Nathan Willis

Inaccessible Island

Nathan Willis, Verified

  • 2017-06-26T00:32:04Z via Pumpa To: Public CC: Followers

    Look, I hate Ted Cruz more than you do, but folks ya really gotta stop referring to his cabal as "a group of white men." He is Latino. That does not stop him from being the human disaster that he is, of course. But it's reality.
  • 2017-06-18T21:37:19Z via AndStatus To: Public

    Another day, another batch of notifications, by name, about which acquaintences of mine have installed the"privacy-friendly" Signal app....

    notifcations from what?


    not sure what the story is with that ..

    it says it needs to be updated but the update doesn't work.

    now I probably need to get rid of it just to be able to send an sms!

    not that it was much use anyway, only one person I know used it and not even that person got round to doing the key exchange thing.

    so that would mean its just ordinary sms anyway..

    so not much point to that hassle

    Michael at 2017-06-19T16:48:11Z

  • Mr Mayor

    2017-06-18T16:25:21Z via Pumpa To: Public CC: Followers

    My hometown elected its new mayor this weekend and it's the first person of color in the office.

    The position is effectively ceremonial as far as executive policy goes (city council /manager format), but the mayor does vote. The bigger issue for representation is that the council (and the county commission) are all still elected at-large, which has the effect of diluting the franchise of minority communities — which tend to be clustered in neighborhoods, as I'm sure you can guess. The town has made some strides forward as far as the council make-up goes in recent years, though.

    Still, all things considered, you have to admit it's pretty cool.
  • 2017-06-07T23:57:30Z via AndStatus To: Public

    I had a surprisingly long discussion in Amsterdam on the topic of media independence / ethics, with a guy from Spain (who says his country is still struggling hard to get independent news outlets at all, after decades of dictatorship).  Too long to reiterate, but I have some conversation starters for those interested.
    Still there? So here is my question to you: how would you define the following three terms, as they relate to journalism?
    1) bias
    2) objectivity
    3) neutrality
    A clue is that they don't all talk about the same stuff, of course.

    One good thing about Identica being down is that now I really don't feel like spending the time to write up a post about this subject that no one will read.

    Nathan Willis at 2017-06-18T16:15:15Z

  • Possible conference talk titles

    2017-06-07T19:18:47Z via Pumpa To: Public CC: Followers

    The unbearable, rage-inducing strain of being forced to set up a new, permanent personal "account" on some nameless stranger's web site before you report a simple software bug to them.

    Claes Wallin (韋嘉誠), Stephen Michael Kellat, Elena ``of Valhalla'' likes this.

    Claes Wallin (韋嘉誠), Claes Wallin (韋嘉誠), Claes Wallin (韋嘉誠), Claes Wallin (韋嘉誠) and 2 others shared this.

    Your first slide is going to require a really small font =)

    JanKusanagi at 2017-06-07T19:27:35Z

    Claes Wallin (韋嘉誠) likes this. add it to your list of email addresses for visa applications...

    der.hans at 2017-06-07T22:51:22Z

    Also, we need to restart the "lalala" movement!

    JanKusanagi at 2017-06-07T22:57:02Z

  • 2017-06-07T18:47:09Z via Pumpa To: Public CC: Followers

    Be the change you want to find in the couch.
  • Well there it is

    2017-06-07T10:33:53Z via Pumpa To: Public CC: Followers

    I finally broke down and installed the GreaseMonkey extension this morning.

    Meaning we have reached the point where the web is too broken to use.

    [I don't consider DNT and ad-blocking to be the same thing; Greasemonkey means I have to manually fix the *content* of sites in order to use them.]

    I resisted as long as I could....

    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.

    "the web is too broken to use" ..

    a lot of it is - sad but true

    some parts of html5 might have to wait till the world rids itself of a lot of unwanted bloat

    and if a website doesn't work on anything over a couple of years old tell them to fix it - its broken!

    current browsers are totally broken

    thats what happens when theres a cartel

    cartels should ALWAYS be broken up!

