Tuesday, November 12, 2019

You know that a camera is pretty good: when you’ve got to time pressing the shutter button to a dog blinking her eyes. Because otherwise you get a superb shot of a blinking dog.

I still remember early tablets and phones, and that feeling that a rusted barn door with a cement block glued to it could swing faster than a picture could be captured by the device.

Ahh, technological progress :-).

Monday, November 11, 2019

Watching The Outer Limits - s02e9 - Trial by Fire, I find myself wondering somewhat just what kinds of civilizations we could find out there amongst the stars.

Based on our own civilizations throughout history, I rather think there's three ways that works out.

In a perfect world, we would probably have a first contact out of Star Trek. But I don't really have that high a hope for humanity, so I expect our early associations to look more like Avatar or Enemy Mine.

In a way though, I worry that a more likely scenario given how difficult truly foreign beings are, and how fucked up we are, things would turn out more like the Earth-Minbari war in B5. Which could be summarized as a hot head meets cultural differences kicks off the near extimerination of the human race. Except I don't think the Battle of the Line would turn out so fortuitous, so much as like an ID4 assault ship firing its primary weapon.
When I consider grilled cheese a comfort food, it can be hard to decide if adulting is a little bit sad or if my cheese budget is just a lot more flexible than my mother’s, lol.

Tonight, I found myself in more need of a happy meal than a desire to cook. Plus it’sa little too soon to make pasta again, thus simple plans.

Sunday, November 10, 2019

How Steve Jobs saved Apple with the online Apple Store

Not sure if memory lane makes me feel old, or just makes me remember the shopping experience from when we bought our first WebTV back in the mid nineties. I also find the old snap of Dell’s site oddly appropriate, and appealing, as someone that experienced that era of the World Wide Web.

And with regards to our present time? Well let’s just say, Amazon is a big thing now.
I’m pretty sure if it wasn’t for my efforts to only eat one helping for dinners, I’d be passed out on the floor, rubbing my pasta filled belly, and using leftover garlic bread as a pimple while I drool the sauce.

Needless to say, I rather like pasta.

My desktop is for games

Ways to know your desktop has one true job:

  1. 80% of your storage use is installed software.
  2. 97.2% of that is your Steam library.
  3. You wouldn't own a desktop if you didn't need the huge GTX card.
  4. You wouldn't need the huge GTX card if you didn't play PC games.
Coincidentally, WinDirStat calculates my %UserProfile% is about 5% of my storage use and a bit of 7% is my non-steam games directory. Most of my user profile's use is taken up by Android SDK files, and I don't think I've even touched that in a couple years.

So, yes. I think it's pretty safe in saying that Centauri only really has one true job.

That I also use the machine for video ripping and conversion, is secondary really. Or should we say a side effect that it's the machine I have connected to a Blu-ray drive, and conversions are done on it because the only better candidates don't run HandBrake.

Most other reasons, it just happens to be the machine in front of me at the time, and even then I'm often inclined to reach for my tablet instead.

Misty being well aware of food.

Also, me remembering that if you're going to eat chili out of a can, always grab Wolf chili when it's on sale :).

Damn, hard drives are getting cheap and huge

Passing thought: damn, hard drives are getting cheap and huge.

Judging by the prices, I kind of hope that my drives keep on lasting on, because if they do, by the time the older ones die, I'll probably be able to get one drive for the same price: that fits my entire storage needs, lol.

Currently, storage around here is fairly simple but divided.

Centauri was originally a small SSD and a 1 TB HDD. Earlier this year I replaced the first SSD I ever bought with a modern 1 TB SSD, which frigging cost less than the original 120 GB SSD. With that migration: Centauri's second drive is now mostly for things I haven't bothered to move over.

Cream has its own internal storage media, but those are solid state storage for running its OS and associated trappings. It's meat and potatoes are a pair of platter drives: a 2 TB that serves as cold storage, and a 3 TB drive that serves as media storage as well as a backup of the first. Originally cold storage was a 1 TB drive that I bought at the same time as Centuari's, but it finally went the death of too many years of power on hours; and a 2 TB was the same price by then.

I suspect at some point, Centauri's now redundant hard drive will be getting swapped with the drive hanging off my Xbox. Because that drive is both too damned small for games (~320G) and too damned slow for games (~5400 rpm laptop). With Centauri's 1 TB drive now being the oldest still in use here, giving it a job where failure is not a problem but where capacity is, seems like a good plan.

The downside is of course this means actually getting off my fat arse and doing things (>_<).

I'm pretty sure if my drives just keep on trucking a few more years, drives these sizes will be free with a box of cracker jacks. Nevermind typical drive sizes being larger than their collective whole.
Willow: wtf are you doing, human?
Me: trying to take a picture of your comfy.

Saturday, November 9, 2019

Watching the 2010 version of True Grit on Hulu, I’m kind of happy it turned out as such a good film. It also reminds me that one of these days, I really should get around to reading the book.

For better or worse as the case might be, I kind of developed a soft spot for westerns along the way. Enough years were spent watching television with my mother, that there were two channels that were worth noting. TCM and Westerns. Among the side effects of that, are my taste in movies running from about the 1930s onwards to the present. Sadly though, they don’t really make a lot of westerns anymore.

Friday, November 8, 2019

Not sure what bothers me more: that I've probably owned flash media smaller than nVidia's driver updates have become, or at some point in my life, I could probably have squeezed it onto a hell-of-a-lot-of-floppies without running out.

Actually, I'm not sure I wanna know how many floppy disks I still have between home and office. That's kind of scary, given how few machines I have that even have the hardware for that.
Adobe deals with ‘painful’ early reviews of Photoshop for iPad

If I was Adobe: the thing I would fear most is the top competition on iPad OS becoming a threat on Mac over the next ten to twenty years. Much as if I were them, my biggest worry would be Adobe making rapid headway on iPadOS over the next two to five years.

Right now: Adobe is still in a fairly powerful position. Or as I like to think of it: the subscription reflects their needs of doing business, and the feelings of a clawed demon hand gripping your balls, reflects users’ dependence upon Adobe’s products. Despite much grumbling about Creative Cloud, everyone is still either looking for a non-paid option, or using Photoshop and friends in their workflows. Much as before.

But nothing ever lasts forever, and maintaining dominance isn’t always assured. Today is not tomorrow, nor is it yesterday.
Discounting the seasoning things that last next to forever between restocks, I figure this works out to about $3.50 of deliciousness.

The beef cube steaks were under $5 for a package of two, and trivially fried with a smidge of sea salt and a nice helping of black pepper. I find it rather curious how my mother usually fried these, and made brown gravy because her mother  never used it in their cooking; my relationship to black pepper is pretty much the same thing a generation forward.

Much to my surprise, I found edamame in the frozen food section, and this was about half a $1.70 bag. Steamed, tasted, and salted. If it wasn’t my first time trying it, I’d probably have mixed it into the rice. The leftover half makes me wish I bought beer.

Some leftover rice was passing time in the fridge, so a little soy sauce and beef flavored rice seasoning solves the filler. The variety bundle of furikake packets I bought basically is the gift that keeps on giving, in terms of how long the packets last. Plus rice is basically free IMHO. The 5 and 20 pound bags work out to somewhere between $1 and $1.25 a pound, even with buying a kind that I can use for onigiri.

Willow’s number one problem is having to wait until after human foods before dog treats occur. Misty just wishes all food was belong to her.

