April 1st, 2011

Semiformalishmaybe

At Home in a Virtual Forest

I'm taking further definite steps to leave Pittsburgh, heading east to Philadelphia. It'll take some getting used to a new city; I like that in Pittsburgh, my perception of the area can easily flip between "nature with some city in" and "city with some nature in it". Philadelphia won't be like that, I don't think. I don't know yet if I'll be living in the suburbs or the city proper.

Currently I'm looking for a good job to hold down for about a year; there are things I could do remotely (either in the region or on the national level), but I'd probably be happiest working in a university. Current targets: UPenn, TJU (was hoping Drexel would be an option, but there are no good open jobs there). Anyone who has leads in the region, feel free to send pointers; with my savings and experience, I can afford to be picky.

As part of closing down my current job, I've been teaching another local wizard the basics of administering Emulab. We started with the plan of installing virtual servers for a test run, but it turns out that system performance is good enough that the management servers can (probably) run permanently under VMWareESX. I'm jealous of the setup and intrigued at the "virtual port" setup which connects it over 802.1q to a given port on a correctly configured Cisco switch. Maybe we're finally at the point where all servers should be virtualised; the benefits of easy snapshots/rollbacks/etc are too great to be ignored if the performance is good enough.

To tiptoe into Israeli/Palestinian politics again,Collapse )

There is still a large backlog of things to write about, but it is very late as I finish this, and I am tired.

Semiformalishmaybe

At Home in a Virtual Forest

I'm taking further definite steps to leave Pittsburgh, heading east to Philadelphia. It'll take some getting used to a new city; I like that in Pittsburgh, my perception of the area can easily flip between "nature with some city in" and "city with some nature in it". Philadelphia won't be like that, I don't think. I don't know yet if I'll be living in the suburbs or the city proper.

Currently I'm looking for a good job to hold down for about a year; there are things I could do remotely (either in the region or on the national level), but I'd probably be happiest working in a university. Current targets: UPenn, TJU (was hoping Drexel would be an option, but there are no good open jobs there). Anyone who has leads in the region, feel free to send pointers; with my savings and experience, I can afford to be picky.

As part of closing down my current job, I've been teaching another local wizard the basics of administering Emulab. We started with the plan of installing virtual servers for a test run, but it turns out that system performance is good enough that the management servers can (probably) run permanently under VMWareESX. I'm jealous of the setup and intrigued at the "virtual port" setup which connects it over 802.1q to a given port on a correctly configured Cisco switch. Maybe we're finally at the point where all servers should be virtualised; the benefits of easy snapshots/rollbacks/etc are too great to be ignored if the performance is good enough.

To tiptoe into Israeli/Palestinian politics again, (WARNING: Very long!)Collapse )

There is still a large backlog of things to write about, but it is very late as I finish this, and I am tired.

Semiformalishmaybe

Walls of the Temple

The Newspaper Guild (representing journalists in the newspaper industry), has called for an end to contributions to the Huffington Post. Collapse )

A recent wonder: how could we measure the harm of spam? I'm less concerned about the the irritation of spam in the inbox than I am about the mechanised damage to blogs, wikis, and the (now long past) destruction of Usenet. These new forms of communication raised the potential of humanity; by flooding them with advertising, either custodians (like me) are needed in large numbers to do the drudge work of blocking spam/deleting messages, or these means of communication die. The solution of technical measures to block roboposting lessens the value of these forums (hassle!) while failing to entirely remove the need for moderators; it's not enough. Added issue: our existing laws are entirely inadequate to deal with the harm caused by this behaviour.

I liked this analysis on foreign policy shifts within the Republican party. I wonder how much of this comes from a need to define oneself differently from those one's competing against; some political figures are determined to criticise those in power for whatever they do, making up their own positions primarily to stand in contrast. There are of course those who are principled, who might agree with those in other parties when their goals align. I've followed Obama's handling of the Libyan insurrection, and while I may have liked to be more aggressively involved, I believe that cooperation with the Arab League was an important step. One argument that really bothers me is that made by PZ Meyers; he calls it the Guns vs Butter debate. To me, this is amoral and disgusting (applied here, at least); we're tepid on defending the lives of other human beings from a uniquely bad leader because of financial reasons? I would not apply this reasoning to Saddam Hussein, but Qaddafi is within a few orders of magnitude of Idi Amin, and someone who has launched attacks on the United States in the past. It is worth removing him, and if done correctly with the right allies it should be a net positive move for our image and ideals. I agree that troops on the ground would limit the benefit, but doing everything we can short of that (from air/naval support to arming the rebel forces) is worth it. On this occasion (like in Afghanistan but not Iraq), regime change is the right thing to do. Stinginess is just as ugly here as it is in our unwillingness to pay taxes enough to keep our social services running (I really do not believe we have deep financial problems, we just must be willing to raise taxes and exercise enough restraint to end our debt).

Geek problems (laptop, android):Collapse )

Recently:

  • Approved for doing systems-level help to the OLPC project; new XO-1 and XO-1.5 will be on my way.
  • On my way to being approved for doing some moderation on a MMORPG I play. Hoping this won't be a drag.
  • SIGBOVIK, which was ... what it normally is. Some funny, some jokes being dragged out for too long, and some pretty awesome people to whom I feel frustratingly disconnected. There was also a Theremin!
  • Someone misses the point of having a Department of Labour.
  • Are there quantum effects at play in our sense of smell?
(still have a huge backlog of things to write about)