Quick hits

There’s new 365 content up at Flickr. It pains me to say this, but using Flickr for this project is about 900,000,000 easier than maintaining it locally. So Flickr is where things will stay. Facebook, however, is not in the cards — so stop it, guys.

Must-read blog entry of the day: Five basic questions about the North Korea Crisis probably has the highest information-to-length ratio of anything else you’re going to run into out there during the current 24-hour cycle.

Giving up

So let’s give this a go, shall we? I’m caving in. From brief experimentation, I think this is a much better idea than trying to cram everything together locally. I hate that it has come to this, but… why solve a problem that’s already been solved (and solved much more elegantly than I ever could)?

Forgive me, for I am turning into a Web 2.0 loser.

Learn to suffer

I would really appreciate it if someone could explain to me why I shouldn’t just say “screw it” and spend $24.95 on a Flickr account instead of fighting with locally installed software. Because it’s the manly thing to do? Because struggling with someone else’s design choices builds character? Because I need to rebuild my sysadmin cred? I realize that I will quite rapidly devolve into one of Those People with a Flickr account, and that the true He-Man solution is templating and scripting and a lot of little HTML files and some more scripting glue to hold it all together and publish… but life is short, and so is my patience.

What to do, what to do?

365: Uplink complete

I’ve finally managed to get the first batch of 365 photos up and on-line. It’s over here. I can’t promise that we’re going to stick with this strategy — I’m not very happy with Piwigo at the moment, but it does have the singular advantage that it runs and I don’t have to negotiate with my Webhost to make changes to the global PHP configuration (I’m looking at you, Gallery). Oh, and it doesn’t require me creating a zillion HTML files by hand, too. Ok, so, two advantages.

It would have been nice to do it all within WordPress, but apparently WP’s media manager doesn’t like me and can’t seem to figure out where the ImageMagick binary lives, even though I, you know, told it. I hate computers.

Oh, snap!

CADORS 2009C1111:

User Name: Ridley, Rod
Date: 2009/05/11
Further Action Required: Yes
O.P.I.: Aerodrome Safety
Narrative: Whitehorse FIC reported that the drivers of two Air North vehicles positioned a HS 748 onto Taxiway Echo without contacting Whitehorse Radio for authorization.

User Name: Ridley, Rod
Date: 2009/05/13
Further Action Required: No
O.P.I.: System Safety
Narrative: UPDATE Aerodrome Safety reported that Whitehorse airside personnel have had a number of conversations/meetings with the Air North group regarding Air North and their continuing penchant for getting their names up on the CADORS. Both individuals received verbal briefings from the airside /security management. This event had no operational impact.


When no one is looking

I have been reading the CADORS database on a semi-regular basis lately, mostly because I’m a big geek and, um, I’m a big geek — much in the same way that I read the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s incident summaries. Why? Well, why the hell not?

As with most things in life, it’s better with animals — I get the feeling that CADORS must not have a lot of regular readers:

Aerodrome Safety reported that the airside operations manager at P.A. reports that by the time he received a call from FSS and got airside, the foxy lady was long gone. There have been besides the fox, sightings of a coyote and perhaps a wolf however nothing verified. Resident sharp shooters have tried very long shots at the mammals however without success. Airport personnel continue with twice daily patrols and boundary inspections. This occurrence had no operational impact. (CADORS 2009C1033)

The crew of WJA 418, a WestJet B737, reported a bird strike in the vicinity of the ZZD NDB while on approach to Runway 02 at Edmonton. … Aerodrome Safety reported that the crew of WJA 418 advised that the bird struck the right co-pilot’s window. Although the first officer was startled, there was no damage and the starling sized bird only caused a small impact smear. The aircraft was landed without further incident. (CADORS 2009C1020)

JZA 447, a Jazz CRJ 700, was conducting an ILS approach for Runway 31L at Whitehorse but was required to circle for Runway 13R in order to allow a coyote to be chased off the runway. The aircraft subsequently landed without further incident. … Aerodrome Safety reported that airside operations personnel reported that the varmint may have gotten airside either underneath or over a portion of fencing which is snow packed, however the wily fellow is long gone. There are conflicting reports about the animal’s actual walk about. The coyote may have stayed on the apron and in field and not entered runway 13/31L. (CADORS 2009C0812)

The pilots of two departing aircraft at Medicine Hat observed a coyote on the runway. The coyote exited the runway in both cases as the aircraft approached. … Aerodrome Safety reported that the APM reported that the coyote is long gone. Regular inspections of airport boundaries are done by airside operations personnel. They determine access points and eradication positions. The locating of the varmint’s dens is most difficult. Fortunately for the aviation community Coyote strikes are very rare. This event had no operational impact. (CADORS 2009C0932)

C-GRCX, a Super T Aviation Academy Piper Arrow, was about to depart from Runway 21 at Medicine Hat when the pilot was advised by FSS of a coyote about to enter the runway from the east side. The Arrow’s departure was delayed about 3 minutes. Airport staff were called to chase the coyote away. GLR 7242, a Central Mountain Air Beech 1900, was on the backtrack on Runway 21 for departure to Calgary when the driver of TK 399 called holding short. The coyote spotted TK 399 and ran eastbound from the west infield crossing Runway 21. GLR 7242 was delayed about 4 minutes and C-GRCX was in the circuit and had to modify his circuit due to GLR 7242’s delay. … Aerodrome Safety reported that the APM at Medicine Hat reported that the wily fellow was some 400 yards away from 21/03 and was startled from that position onto the runway. The coyote was chased off the property, however the APM was unable to get a shot at the cagey varmint. As a result of this event two departures were delayed. Airside operations staff continue to do airport boundary inspections. (CADORS 2009C0957)

