Nathan Willis

Inaccessible Island

Nathan Willis, Verified

  • 2017-03-12T19:05:59Z via Pumpa To: Public CC: Followers

    It's been a long, dismal week and I need to take a break and turn off my brain for 30 minutes or so. Unfortunately there's nothing amusing to be found on either of the meager streaming services I have access to from here (Netflix UK and whatever junk Amazon shovels at you for free when you sign up for Amz Student's free trial). Don't worry, no free-software web browsers have been harmed in either of these exercises.

    Are there any well-made comedies distributed on YouTube, for example? There are a number of awesome educational things that I watch that way (Numberphile and Chop-n-Brew, for starters); a lot less pure-creative comedy, which I kind of miss.

    The whole "buy a license to watch TV" thing in GB is alien beyond words.

    To clarify, as I mentioned before, I have been successfully deep-diving into podcasts (even managing to track down a few of the vanished ones though various unscrupulous means), but if I try to power down my brain with audio only, I know I'll just end up opening FontForge and pushing diacritic anchor points around.

    Nathan Willis at 2017-03-12T19:07:47Z

    And yes, I do also know how to distract myself in other ways; I can read and everything. But why is no one producing sitcoms on YouTube or another gratis distribution channel? I've found a lot of audio content coming from the improv community ... as podcasts. Makes you wonder why those people don't publish video, too. I would be all over that.

    Nathan Willis at 2017-03-12T19:09:54Z

    since free to air tv switched over to digital in this part of the world theres no reception .. can't even pick up one channel so left with the only option being cable even to get the free-to-air channels.

    as for netflix, etc .. I don't know, haven't looked around to see whats available online because I'm worried that watching tv over adsl might be a bandwidth hog and I don't really want everything else to be slow. (the bw cost is not a problem on the plan that I am on- just not sure its fast enough to do both as its a noisy line and I'm not getting anywhere near the spped adsl2+ is capable of. There isn't much my isp can do about it, its due to ancient wiring under the street)

    Michael at 2017-03-13T01:05:22Z

  • #outofthebox

    2017-03-10T19:45:02Z via Pumpa To: Public CC: Followers

    Didn't renew my Flickr account last year; thinking of just uploading every photo I take to Wikimedia Commons.

    There don't seem to be a lot of barriers to entry.

    _every_ picture you take ?
    I would agree it's a better place for sharing, but would not send all on public show ;)

    olm-e at 2017-03-12T21:26:08Z

  • 2017-03-09T07:46:28Z via AndStatus To: Public

    Current mood:

    Scott Sweeny, Charles ☕ Stanhope likes this.

    He is Vigo! You are like the buzzing of flies to him!

    Stephen Sekula at 2017-03-09T16:28:00Z

  • 2017-03-07T20:22:06Z via Pumpa To: Public CC: Followers

    Do you think that regular Republican voters understand that "tax cuts for the super rich" does not mean "lesser tax cuts for other people so that maybe someday you'll be rich too and you'll get to bask in the tax cut that the super rich are getting"?

    Cause maybe they don't.

    Charles ☕ Stanhope, Christopher Allan Webber likes this.

  • 2017-03-06T23:26:52Z via AndStatus To: Public

    So I've been listening to a lot of weird podcasts while working on typeface design the past few weeks (stay with me; this goes somewhere).
    Problem is, I have about 20–25 hours a week to fill that way (although I don't max out of course), which means I have a tendency to run out of podcasts.
    Which means I look around for more, which means I read recommendations. And a LOT of the recommended podcasts that aren't currently in active production just vanish completely. No archive. Sometimes it's produced by a commercial broadcaster and it disappears behind a paywall, but for the most part, independent sites just go offline; the feed URLs vanish and the sites (and, often, domains) shut down. Sometimes the Wayback Machine folks archive the pages and the RSS, but that doesn't capture the media files.
    I don't think we've learned anything from the days when broadcast radio, TV, music, and printed material was just thrown away under the assumption that it was no longer current therefore it was no longer of any importance.

    Claes Wallin (韋嘉誠), Charles ☕ Stanhope, James Dearing 🐲, Christopher Allan Webber likes this.

