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


Finally got my network running pretty well by installing pre-RC5 OpenWRT software on the v2.2 and older routers, except for maybe needing RC2 on the master router. I really ought to try pre-RC5 on it again, maybe I didn't give it enough time last time to establish a WDS link. One thing for sure, the WRT54G v4 won't enter into a WDS session with the older routers. I've reported it to the guys on the #openwrt channel at irc.freenode.net. Having a hard time convincing people at City of the Sun that a local network can be useful without internet access. Maybe they're right, but I don't believe it. Local sharing of information is the future. I just know it.

My neighbor's dog killed a rabbit yesterday and we're eating rabbit stew. It's so goddamned tough and not much flavor, though. Also paid $80 to a local rancher who's going to sell me some "clean" beef, no antibiotics nor hormones. It's grain fed, however, so not ideal. I'd rather have range-fed if I could find it for a reasonable price. [comment]


I made a circuit similar to this one to try connecting two computers that don't have any other compatible ports other than modems. I soldered it to a DPDT switch in such a way that I can use the cable as a normal modem connection or as a direct connection. Hot damn, it worked! I made some photos but due to my crappy camera they're useless. Basically, you cut the telephone cord and solder the red and green to the two center terminals of the switch. Solder the other part to the one side of the switch, with the colors the same (if green is on top in the center, it should be on top here). Then run a crossover (diagonal) from the green to the other end of the switch; connect the positive end of the circuit to the terminal opposite that; and connect the negative side to the red on the other side of the switch. Crank up HyperTerminal on both ends (assuming Windows, of course... minicom on Linux ought to work too), switch to the "powered" setting of the circuit, type atdt5551212 (or whatever number) on one computer and ata on the other as soon as you hear it dial. Once the modems are done negotiating, you can test by typing on one and seeing what you type on the other; then you can send files back and forth using zmodem or whatever. You may need to set the properties such that no dialtone is expected. This generates only a carrier voltage, not a dialtone.

A friend of mine, Fn, has a theory that's slightly divergent from Daniel Quinn's (even though she's also a Quinn fan): we (humankind) are in our "teenage years" and as a whole are rebelling against our parents (the gods) while our older brothers (the leavers) are remaining obedient. She thinks that no real harm is being done, and that we will outgrow this phase in time to avert disaster, and wonderful things are to come. This fits in with the Mayan Calendar stuff I mentioned previously. I also thought it might fit in with Ouspensky's ideas expressed in the chart in his book In Search of the Miraculous but the time, 16 * 30000 = 480000, doesn't fit with humankind's supposed 3 million year span.

I've been experimenting with CoLinux but don't have the networking shit correct yet. It's a bitch because I have to logout and re-login as administrator to make any changes to the networking setup; running control ncpa.cpl from an administrator window using my administer.bat script doesn't cut it for some reason. [comment]


Let's see, where do I begin? Made some more bread last night, and this time it cooked nicely, although it's kind of squat. Not enough yeast, or too cold to rise. But it tastes great!

Reloaded rc2 on my primary WRT54G, and got my WDS connection to the Community Center back again. Still couldn't get the WRT54Gv4 to connect though, so I gave The Patio restaurant the new router and got my v2.2 back from them. Gonna take it home and see how it works. It will really suck if I can't add newer routers into my Wireless Distribution System. I also installed the openssl.tgz package to my DragonLinux system, which fixed the missing libcrypto.so problem allowing ssh to work. Other members don't see the benefit of having a local network though; they keep shutting the computer off to save the few pennies of electricity it consumes.

Got another keg of Guinness on order so I'll have a replacement when the first runs out. Hoo hah! Get yourself over to the Don't Nowhere Shebeen, 8260 Lighthouse Lane, Deming NM 88030 (really much closer to Columbus, though), for $2 pints. If I'm not there, serve yourself. When you enter the City of the Sun off Altura Road, just past the "Welcome to Columbus" sign as you're heading South on Highway 11, you'll see a map showing you where Lighthouse Lane is.

I know I haven't shared much of my sex life lately; suffice it to say that I'm still very hooked on a polyamorous lifestyle, and while most women reject it there are enough who don't to make it very fulfilling.

