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This is the main page of the site. Archive for 2021.

My web-based keyboard tester can now also print your keyboard layout!

Simply type all the keys and shift, alt, alt+shift combinations and then you can print out an overview of your keymap for easy reference. (Or make a PDF, or take a screenshot, of course.)

Works best in Safari on the Mac, but most keys will be detected correctly with other browsers / operating systems, too.

(This is Apple's "ABC - Extended" layout, formerly known as "US Extended".)

Read the article - posted 2021-01-29

Bringing some unity to international keyboard layouts

As most people who’ve used a keyboard in (another) European country can attest to, all the other countries use really crazy keyboard layouts. An effort like EurKEY tries to solve this by coming up with a keyboard layout that works for all latin script languages. Apple’s ABC Extended (formerly US Extended) is also a pretty good effort.

However, coming up with a really good keyboard layout is pretty easy. Getting people to abandon the keyboard layout they’re used in favor of a “better” one to is the big problem. (Insert old joke: standards are great, there are so many to choose from!) So what I wanted to do is come up with something that works for people who find themselves behind a foreign keyboard, but also those who appreciate having a layout that makes it easier to type their most-used language.

Read the article - posted 2021-02-05

Prinses Beatrixlaan

Image link - posted 2021-02-07

Review: Cable Matters USB 2.5 Gigabit Ethernet adapter

I think it was in 2016 that 2.5 and 5 Gigabit Ethernet was standardized. After a year or two the first USB to 5GE adapters started to appear at about €/$ 100 and about two years ago the first €/$ 50 2.5GE ones. Right now, there's a ton of USB 2.5GE adapters at good prices.

I got a Cable Matters one for € 31 off of Amazon.

Read the article - posted 2021-03-03

A new life for the 2003 Apple Wireless Keyboard

Back in 2003, Apple released the Apple Wireless Keyboard:

(Not to be confused with later keyboards of the same name that look like laptop keyboards.)

The keyboard still works with an ancient MacBook Pro, but it won't pair with anything from the 2010s. That's too bad, because I think it looks pretty nice. So I decided to see if I could bring its essence into the 2020s by transplanting the keycaps to my Drop CTRL keyboard.

Read the article - posted 2021-03-05

→ Typing my way down the mechanical keyboard rabbit hole with the Drop CTRL

Eight years ago, I wrote Why I use a 20-year-old IBM Model M keyboard for Ars Technica. And now, after a slight (well, five-year) hiatus, I have a new story on Ars, about my new mechanical keyboard.

Read the article - posted 2021-03-08

I did it again... I made another keyboard tester

The other day I noticed how dirty my VT420 terminal's keyboard was, so I decided to take off the keycaps to clean them.

Then of course it's always good to put the keycaps back where they belong. That's a task made a lot easier with a keyboard tester app such as the online one I made a while ago. However, I don't think the VT420 supports the latest Javascript features...

So I whipped up a command line keyboard tester: kbdtest.php. Save the page, rename to kbdtest.php, then run with ./kbdtest.php. Works on the Mac, haven't tested other systems.

Read the article - posted 2021-03-16

When the BGP table hits 1 million prefixes, will history repeat itself?

On the APNIC blog, Danny Pinto asks What will happen when the routing table hits 1024k? Back in 2014, the IPv4 BGP table reached 512k, a common limit in many routers at the time, and some bad things happened. See my post BGP table hitting 512k limit in older routers. And pretty much the same thing happened in 2008, when the BGP table hit 256k.

Read the article - posted 2021-03-23

Ethernet cables in the post-gigabit era

As I'm preparing for the arrival of more > 1000 Mbps Ethernet equipment, I did an inventory of the Ethernet cables I've collected over the years. Turns out there's more variety than expected: I have cat 5 UTP, cat 5e UTP, cat 5e STP and cat 6 STP...

Read the article - posted 2021-03-30

No joke: running BGP on a $100 home router / Wi-Fi access point

For some time, I've been hearing about Mikrotek routers, which couple being quite capable with being affordable. But I never got my hands on one. I'm now in the process of upgrading my home network, and learned about the Mikrotik hAP ac³. The ac³ defies easy classification, but I think it's mostly a home router and/or Wi-Fi access point. I paid € 95 and shipping, and I believe it's available in the US for about $100.

I was somewhat disappointed to learn that "5 gigabit ports" doesn't mean ports that are capable of 5 gigabit, but 5 ports that just ordinary 1 Gbps Ethernet. Initially it seemed the box didn't support IPv6, but it turns you have to enable that under "packages" and then reboot. (Not shutdown.)

