Sunday, August 30, 2020

How it works 'round here:

Willow: is like me, she doesn't really care about thunderstorms unless the building starts to shake. But prefers pretzels to peanut butter.

Corky: will seek a comfy spot like under the couch, and all but will shallow the spoon. In fact he gets peanut butter just because of his sad expectant looks. He doesn't like the pretzels I bribe Willow with.

Misty: tends to be scared of storms, either seeking to hide or be comforted. But still inclined to leap off the couch and trot into the kitchen if it means peanut butter. She loves pretzels, and all things considered food.

Yup. That's how it is around here, lol.

 Tested: How much does Bluetooth actually drain your phone battery?

And this is pretty much why for the last decade I’ve had virtually zero fucks to give about Bluetooth draining my phone’s battery. The difference tends to be limited if your device doesn’t suck.

Unless you’re optimizing for the worst case scenario: like fifteen minutes of phone charge is going to make the difference between getting home and sleeping at the airport kind of scenario. Pressuring you actually use it for something: it’s simply more bother to diddle Bluetooth than to charge normally.

Which also reminds me of why I use a Bluetooth speaker at work instead of my tablet’s speakers. For comparable volume blasting my tablet’s four speakers all day sucks down more charge than running the Bluetooth speaker.

Rather the real train to turn off Bluetooth IMHO is because you’re not using it more than a handful of times a year, or to limit your exposure to some one in a ten million asshats trying to spam you with pairing requests, lol

Saturday, August 29, 2020

 The Tech My Dad Banned From Our House

Interesting read. I suspect her dad must have been an interesting fellow.

For some reason I find myself remembering Ma mentioning my father counting out a roll of a hundred stamps as one of his quirks; I’ve always wondered how he must have gotten screwed over or otherwise ended up so pissed off once upon a time to go that far. Everyone has their quirks, pa’s notion of cutting vegetables to uniformed size at least made sense, but I’d have to have been positively mental at some event to ever do the stamps thing myself, lol.

As for my childhood I was probably fortunate. We pretty much had a computer and some form of game console my entire life, not that I will ever really fathom how our mother afforded the Tandy. I know Nanny and the local pawn shops was often involved in my brother’s drive for expensive things.

But for the most part tech considerations weren’t really imposed upon me. We had to deal with a rather tight income, but my widowed mother did her best to make her children happy. More effort than I think she should have, or more than we should have received, but those were her decisions. My brother and I certainly benefited from that side of our mother.

Should we say the tech side had both sides of that. If we could afford a PC game that I wanted, I’d probably get it eventually. If I wanted new hardware I’d probably be better off asking for a used car fund 🤣. Such was life.

Our first computer was technically my brother’s, but I was really the only one that used it very often. What really got my family interested was the Internet. WebTV was very limited but also a highly effective gateway drug to modern computing. For ma and me: it was a pragmatic thing to end up with a PC.  For my brother I imagine it was the ability to play video games and surf the Internet, but he had moved out during our WebTV era.

Someone at church that taught computer classes and such, gave us an old Pentium/32MB machine and even took the old Tandy 1000 off our hands. When it died: we ended up with our pastor’s old Packered Bell with a Pentium II/64MB. After that died, my brother naught a Dell simular to his Dimension, and ma paid him back until it was paid off. A snazzy 2 GHz Pentium 4 and probably 512 MB. Whatever, it finally had a hard drive big enough to actually install games and the best graphics card we had seen since the old Tandy!

It was these Pentium based machines where I actually had any competition for using the computer. Which was both a good and bad thing, but mostly a good thing. By that, I mean the only way we got broadband is eventually phone calls screwing around with her email was the last straw, because if my bitching and moaning wasn’t enough to drive that decision: our combined grumbles eventually did, lol.

 If you really want to know anything about the reMarkable 2: I’d suggest watching this guy’s videos.

I kinda wish that more people spent such time on reviews, but I suppose that’s a bit excessive. Fro the reMarkable it makes more sense: being a device less typical and more specialized than your average consumer’s taste in electronics.

Friday, August 28, 2020

 Here’s Doom Eternal running at 1,000fps with an Intel Core i7 9700K

Being a kid when the original DooM came out, and first experiencing it on console, since our Tandy was more at home with 8088 based than 386 based software, I find that kind of amazing and insane. My old i5-3570K and GTX 780 need the settings tuned just to ensure that the frame rate doesn’t dip in more demanding segments of the game, but does manage to be perfectly playable.

It’s hard to imagine Doom Eternal reaching 1000 FPS on current hardware. Not hard to imagine the first three games doing so, but that’s the virtue of time. I guess if you totally and insanely clock the shit out of a computer until you need liquid nitrogen just to avoid a halt and catch fire condition, some amazing shit is possible, lol.

