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User Journal

Journal Journal: A return from facebook 5

Hi world,

I'm currently trying out a new behavior trait: "going back to the way it was before." Sounds exciting, huh. Color me Facebook-less since 1.5 months and frankly, this is the first time since I feel the need to actually share something.

My idea was this: what if I would write down and re-visit the steps that lead up to that decision to leave the largest social network in the world? Why? Well, for one thing, I think the idea to go back to earlier practices (such as writing a full blown more than 140 character journal) is going to move slowly back into the center of our collective conscious over the next 5 years. People will start to realize it's the sane thing to do, or so at least that is my guess. But let's look into the dynamics of how I got there.

Many of us remember the so called "browser wars", the epic "os flame-wars", or even further down the burning question wether gnu or unix would be preferable, wether java would be worth it compared to c++, etc.. 30 or 40 years ago, these discussions were of a technical level and nerdism that few can aspire to imagine today. These discussions, much like today, were full of noise, trolls and the occasional insightful remark. These wars were fought in obscure IRC channels and BBS forums, but there was one thing pretty special about them. The technological limits were the only roadblock that stopped our brains from dumping their content in 7 or 8 bit streams that could be shared and read by our fellow peers and friends (and foes). After the browser war came the Napster incident, the BearShare and KaZaa incidents and many systems that predate our current torrent / tor p2p sharing infrastructure. Curiously, I never read about social network wars, which of course also happened. A quick look at the Wikipedia page shows a whopping 208 unique social network websites that attempt to capture our attention, every day life, pictures, personal data, emotions, furniture, love for smiling shit and everything else in between. Not every single one of them survived of course. Who remembers Myspace? Bolt? MS LiveSpaces? or Hyves? So yeah there were wars, but the concept of war was never prominently played, things just "evolved".

So there I was in December 2016, pondering if I still needed facebook. I struck me that I had refrained from posting personal things. In fact in multiple runs, I had slowly started to remove personal data, simply because it increasingly looked ridiculous. Would you start yelling your city of birth and birthday just about anyone in the street? Your marital status? Would you show all the pictures of all your travels and everything else to complete strangers? Of course not. Sure you can spend endless hours 'managing' all that information. Such fun. So much to re-post, so much 'news' to share.

Until you've had it with the latest policy change. Until you realize you are again indicating people they are sharing fake 'news' or hoaxes. Until you realize all your friends posts start with 'OMG'. Or that you can't include 2 images in one post that blatantly refute each-other, because, hey it's facebook. Until you realize that all posts shared say: "look, this is *really* interesting, but I'm just going to dump it here because I'm tired of pretending my shit is more interesting than yours. eat it or die."

Ego needs a cookie. I did truly post some interesting stuff. Stuff about stock markets that are indicative of how defunct our world is. Stuff from NOAA that says how fucked up our climate has become already. Stuff in research papers that tell something about the very structure of our universe. Stuff about brain functions, important findings on cellular level to fight disease, etc, etc.. Not that very many people ever reacted to 'my' shared crap. At best, people reacted because I reacted to their posts first.

On Januari 1st 2017, I stopped playing that pathetic me-me game, and went back to my previous behavior: I traded facebook with sleep. I read books. I started to play FinalFantasy again. I still check my news channels, but you know what.. somehow I'm getting better at finding new resources, new pointers. And I'm looking at much more meaningful content. See back of this post.

The date is not coincidental. On December 31st 2016, we were out for new-years-eve at my parents-in-law. It was a fairly modest get together with nice food, cozy dinner, and a bit of fireworks on TV. In Belgium and The Netherlands, there is a tradition to watch comedians that recount how they saw the past year, such as Wim Helsen or Michael Van Peel. Comparing them to John Stewart / Daily Show would do neither party any favors, but in my book they're equally good. In fact they're all best in their class.

While the evening shot past mid-night, we all wished each-other happy new year and stayed up for a while until the inevitable sleep and early morning came around. Nothing very shocking, but little did we know that at that very same time, somebody had cracked open the front door of our house and was going through all our possessions, stealing laptops, cameras, my bike I use daily with mounted child-seat, golden jewelry, and possibly other stuff, making a huge mess in the process. We were literally 100km south.

