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


As it turns out, I was able to connect at the downtown Starbucks today. And as for the knee, I could jog a couple of blocks Tuesday, half a mile or so Wednesday, and back to a couple blocks today. [comment]


I guess the downtown Petaluma Starbucks got a new wireless router to replace the one that has had consistent dropouts for months. Problem is, the new one doesn't speak DHCP in a dialect my iTouch can understand. So I'm using the unsecured NETGEAR from a bench outside Punjabi Burrito. [comment]


Recommendations to Kinetic Universe: on the checklist for Arcata, please change "Teddy Bear" to SIPR (for Soothing Item of Psychological Reassurance) since some volunteers don't know the rules and take the checklist literally. Also remove "Rope" from the checklist or add it to Rule S.

For the description of the alternate course to Ferndale, please make a notation to not take the Goble Lane exit from highway 211. Though the instructions do clearly state to stay on 211 to Sage Rd., it is natural to think that one has missed a turn. At least, I've been fooled that way at least twice. Also please add a note that Fulmor Rd. joins Port Kenyon road in a T junction and there is no sign actually indicating the road name at that point.



I didn't see the No Pedestrians sign on Fernbridge! Guess they got rid of it. Good! That was just plain evil; there's no other land route in for miles. [comment]


Realized while breaking down lotecnotec that I lost one of my 10L dromedary bags. Damn. And realized this morning that it isn't a muscle injury that's been bothering me, but a knee injury. Double damn. [comment]


I was cleared to depart at 1130 due to my bum leg, and made it into Fernbridge at 1322. Got to the finish line about 1620. Won a "never give up" award. [comment]


Good news: my flotation yesterday was excellent with the two big drybags and two dromedary bags. Two small drybags were inside the large ones to protect the electronics, but it wasn't necessary as there were no leaks.

The socks I wore protected my feet well enough so that the fins weren't uncomfortable, but that wasn't necessarily a blessing because I exerted myself to the point where I injured a muscle, and limped the rest of the way into Eureka. My Saturday end time, when I always have a huge advantage in the dunes, was 1624; my Sunday end time, noted by Alice and Tina in Crab Park, was 2205.

One notable thing during the bay swim was that the water temp increased by several degrees just before reaching the building on the south end of Halvorsen Park, then as I continued got gradually back the the normal, 50-ish, temperature. Is someone pumping effluent into the bay with hidden piping? [comment]


A poet who calls himself Vicarious approached me in the Arcata Coop, telling me there have been no seagulls around for about two months now. As we were talking, he also said there might be fewer crows and other birds too, but for sure the seagulls were vastly reduced in numbers. He said the lady in the donut shop noticed it too, as she normally feeds them donuts in the morning. That can't be particularly healthy for them, but my guess is that the Fukushima radiation might have more to do with the cause of their disappearance.

Ran down my checklist a bit ago, all set to go for the Kinetic Grand Championship. Lotecnotec is #125 this year. [comment]


Had a brief blackout last night sometime, maybe between 0100 and 0200. Just enough to get most of the clocks in the house reset.

A strange thought popped into my mind just after awakening: "Did you hug a polar bear today?" WTF? Sounds like a bad idea to me. Maybe it's some secret coded message being sent to me by ansible from another universe. Too bad I don't know what it means. [comment]


Finally found out how to upgrade bitcoind to a newer version without having to completely download the blockchain again. I did: mv .bitcoin old.bitcoin, then mkdir .bitcoin, mv old.bitcoin/blocks old.bitcoin/wallet.dat .bitcoin. Finally, bitcoind -reindex. It keeps the old blocks and just rebuilds the index, and it's super-fast.

Later I killed the daemon and restarted it normally so that the output went into debug.log rather than the screen. Now when I play with the source and recompile, I'll be able to run the mutant daemons on my 64-bit VPS! [comment]


So it turns out I may have been wrong about all the world's bitcoin miners who use the standard software. According to the wiki, everyone's working block is unique because it starts with a transaction to his own address. I don't yet understand that part. However, there's also a timestamp in the block header which can be updated each second, which gives another whole set of hashes for the block.

