Thursday March 26, 2020
“Chronicles of Amber”
made it to ebook stores finally. I picked them up and am re-reading them. It’s been a long time.
One of my favorite quotes of all time comes from “Trumps of Doom”, the first book of the second
cycle, focussing on Merlin.
Grief and anger shrink my world, and I resent this. They seem to paralyze my memory of happier times, of friends, places, things, options. Squeezed by the grip of intense, unsettling emotion, I grow smaller in my single-mindedness. I suppose it is partly because I have discarded a range of choices, impairing in some measure my freedom of will. I don’t like this, but after a point I have small control over it. It makes me feel that I have surrendered to a kind of determinism, which irritates me even more. Then, vicious cycle, this feeds back into the emotion that drives me and intensifies it. The simple way of ending this situation is the headlong rush to remove its object. The difficult way is more philosophical, a drawing back, the reestablishment of control. As usual, the difficult way is preferable. A headlong rush may also result in a broken neck.
From Zelazny, Roger. “Trumps of Doom”
Wednesday March 25, 2020
In These Times, I felt is was important to keep in touch with as many of my loved ones as possible. Normally, I would wait for our times together to come around naturally thru our collective wanderings. But during These Times, I didn’t want to wait, and take the chance of not being able to connect with someone again.
So, uh…. Facebook.
I left facebook a little over two years ago.
Nothing has changed in my opinion of Facebook. I’ve been back for a few hours so far, and I’m already done with it. It’s not that I don’t like the people I’ve friended, I do like them all. But not everyone can put together an engaging, entertaining online presence. (Yes, I’m probably throwing stones.)
Is that fair? Probably not. Do I care? No. When I first joined FB way back in the dark ages, there were a collection of us that were always in each others walls, being hilarious. It was a good time. It lasted about six months, and then… I’m not sure. Maybe we all ran out of jokes, or our personal styles stopped being funny after too much repetition, or there was energy invested that we couldn’t sustain. It was all of us, I’m pretty sure, or maybe it was just me. Whatever it was, participating on FB was never as good again.
If I’m honest, I’m not sure what I expect. If someone catches The COVID, will they post or just stop posting completely? Will it be possible to help them if they do? How do I know what’s going on when it occurs to me that someone hasn’t posted in a while? Are they sick? Withdrawing? Or just have nothing to say or add to the public conversation?
My feeling at this time, is this is something I’ll do until the end of this year, or early next year. Once thing are back to normal societally, or at least some resemblance, then I’ll probably save myself the energy, and bail.
But this time, when I bail, I’m gonna make sure I have contact info stored off FB for people I didn’t think to do that for the first time I left.
Tuesday May 7, 2019
Panoramic taken from my father’s deck with my iPhone Xs.
Note the second rainbow visible low on each side.
Sunday May 5, 2019
Them: How are you?
Me: I’m doing good.
Them: You’re very tall.
Me: Yes, I am. But I usually don’t lead with that when I’m asked how I’m doing because I think it’s obvious.
Tuesday September 11, 2018
In 1996 is was hurricane Fran, a category 3 storm that came in off the Atlantic and wreaked havoc. People around here still talk about it.
And now we get hurricane Florence, projected to be a category 4 storm when it makes landfall in 3 days.
North Carolina might get F-ed again, I guess.
Sunday July 29, 2018
We watched Blockers this morning. It was funnier than we expected. Worth a rental fee to see. We often like comedies that we don’t laugh out loud to, but this one we laughed all the way thru it. Very clever.
I normally hate movies based on horrible people being horrible, and the three parent characters are horrible people. But the movie is very self-aware that it’s main characters are horrible people, and thus (I think) managed to never get my hackles up about it.
Thursday July 12, 2018
This is a cool thing. A urban planning post-doc named Geoff Boeing posted a bit of coolness on his blog about the directions streets in assorted cities run. The results are visually interesting, as is the analysis itself. He also posted an update with some international cities.
Discovered via: Slashdot
Saturday June 30, 2018
I’ve been looking thru the old posts on this site.
