SOMA Nature Walk

Previously, previously, previously.

Tags: , ,

Fucking certbot

My Apple Pay / Let's Encrypt fuckery is ongoing.

The cert expires in 16 days and /etc/letsencrypt/renewal/ says "renew_before_expiry = 40 days". So why is "certbot --dry-run renew" saying "Cert not due for renewal, but simulating renewal for dry run"?

Adding "-vvvv" spat out a bunch of XML that did not answer my question.

Previously, previously.

Tags: , , , , , ,

Fucking Apple

The more you look at this image, the more cursed it becomes:

Previously, previously, previously, previously.

Tags: , , , ,

Pablo Escobar's Cocaine Hippos Are Legally People, Court Rules

Pablo Escobar's hippos have a lawyer. And a good one at that. In a U.S. first, a court recognized the animals as legal persons. That could be the hippos' salvation in the ongoing fight about what to do with one of the world's most rotund and dangerous invasive species.

"The Colombian legal system can't compel someone in the U.S. to provide testimony or to produce documents, but we have this federal law that allows interested persons in Colombia to go to the U.S. and obtain that ability to obtain documents and testimony." Christopher Berry, the attorney overseeing the U.S. case who also serves as managing director at the Animal Legal Defense Fund, said. "So we applied for the hippos' rights to compel their testimony in order to support the Colombian litigation, and now the [U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio] has granted that application, recognizing that the hippos are interested persons."

This may seem like a minor and incremental step in the hippos' court proceedings. But the implications of this decision could be huge. In granting this application, the district court recognized animals as legal persons for the first time in U.S. history.

"It's obvious that animals actually do have legal rights, for example, the right not to be cruelly abused or killed ... but a legal right is only as valuable as one's right to enforce that legal right," said Berry. "The legal system doesn't ... have precedent for animals' interests directly appearing in court. There's no precedent for animals having a legal standing to enforce their own rights."

The precedent could be an important step for other cases that hinge on animals having legal personhood, such as a lawsuit filed by the Florida-based animal civil rights organization Nonhuman Rights Project on behalf of an elephant at the Bronx Zoo in New York.

Previously, previously, previously, previously, previously.

Tags: , ,

Recent Movies and TV

  • Jolt (2021): Kate Beckinsale has poor impulse control and kills a whole lot of people. Shit, that's all you had to say.

  • Blood Red Sky (2021): This is fantastic. Nobody actually says "I have had it with these motherfucking vampires on this motherfucking plane" but it is completely implied.

  • Hacks (2021): I didn't expect a story about a couple of washed up stand-up comics hating each other to be this funny, but it's pretty good.

  • The Hitman's Wife's Bodyguard (2021): Dumb foul-mouthed fun. I have already forgotten everything about it.

  • The Empty Man (2020): A guy tries to figure out what a cult is up to and why they seem to have a weird interest in him. It takes a Lovecraftian turn, but without any tentacles at all.

  • Suicide Squad (2021): This was pretty funny. Not as good as the Harley Quinn movie, but worlds better than the first Suicide Squad.

  • Chompy and The Girls (2021): Trying to explain this would be fruitless, just go watch it.

  • Nightbooks (2021): Or, "Don't Trust the Baba Yaga In Apartment 23". A witch kidnaps a kid and makes him write scary stories. It's fun and the costumes are great.

  • Candyman (2021): I loved this. The way it re-frames the story of the first movie is great. The technical work on every scene that has a mirror in it is amazing -- they do some really subtle scares with those.

  • Black As Night (2021): Teens kill some damn vampires. It's very Buffy, in the best way.

  • Implanted (2021): What if Siri but evil. (Oh wait.) It's kind of the same story as Upgrade but I liked it more. Also kind of a rebuttal to Her.

  • The Night House (2021): A woman discovers that her dead husband was a creep, and is maybe haunting her. Pretty well done.

  • Val (2021): (Not the Val Kilmer movie.) A crook on the run breaks into a call girl's house, except oops, maybe she's the devil. It's pretty funny.

  • Leverage Redemption (2021): I was a fan of the original run of Leverage, and they did a great job of getting the band back together for this one.

  • Foundation (2021): Isaac Asimov was a piece of shit and a terrible writer, and Foundation was an incredibly boring rant about how math is better than sociology or something. Less "unfilmable" than "should not be filmed". But this show is ok, and as others have noted, that's mostly because it ignores just about everything from the books except for the one-sentence summary of the plot, and a bunch of character names.

