leif's blog

New ISP

I just moved ogre.com and all my other sites to a new ISP, http://cari.net/ . So far so good, excellent system, nice bandwidth, all at a very reasonable price. Oh, and their setup time was really fast. The IP they gave me was mostly "clean", although the netblock they have is blocked by Yahoo, which fortunately isn't a problem for me, and I managed to quickly get my IP unblocked.

All in all, I'm very happy so far.

Hacking: 

Retro hack: box.pl

Way back when, I grew up on a PDP-11 running BSD-2.9, using VT100 terminals. This was such a joy to use compared to the DEC-20's running TOPS-20. On this system, there was this little tool called "box", that to my astonishment, would draw a very nice looking box around arbitrary text. I obviously put this into my .login file, pipe'ing fortune through it. I could never find this tool on any "modern" Unix (Linux) systems, so I decided last night to write one in perl. Attached below is the end result, Enjoy!

Hacking: 

DSL latency under load

We recently got DSL to use as a backup to our cable modem, since both of us work out of our home, being without network even for a short time is unacceptable. Being used to cable modem for quite a while now (we get a very good deal from US Cable, with high upload and download speed), I have to wonder why anyone would pick DSL. I did some fairly large downloads on the DSL, and noticed ping latency skyrocketing for other traffic. making things like interactive logins etc. pretty much useless. Round trip times went from around 80ms to well over 1,000, with a "load" on the DSL at about 500KB/sec. I've never seen anything like this on any of my cable modems....

See the attached graphs for the inconvenient DSL truth.

Hacking: 

Thunderbird and Calendar

I'm a long time Thunderbird user, and it does almost everything that I'd expect from a Mail client. When I got my iPhone, I switched to use [http://calendar.google.com Google calendar], because of it's nice interface to export and access calendars (using XML or iCal). [http://www.mozilla.org/projects/calendar/ Lightning 0.7], the Thunderbird Calendar plugin, is now out, so I decided to give it a spin again. Oh man, the new GUI has improved a '''lot''', props to the designers here. On top of that, the [https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/thunderbird/addon/4631 Google Provider] for Thunderbird also shipped a new update, 0.3, and it works great with the new Lightining version.

Using these new version, I now have a true two way synchronization with my main calendar (Google). I can see upcoming events easily, I get alerts from Thunderbirds of upcoming events. And best of all, when I get one of those pesky Outlook invitations, Thunderbird now shows it nicely formatted (readable), and I can instantly accept or decline the meeting invitation. Since this updates my Google calendar in real-time, my iPhone also gets the calendar events, using the nice iCalendar / iPhone synchronization modules on my Mac.

All in all, I'm very pleased with this setup, take a look at it if you need a professional Calendar solution, and don't want to switch to Outlook and Exchange.

Hacking: 

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