log  ->  quadium.net

Mon 2000-10-02 - 14:31

They put in my DSL Friday, and life was good. I tested it, and it looks like I get around 1400Kbps downstream, which is close to the theoretical maximum. (I signed up for 1.5/384 RADSL. With fries.)

I spent the weekend doing various high-bandwidth things, such as watching video streams. In the process, I discovered that when installing RealPlayer, it's very important to go and select your actual bandwidth (T1 for me) and run the auto-configuration network deal as yourself, after installation. It was skipping a lot and freaking me out, but after that everything was fine. Also, never judge your network by CNN.com's video feeds. You'd think with postage-sized video, their feed would be even higher-performance, especially on a T1-equivalent link, but apparently not.

Anyway, made foolish by this success, I decided to actually do something useful, and downloaded CMUCL, several times. Okay, I've dealt with some difficult compiles, but this was quite literally impossible. And certain packages (db-sockets, apparently) kinda need the source tree to compile. Or something.

Oh well. For some reason upgrading to Linux 2.4.0-test8 caused sshd to stop working, so I think I'll just install FreeBSD on piro. I am a fan of Linux. Linux is awesome. It's loads of fun to hack around on. But since piro is mainly gonna be a server, I'm much more comfortable with FreeBSD on that box. Besides, I've gone too long without a complete reinstall of something...

Anyway, so I have the DSL, and over the weekend I ripped some MP3s at 192Kbps, and I was going to stream them to my machine at work. It was horrible. They were skipping like crazy, and I was getting barely 128Kbps out of the connection. This seemed ridiculously low, so I did some testing and discovered that individual TCP streams are limited to something very close to 128Kbps, but the aggregate bandwidth of the connection can go to much more than twice that. Speakeasy didn't tell me they would be throttling server connections...

So I called Speakeasy, and one of their tech support guys went through some basic checks with me. "No, we're not throttling the connection. Something sounds broken", he said, and promised to bump me up to "Tier 2". Naturally I expected that the next individual would be even more knowledgable and experienced. Sure.

This guy didn't seem to grasp the difference between "upload" and "download", had difficulty understanding that I could issue commands and measure the performance of a computer without physically sitting in front of it, and informed me that the server I wanted to upload things to must be configured to serve dialup connections. "I'm running the server," I tried explaining, not wanting to confuse him with the new concept of downloading from my home machine.

"Well, you see, your 'packets' are going out on the Internet..."

"Okay, thanks for your time." Then I called Covad. The resellers are supposed to provide support, but since Speakeasy denied throttling my connections and since Covad is really the company responsible for basic network stuff, I thought they might be able to confirm what they were doing or at least lie to my face. Nope.

I wish I could think of something very insulting to say here.

Sat 2000-10-07 - 18:26

03:02:20 (118.65 KB/s) - `4.1.1-install.iso' saved [672761856]

Okay, I love DSL. I've got my domain completely transferred to myself (except for my old ISP, heh... people dialing up through Dimensional will get my old site) and I'm running Apache myself. First, though, I switched piro over to FreeBSD, for two reasons:

  1. I had done way too many of those "Hmm, I need to access that device. chmod 666 /dev/blah." This is bad on a server open to the Internet.
  2. I felt like it.

Something funny happened regarding my DSL, actually. The other day I called Speakeasy, and they insisted they weren't doing any throttling. Then I called Covad, who would probably be the ones doing it anyway. The person who answered the phone wouldn't even talk to me, but I complained to her anyway. So officially, no one was throttling my connections, but they rather obviously were. Next day, everything was working perfectly.

It's nice having power.

Next I need to actually start writing my server. In my own backlash against the flood of "Web designers" and focus groups (What is the reason for focus groups? These people are the ones who have no clue what the Web is. We should be telling them what they want), I'm very seriously considering removing all extraneous formatting from my site, even the style sheets. If you want my site to be pretty, you can dang well write your own style sheet.

First, of course, I need to make a server. I hope I can make sockets work now.

