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blog.darylsun.page

blog.darylsun.page

/about
Updated June 24, 2024

Daryl Sun --------- Training Facilitator Philippines I play with software and videogames. Sometimes I write things. > _If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants._ > > ~ Isaac Newton, February 1675 About Me -------- * My profile picture across all my official online accounts is close to what I look like in real life. I commissioned it from Krougen; please check out her work! * I'm a training facilitator at a local organization. My tasks involve assisting employees to get training for their positions. * I identify as panromantic asexual, and I'm in a relationship with my boyfriend since 2018. * I'm the Middle Child™, born and raised in my home country. * In my spare time, I read articles, blog posts, and forum threads about whatever is my latest interest for the month. I also enjoy fanfiction. * When I have plenty of time, I like trying out software, services, and technologies just for fun. * Occasionally, I play videogames on PC. I'm particularly fond of cozy simulator games, puzzlers, and simple RPGs. * I have been a casual anime and cartoon watcher ever since I was a child. I prefer shounen anime, but lately, I've gotten into watching isekai anime. * My music tastes can be summarized as: Fall Out Boy, Panic! at the Disco, and The Script. Icebreaker Questions -------------------- * How's your blog coming along? * What media are you fixated on right now? * What music did you listen to on your commute? * What's the last videogame you played? * What are your plans for this upcoming weekend? -----BEGIN GEEK CODE BLOCK----- Version: 3.1 GS d- s:+ a- C++ UL P L+ !E W++ N? o? K? w O? !M !V PS++ PE Y+ PGP++ !t !5 !X R tv b+ DI !D G e++ h-- r++ x- ------END GEEK CODE BLOCK------ Sister Sites ------------ * /now * /status * /blog * /pics * /paste How to Contact Me ----------------- * hello@darylsun.page (best method) * FFFF 47F2 ADA8 73F7 * ssh-ed25519 AAAAC3NzaC1lZDI... * IRC: irc.social.lol/darylsun * Matrix: @darylsun:matrix.omg.lol * XMPP: darylsun@omg.lol * Discord: darylsun (friends only) Where to Find Me ---------------- * These are my online accounts that I check regularly * /proofs * keyoxide.org/hello@darylsun.page ### Social Media * Mastodon: social.lol/@darylsun * Pixelfed: pixey.org/darylsun * BookWyrm: bookrastinating.com/user/darylsun ### Forums * Lemmy: beehaw.org/u/darylsun * discourse.lol: darylsun * MelonLand Forum: DarylSun * 32-Bit Cafe Forum: DarylSun * Juice Bar: DarylSun * basement community: darylsun * IndieWebForum: DarylSun ### Games * Steam: unrealdarylsun * GOG: unrealdarylsun * itch.io: darylsun * Minecraft: DarylSun * tamaNOTchi World: DarylSun * Flowergame: DarylSun * Dragon Cave: DarylSun * Final Outpost: DarylSun * Magistream: DarylSun * Pixel Cat's End: DarylSun * Pixpet: DarylSun * Leetle Adoptables: DarylSun ### Miscellaneous * Archive of Our Own: DarylSun * sourcehut: darylsun Where to Maybe Find Me ---------------------- * These are my online accounts that exist, but check rarely ### Chat * IRC: irc.libera.chat/DarylSun * Matrix: @darylsun:matrix.org * XMPP: darylsun@conversations.im * Signal: darylsun.99 * Session: 05f79daf54df9338183e561383fee58a1417372690c0119f7815f620205f13d211 * Revolt: DarylSun#8176 ### Social Media * Nostr: nprofile1qqs8aem6akpyh2g0y4ww2q8vgh0dfc0pc72wjez589jtkzkge35s4ugagflmd (for testing) ### Forums * Space Bar: DarylSun (inactive) * Midnight Pub: darylsun (inactive) * Minetest Forum (inactive) * Minetest: DarylSun (inactive) * Stardew Valley Forum (inactive) * apioforum (inactive) ### Miscellaneous * GitHub: DarylSum (out of necessity) * GitLab: DarylSum (out of necessity) * Neocities: darylsun (inactive) * Nekoweb: darylsun (inactive) Where to Not Find Me -------------------- * Any accounts that use my name, user name, or profile picture on the websites below do not belong to me * Facebook * LinkedIn * X * Misskey * Firefish * Threads * Instagram * Pinterest * DeviantArt * Snapchat * Reddit * Kbin * Hacker News * Lobste(.)rs * Tumblr * Cohost * Medium * TinyLetter * Buttondown * Substack * YouTube * Vimeo * Nebula * Telegram * Line * Clubhouse * TikTok * Twitch * Codeberg * SpaceHey * Dreamwidth * Fanfiction(.)net * Wattpad * Fandom * Epic Games Last updated 2024-06-24. Inspired by Where to Find Me. Explore the omg.lol directory!
blog.darylsun.page

blog.darylsun.page

/now
Updated June 24, 2024

What I'm working on ------------------- * Reformatting my old blog posts to look like gemlog posts * Backporting my old blog posts to my capsule on my new Gemini host What I’m reading ---------------- * Inclusive Design Patterns by Heydon Pickering What I’m watching ----------------- * Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba * That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime * Frieren: Beyond Journey's End What I’m listening to --------------------- * Children of Night by Jonathan Young What I'm playing ---------------- * Stardew Valley * APICO * Granblue Fantasy Last updated 2024-06-24. Inspired by Derek Sivers' /now page. If you have your own website, you should make one, too. Find me elsewhere! View the /now garden!
dahlia.foo

dahlia.foo

/now
Updated June 21, 2024

Buildspace nights and weekends s5 --------------------------------- I started buildspace nights and weekends season 5 this week. It’s an event where people commit to working on an idea for 6 weeks with others working on theirs too. My idea is that i’m gonna write 100 posts and publish them on linkedin and my website. Got a 2 year postdoc in canberra -------------------------------- It’s with the the Sequeira Lab run by Ana Sequeira. They mainly study the movement ecology of large migratory marine animals (eg. sharks, turtles, seals, whales). I’m excited. I’ve been looking for a project that combines marine science and some tech. I feel this is it. Back in singapore in the meantime --------------------------------- I’m on my annual winter migration back to the tropics before I officially start my new job in August. I’m still doing some casual work remotely for my previous jobs, but also working on my web design / marketing side business, resubmitting rejected manuscripts, training jiu jitsu (lots of nogi), and… nights and weekends s5! I’ve packed up my stuff in tassie and will fly straight to canberra in August. Will meet Kane there – he’s doing all the driving. Still haven’t found a place to live in Canberra. Looking!
denisdefreyne.com

