simplifying

masen | 17 October 2017

In the past, I've been fascinated by the abstraction of complexity. I drooled over complexity for complexity's sake, which is why my "simple" online presence had ballooned across 5 virtual servers, 1 internal server, self-hosted mail, dns, xmpp, self-hosted dynamic dns, and an extremely brittle set of ansible scripts tying everything together. It was, uh, let's call it fun.

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goodbye domain

masen | 28 October 2014

Over the past several months, I've been slowly trying to reduce my dependence on external (read: out of my control) services as much as feasibly reasonable. Given that I was a server admin in a past life, this gets egregious pretty quickly.

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about me: august 2014

masen | 13 August 2014

Not as much happened this year in terms of life position. Still graduated from college, still working the same job, already moved out of Seattle to the suburbs, and still married to Samantha. So things are feeling remarkably similar to last year, but now I seem to have some idea of what I’m doing.

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gnupg arch pinentry

masen | 13 November 2013

I always get a pleasant feeling when I recieve a PGP encrypted file or message, but the message isn't much good if I can't read it. Unfortunately, as I receive so few of such messages, my setup decays without daily use and becomes broken.

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hippie bullshit

masen | 28 September 2013

I was about to call this a problem, but upon further review, that seemed rather one sided. What I'm referring to is the human survival mechanism I call labeling. While we don't fully understand the capacity and mechanism of our own brains, I'll say from experience that thoughts are easier to process and take care of when they are simpler. That's my theory as to why we name things.

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about me: september 2013

masen | 13 September 2013

A lot can happen in a year. I graduated from college, got a job, moved to Seattle, and married Samantha. So things are feeling significantly different than they did last year, and I still have no complaints. Things change and people change and while there may be some merit in nostalgia, clinging to the past and drawing comparisons with the present ensures that one stays stuck. It’s easy to get left behind while everything else is hurtling forward through space, and not realize that these things don’t matter.

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virtualbox crash selecting ISO

masen | 10 September 2013

Fixed a sweet bug affecting VirtualBox today in a way that I really didn't expect.

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inserting control characters in vim

masen | 23 May 2013

There comes a time in every Unix user's life where they need to enter control characters into their editor. Maybe you're trying to add some ASCII BEL characters to annoy would-be cat'ers, or add some null characters or something, but most likely you want to search and replace!

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running a private mail server

masen | 22 May 2013

Recently, I've been more interested in reducing my dependence on third-party cloud services. For those of us following the security and privacy trends in the industry, it's pretty unclear whether you retain 4th ammendement protection over data on 3rd party servers. As far as the FBI is concerned, they think they should have easy access to any online account, preferably without a warrant and other red tape. Although these services provide SSL, in many cases they don't really have a choice when it comes to turning over your information.

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nobody uses a locked laptop

masen | 20 May 2013

I've had a small obsession lately of watching DEFCON videos from years past on YouTube when I get a free moment. It's mostly been good aside from making me paranoid to use my computer. Mostly these guys and gals bring up great ideas for protecting yourself from Ahem..."Adversaries" with things like drive encryption, rapid drive destruction, secure communication, strong passwords, long keys, etc. All these are great things! They keep unauthorized users far from your data and I wouldn't advocate against them.

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sql saves the day

masen | 04 April 2013

Finally cracked the nut on a problem I've been working on: trying to determine from a login event and a record of logins and logouts whether that login event constitutes the beginning of a concurrent session for the given user. Trying to solve this problem using backtracking is a lot of effort and brushes up against the halting problem. In this method, we simply look backwards at logins and logouts from the event being inspected until we can determine if there is an overlapping session. The problem here is that there is no promise that such an algorithm will complete...

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seeking a maintainer + testers

masen | 24 March 2013

I started winter term with a personal programming project and expectedly ran out of time to continue. The quarter became difficult quickly, which is exemplified by my lack of postings in February and March. I've been hauled up throughout most of the winter dealing with issues in Parallel Computation, Programming Languages and Objects. Thankfully, last Friday was my final Final and I was able to resume work again.

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Questionable SNI Support in older IE

masen | 08 February 2013

Background

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migrating the site

masen | 06 February 2013

Today, I've begun migrating this site, as well as all other sites which I previously hosted at JustHost (shared hosting) over to a shiny new VPS located in a data center in New Jersey. The new hosting provider is DigitalOcean, and they provide $5/month VPS boxes with 20gb SSDs and unmetered bandwidth (well it's unmetered for me because I signed up early, otherwise very affordable). If you're looking for a reliable hosting provider and prefer the do-it-yourself approach over a canned solution like cPanel, by all means this is a dream.

