Microblog: A very long article Wikipedia article on the orientation of toilet paper [Jun 7th, 22:52] [R]

Friday, February 26th, 2010

Brakspear Bitter

Categories: [ Beer/Brakspear ]


“Brewed with Marris Otter barley, English Goldings & Fuggles hops using the unique Brakspear Double Drop system that provides a robust second fermentation stage”

It's definitely a bitter, quite light in alcohol. Contains barley malt.

Brakspear Brewing Co., Oxfordshire, England. 3.4% alcohol.

[ Posted on February 26th, 2010 at 21:54 | no comment | ]

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Sleepless in Seattle

Categories: [ TV/Cinema ]



After losing his wife, Sam moved to Seattle with his son Jonah, who is eight years old. One Christmas evening, Jonah calls a radio show and tells his Christmas wish would be for his father to get a new wife. Sam receives hundreds of letters from women all over the country, but the one from Annie catche's Jonah's attention; in the letter she suggests to meet on Valentine's Day on the top of the Empire State Building, since her fiance suggested to spend that day in New York. Annie lives in Baltimore and has a fiance, but has doubts about her coming wedding. She manages to find out Sam's address and under the pretense of a business trip, traveles to Seattle. She doesn't dare contacting Sam, but he notices her on two occasions. Annie flies back to Baltimore. When his father starts dating a woman who laughs like a hyena (and whom he doesn't find suitable for his father) and doesn't seem willing to visit the Empire State's Building on Valentine's Day, he flies alone to New York (thanks to his girlfriend who uses her mother's, a travel agent's, computer to get him a plane ticket). Jonah spends the day on top of the building when his father, who has discovered his disappearance on the morning and has immediately flown from Seattle to New York, finds him. When they are about to live, they finally meet Annie, who just had just broken up with her fiance in order to honor the appointment she had given Sam.

[ Posted on February 26th, 2010 at 21:48 | no comment | ]

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Saturday, February 20th, 2010

Shaun of the Dead

Categories: [ TV/Cinema ]



Shaun spends all his time with his best friend Ed. Ed even lives at Shaun's place, playing video games all day long. He even accompanies Shaun to the pub when the latter meets his girlfriend Liz. The day after Liz had broken up with Shaun because of Ed's omnipresence and Shaun's inability to imagine any other kind of entertainment than an evening at the pub, a mysterious plague starts turning people into zombies, and the disease can be transmitted by a bite. Being surrounded by zombies, Shaun decides he must take his loves one to safety, and somehow concludes that the pub is the safest place. He first goes to her parent's place, then take his parents to Liz's. She agrees to accompany him, but her two flatmates want to come along. Together they cross multiple backyards, fighting zombies, and finally arrive near the pub, which is surrounded by zombies. Pretending to be zombies themselves, they manage to enter the pub through a window and keep the zombies out. But they soon are under attack, and only Shaun and Liz escape, saved by the military who just arrived on the spot. Six months later, the city is quiet again and remaining zombies have been turned into harmless slave workers. Shaun visits zombie-Ed in the garden's shed, and plays video games with him.

[ Posted on February 20th, 2010 at 23:45 | no comment | ]

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Sunday, February 14th, 2010


Categories: [ TV/Cinema ]



Rodney, a young robot and an inventor, lives in a small town and dreams of meeting Bigweld, the founder of the company that produces replacement parts for all the robots and who welcomes all inventors. But when Rodney finally arrives in RobotCity, he discovers that Bigweld has disappeared and that the company, under the lead of Ratchet, is changing its policy, discontinuing replacement parts for far more expensive upgrades that most robots cannot afford. Ratchet's goal is to harvest on the street old robots who cannot afford upgrades and turn them into cheap-to-get scrap metal for his mother's Chop Shop. Rodney then takes on repairing old robots with what is available in the low city. He also convinces his friends to try and find out what happened to Bigweld. At Bigweld's yearly bal, where they had hoped to meet him, they only attract Ratchet's attention and barely escape alive. But Rodney finds help in one of the company's executives, Cappy, who doesn't like Ratchet's style. Together they go and explore Bigweld's house, who seems to have retired, because he's been told by Ratchet that his management style is outdated. But Bigweld eventually changes his mind and helps Rodney and his friends to stop Ratchet's plans, and restores the production of replacement parts.

