~~~barnold's tilde.club page~~~

Best commit message of the year (so far)


I am proud to have inspired this fine commit message.

slrn post signature


My web searches showed me a way to generate a dynamic signature in my posts and followups. I put these in my ~/.slrnrc:

set signature ".slrn/signature.usenet"
set post_editor_command "echo barnold > ~/.slrn/signature.usenet; \
   fortune -n 140 -s >> ~/.slrn/signature.usenet; emacsclient -t +9:0"
(The second set was actually one line, I split it here for easier reading.)

It didn't seem to work on the first attempt but then I did see fortunes in my signatures. However I noticed an odd thing: while editing a post, the fortune in my signature.usenet was different from the one in my post. The cause was obvious when I realised: slrn puts the signature into the draft post before calling the post_editor_command. It also explained why it didn't work the first time.

That doesn't matter for a fortune but won't work if you want something more current, say a weather report. The only way to do that seemed to be to disregard the signature file and edit the draft directly to add the "something". This works for me:

set signature ""
set post_editor_command "~/.slrn/post-edit-cmd.sh"

And using a script provides a lot more breathing room than trying to squeeze everything into one line of configuration. This is my post-edit-cmd.sh:

# Generate a signature before invoking the editor.
# slrn provides one argument, the name of the file to be edited.

# To avoid printf interpreting "--" as introducing an option,
# we instead make it an 'argument' to printf's format string.
printf "\n%s \nbarnold\n" "--" >> "$@"

# Try to avoid fortunes that take up too many lines.
fortune -n 140 -s >> "$@"

exec emacsclient -t +9:0 "$@"
# Should be unreachable.
That's working nicely for me.

Project Gutenberg


I'm not affiliated with that good project but I have put up a site to do with it. The site shows PG's catalog (or most of it) with forms for searching by title or author. The source code for it is on tildegit.

Since anything on the public internet comes under siege from scripts and bots I don't know how well it'll survive. Give it a try if you feel like a free e-book.

Signed up with tildegit


The captchas on the signup form were too difficult for me. I began to suspect that I might really be a bot that think it's human. But within minutes of my asking about those captchas on irc, ben helped me by removing the captcha from the form!

So now I have my little space on tildegit. My thanks to ben and the tildeverse in general.

Make safer


Here is a toy Makefile:

	@echo "Abolishing spacetime..."
	@echo "Rebooting..."

Not very safe. If you make that target by mistake, it says

$ make reboot-universe
Abolishing spacetime...

and where are you now? There is one way to make the Makefile a little safer, like this:

	$(error Refusing to continue without DANGEROUS set.)

reboot-universe: dangerous
	@echo "Abolishing spacetime..."
	@echo "Rebooting..."

Now you have to try harder to destroy the Universe.

$ make reboot-universe
Makefile:4: *** Refusing to continue without DANGEROUS set..  Stop.
$ make DANGEROUS=y reboot-universe
Abolishing spacetime...

I've found it useful in stopping me running destructive targets by mistake, e.g. to drop a database or wipe out its data. You can make "dangerous" a dependency of as many make targets as you like. If there's an easier or better way, let me know!

Advanced temporal sensing


A more ambitious cgi page for your viewing pleasure. It uses the latest technology to see the future!

Fun with CGI


Coding like it's 1995, I added a toy cgi page: your ip address.

Hosting a git repo on a less than fully trusted host


Have just discovered git-remote-gcrypt or "gcrypt" as I'll call it here. So far it's working well for me at solving this problem: you have something you want under source code control, you want to push it to a remote frequently for safety* but it contains secrets that shouldn't ever leave the host it's on.

If you have a PGP key pair, gcrypt resolves these conflicting objectives by encrypting the repository before pushing. The remote host only sees crypt text, no use to an attacker unless maybe it's the NSA. If your working copy is lost you can get it back provided you still have your ssh and pgp keys.

* There is a wise saying which from memory goes "if you've only saved it to one hard disk you haven't saved it." One of git's major benefits is saving to another hard disk is only a 'git push' away.

Thanks to the tilde contributors for providing tilde.club.

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