DNA Lounge: Wherein we've got gas.

We had to replace our big CO2 tank. It had a slow leak, which was costing us money, and so we had been using smaller rental tanks instead of the big one for quite a while, which was also costing us more money. And Airgas had been pretty unreliable about those deliveries; it seems that the schedule that they are comfortable with is, "we'll probably fill up the big tank from the street on our own schedule sometime within a six week window". Anything other than that, and they could hardly be bothered. We often had to drive down there and pick up tanks ourselves at the last minute. Like animals.

The leak was somewhere in that maze of pipes and valves bolted onto the top of the tank, rather than the tank itself, so you'd think that they could just un-bolt that octopus and bolt on a new one. But apparently their policy is, "Fuck that, buy a whole new tank." I'm like 90% sure we're being ripped off, but on the other hand, they probably have more experience with tanks full of 500 pounds of liquid CO2 exploding, so what are you gonna do.

This is the exciting nightclub content that you are here for.

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LOL Burners.

"Burning Man would like to thank you for your generous donation of $2,500 to reserve the right to buy a ticket to an event that is not happening this year."

Burning Man's ticket sales have always been both rapacious and stultifyingly, comically incompetent, but I see that this year they have finally learned a few things and gone full TicketMaster. Slow clap.

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Look upon my OBS hell and despair

So, you just wanna stream 24/7, and occasionally switch input on a timer? How hard could that be?

For your amusement, read the comments in the ~2000 line sh script that keeps DNA Lounge running.

Here be monsters.

When I say that almost all of my coding stems from either self defense or spite, this is what I mean.


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Today in Mark of the Beast news:

(I tried to find a funny "Apple / Mark of the Beast" thumbnail, but it was just depressing because those people aren't joking.)
Surprisingly, Apple AirTag has built-in anti-stalking tech:

Unfortunately like the discreet Tile product they're modeled on, AirTags sound like a gift from Apple to stalkers and people who'd use them to track the location and movements of unsuspecting victims. For the one in four U.S. women experiencing domestic violence the chime of a found AirTag would be the sound of a nightmare becoming reality. [...]

Essentially, an item in iPhone's Safety Alerts section will let you know when a creep slips an AirTag into your bag, in your car, or any hidden spot in which a physical location tracker could hide. This is an industry first: no other location tracker notifies unsuspecting victims they've been targeted for nonconsensual tracking.

According to Apple's Newsroom release, "iOS devices can also detect an AirTag that isn't with its owner, and notify the user if an unknown AirTag is seen to be traveling with them from place to place over time." That's because Apple designed AirTag to frequently rotate the Bluetooth signal identifiers they transmit. So when the identifiers don't add up, Apple goes into "something is wrong" mode.

Pinboard:

The invention of a costly free-range dongle with no device to attach to marks the apotheosis of a 30-year arc in Apple product design.


Update: Yeah, no.

Now that people are trying out Apple’s AirTags IRL, we’re finding out they are truly a gift to stalkers and abusers. It takes three days before they alert people they’re being tracked (so someone may never know), victims with Android phones are shit out of luck, and disabling the alert sound isn’t hard. Those anti-stalking features they told us about at release quite literally only looked good on paper.

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Predator Drone Ambience

CBP Releases Video From Predator Drone Deployed Over George Floyd Protests:

Shortly after the Minneapolis police killing [ murder -- fixed that for you ] of George Floyd last year, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) flew a Predator drone over the city in an effort to surveil the ongoing protests against police brutality occurring there. The drone, which took off from Grand Forks Air Force Base in North Dakota and flew in a holding pattern over protests for approximately 90 minutes, recorded video from a height of 20,000 feet. Now, thanks to a recent Freedom of Information Request, you can watch that video. [...]

Despite these claims, the CBP has repeatedly been found engaging in this kind of surveillance -- even apparently using Predators to surveil indigenous pipeline activists at their homes on multiple occasions. An investigation found that the Department of Homeland Security (the parent agency for CBP) deployed aerial surveillance in 15 different U.S. cities to watch protesters amidst last year's violent and chaotic nationwide protests.

