Jan. 11th, 2017

mtbc: photograph of me (Default)
Yesterday I caught myself thinking that my mother both could and might like to visit the room in which her late parents first met. I then wondered, how does that make any sense? She wasn't there so it doesn't trigger that memory and it is not the kind of event where going to that same place decades later is usefully informative. Last fall I had thought of the Roman army under Septimius Severus as from a high vantage point I looked out over where I think they once were. More personally, it is strange for me to have my late father's overcoat; I have yet to wear it. Without him it is just a coat. Humans are strange things.

This kind of associative thinking goes beyond simple nostalgia in which one reexperiences something reminiscent of simpler, happier times. Perhaps it underlies why the superstitious may believe that there is power in acquiring locks of hair or making voodoo dolls or whatever. Still, it may at least usefully encourage one to imagine oneself in others' shoes.
mtbc: maze I (white-red)
Devices these days are often feature-packed. For me this is often a disadvantage: there is more to go wrong. At the most basic level, the more complex the firmware is, the more buggy it probably is.

I recall a decade or so ago dealing with a D-Link ethernet router that, in doing its NAT and similar, weirdly broke DNS queries such that their latency was high. In general, reliability is an issue: even for simple devices such as a cheap unmanaged ethernet switch I have seen them fail in odd ways, e.g., to stop routing between certain pairs of hosts until power-cycled. I shudder to think of the failure modes of managed network hardware but I suspect that the low reliability of some institutions' IT infrastructure arises from not being composed of simple devices.

These days I am noticing that simple consumer network hardware no longer exists. It is hard to find a cheap DSL-to-ethernet modem or whatever, they have to come with all manner of higher-layer features with routing and whatnot that all need turning off. Such is the nature of progress. For higher-level networking my current preference is to use OpenBSD's pf and its kin.

It will be interesting when we next need to buy a television. British ones are probably full of Freeview decoders and whatnot. I may just have to find myself a large high-brightness computer monitor instead.

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mtbc: photograph of me (Default)
Mark T. B. Carroll

September 2017

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