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NullSpaceOddity

nsoddity@hubz.secretlair.me

Orwell - Free for a limited time

 Undersea Mystery Laboratory,  
!Digital Realms

1 day, 15 hours left to grab the game Orwell for free from Humble.
Activates via Steam, and playable on Windows, Mac, and Linux.

Big Brother has arrived - and it’s you. Investigate the lives of citizens to find those responsible for a series of terror attacks. Information from the internet, personal communications and private files are all accessible to you. But, be warned, the information you supply will have consequences…

Orwell is a new governmental security program that has the power to survey the online presence of every person in The Nation. It can monitor all personal communications and access any computer. To preserve the privacy of citizens, human researchers examine the data Orwell finds and decide which pieces of information should be passed on to the security forces, and which should be rejected.

Selected from thousands of candidates, you are Orwell’s first human researcher. And when a terror attack rocks the Nation’s capital city of Bonton, Orwell, and you, are immediately put to the test. Starting with a single person of interest, you'll help the security forces build out and profile a network of potential culprits.

But are these people really terrorists? What does the information you reveal to Orwell say about them? What if you find out things about them that not even their loved ones know? What is the real price of maintaining the security that the Nation is yearning for?




Orwell: Keeping an Eye on You Trailer
by Fellow Traveller on YouTube
 Undersea Mystery Laboratory,  
Yesterday I managed to break the screen on my phone while it was in my pocket.
Looks like the digitizer is damaged, as it no longer accepts touch input. While I'm waiting for repair parts to come in, I decided to install Sailfish OS on my wife's old OnePlus X.

Here are some initial thoughts:

Likes:
1. Love the overall UI aesthetic. And the icons look gorgeous on an OLED screen. I was a huge fan of Windows Phone from 7 all the way to the end.  I find may similarities to Windows Phone 7 and 8 (and that isn't bad at all!)
2. Designed for one handed use. No back/home/etc buttons. Simple gestures control everything.
3. Card/Cal DAV works out of the box with my Baikal(Saberdav) server.

Dislikes:
1. SMS works well, but MMS will not download messages.
2. Software selection between Jolla store and OpenRepos isn't great. I would say Windows Phone in its early days had a larger selection of indie applications. Im missing things like a native Matrix client. Would be nice to have a Twitter/Mastodon combo client like Twidere.

On a side note, I can see why Jolla is bringing the OS to feature phones. It seems very light, and the interface combined with a decent core set of built in apps would be a good experience on such a device.
 Undersea Mystery Laboratory,  
The local Bergner's department store is going out of business, so I dropped into see if any amazing deals could be had (There were none).
They did have all of the store fixtures for sale, including mannequins. A whole army lined up like a scene from a scifi film.

In addition, they had reclining and sitting models. These appeared to be angry, and judgmental. A great addition to any living room!

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 Undersea Mystery Laboratory,  
Solved!

For the last month, my NTFS formatted data partition was showing up as read-only in Linux.
I found the culprit tonight:  Windows 10 fast startup had been re-enabled at some point. Because I obvious didn't know what I was doing when I turned it off the first time.
Planning for Hubzilla Dice App

 The dankest dive bar,  
It has been a long time since I have done any PHP work, and was considering a Hubzilla "app" as a little project.
This would be a dice roller for use by role players, or "Just because".

I have a private channel on my server which is used for a play-by-post Dungeons and Dragons campaign with my daughters. Since I work evenings, it makes it easy to keep track of and continue our game when schedules do not mesh. At the moment, I have been doing the dice rolls for them.

This is how I envision the mod working:  The player would type what action they are taking as usual. With the text formatting buttons, there would be a new dice roll button. Clicking it would present the user with a selection of dice types, and a box next to each for them to input how many of that type they want to roll. Clicking the finish button would add a tag like [diceroll] into the message.

The message ID will be recorded in the database along with the roll requested, and generated result. When the message is posted, only then will the result be displayed. This keeps unscrupulous players from cheating by using preview to see what the result is before posting. And since only one dice roll can be created per MID, it prevents someone from generating a roll, then editing the message, deleting the roll and adding a new one.

I will also have a regular "app" interface. Rolls created in this standalone mode will not be stored in the database.

This is all in the planning stages at this point, but I don't think it will be that difficult.
 Undersea Mystery Laboratory,  
Been having issues with my WIFI lately, so I checked into a firmware update.

