Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Guerrilla Fix-It: Hotel Lamp Edition

This brand of lamp normally has both plugs facing "forward" like the one on the left.  Most power adapters can't fit, because of the black square piece right there.  Now, if it's loose -- and they frequently are -- you can twist it about 30° to one side and wedge your power adapter in there.  But there's no way to twist it to face a full 90° like the one on the right.

Someone "fixed" it.  I've been to this hotel dozens of times, and none of the other rooms have it like this.  I guess it's just a matter of having a screwdriver with you ... but who took the time?  Some sort of Robin Hood electrician is on the loose.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Going "Off the Graph"

That's not a typo, I'm curious about getting off the graph, not off the grid.  I love the grid.  It streams movies at me, and lets me get cash from a machine, and lets me send text messages, and lets me look up words I read in my digital book right there on the same tablet.
Königsberg's Troublesome Bridges

It's the graph that spooks me.  It's the connection of every digital transaction (money, tweet, border crossing, phone call) you ever make into one big fat map that suggests ("profiles?") who you are.

You don't have to be paranoid about the NSA watching every single thing you do.  (Ding! Just added a node to their graph.)  You could be paranoid about stores watching your buying habits to target you with marketing.  For instance, as my brother explains, when you purchase felt pads to keep your furniture from scratching the floor, you get added to a marketing list of new homeowners.  It's presumed that your sudden care for floors stems from presently owning them, instead of renting them.

Is it possible to reduce the number of nodes you're adding to your graph, in this day and age?  I'm curious.  Drug dealers have been doing it for ages with "burner phones."  Executives count on the fact that their hotel pay-per-view purchases will be "discreetly charged."  You can't surprise your partner on Valentines' Day if they saw the hotel room deposit on your joint credit card statement.

So.  How far off the graph can a fully functional, modern-day, employed, human get?

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Changing VMware Fusion DHCP Lease Times

At any one time, I've got a dozen or so virtual machines that I might want to boot a subset of.  Monday and Tuesday I might need one bunch, but Wednesday through Friday another.  VMware Fusion's default lease time is a day, which means frequently those early-week machines are assigned IPs that the later-in-the-week machines were previously using.  Flip-flop batches and they collide.

Well, you can change the default and maximum lease times that Fusion gives out to guests by using the `vmnet-cfgcli` command.  It's pretty easy, and you do it on a per-vmnet basis.  To query the current values, for example on the NAT vmnet8 device, goes like this:

  sudo /Applications/VMware\ getdhcpparam vmnet8 defleasetime
  sudo /Applications/VMware\ getdhcpparam vmnet8 maxleasetime

And you set the values, again with an example on the NAT network, like this:

  sudo /Applications/VMware\ setdhcpparam vmnet8 defleasetime <seconds>
  sudo /Applications/VMware\ setdhcpparam vmnet8 maxleasetime <seconds>

Restart VMware Fusion and you're all set.  Machines requesting a new lease will now receive one with the updated settings.  By the way, a week is 604800 seconds.