Some time ago someone reported issues accessing cpan.catalyst.net.nz a little peculiar and puzzling at the time, but we put it down to some weird DNS cache issues and moved on.
Turns out the problem is a DNS one, though not what we were thinking at the time:
$ host -t aaaa mail.catalyst.net.nz mail.catalyst.net.nz has IPv6 address 2404:130:0:10::40:0 2404:130:0:10::40:0 == 2404:0130:0000:0010:0000:0000:0040:0000 $ echo $((0x24)).$((0x04)).$((0x01)).$((0x30)) 22.214.171.124
So somewhere, some crappy device is getting a bunch of bytes back when it asks DNS for the address of something, and then it's taking the first four of them and calling that the IP address.
Kudos to David Clarke for spotting the actual problem.
I do like that some of my friends in Debian have conspired to set up the website http://thank.debian.net/, and I composed this little Haiku in their honour:
Debian is fun for seventeen years. Beautiful balloons.
I'd also like to thank everyone involved in Debian over the years for being such a lovable, friendly, enjoyable and welcoming bunch of people to work with.
It's tempting to single out people for special mention, because there are people who do exceptional work in the project, but the list would go on for so long, and I would be afraid of missing out someone who would be obvious five minutes later, and then I'd have to come back and edit this post repeatedly with the names of more and more people over the coming days. We all know exactly what a chore that kind of maintenance is.
So I'll just give up completely and thank everyone, and if you think you deserve a special thanks, you probably do, and I'm sure you're on that list in my head. When we meet, as I hope we shall, let me shake your hand, lend you my ear and buy you a $BEVERAGE of your choice.
Last night, after the kids had gone to bed, I entered the bathroom to find this wonderful diorama Max had created to reenact the ramming of the Ady Gil.
I just love the stance from the 'Japanese' seaman, and particularly how he's represented by a tiger, with the plug for a hat. The Ady Gil, of course, just a harmless duck. Altogether spartan in the simplicity of the representation, and yet wonderfully evocative.
All of the items are bath toys that have been in the room since the kids were much younger, but such wanton creativity is truly a joy to observe.
I had to visit two sites today and got what I consider to be amusing responses from them. Firstly I had to visit NZ Post to get them to hold our mail while we will be away.
Life is always a bit of a gamble, but I wasn't expecting NZ Post to be making their website into a lottery like this. It seems that they're trying to statistically limit the number of people who are allowed to have their mail held, because I got to see this little gem:
It is nice to see someone apologising for their planned failure to consider Linux users. It's ridiculous that they even have to. It seems to me that these people have spent way too much effort on making the logo and menus scroll in from the left and right of the screen, and not enought effort on the actual functionality of their website.
Writing free, open-source software is an incredibly public activity. Everything you do is in the public eye, and google will inevitably discover your site, and then other people will find your software, and download it, and this is a good thing. It's why you're doing it, after all, and it's so nice to receive those occasional 'Thank you for your software' e-mails. There are occasional exceptions, however.
Today's practical exercise is to demonstrate your skills responding to the annual student exercise question, like this one, following on to finish a real exchange while still retaining your sanity to the maximum extent possible. Humour will receive bonus points.
Here goes. First up, we have an e-mail arriving out of the blue which looks like this:
how to run the caldav server in window i have download it from the http://wiki.davical.org/
Today has been a beautiful one, enough to persuade even me to visit the Big Blue Room. Some extensive rearrangement of the local greenery happened after Max lost one of his toys in a tree, and many scratches later I was able to relax in the knowledge of a section somewhat spruced up. That tree that blew down a couple of years ago has been appropriately dealt to, a drain has been uncovered, much moss, ivy and branches removed as well. The weather forecast for tomorrow is for similarly coloured skies, so the industry may even continue for another day!
In other blueness and greenness, when Fraser finally got dressed this morning he loudly proclaimed that he was "all in blue" so I said "Let's have some music to match, then" and we spent the first half of the day playing only tracks with names ending in "Blues", which sourced such a delightfully eclectic set of artists so that this afternoon we moved on and I found that music with the word "Green" in it's name might provided us with even more exotic entertainment to round out a great day of blues and greens. Tomorrow, Max says he wants to hear some Reds and Yellows, so I guess we will carry on there! I might cheat a little and leave the 'w' off yellow :-)
After much wading through possible names, none of which really excited me, I have finally chosen "DAViCal" as the new name for my CalDAV server that was previously called RSCDS, or the "Really Simple CalDAV Store".
In the end, I chose DAViCal because it:
- seems easy to pronounce.
- combines the 'Cal' and 'DAV'.
- returns < 1000 results on google.
- doesn't make me cringe.
- didn't have a domain name registered.
