jc blog - tales of a modern-day nomadic hunter-gatherer

Follow jcomeau_ictx on Twitter This is the weblog of Intrepid Wanderer. You never know what you might find here; graphic descriptions of bodily functions, computer programming secrets, proselytizing for the antichrist, miscellaneous ranting and kvetching, valuable information on living off the land... if you don't share my rather weird interests you may want to try slashdot instead.

You can consider my Del.icio.us links an extension to my blog, as are my LifeTango goals and my other to-do items. My to-buy list is also public, but only for sharing any useful ideas that might be there; I'm not requesting charity, neither do I offer it.

You can find me easily in google searches, as jcomeau, jcomeau_ictx, or jcomeauictx. There are lots of other jcomeaus, but AFAIK I'm the only jcomeau_ictx out there so far.

If you want to comment on anything you see here, try the new Facebook comments, reachable by clicking the "[comment]" link at the end of each post. If for some reason that isn't working, go ahead and email me, jc.unternet.net. You know what to do with the first dot. Make the 'subject' line something reasonably intelligent-looking or it goes plunk! into the spambasket unread.

This RSS feed may or may not work. Haven't fiddled with it in forever. RSS Feed


silver is definitely poised for a wild ride up, but it sure is hard to predict the day-to-day changes. it surges, then drops back due to profit-taking by the day traders or the more sinister short-selling by the banksters. anyway, I stand to profit handsomely when it happens.

got my solar panels yesterday, and measured them each at over 40VDC open-circuit voltage today. now just got to figure out a way to lug them around with me.

the tincture I made from the sliced-up hull of a single black walnut is getting stronger daily, as the rum leaches the bitter compounds out of the plant. also added some clove powder from the spice cabinet. been taking little sips here and there, it tastes pleasant but burns when it hits the stomach. I should find some wormwood or wormseed to add to it.

posted on Facebook today: "it struck me today that just about all my activist friends from both left and right support Snowden and Manning. it's the *passivists* who don't seem to care. come on, folks, this is not a dress rehearsal, it's the real thing. if you need some time out, fine, been there, done that; but please get back in the game as soon as you can. crunch time is fast approaching." I'm sure I'm still a passivist in far too many ways. [comment]


making a tincture out of the husk of a black walnut, which I sliced up and put in a glass, pouring some cheap rum over it. about to do a liver cleanse, and should make at least a half-assed attempt to kill any parasites first.

went over to east side Petaluma at noon to do a little TV hookup job. it was just about two blocks from where I picked up some Freecycled wheat pasta a night or two ago. the guy was generous, he paid me $30 for about 15 minutes work. much better than the guy in San Anselmo the other day who still hasn't paid me anything for 4 hours of backbreaking labor.

picked up a used 6-inch C clamp at Maselli & Sons for $12 on the way home, and successfully used it to take apart that pain-in-the-ass wheel assembly from my now-deceased dirtboard, the one on which I used to ride down highway 11 with my windskate sail. now I can repurpose those wheels finally. [comment]


saw on Freecycle someone posted some whole wheat pasta for the first person to pick up; jogged about 3 miles across town and got it. damn, my body heals quickly! very little pain from my right ankle. [comment]


my bitcoin servers are now hashing at up to 6 Mhash/second using my new simpleminer.py and libsimpleminer.so programs. getting a difficulty-one or better hash every few minutes now. still not good enough to compete with ASICs or even GPUs, of course, but it's better than what I had. actually, both are cycling between 3 and 6 Mhash/s, don't know yet what to do to keep them closer to the top of that cycle. [comment]


finally wrote me a working rdiff program:

jcomeau@aspire:~/rentacoder/jcomeau/bitcoin/src/contrib/pyminer$ rdiff . bitcoin:src/bitcoin/src/contrib/pyminer/
Binary files ./libpyminer and /tmp/tmp.CCsRjV00dX/libpyminer differ
Binary files ./libpyminer.so and /tmp/tmp.CCsRjV00dX/libpyminer.so differ
Binary files ./libsha256 and /tmp/tmp.CCsRjV00dX/libsha256 differ
Binary files ./libsha256.so and /tmp/tmp.CCsRjV00dX/libsha256.so differ
Binary files ./libsimpleminer.so and /tmp/tmp.CCsRjV00dX/libsimpleminer.so differ
Only in /tmp/tmp.CCsRjV00dX: nohup.out
Binary files ./primesieve and /tmp/tmp.CCsRjV00dX/primesieve differ
Only in /tmp/tmp.CCsRjV00dX: pyminer.pyc
Binary files ./sieve and /tmp/tmp.CCsRjV00dX/sieve differ
Binary files ./simdtest and /tmp/tmp.CCsRjV00dX/simdtest differ
Binary files ./simdtest.so and /tmp/tmp.CCsRjV00dX/simdtest.so differ
Binary files ./statictablegeneration and /tmp/tmp.CCsRjV00dX/statictablegeneration differ
Only in .: statictablegeneration.so

here's the still-buggy source. in particular, the sshfs_umount function needs work, and gives warnings for non-remote directories it tries to umount. but it does what I need it to at the moment. [comment]


