Tag Archives: rc week 11

Recurse Center: week 11, day 5

In brief: omg RC is almost over, Vagrant, walking in Chinatown, learning unintended things, manpage sandwiches, and your misandrist terminal

Kind of terrified that there’s officially less than a week left. Came in kind of late today, but then Fridays are optional, and they have a totally different energy. Successfully biked from new-home without getting lost. Different challenges than the old route. The Williamsburg Bridge is WAY more relentless than the Manhattan Bridge — it just goes up, and up, and up, and up — but it doesn’t have the same “bump bump bump” from separate concrete panels that the Manhattan’s got. You win some, and you scratch your head at some!

To my delight, though, both bridges give me a chance to work hard, and then a chance to just fly. They’re a huge part of why I’m even fonder of my bike than I’ve ever been — not necessarily one of the effects I anticipated from biking here.

Back to relational database partytime today. I took a long meandering lunchbreak in the middle (and went to one of the Buddha Bodai places — they are unrelated but have the exact same name, because New York), and I read historical placards, and I witnessed a really sweet art lesson/collaboration/mentoring? in the park, and I found a really awesome no-dumping sign in Chinatown:

And then I came back the extremely long way (“I’ll just stop in here for a minute” is never just a minute), got back into things, and got into trouble!

Okay, not bad trouble. We’re building a tiny fake forum in this class, and I’d spun it up, and apparently didn’t close out of it all the way in the terminal.

I’m using Vagrant with this virtualbox (which, for the record, is a clever way of ensuring your students have a consistent development environment that is likely to work. nice!). And because version control is the coolest, I tried to check git status. Nope; no git in the vagrant box. So I backed out of the vagrant session and tried again. Weird .pyc files and some vagrant configuration stuff, as far as I could tell, but nothing cool and useful that I could see.

I eventually gave up on this, headed back in with vagrant up, and…welp:

Vagrant cannot forward the specified ports on this VM, since they
would collide with some other application that is already listening
on these ports. The forwarded port to 8000 is already in use
on the host machine.

To fix this, modify your current projects Vagrantfile to use another
port. Example, where '1234' would be replaced by a unique host port:

  config.vm.network :forwarded_port, guest: 8000, host: 1234

Sometimes, Vagrant will attempt to auto-correct this for you. In this
case, Vagrant was unable to. This is usually because the guest machine
is in a state which doesn't allow modifying port forwarding.

I can translate:

Um, some computers did computer things. Now there is something undead in your computer. It’s your zombie; you deal with it. I have not been trained to handle zombies; I am — hark! — a mere vagrant.

If you want to fix it on your own, you could muck about with something. Godspeed, yo.

Sometimes, I try to fix this. But no. No trying this time. Because it didn’t work.


A search for “stop process on port” almost did it; adding “mac” gave me this StackExchange page on the first try.

Things I tried from there:

netstat -anp tcp | grep 8000

I, uh, don’t know what that does (safety alert: don’t run commands you don’t understand, and yes I thought about that when I did this, but it seemed safe enough [famous last words]), but it gave me a line of stuff:

tcp4       0      0  *.8000                 *.*                    LISTEN     


Undeterred, I kept looking through the page. (I’ve been amazed at what good information I’ve found in questions closed as “not within the guidelines” on StackExchange.)

Lo, what cleverness is this?

lsof -i:8000

It is a “list [you know, like ls] open files” command and a FLAG and oh yay, look at this output:

VBoxHeadl 31878 liene   34u  IPv4 0xc3c82a3fd2729cff      0t0  TCP *:irdmi (LISTEN)

“But Liene,” you say, “that looks like an opportunity to learn about how to override line width in WordPress!” And you would be right. And it is also not my goal right now, so I’m skipping it. (I love this new version of myself.)

If you wanna see it lined up, though, here’s a visual of the same thing from my terminal:

lsof results

There we go! So clear! Now I’ve got a PID (a process identifier, not the other kind of PID, in case you were wondering). And that’s what I was looking for, so I could use this:

kill -9 <PID>

And voilà. Plugged in 31878 for <PID>, and my vagrant box came right back up (from a full halt, but not needing to download/build anything this time).

