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A Binary Salute to a Digital Visionary

October 2011 hasn’t been kind to the fathers of modern computing.

The death of Apple front man Steve Jobs spawned a wave of iWakes across the world, but the loss of Dennis Ritchie – the father of the C programming language and unix, was just as sad a day for techies everywhere. Perhaps even worse – as many people didn’t even notice.

Afterall, OSX could not exist without the work that Ritchie did 30 years ago.

To pay respect to the digital pioneer, our very own Sean Davis wrote a C program to send a cheers to the big bit bucket in the sky.

You can find the original here.

—–

#include <stdio.h>
#include <stdlib.h>
#include <string.h>
#include <unistd.h>
#include <fcntl.h>
#include <errno.h>
#include <sys/types.h>
#include <sys/uio.h>

#define URANDOM "/dev/urandom"
#define OUT "/dev/null"
#define A_FORTY 5 /* 40 bits */

int
main(argc,argv)
	int argc;
	char **argv;
{
	char *buf;
	int fd,ret;
	size_t rwret;

	buf = (char *)malloc(A_FORTY);

	if (buf == NULL) {
		fprintf(stderr,"Can't hold a forty. (%s)\n",
			strerror(errno));
		exit(1);
	}

	fd = open(URANDOM,O_RDONLY);

	if (fd == -1) {
		fprintf(stderr,"Failed to open %s: %s\n",
			URANDOM,strerror(errno));
		free(buf);
		exit(1);
	}

	rwret = read(fd,buf,A_FORTY);

	if (rwret == -1) {
		fprintf(stderr,"Failed to grab a forty: %s\n",
			strerror(errno));
		free(buf);
		exit(1);
	}

	if (rwret == 5) {
		printf("Got a forty.\n");
	} else if (rwret == -1) {
		fprintf(stderr,"Couldn't get a forty. (%s)\n",
			strerror(errno));
		free(buf);
		exit(1);
	} else {
		fprintf(stderr,"This forty is light, only %d bits!\n",
			(int)rwret * 8);
		free(buf);
		exit(1);
	}

	ret = close(fd);

	if (ret == -1) {
		fprintf(stderr,"Failed to close the beer fridge. (%s)\n",
			strerror(errno));
		free(buf);
		exit(1);
	}

	fd = open(OUT,O_WRONLY);

	if (fd == -1) {
		fprintf(stderr,"Can't find the drain. (%s)\n",
			strerror(errno));
		free(buf);
		exit(1);
	}

	rwret = write(fd,buf,A_FORTY);

	if (rwret == 5) {
		printf("Goodbye, Dennis. I wouldn't be what I am without you.\n");
		printf("Poured out forty bits for our dead homie.\n");
	} else {
		fprintf(stderr,"The drain must be clogged, only poured out %d bits.\n",
			(int)rwret * 8);
		free(buf);
		ret = close(fd);
		if (ret == -1) {
			fprintf(stderr,"Can't plug the drain (%s)\n",
				strerror(errno));
			exit(1);
		}
	}

	free(buf);
	exit(0);
}

Goodbye Dennis, and thanks for all the magic!

Hug a SysAdmin on July 29th

Being a Systems Administrator can be thankless work. They’re the ones who keep your data flowing, networks pinging and computers booting round the clock, and the cruel hallmark of a great Sysadmin is this:

If they’re doing a good job, you don’t even know they’re doing it.

So we have SysAdmin Appreciation Day – an attempt to recognize the unsung heros of Information Technology. And while a single day of recognition and appreciation doesn’t really undo the countless hours of frustration that can come along with the job, it sure doesn’t hurt either.

This year ThinkGeek has partnered with The Marysue and Geekosystem to sweeten the deal with a SysAdmin Pageant! Nominate your favorite SysAdmin and they could be crowned SysKing or SysQueen of 2011. Winners take home a whole array of prizes, including a 16GB iPad, a fancy red swingline stapler, and an RTFM mug.

If you’d just like to show your Sysadmin love the old fashioned way, I suggest the showering your I.T. department with the following on Friday:

  • Delicious food
  • High fives / Mad Props
  • Cold hard cash
  • Bottles of fermented grain
  • Cake and other tasty treats

What do you have planned for your SysAdmins for this Friday?

Geek Pride Day Contest Winners

Congratulations to our five Geek Pride Day contest winners!

1. Jason enjoyed towel day by reading some Douglas Adams and playing some minecraft
2. Alex hangs out at work with his friend little Cthulhu
3. Jot shows off his customized Nintendo DS project
4. Jennifer is an indisputable Queen of the Geeks (check her full submission here)
5. Chris keeps a reminder from Marvin the paranoid android close at all times: Don’t Panic!

We had a lot of great entries to the contest, you can check out the rest of them here if you’d like, and let us know your favorites!

Winners will receive an awesome $100 credit at ThinkGeek.com, and we will be sending a free copy of our Map of the Internet poster to all participants. If you submitted a photo please forward your address to me (sboten at serverbeach dot com) so I can get your poster on it’s way as soon as possible.

Thanks again to everyone who entered from all of us at ServerBeach – we definitely got a kick out of all your photos. Until next year – Stay Geeky!

