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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30 Days on Adderall

Chatting every couple of weeks with my therapist for the last couple of years, the topic of ADD, attention deficit disorder keeps coming up. As in, she suspects that I have it, and has suspected it for a long time. Always needing to keep my hands busy, traveling with a couple of books and hopping in between them every couple of chapters, an inability to concentrate for long periods of time when I want to... the whole shebangabang. About a month ago she finally suggested that we try to do something about it. So, she prescribed me a 30 day …

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Interfacing Fess with Searx.

I promise I'll explain what Fess is in a later post. I want to get this information out there in preparation.

If you haven't used Searx before, it's a self-hosted meta-search engine which queries a wide array of search engines (some of which are also self-hosted), collates the search results, and returns them as a regular search result page, an RSS feed, or a JSON API.

One of the lesser known features is that you can add your own search engines. You can either write your own (using an existing one as a template) or you can leverage one of …

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Another site migration

It seems that I still I can never leave well enough alone (as anyone who's known me for a while an attest to). While on Thanksgiving break I found myself needing to tinker more once I'd gotten my other projects out of the way. So. I decided to do something about upgrading my website.

As much as I've enjoyed using Bolt to manage my site over the last couple of years, the v4 series is going in a direction that I'm not entirely sure that I can work with. My knowlege of PHP is, to be honest, minimal at best …

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Putting Faraday shielding fabric to the test.

Last year at Thotcon the presenters were given what were purported to be faraday shielded backpacks - backpacks manufactured with fabric woven out of very fine conductive wires that are said to reflect radio frequency signals inside and outside.  The idea is that if you have a cellphone and you put it inside the bag, you could be sure that the phone was not talking to any cell towers so it would be harder to track the person carrying the phone, as well as preventing any malware that may have been installed from phoning home.  So the reasoning goes, even if …

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Neologism: Cigarette principle

cigarette principle - noun phrase - The phenomenon in which, if you want something to happen sooner, you should do something that will immediately inconvenience you during the act of that something occurring.  Comes originally from the act of making a public transit bus arrive faster by lighting up a cigarette, which would of course cause you to ditch the smoke, dig out your bus pass or change, board and pay for the ride.  Generalizes effectively.

h/t: Mom

Embedded environment monitoring.

Disclaimer: This post has lots of links to the Adafruit website.  There are no referral links, I received no consideration, I just buy parts from there and do cool things with them.

A couple of weeks months ago I did a writeup of a prototype environment monitoring device for my office built out of a Raspberry Pi Zero W and some off the shelf components.  In the time since I've found time here and there to work on the embedded version, which doesn't use a full computer system but a microcontroller with just enough functionality to drive a couple of …

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Setting up a mail relay server with Postfix, DKIM, and a little Nebula trickery.

Given the proliferation of spam on just about every vaguely workable platform these days it seems sheer insanity to attempt to run your own mail server.  If it's out there, it's ripe for abuse in one way in another.  And yet, e-mail is still probably one of the best ways to get status reports from your machines every day (my SMTP bridge notwithstanding).  It is thus that the default configuration for mail servers these days defaults to "no way in hell will I relay a message for you," which is a net good for the the Internet as a whole …

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