I've been too busy experiencing things in Nicaragua, New Zealand and now, Australia, to write much down, and I'm a lousy photographer. People have been after me to put up some photos (hi, mom!) of my trip, but what I have is almost universally blurry.
All the best pictures were only taken in my head. Words have been failing to come out for them, too.
I have been sampling the sounds of the world around, and sometimes it comes back out of me as music. I've found a piano almost everywhere I've stayed, some good, some marvellous... and despite the lack of practice some of my older pieces have taken on new life, I suppose focused somewhat more for the exposure to the forests, deserts and beaches I've been going through.
I've had a few days to sit and reflect and sort through the recordings and pull out some stuff. (I'll put links in on this blog entry as I mix them down and upload them)
On my Mom's piano back in florida I recorded a nice version of "Dolphinia" (ogg, mp3).
In a hotel in San Francisco I did an even better version - on this beautiful cherry red piano - happier - (ogg, mp3), as well as a version of "Estonia"(mp3,ogg) that channels Bach to the best of my ability... as well as (to my surprise - because I don't remember playing anything like it) a new piece tenatively called "Just the other day"... (mp3). I have some tentative lyrics for it too, which perhaps I'll publish soon. I had no memory of making this recording at all, but memories came flooding back - the Buddhist Christmas play, the smell of french fries....
We visited the home (Stanwell Park) of Lawrence Hargrave, who would be an open source icon if more people had heard of him. (he's also on the 20 dollar bill here). He wrote:
"Workers must root out the idea that by keeping the results of their labors to themselves a fortune will be assured to them. Patent fees are so much wasted money. The flying machine of the future will not be born fully fledged and capable of a flight for 1000 miles or so. Like everything else it must be evolved gradually. The first difficulty is to get a thing that will fly at all. When this is made, a full description should be published as an aid to others. Excellence of design and workmanship will always defy competition."
Stanwell Park is gorgeous - next to the beach - the greenery and parrots - and I haven't taken a picture yet, except with my zoom h2.
My dream is a simple one... I'd like to be able to send and receive email to my laptop once again, no matter where I am, no matter what networks I'm behind, and send stuff from the command line, while I'm offline. When you think about it, the pop protocol was one of the first steps towards the AOL-ization of the internet, imap4 was a coherently designed successor (stage 2), and gmail the end product of treating the browser as the OS (Stage 3). Gmail has great ease of use. It's downright addictive - and it works everywhere - and it has lousy filtering for when you are on tons of mailing lists - and of course requires that you be online to read it.
I just got off of gmail. I am tired of google having all my (base) mail and spitting ads in my direction. I also (incidentally) got off most of my mailing lists, and am re-reading up on procmail, to my dismay - server side filtering of your mailboxes makes sense, but can't we have invented a better syntax for it by now? :yuck:
Now there are all kinds of solutions to the email-on-the-laptop problem - fetchmail perhaps being the most common - but ideally - in an end to end connected world - I'd merely connect to the internet, update my ipv6 dns record, and mail would start to flow directly into my mailboxes - no imap or pop protocols required. My backup mx forwarder would temporarily store (and filter) my email and all I'd have to do would be to connect, and invisible, non-graphical daemons would take care of the rest.
Apache over ipv6 works, postgres looks like it would work... that's really about it for most of the services I run today. Irc works... Everything works... Maybe a git server I should put up...
So, anyway, I got imap and smtp auth working today so I can regress back to stage 2, and maybe, with a little more work, I can regress back to stage 0 - the way email was supposed to be - direct to my box.
imap works over ipv6 pretty good, as does rsync. Thunderbird tries first to connect to the ipv6 address, fails in 30 sec or so (at present, due to the routing issues below), then rolls over transparently to the ipv4 address.
IPv6's various tunneling mechanisms are giving me heartache, though. Tunnels on hosts where I have control of the routers are no problem - ridiculously easy - but wedging protocol 41 out via 6in4 tunneling hasn't worked on most of the commercial nets I've tried, nor the college where I'm staying at. I tried to setup an alternate mechanism (miredo) but that didn't work on the known public server I was aware of in Australia - and running the miredo server requires two consecutive ipv4 addresses?! on the server - an insane requirement. I'm looking into another method. Failing that I might fallback on openvpn or a derivative...
That gets me to my next bitch of the day - I have two machines here, both with wireless networking, but no access point. I USEd to have a wireless card that could act as an access point, but no longer, and no matter what I've tried ad-hoc mode seems to be broken on this card, too, so I can't get my stinking handheld to talk to my laptop even with an air gap of a few centimeters. Dumb.
And now I'm grumpy about all the captcha I've had to look at today. If I can figure out a way to blog via git I'm all for it.
Went through a whole lot of hell with SSL certs. I'm not going to go into that here.
Got a good buddy to bail me out of that jam, who also sneered at my ipv4 spam stopping setup and laid some seriously heavyweight anti-spam stuff all over it while I slept.
