Category Archives: geek links


a while ago, i came across this word in a web-comic that i read all the time. it was in a joke about librarians who were in the process of being stereotypical stoners, and i thought it was just a joke — and, as “just a joke”, it was a pretty good one — but little did i know…


apparently there is an item called “flong” — sometimes called an “ad-mat” or “advertising matrix” in the newspaper business — which is a paper mould used to make stereotypes… which are called “clichés” in French, because it’s onomotapoetic for the sound produced when they’re made. 🤣

pieces of flong
pieces of flong

i should have known that, even in web comics (possibly, especially in web comics) when librarians make jokes, they make jokes by which even the professionals are impressed. 😎 😉 👍

also, i think i want a refund on this life. i’m almost 60 years old, i have been a typesetter for almost 40 of those years, and i have only recently discovered flongs: this is UNACCEPTABLE! 😠


CIDR notation is used when you’re talking about blocks of IP addresses. it’s the part of the IPv4 address — the “dotted quad” — where there’s a slash, followed by a number between 0 and 32, which represents a block of IPv4 addresses that are all related to each other. the common ones that i see all the time are /24 — which is 256 addresses, from A.B.C.0 to A.B.C.255 — and /16, which is A.B.0.0 to A.B.255.255 or 216 addresses. i’ve also seen references to /18, which is 214 addresses, but i don’t completely understand what delineates them in the /18 case — or many other cases, for that matter, it’s just that /24 and /16 have relatively visible end-points for people who don’t really understand… 😉

following that subject, i just recently encountered a block — /23 or 2562 (512) addresses — and i wondered what it was, so i looked it up, and while i was reading about it, moe came up behind me and commented that CIDR plugs are used to synchronize the œstrus of livestock animals

ETA 190208: i have, since, encountered /11, /19, /21, and /28, which is beginning to bring about my understaning where the delineations are.


if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it

a wise old linux guru told me this, a few years ago, and i’ve found myself smack in the middle of what happens when you follow that maxim… and it doesn’t feel entirely comfortable, at this point.

i have been happily running kubuntu trusty since 2014, which means that, now, there are TWO LTS releases to bring me up to date… Bionic Beaver, and the interim release, Xenial Xerus, which had some notable problems that were notable enough that i decided that… IF IT AIN’T BROKE, DON’T FIX IT.

now, i’ve actually heard some good things about the new LTS release, and, strangely enough, Amarok broke about two weeks ago (and the amarok user list has gone quiet the past few months, which makes me wonder who to contact), so i’ve been having to resort to qmmp to play music… so i decided to upgrade.

i’ve had some AWFUL experiences upgrading operating systems, and linux is no exception. the last time i upgraded linux, it took me three days to get my computer back. in an attempt to avoid that possibility this time, i have finished uploading my ENTIRE /home directory to the cloud, and am in the process of uploading my ENTIRE music collection to the cloud.

then, on the advice of the linux gurus over at Kubuntu Forums (who have saved my ass more than once), i’m going to go out and get a 2TB SSD on which to install bionic.

the only problem is that i still am not completely sure that my email is going to transfer, because i know that kontact was one of the notable problems i read about with xenial that made me want to avoid upgrading… and i’m not sure the standard “back up everything including the hidden directories from /home” is going to work this time, because i’ve heard that bionic uses something other than akonadi, which was, apparently, the source of the problems with xenial… which would mean that potentially i could lose 7 years worth of email and contact information. 😒

so, we’ll just have to see how it goes… 😐

unicode geekery

the most current version of UNICODE, (v.7.0) has an emoticons block, which has, predictably, been incorporated into the most recent versions of your most popular operating systems in your most popular “mobile devices” (i.e. cell phones, tablets, etc.)…

but, because of the fact that they’re emoticons, i.e. pictures, rather than words, the interpretation of the emoticons in this block is, apparently, open to wild speculation about what they actually “mean” or “represent”…

which makes things A LOT more confusing, rather than clearing things up, as emoticons were intended to do…

for example, U+1F624 FACE WITH LOOK OF TRIUMPH looks like this, according to UNICODE:


looks like this in Mac OsX and iOS:


and, honestly, to me it looks like a “haughty” face rather than a “triumphant” one… either that, or it’s someone with an outrageous mustache…

another one that is even more confusing is U+1F632 ASTONISHED FACE, which looks like this, according to UNICODE:


and looks like this in Mac OsX and iOS:


which looks to me like a DEAD face… seriously, why don’t they make his eyes OPEN and not X-ed out… 😐

and then we get into non-real (for people in the west, anyway) glyphs, such as U+1F472 MAN WITH GUA PI MAO, which is in the “Miscellaneous Symbols and Pictographs” block and NOT the “Emoticons” block — a confusing aspect that is shared by a lot of the other “emoticons” in the version of unicode that the general public uses — which looks like this:


and in iOS it looks like this


i guess it is somewhat more understandable if you know that GUA PI MAO is a type of Chinese skullcap, but even knowing that doesn’t make it particularly useful to a western person…

and a lot of the things that pass for emoticons, but are something else, according to the UNICODE standard, are weirder than that… for example, the world-famous U+1F4A9 PILE OF POO, which, according to UNICODE, looks like this:


and, according to apple, looks like this:


i can think of a few select circumstances where the PILE OF POO glyph might be actually useful, and a whole bunch more that would definitely be silly, but why it got included in UNICODE is so far beyond my understanding that i am totally baffled.


Shellshock: ‘Larger scale attack’ on its way, warn securo-bods

Apple FINALLY patches the ‘don’t worry’ Bash Shellshock vuln

Apple Releases Patches for Shellshock Bug

Every Mac Is Vulnerable to the Shellshock Bash Exploit: Here’s How to Patch OS X
— i upgraded from v.3.2.51(1) to v.3.2.53(1) according to their directions for pre-mavericks computers, and, according to the test i posted last week the system is no longer “vulnerable”, but, because of the fact that it doesn’t actually give a response other than “this is a test”, i can’t tell for sure whether or not they’ve actually patched shellshock, or whether they have just turned off the error message… it would be really nice if i could just upgrade to the current GNU release, which is v.4.3… this is why i am no longer a mac-head… 😐

Apple patches "Shellshock" Bash bug in OS X 10.9, 10.8, and 10.7