Boeing 777 and narrow-bodies compared

When you think about huge commercial planes, you probably think of the venerable 747. Or the gigantic An-225. More recently, it’d be the Airbus A380, or the Rubenerd 2048, so named for it’s supersonic cruising speed. At least one of those was made up.

In reality, the Boeing 777 is arguably the best selling of these large planes. It’s only single decker, but its twin engines are so huge they’re almost as wide as some plane fuselages! I appreciate that technically and mathematically, but sometimes you need to see a photo to appreciate the scale:

This is an amazing photo by Luis Portillo on I’m a commercial aviation nerd, and knew the heavy 777 was far larger than the 737, but wow.

The same could be said of this A320, taken by Aero Icarus. Even with the perspective making the A320 look larger, it’s still tiny.

That concludes this week’s episode of Rubénerd: In Perspective. Join us this week when we jettison an empty aircraft carrier (The USS Smashmouth) into the sun to compare the size difference.

Wikipedia user groups

This is an actual Wikipedia user group:

Association of Wikipedians Who Dislike Making Broad Judgments About the Worthiness of a General Category of Article, and Who Are in Favor of the Deletion of Some Particularly Bad Articles, but That Doesn’t Mean They Are Deletionists

Are in favour of deletions, but aren’t deletionists. Hey, whatever makes deleting stuff easier.

I’m an inclusionist. Quality is moot, given how small textual database entries really are. “Non-notable” articles will likely be limited in length, and won’t become Featured. The simplest of filters based on length, number of contributers, last modification date and payment of protection could also hide Joe Bloggs and his Dog if you really find it offensive.

There’s also the issue of traditional media being used as the basis for notability in a new media encyclopædia in the first place, but that’s another discussion.

youtube-dl through a proxy

If you have access to an SSH box in a different region, you can use it as a SOCKS proxy to download YouTube videos with youtube-dl you can’t view in your own country.

NOTE: This post does not condone the use of these tools in this way. You perform such actions at your own risk. You're smart enough to know this, but it needs saying anyway.

The situation

You realised with glee that some classic true crime shows are available on YouTube, but when you go to view them, you get:

This video is not available. Sorry about that.

Being sneaky, you try downloading with youtube-dl. Unfortunately, your hopes are dashed when you realise the reason for not being able to view is your region, not a plugin:

$ youtube-dl
==> [youtube] w3FZ7t2zUHI: Downloading webpage
==> [youtube] w3FZ7t2zUHI: Downloading video info webpage
==> ERROR: w3FZ7t2zUHI: YouTube said: This video is not available.

This cannot stand.

Opening the tunnel

Open a socks proxy to your target box. I like defining these in my ~/.ssh/config file to make things neater:

host us-tunnel
    # = SOCKS Proxies/🇺🇸
    HostName       <IP ADDRESS>
    User           <USERNAME>
    DynamicForward 23232

Then I can open the proxy as such:

$ ssh us-tunnel

Running youtube-dl

There are couple of different ways to do this. One is using the venerable tsocks tool which intercepts and forwards TCP connections through a SOCKS proxy. You can use openroc’s patches to run it on macOS, then define a tunnel and run youtube-dl through it.

I was about to launch into a discussion of this, but turns out youtube-dl now has proxy support! So you can just do this with the above port:

$ youtube-dl --proxy socks5://localhost:23232/ <YOUTUBE URL>

This post could probably have been condensed into two lines.

Fate/Grand Phone Case

I’ve been using one of Apple’s “Smart Battery Cases” for about a year now. They’re a single colour, boring, and make your pocket bulge in a way that implies excitement, but the tactile feel and otherwise ungainly ridge on the back make the otherwise slippery iPhone surprisingly ergonomic.

It’s been great not having to worry about battry life. I can even go for a day forgetting to charge, knowing that it’ll be there. Best of all though, no kludgy micro/nano/mini/whatever USB, it has Lightning!

Apple Smart Battery Case

Now that I think of it, each of my iPhones has gone down this path. My iPhone 3G sported a Mophie when its battery became lackluster. My venerable iPhone 4 had a Sim Lim Square battery that worked great, were it not for its uncanny ability to attract every dust and lint particle ever generated. In a way, this iPhone 6 carries on the proud tradition of battery case appendages.

