I really don’t want to be writing this. Well no, that’s not true. I don’t want to have to write this, but sex education is lacking as it is and far too many people are being rather lackadaisical about the whole thing. Because I can’t in good conscience let condoms which can’t reliably condom be on the market […]

Source: A Pox On Your Box: The Problem of LELO Hex – Lorax Of Sex

It’s makes all the difference whether something fails silently or something fails and explodes in your face.

For most programming code written out there, you want some indication that it failed (that is, it sets off a small explosion or it sets off a big explosion) so you can know something is wrong and can fix it. When something fails silently you don’t even know there’s a problem until something happens that you literally cannot fix. Like your backups silently failing until you need to recover something… to find the information has been lost. Forever.

In the case of this condom design, the consequences of it failing silently are literally of life and death important:

  • You could get an STI and not know.
  • You would then become one of those asshole people that don’t even bother to get tested for STIs because “it could never happen” to them.

  • You could get pregnant, or get someone pregnant.
  • When a regular condom fails you know it failed and you can take measures. In this case the only alternative will be to have the baby, or have an abortion.

These things are important and fact people are falling for the hype means sex education is simply not keeping up with the reality of the world.

No pressure

I think I’m failing but I’m not sure at what. Life? Money? Love?

I’m just trying to keep my head above the water, but not quite succeeding.

I’s frustrating. I think that’s going to be the theme for the last half of 2016.

Frustration.

A Debian wifi router

The search of a living space has been over for over a month now and I’m more or less settled in. I had a bad experience with my previous landlord keeping my wireless router (an Asus AC-RT68U) cos he’s a fucking asshole so I decided to give this a shot. I’m actively trying to solve money now so it really wasn’t an option to just buy another one as my living costs are now much, much higher.

I’ve hoarded a bit of equipment so I did have a couple of computers available to me. With a bit of looking I found about hostapd and I got it to work more or less reliably on a Thinkpad X220 with an Intel Centrino chipset using the iwlwifi driver. The real problem started when I tried using my older Thinkpad T60 laptop for the same task. Mine has an Intel PRO/Wireless 3945ABG [Golan] chipset also using the iwlwifi driver but the crucial difference was that this chipset doesn’t support Master mode, so you can’t use it with hostapd to enable an AP. Looked around for a bit and tried using this Archer T2UH from Amazon but the support on Linux is a fucking joke, basically; they actually want you to compile the drivers from scratch to get everything going. Ended up with an Ubiquiti Networks SR71-C card using the ath9k chipset. I tried setting it up using the already-installed environment but I couldn’t get it work so I basically reinstalled everything from scratch to start fresh.

I pieced this together from instructions found on the Debian Wiki, this guide from Ars Technica on building your own router, hostapd documentation, and a whole host of blog posts detailing how to pull this off, most of them with information easy to mess up.

As it is right now I’m typing this up on a Windows 10 system connected to the laptop and the signal and throughput are good enough for extended sessions playing Unreal Tournament pre-alpha.

Install Operating System

Installed Debian Stable fresh on the system with no desktop environment. This computer will now be a router so we don’t need any kind of desktop environment. Most desktop environments now require NetworkManager or wicd to manage network connectivity and I wanted to avoid all that crap. It just makes things more complicated for something that will be complicated enough already. I used the netinst install media with the laptop connected to ISP through Ethernet and getting an IP address through DHCP, so I didn’t have to fiddle with any PPPoE clients to get online and install the stuff required.

# aptitude update
# aptitude install hostapd bridge-utils isc-dhcp-server bind9 rfkill vbetool vim-runtime vim-goodies tmux

Enable Wifi Adapter

For some weird and lame reason Debian didn’t enable the adapter after installation, so it has to be setup manually. These instructions are based on the Debian Wiki. Atheros card is wlan0 while built-in Intel adapter is wlan1.

# ip a
# rfkill unblock all
# iwconfig
# ip link set wlan0 up
# iwlist scan

The card scanned for networks around so it was working.