[ Posted on February 14th, 2010 at 23:45 | no comment | ]

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Saturday, February 13th, 2010

Innis & Gunn Rum Cask Oak Aged Beer

Categories: [ Beer/Innis and Gunn ]


“We have matured this specially brewed Innis & Gunn beer for for 107 days, with every single drop spending equal times in both American oak barrels and barrles which previously contained rum. the result is a beer with a fruity, spicy character”

Very soft taste, that reminds of nuts and cake. Delicious. Made of barley malt.

Innis & Gunn, Edinburgh, Scotland. 7.4% alcohol.

[ Posted on February 13th, 2010 at 19:07 | no comment | ]

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Friday, February 12th, 2010

Chocolats 16

Translation: [ Google | Babelfish ]

Categories: [ Cooking/Chocolats ]

Aware Dark Chocolate, Perou 70% : pas d'arôme reconaissable, mais très bon. Très surprenant pour un produit Fairtrade sans marque (produit en France, sans autre mention).

[ Posted on February 12th, 2010 at 21:15 | no comment | ]

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Tuesday, February 9th, 2010

User Identification through Web Browser User-Agent

Categories: [ IT ]

I found las year that 33 bits are enough to uniquely identify someone.

Now I just read that the browser's User-Agent field provides 5 to 15 bits of identification (10.5 bits on average). If you add zip code, geolocation, it becomes nearly enough to track people perfectly.

With EFF's Panopticlick, I know that my browser provides at least 16.12 bits of identification. The identifying criteria are the User-Agent and HTTP_Accept fields, available plugins, time zone, screen size, system fonts, cookies enabled/disabled and so-called super-cookies. The most scary part of the report is the statement that “Your browser fingerprint appears to be unique among the 71,157 tested so far.”

Without Javascript, my browser still provides 16.13 bits, due to the HTTP_Accept header and User-Agent.

[ Posted on February 9th, 2010 at 12:56 | 1 comment | ]

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De l'âge du pu er

Translation: [ Google | Babelfish ]

Categories: [ Tea ]

« Dès qu'il s'agit de Pu Er et autre chinoiserie … tu peux être sûr qu'il y a un truc pas très net quelque part !!! Jamais très clair tout ça ;-) »

Ainsi s'exprimait un amateur éclairé de pu er (qui tient à rester anonyme). Il avait mis son expertise à mon service pour goûter mon pu er mystère (voir tout au bas de l'article). Il confirme qu'il s'agit du pu er « cuit », mais qu'à son avis il ne date ni de 2005 (comme la date de production sur l'emballage le laissait penser) ni probablement de 1990 comme le vendeur me l'avait annoncé:

« Un cru de 2005 serait plus incisif, moins rond, nettement moins moelleux. De même s'il datait de 1990, il aurait en théorie plus de charpente, plus de corps avec des notes plus camphrées. Il est donc probable que cette galette ait été fabriquée en 2005 mais avec des feuilles d'une dizaines d'années, guère plus. … En fait, il me rappelle curieusement une galette de la Maison des Trois Thés qui date de 1994. Une année qui pourrait tout compte fait assez bien lui correspondre ! »

Mais suite à une question de ma part, il avoue que « 4 années de vieillissement supplémentaire n'influent pas trop sauf en cas de stockage humide », ce dont je déduis que le thé pourrait dater de 1990 mais qu'il ne s'est pas bonifié de manière notable durant ses quatre dernières années de vieillissement.

En conclusion, je vais essayer de suivre son conseil, même si je sens mon esprit analytique se rebeller à cette idée : « Profite simplement de tes Pu Er et ne te pose pas trop de questions, de toute façon c'est un monde tellement complexe et opaque qu'il vaut mieux se contenter d'apprécier ce que l'on a sans en savoir plus car on risque toujours d'être déçu. » En d'autres termes, si c'est bon, c'est bon, et si c'est pas bon, c'est pas bon. Lapalisse n'aurait pas dit mieux.

[ Posted on February 9th, 2010 at 12:15 | no comment | ]

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Monday, February 8th, 2010

The Definite New ADSL Modem

Categories: [ IT ]

End of the new ADSL modem story. I sat on my principles and bought last Saturday an A-Link RR24AP(d) at Gigantti, even though it runs Linux (yes!) without publishing the source code (boo!). It cost me 20 EUR more than what it would have cost at Multitronic.fi, but I guess that's what it cost to get it immediately.

The RR24AP(d) is not perfect either: its DynDNS client is updating its DNS record even though the IP address doesn't change (I got banned temporarily by DynDNS for that; I restarted the DynDNS daemon running on minikone and disabled the one in the router).