The crew of TSC 273, an Airbus A-330-200 operated by Air Transat reported hitting a rabbit while arriving at Edmonton International (CYEG). … Aerodrome Safety reported that airside operations personnel recovered and removed the remains of a white tailed Jack Rabbit. The aircraft’s right main gear although somewhat discolored did not suffer any damage; sadly the same cannot be said about the hasenpfeffer. This event had no operational impact. (CADORS 2009C0990)

It’s the same guy writing most of these incident reports. I don’t know what I find stranger — that this stuff has to be tracked and logged in such careful detail, or that there’s a guy out there who likes to be creative in his incident reporting.

Philosophical technology

So there’s been this really interesting thread on nanog of late, about address allocation in IPv6 address space, which hinges on a very strange question: can you be too wasteful with something that seems like it shouldn’t run out?

The background, for the non-technically inclined, is this: at some point in the future, we are going to have to abandon the addressing scheme that has brought you the Internet so far (IPv4) and transition to a new scheme (IPv6) because we’re running out of physical addresses. Most people are aware that the name of a particular machine on the network is just an alias for a numeric address — it’s the numeric addresses we’re running out of, thanks to the limitations of the addressing scheme. IPv4 has a theoretical maximum of 4,294,967,296 addresses; I say “theoretical” because large chunks of the address space are reserved and can’t actually be assigned.

It’s a little bit like the problem we all had about a decade ago, when we discovered we were running out of phone numbers because suddenly everyone had cell phones and fax machines and modem lines. The difference is that we can’t just open up a whole new whack of prefixes by changing the area codes and introducing ten-digit dialing. In Internet land, we’ve hacked around this problem for a long time, pushed the day of reckoning back a couple of times with elegant and not-so-elegant solutions, but we’re going to have to face the music eventually, and deploy the new addressing scheme. Wiki, uncharacteristically, has a nice summary of the scope of the problem.

IPv6 offers the possibility of having 3.4 x 1038 hosts. That’s a lot of addresses. The way it works now is that when you call up your ISP to provision service to your house, you typically get an address. In IPv6-land, we can basically allocate you, as an individual customer, something like a current Internet’s worth of addresses for you to do with as you please. These wouldn’t be private or reserved addresses; they’d be globally routeable and globally accessible, and things like NAT and hiding the number of machines hooked up to your connection wouldn’t be necessary anymore. This has some profound implications.

The nanog thread I linked to has a simple question at its core: given the exceptional size of the IPv6 address space, is it in fact a good idea to hand out that many addresses in one go? Should we be conserving addresses by not handing out a couple billion to people who might use one or a dozen individual addresses? IPv4 worked like this for a while, at the beginning, when we handed out huge blocks of IPv4 space to people who never actually ended up using them (see visual example), and the various registries haven’t really worked very hard to reclaim them. We’d have the same problems under IPv6, too, but 3.4 x 1038 is a really big number — staggeringly big.

If you accept the premise that running out of addresses will take an absurdly long time, and/or require networking many many many things in our lives that may or may not come to fruition (and even then it’ll still take an absurdly long time), do you support giving people way more than they’d need? There are technical arguments for and against this strategy, but the philosophical question remains: given a really large resource, where you’d have to be staggeringly stupid and unlucky over a shockingly long period of time to run out of it, is there such a thing as being wasteful with its allocation?

Fair credit

Compare and contrast two candidate Web sites: Jessica Van Der Veen and Ida Chong. Clearly, we’re getting better at designing campaign Web sites, and candidates are using the Web more intelligently now than they used to.

It’s not so much the Web sites themselves that interest me, however. Look at the domain names:

jessicavanderveen.bcndp.ca versus idachong.com.

Ok, look, I know it’s 2009 and the whole namespace pollution horse has not only fled, but burned the barn down to cover its tracks, but still — candidates as third-level rather than second-level domains! This is great. I gotta give the BC NDP props for doing this right. I don’t know whether it was a deliberate choice to be good to the namespace, or whether it was an accident that came of the way the party is managing its IT infrastructure, but way to go, guys. (The only way it could have been better is if it had been fredflintstone.bc.ndp.ca, but I’ll settle for what we got.)

See also this and this (as a primer if you don’t understand why this is so significant).

(Said the guy who owns fumbling.com and vrinimi.net and is neither a network provider nor a corporation as far as he can tell…)

Use it, lose it, watch it fade

Part of my motivation for re-starting 365 (along with my motivation for re-starting the blahg) was to re-train myself to take pictures. I’ve taken a lot of pictures over the past few years, but almost none of them have been for my own sake and virtually all of them fail to meet some kind of arbitrary “art” test. Holiday snapshots, a couple of weddings, some environmental portraiture — not exactly what I’d call a great portfolio of work to look back on; it wasn’t exactly challenging, either.

Because I haven’t deliberately been going out to create something, I’m finding that I’m losing my ability to see the world through a camera lens, and my pictures are suffering accordingly. It’s a little bit like my French — not having used it seriously in a lot of years, I have to work hard to understand and be understood. 365 as the photographic equivalent of a French conversational group? Sure, why not.

The first two days of 365 — boy, do they suck. Wowza.