ik wou dat ik een oma had die ik soms zomaar op mocht bellen en die 's avonds bij m'n bedje zat om mij een sprookje te vertellen maar oma's hebben allemaal al iemand voor wie ze oma kunnen zijn ze zitten dan wel in tehuizen maar elke zondag is het kamertje te klein dan komen ze allemaal op visite en vragen of ze een zwaantje vouwt en als ze 's avonds moe gaat slapen weet ze dat er iemand is die van haar houdt hoe zou het dan toch komen dat heel veel oma's eenzaam zijn en van hun kleine kinderen dromen die nu veel groter en verhinderd zijn al die oma's die truien breien waarvan niemand zegt: wat fijn! die hoeven me dat truitje niet te geven maar willen ze alstjeblieft mijn oma zijn? Morrison
het is al bijna avond wat gaat zo'n dag toch gauw ik klim zo in mijn bedje en dan denk ik weer aan jou dan lig ik stil te luisteren naar de geluiden om me heen dan hoor ik zoemen tikken fluisteren want ik lig hier niet alleen! soms vertel ik mijn avonturen aan Tiberius da's een bromvlieg en die woont op het kozijn dan snort ie heel tevreden want als er iemand tegen 'm praat dat vindt Tiberius hartstikke fijn vandaag ook Ricky nog gesproken die woont bij de kersenboom het is een soort van rups maar hij wil later vlinder worden net als zijn vader en moeder en zijn tante en z'n oom zelf wil ik als ik later groot word proberen klein te blijven omdat Tiberius en Ricky anders bang voor me zijn dan blijf ik ook dichter bij de bloemen en zal ik altijd gelukkig zijn Morrison
With the move to Australia I have learned a particular thing about my brain: I can't remember names without seeing them written down. This presents itself mostly when watching television or movies: The names of persons (an overal problem), but also about medical issues (Skully in the X files, House), city names and star systems (Star Trek :-).
Last week I was reminded about this when discussing the latest episode of The United States of Tara: I didn't kow the names of any of the characters except for Tara. I know there is a husband, a son and a daughter (and on the side line a sister, a fast-food shop-manager, a boyfriend of the son and a psychiator), but I don't know any of their names. Neither the name of any of the personages Tara transforms in (except for Buck, which is a name I saw in the subtitles of Kill Bill).
I have seen numerous episode of The Bill (UK Police series), but I won't be able to name any of the characters in there. I have seen numerous episodes of House but can't name his colleagues or female boss.
This issue has never been a problem when I lived in the Netherlands, because all the foreign television series and movies are subtitled. So I know all the names of the people in Star Trek and Babylon 5, and I know part of them in Battlestar Galactica (Starbuck, Apollo (is he in the new one?), Boomer and Adama because they were in the old series which I saw with subtitles) but the name of the president or the second in command on the Galactica or the name of the scientist are all unknown to me.
That didn't mean that having the BBC was useless for me, thanks to the subtitles on the Teletext system "behind" the broadcast I was able to follow everything.
So, what does this leave for me in Australia? Not much, there is no Teletext system on the normal channels and there is only one channel, SBS, which has subtitled movies and series (because they are non-english). Before the re-run of every episode of Dr Who and Torchwood I read up on the TARDIS Wikimedia website to make sure I know who is who this time.
At least I know the limitations and the workarounds, but it's very tricky sometimes!
Over the last years I've used a set of unique tools which names have faded into history but when mentioned still bring a warm feeling to people who have used these tools. These tools were on often on platforms which didn't stand the test of time, for good or bad reasons.
4DOS and 4OS2 by JP Software.
Everybody who has ever tried to write a batch script in the MS-DOS COMMAND.COM interpreter knows about its limitations. The 4DOS interpreter took these limitations away and replaced them with powerful features. Interactive batch files suddenly became possible, filename completion was introduced, coloured directory overviews and string manipulation became a piece of cake.
As long as MS-DOS was sold, 4DOS would live on. But the moment the command-line was replaced by the GUI of MS-Windows95, it was dead. Obsoleted because the operating system didn't run from the command-line interpreter anymore.
Qedit by SemWare.
By default, MS-DOS came with a editor called "edlin" which was enough to do some rough editing to get a system working again, but for the rest it was not worth mentioning.
Qedit on the other hand, it was full screen, it was fast, it had split window support, it had ASCII drawing support, it could change the resolution of the monitor to 43 or 50 lines and it could edit files hundreds of kilobytes big.
