Older blog entries for jrf (starting at number 19)

It has been a long time since I posted here and, as usual, guilt caught up with me and I decided to post an entry.

Since April of last year a lot has happened. I was diagnosed with an Acoustic Nueroma, a tumor near my brain sitting on the balance nerve of the inner ear. In November it was removed and I lost all hearing in the right ear. I have permanent tinitus (ringing) in it, which is sort of cool because when my blood pressure goes up, the ringing gets louder (sort of an onboard BP tracker). The post op nightmare was terrible. I had swelling so bad that blood flow was cut off to the brain and I had an infection. It lasted for nearly 3 weeks and I was back in the hospoital twice. In any case, I feel better now and am working from home. I also lost a lot of weight from puking (my body has a strong dislike of drugs and certain anitbiotics). I guess that is a benefit ...

Now onto the neat stuff. Since April I delved into NetBSD development. I migrated some code from a friend of mine to a module for the Verified Executable Kernel Modification. That was a blast. I learned a lot, lesson one of kernel development: do NOT try to track -current if your making big changes, merge them when you are done or ready for BETA. After that I went onto in depth tuning again, some PR articles, and started working on userland utils. My "open source" resume has expanded quite a bit.

In the future I want to get get back to helping with further kernel security, keep closing as many PRs as I can, and with some help branch out into other areas. I also need to wrap up my degree, I have too many floating credits and now that I have a lot of free time, it is time to put free time to use.

Well its been awhile. Since Janruary I have been busy and on the road a bit. I took over a unix box for a company in new york, my first sysadmin consulting gig for the company I work for now. It was rough in the start but now things have smoothed over. The project for NetBSD I helped on is wrapping up so I am trying to turn my guns elsewhere. It was a lot of fun working with the kernel and not nearly as difficult as I thought it would be, actually, coding was the easiest part. Management and surviving -current builds was 70% of the work. Now I am sort of doing a mixed project, I attended the 4.4-BSD kernels class recently and, of course, just came back with all sorts of great ideas. Out of all of them only one sounded interesting and mostly harmless. I am updating a small collection of load creation tools to run on NetBSD and FreeBSD. So far they work okay. In tandem with that I am writing a tuning paper which is giving me a chance to work with stuff like kgprof and kgmon. So I get to give back some writing, make some neat tools and learn stuff - what fun.

I found an old pal of mine's diary here tonite, very cool. I got his email and touched base with him. So I guess advogato has other useful items aside from busted algs :)

Among other things I am plodding ahead, slowly and with a lot of help, on signedexec work in kernel. The fact that we have been working together on this now for over 2 months is a good sign, we are going to make it. BUT, since our code is not in any branches I decided to take a side trip and work on some documentation I had promised a few months ago. Ironically, I had a CVS problem with it which I am trying to resolve . . . funny, you try to stay in the lamplight and sort of accidentally trip a breaker!

My daughter is starting to develop skills that are in my mind remarkable, but I am sure other parents have seen it as well. She is learning simple japenese and spanish words, on her own with a teaching aid we bought her. She also knows how to login to her account, see who is on the system, run top etc. Last night she beat me fair and square at Stratego. She is 6. So you see my point. I do not think it is so much that she is inherently intelligent as much as she is curious and has access to way more information than I ever did. Nevetheless, her striving for "getting it right" really is a unique quality and I respect that. I believe someday she will use UNIX systems - as in use them, she will see them as toys/tools for her real job like many scientists and researchers do today.

So thats all for now, I think I will make a round of ratings . . .


Another day, oh wait its the last workday of the year! As if all of the bullshit that happened this year won't matter come the 1st of Janruary?

I wish.

Screw work. Lets look at programming, shall we? Today I spent debugging, as I have the last 2 days. My friend and I are searching for a ghost in the kernel and we still have yet to find that slippery bastard. I almost gave up hope until he brought me around. So I went back at it and now we know where (we have narrowed down to a couple of files) the problem may lie.

This is what it is all about, a pal,, some beer and persistance (granted . . . the beer helps).

So yes. We like it, but without our friends, we could not do it.