We arrived home at 7PM, found some people in front of our house gesturing at the break-in. After the initial shock, my cool kicks in. The first thing to do was to verify the house, call the police and go through the whole procedure. Yes, it's nerve wrecking and sleep-inducing at the same time. Our hope that the police finds the culprit is virtually nil, while at the same time you're supposed to be angry and mad, hopeful and rational. I can't do that emotion very convincingly. I just kept going until everyone was asleep.

When I finally sat down for a few minutes (or hours - the door was badly damaged, so I kept guard the whole night in freezing temperatures) I had time go over all the events. Time gives me oxygen. I'm slow like that, I step on the brakes when I'm going too fast. Given that laptops had been stolen, I decided it was time to change passwords. We still had our phones after all, android, so pretty vulnerable if they could hack into our stuff first. And then it suddenly occurred to me that selling this 'event' in my life on facebook was really the last thing I ever would want to do. Much like all the other important events in my life which I did not share. And so I dropped facebook and Google+ overnight. I'm searching with duckduckgo now. I haven't had a single moment of regret. I sometimes am curious of what is going on there of course, but I imagine it's just the same shit again and again, in different colors.

So what makes me share all this here then, you wonder? Well, all of this is old news, it's also much more digested, no images, no screaming. It's a wall of text full of close to logical long sentences. Those looking for quick fixes will be off running to their click pools after half a paragraph. Those reading this will probably not care and never comment. So who is left? It's me. And that's just fine.

Much in concordance with my earlier post, I pledge for us all to go back to earlier times, pick up things that were loved but lost in the fabric of spacetime. Let's go back and be ace at it. Hello world!

Greets, .i

ps: Forget Trump, check this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GEwuGHFF7qE&t=10s&index=1&list=LL4dYPyntjgFh1JxPMFxCOsw

User Journal

Journal Journal: No more /. subscriptions? 2

I realized that I had not topped up my /. subscription in some time and went to do so. Saw this:

"Please Note: Buying or gifting of a new subscription is not available
at the moment. We apologize for the inconvenience. This downtime though
does not effect your current active subscription in any way. We will
keep you posted on the latest"

Any idea what's going on? Are they sticking to a pure ad model (all blocked anyhow, but I did like to subscribe as I like the ol' barn.)

User Journal

Journal Journal: Kapla: Spirals

Just building stuff, sometimes continuing the following week: Week 1 Week 2

The booklet had a spiral which took some time to figure out. Basically, 2 pieces in the middle, and 1 on each side of it, which makes it look really cool, and more importantly, supports the turned pieces. They do a slow turn though.

After figuring it out, we went for a 3, that is, 3 in the middle, 2 on each side, and 1 on each side of that. With 1000 pieces, that allows 111 levels of 9 pieces each, which is what a friend built in the picture. The last piece might be lost, but there are 3 warped pieces in there. Got to watch out where to put them!

Kapla is expensive, but with a small table, the enjoyment never ends. In only takes a few minutes for even the ardent to give in and start building!

User Journal

Journal Journal: An Lá 2

BÃ go maith, a mhuirnÃn.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Link o' the day:Raw cookie dough vs health & value judgments

Why public health worries don't have to ruin your cookie dough This and its ilk have been going around for a little while. I especially liked the part mentioning value judgements:

But the key word of the previous sentence is "unnecessarily." Whether something is necessary or not is not a scientific judgment. It is a value judgment. An FDA official may personally believe that eating raw cookie dough isn't important and choose to never eat it. That is their choice. At the same time, I can believe that eating cookie dough (made from flour known to be not part of the recall and pasteurized eggs) is something that I enjoy enough that I'm willing to put myself and my children at (a very small) risk to do.

Someone ought to tell him that in US English, periods go outside the quotation mark.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Fringe Search

I don't expect anything from this site, this post, or you.

The only thing I offer is a gentle "Hi."

