More Stickies

  • Spam and beans tastes much better after maturing for a day or so.
  • They’re doing the security thing again yesterday & today.  My across the hall neighbor is teaching a new dude how to do the job and that’s all proprietary and trade secret so they have partitions up so we can’t see or hear what they’re doing.  The security patrols help too.  Also, across the other hallway from us is a nice lady’s office.  Her door’s been guarded by security for two days also.
  • kill( getpid(), 9 );
  • is a very odd way to exit a POSIX program.  It asks init to kill the program’s process.  It’s the computer equivalent of suidice by cop.  The program is shouting:  “Kill me, you fascist pigs, blow my brains out!”
  • The kernel technically does the killing on behalf of init by sending the uncatchable SIGKILL (signal 9 on both POSIX and GNU) to the process but init is the one responsible for removing the process table entry and taking inventory of the memory space before the kernel can clean it up.
  • The normal way to exit a POSIX (or GNU) program is to call exit().  This informs the kernel that the program has no more text to execute and is ready to die.  The kernel then sends the SIGTERM signal to the program which kills it gracefully, and then cleans up the program’s file descriptors and memory space.  Killing a program from within doesn’t give the program an opportunity to close file descriptors, free malloc()’d memory, etc., like catching SIGTERM does.
  • If calling kill(getpid(),9) is suicide by cop, then calling exit() is getting in line for the suicide booth.  Much cleaner, quiter, and approved by the authorities.
  • The lowercase g and lowercase s are very similar in the default font used for almost all local CC stations. I get words like “lausins” for “lauging.”  It sometimes takes me a minute to figure it out.
  • The coffee is much better today.
  • The adobe 0-day vuln is hitting us about 1 every 5 minutes.  It’s annoying.  I’m tempted to set up a filter for it.
  • LOL – it crashed the mail server.
  • When I worked for Cargill, the first official name for our division was “Cargill Value Added Meats.”  How in the hell does one add value to meat?  during the course of my one-month employment, it changed to “Cargill Meat Solutions.”  I can’t imagine anyone saying “Damn.  I’ve got a meat problem!  I need a solution for this.”  Or possibly solution as in meat dissolved in something…  We did make a lot of that.  Meat dissolved in water with CO2, free O2, bleach, or lye depending on which equipment was being cleaned.  Occasionally it ended up in the river by accident and the Sierra Club would picket us for it.
  • “it seems that one would have to either cause or intend ham or freud in order for it to be considered illegal”
  • Causing Freud is illegal now, huh?  And I wonder how one can cause “ham” over the ‘net.
  • Uhh… there’s a company that you can pay $600-$6000 to get access to the government suppliers catalog.  Apparently, people don’t realize that it’s a federal law that the GSA has to publish the suppliers’ catalog once per year to allow fair market competition.
  • My mom says that she’s afraid of my external hard drive because it “breathes” in the night.  It’s one of the first-gen Seagate Traveler Desktop USB hdds.  It has an orange stripe that’s normally dimly lit but when the disk is active, it slowly pulses brighter.  The backups run from midnight to 2 AM so that’s when the drive starts glowing orange.
  • For Lodge:  www.fisherhouse.org
  • Fisher House charity for families of wounded soldiers and veterans under VA care.
  • Danzig founded the Misfits in the ’80s and continued into the ’90s.  Now he’s on his own.
  • http://www.thinkgeek.com/tshirts-apparel/unisex/ccc0/
  • http://www.thinkgeek.com/tshirts-apparel/unisex/374d/
  • http://www.thinkgeek.com/tshirts-apparel/unisex/5e89/
  • http://www.thinkgeek.com/tshirts-apparel/unisex/3777/
  • http://www.thinkgeek.com/tshirts-apparel/unisex/c7e0/
  • http://www.thinkgeek.com/tshirts-apparel/unisex/e5c3/
  • http://www.thinkgeek.com/tshirts-apparel/unisex/c9e9/
  • http://www.thinkgeek.com/tshirts-apparel/unisex/e57c/
  • http://www.thinkgeek.com/homeoffice/mugs/e4f8/?cpg=139H&head
  • The immediate need for HomelyGosling is to host the website database backend.  HomelyGosling, being a quad-processor UltraSPARC-II server with 4 GB of RAM and 15KRPM disks, is excellent at transaction processing.  MySQL has an optimized UltraSPARC binary that’ll really fly.
  • Lol – a bunch of commented-out code that tests the writability of a file by clobbering it with 120 bytes of junk data, then reading it back.  That’s what we call “destructive testing.”
  • And some development-only code (I think possibly  a perverse experiment?) that brute-forces XML parsing by skipping around the document, building trees of tags and attributes by seeking <, “, /, and > characters.  The actual production code uses J2EE XML parsing methods and is squeaky clean (and damn fast!)
  • uhh… here’s a UI event handler class that implements runnable (a good thing – makes the class threadsafe) and then declares every method as synchronized, even the methods that are supposed to be worker threads.  The end result is that clicking a button causes the entire app to block while the data is fetched, even though the intent was the exact opposite – to fetch the data in the background and let the UI continue handling user events.
  • Lol – our “unit testing” and “system testing” scripts have empty tests – they all pass all the time unless the XML is badly formed, which is checked before code check-in anyway.  So our unit and system testing does nothing but provide eyewash for the suits.
  • “Error handling” entails more than just putting the description of the error in a comment.
  • I wonder where fangirls hang out besides SoCal?  I’d like to meet some.  They seem like they’d either annoy the hell out of me or be the most fun people ever.
  • Original BSD and early SysV versions of CSH caught “make love” commands and responded with “not war?”  Current SysV versions of CSH don’t catch “make love” but the corresponding make versions respond with “don’t know how to make love”.  Modern BSD and GNU versions of make respond with “no rule to make target “love”.  Stop” which isn’t nearly as much fun.  But FreeBSD provides an optional patch (and corresponding build flag) to CSH to restore the original “not war?” message.  It was once an option in Gentoo and Slackware’s source packages for TCSH but has since been removed.
  • get copy of The Dilbert Principle
  • PDP-10s and IBM 370s have the STIZ – STore Immediate Zero instruction, which is equivalent to the x86 hidden STZ instruction.
  • Get buckling spring keyboard:  http://pckeyboards.stores.yahoo.net/cus101usenon.html
  • dd is one of the few UNIX commands that’s been officially deprecated for nearly 15 yrars but for which there is no exact replacement.  (Although cat works fine if you don’t need bytesex conversion, byte-aligned or padded output, or nonbuffered streaming, e.g. for a tape or disc in packet writing mode.)
  • That seems to be a common user experience:  J. Random Luser tries to do foo on his machine.  It fails.  He tries again many times, they all fail.  A hacker sits down at the machine and does the exact same thing as the luser was doing and it mysteriously works.  I’ve seen it numerous times at work and home.  I can’t explain it.
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  1. #1 by Phillip on September 14, 2010 - 6:23 PM

    I have a few things kind of in the same vein. Do you remember the Matthew Lesko commercials? My uncle was wanting to figure out how to get a grant for something and wanted a copy of the book. I told him to go to grants.gov because it’s more or less the same stuff. If people don’t know, they won’t go.

    The value added meats, I don’t know if you saw …it was some documentary… but they kind of explained it. They took all the bits that no one wanted and used it. In this particular case they blended frozen ammonia into the ground “beef” product that went to the fast food places and some of the prepackaged burgers. Sounds delicious.

    I’ve noticed the J. Random Luser phenomenon too. I’ve chalked it up to the fact that they’re missing a step somewhere.

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