The Boston Diaries

The ongoing saga of a programmer who doesn't live in Boston, nor does he even like Boston, but yet named his weblog/journal “The Boston Diaries.”

Go figure.

Tuesday, October 29, 2002


‘It's long,’ said the Knight, ‘but very, very beautiful. Everybody that hears me sing it—either it brings the tears into their eyes, or else—’

‘Or else what?’ said Alice, for the Knight had made a sudden pause.

‘Or else it doesn't, you know. The name of the song is called “Haddocks' Eyes.”’

‘Oh, that's the name of the song, is it?’ Alice said, trying to feel interested.

‘No, you don't understand,’ the Knight said, looking a little vexed. ‘That's what the name is called. The name really is “The Aged Aged Man.”’

‘Then I ought to have said “That's what the song is called”?’ Alice corrected herself.

‘No, you oughtn't: that's quite another thing! The song is called “Ways And Means”: but that's only what it's called, you know!’

‘Well, what is the song, then?’ said Alice, who was by this time completely bewildered.

‘I was coming to that,’ the Knight said. ‘The song really is “A-sitting On A Gate”: and the tune's my own invention.’

Chapter VIII, Through the Looking Glass, by Lewis Carroll

I feel a bit like Alice right now.

It stems from an email conversation Mark and I have had over the past few days about a new feature he's adding to Seminole which got derailed over namespaces.

The realm that Mark works in is one that is vastly different than the one I work in. His realm, for example: take the source code to the Linux kernel, add it the source code to X Windows and Mozilla and get it to work. As a monolithic whole. Under a single (read: flat) namespace (source code wise).

Okay, so that's not exactly what he does, but he does work on embedded systems and as he says, his current project with 800,000 unique names is small compared to what he's worked with before.


I would be amazed if everybody in Miami has a truely unique name, and that's a namespace of 400,000.

More on this later, when I return from behind the looking glass …


Chrysler: What is the name of this court?

Counsel: This is No 5 Court.

Chrysler: No, that is the number of this court. What is the name of this court?

Via Flutterby, High court hang-ups

Speaking of names

This has to be one of the oddest court cases I've come across. Not only did the defendant (Mr. Chrysler) steal over 40,000 hotel coat hangers, his testimony is straight from Monty Python:

Judge: Shut up, witness.

Chrysler: Willingly, m'lud. It is a pleasure to be told to shut up by you. For you, I would …

Judge: Shut up, witness. Carry on, Mr Lovelace.

Counsel: Now, Mr Chrysler—for let us assume that that is your name—you are accused of purloining in excess of 40,000 hotel coat hangers.

Chrysler: I am.

Counsel: Can you explain how this came about?

Chrysler: Yes. I had 40,000 coats which I needed to hang up.

Counsel: Is that true?

Chrysler: No.

Counsel: Then why did you say it?

Chrysler: To attempt to throw you off balance.

The transcript of the trial (it's not very long) is very funny, in that British Monty Pythonesque way …

Naming names

Well that was certainly painful.

I wrote the previous entry only to have some of it show up. Odd, I thought. It's never done that before. Of course, I had just updated the codebase to support more more <META> tags (DC.Date.Updated and WMDI.LastUpdateType if you're curious) so the code did change just prior to the previous entry, even though I did a test and it shouldn't have affected the addition of new entries (shouldn't).

Throw the code under the debugger and place a stopping point jusr prior to the program exiting, then run.

It's exiting normally. Only it's getting a partial entry.

Now, when I cut-n-paste the excerpt, it did pick up a few characters that gave my editor fits but I thought I had gotten fixed that. Check the contents of the entry (as I sent it) and it's all ASCII—no funny characters at all. I even retype the lines around where it's failing and still it's not getting everything.

And that's when I see the problem:

<class="…" href="…">

It should have read:

<a class="…" href="…">

My HTML parser was bailing out on bad input. Sigh.

Fix the text (which is easier than fixing the code) and try again. Test goes fine. When I go resubmit the entry for real it crashes.

Insert primal scream.

Think think think think think

Okay, I submit entries via email. The email system feeds the email (in RFC-822 format to the submission program. When testing, I fed the entry the same was as the email system. When mailing, I was sendind my test file, which included a duplicate set of email headers! Which my program couldn't deal with—or rather, it dealt with it by crashing.


Mispelled names

Now that all that mess is cleared up, I can get back to the original entry I was planning on writing.

When doing a search for Monty Python for the previous previous entry I mistyped the query as “Monty Pythong.”

I was amazed when I found plenty of Monty Pythong sites

Finding names

I'm reading the Slashdot article about Curious Yellow, a theoretical superworm, when I come across this post about an increase in NetBIOS probes. Curious, I decide to check the firewall here at the Facility in the Middle of Nowhere to see just how bad it is.

From September 29th starting at 6:11 am, to now, at 7:06 pm, 92% of all rejected packets have been NetBIOS probes (14,379 out of 15,563); about one every three minutes or so. Not quite twice a day as the post says, but still, not a good thing.

Reading further, it may be due to the Opaserv worm.


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[“I am NOT a number, I am … a Q-CODE!”]

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