From Pine View Farm

Geek Stuff category archive

Geeking Out 0

The UPS that I had my modem and router plugged into died tonight.

The first symptom was that I could not load a webpage. I tried pinging google.com and 8.8.8.8. Nada, zilch, nothing.

Following the dictum, always check the hardware first, I saw that the router and modem were powered off. I unplugged them from the UPS and plugged them into the wall outlet, and lights started flashing and everything is working again.

I can’t complain. I’ve certainly gotten my money’s worth from that device, as it’s eight or nine years old, and stuff wears out.

As my old car mechanic in New Jersey would have said, that thing didn’t owe me a dime.

I’ll pick up a new one next week.

Share

Geeking Out 0

The Fluxbox window manager on Ubuntu MATE.

screenshot

Click for a larger image

I could easily see this wallpaper as being from The Lord of the Rings, even though there’s no specific scene into which I could fit it.

Share

Internet of Things Easy Marks 0

Why the hell does a light bulb need to connect to the internet in the first place?

Words fail me.

Via Le Show.

Share

Meta: Phillies RSS Feed 0

I updated the widget for the Philadelphia Phillies RSS feed, over there —-> on the sidebar. The xml for the feed had changed in February and I finally got around to noticing.

The Phils certainly had a rough month in June.

Share

Geeking Out 0

Slackware 14.2 with the Fluxbox window manager.

Screenshot

Share

Geeking Out 0

Ubuntu MATE with the default MATE desktop.

screenshot

Click for a larger image

Aside:

MATE is pronounced “mah-tay.” It refers to a tea served in South America.

It’s fork of Gnome 2 for persons (and I’m one) who loathe Gnome 3.

Share

Make TWUUG Your LUG 0

Learn about the wonderful world of free and open source. Use computers to do what you want, not what someone else wants you to do. Learn how to use GNU/Linux and its plethora of free and open source software to get stuff done with computers.

It’s not hard; it’s just different.

Tidewater Unix Users Group

When: Regular meetings are monthly TWUUG meeting at 7:30 p. m. on the first Thursday of the month.

Because of the Fourth of July holiday, this month’s meeting will be on a Wednesday, July 3, 2019.

Pre-meeting dinner at Chicago Uno, JANAF shopping center, 6:00 p. m. (map)

Who: Everyone in TideWater/Hampton Roads with interest in any/all flavors of Unix/Linux. There are no dues or signup requirements. All are welcome.

Where: Lake Taylor Transitional Care Hospital in Norfolk Training Room (map). (Wireless and wired internet connection available.) Turn right upon entering, then left at the last corridor and look for the open meeting room.

Share

Scoot, Scooters! 0

The current epidemic of rental electric scooters is not a public service.

It’s a get-rich scheme by tech bros who are swooping into cities to drop scooters so they can rent them out, even as they and their customers ignore local laws and public safety. It’s one more example of Silicon Valley’s doing something just because they can get away with it, and it’s causing problems here and in other cities. And, according to a trauma doctor who writes at The Seattle Times, it’s hazardous to your health and the health of others. Here’s an excerpt from his piece:

The surface appeal of these toylike forms of transportation is undeniable; scooters appear simple to operate, fun to ride and represent an environmentally friendly form of transportation. However, in cities that currently allow scooter rentals both users and pedestrians are getting seriously injured. Published data and physician accounts show the correlation between the rise in scooter popularity and serious and sometimes fatal injuries.

In scooter-filled cities, kids and adults alike are riding them in the street, on sidewalks, pedestrian trails … everywhere. The rules of e-scooter riding are clear, but they are not followed. Riders ignore age requirements. Most do not wear helmets. They double-up and ride in areas not conducive to scooters or public safety. Even if rules are followed, riders are crashing due to user error, device malfunction or simply the nature of scooter design.

The city of Austin and the CDC published a study describing injury patterns and rates for e-scooter users. This study, and another in California, clearly show the incidence of head injuries as alarming; nearly half of injured scooter riders sustained serious head trauma.

Aside:

Indeed, I think I wrote in these electrons about being buzzed by two scootering bros weaving amongst pedestrians while at the beach front last summer.

Share

Manufacturing Memories 0

In Psychology Today, Matthew Hutson examines the mechanics of manipulating memory, specifically in the context of what we see on the inner webs. It ain’t pretty, folks.

An excerpt:

Could people remember public events that hadn’t happened at all? In 2010, informed by Loftus’s work, Slate writer William Saletan conducted an experiment on his readers (then analyzed and published the results with Loftus’s lab). Readers saw photos of three real events and an image of one of five fake events, depicted by altering a photo and adding an incorrect caption. One fake photo showed President Bush on vacation with a Houston Astros pitcher during Hurricane Katrina. Another showed President Obama shaking hands with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Readers were asked if they recalled the event and to describe how they felt when first hearing about it.