  • Star Trek Lower Decks (2020): When this show began, I had some unkind words to say about it -- it seemed to me like it was just The Orville, "What if Star Trek, but cynical, barely-competent dimwits". But it got much better, and I kind of love it now. They mostly stopped with those sorts of jokes and showed that these people really are Starfleet. Also, there are some really deep cuts into Trek lore throughout.

  • What If...? (2021): These ranged from amazing to merely excellent. I am really impressed. The old What If comics always had a "kid burning ants with a magnifying glass" feel about them, but mostly these episodes were not so pessimistic, or so enamored with the idea that the mainline MCU is the best of all possible worlds. I did think the finale episode was weak, though. There was no need to try and tie everything together, and I think it would have been better without it.

  • Y The Last Man (2021): This (already-cancelled) show is absolutely terrible, but not for the reasons you'd probably expect. You'd expect them to have really put their foot in it over gender and trans issues, but mostly they seem to have not made a mess of that. No, it's awful because nothing ever happens and all of the characters are just shitty, boring people and I couldn't care less whether any of them survive. It's basically The Walking Dead but even more nonsensical. People go from point A to point B because... the plot demands it. Some major cities are "evacuated" and others are not because... the plot demands it.

  • La Brea (2021): This is literally Lost. In the first episode, a character jokes, "Maybe we're in an episode of Lost". It wasn't funny. Just like Lost, the only way these writers know how to advance a plot is for characters to keep secrets from each other. "We can't tell anyone what we found in the spooky cave, they might panic!" Fuck you all.

  • Star Wars Visions (2021): Watch the first episode, the samurai one, it's amazing. You can skip all the rest.

  • Midnight Mass (2021): There is really a lot of Catholic all over this, which can be kind of off-putting, but the acting is great, the writing is great, and the restraint they showed in not revealing the [REDACTED] until like episode 4 was impressive.

  • Brand New Cherry Flavor (2021): A filmmaker hires a witch to put a curse on the producer who done her wrong; antics ensue. This is fantastic and unpredictable. It takes a few nicely Cronenbergian detours, as well.

  • Chucky (2021): The new Chucky series is everything that I hoped it would be.

  • Malignant (2021): A woman's childhood invisible friend may have come back to do some light murdering. This is incredible and kept me guessing. Also the fight scenes involve some amazing contortion, and I really want to know now much was practical.

  • In Fabric (2021): An evil dress does evil things, kinda? But this is freaky and amazing. The cinematography is incredible. This is a new Suspiria.

  • Dashcam (2021): This is a forensic mystery in the vein of Blow Up or The Conversation, and because of that it worked even though it's kind of a COVID "zoom movie". It's mostly one guy in his apartment going "enhance!" but it is compelling and believable.

  • No One Gets Out Alive (2021): A story about a haunted-ish boarding house and an undocumented woman trying to GTFO. Very moody.

  • Dune (2021): It is very pretty, but it is basically the first two episodes of an 8 episode miniseries. It just kind of... stops. It did make me appreciate how much exposition Lynch managed to pack into his version, though. This one is like, "Mentats? Uh yeah we're just not going to explain what the deal is with those guys at all." I watched it with someone who didn't know the story, and I had to do a lot of explaining for them to be able to follow it.

    Something that neither movie nor the book explained, though: space flight is impossible without spice. So how the hell did they get there in the first place? And why isn't the Spacing Guild like, "Yeah, this is our planet, we will not be taking any questions."

    I re-read the book recently, for the first time since I was a kid. There are some interesting ideas in it, but it's not really very good. It has a real Ender's Game feel, where Paul goes from "fish out of water little boy" to "omniscient psychopathic god" over the course of like, one page. "How will the immortal psychic get out of this next pickle!" is maybe not the greatest device for plotting.


Tags: , , ,

What does Apple know and when did they know it

Apple ID. Account Recovery Contacts makes resetting your password and maintaining access to your account easier than ever. And a new Digital Legacy program lets you designate people as Legacy Contacts so they can access your account in the event of your death - coming later this year.

Previously, previously, previously, previously, previously.

Tags: , , ,

Thumbnail sizes

What's the done thing these days with thumbnail sizes? How do you make the trade-off between serving images that are small enough to load quickly, but large enough to look good on ridiculously high resolution phones?

