June 8th, 2017


dd unix CLI command taking a while? Just ask how it is doing …

June 17th, 2015

It turns that you can ask a running dd command how it is doing.

In the terminal that runs it simply enter a CTRL^T command.

The dd will react to the SIGINFO that this sinds with statistics of the running process.

Quiet handy since dd can take a while if you start it with a lower block size.

deleting all photos from iPhone

February 20th, 2015

Somehow Apples cloud based photo system got enabled on my iPhone. Which also meant that the delete button in the OS X application “Image capture” got grayed out.

To re-enable it had to turn off iCloud Photo Library and My Photo stream via Settings -> Photos & Camera

And then I had to reboot the phone (running IOS 8.1.3)

I am old enough to remember that any change on a Windows machine last century also required a reboot.

careful what you touch …

June 27th, 2014

In this study two small (25) groups of (mostly female) students were ask to keep their hands in ice water.

Their averages were 40.12 and 42.03 seconds. Which gets to show the range of variance with a small sample of 25.

They were told that they would do a different experiment after that: evaluating product design. One group handled Noodles, the other a bottle of Ibuprofen for 2 minutes.
After that they did another ice water test and now the results were:

45.28 seconds (instead of 40.12) for the Ibuprofen group, while the Noodles people lasted for 41.83 second instead of 42.03.

I wonder what would happen if one would repeat this experiment. As much one would want to have that handling pain killers will reduce pain the actual difference is so small that it could easily be part of noise to be expected in a sampling size of 25.

Good Bye Firefox

May 2nd, 2014

OK - I really am a laggard. Using Firefox in 2014 was not really the best thing to do. But it got me where I needed to be. Other browsers are of course always part of the mix of things to use. Comes with the job.

But with Firefox 29 today they finally pushed me over. As usually it is a minute detail: I like to have around 20 things 1 click away. Firefox used to be able to ONLY display those bookmarks without the favicon.

Since I identify those things by 1 or 2 letters it makes a big difference if I have the favicons visible or not. With Chrome I never found a way to get rid of them. Now with Firefox they just poppped in.

So I might as well use Chrome, and maybe look for a way to get rid of them there. There is no way that I will invest any of that into a browser that it is declining. These days Internet Explorer actually causes less troubles than Firefox.

Turns out there is a solution for Chrome:

Remove Chrome Bookmark Favicons

It is not ideal since it leaves the space AND the site itself looses the favicon as well, but it is never the less better than Firefox.

I doubt I will ever look back …

assemble images randomly

September 5th, 2013

Want to assemble images randomly into one? That’s easy in the command line if you have imagemagick installed:

Assuming you have all pictures in the current directory:

for i in *jpg ; do mv \"$i\" $RANDOM.jpg ; done

this renames all files ending in jpg into files that have a random number. Files might get overwritten should the random number come up again.

Assembling is as well:

montage *jpg -mode concatenate outputfilename.jpg

If you would run this again outputfilename.jpg would be a used as source image as well.


December 29th, 2012

In some -older- javascript code I found the following today:

Within 4 lines the author manages to look not so smart himself: the regular expression to find the Internet Explorer version assumes that it remains in the single digits.

With Internet Explorer 10 the match starts failing. The code that follows has no idea how to deal with that.

In German a person who is not the brightest is sometimes been titled as ‘can not count to ten’ (”Kann nicht bis Zehn zählen,”)

big bus

July 12th, 2012

Sometimes I wonder how big that bus must be that one can throw an entire country under. A pretty pretty one in this case. Not the bus. The country. Love it.


April 28th, 2012

“Designed in California”

Made in China

Taxed in Reno

once we had it we had to waste it

February 3rd, 2012

This looks like a nice mac memory stat.

Just that the whole circle represents 8 GB - and that there is no applications running (in the dock)

What is the OS doing with all that memory? A computer not doing anything and still using 6.5GB or memory.


