spz: (Default)
One way to deal with it.

Another that also works is realizing that all the rest are also just fumbling along. Everybody is not perfect. And you may be pretty good at faking it by now. :)

I find that never making mistakes isn't the skill to strive for; being able to notice a mistake and recover from it is a lot more useful. It takes a lot of practice (at making mistakes, and fixing them) to develop it, too.

Confidence, for me, doesn't come from never getting anything wrong. Because I will be distracted or working from a wrong hypothesis, and it will be a mess. It comes from believing (from sufficient experience) that I can fix it if it goes pear-shaped.
spz: (Default)

While looking online for a cable for my husband (I have the credit card, I get to order stuff online), I happened upon the bonebox from adafruit, and decided that it was too cute and I should get one.

With content, of course.

Things bought so far:

  • BeagleBone Black board (comes with a normal-to-mini USB cable that also serves as power supply)
  • bonebox
  • power supply (for when I connect a USB disk or other things that draw more power than USB will deliver)
  • 32G microSDXC-card (I bought a SanDisk, others are probably fine too)
  • micro-HDMI to DVI cable (has yet to arrive)

What I didn't have to buy because we already had one extra was a
uftdi0 at uhub7 port 1
uftdi0: FTDI C232HM-DDHSL-0, rev 2.00/9.00, addr 2
ucom0 at uftdi0 portno 1

USB to a bunch of single pole connectors (to connect single wires to a pin header). Mine is a 10 pole 3.3V MPSSE cable. A Raspberry PI console cable should be readily available and does the same (and you wouldn't have to bind back 7 cables you aren't using to keep the setup neat). To connect it to the board, ground goes to the pin tagged J1 (for this cable, black), TCK (orange, output) goes on pin 4 and TDI (yellow, input) on pin 5. Since the bonebox doesn't expect a serial console to get connected (Linux uses the USB device port for console, too), it lacks an opening for that cable. I drilled a 4mm hole into the upper cover with a hand drill with a wood drill bit (if you use electric, go slow). 4.5mm would have made fitting the third connector through easier.

Next comes preparing software for it. It comes with Angstrom Linux and I'm sure that's a deserving OS and all that, but I'm a NetBSD developer and want to use NetBSD wherever compatible with the purpose of the device (which this thing hasn't yet besides being cute, so definitely, NetBSD goes on it). This precipitates one of the most difficult decisions to be made: choosing its name. All my devices are named after lesser constellations. Studying the list of constellation names yields *drumroll* pyxis, the compass box.

With this decision made, I can create a custom kernel config for pyxis, named PYXIS, in sys/arch/evbarm/conf:
# PYXIS' config

include "arch/evbarm/conf/BEAGLEBONE"

options IPSEC

no options COMPAT_50
no options COMPAT_40
no options COMPAT_30

file-system KERNFS
file-system PROCFS

no config netbsd
config netbsd root on ld0a type ffs

As you can see, this is just adjusting for local preferences and in fact I'll be building the BEAGLEBONE kernel as well. I'll first get the general software built from a -current src tree as can be gotten e.g. by
cvs -q -d anoncvs@anoncvs..netbsd.org:/cvsroot get -PA src
by running build.sh from the src directory, like so:
./build.sh -x -U -m evbearmv7hf-el release
This means: I want to build X11 (-x), I want to build unprivileged and create an owner and permissions map instead (-U) since the image build will need it, and the architecture to build is evbarm with little-endian earm v7 and hard float ABI, yielding
===> NetBSD version:      6.99.28
===> MACHINE:             evbarm
===> MACHINE_ARCH:        earmv7hf
===> Build platform:      NetBSD 6.99.28 amd64
I'm building on a pretty -current NetBSD/amd64, but any other Unix from this century with a development suite (compiler and a few tools) installed should serve as well. Cygwin might do as well.
Time for coffee and my mother's Quarkstollen.

Note I could also just get a daily build for evbarm-earmhf at e.g. http://nyftp.netbsd.org/pub/NetBSD-daily/HEAD/201312270850Z/evbarm-earmhf/ if my Internet connection was faster than my laptop, and that would work as well.

Then I build the kernel I want to use:
./build.sh -x -U -m evbearmv7hf-el kernel=PYXIS

The release build has created an image file in .../release/evbarm/binary/gzimg called beagleboard.img.gz
This gets unpacked and dd'd to the sdcard:
gzcat beagleboard.img.gz | dd of=/dev/rld0d obs=64k

When this is done,
disklabel ld0
# /dev/rld0d:
type: SCSI
label: fictitious
flags: removable
bytes/sector: 512
sectors/track: 32
tracks/cylinder: 64
sectors/cylinder: 2048
cylinders: 622
total sectors: 1275808
rpm: 3600
interleave: 1
trackskew: 0
cylinderskew: 0
headswitch: 0           # microseconds
track-to-track seek: 0  # microseconds
drivedata: 0 

8 partitions:
#        size    offset     fstype [fsize bsize cpg/sgs]
 a:    890784    385024     4.2BSD      0     0     0  # (Cyl.    188 -    622*)
 b:    262144    122880       swap                     # (Cyl.     60 -    187)
 c:   1275808         0     unused      0     0        # (Cyl.      0 -    622*)
 d:   1275808         0     unused      0     0        # (Cyl.      0 -    622*)
 e:    114688      8192      MSDOS                     # (Cyl.      4 -     59)

I mount /dev/ld0e /mnt to copy the kernel I built, .../compile/PYXIS/netbsd.ub to /mnt as pyxis.ub, and to edit uEnv.txt to boot pyxis.ub instead of bboard.ub or the also present bbone.ub.
Alas, the msdos filesystem is broken (the joys of -current ... I'll check what goes wrong there later), so I re-format it and copy the kernel image onto it and create a new uEnv.txt.

