New decade, new TARDIS.

As I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, the worst year in a long, long while was capped off by discovering that my car had been wrecked and towed without my knowing about it. I finally got the pictures I took at the junkyard up for the horror and edification of all and sundry. Long story short, my car was indeed totalled, undrivable, time for an insurance payout. As usual, Captain Corner Case strikes again and everything was way the hell more difficult than it ever really needed to be. Where should I start?

I went around to my neighbors …

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Neologism: Reality segmentation violation

reality segmentation violation - noun phrase - A syndrome in which someone is so deep inside their own little world that any utterly mundane activity can provoke a combination of emotional upset, anger, confusion because they simply never think about it. In children this phenomenon also typically includes running to authority figures to inform on someone in the most agitated way possible. This is bewildering to just about anyone nearby who is not focused solely on their own little worlds.

A sample stack trace of a reality segmentation violation:

A: "Hey - you pooped in the bathroom!"

B: "Yes.... and?"

A: "But but …

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6 January 2021 was a security clusterfuck.

Note the first: I started working on this article last week, but didn't post it until now because I wanted to let all of the (usually astoundingly bad) hot takes die down. While I realize that the Internet has given everyone an attention span rivalled only by the lifespan of the adult mayfly, I think it might be useful to have something laying around that can be pointed to later if need be.

Note the second: A reminder that I do not speak from an official position. I do not speak for or represent my employers, past, present, or future …

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Timed posts with Pelican.

Late last year I posted that I'd migrated my website to a new blogging package called Pelican, which is a static site generator. If you noticed that my site's been screamingly fast lately, that's why. My site doesn't have to be rendered one page at a time with PHP on the server, and it also doesn't use one of Dreamhost's likely overloaded database servers as its back end. However, this brings a couple of drawbacks. Logically, a site made out of static HTML5 pages doesn't have a control panel to log into, so there isn't any way of controlling how …

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One last shot fired by 2020.

Well, happy friggin' new year, everyone. It's 2021.ev at last, the year when the Internet is supposed to look like this or something.

Of course it's never that easy. 2020.ev had one final kick in the crotch lined up, this one for me. I may as well tell the story as it unfolded, because that's how it seems to make sense. You may as well get your buckets of popcorn ready because why not, it's story time with Uncle Bryce again.

So, 31 December 2020.ev. I had an errand to run (one of precious few these days …

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Reconditioning a touch tone dialer.

One of my holiday break hobby projects, a palate cleanser if you will, was reconditioning a classic Radio Shack touch tone dialer I'd picked up on eBay somewhen around Thanksgiving. They're retrotech to be sure, dating back to the days when the touch-tone dialing that we take for granted these days (so much so that we don't even hear them anymore because we use mobile phones) was actually pretty rare.

Note: A lot of the following history of telephony has been edited to reflect only the salient points for this article. Telephony experts out there will probably rankle a bit …

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Clearing stuck jobs in Huginn

From time to time the job workers in Huginn will lock up. This usually happens if they are subjected to an external resource which can be contacted but never seems to respond. A stuck webapp on the other end is usually the problem. If the connection never dies, or takes a long time to time out it can wreak havoc. However, there's a relatively easy way to fix this. First, you have to shut down your job workers. Depending on how many you have this can take a while... once they're down, though, it's a relatively simple matter to use …

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Fixing YaCy?

A couple of weeks back I decided to upgrade the YaCy installs running on Leandra to the latest supported versions, because they'd been lagging behind for a while. Due to the fact that they're enterprisey Java web applications and I can't readily get hold of any live chickens to sacrifice, I'd been putting it off as much as possible.

As it turned out, the lack of sacrificial barnyard fowl wound up being a crucial factor in how things transpired.

The first install that I upgraded was an install from source code and was indexing my personal library. It got re-indexed …

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LOCKSS and Git.

The archival community has a saying: LOCKSS. Lots Of Copies Keep Stuff Safe.

Ultimately, if you trust someone else to hold your data for you there is always a chance that the service can disappear, taking your stuff with it. A notorious case in point is Google - the Big G has terminated so many useful services that there is an online graveyard dedicated to them. Some years ago a company called Code Spaces, which was in pretty much the same business as Github was utterly destroyed in an attack. Whoever cracked them got into their Amazon EC2 control panel left …

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End of year disorientation?

Once again it is the end of year crunch at work and we're all scrambling to get things done before holiday break. That we even get a holiday break is something that I'm still not quite used to, though I'm certainly not going to complain about it, either. I spent most of the week pulling almost all nighters and cursing specific ways of getting things done that aren't anything like what anyone else does. Oh, well. So it goes. Everybody does it differently, nobody does it right.

Covid-19 cases still going up around the country. Plagues do that. Of course …

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