I am ashamed to say, I have been two major versions behind in the OpenWrt/LEDE world.
After a few minutes of reentering the port forwards for torrents, and my servers I am back up and running.
All seems slick, but we will see what happens when my wife starts a video streaming binge.
 Undersea Mystery Laboratory,  
!Digital Realms

E3 had some stuff that interested me this year.
My FPS playing daughter and I are looking forward to the new Halo.

The Division 2 could be promising, but I'll keep my expectations low. The setting of the new game is promising. I loved New York in the first game, but after running around tall buildings in the winter for many months, I have grown weary of it.  Washington D.C in the summer should be more varied. Plus the cosmetics wont be limited to a hundred styles of ski jackets and beanies.

Ooblets now has dance fights, which is pretty fun. Also looking forward to Don't Nod's mini adventure in the Life is Strange universe (Captain Spirit).

As far as E3 Sales go, I ended up grabbing Deus Ex: Mankind Divided for $6 (I have yet to play it. Loved the Human Revolution).
In addition, I also acquired an Xbox copy of Dreamfall Chapters. I was up to chapter 3 on my PC, but since one of my daughters has taken over the machine that it was installed on, I don't have time to finish it there. Since my kids have shown an interest in adventure games, it will be cool to show off the beginning of the game to them.
 Undersea Mystery Laboratory,  
My Linden tree bloomed this week. When the breeze blows in the evening, it smells amazing!
Not a single honeybee sighting though :-(  Thus far this year, I have sighted zero honey bees. Fortunately, there are quite a few bumble bees. There is one (possibly two) hives of them on my property.


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 Undersea Mystery Laboratory,  
Tinkered with my old notebook running FreeBSD yesterday.
I have had an issue getting WIFI stable. It will ping, but a few minutes later the connection fails to work.
After a quick RTFM session, I found out that I was missing the kernel modules for wifi encryption.

So far, the lack of wifi configuration tools like WICD or Network manager are the only weak points in FreeBSD.
I'll have to master the tools provided in order to change access points.

Otherwise everything works as it did on Linux, with the exception of the trackpad. In Linux, the track pad used the two finger gesture for scrolling. In FreeBSD, scrolling is achieved by the little scroll strip on the right hand side of the track pad (like in Windows).
 Undersea Mystery Laboratory,  
Anyone out in Hubzilla land have experience with open wireless mesh solutions like BATMAN?
PSA: Hacknet Deluxe - Free

 Undersea Mystery Laboratory,  
 Undersea Mystery Laboratory,  
Had some time to tinker with FreeBSD on my old Compaq laptop. Was able to get WiFi up, and working Mate session. So far, I love having rc.conf as a systemwide config file. Old versions of Archlinux had it, and I was sad when they moved away from it.
PSA: The Flame In The Flood free for another 24 hours

 Undersea Mystery Laboratory,  
Acceptance - The Southern Reach Trilogy #3

 Secluded Jungle Base,  
!books

Finished the third and final part of the Area X trilogy by Jeff Vandermeer. While book 1 (Annihilation) and 2 (Authority) both have the POV of a single character, Acceptance changes the formula a bit by jumping between four different characters. i found this made it a more interesting read when compared to Authority (which had the Southern Reach headquarters as setting for most of the story).

I am a bit torn when it comes to this series. I love the idea behind it. The writing is fantastic. I like the characters. The main issue for me, is that much of the mystery is left intentionally ambiguous. If you are looking for clear cut answers, then you will not find them here. Which is fine, I guess. It has led me to re-read several portions of the books, and to reconsider my opinions on certain events. Perhaps this is another reason the author wrote the story in this fashion: It would keep the reader's perception of the story in a state of constant flux. Much like Area X itself. However, there is part of me that would have liked a few clear cut answers to some of the questions that arose while reading these novels.

Regarding character development, you are introduced to the Saul, the Lighthouse Keeper, who is probably my favorite character in this book. You also learn a bit more about the motivations of the former director of the Southern Reach (the psychologist from Annihilation). The fate of the biologist from Annihilation is revealed. Not much is done with John (Control) in this book, as the reader is shown is having a hard time dealing with Area X, and the changes that are happening to him. Ghost Bird (the biologist's doppelganger) appears to discover the answers she has sought, and I assume her story will be expanded in the coming books.

Jeff Vandermeer said that is working on details for two more Area X novels, which I will be looking forward to. I am hoping that the next book picks up directly after Acceptance, as you are left questioning the fate of two of the characters.

If I were to rate all three books, it would be like this: Annihilation > Acceptance > Authority. Annihilation can stand by itself as a solo story, which is why it is at the top.