The uEnv.txt I use is:
uenvcmd=mmc dev 0; mmc rescan; mmc dev 1; mmc rescan; fatload mmc 0:1 82000000 pyxis.ub; bootm 82000000

Kudos to John Klos and his mail to port-arm in July which provided invaluable pointers; it's 4 months later and booting directly off the sdcard works now, and getting it partitioned etc is much easier now too.

umount, sdcard from laptop to pyxis, boot ..
SD/MMC found on device 0
reading uEnv.txt
120 bytes read in 3 ms (39.1 KiB/s)
Loaded environment from uEnv.txt
Importing environment from mmc ...
Running uenvcmd ...
mmc0 is current device
mmc1(part 0) is current device
mmc_send_cmd : timeout: No status update
reading pyxis.ub
3356864 bytes read in 406 ms (7.9 MiB/s)
## Booting kernel from Legacy Image at 82000000 ...
   Image Name:   NetBSD/beagle 6.99.28
   Image Type:   ARM NetBSD Kernel Image (uncompressed)
   Data Size:    3356800 Bytes = 3.2 MiB
   Load Address: 80300000
   Entry Point:  80300000
   Verifying Checksum ... OK
   Loading Kernel Image ... OK
## Transferring control to NetBSD stage-2 loader (at address 80300000) ...
uboot arg = 0x9f238fe0, 0, 0x9f3a1235, 0x9f240648
[ Kernel symbol table missing! ]
Loaded initial symtab at 0x805a4f50, strtab at 0x805cfde0, # entries 10965
pmap_postinit: Allocated 35 static L1 descriptor tables
Copyright (c) 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005,
    2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013
    The NetBSD Foundation, Inc.  All rights reserved.
Copyright (c) 1982, 1986, 1989, 1991, 1993
    The Regents of the University of California.  All rights reserved.

NetBSD 6.99.28 (PYXIS) #1: Sun Dec 29 13:21:59 CET 2013
total memory = 512 MB
avail memory = 498 MB
sysctl_createv: sysctl_create(machine_arch) returned 17
timecounter: Timecounters tick every 10.000 msec
mainbus0 (root)
cpu0 at mainbus0 core 0: 550 MHz Cortex-A8 r3p2 (Cortex V7A core)
cpu0: DC enabled IC enabled WB disabled EABT branch prediction enabled
cpu0: isar: [0]=0x101111 [1]=0x13112111 [2]=0x21232031 [3]=0x11112131, [4]=0x11142, [5]=0
cpu0: mmfr: [0]=0x1100003 [1]=0x20000000 [2]=0x1202000 [3]=0x211
cpu0: pfr: [0]=0x1131 [1]=0x11
cpu0: 32KB/64B 4-way L1 Instruction cache
cpu0: 32KB/64B 4-way write-back-locking-C L1 Data cache
cpu0: 256KB/64B 8-way write-through L2 Unified cache
vfp0 at cpu0: NEON MPE (VFP 3.0+)
vfp0: mvfr: [0]=0x11110222 [1]=0x11111
obio0 at mainbus0 base 0x44000000-0x4fffffff: On-Board IO
omapicu0 at obio0 addr 0x48200000-0x48200fff intrbase 0
prcm0 at obio0 addr 0x44e00000-0x44e01fff: Power, Reset and Clock Management
sitaracm0 at obio0 addr 0x44e10000-0x44e11fff: control module, rev 1.0
gpmc0 at mainbus0 base 0x50000000: General Purpose Memory Controller, rev 6.0
gpmc0: CS#0 valid, addr 0x08000000, size 256MB
com0 at obio0 addr 0x44e09000-0x44e09fff intr 72: ns16550a, working fifo
com0: console
sdhc0 at obio0 addr 0x48060100-0x48060fff intr 64: SDHC controller
sdhc0: SD Host Specification 2.0, rev.49
sdmmc0 at sdhc0 slot 0
sdhc1 at obio0 addr 0x481d8100-0x481d8fff intr 28: SDHC controller
sdhc1: SD Host Specification 2.0, rev.49
sdmmc1 at sdhc1 slot 0
tiiic0 at obio0 addr 0x44e0b000-0x44e0bfff intr 70: rev 0.11
iic0 at tiiic0: I2C bus
seeprom0 at iic0 addr 0x50: AT24Cxx or compatible EEPROM: size 32768
tps65217pmic0 at iic0 addr 0x24: TPS65217C Power Management Multi-Channel IC (rev 1.2)
tps65217pmic0: power sources USB max 1300 mA, [AC] max 2500 mA
tps65217pmic0: [LDO1: 1800 mV] [LDO2: 3300 mV] [LDO3: 1800 mV] [LDO4: 3300 mV] [DCDC1: 1500 mV] [DCDC2: 1100 mV] [DCDC3: 1100 mV] 
omapdmtimer0 at obio0 addr 0x48040000-0x48040fff intr 68: DMTIMER2
omapdmtimer1 at obio0 addr 0x44e31000-0x44e31fff intr 67: DMTIMER1ms
omapdmtimer2 at obio0 addr 0x48044000-0x48044fff intr 92: DMTIMER4
omapwdt32k0 at obio0 addr 0x44e35000-0x44e35fff: rev 0.1
cpsw0 at obio0 addr 0x4a100000-0x4a107fff intrbase 40: TI CPSW Ethernet
cpsw0: Ethernet address 90:59:af:cen:sor:ed
ukphy0 at cpsw0 phy 0WARNING: module error: vfs load failed for `miiverbose', error 45
: OUI 0x00800f, model 0x000f, rev. 1
ukphy0: 10baseT, 10baseT-FDX, 100baseTX, 100baseTX-FDX, auto
timecounter: Timecounter "clockinterrupt" frequency 100 Hz quality 0
timecounter: Timecounter "dmtimer" frequency 24000000 Hz quality 100
IPsec: Initialized Security Association Processing.
ld1 at sdmmc1: <0xfe:0x014e:MMC02G:0x00:0x5581cc4e:0x000>
ld1: 1832 MB, 930 cyl, 64 head, 63 sec, 512 bytes/sect x 3751936 sectors
ld1: 4-bit width, bus clock 52.000 MHz
ld0 at sdmmc0: <0x03:0x5344:SU32G:0x80:0x22ae1589:0x0db>
ld0: 30436 MB, 7729 cyl, 128 head, 63 sec, 512 bytes/sect x 62333952 sectors
ld0: 4-bit width, bus clock 25.000 MHz
NetBSD/evbarm (beagleboard) (console)


