Category Archives: Computing

Quote of the day: One of many things wrong with the Internet industry

This has been making the rounds of, yes, social media — at least among the lefty circles I move in — and will appear soon in the paper New York Review of Books: [MIT psychologist Sherry] Turkle argues against using … Continue reading

Posted in Broadcasting & Media, Computing, Law & Society, States of mind | Tagged , , | Comments Off on Quote of the day: One of many things wrong with the Internet industry

In search of a usable on-call notification service

One advantage of taking a break, however short, from my weekly baking project is that it allows me to put some time into writing other things. Lately, I’ve been looking for better ways to do on-call notification at my workplace, … Continue reading

Posted in Computing | Tagged , , | 8 Comments

In defense of client certificates

There is a move afoot among Web browser developers to remove an authentication mechanism that many enterprises depend on: SSL/TLS with X.509 client certificates. Client certificate support, along with related functionality for enrollment of clients, was first implemented in Netscape … Continue reading

Posted in Computing | Tagged , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Somehow, the question came up on alt.usage.english of the distribution of author surnames (in people’s personal libraries) over the letters of the alphabet. Since I have a library database, I came up with the followng crazy query to answer this … Continue reading

Posted on by Garrett Wollman | Comments Off on From the “Pointless SQL Queries” file…

Computing apportionment for the U.S. House of Representatives

Several months ago, I started a really simple project to compute Congressional apportionment, using the method defined in current law, with the intent of considering several different scenarios. I haven’t really had time to work on this since then, but … Continue reading

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Quote of the day: Elena Glassman on learning

It’s been way too long since I posted a quote of the day, so here’s one: It can be tough to find resources at the right level of depth — not too simple, not too detailed. For folks with math anxiety, the … Continue reading

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Where we went wrong, or, The one thing Philip Greenspun got right (in 1997)

Cast your mind back, if you will, to the heady days of the “Web 1.0” bubble. A fellow by the name of Philip Greenspun was a Ph.D. student at the MIT Laboratory for Computer Science. He was also a serial … Continue reading

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What I saw (and did) at (and around) LISA’14

I recently got back from my one-per-year business trip, to attend the 2014 LISA Conference, and now that I’ve presented to my group, it’s time to make a more public write-up. I’ll start with some of the more personal or … Continue reading

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The network nightmare that ate my week

A few hours ago, I sent the following “dear colleagues” email (lightly edited to remove some private details) to all my users at work: This has been a very trying week. For those of you whose work was disrupted this … Continue reading

Posted in Computing | Tagged , , , , | 64 Comments

From the pages of Stupid Software Design Quarterly…

About a month ago, printing stopped working on my machine. I had a clunky workaround, so I didn’t worry too much about it. I had just upgraded the cups package, which manages printing, on the print server, and it seemed … Continue reading

Posted in FreeBSD | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on From the pages of Stupid Software Design Quarterly…