However, I wasn't disappointed to learn that the ac³ supports RIP, OSPF and BGP, both for IPv4 and IPv6.

Read the article - posted 2021-04-01

VLANs on the Mikrotik hAP ac³

For my BGP lab/training setups I have a bunch of routers, real or virtual, that each need several IP addresses to talk to other routers. VLANs are the perfect way to keep all of this manageable: with VLANs, it's possible to have separate IP interfaces, but still just use a single Ethernet port to hook everything up. Simple unmanaged switches simply forward the packets to the right port without looking at the VLAN header, so no need to configure the network.

Until I got my Mikrotik hAP ac³ this week...

Read the article - posted 2021-04-04

Getting the "Music" miniplayer back to actual mini

I just had a moderate-size scare: I typed something into iTunes Music, and the miniplayer now showed playback controls:

Read the article - posted 2021-04-13

Hunting down the stuck BGP routes

Ben Cox (Benjojo) has an interesting post about stuck BGP routes and a flaw in many BGP implementations where they hang when their neighbor stops accepting data over TCP: Hunting down the stuck BGP routes

A stuck BGP route means that a prefix was advertised at some point, and then it's withdrawn but the withdrawal somehow gets lost somewhere, so part of the internet still sees the withdrawn route.

Read the article - posted 2021-04-22

The effectiveness of AS path prepending

In a recent blog post The Effectiveness of AS Path Prepending (1) Russ White asks:

Just about everyone prepends AS’ to shift inbound traffic from one provider to another—but does this really work?

(AS path prepending means making the network path as BGP sees it longer to make a path less attractive so traffic will flow over another, shorter path.)

That's an interesting question, as I've been telling people for a long time that it often works too well.

Read the article - posted 2021-05-13

Accent tool: a web tool to easily add or remove accents

This web tool lets you click on a list of accents to add those accents to text you've typed or pasted in a text box. Or remove accents with a click. So no need to remember those pesky alt codes or unintuitive key combinations!

Read the article - posted 2021-05-14

→ BGP expert test v2.0!

Someone pointed out that the BGP expert test I've had on for a very long time didn't work anymore. I fixed that, and also changed a few questions. So I think I can now call it the BGP expert test v2.0.

Check it out and tell me your score!

Read the article - posted 2021-05-15

The Commander X16 (and some more BASICODE)

The Commander X16 is an upcoming new Commodore 64 like 8-bit computer built from currently available parts, as explained in Youtube playlist. After watching some of the more recent videos, I decided to download the emulator... and tried out some BASICODE on it.

Read the article - posted 2021-05-30

→ Software Engineering Radio: Iljitsch van Beijnum on Internet Routing and BGP

I love podcasts. So I'm every happy to be interviewed about BGP on Software Engineering Radio:

Iljitsch van Beijnum, author of the book BGP: Building Reliable Networks with the Border Gateway Protocol discusses internet routing and BGP – the border gateway protocol used by ISPs to update routing information. Host Robert Blumen spoke with Iljitsch about the topology of the internet, autonomous systems (AS), regulatory bodies that coordinate the AS space, IP addresses, the assignment of IPs to ASs; tier-one ISPs, carriers, and home/business ISPs; Internet routing; the path of a packet; routing tables, what they contain, and how they are constructed; routing algorithms; BGP and its role in updating routers with the knowledge of routes held by other routers; and BGP messages. Drill down into the update message. How updates progress from BGP into routing algorithms and then routing tables. What can go wrong. Attacks on BGP.

Read the article - posted 2021-07-13

Iconverter makes your old Amiga icons look right

The way the Amiga handles icons changed a number of times over the history of the platform, with the result that many older icons don't look right on Amigas running later versions of the OS. I made a tool to convert these old icons so they look like they should on later Amigas: Iconverter.

Read the article - posted 2021-07-14

Review: MouSTer: making my favorite wireless mouse work with my Amiga

Original Amiga mice were never that great, and a few decades of use and storage didn't help. So if there's one part of the Amiga I have no problem replacing with something new, it's the mouse. (Don't feel bad, I swore of Apple mice, too.) So a while ago I got a USB-to-DB9 mouse adapter. That one worked fine with wired mice, which was a big improvement.

However, a few years ago I discovered the Logitech Anywhere MX 2 wireless mouse...

Read the article - posted 2021-07-24

Be gone, Kailh Box Orange switches!

Five months ago, I put Kailh Box Orange switches in my Massdrop CTRL keyboard.

Today, I took them all out and replaced them with the Cherry MX Browns that the keyboard came with. There were just too many keys that generated an extra spurious press. So that would be "I typee" rather than "I type". This seems to happen especially with often used keys like e. So let's see what happens when I've used the Cherry MX Browns for five months.

