Month: October 2020

sigh

This is pretty fucken sad lemme tell ya.

Screenshot of RSS reader "City Pages is dead. We had a good run."

What else is there to say? We’re sad as fuck. CP, born Sweet Potato, has employed hundreds of people over the last four decades; below you’ll find a farewell from the edit staffers who rearranged those Titanic deck chairs right up until the very end.

City Pages is dead. We had a good run..

I found my first apartment on its classifieds pages. My first job too as a barista in a Dunn Brothers location that no longer exists.

Last post at CityPages.com

Fork it

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Fork it The last stack of City Pages issues. Ever

Ray of Sun

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Ray of Sun I'm so happy I got a new bed. I'm flat broke after spending a ton of money on it but it's been totally worth it.

The replies are fucken hilarious too.

>_<

With the closing, 30 people will lose their jobs. It adds Minneapolis-St. Paul to the growing list of U.S. cities with no more so-called “alternative” newspapers, which rose out of the 1960s counterculture scene and flourished through the 1990s, throwing sharp elbows in political coverage and spotting the edgiest ideas in arts.

Source: City Pages is closing, ending era of Twin Cities alternative weeklies – StarTribune.com

This fucken sucks

For want of a nail…

‘k, so in a previous post I wrote how I reworked my note-taking and went back to plain text. I had to make a few changes since then:

  • I couldn’t take the atrocious UI of Epsilon Notes any longer. Fucken’a. I just accessed my notes directly through the Nextcloud app and that worked well enough.
  • Vimwiki is working quite nicely, just wish it didn’t fuck with the filetype highlighting but the built-in works well enough. Better concealment of links would be nice too.

Switched out Epsilon for Markor, which is prettier and less of a pain in the ass. But trying to set it up is when I started running into an issue with Nextcloud:

It does not support bidirectional folder sync. At all.

The way Nextcloud syncs everything means you have to access your files through the Nextcloud app instead of being able to use your usual app to open a file. It’s not that much of a change but it does prove annoying because that change is forced on you by the application instead of you (the user) adjusting your workflow organically. People have been requesting this ability since 2016 and the app still doesn’t have it.

When I was using Dropbox as my syncing backend my workflow would be like this:

  1. Mark KeePass file as a favorite in Dropbox.
  2. Dropbox syncs the file to all devices so it’s available through the filesystem itself.
  3. As the file is now stored in a local filesystem you can now navigate to it as you usually would:
    • On desktop you can use a file manager to view the file and open it. Alternatively you can use KeePass to navigate to the file and open it.
    • On Android you can open your keepass app, navigate to the database file, and open it.
    • On iOS the same flow as Android applies.
  4. Should the file change Dropbox will sync it silently in the background to all devices. Password applications will notice the change and ask if you want to reload.

With Nextcloud it goes something like this:

  1. Mark KeePass file as a favorite in Nextcloud.
  2. Nextcloud will sync the file to desktop clients but only mark it as a favorite in mobile devices.
  3. You now have a split flow as the file will be available through the local filesystem on desktop but not on mobile:
    • On desktop you use a file manager, or use KeePass itself. Same UX as you would in Dropbox.
    • On Android you need to open the Nextcloud app, navigate to the database file and the OS will recognize the filetype and open it. You can’t use your password app directly as the file does not exist in any local filesystem. When Android terminates your password app and you then have to reload the file through the Nextcloud app.
    • On iOS it looks like you can select which folders to sync to local filesystem. I haven’t tried using the iOS app myself but if someone can confirm this is the behavior it’d be awesome.
  4. Should the file change Nextcloud will sync it silently in the background but behavior will vary depending on platform:
    • Desktop: File is available through local filesystem. Password applications will notice the change and ask if you want to reload.
    • Android: You go through the Nextcloud app, same as before. Trying to use a password app will result in the app telling you the file doesn’t exist, so you then have to go through the Nextcloud app.
    • iOS: I’m not sure what the behavior is. I’d assume it’s the same as on desktop.

To replicate the default desktop behavior (syncing to local filesystem) you end up having to use other apps like FolderSync. This way files and folders are available just like any other file on the Android device, letting you use automation or customization apps without issues, and saving you from having to configure syncronization settings for each app. Looking at you, Joplin.

My suspicion is Nextcloud developers are doing it this way to increase your awareness of the brand and the application, following the footsteps of Dropbox. For the longest time Dropbox was a rock-solid syncing application that did one thing and it did it really well, but now they’re trying to force changes nobody likes in an effort to make more money.

If this is indeed the case Nextcloud developers are learning all the wrong lessons from Dropbox’ failure to understand what it had. Instead of strenghtening its core they’re throwing a million other things at the wall to see what sticks:

  • Talk: Chat server, basically. There’s already plenty of those already available and I don’t see them supplanting IRC, Discord, or Slack. Ever. Nevermind Zoom or Jitsi.
  • Deck: Project management? There are better apps for that that are easier to configure, manage and secure.
  • Notes: There are a myriad note taking applications out there that work better. I don’t need yet another one.
  • Passwords: Again, there are better alternatives: KeePass, 1Password, LastPass.

Nextcloud has a chance to do that one thing well and do it better than Dropbox ever did— that is, file syncing. I feel they’re consciously choosing to throw it away because they want to get a bit more clout and a bit more money. If they keep at it they’re going to end up like Mozilla.