Still, I don't see the sense in having all 4 threads run the same calculations if indeed that's what is happening. I'll be adding some debugging code soon to let me know.

Meanwhile I ran an exhaustive search for solutions to the genesis block, just to see how many there were: exactly 2. Besides the "winning" nonce there is 0xbe96aceb which produces a hash of 00000000ea532922b34911e3f2f99bcc140dde6b9ebde8a58b0d9bff96a44719. Not nearly as good as that of 0x7c2bac1d: 000000000019d6689c085ae165831e934ff763ae46a2a6c172b3f1b60a8ce26f. [comment]


Just proved to myself that anybody using the unmodified Bitcoin code for mining is just spinning his wheels. Both the bitcoind daemon and the pyminer script have all 4 threads checking the same set of nonces starting from zero and incrementing by one. What a waste of multiple processors and a waste of megawatts of electricity worldwide as everybody is making the same calculations at the same time. If I can make an efficient random nonce checker, I might have a fighting chance with the GPUs and ASICs. It does absolutely zero good to continue attempting to mine using the default software. [comment]


One of the biggest dangers of running up my credit cards is that then I feel little compunction in blowing more and more electronic currency. Just bought a happy hour pint of Death and Taxes at Aqus after spending $60+ at Clavey's for drybags and carabiners. [comment]


After bragging on my Zenni Optical glasses just the other day on Facebook, yesterday evening my left lens fell out after the piece of plastic, like monofilament fishing line, broke. Not long after that, the right one broke. These couldn't have been much over a year old; though to be fair, they were quite badly abused.



Enough of trying to fit more software on this blivet. Resized my NTFS partition using gparted, and am installing wheezy on the new /dev/sda4 using debootstrap. Should be back in business in a few hours, working on an Android job. [comment]


The little Dry Pak bag I was gifted had come apart at the weld in a few places just days after I started wearing it; but it wasn't until last night that I noticed one of the band-aids I had in it had fallen out. The cheap plastic weld had come apart so far it was now useless. Kept the lanyard and threw the rest in recycling.

Fingers crossed, I plugged my Sylvania netbook into 12V this morning because I couldn't find the 9V adapter that came with it. No problem! Typing on it now while running a bitcoin mining test on my Aspire One. [comment]


A crow made a loud thump this morning as he landed on the roof of a black pickup truck outside PHS, just a few feet away. Although he made no other sound, it seemed weird enough for me to be extra alert for that block. Nothing happened.

As I walked to the post office to buy a money order for my KGC entry this year, I remembered how I used to stutter on the word "money" and other words beginning with "M". Although it hasn't happened for years, I still sometimes worry that I'll be standing there saying "I want to buy a mmmmmm... mmmmmmmmm...", getting red-faced and self-conscious. I don't know from what hell that speech impediment came, or where, when, and how it left, but I hope it never returns. [comment]


The RootNerds server didn't work out, probably my fault due to my mailserver settings, but the end result is I had to file a complaint with PayPal. So I figured out how to get CentOS to work as a development platform and can now test out my modification of the Bitcoin sources on it. Hoping that I can come up with a good algorithm that can make me a couple million dollars. [comment]


Engaging in a little civil disobedience outside Whole Foods. Goldmine Lager was on sale for $2.99 a sixpack, so I got one plus a new WF Chico bag since I left mine at home. The cashier didn't charge me for the bag and I'm drinking the beer, 50 cents a can, at the tables outside. The cans aren't readily recognizable as beer. And who knows, maybe it's not illegal or against store policy, but there's a sweet sense of satisfaction getting buzzed in public for a dollar. About to start on can 3. [comment]


