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:
   maybe the proxy wasn't good enough
Wednesday, April 15 2015
Spring usually tempts us a few times in March, something it never did this year. But now that it's here, it seems to be sticking, with beautiful sunny days and temperatures in the 70s. I forgot to mention that I turned off the boiler for the season several days ago (only to discover that a ULN2003 chip had failed in the Arduino solar sufficiency controller), so if it gets cold now, we're dependent on the woodstove. But I haven't had to burn any firewood in days; it's looking like that final one-cord tranche remaining in the woodshed isn't going to get used until the next heating season.
Since Gretchen was gone, it was my job to walk the dogs in the forest. After the last two years of numerous bear incidents, I'm always on edge about what Ramona might be up to, but so far this year has been entirely bear-free. Perhaps the cold winter was hard on them. It definitely seems to have been hard on the ticks. There have been a few (and I extracted one embedded in my thigh the other night at Eva & Sandor's place), but the spring has been much less tick-infested than in most years.
Back at the house, I plunked down in front of my computer only to find that Verizon had insinuated itself between me and the Internet. It seems they had received a complaint from a copyright holder (the MPAA) concerning a file being shared in a Bittorrent cloud. I've never actually had this happen on my computer before; in the past, it's always happened on Gretchen's computer, mostly because of the sloppy way she would use a Bittorrent client (leaving files to seed long after she was done downloading them). Verizon forced me to log in with the account username and a password, showed me a list of all my violations, and then made me promise to stop illegally downloading copyrighted content before they re-enabled my access to the Internet. The offending file in this case was a recent episode of the current (6th and final) season of Justified, which I had indeed been downloading as a favor for Gretchen. I'd actually used my Chromebook earlier this morning before walking the dogs, and Verizon didn't interrupt me on that machine, and in the past when Gretchen had been the one doing the bittorrenting, Verizon had always interrupted her at her machine. This implies that somehow they know which computer in our local household network is doing the bittorrenting. That's kind of creepy and I'm at a loss for how they could do that; it's not like I'm even using a Verizon DSL modem (which could be full of privacy-denying shenanigans).
But even more concerning than all that was the fact that I'd actually been using a proxy server located elsewhere on the internet to do my bittorrenting. But evidently it had failed, and it's hard at this point to know exactly how. Unfortunately, all the bittorrent clients I know about will happily bittorrent without using a proxy should something about the proxy fail. That's really not how client software should work; if someone has set up an internet client to use a proxy server, they have good reasons for doing it, and it might be worth a lot more for them for their connection not to work at all then for it to work while allowing third parties (in this case, the MPAA and Verizon, but in others, say, the Islamic Republic of Iran) to listen in. I tested my bittorrent client immediately to see how it worked if, for example, I configured it to use my proxy server but gave it a bad password. No problem, it bittorrented away without any warning or other indications that I was now bittorrenting from a naked IP address logged to my name in Verizon's database.
The bittorrent client I use is called Deluge, and I'd selected it because it allows for its connections to all be proxied using web proxies (that is, proxies designed only for web protocols; they tend to be easier to configure than lower-level proxies). But perhaps that's just not secure enough; maybe the data is being packaged in a manner allowing third parties in a bittorrent cloud to determine its ultimate destination. Clearly, I need a better proxy technology, and I need a bittorrenting regime that absolutely will not work if the proxy should fail. I'm not exactly a freedom fighter in Putin's Russia, but I can't keep getting these nastygrams from Verizon. At this point we're on our fourth strike of a six-strike regime, and I think with the fifth strike they start fucking with our bandwidth to punish us. I decided that from now on, I will be doing all my bittorrenting from a laptop whose entire internet connection passes through some low-level proxy to a distant proxy server.
At 10:30am, I drove the dogs to the Hurley Vet, where Gretchen had set up an appointment for Eleanor. Though she seems healthy and happy otherwise, her cough is just as bad as ever. After the obligatory thermometer up her butthole, the vet wrote her a prescription for the strongest cough-suppressant yet: hydrocodone. It's a controlled substance that vets' offices doesn't stock, so the vet had to write me a special prescription to be taken to a local pharmacy. Since it wouldn't be ready to be picked up for awhile, I drove back home, stopping at my new topsoil mine on the bank of the Esopus to gather five more buckets of that perfect cakelike material. Before I actually gathered any, I took the dogs on a fairly good walk along the Esopus in the cornfield to the north. I'm not sure that the field had been used to grow corn last year; things are in a state of agricultural flux in the Esopus Valley ever since the Gills sold their land to a Cornell-based "farm hub." (The biggest benficiaries of this sale have been the residents of Old Hurley, who are no longer being buzzed by passing cropdusters spraying poison. Amd the randomly-firing bird cannons designed to keep crows out of the corn have fallen mercifully silent. The effects of this on Ray and Nancy'r property values cannot have been trivial.)
The folks at Nekos Pharmacy dicked me around through some mix of incompetence and patronizingly-expressed impatience at my desire to get a sense of when Eleanor's medication would be ready for her. I had a coughing dog on my hands, and they seemed to be taking their sweet time producing the capsules she needed. It turns out that hyrdocodone is normally mixed with acetaminophen (probably an unnecessary combination designed to breath new life into a lapsing patent), but in this case it was to be prepared pure. After I'd gotten my bottle, I went off in search of something I haven't needed to buy in many years: burnable CDs. I've been trying some new lightweigh Linux distributions on my old Evo N410c laptop, and had run out of media to burn them on (that laptop does not seem to be able to boot from anything but a CD in its attached MultiBay or its hard drive). I first went to Catskill Art & Office (trying to help local business and all that), but they were closed, so I went to the new CVS. The blank optical media were there, but they were hard to find and there wasn't much selection. It won't be long before kids will have no idea what those shiny disks were actually used for. (Meanwhile, I don't think you can buy floppy disks at a CVS any more, but I could be wrong.)
On the way back home, I stopped at my Esopus levee dirt mine and got five more buckets of the good stuff while Ramona and Eleanor wandered around, mostly staying out of trouble. Thankfully the greasy smell of cooking flesh at the Hurley Mountain Inn didn't tempt them to cross Wynkoop, perhaps because there were equally-enticing smells at the much closer taxidermy shop.


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