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Monthly Archives: May 2014



It was just one of these nights. We were sitting at the O’Neil’s San Mateo Pub, taking a break after a long day at the Maker Faire. Hackaday was hosting an informal drink-up and a steady stream of colorful characters has just started flowing in. That’s when we met [Robert Coggeshall].

XKCD comic #149 [xkcd, 149] It started off as a normal discussion – he runs Small Batch Assembly and does a lot of interesting things in the maker space. Then he brought up a fascinating detail – “Oh, did you know I also co-invented sudo back in the 80’s?”

If you ever did as much as touch a Unix system, you’ll know this is a big deal. What came as an even bigger surprise was that something like sudo had to be “invented” in the first place. When thinking about the base Unix toolkit, there is always this feeling that it all…

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With all the net neutrality stuff circulating around, and in my position as netadmin/sysadmin at my school, I’ve started thinking about teaching a civics lesson on the subject.  I mean, I won’t, obviously, because I like my job, but that doesn’t stop me from thinking about it.

We have separate networks for students, teachers, and guests on campus, and which networks you can get on is dictated by what your MAC address is associated with in our RADIUS database.  Now, it wouldn’t be too difficult for me to set up a “Premium” student network, then throttle the bandwidth available to students on the standard student network.  Heck, with a bit of work, I could even block access to sites like facebook to those on the standard student network.  Then, I just ask that students who want access to the “Premium” student network just pay me $5 for the privilege.

The other reason I wouldn’t do this, obviously, is that I’m not a villain (and I don’t think there are many students, at least who are at or near voting age, who aren’t already for net neutrality).

If you’d like to make your voice heard, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has put together a nice tool over at to submit your thoughts on the public record about the FCC’s proposal.