Archive for March, 2002

A moo with a view

Cow, with ocean

No comments


According to Forbes, Michael Eisner made $700 million over the last 5 years.

According to their accountants, Disney made just over $2 billion in profits in the last 3 years, and roughly $6 billion if you dig back through the last 5 years.

Now I know that comparing Eisner’s compensation including stock options to the company’s profits is not quite a straightforwarding accounting matter, but it looks like Michael Eisner got 11% of the profit that Disney made over the last 5 years.

Now on to the editorial. Mr Eisner. I’m glad that you don’t steal. I’m glad that your grandfather and father tought you not to steal. That’s a useful attribute in a CEO. But Mr Eisner, it may come as news to you, but you are not alone in that. My father tought me not to steal, and I don’t. And I resent your message I am a thief. Your senator’s recent bill will require that I pay for the computer industry to turn my computers into devices that attempt to protect your property, and that I rewrite my applications to do the same.

Leaving aside the point that Digital Rights Management is an impossible goal, adding this to my applications and computers will cost me a lot of money and time for no benefit, except to you.

Hmm. You forcing me to spend money for no discernable benefit? Sounds like theft to me.

No comments

More Better Spring

Took a little trip this weekend, to the olympic peninsula. Marrowstone Island and Port Townsend.
A dock in Port Townsend

A heron and ducks from the front porch of the cabin

No comments


On the first day of spring…

Tulips in the snow

Tulips and snow outside.

View of the window

Of course, that was yesterday, and today it’s 50 degrees and smells like spring. Oh well, there’s always tomorrow.

No comments

RFC: Port Forwarding Tool

The Problem

On Osx, Frontier runs as a user process, not as root. Therefore, it can’t bind to ports below 1024. We have been using port forwarding to forward low numbered ports to high numbered ports. This is a manually maintained script that resides in /Library/StartupItems/Multihoming/.

There are 2 major drawbacks:

  • It is manually maintained, and I’m tired of doing that for complicated systems.
  • There is an issue with loopback tcp where either the operating system or applications that don’t know about port forwarding assume that [publicip]:port is equivalent to [loopback]:port. If frontier can parse the forwarding data, then it can do the right thing. We are seeing this with xml-rpc requests from instance to instance.


Automated Maintenance

There should be a frontier tool that can make the Multihoming directory, write all associated scripts, and add a file with its information into a subdirectory of the Multihoming startup item. Sudo should be used as necessary to write the config files, but the datafiles should be writable and readable by user processes. A sudo execution shall not be necessary for frontier to read this data. The port forwarding script will have to be run as root, so it should be triggered by a menu item or run from the command line.

The datafiles should be text files that are named for the ip address being forwarded and one line per port forward request, source port [space] destination port. Lines should be written in unix native format. Comment lines are delimited by #. The multihoming script should ensure that all ip addresses referenced are aliased to en0. (Aside, should there be seperate configuration directories for en0,1,2?)

Configuration data should be stored in config.root.

Loopback Bug Fix

When Frontier starts up, and every so often thereafter, it should read the datafiles and parse them into an internal structure. When making a tcp connection, Frontier should examine this structure and determine if the connection end point should be rewritten to a local high port. This change will probably make sense in tcp.httpClient, but could also be added to tcp.openStream and tcp.sendMail. This should handle communication between one frontier process and other processes on the same machine.

There should also be recognition of the apparent ip address of the http inetd listener so that communication within frontier correctly intreprets if the request is loopback or not. I propose the following:

  1. request port == apparentPort and request ip == apparentIp -> process internal loopback
  2. request port == port and request ip == loopback -> process internal loopback
  3. request port == apparentPort and request ip == apparentIp -> process internal loopback
  4. request ip, request port are forwarded -> machine loopback to target port.


Must… Finish… Taxes….

Every year it’s something else, every year I think that next year’s taxes are going to be simpler. And every year, I’m wrong, at least for the last 4 years running.

First it’s a house. Then it’s a bit of consulting on the side. A jump to a different job with different retirement accounts. Then inconsistent accounting at the outsourced HR company. The company nearly dies then crawls back to life.

At least I don’t owe. I’m figuring that each hour of tax preparation misery should be worth at least $100 of refund. Of course, they’re paying me with my own money, so they should be able to afford it.

No comments


Snow on the hammock

No comments

mmmmmm bandwidth…

For one brief shining morning, my laptop was the sole machine on the end of a brand new t1 that needed a little load testing.

That contented sound you hear is the sound of high quality of service bandwidth sucking. I know it’s not capital B broadband, but it’s certainly a change from cable and congested dsl.

Now if they’d just pull 10 or 100 Mbit fiber over here. I don’t ask for much. I just want it all, and I’d like it now please.

***T1s for <strikethru>dummies</strikethru> software people


  • Demarc – that little box on the wall that the phone company put in in the wrong room that takes 2 wires and turns them into a rj45/48 connection.
  • Extended Demarc – The bailing wire and punchdown block contraption that you assemble that is essentially a 150 foot straight through cable. (pins 1,2,4,5 go straight through, otherwise known as the the unused pairs from an ethernet cable) This would not have been necessary if the phone company had put things in the right location in the first place.
  • CSU/DSU – What you plug the extended demarc cable into. Looks like an ethernet port, but it’s not. In this case it’s a card in the back of the router.
  • Router – The thing that appears to nearly work, but doesn’t until the guy on the other end flips a switch. Probably a cisco with a 68000 class processor running IOS.

Despite this tale of apparent confusion, it’s actually easier to get one of these installed than to get DSL from Quest. You sign a big contract, confirm for 7 people that you are in fact the contact, deal with phone company confusion after the fact, get badgered by the engineer, deal with your own lack of knowlege, get the engineer on the other end to do his magic, then it works.

Whereas DSL takes many calls, some rescheduling, badgering, and then when it doesn’t work, you have to call a customer (dis)service rep. When you’ve finally returned from the 7th circle of voicemenu hell, you might have a net connection. If you’re lucky. And sacrificed a squash to repent for your sins.

*** Oops.

Gems and static pics were down for a while while apache was listening on the dsl line, but dns was pointing to the t1. Guess that’s why you don’t test on client sites…

No comments


Light on the water

After living with a digital camera (Cannon Digital Elph, S-100) for a year and a half, I have a short list of what I want in my next one.

  • Better low light performance. ASA 100 (f2.8-4.0) barely cuts it outside in Seattle, and I have artistic objections to using the flash. I’d be willing to trade resolution for sensitivity for real low light shots. To do this, I’d need much better exposure control.
  • Better usable resolution. 2.1 megapixel is good enough, if that’s the real resolution. If you look at the results, I don’t quite get that. The Foveon sensor might help that, as would more raw resolution.
  • More saturation. It seems that this camera always needs a bit of a boost to the saturation to come close to the picture that I remember.
  • Longer lens. I’d like 300mm, f 2.8, and have it fit in my pocket. I know I’m dreaming there.

Oh yeah, and I want it all in the same digital elph form factor so that I always have it with me.

No comments

Sea Change

Sunset, while the weather was changing from bright early spring to windy spring rain.

The weather has changed. It was a glorious beginning of spring: sun, flowers, fresh air. But last night, change blew in and now it’s just grey spring rain.

Early morning light on a frosted flower

No comments