Month: July 2014

Three years on Zipcar

So inertia I guess. Zipcar is way too convenient for me. 

And I’ve driven all sorts of cars from them. My favorite among all is a BMW X3. That is one sweet vehicle. It has two modes – Eco and Sport. Eco is let’s just say awesome but sport – oh my. All you have to do is touch the accelerator pedal and the car takes off like a rocket. 

I’ve gotten to drive two generations of Toyota Prius. The latest is in a word really interesting. It’s one of the more refined hybrid vehicles on the market. 

And I note the 4th generation of the Prius gets a lot more right. For example, you can select from four different modes, Eco, Speed, Electric only, and just gasoline only. That’s nice. And I note even if i was on the highway there’s a sweet spot around 70MPH where to keep the car at speed it only uses the electric motor. 

I’ve also driven a Mazda 3, Nissan Frontier pickup, Honda Insight, But like I said, my two favorites are the BMW and the Toyota. 

Chance meeting of celebrities

It’s a Sunday afternoon. We’re at Maison DNA at 64 Spring St. Newport, RI. This is a funky vintage shop owned by a friend of ours..

It’s at this little store in Newport where I find myself standing not six inches away from Parker Posey. 

You might know her from the movie Party Girl. Maybe you know of her as she played Connie Bradshaw in Armistead Maupin’s Tales of the City.  

And she’s standing six inches away from me, just chatting with us.

It’s a strange and very small world.




How to spot I.T. people in the wild

Be they developers or systems I.T. folks we’re pretty easy to spot in the wilds. 

We tend to favor khakis and polo shirts. The more systems we tend to favor jeans and t-shirts which makes us somewhat harder to spot. 

But the dead giveaway – the full backpack. Yup. That and there’s usually an HID tag and an RSA token hanging off their belt. 

Me – I go a little of each. Khaki’s, sneakers, polo shirt, but the badges and RSA tokens are safe in the backpack until I get to the office. And on Fridays I go casual – jeans of course. And sometimes a t-shirt. I’m waiting to get my t-shirt that on the front says “Information Science” and on the back says “Because they didn’t offer bad ass motherf___r as a degree.” That’ll be fun to wear. 



Allergies do suck

So lately the tree pollen has been pretty rough in the area. I take a regular 180mg of fexofenadine aka Allegra per day. 

But even that’s not enough. I suppose I should go see the doc and get a prescription for 2.5mg prednisone as that knocks the symptoms down pretty quickly. But the side effects are sort of nasty. 

But I realized – if I take the Allegra and about 4-5 hours later pop a Benadryl it dries up the allergies. Different actions I’d bet. And I only take one 25mg tab so not too worried. 

I also take one before I go to sleep. That sort of heads off the shit. 

Riding the Red Line

Now normally the Red Line from Alewife inward gets pretty packed. On one terminus it hits Harvard and then passes through MIT’s campus, Cambridge proper, Mass General, Park St,, Downtown Crossing and then South Station onward to either Ashmont or Braintree from there. 

But today was super packed coming home. Normally you’ve got a fair amount of separation between yourself and other passengers. Today though we had about 4 to 6 inches between us. It was tight. To the point where we stop at South Station and I can’t get off the train. 

So that’s when the voice comes – and I loudly state “Make a hole please! Let’s move it people!”

I know, I can’t help myself. But sometimes you have to jolt the dolts out of their stupor. And I’m just the guy to do that. 

The ‘newish’ job

So I’ve now been here by calendar 34 working days. I’m getting a little more responsibility as time goes on. Now that they know I have the chops. 

For example – I was asked to identify what ports applications are using on the servers. 

Now if you’ve been around networking you know about a utility called netstat. 

You just do a :

sudo netstat -A inet -n -p

Ok, lets take it apart piece by piece. 

sudo is a way of allowing people to run things at elevated privilege but without having to know the root password for the system. Pretty convenient and you can also tightly control WHO can sudo too but managing group membership. 

The part ‘netstat’ is the application discussed above. 

The ‘-A inet’ says look for Internet TCP/IP protocol only. 

The ‘-n’ shows addresses as numerical and not hostnames. 

The ‘-p’ is to show the process id and program name. 