I'll cross into spoiler territory below, these opinions may change as I reconsider some of the plot elements:


Keeping with the SciFi theme, I have selected Hyperion by Dan Simmons as my next book.

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#books #scifi
 Secluded Jungle Base,  
Looking into a couple fun techie projects in my *cough* spare time.

1) Dust off my old Core Duo Macbook and replace Apple's UEFI with Coreboot. Then install an OS for tinkering.
2) My last attempt to port Sailfish to hardware I own was foiled by Amazon's horrible bootloader on the kindle fire. Going to try with an old phone.
  
No go on Coreboot for the Macbook. Turns out it is a newer model than I had remembered. But I can still install BSD on it :)
 Secluded Jungle Base,  
Amazon is all-in on AI, and how it can generate more profit. Coming May 9th, they will be releasing a new "Kids Edition" of the Dot speaker. Like the kid editions of the Fire tablets, they should be able to harvest lots of demographic info on what kids are interested in.

I chuckled at the commercial on Amazon's webpage: A father is tucking his daughter into bed at night. He asks Alexa to turn off the lights. Then, 1 second later he is standing by the door to her room... by the light switch.

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#ai
  
Even more so than the demographic data, stuff like this normalises the technology for kids so they continue to use it as they age. They are robbed of any incentive not to use it and therefore never question the need for it in the first place.
  
This is a good point too!  Most adults I know do not like using Siri or Alexa if other people are around them. They are afraid of appearing silly.

Getting the kids accustomed to using it early will make them less self conscious later.
 Secluded Jungle Base,  
While attempting some reorganization of my computer room, I found my old laptop. After discovering that I could use my Lenovo AC adapter on it, it powered up and I installed some updates. For a 15 year old machine, it still does most of what I need.

Thinking about older tech that is still useful made me nostalgic for my Nokia N82

It was my first true smartphone, which I used for three straight years (replaced by a Nokia N8).

Thinking of it like an old laptop, it did most of what I use my current smartphone for. It also didn't need to be cradled like a precious baby, and lasted forever on a single charge.



Can it...Nokia N82Current Phone
Multitask?YesYes
Email?YesYes
Sync Contacts/Cal?YesYes
Web?LimitedYes
Check RSS?YesYes
IM?YesYes
Photos?YesYes
Last almost a week on a single charge?YesHell No
GPS voice Nav?YesYes
Gaming?Good*Better


* While the newer Android phone has many many more gaming options, I don't primarily use my phone for that. However, the best mobile game I've ever played was on the Symbian platform (Reset Generation)
 Secluded Jungle Base,  
Tinkering a bit with freebsd in a VM tonight. A bit different than Archlinux. Once I grok it, I might use it on my Cubieboard server instead of Debian.
  
My #Hubzilla hub runs on FreeBSD. I quite like how they separate the base system from packages (as every BSD for that matter).
Banana Pi BPI-W2

 Secluded Jungle Base,  
An interesting new SBC that could be a perfect solution to my homebrew NAS query.

Specs are pretty sexy, and dual SATA connectors make it attractive for home NAS use.
I am questioning on whether the SATA ports run through a SATA to USB 3.0 bridge, or not. If so, would RAID setup be possible/stable?  The other problem is with the Mediatek CPU. I'm not familiar with their usage in SBC, but in the mobile phone world, Mediatek is notorious for releasing broken/incomplete kernel sources. Or not at all.

Still, its under $100. Will be watching this one closely.

Open spec router SBC has M.2 and a pair each of SATA, GbE, and HDMI

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SinoVoip has launched a $93 “Banana Pi BPI-W2” multimedia router and NAS board that runs Android or Linux on a quad -A53 Realtek RTD129, and offers 2x GbE, 2x SATA 3.0, 3x M.2, HDMI in and out, and a 40-pin RPi connector.
Authority

 Secluded Jungle Base,  last edited: Fri, 13 Apr 2018 01:21:53 -0500  
!books

Recently finished "Authority", the second book in the Southern Reach Trilogy by Jeff VanderMeer. Preceeded by Annihilation, Authority has fewer #scifi elements, and reads more like an espionage story. It picks up after the failed 12th expedition into Area X, and introduces a few new characters. Not a long book, and generates more questions than it answers. Hoping the third book has a definitive answer to some of my theories on what exactly Area X is, and how it works.

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#books #scifi
  
All three volumes were released in the same year. Other than $$$, I have no idea why they didn't just make it one volume. They are fairly short.