At present only 622MB of the sdcard are in use and the root filesystem is pretty full, and the sdcard is significantly larger, so I'll grow the root filesystem using the recipy from the ports/evbarm/beaglebone wiki page.

This done, reboot, and getting pyxis set up like any other NetBSD: editing rc.conf, creating users, building and installing packages, ...

A lot of devices the BeagleBone Black contains aren't yet supported; progress reports on that is going to be subject to a later post.
spz: (Default)

So Ian Gent blogged about an explanation Karen Petrie had for why women in tech experienced more sexism than men, and David Chart refined it.

What I am missing here -- i.e. what really rubs me raw, is that usually, when blatant sexist talk gets issued, the woman is very often not the only listener, and that in 99.9% of cases, if any man comments at all, it is to make sympathetic noises .. at the one spouting sexism. And if a woman protests, she usually gets a pack of men mocking her. Because it is so funny to see a woman being upset about having her ability to do her job (or to ever receive any credit for what she does) summarily denied the fourth time that day.

You would think that a guy would protest if another guy called their mother, sister, wife or daughter incompetent, too stupid to live, generally useless, never doing anything of value in their entire lives, and a parasite on men. They don't. No "you're being a tad unfair there". No "they aren't all like that" which is the usual inoffensive female response to a ranting woman. Instead "yes, that's exactly how they are".

Either these men are too stupid to even notice that when they say "women" that's also their wife etc they are condemning, or loyalty is seriously not a common trait in men.

And men question their sexist brainwashing a lot less than the above calculations assume.

spz: (Default)

I have a new server, a DL120 G7.
I originally installed a standard NetBSD/amd64 6.1 on it; it's main purpose is to have lots of disk.
It currently has two physical disks which are mirrored using raidframe, since the built-in "simple" SATA raid controller won't serve disks larger than 2TB. For that reason, also, its bootblock is on a USB memory stick - boot.cfg and kernel etc are already read from RAID.

Lately, an extra use for it offered itself, so I:

  • grabbed the NetBSD Xen Howto
  • installed 6.1.2 (just out, get it while it's fresh)
  • installed a XEN3_DOM0 kernel
  • installed xenkernel42 and xentools42 (with its stately procession of dependencies. perl, python AND ocaml ..)
  • added a Xen line to its boot.cfg (the man page has an example)
  • rebooted to Xen. Lo and behold, a Xen dom0 (that was easy)

Since there's little point in a dom0 all by itself, on to preparing a guest:

Since it's a xen*42, /usr/pkg/share/examples/rc.d/ had xencommons, xend, xendomains and xen-watchdog; I copied these to /etc/rc.d and put xencommons=YES, xend=YES and xendomains="$guestname" into rc.conf.

I had partitioned the disk to reserve some space for potential package bulk building, and made these partitions into their extra raidframe instances. I now used one of these to turn raid3e into raid3a and a bit of swap.

newfs raid3a, mount it to /mnt, unpack sets and the XEN3_DOMU kernel to it, MAKEDEV in /mnt/dev and give /mnt/etc a few licks (normally one'd use sysinst for all of that), umount /mnt.

On to creating the Xen guest description file: I copied /usr/pkg/share/examples/xen/xmexample1 to /usr/pkg/etc/xen/$guestname, and ended up kicking out most of the entries. I retained kernel, memory, name, cpus, vcpus, vif and disk.

For vif, some more work on the dom0 was necessary: I created bridge0 and "brconfig bridge0 add"'ed the physical ethernet interface, set the bridge "up" and made it all reboot-safe.

xm create -c $guestname, some head-scratching, a correction of the disk line syntax (/var/log/xen/* had hints what it didn't like; it wanted: "disk = [ 'phy:/dev/raid3a,0x1,w' ]") and I had a running guest.

Some more administrative niceties like installing a few packages on it, making sure it knows where to send root mail, etc pp, and it's ready for business.

Things to find out some other time, for another guest: mount a partition of the dom0 readonly?