But I am still forgiven for enforcing the pecking order, that their main treats come after dinner. Which tonight amounted to a helping of canned meat/gravy yumnums, and then a regularly scheduled dog treat, lol.
The way things work around here:

Misty: stares
Me: I’m going to take a shit, not get food.
Misty: You’re thinking of giving me a treat. I know it, human.
Me: Oh, fine.
[Gets a treat]

How to generate moments of confusion in the morning:

Step 1: turn off your monitor, so you hit the power button when the desktop won’t wake by mouse clicks.

Step 2: leave your keyboard switched to your iPad, so you start typing your login password into the wrong machine when prompted.

Step 3: remember how you carried out steps 1 and 2.

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

3M Laptop Stand, Raise Screen Height to Reduce Neck Strain, Vertical Design Allows You to Bring Screen Closer, Compact Foot Print Saves Desk Space, Non-Skid Base Keeps Laptop Secure, Black (LX550)

This might actually be what I've been looking for.

Ordinarily, my workspace looks like this:

laptop | monitor | tablet

And frequently my mouse pad is closer to the monitor with my keyboard shifted a bit to the left. Making it easier to access my tablet and shift its and my position as I work.

But a 14" Latitude is kinda chunky and takes up a lot of bench space. Along with being too short and far away from my peepers to really use as a second monitor without crowding my Bluetooth keyboard. So, I've been thinking of late how nice it would be if I could open the system and elevate it closer to the vertical.

Such that the laptop would effectively be optimized for use as a secondary monitor rather than for using the keyboard and touchpad. Because let's face it: I've got externals for that, and prefer it that way when docked.

Otherwise, I may as well just shut the lid and slide it out of the way; for the time being it's mostly serving as a keeping-tabs workspace rather than a working monitor. E.g. I'll leave a terminal there that I'm waiting for a long program to finish running, or for a summary of incoming mail. And then do everything on my external monitor, that's better positioned; or on my tablet that's more portable.

So freaking tempted....

While I’m not particularly fond of Photoshop, and there are people who aren’t entirely happy with its first showing on iPad, but I like the concept.

For Adobe: they can either take the path of being a leader as iPadOS grows or be left behind as others grow with the platform. So it’s good sense for them to maximize what Photoshop can do on the platform. I’m also pretty sure their are crazy people at Adobe who would like a more desktop grade Photoshop on their iPad: just as some of their customers do.
Hamburger helper and dog slobber, need I say more?

Monday, November 4, 2019

How Gundam's Amuro Ray Changed What It Means to Be an Anime Hero

Amuro is a curious character as heros go, or more accurately perhaps, I've rarely considered him the hero of the story: so much as caught in it. Which in of itself could be considered a Gundam-trope by now, 40 years later.

Given a different circumstance to the war: I'd rather invision Amuro Ray in protest to military conflict at all, and that it's a kind of bloodied, twisted irony that he ended up one of the most notable heroes of the One Year War. And as such would still be active much later during the Londo Bell era.

A large part of Gundam's first set of story arcs centers around the fact that he's pretty much got a simple choice. He can pilot the Gundam into battle, or he can kiss his arse goodbye before the shooting even starts. That's the card they've been dealt. Really, he's kind of a dick during the earlier parts. But over the course of the series he evolves much better as a character.

I think the article's parting bit puts it more accurately than the tile. Less that the character changed what it means to be an anime hero, and more that he's a different type of protagonist to fill the role. 'Cuz let's face it, the Saturday morning go punch the villain slot isn't dead yet and it's been decades, lol.

Sunday, November 3, 2019

One positive side of my iOS change over has been the battery life.

The iPad Pro 11 works out to about a nightly charge after heavy use, and I can basically irk out two days at light use  or a medium plus light day worth of I keep an eye.

By contrast, every Android tablet I’ve had pretty much needs a nightly charge if it’s Google all the things.

The exception is my old Thor model Kindle Fire, which runs on a more “What week did I last change this thing?” pattern of life.
Assorted, recent dog photos and comfortiness.

Part of me thinks the genetics and upbringing assured that I’d be capable of eating like a proverbial horse. Part of me thinks of I wanna live to die an old fart, I should probably exercise more and eat less.

Willow on the other hand wishes she could swipe my tuna.
Duck you, autocorrect! Ducking, duck you, autocorrect!
In a more perfect world: there would be a personal coffee droid hovering a few meters from my head, like a mobile keurig that dispenses coffee, and shoots cookies like a pez dispenser.

Ahh, an idiot can dream.

Saturday, November 2, 2019

Watching Cautious Hero: The Hero Is Overpowered but Overly Cautious on Hulu, has been full of cackles. It’s not the same kind of cackling as Konosuba, but much cackling non the less.

I’m also pretty sure that the goddess will have a stroke by the end.

Friday, November 1, 2019

Comfy is the natural state around here

The negative points are pretty much why I haven’t used paper notebooks very much since my teens. Having a pile of stuff to sort, revise, and remove the cruft from: is a problem that doesn’t scale. Or as I like to remember: after about three binders, I’m pretty much done and hate dealing with heaps of folders.

Most of the advantages I sought came from having a digital file system. Typewriters never really did it for me the way text edited and word processors do. But as a consequence of funneling everything down the word hole: you lose the freedom of the page.

One of the things I’ve enjoyed about having tablets is the ability to have my tablet alongside as I work. Lean over, and swipe words into my textual notes, and then shift back to my work. Evernote also works pretty well in that it optimizes for the more word processor like nature of many of my work notes, yet makes it easy to merge disparate bits of information from external resources. Including handwriting, images, documents, scripts, etc.

Tablets open up greater ease to get off the beaten path of the word processor: while retaining the ability to keep it as simple as WordStar. Especially when you have both a stylus and a keyboard available to aide your note taking.

Thursday, October 31, 2019

Side effects of a seven year old computer:

Encoding with My Anime HEVC/AAC profile, which favors quality over size, runs at about 9 fps on my Core i5-3570K. This works out to roughly an hour per ~24 minute episode. Or roughly an entire day worth of taking over my processor when there’s a lot of episodes for HandBrake to crunch through.

On the flipside, I was about to get one of my favorite anime off eBay for less than half the going price on sources like Amazon.

Which coincidentally, runs around ten hours of video content. Thus it’ll probably be tomorrow night when my desktop stops melting from the encoding, lol.
Complaints Mounting About iOS 13.2 Being 'More Aggressive at Killing Background Apps and Tasks'

Hmm, I guess it isn’t just me that has felt that things have been reaping in the background a bit more than normal.
The problem with digital reminders: notification systems.

The problem with paper reminders: which stack is my notepad in?

And then there's times where the upper limit on human multitasking collides with actual task counts :(

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

FML: noun; words uttered when sorting your Steam wishlist by price during a sale.

Not going to share the words for when 30 - 80 % makes half one's list under $10, lol.

Tuesday, October 29, 2019


I’ve always wondered somewhat, just how much consideration was really put into using one orbiter to rescue another. Because, it’d probably be nice not to be blind sided when the problem is closer to needing a flying  tow truck than a memorial service.

In history though, I reckon the latter is how things turned out for NASA. Over the course of a hundred and thirty five launches: only two shuttles and their crews were lost. Catastrophic failures were the only true failures is probably a fair statement.

Actually, that’s a pretty good success rate if you ask me.
How a months-old AMD microcode bug destroyed my weekend [UPDATED]

Over the years, I’ve seen people and programs assume pseudo  random numbers are truly random often enough, and heard tell of broken hardware and firmware enough that I take all tendon binder generators with a grain of salt.

