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Fri, 29 Apr 2005
tcpdump into remote ethereal? - 21:32
I think that is a bit of a pain in the arse to do, so I was thinking it would be neat to be able to run ethereal directly on the output coming back over a network link.
My initial thought to try this was to use netcat and output tcpdump over the wire that way. Something like "tcpdump -w - -s 1500 -i ethN not port 22 and not port 3000 | nc otherhost 3000" then on otherhost I could try typing "nc -l -p 3000 | ethereal -r -". So I tried that and ethereal balked at reading from stdin. The next one to try was a fifo, so using "mkfifo etherealdata ; nc -l -p 3000 > etherealdata" and running ethereal and telling it to open that file. However though I have not looked closely it appears ethereal probably tries to mmap files or read them all in at once or similar, thus opening a fifo just wont work.
Looking at the start capture option in ethereal there is currently no way to capture actively on anything but an ethernet device. I am thinking maybe ethereal needs a patch to be able to start and stop captures on some given file handle, ignoring the data on that filehandle at other times, and thus make it easy to capture on stdin or similar.
Of course there may be another solution to this I have not thought about yet. I notice over the last year or so I really have not done much in the way of cool or fun geeky stuff, I think maybe I should do some more fun geeky things again. Maybe this can be a gentle start back into it.
Wed, 27 Apr 2005
2005 Anzac Day Epic Photos. - 17:51
One and a bit hours drive south of Canberra at the Mt Clear campground near the bottom of the ACT border myself and 17 others got going on the 2005 Anzac Day MTB Epic. The weather was perfect, track conditions could not have been better, the company rocked, all in all a bloody great day out on the mountain bike.
I uploaded all my photos in order to show everyone who was not there what they missed out on, poor buggers.
Tue, 19 Apr 2005
Another new talk - 10:57
Tridge will be talking on Friday afternoon in MCCT1 following Mark Shuttleworth's talk from 14:30 to 15:15. The topic will be on some cool thing Tridge has been doing recently and will be a great presentation.
At the moment it appears the Friday afternoon MCCT1 stream is cursed, I just hope Jon Corbet stays in the country until Friday afternoon...
Mon, 18 Apr 2005
A speaker replacement - 19:19
Sun, 17 Apr 2005
Anyway all is cool, people are here and doing early sign in, vibe is happening. I am eating lunch (yes at 5:30pm) and in a few minutes will drive to the airport to pick up some cool speakers.
Fri, 15 Apr 2005
Use the laser for good - 23:54
Of course, when, some time later today I was reading Bruce Schneier's writeup on the difficulties involved with hacking the papal election system and I came across the following line
I read that the Vatican is worried about laser microphones, as there are windows near the chapel's roof.
it had me thinking, yeah thats right, and you probably do not want the papal election to be hacked by headless, laser remote-controlled catholic cardinals.
Good ol' stat has been around a while - 21:22
So I do not have any of my machines still running buzz or rex these days, so I can not simply log in and have a look. I had a look around, as noticed by Stewart stat is in the coreutils package now days, which is part of base. Looking back through some archived debian distributions I can find some traces. In the current sid coreutils changelog.Debian the first entry is from 2002 stating it is a combination of the old base packages textutils, fileutils and shellutils. Those older packages do not appear to contain it, however looking at a Contents file from 2.0 (hamm) (released in 1998 AFAIR) there is a stat program, in the utils section rather than base, in a package named stat.
So it looks like stat has been available for a fairly long while in debian, I also suspect it has been in debian since that time, and in coreutils since the package was created, in the changelog for coreutils the first mention of stat is.
- stat accepts a new file format, %B, for the size of each block reported by %b
Which is dated Mar 2003, as it is not a message along the lines of adding stat to package, I think it has been around for a while and in base at least since 2002. I say, I think, as I can not summon the effort required to track the history of the command in debian simply to suggest Stewart may be being lazy, after all I am lazy too.