Also not my fault if I’m suddenly tempted to reach for the 1993 version of DooM.....

Thursday, August 27, 2020

The reMarkable 2 is the latest attempt to turn your paper notepad digital .

Probably sad but this tempts me even more than it’s predecessor, despite being a bit rich for my blood. It’s at least in the price range of a decent tablet, and is now one of the sexiest tablet designs I’ve seen.

Ahh, it’s probably a good thing I don’t have the money or the space to collect computers....

Monday, August 24, 2020

Take a look inside IBM's offices that have been completely reimagined since the start of the coronavirus pandemic

Not sure if I should view this as a bit crazy or quite awesome, but I’m leaning towards awesome because I grew up dreaming of the computerized future.

In any event, kudos to big blue for making best efforts to keep their people healthy and productive.

 Once upon a time I used to keep a copy of CD-Keys on floppy disk. On the theory I'd be more likely to lose the slip of paper or the jewel case than the actual disc. Most are still in a container in my closet.

Finally got around to fetching the old diskette out of my closet, and I find the dates interesting. In any case it's time to migrate the files to modern media.

$ sudo mount /dev/fd0 /mnt

[sudo] password for terry:

mount: /mnt: WARNING: device write-protected, mounted read-only.

$ ls -l /mnt

total 84K

-rwxr-xr-x 1 root root 25 May 14  2006 Armored-Fist3_Key

-rwxr-xr-x 1 root root 25 May 14  2006 BF2_Key

-rwxr-xr-x 1 root root 25 May 14  2006 BF2SF_Key

-rwxr-xr-x 1 root root 25 May 14  2006 CoD_Key

-rwxr-xr-x 1 root root 25 May 14  2006 CoDUO_Key

-rwxr-xr-x 1 root root 25 May 14  2006 Commanche4_Key

-rwxr-xr-x 1 root root 25 May 14  2006 DF1_Key

-rwxr-xr-x 1 root root 25 May 14  2006 DF2_Key

-rwxr-xr-x 1 root root 25 May 14  2006 DFBHD_Key

-rwxr-xr-x 1 root root 25 May 14  2006 DFLW_Key

-rwxr-xr-x 1 root root 25 May 14  2006 DFTFD_Key

-rwxr-xr-x 1 root root 32 May 14  2006 DFX_Key

-rwxr-xr-x 1 root root 25 Nov  7  2008 FEAR_Key

-rwxr-xr-x 1 root root 30 May 14  2006 MW4-CL-MP_Key

-rwxr-xr-x 1 root root 30 May 14  2006 MW4-IS-MP_Key

-rwxr-xr-x 1 root root 21 May 14  2006 Quake4_Key

-rwxr-xr-x 1 root root 48 May 14  2006 README

-rwxr-xr-x 1 root root 24 May 14  2006 RvS_Key

-rwxr-xr-x 1 root root 25 May 14  2006 SWAT3_Key

-rwxr-xr-x 1 root root 25 May 14  2006 SWAT4_Key

-rwxr-xr-x 1 root root 25 May 14  2006 SWAT4TSS_Key


Sunday, August 23, 2020

 One of the side effects of shopping hungry: I bought a steak for the first time in next to forever.

I also had the genius idea to put the broccoli and cauliflower and mushrooms in the cast iron skillet with the steak before finishing it in the oven. And thankfully didn’t ruin the steak. Since the veggies were already steamed yesterday: they were ready for a quick trip to the oven. Lacking potatoes, the udon stand in for filler.

Willow of course just wished she could have my food instead of waiting for her own food, lol

Saturday, August 22, 2020

Faced with the clock telling me that I should cook dinner, and a disposition that feels more like going Barny Gumble on an Espresso machine: I opted for a plot involving fried rice.

I diced and pressed some tofu, something I’ve never worked with before. Interesting to me however the recommended way to prepare it for frying or baking is essentially the same way I was taught to prep eggplant for the same cooking methods.

But aside from that most of the ingredients were chosen based on leverage.

  • About 1/3 of the tofu block.
  • Half a can of peas and carrots, so that I can use the peas for flavoring something else.
  • A chunk of  steamed broccoli and cauliflower that leaves enough leftover for another meal or two.
  • About half a thing of mushrooms that were on sale when I did the shopping earlier this week.
  • Plenty of rice, and enough leftover for a meal or two.
Pretty much other than seasonings: everything was chosen because it’s something that’ll save time on another meal.

The dogs of course are always interested in food: but they love their extra special treat even more.

