "I'll meet you half way then."

    I gave her a get well card, knowing she had had surgery on her vocal chords about 8 weeks prior and recently injured her knee. Someone decided we needed a photo of that and she gave me the card back so I could give it back to her. I believe it was Owen who said, "Act natural and hold it for 30 seconds!"

    I asked Rainbow about writing "Unfamiliar" because both he and OE were given credit in the liner notes. He said it was mostly OE; OE started it and Rainbow had finished it. I said I wanted to thank them because it was a song that had taken on some greater meaning to me and I relayed a brief version of the story of the moment I recognized that. It turns out "Unfamiliar" is one of Chibi's favorite songs too.

    Every one of the bands that night were amazing. All, remarkably, were performing as duos. Creature Feature was a real fun band to see. Their music is heavily influenced by old horror movies which gives them a dark yet fun sound.

    Aesthetic Perfection put on a good performance. Their drummer is amazing and fun to watch. They heavily synth-based and while there was a dark tone to most of their songs, they still had fun and lightened things up with a Fine Young Cannibals cover.

    William Control was the only other act I had heard before the show (Thanks Last.fm!). He was great live and I'd love to see him again. He reminded me a little of Dommin in that Dean Martin meets Glen Danzig sort of way.

    The Birthday Massacre was great. They played a good mix including songs from every album. For most of the set Chibi was sitting on a speaker placed near center at the front of the stage, wearing a knee brace. She stood up and moved around occasionally, but not much. At one point Rainbow sat down on another speaker and stuck out one leg in a similar fashion to how Chibi was seated and laughed a little. It was easy to tell by their interaction here that Chibi and Rainbow are close.

    If you care (or even if you don't), their set list follows:
    • Night Shift
    • Down
    • Control
    • Always
    • Red Stars
    • Video kid
    • Lover's End
    • Forever
    • Pins and Needles
    • Happy Birthday
    • Alibis
    • Calling
    • In the Dark
    • Sleep Walking
    • Midnight
    • -- Encore --
    • Leaving Tonight
    • The Long Way Home
    • Blue


    The band did not leave the stage prior to the encore as they normally would. Chibi said, "This is the part of the show where we say thank you and leave and you clap and we come back out and play some more. But I'm not going to walk down those stairs anymore than I have to, so do you want to hear three more songs?"

    [/tbm] [permanent link]

    07 Oct 2012

    Signs of the Apocalypse
    A friend told me this was from Glee. I found it amusing; thought I'd share.

    It's a fact that the book of Revelations predicted Twitter. It's one of the seven signs of the apocalypse; Along with porn, unexplainable weather anomalies, martian rovers, Barney Frank, the middle east and MSNBC. It's like Kirk Cameron said, "It's never too late, until it's too late."

    [/musings] [permanent link]

    29 Aug 2012

    Migraine
    I hate waking up with migraines.

    [/musings] [permanent link]

    28 Aug 2012

    freebsd-update
    I'm attempting to update my laptop from FreeBSD 9.1-Beta1 to 9.1-RC1. The freebsd-update(8) utilitly was reporting an error finding the public key. A quick search found this thread. As per tangram's suggestion, I used

    env UNAME_r=9.0-RELEASE freebsd-update upgrade -r 9.1-RC1

    and then the update began working.

    [/unix] [permanent link]

    20 Aug 2012

    unHide
    After a friend's computer became infected with some malware that hides files in your home directory and tries to extort money from you in order to "recover" your data, I was inspired to write this little program.

    All it does is search for hidden, non-system files and unhides them. It defaults to the user's home directory (My Documents), but other directories can be chosen.

    If anyone wants to try it out, please do. If you do try it, let me know what parts I can do better. I primarily work on embedded systems and Unix daemons professionally; the user only knows my software exists when it isn't working. As such, I have very little experience with GUIs or human-computer interactions. Any feedback would be much appreciated.

    The Windows executable can be found at: http://www.skinnymf.com/~mforde/unHide/. Source code is available upon request.

