Getting a C64 online in 2020.

As you might have seen in previous posts, my stuck-in-quarantine project has been restoring my C64 so I can play around with it.  Part of that involves figuring out what you can reasonably use such a venerable computer for in 2020.ev, besides playing old games.  Word processing and suchlike are a given, though I strongly doubt that I could get my Commodore playing nicely (or even poorly) with the laser printer in the other room.  Also, the relative scarcity of 5.25" floppy disks these days makes saving data somewhat problematic (though I've got a solution for that, which …

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Neologism: Discourse analysis

discourse analysis - verb phrase -The act of accusing someone of being a terrorist/communist/infiltrator/whatever because the analyst never learned that you can disagree with someone without wanting to see them utterly annihilated.

Sometimes the old ways may be best.

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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Neologism: Platypus truther

Platypus truther - noun - Someone who doggedly, ruthlessly, and almost to the exclusion of anything else (including good sense) espouses, defends, and picks fights over a position, idea, or hypothesis that is completely and totally around the bend.  Even taking into account the context of this person's other activities (social media history, books written, and so forth) it makes absolutely no sense why they would claim to believe such a thing, let alone fight with people over it.  There is absolutely no way of telling if they're communicating in good faith or not.  It could be trolling, it might be absurdist …

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Art installation: Visualization of city-wide Internet traffic.

"Program a map to display frequency of data exchange, every thousand megabytes a single pixel on a very large screen.  Manhattan and Atlanta burn solid white.  Then they start to pulse, the rate of traffic threatening to overload your simulation.  Your map is about to go nova.  Cool it down.  Up your scale.  Each pixel a million megabytes.  At a hundred million megabytes per second, you begin to make out certain blocks in midtown Manhattan, outlines of hundred-year-old industrial parks ringing the old core of Atlanta..."

    --From Neuromancer by William Gibson

While wandering around downtown San Francisco a couple of …

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What the loss of the Internet Privacy Bill means to you and I.

It's probably popped up on your television screen that the Senate and then the House of Representatives voted earlier this week, 215 to 205, to repeal an Internet privacy bill passed last year.  In case you're curious, here's a full list of every Senator and Representative that voted to repeal the bill and how much they received specifically from the telecom lobby right before voting. (local mirror)  By the way, if you would like to contact those Senators (local mirror) or Representatives (local mirror) here's how you can do so... When the bill hits Trump's desk it's a foregone conclusion …

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Net Neutrality and you.

You may or may not have noticed amongst the blizzard of other stuff that's happened in the last two weeks that Donald Trump appointed Ajit Pai to the chairmanship of the Federal Communications Commission.  Pai has a history of being something of a contrarian; during his time as one of the five commissioners of the FCC, he repeatedly spoke against regulations that protected the consumer and was against diverse media ownership (since the 1980's, we went from 50 media companies to just six).  Time and again Pai's said that he was going to tear down regulation after regulation that the …

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A thought on memorization and memory techniques.

In many memorization techniques it is often taught that you should make use of overly vivid, even absurd imagery to make sure that bits of information stick in whatever organizational technique you might use, be it a ladder of pegs or something as elaborate as the method of loci. Sometimes you have to work to make something stick, and sometimes the absurd makes itself known spontaneously.

Have you ever pondered why there are so many things that you simply can't unsee on the Internet?

Stop and think about all the things that you wish you'd never seen over the years …

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ISOC-DC: A White Hat Perspective on Cyber Security & Other Internet Issues

From the Internet Society of Washington, DC's official announcement:

The term "hacker" is often used pejoratively. In reality, a hacker is someone who finds a clever and creative solution to a programming problem. Hacker culture typically advocates free and open source software and community based thinking. Malevolent hackers or "crackers" or "black hats," are the ones that we need to worry about. Thus, the distinction between white hat and black hat hackers.

HacDC is a community organization in DC dedicated to the collaborative use of technology. HacDC is part of a global trend in amateur engineering clubs that have come …

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Domain seizure just got even more scary.

I remember, once upon a time, when it was said by many that the Internet transcended mere political boundries. A user in the United States could chat with another user in France, read breaking news in Japan, and swap code with hackers in Iceland. Those were the times when it cost beaucoup to register your own domain; Network Solutions was the only game in town and you paid through the sinuses to own smartcards.com or energy-efficient-lanters.org. That began to change around 1999 or 2000 and now anybody with a couple of bucks to spare can register a domain …

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