Edit /etc/network/interfaces so the WLAN interface doesn’t wait for an IP address. If you don’t do this it turns out the OS stops booting until it gets bored of waiting for an IP address.

auto wlan0
iface wlan0 inet static
    wireless-mode Master
    address 192.168.1.1
    netmask 255.255.255.0

You can use whatever IP address (like 10.0.0.1) but make sure the same subnet is used throughout the entire configuration. I went with 192.168.1.1 cos that’s what I like my networks to be on.

Configure iptables

Edit /etc/sysctl.conf and uncomment the line for IPV4 packet forwarding:

net.ipv4.ip_forward=1

Create /etc/network/if-pre-up.d/iptables with the following contents

#!/bin/sh
/sbin/iptables-restore < /etc/network/iptables

Then

# sudo chown root /etc/network/if-pre-up.d/iptables ; chmod 755 /etc/network/if-pre-up.d/iptables

Create /etc/network/iptables and put the following in it:

*nat
:PREROUTING ACCEPT [0:0]
:INPUT ACCEPT [0:0]
:OUTPUT ACCEPT [0:0]
:POSTROUTING ACCEPT [0:0]
# eth0 is WAN interface
-A POSTROUTING -o eth0 -j MASQUERADE

COMMIT

*filter
:INPUT ACCEPT [0:0]
:FORWARD ACCEPT [0:0]
:OUTPUT ACCEPT [0:0]

# Forward traffic from wlan0 (LAN) to eth0(WAN)
-A FORWARD -i wlan0 -o eth0 -j ACCEPT

# Service rules
-A INPUT -j ACCEPT

# Forwarding rules
-A FORWARD -j ACCEPT

COMMIT

At this point iptables will simply pass along all the traffic that his the computer. I’ve since changed my configuration but this is a starting point as I just wanted to get online at this point. iptables rules are a pain in the ass to type.

Configure DHCP

Edit /etc/dhcp/dhcpd.conf and add the following at the end of the file:

subnet 192.168.1.1 netmask 255.255.255.0 {
range 192.168.1.100 192.168.99.199;
option routers 192.168.1.1;
option domain-name-servers 192.168.1.1;
option broadcast-address 192.168.1.255;
}

Configure DNS

BIND works out of the box, thankfully enough.

Configure hostapd

Create and edit /etc/hostapd/hostapd.conf and put the following in it:

interface=wlan0
driver=nl80211
# SSID on 5GHz band
ssid="MY WIFI NETWORK"
hw_mode=a
channel=44

# Radar an' stuff
country_pre=US
ieee80211d=1
ieee80211h=0

# 802.11n goodness
wmm_enabled=1
ieee80211n=1

# wpa
auth_algs=1
wpa=3
wpa_passphrase=MyWifiPassword
wpa_key_mgmt=WPA-PSK
wpa_pairwise=TKIP
rsn_pairwise=CCMP

ht_capab=[HT20][HT40+][SHORT-GI-40][TX-STBC][RX-STBC1][DSSS_CCK-40]

The ht_capab are the ones I’ve found work with the SR71-C card. I’ll keep playing with them.

At this point everything looked good and rebooted. I actually rebooted a whole bunch of times as I kept prodding and poking stuff every step of the way but I guess it all could be done in one go and just reboot at the end.

Actually be a Wifi Router

After rebooting do

$ sudo hostapd /etc/hostapd/hostapd.conf

Runs with the SSID, picks a channel, and starts the laptop as an AP. iptables is routing traffic from one interface to another, ISC DHCP gives out IP addresses and BIND does DNS. I did run into an issue where wlan0 kept sending out DHCP requests to which dhcpd would successfully assign a new IP address for wlan0. I got lazy and just set a static IP for the mac address of the interface on dhcp.conf. I’ll fix it… eventually.

There’s also the issue of tuning the kernel, firewall and a lot of other stuff since the computer is a single-purpose device rather than a multi-user computer. Most of the documentation I can find is for systems handling traffic at internet scale that would be overkill, so a lot of documentation will be read and a ton of adjustments made.

