Our Faith-Based State Department.

Good to see the Sons of Jacob are being taken care of.

The State Department on Monday said it would not be distributing a transcript or list of attendees from a briefing call with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo held that evening -- a call from which the department's press corps was excluded and only "faith-based media" allowed.

The afternoon phone briefing was to discuss "international religious freedom" with the secretary -- who rarely participates in such calls -- ahead of his trip to the Middle East. One member of the State Department press corps was invited, only to be un-invited after RSVPing. That reporter was told that the call was for "faith-based media only."

Despite repeated inquires and complaints from members of the press corps who are based at the department, the State Department on Monday night said they would not be providing a transcript of the call, a list of faith-based media outlets who were allowed to participate or the criteria to be invited.

Officials would not answer questions about whether a range of faiths was included.

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Apache 2.4.1 killed fail2ban, so that's awesome

They downgraded 404 errors from "error" to "info" meaning they no longer show up in your error_log unless you crank up LogLevel to "useless firehose".

This means that all of my nice fail2ban honeypot rules that blackhole your IP address if you probe /phpMyAdmin/ and stuff like that no longer trigger.


Previously, previously.

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An "Alternative" Captain Marvel Soundtrack

I am 100% there for this bikeshedding of the Captain Marvel soundtrack. It's like reading Phonogram backmatter. My primary complaint with the movie was that Just a Girl was entirely too on-the-nose, so yes, all of this.

"And granted, Kevin Feige might not be so enthusiastic about ending a blockbuster superhero movie with the words 'Lick my legs, I'm on fire' ringing in the audiences collective ears, but he's just wrong."

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Today in Clown Computing: MySpace

MySpace lost all music uploaded from 2003 to 2015

About a year ago, all music on MySpace from 2015 and older stopped working. At first MySpace said they were working on the issue, but they eventually admitted they lost all the data (and apparently didn't have backups?). See this thread for more details.

Previously, previously, previously, previously, previously, previously.

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Alice 4

A dedicated tablet for running 80s SGI demos!

We decided to make a portable tablet that did nothing but run mid-1980's Silicon Graphics (SGI) demos. The demos were famous. They were pre-installed on all SGI machines for a decade, and they induced instant nostalgia in anyone who had spent time with those wonderful workstations. Both of us had worked at SGI and had used the machines extensively. [...]

The ARM runs Linux and the demos (which we found in source form in a tar file on an ancient FTP site). Brad wrote a replacement IrisGL library, which performs the transformation, clipping, and lighting, and creates an in-memory list of 2D triangles to rasterize. The FPGA rasterizes them, performing color interpolation and Z buffering. The FPGA also scans the frame buffer to the LCD. [...]

The GPU has a rasterization rate of about 50 million Gouraud (color-interpolated) Z-buffered pixels per second. The triangle overhead lets us do almost 2 million (empty) triangles per second. It's hard to compare these numbers to real SGI machines, but we seem to be matching the performance of machines built in the early 1990s.

Previously, previously, previously, previously.

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Meet the Man Who Made 3,000 Pairs of High Heels for Prince

"At one point, we were averaging 30 to 40 pairs of shoes a month for Prince," Gary says.

"I think he must have worn at least two or three of those shoes a day because he refused to be seen at, say, a press conference in the morning wearing the same heels as he wore onstage the night before." [...]

"He was very much involved in the process," Gary says. "Prince would get attached to a certain fabric and bring it in to me and ask, 'Okay, how can we cut this? Do we do it on the bias?' He really dug into the process." The details had to be precise, even when it was just a simple color or fabric change of the same shoe from the original mold. Sometimes, the musician's stylist would attach Prince's symbol to the zipper for added embellishment. And because Prince's performances required intense movement, the heel was supported with a stainless steel bar, so as to ensure that it wouldn't snap off when he was coming back up from a split. "We also used a heavier wood on the shoes that we knew he was going to do the splits in, to absorb more impact," Gary says. [...]

There was only one instance in which Prince was adamantly against something Gary suggested. "He was a Jehovah's Witness," the shoemaker explains. "I wanted to use one of the 3-D scanning machines I'd just gotten to mold the new shoe forms for him and make the process a bit faster, but he refused. I guess they don't believe in using technology to re-create a certain part of the body." Gary continued to make Prince's footwear by hand, even crafting "slippers" for him to wear while he was at home. "They were actually more like platform flip-flops," he says.


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Since it's the 30th anniversary of the world wide web, let me just link to some emulations-in-the-browser of browsers, so you can see some of where it could have gone before we all decided to let Ol' Sociopathic Googly be the entire engine for everything.

Previously, previously, previously.

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Help me keep home.mcom.com online

Dear Lazyweb, tell me who inside of Oath / Verizon has the ability to edit the DNS records of the "mcom.com" domain. Or, preferably, just transfer the domain to me.

Longer version:

For eleven years now, I've been keeping the historical mcom.com web sites alive, because those host names were hardcoded into the UI of the first few releases of Netscape, and the browser doesn't function properly if http://home.mcom.com/ and http://mosaic.mcom.com/ don't exist. (And they also have to each be hosted on dedicated IP addresses, since the primordial browsers didn't send a Host: header.)