I’m thinking it might be cool to learn about what I ran, though.

TO THE PAGES OF MAN (i.e. manpages)

What even is netstat -anp tcp | grep 8000?

So glad you asked.

  • `Netstat` shows network status.
  • -a shows the state of allllll the sockets (even ones used by server processes, which seems particularly relevant here, since it’s a server process getting in Vagrant’s way).
  • -n shows network addresses as numbers, instead of the usual “interpret them and then display them symbolically,” whatever that means.
  • -p shows statistics about the protocol you are toooootally about to give it, except the manpage version sounds like someone is either tipsy or playing Mad Libs, so. (Show statistics about protocol, which is either a well-known name for a protocol or an alias for it.”) I’ll grant that it sounds a little more sensible with the formatting in the page-of-man.
  • That explains what the “tcp” part is for, too! Our friend, the Transmission Control Protocol. I look forward to learning more about tcp stuff later.
  • The pipe (NOW we’re getting to the stuff I already knew!) | just says “okay okay do the thing before this, but then hang on to the result for juuuuuust a second, because I want you to do something else with it.”
  • grep says “I want to find something, but in a difficult command-line way”
  • 8000 plays itself in this saga.

That’s all the pieces of the sandwich. But what does the WHOLE sandwich look like?

  • I want to know some stuff about the network status
  • and I want to know about ALL the sockets and their states
  • and please display network addresses as plain ol’ numbers
  • and I only want to know about tcp stuff; everything else is irrelevant
  • AND once you have THAT…
  • I just want things from the above result that contain “8000,” and I don’t care about anything 8000-free, because that is ALSO irrelevant
  • …okay go!



Okay and then “lsof” is “list open files” and then there’s the killing command…

“Wait, Liene. What about the flag on lsof?”

…so glad you asked! lsof has a BUNCH of flags. (Check it out, maybe now! Just like, get all “man lsof” with your bad self. Right now! Or maybe later.)

In any case, good ol’ -i is the only one I care about today.

Turns out the info about it is…well, set a -v flag on this one because it is VERBOSE. Ho ho ho, nerd humor!

It, um, “selects  the listing of files any of whose Internet address matches the address specified in i.  If no address is      specified, this option selects the listing of all Internet and x.25 (HP-UX) network files.”

…or as I first read it, “meow meow files meow meow Internet meow meow meow.”

If I’m right, though, that means this command selects the listing of all Internet and whatever-this-other-thing-is network files. So like, just network files.

You can specify any of this stuff, which looks like hieroglyphics but isn’t the worst (also EVERYTHING is optional, which is what the square brackets are for):


First two square-bracket pairs can be completely ignored. Now we have half as many problemsquestions!

I didn’t specify an address in “lsof -i:8000”, or it would have been in the bracket-pair that starts with @ (where we could have used a name OR a numeric internet address in dot form), but instead there was nothing there. That means we can ditch that bracket-pair, too.

And ooh, there at the end! There’s a colon. We skipped the service part (the manpage example is “e.g. smtp”), because it wasn’t relevant, but OMG the port part is SO RELEVANT.

So — agh this is so good — that means that “lsof -i:8000” means “list all open files that have an internet port of 8000.”


And then there’s one more, and the manpage for kill isn’t RAD when it comes to finding out what the -9 is about (I scan for flags! by their names! but it turns out this one is found under “-signal_number”), but it’s not awful. -9 just means “KILL (non-catchable, non-ignorable kill).” I don’t know what “non-catchable” means, but I DO know what “non-ignorable” means, so it’s basically like “okay srs this process has to stop RIGHT NOW right now IMMEDIATELY no takebacks.” -9 means BUSINESS.

Also. If you’re ever like, “ugh, I wish my computer were a misandrist,” and you want to feel like it is, just type “man kill” at the command line and watch how quickly it obeys your command. So anyway your computer is probably a misandrist.

We have friends arriving in town, and I could keep doing this all night, but I need to get home. I barely even got to play with Postgres today! But. I learned a lot more about some cool command-line superpowers. And now man-pages are noticeably less scary.

On another note entirely, to my horror, I sat the whole time I was at RC today, which is usually Not My Thing. And it was awesome instead. Well then. Maybe I’ll work on moving around a bit more this coming week.