Yes. 2 more years of silence. I'm sure that time brought you various experiences of the short span of time we get to enjoy on this blue sphere, as it did for me. Like solving a giant puzzle game, with the solution running away in ever more dimensions with every step you take. Frustrations, yes, but no regrets, and rewards that warrant the journey.

The finality of the whole is gently setting in on me, which is probably why I came here to say hi. Take a break. It seems I often say hi without any finality involved..

I'm sure some neurons in my head are having a party now, as I'm typing in this old familiar all too often endlessly ranting journal. This is funny. To read my own age-old reflections again, I mean. So comforting.

Re-discover, then re-build once more. Embrace the change ad infinitum.

Wishing you the same, and kindness to all,

Little Darkness / Andr0meda / proud dad / loving husband / mad scientist / code dreamer

User Journal

Journal Journal: Ryan Ryttie / kesuki - Rest in peace 2

As most activity has gone away here, I often don't remember what real username maps to what person. It's fine, that is how this social media thing evolved.

What I do know, is that I knew Ryan Ryttie, from slashdot. Today, I saw a post from his sister that he passed away (Link to Facebook is public). No, I do not know the circumstances.

I know he stopped using his original username here. Ryan was a friend, sure he had is daemons. but he was a friendly and authentic person.

I post this in a journal, for others that may still wander here and may have known him.

May Ryan rest in peace.

[Edit: Ryan was known as kesuki on slashdot]

User Journal

Journal Journal: Chronicle/Link o' the day: Keyboard, pi, and more 3

I made a stupid mistake with a keyboard. I didn't realize it until after i bought a raspberry pi 3 to replace it. With a total cost of $65.26 (pi, pi plug, dvi->hdmi cable, sd card) i'm glad i have it.

FWIW, the breakdown in price:
$35.00 Raspberry Pi 3 Model B
$8.99 Raspberry Pi Power Supply
$7.99 Shipping
$3.79 DVI->HDMA cable (free shipping)
$9.49 Kingston 32GB Micro SD card ($8.95 + tax, free shipping)

I despise the UN, even referring to them as the UNAI. And now UNESCO (after the earlier brouhaha on the same issue) has decided that the Temple Mount and Western Wall are not Jewish sites.

Ever heard of the NSF funded "Shrimp on a treadmill" study? Here's a video of the shrimp on the treadmill: They ought to turn that into a motivational video. Perhaps the small amount of views over the past decade has to do with an aversion to exercise.

Boaty McBoatface wins the recommendation.

I just found out that "scot-free" is ~500 years old and has to do with taxes.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Verbiage: Our library in the digital age

Library? What's a library? Oh, books. What's a book?

Well, a library is a place where they have an Internet connection, and people tend to be on the quieter side. A book is where outdated information and stories without update or comment are posted. An anachronistic nostalgia wasting (y)our city's tax revenue. Not to mention our library's the ugly web page, not to be mixed up with a decent page from a library with a deceptively similar name.

I have a friend who works at the library. He works there part time, and has done so for many years. So when i do have an issue, i give him a call and (believe it or not) he is more than happy to help. And every time i do call and ask, i find out more about our library. Cool stuff too. The only prerequisite is a library card (number).

One item of interest is Zinio. IIUC, there's actually two Zinios. One for libraries, the other for personal use. Our library pays for Zinio, so as long as you have a library card you can login. I found the setup process to be terribly annoying, mostly due to error and a stupid process that keeps asking and re-asking. Whatever. Once it is setup, however, it works beautifully. Basically, Zinio has a bunch of digital magazine subscriptions such as Reader's Digest, National Geographic, fashion, hobby, and kids publications. I assume it depends on what the library pays for. You subscribe to it, and as long as there a "copy" available, you can read it. You release it when your done, and it can alert you where there are more. And, because there is an app too, you can read it just about anywhere. Cool stuff.

A second item is only interesting if you like ebooks. OverDrive has ebooks based on your library's subscription, and again, you use your card to login. It too has an app. It's like Zinio, but for books. (Should that be the other way around? :) I find this less helpful because i'm not big on ebooks, and i have a Kindle for that anyway. Nonetheless, between the webpage and app, it's a pretty cool option to have.