That was about the hardest part of preparing for the 0.8.1 release, and now that I've done that I should manage to make the changes to the packaging, though I have no doubt that the old name will appear in all sorts of places for a while yet.
Choosing names is an important business, and I should know that from the length of time we spent agonising over names for our children, discarding all sorts of things because they had silly abbreviation collisions (like the "Royal Scottish Country Dance Society" :-) Even then, I think we got the kids names wrong, and the big one should be called "Thumper" with the little one called "Sly", but perhaps that's just a temporary annoyance and in time the names that we registered for them will fit them better.
I also recall Grant once saying that you should never use the word "Simple" in the name of your project, and he should know. DAViCal is no longer particularly simple, although I have attempted to hide the complexity from the user as far as that is possible, and will continue to do so.
Once I get out version 0.8.1 of DAViCal I will finally upload it to Debian, proper. This version has some important enhancements to its DAV spec compliance which are going to be needed by some future versions of Mozilla, and probably other things too, so it's important to push it out as soon as possible now.
Is there anything Keith Packard can't do?
Tore, Simon Richter, Keith and others have had great fun restoring the pipe organ that was oh-so-conveniently located in the night venue. I don't think that the landlord would have expected this. Apparently we were instructed not to break or fix anything but this was just too tempting for a bunch of geeks.
I particularly like the fact that there is no sheet music - that's what laptops are for, surely!
I followed the advice of the lazywebs a while ago and bought myself a phone (Nokia 6100) on the local auction website then went around to the local Vodafone dealer and bought a SIM card for it.
When I signed up I ticked the box saying "Enable Global Roaming" and now that I'm travelling I realise I should have actually confirmed that happened before I left the country, because it didn't happen. Now I'm sitting in Melbourne with only the (free :-) Wifi to keep me company.
So looking at the Vodafone site, it appears that I could dial "777" to enable global roaming. Apparently I should have done that a few days ago, because it sure won't work now. Perhaps this "Manage Your Account" thingy will work? A period of perusing pages of FAQs follows, and I eventually conclude that it would work.
Except that when I try and register for the service I am told that my phone number is not valid. Yes, I moved my old number across to Vodafone, about the same time Brenda was lamenting the inadequate preparation Vodafone did for Mobile Number Portability, and while the actual phone has been working, Brenda did note back on April 1st that "you can't use the website to manage your account". Two months on and it still isn't possible, which is pretty poor really - you would think Vodafone would be actively encouraging people to move across to their network.
So I'm effectively phoneless until I get to Edinburgh and can buy a SIM card.
At least I can still get on IRC and ask someone to call Heather and tell her why I'm not phoning.
I have just received the most bizarre share purchase offer I've ever seen. It seems some weirdo company called Colonial Capital Corporation wants to pay about 60% of the market rate to buy my shares in Tower Australia Group.
I only have these few shares because of some insurance policy I used to have, and probably I should have sold them years ago, but to be offered 60% market value seems pretty insulting. I wonder how many suckers will be fooled?
Good to see that Wikipedia has a pretty thorough write-up on the guy. Maybe someone has some pictures of him that they could upload there as well, so we can recognise him in the street. The Melbourne Age can help out a little on that point, as can the Sydney Morning Herald though he always wears sunglasses, it seems.
The registered office of the Colonial Capital Corporation (NZ Company no. 1891726) is "Andrew James Kennedy, Level 2, 6 Clayton Street, Newmarket, Auckland". I guess if you know that person you should make sure they are aware of the kind of amoral shyster they are fronting. It seems that particular location is a "virtual office" that you can rent for only $120/month from the "Auckland Business Centre Limited", Ph. 09 522 7130. I wonder if Mr. Kennedy takes phone calls, and what company name he gives when he answers?
A previously infamous company also with David Tweed as sole director is National Exchange Ltd (NZ Company no. 1559669). The office for that one was at Suite 102, 63 Remuera Road. No name associated with that, but the constitution is pretty much a license to ensure any funds get offshore as quickly as possible, and a Google search suggests that the address generally has some very dodgy businesses associated with it.
We go to the library every three weeks. Since we don't have a television in our house there is a lot of reading going on. For myself I don't get out many books, spending far too much time in front of the computer to really read stuff. I make an exception for Neal Stephenson though, and I just finished "The System of the World" this morning, so it was time for me to switch to lighter stuff. Terry Pratchett, I think.
My son is demolishing books though! He just finished reading stuff like:
- Winston Churchill and his great wars
- Scottish place names
- The Lonely Planet guide to experimental travel
- A wild ride through the night : suggested by twenty-one illustrations by Gustave Dore
- MacBeth : man and myth
- Fables Aesop never wrote
Time for something lighter? No fear! When we left he could scarcely lift his backpack full of the following:
- Maddigan's fantasia
- Mind-boggling buildings
- The last of the sky pirates
- The curse of the Gloamglozer
- The stormin' Normans
- Gorgeous Georgians
- Who stole the black diamond?