    [/code] [permanent link]

    01 Jun 2012

    Fun little alias
    I use a console based RSS reader written in Ruby. It crashes often and will delete my list of feeds in the process. It also has a tendency to not fully exit, leaving a ruby process sitting in the background soaking up close to 100% CPU time. For such occasions, I've added the following alias to my .cshrc file.

    alias killraggle kill -9 '`ps ax|grep raggle|grep -v grep|awk '\''{print $1;}'\''`'

    [/unix] [permanent link]

    01 May 2012

    Volunteers Needed
    The Lincoln Park Triathlon needs volunteers. If you'd like to help out, please visit www.lincolnparktriathlon.com/volunteers for more information.

    This event isn't possible without the help of volunteers. If you or anyone you know would be interested in helping, please contact us.

    [/musings] [permanent link]

    29 Mar 2012

    Lincoln Park Triathlon


    Registration for the 2012 Lincoln Park Triathlon is now open. If anyone is interested in volunteering, please email volunteers@lincolnparktriathlon.com.

    [/musings] [permanent link]

    01 Mar 2012

    Just a Question
    Given the following code fragment, I was asked to implement foo such that the program would output "America." How would you do it?

            int main()
            {
              char *p = "Hello";
    
              foo(         );
              printf("%s",p);
    
              return 0;
            }
    

    My solution involved allocating new memory from the heap to store the new string, and changing p to point to that buffer. They didn't like that answer. They preferred the method of putting the new string in the data segment as well.

    I personally would always avoid that, whenever possible. "Hello" is stored in a read-only area of memory as is "America" in their preferred solution. Any attempt to alter those strings will trigger a segfault. This is an accident waiting to happen.

    [/code] [permanent link]

    17 Jan 2012

    Races, Races, Races
    I've been busy the last few weeks or so; I've done a few races.

    • On October 30, I ran the Marine Corps Marathon in Arlington, VA and Washington D.C.
    • On November 5, I ran the Beavertown Fall Classic 5K in my hometown.
    • On November 6, I ran the New York City Marathon for the second time.
    • On November 19, I ran the Knickerbocker 60K Ultramarathon in Central Park.
    • On December 3, I ran NJ Winter Trail Series Race #1 Half Marathon in Wayne.
    • On December 10, I ran the NYRR Jingle Bell Jog in Prospect Park.
    • On January 7, I ran the Walt Disney World Half Marathon, part one of Goofy's Race and a Half Challenge.
    • On January 8, I ran the Walt Disney World Marathon, completing the Goofy Challenge.

    In 10 weeks I ran a 5K, a 6K, two Half Marathons, three Marathons, and an Ultramarathon, plus a few training runs in there...

    And last night Wii Fit called me a couch potato.

    In defense of the game, I hadn't used it in 547 days, and I'm now 11 pounds heavier than when I had last used it. It has no way of knowing that the vast majority of that weight gain was lean mass. It also has no way of taking into account all that I've done outside the game.
    Even with that in mind, it's still a little frustrating to be called a couch potato after running a marathon and a half last weekend.

    Each of these races were pretty special. I ran MCM alongside some fairly awesome people; people who I consider to be among my closest friends. In the Beavertown 5K, I somehow managed to take 12th overall and 5th in my age group without really trying.

    At NYC and then at the Knickerbocker, I ran with the friend who got me started running in the first place. I credit him with saving my life, and it was an honor and a pleasure to run with him.

    The trail half was my first trail race (not counting my time on the high school cross country team) and I ran that with a friend I hadn't seen since our days on the high school track & field team (she was a runner, I was thrower). We have both run full marathons in less time than it took us to complete this half.

    The Jingle Bell Jog was a fun race with bells and hot cocoa, and it was the first time I ran alongside my friend and former physics TA. And lastly, I ran the Goofy Challenge alongside another one of my close friends and training partners.