There will be also a lot of adjustments to hostapd itself to maximize throughput and signal stability. The SRC71C card only does 802.11n but the bitrate on this standard maxes out depending on the blue of the sky, the stage of the moon, how hot the dumpster fires are on twitter and how pissed off the boss is at work.

From what I’m getting this is relatively new stuff when it comes to DIY. People were doing this in the past but was way more costly (like this sweet setup right here). I’m doing this on the cheap and it seems to be working well enough.

Hold strong against the waves

Shifts on the phone just… wear you down, humans. They wear you down, hard, no matter how fit you think you can take the damage.

You never see the person. You usually never even know what they look like (we have social media for that nowadays) but they sure wear you down, call after call.

Doesn’t matter if you’re apologizing to someone or if you’re apologizing for someone. The mere fact that you have to talk to someone is enough to grate on you.

This is why there is so much turnover at call centers. Talking to other humans is just hard. Because no matter what you’re calling about or why you’re calling about, they usually resent it.

The internet has not made this better. It has made this worse.

Unhappiness on the twitter dot com

I got into an argument with someone, but the very end of it came down to this:

August 27, 2016 31057 AM CDT

This person actually said that I do not deserve a happy relationship.

So… does he wish for me to be in an abusive relationship? No relationships at all for the rest of my life? No friendships (since you can be happy with friends) then?

Still. It all arose from something that he was offended by. We argued a bit but once we saw we couldn’t make up for the differences we parted ways. And then he said that.

You do do, my good sir. I *hope* you don’t get your businesses bankrupted, that your significant others don’t do you wrong, that your children (if you have any, that is) don’t regret having you as their parent.

I don’t believe I’ll have a relationship that I will be feel happy and content with. But that’s for me to find out and to strive the opposite. It is not for you to declare.

I wish you the best in life simply because you wished me the worst. I have seen some of the worst and I would not wish that upon you.

How Things Work

One of Gawker’s most cherished tags was “How Things Work,” a rubric that applied to posts revealing the sausage-making, the secret ways that power manifests itself. The phrase has a children’s book feel to it, bringing to mind colorful illustrations of animals in human work clothes building houses or delivering mail. Of course it also carries the morbid sense of innocence lost, and the distance between the stories we tell ourselves about the world and the way it actually works. Collapsing that distance is, in many ways, what Gawker has always been about.

And so Gawker’s demise turns out to be the ultimate Gawker story. It shows how things work.

Source: How Things Work

Much lauded, much hated. So long.

Finances

I seriously need to change my habits. I’m spending too much money and my cost of living went up %250.

I thought it’d be easy — doesn’t one always think so? — but it’s not. For starters I need to stop buying other people food just because I can.

Need to be much more careful with these sort of expenses. They really creep up on you.

This month will be more or less okay, but I really need to pay attention during September.

I thought I was done working like this

Turns out I might have to keep working like this for at least another six months at least.

I finally solved my woes to find a new living space… but it is at the very margin of what would let me save money. I’m going to be living paycheck to paycheck for a bit and I don’t like it.

Not one bit.

I hope I can either find a new job that will let me compensate for my new astronomically high living costs or save enough money to find another living space that will be cheaper.

Either way I’ll have to work 70+ hours a week to be able to afford all this.

Living space search goes on

It’s a bloody pain in the ass, is what it is.

Craigslist has been taken over by spammers (I’m looking at you, fucking Roomster), padmapper is useless to find roommates and the market is getting more expensive all the time since all the new housing excitedly approved by the city is luxury housing.

Yeah… most people in this city do not have a grand to drop in rent monthly. And that’s without taking into account the security deposit (usually a month’s rent) and the rental application. So if you’re looking to live in one of those hot new apartment buildings you’re looking at at least $2500 USD, give or take a few hundred dollars.

The entire structure is setup to screw renters. Same goes if you actually try to buy a house.

I’m just annoyed because I’ve looked at a few places and they all suck.

A computer conversation

There was a tweet from @findchaos that made me remember a conversation I had with a coworker at my kitchen job a few days ago.

