Fin

I’m starting afresh in 2024. I’ve got a new site at midwist.com. This site will be going away. At some point I’ll migrate some of the better articles, and leave the junk offline. So long, and thanks for all the fish.

Ghost of a chance

Hmm, it’s been a while, better upgrade Ghost. Off I go… Hey, there’s a new major version of Ghost out. Upgrade now to get the new features. OK, sounds good, let’s do that. Can’t do that. The new version requires MySQL and you’re running MariaDB. You’ll have to export every database on the system, remove MariaDB, install Oracle MySQL, then reimport all the databases. Manually. Uh… Not sure I’m quite ready to…

Pooh: Thirst for Power

One day, Winnie-the-Pooh was wandering through the Hundred Acre Wood, searching for his next meal. As he ambled along, he couldn’t help but notice the strange, hypnotic quality of the trees. They seemed to whisper secrets to him, beckoning him deeper into the forest. Pooh’s stomach grumbled as he followed the trees, drawn in by their mysterious allure. He knew he should be wary of such things, but the promise of honey was too great to resist.

Hints for Leaving Twitter

So, you’ve had enough of Elon Musk’s quest to become the Caligula of social media, and you want to leave Twitter behind? Here are some tips. If you want hints on setup, I wrote an article about that, and there are guides from Gizmodo, TechCrunch, WIRED, and many other publications. If you want a copy of your old Tweets, request it now. When I left, it took about a day to get my archive.

Slate Star Codex

Over the years a number of people I know have told me that I really ought to read articles on the Slate Star Codex web site. In particular, multiple people raved about one called Meditations on Moloch. I tried to read it. Really, I did. I’m not someone who suffers a short attention span. I’ve read and enjoyed David Foster Wallace’s “Infinite Jest” (483,994 words), and Stephen King’s “It” (441,156 words) and “11/22/63” (269,543 words).

Mastodon revisited

Thinking of trying Mastodon and the Fediverse again in the light of recent events? Here’s a quick guide. What is it? The Fediverse is a big network of social media sites that all talk to each other. There are over 1.5 million active users on the Fediverse. This article is my guide to how to join them. Mastodon is a piece of software that people run on web servers. Each Mastodon server provides a social network web site people can use to post on the Fediverse.

Mojave Plan

In the early 1980s, Tangerine Dream made a major change to their sound. While 1980’s “Tangram” is warm and reassuring throughout, 1981’s “Exit” echoed the nuclear paranoia of the time. In 1982, they continued the theme with “White Eagle”, which opens with a chilly alien soundscape, the beginning of a piece called “Mojave Plan”. Ever since I first heard it, I had wanted to visit the Mojave desert. Decades on, I found myself driving through the Mojave desert, reflecting on just how good a soundtrack they made.

Save Austin Now

(Austin, TX) Bipartisan Republican group Save Austin Now remains undeterred by the failure of its Proposition A in recent elections. The group vows to return in 2022 with Proposition A++ Would Vote Again. The new improved proposition will mandate that the city of Austin maintain at least one police officer per citizen. “The city has less property crime than a decade ago, and the murder rate’s lower than it was in the ’80s and ’90s, but that just isn’t good enough,” explained Save Austin Now’s spokesperson, a sock puppet wearing a Democratic Party logo pin.

A screeching voice of the minority

Apple’s new plans for scanning people’s photos in iOS 15 have come under fire this week. Here’s an outline of how the new system works. First of all, some smart software developers came up with an algorithm called NeuralHash that can turn an image into a digital hash code — a string of hexadecimal characters representing a large binary number. A hash might look like this: 30608d500712cd2469c5780abedda955a9eccf7f Note that the hash contains absolutely no useful information about what’s in the image.

Business trip to Hell

At 01:46 -0600 on February 15th, I was woken up by a chorus of beeping noises. Power had gone out, and two UPS systems plus the home alarm system were keen that I should know about it. I was aware of the weather forecast and figured there was a good chance the outage would exceed the 15 minute capacity of the UPS batteries. (Now that’s an understatement.) I wandered downstairs and did a controlled shutdown of my work laptop and home server.