It’s really simple. And what you end up with is something like this:
Active Internet connections (w/o servers)
Proto Recv-Q Send-Q Local Address Foreign Address State PID/Program name
tcp 0 0 ESTABLISHED 2901/python
tcp 0 0 TIME_WAIT –
tcp 0 0 ESTABLISHED 2897/python
tcp 0 0 ESTABLISHED 2829/python
tcp 0 0 TIME_WAIT –
tcp 0 0 ESTABLISHED 2861/python
tcp 0 0 ESTABLISHED 2816/python
tcp 0 0 TIME_WAIT –
tcp 0 0 ESTABLISHED 2906/python
tcp 0 0 ESTABLISHED 2365/python
tcp 0 0 TIME_WAIT –
tcp 0 0 ESTABLISHED 2906/python
tcp 0 0 ESTABLISHED 2220/python
tcp 0 0 ESTABLISHED 2878/python
tcp 0 52 ESTABLISHED 23781/sshd: anthony
tcp 0 0 ESTABLISHED 2167/epmd
tcp 0 0 TIME_WAIT –

So what the above shows is Python. All those ports – it’s how Python handles intra-process communication. And you never know what port is what. So that would be a Dynamic assignment of ports. 

But then we see my SSH connection at port 22. That’s a fixed port or as fixed as you can get without major reconfiguration. 

So there you go – a use for netstat. It lives on WIndows boxes too except it is considerably crippled on Windows platforms. For example, -A doesn’t exist. A netstat -p TCP -n does the similar thing. 




I feel an apology is in order

This blog used to be about fun stuff – you know, stuff like criticizing the church, advocating for marriage equality and gay rights in general. 

But the fight has sort of gone out for me. Rhode Island got marriage equality over a year ago. And the fight is now playing out in many states at the federal judiciary level. I put forth that there is now more than enough precedence for this to come before the U.S. Supreme Court again and this time they won’t be able to punt. That would mean equality throughout the U.S. even the recalcitrant south. 

But if you note it’s become more techie or geeky lately. If only because I’ve been doing a lot of reading. Things like learning C#, BASH scripting, some javascript and java in there. And so a lot of what I’m either learning or refreshing on gets reflected here. 


My apologies. 


Sharing one keyboard and mouse with multiple Windows machines

Now I’ve long known that you could get Windows and Linux to share a keyboard and mouse using an application called Synergy.  And looking at their web site apparently they share between Windows, Linux and Windows. Coolness. 

What brought this up was a co-worker who wanted to share one keyboard and mouse for his personal machine and work machine. I told him about the above. 

So I did a bit of googling and found out Microsoft’s Garage has a product called Mouse Without Borders. Interesting name. 

So you see there are now options to sharing one keyboard and mouse with multiple computers. 

Both applications are essentially  IP based KVM (Keyboard Video and Mouse) with enhancements. 

And of course my co-worker brought up the fact that we’re nailed to a corporate VPN. That’s when I had to introduce him to the ‘route print’ and ‘route add’ commands in a command prompt. 

Kids: Today on the Red Line

So today I’m on the MBTA Red Line from Central Square in Cambridge to South Station in Boston.

A family of four, mom and dad and two cute little blond headed boys, likely twins.

The kids were cute and inquisitive as all hell, and the dad wasn’t putting them down, instead he was explaining to the boys what they were seeing as we crossed the Charles river into Boston. For a moment I had this “Aww, how cute.” thought which immediately turned to “Children of the Corn!”

Yeah, sometimes I think it’d be good to have kids but then the neo-cortex kicks in and says “You’ve seen what kids did to friends of yours. The premature aging, the death come way too soon, etc. Do you really want to go through that?”

The answer comes back no, I don’t want to go through that nor have I ever wanted to do so. In fact the family name will die with me and I’m fine with that.

But my life is way too complex to include kids in the mix. Sorry – I enjoy my freedom to hit the geek meetings etc. Or to putz around on the computer with the most demanding thing being the cat who wants attention.

But I keep hearing from people that I’d be a good father. I’d prefer not to find out. Because one thing I do know is that I’m way too permissive. Meanwhile my partner in crime is the strict one. That would cause some friction I’m sure.

But we do have a nephew that I can spoil to some degree. And if the spoiling includes annoying his bitch of a mother all the better.