Built me a "proper" outhouse with some junk lying around the place, so I can have some semblance of privacy while shitting. Just a big piece of particle board for a roof, supported by one piece of 2 by 8, and a toilet seat screwed to an old chair. A few pieces of leftover greenhouse plastic held down by rocks completes the elegant construction.

Oh, and as you can see from a previous paragraph, Luna County finally came through on my address request. I would have preferred a Columbus address, but oh well. My first request had been lost, the previous worker who was working on it left the service and nobody took over the email (which address is still posted on their website), and altogether the department is a typical bureaucratic fuckup. But this squeaky wheel got greased. Now I just have to contact the Social Security office in Las Cruces and get them to restart my disability hearing process. Gawd, I hate dealing with civil service workers. [comment]


Bleah. The upgrade to WhiteRussian RC4 went fine on both routers -- and, incredibly enough, the WDS connection was still good after upgrading the relay router -- but after the primary router upgrade the WDS is down, down, down. I can't get the connection back with the relay router, and the new router won't connect either.

I can't even get a wds interface to come up unless I set wl0_wds; wl0_lazywds doesn't seem to have any effect whatsoever with RC4. And in any case, it doesn't accomplish shit. So I've got a nyetwork again. [comment]


Bleah. My bread didn't cook, only the top 1/2 inch or so. Going to make a shelf for the oven and try again with it on the shelf, since the heat isn't making it to the bottom of the oven.

Crunch time, gotta get the programming done and then I can relax till 2008. Yeah, right. Nice thought, anyway. Saw this movie the other night on the Mayan calendar, pretty interesting. It was a poorly-done documentary, just a guy lecturing, and the timeline shit reminded me too much of the lecture that got me sucked into the Moonies back in 1977, but nevertheless a lot of the information sounded plausible. Supposedly the calendar ends in October 2011 (I had thought it was in 2012), at which point the humans still remaining will all be enlightened or some such crap. During that year, the same amount of change that happens in a year now will occur every 18 days. Yowza. Hope I live to see it. Does this mean we don't have to worry about time_t running out in 2038? [comment]


Good day today. Got the alpha-test version of PCDecisions 2006-2007 edition ready for Windows and Pocket PC; got my keg of Guinness for the Don't Nowhere Shebeen; and am baking my first two loaves of whole wheat bread in my wood stove/oven, and so far it's looking great.

My solar system has been working much better since I bought a Morningstar SunSaver-10 charge controller from SunCowboy.com, and I'm able to run my flashing lights off the inverter for about 3 hours past sunset. That'll hopefully bring more visitors to the shebeen. Spread the word about the Guinness, will ya? I'm only asking $2 per pint, and that only because it cost me $190 for this first keg. If I can find a cheaper source, I'll only ask $1.50 or so. Google tells me a keg is 120 pints, so if I can get a keg for closer to $120, then $1 per will let me almost break even. I'm not spilling more than a few drops per pint, and don't have to spoon out the foam like I've seen a lot of bartenders do.

I don't know about you, but if I'd found a place like mine while wandering in the desert, I'd have thought I'd found heaven on earth. Good beer, cheap; a place to sleep for free; music (sometimes; it's all on my computer and that tends to overheat); and anarchic literature (so far just some Quinn and Pynchon, but that will improve).

I've gotten my wireless network going again, too! I can telnet to the DragonLinux box in the community center from my bunker. I left a note for people to unplug the router if it causes interference with the cordless phone, but I tested and couldn't see a problem. After chatting with the guys on the #openwrt channel at irc.freenode.net, I found out I'll have to upgrade all the routers to WhiteRussian RC4 in order to add my new one to the system. Trying to figure out how to do it with mtd so I don't have to take apart the waterproof enclosure I've got up on the roof over the main router. [comment]


Fixed the dropbear problem after running strings on the binary and seeing /etc/dropbear/authorized_keys. I moved the file there and now I can ssh into the WhiteRussian rc4 system without a password. Still can't get WDS talking though, even though I now remembered to set wl0_lazywds=0, which shouldn't matter anyway if wl0_wds is nonblank. Also had to move the router in the community center to a different room because it was interfering with the silly-assed cordless phone, also 2.4GHz, so now I have an intermittent signal. My unternet is completely broken. Shit.

