cover photo


 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,  

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.


#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.


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
Sync Contacts/Cal?YesYes
Check RSS?YesYes
Last almost a week on a single charge?YesHell No
GPS voice Nav?YesYes

* 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


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.

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

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.


#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.
Dungeon Synth

 Secluded Jungle Base,  
While checking out Gunship's new song "Art3mis & Parzival", I happened across a genre of synth music called "Dugeon Synth". And I really dig it.

A couple playlists for me to check out later:

Dungeon Synth List

Dungeon Synth 2: Back To The Dungeon

#synthwave #dugeon #music
 Secluded Jungle Base,  
This is some solid geekery here. Removing the 16GB storage from and iphone logic board, and replacing it with a 128GB chip.
I love how happy he is at the end once it boots.

How I Upgraded My iPhone Memory 800% - in Shenzhen, China
by Strange Parts on YouTube
Seagulls and pepperoni

 Secluded Jungle Base,  
Friend of mine sent me this. Quality lulz IMO.

Worst. Hotel. Guest. Ever.


Imgur: The magic of the Internet
 Secluded Jungle Base,  
Time to get some housework finished before the holiday.
Loud music helps.

Microsoft shifting strategies again

 Secluded Jungle Base,  
Some interesting reading regarding the recent email to all MS employees from Satya Nadella

Looks like they have less focus on Windows, and Office. More on services, infrastructure, and a big push into AI.

#microsoft #ai #MS #cloud
Storage Dilemma

 Secluded Jungle Base,  
I've been using OneDrive for cloud storage, as have my wife. I currently have the 25GB legacy storage + 50GB subscription for OneDrive. My wife does not have the legacy storage and has filled hers, so I have a few options:

1) Subscribe her to the $1.99 per month for 50GB plan.
2) Ditch OneDrive, and subscribe to the 100GB Google Drive plan for $1.99 per month.
3) For $70 per year, I could get Office 365 Home and give each family member 1TB OneDrive storage.

Advantages: Easiest option to use and implement across desktops and mobile. Probably redundant. Low cost.
Disadvantages: In the case of Google Drive, would require re-uploading everything to Google. And in the case for either option, I would be using the services of two large tech companies, who mine your data. And some recent changes to Microsoft's Services Agreement have some worrying language. In particular
* "[U]se of offensive language and fraudulent activity is prohibited"
* "Don’t publicly display or use the Services to share inappropriate content or material [...] involving, for example, nudity"

Not that I upload nudes to a corporate cloud, but algorithms do make mistakes. Also, I do keep some non-DRM copies of RPG manuals around. Who is to say that they won't get flagged as pirated material? Nobody wants to upload gigabytes of data to a service, just to have it all locked out one day.

So, I considered setting up a redundant home NAS again. I do have a single drive on my network, but would need something with RAID to store photos and family videos safely.
If I used a two bay option from QNAP or Synology, I would be looking at about $350 for a pair of 4TB drives and the 2-bay enclosure.

An option that would be more fun would be to build something myself. Possibly a compact server with BSD and ZFS. While more flexible, it would be even more expensive than the prebuilt option. And the prebuilt option would take more than five years to pay itself off vs the Office 365 subscription.

While I contemplate what to do, I guess I'll continue making additional copies of my data on Blu-Ray discs.
Anyone else out there have a home NAS server? What are you using to keep your family's data safe?

I bought an old IBM server off of eBay for $200 and am running Nextcloud on it without any issues at all. The mobile app can do auto-upload and sync calendars and tasks with CalDAV too.

The advantages are maximum control of data, infinite storage (in theory), and of course, supporting FOSS.

The disadvantages are obviously the necessary admin maintenance (although even then, it hasn't been much) and the need to formulate a backup solution, My setup with the latter is RAID with a weekly manual backup to an external drive. You could also backup to the cloud if need be.
I considered getting a used server, but the cost of keeping it running 24/7 for a year almost cost as much as the server itself :(
That's a fair point. Not sure where you're located but mine seems to be in and around US$10-15 a month; not insignificant by any means, but I consider it good value for money given the control, flexibility, and extendibility it offers.

Amazon also offers a storage service that may be worth considering. They have a 100GB plan for $12 a year or another that's 1TB for $59.99 a year.
PSA: Spec Ops: The line for free

 Secluded Jungle Base,  
!Digital Realms

Humble currently has Spec Ops: The Line at no cost for limited time.

Activates via Steam on Linux, Windows, or MacOS.
Spec Ops: The Line is a new original title from 2K Games that features provocative and gripping Third-Person modern military Shooter gameplay designed to challenge players' morality by putting them in the middle of unspeakable situations where unimaginable choices affecting human life must be made. Features include, a gripping, storyline reminiscent of Apocalypse Now and Heart of Darkness but set in a ruined Dubai, tactical squad-based Delta Force gameplay throughout a horizontally and vertically oriented world, devastating sandstorms which can be used in combat, a variety of multiplayer modes and maps, and deep support featuring two factions.

 Secluded Jungle Base,  
Attempted making yogurt again. So far, my attempts have been pretty hit or miss.
This attempt falls squarely into the "miss" category.

It tastes like yogurt, but isn't thick at all. I've been draining the whey off of it to thicken it up a bit.
My best results were once when I forgot what time it was, and let the milk sit longer during the heating phase. It's possible that my crockpot isn't reaching the proper temperature. I'll be measuring the temperature next time to see if this may be an issue.
 Secluded Jungle Base,  
Is this created by the same folks who did