Computer Files

You may accurately infer that the value of much of the following is diminished by its age.


I wrote a Linux CLI tool to play audio CDs. It has since been updated and improved by many others, and is still distributed with current Ubuntu releases.

gnops_bind9 Chef Cookbook

A Chef cookbook we use to configure a cloud-hosted internal BIND server. We use this to forward (or slave) internal domains to the appropriate on-premises name servers, while maintaining internal to AWS view of other domains and avoiding any unnecessary dependencies on on-premises name servers.

See also “Resolving AWS DNS Issues” Justin Frank’s Gracenote Tech Blog post about how his team deploys a DNS service in AWS using this cookbook.


A Java program for rendering a tartan from a list of colors and thread counts, together with a CGI-based database for browsing tartans by name.

Calculus Courseware for MATLAB

William Stein and I rewrote the software used for Berkeley’s M-series calculus classes, updating code by Alex Gottlieb and Julie Mitchell. In addition to updating the modules for MATLAB 5.2, we completely rewrote the user interface, making it more attractive, more consistent, much easier to use, and generally more robust.


A Perl script to create graphs that answer, roughly, “how well must I do on the remaining tests to pass this class, to get an A, etc.”


Here are some really old programs I’ve written for class or to amuse myself. Please feel free to use and/or distribute any of the following files. If you were nice, you’d let me know if you found it useful.

Convert a MS Windows 3.1 Calendar file to human readable text.
3D Game of Life shell for old Irises that I wrote for George Francis’s Spring 1992 Math 198 class. With instructions.
Daemon to monitor a parallel port device interface board as described in the January 1993 issue of Computer Craft, “Recycling Old Computers” by Raymond H. Green.
An unofficial version of Eric S. Raymond’s speaker driver as a loadable device driver for Linux 2.0 and newer. Also, speaker-linux-1.1.tar.gz for Linux 1.1.
suburb.pl & suburb.js
A very simple program for generating city names which sound like Chicago suburbs. Try it online.
Simple program to interpret data on World Library CD-ROMs, such as the Electronic Home Library, Library of the Future, etc.

Introductory Unix Seminar Notes

In the Spring of 1999, I gave a Topics in Unix Seminar at the Berkeley Department of Mathematics. I hope that somebody might find these resulting notes useful:

What is Unix?
The design of Unix, how to use the shell, a list of many of the programs installed on Unix computers, Job control (running programs in the background), printing, etc.
Cshrc and Login files
A description of login files used for (t)csh in the UC Berkeley Math Department circa 1999.


Where not otherwise noted, these files are Copyright © 1991–1998 Thomas Insel, but you are welcome to use and distribute them, provided that you realize that these are provided with absolutely no warranty.