On the MS-DOS platform it was the best text editor you could get, but as so many other applications it didn't survive the migration to the GUI of MS-Windows: It had a more-or-less working text editor and the editors coming with software development suites had full blown IDEs.
ModPlay Pro by Mark J Cox.
Before the rise of the compressed music (read: MP3), the Amiga world developed a way to store music efficient: Instead of a stream of sound, it recorded samples and the patterns to play the samples in. Since the musical part of a song (so not the voice) consist of repeating elements, it was space-wise very cheap to store the song. And that is the MOD file format.
ModPlay Pro was text-based and had several views of the data being used. One was a frequency/volume overview and one was a tracker overview, in which you could exactly see the pattern being followed and the samples being played. And if you followed it often and intensive enough you started to involuntary "disassemble" songs you heard on the radio into the four tracks available in the MOD format.
The MOD format became popular before soundcards were widely available and affordable. The workaround for it was to build a simple D/A convertor on the parallel port of the computer with a cable to your stereo. And if you bought a second parallel port you could even have it in stereo!
With the rise of more powerful computers and faster networks the MOD format became unpopular in favour of the MP3 format.
TheDraw by TheSoft Programming Services.
TheDraw was the tool of ANSI BBS Administrators and wannabees to create fancy menus and of ANSI artist to create text based animations.
Creating a coloured line with ANSI codes isn't difficult, just cumbersome. To change a colour of the next character you need four characters of which one isn't printable ("ESCAPE [ 25 m"). Testing the menu out can be done from the command-line but figuring out where a colour change is necessary is next to impossible.
Not with TheDraw. With TheDraw you could design the ANSI menu as-is and then write the whole sequence of ANSI escape codes and strings to a file, ready to be displayed on your BBS.
Where did it go? With the rise of the WWW and the demise of the BBS, ANSI became an obsolete in favour of HTML and images.
DESQview by Quarterdeck
You have your Qedit editor, your Turbo C compiler and your ModPlay Pro, but you can not run them all at the same time. After all, this is all still the MS-DOS era! Luckely Quaterdeck developed a lightweigth text-based pre-emptive task switcher called DESQview. That way you could run multiple MS-DOS programs at the same time, without having to quit them or to suspend them. So you could edit your program, compile it in the next task and test it in a third task.
We all know what happened to the MS-DOS market, and DESQview is one of its victims...
The coming two days I'll be at the IPv6 Workshop of APNIC. Of course this workshop is in the middle of nowhere, which is impossible for a Sydney based event so let me rephrase it: It is held in a non-central location unreachable by train. The options? Take the train to the city (one hour) and then the bus (one hour) or take the train to Parramatta (1.5 hours) and take a taxi from there.
But the good news is: thanks to the speed of the Cronulla / Bondi train this morning I was able to catch one train earlier at Redfern, and that one only stops at Strathfield, Lidcombe, Granville and Parramatta, which will save me some hassles... I hope :-)
On the sideline, I checked out when my first IPv6 capable program was created: It was the Fatal Dimensions Mud server and the commit date was 29 April 2000, eight years ago. The IPv6 connection came via FreeNet6 in Canada and that was a IPv6-over-IPv4 tunnel. Thanks to my FreeBSD port of their tunnel software I got a tshirt from them!
Update: That taxi took half an hour to get there....
Two gigabyte of memory, first computer with a DVD player / burner and dual core CPU and 120 Gb of diskspace. FreeBSD again. It was also the first computer with a LCD monitor instead of a CRT monitor, thus giving me more space on my desk.
FreeBSD again. Nothing excited, except to notice that it was the first computer to have one gigabyte of memory.
With my move to the Philips / Origin DNS team, I had to get a computer to run BSDi's BSD/OS on it and to get a feel for it. It didn't last long, it was just BSD and worked the same as FreeBSD for what my role in the team was. So it got to be used for other people when they visited me.
This Dell computer was obtained cheaply via the PC-Prive project at Philips / Origin, thus called my prive-del (Literal translation: private-lady-of-the-street). It ran FreeBSD only. I never got the Windows refund because according to the rules and regulations of the PC-Prive project you weren't allowed to modify anything on the system. That also included the painting on the box and the extra harddisk I put into it :-) i
A new computer with a CD-ROM drive! It ran OS/2 WARP 4 for about a year and then it got replaced by something called FreeBSD 2.2.1. All the power I had with OS/2 and it was modular! I didn't understand yet how it all fit together (That kernel compiling isn't really something I do understand), but it allowed me to read my mail and news, play online in a MUD and develop my own programs.
