USB-A is the original socket for USB at the PC end. There are 2 variants of it, the first is for USB 1.1 to USB 2 and the second is for USB 3 which adds extra pins in a plug and socket compatible manner – you can plug a USB-A device into a USB-A socket […]

Source Code With Emoji

The XKCD comic Code Quality [1] inspired me to test out emoji in source. I really should have done this years ago when that XKCD was first published.

The following code compiles in gcc and runs in the way that anyone who wants to write such code would want it to run. The hover text […]

The Shape of Computers


There have been many experiments with the sizes of computers, some of which have stayed around and some have gone away. The trend has been to make computers smaller, the early computers had buildings for them. Recently for come classes computers have started becoming as small as could be reasonably desired. For example phones […]

Release Years

In 2008 I wrote about the idea of having a scheduled release for Debian and other distributions as Mark Shuttleworth had proposed [1]. I still believe that Mark’s original idea for synchronised release dates of Linux distributions (or at least synchronised feature sets) is a good one but unfortunately it didn’t take off.

Having been […]

SAS vs SATA and Recovery

SAS and SATA are electrically compatible to a degree that allows connecting a SATA storage device to a SAS controller. The SAS controller understands the SATA protocol so this works. A SAS device can’t be physically connected to a SATA controller and if you did manage to connect it then it wouldn’t work.

Some SAS […]

Running a ChatGPT Type System


I’ve just done some experiments running ChatGPT type programs. The first one I tried was Alpaca [1] (because I saw an alphabetical list of such systems). Here’s the 4GB data file [2]. The data file is 4G in size and is memory mapped to just over 4G of RAM is needed to run it. […]

Cheap Peripherals for Work

A problem with a lot of the purchase of peripherals is that they don’t match the needs of the users and often get thrown away long before they wear out.

At many companies when a new employee starts they are given a laptop (expensive corporate asset), a cheap headset for video calls, and optionally a […]

Do Not Use …

When I connect my Desklab USB-C monitor [1] (which has been vastly underused for the last 3 years) into a Linux system the display type is listed as “DO NOT USE – RTK“.

One of the more informative discussions of this was on Linux Mint forums [2] which revealed that it’s a mapping for an […]


In 2008 I joined SAGE (the System Administrators’ Guild of Australia). It was a professional society for people doing sysadmin work (running computer servers). I quit when I found that the level of clue was lower than hoped and that members used the code of ethics as nothing but a way to score points in […]

Mouse and Teflon

I had a problem with my mouse. The slippery plastic bits on the bottom weren’t glued on well and came off, which then gave more friction when moving on the desk. After asking advice on a mailing list the best suggestion was Teflon sticky tape. I bought a few meters of such tape (a lifetime […]