I just stomped way down into a chain of scripts to find out that [ls] stopped working.

The culprit?  A file that started with a dash.  How can this problem exist?  And… without me ever having a clue until JUST NOW?

I shall now live my live by rule of dash dash (until I forget):

ls -la -- *.txt

I turned on the “Expand Printers” option on the XP taskbar settings, and from that point forward, any time I accessed the Start button via Ctrl-ESC, it has kept me waiting for 5-10 seconds. Watching the CPU usage with task manager didn’t give me any useful information, it was only through trial and error, and lots of false blame (eg on a SQL Server shortcut), that I finally found this problem. Disabling the setting eliminated the CPU pegging.

For a little background… On XP, I keep my taskbar hidden unless I want to see it. I’ve ranted about this before, it’s a pretty fundamental concept that it should be ME who decides how my computer communicates with me. For Microsoft to open up the taskbar in Windows 7 so that any app can force itself to be recognized, flashing until user interaction is made, is absolute madness, akin to providing a browser with no popup control. As a control zealot, this drives me mad.

I realize this is a small problem on an old OS. I really don’t care about it except that at work I’m forced to use this shitty stuff. I shouldn’t really waste blog space on this stuff… but it makes me feel better. And that’s the only reason this blog exists anyway. So there. 🙂

gpg (which i use to encrypt my passwords, so it’s not really optional) started giving me a segmentation fault on a recent [emerge world] that bumped it to v2.0.19. I reverted to v2.0.17, same crash. I ran gdb on it, crash was happening in libgcrypt, which had also recently been bumped from v1.4.6 to v1.5.0-r2. I reverted to v1.4.6 and all is well again. Sometimes “stable” isn’t.

I’ve been having trouble with my server running out of file handles recently (ouch). Cyrus and Apache and rtorrent all do their fair share of abuse of my server, lsof typically reports 20k open files and sockets. rtorrent kept crapping out with “can’t resolve host” and “can’t save torrent file” errors, related to running out of file handles. Very hard to determine why this was happening. Eventually google turned up the answer on gentoo forums – re-emerge curl with these USE flags in [/etc/portage/package.use]:

net-misc/curl ares -threads

All is full of light.

I recently bumped my primary email/database/webserver box up to date. Now all my gentoo boxes are past the annoyingly useless tweaks required for gentoo’s baselayout2. I love gentoo land, where every bit of pain is a lesson. This one included… (continued…)