What to do about TortoiseSVN 1.5.x svn+ssh “Connection closed unexpectedly” errors on Vista

Annoying.  If, like me, you’re suddenly seeing this (despite assurances that it’s been fixed), I have two recommendations:

  1. Revert to an older TortoiseSVN 1.4.x build if you can find it.
  2. Try SmartSVN

SmartSVN is a Java-based free and “pro” drop-in replacement for Tortoise.  Unlike other SVN clients, you can use it exactly as you were using TortoiseSVN.  Possibly not as feature-rich, but considerably more polished than our favorite old Testudine.  Runs everywhere.  And it works over svn+ssh.

Fighting Layla

I’m not sure if this is a something-babies-do thing, or a Layla thing, but lately she has been holding her fists up in a “put up your dukes” pose.  Here the look on her face seems to say “Oh, I am so going to have fun kicking your ass.”

Sixteen years and I could be in big trouble.

Interesting minor modes discovered in the Emacs guided tour

I was looking for a good introduction to Emacs for some friends and stumbled upon the truly excellent Guided Tour of Emacs on gnu.org.  And unsurprisingly it contained a few useful minor modes of which I had never heard.


icomplete-mode shows completions in the minibuffer as you type.  If you’re too impatient to hit tab, then this is the minor mode for you.


This global minor mode solves an inconvenience that had always bothered me.  Typically, to see a list of buffers without resorting to the mouse, one has to C-x b TAB to see the list of buffers, or C-x C-b and then toggle over to the other window (Ctl-o) to use dired to select a buffer. Too many keystrokes.

With iswitchb-mode turned on, C-x b shows a list of avaialble buffers in the mini buffer, narrowing them down as you type.  A much easier way to jump between dozens (hundreds?) of open files.

Update: Looks like iswitchb-mode has been replaced with the far superior ido-mode as of Emacs 22.

Some Evidence for Nancy Pelosi

Recently on The View, Nancy Pelosi stated that “if somebody had a crime that the president had committed” (what she later refers to as “the goods”), she might consider impeachment hearings.

Um.  Okay.  Well, here are the goods. Or, at least, the tip of the iceberg:

Vincent Bugliosi, the L.A. attorney who prosecuted Charles Manson in 1970 and recent author of The Prosecution of George W. Bush for Murder, presented documented evidence that Bush Administration officials took the country to war under false pretenses and are therefore, under law, guilty of the deaths of over over 4,000 American soldiers. Not to mention what the war has done to the Iraqis.

On Friday, Mike Barnicle interviewed Ron Suskind, author of The Way of the World: A Story of Truth and Hope in an Age of Extremism, which presents documented evidence that the White House ordered the CIA to “manufacture” evidence connecting Iraq to Al-Queda.

I think its time for Ms. Pelosi and others to stop pretending that Congress’ daily order of business is more important than calling into question the widespread misconduct overarching this highly questionable administration.

At the very least, an illegal war resulting in thousands of deaths and expenditure of trillions of dollars — much of it unaccounted, much of it now in the coffers of businesses directly connected to Bush Administration officials — is an extremely dangerous precedent to let stand.

apache2: apr_sockaddr_info_get() failed for somehost

Hypothetically speaking of course, let’s assume you forget to renew a domain name. And suddenly that domain’s email is not working. And then you notice the site is down. The next step is, logically speaking, to panic, followed by an attempt to figure out what the hell is going on. Which usually means restarting Apache. Which results in:

apache2: apr_sockaddr_info_get() failed for yourhost

Which is, wow, an exotic new error. If you see this it means that, even though Apache says its restarting, really its probably not. And now all your other sites are down. And, so, more panic. More panic for you.

Now that you’ve probably realized that the default domain name has expired, you will want to get Apache back up on a different, actually non-expired domain. Like this:

$ hostname actual-non-expired-domain-name.com

Now restart.

Alternatively if your hostname is set to something like “www”, probably you can change the default site in vhosts so that Apache can connect the hostname to the tld.

This is all hypothetical of course.

Pensive Layla

Layla is pondering about how best to launch a cutting-edge web 2.0 app running on a Gentoo-based LAMP stack.. even though the management, sales, and technical teams are bickering like alley cats over a puddle of spilt milk.

Either that or she’s trying to figure out where stuffed doggy Julien got off to.

It’s hard to tell.  Same face.

A People’s History of American Empire

In the 9th grade — freshman year in high school — my history teacher was Mr. Stack, whom I remember being short and solid, kind and wise.

At the beginning of the year, Mr. Stack had the class read chapters by Howard Zinn. It was one of our first lessons. I was awed; stunned at what I was being asked to read. The next day we read, instead, from the high school textbook. Mr. Stack asked the class to compare Zinn’s work to passages from that official history tome. The class debated. Mr. Stack said very little.

At the time I thought I had learned the lesson. Simply put: History is subject to interpretation. And Zinn’s work was an example of a radical interpretation.

Today, looking back, I can’t help but think that I took this lesson the wrong way. Backwards.

Funny. Twenty years later I am still learning from Mr. Stack.