The gist of it was “I’m looking for a new computer that’s good for everything and has lots of gigs to do what I want because I don’t want to spend a grand on an apple laptop“. Cue the questions regarding use (“Are you going to use for facebook? Youtube? Are you going to play on it?”) and connectivity (“Do you have WiFi at home? No? Are you going to use a hotspot from your phone then? No? So how are you going to get online???”)

This guy is from a poor part of Mexico. Whenever I ask specifics I just get grunts or non-answers, because he gets embarrassed. He knows he’s in over his head on these matters and I am understanding, but there’s so much I can do without kissing his ass which I will not do.

So with that said, I recommended a few models from the Dell XPS line, the Lenovo Thinkpad line and a couple of Samsung laptops I saw for cheap on Amazon. The guy was quite insistent that he wanted a “Sony laptop” if he couldn’t get a cheap Apple laptop. It didn’t matter what the sub-brand was since Sony has a few, most of them with the esoteric model names so favored by this manufacturer. I kept asking if he wanted a Vaio, but he just answered “I want a Sony laptop if I can’t get a cheap Apple laptop”.

After a while of circular arguments on his part I eventually ended the conversation with “If you don’t want to pay over a grand for a computer from Apple and you don’t like what Sony or Dell or Lenovo or Samsung or anyone else has to offer then I can’t help you. You have to decide what you want and all of it costs over 500 dollars from what you say you want.”

That shut him up.

From this I get a few things:

  • Apple is quite uncaring of people like my fellow cook. I’ve seen their support and as they’ll help you as long as you give them money, which most in his position don’t have, otherwise you’re on your own. For them, an Apple device is a status symbol.
  • Other computer manufacturers should try to fill in this gap. Even though these people are mostly illiterate they are already online through facebook and whatsapp. They are quite willing to spend the funds, it’s just that they don’t even have brand awareness of others because no one has even tried beyond a few ads in the most popular telenovela.
  • I think more efforts to promote Chromebooks would help as these people pretty much only use facebook, youtube, whatsapp and a few others. Particularly now that Google is working on having chromebooks have the capacity to run Android apps and even use the Google Play Store itself.
  • People like him want to know more but the classes available are designed for people with 9 to 5 schedules. The vast majority of Hispanic immigrants do not have that schedule and if governments want to better integrate them into US society at large more efforts should be made to allow for schedules where people have free time in the morning and work in the evenings.
  • I should probably start a side business giving people like him advice on what to buy and for a commission, buy it for them through Amazon. Offer training for an additional charge.

In writing this I forgot the original point of the post, but that’s okay. At least this is now out there since it happens somewhat often. People ask me something, I try to obtain more information to provide better advice, then they clam up because they realize they don’t even know what they want or what the person that wants the thing wants.

I’ll just go along with it.

There are a few things that I have to make clear, though, as the entire conversation was conducted in Spanish:

  1. “Lots of gigs” is a valid unit of measure for people like him. I don’t know whether they refer to RAM or to storage capacity, but I go along since they usually mean a bit of both. The actual phrase was “hartos gigas”.
  2. Apple is the same whether they are talking about an iPhone (“Un telefono Apple”) or a computer (“una laptop Apple”) regardless of whether the computer is a desktop or a laptop. The only difference is whether it is a mobile device or not.

Confusion and mayhem

Source: Gordon’s Notes: Systemic failure in American medicine: combining ICD-10-CM with “leaf code” reimbursement rules

It’s confusing and quite abstract if you don’t work in healthcare, but it does make sense when you think about it in terms of money, as I did. The only times I’ve stepped in a hospital in the past five years are when I buy coffee from a store inside of one.

The system as described by Gordon lacks something crucial when talking about illness, disease and health conditions: specificity.

When you can’t properly code something in a very specific way, everything else built on top of it goes out the window.

How about Uptown?

At the moment I am looking for a new living space. This means looking at a lot of posts in Craigslist, Zillow, ApartmentSearch, PadMapper, etc. This goes for both places that I would rent on my own and for roommate situations.