I suck as an author, and have a certain lack of perspective, sometimes even
in the best of times. Often in the best of times.
But the other thing that struck me, was just how much the internet sucks
at keeping itself whole as it ages. Dead links abound. This is a problem.
One of the important questions is how long should published content remain
published. Do companies that create content and share it need to feel
obligated to keep it available forever? Should they keep it available
at the same URL forever?
This site would certainly benefit from the answer to those two questions
being “YES!” When I moved this site to Github Pages a couple of years ago,
I took great pains to make sure that all the posts ended up at the URL that
I originally posted them at. But I did that because I could,
and had the time to put into the effort.
Such work costs money for companies who are paying people to do this work.
There is rarely a business benefit to doing this, in an age when most
content is discoverable via search engines on demand.
The answer to those two questions isn’t automatically “yes” for another
reason: content creators have a right to remove their work from circulation.
Same as they have a right to modify their content.
I really wanted to look at some of the content that the dead links here point at.
Moveable Type, back when I used it, had a plugin that would download the pages
at a link, but not show it unless the link no longer pointed at something.
There’s no way to do that automatically for my current setup. But I might
start archiving some of the content behind the links I post. Or maybe the
Internet Archive might help.
Gotta think about this.
Saturday June 30, 2018
A while back, I switched the blog to using Github Pages.
I worked a bit to make the site look more like I wanted. That was easy, because my
desires were simple: white background, black-ish text, a nice font, the site’s menus,
readable width column.
What wasn’t so easy was posting to the site. It involved the following steps:
- Open terminal
- Copy a previous post so I got the Jekyll frontmatter to a new file
- Write in new file
- Remember to write correct markdown for links and pictures
- Save file
- Commit to local git repo
- Remember to sign the commit with gpg
- Push to git repo
- Remember to push tags
So many posts I didn’t make because the above was to much work just to create a post of the approximate sophistication and classiness of “I hab a code id by node.”
So I was looking at a medium.com post about static site generators by Mathieu Dionne and how they were taking over the world. This was news to me. I thought static site generators were for cranks like me that wanted my site to work and look like I wanted it to, but not have to host it myself.
I guess Github Pages should have been the first clue, here. Github it not a small enterprise, so that Pages includes Jekyll for generating the HTML is actually kind of a huge thing.
In the article, it mentioned this new concept of “headless CMS”. Basically, a content management system that didn’t actually serve the resulting pages.
And thus, we come to Forestry.io. It costs the same amount as Pages does for a single contributor like me. Free. And it should do everything I need.
It won’t do the cryptographic signature I was using. But really, there’s little reason for me to have that. I’m not a researcher. My ramblings are for me only. Nobody will take any of this seriously enough that if the site gets hacked I’m going to start a war or something. I can still back up the site to my local machine at Wook Central by a single git pull command.
Will I post more using this method. We’ll see.
Friday November 10, 2017
I once read that deleting your FB profile was the adult way of running away from home.
I guess I’ve run away from home, because I deleted my Facebook account. I love my
friends and family and all, but I just haven’t been seeing value in FB.
It might turn out that there’s some value there I’ll miss. But I don’t think so, and
I won’t know until I have no access any more and miss it somehow.
Facebook kind of killed my blogging habbit, way back when. I don’t know that I think I’ll
pick it up again. But I do know that it isn’t going to happen while FB was easier to post
And finally, as someone who is concerned about personal privacy, I can now block all FB
cookies and scripts on all of FB’s domains across the board. Instead of worrying about
having to keep some sort of minimal set so the actual FB site would work. I don’t
really view this as a way of actually being completely untracked, because there
are almost as many ways of tracking people across the net as there are tracking companies
on the net. No, it’s mostly just a raised middle finger to FB and their tracking efforts.
Thursday May 25, 2017
As reported previously, there was some excitement two weeks ago when a disk
drive that’s part of the raid cluster in my main computer just vanished under
load. The raid card did it’s thing, and the computer continued to function.
I rebooted, and the disk showed up again, I made it a spare, the raid card grabbed
it for the raid set, and started rebuilding.
