What I Do for a Living

I'm often asked, "What's your job?" The short answer is that I fix things for AT&T. The longer answer is:

I'm like a prosecuting attorney and a judge, for complex computer systems.

For complex IT systems, involving load balancers, web servers, application servers, inter-application communication via sockets/web services/message queues, databases, SANs, proxy servers, security appliances:

The Monte Hall Problem

I was struggling to understand the Monte Hall problem. This explanation helped.

I think the confusion is between dependent and independent probability. Ironically, I dropped my first course in Statistics because the prof was confusing the two.

Here's the explanation that makes sense to me:

LaTeX Crib Notes

Description Markup Example
newline \\
exponent ^ \( x^2 \)
union \cup \( \cup \)
intersection \cap \( \cap \)
space ~
tilde '\sim' \( \sim \)

Why I Switched to Notepad++

I had a million Notepad files open, with unsaved to-do items, meeting notes, etc.

My employer pushed a mandatory update with a mandatory reboot, while I was out of the room. I lost all those Notepads.

Notepad++ with the auto-save plugin can be configured to restore all those not-yet-saved files.


You can make Notepad++ really replace Notepad (pervasively) by setting up Notepad++ as a debugger for Notepad! See https://mysoftwarenotes.wordpress.com/2012/07/

FoldingText Cheat Sheet

My cheat sheet for using the Atom editor with the FoldingText package. See official doc at https://jessegrosjean.gitbooks.io/foldingtext-for-atom-user-s-guide/content/editing.html


  • Must choose File >> New Outline and save as .ftml, to create an outline.


Use Crashplan on Ubuntu With Encrypted Volume

I use an encrypted volume with LUKS on my Ubuntu server. First, I mount the encrypted volume, then I mount a zfs file system from it.

CrashPlan was getting confused because when CrashPlan started, the /data volume I'm backing up was empty because the volume isn't mounted until after I login and enter the password. So I needed to delay CrashPlan startup until after the encrypted volume is mounted. (i.e. I need a delayed CrashPlan start.)

Windows Not Hibernating / Windows Not Sleeping

I have a Windows 10 computer that was failing to hibernate after inactivity and it was waking immediately after hibernating AND the mouse would wake it up, even though I'd told Device Manager that the mouse should NOT wake the computer. It seems to behave better now. Here are some changes I made and techniques I tried.

Black Screen and Lock-up Booting Ubuntu 16.04 Xenial Xerus

At some point, I started having trouble getting the Black Screen and Lock-up Booting Ubuntu 16.04 Xenial Xerus GUI to boot if there was no monitor attached. Then it seemed to start happening even if I had a monitor attached. I'd get a black, text-mode screen with a cursor blinking in the upper-left corner and nothing else. This fixed my black-screen-mid-boot problem:

  • sudo vi /etc/default/grub
  • Adding "vmalloc=256MB video=LVDS-1:d" to the GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT
  • sudo update-grub

Turn Off the Alarms On a Casio Illuminator Five Alarms W213

Casio makes inscrutable watches. I suppose there's only so much U.I. you can do with 4 buttons. My Casio Illuminator Five Alarms W-213 started alarming at midnight.

In the course of pushing buttons, it is easy to accidentally enable an alarm. (e.g. If you get the digits flashing to set an alarm, it auto-enables the alarm, even if you don't change the time.)

It is much harder to disable the alarm. Here's how:

USB Mouse Causes Resume From Hibernate Failure

Windows 7, Dell Precision 7510 - When I resumed from hibernate, it would show the "Resuming" splash screen, then the video went dark, and it locked up. The problem did not occur on resume-from-sleep. The problem only occurred when the laptop was docked.

It turned out to be a USB mouse, plugged into the docking station, which was causing the problem.


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