Battery case appendages?

But here’s the issue. Now that I’m back doing regular day job hours (glorious after years of unreliable consulting), I have a desk with plenty of USB ports to charge the device during the day. At home, I do too. While the battery case may be useful for long day trips or holidays, it otherwise adds bulk that isn’t always needed.

So what to get as a secondary case? Originally I thought an official Apple one, but where’s the fun in that? After years of monotone, I wanted something interesting, fun, ideally embarrasingly weeaboo.

The two-generations-newer iPhone 7 has already been out for a while, long enough that I’m starting to worry about the availability of cases for the 6. Fortunately, AmiAmi still have stock of half a dozen Fate/Grand Order cases.

Shielder, drawn by Shirako Miso

By far my favourite character in the game is Shielder (thanks to @Cake_Rabbits for the awesome art), a member of the first new Fate servent class in a long time ! She has imgregnable defences, which jive with my personality (the best offence is a solid defence). Her story is a little tragic, but that just means she needs to be extra awesome in the meantime.

Unfortunately, she doesn’t have a case, the dumbest decision since her designers decided to sully her otherwise-awesome character design with self-defeating chest armour. Maybe they think her shield is sufficient. Regardless, wouldn’t you want a shield for a phone? Come on, Type/Moon!

Saber phone case

What about Saber? Long term best girl among the servents for sure, but softly-smiling Saber from Fate/Stay Night Unlimited Blade Works was best Saber. Here, she looks like she’s about to use that crown as a discus to behead me. I can think of worse ways to go, and maybe her stern expression would dissuade those who’d want to steal my old phone. But I think we can do better.

heroinex phone case

What about Mysterious Herione X? I still call her Mysterious because it agitates Clara! As Homer said, I approve of her civilian clothing policy, but I don’t approve of her Saber-class killing policy. In the end, she still looked too serious.

jeannedarc phone case

So we come to Jeanne d’Arc. This is her third stage costume which regrettably has the same issue as Shielder’s, but I otherwise love the colours. Best of all, she’s smiling! The predominate silver would also help restore some of the colour I wish I’d got this phone in, instead of black.

I was going to launch into an impassioed post now about the original Jeanne d’Arc, but this is already far too long a post. I don’t care if half of the stories of her are just legends, what an amazing person. Maybe she’ll keep this clumsy IT worker’s phone safe.

A complete meal newsletter unsubscription

It’s Friday, so time to crack open the fan mail and read some spam!

But first a bit of background. As I’ve written here ad nausea (gulp), there is one (and only one) correct way to handle unsubscribing from newsletters: opt-in, and with a single-click unsubscribe feature in the footer of the aforementioned message. Most people don’t do this.

Today, we have a competitor to Soylent:

You receive this loveletter because you’ve ordered Joylent in the past with your address [..].

Gameshow buzzer sound! But do go on.

If you don’t want to receive our mailing anymore, please click here to unsubscribe.

Fair enough, so I clicked unsubscribe.

In order to confirm your unsubscription an email has been sent to you. Clicking this link will delete you from the mailinglist!


This gets 30% on the Rubénerd Newsletter–Unsubscribe Score Card. I docked an additional 10% because “No need to confirm unsubscribe” failed in the form of an extra email, not just a superfluous web prompt.

[ ] 50%  Newsletter was opt-in in the first place
[x] 10%  Unsubscribe link exists in newsletter
[ ] 10%  No need to confirm unsubscribe
[x] 10%  No need to login to unsubscribe
[x] 10%  No need to find “email preferences”
[x] 10%  Reasonable time to unsubscribe (< 48 hours)

Graduate Outcomes Survey

When you graduate from an Australian university, you get an email asking to fill out a Graduate Outcomes Survey. As far as I know, its not affiliated with the university you went to.

Good surveys often ask the same question in different ways, to make sure you’re being consistent with your answers. This one easily asked the same question eight or nine trillion times, often without rephrasing. It was a struggle, which rendered the final question all the more disheartening:

During November and December we are contacting supervisors of employed graduates who complete the GOS, asking the supervisors to complete the Employer Satisfaction Survey (ESS). The ESS provides employers and industry with an opportunity to provide feedback and input into the ongoing improvement of higher education.

