Control Keys

All of this:

blarg: "I spend a lot of time thinking about keyboards, and I wish more people did."

I'm not even mad about the letter layout -- you do you, Dvorak weirdos -- but that we give precious keycap real estate to antiquated arcana and pedestrian novelty at the expense of dozens of everyday interactions, and as far as I can tell we mostly don't even notice it.

  • This laptop has dedicated keys to let me select, from levels zero to three, how brightly my keyboard is backlit. If I haven't remapped control to caps I need to twist my wrist awkwardly to cut, copy or paste anything.

  • I've got two alt keys, but undo and redo are chords each half a keyboard away from each other. Redo might not exist, or the key sequence could be just about anything depending on the program; sometimes all you can do is either undo, or undo the undo?

  • On typical PC keyboards Pause/Break and Scroll Lock, vestigial remnants a serial protocol of ages past, both have premium real estate all to themselves. "Find" is a chord. Search-backwards may or may not be a thing that exists depending on the program, but getting there is an exercise. Scroll lock even gets a capslock-like LED some of the time; it's that important! [...]

  • "Ins" -- insert -- is a dedicated key for the "what if delete, but backwards and slowly" option that only exists at all because mainframes are the worst. Are there people who toggle this on purpose? Has anyone asked them if they're OK? I can't select a word, sentence or paragraph with a keystroke; control-A lets me either select everything or nothing.

    Finally, SysRq -- short for "System Request" -- gets its own button too, and it almost always does nothing because the one thing it does when it works -- "press here to talk directly to the hardware" -- is a security disaster only slightly obscured by a usability disaster. [...]

Anyway, here's a list of how you remaps capslock to control on various popular OSes, in a roughly increasing order of lunacy:

  • OSX: Open keyboard settings and click a menu.

  • Linux: setxkboptions, I think. Maybe xmodmap? Def. something in an .*rc file somewhere though. Or maybe .profile? Does gnome-tweak-tool still work, or is it called ubuntu-tweak-tool or just tweak-tool now? This seriously used to be a checkbox, not some 22nd-century CS-archaeology doctoral thesis. What an embarrassment.

  • Windows: Make a .reg file full of magic hexadecimal numbers. You'll have to figure out how on your own, because exactly none of that documentation is trustworthy. Import it as admin with regedit. Reboot probably? This is ok. This is fine.

  • iOS: Ive says that's where the keys go so that's where the keys go. Think of it as minimalism except for the number of choices you're allowed to make. Learn to like it or get bent, pleb.

  • Android: Buy an app. Give it permission to access all your keystrokes, your location, your camera and maybe your heart rate. The world's most profitable advertising company says that's fine.

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Mister Softee Unmasked

Meet The Man Who Uses LinkNYC To Freak Out NYers

"I have never understood the fundamental premise of LinkNYC, that every single outdoor payphone should be routed and replaced with this unproven alternative, or how such a broad decision affecting the public interest was reached without a single call for public input." [...]

His core beef with LinkNYC is rooted in the singular fact that they claim to be "the payphone of the future," when their primary purpose seems to be serving up digital advertisements to non-consenting pedestrians.

"I consider the kiosks themselves to be unwanted, unasked for irritants, and to express that sentiment I turned the kiosks themselves into irritants," Thomas explains. But he's also quick to emphasize that he considers his work not as a protest but as a sort of one-man outsider art project, and that he views LinkNYC as "less of a threat than an opportunity." He'd be happy for others to take up the mantle of street theater as well. [...]

His process involves using the kiosk's free domestic calling feature to dial one of the countless conference call numbers he's rigged with various pieces. He then cranks up the volume on the device, clicks back to the home screen, and walks away.

Each of his recordings begins with sixty seconds of silence, a detail he added after discovering that people in certain areas, particularly Murray Hill and the Upper East Side, "really hated when the serenity of their neighborhoods were disrupted by noise blasting out of these things." This "magic minute," as he's dubbed it, helps Thomas to avoid detection, while also allowing him to program several machines at once. [...]

Eventually, I ask Thomas whether LinkNYC is aware of his efforts. He believes that they are, and that the company may have even gone through the trouble of rewiring the network because of him. While users were once able to place uninterrupted calls for four hours at a time, the kiosks now require you to confirm that you're still there after 10 (or sometimes three) minutes. It wouldn't be particularly hard for them to find him, he notes, waving to one of the tablet's three cameras.

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Warning Signs

Warning Signs by Emily J. Smith: A good short story about unexpected uses of the Panopticon. (Any more description would be spoilery.)

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It consists of cubes connected in a three-dimensional structure. You can manipulate it to change shapes in different ways. It is made from a system of pieces that lock together.

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Lazyweb, what do you do when you need an enclosure for some random weird-shaped piece of electronics? I want to bolt this thing to the front of my payphone in some drink-proof way.

Please note, I do not own a machine shop or a 3d printer.

I suppose I could try to model a box for it and have that printed, but I think that Shapeways or something like that means a multi-week turnaround time at $30 a pop, which is a slow and expensive way to realize, "oops, it needed to be 1mm deeper". Also I've never modeled something for 3D printing before, and my understanding is that Sketchup, the program I know best, is terrible at it.

So what's the easy way?

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jwz mixtape 201

Please enjoy jwz mixtape 201.

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Current Music: as noted


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DNA Lounge update

DNA Lounge update, wherein there's some more press about the corporate consolidation of SF's music industry.

"Caught my first tube today, Sir!"

And by "tube" I mean: I stepped out of my door and some idiot on a scooter rammed into me and went flying. He had been speeding down the sidewalk like a foot from the wall. As he lay sprawled in his yardsale and I tried to determine whether I was bleeding I said, "This is why I hate those things!"

Still lying on the ground, he said, "But it's not my fault!"

"Fuck you!" I explained. "You were going 20 miles an hour on the fucking sidewalk!"

This is when the guy at the glass shop started laughing. I guess you can't really say you were a part of San Francisco 2018 until a techbro on a scooter has slammed into you and then blamed you for it.

How to Recycle your E-scooter:

The city and the e-scooter companies have been working very hard to find a solution to the e-scooter problem, and in response to public demand, they have placed escooter docking stations all over the city for your convenience. When you see an e-scooter on the sidewalk, calmly walk up to it, pick it up, and place it on the nearest docking station, also known as a 'scootypods' (they're still focus grouping that title).

If a docking station does not have the recycling symbol on it, simply slot the scooter through the top of the docking station as pictured. [...]

When you're done riding an escooter, always remember to D.U.M.P

  • Don't panic
  • Understand that you are part of the problem
  • Mobilize your legs
  • Place escooter in the trash

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