Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive


Forgot your password?
DEAL: For $25 - Add A Second Phone Number To Your Smartphone for life! Use promo code SLASHDOT25. Also, Slashdot's Facebook page has a chat bot now. Message it for stories and more. Check out the new SourceForge HTML5 Internet speed test! ×
User Journal

Journal Journal: OpenVPN and Restarting

Every-so-often, I come across a bug with a simple workaround that seems likely to be fairly commonly experienced, and Google is very little help. A classic example : n-m-openvpn shuts down VPN when openvpn soft-restarts. Essentially, every minute or so, my VPN dies, without any fanfare or visible notice. As I connect to my web dev network via VPN, then SSH in, the end effect is that my SSH connection hangs, mid-typing. Permanently. This is why tmux is so truly wonderful, but the underlying problem is still pretty frustrating.

As I say, Google did not draw a massive amount up that was relevant, and today (having reintroduced the problem by callously upgrading to Ubuntu 13.10) even Googling for "NetworkManager OpenVPN dropping connection" and such like did nada. Thankfully, I knew I had seen this, and the rough solution, so was able to recover it with a few more hindsight-targeted searches (e.g. "nm-openvpn-service-openvpn-helper dropping connection variables").

Of course, I should have taken necessary precautions to avoid the problem coming back, but then I did not expect it to still be an issue, or still difficult to find. Also, yes, the Launchpad NetworkManager bug-tracker would have been a good starting point, but I did not know originally whether the problem was with NetworkManager, the applet, OpenVPN, the remote end, any of the software on the VPS, and finding out would have taken more than the couple of hours over a week or two I am now whining about. "People have spent more time fixing three-line perl scripts", I hear you cry, "consider yourself lucky!" Well, true, but caveat emptor, that's why I have not used perl in ten years, and carefully honed my Regex skills to be able to hammer them out in at least one of ten relevant situations, after the fifth attempt.

So, for Google's benefit, assuming robots.txt allows Journal crawling:

Look at n-m-openvpn shuts down VPN when openvpn soft-restarts for information about NetworkManager dropping OpenVPN connections every minutes!!

Thanks and apologies for the loud noises.

User Journal

Journal Journal: An Update

Just an update to give you an idea of how this studying thing is going. On and off, but getting there. I'm only able to use three or four days a week and keeping strict timescales when I get into something is proving challenging. In the interests of honesty, I'll admit today is probably the first that I've (mostly) changed subjects on the hour-mark.

But then all these processes take practise; habits don't form in a day. Mind you, some bits are easier than others.

So rough target schedule:
7.30-8.00 Get up, quick run, exercises, breakfast (8.15-8.45 today)
8.30-9.30 Piano: Hanon exercises and scales [1] (9.15-10.15 today)
9.30-10.00 Shower and read news from
10.00-1.00 First block of activities
1.00-2.00 Lunch
2.00-4.00 Second block of activities
More later as time permits

As can be seen, this isn't a particularly strenuous system, but with the 5 hours to be split predominantly between French, Ancient Greek, Piano, Guitar, Economics, History, Geography, Psychology, (PhD prep) Math and English Lit, along with Philosophy and Church History there is plenty to get through. As mentioned before, the sciences[2] are the obvious gap in this curriculum but having done them until 18, I don't feel so bad about them as the subjects I last did as 1 of 11 timetabled courses.

The format of the posts after this will be (for my own reference): Intro, details of the day, further details on a subject. Just a quick summary of what I did get up to today, then: French, reading Montesquieu's L'Esprit des Lois VERY slowly, although the pace is picking up :) ; Ancient Greek, working through A First Greek Course by Sir William Smith; Guitar, learning Leyenda (or Asturias) by Albeniz; Piano, working on Bach's E Major Fugue from WTC II; Economics, starting Introduction to Economic Analysis by Prof McAfee (Caltech).

More detail on those in future. Perhaps more interestingly, nearly all the resources I'm using are freely available under Creative Commons or in the public domain. More info on that too.

1. Whatever Ms Whiteside may have to say on the matter
2. I will not be regarding Math as a science, though it is _useful_ in science (pure mathematician speaking here)

User Journal

Journal Journal: Generalist Profundity

As we give generalist profundity rein on our imaginations,
So we profit our imaginations, engendering a universality

So, having finished university, I'm now at home for a while - potentially starting a Math PhD after Christmas. As with many (but far from all!) math grads, I can't help noticing that friends from school who did literature, Spanish, philosophy etc. seem to have a better grounding in the ways and thinking of humanity that have been built up over ages of civilization. Go figure.

Now, don't get me wrong - math rocks, one can't beat complex manifolds with a big, four-dimensional wooden stick, but there is something to be said for having an idea of why countries are at war beyond a rather lacking and blinkered 'social evolution => countries desire expansion' argument or understanding where Zermelo-Fraenkel set theory came from and the bodies of thought it grew out of, from Aristotle, Avicenna and others. As a Christian, I'm particularly keen to find out more about the Church fathers, the Council(s) of Nicaea, Constantine and others who, and regardless of one's personal understanding, have had a seminal impact on Western civilisation as we know it. I want to know how cathedrals stand and why they stand. I want to know what a ziggurat is and how they were used by the Mesopotamians.

At the same time, I want to learn to speak and read French - a beautiful language of key Enlightenment philosophers and to read both Plato and St Paul in the original Greek. I want to know where Tristan da Cuhna is and what the weather's like there.

So this is a statement of intent, the manifesto of a generalist in potentia. We'll see if it happens.


A couple of additional notes. Firstly, why am I doing this? As a pure mathematician, it's the answer I'm used to giving! However, I believe there are other compelling reasons - to write, think and argue without understanding of the writing, thought and argument that has preceded is repetitious and spurious industry.

Prevalent modes of thought change while history repeats itself - a simple example of the recurring IP battle is given by Baron Macaulay's rebuttal to the proposed extension of copyright in 1841 (A Speech Delivered...). Few of us and I likely include myself, will bother to read this in entirety, but this shouldn't be due to the age, the language or our opinion of the writer's politic. It contains salient and persuasively presented points, details collectively forgotten by the technological crowd and sets out a stall more inviting to legislator's mindset than many rather partisan and emotive diatribes that are seen to represent the liberaliser's case in its entirety.

Next, why do I think anyone cares? I don't, but I think some people may be curious. I would be; I imagine there are some people who'd like to try this too and would enjoy a bit of a sense of armchair adventure. Maybe some who'd like to try it too and fancy company. So I'll keep you posted - let you know what I do and how I get on. I'll even try and keep track of the peak number of Wikipedia tabs I have open in Firefox at once. And if no-one's listening, I'll have peace and quiet to muse to thin air :)

Slashdot Top Deals

God made machine language; all the rest is the work of man.