Name of current work supervisor (required)
Work email address of current work supervisor (required) Phone number (required)

Required? As we say in Australia: Yeah, nah.

The recently–bungled 2016 Australian Census ensured poor data quality and a lack of submissions by making disclosure of your name mandatory. This extra step means I won’t be filling out the GOS either.

(And just in case people ask, it’s not because I’m afraid of what my supervisor would say, if I even had one at this startup. It’s the principle, and I don’t want to waste the CEO’s time when he’s already pulling godawful shifts).

Rubénerd Show 356: The Jim Kloss episode

Rubénerd Show 356

Podcast: Play in new window | Download

01:01:01 – This is a very special episode of the Rubénerd Show, possibly the best one ever. In a cute Philadelphia coffee shop in October 2016, I finally got to sit down with Jim Kloss; mentor, online confidant and dear friend. We set the record straight on Whole Wheat Radio, the pioneering independent online music community; and the NOCHANGE BBS system with its ingenious two factor authentication system and delightful inception. Along with Frank Nora and Israel Brown, Jim was the reason I started this audio magazine in 2005. It was a delight, and an honour to talk with him. I hope you feel the magic I did.

Recorded in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Licence for this track: Creative Commons Attribution 3.0. Attribution: Jim Kloss, Clara Tse, Ruben Schade.

Released November 2016 on The Overnightscape Underground, an Internet talk radio channel focusing on a freeform monologue style, with diverse and fascinating hosts.

Subscribe with iTunes, Pocket Casts, Overcast or add this feed to your podcast client.

The moe Sukhoi T-50

Moe anthropomorphism just keeps going. Today, nenchi illustrates how a tactical Russian jet would operate with a person at supercruise speeds.

Art of a moe anthropomorphised Sukhoi T-50

From the artist’s commentary:


Japanese doesn’t come quickly to me, but I believe that translates to “absurdly awesome, and Ruben is too.” Laying it on a bit thick, but there you have it.

My vast store of useless information concerns commercial aviation, but I recognised the name Sukhoi from their new commercial jet. According to Wikipedia:

The Sukhoi PAK FA [..] is a fifth-generation fighter programme of the Russian Air Force. The T-50 is the name of the prototype aircraft (though it is unlikely it will be the name for the production aircraft) designed by Sukhoi for the PAK FA programme. The aircraft is a stealthy, single-seat, twin-engine jet fighter, and will be the first operational aircraft in Russian service to use stealth technology. It is a multirole fighter designed for air superiority and attack roles.

This is not to be confused with a bicycle, which can only perform a subset of these tasks, or a larger subset if safety isn’t a concern.

The greatest songs of all time

This is not to be confused with the best songs of all time, to be published later. It’s also subject to review and addition.

  1. In Search of the Perfect Shampoo, Michael Franks
  2. The Bird is The Word, The Trashmen
  3. Macarron Chacarron, El Chombo
  4. Cobrastyle, The Teddybears
  5. Cool for Cats, Squeeze
  6. Ca Plane Pour Moi, Plastic Bertrand
  7. Gangnam Style, PSY
  8. Open the Door, Im Chang Jung
  9. Frontier Psychiatrist, The Avalanches
  10. Don’t Cry for No Hipster, Ben Sidran
  11. Albuquerque, “Weird Al” Yankovic
  12. I Don’t Ski, The Renovators
  13. PONPONPON, Kyary Pamyu Pamyu

Sell or promote spam

It’s Friday, which means its time to reach into the mailbag for some fan messages!


I am not. Who’s been spreading such slander?

I just wanted to check if you could be interested to sell your product or promote worldwide. If yes please let me know below parameters so that I can get you potential clients and customer from there company.

Let you know below the parameters, or the below parameters? As an aside, isn’t English a frustrating language?

If you interested please provide below information so that I can take it further.

Take it further? You mean, like Pluto?

Target Industry: [Rock salt mining]
Target Location: [I dunno, Charon?]
Target Titles: [Mr Starman]

Waiting for your positive response.

And I’m waiting for a clean Inbox.

