Neologism: Technical heresy

Apr 06 2019

technical heresy - noun phrase - Openly demonstrating the imagination to come up with actual uses for a platform or application that it is currently popular to hate.

Neologism: Maintenance contention

Apr 06 2019

maintenance contention - noun phrase - When there is only one bathroom but two people need it for the exact same urgent thing.

Neologism: Rotten egg dependency

Apr 06 2019

rotten egg dependency - noun phrase -  A service that a mission-critical application relies upon that nobody knows about but brings everything to a screaming halt when something happens to it.  In a sane world, said dependency should have nothing at all to do with the thing that just crashed.  Called this because it's as pleasant a surprise as a rotten easter egg at breakfast.  Best explicated by the following haiku:

It's not DNS
There's no way it's DNS
It was DNS

Linux on the Dell XPS 15 Touch (9570)

Mar 03 2019

UPDATED: 18 March 2019 - External display adapters that actually work with this model (and Arch Linux) added.

For various reasons, I found that I had a need to upgrade Windbringer's hardware very recently.  This might be the first time that a catastrophic failure of some kind was not involved, so it's kind of a weird feeling to have two laptops side by side, one in process and one to do research as snags cropped up.  This time around I bought a Dell XPS 15 Touch (9570) - I was expecting things to be substantially the same, but this did not seem to be the case.  Some things that I found myself ignoring because I had no use for them aren't in this newer model, and some things have changed as technology has advanced rather a lot in the last five years.

As before, first I'll post the hardware specs, and then follow up with everything I had to tinker with to get working as well as how I went about it.  As usual, I went with 64-bit Arch Linux (2019.02 installation build).

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Concert photos: Curse Mackey, the Bellwether Syndicate, and Clan of Xymox

Feb 10 2019

There are few better ways to kick off the holiday season than with a good concert.  2018 was no exception in this regard - the DNA Lounge brought in a trio of goth heavy hitters spanning the last 40 years in.  The night was opened by Curse Mackey, who seems to have worked with just about everyone on just about everything from Thrill Kill Kult to Pigface.  Second up was a relatively new group called the Bellwether Syndicate (whose work I've grown quite fond of since that show), comprised of William Faith (best known for being one of the founders of Faith and the Muse) and long-time goth DJ Scary Lady Sarah.  They really capture the feel of classic goth and post-punk while still sounding fresh.  Last and certainly not least were gothic veterans Clan of Xymox, still going strong and sounding as powerful as they did when they were first founded in 1981.ev.

Anyway, here are the picture I took.  If you're curious, the Internet Archive has a copy of the concert's livestream to listen to.

Organizing a data hoard with YaCy.

Feb 02 2019

 It should come as little surprise to anyone out there that I have a bit of a problem with hoarding data.  Books, music, and of course files of all kinds that I download and read or use in a project for something.  Legal briefs, research papers (arXiv is the bane of my existence), stuff people ask me to review, the odd Humble Bundle... So much so that a scant few years ago I rebuilt Leandra to better handle the volume of data in my library.  However, it's taken me this long to both figure out and get around to making it easier to find anything in all that mess.  If I can't find it, I can't do anything with it, or even figure out what I do or don't have.  I also don't often have console access so it's not as if I can SSH in and grep for what I need.  I use Nginx as a web server on Leandra so actually getting access to files when I need them is trivial.

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Sometimes the old ways may be best.

Feb 02 2019

A couple of weeks back, I found myself in a discussion with a couple of friends about searching on the Internet and how easy it is to get caught up in a filter bubble and not realize it.  To put not too fine a point on it, because the big search engines (Google, Bing, and so forth) profile users individually and tailor search results to analyses of their search histories (and other personal data they have access to), it's very easy to forget that there are other things out there that you don't know about for the simple reason that they don't show stuff outside of that profile they've built up.  If you're a hardcore code hacker you might find it very difficult to find poetry or the name of a television show you saw once unless you take fairly drastic action.  The up-side of this profiling is that, inside of your statistical profile search results are great.  You can find what you need, when you need it.  But outside of that?  Good luck.

The point of the discussion was that there were ways that we could escape this filter bubble through application of self-hosted software and a little cooperation.

Ironically, searching through my conversation history I can't seem to find the thread in question so I'm relying entirely upon on-board storage (as it were).  So, go ahead and laugh while I geek out.  First, a little bit of Internet history.

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A friendly introduction to the Fediverse.

Jan 04 2019

If you've been kicking around on the Net for the past year or so, you've probably come across a thinkpiece or two about Mastodon, an open source social network that's kind of like Twitter, kind of like Facebook, and kind of like... well, nobody's really sure what else would fit there.  It's a bit of a wildcard.  That seems to throw a lot of people, and because this is the Internet we're talking about that means a lot of "this could never possibly work" posts, nevermind a busy network of several thousand instances and several hundred thousand users doing everything from venting their spleens to asking for (and surprisingly oftentimes receiving) assistance, collaborating on projects, goofing around, and mourning their fallen...

This ambiguity and confusion makes it hard to understand why you'd even want to consider joining yet another social network.  Let me see if I can help a little.

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