Moreover, I wanted to use its telnet/ssh menu-based interface for enabling/disabling the WLAN from the desktop (I wrote a docklet for that with a wrapper script for hiding the protocol stuff), but although enabling works, disabling doesn't work. I had to use the Web interface instead. An additional nice discovery is that although the main menu offers choices numbered 1 to 10, when you choose 0, you get a root shell. I haven't found a way to enable/disable the WLAN from the shell, hence the wrapper script for the Web interface.

[ Posted on February 8th, 2010 at 22:23 | no comment | ]

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Sunday, February 7th, 2010

Irresistible Forces

Categories: [ Books/Barrayar ]

ISBN: 0451211111

© Amazon.fr

A collection of six short stories edited by Catherine Asaro published in 2004.

Winterfair Gifts (Lois McMaster Bujold): Miles Vorkosigan is getting married in a few days and Ekaterin, his bride, is nervous has hell. Guests and gifts are pouring from all corners of Space, and Roic, Miles' footman is very impressed by Taura, the bioengineered femal super-soldier. When Ekaterin suddenly becomes ill, Taura notices that a pearl necklace Ekaterin tried for a few seconds the night before is actually covered in poison. Had she worn it for longer time, as she planned to do it on her wedding day, she would have died. Although the pearls seemd to have been sent by Admiral Quinn, Miles' former girlfriend, ImpSec finds out they were sent by a Vor that Miles had been investigating recently. The wedding eventually takes place without more incident, and Roic ends up making out with Taura.

The Alchemical Marriage (Mary Jo Putney): 1588. Sir Adam Macrae, a sorcerer, is a prisoner in the Tower of London for having threatened Queen Elisabeth's life after she killed Mary Stuart. Master Dee, the Queen's sorcerer, asks him to join forces with Isabel de Cortes, another sorceress, in order to repell the Spanish Armada which is about to invade Britain. Reluctant at first, scrying into the future convinces him to accept and he accompanies Isabel to her manor on the coast. There, they try to combine their powers to create a storm that will force the Armada to give up their plans. They fail at first, but after Sir Adam recovers, they perform the Alchemical Marriage that bonds forever two opposite forces (that is, they have sex together in the rain) in order to combine their powers and repell the invaders. They eventually get married since, although they are complete opposites, they are meant for each other.

Stained Glass Heart (Catherine Asaro): On Lyshriol, a remote, agricultural planet, Vyrl and Lily are in love with each other, but Vyrl is meant to marry Devon Majda, a woman much older than him, from another powerful family, in order to tighten the bonds between them in the Assembly. Vyrl then flees with Lily and they get married in secret. They are caught some days later by their parents and separated, with a threat of they marriage being canceled since they are both underaged. Some time later, Vyrl tells Devon that she too should marry the man she loves instead of making a political marriage. Later again, Majda announces at the assembly that she abdicates as Matriarch of the Majda family in favor to her sister. Vyrl is then free to stay married to Lily.

Skin Deep (Deb Stover): Since he died in a car accident two years before, Nick has been working in Heaven in the Mortal Watch Division, where he occasionaly keeps an I on his widow, Margo, who can't get over him. Nick is then sent back to the world of the Living, this time as a woman named Raquel, to help Margo find her True Love, Jared, she was supposed to marry when Nick interfered (he planted a girl in Jared's bed and got Margo to witness). Taken to a male strip club by her friend, Margo notices the main attraction is actually Jared, whom she hadn't seen in years. She eventually learns he is a DEA agent working undercover, trying to find how the strip club is involved in drug dealing. A few days later, Margo and Raquel are at the club. They witness the drug delivery and are made prisoner by the club's owner. The DEA assaults the building but Raquel gets mortally wounded. Temporarily transformed as Nick again, the latter confesses tricking Jared in order to get Margo, and also that Jared and him are actually brothers. Nick/Raquel then dies and goes back to Heaven.

The Trouble with Heroes (Jo Beverley): On Gaia, a remote Earth colony, Jenny and Dan have been friends since childhood. Dan is a fixer, having kind of magical powers caused by the planet, and he can mend all kinds of things. Moreover, he's able to sense and destroy indigenous, pure-energy entities who reduce humans and cattle to ashed in an instant. The entities seem to be growing in numbers near the equator and refugees are pouring into the city of Anglia. The fixers are all called to the front and Dan leaves after Jenny and him have at last acknowledged their love for each other. Some time later, the situation seems to have returned to normal, but the fixers seem to have all disappeared. One man looking like Dan is camping outside of the gates of Anglia. Nobody dares letting him in, since he looks so changed. Jenny sneaks out at night to meet him. She learns that he organized the fixers in groups, using one of them as bait to lure thousands of entities at the same time and destroy them in batches using wild magic. But the baits were always killed and at the end of the war there was only a handful of fixers left. Jenny and Dan agree to become partners in life, and according to the laws of Anglia, the city has to let Dan in with her.

