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User trap of the week: SSH-o-phone

Last week was full of user traps I want to document when I get time. This week's trap, though, is really easy to describe.

I have been trying to use ConnectBot to be able to SSH from my Android phone to my machines at home and work. However, even after regenerating and installing good-looking public keys, I kept not being able to authenticate. The only real clue was in /var/log/auth.log, which contained lines of the form:

The 'Sleep Sort' meme

People keep pointing me at Sleep Sort in email and IRL; it is apparently a popular topic right now. To Sleep Sort an array of integers, you spawn one process per array element. Each process sleeps t seconds, where t is the value of its array element, and then outputs t


Electric staplers are upside-down

An engineer solves technology problems by thinking things through.

The original "Heavy Boots" post?

The oldest version of the "Heavy Boots" story I can find on the Usenet archives is from a 1993 post. But I remember the original posting, which claimed to be a first-person account, and was older yet.

Indeed, IIRC that account looked very like the first part of this one. This thing is findable a couple of places on the Interwebs, but I strongly suspect/recall its early Usenet origins. If anyone could point me at the original attribution of this classic tale, I would be truly grateful.

Recently on BartForge

I've put several things up on BartForge recently…


Stupid Wikipedia Trick

The mouseover text for today's xkcd is

Wikipedia trivia: if you take any article, click on the first link in the article text not in parentheses or italics, and then repeat, you will eventually end up at "Philosophy".

This actually works crazily well, for a surprising reason. Can you figure it out? I got it on the first trace. Fob

The Netrunner's Guide To Social Engineering

The attached paper describes optimal play for the Netrunner card Social Engineering. Netrunner is a Collectible Card Game that has been out of print for around 10 years. Remarkably, there is still an active community of people playing the game and creating new cards.


User trap of the week: Haskell's "Off-side Rule" indentation

OK, this is going to be a total geek-out. If you're not comfortable with Haskell, you should just move on. Also, I can't figure out how to conceal the answer here, so I'll just tell you what happened…

A scammer calls me on the telephone

Just got the most interesting and disturbing phone call. Came from a guy who pretty obviously was not a native English speaker—I'd guess African offhand—and who was apparently having trouble operating a telephone. Wanted to let me know that his company's "technicians" had "observed" that when my Windows computer connects to the Internet "to transfer email" it is uploading and downloading stuff that doesn't look right…

The domain is gone; the content lives on

My cousin Rob and I let the domain name expire this week. With my brother gone, there didn't seem to be much point. The site itself will remain up indefinitely, though, at

I miss my brother so much. Fob


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