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Postings for April 2021:  (18 posts)
Wed, 14 Apr 2021 02:36:01 UTC

GPS navigator, continued

Posted By Greg Lehey

The seller of my GPS navigator still hasn't accepted that he can't supply what he promised, lifetime map updates. But he's coming closer. At the beginning of the month he sent me a well-obfuscated link to a Zip archive on Dropbox, which contained the same maps I already had. After a couple more exchanges he sent me another message, half in Chinese, which with some coaxing downloaded a newer RAR archive with maps dated 13 October 2020. Is that the latest? Maybe. But once again there's this Q2 in the file name, which suggests that they could be issued quarterly, in which case it's at least 2, when not 3, quarters out of date.

Tue, 13 Apr 2021 00:13:09 UTC

The pain of printers

Posted By Greg Lehey

Yvonne cooked ?Rinderrlouladen? (beef olives) for dinner this evening. For some reason she didn't use our existing recipe, but found this recipe. Would I print it out, please? Why can't she do it herself? Well, her firefox didn't offer her the option, just print to file. OK, take a look. 31 pages! No, let's trim that. But while looking at the print preview, I discovered that the images were missing. Why? Try with Chromium. Same thing. Try with Microsoft. Same thing. At least Microsoft knew exactly what printer it was printing to, which puts it ahead of any of the FreeBSD systems: Brother HL-3170CDW.

Mon, 12 Apr 2021 14:49:30 UTC

How To Destroy Surveillance Capitalism (Part 02)

Posted By Cory Doctorow

This week on my podcast, part two of a serialized reading of my 2020 Onezero/Medium book How To Destroy Surveillance Capitalism, now available in paperback (you can also order signed and personalized copies from Dark Delicacies, my local bookstore). MP3

Mon, 12 Apr 2021 01:46:22 UTC

rms: PC victim?

Posted By Greg Lehey

rms is a unique person. He shows little interest in conforming to social norms, but he has produced some remarkable changes in the way the computer industry works. He's an excellent example of Shaw's claim ?all progress depends on the unreasonable man?. A couple of years ago he offended the sensitivities of the current politically correct US society by defending Marvin Minsky against accusations of sexual assault. This article shows the US-centric nature of the criticism: ?I think it is morally absurd to define ?rape? in a way that depends on minor details such as which country it was in or whether the victim was 18 years old or 17.?

Sun, 11 Apr 2021 19:00:00 UTC

Spring Flowers, 2021

Posted By Tim Bray

48 hours ago I got my first Covid-19 vaccine dose, and today I took the camera for a stroll, hunting spring flowers. What a long strange trip it?s been. Should I be concerned that the drugstore guy didn?t bother to sign? By the way, CHADOX1-S RECOMBINANT is better known as Astra Zeneca. Vaccinated how? They?re currently working their way through really old people and other targeted groups like teachers and some industrial workers with the Pfizer and Moderna. There seem to be a fair number of AZ doses arriving, and they?re not recommended for people under 55.

Sun, 11 Apr 2021 01:48:33 UTC

Spam: can't be delivered?

Posted By Greg Lehey

Received this morning: That's clearly fake. I don't create messages like that. But looking at the text version, I saw something very different: This is the mail system at host I'm sorry to have to inform you that your message could not be delivered to one or more recipients. It's attached below. For further assistance, please send mail to postmaster. If you do so, please include this problem report. You can delete your own text from the attached returned message.

Sat, 10 Apr 2021 19:00:00 UTC

The Sacred ?Back? Button

Posted By Tim Bray

Younger readers will find it hard to conceive of a time in which every application screen didn?t have a way to ?Go Back?. This universal affordance was there, a new thing, in the first Web browser that anyone saw, and pretty soon after that, more or less everything had it. It?s a crucial part of the user experience and, unfortunately, a lot of popular software is doing it imperfectly. Let?s demand perfection. Why it matters Nobody anywhere is smart enough to build an application that won?t, in some situations, confuse its users. The Back option removes fear and makes people more willing to explore features, because they know they can always back out.

Sat, 10 Apr 2021 03:22:30 UTC

ATA installation

Posted By Greg Lehey

Yesterday's less-than-successful attempts at configuring my new Grandstream HT802 Analogue telephone adapter had a clear message: RTFM. So started with that today. Not much success. There was nothing in the manual that suggested that I should do anything different. I was left with two clues: firstly, the default port number in the configuration was 5062, not 5060. Why? That's the port number of the server, and it's almost invariably 5060. And then there was this firmware download thing that I had noticed in the log messages. That was clear. The ADVANCED SETTINGS menu (why do these people always shout?) included: Reset that, remember to both save and to reboot (another 2 minutes), and it no longer tries.

Fri, 09 Apr 2021 02:32:57 UTC

New ATA, first impressions

Posted By Greg Lehey

On the way home, picked up the Grandstream HT802 Analogue telephone adapter that I bought last week. No instructions at all! It appears to be from a bulk pack, and it came really with only a power supply and an Ethernet cable. Never mind, I had already downloaded the PDF of the administration guide, which had been suitably confusing. It's amazing how many apparently obscure settings that these ATAs have. Still, I've been there before. Let's try without the instructions. Connect up. IP address? Guess DHCP: === grog@eureka (/dev/pts/36) ~ 1672 -> arp -a ...