 I find it interesting how readily Misty manages to find such napping accommodations on her own.

Willow, whose aptitude for reshaping her environment in the name of comfy is only exceeded by humans, of course plots down on top.

And then there's the debate of what comes first: my lunch or their second walk, lol.

Friday, August 21, 2020

 Various sad and comical things.

Decided to try an old SSD in my spare enclosure. But I found while my Linux machine blows away just fine on I/O performance: my NT partition maxes out at about 30 MB/s on Crystal Disk Mark and 11 MB/s on Windows time.

In fact every fracken' thing I plug into my USB 3.0 port maxes out at that speed.

So decided to do a little poking around. My NT install comes from Microsoft, not from Dell, so there's a minimal of their things tacked on. Looking for updated drivers, I was kind of just glad to see W10 well represented given the age of my Latitude.

Found a BIOS update and dared to do it. Going from A00 to A20 (2018) was a lot of versions.A001 I think was dated 2012, and the oldest available. Mostly it's fixes and security updates. But low and behold upgrading my BIOS a terrifying number of versions forward: my USB 3.0 is working right.

That is to say, Crystal Disk Mark basically jumps from ~30 MB/s to 250 MB/s, and Explorer reports much more appropriate speeds itself.

Amusing to me, one of the features I kind of missed was the option of Secure Boot. Which was added in one of the many updates. Ironically, a cyber security report from the NSA actually has better descriptions of the new UEFI settings on my system than Googling them ^_^.

Thursday, August 20, 2020

While the timing worked out well, I had to go pick up Misty’s prescription: so may as well do the shopping. I do think that the photos show the dangers of being so hungry you’re ready to drop, and finding yourself in the grocery store. Something like that, yadda, yadda.

The salad kit was probably a mistake, but speed was essential. The fried chicken will also last three or four meals if I have filler. Not to mention it’s shareable with the dogs.

Typically I’m too cheap to buy parfaits at the grocery store, and rarely have enough fresh fruit to make one. On sale for $2, I said screw it.

The cookies on the other hand were because I can only die once, probably, 🤣.

 When I think back over the past fifteen years and the various systems I've used, I think a table of Bluetooth problems would look like this:

  • GNU/Linux on PC: 100% success, or no BT driver.
  • FreeBSD on PC: 100% success, or no BT driver.
  • Android on phone, tablet, television, and laptop: 90% success.
  • Windows NT on XP, 7, and 10: 25% success.
  • iOS on tablet: 100% success.

Actually, come to think of it, aside from the ruckus with Google changing BT stacks and a painful Nexus 7, I'm pretty sure the only operating systems that ever give me grief about Bluetooth are all ones baring the name NT!!!

I'd like to think it would suck less on a device with an integrated Wi-Fi/BT card. But applying USB BT to laptops and desktops has definitely been a painful experience over the past ~15 years.

Tuesday, August 18, 2020

 While I tend to take an easy going attitude, I have to admit there are days when I feel like Deadpool with only twelve bullets left.

Especially that part at the end.

Friday, August 14, 2020

 Willow: “I wanted three walks and a steak. What I got was two walks and a dog treat.”

Thursday, August 13, 2020

 Sometimes it’s hard to gauge whether he’ll hath frozen over a few more degrees, or if I should be hopeful.

Crunchyroll’s Fire TV app has been upgraded to “2.0”, making an experience more like what their iPad app has been like for quite a while now. Even more so than the redone Xbox One app from a while back, but that’s probably because Android and iOS have more in common.

Being less useful to me, I don’t use the iPad app much unless I’m working around bugs in the old Fire TV app, like how it would like to only list partial data; like showing several European dub and omitting the English sub version from the UI.

Thus far the new app doesn’t seem to have any obvious bugs, and brings the more useful data set the iPad app does. Somewhat slow, but hey, at least the fucker works. I’m usually just glad if their (often crappy) apps work without death by buggy crash happy software.

Of course my test of the app? KonoSuba!!!

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

 Well, that's kind of neat. Windows Defender can run Edge in a Hyper-V session as part of "Application Guard."

Considering that browsing the world wide web is pretty much a living definition of remote code execution, it's probably about time someone tried to make a standard feature of isolating the browser. If WSL2 is any indication, Hyper-V also offers great performance if your machine doesn't suck.

 Some days: you’ve just got to say screw it, and order a pizza.

At least stuffing one’s face with food is still a positive way to end the day. And in my case, since I rarely get pizza anymore, extra deliciousness 😁

Monday, August 10, 2020

 Haven't really scrolled through Pluspora in a while, but this one made me giggles snort.