Because the only faith I have in random Numbers is the odds are pretty good that neither of us will will the lottery. And if it’s something like encrypting nuclear launch codes or grandma’s biscuit recipe, maybe you shouldn’t take it on faith that you won’t get the same value for infinity 😜

Monday, October 28, 2019

iOS 10 How-To: Print to PDF from anywhere in iOS using 3D Touch

One of the things that I miss about Android is the ease of printing. Android’s PDF oriented printing and ease of integration m meant that it was pretty trivial to get a save as PDF out of anything that can print, as well as send it to pretty much anything via standard protocols by picking an item from the system UI. Most times I print I either want a PDF or I want to use the office printer. Mostly though, I want a PDF.

In the case of iOS, well my iPad offers the option to print shit more often than my Android’s did. Which is nice in its own way. But to print to PDF: you have the usual case of swipe friend in elvish rather than just picking a damned list item. Likewise, the printing system as a whole sucks the further you go from having an Apple AirPrint capable printer instead of a really old net printer. Needless to say where I typically need to print, isn’t an office that replaces printers very often.

Which makes me wonder, just how many times have I had to help someone get the a younger version of Windows to actually print to the old printers at work...yeah, sometimes you’re better off with CUPS for that.
Insults to injuries:

When you're about to use your desktop to login, load a slow ass webpage, to go edit something the app doesn't offer, and you're next thought is "Wait, my iPad's browser is still faster than this thing."

My desktop mostly remains because it does one thing very well: play Direct3D games. Because while its era of Core i5 is getting quite long in the toofers: it still can throw three pounds of GTX at problems my other machines can't.

Actually, based on the few games that really stress the shit out of my desktop: I'm inclined to think the old Core i5-3570K is the real bottleneck. That is to say when games like Final Fantasy XV or Resident Evil 7 get a spike o lagocity, it coincides with the processor load looking like a tomahawk cruise missile hit in the family jewels.

That said: the machine has held up very well. Beyond those two titles: it hasn't really blushed in the face of melting as far as 1080p gaming goes.

Expected decommissioning date has long since come and gone versus how long I had designed Centauri to service my computing needs. It's mostly been economics, and the lack of need to retire it that the machine has endured. Which is why the last overhaul was migrating from the very first SSD that I ever bought to a considerable larger one.

The obvious catch to the age is, for tasks like web browser page load times, my iPad basically smokes my desktop :/. But the fruity thing can't drive my GTX 780, nor will it ever natively run the games that dominate my desktop's reason for existence.

Last time that I researched options for the longer term: it pretty much boiled down to two issues. The older Core i7 models that fit my motherboard aren't easy to come by for a good price unless they're second hand. Versus new: may as well buy a modern Core i5, but then it is in for a penny, in for a pound of ram. Needless to say, I don't invision Centauri's next significant hardware refit to be for quite a while.

Given how well Centauri has aged, and the odds that its GTX will need to retire by the time Centauri does, I rather wonder if whatever comes next in hardware will just be a laptop with a Thunderbolt eGPU dock or whatever nVidia equipped laptops look like by then. For now, I'm just happy the machine hasn't died in a puff of smoke despite all the years of hard work, hehe. It remains one of the best computers that I've ever owned.
First world problems: temptations.

Part one of the first season of That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime is available for a really good price, right now. Which is to say about 50% off the original pricing, or about what it should actually cost, lol. And that puts it in the same price range of season two of Is This a Zombie?, one of my favourite series.

Both will eventually join my Blu-ray collection if I have anything to say about the next ten years, and the latter is one of the leading ideas of what Christmas time is going to look like.

Thus the trade off problem: that the latter will continue to be available at the usual price versus the former won't float up to "Ugh, that sucks" pricing, before I finally can pull the trigger. And this is part of why budgets are depressing things \o/. Actually, thinking about the definition of ugh pricing jacks makes me remember: better off getting one of my favourite series off eBay. Because through "Regular" channels like Amazon has too many digits to it, and as years go by even the original publisher isn't a good source. SMH.

On a positive side, my very strong aversion to dust collectors and nick knacks means decorating my home didn't involve a decade of debt, so much as stuff that's been in my family since before I was born, lol. This does of course, not prevent me from having to dust stuff once in a while. Yeah, let's not think about that.

Sunday, October 27, 2019

10 Anime To Watch If You Love That Time I Got Reincarnated As A Slime

As someone who does like Rimuru’s reincarnated adventures, I’d say you should watch most of these series. Some such as Log Horizon and Overlord should be considered a bit more essential. Where as series like No Game, No Life are less so, but still extremely worth watching if the genre appeals to you.
You can guess how it is around here.

Coincidentally, Willow typically chooses a spot nearby where she won’t be disturbed by my movements, and Misty just wishes I’d stop fidgeting, lol.
Watching Small Soldiers (1998) for the first time in a very long time, I think there is just so much wrong with the story that you’ve got to remember the suspension of disbelief factor. Even as a kid, I found it amusing that it calls for compressing at least a decade of R&D into three months to create a children’s toy: that would have to cost more than most people’s first car, just to break even. That’s the least of the issues versus reality.

Thing is, much as when I was a kid, the concept is entertaining enough that I can do that suspension of disbelief thing 🤪

Reality holes aside, there’s a lot more to it that makes it an entertaining yarn. Actually, I kinda wish they had made a sequel just for the hell of it.
Windows 10X Leaks Show A Mobile OS World I Want No Part Of

There’s probably two kinds of people that crept out of their terminals over the decades. Those that want what they’re used to, and those who want something new. You can hazard a guess as to which the author is.

Personally, I don’t really care about having a “Desktop” experience on my laptop, so much as desktop class processing power. Why? Because it’s software that’s become the bottleneck.

There’s a reason why we still say “Desktop” experience but laptops came to dominate the PC world. As the laptop form factor evolved: it came to run the same software as the microcomputers people were already using. We were just pulling off a functional desktop, and no one had the resources or the inclination to optimize software for a mobile device, nor learn how to navigate it. Yet laptops largely came into the own because they are mobile devices, and able to run the same applications as our desktops with close enough processing power to be worth it. Whether your mobility is every day or every month, a laptop is a mobile device compared to hauling a tower, monitor, keyboard, mouse, and a cart with a car battery around.

So needless to say, the most fucks anyone has had to give in the land of desktops is where laptop capabilities and older desktops intersect on specs. Beyond that, software developers don’t tend to distinguish much between desktop and laptop.

But now phones and tablets exist, and make your desktop centric human interface guidelines look more like a calculator watch than something that adapted your fingers. Laptops are becoming more tablet like over time, and the software experiences have to adapt to the changing norms of hardware or face the long roads to obsolescence and extinction. 

Saturday, October 26, 2019

iPadOS Challenge - Ditching the Laptop for a Week

The issues of file system and persistence from about 15 minutes onwards, are the two I notice most frequently, being a tablet whore from imported from another platform.

How Brad describes the gap between a folder and the photos app as a file system, is a real systemic problem to the operating system. Because traditionally, iPhone doesn't have a file system for people to go mucking with. And while that's usually a good thing in my opinion, there are just times when having the whole files thing at your fingertips is productive. Considering that iPadOS 13 is the first time Apple shipped a real file manager, and the Files app actually shipped two years ago, I have some forgiveness for that one. Because let's be honest, the platform has spent most of its life without any real file system.

The way I look at this is pretty simple. Open app → go browse file crap, isn't how I want to use my machines. But being able to stuff a file in a folder with special meaning to apps, is a handy thing.