Fri, 09 Apr 2021 02:05:10 UTC

Health First: Signs of the times

Posted By Greg Lehey

Why did the pharmacies downstairs from Health First close down? One potential reason was that Health First made a better offer for the space. But that would only explain one of the pharmacies. The second, UFS, was only there for a year or so. Another explanation might be that the location is inconvenient. It's not that difficult to get a parking space: there's free parking across the road in Central Square. But I find it takes me about 10 minutes longer to get there than to most places in Ballarat. And like Central Square itself, it seems that the middle of town is atrophying.

Thu, 08 Apr 2021 02:18:04 UTC

Rebooting lagoon

Posted By Greg Lehey

Rebooted lagoon today as planned, and sure enough, the USB problem went away. And Microsoft raised its ugly head. Can't mount \\lagoon\Photos: ?drive in use? or some such nonsense. It proved that this time the cause was that Samba hadn't been started after reboot. That's a configuration error that I don't quite understand: I had an old version of the config file /etc/rc.conf. But wouldn't it have been so much easier if that message had said ?NO RESPONSE FROM \\LAGOON??

Wed, 07 Apr 2021 02:34:24 UTC

USB hang

Posted By Greg Lehey

Yvonne off to take some photos at Chris Bahlo's place, leaving Pedro behind to do so. Back home, she had trouble: she couldn't connect her camera to her computer, lagoon. The ?One Moment...? display appeared, but it didn't go away. I've seen that before. Poor connection of the USB cable. Tried again. Nothing. Finally tried it on eureka. No problems. That's at least a partial relief. If the connector on the camera were damaged, the repair would probably cost most than a replacement computer. But what is it? Defective port? Looked for another one, but they were all in use. I must consider getting a hub.

Tue, 06 Apr 2021 02:10:59 UTC

GPS map updates, dammit!

Posted By Greg Lehey

Yesterday the seller of my new GPS navigator told me that the file he sent me did indeed describe how to update the maps. The only problem was that the document was in a Microsoft proprietary format, and I didn't have the software to access it. OpenOffice couldn't make anything of it. OK, what about Microsoft? Tried to access it there. It seems that Microsoft has a solution, ?Excel? (another of those silly names). They have it, but I don't. But some time ago I downloaded a ?free file viewer?, which showed me pretty much what OpenOffice did. Dammit, as much as I hate doing so, I had no choice: I had to read the and type it in!

Mon, 05 Apr 2021 15:55:48 UTC

How To Destroy Surveillance Capitalism (Part 01)

Posted By Cory Doctorow

This week on my podcast, part one of a serialized reading of my 2020 Onezero/Medium book How To Destroy Surveillance Capitalism, now available in paperback (you can also order signed and personalized copies from Dark Delicacies, my local bookstore). MP3

Sun, 04 Apr 2021 04:52:24 UTC

GPS navigator update, revisited

Posted By Greg Lehey

More discussion with the seller of my GPS navigator. I rejected his offer of 30% off: I don't want a discount, I want the maps that you promised me. If you can't deliver them, I don't need the unit at all. To my surprise, I got a response: We have already sent you the instruction and you need to click on the website to see this.

Sat, 03 Apr 2021 02:07:55 UTC

Network speeds

Posted By Greg Lehey

Downloading the Sygic map update took nearly 2 hours. OK, it's big, a little over 900 MB. But my Internet link has a 25 Mb/s download speed, so it would be reasonable to expect a 2 MB/s download speed. That's about 7½ minutes. 2 hours corresponds to about 128 kB/s. Try Ookla Speedtest. With its choice of speed test server, 1.33 Mb/s download (and 2.3 Mb/s up). Some discussion on IRC. My cameras are also so glacially slow. And my 802.11 access point is cheap and nasty. Could it be that it's the bottleneck? Found the configuration screens relatively easily. No, it offers ?Mixed 802.11b/g/n?.

Sat, 03 Apr 2021 01:53:37 UTC

More GPS investigations

Posted By Greg Lehey

One thing that became clear during my trip to Geelong on Tuesday was that the maps on my new GPS navigator were significantly out of date. No worry, it was sold with lifetime map updates. So I contacted the seller, who sent me a strangely packed RAR archive containing images of how to set up the device. Sorry, no go. Maps, please. Silence for a while, then Thanks for your mail. You do not need to return this, or how about we refund you 30%? The 30% off is not much use without up-to-date maps.

Thu, 01 Apr 2021 19:00:00 UTC

Long Links

Posted By Tim Bray

Welcome to the monthly ?Long Links? post for March 2021, in which I take advantage of my lightly-employed status to curate a list of pointers to good long-form stuff that I have time to savor but you probably don?t, but which you might enjoy one or two of. This month there?s lots of video, a heavier focus on music, and some talk about my former employer. What with everything else happening in the world, people who are outside of Australia may not have noticed that they had a nasty sex scandal recently. My sympathy to the victims, and my admiration goes out to Australian of the Year Grace Tame's full National Press Club address, which is searing and heart-wrenching.