But then the following Monday, the power blipped. The computer is on a UPS and was
still on when I sat down at my desk, but the MacPro had a blank, black, screen,
and a mouse cursor, and nothing else. Nothing worked to break it loose of that,
so I power cycled it.
Aaaaaaaaaaand, it wouldn’t boot. It would give the startup chord, and then just a
If I pulled the raid card, it would boot up on a USB stick. I could then see all
4 disk drives, but they weren’t usable because they were raid disks.
After buying a replacement disk drive for bay 2 that showed up DOA, and another
raid card that is still in the machine as I’m typing this, I determined it wasn’t
the raid card.
Somehow, the raid set was borked. The Teeming Millions general opinion of the
Apple Raid Card is pretty low, but I figured it’s whole reason to exist was to
not let the whole raid set get borked, no matter what happened. Naive, I know.
What fixed it was this:
- Pull raid card again
- Boot from USB stick with MacOS Installer on it
- Start disk util
- Erase all 4 now non-raid disks
- Put raid card back in
- Boot from USB stick with MacOS Installer on it
- Use disk util to get to raid util, and re-create the raid set
- Install MacOS Sierra on raid set
- Restore from Time Machine backup
This all worked. Restoring from a Time Machine backup is about as painless
as a backup could ever be. I lost all my virtual machines, because they’re just
too large and too active to back up to TM, but that’s okay. The Ansible setup
I use to create them was backed up.
But of course, bay 2 dropped out again during the rebuild three days ago.
This time, the
raid card notified me, and the machine is still running. I have 2 more Hitachi
disks coming, hopefully one of them will be good, and I’ll replace bay 2. I’m
going to run on the 3 remaining good disks until they arrive.
But today I had to reboot it. The disk drive showed up again, as “roaming”,
which just means it isn’t a part of the raid set. I expected this. What I
didn’t expect was the computer informing me that the disk in Bay 2 is about
I spent a solid two minutes looking at that thinking “No shit, you couldn’t
come up with this two weeks ago? What the hell!”
Wednesday May 10, 2017
My MacPro has an Apple raid card in it, because I hate having 4 separate disk drives
in a computer. The raid card makes 4 drives look like one big one. The card also
protects when one drive fails. Which seems to be what happened just now:
The drive in Bay 2 just vanished while in use. Because I have raid 5, the computer
is still functional, and I have access to all my data. But access will be slow, as
the raid card has to calculate what was on the missing drive from info on the 3 still
working. Also, if one more drive fails, I lose the whole machine.
The problem might just have been utilization. I had a Win10 VM cleaning up its disk space,
Lightroom loading a large, 17,000+ photo catalog, iTunes playing, iDrive downloading
a few gigabytes of photos. Disturbingly, the VM and Lightroom seemed to hang, which
is not supposed to happen on a raid protected system when a disk fails.
This computer is a “Mid 2010” MacPro, purchased in early 2011. It’s kind of amazing
that this 6-year-old computer and its equally old spinning hard drives haven’t thrown
so much as a hiccup before now. In my experience, hard drives last 3 years.
There are 3 possibilities, as I see it:
- The bay 2 drive is really failing.
- Drives are getting old, just too much work for too long, could have happened
to any of the 4 drives in the machine.
- Power supply weakness, could have been kernel panic just as much as hard drive
Powering down and powering up the machine brought the drive back. I made it a
spare, and the raid card slurped it into the raid set and is now rebuilding.
I expect that to take a day or two, if I remember correctly from when
I first set it up 6 years ago.
I have a plan to replace all the spinning drives with SSDs, but that plan really
can’t happen now. I can buy a replacement hard drive of the same model number for
about $60, and that’ll be an option if the rebuild doesn’t finish. Might need to
do it anyway, since drives in a raid array like this tend to crap out all at the
I might order one Hitachi HDS722020ALA330, and if it works with the raid card (it
might not, this raid card is the worse one ever made and might be really picky)
I’ll get 3 more and replace them all one at a time. Maybe.