From Pine View Farm

Geek Stuff category archive

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Listening to The Circular Staircase with the VLC media player on Ubuntu MATE under the Fluxbox window manager. The wallpaper is from my collection.

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Geeking Out 0

Updating a VirtualBox virtual machine of Fedora from v. 33 to v. 34 on Unbuntu MATE under the Fluxbox window manager.

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Geeking Out 0

One of the things I miss from my old place in Delaware is my 21 rose bushes. But I still have virtual flowers. (And, to be honest, we have lots of other flowers on our deck.) On the other hand, living in a condo, I don’t have to mow the lawn. That’s something I don’t miss.

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It’s All about the Algorithm, Abysmal Algorithms Dept. 0

I have a Gmail account (mostly because I have an Android phone and a Google account is required for updates to the device), which I use mainly for news alerts. It is not my primary email address and I do not share it with others except by accident. (That is, when I’m using my email client, I sometimes accidentally compose a message when the Gmail account, as opposed to my primary email account, is in focus.)

The IMAP interface for Gmail includes a mailbox labeled “Important.”

I have observed that the emails which Google considers to be “important” to me are invariably not.

Indeed, in this case, Google is never right and always wrong.

Frankly (I do everything frankly), I find it rather gratifying that their algorithm is not infallible.

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Geeking Out 0

VirtualBox VM of Windows 8 on Ubuntu MATE under the Fluxbox window manager.

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Afterthought:

When I use Windows, I always place the taskbar at the top of the screen.

And you can too.

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Mageia v. 8 with the Fluxbox window manager. The wallpaper is from my collection.

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Updating a VirtualBox VM of Bohdi Linux on Ubuntu MATE under the Fluxbox window manager. The wallpapers on both are from my collection.

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Aside:

Updating a Linux install is nowhere nearly so annoying as updating Windows. Linux updates are much quicker, and reboots are necessary only when the kernel has been updated, so as to start utilizing the new kernel. And you can reboot at your convenience.

Almost all Linux distros have a GUI application for managing software installs and updates. I prefer the command line because I learned very early in my DOS 3.2 days that the command line is always faster (provided, of course, that you know the commands).

Windows requires a reboot after every update so as to update the Windows registry, which is a kludge of unimaginable proportions.

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Geeking Out 0

Listing to The Bat by Mary Roberts Rinehart with the VLC Media Player on Ubuntu MATE under the Fluxbox window manager. The wallpaper is from my collection.

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I Get Mail Spam 0

This one was from

no rep Iy @ amazo n.co m

Following that was this string:

auto.confirm-[nonsense sequence of letters and numbers]@webmails-service.com/

It claimed that my account with a retail establishment was on hold because reasons.

I logged into said account, going to it directly on a whole nother computer. The account was not on hold.

Note the spaces in the sender address and the “I” instead of an “l” in “no rep Iy.”

An inspection of the headers showed that the message was sent from a NAT address and therefore, for all practical purpose, untraceable. I used whois and dig to track down webmails-service.com and the results were most interesting. Needless to say, they had nothing to do with said retail establishment.

You might want to give that a whirl, just to find out how dig and whois work. They are useful tools.

This has got to be one of the clumsiest phishing attempts I’ve ever seen.

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Debian Buster/Sid with the Plasma desktop on my new ThinkPenguin laptop. The wallpaper is from my collection.

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Listening to the BBC adaption of John Dickson Carr’s The Mad Hatter Mystery from The Old Time Radio Theater with the VLC media player on Ubuntu MATE under the Fluxbox window manager. The wallpaper is from my collection.

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Updating a VirtualBox virtual machine of Fedora v. 33 on Ubuntu MATE v. 20.04 LTS with the Fluxbox window manager.

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Miss-Calculation 0

More stuff you can’t make up.

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Geeking Out 0

The Plasma desktop on Mageia v. 7. The wallpaper is from my collection.

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Mageia v. 7 with the Plasma desktop. The wallpaper is from my collection.

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The Trollish Trait 0

Frontiers in Psychology presents a study of those who participate in hate-full conduct on line and finds a common trait. The full report detailing the study’s methodology and findings is at the link; here’s a bit (emphasis added).

In the present study, we sought to investigate whether certain psychological characteristics can predict posting hating comments online. Our results showed that high scores on the Psychopathy subscale was a significant predictor of posting hating comments online; whereas age, sex, high scores on Frustration, Envy, narcissism, Machiavellianism, and Satisfaction with Life scales were non-significant predictors. Interestingly, high scores on the Scale of Envy almost reached a statistical significance (on the level of a strong trend).

Via Psychology Today Blogs.

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It’s All about the Eyeballs 0

At Psychology Today Blogs, Susan A. Nolan and Michael Kimball cite research that persons care more about eyeballs than accuracy when they “share” stuff on “social” media. Here are their main points; follow the link for a discussion of each.

  • New U.S.-based research finds that we’re good at spotting inaccurate social media headlines, but if they are in line with our politics, we often share them anyway.
  • When deciding what to share, we value getting likes and demonstrating our political allegiances more than we value accuracy.
  • The pattern of sharing inaccurate posts occurs among both Republicans and Democrats.

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Mageia v. 7 with the Fluxbox window manager. The wallpaper is from my collection.

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Facebook Frolics 0

Zuckerborg assimilation frolics. Here’s a bit from the EFF’s deep dive into Facebook’s proposal for “reforming” the decades old law that regulation the internet; follow the link for the complete piece.

It’s galling that at the same time Zuckerberg praises Section 230 for creating “the conditions for the Internet to thrive, for platforms to empower billions of people to express themselves online,” he simultaneously calls on Congress to change the law to prevent any innovation or competition that could disrupt Facebook’s market position. Zuckerberg is admitting that after Facebook has benefited from Section 230, he doesn’t want any other competitor to do the same. Rather than take up Facebook’s proposal, Congress should instead advance meaningful competition and antitrust reforms to curtail the platform’s dominance.

Afterthought:

I believe that law is long overdue for a second look. The central provision currently in question was designed to protect neutral platforms from liability for content posted by users.

At the time the law was enacted, the primary platforms were web hosting providers, BBSes, and services such as AOL and Compuserve.

The era of the algorithm had not yet arrived. I believe that now, in the era of the algorithm, when platforms manipulate content to promote “engagement” and “attract eyeballs,” those platforms are no longer neutral in any sense and should be held accountable for the actions of their algorithms.

But the Zuckerborg’s plan to perpetuate its predominance is not the way to go about it.

Rather, what we need is another Teddy Roosevelt.

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The Plasma Desktop on Debian Buster/Sid on my new Thinkpenguin laptop. The wallpaper is from my collection.

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