Slightly less Random Ramblings

April 22, 2022

My new favorite router

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , — Robert Wicks @ 7:15 am

It’s been some time since I’ve made a post. But I do have a new favorite router, pfSense. For a Linux/Unix guy like me, running a firewall on my own hardware is fun, not a hassle. So, I bought a server room pulled used server from Ebay, put in an inexpensive SSD from MicroCenter, and had it up and running in less than an hour.

September 11, 2017

Get a UPS (or several)

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , — Robert Wicks @ 11:41 am

Given the reasonable prices, a home uninterruptible power supply (UPS) is a good idea for computer enthusiasts. It can save a hard drive as well as reduce wear and tear on your equipment. If you have your own DVR which you own, I’d suggest getting one for it as well. While I do not live in an area prone to frequent extended outages, I get power fluctuations and brownouts on occasion, and having a UPS has saved me a bunch of hassle. Also, since I have an enterprise network switch, it keeps my network from being down when those fluctuations occur. The switch takes about a minute to reboot, and I’d be offline the entire time. And if there are several power events over a short time, the repeated reboots would take me down for even more time, in addition to the stress on the equipment. Amazon has a good selection of them, and I’ve had good experiences with APC.

November 22, 2014

The cheapest way to get audio out of your XBox One

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , — Robert Wicks @ 12:15 pm

Get a Microsoft headset adapter, plug it into the controller you are *not* using and keep plugged in via USB, then turn on that controller as well as the wireless one you normally game on. At that point, you have normal analog audio which can be piped into your stereo, powered speakers, etc.

December 4, 2011

Curious Key Corruption

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , , , — Robert Wicks @ 12:02 pm

I used the easy-rsa script to generate some new server certs recently, and found that my strongswan install on OpenWRT could not load the RSA key. This despite the fact that the same key works fine in OpenVPN on the same server. The interesting thing is that when I use the build-key-pkcs12 script instead of the build-key-server script, and then use openssl on the router to extract the cert and key, the key works. it is also a different size. The key kept coming up as 1704 bytes when using the server script, but 1669 bytes with the pkcs12 script. Since the pkcs12 script works, I suggest using it always. It generates the key and crt files any way, even though the extracted key file was a different size than the generated one with the same set of files. There must be a bug somewhere.

April 1, 2010

The Libertarian Standard

Filed under: Uncategorized — Robert Wicks @ 8:41 am

Check out The Libertarian Standard, a new blog for which I will occasionally write. We will cover government, technology, and anything else which interests the motley crew of contributors.

January 27, 2010

Stephan Kinsella is the King of Technology (KOT)

Filed under: Uncategorized — Robert Wicks @ 2:23 pm

Libertarian activist and patent lawyer Stephan Kinsella and I had a bit of a gentleman’s bet. I was a skeptic in the whole Apple tablet (now known as the iPad) thing. He was not. I said if Apple actually put out a tablet for less than $1000, I’d dub him the King of Technology. Well, the day has come, and it is time for me to pay up. Today, January 27, 2010, I hereby dub Stephan Kinsella as King of Technology. Congratulations on your award. I sincerely hope you don’t choke on it.

All in good fun, of course.

January 1, 2010

. . . But I Repeat Myself

Filed under: Uncategorized — Robert Wicks @ 8:44 pm

Once again, MSNBC comes through with an incredulous bit on the TSA. Can you spot the threats? Letting even one threat by would get a fully trained screener fired.” Then why are there any TSA screeners left?

November 18, 2009

Cory Maye Granted New Trial

Filed under: Uncategorized — Robert Wicks @ 7:00 pm

Radley Balko has been calling attention to this horrible crime against an innocent man by my home state of Mississippi. Finally, Maye has been granted a new trial.

November 17, 2009

Lawyers Write Law, And Then Are The Only Ones To Make Millions

Filed under: Uncategorized — Robert Wicks @ 6:17 pm

Of course, I am sure this was merely a by-product of sincere efforts to assist the poor and oppressed.


Sent to you by Robert A. Wicks via Google Reader:


via Techdirt by Mike Masnick on 11/17/09

It’s difficult not to become even more cynical when you read stories like the following one. Sent in by Eric Goldman, it’s about a state law in California that was mainly written by two lawyers: Joaquin Avila, a law professor from Seattle, and Robert Rubin, the “legal director” for the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area. So, here’s the interesting thing: since this state law has been put in place (seven years ago), the only lawsuits have been brought by Rubin’s committee or Avila and they’ve made themselves over $4 million with a few more lawsuits pending and a bunch more threatened (again, all from either Avila or Rubin’s committee).

What a great deal: write a law, and then be the only lawyers to use the law to make millions.

As for the law itself, it was a law that apparently very few people were asking for — requiring that state courts carve out specific districts that favor minority groups, so they are not excluded from local elections. Here’s how the AP describes it:

The California statute targets commonly used “at-large” elections — those in which candidates run citywide or across an entire school district. Avila said that method can result in discrimination because whatever group constitutes the majority of voters can dominate the ballot box and block minorities from winning representation. As a remedy, the law empowers state courts to create smaller election districts favoring minority candidates.

Officials in several California communities said they never heard complaints of voter discrimination until the lawyers stepped forward. In one case, the Tulare Local Healthcare District, now known as Tulare Regional Medical Center, was sued even though its five-member governing board is a rainbow of diversity — two emigres from India, a Hispanic, a black and a white. The lawsuit argues Hispanics, who make up about a third of local voters, have been shortchanged.

Of course, there are many reasons why the exact makeup of a governing board might not match the exact percentage of the population (including the simple fact that most people vote on issues, not the ethnicity of the people they’re voting for). But, even if there was a problem it seems highly questionable that the two lawyers who wrote the bill are now profiting tremendously from it and appear to be the only ones who do so.

It’s stories like this one that make us so nervous about so much legislation. This is the type of law they create: it maysound good (who’s going to argue against diversity?). But, the actual law appears to have been nothing more than a way for these lawyers to go around collecting millions, while disrupting communities and schoolboards, and sending their taxpayer money to these lawyers.

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Things you can do from here:


October 26, 2009

Failing the Irony Test

Filed under: Uncategorized — Robert Wicks @ 3:48 am

The UK House of Lords is considering new laws banning forced labor and involuntary servitude. In a shocking oversight, these laws are not expected to cover the huge amounts of labor required of Britons to pay the taxes levied on them by the government. Clearly, private slavery is the only bad kind of slavery.

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