Half the time, people said they remembered the false event happening, and in most of those cases they said they actually remembered seeing it on the news. They recalled being “torn” upon seeing it, or having “mixed emotions,” or “cring[ing].” Perhaps some people were lying about their recollections, but when told one of the events hadn’t happened, readers guessed the wrong one 37 percent of the time. For them, the fake event was not only real but more real than some of the actual events.

Aside:

I read this article in the print magazine, to which I have been a long-time survivor (it was helpful in my days as a trainer and instructional designer). Selected articles from each issue are available on the website when the next issue has been, well, issued. I made a note to come back to this one because it is a must read, especially in these days of Fox News and their dupes, symps, and fellow travelers.

Share

The Myth of Multitasking 0

David’s guest explains why “multitasking” is not a real thing, and why, indeed, attempting to “multitask” can be counterproductive.

Share

It’s All about the Algorithm 0

David questions how Youtube’s algorithm works.

Aside:

I pay no attention to Youtube’s “recommendations” and routinely turn off “autoplay.” The recommendations are always wrong and autoplay is evil.

Share

Make TWUUG Your LUG 0

Learn about the wonderful world of free and open source. Use computers to do what you want, not what someone else wants you to do. Learn how to use GNU/Linux and its plethora of free and open source software to get stuff done with computers.

It’s not hard; it’s just different.

Tidewater Unix Users Group

When: Monthly TWUUG meeting at 7:30 p. m. on the first Thursday of the month (Junwe 6, 2019). Pre-meeting dinner at Chicago Uno, JANAF shopping center, 6:00 p. m. (map)

Who: Everyone in TideWater/Hampton Roads with interest in any/all flavors of Unix/Linux. There are no dues or signup requirements. All are welcome.

Where: Lake Taylor Transitional Care Hospital in Norfolk Training Room (map). (Wireless and wired internet connection available.) Turn right upon entering, then left at the last corridor and look for the open meeting room.

Share

Practicing the Law the Way Clarence Darrow Did 0

In person and on paper.

Share

Facebook Frolics 0

Share

Facebook Frolics 0

Professor of Communications Joseph B. Walther explores why persons continue to use Facebook despite the recent spate of revelations about the craven venality of its algorithmic manipulative tactics and porous “security” protection. A snippet (emphasis added):

I have been studying the social dynamics of the internet for 30 years, and I suspect what’s behind these apparent contradictions is something psychological. People know about Facebook’s problems, but each person assumes he or she is largely immune – even while imagining that everyone else is very susceptible to influence.

(snip)

The psychological tendency at work here is called “the third person effect,” the belief that media don’t fool me, and maybe don’t fool you, but all those other people are sitting ducks for media effects.

Ironically, this dynamic can encourage people to support restrictions on media consumption – by others. If someone uses, say, a social media site and feels immune to its negative influences, it triggers another psychological phenomenon called the “influence of presumed influence.” When that happens, a person worries that everyone else falls victim, and supports efforts to protect others, even if they think they themselves don’t need the protection.

I commend the piece to your attention.

Share

Gamed 0

At Psychology Today Blogs, Andrew Fishman notes that U. S. Senator Josh Hawley has introduced a bill to ban “free to play” games that include “loot boxes” and other money-making “features.” Fishman a look at the pros and cons of the legislation and some of the issues involved. Here’s a bit;

What’s the problem?

Most of their revenue is earned by relying on “whales,” an industry term for the tiny percent of players who choose to spend money on otherwise free games. Even though whales usually constitute less than 5% of all players, they pay enough to subsidize the game for everyone else.

(snip)

Regardless of whether or not it is a true addiction, few would argue that this type of game is not a problem, especially because games that include optional spending often specifically target children.

Much more at the link.

Share

Facebook Frolics: A Question of Identity 0

At the San Francisco Chronicle, John Diaz considers Facebook’s half-hearted and sporadic efforts to reign in hate speech. After pointing out that Facebook is a private entity and can limit speech if it chooses to, he cuts to what he considers a crucial issue:

The more immediate remedy for Facebook accountability would be to force it to choose: Is it a platform or a publisher?

Facebook has essentially claimed each role, depending on the convenience of the moment.

Follow the link for his reasoning.

Share

Facebook Frolics 0

What Martin Longman said.

Share

Geeking Out 0

The Fluxbox window manager on Slackware 14.2.

Screenshot

Click for a larger image.

(I posted this solely because I find the background image quite striking and you should to.)

Share

The Snaring Economy 0

Philadelphia takes Silicon valley scofflaws to court.

Plus the New York Times Sunday business section had an interesting exploration of Uber, the aforementioned scofflaw, its history of questionable workplace conduct which led to its dumping its CEO and founder, and its IPO.

Aside:

This fits right in with the Bret Stephens column that I cited earlier today.

Share