Adobe service: rocks

January 10th, 2012

In a recent computer shuffle I must have missed to deactivate a laptop of mine. I got in touch with Adobe, hoping that they could provide me with the serial numbers of the computers that have the license. They were able to give me numbers. I didn’t get around to try to locate / translate them into a mac serial number: They were so kind to reset the activation count of my license.

This is awesome service. A benefit of using an illegal copy was that one would not have to worry when switching machines. With Adobe having this excellent license policy and support they make it much easier to do the right thing and to buy the software. I will remember this the next time I need to consider software purchases.

Apple Cinema Displays

January 10th, 2012

Just switched back from the 27″ Apple Cinema display (latest with Thunderbolt etc) to the 30″ one after a couple of weeks.

The 27″ has a nice picture. But it is useless. I am ready to write it off and put into a corner. It looks nice. When it is turned off. Or when one glances over pretty pictures.
But for any work that requires reading it is not usable. A glossy screen is in the end a mirror. My brain sees the content on the screen and the reflection of the room behind
me. For me that causes un needed strain after a couple of hours. Maybe that’s related to the fact that I also get to see myself :-)

I find it amazing that the 7 year old 30″ design is still the best screen that Apple ever made. There were hardware bumps etc. No wonder they go for a high price on eBay.

The whole glossy saga let me degrade my 13″ MacBook Pro’s into Backup and Wife usage. Back on the 17″ non glossy display I must say that it was really worth the switch.
A shame since the 13″ is a neat little machine. With 8GB Ram and a recent CPU it is quiet a bit of punch. Back on the Aircraft Carrier I realized that I missed all those pixels though.

No More Credit Card offers!!

November 8th, 2011

Yeah for OptOutPrescreen. Takes less than a minute to have five years of no credit card offers in your mail box.
Unless they are not who they say they are and half of Ukraine is gonna have a big party now with my social and other info. Well - luckily https is still pretty safe,
and so is google showing the site as the first hit, as long one is careful.

I was expecting the Opt Out process to be tedius. Turns out it wasn’t at all. Nice. Now let’s see when the letters top coming in …


May 30th, 2011

Gamma Slamma is a great little tool to remove gamma flags in PNG files. You just drop files on it. Simple as that.
Unfortunately 4 years after its inception it is increasingly 404ing. So here a link to the DMG in case you need to download it:
GammaSlamma 1.1


February 20th, 2011

in 3D and 1.8D

C program that writes itself

February 19th, 2011

main() {char q=34,n=10,*a="main() {char q=34,n=10,*a=%c%s%c; printf(a,q,a,q,n);}%c"; printf(a,q,a,q,n);}

Lovely find here

groundhog day

January 29th, 2011

I had not seen this wonderful XKCD back in the day. It is great. Especially this part:

The infinite possibilities each day holds should stagger the mind. The sheer number of experiences I could have is uncountable, breathtaking, and I’m sitting here refreshing my inbox. We live in trapped loops, reliving a few days over and over, and we envision only a handful of paths laid out ahead of us.

We see the same things each day, we respond the same way, we think the same thoughts, each day a slight variation on the last, every moment smoothly following the gentle
curves of societal norms. We act like if we just get through today, tomorrow our dreams will come back to us.

via blarn


September 30th, 2010

A new cable gets dropped into the atlantic to save 5ms on a 60ms delay. And High Frequency Trading will pay for that. You know that it really has taken off when they start considering a straight tunnel between London and New York. As impossible as it is, it WOULD save at least another 15-20 ms.


September 8th, 2010

that looks pretty hot to me

only a test post

September 7th, 2010

This post is only a test.
Fourth system this blog runs on. Didn’t get any better by having more + more hardware though.


no chip - no car

July 15th, 2010

While many in the US might think that getting a new car is mostly a matter of picking the right brand and dealership, in the end the darn things still have to be produced. Somewhere. And that part is actually quiet complex.