Pebkacs, Cthulhu and Stormtroopers, Oh My! Last chance to show us your Geek Pride!

Canucks/StarWars/Geek pride!

Geek Pride Day is tomorrow –  Have you entered our contest yet?  Take a look at all the entries so far and let us know which is your favourite. So far we’ve had appearances from an astronaught, Darth Vader, Gordon Freeman and even the Queen of the Geeks herself!

You have until 5pm PST tomorrow to get over to facebook and post your geeky photos on our wall to get your free Map of the Internet poster and a your chance to win one of five $100 credits at Thinkgeek.com.

Show Us Your Geek Pride to Win $100 at Thinkgeek.com

May 25th is Geek Pride DayAn entire day dedicated to embracing your inner geek! This year we’re celebrating by offering FIVE $100 gift certificates for ThinkGeek.com. To enter all you have to do is like us on facebook and post a picture or video on our wall showing us your geek pride. Entries can be anything that you think is awesome but other people might not all understand – maybe it’s your mint condition original issue Millennium Falcon model, that Cthulhu costume you wore last year for Halloween, that light sensitive midi controller you built out of a an old Nintendo or even your ‘There’s no place like 127.0.0.1’ door mat. Anything that says I’m a Geek – and Proud of it!

And just because we love you, every entry get will get a free copy of our full sized Map of the Internet poster! Click facebook.com/WeHeartGeeks today and post your entry before May 25th to win.

What Makes A Geek and Why Do We Love Them?

When you think of the word Geek, what comes to mind? Pocket protectors? Glasses? An insatiable love for 20 sided die? Skillful mastery of quantum mechanics and an affinity for Renaissance fairs? Or maybe it’s the the guy or girl who rescues your computer at work, or the friend who comes over and sets up your TiVO for you?

Whatever your internal geek stereotype may be, I think there is a common thread between them, and it isn’t necessarily just mouth breathing and social awkwardness.

For example, I have a friend with an extensive record collection. He used to run a record store, and now has an entire room devoted to his vinyl. It’s meticulously organized, incredibly thorough and properly cataloged. In short, it’s awesome. But you get this guy talking about music… he’ll just keep talking. Forever. Add another music buff to the conversation and you’ve got yourself a pair of music geeks, who will proceed to talk your ear off for hours, which can get pretty boring if you’ve never heard any of the music they are talking about. (Thankfully the giant room of records really helps with that.)

So I don’t think being a geek really has anything to do specifically with technology these days, but moreso that geeks are people who are just really into something that other people don’t understand. So under this definition, anyone who knows a lot about something you don’t know about can potentially be a geek – and that’s what we love about them.

Geeks are passionate. Geeks are knowledgeable. Geeks are dedicated. Geeks come correct – and aren’t afraid to go off on a tangent to defend their point of view.

Like just the other day I was at a restaurant and overheard two men having a fairly intense Lord of the Rings discussion. I wasn’t really paying too much attention because I’m not a huge fan, but out of nowhere the sassy looking blonde lady behind the bar walks over and says;

“Um ACTUALLY that’s movie canon which is highly fallacious. Faramir is the true hero of men and foil for Boromir as in the book he not only resisted the ring and sent Frodo on his waybut is the only man to do so. Aragorn is a member of the Dunedain, descendants of the ancient race of kings, and has a small amount of elf blood. It’s shown many times that due to their wisdom, inherent magical characteristics, and race knowledge, elves are far more successful at resisting a Ring of Power. Faramir’s accomplishment is therefore more significant than Aragorn’s, even though Aragorn’s story arc is more central.”

The two gentlemen put their drinks down and looked somewhat taken aback. Lord of the Rings trivia may seem like stereotypical geek fodder, but the fact that this tangent had come from the bright red lips of a pin-up looking barkeep was enough to prove to anyone that geeks can be as much awesome as they are awkward!

The Return of the ServerBeach Forums

It is with great pleasure today that I officially announce the long anticipated return of the ServerBeach Forums.

Need a hand with your server? Have a service you want to share? Want to stay up to date with the latest news and products? Have a suggestion for something you’d like to see at the Beach? Let us know! The ServerBeach forums are your place to connect with your community – get help, geek out, and let us know what you think of life at the Beach.

We’ve got a new team of moderators standing by and we want to hear from you! Why not get started by registering and introducing yourself?

To celebrate this wonderful news, I thought I’d write a brief history of the online message board, but while doing some research I came across The BBS Documentary, which is a surprisingly engaging eight part mini series documenting the subculture that was spawned by the creation of BBS’ in the early days of the Internet.

The documentary was a labour of love produced by technology historian Jason Scott Sadofsky of textfiles.com. You can watch all eight parts here, courtesy of creative commons.

Like Like, or Facebook Like?

LiKE from Switchback Entertainment on Vimeo.

Like is a short video that shows us a story of geek love starting with blue smarties and Star Wars. Will they go offline, or end up fully analog? Watch to find out, and see if you can spot our I heart Geeks shirt that makes a cameo partway through!

The video was produced by Switchback Entertainment for the Telus World Ski & Snowboard Festival in Whistler, BC.