- Who shot the sheriff?
- Who is the prisoner of Portcullis Castle?
- 501 TV-free party games for kids
- The seeing stone
- The field guide
- Stopping for a spell
- The limerick
- Scotland's Highlands and Islands
- The price of water in Finistere
- EARLY people
- A short history of nearly everything
Well, in fact the last one didn't fit in his backpack, so he had to carry it. At least he had to carry it for a little while until Heather pinched it off him and started reading it herself! That's the way it is in this house though: Max read the Terry Pratchett that I'm on now about a month ago, and I'm sure he'll run through those and start pinching the books Heather or I took out. I don't suppose that reading list would be unusual in a 15 year old (if they liked books :-), but for a 9 year old it constantly continues to amaze me.
Meanwhile Fraser (who's 6 now) isn't so up on the reading thing. He's getting there, and can actually read better than most in his class at school. Never mind: he still listen's avidly as I get through one chapter a night of "Tears of the Giraffe" by Alexander McCall Smith. It's so good that the other folk don't mind listening either, even if they have all read it themselves.
Flying home from Auckland the other day I discovered that women don't have noses. At least that was the case for the little representations on the safety sheet in the seat pocket in front of me. Wherever there was a little picture of a man, it would be a person with a nose. Where it was a picture of a woman there would be no nose.
Odd, and yet somehow it worked.
I shall now have to spend some time staring more closely at people's faces, so if you see me looking at you strangely over the next few days please don't get upset: I'm just trying to work out whether you have a big nose, and why a picture of a person without a nose should look more like a woman.
I need a new phone. My current phone has the battery cover falling off it because I fiddle with things all the time, and since I have my phone with me all the time it seems to get all the punishment from this. And then I drop it, and bits fly off in all directions. It mostly still works, but it's a few years old and the battery doesn't last for more than a couple of days anyway.
So I really need a new phone.
As far as I can see though I'm too unfashionable, or I'm not geeky enough, or I'm too geeky. Well, something is wrong with me anyway, because nobody makes a phone for me.
My Dream Phone
My dream phone is not something that is bleeding edge, but it is seemingly impossible for phone manufacturers to sell such a thing to the phone companies.
|Good battery life||Mandatory||Readily|
|Sunlight readable display||Mandatory||Readily|
|Bluetooth||Nice to have||Readily|
|High-speed Data||Nice to have||Somewhat|
What's so hard about that? It seems that all of the features I am after are possible, and have been possible for years. My problem is that the phone manufacturers and marketers have arbitrarily decided that everyone wants to have an (undreadable in sunlight) colour display, except for cheap bastards. And cheap bastards are clearly cheap bastards and so wouldn't dare to want any other features.
Personally I would happily pay $300 for a new phone with no camera, no music player, no video calling, no picture messaging and no "crap of the week" option... Of course it would have to be small, have good battery life, a monochrome display, have an alarm clock, work in other countries and be reasonably stylish. If it had bluetooth, high-speed data capability and a (basic, simple) appointment calendar I'd pay another $300 easy.
Since my phone currently transforms into a 3D jigsaw puzzle at the drop of a hat it rapidly becomes a conversation piece and I have had universal agreement that while functionality like camera, movie and mp3 player might appeal to some people, nobody I know wants to use the phone as much more than a communication device. Invariably the people I'm talking to acknowledge that while the set of such people might exist and might even be large, they are not actually a part of it.
The "I Just Want a Phone" Options
Some of the manufacturers seem to have noticed that people want a simpler, kinder phone. Unfortunately they are targetting their offerings at the octogenarian market, rather than their children. Yes, I do "Just Want a Phone", but I am not yet palsied and could still hit the buttons on something that is 35mm x 90mm x 15mm thank you very much. If I could find one.
My general communication does also involve the use of other devices from time to time, such as a laptop and an internet tablet, so it would be "nice to have" the ability to do bluetooth and high-speed data.
The Best Phone I Ever Had
The best phone I have ever had was a Nokia 8310. It was nearly small enough to be perfect. It had a monochrome, sunlight-readable display. It had an excellent battery life (regularly lasting more than a week on standby). The model was so functional and usable it has, of course, been discontinued.
Since then, it seems, all of the small, stylish phones must have an unreadable-in-sunlight colour display, and most of them have a bunch of other stuff to add weight and size to the device and make it chew through batteries as quickly as possible.
Every few months I take a look through the current offerings, but it seems I'm just too weird.
Perhaps I could steal that Nokia 8310 back off my wife now that she has a new battery for it...