Tag Archives: bugs


My old AirPort Expresses might as well be bricks [Update: Windows saves the day]

So I have a few of those lit­tle power-brick sized AirPort Express WiFi units: In the past, I have found them incred­i­bly use­ful.  They pack away eas­ily and can turn any wired con­nec­tion into a wire­less one or can act as a self-contained bases­ta­tion for mul­ti­ple WiFi devices. Since I have one or two spares and needed one for an upcom­ing thing, I used a pen­cil to push the lit­tle recessed reset but­ton and plugged it in, caus­ing it to revert to fac­tory defaults.  I then loaded up AirPort Utility on my lap­top and was told the device is too old for this ver­sion of AirPort Utility.  Why don’t you down­load an older AirPort Utility, instead? So I did, only to be told upon installing that my OS was too new.  Understandable.  No big deal.  I had just installed OS X Mountain Lion.  I went to another machine that still had Lion on it and tried there.  Same prob­lem.  I think it needs Snow Leopard. At this point, the AirPort Express is a brick.  It’s fully func­tional, it is just stuck at fac­tory defaults and I have no way to con­fig­ure it.  I can only hope that I do not have to recon­fig­ure one of the AirPort Express units I actively use in my home net­work.

EDIT: I was (even­tu­ally) able to get it work­ing by boot­ing an old Windows sys­tem, down­load­ing the Windows ver­sion of the old AirPort Utility, and then plug­ging the AirPort Express directly into the PC.  (It was not able to see the Express if it was sim­ply plugged into the house wired net­work that already has other AirPort devices on it.)

Posted in: Dear Diary Gadgets


For those that only look at new posts and new feed items, never going back to look at old posts, my Upcoming.org issues were resolved. It was a mem­ory problem–the squishy grey kind, not the sil­i­con chip kind.

Ebenezer’s lack of hair means you can clearly see his expres­sions and mus­cu­la­ture. He makes some really great “ew” faces when pre­sented with some­thing that falls in the DO NOT WANT cat­e­gory. This morn­ing I once again got a thought that occa­sion­ally arises but I have never blogged about. When he does that typ­i­cal Halloween-cat stretch with the arched back, the yawn, and the laid-back ears, he looks less like a cat and more like an audio-animatronic car­i­ca­ture of a cat, like the cats in the Pirates of the Caribbean ride at Disneyland–at least, the ones before they mod­i­fied the ride to make it more like the film (which was orig­i­nally based on the ride... so, uhhh.....) Maybe those cats are still there. The last time I was at D-Land, Pirates was closed to do the afore­men­tioned refur­bish­ing.

I do not like 25 degrees F. No, sir, I do not like it.

Posted in: Dear Diary

Upcoming Issues

It seems that Upcoming.org is about as dead to me as Dodgeball was. The required Yahoo account migra­tion on Upcoming is work­ing just about as well as the Google account migra­tion did with Dodgeball–actually, slightly worse. 8 months later, I was finally able to sign in to Dodgeball. Maybe I’ll have good news to report about Upcoming in 8 months.’till then, rest assured that I’m going to Ignite Portland, I just can’t actu­ally RSVP.

For some rea­son I signed up to Upcoming using a really, really old Yahoo account that I had pretty much depri­vated (and totally for­got that I still had.) Couple that with some con­fu­sion between login name (brienigma) and dis­play name (BrianEnigma) and, well, the prob­lems existed entirely between key­board and chair. Things were fixed up in less than 24 hours (in stark con­trast to Dodgeball that now mag­i­cally works for me, but I have friends with the same issue I had that still can’t log in.)

Three cheers to Neil and every­one else at Upcoming!