Currently, all of the DNA Lounge flyers are encoded at 1920px along the long edge, with thumbnails being 320px wide. Those smaller thumbs are what show up on the flyer index pages and on the calendar pages.

I picked that number 320px a long time ago, before the prevalence of desktop retina displays and the mobile resolution explosion, so it's probably no longer an ideal choice.

For an image to look sharp, you want to give the browser an image that is at least as large as it will be rendered on the screen in real hardware pixels, and those numbers are enormous these days. For example:

An iPhone 13 Pro Max has a 428x746 pixel viewport, but hardware pixels are 3x, so that's really 1284x2238. An iPhone 8 is 375x548 2x = 750x1096. And even my lowly 2013 iPad Pro is 1118×1232 2x = 2236×2464. On the calendar page it displays the flyer thumb desktop-style at 33% width, though, so it would only need a thumb that was.... 745px wide.

So I could just throw up my hands and serve the full-sized image all the time. But there's that pesky trade-off between quality and bandwidth. I would still like these pages to load fast over slow connections! Shitty wifi is still a concern! For that Halloween flyer, the big image is 573 KB and the small one is only 57 KB.

So what's the done thing?

(Don't say jQuery.)

BTW, a while back I made a page for testing img srcsets to see what sizes are actually getting loaded on what devices and to help figure out why, which is informative when thinking about this stuff.


Tags: , , , ,

Deep Nightmares


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

Tags: , , , , , , ,


Fucking Apple.
Anyone got any theories on why on 11.6, httpd and sshd stop responding once or twice a day? They seem to randomly decide to stop binding to their external ports.

E.g., sometimes I can connect to localhost:443 but not from the outside world. "That sounds like a router problem", you say. But restarting httpd fixes it. And httpd and sshd don't both go down at the same time. And today I saw another weird variant. I have http on 80 that just does a redirect to https, and today, port 443 was accessible but port 80 was not... until I restarted httpd. So the process is alive and servicing requests, it just sometimes forgets some ports. Lovely.

And sshd is doing the same shit. Except as a launchd process, the way to restart it and fix it is:

    sudo launchctl unload /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/ssh.plist ;
    sudo launchctl load -w /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/ssh.plist

so it must be launchd itself that is getting amnesia about port 22?

Additional gripes from my first four days of running this OS:

  • Previously, Apple's continuing effort to prevent me from accessing my own computer.

  • Previously, light gray on light gray.

  • Previously, "Cannot be verified" whack-a-mole.

  • Previously, iTunes XML file no longer generated. I worked around it, but fuck you, Apple.

  • But speaking of light-gray-on-light-gray, no longer makes folder names bold when they have unread messages in them. You just have to spot the tiny even-lighter-gray-on-gray number next to them.

  • Besides the gray on gray text, inter-line spacing is like 1.5x. So not only is it harder to read, it also wastes more space than it needs to, win win!

  • I have long had my "Dock Unread Count" mailbox set to a smart mailbox of the few that I care about, and that works even more intermittently than it did before.

  • The mail column settings used to be per-folder, and now they are global. So if you wanted the "Mailbox" column to be visible in search results, so you can see what folder that matched message is in, now you have to have that column visible all the time. (Except the columns seem to still be per-folder in smart mailboxes?)

  • Mail email address completion is even more totally fucked than before. I apparently cannot stop "dev" from completing to "developer Apple -", whom I have never mailed, instead of completing to "" whom I email dozens of times a day.

    It used to be that letting the bad one complete out and then selecting "Remove from previous recipients" from the context menu would make it stop doing this for a little while. Now that option is gone. Oh wait, it's back. Oh wait, it's gone again.

  • Let's say something blew up last night and you have 300 messages in your Cron folder. (Just hypothetically.) You're sitting there tapping delete, rather than deleting them all at once. Every time you hit delete, it takes nearly 2 seconds for the next message to appear. It feels like 1996 up in this shit.

  • Calendar alerts got stupider. How do you even dismiss them now? You used to just click them. Now you have to swipe them I guess? But maybe that only snoozes? Do you have to find the tiny gray-on-gray "X" in the corner?

  • Also they took away "Snooze until tomorrow", WTF.

