Building simplicidade.org: notes, projects, and ocasional rants

Notes

last update:

Slow

I'm having disk problems with the server that hosts this blog and my mail. The I/O wait time is always above 50%, and sometimes it gets to 100%. All this without I/O, at least according to iostat. I'm moving stuff around, starting with email, but things are a bit slow, and will be for the next day or so. If you really need to contact me, use the alternative methods at the top of the sidebar on my blog homepage.

Slow

I'm having disk problems with the server that hosts this blog and my mail. The I/O wait time is always above 50%, and sometimes it gets to 100%. All this without I/O, at least according to iostat. I'm moving stuff around, starting with email, but things are a bit slow, and will be for the next day or so. If you really need to contact me, use the alternative methods at the top of the sidebar on my blog homepage.

Internet archeology

This last Saturday, I was at Barcamp PT and started to talk with Nuno Moreno about games, specially online quest-style games. I remembered an old game, the Heineken Challenge, that was very popular at least here in Portugal. I'm not sure when it was online but it seems 1996 is the correct year. The problem is that 1996 is like 1BG (1 year Before Google), so I can only find about the new Heineken set of lame flash games.

Updated contacts

I've updated the small contact box at the top of the right sidebar. With a single click you can now contact me with: XMPP;email;voice call (both PTSN and Skype address).The PTSN number is actually a SIP-based VoIP number. I'm now using the amazing telephone SIP client for Mac OS X. Kudos to Celso for a nice how-to to use with my current provider.

ssh client as SOCKS server

This is probably basic stuff for some of you but it was a surprise for me. Your ssh command line client can work as a SOCKS server. Its actually very simple to use: ssh -D 5566 remote.server The -D 5566 will make ssh start a SOCKS (v4 and v5 supported) server at port 5566. You can now set your SOCKS server for your preferred apps as 127.0.0.1:5566. The connections will be made by the remote.

Forking is easy, but...

Some days ago, I forked qpsmtp repository on Github/ to fix a small RFC compliance bug. It was a simple fix, and Ask pulled it the next day. I was left with my fork of qpsmtpd without any practical reason for it. Github makes it easy to fork, but not that easy to know if I can remove my fork. It would be nice to have a way safely cleanup my forks.

x-test-continuous

I've pushed a new tool to my scripts repository at GitHub, x-test-continuous. This script watches changes in the ./lib and ./t directories, and executes the command given as argument on any changes. Right now, I've hardcoded a one second delay. My usual command while I'm writing a new Perl module is this one: x-test-continuous prove -l -v -r t Now, my tests are a single "Save all" away. An even better usage, in case you are using TextMate.

Feed aggregators

I'm a bit sick of hearing applications call themselves "feed aggregators" when they simple show me a chronological sequence of unrelated articles. Sure, I guess that 4 or 5 years ago that was enough and worthy of the word, but in between I jumped from 20 or 30 to 354 feeds (I usually prune to 250 each 6 months). I think its time to move up the goal post: you cannot call yourself a aggregator without actually doing it - finding relations between articles and presenting them in useful ways.

JaikuEngine is born

Yesterday, Jaiku was turned off for a 24 hour maintenance. The goal: move it to the Google App Engine. The site is now back, and the announced future is here: Jaiku is now a community maintained project called JaikuEngine (to be seen, really, its not there yet). There are a couple of changes: SMS (as any sane cost-consciencius person would expect) are gone for all but US networks, and they will no longer pool your feeds (this was a surprise for me, and I think a lot of Jaiku'ers will be unhappy).

A couple of AWS news

Today, Amazon AWS announced a new pricing tier for EC2 instances. If you commit to 1 year or 3 years, with prices $325 or $500 respectively, you'll get a small EC2 instance for as low as $49-$35/month. Compare that with the current $75 per month, and it sounds like a very good deal if you have a constant set of EC2 instances. The other interesting announcement is already a couple of months old, the new Amazon S3 Requester Pays Model.