Code isn’t racist… or so you would think

I researched white supremacist groups and visited the same sites that my husband frequented. After a month of clicking on platforms that ranged from The Drudge Report to The Daily Stormer and reading about the alleged takeover of Illuminati Elite, my computer turned into a Nazi.

Up until then I hadn’t realized that my computer, like me, was ethnically Jewish. The ads that normally filtered through my Facebook feed were preoccupied with celebrity gossip, yarn sales and timely reminders from Chabad.org advising me to pre-order kosher lamb legs for Pesach.

Source: I Married A White Supremacist – Eugene Weekly

This is what constant optimization in the name of marketing does to computing systems. A never ending echo chamber that will happily keep feeding you the same things over and over as they cannot tell what is “wrong” or “right” or “uncouth” or “proper”. They can only do as they’re told.

Then there is the fact there is software that is inherently racist, misogynist and discriminating in all sorts of ways.

Part of the problem is that my current depression not being tied to any particular trauma
Not that I would ever wish something bad on myself or anyone But boy howdy is it easier to figure out when you can point and be like THAT IS WHY SAD

— GhostEsq via twitter

Already got this one

I guess I’ll never be cool because I’m not interested in having a Medium blog.

This site might not be much but I don’t see any service out there putting up with everything I’ve written/reblogged/reposted for over a decade.

When you pay attention to what you type on

At work I use a Thinkpad w510. It’s one of those big slabs of computing that brings you joy to use. It has ye olde scissor switch keyboard that everyone knows and loves. I hear the new chiclet style keyboard is decent… but just that, decent. This keyboard is the real deal, behold:

Thinkpad W510 Keyboard

There’s only one problem. The machine has a Nvidia Quadro FX 880M. This is a really damn nice GPU to have on a laptop and I’m thankful for it. The problem is it runs hot, uncomfortably so for the workloads that I throw at it. This means I ended up having to use an external keyboard to avoid having my left hand run a full 10° higher than the rest of my body. I ended up with this, a regular Apple iMac keyboard:

Apple iMac Keyboard

Since I’m using it on Windows I have to deal with Apples outright disregard for its hardware users on platforms that are not macOS. Now, with this said, I’ve been looking for years for a PC keyboard that has the same key feel as the stuff Apple makes plus a few things:

  • Volume control buttons.
  • Media control buttons.
  • Full set of home keys and numeric keyboard. None of that weird ultra-minimalist keyboards that make you regret using a computer.
  • A full set of F-keys
  • Macro keys would be nice to have
  • Have it be wired. Wireless sucks and it’s insecure. If it must be wireless then give people the option to use an USB cable instead.
  • USB hub.

At home I use a Corsair Gaming K55 RGB keyboard. It’s got all the goodies I outlined above minus the USB hub but it does have backlighting:

Corsair K55 RGB Gaming Keyboard

It’s a nice piece of kit. Not that loud since it uses regular plastic switches as opposed to mechanical, but you can still feel a nice clack when the keys bottom out.

So basically what I want is a flat keyboard like Apple makes but with a bunch of extra keys. Got some benefits for it:

  • Wired means you don’t have to worry about battery life.
  • Flat means you can pack it in a bag with a minimum of fuss.
  • The minimalist look will make people lose their shit.
  • The keys will still feel really nice on long typing sessions.
  • They won’t hear you typing at the coffeehouse across the street.

I’ve been looking for something like this for years, and no manufacturer has stepped up to the plate. They’re all trying to chase the look Apple has but they come up severely lacking when it comes to the functionality. This would be a keyboard for people who are not afraid of buttons on their devices— say, DIP switches on the back to emulate various settings, like the CODE keyboards do. If some Chinese upstart were to start making a device like this and not load it up with a secret keylogger it would probably do pretty well for itself.

But what do I know. After all I’m only looked at as a kitchen hand these days.

What does one do when you’re alone?

I am having to face this question now. About a year ago I was able to answer the question without issues:

  • Nap.
  • Fuck around on the computer.
  • Try to learn how to play the guitar.
  • Read.
  • Read some more (I did not own a telly at the time).
  • Fuck around on the twitter dot com.
  • Work out when able to overcome the ennui.
  • Cook.

Now… I’m not so sure I can answer it without having to face a abyss of self-doubt, recriminations, and the certainty of having broken a heart.

It’s a hard thing to deal with.

I can’t work too hard off the clock because then I will lose myself in work again. As this was my favorite mechanism to deal with things I don’t think it augurs glad tidings that it is back on the table. At least not with the people I work for. At least in a kitchen they would chase me out.

So, what now? I’m kinda sorta sure I’ll find something that I’ll be able to throw myself into… But in the meantime it will Be Hard™.

