nullstream weblog - Hacking

Keep up with your reading using free tools


December 29, 2009 02:14 PM PST

These days there's far too much to read and not enough time to read it. I'll show you a couple ways to keep up with your reading using some free tools that are readily available.

Here's a typical scenario: you're reading an article on the web and find a link to something else very interesting, so you open it in a new tab to read later. You keep going on like this and by the end of the day you have 20 tabs open. And this is just one machine, many of us use multiple computers as well as smart phones. How can you keep up with all this reading? The best trick that I found so far is to be able to push this reading into any 'free' time that I have scattered throughout my day. For example, when I'm waiting in lines, or waiting for meals, or people. I can also find time during ads or previews etc. During most of this time I'm not in front of my computer however, so the old 'tab' trick just won't cut it. My other favorite 'free' time however is while driving. I currently have quite a long commute, over 45 minutes each way. If you are creative you can use both of these types of idle time to conquer you reading list.

Continue reading "Keep up with your reading using free tools"...

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traceroute + ping = mtr


August 5, 2009 01:35 PM PST

Matt at Twitter turned me on to using mtr. It's a mix of traceroute and ping, and produces a nice little list of where your packets are going.

The source tarball of mtr compiles fine on Mac OS X with a simple "make". I typically avoid "make install", and rather just copied the executable to /usr/sbin and did a setuid so it will run without typing "sudo" first.

$ wget
$ make
$ sudo cp mtr /usr/sbin
$ sudo chmod +s /usr/sbin/mtr
$ mtr
                            My traceroute  [v0.75]
xxxxxxxx-macbook-pro.local (                  Wed Aug  5 13:19:34 2009
Keys:  Help   Display mode   Restart statistics   Order of fields   quit
                                       Packets               Pings
 Host                                Loss%   Snt   Last   Avg  Best  Wrst StDev
 1.                       0.0%    37    0.8   0.8   0.7   0.9   0.0
 2.                      0.0%    37    2.2   2.3   2.0   4.4   0.5
 3.                    2.7%    37    3.7   3.7   3.3   5.7   0.5
 4.                     11.1%    36    7.3  11.2   6.7  67.7  12.1
 5.      8.3%    36    7.0   9.0   6.8  58.7   9.0
 6.                     5.6%    36    7.3  12.4   7.0 102.7  16.9
 7.   2.8%    36    7.4  15.3   7.0 129.9  23.4
 8.              5.6%    36    7.5  14.8   7.1  89.1  18.2
13.             5.6%    36   14.8  16.4  14.4  33.7   4.4

Yes, that is some packet loss :-)

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July 12, 2007 01:09 AM PST


Mine is set to "Compile". You have been warned.

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Joel On Stuff


April 1, 2007 02:03 AM PST

joel.pngAn interesting interview (230 MB) with Joel, from Joel On Software.

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Nerd Power Ups


February 26, 2007 12:53 AM PST

Even though I've been using computers for longer than I haven't, there are always shortcuts and cool, but unknown features, in the ever increasing amount of software that I come to depend on. Here are some of the tips and tricks that John, J and I have picked up over the years.

Please add yours!

Continue reading "Nerd Power Ups"...

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July 30, 2006 01:54 PM PST


A release candidate for Iron Python 1.0 (a version of python that runs on .NET) is out now. Here's an article on how to get it integrated into Visual Studio 2005. Python is the easiest and most productive programming language I've ever used... it's like ice cream for breakfast every day!

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T.O. Jam


April 30, 2006 09:02 PM PST


The Toronto Game Jam is next weekend (brief write up here). Make sure you play the Space Invaders game that makes up their home page.

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Write a game in 40 hours


April 9, 2006 09:44 PM PST


A cool article on making a game from scratch in 40 hours, using python (source code here).

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Watching The Watchers


October 31, 2005 09:54 PM PST


Check out this article from the excellent SysInternals site on how legitimate companies like Sony install rootkits on your PCs.

When you look at all the effort Mark spent to diagnose and remove the problem, it's no wonder why so many PCs are infected and can't be fixed. There are rootkits that attach themselves to your MBR (master boot record), so even wiping the drive won't make them go away. Hopefully Vista will prevent this sort of abuse from going on, even from companies like Sony.

A book on Windows Rootkits.

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Quake 3 Souce Code Released


August 20, 2005 10:09 PM PST

As you can read here, the source code to Quake 3 has been released. You might be able to get it directly from here, if the link hasn't been slashdoted (it's only about 5.6 MB).

I think this is fantastic news, since I taught myself how to program by typing games, written in BASIC, into my Timex-Sinclair and tweaking them to see what happens. Games today are far too large to do anything like that, so it's great that id provides a way for people to learn game programming from the real thing.

Earlier today, I compiled the code from the provided Visual Studio project file, and ran it with no problems. You have to have an original copy of the game for all the models and levels, since only the source code was released, but it is super easy to run. Just go the directory with the newly built binary and run this from the command line:

./quake3.exe +set fs_cdpath "C:\Program Files\Quake III Arena"

(assuming you installed the retail game in "C:\Program Files\Quake III Arena").

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A Long Lost Friend Returns


July 27, 2005 11:54 PM PST

One of the things I looked forward to when I moved the the U.S. back in 1999 was that the Mountain Dew there had caffeine, and lots of it. Canadian Mountain Dew does not, for some strange reason. My pet theory is that kids tend to drink "colourful" sodas more than colas, and the hyper-caffeinated Dew would blow their energy levels through the roof come Saturday morning.

But, after long coding sessions ("5 in 3", or "how long would it take to have a functional QuickTime failover demo? You have 1 week...") my body was building up resistance to the effects of caffeine from my ever increasing intake of coffee. I needed, as Huey Lewis would say, a new drug.

I found one. While shopping at Larry's Market in Bellevue, I found the wonder drug: Guarana Chai Tea. This stuff is waaay more potent than coffee, without "The Shakes" (you know what I'm talking about) and with a really nice, smooth taste. I wrote a lot of DMS code powered by this stuff, and hence this post's category.

After a few months of drinking this stuff, Larry's decided to stop carrying it. I couldn't find it anywhere, so back to alternating between coffee and Diet Coke. Alas.

Years pass.

Last weekend, shopping at a one of those "upscale" grocery stores in SOMA, I found it again. I can feel my heart skip a beat.

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July 19, 2005 12:31 AM PST

apue.gifW. Richard Stevens wrote the definitive books on Unix and network programming. Probably an entire generation of programmers, regardless of their preferred operating system, have educated themselves from these books.

However, they were getting a little long in the tooth since his unfortunate passing in 1999. Recently, several Unix gurus have stepped up and updated these books, including for Mac OS X.

Especially note the Dilbert comic on the cover.

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Programming Font


March 2, 2005 12:58 AM PST


I've been using a really nice font in Visual Studio, called ProFont. It looks like the old school Mac small font, and it's free here. I found it through Joel On Software's site.

[ Bonus points for noticing the bogus assertion ]

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Coding Style: Part, the first


January 2, 2005 03:04 AM PST

Over the years, I've encountered a number of coding styles from different companies, books and open source projects. I find that I am really picky about coding consistency, and that I get annoyed with code that looks ugly.

Therefore, a brief summary of stuff that I find annoying:

Continue reading "Coding Style: Part, the first"...

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