On the plus side, I was able to install DragonLinux on a Win98 box without a bootable CDROM, and finagling with the msdos.sys, autoexec.bat, and dragon.bat files makes it boot up into Linux almost without indication that it has any Microsoft crap on it at all. Hint: attrib -s -h -r \msdos.sys, and using DOS edit set bootgui=0 and add logo=0. Then add to dragon.bat the line if "%1"=="fast" goto bootnow and the label :bootnow right before the loadlin call. Finally, make a clean autoexec.bat with the lines:

@echo off
cd \dragon
dragon fast

If you want to really get fancy, you can download one of the Linux penguin logos and fix msdos.sys to show it (probably have to convert it to .BMP format first), but I don't know how to do that and am not interested enough to google it. [comment]


At least the two-router WDS network repaired itself overnight sometime. I'm still wondering about these RC4 problems, though... maybe I'll have to upgrade them all to the same revision in order to get it to work correctly. I have my doubts about ssh pubkey authentication with RC4's dropbear though. I set log_level to 2 using nvram, so it shows dropbear's messages, but it gives no warnings about failed pubkey authentication. It apparently doesn't even try. I can't find a configuration file for it either.

Anybody wanna trade an old WRT54G for a new one? Only half joking... [comment]


WhiteRussian rc2 wouldn't load on my newer WRT54G v4, so I downloaded rc4. It installed fine, but I can't get my ssh trick from the other day to work, and I couldn't get it talking via WDS to my main router. So I rebooted the main router, and now the whole network is broken. Damn. I hate fragile systems. [comment]


Just googled, and the dot-unt (.UNT) TLD doesn't seem to be used by anybody. Therefore, I'm grabbing it. It doesn't really concern me if someone else does later, just remember I said it first... I have maybe 100 regular blog readers who will corroborate. All xxx.unternet.net domains will hopefully eventually map to xxx.unt.

By the way, I've given up on godaddy.com. Maybe I'll update my homepage one of these days to reflect that, but meanwhile I'm going back to DomainDiscount24.net for all my domains. Those krauts don't do everything right, but they do enough to deserve my business. What pissed me off on godaddy? I tried to use their "Total DNS Control" service and got prompted for a username and password, and their tech support didn't have a clue. Fuck 'em. There's competition out there Daddy, better get your act together. [comment]


Shu Chan and Dwayne Madsen are counting down the days to opening their Living Foods Learning Center, where some guests will walk in hoping only to avert death, and most will find after 3 weeks that they have not only regained their health but also have a newly-found love of life. That website is just my flawed HTML rendition of their flyer that chris vansprouts did for them... hopefully it will look better after I'm done tweaking the CSS. [comment]


This is probably at OpenWRT.org somewhere, but just for my lucky blog readers... if you want to keep your public key on your OpenWRT system so you don't have to remember the goddamned password, here's what I can remember of the steps I took a few minutes ago:

root@OpenWrt:~# mkdir -p /root/.ssh
root@OpenWrt:~# touch /root/.ssh/authorized_keys
root@OpenWrt:~# chmod 700 /root/.ssh
root@OpenWrt:~# chmod 600 /root/.ssh/authorized_keys
root@OpenWrt:~# cd /root
root@OpenWrt:~# ln -s /tmp/dhcp.leases .  # probably not necessary
root@OpenWrt:~# vi /etc/passwd  # change root's dir from /tmp to /root
root@OpenWrt:~# ssh localhost  # verify login before exiting!
Then ^D twice to be back at your local machine. Use addpublickey.sh to place your key in authorized_keys:
$ addpublickey root@  # or whatever the IP is
Now you can ssh and you'll be in like Flint! [comment]


My slotted waveguide antenna is now up high enough to mostly blanket the City of the Sun. Now to add some repeater WRT54Gs using WDS to fill in the blanks, and my unternet can be online.

The Gutierrez's Pancho Villa Lounge now has free wi-fi! No more spending all afternoon at the library when I can slurp coffee or beer while chicksurfing, oops, I mean programming...

Got a ride to El Paso the other day, exchanged my burnt-out battery at Wal-Mart, and have a Morningstar controller from SunCowboy.com arriving today so this one won't suffer a similar fate. I also have a keg of Guinness on order to kick off the Don't Nowhere Shebeen, also known as the Gopher it Harder Café and the First Church of the Antichrist. Hell, I'll just keep making up names for the place and post them all over, who cares... [comment]

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