And todo (there is always at least one todo left): update the NetBSD Xen Howto to reflect the availability of xenkernel42 and xentools42.

spz: (Default)

Let me start with a confession: I tend to treat "stupid" people I interact with badly, if I run into their intellectual limitations. And that's even though I am fully aware that not being intelligent does not make you a bad person, and that that feature is not something people chose for themselves. My gut reaction is that if they don't get it (no matter what "it" is), they must be failing to pay attention, so I get testy (and that's not very smart of me, no matter the cognitive ability present).

This reaction is due partially to myself living in a real-life filter bubble; I've studied physics and worked in server IT since. The people I really interact with tend to be in the top 5% regarding intelligence, and my idea of what "normal" looks like therefore is seriously skewed.

Something that has annoyed me for a long time now was men in a computing context treating me as a moron until I had figuratively hit them over the head a few times, and some even needing occasional reminders. "Women are either stupid or crazy, or both" is a sentiment I have heard all too often. The angry if uncharitable reply to that is that what they really said was that no sane and smart woman would stand their company long enough so they could get to know her.

Lately I have been considering the possibility that those men who believe that men are so much smarter than women (even if they have learned to not say that aloud, many show it in their behavior) aren't actually speaking and acting from their experience, and if the angry retort was possibly literally true: They start out in a field with few enough women that they meet no woman peers, and the only women they interact with are in crappy "supportive" jobs that aren't paid enough, nor interesting enough, to attract women who can do better. The afflicted men then either really don't go out much or act towards women in a manner that is repulsive to people with an IQ above room temperature, which keeps intelligent women who have any self-respect away from them and thus reinforces their belief that women as a class were stupid, or basket cases.

What do you think? Is the high number of otherwise fairly smart men in IT who are decidedly sexist a result of a self-reinforcing real-life filter bubble? Or do you have a better theory?

spz: (Default)

I live in the commuting zone of Munich, Germany.
I have just returned from a trip to Tokyo to speak at AsiaBSDcon.
This text is supposed to serve both as a reminder for me for next year (if I can find a topic I'll definitely submit a talk again) and for other first-time visitors.


The trip out was also my first long-distance flight, and in the case of Munich-Tokyo, non-stop means a 12 hour flight.

    Wisdoms learned:
  • Do not get onto such a flight straight from work after a full work day. At least find a shower at the airport and do a change of clothes before boarding the plane.
  • A flight with a stop-over may actually be more pleasant, if longer in total.
  • Check in early online and pick an aisle seat, preferably one where you can stretch your legs a bit too (advice void where you don't fly Economy on the cheapest ticket you could get, as you should on the conference's money. Also, the experience for thin-and-short people may differ - I'm 1.72m and rather wide).
  • Be able to shed clothes to fit the "max" temperature forecast for Tokyo - you'll be dragging luggage around, that's plenty of exercise to keep you warm. Expect Tokyo to be at least 10 degrees warmer than Munich.
    Do the same for the trip back: I left a sunny Tokyo with what for me is t-shirt temperature (the locals disagreed), and was welcomed back by Munich airport with 4° C and sleet, which had turned to below 0° C and snowing at my home train station.
  • For me only, likely: get a larger suitcase. Sticking to cabin luggage size doesn't make sense if you are checking it in anyway. Forget about returning with less stuff than you brought.
  • Jetlag: There's a 9 hour time difference Munich to Tokyo. The advice I got worked for me, I got over it in a day (where I'd expect a day of recovery for a trip like that even without time zone changes): keep awake until local early bedtime and then get up at normal local time, and go outside for a walk, thus using daylight to reset the clock. This was helped a lot by the weather being nice to me, and not presenting me with worse than a light drizzle over the whole stay (predominantly sunny, even).
  • Given that I didn't need two days downtime to cope with jetlag, I could have flown out on Wednesday as well. The Tuesday ticket was ~100 Euro cheaper, if the conference paid list price at the hotel picking the shorter stay would have been more economical in total.
  • Getting a Suica/N'ex ticket, and thus the Suica card at Tokyo airport was a very good recommendation by the conference organizers (thanks). Expect to stand in line at the ticket office for a while, and then to have to leave for the next train immediately so you catch the train you have a ticket for. If you fly out from Tokyo within 10 days of arrival, you can get a round trip card for the Narita Express, directly.
  • Public transport within Tokyo is dirt cheap, compared to Munich. Putting about 20 Euro on the card (2000 Yen in addition to the initial charge) was way overblown.
  • There seem to be at least 3 routes to just about any point you want to get to on the public transport system. A warning: having a station near won't mean you won't walk a lot, some stations' exits are so far apart that they would be distinct stops in inner Munich. Lines are coded by color and a latin letter, and the metro uses the next stop as a direction indicator. There are a lot of English labelled directions around. I picked going to Akihabara and to Ikebukuro for short directed shopping raids on my own, and got around ok, if not exactly on the routes I had planned beforehand and as short as I had expected.
  • The stations for the speaker hotel (Villa Fontaine Kudanshita) were/are Jimbocho (around the corner, closest entry, longest walking around underground, long staircase with no escalator at the exit), Suidobashi (in my experience, most pleasant to use) and Kudanshita.
  • The station for the venue is Iidabashi south-west end (that's one of the two-stop stations), but from the speaker hotel it's a rather pleasant walk mostly along little streets not noticeably longer than getting to and from the stations.
  • Budgeting a daily allowance for food: I had heard that Tokyo was very expensive, so expected around 100 Euro a day. This is seriously off on the high end, very nice (and plentiful) dinners were 20-30 Euro/person. Also, during the conference proper, if you attend the social, lunch and dinner are covered - there's basically no time to spend money, except if you go to a bar after dinner.
  • For the trip home, time-budget the Narita Express to not be running due to weather conditions. The ordinary express train to the airport leaves from the same platform and will accept a ticket for a cancelled Narita Express, but will take closer to 1:45 for the trip due to more frequent stops and will start at a time offset, obviously. I had planned to be at the airport two and a half hours before boarding time to make sure I didn't miss my plane due to train delays, and just made still acceptable baggage drop and pass-the-controls time; since my gate was at the tip of the terminal, I didn't get to sit down to wait for boarding - shaving it a bit close for my taste.