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iTunes crashes the OS X Dock

masen | 13 January 2013

Since this is the second time I've had this happen to me, I figured I'd post the relevant fix here for my future benefit. Essentially what happens is, everytime the song changes in iTunes, the Dock process gets an unhandled exception and is forced to restart. I have observed this under OS X 10.7.4 and OS X 10.7.5 and under iTunes 10.6 and iTunes 11.0. It only happens when I reformat my disk and then restore my files via rsync (I don't use TimeMachine actually so I'm not sure if that's a factor or not).

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classic content archived here

masen | 10 January 2013

Today I stumbled across an old blog database of posts that I'd published in the summer after my freshman year. In my desire to archive my content and own it (as I've mentioned several times), I have migrated that content to this site. Each of these "rescued" posts bears the classic tag.

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This is a Development Site

masen | 10 January 2013

After a weekend hack-a-thon which extended to this morning (and perhaps throughout the rest of my life), I deployed my latest version of this site this morning.

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we are power

masen | 10 January 2013

The biggest failing of modern society is the collective unconscious understanding that we are powerless, unable to affect change, and improve our situations. It's easier to just get a job, take care of your self and your own, and keep quiet about the things which ail the world.

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down the puppet hole

masen | 09 January 2013

In my post a few months back, I was discussing some DNS issues we were experiencing while deploying puppet to some workstations in the ResTek office. Unfortunately, after the issue with the faulty init.d start scripts was resolved, half of the machines were still not 'calling in' to the puppetmaster. I should mention at this point that the current version of puppet in the Ubuntu repositories is 2.7.11; naively, this is the version that we are running.

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time travel is weird

masen | 09 January 2013

"Time travel is weird" - Samantha Warring

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Cory Doctorow: the coming war on general computation

masen | 06 January 2013

Last year at 28C3, Cory Doctorow delivered a powerful keynote talk about his vision of controls in the general purpose PC market. It's a semi-apocalyptic state of affairs when you realize that he's right. There is profit (and other) incentives to limit what you can do with your computation devices.

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tricky advertising.

masen | 11 December 2012

Most of my personal friends and family know that I'm really turned off by most forms of advertising (specifically excluding word of mouth recommendations which are not spamming). My main problem with it, is that it hits most people where they're most vulnerable -- their subconscious. We would assume that advertising doesn't directly influence our buying decisions, however that assumption is almost always flawed. Since I've started watching more TV, I've caught myself thinking that I needed a new Dyson, Kenmore super dishwasher, and other shiny things before realizing that I'd been duped.

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what are your goals?

masen | 17 November 2012

A question that often comes up in my line of personal study is "Why do people do what they do?" It's an admittedly broad question because there are many layers of decision making that go on within our minds that dictate our behavior. There is no simple 'why' which explains any action; in my experience the more i try to drill down into the 'primary why', the other whys become more prominent. Things don't line up. Further who am I to suggest that I can answer the question for other people? To pursue the topic, I'll have to self-examine my...

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Reasons for Continuing the War on Drugs

masen | 23 September 2012

Funding for government departments creates cushy bureaucratic jobs

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learn to want, less

masen | 20 September 2012

i've been learning over the past few weeks that wanting things is a waste of energy. The primary problem with wanting things is that acquiring things often does not result in one wanting less. In fact, wanting and attaining tend to lead to wanting more. For many of us, it is pretty clear that wanting things brings about small-quantity, short-duration 'happiness' (if it could be called that). What is less clear is the outcome of wanting a different situation or wanting the situation at hand to be different. When we do this, we get trapped. We get trapped in our mind's conception...

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about me: august 2012

masen | 24 August 2012

Samantha and I in Seaside, OR (Feb 2012) I currently reside in the city of subdued excitement – Bellingham, WA – about to enter my final year of Computer Science at Western Washington University. While amassing technical skills and experience in my field of study, the journey itself has taught me more about life. I’ve learned to put less emphasis on factors outside my control to focus on the aspects of life that I most certainly do control: how I feel and how I react.