The video is strangely soothing, though.

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Scene missing! A video that used to be embedded in this post has disappeared. If you know of a copy of this video that is still accessible, please mail me so that I can update the link.
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Apple Pay and Google Pay

Dear Lazyweb, is there a way of determining whether Apple Pay and Google Pay are actually in use? As opposed to, "it is theoretically possible for the user to sign up for this service."

I would like my checkout page to default to them if the customer actualy uses them, but not otherwise. Defaulting to an Apple/Google Pay button when it's not set up is a dark pattern that they are using to try and enlist me into advertising their service to non-users.

Apple Pay: This snippet gives a "yes" response if you are using iOS, or if you are using Safari on desktop, regardless of whether you have given Apple your credit card:

if (window.ApplePaySession && ApplePaySession.canMakePayments()) {
  var promise = ApplePaySession.canMakePaymentsWithActiveCard(...);
  promise.then (function (canMakePayments) { ... }); // Yes or No
} else {
  // No
}

Google Pay: This snippet gives a "yes" in every browser, even if you are not logged in to Google at all, let alone have given them your credit card:

goog = new google.payments.api.PaymentsClient ({ ... });
goog.isReadyToPay ({ ... }).then (function(response) {
  if (response.result) ... // Yes
  else ... // No
});

This is some strange definition of "is ready to pay" that could more accurately be described as "is ready to create an account on a completely other web site first".

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Means of Production

Ingrid Burrington:

I've lately been trying an exercise where, when reading anything by or about tech companies, I replace uses of the word "infrastructure" with "means of production." For example, from Facebook's engineering web page:

"Our data centers are the cornerstones of the global means of production that brings Facebook apps and services to you every day."

The sentence pretty much still makes sense -- without data centers, Facebook can't reach people, and therefore can't make money. It also works pretty well with this copy from a Cloudflare tutorial on the concept of infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS):

"In computing, the means of production refers to the computers and servers that run code and store data, and the wires and appliances that make connections between those machines. For example, servers, hard drives, and routers are all part of the means of production. Before cloud computing was an option, most businesses hosted their own means of production and ran all their applications on-premises.

"Means of Production-as-a-Service, or IaaS for short, is when a cloud computing vendor hosts the means of production on behalf of their customers."

So... a landlord. It's a little heavy-handed, I'll admit, but precision in naming things for what they are matters. As use of the term "infrastructure" in tech has grown, it's easy to lose sight of what actually gives Big Tech its power and what's at stake when proposing alternatives to such centralization: capital, and who controls it.

Breaking the platform economy's cycle of extraction and enclosure can redistribute power over data and infrastructure to the public.

Framing the platform policy discussion around the means of production also helps establish reasonable expectations. While it would be nice if Facebook as a "social infrastructure" provider had the vague sense of civic purpose that a term like "social infrastructure" implies, time and again we've seen that the company will not implement anything that serves the public but undermines Facebook's profits. Instead of describing Facebook as providing social infrastructure, we could simply say that it utilizes social interactions for profit through the means of production (by owning lots of computers and cables) and dispel the illusion of kind civic intentions.

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DNA Lounge: Wherein we're... hiring?

Governor Newsom says that on June 15th California will be doing The Full Florida. Obviously a lot can happen in 54 days, and for all we know the whole state might shut down again instead, but since there's a chance that we're going to be allowed to operate at a normal capacity by mid-June, we have to start making plans... and by plans I mean "spending money".

As such, we're looking for a Bar Manager! Is that you? Here's our job posting.

Bar Manager

    Job Description:

      The historic DNA Lounge is currently seeking an experienced bar manager. We are a high volume nightclub and live music venue in need of an energetic and effective leader to oversee our bar program and staff. Candidates should be motivated and passionate about the hospitality industry.

