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Messages - Parsifal

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Status Notices / Re: Scheduled maintenance, 2019-08-11
« on: August 11, 2019, 09:05:12 AM »
Maintenance complete.

Status Notices / Scheduled maintenance, 2019-08-11
« on: August 09, 2019, 11:28:19 AM »
The homepage, forum and wiki will be going offline for about five minutes on 2019-08-11, between 09:00 and 09:15 UTC.

In your local time (if you are logged in and have your time offset correctly configured), this is:
August 11, 2019, 09:00:00 AM

The intent is to install security updates on the server which hosts the homepage, forum and wiki. These will be non-disruptive to functionality, as the server is running a stable OS release that gets critical fixes only.

Parsifal, thank you. I think modifying the dhcp server is within the scope of what can be changed/configured in our network environment. It's a university and we have very silo'd operations. I cannot directly modify any of the infrastructure, but I can request it to be done by someone else.

As far as simplifying os installs, I want to have an image with all the necessary apps and updates that can be installed litetouch or pxe. I want to be able to install unattended. Sounds like kickstart is the way to go.

In that case, I'd just follow Red Hat's documentation on setting this up:

This is the way that RHEL (and thus CentOS) is designed to work and the most travelled path. I wouldn't bother even looking at third-party tools unless you find that Red Hat's supported way can't do what you want for some reason.

I assumed, and planned on, having to setup a server for all of this, so that is not a problem.

I'm thinking "pull" is the way to go for app deployment, since clients can check in and get themselves up-to-date.

That seems reasonable to me. You just need to make sure your Kickstart script includes bootstrapping for whatever tool you choose (I'd probably go with Puppet here, but you can even have it just fetch and run Ansible locally if you want).

You should also ensure that you have some way to be notified of errors applying the configuration, so that you become aware of broken machines before someone notices and reports the problem.

What you want isn't possible because you have multiple conflicting requirements. You're going to have to decide which parts of what you want are important and which parts can be dropped.

I would like to be able to install the OS via litetouch, or PXE and have the ability to deploy applications centrally.
I have used DRBL, personally, but I'm not sure it will work in this environment without modifying the networking infrastructure - which I do not want to do.

Booting via PXE requires assistance from the DHCP server, which is part of the network infrastructure. You want to rely on the network infrastructure to do a job without needing to modify it. That isn't going to work very well.

If a new application needs to be added, I want to be able to push it out to all clients at once and not have to touch each machine.

There are, broadly speaking, three ways of accomplishing this:
  • Push-based configuration management (e.g. Ansible), which you've already rejected as it can skip hosts which are offline when run.
  • Pull-based configuration management (e.g. Puppet, Chef), which fetch their configuration from a central server whenever a machine is booted, or periodically. This requires you to maintain a central server.
  • Centralised installation of software on a network file server. Root on NFS appears to be possible on CentOS, but unsupported by Red Hat. In any case, this requires you to maintain a network file server.
Since you've already narrowed it down to the latter two options, you need to set up a server of some sort. Personally, I'd suggest going with the second option, as it's more in line with what Red Hat supports and doesn't break every machine if the server goes down for a few minutes.

Note that Red Hat seems to support Puppet, so that's probably your best bet for CentOS.

Also, I want to simplify the OS installs as well and not have to run through a bare-metal install for each new client.

I don't even know what you mean here, since you mentioned Kickstart previously. (Kickstart is the correct tool for automating CentOS installation, by the way, since it is what Red Hat supports.)

Are you trying to say that you want to avoid a manual installation for each new client?

Technology & Information / Re: Need a pron machine
« on: July 15, 2019, 08:40:34 PM »
Then just buy a second-hand ThinkPad on eBay for like £100.

Technology & Information / Re: Need a pron machine
« on: July 15, 2019, 08:17:42 PM »
Have you considered just creating a second user account on your existing computer?