My frustration comes from landlords playing fast and loose with the wordings they use in their posts, specially when they don’t bother to put in an address for the place or even the cross-streets. They usually use phrases like “close to Uptown” or “in the Uptown area” to hide the true location of the place.

If you drive a car for everything sure, anywhere in Minneapolis or Saint Louis Park is “close” to Uptown. But the nature of the neighborhood is to be able to walk from home to a place and back. You can’t say it’s close when you’d have to walk 30 minutes to get to one of the neighborhood’s borders. Neighborhoods have borders and names for a reason.

Google Maps of Minneapolis

If you search for “Uptown Minneapolis”, even Google Maps suggests the actual neighborhood and its boundaries

Map of Uptown in Google Maps

So… landlords, please save everyone a lot of work and just put in the address of your property.

It’s forced

Lots of things happening right now. Guess the calm I’ve had over these past few months is now coming to an abrupt end.

Right now I guess I’m just writing this to remind myself that I should write my thoughts down. That’s how this blog got started. That’d probably be a good thing.

A new mythology

These characters no longer truly belong to the writers who are writing their stories. They exist independent of their individual fictions. In our minds, many of their traits are already set in stone.

Source: Captain America Isn’t Bi or a Nazi, He’s Just God | Myths RETOLD

Fandom lets us ignore the shitty decisions made by ‘owners’ of our contemporary myths at the bottleneck of IP law.

Source: Captain America (Updated): On the heroic epic, the nature of story, the implied contract with the reader, the dumpster fire that is Marvel Comics’ choice to pursue this storyline, and why indefinite copyright is harmful to contemporary myth: a cranky Twitter rant.

The corporate behemoths that now own all of these characters have no idea how to plan for the long term. They keep wanting to bring stories of the past into the present, but what about stories of the present taken into the future?

No amount of copyright law will change the fact a character’s mythos are an organic thing that grows, changes, mutates, evolves, as time goes on and more people are made aware of it.

Most Cyclists Are Working-Class Immigrants, Not Hipsters

Misidentifying who, exactly, rides bikes is hardly a new problem, Longhurst said. Historically, every generation has created a new idea of who rides a bike, but the older associations have stuck around, too.That creates a situation in which cyclists are simultaneously associated with elites displaying conspicuous consumption, those sacrificing for the good of society, competitive athletes, children, and sometimes those who are coming home from their job washing dishes at 2 a.m. because other options aren’t available.

Source: Most Cyclists Are Working-Class Immigrants, Not Hipsters

I’m one of those people. Since I’m usually at work it is extremely hard for me to participate in initiatives to extend biking infrastructure here in Minneapolis. Same goes for most of the people who work in the service industry, regarless of their race or country of origin.

We bike because it’s cheap and convenient. And when you’re going home anytime after midnight, usually the only option you have to get home since taxis are relatively expensive and mass transit cuts service.

No, I’ve never gone canoeing drunk at night in one of the lakes. I was probably working

So knowing to disclose deeply personal information about yourself—the best stories are not necessarily why you want to be a banker at Goldman Sachs, but how you reached the summit of Mount Everest—knowing that’s what interviewers value creates a disadvantage for individuals who don’t have those types of stories, or don’t know how to tell them.

Source: Recruitment, Resumes, Interviews: How the Hiring Process Favors Elites – The Atlantic

This is me. I don’t have stories about crazy adventures while young — I much preferred to be alone. I don’t have epic tales of surviving an extremely busy shift in the kitchen — at the end of those days usually you just want to go home and pass out.

While I am fortunate enough to know how to tell these stories when pressed, the fact is most of these stories are not something the interviewer would appreciate listening to, nor appreciate if they have no way to identify with me given my employment history: car washer/valet, cybercafe attendant, call center rep, sysadmin, barista, cook, server. If they’ve never been one of these it will be almost impossible to imagine the situations you live.

Meritocracy is a myth and it is high time people realize this.

