Sunday, December 26, 2010

Missing your DOS editor?

SETEdit may be for you! All of the aesthetic pleasure of EDIT, and all of the power of UNIX!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Secure mainframe data exchange

Turns out that z/OS supports all modern data exchange methods. Awesome.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Problems in IBM's midrange

Maybe IBM's troubles are just a blip. Maybe the new Power7 boxes that IBM says have more appeal than their predecessors will finally yield a turnaround, the one that should have become visible during the third quarter. But then again maybe not. Maybe there's something really wrong with IBM's midrange sales effort, and maybe it's more than just the midrange, too, because these days Power Systems overlap X64 servers at the low end and match or possibly exceed IBM mainframes at the very top.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Bug depends on phase of the moon

Oops. Scroll down to the end of an interesting RMS interview.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Old computer games!

Apparently there is a game still in operation from Prodigy. Amazing how bad the graphics were even then.

Sunday, September 19, 2010


The Paypal Screwjob

Now imagine my surprise when I got an email from PayPal last Wednesday with the subject "PayPal appeal denied". Because I never had to appeal anything with my PayPal account. Reading through that email I discovered that my account was blocked because they've decided that I'm not allowed to receive donations.

This had me puzzled. Because I know that if a big company like Geeknet Inc., the owner of offers to their users to use PayPal to receive donations, something had to be wrong with PayPals decision to block my account. So I asked for clarification and of course how I could get all the money I have in my PayPal account back. All I got was some lame default answer.

Classic PayPal move - they freeze your account for "suspicious activity" and you're done. Best to set up with a real back that can't arbitrarily take your funds.

Sunday, September 12, 2010


The Large Installation System Administration conference is coming up in a couple of months. Looks like a hoot! Too bad I can't go.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Monday, August 2, 2010


Good for when you see a LaTeX symbol in a paper and you can't figure out how to make it.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

An exchange by any other name

This madness was based on a conceptual fallacy. ECNs really weren't broker-dealers; instead, they were exchanges and should have been regulated accordingly. Exchanges traditionally have charged their members fees for accessing exchange trading services. Persons who are not members can only obtain access to the exchange through the facilities of members. Confusing the broker-dealer and exchange models led to unanticipated consequences.

. . . .

Eventually, this road led to Regulation NMS. To level the playing field, all regulated participants--exchanges, ATSs and broker-dealers--were permitted to charge access fees to non-customers, but the amount that could be charged was capped. Among other things, this forced the transformation of the NYSE into a huge ECN forced to compete on a level playing field with other exchanges. It also led surviving ECNs to merge with exchanges or to register as national securities exchanges.

It is a nice conceit to imagine that competition spurs innovation, lower prices and increasing social welfare. But innovation and lower prices are not the only ways to compete, and some methods of competition do not increase social welfare. The flash order is an example of competition's dark side.

What is an ATS, what is an exchange? Who gets screwed? Chaos abounds from ill thought out market structure reform, it seems.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Know your DNS: Chaosnet and Hesiod

While everyone in their right minds uses the IN/Internet class in their DNS servers, Chaosnet (CH) and Hesiod (HS) are still supported if you want to be obscure.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

CPAN 2.0

Greatest announcement since Perl 5.12 GA.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Status update 5

Lack of change control is maddening. I spend way too much effort fixing things that shouldn't be broken. Reference data is ill thought out. Is the New York Stock Exchange represented by the ISO standard code XNYS or NYSE or N? Is Arca represented by XPSE or ARCAX or ARCA or PCOAST or P or . . . you get the idea.

Maybe I should take a job picking nits. At least when you're done, you have a juicy pile of nits to dig into for dinner.

Non-ECC memory considered harmful

For me, bitflips due to cosmic rays are one of those problems I always assumed happen to “other people”. I also assumed that even if I saw random cosmic-ray bitflips, my computer would probably just crash, and I’d never really be able to tell the difference from some random kernel bug.

