I've been on vacation for almost two weeks. I had managed to stop checking work e-mail, and actually enjoy the vacation.

Then I had the sudden onset of pain in my face. After two tries, I found a drug which managed to push it back enough that I wasn't a houling zombie. I was just starting to breathe clear again, when pain started up on the other side of my face AND I started getting frantic e-mails and calls from a work client about mumble mumble work drama. So I pull out my laptop and find out the hotel wifi has stopped working. The next two wifi cafes down the street have something so funky I can't get e-mail on their setup. I ended up walking a kilometer through town before I found a good enough wifi connection that I could access the encrypted corporate e-mail system.

On an afternoon where we should have been crawling through ancient monasteries or hiking in the hills (Nova ended up doing that alone) I spent eight hours of my vacation trying to deal with all the very legitimate concerns of negatively affected parties. At the same time the pain on the right side of my face slowly took over my left jaw and back of throat, making it very difficult to swallow anything.

I think you can understand when I say that I was not operating in anything like optimum communications skillset. I said some truths which were never going to be politically acceptable responses. I was mad, and I made that perfectly clear. I should have known. I should have pulled back and considered my words better.

So this morning we headed out to the hospital to deal with my body. That is apparently nothing some amoxicillin can't fix. But my failure to back away from the keyboard is going to cost me pretty badly.


I am in incredible amounts of pain

We thought that the walking might end up being you much for me. Turns out that this is not what hurts me.

On Friday I went cliff jumping down into the little cove I had posted a picture of. This was great fun. By the time I was done, my nostrils were dropping clean of all snot and debris.

Fast forward two days and now I'm in incredible pain. I thought it might be a sore tooth, but my entire right jaw aches. My right ear hurts. My right eye socket hurts.

I think I've got a sinus infection. Unfortunately we are rolling through small towns with tiny pharmacies if any, and I can't communicate with them.

Pain is omnipresent. I can't think. I can't sleep.

I know many of you have dealt with this before. I have only one previous experience almost a decade ago. Any thoughts? Any ideas?
TL;DR version: the Excel center has gone out of its way to make an accessible space as difficult to access as possible. Every short path has been blocked, requiring hundreds of meters of re-routing.

Number one top problem is the Aloft hotel that disabled people have been put in. It's a nice hotel and I rather like it... but I'm still walking. I've watched people on scooters and in wheelchairs trying to navigate it, and it's depressing. I've been here less than 24 hours and I've already helped 3 people get into their rooms after minutes of struggling to do it on their own.

The second problem is the usage of the Excel. In very general terms, the Excel meets every guideline for accessible access... if you discount that every accessible entrance is dozens if not hundreds of meters farther away than necessary. On top of which, in every situation where you come up or out and find yourself facing a doorway to the next area, that doorway is locked. You are continually re-routed from direct paths to indirect paths dozens or hundreds of meters out of your way.

A prime example is the access to the programming space. When you leave the art/vendor/fan space there is an elevator which would take you directly up to the programming space. This is closed off. Instead you must route through three escalators and three fifty meter walks between them, or route to an elevator a full 100 meters away from both the fan space and the programming space.

When you reach the top of the escalator or handicap-accessible elevator, you will find yourself directly facing a walkway. If this walkway were open, you could reach the programming rooms in 20 meters. However, this walkway is blocked off. You are instead re-routed 50-70 meters down to the far side of the building, from which you go the same 25 meters sideways, and then walk 50 meters back to reach the programming rooms.

Why the expansive re-route? Because this location is more suitable for the fully abled security staff. Who, let me emphasize this, have their own elevator which goes directly from the fan space to the programming space.

Let's go back and review this. Handicap people are re-routed hundreds of meters, while fully able-bodied security staff have an elevator going directly from the fan space to the programming space. Futhermore, handicap people are re-routed dozens of meters around a scenic route so that able-bodied security staff don't have to walk more than a few feet away from their direct elevator route.

The amount of Fail in this situation cannot be fully expressed.

As is my standard response to non-optimal scenarios, I attempted to reach out and bring this problem to the attention of the Loncon3 convention programming and operations staff. Each of which department made it very clear that this wasn't their problem, it was someone else's problem, and wouldn't I please go away and bother someone else? After doing a full 1 kilometer loop being sent in a round loop of departments, I was in too much pain to make my way the 1/2 kilometer back to the programming space and have returned to my hotel room. Where I could not use the doorway which leads directly from the convention space to my hotel as it was locked, but had to walk 30 meters down a hallway to a much farther doorway, and then 30 meters back to the same point outside the direct doorway in order to reach the handicap hotel.

