Archive for the 'blather' Category


Key to the door

Monday, March 28th, 2022

Not that I have been keeping up with blogging much of late, but it’s interesting to note that my blog is now old enough to drink in the USA.


New Horizons

Thursday, November 28th, 2019

You may have heard that I have joined the team of intrepid adventurers at Arctiq, where I’ll be doing my part Scouting Over the Next Hill into the rarefied air of new and exciting cloud technologies.

I’ll try to cross-post any new technology ramblings here for my doggedly loyal audience.


Effective Script Naming

Wednesday, November 1st, 2017

The Task:

Find all scripts in a directory tree that contain a shebang (the first line of the script starts with a #! comment to tell it how to execute it), but the script is not set as executable, meaning the shebang is ineffective.

The Script:

# $1 is the path to search
for file in $(find $1)
  if [ -f $file ]
    if [ ! -x $file ]
      head -n 1 $file | egrep "^#!" >/dev/null 2>&1
      if [ $? = 0 ]
        echo $file

Naming the script
There is only one name for a script whose entire purpose is to generate a list of weak ineffective shebangs: whung


Homemade Hummus

Tuesday, November 15th, 2016

I love making my own homemade hummus. It’s so simple.


– Chick Peas (This usually takes about a 19oz can or not quite two 14oz cans)
– Tahini (it’s essentially sesame butter, just ask at the grocery store)
– lemon juice (real or concentrated)
– olive oil
– garlic
– water
– optional parsley


In a food processor with the sharp cutter blade, fill it about half way with chick peas.

Add tahini, about 1/4 to 1/3 the amount by volume of the chick peas.

Add crushed garlic (I like it quite garlicky, about three cloves) and if you like, a small handful of chopped up parsley.

Start blending on high. It will be pretty gloopy and mix slowly. As it slows down, add a couple of tablespoons of lemon juice and 2 or more oz of olive oil. It will start to speed up and then bog down again, at which point you add water carefully only until it comes up to speed and is just fluid enough to mix well.

At this point, I add more chick peas to bring the blender up to about 3/4 full, and then mix the hell out of that stuff for a few minutes. You want it smoooth, so add little bits of water until it’s just right.

Put it in a container with a tight sealing lid, and enjoy some of it warm and fresh, then put the rest in the fridge.



Is Google Voice scrutinizing our conversations?

Monday, July 27th, 2015

This morning, my wife and I were sitting up in bed discussing the best route for her to take to park at St Joseph’s Hospital in Hamilton, the next city over from ours.
We had never communicated before about this location in any way.

Clare tells me the parking lot is at 50 Charlton Ave. I open Google Maps on my Android phone to look it up. I type 5, then 0 then SPACE, and voila, I’m presented with suggestions, the first one being 50 Charlton Ave, Hamilton.

This struck me as way more than a coincidence. I know that Google will correlate a whole bunch of things it knows about you to enhance search, so I searched my email to see if Clare had sent me that address before, which she had not. I had never searched for it before. We have driven past there recently, but we have driven past #50 of any number of streets.

The only explanation I could think of was that Google Voice (OK Google!) had picked the address or other hints such as cross streets out of our recent conversation and had used this information to narrow the search.

From the papers in front of us I had Clare clearly state the address of a medical building at 1960 Appleby Line, very close to us. I went to Maps, entered 1 then 9 then 6 and it immediately completed 1960 Appleby Line. Now it’s possible that there are no other addresses within a 5 km radius of our home that begin with 196 but I’m not entirely convinced.

We tried a couple more with less success, and even the two examples cited don’t work any more, but these two instances have me very close to convinced that recent ambient conversation is being used to augment search results.

As a programmer, I think of the data exchange that would need to take place for this to happen, and I wonder how much of a private conversation could be picked out of the data.

I would be interested in hearing from anyone who can replicate this behaviour.


When a textbook is not a textbook (redux)

Wednesday, May 7th, 2014

In a move reminiscent of OCAD’s textbook debacle of a couple of years ago, law schools are now jumping into the fray with ridiculous controls and DRM designed to use a textbook as a vehichle to perpetuate revenue streams rather than to teach students.


Are you preparing for the IP-ocalypse?

Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014

ARIN (American Registry for Internet Numbers) just announced they have now entered Phase 4 of their IPv4 Countdown, whereby only one /8 address block (in aggregate) remains to be allocated.

Between Phase 2 and Phase 3, the 3rd-last /8 was depleted in 11 months. It took only 8 months for the penultimate /8 to go, so it would be optimistic to think that there will be any IPv4 addresses available by the end of 2014.

You may want to look at ARIN’s IPv4 Depletion FAQ to see how this will affect you.

If you have not done so, it’s time to get familiar with IPv6. I recommend you start at, where you can find a ton of resources.


The Ex-XP Experience

Tuesday, April 8th, 2014

Being that it’s XP End of Support Day, I made sure this past weekend that there is no more XP in my home environment.

I still have Windows 7 Ultimate on my trusty yet crusty Dell 9400 and Win7 Pro on Clare’s Lenovo SFF desktop, however the one remaining XP instance was the kitchen machine, a venerable IBM T60 Thinkpad with 2G RAM.

The kitchen machine is used for general web browsing, Yahoo Instant Messenger, Skype, RDP/VNC client and sometimes playing music. I needed all these things to work just as easily as before, including the cheap USB webcam and mic, and the wireless network.

I installed 32-bit Ubuntu 12.04 LTS Desktop by downloading the ISO image to my Macbook Air and burning it to a DVD with my USB DVD drive, then booting up on the DVD. I used all defaults except for system name. When the system came up for the first time I used Firefox to download the Chrome package, installed it with the package manager, and then did the same with Skype. I used Pidgin to connect to Yahoo Messenger. In about 45 minutes and with a minimum of fuss, I had everything working. I set up accounts for my family, connected to wireless, and left it on the kitchen counter.

So far the only problem I have is that the video driver will only do 1024×768 and not the full native 1400×1050 that the T60 allows. This is not a big issue since Clare and I both need reading glasses now. Skype video is even clearer than it was on XP. My daughter started playing music with Grooveshark and it just worked. There are Office-compatible programs installed by default. Remote desktop access works great for both RDP and VNC hosts.

I heartily recommend Ubuntu 12.04 LTS Desktop as a great XP replacement with a fantastic out-of-the-box experience. You may also want to try Linux Mint.