Some things I wrote

Sex, Reporter und das Internet (German)

At the end of the last century, I got really, really upset about how the German media was portraying this neat new technology called "the Internet". So I wrote a parody and put it online, where it got around a bit. A polished version was published in "Spiegel Spezial" in February 1996, a big break for me as a writer.

(An anecdote: When the "Spiegel" editor called to discuss the details, my kid sister -- about eleven years old at the time and very much the petulant teenager -- answered the phone. She was expecting one of her friends and tossed the phone to me with a loud "Es ist nur der 'Spiegel'" ("It's only the 'Spiegel'"). The editor was flabbergasted: Just what kind of people usually call you, Mr. Stevenson?)

The text is wonderfully dated. Note the references to Charles and Di, and the part where I crow about how there are no ads on the Internet. Those were the days.

Peter Gutmann used my text as the basis for a New Zealand version.

Ogger (Python Program)

I started off programming with BASIC, then moved up to 6502 assembler on the VC-20 (VIC-20 in some countries) before writing started sucking up the time I had spent coding. By the time I started C, my priorities had shifted.

Years later, I taught myself Python, reading the books on Berlin public transport (the Python Cookbook got lots of stares) before rushing home to test code. Why Python? Because it is clean and elegant and I can remember what to do even if I don't get to program for half a year. "Fits your brain" indeed.

Ogger is glue code thrown around cdparanoia and oggenc. I used it to rip my CD collection to my Linux computer (yes, for my personal use only). It turned into an excuse to experiment with threads, the option parser, and batch processing. It is completely out of date now, thanks to iTunes. But if you know Python and would like a giggle, you can download it. At your own risk, of course.

Wider den Begriff "US-amerikanisch" (German)

Wer über die USA schreibt, kommt nicht umhin, Stellung zu einer sprachlichen Gräueltat zu nehmen: Dem Begriff "US-amerikanisch". Hier wird erklärt, warum ich ihn nicht benutze und warum ich sogar der Meinung bin, dass niemand ihn benutzen sollte.

The Mock Mainframe Mini-Howto

Explains how to set up a computer system for a small group of people that is inexpensive and easy to maintain. Part of the The Linux Documentation Project, my second contribution after the original X-Terminal Howto. I don't have that sort of a system anymore, so this text is not maintained. 

Backup Disk Use with Time Machine: A Preliminary Empirical Study

The best part about OS X 10.5 "Leopard" is the backup software Time Machine. Because my wife and I use laptops as our main computers, I wanted to put the backup drive on our Ubuntu server in a RAID 1 (mirrored) configuration. But how large would those two drives have to be? To find out, I wrote a shell script to check the disk use for a few days, and then wrote a little text on the results. Overkill, of course, but fun.

A Time Machine and File Server with RAID, Samba and Xen

A step-by-step report describing how I built our home server. I wrote this text for myself so it will easier to do it all over again if alien face-huggers burst through the floor and destroy the computer with their acid blood. I am publishing it on the Internet in case somebody else has a similar project in the works. Not maintained because I stopped using Xen after Ubuntu stopped supporting it. Also available as a PDF

Using Twitter to Warn of mdadm RAID Failures

In May 2009, I finally joined the ranks of Twitter with my own account. Unfortunately, my life isn't interesting enough to tweet about (so don't waste your time following me). But I found out you can use the service to let your server warn you if something goes wrong with the RAID array. This is a short text that explains how.

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Last change: 13. May 2009
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