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Hello and welcome dear visitor. My name is Roland and you have come to theblackzone.net, my personal space on the internet. Enjoy your stay!


UNIX - A History and a Memoir

I recently finished reading the book “UNIX - A History and a Memoir” by Brian Kernighan which was a great read, especially for someone who is into the UNIX operating system as much as I am.

On about 180 pages the book tells the story how UNIX came about and how its groundbreaking concepts changed the path of computer technology and led to a whole lot of new and innovative software, which still is in use over 50 years later.

What I particularly liked about the book is not only the intelligible and entertaining style it is written in, but especially that the events are portrayed first-hand by Brian, who had been closely working with the Unix creators Ken Thompson and Dennis Ritchie at the time when Unix was created at Computing Science Research Center at Bell Labs.

It was especially interesting to learn, how the particulars, the exactly fitting mix of people and work environment, time and events led to something far beyond what the creators could have imagined.

If you are interested in computing or computing history, or in Unix specifically, this book is for you.

The Book
The Book

At the end of the book Brian had referenced a couple of web links I almost was too lazy to type in. But I did it anyway and it led to some interesting resources on the topic. Mainly for my own reference, I’ve listed some of them below. Be aware that this is by no means the complete list of references Brian had mentioned. There are a whole lot more, especially to papers and books.

Emulating a Sinclair ZX80 home computer

While I was skimming through some Linux news sites today, I came across the article Emulate the Sinclair ZX81 home computer with Linux which briefly mentioned the ZEsarUX open source emulator for Sinclair home computers. When I noticed that ZEsarUX is also capable of emulating a Sinclair ZX80, which was my first “real” computer, I thought I’d give it a shot and get a quick dose of nostalgia…

Read on...

Switching to HUGO

HUGO Icon During the last couple of weeks I have been playing on and off with the HUGO static site generator and quickly became quite fond of it. Initially I just wanted to have yet another look at the current landscape of static site generators, but then I somehow ended up making some more extended tests with HUGO. This eventually culminated into having my complete website migrated to it.

Right at the first glance I was quite impressed by the speed of HUGO and after familiarizing myself with the basics and a little bit of tinkering I also started to like its nifty features.

After having converted my complete website to HUGO (which turned out to be much less effort than I would have anticipated), I was a wee bit hesitating about abandoning my current workflow, which has worked quite well for the last couple of years. Then again, I had switched it so often, so why not yet another time and give it a try?

And now, here we are. This post marks my switch to HUGO as the next tool for creating this website.

Flickering Outlook Webmail (OWA)

A couple of days ago I encountered a strange issue on one of my colleagues notebooks: his Outlook Webmail (OWA) was “flickering”, the list of his emails looked like it was constantly reloading and this strange thing happened in all of his mail folders, no matter what web browser he used…

At first I thought that one ore more of the keys of his notebook are stuck, but as it turned out the culprit was something totally different:

The clock of his notebook was out of sync and lagging a couple of hours behind!

As soon as I had synchronized his notebook’s clock against an internet source, the phenomenon was gone.

Since I never encountered this problem before, I thought I’ll leave a note here, mainly to remind myself of the solution.

New VIM colorschemes

Vim Icon Recently I created two new colorschemes for the VIM text editor. My main motivation was to have a light, readable colorscheme I could use for my coding sessions outside on the patio during the summer days and to have a similar dark one for use at night.

Read on...


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