Rubénerd Show 355: The New Jersey episode

Rubénerd Show 355

Podcast: Play in new window | Download

29:48 – Frank and Manny graciously showed us around New Jersey, and recorded such an epic Overnightscape I didn't bother doing my own show from there! To keep the chronology of episodes accurate, this is a quick recap of this part of our trip, recorded back around my dad's new place in North Arm Cove. Intro by ZAGAT.

Recorded in Sydney, Australia. Licence for this track: Creative Commons Attribution 3.0. Attribution: Ruben Schade.

Released November 2016 on The Overnightscape Underground, an Internet talk radio channel focusing on a freeform monologue style, with diverse and fascinating hosts.

Subscribe with iTunes, Pocket Casts, Overcast or add this feed to your podcast client.

Recommended for you!

Recommended For You links are the latest in a proud tradition of web annoyances. They don’t interrupt us like Web 1.0 popups or CSS lightboxes asking for newsletter subscriptions, but they’re just as disrepectful and tasteless.

Taboola and Outbrain were the most common sources of these, but there are a few new services to add to the blocklists. Today I found out about Revcontent on an enterprise tech site which will remain nameless.

No, not that Rev. Which reminds me, RIP Iomega. Click click click! That needs a post.

But I digress. Revcontent’s site purports to believe in “user experience”, “trust” and “people driven technology”, advertised with imagery of Steve Jobs and Martin Luther King.

Somehow, I don’t think that’s the dream he had in mind!

It bears (bares?) repeating though that these services are symptoms of a larger issue; that online monetisation and race-to-the-bottom journalism are not sustainable for the services we want or expect. I’m not smart enough to offer an alternative, so I just pay for news sites I read.

Women in IT on Slashdot

I delight (too strong a term) in reading the veritable butthurt on Slashdot whenever an article about women in IT appears. Surprisingly, there was a voice of reason there for once, which I will quote here in its entirety.

jandersen responding to JustAnotherOldGuy:

If women choose not to go into computing fields, why should they be forced (or even encouraged) to do so?

It seems to me that most offices would benefit from having a sensible balance of both genders. For whatever reason, women tend to have a different approach to problem solving than men, which might add value in itself. It might also motivate people to be a little bit more aware of certain aspects of coexistence that are often somewhat neglected in an all-male office - IOW it might make the office-atmosphere a little nicer.

Why isn’t there a similar push to get men into kindergarten education or nursing?

Isn’t there? When I had young children I heard about that constantly; men can make a very valuable contribution to the traditional women’s jobs. We simply have a different approach doing things (and it hasn’t got a lot to do with the Trump approach to women either).

How about letting people pick the field(s) they want to go into without telling them what they “ought” to do based on a pointless metric or percentage?

An excellent idea - the problem, in many ways, is that we culturally condition each other to believe there are certain things we can’t or shouldn’t do. Boys learn that they shouldn’t do “girl things”, like playing with dolls or similar, and girls learn in the same way that there are certain things that are “boys only”. This is, in my view, a stupid waste - one of my favourite examples is the amazing mathematician, Emmy Noether; I wonder how many brilliant women never got to excel in science simply because “science is a boy thing” and their interest wasn’t encouraged.

Mac downloads in 2016

Apple is announcing their long-overdue Mac updates today; at least in US time. I’m still jetlagged from the switchover myself, those people over there need to get with the times.

For all the ink and electronic characters lamenting the lack of Mac hardware updates, few have pointed out that even Apple’s Mac software pages have been left to languish. As an example, the Downloads page (archived here) shows:

  • iOS 8, which is two versions old
  • OS X Yosemite, which is is two versions old
  • The App Store from Yosemite

As an aside, it blew me away how many people didn’t know how to pronounce Yosemite. I feel for your childhoods.

UPDATE: The page still wasn’t updated after the aformentioned MacBook Pro announcements.


I go on leave for three weeks, and this happens.

A race condition was found in the way the Linux kernel’s memory subsystem handled the copy-on-write (COW) breakage of private read-only memory mappings.

Fake, inflated self importance aside, the joke I was attempting to make regarded the timescale. Linus’ (Linus’s?) initially observed the issue back in 2007, according to the kernel commit logs. And it’s impacted most distributions since, specifially:

An unprivileged local user could use this flaw to gain write access to otherwise read-only memory mappings and thus increase their privileges on the system.