Bob Dylan and The Band
The Basement Tapes

Band lineup

Bob Dylan (acoustic guitar, piano, vocals)
Rick Danko (bass, mandolin, backing vocals)
Levon Helm (drums, mandolin, bass, vocals)
Garth Hudson (organ, clavinet, accordion, saxophone, piano)
Richard Manuel (piano, drums, harmonica, backing vocals)
Robbie Robertson (guitars, drums, backing vocals)

All tracks authored by Bob Dylan, except where noted.

Side A

1. Odds and Ends (1:47)
2. Orange Juice Blues (Blues for Breakfast) (Richard Manuel) (3:39)
3. Million Dollar Bash (2:32)
4. Yazoo Street Scandal (Robbie Robertson) (3:29)
5. Goin' to Acapulco (5:27)
6. Katie's Been Gone (Manuel, Robertson) (2:46)

Side B

1. Lo and Behold! (2:46)
2. Bessie Smith (Rick Danko, Robertson) (4:18)
3. Clothes Line Saga (2:58)
4. Apple Suckling Tree (2:48)
5. Please, Mrs. Henry (2:33)
6. Tears of Rage (Dylan, Manuel) (4:15)

Side C

1. Too Much of Nothing (3:04)
2. Yea! Heavy and a Bottle of Bread (2:15)
3. Ain't No More Cane (traditional) (3:58)
4. Crash on the Levee (Down in the Flood) (2:04)
5. Ruben Remus (Manuel, Robertson) (3:16)
6. Tiny Montgomery (2:47)

Side D

1. You Ain't Goin' Nowhere (2:42)
2. Don't Ya Tell Henry (3:13)
3. Nothing Was Delivered (4:23)
4. Open the Door, Homer (2:49)
5. Long Distance Operator (3:39)
6. This Wheel's on Fire (Danko, Dylan) (3:52)


This is mostly an album of typical Dylan jingles performed along with The Band, interspersed with a few The Band pieces without Dylan. I've never been a great Dylan fan, so this is likely to be a very biased review.

The Dylan tunes typically consist of repetitive folk themes, sometimes a tad on the bluesy side, that almost consistently fail to progress anywhere musically. The focus seems to be on the lyrics, which almost consistently fail to make any sense whatsoever. At their worst ("Apple Suckling Tree"), these pieces even sound under-rehearsed, to the point that I question their inclusion on this album even for Dylan fans.

However, it's not all doom and gloom. A couple of Dylan's songs are quite passable as stupid but pleasant rocking out -- my personal favourites being the intensely bluesy "Don't Ya Tell Henry" and "Long Distance Operator", with honourable mentions going out to the more acoustic "Crash on the Levee" and the calmer ballad "Nothing Was Delivered".

The songs without Dylan are, for me, much more consistently listenable. "Bessie Smith" and "Yazoo Street Scandal" in particular are very enjoyable, and quite different from each other stylistically, leaving the potential for a decent single album or EP if the more disappointing half of the material were stripped out.

I'm not going to say this is bad, and particularly if you enjoy Dylan's style, it's well worth a listen. But personally I would have been more selective with which cuts to include and produced a shorter, but more consistently enjoyable, record.

Christgau sez...

These are the famous lost demos recorded at Big Pink in 1967 and later bootlegged on The Great White Wonder and elsewhere. Of the eighteen Dylan songs, thirteen have been heard in cover versions, one by Dylan himself; the six Band songs have never even been bootlegged and are among their best. Because the Dylan is all work tape, the music is certifiably unpremeditated, lazy as a river and rarely relentless or precise--laid back without complacency or slickness. The writerly "serious" songs like "Tears of Rage" are all the richer for the company of his greatest novelties--if "Going to Acapulco" is a dirge about having fun, "Don't Ya Tell Henry" is a ditty about separation from self, and both modes are enriched by the Band's more conventional ("realistic") approach to lyrics. We needn't bow our heads in shame because this is the best album of 1975. It would have been the best album of 1967 too. And it's sure to sound great in 1983. A+