The issue of persistence is a simple reality. iOS, and Android prioritize what you're doing, and have a history of, by modern standards, very memory constrained environments. One of the things I liked about Android Jelly Bean and the rise of 2 GB of memory was how rare things would get reaped. In Android land, it's kinda disappeared as an issue as devices begin to have comical levels of memory for a mobile. iOS also works pretty well but occasionally blurps. I mostly see grumbly things in the sense like Evernote → switch app, lock screen, whatever, and then → Evernote again, often my position is reaped. I might be in a previously snapshotted note or I might have to wait for the note to refresh, and have to go reset my cursor position. That gets old, when you've got like ten screenfuls of text in a journal entry. To keep your current task fast, you've got to reap your previous tasks in some form.

Difference is if you workhorse your desktop: you will grind it to a halt. That's why our machines now have oodles and oodles of memory, and slow spinning platters are going the way of to floppy diskette. 'Cuz speed and good over cost. If you've ever experienced what true virtual memory trashing is like then you'll never want to trade a blazing fast system for crap again. Compared to what an iPad offers, you can do a hell of a lot of shit before a modern desktop will have comparable pressure.

For reference, my desktop has three times the memory of iPad Pro, and my laptop has four times the memory installed. My iPad has two to four times as much memory as most iPad models, depending on whether you're looking at what's currently supported or production history.

More than a hologram: Star Wars-inspired tech you can buy right now

Move over George Jetson, and let the wookie win!
The Remarkable Tablet Is Better Than the Apple iPad for Taking Notes Hands (and Pencils) Down

As much as I would like to see more devices like this, and think the reMarkable is a pretty damned nice offering, I kind of disagree with the conclusion. Based on how well my various pen packing Samsung tablets have worked over the past seven years, and my iPad Pro 11, I expect that most people would get more value out of the cheaper Tab A and iPad models.

Because for comparable cost, you wind up with a general purpose tablet with all the benefits of a widely supported, popularly developed for operating system. What’s lacking is the more paper like experience (overrated, IMHO) and the power efficiency.
While I can’t say that I’ve ever had much opinion of codfish, Kroger having frozen family sized packages (2 lbs) on sale for under $10, I couldn’t resist last time I went shopping. Plus some tater rounds, because why the frell not?

Thus, tonight went to frying four or five of the fillets. Which a were large enough to cut into about as many frying sized pieces, each. Working on the assumption that I don’t need to eat enough food to feed a family, in one sitting, I’m pretty sure that I’m going to be having leftover fried fish for a good while.

Picture not taken because belly too full, and dog glares at life threatening levels between bribery with a chip.
Zombie Night Terror is probably what happens when a bunch of hungry developers get ravenous together, and decide to feast upon the living.

Also way to freaking fun to be on 90% off sale for under $2.
In my continuing binge watch of The Outer Limits, the s1e19 episode “I, Robot” is a nice one.

Leonard Nimoy turning up as the lawyer defending Adam is a treat; in a series that often had good talented actors pop up. Looking up the episode, it’s also interesting that apparently, it was directed by Adam Nimoy.

The episode also touches ona  subject that I’ve always found fascinating, the issue of where biological man and mechanical machine intersect as person. In particular, I would say that Adam Link’s story is that of a persons, and if his actions aren’t human in the end, I don’t know what is.

Friday, October 25, 2019

One side effect of watching old TV, is sometimes you squint and go, “Hey, is that?” or “Gee, they were younger then”.

Like watching the S1:E09 episode of The Outer Limits: Corner of the Eye and spotting Luís Ferreira as the younger preacher, in an episode involving demons from outer space. An actor, I probably remember most for his role as the C.O. in Stargate: Universe.

I’m also pretty sure that my grandfather would have enjoyed this episode, going by his notion that Christ would probably involve a space ship. Among a few Fox Mulder tendencies, and a fondness for  Erich von Däniken’s books.

More than a few of these should be on your watch lists, and have been around for quite a while.
Shortcuts Corner: Creating Multiple Reminders in a Row, Playing Audio on HomePod, and Reading Tech News

Interesting and tempting.

For the most I have been very happy with the Reminders app in iPadOS and the ability to set reminders via Siri. In fact given the rolly scrolly date and time selection controls in the app makes using Siri a better way to configure a reminder like x day of the week / y time of day. Because while the UI in Reminders is neat, it doesn’t lend itself to speed.

Likewise, I’ve kinda wanted a way to issue several reminders in the task→when kind of format. Because doing it from Siri is a pretty smooth affair.

But to be fair, I’m just happy its been less buggy, broken, and frustrating then using Google’s app to speak reminders to my phone, and previous tablets. I’m sure that given enough time: Apple will piss me off as well but today is not that reminder😜.
Watching a commercial for Google’s Nest Hub, and thinking a moment how this might evolve. Much as the phonograph gave way to the iPod and MP3 player, what might come of such hubs in people’s lives.

My last thought was of President Scroob, shouting: “This is an unlisted wall!”, in Spaceballs. Because in the future that’s how things work.

I find it curious how Hocus Pocus has ended up with so much popularity after the fact. For me, I mostly remember it as good family viewing for Halloween, but I suppose that’s why people still watch it. As well as a side effect of being raised by a Disney fanatic, lol.
“You can’t break a few eggs without making an omelette. Just don’t let them know you’ve learned how to cook!” — Daniel Zager, République episode 3, cassette tape labeled “Detective”.

This is a rather nice quote from one of the games tapes, in a segment where Zager suggests being taken as a fool for messing up is better than drawing the ire of the Prizrak.

Thursday, October 24, 2019


A rather different use case, since my pen computing is more handwriting focused, but I think that this is a darn good video for why tablets and a stylus that isn’t shit, is a good idea.

Okay, if there could possibly be more boob references it would require a longer video....LOL

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Watching The Terminator for the first time in some years, I kind of like how well the film has held up with age.

It’s a pretty simple but well executed film. A number of things are also a bit refreshing, in a less is more kind of way. Because back then there was virtually no computer generated imagery, and the first film may as well of had no budget compared to the sequels, of which at least one of was awesome.

Part of me wonders, all these years later: how much of the budget actually went into the scene with the truck and the Terminator. Compared to the brief future scenes and some of the trickier effects shots. I reckon the scene is kinda hokey by today’s fancier visual effects but I do have a soft spot for how things turned out.

The way people structure scenes, and what they show and what they leave out has changed. Someone directing a film like this today would do things very differently IMHO, unless they were shooting it on a ramen budget instead of as a professional film. Because as Judgement Day came and went, and Kyle’s future draws closer: we live in a world where films look more like Avatar than The Terminator. I’m still waiting for when behind the scenes reels have more in common with Mockingjay or a Holodeck, and despite the glorious spectacles, I’m not so sure that’s an evolution purely for the better.

You can tell which scenes are Arnold and which are prosthetics, for example. But films back then, things were a lot more mired in the consequences of how to film what they wanted to portray. Today? Well, you can do pretty fancy shit with powerful  computers and skilled artists.
Give or take the temptation to call a meeting to discuss the amount of meetings, I think that I’ve gotten my battery’s worth.

My iPad came off charge this morning, and pretty much was my computer for the day. A lot of time spent using Evernote, as a consequence of ~3 meetings, and or already being an integral part of my work flow.

It’s also had to become my email, browser, and terminal on the go. There was really no point undocking my Latitude and hauling a four pound development beast around.

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Things that I consider potential risks, now that I again have a tablet capable of HDMI output:

  • Monitor, and Xbox controller = gaming
  • Monitor, keyboard, and mouse = relaxing.

Typically, my Tab S3 and its predecessors had a high probability of being my device of choice even when sitting at my desk. The main thing that gets me to power on Centauri and use it, is the laziness wires to plug in if I want to share the monitor.