Wed, 13 Apr 2005
Missy Higgins first headline tour, Canberra gig - 23:48
I have been a huge fan of Missy Higgins ever since hearing her unearthed performance on Triple J 3 or 4 years ago. Until her self titled EP was released I was subsisting on the recording of "All for believing Triple" J had for download and the few real audio files of one or two other tracks. When the EP was released I was so excited I talked a friend at Triple J into getting me a copy a month before it was released, then I bought a copy as soon as I could anyway. Needless to say I am an avid fan and love the fact Missy is getting so much popular recognition in Australia (and the US too I should note).
Before going in to the seats I saw Chris, Kelly, Martin (BCG) and Mel. As I have no idea about music and BCG does I suggest reading what he writes about the gig if he does a review. I had a chat to them about the impending gig, how excited I was, what the hell I was doing slacking off from organising lca, etc. I forgot to thank Martin for getting me hooked on Jodi Martin, I am sure I will remember one day. I was telling Martin about a brilliant cover I had heard Missy perform on Triple J one day but could not remember the details. The song I heard covered was Patty Griffin's song Moses, I adored the Missy Higgins cover and would love to get hold of a copy somehow, it has not yet been released on any album so I can not buy it alas. Heck I would even like to hear the Patty Griffin version as I have not heard that (I have a Melissa Ferrick album with a cover of Moses which is why the lyrics were familiar)
I really should start talking about the gig I suppose, after all, sleep beckons. The opening support act was Dave Macdonald (spelling?), who I found unexciting. He was a very good guitarist, in his playing you could hear some really interesting techniques and combinations of ideas. He meshed his voice very well to his guitar music, however I found his voice completely uninspiring and uninteresting. Many of his tracks had a common sounding basic melody going, however he added some rather cool bits on top of it in different songs to differentiate. It sounded like he had some switch or similar on the guitar to change tuning or acoustics easily as it seemed to switch from a deep hollower sound to a higher pitched squeakier sound a few times. As for his voice, as I said it did not interest me, he had one lyric that really stood out in my mind which was great. "the junkies in the subways are the canaries of our souls" which has some good imagery and language use.
The second support act, Serena Ryder, can be summed up in one word I think. Brave. Serena opened with a vocal number that came off brilliantly, if the rest of her set had continued in that vein it would have been amazing. After this though she picked up a guitar and it started going downhill. For an artist with such an amazingly capable voice it was a shame she did not have the guitar skill or some other instrument with which to back it up. Especially following a guitar player as good as Dave Macdonald, Serena's lack of guitar ability shone through. Worse yet she had some tuning problems and eventually requested another guitar from backstage, seemingly one that was not her own. I was interested a fair bit in Serena's music mostly because of the capability of her voice as she used it in most of the tracks she played. If anything though she overused her voice, using it at times as some form of instrument with which to hit you over the head, going from quiet to loud within words of the lyrics for no real apparent reason.
This reminded me of an mp3 John Zigman told me about a few weeks ago, some friend of his had sent it to him, it starts of really quiet for a few minutes, so much so that you need to turn your speakers way up to hear anything. Then a few minutes in this voice says really loudly "stop looking at porn at work and spying on your co workers" or something along those lines, basically designed such that if played at work it will be heard by everyone on the floor due to having your speakers turned up so high. I am however probably going off on a tangent here, the comparison did however make me giggle. Speaking of amusing tangents, this is a good sig as used by Dave@
Never go off on tangents, which are lines that intersect a curve at only one point and were discovered by Euclid, who lived in the 6th century, which was an era dominated by the Goths, who lived in what we now know as Poland. - Nov. 1998 issue of Infosystems Executive.
I may however have become sidetracked once more, I liked Serena Ryder's voice, but agree with what Rob suggested,she really needs to go away and learn to play some instrument really really well in order to use it in support of her voice.
Most of us were of course there to see Missy Higgins perform, and I am glad to say she did not disappoint. Missy herself did a stunning job. Opening with a new (unreleased) song and then continuing with a fairly good range of tracks, almost half the material she performed was unreleased which I personally enjoy (woohoo new stuff). My favourite Missy Higgins song, Special Two, was performed last of the night and I enjoyed it, Scar was in there somewhere. Ten Days and Nightminds came across differently, as did a few of the others, which gets me to the part of the performance I struggled to get used to or enjoy. There was a largish backup band playing with Missy, some features of it were cool (as suggested by Missy herself) such as an Accordian. However there was a bit much backing music noise at times I thought. Somewhat drowning Missy and her wonderful piano playing out, or sometimes simply being too loud and solid for the song being performed. Part of my problem here I am sure is being unused to hearing some of those tracks with all the extra instruments, however I really would like to see the volume or noise level altered a bit.
