mca is currently certified at Journeyer level.

Name: Matthew Astley
Member since: 2002-05-05 16:27:19
Last Login: 2008-10-04 23:27:37

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Um... goes down from time to time, usually courtesy of NTL or my clumsiness.

There are folks who've said they'll certify me at whatever level, on here, but I haven't actually done much of any use to anyone yet so don't be too generous, eh? 8-(

Recent blog entries by mca

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4 Oct 2008 (updated 4 Oct 2008 at 23:27 UTC) »


Life is pretty good just now, but doesn't involve much hacking on anything. A few items...

  • Got married earlier this year. 8-) I'm now mcra, but changing user ID generally looks like a lot of trouble.

  • Rediscovered my desk during a recent archaeological expedition into the study. There's still a desktop machine under it. It still contains about three copies of each filesystem off the knackered disk, in various states of attempted repair.
    • reiserfsck had already brought the leftovers back in a self-consistent state.
    • Self-consistent is all very well and good, but it doesn't show where the holes are.
    • lost+found is OK, in its tedious way, because if I want the data badly enough I can probably figure out where each file belongs. Vast swathes of md5sums match backup copies of old junk in ancient backups, telling me that I didn't need most of those files anyway.
    • ...but what happened to the inodes with bad sectors? It looks like the valid data is dropped, giving no chance to look at the leftovers. I started another recovery, to fill the lost sectors with a breakage-marker, instead of marking them bad. This doesn't work on the superblock and root directory though...
    • Fishing through old backups is a sorry fallback position.
    • unison-synced copies of the data are much better, when they're recent and complete. My old CVS repository now appears to be intact! (I'll skip the migration to Subversion and go straight to Git.)
    • I'm wondering whether I want to translate some old ~/.unison/ar* archives into a form that show me missing files, when I only have half the sync.
    • I did start fishing through the fsck logs looking for info about files that got left in the bitbucket. I'm as interested in filesystems as the next general purpose geek, you understand, but I'm not sure I wanted the in-depth practical just now.
    • In all, it's shocking that 299.5 KiB of bad sectors can do so much damage to a 68 GiB filesystem. I guess the popular sectors took the worst hammering.

  • Strangely, the idea of automated push-backups from all my machines has come alive - again.
    • This time I've chosen rsync -axSWH with an ssh private key per filesystem to give access to the destination tree. Writing into a root-owned encfs seems to work, in the sense that special files, hard links and owners can be preserved. [later] But not sparse files, which will explode to full size.
    • Last time I preferred an rsync pull, with an ssh key per source machine, and a custom set of --excludes per filesystem. I think I didn't set up the cronjob because Life got Busy. Sigh.
    • gibak looks like a good idea, but pruning out large temporary/intermediate files or decimating the history could be hard/slow/large. Maybe some neat loopy branch structure would work? A problem for another day.
    • What I need now is something simple and flexible. cp -al is looking tempting.

  • Looking forward (?!) to a similar expedition into $MAIL . I expect to find many lost things, neglected and overdue things, and many incomprehensible notes-to-self.
  • Discovered Advogato now has password reminder mailer. Woo! I can just log in, instead of messing with the cookie from some ancient homedirectory. It's a great relief, actually, to see pieces of World just quietly carrying on while I'm not getting involved.
  • Above all, it's time to start making things again.
14 Aug 2005 (updated 14 Aug 2005 at 23:13 UTC) »
Dug out the cookie for my account. It's amazing, the junk I keep on my home directory(ies).

Procudure for Mozilla, Netscape, Galeon and maybe others... but not Opera:

  • look in ~/.mozilla/<profile>/<junk>/cookies.txt
  • find line
  • change the expiry stamp (that 10 digit number) for a newer one.
    Pick a date in the future with a command such as date +%s -d "2006-08-14" or perl -e 'print time+3600*365, "\n"'
    Not sure how I'll edit my diary in 2038...
  • quit Moz, replace the line in your current ~/.mozilla, restart
  • visit your page - if it doesn't work, check that the site you're on (either or matches the cookie line
  • beyond this, I can't help. You do have a backup, right?

Other relevant links

I did some stuff to it. It's now less broken and very slightly more documented, but I still need to check & apply some patches before making a release. A coup for the CPAN perms is probably due soon.

Got a new job, it's keeping me rather busy. That was a while ago - sorry I forgot to tell you earlier, but I didn't think you were particularly interested.

Still here. Haven't done anything interesting. Nothing new there then.

I'm scared.

Hashcash hits Slashdot

The Hashcash for mail filtering project is posted to Slashdot. I have to post some replies of course, so I expect 128k upstream bandwidth won't be enough for my website.

This too shall pass.

MS Palladium FAQ on

Well, sort of.

If you have something to say, get over to the CritLinked version of Ross Anderson's TCPA FAQ.

Why am I worried? Well I have the cached copy of MS's FAQ because doesn't work directly on their site.

nb. Notes applied to pages don't seem to be noticed until after they've been fetched through and the target page has been refreshed. I imagine this is a bug.

I can't say I would have planned for these two to arrive at the same time, but never mind.

Stylesheets. You would think the novelty had worn off by now, wouldn't you?

I got nothing useful done over the weekend (surprise!). I wanted to write code, but I ended up farting about instead. Stupid me.

7 older entries...


mca certified others as follows:

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Others have certified mca as follows:

  • mca certified mca as Apprentice
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  • djs certified mca as Journeyer
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  • glasseyes certified mca as Apprentice

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