The night before

Posted in Commentary, Musings on December 31st, 2019 by juan

Well, the decade is almost over. I know, not technically, but the 10’s are done for and the 20’s start tomorrow. It’s really hard to believe that not so long ago, we were going to start the new millennium. In many ways, it feels like Y2K was just yesterday. In many other ways, so much has happened. The world is different. We have the most politically divisive administration happening right now. Our borders are tightening and disappearing at the same time (i.e. the wall and the multinational). The Internet is not new, and is in fact a core service – not too different from power.

I’m not going to go political and will likely ruminate on the other changes later. For this one, I’m going to focus on the internet and maybe some predictions:

A dozen years or so ago, when I first started this blog, self hosting was not unheard of, but also not very common. Today, it’s in a similar place, but for different reasons. There’s a ton of services that offer blogging platforms for next to nothing. However, they seem to be ephemeral. Many people are also choosing to use one of the various social networks as their blogging platform. I’m not a fan of those for a number of reasons, but the biggest is the pernicious nature of their monetization. Others have written extensively on that, so I’ll skip the diatribe about being the product. For me, at least, self hosting is eminently more doable and practical now. The cost of storage is essentially zero. Back when this got started, gigs cost real money. Now, TBs are around $15/TB. That means a gig is 1.5 CENTS. A gig of writing will take a lifetime. What’s more amazing is the transfer cost has reached essentially zero as well. I have full symmetric gigabit internet coming into my home via a fiber link. The speed of my blog is nearly instantaneous. Even if I post images, they are automatically optimized by WordPress. If you click on one of them, it’s expanded and even at full resolution sending a 3-4MB image is fractions of a second. That’s nuts.

This same "freeness" of storage and bandwidth has led to an expansion of gizmos and services that are internet connected. I run a moderately complex home network. It includes several automations (lights, garage, doors, alarms, etc.) as well as several voice assistants (Alexa, Siri, etc.). Add up all the gizmos and gadgets and my home now, on average, has about 120+ things with IP addresses on them. That’s nuts. And it’s only going to get crazier. I have a few upgrades planned over the next few weeks that will help me manage that better (switches with better VLAN support, faster storage, etc.). I’ll write about those as I go through them, but in the end, I suspect I’ll be ready for a cambrian explosion of internet things. And I’ll have to worry about security – even more. The fact that I have this bandwidth and all these gizmos means that my attack surface has exploded. The fact that I have to create an enterprise level network to manage it is crazy. The fact that I have to do it with some serious skills and that it’s not been figured out as a simple appliance is crazy. Maybe there’s a business idea in there somewhere.

Anyways. It’s nuts. The last decade has changed many things and the home network is one of them. It’s not what I started to write about, but I’m glad I put it down. Let’s see how I/we adapt to this over the next decade.

And it’s Christmas

Posted in Commentary, Musings on December 25th, 2019 by juan

Santa has been extremely generous this year. The kids are super happy and the lovely Mrs was very surprised by her presents. That’s always a good thing.

For me, the presents were also very nice. However I’m excited about the revival of this blog. The tools available to post are just amazing compared to what I had back when I first did this. WordPress itself has evolved amazingly. Looking forward to playing with that. But the fact that I’m writing this on my phone and will soon be posted to the site is just … well cool. So cool.

Old computers were fast (back then)

Posted in Geekfest, Musings on April 9th, 2012 by juan


I have many vices. One of them is collecting old computers. To me, those are the 8 bit systems that were popular in the late 70’s and early 80’s. This last week, I was able to get a nice collection of Atari 800 and 400 machines from a local craigslist entry. Those are fun machines and bring me back to learning programming for the first time. My first computers was a TRS–80 Model 1, Level 1. However, the first machine I had access to that had “real graphics” was an Atari 800 in the computer lab at my middle school. I loved playing with the graphics and remember learning all sorts of tricks to make it faster.