denisdefreyne.com

/ideas
Updated April 28, 2024

This is a (very much) incomplete list of ideas that have been roaming around in my head, roughly sorted by stage. It is up to date as of April 28th, 2024. The way I see it in my mind is that projects start off in the _ideation_ 💡 stage, move on the _prototyping_ 🌱 stage, and then eventually moves on to the _build_ 🏗️ stage — unless it gets put _on hold_ 🥀. See also: About Ideas Now Software projects ----------------- Software, whether open-source or not. ### Build a budgeting app **Stage**: On hold 🥀 See Budgeting app prototype. It is something I’ve been working on on-and-off for a long time. ### Build a personal database app **Stage**: Ideation 💡 Such an app would allow writing down data in a structured format with all the benefits that come from it: custom queries, custom views. It would also allow exporting to different formats, including HTML for inclusion on web sites. Similar to FileMaker, Bento, TapForms, Steward, AirTable, Notion databases. The app would ideally be local-first, with cloud sync available, and the data format would need to be open (or good export options would need to be available, but that’s less interesting). Use cases: * **Personal library**: What books do I have? What have I borrowed from people? What have I lent to people?) * **Job search**: What jobs have I applied to? What is the status? Is there anything I need to do to progress particular applications? * **Reading list**: What books do I want to read? What have people recommended me? What am I reading right now? What have I read and what did I think about it? * **Recipe list**: What are the recipes that I like to make and want to share with others? ### Build presentation software **Stage**: Ideation 💡 I like Keynote, but it sometimes feels limiting and awkward, especially in the way it supports builds and animation. I’d like something more advanced. I don’t know what technology I’d use for that. ### Build a color palette designer **Stage**: Ideation 💡 I have my own hacked-together set of color palette designers that I use on denisdefreyne.com, but polishing that into an app could be really nice. Does not have to be an _app_ necessarily; could be an online tool too. ### Build a feature flag service **Stage**: Ideation 💡 There are few open-source feature flag services out there, and the ones that exist are just not good. I could definitely whip up something better, but it’s unlikely to happen because I’d only really feature flag systems in a work context… ### Build a production change tracker **Stage**: Ideation 💡 Keeping track of changes to production is useful for debugging, auditing and postmortem construction. What is deployed and when? What changes to feature flags have been made, by whom and when? See also: Project idea: Captain’s log. ### Build a development environment setup tool **Stage**: Ideation 💡 The tooling at Shopify is remarkable, and especially the `dev up` command is magic, as it sets up an entirely development environment. I have since reimplemented the `dev` tool at a later company,111 I wrote about this `dev` tool reimplementation in Week­notes 2022 W34: Insomnia and then later in Week­notes 2022 W45: Burn II.  but it is intellectual property of that company and since leaving222 I wrote about leaving this company in Week­notes 2024 W04: End of work.  I no longer have access to it. I miss it! I need to reimplement it again and share it with the world! This tool would not use Docker. On macOS, Docker is far too slow to provide a reasonable feedback loop. ### Create a programming language **Stage**: Ideation 💡 I have started on this so many times, because it is just plain old fun — at least at the beginning, and then it gets remarkably tedious. Heh. But still, there is potential in creating a programming language that is different from anything else out there. Maybe a programming language with no globals? Non-fiction writing ------------------- Articles, books, talks, and the like. ### Write a “how to memoize” article **Stage**: Ideation 💡 This would be an article reflecting on the learnings I had writing a memoization library (ddmemoize — now abandoned). I already gave a talk in a similar vein, How to memoize, though this article would reflect more on the weird/unusual bits of Ruby knowledge that I gained in the process. Topics that this would cover: metaprogramming, `#freeze`, thread safety, weak references and soft references, metrics. ### Write a “how to code review” article **Stage**: Ideation 💡 It is an established practice to do code reviews, but there is a lack of clarity on how to do it, and why to do it. Some practices are counterintuitive (e.g. the purpose of code review is not to find defects). This might be part of a larger collection of writing on software engineering principles. ### Write software engineering principles **Stage**: Ideation 💡 This is an extension of the previous idea on writing down my practices on doing code reviews. See also: software engineering principles. ### Create a “build a programming language” talk **Stage**: Ideation 💡 In about 30 minutes, this talk would run through creating a programming language and writing a (tree-walking) interpreter for it. It wouldn’t be a _great_ programming language at the end of those 30 minutes, but the talk would touch on most of the core concepts (tokenizer, parser, symbol resolver, evaluator). Miscellaneous ------------- Stuff that doesn’t fit elsewhere. ### Build a new about page **Stage**: Prototyping 🌱 My personal web site has a homepage which has a _little_ bit about myself, but really not very much. I’d like something that contains just a lot more. Who am I? What am I interested in? What have I done in the past? What drives me? What do I want to do next? See About (brainstorming). ### Convert my CV to be skill-based **Stage**: Prototyping 🌱 My current CV lists my experience, and “core skills” to the side. It does not properly highlight the skills I have (and want to use); it uses work experience as a mediocre proxy. A skill-based CV could be much more interesting. This could tie into Skills I have. The work experience would still be there, but perhaps secondary. (Hopefully it does not bring my CV to three pages, but it in all likelihood will.) ### Publish my library **Stage**: Ideation 💡 Publish a list of books that I own and have read. Maybe also books that I want to read. Perhaps also add reviews of books I have read. This would be nice because people could then ask “can I borrow this book” and then I could lend them the book. I could even mark books as “to give away.” This could include not just books, but also movies, TV shows, and games, though that might push the scope a little. It could be neat to publish this in a computer-readable format too: see Library JSON - A Proposal for a Decentralized Goodreads (Tom Critchlow). ### Create a new default Nanoc site template **Stage**: Ideation 💡 When you run Nanoc’s `create-site` command, you get a web site that looks like it’s straight from the early 2010s — probably because it is. The HTML is not great, the CSS is quite dated, and the design is not mobile-friendly.333 In my defense, maybe that is because Nanoc is older than the iPhone. Nanoc is old. Ancient, even. But still relevant in 2024!  A new default template could be useful. Or even a set of default templates that you could choose from: a minimal site (sort of what it generates now), or something more advanced like a personal web site with blog posts written in Markdown. Note last edited April 2024.
jakob.space

