the weBLog

 
Saturday, October 11, 2003
  TRC Listserv
Based on the fact that the TRC's current mailing list server is not departamentalized and doesn't support attachments, I went to work on learning how to set up a full-featured mailing list. I downloaded majordomo, which seems to be a pretty major one, and started setting it up on silverfir.net. Its about half working. Right now, I can't figure out why exim, running under uid 8 (mail) can't access the majordomo list file. I've set it up so the uid 8 is in gid 1 (daemon) - which all of the majordomo files are stored under. When I su to mail, have no problem cat'ing the file. But whenever I try to send mail to the list, I get an error back saying that exim was denied permission to open the file. I've even rebooted. Suggestions are welcome. Now, I'm going to prepare to work by showering, dressing, and eating. 
  No Fry's
Well, I got to thinking and chatting with my friends about the possiblity of the new computer. And I decided that if I'm going to do it, I should do it right, and not get a crappy mobo to go along with a nice processor. So I didn't go to Fry's - instead, I went home around 6:00 and met with a design/build duo about remodeling our kitchen. We discussed possibilities, fees, and project cost - they were thinking in the $100,000 range for a complete rebuild of the kitchen, quite a hefty sum of money.

Good friends, Great food
After they left, being as cool as I am, I headed to The Keg with my parents, on a Friday night. Meh. The food, however, was excellent. I called Kat bak (she had called while the remodel-people were over) and we chatted. It turns out that when I was drifting in and out of sleep on Thursday (see below) Kat had in fact called. I thought maybe I had dreamt that part. I felt pretty dumb, but what can I do? It reminds me of this time in France, on a focus week school trip. Our room missed the checkin time, so when our chaperones got back in at 2:00am or so, they gave us a call. I apparently answered the phone, although I didn't remember doing so in the morning. The chaperone who had talked to me asked if I was alright, as I had sounded very out of it the night before. I told her that I was unaware that we had talked last night, although it did explain why my mattress had moved nearly 4 feet laterally.

Today, so far
My mom decided my alarm didn't really need to be going off every 9 minutes (I am a snooze-addict occasionally), so she turned it off. I was marginally aware of this fact, but I didn't stop her (reference above groggy state). So instead of making it to Marc's house at 9:00, I got there more like 10:00. While there, I did about an hour of work, got paid for two because he is so generous, and am now $30 richer. If only my other two jobs paid that well. I'm working Blockbuster tonight and tomorrow. I'm not sure I want to - but I've decided to stick with it for a little while at least. I'm feeling like I'm coming down with a little sickness, so I want to get some sleep tonight - but first I'll be watching "Kill Bill volume 1" with Dan at Crossroads.

Moral Ambiguity
I'm not sure what I believe in, or if there is anything to believe in, and as a result I'm not sure how I should act while I try to figure it out. Currently, I'm still uncomfortable with a number of things I've never experienced, such as coffee, alcohol, and sex, to name a few. The somewhat scary thing is, I was just as uncomfortable with things such as R-rated movies, working on Sunday, and much longer ago, people swearing in my presence. There are reasons I hold out on things like alcohol - a substance I have decided I never want to use, but without a moral framework to work with, its much harder to make life choices, substantial or small.
Currently, I seem to be making each decision at the time the choice comes up, and since I don't have a clear framework, this makes my decisions rather arbitrary and doesn't really take me where I want to be going. Of course, I don't even know where I want to be going, but I'm not real happy or certain of where I am going right now. I wish this figuring life out thing was easier, but then maybe it wouldn't be worth it. 
Friday, October 10, 2003
  Ack!
I missed yesterday, sorry. Immediately after work, I went to the International School for the Titan Robotics Club meeting. The club is disappointingly small right now, but that should change after a schoolwide assembly in early November. All we need is a cool video (one is in the works by Tim) and an open signup sheet. I got home around 6:00, and drifted in and out of sleep until 10:00 when I crashed for the rest of the night. During those surreal hours of half-sleep, Amy called, and I'm pretty sure I was unintelligible for most of the conversation. I think somebody else may have called as well, I don't remember.

