Flight Papers

feminism and creativity, art, madness, and play

Archive for the ‘technology hates me’ Category

Somehow, I’m sure the patriarchy is to blame.

Monday, July 28th, 2008

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My computer stopped turning on over the weekend. (* cue sound of sobbing children *)

I push the power button. Nothing! I unplug her, wait a minute, plug her back in and push the power button. Nothing! I pray whilst pushing the power button. I am struck by lightning*, but my computer does not turn on.

So, until I can get a new** power supply***, posts might be a bit erratic. A bit, um, more erratic.

You have been warned.

* - The lightning had a funny, dismissive “you don’t even even mean it,” flavor.

** - I actually have two spare power supplies, but neither has the right power cord layout. Arr.

*** - At least, I hope it’s the power supply.

What’s in a name?

Friday, June 6th, 2008

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I did not choose to turn this blog into a collection of not-well-selected links to—unsurprisingly—airlines.

You may (or may not) have noticed some DNS hiccups here. Specifically, I let the registration almost lapse. The issues are resolved, I think, and I’m set up for automatic re-registration, so it shouldn’t happen again. Hopefully.

That brief brush with pain made me think about how totally fucked ICANN’s whole DNS registration policy is right now. There’s a loophole in their policies which lets anyone register a domain name and return it within three days or less for a full refund. The idea seems to have been that most people wouldn’t want to continually return and re-register a domain they actually wanted to keep, and that no registrar would be willing to put up with the paperwork anyway.

Except, of course, there are thousands of registrars, and some of them are assholes.

So what happens is, when a domain registration lapses, some registrar will lap it up as soon as possible, and plaster it with ads. (They’ll do this for all the other top level domains of an already-registered domain, too.) And then, just before the tasting period is up, they’ll drop the registration, and if there have been any hits—or sometimes if there haven’t—they’ll re-register the domain.

They can keep doing this forever.

What this means is: if your registration lapses into the public pool for even a day, you’re screwed. One of these registrars will grab it and squat on it with ads forever. You can buy it back from them, of course, for hundreds of times the going rate. Or, you can get a new domain name, and try to get the word out that your old one has become a cesspool of penis enlargement scams.

(ICANN could fix this, of course, just by dropping the tasting period, and possibly by making lapsed domain names more expensive for anyone who isn’t the original registrar to grab. If it costs even the nominal registration fee of $5 to “taste” a domain, speculation isn’t worth it anymore. ICANN, of course, is not exactly known for their responsiveness to community concerns, let alone those that don’t impact large corporations terribly much. Who knows if this will ever get addressed.)

I am a ninja, part 2.

Friday, May 16th, 2008

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So, my computer is still a bit wonky, mostly because I haven’t had a few moments to put it right. Regardless, I at one point found myself in X, basically sans a window manager (I’m using twm right now, because nothing else is properly installed. Yeah.) And because the normal startup stuff isn’t running, control and caps lock aren’t swapped.

This aggravates the hell out of me.

Most normal people, they basically take the keyboard layout they can get. Me? Some time ago, I saw Jamie’s whole control and caps lock need to be swapped thing, took it to heart, and now I can barely type on a keyboard with the normal mapping. If I’m doing any kind of text editing, forget about it.

So! Once again, without the benefit of nice graphical tools, I’m left thinking, “how do you do this?”

Only this time, I kinda know the answer: xmodmap lets you change the keyboard mapping. So I fucked around with that for a bit, and in the man page it actually has a, “here’s how you swap control and caps lock,” bit, and I did it, and that was fine.

Only it turns out that in my fucking around, I managed to remap the letter ‘v’ to… nothing. I think I tried using some recipe for a Solaris keyboard, or something. Regardless, I found myself unable to type the letter v.

So I can just use xmodmap to fix it, right? Just run xmodmap -e ‘keycode 55 = v’, and you’re all set.

Only, how do you input that command if you can’t type the letter v?

Simple. You go into Firefox (no vs there), go to some blog post, copy the letter v out and paste it in.

And lo, I can type ‘v’, and my keyboard is how I like it.

Like a ninja, I’m telling you.

I am a ninja.

Monday, May 12th, 2008

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This post will largely be written in geek.

So, I managed to do something completely brilliant today. I unmerged baseutils on my way to emerging a whole new system profile (with some init scripts of my own making, to try to bring up X super-early), and I… kinda forgot to re-emerge it before restarting.

If you don’t know what that means, a translation: I removed the part of my system that, among other things, lets it start up system services. If you do know what that means, you are probably saying about what I was saying at that point: “well, fuck

The first inkling that something was wrong was that every single system service failed to find its dependencies and thus failed to start. The second inkling was that gdm was one of those services, so I got a terminal, rather than X.

The last inkling, of course, was that I had no networking. Because networking is a service. And this is the real “oh, fuck,” because, of course, I deleted all the cached distfiles about a week ago, for disk space.

Which means I didn’t have some vital start scripts, and didn’t have any way of installing them.

Unless I could get the network running.