December 22, 2014

I worked today. Originally I had set aside the full two weeks here at the end of the year (thereby using up my allotted vacation days that nobody really keeps track of anymore), but we have this enormous backlog of interviews due to A Lot of Circumstances so I got up & went in to the office & did two interviews & also did some emailing & other miscellaneous Things.

I will do the same tomorrow, and then I have the rest of the week off. But next Monday & Tuesday I’ll be back in there.

It’s like the good old days of being an hourly worker who works through holidays, except now instead of sitting around doing nothing & getting paid I actually have to work.

Anyway. Between interviews & emailing I managed to download the source for jackmeter, a kind of ancient (9 years old!) cmd-line digital VU meter for the Jack Audio Connection Kit.

I had needed a way to check input levels on our streaming server at WXDU, which doesn’t have any sort of X server or other GUI installed, so I poked around & lo and behold, someone had written just what I needed.

Only it didn’t work for us because I’m using an option on our jack server that didn’t exist 9 years ago.

So I downloaded the source, acquainted myself with gnu getopt and the basic outline of how one connects to a jack server, and then wrote a patch & applied it and … it didn’t work. And then I fixed the thing I screwed up and then it DID work and it was pretty thrilling, actually, because I’m basically a freshman-level C programmer. 

And then, in sharp contrast to literally every other time I have modified a piece of open-source software to suit my needs, I actually pushed the patch back up to github and submitted a pull request to the guy who wrote the thing (and who had already proved himself to be a good guy by responding to my random email about a little piece of software he had written 9 years earlier).

My first pull request! After years of haranguing students to get more involved in open-source projects.

If *you* need a console-based VU meter for your jack server that you’re running with a non-default name, here you go:

December 22, 2014

December 19-21, 2014

I don’t want to be doing this every-three-days thing, but it has happened twice this week. Sometimes life intervenes.

Friday night we went back to Juju with a friend of ours. It was packed; there were people standing around by the door waiting for tables.

They’re still working out a few kinks in how orders get entered & food gets delivered, presumably a side effect of their small-plates setup (and the relative enormity of the dining room). We had nowhere to be, so the occasional delay wasn’t really an issue.

Last time we ate there, we loved the brussels sprouts, the fried oysters and the pork belly. This time it was all about the hanger steak. Seriously: It’s amazing. Such richness of flavor. 

Saturday I had to re-learn the hard way about how Linux handles multiple IP addresses assigned to multiple NICs on the same subnet: not well. The Linux network subsystem doesn’t really firmly associate IP addresses with NICs, so you get really unpredictable results.

I had actually learned this once, years ago, but had forgotten. In the intervening years I’ve been using all of these multi-homed OSX machines & it has Just Worked. Chalk one up for OSX. Or rather chalk one up for BSD.

Bummer about the expensive server-class multi-port NICs we just bought, though.

Saturday night we saw The Babadook, which refuses to commit to being a Bad Seed movie, a Sick Parent movie, or a Legitimate Haunting movie. It walks an excellent tightrope between those three things for ¾ of its length, but at a certain point it gets muddled & never really unmuddles.

Still, it has some amazing performances & a truly wicked evil popup book at its center.

Tonight we watched one episode of The Starlost, which is a 1973 Canadian sci-fi series starring Kier Dullea. It was written by Harlan Ellison but then modified sufficiently that Ellison took his name off of it.

It was kind of amazing. Their effects budget was essentially zero, apparently, so nearly every shot is green-screened somehow. This contrasts poorly with the rather ponderous dialogue. It’s glorious.

I have to work Monday & Tuesday this week, but I’m off the rest of the time & plan to write an entire node.js / mongodb online database with my spare time. We’ll see how far I get.

December 19-21, 2014

December 6-7, 2014

A lot of my thoughts over the weekend were tied up with the Eric Garner protests, both nationally and here in Durham, and I covered that in the post immediately prior to this one.

I spent Saturday afternoon working on a new streaming server for WXDU, and inadvertently learning things about Linux DBus that I didn’t know before. This, however, is because for the first time in several years, I’m reintroducing Linux into our server environment, and I’m very happy about that.

We’ll see how long that lasts. 

One driver of this shift is the fact that all of our boxes are Mac Pros, some of them fairly elderly, and the new Mac Pros (the black trashcans) aren’t really optimized for server duty. They’re heavy on GPUs and light on on-board storage.

Saturday evening we ate at Toast & then came home & engaged in the weekly halfhearted struggle to find a movie to stream. I have terrible luck when it comes to finding some obscure gem that sounds awesome, and suggesting it to M, without first checking to see if it’s streamable.

They never are.

Through some chain of circumstance we wound up watching Albert Brooks’s first movie, Real Life, which was mildly amusing in a highly self-conscious Albert Brooks kind of way. 

Sunday fit the standard pattern. 

So far in my year-end metal listening I’ve been most entertained by Abigor’s Leytmotif Luzifer:

And Lunarterial by Swallowed

<a href=“” data-mce-href=“”>Lunarterial by Swallowed</a>

December 6-7, 2014