College has always been a business

It might seem ludicrous to sacrifice public health to preserve indiscretion as an ideal of college life, but that life has never aspired toward well-being in the first place. It’s a deliberate feature of college, not a side effect. “Youthful indiscretions were tolerated and even encouraged as part of the process of upward social mobility that the college facilitated,” Thelin writes.

Source: Why Did Colleges Reopen During the Pandemic? – The Atlantic

You can only do this if you’re white, however. If you’re not white, you’ll likely become another customer of the carceral state and universities are more than happy to throw you down that well.

In the past 60 years colleges have sold the aspirational aspect as something worthy to be experienced no matter the cost. For-profit schools benefited from the halo effect.

No more.

The text itself is the lie

GPT-3 is a communication revolution that threatens to eliminate the possibility of information about the original human intentionality behind a given text post.

Source: GPT-3: Informational Hyper-Inflation – Never Met a Science

Unless you see the name of someone who is a real human on a text you cannot be sure that text was written by an actual breathing human. Even then you’re not assured the text was actually written by a human, merely that it was vetted by a human who then decided it was okay to put their name to this text.

You still cannot be sure the text was actually written by them. As the author of that post says this will only help drive written media away giving priority to audio and video media.

How long until those are mediated by AI? Nvidia is already making a go at it with the purpose of reducing used bandwidth but it won’t be long before the tech is being used to fake entire appearances.

Oh, you want to setup a neighborhood network? They’ll throw the cops at you for that

Stephen Milton, who helped to design and build the Gigabit Now service in Sea Ranch, California explained that his company had to obtain permission from 23 separate local, county, and federal granting agencies to get the new project up and running. Broadband provider Sacred Wind out of New Mexico wrote in a filing to the FCC that an application involving one landowner and one authorizing jurisdiction commonly takes 2–4 years to complete, while something more complex, that involves more than one piece of land spanning multiple authorizing jurisdictions, can take anywhere from 4–8 years to complete. Slow response times translate into delays and adoption lags.

Source: The curious case of Romanian broadband | by Will Rinehart | The Benchmark | Oct, 2020 | Medium

Here in the US most of these bumps are by design by way of from redlining, NIMBYism, and plain old lack of foresight from local governments. This in turn gave more power to state governments who in turn receive most of their regulatory guidelines from the companies they’re supposed to be regulating. A lot of states now explicily forbid cities, counties, and municipalities from even trying to enact their own regulations when it comes to broadband, specially publicly owned infrastructure.

Wealthy neighborhoods will always see at least two companies deal with the regulatory gauntlet as they know the profits to be made will be worth it, which in turn helps attract more wealthy people to the neighborhood. Poor neighborhoods have not seen that kind of investment in decades, and will likely never see it in the foreseeable future. Here in Minneapolis one company is rolling out fiber throughout the city and North Minneapolis isn’t even in the plan for them. This has been a historical goal of racist and classist local governments.

Should government at any level try to change the rules, companies involved in last-mile telecom duopolies will scream bloody murder and call up their wholly owned GOP subsidiary in Congress to keep the status quo.

Organize album order in Flickr

I like Flickr. I have been a paying user for years, since the heady days of Web 2.0. Very photo, so web.

But their documentation fucking sucks. It went down in quality when Yahoo took over, and SmugMug isn’t doing much better. But anyway.

Here’s how to reorganize the order in which albums in the Flickr mobile app show up:

  1. Log in to Flickr on the web
  2. Go to the Albums & Collections section of the Organizr.
  3. At the top of the page make sure Viewing: All Albums is selected.
    Flickr Album Organizr
  4. On the right panel order the albums whichever way you want.

Making this change will have effect in two places:
– The Albums page on the web
Flickr Album page on website

  • The Albums page in the mobile App.
    Flickr Album page on Android mobile app

Neither the Flickr Help Center nor the Help Forum have any posts about this. Now, I’m using the Android app but I assume the iOS-based versions will also follow the ordering set in the Organizr panel.

I wish Flickr enabled a few things:
– Sorting by album metadata (alphabetically, album creation date)
– Sorting by picture metadata (make bigger/smaller albums show up first/last). This would include sorting by last album upload, so albums used the most get shown first.
– Make Collections a first-class citizen on the site. They’ve been relegated as a little used organization tool that no one uses and when it does get used it isn’t showcased.

Flickr has so much to win now that Instagram is being integrated ever more into facebook’s grubby infrastructure.

Night glow

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Night glow

Setting autumn

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Setting autumn

River

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River

Hell of a work area

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Hell of a work area

So meta

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So meta

Ain’t it the truth

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Ain't it the truth

Hoist the flag

Pirate Care is a research process – primarily based in the transnational European space – that maps the increasingly present forms of activism at the intersection of “care” and “piracy”, which in new and interesting ways are trying to intervene in one of the most important challenges of our time, that is, the ‘crisis of care’ in all its multiple and interconnected dimensions.

Source: Pirate Care – Pirate Care

This is a worthy goal. Piracy not for the sake of avoiding to pay for things, but rather as a way to learn about the world and its processes when the entities in power would prefer you not to— whether they be people, corporations, or governments. For these entities any form of non-compliance is to be crushed and its practitioners made customers of the carceral industry.

Got me a new hoodie too!

The Mississippi Park Connection says the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will lower the water level on the river immediately below St. Anthony Falls so it can inspect the infrastructure that’s normally underwater.

Source: Rare chance to see what the Mississippi River in Minneapolis looked like before the dam – Bring Me The News

This looks to be special! I’m going to be right there freezing my ass off to see this.