  • I complained before [citation needed] about how a recent Safari release screwed up drag-and-drop of URLs. You can still drag links from HREFs and have them drop as text or links into other apps. Some time late in 10.x they broke dragging from the Safari URL area. Instead of dragging as text or a link, it would try to open some weird file type. And if you select the text first, you can't drag it at all, it just de-selects. So you have to copy and paste instead.

    Well now it's even worse, if you try to drag the URL from the URL bar, it acts as if you are dragging a TAB and the whole window vanishes. When you release, the window has moved. Fucking awesome.

  • It's so great that half the time when I open the Safari Bookmarks menu, I get about half a second of starting to move the mouse down the menu, when all of my bookmarks disappear. Then, a second and a half later, they come back. I assume this is a Right and Proper outcome of my bookmarks being synced with The Clown.

  • Upgrading somehow duplicated every entry in my contacts, and half of my calendars.

  • The text field in doesn't do ^Y any more. ^K works, and ^K and ^Y work as before in every other text field, just not Messages.

  • The "X" to delete a conversation from Messages is gone. Now it's only on the context menu. I guess we were using it too much and have spoiled it for everybody.

  • I have "Sound Check" turned on in iTunes (sorry, I mean <contempt>"Music"</contempt>) as I always have, to make it deal properly with songs that were recorded at wildly different volumes. Play a song. Hit Pause. Hit un-pause. The song blasts out at full, unmodified volume for a second or two before the adjustment kicks in. This didn't happen on 10.14.

  • There appears to be no way to stop thousands of arbitrary sequences of punctuation from being auto-expanded into emojis, except by turning off Text Replacement entirely. I have text replacements that I want and rely on. If I wanted a fucking emoji I'd use the fucking emoji menu.

  • My years-old cracks of REDACTED and REDACTED finally stopped working because they were 32 bit apps. You almost certainly know what I'm talking about and if you have a solution that you know won't rootkit me, please email.

Because I know one of you jerks is going to show up here going "herp derp Linux", let me head that off by pointing out that two things can be true at the same time, and are:

  1. Every major-numbered release of macOS is more annoying than the one before. Each release includes terrible new UI decisions, removes useful features you've come to depend on, and restricts the use of your computer as a general-purpose computer even more. It has probably been steadily down hill since OSX 10.8.

  2. The Linux desktop UI experience is still far, far, far worse. I have used various Linux desktop environments recently, and it's basically exactly the same, and exactly as bad, as it was in 1999. There has been no useful progress of any kind. Oh, sure, they all have "compositors" now so that there's random-assed flashy transparency on things, who gives a flying fuck. Remedial shit like "maybe save all of my settings" doesn't work. Linux is still Baby's First Desktop Learning Experience, with the level of "user experience" care you'd expect from a GUI designed by kernel developers, which basically it is. So "thaaaaaanks" for that helpful suggestion but no.

Previously, previously, previously, previously, previously.

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Spectrum analysis of Young Lust

Telephone World:

The telephone network at that time used multi-frequency (or MF) signalling almost exclusively when someone made a long distance call. These are similar to Touch-Tones, but use different frequencies and are used in a different manner. [...] Also in the analog telephone switching network, there had to be a way to tell the originating switch (or the switch that handled the billing) to start and stop the billing of a toll call. This was through the use of single frequency (or SF) tones. In North America, this was accomplished with 2600 Hertz, while in England this was accomplished with 2400 Hertz. (Some of you are already getting ahead of me...)

  • 3:03.4 2600 Hz answer supervision -- duration .019 seconds pause .125 seconds
  • 3:03.5 2600 Hz answer supervision -- duration .018 seconds
    (Two bursts of 2600 Hz answer supervision, this means the call was going through two tandems. Again you hear the filters kick in)
  • 3.13 MF toning starts
  • Entire MF string is 'KP1' 0 4 4 1 8 3 1 'ST'

  • KP1 duration .102 pause until next digit .015
  • 0 duration .068 pause .050
  • 4 duration .066 pause .052
  • 4 duration .067 pause .051
  • 1 duration ***.039*** pause .000

    I call this the mangled '1' MF digit, because it appears the audio engineer working on this song must have cut and respliced the middle of the MF tones. The duration is very short 0.039 vs. 0.67 and there is no corresponding pause after the digit. It is instead jammed right up to next '8' digit. If you look at the wave you can tell it is a very ugly splice point.

Previously, previously, previously, previously, previously.

Tags: , ,

  • Previously