I do have one thing to hold on to: the need to leave this town. Maybe I’ll be able to make it happen.

Never been to the Atlantic Ocean yet.

It’s more fun to yell at people anyway

A nicely set table, fresh flowers, candles, and music are well and good, but if you have to look at a heap of pots and pans while you’re eating, that special effort you’ve put into dinner into is lost. Guess what? Close the door. Problem solved.

from Why I Will Never Switch to an Open Kitchen

The author raises a very good point, and this is one of the reasons why people just love to go out for dinner. You don’t have to worry about buying the ingredients, prepping them, cooking them, and then washing those dishes to be put away at some later time.

Hell, I like to cook and I felt tired from just writing that. So people go out for dinner.

Another benefit of an enclosed kitchen: When you burn something — which you will if you cook for long enough — you don’t risk having the entire studio/apartment fill up with smoke and then smelling weird for days, possibly weeks.

Press This

WordPress removed the “Press This” bookmarklet because:

  • WordPress developers are fucking idiots.
  • WordPress developers fucking hate you, the user.

Most of the links I put up on this site were usually through the bookmarklet. “We just want to increase security”, they say, then break the functionality without a proper equivalent in place.

They’re probably friends with Firefox developers, who also like to break with the past without regard to their users.

But what do users know, right? Developers always know better.

(Signed off)

Tonight I encountered a bad surprise:

This was the first time in over a decade after being murdered (electronically, that is) I connected to this network. I… I do feel like something has gone into the night, never to return. I expected for there to be at least three or four people. The hardcore users who, no matter what, would be there to show a friendly /whois to anyone who cared to join.

I was a hardcore IRC user. I jumped IPs, ran bnc, shells, anything to hide my real location and identity.

Clean up as you go

There really is no solution, I think. There’s only the frankly awful act of dragging your sorry ass into the kitchen, loading the dishwasher, and wiping down the counters, after dinner, before you land on the couch like an anvil and give up the last of your energy for the day. Just start there. I’m sorry. It’s terrible. It’s a nightmare. But just do it.

Source: Clean Up Now

Life as a Kitchen.

YES YOU HAVE TO THINK ABOUT THESE THINGS

I don’t think any explanation is needed here. However, let me add that if you later decide to change a name (to something sensible like you should have chosen in the first place), you are going to be amazed at the amount of pain awaiting you. No matter how easy the manuals suggest it is to change a name, you will find that lots of obscure software has rapidly accumulated which refers to that computer using that now-ugly name. It all has to be found and changed. People mailing to you from other sites have to

Source: RFC 1178 – Choosing a name for your computer

This is good knowledge to have when making use of this here site.

I only write here on this here blog thing

Source: Submission Fees are Classist as Fuck – CLASH

Once upon a few lives ago I thought of a story, and thought up an outline. Something simple, a riff on a story that has been done a million times by a million people.

During this time I was poor — had to walk to and from work, spent the bare minimum on food, clothes. Everything went towards rent, and saving up for moving elsewhere.

But it turns out you have to pay to submit stories anywhere. The tale died and it’s only memory is of its death.

Fin.

“Vamos a la plaza” turned into “vamos al moll”

In the early 1990s, Manuel Camacho Solís—then Mexico City’s head of government—announced his goal to turn Mexico City into a “global city.” To that end, he approved five redevelopment-oriented urban megaprojects. The reconstruction of the corridor between the Alameda Central—a park in the center—and Paseo de la Reforma was one of them. The others included the revitalization of the city’s historic center; the creation of Santa Fe; the improvement of Avenida Masaryk, the main thoroughfare in the upscale Polan

Source: An Alternate Future for the Mall | Online Only | n+1

This article was written before the ’17 quake struck the city. Given the fact a lot of buildings that did not fall down during the quake are now toppling, it will lead to a redistribution of spaces across the entire city.

Let’s hope the city government will do what is right, providing housing to those who lost it in the neighborhoods they’ve lived for decades, instead of what it easy thing, shoving them out to the edges of the city.

Another skirmish in the culture wars

I have no favored party among the ones named in this article, but this one quote stuck with me:

It’s because the only other person who is able to subvert and defeat a white woman (and her white privilege and white tears) is another fellow white woman.

This is important to remember in identity politics if you are a person of color who will be working with white people, or viceversa.

There is still the fact that the parties involved might be just playing the media at large using their fans to generate untold income.

Bleh

A new sign of the digital apocalypse is the new Equifax breach. I’m not sure if I’m affected but the company is certainly not making any effort whatsoever to help anyone out. The other two credit bureaus, Experian and TransUnion are probably savoring this and will keep doing so until they get hit.

So for the cleanup, there’s this post written by someone with experience in the matter. Not a lawyer, but knows enough to help one on the way.