"The best album of 1975", he says. Ah yes, 1975. The year he gave Godbluff, the greatest and most cohesive 37 minutes Van der Graaf Generator ever committed to vinyl, a solid D+. I'm sorry, but if you're going to give such high praise to material that, by any artist other than Bob Dylan, would be considered so "lazy as a river and rarely relentless or precise" as to constitute a rehearsal and not an album, could you perhaps give at least a smidgeon of credit to actual musical talent when it pops up in the same year? E

Technology & Information / Re: Ask Rushy about Bitcoins.
« on: July 13, 2019, 11:46:41 AM »
The POTUS mentions Bitcoin by name for the first time in history

Am I missing something?  Because either Trump is endorsing bitcoin or he's attacking it.  He doesn't have another mode.  So he attacked it?

Have you tried clicking the link immediately above the paragraph you quoted to see what he actually said?

Technology & Information / Re: New laptop
« on: June 26, 2019, 11:39:17 AM »
I use an X1 Carbon (4th gen, I think) as my daily driver. It's a fantastic laptop. I don't know where Dave is getting his info from, the battery life is excellent (accounting for the fact that I run OpenBSD, which doesn't have the best power management; Linux got way more juice out of it back when I ran that) and it handles tasks like compiling software just fine. Maybe newer generations are different.

I wouldn't touch any Mac with a ten-foot pole.

Another option you might consider is the X1 Extreme, which is a bit bulkier but comes with a GTX 1050 Ti Max-Q so it can do gaming on the go as well. I'm hoping to get the 2nd gen (which should be out in a few months) as my next daily driver.

Steely Dan
Pretzel Logic

Band lineup

Donald Fagen (keyboards, saxophone, vocals)
Walter Becker (bass, guitar, backing vocals)
Jeff Baxter (lead guitar, pedal steel guitar)
Denny Dias (guitar)
Jim Hodder (backing vocals)
plus a bunch more I'm not going to write here

All tracks authored by Walter Becker and Donald Fagen, except where noted.

Side A

1. Rikki Don't Lose That Number (4:32)
2. Night by Night (3:40)
3. Any Major Dude Will Tell You (3:05)
4. Barrytown (3:17)
5. East St. Louis Toodle-Oo (Duke Ellington, Bubber Miley) (2:45)

Side B

1. Parker's Band (2:36)
2. Through with Buzz (1:30)
3. Pretzel Logic (4:32)
4. With a Gun (2:15)
5. Charlie Freak (2:41)
6. Monkey in Your Soul (2:31)


The four tracks that bookend each side of this album are some of the grooviest head-bopping music you'll ever find. Sadly, in between these catchy numbers are sequences of meandering, mediocre pop rock that do little to nothing to stand out from anything else the early '70s gave us. The best track on the album is a Duke Ellington cover that makes me want to go listen to some traditional jazz instead.

I wanted to write more but this album was thoroughly uninspiring. Oh well, hopefully the next one will be better.

Christgau sez...

This album sums up their chewy perversity as aptly as its title--all I could ask is a lyric sheet. "Rikki Don't Lose That Number" blends into AM radio with an intro appropriated from Horace Silver, while the other side-opener builds a joyous melody of Bird riffs underneath a lyric that invites one and all to "take a piece of Mr. Parker's band." The solos are functional rather than personal or expressive, locked into the workings of the music. And even when Donald Fagen's voice dominates as it comes out of the speakers it tends to sink into the mix in the mind's ear--recollected in tranquility, the vocals seem like the golden mean of pop ensemble singing, stripped of histrionics and displays of technique, almost . . . sincere, modest. Yeah, sure. A+

Honestly, I just have no fucking idea what any of this review is supposed to mean. It's a generic pop rock album with no noteworthy features other than its sole Ellington cover. Couple that with the fact that Zappa's Roxy & Elsewhere from the same year, featuring some of the most diverse and captivating works of his early touring career, was awarded a C+. No, this review simply will not do. D+

Status Notices / Emergency maintenance, 2019-06-18
« on: June 18, 2019, 04:29:40 PM »
The homepage, forum and wiki went offline a moment ago for a couple of minutes.

