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Paul Smith
1,157 followers - rescue squad; former deputy director of technology at DNC; EveryBlock co-founder rescue squad; former deputy director of technology at DNC; EveryBlock co-founder

Paul's posts

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I just heard that, after a long illness, Dennis Ritchie (dmr) died at home this weekend. I have no more information.

I trust there are people here who will appreciate the reach of his contributions and mourn his passing appropriately.

He was a quiet and mostly private man, but he was also my friend, colleague, and collaborator, and the world has lost a truly great mind.

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I’m the new deputy director of technology for the DNC.

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Our normally sleepy little block is now a detour route because of this weekend’s Grand Prix. 

Is it possible to record a Hangout session? As in, in Hangout natively, as opposed to a screen recording app on my desktop.

How do you manage your SSH keys?

For years I have done nothing besides let them pile up in ~/.ssh of whatever happened to be my main computer at the time.

But lately with the proliferation of keys for managing various AWS accounts, legacy keys from previous computers, development VMs, and multiple main machines (I switch between two laptops and synchronize them with Dropbox), it’s starting to feel unsustainable. The SSH keys aren’t in Dropbox, BTW.

USB thumbdrive? It feels like something to lose, and then there would be the need to setup the path correctly (I suppose tinkering with ~/.ssh/config would make this less painful). Having it mount ~/.ssh seems like potential for breakage—you wouldn’t want to deal with authorized_keys or known_hosts across hosts, just keys. I’d also worry about leaving it behind one time when it’s really critical to have.

Maybe a Truecrypt volume in Dropbox? I suppose any non-default ~/.ssh solution is going to require some glue / .bashrc effort.

Since I always have it with me, stored on my phone and served up over Bluetooth? Probably way more setup hassle than the USB scenario.

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Looking forward to this.

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Looks like progress is finally being made on the Pakistani kebab place going in at the corner of Cross and Light. Excited for that to open.

I feel like there must always be a mob action or mob outrage for a new social medium to be truly inaugurated. Maybe it is a form of the users claiming the new territory for their own. In G+’s case I think it is the account shut-offs/brand page suspensions. It is surely annoying, frustrating, or downright harmful for those affected. But the phenomenon of the outrage is sort of a performance, an easy +1 or reshare. I’m of the ascribe-to-incompetence-rather-than-malice school which makes the cries of the outraged seem not about constructive criticism but entitlement. Which is not necessarily a bad thing. Squeaky wheel and all that. But is has been fascinating.

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Hugely important and relevant full hour of TAL on “patent trolls”. In collaboration with Planet Money. Listen.

Welcome to the rent-seeking economy.

This is a little time-saver trick I figured others knew, but judging from shell code I read, it must not be that widespread.

I use install(1) to put a file or directory in place with the right permissions, mode, and name, instead of doing separate chown, chmod, and cp/mv (or mkdir) steps.

For example, if I’m working on a shell script, I’ll be developing and testing it locally, owned by my user account, maybe with no execute bit set yet. When I’m ready to put it in to “production”, instead of:

$ chmod +x
$ chown root:root
$ mv /usr/local/bin/myscript

This one-liner:

$ install -o root -g root -m 0775 /usr/local/bin/myscript

Not necessarily that much less typing, but I like that it’s a one-liner and atomic. The opt flags are fairly intuitive (-o is owner, -g is group, -m is mode, etc.) and therefore easy to recall.

install(1) is used heavily in autotools-based installation setups, I suspect that’s why it isn’t as well used or mentioned outside of that environment. Great for setup scripts and the like.
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