Tokyo: Observations and Experiences

Visiting a city where you are effectively illiterate and don't speak a word of the language, plus manners and body language are different is an intimidating idea. Fortunately for me, Tokyo is pretty accommodating to visitors who (only) read Latin script and speak English, and while I would not expect to be able to make best possible time between two random points of the Tokyo subway map, I am now confident that I would be able to get from point A to B whatever they are (especially: to get to the hotel or venue) with a bit of extra time and wandering around to find something labelled in English, with zero preparation whatsoever.

Crowds in Tokyo seem to be amazingly pulsed. For me respectively in my experience, body language is off enough to make the automatic evasion algorithms fail, i.e. when I walked through an oncoming crowd I evaded to the same side as the person coming towards me frequently, whereas "at home" this barely ever happens without me even taking notice. Fortunately, when I am in a touristy setting I can just step aside and let the wave pass, and not be a mobile source of turbulence in the flow. When in a hurry, picking a person going the same way and trailing them like a duckling works pretty well - same, obviously, when following a guide. :)

Japan drives on the left side of the street. On escalators, stand on the left.

Mind the 110V line voltage. Get an adapter for a two-pronged socket, there may not be any three-pronged sockets in the hotel room.

Pedestrian traffic lights for street crossings of one or two lanes in total seem to be considered purely advisory by the locals; I picked up their cues (check and cross if there's no cars) without ill effect.

Car drivers seem to be very aware and considerate of pedestrians. A pedestrian giving up right of way for a car that's starving at a crossing seems to be unexpected, just slowing down noticeably and nodding at the driver doesn't seem enough cue.

Street population density, in general: walking around in Akihabara on a Saturday afternoon was about on par with walking between Stachus and Marienplatz off the touristy seasons on a Saturday afternoon, full but not reaching annoying levels, same with Ikebukuro on a Friday afternoon.

Another strong (and pretty immediate) impression I got is that Tokyo is what you get if you take an ordinary large city, and then compress it by a factor of four, while keeping the width of the thoroughfares. Then set another city next to it, repeat a few times.
Some of that compression is achieved by making buildings higher. Also, there are shops on other levels than the ground floor in places that are not something like malls.

Attention, weird people crossing? less goths or punks, instead people (well, women and girls) in neon-colored tulle or furs. About as many women in kimono (I did not notice any men in traditional garb) as you'd expect women in Dirndl in Munich outside of Oktoberfest season; I was told that it was a graduation day for students and that was celebration finery.

Less women in sensible shoes, instead pumps or sneakers (and the latter obviously not to business clothes). Walking in very small steps seems to be considered feminine and some execute it even if not forced by a ridiculously tight skirt.

The canonic length of skirt seems to be "a bit shorter than the hollow of the knee", which makes sense if you see how women sit (when not on chairs). Generally, sitting .. I was taught as a girl to not sit on the floor, it's bad for you (more likelihood of bladder infections for females), it's just not being done. Obviously, in Japan one does sit on the floor (inside, on a cushion, but still). Also, my jeans (any of them) turned out rather not fit to fold up my legs at a significantly acute angle, with the result that when I tried to sit at table, my feet went to sleep in turns due to lack of circulation. If going out to dinner with Japanese hosts, it seems a good idea to either warn them that you have issues sitting down on a cushion (the variant with the hollow under the table obviously just requires being able to get down on the floor, only a potential problem for the elderly or infirm, or seriously tight jeans), or get distinctly wider trousers or a skirt. Not going to wear such a short one though. :)

I've loved most of the Japanese food I got around to trying, yet. I've cheated and been eating at Sushi restaurants most work Fridays for a while, so I can handle chopsticks adequately well. I can imagine learning Japanese to the skill level I have for French: say good morning, good night, please and thank you, and everything that is likely to appear on a menu. Due to the remarkable (and very practical) drinks ordering system, being able to read the words for water, apple juice and grapefruit juice as well as cold tea would be very useful. And I didn't even get around to eating a bowl of soup with udon (which is one of my favorite dishes at home).

Akihabara (if you get out on the right end of the station and actually find the right area) is lots of little shops with electronics, many of them featuring used goods. About Schillerstrasse times ten. From my by necessity cursory inspection, the selection of actual electronics by and large is about the same as available in Munich; the selection of accessories is huge, variable, and including the utterly ridiculous. :) Definitely a sight to see. I got myself a mouse pad with a glittering-big-cat-spots pattern as a souvenir.
Also, prices for a lot of stuff are surprisingly cheap. Others, quite the opposite.

My excursion to Ikebukuro was to buy a toy or two to bring for my cats. I get the distinct impression that keeping a cat (or two) in Tokyo is a luxury not afforded by many (in Germany, a fifth of the households has cats). I picked toys and snacks not available at home (that being the point), and the shiny-bug-on-a-glass-fiber-spring toy is very successful and making even the old cat jump around like a kitten. :) I'd expect a similar item to be half the price in Munich, though, and I went to a department store with a pet section; there seem to be more boutiques selling art with cats on it (if such a shop exists in Munich I've not noticed it) than shops selling supplies for cats. That seems to be a symptom of rather severe cat deprivation.