Recurse Center: week 11, day 4

It’s our last day in the sublet we’ve been loving so much this summer. (All hail Listings Project.) And, finally completing the mission I attempted on the FIRST day of my batch, I successfully walked from Brooklyn Heights all the way to SoHo-ish RC in a beautiful late-summer morning. It was a really clear measuring stick for how 1) the weather has shifted, 2) my comfort navigating here (with a few google-y prompts) has improved dramatically.

I got so, so lost the first day. Where I come from, to find one side of a bridge from land, you just go to the water and walk towards the bridge, usually. New York starts its bridges MUCH, much, much further back. And then there’s the construction, obscuring staircases and more permanent signage. And by the time I arrived here, I was a bit of a mess.

But today? Such a treat. So simple. I’m comfortable jaywalking in front of crowds of NYC cops (whoops), because I have an innate understanding that no one cares.

Had another good coffee quest with our ever-growing check-in group. It was less check-in-y and more walk-y, but I had a few really good check-in-y conversations with folks.

Sat in on some systems design mock interview questions about elevators (neat!) and auto-complete searching (yikes!) with Sam, Jesse, and John (some of my favorite alums). I like that RC provides a way to inch closer to terrifying concepts in whatever way works for you. And today, that was just Being Around People Doing Interview-Type Stuff.

I also did the thing I’ve been threatening to do, and headed back to my Udacity course (intro to relational databases yesssssss).

Updated my VirtualBox, even though my old version said there were “no updates available” (fortunately for me, I know enough about how versioning works). (I had a previous one installed from an A11y project at a Grace Hopper Celebration Open Source Day.)

Installed Vagrant (exciting) and OH MY GOSH running vagrant up is COOL and all except for the part where it took FOREVER to download the box it needed (I think?). By “forever,” I literally mean over half an hour (that timestamp — /t — on my bash prompt came in handy!).

I don’t know if it’s all Udacity courses, or just this one, but the instructor is this kind of joyous nerd with a solid dose of humor. I regularly find myself connecting with weird little things, like this screenshot about “where you’ve been sending your SQL queries on this website”:

partial screenshot. "mysterious black box, with a database somewhere inside?"

which is approximately how I’ve been feeling.

Went to Spring‘s (side note: try googling them without looking at that URL) “yay new office” happy hour with a few other Recursers (all invited by Maia, I think). Realized how much I miss nametags if everyone does not definitely know each other. I also realized (again) how much I love good guacamole. Both are important, right?

Got home not-too-late to new-home (where we’ll be for the next couple weeks) in East Williamsburg, and it’s…the fanciest place that I’ve ever called home, even temporarily. It’s fancy in a calm way, though, with lots of little details to notice.

Recurse Center: week 11, day 3

Many successes today! Just not so much programmatic ones.

Went on a supportive-distraction and also “well hey, as long as there’s an event going on” trip to the Birchbox store with a bunch of women from my check-in group. (I LOVE coffee-walk checkins so, so much. One of the highlights of my day. We just, uh, made it last longer today.) Everyone in there was so happy and friendly and themselves-seeming. Surprisingly fun, and I got a free vegan pistachio ice cream cone (!!).

Was also reminded that I want to check out the Littlebits store before we leave. (It was on the way!) Haven’t yet been, but it looks like a blast.

Resolved to do Not The Thing Stressing Me Out, and while I’ve been pretty successful at that today (I almost forgot I also had a Grownup Ball Pit Appointment upstairs today), it does mean that I think I had an ice cream cone for lunch. Whoops.

I do feel a lot calmer, though. There is time enough (probably) for all these things I want to do. (Just maybe not at RC.) And I will not win any prizes by making myself miserable instead of having fun.

Forgot all about coloring club, called it late anyway, and had some good conversations (related to coloring!) about knot theory and programming languages and costume ideas. We ended up on another quest outdoors and got food from a DELICIOUS vegan place I hadn’t tried yet (by Chloe). There exists beet ketchup in the world, and it is beautiful and delicious. Sometimes lunch is at 6 pm, and also artful and nourishing.

