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Postings for October 2018:  (20 posts)
Sat, 20 Oct 2018 19:00:00 UTC

On Weed

Posted By Tim Bray

Last Thursday, cannabis became legal in Canada. For example, here?s my local provincial government?s online cannabis store (screenshot below). There are going to be physical storefronts too, some private-sector, but the licensing process is slow so there aren?t any in Vancouver yet, except of course for the dozens of ?dispensaries? that have been up and running for years; I suppose some of them will become legal. Which is to say, it hasn?t been very dramatic. But I think it is sort of a big deal. It?s a big deal because it?s an example of democracy actually working. We had a legal framework whose goals???stamp out pot???were not only unachievable but unsupported by evidence.

Wed, 17 Oct 2018 02:00:38 UTC

Setting Android ring tones

Posted By Greg Lehey

Some time ago I tried creating a custom ring tone for my old Android phone, the first few bars of Carl Maria von Weber's Andante e rondo ongarese. Time to install it on the new phone: I never found out how on the old one. After the usual pain moving data around to mobile phones, it worked almost without any problems at all. Problem: it's not loud enough. That's in the original, not the phone. Now I need to find a way to recode the original.

Mon, 15 Oct 2018 01:44:49 UTC

HDR photos revisited

Posted By Greg Lehey

The new Nokia 3 phone has a feature called HDR. How good is it? Time to do a comparison of the various methods available to me for better dynamic range. In fact, there are a surprising number. In rough order of increasing usability, I have: The old Samsung GT-I9100T, which I suspect to be the worst. The Nokia 3 in normal mode. The Nokia 3 in ?HDR? mode. My Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II in normal mode, with raw images and DxO PhotoLab.

Mon, 15 Oct 2018 01:14:15 UTC

More Android fun

Posted By Greg Lehey

Received the unlock code for my Nokia 3 phone today, much earlier than expected. 16 characters! And I have to type it in via this appalling touch screen interface. What happens if I get it wrong? Clearly something to check very carefully before submitting. OK, typed it, and there it was: ****************. It's too polite to display it! Checked again, watching every digit as it popped up briefly before being obliterated. Must be right. Yes, it was. But what kind of nonsense is that to hide the input? I can't think of any situation in which people aren't reading the code from some other surface to type it in.

Sun, 14 Oct 2018 02:17:38 UTC

A use for smart watches

Posted By Greg Lehey

The affair about Jamal Khashoggi (another of these unpronounceable names, like Mnangagwa. It seems that Khasohggi should really be called Khashoqji, based in the name ???? ???????) is fascinating for many reasons. None of them is the fact that today was his 60th birthday. Firstly, it tends to confirm my negative opinion of Saudi Arabia, who have been making life hell for their neighbours?the war against Yemen, with hundreds of thousands of casualties (over 50,000 children have died of starvation due to Saudi blockades), and trying to bully Qatar into doing what the Saudis want, including shutting down the Al Jazeera network, and their continued attacks on Iran.

Sat, 13 Oct 2018 02:57:48 UTC

Unlocking the Nokia 3

Posted By Greg Lehey

Suggestion from Jamie Fraser today: buy an unlock code for my Nokia 3 on eBay. Interesting idea, and sure enough, there are two different offers under $20. That still makes it cheaper than ALDI's $129 offer that comes up tomorrow. Clearly worth a try.

Sat, 13 Oct 2018 01:34:25 UTC

Where's my named config?

Posted By Greg Lehey

The new Android phone has a presence on my local net, of course, so it needs a name. Yes, I know most Android users are too polite for such things, but I'm not most Android users. What shall I call it? My first Android device was a tablet, so I called it flachmann. Then the Samsung GT-I9100T got the name talipon. What should I call this one? It's Finnish, so it should be a Finnish name, which really eliminates teflon. How about translating flachmann? taskumatti it is. Time to update the DNS configuration. Where is it? It used to be in /etc/named/, but since then it has moved a couple of times, to /var/named/etc/namedb/ and then to /usr/local/etc/namedb/

Fri, 12 Oct 2018 01:16:24 UTC

Returning the Nokia 3

Posted By Greg Lehey

Stopped in at Woolworths in Sebastopol on the way home to return one of the Nokia 3s that Yvonne bought on Sunday. Too hard for the (surprisingly busy) person at the info desk, so she called a manager, Alex, who told me that they couldn't take it back for reasons unspecified. I pointed out that it was clearly still shrink-wrapped, and that it had been sold under false pretences. Oh, they only sell locked phones, and the salesperson should have told Yvonne that it's locked. Wrong answer. It should have been made clear on the packaging. I pointed out that the packaging warned that the microSD card was not included; why not the fact that it was locked?

Thu, 11 Oct 2018 19:00:00 UTC

On Cash

Posted By Tim Bray

What happened was, I was walking through a train station on the way to work with the buds playing randomly on shuffle and a knifeblade of Real Music came in from outside so I had to pull them out of my ears, there was this young dude getting great electric sound out of a teeny amp doing a slow take on Little Wing with a really good voice: When I?m sad, she comes to me? plenty room between the notes and lots of soul in them. He looked a little hard-pressed; I put my hand in my pocket for some coin but there was no coin there because I live on plastic these days and that busker went unpaid that morning.

Wed, 10 Oct 2018 01:27:46 UTC

Begone foul TIFF

Posted By Greg Lehey

For the past 6 months or so I have been using TIFF as the intermediate format for my composite photos (panoramas, HDR, focus stacking). They're big, typically round 120 MB per image, and for a single HDR panorama I typically need 12 of them. On Saturday alone my photos added up to 23 GB. Do I really need all this stuff? No, I can recreate it relatively quickly from the base photos. So today I deleted all the TIFF intermediate files from March to September. That was worthwhile. Here before and after: Filesystem  1048576-blocks      Used     Avail Capacity  Mounted on /dev/ada2p1      7,629,565 5,077,266 2,476,003    67%    /Photos /dev/ada2p1      7,629,565 4,762,431 2,790,837    63%    /Photos A good 300 GB!