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authenticity

masen | 11 August 2012

“If we want authenticity, we must initiate it.” – Travis Rice

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i need a new home

masen | 13 July 2012

So, I've been paying about $5/month to host this site along with several other domains for myself and my comrades. Given the price point, i feel like I could probably do better than shared hosting. While I haven't had any specific problems, my site (obviously) does not draw that much traffic. If any posts or information hosted here or on any of my other hosted sites goes viral, it could very easily bring the entire server down. Not only would I likely be reprimanded for such an event, it's worse knowing that potential visitors would get turned away.

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puppet requires DNS

masen | 26 June 2012

Working at ResTek over the summer is a much different experience than working during the school year. For one: I am now working 40 hours per week (up from 15), and also many more people are working in the office regularly which makes collaboration easier. All this leads to an environment where things get done in a third or less of the time it would 'normally' take to complete. And the bugfixing is very intense.

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wikiAnswers

masen | 08 June 2012

I'd like to share my latest bit of frustration regarding the various 'answer' sites out there. I'll preface this rant by explicitly excluding sites of the StackExchange variety or forums which are answering specific questions, often in regard to implementation or opinion on how to best accomplish a task (even then, often these sites' users do provide valid citations or justifications).

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home is where the heart is

masen | 13 May 2012

I ventured 'home' this weekend to Longview, WA to visit my lovely mom for mother's day and spend some time with family. It's been a great weekend (it usually is when I avoid the L-town bar scene) and I couldn't have asked for better interactions with those who I love.

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just when you think you know, you don't

masen | 01 May 2012

As the natural-born overachieving perfection-seeking pragmatist that I am, I often find myself exceeding the specifications on my Computer Science assignments. Generally, I find them to be either too simple, or not interesting; and in an effort to 'get the education my parents paid for' I make my own rules.

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noise

masen | 20 April 2012

Over to the left of the restaurant, a small group of college students are conversing with each other. Judging by their body language, it's fairly clear that only one of them knows everyone else at the table. Maybe the others know a few names.

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masenf.com goes live

masen | 17 April 2012

After a month of waiting and sitting on my design, I finally decided it was time to go live with the new site layout. I'm not doing this because I feel it's particularly good or finished, but mainly because my old theme was making very restless and I wanted a nice clean place to write and share some thoughts and information with the world.

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cad/cam/cnc: competing in skillsUSA

masen | 25 March 2012

As a sophomore in high school, I unwittingly took Stuart Smith's CAM class and learned some CAD, CAM, and CNC milling on ProLight and Haas Mills. In fact, I came to learn that my high school just happened to have one of the best CNC labs in the entire country. I went on to take 2nd Place in the Washington state Automated Manufacturing contest in 2007, 1st Place in 2008 and 2009. And 3rd place in the entire Nation in 2008! Who knew? My specialty on the three person Automated Manufacturing team was the CAD designer. The contest is designed...

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HP dv6000 Series AC Power Adapter Debacle

masen | 10 August 2010

In August 2007 I bought my first modern laptop, an HP dv6000m with specs about like this:

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Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

masen | 28 July 2010

Our congress just passed the Financial Reform Bill on July 15th, establishing the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. What's interesting to note however is in the following paragraph:

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Setting the Stage

masen | 17 July 2010

This video really said a lot to me this afternoon:

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Yum Yum

masen | 16 July 2010

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A Stupid Way to Brick an Awesome Router

masen | 12 July 2010

The Linksys WRT54GL is arguably one of the most rock solid home/office routers that one can buy today. Even though the hardware is becoming more and more dated running one with a custom firmware can give someone like me (a nerdy hobbyist) an extremely powerful router for a relatively low price.

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talking to god

masen | 02 July 2010

"So we're not obliged to "please" you or follow your alleged guidelines or anything like that?" "Absolutely not. Never issued a single guideline in the lifetime of this Universe. Have to find your own way out of the maze. And one early improvement is to stop expecting me - or anyone else - to come and help you out." -- Harry Stottle

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visualization: seeing your music

masen | 20 January 2010

In the days of modern graphics hardware, fast computers, and enormous digital music libraries, most people have heard of or seen a "visualizer". However, most people using main stream media players such as Windows Media Player and iTunes are missing out on what a true visualizer is. 

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about me: june 2009

masen | 19 June 2009

Hi, my name is Masen Furer. At the time of writing, I am 18 years old and just graduated from high school. I am now attending Western Washington University and perusing degrees in Computer Science, Math, and Physics. I was actively involved in student government in my high school years and now work as a counselor at a Washington State Summer Leadership Camp.

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