Today
Work as normal, but I got ahold of a Fry's advertisement, showing an Athlon XP 2400+ motherboard for under $100, which is tempting me to upgrade my desktop pronto. Actually, I would probably buy or put together a barebones system and transfer my up-to-date goodies (firewire card, Sound Blaster Audigy II Platinum) over to the new box. oasis would then be upgraded to FreeBSD to take over as SilverFir.net. I don't know for sure what I would do with Wadi, my Pentium Pro 180, the current silverfir.net server which runs Debian GNU/Linux. My best guess is that it would become an overpowered, oversized router - maybe running NoCatAuth for a wireless AP I run off of our cable modem.

Creighton's willing to go to Fry's with me - woohoo! 
Thursday, October 09, 2003
  Wednesday
Started work at 7:00. Ended work at 12:15. Breaks from 3:00-5:00 and 9:10-9:40. Thats 14:15 of work. Not bad for one day. I brought Phenonenom, Stranded, and The Matrix Reloaded (not available to the public yet) home with me today. Matrix is ripping, I'm about to watch stranded, and Phenonenom is for the family this weekend. Listening to Linkin Park now. Friday at work I left Starship Troopers. I looked, but could not find it today. I have yet to check with the PM crew or lost and found. Hopefully I can fine it, considering it belongs to Scott.

Dialup
I'm on dialup right now. 24000 bps. Unlike some forms forms of the internet, Nocharge is still working fine. Its not fast, but its consistent outside of peak times and IM, most email, and blogging doesn't take much bandwidth. Surfing text web pages still sucsk though, and anything graphics intensive is a nightmare. Cant wait for cable.

 
Tuesday, October 07, 2003
  Linkin Park, "Easier to Run"

If I could change I would
Take back the pain I would
Retrace every wrong move that I made I would
If I could stand up and take the blame I would
I would take all this shame to the grave

Just washing it aside
All of the helplessness inside
Pretending I don't feel misplaced
Its so much simpler than change

Its easier to run
Replacing this pain with something numb
Its so much easier to go
Than face all this pain here all alone 
  Ping? Pong!
Dan, a friend of mine raised the possibility that my internet packet-loss problems could be a result of an overloaded cable modem, as opposed to a flaky wireless link. I didn't think it was too likely, but it was certainly worth investigation. Using the venerable ping tool, I found conclusive evidence that the packet loss is due to the wireless link between my modified WET-11 and the wireless router from which I am accessing the internet. The first set of ping statistics are between my laptop, Mobius, and my wireless router. The second set is between Mobius and my WET-11. The third set is between Mobius and the second wireless router that belongs to the neighbors. The fourth is between Mobius and google.com. Clearly, the packet loss is introduced at the wireless jump from here to the neighbor's wireless access point.

Connection Diagram:
Mobius ----> Linksys WRT54G ----> WET11 ----> DI614+ ----> Internet

Ping statistics for 192.168.10.1:
Packets: Sent = 55, Received = 55, Lost = 0 (0% loss),
Approximate round trip times in milli-seconds:
Minimum = 1ms, Maximum = 20ms, Average = 1ms

Ping statistics for 192.168.0.140:
Packets: Sent = 58, Received = 58, Lost = 0 (0% loss),
Approximate round trip times in milli-seconds:
Minimum = 4ms, Maximum = 6ms, Average = 4ms

Ping statistics for 192.168.0.1:
Packets: Sent = 1356, Received = 833, Lost = 523 (38% loss),
Approximate round trip times in milli-seconds:
Minimum = 8ms, Maximum = 202ms, Average = 24ms

Ping statistics for 216.239.53.99:
Packets: Sent = 1333, Received = 782, Lost = 551 (41% loss),
Approximate round trip times in milli-seconds:
Minimum = 39ms, Maximum = 290ms, Average = 61ms

Total Packet Loss diagram:
Mobius -- 0% --> Linksys WRT54G -- 0% --> WET11 -- 38% --> DI614+ -- 41% --> Internet

Conclusions of introduction of packet loss:
Mobius ----> Linksys WRT54G: 0%
Linksys WRT54G ----> WET11: 0%
WET11 ----> DI614+: 38%
DI614+ ----> Internet: 3% 
  Passing the torch
Ah, you have got to love BYU's internet filtering. Maybe it stops a few people, but it only egged me on. My reputation, apparently, has preceded me and today I received a request from a BYUite to help bypass BYU's proxy. Its ridiculously simple. I offered multiple solutions. I even got CGI-proxy up and running on SilverFir.net, after a bit of work. I still don't know what was going wrong at first, but everything is working now and that is what matters.