Permalink - posted 2021-08-07

(Re)creating new Amigas for the 2020s and beyond

Two forum posts made me think of what it would take to build an Amiga using modern parts, and what should remain the same and what should change about a new Amiga to remain useful in the next decades.

Hint: it invloves HDMI and USB.

Read the article - posted 2021-08-08

Amiga short takes, juggling CF cards edition

In this latest installment of Amiga short takes:

Read the article - posted 2021-08-15

De maan ziet er mooi scherp uit met de Nikon Z fc en de 70-300 mm lens

Image link - posted 2021-09-12

Mixing old and new Nikon lenses and cameras

Seven years ago, I wrote Understanding old Nikon lenses: AI, AI-S, AF and AF-S. A few things have changed since then, so I thought it was time to do a follow-up that looks at how well different Nikon lens generations go with different Nikon camera generations.

Read the article - posted 2021-10-09

Review: Peak Design Anchor Links to quick-release your camera strap

I've had a few Nikon cameras, and those always come with a perfectly usable strap. The only issue is that putting the strap on a camera and getting the length just right is a rather involved process.

And sometimes I need a strap, but in other situations, it gets in the way. So I asked about straps that are easy to attach and detach in a forum, and one of the suggestions was for a Peak Design strap.

If you're into watching Youtube photography channels, you've probably seen the little black discs with a red edge that hang off of the sides of a camera before. The anchors click into the anchor links, which are of course attached to the ends of a strap.

This is a review of the Anchor Links set that lets you quick release your existing camera strap.

Read the article - posted 2021-10-16

Dutch cabinet says BGP in good hands at IETF in response to Facebook incident

Laurens Dassen, a new member of the Dutch parliament after the March elections, representing the pan-European party Volt, put several questions about the October 4th Facebook outage to the Dutch cabinet (administration). Yesterday, minister Blok of the ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate answered those. The fourth question was about BGP, among other things.

Read the article - posted 2021-11-11

Test post preparing for HTTPS

For some time now there's been a push to move the entire web from HTTP (no encryption) to HTTPS (with encryption).

I never felt it was necessary to encrypt static content. But the time has come to cave to peer pressure, and enjoy a few benefits such as the ability to post images to web forums.

However, I still feel very strongly about everything remaining accessible over HTTP. If you go HTTPS-only, you are now relying on a certificate authority (as well as your own ability to keep certificates up to date!), and you're cutting off some older systems and losing some performance. Also, having to change everything wholesale will be somewhat of a nightmare.

Read the article - posted 2021-11-20

Nokia 6310i, still going strong after all these years

Image link - posted 2021-11-21

The HTTPS and HTTP conundrum

The past few days I have added HTTPS support to and About ten years ago, I experimented a bit with SSL/TLS (HTTPS) support in Apache, and that was rather difficult.

But no more. Thanks to the efforts of Let's Encrypt and the ACME protocol as implemented in certbot, adding HTTPS support to your websites is now almost ridiculously easy.

Read the article - posted 2021-11-22

Resizing photos in PHP with correct orientation/rotation and retaining EXIF data

When I got my first iPhone back in 2008, I hacked together a quick script that let me post photos from my iPhone to my website. However, iPhone photos are now 3 MB or larger, which is a bit much. So in practice I would edit the photos on my computer before posting them. But that gets old, so time for some automation.

The first photo I uploaded directly from my iPhone 3G, showing part of the script

Actually resizing images is easy enough in PHP using the imagecopyresampled() function. However, using the provided example script the result was that a photo that I took with my iPhone showed up rotated...

Read the article - posted 2021-11-28

→ Web-based mandelbrot set viewer

If you've never seen the mandelbrot set, you absolutely need to go to David Eck's web-based mandelbrot set viewer right now. And if you've seen it before, you almost certainly haven't seen enough of it. Who knew that math could result in such trippy images?

Read the article - posted 2021-12-01

’Bad English’ is the world language

On the website of the Dutch newspaper NRC, Ben Tiggelaar writes that 'bad English' is the new world language. In it, he argues that talking with other people who have English as a second language is easier than talking to native speakers.

When I have work-related conversations with Brits, I'm always a little stressed beforehand because of the language. And afterwards I'm more tired than after other conversations. But when I have to talk in English with a group of Spaniards, Chinese or Germans, that doesn't bother me at all.

Read the article - posted 2021-12-08

Skyline #12, december 2021

Image link - posted 2021-12-22


Image link - posted 2021-12-29

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