Who’s Chef Boyardee?

I’ve always heard my American friends and TV shows namedrop Chef Boyardee, but I had no idea who he was. I heard him on Good Mythical Morning and decided enough was enough, so I decided to find out who this gentleman was.

He was a chef, but now his name graces canned foods. Above is his cheese ravioli in tomato and meat sauce, along with what I assume is a stylised image of the late gentleman himself.

FreeBSD devd files need a .config extension

I try my hardest to avoid clickbait titles, and my summaries that appear on Twitter tend to have the most pertinent part of the post spelled out. Today’s is no exception; you could legitimately take the title of this post and be done with it. Even this introductory paragraph is entirely pointless.

devd(8) is FreeBSD’s elegant and fairly straight-forward system to respond to hardware changes with pre-defined events; the manpage(5) lists some helpful examples. The config resides below, with the usual conventions of ports and personal scripts appearing in the latter:

  • devd.conf
  • /etc/devd/*.conf
  • /usr/local/etc/devd/*.conf

Seems simple enough. And yet, there I was late last night hitting my head on the desk because my shiny new test config files weren’t being executed when hardware was live-attached or detached from my running OrionVM instances. I was triple-checking my devd syntax, digging into the documentation and newsgroup postings for when it was first developed. But as with so many problems of this nature, the solutions were nested but trivial:

  • Config files need to have the .conf extension to be parsed, as my list shows above. My otherwise well-formed config files weren’t, so they were being ignored. I know how they felt.

  • Once you’ve added or changed a rule, you need to service devd restart or service devfs restart for them to be loaded, depending on what you’re working on.

So if you find yourself troubleshooting these issues late at light, give these a try. Late at light? Late at night? Whichever. You may be surprised, and subsequently perform an embarrassingly nerdy dance before heading to bed.

Don’t confuse gohugo by adding symlinks

I was wondering why Hugo could generate on my FreeBSD cloud VM, but not locally. I ran a plain hugo command:

$ hugo
==> Error: Cannot walk regular file

Could this just be it? If so, it’s one of the most routine mistakes one can make on a *nix system.

Earlier in the week I’d created a symlink to the layouts directory of my current theme, to save some typing.

$ ln -s ./themes/rubenerd-rubi/layouts ./layouts

Even though Hugo’s config.yaml was specifically set to use that theme, it still attempted to load that folder as well. I’ve since learned this is expected, and in fact desired behavior: you may want to override a theme with a local site file.

(Yes, I use YAML. I couldn’t grok TOML).

So lesson learned, don’t try and get clever.

The Aquantia AQC107 10GbE controller

I was reading the latest Mac Mini teardown on iFixit, and saw how it was handling 10GbE:

Aquantia AQC107, same as Apple used for the iMac Pro

I read that as Aquitania, the longest serving of the four stackers. It’s rare that computing overlaps with my fascination with early twentieth-century ocean liners. The photo description for this image on Wikimedia Commons claimed this was 1914, but I didn’t think she had her higher bridge at that point:

RMS Aquitania in 194

From the product page:

RMS Aquitania was a British ocean liner of Cunard Line in service from 1914 to 1950. She was designed by Leonard Peskett and built by John Brown & Company in Clydebank, Scotland. She was launched on 21 April 1913 and sailed on her maiden voyage from Liverpool to New York on 30 May 1914.

Diddly, did it again. From the product page:

AQTION AQC107 The Aquantia AQtion AQC107 is a high-performance, 5-speed, 10 G PCI Express (PCIe)-to-Multi-Gig Ethernet controller that integrates PCIe, MAC, and PHY to provide power and space-efficient connectivity for client systems.

I want 10GbE everywhere, but how is it still so expensive? I feel we went from Fast Ethernet to Gigabit much quicker and prices came down faster.


Curly bracket substitution in sed, nvi, Vim

What is it they say about regular expressions? I got caught out making a basic mistake substituting curling brackets at the start of lines in a text file, so I thought I’d share it.

