If I were a network, I would be…

What’s Old is New Again

A few days ago a neat little Linux utility crossed my news feed.  ttyload is a load monitor usable on a console or in an xterm (and lesser terminal emulators) displaying a near-real-time graph of the load average.  Like so:

ttyload screenshot

ttyload screenshot

As soon as I saw the above screenshot, I thought of an old utility named “gsar” which I used on old AT&T SysV systems, most notably an old room-filling Unisys/Sperry 5000/95.  To be honest, I’ve googled for ‘gsar’ many times over the years, probably even searching for it using Altavista at one point, but never did come across any reference to the neat little command.  Here it is, all shiny, new and in color!  I just had to tell someone and family and the cats just look at me weird, so here you go Interwebs, here’s at least a comment about gsar and a usable clone!

And, in case you were wondering what the hell kind of computer system I’m talking about, here’s a link to a page with some pictures and descriptions of what you’re looking at.  It’s capabilities are pretty much dwarfed by a new smartphone but the 5000/95 would crush it in a fight.


Posted by Mike Loseke on June 24th, 2014 :: Filed under Uncategorized

It’s All In The Reflexes

One of the best movies of the 80’s, John Carpenter’s Big Trouble in Little China, includes one of my favorite Kurt Russell performances of all time – Jack Burton, who just wants his truck back. This movie never fails to disappoint and one of the best elements of the film is that Jack is completely ineffectual and lost the entire time, regardless of his presence and confidence.

Reflecting on this recently, I realized that I had been unconsciously playing this character in many of my RPG characters with my gaming buddies. Probably since ’86 when this movie first came out, if not longer.

I enjoy making and playing effective (in theory) characters and putting them to the test. My long-time gaming group also enjoys having fun while playing so many of our games involve some fairly wacky plans and execution thereof. These actions generally involve me dropping the ball in some way or another, usually to only my own detriment, thanks to rolling on the ends of the bell curve most of the time rather than in the middle of it; hitting once in a melee lasting 10 rounds, rolling a 4 for just about anything but especially stealth and perception and so on. Reflecting on many of our adventures, I’m basically playing Jack; getting boarded and held captive on my own ship (Star Wars), heroically – and terminally – leaping off of cliffs and flying objects (Star Wars again), holding some kind of record for broken weapons (Stormbringer), getting hit in the face by a boulder while driving the first Cart o’ Pain (D&D), and so on.

Yes, my friends are all enjoying a hearty chuckle at this point, and so am I because it’s always a good time. The perfectly executed plan is a beautiful thing but pulling one out of the fire is so much more fun to pull off. And I’m not upset about all of it in the least.

Posted by Mike Loseke on October 30th, 2012 :: Filed under Uncategorized

Warhammer 40,000 is a Sci-Fi Gold Mine

The first Warhammer 40,000 books I recall reading were Inquisitor by Ian Watson and Deathwing, a collection. My copy of Deathwing has different titles in it than the one Amazon currently has here. Both books were published in 1990 at about the same time that the Space Hulk game was released. I tried to get some friends into Warhammer or Warhammer 40,000 at the time but that never worked out. We did get a few Space Hulk games in though.

A few years ago, a good friend handed me the Eisenhorn omnibus saying “you have to read this.” At the time I just added it to my tall “to read” stack of some fairly random titles; Forbidden Archaeology, If Chins Could Kill, The History of the Vikings, Russia, The Five Rings, Satre’s Being and Nothingness… You get the picture. But I was ready for a diversion at the time. About a week later I had finished Eisenhorn which is amazingly fast for me. The Ravenor books were next followed by the entire Gaunt’s Ghosts run (eventually). That’s right, I’m thanking you Dan Abnett, and my friend Marc, for re-igniting this fire.

While pouring through these titles I got to looking around for some source or background material so that I could get more out of the books. I picked up some game books but they were a little dry compared to the fiction. I searched around the Black Library for something like an authors checklist or the like but no dice. The source is spread out around the various game books a sentence or paragraph at a time.

And then came the Heresy. The Horus Heresy, to be precise. With very little pre-amble, Dan Abnett kicked the series off with Horus Rising and jumped right in to the 30th Millennium. I’m currently through the first 14 books with two more waiting in the queue.

If anyone is interested in pulp sci-fi of epic scale, and endless depths, you’ll be hard-pressed to find anything better than the WH40K books. While I’m waiting for the next Heresy books to come out I’m dipping in to various Chaos Marine titles which are a very satisfying from a guilty pleasure perspective.

Posted by Mike Loseke on April 29th, 2011 :: Filed under Gaming,Reading,WH40K

Steamboat Spings, February 2011

The perfect winter vacation.  Jenn and I came up to Steamboat Springs to get married in a beautiful chalet joined by family.  We all spent a few days there having a good time and relaxing, enjoying the many feet of snow on the ground and just-above freezing temperatures for the week.  Clear skies and warm sun made it feel like late spring.  Later in the week we spent a couple days skiing including several inches of fresh powder.  I got in some first tracks on top of the mountain and Jenn had a great day in a lesson.  Now we’re just enjoying the rest of the week, like any good vacation.  And this isn’t even the honeymoon. 🙂

Posted by Mike Loseke on February 18th, 2011 :: Filed under Vacation
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Kindle full of horror

I recently came into possession of a Kindle, and I’ve rather been enjoying it.  Being a fan of H.P. Lovecraft, the first purchase I made was a nice collection of his writing including a copy of the Lovecraft wiki page.  This is the book if you’re so inclined. I’ve been enjoying reading these stories again, collected in this volume in chronological order which is a fantastic way to read them meshed with the Kindle’s “next/previous” simple reading methodology.

One nice thing about this collection is a handy reference of the wiki, which includes references to many of Lovecraft’s contemporaries and influences.  I’ve also been able to get many of these books on my Kindle so far, including such tales as The King in Yellow and several Dunsany, Machen and Blackwood books.

So here I sit, usually over a bowl of soup for lunch, thumbing through some of the world’s best horror.  A Kindle full of horror.  Dig in!

Posted by Mike Loseke on February 10th, 2011 :: Filed under Reading
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