Your leaking thatched hut during the restoration of a pre-Enlightenment state.


Hello, my name is Judas Gutenberg and this is my blaag (pronounced as you would the vomit noise "hyroop-bleuach").


decay & ruin
Biosphere II
dead malls
Irving housing

got that wrong

appropriate tech
Arduino μcontrollers
Backwoods Home
Fractal antenna

fun social media stuff

(nobody does!)

Like my brownhouse:
   a pretty basic requirement
Thursday, December 4 2014
After getting back from walking the dogs this morning, it was time to do a major deployment of a bunch of code changes to that Los Angeles film website I've been working for. Somehow, it always ends up being my job to do the things most likely to result in a shitstorm, but the thing about me is that I'm never really invested enough to care. If I fuck up, I'll stay until I fix it even as the worried emails and phonecalls flood in. It doesn't really bother me if people freak out in the face of something I've done. Well, it does bother me at the time insofar is they're distracting me from the task at hand, but eventually the crisis will pass and it will all be comic memory. In this case, though, nothing too bad happened. The git pull designed to affect the deployment failed because of scads of "uncommitted changes" on the live site, and, forgetting for a moment that I could have done a git fetch --all, instead I changed the names of some directories having a bunch of those unsaved changes. But then when git copied the files, it only copied the new ones. So then I had to track down all the missing files in the directories I'd renamed. Still, it didn't take long before I'd completed the deployment and the site was fully operational. It hadn't been down for more than about 15 minutes (at 7AM Pacific Time on a Thursday morning).
With that out of the way, I could nurse my moderate hangover and babysit the backing up of that problematic 2 terabyte Seagate drive. It failed me several more times today, but I always managed to get it working again. I also had problems with the 3 terabyte 3.5 inch drive I was trying to replace it with; evidently its enclosure had some sort of problem that prevented it from recognizing more than 0.7 terabytes. So I had to cobble together a different USB interface to get it to attach to the Buffalo router. The number of problems I've dealt with trying to get reliable NAS on this network is a bit of a headscratcher. As with podcatcher, this stuff isn't rocket science. But there's all sorts of subtle incompatibilities and oversights that have to dealt with and routed around.
One of the biggest oversights is the failure of the Buffalo router to set modified dates on the files it copies. I'd thought this was a problem of the various crappy podcatching applications I'd tried, but now it's happening to Juice, which used to set modified dates just fine. I've got a fix in place for my podcasts, where correct modified dates are the key to my ability to find new material to listen to. But it's also important in my torrentdownloads directory, which I frequently sort by modified date so as to find the latest things I've downloaded. I might have to migrate to using a Pogoplug for NAS after all.
Another thing I did was rework the shelving above the kitchen stove to accommodate the new microwave oven. I had to completely detach the whole customized hood system I'd built to get to some hidden screws securing a shelf that needed to be moved up a few inches. As I worked, I listened to a new podcast I'd discovered called Strangers. It focuses on the stories of people who are strangers in new places or strangers to each other, and it's every bit as good as This American Life or Snap Judgement (two of my other favorites).

This evening, I cleaned up the house and Gretchen made some sort of risotto dish as part of the online cooking class that she's been taking (this involved a certain amount of photography). And then Susan and David came over with some sort of kale salad and we had a feast, though most of the calories we consumed probably came in the cheese & crackers we ate beforehand. Gretchen had taken delivery of a bunch of Chao vegan cheese, the first non-spreadable vegan cheese that can be mistaken for the real thing. Amongst the topics discussed tonight was the disturbing refusal of a Staten Island grand jury to indict a police officer who was filmed strangling a non-threatening black man. David and I also discussed the new possibilities available to governments now that they have huge data dumps of all of our individual web habits. David seemed to think that the amount of data would overwhelm a government's ability to respond to it, but I said I didn't think so. What governments will do is perform targeted queries of their piles of data, producing small lists of individuals whose behavior matches a profile they have decided to deal with. And then they will have plenty of resources to do whatever they want.
Over dinner, Susan said that her latest television junk food is the Following (eliciting hoots of derision from Gretchen), David observed that this was all blowback from the Bernie Madoff ponzi scheme. Madoff, it seems, made off with Kevin Bacon's fortune, forcing him to take all sorts of marginal roles, including as an object of torture porn in the Following.
Occasionally through the evening, either David or Susan would check the status of their thermostat back at home. When upgrading their new house's heating system, they'd splurged and bought a Nest thermostat, which allows them to monitor and adjust their household temperature remotely across the internet. It's a cool gadget, and I can see why Google would want to get their foot in the door of the Internet of Things by buying the company that makes Nest, but it seems like a lot of extra money and overhead just to be able to monitor and set one household environmental parameter. Using a Raspberry Pi and an Arduino, it wouldn't take much work to get a device that could remotely report multiple parameters and display a feed from a webcam as well.

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