Your leaking thatched hut during the restoration of a pre-Enlightenment state.


Hello, my name is Judas Gutenberg and this is my blaag (pronounced as you would the vomit noise "hyroop-bleuach").


decay & ruin
Biosphere II
dead malls
Irving housing

got that wrong

appropriate tech
Arduino μcontrollers
Backwoods Home
Fractal antenna

fun social media stuff

(nobody does!)

Like my brownhouse:
   quality randomness
Wednesday, August 13 2003
I spent much of the day at a client's house stringing Category 5e ethernet wire between three different computers in two different buildings. During various parts of this gig I could be found way up on a ladder, sliding on my belly in a crawl space, crimping connectors by hand in a teenage girl's bedroom (site of the router), and clambering above kayaks in in an stiflingly hot garage (home to candy apple red Jaguar convertible). One moment I'd be boring holes through a wall with an 18 inch spade bit and the next I'd be invoking DHCP on an ethernet card. The weather was hot and given (as it has been for weeks) to occasional drenching cloudbursts. I quickly became so sweaty that my client (the whole family of three) urged me to jump into their swimming pool. It's a pool that Gretchen and I used occasionally while this same family was off spending five weeks in France.
The wife of the family was concerned because my Category 5e wire was white, and it might show a little too much on the dark green clapboards of the house. But Lowes doesn't sell dark green Category 5e cable, and sometimes æsthetics must be sacrificed on the alter of technological need. The results can be beautiful; look at the Lunar Landing Module, which - were it not for the many technological details providing a Victorian complexity to its surfaces - might look like the MSN Messenger icon.

For the past week or so I've been broadcasting my 8000 MP3s on random play on an undisclosed FM frequency. But listening to the selection, I've discovered the playlist is amazingly constricted. I keep hearing the same songs over and over again, while other songs I know to be there never get played. There must be a problem with the WinAmp random number generator; it must never get reseeded or something. I've noticed a similar problem with the random number generator in Microsoft SQL, and you might have noticed this too if you've ever obsessively reloaded the Randomly Ever After homepage. The issue of high-quality randomness in computer technology is an important one, yet it seems to be getting low-priority attention. In the meantime, my 8000 MP3s on random play sound just as stale as WDST.

I managed to miss the Blaster Worm epidemic on my system because I patched it during all that hype about Microsoft RPC vulnerabilities several weeks ago. I only had to patch one machine, the one that dials out onto the internet and serves as a firewall for the others on my local network. My mother wasn't so lucky. She runs a Windows XP machine that is mostly trouble-free, but it was a sitting duck for this particular worm. I had to talk her through a solution over the telephone just to keep her machine from spontaneously rebooting regularly. While I was at it, I told her how to turn off the widespread Windows vulnerability that leads to Windows Messenger spam (most of which is for products that disable the Windows messenger "service").

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