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Dear /dev/null, II

tl;dr: 302 → Pelican (URL not yet known)

It's time to simplify my web presence. This massive ball of 4yo PHP with an unknown number of security risks should go, given how "much" I've been posting over the years. (Heh is anyone even reading this? I'll never know because I've already CSS-disabled the comments form. :-D)

I do like the idea of Pelican for static blogging, for dumping some content with more depth than Twitter every now and then. Sadly I couldn't figure out how to have it import my S9Y posts, so let's instead resort to recursive wget. Added benefit: Preserves all URLs, no dead links \o/ Just in case some of this may actually still be useful some day.

... if high quality blogs and RSS readers were still a thing, that would be nice though. Maybe one day I'll go expore..

PS: On the topic of quality: The "Preview" button in S9Y appears to be the Publish button or something, and I ended up with 7 drafts of this post published in random order. O_o Also, the delete button isn't actually working.

Disabling the stupidest FireFox feature ever (adding www/com to URLs)

Every few days it happens to me that I mistype a URL, and Firefox thinks it can fix it by adding www. and/or .com to it. This often brings me to some stupid webpage instead of the intranet page I was looking for, or just generates another broken URL that needs more work for me to fix because I have to undo what Firefox did and then still fix my typo.

I finally found out how to disable that stupid feature and am sure more people are wondering about that. Since it took me a while to find out how to do this, I guess I'll just write a (maybe easier to find) blog post about it.

In short: about:config -> browser.fixup.alternate.enabled.

Fixup. Yeah right.

For a similar feature that adds some other TLD to the URL if you accidentally have alt/ctrl or something pressed when you press Enter, there's a plugin called ClumsyFingers, I think. Fortunately my fingers aren't clumsy enough yet that I need that one.

I'm still in Japan, now in Hiroshima for the IETF meeting. Japan's fantastic. :-D

NTL censoring the nets?

So in my new apartment I currently have an NTL Internet connection. It's what the previous occupant used, and I haven't had time to replace it so far ... but I definitely will.

One interesting thing is that it routes all traffic via Amsterdam, even traffic to Ireland and the UK. Surely that's not very efficient, but latencies are acceptable so far. What bothers me more is that they seem to dislike Web Archive. I can't use that site. I haven't been able to load it at all here.

Things are just suspicious if:

--- ping statistics ---
84 packets transmitted, 83 received, 1% packet loss, time 83034ms
rtt min/avg/max/mdev = 197.106/200.818/210.630/2.764 ms

the round trip (both with ping and traceroute (which shows >30 hops)) seems to take 0.2 seconds while:

09:56:06.312106 IP > S 2524718098:2524718098(0) win 5840
09:56:06.343849 IP > S 1027425240:1027425240(0) ack 2524718099 win 5792
09:56:06.343916 IP > . ack 1 win 183
09:56:06.385372 IP > F 1:1(0) ack 1 win 5792

Meanwhile a TCP connection gets ACKed and then FINed in 0.03 plus 0.07 seconds. How did that website suddenly get so close?? ;-)

So for anyone who thinks of going here and doesn't like it when companies try to judge what you can and what you can't see: DON'T TAKE NTL BROADBAND!!! I'll have my PSTN line in a few days and will get Magnet ADSL instead.

UPDATE: traceproto is cool. It's a traceroute-like program that can also use TCP packets to find a path:

ttl 15: ICMP Time Exceeded from (
28.267 ms 30.866 ms 31.304 ms
ttl 16: ICMP Time Exceeded from (
30.421 ms 32.453 ms 40.027 ms
ttl 17: TCP Syn Ack from (
40.422 ms 35.247 ms 31.637 ms

If I traceroute to any other port on the same machine, the 17th hop is another machine (and 13 more hops follow it). So it looks like it's actually BlueYonder causing problems here. While BY claims in their FAQ that they don't censor anything, except if the police ask them to do so. Really?....

Apple, ever heard of Europe???

Last week, when I finished adding this cool weather applet on the right, I was afraid it was broken. It didn't give me the same temperatures as I saw in my Dashboard weather applet (Mac OS X). However, the GNOME weather applet on my own Ubuntu laptop agreed completely with what's on my blog ... The difference was more than just 1/2 centigrades, so I figured that there's probably something wrong with the OSX applet. And yes, I did set it to show centigrades, not that Fahrenheit crap. (Which it insists to use, even when you made it clear everywhere that you want to use the Metric system.)

So after using my common sense a little bit more I realized that indeed the Apple applet was broken. It predicted temperatures like -18 degrees during the night. In Dublin? Not the Irish Dublin! Turns out it selected a random city in America called Dublin (there are many of them, BTW!). Very helpful, Apple. Especially because it probably guessed the city name from my timezone setting: EUROPE/Dublin.

So anyway, if anyone else has this problem, here's the solution. Go to AccuWeather, find your city (the real one, not a random American city which happens to have the same name) and copy a part of the raw URL to your WeatherWidget settings. Apple doesn't seem to be aware of the fact that they have customers outside America...

Blog/PHP/WLAN/3G hell

So yesterday I added this cool weather applet so you can all see the current weather in Dublin. Seemed nice to me for a blog like this one. The original applet is pretty bloated and takes up too much space for my taste, so I made a compact version with only the more interesting information. Might want to share it with the original authors...

And then suddenly last night there was this ugly error message instead of the right panel. I didn't change anything and suddenly it was there, and it didn't want to go. Yay! Probably because I messed with PEAR a bit while trying (and failing) to get a working Cache.php module. Don't you just love PHP/PEAR?... /o\

So then I just upgraded s9y. Which is said to be pretty trivial, but not if you actually care about security and refuse to give webapps root access to MySQL. It's nice that recent webapps all have their automatic setup/upgrade tools, probably great for people who are stuck with some shared hosting server without SSH access. But it'd be nice to still provide other ways to upgrade/install stuff too.

And of course, when the upgrade was almost finished, my "ISP" (aka unsuspecting neighbour) went down again. And it's still down. Normally these downtimes are a lot shorter... :-( So I'm stuck with this 3G/GPRS card I have here. And I just found out that GPRS is actually more stable than 3G (aka UMTS in some areas). While ping gets just 0-2% packet loss (which is pretty okay, I think), it's completely impossible to keep a TCP connection alive for more than a minute. I don't understand why, but it's really annoying.

I'm really looking forward to the trip to Mountain View... sigh (Which will probably be in two weeks.) Meanwhile I'll work on my WEP cracking skills a bit. It can't be that hard... ;-)

And there we go

So there we go. I got a blog.

I was planning to make one in a few months when I move over to Dublin, but since I didn't really know how to spend this evening I decided to set it up now already. :-)

Thanks to Jelmer for recommending me Serendipity. Looks pretty nifty, and I think in a few weeks I'll be able to spell the damn name. And I thought BitlBee had a difficult name! ;-)

So well, no idea when the next post will be, but let's see.