Tested so far has been interactions with gmail and a few friend's mailers running postfix, mostly.
Email over ipv6 works! And because I ignore rbls, email gets through, encrypted, in seconds, rather than minutes. And I haven't seen a single spammer attempt to connect to the ipv6 address.
Nobody cares! Nobody, but nobody, is routing mail over ipv6 but these two servers it seems. Gmail doesn't even try to use starttls, either.
Losing the rbl system is going to hurt.
Now, what I had wanted to do was setup a mx 10 the_ipv6_address and a mx 20 the_ipv4 address, but I ran into issues with the tls certs not working with the different names and I gave up.
The only thoughts I can think of at the moment (it has been a long night filled with other geeky pleasures, like wrestling with and failing at 6in4 tunneling through an apparently stateful firewall)
1) greylisting - with only a weak reliance on the ip address - probably would help in the ipv6 case...
2) Man, dealing with your own email server almost requires a masters degree these days. This stuff used to be easy. Yes, I regarded configuring sendmail, back in the 90s - as EASY. It SHOULD be easy, especially if you are only dealing with 8 email addresses, as I am, but nooo...
3) I'd still like to relay from my laptop in the field, rather than run imap/etc. Get the graphical clients out of this... I broke sending email from clients somewhere along the way last night (I think I need to switch back from sasl to dovecot), which kind of makes all this moot - been sending test mails via the grungy old Mail utility....
3a) getting the voicemail to email gateway to work on the blackfin is looking really hard now.
4) Probably makes sense to "secure by obscurity" the mail server's ipv6 address, and only accept mail on those ipv6 addresses, and rotate them regularly.
5) For ipv6 email, a basic web of trust get established now, with support for revocation of certs, a free crypto infrastructure (verisign charges 2600 dollars for an SSL cert! for a string of numbers! WTF!?), and we repeal the rfc that says MUST NOT on encryption, and make it MUST.
6) Securing other avenues of attack - e.g. via the web - is going to be no picnic either.
I have been rooting for IPv6 to get rolled out for a very, very, very long time. I've hated watching people become landless cyberserfs in cyberspace, and hated seeing IPv4 getting even more entrenched. Sometimes I daydream about what might had happened if we'd managed to get IPv6 rolled out before 1996, in some alternate universe where dhcp need not have existed....
Anyway - if you care about the future of the Internet... and run your own DNS server... and have IPv6 enabled and routable (my providers do) - a small blow into the future can be struck today!
The new named.root file (which is called /etc/bind/db.root on ubuntu) is here. Download it, restart your name server, and you've taken one small step towards upgrading to IPv6.
On one of my test domains, I've started working on moving a whole bunch of basic services over to IPv6 - starting with web, ssh, and email. Web works great, ssh works great, email... well, email is an issue because A) there are very few people running IPv6 mail exchangers (even gmail doesn't!) and B) rbls don't work (making spam a bigger issue).
Solving A), by publishing a pair of mx records, with one being IPv6 and the other being IPv4 - shouldn't break anybody too hard... I think. So that's what I just did. Incoming mail on IPv4 gets rbld, incoming on IPv6 doesn't. I'll watch my logs for a while and see what happens.
Solving B) for email - well, I have a few solutions in mind, all of which require more support than I have at present.
1) I can rotate my ipv6 address for my mail exchanger on a regular basis. arbitrary spammers will never find me, while legitimate mailers that pay attention to dns expiry times will "just work" bwahahahahaa! Flaw of this scheme is that an attacker can use the same technique (which basically negates the usefulness of the rbl lists), so having working reverse dns is a bare minimum for me to even accept attempts at email over ipv6. I'd hoped someone out there had put out a best practices for ipv6 smtp servers document, but nope...
2) Strong crypto of various forms
3) Only accepting authenticated mail for just the domains and users I manage. I wish there was a ring of trust....
It looks like verizon is rolling out IPv6 to businesses by june... which, to me, is to the wrong people. The best way to jump-start IPv6 adoption is to make it available on the wire to home users, first, that know what they are doing - and want to implement things like easy home automation, etc.
Oh brave new world that has such protocols in it! I would dearly like to convince IPsec to work for me... haven't figured out how to do primary dns delegation over ipv6... lots to do.
There's plenty I don't know about IPv6, but at least I know a heck of a lot more about it than I did when I migrated (slowly) off of IPX and Netbui onto TCP back in the early 90s....
So I just took yet another stupid political quiz in the hope I might learn something about myself that I didn't already know... Imagine my shock when John Mccain won - ranked 27 - Followed closely by Mitt Romney at 26 - and - GOD - Mike Huckabee at 24. Obama at 16, and Clinton at 13.
Ron Paul ranked 12.
As usual, the thing I disagree with most is the framing of the questions - although this quiz, at least lets you rank the importance of the questions to you. It didn't seem to make a difference in the results.
