When There’s No Telnet or Netcat

Sometimes I need to test an Internet connection from a machine where neither telnet nor netcat is installed. Python, which is practically always preinstalled on Linux servers, provides a simple solution.

# python
>>> import socket
>>> s = socket.socket()
>>> s.connect((host, port))

If the connect() call returns immediately, then the connection (including DNS lookup) was successful.

How to get a fast response from me

I’m swamped with work.  I can’t yet talk much about the work I’ve been doing until we go public, but it’s a cool project, although its coolness may not be immediately obvious at first. 😉

Meanwhile, I have been rather slow to answer some emails.  Here is what you need to do to get a fast email response from me: present me a viable option that allows someone other than me to do the work.  For example, if you want one of my open source projects changed, the best thing to suggest is that you will do the work and all I have to do is review a patch.  (Ideally, include the unified diff in the email so I can review instantly.)

Doug Wright on Throwing Away Your Vote

I listened to the Doug Wright Show this morning.  He was adamant that all voters should vote for a “viable” candidate rather than the candidate they believe to be best fit for office.  He claimed it is more important than ever to vote strategically in the upcoming election.

No matter how I vote (and how all of Doug’s listeners vote), this state will vote for McCain, and only divine intervention would stop that.  This state is extremely (and I believe excessively) loyal to the republican party.  So why shouldn’t I vote for the person I believe should win?  No matter how I vote, I can’t change my state’s electoral vote.  All I can do with my vote for president is try to reduce my state’s excessive loyalty to the republican party.