Skipping Seattle Wireless
Its been ages since I last attended a Seattle Wireless meeting, and today the streak will become one week longer. I have a few too many things to get done and I'm working double shifts for a good part of the rest of the week. I figure that by next week, I have a good chance of having my new antenna in hand and I might have a few things I want to try with a bunch of experts around.

Seattle Wireless Eastside Annex
I am still interested in setting up the Seattle Wireless Eastside Annex (SWEA) - basically a bunch of wireless links on Seattle's Eastside to share broadband internet connectivity. The idea would be to have point-to-point 802.11b/g links between houses using bsd-based routers that would: 1) ensure that each member of SWEA is guaranteed at least their own bandwidth; 2) dynamically route packets via wireless links to increase bandwidth if extra bandwidth is available; 3) create a high-speed community wireless network on the eastside.
In order to do this, of course, I need to establish clear line-of-sight to a bunch of people, learn a lot more about wireless links, BSD, and routing, and find people willing to help foot the substantial cost that would be involved in purchasing the necessary antenna, pigtails, and wireless bridges.

Cable Modem Upcoming?
After the First Cable Modem Fiasco, the tide might be turning. My parental unit, specifically of the maternal persuasion, is beginning to understand how nice fast internet connectivity is. The gestalt occurred while looking for tickets to the Cirque du Soleil's production "O". Dial-up was ridiculously slow while the stolen connection was speedy, but intermittent. Gee, I suggested, we could have our very own consistent connection by getting a cable modem. She considered it. Interesting.
 
Monday, October 06, 2003
  Why I love my conversations with Clifton
[23:03:57] Arcanius: do you think the NSA is getting this?
[23:04:29] AbstractCement: the more you talk about them, the more likely they are.
[23:05:48] Arcanius: kill bush strike terror into hearts of americans with bin laden and afghanitan connection undermine democracy
[23:06:02] AbstractCement: you are a daring human being.
[23:06:07] AbstractCement: are you doing that to impress me?
[23:06:46] Arcanius: more or less
[23:07:04] Arcanius: I laugh at the NSA even after watching movies like conspiracy theory and enemy of the state
[23:07:20] AbstractCement: I don't even know what the NSA is. 
  HyperGain┬« 2.4 GHz Antennas. Lots of options. I'm thinking the 24dBi grid is fun overkill, the 14 dBi Flat Patch looks quite reasonable though. 
  Wireless trouble!
Work was uneventful; I rented Frequency and Conspiracy Theory today; and the 200 mW-powered WET-11's link isn't as good as I had thought. It it still quick finicky (those pesky trees in the way). I am moments away from buying some real antennas from hyperlinktech.com. 
Sunday, October 05, 2003
  Silverfir.net is back up!
Silverfir.net went down twice recently - once was my fault, trying to get passive ftp working. The second was not my fault - the ISP had a hickup and the IP changed. But now everything is back to normal.

Friday's Activities
I rented my last two free movies for this week; The In Laws and Stargate. The first is noteworthy because you can't rent it yet (another small benefit of employment at Blockbuster). The second is noteworthy because of how good it could have been, yet wasn't. Both are ripped and divx'd for my collection.
Other recent activities include the successful set-up of software RAID on oasis, my venerable Win2k desktop machine. Using the two 80gb hard drives I purchased at Fry's Electronics on the second day of their month-long opening day extravaganza, I produced a 150gb (after NTFS format) doublespeed software RAID disk. I have yet to really test its speed limit, but it seems to work just fine so far.

Saturday
I set my alarm for 8pm and thus woke up naturally an hour later than the 8am I expected. when I was already supposed to be at DigiPen after picking Shai up for a hike of Mount Si. We ended up being the only ones going, so no one else was inconvenienced. We started the hike at 10:20 and made it to the top of the haystack about three hours later. We stayed up top until 2:00, then headed out and made it back to the car at 4:00. After a quick stop at my house, we headed out to play frisbee at Robinswood at 5:00. We only had eight people show up, but still ended up having a good time. We play every Saturday at 5:00 at Robinswood park in Bellevue. Everyone is welcome.

Sunday
Woke up late, went to one session of General Conference, couldn't stay awake through it, put the finishing touches on bringing silverfir.net back up. 
 
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