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


I've been trying to blog using my iPod Touch, but haven't yet figured out how to use vi with it; it segfaults on the iPod itself, and when ssh'ing to my server the line I'm entering doesn't appear till I'm done typing it. Probably need to stty cols or something; I'll play with it as I have time. The small screen is making my eyes strain, and my already-bad vision worse... I'll probably have to buy some video glasses for it. It took me a while to notice that Terminal.app has some control codes. They appear when you touch the black part of the screen, above the virtual keyboard; slide your finger to the up, down, left, right arrows or the ESC (^[), CTRL-C, CTRL-D or TAB keys.

Coyotes singing almost every night around here lately. Glad they made it back.

Still staying out of debt, but spending like crazy, trying to make some progress on my projects. The foam tire I bought for my skateboard fits, so I'll get 3 more this paycheck. They're wicked heavy, though. [comment]


Finally got the computer (iTunes, specifically) to recognize the semi-bricked iPod again, using the info found on this page. Another night of downloading and I can start over with the jailbreak, this time not running the broken passwd program in the BSD utilities. Sure would like to know what it does to the password files that no amount of tinkering seems to be able to fix. Maybe someday I'll figure out what the ptpd daemon is for too. So much new shit to learn...

Last week the hamburger I cooked and dried, just by crumbling it into my mosquito head net and leaving it around outside (protected from dogs of course) until it was like gravel. I put it into the nut mix I'd been using for a healthy snack food, and it was pretty good if somewhat tasteless... so I bought another two kilos of ground beef in Palomas yesterday and will make some more. [comment]


Got my iPod Touch yesterday, along with the Otterbox waterproof case and arm band from a different source (check my del.icio.us links. Jailbroke it painlessly today using ZiPhone. Now trying to get a terminal to open on the damned thing; Conceited Software's vt100 terminal isn't installing: "Package download failed!" on the Installer app. Always something. But my waterproof wearable computer is almost a reality at this point. [comment]


My callsign is KE5TFZ, kilo-echo-five-tango-foxtrot-zulu. I'll probably build or buy the cheapest possible CW rig at first.

Since the previous network admin, and VTC, refused to give me the DSL router password, I reset the damned thing to factory defaults, and then had to get Valley Telecom customer service on the line. The Comtrend CT-5372 routers they ship have a default password of 12345 on the root account. Why did that have to be so goddamned difficult? I had our network down for about 2 hours. Still far better than the router fiascos (fiasci?) at Dialtone Internet after my 2-pint lunches. One of those potentially took hundreds of thousands of sites offline for many hours. For some perverse reason it's far easier to remember my fuckups than my successes. [comment]


In my pre-dawn dream I was taking a test. After a retake, the instructor told me I got the highest score, but I couldn't get the award for some reason or another (which I already knew in the dream). I had missed one question. "The same question as the first time?" I asked. He nodded and said "Columbia" (which I understood to mean Colombia). An Aussie bloke shouted out something like, "But that's true! The Battle of Orion".

Got the two Buffalo routers loaded with OpenWRT yesterday, using my old Compaq laptop. The ethernet port on the Dell is hosed, that's why it didn't work the other day. Now to just get the DHCP working from only one of them, I think lan_gateway needs to be set. The WDS was working fine until I shut down dnsmasq on cos3.

Got an idea for repairing the solar pump I burned out, making a reel out of a few 2x4s and a piece of pipe. That ought to haul it up all right, then I can check it out and see what it takes to rebuild it.

Got my call sign the other day, keep forgetting to put it in my pocket to blog it. No rush anyway, you won't be able to CQ me until I build or buy a transceiver. [comment]


Shop-till-you-go-broke mode. Bought an iPod Touch on eBay, an Otterbox Armor iPod protector and armband from Hodges Marine, and a bunch of old safety and straight razors on eBay. So now I have the waterproof wearable computer I've been wanting for years, and a travel razor. The whole shitload cost just about 300 dollars. [comment]


Third spring day in a row. Next year I ought to wait till mid-March to return from the tropics, and avoid the cold snap of the past two weeks.

Yesterday went to Deming and stocked up on beer. So there's a limited supply of Guinness and Sierra Nevada here at the shebeen, besides some cheap stuff for the non-connoiseurs. [comment]


I realized yesterday afternoon sometime, while talking with my neighbor about the problem, that the uplink DSL modem/router was probably not at fault for supplying the bogus DHCP addresses, since my primary router was given the .2 address, and the addresses handed out to DHCP clients are over .100; I was getting .102 yesterday. This would almost have to be a machine on the same bridge as my primary router. Hmmm... [comment]


Networking madness. I'm having a helluva time loading OpenWRT on the Buffalo AirStations; either I can't connect to them at all right after powerup, or there's some kind of spurious data being sent -- the LED is flashing constantly -- and the packets take several seconds to transfer, and eventually stop. One finally went through -- loaded the new firmware almost instantly -- but the other one is just not cooperating.

