Fibre to the Node

We’ve moved from a house sporting a Fibre to the Premisis (FTTP) connection, to one that only has Fibre to the Node (FTTN). And it’s even more painful than I was expecting:

Thank you for ordering an nbn Fibre to the Node service. nbn co has advised us that your premises is serviceable by nbn Fibre to the Node, however, the copper lines in your property haven’t been jumpered to the nbn network yet.

Yay, copper!

We want to let you know that we may need to arrange multiple installation appointments with nbn co before we can provide you with an nbn Fibre to the Node service. …

We can confirm that your next appointment for an nbn approved installer to visit you is on Thursday, July 13 2017, between 1:00 PM - 5:00 PM. You will need to be in attendance at your property during this time period.

This is already two weeks after we put the request in to transfer our internet plan to a new house. I know multi-week internet deployments are the norm in Australia, but this is farcical. Mission accomplished, Malcolm Turnbull.


I’ve witnessed an explosion in the use of that alleged word that even rivals nuance. It needs to be stomped out, for two reasons:

Clear icon from the Tango Desktop Project

  1. If you live outside the US, it’s not a word. If you’re in the Commonwealth and use it, you may as well customize your other colorful spelling.

  2. If you live in the US, it’s a lazy word. It can always be substituted for something better, such as ” given a present by Alice” instead of “gotten a present from Bob”.

Glad to have gotten vanquished that from my system.

Rubénerd Show 362: The table screw episode

Rubénerd Show 362

Podcast: Play in new window | Download

51:44 – Join Ruben in the midst of his packing and moving hell! Bubble wrap, IKEA tables, craft beer adventures, inspections, ambiguous iTunes categories, Mascot and North Sydney, delightful roaches, paring down stuff, and 2000s nostalgia. Recorded 30th June 2016.

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

Released July 2017 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.

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There is only one permissible use, and that’s to render commander–rank, quantum–universe Star Trek combadges:


Otherwise, for all that is good and wholesome: stop using them.

High speed rail in Australia, again

Gareth Hutchens of The Guardian wrote a review of an article on decentralisation in the latest Australian Quaterly magazine. From the report:

Emeritus professor Frank Stilwell, from Sydney University, says the controversial idea of a fast train line between Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane also has the potential to encourage genuinely beneficial decentralised centres, if supported by the right policies.

I’m continually surprised when otherwise–progressive people are hamfisted against this idea. I can’t be, because I’m vegetarian. #Boom! But I digest. Oh, he did it again! I digress.

People who are normally the first to point out that not everything needs to be profitable (ala, fire stations, public health) are the first to dismiss HSTs. The social and environmental benefits would be enormous.

Prevent GELI password boot prompts

While it can be useful for FreeBSD’s geli to prompt for passwords on boot, it’s not always wanted. Case in point, you can’t BMC or remote access the box to enter the password.

You can prevent this by setting the number of password attempts to zero:

# echo kern.geom.eli.tries=0 >> /boot/loader.conf

And disable the boot flag on your geli volumes. You may want to be more granular than this:

# geli attach [-k secret.key] /dev/[disk]
# geli configure -B /dev/diskid/*.eli

From the geli(8) manpage:

configure      Change configuration of the given providers.
        -b     Set the BOOT flag on the given providers.

A decade of iTelephones

It’s been a big couple of years for decade celebrations. Not only did the Haruhi anime start ten years ago last year, but Apple started selling the original iPhone in the United States. As I wrote exactly ten years ago:

So apparently the iPhone, the device Apple is entering into the global mobile phone market, will be available tonight in the United States. Of course if you’ve used the internet at all in the last few weeks you’d already know about that.

So to spare you the agony of reading yet another stupid iPhone post, I will not be posting about it.

Aren’t you grateful? Hey wait a minute.

I don’t think anyone knew at the time how much of an impact this would have. A large part of the world now walks around, communicates, and gets their news from slabs of glass aped from that original design. This period will be studied by historians.

When the iPhone 3G came out in Singapore and Australia, I didn’t want one, given the walled garden App Store. When I held and used one though, everything changed; it was responsive, easy to use, and already had more software than my Palm or Symbian Nokia ever did. As I wrote when I got one:

Yes on Saturday I finally walked into a TeleChoice store and signed up for a phone and data contract with Optus for use with a 16GB iPhone 3G. And for convenience I even got the 16GB iPhone 3G itself as well to go with the 16GB iPhone 3G phone and data contract for the 16GB iPhone 3G. The 16GB iPhone 3G is the second generation Apple mobile phone device enabled for 3G networks with a capacity of 16GB that can download data at 3G speeds as well as be used as a phone, hence the name iPhone, surprising though it may seem.

