Chinese Seal Script fonts

Friday 25 February 2011, 06:51

Here's a page of Chinese fonts including a few for the Seal Script. Could come in handy...

How Wikipedia could save itself

Saturday 19 February 2011, 00:15

I don't think Wikipedia wants to save itself. But if they really wanted to, I know how they could do it.

On bible-ophilia, and a call for better pagan book design

Friday 18 February 2011, 16:56

I hope to push the first release of Tsukurimashou out the door tomorrow, and as part of that, I was looking at the possibility of adding optical sizes to it. That won't happen in tomorrow's release, but it will happen eventually, and the train of thought led from there to a thing I once saw in an historical mail-order catalog: an entire multi-page selection of Christian Bibles, organized by different optional features, such as type size, paper and binding quality, and so on. It occurred to me to look on the Net for the current state of the art in such things, and that led me to this site, which is fascinating. It's an entire Web log about the design of Bibles.


Thursday 10 February 2011, 21:00






Wednesday 2 February 2011, 21:47

2月2日くらいは、インバルクと言う記念日です。ブリード神様のお祭りです。何回「Groundhog Day」と言っても、インバルクですよ。

今ブリード神様は私の氏神いません。2009年の春に起きましたものので 氏神は戴かないで来ました。しかし今日はブリード神様のために儀式をしました。


Fixing "unexpected RCODE (SERVFAIL)" and "unexpected RCODE (REFUSED)"

Wednesday 26 January 2011, 18:55

This is another one where I searched the net, the answers I found were very unhelpful, and so I'm posting what worked for me for the benefit of anyone making similar searches.

The problem: new ADSL connection from MTS Allstream, which is the deregulated ghost of the Manitoba telecom monopoly. Works pretty well, except they do that damn misguided "helpful" redirection of failed DNS requests to a search engine, thereby screwing up all non-Web activities that depend on the DNS actually working according to the protocol. They offer opt-out but that doesn't work. So I set up my own caching DNS server and everything seemed fine... except just a few Web sites wouldn't work. Always the same sites; little or no rhyme or reason to which ones they were. Penny Arcade, Weather Underground, the Canada Revenue Agency, and the CBC, were the most annoying examples. The browser would hang, trying to connect, forever.

Digging through the system logs revealed lines like these:

Jan 25 11:34:38 tetsu named[1613]: unexpected RCODE (SERVFAIL) resolving '':
Jan 25 11:37:55 tetsu named[1613]: unexpected RCODE (REFUSED) resolving '':

Searching on the Web produced many people complaining about error messages like these, and the following answers on how to resolve it:

  • "You must be the authoritative server for these domains, and you haven't given BIND the correct path to the zone files." No, I am not the authoritative server for these domains.
  • "You must be the authoritative server for these domains, and someone on the Net is trying to break into your nameserver." No, I really am not the authoritative server for these domains, the failing requests are coming from an authorized user on localhost (namely me), and incoming unauthorized DNS requests would be stopped at the firewall anyway.
  • "The remote authoritative servers for these domains are misconfigured and you must contact the admins and tell them to fix the problem." Yes, I REALLY HAVE THE TIME AND ABILITY TO CONVINCE EVERY ADMINISTRATOR OF A MISCONFIGURED NAMESERVER ON THE ENTIRE INTERNET TO FIX THEIR CONFIGURATIONS BECAUSE THEY WILL ALL LISTEN TO ME! Also, of course, I can contact these administrators by pure mental telepathy, since my computer cannot connect to theirs to send them email.

Clearly, none of these answers was helpful. Here's the actual answer: The MTU on my Ethernet connection was set to the default of 1500. Packets that size cannot pass through the ADSL connection; and to make matters worse, MTS apparently drops ICMP traffic (this could be my fault because it may be happening at the firewall box, which is theirs but was reconfigured by me), so that Path MTU Discovery (which would automatically adjust the setting) doesn't work. It wasn't really anything specific to DNS, but would cause subtle effects in a lot of places; DNS was just the most visible thing failing. Solved by changing my MTU to 1400; there may be some slightly larger number that will work (I'll experiment), but 1500 evidently is too big. It appeared only, but consistently, on a few domains, because those were the ones where the DNS query or its answer (which would generally be consistent per domain) happened to both exceed the ADSL connection's real MTU and not be fragmented anywhere else in the network.

Typographical history of the TTC

Tuesday 18 January 2011, 11:42

Here's a Web log article, with several links and a couple of posters for sale, on something I've wondered about before: the unique typeface used for station names and some other signage on the TTC.

Notes on Winnipeg

Saturday 8 January 2011, 15:42

The firewall box does seem to be dead. It's quite possible that some parts of it are salvageable, but it appears that I can also reconfigure the MTS DSL box to do most of the firewalling I would like, and that doesn't cost me anything in replacement parts. Given that I'm already over budget on such things as the movers' fees, and doormats, I'm going to go that route and keep the firewall box for parts. More moving-in notes below.


Friday 7 January 2011, 23:02




Thursday 6 January 2011, 22:37