HOWTO: Using Pi-hole DNS to block ads. The struggle continues…

This article is a work in progress. Updated: 2020-05-02. This is turning into a bit of a catch-up on the state of DNS for me.

Day 03 and 04 of #100DaysToOffload.

1 Intro

The war against ads continues. looks like a reasonable, good, new?, open source entry in the war against ads. Get ‘yer source/install for linux at

Per Paul Vixie

not even non-technical users need a “public DNS” to shield themselves from a lot of known-evil internet sites. check out @The_Pi_Hole or have your 12yo child or cousin install it.

..but I always make things harder.

Figure 1: pi-hole console after a few hours on my system

Figure 1: pi-hole console after a few hours on my system

Poetry in the trash

A few years ago, my mother went through the effects of her cousin after she died. It turns out Thelma Jane wrote poetry. Nobody knew. It wound up in the trash.

Thelma lived alone. Her husband had died in his 40s. They had no children. Her mother, my great-aunt Bess, lived to 102 and took her first motorcycle ride at 100. My mom had to go through Thelma’s stuff and Aunt Bess’ stuff, most of which Thelma still had. I now have some of the leftovers. But nobody wanted the poetry. So it’s gone.

This brings me to the question this article explores: why write?

#100daystooffload #whywrite #poetry

Digital chimney smoke?

Daniel Boone is quoted (via Hubert Humphrey) as saying

when he could see the smoke from another chimney, felt himself too crowded and moved further out into the wilderness.

Mark Twain said

Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.

All is not doom and gloom: go for a walk !!!

I find that when I stay glued to twitter (pick your social-media-of-doom-amplifier) I tend to get a rather gloomy view of life. There is indeed a lot one can be gloomy about these days. But if you just go for a walk and look around you may be surprised:

I found this art sidewalk art at just about the exact place where last fall I had purchased a cup of lemonade from 4 eager young entrepreneurs. I suspect the ring leader of that optimistic young bunch.

Figure 1: Sidewalk art

Figure 1: Sidewalk art

Fixing GNU bash associative array insert speed

Bash uses linear search to insert values in to associative arrays. This is all well and good for small numbers of keys. I was adding millions1. I went poking around the bash source code today (2020-04-18) to confirm my suspicion and gauge the difficulty of adding an option to do something more sensible.

In less than a day after I reported it, there is a patch My timing code and pre and post patch timings are here:

Bear attacks, no-win situations and cybersecurity

I spend a good amount of time hiking in Shenandoah National Park and surrounding areas. I’ve seen quite a few #bears and I’ve followed one down the trail. I’ve been growled at by a mother bear when I unknowingly came between her and her cubs. This is going somewhere related to #cybersecurity. I promise. You can’t outrun a bear. Climbing a tree won’t help. If a bear actually decides to attack you, the odds are not in your favor, but fortunately they almost never attack.

"​I'm passionate about…"​

“I’m passionate about…” I’ve always hated that phrase. Because I thought it was fake. I thought it was trendy. I’ve reflexively reacted against trendy things for decades. Pet Rocks, Disco, TED talks, cryptocurrency… But I am coming to see what the phrase is getting at. And I think I like it. In a work world where human beings are called “resources”, where intelligent, creative, inquisitive, motivated people are subjected to management practices derived from 19th century steel mills and automotive assembly line production, the phrase “I’m passionate about…” is (can be) an attempt to re-assert humanity.