Posted in: Dear Diary Portland

Firefox 2.0 Annoyances

Please note that all blog posts before 8 April 2007 were auto­mat­i­cally imported from LiveJournal.  To see the com­ments and any LiveJournal-specific extras such as polls and user icons, please find the source post­ing at http://brianenigma.livejournal.com/2007/01/

One of the things about Firefox 2.0 for the Mac that bugs me (and only the Mac version–the Linux ver­sion is not afflicted by this) is that when you attempt to drag and drop a link from the URL bar to the book­mark bar, a tooltip say­ing “Drag and drop this icon to cre­ate a link to this page” pops up that actu­ally gets in the way of being able to drop the link. An arti­cle at LifeHacker points out a way to fix the problem–by dis­abling browser.chrome.toolbar_tips in about:config, but this pretty much using a tac­ti­cal nuke to kill a mos­quito. It dis­ables ALL tooltips, EVERYWHERE, includ­ing the use­ful ones. I use CookieSafe and Adblock Plus, which have use­ful tooltips to tell you about the page. Other peo­ple use a weather plu­gin that shows details in a tooltip. Those crafty peo­ple who put title= attrib­utes in links are unseen.

I have found a bet­ter way, but it involves some shell com­mands, so isn’t for every­one. First quit Firefox and run the fol­low­ing com­mands.
fibonacci:~ brian$ cd /Applications/Firefox.app/Contents/MacOS/chrome/
fibonacci:/Applications/Firefox.app/Contents/MacOS/chrome brian$ mkdir tmp
fibonacci:/Applications/Firefox.app/Contents/MacOS/chrome brian$ cd tmp
fibonacci:/Applications/Firefox.app/Contents/MacOS/chrome/tmp brian$ unzip -q ../en-US.jar
fibonacci:/Applications/Firefox.app/Contents/MacOS/chrome/tmp brian$ vim locale/browser/browser.dtd

You don’t have to use vi or vim to edit the file. Any text edi­tor will do. You just have to find this line:
<!ENTITY proxyIcon.tooltip "Drag and drop this icon to create a link to this page">
...and change it to this:
<!ENTITY proxyIcon.tooltip "">

Then fol­low it up with these com­mands (to back up the chrome file, then store your changes):
fibonacci:/Applications/Firefox.app/Contents/MacOS/chrome/tmp brian$ cp ../en-US.jar ../en-US.jar.BACKUP
fibonacci:/Applications/Firefox.app/Contents/MacOS/chrome/tmp brian$ zip -r -0 ../en-US.jar *

And that’s it. It works like a charm.

Posted in: Code Software

Double-U Tea Eff?!?!

Please note that all blog posts before 8 April 2007 were auto­mat­i­cally imported from LiveJournal.  To see the com­ments and any LiveJournal-specific extras such as polls and user icons, please find the source post­ing at http://brianenigma.livejournal.com/2006/09/

By default, Linux fol­lows an opti­mistic mem­ory allo­ca­tion strat­egy. This means that when mal­loc() returns non-NULL there is no guar­an­tee that the mem­ory really is avail­able. This is a really bad bug. In case it turns out that the sys­tem is out of mem­ory, one or more processes will be killed by the infa­mous OOM killer. In case Linux is employed under cir­cum­stances where it would be less desir­able to sud­denly lose some ran­domly picked processes, and more­over the ker­nel ver­sion is suf­fi­ciently recent, one can switch off this over­com­mit­ting behav­ior using a com­mand like
# echo 2 > /proc/sys/vm/overcommit_memory
See also the ker­nel Documentation direc­tory, files vm/overcommit-accounting and sysctl/vm.txt.

- the mal­loc man­ual page, empha­sis (ital­ics) added

Yes, kid­dies, mal­loc() returns non-null results when you have no mem­ory left. You can even start to use that mem­ory, but at some point you hit the bar­rier between what you requested and what was really avail­able, and things go explodey and the ker­nel goes on a ran­dom killing spree. I quote, “this is a really bad bug.”

Posted in: Code

Regurgitating an Interesting Article

Please note that all blog posts before 8 April 2007 were auto­mat­i­cally imported from LiveJournal.  To see the com­ments and any LiveJournal-specific extras such as polls and user icons, please find the source post­ing at http://brianenigma.livejournal.com/2005/12/

I am feel­ing much less sick now. Plus, I have enough chicken soup to drown a baby (or bap­tize a baby, depend­ing on your inten­tions.)

