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:
   bittorrenting from a virtual private server
Thursday, April 16 2015
I saw my first snake of the season this morning down amid the sun-drenched leaves in front of the greenhouse, a place I often see snakes (sometimes traffic jams of them) in the summertime. As always, it was a Garter Snake, in this case a smallish one (about 12 inches long).
The weather has been so warm and sunny and looked destined to remain so, so I put my big grow-lamp-grown tomato (which may actually be three different individuals) outside to benefit from the unfiltered sunlight. Later today it would even catch a little rain.
My Lightroom/Webapp client had a meeting with me today, the first since I told we shouldn't meet unless he brought me a check. And so he did, the smallest four figure integer check that can be written. Based on his unexpected fragrance, the stress of developing this app as well as that coming from his demented mother-in-law (who has moved into his house seemingly permanently) has driven him to smoke cigarettes. At first I couldn't quite identify what my nose was telling me; initially it reminded me of the early 1990s and kissing girls whose names I didn't know. Had my client been in a smoky bar all morning? But then I remembered that there are no smoky bars anymore, at least not in any place where you can get an abortion but not carry a loaded gun into a bank.

This evening I went with Gretchen to see her preside over a session of Word Café at Outdated in Uptown Kingston. Soon after we arrived, I felt uncomfortable and out of place; the scene mostly consisted of ernest oldish white women, the kind one sees getting out of their bumpersticker-plastered Priuses in the parking lot of a Unitarian church. It was kind of hard to hide, but after getting a cup of coffee, I found a seat blocked by a table had to block access to Outdated itself in order for me to get in and out. I'd brought my laptop so I'd have something to do, but once Gretchen got going, she was definitely the most entertaining thing in the room. Acting as an educator (a role I haven't really witnessed her in), she has amazing charisma. She completely controlled that room full of would-be writers as she gave examples of various poetic forms, which she described as rigid structures designed to help (not hinder) creativity. This session had been entitled, aptly enough, "Form & Function." I left during a break in the action, when everyone was expected to write their own poetry. Gretchen later told me that, according to Nina (the woman who facilitates these things), the participants were unusually inspired and productive. Now if only something could be done about the annoying people who ask too many stupid questions just because they like to hear themselves talk!
Gretchen and I had driven into town together in the Subaru so that I could gather another five buckets of topsoil on the way home. (Gretchen and Nina went out for dinner after the event and Nina eventually drove Gretchen all the way back here to Hurley.)

Back at the house, I made some progress at solving the challenge of bittorrenting without Verizon ever being notified of my doing it from an IP addressed leased to me. At first I thought it made sense to set up a proper SOCKS5 proxy, so, using a virtual private server (VPS) I use for such things (and which otherwise doesn't get all that much use), I installed something called Dante Server, which is a SOCKS5 server that can authenticate with username and password. I got it working reliably, but then started having my doubts that it was good enough. Since the data being transferred to and from the proxy isn't being encoded, I was concerned that there still might be some header information available for the agent of a copyright holder to inspect. (I don't know enough about SOCKS5 to know if this is a valid concern or just paranoia, but at this point I don't want to take any risk; remember, I'd gotten a Verizon nastygram while using a proxy.) I decided to take a different approach: what if I just ssh'd into my VPS and used some sort of command-line bittorrent client to do my bittorrenting? I soon discovered that there was such a client. It's called transmission-daemon, and, better still, it can be remotely controlled by a GUI on a totally different machine anywhere else on the internet. That GUI is called Transmission Remote GUI, and there's even a version for Windows. I set up transmission-daemon on my VPS (a simple matter of apt-get install transmission-daemon), installed the GUI on my main Windows machine, and proceeded to use it to bittorrent some media file (I forget which). Unfortunately, though, my VPS only has 2.5 gigabytes of storage, of which only 900 megabytes was free. That means I can only use it to download one average-sized movie at a time. Still, that's not completely useless, and none of the bittorrenting happens using Verizon IP addresses in any way. It's also amazing to see how quickly files can be downloaded from a bittorrent cloud by a client connected to that cloud not at a crappy DSL speed of 3 Mb/s but at something more like 20 to 100 Mb/s. Of course, once the file has been "downloaded," I still have to download it from the VPS, and when I do that, I do it at crappy DSL speeds. But since that download is not bittorrenting and involves no sharing or publication of IP addresses, it's not something that can get me in trouble.

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