This is Missy Higgins' first headline tour, and it appears she is handling it well, at times Missy did seem somewhat overwhelmed to be the headline act and on stage wowing so many people, however at the age of 21 I think she is handling this amazingly well. I look forward with much anticipation to seeing how Missy Higgins music develops over the coming years.
To conclude (for now) Missy Higgins rocked and fun was had.
Update: BCG has yet to put a review up, however Michael Neuling has mentioned the gig, and he reminded me of something else, Josh from The Waifs was playing guitar for Missy, which is pretty cool. I remember when Missy introduced the band and I thought, is that the same Josh Cunningham, I was too far away to see him clearly obviously it was (I guess there are not huge numbers of capable folk guitar players named Josh Cunningham in Australia so the odds were good anyway)
Tue, 12 Apr 2005
A whole lot more information for linux.conf.au just went out - 22:39
tags for this post: blog chicken egg
Mon, 11 Apr 2005
Shaving those excess links from the file - 23:37
In response to Mikal's ponderings on shaving direction, I always go with the grain, basically because otherwise I get the ingrown hairs and pimples and stuff as he has kind of noticed. I had more than enough problems with acne as a teenager (I was on roaccutane (also an abc radio program about roaccutane) for a while among other things) so I tend to try to avoid anything faintly resembling acne now days.
As for shaving those links, though I do not yet have time to write about my chicken coop terrorism in response to Mikal building a chicken coop, I do feel the need to offload some links (half the reason being so I can find them again easily).
From boingboing, cool the English language wikipedia will be available on cd/dvd, this is probably a great resource, basically an article with links to and suggestions how to find good images and the like online. After spending some time in the last few weeks for the conference and myself trying to find artwork for things it sounds great if it can be made easier.
From time to time Mikal, myself and others have commented on how annoying Planet is as a news aggregator, one of the big problems is it has completely and utterly broken date handling that is non trivial to fix. I saw a link on planet debian somewhere about someone using Rawdog for this task (aggregating feeds into a webpage), well documented and hopefully not as broken, if I ever have time I should check it out. (oh and unlike planet, this is in debian)
Heh, this fucking beautiful fucking piece of fucking writing fucking rocks. (like a great like excuse to like swear my like arse off like on my blog, like you fucking know?)
So during lca meetings and I suspect at other times Mikal has a habit of being creative when he answers the telephone. The Apostropher suggested these creative Pizza place answers (in audio so you could podcast them I guess) were amusing, who knows.
On another note I have had my Smashing Pumpkins, Siamese Dream album playing since getting home at 8:30pm, damn fine album this.
I have a bunch more links I really need to clear out of my must blog about file, but for now I need sleep more. First thing tomorrow get the instructional email out to lca delegates. The longer I leave it the more of a book they will have to read in one email...
Wed, 06 Apr 2005
Street Directory - 17:51
My big problem with whereis is how horribly slow it is, this street directory site seems to respond almost instantly. Also people used to reading Sydways or Melways or whatever will find this style of map easier to read, of course the opposite applies to people used to UBD maps.
Sat, 02 Apr 2005
DIY lights or frames. - 16:51
I rang Mikey to ask him if he had seen her website or if he knew her. Mikey had indeed seen the site, and had hoped to meet up with her at the Alpine Classic this year in order to see the 3 Watt Luxeon light Suzy built for herself.
Though I do not have the time, or I think the inclination to build myself a frame, there would be a lot of learning and time spent to get it right, I am impressed with this effort and the write up of the process is extremely interesting. I do not think I want to go to quite as much effort as Suzy did to create stickers for my mountain bike frame, nor do I wish to paint it myself, however it is great to see people doing all of this themselves. Also I have been thinking of ways to combine a long lasting light for the helmet with a powerful HID light on the bars and I like the look of the light she made, I should talk to Mikey and Pete and see if we can work out a way to put one together, also with the regulator that will allow use of the nightstick rated batteries I have with the light.
