1. Autostarting Kodi on an Arch Linux media box.

    25 January 2017

    Not too long ago, when the USB key I'd built a set-top media machine died from overuse I decided to rebuild it using Arch Linux with Kodi as the media player.  The trick, I keep finding every time, lies in getting Kodi to start up whenever the machine starts up.  I think I've re-figured that out six or seven times by now, and each time after it works I forget all about it.  So, I guess I'd better write it down for once so that I've got a snapshot of what I did in case I need to do it …

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  2. Huginn: Writing a simple agent network.

    23 January 2017

    EDIT: 20170123 - My reviewers have suggested some edits to the article, many of which I've applied.

    It's been a while since I wrote a Huginn tutorial, so let's start with a basic one to get you comfortable with the idea of building an agent network.  This agent network will run every half hour, poll a REST API endpoint, and e-mail you what it gets.  You'll have to have access to an already running Huginn instance that can send outbound e-mail.  This post is going to be kind of lengthy, but that's because I'm laying out some fundamentals.  Once you understand …

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  3. Richard Spencer, face punching, and violence.

    21 January 2017

    I shouldn't have to write this disclaimer, but here we go anyway: I am not one of these people and never will be.  I mirrored the documents in question because data has a way of disappearing from the Net when lawyers get involved, a phenomenon called HTTP Error 451 (Unavailable for legal reasons), and we're already seeing potentially damaging and damning information quietly going away.  So, if you're going to say that because I have a copy of a particular document on my website I support the author when I just said I didn't, please pull your head out of …

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  4. Inauguration Day 2017

    20 January 2017

    "And eventually, there aren't any real people left. Just robots pretending to give a shit."

    "Perhaps. Depends on the population dynamics, among other things. But I'd guess that at least one thing an automaton lacks is empathy; if you can't feel, you can't really relate to something that does, even if you act as though you do. Which makes it interesting to note how many sociopaths show up in the world's upper echelons, hmm? How ruthlessness and bottom-line self-interest are so lauded up in the stratosphere, while anyone showing those traits at ground level gets carted off into detention with …

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  5. A long-forgotten Commodore game. Was it ever released?

    17 January 2017

    UPDATE (20210214): The game has, in fact, been found (along with its manual) and is playable online at the Internet Archive.

    UPDATE (20170120): The game may have been found!

    Many years ago, maybe a year after 321 Contact magazine merged with Enter magazine, there was a review of a video game which seemed like it was a tie-in for the movie 2010: The Year We Make Contact.  The scenario was that you'd just gained access to the USS Discovery, and you had to repair all of the systems on board the ship to win the game.  As I recall, a …

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  6. James O'Keefe caught trying to pull another fast one.

    16 January 2017

    So, there's this guy named James O'Keefe.

    He's got this problem: He likes trying to play Mission: Impossible and wreck the careers and lives of people he doesn't like by pulling scams, editing videos in interesting ways to set people up, and generally being the sort of person you'd eject from the party for being such a huge asshole that the Alpha Betas would throw him out on his ear.  He spent all of Election Day in 2016 tailing buses taking people to the polls in an attempt to intimidate them into not voting.  He's cost a couple of people …

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  7. What's it like having synaesthesia?

    10 January 2017

    What's it like not having synaesthesia?

    That sounds like a flippant answer, but it's quite the truth.  I can't remember a time when I didn't experience sounds (music, in particular) in a deep, visceral way that involved more than just my sense of hearing.  For the longest time I thought everybody's experience of life was like mine.  I thought everybody cried when they heard violin music.  I thought everybody felt waves of cold and prickles when they heard sounds made up of square waves (yeah, I'm dating myself, aren't I?)  Didn't everybody shiver and see starbursts of pink and purple …

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  8. Upgrading Bolt CMS to v3.x.

    09 January 2017

    Since PivotX went out of support I've been running the Bolt CMS for my website at Dreamhost (referral link).  A couple of weeks back you may have noticed some trouble my site was having, due to my running into significant difficulty encountered when upgrading from the v2.x release series to the v3.x release series.  Some stuff went sideways, and I had to restore from backup at least once before I managed to get the upgrade procedure straightened out with the help of some of the developers in the Bolt IRC channel on Freenode.  If it wasn't for help …

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  9. Neologism: Disk Paranoia

    08 January 2017

    Disk paranoia - noun - That occasionally well-founded sense of creeping dread one feels when repartitioning, reformatting, or clearing a USB drive.  The dread stems from the fear that one is not, in fact, doing something terminal to the correct drive and you're actually zorching one of your internal drives (usually the one with all of your data on it).  This leads one to recheck the terminal window once every nine or ten seconds to make sure you're messing with the correct drive.  This may also include opening multiple other terminal windows to display the list of currently mounted devices, cross-checking the …

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  10. Linking the Signal CLI with Signal on your mobile.

    05 January 2017

    20170107: It's not "group name" it's "Group ID."  I don't know how to find that yet.

    The communications program Signal by Open Whisper Systems is unique in several respects.  Firstly, its barrier to entry is minimal.  You can search for it in the Google Play online store or Apple iOS appstore and it's waiting there for you at no cost.  Second, it's designed for security by default, i.e., you don't have to mess around with it to make it work, and it does does the right thing automatically and enforces strong encryption by default (unlike a lot of personal …

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