Well, that was worth quoting!

Aside from a brief flirtation with a MeeGo Nokia N9, I’ve been an iPhone user ever since.

Cardinal George Pell charged

The ABC are reporting wonderful–if long overdue–news:

[Australian] Cardinal George Pell has been charged with multiple counts of historical sexual assault offences and ordered to appear in a Melbourne court next month.

This won’t heal wounds, and closure is overrated Hollywood fantasy. But it’s a relief to finally see justice done. The challenge will be getting Mr Pell back to Australia to face the music:

In 2014, he was chosen by the Pope to get the Vatican’s finances in order and he moved to Rome. Ill health prevented him from returning to Australia in 2016 to give evidence to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

Exclamation! Icon from the Gnome Project

Noel Debien wrote back in May of the gravity and challenges of a guilty verdict, and lack of precendent:

The Ballarat-born 75-year-old is potentially the pope in waiting. All it takes is for Pope Francis to die suddenly, and one of the 120-odd Cardinals will be the next pope. It could be Cardinal Pell.

Cardinal Pell is the head of the Vatican secretariat for the economy. Effectively he is the third in charge of the 1.2 billion-member Catholic Church. The Cardinal has diplomatic immunity as a Vatican official, and Australia has no extradition treaty.

This issue has been simmering in Australia for decades, but came to a head last year when Victoria Police began a formal investigation. Mr Pell denied any wrongdoing, and accused investigators and the national broadcaster of a smear campaign.

Doc Searls: Lessons people learn too late

Exclamation! Icon from the Gnome Project

Doc has a great list. I thought he might appreciate comments from a 31 year old reading them.

The purpose of life is death. Death produces materials that add beyond measure to feed and sustain more life, and add to the abundance and variety of everything that can be named, and far more that can’t. [..] Bottom line: death is a grace of life, and both are icing on the cake of existence.

It’s a beautiful idea, but I painfully struggle to learn this.

The challenge of life that depends on death is to appreciate the endless tug between certainty and possibility. Gandhi: live as if you’ll die tomorrow; learn as if you’ll live forever. And stay open to the possibility that both can be true.

I still find too much comfort in certainty. I don’t take enough risks.

We are here for others, and not just for ourselves. We come and go with nothing, but we can always leave something. This is also called love.

This. Even if you’re selfish, helping others makes your community and world a better place for you to live, too.

Humans are learning animals, and among the things we all learn eventually—or should—is that knowledge is provisional, truths are opinions, and our first calling is to learn more and keep our mind open, even though that gets harder as experiences accumulate and prejudices with them.

If I had any criticism of this list, it’s that truth is opinion. Truth is fact. But Doc’s core message of keeping your mind open stands despite this.

Everything has deeper causes than the obvious ones. The universe, life, knowledge, language, math and the Internet all changed everything. Each has no other examples of itself. That’s a sign of full depth.

This. Though to be fair, it’s why I find comfort in certainty. I obsessively plan and find it hard to commit to a project precicely because I fear there are other causes at play, and therefore won’t turn out.

When investing, always buy in the past.

Doc always had a sense of humour! But certainly I’m building savings and investments for the future. Because we won’t be buying houses.

Knowledge is the best investment. And it is best to invest in the most rewarding, useful and durable kinds of knowledge—for example of music, languages, sports and other skills—when the mind and body are still young. They’ll pay interest for the rest of your life.

I already feel I’m too late with some of this, like learning an instrument or more languages. But we’re the youngest we’ll ever be while we read this, so it’s time to start.

Who’s to blame for slow AU broadband?

CRN Australia are running a poll. The options are:

  • NBN Co
  • Internet service providers
  • Government policy
  • Users exhausting bandwidth

I remember as a kid erring on the side of choosing 3 or C in multiple choice, because statistically they were more likely to be true than others. I’m fairly sure that was nonsense.

But the shoe fits in this case. Government policy is directly responsible for the shambles of the current system, with all the other points being collateral damage.

We’ve also just seen news that rural areas are getting crappier NBN speeds than those in metro areas. It’s unsurprising, but frustrating. The entire point of the original NBN was that someone in Orange could compete with someone on an even playing field with Sydney. Gough would have approved.