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.

Sunday, January 01, 2017

What? You mean 2017 has finally started?

It's hard to come up with new and clever messages on New Year's Day, especially when half of them are about our crazy neighbor across the street attempting to blow himself up, and the other half are complaining about the lack of diversity in my New Year's Day messages. That gets old pretty quick. So let me cut to the chase and simply say:


Thursday, January 05, 2017

Bad airline! Bad! No beignets for you!


Time, 1:47 am.

My phone, ringing.

♫Viva Las Vegas! Viva Las Vegas!♫

Ah, it's Hoade. I'm supposed to leave in four hours to pick him up at the airport so we can drive to Wizard World Comic Con New Orleans. But something came up, and in a ten minute rambling and somewhat incoherent story, it was clear that we were not going to New Orleans.

A much better description came later from his post to MyFaceGoogleBookPlusSpace:

So this happened. Flying to New Orleans Wizard World by way of San Francisco (which is conveniently right between Las Vegas and Anchorage). Seeing that I had a very short window to make my connection, the nice lady got me on a slightly earlier flight.

Which then sat on the tarmac for an hour and four minutes. The first plane got in early. We were so late there was no flight available for me until it was going to be too late to make the Con. And apparently there was "weather" in the San Francisco area, so the airport was a madhouse of panic and recrimination.

I am now back home in Las Vegas. Comfy, but not exactly remunerative. And I missed hanging out with Best Friend Unit Sean Conner. And I had to cancel my appearance at a Con for the first time ever.

Ugh. At least the airline people were very nice and are giving me a refund. I guess I have no choice but to do some writing to take up the time. All is well and all manner of things shall be well … if a bit annoying sometimes.

Sean Hoade on GoogleMyFacePlusSpaceBook

Well, that bites. No beignets for us.

Saturday, January 07, 2017

“Every time the shipper takes away a pallet from the shipping room, the server times out within two seconds.”

Last year at my job we had a pretty severe problem just as unexplainable.

The day after an unscheduled closing (hurricane), I started getting calls from users complaining about database connection timeouts. Since I had a very simple network with less than 32 nodes and barely any bandwidth in use, it was quite scary that I could ping to the database server for 15- 20 minutes and then get "request timed out" for about 2 minutes. I had performance monitors etc. running on the server and was pinging the server from multiple sources. Pretty much every machine except the server was able to talk to the others constantly. I tried to isolate a faulty switch or a bad connection but there was no way to explain the random yet periodic failures.

I asked my coworker to observe the lights on a switch in the warehouse while I ran trace routes and unplugged different devices. After 45-50 minutes on the walkie-talkie with him saying "ya it's down, ok it's back up," I asked if he noticed any patterns. He said, "Yeah… I did. But you're going to think I'm nuts. Every time the shipper takes away a pallet from the shipping room, the server times out within 2 seconds." I said "WHAT???" He said "Yeah. And the server comes back up once he starts processing the next order."

Via Hacker News, chime comments on The case of the 500-mile email

This is every bit as amusing as the 500-mile email and shows that bugs can be very hard to debug, especially when they aren't caused by bug-ridden code.

I'm fortunate in that I've never had to debug such issues.

Sunday, January 08, 2017

Some random facts of the day, for no reason at all

Today is the birthday of the Sagacious Leader of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Kim Jong Un. Sharing his birthday today is Bob Eubanks and even more amusingly, Graham Chapman, a little known comedian who worked on an obscure British television show from the early 70s (an odd, but enjoyable show—I'll understand if you've never heard of it).

Notes on an overheard conversation at a high end restaurant in Boca Raton

“And here is your table.”

“Thank you.”

“Are you satisfied with the white linen, or would you prefer to have black linen?”

“I'm sorry, what?”

“Would you prefer the white linen or the black linen?”

“White … black … ? Um … ”

“The white linen is fine.”

“Thank you. Enjoy your meal.”

“What was that all about?”

“The napkins. They wanted to know if we prefered using white or black napkins.”

“But why?”

“In case the white napkins clashed with our clothing.”

“I've never encountered anything like that before.”

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

To be fair, Trump doesn't want to kill his own Vice President

A real-estate-rich, thin-skinned, temperamental, yet charismatic celebrity who runs a tell-it-like-it-is political campaign attacking corrupt elites and promising a better life for the common man is accused of being unfit to serve, but after slogging through a mud-slinging campaign, complicated by sex scandals and an electoral college kerfuffle, he shocks the establishment and thrills his supporters by thrashing his more- experienced opponent and winning the ultimate prize—the highest office in the land.

Introducing the President of the United States. . . Andrew Jackson?

Via Instapundit, Is Donald Trump a Modern-Day Andrew Jackson? | Observer

This is an interesting comparison between two US Presidents (technically, a former US President and a US Presidential Elect). Five promises of Jackson that mirror what Trump promised are covered and it shows we could be in for some fun.

Now the real question is—does Trump follow Jacksonian diplomacy?

Mead goes on to explain the political tradition that underlies this ferocity, which he names after President Andrew Jackson. Jacksonians, Mead argues, view America as a country that just wants to be left alone. They have little interest in the “Hamiltonian” project of prying other countries open to American commerce or the “Wilsonian” project of spreading democracy and liberty across the globe. But when attacked, especially by what they consider dishonorable foes, Jacksonians believe that “wars must be fought with all available force. The use of limited force is deeply repugnant.”

Donald Trump and America's Jacksonian Tradition - The Atlantic

Fun times indeed.

You thought I was joking when I said that Microsoft is a bank with a hobby in software

In other words, Yahoo became a Wall Street mutual fund who inexplicably also offered web mail and cat videos.

Errata Security: No, Yahoo! isn't changing its name

I just wanted to quote that one line.

It's that epiphany when you realize you went to high school with someone you see on television

So I'm watching some videos on YouTube when a commercial for Orchard Supply and Hardware pops up.

Hey, I recognize that voice! I think.

[Do you have a birdhouse that's like a cute little lake cottage with a decorative field stone fireplace?]

Hey! I think, I recognize her face! I went to high school with her!

That's not something that happens too often. And it's nice to know that Laura has had success with her Thespian skills.

Obligatory Picture

[The future's so bright, I gotta wear shades]

Obligatory Contact Info

Obligatory Feeds

Obligatory Links

Obligatory Miscellaneous

You have my permission to link freely to any entry here. Go ahead, I won't bite. I promise.

The dates are the permanent links to that day's entries (or entry, if there is only one entry). The titles are the permanent links to that entry only. The format for the links are simple: Start with the base link for this site:, then add the date you are interested in, say 2000/08/01, so that would make the final URL:

You can also specify the entire month by leaving off the day portion. You can even select an arbitrary portion of time.

You may also note subtle shading of the links and that's intentional: the “closer” the link is (relative to the page) the “brighter” it appears. It's an experiment in using color shading to denote the distance a link is from here. If you don't notice it, don't worry; it's not all that important.

It is assumed that every brand name, slogan, corporate name, symbol, design element, et cetera mentioned in these pages is a protected and/or trademarked entity, the sole property of its owner(s), and acknowledgement of this status is implied.

Copyright © 1999-2024 by Sean Conner. All Rights Reserved.