Weird Network Fault Due to Unknown thing on the End of the Wire

I was called in to help fix a network that had been discombobulated. I didn't end up fixing it, but one staffer there did the trick by disconnecting a switch with a bunch of wires plugged into it.

Using Muriatic Acid (Pool Acid) to Clean the Toilet

We're in full drought mode in LA, and that means we follow the eleventh comandment: if it's yellow, let it mellow, and if it's brown, flush it down.

Salsa Petition Counts with Scrapy the Python Web Scraper

I was feeling like crap, so after taking the day off and taking a nap, I spent several hours learning Scrapy. Scrapy is a pretty awesome website scraper. This example logs into a website, extracts some data, and stores it locally.

CSS Hints for Technoids Who Forgot to Learn CSS

This article is being rewritten. If you want the latest, contact johnk at this domain.

The original was written: 2004-11-18 03:16:46 -0700.

Here's a bit of the article:

Dang, but it took me forever to learn CSS. Maybe I should have used a book. Here, I'm going to share with you the hard-found knowledge, presented using technical programmer jargon. (Revised in 2014.)

What is Cascading Style Sheets (CSS)? The typical answer is that it's a way to separate the way a page looks from the the underlying HTML, which describes the structure of the document.

Radeon R5 230 on Ubuntu Linux 13

It works. Haven't bought a graphics card since the mid 1990s, but did this because Gnome 3 feels a lot smoother with some extra cycles and memory. All the eyecandy effects now seem to run at around 20 fps, and the colors are nicer. Before, they were more like 10 fps and jumpy. This shows up in lspci as VGA compatible controller: Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. [AMD/ATI] Caicos [Radeon HD 6450/7450/8450]. Seems to be a bit of a power hog, but it doesn't use a fan, so it's not going to burn too much coal.

CSS Stylesheet Switcher Widget

This snippet of code can be modified and used to change the stylesheet on your page. I set it up to work against a layout extracted from Salsa, but it should work on generic pages. It's good for demos, discussions about a layout, trying different colors, etc.

Inviting Pope Francis to Los Angeles

I'm working on this at work - using CSS to alter Salsa's rigid layouts. :/ Yeah, it's here because I wasn't in on the issue of building backlinks.

Inviting Pope Francis to Los Angeles

Wrapper to Execute sendmail (or qmail-inject) for Web Apps

This is yet another sendmail wrapper to help detect webmail scripts that might be spamming. It's designed for the qmail with the QMAILQUEUE path, and the qmail-qfilter filter framework.

Tiny Javascript Cookie Library

This is one of those "why bother with an external library" moments. Mostly copied from MDN.

Remote Syslog on Ubuntu for Zywall USG-50

Fire up Linux. I used Ubuntu, but Debian should be similar. Ubuntu comes stock with rsyslogd. It's almost ready to go, except that it doesn't have ports open to accept rsyslog messages.

TPCalc for Android

A while back, I made a little program called TPCalc to do one of my favorite mundane activities, which is to determine the best price for toilet paper at

LastPass and Yubikey

LastPass is a password management add-on for web browsers and mobile phones.

Creating Email Messages with Clickable Links that Add Events to Your Calendar

This is a research node to find out the best ways to create email messages that contain event information, so that the user can easily create a calendar item.

The stock advice is to use .ics files, yet I don't see many event publishers using .ics files. Instead, I see people using well-formatted text, which gets automatically linked by email clients. I'll look at both methods.


Courier IMAP and POP3D Certificate Chains in PEM files

It wasn't entirely clear to me how to deal with these low-cost SSL certificates like the Comodo Positive CA SSL certificate. They come to you with several CRT files.

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