Sunday, August 9, 2020

 I don’t quite know how, but it must be very exhausting being so comfortable.

 Low-cost measurement of facemask efficacy for filtering expelled droplets during speech

Ahhh, the world we now live in....where one can use a laser for science and not have to trade in a few sports cars worth in funding just to cover the cost of the

Friday, August 7, 2020

This long, tiresome week, I've opted to conduct an experiment: working out of my Windows partition. Since shoving my Chromebook in a closet ages ago, I've usually booted Stark  from my Debian partition. Well, this week I tried a little insanity.

So what worked? Well the important stuff. Namely WSL2 and Docker for Windows now enable me to do the things my Debian partition offers that actually matter. Yay for that. Being a busy week, I kind of put that part of the system through five hundred laps of abuse without a problem.

A very large part of my time revolves around command line environments one way or another, so a lot of my client machine's job is being a glorified X-Terminal on steroids. Most GUI software I rely on is cross-platform within the desktop family trees, pardoning proprietary bits. Most parts I really care about are terminal friendly; most GUI parts involve interaction with others or specific tasks.

In particular I found it pleasant to have a Evernote's desktop client. The web client's not my cup of tea, beyond some of the editing shortcuts it shares with the Android and iOS clients. While most of what I do on my Linux partition was direct and to the point thanks to WSL, Evernote was a big shift.

What didn't work so hot?

In a very unsurprising shortfall was Bluetooth. Twice I had to totally start from scratch pairing my Bluetooth keyboard and mouse. To be fair, W10 20H1 launched with problems that are supposedly resolved. To be honest I've always had trouble with NT and Bluetooth: going as far back as the XP era. By contrast in a decade of combing Bluetooth and Linux: the only issue I've had is changing batteries 🤣.

Another is the networking side. Seems like W10 is happy enough to use my static/dns setup for Wi-Fi at work, and DHCP for my Wi-Fi setup at home. It'll even deal with the DNS suffix at home. But sometimes it thinks my home network has no Internet connectivity because it's trying to use my work DNS servers with my home connection. I suppose, considering the era NT comes from: I should just be glad that W10 has a concept of different configurations for different wireless connections. But annoying.

Shifting from Davmail / Thunderbird to the various Microsoft things, I mostly have two comments. One: easier setup. Second: different quirks. On the flipside, Davmail has a spectacularly accurate manual. And Thunderbird probably has more bugs and quirks than it's competition, lol. I could actually replicate my Linux setup on W10, but would rather not during the experiment.

Explorer is probably the gold standard of file managers. Compared to Thunar, it sure is. But I found it amusing how it was a sticking point. On occasion Explorer total death hangs until I eject my SD card. In the kill explorer from taskkill /f and then restart the damned thing just to get my panel back kind of hangs. Although, I've probably seen more crashes from X file managers than you can shake a stick at, it's compensated by *nix having a far superior command line environment.

More minor were things like my internal web server. Easy enough to replicate my simple lighttpd setup in IIS, and to lock it to my connection at work. Most of my stuff is either static, Perl CGI, or bash based; so the only thing that's not operational with trivial effort is a few CGI scripts done in bash.

And then there's the part that should really scare me: I didn't hate the experience. By comparison using Windows 7 and its predecessors generally lead to cursing and gnashing of teeth.

 The Workforce Is About to Change Dramatically

Been kind of curious how this evolves. Longer than the recent pandemic, having grown up in an era where much software development occurred over the Internet. Ironically, much of my need to technically be in the office revolves around some piece of hardware needing to be within reach not around access IT resources. In practice, I tend to prefer working from work, even if it means pants are required.

The ‘90s and ‘00s likely prepared us for many things being work from home centric. We’re now able to work from home better than ever before for numerous office tasks. I’m sure that’ll just continue to grow with how things have been going regardless of what going back to normal might look like.

Or, you know, maybe not. Perhaps the best argument against the telepresence revolution is not only that people are creatures of habit but also that pandemics have historically done little to arrest the growth of cities and leisure. “The 80-year trend is that the richer society gets, the more it spends on leisure and hospitality,” says Adam Ozimek, the chief economist at Upwork. 

To this however, I say: “80 years ago, good luck sitting on your bum playing Xbox!”

Thursday, August 6, 2020

Reading a page about the local movie theater planning to re-open, I couldn't help but be amused. In the sense, yes, they're taking it seriously and have defined sane policies; amused in the sense that I can see what antics are liable to follow.

And then there's another aspect of the world's current situation: the notion of releasing film available to rent a stream, ala Amazon. 'Cuz I've only waited about thirty years for Instant Cassettes to be a thing.

