Reconditioning a touch tone dialer.

  pictures project restoration retrotech telephony phreaking history

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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Sometimes the old ways may be best.

  bookmarks history internet links search yacy community exocortex curation

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 …

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I guess this is a milestone, isn't it?

  birthday death history life media pontification burnout politics

As I write this, it's roughly a week before my 40th birthday.  I'm sitting in a hospital waiting room tapping away on Windbringer while Lyssa undergoes surgery to remove a cataract from her left (and only working) eye.*  When this post goes live on the day of my actual 40th birthday, more things will undoubtedly have happened.  I don't know how much time I'm going to have in the next few days, so I guess I'd best take advantage of the spare time I have due to how busy I've been lately.

A lot's happened in this past year that …

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Casting a data point into the origins of the Polybius myth.

  conspiracy_theory video_games modern_myths urban_legends origins history rpg data

A couple of days ago (a couple of minutes ago, as I happen to write this) I watched a documentary on Youtube about a modern urban legend, the video game called Polybius.  I don't want to give away the entire story if you've not heard it before, but a capsule version is that in 1981.ev a strange video game called Polybius was installed in a number of video arcades in the Pacific Northwest.  The game supposedly had a strange effect on some of the people playing it, ranging from long periods of hypnosis to night terrors, epileptic convulsions and …

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Year 1 under an authoritarian regime.

  history law_enforcement politics usa eastern_europe authoritarianism checklist

UPDATE: 20170612

Due to extenuating circumstances, I don't think I can keep updating this entry.  For the sake of my mental, emotional, and physical health I'm going to let it go.  Lifeline, Edison, and other parts of me are going to continue monitoring and archiving the USian political situation but I, the organic core of everything, need to step back and do other things.

UPDATED: 20170604

In response to reading this tweet, I thought I'd type up the following list, and add links to some stuff I've observed.  I'll update it as necessary.  List beneath the cut.

1. They will …

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

  life media history art_imitates_life military rpg shadowrun cyberpunk

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 …

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

  history education public_schools world_war_two media propaganda memetic_warfare experience_of_a_lifetime time

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 …

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Semi-autonomous software agents: Practical applications.

  ai api code events evolution exocortex github history huginn languages personal programming software software_agents technology

In the last post in this series I talked about the origins of my exocortex and a few of the things I do with it. In this post I'm going to dive a little deeper into what my exocortex does for me and how it's laid out.

My agent networks ("scenarios" in the terminology of Huginn) are collections of specialized agents which each carry out one function (like requesting a web page or logging into an XMPP server to send a message). Those agents communicate by sending events to one another; those events take the form of structured, packaged pieces …

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Semi-autonomous software agents: A personal perspective.

  ai evolution exocortex history languages personal programming software software_agents technology

So, after going on for a good while about software agents you're probably wondering why I have such an interest in them. I started experimenting with my own software agents in the fall of 1996 when I first started undergrad. When I went away to college I finally had an actual network connection for the first time in my life (where I grew up the only access I had was through dialup) and I wanted to abuse it. Not in the way that the rest of my classmates were but to do things I actually had an interest in. So …

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The history of software agents.

  daemons history multiprocessing research software software_agents

Building on top of my first post about software agents, I'd like to talk about the history of the technology in reasonable strokes. Not so broad that interesting details are lost (or misleading ones added) but not so narrow that we forget the forest while studying a single tree.

Anyway, software agents could be said to have their roots in UNIX daemons, dating back to the creation of UNIX at AT&T in the 1970's. On the big timesharing systems of the time, where multiple people could be logged into the same machine working simultaneously without stepping on one another …

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