johnk's blog

Strong Typing and Dynamic

I've been dabbling in Haskell, which is a strongly typed functional language.

Guantanamo Bay, Cuba

This is a map of Cuba and Guantanamo Bay NAS.

Sarah Palin Pork Barrel Calculator

Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin has recently been criticized for her pork-barrel spending. This web-calculator helps you figure out how extreme she is. (Calculator is on the full story.)

Purchasing Recommendations

This is my strictly commercial page. There are some links on here that pay off with an affiliate kickback, but these are genuine recommendations.

Playing the Subway Scrabble Contest on Linux (by Changing the User Agent String)

I wanted to play the Subway Fresh Buzz Scrabble game, but the problem was, the website didn't support Linux.

Rearranging RAID 10 disks on a CERC 1.5/6ch

I recently posted this question on Experts Exchange. I'm still lost on this one. The CERC docs don't discuss how the controller makes decisions about how to build the array.

Possum Living - what a great book!

This is a fun book for hard-working "lazy" cheapskates.

Not Quite

I don't know what it is with college students these days. They were pretty illiterate when I went to school, but, today, they're displaying their ignorance online.

Learn Capitalism: Bank Implode-O-Meter

The Bank Implode-O-Meter is an interesting way to learn captialism: by watching it fail. This sector blog/news/community is crazy.

Lazy Evalutation in PHP (sorta)

This is a nice little example that will show you how to do something really useful and cool. It'll also show you how PHP kinda sucks:


function f( $x )
        say("function f called with $x...");
        return create_function( '', " return quote('$x'); ");

function quote( $s )
        say('quote called...');
        return '***'.$s.'***';


$x = f( 'hello, world' );

say('$x defined as '.$x.'...');

print $x();

///// utility funcs
function say( $s ) { echo $s.'

'; }

The results look like this:


function f called with hello, world...

$x defined as �lambda_6...

quote called...

***hello, world***

Anti-Microsoft Post to Tech Republic

There was a thread on TR lionizing Bill Gates. As usual, a lot of incorrect information was being spread about the Richest Man On Earth. I had to post this corrective:

Gates and Microsoft have had some legal problems.

In the late 90s, there was the "permanent independent contractor" problem, when ICs and temps were working at MS for years, inside their offices, during regular business hours. This was against the law. (If you're in this situation, your "client" aka "boss" is breaking the law.)

See Vizcaino v. Microsoft.

Newtown, Portsmouth, Virginia, USA

Stolen from tje Washington Post

Portsmouth, Va.: An Olde but a Goody

By Diane Daniel
Special to The Washington Post
Wednesday, March 26, 2008; Page C02

My Aunt Margaret was aghast. A couple of years ago, I introduced her to a friend and mentioned that she and my mother had grown up in Norfolk.

"Portsmouth!" Aunt Margaret barked. She was used to people getting the two confused or, more often, simply overlooking Portsmouth for larger and wealthier Norfolk. But her own niece?

Solar Tips

I'm not a solar pro, or even a fan, but my friend asked about solar power generation. He's got it in his head to get a PV array to save money and maybe make money.


Here's what I told him:

  1. First, reduce energy consumption by conserving power.
  2. Second, solar water heating pays back faster than solar electricity. Get that first.
  3. Third, before getting a solar array, see what appliances can be replaced with DC-power equivalents, or natural gas powered equivalents, and what they cost. Plan the PV purchase around these upgrades. You lose energy when DC is converted to AC (and then back to DC in the electronic appliance).
  4. Fourth, get the panels in, and start buying the upgrades.

Routers Hacked via Browser

This is uncool: Router hacked through a web browser.

A page will log into your router and force an update with a bad firmware. The only fix would be to reload good firmware, and then fix your router to be less hackable.

I just started on a network where the router had been hacked, but only inasmuch as the DNS was pointing to a nameserver that resolved bad addresses to a Ukrainian search engine.

HSA, MSA, FSA, Medicare

Last year was pretty heavy with medical expenses, so here's a compilation of links to reading material about the current government health care services.

First, some inspirational/depressing informatin, "Doggedly Persistent, Untying Medicare Knots for the Elderly from the NYT.

FSA - Flexible Spending Account - a savings account that will give you a debit card to pay for copays, drugs and other medical things. It saves money, but, you need to spend the total amount saved every year. You also need to turn in receipts.

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