Real life seems like Shadowrun - so why can't I throw fragging fireballs?!

Nov 26, 2016

From time to time I sit down with my gaming buddies, and we both lament and observe how well reading and playing cyberpunk games has prepared us for life in the twenty-first century. I don't think that many people expected real life to track quite so closely with many a cyberpunk world penned by the masters, from William Gibson to Neal Stephenson to Bruce Sterling. Strangely enough, many of the lifestyle strategies depicted in these stories have helped keep our own lives (and those of our families) stable and, for the most part nice to live as human history has gone nonlinear all around us. Sure, we're seeing early experimenting with direct neural interfaces in hospitals, AI research is changing the world around us faster than we can see (and some of it's even open source), grinders are starting to do some pretty weird stuff with their own bodies, and we have stupidly advanced technology available for next to nothing on the street, but let's dig a little deeper.

What's really fucking with me is how much real life is tracking some of the backstory of Shadowrun.

When using Lastpass with Google Chrome, occasionally it'll automatically log you out.

Dec 01, 2016

Sometimes, very occasionally, when using the Lastpass plugin with Google Chrome, you may find that Lastpass will start acting wonky. Specifically, if you've had Chrome running for a couple of days, you will notice that Lastpass has logged you out, even if you're in an Incognito Window. When clicking on the browser plugin's icon, you will be able to log into it as usual; multifactor authentication will similiarly work as expected. If you wait a few seconds, the plugin's icon will go dark again. If you're quick and drop into "My Vault," you'll see that screen for a second or two before you get bounced out again. You won't be able to log into anything, and you'll eventually start cursing the day you decided to stop using a password manager like Keepass. You might do this a dozen or two times, scratching your head all the while.

To break out of this frustrating loop, clear your browser cache (Chrome menu icon -> History -> History -> Clear Browsing Data, check Browsing history and Download history, uncheck everything else -> Clear browsing data), fully terminate Chrome (don't just close all of your windows), and start it up again. That should fix the problem.

VNV Nation in concert, 25 October 2016.

Nov 23, 2016

In October of this year VNV Nation visited California as part of their Compendium tour, in which they celebrated their twenty year anniversary by performing a five hour set without an opening band that covered their entire corpus of work, comprised of twelve albums (one of which is orchestral in nature, having been recorded with the Deutsches Filmorchester Babelsberg). I didn't even try to keep track of their setlist because of how long the concert was. I do, however, recall that they played Perpetual, and there wasn't a dry eye in the place. I still get choked up thinking about it.

Here are the pictures I took, doing the best I could because red and electric blue stage lighting do not photograph well on either cellular phones or my full-sized camera (none of the latter came out, unfortunately).

Those who do not learn history are doomed to repeat it.

Nov 25, 2016

It seems there is no end to the number of quotes through history that go something like this: "Those who do not remember history are doomed to repeat it." It's been variously attributed to Edmund Burke, Sara Shepard, Santayana... this is not to say that there is no truth to it. Far from it.

I haven't said much about the election of 2016, in part because my personal life has been upside down and inside out for weeks now, in part due to work, and in part due to the fact that there is so much fucked up stuff going on in the United States, in the global media, and in part in many different communities. When you factor in the fact that fake news is not just a propaganda tactic, it's a growth industry, the time requred to research even the simplest article is prohibitive. Pro-trolls and trollbots on pretty much every social media network don't make things any easier.

Maybe that's the point.

I'm certainly not the only person to notice that the media manipulation happening in 2016 isn't using new strategies or tactics even though they're being used on the Net in addition to print media and television. That people are treating this as a wholly novel phenomen, unprecedented in the western world has been driving me nuts. Did nobody pay attention in history class?

Then I got to thinking...

Charles Stross book signing - 31 July 2016

Nov 23, 2016

This summer Charles Stross went on a book signing tour for his latest novel, the latest book of the Laundry Files series called The Nightmare Stacks. In July his book tour brought him to the Bay Area of California, and a famous bookstore which I strongly suggest that every visitor to San Francisco spend some time at called Borderlands Books. Of course, being a fan of Stross in general and the Laundry Files in particular, I packed up a couple of books that I wanted to get autographed and headed for downtown.

Here are the pictures I took while Stross was reading from his next novel in the series, entitled The Delerium Brief. They turned out surprisingly good given that the entire audience (myself included) were laughing our guts out.

The Cure in concert - 28 June 2016

Nov 23, 2016

I've finally gotten around to pulling another load of pictures off of my phone. This one is from The Cure concert in June of 2016 during their summer tour of the United States. It's not often that you get to see one of the foundational bands of goth live so when tickets went on sale we jumped at the chance. I'm sorry that the pictures didn't turn out very well, between our distance from the stage and the lighting it was a battle just to get everything in focus, and I've had to cull a couple of pictures that just didn't turn out.

Oh, and that whole "sitting on the lawn" thing? It's for the birds. Never again.

Anyway, here are the pictures.

Fully remote backups of websites.

Nov 13, 2016

A couple of weeks ago my webhosting provider sent me a polite e-mail to inform me that I was using too much disk space. A cursory examination of their e-mail showed that they were getting upset about the daily backups of my site that I was stashing in a hidden directory, and they really prefer that all files in your home directory be accessible. I ran a quick check and, sure enough, about twenty gigabytes times two weeks of daily backups adds up to a fair amount of disk space. So, the question is, how do I keep backing up all my stuff and not bother the admins any more than I have to?

Thankfully, that's a fairly straightforward operation. Beneath the cut is how I did it.

Election 2016.

Nov 08, 2016

My attorney has advised me to not to make a post consisting of the word 'FUCK' 1000 times.