    Michael at 2017-06-19T03:22:29Z

  • 2017-06-07T09:01:02Z via Pumpa To: Public CC: Followers

    There is literally nothing in the world worse than a slow Tor guard node.

    Except maybe the fact that Tor doesn't provide an interface to change guard nodes.
  • The Vizard

    2017-05-28T09:05:54Z via Pumpa To: Public CC: Followers

    I have lots and lots and lots of problems with this graph. Can you name a few?
    I do find it misleading to draw those curves as fits for that data since at any given point in time the sum of all those percentages must be <= 100. It looks like than in a year or two that Chrome and Safari will have captured more than 100% of the market. I have some other observations and responses to the blog post that graph is from, but they aren't necessarily happy ones.

    Charles Stanhope at 2017-05-29T15:34:59Z

    >> Charles ☕ Stanhope:

    “I do find it misleading to draw those curves as fits for that data since at any given point in time the sum of all those percentages must be <= 100”

    Exactly, I think the same

    Paco Vila at 2017-05-29T16:03:58Z

  • Ugh.

    2017-05-27T14:12:47Z via Pumpa To: Public CC: Followers

    I mean, I think what they're saying is that the encryption apps will make the FBI look at them more carefully, but that phrasing sounds too similar to the anti-encryption "who needs it if you've got nothing to hide" tripe we've all heard before.

    Nathan Willis at 2017-05-27T14:15:40Z

  • Keys II

    2017-05-26T19:21:51Z via Pumpa To: Public CC: Followers

    Meaning these, in the post from this morning. Which I add in a post all of its own, since it seems Pumpa doesn't support attaching images to comments.

    Charles Stanhope likes this.

    And yes, I had to slice up and reorganize some of them since the order on the stickers did not match the keyboard layout(s) available in my distro.

    And yes, it is a little bit harder to read the Latin on the keyboard, mostly because of the haze of the stickers and not interference from the other letters. For the most part I touch type just fine, but all the keys on my laptop are identical in size and shape, so orienting the first time you reach over now takes a half second longer. I'm used to my carefully-vetted hinged ergo keyboard on the desktop, I guess.

    And yes, if I did find a place to get custom stickers made, I would definitely add two more scripts: Greek in the upper left-hand and Armenian top-center. It's like every key is a game of Sudoku.

    Nathan Willis at 2017-05-26T19:25:36Z

    FYI, that would work because Greek and Armenian are both cased; the Bengali alphabet isn't, so it uses *SHIFT* to provide access to a whole different set of letters, necessitating two symbols per sticker.

    File under "The things you don't think about when designing your writing system."

    And no, I couldn't think of anything to put on the keys in bottom-center position. Suggestions open.

    Nathan Willis at 2017-05-26T19:31:01Z

  • Keys

    2017-05-26T09:01:30Z via Pumpa To: Public CC: Followers

    Has anyone out there found a place to get reliable, custom keyboard stickers printed?

    Currently I have Cyrillic and Bengali stickers stacked on top of each other (different colors), and I had to slice one of them with an exacto knife because they were both positioned for the right-hand side of the keys. Inelegant, even if I do have mutant-super-calibre exactoskills.

    Every place I've seen online (so far) has been really sketchy-looking, of the "email us and we'll get back to you with a quote" variety....
  • Mozilla Thimble news

    2017-05-24T10:04:45Z via Pumpa To: Public CC: Followers

    A major update! Get started now!

    Yes, I'm totally going to gamble on Mozilla not abruptly canceling a project with no warning. I haven't been burned a dozen times by that exact same sequence of events. And, this time, it's even for kids.
  • Neural color

    2017-05-23T19:08:48Z via Pumpa To: Public CC: Followers

    Someone needs to read this list of neural-network-invented color names: , get the hex codes of each color, then search for them in HTML and CSS files on GitHub, filing a pull request for each that adds a comment listing the color name.