I have not posted anything here in a long time. That much should be obvious. Over the past year I have successfully moved a huge operation from one site to another (in a short amount of time) done some stuff that I never thought I could. My skills as a systems programmer have finally started budding since my involvement with NetBSD and my administration/architectural skills have exploded. Probably because I have just been put into some tight situations and had to learn things sort of on the spot. I guess as time goes on I will think about being a little more proactive about my account here :) Some of the more interesting stuff I have been up to was kernel testing on the current branch for some speed improvements and queing software. I also have been working on signed executable/lib support with a friend (in kernel). Piled on top of all of that has been some pretty great documentation work. The holidays have left me pretty refreshed, hopefully that will help me keep up my advogato account :-)

1 Dec 2000 (updated 1 Dec 2000 at 03:25 UTC) »

Work is killing me, we are transferring systems to another set of systems at another site. Just as this is about to kick off, I am starting a co-author project on a book about performance tuning. Suffice to say I have not had nearly as much time to devote to working on software and systems in my spare time as I normally would. Not too mention school. Oh well, this is how it goes sometimes. Besides, wouldn't life be boring without all of this stuff?

Geez I noticed this huge gap in my diary entries, here is some stuff I have been doing over the last few weeks:

  • contrib's DNS and using vi material to the NetBSD Guide.
  • I also submitted a package to NetBSD (yes all by my wee-self).
  • general list/chat room helping out stuff.
  • Installed an irc server, anonftp server, DNS server and thttpd server all on my home internet gateway.

So I have been active, but usually that list would be 3 times as long :-) The cool thing about the last item was I transferred a lot of that experience right to my UNIX networking job. So the proof is in the pudding, learning at home helps.

I decided to put my diary back here since I am using cvs to maintain my personal site.

Not much has happened in awhile, I have been in and out of goings on the big wide world and focusing on getting my home network straightened out. Which I finished, so I guess it is time to get back to other work.

I release newsfetch-1.3 but heard somehwere that another release may have been posted, if that proves true I will remove my version. Otherwise the only other interesting stuff I have been entertaining is writing a version of mmw for NetBSD.

27 Sep 2000 (updated 22 Nov 2000 at 01:53 UTC) »

It has been a long time since I made an entry. A lot has been going on that a few folks here know about. Basically I had to decide on whether or not I wanted to leave the company I worked for or take a relo and a new task. I ended up accepting the relo and task for a variety of reasons - mainly that I need to do some other things before I change careers, now is not my time. I did learn a lot in the job hunt though, working in Open Source does help, heck, even making mention of advogato perked a few people.

Now onto the meat, my last task was updating some tiny utils, with that done I moved onto wrapping up setting up a NetBSD/sparc (sparcstation 5). I ended up actually sort of porting elvis so I have volunteered to package it, which has proved to be rough because of my job stuff I have kept putting it off. I really want to do this because I am interested in learning a little diversity. I have figured out how to wrap up GNUlike packages but not NetBSD ones.

I also finally cranked out some OutRider content. Otherwise I have actually been working and studying (yes I am just as shocked as you).

I did have a brief discussion with jbowman about possible favoritism in advogato. He wanted to know why I ranked him as Journeyer since I knew some of his friends, my answer was I believe being a contributor is more than just code, there is a great deal of spirit in it, and he is a Lead Developer. So I did not see him as an apprentice.

We both agreed it might be good to add a rung or two but advogato seems to be working. We know of some people (it may be one actually) who have attempted to break the system and it has survived attack. So I guess we are just in wait and watch mode.

YAQD, relearned how to write kernel modules, had a problem with a charachter device though, have to play with it some more tomorrow. Spent the afternoon learning alg theory (joy).

Figured I would spend the late evening playing with python - the language that is.

Thinking the first system information part I write should be console based first. Get some sample information I want into some data structures then pile on the GUI later.

One thing I need to clarify is I am not making a monitor - plenty of those already exist. Just something that gets hardware information and puts into a GUI-thingy. Yes I know GNOME and KDE have this, I want to do it in python/tk so it won't matter which one a user has.

Of course, that is if I ever do it!

Ah yes and my publisher got back to me today, everything looks good to go, once I get a timeline established I will begin work.


Must code, will alleviate anxiety, Must code, will alleviate anxiety . . .

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