Comcast was rejecting emails from my mailservers, complaining that they didn't have valid PTR records. But they do, so after messing around for at least an hour I realized my server was preferring ipv6. I tried the instructions at Forever Cached but that didn't do the trick. Set disable_ipv6 = true in /etc/exim4/conf.d/main/000_localmacros, restarted, and finally it seems to be working. [comment]


Is it just me, or are these ads, particularly the one that looks like two dead babies, really disturbing? I see the billboard version of the ad every time I travel between Petaluma and Red Bluff. [comment]


Been trying to come up with a simple workaround for Comcast's silly blocking of port 25. So I found this blog reminding me of where to put modifications like daemon_smtp_ports in a split configuration. Seems to have fixed the problem. [comment]


Woke up this morning with the thought that perhaps the Saturday morning cartoons of our youth programmed certain associations of voice with character into my generation. For example, if most characters with a British accent were "good", that would tend to produce large numbers of Anglophiles.

A lot of liquidy scat along the trails bordering Plum Creek. Something in the spring diet doesn't agree with the local animal population.

Took lots of photos of plants in bloom that are rather drab other times of year. [comment]


In my dream I was about 17, living in California with my German father, my mother and maybe 2 younger siblings. I was playing outside one evening when suddenly we were pelted by stones, thousands of them. I heard on the radio that this was happening all over, and that it could mean only one thing: the Russians were attacking. So I ran back home and started opening the shelter hidden under a toilet, trying to convince my Mom and Dad to get in, but they dithered. I heard Russian voices to the left, and ran to the right. They were already at the house, in overwhelming numbers and with their AK-47s at the ready. It was over. [comment]


LowEndBox.com is the shit! Just got another VPS, this time from RootNerds, for €2.00/month! That's about USD$2.77 at the current exchange rate. And it had a Debian x64 option, which is what I need, as CentOS seems to be unfit for development work judging by just this explanation of installing ffmpeg on CentOS. [comment]


On awakening this morning, two ideas popped into mind. The first was of traveling by wearing two bands of some type of steel chain that forms circles when I roll myself into a ball. I can brake just by unrolling, skidding on the rubber-coated steel chain. I wonder if I'd be able to overcome dizziness though?

The other thing was a clear vision of the collectivist mindset, no doubt buried deep in my brain from my youth, when I was near-totally indoctrinated. It's less clear at the moment, but maybe I can recall some of it:

The collectivist believes himself to be a superior, evolved form of human. The power of the State is welcomed because it protects him from the messiness of having to deal with anything uncomfortable; when something annoys the collectivist, the police will be called in to deal with it. He always shows deference to those in power so that they know he's one of the "good people", those deserving of protection. He will not look at any evidence that his government is oppressing people at home and abroad in order to maintain his illusory little bubble. He decries the libertarian and the other "bitter clingers" who want to tear him from his matrix back into an ugly and primitive form of existence, in which one is expected to negotiate his way among others, and to meet with deadly force any attempts by others to force their will upon him. [comment]


Got a job on the Bay Area Time Bank editing a video. First tried KeepVid.com to download the vid from youtube, but it failed after less than half of the 560MB video was saved. Now trying SaveFrom.net, hoping for better results. [comment]


OK, got a cheap VPS from PaulVPS.com via lowendbox.com, and just started running the 64-bit version of bitcoind on it. Let's see how this works out. [comment]


I'm out of the bitcoin (and litecoin) business. My Amazon cloud bill came to $107 just for a month, about 1/3 of it was bandwidth fees. Got to figure out a cheaper way of experimenting with this. [comment]


Could only jog as far as Redwood Way before my right foot started blistering. Took the bus from Penngrove to Coddingtown and got off at Panera. I took my birthday treat as a bear claw. Now on to Cost Plus and REI. [comment]


In my dream there was a whorehouse in which the ladies taught the Gospel until the lights went out, at which point the clothes were removed and the deed was done. [comment]

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