    These races were a lot of fun. Some of the courses were quite amazing to see, and these races were opportunities to spend time with some pretty awesome people.

    [/running] [permanent link]

    04 Jan 2012

    Disgusted
    With the Goofy Challenge just 3 days away, I should be carb-loading. And I am. And with each bite of my lunch I hate myself more. Every time I eat, I feel fat. And every time I ingest anything that isn't ultra-lean protein or high-fiber, I disgust myself. But I sit here, shoving food down my gullet.

    [/musings/self] [permanent link]


       
    Eponymous
    Eponymous
       



    About
    My Infrequently Updated Blog. The web-based journal of M. Forde, computer nerd, endurance athlete, and DeLorean owner


    contact

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  • Eat. Run. Sleep.

  •        
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    [/mobile] [permanent link]

    07 Oct 2022


    I'm looking California and feeling Minnesota

    [/musings] [permanent link]

    29 Dec 2021

    Fireside Chat


    Tonight I signed up for the Fireside beta. They asked for all my social media accounts to prove I'm a human. The problem is, I don't have a twitter account, a facebook account, instagram, etc. Years ago I took the advice of numerous psychology studies and my own therapist's advice and got off the social media platforms. It was one of the best things I've ever done for my mental health.

    So hopefully this blog, though infrequently updated (and slightly broken since the last major perl update), will serve as proof to the people at Fireside that I am human and not a bot.

    It was the Astonishing Legends Podcast that led me to Fireside. It would be nice to use it for one of their interactive live chats sometime.

    [/musings] [permanent link]

    07 May 2020

    Bill Gates is Satan's Minion
    Bill Gates was Satan's minion, is Satan's minion, and always will be Satan's minion.

    [/musings] [permanent link]

    13 Mar 2018

    Tenth Runniversary
    Today is my tenth runniversary. It's been a decade since I first stepped on that treadmill. Like my first day running, I ran on the treadmill while listening to br\oken. I've had some set backs in my recovery. Not properly rehabilitating the atrophy in the left leg has caused some problems with the muscles around my hip. Listening to my trainer only made it worse. But now I'm taking care of it properly. Like that first day ten years ago, I have a goal I am working toward. This time it is the Dublin Marathon in October. This will be marathon number 13. I don't expect to PR. I think 10 minute miles are a much more reasonable goal at this point, but frankly I'll be happy just to cross that finish line. It's been a long, hard road out of Hell, but God has been by my side and put some amazing people in my life to help me along the way. I have to thank the Giraffes for today. I have to thank the Giraffes for much of my life this last decade. I was heading for an early grave, and they changed that. Giraffes, I thank you from the bottom of my heart and I look forward to running the LTC and many other races with you in the next decade.

    [/running] [permanent link]

    12 Mar 2018

    Take back your privacy
    Recent surveys have found that 76% of [the most visited] websites in the world cotain trackers from google and 24% contain trackers from facebook. This has been reported by CNBC, PC World, The Verge, Fortune, and Breitbart.

    Almost anywhere you go on the internet, they are following you, building a profile on you, and selling that information, your information, to the highest bidder. Even if you don't have a user account for google or facebook "services," they've built a profile of you using this surreptitiously collected data.

    It turns out there are some steps one can take to prevent these companies from following you wherever you go. It's not perfect, but it helps a lot. First, don't use Chrome. Second, install ad-blocker plugins for your browser. Third, use your firewall.

    It turns out Google and Facebook are large enough that they have their own Autonomous Systems (AS) composed of numerous subnets. Google owns AS 15169, while Facebook owns AS 32934. Using a little bit of shell, it's relatively easy to look up all the subnets owned by these companies.

    whois -h whois.radb.net -- '-i origin AS32934' | grep "^route:" | awk '{print $2;}'
    whois -h whois.radb.net -- '-i origin AS15169' | grep "^route:" | awk '{print $2;}'


    That's a lot of subnets. Because I have different operating systems on different computers and still want to block traffic to and from all those IP addresses, I've written some simple scripts to add rules to various firewalls. I have scripts for IPFW on FreeBSD, IPTables on Linux, and the Windows Firewall that should work from XP SP3 through Windows 10. I've only tested it on Windows 7 and Windows 10, and it worked in those.