Really tore up the skin on my right ankle wearing shoes in SF yesterday. Got bandaids on it now, won't be jogging for a few days probably. [comment]


drinking a 22-oz bottle of Lagunitas Lucky 13. a bit hoppy for my taste, but I have special memories of this beer; first discovered it on my way to Petaluma from Burning Man 2009. saw it in a supermarket outside of Hangtown IIRC. the label caught my eye, then I noticed it was made in Petaluma. and the cashier said it was cool to drink it at the tables outside. or maybe I just did it anyway, can't remember for sure.

all the Lag 22-ouncers are on sale at Petaluma Market today, 2 for $7. [comment]


by chance, the first bus each way today was the 74, express between Petaluma and the financial district. no stops in Novato or San Rafael! of course I'm still stuck in traffic this time of day, but there's no rush; nobody's waiting at home for me except for that ingrate bird. [comment]


walked about 6 miles to pick up my solar panel and was given the old bait-and-switch. they wanted cash. damn it. good thing I had another reason to come into the city. [comment]


on Caulfield approaching Crinella from the west, there was one of those little plastic bottles of Jack Daniel's on the side of the road. except when I opened it up, it didn't have any alcohol smell, and it had clearly already been opened before, as the metal tabs were broken on the cap. is someone trying to poison Petaluma's homeless? sure seems that way. don't know what the stuff was, but it had the same color as bourbon and a sugary, somewhat stinky smell. I poured it out there on the roadside, and recycled the bottle once I got back. [comment]


went to In-N-Out burger for the first and probably the last time. pros: young crowd, happy employees, good vibe, old-time diner atmosphere, tasty food. cons: questionable quality, pasteurized processed "cheese", generates tons of waste. it was worth $3.57 for a "double double" to check it out.

picked up some more Ilex cornuta for tea. the I. aquifolia just isn't as pleasant tasting or as potent. [comment]


silver is now starting its 3rd growth spurt, or its 2nd after a definitive 1-2-3 bottom formation starting the end of June. can't say how fast it will climb, but I believe we're in for an amazing ride up. [comment]


finally got the same level of caffeine buzz with Ilex aquifolia as I got with I. cornuta, but had to use 4 leaves instead of 2. these leaves are smaller. [comment]


drinking tea made from Ilex aquifolium. so far it isn't giving me a buzz like the I. cornuta infusion did. probably have to keep making it stronger until it does. [comment]


been working on my bricked router, which is a WRT54G v6, and my other v6 which has a generic MAC address rather than the original. as usual, the tools for modifying leave one in the dark as to what is going on, so I wrote my own. next step is to build a USB to JTAG adapter with one of my microcontrollers.

maybe gonna attempt to rewrite the CFE on the working router in a few minutes, figured I'd better get this blog post off now because if it goes wrong I could be all the rest of the night trying to sort it.

found out something I'd probably known about years ago but had forgotten: xsel, as in cat cfe_nvram.py | xsel -b, then control-V at pastebin.com. sure beats copy-paste using the laptop pad and simultaneous mouseclicks. [comment]


praxis: holly leaves as coffee/tea/chocolate substitute. different hollies (sp. Ilex) have caffeine and/or theobromine or other similar alkaloids, and a pint of stimulant tea can be made with as little as a half a leaf if appropriately mashed. after TEOTWAWKI only the rich will be able to afford these imported luxuries, so it would be wise to start experimenting now with your local holly plants. as noted a few days ago in this blog, I had good luck with I. cornuta. [comment]


so, it turns out one can run a second udhcpd daemon on a Freifunk mesh node, obviating having to install dnsmasq on a low-resource system! I now have a usable 3-node mesh, in which each gives out DHCP addresses on a different /24 subnet of 10/8.

