jc blog - tales of a modern-day nomadic hunter-gatherer

Follow jcomeau_ictx on Twitter This is the weblog of Intrepid Wanderer. You never know what you might find here; graphic descriptions of bodily functions, computer programming secrets, proselytizing for the antichrist, miscellaneous ranting and kvetching, valuable information on living off the land... if you don't share my rather weird interests you may want to try slashdot instead.

You can consider my Del.icio.us links an extension to my blog, as are my LifeTango goals and my other to-do items. My to-buy list is also public, but only for sharing any useful ideas that might be there; I'm not requesting charity, neither do I offer it.

You can find me easily in google searches, as jcomeau, jcomeau_ictx, or jcomeauictx. There are lots of other jcomeaus, but AFAIK I'm the only jcomeau_ictx out there so far.

If you want to comment on anything you see here, try the new Facebook comments, reachable by clicking the "[comment]" link at the end of each post. If for some reason that isn't working, go ahead and email me, jc.unternet.net. You know what to do with the first dot. Make the 'subject' line something reasonably intelligent-looking or it goes plunk! into the spambasket unread.

This RSS feed may or may not work. Haven't fiddled with it in forever. RSS Feed

MrCreditRepair.biz will fix your credit rating!


I've been meaning to find out my PayPal account number and their ABA routing number -- my bank should be able to provide that info after a funds transfer -- but I read online the other day that some guy found it out but still couldn't initiate a transfer of PayPal funds from another bank. So I'll continue doing the online funds shuffle every payday, moving funds into "real" banks for things like making credit card payments.

I was thinking of simple, useful "human" robots I could build. One would be a paraplegic or quadruplegic in an electric wheelchair, panhandling on city streets. Every night he could roll the cash home to "Daddy". If I get more ambitious, I could build one to sell fake Rolexes and stuff like that. If the cops try to grab it, it could jump into the storm sewer and get away. Both ideas assume a viable economy, though, so scratch that.

Ate a big, juicy grasshopper yesterday. Freaked out the French couchsurfer who's here in Columbus filming a documentary. [comment]


I fucking hate inkjet printers. The Lexmarks I've bought at junk shops and yard sales over the years are just plain shit. I was able to configure one of them into CUPS with dgtlmoon's info, but the goddamn thing keeps indicating a jam where there isn't one. I'll probably figure it out eventually, but it's a pain in the ass.

I finally got postFORTH working again, after years of putting it off due to bad experiences with CVS and SVN. Now I'm using bzr, and have postFORTH version 0 on Launchpad.

The coyotes have been around for at least the month I've been back from Burning Man; I hear their songs almost every night. Glad to see the EPA and rancheros haven't completely destroyed them, and that they haven't all left for easier pickings in El Paso and Las Cruces. [comment]


Finally got my linux system on my old Compaq Armada M700 laptop to powerdown, using the "apm=on acpi=force apm=power-off" kernel parameters in an "append=" line in lilo.conf. I'd actually made this change long ago, but forgotten to copy the bootblock after running lilo. You see, I'm still using Win2K's boot-select mechanism using a line in \boot.ini:

c:\hda6.bin="God Damn Linux"

Now that I have the poweroff problem fixed, I can make that my default boot by moving it to the top of the file. To copy the bootblock under Cygwin, I had to figure out how /dev/hda6 mapped to Cygwin's /dev/sdaN pseudodevices. Using "head -c 512 | xxd" on each of the /dev/sdaN numbers, I found the LILO-written block at /dev/sda3, and ran: "dd if=/dev/sda3 of=/cygdrive/c/hda6.bin bs=512 count=1" to get the new bootblock. It would have been easier to boot back into Linux and do it from there, but I felt like doing it the hard way. [comment]


Another member of the City of the Sun was giving me some very useful info today, I don't know how much I was able to absorb.

Nitrogen-fixing trees: honey locust, mesquite, other locusts, possibly palo verde, can be started from seed by snipping one end of the seed with a small pair of scissors. Leave in a glass of water 24 hours, then plant in a pot. Transplant after they've reached at least a foot in height.

There's a native type of elm that grows well here. Find the disc-shaped seeds in the gutters in Palomas after rains. Some types of Eucalyptus are quite drought tolerant, and it's a beautiful tree. Tamarisk, also known as salt cedar, is also very pleasing to the eye and is a great pioneer tree.