    Qualifications:

    • 3+ years of management experience in the industry.
    • A track record of proven success developing relationships with liquor reps and creating promotional opportunities.
    • Demonstrable understanding of inventory cost management and profit/loss analysis.
    • A willingness to independently seek out, identify, and keep up with changing beverage trends.
    • A positive attitude and communication skills with staff, management, and patrons.

    Responsibilities:

    • Developing a regular schedule of promotions and deals with our sales reps.
    • Oversight of bar staff, ensuring adherence to best practices, and creating a positive work culture.
    • Independently identifying and executing on bar maintenance and cleaning needs.
    • Accurate inventory control and supply ordering.
    • Leading staff by example in providing exceptional customer service.

    Compensation:

      Commensurate with experience.

    To apply:

We are also going to be hiring restaurant staff for DNA Pizza, as it appears that half of our restaurant crew have moved away over the last 13 months... If you're interested, email jobs@dnapizza.com.

Also, please go get yourself vaccinated so you can come party with us! Two thirds of San Franciscans have received at least their first shot (which is great!) But according to this survey, only 29% of San Franciscans said they are ready to return right away.

So that doesn't really bode well for our ability to function as a business. As you may recall, we were deeply in the red during the Before Times of 2019, so taking that and then slashing it by two thirds does not result in a business that can survive.

There has been so much talk about Government programs that might keep us alive: Payroll Protection Program 2, Shuttered Venue Operations Grant, Restaurant Revitalization Fund, SF Music and Entertainment Recovery Fund, SF Storefront Business Grant, and half a dozen smaller grants with tiny payouts... but none -- none -- of these programs have dispersed even a penny. Half of them, you can't even apply for yet. But every few days we get another cheerleading email from them telling us "help is on the way", "hurry up and wait", "we just discovered that running a web site is hard, did you know that?", "line up at the starting line for the first-come first-served Death Race to financial support, which we swear, will open Real Soon Now."

NPR: Shuttered Venues Still Waiting For Government Aid Announced In December.

DECEMBER. And here we are, with not a penny.

What I'm saying is, there's never a bad time for you to up your contribution on our Patreon or make a one-time donation -- now with Apple Pay support!

And stop by this weekend for our in-person parklet DJ sets. This weekend: Splash, Turbo Drive, The Church of Drum and Bass, and Apothecary Raree. And probably something on Sunday afternoon, but I'm not sure what.

Splash
Turbo Drive
Church of D+B
Apothecary Raree
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SOMA Nature Walk: Bandit Intimidator 15XP

I just hope they stop cutting away more and more of my tree. Come on guys, the birds are the only thing I have left.

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Coal mining. Bitcoin mining. Same thing.

An immense coal mine in Xinjiang flooded and shut down over the weekend of April 17-18. The blackout halted no less than one-third of all of Bitcoin's global computing power.

The Xinjiang accident highlights that Bitcoin is a creature of fossil fuels -- principally coal, the dirtiest of them all.

Overall, de Vries reckons that fossil fuels power around 70% of all Bitcoin mines worldwide, and that coal provides the vast majority of that share. "We now know for sure that one-third of all production runs on pure coal from a tiny place in China," he says. [...]

"The miners usually dislike renewables because they don't generate electricity all the time. They want to run 24 hours a day. [...] Green energy is a terrible match for Bitcoin," says de Vries. [...]

Miners are going to unusual places in search of the cheapest power that's also reliable -- and that's almost always fossil fuels. Since sanctions constrain Iran from exporting oil, Tehran is developing a new market inside the nation's borders by luring Bitcoin miners with super-low energy costs. By some reports, Iran now accounts for 8% of the world's Bitcoin production. Kentucky's rural coal fields are becoming a magnet for miners. Lawmakers in the Bluegrass State are proposing two sets of tax incentives: one for buying and upgrading existing power plants, and another break on electricity purchased from the grid, much of it produced from coal.

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