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This is my blog, named for an old New York Lottery marketing slogan.

The following posts are filed under Just Tech Things. Other categories are available.

14 June 2018

DIY Typesetting and Document Processing with groff and mom

I want to start typesetting my own novels and stories so I can publish them myself, but I don’t want to use LaTeX. I don’t mean any disrespect to the people who worked on it, but LaTeX is probably overkill for my purposes and despite having, reading, and understanding Leslie Lamport’s book I have never managed to produce good output.

Fortunately, there’s an alternative. They didn’t have TeX or LaTeX at Bell Labs. They had troff. If it was good enough for Brian Kernighan, Dennis Ritchie, Rob Pike, etc. then there’s no reason I shouldn’t be able to use it. Of couse, troff doesn’t seem to be part of the OpenBSD base system.

No matter. There’s a port and package for the GNU version of troff, groff. And it includes an interesting macro package called mom.

The MOM macros for GNU troff (groff) look like they might be straightforward. The online documentation certainly makes sense.

I’ll have to give this a try, and see if I can put together a little anthology: The Milgram Battery and others.

07 June 2018

HTTPS?

Do I really need HTTPS for this website? I’m tempted to get rid of it, but a blog post by Mathias Biilmann Christensen at Netlify suggests five reasons I should stick with HTTPS even though my site is static.

05 June 2018

Talk is Cheap

Nat Friedman will be taking over as GitHub’s CEO once Microsoft’s acquisition goes through. He says he wants to earn developers’ trust. I’ve heard that one before, from a dude with better hair.

You could argue that I’m being unfairly cynical in my refusal to trust Nat Friedman and his stated intentions. However, Mr. Friedman has one problem: he’s Microsoft’s puppet CEO, and I remember Microsoft under Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer. They stood trial on antitrust charges for a reason. As such, he is to GitHub what Vayne Solidor was to Dalmasca in Final Fantasy XII—and I know exactly how nerdy I’m being for making this comparison.

Regardless, I think it’s apt, and I will be looking for options that will allow me to migrate away from silos like GitHub this year. Self-hosting would be a lot easier if residential broadband wasn’t so restrictive about running servers, but maybe DreamHost will let me rent a VPS that will allow me to run my own git daemon and other goodies…

25 May 2018

GDPR

I’m not sure if I’m bound by the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) or not, but it doesn’t really matter. I don’t intentionally collect any data about you.

  1. There’s no mailing list or newsletter to collect your name and email.
  2. There’s no Google Analytics spyware.
  3. There’s no Facebook spyware.

However, you should be aware of the following:

  1. Some posts have embedded content from services like YouTube. These embeds may contain spyware.
  2. This website is hosted by Dreamhost, which maintains server logs for various purposes.

If you want to be safer while visiting this website, you should either disable JavaScript or use a browser that doesn’t support JS, such as Lynx.

As for why I don’t collect data about you: I don’t need to. I don’t run ads on this site. I don’t have a “business model”. I have a day job.

21 May 2018

Party Like It’s 1999

Make Frontend Shit Again isn’t the antidote to modern, anodyte, corporate-friendly web design we need, but the one we deserve. It’s pretty much a one-page greatest hits album for late 1990s websites hosted on Geocities, Angelfire, Tripod, etc. The idea was that the web used to be fun, and that corporations and capitalism ruined everything.

Isn’t that what corporations and capitalism usually do? And hasn’t frontend always been shitty?

Regardless, I like the idea of saying “fuck it” to the modern web and going back to hand-coded or copypasta HTML and CSS with JavaScript that does nothing but animate shit.

Bootstrap, Foundation, React, Angular, Vue.js and the like can fuck right off. Ain’t nobody gets paid enough for any of that shit.

If it doesn’t work in lynx, it doesn’t fuckin’ work. HTTP POST or GTFO!

18 May 2018

Asimov’s Laws of Robotics Design

What if Isaac Asimov’s laws of robotics weren’t meant to be applied to robots and their behavior, but to human beings and how they went about designing robots?

08 May 2018

The Stars Are Right Again

The stars are right again, or soon will be. Mark Shuttleworth has announced the imminent advent of Cthulhu Linux.

26 April 2018

Stress Testing

I feel like a jerk when I get frustrated because an Windows desktop application I’m supposed to stress test falls over and dies as soon as I poke at it, especially when the poor bastards who developed it had been working 60-80 hours a week for the last couple of months just to get it this far. It’s still their fault the app’s a piece of shit, but could I have done better? Maybe not.

24 April 2018

Self-Hosted Fonts

Rather than settling for system standard fonts, I’ve chosen a set of fonts that I think would best display my site’s contents and self-hosted them. Initial loads might be a bit slower, but I think you’ll find that the initial performance hit is worth it. I’m using Voltaire for headings, Bitter for body text, and Cutive Mono for code samples and pre-formatted text. All are available from Google Fonts.

20 April 2018

Using Think Penguin’s Wireless N USB Adapter on OpenBSD

I received one of Think Penguin‘s Wireless N USB Adapters today, and tested it on my main OpenBSD desktop, thagirion. It took a little setup, but it works.

I had to run fw_update(1) to download firmware for the adapter’s Atheros AR9271 chipset while still jacked into my original wired connection (which was only wired to a Linksys wifi repeater). It was also helpful to RTFM for athn(4) and hostname.if(5).

Once I downloaded the firmware and restarted thagirion I confirmed that the adapter was working by running doas ifconfig athn0 scan. ifconfig showed that thagirion was talking to my router and seeing networks.

From here all I had to do was follow the relevant sections of the OpenBSD FAQ.

Think Penguin’s Wireless N USB Adapter is a bit pricy, but worth it if you’ve got a desktop system without compatible built-in wifi.

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