jakob.space

/about
Updated June 23, 2024

* About * Tags * More ▼ Sorry Guys, I Have to Troubleshoot My USB Drivers Before I Can Play With You ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- June 23, 2024 ❖ Tags: writeup reverse-engineering linux operating-systems hardware This blog post is about a GNU/Linux rabbit hole I fell down in the belief I was chasing a mighty adventure. It was not nearly as adventurous as I had hoped, but I am nonetheless posting about it in case this information is helpful to someone else. My story begins with a purchase of four wireless gamepads from 8BitDo. I had done little research outside of scrolling past a few positive comments about their products on the Fediverse and viewing enough of their marketing materials to see that the controller I was interested in was supported by SteamOS. That was enough to encourage me to put in an order, so I did, and patiently awaited their arrival. When they were finally in my hands, I plugged two of them into my media center, hoping to play some Mario Kart with Oli. They were clearly working in some capacity because RetroArch pops up a toast when it detects that a controller has been plugged in, but something was wrong. I twiddled the analog sticks and I mashed the buttons. Nothing seemed to happen. read more → What I've Learned About Formal Methods In Half a Year ----------------------------------------------------- April 10, 2023 ❖ Tags: writeup, formal-verification, lean, alloy, lisp, scheme I started working on my master's degree last September. The goal was to return to my workplace as a domain expert in formal methods – a topic I knew I was interested in, and yet something I knew practically nothing about. I partially attribute my lack of exposure to the lack of supervised learning opportunities (courses) at my undergraduate institution. Brown has an ample supply of teaching and research faculty who work in the field, though, so I've been taking advantage of that and soaking up as much knowledge as I can. I'm writing this to summarize what I've learned and done through my few months at grad school, and also to touch on what I have yet to learn because, as it turns out, three semesters is not nearly enough time to become a "domain expert" in anything. A beginning practitioner, perhaps, but I'm sure even that's an overly-generous characterization. read more → Pushing Haunt to Its Limits --------------------------- December 12, 2022 ❖ Tags: writeup, programming, lisp, guile, scheme, webdev When I started writing this article, I didn't mean to do anything more than describe a comment system I'd written in Guile. But as often happens when I write, I soon found myself disregarding that original scope and recording the history of every line of code I've written that's ever been run by a web server. I settled on allowing this to be an article about incorporating dynamic content into a Haunt site – a use-case that Haunt probably wasn't built to support, but which works surprisingly well due to Haunt configurations being ordinary Scheme programs. read more → I Love My PinePhone ------------------- August 26, 2022 ❖ Tags: writeup, programming, arm, rust, pinephone, alpine, postmarketos, emacs For the past ten months, I've been using my PinePhone as a "daily driver." By which, I mean it's been in my pocket everywhere I go, and it's the device I use to make phone calls. Depending on your familiarity with the PinePhone (or the state of "Linux Phones" more generally) this statement is either delirious, or vapid (why should I care that you use a "smart" phone just like the rest of us?) Don't be mistaken: the PinePhone is usable as a little cellular-capable PDA, and it's in a league of its own. This article is my attempt to document my experiences and rationale for wanting to use one, as well as my thoughts on mobile Linux in general. read more → Rust on the Flipper Zero ------------------------ July 05, 2022 ❖ Tags: writeup, rust, embedded, hardware, flipperzero My Flipper Zero arrived in the mail a few weeks ago, ending a nearly two-year wait for its arrival. For the uninitiated, it's a "multi-tool device for geeks": a development board for radio, IR, and GPIO in a Tamagotchi\-like form-factor. It combines the capability of the GoodWatch with the cuteness of the Pwnagotchi. Part of the appeal, to me, is the ability to hack on the free (as in freedom) firmware. As capable as it was out of the box, providing plenty of amusement when my brother and I took it for a spin through some parking garages, there are still features I'd like to add to it. The problem is that I've been too pampered by Rust as of late to want to do my firmware hacks in C. read more → A Good-Bye Letter To My Life-Long Companion ------------------------------------------- May 13, 2022 ❖ Tags: non-technical Last night – Thursday, May 12th, 2022, at 22:17L – my cat was put to rest. I tend to avoid publishing anything non-technical to this website, but she deserves to be remembered, and this is the only place I can be confident my writing will last. She'd been with me through most of my life, always bringing me comfort when I was stressed, and keeping watch over me when I was sick. I owe this to her. read more → ret2emacs --------- April 14, 2022 ❖ Tags: writeup, capture-the-flag, emacs, binary-exploitation, heap-feng-shui It's that time of year again where I take some time to reflect on UMass CTF. This is going to be shorter than last year's. I put out eight challenges, and I'm only going to be writing about one of them. Code, documentation, and write-ups for the others are available here. read more → Dollar Bin Reverse Engineering ------------------------------ December 24, 2021 ❖ Tags: writeup, hardware, reverse-engineering, tc32, radare2, java The background for this project is a lesson in avoiding dishonest vendors. Two years ago, I was looking to purchase a smart watch with sleep tracking capabilities; I've always had difficulty sleeping and wanted a way of finally quantifying that difficulty. One of my requirements was the ability to pull data off of the watch without the use of proprietary software, so the only options I was seriously considering were those on Gadgetbridge's "supported devices" list. At the time, I was still in high school, and still awed by the affordability of consumer electronics on websites such as AliExpress (woefully unaware of the ethical implications of supporting a totalitarian state's economy). Moreover, I was somewhat capable of reading and writing 汉语, so the Xiaomi Mi Band 2 fit the bill. I took to Ebay to purchase one, finding a listing for 10.99 USD with free shipping. I ordered it, and things were okay. That is, until the package arrived. read more → UMass CTF 2021 Postmortem ------------------------- April 19, 2021 ❖ Tags: writeup, capture-the-flag This was the first year our capture-the-flag event, UMass CTF 2021, was open to the public. The competition started Friday, March 26th at 18:00 EDT, and ended Sunday, March 8th at the same time. By the end of the competition, we had **1991 registered users**, belonging to **1160 registered teams**. No teams were tied, we had just one unsolved challenge, and each of the "harder" challenges had just one or two solves. read more → UMass CTF 2020 - suckless Writeup --------------------------------- December 13, 2020 ❖ Tags: writeup, capture-the-flag, security, binary-exploitation, myrddin Well, this is certainly overdue. It's the writeup for a challenge I authored for this year's UMass CTF, which ran from _October 5th to October 12th_. Yes, I'm late. But when you attend a university that tried very hard to squeeze the entire semester twelve weeks, you're going to deal with burnout and not nearly enough time to do things outside of your coursework. So I'm finally coming back to the challenge now that the semester's ended. read more →
knowing.net

knowing.net

/ideas
Updated April 28, 2024

2024-04-28 * Thinking of buying some clear resin to see if my u/w magnifying math is accurate: I can 3D print the biconvex lenses, smooth the printing with spray lacquer, and get a _sense_. It won't be usable quality, I wouldn't think, but the curves aren't insane, even for a material with a lower refractive index. 2024-04-14 * My latest stupid idea is an underwater magnifying glass. Normal magnifying glasses don't work well underwater because seawater has a refractive index of 1.33 and common optical acrylics and glass are only ~1.50. There used to be a company in Belgium that sold an u/w magnifier for around $150 and you had to wait in line to get one, but they seem to have gone out of business. The math is pretty straightforward and so I've put an RFP out on Alibaba.
linesandripples.com

