Showing posts from June, 2011

Pacino on Pacino - Impressions after seeing the great actor on May 20, 2011 at the Durham Performing Arts Center (DPAC)

First Impressions: When he first comes out one's struck by how short he is. You don't necessarily expect him to be tall, but he's shorter than you expected. A second impression is that if you had to cast a Keith Richards role in a film or on stage, Pacino would clearly be your guy. The impish smile, the wrinkled visage, the swagger - it's all there. New York Origins: Pacino says he's from South ("Sout") Bronx and then moved to Greenwich Village later in while in his 20s. He's obviously a New Yorker through and through - you hear a lot of "Dese" and "Dose" and he's spent a lifetime watching the denizens of New York under his actor's microscope. He's obviously played a lot of New Yorkers over the years. Being a New Yorker informs his world view - he has that particular mix of cynicism, world weariness, optimism and delight at the passing human parade that I think you especially find in New York. Needless to say h

SSH with port forwarding for VNC sessions

The problem:                | Client   ------|--- SSH server -----  VNC server                |             firewall (Of course this doesn't really have to be VNC - it could be any application such as web, mail etc.). We'd like to access the VNC server by establishing a tunnel via the SSH server. (Note, the way VNC handles display numbers is that it constructs ports as offsets from the base port number of 5901. Thus VNC display :6 is mapped to port 5906.) Let be the ip address of the VNC server. Let be the ip address of the SSH server. Connect to the SSH server which in turn connects to the VNC server. Here we are making VNC server port 5906 (display :6 in VNC terms) available locally as port 9999.             ssh -L   9999:  username@           When asked you supply the password to the SSH server.      2. Use the VNC client program to connect to the localport - in this case 9999. Do this from another xterm or

Perl - easy way to get 64 bit containers (and beyond) - bigint, bignum.

You can pretty much do anything you want in Perl but sometimes the trick is to do it easily and with a minimum of hassle. I often use Perl scripts to parse output I've taken from embedded applications. If the embedded application uses 64 bit values and you want to do arithmetic operations on those values (shifts, masks, add, multiplies, divides) Perl will by default assume 32 bit containers and you won't get the answer you want. Solution: use bigint;      or   use bignum; Use the first if you need integer representations and the second if you need floating point behavior (I needed to calculate some percentages which required me to use bignum.) The beauty is one line of perl code and you're done - no complicated libraries, no getting modules from CPAN, just simplicity itself. Maybe most folks already know this but it was new to me so I thought I'd share. Apparently you're not limited to 64 bits either - I have not tested this however. My perl version wa

Quicken for Windows - "One Step Update" hangs

As a longtime Quicken for Windows user,  I've been plagued by this problem for years.  You click "One Step Update" to update all of your online accounts and all operations complete but the dialog box goes into what seems to be an infinite loop and the only way I could find to stop it was to kill the process. Fortunately this never resulted in any lost data, or database corruption but then on the other hand, it's pretty awful engineering to sell a program that  requires a kill signal to be sent to terminate a normal operation. Of course Intuit claims that if there's a problem it's with anything other than their program.  They advise to check your internet connection, contact your Financial Institutions (FI's in Quickenspeak) - all the usual crap - instead of fixing their obviously defective software. Not to mention that Intuit's response is absurd on its face. A program just shouldn't hang - regardless of cause. If something is wrong with the c