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Disabling keyboard on Debian so you can do a video call on your laptop with an infant and he doesn't hang up on grandma

The kid would much rather bang on the laptop keyboard than have a video call with grandma.

But banging on the keyboard inevitably leads to an early hang-up.

So disable the keyboard.

To deal with that pesky infinite carriage return problem, and make it easy to reenable the keyboard, make a couple of shell scripts, save them to the desktop, and you can double-click to disable, and double-click the other one to enable.

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Juniper VPN on 64-bit Ubuntu

First, I installed 32-bit firefox and ran it just to run the VPN.

Then I discovered this: and it worked on Firefox for awhile, but then stopped working for no reason I could figure out.

So I switched to using Chrome per these instructions: and it seems to be working again

MK reports the following worked for him:
* sudo apt-get install  libc6-i386

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How is babby named?

I made a post over at Splunk about searching the SSA baby names database:

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Farkle Heuristic II

I've been playing solitaire farkle on an app, and my goal is to get on the high score list, which means that I'm starting to aim for higher and higher scores. This has altered my heuristic a little bit. Here's the new one:

  • Maximize the number of times you can roll for three of a kind each turn - this means scoring as few dice as possible on each roll as long as you'll still have at least 3 dice to roll on the next roll

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Farkle Heuristic I

I've been playing a lot of solitaire Farkle recently, having been introduced to it a few years ago by the Yun family.

I haven't started to grind out the probabilities for ideal play yet, but I'm thinking that I need to calculate the expected outcome for each possible throw (6 dice, 5 dice, etc.), and then determine if it makes sense to bank or roll based on the expected outcome and the probability of farkle for that roll.

Here's a heuristic for playing farkle, with some explanation of the assumptions it makes:

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Do you want fries with that?

"Do you want to do X" is a surprisingly ambiguous question. Since people are hesitant to directly tell someone else what to do, or sometimes even to express their own opinion or desire, this kind of simple question can mean a lot of different things:

  • I demand that we do X
  • I think we should do X but I'm open to other suggestions
  • I want you to decide what to do, but I'm including one option for rhetorical or predictive reasons.

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Casserole Reformulations

Check back, this list is ongoing...


  • Chicken bratwurst with Della Fattoria ciabatta
  • Quinoa salad w/escarole, avocado, tomato, tahini dressing
  • Stir-fried mixed meat/vegetable kebabs sliced thin with tomato relish
  • Pita bread pizza with tahini, mixed meat/vegetable kebabs sliced thin, tomato relish

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Babby name search

I got stir-crazy and made a Splunk app to explore the Social Security Administration's database of baby names, which goes all the way back to 1880!

If you want to set it up on your own instance of Splunk the app is on github: Warning - there's a lot of kludge involved in getting Splunk to handle data this old.

I've also got an EC2 micro running it - drop me a line if you want access. I'm going to try to do another Splunk Babby app while I'm on leave...

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Heron Uman Martin!

In case any of my five readers didn't know, I had a baby! His name is Heron Uman Martin and he looks like this:

Heron Uman MartinHeron Uman Martin

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Films at SXSW

Here's a punchlist of stuff I saw at SXSW (which, by the way, is an awesome film festival where it's easy to see almost everything you want to see, and you can see 6 movies in a day if you're really motivated).

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