Sadly, Scarlett’s one real failing versus Goldie was the loss of external monitor support. Samsung’s first iteration of USB-C, while welcomed, did not come with DP or MHL alt modes. Which is how Celes, the Chromebook entered the collection of devices I deal with.

Nerine the iPad on the other hand, has external monitor support via DP alt mode, and my USB hub quite the few ports. The risk that I’ll eventually buy yet another Bluetooth mouse, also seems to be incrementing.

What shows no real sign of changing however, is how much I dislike the Mac editing shortcuts. Having had PCs for nearly thirty years, the way you combine arrow keys with modifier keys, while cursing the lack of vi and emacs editing strokes in joe random UI widget, is kind of deeply ingrained by now. Macs, of course do it differently. When you start dicking with the order of modifiers, and which do what, my muscle memory requires a “Are ya really sure?” level of buffering. It will probably be quite a while before that can be eliminted.

On the upside however, I still type at a decently high speed provided that I’m not editing what I insert. Being able to type as fast as I can think, is not a problem. Having to correct for my inability to spell shit is the actual problem. Sigh, that one actually has no real solution. Unless maybe you can make my keyboard provide an electric shock for every genuinely misspelled word, lol. Wait, don’t do that...I’d die.

Perhaps it comes from being raised by negative people, I kind of like the Cigarette Smoking Man’s Life is Like a Box of Chocolates speech more than the more famous one.

I also find the character curious and unique as a villain. The CSM’s position yields a little power, and in The X-Files, he might very well be considered one of the most powerful people in the country in terms of influence from the shadows. But on the flip side: his life is largely a sad, little one. In which about the only good things are a pack of Morleys. Like really, if you laid out what you don’t want your middle aged life to look like: Cancer Man’s off duty time is what you don’t want yours to end up becoming.

And odds are, his best friend is the nearest seven eleven or vending machine with his brand in stock.

Monday, October 21, 2019

Pretty consistently, I’ve never cared much for dragging windows around and stacking them across my desktop workspace. Anywhere, or anytime.

When we made the transition from a ROM/floppy system to a modern hard drive and window based system, monitors in my family were universally too small to care, not to mention Windows 98 wasn’t exactly a sexy multitasking anything at that point.

The thing that’s basically stuck with me is how I tend to favor a central application of focus, and rapid switching to another; like having an xterm and API docs side by side. It’s only been the era of the 20-something inch screen that I’ve really found much use for having my workspace split into two or more applications. It’s kinda rare that I do a one window split with two, or a quartet approach even on a big screen.

Once we get down to much less than 20” diagonal, the value largely disappears from many desktop apps. Rather you end up with something more like 1.5 apps or 1.2 apps on a laptop sized screen. Which usually results in me just maximizing what I’m doing, and using alt+tab to switch actives.

It’s probably little wonder that I prefer the style of window management found on Android tablets and iPads to drawing and stacking crap. Or that when I ask my PCs to do much more than provide a convieniet Xfce session, you’ll usually find me running something like Xmonad—that manages application windows for me.

Because I’ve got better damned things to do with my computers than dragging windows around all day.

Sunday, October 20, 2019

Even without eating the whole she bang, a food coma may not be optional, lol.

Kroger had frozen Mahi Mahi on sale again, and I finally gave in and bought some. Compared to the tilapia I often get, it’s still expensive when you consider the difference in servings per package. Took a quick Google, and decided to make a lazy adaption of this recipe for the seasoning and the results were very, very yummy. A package of Knorr Sides Spanish rice, and some onions/peppers in the frying pan round out the rest.

Not too bad, considering it’s the only time I’ve had this particular fish. Making this more an experiment than assured success. But I think it came out delicious 🤤.
Playing through République episode two, I find the ending a touch amusing as a sell.

During the end roll of the credits, we hear The Overseer crafting a cock and bull version of a political murder, covering it up as a simple heart attack. One that could have been prevented if their over the top surveillance infrastructure, and ever watching big brother had been able to see the VIP collapse, his death could have been prevented. This is even more an amusing sell for his surveillance state, given that you can find an intel item along the way that shows The Overseer gifting the victim with one of his camera equipped owl statues.

Another nice tidbit is sparing The Librarian the irony of burning Fahrenheit 451, as they can simply censor it to greater effect on student’s e-readers and rely on the lack of cross checking the physical book. That’s an especially dangerous concept that fits both narratives IMHO.

Actually, I kinda hope someone makes a good book that utilizes that concept.

In related tidbits, whenever I get around to episode three: I might just breakout my USB-C hub, and connect my iPad to my monitor and Xbox controller. So far both times I’ve sat down to play République, I’ve basically put my iPad in a stand on my desk and fingered my way through the game. Wait, that didn’t come out right 🤣.

Future research may also include some iOS games worth trying with a controller. But +/- that Apple Arcade is kinda an interesting idea, I don’t really expect games on iPad to suck any less than Android tablets, since often the same crappy games are on both platforms. With really great ones like République being a rarer find, IMHO.

Saturday, October 19, 2019

Generally, I don’t expect too much out of Netflix films, but I have to say, Eli is probably a good, true horror film. It’s really, really rare that I watch a horror film and praise it as one, because let’s face it most aren’t very good films. Eli I think is a genuine horror film, through and through, and actually deserves some good ratings.

The first half of the movie rather plays up the terror and the horror, leaving you with the suspense of whether the ghosts are trying to help Eli or if it is all a delusion in his head. In a lot of ways, it makes me think of the 1963 version of The Haunting in the way it works that horror. But, it realizes that for the big screen something a bit more visceral is required for frightening the watcher. As a film, I think that it captures much the same concept of instilling terror and horror, and weaves something that works much better for a film, as it is not so dependent on your interpretation and understanding of the protagonist. Rather it’s gonna keep you curious when you’re not shaking in your boots.

And the twist at the end? That’s one hell of a twist.
Pretty sure that I’ll never be as cute or comfortable as napping doggos.

25 Old-World Italian Cookie Recipes Your Grandmother Made

I’ve probably had too many of these, at one point or another in my life. Also a nice find off Flipboard, because some of my mother’s baking recipes were lost or trashed during my last move. Among them the Italian sparkle cookies.

Maybe a decade ago, ma came across the recipe in a magazine or a website and it became yearly tradition to make a batch for the holidays. It was as close to a cookie one of the old Italian relatives used to make when she was younger, as she could find; I think it was one of my grandmother’s sisters that made them.

The difference is, our relative made them as huge cookies. My mother, made as many freaking dozen cookies as she could™. I think the recipe called for something like 6 dozen cookies, and she usually made a couple dozen more, demanding so when six eggs were involved in the process. We usually had plenty for Christmas,plenty to give others, and a few frozen to help tide us over until next holiday season.

While I stand by my grumbling about having to make so many extra cookies, it was fun helping my mother bake the sparkle cookies 👍. I’ve often thought, that I might take a shot at it if I ever found a similar recipe, someday.

Friday, October 18, 2019

Watching Stumptown, I think I’m definitely going to enjoy this series and how full of character is. Characters make entertaining stories.

Also, I’m not sure what’s worse: how much Dex’s car reminds me of the two most significant Fords in my life thus far, or that I too, would probably take that deal for the price, lol.

Thursday, October 17, 2019

Whiskey might not be the solution to all problems, but I have to admit that a shot glass makes a damned fine refillable portion size.

Combined with one’s favorite anime isn’t a bad idea either.
Happy fun times: when you power on your computer, and your Bluetooth keyboard doesn’t want to power on. Being lazy, rather than fetch my trusty USB keyboard I simply used accessibility features to login.