    All hail "Hathole Gray".


    its too hard to remember names

    the hex number is probably shorter than a lot of the names

    not sure I see a need

    guessing something would probably have to look them up before it can show you a pixel?


    even if that is fast what happens when there are lots of colours?


    Michael at 2017-05-25T00:27:55Z

    Um, I sure wish you'd take this more seriously.....


    Nathan Willis at 2017-05-25T19:54:04Z

  • Fun game

    2017-05-23T17:58:25Z via Pumpa To: Public CC: Followers

    Tomorrow, start every social-media post you write with the prefix "For historical reasons, "

    For historical reasons, I'll comment here...

    (This is a practice run xD)

    JanKusanagi at 2017-05-23T18:39:06Z

    Nathan Willis likes this.

  • Postulate

    2017-05-17T09:12:15Z via Pumpa To: Public CC: Followers

    :: The Star Wars series has trained its audience to think that a character's parentage completely determines his or her importance and future.

    Note that I have not watched a Star Wars movie since Episode II, which sucked so much that I stopped caring completely. But the Internet won't shut up about it.

    Charles Stanhope likes this.

    Oh yeah, absolutely. I enjoy the films (well, some of them), but it's a totally black and white moral universe, not to mention one where where it's okay to kill sapient robots or human clones, and loads of other problems. Fun creature designs though, and I'm a sucker for fun creature designs.

    If you did want to dip your toe back in the water, Rogue One is a pretty good movie that stands on its own fwiw, and is refreshingly the last binary as in terms of right/wrong of all the Star Wars movies. (I won't say the same thing about The Force Awakens, which was pretty much a rehash of A New Hope with new characters.)

    Christopher Allan Webber at 2017-05-17T12:43:04Z

    Charles Stanhope likes this.

    I disagree with your premise that the series has "trained its audience to think that a character's parentage completely determines...importance." These movies have a special appeal to a teenage audience, since they explore the question of whether or not a child can escape the perception that their parentage determines their fate. Many teenagers grapple with this question as they develop, and this question has certainly been explored by more than a few writers in the history of our species. Greek tragedies, upon which Star Wars is based, definitely explored this question - both from the perspective of the Greek Gods and from the perspective of Greek mortals. But even Dostoyevski explored this question, in "The Brothers Karamazov," where parentage is a central issue throughout the stories of the brothers and the father.

    I would argue that "Star Wars" is a science fiction exploration of this question. Does lineage determine fate? For instance, are the Skywalkers all doomed to be so strong with the force that they face a stark choice? (the implication throughout the series is that there is more to the Skywalker lineage than what we see). The series also explores themes of the ambiguity of parentage. For instance, Anakin Skywalker's father is unknown, and implied to be a miraculous birth. But in "Revenge of the Sith," we learn a Sith legend of a Sith Lord so powerful he could create life, leaving open the possibility that this Sith is partly responsible for Anakin. So Anakin's allegience to good or evil is morally ambiguous, and in fact while he eventually chooses to follow a path of power his corruption is not totally complete, and he dies to kill his own master and prevent the death of his own son.

    In the series "Rebels," the story of Ezra Bridger is one of moral ambiguity. Ezra comes to the force through a cynical Jedi, but he dabbles in the dark side via a Sith library (a "holocron"). He explores the power of the force and dances with its darker side. Other characters in the series warn of the black-and-white false dichotomy that the Jedi and the Sith represent. The character Bendu is strong with the force, but neither Jedi nor Sith ("I am the one in the middle," he says of himself). So even in that series, the writers are exploring the possibility that this whole "Jedi vs. Sith" and "Good vs. Evil" thing is a false dichotomy so long held in place by these warring factions of the Force that people have wrongly come to believe there is a choice to be made.

