The Wikileaks/BSD connection

I was amused to discover the connection between Wikileaks and BSD.

Apparently Julian Assange hung around the BSD community up until ten years ago, and has a few entries in the NetBSD fortune files.  (Search for Julian Assange in the file, or just click on the next link for the best ones.)    He lived in the house where Greg Lehey grew up, although many years after Greg had moved on.  Greg was interviewed for a story in the Australian news. They botched it.

If you think about it, you’d realize the connection must go deeper than that.  We all know about Osama bin Lehey.  Apparently the house where Greg was raised has that effect on people.  I do believe that Lovecraft wrote a story about that… and it will bug me until I can remember which story that was.

I will be at BSDCan

Apparently my NYCBSDCon presentation, BSD Needs Books, went over well.  I was just invited to reprise it at BSDCan on 13-14 May 2011.

So, what’s the critical difference between NYCBSDCon and BSDCan?  Both have great people.  Both have great presentations.  But there’s one critical point in NYC’s favor.

It’s 0.95km between the U of O Residences at BSDCan to the gelato shop. From the St. Marks Hotel in NYC to the gelato shop is less than 50 meters.  BSDCan has clearly fallen behind in the critical factor in North American BSD conferences.  I’m confident Dan (Mr. BSDCan) can figure out some way to shift the balance back to Ottawa, though.

Things I Learned at NYCBSDCon, day 2

Isilon is clever.  And they really want to give lots of their code back to the FreeBSD community.

New York Internet donated space, cooling, and power for an East Coast FreeBSD mirror.  Companies like Juniper and NetApp are donating hardware.  We will soon have an East Coast mirror of the West Coast datacenter, including package building facilities.  This will be cool.

Databases suck.  SQL is an abomination.  I knew this already, but it’s nice to have that opinion reinforced.  We could really use a data query language based on relational algebra.

George Rosamond put con finances on display during lunch.  NYCBSDCon made money this year.  The leftovers will be cut in four and split between OpenBSD, NetBSD, FreeBSD, and DragonFly.

pfSense rocks.  Once the next release is out, the team will turn its attention to IPv6.

And I’ve got to up and give my talk in a few minutes.  Those of you at the conference might as well go home now.

Things I Learned at NYCBSDCon, Day 1

A few quick random things I picked up at day 1 of NYCBSDCon:

  • Scheduled IPv4 depletion date:  119 days.  That’s when the last /8 is issued to a regional NICs.  Many of the remaining IPv4 /8 blocks are “poisoned,” and receive garbage traffic immediately upon announcement.
  • Hudson River Trading is hiring FreeBSD folks.  They gave away 1GB USB key/bottle openers, so they clearly understand the sysadmin mentality.
  • You want to take the BSD Associate Cert as soon as possible.
  • Don’t confuse George with George.  George doesn’t like that.  Fortunately, George doesn’t care, so you’ll only have to worry about George.
  • The “Quest for the Next Generation FreeBSD Installer” is about to claim more developers.  You’d think people would learn.  (Don’t get me wrong, I wish them luck and I hope they succeed, but nobody’s ever had dinner after betting the grocery budget on a new FreeBSD installer.)
  • Jeremy Reed is digging through the original BSD tapes and contacting every person named in the original source code to assemble a comprehensive BSD history.  BSD claims a long history, but Jeremy’s actually trying to document it while the original folks are still with us.  It will eventually be available as a book.  This is probably the most exciting thing I heard today, but then, I’m an academic at heart.
  • And if any BSD folks live near Jason Dixon, he <i>really</i> needs to be dragged out of management.  Forcibly if necessary.  Possibly with methods involving tranquilizer darts, nets, and some sort of radio tags.  If you do this, be sure to post the video footage for the rest of us.

You can get here for tomorrow.  I know you can.

inspiration and winning awards

One of my Clarion classmates, Lucy Snyder, won the 2009 Stoker Award for her poetry collection Chimeric Machines.  I ran into Lucy at World Fantasy 2010, where she told me that one of the poems in this collection was inspired by my short story Opening the Eye in Horror Library volume 2.  (For those of you with a calendar, Lucy saw this story well before it appeared in HLv2.)

I haven’t read poetry since I seriously overdosed in university, but I had to check out CM.  I expected only a tangential similarity, but no… the poem Trepanation clearly included echoes of my story without being in any way derivative.  And the rest of the book is creepy as hell.

My work is not merely inspirational; it inspires people to win awards.  Yes, my inspiration was a tiny tiny sliver of the inspiration in Chimeric Machines, but it’s the closest brush I’ve had with Literary Fame. I’m tickled blue.

So, if you have any flicker of interest in poetry, read Chimeric Machines.  You can get a free sample at Lucy’s CM page.  The sample covers the section “Technica,” wherein she illuminates the appalling aspects of technology.  By happy coincidence, this section includes Trepanation, but I think Tech Support will resonate with a lot of you.  Heck, just read the whole thing, and buy the book.

(PS: I have at least one blog reader who cannot tolerate horror.  You know who you are.  And you’re not permitted to click on ANY of the links in this post.  Thank you.)

Not Interesting

What, it’s been more than a week since I posted?  That’s easily explained:  I’m not doing anything interesting.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m busy.  Project Albatross (my current personal writing project) is coming along nicely, at 25,000 words out of approximately 80,000.  But blogging about work that is unlikely to be published is downright narcissistic.  For those of you waiting for me to pump out a new technical book, I can tell you that my goal is to have PA complete before World Fantasy 2010, so I have two projects to sell instead of one, thus doubling my chances of further prostituting myself to the media industry getting an agent for my non-nonfiction and selling same to a publisher.  The new nonfiction should start rolling shortly thereafter.

In the day job, I’m debugging Cacti 0.8.7f.  Not interesting.

I’m also configuring OpenNebula.  Not interesting.

Installing Drupal?  Not interesting.

I’m planning to work on an interesting FreeBSD-based project soon, but I’m not allowed to discuss it in public.  When I can, when I finish, if I finish, I will.  But today, not interesting.

Debugging OpenSolaris NFS?  Most of my debugging hints are taken from other people’s blogs.  I’m keeping notes, mind you, and in the event that I learn something interesting, I’ll post it.  But mostly:  not interesting.

LDAP?  Surely I have some LDAP pain to share?  Nope.  Once you get through the initial torment, expanding LDAP is rote.  Not interesting.

Personal life?  I’m not going to blog about that, unless something truly spectacular happens.

My life is basically boring.  Your attention and time are valuable.  I wish to not waste it.  If you’re spending your time reading this blog, chances are I value your time more highly than you do.  I highly recommend using a RSS reader, so you’ll get notified when I have a new post.

But, in an effort to provide useful content this week, I highly recommend Janet Fitch’s article on 10 Writing Tips That Can Help Almost Anyone.  Most of these “10 tips” lists are as a waste of space, but this particular one isn’t.  If you write for any purpose, read it.  If you expect me to read your work, follow it.

Here’s hoping I do something interesting soon.