I got to playing with the Atari’s and typed in some Basic programs just to see the thing do its thing. I remember them being fast back in the day. Well here I am 30 some odd years later with a computer that would seem as something out of a far future world to my little self then (4 processors! 4GB of RAM! 256GB of Solid State Disk! Wireless networking to the world at 50Mbit! Megapixel display with 32bits of color depth/pixel! On my lap! At it weighs less than 2 1/2 LBS! Seriously? That’s can’t possibly be! Oh – and that’s just my laptop. Don’t forget I have a “real” computer too.) Those ATARI’s were not fast.

Being the geek that I am, I had to see how much faster we have it today. I poked around the net for a bit and found an implementation of the Sieve of Eratosthenes on this site. I entered it into my Atari and it did come in at just around 5 1/2 minutes. I had to test it against my current computers, so I downloaded a copy of Chipmunk Basic. It seemed like a fair test to compare an interpreted basic to an interpreted basic. Here’s the basic version I wrote up:

10 dim flag(8191)
15 for a = 1 to 1000
20 count = 0
30 for i = 1 to 8191
40 flag(i)=1
50 next i
60 for i = 0 to 8190
70 if flag(i+1)=0 then goto 150
80 prime = i+i+3
90 k=i+prime
100 if k > 8190 then goto 140
110 flag(k+1)=0
120 k=k+prime
130 goto 100
140 count = count + 1
150 next i
160 rem print count
170 next a
180 print a;"iterations"

The big difference between my version and the ATARI version is that I had to run my version for 1000 iterations for me to get meaningful timings. The results?

[juan:~]$ time basic t.b
1001 iterations
basic t.b  7.63s user 0.00s system 99% cpu 7.639 total

That works out to be that my laptop is about 43,000 times faster than that ATARI. On one core. Let’s see what it’s like on all cores:

[juan:~]$ for i in {1..4}
for> do
for> time basic t.b &
for> done
[2] 30012
[3] 30013
[4] 30015
[5] 30017
[juan:~]$ 1001 iterations
basic t.b  18.80s user 0.03s system 98% cpu 19.029 total
[2]    done       time basic t.b
[juan:~]$ 1001 iterations
basic t.b  18.76s user 0.03s system 98% cpu 19.069 total
[3]    done       time basic t.b
[juan:~]$ 1001 iterations
basic t.b  18.80s user 0.02s system 98% cpu 19.069 total
[5]  + done       time basic t.b
[juan:~]$ 1001 iterations
basic t.b  18.79s user 0.03s system 98% cpu 19.097 total
[4]  + done       time basic t.b

Or roughly 70,000 times faster.

But wait. That site that had the listing for the Basic version also had one for one in Action! (which was a compiled language for ATARI’s). That version ran in about 1.5 seconds according to the Analog article ( I don’t have the Action! package to verify). Well I couldn’t not measure that too. So I wrote a C version of the Sieve. It’s a very dumb version intended to match the basic one as closely as possible:

#include <stdio.h>

int sieve()
  int flag[8192];
  int i,count,k,prime;

  for(i=0;i<8192;i++) {


  for(i=0;i<8190;i++) {
    if (flag[i]) {
      while(k<=8190) {

  return count;

int main()
  int c,i;

  for (i=0;i<=100000;i++)

  printf("found %d, %d times\n",c,i-1);

It turns out that this compiled version is so fast that I had to run is 100,000 times to get measurable results:

[juan:~]$ gcc -O4 t.c -o t
[juan:~]$ time ./t
found 1899, 100000 times
./t  4.17s user 0.00s system 99% cpu 4.177 total

And to do it on all the cores:

[juan:~]$ for i in {1..4}
time ./t &
[2] 30449
[3] 30451
[4] 30452
[5] 30454
[juan:~]$ found 1899, 100000 times
./t  7.44s user 0.01s system 95% cpu 7.832 total
[5]  + exit 25    time ./t
[juan:~]$ found 1899, 100000 times
./t  7.51s user 0.01s system 95% cpu 7.850 total
[3]  - exit 25    time ./t
[juan:~]$ found 1899, 100000 times
./t  7.46s user 0.01s system 94% cpu 7.891 total
[2]  - exit 25    time ./t
[juan:~]$ found 1899, 100000 times
./t  7.49s user 0.01s system 94% cpu 7.897 total
[4]  + exit 25    time ./t

Or roughly about 80,000 times faster.

