Kahomono - It Means Lucky

Random musings on whatever subject strikes my fancy that day.

Category: Geeky Stuff (Page 1 of 46)


Every one of us has a data center to care for.  Not everyone takes it as seriously as some do.

The mouseover text for this one reads:

The weird sense of duty really good sysadmins have can border on the sociopathic, but it’s nice to know that it stands between the forces of darkness and your cat blog’s servers.

Point being, what’s trivial to you or me is not so trivial to someone.  And if that someone is a member of your household then you need to take it seriously, if for no other reason than shalom bayit

Think about the things a data center does to create a fundamentally good environment for the computers it houses: climate control, power protection, redundancy, fire protection, physical security.  

But Kahomono, I hear you saying, my house is not a data center!  Oh no?  Let’s talk about a job I had a few years ago.  OK, quite a few years.  But still: we were opening a new data center for a major NYC bank.  We had three computer rooms: the Mainframe room had 8 IBM 390s.  The Time-Sharing room had 4 Honeywell DPS-8s.  And the Mini room had about a dozen computers of various makes: Data General, Pr1me, Tandem, Digital.  There were also a handful of IBM PCs floating around, with which nobody was very impressed.  So let’s round up and say that this “Data Center” — and it was surely that — had about 30 computers housed in it.

How many computers in your home now?  Do you even know?  I can say that in a typical home housing a family of four, you probably have… more than in my 1980’s era data center.  40?  Maybe close to 50?  Consider that your phones and tablets, your set-top boxes, DVRs, gaming consoles, “smart home” controllers and endpoints, not to mention every “smart” appliance you connected to your poor overtaxed WiFi, are all computers at least as powerful and capable as that VAX in our Mini room back in the day.  So if you only counted your desktops and laptop computers, you missed the mark by around 90%, is my guess.

And every one of those computers is capable of violating at least one tenet of information security.  (Remember CIA?) 

  • Confidentiality: it could leak information about you and your activities that you would rather it didn’t.  
  • Integrity: It could damage or alter information it holds, making it less useful or even harmful to you
  • Availability: you could lose information you don’t want to lose.  Think emails, tax returns, photos, music collections, movies, saved game progress.

So what do you do about it that doesn’t turn you into that guy in the cartoon above?  More on that to come.

Showdown was post #1337 on this blog.


Moving Meetings

There’s never a day – or at best a week – that goes by in the modern working world where you don’t have to deal with meetings.  Recurring or one-off, they are as much part of the water we swim in as is email.

Even retirement has meetings.  Damn.

With meetings comes rescheduling.  Now a critical question arises: What just happened to a meeting that someone “moved up?”  How about “moved back” or “moved forward”?  Can you tell?  Does the answer remain the same from day to day or even minute to minute?  If you know the answer, do all your peers agree?  Ask around.

We can talk about how we move through three dimensions of space pretty easily.  Our vocabulary of movement was built for it.  “Forward”, “back” and “up” all have plain meanings – at least relative to the speaker.  Once we talk about moving through time, though, we want to use different words.  “Earlier”, “later”, and “sooner”.  “Before” and “after”.   When words for relative positions in three dimensions are being used in reference to the fourth, trouble begins.  To me, the hardest one to comprehend is “back”.

I think a fundamental switch happens to the meaning of “moved the meeting back” when you consider two ways of visualizing our movement through time.  (We’re all time-travelers, proceeding into the future at the rate of one second per second.)  Think: do you see yourself as striding a path toward the future?  Or do you stay put, while the time frame moves toward you and then past?  

If you yourself are moving through “stationary” time, then a meeting that moves “back” recedes into a more distant future.  But if you stay put as the future comes at you and the past recedes behind you, then a meeting that moves “back” reaches you more quickly.

There’s a hidden problem with “move the meeting back”.  Once exposed, it offers a way to express the idea much more clearly: the verb “move” is as generic as can be, and does not convey enough information.  How much clearer is: “I pushed the meeting back.”  Because pushing is always moving something away from the speaker, now the meaning is unambiguous.

This is Why I Block Ads

And why you should too.

Introducing, The Spinner!

Warning: this video is their ad, so take it with many grains of salt.  Like, the whole shaker.

The Spinner is a product that you, a shitty man, connive to have your victim wife install, unbeknownst to her, in her web browser.  Then it starts guiding the articles she sees on all websites she normally visits.  The intention is, to influence her to initiate sex with you.  Because, being the lump of excrement that you are, you have no other way to accomplish this lofty goal.

All the different dangers and creepiness of online ads have long since gelled in my mind to the simple idea that ads are evil.  In a way, I am grateful for this product.  It distills that concept to its purest form yet and provides a single concrete example I can point to.

And that all said, the same ideas and techniques are touted by all major online advertising platforms as a reason why one should engage their services.  They just manage to pull it off with less PUA flair.

Now that I have read these last 17 news items, I must go do my husband immediately!“, said no woman ever.

h/t @aral 

485 Emails

I did this to myself. I have nobody else to blame. But… still.

Now some of you read the title and are thinking, Gee, that’s just a typical Monday morning for me.   But we’re not dealing with 485 email messages here at Kahomono Central, oh no.  We’re dealing with 485 email addresses.

Across two ISPs now, a total of about 12 years, we have enjoyed the benefits of catch-all mailboxes in our hosted domains.  This means that my main mailbox of david@domain.com can be set up to catch the mail from any address I want as long as it ends with @domain.com.  This weekend, however, I got a note from my ISP that they are discontinuing this feature.  It seems to be going the way of the dodo.  Even if I found another ISP who would allow me to maintain it, it’s time.  It’s time to put away childish things and do what has needed doing for quite some time now: clean up the mess.

So I grepped through my archives and learned that I have used 485 different email addresses over these years.  While it was tempting to say, “dump ’em all, let the FSM sort ’em out”, I really can’t do that.  Quite a few of these emails are bringing me things like correspondence from healthcare providers.  Financial institutions.  TiVo, for goodness sake!  Amazon!  You can’t contemplate missing emails from some of these folks.

Now I need to go one by one through these email addresses, some of which I don’t even recognize anymore, and figure out, “Who sends (or once sent) email to this version of me?”  There are some very odd answers out there, let me tell you.  But the few that I need to keep, I need to convert to the form david+tag@domain.com.  My ISP tells me that will be supported,  sending everything to david@.  It has been that way for years now in Gmail, but I found a lot of sites that would reject email addresses with a ‘+’ in them.  It’s going to have to be more widely accepted now because I am determined to be able to track spammy reuse of my email.

Well, enough whining.  Those spreadsheets are not gonna collate themselves.  Not to mention all the email address changes I have to do…

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