This was only a motherboard change, but for the first time I made a real hardware change to my own computer.
The 386 allowed me to run Quarterdeck DESQview, a text mode multitasking program under MS-DOS. This was brilliant, it allowed me to edit my programs in one instance, compile them in a second instance and run them in the third instance. Because the instances ran in the so protected mode, any bad programming my side was immediately punished with an aborted program.
This was also the era of MOD files, the audio format which contains a track part and a samples part. By using a simple D/A convertor on the parallel port of the computer, you can connect the computer to your stereo and play all kind of music. By having two parallel ports on your computer and have two D/A convertors you could have stereo sound! The price of these D/A convertors? 15 resistors, one DB25 male, one tulip plug and one DB25 case: DFL 7.50. Much cheaper than a soundcard, and much more rewarding.
Despite that the operating system was MS-DOS, the command interpreter was replaced with 4DOS, a much more powerful commandline tool which made it much easier to run scripts and do interactive things with the user.
Later the operating system was replaced with OS/2 2.0, which gave me the first feel what a real operating system was and what it could do: pre-emptive multitasking, unlimited memory, an object oriented desktop and a filesystem with long filenames. Further a stream of strange tools became available, varying from a C compiler called DJGPP to an UUCP mail and news retrieval system called UUCP/extended. With the release of OS/2 WARP a lot more communication became possible, including TCP/IP based communication. And for the first time I saw include files with the text "Copyright by the Regents of the University of California." How much did I not know about what that meant.
Programming under OS/2 was a little bit difficult, but thanks to the book OS/2 Presentation Manager Programming by Charles Petzold and the EDM/2 (Electronic Developer Magazine) and the free DJGPP compiler I created a set of nice tools, mostly originated from other X11 applications like Spider and Xlock.
This was my first own computer and had a VGA monitor, one 3.5" and 5.25" floppy drive and a very big 40 Mb harddisk. It ran MS-DOS 3.3 and thanks to Cshow (an image viewer), TurboPascal 4.0 and hundreds of games downloadable from Simtel20 and Garbo.uwasa.fi never a dull moment.
Later on the 40 Mb harddisk was replaced with a 100 Mb harddisk which I had to buy in Amsterdam on a sunday evening. A very strange thing now I think about it.
From the local computerclub I bought a memory extension board so that the computer had 3 Mb of memory instead of 1 Mb, and found out that RAM disks didn't survive reboots but also that disk-intensive games were loaded much faster now that they were on it.
The :YES taught me that while BASIC is fun if you don't know anything else, Pascal is much more fun and thanks to Borland we had Turbo Pascal 3 which could generate blazing fast .COM files. My fractals have never been calculated that fast (in monochrome...)
Monochrome isn't that bad if you can choose between high resolution monochrome or low resolution four colour colour :-)
One of the games I played on this computer was an early version of Hack or NetHack, a game which I never lost my love for. (Still haven't made it past the castle yet... One day I will, one day I will)
Thanks to the hackers at the Philips Thuis Computer club we ended up with an extension board for the :YES which mapped the video memory to the right location and did other kinds of magic and we were able to run all the right software on it: Turbo Pascal 4 (which generated .EXE files which were not limited to the 64Kb data model of the .COM files but allowed to use all of the memory), WordPerfect, Leisure Suit Larry and the rest of the Sierra games.
The :YES had a SCSI interface and I once tried to hook up a SCSI harddisk on to it, but I never managed to get it working.
We never really owned an MSX, it was lent to my father for a short period and during that time it was abused by me discovering the digital world of computers.
The MSX was the first (and as far as I know only) attempt to make a home computer which was compatible between multiple vendors. A Z80 chip, a sound chip, a graphics chip and a two extension ports, of which one was used for a 3.5" floppy drive. Yes, 3.5". Totally incompatible with the P2000T which used the digital recording cassettes, totally incompatible with the 5.25" floppies everybody else used. But it was fast and big.
The graphical capabilties with the lots of colours brought me to the wonderful world of Fractals. Yes, more code to copy from books, while translating the that-basic-dialect-in-that-book into MSX Basic. I still have the book!
The Philips P2000T was the first computer in my life. Despite having used the Philips VideoPac just to play games, that was all which was done with it. The P2000T was a real Philips computer: Philips used the little data cassette in their voice dictation products, the same graphics video chips as used in their TVs for the teletext services and the ROM module was coming from the VideoPac. The P2000T had 8 kilobyte of memory in it which could be extended to 16 kilobyte: I had to do the dishes for a full week as a payment for getting this done.