    Claes Wallin (韋嘉誠), Claes Wallin (韋嘉誠), Claes Wallin (韋嘉誠) shared this. does have large media archives as well... maybe an opportunity to avoid losses there with auto-chasing of RSS feeds?
    It would be better, perhaps, if something like Freenet/ipfs/zeronet would gain traction and become the default. I'd like to have the older media that I've created or accessed kept around by default as long as there's a modicum of interest in it.

    Kevin Everets at 2017-03-07T14:52:02Z

    Claes Wallin (韋嘉誠) likes this.

    You would think so. I suppose there is some general caution to be exercised regarding copyright; I don't know necessarily what standard redistribution licenses on podcast content are, but I do suspect that licensed music would pose a bigger problem for IA than does the text content of web pages on Wayback.

    But I still personally think such an archive ought to exist, objections from advertisers / royalty-collection agencies or no.

    Nathan Willis at 2017-03-07T22:09:42Z

    Claes Wallin (韋嘉誠) likes this.

  • Why the Internet sucks

    2017-03-05T11:58:47Z via Pumpa To: Public CC: Followers


    Christopher Allan Webber likes this.

    Right, it is only a theory. XD

    mray at 2017-03-05T12:37:21Z

    Well since TIE stands for Twin Ion Engine...

    The the Acutal science link would be:

    That said.. an Ion Engine is probably not the best choice for a dog fight.

    I'm more offended by the Grammar. Clearly "Not because OF grammar"

    but then I'm old and can write cursive so..... "grumpy old man shakes fist at internet cloud?" :D

    Freemor at 2017-03-05T13:13:04Z

  • 2017-03-04T13:02:09Z via Pumpa To: Public CC: Followers

    I just don't think we should trust Big Prevention to accurately give us stats on the effectiveness of Cure.
  • Word Station Two

    2017-03-02T08:46:41Z via Pumpa To: Public CC: Followers

    Here are the things people may or may not mean when they say "Republicans":

    - Current elected officials in the national party
    - The national party's registered and active members
    - The national party's registered members, active or not
    - The national party's formal leadership
    - All of the above, except at the state or local level

    - People who voted for a party candidate in the last election
    - People who voted straight ticker for the party in the last election
    - The above two, except for "the past several elections"

    - Voters who self-identify as being "with" the party
    - Voters who sympathize with the party's positions
    - Unelected public officials / appointees / staff who work in a party administration
    - PR people working for the party
    - Party-sympathetic pundits who go on TV / radio
    - Party-sympathetic commentators and broadcasters who have their own programs
    - Donors to the party
    - Lobbyists
    - Random people on social media who talk about the politics of the party

    All of these have equivalents for other parties, of course. Be precise in your language!

    Claes Wallin (韋嘉誠) likes this.

    Claes Wallin (韋嘉誠), Claes Wallin (韋嘉誠), Claes Wallin (韋嘉誠), Claes Wallin (韋嘉誠) shared this.

    Also — obviously, a lot of these categories are not mutually exclusive.

    Nathan Willis at 2017-03-02T08:48:39Z

  • Arrighty; let's crack open this brand-new, family-sized can of organically-grown, deluxe jumbo del-monte worms

    2017-02-25T15:01:03Z via Pumpa To: Public CC: Followers

    So, is the Kansas shooter accurately described as "a terrorist"? Or is he "a murderer" and, possibly, "mass murderer" (depending on how you define that)?

    I am still going to contend, as I did a few weeks ago, that so far the event does not seem to meet the traditional definition of 'terrorism' — specifically, 'violence undertaken intentionally to further a political aim or goal by drawing attention.'

    It does have all the markings of a hate crime, to be sure. And crimes can certainly be both.

    People can, of course, disagree about the definition given above. But maintaining the precision of how we talk about things is important. Just because something affects politics after the fact, though, does not mean it meets the formal definition.

    And yes, I understand the political implications that are the cause of concern for so many people. Namely, that conservatives (Republican politicians in particular) use a double standard, and one that has racially minded overtones; it's 'us vs them' talk, and it's discriminatory.

    Politicians play games with their language, to manipulate people. Journalists aren't allowed to and, in my opinion, neither should regular people / thinking citizens / the public. You have to filter what politicians and other agenda-driven people say; the fact that they do it does not give you license to play fast and loose with terminology yourself.