    OK, so clearly I am part of the problem on the internet. :-)

    I hated the second trilogy, but there was a person on the internet who edited all the cheesy crap out and left the core story and those versions are very good, trying to explore Anakin as a complex and ambiguous character torn between two sides of a false dichotomy and driven to power by it. I still don't really love those movies, but there are things in it (especially the scene where the Chancellor tells the story of his old Sith master to Anakin, where we glimpse the possibility of Anakin's own birth) that are little gems that even Lucas managed to write.

    I'd say give "Rebels" a shot. It's a good animated TV series with a reasonably well-thought-out story arc, and it connects into Rogue One. Rebels are not always good, Imperials are not always evil, and a central character melds the ambiguity of these two things. "Rogue One" is good in the same way - characters are not clear, with a few exceptions (but they are also mostly lingering shadows of the Republic, which embodied false dichotomy). "Clone Wars" humanized the clones, which was its strength. Even the clones hated that everyone thought they were disposable.

    So I think you gave up at just the wrong time. :-)

    Stephen Sekula at 2017-05-17T13:00:44Z

  • 2017-05-14T22:56:07Z via AndStatus To: Public

    Considering hand-making GPG keyID cards on the departmental letterpress. I wonder if that adds any value ... from a security standpoint....

  • Wikimpedia

    2017-05-14T08:43:45Z via Pumpa To: Public CC: Followers

    The IPA people on Wikipedia are out of control and need to be stopped. It's getting to where no article on human language can be deciphered anymore and there's barely any page left on the whole site that doesn't include the word "fricative" somewhere in the first two sentences.

    Clacke moved to and, Claes Wallin (韋嘉誠), Stephen Michael Kellat likes this.

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    >> Nathan Willis:

    “[...] IPA [...]”

    same question here .. whats that?

    Michael at 2017-05-14T09:43:47Z

    "... that doesn't include the word 'fricative' somewhere in the two first sentences" :-D

    Claes Wallin (韋嘉誠) at 2017-05-16T04:02:29Z When people in the US study foreign languages, they don't learn the International Phonetic Alphabet?

    Claes Wallin (韋嘉誠) at 2017-05-16T04:05:16Z Come to think of it, even the official Swedish dictionary uses parts of IPA, because Swedish spelling is messed up and non-phonetic. English spelling is far worse. :-)

    Claes Wallin (韋嘉誠) at 2017-05-16T04:09:39Z

  • How I make my extra-strong tea

    2017-05-13T15:58:17Z via Pumpa To: Public CC: Followers

    · Use loose tea in a pot and stir it thoroughly after adding the water — 15%

    · Use two teabags in the same mug — 10%

    · Forget to take the teabag out of the mug after the timer has gone off — 81%

    I use the third method, but that's intentional =)

    JanKusanagi at 2017-05-13T16:04:21Z

  • 2017-05-08T19:54:05Z via Pumpa To: Public CC: Followers

    I'm debating posting another minirant about how we make fun of elected officials we can't stand. Because sometimes the way the people I agree with talk (on social media especially) gets under my skin and (IMO) makes us sound unreliable or possibly unhinged.

    But I kinda feel like nobody cares; I did those dents about 'the media' and political parties and so on and they didn't prompt any discussion. Which perhaps is fine. But if genuinely nobody does care, it's probably not worth it.

    And yes, partly I am also concerned that writing critiques about how we progressives talk has the unwanted side-effect of making people think that I'm actually a conservative.... Which I'm not, despite being a cowboy-hat-owning Texan.


    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.

    TIL about Ann Richards. Thank you!

    Claes Wallin (韋嘉誠) at 2017-05-09T00:22:25Z

    Nathan Willis likes this.

    What's wrong with using humor to cope with things we can't stand but can't currently change? Isn't that what humans do?

    Claes Wallin (韋嘉誠) at 2017-05-09T00:22:56Z

    Elena ``of Valhalla'' likes this.