And just like techdirt say… it will get worse.

The default of your credit identity starting from now on is “stolen”.

tl;dr I want Google Keep extended with WikiWords and file storage.

I’ve toured all the note-taking apps: Evernote, Simplenote, OneNote, Google Keep… and I’ve found them all wanting. These past few months I’ve gone back and forth between Keep and Tiddlywiki trying to figure out exactly what I want I think I finally realized what I want:

  • The speed of Google Keep when it comes to creating and saving new notes.
  • The speed of Pinboard when it comes to tagging.
  • The formatting facilities of Simplenote, which uses markdown. The version control is also nice.
  • The file attachment ease of OneNote when it comes to binary blobs. You can put anything in those notes.
  • For images… well, pretty much everything sucks, but I guess WordPress is a good starting point.
  • The interlinking ease of Tiddlywiki. WikiWords kick ass.
  • The ubiquity of Keep. It’s on your phone, your desktop, your tablet. Which goes back to it being fast.

Reading through this and apparently no one makes a version of Keep that has better text formatting, lets you attach images and decide where they’ll appear, while letting you travel from note to note via tags or WikiWords so you can remember the flow of though that led to that thought sequence.

Paper does not work for having to remember related thought separated by time and space. Plus writing for more than five minutes annoys me.

They say most programming projects start from a developer scratching their own itch. I guess it’s true.

Meh router pffft

And as soon as I think I figured out the issues with Debian the decision was made to get an specialized router device, so that’s that.

Going to do better things with my time now.

A Debian Wifi Router: THE REBOOT

Just like a Hollywood movie, it’s time to do a reboot. Fucking around with the networking stack after every reboot got old real fast. But this time around it looks like the remake is actually better than the original.

The router is still my trusty Thinkpad T60. Other than a couple of scares because of its age it still works! Just need to replace the CPU fan sooner rather than later.

Sources for this were:

Yes, this writing assumes you know what you’re doing on the command line.

Install Operating System

Whatever your version of Debian is, make sure that it’s up to date and that you install the stuff you’ll need:

# aptitude install hostapd rfkill dnsmasq fail2ban

Switched away from BIND and ISC-DHCP because they’re a pain in the ass to deal with. Maybe in the future I’ll use them again, but for the time being… this will do the trick.

Something I keep doing and forgetting to document is changing sshd port from 22 to something else and switching from password authentication to key-based authentication. Fail2ban is useful in blocking people trying to force their way in.

Networking

I had to add both wlan0 and wlan1 manually. Why? Dunno. I suppose they only get added automatically when you’re installing Xorg, which I’m not. Here’s my /etc/network/interfaces:

# This file describes the network interfaces available on your system
# and how to activate them. For more information, see interfaces(5).

source /etc/network/interfaces.d/*

# The loopback network interface
auto lo
iface lo inet loopback

# The primary network interface
auto eth0
iface eth0 inet dhcp

# Intel PRO/Wireless 3945ABG (Golan) Rev 02
#auto wlan0
#allow-hotplug wlan0
#iface wlan0 inet dhcp

# Qualcomm Atheros AR922X Wireless Network Adapter (rev 01)
auto wlan1
allow-hotplug wlan1
iface wlan1 inet static
    address 192.168.1.1
    netmask 255.255.255.0

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

Change permissions and make executable:

# 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

This part remains unchanged from my the initial post. If you want it to do a more thorough job of filtering packets the Ars post is a good place to start.

dnsmasq

Edit /etc/dnsmasq.d/local.conf:

# If you don't want dnsmasq to read /etc/resolv.conf or any other
# file, getting its servers from this file instead (see below), then
# uncomment this.
no-resolv

# Never forward addresses in the non-routed address spaces.
bogus-priv

# If you want dnsmasq to listen for DHCP and DNS requests only on
# specified interfaces (and the loopback) give the name of the
# interface (eg eth0) here.
# Repeat the line for more than one interface.
interface=wlan1

# Uncomment this to enable the integrated DHCP server, you need
# to supply the range of addresses available for lease and optionally
# a lease time. If you have more than one network, you will need to
# repeat this for each network on which you want to supply DHCP
# service.
dhcp-range=192.168.1.1,192.168.1.100,24h

# Set nameservers to use
server=192.168.1.1
server=8.8.8.8
server=8.8.4.4
server=208.67.220.220

Then restart the service with # service dnsmasq restart.

Much, much simpler than trying to configure both BIND and ISC-DHCP just for local networking. The options I included are pretty self-explanatory. If you're going to be assigning IP addresses on more interfaces, make sure to add them.

hostapd

The great big bad. If your card doesn't support Master mode, just stop trying now and go get yourself a plain old router.