Onkyo SR606 free to anyone

I have an Onkyo SR606 which has the well-known problem of failed capacitors. I have the higher-quality replacement capacitors in hand. The instructions for replacing them is on this video

Problem? I bought a Denon to replace it and I've been too busy to get around to doing the repair work on the SR-606. So, I'm offering it completely free to anyone who wants it. Newish (only used it for one year) in perfect condition, in original box with remotes and manuals.

This is a high-quality video/stereo receiver with four HD HDMI inputs and a plethora of Component, Composite, and Digital inputs. Full specifications are at

These usually sell for $200 on ebay right now. If you don't feel like doing the repair there are shops which specialize in this repair for $75. So it would be $75 cost for a high quality HDMI receiver.

If anyone can think of a charity or school who'd be interested, I'd happily deliver it them.

Today I received a spam that the headers clearly showed was generated within Yahoo and went directly from their mail system to mine. So I reported it to their published Abuse address, so that Yahoo would know their user is spamming. I received back the following e-mail:

This is an automated response; please do not reply to this email as replies will not be answered.

To report spam, security, or abuse-related issues involving Yahoo!'s services, please go to

Thank you,

Yahoo! Customer Care

Fail #1: They are required to accept abuse reports at their published Abuse address.

Fail #2: Going to this address gets redirected to which has hundreds of different links, but after spending 30 minutes looking through every single one of them not a single one provides a place to report a spam sent by Yahoo.

Result: Yahoo no longer accepts spam reports. I am therefore blocking Yahoo on every mail gateway for which I have control, and listing them in the Pink Providers blacklist effective immediately.

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Compile Scrivener books into Asciidoc


My favorite writing tool is Scrivener. I wrote the Learning MCollective book for O’Reilly Media entirely in Scrivener. I was afraid this wouldn’t work very well, but it ended up working just great.

To do this, I created a Scrivener compile format which set up chapter headings correctly with a link target above them as recommended. Then I wrote some scripts to process the output from Scrivener compile to make AsciiDoc in the flavor that O’Reilly wanted.

I have released my Scrivener compile settings and scripts so that others can use them should they want to produce asciidoc from Scrivener. They are open source under an Apache license at

You can read the original article at Comments are welcome here or there as you please.

How technology improves our fail


When I try to use my phone in a natural and effective manner, how it knows so much better than me what I need. How it shows me the better path of disconnection and confusion. Nothing is better than backing up and retyping a word time and time again. My exact and correct spelling is so much less entertaining than the nonsense words my phone would prefer to send.

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Updated ActiveMQ 5.9.1-2 RPM with REST APIs


As previously reported in my ActiveMQ 5.9.1 RPM post, I’ve created an RPM for Active 5.9.1 on RHEL/CentOS that matches the one published on the Puppet Labs EL6 dependencies repository.

I discovered last night that I hadn’t included the new REST apis in the image. So there is now a new version. I’ve bumped the release version so that you can upgrade if you installed the previous version.

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Technology books are never done


One thing I am discovering about the difference between writing fiction and writing non-fiction technology books is that technology books are never really done.

With fiction, at some point you have told the story you are intending to tell. You may well have sequels to write, but a given story eventually is complete.

When you are working on non-fiction, there is always something more to add. Right as you are finishing the final review process, an important change is happening in the project core. You find a new tool that significantly improves on the painful process you documented in your book. The next version of the software is going to arrive after your book goes to the printer.

It never ends.

You can read the original article at Comments are welcome here or there as you please.


Massively parallel personal connections


A friend of mine, the award-winning author Jay Lake died yesterday. I spent most of yesterday mourning, and watching as people all over the world came together to share their experiences with Jay. It was truly amazing to see how many lives he had touched, how many people felt loss at his passing. However, it also showed us how Jay achieved something I believe truly new, only possible with recent technology advancement. Jay built personal connections on a global scale, in a sense massively parallel Interactions in Real Time.Read the rest of this entry »Collapse )This was originally posted at You are welcome to reply at or here.