Turns out the day was more about people than computers. This feels like a trend, and it worries me, but the worry isn’t so productive. Maybe I can ditch it.

Recurse Center: week 11, day 2

Last night I was up super late, but ended up having a really great evening with a bunch of RC women in a ridiculously nice apartment with a ridiculously nice roof deck (see, for instance, me as a unicorn. Um, the horn is the Empire State Building, by the way).

self.Empire State Unicorn() #recursecenter

A photo posted by Liene (@springsandwire) on

(And to be clear, the building had a roof deck, not the apartment.)

Afterwards, I also had my first “I’m the only person in RC right now!!!” moment, which was weird and kind of magical. Nearly all the lights were off, except one dim one in a side room, and a constantly fluctuating LED strip that painted faint rainbows on the wall.

Anyway. Today, I mostly had a day where I stressed really hard about not figuring out a path forward with my map things, and it messed up things like “eating food in a calm way,” despite the fabulous lunchtime walk I took, so maybe this isn’t the best way forward for now. I spent a bunch of time coveting soldering irons and other awesome electronics stuff, so maybe I’ll just have to bite the bullet and dive into that soon. Adafruit is SO COOL.

In the evening, I went with Nathan to see Jane McGonigal speak at the New York Public Library, which was amazing and impactful and I made sketchnotes and almost burst into tears when she talked about post-traumatic growth & its effects (also content warning/#tw: ideation-y stats about traumatic brain injuries on the left):

Got a copy of her new book, and got it signed to both of us. Commitment!

I would like to feel okay about the next week and a half, but it feels like it’s going so fast.

Recurse Center: week 11, day 1

Here is how I feel about it being week 11: ffffFFFFFFffFFFFF!!!!!!

I’m feeling kind of paralyzed by only having two more weeks. I know that this is a lot of individual days, but it feels like my time here is almost done, and it’s anxiety-inducing in a way I was hoping to avoid until, you know…afterwards. When it would be more convenient to have feelings. Alas, that is not how feelings work. Still.

I’m trying to get the EXIF data out of a photo (that part works), and then get the GPS coordinates (that part also works, albeit in ratios, which I need to turn into decimals), and THEN put that on a map (cue panic). This is my stated goal for the day, per what I said in check-ins.

This was a good idea, and I looked at a lot of things, and I played around with a lot of data structures in bpython (which was, honestly, super super fun), and I didn’t really get anything “done,” per se. And then I realized that maybe going to Rosh Hashanah lunch at Susan’s wasn’t going to be so compatible with daylong crushing of the code, anyway.

However, it was a really lovely afternoon. Great company, both people I knew and people who were new to me, and I got to learn a lot and participate in a lot of things that felt very meaningful. (I think I was the only non-Jewish person there? And no one made me feel weird about it.)

Learned about why we cover the challah (to summarize, perhaps badly, bread is the most important part of the meal, but the wine happens first & there’s some singing/praying, and we don’t want the bread to know about this, because it might get bummed out). Learned that you can put sugar onto and into all kinds of things, because it brings a sweet new year (usually one eats challah with salt? but at Rosh Hashanah, you eat it with sugar. Challah is super not-vegan, so I listened and adapted things, which was fine). Also! You throw the challah to people, because it’s Yay Celebration Happy Times, contrasted with somber times where you’d calmly hand food to someone, e.g. shiva. We talked about what we’d like to cast off, and what we’d like to bring into our lives in the new year, which was a really lovely moment of reflection.

We walked across a pedestrian bridge (all hail pedestrian bridges) to Randall’s Island, so we could be next to the East River (and not a bunch of cars) for tashlich (“to cast off”). Tashlich might be one of my favorite things I’ve learned about recently. It reminded me of the Latvian wedding tradition, where you cast all of your past regrets into the river with your wedding wreaths. Except this one is open to anyone, every year. And it’s bread, not wreaths. And also we saw a crab. (This is not particularly relevant, but it was nice to be tangibly reminded of the life in the East River.)

It ended up being a much longer, much more meaningful time of connection with people and life than I intended. I made it to the Monday night talk, but was late (for the first time!), and I had such a sense of peace I didn’t particularly care.

Tuesday: maps? Maybe!