linesandripples.com

/ideas
Updated April 24, 2024

Apr 24 2024 A New Lack of Information ------------------------- I was sitting at my computer this evening googling about a half-formed question, something like “how much of the current U.S. and world economy is made up of goods versus services, how is a ‘good’ defined, and is there any sign that the U.S. service economy is losing ground in the post-Covid era?”–when it occurred to me (or rather, occured to me _all over again_) that all of the sources I found online were not very good. Now, if I brought a little prior knowledge and intentional effort the question, if I searched for respectable public institutions–like the Fed–that put their data online, I would surely find a start to these questions. But these are things that one would have to know. For the average person, you want to know the answer to something non-commercial, you just start typing questions as they occur to you, and you will probably give up clueless because online search these days is remarkably bad. It’s not that all of my questions had been targeted by low-quality content farm sites, but rather that a lot of the more mainstream sites that came up first–like a link to a LinkedIn post, or a Forbes article, or a Harvard Business Review blurb– were all generalist filler. And on down for several pages, with the occasional news article from a few years ago or a general Wikipedia topic (”Service economy”) thrown in. Search is not very good in large part because the sites that count as “average” are mediocre at best. And don’t get me started on bots like ChatGPT. Yes, you ask a question like this of a bot and you get a coherent answer back, but whence this answer from the void? Maybe some services like Bing will give you a few citations attached to the answer, but guess what? Those citations are just sourced from the same search services I was complaining about above. If the two services that currently define the information landscape are search (Google _et al_) and chat (ChatGPT etc), then we are choosing between a graveyard of irrelevant “content” and a polished but low-context book report. Even as more life is spent online, the online world gets thinner and thinner. More often, when I want to know something, I find myself confronting a situation that had nearly slipped from my memory: how would I figure this out if I _wasn’t_ online? Who would I ask, and how would I go about asking it? What identifiable _source_ would I need to read? To me, the idea that a little more space might be opening up behind the screen is an exciting thought. But I do worry that if the internet completely falls apart as an information ecosystem, there will be nothing left to backstop it anymore. What would a revitalized world of information look like, without that now-old idea of the “world wide web?” Tags information internet Permalink Feb 21 2024 Dayswork -------- I’ve been reading Jennifer Habel’s and Chris Bachelder’s book _Dayswork_. Actually, dipping into it, then falling away; losing interest for a while. then coming back. The episodic approach to reading works quite well for a book, written during the Covid pandemic, in an aphoristic format. Many of its passages could be tweets. The book has the feel of something written in a makeshift desk–maybe from a closet–when the writer is supposed to be doing something else (I don’t know, exactly, what the writing process was for _Dayswork_). But it also reads like a product of the distracted modern condition of reading. Judging by how active even many serious writers have been on X/Twitter over the past decade, I suspect that distraction is also the predominant condition of writing today.1 The waves of “Melville revival” that brought him into the American canon have always had an obsessive devotion to the historical Melville; the quotidian, _real_ person: adventurous, flawed, idiosyncratic. _Dayswork_ contributes to the cult of the author. While the book does use Melville’s literary work as an anchor, it spends just as much time pecking at the minutia of the author’s life. The book spends a lot of time introspecting about other figures connected to Melville, some of them people he knew (his wife Lizze Shaw, daughters Elizabeth and Frances) and others later interpreters or admirers, like Elizabeth Hardiwick. One of the most frequently mentioned figures, “The Biographer,” is still commenting on Melville as of early 2024. The Biographer remains unnamed until the book’s end. He is Herschel Parker, a retired English professor and Melville scholar from the University of Delaware. Author of not just a Melville biography, but of a Melville meta-biography. And, most relevant to _Dayswork_, he also maintains an active blog in which–guess who?–Melville comes up a lot. As a character, Parker does not come off well in the book. After it was published he responded with obvious annoyance. _Dayswork_ is above all a book of personalities, and I have a few thoughts about its relationship to personas like Parker. Are its antagonisms really any different than authors in the pre-internet era, inserting gossip about contemporaries into their books? Writers have included one another in fictionalized form, walking all the way up to libel and beyond, since before mass printing began. But there is a sense of detachment in how the authors speak about Parker, as if what they say about him is not so much directed at him–as with a debate or conversation–as it is whispered about him. Take this episode in Chapter 6 > On the morning of the wedding Melville took a walk on the Common. > > Or, Herman sallied out early in the forenoon for his last vagabondizing as an unmarried man,” in the words of the Biographer. > > Whose blog entry for today, I see, reports a frustrating transaction with Netflix: > > He ordered the BBC’s Cymbeline starring Helen Mirren, but instead received a “hyper-violent” version from 2015 featuring dirty cops and a biker gang. > > “Sealed it up and sent it back.” > > Which must mean, my husband pointed out, that the Biographer still has a DVD subscription to Netflix. > > Not wanting to pay to access the movie through Amazon Prime, he ordered a copy on eBay, asking the seller to make sure it wasn’t the violent biker version. > > For days, according to his blog, the Biographer has been yearning to listen to the Act V recognition scene in the BBC version of Cymbeline. > > Earlier this year he wrote that while doing exercises in the middle of the night he’d been listening to film adaptations of Shakespeare, including some other version of Cymbeline— > > “Nothing more consoling than Act 5 over and over.” Let this be an example to anyone who posts the trivial ups-and-downs of everyday life to the internet–or a blog :). Parker is someone who has elected to put himself on display. One difference between an old-school blog like Parker’s and modern social media is that the following on a blog is harder to see. From the inside of a blog, there is always a little bit of a sense of talking to oneself. From the outside–when you comb through the archives of someone’s thoughts, especially the old ones–there is always a little bit of a voyeuristic quality, like looking at someone’s private papers or files. But voyeurism has not gone away with modern social media, which has–if nothing else–lowered the bar for two-way participation on the internet. Still, to be online is to be hit with far more “content” than one’s capacity to produce it. This makes “lurking,” a term that refers to passive reading of old-school internet message boards, into the default online condition. When reading _Dayswork_, it is hard to get past the sense that the authors are very online, lurking around their subject(s). I don’t even know if they would dispute this claim. Maybe it is because of the pandemic, which made both acquaintances and strangers feel far away for a while, that the book feels like it is gossiping about all of its subjects–even Melville. In _Dayswork_, like the pandemic, being online is a condition that is endured. The short-form writing–the distracted writing–that thrives on the contemporary web is well-suited to this gossip. Even if they are writing about a master of American long prose, one of _Dayswork_’s accomplishments is to bring a tweet-sized version of Melville into view–a Melville that is both viable to and relevant within the distraction economy. Tags herman\_melville literature contemporary aphorism Permalink Feb 7 2024 The Internet of Information: Ends and Beginnings ------------------------------------------------ A useful but somewhat unsatisfying definition of “information” is that it is anything that reduces uncertainty. For some time I have found myself thinking about the conditions under which the internet–I”ll define it here as a worldwide information-sharing network–might wither away substantially, or even disappear from recognition. Those thoughts have only accelerated for me as it appears that the internet, in its contemporary form, is becoming an ever-more parasitic on itself. ChatGPT, which was likely produced through large-scale bulk collection of as much of the internet as possible, is only the latest version of this trend. There is more incentive than ever to capture information on both the intake side–through super-dominant platforms that host the great majority of the world’s new information that enters the internet each day–and on the archival and retrieval side–where ever-more information is “read” by bots and metadata collection agencies. On the 2024 internet, web activity by bots and automated tools is almost evenly split with the traffic generated by actual humans. Yes, this network of interconnected smaller networks known as the internet is likely to be kept around as long as possible, since it is has a lot of uses (many of them lucrative) to so many. This is the _infrastructure_ internet, the network that connects things for its own sake, because it is always potentially useful to be able to send a message to a faraway place. By objective measures the internet is still growing at a considerable year-over-year pace. But is the amount of _information_ on the internet still growing? The internet took on a new life when it became a series of interconnected documents. When I write “document” here, I don’t just mean text in any specific format (although a lot of early internet documents were in fact plain text). Instead I mean document in the most abstract sense: a unit of information. Information rarely stands alone; it is always based on prior efforts to know or establish something, if only implicitly. Therefore any document owes its existence to others which came before it. The internet can be thought of as an attempt to make as many documents–information–visible and “on the map,” to make the relationship between information units explicit–and to foster the creation of new connections that would not have been otherwise created. The typical internet growth chart begins in 1990, near the time when Tim Berners-Lee’s research group implemented a version of hypertext for linking documents into a single network. In a 1999 reflection on the fast-maturing internet, Berners-Lee recounts the type of general relationship that he wanted to create with hypertext: > So long as I didn’t introduce some central link database everything would scale nicely. There would be no special nodes, no special links. Any node would be able to link to any other node. This would give the system the flexibility that was needed, and be key to a universal system. The abstract document space it implied could contain every single item of information accessible over networks–and all the structure and linkages between them. > > Hypertext would be most powerful if it could conceivably point to absolutely anything. Every node, document–whatever it was called–would be fundamentally equivalent in some way. Each would have an address by which it could be referenced. They would all exist together in the same space–the information space.1 Berners-Lee strove for a decentralized document network: everything could be linked to everything else only because there was no priority between the units. The intention to decentralize the network points to a curious feature of this model: it is a network with infinite extent (links can always be added) and no depth (documents cannot establish priority over one another, only connection). By making it easy to establish links between documents, the modern public internet became widespread at the expense of establishing its authority. To give an example, if you want to know something obscure about the city of Cleveland, Ohio, then the internet is usually the the first and primary (most common) method, and the most expedient one (because it is fast and never closed)–but only rarely does it have the final answer on any issue.2 And yes, this goes for Wikipedia , too. The informational internet started to come under strain at soon as it began to replace the authorities upon which it implicitly relied. Electronic communication has replaced authoritative knowledge with knowledge that is merely “the fastest” and the “most expedient,” and this in turn has replaced information with “information about information” (metadata). What are the signals on a social media platform–the “like,” the “view,” engagement, etc–other than a way to turn metadata into a public, gamified social signal? Information itself becomes “content,” which is really just a way of valuing the container over the thing itself. There is no guarantee over the long run that a worldwide public network continues to draw any trust or interest. It is quite possible that there continues to be a network through which Bank A can send a request for funds transfer from Bank B, but that there is nothing of use on that network to the public at large. Most or all of the indicators of activity on the internet today–number of links, visits or reactions–have no connection to its status or value as information. What I wonder is if and how long this continues. It is possible that the internet settles into a status of quasi-stable dystopia, washed over by regular waves of distracting and entertaining sideshow–maybe this can just continue forever. But it is also possible that the whole thing falls apart over time. This would be the more hopeful outcome, but it would require a painful breaking point: paranoia grows and trust wanes so badly that it becomes clear the only sane choice is abandonment, as deflated and boring as a reality without worldwide connection might look, at first. And what comes after? Who can say, but I doubt it would be a return to paperbook books and snail mail. Maybe a set of more manageable, deliberately regional networks take the place of the worldwide web; maybe what is now called information becomes so rare that a new value attaches to it, and it begins to grow back. Tags collective action web commons communication Permalink Jan 24 2024 Dilemmas to Start With in the Humanities Today ---------------------------------------------- I have come across a few different sources lately that debate the importance of the humanities. Among them: 1. Agnes Callard: “I Teach the Humanities, and I Still Don’t Know What Their Value Is” 2. The Liberating Arts: Why We Need Liberal Arts Education The institutional situation is that a lot of these subjects still draw interest from undergraduate students, especially in their first year(s), before they have to pick a major. But fewer students choose to stick with the humanities: the most recent long-term report I could find said 25 percent fewer from 2012 to 2020, although there may have been a slight swerve upward since then. The overall trends are extremely worrying for the survival of many humanistic disciplines across the entire American university system. The theories about the cause of the decline are everywhere, so prominent and repetitive that most are not even interesting to summarize. Everyone working on the inside of these departments has to decide for him or herself why the humanities are declining. A few thoughts: 1. When the argument is about the societal importance of the humanities, there may just be a mismatch between what humanistic culture contributes to collective life (a lot, I think), and what is in the short-term advantage of any single student to study and pursue. That is, there may not be enough good cases for “risking” one’s own future to study humanities, even if everyone–including those who don’t study the humanities–are better off if there is a critical mass of people who do. 2. It could also be that the humanities are as much effect as they are a cause of a healthy society. That is, the humanities don’t make people or societies good, they follow when these things _already are_ healthy and “good.” When people enjoy some stability, confidence in themselves, and sense of future continuity–it is at this point that many people choose to engage with ultimate, open-ended questions in literature, philosophy, art, etc. Or, when a culture becomes troubled, these subjects are still practiced, but they move out of institutions. This could be because the institutions contribute to the underlying problem, or because institutions like the university no longer understand open-ended inquiry as worth pursuing. Both seem to be occuring in our own time. 3. In places where the humanities are doing well and at the center of what a college does, the setting is often religious, or otherwise not invested in the critical humanities. This means places like Hillsdale College, where “Western values” and the “Western tradition” make up a fixed curriculum attached to a confident moral and political project. And usually, it’s a project with a built-in constituency. For the forseeable future, there will be a huge cultural gulf between the faculty at these schools and secular American humanities departments–to the point that people on either side will not recognize one another as a legitimate version of the humanities. I am not religious, and yet I wish there was more exploration of how the humanities didn’t have to be the critical humanities. Humanistic study appears indefinitely stuck in cul-de-sac of critical detachment: many mainstream academics recognize the problem. But it seems to me that there is a different-in-kind problem that presents itself here: if you’re doing critical work and you want to stop, it’s very hard to do that without abandoning academia entirely. To my knowledge, there are a few senior people with tenure who, say, write novels instead of criticism, but there is no way to even propose that within the formative stage of one’s career. I would love to hear counterexamples. Maybe the way out of the critical trap is to trade in some humanities departments for more art schools. 