Windows NT decided my Bluetooth dongle was nadda, and only gave a faint blue like power was coming through the port but no goodness. Migrating to a neighboring USB port, and lo and behold: it suddenly lights up. I seem to recall that some ballocks like this, is how it ended up in the port it was in.

I’m pretty sure that the day I believe a Windows desktop ever does Bluetooth, or even USB things well, the deepest levels of hell may have frozen colder than can be measured.
Some years ago, I remember my mother had a great desire for some lo mein, and the Chinese place we liked is one of my favorite restaurants in the area; because the food is good and bountiful in portion. I had made the decision, order an extra helping since I had never had it. Two orders worth combined with my meal and some other goodies, we were eating for days. It had been an experience, memorable, and delicious smorgasbord of Chinese food.

Tonight, I opted to stop off and get my favorite meal there, and I asked for an order of pork lo mein to go with my usual Szechuan style fried chicken. As anticipated, they’ve yet to learn how to skimp on the food.

That is to say, I ate like a freaking hobbit and have enough leftover for lunch plus dinner tomorrow. And Corky tried to get his nose on the fortune cookies.

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Working Copy makes my heart throbb

Working Copy is one freaking impressive feat of work.

One of my early bits of research into apps to solve less popular problems, was searching the app store for a Git client. Because I’m really more of a git and vim kind of guy than a cloud thing and browser based word processor kind of guy. On my old Tab S3 and on my Chromebook, it was easy enough to combine a git client and an editor to manage some repos, even keep a backup of some software projects for reference. Priorities being as they are, I started with iVim because muscle memory and most likely to freak out the fruity operating system. Combined with Pretext it gives me an editor I’m very familiar with, and a simple editor that matches what I’d want out of something neither vi nor emacs like.

After reading around Mac Stories, I decided to finally give Working Copy a whurl. I’m impressed, and I’m happy. Hell, judging by its user guide I could probably manage a nice local edit + git → remote build life cycle if I really wanted to.

For the most part, the software I use tends to be cross platform. E.g. developed on Linux, also available on Windows, cie; Android and iOS. And mostly the apps I use that are on both, are mostly the same on both. Except for the habit of iOS apps to use a scrunched landscape in portrait rather than going to a full screen view. Which is fine by me ‘cuz I’m a lazy git and have more than a few platforms to deal with.

Working Copy manages to be pretty native and runs with it all the way. You wanna know what my definition of professional grade, well made software for doing real shit would look like on an iPad? Well pal, Working Copy is now that definition, and what a damned stunning example it is!!!

Even more so, it appears to be feature complete enough that I don’t have to worry much. You see, I’m weird. I tend to like doing my work from the git command line client, and if I’m going to suffer a GUI then it’ll probably be git gui + gitk. And if Working Copy can’t do what I need to do, odds are I’d be running command line git regardless of the operating system, and probably quite out of my routine.

Something that makes me kind of happy about how native it is, is the file sync.

The way {App}/Documents is exported into the On My iPad provider as {App} is pretty nice. But doesn’t seem like the iOS Files stuff really has a concept of Unix style hidden files, so getting to .vim is a bit of a pickle.

Thus, I had Working Copy’s sync feature use On My iPad/iVim/vimfiles. Which for iVim, maps to ~/vimfiles. A quick :e ~/.vimrc and it only took a moment to get my stuff in order.

" For iVim on iOS.
" Working copy can sync my terryp/vim to ~/ or a subdir but not ~/.vim because iOS file goodies don't like dot files
" So let's use terryp/vim -> ~/vimfiles ala wintel.

set runtimepath+=~/vimfiles/
set runtimepath+=~/vimfiles/after
source ~/vimfiles/vimrc

Since Working Copy is trivially able to handle the submodules in my repo, which anger some GUI clients I’ve tried on PC and Android, all my stuff pretty much just works. Because my .vim/bundle gets synced to vimfiles/bundle like the rest of my stuff.

When someone makes an application as good as Working Copy,  we should all applaud. I know that I’m sure freaking happy! It takes a lot of work to make an application that great, and all to often when you find an application to scratch such a less popular itch, it can be hard to find a really great solution. Working Copy is one of those rare, great solutions.

Mac Stories -Beyond the Tablet: Seven Years of iPad as My Main Computer

Seven years after I started (slowly) replacing my MacBook Air with an iPad, my life is different, but one principle still holds true: I never want to find myself forced to work on a computer that’s only effective at home, that can’t be held in my hands, or that can’t be customized for different setups. For this reason, the iPad Pro is the best computer for the kind of lifestyle I want.

While my tablet life style hasn’t been due to health problems and having started in Android land, hasn’t been so focused on dealing with an operating system limiting my abilities, I really agree with the above excerpt. Particularly the part I have added emphasis to.

Working from Android, I’ve had pretty complete file management since the beginning. As much as I prefer apps and their own data, such as Evernote and Play Music over wrangling files around like the stone ages, it’s nice having comprehensive control. I hope that apps on iOS will become more attuned to the file system, because files are kinda nice for sharing some forms of data between applications. As opposed to cases like my experience setting up a custom alarm tone or wallpapers. Being a fuck ton versions late to the party, I got to miss the lack of a file system part and have arrived for the apps still aren’t used to their being a file system part.

Another perk of coming late to the party, is while I experienced Android’s growing pains for multi tasking, I don’t really have to re-experiences them with iOS. Samsung did the whole split screen a lot of freaking years ago, well before Google mucked with it.

Having only scratched the surface on the shortcuts stuff, I have to admit that it’s a large part of what makes Siri interesting, aside from being less of a pain in my Fi phone then Google’s voice shit. I’ll probably be referencing this article later when I screw with shortcuts more.

Accessories are another thing I find attractive about iPads. Android was pretty quick to bring support for things like keyboards, mice, hard drives, monitors, controllers, etc. Aside from Google Play Services combined with Ethernet breaking push notifications for eons, it’s been a pleasent experience using external devices with Android.

What hasn’t been fun is anything form fitting. Aside from largely generic cases adapted to fit specific models, the options have sucked. Turning an iPad into a clamshell ala EeePad Transformer TF101, has been a thing for years on iPad. Some accessories are easier purchased than made at home, if available to begin with. Not to mention how badly Android needs more than a hardware Specific  S-Pen for those of us who demand a real stylus.

Sometime I also need to play with the external monitor truck noted in the end; really I like the concept, and it basically reflects the fact that I’d like better external monitor support without having to run regular PC shit.

While I’m not sure that I agree with the storage comment, I think the article’s parting comment is spot on. Pretty good one.

You see, if your customer thinks maybe they should have spent a few C-Notes more on that faster, sexier model that’s better than them buying your only product and thinking it’s a cheap piece of shit, and that they should have gone with someone else’s product. In that sense options are a very good thing, and the Fruit Co has done well IMHO to offer the basic, mid range, and high end models.

Most tablet goers would probably be best served by the Air and its excellent trade off between price and performance. Most actual people will probably be happy with the cheapest issue, and unless it’s your main computer, odds are no one needs a Pro. All depends on how much you live on your tablet.

Coincidentally, my 90~95 % of the time computer is my tablet and I have a usage around 26/64 GB, or just a bit over 40% storage utilization. On my last Samsung, the 32 GB was just starting to get tight but was still quite effective when you’re not full of games and videos instead of apps and books. While iPads note have decent support for external drives, they do lack the internal micro SD slot common on Samsung tablets.