    To wit, getting into the game of arguing about using the terrorism label for domestic, individual, spur-of-the-moment violence is counterproductive. It plays into the discourse the Republican politicians want to drive, and — worse still — it leads to broad, ill-defined "definitions" that they will then subsequently use against all peaceful protesters whose politics or message they don't like. Which is dangerous, for all of us, beyond belief.

    I'm probably gonna regret bringing this up; it's part of my increasing obsession with precision in language. Which is what you get for spending 13 years writing about The Keepers Of The Flame For Pedantry: free-software developers.

    Nathan Willis at 2017-02-25T15:02:31Z

    I'm sorry, something happened in Kansas? I've been very busy this past week getting screamed at by taxpayers and have been shutting out most of the world around me. Do you have a story link?

    Stephen Michael Kellat at 2017-02-25T15:58:06Z

    Found it:

    Capital punishment seems sometimes to just not be enough. Fortunately there is the 8th Amendment to our federal constitution that handles that.

    Stephen Michael Kellat at 2017-02-26T02:21:09Z

  • 2017-02-24T20:23:43Z via Pumpa To: Public CC: Followers

    Cloudflare: Ha ha! My keen strategy of not belonging to anything popular on the web has finally paid off!

    Claes Wallin (韋嘉誠), Charles ☕ Stanhope, George Standish, Christopher Allan Webber likes this.

  • PDFthis

    2017-02-22T12:11:42Z via Pumpa To: Public CC: Followers

    Somebody wanna 'splain why it is that Evince has a pair of "Next/Previous History Item" buttons on the menu bar, that as far as I can tell serve no function, but it does not have "Next/Previous Page" buttons?


    seems like you found an awesome bug. m(

    mray at 2017-02-22T12:36:04Z

    Nathan Willis likes this.

    You did find an awesome bug; you're not the first to find it: Atril, which is a fork of Evince, has working next/previous page buttons.

    James Dearing 🐲 at 2017-02-22T12:45:20Z

    Nathan Willis likes this.

    I'd love to know why the Evince developers imagined that people would be using the application in some manner that involved storing a long 'history' of something. Talk about your disconnects of use-case....

    Nathan Willis at 2017-02-22T14:30:41Z

  • Whatthe

    2017-02-21T20:33:40Z via Pumpa To: Public CC: Followers

    So I did finally install 2FA-authentication and forced-SSL on my newly Let'sEncrypt-ed blog sites. Along the way, one of the plugins offered to send email notifications about rogue login attacks it's thwarted.

    Which leads to the surprise. Between the two blogs, one of them is getting hammered non-stop with automated attempts to log in to the administrator account, the other is getting none. But the one under attack is my old, personal blog, which I have not posted to since 2011, and which is not linked to from anywhere on Earth. The one getting no frontal assault is my FOSS-related blog, which I do post to (admiteddly not frequently) and which is syndicated in the planetsphere.

    So what's the attack scenario here? Do automated attackers assume that a more dormant blog is more likely behind on its security updates and/or has more guessable passwords? I'm not clear....

    Alex Jordan, Claes Wallin (韋嘉誠), Stephen Michael Kellat, Christopher Allan Webber likes this.

    Claes Wallin (韋嘉誠), Claes Wallin (韋嘉誠), Stephen Michael Kellat shared this.

    If I were writing an attack bot, I think I would only consider a blog's dormancy as a last resort. First I would try to find what software the blog runs, including version numbers. Then I would use that info to look up default passwords and other known vulnerabilities.

    Examining my own blog, for instance, I found my WordPress and JQuery versions just by watching which files got downloaded when I loaded the main page in Firefox:



    I would suspect that the age of your blogs is more relevant than their activity level. Your older blog probably got discovered some time ago - including whatever software versions it was running at the time - and added to a list of known blogs they could attack. The list gets passed from person to person. Now some script kiddie gets a copy of it and decides to use your blog for target practice.

    James Dearing 🐲 at 2017-02-22T01:32:14Z

  • 2017-02-17T17:46:17Z via Pumpa To: Public CC: Followers

    Coining a new term today: selfcongratulacracy.

    Can't wait to use it in a talk at a FOSS conference.

    Elena ``of Valhalla'', Nathan Willis likes this.

    Stephen Michael Kellat shared this.

    I bet you feel pretty good about yourself for coming up with that word!

    Christopher Allan Webber at 2017-02-17T17:47:12Z

    Elena ``of Valhalla'', Blaise Alleyne, Tyng-Ruey Chuang, Scott Sweeny and 1 others likes this.

