Category Archives: Computing

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

From the “Pointless SQL Queries” file…

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

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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 , , ,

Debugging a weird network problem (or: IPv6 privacy addresses, just say no)

All you folks who followed my blog for food porn are going to want to skip this one. The past ten days have been pretty horrible for me at work, thanks to the combined effect of five different network issues. … Continue reading

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Nutrition facts formatting

I made some changes to the blog’s CSS so that the nutrition information looks more like the FDA recommendation, and learned a bit about WordPress.com’s CSS setup in the process. Unfortunately, I can’t do much about the fonts: WordPress.com allows … Continue reading

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