This was to install a security patch to remedy the recent Linux kernel TCP vulnerabilities.

Joy of Cooking
Joy of Cooking

Band lineup

Terry Garthwaite (lead vocals, guitar, clarinet)
Toni Brown (keyboards, guitar, kalimba, lead vocals on "Too Late, But Not Forgotten" and "Red Wine at Noon")
David Garthwaite (bass, lead guitar on "Only Time Will Tell Me")
Fritz Kasten (drums)
Ron Wilson (percussion)

All tracks authored by Toni Brown, except where noted.

Side A

1. Hush (traditional) (2:48)
2. Too Late, But Not Forgotten (4:22)
3. Down My Dream (4:20)
4. If Some God (Sometimes You Gotta Go Home) (3:45)
5. Did You Go Downtown? (Terry Garthwaite) (7:39)
6. Dancing Couple (:58)

Side B

1. Brownsville / Mockingbird (Furry Lewis / traditional) (5:55)
2. Red Wine at Noon (3:39)
3. Only Time Will Tell Me (5:16)
4. Children's House (6:55)


Can these girls sing or what?

Things get off to a somewhat shaky start, with some of the least interesting material clustered on side A. I enjoyed "Hush" and "Too Late, But Not Forgotten" -- the latter has some beautiful vocal harmonies -- but the next couple of tracks got a little repetitive and I started to think this was going to be an album full of nothing but harmless pop ditties.

But suddenly, Side A is rescued from the world of listenable but mediocre pop rock by "Did You Go Downtown?", Terry's only writing credit on the album. The lyrics aren't particularly meaningful, but the vocal performance is spectacular, with some group improv involving both the instrumentation and the vocalists in the latter half of the tune. Nearly 8 minutes of the band plodding along with the same one-chord groove, and I didn't find myself getting bored once.

Side B opens with a bluesy tune consisting of a mashed-together cover of Furry Lewis's "Brownsville" and the lullaby "Mockingbird", leading into some more of the amazing improvisations that are the highlight of this album. This really has to be heard to be believed. Just wow.

We then go back into a few more conventional songs. "Red Wine at Noon" and "Only Time Will Tell Me" are my favourite two of Toni's tunes. "Red Wine" has some lovely dissonant chord progressions and vocal harmonies, and "Only Time" is based around a funk groove that represents this band at its tightest.

Sadly, "Children's House" returns us to the repetitiveness from the start of the album. It's obviously an attempt at a dramatic ending, but the writing is just so dull. The only thing that saves it from total disaster is Terry's vocal performance, which is consistent as always on this album.

This record is nicely balanced between Toni's pop rock songs and Terry's lengthy blues vocal improvisations, and while I personally have a strong preference for the latter ("Did You Go Downtown?" and "Brownsville / Mockingbird" being by far my favourite tracks), the two provide some nice contrast and relief from each other. I just wish there was a little more of the improv based around silly lyrics and a little less trying to fit into conventional pop structures.

Christgau sez...