For me these are the settings that work on my Atheros card. You will need to figure out what settings work on your own based on your hardware; you can query its capabilities with iw.

Edit /etc/hostapd/hostapd.conf:

# the interface used by the AP
interface=wlan1
# a means 5GHz, g means 2.4GHz
hw_mode=g
# the channel to use. Using 0 will make the AP use ACS to search for the channel with least interference
channel=0
# limit the frequencies used to those allowed in the country
ieee80211d=1
# the country code
country_code=US
# ieee80211n: Whether IEEE 802.11n (HT) is enabled
ieee80211n=1
# QoS support
wmm_enabled=1

# SSID (name of the AP)
ssid=SSID
# 1=wpa, 2=wep, 3=both
auth_algs=1
# WPA2 only
wpa=2
wpa_key_mgmt=WPA-PSK
wpa_pairwise=CCMP TKIP
rsn_pairwise=CCMP
wpa_passphrase=KEY

I tried using hw_mode=a but then OSX and iOS devices have a hard time connecting and staying connected to the network, so I switched bands to 2.4GHz. It's slower but far more stable. You'll want to configure the ht_capab command to better make use of your NIC.

After this is done, edit /etc/default/hostapd, and change the DAEMON_CONF line to match the location of the hostapd config file:

DAEMON_CONF="/etc/hostapd/hostapd.conf"

Make sure to test out the configuration file by actually running hostapd and making sure it runs:

# hostapd /etc/hostapd/hostapd.conf

If you run into issues here you'll have to determine where the issue is coming from:

  • Network card driver
  • Hostapd configuration

In that case run hostapd with one of the debug switches (hostapd -d /etc/hostapd/hostapd.conf) to figure this out. For maximum driver support the best option is to use Atheros-based cards using the ath5k, ath9k and ath10k drivers. Various cards from other suppliers will work, but will require fiddling with the configuration. They're worth a shot if you need to share Internet access with others around you quickly.

Reboot

Yes, you'll actually want to reboot at this point. Why? Because the point of a router is that when you turn it on everything works automatically, without you having to manually start a service. So reboot, and check that

  • All services come up by themselves
  • You're able to have the system act as a router
  • You're not having latency/DNS/throughput anomalies

That's pretty much it. It's a better setup than the first one and it's much easier to control with much less software installed.

Oh Google

I guess Google’s reputation is going down the drain.

Today there was this: Google employee’s anti-diversity manifesto goes “internally viral” at the company . The twitter comments for that Motherboard post on twitter are quite something.

I won’t link to any reddit posts. They’re always a toxic dumpster as it is.

Then today browsing my RSS feeds I found this: Google Introduces “Invisible” Gmail Messages!. I’ve noticed this myself.

So now in addition to being misogynists, they’re ableists (I hate using this term, but it’s true) and if a white male developer in his 20s thinks it’s not worth his time to fix these things… they’ll never be fixed.

A path ahead

I’m stuck in a rut. I thought it would take me longer to get to this point, but looks like that is not the case. I realized this fact after reading this article.

I have two jobs and both of them share


Started writing this, then I got fired from one of them. They would rather keep a bad white employee than a good brown one. You do you, Bite Squad.

I’ll tell you all stories of my adventures there.

Geany on Windows 10

Just don’t use it. Use anything else, but don’t use it on Windows.

Failed software from failed developers. It will waste at least an hour of your life and you still won’t get it to run after testing all compatibility modes.

I tried all versions and could not get it to save files. Even running it from command line with switches failed to provide anything useful. It fails silently, with no recourse.

These devs probably all think systemd is a good idea.

HTTPS

I done went and got SSL on this here site by way of Let’s Encrypt. It was pretty easy.

Not so easy was the run up to get it installed:

  • Update Debian with latest packages
  • Realize Debian is now on oldstable (jessie)
  • Update Debian to stable (squeeze)
  • BREAK EVERYTHING
  • Kinda-sorta fix it (aptitute still suicides on forking)
  • Run $ sudo certbot --nginx and marvel at how far we’ve come along

The last time I tries setting up SSL was a total pain in the ass, and it only got me a self-signed certificate that all of the browsers kept complaining about.

Yay for one thing taken off the bucket list. As an aside, I changed the permalink structure cos long URLs that use a date/time format are annoying and hard to remember. I got the idea for switching from here. I hear it plays hell with your SEO but I don’t particularly care about it here. Everyday at work I suffer from URLs that mean one thing for one person but something entirely different for someone else depending what they are doing.

Annoying as fuck, let me tell you.

Now I just need to figure out a plugin that will let me type stuff into the WP editor in markdown/commonmark, and not make the plugins kill themselves.