Month: January 2021

Frames, ships. All carry payloads

About an hour ago I found this article explaining how shippers went for even bigger ships than before, thinking economies of scale would help them make more money.

Then I read this other article about how the Port of Los Angeles is buckling under pressure by having multiple container ships at berth. The Port of New York City also reports taking on bigger ships.

I’m thinking in networking terms but

  • Bigger container ships == Ethernet Jumbo frames
  • Global shipping routes == Internet
  • Ports == Network gateways

The challenges with jumbo frames are well known. Some people hate them, others say use them with care. It all comes down to what you’re trying to do and what your equipment supports.

If you have a route across the Internet and every node between the starting point and the end point support jumbo frames, you’re set. If not, you can keep them disabled and still reap 90% of the benefits.

This is not so with actual physical matter being transported via ships. Ports can’t be replaced in a few weeks or months. Expansion of a port often takes years (NYC, LA, Duluth) and costs can run into hundreds of millions of dollars. You can’t exacly load balance across ports while you upgrade one the way you can with a network gateway. In this context, extra-jumbo container ships give rise to bursts of frantic activity at ports to get them unloaded, when the entire system relies on port activity being steady.

Add in the COVID-19 pandemic and burst activity will facilitate virus spread throughout port workers. None of this is a good combination. Wonder if there are any studies that apply IP networking concepts to the study of seafaring shipping?

Also, governments seriously need to look at how the shipping cartels operate. Cos that’s what they are, cartels.

The more things change the more they stay the same

20 years in, blogging is still a curious mix of both technical, literary and graphic bodgery, with each day’s work demanding the kind of technical minutuae we were told would disappear with WYSIWYG desktop publishing.

Source: Pluralistic: 13 Jan 2021 – Pluralistic: Daily links from Cory Doctorow

20 years from now blogging will still be a mix of technical, literary, and graphic bodgery.

vim with rclone on MFA-enabled Nextcloud

I forgot that I enabled MFA on my Nextcloud instance and it broke rclone. This is something the Nextcloud documentation makes clear but neither the instance nor rclone itself will tell you what’s actually wrong or how to fix it.

First, on Nextcloud:

  1. Go to Settings › Security.
  2. Scroll down to the bottom. Enter something descriptive like “rclone” in the entry box, then click Generate App Password.
  3. Nextcloud will display an application-specific password. Leave the screen here. Nextcloud will only display it the one time

You can always start over if you don’t copy it so depending on your password policies you might want to save it in your password manager.

Now, switch over to your shell:

  1. First, kill the current rclone mount: $ fusermount -u /home/nullrend/Nextcloud. Do not just kill the rclone job. Apparently the rclone devs think it’s too hard to implement a rclone umount /mount/dir command or sum’thin’.
  2. Do $ rclone config and delete the current Nextcloud remote endpoint. Much easier to start from scratch.
  3. When you get to the password entry, enter the password given to you by Nextcloud.
  4. Finish the process.

At this point you can save the password on Nextcloud so it actually allows rclone to connect through WebDAV.

To mount the new remote endpoint do something like $ rclone mount endpoint:/ ~/Nextcloud --daemon --dir-cache-time 120m --max-read-ahead 256 --no-modtime --vfs-cache-mode full --vfs-cache-poll-interval 120m. You will need to play with the caching flags depending on what you’re doing and what your needs are.

For my own use case I’m mostly using vim to interact with my vimwiki files so I also often do :set noswapfile to stop vim from bitching about files that are likely open elsewhere.

Venture Capital is a plague

Allowing masses of underpaid workers to be exploited in order to provide widespread convenience was always a depraved bargain, built on a rickety ethical and economic foundation.

Source: Instacart Is a Parasite and a Sham | The New Republic

This industry is ripe for some entity to come out with a co-op model where drivers are not only the employees making the delivery, but also owner shareholders in the company. No one will get rich quickly but they’d earn substantially more than poverty wages.

The “uber but for x” economic model is reliant on destroying everything around it so VC can get rich. Hopefully we won’t need 50 years to gig economy doesn’t work, just like trickle-down economics.