All that on my laptop while I’m sitting in bed. Running on batteries.

The future is cool.

so I remember

Posted in Commentary, Geekfest, Musings on March 10th, 2011 by juan

One of my clear recollections of my early computer usage was the day that I bought my first hard drive. At 5 MEGA BYTES it seemed a luxury beyond all imagining. It only cost me $3,000.00. In 1980.

Had the same feeling in the mid 80’s when I upgraded my Amiga to 2MB of RAM (remember the sidekick?) and a 40 MB hard drive. It seemed like RAM beyond measure. Storage beyond possible utilization.

In the early 90’s my work gave me a computer with a super high rez screen, UNIX, 4 MB of RAM, and 1GB of hard disk, and a SPARC Based UNIX operating system with INTERNETS. Mere PC’s were useless to me. Imagine the _power_ of my configuration.

In the early 2000’s (naught’s?), my laptop came with dozens and dozens of GB’s of hard disk space, and a Gigabyte of RAM. It used windows, but that’s before OSX became stable.

By the mid 2000’s my laptop had a 17″ screen with super high rez screen, 120 GB’s of hard disk, 1.5 GB of RAM, and UNIXes. Welcome to the vortex of Steve. The power was mind boggling.

In the mid 2010’s my laptop still had a 17″ screen, but hi-rez to a new level, 8GB of RAM, and 500GB of HD. The processor had two cores each of which is nothing less than a super computer.

By the late 2010’s I got the first desktop I’ve used consistently since the early 90’s UNIX workstations. It has a 27″ inch screen, 8 cores of super duper computer horsepower, more RAM than I have used yet (no swap), it’s connected to 20+ TB of storage in my home gigabit network. My DCF has officially exceeded a [LOC](

My current laptop has 128GB of storage, 4GB of RAM, and two cores.

Say what?

What just happened? When did it become a feature for less to be more?

Simple: we have too much juice. All around. What we __can get__ and what we __use__ are worlds apart now.


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Post PC world

Posted in Commentary, Geekfest, Musings on March 6th, 2011 by juan

## It’s about who uses it

So I’ve been ranting about how, for me, the iPad is not the device for content creation. After further reflection, that needs to be revised. I should change my tone because it could be for others. At the iPad 2 introduction The Steve made a point of mentioning that this is the intersection of technology and liberal arts. That’s it. That’s who can use the pad for _creation_. My world is emphatically not liberal arts. My passions all revolve around technology. My work is _all_ technology. Interestingly, my content creation, although putatively creative, is all technology driven. The closest I get to liberal arts is … media consumption. Aha.

Now, the truly creative folks – the artists/authors/painters – they are typically not technology driven. They want something to capture their creative expression in an intuitive way. They could care less about the megaseekels and geegasquirtz. They care that it turns on, they point, and it does. iPad.

I get it.

But not for me.

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boo got shot

Posted in Humor, Musings on February 18th, 2008 by juan

Neal Boortz ( is a nationally syndicated radio show host based out of Atlanta. Amongst many other things, he is the author and main proponent of the fair tax law movement. Those of you not familiar with this, I strongly encourage you to read through this. Well, Neal is also a funny man. A few years ago he and his crew took an interview of a local crime witness and “translated” it for the rest of us. Well, I just found this animated version of it. Enjoy:

Boo Got Shot – AnimationThe most amazing videos are a click away

mental sausage

Posted in Commentary, Geekfest, Musings on February 14th, 2008 by juan

Merlin Mann might be one of the funniest, but also most insightful people ever. He recently made available the presentation he gave at MacWorld. In this brilliant presentation, he talks about how to keep our time and attention focused. He also gave me another reason to buy a domain name –

Check out the presentation:

get better at shooting with the wheel (redux)

Posted in Commentary, Musings on February 12th, 2008 by juan

While sitting on a boring con call, I went ahead and re-did the shooting wheel into a PDF. This is a nice big sheet version of this so that you can take it to the range with you. This is a great tool to improve handgun shooting accuracy.