Here was my first attempt in FreeBSD nvi, escaping the bracket:

==> RE error: repetition-operator operand invalid.

Hmm, weird. The same happened with nvi installed from MacPorts on my work laptop. So I tried Vim:

==> E866: (NFA regexp) Misplaced {
==> E64: \{ follows nothing
==> E476: Invalid command
==> Press ENTER or type command to continue

This should be simple, what was I doing wrong? I tried sed to mimic what I was doing above:

$ sed -i '' -e 's/^\{//' $_FILE
==> sed: 1: "s/^\{\"id\"\:\"//
==> ": RE error: invalid repetition count(s)

Can you see the problem?

Not to get all Malcolm Gladwell on you, but turns out I shouldn’t have been escaping the curly bracket. So doing this was sufficient:


I’m going to dub this premature escaping. Or maybe Ruben shouldn’t do early morning regex without coffee and/or sufficient sleep.

Brexit silver lining

Martin Kettle sees a silver lining in the current Brexit mess, emphasis added.

Today, the Berlin-based European Council on Foreign Relations published research showing British attitudes towards the European project have become more positive over the past decade. The UK is second only to Finland in feeling increasingly European. The 2016 referendum may have done more for our European consciousness than all the preceding years of neglect.

The one big plus of the past five months is that British voters have become much better informed about Europe and have thought more deeply about the issues. Last month’s march and parliamentary petitions showed the effect. So did the quality of those long House of Commons debates. There seems little doubt about the direction in which public opinion is gradually moving. These European elections could reflect it. It is time to be more confident again about Britain’s place in Europe. It’s time to go for it.

My gut tells me it’s too early for optimism. But if this came to pass, Brexiters may have kicked one of the most spectacular political own goals in recent history.


Dave Winer at the beginning of the month:

Serverless is one of those unfortunate names that confuse the hell out of people because it’s a lie. Your software most definitely runs on a server.

Reminds me when SFDC claimed No Software, or when the cool kids said the cloud is just someone else’s computer.

I wonder what the next step will be. Serviceless? Dataless? Moreorless?

Rubenerd Show 394: The hierarchical coffee episode

Rubenerd Show 394

Podcast: Play in new window | Download

43:59 – Join Ruben in a soulful, bronchital state; a word that almost certainly doesn’t exist. Topics include Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, secret apartment doors, Apple keyboards really are that bad, stabbing myself in the eye with a poster, Australia’s obsessive coffee culture, Arashiyama in Kyoto, and accidental beverages. Break song by the delightful Good Mythical Morning gents who trained a predictive text bot.

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

Released April 2019 on The Overnightscape Underground, an Internet talk radio channel focusing on a freeform monologue style, with diverse and fascinating hosts; this one notwithstanding.

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


Music Monday: French coffee

It’s Music Monday time! Each and every Monday without fail, except when I fail to, I post a piece of music or a song—XOR, no ambiguity here—such that our Monday may be filled with perhaps a little more joy than its unenviable position at the start of the work week would normally afford it.

Today we have this delightful duo of French songs I heard in a coffee shop this morning. The first is Le Jazz Et Le Java sung by Yves Montand, and La Mer with the instantly-recognisable Sacha Distel.

Play Yves Montand - Le jazz et le java Play La Mer - Sacha Distel

As an aside, I default to YouTube because its what everyone can access, but I’m thinking I should link to Spotify or Apple Music as well. I prefer to use YouTube for previewing songs, then buying albums on services like ZDigital/7Digital. Let me know if you have any thoughts.


Event Horizon Telescope sees a black hole

I realise I shared this on Twitter, but didn’t post here. I’m living in the future, and it’s incredible.

Scientists have obtained the first image of a black hole, using Event Horizon Telescope observations of the center of the galaxy M87. The image shows a bright ring formed as light bends in the intense gravity around a black hole that is 6.5 billion times more massive than the Sun. This long-sought image provides the strongest evidence to date for the existence of supermassive black holes and opens a new window onto the study of black holes, their event horizons, and gravity. Credit: Event Horizon Telescope Collaboration