Linix Tip of the Day: SystemTap

Posted Wed 16 February 2011 09:08 under category tips

The other day, one of my co-workers, Evan, presented an interesting problem to me. Every day, at some point, a file named ] gets created in his home directory. He assumes that it is being created by a script with a typo in it... somewhere. But how to find out? It's a hard thing to grep for.

My initial solution was to use inotify (which you might remember from a previous post) combined with libnotify to alert him if it happens while he was at his computer. It looked like the following:

$ inotifywait -t 0 --exclude='.*[^]]$' $HOME && notify-send "something just ...
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A word on dreams

Posted Mon 31 January 2011 10:56 under category personal

We use the terms "bad dream" and "nightmare" almost synonymously. I contend that this is a frightfully naïve perspective. When we wake from a nightmare, we shortly realize that the floor isn't made of spiders, that all of the clowns are safely at the circus. But a dream in which we are happy... ah! Such a dream can color the real world world a darker shade long after the dreamer has awoken. These are truly the bad dreams.

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Firefox 4 and Vimperator 3

Posted Thu 27 January 2011 19:04 under category tech


I've been using Google Chrome's dev channel for the past year or so as my primary browser, but between some questionable aesthetic decisions and Chrome's tendency to segfault every hour or so for the last few dev releases, I decided that it's time to give up on the faster browser in exchange for the usable browser. Toward that end, I'm going back to Firefox. I hear that Firefox 4 is the next cool thing, so I set it up on my work machine (4.0b10pre, if you're interested). And, of course, since I am ...

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*nix Tip of the Day: Waiting in Scripts

Posted Sat 04 December 2010 16:22 under category tips

Scripting is what makes Unix-like operating systems great. Every *nix, be it Linux, BSD, OS X, AIX, Solaris, or whatever other random distribution you can come up with, comes with a capable shell (or three) and a good set of basic utilities. Where a Windows administrator has to either fall to the horror that is Batch files, write code in a big, heavy programming language language, or submit to the terrible dominance of “management utilities”, a Unix system administrator has tons of the tools at his disposal to fix and automate things. I could talk about scripting forever (it is a substantial portion of my job), but today I'm just going to talk about one small facet: waiting for things to happen.

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What I Want: The Moonbat List

Posted Wed 03 November 2010 01:31 under category politics

It's 11:39PM on the eve of the Great Tea Revolt. As I sit here, fresh off of my 12-hour shift at work, the national media is reporting headlines like G.O.P. Captures House and "Midterm Train Wreck"; the Republicans (particularly in their hard-right Tea Party libertarian wing) are winning this battle. And I thought to myself, "You know what the world needs? More amateur political commentary!" So here's my wingnut list, my moonbat list, my this-will-be-embarrassing-if-I-ever-run-for-office list. Here's what I wish the country, and the world could do. It's no more achievable than are ...

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Posted Sun 17 October 2010 23:27 under category tech

Brief post. I decided to actually use Github once in a while now (not in the least because I use it for open-source stuff at work). My page is up at, and the work account which I'm a contributor on is at So, uh, feel free to comment on or improve any code that you see thereabouts.

Also, I am thinking about doing a series on git on this blog, since I get to use it rather quite a lot now, and there definitely aren't enough guides to it on the Internet ...

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