 Shooting Wheel

SSD’s are going enterprise

Posted in Commentary, Geekfest, Musings on January 25th, 2008 by juan

Hot on the heels of Mac announcing that there’s going to be a an SSD option to their Mac Air, comes the news that EMC is going to offer SSD’s on the Symmetrix: StorageMojo » EMC’s new flash drives. Can’t wait to see what a fully loaded all SSD Symm runs for. My guess is the GNP of Guatemala. However, it should smoke just about anything out there. Finally a good use for all those fancy 4 and 8Gb Fibre HBA’s everyone’s been buying.

macbook pro here!

Posted in Commentary, Geekfest, Musings on January 26th, 2007 by juan

First of many updates. I promise to do one on the migration process from the PowerBook to the MacBook. That’s an un-believable thing.

However, this update is on a nerd speed thing. I downloaded John the Ripper, my traditional test of speed on new computers. Just wanted to see where the new box stood. Here’s the basic results of three machines I have at home. All three of these are the output of “john –test”:

Test on a MacBook Pro (2.33GHz Core Duo):
Benchmarking: Traditional DES [128/128 BS SSE2]… DONE
Many salts: 1961K c/s real, 1976K c/s virtual
Only one salt: 1628K c/s real, 1635K c/s virtual

Benchmarking: BSDI DES (x725) [128/128 BS SSE2]… DONE
Many salts: 63846 c/s real, 64361 c/s virtual
Only one salt: 62233 c/s real, 62735 c/s virtual

Benchmarking: FreeBSD MD5 [32/32]… DONE
Raw: 6359 c/s real, 6397 c/s virtual

Benchmarking: OpenBSD Blowfish (x32) [32/32]… DONE
Raw: 388 c/s real, 391 c/s virtual

Benchmarking: Kerberos AFS DES [48/64 4K MMX]… DONE
Short: 308531 c/s real, 309770 c/s virtual
Long: 825344 c/s real, 828658 c/s virtual

Benchmarking: NT LM DES [128/128 BS SSE2]… DONE
Raw: 9090K c/s real, 9144K c/s virtual

Test on a Powerbook G4 1.6GHz:
Benchmarking: Traditional DES [128/128 BS AltiVec]… DONE
Many salts: 614247 c/s real, 785738 c/s virtual
Only one salt: 601600 c/s real, 719617 c/s virtual

Benchmarking: BSDI DES (x725) [128/128 BS AltiVec]… DONE
Many salts: 25856 c/s real, 27216 c/s virtual
Only one salt: 20403 c/s real, 26429 c/s virtual

Benchmarking: FreeBSD MD5 [32/32 X2]… DONE
Raw: 4187 c/s real, 4408 c/s virtual

Benchmarking: OpenBSD Blowfish (x32) [32/32]… DONE
Raw: 284 c/s real, 301 c/s virtual

Benchmarking: Kerberos AFS DES [24/32 4K]… DONE
Short: 110284 c/s real, 117825 c/s virtual
Long: 308889 c/s real, 325146 c/s virtual

Benchmarking: NT LM DES [128/128 BS AltiVec]… DONE
Raw: 5263K c/s real, 5551K c/s virtual

Test on PIII 800MHz “server”:
Benchmarking: Traditional DES [24/32 4K]… DONE
Many salts: 65024 c/s
Only one salt: 52434 c/s

Benchmarking: BSDI DES (x725) [24/32 4K]… DONE
Many salts: 1790 c/s
Only one salt: 1423 c/s

Benchmarking: FreeBSD MD5 [32/32]… DONE
Raw: 1450 c/s

Benchmarking: OpenBSD Blowfish (x32) [32/32]… DONE
Raw: 92.1 c/s

Benchmarking: Kerberos AFS DES [24/32 4K]… DONE
Short: 56941 c/s
Long: 130843 c/s

Benchmarking: NT LM DES [32/32 BS]… DONE
Raw: 805506 c/s

So – the basic math works out to what Apple claims. MacBook is roughly 3X speed of PowerBook. And roughly 30X the speed of the PIII server! F’ing cool.

As an aside – I remember being extremely proud of at one point around 1991 making a Sun Sparc1 workstation run the Crypt routines at roughly 1,400 crypts/second. New MacBook is … 1,400 times faster. What 15 years gets us, huh?