Stuff Yaron Finds Interesting

Technology, Politics, Food, Finance, etc.

Sharing Printers Between OS X Boxes in a Screwed Up Local Network

One of the reasons I bought a Mac for myself and my wife is that I could never get printer sharing working between Linux and Windows. I figured if Marina and I both had Macs then the problem would be solved. Unfortunately, I was wrong. While Apple has mostly embraced Bonjour technology there is still one major area that is left out – Apple's Printer Server (e.g. the open source CUPS) which uses its own multicast based discovery solution. When I hooked my USB printer to my OS X box and turned on printer sharing I couldn't get my wife's Mac to see the printer! The problem turned out to be that both my wife and I's computers have unique IP addresses that we get from our ISP's DHCP server. Unfortunately the ISP's DHCP server gave us addresses in different subnets! CUPS default configuration does not allow printer sharing between machines that are not on the same subnet. The CUPS configuration can be overridden fairly trivially but I don't want to because it would either mean hard coding in my wife's IP address (which changes) or allowing the whole world to print on my printer (which I'd rather not). Thankfully there was a really trivial solution to the problem that was pointed out to me by Stuart Cheshire, the father of Bonjour.

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Web Services Choreography Description Language (WS-CDL)

WS-CDL is in my opinion an example of premature standardization. WS-CDL provides multiple layers of abstraction, an enormous set of features and a simulation based design. Personally I think a purely declarative approach with little or no abstraction that focuses on making it easy to describe basic stuff would have been better. I don't know which position, mine or WS-CDL's, or which mid-point between the positions is right but I'm pretty sure that no one else does either. We just don't have enough industry experience to standardize choreography descriptions. Unfortunately the potential standardization of WS-CDL can do real harm as it will likely freeze the experimentation and learning that the industry so badly needs.

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Book Reviews

The purpose of this page is to provide pointers to books the reader might want to futher investigate. In other words, I'm not trying to provide full book reviews, just provide enough information to choose books you might want to go to and check out the reviews for and read excerpts from. For what it's worth I have found the best book prices on An Excel spreadsheet of these reviews is available here.

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How We Happily Bought Our Latest Car

Marina's car's air conditioning broke, again! From an economic perspective we should have just fixed it but her car was crappy and life is to be enjoyed. So we decided to get her another car. We assumed it would be a used car but much to our mutual surprise we ended up buying a new car, mostly because the cost difference between a new and used car just wasn't all that great. Still, a car is a huge purchase and something that needs careful attention. Below I walk through the ten steps we used to figure out how much we were willing to pay, what cars made sense and how to get the best price.

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