On speaking English with Japanese (by necessity: I don't speak a word of Japanese and would be shy to try phrases lest I talk about eels in hovercrafts by mispronunciation): Japanese sounds distinctly percussive to me, and the rate of syllables a Japanese speaker can produce is impressive to frightening. Alas, parsing audio input at that rate is a learned skill that I didn't have time to develop, so while talking to (or rather understanding) relaxed (and slow-speaking) Japanese worked rather well, in other instances I had serious trouble following speech even though, in retrospect, it probably consisted of the appropriate words with the appropriate pronunciation, just in rapid fire.
The English skills encountered were as expected, rather well developed with the conference attendants I talked to, understanding-a-lot-better-than-speaking with the random ticket clerks I interacted with. Given the larger difficulty of learning English for Japanese speakers than German speakers, this is actually pretty impressive.

Regarding manners, either the people I interacted with are too used to non-Japanese to bat an eye at mine, were too polite to twitch enough for me to notice or I didn't blunder regarding the major differences between expected behavior that badly. My experience was pleasant, I hope my hosts' experience was too.

The hotel room was well appointed, small but (compared to European hotel rooms I've staid at) not unusually so, and entirely adequate for sleep, freshen up, look at mail, go out schedules like a town visit or a conference. Instead of hotel wifi, a wired ethernet port and two power sockets flush mounted in the top of the desk; an ethernet cable was supplied. There also was a large TV that I didn't turn on once. The blow-dryer was a useful model, not the useless heat-but-no-wind model most European hotels sport due to regulations limiting air throughput. That was fortunate, since the blow-dryer I typically travel with only does 220V (so I had left it at home). The soap dispenser produced bergamot-scented foam, very nice. The fixtures were "two valves, hot and cold, one outlet", no handling problems for me there.

The toilet experience is funny. :) Unless the toilet (room) was unheated (which was not true at any of the places I used), the heated seat seems a bit pointless, though. The "shower" setting might come in handy on occasion, the "bidet" setting for me does not end up anywhere useful.

I'm used to a mattress with at least 15cm give. The bed in the hotel room, true to local custom, has about 5cm. The first morning I woke up with lower back pain from a warped spine (men may not run into that problem due to usually not having wide hips), the second night I seem to have learned to pick a better sleeping position and that problem didn't reoccur. But enough on the TMI section.

The Conference

I fought with stage nerves and spent most of Friday fiddling with my slides, adding illustrations and examples which were partially culled again. Thankfully, my talk was early, in the second slot on Saturday, so I was able to enjoy the rest of the conference. Feedback to my talk was that it was ok, it would be useful to also receive criticism, especially how useful the distribution of talking and slide points was to attendants with less familiarity with spoken English.

As usual, breakfast, lunch, dinner and breaks were the most valuable parts of the conference. I picked up some ideas from the talks I attended, as well. They are all in the "time-consuming" quarter of Things To Do, so we'll see if and how and when I get around to them.

I quite liked the 10min talks format. Since it allowed to talk about uncooked eggs as well, it was rather information-dense -and- news.

AsiaBSDcon gender distribution is quite the familiar, aka slightly depressing.

The number of Germans, OTOH, was amazing.

EuroBSDcons manage to produce input overflow for me, this AsiaBSDcon was worse in that respect.

I think I met half the NetBSD developers at the conference, talked to a quarter, and will be able to put face and name together for about 2/3 of who I consciously met. Time definitely was too short :) Also, if I manage next year, I'll try to get t-shirt colors and sizes via mail beforehand; this year the flu I had three weeks before the conference seriously impacted plans, and getting the talk and slides done had to take precedence. Jörgs tip that the .jp NetBSD developers tended to "long and thin" and M and L were most useful sizes mostly played out, so those t-shirts I managed to pack found good new homes.


It was fun. I want to do it again (just not this week, or next, and with a bit more preparation time next time. Mercy!). It was exhausting. The latter would get better with repetition, since the sheer amount of new people, new places, new ways to interact would lessen.

spz: (Default)

Als ich 10 war, fingen Männer an mich mit sexuellen Anzüglichkeiten und Grapschereien einzuschüchtern; ich dachte das wäre mein Fehler, weil es anderen Mädchen ja nicht passierte, schämte mich und sprach nicht davon.

Als ich 20 war, habe ich Diffamierung (Frauen sind automatisch dumm und nutzlos und können keine Technik & Wissenschaft, sind nur als Dekoration gut, etc) geschluckt und darauf geschoben, daß ich typischerweise die einzige Frau und "nicht ganz richtig" war, und extra hart gearbeitet um zu zeigen daß zumindest ich nicht unfähig bin.

Als ich 30 war, war ich bissig und hinreichend getarnt, daß ich persönlich zumindest von Bekannten nicht mehr krumm angegangen wurde, und ich konnte das Grundrauschen an Frauen-Diffamierung ignorieren.

Vor ein paar Jahren habe ich gelernt, daß ich nicht der einzige fast-Teenager war, der belästigt wurde, nicht die einzige Frau mit Interesse and Wissenschaft und Technik (nur etwas dickhäutiger und sturer als die, die sich vertreiben ließen), und daß die Dauer-Diffamierungs-Berieselung sich in konkreten Nachteilen für alle Frauen niederschlägt, vor allem aber für die jungen, die sich ihren Platz erst suchen müssen und deren Chancen systematisch beschnitten werden.