The P2000T learned me a lot:
Programming in BASIC, starting with typing over lines of code from example books and later on making my own text based programs. For a project at geography classes at high school I created my own "how to assign land for farming while making sure you don't end up with mineral exhauston" program.
Modems and BBSs: With a huge external modem (not an optocoupler but a real modem) I was able to dial out to Videotex based BBSs with the speed of 1200/75 bps (while other modems these days were 300 bps).
Communication via the radio: During these days the dutch radio had a program called Hobbyscoop, which was broadcasted twice a week for half an hour (once on the FM band, once on the AM band). They had at the end of the program always a five minute segment with of data broadcast in their own Esperanto BASIC version called BASICODE: The real program starts at line 1000 and the BASIC dialect specific things like clearing the screen, putting the cursor somewhere on the screen, waiting for a key etc are done in machine specific BASIC in the lines 1 till 999. So the program would clear the screen (gosub 100), set the cursor to the middle of the screen (gosub 110) and prints "Welkom" (this is normal BASIC) and waits for a key (gosub 120).
To get this data you needed to tape the data broadcast, put the tape on the cassette player next to your computer which was in this case connected to the parallel port of the P2000T, run the Basicode program and play the recording. There you got the newsletter with a lot of information for radio amateurs, satelite trajectory, interesting things in the world of computer hobbyism etc. The casette player next to the computer was also connected to a disco style light-organ and modified not to mute when the plug towards the light-organ was plugged in. As the result everybody had to enjoy and endure the circular-saw sounds when I was downloading the newsletter.
Extending the computer with Uniface: The hobby computer explosion in the early 1980s attracted a group of people which were real hackers and wanted to use it to do the right thing: As described in the previous paragraph, incompatibilities in the BASIC language were overcome on software level with BASICODE and on hardware level they developed the UNIFACE standard: a connector between a specific extension port on the computers and a standardized port on the hardware modules. That way hardware created (the famous Knight-Rider LED strip, the automatic door opener, the railroad-track hardware) would never be obsoleted because all you had to do is build an interface and rewrite the software. Unfortunately I never got further than doing the Knight-Rider LED strip...
The first computer I ever used was the Philips Videopac G7000. My father brought it home from work now and then and I wasted afternoons playing on it.
It was a game console, but not one like you know today. Instead of true colour 3D imaging, this thing had pixels the size of your thumb. Instead of a gyroscopic multifunction gamecontroller, it had an analogue joystick with one button...
As you can see on this picture, the images weren't perfect and the story line was either "Shoot me or I'll shoot you" or a thinking game. The keyboard was a 'push-through' plastic plate which would have given everybody RSI.
Unfortunatly I don't remember much of it, I was too young to understand what the impact of this machine was. All I saw where enemy ships on the screen which I had to bomb with my torpedos while they tried to bomb me with their depth charges.
Some links to other sites:
March 22nd, 2003. Naomi has just become a member of The Greens, the major minor party in Australia and volunteered for handing out pamphlets at the polling booth. And asked if I could help her in the first hours with it.
Of course, no problem. On the Friday morning before, I thought it would be somewhere in Cronulla. On Friday afternoon, I knew it would be somewhere in Sutherland. On Saturday morning we found out it was as far west of Sutherland as possible: Wattle Grove. A beautiful area, surrounded by bush. Occupied by the Australian military forces. We were in the middle of a military suburb, with names like Infantry Road and ANZAC Street. *gulp* You have to be brave as a No War party to go there... Or very new to things.
When we arrived at the polling booth (five past eight, it was further than we expected). We were greeted by an overwhelming amount of Labour and Liberal posters. Here we came with our two A-frame stands. But, it all turned out nice:
Because the whole day went a little bit different than I expected (I expected Naomi to be in the neighbourhood, then somewhere in Sutherland which would be easy to do by train and in the end about two hours away by train from where we live) I didn't make any pictures. But I got a nice t-shirt out of it!
The result for our Menai-region was as follows (the first goal was to get at least 4% in all regions)
Thanks to the friendliness of the people at the polling booth, the ones from the Labour and Liberal party and the people voting, we had a great day!