A few weeks ago, though, I encountered some bizarre behavior on my desktop, that honestly just didn’t make sense. I spent about half an hour digging to discover what had gone wrong, and eventually determined, conclusively, that my problem was a single undetected flipped bit in RAM. I can’t prove whether the problem was due to cosmic rays, bad RAM, or something else, but in any case, I hope you find this story interesting and informative.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Yes, that is how markets work.

On the "Trade-at" regulations being proposed:

Institutional investors using dark pools to avoid market impact could also suffer, brokers argued. That's because the operator of the pool would be forced to sweep the public markets to keep the trade in-house, UBS told the SEC. The sweep could act as a signal there was large buying or selling interest, UBS said. That could impact the price of the stock, negating the benefits of the dark pool.

Yes, that is how efficient markets usually work in economics.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Worst bug resolution ever

In summary: Guy opens a bug against Visual Studio, problem with the German language version. Bug is more or less closed with the resolution "Learn English".

Thank you Microsoft.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

The end of the exchanges

As NYSE passes its regulatory power to FINRA, the meaning of the word "exchange" loses relevance.

It was announced a month ago, on May 4, and was greeted without much fanfare: The New York Stock Exchange will delegate to FINRA responsibility for performing market surveillance and enforcement over trading on the NYSE.

To comply with the niceties of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, the NYSE will retain responsibility for making sure that FINRA is doing its job. Lawyers will prepare appropriate procedures to demonstrate that this oversight function is being carried out properly. But, I very much doubt that anyone believes this will amount to anything more than window dressing. The NYSE's oversight role will be mainly perfunctory.

Comparison of Windows NT networking protocols

What a blast from the past.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Story of a trader

Back when men were men and specialists were specialists.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Strawberry Perl 5.12 is out

I've downloaded on my test system, we'll see about moving it to production in a few days.

Download gopherspace!

Circa 2007.

So I decided I would. I wrote Gopherbot, a spidering archiver for Gopherspace. I ran it in June 2007, and saved off all the documents and sites it could find. That saved 40GB of data, or about 780,000 documents. Since that time, more servers have died. To my knowledge, this is the only comprehensive archive there is of what Gopherspace was like. (Another person is working on a new 2010 archive run, which I’m guessing will find some new documents but turn up fewer overall than 2007 did.)

Download and seed the torrent, it's a good bit of public service.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Maker-taker mostly takes

The maker-taker model deployed by exchanges and ECNs benefits neither liquidity providers nor liquidity takers. Worst of all, it distorts stock prices.

That's the conclusion of a new study by a trio of academics, including two former chief economists at the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Oops. Good thing everyone and their grandmothers converted to it.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Perl 5.12 in the pipe

Looks like it's going to be out soon. And I just got 5.10 compiled on all of my systems. Alas.

Learn something new about Sybase ASE

A mysterious beast indeed, and one often found in finance.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Healthy work environments

Game studios seem to be particularly susceptible to this problem, but I would imagine that there are some firms in every field that habitually abuse their employees. Probably best not to work for such a company.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Federal Reserve pump and hold

"The Working Group on Financial Markets, also know as the Plunge Protection Team, was created by Ronald Reagan to prevent a repeat of the Wall Street meltdown of October 1987. Its members include the Secretary of the Treasury, the Chairman of the Federal Reserve, the Chairman of the SEC and the Chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission. Recently, (2007) the team has been put on high alert because of increased market volatility and, what Hank Paulson calls, the systemic risk posed by hedge funds and derivatives....

Ambrose Evans-Pritchard of the UK Telegraph notes, "Secretary of the Treasury Hank Paulson has called for the PPT to meet with greater frequency and set up a command centre at the US Treasury that will track global markets and serve as an operations base in the next crisis. The top brass will meet every six weeks, combining the heads of Treasury, Federal Reserve, Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), and key exchanges."

This suggests that the PPT could, in fact, be the driving-force behind the ongoing stock market rally.