    All of these scripts can be found in this directory. The IPFW and IPTables scripts are self-contained. For the Windows command shell batch files, the *ips.txt files are also needed.

    I have to say, the internet looks very different with these firewall rules in place. There are noticeably fewer advertisements and pages load faster. Embedded YouTube videos and Instagram photos don't appear. Sometimes the frame disappears, sometimes you get a "failed to connect" page appearing in a frame in the middle of a page. (Yes, these rules block YouTube and Instagram; they are owned by google and facebook and reside in the subnets owned by those companies.) On a relatively rare occasion, I come across a site using some sort of javascript or css or something hosted by a machine in one of those ASs and that will be blocked. Sometimes the site handles that gracefully, sometimes it stops being functional. A small price to take back your life.

    Update: Twitter has trackers on a decent amount of sites out there too, so I've added scripts to block Twitter's AS 13414 as well. Those scripts are in the same directories as the others.

    [/musings] [permanent link]

    17 Oct 2017

    St Michael, defend us in battle
    Crisis Magazine has a great piece about St Michael and the ongoing spiritual warfare in the world.

    [/musings] [permanent link]

    12 Oct 2017

    New PGP Key!
    So apparently Evil32 happened. Approximately 24,000 PGP keys were generated that had collisions with the 32-bit short IDs of existing keys. Then someone decided to use those conflicting keys to generate revocation certificates and upload them to the keyservers. Joy.

    Though my old keys still work, they were affected by this mass revocation of collsions. I have created a new key which can be found at http://skinnymf.com/~mforde/mforde.asc.

    On a related note, if anyone is interested in Key Signing Party, shoot me an email. I haven't been to one of those since college.

    [/musings] [permanent link]

    30 Sep 2017

    Time Travel?
    A few months ago I happened to snap a photo of the DeLorean on Main Street in Boonton near the Darress Theatre. It's probably one of my favorite photographs of the car and certainly one of the best I've ever taken.
    The theatre was built in 1919 and has remained largely unchanged since then. A lot of Boonton still has a very old "look and feel" to it, and this section of Main Street served as a perfect backdrop for the DeLorean.

    DeLorean DMC-12 Darress
Theatre Boonton

    [/dmc] [permanent link]

    24 Aug 2017

    How to Drive a Classic Rolls-Royce, or a DeLorean, Any Time You Want
    Bloomberg has posted an article entitled How to Drive a Classic Rolls-Royce, or a DeLorean, Any Time You Want. It's really quite simple, actually. You take your keys, go out the the garage, and you drive the DeLorean any time you want.

    [/dmc] [permanent link]

    16 Aug 2017

    Sometimes...
    Sometimes it's dificult to find a reason to continue.

    [/musings/self] [permanent link]

    14 Mar 2017

    Ninth Runniversary
    Yesterday was my ninth runniversary. Like my first day running, I ran on the treadmill while listening to Broken. Unlike the first time, I only listened to it once, and covered 4.48 miles during the duration of the EP, thanking God every step of the way.

    I'm confident in knowing that the bone in my ankle has healed completely now; however, I'm still rebuilding the muscle in that ankle and the rest of that leg. There was significant atrophy during the early phases of recovery. Slowly as it may be, I am making progress, and I am thankful for that.

    [/running] [permanent link]

    24 Dec 2016

    Merry Christmas
    While the holidays are supposed to be a joyous time, I know and understand how hard they can be for some people. If you're having a rough time over the next week or so and need someone to talk to, feel free to message me. If you're reading this blog, you likely know my email address or phone number.

