Nathan Willis

Inaccessible Island

Nathan Willis, Verified

  • 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.

    Stephen Michael Kellat shared 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.

  • 2017-05-07T07:24:58Z via AndStatus To: Public

    Nervous about my GUADEC talk proposal. This will be the first time I've submitted a talk without having a well-known employer under my name.

    On second thought, I don't want to give the impression that I think FOSS event talk-selection committees pick speakers for the wrong reasons. That's definitely not true.

    In fact, I got enough rejections over the years (including by GUADEC!) to prove it quantitatively.

    That said, this is a situation where I have no financial backer to get me there if they don't like my proposal, which makes it feel more personal. In short, I'm just an independent, unemployed free-software hacker now; the conference world looks different from here.

    Nathan Willis at 2017-05-07T14:24:50Z

    Just FWIW, while it is not anonymous, there is no mention of the affiliation when the talks are listed for people in the comitee to vote on, for GUADEC.

    Good luck with your submission.

    Hubert Figuière at 2017-05-08T01:44:31Z

    It's a good policy, although it does have some drawbacks. For Texas Linux Fest, particularly in the early years, we were wary of selecting too high a percentage of talks from sponsors/vendors (especially to the exclusion of individuals); that can be a problem.

    A large percentage of the time, you can spot those proposals from their wording, but it's not sure fire. The other thing you can do to counter it is to ask people to disclose whether or not their talk is about a product. No guarantees there either.

    (Still, ultimately, though my current reflection on the waiting process is just me vocalizing anxiety. Latest thinking there: it's different this time also because my topic is something I really care about personally. While at my last job, we were more or less required to submit talk proposals, so a fair amount of the time what I came up with wasn't necessarily passion-project stuff — more like "good to know" info or updates on ongoing work.)

    Nathan Willis at 2017-05-08T19:48:48Z

  • Forget all this jetpack nonsense,

    2017-05-06T11:12:17Z via Pumpa To: Public CC: Followers

    Why can't I buy a home router with a built-in GPS or longwave-radio clock receiver to be my NTP source?

    Charles ☕ Stanhope likes this.

  • Yeah

    2017-05-02T20:49:04Z via Pumpa To: Public CC: Followers

    Every gripe I've made in the past couple of weeks about RSS/Atom feeds silently getting changed on blogs and planets goes fully for podcasts as well. #$%&#@**

    Claes Wallin (韋嘉誠) likes this.

  • 2017-05-01T17:07:48Z via Pumpa To: Public CC: Followers

    Sometimes being able to read people is a straight-up solid curse.
    Or maybe it's "being around people."

    Nathan Willis at 2017-05-01T19:04:52Z

  • 2017-05-01T15:19:16Z via Pumpa To: Public CC: Followers

    The Gig Ecology.
  • 2017-05-01T07:30:04Z via Pumpa To: Public CC: Followers

    Denatured rageahol.
  • Title (optional)

    2017-04-29T14:10:36Z via Pumpa To: Public CC: Followers

    Possible FOSS conference-talk titles:

    "All the secrets developers told me while I was a reporter that I very specifically promised not to write about"

    Christopher Allan Webber, Stephen Michael Kellat likes this.

    Stephen Michael Kellat shared this.

    OK, but then, no slides!! =)

    JanKusanagi at 2017-04-29T14:35:35Z

  • 2017-04-28T10:21:35Z via Pumpa To: Public CC: Followers

    If I understand Jimmy Wales's concept for WikiTribune correctly, it's "hire ten reporters and no editors."

    Which is a pretty typical misunderstanding of what journalism is.

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

    Stephen Michael Kellat shared this.

  • Me starting to add Maltese glyphs to my typeface project

    2017-04-25T22:14:27Z via Pumpa To: Public CC: Followers

    I'm the one in the hat.

    Nathan Willis at 2017-04-25T22:14:44Z

    Also, it turns out Maltese is a really fascinating language. Have to add Malta to list of places to visit now.

    Nathan Willis at 2017-04-25T22:15:42Z

    I thought you were the one with the cigar ;)

    mray at 2017-04-26T14:08:26Z

  • Hey ya know what? Don't silently change the URL of your blog or planet feed

    2017-04-23T07:48:22Z via Pumpa To: Public CC: Followers

    Your subscribers will not know. They'll just stop reading you.

    I'm looking at you, Planet Ubuntu, Planet SUSE, and Kernel Planet.

    Charles ☕ Stanhope, Elena ``of Valhalla'' likes this.

    And who knows how many others, because I don't have the time to manually re-check every feed URL I've ever subscribed to on a regular basis, just to see whether it's been altered.

    Because that's the opposite of syndication.

    Nathan Willis at 2017-04-23T07:51:49Z

  • Peak Muad'Dib

    2017-04-22T12:14:47Z via Pumpa To: Public CC: Followers

    Statisticians predict that 2017 will be the year when the number of words debating whether or not various film adaptations of "Dune" are brilliant or terrible will finally surpass the word count of Frank Herbert's complete Dune saga.

    Scott Sweeny, 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) and 1 others shared this.

  • LGM

    2017-04-19T10:29:49Z via Pumpa To: Public CC: Followers

    Sad to be missing Libre Graphics Meeting for the first time in many years, but happy to be where I am.

    And happy to have sent in some slides showcasing the work others have done in all the great free-software font projects over the course of the past year: FontForge, TruFont, fontmake, Font Bakery, FreeType, OpenType feature support, and groundwork for the new OpenTYpe 1.8 variable-fonts format!

    der.hans, Charles ☕ Stanhope, Christopher Allan Webber likes this.