Personally, I’d like to see tablet computing become more popular but my belief is that you should use what works best for you. That is to say: you do you, and I do me. Not everyone has the same computing needs or preferences, and freedom of choice rocks.
+/- the soda, me trying to not eat like a horse.

Yummy cheese burger with mushroom, pickles, and burger sauce. Accompanied with tater tots / garlic sauce and some beans I wanted to get rid of. Misty was just happy taters mean sharing, lol.

I’ve been known to make meals like this with a second burger and about double the taters.... and eat most of it in one sitting.
Part of me wonders if iPad OS 13.1.3 makes the pen swipey friendly floating keyboard even more prone to doing its wiggle off screen act, and other bullshit—or if I should just reboot my ducking iPad Pro every hour. This is getting highly annoying when tablet == main computer.

Apple, debug your shit.

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Check out what I'm watching on Crunchyroll! http://www.crunchyroll.com/didnt-i-say-to-make-my-abilities-average-in-the-next-life/episode-1-you-said-id-get-a-do-over-in-a-new-world-789445

It remains to be seen of this series will bore or chuckle me to death, but I have to admit that the “Flat chested” semi finale to episode made for much chuckles.
Things a smidge useful about having been around a while, and stuck in heterogeneous computing environments.

One of my routine tasks when Cream reboots for updates every now and then, is to run a simple script that runs my post bot for sending my blog posts to D*. The issue that the Intel chipset likes to hang on reboots over USB things is a different issue than making sure software starts up on sign in.

In *nix land, the cheesey, read simplist, method is just insert it into your X session script (Yes, I still use xinit :P). Fancier session managers, XDG autostart, and gasp, systemd user units, also exist. Of course there's always more than one way to do it. Not to mention that when its your box, you can abuse the system level parts ^_^.

NT on the other hand, I remember the easiest way. Go stick a shortcut to the script in the startup directory and be done with it. That's "%APPDATA%\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\Startup" in this day and age.

My scripts are pretty simple. The first is a wrapper (post-bot.cmd) that goes to where I keep my post bot's install, and runs this daemon.cmd script:



    ECHO Loading venv
    CALL .\python\Scripts\activate.bat
    GOTO post_loop

    ECHO Running
    python .\python\Scripts\rss2diaspora-spider -v -s data\config.txt 
    ECHO Looping
    TIMEOUT /T 900
    GOTO post_loop

Which is sufficient for making sure it runs every fifteen minutes without having to care about much more than the box rebooting. So whenever my blog's RSS feed updates, my posts eventually get converted to markdown and pushed to Diaspora without me having to care too much.

Yay, for laziness!
Passing worries:

  1. Wait, how many games of Solitaire did I just play?
  2. Hmm, how many games have I played in my life between PC and a deck of cards.
  3. Hell, how many bits would it take, ahh nevermind.
  4. Fuck it, another round!
For the most part, battery life has not been a problem with this tablet.

An interesting little bit of calculation:

Apple iCloud: $0.99/month for 50 GB = $0.02/GB
Google Drive: $1.99/month for 100 GB = $0.02/GB
Box: $10/month for 100 GB = $0.1/GB
Office 365: $7.99/month for 1000 GB = $0.008/GB
Dropbox: $11.99/month for 2000 GB = $0.006/GB 

Sorted by smallest to largest firsts storage option. I’d include Amazon but having trouble pulling up prices on that.

I can’t help but think the pricing makes the larger, less tiered options more attractive. The options from the competing  phone nerds cost more per GB but offer the ability to have a lower monthly cost.

For comparison, standard 3.5”/7200RPM hard drives are about $0.045/GB for a 1TB drive at the local tech store. My file server costs probably about 45¢ a month on my electric bill, since it’s a low power N-series processor instead of an actually worth using CPU.
I’ve never had a very high opinion of Microsoft Outlook as a mail client, beyond the comprehensiveness of its rich text editing widget. Today I was kind of reminded why.

Email came in canceling a meeting. I hit the button to remove it from my Exchange calendar, and as typical the email just disappears upon interaction. Usually to trash or something.

Outlook continued to display a badge showing one unread email, or something. Yet I had no messages, no matter how many times I refreshed or tried to filter by unread. Nada.

Then I switched from my tablet to my laptop, and took a gander at Thunderbird and scratched my head. There was the cancellation message at the top, and it was marked unread. Even after whomping get messages.

Checked outlook and despite being excluded from the unread filter(!), there was same message at the foot of my inbox with the blue circle. Tried to load it and I get a message saying that it doesn’t exist, and lo and behold the problem is solved with one more sync....lol

At some point I need to find a mail client that sucks less than outlook, yet speaks Exchange mail, contacts, and calendaring. Sigh, I do miss Aqua Mail for Android: it was such a great client, I used it for both my personal and work accounts. Sadly though it is Android only, leaving me without a good iOS client for my tablet and with meh options for my Debian laptop.
I’m pretty sure that the optimal algorithm for maximizing number of dogs in a space is a quasi linear arrangement.

Until you get up, and then it’s whoever claims the warm spot first, lol

Monday, October 14, 2019

Safari in iOS 13 was sending browsing data to Chinese tech giant Tencent

I find it a little amusing in a way. Having had internet access since about 1996, I’ve long since gave up on considering my browsing habits to be private—it’s my browsing contents that I want kept private.

Between how browsers work and how much control we yield to the other end of a socket, I think it fool hearty to assume you can remain private about the basics. If you have ever visited a web site in recent times, it's a fairly safe bet that someone, somewhere can collate a unique identifier for you across several websites. Yielding things like your IP and resources (you know, the /blah/blah part of urls you visit) are integral to how user agents (browsers) and servers work. Cookies have been a fact of browsing virtually forever. You don’t have enough control over how any of this shit works, to be able to enforce strict privacy from being tracked.

Anonymity is the difference between sending the Gestapo to 742 Evergreen Terrace and f24088cc-4914-43ab-9810-07cdc069ebac visited five websites about donuts, and then logged into Yahoo mail; let’s ask Yahoo about them.

What we do however have some control over is the secrecy of our session content. Transport Layer Security, ala HTTPS, provides for some measure of privacy where it matters in our browsing. Nothing is going to stop donuts dot com from using an obvious /glazed resource for finding out about glazed donuts, but telling that you typed “HJS” into the search box and it popped up a super secret bulk ordering form, and your transaction details, is a different story. The security measures make it harder for someone to be dropping eaves if the other side is trustworthy; not being tracked is just hopeless at this point.

I have more hope in solutions that are technical and procedural in nature. Because if you can’t trust donuts dot com with where to bill and ship donuts then you probably shouldn’t be ordering donuts from them. If donuts dot com isn’t allowed to do business in your country without being obligated to offer up your payment data to the request of law enforcement, or pushing it to government donut databases, that’s a social problem and therefore political.

For better or worse there’s only so much that can be done on a technical front without changes to how the World Wide Web functions, and that shit just isn’t going to change for the sake of personal privacy.
Internet Archive releases 2,500 MS-DOS games so you can relive the '90s

Part of me thinks it would be worth passing the list fit anything great, part of me thinks I have enough games to last me several lifetimes as it is....

Sunday, October 13, 2019

If Willow ran things around here:

Pecking orders would be abolished in favor of individual feed trays, refilled every quarter of the day.

Semi automated treat dispensers would be installed on each wall and kept full at all times.

Additional reservations on comfy nappy spaces for the furry one in charge.

By contrast if Misty ran things, all foods would be belong to her.
Tapped the notification and was greeted with this view of the Tips app:

After annotating the screenshot it remained glitched, but did recover when I changed orientation to portrait and then back to landscape.