AOL controls the domain names, which I think means that Oath / Yahoo controls them now?

Since 2008, the DNS records for home.mcom.com and mosaic.mcom.com have pointed at IP addresses that I control. But that web host is shutting down, and my new hosting of course has different IP space.

In order of preference, I would like:

  1. Just transfer the mcom.com domain to me. I'm only ever going to use it to keep the historical web sites up, not for profit, and I'll happily sign something to that effect. In the past they've been unwilling to do that.

  2. Transfer the domain to Internet Archive. If donating it to a 501(c)(3) makes this more palatable, we can arrange that. Maybe you get a deduction.

  3. Sell it to me. I'll do a Kickstarter or something to pay for it. Give me a number. (Back in 2008 apparently Time-Warner believed "four letter domains are worth > $100k", even though they were clearly never going to monetize this one. Perhaps saner heads will prevail?)

  4. Update the DNS records to point to my new IPs. The mcom.com table should look like this, probably. I hope the DNS clients on 1994-vintage operating systems followed multiple CNAME hops instead of requiring direct A records. I think so?

Previously, previously, previously, previously, previously.

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Harcourt Fenton Mudd, Venture Capitalist

Wow, Kirk really understands "entrepreneurs" --

But then Mudd starts singing his "Join Us Now and Share the Fembots" song --

Pick a team, you goddamned circus-hipster.

So, "I, Mudd" is about dangling the temptations of a post-scarcity society in front of members of a post-scarcity society. And there was talk of Mudd not paying the Vulcans for licenses on their patents. Patents!

I have so many questions for Starfleet Legal.

(And that's even before I start pointing at the chart on my wall and screaming about transporters and replicators.)

Previously, previously.
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DNA Lounge: Wherein it's nearly The Night of the Living Techbros

Today is DNA Pizza's 8th anniversary! Hooray!

We still haven't found a restaurant manager! Boo!

Everything old is new again: it will be the 20th anniversary of the release of The Matrix in a couple of weeks -- yes, there is no way that this news does not make you feel old -- and we're doing a screening of the movie here, followed by a Matrix-themed rave! Next Friday, March 22. It should be pretty great, in a Cyberdelia sort of way. No skate ramps this time, though. Oh, speaking of, if you go hit "like" on the Cyberdelia facebook page, you may find yourself a discount code.

And since we're partying like it's 1999, here's a bleak, dystopian future from noted science fiction magazine The New York Times:

Thousands of New Millionaires Are About to Eat San Francisco Alive:

Big wealth doesn't come in monthly paychecks. It comes when a start-up goes public, transforming hypothetical money into extremely real money. This year -- with Uber, Lyft, Slack, Postmates, Pinterest and Airbnb all hoping to enter the public markets -- there's going to be a lot of it in the Bay Area. [...] Welcomed finally into the elite caste who can afford to live comfortably in the Bay Area, the fleet of new millionaires are already itching to claim what has been promised all these years. [...]

"Are we going to see a one-bedroom condo that's worth less than $1 million in five years?" he asked the crowd. "Are we going to see single family homes selling for one to three million?" [...]

When Google in Mountain View and Facebook in Menlo Park went public, their workers were spread across the Bay Area, and so the impact on housing was diffuse. Now, many of the biggest start-ups are based in San Francisco, in part thanks to the city's tax breaks. Brokers say San Francisco is where the workers want to stay. [...]

"We see multiple parties per I.P.O. for the company that is I.P.O.ing, as well as firms that are associated to them," Mr. Siegan said. Budgets for start-up parties, he said, can easily go above $10 million. "They're wanting to bring in A-list celebrities to perform at the dinner tables for the executives. They want ballet performers."

A popular new feature he's noticing is clients hoping to curate their own theme concerts featuring fleets of bands. Mr. Siegan says he put on one for a 1980s loving tech executive, featuring the B-52s, Devo, The Bangles, Tears for Fears and Flock of Seagulls.

In a warehouse in Concord, Calif., the I.P.O. ice sculptor is getting ready to staff up for what he says will be a long year.

If any of you reading this work for a company planning to throw one of these massive IPO shindigs, let me emphasize that we are ready and willing to (gunshot, gunshot, click, cash register) take your money. Operators are standing by.

It's the least you could do. Like, it is literally, literally the least. No least-er.

As always, The Onion was there first:

Report: Nation's Gentrified Neighborhoods Threatened By Aristocratization:

WASHINGTON -- According to a report released Tuesday by the Brookings Institution, a Washington-based think tank, the recent influx of exceedingly affluent powder-wigged aristocrats into the nation's gentrified urban areas is pushing out young white professionals, some of whom have lived in these neighborhoods for as many as seven years.

Maureen Kennedy, a housing policy expert and lead author of the report, said that the enormous treasure-based wealth of the aristocracy makes it impossible for those living on modest trust funds to hold onto their co-ops and converted factory loft spaces. [...]

"These accusations are pure, slanderous rubbish," said Lord Nathan Dunkirk III, the owner of a prodigious manor house that, along with its steeplechase course and topiary garden, sits on what was once the Haight-Ashbury district of San Francisco. "If anything, the layabouts and wastrels have been afforded a veritable glut of new and felicitous opportunities as bootblacks and scullery maids."

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