Bog Roll ::

It's Not Magic, It's Work!

27 Feb 2007


When I was a student in primary school our headmaster decided to teach us all about the Imperial Measurement system which had recently been formally abandoned. I grew up with a fully metric system in primary school and in secondary school and university I only used SI units. Most older people around me still used old Imperial units and so I can use them but I think metric first and Imperial second.

Yesterday I was scanning the official interim report into the recent train accident, when I spotted a distance measurement of 20 miles and 20 chains (~ 32 km). Though I learnt about chains in primary school (as a joke), I've never met anyone else who used such an arcane and obsolete unit. Perhaps if the British rail industry left the Victorian period behind we may have a decent system...

23 Feb 2007

HP Makes $25m From Free Software

Ink manufacturer and sometimes IT company formerly known as Hewlett-Packard, made $25m in EMEA directly from supporting Debian GNU/Linux on their range of hardware. Apparently there is demand for Debian support from a major hardware vendor and it's lucrative for HP as there are no software costs, as their are with Red Hat, Novell or Microsoft.

21 Feb 2007

Baguette Cutlery

Sometime ago we were give a very nice 12-place set of 18/10 stainless steel cutlery. The only annoying problem was the absence of table spoons. I tried several times to find a match in various department stores and we concluded that the design must be a typical French one and not common in the UK.

Over the weekend we were in France and were easily able to track down the design. Once we identified the style we were able to find spoons from €35 each in silver to €1 each in 18/10 stainless steel. Once you know the style name we have also been able to find the style in the UK, Argos have a reasonable sized 50-piece canteen for only £40.

15 Feb 2007

Solaris rlogin

Since sorting my Sun SPARC box out, I've been turning cr*p like rlogin and telnet off forcing all logins through SSH. Yesterday I ran rlogin to connect and it worked. Today I figured out why. I don't actually even have a rlogin client installed on my desktop systems, but Debian had thoughtfully linked /usr/bin/rlogin to /usr/bin/ssh (via stuff), so I was actually connecting to the Sun box via SSH after all.

12 Feb 2007

Cracking Solaris

Spurred on by a recent 0-day exploit in Solaris 10, I again tried to gain root access to my SPARC box. The telnet bug in Solaris 10 didn't work on my antique 2.6 system but a quick google search found the "LD_PROFILE local root exploit for Solaris 2.6" on Bugtraq, which was good enough.

My Sun box is just a museum piece, I don't do anything useful on it. I only have it because work was going to throw it away. A friend has offered some disks for it, which could make it a bit more useful. Compared with my modern AMD64/Debian system it's quite pathetic really, but it's fun to keep old dinosaurs going if you can.

It's even more ironic as I have been reading "The Cookoo's Egg" over the weekend.

08 Feb 2007

Tie = Interview?

Today was the funeral of my partner's father. For various reasons I was not able to attend, so instead as a mark of respect I wore a black tie at work. Though some people knew my father-in-common-law's health was poor or that he had died, everyone assumed the tie meant that I had a job interview. Evidently wearing a tie in IT in the UK now means job interview and nothing else.

06 Feb 2007


To get to France for a funeral it is cheaper to buy two return tickets, one from London to Paris and one from Paris to London, throwing away the return legs, than it is to buy a single return ticket. It's bad enough that the prices in Euro are the same as Sterling (given that £1 ≅ €1.50), but this really takes the biscuit.

03 Feb 2007

Vista SPAM

I'm not sad enough to run Microsoft products at home. This does not stop spammers trying to sell OEM versions of Microsoft's super soar-away operating system Microsoft Vista to me.

At work I'm forced to use Microsoft's products, they reduce my overall productivity but apparently that doesn't bother the management or the shareholders. Even at work where Sir Bill is held in such high esteem, we're not using Vista yet - none of our machines are capable, so I'm save that pain for the moment.