Archive for October, 2002


Time to pull the blinds

Thursday, October 17th, 2002

I’m finally dropping Robert Scoble’s RSS feed. There was a time when he had some insightful things to say, but lately I’ve just been waiting for him to post photos of his hickeys. I really am trying to be happy for his newfound naivete and lovestruck giddyness – I really do appreciate that it’s a fantastic force in his life, but it’s an ongoing spectacle I somehow feel uncomfortable being privy to in an increasing way. My brain’s auto-meta-tagger taxonomy engine wants to recategorize him from useful industry bellwether to the highly ignorable zits-and-angst teen blog category.

Robert and Rageboy seem both to be running around wagging their boners in the air lately (although RageBoy in a more abstruse and discreet way). Must be a California thing. I’m happy for them to be bonking like bunnies, but guys, consider pulling the blinds, or start using categories and let me spare myself the soap opera. For now, I’ll just avert my eyes.


The other shoe drops and customers say no

Saturday, October 12th, 2002

Looks like Microsoft’s subscription pricing strategy isn’t gonna fly. I saw the holes in their plan way back in May 2001 and made my own plans to get off the merry-go-round a year ago.

Funny how they spin it that we’re the idiots for not understanding it. I understand it well enough, of that you can be certain.


Another acronym explained

Friday, October 11th, 2002

I’ve always said it stood for International Bowel Movement. Seems I was right.


Testing Marks’s new “further reading” reference injector

Friday, October 11th, 2002

Just in time for Canadian Thanksgiving! Dramatically expand the size of your
Pilgrim in just a few links! Guaranteed increase in girth!


And here’s the map.

Wednesday, October 9th, 2002

I just discovered David Skyrme via Phil Wolff. In this article he presents some solid planning for moving an organization towards effective knowledge sharing.



Monday, October 7th, 2002

Jessyca Wallace is really very thoughtful. That’s all you gotta know.


When you can’t access get to the PC, have it come find you

Monday, October 7th, 2002

One of the many many things I really like about VNC is that you can start up a listener and then have someone throw a remote control session to your address. This came in handy for me at a client last year.

The client’s VPN software wouldn’t work through my home cable router at that time (since fixed with a flash ROM upgrade). I couldn’t use PC Anywhere or VNC in their usual ways because the machine was various levels deep into the network and it would be impossible to expose its ports to the Internet at large.

What I ended up doing was writing a Perl program to run on the PC in question that would once a minute check a file on my webserver called vnclisten.on. If that file exists, it reads from it one text line containing the IP address I want it to throw a connection to, and tells VNC to connect there.

Once that’s running, to control that machine, I make sure my port 5500 is exposed on the internet wherever I am, and then I drop a file called vnclisten.on onto my webserver in the right spot, containing my current IP address. Within a minute, I have a remote control session pop up! At that point, I have one minute to go kill or rename the vnclisten.on file so I don’t get multiple sessions popping up.

It doesn’t matter how deep into the network the serving machine is, as long as it has net access and your listening machine can expose its port 5500 on an external address either directly or via port forwarding.

Here is the Perl program:

# checks url every minute to find address of
# listening vnc client and throws a vnc session
# to that address if so

# syntax: listencheck url interval

my $url = shift || '';
my $interval = shift || 60;
my $logfile = "listencheck.log";
my $vnc = ""c:\program files\orl\vnc\winvnc"";

use LWP::UserAgent;
$ua = new LWP::UserAgent;

while (1) {
 my $req = HTTP::Request->new(GET => $url);
  my $res = $ua->request($req);
  if ($res->is_success) {
  my ($addr) = $res->content =~ /\s*(.*)\s*/;
  system("$vnc -connect $addr");
  open LOG, ">>$logfile";
  print LOG localtime(time) . " connect to $addr \n";
  close LOG;
 sleep $interval;

Set your screensaver to "blank screen", set a short delay, and make it ask for a password!


All googley-eyed over nothing

Saturday, October 5th, 2002

Well, not over nothing, I guess, but over the wrong thing. Seems there’s a lot of people peeved that Google changed its PageRank formula. They no longer fall as close to the top as they once did.

Trouble is, they’re all using examples that their rank as the definitive Bill or Ted or Bob or Dave or Mark or whatever is out of whack, like as if anyone goes searching for them on the net purely because of their Daveness or Billness.

Have any of these people thought to look at their rank based on their content?
I don’t know where I stand in the Brent list on Google, and I don’t care. I’m still the top if you look for “remote scripting” or “blog chat”, and that’s as it should be.

I can’t imagine my Brentness interests anyone.