Nissan had to halt three of its plants since one chip was not available. Manufacturing in 2010 is a highly complex and interlocked environment.

enable SELinux and a reboot can take forever

February 6th, 2010

Adding more machines for INTERDUBS. They get tested, triaged and configured for a ridiculous long time. That way once they are production machines they do only one thing: Run.

We experimented with benchmarking the performance effects of SELinux. As we expected it is not worth disabling. But now we know. We also know something we should have known: Enabling SELinux again on a bigger file system will make the next reboot take forever. Hours. Of course it makes sense, since all files will have to be relabeled.

Only 99 decades left till 3000

December 19th, 2009

booking a DI session

November 10th, 2009

via editblog

five years

August 22nd, 2009



According to google the Chrisitan Science Monitor was one of the few publications that made the connection.

How soon before we will have we have ad messages sprayed on highways ?

While we are waving on the space merchants theme I could see that this
art project will turn into a commercial reality soon.

What is happening is that total surface of LED/LCD plasma displays around us is increasing constantly. While classical mass consumption is certainly not growing, the amount of screens to be filled certainly is.

wget ftp not working recursively? add a *

August 8th, 2009

When trying to recursively download some sites via wget I only got one message like:

Wrote HTML-ized index to

Turns out that I needed to add a * to the source path. After I changed

wget -r --ftp-user=user --ftp-password=pass ftp://hostname/path


wget -r --ftp-user=user --ftp-password=pass 'ftp://hostname/path/*'

things worked much better for me in GNU Wget 1.10.2 (Red Hat modified)

billions never hurt

April 14th, 2009

the new new new thing

mother of all bubbles

April 13th, 2009

I found this to be interesting with a great list of sources that illustrate the history of bubbles. Bubble History by Caslon Analytics

enabling NFS server for OS X Server

March 11th, 2009

In server admin after I had turned on the NFS service I still found a status like:

nfs service is: running
nfsd is: stopped
portmap is: stopped
rpc.lockd is: stopped
rpc.statd is: stopped

Turns out that the other daemons spring into action once you share the first Volume.

iDidntForget (stupid!)

November 28th, 2008

Apple makes awesome products. Since years I spend most of my waking hours on their respective recent laptops. That part works so well. The iPhone is alright. I had better phones that worked much better as a phone. But that might be AT&Ts issue. And it kinda works.

Apples online user management is ridicolous though. I keep lots of passwords to lots of sites. And nowhere do I have the amount of trouble that Apple gives me. It never is clear if their different services share the same credentials. Changing / retrieving it is a nightmare. The whole user experience is just broken. I think that happens if you have one part of your business doing really well: You can afford to be sloppy in another. And I am sure that Steve never has to reset his password. And many people are having trouble managing their passwords. So they will not blame Apple for their broken system. I can, since things work on all other major sites and system for me. But not in Apple Land.

I never was intrigued by .mac and so I skipped looking at MobileMe. Which turned out to be a good thing. I wonder if Apple will be able to turn this around. But looking at their websites and it’s vast collection of broken links and outdated developer documentation I have serious doubts that this will be ever better.

apple on the web

November 15th, 2008

No wonder the introduction of “mobileMe” was such a disaster. I, like most people, have registrations with many websites. From pointless things to online banking. Even though there is no official or firm standard for registration on websites certain practises emerged. And overall things work.

With one exception:


Their web site registration mechanism for developers is broken. Not by one main outage or problem. More in the million paper cuts kind of way.

* passwords expire
* passwords have odd ’security’ restrictions. Of course you have to try a password to see that the system complains about something
* loging in to one part of the system does NOT mean that you have access to another, or that you just changed password would be working there.

Apples own website is pretty dismal overall, once you go beyond the home and apple store pages: Broken links clutter the whole thing. Links that go nowhere are an inherent problem of the internet. But having them within a company website is just lame. A million paper cuts. Not fun to repeat each one of them. But the mobileMe disaster did not come not as a surprise.

Other areas of Apple are vastly ahead of the game and the competition. The internet is certainly not one of them.