Fri, 01 Apr 2005
A mountain bike course should be inspiring - 23:19
The network of single track extending through Greenhills had been built slowly since around 1995 and 1996 by a host of trail gnomes, the Kowalski Brothers, Alan of Jelly Bean fame, DeathMarch, etc. The tracks from Mad Cow descending from Dairy Farmers hill through Freight Train, or various other nearby tracks, onward to the magic that was Labyrinth and on toward Bombalina and Jelly Bean, or a whole host of other options available for a single track loop through the area. All of these tracks, within easy riding distance over the centre of the city were often taken for granted until we lost them. This area was a mountain bike Mecca drawing people from all over Australia, and for good reason, the riding in Greenhills was something to be savoured.
Flowing tracks, not all smooth, not all bumpy, berms, good use of contour lines, the occasional obstacle or diversion around something more difficult to ride, stretching far enough to enable complete loops on single track as long as 15 or even 20 KM. Also with the tracks this close to town motor bikes were rare users of the area, though often they could be heard, or sighted on Mt Stromlo itself (where there were more tracks, and more to come too)
The first Mont 24 Hour race was held in 1999, the course utilised a loop set up on single track and fire road through the Greenhills area, a similar course was used again in 2000 and 2001. After the 2001 bush fires the 24 Hour race had to move most of the course over onto Mt Stromlo for 2002 and use some of the new tracks developed off the back of that hill with a final 5 KM looping back through Tricky Dick and Back Track on the campsite side of the river in Greenhills. The tracks on Stromlo, possibly due to less use, possible due to more motor bike induced damage, and at times due to the design and layout of the tracks were not quite as good as those in Greenhills that were lost to the fires. However finishing up on 5KM of incredible greenhills track before coming back into camp certainly helped bring the grin on once more.
Anyway using these trails that had slowly appeared and changed over the years we ran the 24 hour race was a godsend, the availability of good tracks meant a course could be constructed for the event that would inspire riders and put a grin on their faces. In a race (I would argue in any race, but certainly in a 24 hour race, especially one we like to think of as the best mountain bike event in Australia) the course should be fun, it should be so much fun that team riders become jealous of the solo riders as they get to keep riding and thus have more fun. Team members should be sitting in their camp wishing they could be out there doing a lap all the time, you should finish a lap wanting to go and do another immediately because you had so much fun on the previous one.
After the 2003 bush fires CORC had to move the Mont 24 Hour race to a new location, we chose Kowen Forest, in the north east corner of the ACT this area remained unburnt and was the largest forest area left, all of which meant we could hold mountain bike races in it. The biggest problem however is, due to the distance from the centre of town, no mountain bikers had ridden in the area much or had the inclination to develop trails, CORC had to go in and develop a brand new 17 KM race course from scratch. Paul Cole volunteered for the task and subsequently spent week after week driving and walking through the forest areas working out where a basic loop might be able to go and getting ready to put new track in. Paul did a fantastic job in mapping out the basic loop and getting the tracks in with teams of people motivated to come and help we did get a course in there rather quickly.
Now we get to some problems, first, to build good single track is difficult, and time consuming. The International Mountain Bike Association (IMBA) have a host of articles and links and such about building the best quality single track you can. Properly constructed tracks should last 30 or 40 years with little to no maintenance under a heavy load of riding. IMBA have a team of people that travel the world and consult with mountain bike groups around the world, and run trail building courses and training. The IMBA guys have been to visit us in Canberra a few times and many of us have participated in some track building work with them. However to build IMBA quality tracks can take such a long time, even with a team of 5 to 10 people you may only be able to develop around 200 metres of track in 3 or 4 days. All this depends on the available materials, the soil structure, the slope and contours and a few other elements.