Saturday, October 12, 2019

Came expecting a B-Movie with a few laughs, and found The Night Watchmen (2017) to be a pretty freaking great movie. Seriously, watch it. Now!
There are times when I feel kind 9f bad, making such comfortable dogs move. But technically, it is my bed. Well, it technically was. Lol.

Supplemental to last, a nifty thing as well—the per-app directory things in the Files app virtualizes the Documents directory associated with an app’s private-ish data container; or at least iVim makes it appears as such.

E.g. placing a file in iVim/Documents makes it appear in {container}/Documents when exploring it with netrw.

Likewise, while I can’t find any way to make Files express the concept of Unix hidden (.)files, the Files app does show a count that includes the .vim / .viminfo entries that come up when browsing through iVim itself.

This is kind of nice IMHO. If iOS just exports the thing somehow to a trusted Files app rather than making a separate directory outside the per-application containers, that makes the application directories in Files potentially a lot more useful for shuffling data around via the file manager. On the downside, I suppose, could mean Files would get a huge bullseye painted on its forehead for anyone wanting to find a way around some of the file system security.

By contrast, Android is a bit more liberal. The per-app area  (e.g. /data/...) is generally a total no-no to any other application, and apps are given explicit support for the “Shared” storage area (e.g. /sdcard) and a separate directory of their own located beneath it (e.g. /sdcard/Android/...)
Well, I might be a sorta happy camper. Looks like iVim is a decent port of Vi IMproved to iOS. From what I can tell, seems like a rather old (7.4) version, compiled as Big with external scripting and various mice/gui things disabled.

Limitations seem to be principally iOS imposed ones, such as Extreme Sudden App Kill Syndrome and overly restricted file permissions. So in effect, it’s about as good as you can hope for on anything more fruity than a Mac.

On a related note, I can also say that iPadOS doesn’t do key repeat. E.g. holding j doesn’t move the cursor in iVim, nor does it insert a bunch of j’s into Safari. But the repeat stuff works fine when combined with a modifier like doing and keystrokes, which makes me happy since that’s an action I use more freqently than holding the vi arrows (hjkl), etc.

Scalloped Truths

Things I’ve come to accept as truth about scalloped potatoes:

  1. At ~97¢, I can’t beat the cost of Kroger’s box.
  2. This is probably true of most cheesy goodness 😂.
  3. Effort, quality, cost is as positive as you can get and still need 450 F.
  4. I’ll eat the whole box. Every time.
Truths four and one are especially self evident.
Thus far, I’ve found Hulu’s Halloween suggestions mostly a positive. A broad mixture of horror films, largely from the ‘70s to the ‘90s and beyond for some more recent films. Both familiar films and ones I hadn’t gotten around to yet.

This afternoon, I’m going with something I haven’t seen in a few years: the second version of The Haunting.

Personally, I think the film more or less deserves the critical panning it received, it’s a film you watch for the effects not because it’s an essential anything. For me, it’s probably the last movie that ever scared me. I remember watching it on a rather long break many years ago and then having to go move furniture, and being a bit unnerved. I mean, it’s basically a house that comes alive and eats people as far as the special effects go. What’s not unnerving about that concept? Since then tidbits of Hill House have haunted my dreams over the past few decades: enough to no longer be scary as it became a reoccurring setting for various nightmares.

On the flip side, I’ve never really cared much for the original film. It was very fateful to the novel in my honest opinion, but just not scary. As a horror film: it’s only scary in the sense of kids around a campfire kind of stories, not terrifying, well not when I first watched it fifty some years after the book was written. Perhaps because I view Eleanor’s part in the story more a cause for sadness than a vehicle for terror, which is kind of essential to the novel. Her torment and place in the world is the real terror, not the house or spooky occurrences. Meanwhile, as out of the wall as the ‘99 film is, it tries to rely largely on the horror of the situation rather than the characterizations. The two films have different takes, and the novel’s greater time for exposition means it can leverage a more psychological terror than the simple scares the ‘63 horror film could ablidge.

If you have some time, probably better to read the novel and ignore the rest, or just watch the ‘63 film if you want a decent abridged version of the story. Me? I watch the later film because I remember being like 12, and finding it disturbingly horror.
Random factoid, but I find it surprisingly easy to read an analog clock.

I remember learning how the analog clock face works somewhere around kindergarten or so. But the caveat was my brother couldn’t read analog, and even as a child I had a measure of love for precision.  When you consider my brother is a decade my senior that might be a little sad. But that’s how it was.

Growing up at a point in time where the heights of coolness was probably a Casio Databank and alarm clocks that could wake you up with radio, that situation pretty much ensured that digital clocks dominated in my family because they were idiot proof. Also who didn’t want a portable calculator back then? 🤪

Thus most of my need for dealing with clock faces has been in giving directions, whenever my head’s translation table between port/starboard -> left/right isn’t sufficient. Despite how dusty the part of my brain where this is recorded must be, it’s still a functioning piece of grey matter.

I’d also like to think by now, my older brother can read an analog clock worth a fart.... since it was about twenty five years ago that I learned how.
iPadOS review: The iPad is dead, long live the iPad--Step by step, Apple is taking the iPad in a wholly new direction.

Ars' is probably the best in depth review that I've seen of iPadOS 13, outside of YouTube videos.

While pretty much every freaking thing about the Fruit Company's operating system demands you learn to swipe friend in Elvish, Dwarvish, and sometimes enemies in Klingon, the multitasking is pretty win. In my eyes: Google mostly frakked it up with Android 9/Pie, and the ubiquitous metaphors of stacking window managers just suck when you throw fingers at them.

Coming from Android land: the iOS home screen is pretty damned primitive. Like any more primitive and iOS 12 would have had me pounding rocks together to make fire. It still mostly smells of cave men in iPadOS 13, but has a longer beard.

The floating keyboard supporting swipe style typing, pretty much rectified my only true issue with Apple's keyboard. Not that I like it being one glitchy mother fucker. The amount of times I've had my FKB decide to reposition itself, usually by zig zagging its ass until the drag bar is offscreen -- or simply fscked up input, is insane for a released product. But when it doesn't make me have to reboot my iPad it does work really, really well; much like Gboard on my Samsung. Like Mr. Axon, I'd rather see the input as part of the regular full sized touch keyboard but I'll take whatever progress I can get.

Editing text in iPadOS 13 being improved, I don't think can be overstated. When I first booted up my iPad Pro, I felt like trying to move the cursor for editing text was bad. Somewhere between having my hands wrapped up like a movie burn victim and fuck it, I'm returning this shit level bad. Seriously, the two finger trackpad trick the keyboard does is the only reason I persisted to see what iPadOS 13 would bring. By contrast, iPadOS 13 feels like someone finally admitted that the era of 3" phone screens and being totally hopeless typing at all on the damned thing, is long since over; or needs to be.

I for one, look forward to 13.2 in the hopes of less bugginess--and have high hopes for 14.x being an iterative improvement on the system.
Really can’t remember the last time I made breakfast, and it was more significant than a granola bar or a frozen waffle. The dogs on the other hand are just glad that the sausage was on sale, so they got a really good breakfast out of this deal.

Sadly, no picture of expectant our happy doggies, since some images are harder to capture without a camera chained to your glasses.

Friday, October 11, 2019

If you replaced the leftover rice/beans with mashed potatoes, and smothered the whole thing in brown gravy, this is probably a diner my mother would be proud of, lol

Flagging the sale on cube steaks before shopping day also turned out to be a good plan.