What blew my mind about the test was that none of my personal top ranked issues were on it - The overwhelming federal and consumer debt - space - separation of church and state - opposing aristocracy - fixing AMT - reforming copyright and patent law... stuff that would have moved Paul way up on the list, and Huckabee completely off of it.
My responses were littered with "don't care's" - don't care about marriage, abortion, the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts made no difference in my outlook but I DO think the estate tax is a good thing if the low cutoff got raised....
Take the education question, for example: "Should teachers receive merit pay?" Answer 1) this is a no brainer - Sure! - But a far more important question is should students get a quality education at a low cost to them? Nobody answers that question, and college students are piling up debt at record rates for degrees of dubious worth....
I oppose federal funding of stem cell research, in fact, federal funding for almost anything that's not in the constitution - but support - applaud, even - California's attempt to make california a hotbed of research for it.
I didn't like any of the choices presented me on the immigration issue. I would abolish the H1B program - which is indentured servitude of the worst kind - AND make it significantly easier for anyone that's qualified to come to America to live, work, and become a citizen. Encouraging immigration is the only way to keep social security solvent... and the nation fresh and young. I simply don't 'get' why America is so focused on ostracising the world. Someday - soon - Americans will be begging for someone, anyone - to come there and support the crushing debt load. The way things are going, I foresee a massive increase in emigration from the US starting, well, now.... why immigration in a nation of immigrants has to be continually discussed in such negative terms is beyond my ken.
Ethanol subsidies are dumb. The price of corn is shooting up everywhere - and people need corn to eat! Burning food for fuel is like burning books for heat. Worse, people are planting corn intead of barley, and that's driving up the price of beer! I wouldn't mind seeing a federally garunteed market - for solar cells powering federal buildings - but that's about it.
As for gun control, I argue that if you live in a rural area, guns, rifles and shotguns at least - are mandatory - in urban areas, far less so - and that's the source of the conflict. If we could disarm the police, I'd support disarming urban areas... since we can't - well, I tend to think that the possibility of gun institutes a little respect on all sides of the law, so we're stuck with them. I have an interesting story to tell about gun control in Australia that I'll tell when I get the time....
I support the death penalty. Not only that, I'd like to see public embarrassment - stocks in the public square - brought back, especially for white collar offenders.
This is turning out to be another election about issues that I don't care about, that ignores the ones I do care about. I'm not surprised. I'd sit this one out if it weren't so important. My only choice is to continue to try and shift the framing of public discourse towards the problems that need to be solved, which, in addition to feeling like pushing jello uphill, is not something I'm willing to spend a whole lot more time on. I have more important things to do, like finding somewhere other than America to live for a while longer.
But Super Tuesday is tomorrow, and I thought I'd share a little overseas 'live from Australia' thinking. Universally, the election in the US is being reported on as a two person race for the Democrats, and a three man one for the Republicans (no Ron Paul at all). Obama is getting the most press at present, with Hillary being pictured as on the defensive.
From meeting with random "people on the street" - Hillary is the only candidate nearly anyone has heard of - more than one person has asked when she is taking office - and Bush universally hated. Obama got a thumbs down from a taxi driver who also had strong opinions on abos, and until a few days ago, it seems, nobody had really heard of Obama. I haven't met anyone that thinks a Republican has a chance...
Me, I hope Obama wins big tomorrow. If a Democrat has to win the next election, it might as well be one that's not interested in refighting vietnam or woodstock. Maybe the Republican race will stay fluid - I hope it does, but who can tell anything from here?
"This is the kind of debate that will go on--beyond whether a lunar base really makes sense. But manned asteroid missions first--ahead of a lunar base--are drawing strong attention," he says. Hubbard and Friedman are co-hosting the event, along with former astronaut Kathy Thornton, associate dean of the University of Virginia's Science, Technology and Society Dept. Thornton flew on four space shuttle missions, including the initial critical repair of the Hubble Space Telescope in 1993.
The alternative vision would also include far greater private-sector incentives for participation at all levels, an area public surveys cite as very important. Missions to asteroids and Lagrangian points, for example, are likely to carry along Bigelow-type commercial inflatable modules. A recent informal space program survey by The New York Times found substantial public frustration about NASA's doing what entrepreneurs could do better.
Under the alternative concepts, astronauts using an upgraded CEV would initially be sent on long-duration missions, not to the Moon, but to land on asteroids where they would sample terrain perhaps more ancient than the Moon's.
and I remember the image on the left... and the one on the right... and I get motivated again. Well, not exactly motivated. Grimly determined, maybe. Re-resigned to the long haul, perhaps. I think you'll find me in one of these, come Feb 29, with some beer and a sleeping bag.
I have spent the last couple weeks in Adelaide, South Australia - and later in Melbourne, working A/V for linux.conf.au. Next up - perhaps a visit to Darwin - which seems apropos for Asteroid Appreciation Day.