Wed, 10 Oct 2018 01:11:35 UTC

Have I been pwned?

Posted By Greg Lehey

I have my own approach to Internet security: keep important things exclusively behind a firewall, use separate email addresses and passwords for every site with which I am involved, don't use mobile phones for anything security-related, A recent discussion on IRC suggested that I go to to see if I had been compromised. Yes! 10 of my 466 email addresses were ?pwned?. Or were they? Email       Pwned sites [email protected]       River City Media Spam List [email protected]       Onliner Spambot ...

Tue, 09 Oct 2018 17:02:56 UTC

What we lose when we move from social to market exchange

Posted By Benjamin Mako Hill

Couchsurfing and Airbnb are websites that connect people with an extra guest room or couch with random strangers on the Internet who are looking for a place to stay. Although Couchsurfing predates Airbnb by about five years, the two sites are designed to help people do the same basic thing and they work in extremely … Continue reading "What we lose when we move from social to market exchange"

Mon, 08 Oct 2018 01:39:46 UTC

New Android phone

Posted By Greg Lehey

Yvonne had to go into town today to pick up some food that she had forgotten. Time to pick up a couple of the Nokia 3 phones that I had been thinking about yesterday? Nope, the special offer was over. But she asked anyway, and how about that, there were exactly two left, and she got them for $90 each. Back home, the usual fun trying to set the thing up. Battery was discharged, of course, and when I connected it to the charger, nothing happened. But that was one of the amazingly few things they documented. The entire instructions are on a single sheet of paper (the safety instructions are much longer).

Sun, 07 Oct 2018 01:59:27 UTC

A new mobile phone?

Posted By Greg Lehey

ALDI have an interesting item in their weekly ?specials?: a Nokia 3 ?smart? phone (a term I've decided not to use where I can avoid it) for only $129. That's by far the cheapest phone I've seen from a brand name supplier, and since it's ALDI, I asked Yvonne to pick one up when she was there this morning. In the course of discussion we decided to make it two, in case Yvonne wanted one too. In the meantime, did some investigation and discovered that it was on offer at Woolworths in Sebastopol?just across the road?for $90 (or, as they put it, $89.99).

Sat, 06 Oct 2018 16:59:53 UTC

?Radicalized? will be my next book!

Posted By Cory Doctorow

I’ve just closed a new book deal: Tor Books will publish “Radicalized,” which tells four stories of hope, conflict, technology and justice in the modern world and near future in March 2019; along with the book deal is a major audiobook deal with Macmillan Audio and a screen deal with Topic Studios (a sister company... more

Wed, 03 Oct 2018 01:48:54 UTC

Anatomy of a DoS

Posted By Greg Lehey

On Saturday I read a message in the local Facebook group: Kim Baxter had ?lost Internet?. OK, let's do what I can to help. ?Try this?. No reply, just the interesting information that she was with Aussie Broadband, my ISP. So is Paul Shire, who also had no problems. But it turned out that it was an Aussie problem after all. A few hours later Kim stated ?a problem with their firewall?, and pointed me to their Facebook page, which indeed stated something about problems. Which problems? No idea. It's gone again. How I love Facebook! And why only on Facebook?

Tue, 02 Oct 2018 16:51:16 UTC

Google Authenticator tips

Posted By Tom Limoncelli

Things you might not have known about Google Authenticator: Copy and paste If you press and hold the 6-digit number, it puts it in your cut and paste buffer. Re-order the list If you click the pencil to go into edit mode, you can change the order of the items. I find this particularly important because I now have 12 different systems authenticating with this app, and only 4 fit on the screen of my tiny iPhone SE. I've pushed the ones that I use the most to the top of the list. The Google-related services that generally authenticate via a notification asking "Is this you trying to log in?"

Tue, 02 Oct 2018 03:18:15 UTC

Facebook security?

Posted By Greg Lehey

A few days ago Facebook announced a new security breach. Was I affected? Probably not. Would it make any difference? Certainly not. There's nothing on my Facebook account that can be abused elsewhere. Even my place of birth, my domicile and my alma mater are wrong (though in each case a subtle hint that nobody has understood so far). Still, it would be interesting to see what Facebook says. First, where am I logged in? ?Windows? computer? I don't have no steenking ?Windows? computer. Oh, well, maybe I do, but it's sleeping. What Facebook means, of course, is that my firefox is claiming to be Microsoft to get around web sites that don't want to talk to FreeBSD.

Tue, 02 Oct 2018 02:15:04 UTC

Cooktops: defeated by technology

Posted By Greg Lehey

I really need to find a replacement gas cooktop to fit next to the new induction cooktop. It's not easy: most cooktops are 60 or 90 cm wide (and, strangely in Australia, not 600 or 900 mm). I want one that is only 30 cm wide, and there's not much choice. In principle I'm not asking for much: two burners, one a ?wok burner?. But in the past I've discovered a number of issues: The power output of the burners is very varied, sometimes just plain underdimensioned.

Mon, 01 Oct 2018 23:04:55 UTC

Talking about Ron Howard?s Haunted Mansion album with the Comedy on Vinyl podcast

Posted By Cory Doctorow

It’s been two years since I last sat down with Jason Klamm for his Comedy on Vinyl podcast (we were discussing Allan Sherman’s My Son, The Nut); we were past due for a rematch. Jason asked me to come on one more time (MP3) to discuss the Disneyland Little Long Playing Record The Story and... more