4. Finally, I worry that the humanities looks too much like a closed book today, that the humanities are still too focused on “the tradition,” antiquarianism, and old things in general. This is obviously not true of all humanistic work, including the humanistic knowledge that is most implicated in the American culture wars today. But for the humanities in their present endangered state, the real struggle is to get students to take the classes and read the books at all. In other words, it’s hard to persuade students even to be consumers of humanistic knowledge. And so it would be beyond the pale, almost unthinkable, to propose that more students _produce_ humanistic work. But as much as we need more people who have a deep sense of history, of the strangeness of other historical moments, I worry that the humanities start at a disadvantage when they are presented mostly in terms of the past. There needs to be a more expansive vision of what it means to produce humanistic work today, such that more students can see themselves in that work–regardless of their major or what they go on to do for work–and the humanities looks more like a living, ongoing, future-oriented project. Tags criticism detachment art culture Permalink Jan 5 2024 Human Switches -------------- I don’t use rideshare apps that often these days. Over the break I used the Uber app for the first time in a while. Little things had changed here and there in the UI–as they usually do with web tech–but I was surprised to see that they now offer a setting for “conversational level.” That is, you can set in advance how much your driver is supposed to talk to you. But conversation is not actually a function of the app that can be dialed up and down. It’s a thing your driver does, a service (or disservice) that for the moment, can still only be performed by the driver. You are not actually setting anything, just registering a preference that will be communicated to the driver along with your other ride information. I don’t know why this bothered me, or even made me think. Maybe I don’t use enough person-to-person apps. Let’s be honest, for any app in the gig economy, the entirety of the software platform is really a way of turning a person (“gig worker”) into a set of menus and toggle switches (“grab \[X\] food at \[X\] and bring it to \[X\] by \[X\]“). The NYTimes columnist Farhad Manjoo wrote something a few years ago about that US college admissions bribery scandal that stuck with me and seems apt here: people with enough money to be the buyers in the gig economy have become “socialized to easing every hurdle through an app.” He was talking about money (Manjoo: “who should I Venmo to fix this thing?”) but another consequence of an endless landscape of software-mediated transactions is that both parties are now obligated to relate to one another like software. As I reflect on it, I think what actually bothered me about the Uber app was just how small and incremental this “setting” is. How many more of these options will there be to tap, pulse, interrupt, and shake every imaginable extension of a person’s agency? And because the setting is basically a fake lever- there’s a real person on the other side of this software lever who still gets to choose whether to comply or not–you can program up an infinite number of them. They probably won’t have the effect you want, but it will have an effect, if only in aggregate. Tags transaction manipulation Permalink Jan 5 2024 Into the Distance ----------------- I took this photo from Interstate 77, near Fancy Gap, Virginia, looking back southeast to where I’d come from. The mountains on the horizon are Pilot Mountain to the right, with its distinctive round knob, and Hanging Rock to the left. I love the way the camera captures focus on the mountains while allowing foreground objects like the tree and the guardrail to blur. Here, like the human eye, the camera renders sharply what it cares about; detail reveals itself according to attention given, other objects become a sketch. The ridge on the left, in the photo’s middle ground, offers suspense by cutting in at a diagonal, revealing the height of the observer and threatening to close out the view. The sky, given substance by the cloud ceiling, makes a counterpoint to the textures of the ground, breaking only at the horizon to let in the colors that outline the mountains. I also love the sense of space in this image, the way perspective and distance allows objects of dissimilar size to appear to be on the same scale. It is a lightly settled landscape. A town near the lower right can be made out, contained by the trees. The mountains are large, but still bounded, by the view. The landscape reveals the layout what would otherwise be too close, too “on top of me,” to see. A sense of recognitiion: “I was _there_, I am _part of that_–that only triggers when the observer is separated from the scene, and the scene tucks into the borders of a wider earth. Tags landscapes Permalink Dec 7 2023 Seeing ------ Three pictures that I wanted to post this fall, that I never got around to: I don’t know why–I knew I liked them, and wanted to see them archived. Maybe I would find them the following season. But I also know that I liked these photos because they reminded me of an act of seeing, that the artifact stood in for how I related to something with my own eyes. The photos exist to point: to a moment of observational capacity, openness and fulfillment that is far less communicable. I’ve been thinking again about what it means to be a naturalist; one answer I’ve arrived at is that a naturalist is someone who observes uncontrolled situations for their own sake. The qualifier _uncontrolled_ does the work, for me, of a more traditional definition of nature: nature is not just that which is opposed to the human. I believe so strongly in this observational component, I am willing to bend quite a bit on my definition of nature. Streets are a fine place, as long as you look. The point is to look with such unrelenting commitment that your vision starts to get strange, to be OK with taking away (only, only!) the impression and go no further. To rest in what cannot be communicated. Tags vision looking nature naturalist Permalink Dec 5 2023 Matter and Beauty ----------------- This news in astronomy got a bit of attention in a few newspapers last week. The discovery was that a distant star system has six planets orbiting at different resonances, or rates of orbit, that are related to one another in precise ratios. Imagine one planet orbits its star at twice the rate of another planet in the same system, a third planet that orbits four times as fast (these ratios are made up), and so on. This arrangement is both beautiful to behold and mathematically harmonious. Current thinking suggests that these neat arrangments probably arose during the formation of the star system, while fusion gets underway, and dust and gas accumulate into planets. If these initial relationships still hold, it means we are looking at a system whose planetary bodies have not been disturbed over billions of years. The perfection of the system can be seen as a mechanical time capsule, a glimpse at the original creative force that first pushes stars into motion. On a related note, I’ve been returning to Spinoza’s work recently because I’m going through this book. I thought of him when I read about this concordance of ideal motion and intellectual beauty. In it, I see a phenomenon that Spinoza would find particularly pleasing. In his _Short Treatise_, Spinoza writes about the two types of _Natura naturata_, or “those modes or creatures which immediately depend on, or have been created by God:” “motion in matter, and “intellect in the thinking thing.” On matter: > With regard particularly to motion, it belongs more properly to a treatise on natural science than here, \[to show\] that it has been from all eternity, and will remain to all eternity immutable, that it is infinite in its kind… And the intellect: > As for intellect in the thinking thing, this too is a Son, product, or immediate creature of God, also created by him from all eternity, and remaining immutable to all eternity. Its sole property is to understand everything clearly and distinctly at all times. Spinoza was writing at a greater level of generality here than that of particular planetary bodies in motion or the constructs of an embodied human mind, but I still think that he would, at least aesthetically, be struck by the harmony between astronomical motion and the constructs of the intellect. The situation offers a natural opening to the idea that matter and the intellect are in rational coordination with one another: that motion achieves its perfected realization in contemplative understanding, and the special status of the intellect is confirmed in the material embodiment of what it knows. Tags philosopy physics Permalink Nov 28 2023 Innovation, Nonprofits and Cultural Priming ------------------------------------------- Given that I am not someone who specializes in this stuff, I am especially tired of thinking and writing about AI chatbots. But there are at least two thoughts in this area I’d like to see get more attention: * How the OpenAI’s _nonprofit_ status contributed to the breakthroughs it made. Over the last few weeks, since the shake-up on the board, the company’s unusual legal structure– a nonprofit controlling a for-profit corporation–has mostly been the subject of ridicule. This is a reflection of how badly the current moment has been captured by a certain type of profit-motive narrative about creative breakthroughs–at least the capture of those who are in a position to do most of the reporting on OpenAI. The consensus I read is that OpenAI’s non-profit structure has been holding it back for a while, that it was an accidental property of its naive founders. I hope, with time, that the stories move past this prejudice, and some journalist or ethnographer gets enough access to study if and how the company’s unusual corporate structure contributed to what it did. Innovation–especially profitable innovation–will always be unpredictable, but shouldn’t a non-profit environment for technical _innovation_ be taken more seriously? Was there a relaxed field here–maybe a different relationship to work, goals, and play–that nurtured the achievements that the for-profit partisans now want to take credit for? * All the ways in which ChatGPT reflects a a larger civilizational readiness, a cultural priming, to accept automated text generation. If bots like this really do maintain their status as breakthroughs once the hype has settled down, one of the more curious aspects of its origin story will be how long the basic technology was out in the open without any real mainstream reaction. This is true since at least 2020 from OpenAI, and Google reportedly had in-house chatbots with significant capabilities before that. Why did it take it so long to land, and why did it explode when it did? Is there a story here about post-pandemic mental exhaustion? Certainly there’s a story here about large numbers of people _wanting to do_–doing more of–the things that chatbots do well: sit for long periods of time in front of screens, sending chat bubbles back and forth, and write the things (e.g., code) that chatbots are trained to do well. I wonder, without the conditions that lead large numbers of educated people to sit inside in front of computers all day, if chatbots would seem so impressive. There’s also a backstory here about an algorithmic way of life, of which chatbots are just the latest, strangest chapter. Chatbots may be philosophical zombies that usurp human qualities in the body of a computer, but computers had to draw humans a little closer before that became possible. Tags computing ai Permalink Oct 25 2023 Parts of the Intellect ---------------------- Over the past year, as OpenAI’s ChatGPT has gone from a specialist tool to a worldwide cultural phenomenon, there has been one anxious question controlling the discussion: is this time different–are computers now _really_ intelligent–and what does this change about the human self-understanding? If human beings are exceptional, then it is in large part because of intelligence. It didn’t help that a computer was now considerably more likely to pass one of the most clearly defined, functional tests for artificial intelligence, the so-called “Turing test:” give a human being the chance to pass messages back and forth with a partner behind a veil; if the human cannot tell that he or she is conversing with a machine, it passes the test. It is intelligent, practically speaking. There are a lot of problems with this test. Still, the bar was raised. Furthermore, if the standard for “real” artificial intelligence is a moving target, always a few steps ahead of whatever computers are currently capable doing, then maybe the questions about artificial intelligence are hopelessly philosophical, likely to generate new pathways for analysis but impossible to answer with any closure. When I wrote above that human intelligence is an _essential_ quality of the human–of human exceptionalism–I meant it in two senses of that word: that intelligence is (1) a distinguishing quality of the human, and that (2) as a quality, it has the special status of an _essence_. The essential quality and its object are hard to separate. What is intelligence? Look to human beings, see it in action. What are human beings? _Homo sapiens_, thinking things, subjects with intelligence. What we may be seeing right now is a shift of intuitions, a breakdown of confidence that intelligence is an essentially human quality. This does not mean that artificial intelligence is like human intelligence, or that computers are (will someday be) _more_ intelligent than humans. But it does suggest that intelligence is increasingly detached from how it was previously defined: _through_ human beings.1 A new situation emerges; imagine pieces, bits, scraps of (general) intelligence circulating throughout the environment. More people may have to make constant judgments about the scope of the intelligence of various things. I cannot see into these scraps of intelligence, know what they are. Their capabilities and intentions (if they exist) are opaque to me–like those of other human beings. Maybe there is a new standard for artificial intelligence: is it _necessarily_ unknowable? Then it is intelligent. I am reminded of the debate about viruses and life: are they alive? If so, how? Are viruses alive in the same way that living things (people?) are? Here is another philosophical question that is difficult to operationalize. Viruses interface with life, need life, latch onto life and push it in new directions. One cannot help but ask the question about viruses because they are so strange; maybe what is being sought is another, comparable essence that applies to the virus. The virus, by suggesting a comparison with life, makes life seem less like an essential thing and more a definable set of processes which can be recombined in ways so strange that categorization falls apart. I wonder if something similar is happening with intelligence right now. What was once a unitary essence that attached to the human is now being decomposed into X number of parts, parts that we can see, uncover, build into new entities that display some of the qualities of intelligence, without the human. Tags intelligence ability computers defamiliarization Permalink
minutestomidnight.co.uk