    I think if you don't like your own comment here, I can't take it seriously.

    Nathan Willis at 2017-02-17T17:48:26Z

    Elena ``of Valhalla'', Tyng-Ruey Chuang, Christopher Allan Webber, Nathan Willis likes this.

    @Nathan Willis If you don't reshare your own top-post, I can't believe its sincerity.

    Christopher Allan Webber at 2017-02-17T18:32:22Z

    Elena ``of Valhalla'', Tyng-Ruey Chuang likes this.

  • Current mood:

    2017-02-15T22:39:28Z via Pumpa To: Public CC: Followers

    Charles ☕ Stanhope likes this.

    but which one are you?

    Dana at 2017-02-15T22:42:15Z

  • Confound it!

    2017-02-15T12:32:59Z via Pumpa To: Public CC: Followers

    It never fails. Openings like this only appear when I have committed to being someplace else for the coming ~1 year.

  • 2017-02-13T23:39:04Z via AndStatus To: Public

    I mean, seriously — why can't I have Double Ratchet, OTR, secure timestamping, ZRTP, and some stupid blockchain nonsense running in FOSS on a secure smartcard? "Not a lot of people write smartcard software" and "when they do, it's proprietary" just don't excite me as explanations. #preachingtothechoir

    Lars Wirzenius, Stephen Michael Kellat likes this.

    Lars Wirzenius, Stephen Michael Kellat shared this.

  • 2017-02-12T10:51:17Z via AndStatus To: Public

    Possible conference talk topics: the free-software gap in smartcard programming.

    HSPD-12 sorts of smartcards?

    Stephen Michael Kellat at 2017-02-12T21:39:22Z

  • Arrrrrrgh!

    2017-02-10T12:57:43Z via Pumpa To: Public CC: Followers

    Why does this throw a "no module named ''" ImportError?

    import sys
    from xudd.hive import Hive
    from import join_id

    (and not one on xudd.hive)

    Nathan Willis at 2017-02-10T13:02:14Z

    Yes I realize this is intro-level Python stuff in all likelihood, but (a) my brain is only wired for functional languages and (b) packaging/module-loading failures happen in project-specific ways that don't extrapolate to other systems.

    Nathan Willis at 2017-02-10T18:51:14Z

  • PGP Stuff

    2017-02-10T12:40:15Z via Pumpa To: Public CC: Followers

    If anybody out there would like to help me test something, you can send an OpenPGP-encrypted message (content irrelevant) to my old LWN address (nate@ .net).

    I'm trying some hand-futzled message filtering-fu, since that address is now a forwarding-only alias.

    However, I only really need one taker ATM, so if this appeal strikes your fancy, please leave a reply below.

    Send one.. Hopefully to hte right place :)

    If not Let me know and I'll try again

    Freemor at 2017-02-10T13:16:20Z

    If you'd like me to sand another after the various tweaks, just let me know.

    Freemor at 2017-02-10T19:58:41Z

  • Word Station One

    2017-02-10T11:27:46Z via Pumpa To: Public CC: Followers

    Here are various things people may or may not mean whenever they use the term "the media" in some sort of online political argument:

    - Journalists
    - The owners of publishing companies
    - Big-city newspaper front pages
    - The broadcast networks' Nightly News
    - Big Cable News Networks news programs
    - Guest editorials written by celebrities on the opinion pages of big-city newspapers
    - Monthly magazines
    - Talk radio shows
    - Political commentary shows on cable news (as distinct from the news broadcasts)
    - Talk shows where hosts and guests discuss current events
    - The entertainment industry: the commercial TV, movies, music business
    - Entertainment gossip news magazines/shows/sites
    - The advertizing industry
    - Web sites where individual contractors write and publish their own posts and are paid by advertizing revenue
    - Social media networks highlighting popular discussion topics

    These things are not interchangeable. Be precise in your language.

    Christopher Allan Webber, Charles ☕ Stanhope, Freemor likes this.


    - Book publishers

    And, apparently, many members of:

    - The Marketing & PR industries

    consider themselves to be in "the media." Which, to some degree, makes sense — they publish things (and for mass consumption) — even though I would use a completely different word to describe what they do.

    Nathan Willis at 2017-02-25T13:12:45Z