Posts for February 2007

2007-02-01: Scattered

The story of this week seems to be getting distracted from one thing I was doing to do something else entirely. Today, it was tracking down another problem with our local Kerberos packages that caused the AFS integration to not work on 64-bit systems.

That's fixed now, and I still managed to finish the audit script except for the documentation, which I can write tomorrow morning. I thought I was going to get more than that done this week, but my original ten hour estimate for the audit script turned out to be almost exactly right.

Maybe I'm getting better at this whole time estimate thing.

Another book review tomorrow.

2007-02-03: remctl 2.5

The driving factor behind this release was the inability to start Puppet properly via earlier versions of remctl. Since we're using Puppet to do configuration management on our systems, that's not horribly helpful. remctld was closing standard input, which was somehow confusing one of the Ruby libraries that Puppet uses. Now, it opens standard input on /dev/null instead, which should be friendlier.

In the process, though, I decided to knock some of the other things off the to-do list and ended up adding support for unlimited length commands to the client library. That was way hairier than I expected. The protocol is unfortunately rather grody. I couldn't come up with a better one. Thank heavens for test suites; without that, I could never be sure I had it right.

I also cleaned up the protocol around maximum token sizes, enforced that everywhere, tightened down the protocol checking in a few places, took care of some memory leaks, and fixed a few other minor bugs.

You can get the latest version from the remctl distribution page.

2007-02-03: remctl 2.6

Well, sooner or later since I started being more public about remctl there was going to be some obvious and embarassing security vulnerability.

In testing new stanford-server Debian packages this evening and deploying a new remctl backend feature, I discovered that if the ACL file referred to by a configuration line doesn't exist, the command is accepted. Non-existent files and other read errors are treated as success. Worse, I have no idea how I managed to write the code that does this. The fix is a one-line patch, replacing a test that makes no sense with the obviously correct one.

This bug has been around since at least 2.0, and probably since 1.11 when include files for ACLs were first supported. Now, at least, this is tested explicitly in the test suite.

You can get the latest version from the remctl distribution page. Obviously, I would encourage everyone to upgrade, as this problem is something of a ticking time bomb. Having an ACL not be readable or not exist is a very easy mistake to make.

2007-02-07: First 2007 haul

I've been very good about not buying too many books, but it's getting close to time to start reading the Hugo nominees and there were new books out by favorite authors, so it was about time for an order.

Robert Borski -- The Long and the Short of It (non-fiction)
Neil Gaiman & Charles Vess -- Stardust (graphic novel)
Guy Gavriel Kay -- Ysabel (sff)
C.E. Murphy -- Urban Shaman (sff)
Charles Stross -- Glasshouse (sff)
Charles Stross -- The Jennifer Morgue (sff)

I already had a copy of Stardust as a paperback, but this is the illustrated version that actually won the World Fantasy Award and I wanted to re-read it in its preferred form.

I expect to see one or both of the Stross's up for a Hugo this year, along with Rainbows End by Vernor Vinge, which I already have. Beyond that, I'm not sure what will be nominated. His Majesty's Dragon seems likely, and I've already read and reviewed that (and wouldn't give it a Hugo). Farthing is probably an outside shot, being pure alternative history; it will have a much better shot at a Sideways. I'd not object to Blood and Iron winning, but I think it's pretty unlikely, as is Carnival.

Looking at the NESFA site, other possibilities are Eifelheim by Michael F. Flynn (hadn't even heard of this one, but I'm behind on Locus reading) and The Ghost Brigades by Scalzi, a sequel to the Hugo-nominated Old Man's War. From what I've heard of the latter, I don't think it's deserving, but I've not read it yet.

I'd like to see Sun of Suns make it, just because Karl Schroeder deserved a Hugo for Lady of Mazes and didn't get one, but I think it's a very outside shot.

Anyway.

The Borski is another critical analysis of the works of Gene Wolfe. This one I should probably hold off reading until after I finish The Book of the Long Sun and The Book of the Short Sun. Guy Gavriel Kay, of course, is one of the authors whose works I buy immediately and read close to immediately. Finally, C.E. Murphy is an acquaintance of a friend of mine and I like the mystery/fantasy crossover genre, so I thought I'd give it a shot.

2007-02-10: cvslog 1.55

Another cut at the cvsweb improvements. Now, the links to the latest revision for new files don't try to create a diff or specify diff options, so they should actually work. Show the previous revision for deleted files as well, now that we've worked out the mechanics for how to do so.

Thanks again to Slava Girshman for the feedback.

You can get the latest version from the cvslog distribution page.

2007-02-10: fsr 1.10

Jeffrey Altman found that fsr won't work with ActiveState Perl because the fork emulation isn't up to snuff, so fsr now dies immediately if run with the native Windows Perl. It also falls back on fs in the user's path instead of a hard-coded Stanford path and supports examine as a command.

You can get the latest version from the fsr distribution page.

2007-02-12: More time management

This weekend, I started reading David Allen's Getting Things Done again, and ended up re-reading the whole book in a weekend. I reviewed it when I originally read it, but I wholeheartedly recommend it again. Even though the tone is more for marketing executives and CEOs, once I managed to analyze what it was saying and apply it to my job, I've found it endlessly useful. And reading it twice, separated by some months of trying techniques, helped a lot.

Now I think I have more of a grasp on why my next action lists were getting out of control (not enough willingness to shunt projects to the "Maybe Later" pile and out of the active set). I was making insufficient use of the concept of a project to group things together, and I needed a few more location categories for tasks than I had. In particular, I need separate categories for high-energy tasks and low-energy tasks so that I can more easily locate tasks appropriate for having little brain. I've also been doing a half-assed job at really collecting inputs first and then acting on them, and always deciding what to do with something when it comes in rather than reprocessing it multiple times.

So, today I did a huge reorganization of to-do lists, processed a bunch more ideas that I wrote down while reading (that always happens when I read time-management books), and started doing a better job of collecting. Too many meetings today, so I didn't manage to finish, but I should be able to tomorrow. We'll see if I get just a temporary spike or if I can leverage this into another lasting improvement.

2007-02-13: cvslog 1.56

The last change didn't put newlines at the end of every cvsweb URL. Doh. Thanks to Slava Girshman again for the report. While I was in the code, I also limited the size of diffs to 200KB by default (the same as I did for svnlog) and then added a command-line option to change the size cap.

You can get the latest version from the cvslog distribution page.

Last modified and spun 2017-03-25