    [/musings] [permanent link]

    28 Oct 2016

    Aisling at 35
    She's still looking good at 35....
    DeLorean DMC-12 with
gullwing doors open

    [/dmc] [permanent link]

    02 Oct 2016

    Happy Birthday Aisling!!!!
    My DeLorean, #5333, was built in October of 1981. This month, the car will be 35 years old and she looks and handles like the day she came off the assembly line.

    [/dmc] [permanent link]

    26 Sep 2016

    Don't Call it a Comeback
    On June fourth, I was running in the Tourne on a trail I first ran twenty years ago, a trail I've run hundreds if not thousands of times before. On that morning, my foot came down on a wet rock at just the wrong angle, slipped just enough and I rolled my ankle. Not only did I roll the joint, I came down on it with enough force to break it; a fact I would learn when I final saw a doctor about it on June ninth.

    No surgery was required, but I was unable to run for three months. I was finally cleared to run. The plan was to start with short distances, about a quarter mile, on a rubberized track then build up from there, moving on to treadmills and eventually roads and trails. I was instructed to spend six months rebuilding my 60 mile per week base.

    On the morning of September 11 (a day I will never forget and a morning that will always make me feel a bit uneasy), I took to the track for the first time. I started by walking a mile. As I finished the fourth lap, I said a prayer, asking God to give me the run I needed and the wisdom to know when to stop. I queued up my playlist: AC\DC's "Back in Black" and LL Cool J's "Mama Said Knock You Out." I took my first stride.

    I've been progressing well in the last two weeks; pushing it on some days, resting when necessary. Though the short, slow distances have been frustrating, it feel good to be running again. Every stride I take I'm reminded of everything I love about the sport.

    It's good to be back.

    [/running] [permanent link]

    18 Sep 2016

    Fun Conversations
    The DeLorean often leads to conversations one wouldn't normally expect. Case in point: today I had to call my auto insurance provider for an issue with my daily driver. After taking some info to pull up my account the conversation went something like this:

    Agent: Which car is this?
    Me: The Pontiac.
    Agent: Am I reading this right?
    Me: Reading what?
    Agent: I'm sorry, do you have a DeLorean?
    Me: Yes.
    Agent: I never thought I'd see someone with a policy on a DeLorean.
    Me: Well, you've insured both of mine...
    Agent: You've had two DeLoreans?
    Me: Yes.

    At that point there were a few more questions and then we got back to the issue which my phone call had been about originally.

    [/dmc] [permanent link]

    24 Aug 2016

    An Observation
    There is something satisfying about driving in a DeLorean while listening to The Clash's Live: From Here to Eternity.

    [/dmc] [permanent link]

    13 Aug 2016

    What Year is This?!
    So this was my Saturday night....
    A bottle of Crystal Pepsi with Metallica's Ride the Lightning and
Joy Division's Unknown Pleasures vinyl records sitting on the hood of a
DeLorean Joy Division's Unknown Pleasures on a record player

    [/musings] [permanent link]

    09 Aug 2016

    He's Not Wrong...
    Over at Net Meister there's a nice peice entitled Things They Don't Teach You in School". A lot of what Jan has to say is spot-on observation and good advice.

    It's definitely worth a read.

    [/code] [permanent link]

    20 Jul 2016 08 Jul 2016

    X11 Mouse Cursor Themes
    Starting after installimg the binary nvidia drivers on both my laptop (Quadro K1100M) and my workstation (GeForce GT 630) Blackbox was defaulting to a mouse cursor that was suboptimal, a black, notched triangle.

    The settings in the Xresources for the mouse cursor theme are honored by XDM at the graphical log in, but when Blackbox or Fluxbox start, the cursor would change to the black notched triangle. TWM honors the settings in Xresources, but TWM is just a little too minimalist, even for me.

    But there's a simple fix!