minutestomidnight.co.uk

/about
Updated June 22, 2024

What I stand for ---------------- Leading a quiet life in a time where noise, toxic controversy and anger have become dominant, is a struggle. Capitalism seems to favour abject things like patriarchy, racism, sexism, homophobia, and an incessant rush to accumulate wealth at the expense of people and the environment. I don't contribute to this hive mind mentality, especially when fuelled by soulless corporations, and also stay away from the constant breaking news circus. I’ve expanded on these topics in `/personal-manifesto`. What I do --------- While my small-town boy introversion is challenging in a raucous world, it has brilliant side effects. Helped by an eidetic memory, and the ability to hyper focus, I can dig deep into several interests, learning and honing new crafts over time. As a result, a peculiar skill of mine is the capacity to work comfortably in both creative and technical roles. Graduated from music school, I acquired production chops as a resident bass player and studio assistant during the 1990s. After moving to the big city, I worked as a print designer and editor to fund my music activities. Excited by web design as a natural evolution of the publishing industry, I built my first site in 1997. Shortly after, I received an invite for a job interview with a company that was looking for a web developer who could also understand design. As they were starting production on a platform video game, I landed the double role of sound and web designer, bringing my duality to a full circle. I wrote and released a concept album about a real-life personal story, called _After 1989_. Today ----- I care about accessibility, sustainability, the environment. The recent renaissance of what is now called the _small web_ pushed me to join the IndieWeb movement. As part of the process, I have a `/now` page where I write down the things I'm involved with at the moment, a `/blogroll`, and a `/uses` page, with a list of the tools I use.
minutestomidnight.co.uk

