Feb 182024

Nobody likes to hear their country isn’t the best country in the world – especially when said by a filthy foreigner. But the USA isn’t.

  1. The USA is ranked 59th by life expectancy.
  2. The USA is ranked 7th by GDP per capita.
  3. The USA is ranked 123rd by pregnancy mortality ratio (there are 180-odd positions and the lowest rate is best).
  4. The USA is ranked 12th by the World Freedom Index.

I could go on, and probably there’s a metric out there where the USA is #1. But I doubt reeling off metrics showing the USA isn’t the best is going to convince many.

But here’s another reason. Assuming your country is the best leads to complacency, which eventually leads it it not being the best country in the world. So even if your country is the best country in the world, pretend it isn’t and always strive to make it better.

The Bare Family
Feb 122024

So two days ago, I upgraded my main workstation to Ubuntu 23.10; a few little issues (mostly related to my own scripts), but nothing serious. Yet.

On the following day, my smart TV box started misbehaving. It couldn’t see any of the videos NFS mounted from my workstation, ITVX threw up a website error (this should have been a clue), but Youtube worked fine (which showed that the network was working fine).

So I did the obvious thing and started checking the NFS parameters to see if anything had changed. Nothing definite but on the way I noticed that the TV box wasn’t getting an IPv4 address from the dhcp server; IPv6 was working fine but some services don’t work on an IPv6 network.

I foolishly assumed that the TV box had stopped requesting addresses via dhcp – backed by the dhcp logs which showed no requests had been logged since the previous day. Set a static address, and everything sprang into life (except for ITVX who seem to have decided that only approved TV boxes should be allowed to run their code).

Later that same day, I upgraded a switch which failed to come back (“Failed to adopt”) which caused a daisy-chained wireless access point to disappear (“Failed to adopt”). And then a little while later, a second unconnected wireless access point also disappeared.

After a few reboots of the switch (and access points), I finally checked the dhcp server and found that its root filesystem had become ‘read-only’. But that wasn’t the end of the misdiagnosis …

I assumed that the SD card in my dhcp server (a tiny ARM box) was fried, so made arrangements to backup the contents, buy a couple of replacements, and try a spare (which was broken). After the spare turned out to be broken, I ran fsck on the root filesystem of the original and a whole bunch of errors were fixed.

Re-installed into the ARM box, and everything sprang to life again.

I guess the moral of the story is that you should check the basic services before diving into making assumptions.

Upended Cannon
Jan 142024

This is going to be a bit of a departure from the normal far-left propaganda and I dare say almost every Tory voter will be ignoring it. But maybe a few will at least listen – at least to me it makes sense. And not because I’ll not be voting Tory myself either.

Today’s Tory party is broken – to at least the extent that the Labour party was broken during the era of the Militant tendency; they have been infiltrated by two (at least) factions of the far right.

The first are your classic proto-fascists – nationalistic to the extreme, anti-immigration, and worried by “woke-ism” to the extent they’ll by really nasty to those the wokeists will say you should be nice to. And I don’t just mean with words – they’re basic thugs.

The second are disaster capitalists who don’t care about the country. They’re after enriching themselves and their rich mates. They’re after tax cuts – not because they believe in small government but because they want to cut taxes for the rich.

The fix for this is to smash the party at the next election; anything less won’t work. The party needs to be reduced to the point that the extremists will give up on the party and leave for greener pastures. Hopefully they won’t find a new home.

It is quite possible that a loss at the next election won’t be quite enough – real Tories need to get out and shout down the extremists at every opportunity. The party needs to look closely at what the public as a whole wants – for example, sabotaging the NHS over the last decade has made much of the public very, very angry.

And the party needs to look very closely at why the young steer clear – the way things are going at the moment, the Tory party will be having an annual conference in a back street pub in a couple of decades. The old adage about young people becoming more right-wing as they age is almost certainly wrong, but even if it’s right, they’ll be looking to the right-wing of the Labour party or the Liberals as their home.

Why am I trying to help the Tories? Because I’ll enjoy seeing the Tories have an election result that’ll make the 1906 disaster look like a tea party of course. But a relatively small loss won’t cause the party to do a proper reflection to the extent they need.

The Lighthouse
Jan 142024

Just seen a video title about how Linux defeated UNIX™; it is quite hard to dispute this givennd that that Linux is alive, well, and thriving. But I would argue that it isn’t quite true.

First of all, UNIX™ is technically alive as Solaris, HP-UX and AIX are still active. And there may well be rarer versions out there – and I’m excluding operating systems that meet the trademark requirements but aren’t really “Unix” (we could argue all day about what is and what isn’t “Unix”).

But the market for UNIX™ machines is a great deal smaller than it used to be. And why is that? I would argue that whilst Linux made the transition easier, it isn’t the real reason why many organisations swapped out their high-priced machines for cheaper machines.

And that gives a bit of a clue. Whilst the high-priced machines from Sun, SGI, HP, IBM, Digital, etc. weren’t over-priced they were expensive. The hardware was built to be exceptionally reliable – for example some of the Suns I worked with could deal with a processor failure by simply turning off that processor and letting an engineer replace the board all whilst the system was up and running.

No what “killed” those expensive UNIX™ machines was virtualisation and the use of commodity hardware. If a modern server dies, the virtual servers running on it are simply migrated to a working server suffering at worst a reboot (but probably not).

Plus there was a realisation that not everything needed to be continually available.

Through The Gateway
Jan 072024

The 𝕏-verse has been splattered with Tory messages about this month’s cut in National Insurance; many of which have been amusing tagged with context pointing out that this isn’t a tax cut. Oh and if you see a Tory tax calculator, don’t try it – it’ll dishonestly add you to a Tory mailing list.

  1. National Insurance isn’t quite a tax; it looks like one, smells like one, but isn’t quite. The NI contributions are added to a fund out of which certain benefits are paid – chiefly state pensions. See: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/media/657ae7f1254aaa000d050d2e/Great_Britain_National_Insurance_Fund_Account_-_2022_to_2023.pdf
  2. There is already a stealth tax rise due in April; a ‘tax cut’ that’ll be obliterated in three months is nothing more than a token gesture. Quite possibly a political stunt aimed at encouraging voters to vote Tory in a May election (if it occurs).

We can expect many, many more Tory lies on social media as the next election approaches; always pay attention to the “added context”.