This flaw allows an attacker with a local system account to modify on-disk binaries, bypassing the standard permission mechanisms that would prevent modification without an appropriate permission set.

The key is it’s a local privilege escalation attack; one would need access to the target first. Once a nefarious user is in though, they may as well be running as root for all practical purposes.

I could gloat as a FreeBSD guy, but we had our own nasty issue recently too. One could include any manner of extra files in a package, and it would still pass verification and install.

The lesson here is (to poorly paraphrase an old lecturer and friend): software is like Swiss cheese. Holes are inevitable; it’s when they line up when issues arise.

Rubénerd Show 354: The New York ① episode

Rubénerd Show 354

Podcast: Play in new window | Download

49:39 – Join Ruben and Clara on annual leave as they wander from the Top of the Rock in the Rockefeller Center to Wall Street. Topics include revolving doors, the subway, Halloween bears, Airbnb, Brooklyn, Williamsburg Bridge, ubiquitous horns and sirens, NYPD clothing, Wendy’s potatoes, green nooks, and more. Recorded 7th October 2016.

Recorded in New York, New York. Licence for this track: Creative Commons Attribution 3.0. Attribution: Ruben Schade.

Released October 2016 on The Overnightscape Underground, an Internet talk radio channel focusing on a freeform monologue style, with diverse and fascinating hosts.

Subscribe with iTunes, Pocket Casts, Overcast or add this feed to your podcast client.

Live from New York City

Beautiful mid-morning view of Bryant Park and the street outside this coffee shop

This is my first blog post from the Western Hemisphere, United States and New York all at the same time! Clara and I are sitting across from Bryant Park in Midtown Manhattan with a coffee at Pret a Manger, a surprisingly good coffee chain. From the window I can see the park, the streams of yellow taxis, a small food cart by the side of the road.

The trip is about to wrap up tomorrow, so Clara and I are taking a page from Bobby Darin and having a lazy New York Sunday afternoon on our last full day. We avoided the crowds and saw the Empire State Building observation decks late last night, so we’re both still a little fuzzy.

I’d intended to blog as we were exploring, but time wasn’t on our side when we wanted to see everything in the precious short time we had. We also went around New Jersey and Philly, Pennsylvania which all deserve their own posts!

It’s been the most exciting, overwhelming experience I’ve had in a long time. Despite their reputation outside the US, New Yorkers are very friendly. There were a few times where things felt a bit sketchy, but generally we felt as safe as walking around Sydney.

We got to see Frank and Denise from The Overnightscape, and Jim and Esther from the late great Whole Wheat Radio and indie music fame. Despite being on the other side of the world, they’ve been a part of my life since I was a teenager; it felt unreal actually meeting them. And they were all as nice, humble and fascinating as I imagined.

I’s also a bit bittersweet. My mum and I were supposed to go to The Met once she was cured, so Clara and I went to explore for her. Like the people, it exceeded my expectations in every way.

A few Rubénerd Shows have been recorded and queued up, but won’t likely be produced till we’ve weathered the next 22 hours of flying and timezone adjustments! In the meantime, Frank graciously recorded these episodes:

See you soon!

Those are even more commits

I noted this back in August 2015:

I forked Homebrew a few years ago to send pull requests, then promptly forgot about it. This is what it looks like today:

This branch is 34801 commits behind Homebrew:master.

Neglect aside, that’s pretty impressive.

For fun, I thought I’d check back.

This branch is 47231 commits behind Homebrew:master.

That’s going to be a big merge.

Rubénerd Show 353: The Olympus trip episode

Rubénerd Show 353

Podcast: Play in new window | Download

40:29 – Banana with apple, walking distance to work, uncooperative throat coughing and iOS 10 upgrades, never using Apple 1.0 releases, going to NYC and Philly, the Kobo, the US ESTA, the Clinton Trump debate, becoming an Olympus camera guy again, and a friggen vanishing iPad!

Recorded in Sydney, Australia. Licence for this track: Creative Commons Attribution 3.0. Attribution: Ruben Schade.

Released October 2016 on The Overnightscape Underground, an Internet talk radio channel focusing on a freeform monologue style, with diverse and fascinating hosts.

Subscribe with iTunes, Pocket Casts, Overcast or add this feed to your podcast client.