A third item, i found about only because my mother thought OverDrive would have it. It doesn't, but it's there, right on top, listed as "Catalog". Certainly you know what that is. Right? It allows you to reserve books and extend reservations (which is what my mother wanted), see what is past due, what you may owe, and so on. It also has a link to MelCat which they alert you not to use unless the other avenues have been exhausted. It's silly to order a book that already exists locally. Anyway, a website checkout for books. What will they think of next?

(When i went to "Catalog" on my mother's computer (via TeamViewer) it was pretty unusable in FireFox. So, i downloaded Chrome and set it to continue the last session on startup. Basically, where she usually uses FF, Chrome can be dedicated to the library. It's easy and simple, assuming it works out in the long run.)

The suggestion box is an email address. I want to tell them how ugly and unintuitive the website is and that the available options are very nice, nonetheless. But send a direct email?! Surely, you must be kidding.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Chronicle: Got my Raspberry Pi 3

So, i got a Raspberry Pi 3, and it arrive the day after Pi Day. But, as i purchased it from the UK, and they don't have a Pi Day, it's somewhat understandable. My Ukranian coworker asked me about P-day, and in the ensuing discussion she explained that in Russian it is pronounced pea.

And now, the pictures. I got the cord, because it was cheap enough and easy enough to just order it. The next order of business is to load up Linux. Ultimately, i got it to (play with and) give away to someone who needs something better for browsing. I wonder if i can throw LibreOffice on it.

User Journal

Journal Journal: TBD: Posted

The test was responded to, an i tried my hand at writing a JE for it. I quickly came up with something on my mind, and twisted it for the comment below, keeping it short.

Nothing was quoted, so the post had to include whatever material was being comment on, as opposed to specific quotes. Nonetheless, it's a creative effort that could be fun and challenged, if taken seriously (within reason). I'd like to see other people try it.

In related news, i bought some veggies to slice, peel, or whatever to them, and throw them in the freezer until i get the rest of the veggies. I'm much too lazy to do all the work in one shot.

User Journal

Journal Journal: TBD: Beautiful Soup 4

Well, as always, i'm in for some good soup. But what's a guy to do with no stock ingredients, pot, or heat source? Well, as any good hacker, impossibility is what gets me interested.

Just because i'm in the back room, doesn't meant i don't know what is going on up front in the smelting factory. While the exact configuration of the hot mixture may vary from day to day, the basic structure is usually the same, save some weird alloys. Time to experiment, eh?

First try was to poll fellow monks on PM, but that was taking too long, so, i decided to just get right to it, hoping for the best. A little code, a little diversion, the plan panned out, and i scored a little pot. Boy was i running high; my dream was more tangible than ever.

Adding water from the faucet was easy, but the next step befuddled me. I stood in a vegetative state while trying to get to the root of the matter. Aha! It's all in the spice and what it brings out of the stuff in the pot. I made use of an element to get things rolling, and searched around for what to add. I'm pretty sure i made sodium bicarbonate and not sodium aluminum phosphate, but last night is all a haze. All i remember is, the soup was great, and i woke up with a splitting headache.

User Journal

Journal Journal: TBD: The retroactive JE 2

One thing i don't like about JE's, is that comments are disabled after a bit of time. That makes it difficult to comment on a topic found much later, that you want to come back to, or to contact a user who no longer posts. OTOH, the author can edit old JEs's, which i usually use to correct spelling mistakes when i go back to a JE some time later. The problem with that though, is the ability to post something marked with an old date, but actually written much later. Without revisions or the like, the date on JEs are not reliable. Yet again, this could be a lot of fun.

Perhaps a test is in order. I will^H^H^H^Hhave posted an empty JE, which can be commented upon. If used, i hope to write a JE afterward. Perhaps a few days later. I would include "quoted" comments and the like (assuming i don't deem them inappropriate). Please note, this is for the following JE. Comments on this JE (that are not on topic) will be ignored.

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