Archives for August 2005

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Good Ol' tc

For the last few years I've run the USC waterski team. This year I've finally acknowledged that I'm way too busy to do a good job at that and have passed it off to someone else. I still have a good number of connections to the team, though, one of which is the fact that the mailing list still runs off my email server.

That just sort of dawned on me tonight when the new president sent out an email to the list that had 4mb of attachments. Or rather I should say he's still sending it, since qmail-qread shows it about 50/50 between done and not done for the list's 350 or so members.

Each time something like this happens I have to refigure out how to set up traffic shaping. Today the answer was to rate limit traffic destined for port 25 (SMTP) to 300kbit. :

sudo /sbin/tc class add dev eth0 parent 1:1 \
classid 1:12 htb rate 200kbit ceil 300kbit prio 0;
sudo /sbin/tc qdisc add dev eth0 parent 1:12 \
handle 12: sfq perturb 1; 
sudo /sbin/tc filter add dev eth0 protocol ip \
parent 1:0 pref 2 u32 match ip dport 25 0xfffe \
flowid 1:12

I have no clue if that's the proper way to do it, but it's working. My pings have gone from 1200ms back down to a more fun 80 - 100ms.

A Little Pleasure Riding

I took a fun little 17.5 mile ride tonight. I initially thought I was heading to Griffith Park, but then plans changed and I decided to do a loop up through Silver Lake. I had to make some funny turns to avoid Sunset Junction, but all in all I was happy with how it worked out.

Actually I think there's a little mistake in that map... I'm pretty sure I went past Hoover on Santa Monica, took the right on Manzanita, took a left on Del Mar, and then a right on Hyperion. That took me back down to Hoover.

Like I said, I really didn't have a plan for this one...


A couple weeks ago I went to get a California driver's license and was told I had an outstanding ticket in Pennsylvania. That was news to me, and to PA. Turns out it really wasn't even true. I finally got around to calling CA's Problem Driver Pointer System office and a nice lady there reran the query. To paraphrase, "I looked at it, and that's not you." So now my license will be printed within 24 hours and I'll get it whenever the mail chooses to deliver it.

Still Perfecting the Spam Blocker

I wrote recently about my first and second steps in fighting comment spam. In the two weeks since I put those measures into place I've blocked 3400 requests to this blog and 4755 requests to blogdowntown.

I also put in a third level of blocking sometime between then and now, adding a RewriteMap that lists specific problem IP addresses. That's great if the spammers are reusing proxies, and if nothing else it just makes me feel like I'm doing something. That list is now up to 62 IP addresses.

And now today I've added a second DNS check, this time to query This list is designed to target open proxies. It's not perfect -- it only lists 17 out of the 62 IPs on my deny list -- but it has better coverage than And defense in depth is never a bad thing.

So basically I have no problem with referrer spam these days, but comment spam still trickles in.

Of All the Days...

It just dawned on me that Larry Flynt is about to speak to my class and I'm wearing a Liberty University baseball hat. I would say that was poor planning on my part, but I didn't know he was going to be here.

More Power, More of the Time

I just found out that we now have power outlets in the seats of the Annenberg Auditorium. That's amazing. I should stop writing now and watch the movie, though... We're watching a truncated People vs. Larry Flynt and then he's the speaker for this first class.

Woo Hoo!

Considering the way USC likes to overcharge for everything, I was kind of surprised just now to realize that the vending machine I just went to only charges $1.25 for a 20oz Coke. Then, to make matters even better, my bottle cap says I win a free 1 liter. Double score!

Seat Post Problem Pinned

Turns out yesterday's slipping seat post was the result of a seat binder clamp that just wasn't tightening up enough to put good pressure to keep the post in place. I had the original binder clamp as well, so for now I've just put that on. It's not quick-release, so I'm not particularly worried about it getting stolen between now and when I can take it into the shop tomorrow. I'm sure there are bike thieves that carry 4mm hex wrenches with them, but it looks a little more suspicious to start pulling out tools just to steal a seat.

First Day of Classes

Classes start today for my last semester at USC. I'm excited at the prospect of being done, but I can't say I have any desire to go back today. The object of most of my worry is Latin, which I'm supposed to know by now (seeing as I'm going into Latin 3), but really don't. It's going to be a long next few weeks as I really push to catch back up with where I should be. I'm just hoping today doesn't have any real content to it (no first day should) so that I can put off that first moment of being called on and not knowing the answer until Wednesday.

In a feat of good planning, though, I don't have any pre-noon classes. My schedule, in fact, looks like I'm cheating the system and taking maybe 8 units, when I've actually got 18 in there.

The New Bike Now Has 41 Miles on It

35 miles riding this afternoon/evening. I'm exhausted. I started from my apartment, headed up past Echo Park to Sunset, and then took Sunset over to the Hollywood split and Hollywood to Hollywood Pro Bicycles over by Las Palmas. My carbon seat post won't stay put, but Chris wasn't in so I didn't get to do much about it. And so, yes, I rode 35 miles with a slipping seat post. — Continue Reading...

Longing for a Better Bike Route Tool

Elevation Change My plan is to bike to church again this evening, though this time on a much nicer set of wheels. All of this cycling has made me really wish for a bike routing site that did a few more things than bikemetro does.

For instance, bikemetro tells me that from Runyon Canyon Park to Bel Air Pres there's an elevation change of 89 feet. That sounds nice, until you look at the elevation graph above (note that's just from the top at Runyon... not from Hollywood or Downtown). Yeah, sure, the end (~1300ft) is 89 feet above the beginning (~1200ft), but in between there are drops to about 1000ft and a bunch of 100 - 200ft climbs. I'd love to see the site just add up all the climbs and descents and give you those numbers, along with the overall change.

bikemetro has had some serious downtime issues lately, and I don't really know what their ongoing funding situation is, so it would be great to see someone put together a companion/alternative site. I could even do without any bike specific features in a pinch -- just give me the ability to exclude highways and route based on elevation change (factor flat in against short).

Happy Birthday to Me

Devinci Podium I bought my new bike today. All summer I've been sort of building toward it, and I've been telling everyone that what I wanted for my birthday was a little money toward its purchase. Well, I don't quite have all the money together yet, but this was the time to buy and I went for it. End of summer just happens to be when the model year transition occurs, so all the 2005 bikes are on sale to make room for the new ones that'll be arriving soon.

Hollywood Pro Bicycles had several different bikes in my size, so today I went test riding. I put a good little workout onto each bike on the streets behind the shop, particularly up and down Las Palmas between Hollywood and Franklin. In the end there was really no contest; for me the best bike was going to be the Devinci Podium. — Continue Reading...