And the main Linksys router is also acting up, passing through DHCP answers from the upstream DSL router again, something I thought I had fixed a few days ago. That /sbin/hotplug turns out to be for WDS, and apparently nothing to do with the DHCP problem. Pisses me off.

Made some "trail mix" of pecans, almonds, figs, dates, and dried apricots for the last three days of last week, and added some barrel cactus fruits to it to stretch it out. It kept my hunger down, but at the expense of horrible smelling farts and loose stools. I'm not sure I saved much money either, but I didn't draw into my credit card so overall I'm happy. And back to a mostly-meat diet for this week. [comment]


My article How to Drink a Coconut will be featured on WikiHow tomorrow, my 5th feature so far. I wish it would translate into hits on my blog, but it never seems to work that way...

The photos in the article were taken in Veracruz, the day I decided to walk back into the city by a different route from Boca del Rio. Damn, it's nice having a decent camera.

Thought I'd put away $100 this week, but an unexplained $22 balance showed up on the credit card I'd paid off. WTF? This keeps happening, dammit... gotta quit using any card that doesn't post transactions immediately. [comment]


Corre Caminos Transit now has service around Deming and to Columbus. The schedules aren't showing up on their website though. I had heard this was going to happen, but didn't believe it; finally we have cheap transit to a city, even a shitty one like Deming is better than what we had before: nothing. I heard a rumor there's even a way to get to Las Cruces on this line, but I can't verify that on the website. [comment]


My community network router, an old WRT54G running OpenWRT, started handing out DHCP addresses in the 192.168.1/24 range, and the network is 192.168.3/24. Obviously, nothing was working. I got rid of the logical OR in /etc/init.d/S50dnsmasq, but no help. Then I noticed /sbin/hotplug was running. WTF? Removed the ppp-mod-pppoe and ppp packages, rebooted, everything back to normal. Somehow it was talking bullshit with the DSL modem I guess, and allowing its DHCP server first dibs. Stupid. I hope that was it, problems like these are a bitch to solve. [comment]


Missed one on the Technician level, passing it handily, then took the General level exam. I heard the guy tallying scores say I missed 13. Damn, I thought, but at least I can get started at the Tech level. Got my stuff together, and one of the examiners says something like "John, sit back down, will you? You have another test to take." I failed the Extra level test by 3 points, but I have my General class ham radio license! It'll take a week or two before I get my call sign, but I have to build or buy a transceiver anyway.

On my way to the bus stop there was a flea market on Dyer, and noticed a nice Oxygen scooter with 104-mm wheels. I asked the price: $8. Paid with a $20, got my change and ran to the bus with yet another set of wheels.

Then picked up my bags at my couchsurfing host's place, and headed to the meeting point at Famous Dave's. Ate lunch, got a ride home with a neighbor, and spent the rest of the day and night in sexual bliss... damn, just thinking about it makes me hard again. [comment]


Woke up, refreshed, on a bus bench downtown about an hour ago, the 3 $1 double cheeseburgers still sitting like a lead weight in my stomach. Ate those after a couple of cold ones at the Black Market, a nice little pub in the alleyway between McDonald's and Zeppelin's. Another few hours and I will have gone my first week without dipping into my credit card. Yes! I think I can make it, I still have $3 in my pocket, and I'm not hungry.

However, all is not perfect. I, as usual, lost track of how much I have in each account, and made not 1 but four separate overdrafts on my WaMu debit card. Luckily, they only charged me for one of them, not like some banks that charge you 3 times for one overdraft.

I found out that Bank of the West has a branch in Anthony, not far from El Paso; the "Bank of the West" in El Paso is a different bank altogether from the California-based institution. They, like PayPal, supposedly update your account in real-time when you make a purchase, making it less likely you'll overdraft. Now, why can't all banks do that? Anyway, I want to open that account when I get the chance, and get rid of one of these less useful banks. Unfortunately they don't offer the modern convenience of opening an account online.

There's one of those Watermill Express things right across the street from Kinley's House, in the Starbucks parking lot. Gonna go fill my water bottle then about a half hour to wait until McD's opens up and I can get my Senior coffee. [comment]

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