    Create a file in your home directory (if it doesn't already exist) .icons/default/index.theme. In this file, add the following lines:

    [Icon Theme]
    Inherits = polarblue
    

    where polarblue is the name of the X11 mouse cursor theme you wish to use. FreeBSD installs many of the X11 cursor sets into /usr/local/lib/X11/icons/, your Unix flavor may be different. In theory, you can also install new themes of your choosing into ~/.icons/ and use those without the need for any elevated privileges.

    Additionally, there's the option of creating a .Xdefaults file in the home directory and adding the line
    Xcursor.theme: polarblue
    

    Again, where polarblue is the name of theme you want to use.

    [/unix] [permanent link]

    18 Jun 2016

    FreeBSD Unix on Dell Precision M4800
    I installed FreeBSD 10.3 on the laptop I recently acquired and almost eveything worked out of the box. The gigabit ethernet and wi-fi coards worked fine and by setting the BIOS to discrete graphics only, the nVidia Quadro was recognized.

    I installed the binary driver from nVidia, because they support FreeBSD because they're awesome like that. The nvidia-xconfig(1) program was useful to streamline the process of getting X.org to use the Quadro.

    There were a few things that did need some tewaking though. First there's the sound card. Because the quadro supports HDMI (in addition to VGA and DisplayPort), it includes an HDA-compliant sound card. This card is recognized before the primary HDA-compliant sound card in the machine, the one that's actually connected to the speakers.

    I did some research and there were some suggestions about using sysctl(8) to control soundcard GPIO pins to connect the nVidia sound device to the speackers but what ultimately worked was using sysctl(8) to change the default primary sound device to the dedicated card. There were a few ways to make this happen but the one I found that actually worked was to place sysctl(8) command lines in /etc/rc.local.

    First I found the device I wanted as the default:

    mforde@gaz:~> cat /dev/sndstat 
    Installed devices:
    pcm0:  (play) default
    pcm1:  (play)
    pcm2:  (play) 
    pcm3:  (play)
    


    Device pcm2 was the one I wanted so I added the following lines to /etc/rc.local
    sysctl hw.snd.default_unit=2
    sysctl hw.snd.default_auto=2
    


    Now when boot completes pcm2 is set to my default and sound "just works" and sndstat shows pcm2 as the default.

    I found ACPI support has some weirdness as ACPI support often does. What I found was that Suspend works from console, but resume doesn't... HOWEVER After I start X ACPI suspend and resume work just fine. Normally I prefer to boot into a console and only start X if I really need it, but because I want suspend and resume to work "by default" I've enabled X to start at boot by allowing the xdm console in /etc/ttys.

    But this had one last issue. See, when manually starting X, I added the -dpi 143 option to get graphics and text to be appropriately sized for my screen. XDM needed to know about this.

    This probably wasn't the best place to do it, but I edited /usr/local/lib/X11/xdm/XServers and modified the call to X(7) to add the -dpi 143 option. Now when Xdm loads at start up, the DPI is set correctly.

    The function keys for adjusting the screen brightness don't work; however, xbacklight(1) works just fine. Similarly the volume keys don't work but I can adjust the volume quite easily with aumix(1).

    I've submitted my dmesg output to NYCBUG's dmesgd repository.

    I suppose I've posted this for two reasons. The first is so I have a record of how I eventually got these little things working in case I have to do it again. The second is in case anyone has similar issues with their hardware; if they happen to stumble upon this, it might give them some hints.

    [/unix] [permanent link]

    08 Jun 2016

    Megapath sucks
    Speakeasy was by far the best ISP I ever dealt with. Freindly, and above all, knowledgeable. Since they have been purchased by Megapath then merged into Global Capacity, their tech support has been, frankly a bunch of idiots. Furthermore, their website routinely has "Service failed" errors that prevent you from logging in, changing passwords, and viewing account information.

    Today, after being unable to log in to the website due to "service failed" the tech support rep on the phoned didn't understand what a subnet mask or gateway address were. Eventually I just got her to read me "all three IP addresses" on the screen in front of her.

    But at this point my only other option is Verizon. So I'm sticking with Megapath.

    [/musings] [permanent link]