Led by ex-folkie Toni Brown (the principal composer) and ex-blueswoman Terry Garthwaite (whose three rhythm songs sizzle joyously), this may not be your idea of rock and roll. The music revolves around Brown's piano, which rolls more than it rocks, and the band goes for multi-percussion rather than the old in-out. I find it relaxing and exciting and amazingly durable; I can dance to it, and I can also fuck to it. The musical dynamic pits Brown's collegiate contralto against Garthwaite's sandpaper soul, and the lyrics are feminist breakthroughs. "Too Late, but Not Forgotten" remembers a trailer camp while "Red Wine at Noon" touches international finance, but the two protagonists are united by one overriding fact--they're victimized as wives. And it's about time somebody in rock and roll said so. A

Knowing what you can and can't fuck to is a little TMI. Aside from that, this is a much more reasonable assessment of the album than I've come to expect from Christgau, and put more eloquently than mine. While I'm still sour over the D+ grade awarded to Atom Heart Mother in 1970, I have to admit that I can think of no better album from 1971, except perhaps for , which he also awarded an A. I therefore have no choice but to accept this review as valid, but I'll still knock it down to a minus for the TMI. A-

Status Notices / Re: Scheduled maintenance, 2019-06-15
« on: June 15, 2019, 09:05:05 AM »
Maintenance complete.

Arts & Entertainment / Reviewing the reviewer: The Christgau picks
« on: June 14, 2019, 07:46:57 PM »
In the grand tradition of threads about listening through a set of recordings with a collective theme, I have decided to review all of the top album of the year picks from the supreme cuntface himself, Robert Christgau. As it turns out, these are all albums I have never heard before, which makes things a lot more interesting. Christgau tends to be pretty scathing about the sort of music I do like, so who knows how this will turn out?

For each album, I will first listen to the music and review it, and only then read Christgau's review and add my comments (except for the first pick, which I've already glanced at his review for). I will then give his grading of the album a grade. Sounds fair, right?

The list of albums included is nicely collated from his yearly (since 1974) Dean's Lists on Wikipedia, for those following along at home.

See you (hopefully) tomorrow for a review of Joy of Cooking, FES.

Status Notices / Scheduled maintenance, 2019-06-15
« on: June 13, 2019, 07:07:24 AM »
The homepage, forum and wiki will be going offline for about five minutes on 2019-06-15, between 09:00 and 09:15 UTC.

In your local time (if you are logged in and have your time offset correctly configured), this is:
June 15, 2019, 09:00:00 AM

The intent is to install security updates on the server which hosts the homepage, forum and wiki. These will be non-disruptive to functionality, as the server is running a stable OS release that gets critical fixes only.

Suggestions & Concerns / Re: Suggestion: Upvote/Downvote Idea
« on: May 11, 2019, 06:34:23 AM »
An upvote/downvote system immune to the effects of trolling is feasible, although I'm not sure how difficult it would be to execute (I'm far from an expert when it comes to coding and all that jazz). Something akin to the system of many stackexchange sites, where you have to gather a minimum amount of reputation before you can participate in voting, would likely discourage people who's only objective is to brigade and troll. Reputation could be gained by participating in (civil) discussion and making posts that are positively received, or something along those lines.

Just because it's possible doesn't mean it's a good idea. Ideas should be received on their own merit, and people should make up their own minds without using other people's opinions as a crutch.

Yes to updating the description to reflect the removal of Q&A.

Yeah, this much seems like a no-brainer.

Suggestions & Concerns / Re: Suggestion: Upvote/Downvote Idea
« on: April 18, 2019, 09:34:54 AM »
This isn't Reddit.

Suggestions & Concerns / Re: On the Notion of Removing Attachments
« on: April 10, 2019, 08:04:27 PM »
If it is universal and also potentially affects avatars then we can notify people to switch to using a link instead of an upload/attachment. I don't know if this is the case in SMF.

It should be straightforward to disable attachments without disabling avatar uploads (I haven't looked, but even if this isn't an option already we can add it to SMF).

I'm interested in hearing what our users think of this change before I give my opinion.

Arts & Entertainment / Re: Star Citizen
« on: April 02, 2019, 07:05:17 AM »
Once full persistence is in, maybe we should start playing for real

This has been the idea for about the past 3 years now.

Note, however, that even once full persistence is in for the alpha, all the state is likely going to be reset for the final release so that everyone can start on a level footing (modulo ridiculously priced OP ships).

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