minutestomidnight.co.uk

/now
Updated June 22, 2024

* 👩🏻‍❤️‍👨🏻 Silvia and I celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary. * 🪴 Our garden is thriving: we have already tasted our amazing salad, while several courgettes are growing fast. Their beautiful flowers are very good as well. * 👨🏻‍💻 Finally managed to pivot my career, landing a dream job that has nothing to do with the web development industry. My shoulders feel lighter. * 📚 Finished reading the (marvellous) first book of the _Wool_ trilogy, can't wait to start the next. * 📺 Silvia and I have been watching _Inside Number 9_ on BBC iPlayer. For whatever reason, we had missed all the series except the first.
olano.dev

olano.dev

/ideas
Updated June 17, 2024

### ⭐ favorites 2024-06-17 2023-12-12 2023-11-30 2023-11-28 2023-07-10 2023-06-16 2023-02-06 2022-08-09 2022-06-22 2022-04-11 2021-12-28 2021-06-01 2021-03-15 2021-02-01 2020-09-08 ### #web 2024-06-07 2024-02-22 2024-01-11 2023-12-12 2023-08-30 ### #projects 2024-06-07 2024-02-28 2024-02-22 2023-12-12 2022-07-12 2022-02-02 ### #ficción 2024-02-01 2023-11-28 2023-05-03 2021-12-28 2021-12-09 2021-05-26 2021-03-15 2020-09-08 ### #literatura 2024-01-22 2023-06-29 2023-06-16 2023-02-06 2022-06-22 2022-02-07 2021-06-01 2021-03-15 2021-02-01 2020-09-08 ### #programming 2024-06-07 2024-04-01 2022-02-02 2021-09-22 2020-05-07 2016-10-16 2016-06-26 ### #fútbol 2023-02-06 ### #ideas 2024-02-22 2024-01-11 2023-09-12 2020-09-22 ### #libros 2024-01-22 2023-09-18 2023-01-16 2022-07-12 2022-02-07 2021-10-12 2021-06-01 2021-03-15 2020-09-15 2020-08-28 ### #literature 2021-09-22 ### #videogames 2022-02-02 ### #software 2024-06-17 2024-04-01 2024-02-28 2023-12-12 2023-11-30 2023-11-23 2023-10-12 2023-09-12 2023-08-30 2023-07-10 2023-06-29 2023-05-19 2023-02-22 2023-01-16 2022-11-28 2022-08-09 2022-07-12 2022-04-11 2021-12-28 2021-12-04 2021-10-12 2021-09-22 2021-04-12 2021-02-01 2020-09-15 2020-08-31 2020-08-28 2020-05-07 ### #memorias 2024-01-01 2023-12-23 2023-02-06 2022-02-07 2021-03-15 2020-10-14 2020-09-29 2020-08-28 ### #blog 2020-09-04 ### #utopías 2023-11-23 2023-09-12 2023-08-30 ### #poesía 2023-12-23 2023-05-02 ### #distopías 2023-07-10 2023-05-02 2021-12-28 2021-03-15 ### #videojuegos 2024-01-01 2023-11-01 2023-09-18 2023-06-16 2023-04-27 2022-11-22 2022-09-26 2022-08-09 2021-10-12 2020-10-14 2020-09-29 2020-08-28 ### #programación 2021-12-04 2021-04-12 2021-02-01 2020-10-14 2020-09-29 2020-09-22 2020-08-31 ### #ai 2024-03-14 2023-07-10 ### #cine 2022-09-26 2022-08-09 2022-06-22 2021-12-28 ### #tldr 2023-01-16 2020-09-15
quantum5.ca