Fri 2000-10-27 - 16:04

Wow, I'm so lazy. Those of you wanting the latest scoop on my überl337 activities are on the edge of your seats, I'm sure, but here it is.

It's official: "16:05:02 topramen144: your a goog". I'm not sure exactly what Hollman meant by that, but I'm sure it was meant in the most demeaning way possible. Nicely, of course. Apparently she had to deal with jwz before she came to Wego, so I'm not sure my level of weirdness can ever completely faze her. I try, though.

In other news, the PSG guys invited me and Keith along on this team-building event. You know, the kind where you build team spirit by doing dangerous activities not at all related to your jobs. (Scott Adams was right so many times...) It actually wasn't lame. I got to climb way up high and jump into thin air. I freaked out at first when we went to do the 2-person activity, but then I changed my mind and did it anyway. Pretty nifty.

I went to one of these ropes courses when I was a little kid in Boy Scouts (Cub Scouts? I forget which...) (possibly even the same place (it looked very familiar)) but I chickened out. Between then and now, I've figured out that I'm able to let my emotions run in a completely parallel track to what I'm actually doing, and so it was exciting to exercise that level of control. Yeah, you're freaking out, but you're also climbing the pole, and the two activities aren't really interfering with each other. I think the trick is to acknowledge the feelings and placate them while doing whatever you were going to do anyway.

Okay, enough of that. Go try it; it's fun. I think I'll try skydiving next.

I've been hanging out at home this week, trying to get a project finished up for work. I feel the coding trance coming on, so as soon as I finish writing this I'm going to yank myself into total concentration. I can't focus at work. I can't focus at home either, but at least my apartment doesn't actively fight me like the office does. Dang fluorescent lights.

I did figure out how to use the stuff in CMUCL's internet.lisp, no thanks to the absolute lack of any documentation on the Internet (I'll probably throw something up here soon), but I've been way too busy to even think about working on my server. I need a cool name for the project, too. And I need to figure out CMUCL's threading mechanism. I've got a whole bunch of stuff I want to post here, but I know if I just do it as random HTML files I'll never get around to even starting the server. So.

Oh yeah, and the cam isn't working right now. I know. Deal with it.

Mon 2000-10-30 - 15:20

In my quest to become one with the Tao that is HTML, I've made several small yet meaningful changes to my site. First, I've taken out the sidebar and put it at the bottom. This is good for several reasons. First, it makes rendering faster in browsers with slow table support (Netscape!). Second, it leaves the screen space free for actual content. Third, it doesn't abuse HTML nearly as much. It's the <TABLE> tag, not the <PAGELAYOUT> tag.

I also took out a lot of the font information in the style sheet. I had specified a font, but due to Netscape on X11 (again!) being lame, I also had to specify a size, which breaks the "larger/smaller" feature on IE, and it's also just stupid on principle. If you want an interesting font in your browser, pick one yourself. I'm not going to do it for you.

Tue 2000-10-31 - 20:31

I was on the train coming in to work today and I saw a sign at one of the stations:

NOVEMBER 11 . 12

When I saw this, my brain leapt into action and said, "Whoa cool! Dotted pairs! It's nice to see them using Lisp for public works projects." Then the rest of my brain woke up and slapped the first part silly.

Apparently they're showing "The Matrix" at the IMAX screen in the Metreon either this weekend or the next. Cool. Apparently Moviefone doesn't let me look ahead past Thursday. Not cool.

Finally, from the land of hot grits, the folks who make Guinness sued this guy's domains out from under him. Apparently guinness-beer-really-really-sucks.com is "confusingly similar" to guinness.com. Yeah.

What's funny, though, is that both sides are seeing the domain as the Holy Grail of Web-based parody. I wonder what the consequences will be when/if people start thinking in terms of URLs, not just domains. What if I created quadium.net/guinness_beer_tastes_like_used_dishwater/? Are they going to make me take files off a server I own and admin? They can do that when they pry the keyboard from my cold dead fingers.

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Last modified: Wed Nov 1 12:25:43 PST 2000