Ferrocement: he's using rebar, hogwire, and stucco lath covered with a concrete mix of 3 parts sand, one part portland cement, with a handful of polypropylene fiber thrown in per wheelbarrow full. You can buy the fiber in Deming, at a cement (or concrete?) plant just on the north side of the overpass near the McDonald's. [comment]


Google Maps finally got some updated satellite imagery! No longer is it from the early 1970's; this new flyover of my house can't be more than a few months old.

While trying to solve a bug in Gnumeric, I ran across a very nicely done version control system, Bazaar, and a source code hosting service, Launchpad. Probably my own fault, but I could never get Subversion to work for anyone but myself; whenever another coder tried to commit his changes, the repository would become corrupted and had to be fixed. Bazaar looks way better, but only time will tell. [comment]


Lately I've been getting pissed off even more than usual at Windows, so decided to upgrade the Debian system on the old Compaq laptop I use at home. Why sit there for minutes staring at the disk activity light going bonkers, the system slowed to a crawl, while all the Task Manager can tell you is that the System Idle Task is the only thing running, based on CPU activity and nothing else? Fuck it. But I ran into some problems.

First, for various reasons I want to keep my Cygwin home directory. For that, I had to put the options uid=1000,gid=1000 in /etc/fstab. But then, ssh wouldn't use my keys for authentication because all perms showed up as 644. So I had to append the option umask=0077. So far no problems with that.

Then, after the first time that it worked, Xwindows failed to start. Various misleading error messages occurred, but since it started fine if I changed my home directory to /home/jcomeau rather than /mnt/c/cygwin/home/jcomeau, I figured it had something to do with the funky FAT filesystem due to the xauth errors regarding the .Xauthority file (and the fact that it showed up as .Xauthority-c in my home directory), and the same with the .serverauth* files after fixing the previous problem by setting the environment variable XAUTHORITY=/home/jcomeau/.Xauthority in my .bashrc file. So now I start X so:

HOME=/home/jcomeau startx

All better on the home front. Computer boots in seconds, and no disk activity without me knowing what it is. Much less cursing. [comment]


I swear, "pluck a duck" had to be the original curse. Whoever softened it to "fuck a duck" obviously didn't realize the tenacity with which the skin grips the feathers. The latter endeavor seems trivial by comparison.

Since returning from Burning Man, I've helped in the slaughtering, butchering, and eating of 4 locally-grown birds: 2 turkeys followed by 2 ducks. Participating in the local economy, getting free-range, clean, birds and saving money too.

I thought of a way to deal with those bandwidth-hogging IP-phoners at Burning Man: pingflood the fuckers. Their connection will hopefully drop after a few seconds, at which point those of us who use more sociable forms of communication, such as email, may resume. [comment]


Fucking holidays. Didn't count on Corre Caminos not running. Luckily I only had to walk a mile from the Sunshine store where my first ride dropped me off, until another decent human offered me a ride to Altura Road. Another half hour and I'll be home! [comment]


In Lordsburg now on the breakfast stop. Wanting to avoid any conflict in Deming, I asked him if there were going to be a problem with me getting out there. He asked to see my ticket, and I complied. "Next stop", he said.

So, no more worries. If he was going to call the cops or otherwise make it difficult for me, I have the option of taking the Corre Caminos bus from Lordsburg through Silver City to Deming, but that might take another day to complete. My best bet would probably be walking from the El Paso depot a mile or so to Ave. Vicente Guerrero, taking a Permisionarios Unidos bus to the Juarez Central Camionera, and going to Palomas. [comment]


Goddamned motherfucking stupidass rentacops at Greyhound were gonna make me check my luggage because of the hammer and hacksaw. That would have foiled my plan to jump out in Deming, so I abandoned those and my pocketknife, for about a $50 loss. God fucking damn. [comment]


If I'd gone to the Limousine Express office earlier, I could have gotten to Deming for $65 on the 6:15 run. The El Paso run at 9PM doesn't stop in Deming. Dammit. Well, I'll know for next time. I'm taking Greyhound to El Paso for $79.50 hoping they'll stop in Deming and hoping I'll be awake enough to jump out there if they do. [comment]

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