What libraries mean to me

Of course I’m referring to several libraries.  The paper library in my house and my ebook library on my server.  And the public libraries I’ve always depended on.  When I was a kid, in Sylacauga.  In college, the University of Alabama.  Then Dallas and now here in Birmingham.

Before the internet, when I was unsure of something, needed and wanted more information, I relied on my public library.

I’ve been reading a lot lately.  Reading and rereading William Gibson & Neal Stephenson of course.  Neil Gaiman and Phillip K. Dick are the latest.  Short stories if I don’t feel like getting into a novel.  And a lot of other content by many other authors, I don’t feel like listing everything.  Mostly fiction.  Some non-fiction if the mood strikes.

For my 40th birthday, I bought myself a Kindle Voyage.  I **LOVE** it.   Used a regular Kindle before, but the Voyage is so beyond the regular Kindle as far as features, particularly the backlight.  Never thought I’d be able to transition from paper to an ebook so easily, but once I did, never going back.

If you’re worried about not being able to immerse yourself into a book with a Kindle like how you do on paper, believe me, that’s not a concern.  It’s a bit of an adjustment for a few minutes and then you’ll be kicking yourself for holding out.

I’m reading just for fun nowadays, so maybe it would be different if I were an English major now.   Back then, I made so many margin notes and highlights.

Let me tell you that there are two books I’ll never read again.  “The Scarlet Letter” and “Moby Dick”  I must have read “The Scarlet Letter” about 5 times between high school and college.  THAT’S ENOUGH!  And then “Moby Dick” is way too long, one feels like having been on a 5 year long sea voyage after getting through it.  Took that cruise, not fun, not again.  Don’t make me write another paper about the symbolism.  It’s somehow always about Jesus and phallic symbols.

Somewhat Amusing anecdote

A few years ago before we installed curtains, anyone could see into the front room of my house from the street.  My glorious bookcase with the fruits of my English degree and then *so many hardback classics* I found at the far North Dallas Goodwill (rich people who just tossed out stuff without realizing what it was).

One night, we were watching TV and a Lexus SUV parked in front of the house.  Hmm, are they lost?  No, a man got out and knocked on our door.  “Are those books for sale?”  He sounded embarrassed to ask, his wife put him up to it, she didn’t dare get out of the SUV.

I was a bit flummoxed, I didn’t even ask how much he’d offer.

“Sorry, no, my books are not for sale.”

He was expecting that, then went back down to his vehicle to his disappointed wife.

But I knew that lady just wanted some books to decorate her house, she didn’t care what they were.  She saw a “bohemian looking bookshelf” through my window and wanted that for herself without curating the collection, without reading anything.  And thought I’d part with it for money.

I’ve toted around my books between many apartments and now my house, it’s always the worst part of moving, so many heavy boxes.

Nowadays, I curate my library online, I have an extensive collection there as well.  You can’t see it in my living room, all my lovely ebooks, available to anyone with an ereader.  Lives on my server, doesn’t weigh anything.  And I can share a book with a friend without any worries about getting it back.

But I’ll still never give up my hard won paper collection.  Well, maybe some of the trashy paperbacks, I should post those on Craigslist.

Let John Waters tell you what’s up.

Reminiscing about pwning

Long work weekend, it always is. But I baked cookies in between fixing servers!

Relevant XKCD reminded me of a funny I did several years ago.


Back around 2007-2010, I did a lot of testing for the XS Schoolserver for the OLPC XOs. I usually didn’t bother with wifi encryption since I was constantly reflashing XOs and that was annoying to reconnect clients. And who would get on my stupid schoolserver wifi anyway?  It would have been either Fedora 7 or 9, ancient.  This was a separate network from my home network, of course.

Well, one day I noticed network blinkenlights flashing like crazy, “Hmm, what is this traffic.” Remember, I was a wee baby sysadmin back then. The XS schoolserver shipped with Squid, so I started live tailing the log to see what was going on.

Someone in my neighborhood got on my XS wifi and he’s checking Facebook, he’s wishing his Grandma a happy birthday, OK, all right. He’s going to eBay, that’s fine. Then… OMG PORN! So, I pulled the Facebook ID out of the URLs in the squid log and found his FB profile with his real name. Let’s call him Kevin Doe. Again, this is many years ago, I don’t know if you can do that with FB URLs now. Hopefully not.

Remember, I was a baby admin back then and not sure about iptables rules, not to mention many other things. I still don’t know much about iptables other than it’s annoying to have to handcraft them and I try to avoid that.

I was irritated at him taking advantage of my “free wifi” and set up a very basic html page. It was something like:



I put that as the index.html page in the Apache docroot. If anyone went to my webserver, they’d see that. Again, baby admin. I’m just messing with things, learning.

But *he* needed to see that page I created for him.  After some research, the easiest thing was to temporarily set up an iptables rule to redirect all web traffic to

That dude dropped off my network so fast, it was hilarious.

Can you imagine if you thought you were on a clueless neighbor’s open wifi network, looking at porn, and then they called you out by name?  How humiliating is that?

That’s my sickest sysadmin burn ever, not sure if I’ll ever top it. And I’m so proud I managed that as a relative n00b.

Comment Spam Poetry

I get so much comment spam on this blog. I was cleaning it out tonight and some phrases struck me as modern poetry. It’s probably a Markov chain generating this, of course. But copy/pasting some phrases look like modern poetry, with some very minor edits.

Don’t wear seat belts lest you drown in you own urine
Black on black in the Charger I’m creepin’
Rub me the right way, you might get a genie black Houdini
Although the principles are quite obvious,
It’s not a casino game for those with poor nerves
It’s an remarkable post for all the users
They will take benefit from whom they serve

Keeweb on NextCloud 13

So, I updated to NextCloud 13 and didn’t realize how much I’d miss Keeweb.

I use Keepass on my home desktop and sometimes need to access stuff in that database elsewhere. I usually keep the Keepass db updated on my NextCloud installation to back up the file.

I was disappointed it didn’t support 13, but then I found this:


And made this simple edit:

root@miss [~]# grep 13 /home/cloud/public_html/apps/keeweb/appinfo/info.xml
nextcloud min-version="11" max-version="13"

And that worked!