Microsoft: Here's the real reason Edge crashed when Google was the default search engine

Things that happen all too often when two pieces of gorilla gonads interface with one another over a network

Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Passing Thoughts: BIMF

Someday someone needs to create a build tool called BIMF: Build It Mother Fucker.

Bonus points if you get Samuel L. Jackson to provide voice over for your error messages 🤣

Sunday, August 2, 2020

The scale of getting things done:

  1. Urgent and important.
  2. Urgent but not important.
  3. Not urgent but important.
  4. Not urgent and not important.
Or for a visual que let's borrow one from Wikipedia:

While it took me a long time to learn about the connection to president Eisenhower, I've generally found this decision matrix a pretty good way for classifying things. It works really well. Because urgency controls attention, and importance determines making sure it happens, which leads to much doing.

And then there's what I call The Class 5 Full Roaming Vapor--something that is not urgent, but is important, and that makes you feel like having a shot of whiskey in the mean time. These kinds of things: you can kinda picture smack dab in the middle of the chart, lol.
There are times when I get up, and think it’s almost sad to disturb such a comfortable goonie bird with fur.

Basically spent the night with Willow where my leg goes, Corky by my opposite hip, and Misty in her spot to my left. Which she had to vacate as part of getting up. But comfortable Willow was moving for no body, lol.

And then there are times when I think I ought to dispense treats after breakfast: less I someday meet my death at their paws, lol.

Saturday, August 1, 2020

I Tried to Live Without the Tech Giants. It Was Impossible.

Most people don’t go to such an extent to avoid the big tech companies, even for an experiment it is a bit super thorough. But makes a solid point.

Critics of the big tech companies are often told, “If you don’t like the company, don’t use its products.” My takeaway from the experiment was that it’s not possible to do that. It’s not just the products and services branded with the big tech giant’s name. It’s that these companies control a thicket of more obscure products and services that are hard to untangle from tools we rely on for everything we do, from work to getting from point A to point B.”

Perhaps the question we really should be asking ourselves is whether or not these companies are a necessary evil.

Would such services exist, or be anywhere near as good without the help of such companies? Miss Hill points out the dominance of Google Maps and the interaction with things like Uber, and I think that’s kind of key. We had GPS navigation long before we had Google Maps and smart phones, but which would you rather use? Part of what made Google Maps what it is today is the insane investment: sending people and hardware off into the wild blue yonder to build a better dataset than simply importing maps and satellite photos could. Who the hell has that much money? Well, Google did. Some clown in their parents garage might be able to kick start the next Apple or Amazon, but they’re not going to be able to afford to run Google Streetview without monopolistic funding.

As things worked out, I’d say Amazon turned out to be a pretty great idea. But twenty six years ago: we’d probably forgive you for thinking Bezos was crazy instead of anticipating he would become several times richer than God, building one of the world’s most well known enterprises along the way.

See, we build our success upon the success of others—and our success is often in enabling others to succeed. The question is can we do that without the ginormous bankrolls and the infrastructure that entails.

I’d like to think we have yet to see the last great American tech company. But without a governmental strongarm, I don’t think we will ever see these empires displaced. Not until landmark paradigm shifts cause them to exit a market, or for profitability sake they choose to exit or destroy one. You’re not going to beat Google Maps unless they’re incompetent and you’re hyper lucky and clever at just the right time: or they choose to shutter the entire operation. That’s just how it works at scale.

Yes, I’m pretty sure that we should refer to them as monopolies. But are they ones we need, or are they ones we can ill afford? As someone who long resisted Google and Facebook, I find that a very intriguing question.
Microsoft pauses Surface Neo development — Surface Duo to arrive on time

This kind of makes me sad. Because while I’ve had nearly zero fucks to give about foldable phones, I’d really like to see more devices like the Surface Duo.
ARM-Based 12-inch MacBook Specs Include A14X Bionic SoC, up to 16GB RAM, 20-Hour Battery Life & More

To me it would make sense if the first Macintosh to sport Apple’s ARM system on a chip was the basic MacBook. It’s entry level enough to support up selling more powerful machines, and down low enough to write it off if the horse power cells to wow everyone’s eyes out of their sockets.

“Looking at these rumored specs, it honestly looks like Apple wants to repurpose the discontinued 12-inch MacBook to sport its own A14X Bionic SoC. Since the A14X Bionic is expected to be made on the 5nm process and not have a ridiculously high TDP, the 12-inch MacBook’s chassis should be sufficient to cool the chip“

Which would also be inline with modern Apple and Samsung devices. Not to mention, if it’s not busted: why fix it?