at this point, anybody can walk by and connect to untermesh0, and if they're nerdly enough to check what IP they were given, they can connect to the router's webpage and see the Freifunk introduction. [comment]


got dhcp-fwd running on one of my 2MB-flash routers, using this config:

root@scavenger:/etc/init.d# egrep -v '^(#.*|)$' /etc/dhcp-fwd.conf 
user            0
group           0
chroot          /
logfile         /var/log/dhcp-fwd.log
loglevel        1
pidfile         /var/run/dhcp-fwd.pid
ulimit core     0
ulimit stack    64K
ulimit data     32K
ulimit rss      200K
ulimit nproc    0
ulimit nofile   0
ulimit as       0
if      eth1    false   true    true
server  bcast   eth1

but of course with sub-optimal results:

root@scavenger:/etc/init.d# cat /var/log/dhcp-fwd.log     
1374089402..609535: BOOTREQUEST request from interface without clients
1374089404..023198: BOOTREQUEST request from interface without clients
1374089405..864545: BOOTREQUEST request from interface without clients

next step is to set eth1 to "true true true" so it accepts clients and servers on the same network. this probably won't work. [comment]


spent all day trying to get dnsmasq serving DHCP over OLSR in a sane manner. the way the script parsed the ff_wldhcp nvram variable was silly, IMO, and the tooltip was misleading, indicating that the netmask should match the prefix (the number following the slash), which is incorrect and doesn't even match the example they give which has /28 and a netmask of

so I did a pretty major overhaul of that part of the startup script here and determined that the netmask specified is simply passed on to the DHCP clients as their netmask, it has nothing and should have nothing to do with the address calculation. also, the arbitrary assignment of the start address to 2 plus the network address is silly. I modified it so that the first address you give is the start of the DHCP assignments.

for example, my setting is:

root@zephyr:~# nvram get ff_wldhcp,

and my iPod was assigned an IP address of (don't know from what orifice the DHCP server pulled that last octet), netmask of as specified, and router at, the mesh router's own IP.

now to work on the two routers with 2MB flash and figure out how to get the DHCP forwarders working; there is just no room to put anything else. [comment]


fun with Freifunk: got it installed on 3 routers now, only one of which has enough flash to install freifunk-recommended-en. I can't seem to figure out DHCP over OLSR; set ff_wldhcp to various things, currently, which I thought would give out IPs in the range to with a netmask of but it's sometimes giving an IP in the range of, from the upstream router, and sometimes (as now) giving me, subnet mask, which works at the moment but is useless for when I add more routers. most of the advice I see on-net is misleading or flat-out wrong. seems to be a poorly-understood part of the setup, which is amazing to me because how could networks expand without DHCP? static IP assignment is a configuration nightmare. maybe there are more knowledgeable answers in German but mine is so rusty it's painful to try and grok it. [comment]


someone stole the angle iron I had been Freecycled (old bedframes). there go my improvements to lotecnotectu. what kind of asshole steals from a poor man? over and over and over: welder, recumbent, skateboard, and now this. goddamned fucking lowlife trash. [comment]


Well, I've found my locally-grown coffee substitute, should I choose to accept it. That Ilex cornuta, Chinese holly, has a sweetish citrus flavor and a strong kick, whether caffeine or theobromine or some other alkaloid I have no clue. It hit me hard after the 2nd 4-oz glass. Gonna lay off from it a while and drink some water. [comment]


I was freecycled some leaves of Chinese holly, Ilex cornuta, for an experiment with tea. The tea is pleasant-tasting enough, and seems to be imparting some kind of buzz, whether just caffeine or some other toxins is yet unknown. [comment]


wow, Freifunk is so refreshing, pure OpenWRT but smaller and including olsrd: what dd-wrt could have been. still not sure if I can get it working, running the vanilla GS build on version 6.0 hardware, but so far it looks good. just being able to use ssh rather than telnet is a big relief. [comment]


So I guess the OLSR instructions on the dd-wrt wiki don't work with recent firmware, and nobody is going to fix them. I'm going to switch to Freifunk firmware as recommended in the dd-wrt forum. [comment]


JM Bullion's online ordering has a serious bug that's prevented me from ordering for days. Finally had to clear my cache and/or use a different email address in order for them to attempt my credit card again. Even though they said it was denied, USBank told me the order wasn't coming through. This time it worked. [comment]


when I was headed north on Lincoln Ave. yesterday, coming to the end of the MUP there was a sign that said something like "END OF TRAIL. WALK BIKES BEYOND THIS POINT". thing is, it was a city street beyond that point, on which bikes are legally allowed to operate. how is it legal to put up an official-looking sign that prohibits something legal? [comment]


Finally back home. Should have turned at Red Hill Road to get to downtown San Rafael. Instead I stayed on Sir Francis Drake and ended up way south of there.