Ich erinnere mich, wie es sich anfühlt im wesentlichen verteidigungslos und unverteidigt mit Belästigung, Benachteiligung, Diffamierung und Ungerechtigkeit zurechtkommen zu müssen. Ich bin nicht mehr in dem Ausmaß selbst betroffen, aber das heißt im wesentlichen daß ich Unrecht ansprechen kann ohne selbst wesentliche Nachteile erwarten zu müssen, und deswegen tue ich es auch. Damit die Mädchen und jungen Frauen heute nicht allein damit zurande kommen müssen, damit Männer es merken daß ihre Sprüche nicht fair sind, damit die frauenfeindlichen Sprücheklopfer nicht nur Wackeldackel um sich haben.

Es gibt auch Ungerechtigkeiten die Männer betreffen. Ich begrüße es wenn Männer diese ansprechen, sofern sie dabei Fairness walten lassen. Beispiele sind Gewalt gegen Männer (sexuelle und andere), Reaktion des Arbeitgebers und der Umwelt auf den Versuch, Vater und nicht bloß Erzeuger zu sein, Sorgerecht, Generalverdacht bzgl Mißbrauchs von Kindern (wo es sich lohnen würde auch Frauen besser auf die Finger zu schauen), und nicht "gender-konformes" Verhalten.

Nicht fair hingegen sind Männer, die sich finanziell von ihrer Freundin ausgenommen fühlen ("alle Frauen sind Parasiten die nur hinter dem Geld des Mannes her sind") und als Beweis anführen, daß ihre Freundin darauf besteht daß sie einmal die Woche zum Essen ausgehen und der Mann zahlt, dabei aber geflissentlich vergessen daß sie die restlichen 6 Tage die Woche bei der Freundin essen (weil sich so ein Kühlschrank ja auch selber füllt, ohne daß es wen was kostet, und Arbeit von Frauen ja grundsätzlich nicht zählt - wohingegen ein Handgriff eines Mannes zwei Wochen gelobt werden muß). Die darauf bestehen, daß ihre Freundin sich schick macht und gut aussieht, damit sie mit ihr angeben können, aber sich beklagen, daß modische Kleidung Geld und ausgefeilte Kosmetik Zeit kostet. Die Kinder haben wollen, aber doch bitte nicht die Arbeit und Verantwortung, die mit Kinderversorgung verbunden sind. Die erwarten, daß man sie bemitleidet, weil eine Partnerin sie nicht rundumversorgt und ihnen in jeder Hinsicht den Hintern hinterherträgt, wie es ihre Mutter getan hat als sie 6 Jahre alt waren. Wer mit diesen Problemen kommt, darf mit Spott heimgehen.

spz: (Default)

The cat I use as an icon lives no more.

He wasn't my child; that would deny his felinity. The death of a child would hurt quite differently.

But he was a member of my household and of my immediate family for 16 years, and he is leaving a cat-shaped hole in my life and my heart, and that of my husband. The other cat seems to miss him too.

He essentially died of old age, although we helped the process along when it was clear there was only suffering left. In retrospect, it is awful how little of life, of his joys, of his places and activities was left to him in the last months before his death, although he seemed to still be appreciating the little he had left until very shortly before the end. Thus, I do not grieve his death at the very end so much as the loss of the cat he once was, and the loss of hope that he would get better (slim as it was).

He used to be a very temperamental and active cat; scared of the vacuum and the outside of the flat, but standing up to and battling cats twice his size (and winning by being more spirited, too). He used to try any food offered to him, and we used to joke that his true name was food, in good times. Also in good times, you never had to dangle a string or throw a ball for long, he would be galloping after it or jumping on it all fours at once. He loved scritches and petting up until the very end.

He was sent to sleep, after 2 days of not eating or drinking (and refusing even water dribbled into his mouth), and I think also not really sleeping, when he became too weak to walk but still felt the need to wander around, while being held on the arm of my husband, and me petting him. I hope his last sensations were of the pains finally going away, and his household (including his feline companion) being there for him.

Goodbye, Farley.

spz: (Default)
(old) SMBC saying sexism was on the Y chromosome

I wished. If all women suddenly stopped being sexist, even just being sexist to the detriment of women, that would already be a huge step towards a fairer world. But getting a grip on ones prejudices (even those one knows to be wrong by being a counter example, and even those that bite oneself) is lots harder than it should be.

I'm not particularly happy with myself when I catch myself thinking of someone else as their stereotype, the only consolation is that it beats not even noticing when you do it. Because when I notice, I can kick myself and tell me sternly "don't do that". :}
spz: (Default)
So there is this expectation that in prehistoric times, all the women gathered and never hunted, and all the men hunted and never gathered.

It seems to me that people who hold these opinions have a blatant lack of knowledge of, eg, Greek and Roman mythology, and need to read up on who the god of the hunt was (hint: 'Diana/Artemis').
Also, it is daft to assume that hungry hunters would pass a bush full of ripe berries or not pick the edible mushrooms they happened by.
spz: (Default)
<valle> .oO( Ist jemand mit viel Holz vor der Hütte nicht prädestiniert dazu, ein guter Hacker zu werden? )

Dem kann ich nur beipflichten. :)
spz: (Default)
you get a near unlimited number of retries without anyone/anything being mad at you or disgusted with you if you didn't get it quite right. Also, getting it not quite right at first is considered normal.
spz: (Default)
Without her (and her husband) there would not have been a BSD kernel.