CORC did not have the man power or time to build the 24 hour course to these standards, for the 2003 race we had to get a course in and ready in time for the race, other concerns were secondary. We also come up against some other problems in Kowen Forest. Because of the size of the forest and the distance from town the area has always been popular with motor cross riders, long before we started venturing into the forest. They have a few varied motor bike single tracks spread through the forest though they mostly used to spend their time riding on the fire roads. Once we started putting tracks into the forest they started using them, almost as soon as they appeared. Some motor bike riders have the skill to be able to improve rough tracks as they ride them through their style and use of the throttle. Most however do not and do not give any thought to the fact their bikes can rip a track to pieces on corners and braking.
However I would argue that the better constructed a track is the less damage a motor bike can do to that track. Fun single track has a quality known as flow. You never have a downhill section that picks up speed followed by a sharp corner as this requires breaking heavily before the corner and loosing speed for the flat bit afterwards. Instead to go downhill you should finish with a long gradual corner to change directions, followed by a turn up the hill a bit to wash of speed naturally. Transitions to quick turns and sharp corners should not be made immediately either, tracks should gradually get tighter or have a forced rise or other speed impediment just before a slow section to speed is washed of naturally. Also tracks should follow contours well mostly, veering up and down with a well benched edge into the side of the hill if the ground is not flat. You also have to ensure tracks are designed so water will run off them naturally rather than pool anywhere on the track or run down a section of track causing water induced ruts. One more consideration is the use of berms on fast corners to keep speed and flow as it should be at that point. To construct a berm properly you need to build it with rocks to keep it in place under load, then pack dirt into the rocks, preferably wetting the dirt before use to get a more resilient berm.
If you put the effort into designing tracks as detailed above a motor bike would also follow the flow of the track, not cornering (with excessive thrust biting into the trail) or braking suddenly for a corner (with their much higher weight) and powering out of the slow corner (thus digging up the track some more). Most sections of the 24 hour course do not have the above considerations taken into account, and a few times brand new unridden sections of track have been put into the race not long before the event. Untested track, that which has not been ridden will not have any problems worked out and is likely to be both rougher and more susceptible to damage than older or better designed track.
Now I am not saying the track sucks as it currently stands, the 24 hour race is still a lot of fun. The event itself is great and any riding can be fun so there is enjoyment to be had, however in my opinion the course does not inspire people as described above. Previous courses or other courses however do and have brought this level of awe and fun into the sport. Alan Anderson has built a large amount of tracks in Sparrow Hill and also built some of the more fun tracks in Greenhills. Rod Higgins designed the Nationals course that used to be out at Blue Range before the 2003 fires wiped it out. Richard Bonjter has ridden a bike more than most people and also has built the occasional fun single track (of which some were burnt in Greenhills). The Kowalskis have built some inspired tracks in Greenhills and even one track that is now used in the new Mont course was built by them, and I must say it is one of the best sections of track in Kowen. So I have been talking to these people and working out ways to go about this fun track business. Alan and I will be out in Kowen a bit getting a good idea of what needs to be done to improve the 24 hour course. All of this is with the aim of making the 24 hour course more fun this year.
I have a list of 7 dates (some just one day, some the entire weekend) leading up to the 24 hour race that we will announce soon on the CORC website during which we hope people who agree with my ideas above and want to put the effort into improving the existing 24 hour course loop will come and help out at. Often when building a track it appears to flow when walking through it, it appears to be smooth as silk when walking over it, but as soon as you ride a bike on the track you realise that those two things are not entirely true. I want people to come and help, come and spend half a day or a whole day on one existing 200 metre stretch of track, bring their bikes out and make each section we work on flow, make each section tough to stand up to motor bikers, make each section of track we work on a hell of a lot of fun to ride.
Initially I think, as suggested by Jim, we need to ensure the start and the end of each lap are incredible fun. Fortunately we have the switchbacks at the start which are a hoot, and definitely a signature piece of the course. If we can work out some way to put a signature piece in the last 2 KM of the course also that will help people's memories from each lap be positive. There will be other work after that too though. We probably also need to do some maintenance to the switchbacks to help them stand up to the punishment from motor bike riders and from the race itself.
Need a new different atom feed generator - 19:03