Why McDonald&apos;s Fries Taste So Good is an arti­cle (linked from Digg) which was used in Fast Food Nation. It describes a lit­tle bit of the his­tory of their fries, but mostly focuses on the chem­i­cal indus­try of fla­vors, scents, and col­ors. Originally, the fries were well received because they were cooked in over 90% beef tal­low. They switched to veg­etable oil in &apos;90, but had to make up for the fla­vor. Legally, they just have to say that it con­tains a “nat­ural fla­vor,” but they have admit­ted that part of that fla­vor comes from an ani­mal source. I have known many veg­e­tar­i­ans in the past that have had no prob­lem eat­ing the fries. I guess it all depends on your def­i­n­i­tion or rea­sons for being veg­e­tar­ian. Due to the potency of these kinds of things, the ani­mal prod­uct has to be a minus­cule amount — maybe one part per bil­lion (the exam­ple they gave was that one drop of fla­vor was enough for five swim­ming pools.) It does not mat­ter one way or the other to me — I just do not like the taste of their fries.

Surprising fact: on aver­age, Americans now eat about four serv­ings of french fries every week. Who are these aver­age Americans? Most peo­ple I know have fries less than once a month, although a few might have them as much as once a week.

Carmine/Carminic Acid/Cohineal Extract is made from des­ic­cated bug bod­ies. 70,000 of the Dactylopius Coccus Costa, a small insect from Peru that eats red cac­tus berries, get used to make a pound of pink dye. Think about that next time you have a Dannon straw­berry yogurt or Ocean Spray pink grape­fruit juice. Again, it is parts per bil­lion, but still...

The “nat­ural” vs. “arti­fi­cial” flavor/color des­ig­na­tion is entirely arbi­trary. For some rea­son, I thought nat­ural was bet­ter (as do many peo­ple out there), but the same chem­i­cal can be either nat­ural or arti­fi­cial depend­ing on how it was syn­the­sized. Actually tak­ing a banana and leech­ing out chem­i­cals from it (by using other chem­i­cals) is nat­ural. Creating the same exact chem­i­cals by mix­ing things in test-tubes is arti­fi­cial. Chemically, they are both the same thing, but one is cheaper because you do not need real bananas.

Posted in: Dear Diary Food

Bugs, Cats, and Robots

Please note that all blog posts before 8 April 2007 were auto­mat­i­cally imported from LiveJournal.  To see the com­ments and any LiveJournal-specific extras such as polls and user icons, please find the source post­ing at http://brianenigma.livejournal.com/2004/12/

Recently at work, I have been bug fix­ing. Most of the big bugs are gone, with just minor stuff remain­ing. It ends up being sim­ple, mind­less rep­e­ti­tion — no inven­tion, no inno­va­tion. You pull up a bug report, you find the line of microc­ode that is mis­be­hav­ing, you mark the bug as fixed, lather, rinse, repeat. Pull the lever, push the but­ton, just like on the fac­tory line. It ends up being sim­ple, mind­less rep­e­ti­tion. Vacation will be nice.

As I write this, the cats are across the room, “girl fight­ing.” They are each stand­ing on their hind-legs, doing some sort of patty-cake hand-slap stuff with their front.

iRo­bot is yet another in a series of sci­ence fic­tion books adapted to film result­ing in a steamin&apos; pile of poo. I still have high hopes for the Hithiker&apos;s Guide movie. I just learned today that the guy who plays the office clown/slacker, Tim, on the BBC show The Office is play­ing Arthur Dent. The whole series has been loaded into the iPod and I have been lis­ten­ing to the books at work. I am not sure I have really re-read/listened to the book since I first read it in Jr. High. The two ver­sions of the BBC audio drama as well as the TV show leave out (or change) a bunch of details that I had com­pletely for­got­ten.

Posted in: Movies Work