Thanks :)

Lynne Jolitz did lots of other neat stuff since, but starting off BSD as an actual operating system instead of additions to AT&Ts Unix is what I appreciate most, personally.
spz: (Default)
Google Summer of Code is a program where Google is employing students for a summer job that consists of the student working on an open source programming project.

My organization, NetBSD, is taking part as a mentoring organization, like we did in previous years, and I am this years main organization administrator for NetBSD.

If you are a student, at least 18 years old, have nothing planned yet for the summer break, know some Unix and can passably program in C, look at our suggested projects page.

You do not have to be a programming god to take part in GSoC; any projects on our list up to medium can be done by someone who knows the basics, has an idea what the project is about, and is willing to work hard on it. You are not going to be left alone with your project, you will have a mentor who will tell you what you need to learn and research and who'll help you if you get stuck.

If you find something that appeals to you, talk to the listed contacts, and go ahead and apply for it if it continues to appeal. More than one application is entirely acceptable, as long as you did your homework on the projects you are applying for.

If you don't find any project that appeals to you with NetBSD (eg because your programming language of choice is anything but C), look if you find something that does hit the sweet spot here.

You will hardly ever get a better jumpstart into high quality programming than by taking part in this program. In most of the lesser difficulty projects on the NetBSD list, the mentor could do the project in less time alone than they'll spend mentoring you; while a finished product is definitely a vital goal, the more important goal is getting you across the initial hurdles of not daring to take part and not knowing how to take part in an open source project, and to teach you good practical programming habits.

While there are programming gods (NetBSD has a few), the project would not work with them alone. And the remainder of the people are just cooking with water and breathing air. And, you know? with a little bit of initial prodding, you might grow to be a programming god eventually.

PS: if you already are a programming god, put your teeth into a high difficulty project. :-)
spz: (Default)
Ein Kollege fragte: Ist jeder der ein Blog pflegt ein Blogwart?
spz: (Default)

It's all damned-colonials fault. :P
Hers and the fault of the other people at the GeekFeminism blog, that made me revisit the 'feminism' issue again.

I don't agree with all that is written there, but I agree even less with "lalala, there are no problems". Most of the problems are not big bombs you can send a TV crew to cover, but one little personal slight after another, undermining self-esteem and trust in the decency of men.

So, is there sexism? of course there is, and it cuts men too, every time a guy wants to do something and gets mocked away from it because it's not 'manly' enough.

Is it all the mens fault? No, I don't think so, in fact I think one of the worst aspects of cultural sexism is that it gets wielded by women on women, too. I studied physics once upon a time; I never got told by my male fellow students, let alone my professors I wasn't a proper girl for doing that, but by quite a few women, both my age then and older. Just like men police men into their alotted gender role, so do women to women with the slogan "unfeminine".

I disagree on the common demand that women should be able to remain as they are (i.e. fully conforming to the current gender stereotype brainwashing) and get handed half of everything. I also disagree that rights get granted; they get claimed, together with their responsibilities tacked on, not the least of which is to defend them. You cannot sit on your butt and wait for men to bring you presents and not be a dependent. You cannot be Dad's spoiled little princess and an emancipated adult at the same time. Flipping don't pick up his socks, do something more important instead, he does; he'll remember to collect his socks himself eventually if you manage not to train him to laziness, he's likely an adult and won't die of the heavy lifting.

I think there is a sizable amount of women who had internalized the "be pretty and men will look after you, thinking is not sexy and hard work too" really well; so they were pretty and sexy and didn't bother with thinking a whole lot when they were teens and twens, and now they are forty-plus, and find that they can't make men jump through hoops any more, and all they became was a housewife, not rich, famous and glamorous, so now they are disillusioned, bitter, and complaining [1]. But the habit of not thinking is still going strong, and of course doing engineering is unthinkable for a woman to the point that women engineers on the net (even those with a feminist agenda) must be secretly men (or stupid girls writing down what their boyfriend dictates to them), especially if they speak out against treating men grossly unfair for the sin of being male, or tell them the world is not as they imagine and the laws of physics won't keel over because someone throws a tantrum, and things don't actually change just because someone gives them a different name.[2]

One thing I agree with is that there is a lack of visibility of just-ordinary-people technical women (i.e. the step between Marie Curie and Lise Meitner and Emmy Noether and the first year student without claim to first-rate genius, just 'good average'). I used to let people assume I was male online because I neither enjoyed the wannafucks (send pix! etc .. yes boy, I'm old enough to be your mother, now please settle down and let's keep to the topic of the channel, and that's not a/s/l) nor being treated as a technical idiot by a newbie with delusions of competence, only letting slip I was female when they knew I was competent (and enough of a member of whatever community to not be too stupidly importunate). I've decided to be more visible, and am quite smug to find members of 'my' pet project giving newbies that go "omgod there are GIRLS here!" a rap on the knuckles with the clue stick without any need for prompting, discussion or drama. I love being in the company of smart people. :-P

[1] Not saying here that housewives are stupid; it's not for me but if your calling is to have 8 children and bring them up well, more power to you. It's just that that may be a path to happiness, but rather rarely to glamor and riches.
[2] I guess one really needs to have read the German feminist magazine Emma at least once to understand what I'm referring to here.
spz: (Default)
SPQR Blues has updates. Squeeeeeeeeeee! :)
Page generated 2014-12-20 22:11
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios