solarbird: (utena-with-anthy)

My partner Anna and I are off to the hospital. Don’t worry, it’s a planned visit, even though it does involve sinus surgery, for her. When she was a very little kid, her brother accidentally broke her nose, and over time that turned into a deviated septum, and, over time, that has turned into sleeping problems, so – we’re off to get it fixed.

It’s fairly small surgery, and outpatient, but any surgery involving general anaesthesia is a big deal. We’ll be there most of the day, and there will be a couple of weeks of recovery. But the blog will be back to normal tomorrow, I hope!

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solarbird: (tracer)

Here at the Lair we’ve been proud of running – as a server, on the actual internet – a machine literally from 1995, with original motherboard CPU and everything. The plan has been to run it ’till it died, because we can.

But unfortunately, we really do need to build a new proper programmable router, so we can put the terrible, terrible Comcast router into bridge mode. (Seriously: this router is terrible.) And the 1995 machine is… not fast, so we can’t use it, even though that was its original job, years ago.

(It’s a P5-166. No, really. Thank you, Debian.)

But I haven’t built a router in a while. I want to run Debian Linux on it so it can also run DNS and a couple of other small services the current P166 runs, and it wouldn’t hurt for it to have three cards inside either – one for the fixed-IP side of the LAN, one for the DHCP side.

SO!

Anybody have recommendations? I’m thinking about gigabit network cards in particular – what has the best, most reliable, fastest drivers, what specifically to avoid, things like that. As above, we’re going to be running Debian for a a bunch of reasons.

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solarbird: (korra-on-the-air)

Livejournal’s new Russian Federation-compliant Terms of Service has a lot of bad things in it – seriously, real bad, like, half my journal bad – but this is probably the tripwire for me:

[The user must] Mark Content estimated by Russian legislation as inappropriate for children (0-18) as “adult material” by using Service functions.

Any mention of anything LGBT-related (with some exceptions for condemnation) is 19+ in the Russian Federation, by law. It’s part of the legal structure they use to beat down on queers.

They also have a big “no” on “political solicitation materials” and that’s also pretty fatal for me – seriously, have you read my LJ – but this, yeah, I will not mark my journal “adult content” because I’m queer. Fuck that, and fuck them.

So the only question really is whether I hit accept on the ToS and just ignore it. Or whether I delete my journal (which goes back to when it was running in Brad’s dorm room at UW) and then open a new blank one with the same name just to keep the user account solarbird, or some dumbass thing like that.

As of this morning, despite crossposting being disabled since Monday pending acceptance of new terms, I have the 364th most popular LJ, at least in the Latin character set side of the world. It’s pretty obvious now that we’re done here.

(More bits of analysis here and here – both are Dreamwidth links.)

eta: Important translation of applicable Russian censorship laws here, on Tumblr. This is 400% about speech repression.

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solarbird: (poor kitty!)

Heading north to Vancouver Island for a music workshop. Minion Anna has been going to this Qualicum Beach event for a couple of years, and she’s dragging me along this time. I’m even taking the thrift-shop viLOLin, as it is technically an instrument, and, well, let’s see how badly I can torture this cat. It should be painful hilarious a learning experience.

Possibly for others more than me. Just sayin’. 😀

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solarbird: (gaz)

Turns out it’s not just me having racism and misogyny problems in Overwatch competitive. I saw Wil Wheaton reblog this article from mic.com about it, as well as this thread on the Reddit Overwatch forum, and yeah – it did get a lot worse in Season III.

And so far, nobody official seems to be doing much about it. And people doing it won’t stop until it hurts them, so I’m definitely going with my announcement and plan as a de rigueur thing before all competitive matches in Series IV.

Meanwhile, back in quickplay, I’ve started singing what I call the Tracer Tank song again, because Tracer is a tank in the right circumstances and the right levels. NO, SHE IS, REALLY. I have golded so many times for objective time as Tracer that it’s hilarious.

Tracer tank / Tracer tank
movin’ the payload
’cause somebody has to

where the fuck is Reinhardt?
where the fuck is D.va?
i could be that Reinhardt
if i really wanted

let’s all move the payload
i said everybody
okay fine I’ll do it
objective gold again

I mean, think about it. If you’re on offence in a payload level, and you’re good at her dodging motion/blinking/rewind, it works out to an effective hitpoint/armour total of easily 350 points, assuming only one rewind – much more if you’re lucky and good. I have beaten back one-on-three facedowns across the payload, more than once.

How does that work? Base health/armour of 150. Near-double that to 290 from your own health, doubled, with use of rewind. You get 10 points per second back from being on the payload; survive five seconds – not hard if you are good with her movement – and that’s another 100 points (with the single rewind), which gets you up to 390. Survive 10 seconds, that’s 490. Survive 15, 590.

Survive, oh, 2:09 like I did in one game last night as Tracer Tank? That’s 2580+300 hit/armour points (tho’ that assumes more rewinds, as it would), for a total of 2880.

Bulletproof. Reinhardt? Roadhog? Paper people.

And that’s not even getting into how the payload is functionally a motion-restricted shield with infinite hit points and infinite duration.

Tracer is a tank.

(Really, of course, Tracer shouldn’t be your group’s tank. For one thing, this whole shtick falls apart if they have a Sombra who knows what she’s doing. Even without that, it’s not Tracer’s best mode, and usually if I’m doing it, the team I’m on isn’t very good. But we all know the number of people that just won’t get on the goddamn payload, right? I was on one of those a couple of days ago where I literally solo-escorted the payload from Objective A to (just short of) the Eichenwald castle gate entirely by myself. It was hilarious.)

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solarbird: (korra-on-the-air)

Sorry I haven’t been doing much with the band blog lately. Frankly, all my blogging energy has been used working against the literal fascist movement which has grabbed partial power and is trying to grab more.

I blog at Dreamwidth and it’s echoed to Livejournal. Here’s my post on Milo’s support of child pedastry, for example, which I wrote last night. The Republicans have been fine with his vicious misogyny, overt and savage white supremacy, and slanderous attacks on transgendered people; let’s see if they’re also on board with 28-year-old men fucking 13 year old boys.

I mean, we already know they’re fine with 50-year-old men raping 13 year old girls, but everybody knows the only way to end up dead in politics is to get caught in bed with a dead girl or a live boy. Because boys are valuable and girls aren’t.

Apparently, CPAC (biggest conservative political conference, where he has a headline speech this year) and his fans in general all knew about this already – the interview I’m quoting ran over a year ago. And they’re okay with that. Monstrous filth.

Anwyay, I’ve been getting used to being back in full-time war mode for a couple of months now. Since this movement has always hated women and queers (unless, apparently, they’re pederast fascists), I’ve had to do this my whole life – but I had kind of some time off for a little while, and it made me soft. Hopefully I can return to band stuff more regularly, as I start to feel more ramped up on all this again.

Hopefully.

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solarbird: (gaz)

Is it just me, or is Overwatch competitive mode becoming kind of a cesspit? I had to drop from another game due to misogynists going on – at me specifically – about feminist “cunts.” I’ve had to drop other games due to people going off on killing all the “ni**ers” and just chanting white supremacist horseshit into voice chat, too.

I actually called this round’s douchebag leader on a lighter weight rant a couple of minutes before, when they were going off about horrible feminists, saying, “I’m trying to figure out how to respond to this, as the actual feminist on this team who is the also only one actually taking the point,” and they shut up for a minute or two after I’d captured half of the point solo. (We’d’ve taken the whole thing right then if anyone else had showed up, but I can only play one-on-four for so long.)

But after we captured the first point and started our first big push on the second, they doubled down, so mid-push I just said “You know what, fuck this, fuck all of you, enjoy losing, I’m out” and dropped, leaving them five-on-six and without their time-on-point and kills leader.

Unfortunately, while that does cost them, it costs me more than them in ranking. So I’ve come up with something better. Next time I’m in competitive, I’m going to go on team chat first thing and say some variation on:

Hiya! Tracer here. So, apparently, this is a thing you have to say now, which is horrible, but:

If you’re going to hijack team chat to go on some racist or misogynist rant, my response will be to go back to spawn and practice wall climbing and stuff until you quit or we lose. I’m not joking, that’s just what’s gonna happen, ’cause I don’t game with dickbags.

So if that’s anybody’s plan, please, go ahead and drop now, it’s not an official game yet, and we can all go play with better people.

Nobody? Great.

I haven’t done this before now because I’ve been too antsy about getting back into competitive at all, because of how nasty my last several experiences have been. But that is nonetheless my plan.

In related news, in quickplay yesterday there was someone with a Pepe-the-Frog-type name on enemy team. He may have been backfill, because I didn’t spot him at game start. But once I spotted him in the game, I went after and killed him immediately, and made it my first priority the rest of the game to find and kill him first, without fail.

I killed him like five times. As far as I could tell, he was never a factor in the game again, and we completely steamrolled his team. (Even before that. I just accelerated the process, because fuck you you kek-worshipping neofascist numerologist shitfiend, just fuck you.)

So I encourage everyone else who is not a total douchebag Overwatch player to join me in one or both of these routines, ’cause there’s sure as hell no way PSN is going to do anything about it. I’ll probably get some shit – particularly for the speech – but I don’t fucking care anymore, I’m sick of this.

Don’t get me wrong, I still love this game. I was in pretty early and re-optimised our network and even bought a PS4 Pro so I could play it better. (Minion Paul’s PS4 was crashy.) But you pull this crap, and I will make it cost you, on my team or not. And if I earn a rep, so be it. This is a rep I am perfectly fine with earning, because I am done.

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as expected

Feb. 7th, 2017 01:52 pm
solarbird: (korra-on-the-air)

As expected, Betsy DeVos has been confirmed as secretary of education. When the two GOP “no” votes were announced a few days ago, I knew that meant the other 48 were locked down; I’ve been around this carousel before.1

But the fights right now are mostly not about winning. We’re going to lose these. The GOP have power and don’t give a fuck about you, and that’s been official since the Hastert Rule.2 What these fights are about are having the ability to keep fighting. About keeping possibly meaningful elections, things like that. We’re fighting a six-month war to fight a two-year war to fight a four-year war, as a start.3

So I’ve been beating this drum for a while and I’m going to keep beating it: until opposition start paying attention to state and local elections, nothing will change. The situation on the ground for the Democratic Party is nightmarish, because Democrats much of the time just can’t be bothered, and gerrymandering will continue to make the Federal level worse. There is no – I mean zero – probability of a Republican turnaround on gerrymandering for the foreseeable future, and therefore no likelihood of political relief on that front except possibly through citizen initiative.

They have power; they don’t care about how they get it; they will use all tools possible until and unless they are forced to stop. Do not appeal to decency, do not appeal to fairness, because they do not fucking care. Get it through your head: no fucks are given beyond “do Republicans keep power”? There may be some local pockets of exceptions, but push comes to shove, they will go along. All but without fail. Know this.

(Also, people are talking about terrible poll numbers for Trump? 86% of Republicans approve of his performance as of day 16. That’s all that matters to them. If those numbers start to fall in-party, then the situation changes – but not before.)

So. If your state is Republican but has has citizen initiatives, your Federal option is to put together a popular state initiative to force meaningful district reform. This will take some time. Outrage, complaints, do it because it’s good PR – and more importantly, keeps you within the Overton window – but it won’t change results. You need initiatives. There are rumours of some kind of coordinated effort to start working on this, but I haven’t seen anything I can pin down. That’d be a good thing to pin down.

The bigger deal is that you have to start PAYING ATTENTION to the BORING LOCAL CRAP. Learn that it matters. Figure out your state and local governments, know who your reps are, and get working on them. Because in the end, that’s where political power starts.

It’s a long fight. Don’t get yourself burned out, because it’s going to get worse before it gets better; there is no magic solution, there is no fast solution. It’s a long haul grind, and even when you win, don’t think it’s over – we thought fascism was over, and oh look, now we’ve got neofascists and white nationalists in the White House.

Deal with that, accept it, because this is what it takes. Not dealing with that – well…

…that’s how we got here.
 


1: Don’t be fooled; we never had an actual shot here. The Republican Party has the discipline of an authoritarian parliamentary party and gives no fucks outside its own. The two “no” votes were allowed solely to give them political cover for the constituencies; they were knowingly-harmless-to-DeVos “no” votes, as political cover. If their votes were actually needed, they would’ve been “yes.” This is standard party procedure in the Senate; has been for decades, as anyone who has gone through this enough times can tell you – Harry Reid was a master of this, and this was simple Reid playbook copypasta. THAT DOES NOT MEAN DON’T FIGHT: first, all resistance makes them expend money and time (the latter being in shorter supply than the former), and second, it keeps the Overton window where you need it. The fight still matters, just… don’t expect to win these.

2: No bill can proceed without a majority of Republicans in support, regardless of House total support or popular support. That’s the weak form. The strong form – aspired to by the “Permanent Republican Majority” crowd – was “no bill can proceed unless it can pass entirely by Republican votes.” The explicit intent of the strong form was to make opposition parties irrelevant. I think it’s pretty clear they’re going for the strong form now.

3: The six-month war at the Federal level is keeping a court system. That’ll be hard. At the popular level, it’s maintaining some elements of consensus reality. (“Anything I don’t like” being “Fake news.”) We lose that, we’ve lost everything, and it’s harder than keeping the court system. Bannon, Trump, and both the fundamentalist and authoritarian movements want to eliminate the courts as a check-and-balance, and override fact-based media and decision making, both to clear the way for complete power. If we win the six-month war, the two-year war is probably going to add focus around fighting Attorney General Sessions. You’ll note I’m already using the title – his appointment won’t be stopped, and it’ll probably be 54-46. If somehow we can make it 52-48, I’ll consider that much a big victory. But the two-year war will be around preserving voting rights, and it will also be hard. Very hard indeed.

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factory

Jan. 23rd, 2017 08:30 am
solarbird: (gun good job)

Several months ago, Klopfenpop loaned me a teenage engineering CA-16 pocket operator, a.k.a. the “factory” model, a synth-sequencer-noisemaker in pocket-calculator form. And then Anna bought me one a few weeks ago! Which was amazing.

I’m still pretty confused by it (I’ve never used a sequencer for anything except drums which is somehow totally different even though it’s not) and I am trying to get my head around the actual feature set. I’m not traditionally good at interfaces that require you to just kind of remember what’s stored where? So I’m going to have to learn to use this thing by actually reading the instructions, which is totally unlike how I have learned every other instrument ever, which has always been “fuck with it until neat sounds come out.”

Like, right now I’m kind of confused about the factory patterns vs. patterns you store yourself and I’m not sure if the ones you store yourself overwrite factory patterns or not. I’d think they must but the instructions are not specific and being a “Never Erase what you Can’t Replace” person I’m hesitant just to, you know, try it. Because DATA.

(yes, this is goofy. but still true.)

But I certainly like making it make really annoying noises so I guess really it’s all okay. 😀

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solarbird: (korra-on-the-air)

Well, it’s zero day, a.k.a. go time. What do we do?

Shore up some bulwarks, is what.

First: get your local governments into non-cooperation mode with the new administration’s overtly racist, misogynist, and fascist agenda. Yes, fascist. Maybe not Mr. Trump; he’s just an egomaniacal authoritarian, but people like Steve Bannon? Absolutely.

Work on that now. Don’t just try to get them to oppose it until it starts happening for real – because if he keeps his campaign promises, it is going to happen – but to get them to refuse to cooperate from day one. Particularly with the mass deportation plans and Muslim registry plans, as a start.

Whereever you are, you need to establish: we don’t do this. Our governments don’t do this. We Don’t Do This Here, full stop.

We’re talking local governments because those are the ones you can actually reach. If you write to your city council, odds are real good you’ll get a response. Same with county, most of the time, and generally, state representatives. Occasionally you’ll maybe even get something from the governor.

So you need to phone or write:

  • Your local city council (if you have one)
  • Your local county council
  • State representatives and state Senators (or equivalents)
  • Your Governor

With messages hitting these points:

  • Mr. Trump has promised to deport 2-3 million people effectively immediately.
  • Mr. Trump has promised to create a registry of Muslims, and throughout the transition, continued to develop that plan.
  • This is unacceptable. (Neither these plans or any plan like them can be done under colour of law; they are intrinsically barbaric, uncivil, indiscriminate, and unlawful; they are immoral, illegal, and wrong; pick your phrasing. It’s all true.)
  • Your [city|county|state] must refuse to cooperate in any way. (This is not who I am as a person, this is not who we are as a (city, county, state), this is not who we are as a people, and this must not be what we become. Pick your phrasing.)

I think the phrase “refuse to cooperate” is critical, because it means “even once it starts, don’t give in, don’t stop fighting.”

Once you’ve done it, try to get other people to do it too. We need a meme of non-cooperation; we need to normalise non-cooperation, and states matter. Counties matter. Cities matter. The Feds get a lot less done if they have no local help.

Talk it up. Tell other people. Make it happen.

Second: don’t let other people normalise any of this. Not media, not anybody. One explicit goal of the white supremacist and misogynist ~~alt-right~~ shitheel pack is to make their racism and overt hatred of women socially acceptable, to move the Overton window even further over into douchebag territory. Deny it.

Last night gaming, I ran into some guy who started gleefully chanting racist slogans and n****r n****r n****r into Overwatch team chat. For fun. That can’t stand, so I hit my mike and said, “Fuck you, I don’t play with racist motherfuckers. I’m out” and dropped on them mid game. Even if he didn’t individually care, even if nobody else dropped after I did, everybody got a tiny demonstration: this will cost you something, even if the momentary cost is trivial.

Do not game with fascists, do not work with fascists, do not cooperate with fascists, do not negotiate with fascists. Do not hand fascists a platform.

Why? Because their agenda is intrinsically uncivil – as all eliminationist agendae are – and therefore, they do not get civility. They have abandoned any legitimate claim to it. The only claim being made is to raw power, and that’s the only thing they care about – or that matters. They don’t get a debate, they get a – metaphorical – boot to the head.

So never let any of that shit just go by. Resistance has to be personal. Fascism, misogyny, racism – it has to have a daily cost. In social life, in standing, in money, in whatever way it can be had. When all that matters is power, when all that counts is what you can get away with, then all that works in response… is taking that power away. Yeah, it might be socially uncomfortable at times, but deal with it – because if they have their way, they’ll make millions of peoples lives a whole hell of a lot worse than “socially uncomfortable.”

So get out there, and give ’em hell. Everywhere you can, be it small change, be it big money, be it grit in the gears, be it sand in the eyes, scale doesn’t matter when it’s coming in from every front.

Every chance you get: make ’em pay.

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solarbird: (Lecturing)

All those posts I made about data cleanup and old hard drive data recovery got someone I know from my old SF club interested in his old Amiga hard drives, which he sent me, and which I imaged for him, and did as much file recovery as I could.

One of them was just fine – complete image, files pulled off separately as well, life is good. The other…

This is what’s actually in the disk’s partition table.

And for those who have no idea what that means: disks can be divided up into smaller disks, more or less. There are reasons to do this, mostly on servers, mostly not workstations, but whatever. These are called partitions.

This particular drive is cut up into six, count ’em, six partitions, sort of, except that two are completely broken and one is made up of parts that are also at the same time parts of two other partitions, and just kind of… overlayed atop each other.

Spoiler: this don’t work.

It’s like if you got to chapter two of a book, and midway through, chapter three appeared, overprinted and interleaved with the second half of chapter two. And after chapter two ended, chapter four picked up, printed underneath the rest of chapter three, making chapter four unreadable. But you can still make out chapter three if you squint.

There is no partition utility in the world which would let you do this.

The amazing thing is that I managed to recover the contents of both “TWork” partitions, which is a lot like getting chapters two and three from my analogy back and sorted out separately and readable. Couldn’t do anything for chapter four, though. And chapter six… I don’t know what happened there. It’s some kind of goddamn chainsaw murder scene with horror movie implications.

Sadly, both of these drives did the all-too-common very-old-drives-out-of-storage thing, where I managed to image them and pull contents, but after one last heat up/cool down, they just said “aaaaand we’re done here” ’cause that seems to be that. They’ll work long enough to come online, but the Viking won’t even stay up long enough to format it, and the Quantum ST will format, but will only let you write between 10 and 60 megs before taking itself offline and hiding from the controller until you reboot the machine. So no eBay listings for these.

Still, I’m happy. I made enough auctioning off all this old stuff to buy another microphone kit and I am closing in on another toy. Expect more DIY studio gear posts! It’ll be fun. 😀

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solarbird: (Lecturing)

“Gosh, Solarbird, what kind of articles did you publish in your old print comics fanzine?” “Oh, articles on religious theory that required half a page of small-print footnotes, exo-music-theory articles that came with a flexidisc, the usual fannish fluff.”

Extreme Geekiness Closeup:

This post inspired by getting a few of my old digital ducks in a row, courtesy the Big Clean I talked about earlier. I guess my new year’s confession is that the reason I love crazy, crazy fanac is because I’ve done so very much of it.

(If I’d been really properly serious about all this, those would’ve been correctly labelled as endnotes, not footnotes. XD )

Anybody got a turntable?

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solarbird: (Lecturing)

The new year is here, which means it’s time for the annual BIG CLEAN! But – living in earthquake territory and surrounded by active volcanoes – it’s also about emergency prep! Because it’s wise to have right the hell now, one-day, and two-or-three days plans for getting out.

(Some people also talk about having a month’s notice plan? But really, that’s a move, and I think it’s silly to think of that as ’emergency.’ Even one week isn’t a whole lot worse, even if you have a lot of junk – most of what people own that takes more than a week to sort out doesn’t really need to be sorted out.)

So! Let’s say you have one day, or worse, Mt. Rainier has just gone up and the Cascadia fault just tripped and everything is completely pear-shaped but a rescue boat is outside. For someone like me, who creates a lot of content, the key to getting out quickly without massive losses is already be ready.

What’s that mean? Well, you hear a lot about the three-day bag, of course. (At least, you do in Cascadia. It’s not really adequate, you should be prepared for at least a week, but three days is a start. Is this just us?) The three-day bag is one you can grab and take out the door as the building is falling down around you.

You should have data in that too. At very least, a recent backup of key data. For example: we back up our servers to USB flash drives. This sounds hilarious but it’s actually pretty good, because it means we can swap the flash drives monthly, and have a completely offline set of backups as well. And the monthly swap means they never have data-loss issues related to being unpowered for months.

Where do those offline backup flash drives live? The three-day pack.

If you have your creative works scattered across a bunch of formats – by which I mean other-than-digital formats – scan your stuff. And have your digital work collected – at least in backup form – in one place, and let that live in the three-day bag too. (But don’t use flash drives for this, they drop storage over time if left unpowered. They aren’t a good archive format.)

Alternatively, back your data up somewhere off-site. But that’s not always the best idea, for a lot of reasons – bandwidth being one of many, but there are many. If you can do it, great.

So as part of this year’s Big Clean, I’ve been getting my data situation together. I’ve made an image of my recording archives, and I’ve ripped all those old Commodore and Amiga floppies, and right now, and I’m scanning those old fanzines I put out back in the 90s, because why not? All that old stuff’s so small it can live in backed-up archive directories on my laptop, and the laptop is effectively part of the three-day kit anyway.

This is me, following my own advice, and being generally ready, like y’should. I was hoping to be done with all of this by the end of the 2nd, New Year’s Day Observed Bank Holiday Whatever, but I’m not quite done. But I’m close.

Anyway, here’s my RIGHT THE HELL NOW list:

  • three-day pack (yours should have a solid week of meds, if any)
  • laptop
  • instruments (at least the zouk)
  • phone
  • purse (which includes passport)

That gets me almost all of my creative output, food, meds, srs bsns ID, and so on. If you don’t have a passport – or passport card – you should have one if you can afford it. It’s better ID than a driver’s license or ID card, and doesn’t get questioned.

My ONE DAY’S NOTICE list – basically like going on tour with less gear but more paperwork. All of the above plus:

  • one suitcase of clothes
  • all hard drives
  • the One Day Warning box (important legal papers, pretty much)
  • studio tablet and custom studio hardware (one box max)

Anything more starts getting into “well, now, it’s just a move,” but with 2-3 days, I’d start with more general lab and studio gear, and favourite books and art.

For an emergency, doesn’t that sound luxurious? I’d have that luxury – all that time – because my Right the Hell Now and One Day plans are together. If you live anywhere that can get Abruptly Dangerous? Yours should be too.

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solarbird: (korra-on-the-air)

You wouldn’t’ve seen this if you don’t follow me on Twitter or Tumblr, but just after midnight Saturday morning, I went around posting “Happy ‘Hey Fascists, you’re not comin’ for us, we’re comin’ for you’ 2017!”

That’s not a joke. Fascism and white supremacy and overt misogyny – all manifestations of the same underlying urge, really – are back on the menu, and you are not your own private Switzerland. Shit’s real, shit’s gonna get more real, and one of the real things is that you don’t bother trying to argue with actual literal neo-Nazis and fascists and white supremacists or anybody else like that. There’s no rationality there to argue with, so you’re only wasting your time.

You don’t game with ’em, either. I ran into a fuckhead neo-Nazi on Overwatch yesterday. The correct response is to go on voice and say, “You fuckin’ serious? I don’t play with Nazis. Fuck off.” Then drop out of the game. Do not play with fascists.

Be that example, because exclusion works. Shame works too – not so much for them, but for people looking at what happens to them. Hurting ’em socially, economically, that works. Bring that pain. You don’t negotiate with mosquitoes, or bacteria, and you don’t negotiate with this crap, because they’ve all decided they want to believe this because it all it makes them feel all puffed up and studly, and science and data and reason won’t do crap about that.

And that’s the thing, right? That’s what it really is. White supremacists, misogynists – they’re the biggest, most pathetic whiny-baby clowns in the whole goddamn world. You want to talk about entitlement culture? Let’s talk these dickbags. They are literally going out and saying that they deserve everything and you deserve nothing because – and I am quoting one here – “[their] ancestors built this country.” Leaving aside how completely full of shit that happens to be, and all the historical revisionism necessary to believe that (see again: fuck rationality), that is literally “I deserve to rule over you for no fucking reason at all, except maybe bein’ born. It’s not talent; it’s not skill; it’s not work; it’s not creativity; it’s just boundless egomaniac me. And my sneer.”

So pathetic. So lazy. So entitled. And so very, very, very stupid.

And if you’re thinking, “how do you argue with that?” stop, because the answer is, again, above: you don’t. You shame it, you exclude it, you make being that big of a festering cockbasket a serious fucking liability, and you get everybody else to do it too.

Because there is not one rational, reasonable, thoughtful thing to be said in defence of any of that horseshit. Not one. And it’s been given way too much of a pass for way too goddamn long as people have wrung their hands about understanding their needs and figure out why they want to fuck Those People up, and when it all comes down to it, none of that matters. They get off on hurting people: that is the underlying motivator. It gets them all chubby.

So shut that shit down. Fascists don’t get debates; fascists get deplatformed. Fascists don’t get accommodated; fascists get fired.

I saw a good line on Twitter: people of the 1930s and 1940s were called the Greatest Generation because they killed fascists indiscriminately. I like it. We’re not there yet, and I sure as hell hope we don’t get there, but the way we avoid that is to hammer this shit down yesterday. If there is anything at all these fuckers respect, it’s a boot to the head, and I say it’s time to start kickin’.

Metaphorically, of course.

So Happy New Year 2017, everybody. This is the year to make fascists afraid again. “You think you’re comin’ for us? I got news. We’re comin’ for you.

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solarbird: (Lecturing)

Check it out – this 5.25″ floppy from a Commodore 128 literally warped. Basically, the outer plastic envelope enclosing the (very floppy!) diskette inside shrank, but only on one side. And none of the others did it either.

It wouldn’t read that way at all, obviously. It threw a “Drive Not Ready” error, which is pretty old-timey hilarious. So I cut the old envelope off along the edges and put the floppy into a different envelope, at which point I got a directory…

…though wow did it still throw a lot of errors when trying to image it. I was thinking, ‘well, 50% is better than 0%, I guess?’ Even though, really, that’s pretty dumb, because there is no real point to this, this is just old Commodore 128 software.

But there wasn’t much Commodore 128-specific software written, so I kept at it, and persistence, sometimes, it pays off!

I still had two block errors, but that’s 99.88% recovery, so that’s pretty awesome.

Most of what I’m looking for here is the first piece of non-mainframe software I had published. It’s on these disks, and it was C128-specific, and 80-column specific, which used to be a thing. And it was kind of a BBSer’s ultimate package – phone book, wardialer, password manager, loadable keyboards so you could talk to PETSKII and AtASCII and IBM-character-graphics systems all equally well (and were attached to each entry in the phonebook, so they’d load automatically), xmodem file transfer, expandable “sidekick” mini-applications like a notecard manager – all written intentionally in uncompiled, interpreted BASIC.

Open source before there was a special word for it, more or less.

But the real point was that I’d just got this amazing new machine, the Commodore 128, and the terminal software that came with the high-speed 1200 baud modem was garbage, and what freeware I could find either didn’t do 80 columns, or, worse, despite being machine language, could not handle the blinding 120 characters per second of 1200 baud modems. They’d drop characters.

So I set out to prove that this was horseshit, and that this machine was being savagely underappreciated. And did. It even got published in a diskette-based magazine called Uptime! – twice. (Version 1.0, which was pure BASIC, and Version 1.1, where I added the sidekick functionality and also said FINE A LITTLE MACHINE CODE IS NOT A BAD THING which added some raw 6502 code to do the xmodem checksum math which made file transfer speeds a lot better.)

Seriously, the terminal emulation loop that did all of these things was 38 bytes long. And it has no apparent exit, because if I had one, it wasn’t fast enough. I’d trapped the system interrupt generated by the RUN/STOP key on the keyboard to use as a COMMAND key, which is a little like making toast with a butane torch, and I’m pretty sure nobody else ever did that. It was hilarious, but it worked.

And that’s how I spent my summer vacation, circa… 1987?

I was a weird kid.

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more STUFF

Dec. 16th, 2016 11:08 am
solarbird: (pingsearch)

I have NEC Multisync (original, 1987) and Multisync II (1988) CRT monitors that both need to have their power supply boards rebuilt. The CRT in one is very good, the CRT in the other is good but has some mild burn-in. I forget which is which and can’t test because they don’t power on now.

Anybody know some old-school CRT hax0rs looking for projects? The CRTs being good is what makes them worthwhile.

(Yes, I am still crawling through the Old Tech Closet. But the end is in sight. Cheer me up by checking out the 2016 singles, all still on hit-the-tip-jar pricing. ^_^ )

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solarbird: (Lecturing)

All this old computer stuff I keep talking about is going up on eBay in various forms. Those auctions will be over here, and all the starting bids are way low, because the whole point is to clear all this out. I’ll be adding more items hopefully daily.

But! That Amiga 500 I’ve been talking about… that’s a bit tricky. It’s better as a unit than it would be as pieces, but the weird wooden case is a problem, and there is no case anywhere else that could be used and keep the system intact. I could take it apart and sell the pieces, and that would probably get me the most money, but frankly, I’d much rather keep it together.

You can probably see where this is going.

I have a highly-customised Amiga 500 with ECS chipset, FlickerFicker/deinterlacer/scandoubler card, 3.5 megs of memory, 14.3Mhz processor (double-speed) with cache, a two-slot Zorro II card cage, SCSI/memory expansion card, third-party high-quality power supply… and a completely goofy wooden tower case made out of lumber, because there is no mass-market case in the world that would hold all this. The hard drive may have just died, but the rest is still fine.

Does anyone out there know any collectors or retrocomputing enthusiasts who might be interested in this monster as one big piece? Seriously, you will not find many Amiga 500s with detached keyboards and Zorro II slots.

Shipping it isn’t a question. Just… no. And you don’t have to take the case, but you won’t find one that will deal with this configuration – you’ll have to build something.

So if you know any Amiga enthusiasts, have them talk to me. I’m not asking eBay parts price, but particularly things like the scandoubler actually do draw some money, so I’m hoping for a couple of hundred dollars. A lot less than you’d pay to assemble it, but well above zero.

Most of the other pieces, I’ll be eBaying. But this… I’d rather find somebody who can take it all in one piece. Thanks.

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solarbird: (Lecturing)

I’ve spent the last couple of days working on getting my old Amiga working (I finally have a functional keyboard again!) and then virtualised under a modern emulator/VM, and WOW SO BORING but I wanted to document it somewhere.


Yes, yes, the student has become the master, etc.

Plus it’s kind of hilarious to see these old network configuration files again. lol murkworks.seattle.wa.us what even. Does that system still exist anymore? I honestly don’t know.

Hoo, where to start? Okay, first, I’m running FS-UAE, which emulates Amiga hardware. FS-UAE is good because it’s open source, multiplatform, and all versions use the same disk image files, which are really basic raw drive images that you could literally write back out to a physical drive with dd and use in a real machine.

You need Kickstart ROMs, of course. There tools out there to image your own old ROMs if your Amiga is working, but if not, Amiga Forever is the best place to get those, because they’ll see you every ROM ever for like US$30, and a bunch of (again, legal!) OS versions on floppy disk images.

You’ll need to have a Windows PC to run Amiga Forever on once, because the download is an .msi file, and you’ll need to unpack that mess. Or, if you don’t mind waiting, you can buy the “deluxe” edition for $10 more, and they’ll mail you a DVD, eliminating the PC requirement.

If you go with the download, then once you have it/install the .MSI file, it’ll let you make a DVD-R ISO which you can burn. That’ll produce the same DVD as the deluxe edition would give you, only as DVD-R instead of DVD but whatever. If you’re using a USB drive, you can just have Amiga Forever write out all the files to a standard directory structure there, as well. FS-UAE will work with either to import the ROMs.

In my case, I was able to get my old hard drives viewable under Linux. (That’s because A4000 used IDE instead of SCSI rives, and EIDE cages talk to them.) That meant I could make .img files just using the linux dd command. If you want to virtualise your old machine pretty much intact, you’ll want to image the whole drive to a file – not the partitions individually.

If you have a SCSI controller and can hook your old Amiga drive(s) to it, you can do the same trick there.

Dara Korra’ti You can also mount your old hard drive partitions under linux, though they will be read-only. This still will let you copy things off, and on any modern file system, FS-UAE will let you use a directory as root of a virtualised Amiga hard drive. I’m doing this as drive … four now on my newly virtualised Amiga. That gives me unlimited access to the host machine’s drive space, which is cool, and both my OS X host and my Windows 2000 VM can read/write that directory so all three OSes can share files freely now, which is definitely handy.

Sometimes people apparently have problems mounting the Amiga partitions individually; here is a helpful page on that. The most important part of it really is that fdisk doesn’t recognise Amiga partition tables and that can confuse things, but parted does, and even if you have to get super-squirrley (I did not) then you can make it work with data you can extract via parted.

The reason I’ve been concentrating on OS X is because the Linux version of FS-UAE wants PulseAudio, which I do not want on my DAW, which is my main linux machine. But since I’m using standard dd-created disk images, I can migrate later if I have an appropriate Linux machine for this task.

If you do not have an existing Amiga hard drive, FS-UAE will happily let you create a virtual one and install whatever Workbench versions you want to it.

Anyway, once I had the virtualised machine booting at all to my old system (albeit as an Amiga 4000 with 68020 processor, how the hell that was supposed to work I can’t tell you but it did), I then booted to an Amiga Workbench 3.1 install floppy image instead of the hard drive, and installed 3.1 as an upgrade on my old (now virtualised) drives. After that, everything behaved a lot more normally and I enabled PPC-acceleration-board emulation – which was another advantage of Amiga Forever, since the extra ROM needed was also in the Amiga Forever image.

(Though I did have to rename it. But it asked for the file by name, so it wasn’t hard to figure that out.)

Anyway, that should get you started. There are lots of app floppy images floating around you can use for things too. Lots of legal ones, even. FS-UAE and Amiga Forever will both point you at those and will even include some of them.

Oh, if you have old Amiga floppies and a working/workable Amiga and floppy drive to read them, you’ll want TransADF, which lets you create ADF files out of Amiga floppy disks:

http://aminet.net/package/disk/misc/TransADF

It runs on the Amiga side of things and creates .adf files that fs-uae will use. It’s not really for copy-protected stuff tho’. As far as I can tell, it is about the easiest way to get files off Amiga floppies and onto a machine while preserving all their attributes and such.

Finally, if somehow you have a working Amiga but it doesn’t have LHA, this will help:

http://ale.emuunlim.com/guides/lha-unpack.shtml

I have used a spell to rip this walkthrough from Amiga’s decaying floppy disks, and
sealed it in one of the servers floating in the Furthest Ring. The gods may
disperse the signal throughout the cosmos as they wish. Perhaps it will be of use
to past or future species who like us have been ensnared by crazy-ass antique operating systems.

I see another drive has filed. Pardon my egress. You’re on your own now.

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solarbird: (korra-on-the-air)

Today was supposed to be about music and about this weekend at Orycon. Today was supposed to be talking about the little demonstration circuit I’ve put together to improve my panel on building antique-technology microphones because you can. It was going to be fun.

But no. Not now. Because it’s been one fucking week since this savage election and Trump surrogate Carl Higbie is already talking about concentration camps as positive precedent on Fox News.

THIS IS NOT NORMAL.

TRUMP
SURROGATE
CARL HIGBIE
TALKS UP
CONCENTRATION
CAMPS

Fascism is right fucking here, kids. Right here.

THIS IS NOT OKAY. THIS IS NOT NORMAL. FIGHT IT. FIGHT THEM.

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solarbird: (korra-on-the-air)

Like everyone else, I wanted all this to go away for a while after this hellhouse of an election was over. And historically, I’ve kept most of my political stuff off the band blog, only getting into it when it was specifically within and about geek culture.

But given the fundamentalist policy influx I’ve already discussed, now supplemented by newer and creepier moves like ideological tests for higher education:

I actually have something I would use the Department of Education to do,” Carson explained. “It would be to monitor our institutions of higher education for extreme political bias and deny federal funding if it exists.

…and bringing in people like Peter Thiel, who famously kinda hates elections and democracy and thinks everything has gone to hell since women started voting:

I must confess that over the last two decades, I have changed radically on the question of how to achieve these goals. Most importantly, I no longer believe that freedom and democracy are compatible. … Since 1920, the vast increase in welfare beneficiaries and the extension of the franchise to women — two constituencies that are notoriously tough for libertarians — have rendered the notion of “capitalist democracy” into an oxymoron.

…and the inclusion of white nationalist anti-semitic misogynists like Steve Bannon at the top level of the new administration:

Now, you may be asking what I would have women replace the [birth control] Pill with, since it’s obviously so awful. Condoms? Vasectomies? The answer is: nothing. We need the kids if we’re to breed enough to keep the Muslim invaders at bay.

The solution to online ‘harassment’ is simple: women should log off. Given that men built the internet, along with the rest of modern civilisation, I think it’s only fair that they get to keep it. I, Donald Trump and the rest of the alpha males will continue to dominate the internet without feminist whining.

…that’s not really an option anymore.

I mean, Mr. Bannon in particular is a vicious piece of work. It’s not just that he made Breitbart a propaganda vehicle for the “~~alt-right~~” clusterfuck of racism, anti-Semitism, and misogyny, but if that wasn’t cartoonish enough, he literally has the endorsement of the literal fucking American Nazi Party, NO, REALLY:

Chairman of the American Nazi Party, Rocky J. Suhayda, who wrote a post after Trump’s election night victory celebrating it as a call to action, said he was surprised at the pick of Bannon, but said it showed him Trump could follow through on his campaign promises.

And it’s not like Trump and Bannon don’t know the arc of this path either. Bannon in particular wants to destroy everything so they can take over:

Trump: “You know what solves it?” [Mr. Trump] said of America’s sorry state. “When the economy crashes, when the country goes to total hell and everything is a disaster. Then you’ll have a [chuckles], you know, you’ll have riots to go back to where we used to be when we were great.”
 
Bannon: “I’m a Leninist,” Bannon proudly proclaimed… “Lenin,” he answered, “wanted to destroy the state, and that’s my goal too. I want to bring everything crashing down, and destroy all of today’s establishment.”

I should’ve paid more attention when the fundamentalist right started quoting Stalin without irony a few years ago. That should’ve twigged me more than it did. I thought it would marginalise them completely, and talked about it like that, saying, “wow, they’ve really gone off into the woods,” but goddammit, instead they’ve found their white supremacist leadership cadre, have allied with actual fucking Nazis, have taken the offer the devil offered Jesus (by 81% – they didn’t even hesitate), and are going for it.

DON’T NORMALISE THIS. DON’T LET THIS BE NORMALISED. THAT WILL BE TRIED, DON’T LET IT HAPPEN. THIS IS NOT NORMAL, THIS WAS A DECLARATION OF WAR.

And unless you’re heading overseas, you don’t get to opt out. And maybe not even then.

Am I scaring you? WRONG. I’m not scaring you, the facts are scaring you. The situation is scaring you. And go ahead, be scared. That’s fine.

But do not be intimidated. Do not be paralysed. Fear is a great motivator if you don’t let it control you, and now is the time when you need to control it – and translate that energy into action.

I’ll talk more about that soon. We need to go after media that tries to pretend this is normal, and provide “balanced” coverage of THE ACTUAL FASCISTS, like they’re already doing with Bannon. We need to go after politicians who try to deny the white supremacy, the misogyny, the anti-Semitism, like Trump transition team leader Reince Priebus, who says, “I haven’t seen any of these things” out of Mr. Bannon. (HEY REINCE, I’VE GOT A HANDY LIST.) When they start the sweeps going after people, don’t call that normal either.

“If [Mr. Trump] wants to deport two to three million people, he’s got to rely on tactics that will divide communities and create fear throughout the country,” said Kevin Appleby, the senior director of international migration policy at the Center for Migration Studies of New York. “He would have to conduct a sweep, or raids or tactics such as those, to reach the numbers he wants to reach. It would create a police state, in which they would have to be aggressively looking for people.”

Fight this police state bullshit; completely refuse to co-operate on any level, and tell your cities and states and schools to do the same. Fight it, fight everything like it, fight everyone who is for it, because in the end there is no middle ground with fascists, with white supremacists, with proud misogynists, because there is no civil discourse with people who have decided that you are not people. In dispensing with the idea of ‘loyal opposition,’ they’ve run themselves all the way to the brink, so far along the crumbling edge of the cliff that they’ve made their with-us-or-against-us vision of the world actually come true.


this is the neofascist “alt-right”‘s vision for you

Ally with anyone who backs off that precipice. Try to peel off the underinformed, the automatic party-identify voters, the low-information, the unaware. Pull back everyone you can. But the true believers, the Trumpian alt-right base?

It’s them, and it’s everybody else. If they can fling us to our deaths off that cliff, they will. And they’ll enjoy it.

Fight.

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