Shadows in the Wood (Jennifer Roberson): In the forest of Sherwood in 1202, Robin Hood and Marian are injured while fighting Normans. They flee and stop to catch their breath in a very old part of the forest. Accoring to the stories Marian's mother had told her daughter, the oaks in these parts have human faces. When she touches one of them to show Robin, a man suddenly comes out of the tree. He happens to be Merlin, who was under a spell of Nimüe and he requests their help to retrieve Arthur's sword and return it to the lake. Merlin guides them to the island of Avalon (the lake has now disappeared, replaced by grass). Only women were allowed to the island, and men were only tolerated. But Merlin tells them that both of them need to go. On the “island”, Marian communicates with the spirit of the women who lived there and indicate her the location of the sword. They retrieve the sword, take it to Merlin, who throws it back into the lake (which reappears for the occasion). Then Merlin leaves forever for the island.

[ Posted on February 7th, 2010 at 14:06 | 1 comment | ]

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Read Winterfair Gifts again.

Comment #1, Matthieu Weber (Hurttala, Finland), May 30th, 2023 at 10:48

Friday, February 5th, 2010

More ZyXEL Troubles

Categories: [ IT ]

Part 2 of the new ADSL modem story.

This is how it goes: reboot the modem, connect to its telnet server. The TCP window is 2048 bytes long. Everything works fine. Telnet again: the TCP window is now 1024. Actually, it shrunk to 1024 already on the FIN/ACK packet sent by the router when closing this first telnet session and stays like this for all the subsequent connections. During those connection, each ACK packet it sends is followed by a second ACK where it resets the window size to 1024 bytes. After some time (this is the tricky part, I have no idea how time or idleness affects it), when telneting again, some TCP packets are lost, the client side has to retransmit them. Insist a bit more, and there are more and more packets which don't get acknowledged. Eventually, the telnet server may become non-responsive and the whole device stops responding to pings. Reboot the modem.

Whether using the forwarded port from the WAN to the client machine on the LAN is involved or not in prooking this behaviour is not known, more investigation needs to be done.

I contacted ZyXEL, they asked me to return the device. Let's see if they are able to reproduce the problem.

[ Posted on February 5th, 2010 at 17:31 | 1 comment | ]

Thursday, February 4th, 2010

New ADSL Modem

Categories: [ IT ]

The old A-Link RR64, Linux 2.4-based ADSL modem and router has been dying slowly for the past eight months or so, and when the “alarm” LED went suddenly on, I decided it was time to get a new piece of hardware before that one broke down completely. Since it had a hard time booting up after the power had been down, it was a good idea anyway.

After long discussions with my colleagues, I decided to buy a ZyXEL Prestige 660WP-D1, with an integrated WLAN base station. It's not based on free software, but the equivalent linux-based model by A-Link doesn't respect the GPL regarding the distributon of the source code (it actually doesn't even mention it's based on Linux), so I wasn't going to give my money to those people anymore.

I spent the whole evening and half the night yesterday trying to set it up so that it replaces the old device in the network. First thing, the ZyXEL does't have a DNS server for the local network, so I had to setup one on the server there using dnsmasq (merci tontonth :) ). This means I cannot get the outside DNS server's address from the ISP anymore (the router is unwilling to serve as a DNS proxy while at the same time propagating the dnsmasq's address through the DHCP configuration) but I have to set it up statically in dnsmasq. I hope it doesn't change its address every two weeks…

The second problem was that the NAS I use for backups is unable to get its IP address from the ZyXEL, so I had to set a static one.

But the weirdest of the weirdest, is that the machines connected through the WLAN were not able to connect to the ones on the LAN, which is a bit of a problem since the dnsmasq is on the LAN. After a long time reading the docs, I found in the latest firmware's changelog that the following bug had been fixed: 22. WLAN and LAN can not communicate with each other when the admin password is changed in the GUI. The new firmware indeed fixed the problem, but what screwy software design makes the bridging between two networks dependent on the admin's password and the GUI? This is bound to be a problem for any user who knows that default passwords must be changed, since the first time you connect to the Web interface as admin, it forces you to change the password.

Well, it seems to be working now. Let's cross fingers.

[ Posted on February 4th, 2010 at 12:21 | 1 comment | ]