White Knights trying to help the people they love, and how not to.

I’m an engineer and a technologist. I solve problems. I see many, many things in life as “situations which can be improved, often with technology”. I have been accused of being “solution oriented” in the past, in a way that makes it feel like I’m giving my friends and partners a quarterly performance review.

I’m also a bit of a White Knight.

Sometimes that means that I’m attracted to partners who are needy in some way. But sometimes, it just means I’m attracted to what I see as untapped, unrealized potential. …


As a sysadmin, I come across ancient systems running modern OSes. For what I do, this is fine: the bare level OS and a couple of low-CPU daemons often do not need miner-level CPU power. Often, even the CPU of an embedded system would be fine.

Our greater need is for remote access. If the thing dies (or stops responding to SSH), we need to be able to reboot it, or see what’s on the console, or even worse, reinstall it. We need remote consoles. And when those happen, we usually need to run sometimes-old-and-crusty Java Apps.

Java was conceived…


Disclaimer: My Father is a retired NYPD Captain, and he shares my name. He also wrote novels about the NYPD under that name. I’ve hosted his website for 20 years, but we have widely differing political opinions. My opinions are my own and represent neither my family nor my employer.

One more note: I wrote most of this article for a year or so, around the time of the murder of George Floyd. I didn’t want to be another privileged white person reacting in the crowd. …


Many people know that our corporate HQ was an interesting place, network wise. Like so many great hideouts, (for example: the Bat-Cave, the Millenium Falcon, DS9, Warehouse 13 or the TARDIS), our secret lair had a history and a will of its own and a sense of Endless Wonder. And interesting failure modes to match.

I joked that the building would get lonely and throw temper tantrums when I got too far away. There was every kind of AC failure you could ever imagine — in ways that you could never monitor for. Wires would arc and drip slag on…


Recently, there was call at the day job to install new HTTP security headers. These headers mainly serve to do things like prevent code served by your system from *including* code that does things the user wants to do.

The day job uses Fastly to serve the location in question, but it’s otherwise static: it has no external loadables at all, no javascript (not even mouseovers), is purely https, and has no interactions. We want it to work equally well in Lynx or Curl or the latest Chrome. We have a mission of our software being accessable.

Effectively, it is…


Note: this article documents a history of interoperability problems between private mail server operators and Gmail. It may be updated from time to time, and updates will be dated in-document. (This note added 2021-06-09)

I’ve been a sysadmin for 25 years now. I’ve been operating networks for most of that time. While, in most of my early career, I focused on the systems side rather than routing protocols, it was always a close part of my job.

I’ve also pretty much always run a small hosting service. It was a place to give my dad a webpage to put up…


I’ve had a Drivers License since I was 18. (I’m in my mid-40s). I have two vehicles, a Smart, and a Minivan. I live with two 20-somethings who are new drivers.

I moved to Washington pre-pandemic. In February of 2020. Immediately after landing here, I needed to head back down to the SF Bay Area to get more in-person work done. Originally, my plan was “hit the DMV first to get our ID’s sorted out” but I wound up not having time. My plan to get down to the Bay Area involved riding with someone else, so the time was…


How Tom Hanks can teach us to communicate effectively

After the COVID-19 lockdown hit, like most people, I had to adjust to the new isolated way of life. I haven’t always been a remote worker, I’ve always had a “lair” at work to be able to go to and think more effectively, away from home and family distractions. That said, I always carry my laptop, I can work from anywhere: an airport, a park, a plane. We’re a distributed company already. We even wrote a blog about it (but it seems a lot of companies have).

What I found more…


Wake up, solve problems, keep going.

If you know my life, you know that I operate (with a clued team around me) a critical piece of the internet, and I also, casually, host some sites and servers for friends and family. My dad’s website from when he was writing books, some art pages for friends, my own hasnt-been-updated-since-1999-old-enough-to-drink-personal-site.

On a given morning, I can wake up to find problems with the big global service I run for my day job, or I can find that something’s awry with my train set.

So, this morning, as I woke up and blearlily…


I spent today understanding the “best” way to deploy a DNS zone using perl for my own uses — I have a stealth primary and two public-facing secondaries. I’d like DNSSEC to work from day one with these domains, using BIND9’s standard stuff, and I’d like to pass knowledge of my zones to my secondaries via catalog zones. And I like eating dog food, so…

I threw out the idea of using rndc addzone for my new zones, because this doesn’t add your zone to a standard include file in a standard format (i.e. with my usual indentation), or comments…

Gushi

Gushi/Dan Mahoney is a sysadmin/network operator in Northern Washington, working for a global non-profit, as well as individually.

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