quantum5.ca

/about
Updated June 23, 2024

* ### On the Inter-RIR transfer of AS200351 from RIPE NCC to ARIN Jun 23, 2024 12 minutes Quantum As you might know already, on May 24, 2024, at the RIPE NCC General Meeting, model C for the 2025 charging scheme was adopted. I will not go into the details here, such as the lack of an option to preserve the _status quo_1, but model C involved adding an annual fee of 50 EUR per ASN, billed to the sponsoring LIR. This meant that the sponsoring LIR for AS200351 would be forced to bill me annually for at least 50 EUR for the ASN, plus some administrative overhead and fees for payment processing2. To protest against this fee and save myself some money, I decided to transfer AS200351 to ARIN, which charges no extra for me to hold an additional ASN, given that my current service category at ARIN allows up to 3 ASNs, and I only had one ASN already with ARIN: AS54148. And so, on June 2nd, I decided to initiate the process to transfer AS200351, which was in _active use_, to ARIN. As it turned out, this became an ordeal, especially on the RIPE NCC end. Since I’ve been asked many times about the process, I am writing this post to share my experience, so that you know what to expect. (Read more...) * ### Cloning Proxmox with LVM Thin Pools Feb 17, 2024 13 minutes Quantum During Black Friday last year, I got tempted by a super good offer of a dedicated server in Kansas City with the option of connecting it to the Kansas City Internet Exchange (KCIX). Here are the specs: * Intel Xeon E5-2620 v4 (8 cores, 16 threads) * 64 GB DDR4 RAM * 500 GB SSD * 1 Gbps unmetered bandwidth It was such the perfect thing for AS200351 (if a bit overkill), so I just had to take it. I set it up during the winter holidays, having decided to install Proxmox to run a bunch of virtual machines, and all was well. Except for one thing—the disk. You see, the server came with a fancy SAN, with exactly 500 GiB of storage mounted over iSCSI via 10 Gbps Ethernet, backed by a highly reliable ZFS volume (zvol). While this all sounds good on paper, in practice I am barely able to hit over 200 MB/s when doing I/O, even at large block sizes. Nothing I did seemed to help, so I asked the provider to switch it to physical drives. Having configured Proxmox just the way I wanted it, I opted against reinstalling it from scratch, instead choosing to clone the disk. The provider suggested using Clonezilla, which should be able to do this sort of disk cloning very quickly. So we found an agreeable time, took the server down, and booted Clonezilla over PXE. All should be good, right? As it turns out, this ended up being a super painful experience. **Editorial note:** This story is based on my memory and incomplete console output. While the broad story is correct, the commands provided may not be correct. (Read more...) * ### 2023: Year in Review Dec 31, 2023 10 minutes Quantum Last year, I started writing year-end reviews to look back upon the past year and reflect on what has happened. I thought I might as well continue to do the same this year. In **January**, I decided to finally create that stratum 1 NTP server that I had wanted ever since I heard about people doing it with Raspberry Pis. Instead of using Pis though, I ended up doing the ancient (but superior) approach of using a serial port. Along the way, I ran into various issues, but that tale is told in its own blog post. (Read more...) * ### On BGP Route Selection and High Availability via Anycast Dec 21, 2023 14 minutes Quantum Earlier, we discussed how IP addresses and route authorizations work, before we took a break to talk about how the RIRs issue ASNs. As promised, I’ll now cover BGP route selection, how it enables anycasting, and how we can use it to achieve low latency and high availability. We’ll also cover some of the pitfalls of this approach and how it led to an infamous outage. For those not familiar with the concept, anycasting means the same IP address is shared by devices in multiple locations, with routers sending packets to the “nearest” location. This can result in latency lower than that is possible with the speed of light limitation from a single location1. Although, as you will see later, the routers’ concept of “nearest” may not necessarily be what we expect. Now, if one location stops announcing the IP address via BGP, then routers will select the next best location, enabling high availability as long as there is one location still available. Somewhat morbidly, I’ve claimed that this website will stay up even if Yellowstone erupts, which is theoretically true since my servers in Europe would still be able to serve traffic to the rest of the world even if every server in North America is down, but I’ve not tested this (and hope it will never be tested). **Side note:** AS200351 turns one year old today! 🎂 (Read more...) * ### What I wish I knew when I got my ASN Oct 10, 2023 21 minutes Quantum As you may know, I am currently writing a series on BGP and how the Internet works, from my perspective as the operator of a small autonomous system, AS200351. While we haven’t really exhausted the theoretical material, I think I’ve covered enough to enable readers to set up their own basic autonomous system. Rather than forcing you to do your own research based on outdated and potentially incorrect information on the Internet, or allowing you to fall victim to scams, I think it would be wise to talk about the process of getting your own ASN. For readers who haven’t read the previous parts of the series and are unfamiliar with why one might want an ASN, here’s a brief explanation: > An autonomous system (AS) is a constituent part of the Internet that can define its own routing to the remainder of the Internet, and ASes exchange routes with each other over Border Gateway Protocol (BGP) to form the Internet itself. By receiving a globally unique identifier, an AS number (ASN), which in my case is 200351, I can exchange routes over BGP with other ASes, announce my own IP addresses to the Internet, and control how traffic flows in and out of my network, as opposed to simply exchanging traffic from a default gateway to reach the Internet with an IP address assigned by my ISP. This comes with several advantages, such as being able to switch upstream ISPs at will (or when such an ISP fails) without changing my IP addresses or breaking a single connection; or to advertise the same IP addresses from multiple locations (anycasting) to allow users to reach my services with lower latency than otherwise permissible by the speed of light with automatic failover. I will now share what I wish I knew when I impulsively decided to apply for an ASN at 3 a.m. on a cold December night last year, now that I’ve been doing this for a while. I’ll walk through the process as objectively and thoroughly as possible, demystifying the role of any player in this space. I would like you to go into this with full knowledge of the risks and a full understanding of where your money is going. In the end, I will offer some subjective suggestions on providers, but those can be ignored if you would rather do your own research. (Read more...) * ### Diving into IP Addresses and Route Authorization Sep 8, 2023 9 minutes Quantum In the first part of this series, we had a brief overview of what BGP is. Then last time, we dived into what autonomous systems (ASes) are and the relationships that can exist between them, as well as the existence of Tier 1 networks and Internet Exchange Points (IXPs). That provided a broad overview of the Internet’s structure. However, so far in this series, we’ve talked about IP addresses—or really, IP prefixes and CIDRs—as if they are something that just _exists_. This mental model is no longer sufficient. Before we can truly understand routing, we must first understand how IP addresses really work—how they are assigned and who is authorized to announce them. (Read more...) * ### Diving into Autonomous Systems of the Internet Jul 19, 2023 20 minutes Quantum Last time, we introduced BGP as a protocol, but introduced the concept of autonomous systems (AS for short) and gave some examples. This time, we’ll dive deeper into the concept, which hopefully will give you a better understanding of the various types of ASes and how the Internet is organized on a global level. But first, let’s start with how the numerical identifiers—the autonomous system numbers (ASNs)—work. (Read more...) * ### An Introduction to BGP... from the operator of a small AS Jul 14, 2023 12 minutes Quantum Border Gateway Protocol (often abbreviated BGP) is a critical protocol that makes the modern Internet possible, yet remains one of its most poorly understood parts even among its long-time users. At the same time, it has played a significant role in several high-profile outages on the Internet. As someone who has been running my “own piece of the Internet”—AS200351—for half a year now, I think the time has come to write a piece explaining exactly what BGP is, what AS200351 is, and how the Internet truly functions behind the scenes. We’ll start with the basics. To understand BGP, we must first understand why it is called the “Internet” in the first place. To simplify greatly, the Internet is called that because it’s an _inter_connected network of _net_works (more precisely, autonomous systems, or ASes) glued together by BGP. Since this sounds like a nonsensical sequence of words, let’s dive a bit deeper. (Read more...) * ### Introducing my own mirroring service: mirror.quantum5.ca May 28, 2023 10 minutes Quantum In January, I upgraded my home Internet connection to 3 Gbps symmetric, because, strangely enough, it was cheaper than the package I already had at the time (1500 Mbps down, 940 Mbps up). This was connected to the second port on my ConnectX-3, allowing my home server to achieve the full speed where 2.5 Gbps Ethernet would have failed. Unfortunately, nothing I was doing could have harnessed the full speed of this Internet connection, or anywhere near it, so I started thinking… In February, I realized that I could run a mirroring service for open-source software to serve the community at basically no additional cost—I am already paying for this 3 Gbps Internet connection and I have some spare disk space on my SSD. So I decided to do exactly that. Today, I am happy to announce that this mirror, mirror.quantum5.ca, has been tested for a few months and is fully ready for production. If you find the service helpful, please feel free to support me via GitHub Sponsors, Ko-fi, Liberapay, or directly with credit card or bank through Stripe (CAD), though this is of course strictly optional. If you are interested in how it’s all set up, please read on: (Read more...) * ### Microsecond Accurate Time Synchronization on LAN with PTP Jan 26, 2023 16 minutes Quantum Last time, I built a stratum 1 NTP server with a PPS signal from a GPS receiver, synchronizing my server’s clock to within 10 microseconds of UTC. However, NTP was designed to synchronize clocks within a few tens of milliseconds over the Internet, and I’d be lucky to achieve millisecond accuracy on a LAN. I mentioned that PTP was the alternative that could achieve accuracy in the sub-microsecond range. Well, this time I’ll be setting up PTP between my server and my PC with the hardware timestamping on the ConnectX-3s. If you are following along at home, don’t despair if your hardware can’t do timestamping or PTP. I will also attempt to set up PTP with software timestamping later for my other devices. Naturally, I first turned to the `gpsd` documentation, since that was a decent reference for setting up NTP with the PPS signal. Well, this is what it says for PTP with hardware timestamping: > Sadly, theory and practice diverge here. I have never succeeded in making hardware timestamping work. I have successfully trashed my host system clock. Tread carefully. If you make progress please pass on some clue. That didn’t sound encouraging at all. “Oh well, I guess I am on my own here,” I thought to myself. “How bad could digging through a few `man` pages and random online documentation be? Worst case, there is the source code, right?” (Read more...)
thorstenzoeller.com

thorstenzoeller.com

/now
Updated June 23, 2024

* Getting back into the habit of practicing Ashtanga Yoga daily. * Reading _A Calendar of Wisdom_ by Leo Tolstoy (in the translation by Roger Cockrell) – the second time after 2021. * Reading The Compass of Zen. * Learning Vietnamese. It is both a lot of fun and very frustrating to learn a language which is so different from my mother tongue. All other languages I know except for my mother tongue German (i.e. English) are very similar in both grammar and vocabulary. There is basically no similarity at all between German and Vietnamese, though – nothing can be derived, and everything has to be learned from scratch. * Focusing on breathing well. * Getting into the habit of practicing Calisthenics. * Trying to be a decent human being (i.e. not being a jerk most of the time).

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