Where there’s a will, there’s a way

The Life of a Completely Blind Iranian Programmer

Source: How I got through Docker’s censorship – Parham Doustdar’s Blog

The most interesting part is being blocked by both the country government and the companies based in other countries. You not only have to develop ways to make packet traffic flow from outside the country into your own, but also to make funds available to you locally.

Not an easy feat.

Windows 10 waking up on its own

For the longest time I couldn’t figure out why it was doing this. One night it annoyed me enough that I went digging for the cause and found this link on how to disable devices from waking the system up.

In my case the device manager looks like this:
Windows 10 Device Manager

Under “Mice and other pointing devices” disabled all the HID devices except for “Microsoft USB Dual Receiver Wireless Mouse”. Both the keyboard and the mouse use the same receiver and I wasn’t sure if disabling it would also disable the keyboard. The article itself warns about being unable to wake the system up if you disable all devices.

Now, I previously had already disabled waking abilities on all network adapters but for some reason they always get re-enabled after a Windows 10 update. Worth double-checking after any and all updates.

As a bit extra, I noticed Spotify would wake the system up from sleep as soon as my phone connected to the local wifi network. Not sure why the Spotify developers think their application is important enough to warrant this, but the problem does go away once you disable waking abilities on network adapters.

The new corporate overreach normal

Today I have four stories that are the start of a trend that is quite worrisome.

First we have the story of a composer who says Apple Music destroyed his music collection. This is a case of a company messing around with your livelihood.

Then we have the story of Amazon disabling internet access for Kindle devices. This is a case of a company messing with your entertainment.

Next up is Google Nest disabling the Revolv smart hub because the company doesn’t consider it worth updating anymore. This is a case of a company messing with your convenience for its own profit.

At the last we have this new story of Microsoft disallowing Administrators from disabling the Windows Store in Windows systems. This is a case of a company messing with your ability to do work.

If it had been only one company, that specific product might have been shunned and the company could have corrected its course. But now here we have four of the biggest companies around deciding unilaterally what they think is best for you. Doesn’t matter if you don’t use the specific product talked about. This applies to the entirety of the company.

This is quite on purpose. They want to set the social precedent that it is okay to do this. A legal precedent might not be set since their EULAs usually include arbitration agreements; contracted and paid for by these same companies to make sure customers always lose and prevent the justice system from being able to intervene.

The government is quite unconcerned itself since most of these companies proclaim to support encryption, yet all of them are jumping on the Internet of Things bandwagon. The power of IoT is on its ability to eavesdrop and surveil your life ostensibly for your benefit as an user. The data gets sent to the companies… but must travel through connections that have always been monitored. So the government doesn’t care as long as they can do surveillance.

I’ll only mention Facebook in that their way of functioning precludes them from disabling access to products. Otherwise how can they obtain more information on what you do and who you are?

As it is, Open Source can provide a viable alternative only if we find a way to make sure that the developers of the software we depend on are rewarded for their efforts (remember OpenSSL having no money?) otherwise things like Heartbleed will happen again and again. Companies will provide funds only for things that will directly benefit them and/or their bottom line; never for useful software that competes with theirs.

For myself I know I won’t really use Apple products at this point. I do use Windows but I know I’ll switch back to Linux eventually. I use Google Apps but will brush up on keeping my own mailservers. I like Amazon Prime but I won’t buy a Kindle or an Echo device.

These are conscious decisions about how I interact with the business giants of our age. We all need to do that, lest we risk being stepped on.

Apple Stole My Music. No, Seriously. | vellumatlanta

What Amber explained was exactly what I’d feared: through the Apple Music subscription, which I had, Apple now deletes files from its users’ computers. When I signed up for Apple Music, iTunes evaluated my massive collection of Mp3s and WAV files, scanned Apple’s database for what it considered matches, then removed the original files from my internal hard drive. REMOVED them. Deleted. If Apple Music saw a file it didn’t recognize—which came up often, since I’m a freelance composer and have many music files

Source: Apple Stole My Music. No, Seriously. | vellumatlanta

Back to the torrents.