But I stopped at Sol Food and had a Jíbaro and café con leche. The former is a steak sandwich between two huge tostones, fried green plátanos. Excellent. [comment]


Got a System D job on CL in San Anselmo, hard work, was feeling lightheaded. Walked to Good Earth Natural Foods and had the organic pulled pork sandwich and a Guayaki Revel Berry, for $11.01. The wifi's DHCP is seemingly incompatible with the iPod, but tcpdump showed me enough traffic to guess that the gateway was at, so I set a static address of .23 and I'm on. [comment]


Sat next to an elderly lady named Emily on the bus today. She lost her boyfriend John in a plane crash when they were living in Tucson in the early 70s. She never found anyone to replace him. I left the bus with tears in my eyes.

Having a sourdough roll with butter at Panera in San Rafael. 59 cents, no tax, no tip. Petaluma needs one of these. [comment]


From my friend Amy of Occupy Petaluma: "Maybe some of you gardening whizzes know this trick, but a few I've talked to don't so I want to share. A few of my lettuce plants were getting devoured by bugs. I'm not sure what kind, but NOT slugs or snails. A few days ago I picked some fresh rosemary and oregano and soaked them in water for 4 - 6 hours, then sprayed that water on the embattled lettuces -- on the front and back of all the leaves, and down into the center of the plant. Repeated the next day. Many new leaves have popped up since then and they are completely intact and uneaten. Not sure if my spray killed the bugs or just turned them off. The idea comes from a video I saw about a local organic farm. They had a worker from Africa who observed which plants the bugs were NOT eating, soaked some of those leaves and sprayed them on the plants being eaten. Worked for him. Seems to be working for me. Feel free to share!"

This is the kind of thinking that can unfuck the world. Observe, experiment, practice, share. Thank you Amy! [comment]


OK finally got the tektonic server running again, thanks to the support team and Sam in particular. they gave me a RAM upgrade to 256MB which ought to last me a few apt-get upgrades.

now to attempt an upgrade of the unixshell server. wish me luck, mmkay? [comment]


just thought of something; I know where Judge Gallagher's ghost lives. I wonder if I could recruit him to the cause. [comment]


The lentils cooked well yesterday but gave me some gas, and they were too watery. Next time I'll try 3 cups water per cup lentils, and can reduce the time in the microwave accordingly. [comment]


just nuked the lentils for another 6 minutes, vacuum-sealed, and put back in the down "haybox". looking and smelling good, I have high hopes. [comment]


today I'm trying something uncommon for me, red lentils. 1.5 cups in 6 cups of water, 12 minutes on the microwave in my vacuum container; then covered, vacuumed out the air, and wrapped in my down vest. plan to leave it alone most of the day, checking occasionally. sure I'll have to reheat it at some point. also added salt, pepper, cumin, chopped shallots, lard, and some castor oil to reduce flatulence. I didn't drain after soaking because that has never helped in the past for me anyway. I maybe soaked for two hours before cooking. [comment]


tried an experiment yesterday to see how to minimize energy and waste in cooking spaghetti. I broke the (whole wheat) spaghetti into fours so it would fit easily in my 500ml bowl. used enough to fill it about half full, just barely covered with water, and added salt and pepper. put in the microwave on high for two minutes. stirred it and let it sit uncovered for maybe an hour or more. at dinnertime turned it over, as it had long since absorbed all the water and the top had dried out; put a generous amount of butter on it, stuck it back into the microwave for another minute. perfect! zero waste and I guess about 3000 watt-minutes of electricity, or .05kWH. [comment]


00000000002441ef41220f8b58dceb5cae05f089d95f7615ac26a57789bd68c4 is the best hash my scripts have come up with so far on the current bitcoin network; that's 42 bits of zeros. unfortunately the answer to Life, the Universe, and Everything does not meet the current difficulty level of the blockchain.

you may notice more and more that I refuse to uppercase the beginnings of sentences unless it's a word I'd capitalize anywhere else. the practice annoys me. I've turned auto-caps off on my iPod.

my unixshell server was down for a few days. Jason at Tektonic.net got it back up for me with minimal data loss, saving me hours of work. [comment]


Drank way too much yesterday afternoon. Vomited and the medics hauled me away. I must have been quite the spectacle. [comment]


Walked from Wilde Mountain Faire towards Paradise but after several wrong turns got to the ravine overlooking Dean Rd with no visible way down. Have to come back with rope and tools next time.

Western Pacific has a tasty blonde ale for $3/pint. Trying to kill any bad stuff I might have gotten drinking from the creek on the way back. The heat was intense. [comment]

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