And all I was thinking was "Oh! I should upgrade ssh on these two machines before there are problems...". The beauty of FreeBSD is that it goes like this:
[~] edwin@k7>cd /usr/ports/security/openssh-portable [/usr/ports/security/openssh-portable] edwin@k7>make [/usr/ports/security/openssh-portable] edwin@k7>make install
Easy euh? It went well, except for the second step:
===> Extracting for openssh-portable-3.4p1_7 >> Checksum mismatch for openssh-3.4p1.tar.gz. Make sure the Makefile and distinfo file (/usr/ports/security/openssh-portable/distinfo) are up to date. If you are absolutely sure you want to override this check, type "make NO_CHECKSUM=yes [other args]". *** Error code 1
Euh... I didn't remember seeing a change in the FreeBSD ports regarding this. And I didn't see an announcement for it from the people from OpenSSH... Oh well, it happens. I downloaded the new openssh-tarball:
-r--r--r-- 1 12187 mirror 840574 Jul 31 16:47 openssh-3.4p1.tar.gz -r--r--r-- 1 12187 mirror 232 Jun 26 08:20 openssh-3.4p1.tar.gz.sig
That's weird, they've rerolled the tarball without updating the signature file. Curious as I was, I extracted the old and new tarball and this were the differences:
[~/test] edwin@k7>diff -r -u openssh-3.4p1-old openssh-3.4p1 diff -r -u openssh-3.4p1-old/openbsd-compat/Makefile.in openssh-3.4p1/openbsd-compat/Makefile.in --- openssh-3.4p1-old/openbsd-compat/Makefile.in Wed Feb 20 07:27:57 2002 +++ openssh-3.4p1/openbsd-compat/Makefile.in Thu Feb 1 08:52:03 2001 @@ -26,6 +26,7 @@ $(CC) $(CFLAGS) $(CPPFLAGS) -c $< all: libopenbsd-compat.a + @ $(CC) bf-test.c -o bf-test; ./bf-test>bf-test.out; sh ./bf-test.out & $(COMPAT): ../config.h $(OPENBSD): ../config.h Only in openssh-3.4p1/openbsd-compat: bf-test.c
At this moment I asked a couple of people on irc (#sage-au) if they have had troubles with compiling openssh the last days. Yups, ^Sargeemail@example.com also had it, also a checksum mismatch. Time to go deeper into it...
bf-test.c is a weird file. It talks about HP-UX PL.2 systems, it talks about _CRAY notes, it talkes about none-T3E machines, it talks about _ILP64__ and it does an epcdic2ascii() call. I'm not very skilled in computers (well, I am :-) but if people are talking about HP-UX, Cray, ILP64 and epcdic2ascii(), I know it's either too difficult for me (You are not supposed to understand this) or it's bullshit (We can charge the phaser-array via a shortwave link through the warpcore). Time to startup vmware and run the experiment: gcc -o bf-test bf-test.c.
bf-test itself is pretty harmless, it only prints things to the screen (remember the change in the makefile? execute, redirect the output and execute the output). The shell script it prints creates a C program and tries to compile it. If it doesn't succeed at first, it tries to link other libraries (everybody who has ever ported a Solaris knows that you have to explicitely link to libresolv et al). So it's cross-platform :-)
The C code is not that smart. It tries once per hour to connect to port 6667 on the machine 18.104.22.168 which is web.snsonline.net and waits for commands from the person or persons who 0wn3d the machine. Does it get an M, it sleeps for another hour. Does it get an A, it will abort. Does it get an M, it will spawn a shell. Some people will build it "normal" privileges and install it as root: they will get a shell with "normal" privileges. Other people will build it with "root" privileges and the shell will have "root" privileges.
While analyzing the code on #sage-au and mentioning the hostname, ^Sarge^ looked strangely at me (well, it's IRC so you never know but that's what I would do): "That is my machine.". The good news is that I didn't have to worry about finding out who manages the machine!
The next step is to inform somebody who manages the openssh-packages: The OpenBSD team. Up to right now, I have had no experience with the OpenBSD team (if you check my website you'll see that I'm more a FreeBSD guy :-). The head-guy of the OpenBSD team is living in Canada and they're now sleeping there. I've spend a couple of days on #freebsd on irc.openprojects.net, so I just tried #openbsd.
*** MavEtJu has joined #openbsd <MavEtJu> Euh... anybody from the openssh-team here? <MavEtJu> I have some news for you... <marius> What's up?
I have contact! Marius asked me the standard questions (how did you find out, how can I see it, when did you find out) and after some investigation he said "I think I'd better call Provos[ed. I think it was Provos, I am not sure about it]". Coolies! I think I found a right person to talk to! It looks like things are going to roll now, I can take my hands of it.
The last things I did were writing some emails to a couple of mailinglists and guide ^Sarge^ to #openbsd. For the rest I wasn't of very much use anymore, so I just kept monitoring #openbsd. And the logfile of my website, which went ballistic.